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Solar Ash Launch Trailer Features Fast-Paced Traversal, Big Bosses, Beautiful Visuals, And More

Solar Ash is due out tomorrow, December 2, on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC, and what better way to build the hype than with a new launch trailer. 

Heart Machine just released the launch trailer for Solar Ash today and if you’ve been keeping up with this game since its announcement back in 2020, then you already know this trailer features beautiful art and sound, and of course, extremely memorable locales. These locations not only feature stunning imagery in art but massive colossus-like creatures that fill the space and provide on-the-go platforms for Solar Ash’s main protagonist, Rei. 

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As you can see in the trailer above, a spooky narrator warns that “you can’t save anyone, even yourself,” in an ominous voice that's present throughout. 

If you’re unfamiliar with Solar Ash, it’s the latest game from Heart Machine, the developer behind Hyper Light Drifter. It’s being published by Annapurna Interactive, which often means you’re in for a treat of a game. In it, you control Rei, a spacefaring spelunker who explores alien planets for resources, artifacts, and more while traversing environments through rollerskating-like mechanics. Rei’s world then becomes threatened by a massive black hole known as the Ultra Void (which you can see in the trailer) which she must make her way through it in order to save all that she knows. 

Solar Ash was originally due out October 26, but it was delayed to December 2 to give Heart Machine more time to polish the game and squash bugs. While waiting for tomorrow, check out Game Informer’s interview with some of the Solar Ash developers and then watch this trailer first shown during E3 2021


Are you picking up Solar Ash tomorrow? Let us know in the comments below!

December PlayStation Plus Lineup Includes Godfall, Mortal Shell, and Lego DC Super-Villains

PlayStation has announced the December lineup for PlayStation Plus, and as usual, it includes a PlayStation 5 game and two PlayStation 4 games. 

The three titles up for grabs this month are Godfall: Challenger Edition, which is available as both a PS5 and PS4 game, and Lego DC Super-Villains and Mortal Shell, both of which are PS4 games. However, both Lego DC Super-Villains and Mortal Shell will be playable on PS5 thanks to backward compatibility. 

Last month, the PlayStation Plus lineup consisted of six games: Knockout City, Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning, First Class Trouble, The Persistence, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, and Until You Fall. The latter three are PSVR titles, and they’re still available alongside this month’s new PlayStation Plus lineup, and they’ll remain available for players to add to their libraries until January 3. 

Getting back to this month’s lineup, though, Godfall: Challenger Edition focuses on three unique modes, according to PlayStation: Lightbringer, Dreamstones, and the Ascended Tower of Trials. All three modes are considered endgame content, but players will be “immediately equipped with a spread of deadly weapons and skill points, letting you team up with up to two other players in co-op.”

The Challenger Edition does not include the base game, nor does it include the newer Fire & Darkness campaign, but players can upgrade at any time to the Deluxe Edition to gain access to them. For more about Godfall, check out our thoughts on it in Game Informer’s Godfall review

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Lego DC Super-Villains is a unique Lego game set in the DC universe in that while it features the heroes you’ve come to know and love in other Lego DC games, this one’s centered on DC super-villains, as its name would suggest. If you’ve played a Lego DC game before, you know what you’re in for, except you can expect to hear the Joker laugh a lot more. Read our thoughts on it in Game Informer’s Lego DC Super-Villains review

The final free game in the December PlayStation Plus lineup is Mortal Shell, a game heavily inspired by From Software’s Dark Souls series. 

“Mortal Shell is a ruthless and deep single-player action-RPG that tests your sanity and resilience in a shattered world,” PlayStation’s blog post reads. “As the remains of humanity wither and rot, zealous foes fester in the ruins. They spare no mercy, with survival demanding superior awareness, precision, and instincts. Track down hidden sanctums of devout followers and discover your true purpose.” 

Check out our Game Informer Mortal Shell hub for more information about the game. 

All three of these games will go live for PlayStation Plus subscribers to add to their libraries next Tuesday, December 7, and everyone will have until Monday, January 3, to grab them. While waiting for December 7, be sure to add November’s PlayStation Plus games to your library before these new ones drop. 


Are you excited about this month’s lineup? Let us know in the comments below!

Aliens: Fireteam Elite, Stardew Valley, Halo Infinite, And More Join Xbox Game Pass This Month

Happy Holidays, Xbox fans. Once again, a bevy of prominent titles are joining the Game Pass catalog. We’ve got some classic, recent-popular, and day-one titles coming this month. So, get ready for your very own Xbox-themed winter wonderland and check out what’s going to be on offer and what’ll be leaving below:

Games Joining Game Pass (December 2-14)

  • Aliens: Fireteam Elite (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 14
  • Stardew Valley (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 2
  • Halo Infinite (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 8
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2 (Console and PC) – December 2
  • Among Us (Console) – December 14
  • Archvale (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 2
  • Lawn Mowing Simulator (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 2
  • Rubber Bandits (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 2
  • Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 2
  • Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 7
  • One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 9
  • ANVIL (Console and PC) – December 2

DLC

  • Sea of Thieves: Season Five – December 2
  • Minecraft Caves & Cliffs Update: Part II – Available Now
  • Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition Mexican Civilization DLC – Available Now

Games Leaving Game Pass (December 15)

  • The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan (Console and PC)
  • Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (Cloud, Console, and PC)
  • Guacamelee! 2 (Cloud, Console, and PC)
  • Beholder (Cloud and Console)
  • Wilmot’s Warehouse (Cloud, Console, and PC)
  • Unto The End (Cloud, Console, and PC)

For more info, head to the official Xbox post here


Which new Game Pass games stick out to you the most? Of course, I’m excited for Halo Infinite, but I might hop into Final Fantasy XIII-2 for old time’s sake.

New US Congress Bill Could Ban Bots Used To Purchase Consoles

A new bill introduced to Congress could automatically ban bots often used by resellers to buy consoles such as the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. 

This news comes by way of Video Games Chronicle, which reports that the bill, dubbed the "Stopping Grinch Bots Act," was introduced by Representative Paul Tonko, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Senator Majority Leader Charles Schumer, and Senator Ben Ray Luján. In a statement about the recently-introduced bill, Tonko said that "Grinch bots" are forcing Americans to pay exorbitant prices for gifts this holiday season. 

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Only second to sneakers, a market that's been heavily influenced by bots for years, consoles are likely what bots are targeting most this season. With the release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles still fresh, it's been more challenging than ever to nab one of these new-gen consoles at MSRP. That's because the second these consoles go live, would-be buyers must beat out bots that automatically place the consoles in someone's cart and check out. 

It's not easy beating bots, and while some customers have found success, the lengths people must go to secure a console at MSRP can be ridiculous. Bots are the main problem behind the struggle, and if this new bill is passed, the use of bots on online retail sites would be banned. 

"At a time when families should be able to spend time with their loved ones, digital 'Grinch bots' are forcing Americans to scour online sites in the hopes of finding an affordable gift or paying exorbitant prices for a single toy," Tonko said. "These bots don't just squeeze consumers, they pose a problem for small businesses, local retailers, and other entrepreneurs trying to ensure they have the best items in stock for the customers." 

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"Our Grinch Bots Act works to level the playing field and prevent scalpers from sucking hardworking parents dry this holiday season. I urge my colleagues to join me in passing this legislation immediately to stop these Grinch bots from stealing the holidays."

Schumer said the average holiday shopper can't compete with the speed of bots, something anyone who's tried to buy a new-gen console as of late is likely aware of, and that this bill would thwart these "Grinch bots" from stealing the holidays.  

Sadly, considering the time it can sometimes take to pass a bill in Congress, especially during the global COVID-19 pandemic, there's a good chance this bill won't be passed before the holiday shopping season is over. However, it's still a welcome bill despite that, as it seems that buying a new-gen console at MSRP will continue to remain a challenge in the new year.  

It doesn't help that the actual stock of new-gen consoles remains low due to an ongoing chip shortage as well. Analysts expect this shortage to continue into 2022, too. 

[Source: Video Games Chronicle]


Have you been battling bots this holiday season? Do you welcome new legislation like this? Let us know in the comments below!

Halo Infinite: Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Subscribers To Get Monthly Multiplayer Bonuses

Halo Infinite’s multiplayer has been out for a couple of weeks now, and besides some issues with battle pass progression, it’s been widely received as a great comeback for the series. Starting next week, it’s going to get even better for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. 

That’s because Microsoft has announced that Ultimate members will get monthly multiplayer bonuses. The first bundle will go live on December 8. 

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“It’s an awesome time for Perks because we’re excited to reveal that Ultimate members will be locked in to get monthly Halo Infinite multiplayer bonuses, starting with your first bundle on December 8,” an Xbox Wire blog post announcing this month’s upcoming Game Pass additions reads. “Don’t forget to claim this and more in the Perks gallery on your Xbox console, Xbox App on Windows PC, and Xbox Game Pass mobile app.” 

This month’s bonus is the “Pass Tense” MA40 AR Bundle, and it comes with an exclusive “Pass Tense” MA40 Assault Rifle coating, as the bundle’s name would suggest, along with four 2XP Boosts and four Challenge Swaps. You can check out the bundle above, which includes a look at the new AR coating. 

While waiting for this bundle to go live next week, check out this post detailing everything available in the Halo Infinite multiplayer shop this week. Then read about how 343 Industries has updated multiplayer progression to give players increased XP in the first six matches of a given day. This new bundle goes live the same day Halo Infinite’s campaign launches, and to get prepared for that, check out this recently-released Halo Infinite campaign trailer.   


Are you excited about these monthly Halo Infinite multiplayer bundles for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers? Let us know in the comments below!

New Sons Of The Forest Trailer Is Terrifyingly Brutal, Spring 2022 Release Announced

I loved The Forest. My small team of survivors committed a little under forty hours building fortifications around the crash zone, scouring for food and rare weapons in sprawling underground caverns, and keeping cannibals and, later, grotesque mutants at bay. The sequel, Sons of the Forest, got two trailers earlier this year, highlighting a newfound emphasis on storytelling. An unnamed NPC – specifically, a nonvolatile mutant – is slated to be the player’s companion. But beyond montages and short action sequences, previous Sons of the Forest footage inspired more questions than answers.

A new trailer (seen below) continues that exciting, albeit frustrating, tradition of narrative vagueness. However, this time around, we finally got a release date set for Spring 2022. 

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As you can expect, Sons of the Forests’ mechanics build upon the survival horror systems from the first game. Collecting materials to craft makeshift shelters and hunting equipment has returned. The eating mechanic – most notable when the player character kills a turtle and eats its raw meat (damn!) – is back as well. And, of course, once you venture into dense forests or descend into pitch-black caves, horrifying enemies await. New variants of mutants with fleshy bristles and conjoined torsos will require new weapons to be bested – shotguns, stun batons, and more will aid you in the open world. 

Javy Gwaltney also enjoyed The Forest, awarding it a 9 in his Game Informer review and concluding with:

“Perhaps the highest praise I can give The Forest is just how natural the game ties together. A lot of emergent storytelling games often end up having a novelty that overstays its welcome by the end ... The Forest is a triumph, both for the survival genre as well as gruesome horror. It gives players just the right amount of freedom to enjoy the challenge of this hellish nightmare.”

Sons of the Forest launches on May 20, 2022, for PC. If you haven’t played the first game yet, I’d highly recommend it, and be sure to read Javy’s 30 Wacky And Gross Things You Can Do In The Forest piece while you’re at it!

Ghostrunner: Story-Driven Project_Hel DLC Announced, Launching January

Next year, a new story-driven DLC is coming to first-person cyberpunk action-platformer, Ghostrunner, and it’s called Project_Hel. 

IGN revealed the news yesterday after developer 505 Games teased the “Ultimate DLC” last week. It turns out that “Ultimate DLC” was Project_Hel, the upcoming story-driven DLC where players will control Hel, one of the bosses from the game. Project_Hel will go live in January, but before that, some players will have the chance to go hands-on with it during a private beta held sometime before the DLC’s launch. 

Hel will be a “combat-oriented character designed to appeal to ‘new players and veterans,’ and will feature her own ability progression system,” according to IGN. The story of Project_Hel will take place over six new missions that task Hel with descending from Dharma Tower, a locale heavily featured in the base game. Alongside new missions, Project_Hel will include new enemies, new bosses, and six new songs from Daniel Deluxe. 

505 Games told IGN that it was initially planned as a smaller DLC before becoming a “full-blown Ghostrunner experience.” It will hit PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Amazon Luna on January 27. It will cost $14.99.

The studio also revealed that a new Holiday Pack would hit the game on December 7, and it’s a free cosmetics pack that includes holiday swords with matching gloves and more. 

While waiting for Project_Hel to launch in January, read about how native PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions of Ghostrunner launched back in September. Then, check out this flashy neon pack that launched back in August alongside new assist options and a roguelike wave mode. Read about how 505 Games has already confirmed Ghostrunner 2 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC after that.  

[Source: IGN]


Are you excited about Ghostrunner’s Project_Hel DLC? Let us know in the comments below!

Halo Infinite: Here's What Is In The Shop This Week

Halo Infinite's shop updates every Tuesday at 10 a.m. PT with new items that players can purchase with credits. Since the launch of the free-to-play multiplayer component, 343 Industries has updated the shop three times. The latest rotation brings a pricey legendary bundle, as well as a cool camo option for your spartan and vehicles (see above).

The biggest bundle is the Anubis Armor Set for the Mark VII Spartan. This set offers the Arctic Void Epic Armor Coating, the Anubis Epic Helmet, a new visor and shoulder pads, and the rather mundane Vigilant Watch stance. It retails for 2,000 credits, which players can purchase for $17.99.

The most visually pleasing option in this week's offering is the Splinter Desert Epic Armor Coating that gives your Spartan a gray camo look. This texture can also be applied to all vehicles. This bundle is 1,500 credits.

If you love seeing your Spartan stand in generic poses, you can purchase the Tacticlamp 117 bundle to get another stance of a Spartan holding a pistol in a rather trivial way. The last item offered is the Reach Falcon Pilot Pack, consisting of a Falcon Nameplate and matching vehicle and weapon Emblems, along with new shoulder pads for your Spartan. This pack requires you have the Mark V armor from the Heroes of Reach Battle Pass. You can see all of the items in the image below:

 

More Steam Users Are Still Playing Farming Simulator 22 Over Battlefield 2042

Over the past couple of days, sites like Game Rant, which we first saw surface these stats, have been keeping an eye on how Steam users are spending their time by comparing two disparate but new titles from the month of November. One is a humble farming sim, while the other is a blockbuster multiplayer shooter. Which would you guess more people are playing on the platform just weeks after launch? As of 6:30 p.m. on November 30, Farming Simulator 22 was beating Battlefield 2042 in concurrent Steam users. That's a bit of a surprise, yeah?

In the image above (captured from Steam's own data you can see here), the numbers on the left represent current active players for each game, while the numbers on the right are total players for the day. As of the time of this snapshot, Farming Simulator 22 had over 3,000 more current players than Battlefield 2042. 

However, time of day does matter when collecting this data. A scant 45 minutes later, at 7:15 p.m., the tables had turned in favor of Battlefield with 27,685 active players compared to the 26,782 playing Farming Simulator, which you can see below. 

Active player counts will jump around throughout the day, but the important numbers to take away from this are the total daily numbers which shows almost double the daily users focused on agriculture versus those partaking in virtual war, 79,410 vs. 34,599, respectively. That's a big difference in mindshare for Steam users this week.

Now, there are quite a few factors to consider when looking at these numbers. First, we aren't seeing the whole picture. Battlefield on PC is available in other storefronts like Origin and wouldn't be included in these stats, and it doesn't account at all for console players. Second, we're looking at numbers late on a Tuesday afternoon/early evening. Not exactly the red-hot hours for gaming. Although, we can factor in Game Rant's data from this weekend which had Farm Sim with 30,000 more active players. And third, while maybe not a huge factor, Farming Simulator is the newer game, releasing a whole three days after Battlefield, though a little longer if you consider 2042's early access period. 

Whether these numbers are concerning or not is entirely up to EA and Dice, the ones who can see the whole picture. But perception is what it is when the public can see whether a big, exciting AAA release looks to be less popular than planting crops.

If you want to know more about Battlefield 2042, we have a review you can read right here from our very own Alex Van Aken. 


What are you playing right now? Are you one of the many Farm Sim fans, or are you squading up in Battlefield? Is your Steam time going towards something else entirely like Inscryption? Let us know in the comments below!

Dead By Daylight’s Portrait Of A Murder DLC Arrives Today

A new map, a new killer, and a new survivor all arrive in the asymmetrical 4v1 horror hide-and-seek game Dead by Daylight today. In fact, they’re in right now! The killer, Carmina Mora, is the Artist – commanding a twisted murder of ink crows that can highlight and harm survivors with a little savvy placement. While her projectile assault may not be as direct as the Huntress’s ax or some of the other long-range options, her kit expands with add-ons and can be used to play keep away on pallets or windows that look prime for a chase.

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Depending on how she’s played, she can either use her artistic swarm to help track down survivors and keep tabs on them over long distances or be used for direct assault at close range. However, even more interesting and important, especially as the Dead by Daylight meta continues to evolve, is one of her perks, Hex: Pentimento.

As the survivors have gained their own boons to help utilize totems to assist with game wins, the totems scattered around each map have grown in importance. No longer just killer tools to be used for hexes, the totems can be turned to either side to confer big benefits. With Hex: Pentimento, the Artist (or any other killer you attach the perk to can punish survivors that hunt down and take out hexed totems. This perk gives stacking powerful debuffs based on how many totems that the killer restores after they’ve been destroyed, so combining this hex with other hexes is likely to become a powerful suite. Force the survivors to remove totems like Hex: Ruin and then bring them back, fueled by Hex: Pentimento. The Artist has other perks to check out of course, but Hex: Pentimento seems like the real eye-opener.

On the survivor side, we have newcomer Jonah Vasquez, who comes with a bevy of useful perks. Overcome allows the survivor to get hit and run much longer and harder than usual, almost ensuring a successful escape from a chase. Boon: Exponential is absolutely wild, and lets survivors pick themselves up out of the dying state in its radius, and gives a huge buff to recovery speed on top. If you find yourself playing against a lot of killers that engage in “slugging” where they knock you down but don’t hook you, this is bound to give them immense headaches. Finally, Vasquez comes with Corrective Action, which is a perfect perk to bring into games with Dead by Daylight newcomers that are likely to miss a skill check. With Corrective Action, you can effectively store up points when you land great skill checks and then automatically spend them when a player fails one nearby to ignore that failure and turn it into a standard success – meaning the days of watching XxxDBDGodXxx come up and touch your generator, blow it up, and run off out of embarrassment are gone.

In addition to the new characters, there’s a new map for everyone to play in, the Eyrie of Crows. Perfect for throwing some ink around! Do either of the new characters (or, more succinctly, their perks that you can swap around) look interesting to you? Let us know in the comments.

Take A Behind The Scenes Look At Starfield In New Trailer

A new Starfield trailer today takes a bit of a different approach compared to the traditional sizzle reel or gameplay blast. Instead, you can take a look at Starfield in a very different fashion, with a behind-the-scenes look with game director Todd Howard, studio director Angela Browder, and art director Matt Carofano. It’s more of a micro look at Bethesda’s approach to their games, their stories, and their open worlds. It’s more of a conversational approach than a lot of game trailers, but it looks like it’s simply setting the stage for lots more to come regarding Starfield. Check out the full video right here.

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This is really just Episode One of a Starfield trailer series, so inevitably there will be a lot more on the way before Starfield’s release. In case you were wondering, Starfield is set to hit on November 11, 2022. That may seem like a long way off, but I’m sure we’ll get to see a lot more from the game as we progress into next year. Yeah yeah, I know. I want to see some serious gameplay slices too. We’ll get there. What do you think it’s going to be like? We do know some things… Expect wars, space pirates, and mysteries to unravel.

Are you excited for Starfield? When do you think Elder Scrolls VI will launch? Do you like discussions like this trailer about games? Let us know in the comments! 

Media Molecule-Developed Dreams Game Ancient Dangers: A Bat’s Tale Announced, Available Today

Media Molecule has announced Ancient Dangers: A Bat’s Tale, a new playable game the studio made in its 2019 creation game, Dreams.  

The game seems to be centered on two dungeon-crawling protagonists who must battle “hideous monsters” and solve “fiendish puzzles” to advance through Ancient Danger’s medieval setting. There is, of course, loot and wealth to be found throughout each of these dungeons, and there seems to be a cute bat at the center of its story, as the name alludes to. 

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As you can see in the trailer above, Ancient Dangers looks quite great and it’s tough to picture it as a game made inside Dreams, which is itself a game. Credit to Media Molecule, though, for doing just that. Ancient Dangers looks great, too, which is especially exciting because it’s already out as of today. 

Here’s the official description for Ancient Dangers:

“Join the teenage orcs Scoria and Gabbro as they team up with their new friend, Herb the Bat, on a quest to find the renowned snozzleaf. Will Scoria and Gabbro find the herb they need to cure their grandmother’s terrible snoring? Can their wise-cracking bat pal find his way home? Get playing now and go show those dragons what happens with you mess with teenage Orcs!”

Ancient Dangers is a third-person dungeon crawler, featuring a single-player mode where players control Scoria, and a co-op mode, which adds Scoria’s twin, Gabbro, to the mix. The co-op mode is couch co-op only, though. Media Molecule says new PlayStation trophies have been added to Dreams for players to unlock while playing through Ancient Dangers, too, so if trophy hunting is your thing, you don’t want to miss this. 

For more about Dreams, check out our thoughts on its release in Game Informer’s Dreams review


Will you be checking out Ancient Dangers: A Bat’s Tale? Let us know in the comments below!
 

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition Receives Dozens Of Fixes, Physical Releases Delayed Slightly

Rockstar Games has a couple of updates for its recently released collection of Grand Theft Auto games from the PS2/Xbox era. First, the physical editions are being delayed, but only by ten days. A tweet from the company announced the change in date on Twitter, saying you can get your actual mitts on Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition on December 17 instead of the originally planned December 7.

Tangentially, The Trilogy launched digitally earlier this month in a state that fans weren't too happy about, awash with graphical issues, performance woes, and overly-intense downpours of rain. Since then, Rockstar has issued patches to the trio of products in an attempt to make good on the original promise of the remasters. Today, a new set of fixes have been added, alleviating over 100 issues spanning all three games. Even the cinematic camera that was missing from the initial release has been restored. Here's a few fixes from the big list:

GTA III:

  • Fixed an issue where the rain appears under water when falling
  • Fixed an issue where the player was able to stretch a two-seater vehicle using the car crusher
  • Fixed an issue where the mission title would linger on screen too long at the beginning of any mission

Vice City:

  • Fixed a hole in the game world near Café Robina
  • Fixed an issue where the barrel of the minigun did not spin when fired
  • Fixed an issue where Lance would be duplicated after restarting the mission Copland

San Andreas:

  • Fixed a save game issue at the end of the mission Blood Bowl
  • Fixed a missing bridge in the Shady Creeks section of the map
  • Fixed graphical corruption on CJ’s head and body during the motel sequence of the mission "Reuniting the Families"

You can see the entire list of fixes on Rockstar's support site here. The changes listed are for all versions except Switch, which will be receiving adjustments in a few days. It just goes to show porting games can be hard to do, especially when the project involves three large sandbox experiences across half a dozen platforms. These updates are a huge step in the right direction to getting these games in the condition they deserve, though I'm sure many more patches are coming for the GTA trilogy in the near future.


What have your experiences with GTA The Trilogy been like since launch? Are these patches fixing your primary gripes or are there other aspects you'd like to see addressed? Hijack a spot in the comments and let us know your thoughts.

Call Of Duty Warzone Trailer Reveals New Look At Incoming Caldera Map

Call of Duty: Vanguard Season One is just a little over a week away from the release of its new Warzone map, Caldera, and a new trailer highlighting it has been released. 

Dubbed a “Call of Duty: Vanguard & Warzone - Season One” teaser trailer, it oddly has virtually nothing to do with Vanguard, the latest Call of Duty release that’s centered on World War 2. Instead, it oddly positions itself as a travel agency video from a company called Pacific Horizon Airlines that’s about the natural wonders and touristy locales of Caldera. 

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As you can see in the trailer above, it’s not the usual Warzone-guns-explosions-boom-boom type of video we’ve come to expect when Call of Duty highlights its battle royale. Instead, it adds a sense of mystery to the new Caldera map. Perhaps all is not what it seems on the map, which the trailer seems to suggest. It even ends by showing Caldera locales blown to bits and on fire, likely due to the action of a battle royale match. 

Regardless of the trailer’s tone, we do get a glimpse at what to expect on Caldera: natural Pacific wonders, a hidden paradise, ridges and peaks, “sites from Caldera’s storied past,” hidden caves, rivers and streams, fields and farms complete with “artisanal organic produce harvested locally,” ski lifts, and more. 

The teaser trailer also cheekily alludes to the more battle royale-centric events that will be happening on Caldera with a warning text at the bottom of the screen:

“Warning: Pacific Horizon Air is not responsible for any death, capture, imprisonment, forced one-on-one combat between fellow visitors, drowning, parachute-related accidents, gas-related deaths or injury, shrapnel, anti-aircraft fire, tennis elbow, food poisoning, or any other similar instances. Should Pacific Horizon Air become engaged in aerial combat with enemy aircraft, an early exit may be required. Travel to Caldera is not insurable. By deploying parachute, travelers indemnify Pacific Horizon Air, its pilots, and all service staff of all liability, regardless of destination or outcome on landing. Baggage fees...included.”

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Flights to Caldera will begin on December 9 which is alluding to the launch date for the new Warzone map. However, as previously revealed, those who have purchased Vanguard can jump into Caldera a full 24 hours earlier on December 8.

The official Call of Duty Twitter account also released a shot of the Caldera map and marked the 15 named locations players can expect to find on it. 

While waiting for the new map to go live, check out these recently-revealed details about Caldera


Will you be jumping into the new Caldera map next month? Let us know in the comments below!

Halo Infinite Unveils A Campaign Trailer

Players have had plenty of time to dive into Halo Infinite’s multiplayer experience, but as we move closer and closer to the December 8th launch date, anticipation has been building for the campaign experience as well. After weeks of throwing around the oddball and hacking up competitors with the sizzling sword, is it time to take the campaign trek? Well, here’s the first big trailer from the campaign, unveiled today.

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FPS campaigns often range from the mundane to the majestic and we don’t know just where Halo Infinite’s falls just yet. Clearly, much has changed since the underwhelming demo slice of legend that gave rise to big-time internet memes and a fair amount of concern about what the final game would play like. That said, we’ll be looking closely to see what the verdict is as we get closer to launch. While multiplayer hasn’t been without issues, especially ones related to battle pass progression, game customization, and more, overall Halo Infinite’s “return to form” for Halo seems to be well received thus far. Take a look at how the campaign has changed from its initial reveal to now in the video below!

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There’s not a whole lot you can extrapolate from a trailer like this except “get hype”, and with a game like Halo, you’re already probably either onboard for what this new campaign experience is poised to serve up or unlikely to be swayed by what’s on deck here. Where do you stand, Spartan? Are you ready to blast off in the new campaign or are you passing on it entirely? If so, are you still in for the free-to-play multiplayer part of the experience? Let us know in the comments!

Square Enix Issues Server Congestion Warning Ahead Of Endwalker Launch

Endwalker, the upcoming expansion for Final Fantasy XIV, is almost here. In fact, players with early access packages can begin playing the expansion as soon as Friday, December 3. Of course, as with any MMORPG launch (and many other online games), the first few days are likely to be dicey affairs when it comes to server queues, login woes, and other various assorted issues as players all attempt to login at the same time and play. We saw this happen earlier this year with New World – and seeing it occur in some capacity for the Endwalker launch would not be unusual, given the hype for this big, big expansion that features several new jobs and a ton of new content to explore.

To that end, Square Enix has released a post documenting some of the various issues players may encounter as the flood gates open. The list includes the most important issue, worlds reaching maximum capacity, resulting in lengthy wait times to log on. Other things can happen, too, like character creation being disabled. Players who remain inactive in-game for too long will also be booted in order to make room. For MMORPG veterans, nothing here should be surprising. If you’re taking your first steps into Final Fantasy XIV, it might be best to do what you can to prepare. 

Ideally, this means you’d create your character before the expansion launches, so you don’t need to worry about getting stuck unable to make one, and you should probably not allocate days off to the initial pre-release and release dates for the game. If you’re planning to take time off to really soak yourself in the FFXIV experience, it would probably be best to shoot for a week or so after launch and not the early days. You’ll have a much better time playing the game than staring at login queues! If you really, really can't wait to go hard on the new expansion, try changing your sleep schedule for a few days, as you will find it much, much easier to log in during the early hours of the morning (or late night, depending on how you view it) than you will during prime time.

Anyway, check us out rocking the Tower of Zot in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker. It’s hard not to want to play the Reaper job class for this expansion, but a lot of them look great. Are you planning to play Endwalker? Let us know in the comments!

Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong Gets May 2022 Release Date

Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong, the other, other video game based on the popular tabletop game currently in development, has been delayed. It was tentatively set to release in February but is now launching on May 19.

It may be easy to confuse Swansong with the other two Vampire: The Masquerade games also in the works: Bloodhunt, the battle royale launching early next year that's currently playable in Steam Early Access, and Bloodlines 2, the long-awaited sequel to the 2004 game that had its development rebooted. Swansong is a choice-driven narrative RPG that puts you in the role of three vampires in modern-day Boston. 

A new leader has emerged to take control of the city’s sect of vampires, triggering a violent power struggle filled with twists, turns, and betrayal. Each playable vampire hails from a different clan and sports its own unique powers, which can be customized to your liking. Many of those skills influence characters to pry information out of them, using techniques such as persuasion and intimidation. Check out the game’s teaser trailer below. 

Click here to watch embedded media

In a tweet, developer Big Bad Wolf Studio says the delay will allow additional polish to ensure the game’s quality while also letting the team maintain a healthy work/life balance.  Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong is heading to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. 


Are you excited to play Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong? Let us know in the comments!

Dying Light 2 Stay Human Has Gone Gold Two Months Ahead Of Release

Dying Light 2 Stay Human

Techland has announced Dying Light 2 Stay Human has gone gold and is ready for production, two months ahead of its scheduled release date. 

The company spread the news to Game Informer through a press release, saying the team achieved this milestone over the weekend. Techland's press release also had some words from Tymon Smektała, lead game designer on Dying Light 2. In it, he speaks about how the work on the game isn't quite done yet, saying, "The fact that the game is done and we hit the gold status two months before the release is a great sign but it doesn’t mean that our work ends here. There are still some upgrades and tweaks to add, and community feedback to implement, but the base is solid and ready to play."

So, while much of the work is in the rearview mirror, there's plenty to tweak and fix before the public is finally able to play it. Still, the feat of shipping a game is a massive undertaking and one worth celebrating. Tymon says, "I’m extremely proud of the whole team!" Considering the ups and downs the project faced over the course of a long development process, he should be. 

The next time we'll see Dying Light 2 Stay Human is just around the corner. This Thursday, Techland will premiere Episode 5 in its Dying 2 Know series, where about 15 minutes of new gameplay will be shown. You can find that at 12 p.m. Pacific on Techland's Twitch channel.

Dying Light 2 Stay Human is well on track to hit its February 4, 2022 date to release on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch (cloud version), and PC. For more on Dying Light 2, check out Brian Shea's recent preview where he played four hours of the game.

2022 Video Game Release Schedule

If you're wondering what games are coming up in 2022, we've put them all in one convenient location. This list will be continually updated to act as a living, breathing schedule as new dates are announced, titles are delayed, and big reveals happen. This should help you plan out your next several months in gaming and beyond.

As the gaming calendar is constantly changing, we highly recommend you bookmark this page. You'll likely find yourself coming back to this to find out the most recent release schedule for the most anticipated games across PC, consoles, handhelds, and mobile devices. If you notice that we've missed something, feel free to let us know! Please note that games will not get assigned to a month until they have confirmed release dates.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus

January

Madison (PC) – Weird West (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – Monster Hunter Rise (PC) –  – Read review God Of War (PC) –  – Read review Rainbow Six Extraction (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC) – Pokémon Legends: Arceus (Switch) –
Horizon Forbidden West

February

Life is Strange Remastered Collection (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – The Waylanders (PC) – Dying Light 2 Stay Human (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – Sifu (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC) – Know By Heart (PC) – Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – The King of Fighters XV (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PC) – Horizon Forbidden West (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4) – Destiny 2: The Witch Queen (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC) – Monark (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Switch, PC) – Martha Is Dead (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – Elden Ring (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) –
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands

March

Elex II (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous (PlayStation 4, Xbox One) – Gran Turismo 7 (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4) – Triangle Strategy (Switch) – Stranger Of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – Tiny Tina's Wonderlands (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) –
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl

April

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim (Switch) –  – Read review S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl (Xbox Series X/S, PC) –
Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong

May

Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – Sons of the Forest (PC) –
Saints Row

August

Saints Row (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) –
Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown

September

Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) –
Starfield

November

Starfield (Xbox Series X/S, PC) –
GhostWire: Tokyo

To Be Announced

A Little to the Left (PC) A Plague Tale: Requiem (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, PC) A Quiet Place Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp (Switch) Arcadegeddon (PlayStation 5, PC) Ashwalkers (Switch) Asterigos (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC) Astroneer (Switch) Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Stadia, PC) Aztech Forgotten Gods (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Bayonetta 3 (Switch) Bear and Breakfast (Switch, PC) Blood Bowl 3 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Blossom Tales 2: The Minotaur Prince (Switch, PC) Bomb Rush Cyberfunk (Switch, PC) Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch) Company of Heroes 3 (PC) Crossfire: Legion (PC) Cult of the Lamb (PC) Cursed to Golf (Switch, PC) Cyber Knights: Flashpoint (PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android) Cyberpunk 2077 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S)  – Read review Deathverse: Let It Die (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4) Demon Throttle (Switch) Destiny 2: Lightfall Destroy All Humans 2: Reprobed (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC) Diablo Immortal (iOS, Android) Digimon Survive (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Dolmen (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Dordogne  (Switch, PC) Dragon Ball: The Breakers (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) EA Sports PGA Tour Earthlock 2 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Edge of Eternity (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One) eFootball 2022 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) Endling (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Evil Dead: The Game (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Eville (PC) ExoMecha (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) Far: Changing Tides (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis (iOS, Android) Forspoken (PlayStation 5, PC) GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon (Switch, PC) GhostWire: Tokyo (PlayStation 5, PC) God of War: Ragnarok (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4) Goodbye Volcano High (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC) Gotham Knights (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Grand Theft Auto V (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S)  – Read review Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition (iOS, Android) Grid Legends (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Grotto (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch) Gungrave G.O.R.E. (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Hogwarts Legacy (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) How to Say Goodbye (PC, Mac) I Am Jesus Christ (PC) In Sound Mind (Switch) Instinction (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC) Jack Move (Switch, PC) Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja (PC) Keo (PC) Kerbal Space Program 2 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch) Lab Rat (Xbox Series X/S, PC) Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (Switch)  – Read review Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris (Switch)  – Read review Last Days of Lazarus (Xbox One, Switch, PC) LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Lil Gator Game (Switch, PC) Little Devil Inside (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Lost Ark (PC) LumbearJack (Switch, PC) Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope (Switch) Marvel's Midnight Suns (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Metal Slug Tactics (Switch, PC) Metal: Hellsinger (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Midnight Fight Express (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Mineko's Night Market (Switch, PC, Mac) MultiVersus (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Nobody Saves the World (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) Oxenfree II: Lost Signals (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Switch, PC) Pac-Man Museum + (Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Park Beyond (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC) Phantom Abyss (PC) Phantom Breaker: Omnia (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Planet of Lana (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) Pokémon Trading Card Game Live (PC, Mac, iOS, Android) Prehistoric Kingdom (PC) Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time Remake (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Read Only Memories: Neurodiver (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Redfall (Xbox Series X/S, PC) Replaced (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) Rogue Lords (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch) Rune Factory 5 (Switch) Salt and Sacrifice (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC) Scars Above (PC) Scavengers (PC) Sea Of Stars (PC) Serial Cleaners (PC) Shadow Warrior 3 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Shovel Knight Dig Shredders (Xbox Series X/S) Skull & Bones (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Slime Rancher 2 (Xbox Series X/S) Sol Cresta (PlayStation 4, Switch, PC) Somerville Sons of the Forest (PC) Souldiers (Switch, PC) Splatoon 3 (Switch) Star Ocean The Divine Force (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Star Wars: Hunters (Switch, iOS, Android) Stray (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC) Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC) Tchia (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge (Switch, PC) Temtem (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, PC) The Callisto Protocol The Chant (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) The Invincible (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC) The Last Oricuru (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sequel (Switch) The Lord of the Rings: Gollum (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) The Outlast Trials (PC) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S)  – Read review Thymesia (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC) Total War: Warhammer III (PC) Trek to Yomi (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Two Point Campus (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection (PlayStation 5, PC) Untitled 2022 Sonic Game Untitled Layers of Fear Game Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodhunt (PlayStation 5, PC) Voidtrain (PC) Volcanoids (PC) Warhammer 40,000: Darktide (Xbox Series X/S, PC) We Are OFK (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC) Where the Heart Leads (PC) Wizard With a Gun (Switch, PC) WWE 2K22

« 2021 Video Game Release Schedule

Halo Infinite: New Multiplayer Update Gives Players Increased XP In First Six Matches

For many of us at Game Informer, Halo Infinite's free-to-play multiplayer is a blast that feels nostalgic and refreshingly new at the same time. However, a point of contention (one that's also been shared by the wider Halo community) is the monotonous grind of accumulating XP points. Infinite's progression system leaves a lot to be desired, and leveling tends to be a painful slog. Initially, 343 Industries implemented an update to give players longer durations for XP boosts (among other features). Today's new update goes a step further and increases XP payouts for the first six matches of each day. 

343 community manager John Junyszek took to Twitter (see above) to talk about how the new changes were in direct response to previous multiplayer progression updates:

"When we made our initial change to progression, which added Daily "Play 1 Game" Challenges, updated Weekly Challenges, and doubled the duration of 2XP Boosts, we promised that we'd monitor the data and make additional changes if needed. Now, it's time to follow up on that. After seeing how XP was earned with those changes, we noticed that players were starting their sessions with slower payouts than we'd like. To address this, we will be increasing the XP payout for the first 6 matches of each day."

This comes a day after 343's head of design, Jerry Hook, noted his frustrations with Infinite's progression and promised that the dev team would prioritize a fix. The XP points that correlate with each match are as follows:

  • 1st Game = 300XP
  • 2nd Game = 200XP
  • 3rd Game = 200XP
  • 4th Game = 100XP
  • 5th Game = 100XP
  • 6th Game = 100XP
  • 7th+ Game = 50XP

Junyszek concluded the thread by stating that the new update is a quick response based on player feedback and that more substantial changes are on the way but will take more time to configure. 

So, there you have it, Spartans. Halo Infinite's singleplayer story (coop is still in the works) launches on December 8 for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC. To prepare for the Master Chief's upcoming journey, watch our exclusive interview about What You Need To Know About Halo Infinite's Campaign

Antstream Arcade Introduces Over 1000 Games To The Epic Games Store

Antstream Arcade is now available on the Epic Games Store, boasting over 1000 games to stream to your PC. We learned of its inclusion in the launcher through a story from the folks over at PC Gamer.

The streaming service has all kinds of games from the arcade, ZX Spectrum, Amiga, SNES, and many more. While the Antstream is free to download and access, gems or a subscription will be needed to play anything. Epic is offering a welcome pack available for free until Thursday for new players to check out the service, which provides 1090 gems to mess around with. Most games cost 30 gems per play, though, for the price of $39.99 a year, you can play any solo or co-op game without having to pay extra.

Antsteam features additional benefits to those playing on its platform, including achievements and challenges. Tournaments are also available, pitting your high scores and feats against others in games like Mortal Kombat, Dig Dug, Chain Reaction, or Marble Madness. Winning or scoring highly in these contests will payout in gems to spend on other games or enter future tournaments.

There looks to be plenty to check out with Antstream Arcade, with many cool old arcade and console games to try. I'm eyeing some of the SNK and Commodore 64 collections, myself. Keep in mind that you aren't downloading any of these games, so making sure you have a strong network connection will be critical for an optimal experience. Along with the addition to the Epic Games Store, Antstream Arcade is available on PC, iOS, and Android devices.

Play In The Company Of Heroes 3 Pre-Alpha Multiplayer Test Starting Tomorrow

Strategists ready to return to the battlefields of World War II have the chance to play in the Company of Heroes 3 pre-alpha multiplayer test starting tomorrow. 

A video from developer Relic Entertainment, featuring principal producer Morain McLaughlin, details some aspects of Company of Heroes 3 players can expect to play around with during the test. While the final product will include more factions (including the Italian battalion, which will be detailed next year), players will get their hands on the American and German forces. Each military force will feature two battlegroups to explore, replacing the doctrines and commanders from previous games. These battlegroups will offer a tree of abilities, units, and upgrades to select and utilize throughout a match.

Click here to watch embedded media

The pre-alpha test will primarily be a multiplayer-focused affair, but those who wish to take on the computer-controlled AI in 1v1 or 2-player vs. 2-CPU have the option to do so. If you're playing by your lonesome against the CPU, you'll have access to the tactical pause feature not present in modes with more than one person. 

Other new features available will be outfitting vehicles with side armor, a veterancy system, and verticality in maps. Relic promises more updates in 2022, including new factions, units, and mechanics to be revealed over the coming months.

Preloading is available right now on Steam for established COH-Development account holders. Anyone new to the COH-Development program can head over to the game's community site and sign up for an account there. Company of Heroes 3 is aiming for an unspecified 2022 release date for PC.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim Begins A New Timeline On Switch In April

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, the sci-fi strategy adventure game by Vanillaware (makers of Odin Sphere and Dragon’s Crown), is making its way to Switch on April 12. The game has only been available on PlayStation 4 since it launched in March 2020. 

The game blends side-scrolling visual novel adventure with real-time strategy. Players control 13 ordinary high school students who also pilot giant mech suits called Sentinels. Okay, so they’re not that ordinary. The story primarily revolves around stopping an invasion, but the sci-fi tale branches in all sorts of wacky directions, many of which draw inspiration from stories like War of the Worlds and The Terminator. While you’ll use your mech to defend the world in RTS battles, the real meat of 13 Sentinels is navigating the intertwining, non-linear narratives of the students. Each teenager has their own story arc, and you’ll jump back and forth between them all to uncover the entire bonkers storyline. Take a look at the Switch announcement trailer below for an idea of what to expect. 

Click here to watch embedded media

In our review of the PS4 version, we scored 13: Sentinels an 8 out of 10, with former GI editor Joe Juba describing it as a “fun and ambitious experience that combines high-school drama and huge robots in a (mostly) beautiful package.” You can read our full review here.


Have you been holding out hope for 13: Sentinels: Aegis Rim to come to Switch? Let us know in the comments!

Tom Holland May Be In Three More Spider-Man Films, New No Way Home Posters Released

With Spider-Man: No Way Home set to release in just a few weeks, producer Amy Pascal has revealed that we’ll be seeing more of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. 

Pascal said No Way Home is not the last Spider-Man movie Sony Pictures Entertainment is making with Marvel Studios in a new interview with Fandango. She also revealed that Holland’s next movie will be the first in a new trilogy. 

“This is not the last movie that we are going to make with Marvel – [this is not] the last Spider-Man movie,” Pascal told Fandango. “We are getting ready to make the next Spider-Man movie with Tom Holland and Marvel. We’re thinking of this as three films, and now we’re going to go onto the next three. This is not the last of our MCU movies.” 

As you can see in Pascal’s quote above, Holland’s Spider-Man will be seen in at least one more Spider-Man movie. He could also appear in the following two movies, but that’s not guaranteed considering Pascal didn’t specifically say Holland will be in all three. Perhaps he appears in the first of this new trilogy and then hands off the title to someone like Miles Morales. Perhaps he remains Spider-Man in all three films of the new trilogy. 

News of a new Spider-Man trilogy from Sony and Marvel is exciting, particularly because Holland is set to star in at least the first one. Some online have speculated that Holland would be meeting his demise in No Way Home based on trailers and footage released for the film so far. It would seem that’s not the case, though. 

Alongside today’s news, three new No Way Home posters were released as well. You can check out each of them below. 

Click image thumbnails to view larger version

 

                                                                                                            

Spider-Man: No Way Home will hit theaters on December 17. While waiting for it to be released, check out this poster for the film that reveals some of the villains we’ll be seeing in it. 


Are you excited for Spider-Man: No Way Home? Let us know in the comments below!

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Amy Pascal was a Sony Producer. That was incorrect – she has her own production company and is serving as a producer on the Sony and Marvel-made movie, Spider-Man: No Way Home. The story has been updated to remove "Sony" from Pascal's first mention.

Halo Infinite Design Lead Says Multiplayer Progression Is Top Priority

If you’re struggling to make meaningful progression in Halo Infinite’s multiplayer, which launched early as a separate free-to-play package, you’re not alone – 343 Industries’ head of design feels your pain. 

343 head of design Jerry Hook tweeted about a game called Len’s Island and then replied to that tweet to explain that he was playing both Len’s Island and Halo Infinite’s multiplayer. He said he’s feeling everyone’s pain in terms of progression and that the team is working on it, as reported by Video Games Chronicle

“Yes I am still playing Halo and feeling everyone’s pain on progression. We are back at it next week and this will be the top of my list with the team.”

As you can see in Hook’s tweet above, work on multiplayer’s progression continues to be a top priority for 343 Industries, which is likely also head down on the Halo Infinite campaign that launches on December 8. One important aspect of the entire discourse surrounding the multiplayer progression is that the game is still technically in beta. 

Yes, 343 Industries is selling a battle pass that costs real money in it and it’s fair to want that battle pass to feel fair, but this beta period for multiplayer was likely enacted for this very reason: to get a feel of the community’s thoughts on it and progression, and make changes based on those feelings ahead of the full December 8 launch. 

Click here to watch embedded media

Only time will tell what changes we see come to Infinite’s multiplayer. For now, read about how 343 is investigating Halo Infinite’s battle pass progression and then check out this breakdown of the recent changes made to it. Be sure to read up on what you can unlock in Halo Infinite’s multiplayer this week after that. 

[Source: Video Games Chronicle]


What are your thoughts on Halo Infinite’s multiplayer progression? Let us know in the comments below!

New Marvel MMORPG In Early Development, DC Universe Online To Get Graphics Upgrade And Massive Expansion In 2023

End Global 7, a coop company composed of prominent development studios, released a Q3 2021 Investor Presentation that detailed revenue/financial gains and a project pipeline for future IPs. The information packet revealed Dimensional Ink Studios, the team behind DC Universe Online, is working on another MMO. However, this time, players will be suiting up as created Marvel superheroes and (potentially) supervillains. The new Marvel MMO is currently in development, but the unexpected announcement is exciting nonetheless. 

According to the slide entitled "Exciting Product Slate for 2022 and Beyond," Dimensional Ink Studios is coming off a solid year with DCUO cornering the market for successful superhero-based MMOs. The studios' most popular title is celebrating its 10th anniversary and "performing near its peak historical annual revenues." Under the "medium-term" banner (seen above), a graphics overhaul and massive content expansion are in the works and slated for a 2023 release. 

However, under the "longer-term" banner, an unannounced MMORPG is underway. The important bullet points read as follows:

  • Marvel IP based massively multiplayer online game
  • Being developed by Dimensional Ink Studios in Austin, TX
  • Led by Jack Emmert, who designed and helmed City of Heroes, and currently leads DCUO

It'll probably be a long time before we get any notable info about this new Marvel MMORPG. Still, based on Dimensional Ink Studio's pedigree, we can expect to see fun customization options, beloved heroes and villains to interact with, and exciting leveling systems with raid scenarios. 

In other news, a bunch of  games featuring beloved Marvel and DC characters are around the bend. Be sure to check out Marcus Stewarts' Wolverine, Suicide Squad, And The League Of Upcoming Superhero Games piece to learn more. 


Do you play DC Universe Online? What's your wishlist for the Marvel IP? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!

Update: Life Is Strange: True Colors Switch Release Date Announced

Update, 11/29/21:

Deck Nine has revealed the new release date for Life Is Strange: True Colors on Switch after being delayed back in September. 

Initially set to release in September alongside the other versions of the game, True Colors was delayed to a later unannounced date, putting less pressure on the team for the release of True Colors. Deck Nine has revealed that True Colors will hit Switch digitally on December 7, as reported by Video Games ChronicleThe physical release of it on Switch won't happen until February 25, 2022, though. 

Before picking up True Colors next week on Switch, be sure to check out our thoughts on it in Game Informer's Life Is Strange: True Colors review

The original story continues below...


Original Story, 8/12/21:

Life is Strange: True Colors is just around the corner, and while the team over at Deck Nine is working on Alex's story, as well as the Wavelengths DLC that stars Steph Gingrich, the studio did announce a delay for the Life is Strange: Remastered Collection. 

Deck Nine offered an update on the Life is Strange series in a recent social media post, including confirmation that Life is Strange: True Colors will arrive on September 10, with the Wavelengths DLC slated for a September 30 release. Life is Strange: Remastered was originally expected to launch around the same time, but Deck Nine wants to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its team, which is incredibly important. To do just that, the decision has been made to push back the Remastered Collection to sometime early 2022. 

Deck Nine via Twitter

In recent years, hidden studio culture has been slowly coming to light. We're seeing it now with the Activision Blizzard lawsuit. We've seen it with other studios like Rockstar Games, Riot, and Ubisoft, and we've even seen worrisome reports from indie studios, as well. Now, more than ever, teams must look out for one another to promote safe and healthy work environments. Not just in games but all industries. Though it's easy to be a little disappointed when an anticipated title is pushed back, it's better to take care of those crafting these adventures than to burn out the experience totally. Whenever the Remastered Collection arrives, we're excited to dive back into the journey of Max and Chloe once more. 

UPDATE: The Nintendo Switch version of Life is Strange has also been pushed back: 

To learn more about the world of Life is Strange, be sure to check out our True Colors hub here to learn more about the newest protagonist and the darker side of empathy. 


If comments are still showing as disabled, a site update is happening on our side that has caused a temporary takedown. We hope to have them back up and running soon so our community can go back to sharing their thoughts with us about everything gaming-related! 

Exploring Nintendo's Metroid Prime 3 | Video Gameography

The first season of Game Informer’s Video Gameography explores the history of the Metroid series, and this episode is set to wrap our talk on Retro Studio's epic trilogy of Prime with a detailed discussion of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. 

Released on August 27, 2007 for Nintendo's Wii, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is often considered one of the best games on Nintendo's unique motion sensing console. During today's show we talk about what made 2007 such an phenomenal year and why we Prime 3 often gets overlook in the shuffle. We also talk about how Prime 3 might be the best entry in the Prime series thanks to it innovative motion controls and the Hypermode system, which allowed Samus to dish out some serious damage. Finally, we speculate if Samus is just an intergalactic version of Batman.

Join hosts Ben Reeves (@BenjaminReeves), Marcus Stewart (@MarcusStewart7), and special guest, lead community producer at Twitch Zach Ryan (@ZachariusD) for the next hour as we explore Metroid Prime's lore, development history, and lasting impact. 


If you'd like to get in touch with the Video Gameography podcast, you can email us at podcast@gameinformer.com. You can also join our official Game Informer Discord server by linking your Discord account to your Twitch account and subscribing to the Game Informer Twitch channel. From there, find the Video Gameography channel under "Community Spaces."

Sports Games Are Stuck In A Rut

If you buy the yearly iteration of your favorite sports video game, chances are you haven’t had much to cheer about the last few years. To put it bluntly, the genre is struggling, and even the new console generation hasn’t been the answer to rejuvenating it. Take just this year, for example. Metacritic scores are anything but impressive for the biggest sports around. Madden NFL 22 earned an abysmal 60, NHL 22, which promised to change its metagame, disappointed with a 74. NBA 2K has largely been the franchise to beat, but NBA 2K22 only holds a 76, some of the lowest marks the series has seen in years. FIFA 22 and MLB: The Show 21 earned the highest averages, around 78, but it’s telling that none of these franchises could even crack the 80 mark. 

This downward trend has been going for some time now, and I’ve grown irritated seeing modes largely untouched and similar technical errors carrying over year to year. It’s like watching your favorite sports team when they’re in a slump. How long do you wait it out and watch the continual losses pile up before you just walk away and hope next season fares better? 

The problem is, the hope that the following entry fares better has lingered for too many seasons now, and it’s not just with one or two franchises. It’s across the board. Last generation, the sports genre exploded with innovation, making sports games look and play the closest they ever have to real life. In addition, developers were looking at unique ways to build a community around them and cater to multiple types of players, from creating robust franchise modes to offering skill-based online play. And, most importantly, they were finding new and interesting ways to captivate the sports fan. Visual Concepts showed the power of sports storytelling, making NBA 2K’s MyCareer a must-play by letting you create a player and take them on a cinematic journey that delved into the highs and lows of stardom.

It opened a world of potential and lit a fire in their competitors, with FIFA creating Alex Hunter: The Journey and NHL’s Be A Pro becoming a choice-driven story. Heck, Visual Concepts had so much success it even implemented a storyline into NBA 2K18 and 19’s franchise mode, albeit with mixed results. But at the very least, developers were trying new things, taking risks, and learning from one another about engagement and what kept people playing their game year-round.  

Madden NFL 22

These days, sports games play it safe, offering graphical upgrades and a few new features to get by, but no series is really trying to reinvigorate the formula or shake up what’s been done before. And even when efforts are made, they feel half-hearted. For instance, NHL 22 tried to get inspiration from Madden by introducing Superstar X-Factors and made a push to shake up its metagame. The problem? These X-Factors ended up being a non-factor in making the gameplay more rewarding or exciting, and the metagame didn’t change enough to be notable, except for its flaws.

What’s more frustrating is watching various modes just go neglected without meaningful changes for years on end. I can’t remember the last time NBA 2K, NHL, or FIFA really touched Franchise mode. Madden made an attempt this year with Franchise mode, but it wasn't nearly enough to make it a must-play. Even worse is the stuff that doesn’t work or needs improving stays the same; NHL’s dialogue in Be A Pro is laughable, and its poke check remains overpowered while Madden is still full of odd glitches and a clunky interface

Sports games’ annual releases don’t allow time for wide-scale changes, but each year has always been about the developers making smart improvements to the foundation. I’ve come to expect a game in any sports franchise will play smoother each year, and specific modes will get a bigger focus with more effort toward meaningful additions. And when the gameplay starts to fizzle, developers will begin to invest in new strategies to keep it interesting, like finding ways to change the metagame or implementing a new system that changes how the gameplay feels, like NHL 19’s improved skating. But too much is staying the same for too long in a lot of franchises. Madden’s gameplay code is so old at this point that the developers are just working around the same problems, from snapped-to animations to players running into each other post-play, even when they try to add new features.

It also feels like sports games are at a crossroads of deciding what they need to be for this generation of gamers. I don’t envy this decision, as there are many different reasons sports fans pick up the controller. Ask anyone what their favorite mode is and why, and you’ll get a multitude of answers. One thing never changes, though: These games are meant to have a long tail and be played year-round. This has caused many developers to invest significantly in online-centric modes that they can keep updating throughout the year. But even here, the rewards never seem great enough, or worse, they feel very generic in their execution.

The limited resources don’t make the decision of what to focus on easy for developers. It’s a constant tug-of-war between keeping the hardcore fans happy and bringing in new players via more casual offerings, like FIFA’s Volta, Madden’s The Yard, and NHL’s Pro-Am. Somebody is always left out in the cold, and lately, it’s been the players dedicated to more single-player ventures like franchise modes. Let’s face it: Modes like these don’t bring in any extra cash. 

NBA 2K22 probably made the most significant leap this year, trying to merge its popular MyCareer mode with The City, its bustling online world, where players can play against each other in pickup games and tournaments and shop around. Visual Concepts still has a long way to go with dialing down its intrusive microtransactions here, and it’s still too empty to be fun to explore, but I see the potential. 

I just saw that WWE 2K22 is forgoing its usual fall release to allow more time to shore things up, and while the series has been full of highs and lows, I like the creativity that continues to shine in its various modes and how it caters to the things that excite hardcore fans. There’s 2K Showcase Mode, WWE 2K’s playable documentary where you follow the career of a legendary wrestler or a historical period and take on pivotal matches; My Faction allows you to assemble and manage your own stable to rival greats like The Four Horsemen; and this year, it’s introducing MyRise, a new spin on MyCareer that allows you to guide a WWE rookie to stardom in a choice-driven adventure. 

To be fair, the challenges of COVID-19 have undoubtedly made the last couple of years even more difficult and taxing for the genre. However, these problems were already coming to a head at the end of the previous generation, and they’re not going away. A roster upgrade just isn’t enough these days to keep fans at bay, and it’s the loyal fans who end up feeling burned for getting their excitement up for another season, only to see the same problems pop up again.

Developers need to be unafraid to push the reset button and maybe take some extra time to rethink their game. As it is, sports contain a great deal of creativity and excitement, but that experience isn’t translating video games. Why? Because developers keep using the same playbook. They don’t want to take the risky play that nets the glory for fear of failure, but I’d rather see these games try something new and fail than give me the same tired experience I’ve played for years now. 

Ten Family Board Games To Bring Home For The Holidays

The holiday gifting season is fast upon us, and many of us have kids in our family or friend groups who are hoping for something fun wrapped up to enjoy. Beyond gift-giving, if you’ve got a family of your own, you may be trying to come up with ways to keep yourself and the kids entertained over the holiday break from school. Either way, I can say with confidence that a good family board game is worth its weight in gold, both for keeping everyone happily entertained, but also ensuring some fun shared activities to make memories.

The board gaming hobby has no shortage of wonderful family games, but I’ve kept the focus here on mostly newer projects that you may not have heard of. As you consider which game might be right for your family group, make sure and check against the age recommendations listed, and zero in on something that all participants can enjoy, no matter how long they’ve been gaming.


The Fuzzies
Publisher: CMYK
Age: 6+

Looking to introduce the kids to their first dexterity game? Fuzzies is a wonderful twist on the stacking/pulling tower concept, but with a far lower threshold for angrily thrown wooden blocks than in a game like Jenga. Instead of blocks, Fuzzies features a tower of small fuzzy multi-colored balls. After packing them into an included tall cup, they can be stacked onto a base, and the cup removed, leaving a perfectly formed (and sort of adorable) mass of clumped-up color. Players use tweezers, or just their fingers, to remove a ball and place it back atop the tower. Knock some balls off, and you get a silly challenge on your next go, like having to use your non-dominant hand. This one is simple, fast, and if you strip out the card challenges, can be played with kids even younger. Just be prepared to spend a few minutes at the end of your play session gathering errant fuzzies – they’re sneaky little guys.

Bug Hunt
Publisher: CMON
Age: 5+

This simple memory and sensory game is a lovely change of pace from the norm. While it’s not likely to keep older players entertained for too long, it’s just the ticket if you have a busy group of younger kids looking for something new. Players each have a color of bug that they’re trying to collect, and each bug has its own unique shaped piece. Players peek inside the “shrub” where they’re hiding, and try to memorize where their colored bugs are lying. Afterward, you can’t see the bugs as you reach through a blind shield and try to pull out the correct options by feel. If you accidentally catch your opponents’ bugs, you’re just helping them win faster. Plus, there are little white bugs that “bite.” If you manage to pick up three of those, you’re out. No one should pretend that Bug Hunt is a complex or strategic game, but it does have a unique mechanic that I haven’t seen before, and kids I’ve played with enjoy the surprise of reaching in and trying to grab the right piece.

Dragon Prince: Battlecharged
Publisher: Brotherwise Games
Age: 10+

If you’ve got older kids at home, there’s a good chance you already know about the excellent animated series called Dragon Prince, currently streaming on Netflix. If not, go watch that right now, and come back. I’ll wait… Alright, back now? Wasn’t that great? Fortunately for fans, you can continue the adventures of Callum, Rayla, and their friends with this rewarding tactical miniature game. Each character has their own small deck of cards that lets them bring unique abilities into the fray during the skirmish. Players face off in battle, and the fun comes from seeing the ways each character clashes against the others. Battlecharged is by no means the most sophisticated miniature skirmish game on the market, and don’t go in expecting an extension of the show’s story, as this is purely about the battles. But veteran game maker Brotherwise has made conscious choices to keep things accessible for players new to tactical encounters, and the multiple battlemaps that are included keep things engaging on replay.

Disney Gargoyles: Awakening
Publisher: Ravensburger
Age: 10+

I’ve always considered Gargoyles one of the hidden gems of the Disney catalog. The dark themes and Gothic styling of that ‘90s animated show were a striking departure from the normal Disney fare. And the voice cast, which included some genuine acting heavyweights, helped the dialogue to pop. I’m clearly not the only fan, as Ravensburger has released this engaging battle game, in which players take on the role of the titular gargoyles as they battle the forces of Xanatos and Demona. One of the coolest features of the game is the 3D board, which sees your minis moving between the rooftops of Manhattan. The game includes four distinct scenarios, each of which offers a different style of play. Three of those happen to be cooperative, while the last provides a more competitive experience. No matter the storyline you play out, the high production values and smart combat and objectives ensure an enjoyable session. If sharing with kids who don’t know the property, I recommend taking a part of the holiday season to watch some of the show (it’s on DVD, but it’s also on Disney+ if you have that streaming option), and then use that as a catapult into a fun game night.

Jamaica
Publisher: Space Cowboys
Age: 8+

Jamaica is one of my hands-down favorite gateway games into thematic board gaming. Originally released back in 2007, this new edition changes very little (mostly a streamlined approach to learning the rules), but offers a new chance to snag a game that has been a surefire hit for more than a few families I know. Jamaica is both a racing game, and a game of acquisition, as each player controls a pirate ship as it zips around the island, collecting treasure, firing off cannons, and hopefully keeping your crew fed along the way. The game plays fast and easy, but is far more interesting and strategic than many “roll-and-move” family games. If your crew has a few pirate fans in the mix, this is an approachable and fun game they’ll adore, and I promise the older buccaneers will have a good time as well.

Dragomino
Publisher: Blue Orange Games
Age: 5+

The stellar Kingdomino released in 2016 to well-deserved critical acclaim. In fact, if your kids are just a bit older, that’s still a top recommendation. That original territory-capturing game offers a clever twist on Dominoes, but with some additional strategic complexity, and the added fun of a kingdom expansion theme. The game’s newer cousin, Dragomino, aims to make things even simpler as a welcome into this style of play. Players adopt the role of dragon trainers who must try to collect the most dragon eggs, and do so by linking together similarly colored territories. Dragomino’s gameplay is very similar to its older cousin, but features simplified scoring, no constraints on grid size (a big and challenging limit in the original), and art and colors that are simply more inviting. In short, stick with the original for yourself or for your older kids. But if you’re looking for a genuine strategy experience that even the Kindergartener in your family can pick up, this will be perfect.

Men at Work
Publisher: Pretzel Games
Age: 8+

This dexterity game challenges players to build a construction site, and attempt to avoid seemingly inevitable accidents. Tiny meeple construction workers mount the girders as the game plays out, creating increasingly precarious table tableaus that are amusing to look at, and doomed for collapse. Players take turns drawing cards, which dictate what piece to add to the site and specific instructions on how to do so. Knock something over, and you lose one of your safety certificates. Eventually, the bosslady shows up, and you also can try to compete to be the employee of the month. It’s a fun and surprisingly challenging stacking challenge. There are enough rules to make things a bit complicated for the youngest players, but most families will be delighted by the sturdy and colorful components and the hilariously poorly designed structures that emerge in each game session.

So Clover
Publisher: Repos Production
Age: 10+

Repos has some of my favorite party games in its catalog, including games I’ve previously recommended like Just One, Ca$h ‘n Guns, and Concept. So Clover is another memorable release from the studio and ideal for family get-togethers. Players receive a random assortment of cards with words on them, like “Banana,” “Shirt,” and “Firefighter.” You must write down keywords that link particular pairs of words. For instance, you might come up with the keyword of “Wool” to link “Sheep” and “Clothing.” Players then work together to try to guess the keywords. So Clover is cooperative, which helps keep things civil if one or more of the kids can get carried away with competitive games. The word association gameplay is simple and enjoyable, but of course, this one is only the right choice if everyone at the table is fully comfortable with reading and writing. If your gaming team has crossed that milestone, expect a good time.

The Game of Life: Super Mario Edition
Publisher: Hasbro
Age: 8+

Before I ever got into the more involved and thematic hobby board game scene, the old Game of Life board game was a popular fixture of my childhood. In my experience, it’s rare that licensed spin-offs of old classic board games add much to the mix. But I was pleasantly surprised by the Super Mario Edition of Life, which maintains much of the fun (the spinner, looping track, fun spaces) but adds enough Mario vibes to feel fresh. Instead of trying to make the most money and retire, players are instead trying to race to the finish and take out Bowser. Along the way, players encounter lots of fun spaces for power-ups and the like, as well as some spaces that demand brief minigames that you play with other folks at the table. In addition, you’re trying to boost your chances of a win against the big guy by collecting stars, which add to your final spin as you try to hit the numerical win threshold. While I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the original game, I think the Mario theming here is honestly more appealing for most families than a story about collecting more money than your fellows. Don’t go in expecting complex gameplay, and I think this one hits a nice balance between nostalgia and modern fun.

Disney Hidden Mickeys
Publishers: Funko Games
Ages: 3+

If your little ones are still especially young, I recommend this amusing game of hide and seek, in which players flip over cards with images of the iconic mouse, and then race around the house or yard to find the matching picture. After the markers are found, you’re also trying to spy out hidden mickey symbols on the cards themselves to score points. I like the way this game takes into account the likely behaviors of very young children, encouraging them to get up out of their seats and race around to find hidden items. But there’s also a focused component of play, where they need to slow down and look carefully at the cards. For Disneyphile families with young players, I suspect you’ll find this little gem gets a lot of requests for repeat play.


I hope one or more of the above games helps to brighten your family’s holiday season. If you still aren’t seeing anything that’s the right fit, don’t hesitate to drop me a line, and I’ll be happy to help you figure out an option. If you're looking for great family video games this season, don't miss our recent round-up. And if you’re looking for some more grown-up tabletop fare, you’ll find plenty of recommendations in our Top of the Table hub, which you can reach from the banner below.

The Holiday 2021 Nintendo Gift Guide | All Things Nintendo

With the U.S. celebrating Thanksgiving this week, today marks the official start of holiday shopping season. This week, host Brian Shea is joined by Game Informer editor-in-chief Andrew Reiner to offer up several great options for the Nintendo fan in your life.

If you'd like to follow the people from this episode on Twitter, hit the following links: Brian Shea (@brianpshea), Andrew Reiner (@Andrew_Reiner)

The All Things Nintendo podcast is a weekly show where we can celebrate, discuss, and break down all the latest games, news, and announcements from the industry's most recognizable name. Each week, Brian is joined by different guests to talk about what's happening in the world of Nintendo. Along the way, they'll share personal stories, uncover hidden gems in the eShop, and even look back on the classics we all grew up with. A new episode hits every Friday!

Be sure to subscribe to All Things Nintendo on your favorite podcast platform. The show is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts.


00:00:00 – Introduction
00:01:56 – First Nintendo Game/Favorite Nintendo Game
00:14:30 – Pokémon Go Ed Sheeran Concert
00:16:46 – Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition Problems
00:19:18 – Analogue Pocket Release Update
00:26:12 – Gift Guide: Which Switch Console is Right for You?
00:30:11 – Gift Guide: Family-Friendly Games
00:44:37 – Gift Guide: More Serious/Long-Term Games
00:56:06 – Gift Guide: Nintendo Merchandise and Peripherals
01:12:53 – Definitive Ranking: Gaming Gifts We've Received
01:21:21 – eShop Gems of the Week: Golf Story & Goblin Sword


If you'd like to get in touch with the All Things Nintendo podcast, you can do so by emailing AllThingsNintendo@GameInformer.com, tweeting to Brian (@BrianPShea), or by joining the official Game Informer Discord server. You can do that by linking your Discord account to your Twitch account and subscribing to the Game Informer Twitch channel. From there, find the All Things Nintendo channel under "Community Spaces."


For more Game Informer podcasts, be sure to check out The Game Informer Show, which covers the weekly happenings of the video game industry, and Video Gameography with host Ben Reeves, which explores the history of video games – one series at a time!

The Best Halo Infinite Multiplayer Tips I've Learned From Watching TikTok

halo infinite multiplayer tips

I’ve played a lot of Halo Infinite since its free-to-play multiplayer suite launched during the Xbox 20th Anniversary Celebration last week. Coincidentally, I’ve also watched way too much TikTok since then. It’s a real problem I’m dealing with right now. In-between the cooking tutorials and cursed comedy sketches populating my For You page, I’ve stumbled upon several Halo Infinite multiplayer tips that positively affected my knowledge and skill.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving – and being the generous person I am – I’d like to give back to the gaming community by sharing a curated list of the best videos I’ve watched while doom-scrolling this hellscape of a social media app. 

Win Stockpile Matches Quickly With The Razorback:

Stockpile is an objective-focused mode introduced in Halo Infinite that requires each team to fight for a limited quantity of Power Seeds that they must install in their base generator. This Big Team Battle mode is hectic, but a little team cooperation goes a long way. My friends and I typically form an assembly line of sorts by throwing the contested deliverables across the map to each other in a chaotic-but-humorous fashion. However, TikTok user lord_shacks spotlights a much better strategy that employs the warthog’s turretless cousin, the Razorback.

@lord_shacks

Loving this game, hope everyone else is too! #Halo #HaloInfinite #Tip

♬ original sound - kiegan :)

Change The Default Enemy Outline Color:

There are several options hidden within the depths of Infinite’s numerous menus that can give you a competitive advantage. The first piece of UI-related advice you should follow is to change the default outline color of enemy players. Pick a bright color like yellow to better contrast the game’s industrial color palette. Thanks for the great tip, hyrockr

@hyrockr

Pro Tips for Halo Infinite #halo #infinite #xbox #gaming #twitch

♬ Hung Up (SDP Extended Vocal) [Edit] - Madonna

Double Jump With The Repulsor (You’re Using It Wrong): 

This one is an Alex Van Aken original. After a few games experimenting with the Repulsor, an overlooked gadget in Halo Infinite, I’ve learned to use it to double-jump to previously out-of-reach platforms. This trick is especially beneficial when playing modes like Capture The Flag and Oddball on vertical maps like Aquarius and Bazaar.

Don’t forget me when you see pros use this strategy in the Halo Championship Series. 

@itsvanaken

Halo Infinite Tip: Double Jump with the Repulsor #halo #haloinfinite #xbox

♬ Lazy Sunday - Official Sound Studio

You Can Fire The Cindershot Around Corners:

Insert your best “curve the bullet” joke here. Shout-out to wisespade7 for the spicy tip.

@wisespade7

#wisespade7 #halo #haloinfinite

♬ Lofi Jazz Hip Hop Chill Instrumental Background Music Christmas - Lesfm

Use The Grappleshot to Hijack Wasps and Banshees: 

The Grappleshot has been stealing headlines surrounding Halo Infinite, and rightfully so. It's enjoyable to wield the traversal-focused gadget since you can use it to swing above enemies, steal power weapons as they spawn, and even latch onto other Spartans to execute stylish melee kills. One of my favorite ways to use the Grappleshot is to hijack oncoming vehicles; however, I’ve failed to perform as excellent a move as my friend MrBadBit does in this video.

@mrbadbit

Being able to Grapple-jack Airships will forever be the best feeling in a game. #fyp #haloinfinite #Halo #haloinfinitemultiplayer #xbox #xboxseriesx

♬ original sound - MrBadBit

Shoot Grenade Stations For A Sneaky Detonation:

If you’ve played Halo Infinite for any number of minutes, then you’ll know that players are constantly lobbing grenades across the map. While overwhelming an enemy Spartan with explosives is usually an acceptable way to get a kill, sometimes there’s an even better approach. You can find grenade stations scattered throughout each arena in Infinite, and you can shoot them for a cheeky remote detonation. 343 Industries created a Mythic-tier medal for pulling this stunt off, too. 

Fine, I didn’t learn this tip from Tiktok. But I think my friend Jesse did, and he told me about it, so it counts.

Offset Your Weapons For Screen Real Estate:

Rounding out our list is one more UI-related setting you should tweak. TikTok user tazamlive discovered a way to move weapons to the corner of the screen by adjusting a slider called Weapon Offset. Thank God we can finally see what’s in front of us when using the M41 SPNKR rocket launcher. 

@tazamlive

Will start uploading more helpful Tips for halo infinite! #halomultiplayer #haloinfinitetips #helpful #foryoupage #fyp

♬ original sound - dave_FS20

I hope this finely-curated list of Halo Infinite multiplayer tips will serve you well in future matches. Stay tuned to our exclusive coverage hub if you’re looking for more information ahead of the game’s official launch. If you found one of these TikToks particularly helpful, be sure to follow the creator. Oh, and be sure to leave a comment below, letting me know what you think about this innovative video game guide!

Fall For Indies: Solar Ash and November’s Feast Before Winter Hits

With winter just on the horizon, this is the last entry in our Fall For Indies series. So, it seems only fitting to end with a glut of great titles to keep players sustained over for the long, dark months ahead. One of our most anticipated games this year, Solar Ash, was originally slated to arrive earlier in the season but is now hitting just ahead of the frostiest time of the year. And while the nights are getting darker sooner, there are still plenty of bright indie launches we’ve got our eye on for the rest of 2021 and beyond.


A Heaping Serving Of Fall Releases

The last leaves are falling, but there’s no shortage of indies to serve up, as the upcoming feast has many appetizing courses. The Pathless, an action-packed adventure from the creators of Abzû, the brilliant roguelike Death’s Door, and the short-but-sweet A Short Hike are all coming to new platforms. With additional dishes to try like Moncage and Undungeon, this month’s gaming table is stuffed with goodies.

The Pathless

PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, iOS

Giant Squid’s action-adventure game released last year as a PlayStation console and Epic Games Store exclusive, but now it’s making its way to Steam. Playing as the Hunter, you traverse a vibrant open world with your eagle in order to make pincushions out of corrupted spirits and break the land’s curse. While that’s a very important goal, you should also take time to pet your feathery friend because not only is that adorable, but you can use your eagle to fly across the landscape, and it deserves a reward for all the effort. The Pathless hit Steam November 16.

Moncage

PC, iOS, Android

If mysterious puzzle cubes sound intriguing to you, you’ll want to check out Moncage, which launched November 16. On the surface, it seems like an easy challenge. You have to rotate a box connecting shapes to progress. Each side of the cube has a different scene and, by figuring out which object from one scene matches up perfectly with another, you’ll solve the puzzle. However, as the scene grows more complex, the answers become harder to find. While the puzzle game has no dialogue, that doesn’t keep it from folding narrative hints into its evolving challenges.

A Short Hike

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

A Short Hike made an unexpected appearance during the recent Wholesome Snack Showcase to announce its migration to PlayStation and Xbox consoles. As the title suggests, this game doesn’t take a long time to finish, but its journey is touching and there’s a lot of fun packed in. Playing as a young bird, you head to Hawk Peak Provincial Park to get away from the world’s cares and summit its highest mountain. You can even choose to give the game a visual boost to 4K on new-gen consoles, making A Short Hike’s stylized beauty even clearer when it comes to the new platforms on November 16.

Tavern Master

PC

Have you ever thought about settling down after all that adventuring? Maybe setting up a small tavern with the fruits of your dungeon-delving labors? Tavern Master, out November 16, will get you started. Growing your charming, medieval watering hole from a one-room establishment to a bustling kingdom of tables, servers, and refreshments won’t be easy. You’ll have to attract paying customers with special events and a good bard or two before you can expand your kitchens and guest rooms.

Wandering Trails: A Hiking Game

PC

It’s hard to think of a better way to escape from the real world’s increasingly cold weather than hopping into a world filled with sun-dappled fields, shimmering lakes, and no pressure. Wandering Trails is all about peaceful exploration. With no combat – or even objectives beyond enjoying the scenery – you’re free to traverse the game’s 20 square kilometers of wilderness as you see fit. Equipped with a handy camera, you can snap creative shots of the game’s various wildlife, dynamic weather, or memorable landmarks. Or you can simply admire the view.  

Undungeon

Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC

Released November 18 on Xbox consoles via Game Pass and PC, Undungeon sets out to recapture the feel of action-RPGs of yesterday in a game designed for the modern day. Spectacular pixel-art graphics combine with frantic combat in this sci-fi adventure. The world’s detail is unbelievable, and every element of the game, including the smallest clump of foliage, is hand-drawn, according to the developer. The story is equally mind-bending as your quest to restore multi-dimensional order will lead to you crafting a multiverse after your own heart.

Exo One

Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC

Changing pace from Undungeon’s combat-focused, pixilated sci-fi world, we move onto the incredibly naturalistic and mesmerizing alien journey in Exo One. This interstellar exploration title has been in development for nearly half a decade, with its expected 2020 launch getting pushed back a year. However, it finally hit Steam and Game Pass on November 18. The game places you in charge of a strange, disc-like craft which you’ll navigate through a multitude of absolutely stunning extraterrestrial landscapes.

Death’s Door

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

For many, Death’s Door is not only one of the best indies of the year, but one of the best games of the year period. The roguelike title starring a death-dealing crow was released this summer for Xbox consoles and PC, but the hit game is now making its way onto PlayStation platforms and Switch next week. Combat the forces trying to hold death at bay, travel through cleverly designed levels, and watch the narrative unfold as you overcome the game’s difficult challenges. Death’s Door just landed on its new perches earlier this week.

Len’s Island

PC

A little over a year since its successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, Len’s Island is entering Early Access today. Described as a blend of action, exploration, sim, and building, the upcoming title promises to cater to the “hardcore dungeon-crawler fans, home-builders and decorators, explorers and completionists, farming fanatics, collectible hoarders, and people who just want to live the simple life of chopping trees as the sun goes down.” On top of all that, Len’s Island seems to have a dark secret lurking beneath its idyllic shores.


Hot Indies For Cold Weather

There’s a blizzard of small titles heading this way, and even though this round-up series is at its end, you won’t get left out in the cold. Here’s a helpful list of some major releases falling with the snow during the rest of the year.

Solar Ash

PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC

After its delay a few weeks ago, Solar Ash is skating in before the close of the fall season. Lively in look and action, this colorful title follows the void runner Rei in her quest to save her home from the growing threat of the world-swallowing Ultravoid. Leaping into the rift, players will dash, grind, and grapple their way through the void. Along the way, you have to defeat giant foes, attacking weak spots found on their bodies – like a neon-dipped Shadow of the Colossus. Solar Ash is slated to release December 2.

Among Us

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, iOS, Android

Among Us’ PlayStation and Xbox console debut is set for December 14 – just making it in before the jaws of winter close in around us. The social deduction/friendship-ending murder simulator saw an unbelievable surge of popularity on the PC in 2020, but now everyone is invited to join in. With the game’s recent update adding in much-requested roles and in-game currencies, there are a lot of reasons for new and returning crewmates to log a few hours in Innersloth’s killer title.

Card Shark

Switch, PC

Get ready to make your way to the winner’s circle when Card Shark, from developer Nerial, gets dealt. With an irresistible hand-drawn art style and luxurious backdrop of France in the 1700s, the game is a feast for the eyes. But Card Shark’s gorgeous details aren’t the only thing you can lose your head over. Your opponents won’t suffer cheating in these high-stake contests, and some of the perilous games in this title aren’t the kind you play with cards.

Freshly Frosted

PC

“Fresh apples, hot cider, and delicious maple bar donuts. The perfect fall day.” This quote, posted to the game’s official Twitter recently, is not wrong. So hopefully, this sugary puzzle project gets a delivery date before too long. In Freshly Frosted, it’s your job to make sure a host of delightful treats are properly adorned with icing, sprinkles, and more before reaching the end of the line. You'll do this by setting up a winding maze of conveyor belts in and around specialized confection-making machinery. Send donuts, cookies, and more along the path in the correct order to move on to the next level, and maybe go out and reward yourself with a sweet snack afterward.

No Place For Bravery

Switch, PC

Currently set for a 2021 release date, No Place For Bravery is a brutal action-RPG with pixel graphics to die for. You play as Thorn, an aging fighter trudging through a deadly world, taking on foe after foe in your quest to find your daughter. The top-down title has some vicious combat, and even the smallest enemy can take an unwary warrior down. Developer Ysbryd hints that the choice-driven narrative may equal the fighting’s brutality, with increasingly challenging moral dilemmas thrown at the player. Between navigating these choices and defeating foes, reuniting with your daughter will be an uphill battle.

Appetizer

Soup Pot

Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC

Soup Pot is ready to greet you with a sizzling hot bowl after a chilly day when it comes out later this year. And it’s not just limited to soup. This food-cooking adventure presents over 100 dishes to whip up and serve to your fictional social media audience. With several kitchen types to choose from, you can set up your preferred 3D cooking station before grabbing a handful of ingredients.  The game encourages players to explore with their cooking, mixing, and matching ingredients to see what will happen.

Wytchwood

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

While the incredible-looking, fairytale-inspired world in Wytchwood appears ready for a knight in shining armor or a woe-begotten maiden to take the limelight, it’s actually a witch at the center of this tale. And once upon a time looks a little different through her eyes. Recently awoken from a mysterious slumber, the game’s atypical protagonist discovers she’s made a deal with a suspicious goat, and it doesn’t seem like there’s any getting out of it. Luckily, you have some magic on your side. Wytchwood is slated to release on December 9, which technically meets the team's fall release window.


Missed any of the indie titles in our Fall For Indies series? Check out the last entry here or grab the paper from the goose below to find the rest! 

Updated: All Of The Marvel And DC Superheroes In Fortnite

From Thanos to Batman, Fortnite is becoming a comic book fan's dream come true. If Epic Games keeps adding Marvel and DC characters at a rapid-fire clip, there's a chance we could have an awesome showdown of 100 heroes and villains years down the road. The latest addition is The Batman Who Laughs, a prominent character in the new Fortnite comic book published by DC Comics. Epic surprisingly didn't create any skins for the recently released movie, Eternals.

You can take a look at all of the comic characters that were a part of a season or an event below:

Ant-Man

Aquaman

Batman

The Batman Who Laughs

Beast Boy

Black Manta

Black Panther

Black Widow

Blade

Bloodsport

Cable

Captain America

Captain Marvel

Catwoman

Daredevil

Dark Phoenix

Deadpool

Deathstroke

Doctor Doom

Domino

The Flash

Galactus

Gamora

Ghost Rider

Green Arrow

Groot

Harley Quinn

Iron Man

The Joker

Loki

Mystique

Nick Fury

Poison Ivy

Psylocke

Raven

Shang-Chi

She-Hulk

Silver Surfer

Star-Lord

Storm

Taskmaster

Thanos

Thor

Venom

Wolverine

Wonder Woman

Disney, Please Use More Than Just Star Wars And Marvel In Games

When you think of Disney today, there’s a good chance either Star Wars or the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes to mind. That’s not surprising either – it’s the two properties Disney pumps the most time and money into. 

In games, it seems as if Disney exclusively pours resources into them – yes, there’s Kingdom Hearts, which has been great for decades but it seems that series is heading into a decidedly less Disney-based future – and it’s a shame because the nearly 100-year-old company has so much to offer to the video game space, both to classic fans and new ones alike. That’s why Disney needs to tap into its history.

I love a good Star Wars or MCU flick, and I, for the most part, love a game set in a galaxy far far away or in a Marvel-based timeline. But let’s be honest: we almost always know what we’re getting when Lucasfilm or Marvel flashes on screen when we boot up a game. If it’s Star Wars, you’re either getting a Jedi game, a dogfighting game, or a shooter.

On the Marvel side of things, games feel even more indistinguishable. You know that MCU character you love? Well, here’s a game using a different version of that character with a third-person viewpoint and a slant towards action-adventure gameplay. There’s nothing wrong with this, and I’d argue that players as a whole aren't quite burnt out on these two Disney universes yet, but surely that day will come. 

In Disney’s defense, it is attempting to break out of that mold a bit. XCOM developer Firaxis Games is currently making Marvel’s Midnight Suns, which is a turn-based, card-based take on the property of the (almost) same name. However, at the end of the day, it’s still a Marvel game, and one day when Marvel oversaturates the gaming market, people might be wary of booting up any game with that red logo on the box, regardless of genre. 

Remember when Disney used to make games (kinda) based on its own original movies à la The Lion King? I can immediately think of some movies recently released by Disney that feel ripe for a game: Raya and the Last Dragon – make it a Souls-like game if you’re feeling frisky, Disney, or even something akin to this year’s Kena: Bridge of Spirits. Moana is already set up like a video game in pacing and narrative, with built-in bosses too. Give us her raft and let us sail around the Pacific Ocean Assassin’s Creed Black Flag-style

Make an Alice In Wonderland game that allows us, the player, to make choices that fix everything wrong about the Tim Burton live-action remakes. Angels in the Outfield – boom, there’s your sports game. Fantasia, obviously a music rhythm game (and one that doesn’t use Kinect, please). Finding Nemo could make a great ocean ecosystem-building game. Frozen: A Let It Go karaoke experience writes itself. Bambi, clearly that’s a hunti...you know what, never mind. 

The point is, Disney has a treasure trove of movies and more to lean on when it comes to developing games, and yet, we almost exclusively get Marvel and Star Wars games. The reality is that those two names make money, and they make a lot of it, too. They’re also great for endless sequels, but so are many of Disney’s other franchises. Pirates of the Caribbean immediately comes to mind. 

There’s a dearth of pirate games out there, despite pirates being the most “uhhh yeah, pirates + video games = easiest financial slam dunk of all-time.” Sure, there’s Sea of Thieves, which I love, but that feels very particular in style and not for everyone. And yes, I know it got a Pirates of the Caribbean expansion, but that was never going to be as successful as a standalone game based on the IP, nor does it really allow for the sequels that Disney loves so much. 

There’s also Ubisoft’s Skull & Bones, but that’s stuck in development hell, and who knows when that’s coming. Not only does Pirates of the Caribbean have a three-movie history to draw on – oh yes, I definitely am aware there are five movies – but it also has over 50 years of Disney Parks ride history to use. Want to avoid using movie characters? Easy, make a game with Captain Redd from the classic ride. 

Hell, make a Halloweentown game and tell Hogwarts Legacy to kick rocks. Okay, so maybe Halloweentown isn’t a true Harry Potter killer, but you get the idea. What I’m saying is that the foundation for a great Disney game is out there. In fact, there are many great foundations out there, hundreds even. And yet, Disney continues to seemingly build its empire on just Star Wars and Marvel. When you think about it, not developing games based on other properties is really just money left on the table, and oddly enough, that’s not really Disney’s modus operandi. 

Of course, there is the whole “mega-billion dollar company definitely knows its business better than someone writing about how they want a Pirates of the Caribbean game” aspect of this all, but even if a game like that doesn’t sell as much as Star Wars or Marvel, it’s not like Disney doesn’t have the cash to burn. Plus, let’s not act like every one of these games is a slam dunk, especially when Marvel’s Avengers, a game that absolutely should have been a slam dunk, was disappointing overall for Square Enix. So what gives? Just do the thing, Disney.

The Best Idle Games To Play During Holiday Season 2021

This holiday season, maybe you're traveling. Maybe you're not. Maybe you're going to be stuffing massive quantities of turkey into your craw, with handfuls of stuffing and cranberry gobbler sandwiches for weeks of high-quality leftovers. Perhaps you're just hanging out with a can of carbonated water and a good video game. Whatever you're doing, the holidays can be full of hustle and bustle, stress, good times, and everything else – so it might be time for an idle game. A game you can boot up, make a few decisions, and then either return to it five minutes later, five hours later, or even five days later. Good idlers, also known as "clickers" since the genre primarily began with games that took tons of tapping or clicking alongside idle economy and resource management, can be tough to find. This holiday season, I provide you with two excellent choices for your playing (or lack thereof).

Cell to Singularity

The first choice is an excellent one for those of us that love going to museums, TV programming about dinosaurs, and just learning about anything and everything. Edutainment, baby! Hop on to Cell to Singularity, available on Steam, mobile, and browser. You start as a single cell and evolve into the sprawling tree of evolution, complete with cool models and hot facts about mammals, dinosaurs, and human civilization. In addition to working on your core loop (yep, you do reset your progress from time to time for enormous bonuses as you continue to work on your "simulation"), you'll unlock macro story beats and advance separately in several other side areas. 

Click here to watch embedded media

You build up a dinosaur evolution track separately that impacts what you can build in your core evolution, like birds, lizards, snakes, and other reptiles. You also get to work up a track of planets, constellations, and asteroid belts in the Beyond after you unlock that. Filled with all kinds of fun facts, adorable models of whales that swim around the environment, and more evolutionary critters than you can shake a DNA strand at, Cell to Singularity provides a deluge of enchanting edutainment. Even better if you can talk some of your nieces or nephews into it when they can't put their iPads down over a family dinner! Go evolve!

Melvor Idle

Runescape. Remember chopping trees and banging on rocks until your mouse broke? Imagine doing all that again but without actually having to move around a game world. Fish, chop trees, mine rocks, and slay dangerous monsters in Melvor Idle, which serves up a big RPG fantasy world in an idle package. You're probably saying to yourself, "okay, but I can watch bars and numbers go up in any idle game – why Melvor?" Melvor has a ton of depth if you're looking for it! Sure, you can set it and forget it and do whatever for hours and come back to a large resource yield, or you can play more actively, taking on unique monsters in real-time combat and exploring dungeons for rare drops.

Click here to watch embedded media

Oodles of other pursuits feed into your core resource gathering, crafting, and battle mechanics, like studying the stars with astronomy for modular global passive boosts or training your agility on the obstacle course. Whether you want to cast spells, blast your foes with a bow, or wear a hefty suit of armor with a runed blade, your options are covered. Plant seeds at the farm to harvest food, alchemical wonders, and more. Cook up the perfect pie. Summon goblins, wolves, and other creatures to assist you in combat. There's even a hardcore mode if you feel like putting it all on the line and having your character toasted for good if you die. And, bonus – there are no pay-to-win or pay-for-convenience features here. 

Whether you only have mere moments to check your phone or if you're blasting through a few hours on PC, idlers have a place in a well-balanced gaming diet. Which idlers have your attention? Let us know in the comments!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Thanksgiving Cook-Off

Is there anything better than sitting down to a big feast, surrounded by friends and family on Thanksgiving? Yes. Absolutely crushing a culinary rival before sitting down to that feast. Which is why, this year, I sparked up a totally friendly cooking competition with Game Informer’s resident Instagram chef, Brian Shea. Of course, I have no cooking skills. Even the least flammable foods turn to fiery ash as soon as I enter the kitchen. But that doesn’t matter because I have a virtual ace up my sleeve.

I’ve been putting Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ newly introduced stove through its paces, growing crops, stealing techniques from villagers, and gathering all possible ingredients to whip up some mouth-watering dishes. So, instead of a fair fight that I’d lose, I challenged my fellow editor to a battle between his real-life creations and my, obviously superior, New Horizons masterpieces (the secrets of which I’m ready to share). I’ll leave the reader to decide who gets the gold as we go through several courses, but I’ll bet a million Bells I know who wins.

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Course: Appetizers

Okay, first round. And right out of the gates, I’m already smoking the competition with some mixed-fruits sandwiches. Those street tacos are no slouch, I’ll give you that, but the ingredients and teamwork put into my refreshing appetizer are clearly showing through. Anyone looking to replicate my success should start getting friendly with a culinarily inclined villager for the recipe. It also wouldn’t hurt to shake every tree you can find for an orange, pear, and peach. Oh, and put on your farming gear because you’ll need wheat for that delicious, fluffy bread.  

 

Course: Salad

In this salad showdown, you can go ahead and toss my competitor’s lettuce letdown right in the trash because my turnip salad is unbeatable. Anyone familiar with the Stalk Market will know the best and most valuable root vegetables come straight from Daisy Mae on a Sunday morning. What you might not know is she overnights her favorite customers the instructions for her secret turnip-themed dishes after a sale. So, if you want full wallets and full bellies, invest in this cash crop. You know Brian wishes he did.

 

Course: Sides

I found this delectable bread gratin recipe in a bottle just sitting out on the beach, so it seems like fate wanted me to win this side dish category. Hopefully, the amber waves of grain in your wheat field are bountiful because, for this dish, you’re going to need enough to make regular flour and its whole-wheat variant. But pound-for-pound, bread gratin is going to give you a more satisfyingly cheesy mouthful than any macaroni. So, who can complain about waiting days for Leif to finally sell wheat starters or the slow work of picking crops one-by-one when the final reward is crushing my fellow editor?

 

Course: Fish

Sometimes a perfect plate doesn’t need a ton of extra ingredients and effort. Case in point: carpaccio di marlin blue. Sure, some chefs may prefer to cook their fish, place it over rice and throw in some greenery for good measure. But, for that elevated simplicity in your Animal Crossing cuisine, you just need to catch one blue marlin at the nearest pier, chop it up, and serve it still tasting of the sea. And if you don’t hook the impressive cerulean creature right away, you can always give the unwanted fish to other cooks so they can make inferior meals. 

 

Course: Dessert

With my Roost sable cookies up for the dessert round, you can stick a fork in this competition – and my rival’s waffle – because it’s done. It was a hard path to the winner’s circle on this one, as I had to order coffee from Brewster for six days, and drink every cup under the pressure of his judgmental stare, to convince the barista to give up the recipe. I’m either feeling the thrill of victory right now or the copious amounts of caffeine, paired with this winning sugar-and-flour-filled treat, are sending my energy levels through the roof.

If you're looking to get in on the cooking action with an impressive dish, head on over to my rival's recipe of how to make the Leblanc Curry from Persona 5.

Every Video Game Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Ranked

Thanksgiving Day used to be the start of the holiday shopping season, and the parade Macy's holds in the middle of New York City every year is designed to promote the biggest names and brands you'll be hearing about for the next month. Given how big of an industry video games have become in the last 40 years, you'd think every other balloon in the show would feature a memorable Nintendo or Sony character hovering down the chilly street. Surprisingly, that's not the case, and only a handful of characters and games have had the honor to join in the festivities. We've collected them here in one place for you to gawk at, and have ranked them for your enjoyment.

Here are all of the video game balloons featured in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade over the years:

9

Red

2015 – 2017

Technically designed after the character from the Angry Birds movie, we'll still allow Red on this list because he also originates from a video game. You know what? This balloon is a messed-up inclusion for this event. Angry Birds love to be flung at buildings to take them down. They're beings of pure destruction that should not be anywhere near tall structures in a crowded city. It's just not safe for a nice, family-friendly event.

On the other hand, it looks just like the character from the movie, so mission accomplished there.

8

Pikachu (Version 1)

2001 – 2005

The Pokémon craze hit America hard in 1998, captivating the hearts and minds of children across the nation. While it was arguably the biggest game phenomenon in recent memory, the enthusiasm arrived too late to be included in that year's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Somehow, it took three years for Pokémon's most prolific mascot, Pikachu, to make his Macy's Parade debut and start its journey as the video game character to appear the most times. 

Pikachu's 2001 design is noticeably different from the electric rodent we know today. It has a protruding snout, more pronounced cheeks, and straighter, pointier ears. Its pose is a nod to the flying Pikachu from Pokémon Yellow, which has the mascot floating with the help of several attached balloons. How fitting! 

7

Eruptor

2014 – 2016

Remember toys-to-life? Well, this is toys-to-larger-than-life (believe me, I'm not too fond of it either, but it had to be said). Eruptor made his gaseous, inflatable debut in the 2014 Macy's parade and managed to stay in the show for three years. Maybe one of the best-realized recreations on this list, this sole Skylander representative features a fun, active pose that makes it look like he's trotting through the streets of New York City.

It's too bad this massive Eruptor didn't make the PR cycle for Skylanders: Giants because that would have been *chef kiss* perfection. Honestly, I was going to bury the Skylanders franchise here a little, but this fiery fiend is growing on me. Maybe I should check eBay quick to see if anyone is selling their figures... 

6

Pikachu and Eevee

2021

Here's our newest Pokémon balloon, set to debut in 2021. For the first time, Pikachu isn't the only Pokémon floating through the NY streets. Eevee is included since it's become the co-mascot for the franchise, thanks to 2018's Let's Go games elevating the adorable creature to that status. Both are seated in a Pokéball sled, reminding us of the coming winter and snow. Replacing the snowman Pikachu, this balloon celebrates the 25th anniversary of Pokémon. It's ... fine. The sled brings the design down a notch, and Eevee could stand to have its own giant balloon and crew pulling it along. 

5

Pikachu with Snowman (Version 3)

2014 – 2020

It's a Pikachu wearing winter weather gear and snuggling a little snowman Pikachu. What's not to love? Having the second-longest reign of the Pikachu balloons in parade history, it's not hard to see why this one was kept around until recently. It's adorable, seasonably appropriate, and will be sorely missed in the line-up this year.

4

Sonic The Hedgehog (Version 1)

1993 – 1997

While it’s not the most impressive balloon in the history of Thanksgiving day parades, it is high on this list for one notable reason. This inflatable Sonic is the first video game balloon to fly in the annual event. The year this balloon debuted was even a notoriously off year for the blue blur, with the highly anticipated sequel Sonic 3 missing the vital holiday season the parade is meant to advertise for and instead released a few months later, in February 1994.

In an unfortunate series of events during Sonic's inaugural 1993 parade, the balloon was caught in some strong winds, blowing the mascot into a lamppost and puncturing its eye. It deflated then and there, with pieces of the lamppost injuring two parade-goers. Not the right foot for video game balloons to start on, but luckily the floating blue hedgehog was patched up and flew in the parade for a few more years before being replaced with an updated design.

3

Goku

2018 – 2019, 2021

Okay, so technically, Goku isn't a video game balloon, but he has been in some great games. Also, I feel bad for the folks who wanted to see him in Smash Bros., so this is my slight nod to the Saiyan fighter. It's not often Goku is lauded in a grand American spectacle, especially at an event that even Mario has never appeared in, so we're going to highlight this small win for anime's most well-known himbo.

Goku didn't appear in the heyday of Dragon Ball Z, nor is he in his iconic Super Saiyan form. His first time entering the parade was in 2018 to promote the newest iteration of the series he hails from, Dragon Ball Super. Adorned with blue hair, this is, of course, Goku in his Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan form, also known as Super Saiyan Blue. Surprisingly, his appearance wasn't just a one-off, having appeared in the Macy's event in 2019 and is returning for 2021.

2

Sonic The Hedgehog (Version 2)

2011 – 2013, 2021

Now, this is a Sonic. Look at those lanky limbs, that cool mid-run pose, friendly smirk, and a thumbs up... thumb pointing at... I don't really know what that thumb is doing. Taking inspiration from the modern Sonic design, which debuted on the Dreamcast, this balloon is begging to fly through the city streets like the end of Sonic Adventure. Only without all of the flooding and destruction. Although, it would be cooler if this were Super Sonic instead. Minor point deductions there, I guess.

This Sonic was brought out of retirement after spending seven years off the parade route, and will fly again this year in honor of the franchise's 30th anniversary. Points reinstated for making it this long, my spikey azure friend.

1

Pikachu (Version 2)

2006 – 2013

The simplicity of this Pikachu balloon is key. It's huge, cute, playful, and most importantly, recognizable from blocks away. Out of the now four different Pikachu balloons, this has to be the best. It's the character in its purest form and has light-up cheeks. In the early years of its run, this balloon was paired with a large Pokéball floating out in front of it, making the overall presentation even better. I don't know what else to say. This is hands down my favorite of the character balloons. Let's hope someone is brave enough to top it one day.  

Expanding Visions And Expectations – How Heart Machine Hopes To Wow Players With Solar Ash.

Solar Ash represents a dramatic leap forward for Heart Machine. After eleasing the 2D Zelda-inspired Hyper Light Drifter in 2016 to critical acclaim, fans of the game clamored to see what was next and many were surprised to see something totally different. Solar Ash is bigger and bolder than Hyper Light Drifter in every way, from its switch to a fully 3D world to its new emphasis on high-speed traversal over combat-focused dungeon crawling. But what is Solar Ash? Heart Machine’s creative director, Alx Preston, took us through a tour of the game to discuss its origins, gameplay, and how he is coping with the fear of the sophomore slump.

In Preston’s words the “stupid elevator pitch” for Solar Ash is Super Mario Galaxy meets Shadow of the Colossus. Given that Solar Ash takes place in a beautiful abstract alien world, features tons of platforming, and pits players against titanic bosses, the description has merit. Unlike the 2D pixels that built Hyper Light Drifter, Solar Ash’s fully realized 3D environments give Preston the chance to craft the sort of worlds that provided an immersive escape for him during the advent of 3D graphics.

“I definitely at a certain point had ambitions beyond just 2D that I wanted to get into with 3D because that's where I think games really changed my perspective on what was possible creatively,” says Preston. “My first few 3D games I truly loved, like [Super] Mario 64 and all that stuff, it just opened my eyes to a whole new world.”

Heart Machine is still keeping most of the details about Solar Ash’s plot close to the chest, but we do know that players control a voidrunner named Rei. What is a voidrunner, you ask? Think of them as cosmic spelunkers who explore black holes in search of resources. Preston describes Rei as a “very capable” voidrunner with a good head on her shoulders. She’ll need to be good at her job, because one particularly dangerous black hole known as the Ultravoid threatens to swallow her home world. To prevent this, she’ll have to dive head-first into the Void to uncover a way to save her planet.

Within the Ultravoid lies a fragmented world of surreal alien beauty. Tree-sized mushrooms, sea anemone-like grass, and luminous orange rivers – all surrounded by a layer of thick green clouds – are just a few of the natural sights players will admire. Solar Ash is a trippy visual delight that pops with color.

The Ultravoid is divided into various expansive biomes, fragments of the worlds that have been consumed over presumably eons. Everything is designed to emphasize the game’s primary selling point: high-speed platforming. While designing Hyper Light Drifter, Preston originally wanted the game to feature speedy traversal elements. However, those ideas fell to the wayside due to Drifter’s more limited scope and to focus on its stronger combat aspects.

Rei is quickness personified, gracefully exploring the Ultravoid using a form of skating that Preston says is inspired by games such as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Jet Grind Radio, and Super Mario 64. For Mario in particular, Preston was primarily fascinated in how speedrunners chain together plumber’s moves to complete the game in quick fashion. “Watching speed runs and how they do it's like, there’s a flow to that. That’s super inspiring to me,” Preston says.

In addition to skating and jumping, Rei can also grind on rails and utilize a handy lasso to hook onto grapple points to pull herself across gaps. Solar Ash is all about flow of movement and traversal, and Preston hopes that seamlessly stringing these moves together to overcome obstacles feels as satisfying as it looks. It looks so cool that it hurts the ego to miss a jump but thankfully nothing else thanks to the lack of fall damage.

Along the way various monsters will appear to impede Rei’s progress. They don’t present a steep challenge; you can take them down in just a few hits. Don’t expect to learn new combo strings or anything complicated like that, either. Heart Machine wants to keep players moving so combat consists of simple hack-and-slash elements while using speed boosts and dodging to outmaneuver foes before quickly returning to exploration. Since you’ll still likely be in the middle of platforming while engaged in combat, the depth comes from how players incorporate the environment into their offense.

“We throw a bunch at you during platforming challenges to kind of elevate that,” Preston explains. “So, it's a blend between the environment that they're in and the individual mob or mobs themselves. It's kind of that interplay and intersection that we're trying to balance out.”

To that end, expect to face plenty of flying enemies or foes perched on platforms firing ranged attacks, in addition to opponents that just come at you head-on. But at the end of the day, enemies are more or less glorified speed bumps. They’ll get in the way, but if you’re both quick and savvy enough, you can drop them without losing your forward momentum.

You don’t have time to sweat the small fry for too long anyway. Your primary order of business in each zone is to seek out and slay its Remnant. These massive beasts come in all shapes and sizes, but they’re hidden and must be drawn out. To summon the Remnant, first Rei has to take out Dregs, strange eyeballs attached to walls and other surfaces that are scattered around the environment. It’ll take some platforming finesse to reach and destroy them all, but doing so provokes the Remnant to arrive in all of its majestic beauty. The Remnant we got to see takes the form of a massive flying serpent protected by a thick, bony armor resembling a spinal column.

Of course, getting the beast to show its face is the easy part. The real challenge comes in taking it down. Defeating this particular Remnant requires Rei to leap atop its back and work her way to its head. The Remnant soars through the air, challenging the player to stay on board as it twists its body in an attempt to knock Rei off. Rei gradually jumps and skates her way towards the front, taking out glowing nodes along the way until she reaches her target. Once perched atop the skull, she delivers a final stab to the head as a killing blow, the impact of which washes out the screen in a black and white flash for a striking dramatic effect. Although I got to see how Rei takes down this specific Remnant, Preston says other Remnants possess different behaviors and patterns. In terms of the number of Remnants players will face, Preston simply says there will be “a good amount” of them.

Once the Remnant falls, a node on a towering device called the Star Seed lights up. In every level we saw, this strange contraption can be seen from pretty much anywhere, and the central goal of the game is to activate all of its nodes. Visiting the Star Seed reveals that the imposing corpse of the Remnant Rei just killed now rests at its base. One would assume that this area will be the final resting place for the other Remnants but Preston cryptically says that “they lay as long as they may lay.”

Zones within the Ultravoid may appear to be little more than a series of platforming challenges but there’s plenty of secrets and lore to uncover should you decide to poke around. Certain pockets, which Preston refers to as narrative spaces, allow players to take their time inspecting ancient architecture and artifacts for information that feeds into the game’s world-building. Solar Ash spells out its narrative in a more straightforward fashion compared to Hyper Light Drifter. It has actual text, for example. Converse with NPCs and they’ll share personal stories about how they ended up inside of the Ultravoid.

“Our crews put a lot of time and effort into fleshing out and expressing a lot of different ideas about the kind of events that have happened here and sad or tragic stories that have occurred throughout these different biomes that have been sucked into the Ultravoid, “says Preston.

Speaking of other characters, Rei will also receive assistance from allies. One of them is Cyd, a sentient A.I. that provides guidance about each zone and backstory on the voidrunners. She also outfits Rei with some limited upgrades. There’s also the giant, ethereal humanoid seen in the trailers. Rei visits this being often, and its role is one of the game’s most tantalizing mysteries. However, Preston still isn’t ready to delve into that element of the story just yet, so the creature remains left to our imagination.

Solar Ash has been in development for four years now, and Heart Machine has grown from having under 10 regular employees during Hyper Light Drifter’s production to more than 20. Much of that growth has been staffing up on designers with expertise in crafting 3D worlds, and while the learning curve has brought its share of challenges, Preston says the secret to coping with those hardships has been ensuring he has good people on his team. “I think that's the key for me, was making sure to keep bringing over talented, good-natured people that wanted to build really dope stuff together that were good collaborators … it becomes a whole lot more enjoyable and easier to bear the burden of the challenge.”

Of course, for every studio that has a successful first outing, there’s always the fear of the sophomore slump. As a designer, Preston says he suffers the same anxieties about failing as any other creative person. He’s his own worst critic, and despite his overwhelming pride for Solar Ash, the fear of disappointing players who loved Hyper Light Drifter occasionally rears its ugly head.

“That being said, you can’t let it get the best of you,” says Preston. “And you have to be able to push forward and focus on the stuff that’s right in front of you. Not the what-could-be's or anything like that. Otherwise, you’ll spiral, you’ll just get trapped. And that's all it is. It’s a trap.”

Despite those anxieties, Preston couldn’t be prouder of what Heart Machine has accomplished with Solar Ash and firmly believes it’s created a fun and unique experience.

“Regardless of scores, of people being disappointed because it’s not Hyper Light next, or whatever else, there’s a ton of really cool stuff in here that you'd be a fool to miss.”


This article originally appeared in Issue 337 of Game Informer.

Top 10 Co-Op Games To Play Right Now

Local co-op might’ve taken a nosedive in recent years, but multiplayer is still an intrinsic quality of some of the game community’s most popular genres, namely shooters and action/adventure. We want to take the time to highlight some of the best cooperative titles out right now, from wacky platformers to CRPGs. Here are ten games that you and your core group of friends shouldn’t ignore.

It Takes Two

2 Players – PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

It Takes Two is an imaginative case study on heavy topics like divorce and emotional trauma. As wooden/clay miniatures of parents Cody and May, you and a friend (locally or online) must survive angry bee armies, a threatening space monkey, and more to help rekindle the couple’s love and mend a troubled relationship with their distraught daughter, Rose. The journey to rebecoming life-sized versions of yourselves includes a delightful array of team-based mechanics. Cody and May often have individualistic abilities and can’t find success without assisting one another. Perhaps, you’ll be piloting a fighter plane, swerving out the way of tree branches, while your co-op partner engages in hand-to-hand combat with a militaristic squirrel atop the aircraft’s rickety wings. It Takes Two is a quirky love story that’ll bring you and your friend or significant other that much closer. | Our Review

Back 4 Blood

1-4 Players – PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Back 4 Blood, like its zombie-slaying sister franchise, Left 4 Dead, pits four survivors against a horde of grotesque “Ridden” across an infested, decimated American landscape. The AI-operated Game Director creates variations in campaign playthroughs so that each level constantly feels unique. For instance, sometimes, the Ridden mobs will be relatively absent. Other times, you’ll fight to the death in daring boss battles. A card system adds more nuance to the gameplay as your crew enters matches with stat increases or entirely new abilities. What you spend your accumulated skill points on – extra lives for the squad or personal buffs – gives Back 4 Blood a satisfying class-building metagame. And if you’re in the mood to truly tighten your bonds (or tear them apart), queue into Swarm Mode to take on waves of player-controlled monstrosities. | Our Review

Cuphead

1-2 Players – PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Mac

Studio MDHR’s homage to retro cartoons and run and guns is about reaction speed, perseverance, and communication. Cuphead is far more than its vintage, hand-drawn aesthetic. Behind a welcoming theme park backdrop and jazz-inspired score lie sneering medusas and three-headed dragons. You and a friend hop into the brown loafers of Cuphead and Mugman to defeat the wily debtors of Lucifer himself throughout an arduous odyssey where minor mistakes meet swift punishment. However, the game also rewards chemistry. Weapon types – like homing bullets – ultimates, and special abilities (called charms) add cool variances to the freneticism. Whether you’re slaying an animated birdhouse in aviary combat or stomping out a mustachioed cigar, Cuphead is a fantastic cooperative title that perfectly balances both pain and pleasure. | Our Review

Destiny 2

1-6 Players – PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC

So, you and your pals downloaded Destiny 2 and don’t know where to start. That’s fair. Bungie’s latest space opera series has an overwhelming amount of content. Expansions like Shadowkeep and Beyond Light (to name a few) come with enticing lore, locations, gear, and missions – the features that make the game so timeless and iterative. Destiny 2 might not be the most accessible entry on this list, but it gracefully leaps over this hurdle with fun endgame challenges prioritizing gunplay, strategy, and synchronization. Your squad might choose to play Crucible and prove their skills to the world. Or, they might opt to try out Destiny 2’s popular PvE playlists. Raids are the ultimate test, forcing six players to survive high-stakes scenarios for hours on end. Yet, emerging victorious from these legendary bouts with a dedicated fireteam is always worth the immense effort and time sink. | Our Review

Diablo II: Resurrected

1-8 Players –PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Diablo II: Resurrected is wonderful ARPG nostalgia repackaged with a 4K sheen. Grim isometric environments come to life like never before in Blizzard’s classic 2000 dungeon-crawler. Matchmake (on console) or create lobbies (on PC) to vanquish legions of grotesque ghouls and defeat the deific Lord of Terror himself. With such a high player count, you’re better off prioritizing team-friendly builds to breeze through skirmishes and boss encounters. Watching casters like the Sorceress or Necromancer fill the battlefield with elemental attacks and summons, respectively, while melee fighters like the Barbarian and Paladin cover the flanks never gets old. | Our Review

Divinity: Original Sin 2

1-4 Players – PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, iOS

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is one of the most acclaimed western RPGs in recent memory and the highest-rated game on this list. Brimming with an ensemble cast of oddball characters as well as an open-ended, choice-driven approach to almost every situation, you’ll occasionally find yourself overwhelmed with Original Sin 2’s sheer depth. Spice things up by adding three other players (or one more for split-screen) to the mix. In Original Sin 2, the actions of your player-controlled party members can lead to unexpected emergent/divergent narratives. Deviants might get you in trouble with the law or other NPCs, while altruistic supporters do the opposite. Throw in turn-based combat, and that same chaotic quality bleeds into every aspect of the game. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is sort of like playing through a J.R.R. Tolkien novel with a party of your favorite genre fiction pals. | Our Review

Monster Hunter Rise

1-4 Players – Switch, PC

Monster Hunter Rise didn’t immediately impress us as much as World did, but venturing beyond the gates of Kamura Village with others guarantees exciting engagements. For example, mounting (wyvern riding) the Magnamalo while three other hunters buffet the malicious beast with charge-blade artillery, coated arrows, and hunting horn strikes is when Rise truly shines. But let’s not just forget about experiencing the game’s quieter, more immersive moments with friends: sprinting through lush forests teeming with unique fauna, galloping down ruined villages with a pack of multi-colored palamutes, or grappling/climbing ancient temples to the tune of an epic orchestral soundtrack. Even playing the lackluster tower defense “rampage quests” with companions is a treat. Rise is a solid Monster Hunter entry made way better with a dedicated friend group. | Our Review

Sea of Thieves

1-4 Players – Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC

Sea of Thieves didn’t set sail as smoothly as Rare wanted it to. Initially plagued by a lack of noteworthy content and task diversity, these issues have since been remedied with “seasons” of deliverables, including new cosmetics, missions, and PvP/PvE support. And now that the legendary swashbuckler himself, Jack Sparrow, is a full-fledged member of your seafaring posse, there’s never been a better time to be a pirate. Grab a troupe of gold-loving deviants and take to the endless blue waters while staying a few nautical miles ahead of tentacled krakens, leviathan sharks, and Davy Jones. When all is said and done, drag your collected treasure chests onto the ship’s bow, then break out the mugs and accordions. Leading up to its release, Rare emphasized that Sea of Thieves is a “pirate simulator.” This statement still rings true today. Now, go grab four people with sturdy sea legs and dive in. | Our Review

Phasmophobia

1-4 Players – PC

Ever found yourself surfing the horror section of YouTube, watching clips or low-quality reruns of Ghost Hunters with a bunch of friends? Phasmophobia lets you live out those paranormal fantasies. A first-person perspective throws you and your buds right into the action, exploring abandoned cabins in the woods, maze-like high schools, and sterile prison complexes with faulty flashlights, wooden crosses, camcorders, etc. There’s nothing quite like entering a seemingly vacant (and frostbite-cold) garage and watching your avatar’s shaky breaths become visible wintry whisps. When that ax-wielding animated corpse or nightgowned wraith comes rushing around a blind corner, the hairs on the back of everyone’s neck are bound to stand up, followed by a flurry of laughs and screams. Simply put, Phasmophobia is wicked fun.

Tabletop Simulator

1-10 Players – PC, Mac

Didn’t see this entry coming, did you? Tabletop Simulator beat out other heavyweight co-op titles because of its unparalleled uniqueness. There might’ve been a time when analog games only appealed to a niche audience, but nowadays (especially during a pandemic), gathering around a virtual table to roll dice, read cards, or place tokens is a solid game night option. Hell, you can even flip the table if you get frustrated! There’s an unfathomable number of multiplayer titles to check out – we recommend Hanabi and Betrayal at House on the Hill.  Moreover, creation tools offer a rare chance to make your own tabletop projects. And let’s be honest, designing games with friends is a cooperative/collaborative experience like no other.

Are we missing any of your co-op favorites? Let us know in the comments section! If you enjoyed reading this, check out some other genre top 10s by clicking on our “List of Lists” hub below.