Creative Director Responds To Xbox Series X Gameplay Reveal.
New footage of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla premiered during the Xbox Series X event this week, but some fans were hoping to see more. Creative director Ashraf Ismail has now responded to the reaction, saying he understands people wanted to see more of the next-gen Assassin’s Creed title. More details on the game, including an “in-depth gameplay” demonstration will come later on, he said.
“You rightfully expected to see more today. We have a long marketing campaign ahead of us, you will see in-depth gameplay and get a lot more info about the game,” he said on Twitter. “Thank you for your excitement and passion! Be patient with us and be kind. It will be worth it!”
Full video: https://www.gamespot.com/videos/assassins-creed-valhalla-full-presentation-inside-/2300-6452827/
The Valhalla trailer shown during the Xbox event disappointed some fans because, despite being labeled as a “gameplay trailer,” it didn’t exactly deliver on that. Instead of featuring combat or exploration, the video put more of an emphasis on the locations you’ll visit when Valhalla launches this holiday.
Find the best zombie games without getting brain on your shoes
The best zombie games are starting to thaw as spring approaches, and there have never been more ways to play with hordes of the hungry dead. This list takes a more specific approach than our rundown of the best horror games; it’s dedicated entirely to the many fine ways that video games can make use of hordes of zombies. Some of the games on this list are action-packed undead slaughter fests, while others are intricate simulations where even one encounter with a shambling corpse could leave you infected and waiting for an ignoble death. Some of them aren’t even strictly scary, though as you probably can already tell, it does tend toward the horrifying. Now let’s take it from the top, starting from the great at No. 10 and rolling all the way down to the best zombie game at No. 1.
If Project Zomboid wasn’t still in early access despite first being put up for sale way back in 2011, it would definitely be higher on this list. Zomboid’s old-school isometric pixel graphics belie what may be the most ambitious zombie apocalypse simulation ever created. And don’t be fooled, this really is meant to be a simulation of what would happen to most “survivors” if the majority of their neighbors turned into zombies: they’d die.
There’s no evac helicopter coming if you can survive long enough, or any other formal objectives (at least not in the main mode): your death is inevitable and what you do until then is up to you. But if you want to live more than a few days, I’d suggest building yourself a nice little fort and maybe getting a farm going. You can only scavenge for so long before the food – or your luck – runs out. Project Zomboid is great to play alone or in multiplayer now, and I can only imagine how gripping it will be if the developers ever manage to complete their vision.
9. World War Z
Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
No one part of World War Z is all that impressive on its own, but if you’re looking for a way to mow down hundreds, no, thousands of zombies with a group of friends or strangers, there’s no better game for you. It’s loosely based on the 2013 Brad Pitt movie (which was even more loosely based on a 2006 novel), but that’s mostly excuse to repurpose the one memorable thing about the film: humongous hordes of zombies that rush through streets and crash around corners like a river through a broken dam.
It clearly takes some cues from the Left 4 Dead franchise (RIP) but adds in some modern gaming standbys like selectable classes with persistent progression. You could play as a Slasher who gets extra health from taking out enemies in quick succession, a Fixer who lays down traps to secure areas, or one of four other classes. Whoever you decide to level up first, you’ll get to unload plenty of lead into moving walls of rotten flesh.
8. Dying Light: The Following
Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Running over zombies was never so much fun. As the DLC for the main game, Dying Light: The Following cuts out most of the parkour from the original and instead puts you behind the steering wheel in a swathe of almost-spotless countryside. Splatter zombies into chunks of gore as you speed across the fields and leave tyre-tracks in their guts as you take on daring jumps. Just be careful you don’t get a zombie head trapped in your windscreen wipers.
We don’t really have a zombie-driving game around at the moment, and The Following plugs this niche perfectly. There’s even a new, evolved (and much more deadly) version of the Volatiles, who are instant death if you encounter one either whilst in your buggy or sneaking around at night. Regardless, you’ll have to dodge them as you drive around investigating a cult who seem to be immune to the zombie virus. The responsive steering makes careering down roads a delight, but beware: the more you swerve out of the way of zombies, the bigger the horde following you will get. Not that it’s an issue, because as soon as you take your foot off the brake, sit back, and slam that gas pedal, in no time you’ll understand why we love The Following.
7. Urban Dead
Available on: PC
Wait, one of the best zombie games you can play right now looks like an Angelfire website that still has a Y2K countdown clock? Yep. Urban Dead is a browser-based zombie MMORPG that has been running since 2005, hosting an endless war between desperate survivors and roving hordes of undead. Don’t let the looks fool you – this game runs in real time, there’s quite a lot to it, and it is intense.
Every in-game action depletes your pool of stamina (no, there aren’t microtransactions that let you buy more), so survivors have to balance traveling, foraging, and barricading to make sure they’re always holed up somewhere safe when they tire out. Zombies who run out of stamina far from a horde are just as quick to be cut down. Hopefully Urban Dead’s brilliant take on survival and social dynamics in the apocalypse will keep rolling for another few decades to come.
6. Death Road to Canada
Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android
With its grindhouse gore, chiptune surf rock, and chunky pixel aesthetics, Death Road to Canada is easily the strangest game on this list. Death Road to Canada uses the classic “I hear it’s safe there” premise to kick off a desperate roadtrip from Florida to the land of maple syrup and polite strangers, straight through the overrun rest stops and cities of the United States. Many aspects of your journey are randomly generated, including the characters you start with or later recruit, and each survivor comes with their own stats that influence how well they do at fighting off undead or recruiting dogs to their cause. You know, typical apocalypse stuff.
The random events that unfold on the road and in the top-down, zombie-dodging segments feed into one another; a few good supply runs mean you’ll have enough gas and food to choose riskier responses, but getting overconfident in either part of the game could quickly turn deadly. And this is not a game that’s afraid to perma-kill your randomly generated darlings. It smarts even more if you use the optional create-a-survivor feature to seed your game world with pixelated versions of your friends and family. No matter who you need to leave behind, you’d better be ready to start up that car and get gone if you want to make it north of the border.
5. State of Decay 2
Available on: PC, Xbox One
State of Decay 2 doesn’t fix all of the flaws of its predecessor, but it does expand its strengths. What those are, if you aren’t already familiar, are all about helping you tell your own unique tale of survival in a zombie apocalypse via a set map dotted with resources and a continual trickle of procedurally generated survivors to befriend and play as (or ignore and take their stuff when they die). Where Project Zomboid leans hard into the notion of being an average person in an unwinnable situation, the State of Decay series tries to make sure you’re having a good time with picturesque midwestern scenes and gorey fun combat, even as your food runs out and zombies beat down your gate.
The coolest new thing in State of Decay 2, though, is easily the long-awaited addition of multiplayer. Inviting friends in to help defend and scavenge for your settlement exponentially expands the possibilities of procedurally generated storytelling. And it finally gives you a chance to test out all those zombie apocalypse survival plans you’ve spent way too long hashing out with buddies.
4. Resident Evil 2 (2019 remake)
Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
The Resident Evil 2 remake walks a narrow line between the slow horror of the early Resident Evil games and the faster (though still deliberate) action of the later-yet-pre-RE7 era. In so doing it manages to be both a fitting tribute to the original Resident Evil 2 and the most vital, playable RE game in years. The trick is, as you might expect from its ranking among the best zombie games, the zombies. Even though the remake’s movement and aiming controls feel modern and streamlined, every zombie can take so many bullets – even headshots – and just keep getting back up. Maybe right in front of you, or maybe a few minutes later when you think you’re safe.
Expert aim is not enough to guarantee your survival in the Resident Evil 2 remake. The most important thing is once again discretion, restoring “survival” to “survival horror” as you conserve ammo by shooting to stun, rather than kill. Sometimes you may even decide that the zombies can just have that hallway and you’d rather keep the bullets. In terms of inspiring raw terror, it still isn’t quite as potent as that other big Resident Evil remake. But it’s arguably more fun to play, which secures the Resident Evil 2 remake a nice slot of its own on our list of the best zombie games.
3. Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead
Available on: PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, iOS, Android
It would be a grave sin not to include Telltale’s The Walking Dead as one of the best zombie games of all time. While other zombie titles would have you endlessly chopping off heads, or blowing undead brains to bits with a shotgun, this choice-driven adventure explores the human side of the zombie apocalypse. Instead of testing your aim, this adaptation tests your social decision-making and your nerves–because damn, there’s some messed up stuff that happens in this game.
You play as Lee Everett, a convicted murderer who finds himself as the protector of an orphaned little girl named Clementine. As you encounter other survivors, you’ll end up making decisions down the line that have dire repercussions for your group members. But the worst part (yet simultaneously the best) is that you develop a connection with the characters in your party. So, when those bad things start to happen, you’ll feel like it was your friend that you just saw get eaten alive rather than a mere video game character. People will die, the unexpected will happen, and decisions will need to be made. And you’ll just have to live with the consequences.
2. Resident Evil HD Remaster
Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360
The thing that the original Resident Evil still gets right that so many other zombie games miss is the abject loneliness of being one of the only people with a pulse within a several mile radius. That dreadful desolation remains perfectly intact in Resident Evil HD Remaster, which is actually a slightly modernized version of the Resident Evil GameCube remake that came out in 2002. Don’t get us wrong, the 2015 re-remake could have done more (those pre-rendered backgrounds are looking a bit blurry these days) but what is there remains a seminal survival horror classic.
Far from sliding into a high spot on our list through nostalgia alone, the Resident Evil remake is one of the greatest zombie games in large part because of the interesting way it thinks about the undead. Especially what to do with one that you think has stopped moving for good. You’ll want to make sure by putting zombies down with a headshot or burning their corpse afterwards, because otherwise it could rise again later on as the hideously powerful horror called a “crimson head.” Just saying the name is shiver-inducing.
1. The Last of Us
Available on: PS4, PS3
Almost six years after earning our top spot for Game of the Year for 2013, The Last of Us remains best zombie game ever made. It takes you on a dangerous cross-country journey through an overgrown, largely post-human United States. In addition to mushroom-brained zombies that are waiting to rip your jugular out with their teeth, the world is filled with desperate gun-toting survivalists, a repressive government, and savage rebel groups. And best of all, you get to do the whole thing with a snarky teenage girl alternately making fun of you and saving your life.
Joel and Ellie’s quest is as dark as it is tense. The dilapidated, creepy environments set the perfect tone for the stealth/survival gameplay that cranks up the suspense to almost unbearable levels. This isn’t your typical go-in-guns-blazing zombie game. You’ll have to sneak past stronger foes, conserve your ammo, and scavenge for supplies. The action-packed moments let you feel every bone-crushing, face-smashing blow, and the dramatic scenes are just as emotionally engaging. If you’re looking for the ultimate zombie survival experience, The Last of Us is by far the best you’re going to get.
Still combing through (virtual) Egypt in Assassin’s Creed Origins? Chances are, then, there are still a couple of things that need polishing off before you can say you’re done and dusted in Giza and beyond. Chief among them is where to find all of the Assassin’s Creed Origins Stone Circles. It’s not an easy task, to say the least – but we’re on hand every step of the way when it comes to completing the Stone Circle locations, especially as they offer up some of the series’ most touching scenes (no spoilers here, don’t worry!)
All 12 Assassin’s Creed Origins Stone Circle locations are found down below. So, if you’re having trouble, simply go through this page to help keep track of the dozen areas you need to complete the challenge. Just make sure you have started the level five quest Bayek’s Promise in Siwa before even beginning to attempt this challenge, as it’ll handily show you the first Stone Circle location and task you with finding the other 11.
1. Amun – Siwa (can’t miss as part of Bayek’s Promise Quest) 2. Apis – Isolated Desert 3. Goat Fish – Isolated Desert 4. The Divine Lion – Iment Nome 5. The Great Twins – White Desert Oasis 6. Hathor – Ka-Khem Nome 7. Horus – Uab Nome 8. Osiris – Quattara Depression 9. Pisces – Faiyum 10. The Scales – Uab Nome 11. Serqet – Iment Nome 12. Taweret – Faiyum
Once you’ve found them all, head back to the same place as the first stone circle back in Siwa to complete your quest and earn your XP. And, I’m not spoiling anything, but you might want to go and check under the Great Sphinx in Giza. Just, y’know, to make sure nothing has changed…
Dota 2 is hard, but there’s a huge reward for those who commit. On the surface, the game is a like-for-like reproduction of the genre-creating (and still updated) Defense of the Ancients modification for Warcraft III, now transferred into Valve’s Source engine. The game’s punishing design is sometimes enough to drive you up the wall, but it’s worth sticking the hours in: success in Dota 2 is about learning to effectively juggle both the broad strokes and finer details.
If you’re not aware of the basics of the burgeoning MOBA genre, two teams of five players spawn on corners of a map. Each team needs to work together with the goal of ultimately destroying a central structure–in Dota 2’s case, the Ancient–in the opposing team’s base. With most games lasting around the 40-minute mark, and occasionally edging past an hour, watching the enemy fortress dramatically crumble and sink to the ground feels like an exhilarating payoff.
Aiding these two teams, named the Radiant and the Dire, are waves of AI assistants, called creeps. Batches of creeps spawn at 30-second intervals and charge merrily up the map’s three pathways. In the clumps of remaining land lies a jungle, where numerous AI opponents spawn, offering lucrative benefits to players who take them on successfully. Finally, and in a bid to stop both teams from simply marching into one another’s base, each team gets three powerful towers on each lane that easily shred through enemy players at the start of the game.
Your individual ability to control and affect the rhythm of the game comes from how well you handle your hero. You mostly control a single unit in Dota 2, though there are exceptions: some heroes can summon controllable allies, such as bears, gargoyle babies, or wolves; one exceptionally versatile hero can split into three; and one item lets you take control of certain creeps. For each rule in Dota 2’s impressive house-of-cards design, there’s usually at least one character who completely ignores it, or finds a way around it via one of 130-odd items available from the in-match shop. For instance, try negating magic attacks with the black king bar, returning damage with the blade mail, or pounding out two ultimate abilities in quick succession with a refresher orb.
The aim for most players is to accumulate as much gold and experience as possible, with income being delivered mostly by scoring the killing blow on enemy creeps and players. It’s almost always easier to gang up on stray enemies as a group, which is why it’s rarely a good idea to run about on your own. Then it’s a case of splashing all your hard-earned money on some ultra-powerful items from the shop, while levelling up your base stats and abilities, and then clobbering the enemy team into submission via a few five-versus-five team fights. Rarely does it feel that simple, however.
At the time of writing, 102 of the original Dota’s 112 heroes have made their way into the sequel. Each hero has a handful of unique abilities and generally works best in a specific role, such as supporting other players as Omniknight, roaming around the map looking for opportunistic kills as Spirit Breaker, or evolving throughout the course of the game into an all-powerful vehicle of carnage and destruction as Phantom Assassin.
There’s only one map, unlike in many other MOBA titles, although Valve has not ruled out the addition of more over time, and has previously offered game-changing modes with seasonal events at Halloween and Christmas. But Dota 2’s single sprawling map sets itself apart from the competition by being larger, more intricate, and packed with greater detail than the rest of the genre. Unlike in League of Legends, the jungle area is riddled with far more tangling pathways, the lanes feature additional shops selling exclusive items, and savvy players are given more opportunities to use the environment to hide, flee, and ambush their opponents.
There are multiple layers of additional information that become increasingly relevant as you invest more time in the game. How do you effectively divide your forces? When should your team attempt to vanquish Roshan, the map’s most powerful creep? What are runes? What’s the significance of the fact that creeps get slightly stronger every seven and a half minutes?
Often the game’s dizzying scale is seen as off-putting or simply too complex, but the truth of Dota is that it can be entertaining as a new player to just sit down and let all those extraneous factors play out around you. Getting down to the brass tacks of the game with a group of like-minded friends is a lot of fun: start by buying your characters’ recommended items, try your best not to get caught out of position, and get into the habit of buying observer wards. And watch out for Riki.
As you’d expect from Valve, this is a beautifully presented game, with the Half-Life and Portal maker running victory laps around its competition in terms of UI, voice acting, and showing how to deftly add real personality to its characters. Only recently has the developer turned its attention to gently easing new players into the proceedings, however, and even now, mastering the basics feels like learning to swim by jumping in at the deep end. Efforts are being made to remedy this, though: right now there are a couple of tutorial levels, some well-designed AI bots, and a newbie playlist that restricts hero selection to just 20 of the most frequently picked characters. And with community-created hero guides now built directly into the game itself, Dota 2 is much easier to get started with than it has been in the past.
Play a match every evening for a couple of weeks, and you start to see how Dota 2’s wealth of disparate systems and mechanics combine into their own harmony, and you begin to understand how there are hundreds of elements that affect the game. Dota 2 is a tense war of accumulation and attrition. The biggest problem, which is coincidentally where the real excitement of the game lies, comes from struggling to process and interpret dozens upon dozens of mitigating circumstances while simultaneously trying to keep your cool.
It is a complicated and exhausting game, and for the first few weeks, it’s challenging just keeping up with the general rhythm of a match. But invest enough time into Dota 2, and you develop an almost unconscious ability to keep up with the game–performing actions such as sending the slightly fiddly in-game courier over to the faraway “secret” shop to get some rare items, for instance. After a couple of hundred hours of Dota 2, what once felt like spinning plates just happens automatically.
Late-night Skype calls, drawn-out conversations down at the pub, and lost lunch breaks follow. Very few games can withstand so many emotionally charged discussions. When everything goes south, the psychological toll can be surprisingly intense, and this is very much a game with the power to both start and end close friendships. Dota 2 is an overwhelming, intoxicating, and emotionally dangerous game that can quite easily take over your entire gaming life.
While Dota 2 has transferred the core of the original Dota into a cleaner, modern engine, the fact remains that losing is uniquely painful. Death in Dota 2 not only gives your opponent money, but robs you of some of your own and leaves you waiting up to a minute to respawn. By the time you’ve trudged back across the game’s massive map–or spent money on a teleportation scroll–your opponent is now stronger and richer. Die two or three times in quick succession, which is easily done, and a match of Dota becomes a painful experience where you spend the next half hour getting bullied by an increasingly superior enemy. Other games in the genre have tried to mitigate this punishment, but Dota 2 positively revels in its complexities. The rich just get richer.
Occasionally there are big, beautiful reversals that turn into plucky underdog stories to be shared on forums and between friends, but for the most part, a team that starves its opposition of money and experience wins the game. Dota 2 ups the ante even further by featuring the concept of denying–one of its most divisive features, and one of the chief distinctions between Dota 2 and Riot’s League of Legends–which is when you purposefully kill off your own creeps, allies, and structures so that the enemy team doesn’t get the experience or gold.
A tense game is always going to be exhilarating, of course, though the game’s matchmaking system often feels like a weak link. The gargantuan task of bucketing groups of players into balanced matches in a game that requires both individual and group skills is understandably challenging, but too many matches feel a bit lopsided–either an effortless stomp or a painfully inevitable defeat. Hopefully the influx of new blood over the coming months will help smooth out these bumps.
Valve has poured considerable effort into building Dota 2’s powerful client, however, and this impressive platform can sometimes help take the sting out of defeat. This is a free-to-play game, but it’s one which sets itself apart by being an unquestionably fair one: every hero is immediately available to all players, unlike in League of Legends, and real-money purchases of weapons, hats, and armour are purely cosmetic. Following Team Fortress 2‘s lead, the game also regularly drops tempting crates that can be unlocked with keys costing a couple of bucks. At the end of each game, players are subjected to a showering of random loot drops, and it’s easily possible to notch up hundreds of items just by playing normally for six months.
Dota 2’s extensive customisation offers new taunts, announcers (Half-Life 2‘s Dr Kleiner is a particular highlight), and HUD skins, with many of these items created and voted into the game by the community. Passes to watch pro matches live from the in-game client can also be purchased, and Dota 2’s suite of options to spectate matches (with incorporated commentary) are undoubtedly the envy of every other MOBA developer on the planet. This is a free-to-play game that feels generous, with profits being dished out to item creators and the eSports teams, and Valve is already in the habit of running seasonal events that award you with heaps of new items.
The original Dota was an unexpectedly powerful blend of clashing genres and disparate elements that ended up taking over the world, and Valve’s successor retains the original rules and characters while adding in a cheery free-to-play model and slick production values. The experience of playing Dota changes day by day–some evenings will be exhilarating, while others will kick your morale to the curb–but there are few games as worthy of your time investment as this. Those who choose to commit to Dota 2 will find many happy hours within this immaculate update.