You ever have that one friend? Delightful one minute, and a rage-fueled monster the next? You like their company, but you’re never sure when they’re going to go off and reveal the Mr. Hyde that lurks within. The second season of Telltale’s Batman has been about being trapped in a room with this particular kind of person, and the fourth episode makes good on all the tension associated with that. This culmination results in not only the best episode in the series since Lady Arkham’s debut in the first season, but also one of the more compelling Batman/Joker relationship stories in years, in any media.

Last we left Bruce, he was trapped in a cold and deadly predicament. After escaping, he resumes his quest to bring down Harley Quinn and the rest of the villainous Pact, with the help of secret agent Avesta and John Doe (a.k.a. The Joker). Much of the episode revolved around just how much you trust Doe. Is he actually willing to help you? Or is he working behind your back to earn Harley’s affection? Regardless of intentions, Doe commits some horrific actions during the episode. However, he seems properly contrite and confused in the aftermath of them all. Is it all an act?

The foundation of Episode 4 is whether you can trust Doe as a friend, playing your own knowledge of Batman and Joker’s relationship throughout the years against the events of previous episodes. Telltale’s version of Gotham City follows its own logic, for better or worse, often recasting old favorites in new light and rearranging origin stories to make a world that stands in stark contrast to the rest of the Batman mythos.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Watching Telltale’s version of this classic dynamic come to a head in the final hour of What Ails You is enjoyable. I spent the majority of the episode wanting to guide Doe toward doing the right thing while also balancing that against what was right for Gotham. Familiar Telltale-brand problems rear their hydra heads more than a few times, like bad animation and a few tedious walk-around-the-room-and-look-at-things sequences, but the writing and tension prevalent through the episode is strong enough that those are easy to ignore this go round.

Rooting for The Joker as a likeable, sympathetic person is a strange, unexpected thing. And yet Telltale has accomplished that much with its season-long gambit. One more episode remains and I’m curious to see if Telltale will go all-in on letting players shape Joker as a character. Regardless of how the finale plays it, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the journey of trying to rehabilitate one of comic’s greatest villains.

Originally an obscure PC horror game released in Japan in 2004, Yume Nikki (which translates to “Dream Diary”) is being remade with oversight from its original creator, and will be launching next month.

A couple weeks ago, publisher Playism re-released the original PC game, which was released first online outside of major storefronts like Steam. This lead up to the announcement of Yume Nikki: Dream Diary, a remake which takes the game’s 2D graphics and maps them to 3D textures. The game is being developed “under supervision and with the full cooperation from” the game’s anonymous creator, who goes by “Kikiyama.”

The remake will also include characters who were cut from the original release and take influence from “recent indie juggernauts to create something wholly unique.” Dream Diary will launch on February 23 on PC.

[Source: Steam via IGN]

 

Our Take
I always like hearing about long-lost or obscure projects like this coming back, so this is cool to see. I should probably play the original Yume Nikki, right?

Akihiro Suzuki is the producer for the Dynasty Warriors series and has been on it since the first game in 1997. With Dynasty Warriors 9, the series is undergoing its biggest change since turning into an action game, becoming an open world title. This means less picking a level out of a list and more marching toward your goals and clearing armies out of the way. Suzuki shared with us his thoughts on the game evolving and hearing the feedback from western fans.

Fans are obviously very excited for Dynasty Warriors, but the critical reception by and large tends to peg Warriors games as repetitive. Is that something you were looking to change with Dynasty Warriors 9?

Suzuki: With the previous Warriors games, the battle systems are generally the same, and the majority of the mechanics are similar. So with this title, we decided to go with the open world primarily for new experiences.

Why open world specifically? Why that direction to freshen up the franchise?

Suzuki: We chose the open world for two reasons. The first is to show the scale of China and the second is the storyline. Most players already know the general storyline of the Dynasty Warriors titles, and we wanted to create more opportunities for them to get closer to that storyline.

What open-world games have you been playing that have informed what you wanted Dynasty Warriors 9 to be? Were there titles you felt like inspired the game more than others?

Suzuki: We view the open world in Dynasty Warriors 9 as completely different from other open world games, mainly because we wanted to show the entire battlefield. Although, for balancing purposes, I did look at Zelda fervently.

Dynasty Warriors has a cast of characters beloved to fans. People count down to their reveals, and have their favorites. Has there ever been any thought to adding or removing characters from the cast?

Suzuki: With every entry in the series, we always think, “We don’t want to remove characters, but we always want to add characters.” We have been listening to feedback from fans to make sure we know which ones they like.

This game has been announced for PlayStation 4 and PC worldwide, with an Xbox One version in the U.S. as well. It seems like KOEI Tecmo has had a very close relationship with Nintendo in recent years, so is there a reason Dynasty Warriors 9 won’t be on Switch?

Suzuki: [laughs] Honestly…we actually just didn’t plan for the Switch.

Are there any plans in the future for it?

Suzuki: We haven’t decided for it yet.

The last Dynasty Warriors mainline game was on PlayStation 3. Were there technical limitations preventing you from taking the series open world before this?

Suzuki: As you mentioned, there were limitations with previous platforms. In previous games, our priority was always to increase the number of enemies on the screen. Because of that priority, though, we couldn’t show the scale of the battlefield or much in the distance. With the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, though, we could show enough of the distance that we could just make it open world.

Warriors games have gotten more popular in the west than they were before in the last five years. Have you started considering the needs and desires of the west when making these days?

Suzuki: We definitely hear the voices of the western fans. Originally, we made Dynasty Warriors for fans all over the globe and have them be familiar with the story of the three kingdoms.

Is the open world going to be the template for Dynasty Warriors going forward? Will the next game follow the same form?

Suzuki: [laughs] We can’t talk about anything like that yet.

The game is coming out on Xbox One in America, but not in Japan. Why is the port only being added for the Western release?

Suzuki: It is because the sales for the Xbox One in Japan are so low.

What would entice a new player to come in at Dynasty Warriors 9?

Suzuki: This is the first game we’ve done in open world. There’s a lot of new systems we’ve implemented, it’s been a lot of different challenges for us. We hope the open world brings in new fans and entices them to join the Dynasty Warriors fanbase.

Dynasty Warriors 9 releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on February 13 and is the first mainline game in the series since 2013.

Dead Cells, a rogue-lite, metroidvania action-platformer, is coming to consoles in 2018.

 

The title from developer and publisher Motion Twin boasts a visual style that blends cel-shading with pixel art. It features fast-paced permadeath, with new levels that unlock with each death. The title is currently available to download as an early access game on Steam, and is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch this year.

 

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Watch our video feature on Dead Cells here.

 

[Source: Motion Twin on Twitter]

 


Our Take
This gorgeous, ultra-violent title has garthered some steam
on, well, Steam during its time in early access. The difficulty with permadeath
Dead Cells offers will certainly appeal to action-platformer fans, and it’s great
to see it will debut on consoles as well. It especially seems like the perfect game
for Switch.

Join Game Informer editors today as they explore some mid-game and late-game Monster Hunter: World content. Ahead of the game launching on Friday, take a peek at a few of the missions and weapons you’ll have to play around with and join the chat to ask any questions you have about the game. It’s all on the table!

The action begins at 2 PM CT!

You can click the banner below to watch the stream on Twitch, or just tune in here using the embedded video below.

Cardboard Computer has surprise released a short interlude
to Kentucky Route Zero.

 

Un Pueblo De Nada, which translates to “A Village of
Nothing,” is free to download for PC, Mac, and Linux. Cardboard also put out a free 30-minute companion video
for Un Pueblo from the fictional station WEVP-TV. You can watch that here.

 

Kentucky Route Zero’s first four acts are available to
download now from various PC services. Act five will release sometime this year.
A console iteration, Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition, comes with all five acts and will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch this year.

As the anniversary of For Honor approaches, Ubisoft Montreal has released a development trailer announcing the game’s fifth season, dubbed Age of Wolves. Along with new gear, weapons, emotes, executions, and character balancing, one of the biggest changes Age of Wolves will bring is the addition of dedicated servers. 

According to the post announcing Season Five, “Age of Wolves will also herald the implementation of a dedicated server infrastructure. By changing the way you connect to For Honor matches, the development team is doing away with resyncing, session migrations, and NAT requirements in order to deliver stable connectivity on all platforms.”

(Please visit the site to view this media)

In addition to dedicated servers, Age of Wolves will also introduce narrative-driven training features that will allow new players to learn the basics while encouraging more experienced players to complete warrior trials and compete against other players in an arena.

Age of Wolves is set to release on PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4 February 15.

[Source: For Honor website]

The sequel to the Kickstarter-backed RPG success story Pillars of Eternity (which we liked) will be hitting sooner than you might have thought. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire will release on April 3 for PC, Mac, and Linux. No release date for consoles has been announced.

Fans who pre-order the game will receive three special in-game goodies: St. Drogga’s Skull (a weapon), Beakhead, the Hawk (a pet), and The Black Flag (a black flag, for your ship).

Developer Obsidian Entertainment also announced a few special editions to go along with the regular one. The regular edition will cost $50, but for an extra $10 players can get the Deluxe edition, which has an official soundtrack, another in-game item, a pen-and-paper RPG starter guide, a digital map of the game’s world, and a digital guide book.

For $75 players can get the Obsidian edition, which, along with everything in the Deluxe edition, includes the first three expansions for Deadfire. A physical version of the Obsidian edition, priced at $80, will also include a cloth map of Deadfire, a notepad, and postcards from the world of Deadfire.

[Source: Obsidian Entertainment]

 

Our Take
Talk to your wallet about which edition of Pillars of Eternity II is right for you.

Microsoft has released the list of free games available to Xbox Live subscribers for the month of February. The list includes Shadow Warrior and Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India for Xbox One while Split/Second and Crazy Taxi are available via backwards compatibility. Shadow Warrior and Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India will get a month of availability on February 1 and 16, respectively, while Split/Second and Crazy Taxi will be available for two weeks starting on February 1 and 16.

To claim these games, make sure your Xbox Live Gold subscription is active and find them in the Gold section of your Xbox’s home page.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

There’s still time to grab a couple of the January Games with Gold. You can find more information about those here.

 

Our Take
Not the strongest showing of games this month, but I could take a spin at some Crazy Taxi action again.

The newest trailer for Soulcalibur VI introduces several returning characters, as well as the mysterious new Grøh.

Grøh, known as The Agent in Black in the trailer, appears to be an assassin that is targeting the fighters of Soulcalibur. He wields a double-ended sword that can be split apart and used as two separate knives. 

Returning characters include Nightmare, who moves fast but still puts significant weight behind his giant (and evil) broadsword; Xianghua, who’s unique sword fighting style returns in full force; and Kilik, who once again returns to his bo-staff style that made him so popular. The trailer also shows off several Critical Arts and rage transformations for the characters, putting their opponents in a world of hurt.

Soulcalibur VI is scheduled to launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC this year. You can check out the new trailer below.

(Please visit the site to view this media)