Master of The Free World Productions | Jumpcut Entertainment Network

Games festival director spends 48 hours in VR, doesn’t puke

Earlier this month German game industry figure Thorsten Wiedemann donned pink pajamas and an HTC Vive headset to spend 48 hours sequestered in virtual reality. Reports suggest he did not puke. …


Gamasutra News

WRC 5 Review – Safe & Steady Doesn’t Win The Race

Dedicated rally games left the spotlight when
longtime supporter Codemasters integrated the discipline into its Dirt series.
However, WRC is an officially licensed property on its fifth iteration,
featuring good ol' point-to-point rally racing minus the offroad, gymkhana, and
rally cross dressings of the Dirt franchise. WRC 5 may feature pure rally
racing, but its singular focus does not produce exemplary results.

One of the things that initially intrigued me
was the inclusion of contracts with different race teams in the career mode.
While these teams have different stats such as mentality, confidence, and
efficiency, I didn't find a big difference between the teams that valued speed
versus bringing the car home largely undamaged, for example. I took a contract
with the latter for a season, and found they were happy as long as I was
posting good results regardless of how much they had to keep fixing my car
between days. At the end of each season you can take on a new contract as you
climb the ranks of three racing tiers (J-WRC, WRC-2, and WRC), but ultimately
the contracts offer little impetus to spur you forward.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

This unremarkable approach ripples throughout
the game. WRC 5's main features don't deviate from basic expectations; it has a
rally school tutorial section, online ghosts of player times to race against,
developer-created online challenge times, and the option to rewind to the
beginning of a stage section if you mess up your run.

WRC 5 also fails to distinguish itself behind
the wheel. For me, rally racing is about holding my breath while hurtling down
too-narrow roads and living life one corner at a time. The courses feature some
dangerous situations, such as jagged rocks waiting to shred the side of your
car, chicane barriers in the middle of roads, and plenty of corners you don't
want to cut, but either because the sense of speed isn't overwhelming or
because the cars feel a little too deliberate in their control, I didn't get
that rush I usually do in a rally title.

I'll give developer Kylotonn Games credit: As
much as I think the cars (particularly the ones in the first two tiers) feel a
little stiff, the game doesn't artificially help you into your slides or rely
overly on the handbrake. I often liked riding the brake and throttle
simultaneously into turns to get around them.

A rally game focused solely on the sport is a rare thing, and it's an
opportunity to dive into this type of racing and concentrate on what makes it
special. While WRC 5 offers a decent experience, it lacks bite or any
distinguishing characteristics.

This review pertains to the PlayStation 4 version. It also appears on Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Vita, and PC.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Ninja Thoery Explains, But Doesn’t Show The Secret Face-Scanning Tech Of Hellblade

Developer Ninja Theory contracted a company called 3Lateral to scan the face of its model for Hellblade's protagonist, Senua, and it explains, but does not show the process in a new video.

The company 3Lateral doesn't want to share their secrets, so you won't see the technology, but it is apparently so big, that 3Lateral had to rent an apartment near its studios and use that to build the technology. Melina Juergens, whose face was scanned to represent Senua, explains that getting into the mystery contraption felt like getting into a spaceship, and she had to sign onto Skype while inside in order to communicate with everybody.

As mentioned previously, we don't get to see 3Lateral's mystery face-scanning spaceship machine, but we do get to see the results, and they do impress.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

For more on Hellblade, the new game from the creators of Heavenly Sword, Enslaved, and DmC: Devil May Cry, head here and here. Hellblade is coming to PlayStation 4 and PC next year.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Sword Coast Legends Doesn’t Come Out Until Tuesday, But You Can Play Right Now If You Pre-Order

Sword Coast Legends, the Dungeons & Dragons romp featuring dungeon building and Dungeon Mastering, doesn't launch until October 20, but if you pre-order the game on Steam you can play immediately via Head Start Access.

While the game features a full campaign and everything, much of the intrigue surrounding the title comes from designing and delving into player-created dungeons.

We've taken a few looks at the game as it's moved closer to completion, and a full review is on the way.

Our Take
What we've played has been interesting, and I'm looking forward to checking out the full game.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

What Works (And What Doesn’t) In The Witcher 3’s First Expansion

Hearts of Stone, the first expansion for The Witcher 3: Wild
Hunt, is launching on October 13 for $ 10. The expansion is a self-contained story in
which Geralt accepts a monster contract and gets more than he bargained for. It
has no ties to the main plot of The Witcher 3, but the combat is geared towards
experienced players.

I recently played through the entire storyline of the new
expansion, taking on various new side quests and testing out some of the
different choices. The expansion should keep you busy for around 10 hours, and
is a great reason to jump back into the world. Here's where the expansion
shines and where it stumbles.

Note: The entries below have some basic details, but I won't
spoil any story revelations or fun character moments.


Works: The Chilling Narrative
We've seen some messed-up things happen in the Witcher
universe. Hearts of Stone takes some cues from the Bloody Baron quest line,
giving you an array of multi-faceted characters. The narrative centers on two
characters: Olgierd von Everec and Gaunter O'Dimm (the man who guided you
toward Yennefer's whereabouts in the beginning of The Witcher 3). Olgierd and Gaunter
are caught up in a pact that Geralt must help them complete. Both characters
are cruel, and enjoy toying with others and causing pain. They made my skin
crawl, but they're also interesting. Gaunter O'Dimm remains enigmatic and
constantly keeps you guessing about his next move. Olgierd von Everec has an
intriguing story surrounding how he got involved with Gaunter O'Dimm, allowing
you to see both characters differently as the journey goes on. As Geralt, you
must make your own decisions about these characters; as always, CD Projekt RED
doesn't provide a "right" path or way to feel about them. For those who enjoy
the writing of The Witcher, this expansion delivers; the story is well done and
the character development is top-notch. It's a tale I won't soon forget.

Doesn't: The Runewright
For this expansion, CD Projekt RED added a new way to
customize your weapons and make them more powerful with Runewords and
Glyphwords, which add extra benefits to weapons such as faster vitality and
stamina regeneration. These can also be used to give Geralt powerful perks like
deflecting arrows or auto-casting quen (protective shield) at the start of
battle. To engage in this, you take on a side quest to help the Runewright.
However, to unlock his greatest powers you need to invest a lot of money – thousands.
The only gear that can be enchanted and receive the Runewright's labor are
those that possess three enhancement slots. Thankfully, you can pay to add
slots onto any weapon you find – another money sink. To get the best of this,
you must devote time and money to it, and it's not really justified for this
expansion. Hopefully, when CD Projekt RED releases the next expansion, it makes
the Runewright more worth your while and less of a time and money sink. I lost
interest in it pretty quickly.

Works: Tense Boss Battles
Hearts of Stone has some challenging fights, since it treats
you like an experienced player – even at easier difficulties. I enjoyed having
battles that required me to take advantage of my signs and watch for enemy
weaknesses and patterns. In my opinion, the boss battles are more memorable than those featured in The Witcher 3's main story. As I discussed in my preview of the expansion,
a fight with a giant toad forces you to pull out all stops (using yrden and igni
at just the right moments) while dodging vicious attacks. Another fight had me
up against a foe that launched deadly tornadoes, and one fun boss battle had a
caretaker from beyond the grave that could swing his giant scythe and launch
miniature ghouls while he restored his health. Every boss felt fun and unique,
and I enjoyed using my wits to take down each one.

Doesn't: The Shani Romance
Let me preface this by saying I adore Shani. She's great,
especially in this expansion, but her romance arc feels rushed. The Witcher 3:
The Wild Hunt did a great job with the romances and making you feel more
connected to each woman, but Shani's romance isn't memorable. Not all love
stories are grand, but this one feels like a letdown. She's a cool character
and I liked learning more about her, but I wish she was just a good friend and
not a romance option, because her romantic arc doesn't have enough time to
develop.

Works: Choice And Consequence
One of my favorite parts of The Witcher series is how small
dialogue decisions can change the way scenes play out. Hearts of Stone carries
on that tradition in interesting ways. Depending on your choices, you can avoid
fights, fight different people, and keep characters alive. Exploring the
different threads lends some replayability. I also like how the consequences of
your dialogue choices aren't immediately obvious. Sometimes Geralt needs to be
abrasive, other times he's better not ruffling any feathers. As in The Witcher
3, CD Projekt continues to do a great job at not providing any "right" or
"safe" choice.

Doesn't: The Anti-Climatic Finale
Hearts of Stone tells an interesting tale and has a good
build up to its final moments, thanks to great character revelations and tense
sequences. However, the final showdown isn't exciting. You spend all this time
finding out just how twisted certain characters are, but the final sequence
where Geralt has a chance to make it right doesn't hold the same excitement. I
don't expect happy endings in The Witcher, but this one felt a bit rushed for
how much emphasis Hearts of Stone puts on the story. Maybe it's that you don't
really get a final, big battle to overcome (At least, my choices didn't present
anything of that sort). Instead, it's more of a confrontation and race against
the clock.

Final Thoughts
If you're a fan of The Witcher, especially its dark
universe, then Hearts of Stone is worth your time. You're constantly choosing
between two evils, and that's part of the appeal. However, it also has some
lighthearted moments, like when Geralt attends a wedding as Shani's date, which
serves as a nice break from the more tragic moments. If you don't play the
expansion, you aren't missing out on any big revelations – unless you've been dying
to know more about Gaunter O'Dimm or hear a beloved character get a passing mention.
I didn't love the side quests, which felt more bland and uninteresting,
compared to many in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The best part about playing the
expansion is just revisiting The Witcher 3, getting back in that vicious world
and trying to make the best of bad situations.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Fallout 4 Doesn’t Have A Level Cap To Hold You Back

Bethesda has detailed how progress will be handled in Fallout 4. While the skill-based system found in Skyrim won’t be infiltrating the wasteland, there have been some improvements over what you found in Fallout 3.

The SPECIAL system returns, with each of the stats (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck) having a range from one to ten. You’ll get 28 points to allocate at the start, and you’ll get to reallocate early in the game after you’ve played for a bit.

There’s no level cap this time out, and the experience-based progression system has been quickened a bit. That means you’ll be able to grow your skills and pick perks from an enormous chart (below). Oh, and this poster is included in every pre-order copy.

Click to enlarge.

Bethesda explains that each perk has its own leveling system and sub-tree. Some ranks require reaching a certain level or having a SPECIAL value high enough. Each of the seven stats has ten perks associated with it. You’ll also be able to boost your SPECIAL levels later in the game.

Beyond that, there are magazines and comics you can find scattered around the world. These will bestow unique skills, with different levels unlocked the more you find.

For more, check out Bethesda’s website.

[Source: Bethesda]

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

What Works (And What Doesn’t) In Dragon Age: Inquisition’s Final DLC

Dragon Age: Inquisition has been out for almost a year, and its story is coming to a close. The final DLC, Trespasser, is an epilogue set years after the conclusion of the main campaign. Compared to previous single-player DLC for the game, this one is a more focused, narrative-driven experience. That's what fans have been wanting since the beginning, but is it enough to make Trespasser worthwhile?

I played through the new content with my Inquisitor, and though some aspects will be different depending on your choices, these are the primary things that this finale gets right and the areas where it stumbles.

Note: The entries below have some basic details, but I won't spoil any story revelations or cool character moments.

Works: Follower Interactions
The story opens two years after the defeat of Corypheus. With the dust settled and your organization's original purpose fulfilled, a meeting has been called to determine the fate of the Inquisition. This premise has the benefit of drawing back together all of your party members who have been off pursuing their own adventures since the end of Dragon Age: Inquisition's main story. I spent my first hour in Trespesser just walking around and catching up with these old friends. With one exception, all of my previous allies were gathered in one place, and I love how all of the scenes and conversations with the characters highlight their best qualities and give a sense of how they've changed over time. What (and who) you see will be different based on decisions you made, who you romanced, and how certain personal quests resolved, but it's all a fitting tribute for the fans who grew attached to this memorable crew.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Doesn't: The Mark
In addition to the impending decision about the Inquisition's fate, something is also wrong with the mark on the Inquisitor's hand. It's getting worse, though this isn't really explained or even presented as much of a concern until the end. It seems shoehorned into the plot, and its gameplay applications aren't much better. Your unstable mark provides a neat wrinkle in the final battles, but for the most part, it serves as a glorified torch that you need to spend your focus meter to (briefly) activate in order to navigate dark caves. Both in terms of mechanics and story, this aspect of Trespasser feels under-develeoped.

Works: The Environments
Unlike the Jaws of Hakkon DLC, Trespasser isn't a massive new zone to explore freely. It's more like a long story mission that has you traveling through several smaller and more linear areas. That's not a bad thing; the places you visit are interesting and varied, and the pacing means that you're never spending too long in one place. Plus, the smaller scope means that the spaces you move through feel more carefully and deliberately designed, so they're more fun to explore. They're also loaded with new codex entries to pore over.

Doesn't: Boss Fights
Trespasser has two bosses, and I did not have fun with either of them. The first one presented me with an optional "mercy" objective that I could not complete because my foe got caught on objects in the world, so I was forced to kill it instead. The second boss just went on for too long. As post-game content, I expected Trespasser to have some tough foes, but the last major enemy felt like a damage sponge that I was just hammering on endlessly, even with all of my high-powered spells and meticulously min-maxed gear. The fight doesn't really have a trick or challenge, it's just an endurance match.

Works: The Climax
Despite my disappointment with the boss fights, the climax pays off big. I don't want to say too much for fear of ruining it, but uncovering the reasons (both ancient and current) behind Trespasser's events was the highlight of this DLC for me. Figuring out the "who" won't be hard, but they "why" and "how" weren't what I was expecting, and I was hanging on every word of this cathartic conversation.

Doesn't: The Resolution
After the action comes to a head and you have the answers you were looking for, you decide the fate of the Inquisition. Even though you technically have several choices, it really just boils down to two actual outcomes. Unfortunately, neither of them seemed right to me, which was a bummer. I was still stinging from that when the ending montage started, showing "where are they now?" slides about all of the main characters' fates. However, the text during this sequence advances too quickly and the art presentation doesn't meet the bar set by the previous ending, leaving your final seconds with Trespasser feeling rushed rather than something you can savor.

Final Verdict
It may not be perfect, but Trespasser is still a must-play for fans of Dragon Age: Inquisition. It concludes the arc that began in the base game, and gives you plenty of time to spend with the characters and remind you why you like them. It also expands certain areas of the lore in compelling ways that has me excited for the future. Though it's an epilogue, don't think of this as a "true ending" that you need to buy. Inquisition told a complete story, and Trespasser feels more like an interstitial episode bridging the gap between the last game and the next. It gives players closure for most of the characters and lingering story threads, but presents new questions along the way. All in all, it's a satisfying way to say goodbye to one of the best RPGs I've ever played.

For BioWare's perspective on what this final piece of DLC offers, read our interview with creative director Mike Laidlaw.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Lara Doesn’t Have To Be A Murder Machine In Rise Of The Tomb Raider

During the Microsoft press briefing at Gamescom, Crystal Dynamics showed off a bloody romp through Rise of the Tomb Raider. Following that, some fans expressed concern that Lara’s adventures had veered too far from their roots.

Today, Microsoft, Square Enix, and Crystal Dynamics released an alternate version that shows Lara progressing through the same area quietly. Crystal Dynamics’ Noah Hughes walks viewers through the “Advancing Storm” scenario without any bloodshed.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Using a variety of distraction techniques, Lara is able to sneak past a full patrol of heavily armed guards. The bow and arrow aren’t just for killing.

For more, check out the other take on this scene from Gamescom. You can also read up on Rise of the Tomb Raider in our coverage from the March 2015 issue.

 

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Jurrassic World Sequel Doesn’t Have A Name But It Has A Release Date

Jurassic World is now the third highest grossing movie in the world, so we shouldn’t be surprised that Universal is eager to green light another. The movie doesn't have a script – or even a name – yet, but you can watch the sequel to Jurassic World in 2018.

Jurassic World is one of the first Jurassic Park movies to actually have some star power, and you can bet that Universal wants to make the most of those stars. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard have been confirmed for the sequel, which will hit theaters on June 22, 2018.

Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow is also set to co-write the screenplay with Derek Connolly (writer for Jurassic World, Safety Not Guaranteed). Many have already joked that the movie will probably be called Jurassic Universe, but we’re pushing for Jurassic Parking Lot.

Watch us play through the first hour of Lego Jurassic World to see if its worth playing and then learn how we’d genetically engineer our ideal Jurassic Park game.

 

[Source: Variety]

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Jurrassic World Sequel Doesn’t Have A Name But It Has A Release Date

Jurassic World is now the third highest grossing movie in the world, so we shouldn’t be surprised that Universal is eager to green light another. The movie doesn't have a script – or even a name – yet, but you can watch the sequel to Jurassic World in 2018.

Jurassic World is one of the first Jurassic Park movies to actually have some star power, and you can bet that Universal wants to make the most of those stars. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard have been confirmed for the sequel, which will hit theaters on June 22, 2018.

Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow is also set to co-write the screenplay with Derek Connolly (writer for Jurassic World, Safety Not Guaranteed). Many have already joked that the movie will probably be called Jurassic Universe, but we’re pushing for Jurassic Parking Lot.

Watch us play through the first hour of Lego Jurassic World to see if its worth playing and then learn how we’d genetically engineer our ideal Jurassic Park game.

 

[Source: Variety]

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed