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27th July 2017
Watch Us Chop And Drop Nazi Scum In A New Level

Watch Us Chop And Drop Nazi Scum In A New Level

It's been far too long since we were able to step into the shoes of first-person shooter icon BJ Blazkowicz and mow down countless Nazis. We recently got to play through a level of the upcoming Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and had some thoughts about MachineGames' bloody action.

Matt Bertz joins me as we discuss our thoughts about the franchise and how we feel about the direction that The New Colossus is taking BJ and company over new footage from Wolfenstein II. You can watch the whole thing here:

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For more on Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, be sure to check out our hands-on preview here.

27th July 2017
Building Upon The Bloody, Frantic Action Of The New Order

Building Upon The Bloody, Frantic Action Of The New Order

During E3, fellow first-person shooter fanatic Matt Bertz got to play through the first 20 minutes of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. He dug its zany action, calling the slice of gameplay "one of the most memorable and meticulously crafted demos of E3."

We recently got hands-on with an hour of new content from the next entry in the Wolfenstein series, playing through a level in Roswell, New Mexico that has hero BJ Blazkowicz infiltrating a Nazi base filled with secret weaponry and the top brass to blow it sky high with a portable nuke. The level opens with BJ, in disguise as a firefighter, exploring Roswell. The town, like the rest of the country, has been taken over by the Nazis and there are signs of that everywhere. Propaganda featuring the face of the antagonist of the game, the evil Frau Engel, can be spotted on walls and in the stores of sellers. Nazi guards accost citizens, telling them to learn their German, and rub shoulders with members of the Ku Klux Klan. All in all: a very terrifying vision of the world.

After that segment, I spent the rest of the demo infiltrating the base itself, fighting off Nazi soldiers, robots, and dogs to plant the nuke. This slice of gameplay gave me a pretty good idea of what to expect from The New Colossus come October.

Here are the big takeaways.

Expect To Die. A Lot.
The New Order was already a difficult game. The New Colossus turns everything up to 11 by offering more enemy variety, including super fast robots capable of dodging your attacks, and making BJ more fragile. You could have theoretically played through much of both The New Order and The Old Blood as a tank, blasting everything in your path and picking up health and ammo. In The New Colossus, you'll have to be crafty, strafing and sticking to cover, luring enemies to their death.

You Have More Powerful Weapons At Your Disposal
Your arsenal this go round boasts many of the favorites from the previous game, with the pistol, shotgun, assault rifle, and LaserKraftWerk all returning. However, you can also upgrade every weapon by finding weapon kits littered around every level, which lets you tailor your weapons to your playstyle. For example, you can stick a silencer on your pistol if you're more into infiltration or load it with powerful magnum rounds if you're more prone to going loud off the bat. You're also able to dual wield weapons of different types together, like a pistol in one hand and a shotgun in the other, for even sillier, bloody levels of violence.

The World-Building Is Strong
The introduction of Roswell, letting us explore the city, was surprisingly (for a first-person shooter) big and focused on non-violent exploration. I tailed Nazis and talked to drunken, depressed, scab-covered patriots hiding in alleyways. The beautiful but disturbing propaganda lining the walls and signs of the town were also effective, selling this disturbing vision of America.

The Balance Between Splatterfest And Somber Storytelling Remains
The New Order was a game where, in one sequence, Nazis would be getting atomized and sprayed across the wall in bloody chunks and, in another, you'd have a heartfelt scene between lovers trying to find intimacy in a world filled with hate. From what we saw of both The Roswell section and the prologue wheelchair level, MachineGame still seems to be going after that strange but alluring combo. When I wasn't slamming hatchets into my enemies' faces, I was listening to people cower beneath the terror of the new regime or consulting spiritual texts to find a moment's peace in The New Colossus' violent world.

There's Quite A Bit Of Ambition Here
Both The New Order and The Old Blood were compact games, both in narrative and level design. The New Order was a seemingly simple story about a man trying to take back the world from evil while its levels were essentially a series of corridors. The New Colossus feels bigger on both fronts, with a new cast of characters joining BJ in his journey to take on the Nazis. Both the Roswell sequence and the Area 52 level also felt larger and more arena-like than anything we've seen in The New Order. I enjoyed while I played, but I'm also concerned whether or not The New Colossus might end up trading the unexpected level of nuance and emotional storytelling that made The New Order so special for the sake of scope. We'll find out in October.

For more on Wolfenstein II, be sure to check out our playthrough of the Roswell level and 20 details we noticed from our time with the game.

27th July 2017
20 Details We Noticed During Our Hands-On

20 Details We Noticed During Our Hands-On

BJ Blazkowicz and company are set to return in just a few short months to take on the Nazi regime in America. We recently played through a portion of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (for a full breakdown of my impressions, head here) and noticed a number of details that will likely be of interest to fans of the first game. This includes major spoilers for The New Order and minor spoilers for what we've seen about The New Colossus, so turn away now if you don't want either.

Gameplay

1. The New Order let you upgrade your welding tool, the LaserKraftWerk, into a powerful cannon of death. In The New Colossus, you can upgrade all the weapons in your arsenal by finding weapon kits littered about the levels. I put a silencer on my pistol, attached a scope on my rifle, and turned my machine gun into a flame-bullet spitting machine of death for when things got hairy.

2. During the Roswell segment, BJ's health is maxed out at 50 (probably due to his injuries from the previous game) but his armor went up to 200. This meant that I couldn't storm the enemies head-on but had to think more strategically, diving in and out of cover to blast Nazis.

3. The New Colossus features more combat executions than the previous game, and most of them are exceedingly gruesome. With my handy hatchet, I tore entire limbs off Nazis and chopped through the cores of automated robots. In the prologue, I shoved a machine pistol into the throat of a Nazi and blew him away.

4. The weapons feel more powerful than the first game, largely due to new sound effects, and are satisfying to use. During one section on a train, I tore through an entire line of enemies with my shotgun as I barreled down the hall.

5.  Character models and environments are much more detailed and realistic looking than those of The New Order, with BJ's proportions, in particular, being less cartoony this go round.

6. The New Colossus has more enemy types than The New Order. Besides the standard Nazi grunts and commanders from the first game, there are now various kinds of robots that zip around at light speed to zap you with lasers. The encounters with these particular enemies were the most challenging in my demo.

7. You can now dual wield any kind of weapon together. Wanna go hog wild with your pistol in one hand and your shotgun in the other? Go for it.

8.  Enigma Codes, previously a collectible in The New Order, return. This time they can be looted from the bodies of commanding officers. In the New Order, collecting and solving Enigma Codes unlocked new game modes that offered mutators, like giving BJ 999 health or a permadeath mode. We have not received confirmation codes function the same as they did previously, but it's probably fair to assume that this means The New Colossus will have similar unlockable modes.

9. The amount of time you're given to kill a commander who's spotted you before he calls for reinforcements seems more generous here (I had a whole second to shoot him in the face after he spotted me) but the reinforcements they call in are almost overwhelming. At times it felt like I was fighting a small army of robots and Nazis rather than squadrons.

10. The energy Gatling gun from the last game is replaced by a beam weapon capable of blowing through multiple armored foes, but its energy depletes quickly.

Story

1. BJ was crippled by the events of the first game. During our demo, he wore Caroline's exosuit and it's heavily implied that it's what gives him the ability to walk again.

2. The wheelchair segment ends with Kreisau Circle resistance leader Caroline Becker helplessly stooped beneath the blade of an ax. While the scene cuts away, leaving her fate ambiguous, we saw no sign of Caroline in the later section of the game. This doesn't mean our beloved character is necessarily dead, but it's not a good sign for her either.

3. Sigurn Engel, the abused daughter of the monstrous Frau Engel, appears to join up with BJ and the rest of the resistance later on for reasons that are not explained. Except for BJ and Anya, it becomes immediately clear that the rest of the resistance does not trust her, with her fleeing from the room at one point in tears as one of the resistance members calls her a Nazi.

4. Familiar characters like Max Hass, Bombate, Set Roth, Anya and (depending on your timeline choice from The New Order) Wyatt/Fergus return and are joined by the two unnamed American resistance fighters from the E3 trailer: a rebellious woman who seems to be leading the resistance in America and her conspiracy theory partner.

5. The Roswell level we played included a large exploratory portion where we walked around the town and saw the effects of the Nazi regime on America first hand. Nazis stopped citizens and aggressively encouraged them to take their German lessons while also not-so-subtly threatening a diner owner to have more German cuisine on his menu.

6.  Eva's Hammer, the U-Boat the group stole in The New Order, appears to be the new base of operations for the Kreisau Circle.

7. In The New Colossus, the Nazis are still using the Da'at Yichud technology that helped them build a huge army of robots to take over the world. During our preview, we investigated Area 52 and as part of the briefing for that mission, it was implied that all the strange sights having to do with the extraterrestrial lore of Area 51 are tied to the Da'at Yichud.

8. In this version of America, BJ is considered to be a terrorist and his mugshot is posted everywhere. During the Roswell sequence, people would look at me as I was roaming in-disguise around and say things like, "You look familiar...." before I scurried away.

9. Wyatt seems to be getting drawn into the counterculture of the '60s, reading books on how to figure out his inner self as well as apparently taking LSD. We didn't see that much with Fergus, but trailers for the game have revealed that he has a robotic arm.

10. During cutscenes, it seems that BJ is, once again, remaining laconic, only offering dialogue occasionally while other characters often monologue.

For more on Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, be sure to check out our hands-on preview as well as our interview with MachineGames.

26th July 2017
New Trailer Shows Silent, Deadly Heroes

New Trailer Shows Silent, Deadly Heroes

Warner Interactive and TT Games have released a new trailer for the upcoming The Lego Ninjago Movie Video Game, which puts an emphasis on combat and action. Don't expect to hear any of the usual banter from Lloyd, Cole, Kai, Zane or the rest of the crew, however. Maybe they're wearing noise-canceling masks?

Take a look at the trailer below for a peek at the game's combat, including some of the team's special moves and skills, including The Stinging Bee (a flurry of sword strikes), The Swooping Hawk (an AoE "death from above" attack), The Rushing Boar (a boring ol' jump kick), and the Skyward Dragon (your guess is as good as mine). You can also see some of the weapons that the team can use, including some legendary golden ones.

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The Lego Ninjago Movie Video Game is set for a Sept. 22 release date, which is the day that the movie is coming to theaters. For another look at the game, check out the announce trailer.

26th July 2017
Testing For The Surprising Multiplayer Mode Begins Next Week

Testing For The Surprising Multiplayer Mode Begins Next Week

Through a steady stream of significant updates, Final Fantasy XV is looking like a much different game than the one we saw launch last November. Square Enix is even adding a multiplayer expansion called Comrades. If you purchased the season pass for either PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, you'll get a chance to participate in Comrades' closed online beta between August 3-8.

Comrades allows players to create their own Avatar, yet only eight will be available in the test, with a small selection of customization options, such as just four Royal Sigils, and four weapons (dagger, shuriken, club, and katana). Once the Avatar is created, you'll enter an outpost, engage in a tutorial and then get the chance to take on three different quests with up to three other players at your side. We don't know just how extensive the quests are, but the rewards sound significant, offering meteorshards (which expand the scope of available activities), along with experience points, and plenty of loot. Cooking is also a part of the multiplayer experience. In the beta, one ingredient will be given out per quest, and the outpost cook can mix up a meal for your next adventure.

The beta only offers matchmaking functionality, but the final release will include the option to team up with AI companions. Players will also enter a more robust city to explore, and can play as Noctis, Gladiolus, Prompto, and Ignis, if they don't like their custom Avatar.

No official release date has been given, but tune into Game Informer next week for hands-on impressions and video of this unexpected expansion.

26th July 2017
From The Garage To The Streets In Need For Speed Payback

From The Garage To The Streets In Need For Speed Payback

Customization was a big part of Ghost Games' titular Need for Speed game back in 2015, and Need for Speed Payback (out on November 10 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC) takes things a step further.

Today's new trailer for the game outlines how you can take your car from an anonymous stock car to the ride of your dreams through performance parts, choosing your own body parts, and restoring derelict cars found in the world.

Moreover, if you pre-order the title you'll get the Premium Car Pack, which contains five pre-tuned and customized cars:

  • Nissan 350Z 2008
  • Chevrolet Camaro SS 1967
  • Dodge Charger R/T 1969
  • Ford F-150 Raptor 2016
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 2016
  • Exclusive Platinum Blue Underglow & Tire Smoke Vanity Items

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25th July 2017
New Gameplay Video Shows Off Puzzles and Dialogue

New Gameplay Video Shows Off Puzzles and Dialogue

Today, Naughty Dog released its latest gameplay trailer for Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which shows off more of the vegetative scenery and combat mechanics we've become accustomed to in the series. However, the dialogue takes center stage; Chloe's humor and propensity to discuss puzzles with herself is heavily reminiscent of Nathan Drake, but her interactions with Nadine provide an interesting dynamic that differentiates itself from that of Drake and Sullivan.

Their idiosyncratic relationship looks to offer a new feel to the series, departing from the slapstick back-and-forths of the series' previous protagonists in favor of more conversational depth and a cerebral tone, while still retaining some comedic elements. The stealth sequence also affords us the opportunity to hear some of the humorous dialogue between the enemy soldiers. While so far the game has presented a few innovations, it's moments like this that make it so distinctly Uncharted.

The puzzle-solving mechanisms also appear in the trailer, honing the map, item, and artifact interactivity from Uncharted 4. In addition, we see more of the driving sequences that were popularized in the previous installment, along with the impressive grappling hook and swimming mechanisms. As far as freshness goes, the new lock-picking system shows its face again in the video, this time exhibiting its utility for opening weapon crates.

Check out the full video below.

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Uncharted: The Lost Legacy releases on August 22 for PlayStation 4.

For more on Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, check out our hands-on impression from E3 or click the banner below to go to the hub.

23rd July 2017
Bandai Namco Reveals Gameplay And New Trailer

Bandai Namco Reveals Gameplay And New Trailer

During a recent livestream, Bandai Namco revealed both gameplay and a new trailer for the upcoming Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time, a video game adaptation of the popular anime series. Little Witch Academia is a series that centers around a young woman, Atsuko, who enrolls in a magical academy.

The action RPG will have a separate story from the anime, but many of the characters appearing in the show will also be playable in-game. According to a report from Gematsu, such characters include Akko Kagari, Lotte Yanson, and Sucy Manbavaran. The Luna Nova Magical Academy will also be completely explorable notes developer A+ Games.

You watch watch both the trailer and the gameplay below (both are in Japanese). The second video is the complete livestream, with gameplay beginning at around 2:48:30.

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Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time comes to PlayStation 4 and PC in Japan as of November 30. The game is expected to release in North America by 2018.

[Source: Gematsu]

22nd July 2017
Shelob Returns In Latest Trailer

Shelob Returns In Latest Trailer

At this year's San Diego Comic-Con, Warner Bros. showed off a new trailer for Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. The trailer highlights a number of the game's story beats, and introduces us to new (and old) character: Shelob.

Originally a villainous spider in Lord of the Rings, Shelob retains her eight spindly legs in Shadow of War, but can also shapeshift into a human, making her a bit more empathetic and expressive this time around. You can watch the full trailer introducing her new incarnation below.

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