Section: Video Games

New Legend of Zelda 3DS Release Date Announced
The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes, the latest entry in the acclaimed role-playing game series for 3DS, finally has a release date. The game will launch on October 23 in Europe, Nintendo UK announced today. A release date for North America was not re...
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Watch Today’s Final Fantasy 15 Video Presentation Right Here
Earlier today, Square Enix released a new cinematic trailer for Final Fantasy XV, but that won't be the extent of the publisher's announcements around the role-playing game at Gamescom.The next Active Time Report video presentation will take place toda...
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Heroes of the Storm – Infernal Shrines Gameplay Trailer
Infernal Shrines is a new three-lane Battleground for Heroes of the Storm.
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All the Biggest News From EA’s Gamescom 2015 Press Conference
At this year's Gamescom conference in Germany, EA's press conference had a laser-like focus on eight of its biggest upcoming games. If you want the full experience, you can rewatch the entire press conference right here. For everyone else, check out th...
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Heroes of the Storm – Kharazim Trailer
Introducing Kharazim, the latest addition to Heroes of the Storm.
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The Biggest Sci-Fi and Fantasy Movies of 2015 So Far, Ranked

#11: Jupiter Ascending



This was one of the biggest film disappointments of the year, regardless of genre. Jupiter Ascending, starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, received a measly 40 on Metacritic, and its user score wasn't much better at 4.5. It seems the films stunning visuals (including its gorgeous leading couple) couldn't save this one. (Photo: Warner Brothers)


#10: The Divergent Series: Insurgent



In what is arguably the weakest link in the Divergent book trilogy, Insurgent, starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James, failed to impress even its book fans with a 42 Metacritic score and only a 5.5 user score. Ridiculed by critics as falling victim to every young-adult genre cliche in existence, here's hoping the franchise will step up its game. (Photo: Summit Entertainment)


#9: Terminator Genisys



For a movie franchise that's been populating movie theaters for thirty years and still manages to star the same guy, you'd think the latest Terminator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Emilia "Khaleesi" Clarke, would receive more than a 38 Metacritic score and user score of 6.5. While some claim it's a decent, action-packed summer flick, the general consensus is that this franchise is quickly running out of ammo. (Photo: Paramount Pictures)


#8: Chappie



From the same creators of District 9, Chappie is about a robot who is stolen from the authorities and given a unique programming model. With a 41 Metacritic score and user score of 7.4, people seem torn on this one. However, the film failed to excite its audience, making it nothing but nuts and bolts. (Photo: Sony)


#7: Project Almanac



A group of high schoolers find the blueprints to a mysterious device that can do crazy-cool things. The only problem is the film isn't all that crazy or cool. Coming in at a 47 Metacritic score and a weak 5.4 user rating, the found-footage film could use a stronger blueprint. (Photo: Paramount)


#6: Tomorrowland



Critics are pretty split on this Disney flick, based on the classic Disneyworld fantasy land of the same name. Earning a Metacritic score of 60 and a user score of 6.4, Tomorrowland, starring megastar George Clooney, has been described as "slickly packaged" and perhaps even light summer fun, but not much else. (Photo: Disney Pictures)


#5: Jurassic World



Jurassic Park fans have been waiting eons for the Spielberg franchise to get some new (prehistoric) life, but ultimately it's hard to top a Hollywood classic. With a Metacritic score of 59, and user rating of 7.0, Jurassic World has been hailed as entertaining, but only because it simply rehashed what made it fun in the first place. In other words, there's nothing new here, but if you enjoy seeing dinos chase and chomp on humans, you'll probably dig it. (Photo: Universal Pictures)


#4: Avengers: Age of Ultron



Age of Ultron had a lot to live up to after its predecessor was hailed as one of the best superhero movies...ever. But it didn't disappoint. With a 66 Metacritic score and a user rating of 7.1, the character- and action-packed film was criticized for being a bit too punchy at times, and maybe even scatterbrained, but ultimately the audience gave it an enthusiastic pass. (Photo: Marvel)


#3: Ant-Man



Its title and main character arte easy to laugh at, but Ant-Man is a unique comic-book character that makes for worthy big-screen subject matter. Coming in with a 64 Metacritic score, and an impressive 8.1 user rating, the Paul Rudd flick doesn't come off as too self-important, and its hero is also pretty unheroic, making for a more dynamic superhero genre film. (Photo: Marvel)


#2: Ex Machina



Sophisticated and cerebral, Ex Machina is one of a standout recent film about artificial intelligence. With a high Metacritic score of 78, and user score of 8, the low-budget film is a truly captivating story of what happens when power, madness and technology mix. (Photo: DNA Films)


#1: Mad Max: Fury Road



George Miller delivers again after a 35-year hiatus. We're not even sure how he pursuaded the studio to allow him to make this movie, but we're glad they did. With a whopping 89 Metacritic score, and an 8.7 user score, Fury Road gives us exactly what its title suggests, including breathtaking visuals, incredible pacing, fascinating characters, and a sturdy storyline. Luckily, we can look forward to a follow-up film, The Wasteland, that's recently been officially announced. (Photo: Warner Brothers)


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Xbox Gamescom 2015 Press Conference Highs & Lows

Let's review Microsoft's showing.


Xbox Gamescom 2015 Highs & Lows

Click through the images here for all the highlights, biggest games, and areas of improvement for Microsoft.


Highlights: Quantum Break gameplay and story details



Microsoft followed up its strong E3 showing with another compelling briefing at Gamescom. There wasn't really an "Oprah moment" that left our jaws on the floor, but the show started off strong with a new look at Quantum Break and its time-bending gameplay. If you were on the fence about Quantum Break (I know I was), the game's showing may have won you over. The time-stopping gameplay itself is pretty interesting, but the story beats teased in the video today really got me hooked.


Highlights: Xbox One backwards compatibility gets a release window



Xbox One backwards compatibility is finally (almost) here. One of Microsoft's biggest Gamescom announcements was that the feature, currently available in testing for some users, will roll out to everyone this fall. There will be more than a hundred games available at launch, and what's more, all future Xbox 360 Games With Gold titles will be supported. This new feature could be exactly what the Xbox One needs to help it catch up to the PlayStation 4.


Highlights: Halo Wars 2



Some probably never thought it would happen, but another big Microsoft announcement today was Halo Wars 2. The game is being developed by Total War studio Creative Assembly and will launch in fall 2016 for Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. The original Halo Wars had its faults, sure, but it's exciting and encouraging to see Microsoft bring the franchise back. I'm excited to see what Creative Assembly does with Halo Wars 2.


Highlights: Scalebound gameplay revealed



Another high point of Microsoft's Gamescom briefing was the gameplay reveal for Platinum's Scalebound. It looked quite impressive (more on that later). Though it bears some similarities in gameplay to Platinum's other games, this one has dragons! It's basically an adult version of How to Train Your Dragon.


Needs Improvement: Xbox One TV DVR isn't coming soon



Microsoft had a strong overall Gamescom briefing, but they could have done better. Xbox One TV DVR functionality is a cool feature and I'm happy to see it finally arrive, but it's not coming until 2016. Microsoft's engineering team is no doubt busy with getting backwards compatibility up and running, but I would have been more impressed if Microsoft announced that TV DVR would be available in an update today or this week. Instead, we have to wait months.


Needs Improvement: What's up with Kinect?



Following its no-show at E3 in June, Microsoft also did not address Kinect at all during their Gamescom briefing. We're told there are still games in development for the motion-sensing camera, but Microsoft didn't mention them today. If you bought an Xbox One with Kinect (remember how that was once required?) or purchased the camera separately, this conference was probably dampened for you by Microsoft's silence on the subject.


Biggest Games: Quantum Break



Microsoft's briefing hit the ground running with Quantum Break, the next game from the creators of Alan Wake and Max Payne. We got a deeper, extended look at the game's trippy, time-bending gameplay--which was quite impressive. Microsoft also announced a launch date--April 5--and confirmed that X-Men's Shawn Ashmore and Lord of the Rings star Dominic Monaghan would not only lend their voices and likeness to the game, but also the complementary TV show.


Biggest Games: Crackdown 3



We finally learned more about Crackdown 3 today. The big takeaway here is that the game will feature "100 percent destructible environments." This is made possible by leveraging Xbox Live cloud servers, Microsoft said. It's still somewhat early days for Crackdown 3, as the video we saw was pre-alpha footage. The full game is expected in 2016, and I'm eager to learn more.


Biggest Games: Scalebound



Scalebound, from Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising developer Platinum Games, was another high point for Microsoft's Gamescom showing. We finally saw gameplay, and it did not disappoint. It's all the hacking and slashing you'd expect from a Platinum title, but you fight alongside a dragon. Not only that, but your character--who reminds us of Dante from Devil May Cry with his one-liners--can take on the attributes of a dragon. It's clear the game has potential. Scalebound launches in 2016 only for Xbox One.


Biggest Games: Halo 5



Halo 5: Guardians continues to impress. We learned about the massive-scale Warzone mode at E3, but Halo's showing at Gamescom was dedicated to the smaller, more intimate Arena mode. It seems that Halo purists (like myself) will be happy with Halo 5, as the footage focused on the the fast-paced, frenetic, and close-quarters combat that fans have come to love over the years. Halo 5 launches for Xbox One on October 27.


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Red Goddess: Inner World Review

There are a lot of colorful, challenging 2D platformers on the market, so a new addition needs to shine brightly to stand out. Fair but rewarding difficulty, satisfying combat, and an interesting story are required to grab attention. Red Goddess: Inner World fails to achieve even a modicum of success in any of these categories. The narrative is convoluted and dull, the combat is unwieldy and frustratingly abundant, and the poorly designed platforming sequences make for some of the most infuriating gaming moments I’ve experienced in recent memory. Pair these failings with load times that are generous enough to let you both make and eat a sandwich before you regain control, and you have a platformer that’s unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.

Let’s actually start with something positive: jumping from place to place in Red Goddess feels pretty good. You start with simple platforming skills and build to double jumps, wall climbs, and more dynamic boost techniques that allow you to cover a significant distance. Like any good Metroidvania game, certain paths are inaccessible until you learn a specific punch or unlock greater verticality, and by the end, the sheer number and diversity of your abilities allows you to seemingly fly from place to place in a single bound.

The pinkest of houses.

Unfortunately, the environments often punish you for the tiniest of mistakes, and the platforming isn’t tight enough to keep up with the level of finesse that the game demands. Your long health bar, which only grows as you purchase upgrades, is useless once you’re faced with spikes, lava, and deadly foliage that causes immediate death, and the deeper you dig into the game, the more prevalent and difficult these obstacles become. Instant death obstacles are a frustrating inclusion on their own, but what puts it over the edge are the unbearable load times that can last as long as 45 seconds. In the grand scheme of things, waiting under a minute to resume play might not seem like the most egregious sin. However, being forced to stare at another loading screen after just barely clipping the corner of a spike at the end of an exhausting sequence that just killed you seconds before can be tortuous.

It’s the last 30 or so minutes of the game when this frustration boils over. Before facing the final boss, you’re presented with screen after screen of platforming misery where one false move leads to a quick death and, more importantly, yet another load screen. It’s these sporadic moments when you’re asked to make precise movements to avoid near minute-long pauses that mar both the pacing and the difficulty curve.

Where's the shop again?

The combat isn’t nearly as unforgiving, but it isn’t any fun, either. The main character, a goddess named Divine, can quickly swap among three different forms: her basic, human-like Divine form, a fiery red Rage form, and a timid blue Fear form. Red enemies can only be beaten by Rage and blue enemies by Fear, so you need to shift quickly between bodies to deal with what’s in front of you. You can string together punches, uppercuts, and dashes into deadly combos, but little skill or grace is required. However, when things get more hectic and five or six enemies attack at once, the battles go from dull and sloppy to frustratingly chaotic. The combat doesn’t work with large skirmishes, where creatures of all shapes and sizes surround you and can send you flying into the air and out of your combination with a single blow. One wrong move can have you continuously batted back and forth between enemies like a human tennis ball until the sweet release of death and--yes--another damn loading screen.

There’s not even a compelling story to help drag you through the maddening platforming sequences and unsatisfying combat. The game is set inside Divine’s subconscious, where she’s searching for not only her own identity but also for the source of what’s haunting her. Her mind and soul are being broken down from the inside, so you must uncover memories and repel negative thoughts to save Divine from herself. That, in itself, is a fascinating concept, but it never really goes anywhere interesting. It looks and feels like your everyday fantasy world, and moments when you explore the memories of Divine’s fuzzy past turn out to be little more than quick, uninformative combat sequences that fail to add much to the narrative. The shoddy narration and uninspired writing of the various NPCs do little to keep your attention, and it’s easy to lose track of what’s going on among all the psychological metaphors and allegories.

Leap of faith.

To make matters far more frustrating, the game has a tendency to simply not work. On more than one occasion, I ran into a situation where a door wouldn’t open or an important character wouldn’t move, forcing me to restart the game to fix the scripting. There are also stretches of time where there’s no music--be that unintentional or not--and you’re left to listen to little more than the unappealing grunts of Divine punching her way through another grueling combat sequence.

Red Goddess: Inner World gives you many reasons to put the controller down and walk away. The later platforming sequences are frustratingly difficult, the load times are excruciatingly protracted, the combat is sloppy, and sometimes the game just breaks. Jumping up walls and across crevices can be fun, but that's not nearly enough when everything else is such a chore to play.

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Mad Max Trailer Features Really Weird People From Wasteland Strongholds
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has released a new trailer for its upcoming Mad Max video game, which has been developed by Avalanche Studio, the team behind Just Cause.The action-packed trailer, which you can watch below, provides a look at the...
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Mega Man Creator’s Red Ash Kickstarter Fails to Meet Funding Goal
The Kickstarter funding campaign for Keiji Inafune's Red Ash: The Indelible Legend, has ended with $519,000 of its $800,000 goal pledged. Nevertheless, the spiritual successor to Mega Man Legends will still be made.The first chapter of Red Ash--titled ...
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