Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery

Harry Potter and the Trailer of Secrets – elusive “Hogwarts Mystery” teaser debuts

It goes without saying that when you run as watertight a marketing ship as Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment does with their various licenced IPs, from Monolith’s Lord of the Rings-expanding Middle-Earth saga to Rocksteady’s beloved Batman: Arkham trilogy, teasing your next major release without giving too much away should be child’s play.

In fact, our first look at the publisher’s upcoming mobile RPG set in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, stands as the epitome of this enigmatic promotional approach with its details-thin (to say the least) teaser trailer. We’re never willing to be beaten, though, so let’s see what precious secrets we can glean…

Takeaways:

  • We’re promised the opportunity to live our own “Hogwarts story” this year, which entails honing our wizarding spells and skills, attending classes with Hogwarts professors as well as choosing friends and rivals to keep close or distant en route.
  • The School of Witchcraft and Wizardry which we’re introduced to here, however, won’t directly align with that which we’ve seen on the page or big-screen; instead, Hogwarts Mystery takes place in a 1980s incarnation of its titular setting.
  • Luckily the more things change, the more they stay the same. What scarce in-game footage we’re afforded in the one-minute sizzle reel does confirm that Professor McGonagall, Rubeus Hagrid and Severus Snape were employed as staff at this dangerous magical institution long before the Boy Who Lived’s arrival.
  • Better yet, before we even reach the mobile RPG’s obvious central locale, Diagon Alley looks set to ease us back into the Wizarding World, with Ollivander’s Wandmarkers presumably serving as the setting for Mystery’s spell-casting tutorial.

Such vague marketing materials as these will hardly dis-spell (see what we did there?) any skepticism among fans, many of whom doubtless wonder whether WB’s newly-formed Harry Potter gaming branch, Portkey Games, and developer Jam City simply want to – allegedly – riff on Pokémon GO’s world-trotting formula for a quick buck.

US-based Potterites will get the rare opportunity to try Jam’s first big-budget production at Universal Studios Orlando’s A Celebration of Harry Potter event on January 26th-28th, while the rest of us can pre-register here ahead of Journey’s full-scale release on mobile devices later this year.

In the meantime, watch the trailer for yourselves below and give us a shout if we’ve missed any crucial details regarding Hogwarts Mystery’s, well, mysterious plotline.

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Review: Injustice 2 (PS4)

The release of Injustice 2 is finally among us and NetherRealm Studios has delivered yet another deep and engaging fighter, piling on more modes and characters than its predecessor. Sticking with the darker edge in an alternate DC universe, where even the most light-hearted super heroes aren’t afraid of turning the tide in favor of doom and gloom, Injustice 2 takes you on an epic story giving you almost 30 characters to fight your way through. On top of the devious story mode there’s the multiverse, plenty of rare equipment and other online/multiplayer modes to keep the game from stalling out well past its release.

The game itself looks stunning. Impressive animations and CGI run smoothly leaving Injustice 2 in the top of its class as one of the sharpest looking games to date. The story mode is filled with gritty cut scenes and high-impact versus matches switching between the immense roster of characters, each chapter pertaining to a different hero (or villain). Delving deeper and deeper into the chaotic realm of the DC universe, it’s increasingly satisfying catching new characters share a little spotlight, as well as some lesser known comic book personalities showing off their abilities. Of course, the more prominent names share a demanding role creating the grander stage for the irreplaceable super heroes that we all know and love.

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Stringing together brutal combos, leading into one of the characters’ many super moves, leaves an all-too-real gratification, engrossing you in every match. Each character comes with an assortment of special moves, from Batman’s grappling hook attack to the Green Lantern’s power ring. With a long list of varying combo and basic attacks, each superhero/villain also has a unique Character Power. With the push of a button each player performs a new move or enhances other skills giving more depth to the fighting ring. Environmental hazards and weapons play a huge part in turning the tables during the heat of battle as well. Whether you’re flinging a table across the screen or bouncing your enemy off a movie theater marquee, the 3D setting leaves a broad sense of perception in the 2D fighting plain.

The Super Meter acts like most other meters in previous fighting games. Filling with every hit landed or taken, once completely full you’re able to land a seriously outrageous attack known as a Supermove, not only dealing a massive amount of damage but showing off over-the-top superhuman strength. Using only a portion of the meter at a time combined with a special move causes a Meter Burn attack, which increases the damage done, adds extra hits or grants the ability to follow-up with combos. Graciously using up your super meter for stronger attacks or risking it all at once for a crucial strike is all part of the strategy during the intense brawls.

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Offense isn’t the only purpose for use of the super meter. Drawing power from the meter, you can escape potential long running combos or attacks by starting what’s known as a Clash. Working in the sense of a wager, the characters go elbow-to-elbow, one player bets a portion of their super meter against the other’s bet. Whoever wins based on the difference of the wagers will either gain health if playing as defender, or the enemy will lose health, if you’re on the offensive. Following strict guidelines for when they can be used, one player may only perform one clash attack per match, leaving this method as a game changer if properly achieved.

Aside from killer graphics with addictive gameplay and a stunning story, there’s other engagements keeping you occupied in the game. Multiverse serves as a challenge map, giving you constant online updates with all new ways of fighting in the game, including modifiers that manipulate the match. Sometimes in your favor, other times not, the mods that are applied range from giving out health boosts to cryo rockets being steadily dropped upon you. The true multiverse opens up after completing three tutorial challenges, giving you a healthy dose of fighting but only a fraction of what you’ll be up against later on.

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Equipping different pieces of gear, receiving new stat buffs and other various perks like bonus experience or additional damage from certain moves, is a perfect incentive to grind out battles in multiverse. From head pieces and helmets, arms, greaves, belts or chest pieces, there’s loads of equipment, including rare epic pieces that significantly boost your player’s stats. Not only do they enhance fighting capabilities but also add a little style to the game, giving you the option to change the traditional appearances of the characters. Though not available right away, equipment pieces are all level-locked for each character, all with tons of pieces, so sticking with one specific hero is vital for leveling up.

Various online modes are found as well as offline multiplayer, with classics like versus ranked/unranked matches, tournaments and the all new AI Battle Simulator. Acting almost like horse racing or some form of spectator fantasy league, you build your team of three, challenge a player’s team online and watch the battles ensue. Building your heroes up with appropriate gear helps tip the scales in your favor, all while trying to earn more precious rare equipment. Other rewards you may earn are known as Mother Boxes, which contain loot based upon the ranking of the box: bronze, silver, gold, platinum and diamond. These are easily obtained and are great ways to build your gear library, keeping the customized equipment plentiful as the game progresses.

Injustice 2 goes well beyond its purpose as a ‘AAA’ fighter, during what seems to be, a drought in the fighting genre. With fluid combos and universal comfort with almost every character, there’s still a strong sense of individuality, leaving a desire to try out a large amount of the available cast based upon how you approach the game. With one climactic moment after another, Injustice 2 hits you where you feel it, throws plenty of options into the mix and commits to being a demanding fighter with breakthrough equipment options and gameplay, while leaving you breathless and exhilarated along the way.

Review copy provided by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment UK

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Four big gaming titles launch today (16/5/17)

Today is one of the biggest release days for video games so far in 2017. With two brand new AAA multi-platform releases, an ambitious new exclusive first person shooter/virtual reality game from Sony, and the return of a cult classic Xbox exclusive.

First up, and probably the most anticipated is “Injustice 2.” This 2D fighting game sequel to the well reviewed “Injustice: Gods Among Us” from NetherRealm studios, once again pits DC’s superheros and villains up against each other. Just like the original, “Injustice 2” has launched to great reviews. “Injustice 2” launched today for Xbox One, PS4 and PC with three different versions, starting with the standard edition at $59.99, the digital deluxe version at $79.99 and the ultimate edition for $99.99.

The Surge

Secondly, we have a Souls like game from developers Deck13 called “The Surge.” This is the studios second attempt of making Souls like game, with their first attempt being the painfully average “Lords of the Fallen.” However, Deck13 changed course for “The Surge,” and ditched the medieval fantasy setting of “Lords of the Fallen” and went to the future for a sci-fi fantasy setting. Turns out, the changes Deck13 has made worked for the better as “The Surge” has launched to mostly positive reviews compared to its predecessor. “The Surge” launched today for Xbox One, PS4 for $59.99, and on PC for $49.99.

Thirdly, Sony is releasing their biggest and most ambitious game for the PlayStation VR to date, and that game is “Farpoint.” This comes from developer “Impulse Gear” which is a small game development studio located in San Francisco that specializes on VR titles. “Farpoint” is giant far future sci-fi shooter that is only playable on the PS4 with PS VR, the game looks very innovative and is off to a good start review wise. “Farpoint” launched today for the PS4 with a standard edition for $49.99, and a bundle with an aim controller for $79.99.

Farpoint

Lastly, we have the re-master/re-release of the much delayed “Phantom Dust.” A reboot of this cult classic game was announced at the Xbox press conference at the 2014 E3 convention, only to be scrapped a year after its announcement. Out of the reboot ashes came the HD remaster of the classic 2004 original Xbox game, and this is what launched today. This remaster includes visual updates and additions to the games original campaign.

The best part about this remaster launching is the fact that it costs nothing. Yes, you read that right; the “Phantom Dust” remaster is completely free. So, what are you waiting for? Go fire up your Xbox One and download it!

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Which of these four titles are you most excited for? And, which one will you be picking up? Let us know in the comments down below!

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New Injustice 2 Trailer “Everything You Need to Know”

Hitting shelves in North America in less than a week, the folks at Warner Bros. Games have released an official trailer for Injustice 2, showcasing new features not only to the Injustice series but to the entire fighting genre.

Titled ‘Everything You Need to Know’ the trailer shows off the tight Story Mode, a few characters from the mammoth-sized roster, newly added gear to equip fighters with and the social online Guilds and new fighting mode called the Multiverse. If anything the newest 5 minute video gives players a chance to see just how much this new fighter is determined to change the way we play these games. It’s no longer about which characters are good or evil, who has the better move list or who claims the most popular; but more about decisions, customisation and an audacious new approach to competition.

In a devastating manner the game takes place with an all-out war between all factions of the DC universe, including superheroes, super-villains and new additional wild card characters like Supergirl and Swamp Thing. Making your way through the extensive storyline, fighting through opposing alliances to reach the ultimate battle facing-off against the maniacal prodigy Brainiac, you’ll be faced with crucial decisions to make along the way, ever-changing the tide of battle.

You’ll find out there’s up’s and down’s through all aspects of the story, whether you’re fighting in alliance with the likes of Superman, Batman, Gorilla Grodd or choosing to go solo as Swamp Thing or even Brainiac himself.

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Injustice 2 has a deep story allowing players to create their own experience while in control of DC’s expansive list of most notable characters all the way to the lesser-known heroes and villains in the spectrum of DC comics. What makes this sequel ground-breaking is the new addition of equipping gear to your fighters. With different stat upgrades, unique appearances and a variety of special moves, each character can be suited to your liking after earning gear through winning fight after fight, making the vast roster seem even more daunting.

NetherRealm Studios brings more to the table in terms of challenging the player offline as well as online. With the all-new Multiverse in play, you have constantly changing challenges that modify battles, bringing new ways to play the game. Awarding you with rare gear and adding more to depth outside of the story mode, Multiverse is an important addition, keeping the game fresh and innovative far passed its initial release. Also with the introduction to online guilds brings more challenges and exclusive rewards by joining forces with friends or other online players to create a reigning alliance battling its way to the top of the online leaderboards.

This highly anticipated comic book brawler has been teasing fans for months with character updates and gameplay clips. Now, less than a week away from the North American release, we have even more to look forward to with Injustice 2. Catch the new trailer below.