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Friv 20 Games Wheely 8 - 2017Description of Friv 20 Games Wheely 8 - 2017 game:
Wheely and his girlfriend Jolie went on a picnic. They were having a good time, until something unexpected happened! A UFO lands one of the aliens inside needs a component to be able to fly back to space.. In Wheely 8 you have to help him to get back to h
Our little red friend Wheely is back again with fun point-and-click challenging adventures! This time he has to help some friendly aliens who crashed on the Earth. Are you going to be able to help our new friends get back hom
With the release of Marvel's Spider-Man, Insomniac Games has proven that it was the right studio for the job. And you can tell as you play it: Insomniac displays an intimate understanding of the character through the story, as well as the combat and web-slinging mechanics. It's not often that a studio gets a superhero game right, but when it does, it's fantasy wish-fulfilment of the highest order.
But all of this joy for Spider-Man has us eager for the next big game that'll do justice to another iconic comic book superhero. Marvel Games has acknowledged several times in the past that it's always looking for new studios to partner with to adapt its properties into games, and with the success of Spider-Man, it's probably looking to do more. And we're sure the owners of other big superhero properties are likely doing the same.
Naturally, this has us thinking about all the superhero games that we want and the studios we'd love to make them. After all, there are hundreds of comic book characters out there who deserve games, but have yet to get one that does them justice.
We've compiled our ideas, and we'll admit that the folks in our office have a bit of a bias towards Marvel, but you'll find a few surprise concepts based on obscure superheroes as you click ahead.
In the meantime, which game studio would you put in charge of your favorite superhero? Let us know in the comments below!
Wolverine Game By The Yakuza Developers
Wolverine has had a rather mixed offering of games over the years. While some have come close to capturing the spirit of this scrappy mutant, many attempts have fallen flat. As a Wolverine fan, I'd like to see a game based on my favorite story featuring the character, his first mini-series written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by Frank Miller. Set in Japan, the series revolves around Wolverine fighting to reclaim his honor after being humiliated by the criminal father of his beloved, Mariko Yashida.
Wolverine often gets criticized for being a one-dimensional character, but Claremont's decision to compare him to a ronin gave him more nuance and depth. If it's one thing that every Wolverine game has failed to do, it's placing the character in a high-stakes emotional story. After all, there isn't much that can pose a meaningful threat to Wolverine due to his self-healing ability and adamantium claws. In fact, most Wolverine games have lacked self-awareness for how cheesy and overpowered he is.
If there's one studio that's great at handling serious melodrama with cheesy, over-the-top violence, it's the studio behind the cult favorite Yakuza series. So, who better to handle a Wolverine game than them? I can easily see the Yakuza devs taking what made that Wolverine mini-series so good and pushing it into entirely new directions. It wouldn't be too tough for them to adapt the character either, given the fact Wolverine speaks fluent Japanese and could easily fit into the worlds they typically create.
With the Yakuza studio's upcoming Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, it certainly seems like they're interested in making games based on popular intellectual properties. It would be an unusual and unorthodox move for Marvel to tap on the studio to make a Wolverine game, but it's one that I think would fit the character the best. -- Matt Espineli
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl By Double Fine
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is hands down, one of Marvel's finest books right now. Penned by Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics, it's genuinely and consistently funny, filled with heart and wholesome lessons to be learned. Squirrel Girl is more than a capable fighter (she's canonically beaten up the entire Marvel Universe, after all) but her typical course of action when it comes to stopping villains is just like, talking and empathizing with them, explaining situations and causing them to see the error of their ways. She's befriended Galactus, Kraven, Loki, Hydra robot Brain Drain, and even dated a Sentinel.
Her alter ego, Doreen Green, is also an incredibly capable computer science student, a skill which comes in hand for world-saving situations more often than you'd think--she taught Count Nefaria how to count to ten on one hand using binary language, for gosh sakes.
The character's propensity for comedy, conversation, and off-the-wall situations would be perfect for an adventure born from Tim Schafer and his team at Double Fine, whose games always have a strong sense of levity and charm no matter what the genre, and permeate throughout everything--from the dialogue, to the world, to flavour text. Some Pikmin-like squirrel management comes to mind as a nice mechanic, but honestly, a narrative adventure game with branching paths would be perfect for the style of heroism that Squirrel Girl succeeds at (it's also a proven formula! Check out the choose-your-own-adventure issue of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7). -- Edmond Tran
Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) By Keita Takahashi
Kamala Khan is one of Marvel's most interesting contemporary heroes. As a Pakistani-American teen based in Jersey City, her inherent life situation gives her enough problems. But after getting hit with the Terrigen Mist and getting inhuman powers, she assumes the former mantle of her idol, Captain Marvel, and things get even more complicated in the way only the best teenage superhero stories can.
But more importantly, her skills revolve around her ability to EMBIGGEN! That is, growing, shrinking, and stretching her body in all sorts of manners to physically overwhelm her foes. You know who's made some great games about growing, shrinking, and stretching? Keita Takahashi of Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby fame.
That's the link. That's all I've got. I'm sure it'll be good. Marvel, I'll text you my bank details. -- Edmond Tran
Marvel: Civil War By NetherRealm Studios
While the issue of an overall lack of quality Marvel games is the real crime here, it’s hard to believe that with the amount of Marvel characters in the MCU alone, no one has stepped up to create a mano-a-mano fighter for modern consoles. You wouldn’t even need to think of an excuse or a new storyline for pitting all these characters against each other, because Marvel already has one!
The Civil War storyline from the films, while impactful in its own universe, was nothing compared to the ripple effect the original series had to Marvel Comics as a whole. While I can appreciate the absurdity and campiness of a game like Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite, imagine the narrative quality of the writing and cinematic cutscenes of Injustice, paired with the Civil War storyline which has yet to be faithfully recreated in popular entertainment (I'm looking at you, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2). And that’s before I’ve even brought up the fighting mechanics the studio is renowned for!
With Disney ever present in licensing, I doubt we’re ever going to see The Punisher perform a fatality, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to see a “Heroic Brutality” from Dr. Strange, or what Rocket Raccoon looks like after a “Babality”. -- Nick Sherman
Judge Dredd By MachineGames
2012's Dredd, the movie starring Karl Urban, is one of my favorite action flicks, and when I'm not waiting impatiently on news of a follow-up, I'm thinking about how awesome a Judge Dredd game could be if handled by the right developer. I always thought Starbreeze Studios would be a great fit, with their history of creating immersive first-person shooters that make a point of putting you into that world. However, with many of their staff leaving and the studio transitioning into more of a publisher role, I'd have to go with the studio where some of those talented developers went: MachineGames, which has carried on the first-person legacy with the Wolfenstein series.
The most recent Dredd movie is already structured like a video game. He deals with an easy-peesy crook, where we learn about his ability-changing, swiss-army-knife gun, The Lawgiver--let's call that the tutorial. We're then introduced to his new partner, a telepathic rookie, before going on to where the meat of the movie takes place: the crime-infested, slum tower of Peach Trees. Judge Dredd slowly makes his way up the tower as he fights junkies, crooks, and other baddies (sometimes in slow-motion, which yes, is explained in the story).
All of this is prime material for a video game. MachineGames is known for its exhilarating first-person shooting that's housed with beautifully crafted cutscenes, compelling stories, and interesting characters. Dredd isn't the most complex character, but there are plenty of captivating moments, both humorous and earnest, in between the flying bullets--things the Wolfenstein games have excelled at. If anyone could make a Judge Dredd game with both the high-intensity action and engaging storytelling, it would absolutely be MachineGames. -- Mat Paget
Fantastic Four By Epic Games
The Fantastic Four were Marvel's first superhero team, and I don't need to explain how each member brings a unique set of powers to the table. But I do need to ask a question: how many Metroidvanias are based on the idea of switching characters? Rather than unlock, say, a grappling hook, you could instead rescue Mr. Fantastic and then use his stretching abilities to literally reach new parts of the map. Sue Storm could use her invisibility to sneak past guards and cameras.
Now picture Epic Games' Shadow Complex, but instead of being set in a massive underground military base, it's an elaborate hideout in which Dr. Doom has trapped his nemeses. With each hero you rescue, you can access new parts of the hideout and complete various challenges. Remember the Sue Storm invisibility thing? Shadow Complex literally has cameras that lock doors if they spot you.
If four characters feels limited, Epic could explore adding Fantastic Four-adjacent heroes to the game, like the Inhumans. The team has seen plenty of temporary members over the years too--even Spider-Man joined up at one point--so there are many possibilities for more heroes to unlock. -- Tony Wilson
Task Force X / Suicide Squad By BioWare
Task Force X is created and controlled by Amanda Waller, a ruthless government official who stops at nothing to keep America safe from foreign powers. The team performs secret black ops missions, and is usually entirely composed of the criminals that the Justice League puts away.
Task Force X is nicknamed the Suicide Squad because the team's missions are always exceptionally dangerous and Waller inserts bombs into the necks of every squad member, so she can blow off the head of anyone who disobeys her. The convicts have no say in whether they accept a particular assignment or not, but each successful mission earns a year off the sentence of every surviving member.
Let BioWare make a Suicide Squad game. You'd play the part of a soldier that Amanda assigns to watch the squad for her while in the field. You'd start out with Deadshot and Harley Quinn on your team, each of which would have their unique abilities that you'd direct them to use. Between missions, Waller would order you visit the cells of other criminals, like Captain Boomerang, Killer Frost, Enchantress, and Poison Ivy, to slowly build a larger team, similar to the Mass Effect games.
The major caveat in this game would be building rapport with the criminals you'd recruit. You'd need to talk to them between missions, and then plan accordingly based on what you learned. Forcing June Moone to become Enchantress again and again might ultimately drive her to depression and suicidal thoughts. Refusing to deliver Deadshot's letters to his daughter might foster a dangerous resentment that ends with him betraying you. If any convicts get too out of line, then Waller will kill them and you'll lose that squadmate forever. -- Jordan Ramee
Star Power By Hello Games
After spying a strange star, astronomer Danica Maris is gifted with super powers that allow her to transform into Star Power, a Star Powered Sentinel. Danica is a brilliant scientist and creative problem solver, and as Star Power she can fly, breathe in space, and travel at near light speed. She also has enhanced strength and durability, as well as a sentient computerized assistant--that she nicknames Mitch--who helps her decipher alien languages and navigate between different solar systems.
Hello Games could create an incredible Star Power video game. Although Danica does occasionally kick some major butt, she's an explorer first so she doesn't necessarily need something as combat heavy as an action-RPG. Danica would rather use her powers to see the galaxy and figure out the mystery behind the disappearance of the other Star Powered Sentinels. Star Power the game wouldn't need as many planets as No Man's Sky, and Hello Games could use those extra resources to craft a few more challenging puzzles that you'd need to solve as you explored.
You'd fly around from planet to planet, needing to replenish your star energy to make longer jumps to other systems. The game would never tell you where you'd need to go next, and instead hint at a destination you'd need to find. You'd have the power to punch through an asteroid or blast a hole in a mountain, but you'd need to restrain yourself from acting out on the people you'd meet. You're a symbol of hope and peace after all. Hello Games could throw in some humorous radio conversations between Danica and her friends--like Shi, Grex, and Kaylo--and add a few aerial dog fights with Danica's enemies--like Black Hole Bill and the Void Angels--to create a little variety to space travel. -- Jordan Ramee
Captain America By Naughty Dog
It's quite an achievement that Marvel Studios has been able to make Captain America one of the most likable superheroes in its roster. After all, the character has often been seen as a boy scout by mainstream media due to his WWII-era roots. Across all Marvel Studios' output, Cap's films rank among its most universally praised, offering a slick display of drama, action, and political intrigue. Given Captain America's more recent popularity, a game starring the super soldier would be a no brainer, but who could Marvel get to handle his rich history of story arcs and characters?
Naughty Dog would be the best fit for Cap. Given their expertise in storytelling, the studio definitely has the chops to adhere to the quality of Cap's cinematic offerings, while also being able to formulate their own message with the character. In the comics, Cap's stories tends to fall more on the serious side, often dealing with political thriller plots that are packed with intriguing espionage and superhero action. Underlying the comic book heroism are themes that offer grander critiques on contemporary politics and world issues. But the best Cap stories have focused on his inner struggles with his place in the world, as well his responsibilities as a soldier. He often has to make tough decisions, some of which aren't the most heroic. Naughty Dog are masters of characterization, so they'd easily be at home with the more complex issues that Cap faces.
At the same time, there's a goofier James Bond-like super spy side to Cap that Naughty Dog could adapt well given its work on the more light-hearted Uncharted series. Imagine what one of their over-the-top action set pieces would look like if they had Cap's eccentric supervillains and all the ricocheting antics of his vibranium shield. It would be amazing! And their penchant for great feeling gameplay mechanics would surely bode well for the biggest challenge of making a Captain America game: shield combat mechanics.
As a huge Captain America fan, it would be a dream for Marvel and Naughty Dog to make a superhero game based on him. Heck, a Captain America game in general that hits all the notes the movies do and more would be a dream come true. But let's be real, what I really want is this game's sequel: a Bucky Cap/Winter Soldier game. Make it happen, Marvel! -- Matt Espineli
The Cutting Edge
There's always an abundance of new games that come out every month. Some are incredibly big-budget releases that we've been eagerly waiting years for while others are smaller, more surprising independent titles that no one sees coming. In addition, there's plenty of other games found near and around those releases. You get games from mid-sized publishers and even the occasional remaster or re-release of gaming's most definitive adventures.
There's a lot of exciting games coming out in the future. We recently got to see debut gameplay of Cyberpunk 2077, and we already can't wait for it. In addition, Nintendo did a Direct presentation and announced 22 upcoming Switch games. With so many games coming out year-round, it can be difficult keeping track of what's worth playing. To help keep you in the know, we've compiled all the best new games you absolutely need to play right now. The point of this feature is to focus on the latest and greatest games, so the choices you'll find here have been limited to the past couple months.
What you'll find in the slides ahead are games rated 7 or higher by GameSpot. However, you'll occasionally find some lower-rated ones that have been chosen to be included by an incredibly passionate member of our team. We won't hesitate to highlight experiences some members of our staff absolutely love--even if there are others who may not agree. The games included in this feature are ones we personally believe you should check out in some capacity. Here's a brief taste of what you'll see.
Best Games To Play Right Now
- Marvel's Spider-Man -- 9/10
- Yakuza Kiwami 2 -- 8/10
- Guacamelee 2 -- 9/10
- The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - The Final Season Episode 1 -- 8/10
- Madden 19 -- 8/10
- Unavowed -- 9/10
- Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition -- 10/10
- Phantom Doctrine -- 9/10
- Dead Cells -- 9/10
- Overcooked 2 -- 8/10
- Valkyria Chronicles 4 -- 8/10
- No Man's Sky Next -- 8/10
- Dragon Quest XI: Echoes Of An Elusive Age -- 9/10
- Monster Hunter World (PC) -- 8/10
Check out the slides ahead for all the games we've highlighted as the best out right now. And as the months go by, we'll be continually cycling out the older games with the most cutting-edge experiences out now, so be sure to keep checking back as often as you can. Which new games have you been playing recently? Let us know in the comments below.
The Gadrens Between -- 8/10
"It may only take two to three hours to see everything The Gardens Between has to offer, but the warm and fuzzy feelings from start to finish ensure that your memories of playing it will live on. The expressive faces of the two teens and the relatable memories they share will speak to anyone who's ever had a close childhood friend, and while the puzzles won't go down as the most ingenious or demanding, they nevertheless give you more time to spend frolicking in a nostalgic and heartwarming world where friendship is all that matters." [Read the review]
-- Peter Brown, Managing Editor
Wasteland 2 (Nintendo Switch) -- 7/10
"Wasteland 2 is still a very special outing. If you haven't spent your time in this irradiated desert just yet, this is one of the best times to do so--especially since the portability of the Switch reissue lets you take the journey on long treks of your own, or as a dense RPG to curl and nestle in with, as you might with an excellent book. On such a screen, the interpersonal dramas feel a bit more intimate, the tension of sneaking your way pay this or that NPC a bit more tangible. Plus, in the Switch's handheld mode, the rather dated-looking visuals aren't so grating. All-told it's a phenomenal port and still one of the better RPGs in recent years." [Read the review]
-- Daniel Starkey
428: Shibuya Scramble -- 8/10
"A few bugs, however, don't ruin the game. 428 is a truly rare beast, a special and unique experience that would have once been completely passed over for a Western release. While it's not without its flaws, it's hard to think of many other games that blend text-driven storytelling and well-constructed visuals and sound this well. From the first hour of the in-game day, you'll be riveted by this story's unexpected twists and turns. If you want a story- and character-driven game with a presentation you won’t see anywhere else, 428 is a game not to be missed." [Read the review]
-- Heidi Kemps
Undertale (Switch) -- 9/10
"Three years after its initial release on PC, Undertale has found its way to the Nintendo Switch--and of course, the game is every bit as charming, challenging, and harrowing as it was the first time around. Undertale may seem like a straightforward retro-style RPG, but it subverts player expectations every chance it gets, which never gets stale because of clever writing and an evocative chiptune soundtrack. Thankfully, it plays just as well as it does on other platforms without any performance hitches or bugs after putting about four hours into this version. Like its console counterparts, you can fill the screen with an adaptive border that thematically fits with the location you're in (Undertale plays in a 4:3 aspect ratio). Dodging enemy attacks in the bullet hell-style defensive phase in combat works just as well with the Joy-Con analog sticks.
Undertale isn't afraid to break convention, and because it does so in a way that's thoughtful and humorous throughout, the result is an emotional rollercoaster that fills us with determination." [Read the review]
-- Michael Higham
NBA 2K19 -- 7/10
"It's impressive that the game of basketball has translated to controllers and screens in the way it has. If you want to immerse yourself in the sport and culture, NBA 2K19 has you covered with a breadth of content. But even that has its limitations after several years of iterations. Although those willing to grind for everything will eventually get rewarded, the system of VC still comes off as exploitative. But there's a lot of fun to be had in NBA 2K19 despite its flaws, especially if you have a strong love for the sport." [Read the review]
-- Michael Higham, Associate Editor
Valkyria Chronicles 4 -- 8/10
"Ultimately, this is a return to form for the Valkyria Chronicles series as a whole. It stays so true to the franchise's first iteration that it'll feel as if almost no time has passed in the decade or so since the original game first came out. In revisiting the concerns and the environments of the first, it makes the most of those parallels and invites comparison in a way that highlights its strengths. Valkyria Chronicles 4 doesn't necessarily tell a new tale, but it doesn't have to; for all of its clichés and expected twists, there's a charm to the game's unwillingness to let up as it drives you and your friends forward at a rapid clip towards its bittersweet end." [Read the review]
-- Edmond Tran
Frozen Synapse 2 -- 8/10
"It's hard not to be drawn in by Frozen Synapse 2's style, but it's even harder to pull away once the game's combat gets its hooks in you. While the single-player mode ambles through both high and low points, the multiplayer remains a steadfastly enjoyable experience. The anticipation as squads approach in preparation for battle is both thrilling and nerve-wracking, and the ability to switch between multiplayer games on the fly makes tracking multiple games elegantly simple. Technical hiccups aside, Frozen Synapse 2's incredible style and strong tactical combat make it wonderfully gratifying." [Read the review]
-- James Swinbanks
Marvel's Spider-Man -- 9/10
"Minor shortcomings don't detract from Insomniac's achievement in creating a game that feels like an authentic interpretation of a beloved creation. The feeling of embodying Spidey and using his abilities is astonishing, and the time spent on exploring its major characters help make its story feel heartfelt, despite superhero bombast. There have been open-world Spider-Man games before, but none so riveting and full of personality, none that explore and do justice to this many facets of the universe. Insomniac has created a superior Spider-Man experience that leaves a lasting impression, one that has you longing for just one more swing around New York City, even after the credits roll." [Read the review]
-- Edmond Tran, Senior Editor and Producer
NBA live 19 -- 7/10
"NBA Live 19 is a capable and competent basketball game that offers a multitude of different ways to play and numerous reasons to keep coming back. Its impressive attention to detail complements the strong foundation set by its presentation and gameplay. However, the AI logic and animation problems are impossible to ignore given they're at the heart of the experience the entire game is based on. These issues, combined with a lackluster franchise mode and a push towards microtransactions, detract from what is an otherwise solid basketball game." [Read the review]
-- Eddie Makuch
Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition -- 10/10
"From lonely farmhouses through pitched battles with gods in far-flung dimensions, Divinity: Original Sin II is one of the most captivating role-playing games ever made in both its original and Definitive incarnations, with the latter proving that even the most complicated role-players can be ported successfully to gamepad-limited consoles. This immaculately conceived and emotion-wrought fantasy world, topped by brilliant tactical combat, make it one of the finest games of recent years, and it remains an instant classic in the pantheon of RPG greats." [Read the review]
-- Brett Todd
Planet Alpha -- 7/10
"While there are moments of frustration in its platforming, and the puzzles are relatively unsophisticated, the locations of Planet Alpha will most certainly stick with you. It doesn't matter why you're there, or what it is you're looking for. There's great pleasure in just existing on this planet, in navigating its harsh terrain and admiring its vistas, and the sheer beauty of it all makes the game's shortcomings easy to bear." [Read the review]
-- James O'Connor
Strange Brigade -- 7/10
"The grand result is an amusing adventure that makes a powerful case for more creativity with level design, setting, and pacing in co-op shooters, without thoroughly capitalizing on all of its own best ideas. Traps and their extensive use within many of the levels are a joy, and the underpinning gunplay is strong enough to warrant a sturdy recommendation, but it all comes to a head well before it should." [Read the review]
-- Daniel Starkey
Two Point Hospital -- 8/10
"It’s remarkable that it’s taken so long for a spiritual successor to Theme Hospital to show up, but now that it’s here, it feels like it’s been well worth the wait. The exaggerated, cartoon look and relaxed approach to management make it inviting enough for most players, while the deeper aspects of its economy are enough to keep seasoned players engaged. Two Point Hospital not only re-works an old formula into something modern and enjoyable, it also iterates on the classic brand of irresistible charm and wit, making something that’s truly wonderful." [Read the review]
-- James Swinbanks
PES 2019 -- 9/10
"For as long as EA continues to develop FIFA and hold a monopoly over official licences, PES will be the scrappy underdog just hoping for a surprise upset, even when it's fielding the likes of London Blue and PV White Red. The lack of licences for top-tier leagues remains a disheartening sticking point, but PES continues to make brilliant strides on the pitch, building on what was already an incredibly satisfying game of football to produce one of the greatest playing football games of all time. It might be lacking off the pitch, but put it on the field against the competition and a famous giant killing wouldn't be all that surprising." [Read the review]
-- Richard Wakeling
F1 2018 -- 9/10
"F1 2018 is brilliant, and the most complete Formula One game to date. The changes to career mode make it the strongest and most appealing it’s ever been thanks to the revamped upgrade system, while the simulation-like additions to the driving model bring you closer than ever to the feeling of sitting on the grid with 1000+ horsepower at your feet, without overwhelming those who just want to jump in and drive." [Read the review]
-- James Swinbanks
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes Of An Elusive Age -- 9/10
"Innovation in games is talked about a lot, but it's also great to see traditional gameplay formulas that have been around for decades presented exceptionally well. Dragon Quest XI is one of the best modern examples of this; its beautiful presentation, both visual- and story-wise, combines with a tried-and-true gameplay formula for a journey that’s full of heart and soul. Once you find yourself sucked into the world of Dragon Quest XI, it's going to be hard to put down until you reach the grand finale." [Read the full review]
-- Heidi Kemps
The Messenger -- 8/10
"The Messenger takes the best parts of the action-platformers it takes influence from and reinterprets them well. With clever writing, well-designed levels, and balanced difficulty curve, the game continuously hooks you with enticing skill-based challenges and satisfying payoffs. Your character might have an immediate imperative to delivering a world-saving scroll, but the journey there is definitely one to savor." [Read the full review]
-- Alexander Pan
Into the Breach -- 9/10
"There is so much strategic joy in seeing the potential destruction a swarm of giant monsters is about to unleash on a city, then quickly staging and executing elaborate counter maneuvers to ruin the party. Into The Breach's focus on foresight makes its turn-based encounters an action-packed, risk-free puzzle, and the remarkable diversity of playstyles afforded by unique units keeps each new run interesting. It's a pleasure to see what kind of life-threatening predicaments await for you to creatively resolve in every new turn, every new battle, and every new campaign. Into The Breach is a pristine and pragmatic tactical gem with dynamic conflicts that will inspire you to jump back in again, and again, and again." [Read the full review]
-- Edmond Tran
Yakuza Kiwami 2 -- 8/10
"The tale of Tokyo and Osaka, Kiryu and Sayama's partnership, and Kiryu and Goda's rivalry remains one of the Yakuza's best stories, and Kiwami 2's minor missteps don't affect the heart of that experience. The modernization of its presentation and its mechanics elevate it, making it absolutely worth revisiting or experiencing for the first time. Yakuza is an exemplary, if flawed series that does an incredible job of steeping you in contemporary Japanese-style crime drama, and establishing an evocative sense of place. Yakuza Kiwami 2 is an excellent example of the series at its best, coupling its most memorable stories and characters with its most sophisticated mechanics yet." [Read the review]
-- Edmond Tran, Editor and Senior Video Producer
Guacamelee 2 -- 9/10
"Everything about Guacamelee 2 comes off as smarter and more thoughtful than the first game, even while indulging in its self-aware shenanigans and Rick & Morty-esque dimensional hijinks. The game never stops finding new ways to hook you in, to the point that even the most painstaking and intensive playthroughs feel like they just fly by. Saving the numerous timelines in Guacamelee 2 is just as much about partaking in a marvel of devious, meticulous game design as it is about saving Juan and his family from peril." [Read the review]
-- Justin Clark
The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - The Final Season Episode 1 -- 8/10
"The full scope and breadth of The Walking Dead: The Final Season has yet to be laid out, though perhaps the best hint can be found in the game's fancy, HBO-esque title sequence, showing Clementine and A.J. walking into Ericson, but also showing a silhouetted dead walker rotting away in the front yard, being overtaken by ivy, and, eventually, sprouting a yellow flower. Beautiful things are possible in the new world and the new ways to play that Telltale has laid out in Done Running. But something ugly and horrifying is likely to happen first, and it is going to be captivating to watch." [Read the review]
-- Justin Clark
Phantom Doctrine -- 9/10
"In spite of the lackluster visuals, Phantom Doctrine succeeds in making an incredible impression with its intricate and engaging mechanics. There is a lot to admire, with a single-player campaign taking about 40 hours to complete, full of varied and interesting mainline missions and procedurally-generated side content. The ability to play as either a CIA, KGB, or Mossad agent (the latter unlocked after one complete playthrough) also offers the tantalizing prospect of different narrative perspectives. Phantom Doctrine takes the familiar framework of isometric turn-based strategy and confidently repurposes it into a unique and satisfying experience. It wholly embodies the paranoia and tension of the 1980's Cold War setting in every aspect of its numerous gameplay systems, and completely immerses you in that all-encompassing state of mind." [Read the review]
-- Alexander Pan
Flipping Death -- 7/10
"Flipping Death's logic is sometimes too ridiculous for its own good, and frustrating platforming sections add some tarnish. But the game’s silly puzzles, self-aware humor, and crazy characters still make a wonderful experience filled with plenty of chuckles, which help to leave you satisfied as the credits roll." [Read the review]
-- Seamus Mullins
Madden 19 -- 8/10
"Madden 19 is an excellent football game that improves on last year's entry in almost every way. There are problems, but there has never been a football game that more authentically represents the NFL than this in terms of presentation, controls, and depth." [Read the review]
-- Eddie Makuch
Unavowed -- 9/10
"But Unavowed's greatest strength is that it maintains an admirable focus on incredible characterization that feeds into every quest and conversation. Every question you ask, every decision you make, and every sacrifice you make carries you and your team members on an impassioned journey that epitomizes the best qualities of an adventure game. It never rests on tropes, a strong sense of empathy is present through its entirety, and not only do you come to wholly understand character motivations, the way these people deal with supernatural situations helps to build a bond between them and you as a player. From its wonderfully realized locations and its inviting, three-dimensional characters, Unavowed will have you eager to discover the captivating stories lurking in the demonic underworld of New York City." [Read the review]
-- David Rayfield
Monster Hunter World (PC) -- 8/10
"Ever since the title was first announced, it was clear that Capcom was gunning for something grander than Monster Hunter Generations. It has succeeded, and this is likely the biggest and best that the franchise has ever been. It's not just the comparative depth of the narrative; it also boasts almost seamless integration between combat systems that were previously incomprehensible for amateurs. The Monster Hunter formula has definitely honed its claws, and all the above factors play their part in making Monster Hunter World a meaningful evolution for the series at large." [Read the review]
-- Ginny Woo
Overcooked 2 -- 8/10
"Overcooked 2 undoubtedly shines in local co-op and the versus arcade modes. New recipes and obstacles provide a fresh challenge for veterans, but it remains approachable for new players with simple controls and short playtimes. The new throwing mechanic, too, adds a new dimension to both strategy and the inevitable chaos without overcomplicating things. It's a strong foundation, and with the right friends, Overcooked 2 is one of the best couch co-op games around." [Read the review]
-- Kallie Plagge, Associate Editor
Dead Cells -- 9/10
"Dead Cells is a phenomenal effort to blend together some very disparate genres into a tight, cohesive whole. It's one of the better examples of how to remix ideas without losing their individual strengths." [Read the review]
-- Daniel Starkey
No Man's Sky Next -- 8/10
"At its absolute best, No Man's Sky is a measured, gentle experience where you are rarely the agent of change, but a perpetual visitor who's constantly dwarfed by the magnitude of a universe neutral to your presence. It is not your job in these stories to colonize the universe. Your job is to comprehend it. Your job is to recognize the spirituality in it. The primary gimmick of No Man's Sky, since day one, has been awe. The best things about the Next update feed that gimmick. While features like multiplayer and base-building certainly put more proverbial asses in seats, they're also the least memorable additions to an otherwise thoughtful experience." [Read the review]
-- Justin Clark
A troubled production makes for some fascinating special features.
Solo's famously troubled production made for a slightly weird hodgepodge of a movie--although an enjoyable one, too. And it also makes for some fascinating special features, as director Ron Howard, writers Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan, and the rest of the cast and crew behind Solo take to the Blu-ray to reveal what it was like to work on this movie.
Did you know that George Lucas dropped by the set when production resumed after the hiatus following the original directors' departure--on Ron Howard's first day? What about the special mud they brought in to make Chewie's filthy fur when we first meet him look just right? Or did you ever wonder how all these actors reacted when they found out they'd been cast in a Star Wars movie? Across multiple featurettes and a roundtable interview featuring the entire cast and Ron Howard, Solo's special features answer these questions and more.
Solo may not have been the strongest Star Wars movie ever, and it wasn't exactly a smash box office hit. But many Star Wars fans who flew into theaters to watch it found it to be an enjoyable, if somewhat safe, movie. There were even some surprises--like the way Solo addressed the "Han shot first" controversy head on, or how its most incredibly shocking cameo came to be. Elsewhere in the special features, we even learned why Han Solo was kicked out of the Imperial Navy.
Click through for the craziest things we learned from Solo's special features. When you're done, check out all the tidbits that co-writer Jonathan Kasdan posted on Twitter after not being asked to record an audio commentary track, plus 33 Star Wars Easter eggs and references you might have missed in Solo.
1. When Alden Ehrenreich found out he'd been cast as Han Solo, he went to the beach by himself.
The actor says during a roundtable with the cast and director Ron Howard that since he couldn't tell anyone, he went to the beach and rode an amusement park ride by himself. Donald Glover replies that it's "the most Alden answer I've ever heard." Ehrenreich also told his "nana," who proceeded to tell tons of people, against his instructions.
2. Donald Glover immediately called his dad.
He and his dad had watched the original Star Wars movies together all his life, and he said he felt like his whole life had been leading up to this.
3. Joonas Suotamo, who plays Chewbacca, opened a bottle of champagne with his fiance.
And then he went and played LEGO Star Wars on a PS3.
4. The original Star Wars movies inspired Paul Bettany to become an actor.
"In 1977 I was 6 years old and I was taken away from a rainy, dreary London by these movies," says Bettany, who plays Dryden Vos in Solo. "I mean, I think it was really instrumental in me wanting to be in this business."
5. Alden auditioned six times for the role of Han Solo.
Some of the auditions took place on the Millennium Falcon, while others involved acting alongside a puppet of a dog as a stand-in for Chewbacca--mostly so they could maintain the illusion of Ehrenreich not knowing quite what he was auditioning for, to keep it secret longer.
6. People started recognizing Donald Glover as Lando immediately as the casting was announced.
From random strangers on the street, to the guy giving him his pizza, to the employees at the airport the very next day, people instantly starting calling Glover Lando as soon as the news broke. It kind of freaked him out, apparently.
7. Thandie Newton has an origin story for her character, Val, and Woody Harrelson's Beckett.
"We talked about it a little bit, you know, I feel like Beckett saved her life at some point, and I feel like it may have been very perilous for him to do that, so there's a sense of gratitude and loyalty there," Newton said.
8. Dryden Vos's face was done with CG.
"They were able to track it without putting the dots on my face," Bettany says. He didn't see what his face would look like in the movie until director Ron Howard sent him a photo that he wasn't even supposed to see yet.
9. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who played the droid L3, wore a Green Man suit while shooting.
"The suit was such an extraordinary experience in itself," Waller-Bridge says. "You don't really ever get to wear a skin tight green sock very often in life."
10. Glover and Waller-Bridge also have a theory for how Lando and L3 met.
"I think it started violently probably," Waller-Bridge says.
"I feel like we were probably in a bar, and I needed you to get out of there," Glover continues.
11. George Lucas himself visited the set.
He showed up somewhat unexpectedly on Ron Howard's first day on the movie, which was the cast's return from hiatus. They were shooting the closet scene between Han and Qi'ra, which Emilia Clarke claims gave her a "stubble rash."
12. Lucas made at least one contribution to the movie.
According to Ron Howard, as they filmed the closet scene on the Millennium Falcon, Lucas leaned over to him and suggested that Han wouldn't hang Lando's cape back up, but would throw it carelessly over his shoulder. Howard loved the note, and it's in the final movie.
13. Emilia Clarke says Kit Harington is "desperate" to be in Star Wars.
Clarke says her Game of Thrones cast members want to talk about Star Wars with her constantly. "Kit, who plays Jon Snow, is desperate to be in it," she says during the roundtable.
14. The Kasdans got a box of Star Wars toys from Lucasfilm every year on Christmas.
In the "Kasdan on Kasdan" featurette, Jonathan Kasdan, who co-wrote Solo with his father Lawrence Kasdan--who worked on the originals--describes getting a box of Star Wars toys every year.
15. Lawrence Kasdan basically implies he's never seen the prequels.
"I've written four of these movies, but [Jonathan] knows more detail," he says. "He's very funny about it. He thinks it's sort of charming and pitiful that I don't know some basic facts. There's a whole group of movies I know almost nothing about, and he's seen those...I'm sort of an original--you know, I'm faithful to the originals."
16. One of the biggest challenges was making the Millennium Falcon look new.
"One of the biggest challenges with Solo was to take the Falcon and say, 'OK, this is actually now back in time. What did the Falcon look like when it was under Lando?'" says set decorator Lee Sandales in the featurette "Remaking the Millennium Falcon."
17. They considered many modifications for the Millennium Falcon.
These include a Smokey and the Bandit-inspired decal as well as hot rod flames. Ultimately, they settled on some blue accents and larger rear fins, which is what wound up in the final film.
18. The Millennium Falcon's bar in Solo was inspired by earlier movies.
These included the Skywalker homestead in A New Hope, and the kitchen in Rogue One, according to assistant art director Liam Georgensen.
19. The Falcon's silver headphones are another reference.
Likewise, the silver headphones seen on the ship in Solo are a nod to a pair of headphones visible in the background during A New Hope, according to Georgensen.
20. The Falcon set used in Solo wasn't built for this film.
The set used in Solo is actually the same set built for Episode VII, The Force Awakens. Underneath the shiny new construction is the older, more shabby version. "If we were to take down certain bits of this set, the older pieces of the set are still there," Georgensen says.
21. They kept as much of the chase scene practical and "in camera" as possible.
The goal with the car chase early in the movie, according to producer Simon Emanuel, was to make it feel like a chase from a 1970s movie. They did as much of it practically, with stunt drivers, as possible.
22. They have a map of Corellia designed specially for the chase scene.
"They all turned to me and said, 'Give us a map, James," says Lucasfilm design supervisor James Clyne. He drew on designs of other Star Wars places, including the Death Star and Cloud City. "They're all very simple shapes."
23. They pictured Corellia as "a Star Wars version of Venice [Italy]."
"But an industrial Venice," says set decorate Lee Sandales. They shot much of the city scenes at a power plant in Southampton, England.
24. The speeder Han steals is a mix of many different elements.
"Designing a Star Wars vehicle is a balance of making something look fantastic and visionary, but also keeping it grounded," says Georgensen. They took visual inspiration from muscle cars like Ford Mustangs and Dodge Challengers, while they used parts from sources as different as fighter jets and grocery store displays to build it.
25. Alden wanted to know how to really drive it.
"Alden loved it," says Senior art director Gary Tomkins. "He was very keen to work out how all the controls worked, because we have levers, and afterburners, and ignition switches and things. So I spent maybe an hour with him just going through the different controls. I was just making it up, of course, because it's not a real speeder. But at least then in his head he knew exactly how, if it were a real speeder, how he could drive it."
26. The sound of the big truck that chases Han and Qi'ra was created using a "pulse jet engine."
We have no idea what that is, but apparently very few people in the world know how to build them. They recorded their sound out in the desert, and they became the basis for the truck's sound in the movie.
27. The character Rio is part practical, part CG.
Rio, voiced by Jon Favreau, is one of the most underused characters in the movie. The practical portion was played by a circus performer in a suit, while other parts were animated in CG.
28. The explosion after the train heist involved setting off firecrackers underwater.
They filmed it using high speed cameras and played it in slow motion.
29. Chewie's dialogue is written into the script.
Despite the fact that we can't understand him and it basically doesn't matter what he's saying, the Kasdans wrote all Chewie's dialogue into the script. "We wanted Alden to know what was being said to him, so he would know what to play, regardless of what he interpreted from the moan," says Jonathan Kasdan.
30. They had to record new sounds for Chewbacca.
They wanted Chewie to be introduced into the movie with a terrifying roar, but that sound didn't exist in Chewie's existing audio library of noises. "The main recording of Chewbacca is a bear that Ben Burtt, the original sound designer, recorded many, many years ago," says supervising sound editor Tim Nielsen. "But because the original bear only made so many sounds, Chewbacca's vocabulary's always been a little bit limited." For Solo, they spent time recording the noises of bears and other animals, including a very cute sea lion.
31. Getting Chewie muddy was a huge challenge.
"We've never done anything like this with Chewbacca before. He's always been clean, dry," says supervising animatronic designer Maria Cork. They tested different kinds of mud, including mud from the dead sea. With the mud caked on, she says, the suit weighed six or seven times as much as normal. "I was so happy when we got through that scene," says Chewie actor Joonas Suotamo.
32. L3 wasn't always a humanoid droid.
"Once upon a time, she was actually an R2 type droid, and she'd modified herself and given herself legs and arms and continued to evolve," says producer Simon Emanuel in the featurette "Becoming a Droid: L3-37." At one point in here design, she even had Leia's hair buns.
33. They used original Millennium Falcon sound effects for L3.
There's a moment in Solo when L3 hits her head and emits a unique sound. If you listen closely in A New Hope, the Millennium Falcon makes the same sound. It emphasizes even more that L3 becomes part of the Falcon after her "death" in Solo. "We wanted to have that connective tissue," says supervising sound editor Matthew Wood.
34. They had a Sabacc trainer on set.
Steven Bridges, Sabacc trainer, explains the rules of the game in the featurette "Scoundrels, Droids, Creatures and Cards: Welcome to Fort Ypso."
35. The creatures in the Sabacc scene are a combination of puppets and people in suits.
They're designed in such detail, and the puppeteers have such minute control over them, that the actors are often surprised how lifelike they are when they get into a scene with them.
36. The visual effects during the Kessel Run were practical--sort of.
"What we set out to do is make it as immersive and realistic as possible," says visual effects supervisor Rob Bredow. "The special effects department actually built this rig so it could spin, and turn, and rattle. And then Industrial Light and Magic created the media that would go around this wrap-around screen. And it was completely photorealistic, and it was high enough quality, that the camera could photograph it directly. And on set, we had multiple projectors that were all lined up, so the shots that you see on the set are actually what you see in the film. We shook the cockpit a little bit. It was basically like going on a very custom ride at Disneyland."
37. The Millennium Falcon's sound in this movie includes a "really old air conditioner."
The buttons and switches on this old hotel air conditioner had an almost musical quality, according to supervising sound editor Tim Nielsen.