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Where’s Our MLB 15: The Show Review?

MLB 15: The Show launches on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and Vita tomorrow. That's the same day Game Informer staffers will be getting their hands on the final version of the game. Sony didn't send out early copies of the game to critics, citing the importance of the servers being online for players to get everything out of the game.

We are planning on posting early impressions and videos throughout the day tomorrow for those of you thinking about picking it up on day one. Sports reviews take time, and we don't anticipate having our review for MLB 15: The Show ready at any point this week.

For now, check out our hands-on impressions with a preview version of the game from earlier this year.

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GI Show 240: Bloodborne, Kojima And Konami’s Messy Metal Gear Divorce

This week we break down From Software's Bloodborne, and discuss the fallout of the divorce between Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima and Konami.

In the first segment, host Matt Helgeson talks Bloodborne with Dan Tack, who gave the game a 9.75, and Tim Turi. Both of them sing the virtues of the game, which gives a new, more fast-paced spin on the challenging action/RPG combat that From Software perfected in the Dark Souls series.

In the second segment, we have a long discussion regarding the recent soap opera between Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima and publisher Konami. Their partnership dates back over three decades, but now it seems that Kojima will be leaving the company, and the Metal Gear franchise, behind following the completion of the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phanton Pain. It's definitely going to be the end of an era, and we contemplate what it all means.

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Grand Theft Auto V PC Screenshots Show Off Los Santos In 4K

Grand Theft Auto V is on track for April 14 on PC after a number of delays. If you were wondering if it’s worth the wait, these new 4K screenshots might help you decide.

Of course, to see the game in 4K, you’re going to need a PC powerful enough (and monitor capable) to make that happen. Rockstar says that a new trailer is coming next week.

For more on Grand Theft Auto V, check out our review and impressions of the recently added online heists. Also, you can check out our previous coverage to learn more about what hardware you’ll need to play GTA V on PC.

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The Past & Present In MLB 15: The Show

The release for Sony's MLB 15: The Show is in the not-so-distant future – March 31 for the PS4, PS3, and Vita, and the game's latest trailer gives a look at what can happen when the past and present collide.

For the first time in the franchise, legends are being incorporated into the game (one per team), and they can be played alongside current-day players.

The new footage also gives a look at gameplay vagaries like infielders palming the ball, linedrives up the mound, and even the way a runner's momentum carries him through a slide into second.

For a comprehensive look at the game, take a look at Reiner's preview, covering everything from hitting to the game's new RPG-like approach.

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Art Submissions Open For Into the Pixel 2015 Show

Every year at E3, the The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and the Entertainment Software Association host an art show that features video game concept pieces. The show is called Into the Pixel, and if you're an artists, you might be happy to know that this year's show is open to submissions.

Now in its 12th year, the show continues to celebrate the video game artists who push our favorite medium forward. Video game artists can submit their in-game or concept art for consideration at Into The Pixel’s website until April 10. This year's show will premiere during E3, and will then continue to tour at shows such as SXSW and the annual D.I.C.E. Summit.

Notable pieces from the 2014 show include art from titles like Destiny, The Last of Us, Luftrausers, and The Banner Saga. Check out more of those images here.

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GI Show 239: Battlefield: Hardline, Nintendo News, Resident Evil Revelations 2

This week, we have a blockbuster shooter, the final entry in RE Revelations 2, and some intriguing announcements from Nintendo.

First up, host Matt Helgeson is joined by Jeff Marchiafava and Andy Reiner to talk about Battlefield: Hardline. Our review isn't up yet (due to the fact that Jeff is still testing multiplayer) but we have a lot of impressions about the single-player campaign he completed, and the excellent online play.

In the second segment, Kyle Hilliard and Jeff Cork stop by to talk about Nintendo's venture into the world of mobile gaming, and it's mysterious new game system.

Finally, Kim Wallace and Tim Turi look back on the four episodes of Resident Evil Revelations 2, now that the episodic series is wrapped up. They come away some mixed, but mostly positive, feelings about the experience.

Note: this episode features selections from Ori and the Blind Forest soundtrack.

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Former Rare Developers’ Playtonic Games Show More Of Project Ukelele, Kickstarter Coming Soon

Playtonic Games, a recently formed team of former Rare developers, is still being vague about its Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor, but there are new images, and a Kickstarter is planned.

As part of its presentation at EGX Rezzed, Playtonic showcased its design philosophy for what the still codenamed Project Ukelele will be, and shared a few images of the game, which you can see above and below. Playtonic also announced the game will be supported with a Kickstarter, which launches in May.

Some other confirmed details about the game include that it will be a 3D platformer and it will appeal to fans of Banjo-Kazooie in terms of humor and target audience – don't expect mature content like that of Conker's Bad Fur Day. The game is being built with Unity and during a Q&A session, Playtonic said it considers Banjo-Kazooie and Tooie to be proof of protoypes for its new game. The studio says it is building the game for PC, but would love to bring it to whatever platforms the fans want, but that will be dictated by the Kickstarter.

They purposefully did not show off the protagonist characters (you can see their eyeballs here) because showing them would reveal gameplay mechanics, which they are not ready to share yet. Apparently the characters may have been hidden somewhere in the presentation, however, because this tweet does offer an ambiguous hint.

The team expressed interest in Skylanders and Amiibo-like toy compatibility, but it was far from an announcement or a hint – just an appreciation for the figures and their gameplay implications. Finally, Playtonic confirmed that Grant Kirkhope, composer on both Banjoe-Kazooie games, is involved with Project Ukelele, something Kirkhope reconfirmed with a tweet himself.

Finally, it didn't have anything to do with Project Ukelele, but the team discussed the importance of collectibles and commiserated about the the over-abundance of them in Donkey Kong 64 – a game many of the team members worked on and shared how difficult it was to test. They finished out their presentation saying that collectibles need to mean something.

The presentation was live streamed through Twitch and you can find an archive of it here. For more on Playtonic, head here and here.

[Source: @PlaytonicGames]

 

Our Take
3D, collectible-driven platformers are few and far between. Can't wait to learn more about the game in May.

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Exclusive Mad Max Screens Show Off The Brutal Wasteland

We haven’t seen Mad Max in a game for a long while, which makes his return exciting enough.  Couple that with the fact that the new title is being developed by Just Cause creators Avalanche Studios, and you’ve got the makings of something special. We got to play the game for several hours during our studio visit, and you can read our impressions in the April cover story of Game Informer magazine. If you missed it, now’s your chance to see a few screenshots from the game, which cover some of its highlights.

Be sure to click the images to see them at full resolution.

The shot above shows more than just a man and his car. If you’ve watched the films, you’ll probably recognize Max’s black-leather getup. You won’t, however, recognize Max’s face or voice. He follows the antihero’s broad strokes, but Avalanche says its version of the character is essentially a reset. Take a close look at the car, too. It’s just one of a dizzying array of possible customized versions of Max’s car, which is affectionately called the Magnum Opus by the mechanic/companion who designed it. Players can tinker with a variety of the vehicle’s aspects, including ramming bumpers, tires, armor, engines, exhaust systems, and gearboxes. You can also pick one of several bodies, so you aren’t stuck with a muscle car if that’s not your thing. The car’s finish is worth a quick call out, too. Avalanche hesitates to call them paint jobs, since paint isn’t exactly commonplace in the Wasteland. Here, you can see that the car is blackened by a layer of tar, which has been etched to create the look of a street rod’s flame-inspired decorations. Sometimes you just have to make do.

Even though he spends much of his time behind the wheel, Max still has to hoof it from time to time. From our hands-on time, it’s rarely for a relaxing walk. As you clear out enemy outposts and accept other missions, you run into a variety of Wasteland scum. Here, Max is taking on a small crowd with his double-barreled shotgun. It’s certainly an effective way to remove a threat, but it’s not necessarily the most efficient tactic. Ammunition is scarce (expect to see a lot of arrows, like in the later films), which means that every frivolous shot you take could come back to haunt you later. Combat takes the center stage in this shot, but take a look at the Magnum Opus in the background. It’s another, rustier variation that players can create.


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Is Sony’s First PSN Show, Powers, Worth Watching?

In April of 2000, Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming scraped together enough free time and money to release their own privately-owned comic called Powers. It was a passion project, and a small group of comic fans quickly became equally passionate about it. Powers was a smart police procedural that took place before a backdrop of corrupt superheroes. Nearly 15 years after its debut, Sony has adapted this cult classic into a full-blown web series debuting on PSN, but does Sony's first foray into serialized drama have what it takes to compete with Netflix, Amazon, or even YouTube? We offer up our impressions of the first three episodes.

The Powers comic was about as successful as any independently funded book could expect to be. It turned its creators into comic superstars nearly overnight. Bendis himself has become an important member of Marvel Comic's brain trust, has written video games, and even consulted on Marvel's TV and film universe. Meanwhile, Oeming went on to work on the award-winning The Mice Templar comic before finding a job at Valve Software and producing a series of Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2, and Portal 2 web comics. However, these creators haven't forgotten about the little comic that launched their careers and have teamed up with Sony to turn Powers into a live-action serial drama. Unfortunately – much like the superheroes it portrays – this series is full of flaws.

Sharlto Copley (District 9, The A-Team) plays Christian Walker, a grim, burnt-out superhero who started wearing a police badge after losing his powers in a mysterious superhero clash. After Walker's partner is brutally murdered on the job, he teams up with a young, take-no-guff rookie named Deena Pilgrim, played by Susan Heyward (The Following). At first glance, these two characters feel about as deep as a two-sentence character bio, and even though Copley and Heyward have decent acting chops, we're rarely given a look into their personal lives or backgrounds, so their characters remain thin even by episode three. 

When one of Walker's super-powered friends turns up dead in a nightclub, the detectives uncover a market of designer drugs being distributed among the Powers community. Enter Johnny Royalle, played by Noah Taylor (Almost Famous, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), a criminal Power and nightclub owner with the ability to teleport from place to place with a Looney Tunes pop. Royalle has been distributing his drugs among fledgling Powers, and while his motivations are never entirely clear, this black hat acts so sinister that he might as well be twirling his mustache.

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Powers' scripting has its highs and lows, but its production values are mostly low. All of the super-powered heroes in the series have costumes that look like they were bought off a rack at a thrift store, and I've seen better CG effects in a Freddie Wong video. In an age where YouTube clips look more and more like the big-budget content that networks push onto our television sets, Powers falls short.

The most disappointing aspect of Powers is that it fails to do justice to its beloved source material. I love the "people with super powers are rock stars" analogy, and there are moments where the show plays with the concept that even super heroes fail to be heroic sometimes, but I would have preferred a more faithful interpretation of Bendis' original, nearly cinematic script. Plot points that the original creators spent several issues building up to in the
comic are quickly laid out before the first episode's opening title shot,
which strips them of all their punch.

While some fans of the comic will be mildly entertained by the show's unique take on this beloved series, the under-edited narrative, slightly hammy acting, and a meager production budget won't help bring in new fans. For those people, I'd like to suggest the original source material, which remains a fresh take on police procedurals and superhero theatrics even 15 years after its initial release.

Even if you don’t have a PSN subscription, you can still watch the first episode of Powers for free on Sony’s official site starting March 10. PSN subscribers can watch the entire show free of charge. Everyone else can buy each episode for $ 1.99/per SD episode and $ 2.99/per HD episode.

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GI Show 237: Farewell Maxis, Rock Band Returns, GDC News

This week we say goodbye to a great game studio, welcome back Rock Band, and break down all the news from GDC.

First up, Joe Juba (who wrote this oral history of Maxis) and Ben Reeves join host Matt Helgeson to eulogize SimCity and The Sims studio Maxis.

In the second segment, Ben Hanson and Brian Shea are on hand to talk about the triumphant return of Harmonix's Rock Band franchise and all the week's news from the Game Developer's Conference, including the GDC Awards, VR, and Valve.

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