Yakuza 6: The Song Of Life Review: A Hard Boiled Old Boy

The Yakuza franchise is over a decade old, and in that time, its feature set has predictably grown. Over six mainline entries, free-roam areas became more substantial, additional playable protagonists were introduced, combat mechanics were expanded to incorporate multiple fighting styles, and more and more minigames were steadily piled on. Surprisingly, the latest installment goes the other way, discarding components that certainly won’t go unnoticed by series devotees. But that doesn’t end up being a bad thing, because Yakuza 6: The Song of Life successfully uses its smaller footprint to create a deeper, more meaningful impression.

The final installment in Kazuma Kiryu’s story focuses on him alone, with the plot seeing the large cast of series-significant characters like Majima, Saejima, Daigo, and the children of Sunflower Orphanage make only the briefest of appearances before being tidied away. Adopted daughter Haruka, sympathetic detective Date, and hobo-turned-loan broker Akiyama play important parts, but exist on the fringes. The Song of Life centers on Kiryu as he returns from another long stint in prison, separated from the Tojo Clan, and unravels the mystery of an infant who’s suddenly come into his care. The setup distinctly echoes the events of the first game, a seemingly purposeful decision which lets The Song Of Life act as a fitting refrain, giving Kiryu’s final sojourn a roundness that brings a nice sense of closure to his series arc.

His investigations bring him to the port town of Onomichi, Hiroshima, where he encounters a lowly blue-collar crime family led by an aging, but supposedly legendary yakuza portrayed by Takeshi “Beat” Kitano (a yakuza film icon in his own right, though his subtle mannerisms don’t completely survive the transition). While the game unsurprisingly spirals into a complex and dramatic story involving underworld political alliances, age-old conspiracies, and a healthy dose of deception, what’s ultimately memorable are the threads and character developments that explore what becomes a very significant, widespread theme: family. Kiryu’s time meeting new people from different walks of life in a closely-knit small town has him reflecting on remarkably ordinary ideas as they exist in different facets of society–bonds of friendship in the face of adversity, loyalty in times of uncertainty, and caring for your ward as a parental figure.

These themes resonate consistently throughout the better part of Yakuza 6’s narrative, and this includes the numerous, optional substories. You’ll help children and parents resolve conflicts and try to understand each other’s point of view. You’ll see Kiryu finding true strength and loyalty in the smallest of gestures, along with the different ways friends and strangers can support one another. The writing in these stories is often corny, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an endearing sincerity that regularly shines through. When the sentimental piano melody kicks in during pivotal scenes of moralistic resolution, it’s hard not to be swept up by it all. The series’ penchant for goofiness still exists, though it doesn’t return to Yakuza 0’s ludicrous levels of absurdity. Particularly memorable substories are ones which humorously explore Kiryu’s unfamiliarity and disdain towards modern technology like drones, robot vacuums, and YouTubers. But even the game’s most comedic series of quests, which involve Kiryu dressing up as Onomichi’s adorable character mascot (who has an orange for a head and a fish for a purse) ends up becoming a touching reflection about having loyalty in town pride.

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These heartwarming stories are also a key component of Yakuza 6’s new minigames. There are less of these side activities than previous entries, but much of what’s included is more robust than usual, and in many cases, the substories attached to them are enjoyable enough to stop the simple mechanics from wearing thin too quickly. Spear Fishing is a score-based on-rails shooter that finds Kiryu helping an injured fisherman and orphaned fishmonger track down the shark that ruined their lives. The Onomichi Baseball League involves some light team management, pinch-hitting, and player scouting, but the story of Kiryu rallying a team of no-hopers is what really makes the whole affair great. The Snack Bar minigame stands out as a real highlight in this regard. It involves attempting to become a regular in a small, Cheers-style local’s bar where Kiryu tries to forge personal relationships with a group of relatively unextraordinary, blue-collar folk. Its key mechanic is participating in group conversations where one patron has a vent about their woes, and Kiryu’s role is to help provide supportive dialogue and refrain from saying anything selfish or dumb. It’s lovely to see Kiryu try to resolve everyday, down-to-earth dilemmas and provide genuine acceptance and friendship.

Conversely, there’s the incredibly involved Clan Creator Mode, which sees Kiryu unwittingly intervening in a war between youth gangs (whose leaders include real-world New Japan Pro Wrestlers, because why not). Taking leadership of one of these groups, you’ll help Kiryu scout for soldiers, organize hierarchy, and participate in simple, real-time strategy-style street battles. You’ll take a bird’s eye view in skirmishes, where you can dispatch autonomous grunts as well as a limited number of leader characters with special abilities. Clan Creator is Yakuza 6’s most substantial minigame, boasting online network functions that let you compete against other players, tackle daily missions and participate in a ranked ladder. Unfortunately, it’s also the most tedious to play. Victory strategies stem entirely from massing as many troops as possible and grinding missions to keep your leaders at a capable level. Battles don’t really become challenging until the many substory missions are already done, and even then, the strategy more or less stays identical. For a mode with such ambitious scope, its mechanics and relatively uninspired plot–which mainly seems concerned with spotlighting its celebrity guests–aren’t satisfying enough to make the long ride enjoyable.

Elsewhere, the Club Sega arcade once again offers playable classics like Super Hang-On and Outrun, but there’s also complete, multiplayer-capable versions of puzzle action favorite Puyo Puyo, and the seminal Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown, both robust offerings in their own right. Mahjong is back, a gym offers track-and-field-style minigames for above average experience gains, karaoke and a cat cafe provide enjoyable distractions, and a simple-to-master darts minigame features a substory that lets you take on a real-world darts legend.

Yakuza 6 also maintains the series convention of including more titillating pursuits. Cabaret clubs return, with a choice of six hostesses for Kiryu to woo through conversation minigames. Also notable is the particularly risque Live Chat, a minigame which sees you pay money to watch live-action webcam shows (featuring real-world AV idols, no less), while hitting button prompts to progress to the point where you can watch the models strip their clothes off and moan suggestively. The unambiguous objectification of women in these minigames continues to make their inclusion uncomfortable in their own right. Their presence does truthfully reflect prominent parts of the real-world Japanese nightlife and adult industries, but these kinds of minigames have always perpetuated an unbelievable inconsistency of character for Kiryu. There’s a conflict between the canonical depiction of him as a strong, stoic, honorable saint, and a version who is a creepy, bumbling pervert. After ten years, it’s still hard to believe Kiryu is someone looking to build a harem as big as the orphanage he owns, who madly exclaims “BOOOBS” and “IT’S GROWING” when a woman takes her top off. These activities do have their moments, though–the text-based quips of Live Chat participants can sometimes be laugh-out-loud funny, and courting hostesses mean you get to see additional, phenomenally good karaoke videos. But in the grand scheme of Yakuza 6, where heartfelt themes pervade all of Kiryu’s character interactions, these minigames feel like distant outliers.

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The iconic red-light district of Kamurocho still plays a big part in the story, though it has a noticeably smaller area size this time around. You’ll still feel at home if you’ve visited the area before, but there is a significantly disappointing lack of access to the Champion District and Park Boulevard areas. However, the distinct sense of a vibrant, bustling city still remains, and that’s amplified by what feels like a more detailed and densely populated world. Walking around in the first-person mode is enough for you to appreciate all the surface level intricacies and changes, and there’s a new element of verticality with increased rooftop access. But there are also some great advancements in the way the city invites you to engage with it.

Yakuza 6 now rewards you for interacting with the world in a way that previous games didn’t. Eating at the game’s many restaurants, which was previously really only worth doing if you needed a health boost, is now the most convenient way to rack up experience points to spend in the game’s extensive upgrade system, though you’re limited by a new stomach capacity meter. Purchasing and drinking beverages from one of the numerous vending machines around the world will give you cheap, temporary combat buffs. Every mini-game, from the batting cages to playing a round of Space Harrier will also earn you experience. The result is that slowing down and taking your time to soak in the atmosphere of the city will benefit you, and the world is no longer just a pretty path for you to run down to get to your next objective. Now, you don’t necessarily have to feel guilty for letting yourself be distracted by Mahjong for hours.

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Onomichi, Hiroshima is a region that is larger than previous accompanying locales have been, although the sleepy port town is a much quieter, more unassuming area than Kamurocho. Situated by the seaside, cute greenery arrangements line its single-story businesses, an above-ground train splits the area, and narrow pedestrian walkways snake up the steep hills, leading to an impressive temple with spectacular views. It’s a charming, authentic-feeling recreation of the more tranquil parts of Japan, which both you and Kiryu learn to cherish. The town’s relaxed atmosphere and characters exemplify the Song of Life’s wholehearted themes.

Of course, in order to keep that tranquillity, sometimes you need to pound a few dirtbags into the ground, and the game’s updated combat system follows its philosophy of slimming and focussing. Gone are the variable fighting disciplines introduced in Yakuza 0–the Kiryu of Yakuza 6 is equipped only with an expanded version of his signature brawling style, perhaps another refrain to the series’ beginnings. It still maintains its characteristic weight and rigidity, but there are additional factors that make the act of fighting feel more fluid than it’s been in the past, turning encounters as a whole into more dynamic and exciting experiences.

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Enemy mobs are larger in The Song of Life, and crowd control takes a more prominent focus because of that. Set-piece fights that make up central story moments regularly see Kiryu and his companions go up against dozens upon dozens of enemies at once–a ratio that is frequently amusing. As a result, the properties of Kiryu’s attacks have been altered. His throwing maneuver swings a victim around before letting them fly. Each combo string now allows him to execute two finishing blows as a default, and the second typically lunges forward with a wide attack radius. Starting a hard-hitting combo with some wise positioning means that Kiryu can feel like a human wrecking ball as he cleaves and plows through a group of assailants. You can frequently create domino effects that send enemies crashing into each other, and thanks to the game’s new physics engine, into environmental objects like rows of bicycles, through glass windows, and potentially, into stores and restaurants.

That’s the most significant change to combat–it now benefits from seamless transitions between world exploration and battles. Getting into a fight on the street no longer means coming to a jarring halt for a few seconds while a splash screen pops and civilians gather to restrict you to a small area. Fights now have the potential to move through the city and into areas like stairwells, rooftops, convenience stores, restaurants, and a handful of other accessible building interiors. It also means you have the opportunity to make a break for it if you’re not in the mood to throw down. The dynamism and uninterrupted flow this gives to Yakuza’s combat is a real wonder, and means that random battles are less likely to eventually devolve into monotony, as they could in past games. You could be strolling down the street, leisurely drinking a can of Boss coffee or taking a selfie in front of the cat cafe, and a gang of thugs can suddenly interrupt you, forcing you into a tight stairway brawl that eventually spills out onto a rooftop. Or, you might try to run and hide in a convenience store, unsuccessfully, and find yourself destroying shelves and sending snacks flying until you put an end to the chaos by slamming a thug’s head into a microwave–just don’t expect the clerk to serve you afterward. Combat in Yakuza 6 is exciting, and the situations you might find yourself in positively echo the kinds of scrappy, tense struggles you see so commonly in East Asian gangster films.

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Another sticking point is one that’s been present in all of the game’s iterations–the inconsistent visual presentation. While the scenes that deliver pivotal plot events are absolutely spectacular–with uncannily lifelike character models, dramatic cinematography, and exceptional Japanese language performances–scenes that present lesser moments, like substories, are a dramatic drop in quality. As in previous games, they feature far less detailed character models and wooden, sometimes non-existent animation. Static camera angles also play a big part in aggravating their dullness. Substories make up a significant part of Yakuza games, so the low-end visuals continue to be an unfortunate blemish. Yakuza 6 is also entirely voice-acted for the first time in the series, and because the performances go a long way in enhancing the humorous and earnest moments these missions can contain, it’s a shame that the presentation doesn’t go to the same efforts.

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Yakuza 6 reins in its scope, but doubles down on what has made the series great. It’s a unique and fascinating representation of the modern Japanese experience, worth playing even if you’re a newcomer. The narrative is dramatic and sincere, and the game’s endearing characters–coming from all walks of life–are interesting studies. The world is dense and rewarding to exist in, the dynamic combat system stays exciting even after you’ve kicked the crap out of five thousand enemies, and perhaps most importantly, Yakuza 6: The Song Of Life serves as a fulfilling conclusion to the turbulent, decade-long saga of its beloved icon, Kazuma Kiryu.

from GameSpot https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/yakuza-6-the-song-of-life-review-a-hard-boiled-old/1900-6416875/


Tomb Raider Review: The New Lara Croft Is Here To Stay

The new Tomb Raider is a pretty good action movie and a better than average video game adaptation, with a stunning performance from Oscar winner Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft. What really elevates it, though, are a couple of extremely specific story and design decisions that set it apart from all its contemporaries, from Indiana Jones and Uncharted to past Tomb Raider games and movies.

To say exactly where the story goes that makes Tomb Raider so unique would be a spoiler, but let’s just say it stays surprisingly grounded.

That’s a word you can apply to more or less the whole movie. Much of the action is heightened to unbelievable proportions, though no more so than in the 2013 Tomb Raider game, which was widely praised for its “gritty realism.” The movie is a direct adaptation of that game, and it more than does it justice, even surpassing it in many ways.

Like the 2013 game (which itself was a major series reboot), the 2018 Tomb Raider movie follows a younger, less experienced Lara Croft in an origin story that sees her transforming by necessity into the skilled adventurer who gamers know and love. The film does a great job providing plausible explanations for Lara’s many talents; as a young bicycle courier and amateur MMA fighter in London, Lara has the reflexes and athleticism she’ll later use to scale rock walls and parkour her way through ancient tombs. And Vikander totally sells every punch, leap, and plunge, her amazingly chiseled muscles flexing and straining impressively throughout the movie.

Lara’s father, Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West), has been missing for several years when we catch up with her in the movie. But she hasn’t yet signed the papers that would give her control of his vast business empire and wealthy estate, out of a combination of determined independence and a stubborn refusal to admit he really isn’t coming back. When she discovers new clues to where he disappeared to, she pawns what little she has (to a very funny Nick Frost) and hurls herself headlong in search of him.

That means heading to coastal Asia, where she tracks down (a little too easily, but whatever) the same boat that her dad chartered seven years earlier. She convinces the captain, Lu Ren (the underused but great Daniel Wu), to take her to the dangerous Devil’s Sea, where her father’s been stranded alongside the ruthless mercenary Mathias Vogel (the perfectly despicable Walton Goggins).

Tomb Raider suffers slightly from trying to cram too much in. It’s stuffed full of action sequences, at least one of which probably should have been cut (the early chase scene where some kids rob her, maybe?). There’s a cold open featuring her dad’s voiceover explaining the mythology of the deadly Japanese goddess Himiko as maps and etchings scroll by on the screen, a tedious info dump that, incredibly, is then repeated later in the film when she uncovers all his research. And while the movie spends plenty of time establishing Lara as a character, it spends considerably less on the villain, Vogel, who remains fairly two-dimensional despite some quick lines about wanting to get off the island and see his family again.

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Any empathy you might have felt for Vogel is derailed when he compares Lara to his daughters while being extremely creepy toward her. Thankfully, Lara is never explicitly threatened with sexual violence in this movie, which you might consider an improvement from some of the game’s more ambiguous scenes. On the other hand, when a lone young woman is being hunted and restrained by multiple beefy, exclusively male bad guys, the implication–the possibility it might happen, despite it being unstated–remains. Some viewers might find it disappointing that Tomb Raider doesn’t totally overcome that subtext, while others will simply consider it realistic.

But even when this movie threatens to sink in some areas, Vikander buoys the whole thing up admirably. The Ex Machina and The Danish Girl actress clearly put an incredible amount of physical work into making this character believable. It paid off in action scenes that feel just possible enough, even when they verge on unbelievable. Many of these, including a harrowing trip down river rapids toward a towering waterfall, are ripped straight from the game, to which the movie owes a great deal. Seeing them play out onscreen is fun for game fans, but they’re not done simply for the sake of lip service, and non-gaming moviegoers should be just as engrossed.

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Vikander also brings her considerable emotional range to the role, lending Lara the right amounts of vulnerability and raw feeling when required. Her ability to switch from a young woman who misses her father to a stealthy bow-wielding killing machine–and back again, multiple times–is impressive.

Her general skepticism, too, plays a huge part in grounding this movie in reality. She finds it just as implausible as you or I would that an ancient Queen of Death is going to spring out of her tomb and murder everyone on the planet; Lara isn’t there to stop the curse, but to find and/or rescue her father, who she believes is at least partially insane for believing Himiko poses a real threat to the world. That aspect of her character pays off effectively by the movie’s end, and it’s one of the things that most sets this incarnation of Tomb Raider apart.

Maybe the weirdest thing about this movie–good or bad–is how closely it follows the plot of one predecessor in the “archaeological adventure” genre, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In each movie, a reluctant, skeptical adventurer uses their missing father’s research to track him down, inadvertently delivering that research directly into the hands of ruthless foes. They then must temporarily team up with said enemies to ensure their father’s safety, using the research to pass a series of booby-trapped trials and reach a mythical something-or-other deep in the bowels of a long lost temple.

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Tomb Raider holds up well on its own–and next to the 2013 game on which it’s based–but understandably, it can’t really compare with the classic movie it copies most heavily. This juxtaposition winds up especially unfavorable for Tomb Raider when you realize that unlike Indiana Jones, Lara Croft has no iconic (or even recognizable) theme music. This movie has plenty of fist pump moments, but you’ll eventually realize they’re not as impactful without that memorable “dun-dun-dun-duhhh!”

Nevertheless, Tomb Raider is a great video game adaptation and a decent action movie on its own, elevated by smart story choices and a winning performance from Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft. Here’s hoping she’s down for a sequel.

The Good The Bad
Alicia Vikander is fantastic as Lara Croft Lack of iconic music
Movie stays surprisingly grounded Some characters could be better fleshed out
Action and fight scenes are well done Too many info dump scenes
The right amount of game references and homage

from GameSpot https://www.gamespot.com/articles/tomb-raider-review-the-new-lara-croft-is-here-to-s/1100-6457110/

Attack on Titan 2 Review: Colossal Action

Far from being a mere video game adaptation of the anime, Attack on Titan 2 stands strongly as a character-driven action-RPG in its own right, with rewarding combat that feels fluid and fast and a story that’s equal parts charming and shocking. While it shares many similarities with the first game in the series, Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom, the sequel feels like a better package overall with a cleaner visual style and tighter combat. Despite its story taking some time to really dig its anchors in, it gets there and then some, entrancing you all the way until the closing of the final chapter.

Based on the second season of the popular anime series, the story puts you at the center of the conflict between humanity and Titans–a race of giant, people-eating humanoids that one day appeared out of thin air, wiping out a large percentage of the population. Forced to seek a new life behind three huge walls built to keep the Titans out, humanity tried to rebuild, but the Titans managed to find a way through. Faced with extinction, it’s up to you and the rest of the military to stop them.

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After creating a character–who, if you choose a woman, will still be weirdly referred to as “our man” by the game’s narrator–the game opens with you joining the military cadets and becoming a part of the 104th Cadet Corps. The first few hours cover the same ground as Wings of Freedom, putting you through military training and effectively re-living the events of the first game, albeit in a more condensed setting. Also, each character is voiced in Japanese, so you’ll rely on subtitles to keep on top of things.

The plot closely follows the anime, so fans are already familiar with what’s going on. But it’s a story that will pull you in, hard, though not without its fair share of melodrama. While much of the early game feels a little dragged down by some excessive exposition, you come to appreciate those sequences later on, particularly as characters you grow to like face death in shocking ways. Not that the game is overly violent–although the Bloodborne-esque spatter from killing a Titan is pretty messy–it’s more that the characters grow on you over time. Watching them struggle through the Titan invasion becomes less of a drudge and more an emotional rollercoaster.

The game is made up of numerous large combat areas and some smaller, peaceful hubs where you can go about your daily life: upgrading weapons, buying materials, and maintaining friendships that grant you different equippable skills that can upgrade your stats. While not all that interesting visually, the hub areas serve as a good bookend between each battle, as well as a chance to debrief with the other characters about the last mission and your next moves.

The larger, more-open combat zones, which vary from green valleys and large towns to snowy, abandoned villages and giant forests, are far more interesting to move through. A big part of what makes the movement so vital and exciting is your omni-directional mobility gear, or ODM for short. The ODM gear fires anchors into a distant object like a house, a tree or even a Titan, and with the help of two side-loaded gas canisters, thrusts you along the ground and up into the air. It can get a little janky; sometimes you’ll catch the underside of a roof or hit a cliff face that’ll halt your momentum. But more often than not, gliding through buildings or between giant trees feels effortlessly satisfying.

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Similarly great is the combat, which manages to feel faster and better paced than it did in Wings of Freedom. Titans can only be taken down by slicing out the nape of their necks. You have to fire your anchors into any one of five spots on a Titan you can lock onto, circle around it in mid-air, and then launch at it, swinging your blades wildly. It can feel a little clumsy at first, but within an hour I was dodging attacks in the air and flinging between Titans like it was nothing. The rapid switching of targets and close calls while maneuvering between enemies during a fight never loses its allure, only getting more intense as the story builds.

The Titans themselves are the true stars here. With their ridiculous grins, ambling movements and saggy butts, they look amazingly creepy. On higher difficulty levels, the Titans become faster and more aggressive. Their limbs flail impishly as they freely counter your attacks, flick off ODM anchors like they’re swatting flies, and pick fellow Scouts out of the air. Moments like this amp up the intensity tenfold, especially when you’re caught between responding to an urgent request for help or going to the aid of someone who’s been grabbed by a Titan. It’s hard not to feel the pressure in the moment, and it’s great.

Despite its slow start, Attack on Titan 2 offers exciting gameplay along with a deep and intriguing plot that, melodrama aside, tugs on the heart strings. It’s well-paced and offers some impressive spaces to move through. The unique combination of the movement and combat mechanics combines with a gripping story to make Attack on Titan 2 one of the more surprising releases of the year.

from GameSpot https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/attack-on-titan-2-review-colossal-action/1900-6416878/

Avengers Infinity War Trailer #2 Breakdown!

Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War official trailer #2 had us all racing to get tickets! Thanos is on a mission to collect all the Infinity Stones with help from the Black Order. Check out our breakdown to find out what you may have missed from the new trailer, including comic Easter eggs!

from GameSpot https://www.gamespot.com/videos/avengers-infinity-war-trailer-2-breakdown/2300-6443200/

Sega Teases New Sonic Racing Game News

Another Sonic racing game is possibly on the way. Following rumors that a sequel to Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed was in development, the official Sonic Twitter accounted tweeted out a brief video that seems to confirm the hedgehog is heading back to the race track.

The tweet, which you can see below, only features the words “[TOP SECRET]” along with a brief, 22-second-long video clip. The video begins with a closeup of a car’s headlight, while sounds of a revving engine can be heard in the background. The video ends with what looks like the silhouette of the game’s logo, with only the letter R visible.

The latest Sonic racing game, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, was first released back in 2012. Like its predecessor, it’s a Mario Kart-style arcade racer that features iconic characters from throughout Sega’s history. You can read more about the title in our original Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed review.

This was a big day for Sonic fans. In addition to the above tease, Sega announced Sonic Mania Plus, a physical re-release of last year’s acclaimed 2D Sonic game. On top of the existing game, Plus features new content in the form of an Encore mode and two additional playable characters: Mighty and Ray. Sega also announced a partnership with Puma to sell Sonic-inspired sneakers.

from GameSpot https://www.gamespot.com/articles/sega-teases-new-sonic-racing-game-news/1100-6457484/

Sonic Mania Plus Adds New Characters And Modes On Switch, PS4, And Xbox One

Sonic Mania, last year’s acclaimed entry in the Sonic series, is finally set to get a physical release. Sega has revealed Sonic Mania Plus, a physical re-release of the existing game that packs in some brand-new content.

Among the new features are two new playable characters, Mighty and Ray. There’s also a new Encore mode and an expanded version of the four-player competition mode where you go head-to-head with other players. This was all shared during a Sonic panel at SXSW and then teased on Twitter, so we don’t yet know all the details.

Sonic Mania Plus will be available in a physical package this summer for Switch, PS4, and Xbox One. That’s notable, as the only physical version of Mania was the Collector’s edition (which came with a digital copy of the game itself). This new Plus version includes holographic packaging, a 32-page art book, and a reversible cover that makes the game look like it’s for Genesis.

Other news that is sure to excite Sonic fans is a partnership with PUMA to sell Sonic-inspired sneakers and–more notably–a teaser for something related to Sonic All-Stars Racing. Whether this turns out to be a remaster, a full-on sequel, or something else remains to be seen.

from GameSpot https://www.gamespot.com/articles/sonic-mania-plus-adds-new-characters-and-modes-on-/1100-6457485/