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21st November 2017
Gotenks, Kid Buu, And Adult Gohan Confirmed

Gotenks, Kid Buu, And Adult Gohan Confirmed

Bandai Namco released new screens for new characters this morning covering Gotenks, Kid Buu, and Adult Gohan. There is also a dedicated Gotenks trailer.

You can check out the trailer below, and you can see all the new screens in the gallery. Gotenks' special attack seems to borrow its art style, at least to a small degree, from the film Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn, which used thicker black lines than to frame characters than other Dragon Ball media.

Dragon Ball FighterZ release January 26 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

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For more on Dragon Ball FighterZ, you can click the banner below for all of the features from our recent month of coverage.

18th November 2017
Role-Playing Meets Solitaire

Role-Playing Meets Solitaire

Shadowhand, from the developer Grey Alien Games, is a strategic RPG card game where you play as an aristocrat posing as a highwaywoman in 18th century England. It mixes both RPG elements and solitaire, by having you battle other characters in a card game but also featuring character progression, weapons, gear, and loot.

Check out the trailer below.

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The developers describe it as a strictly single-player experience, with 180 levels that are spread out through 20 chapters. You visit locales such as "stormy coastlines, mysterious woods, and gloomy manors." Shadowhand releases on December 7 for PC.

17th November 2017
Soma Coming To Xbox One With New Optional Safe Mode

Soma Coming To Xbox One With New Optional Safe Mode

Frictional Games has announced Soma is coming to Xbox One. Those players won't have to wait long to experience the game's underwater terrors, either.

The game is hitting on December 1, and the Xbox One version of the game includes an optional new mode. In Safe Mode, players can still experience the same existential terror beneath the waves, just without the monsters that skulk Soma's dark hallways and the ocean floor.

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We loved it when it originally released a few years back on PC, as you can see in our original review.

14th November 2017
Sega Launches 'Total War Saga' Series With Thrones Of Britannia

Sega Launches ‘Total War Saga’ Series With Thrones Of Britannia

Sega and Creative Assembly have announced a new Total War series, which hones in on particular settings and specific time periods. Thrones of Britannia is the first entry in the A Total War Saga series, and it's set to release on PC next year.

The game is set in 878 A.D., after the Vikings have successfully invaded Britain. A variety of kings are scrambling for power, which is where you come in. 

"Our aim with Total War Sagas is to explore key flashpoints at distinct places and times in history," says series director Mike Simpson. "Unlike our era-spanning titles, we're putting defined geographical areas under the microscope, building super-detailed campaign maps with a strong cultural focus and flavour that players can dive into. This will complement our broader-scope titles perfectly." 

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Look for A Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia on PC in 2018.

9th November 2017
What's Gained And What's Lost In L.A

What’s Gained And What’s Lost In L.A. Noire’s Transition To VR? Hands On Impressions

Launching shortly after the remastered versions on traditional consoles, L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files is the kind of high-profile title virtual reality platforms like the HTC Vive needs more of in the coming months and years if they're going to gain traction as viable gaming platforms.

L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files doesn’t follow the narrative of Cole Phelps’ rise up the LAPD ranks. Instead, it streamlines the experience into a collection of seven cases pulled from the original game that lend themselves best to the VR format: Upon Reflection, Armed and Dangerous, Buyer Beware, The Consul’s Car, The Silk Stocking Murder, Reefer Madness, and A Different Kind of War. Unlike the original game, which used a third-person perspective, you experience each of these cases from the first-person perspective of the ambitious detective.

My demo starts in Phelps' office. This closed off space serves as the hub between cases where players can interact with their immediate surroundings. I picked up a still-burning cigar and waved my hand through the smoke, opened the bullet chamber of Phelps' highly detailed revolver with the flick of a wrist, and even spent some time listening to music with the record player. You must pick up an album, remove the record from its protective sleeve, place it on the turntable, and set the needle just as you would in real life. Standing in front of the mirror allows you to change into Phelps' various outfits by grabbing hats from the nearby rack and trying them on.  

Before I hit the pavement for my first case, I play through a brief demo that introduces the basic controls. Every developer is still struggling to find an ideal solution to locomotion in virtual reality, and Rockstar is in the same camp. Catering to different preferences, The VR Case Files allow you to use teleportation to move through the environment, or you can swing your arms like you are running to give chase to perps, not unlike Sprint Vector. I felt silly moving in that fashion so I quickly defaulted to the teleportation options. 

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Most of the action in these case files is centered around the crime scenes. We fired up Buyer Beware, which begins on the sidewalk outside a downtown L.A. shoe store. Using the Vive controllers to reach down and turn over the body, I peruse the suit of the victim and find a document tucked in the jacket pocket. Using the grip and trigger buttons, I unfold the piece of paper to reveal a layaway voucher for some pearl earrings. Casing the rest of the area, I find spent .32 caliber shell casings on the ground, and a Browning model 1922 handgun stuffed into the street trash bin. With evidence in hand, I walk into the store to talk to the clerk.

My conversation with clerk Clovis Galetta shows off how the interrogation sessions change in VR. The biggest difference is the new Good Cop/Bad Cop/Accuse conversation options, which Rockstar has recalibrated to cut down on the number of unpredictable answers Phelps was known to deliver in the original game. These interviews are all about trying to coax good information from sometimes hesitant witnesses, and the MotionScan technology still produces some of the most believable looking faces in video games. Studying Ms. Galetta's expressions, I bust her in a few lies and get the information I need. Phelps procures his notebook for these conversations, and you can doodle in the notes section if you want. 

Not all of The VR Case Files take place at the crime scenes; some afford you the chance to cruise through the painstaking recreation of 1940s Los Angeles. After the Galetta interview, I hop in the car and head toward a nearby gun store in hopes of tracking down the Browning owner via the serial number. The driving controls take some getting used to, as the five or six pedestrians I ran over can attest. But once you grip the wheel and figure out the acceleration and brake controls, you shouldn't have trouble staying between the lines. The gun store owner reveals the gun owner is who we thought he was – a man named Edgar Kalou. We find Kalou at his jewelry shop, but once we arrive on the scene he takes off running out the back door. This chase sequence shows the limitations of the VR technology. I used the teleportation controls to give chase, which doesn't have the same thrill of gaining or losing ground yourself when using traditional analog sticks.

One I catch up with Kalou, I get to experience another different element of the VR Case Files – first-person brawling. You hold the grip and trigger buttons to form fists, and blocking is performed by holding up your arms. I went straight for the knockout using a combination of jabs, hooks, and uppercuts, which are all executed just like you were boxing in a real ring. Dirty fighters can aim below the belt as well. Once Kalou is knocked out we take him into custody. 

Based on my brief hands-on time, L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files feels like a natural fit for virtual reality platforms. Losing the story stings, but Rockstar faithfully ports over many of the features that made the original a must-play, and the tweaks the development team made to bring the virtual world to life largely work. I'm excited to relive more of these cases in VR when the game releases on HTC Vive in December.

9th November 2017
Cracking The Case On The Switch Version Of L.A

Cracking The Case On The Switch Version Of L.A. Noire

The smashing success of the Switch has convinced many third-party publishers to return to the Nintendo fold, the most surprising of which may be Rockstar Games. Estranged from Nintendo platforms since the criminally underappreciated DS release GTA: Chinatown Wars back in 2009, Rockstar shocked everyone when it announced that its 2011 ode to film noir, L.A. Noire, is heading to the platform alongside the PS4 and Xbox One remasters. 

If you missed out on L.A. Noire the first time around, here’s a quick briefing. A collaboration between Rockstar Games and Team Bondi, the game places players into 1940s Los Angeles as up-and-coming law enforcement officer Cole Phelps (played by Mad Men actor Aaron Staton). Over the course of the game, Phelps gets promoted from the patrol desk to become an LAPD detective, cracking several big cases by gathering evidence and interrogating suspects. As his career advances, he starts to unravel a city-wide conspiracy that climbs to the highest rungs of society, all the while wrestling with his traumatic memories from his service time in World War II. 

We recently toured the upcoming Switch version of L.A. Noire, which includes all the cases from the original game, plus the DLC cases, new collectibles, and new suits that give Phelps unique abilities. The case we got to check out, The Red Lipstick Murder, showcased all the new features enabled by the Switch’s unique functionality. 

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While in docking mode, L.A. Noire glistens in 1080p resolution. Though the game is now six years old, its signature MotionScan facial animations and historically accurate open world design still feel contemporary. Watching the game in action, however, I saw spots where the Switch hardware buckles under the graphical demands. The short draw distance created pop-up driving in cars, particularly with the trees and foliage. During cutscenes, I noticed some slight screen tear around the character outlines as well. These are minor quibbles, and to be honest, I’m just impressed a game this big runs on the tech at all. These issues didn’t seem as prevalent or noticeable in the lower resolution portable mode. 

In revisiting L.A. Noire for these remasters, Rockstar wanted to address one of the most pervasive complaints about the original game – the unpredictability of the interrogations. Detective Cole Phelps didn’t always react the way you expected him to when selecting one of the Truth/Doubt/Lie options. For the new versions of the game, Rockstar renamed the choices to Good Cop/Bad Cop/Accuse. I only used the new system in a couple circumstances, but the tone Phelps took in these brief encounters didn’t feel as unpredictable. I’m hopeful this holds true for the rest of the cases as well. 

Nintendo fans who like motion controls have some unique functionality to check out with the Switch version of L.A. Noire. While you’re searching a crime scene for clues, you can turn the Joy-Con controllers to check objects for distinctive marks. The motion control functionality extends to aiming and brawling as well. I tried a few of these control options while searching for clues left behind around the victim’s body at The Moors and found them serviceable, though I still prefer the traditional analog stick controls the game also supports. 

Touchscreen interactions give sleuths another avenue for finding clues. You can pinch to zoom into areas with items of interest, double-tap items to interact with them, and drag you finger left or right to rotate the objects.

The Switch version of L.A. Noire releases on November 14. If you prefer a higher resolution experience, the PS4 and Xbox One versions that boast PS4 Pro and Xbox One X support, respectively, debut that day as well. 

7th November 2017
Big World, Big Battles, Big Changes

Big World, Big Battles, Big Changes

Since finishing up the Xenosaga trilogy, Monolith Soft has been reimagining the JRPG for modern gamers exclusively on Nintendo's consoles. The original Xenoblade Chronicles garnered plenty of fanfare and critical acclaim for its creative design and MMO-style combat. Its follow-up on Wii U, Xenoblade Chronicles X, didn't hit as high of a bar, but still showcased Monolith's knack for creating fun worlds. Now Monolith is going back to its roots with a more story-focused adventure that retains X's sense of discovery.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is one of the first big RPGs hitting Switch, a fast-selling platform still yearning for more exclusives. For a game so close to its launch date, Nintendo has been dishing out details slowly, leaving fans unsure of what to expect.

After spending four hours of hands-on time and chatting with its developers, we have a better understanding of what Xenoblade Chronicles 2 offers in terms of combat, characters, and exploration. Get ready to journey across colossal beasts and customize your party by discovering new Blades, all while seeking out the ultimate paradise for humanity.

Protecting A Blade

While Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is technically the third game in the series, it's the one earning the rightful title of a sequel.

"Xenoblade Chronicles X was a game really focused on exploring and [having an] open world and [defeating] monsters," explains executive director Tetsuya Takahashi. "When we thought about starting to develop the next game, I wanted to go back to a more story-driven design. And so in that sense, this focus on a story-driven game is kind of the legacy of Xenoblade Chronicles 1, so we decided to kind of make it the next iteration of that."

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 fits within the series' universe, but the team didn't want to just rehash what it had already done. Therefore, it crafted a brand-new narrative and characters alongside a revamped combat system complete with the depth and customization the series is known for, connecting its story and combat with the concept of Blades. In this world, you have characters who are "Drivers" and those who are "Blades." Blades imbue Drivers with specific weapons, such as axes and swords, granting special abilities in combat. Every Blade has special attacks that center on an elemental affinity. This all ties into your battle strategy (more on that later).

The story revolves around a world of endless clouds named Alrest, a Driver named Rex, and a Blade named Pyra. At the start of the game, Rex is just an independent salvager, but when he crosses paths with Pyra, he feels compelled to help her, as Pyra is not your typical Blade. She's the Aegis, which means she's capable of absolute destructive power. This drives a mysterious group called Torna to try and manipulate her for their own selfish means. Tired of being sought after by so many vicious people, Pyra wants to escape and go back to her home, Elysium, which is also known as paradise for humanity. No one knows if this fabled land actually exists, but it's said to be the key to everyone's survival. "We [wanted] to make it into kind of a young man's adventure," Takahashi says. "It's kind of lighthearted – there's a lot of discoveries to be made, so we made it almost like an anime you would watch. But you know the kind of person that I am; the story does get a little bit heavier, a little bit darker. If you expect the same kind of evolution from the story that you would expect from a Xenoblade game, you're probably on the right track."

Your main goal in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is to find Elysium, but it's not an easy task with everyone hunting you down while the world is embroiled in political turmoil. Many powers rule over different regions of Alrest, and each differ in how they coexist with their Titans. Having a deep respect for nature, the Kingdom of Uraya boasts advanced bio-technology, for example. In contrast is their rival, the Empire of Mor Adain. Controlling their Titans mechanically, the militaristic Empire packs heavy armaments for protection against potential threats.

Rex and Pyra meet other Drivers and their Blades as they navigate these regions. From the tech-savvy Tora, who creates his own robotic Blade named Poppi, to Nia, a hothead with a mysterious past and a regal Blade named Dromarch, every party member you encounter offers great (and much needed) assistance on your quest.

A New Art Style
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 boasts a more youthful art style, looking closer to anime. It was a change Monolith felt would help make their characters come alive better. “We felt that in Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and X, the facial expressions [were] kind of a little bit hard, a little bit stiff,” says executive director Tetsuya Takahashi. “We really wanted to put a little bit more focus on creating facial expressions and for the characters to be more expressive, and so that's why we went with the direction we did, which I guess you could say is a little bit leaning toward something like Japanese animation.”

In many ways, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 focuses on what worked so well in the first game – providing a sense of purpose with the story. Unlike X, where you wandered around aimlessly for your next objective, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 gives you more direction and a direct connection to its characters and their plight.

This may technically be a sequel, but don't expect obvious nods to the first game. "It's completely different in terms of place, time, and space," Takahashi says. "Obviously I can't divulge all the details, but if you play the game, I think you'll get why this is called Xenoblade Chronicles 2."

This approach doesn't count out references to Takahashi's previous work on Xenogears or Xenosaga. "There's a lot that I can't talk about yet [that] hasn't been revealed, but it will be hopefully soon," Takahashi teases. "I think there's content in there where longtime fans of the series will have a pleasant surprise."

Click to the next page to learn all about the new combat...

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7th November 2017
New Trailer Details Daring Allies And Menacing Forces

New Trailer Details Daring Allies And Menacing Forces

Nintendo has kept a lot of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 under wraps, but during today's direct it finally revealed more of the game's unique story and thrilling combat.

A new trailer, which you can see below, introduces you to how Rex and Pyra become allies after Pyra brings Rex back from the dead. Rex wants to repay her by taking her to Elysium, a fabled paradise for humanity.

Throughout the footage, you see your various allies and the imposing forces that are trying to keep you from your goal. At the very end, we're introduced to Mythra, a mysterious fourth Blade for Rex. 

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We also got an extensive look at the combo-driven battle system, mercenary missions that help level up your unequipped Blades, and the customization options you'll have. Watch the full direct to learn more

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 launches on December 1, exclusively for Nintendo Switch. You can order a special edition now.

2nd November 2017
New Dragon Ball FighterZ Trailer Explores Game's Story Structure

New Dragon Ball FighterZ Trailer Explores Game’s Story Structure

When clones appear and warriors drop unconscious in Dragon Ball FighterZ, you must bond with the Super Warriors and explore the game's three story arcs to find out what's going on.

The new trailer for the title both shows off some of the initial story cutscenes as well as the three story arcs.

For more on the game's story, check out our exclusive interview with Dragon Ball FighterZ director Junya Motomura. Also be sure to take a look at our other features related to our latest cover story on the game by clicking on the hub banner below.

Dragon Ball FighterZ comes out on January 26 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC (via Steam).

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