Game Informer’s Ultimate Super Fun List: Top Trees In Gaming

Ever wonder what are the best trees in gaming? No? Look it’s the holidays and we’re strapped for stories. Let’s just run with this and see what happens.

#1 Deku Tree – Why does the Deku tree outrank every other tree in gaming? Because it’s from The Legend of Zelda, and The Legend of Zelda is like the coolest thing ever. Haven’t you heard? Everything Zelda related should be ranked number one. That’s how journalism works. Also, the Deku Tree has a mustache. Double win.

#2 Teldrassil – The old world tree from World Of Warcraft is home to the Night Elves. Of course, the Night Elves suck because they are part of the Alliance, so we weren’t going to include Teldrassil. However, then we heard that sometimes stupid Night Elf noobs fall off the tree and die, so we moved this tree up to number two. (This isn’t in a Zelda game after all.)

#3 Sunwood or Sudowoodoo or Sunwoody – Whatever that tree thingy from Pokémon is called. This tree placed third because it’s a tree in a video game, so it qualified for the list.

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Beta Test Game Informer’s Ultimate Super Fun List: Top Trees In Gaming

Replay – Holiday Special 2016

Hide your children. Danta Claus has taken to the streets to spread holiday cheer, and, well, we’re glad he’s out there and not in this special holiday episode of Replay. Who is Danta Claus? You really don’t want to know, but we do summon him from time to time to show you just how terrible he is. As we practice this dark art, we check out one of the greatest holiday games of all time. Die Hard Trilogy may not sound like a great story for the holiday season, but as you’ll soon see, there’s snow in it, lots of it.

After looking at the game’s interpretation of all three of the first Die Hard films, we shift gears to another holiday surprise. Jeff Cork loves it so much! We conclude with another holiday-themed game that you probably didn’t see.

We may have blown it with this episode (and the last 65 of them), but we just wanted to record this to tell you that you are fantastic, and we hope you have a wonderful holiday season. We’ll see you again in our annual Super Replay hitting on December 31.

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For more episodes of Replay, check out our Replay hub, or click on the banner below to watch episodes on YouTube.

Beta Test Replay – Holiday Special 2016

Report: Carrie Fisher Suffers Heart Attack During Transatlantic Flight

Update: The Associated Press is reporting that Fisher is now in stable condition, based on details provided by her brother, Todd Fisher. 

Original Story: Reports are filtering out that actress Carrie Fisher is in critical condition in a Los Angeles hospital, following a cardiac episode suffered during a transatlantic flight from London to Los Angeles earlier this afternoon. The news of her hospital status comes via a report from the LA Times. TMZ reports that the incident occurred roughly 15 minutes before the flight landed, and that an EMT on board the plane issued CPR. 

Fisher had recently completed filming for Star Wars Episode VIII. 

No further information is currently available regarding Fisher’s recovery, but we will update this story if we hear more. 

 

Our Take
Carrie Fisher is a film icon thanks to her central role in the Star Wars films, and her return to those films decades later in The Force Awakens helped to connect the past and future of the franchise. We wish her our sincerest hopes for a speedy recovery. 

Beta Test Report: Carrie Fisher Suffers Heart Attack During Transatlantic Flight

Star Citizen Announces Amazon Lumberyard Tech Partnership

Cloud Imperium Games today shared details on the game engine it is using to power its sci-fi projects, Star Citizen and Squadron 42. Amazon Lumberyard is handling the heavy lifting of the games’ computation and storage needs (through the Amazon Web Services Cloud).

““We’ve been working with Amazon for more than a year, as we have been looking for a technology leader to partner with for the long term future of Star Citizen and Squadron 42,” says Cloud Imperium CEO Chris Roberts in a press release. The developer praised Amazon Lumberyard for its back-end cloud integration and social capabilities. 

While this is the first public declaration of the partnership, it’s clear that the development studio has been hard at work integrating its games with Amazon Lumberyard, as the upcoming 2.6 alpha release of Star Citizen is said to be utilizing the technology.   

You can learn more about Star Citizen at the game’s official site

 

Our Take
Star Citizen is a massive project, and despite years of development, it’s nowhere near completion. Nonetheless, strong crowd-funded support have carried the game a long way, and concrete news on the game’s tech implementation can’t help but be considered good news for the long term viability of the project. 

Beta Test Star Citizen Announces Amazon Lumberyard Tech Partnership

Reader Discussion: What’s Your Favorite Winter Game Setting?

As we all get tucked in for some well-deserved holiday gaming time over the next few weeks, we’re noticing a lot of game settings that like to dress up in winter wear for the season, like GTA Online and Destiny. But other games embrace their snowy landscapes throughout the season, like Lost Planet, the final sequences of Journey, the snowy frontier of Assassin’s Creed III, or any number of Star Wars levels set on Hoth. 

So which are the most memorable snowy winter locales for you? Did you love your adventures hanging off glaciers in Rise of the Tomb Raider? Couldn’t get enough dragon fights in snowy Skyrim? Or maybe you’ve been having a blast zipping down the slopes in Ubisoft’s recent release of Steep?

Share your pick for the best winter game setting in the comments below. 

Beta Test Reader Discussion: What’s Your Favorite Winter Game Setting?

How To Survive In Let It Die

Let It Die has been attracting curious players since its surprise release, and I’ve played quite a bit over the course of our review and beyond. If you’re just getting started, while there’s an adequate tutorial that spans hours and hours of little messages stuck to balloons, here are some serious tips to help you survive and succeed in the Tower of Barbs.

The firework launcher may seem like a joke weapon at first, as its damage is low and good luck using it in a real fight when you’re being jumped with hammers and machetes. However, the real value in keeping one around is so you can cook food on the go when you’re in the dungeon, even beasts that may be dangerous to approach like poison snails. Instead of having to smack around scorpions or eat uncooked frogs, keep a launcher around and use it to bake your meals at long range.

Your starting level cap for fighters is level 25, and you only have access to the weak All-Rounder template. To unlock new classes of fighters and new grades of fighters (so you can level past 25) you need to climb the tower. Many of the game’s unlocks are tied to whatever the highest floor you’ve been to, so always be looking to progress.

Upgrading your waiting room is essential to success, upgrading your gold cap and letting you store more fighters. You can only begin doing this once you’ve unlocked the Tokyo Death Metro, which enables PVP options. After you’ve unlocked the service and gone through the tutorial quest, you can begin researching upgrades.

You may begin to find the grind getting tedious as you progress, having to hit up certain floors for food and various supplies. Having a stocked fridge of fighters can really help here, and getting your fighter roster count upgraded should be one of your first priorities. You can send your inactive fighters out on expeditions into other player’s games, and these trips will yield valuable resources, consumables, and supplies at no cost to you.

In the middle of the waiting room is your teleport back to the arcade, where you can pick up and turn in quests, as well as change the waiting room music.

At the beginning of the game you’re probably going to be dying a lot. Resist the temptation to use the free Death Metals to make life easier, and use these currency items to upgrade your storage space. You’re going to need a lot of storage space in order to effectively keep crafting materials to make your weapons big powerhouses as you climb the tower.

Even as you do die frequently early in the game, you’re still probably making some critical progression. Things like weapon mastery stick around, and many other aspects of the game happen at the account level, such as developing your vendor to craft powerful items that can make your climb much, much easier.

While many floors of the tower are static, some rooms change from day to day and offer side adventures to the pure climb. These out of the way rooms often located away from the central climb offer rare crafting materials and a special secret vendor that often has powerful recipes.

Decals can make all the difference. For instance, there’s a decal that allows poison to heal your character instead of hurt it. With this decal, you can keep your character healthy and topped off at all times just by carrying around a poison snail, dropping to to place the “buff” on your character and picking it up again, your own portable healing facility.

Golden beasts are great for restoring health, but their primary use is to offer a huge amount of experience points. When you’re rolling new fighters, have them eat or smash a golden beast for a wealth of instant experience.

A beast you’ll start encountering frequently on floors 11-20 is the pillbug. You’re going to want to actually slay these much of the time instead of eating them outright, as they offer a special mushroom buff that will keep you alive when you’re about to die. They can be difficult to kill as they roll up into their shell, but stomp on them once or twice and then use the “hammer punch” (r1 with fists after unlocked with mastery) in order to kill them efficiently.

Enemy “Haters” are often the most dangerous adversary on any floor. They tend to spawn in the same places, so you will learn where over time. With this knowledge, you can sneak up on them and execute a takedown with a crouching stealth attack before they ever have a chance to attack you. If you must engage a Hater on even terms, try to rope up some other standard enemies into the fray, then take down the Hater while they are occupied with the enemy units.

Beta Test How To Survive In Let It Die

The Top Tabletop Games Of 2016

The field of board, card, miniature, and role-playing gaming continued its meteoric growth this year, exploring hundreds of innovative designs and varied themes. The selections here run the gamut from family-friendly stacking games to complex strategic affairs for dedicated hobby veterans.

If you want more tabletop gaming recommendations than what you can find right here, you can check out our dedicated Top of the Table hub, as well as selections from recent years, including picks for the best tabletop games of 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012.

To explore the full article, click through the selections on page one (here), two, and three for ten of the best in board, card, and miniature gaming, ordered alphabetically. For five of the most compelling role-playing releases of 2016, hop to page four

Captain Sonar
Publisher: Matagot

Think of Captain Sonar as if Battleship grew up, layered on a wealth of new facets, and invited more players into the mix. Teams of up to four take on distinct roles as captain, first mate, engineer, and sonar operator, and navigate their submarine through treacherous waters in search of the enemy. A divider screen splits the table in half as each crew operates in secret, leading to tense but laugh-inducing confrontations. The game’s components, in particular, are a surprise; rather than cards and dice, the game is almost entirely played with dry-erase markers on erasable plastic sheets. Captain Sonar is ideally played by a full complement of 4v4 player teams, but it can also work with as few as two players; the focus on cooperation, coordination, and detection makes for a thrilling competition. Read a more complete write-up to learn more.

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Codenames Pictures
Publisher: Czech Games Edition

The follow-up to last year’s widely-praised Codenames is just as fun as its predecessor. Two opposing teams of spies try to hunt down agents in the field, but instead of secret words, the guesswork is all about surreal pictures. Spymasters give clues that relate to specific cards, and the rest of the team puzzles out which pictures match. Innovative, deductive, and highly replayable, this new variation is great on its own or can seamlessly combine with the original game. In addition, Pictures offers some new variant play options that are a lot of fun to discover, even if you’ve already played dozens of sessions with the first game. Codenames Pictures (and its predecessor) are a perfect choice for parties where you might expect team sizes to fluctuate, as the game easily supports players drifting in and out of the fun. Of all the tabletop game releases of the last few years, the Codenames family of games has an almost universal appeal that is unmatched. You can get more details about the game in our full recommendation.

Conan
Publisher: Monolith

Fantasy miniature combat takes center stage in this adventure game in the one-vs-many style. A single player takes the role of the overlord and his minions, while everyone else controls Conan or one of his companions. Scenario-based battles put tremendous control in the hands of players to shape how a fight unfolds, while the Overlord employs a brilliant and balanced control mechanic that keeps the action taut and moving fast across the four included board maps.  Adult fantasy fans will thrill at the constant battles, even if the sex and violence of the art and actions makes this a no-go for some, particularly younger players. 

Next Page: Build the monuments of ancient Egypt, and uncover the secrets of a Lovecraftian mansion

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Beta Test The Top Tabletop Games Of 2016

GTA Online Holiday Event Introduces Juggernaut Mode

New details have emerged regarding GTA Online’s holiday event, which includes the addition of a new Adversary mode called Juggernaut. In the latest mode, two opposing teams each must try and take out the opponent’s juggernaut character, even while attempting to keep their own Juggernaut from harm. In a fun twist, if neither team is able to take out the opposition before time runs out, then everyone transforms into a Juggernaut until someone is killed. 

In addition to the launch of the new Juggernaut mode, devoted GTA Online players can expect to find a re-imagined Pfister Comet sports car now available to drive, not to mention an ongoing snow-theme that is blanketing the game in white through December 26. Log in on Christmas day, and you can also expect to get a bunch of fun treats, including a set of pajamas (blue or white), a unicorn mask, and a whole stocking full of explosive munitions and ammo. 

You can read all about GTA Online’s holiday shenanigans on Rockstar’s official site

 

Our Take
If you’re part of the enthusiastic community that still spends time in GTA Online, it seems like a login this Sunday would be wise. 

Beta Test GTA Online Holiday Event Introduces Juggernaut Mode

Seven Ways Prey Has Shocked Its Own Developers

While some developers focus on telling linear stories,
Arkane Studios is more interested in creating a series of interlaced systems and
then letting players exploit the interplay between those systems to solve
gameplay challenges in a variety of unexpected ways. Prey’s freeform systems have
even surprised its own developers several times. While talking with the team
for our January cover story, we rounded up some of the most exciting stories on
how Arkane has been dumbstruck by its own game.

Burst to get med
pack

“There is a little medical bay where
the door’s broken. Of course, I could use Mimic, like we showed at QuakeCon and
turn into a smaller object and roll through the crack in the door, or there’s
probably an alternate route I could find if I explored. In my play through last
week, I didn’t have any of those powers. I had kinetic blast, and I was really
hurt, so what I did was put a kinetic blast behind the medkit and the blast
knocked it over to me. That’s why we try to simulate everything. We could have
made the decision, ‘Well medkits should not be physics objects, because you
don’t want to lose it in the world, but making them physics objects lets you do
these sort of fun things like that.” – Ricardo Bare | Lead Designer

Playing Catch
“Some of our powers just work magic in combination together.
For example, leverage is a human type of ability which allows you to lift
objects that are bigger than you could if you did not have it. There is another
ability that you take from aliens, which is remote manipulation, so you can
grab an object from a distance. If you combine both together, it’s like you’re
a machine that throws huge objects at people. One time there was a fridge in
the background, and a poltergeist [one
of Prey’s invisible aliens
] threw it at me. As the fridge came at me, I
used remote manipulation and leverage to throw it back. It’s like we were
playing catch.” – Raphael Colantonio | Creative Director and President of
Arkane Studios

Phantom Music
“Occasionally the musical instruments on the space station
would start to play themselves. The poor audio guys were sitting with me trying
to figure out what was going on, and a lot of times it’s hard to debug stuff
like this because it’s systemic. They were like, ‘We are not doing this. We
swear we haven’t put anything in this map to make this happen. We don’t
understand why the instruments keep playing themselves.’ It took them a little
bit to go, ‘Wait a minute…it might not be you.’ A poltergeist is playing these
instruments.” – Susan Kath | Senior Producer

Stuck On You
“A couple of weeks ago, I was just testing some random
systems together and I never tried the combination before. I was in this map
with catwalks overhead, and I use the lift power on a phantom. It made the
phantom smack against the ceiling, and he was prone but stuck on the ceiling. I
was like, ‘Huh,’ so I pulled my Gloo gun out and started shooting at the
Phantom, which plastered him to the ceiling. And then the Lift power was over,
so there was nothing holding him up there but the glue. He was stuck up there
on the catwalk. I was giddy, so I did it again and made a video of it, and
showed it to the team. ‘This is why we’re doing what we do.'” – Seth Shain |
Lead Systems Designer, Associate Producer

Maybe I Don’t Need
That Health Pack

“One of the cool things about the Mimics is that they still
surprise us. Even after three years, I still hear the people who work on this
game on a daily basis jumping and shouting every once in a while. One of my
favorites was actually hearing [creative director Raphael Colantonio] playing,
and then I heard him shouting. ‘I was almost dead, and I went to get a medkit
and it was a mimic!'” – Susan Kath | Senior Producer

Flying Turrets
“You can fortify a turret with a higher level of repair,
which gives it more health, because you can pick them up and take them around. But
the turrets used to be stationary, totally static. Then one of our level
designers hacked the turret so it could move and took the lift power and sent
it up towards a balcony where a bunch of mimics were hanging out, and it just
annihilated all those mimics. When we all saw that we were like, ‘Okay, so
turrets are going to be portable now.'” – Seth Shain | Lead Systems Designer,
Associate Producer

Hello Operator
“There was a bug that came in the other day that I thought
was really cool. One of the QA testers, she was falling from a great height and
she was about to land in a group of aggressive Operators, [the stations
defensive robots]. She was like, ‘What do I do? What do I do! I don’t have any
ammo!’ Then, at the last second, she mimicked one of them, and they basically stopped
being aggressive to her, because they were like, ‘Hey, you’re one of us. That’s
cool.’ And they went back to what they were doing. The QA tester thought it was
a bug, and I was like, ‘No, I think that works perfectly.” – Susan Kath |
Senior Producer

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Beta Test Seven Ways Prey Has Shocked Its Own Developers

Pokémon Go Holiday Event Gifts Free Incubators

If you’re ready to grow your Pokémon Go collection, we’ve got good news. The game’s holiday event has some fun stuff going on to celebrate the jolly season. For most players, the most significant feature is the opportunity to get free incubators. By heading out to PokéStops between December 25 and January 3, you can acquire one single-use Incubator each day after your first Photo Disc spin. In addition, during that same stretch of time, limited edition Pokémon eggs (like Togepi and Pichu) are more likely to be found. 

Beginning a little later on December 30 and running through January 8, several other Pokémon are more likely to be be caught, including Bulbasaur, Ivysaur, Venusaur, Charmander, Charmeleon, Charizard, Squirtle, Wartortle, and Blastoise. During this time, lure modules will last 60 minutes instead of 30 minutes, giving you more chances to snag those sought-after little guys. 

You can read all about the event on the official page

 

Our Take
Pokémon Go was one of the biggest gaming phenomenons of 2016. It’s fitting that its team is giving something back to the community in the final days of the year. 

Beta Test Pokémon Go Holiday Event Gifts Free Incubators