What We Know: Shadow of the Tomb Raider

The third entry in Lara Croft’s adventure is about to start. So, why not have a quick rundown of everything we know? If you have been curious about the new Tomb Raider then here is everything we know about the upcoming game.

Release Date and Where to Play

Shadow of the Tomb Raider will release on September 14 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Season Pass 

The game will have a season pass which will give players seven new tombs to raid. One tomb will come out each month until everything has been released.

Hardest Entry Yet and Difficulty Options

That is right, Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be harder than its two predecessors. How it is difficult has not been detailed, but expect smarter AI and challenging puzzles.

“This will be, I would say, the most difficult Tomb Raider of all the Tomb Raiders. That is important because this is a more experienced Lara. This is going to be bigger, it’s going to be harder, and that tomb shows the first ever puzzle you’ll solve, and it’s very difficult. The checkpoints are not far away from when you die, so having these gruesome deaths make you feel bad to fail, and do everything to stay alive,” Daniel Chayer-Bisson, creative director for the game, told Edge Magazine.

Most games throughout gaming history let you choose easy, medium, or hard difficulty. Sometimes there is some variation such as very hard or very easy. This time you get to decide what elements you want to be hard or easy. These settings include easy, medium, or hard for combat, puzzles, and exploration. The new system will allow players to get the most challenging aspects in what they feel confident in and go easier in others where they feel less confident.

Story

Lara is finishing the fight with the Evil Trinity organization in South America. On top of this threat, the world is ending from what the Mayans predicted (yeah, 2012 all over again). Lara must race against the clock to defeat the organization along with stopping this apocalypse.

Gameplay Changes

If you haven’t played one of the other two games then what you need to know previously about the gameplay is simple. Lara utilizes her ax to climb and interact with objects. Climbing and using the environment has always been vital. Crafting has always been important to improve your ax, guns, or other skills. The light RPG elements in leveling up will reappear along with other features that players are familiar with.

What is different is the extent to the environment interactions. Lara can hide easier to sneak up on enemies by using the trees or bushes. While nature is on your side, it is your enemy. Instead of using the environment to help you during challenging puzzles, it will work against you in many ways.

Exploration will be more critical than ever. This has not been too detailed, but we can expect to find plenty of secrets that will either help Lara on her journey or get some trophies/achievements for the completionists out there.

We don’t have to wait too much longer for Lara’s third adventure. Shadow of the Tomb Raider releases next week on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. You can pre-order the game below:

Image via Square Enix

 

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What We Know: Spider-Man PS4

The world is just a few weeks away from one of the most anticipated games of the year, Spider-Man. Insomniac could not be more perfect to work on this project, and if you follow this blog then you know it is my number one anticipated game of 2018. With the game around the corner, why not go through everything we know so far?

Release Date and Consoles

The game will release on September 7 and be released as an exclusive for PlayStation 4.

MCU Connections?

The game is not in the MCU, but there is a Marvel world within this game’s universe. However, this is a focus on Peter Parker and his adventures as Spider-Man so we won’t see any Avengers. Easter eggs and references will be in the game to show that other heroes are around such as Stark Tower.

 

Spidey’s Experience as a Character

You are not playing an origin story. Once you get started in the game, you are in the shoes of a Peter Parker who has been swinging around New York and fighting crime for eight years. This experience will be a significant part of the storytelling and the gameplay.

Lots of Villains

From what we got out of E3 which was a trailer and a sample of gameplay, we saw major villains throughout. We already knew Mr. Negative, and Wilson Fisk would feature, but we got a look at the set up for the Sinister Six. Yes, we will fight Scorpion, Rhino, Shocker, Electro, Vulture, Doc Ock, and many more. There is a reference in the same video that sounds like we will be facing against Mysterio too, but that is unconfirmed as of writing. Just expect to encounter at least a dozen or so of Spider-Man’s biggest foes.

No Symbiotes

Rumors have it that the studio is just trying to steer us away from spoilers and to surprise us, but they have said there will not be any symbiotes. So, in this story, we will not fight Venom, Riot, Carnage, or any other symbiote. Maybe we will be surprised, but even with that, they don’t want to waste every villain in one game in case they make a sequel.

What to do?

As Spider-Man, you get to swing around New York in this open-world game. You get to fight various criminals who will randomly pop up, collectibles will be around the map like any other open-world title, unlock more of the map like in Far Cry, and other we can expect other fun activities even though those have not been detailed.

Crafting Suits

You can craft different suits and gadgets for yourself. Each costume comes with unique abilities. If you love the look of one outfit, but prefer the ability of another, you can customize this aspect of the game to have the look and skills you want. Collectibles and other activities will you give you material to unlock more suits. It looks like Insomniac is diving into some obscure costumes such as Spider-Punk, Iron Spider, Spider-Man Noire, and many more. It seems to be close to twenty or more suits will be in the game.

The Map is Huge

This New York is not exact to the real one to make it easier for Spider-Man to maneuver around the city. Compared to other games Insomniac have made, this is much larger to the already huge Sunset Overdrive. How much bigger you ask? This game will be six times bigger than Sunset’s massive map.

Life in the World

Civilians will go about their day just like any other open world game. Since everyone in New York knows about you, they can interact with you positively or negatively. If people see you, they might want a selfie, a high five, or they might yell at you. The people of New York have a variety of feelings towards the web swinger.

Also, there will not be a day/night cycle. The time of day changes for story reasons. Once you have beaten the game, you will be able to change the time of day whenever you feel like it.

Photo Mode

As Spider-Man, you can take selfies with your phone for hilarious and beautiful shots. Of course, there is a regular photo mode to fully capture the beauty of this world instead of being limited to Spidey’s phone camera.

Playable Characters

You will not be spending all of your story time in the suit. Moments in the game will have you play as MJ for specific missions and as Peter Parker. Sometimes Peter will need to do something that Spider-Man cannot.

Gameplay

The gameplay is focused on being as fluid as possible. Whether you are fighting criminals or swinging around the city for fun, you should not have issues being slowed down at all. With a wide variety of gadgets, melee combat, and interactive items in the world, you have a lot at your disposal to take down the bad guys. Insomniac are known for their fluid movement and crazy weapons, this staple will be featured heavily in Spider-Man.

That is everything we know so far about Insomniac’s Spider-Man. The game comes out on PS4 and PS4 Pro on September 7. You can pre-order the game below:

Image via Insomniac Games/Marvel Games

What We Know: A Way Out

Joseph Fares’ new game is coming in just a few weeks. If you do not know him, he directed Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons back in 2013. He is currently the director and writer for Hazelight studios, and their new game is A Way Out. The announcement caught the gaming industry by surprise by its unique premise and cooperative gameplay. Here I will give you a rundown of what you need to know for A Way Out.

Release Date and How to Play

The game is scheduled to be released March 23, 2018, and play it on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Story and Characters

Set in the 70s, two prisoners team up to escape prison. Leo and Vincent are the two playable characters who become friends during incarceration. They make a plan to escape, but their adventure does not stop there. Players will follow these characters as they are on the run from the police to find a place to be safe. As you go on the adventure, more information will be discovered about Leo and Vincent. Their characters will flesh out as you learn about their past, goals, and who they are as people.

Gameplay

Just like Brothers, the game will have a unique mechanic that will be the central core of the gameplay. The entire game is meant to be played cooperatively. Whether that is split-screen or online. One player will be Leo, and the other will be Vincent. Even in online you will be playing split-screen to see what the other player is doing. Each person will tackle situations by completing separate assignments. Options for how you go about these situations are up to you. The player as Leo might want to sneak away through a problem, but your friend playing as Vincent knocks out a guy to get through instead. Neither character is assigned a particular objective. The power is in the hands of the players. The gameplay and story are intertwined, so a player could be in a cut-scene while the other is completing an objective. A wide variety of situations from shooting, driving, sneaking, and interacting with characters will all be there to give players more expansive gameplay experience. The game is being clocked in to take 6-8 hours to complete.

Other Facts

The most unusual aspect of this game is that the second player does not need to purchase it. If your friend buys A Way Out, then there will be a way for you to play the game with him/her without spending your money. Players experiencing this narrative is more important to Joseph than making money, which earns a lot of respect from the gaming community. That could draw more respect towards EA who have had a terrible past year regarding how the public view them.

There is not a ton of information on the game, but this will be one experience to go in with being as blind as possible since the narrative is so important. Are you excited for A Way Out? Discuss your opinions about the game in the comments.

Image via EA

Here is the trailer:

Preorder here:

 

What We Know: Far Cry 5

The newest entry in the Far Cry series is coming at the end of the month. After taking some time off since Far Cry Primal, the series is back. Just like what Assassin’s Creed did by taking their break and coming stronger with Origins, the fans of Far Cry will be given a vast new twist to this series. While core mechanics will make the game feel like it always used to be, there are plenty of new additions to make it fresh. Let me get you up to speed with everything in Far Cry 5.

Release Date and Console Content

The game was initially scheduled to come out at the end of February. However, the game got pushed until March 27th, 2018. As usual, the game will be out for PS4, Xbox One (along with its two other versions), and PC. PlayStation players will be able to receive free content, while the other plays on Xbox and PC will have to unlock such content through the Ubisoft Club.

Time and Place Setting of the Game

Initially, the next entry in the Far Cry series was rumored to be a Western. When the game was announced, it was revealed that the game will take place in modern day. The setting is something new. Previously every game has been in places such as Africa, Asia, and other areas around the world. Now we are being taken to Hope County, Montana. The game taking place in America along with its story has been controversial. If you look into the previous games, then you would realize that controversy follows every entry in some capacity.

Story and Characters

You play as the sheriff’s deputy who must combat against a religious cult which has taken over the area. Something must have happened to prevent anyone from leaving Hope County or calling in the National Guard. The family who runs this cult is run by Joseph, also known as The Father. He is teamed up by the oldest brother Jacob, the youngest brother John, and their half-sister Faith. You will have characters team up with you to fight against this enormous threat. Pastor Jerome Jefferies, Mary May, Nick Rye, and animals such as a dog companion. Each of these friends has a specialty of their skills set. Whether you need a sniper or someone to drop bombs from a plane, you will choose a character for that specific job.

Vehicles and weapons

As always there will be a wide range of vehicles and weapons. Some of the vehicles include a semi truck, crop duster, pick up trucks, quad bike, and many more. These vehicles are all customizable, but we will get to that later. Weapons include melee weapons like shovels and baseball bats, assault rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, and more.

Key New Gameplay Features

Everything from cars to your character will be fully customizable. This will be a first in the series to allow you to create the character that you want. In a first-person game that usually does not matter, however, the game will be completely cooperative with a friend. Before you could play with a friend through certain parts of the game, but not you can complete everything with another player. To discover new objectives, things to do, and the general map will be different. Before the player would have to climb a tower to unlock more of the map to see what is around them. Now, this experience is more organic. Players will walk around and talk to people for information on Hope County. Signs will let you know about specific areas in the map, and other details will give you hints of what is around. For those of you who are creative, the map editor is back. This feature has been absent since the second title in the franchise. Not a lot of details are known, but players will freely be able to create game types and maps. The mode is described to let players utilize 5,000 assets from both Far Cry and other Ubisoft games such as Assassin’s Creed. Taking more control of Hope County will make the cult leaders react. If you are in an area that is more run by Jacob and you start to get on his nerves, he may send attack planes your way or other threats to stop you. Everything you do will have an impact on Hope County, both positive and negative.

far cry 5 fishing

DLC

A recent announcement revealed what the post-game content will look like. One will feature a Vietnam adventure, a crazy zombie experience, and players will go to Mars to fight aliens. As always, Far Cry is keeping things weird and fun in its DLC.

What to do? 

Players will have more than going into compounds and other areas controlled by the cult. Hunting wildlife has always been an option in every entry. Bears, deer, wolves, and much more will be featured to hunt down. Fishing will be another relaxing past time to take a break from explosions and murder. As you take down resistance areas that the cult has under control, you will gain more people on your side to resist against the cult. This will earn more side quests and objectives to do. There will be a mix of new activities such as fishing while you will get your typical experience from any game in the series by taking down enemies in various places around the map.

far cry 5 arcade.jpg

That should be all to catch up to speed for Far Cry 5. Are you excited for the game? Let me know how you feel about it and if you are going to buy it. You can expect a review of the game sometime in early April. Here is a trailer to give you an idea of what everything looks like.

Preorder the game here:

Images via Ubisoft

The Last of Us 2: 2017 Update and What We Know

My favorite video game ever is The Last of Us. No game has ever brought me such emotion while playing. Everything from the story to gameplay is nearly perfect. When The Last of Us Part 2 was announced, I was beyond excited. This and the new Spider-Man are my top games I am looking forward to. E3 2018 is when we will see more footage and information on this upcoming sequel. Just this weekend was PSX, Playstation’s big conference that shows off new games or information on games we know are already coming such as The Last of Us Part 2 and God of War 4. Internet personality Hannah Hart was honored to host The Last of Us Part 2 panel that had the cast and writers of the game discuss this experience and give some new information. Like any promotional Q&A, most of the questions could not be answered. Luckily, we got some information.

First off, let’s knock out what we knew before PSX. The game takes place five years later. Ellie is now 19 years old. The story will continue to be about Joel and Ellie since to Neil Druckmann, the creative director and lead writer for the game, explained that these games are not about the world or infected, it is about Joel and Ellie. The player will be playing as Ellie. The overall theme will be different as explained, “If the theme of the first game was about the love between these two characters… then this story is the counter to that: it’s about hate,” says Neil Druckmann. Nobody knows why Ellie is angry and is out to kill some people, but it is safe to assume that it can be about this mystery cult who were shown in the latest trailer for a couple of months ago. Gustavo Santaolalla will be returning to compose the sequel’s soundtrack. He did an amazing job to find the right music to fit this brutal world that these two characters are living in. Graphically and technically the game will be the most advanced game to his the PS4. Neil discussed a while back that Horizon Zero Dawn is considered to be so beautiful that he is aiming for The Last of Us Part 2 to outshine Horizon. The character models will be so advanced unlike anything before. Every couple of years a game managed to break new boundaries with character models and face recognition technology, but Naughty Dog might have everyone beat in their upcoming game. The variety of facial expressions will show the complexity of the human face. Druckmann says. “Just the way the flesh can move over the bone… we could never cut to a close-up of eyes before because we could never get the fidelity. Now we can.” As we have seen from the two trailers so far, he is right about all of that. Below is Ashley Johnson who plays as Ellie, making faces to capture a variety for the camera. You can view a whole video of this here:

Let us move onto the new information we received during PSX and the last couple of months. The panel as mentioned earlier was hosted by Hannah Hart. Along with her was Troy Baker (Joel), Ashley Johnson (Ellie), Ian Alexander (Lev), Victoria Grace (Yara), Laura Bailey (mystery women), creative director and writer Niel Druckmann, and co-writer Halley Gross, known from being a writer from the HBO show Westworld.  The show started with Troy and Ashley singing a song that had some lyrics that hint as possibilities in the story. The song they play can be viewed here:

Many theories have emerged over the last few months since the last trailer. The mystery women are assumed to being Anna, Ellie’s mom who we all assumed was dead. This would make sense for many reasons. She does look a bit like Ellie. One of the cultists does bring a knife to her stomach. This could be threatening to brutally disembowel mystery woman, or the cult knows of her pregnancy, so this is meant to be a threat to rip out her stomach. Not only killing mystery woman, but the small cell growing to become her daughter. In the song mentioned above, a mother is referenced several times. Neil was asked whether this was literal or not and gave a vague answer. It could be safe to assume this is her mother at a flashback because Neil reluctantly gave in to some vague, but important information on the influence that Halley has had. He says, “After the first day, Halley goes home and talks to her husband, and she’s like, ‘I think I got someone pregnant.’ And you’ll see what that means.” Since Ellie is a lesbian, it is safe to say that whoever gets pregnant will be heterosexual. Unless they want to go full Game of Thrones and have a character get raped, then that is possible too. Speaking of that, Niel discusses the stakes. The stakes have been raised in which he teases: “No one is safe, not even [Joel and Ellie].” He said, “like Uncharted 4, they wanted to raise the stakes for The Last of Us, Part II, but unlike Nathan Drake’s latest adventure, The Last of Us is far less lighthearted.” There will be some lighthearted moments like the first game, but the darker moments will be the primary focus. Another theory was picked up from the first trailer and got more popular after the second trailer, that the game takes place in Seattle. People picked this out based on the look of the area and more importantly, the signs in the area. How anyone managed that is beyond me, but they were right, so that is all that matters. Neil confirms that a significant portion will take place in Seattle. He was reluctant to mention any other place that might be visited in the game.

As far as characters, we have three new characters. Mystery women played by Laura Bailey was given no additional information, but the other two were given some background. Yara (Victoria Grace) and Lev (Ian Alexander) are two siblings in this apocalypse. It appears that they will be fighting alongside mystery women. It is safe to say that these three will cross paths with Joel and Ellie at some point. Fighting off the cult and infected together, it should be okay to assume they will be on the same side as Joel and Ellie when they all meet. The fireflies will make a return as Neil hinted and the symbol was found in the first trailer. It appears the main villains will be this mysterious cult, but there will be plenty of other people in the way who will be a threat to the protagonists.

Not much is known overall, but hopefully, we get a lot more next year at E3. Neil mentioned that the game is about halfway done, but at this point, the game will probably come out 2019. The game has no release date yet, but it is likely to be another year or two before the game is released. The Last of Us Part 2 will be out on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro. You can view the latest trailer here:

 

Images and videos via Sony Interactive Entertainment and Naughty Dog