Shacknews - Asif Khan

SEGA revealed Project Sonic tonight during their 25th Anniversary Event. The game appears to be an epic next generation 3D platformer by Sonic Team. Please take a look at the trailer.

You may have noticed that the game will be coming to NX as well as PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. This may be the final nail in the coffin for our beloved Nintendo Wii U, but we look forward to playing Project Sonic. The game will launch around Holiday of 2017. Will you be joining the resistance?

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has announced its Wave 7 expansion packs for Lego Dimensions will release on November 18, 2016.

The Wave 7 expansion packs includes the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Story Pack and the Sonic The Hedgehog Level Pack. The Fantastic Beasts Story Pack promises to offer a complete movie-based gameplay experience across six levels and new Lego Gateway bricks to build the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) on top of the Lego Toy Pad. Players can build the Newt Scamander Lego minifigure and then help him his escaped magical creatures across New York City. The pack also comes with a 3-in-1 Niffler, which can be rebuilt into the Sinister Scorpion and Vicious Vulture.

The Sonic The Hedgehog Level Pack allows players to race as Sonic himself across a number of iconic locations, including Green Hill, Emerald Coast, Labyrinth, and more. Players can build the Sonic the Hedgehog Lego minifigure and then use him across all of the levels included in this pack. The pack also includes a 3-in-1 Sonic Speedster, which can be rebuilt into the Blue Typhoon and Motobug, and a 3-in-1 The Tornado, which can be rebuilt into Crabmeat and Eggcatcher.

Addition packs within Lego Dimensions’ Wave 7 expansion packs includes a Gremlins Team Pack, which includes Gizmo and Stripe Lego minifigures; E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Fun Pack, which includes an E.T. Lego minifigure; and the Adventure Time Fun Pack, which includes Marceline the Vampire.

We learned about some of the Wave 7 expansion packs just last month, which included the above mentioned products as well as content from Mission: Impossible, Harry Potter, and The Goonies. With Wave 7's launch in November, Lego Dimensions is going to have quite the lineup of merchandise available for purchase this holiday season.

Shacknews - Asif Khan

SEGA announced Sonic Mania tonight at their 25th Anniversary Event. The game is a 2D classic platfomer with reimagined levels from past entries in the series as well as some brand new experiences. The game is being co-developed by SEGA, PagodaWest Games, along with developers Christian Whitehead and Simon Thomley. Please take a look at the reveal trailer.

Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka explained that Sonic Mania is a “passion project” that “was born out of our fans’ love of the classic Sonic 2D platform games.” He continued, “This type of collaboration is a first for SEGA and we hope everyone will be both surprised and delighted by this title.”

Sonic Mania will be available for Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC in the Spring of 2017.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and NetherRealm Studios have revealed Wonder Woman and Blue Beetle will be playable fighters in its upcoming fighter, Injustice 2.

Today’s announcement was made during the “Injustice 2 Sneak Peek” panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Wonder Woman was included in the original Injustice: Gods Among Us, although Blue Beetle is completely new to the series.

During the panel, NetherRealm Studios founder Ed Boon said the studio is taking the opportunity to include more obscure characters this time around. “You’re going to see so many more characters like Blue Beetle,” Boon said during the Injustice 2 panel.

Injustice 2 is scheduled to release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2017. There’s still no word if, or when, Injustice 2 would be made available on PC.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Microsoft has released a new video that takes a look at the story in Halo Wars 2.

The video documentary introduces the story and characters of Halo Wars 2, which picks up right where the original Halo Wars left off. The Spirit of Fire’s crew were left in space in a cryogenic sleep. After 28 years of being in their deep sleep, the crew awaken to find themselves above a foreign installation, which Halo fans will recognize as the Ark.

The crew discovers an emergency beacon is coming from the surface of the Ark, which turns out to be a new kind of A.I.: a logistics A.I. She is caught completely off guard and warns the crew there’s still something bad going on at the Ark and they need to get away.

There’s much more information to learn in Halo Wars 2’s Story ViDoc, so we won’t ruin the rest of what’s going on in the game. Be sure to watch the video below if you’re interested in learning more about what is going on in the game:

Halo Wars 2 is scheduled to release on PC and Xbox One on February 21, 2017. Just don’t expect it to have cross-platform play.

Shacknews - Josh Hawkins

ILMxLAB has put a lot of work into Trials on Tatooine, the developer’s Star Wars demo for the HTC Vive. While the amount of blood, sweat, and tears put into the project are completely evident, I’d like to take a moment and look at the viability of the project, and why I believe it’s too little, too late.

Let’s get something straight right off the bat; Trials on Tatooine is not a bad virtual reality experience. It looks great, it runs amazingly well, and the feeling of having a lightsaber in your hand is unparalleled to anything else VR has to offer, in my opinion. But Trials on Tatooine is just a tech demo, it’s a small piece of the pie that is being used to prove just how cool Star Wars can be in virtual reality. But, let’s be completely honest, is that really a question that people have had to ask?

So how does Trials on Tatoonie fall short? The answer to that question is pretty simple. There just isn’t enough there. In a time when virtual reality experiences are starting to take off, with games like Raw Data, Out of Ammo, Vanishing Realms, and The Brookhaven Experiment. The industry has proven how strong virtual reality can be, and Trials on Tatooine just doesn’t fit in with what’s being offered today.  Of course, the biggest argument I’m going to get to this line of opinion is ‘It’s free’. Of course it is. It’s a tech demo. It isn’t meant to be this super long experience that just keeps you on edge for hours at a time. It’s meant to be short and sweet. But, we’re past the point of virtual reality experiences being short and sweet. We’re past the point of needing tech demos to show us how much virtual reality has to offer.

We’ve reached the stage where VR applications are becoming more and more viable options for entertainment. Games like Raw Data, while incomplete, offer up insane amounts of content, and are really well polished to the point that they almost feel like complete offerings. Because of the strides that we’ve made in the past several months, Trials on Tatooine feels out of place. Had it released when the Vive first hit the market, this article would be praising it endlessly, just as Ozzie did in our first hands-on experience at GDC 2016.

But I can’t do that. It’s almost August now, and the Vive has been out since April, with Trials on Tatooine having been in a playable state since March, when it was shown to attendees of 2016’s Game Developer Conference. Sure, things take time to really polish and complete, but it feels like ILMxLAB took just a little too long in the bullpen for this one.

While Trials on Tatooine is an intriguing experience that anyone with a Vive can experience, it feels like it was released far too late for it to really take the spotlight and shine the way that the developer’s intended.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Apple has confirmed what we knew all along: Pokemon Go is a huge success.

Apple has confirmed with Shacknews Pokemon Go set a new iTunes App Store record as it was downloaded more times within its first week than any other application in its history. At the time of confirmation, Apple declined to reveal just how many downloads Pokemon Go achieved or disclose which app held the previous record, but we have a feel it rhymes with Plash of Plans.

Pokemon Go officially released in North America, New Zealand, and Australia on July 6. Since its release, the game has expanded to over 30 countries, the latest being Japan, and has secured a top spot in the free and top-grossing apps section on both iOS and Android.

Sensor Tower recently revealed, through the use of its Store Intelligence platform, that Pokemon Go reached approximately 10 million downloads during its launch week. It also reports the game has achieved 30 million downloads to date, with iPhone owners in the US alone spending approximately $1.6 million on Pokemon Go every day.

Shacknews - Brittany Vincent

If you grew up with formidable role-playing classics like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy, you know all about the tropes and rigid mechanics that often comprise a traditional JRPG. Back during the Super Nintendo's heyday we saw several games of that ilk come and go, and many of them remain hallmarks of the golden age of role-playing games to this day.

Square Enix was obviously hoping to cash in on the nostalgic rush we often feel when casually speaking on the games we grew up with, as I Am Setsuna is a love letter to a simpler time. It's a tribute to an age where all you needed for a narrative was an amnesiac protagonist and a reason to tug at players' heartstrings to make for an entertaining narrative. Unfortunately, gaming has evolved in several ways since then, and even classics should be held to a higher standard. That's not to say I Am Setsuna is a bad game, but it suffers from bizarre design decisions that force it to deviate from the path that so many other games have walked down with no issue. It's classic, but then it isn't.

Sacrificial Rites

I Am Setsuna begins as you might expect, with a world on the brink of the end, suffering routine attacks from a monster whose appetite for destruction can't quite be sated. The world itself is snowy and melancholy, trapped in a nightmarish perpetual winter. Despite the game's name, protagonist Endir takes center stage, a mercenary charged with protecting a young woman named Setsuna who's poised to become a sacrifice to appease the evil that's threatening the land.

It's not especially novel, but the game's overarching theme is sadness, after all. It communicates this feeling quite well, even if it isn't the most engaging narrative you've ever seen in a game. As the journey unfolds there are plenty of reasons to care about your party members as twists and turns abound. Even though they're predictable in the end too, the tale is familiar in warm and comfortable ways.

There are no character voices for the playable party members, and you can name each one of them to make them your own. While they'll vocalize in battle, it's up to players to give characters their own voices. There aren't any opportunities for RPG fans to be subjected to horrible voice acting in this case, but it would have been nice to have a Japanese voice track at the very least. Luckily an excellent piano score aids in keeping things from becoming stagnant.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

I Am Setsuna attempts valiantly at presenting interesting tweaks on classic systems, but ends up making things feel just a bit more "off" than usual. For starters, there are no random encounters. Instead, you'll see enemies on the map that spawn in the exact same places each time you come back to an area. You can attempt sneak attacks on the monsters you find, and you'll get in the first lick if you're successful. Curiously enough, the screen doesn't fade into a new battle environment when you do enter a fight, however. Instead battle commences right where you are on the map. Unfortunately, that's where most of I Am Setsuna's issues are derived from: combat.

The attack system could be likened to Chrono Trigger's, with a special ATB bar that counts down to when each character is able to attack again. You can have three party members in combat at once, and can swap them out outside of fighting at any time. Each has their own unique combo attack so you're free to play around with teams that better fit your own personal battle strategies. It's all a pretty standard affair until you get to the combat system's finer points: Sprinite, Talismans and Momentum.

Sprinite is essentially the game's spell system, where each character has their own to use from healing magic to devastating attacks. You'll have to collect special materials from defeating enemies on the map to take to the Magic Consortium and redeem them for Sprinite, which is a bit of a convoluted process. Equipping items beyond that is pretty simplistic, but bizarrely you won't find the normal sets of armor and equipment in other games here. Perhaps in a bid to keep the game obfuscatingly complex in an artificial manner, instead you have to equip Talismans. This can be frustrating thanks to the game's startling lack of help when it comes to identifying and explaining what each Talisman does.

The Momentum system is strange as well, tying into the Talismans you find and equip but offering augments that appear to be random. These anomalies rob you of what could have been an interesting and complex character customization system, instead taking classic systems and making them more complicated for no reason. When the game relies so heavily on combat to keep things moving along,

The Well-Beaten Path

With I Am Setsuna, on one hand you have a staunchly traditional tale that offers a cursory narrative that's familiar on the surface as well as character tropes and archetypes that feel as though they were torn straight from the pages of "Classic RPGs 101." On the other, you have a convoluted battle system and irritants from games of the present that bring you down from any nostalgia high you might have been riding. It's all wrapped up in familiar dressing to get you hooked, but once you get to the substance it's clear I Am Setsuna needed a bit more time in the oven, or perhaps a master class of what made the games that inspired it memorable in the first place. If you're aching for a familiar and exciting JRPG, there's better to be found out there. While this is a serviceable option, there are plenty other more memorable ones out there. 

This review is based on a PC download code provided by the publisher. I Am Setsuna is available now for PC, PS4 and PS Vita for $39.99. The game is rated E 10+. 

Shacknews - John Keefer

Sega is having a 25th anniversary party for its speedy little hedgehog mascot tonight at the San Diego Comic Con. Don't worry if you can't be there since we will have the livestream so you can get all the details. 

During the event, Sega prmises to "reveal the future of Sonic at long last!" Sonic Team has already revealed that they were working on a new game, but didn't offer much in the way of specifics. So hopefully the stream will offer something concrete, like a title, some gameplay and maybe a release date.

The livestream will start at 6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET. Don't miss the reveal ... whatever that may be.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Battleborn continues to roll out new free content, having already gotten one new DLC hero in late May. Now, the release of the next hero, a snake assassin named Pendles, has been revealed for July 28.

The cold-blooded killer will be available for season pass holders first, but will make his debut to the masses a week later on August 4 for 47,500 in-game credits. Pendles is a Roa from the world of Akopos, same as the first DLC hero, Alani. According to the background provide by developer Gearbox, the reptile has found enjoyment in murder. "Even better, people would pay him for his new found hobby. Don’t let his sweet pair of sneakers fool you. This assassin will sneak up behind you, poison you, eviscerate you with duel kamas, then slink away again in a blink of his one remaining eye."

The game's July update was released yesterday, adding some new summer skins and taunts to the store. Three new multiplayer maps have been added as well: Snowblind (for Capture mode), Outskirts (for Meltdown), and Monuments (for Incursion).

Also, the Lootpocolypse has been extended, offering a bigger bonus to Legendary drop rates. The event will now conclude on July 25.