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Watch Street Fighter 5 Necalli and Zangief Character Overview Trailers

GameSpot's PC Reviews - 9 hours 16 min ago

Capcom's character overview video series continues with new trailers that showcase new fighter Necalli and Zangief, who first appeared in Street Fighter II. In these videos, Capcom producer Matt Edwards showcases the characters, explaining their moves and more. Check them out below.

Necalli and Zangief are two of the playable characters that will be available when Street Fighter V launches later this month. Even more characters will be released for the game after launch.

You can watch the overview video for Ken Masters here. Necalli is one of Street Fighter V's four brand-new characters; the others are Laura, Rashid, and F.A.N.G.

Street Fighter V launches on February 16 in North America and Europe for PS4 and PC, supporting cross-play between both platforms. Just recently, Capcom announced a story mode for the game will launch this summer as a free update.

For lots more on the game and the Street Fighter franchise overall, check out GameSpot's in-depth interview with executive producer Yoshinori Ono. You can also check out another interview we recently conducted with Ono, in which we asked him the tough questions like which Pokemon is his favorite and whether bread and eggs should be kept in the cupboard or refrigerator.

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Unravel, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, Assassin's Creed Chronicles - New Releases

GameSpot's PC Reviews - 9 hours 39 min ago
This week we get Unravel, Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, Arslan: The Warriors Legend, Firewatch and Dying Light: The Following.
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Watch Quantum Break Prototype Footage

GameSpot's PC Reviews - 10 hours 52 min ago

As part of a recent lecture in Paris, Quantum Break developer Remedy Entertainment released some prototype footage from the time-bending Xbox One game that shows off what it looked like in an in-development state. DualShockers attended the lecture and published the video below, which is made up of footage "mostly" from around 2012. Note, too, that the video contains a mixture of prototypes. Check it out:

The footage you see in this video was apparently created at Microsoft's request, as part of their greenlighting process.

The library section shown in the video made it into the final version of Quantum Break, though Remedy said the finished version is "quite different" from the prototype stage. Also on display in the video are the early versions of Quantum Break's "junction moments" and and time-bending mechanics.

DualShockers also reports that Remedy creative director Sam Lake talked about the Quantum Break franchise overall, and how the team has an idea for a story that would cover "much more" than one game. At the same time, Lake mentioned that Quantum Break's story is all about main character Jack's hero journey and said that this comes to a "very conclusive" end in the game.

"Lake then clarified that nothing can be said for sure, because in this industry it’s impossible to know beforehand how things will shape up, and when it's a good moment to continue with an IP, if ever," DualShockers reports.

Quantum Break was originally scheduled to launch on Xbox One in 2015. However, it was later delayed and is now due to arrive in April 2016. The game story is told across the game and a TV show, the latter of which stars X-Men's Shawn Ashmore and Dominic Monaghan from The Lord of the Rings.

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Breath of Fire 3 PSP, PS Vita, PlayStation TV Release Date Announced [UPDATE]

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2016-02-06 19:05

[UPDATE] Breath of Fire 3 will launch for PS Vita, PSP, and PlayStation TV this coming Tuesday, February 9, Sony confirmed during the latest PlayStation Blogcast (via DualShockers).

The original story is below.

Capcom has announced classic PlayStation RPG Breath of Fire 3 will be re-released as a downloadable title on PlayStation Network. The game will be available as a PSP title, which means it can be played on the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation TV.

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The game will be available for $9.99 this February. A more specific release date was not provided. Capcom said it will "have a bit more information when the game launches."

In other Capcom news, the Japanese company reported its financial results for the nine-month period spanning April 1 to December 31, 2015. Overall, it showed an increase in net revenue.

Monster Hunter X, which was released in Japan late 2015, was described as "a major hit." Although Capcom forecasted it would sell 2.5 million units, it surpassed these expectations and reached sales of 3.2 million units.

The next big game for Capcom is Street Fighter V, which is set for launch on PlayStation 4 and Steam on February 16.

The PlayStation 4 and PC exclusive will receive a free, expanded story mode in June. This will have over an hour of "cinematic content" and fill in the storyline between Street Fighter IV and the new game.

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Star Citizen Creator Answers 10 More Fan Questions

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2016-02-06 18:33

Star Citizen's next "10 for the Chairman" video is up. In this latest installment, creator Chris Roberts answers an array of wildly different questions about a handful of topics, including inspirations for the game PC space game, elements of the "multi-crew experience," netcode goals, and a lot more.

In discussing his inspirations for Star Citizen, Roberts brought up World of Warcraft. Roberts said he was never really able to get into WoW because he said the world didn't feel real or alive enough. He's hoping Star Citizen can feel more persistent and alive. In Roberts' estimation, Blizzard maybe doesn't give people enough to do between expansion packs to keep them interested; this could be why subscriber numbers tend to rise with the release of new expansions and fall not long after, he said.

For Star Citizen, Roberts is hoping to build a universe that continually feels fresh, new, and alive.

"We can never keep up building new scripted content to keep up with the demand of how quickly people can play through the content," Roberts said, as reported by Imperial News Network. "I think that's the lesson you'll see if you look at World of Warcraft. The new expansion comes out everyone re-ups and now they’re back up to ten million people playing it, they blast through all the content, and bam it's back down to seven million or six million people playing it."

"So one of the big goals with Star Citizen was to try, and we're still obviously working pretty hard on this ‘cause we're not there yet, but to build a world that's more emergent, more dynamic, and feels like it's got persistent places, locations, characters and you feel like you could be part of the fabric of it. And your actions potentially could have some impact on how the world, or the story universe unfolds during your playtime."

Roberts said Eve Online is a good example of a game that allows for a great deal of emergent, player-driven behavior. He also cited Demon's Souls. Yes, Demon's Souls.

"In terms of play style, I definitely would like you to earn the rewards you want in the game. So if you think of Demo's Souls, that's a pretty unforgiving game but when you actually achieve something you really feel like you achieved something because it was hard to get there and you risked a lot when you got there," Roberts said.

"I think that's another longer term goal--that I want to make sure is for Star Citizen, you don't feel like everything's just given to you and everything's easy," he added. "You feel like if you're going out to earn some money on a dangerous mission you can earn some really good money but also you're really risking a lot when you do that. I think that combination of that really works well with this reactive sandbox design."

Roberts also mentioned DayZ as a game with a good "risk/reward" system built in.

"To some extent DayZ had a bit of that where you died, you died; you lost everything," he said. "It's the emergent player behavior that came from that was fairly interesting. I'm not sure we'll necessarily we're going to be anywhere close to as harsh as that, but it definitely highlighted the fact that, the advantages you can get from perma-death in terms of people feeling invested in what they worked for."

Additionally, Roberts answered a question about Star Citizen's netcode. He said, "Our plan is to make the netcode in Star Citizen as good as we possibly can and be as good as anyone else's out there."

Also during the Q&A session, Roberts said one of the elements he thinks will help Star Citizen stand out is its "multi-crew experience."

"One of the hallmarks is meant to be the multi-crew experience where you are on a ship; you and your friends flying it; people are running into the turrets; jumping into a snub nose fighter; running around putting out fires; replacing blown fuses, all working together as a team to operate efficiently in combat," he said. "And I think that. again, will be one of the things that will set Star Citizen apart because that will be done and simulated in a fidelity you don't normally see, and it should be really rewarding to work together as a team to beat off these attackers or take another ship out."

Along those lines, Roberts also talked about Star Citizen's ship repair system. He said some of the game's existing ships get damaged and destroyed "a little too quickly for what they really should be able to do." The development team is working on balancing that, but it's not ready just yet.

"We haven't finished out the damage stuff, we haven't implemented the repair stuff fully yet, so that also would have some impact, because as you're taking damage if you're going around, managing to sort of patch up and repair things, then you're sort of putting back your damage and keeping your ship active longer," he said, noting that players who work together as a crew will be able to keep their ship alive longer.

For lots more on this topic and many others, watch the full video (timestamps below) or check out the complete transcript on Imperial News Network.

  • 02:39 - Game Inspiration
  • 09:46 - Docking Ships
  • 11:14 - Repair and Items System Capability
  • 13:11 - The Space Sky
  • 13:57 - Netcode in Star Citizen
  • 18:46 - Manned Turrets
  • 21:53 - Your Fight Song
  • 23:00 - Arena Commander
  • 28:41 - Notifications
  • 33:20 - Character Customization
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12 Real Games Coming to Valve's SteamVR Platform

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2016-02-06 14:00

SteamVR Showcase

Though Valve's recent invite-only press event provided plenty of time to try out the latest version of HTC's Vive headset and motion controllers, the day mainly focused on 12 wildly diverse titles coming to Vive either at launch or shortly thereafter. Click ahead to check out the very first batch of VR games that early adopters will be playing in just a few short months!


Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives

Premise: By the year 2050, robots will have replaced all human workers. In order to relive the glory days of wage slavery and office drudgery, humans can visit a museum to experience a totally not at all ridiculous simulation of what it was like to job in the early 21st century.

VR Hook: Grab and manipulate objects while moving around a contained game space like an office cubicle or a kitchen work station.

Impressions: When I first saw Job Simulator back in December, I immediately fell in love with its goofy, satirical humor and uncanny ability to react realistically to random experimentation--stick something in a copier, for example, and you'll actually receive a duplicate item.

This time around, I decided to actually follow the game's instructions and quickly discovered that, when you're not wildly throwing objects around for giggles, Job Simulator plays almost like a puzzle game, with increasingly complex tasks that require timing and precision.

I only had a chance to cook up some items in a virtual kitchen dense with interactive objects, but the start screen clearly offered at least six different scenarios. Obviously I'm still curious to see what'll happen if I, say, stick a fire extinguisher in a boiling pot; I'm now also curious how Job Simulator grows and evolves as your work your way through the game.


Budget Cuts

Premise: What would happen if you gave a spy a Portal gun? Budget Cuts. Budget Cuts would happen. Let the goofy corporate espionage commence!

VR Hook: Duck, dodge, and lean in the real world to avoid being detected by hostile robots in the game. Or just swing your arm to throw knives at them. That works too.

Impressions: Though Valve's Vive showcase featured everything from shooters to sports games, very few titles struck me as genuinely original (even if they were plenty enjoyable in action). The biggest exception was cute, clever puzzler Budget Cuts, which marries "escape the room" puzzles with tense, thrilling stealth mechanics.

You must not only, for example, interpret hints to deduce the location of a hidden key so you can open a safe and deactivate a security grid, you must do so without attracting the attention of the robots patrolling the halls of the corporate compound you've been sent to infiltrate. Fortunately, you have a few different tools at your disposal. Most importantly: a straight up Portal gun. You can use your motion controller to aim and fire a glowing orb, which then opens into, yes, a portal. You can then step through to your next location or simply peer into the portal without moving.

This functions as both a clever way to work around the limited mobility that comes with wired VR headsets and a helpful device for sneaking past traps. I quickly found myself warping through tiny grates and onto high ledges without much prompting from the game. I also discovered I could peek around corners and over railings by actually moving around in real life, which might be one of the best implementations of VR I've encountered in any game to date.

With clear hints of a deeper narrative and inventory system lurking just beneath the surface of my brief hands-on time, I'm eager to see just how deep Budget Cuts' creativity goes when the full version drops later this year.


Tilt Brush

Premise: Create and save original works of art that you paint in 3D space using a massive palette of options and effects.

VR Hook: Your motion controller becomes, naturally, a brush with which you can paint in not just colors but also textures, patterns, visuals effects, and more.

Impressions: Unlike the rest of this list, Tilt Brush isn't exactly a game, per se. Really it's closer to the world's greatest incarnation of MS Paint, or any other digital drawing program for that matter. The major difference here is the introduction of a Z-axis: rather than painting on a flat surface, you can paint in any direction, instantly introducing depth to your creations.

Hopefully that description makes sense objectively, but I'm not sure I can accurately communicate how breathtaking this can be in practice. That first moment of stepping just slightly to the side of something you've painted and realizing it's hanging there in space and that you can literally walk around it and view from any angle...that's special. It embodies everything that's exciting about VR but also epitomizes why VR is so difficult to talk about.

For now, just try to imagine wandering among human figures that, to your eyes, appear to be lifesized, frozen in place as though time has stopped. It's beautiful, and it's coming to Vive in the very near future.


Final Approach

Premise: Direct air traffic and put out fires (literally) in this management sim that mixes top-level strategy with real-time problem solving.

VR Hook: Get a bird's eye view of a busy world full of tiny objects you can touch, direct, and observe from any angle.

Impressions: I've seen plenty of VR games that sit you in a cockpit or allow you to look directly through your avatar's eyes, but I never encountered a "god game" until I tried Final Approach. And now that I've seen a virtual world from a top-down perspective, I'm surprised more games haven't tried this.

Though it's not as immediately intuitive as a first-person camera, being able to wander through a 3D space like a busy airport or a crowded city center in order to better examine all the tiny units buzzing around proved both useful and surprisingly natural. When I needed to land a series of planes circling a runway, I just took a step back, swiveled my head around to find each flying object, and then used my hand to grab and guide each aircraft to the ground. The process was simple, sure, but VR made it feel totally new and interesting.

Thankfully, Final Approach does grow more complex the longer you play, so it's not too reliant on the novelty of VR. By the end of my hands-on time, I was guiding a helicopter towards a sinking ship in order to save its crew while simultaneously directing fighter jets away from a swarm of aggressive, malfunctioning drones. At one point, I actually had to zoom all the way down to the deck of an aircraft carrier to shoot the drones down myself.

This hectic juggling act demanding serious split-second decision making that will hopefully translate to a truly engrossing experience once Final Approach finally lands later this year.


Arizona Sunshine

Premise: What better way to survive the zombie apocalypse than by packing an arsenal and retreating into the Arizona desert?

VR Hook: Your motion controllers become firearms, allowing for natural aiming as well as gesture-based reloading and weapon swapping.

Impressions: VR is perfectly suited for first-person shooters. It completely removes the abstraction of mapping the camera to a joystick, instead allowing you to look around by simply turning your head and aim by raising your arm. The team behind Arizona Sunshine recognized and embraced this, creating a straight-forward shooter that plays like a classic light gun arcade game such as Time Crisis or Virtua Cop.

As with those games, you don't actually move your character; rather, you shoot stationary targets that warp you to the next location when you're ready. You do, however, shoot waves of enemies as they shamble towards you, stopping only to grab ammo clips off of nearby crates.

The setup may not be original, but it is surprisingly satisfying: Pulling off headshots by actually raising a pistol and looking the sight was, of course, intrinsically satisfying, and using my hands independently to simultaneously gun down two zombies approaching from separate angles felt indescribably cool. I mean, I was actually dual-wielding for real thanks to VR. I also enjoyed reloading by basically slamming the controller into my chest, which added natural physicality to a typically mundane action.

I only hope that Arizona Sunshine embraces horror to some extent. The majority of my hands-on time took place in broad daylight. Only at the very end did I enter a creepy, darkened mine. I can't imagine anything more terrifying than physically turning around to discover a vicious zombie standing inches from my face, so with any luck, we'll find that in the final version of the game.


Audioshield

Premise: A magic behind-the-scenes algorithm automatically turns any song's beats into a series of red and blue orbs that rhythmically rain down on you like meteors--which is why you have two color-coded shields to protect yourself.

VR Hook: Objects flying at your head look much cooler in VR.

Impressions: Like its award-winning predecessor Audiosurf, Audioshield is, in the words of its creator, more of an "audio visualizer" than anything else. That said, it still functions much like a traditional rhythm game, presenting you with a series of scrolling notes that you must match in time with a licensed song. The difference here is, you must deflect those notes with a shield as they come screaming towards you.

The fact that each of your two shields is a different color turns every song into a sort of dance as you swing your arms across your body to catch notes that match the color of the shield in your opposite hand. Perhaps most satisfying, though, is the haptic feedback triggered every time a note hits your shields. Having a virtual object cause the controller in my hand to vibrate bridges the sensory gap between virtual reality and our reality in a surprisingly compelling way, and the fact that it was happening to the beat of a Beastie Boys song certainly didn't hurt my overall enjoyment.

According to the developer, Audioshield likely won't ship with any licensed tracks, but if Audiosurf is any indication, any music you add yourself should work just fine.


Elite: Dangerous

Premise: Man the cockpit of various space faring and terrestrial vessels in this massively online space combat, exploration, and trading sim that first launched back in 2014.

VR Hook: With a VR headset strapped on, glancing down at your cockpit's control panel becomes second nature, as does tracking your target during a dogfight. Plus, turning your eyes and head into the camera frees up your hands for more immersive throttle and shooting controls.

Impressions: Elite: Dangerous was probably the most sophisticated game I saw during Valve's Vive event, but there's a reason: the game's been growing and evolving ever since its original PC release back in December 2014. Still, its flight-focused gameplay has always been well-suited for VR, so stepping into the cockpit of an interstellar fighter jet felt like I was finally playing the game the way its designers intended.

I only had time to take down one enemy ship, but the process felt just as immersive and intuitive as expected since both my brain and my body were sat in a chair clutching a flightstick and whipping around wildly to locate my opponent. I also had a brief moment to drive a rover around a crater-pocked, low gravity planet, which led to some pretty spectacular barrel rolls and the only moment of motion sickness I experienced all day. Turns out spinning out of control as your field of view careens back and forth between empty space and a barren landscape is slightly disorienting.

My short time with the game wasn't enough for me to grasp its entire scope, but I'm definitely interested to see how it ultimately stacks up against its slightly more combat-oriented competitor Eve: Valkyrie.


The Gallery: Call of the Starseed

Premise: After your estranged sister sends you a cryptic message, you chase her to a mysterious island packed with sights to see and puzzles to solve.

VR Hook: Exploration is way more interesting when you can physically walk around within a space and use real gestures like crouching and clasping to pick up any objects you discover. You can even reach over your shoulder to grab your in-game backpack.

Impressions: Much like The Gallery's island (and title), the game itself remains a bit of a mystery. Though the developers on hand described the game as something like Myst meets The Goonies, my brief hands-on time only introduced the basic movement mechanic. Basically, aiming your motion controller and pulling the trigger allows you to instantly teleport forward, giving you a new square of space to walk around in. I used this to wander through a shipwreck and throw some fireworks into a seemingly abandoned beachside bonfire. (For the record, the fireworks did explode.)

If the developer make good on their current plans, this episodic series should offer a mix of exploration and puzzle solving, in addition to a meaty narrative--something that seems surprisingly rare among this early crop of VR games.


Fantastic Contraption

Premise: Send a fragile balloon into a goal by constructing a contraption capable of navigating whatever obstacles stand in its way in this spiritual evolution of a 2008 Flash game of the same name.

VR Hook: Select, reshape, and interlock objects using simple, organic hand gestures.

Impressions: Don't let the aggressively cutesy exterior fool you--Fantastic Contraption is actually an ingenious building game in the vain of titles like SimplePlanes and Poly Bridge. Say you need to get your balloon from one floating platform to another, or maybe into a goal hanging high above your head--what can you build from a relatively simple collection of parts and mechanisms that will carry your balloon safely to its destination?

Because it's entirely physics-based, solutions are open-ended, leaving you to build a device, try it out, fail, adjust your design, and try again. This loop proves plenty rewarding and addicting on its own, but the VR incarnation of Fantastic Contraption shines because it allows you to manipulate objects in ways that feel natural but would otherwise be impossible. Need to make a long connecting piece longer? Place both hands on the middle, stretch outwards, and boom, the connector extends as your hands move apart. If only building was this easy in real life.

And if you ever get stuck, just flip over to the game's social tools, which allow you to share solutions and see how others solved the same problem by loading their contraptions into your game. Or just pet the big green cat that functions as an in-world menu system (no seriously, you can pet the cat).


Cloudlands: VR Minigolf

Premise: It's minigolf!

VR Hook: MINIGOLF!

Impressions: Hey, do you like minigolf? Cool, because Cloudlands: VR Minigolf delivers an impressively realistic, physics-based minigolf sim replete with 18 hyper-elaborate holes that would be all but impossible to recreate in real life. Needless to say, the act of swinging a motion controller as a putter--especially when that putter automatically senses the distance of your hand from the floor and adjusts length accordingly--is utterly intuitive, which makes Cloudlands the game with the lowest barrier to entry of anything I saw at Valve's Vive showcase. I did get slightly tangled up in the headset chords while shuffling around to set up my putts, but because the pace of the game is relatively slow, this never became a serious issue.


Hover Junkers

Premise: A post-apocalyptic online shooter that sees players piloting junked-out hovercrafts with one hand while firing and reloading with the other.

VR Hook: First-person aiming and shooting translate perfectly to VR, and introducing hovercrafts elegantly resolves VR's tricky traversal problem.

Impressions: Though this early crop of VR games contains more shooters than any other genre, Hover Junkers delivers a few ideas that distinguish it from the rest of the pack. Most importantly, it's one of the only multiplayer-focused games coming to any VR platform, offering online matches for up to eight players in a variety of game modes. That fact alone makes it worth following.

However, Hover Junkers also contains several novel gameplay ideas. For example, situating players on hovercrafts--which essentially amount to mobile platforms--allows for in-game mobility without eliminating movement in the real world. You can maneuver all around the game world using a motion controller for steering and throttle, but at any time, you can step away from you craft's controls and crouch--both in the real world and in the game--behind the destructible barriers around the edges of your craft.

It's a truly novel solution to a problem every VR developer faces, one that rewards your natural instinct to duck and move when fired upon. In some ways, it even encourages cooperative play. Why not have one player drive and shoot while another lays down covering fire and repairs the craft's ramshackle barriers?

While the game's controls and the general punchiness of the shooting need some polish, the game's biggest issue is just how damn eerie it is seeing life-sized human forms in VR. Until I played Hover Junkers, it never occurred to me how rare it is to see actual humans in VR games. Now I think I know why.


Space Pirate Trainer

Premise: Your broken down space ship needs defending, so stand directly in front of it and use your laser pistols and shield to fend off wave after wave of angry flying robots.

VR Hook: First-person shooters continue to work well in VR.

Impressions: Space Pirate Trainer is arguably the most simplistic game I played during Valve's event, but it's simplicity may have been a deliberate design decision rather than a sign of low ambitions. You aim, you shoot, you dodge, and that's really all there is to it, but the ever-escalating difficulty recalls the addicting challenge of classic arcade games, which were frequently just as simple. And the more committed you become to chasing a high score, the more likely you are to jump around to avoid incoming fire and mess with the fire rate of your pistols to achieve the perfect balance of precision aiming and wild, desperate laser spamming. I hope to see more area and enemy variety in the final product, but for now, I'll remember my Matrix-esque bullet dodges fondly.


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Secret Team Ninjutsus Compilation - Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2016-02-06 11:00
Watch a bunch of team linked secret techniques featuring the Uchihas, Akatsuki, the Hyugas, Team 7, The Hokages, and even some Sexy No Jutsu.
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These Classic EA PC Games on Sale Now

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2016-02-06 08:33

GOG.com has rolled out a new promotion that discounts a range of classic EA games like Jade Empire and titles in the Populous, Ultima, and Wing Commander franchises, among others.

Individual games are marked down as much as 60 percent, while you can save more on a percentage basis (85 percent) if you buy the EA Completion Pack. This comes with all 42 discounted games for $41.43.

Some of discounted games include Jade Empire Special Edition ($2.24), Dungeon Keeper Gold ($0.89), SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition ($3), and Medal of Honor Allied Assault Warchest ($1.49). Additionally, lots of Wing Commander, Populous, and Ultima games are marked down to 89 cents as part of the promotion.

This promotion runs through Tuesday, February 9, ending at 4:59 AM GMT that day. You can visit GOG's landing page for the deal here to see all of discounted games.

As with all other games (and movies) on GOG, these do not come with any form of DRM.

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Obama Looking at Gaming for New Computer Science Education Initiative, White House Says

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2016-02-06 07:58

One element of President Obama's recently announced $4 billion plan to help children learn computer science may involve gaming, according to White House officials. The three-year plan, which Obama is calling "Computer Science for All," will give states money to train teachers and update classrooms.

As GameSpot sister site CNET reports, this initiative, aimed especially at minorities and girls, is part of the 2017 budget and would need to be approved by the Republican-held Congress.

"Certainly video games are an entry point for some young people," White House deputy director Tom Kalil told Polygon. "The reason why some kids might get interested in computer science is because they like to play them, but they also want to make them.

"So you see companies like Zynga or Microsoft using games as a way to get people interested in computer science, graphics, and programming."

According to the New York Times, Microsoft president Brad Smith praised Computer Science for All and said the Xbox company is launching a 50-state campaign to expand its existing efforts in computer science education.

Just recently, Microsoft announced big plans for an education-specific version of Minecraft, the sandbox game franchise that it acquired in 2014.

US Department of Education executive director for STEM Russel Shilling tells Polygon that believes games can be leveraged by the government. He said he knows this to be true based on the America's Army franchise, an army recruitment tool that he worked on before being appointed to his new role in 2014.

"I've been a huge proponent of gaming for impact, ever since my work on America's Army," Shilling said. "After seeing what that game could do for engagement and what a strong tool it was. One of the things we did on that game, which got me into games for education, was this level for combat medics. We started hearing about people who had played through the level using those skills in real life."

"It made me start wondering, 'What if we designed this as an educational tool from the beginning?'"

In unveiling the new plan, Obama stressed that the workplace is changing.

"Today's auto mechanics aren't just sliding under cars to change the oil; they're working on machines that run on as many as 100 million lines of code," Obama said. "That's 100 times more than the Space Shuttle. Nurses are analyzing data and managing electronic health records. Machinists are writing computer programs."

Obama will talk more about his plan and the specifics of it on February 9. For now, you can read stories from CNET and Polygon to get more details on what we know so far.

In other news about Obama and video games, the commander-in-chief has a copy of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (though we don't know if he's played it), while his daughters enjoy Just Dance.

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Super Bowl 50 QB Cam Newton Talks Madden, Says He's Blown Away By Its "Ridiculous" Graphics

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2016-02-06 07:24

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton will try to win his first Super Bowl tomorrow night against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. As part of media obligations this week, he gave an interview to [a]list about one of his passions off the field: video games.

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Newton has talked a lot before about his love of video games, but says in the new interview that the time he spends playing games has no bearing at all on his real-world performance.

"It has nothing to do with real football, but it's just great to see what you do on actual Sundays and see it come to life in the video game," Newton said.

Asked about the version of Cam Newton in Madden NFL 16 and how closely it resembles him in real life, Newton said he's blown away by way the developers at EA Sports were able to do.

"Unreal," he said. "You know. I find myself in awe just looking at like, 'Oh my God that looks just like me.' And when I have family members come over and they see me playing with my character and they're like, 'Man, I thought that was real because that the graphics are just ridiculous now.'"

Newton also provided some advice for people playing Madden NFL 16 as the Panthers, saying he recommends handing the ball to...Cam Newton.

"I would have to say when the game is on the line put the ball in Ace Boogie's hands," he said, referencing the rap name Newton gave himself. "He seems to get me out of a lot of situations and get me over that losing hump and maybe win a lot of football games. So if it works for me, I'm pretty sure it will work for them too."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Newton also says he's probably better than all of his teammates at Madden.

"I don't wear No. 1 for nothing," he said. "It's kind of like a hit, but I will say I'm a pretty good Madden football player. I'm a Madden connoisseur for all type of years dating back, and it's great to have my thumbs be so talented."

You can read the full [a]list interview here. He also talks about his Madden rating, how his 2014 car crash affected his life, and why he wore those pants.

Madden's annual Super Bowl simulation predicts that the Panthers will beat the Broncos tomorrow in a close game, the win ultimately secured by, you guessed it, Cam Newton.

In other news, Madden NFL 16 is now free on Xbox One with EA Access and a Super Bowl Edition of the game is available for less than $20 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Super Bowl 50 takes place Sunday, February 7, starting at 3:30 PM PDT / 6:30 PM EST. The game airs on CBS, whose parent company, CBS Corp., also owns GameSpot.

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Weekly Recap: GTA 5 Hits 60 Million, New World War 2 Shooter Revealed, The Division Beta Easy to Hack

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2016-02-06 07:23

Recap!
Weekly Recap

Here's a roundup of the week's biggest stories and some you might have missed.

You can click "Next Image" to get started.


Movin' Up

Take-Two reported earnings this week, and included in the announcement was news that Grand Theft Auto V has now shipped an incredible 60 million copies. [Full story]


Battalion 1944

Old is new again with Battalion 1944, a new World War 2 video game for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC announced this week. The multiplayer game was successfully funded on Kickstarter in just a few days and is due to launch in May 2017. [Full story]


Easy to Hack

The Division's PC beta was apparently easy to hack. Players found they could make use of a number of exploits including altering statistics to grant players unlimited health and ammo, super-speed, critical hit chance, no recoil, and unlimited medical kits. Ubisoft is aware of the issues and has promised a "solution" for the game's full release in March. [Full story]


Patched Up

A new Fallout 4 patch arrived this week on PC. The update, 1.3, included lots of bug fixes and even introduced some new debris effects exclusively for the PC version. [Full story]


Bungie Wants Some Answers

Bungie this week apparently sent out a survey to lapsed Destiny players asking them why they stopped playing. Some of the response options for "Why haven't you been playing Destiny lately?" include things like "I don't have any one to play with," "I've run out of things to do," and "I don't like PvP," among a handful of others. [Full story]


Bowling Bling

Grand Theft Auto and Drake are together at last. Here's an excellent fan-made video that parodies Drake's "Hotline Bling" using Grand Theft Auto IV. Well done.


Fortnite's Next Character

In the lead-up to launch, Epic Games has announced another new character for Fortnite: the female constructor. You can see the character model and get more details on the latest patch here.


Bill

Did you know that Bill Gates, in the early days of Microsoft, used to memorize employees’ license plate numbers so he could monitor their work patterns? He totally did, he tells BBC in a new interview.


Mighty Trophies

Ahead of Mighty No. 9’s launch later this month, the game’s PS4 Trophies have emerged, courtesy of Exophase.


Amazing

The Witness is a darn challenging game, which makes this 25-minute speedrun tough to even comprehend. Check it out here.


Splat!

Is a new Splatoon Amiibo on the way? It sure looks like it, according to evidence dug up this week by IGN.


No Good

Martin Shkreli, the disgraced big pharma exec who raised the price of a life-saving drug and was later arrested, was also a part owner of an eSports team. He apparently owes his former players some money, according to this report from The Daily Dot.


Snowfall

The next expansion for Cities Skylines, Snowfall, will launch on February 18, Paradox Interactive has announced. Read more about it here.


Super Deal for the Super Bowl

It's Super Bowl week! As such, EA has released its annual Super Bowl edition of the latest Madden game. You can get the full game for less than $20 now on PS4 and Xbox One. Find links here.


Fallout 4 GDC Panel

There will be a Fallout 4 panel at the Game Developers Conference this year, event organizers have announced. During it, Bethesda's Todd Howard will talk about modular level design and more. You can see all the details on the panel here.


Merger?

Two of the biggest toy companies on the planet, Mattel and Hasbro, are reportedly in talks for a merger. It sounds like early days, but can you imagine? Transformers and Barbie under one roof. Get the full story here at Bloomberg.


Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Microsoft recently rolled out a series of improvements for Halo 5: Guardians matchmaking. You might have though it was already very good, but now it's apparently even better. Get all the details here.


6 Million

The Super Mario Maker community is keeping busy. Nintendo announced this week that players have so far uploaded more than 6 million courses. Impressive!


Nightmare Cake

To celebrate XCOM 2's release this week, 2K UK apparently commissioned some cake-making expert to build a cake that looks like one of the aliens in the strategy game. I am equal parts hungry, disturbed, and impressed. You can get a closer look at the cake here.


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Zelda: Twilight Princess HD - Original vs. HD Remaster

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-02-05 21:22
Check out how much easier on the eyes Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is compared to the original.
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How to Unlock XCOM 2's New Psi Operative Class

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-02-05 21:01
Take these steps to unleash soulfire, inspire, solace, and other mind bending powers.
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XCOM 2: Every Enemy and How to Defeat Them

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-02-05 19:09

Top Notch General

In our time playing XCOM 2, we've learned many of the skills and strategies required to take down its toughest enemies. To help in your efforts, we've compiled all the information and tactics necessary to defeat each and every one of them. Join us as we give you the intel needed to take down the alien menace!


Advent Troopers

Description: Advent Troopers are XCOM 2's run-of-the-mill grunts, but they're no pushovers. Get caught out of cover and these soldiers can easily gun you down. They're even more of a threat when in the presence of Advent Officers, who can buff troopers' stats and effectiveness in battle.

Primary Strategy: Shooting Troopers from cover is a good way to eliminate them. A well-placed frag grenade when they're near their comrades is also a good solution that can wipe out multiple units in a single action.


Advent Officer

Description: The Advent Officer is a stronger version of the standard Trooper, with increased health and the ability to command and amplify the performance of Advent Troopers. For example, it can direct nearby Troopers into Overwatch, limiting your squad's maneuverability. Additionally, it can command all Troopers to turn their attention towards a single soldier in your squad.

Primary Strategy: As a rule, you should eliminate Advent Officers as soon as possible, especially in the presence of Advent Troopers. Grouping your attacks on them can easily put these crimson-armored officers to rest.


Advent Turret

Description: The Advent Turret is a stationary mounted gun that can deal out damage comparable to Advent Troopers. While it doesn't sound like much, it's more of a threat thanks to its often-elevated position on maps. This gives it an accuracy bonus, which can potentially counteract any friendly soldiers on Overwatch, rendering their offensive coverage futile. Additionally, the Advent Turret has its own sight radius, making it particularly difficult for your squad to sneak around.

Primary Strategy: The best course of action after spotting an Advent Turret is hacking it with your Specialist's Gremlin drone. The sooner you can get it to work for you, the better. Otherwise, retreat out of its sight radius and assault it with whatever powerful weaponry you've got.


Advent Stun Lancer

Description: The Advent Stun Lancer is a melee-focused enemy class that can be a real threat to your soldiers in close-quarters. It's equipped with an electrified blade, which it can use to inflict a variety of status effects on your soldiers, such as stun or disorientation. If you're not careful, it can also render your soldiers unconscious, even killing them in the process. In addition, the Advent Stun Lancer is equipped with a Magnetic Rifle, though it rarely makes ranged attacks given the power of its blade.

Primary Strategy: Despite its power, the Advent Stun Lancer's greatest weakness is its kamikaze-like tendency to rush towards your squad regardless of the odds. While it may hit one of your own, your squad will have a chance to attack at point blank range on your very next turn. It's smart to hang back when dealing with Stun Lancers and to ready your soldiers with Overwatch as soon as one shows up.


Advent Shieldbearer

Description: The Advent Shieldbearer is a capable support unit that can provide defense boosts to nearby allies by hitting the ground with a powerful wave. Its heavy armor gives it high defense, making it a chore to take down in a single turn.

Primary Strategy: Eliminating a Shieldbearer should become your top priority the moment it spawns on the map. Given its ability to enhance the defense of its comrades, the Shieldbearer can easily make a firefight more difficult than it has to be. It's best to use high damage attacks to kill these defensive powerhouses.


Advent MEC

Description: The Advent MEC is a large robotic unit that assists its allies with artillery support. It carries a large variant of the standard issue Advent Trooper magnetic rifle and has a grenade launcher that can fire area-of-effect micro-missiles. It's also heavily armored, sporting a high amount of hit points as well as high damage reduction via armor points.

Primary Strategy: Spread your soldiers out to avoid the area-of-effect of the MEC's micro-missiles. Avoid elevated structures, as the attack can blow up the floor beneath your soldiers, causing them to fall to their death. Use the Grenadier soldier class to quickly shred the MEC's armor points and follow up with immediate gunfire from other soldiers in your squad. You can also use the Specialist class's drone to hack the MEC for a short amount of time. It's worth noting that this skill must be unlocked in the Specialist's skill tree. Be wary, though: failure to hack an MEC causes it to increase its accuracy and defense, or even summon reinforcements.


Advent Sectopod

Description: The Advent Sectopod is an unmanned bipedal robot with a range of different area-of-effect attacks and abilities. It can emit a lightning blast that surrounds an area, as well as fire a cannon that deals damage in a long line that can penetrate multiple targets. In addition, the Sectopod can enter High Stance mode, which increases its reach and range. It can also destroy cover and buildings by walking through them.

Primary Strategy: If you encounter a Sectopod, try to hack or stun it with the Specialist, then follow up with explosives to shred its armor. Like other mechanical enemies, failure to hack or stun the Sectopod will give it increased accuracy and defense. It may even call in reinforcements.


The Sectoid

Description: The Sectoid is a dangerous enemy that can quickly overpower your squad during early missions with its Mindspin ability, a roulette-wheel type attack that can inflict different status effects on your soldiers. It can inflict panic and disorientation, as well as re-animate a unit's dead body--good or bad--to attack your squad. If it takes control of a dead body or inflicts status effects on your allies, defeating the Sectoid will remove the effect instantly.

Primary Strategy: In early missions, you should eliminate the Sectoid as soon as possible with a round of attacks. When you have five to six soldier squads later in the game, it's better to ignore Sectoids and focus your attention on eliminating damage dealing enemies first. Sectoids typically prioritize Mindspin and status ailments, and use their wrist-mounted plasma pistol as a last resort.


The Chryssalid

Description: The Chryssalid is a swift four-legged alien that can overwhelm your squad with its poisonous attacks. If an ally dies of poison, their body transforms into a cocoon. You then have a limited number of turns to destroy the cocoon before it births three more Chryssalids. The Chryssalid also has the ability to burrow underground, giving it an effective means of setting up ambushes against your squad.

Primary Strategy: The Chryssalid's poison attacks and cocoon reproduction ability make it an enemy that you don't want near you at any time. Put your soldiers on Overwatch and attack from a distance.


The Berserker

Description: The Berserker is a large enemy that's more of an animalistic monster than a calculated squad member. As a result, it charges towards your soldiers with reckless abandon. The Berserker can become enraged after being hit, which increases its attack range and damage. However, when it's in this state, it will attack anything that gets too close, be it friend or foe.

Primary Strategy: The strategy is simple: hose the Berserker with everything you have. Putting your soldiers on Overwatch is also essential, as the Berserker needs to move to attack.


The Muton

Description: The Muton is just as brutish as its previous incarnations, but because its alien DNA has now been spliced with human genes, it has new abilities that give it an extra edge in battle. With skills like Suppression--which allows it to reduce the aim of its targets--and an area-of-effect Alien Grenade attack, the Muton can easily get the upper hand over your squad if you're not careful.

Primary Strategy: Avoid using melee attacks against the Muton. If you're not careful, it can use its bayonet for a deadly counterattack. It's best to attack the Muton from a distance.


The Viper

Description: The Viper is a lethal humanoid snake woman that's equipped with an assortment of different skills, such as spewing acid or using her tail to ensnare and strangle soldiers. She can also use her tongue to drag your soldiers out of cover.

Primary Strategy: It sounds counterintuitive, but try to have your squad stay as close to the Viper as possible. Once it binds someone, a nearby soldier can take a clean shot to free their ally.


The Archon

Description: The Archon is an altered form of XCOM: Enemy Unknown's Floaters, meaning it's capable of flight. When it's in the air, it can use a deadly ability called Blazing Pinions, an area-of-effect attack that unleashes explosive lasers that rain down onto the battlefield after a single turn delay. Additionally, the Archon can be injured into a "frenzied" state that allows it to use melee attacks.

Primary Strategy: Attack the Archon as early as possible. If one sets up Blazing Pinions, retreat immediately. Unless the Archon has low health and you have at least three high percentage shots, you don't want to take too many risks when this devastating attack is imminent.


The Andromedon

Description: The Andromedon is an alien encased in a heavily armored battlesuit that makes it capable of tearing down walls and delivering powerful melee attacks. It can also spew acidic liquid that pools up on the map upon impact, causing further damage to soldiers caught in it. If the alien in the armor is killed, the armor can act autonomously, charging at nearby foes.

Primary Strategy: Try to group your attacks to kill the Andromedon in one turn, if possible. Otherwise, flank it, put your soldiers in Overwatch, and make sure your squad has high percentage shots.


The Gatekeeper

Description: The Gatekeeper is a floating psionic entity with strong offensive and defensive capabilities. In its closed state, it's highly resistant to damage; when it opens up, it can shoot a high-powered Fire Beam attack. To make matters worse, the Gatekeeper can also reanimate multiple dead bodies--good or bad--in a single turn.

Primary Strategy: Given the Gatekeeper’s powerful abilities, it's important to eliminate it sooner than later. Try to flank it and group high percentage shots to kill it in a single turn. Overwatch is also essential, as letting a Gatekeeper get too close might allow it to use Consumption, an ability that saps life from nearby units.


The Faceless

Description: The Faceless is an alien capable of disguising itself as a human civilian. But in its true form, it becomes a towering monstrosity that has significant attack range due to its long arms and claws. Its special ability is liable to imbue every civilian interaction with an extra dose of paranoia.

Primary Strategy: Overwatch is essential against the Faceless' roster of melee-focused attacks. And given its healing abilities between turns, you'll want to group your squad's attacks. But be sure not to position your squad members too close to each other, as the Faceless can swipe multiple targets in a single attack.


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Watch Some Gigantic Gameplay (and Maybe Win a Beta Code)

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-02-05 19:07

The online genre-mashup Gigantic lifted the veil on its NDA today so we jumped in with the devs to stream some gameplay (which you can watch below).

But more importantly, we're giving away codes to get into the multiplatform closed beta. Instructions to follow ASAP. Stay tuned!

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GS News Top 5 - New Mirror’s Edge Trailer Lands; Bungie Asks: Why You Aren’t Playing Destiny?

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-02-05 19:00
A new World War II shooter is on the horizon, and an eight-year old boy writes a letter apologising to Nintendo for breaking his 3DS.
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PS4 and Vita Getting Game Boy Color-Inspired Ninja Game

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-02-05 17:59

The Game Boy Color will mostly likely never see another new game again, but that doesn't mean the handheld's spirit is dead. That's evident in PS4 and Vita game Ninja Senki DX, a platformer that wears its inspiration on its sleeve.

Ninja Senki DX is an updated version of the original PC game, which is a free download on its website. It forces you to make split-second platforming decisions and attack enemies with shurikens.

The updated version is developed by Tribute Games, a studio known for its use of retro styles in games like Mercenary Kings, Wizorb, and the original Ninja Senki.

Tribute Games president Jonathan Lavigne announced on the PlayStation Blog that DX will include a remixed soundtrack, a new challenge mode, secret game modes, Trophies, new menus, and some redrawn enemy art. Lavigne also revealed the inclusion of ninja demon Musashi as a playable character.

Ninja Senki DX releases for PlayStation 4 and Vita on February 23 for $4.99. It's a cross-buy title, so buying it on PS4 gets you the Vita version and vice-versa.

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13 Things You Should Know About Deadpool

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-02-05 17:01
Resident comic book expert Tony Guerrero brings you 13 fun facts about Deadpool that you should know before you see the movie.
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The Only 25 Pokémon That Matter

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-02-05 14:21

Meowth

First up: Prepare for trouble!

Meowth taught us all that the best way to beat any problem is to throw money at it. Literally.

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)


Gengar

Ghost-type Pokémon Gengar spends the bulk of his time hiding in shadows, terrifying its victims, and being a absolute troll in general. <3

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)


Lugia

This sea-dwelling legendary Pokémon was the game box mascot of Generation II and Pokémon SoulSilver.

Lugia is, of course, incredibly rare in the Pokémon universe. But given how destructive its attacks can be, that's probably for the best.

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)


Jigglypuff

Jigglypuff may look cute, but don't be mislead: This pink terror will scribble mean and nasty stuff on your face after it sings you to sleep. Or just launch you clear across a Super Smash Bros. stage.

Savage.

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)


Psyduck

The bumbling-yet-loveable Psyduck is frequently used as comic relief in the Pokémon anime, and for good reason. After all, what other Pokémon can be defeated by feeding it an aspirin?

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)


Greninja

Frog/ninja hybrid Greninja is, hands down, the baddest Pokémon to come out of Generation VI.

He's brutal in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, too, if you can keep from accelerating him right off the edge of the stage.

(Image credit: Nintendo)


Blastoise

Yo, Squirtle, dude -- we love you. But we love you even more once you evolve into Blastoise and have those rad water cannon blasters coming out of your shell.

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)


Alakazam

Some Pokemon are so badass that they can beat you down with a pair of spoons and a nasty thought -- just like Alakazam.

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)


Goldeen

Goldeen: Because running jokes matter, too.

Flop, brave Pokemon, flop!

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)


Dragonite

Dragonite is absolutely adorable. But don't let the cute face fool you -- Dragonite has an extremely high attack stat and a deep inventory of brutal moves.

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)


Zekrom

Zekrom, a Pokémon from the Black and White era, is a real (electro) shocker.


Scizor

Best Bug type ever.


Zapdos

The highest-ranking of Pokémon Red and Blue's original trio of legendary birds, Zapdos is Woody Woodpecker mixed with Big Bird ... and some serious static electricity.


Bulbasaur

One of the best starter pocket monsters. Dig the leaf.

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)


Meganium

Who doesn't like a dinosaur wearing a flower? Oh, you're one of those Water types? Move along then.


Pidgeot

The original Pokémon bird.


Arcanine

A fire-breathing dog that looks like a tiger, apparently. One of Pokémon's first Fire Stone evolution types.


Snorlax

This rotund form tends to snooze through battles, but if he DOES wake up, beware of high-powered attacks. The closest the series gets to a mash-up with Studio Ghibli's Totoro!

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)


Diancie

A mythical rock/fairy type that premiered in last year's Pokemon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction.


Rapidash
A horse with a fire mane that evolves into a unicorn. Because, of course.


Celebi
One of the rarest of them all, Nintendo let players download this Psychic/Grass type for free back in 2013.


Charizard
Equipped with a fire tail that comes in handy as a super smasher, if not a marshmallow toaster.


Lucario
A fan favorite who made his debut in the fourth generation of the series. He has also been a staple of Super Smash Bros. since Brawl.


Mewtwo

A clone of Mew, this cutie became one of the most powerful in the first wave of the series. Look for an appearance in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)


Pikachu

The most recognized Pokémon in the world. How could we not choose you, Pikachu!


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Devilian Review

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-02-05 13:09

Like a pair of shoes you might replace every few years, Devilian feels safe and familiar. An action-oriented free-to-play MMO with an isometric view, Trion Worlds' latest free-to-play title could be compared to Diablo or Torchlight, but it also bears the trappings of many F2P MMOs. From fetch quests to cash shops to PVP battlegrounds--not to mention cosmetic gear, mounts and pets--Devilian's safe bets often outnumber its innovations, yet that doesn't mean there's nothing there worth spending time on; it just depends on how you spend it.

When you're on the main path, Devilian is an easy game; and that's OK. You gain satisfaction from tinkering with skills and equipment, and from the seemingly never-ending stream of rewards that the game throws at you. There's room to seek out a challenge, of course. Each of the game's optional dungeons have three difficulty modes, while the special Archdevil dungeons are particularly difficult as a rule. PVP battlegrounds and the Abyssal Tower can get pretty rough as well. Devilian is a relatively satisfying experience because of how flexible it is. When you want to dive deep, there's always something to do, and when you want to coast and watch your fantastical warrior transform into a devil and mow down enemies, you can jump in and do so with ease.

That guy? He probably just wants to chat.

Combat is definitely the highlight, due in large part to the way Devilian handles skill management. Mana and stamina aren't limited by potions and slow-paced regeneration. Instead, some skills generate the relevant resource and others expend it. Once you get the rotation down, alternating between exhausting and resupplying mana, you can unleash your flashiest skills non-stop--which feels great.

Things only get flashier when you activate Devilian mode, an alternate form for your character with distinct skills and equipment that allow you to deal amplified damage. Kiting a few dozen enemies along, rounding them up in a tidy clump, and blasting them to pieces while they rag doll across the screen is a very simple and honest kind of fun. Devilian encourages this behavior by giving you brief buffs for killing large numbers of enemies at once and by occasionally summoning an elite version of a foe who drops a pile of loot once defeated. It's not complicated and it's not new, but it works.

In addition to standard equipment, you can also equip talismans, cards that give useful stat bonuses, which you can increase by pairing them with another talisman in a matching set. Talismans drop from blind boxes that can be looted, purchased, or crafted from a material that comes when you deconstruct unneeded gear. This is why even when I found a pair of boots that looked exactly the same as my character's current set, I couldn’t help but think gleefully about how close I was to crafting my next talisman box once I broke them down. These card-feeding mechanics scratched an itch I'd never even considered before.

Even routine combat can be flashy and fun.

While equipment stats can vary wildly, visual variety is woefully limited, with lots of similar-looking gear. More importantly, gender-locked classes exhausted me to my core. It doesn't bother me as much in games that offer several up-close and ranged classes split between the genders, but Devilian doesn't offer that. Men are melee classes and women are ranged, full stop.

Another thing to be aware of is that Devilian falls into the same aesthetic school as TERA Online. There will be butts and boobs in your face, all of them gilded with gold and possessed of some pretty ridiculous physics. It's hard not to know what you're getting into when the server select screen features a heaving chest, and the tutorial boss battle is preceded by a a bound woman moaning and waving her barely-covered breasts at the camera. I'm not saying any of this is inherently bad–although that last one is pretty bad–but it's worth being aware of.

I couldn’t help but think gleefully about how close I was to crafting my next talisman box once I broke them down. These card-feeding mechanics scratched an itch I'd never even considered before.

The mere presence of titillating material in a game isn't enough to make me want to condemn it on principal. The point is that in some cases (again, like TERA Online) the designs themselves are interesting enough that it can almost seem earned, like they made that aesthetic choice and put in some serious work to really sell it. But Devilian doesn't feel like that. Its designs aren't special, and in the end all the half-covered boobs seem like they're there because it's expected of this type of game.

I spent the majority of my time playing on a character with the benefit of Patron status, which provides starter items and chests that non-Patron characters don't have the same degree of access to. At the same time, when I played my non-Patron character I didn't feel deprived. Special items can be purchased with actual money, of course, but they can also be acquired by trading in points accumulated for logging in or completing daily challenges. There's also a prize wheel at the end of every dungeon, gifts you can receive from people on your friends list, gifts you receive after receiving enough gifts from people on your friends list, thereby raising their “affinity” with you...It goes on and on like this, regardless of whether or not you give Trion Worlds a cent.

Everyone loves a prize wheel!

Devilian can just as easily fit into a relaxing evening as it can an afternoon of intense gaming; whether you want to bask in the rays of flashy combat and loot, or bear up against daunting challenges, is up to you. As long as you know what you're in for, Devilian's an enjoyable way to pass the time, and a well-balanced F2P game that never feels like it's begging you for money.

Disclosure: Former GameSpot senior editor, Kevin VanOrd, worked with Trion worlds during the development of Devilian.

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