New Dirt 4 Gameplay Trailer Races The Wheels Off

Codemasters has released a new gameplay trailer for racer Dirt 4 (coming June 6 to PS4, Xbox One, and PC) showing of the title’s various disciplines and demonstrating just how hard it can be to get a handle on them.

The company has also announced that the title includes 40 licensed tracks (including some exclusives) from the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Bastille, and Grace Potter (who is featured in the trailer).

For hands-on details on the game – as well as an interview with Codemasters’ Clive Moody – check out my recent installment of The Sports Desk.

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Beta Test New Dirt 4 Gameplay Trailer Races The Wheels Off

What Remains Of Edith Finch Had Some Of The Best Playtesters In The Industry

What Remains of Edith Finch is a good game you should play, and something in the game’s end credits made me realize there is probably a good reason for that.

It’s not a spoiler to point this out, so don’t worry about looking at this list if you haven’t played the game yet, but here are some of the people who helped playtest the game according to its credits:

  • Sam Barlow is known for his work on Silent Hill: Origins and Shattered Memories, and he also created Her Story.
  • Brendon Chung created Thirty Flights of Loving and Quadrilateral Cowboy.
  • Neil Druckmann is the co-director of Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us, and is currently hard at work on The Last of Us 2.
  • Nina Freeman created Cibele and the recent Kimmy and is also working on Tacoma.
  • Robin Hunicke has been working in the industry for a long time and was the producer for Journey and is currently working with Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi on Wattam.
  • Greg Kasavin is a a writer and designer for Supergiant Games known for Bastion and Transistor.
  • Seth Killian is known for his work on Street Fighter as well as his work with the fighting game community in general.
  • Dino Patti is one of Playdead’s co-founders and worked on Limbo and Inside.
  • Lucas Pope is the developer behind Papers, Please.
  • Davey Wreden made a name for himself with The Stanley Parable, and more recently released The Beginner’s guide.

It’s unclear exactly how much feedback these folks offered to Giant Sparrow during the development of What Remains of Edith Finch, but it’s an impressive group of people to include in the credits.

Beta Test What Remains Of Edith Finch Had Some Of The Best Playtesters In The Industry

Capcom Buoyed By Resident Evil 7, Monster Hunter Success

Capcom has released its review of fiscal year 2016, which ended in March. According to the company, Resident Evil continued to perform well for the company, both its re-releases and the latest installment, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. A couple of other big names, however, didn’t do quite as well as expected.

Capcom says Monster Generations was a solid seller overseas, and that the recently released Monster Hunter XX is “off to a promising start.” That’s in contrast to the youth-oriented Monster Hunter Stories and Dead Rising 4, which Capcom says “underperformed.” Overall, Capcom’s digital contents business had net sales of 58,704 million yen, which is up 11.7 percent over the previous fiscal year. Operating income was down 8.8 percent from last fiscal year, at 11,096 million yen.

Capcom as a whole, which also includes amusements, arcade games, and licensing ventures, had net sales of 87,170 million yen, an increase of 13.2 percent over the previous year.

Looking ahead, Capcom says it plans to continue exploring VR, as well as invest in its core business: games.

[Source: Capcom]

 

Our Take
Dead Rising has been a nice feather in Microsoft’s cap, but if console exclusivity isn’t as lucrative as Capcom had hoped, you have to wonder if it’s something that will continue when (or if) the franchise continues.

Beta Test Capcom Buoyed By Resident Evil 7, Monster Hunter Success

50 Details We Learned While Playing Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite

I recently had the chance to play Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite with Capcom producer Mike Evans and associate producer Peter Rosas. After getting a quick overview of some of the game’s features, I asked Capcom a bunch of nerdy questions about which tricks from previous titles carry over, what the game as whole is, and how older characters have evolved in the six years between Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and Infinite.

The Basics

1. The currently confirmed playable characters are:

Marvel
• Captain America
• Hawkeye
• The Hulk
• Iron Man
• Ms. Marvel
• Thor
• Ultron
• Rocket Raccoon

Capcom
• Chun Li
• Chris Redfield
• Mega Man X
• Morrigan Aensland
• Ryu
• Sigma
• Strider Hiryu

2. The Avengers Tower serves as the heroes’ home base.

3. The game has arcade, story, mission, collection, and training modes.

4. The story mode serves as an introduction to the game’s fighting system for newer players.

5. Mission mode teaches more nuanced game and character details.

6. You can unlock extras by playing through story and arcade mode, viewable in the collection mode and curated by Dr. Light and Tony Stark.

7. The game’s cinematic story mode clocks in at around two hours.

8. The name of the stage in the trailer above is Xgard, a fusion of Asgard and Mega Man X’s Abel City.

9. Characters have contextual lines in the character select screen depending on who they’re partnered with, as well as before and after matches.

Controls

10. The control scheme moves away from Marvel Vs. Capcom 3’s three-attacks-plus-launcher button layout and instead has four attack buttons (light and heavy punches and kicks), as well as one button apiece for swapping characters and Infinity Stones.

11. Each character has a universal launcher move, mapped to crouching heavy punch.

12. Each character also has a universal launcher combo: light punch, light kick, heavy kick, and crouching heavy punch.

13. You can perform an automatic combo by mashing the light punch button. This combo leads into a launcher, a few air attacks, and spikes the opponent back down.

14. Automatic combos deal the same damage as manual ones.

15. The maximum number of super meters each player can stock up has been lowered to four.

16. You can swap out characters at the start of a super, allowing you to have multiple supers on the screen at once.

17. You can swap characters more than once per combo.

18. Characters stick around for their last attack before leaving the screen, even if it’s a super.

19. You can break out of a combo by holding down the tag button, but it costs two meters to do so.

20. The build we played replaced several uppercut motions for special moves with two downward taps. It’s not final yet, but the team likes the way it makes moves easier to perform.

21. As of this writing, only some characters use the simplified motion. Ryu, for example, still currently uses the signature uppercut motion for his Shoryuken, but that could change in the future.

22. There are no half-circles or charge motions for special moves or supers. Most special moves I performed in the demo were done with either quarter-circles or the downwards double-tap.

The Fighting

23. Each character has their own separate health bar, with characters not currently tagged in recovering a portion of their health (as in previous games).

24. ”Happy Birthdays” (when one character pulls off a combo on two characters at once) can still happen if you time your tag poorly.

25. Happy Birthdays do not, however, deal extra damage to the secondary character, as they did before.

26. Advancing Guard returns, and can now reflect projectiles, if timed correctly. This doesn’t work on beams like Iron Man’s Unibeam.

27. Most spikes at the end of aerial combos produce minor ground bounces, which means just about every character can do an off-the-ground attack by hitting a downed opponent with a crouching kick.

28. You can still combo after most throw moves, though this once again dials back the damage of the rest of the combo.

29. Capcom hopes to keep match length about the same as in Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3.

30. One second in Infinite’s match clock lasts as long as it did in Ultimate 3 (about two seconds).

31. Wavedashing (canceling a dash by crouching in order to move across the screen faster) is still possible, but according to Capcom, it’s more effective to let dashes play out.

Infinity Stones

32. Each Infinity Stone has its own bonus ability and super, which can be activated when a new meter is half-full for a short duration, or when it’s full for a longer duration.

33. The Infinity Stone meter is filled by getting hit or using your Infinity Stone ability.

34. The Power Stone’s ability pushes characters to the other side of the screen and produces a wall bounce, while its super increases the damage and stun duration of every move.

35. During the Power Stone’s super, opponents bounce much higher after certain attacks, allowing for new combos.

36. The Time Stone’s ability lets you dash through projectiles and behind opponents, while its super speeds up every attack’s recovery time.

37. The Space Stone’s ability pulls opponents close to you, while its super prevents enemies from moving outside a small, enclosed area. The former allows for setups with grabs and moves like Chris’ landmine.

Character Specifics

38. Hulk has a new dash move, and can perform a wall jump similar to Chun-Li’s.

39. Morrigan has a new aerial special move that produces a blade below and in front of her.

40. When I asked whether Morrigan keeps her ability to fire barrages of Souls Fists as quickly as she could in Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, I was told, “No, it won’t be the same.”

41. Strider Hiryu has a new slash attack he can perform from his wall climb, which hits behind the opponent.

42. Captain America now has a second shield throw, which throws the shield above and in front of him before it boomerangs back around.

43. Captain America also has a new counter move using his shield. It has low and high variants which counter ground and air attacks, respectively.

44. Mega Man X has a super which has him don his capsule armor from Mega Max X for a short period of time.

45. Mega Man X also has a level-three super which features the Ultimate Armor from Mega Man X4, but it doesn’t stick around after the super.

46. Mega Man X can also launch an upwards fireball, which can pin down enemies coming in after their partner has been defeated or cover aerial approaches.

47. Ultron can fire off a beam similar to Iron Man’s Repulsor Blast from offscreen, form a ball of energy in front of him, and call in drones to drop in delayed barrages against opponents, which makes him the closest thing to a character with assist attacks in Infinite so far.

48. Chun-Li has a new super similar to her Shichisei Senkuu Kyaku super from the original Marvel Vs. Capcom and Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom.

49. Thor can now charge up his hammer and toss it across the screen. While charging, the hammer nullifies projectiles.

50. Iron Man has two new moves, the Repulsor Array and the Smart Mine, which help define his playstyle as a keepaway character. Before, according to Rosas, the character didn’t fit any one playstyle well.

For more general details on Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite, be sure to check out the game’s latest trailer, as well as some special edition details. For a look at some gameplay, check out the trailer below.

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Beta Test 50 Details We Learned While Playing Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite

Nintendo Reports That Switch Is Off To A Great Start

Nintendo has released its financial figures for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2017, and the company is happy to report strong sales of the new Switch console as well as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

The Switch (which debuted on March 3) sold 2.74 million units in just under a month on sale, and Breath of the Wild sold 2.76 million copies on Switch and 1.08 million on the Wii U.

This success has led Nintendo to project profits of 45 billion yen ($403.8 million) for the next fiscal year ending on March 31, 2018. Also during that time span the company anticipates selling 10 million Switch consoles.

In other Nintendo news, Nintendo technology and design head Genyo Takeda is retiring after over 40 years at the company. Takeda headed up the design of the Wii, produced the arcade version of Punch-Out!!, and served as the acting representative director (with Shigeru Miyamoto) after the passing of Satoru Iwata.

[Source: Nintendo (1), (2)]

 

Our Take
Nintendo’s forecast of 10 million Switches sold by the end of March next year would already put it within striking distance of the Wii U’s 13.56 million units sold worldwide since 2012.

Beta Test Nintendo Reports That Switch Is Off To A Great Start

Street Fighter V Temporarily Pulling New DLC Offline To Remove Unintentional Religious References

Capcom announced today the emergency need to change the music of the Thailand Temple Hideout stage that was added to the game yesterday.

You can find the full statement from Capcom below, but the short version is that the Thailand Temple Hideout DLC stage’s music contains unintentional religious references, so the stage is being pulled, edited, and then put back online.

It has come to our attention that part of the background music track used in the DLC Thailand Temple Hideout Stage, released on April 25, 2017, contains unintentional religious references. Capcom has therefore immediately ceased distribution of this DLC and, as a temporary measure, will be performing an emergency server maintenance update in the very near future to remove this track by replacing it with existing music from another stage. Details of the timing of this update will be provided via the @SFVServer Twitter account.

Users who have already downloaded this DLC will still be able to use it and, once the emergency maintenance update is complete, will have the replacement music as well.

An edited version of the Thailand Temple Hideout Stage background music will be released at a later date.

The Street Fighter V development and operations team, as well as all of us at Capcom, have nothing but the utmost respect for all faiths and religions around the world, and we would like to sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by this content.

This means the new DLC will be temporarily unavailable for those who did not already purchase the game, but it will all go back online in the near future.

[Source: @StreetFighter, Fuzeqna.com]

 

Our Take
If I remember correctly, the original LittleBigPlanet encountered a similar issue right before it released forcing it to receive a short delay, and a day one patch – something that was more rare in 2008. Capcom is certainly doing the right thing here in its efforts to be respectful.

Beta Test Street Fighter V Temporarily Pulling New DLC Offline To Remove Unintentional Religious References

Real Action Heroes Releases $335 Breath Of the Wild Link Figure

If you’ve finally managed to finish The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and want more reasons to look at its incarnation of Link (or if you just want to keep looking at Link whether you’ve beaten the game or not), Real Action Heroes has your back.

Their latest Zelda-themed figure is nearly 12 inches tall weighs 3.5 pounds, and wears most of the basic gear from the game: The Champion’s Tunic, Soldier’s Broadsword, Traveler’s Shield and Bow, and comes with regular and Guardian arrows, as well as the Hylian Hood.

The figure retails for $334.99 and will release in December, though you can pre-order the figure here. You’ll find more images below.

Beta Test Real Action Heroes Releases 5 Breath Of the Wild Link Figure

A Look At The Funko Pop! Collectible Phenomenon

If you have spent time in a store that sells collectibles in the last few years, you may have noticed that a certain brand of vinyl figures have seemingly taken over its own share of the market. Funko Pop! Vinyls cover a wide variety of licenses and brands, including film and television series, video games, sports teams, and even cereal mascots. Love them or hate them, there’s no denying the all-encompassing phenomenon they’ve become. We spoke to Mark Robben, director of marketing for Funko, to get some insight into the Pop! Phenomenon, and learn about the licensing and production process for the figures.

Robben says that the now-iconic Funko design came out of a collaboration with DC Entertainment around 2010. 

“There were just discussions with DC in particular, about coming up with a new stylized take on some of the characters,” Robben says. “And our artists at the time were influenced, in that case, by Japanese art and character design, looking at some of the things that have been done there with anime figures and whatnot. There have also been some early designs with plush, that had kind of a similar shape and feel to them, and it just kind of evolved naturally.”

After the success of the DC collaboration, as well as adapting other licenses such as Star Wars, the Pop! Brand grew exponentially. Funko currently produces products for more than 80 popular licenses, most of them with Funko Pop! counterparts. Yet, the licensing process varies between properties. 

“There are lots of licenses out there that are newer, or have something they’re about to launch and would like to merchandise their content…and they’ll come to us,” Robben says. “But there are certainly instances where we are chasing, too, where we’ve seen something or heard about something and we’re saying, ‘We need to go get that.’” 

Robben says that the amount of time Funko’s artists have to work on a product can vary, depending on how comfortable a licensor is with sharing assets ahead of launch. 

“There are plenty of licensors that send us reference art well before the shelf date of a video game or the in-market date for a movie,” Robben says. “You know, we’ve been working on Episode VIII, from Star Wars, for a few months, so that’s far more than six months’ notice.”

Robben says that when it comes to the design process, video game companies are generally much more involved with the process than other licensors.

“Almost across the board, whether it has been Blizzard or Riot, you know, generally speaking they tend to be – and this is not a bad thing – they tend to be more involved and more protective,” Robben says. “I would guess that it’s because they have really invented these characters and the character designs from the ground up, they’re oftentimes not based on people or actors.”

Character creation is a big part of the Pop! Brand, and is a very involved process on both the part of Funko’s designers and the license holders. Funko mostly builds its designs based on what the licensees want to see, and how well it works in the trademark Pop! art style. Robben also said that they are always taking fan feedback into account, monitoring social media channels after a collaboration is announced to get a read on what characters and designs fans want. 

The development process itself is incredibly complicated, and happens quickly. Artists sketch 2D character renditions, which get approved by the licensors before getting 3D digital sculpts. The sculpt then goes through a painting process, which is again approved by the licensor. Packaging mock-ups and handpainted samples of the figures come next, to get a better idea of what the final product might be. After those samples are approved, two more waves of samples are developed, starting with what Robben called “pre-production samples” and “top samples.” Once both of these are finalized, the full product goes into production and hits store shelves. 

The turnaround for this process varies greatly, depending both on the license and the characters being produced. Generally, Funko prefers to work in a four-to-six month window, but it sometimes has to move quicker.

“We can move really fast. There are times when licensors will say, ‘We can’t show you this character, it’s just too secretive,’” Robben says. “And then the movie or game premieres and we kind of say, ‘Wow, that’s an amazing character, we didn’t get that in the reference art, we want to make a figure of that immediately.’ So then we kind of snap to attention and get it in process, and we can have something in market within 90 days if we have to.”

One particular example of this came from 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, where Robben says that Dancing Groot had a turnaround of just a few months.

Funko has garnered tremendous, unprecedented success with its unique brand of figures. With an accessible price point and a wide variety of licenses, the Funko Pop! Brand has certainly made a name for itself in the small collectible space. When asked why people are drawn to them so strongly, Robben chalked it up to the figures’ signature look.

“I think the art style really resonates with people,” Robben says. “It’s cute, it’s fun, it’s adorable, it’s playful.”

Beta Test A Look At The Funko Pop! Collectible Phenomenon

Atlus Moves Back Persona Streaming Cutoff Date, Still Restricting In-Game Sharing

Right before Persona 5 launched at the beginning of the month, Atlus USA issued a stern warning to streamers: Stream past a certain in-game date, and there’ll be trouble. Also, don’t bother using that Share button. Though it’s not quite taking the leash off streamers, Atlus updated its guidelines, loosening some of its restrictions.

The company has announced in a blog post it’s pushing the no-streaming date from 7/7 in the game’s calendar to 11/29, which, according to Atlus, is “when the main story gears up for the final act.” Atlus also made sure to call out the negative response to the initial date as the impetus for the change, but reiterated its main goal is letting players avoid spoilers. To that end, it doesn’t look like it’s lifting the in-system sharing restrictions for screenshots and videos.

Finally, the company also wanted to walk back the tone of its initial post. “We also want to apologize to those of you who saw the previous guidelines blog post as threatening,” the blog post states. “We want to be transparent about what we do, and the reason we released the guidelines was to give streamers the right information up front. It was never our intention to threaten people with copyright strikes, but we clearly chose the wrong tone for how to communicate this.”

 

Our Take
I’m willing to bet they were going to move the date back at some point, and that the tone of the response is the only thing the negative feedback affected. That said, I’m still a little upset they haven’t lifted the in-game sharing restrictions. I’m still seeing lots of images and videos for later portions of the game, only they’re off-screen and a little blurry. All these restrictions do is make it harder for people to latch onto the game, and I can’t think of many instances where I’ve been spoiled on a game through Twitter alone. Also, not letting people stream the game natively means only those with third-party hardware will be able to show the game to others, which seems like a strange restriction.

Beta Test Atlus Moves Back Persona Streaming Cutoff Date, Still Restricting In-Game Sharing

Ups and Downs – The Best And Worst Games In Long-Running Classic Franchises

Some video game series enjoy long and prosperous runs, filled with blockbuster sales and critical acclaim. However, even our favorite franchises miss a beat here and there. For every Rocky, there is a Rocky V, and for every Empire Strikes Back there’s a Phantom Menace. Here are the five best – and worst – games in some of our favorite series.

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back vs. Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex
In the late 1990s, Crash Bandicoot was the de facto mascot for the PlayStation brand, and his games turned developer Naughty Dog (Uncharted, The Last of Us) into one of the biggest names in the business. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, released in 1997, remains the pinnacle of the series, perfecting the run-and-jump formula of the original while balancing the difficulty, fixing some of the wonky camera angles, and otherwise bringing the series from “great” to “all-time classic” status.

After Naughty Dog finished its run on the series with Crash 3: Warped and Crash Team Racing, Eurocom developed a party game spin-off, Crash Bash. A new mainline platforming entry didn’t come until 2001’s Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, developed by Traveler’s Tales, the studio that would later go on to create Lego Star Wars.

At its best, Wrath of Cortex comes close to capturing a facsimile of the magic of Crash’s PS1 glory days, with linear platforming levels broken up with gimmicky special stages (the Hamster Ball-styled levels are a standout). Unfortunately, the game lacks the Naughty Dog era’s precise control, with Crash himself feeling slow and heavy, with a weirdly floaty jump. The traditional platforming levels are huge and complex, but there are so few of them. Many prominently featured tough-to-control vehicles like planes, jeeps, submarines, and a mech suit, none of which feel particularly good to play.

After Wrath of Cortex, the series spiraled out of control, delving into 3D open world territory with Twinsanity (novel, but unpolished and buggy as hell), and a more combat-oriented approach with Crash of the Titans and Mind Over Mutant. All of these games failed to win back the crowd, and earned increasingly dismal critical scores at Game Informer: The Naughty Dog entries all scored 9 or above, Wrath of Cortex barely scraped by with a 6.75, and the most recent entry, Mind Over Mutant, bombed with a dismal 4.75. The bandicoot has been mostly silent since then, and time will tell if the upcoming N. Sane Trilogy collection by Activision studio Vicarious Visions will restore Crash to his former glory.

Devil May Cry 3 vs. Devil May Cry 2
In the old days, Double Dragon, Streets of Rage, and Final Fight were the biggest names in the bare-knuckle beat-em-up genre, but as technology moved on, the genre expanded into the realm of spectacular 3D visuals and stylishly over-the-top violence. Games like Ninja Gaiden and God of War are the successors to the old-school brawlers, but few can match the pure adrenaline of Devil May Cry. Capcom’s vaguely hack ‘n’ slash adventure featured an addictive combat system; we all remember the first time we launched an enemy into the air and juggled them with a barrage of gunfire from protagonist Dante’s twin pistols, Ebony and Ivory. The first game was a trail-blazing classic, and the third game, a prequel, perfected the formula, allowing the player to switch between fighting styles on-the-fly, greatly expanding Dante’s offensive capabilities. To top it all off, the game told a story which was sincere and silly in equal measure.

And then there’s Devil May Cry 2, the proverbial red-headed stepchild of the franchise. In his review of the DMC HD Collection, our own Joe Juba said the compilation brought together “two great games for one great price. Also, Devil May Cry 2.”

After the success of the first game, Capcom sought to tighten up the experience by addressing the perceived flaws of the original title – the unrepentant difficulty, relatively small environments, and Dante’s laid-back attitude in the face of demonic threats. Unfortunately, DMC2 suffers from a textbook case of overcompensation, and the numerous deviations from the original crippled the game. The difficulty was significantly toned down, and encounters were reduced to boring slogs with little challenge or player urgency. While the setting of the first game could get repetitive, the new setting for DMC2, Dumary Island, is bland and devoid of personality. The developers attempted to enhance combat by pulling the camera out and giving players more room to kick butt, but the plan backfired, with sparse, empty environments lending a lifeless aura to the proceedings. Dante became uncharacteristically stoic, and his dull dialogue was a far cry from his stupid/awesome one-liners from the original – say it with me: “Flock off, feather face!”

Devil May Cry 2 was never officially removed from the canon, but DMC3 was a prequel, DMC4 took place after the original but way before the first sequel, and then the series was rebooted with DMC: Devil May Cry. This leaves DMC2 stranded at the end of an abandoned continuity, a distant epilogue generally ignored by all but the most forgiving fanatics.

Final Fantasy VI vs. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
What’s your favorite Final Fantasy game? Don’t answer that – I don’t need that kind of blood on my hands in the comments section. There’s no “right” answer to that question. So many entries have compelling arguments, from the pure grind of the 1987 original, to the complex and rewarding Job System of V, to generation-defining titles like VII and X, which pushed the limits of storytelling in video games. More often than not, the title that rises to the top is VI (originally released in the U.S. as Final Fantasy III, because localization is weird). Final Fantasy VI is still regarded as one of the greatest games of all time, thanks to its deep characterization, unpredictable plot twists, intricate RPG systems, and open-ended storytelling in its second half, where the narrative goes non-linear and the player is left to explore the World of Ruin at their own pace and decide how the endgame plays out.

Standing in stark contrast to VI is XIII, which takes away any illusion of player control over the world and instead forces them down what is essentially a long corridor for 40-plus hours. Making matters worse is the fact that the upgrade system, the Chrystarium, functions as a way-too-simple version of the Sphere Grid from FFX, with the added insult of intermittent level caps which are raised slowly as a reward for progress in the main story. By the time the party reaches Pulse and is given the ability to take on side quests by consulting mission-giving crystals, it feels like a half-assed consolation prize.

Things don’t get better in the sequel, XIII-2, which theoretically opens up the narrative with more non-linear progression and the lifting of the level cap. The battle system is simplified, and most encounters up to the final dungeon can be conquered with brute force, making character roles like Sentinel, Synergist, and Saboteur all but useless in 99 percent of situations. Lightning Returns changed up the formula and earned a degree of success among some fans, but it also added a poorly-implemented Majora’s Mask-esque time-limit which alienated much of the community. While Lightning Returns has its supporters, most appreciated the game solely for the opportunity to close the book on XIII and never look back.

Next: Resident Evil takes a turn for the worse, and Sonic flies off the rails like a train wreck in slow motion.

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Beta Test Ups and Downs – The Best And Worst Games In Long-Running Classic Franchises