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Yoshi’s Woolly World Is Not As Easy As You Think

Nintendo fans would be forgiven for thinking Yoshi’s Woolly World is a game you can just stroll through. After all, it features cute aesthetics that recall the charming yet simple Kirby’s Epic Yarn. In addition, every level we’ve seen to this point has been mildly challenging at best. That all changed this weekend at PAX Prime, as Nintendo introduced me to some of the more challenging levels of Yoshi’s Woolly World.

The first level I played was called Woollet Bill’s Last Ride. On this stage, Yoshi must ride on a trail that a Woolly Bullet Bill leaves behind as he travels through the fast-scrolling level. Over the course of the stage, enemies bubble onto the screen and drop onto the disappearing trail in the most inconvenient places. Plus, on many occasions, you must quickly jump up to platforms above in order to get over obstacles blocking your path, then get back down to Woollet Bill’s trail before he flies past you.

Woollet Bill moves quickly and will not wait for you if a difficult obstacle is ahead. Though that makes it tricky enough, difficulty is further added by the fact that you must exercise discipline in how you play the level. Using the Yoshi Bomb (Yoshi’s ground pound move) is out of the question, as that proves to be too much force for Woollet Bill’s flimsy trail, and my poor Woolly Yoshi immediately fell through to his death. Also, if you throw Yoshi’s eggs or use his tongue to grab enemies, you need to be careful not to hit or eat Woollet Bill, as that will kill him and immediately halt your progress and leave you trapped until the level’s scroll catches up and pushes you off the now-stagnant platform.

As much as Woollet Bill’s Last Ride tests your platforming skills and precision attacks, Yoshi's Curtain Call tests your timing and reflexes. In the early part of the stage, I jump my Yoshi into a circular object with an arrow. As I do this, it sends me flying off into the distance where Yoshi grabs on to a curtain on a line. The curtain races forward as I do my best to move Yoshi up and down on it to collect as many coins and other items as possible.

It feels like a fun mini-game with no chance of death – then I notice that the end of the line is coming up and there are no platforms in sight. I quickly climb to the top of the curtain as another curtain appears well out of reach. Using my Yoshi’s position on the curtain, the momentum the curtain has given me, and my best timing, I jump off the curtain at the right time and latch onto the next one, sending that one flying forward at the same speed. This continues for several minutes with jumps that feature varying degrees of difficulty. Some even require you to jump back and forth, completely defying the laws of physics and tricking your brain a little in the process.

Yoshi's Curtain Call isn’t as punishing as Woollet Bill’s Last Ride, but it is a blast that challenges you and has you on the edge of your seat. This was my third time playing Yoshi’s Woolly World, and without a doubt it was the most fun I’ve had with the game. Yoshi’s Woolly World comes out October 16.

For more on Woolly World, you can check out the latest trailer for the game here and a brief interview with the game's producer, Takashi Tezuka, here.

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Building Up The World Of Just Cause 3 So You Can Tear It Down

Just Cause 3 is all about destructive, joyful mayhem, and the latest dev diary for the game discuss exactly how much of a challenge that is for developer Avalanche Studios.

They say it's easier to destroy than create, and that's definitely true for creating the game's destruction.

Just Cause 3 comes out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on December 1.

For more, check out the game's previous dev diary here and enter to win an island.

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Opinion – The Witcher 3′s Side Content Should Be A Model For All Open World Games

If all games were like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I’d be in a lot of trouble. For the last several months I’ve been staying up late, sacrificing time with my friends and loved ones, and even shirking my household responsibilities in order to play this massive game. I would hate the game for consuming my time if I didn’t love it so much. Part of the problem is that The Witcher 3 can take upwards of 160 hours to complete. Another part of the problem is that most of those 160 hours are composed of compelling content that I actually want to experience. Whereas most massive open-world games pack in a lot of side content that's about as interesting as styrofoam, The Witcher 3’s “filler” content has just as much meat on its bones as the main campaign. I'm worried that upcoming games like Fallout 4 have a lot to live up to now.

The argument over game length is an old one. There are many opinions about the perfect length for a game, but every gamer has different needs. Some gamers – usually those who are younger and have a lot of free time – are eager to sink their teeth into a game with a nearly limitless amount of content. Meanwhile, gamers with less free time and more disposable income are more keen to pay for games that deliver a powerful experience with a shorter time commitment. 

For the last several years, I’ve sided with the latter group. Video games have always been a hobby of mine, and I spend the majority of my free time playing games, but there are a lot of games I want to play, and it's hard to get to them all while balancing my other responsibilities and relationships.

I don’t think I’m the only one with this dilemma; a recent study from CNN showed that less than 10 percent of people who played Red Dead Redemption actually finished it. There are probably a lot of reasons why people petered out on Rockstar's acclaimed western game, but I suspect that its massive play time was one of the primary factors. This is unfortunate, because Red Dead Redemption is one of the most beloved games of last generation – praised for its gameplay, characters, and atmosphere. It’s sad that most of the people who paid for it never even reach one of the most rewarding endings in video games.


Just one of The Witcher 3's massive landscapes

And sometimes it seems like games are only getting bigger. News recently circulated that Bethesda’s upcoming Fallout 4 could have as much as 400 hours worth of content. Even if that number is complete marketing fluff, 400 hours is an incredible amount of time to spend with any piece of content. Few other forms of media require as much devotion as massive open world games. Four hundred hours is an incredibly valuable amount of time; in that same period you could watch around 200 films, or read literary classics like War and Peace, Atlas Shrugged, Lord of the Rings, and the entire Harry Potter series – and still have time left to watch their film adaptations (based on average reading times). Of course, how you spend your time is entirely up to you, but I sometimes it doesn't feel fair for developers to ask their fans to spend that much time with one piece of media.

The real problem is that a game's length isn't always equal to its worth. Many lengthy games use cheap collect-a-thon side quest or repetitive game design to artificially lengthen the experience. I remember growing particularly frustrated with The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword while collecting fairy tears and other worthless doodads – which were part of the main quest – just so I could get to the next dungeon. These frustrating game design sequences irritate me not only because games are supposed to be fun, but because games are designed to be compelling. They meet our emotional needs, which encourages us to play more of them, so it feels like a bit of a betrayal when that content isn’t meaningful. If you've ever had trouble tearing yourself away from a game, it’s probably because that game was designed to make you want to keep playing it. Sometimes long games pray on our internal desires to collect, conquer, and feel competent. 

This is why I love what CD Projekt Red has done with The Witcher 3. Most of its side quests are connected to bits of story or action sequences that would normally be at home in a game’s main storyline. There are side characters and stories in the Witcher 3 that pull at my heartstrings and inspire my imagination. Many side quests are intimately connected to character from the main storyline – to the point where ignoring some of these quests will actually effect the main quest. Simple monster-hunting quests usually bore me, but in the Witcher 3,  these quests are usually connected to an interesting dramatic sequence
or other piece of monster lore that’s actually worth reading. I feel like the developers at CD Projekt Red actually value my time, want me to enjoy every minute I spent with their game, and aren't just trying to artificially inflate their game clock to appease gamers who have a lot of time to kill. I don't want to go back to collecting random cave troll hides, I want all future open-world games to follow this model.

The Witcher 3’s side content reminds me why I enjoy spending my free time playing games in the first place. Video games are an impressive form of modern craftsmanship. They can inspire us. They can take us to new worlds. Sometimes they even push us out of our comfort zones, teach us something about our world, or force us to look at society from a new perspective. So if games are going to remain one of the longest forms of entertainment, then I hope they continue to rise to meat those expectations. And any game that can do all of these things will easily justify 400 hours worth of my attention.

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Boston Police Prevent Violent Plot At The 2015 Pokémon World Championship

The 2015 Pokémon World Championship took place in Boston this weekend, and police are reporting it arrested of a pair of men on Friday threatening violence against attendees.

According to a report from myfoxboston.com, police were alerted to threats on social media and the pair, 18-year-old Kevin Norton and 27-year-old James Stumbo, were prevented from entering the convention center where the championship was taking place by security. Police later obtained a warrant to search the duo's car and found a collection of unlicensed firearms. Norton and Stumbo were arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and other firearm related offenses.

The Pokémon Company offered a statement to myfoxboston.com saying, "Prior to the event this weekend, our community of players made us aware of a security issue. We gathered information and gave it as soon as possible to the authorities at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center who acted swiftly and spearheaded communication with the Boston Police Department. Due to quick action, the potential threat was resolved. The Pokémon Company International takes the safety of our fans seriously and will continue to ensure proper security measures are a priority."

Thanks to the work of the police and the private security on staff at the Hynes Convention Center, the championship concluded without a hitch.

[Source: myfoxboston.com, via Kotaku]

 

Our Take
It's terrible that anyone would conceive to attack on an event like this – one celebrating a game designed for young players. It's great, however, that the duo didn't even make it through the front door and were apprehended by police before anything could happen.

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Big Hero 6 World Confirmed For Kingdom Hearts III

Get ready to explore San Fransokyo in Kingdom Hearts III.

Announced during Disney's D23 expo, which has been home to a number of news details related to Star Wars and upcoming Pixar and Disney films, Disney confirmed that Big Hero 6 will feature in Kingdom Hearts III as a dedicated world.

Big Hero 6 joins Tangled as confirmed inclusions for Kingdom Hearts III. We'll be sure to update this story as more details are revealed.

[Source: @DisneyD23, @DisneyGames, @DisneyInteract]

 

Our Take
Big Hero 6 is a perfect addition for Kingdom Hearts. Its setting, San Fransokyo, was a very cool aspect of the film that didn't get a whole lot of exploration outside of a some establishing opening shots. I look forward to spending time in the city.

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Jurassic World Director To Helm Star Wars: Episode IX

Colin Trevorrow, director of Jurassic World and Safety Not Guaranteed, will be handling directing duties for Star Wars: Episode IX.

Not much is known about the film outside of its 2019 release window. Production on the film won't even begin for a few years. Regarding the new job Trevorrow wrote on StarWars.com, “This is not a job or an assignment. It is a seat at a campfire, surrounded by an extraordinary group of storytellers, filmmakers, artists and craftspeople. We’ve been charged with telling new stories for a younger generation because they deserve what we all had – a mythology to call their own. We will do this by channeling something George Lucas instilled in all of us: boundless creativity, pure invention and hope.”

Trevorrow's most recent film stars Chris Pratt, who featured in a 2012 advertisement for Kinect Star Wars if you want a taste of the tone his take on Star Wars will most likely take.

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Star Wars: Episode VIII will be directed by Rian Johnson, known for directing work on Breaking Bad and Looper.

[Source: @StarWars, StarWars.com]

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Activision Blizzard revenues climb, even as World of Warcraft subs tank

WoW shed 1.5 million players during the quarter, but Destiny, Hearthstone, and Call of Duty are making up for any downturn in the decade-old MMO. …


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How Mario Would Fail In Sonic’s World

Sure Sonic is doing plenty of failing on his own these days, but maybe that's because Sonic's world isn't an easy place to live – as Mario finds out in this amusing fan-made video. Find out how well Mario can run a loop de loop in the video below.

Internet video game comedians Dorkly show us Mario’s sorry attempt to complete Sonic’s very first level. After you're done with this video, let Mario teach you why Capitalism is bad for you, and then learn how A.I. bots are creating their own Mario levels.

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New World Of Warcraft Expansion To Be Revealed Next Week

Blizzard is taking the opportunity at Gamescom to announce the next step for World of Warcraft. A new expansion will be revealed next week via live stream.

There are two different opportunities to find out more about what’s next for the long-running MMO. On Thursday, August 6, at 9 a.m. Pacific / 12 p.m. Eastern, you’ll get your first look at the new content.

Then, on Sunday, August 9, at 8 a.m. Pacific / 11 a.m. Eastern, developers will be chatting about the expansion. Live stream details will be posted on Blizzard’s dedicated Gamescom page when available.

[Source: Blizzard]

 

Our Take
If this hints at a ramped up production schedule for World of Warcraft expansions, it might help even the peaks and valleys of subscriber numbers. Warlords of Draenor (our impressions) saw the game reach the highest volume of paying players in years, and if this add-on drives the same enthusiasm, it’ll be another good year for Activision Blizzard. 

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Video: Your indie dev job can let you travel the world, so go do it

At GDC 2013 indie dev Colin Northway (Incredipede, Deep Under The Sky) shows you how to make and release games from anywhere and reminds fellow indies to get out and see the world. …


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