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- 12/16/18--13:41: _Holiday Gift Guide ...
- 12/17/18--14:15: _Devil May Cry 5: Re...
- 12/17/18--14:30: _Kingdom Hearts 3 Re...
- 12/17/18--14:32: _John Carpenter Want...
- 12/17/18--14:45: _Metro Exodus Releas...
- 12/18/18--13:55: _Fortnite: Fresh Pri...
- 12/18/18--15:10: _Metal Gear Solid Vo...
- 12/19/18--13:04: _Xbox 2 Codenames Ru...
- 12/19/18--13:36: _Life Is Strange 2: ...
- 12/20/18--02:00: _10 Best Video Games...
- 12/20/18--13:21: _Control: Trailer, R...
- 12/20/18--13:36: _Super Smash Bros. U...
- 12/20/18--14:08: _Sony Releases Surpr...
- 12/21/18--13:38: _Halo Infinite: Rele...
- 12/21/18--14:30: _Star Citizen Releas...
- 12/27/18--17:52: _Below Review: A Dar...
- 12/28/18--13:15: _Metroid Prime 4: Re...
- 12/28/18--13:17: _The Last of Us 2: R...
- 12/28/18--13:18: _Days Gone: Release ...
- 12/28/18--13:22: _Anthem: New Trailer...
- 12/16/18--13:41: Holiday Gift Guide 2018: Gifts for Geeks
- 12/17/18--14:15: Devil May Cry 5: Release Date, Trailer, and News
- 12/17/18--14:30: Kingdom Hearts 3 Release Date, Trailer, and News
- 12/17/18--14:32: John Carpenter Wants to Compose Video Game Soundtracks
- 12/17/18--14:45: Metro Exodus Release Date, Trailer, and News
- 12/18/18--13:55: Fortnite: Fresh Prince's Carlton Suing Over Dance Emote
- 12/18/18--15:10: Metal Gear Solid Voice Actors Read The Night Before Metal Gear
- 12/19/18--13:04: Xbox 2 Codenames Rumored to be Anaconda and Lockhart
- 12/19/18--13:36: Life Is Strange 2: Trailer, Release Date, Story, and News
- 12/20/18--02:00: 10 Best Video Games of 2018
- 12/20/18--13:21: Control: Trailer, Release Date, News, and Everything We Know
- 12/20/18--13:36: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review
- 12/20/18--14:08: Sony Releases Surprise Lemmings Game
- 12/21/18--13:38: Halo Infinite: Release Date, Trailer, Game Details, Story, and News
- 12/21/18--14:30: Star Citizen Release Date, Trailer, and News
- 12/27/18--17:52: Below Review: A Dark, Twisted Journey
- 12/28/18--13:15: Metroid Prime 4: Release Date, Trailer, and News
- 12/28/18--13:17: The Last of Us 2: Release Date, Trailers, Story, and News
- 12/28/18--13:18: Days Gone: Release Date, Trailers, and News
- 12/28/18--13:22: Anthem: New Trailer Arrives at The Game Awards
The holiday season is here, and with it, the anxiety that comes with finding the perfect Christmas gift for your geeky friends.
We've searched far and wide to bring you the best shopping recommendations! Just a note: Den of Geek may receive a small commission from links on this page. Prices & stockage are accurate as of time of publication.
Are you doing last minute online Christmas shopping? Is it finally time to start figuring out who we have to shop for and what to possibly get them? Shopping for a nerdy friend can be a daunting task indeed. So if the thought of Ho-Ho-Ho! has you saying "No! No! No!" we can't blame you.
But it doesn't have to be that way. What if there was a guide to gifts, a gift guide if you will, that could make it easy to find the perfect present for anyone on your list? Relax, your friends at Den of Geek have got this.
Here's our 2018 run-down of what nerd-centric items will bring a smile to the face of anyone in your life. Click the links to get taken to where you can buy them. We've saved you a whole bunch of trouble!
Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy
Every year is a year to celebrate Star Wars, and 2018 is no different. Delight the Star Wars geek in your life with this beautifully-illustrated book featuring 75 profiles of some of the women from the Star Wars universe, including the films, fiction, comics, animation, and games. Characters featured include: Leia Organa, Rey, Ahsoka Tano, Iden Versio, Jyn Erso, Rose Tico, and Maz Kanata.
Each profile includes key story beats, fresh insights, and behind-the-scenes details, which means this is not only good for the Star Wars fan who knows everything about this universe, but for the more casual fan looking to get into the world or even for a future Star Wars fan you are cunningly trying to convert so you can nerd out about Star Wars together. You're welcome.
The Making of Planet of the Apes
Well they did it. They finally did it. No, not blow up the Earth (yet!), but rather Harper Collins has released the definitive book chronicling the creation of one of the best-loved science fiction films of all-time. Written by J.W. Rinzler (whose behind-the-scenes chronicles of the original Star Wars trilogy should earn a place on every self-respecting nerd's bookshelf) The Making of Planet of the Apes charts the difficulties 20th Century Fox had in translating Pierre Boulle's 1963 novel to the big screen and into pop culture infamy through an insanely researched volume that is just as compelling as the feature itself. Our fingers are crossed for future volumes chronicling the saga's various sequels.
Spider-Man Classics Face of Venom Hoodie
For an evil symbiote from outer space, Venom is doing alright for himself. The brain-munching anti-hero had box office success far beyond anyone's dreams, and now he gets to be front and center on this stunning hoodie. Complete with front pocket, this long-sleeve hooded sweatshirt is a 10oz. cotton-poly blend with a 100% cotton face, meaning that it is both comfortable and be a staple in your wardrobe for years to come. And no, it won't try to take over your body either. Sorry.
The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid
We all know that holiday gift-giving tends to be all about the kids in your life. This explorer's guide featuring profiles on countries all around the world is the perfect gift for the child in your life who nerds out about geography and cultures. (We all know one... many of us have been one.)
Billed as "a thrilling expedition to 100 of the most surprising, mysterious, and weird-but-true places on earth," The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid takes its readers to a 355-foot waterfall in Zambia, to Antarctica's Blood Falls, and through ice caves in Argentina and Austria. You might not be able to actually zipline with your kid through rainforests, but this book is the next best thing until you do get there.
The League of Regrettable Sidekicks
Look, not everyone can be a Robin or Jimmy Olsen. With that in mind comes Jon Morris' The League of Regrettable Sidekicks. Following up his previous works (The League of Regrettable Superheroes and The League of Regrettable Supervillains), this time around Morris sets his comedic sights on second and third tier associates like Thor's pal Volstagg the Voluminous and Little Archie's off-abused pal Little Ambrose. While most of these characters are lovable -- if downright forgotten -- would-be assistants, others are absolute oddballs like Plastic Man's trouble-prone pal Woozy Winks who are captivating footnotes in comic book history.
Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down
If you're anything like everyone else on the planet, then you're desperately awaiting the arrival of more Stranger Things content. This book is not a new season, but it's still pretty darn awesome. The official behind-the-scenes companion to the Netflix show's first two seasons, it includes concept art, original commentary from Matt and Ross Duffer, interviews with the cast, and some of the earliest pitches and story drafts from the show's start.
The kicker? It's all delivered in the form of a "used" book, which means the book itself is distressed to look like it has been around for awhile. This may strike you as the most millennial thing yet, but, for me, it makes the book not only a fascinating deep dive into this iconic show, but also a physical object that adds to your bookshelf, coffee table, or wherever else you (or your present-receiver) may want to lay this thing down and wait for friends to excitedly discover it. Oh yeah, and it includes some sneak peaks into season three!
Black Panther Wakandan Warriors Graffiti Fabric
Often times the best gifts are the ones we make ourselves for others. If the Venn diagram of your life includes some overlap between Black Panther and DIY crafting, we recommend you checking out this eye-catching fabric featuring everyone's favorite Wakandan warriors. No, it's not made of vibranium, but rather 100% cotton -- making this fabric perfect for use in quilting, appliqué, and crafts projects. (Available from the Zazzle website in various widths and sizes). Wakanda, and crafting, forever!
Black Panther Panther Head Typography Graphic T-Shirt
Whoa! This 100% cotton T-shirt available in men's sizes from small to 4X features a stylized Black Panther logo that itself looks like a warrior cat. Black Panther was one of the year's best films overall -- and easily one of the greatest comic book movies ever made -- this T-shirt is a way for show to show your love for Wakanda wherever you may roam.
The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine
Be seeing you! Earlier this year, Titan did comic fans and cult TV obsessives a solid by publishing an artist's edition of a failed attempt by Marvel to bring The Prisoner to comic books in the 1970s that featured art by Jack Kirby and Gil Kane. It was a fascinating experiment, and one we wish had come to fruition. Eventually the series -- ostensibly about a secret agent who resigns and subsequently finds himself in the mysterious Village, although it explores much bigger issue -- was given a DC Comics sequel as 1988's The Prisoner: Shattered Visage mini-series. While by no means a failure, the book largely ignored the show's bonkers finale and thus wasn't fully satisfying. The same can't be said of Titan Comics' current The Prisoner series, an audacious contemporary take on the story that succeeds in all the ways that the regrettable AMC remake of a few years back failed. The first four issues of writer Peter Milligan and artist Colin Lorimer new take on the saga are collected in The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine. Having the thankless task of trying to put their own stamp on Patrick McGoohan's allegorical tale, the duo offers up a story rich with interesting new characters and the sort of mindfucks you'd come to expect from The Prisoner. In other words, it's great stuff.
The Phantom of Eternia
For the past decade, a performer in Philadelphia named Carmen Martella III has been hosting a monthly karaoke night/comedy show. While this seems like a fairly ordinary occurance, there is a deliciously nerdy catch--he does so in the guise of an over-the-top spoof of Skeletor. This leads to such madcap fun as the performances being more Gong Show then anything (for example, attempting to sing "My Way" will earn you an instant booting off the stage). Adding to the insanity, 'Skeletor' peppers each event with his own custom song parodies, such as an evil take on Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison" in which he sings the praises of, well, poisioning the audience. One Skeletor Karaoke devotee is Kelly Phillips. Part of the all-girl comic art anthology collective Dirty Diamonds, Phillips is a bona-fide nerd whose Weird Me explores her Weird Al Yankovic fandom. In The Phantom of Eternia, she presents a compelling story about friendship and singing terrible songs in public that will forever change the way you think about both karaoke and Masters of the Universe.
Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction
Tor.com celebrates its tenth anniversary with this anthology of science fiction, fantasy, and horror from its first ten years as one of the go-to places for speculative fiction shorts. Edited by Irene Gallo and including work from some of speculative fiction's most exciting writers, such as N.K. Jemisin, Charlie Jane Anders, Ken Liu, Kameron Hurley, and Jeff VanderMeer (to mention a very few), this is the kind of present that can be savored over the course of many reading sessions. It's the perfect gift for the person in your life who is really up on their speculative fiction or for that literary friend you're trying to get into speculative fiction.
Avengers Black Widow Icon Car Floor Mat
Look, unless you have Tony Stark money, chances are you aren't tooling around in a Quinjet. Still, there's no reason why your vehicle can't have some Avengers swagger. Enter this set of front and rear car mats (one of each included) that are made with a polyester surface and a non-skid Durgan backing, and feature Black Widow iconography. Having these in your car won't make you as cool as Natasha, but it's a solid first step...
8Bit Iron Man Attack - Armor Up! Small Messenger Bag
We spent enough time in our youth playing the old Avengers arcade game that we can appreciate a retro-themed messenger bag like the one you see right here. Water resistant, lightweight, and including a quick-adjust shoulder strap, this bag is ideal for your trip to the Avengers Mansion or just to carry your stuff to work. Regardless of where you're going with this, you'll show off your love for both Iron Man and the glory days of 8-bit gaming by carrying this bag around.
Chilling Adventures in Sorcery
Long before Archie's current horror renaissance, the publisher originally dipped its toes in the genre with the short-lived 1970s comic Chilling Adventures in Sorcery. For the first two issues, the title was narrated by Sabrina the Teenage Witch and featured spooky stories done in the typical house style. From the third issue onwards, the book was issued through Archie's Red Circle imprint, Sabrina was jettisoned, and art was handled by the likes of Gray Morrow. This revamped work was just as compelling as the earlier weirdo dark Archie-style stories, and more than holds its own with classic horror comics like Tales from the Crypt and The Witching Hour. With Chilling Adventures of Sabrina once again stirring a cauldron of interest in spooky Archie tales, this book should be an in-demand item this holiday season...even if Halloween is long gone.
A History of Video Games in 64 Objects
We're getting to a place in the evolution of the video game where its history is valued, which means wonderful potential gifts like this one: A History of Video Games in 64 Objects. Inspired by A History of the World in 100 Objects, this book attempts to chronicle the history of video games so far, from Pong to first-person shooters, as told through the stories of some of the medium's most important objects.
Each object is paired with an in-depth essay outlining its significance in the history of gaming. Objects featured include: The Oregon Trail, the Atari 2600, and a World of Warcraft server blade. If you're based in New York City, pair this gift with a visit to the Museum of the Moving Image's sports video games exhibit. If you're not in New York City, no pairing needed!
The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories, Volume Three
There's all different kinds of nerds out there, and the history nerd is a special variety. This third volume of Christmas ghost stories from the Victorian era is the perfect gift for that person in your life who thinks learning and indulging in cultures past is just the coolest thing ever. Apparently, following the success of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Christmas ghost stories became all the rage in Victorian newspapers and magazines. Some of these stories have never been reprinted since... until now. The collection features 20 stories, and will make any holiday gathering just a little bit creepier.
The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition by Ursula K. Leguin
We lost Ursula K. Le Guin, one of the greatest speculative fiction writers of all time, this year, but we didn't lose her stories. Her legacy lives on in the many classics she left behind, including her beloved Earthsea series. Released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of A Wizard of Earthsea's release, this complete illustrated edition of the entire Earthsea chronicles includes over 50 illustrations done by Charles Vess and selected by Le Guin.
In addition to the main books in the series, The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition includes early short stories, Le Guin's "Earthsea Revisioned" Oxford lecture, and a new Earthsea story. If that wasn't enough, the book also includes a foreword by Le Guin herself. This is the perfect gift for fans of Earthsea and Le Guin or for friends who have yet to venture into this magical world.
Marvel Emoji Characters Grid Pattern Yoga Mat
Back in the 1970s, The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book had everyone from Ghost Rider to J. Jonah Jameson sharing exercise tips. While that book is sadly long out of print, we can't help but feel that its spiritual successor is this yoga mat emblazoned with emojis representing all aspects of life in the Marvel Universe. Staying healthy and being nerdy? That's a win/win right there. Measures 72" x 24", 0.25" thick.
Guardians of the Galaxy Rocket & Groot Pattern Leggings
It tickles us to no end that the limb-obsessed Rocket Raccoon is one of two characters (the other being Groot) featured on these Guardians of the Galaxy-themed leggings. Both stylish and super comfy, these custom made leggings are available in women's sizes from XS to XL.
Magic: The Gathering Guilds of Ravnica Guild Kit (All 5 Decks)
For fans of Magic: The Gathering, this gift is a must have. The Guilds of Ravnica guild kit includes all five kits including Selesnya, Boros, Golgari, Izzet, and Dimir. Each Deck Contains 1 Premium Card, 3 Alternate Art Cards and 1 Pin. Boost your MTG game with this awesome 5-pack!
DC Universe: 10th Anniversary Collection
Although DC's live-action films have been struggling, everyone seems to overlook how the majority of the company's animated films have been truly great. Yes, there is the occasional clunker like Batman: The Killing Joke (ugh), but have you seen Justice League: The New Frontier or Batman: Year One? These efforts are fantastic adaptations of the source material and entertaining in their own right, and they are just the tip of the iceberg. This expansive 32-disc collector's set features 30 DC animated films, tons of special features, collectible packaging, an adult coloring book, and exclusive coins. Marvel may have the box office tied up, but when it comes to animated films they can't hold a candle to DC these days.
The James Bond Collection
We hope you'll forgive us for saying so, but this Blu-ray collection of all of the official James Bond films -- from Dr. No to Spectre -- packed with mind-blowing special features has us both shaken AND stirred.
Avengers: Infinity War
Yeah, we fully admit that this one is the most obvious of choices, Avengers: Infinity War. Since you are reading this very website, you know our feelings on this flick. It's definitely a great gift idea, but you just have to make sure whomever you are planning on getting this for doesn't already have it. Because if that person is anything like us, they got this baby the second it hit stores.
Doctor Who: Tom Baker Complete Season One
Would you like a jelly baby? This stunning Blu-ray set collects the entire 12th season of Doctor Who...which just so happened to be Tom Baker's first year in the role. Out of the gate, Baker's Doctor is one full of wonder and mischief and he remains a joy to watch all these years later. The five serials that make up this season -- "Robot,""The Ark in Space,""The Sontaran Experiment,""Genesis of the Daleks" (widely considered to be the definitive Classic Who story), and "Revenge of the Cyberman" -- are solid, making this not only a great gift for Whovians, but a perfect entry point into the series for the unitiated as well.
Doctor Who: Peter Davison: Complete Season One
Then again, if you prefer your Doctor wearing celery as opposed to excessively large scarfs, Peter Davison's first year as the Timelord may be more to your liking.
The Punisher Painted Skull Logo iPhone XS Max Case
If the action stylings of Frank Castle are more to your liking, might we recommend this Punisher iPhone XS Max case? Featuring the iconic painted Punisher skull logo, this case is as visually strong as it is durable. Slim, lightweight and featuring a glossy finish (and including a design feature that lets you charge your phone without removing the case), this is one gift idea that no one will want to punish you for getting them!
Kawaii Avengers In Colorful Blocks Barely There iPhone 6 Case
We know that the Avengers are the Earth's mightiest heroes, but if this colorful CaseMate Barely There phone case is anything to go by, they are the most huggable too! As impact resistant as it is cute, this case is compatible with the iPhone 6/6s with 4.7 inch screen.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Special Edition
Don't panic, as the 1981 television version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is finally on Blu-ray. Forget the problematic 2005 film adaptation, this is Douglas Adams' hilarious space saga as it was meant to be seen. Featuring several cast members from the original radio series (including Simon Jones as the bewildered Arthur Dent and a scenery-chewing Mark Wing Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox) and, for their day, impressive special effects, this six-episode program takes viewers from the destruction of Earth to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe and back again. This newly remastered version means that the series has never looked or sounded as good, and the special features from the DVD release -- including a touching tribute to Douglas Adams -- have been ported over alongside new exclusive features. A true intergalactic hitchhiker will always know where his or her towel is, but this Blu-ray shouldn't be far behind either.
It was a tough call, but our pick for this year's best horror Blu-ray is Basket Case. Director Frank Henenlotter's 1982 low-budget gorefest about two formerly conjoined twins -- one of whom is horribly deformed and lives in the titular basket -- who get revenge against those who performed the operation that separated them has had a fascinating journey in its 36-year-existence. Originally a staple on the New York City midnight movie circuit, the film found a larger audience thanks to VHS rentals and cable TV airings. Due to the film's tongue-in-cheek humor and how it serves as an inadvertent document of a sleazy NYC that no longer exists, recent years have seen Basket Case getting a critical re-evaluation. (Indeed, the stunning 4K restoration featured on this disc was created by the Museum of Modern Art, proof that this film has made the big time). So, what's in the basket? One of the sickest, funniest, and downright lovable horror films ever made.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
To be perfectly clear: By no means do we think that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is anything more or less than the goofiest entry in this long in the dino tooth franchise. That said, you almost certainly have a relative or an office Pollyanna or some sort of obilgatory holiday bullshit where you are going to require an inexpensive and inoffensive gift. And that's where this Blu-ray comes in. See, everybody's happy. Well, this is 2018, so not really, but you get the idea.
We are seriously considering buying like 20 copies of this and giving it to everyone on our shopping list, just because it's that good. Consider this movie the anti-Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, a blockbuster with heart, endlessly complex characters, and social relevance. If the dino-flick is our suggestion for something to buy for people you must shop for, then Black Panther is a film for people in your life that you cherish and want the best for.
If anyone is out there grumbling "boy, this guide sure does have a lot of Marvel movies in it," well, then so does life. Just deal. But you know what there's still not nearly enough of in this damaged and dying world of ours? Jeff Motherfucking Goldblum. So you're goddamn right we are going to suggest this flick, which features the man's most hyperkinetic and amazing performance since Vibes, to buy for someone. Hell, we wish there were a Jeff Goldblum cinematic universe, so someone get on that.
We still think that Soulcalibur sounds like the name of a failed Sting musical, yet Bandai's enduring franchise remains one of the hottest titles of this holiday season. This time around, the game returns to the 16th century with ramped up action, characters, of course the inventive fighting moves that the series is known for.
Lego DC Super Villains
Seeing how we live in an age where the bad guys always win, you might as well have some fun with it. That's the unspoken subtext of Lego DC Super Villains, a multi-platform game that puts The Joker, Darkseid, et al front and center. With both a story mode and an open world mode, the title allows players to create their own villainous character to frolic in the enthralling playground that is the DC Legoverse.
Just Dance 2019
The popular dancing game features contemporary hits from artists like Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa, Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B, and G.G. Allin. Okay, we're lying about the last one. Nevertheless, this is the sort of video game that encourges movement, teaches rhythm and lets you exercise while having fun. Includes a free one-month trial to Just Dance Unlimited, which gives players access to more than 400 songs.
DC Primal Age Batman
From the Things We Didn't Realize We Needed In Our Lives department comes Funko's DC Primal Age line. Mixing DC heroes and villains with a Masters of the Universe aesthetic is such an inspired idea, we are shocked that these haven't hit the market sooner. The line also includes stylized takes on Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Scarecrow, King Shark, Mr. Freeze, and the Joker. (There are DC Primal versions of Ace the Bathound and the Batcave as well). Nostalgia run amuck or genius toy design. A little of both really, not that anyone is complaining!
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Spin Vision Spider-Ham
As of this writing, we still don't know very much about Into the Spider Verse other than that it looks spectacular, pun intended. There's a lot about Sony's CGI take on the Miles Morales Spidey saga that we are interested in, but the hardcore Marvel nerd deep within us is freaking out about the fact that Spider-Ham is in this film. The porcine parody originally appeared in his own title back in Marvel's Star Comics line of kids books in the 1980s. While most of the Star characters have been lost to time (Planet Terry anyone?), Peter Porker AKA Spider-Ham has managed to reappear from time to time in the mainstream Marvel continuity. He also will be appearing in the new film voiced by none other than John Mulaney. Best of all, he gets his own toy which allows you to poke his ear to change his facial expression -- which brings astonishment to our goofy mugs.
There is a Riverdale-branded version of Monopoly. One of the game pieces is Cheryl Blossom's "iconic" spider broach. We are dead now.
It's actually unfair how fun Catan is. It's a friendship-destroying kind of fun, really. Grab this tabletop game where you can trade resources, build, and settle the whole map before anyone else can.
Planet of the Apes ReAction Figure Statue of Liberty Action Playset
Umm, spoiler alert. Planet of the Apes turned 50 this year, and what better way to commemorate this milestone than with a playset based on the film's iconic ending. For use with Super 7's action figures from the film (sadly sold separately), this nostalgia-heavy toy is the ideal gift for the ape and/or Chuck Heston enthusiast on your shopping list.
Lego Star Wars Darth Vader's Castle
We've been obsessed with the idea of Darth Vader having a castle hideaway since we learned that it was a proposed but ultimately rejected location for Return of the Jedi back in 1983. Its surprise appearance in Rogue One warmed our nerdy hearts as if they were immersed in Mustafarian lava, as did the recent IDW comic series Tales from Vader's Castle. So with this background information firmly established, you might have guessed that we can't wait to get our geeky hands all over this Lego rendition of Dath's Castle. Made up of 1,060 pieces, which includes a packaged build of the castle, a Tie Advanced Fighter, and five mini figures, this massive Lego set is mind-boggling. We can think of no better way of ushering in 2019 than by building this behemoth.
There's no point in hiding how horrible you are with Cards Against Humanity. As the name implies, this question & answer matching card game will make you lose faith in humanity (but you'll still laugh your head off).
Funko Pop! Marvel: Thor: Ragnarok Korg Collectible Vinyl Figure
He's obviously awesome, but Korg should be on everyone's wish list for no other reason than he had the distinction of deliveringhe this year's funniest movie line -- "piss off, ghost!"
Funko GLOW Debbie & Ruth Two-Pack
Netflix's GLOW series continues to be a revelation. What could have been a nostalgic wink fest instead is one of TV's sharpest and funniest shows, and a tribute to the power of female friendship. The series' emotional core is the complicated friendship between Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin) and Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), whose off-stage battles have been known to carry over into the ring. Funko has recreated their wrestling personas, Liberty Belle and Zoya the Destroyer, in this two-pack of action figures that will dropkick the decorative competition on any shelf.
Game of Thrones Hold the Door Doormat
What, too soon? Relive one of Game of Thrones' most heartbreaking moments -- which is really saying a lot -- with this 15.17"(L) x 23.6"(W) non-slip doormat that is suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Hodor.
The Amazing Spider-Man Comic #122 T-Shirt
After the Green Goblin threw Gwen Stacy off of the George Washington Bridge back in The Amazing Spider-Man #121, our hero's life would never be the same again -- especially since his attempt to save her via his webbing actually is what killed her, but let's not split hairs. The love of his young life was dead, and Spidey wanted revenge. In the subsequent issue, Spidey and the Goblin faced off in a climactic battle that has not been matched since. The excitement of this storyline is captured in this T-shirt, recreating John Romita Jr.'s iconic cover for that issue. Available in men's sizes Adult S through 4X.
To a wizard, his or her most important accessory is a trusty wand. Now Muggles can get in on the fun with Wow! Stuff's officially licensed Harry Potter's Light Painting Wand. Using an included app, this wand allows you to write or draw in augmented reality with LED light. The above video shows you how the wand works, and we think that you'll agree that this is a gift idea that is beyond magical.
Guardians of the Galaxy Baby Groot Cutting Board
Oh man, this one is savage. What appears to be an adorable cutting board designed to look like Baby Groot takes a sinister turn once you realize that, oh shit, it could actually be Baby Groot. Happy holidays, everything is a nightmare!
Avengers: Infinity War | Infinity Gauntlet Graphic OtterBox Symmetry iPhone X Case
Is there a person in your life who is constantly dropping their phone? If so, then shopping for them this year will be a snap (too soon?) with this durable Avengers: Infinity War OtterBox Symmetry iPhone X Case. With "the strongest protection in the slimmest style," this sturdy synthetic rubber and polycarbonate case includes dual-layer defense guards to protect against spills and tumbles. Best of all? The case can be personalized to your liking via Zazzle's website.
Retro Captain America Comic Book Pattern Neck Tie
It would be impossible not to look heroic in this stylish officially licensed Captain America necktie. Made of 100% polyester with a silky finish, this 55" x 4" tie is a perfect, patriotic tribute to Cap and the American way!
Guardians of the Galaxy Dancing Baby Groot iPhone 8 Plus/7 Plus Case
"I am Groot?" More like you are cute, amirite? Although the next installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy saga is on hold while the hunt for a new director goes on, there's comfort to be found in the fact that the first two films are nothing but pure entertainment -- thanks in no small part to our wooden friend here. Designed for the Apple iPhone 8 Plus/7 Plus, this slim and durable featherlight Case-Mate case comes with a downright adorable image of dancing Groot that can be customized with whatever name you like via the Zazzle website.
Nintendo Game Boy Convertible Backpack/Computer Laptop Messenger Bag
Two bags in one! Whether used as a backpack on a computer laptop messenger bag, this versatile item will grant its wearer some serious retro gaming swagger. Our only complaint is that you can't actually play Tetris on it. It's a scientific fact that Tetris makes any commute better.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch Pin
This soft enamel pin from Macabre Manor recreates Dan Decarlo's art from Archie's Madhouse #22, which introduced Sabrina the Teenage Witch. This 1.25" limited edition pin will cast its spell on the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina fan in your life.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Tote Bag
Douglas Adams reportedly hated the "Cosmic Cutie" -- the green, large-tongued blob who appeared on the covers of every Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book released in North America. We're going to have to respectfully disagree with him on this one, as we've been in love with the Cutie since we first laid eyes on his toothy grin. This 100% cotton canvas bag from Out of Print clothing includes artist Peter Cross' original Hitchhiker's art and is full of as much weird whimsy as the book's themselves. Bonus points go to this one because each purchase made at Out of Print helps fund literacy programs and book donations to communities in need. And that would definitely bring a smile to the late author's face.
What you need to know about Devil May Cry 5, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!
It looks like one of the biggest rumors that preceded E3 2018 is true. Capcom is developing Devil May Cry 5.
The biggest piece of news that Capcom shared regarding the next Devi May Cry game is that Hideaki Itsuno is returning to direct this long-awaited sequel. Itsuno has worked on the franchise ever since the final months of Devil May Cry 2's development (he even served as a supervising director for Ninja Theory's 2013 DmC title) and his presence here bodes well for Capcom's intentions to deliver the kind of classic Devil May Cry experience that fans have been adamantly (annoyingly at times) clamoring for.
We're still waiting on Capcom to reveal some of the finer details about Devil May Cry 5, but at present, it appears that this will be a straight sequel to Devil May Cry 4 and not a prequel, spin-off, or reboot. Dante certainly sports his Devil May Cry 4 looks in the game's debut trailer, and the few glimpses at a story the preview yielded suggest that this will be a continuation of some sorts.
While it hasn't been that long since we last received a Devil May Cry game, it has been 10 years since Capcom developed a new DMC title. As we noted earlier, Ninja Theory's take on the franchise wasn't exactly warmly received by longtime fans.
Devil May Cry 5 Trailer
A new trailer arrived at The Game Awards. Check it out below:
Here's the trailer from Tokyo Game Show 2018:
And here are all the other trailers that have arrived so far:
Devil May Cry 5 Release Date
Devil May Cry 5 arrives on March 8, 2019. The game is coming to XBO, PS4, and PC.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.
Everything you need to know about Kingdom Hearts 3, including latest news, release date, trailers, and more!
The highly anticipated third installment in the main Kingdom Hearts series has been in development since at least 2012. First announced at E3 2013, it's been a long journey for this Disney-Final Fantasy mashup. There's some indication from Square Enix that Kingdom Hearts III will finally see the light of day in 2018, but only time will tell!
Until then, Square Enix hasn't been shy about slowly revealing some of the incredible Disney inspired worlds included in the upcoming game. From Toy Story to Monsters Inc., Kingdom Hearts 3 looks to explore nearly every aspect of the Disney universe while delivering an incredibly compelling RPG in the tradition of previous Kingdom Hearts adventures.
Here's everything we know about the game:
Kingdom Hearts 3 Trailer
Kingdom Hearts 3 is almost here and here's a new trailer to celebrate:
And here's the Big Hero 6 trailer from TGS 2018:
The PlayStation E3 2018 conference included a special preview of Kingdom Hearts 3 that focuses on the game's Pirates of the Carribean world.
This trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3 serves as a cinematic rundown of the stories and worlds that we've seen from the game thus far. Included is a brief look at a few new environments and what seems to be a glimpse at the sequel's basic plot.
This next trailer showcases what is being referred to as Classic Kingdom. However, reports indicate that the Game and Watch footage included in the trailer doesn't pertain to an entire kingdom, but rather a collection of classic minigames featured throughout the adventure.
This trailer introduces the world of Monsters Inc. to the series. Check it out below:
Additionally, Disney showed off a trailer that confirms a world based on the Toy Story films will make an appearance sometime during Kingdom Hearts 3's campaign. Characters like Woody and Buzz will also make an appearance as party heroes during your time in this new world.
Here are the rest of the trailers that have been released:
Finally, here's the very first trailer from E3 2013:
Kingdom Hearts 3 Release Date
Kingdom Hearts 3 will arrive on Jan. 29, 2019. It's coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The official Kingdom Hearts 3 box art has been revealed, and it is a stunning throwback to the first game's memorable cover. Take a look:
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.
Legendary director John Carpenter wants someone to let him work on their video game.
Film legend John Carpenter (They Live, The Thing, Halloween) really wants to compose a video game soundtrack. The only problem is that he doubts anyone will let him.
"I think there’s a part of me that’s dying to do a game score," said Carpenter in an interview with Consequence of Sound. "I’m just dying to do it, but I don’t think anybody will hire me. No one thinks about me to do music for games, that’d be great!"
While we doubt that nobody thinks about Carpenter when considering people to score their video games (it's probably closer to true that studios didn't think he'd be interested in scoring their games), we're going to give Carpenter the benefit of the doubt here by assuming that he has actively been trying to compose the score for a video game for at least some time.
What we don't have to assume is Carpenter's genuine interest in the video game medium. Carpenter has previously made no effort to hide his love for video games (he confessed to being addicted to Destiny 2 not long ago), and he tried for quite some time to direct a film adaptation of Dead Space (one of our absolute favorite horror games). Sadly, nothing ever really came of his desire to bring Dead Space to the big screen.
However, we have the feeling that something may come of Carpenter expressing his desire to compose a game score. Destiny 2, for instance, has previously featured guest composer work from Paul McCartney, and Carpenter's iconic electronic music stylings would fit perfectly into that game's considerable universe. Of course, we'd also bet that Carpenter would be more than willing to compose the score for a horror game should anyone like to make him an offer.
Actually, it's kind of interesting to see how much Carpenter's music has influenced recent video game soundtracks. Titles like Hyper Light Drifter practically flatter Carpenter with their familiar - yet undeniably compelling - musical styles. Some of the games that utilize such sounds rank among the most underrated of all video game soundtracks.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.
Everything you need to know about Metro Exodus, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!
4A Games returns with Metro Exodus! Much like the previous Metro games, this one appears to contain a mix of subterranean and overworld exploration gameplay spiced up a bit by the inclusion of challenging combat. As for the timeline, this appears to be a sequel to the previous titles, but that is largely based on the degenerative nature of the universe rather than any specific plot points.
Otherwise, this title appears to share many of the gameplay and environmental aspects that make the Metro franchise so unique. If anything, there may be a slightly stronger emphasis on creature combat over human encounters (if the footage shown is any indication, at least) but we'll wait until more of the game is revealed before making too many assumptions.
Here's everything else we know about the game:
Metro Exodus Trailer
Check out the opening title sequence of Metro Exodus:
And here's the Gamescom 2018 trailer:
Here's that awesome trailer that was revealed during Microsoft's E3 2018 press conference.
A previous trailer premiered at The Game Awards 2017. Check it out below:
And here's the reveal trailer for Metro Exodus:
Metro Exodus Release Date
Metro Exodus has been delayed to 2019. It is coming to XBO, PS4, and PC.
Metro Exodus Details
The latest issue of Game Informer reveals some new information about Metro Exodus. It seems that Exodus will start in the fabled Metro but will quickly allow players to explore a much larger outdoor setting. However, Exodus is not an open-world game. It's a series of large, objective-based levels that can be freely explored but are tied together by a narrative. The catch is that you can't return to an area after you've completed the main objectives in a given level. That means you'll want to take care of any sidequests first.
The series' combat and stealth mechanics will receive an overhaul as part of this new emphasis on exploration. There's no word on exactly how they will be changed, but it seems the studio is aiming for general improvements. Furthermore, the traditional hub area from previous Metro games will return in the form of a train called the Aurora that will follow you between most levels. Players will also be able to access several smaller vehicles.
Finally, it seems that Exodus' story will take place across the course of an entire year. Previous Metro games occurred over just a few days.
All and all, it sounds like Exodus will make some pretty bold changes to the series' formula. We just hope it maintains some of the distinctive design elements that make the Metro franchise a special - if overlooked - gaming experience.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor claims Fortnite developer Epic owes him royalties.
The end of the year brings us many things (the holidays, the idea of a fresh start in the new year, that Twilight Zone marathon), but as you've probably noticed, it's not the most bountiful time of the year for actual news.
With that in mind, please forgive us as we bring you a story about Alfonso Ribeiro (the actor who played Carlton in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) suing the creators of Fortnitefor stealing his dance.
According to a statement from Riberio's attorney released to TMZ, Ribeiro and his legal team claim that developer Epic "misappropriated" the actor's "likeness and intellectual property" by using his famous dance moves in "the most popular video game currently in the world, Fortnite." They state that Epic has earned quite a bit of money off of downloadable content that includes the dance in question but never asked: "permission from Mr. Ribeiro for the use of his likeness and iconic intellectual property."
This isn't the first time that Epic has been accused of illegally using dance moves in Fortnite. Rapper 2 Milly filed a lawsuit against the studio over the use of the Milly Rock dance (we're going to assume that's a thing for the purposes of this discussion) and Scrubs actor Donald Faison has suggested that he's disappointed the game used a dance that he made popular on that show. Chance the Rapper has also stated that he believes profits from these dance emotes should be shared with their creators.
If you're wondering whether or not there's any actual legal recourse for stealing a dance move, the truth of the matter is that it greatly depends. In theory, you can copyright a dance move, but the process is extremely difficult due to the challenge of proving you are the creator of that particular dance. At this time, it's not entirely clear whether or not the plaintiffs in question have legal rights to these dance moves.
Generally speaking, though, this is going to be a tough case to win in court. If Ribeiro does win, though, it would set an interesting precedent and perhaps force other games that use these popular dance moves (such as Destiny 2) to alter that in-game content.
The Night Before Christmas gets the Metal Gear treatment in this special reading.
David Hayter and Cam Clarke have come together to read a very special version of The Night Before Christmas known as The Night Before Metal Gear.
If those names don't ring a bell, that's probably because you know these gentlemen by the names of the Metal Gear Solid characters they played, Solid Snake and Liquid Snake. Yes, the twin snakes have come together once more to spread a little holiday cheer by reading a Christmas story classic (with a twist) in the voices of their respective characters.
Their version of the story echoes some of the beats of the original tale but slowly begins to incorporate many of the events and characters from Metal Gear Solid. For instance, we don't remember the original Night Before Christmas making reference to a Hind D helicopter, nor did it include the line "visions of FOXDIE danced in their heads." Nevertheless, this version of the story does manage to capture the classic spirit of the original while making some welcome references to one of the greatest games ever made.
According to actor Cam Clarke's Facebook page, this story was written by David Hayter in less than a half-hour. There's no real reason the two decided to do this now, but it's pretty great to watch them seemingly profess their love for this game and series through reading this surprisingly funny parody full of nods to the now 20-year-old PlayStation classic.
Of course, it's somewhat bittersweet to hear these two work together while knowing that there's basically no chance we'll ever hear them in another Metal Gear Solid. Well, to be more accurate, we'll probably never hear them in a noteworthy Metal Gear Solid game considering that Hideo Kojima has left Konami - and the franchise - behind him and that Metal Gear Survive left us with the impression that the franchise's glory days are gone forever.
But hey, we suppose there's always a chance that Hayter and Clarke get a cameo in Death Stranding.
The rumored Xbox 2 consoles reportedly have new codenames.
A new report suggests that the next Xbox consoles are codenamed Anaconda and Lockhart.
Yes, we said "consoles" as in more than one. According to Windows Central, these new names are all lumped under the previously reported "Scarlett" codename, which is still reportedly meant to refer to the family of Xbox devices rather than specific consoles. That's where Anaconda and Lockhart come in.
At present, it seems that Lockhart refers to the "cheaper" Xbox model. It's not clear at this time how cheap it will be or what sacrifices this console will make, but it has been previously suggested that Microsoft's cheaper next-gen console might be a digital-only device that will not run physical discs. That hasn't been confirmed at this time, but the report mentions that the relationship between these two consoles may be similar to the relationship between the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X.
As for Anaconda, that would be the Xbox One X of the relationship. However, even that comparison doesn't quite convey what you should probably expect from these upcoming consoles. Windows Central reports that the Lockhart model will probably still be even more powerful than the Xbox One X. That means that the Anaconda model will theoretically be significantly more powerful than the most powerful current console. It's not clear at this time how Microsoft will achieve that goal, but it's believed that the Anaconda Xbox will feature a much better SSD along with better processing technology.
Of course, all of this information is at least somewhat speculative until Microsoft actually confirms the details of the next Xbox consoles. It's of course also worth mentioning that these codenames are almost never the actual names of the upcoming next-gen consoles. If Microsoft does indeed release two consoles to kick off their next generation, though, then it's not inconceivable that they could go with the brand name "Xbox Two."
Whatever the next generation of Xbox hardware has in store for us, we can guarantee you that the next generation of Xbox consoles will benefit from Microsoft's high-profile acquisitions of developers Ninja Theory, Obsidian, inExile, and more.
Life Is Strange 2 is a tale about two brothers on the run. Here's a new trailer...
It feels oddly necessary to identify Life Is Strange 2 as a sequel. After all, we did get a new Life Is Strange adventure recently (Life is Strange: Before the Strom), but that was a prequel to the original game. There's also the intriguing, and free, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, but that game is a standalone adventure that takes place in the Life Is Strange universe and seems to run parallel to the events of Life is Strange 2.
So what is Life Is Strange 2 besides a proper continuation of the original game? It actually seems to be the start of a whole new story about two brothers, Sean and Daniel Diaz, who are on the run from the cops after abandoning their home in Seattle. This road story will see the Diaz brothers traveling back to their hometown of Puerto Lobos, Mexico.
Does this story have any connection to Max and Chloe from the first game? Will the Diaz bros. at least pass through Arcadia Bay, Oregon during their trip? For the moment, it doesn't sound like it but Dontnod might have some surprises up its sleeve.
Here's everything we know about Life is Strange 2:
Life is Strange 2 News
Life is Strange 2 Episode 2 will be released on January 24, 2019. To celebrate the occasion, developer Dontnod has released a special live-action trailer for an episode that they call a "great moment for this season." Check it out:
Life is Strange 2 Release Date
The first episode of Life is Strange 2 finally has a release date. You'll be able to download the first adventure in the true sequel to Life is Strange starting on Sept. 27. It will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows.
Life is Strange 2 Trailer
Here's the release date trailer for Life is Strange 2:
Next, be sure to check out this revealing story trailer for the upcoming season.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors.
Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War, Spider-Man, and more! Den of Geek picks the very best video games of 2018...
Another year of games has come and gone. 2018 brought us highly anticipated blockbusters and a brilliant lineup of indie titles, many of which delivered as promised while others proved to be disappointments. Fortunately, 2018's slate of games left us with more smiles than regrets.
We witnessed exemplary artistry from studios who worked tirelessly to see their visions through as well as epic storytelling. From an unforgettable Wild West adventure to a powerful tale of father and son, the best games of 2018 proved once again that there's an art to making video games that should be acknowledged and celebrated.
As Den of Geek says goodbye to another year and begins to look forward to 2019, we're taking a look back at the best games we played in 2018. This year's list is made up of a diverse mix of titles, both AAA and indie. We picked 10 games that weren't only critical darlings but also ones that we kept coming back to way after their review deadlines. In other words, these are the games we absolutely fell in love with in 2018.
Before moving on to our picks, we need to take a moment to recognize a few games that didn't make our final list but deserve honorable mentions:
GRIS, Below, Detroit: Become Human, Warhammer: Vermintide II, Monster Hunter: World, Tetris Effect, Celeste, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Into the Breach, A Way Out, Shadow of the Colossus, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Without further ado, here are the best games of 2018:
God of War
Santa Monica Studio | PS4
There’s a lot about God of War that could have been better. Its RPG mechanics sometimes feel at odds with its plot, characters, and world. Its story sometimes veers off in unnecessary directions in an attempt to extend the narrative’s length. The quality of its cinematic opening sets an unrealistic standard for the pace of the rest of its first few hours.
There are plenty of ways that God of War could be better, but there are few ways it could have been greater.
At its heart, God of War is the tale of a father bonding with his son over the death of a loved one. It just so happens that the father is an exiled Greek god living in the world of Norse legends. God of War may tremble under the burden of its narrative ambition from time to time, but the ways the game balances a tale that is genuinely epic with a core story as human and heartfelt as any in gaming makes it a modern storytelling masterpiece.
What’s even more impressive, though, is the way that God of War builds its world, tells its story, and introduces its wonderful characters through open-ended adventure/RPG gameplay that is not only surprisingly challenging but allows you to miss many of its best moments if you don’t choose to explore beyond the game’s boundaries.
God of War offers all the thrills and epic moments of the original games in the series, but it removes the rigid and constant gameplay borders of those titles in favor of an experience that feels like a true adventure. This is the kind of grand single-player experience that gaming needs more of, even if it's perhaps too incredible to reasonably expect from all but the most gifted of creators.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar Games | XBO, PS4
Red Dead Redemption 2 is nothing short of a marvel. This prequel to Rockstar’s Western classic about a retired outlaw who is forced to bring his former gang to justice improves on every aspect of the original while setting the bar very high for the open-world games that will follow in the future.
At the forefront of RDR2’s success is its living, breathing, and unpredictable world. You’ll often be tempted to venture off the beaten path to explore the game world’s countless points of interest. Strangers scattered across the massive map (RDR2 takes place in five fictional Western states) offer up side quests, challenges, and the game’s true moments of brilliance. You may run into prisoners on the lam and choose to help them, or find yourself on the wrong side of a wagon bandit’s revolver, or set out on a gruesome murder mystery to find the game’s very own serial killer. Or maybe hunting is more your thing, or spending hours at the poker table, or drinking at a cantina, or searching for rare fossils. (We’re particular fans of finding KKK members and lighting them on fire.) There’s not much you can’t do in RDR2 and it’s unlikely you’ll ever get to experience it all in one playthrough. Trust us, you’ll get lost in this world.
Rockstar presents another tearjerker in terms of the story, as players take control of Arthur Morgan, another member of the Van der Linde gang. From the onset, these outlaws are already down on their luck, facing a harsh (and incredibly cinematic) winter up in the mountains after a heist goes terribly wrong and the gang is forced to flee into the wilderness. Things only get slightly better but the struggle persists all throughout Arthur’s multi-year journey. Arthur himself doesn’t quite feel as fully realized as the conflicted John Marston, but there are plenty of interesting supporting characters you’ll undoubtedly care a lot about by the end of the game’s very long story.
While it’s too early to give a final verdict on Red Dead Online, what we’ve seen so far of the online mode is also promising, offering up the same gunslinging action and unpredictability as the single-player but with a bit more player agency. Create your own outlaw (or law-abiding citizen, if you’re no fun) and participate in cooperative heists, horse races, PvP shootouts, and more. (The microtransactions can go, though.)
It’s not very often that a game can deliver on the massive hype it’s built up over the years -- even though Rockstar didn’t announce RDR2 until early last year, we all knew it was coming -- but this prequel does just that. Red Dead Redemption 2is a game we won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Insomniac Games | PS4
There was a time not that long ago when licensed superhero games enjoyed yearly releases on consoles, PC, and arcade cabinets. Platformers, fighting games, and open-world adventures starring Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, the X-Men, and many other comic book characters were legion in the ‘90s and early ‘00s. That’s not quite the case today, which is why Marvel’s Spider-Man feels like such a gift.
Insomniac Games’ tribute to your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man soars with an excellent story, plenty of callbacks to the webslinger’s long crimefighting career, characters you’ll fall in love with, a robust combat system, and intuitive controls that make swinging across the New York City skyline feel smoother than ever before. If Batman: Arkham Knight made you “Be the Batman,” then Marvel’s Spider-Man is certainly the game that lets you “Be the Spider-Man.”
The game’s true power stems from its attention to detail, from the design of Spidey’s suit to the influences it wears on its sleeve, primarily the work of the great Steve Ditko, who co-created the character with Stan Lee. But Peter Parker is only half of the story. We also meet and get to spend time as Miles Morales, giving us his unique perspective into the Spidey mythos, one that’s not really been featured in games before. It’s through Miles that Insomniac explores what the symbol of Spider-Man means to New York and how it inspires others to be better, a message we could all use in the dumpster fire that was 2018.
Storytelling aside, Marvel’s Spider-Man is just a ton of fun to play. Ridiculous, high-flying combos that mix melee attacks, Spidey’s gadgets, and web abilities make up the most refined version of the freeflow combat system first popularized by the Batman: Arkham series. Earning new suits, from Spider-Man’s classic get-up to his Iron Spider outfit from Avengers: Infinity War, unlocks the character’s long history and incentivizes you to explore every nook and cranny of Spidey’s city. The villains too get new looks and facing off with each of the Sinister Six provides both a unique fight and interaction with the game world.
Marvel’s Spider-Man is a showcase of what superhero games can be at their very best. We just hope that what comes next continues to improve on the formula.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Treyarch | XBO, PS4, PC
Fifteen years after the launch of the revolutionary Call of Duty on PC, there’s a sense among some gamers that Activision’s premier first-person shooter series has run its course, that every good idea -- from World War II and modern warfare to laser beams and space wars -- is all used up. Indeed, Call of Duty’s return to WWII in 2017 felt like less of a fresh start for the series and more like a retread -- and a less interesting one at that. The twilight of the series seemed close at hand.
It’s surprising, then, to see this year’s installment, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, make our list of the best games of the year, but it’s well-earned. With Black Ops 4, Treyarch leans into the things that the franchise does well -- cooperative and competitive multiplayer -- while forgoing what would have most likely been a half-baked campaign meant to pad the installment's $60 price tag. Instead, Black Ops 4 finds new ways to make the experience feel fresh.
Treyarch’s latest boasts the best Zombies campaign in series history, giving us not only several scenarios to play through but also several ways to experience them. The studio capitalizes on the standard horde mode by adding tons of customization options, perks, power-ups, and ways to interact with the environments. The two main scenarios, one set in a gladiator arena and the other on the ill-fated Titanic, are as whimsical and creative as ever and they feel distinct from each other. No Zombie scenario has grabbed our attention quite like IX, with its zombie champions, tigers, and twisting underground caverns.
But it’s arguably the franchise’s newest addition, a battle royale mode called Blackout, that puts Black Ops 4 over the top for us. There’s nothing particularly original about Blackout -- it’s hard to ignore the PUBG and Fortnite comparisons -- but it’s a polished and refined experience that may very well be the peak of the genre. Frantic shootouts across a diverse map, a variety of vehicles (including helicopters) and weapons you can mod on the run, and the inclusion of zombies and a mystery box offer up just enough of a different flavor to make Blackout our new go-to battle royale experience.
It’s hard to see how next year’s installment will top Black Ops 4, but for the moment, Call of Duty feels fresh and, dare we say it, fun again.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Bandai Namco Studios & Sora Ltd. | Switch
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is exactly what the title promises: Nintendo’s ultimate brawling experience. If you’ve ever played a Smash Bros. game or adore a specific installment (we’ll assume it’s Melee), you’ll find plenty to love about Ultimate, which features every era, character, stage, and power-up from past installments in a shiny new package for the Nintendo Switch.
It’s hard to imagine Smash Bros. getting better than this (internet connectivity issues aside): a roster of 74 fighters, including a few new inclusions, like Simon and Richter Belmont from Castlevania, the Inklings from Splatoon, and Ken Masters from Street Fighter. All of these characters clash across a total of 103 stages. But the sheer amount of content isn’t the only thing Super Smash Bros. Ultimatehas to offer.
Tweaks both big and small make this the best Smash Bros. game yet. Stage Morph allows you to pick two stages that alternate during matches, making these fights feel frantic as you’re forced to adapt to a new environment mid-battle. A new mode, Squad Strike, lets you fight your friends with a team of characters, and there’s also a Tournament mode for the perfect Smash party.
The biggest addition is the Spirits mechanic, a new set of power-ups that fighters can use during battle. You unlock these Spirits by completing special challenges and the game’s campaign -- a fun story starring Kirby on a quest to free all of his Nintendo and crossover buddies. Spirits change the way you approach certain characters, making even your go-to fighter feel new again.
Long story short, Super Smash Bros. Ultimateoffers up a fighting experience you only get once a generation and this might very well be the very best of the bunch.
Motion Twin | PS4, XBO, Switch, PC
In a year full of great games, it feels strange to rank Dead Cellsamong the very best. That’s not to say that it’s unworthy in some way, but rather that this game is something we’ve seen many times before. A roguelike Metroidvania title with retro aesthetics and Dark Souls-style gameplay, Dead Cells is practically the poster child for the cliche modern indie experience.
None of that really matters, though, once you start actually playing Dead Cells. What makes this indie stand out from its many competitors is the way the game utilizes and emphasizes the concept of time. Dead Cells features a speed run mechanic that leaves you to question whether it's better to grind away for item drops or if you should rush to one of many timed gates in order to unlock major rewards. It also tells a story that covers an untold number of years and is revealed to you through subtle actions and faint moments of storytelling.
But when we talk about the concept of time and Dead Cells, we’re really talking about the time that you spend playing it. Dead Cells’ brilliantly paced progression system means that every 20-minute time chunk you spend with the game feels like you’re working towards something greater.
As a result, Dead Cells really does feel like an almost infinite version of Super Metroid or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. It’s not different from all that has come before; it’s just better than most of it.
Unknown Worlds Entertainment | PS4, XBO, PC
Forget No Man’s Sky, Star Citizen, and the legion of other games that have promised you the world, but deliver the bare minimum (if they manage to achieve even that). Subnautica is by far gaming’s greatest example of epic adventure design.
Subnautica is a grand scale survival game that will surely appeal to even those who don’t like survival games. Its world isn’t procedurally generated, meaning that everything feels like it was crafted with purpose. There’s a plot that is as welcome as it is unintrusive. There’s a genuine level of depth of discovery in this title that is so substantial that even the game’s biggest fans continued to uncover new secrets months after its release.
Truth be told, Subnautica feels closer to Stardew Valley than No Man’s Sky. What the game lacks in seemingly (and often) impossible promises of an infinite world it makes up for by delivering a careful (yet rarely calculated) trail of gameplay breadcrumbs that leaves you with the overwhelming desire to see what you can accomplish or discover next. It’s nearly impossible to walk away from this game’s oceanic depths and not feel an overwhelming desire to dive back in once more.
Subnautica isn’t just the best game of its kind, it’s a landmark moment in the evolution of game design on a grand scale.
Return of the Obra Dinn
Lucas Pope | PC
You probably won’t like Return of the Obra Dinn. Much like The Witness, Return of the Obra Dinn is a remarkably uninviting puzzle experience that will only ensnare the most patient, the most persistent, and perhaps even the smartest of puzzle gamers. More than a title that isn’t designed for everyone, Return of the Obra Dinn is a game that we’d argue wasn’t designed for anyone in particular. Yet, it’s nearly impossible to not respect the artistic design majesty of Return of the Obra Dinn even if you are one of the many who will not love it.
Obra Dinn tells the story of an empty ship that has strangely floated back to shore. Its crew is gone, there are several signs of foul play, and nobody is entirely sure what happened aboard the doomed vessel. It’s your job to use a magical timepiece capable of replaying the final moments of the ship’s crew in order to identify every crew member, relay how they died, and discover what happened to the Obra Dinn.
Piecing together what happened requires you to assemble the tiniest fragments of information into a larger picture. While the game is often frustratingly vague in regards to which pieces of information matter, once you train your brain to understand the game’s logic, you’ll soon become addicted to the act of assembling this ghastly puzzle and experiencing the game’s non-linear (but utterly compelling) story.
Beautiful, intelligent, daring, and unique, Return of the Obra Dinn is quite simply one of the greatest puzzle games ever made.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Warhorse Studios | PS4, XBO, PC
Kingdom Come: Deliverance is one of the most flawed games I played this year. It’s riddled with glitches, its combat system is questionable at best, its main story ends far too quickly, and it chooses to emphasize realism in most of the wrong spots. Despite all of that, Kingdom Come: Deliverance remains one of the most entertaining and memorable games of the year.
In a year where Fallout 76 spit on the legacy of its franchise, genre, and developer, and in a year where questions regarding the future of single-player gaming rang louder than ever, Kingdom Come delivered a pure single-player RPG experience that closely resembled the best efforts of Bethesda, BioWare, and other developers that now seem closer to memories.
Kingdom Come’s massive world, incredible quest design, deep character building options, and impressive attention to detail are the kinds of things that not only make open-world RPGs like this work in the first place, but they’re the elements that people cite when explaining why games like this need to be able to thrive in an increasingly competitive gaming marketplace.
This game reminds us that the value of many of the best RPGs isn’t solely tied to the quantity of content but rather feeling like the experience you’ve gained isn’t limited to your character’s stat screen.
Sabotage Studio | PS4, XBO, Switch, PC
It’s hard not to fall in love with The Messenger, Sabotage Studio’s beautiful tribute to the golden age of gaming. The game begins as an 8-bit platformer that will delight fans of the genre, as you travel across multiple levels on a quest to deliver a scroll to the top of a mythical mountain. Along the way, you’ll fight your way through countless enemies and bosses, dodge hazards such as spikes, and clear big jumps
There’s no denying The Messenger’s major influence, the classic Ninja Gaiden, which comes through in every aspect of the game, from the combat -- a combination of jumping, kicking, and throwing projectiles at enemies -- to the difficulty. There will be plenty of times when The Messenger will make you want to pull your hair out, but when you get through a particularly hard section or figure out an initially impossible boss fight, you’ll feel like you really accomplished something.
Midway through the story, The Messenger pulls a neat trick, shifting from a gritty 8-bit action-platformer set in a demon-laden land to a sci-fi-tinged 16-bit Metroidvania. While the writing is simplistic by necessity (not to knock Ninja Gaiden’s revolutionary use of cinematics back in 1988), this twist is delightful, adding a whole new element to the game that its ‘80s predecessors could have only dreamed of. From that point on, the game switches back and forth between the 8- and 16-bit worlds and players can use portals to travel through the different versions of the world during later levels.
The game’s ambitious design works because all of its base elements are in place and perfectly complement each other. Even if you’ve never played something like The Messenger -- that is, a 2D sidescroller that demands you be both a formidable combatant and good at platforming -- the controls are intuitive and you won’t have too much trouble pulling off some of the games more intricate stunts. The levels are designed with both challenge and aesthetic in mind, giving you something gorgeous to look at, while also keeping you immersed and invested in exploring more of this world. The sprites are beautifully drawn, too (none of that 2.5D business here). Topping it all off is the chiptune score from Rainbowdragoneyes, which is itself a love letter to video game soundtracks of the past.
The Messengeris a must-play for both fans of Ninja Gaiden and Metroidvanias as well as younger players looking for an excellent gateway into the NES and SNES eras. This is a true gem.
What you need to know about Control, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!
It turns out that a secret project from Remedy known as P7 is actually a new game called Control.
Shown during the PlayStation E3 2018 conference, Control is the next game from the developers responsible for Max Payne, Alan Wake, and Quantum Break. The game is being billed as a supernatural action title that follows the new director of a secretive agency in New York. After an unexplainable threat invades our world, you must help humanity regain control.
As anyone who followed Remedy over the years knows, the developers excel at creating atmospheric experiences, and the first footage of Control suggests that's exactly what this game is going to focus on. It certainly doesn't hurt that the action itself looks far more involved than the combat in games like Alan Wake. Actually, it looks like this title is going for the horror vibes of that classic gem.
Here's everything we know about Control.
The latest trailer for control reveals some of the first real details about the game's story and universe. As previously suspected, it seems that the game will deal with mysterious interdimensional forces that are able to work their way into our world via a variety of methods. You seem to play an agent of the Federal Bureau of Control; a government agency that is responsible for keeping these interdimensional forces in-check.
The first trailer for Control reveals a cryptic, action-packed, and exciting new adventure from developer Remedy. Check it out:
Control Release Date
Control is set to release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Remedy has not confirmed the title's release date at this time.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will keep you playing until the next Nintendo console shows up.
Release Date: December 7, 2018
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Bandai Namco Studios, Sora Ltd.
As a fan of fighting games, there’s always been this unsaid acceptance of the give and take of sequels. While the sequel is all about adding new stuff to the basic game we know, not everything can be brought over. Niche favorite characters have to be removed to make way for new characters. This could be due to time, money, space, or all of the above. But we get why, say, Street Fighter V is missing so many characters from Ultra Street Fighter IV. It’s expected.
Even when fighting games do have an “all hands on deck” mega-roster, most of the time it comes off as rather soulless like Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. Even Marvel vs. Capcom 2, which featured every normal character from the Marvel-based fighters and plenty of new, came off as pretty empty if you were trying anything other than play two-player.
Then you have Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which blows the mind by having EVERYTHING and more. Er, I mean, as long as you aren't interested in that baseball minigame.
The fifth installment of a nearly 20-year-old series, Smash Ultimate features the same gameplay style the franchise is known for, mixing a wrestling battle royal with a superhero showdown. Rather than focus on dropping down your opponent’s health until they’re unconscious, it’s about dealing harm so that their damage score goes up and makes them more susceptible to being knocked off-screen to their doom. Fights can feature anywhere from two to eight fighters duking it out with all sorts of bells and whistles (stage hazards, weapons) added or removed to make it more controlled or chaotic.
You can play the infamous boring way of Fox vs. Fox on the Final Destination stage with no items like the pros, or you can have 16 Ice Climbers having a frenzied fight to the finish on a New Donk City skyscraper, which will occasionally transform into Dr. Wily’s castle. Whatever floats your boat.
While they’ve tweaked the tried and true formula in minor ways, there are a couple of neat additions thrown in. For instance, when it’s down to two fighters, the (usually) killing blow will get an extreme close-up, flourish, and slow-down of time to emphasize that this battle is over.
Then they have the Spirit concept, where you can equip yourself with one of hundreds of character trophies that will alter your performance in one way or another. More on that in a bit.
The game has an extensive library of fighters to choose from. Not only does it have new guys like Ridley from Metroid, Simon Belmont from Castlevania(giving us a Captain N reunion alongside Pit and Mega Man), Incineroar from Pokemon, and so on, but it also features every single character to ever be in the Smashseries! Not just the Nintendo names like Yoshi and Little Mac, but the third-party crew like Sonic the Hedgehog, Bayonetta, and Cloud. The final count is over 70 and that’s bonkers.
I know it’s cliché to whine about the lack of Waluigi at this point, but...man, I really wish Waluigi was in there. Wah.
The big surprise in this is that when you start the game, only a handful of characters are playable, and those are the original Nintendo 64 default crew. Instead of having everyone available from the get-go or having to empty your pockets for DLC, you simply just earn your characters the old-fashioned way. Play through the game enough and every now and then you’ll be challenged to a one-on-one battle with a locked character. Even if you fail, they have a special mode that gives you a second chance after a while.
I can see how this might frustrate others, but I love it. The pure euphoria that comes from unlocking new characters can’t be beat and there are so many goddamn characters to do that with.
On the other hand, all the stages are available to start with and there are over 100 of them. I’m a randomizer myself, so I’m fine, but if you have specific stages you want to battle it out on, good luck memorizing where it is on the menu. At least you also have the option of having the stages switch around mid-match to add to the unpredictability of it all.
And then there's the soundtrack, which helps drive home just how massive this game really is. There are YouTube videos for songs relating to certain characters and they are crazy long. Mega Man, for instance, has over two hours of music to his name in this game. There’s over 28 hours of soundtrack total and somehow this all fits on that tiny cartridge. It’s witchcraft, if you ask me.
Of the many modes available, the one with the most spotlight is the Adventure Mode, otherwise known as “World of Light.” It is...well, Infinity War as retold by the kid from The Lego Movie. All the Smashcharacters prepare to fight a battalion of giant, flying hands, only to be engulfed by the main villain’s power. The only one to escape its wrath is Kirby, who goes on an adventure to free his friends and fight various Spirits.
Now, the Spirit fights are absolutely inspired. It’s reminiscent of when the Marvel vs. Capcomgames would recolor Marvel heroes and villains and pretend that they were someone else. You know, like how Orange Hulk was sort of supposed to be Thing or how Mephisto was just Blackheart with a different color scheme. This time they go in a more creative direction by altering existing Smashfighters in ways that fit them.
For instance, there’s a Spirit fight against Dan Hibiki, the dopey egomaniac from Street Fighter. Instead of actually fighting Dan, you’ll face Ken Masters in a pink gi who can’t stop taunting. Brilliant.
That reminds me of how fun Classic Mode is. In the original days, it meant having to fight the same set of battles regardless of who you were picking. Then there were games where your battles were more random. Here, every single character has their own specific and unique Classic Mode path that has some kind of theme or pattern.
Take Bowser. He’ll take on opponents who wear red, including a trio of Mii warriors dressed like Mario. His final boss is not Master Hand, but an endurance round against Mario followed by Metal Mario.
Ryu’s Classic Mode path has the game transform itself into something resembling Street Fighter II, where every opponent tries to fill in for a classic Street Fightercharacter. You’ll face a green Donkey Kong at the jungle stage with Blanka’s theme music playing and the fight is based around having a health bar instead of trying to launch your enemy into the sky.
And there’s just so much more you can do here. There are so many modes with new stuff, like tournaments (up to 32 entries) and a unique concept called Smashdown where you and your opponent have a series of matches with the caveat that each character can only be selected once. You can go full-on King of Fighters by doing 3-on-3 or even 5-on-5.
The only major modes that haven’t made a return are Home Run Contest and Target Test and that’s no skin off my back.
Otherwise, there’s just so much content in these games that it’s rather overwhelming. It’s like enjoying a TV show that has way too many episodes for you to realistically catch up on the entire series. I absolutely love playing Smash Bros. in any iteration, but even when I get tired of playing Ultimate, I won’t be done. I’m sure I’ll just pick it back up later, reignite my love for it, and try to get more of those challenges completed.
Gavin Jasper writes for Den of Geek and wonders which Mortal Kombat character would best fit in the Smash engine. You could probably just give most of Bowser’s moves to Goro and call it a day. Read Gavin’s other articles here and follow him on Twitter @Gavin4L
The Lemmings franchise makes a shocking return thanks to Sony.
There's a new, and very surprising, Lemmings game that's available starting today.
The sudden reveal of this new game came via the Sony blog which is traditionally used to reveal PlayStation games and other PlayStation news. However, this new Lemmings game isn't a PlayStation game. It's a free-to-play mobile title available via the App Store and Google Play starting today. Sony doesn't typically publish such high-profile mobile games - much less talk about them on the PlayStation blog - but this game is a little different.
Why? Well, Sony has actually owned the rights to the Lemmings series for quite some time. That's because they once acquired original Lemmings publisher Psygnosis who became Sony Liverpool shortly before closing for good. As such, Sony has been sitting on the rights to the Lemmings franchise for a while and have just never really done anything with it until now.
This new Lemmings game, simply titled Lemmings, is actually fairly similar to the original games in the franchise. It requires you to guide a group of Lemmings through various dangers spread across a series of increasingly challenging levels. It's pretty much exactly what you'd expect from this series except that it's strangely stuck in portrait (vertical) mode and there are microtransactions that seem to be largely inconsequential. There's also a weird space theme going on that seems to have been implemented because someone on the team thought it was cool.
Oh, and this Lemmings game isn't being made by it's original developers, DMA Design. Of course, that's not really that surprising when you consider that DMA Design is now known as Rockstar North; the developers of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2. We guess they had more important things to do.
In any case, we're thrilled to see someone revisit the Leemings franchise considering that the series' classic gameplay hasn't really aged that much over the years. Maybe this isn't your favorite format for a new game, but it should be a nice mobile distraction.
What we know about Halo Infinite, including latest news, trailers, and much more!
Revealed by Microsoft during its E3 2018 media briefing, Halo 6 is actually called Halo Infinite. The game was announced with a cryptic two-minute trailer that doesn't really tell us what the game is. In fact, all we really know based on the first trailer is that the story could feature a Halo ring. Master Chief turns up at the end of the video with what looks like a new helmet.
We're hoping for more details soon. Of course, it's only been three years since Halo 5 was released and the game still supports a respectably large community of players on the multiplayer side. That being the case, 343 may very well choose to wait until E3 2019 to fully unveil the game.
Here's everything else we know about Halo Infinite:
Halo Infinite Beta
During a recent live stream, developer 343 Industries confirmed there will be a kind of beta period for Halo Infinitethat will allow players to try the game at different times.
"The flighting program isn’t like a beta, where it’s a moment in time on Halo 5 like we had for a couple weeks," said studio FPS head, Chris Lee. "We want to have a relationship, and we want to build that over time. We can have people coming giving us feedback and playing the experiences, and we can update it as we go.”
Lee didn't say when sign-ups for this flighting program will begin, but noted that they will have more information on that subject "soon." Furthermore, it was suggested that more and more people will be able to access the program as time goes on.
While this doesn't give us more information about the game itself, it does kind of suggest that this might be closer to a game as a service type experience. That has been previously suggested, but we're still waiting to hear how, exactly, this game will work.
Halo Infinite Release Date
Halo Infinite doesn't have a release date as of yet. It will arrive for Xbox One and PC.
Halo Infinite Trailer
Here's the first trailer for Halo Infinite:
Halo Infinite Story
Kiki Wolfkill, head of 343 Industries, and longtime Halo director Frank O'Connor recently gave an interview to GameTM magazine in which the two acknowledged the disappointment some fans felt when they realized that Master Chief wasn't the focus of Halo 5.
"We very much realized that people wanted Master Chief's story of Halo 5," said O'Connor. "We definitely marketed in a way that we hoped was going to bring surprise, but for some fans and certainly fans of Master Chief, it was a huge disappointment because they wanted more Chief."
O'Conner goes on to say that he wasn't so much surprised by the reaction of fans who wanted to see more of Master Chief, but that he perhaps didn't quite fully appreciate just how much stock fans put into wanting to play as Master Chief at the outset of a new Halo adventure. He acknowledges that Chief is "slightly more important now than he has ever been, certainly to our franchise."
Understandably, O'Connor and Wolfkill are remaining coy as it pertains to any plans they may have in place to address this issue in Halo Infinite, but they did note that they plan on dialing back on introducing more characters to this universe in favor of "making the world a little bit more realistic and compelling."
There are few ways to interpret this information. It sounds highly unlikely that Halo Infinite will echo Halo 5's format by primarily focusing on a new character who must live in the shadow of Master Chief. However, it may be a bit of a stretch to say that the next Halo game will focus solely on Master Chief. That's certainly a path that 343 can go down, but there's also the likely possibility that the developer will choose to focus on existing characters - including Chief - instead of expanding the universe's mythology even more.
Halo Infinite Multiplayer
During a recent live stream, developer 343 revealed that Halo Infinite will not feature a battle royale mode.
“I’ll tell you right now, the only BR we’re interested in is Battle Rifle," said Jeff Easterling, a writer for 343. "The original BR. So, calm yourself.”
That kills one popular theory about what Halo Infinite might be about. The fact that the developers definitively declared that Infinite will not feature a battle royale mode removes any possibility that it will.
Additional details regarding Halo Infinite suggests that the game will not be a next-gen title. This information comes courtesy of a seemingly minor update to the Halo Infinite website that confirms the game will support full 4K resolution on Xbox One X and compatible Windows machines. While that is nice to hear in and of itself, the real takeaway from that announcement is that Halo Infinite is intended to be a current-gen experience. That should ease some of the concerns of gamers who thought that the next Halo game might make its first appearance on a next-gen Xbox system.
Halo Infinite Game Details
During her speech at D.I.C.E., 343 Industries' general manager Bonnie Ross stated that the studio realizes it was a mistake to not develop split-screen functionality for Halo 5.
"When we didn't put split screen in Halo 5, it was incredibly painful for the community and for us," said Ross. "I think it erodes trust with the community, as the community is a part of our world building."
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer had previously stated that the reason 343 dropped split-screen is that studies showed most gamers preferred to play cooperatively over Xbox Live. Given the size of the discrepancy, it was decided that it was no longer worth the development resources to continue to create similar modes. However, following the release of Halo 5, it soon became clear that those who still utilized the mode felt a sense of attachment to it that simple usage metrics could not quite account for.
Recognizing how passionate fans are about split-screen Halo gaming, Ross stated that "For any FPS, we will always have split screen support going forward." In other words, it sounds like 343 won't be releasing another Halo game that doesn't include some kind of split-screen multiplayer option.
Halo Infinite Microtransactions
New information suggests that Halo Infinite will feature microtransactions. A recent job listing for the game calls for an Online Experience Design Director that will be able to focus on "social and engagement features that encourage players to return again and again with their friends." Doing so will require them to help develop "progression in- and out-of-game; microtransactions and integration of our business plan throughout the game."
This seems to confirm previous suspicions that the "Infinite" part of Halo Infinite's title is at least somewhat a reference to the idea that this game is designed to be played for a long time. This won't be the first time that a Halo game featured microtransactions, but the current belief is that Halo Infinite might be more of a "game as a service" than previous entries. Indeed, a different job ad refers to Infinite as a "live service" game.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors.
What we know about Star Citizen, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!
Star Citizen could very well be the space simulator to end all space simulators - if it ever actually comes out. The game has been in development at Cloud Imperium Games, founded by Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts, since it was successfully crowdfunded in 2012. Boasting an enormous massive multiplayer universe, elements of space trading, first-person shooter combat, Star Citizen is one of the most ambitious video games ever put into development.
Several delays and an engine change later, the game is still in early Alpha state with no solid release date. Still, we've seen plenty of the game through trailers and gameplay videos.
There is still hope, though. Star Citizen continues to be developed by a large staff of talented creators who seem determined to produce the game that was promised at some point in the future. When, exactly, that future may come is just a matter of debate.
Here's the latest from Star Citizen:
Star Citizen Squadron 42
Star Citizen's ambitious scope includes both an online multiplayer experience as well as a single-player story-driven campaign called Squadron 42, which features performances by Mark Hamill, Gillian Anderson, and Gary Oldman. While it seems that the game as a whole is nowhere near completion, we may actually get to see more of Squadron 42 by Q2 2020, according to Cloud Imperium Games. You can check out the ongoing update roadmap here.
Star Citizen Release Date
While Star Citizen's roughly playable builds regularly receive some kind of update, there's no word on when the game will be released. It's quite possible that Star Citizen's development team will release an Early Access model for the game that will continuously be updated for the foreseeable future. In any case, we'll be sure to update you as information regarding the game's fully-playable builds becomes available.
Star Citizen Trailer
There's a new trailer for Star Citizen's Squadron 42 campaign that features the voice acting talents of Gary Oldman, Mark Hamill, Mark Strong, Andy Serkis, Gillian Anderson, and more. You know, we're starting to think the Star Citizen campaign was created so that the devs could meet some of their favorite actors.
This next trailer showcases the game's Alpha 3.2 release. That doesn't bring the game any closer to its full release, but it does mean you get to watch yet another trailer for the timeshare of video games.
This Squadron 42 trailer takes us to a dangerous gas cloud called "The Coil." Check out the video below:
And here are two more Squadron 42 trailers. This first one features Mark Hamill in the game:
And here's over an hour of gameplay:
During the CitizenCon 2947 live stream broadcast, Star Citizen designer Chris Roberts took the stage to present a video that shows off the massive size of the game's worlds.
The footage specifically focuses on the ArcCorp planet which has been shown before, but never quite like this. Roberts described the planet's vast cityscape as "Blade Runner esque," which certainly does help capture the spirit suggested by the city's spewing flame towers and jam-packed structures. Impressively, Roberts also suggests that everything in the city can be interacted with by the player in some way. There aren't any instances of painted features designed to make the cities look larger than they are.
Roberts described that particular planet as being similar to Star Wars' Coruscant, but also showcased another planet that seems to have been decimated at one point or at least hasn't been fully terraformed as of yet.
The team certainly seems to be aiming for a shocking amount of variety in regards to the design of every major planet. That isn't to say that there won't be largely barren planets, but rather that they hope to make each new planet feel like a discovery.
Thanks to this gameplay video update on Star Citizen's development, we do know that the game's first-person combat is coming along nicely.
The purpose of this video, besides showing off the kind of stunning visuals millions and millions of crowdfunded dollars will buy you, is to showcase the progress that Star Citizen's Vision Stabilization engine has made. In short, this improved engine allows for developer Cloud Imperium Games to implement tighter and less visually jarring first-person combat. Previously, some of the game's early users had reported that the character motions dictated by these mechanics were far too loose and had a tendency to generate a floaty sensation.
The 3.0 build of Star Citizen arguably stole the show at Gamescom 2017 with this nearly 52-minute long gameplay video that takes on the daunting task of trying to explain the almost incomprehensible scale of the game.
Not to beat the No Man's Sky horse to death, but one of the most impressive things about this demo in comparison to other titles in this genre is how substantial the universe feels. While certain elements of the experience don't feel nearly as important as the presenter hopes they might come across as ("The elevators in this game really move! *clap, clap, clap*), Star Citizen's developers seem to understand that pretty environments and theoretically infinite content will not get you far if there is not a solid core of gameplay at the center of it all. Watching the demo players navigate a character to a new planet, accept a mission, and carry it out isn't mind-blowing on paper. But, in the context of the full scope of this creation, it does show that there's a promising traditional game at the heart of the title.
We still eagerly await the day that all questions about Star Citizen will be answered by the retail release of the game itself, but, until then, it's nice to know that it's still capable of wowing people.
Below is a beautiful roguelike that nails its minimalist aesthetic, but fails in terms of gameplay. Here's our review...
Release Date: December 14, 2018
Platform: PC (reviewed), XBO
Developer: Capybara Games
Publisher: Capybara Games
Genre: Action-adventure Roguelike
As you sink deeper and deeper into Capybara Games’ moody roguelike Below, two things become crystal clear: it’s an atmospheric, hauntingly beautiful experience, and it’s also a study in frustration and tedium, a prime example of how just a few imbalances in design can mean the difference between a great game and an unremarkable one.
In its early hours, the game is marvelous. It opens with a mesmerizingly long intro, the camera making a slow descent from the clouds in a stormy, moonlit sky until we see a teeny-tiny boat come onto the shores of a mysterious island, composer Jim Guthrie’s dark, intoxicating synth score setting the tone for the dangerous journey that lies ahead (if you’re familiar with the long, eerie opening scene from David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, it feels a lot like that). All of the game’s mechanics--from crafting, to combat, to exploration--are discovered as you delve into the depths of the islands underground caves and dungeons, with no tutorials to guide you. These first few hours of trial and error and experimentation are exhilarating and, coupled with the top-notch presentation, make for a truly memorable experience.
The game sinks its hooks in deep early on but quickly loses its grip as the tedium of the main gameplay loop sets in. Working your way down into the island’s innards room by room, fending off monsters and gathering resources is great fun until you realize that when you die, you essentially begin the adventure all over again as a new intrepid spelunker and must work your way back to the spot where you last bit the dust to reclaim all of your loot and continue where you left off. This is all well and good during the first chunk of the game when working your way back doesn’t take a ton of time, and if you have a proclivity for these kinds of high-stakes, perma-death games, that helps a lot. But as the game wears on and retracing your steps becomes a lengthy chore, it’s hard not to feel like your time is being wasted.
The beauty of roguelikes and games like Dark Souls is that death is a gift, a learning experience that helps you sharpen your skills. Sure, you lose your loot and lose some ground, but now you’re smarter, quicker, and have a tighter grasp on the ins and outs of the game. This progress isn’t tracked via experience points or stats, but you can feel it in your bones--I failed, but I’m a better player now and I won’t make that mistake again. It’s a brilliant idea that spawned a lot of very popular games, but what Below’s take on the concept is missing is the ability to make the player feel a consistent, pervasive sense of self-improvement. You do gain a better understanding of how to survive the game’s unforgiving deep dungeons and how to best navigate in and around the various hazards and puzzles, but this sensation isn’t compelling or addictive enough to justify all of the extra time you’ll spend running the game’s proverbial hamster wheel.
Dying in Below is incredibly disheartening and, quite frankly, annoying, because often times, a little mistake like stepping on a spike trap can cost you 30-plus minutes of grinding through areas you’ve seen a million times, collecting resources and crafting, just to make it back to your corpse, skewered on that damned trap. And then you’ll take two steps and die on another trap a few seconds later, forcing you to start over again. The price of death is far too high and the rewards are too low--most of the time, you’ll learn little to nothing working your way back to where you died, and it kind of makes you wonder why you’re playing the game at all. You’ll find shortcuts that allow you to skip down a few levels if you choose, but it’s far more advantageous to mine the early rooms for resources so that you’re thoroughly prepared to survive on your next run.
What’s good is that, other than this major design flaw, the gameplay is generally rock-solid. Combat is tight and fluid and feels like playing the early, top-down Zeldagames but with more nimble movement. Wielding a sword and dashing around your enemies as you slash away, defending with your shield as you place well-timed stabs into enemies’ hearts, feels quite natural, and shooting enemies from afar isn’t only precise and responsive, but is very often a more viable offensive strategy than melee combat. Sometimes aiming with the bow can feel a little too slippery, but only a little.
The only issue here is that the combat isn’t deep enough to counterbalance the monotony of the permadeath mechanic. Sussing out enemy attack patterns and felling hordes of spiders and mummies can be engaging and fun, but the dullness of having to work your way back through the same old rooms over and over again is such a downer that it’s hard to be truly thrilled by anything else the game has to offer, including its myriad secret items, rooms, and paths.
Compounding the issue is the game’s survival mechanic, which has you constantly keeping an eye on your character’s warmth, thirst, and hunger. The latter is the cause of a world of frustration because your character seems to always be starving, which puts you in a perpetual race against the clock to find munchies--bats, critters, spuds, whatever you can find. This constant scramble for food effectively dampens the game’s sense of discovery. Some of the deeper levels are cool as hell to look at, but because you’ll no doubt be on the brink of starvation when you find them, you won’t have any time to truly soak in the environments and atmosphere.
This is incredibly bothersome since the art and sound design are the game’s greatest strengths and you’re rarely afforded a respite to take it all in at your own pace. Still, the game’s presentation is extraordinary. The sense of scale is overwhelming--your character isn’t but a spec on the screen, engulfed by an ominous, expansive environment shrouded in a cold mist. The feeling of loneliness and insignificance compared to the gigantic, demonic world around you is so palpable and powerful that it sometimes stirred up real thoughts of existential woe in me, which is just about the highest compliment I can give to the game’s presentation. And the deeper you plumb into the abyss, the more deliciously bizarre the visuals get: you’ll explore twinkling ice caverns, ruined underground cities, and even levels that seem to live and breathe and undulate around you. The game employs tilt-shift masterfully, making the world seem bigger and more menacing than it actually is, and the lighting is just as impressive, focusing on the evocative interplay between light and dark.
The sound design is enveloping and terrifying and imbues the visuals with a sense of depth and space that no 3D glasses or VR headset could ever duplicate. The soundscapes Capybara has created here are wide and deep, and Guthrie’s melancholy score is impeccable, spooking you out when it needs to and putting you at ease when you’re sat by a campfire for a crafting session. Typically, sound design takes a backseat to visuals, but in this game, it’d be damn near impossible not to appreciate just how much the sound defines the experience.
There’s a twisted beauty to games that aren’t constantly concerned with entertaining you or keeping you engaged with spectacular set pieces, and Below certainly stays faithful to that philosophy, to its credit. It presents a challenge that’s uncompromising and undeniably hardcore, but the experience isn’t cohesive or sophisticated enough to keep me yearning to come back for more. Below too often feels like a burden, even for those who typically don’t mind the grind.
Bernard Boo is a freelance contributor. Read more of his work here.
What we know about Metroid Prime 4, including latest news, trailers, and more!
After years of Nintendo dancing around fans' pleas for a new Metroid game, the studio finally decided to drop a humble reveal for one of the most anticipated games of the last ten years right in the middle of their E3 2017 showcase. What a truly Nintendo way to make such an announcement.
Since the announcement of this project, Nintendo has confirmed that Retro Studios will not be handling the development of this new Metroid title. Instead, they have stated that the development is being handled by a "talented new development team.”
According to Eurogamer, that studio is none other than Bandai Namco Studios Singapore, which is collaborating with Nintendo on the new game. However, Metroid producer Kensuke Tanabe will be overseeing the development of this new title.
Here's everything else we know about the game:
Metroid Prime 4 Release Date
There is currently no release date for Metroid Prime 4. The game is coming exclusively to the Nintendo Switch.
Metroid Prime 4 Trailer
On the list of games that could possibly show up at E3 2017, Metroid Prime4 ranked somewhere alongside Half-Life 3. Nevertheless, here is the first preview for Metroid Prime 4.
Unfortunately, the reveal of Metroid Prime 4 doesn't actually tell us anything about the game itself aside from the fact that it is being worked on. However, given that most people had already given up hope that a new Metroid game would ever be released for the Nintendo Switch, we're going to go ahead and name this one of the best announcements of E3 2017.
Everything we know about The Last of Part 2, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!
Yes, one of the greatest games of the previous console generation is getting a sequel. Fans hoped that Naughty Dog might find a way to return to the world of The Last of Us, but the nature of the original game's ending left some to speculate that the developers had said all there was to say about the adventure of Ellie and Joel.
It's not entirely clear exactly what the story will be this time around, but the ominous and fearful tone of Ellie's looming threats suggest that this will be a story of revenge. The recipient of said revenge seems to be fairly obvious based on context clues in the trailer, but in the interest of not completely outlining the ending of the original game, we will not speculate on their identity here.
Speculation is all we have as it concerns the release date for The Last of Us Part II, however. It appears that the game is still very much in development, which means you shouldn't hope to see it before late next year at the earliest. Neil Druckman, the title's creative director, took to the PlayStation Blog to clarify that the eventual release of the game could be "a ways off," and to assure fans that Naughty Dog is only making a sequel to this game because they feel they have a new story that is worth telling.
Well, we're sold. Here's everything we know about The Last of Us Part II:
The Last of Us Part 2 Release Date
The Last of Us 2 doesn't have a release date as of yet.
The Last of Us Part 2 Trailer
At the Sony E3 2018 conference, we were treated to a brilliant and highly cinematic - also possibly very scripted - gameplay sequence from The Last of Us Part 2. Check it out now.
Here's another trailer:
Next, feast your eyes on the reveal trailer for The Last of Us Part II:
The Last of Us Part 2 Story
At PSX 2016, Naughty Dog director and writer Neil Druckmann shared the first bits of Last of Us Part 2 story details, including what the focus will be in the sequel. Druckmann revealed that Ellie is the star of this installment and that the game takes place several years after the original. Ellie is 19-years-old in The Last of Us Part 2.
Druckmann talked a bit about the tone and direction of the sequel's story, saying that while the original was a story about love, "[Part 2] is about hate." He also confirmed that this game will exclusively continue the story of Ellie and Joel instead of jumping to other characters.
It looks like The Last of Us Part 2 will have a couple of connections with Westworld. It's been revealed that Halley Gross, a writer on the show, will be co-writing the game's story with Neil Druckmann, who wrote the first game.
Additionally, Westword actress Shannon Woodward will have a role in the game. No details on her character were revealed. Her casting was revealed in a tweet:
It's also been revealed that Bruce Straley, who directed the first game, will not return for the sequel. Instead, Druckmann will be directing the game.
The Last of Us Part 2 Music
Writer/director Neil Druckmann confirmed that Gustavo Santaolalla, the composer of The Last of Us' wonderful score, will also create the music for the sequel.
What you need to know about Days Gone, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!
It's always great to see new franchises debut on the big stage of E3, and that's especially true when the game looks as good as Days Gone. The game comes from Syphon Filter developer Sony Bend.
The action-adventure game takes place in the Pacific Northwest and tells the story of a bounty hunter named Deacon St. John, who must survive on a planet that's been wiped of humanity after a global disaster brings about the end of the world as we know it. Now millions have been transformed into "Freakers," zombie-like creatures that would like nothing more than to feed on Deacon's corpse. As the bounty hunter, you'll have to fight massive hordes of Freakers in order to survive.
Here's everything else we know:
Days Gone Release Date
Days Gone has been delayed yet again. Sony has announced that the title has been delayed in an effort to "further polish" the game. Some also believe that its delay may be attributed to how busy its original release week (the week of February 22) was. Anthem, Crackdown 3, and Metro Exodus are all set to release during that time. It is now set to release on April 26, 2019.
Days Gone News
There's a new story trailer for Days Gone that Sony revealed alongside the game's release date. Take a look at this intense preview that makes it clear the world of Days Gone wants you dead in the worst way.
Days Gone Trailers
The latest trailer for Days Gone expands upon our first look at the game by diving a bit deeper into the narrative that at the heart of this particular apocalypse. While Days Gone was initially compared to The Last of Us, this latest trailer actually suggests the game is spiritually closer to the Uncharted franchise. In any case, we're incredibly excited to see more of its blend of action, horror, survival, and story.
Check out the reveal trailer below:
This game definitely seems to have a The Last of Us post-apocalyptic vibe to it. The world showcased in the demo appears to be as beautiful as it is chaotic, while the main character's narration suggests that there will be a strong emphasis on the story of why it is that people choose to keep surviving in this cruel land.
You can watch the E3 2016 gameplay demo here:
What you need to know about Anthem, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!
Anthem is the new game from BioWare, the studio behind Mass Effect and Dragon Age. The new IP is a departure from the developer's past work in the RPG genre. In fact, Anthem isn't an RPG at all. It's described as an action-adventure game running on a "live service," similar to Destiny.
In Anthem, you play as a freelancer in a city protected by a wall from the dangers of the wild. Freelancers use special exo-suits called Javelins. There are two types of suits: Ranger, a balanced suit, and Colossus, which is basically your tank version.
Here's everything we know so far:
A new trailer debuted at The Game Awards. Check it out:
At Paris Games Week, the first mission of the game was revealed. Watch the footage below:
Here's the E3 2018 cinematic trailer for Anthem:
And here's a bit of gameplay:
Here's the first gameplay trailer for Anthem:
Enemies showcased in the trailer include a mixture of wildlife and robots. The game will take place in an open-world environment and will feature cinematic dialogue sections, which isn't a surprise from BioWare.
Also be sure to check out the first teaser trailer for the studio's next game:
Anthem Release Date
When EA executive vice president Patrick Söderlund hinted during an investor’s call that BioWare was working on a new IP, many fans assumed that they were working on a new PRG. However, that's not the case.
During a recent investor meeting, EA CEO Andrew Wilson referenced BioWare’s next IP by confirming that: “At the end of the fiscal year, our BioWare studio will be delivering an all-new IP.” Interestingly, he had this to say regarding the game itself:
"A clean-sheet design with new concepts, new gameplay mechanics, and new stories set in a unique new universe. This game has the potential to fundamentally disrupt the way people think about an action title, bringing friends together to play in exhilarating new ways. We’re very excited about the future of this new franchise and its ability to attract a large global audience."
The one term that Wilson did not use when describing the game was “RPG.” Given that BioWare and RPG go together like Nintendo and sequels to 30-year-old properties, this comes as quite the shock. BioWare general manager Aaryn Flynn later took to the studio’s blog to expand on Wilson’s comments by stating that the project is designed to “bring players together in exciting new ways” and that their ambition is to "draw upon 20+ years of development knowledge and lessons to create something fun and new for you to enjoy with your friends.”
A non-RPG is certainly a departure from BioWare’s usual development territory, but given that they’ve been evolving their combat systems over the years to be more action-oriented, perhaps this is a natural evolution of the company’s design style.
Wilson also stated that he is able to describe the game as more of an action-adventure title with RPG elements that will operate off of some kind of live service. This seems to indicate some kind of online multiplayer experience. Indeed, it seems that this delay is at least partially due to EA's desire to develop that service a little while longer.