Since its debut at E3 2018, the developers behind the The Division 2 have focused on the sequel’s endgame. It’s a recurring topic for many online looter-shooters such as Destiny and Anthem, as it’s often seen as the make-or-break point for a game’s long term success. That’s something the developers of the original Division know all too well. Players who finished its vanilla campaign inevitably hit a slump, leading to a repetitive cycle. Ubisoft eventually overhauled much of the game’s mechanics and added in new encounters–leading to an impressive post-launch life for The Division. However, many players still burned out by the original release missed out on the revival once other games came around.
With the sequel, Ubisoft is taking steps to ensure that it won’t fall into the same traps as the original, while also giving the campaign a greater sense of purpose. We recently spent some time getting an early look at the game’s upcoming private beta–playable February 7-10–which offers a tease for what’s to come in the early hours of the campaign and the late-game content that follows. After you’ve established yourself in The Division 2’s turbulent setting of post-outbreak Washington D.C. during the campaign, things take a more chaotic turn after the conclusion, forcing you to defend what you’ve built up in the expanded endgame.
I had very mixed feelings when Apex Legends was announced. On one hand, Titanfall and its sequel are two of my favorite shooters, offering an incredibly fast, almost balletic sense of movement that made otherwise standard skirmishes feel fresh and alive. The idea of developer Respawn taking that to the battle royale genre and throwing in charming Overwatch-style characters was incredibly exciting. But there was one very particular aspect of the game that made me wary: you can only play it in teams. As someone who spends hours in Fortnite solo and hates the idea of voice chat with strangers, this was an instant turn-off.
But thanks to a handful of incredibly clever design decisions, Apex Legends is the rare team-based shooter where voice chat isn’t a necessity. You can be antisocial and still have a lot of fun.
Apex Legends is set in the Titanfall universe, and it has teams of three battling it out across a war-torn sci-fi landscape to be the last group standing. It’s a class-based game where you pick from a group of heroes, each of which fits snugly into an archetype like “support” or “tank.” They also all have special abilities that charge up over the course of a match. And just like in Fortnite and its contemporaries, the battlefield shrinks as the match goes on, forcing you into close contact with your opponents.
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Other games news: Any new game idea to come out of developer FromSoftware is worth dissecting, especially after the unqualified masterpiece that was Bloodborne. And Sekiro isn’t just any idea: it’s the legend of the ninja reworked for a Dark Souls audience.
After watching director Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team filter the castles and steel-plated killers of Western history through their twisted imaginations for years, it’s a terribly exciting prospect to see them do the same with Japanese culture. Specifically, Sekiro takes us to a fantastical version of late 1500s Sengoku Japan, at a point where tensions are rising and bloody conflict is guaranteed. Sekiro is our protagonist, the “one-armed wolf” – a hard-hearted warrior out to rescue his young noble master and bring revenge to his arch nemesis.