Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 Review – A Hardcore Encore

Since its release in 2014, Guilty Gear Xrd has developed a reputation as a great but underappreciated fighter. Its feverish (and sometimes overwhelming) pace is a nice midpoint between fun and complexity. Its diverse characters all have different tricks up their buckle-laden sleeves, its learning tools are second to none, and its story is more elaborate than its competition. The game’s latest update, Rev 2, may not be a good enough reason for newcomers to dive in on its own, but it rounds out enough edges that any fighting fan may need to give this anime-inspired fighter another shot.

Rev 2 doesn’t overhaul Xrd’s fighting, but it doesn’t need to. Despite a ton of systems, nuances, and tricks, it’s enjoyable on a simple level: Land a hit, press a few buttons, and you have a short combo that deals decent damage. Once you learn the basic combo most characters have (Punch, Kick, Slash, Heavy Slash), you can start building on it with other moves, or use a Roman Cancel to reset your character and continue the combo. Matches play out at a blistering pace, incentivizing constant aggression and forward movement, since moving backwards or staying still for too long results in a loss of Tension, the meter governing the use of Roman Cancels and super moves.

Characters are extremely mobile (everyone can air-dash, double jump, and jump-cancel certain moves to find new avenues for combos), and you quickly get a sense of how deep the rabbit hole goes. Luckily, Xrd already had a great tutorial that teaches you the basics and also layers on advanced strategy (such as why you’d want to end an air dash with different attacks at certain distances) and character-specific lessons. Rev 2 updates these combo and strategy guides to fit its new balance changes, and it’s is still a great way to learn fighting games in general. Still, it’s disappointing that Rev 2 locks a balance update behind a paywall when most of its competitors provide them for free. Even those who want to stick to current characters like Sol Badguy or Potemkin are forced to upgrade to compete.

Rev 2 adds two new playable characters to Xrd: Guilty Gear veteran Baiken (a gruff samurai with an eyepatch) and Xrd newcomer Answer (a ninja who doubles as a secretary). Both characters fit in well with the current cast’s diverse set of tools. Baiken can parry attacks and turn them into opportunities for counterattacks. She also fires a short-range grappling hook that can force an opponent into a guessing game even when blocked. Answer throws cards and floating scrolls that let him teleport and move through parts of the screen other characters can’t, giving him some cool mobility options. Both characters also have nice touches that give them flair: Baiken stands up one leg at a time, putting her hand on her knee in an “I’m too old for this” way, while Answer is constantly talking on his magic cell phone, too busy to fully commit to fighting.

Three DLC characters from the Revelator expansion (Dizzy,
Kum Haehyun, and Raven) are also included, and Rev 2 has proper arcade mode
stories for them (along with Baiken and Answer). Finally, a new story-mode
chapter, “After Story A” acts as an extended epilogue for the events of
Revelator. The individual arcade mode stories aren’t groundbreaking or
revelatory, but they provide some insight into each character’s motivations and
origins, which is nice to see. After Story A, however, clocks in at only half
an hour and ends on a cliffhanger, which is disappointing. We can likely expect
more story to come in the future considering the naming scheme, but on its own,
After Story A is an unsatisfying appetizer.

 

Several quality-of-life improvements make it easier to get
into the fight in Rev 2. You can now ask for an immediate rematch after a
ranked match, which should give anyone who thinks they could have won a
best-of-three scenario a second shot. The online experience still has some
rough edges, however. Most of my matches felt great (and displayed how many
frames of input delay your connection is causing), but I had trouble
consistently finding new matches in Ranked mode. Player lobbies seem far more
populated, though the number of ways you can set them in lobbies or general
hangout spots splits the player population.

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You can swap characters in training mode without going back
to the character selection, which makes it easier to follow through on any whim
or idea that might come up as you dig into the game’s systems and combos. You
can spectate matches in the player match lobbies, but I wasn’t able to spectate
a match without it disconnecting me. Finally, you can find several new items to
equip your lobby avatar with, as well as new bonuses to play around with in
Revelator’s Medal of Millionaire mode – though the latter is still more a
novelty than something to sink your teeth into.

 

Still, Rev 2 has a lot of new content for returning players
to dig into for a low cost, and the Guilty Gear Xrd package as a whole should
be enticing to newcomers, even if Rev 2 itself doesn’t have a whole lot of new
things for them to do. The fighting is fast, complex, and fun, and it features
one of the best on-ramps for fighting games this generation. If you have a
penchant for anime, belt buckles, and an endless love of guitar metal, Rev 2
has a lot to offer.

Beta Test Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 Review – A Hardcore Encore

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Receives Week 11 Facelift

The livestream phenomenon PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has taken then video game world by storm, and Bluehole Studio continues to push the envelope with consistent patches and improvements. Thanks to tenacious maintenance from the developers, the Early Access game is receiving regular updates.

This patch features improved server/client performance, and several various bug fixes. In Bluehole Studio’s own words, here is a complete breakdown of the update features:

Server Performance

  • Improved physics engine performance on game servers.
  • Mitigated an issue with the character stopping moving when a large amount of data is sent

Client Performance

  • Improved client performance in the lobby.
  • Improved care package airplane rendering performance.

Gameplay

  • Modified the “match ends in” timer from 5 minutes to 1 minute.

Bug Fix

  • Fixed a bug that caused weapon icons at the bottom of the screen to not be shown when switching weapons after opening the inventory.
  • Fixed a bug that caused a client crash when changing the character’s looks.
  • Fixed a bug that caused Freelook (Alt) not to work while the character is jumping.

The patch will go live on Thursday, June 8 at 3:00 AM CST and is estimated to take one hour to complete. To check out an interview with PlayerUnknown himself, click here.  To watch our latest Battlegrounds stream, head here.

[Source: Steam]

Beta Test PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Receives Week 11 Facelift

Creator Of Super Meat Boy Announces New Project The End Is Nigh

Edmund McMillen, one of the co-creators of Super
Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac, today announced his new sprawling
adventure/platformer The End is Nigh. 

You play as Ash, a blobby “thing” who just wants to make a friend (in the literal sense; on his journey, he makes a friend out of pieces of people). Just like Super Meat Boy, it’s packed with levels, fun collectibles, and brutal challenge. 

The End is Nigh will be available on Steam July 12. You can check out the trailer below and read more about the game on its Steam page.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

 

Our Take
While I’m still sad about the cancellation of Mewgenics, this new project looks even more exciting. We loved Super Meat Boy, so we’re eagerly anticipating McMillen’s return to the platformer genre.

Beta Test Creator Of Super Meat Boy Announces New Project The End Is Nigh

Ghost Recon Wildlands: Fallen Ghosts Expansion Feels Rote Despite Its New Challenge

Ubisoft has a unique relationship with expanded content for its campaign-focused titles. Rather than simply extend the storyline of the base game, it frequently challenges the status quo with unconventional approaches like the retro-futuristic Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon or alternative American-history storyline in Assassin’s Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington. Ubisoft took this approach with the first expansion for Ghost Recon Wildlands, Narco Road, but the rally races, nitro boosts, and monster trucks felt more like a sad collection of abandoned Grand Theft Auto missions. Purists will likely prefer the latest, more straightforward expansion, Fallen Ghosts. Just don’t expect any drastic improvements on the base game. 

Fallen Ghosts opens after the events of the Wildlands campaign. With the Santa Blanca cartel in turmoil and the CIA involvement exposed by a data breach, the rogue Bolivian special operations division Unidad hires a high-tech mercenary group called Los Extranjeros to hunt down the American agents. This collection of opportunists is just as terrible for the local population as the cartel, but they prove more formidable against the Ghosts thanks to their cloaking and jamming devices, motion trackers, and plated armor. 

Ubisoft touts this expansion as the hunters becoming the hunted, but the minute-to-minute action unfolded just like my campaign playthrough – gather some evidence of enemy activity, scope out an encampment with my drone, and pick away at the defenses with sync shots before barging through the door to neutralize (or interrogate) the target. The cloaked enemies are much tougher to track, and the presence of drone-neutralizing jammers adds a layer of complication to your surveillance, but otherwise the action rolls out the same across many template missions you’ve done before. The May game update allows you to turn off some HUD elements to make the experience more challenging, which helps the tactical element of combat shine if that’s your preferred play style. 

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If you experience déjà vu while playing Fallen Ghosts, it’s because you’ve been to almost all of the locations of this map before. Remember the submarine base and the lift bridge? Those serve as centerpieces to critical missions yet again. Given the immense size of the original game’s open world, it’s a shame these missions weren’t centered on less traversed areas. I’m not sure why Ubisoft chose to lock you out of the wider map, but you’re limited to the three regions where Los Extranjeros set up shop.  

Instead of carrying over your campaign character, as with the Narco Road expansion Ubisoft instead gives you a level 30 character. A new skill tree allows you to add new abilities like being able to hold your breath for a longer time underwater, explosive bolts, and an attack drone that lets you take pot shots at enemies or alarm systems. The attack drone is the star of the expansion; being able to sync shot four enemies without leaving the perspective of your drone is an empowering feeling. Ubisoft also added a handful of guns, weapon parts, and side missions to accompany the 19 new missions. 

Fallen Ghosts doesn’t do much to improve on the base Wildlands experience, but if you played through the entire campaign and are starving for new content it’s worth a look. The new enemy type alters your tactical approach to encounters, but the familiar settings and lack of interesting new missions are wasted opportunities. 

Beta Test Ghost Recon Wildlands: Fallen Ghosts Expansion Feels Rote Despite Its New Challenge

Check Out These Award-Winning Pieces Of Video Game Art

Each E3, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) host the “Into the Pixel” exhibit honoring the most impressive video game art in the industry. This year, 14 pieces were selected to be auctioned off on eBay during E3 week. Proceeds will go towards the ESA and the AIAS to support future game-makers.

This year’s collection includes art from Rainbow Six Siege, Prey, Uncharted 4, and Gwent. You can check out the full list of this year’s winners on the Into the Pixel website.

[Source: Into the Pixel]

 

Our Take
It’s awesome to see the often-unrecognized art of video game production is getting some attention at E3. Some truly beautiful pieces are on display this year, so if you’re looking for a new centerpiece for your gaming shrine, consider participating in this auction.

Beta Test Check Out These Award-Winning Pieces Of Video Game Art

Lemmy Lives On In Motörhead-Themed Victor Vran Expansion

Victor Vran originally came out in 2015, but that version had nothing to do with thrash rock god Lemmy Kilmister. However, the new Overkill Edition lets you play as Lemmy, making it about a million times more badass. 

Developed by Haemimont Games, the expansion Motörhead: Through the Ages lets you cut through legions of monsters as the legendary frontman (who was also a roadie to guitar legend Jimmy Hendrix). The expansion features 13 Motörhead tracks uniquely mastered for the game, as well as many in-game items and abilities inspired by the band. 

“Lemmy was so excited about this game, and when he wasn’t having the time of his life, he would always be sending new designs over to the game studio,” guitarist Phil Campbell told Blabbermouth. “I’m delighted with the result, as I know Lemmy would have been, and for any Motörhead fan, this is another amazing way to connect with the band.”

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Here is the tracklist of featured songs: 

  1. ‘Motörhead – Motörhead, 1977
  2. ‘Overkill’ – Overkill, 1979
  3. ‘Stay Clean’ – Overkill, 1979
  4. ‘Bomber’- Bomber, 1979
  5. ‘Ace of Spades’- Ace of Spades, 1980
  6. ‘Jail Bait’ – Ace of Spades, 1980
  7. ‘Love Me Like a Reptile’ – Ace of Spades, 1980
  8. ‘We are the Road Crew’- Ace of Spades, 1980
  9. ‘Killed by Death’ – No Remorse, 1984
  10. ‘Iron Fist’ – Iron Fist, 1985
  11. ‘End of Time’ – Aftershock, 2013
  12. ‘Paralyzed’ – Aftershock, 2013
  13. ‘Queen of the Damned’ – Aftershock, 2013

This is not Lemmy’s first appearance in video games. He also lent his voice and likeness for Double Fine’s Brütal Legend. You can pick up the expansion PS4, Xbox One, or PC right now. Wired Productions has some interesting collector’s editions you can check out here.

Beta Test Lemmy Lives On In Motörhead-Themed Victor Vran Expansion

RPG Grind Time – The E3 2017 RPG Forecast

Another E3 is on the horizon, which means we’ll soon be treated to a bevy of announcements, new trailers, and impressions of anticipated games. What will it hold for RPG fans? This year might not have an abundance of triple-A games, but there’s more than you’d think at first glance. For this Grind Time, I wanted to break down some my predictions, sharing my expectations and hopes for the show.

Square Enix Set For An Off Year

Let’s address the elephant in the room. I don’t expect many of Square’s big RPGs to be on the show floor. If anything, Square is going to use the show for announcements and new trailers. With the news of Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy VII Remake launching in “the next three years or so” I don’t have high hopes to see them at the show. If we’re lucky, we might get new trailers, but I don’t even expect those to show off anything substantial. This morning, Square announced Dissidia Final Fantasy NT for PS4, which I suspect will be a big part of the show. It’s possible we’ll also get a look at the next character DLC for Final Fantasy XV. 

I am hoping Square uses E3 to announce Dragon Quest XI for North America. With a July 27 release date locked for the PS4 and 3DS versions in Japan, it seems odd that the game hasn’t been announced for the West. Square Enix brought the Dragon Quest Heroes spin-offs to North America, but Nintendo has handled the recent handheld releases. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo, which needs more in its Switch library, announces the Switch and/or 3DS version for North America at its Nintendo Spotlight. We also have more to hear about Project Octopath Traveler. Outside of that, Square Enix recently revealed Tokyo RPG Factory’s (the creators of I am Setsuna) next game, Lost Sphear. The release date is early 2018, but with its other projects even further out, Square would be wise to leverage this time to shine a big spotlight on it. 

Nintendo Should Cater To RPG Fans

Speaking of Nintendo, it’d be nice to hear updates and get more concrete info on Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Fire Emblem Switch, and the new SMT for Switch. Both Fire Emblem and SMT are early in development, but Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is still set to release this year in Japan, making it the most likely for Nintendo to show off. Nintendo still hasn’t said anything about a Xenoblade Chronicles 2 release date for North America, so this would be a good time for a new trailer and release window. Nintendo dashed some hopes in its Pokémon presentation yesterday – only revealing “ultra” versions of Sun and Moon for 3DS alongside Pokkén Tournament for Switch. We’re all still pining for a new Pokémon game for Switch. If anything, we’ll probably also see more Skyrim on Switch at E3. Hopefully, some surprise RPG announcements are thrown in there for good measure. 

Some Triple-A Delights 

As for some bigger triple-A titles, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony reveals Bloodborne 2 or a new From Software project, as rumors suggest. CD Projekt Red has been knee-deep in getting Gwent out the door, but we haven’t heard or seen anything much for Cyberpunk 2077. After the success of the Witcher 3, people are even more interested in the developer’s next game, but sadly, CD Projekt Red has stated that the game will not be at the show. With South Park: The Fractured But Whole around the corner, it will most likely be a big part of the show for Ubisoft, although I feel like we’ve seen a lot of it and people know what to expect at this point. With Mass Effect Andromeda out in the wild, BioWare will most likely start peeling back the curtain on its new IP, which is said to be an action/adventure game with all the character and story development BioWare is known for. Back in January, general manager Aaryn Flynn posted on BioWare’s blog that more info would be revealed “in the coming months,” making E3 the most likely place. While it’s likely something Dragon Age-related is also in the works now that Inquisition is a few years old, I don’t think we’ll hear about it this E3. I’d guess BioWare would want to focus on one project for the show and the new IP seems further along. 

Don’t Count Out Smaller Publishers

I also think more niche publishers will bring the excitement. Bandai Namco has Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom, Code Vein, and Digimon Story Cybersleuth Hacker’s Memory in the works. Ni No Kuni 2 is launching this year, so it’s likely to be a big part of the show. Bandai Namco also said it was working on something in its Tales series for Switch. It’s a long shot, but it’d be great to finally see what that is. I’m hoping it’s not just a port of a previous entry. 

Now that Persona 5 is out in all its glory, I imagine Atlus will focus on its other franchises. The publisher already revealed a bunch of games before E3, so I suspect it will show off Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux, and the Radiant Historia remake, Perfect Chronology. Speaking of localization news, we haven’t heard much about Vanillaware, the developer behind Dragon’s Crown and Odin Sphere, since its TGS 2015 announcement for 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim. Atlus also just announced it’s publishing it in the West, so there’s a good chance we’ll get an even better look at it at E3. Let’s also not forget Capcom and its Monster Hunter franchise, which has Monster Hunter XX (an enhanced version of Monster Hunter Generations) for Switch and Monster Hunter Stories for 3DS coming soon. 

THQ Nordic also has its share of RPGs in development: Battle Chasers: Nightwar, Elex (from Gothic and Risen developer Piranha Bytes), and Darksiders III. Battle Chasers: Nightwar and Elex will most likely be there with their release dates this fall, but I’m not as confident about Darksiders III. Although after Darksider III’s recent reveal, you would think it’d be in THQ and Gunfire Games’ best interest to show more of the game. 

At first, I wasn’t sure this year had much to offer in terms of RPGs, but I think it’s going to be a better year than you’d think. My favorite part of E3 is those announcements you don’t see coming, so I’m hoping I’m totally blindsided by some surprise reveals that make me jump from my seat with joy. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated from the show floor next week. Enjoy the show!

Beta Test RPG Grind Time – The E3 2017 RPG Forecast

E3 Coliseum Hosts Hideo Kojima, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Tim Schafer, And More

Today the ESA announced the full lineup of panels and guests for the inaugural E3 Coliseum, and its impressive. 

This two-day event, produced by Geoff Keighley, gives, visionary developers, and special guests from other entertainment industries a chance to come together to talk about games. It runs from June 13-14, and each day is jam-packed with panels. 

One of the most notable sessions is a discussion about world-building across entertainment mediums with astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson, director James Gunn, Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford, and 343 Industries’ Kiki Wolfkill. Hideo Kojima and film director Jordan Vogt-Roberts will also chat about the mutual influences between games and cinema, and Keighley is also hosting a wide-ranging conversation between Tim Schafer and Jack Black. 

The E3 Coliseum is also a place to show off some of the hottest games at the show. Cory Barlog will be there to showcase the new God of War, Rare will be discussing the challenges of creating the shared-world pirate adventure in Sea of Thieves, and Ubisoft will present the new Assassin’s Creed as well. The Coliseum also has slots reserved for unannounced games from Bethesda, Epic Games, and Square Enix. 

All of the panels can be watched live on Twitch, Mixer, YouTube, and Facebook Live. You can check out the full lineup here.

 

Our Take
The guest lineups and panels all look fantastic. It’s worth checking out the entire list to see if something catches your eye.

Beta Test E3 Coliseum Hosts Hideo Kojima, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Tim Schafer, And More

Another Portal 2 Writer Joins Exodus of Valve Talent

Writer and humorist Jay Pinkerton has departed from Valve after nearly a decade. Formerly a writer at Cracked.com, Pinkerton lent his creative talents to Portal 2 and Left 4 Dead, and produced supplemental content for Team Fortress 2.

Pinkerton’s egress comes in the wake of similar announcements from fellow Valve writers Marc Laidlaw, Erik Wolpaw, and Chet Faliszek.

[Source: Facebook via Gamasutra]


Our Take
With four big names having exited Valve in the past year-and-a-half, one has to wonder if the employee migration signifies a departure from the company’s creative directive. In recent years, the shift away from narrative-driven games has been a spot of major contention for Valve fans. Creative production has been on the back burner for some time now, in favor of steam marketplace maintenance and support of microtransaction-friendly multiplayer experiences such as Counter-Strike and DOTA 2.With these new priorities in mind, it should come as no surprise that the big creative talents are jumping ship.

Beta Test Another Portal 2 Writer Joins Exodus of Valve Talent

What The Heck Is This? Episode 9

We cover a lot of big, well-known games here at Game Informer. Thanks
to these efforts, you (hopefully) know all about the next big
franchise, or the highly-anticipated new game from that notable indie
developer What about those random games that fly under the radar? The
one among the dozens that release every day on Steam? Or that Xbox One
game with the weird title? This new video series is an attempt to
highlight those games – for better or worse.

We see these type of games all of the time. The game that we look at
and say, “What the heck is that?” This is our chance to play them and
decide, on the spot, if we want to keep playing them, or move on to to
something different.

For episode nine we play a multiplayer hide and seek game called Witch It and try not to get our feelings hurt as we pursue a career in art with Passpartout: The Starving Artist.

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Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 |Episode 4 |
Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7 | Episode 8 | Episode 9

Beta Test What The Heck Is This? Episode 9