December 2017

How Ubisoft Is Turning AC: Origins Into An Interactive Museum

Assassin’s Creed Origins features one of the most impressive historical settings we’ve ever seen in a game. Its rendition of Ptolemaic Egypt is expansive and filled with incredible places to explore. Of course, it’s also filled with dangers. Linger too long near the banks of the Nile and you’re likely to end up in a hippo’s belly. Temple guards may not eat you, but they can take a similarly aggressive approach to loiterers. Fortunately for all of you would-be explorers out there, an upcoming new mode will let you fully explore the world that Ubisoft Montreal built – and learn a lot about ancient Egypt – at your own leisure without having to worry about getting chomped on.

The Discovery Tour is a free addition to Origins that adds a new game option from the start menu. Players who select it can take part in a variety of historical tours, based on a variety of different aspects of life during the game’s historical setting. You can learn about the construction of the Great Pyramids, get the low-down on the Library of Alexandria, and get a better sense of what day-to-day life was like for an average citizen in the region via …read more


The History Of Pokémon

Gazing up at the orange Carrot building in Setagaya, Tokyo, you would have no idea it was the home of Game Freak, the developer behind one of the world’s most popular video game franchises. The Pokémon logo isn’t displayed anywhere in the lobby, and Pokémon Go’s nearby PokéStops don’t offer any hint of the studio’s existence. Across the street at a 7-Eleven, a banner waves over the door to promote the most recent Pokémon movie, but that’s currently at every one of the convenience stores throughout Japan.

Once you make your way to Game Freak’s floor, a red sign with the company’s logo makes an appearance in the hall, but you won’t see your first Pokémon until you make it past a locked door. The waiting area is a dark room with a single chair, ominous floor lighting, a backlit Game Freak logo, and a brightly lit, slowly rotating globe.

This feature originally appeared in print issue 293.

Junichi Masuda, Game Freak’s co-founder and Pokémon’s longtime programmer, producer, director, and (perhaps most famously) composer, lets us into the studio and tells us the globe in the lobby serves as a daily reminder of Pokémon’s global reach. We take off our …read more


Spellforce 3 Review

Some cross-genre games are blended like ingredients in a mixing bowl, while others let their two halves live side-by-side. SpellForce III fits into the latter category, pairing role-playing and real-time-strategy elements. Though the end result is anything but unified, such a contrasting design keeps you from falling into a consistent routine. It also broadens the outlook of the stereotypical fantasy RPG, expanding the limited worldview of a handful of adventurers into the more expansive perspective of a general controlling an army.

Opening missions serve as an extended tutorial, first giving you the basics on how role-playing works, then moving into base-building strategizing where you take the fight to foes on a larger scale. You may start off exploring a map as part of a small party of heroes, slaying the odd gang of goblins or undead or giant spiders and cracking open chests stuffed with weapons, armor, and the usual assortment of magical goodies. You may finish off by taking all that you learned about the landscape while exploring, and build a base, constructing facilities to gather resources, and then whip up an army to hurl at foes who have been doing the same thing.

The baroque plot carrying …read more


10 Unexpected, Weird Games We Want On Switch

The Switch has had a busy year, with both exciting new releases and unexpected ports. Nintendo’s portable powerhouse continues to draw the interest of third-party and indie developers. We already wrote up the heavy-hitters we want to come to Switch, so we sat down and thought about the lesser-known stuff on the console, y’know, the weirdos. Here are 10 unexpected games we’d love to see on The Switch.

Heat Signature
From the maker of Gunpoint, Heat Signature is an ambitious, fun sci-fi indie that’s all about tactics and reaction timing. In Heat Signature, your mission is to board ships. Sometimes you’re killing everyone on said ship, sometimes you’re just sneaking around to steal tech. Either way Heat Signature is a great combination of action and strategy. Given the dearth of strategy games on The Switch, it’d be great to have this indie gem on there.

You can read Kyle Hilliard’s review of the game here.

Skies Of Arcadia
One of the Sega Dreamcast’s best games, Skies of Arcadia, a fantastical turn-based JRPG centered around SKY PIRATES, feels like it never got its due. Hey, the Switch gave L.A. Noire a second chance, so why not Skies …read more


The Games Brian Shea Finished In 2017

Each year I relish the opportunity to play through as many games as possible before the calendar turns. I don’t look at this solely as a challenge as a gamer, but also a way for me to get as full a picture as possible so that I can make educated statements about the year as a whole in my professional life. I know it’s always going to be impossible to keep up with all the big and noteworthy releases each year, but that was especially true in 2017.

Last year, when I did this list for 2016, I reflected back on how amazing games were during that year, but I don’t think I could have ever prepared myself for what 2017 would bring. I played plenty of new and exciting experiences, but I also found myself relying on old favorites from last year. Despite my fervor dying down a bit, I still poured over 100 additional hours into Overwatch, my favorite game of last year, and Pokémon Go, a title that continues to deliver a markedly different experience from any game I’ve ever played. However, I tried to limit my time most nights so that I could experience the goldmine …read more


Super Replay – Vampire Hunter D

Our playthrough of Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 is the most successful Super Replay to date. One thing became abundantly clear: You love watching us suffer while playing broken games. From the comments I read, a good number of you expected we would play another Sonic game for the annual 12.31 Super Replay. As tempting as that idea was, we decided to flip the script again, and do something completely different. Playing a survival horror game without Tim Turi still feels wrong. Playing another Sonic game just feels wrong, period. So we decided to turn our sights on the anime crowd, a pocket of loyal fans Replay hasn’t mocked enough.

The one game that bubbled to the surface was Vampire Hunter D, a little-known PlayStation relic that launched on September 25, 2000. Developed by Victor Interactive Software and published by Jaleco, Vampire Hunter D is a game about a powerful talking hand that is attached to a vampire. I don’t want to give away much more than that. The only other thing I will say is, we’re having a terrible good time playing it. As always, we hope you enjoy this year’s pick. It’s unexpected, I know, but that’s how these 12.31 …read more


Two Free PSVR Games Worth Downloading And Six That Aren’t

If you’re new to the world of PlayStation VR as a result of the holiday,
here is some free software worth checking out, and some that isn’t. In looking at these free PlayStation VR games, I avoided demos for larger games and the couple of video platforms that are available as those are just avenues to paid content.

The games (or in some cases, experiences) you will find below are standalone, ideally in place by Sony to show off what your PlayStation VR can do, but some are barely worth the time it takes to download. Of course, with that being said, all of these come with the caveat that they are free, so you certainly don’t have to take my word for it.

The Last Guardian VR Demo
I love the universe Fumito Ueda created between Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last Guardian, and the opportunity to be quite literally inside of it and interact with Trico up close was an offer I was eager to take Sony up on. In the demo you see through the eyes of the boy as you get a sense of Trico’s scale and what it might be like …read more


The 10 Best Arcade Bars In America

Few things pair better than video games and beer. Restauranteurs have taken notice, and over the past decade several impressive arcade/bar hybrids have emerged throughout the country looking to lure thirsty gamers. The Game Informer staff travels a lot over the course of the year, and when we’re in new towns we often try to make time to check out these venues. We haven’t crossed every barcade throughout the United States off our list of places to visit, but of the many we’ve visited to burn through a hefty stack of quarters, these are our favorites.

The 1Up
Location: Denver
The barcade of choice for most Denverites like our own Ben Reeves, The 1Up is so popular it spawned a second location. Both the Colfax and LoDo spots feature dozens of classic arcade cabinets and pinball machines. Hardcore players can engage in monthly tournaments or league play. To match the lo-fi vibe, the bar offers many different 40-ounce malt liquor offerings in addition to tap beer.

Barcade
Location: New York, Newark, Jersey City, Philadelphia, New Haven
Upon opening in 2004, Barcade’s Williamsburg location combination of craft beer and classic arcade cabinets proved immensely popular, with Esquire …read more