A Kingdom Hearts-Themed PlayStation 4 Pro Is Coming To North America

Sony announced this morning a special Kingdom Hearts-themed PlayStation 4 Pro console will be available when Kingdom Hearts III launches in January.

You can check out some photos of the system below. It has all kinds of Kingdom Hearts aesthetic touches on both the system and the controller and it will include a 1 TB HDD and a copy of Kingdom Hearts III, which means it will also include access to the game’s PS4-exclusive digital content.

 

Earlier this year, it was announced Japan would be getting a Kingdom Hearts PS4, which you can see right here. The designs of the two systems are distinct, but both have been created to celebrate the release of Kingdom Hearts III. The system will be $399.99 and will be available on January 29 exclusively at GameStop.

Disclaimer: Game Informer is owned by GameStop.

[Source: PlayStation.Blog]

Beta Test A Kingdom Hearts-Themed PlayStation 4 Pro Is Coming To North America

A Kingdom Hearts-Themed PlayStation 4 Pro Is Coming To North America

Sony announced this morning a special Kingdom Hearts-themed PlayStation 4 Pro console will be available when Kingdom Hearts III launches in January.

You can check out some photos of the system below. It has all kinds of Kingdom Hearts aesthetic touches on both the system and the controller and it will include a 1 TB HDD and a copy of Kingdom Hearts III, which means it will also include access to the game’s PS4-exclusive digital content.

 

Earlier this year, it was announced Japan would be getting a Kingdom Hearts PS4, which you can see right here. The designs of the two systems are distinct, but both have been created to celebrate the release of Kingdom Hearts III. The system will be $399.99 and will be available on January 29 exclusively at GameStop.

Disclaimer: Game Informer is owned by GameStop.

[Source: PlayStation.Blog]

Beta Test A Kingdom Hearts-Themed PlayStation 4 Pro Is Coming To North America

New Gameplay Today – Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes

Welcome to the latest episode of New Gameplay Today, No More Heroes fans! You’ve come to the right place. On this episode, Imran Khan is showing off some gameplay for director Suda51’s upcoming indie-inspired game Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes. We also have Suda51’s #1 fan Suriel Vazquez offering insight into what exactly this upcoming Nintendo Switch exclusive is all about. Check out the written impressions from this demo, too. We hope you enjoy the episode!

Beta Test New Gameplay Today – Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes

New Gameplay Today – Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes

Welcome to the latest episode of New Gameplay Today, No More Heroes fans! You’ve come to the right place. On this episode, Imran Khan is showing off some gameplay for director Suda51’s upcoming indie-inspired game Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes. We also have Suda51’s #1 fan Suriel Vazquez offering insight into what exactly this upcoming Nintendo Switch exclusive is all about. Check out the written impressions from this demo, too. We hope you enjoy the episode!

Beta Test New Gameplay Today – Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes

Travis Strikes Again Feels Like A Return To The Madness Suda51 Does Best

It has been over ten years since the first No More Heroes game released, taking players into the strange and murderous land of Santa Destroy from the perspective of the strange and murderous Travis Touchdown. While there has been a sequel to the game, the first title in the series kind of ended an era for both Travis and developer Grasshopper Manufacture. It was the last game that saw Goichi Suda, better known by his penname of Suda51, in the director’s chair and nothing from the studio since has felt quite the same way since.

A decade later, Suda is stepping back up to direct a game again in the form of Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes and, after hands-on time with new levels, we can report that it definitely feels like Suda51’s style is back in full force again.

The latest demo for Travis Strikes Again shows new levels for the first time since the game was revealed in an August 2017 Nintendo Direct. Grasshopper has indicated that they want every level in the game to feel different even though the basic framework remains the same. Unlike the previous No More Heroes games with a traditional 3D action game camera, Travis Strikes Again takes a top-down perspective for the majority of its gameplay. To that end, Grasshopper wanted to make each level still feel unique in theme, tone, and mechanics.

The first new level was titled Life is Destroy, which puts Travis into a seemingly cozy suburban neighborhood. The comfortable feelings do not last long, however, as Travis is made aware that a serial killer called the Doppelganger has been active in the suburb. To win the game, Travis must solve the murders, unmask the Doppelganger, and move on to the next work. As Travis travels between houses, a giant glowing skull follows him, causing an instant kill if he touches it. If there is an explanation for the skull, I didn’t get a chance to see it, but I’m hoping it has no explanation.

After investigating a murder scene, Travis is attacked by a monstrous humanoid sheep. The mid-boss charges at you repeatedly and is basically unaffected by anything you do, serving as a pretty strong tutorial for learning how to use your skills. By holding the left bumper and combining it with a face button, Travis can skills that the player has earned and put in slots. These skills are found around the game world in the form of Skill Chips and can drastically alter how well you proceed through fights.

One skill was a time bomb that can be shot out to stick to enemies. By using this on the monster sheep, I could take advantage of his calmer moments to stick a bomb to him and then run away when he got more aggressive, giving me time to let the skill cooldown. Skills also become important when playing in co-op, as synergy between the two players in their skillsets mattered a great deal. Travis had a skill that called in an airstrike, but took a few seconds to fully charge and was interruptible during that time. Badman, Travis’ unwilling partner in the game world, had equipped a skill that slowed enemies to a crawl, making communication between the two important on which skills to use when.

The second level was titled Golden Dragon GP, named after a VR game within the game world itself. Travis is convinced to put a VR headset on and enter a Tron-like world of wireframes, orange beams of light, and death racing. In the races, players must max out to the top speed of their current gear and then shift gears by navigating a path to the next gear. Sometimes they’ll be in a normal order, sometimes they’ll occur in random orders or be branches off in strange directions. The first few races are implausibly easy, but the first boss leaves you in his dust.

Travis is then persuaded to search for better parts, which provides the next action sequence. I had been playing single-player up until this point, but adding a co-op partner is quick and easy and can be done at any time, whether you’re wandering around the game world or fighting a boss. Badman joined Travis to help him tear through a few dozen enemies as the two searched a Japanese-looking mansion for a Golden Dragon GP part.

As Travis and Badman strike enemies, they lose power in their weapons, just like in the original No More Heroes games. In the Wii titles, Travis had to shake the controller up and down to recharge. That functionality is retained here, by holding in the left analog stick and shaking the controller, Travis regains beam saber functionality in pips. This can be done with any of the game’s supported controllers, like the joycons, dual-joycons, Pro controller, or handheld mode. Thankfully, aside from the single-joycon option, all other controllers let you just press in the left analog stick and then oscillate the right analog up and down to charge. It’s quite a bit more consistent, especially in the heat of battle.

 

While I wish I could have played more about Travis Strikes Again, a lot of my initial concerns about it have fallen to the wayside. The dialogue is undeniably Suda and not the emulation of it that felt flat in previous Grasshopper games. No one would, or should, confuse Travis Strikes Again with earlier No More Heroes games, but it seems to have that feeling of abstract punk that I have been missing, even if the titular character is wearing an Unreal Engine logo on his t-shirt.

You can check out video we took from this demo in a brand new New Gameplay Today right here.

Beta Test Travis Strikes Again Feels Like A Return To The Madness Suda51 Does Best

Travis Strikes Again Feels Like A Return To The Madness Suda51 Does Best

It has been over ten years since the first No More Heroes game released, taking players into the strange and murderous land of Santa Destroy from the perspective of the strange and murderous Travis Touchdown. While there has been a sequel to the game, the first title in the series kind of ended an era for both Travis and developer Grasshopper Manufacture. It was the last game that saw Goichi Suda, better known by his penname of Suda51, in the director’s chair and nothing from the studio since has felt quite the same way since.

A decade later, Suda is stepping back up to direct a game again in the form of Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes and, after hands-on time with new levels, we can report that it definitely feels like Suda51’s style is back in full force again.

The latest demo for Travis Strikes Again shows new levels for the first time since the game was revealed in an August 2017 Nintendo Direct. Grasshopper has indicated that they want every level in the game to feel different even though the basic framework remains the same. Unlike the previous No More Heroes games with a traditional 3D action game camera, Travis Strikes Again takes a top-down perspective for the majority of its gameplay. To that end, Grasshopper wanted to make each level still feel unique in theme, tone, and mechanics.

The first new level was titled Life is Destroy, which puts Travis into a seemingly cozy suburban neighborhood. The comfortable feelings do not last long, however, as Travis is made aware that a serial killer called the Doppelganger has been active in the suburb. To win the game, Travis must solve the murders, unmask the Doppelganger, and move on to the next work. As Travis travels between houses, a giant glowing skull follows him, causing an instant kill if he touches it. If there is an explanation for the skull, I didn’t get a chance to see it, but I’m hoping it has no explanation.

After investigating a murder scene, Travis is attacked by a monstrous humanoid sheep. The mid-boss charges at you repeatedly and is basically unaffected by anything you do, serving as a pretty strong tutorial for learning how to use your skills. By holding the left bumper and combining it with a face button, Travis can skills that the player has earned and put in slots. These skills are found around the game world in the form of Skill Chips and can drastically alter how well you proceed through fights.

One skill was a time bomb that can be shot out to stick to enemies. By using this on the monster sheep, I could take advantage of his calmer moments to stick a bomb to him and then run away when he got more aggressive, giving me time to let the skill cooldown. Skills also become important when playing in co-op, as synergy between the two players in their skillsets mattered a great deal. Travis had a skill that called in an airstrike, but took a few seconds to fully charge and was interruptible during that time. Badman, Travis’ unwilling partner in the game world, had equipped a skill that slowed enemies to a crawl, making communication between the two important on which skills to use when.

The second level was titled Golden Dragon GP, named after a VR game within the game world itself. Travis is convinced to put a VR headset on and enter a Tron-like world of wireframes, orange beams of light, and death racing. In the races, players must max out to the top speed of their current gear and then shift gears by navigating a path to the next gear. Sometimes they’ll be in a normal order, sometimes they’ll occur in random orders or be branches off in strange directions. The first few races are implausibly easy, but the first boss leaves you in his dust.

Travis is then persuaded to search for better parts, which provides the next action sequence. I had been playing single-player up until this point, but adding a co-op partner is quick and easy and can be done at any time, whether you’re wandering around the game world or fighting a boss. Badman joined Travis to help him tear through a few dozen enemies as the two searched a Japanese-looking mansion for a Golden Dragon GP part.

As Travis and Badman strike enemies, they lose power in their weapons, just like in the original No More Heroes games. In the Wii titles, Travis had to shake the controller up and down to recharge. That functionality is retained here, by holding in the left analog stick and shaking the controller, Travis regains beam saber functionality in pips. This can be done with any of the game’s supported controllers, like the joycons, dual-joycons, Pro controller, or handheld mode. Thankfully, aside from the single-joycon option, all other controllers let you just press in the left analog stick and then oscillate the right analog up and down to charge. It’s quite a bit more consistent, especially in the heat of battle.

 

While I wish I could have played more about Travis Strikes Again, a lot of my initial concerns about it have fallen to the wayside. The dialogue is undeniably Suda and not the emulation of it that felt flat in previous Grasshopper games. No one would, or should, confuse Travis Strikes Again with earlier No More Heroes games, but it seems to have that feeling of abstract punk that I have been missing, even if the titular character is wearing an Unreal Engine logo on his t-shirt.

You can check out video we took from this demo in a brand new New Gameplay Today right here.

Beta Test Travis Strikes Again Feels Like A Return To The Madness Suda51 Does Best

Smash Bros. Ultimate Update Live, Makes Online Improvements

The new update for Super Smash Bros Ultimate has gone live, indicating a number of new improvements, including updates to online as well as some character balancing.

For online, the game now highly prioritizes your preferred match types when matchmaking. A common complaint about online was that you could set your parameters to 1 vs. 1 with no items and end up in a four-player free-for-all with items set to high. Now the game will work harder to match you up with your preferred style, though the patch notes warn that it may take more time to find a match now.

There have also been general changes to increase the stability of synchronous connections in online. Hopefully this means improved netcode.

Donkey Kong, Link, Kirby, Luigi, Ice Climbers, Young Link, Olimar, Toon Link, Villager, Greninja, Pac-Man, Duck Hunt, and Isabelle also all got balance changes. The Pikachu and Eevee spirits you can get for having either Pokemon Let’s Go: Eevee or Pikachu data on the Switch are now available and can be unlocked.

Remember, this update changes the balance, so any non-video replays you have saved need to be recorded ASAP. Once the update applies, you can no longer view those replays. Once you’re ready to patch, the Switch menu will ask you when launching the app.

Beta Test Smash Bros. Ultimate Update Live, Makes Online Improvements

Smash Bros. Ultimate Update Live, Makes Online Improvements

The new update for Super Smash Bros Ultimate has gone live, indicating a number of new improvements, including updates to online as well as some character balancing.

For online, the game now highly prioritizes your preferred match types when matchmaking. A common complaint about online was that you could set your parameters to 1 vs. 1 with no items and end up in a four-player free-for-all with items set to high. Now the game will work harder to match you up with your preferred style, though the patch notes warn that it may take more time to find a match now.

There have also been general changes to increase the stability of synchronous connections in online. Hopefully this means improved netcode.

Donkey Kong, Link, Kirby, Luigi, Ice Climbers, Young Link, Olimar, Toon Link, Villager, Greninja, Pac-Man, Duck Hunt, and Isabelle also all got balance changes. The Pikachu and Eevee spirits you can get for having either Pokemon Let’s Go: Eevee or Pikachu data on the Switch are now available and can be unlocked.

Remember, this update changes the balance, so any non-video replays you have saved need to be recorded ASAP. Once the update applies, you can no longer view those replays. Once you’re ready to patch, the Switch menu will ask you when launching the app.

Beta Test Smash Bros. Ultimate Update Live, Makes Online Improvements

Blizzard Pumps The Brakes On Heroes Of The Storm

Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard’s crossover MOBA featuring their well-known characters, by all appearances seemed to be doing well. At this past Blizzcon, the company even introduced the first original character for the title. Now, however, it seems that Blizzard is looking to slowly move on from the game, which has seemingly not been doing as well as we thought.

In a new blog post, Blizzard announced that they’re moving talent away from Heroes of the Storm to other projects within the company.

“Over the past several years, the work of evaluating our development processes and making hard decisions has led to new games and other products that we’re proud of,” write CEO J. Allen Brack and chief development officer Ray Gresko. “We now have more live games and unannounced projects than at any point in the company’s history. We’re also at a point where we need to take some of our talented developers and bring their skills to other projects. As a result, we’ve made the difficult decision to shift some developers from Heroes of the Storm to other teams, and we’re excited to see the passion, knowledge, and experience that they’ll bring to those projects. This isn’t the first time we’ve had to make tough choices like this. Games like Diablo II, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Overwatch, and more would not exist had we not made similar decisions in the past.”

While the post takes great pains to explain that further content will continue for Heroes of the Storm, and the developer diaspora will ultimately benefit all of Blizzard’s games, it does certainly paint a bleak picture for this game’s future. Blizzard also takes this opportunity to note that two of the biggest Heroes of the Storm esports events, Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm, will not be held this year. The reasoning, Blizzard says, is that they do not believe they could meet fan expectations and standards this year.

Still, there is optimism to be found within the news. Going by Blizzard’s own words, they expect this to be better for Heroes of the Storm.

“We’ll continue actively supporting the game with new heroes, themed events, and other content that our community loves, though the cadence will change,” the blog post reads. “Ultimately, we’re setting up the game for long-term sustainability.”

Regardless, it does not seem like Heroes of the Storm will be going anywhere anytime soon. There is no reason to think Blizzard has any intention to stop supporting the title, even if the resources are better spent elsewhere. With the success of things like the Overwatch League, however, the dreams of Heroes of the Storm taking the world, well, by storm may be long gone.

Beta Test Blizzard Pumps The Brakes On Heroes Of The Storm

Blizzard Pumps The Brakes On Heroes Of The Storm

Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard’s crossover MOBA featuring their well-known characters, by all appearances seemed to be doing well. At this past Blizzcon, the company even introduced the first original character for the title. Now, however, it seems that Blizzard is looking to slowly move on from the game, which has seemingly not been doing as well as we thought.

In a new blog post, Blizzard announced that they’re moving talent away from Heroes of the Storm to other projects within the company.

“Over the past several years, the work of evaluating our development processes and making hard decisions has led to new games and other products that we’re proud of,” write CEO J. Allen Brack and chief development officer Ray Gresko. “We now have more live games and unannounced projects than at any point in the company’s history. We’re also at a point where we need to take some of our talented developers and bring their skills to other projects. As a result, we’ve made the difficult decision to shift some developers from Heroes of the Storm to other teams, and we’re excited to see the passion, knowledge, and experience that they’ll bring to those projects. This isn’t the first time we’ve had to make tough choices like this. Games like Diablo II, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Overwatch, and more would not exist had we not made similar decisions in the past.”

While the post takes great pains to explain that further content will continue for Heroes of the Storm, and the developer diaspora will ultimately benefit all of Blizzard’s games, it does certainly paint a bleak picture for this game’s future. Blizzard also takes this opportunity to note that two of the biggest Heroes of the Storm esports events, Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm, will not be held this year. The reasoning, Blizzard says, is that they do not believe they could meet fan expectations and standards this year.

Still, there is optimism to be found within the news. Going by Blizzard’s own words, they expect this to be better for Heroes of the Storm.

“We’ll continue actively supporting the game with new heroes, themed events, and other content that our community loves, though the cadence will change,” the blog post reads. “Ultimately, we’re setting up the game for long-term sustainability.”

Regardless, it does not seem like Heroes of the Storm will be going anywhere anytime soon. There is no reason to think Blizzard has any intention to stop supporting the title, even if the resources are better spent elsewhere. With the success of things like the Overwatch League, however, the dreams of Heroes of the Storm taking the world, well, by storm may be long gone.

Beta Test Blizzard Pumps The Brakes On Heroes Of The Storm