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Square Enix dropped a new Left Alive trailer today, the newest game in the Front Mission universe that seems to be incredibly influenced by the Metal Gear Solid games. The title features multiple protagonists, survivors of a major military excursion in the city of Novo Slava, and interweaves the story between them, which the trailer does its best to show off.
You can check out the Survivors trailer below.
You also get a pretty good look at both the on-foot and mech gameplay of Left Alive, the first games of its type with the more strategy-based other Front Mission games. If the art reminds you of Metal Gear Solid as well, that's because Yoji Shinkawa of Metal Gear fame designed the characters.
Left Alive will be releasing on March 5 on PlayStation 4 and PC.
Is Ion for real? He thinks that increased rewards will bring alliance back into warmode, when the vast majority of alliance have forgotten that warmode even exists?
This kind of measure is too little too late. A few alliance may turn on warmode, find themselves getting facing repeated 10v1 situations and then turn it off again.
Some time ago we made a hotfix to War Mode which enforces all War Mode shards that have both Alliance and Horde in them to have a stricter, more even ratio. We’ve been monitoring the results and so far we’ve noticed a significant improvement in “fair and balanced” shards. So much so that it’s safe to say that if you are Alliance, and you see Horde in the outdoor world in War Mode, you are a relatively even horde to alliance ratio shard. There are some rare exceptions, such as when a raid of 40 players enter a zone. It may take a bit for the “shard manager” to compensate and balance the shard.
We do have some plans in store in Tides of Vengeance (Patch 8.1) to entice the underrepresented faction with greater rewards to increase participation and create more active Horde/Allianced mixed War Mode shards. The intent of those rewards is not to give the underrepresented faction some “compensation” for being outnumbered in a War Mode shard (since that really can’t happen anymore).
We're also looking forward to what you all think about the Incursions in War Mode for 8.1, since it brings Horde and Alliance to the same location which should create some pretty fun skirmishes.
Raid Testing Schedule - November 15th - 19th
Testing is open for both factions. However, for some bosses, raid members will temporarily re-live events as the opposite faction using a story flashback.
Thursday, November 15th
Stormwall Blockade - Heroic Battle of Dazar'alor
13:00 PST (16:00 EST, 22:00 CET)
Jaina - Heroic Battle of Dazar'alor
14:00 PST (17:00 EST, 23:00 CET)
Friday, November 16th
Opulence - Mythic Battle of Dazar'alor
13:00 PST (16:00 EST, 22:00 CET)
King Rastakhan - Mythic Battle of Dazar'alor
14:00 PST (17:00 EST, 23:00 CET)
Siege of Dazar'alor/Defense of Dazar'alor Raid Finder
16:00 PST (19:00 EST, 1:00 CET)
As always, this testing schedule is very fluid and subject to the realities of a test environment. We might have to change the time of a testing session, change the bosses being tested, or cancel a test entirely, due to bugs, server hardware issues, etc. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.
Q: How do I get into the raid zone?
A: In Zuldazar, Boralus, Dalaran, Orgrimmar, or Stormwind, you may speak to Nexus-Lord Donjon Rade III in order to teleport into the raid zone while it is open for testing. (The option to teleport into a zone will not be available when the zone is not open for testing.)
Several older Telltale games have been removed from sale from Steam today, following a report that Telltale Games is filing for bankruptcy. While not every game has been removed, Telltale is entering into a process that ends with the company officially closing its doors after months of being on its death bed.
According to GameDaily, Telltale has contracted an outside company, Sherwood Partners, to aid in shepherding the Northern California game developer through bankruptcy proceedings. This includes a total liquidation of all of Telltale's assets, which can include everything from office furniture to intellectual property.
As part of this, an ex-employee told GameDaily that Telltale will cease offering COBRA health insurance legally mandated to offer affected employees who are not yet receiving new health insurance on November 30. The employees laid off from Telltale also did not receive severance after their employment ended.
Older Telltale games have also disappeared from Steam while bankruptcy proceeds, such as Back to the Future and Jurassic Park. More recent games like The Walking Dead and Tales from the Borderlands are still available, however. This seems to be an issue limited to Steam, as console digital stores still have those games for sale, but it's not clear for how long this will be true.
You stand at the threshold. The great metal door shrieks inward under the weight of all that steel and lead before finally shuddering open and rolling to the side. Beacons flash and sirens wail, warning you of the fateful decision you’re about to make. After a lifetime of safety and security in your vast underground home, you’re being forced to leave, and now you’re at the brink. There’ll be no turning back once you’ve made your decision. Sucking in your breath, you summon all your courage and cross the threshold. When you emerge into the sunlight, you see for the first time, what has become of your world after the gleaming Atomic Age ended in nuclear fire.
Since its beginning, the Fallout franchise has been marked by these such occasions. A hero must leave the safety of his or her home and brave the dangers of a vast, unknown world. And with Fallout 76, Bethesda’s latest venture, the developers likewise are striking out into uncharted territory. But Fallout has never been static. Over the decades, as technology and graphics have improved, the game has changed and evolved to fit the times, but through it all, its spirit has remained intact. To truly understand this, however, first we must step out into the Wasteland.
The Dawn of a Nuclear Age
In 1988, Brian Fargo of Interplay Productions introduced the world to Wasteland, a gritty CRPG that swapped the enchanted forests popular for the day’s high-fantasy RPGs for the devastated ruins of a post-apocalyptic Arizona desert. The game followed a foursome of desert rangers, as they killed children, and blew up mutants like blood sausages, but it was innovative for another reason. Wasteland was one of the first games to let you leave a lasting impact on a persistent open world. The story was colorful with its narrative of four desert rangers stopping a deranged army general and lunatic artificial intelligence. And the humor was jet-black. With the freedom to explore, and practically every obstacle accommodating multiple playstyles, the game was, and still is, recognized as one of the greatest RPGs of all time. But when it came time for a sequel, Interplay no longer held the trademark. So, instead the team took the core pillars of Wasteland and created a new a post-apocalyptic universe that like nuclear fallout would have far more lasting power than its initial inspiration.
When Fallout launched in 1997 it took what made Wasteland memorable, and with 10 years of graphical improvements, breathed new life into the wastes. Replacing the text-based descriptions of combat, players were now treated to gristly kill animations whenever they blasted a mutant to pulp. Fully voice-acted characters mystified and repulsed players with memorable performances like that of the many voiced, Cronenbergian Master. And whether you played as a hero or villain, the game actually reflected your good (or bad) deeds with alternate endings.
But Fallout also stood apart from Wasteland with a unique retro-futuristic aesthetic and its dark, satire of post-war American culture. Set in an alternate timeline from our own, the wasteland of Fallout’s southern California is drenched in the 1950s Atomic Age aesthetic. In the game’s opening seconds, the series mascot, Vault-Boy, smiles and waves neighborly in a commercial for space in an underground nuclear fallout shelter; the ‘40s tune “Maybe” by The Ink Spots takes on a wholly sinister character against the backdrop of crumbling skyscrapers; and weapons like the plasma rifle vaporize mutants like something out of a ‘50s-era sci-fi flick.
Apart from its look, Fallout also fleshed out much of the franchise’s universe, giving us the technology-obsessed Brotherhood of Steel, the lumbering super mutant, and Ron Perlman’s “War never changes.” It sprinkled its world with a healthy dose of pop-culture references and with its standard-bearer S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system, players had an entire spectrum of playstyles at their fingertips. With this formula, Fallout set the tone for the franchise, and produced the rich lore that all other Fallout games would mutate from.
Exactly one year after Fallout’s release, Fallout 2 gave fans a wasteland twice as big to explore, a story that continued after the first, and, well, more of the same. Following the descendant of the first game’s protagonist, players once again blasted or charmed their way through the wasteland, only this time, instead of mutants, they ran afoul of the Enclave – the insidious and heavily armed remnants of the U.S. government. The game gave players more shades of gray and more hilarious dialogue options (including one memorable prank call with an Enclave officer) but apart from the new story, the game didn’t really change that much from the first. After Fallout 2, the series would actually go dormant for a time. Minus a few bizarre spinoffs (see sidebar), fans would have to wait another 10 years before their beloved series reemerged like a new hero rising from a new vault.
The Unexpected Spin-offs
After the success of the first two titles, the Fallout IP saw a weird couple of years. As Interplay shifted its focus onto other titles, the IP was handed off to a little-know Australian outfit known as Micro Forté who eschewed the first two titles and created Fallout Tactics, a tactical squad-based RPG that rewrote some of the lore and centered it around the Brotherhood of Steel. In 2003, whispers of a true successor to the Fallout series came with Black Isle’s Project Van Buren, but the increasingly troubled Interplay was forced to shut Black Isle down. Then in 2004 an even more bastardized version of the Fallout formula came with Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. The first Fallout for consoles, this game removed any whiff of open-world exploration and substituted the original games’ ‘40s-era tunes for a heavy-metal soundtrack by Slipknot and Killswitch Engage. Indeed, much like the phase between Wasteland and Fallout, fans would have to wait another 10 years after Fallout 2 before they could truly return to exploring the wasteland they called home.
Emerging into the Sunlight
In 2004, Fallout changed hands from Interplay to Bethesda Softworks, and with it the series made the great leap from isometric turn-based RPG to 3D open-world RPG. While some fans were afraid of an “Elder Scrolls with guns,” many were excited by the announcement. Brian Fargo of Wasteland fame felt they were well-suited telling us in 2007, “There are not that many companies that could take that legacy and run with it. I think they’re a great fit.”
When Fallout 3 launched in 2008, fans collectively held their breath as they emerged from the vault to witness all the blasted heath and rubble-strewn devastation of a 3D Fallout game. For the first time in the Fallout series, players could go anywhere without the restrictions of a turn-based system. Players could waltz through the mutant-infested National Mall in Washington D.C., look up at the towering Washington monument, then whip out their fatman portable nuclear bomb launcher and wipe out whole gangs of mutants in real time. V.A.T.S. allowed players to freeze time and target an enemy’s individuals body parts just like in the originals. And modding empowered fans to go in and reshape the wasteland in any way they saw fit, ensuring that the game would far outlast its initial release.
Besides the fact that it was now in 3D and in the hands of a new developer, classic Fallout was back. Though the game ended the series’ child-killing days, it didn’t matter because there was still a vast, irradiated wasteland to explore brimming with quests, gallows humor and moral conundrums. Fallout 3 even managed to do what the first games couldn’t – secure the license for The Ink Spots’ “I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire,” coloring the world in that dark ‘50s aesthetic as players explored the decaying ruins and blasted outskirts of the Capitol Wasteland. Despite an outspoken minority who decried some of Bethesda’s changes, Fallout 3 proved that the Fallout universe could not only survive but thrive in the modern console era. For every cynic the game produced, a new fan discovered the bliss that was the game’s deep character-building and sprawling, open wasteland. For bringing Fallout to the next generation, Fallout 3 won multiple game of the year awards, and guaranteed many more 3D Bethesda-made Fallout games to come.
Fallout: New Vegas
Surprisingly, though, for its next title Bethesda did the unexpected, and handed the reins over to grizzled Fallout veterans, Obsidian Entertainment for Fallout: New Vegas, a game promising all the new hardware of a Bethesda game, but with the spirit of a classic Fallout:
“For Bethesda’s games, dialogue is important,” CEO Feargus Urquhart told us back in 2010. “For our games it’s been vital. We put more energy into it automatically because it’s kind of the thing that we do, whereas they put more energy into other things.”
Returning Fallout to the West Coast, New Vegas resurrected some of the hardcore RPG elements that were missing from Fallout 3. Bringing back richer, more-branching dialogue trees that revolved around your skills, colorful new factions, and a reputation system. New Vegas was more accommodating to old school fans, and introduced new players to the original Fallout formula. With its sun-drenched, new setting in the Mojave Wasteland and highly replayable gameplay loop, New Vegas gave players hundreds of reasons to replay the game, and above all reminded many that it wasn’t just gory combat or graphics that made Fallout worth playing. Unfortunately, much of this progress would be reversed when Bethesda resumed development for the next Fallout and took the series in a new direction.
With the success of Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, fans were burning for their next post-apocalyptic fix, so when Fallout 4 finally dropped in 2015, it dropped like an atomic bomb. Selling over 12 million units at launch, Fallout 4 marked the series’ entrance into the current generation of consoles and offered much improved gunplay, base-building, and deeper crafting. With these new elements, the game made the series more accessible than ever, and brought a wider audience to the wasteland. But at the price of diluting its RPG elements, Bethesda also turned off some of its core fans.
With games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt releasing that year, Fallout 4 didn’t look like the next-gen sequel fans had been waiting for and with its last-gen engine, the game also didn’t seem to innovate much from Fallout 3. Dividing players even further was the fact that for the first time in a Fallout game, players took control of a fully voiced protagonist. And even more disconcerting, Fallout 4 did a complete 180 after New Vegas and reduced one of the series’ most memorable elements – its dialogue – to a four-button prompt. Despite its commercial success, more than ever, fans were starting to worry that Bethesda was mutating their beloved franchise into a different beast entirely with a focus on combat and not roleplaying.
Fans were already skeptical about where the franchise was going, so it didn’t help when at this year’s E3, director Todd Howard announced that Fallout would be entering the online multiplayer space with Fallout 76.
“Like many of you, we have always wanted to see what our style of game could be with multiplayer.” Howard said from atop this year’s E3 stage, “so about four years ago we hit upon an idea that’s perfect for Fallout. Open-world survival. Every person and character is real.”
Dropping players in an irradiated West Virginia four times as large as Fallout 4’s Commonwealth, for the first time ever players can explore the wasteland with friends. But in this new landscape, dialogue is dashed and exploration, combat, and looting are paramount. Monsters based on West Virginian folklore may roam the irradiated hills, but when compared to Fallout of yore, some fans have said the new Appalachia feels empty. Sure, the title has stimpaked in new content like the ability to launch a nuclear bomb at an area of the map, but much of what makes a Fallout game unique has been sacrificed for multiplayer, and this fact has not been lost on the Fallout faithful. Regardless, fans have been asking for a multiplayer Fallout for years, and with all the other single-player titles embracing multiplayer like Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto Online and Bioware’s upcoming Anthem, now is the ideal time for Fallout to test the waters.
As of today, Fallout 76’s “Break-It Early Test Application” has come and gone, and its launch is here. As is expected of Bethesda titles these days, the game had a few nasty bugs, but such is the point of a beta, and Bethesda has been very upfront about that. With Fallout 76, the series is changing, but over the years, Fallout has developed many new mutations in order to keep its core DNA alive. In many ways the game is a survivor, no different from the hardy bests that roam its radioactive worlds. Whether Bethesda’s step into the multiplayer space is a step in the right direction remains to be seen, but if history is any indicator, the spirit of the series will survive any type of fallout.
After two decades on dedicated handheld platforms, the Pokémon franchise is finally relocating to the big screen. While we wait for the first full-fledged RPG to hit Switch, Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee are remakes of the first generation of the series with modern graphics and updated gameplay. Exploring Kanto, building your team, fighting Team Rocket, and challenging gym leaders remains as thrilling as it was 20 years ago, but inconsistent motion controls ensure the transition to Switch isn’t seamless.
Let’s Go pulls you in with the same hooks as every other Pokémon game: You travel the region, collecting Pokémon, battling trainers in fun, turn-based combat, and earning your place in the Pokémon League in a lighthearted adventure. The series mantra of “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” holds true to this day, as finding a ton of unique monsters remains rewarding as you fill in your Pokédex and build your dream party.
Let’s Go remains faithful to the first-gen Pokémon games (specifically Yellow). I knew exactly where to go to complete optional quests, and still remembered the solutions to most puzzles. Despite being remakes, the Let’s Go games effectively move the Pokémon franchise forward with crisp visuals that recreate the familiar creatures and cities of the Kanto region. Seeing the battles play out how I originally pictured them in my head is a thrill. In addition to upgrading the visuals and sound, Let’s Go streamlines many of the more tedious elements of the original games.
Despite tasking you with exploring a faithfully recreated version of Kanto, a few surprises and tweaks keep the experience fresh. From riding Pokémon for faster travel to swapping your party on the fly without having to visit a Pokémon Center, myriad modern conveniences make these remakes feel right at home in 2018. Let’s Go isn’t challenging, but if you need an extra hand, a second player can shake a second Joy-Con to drop in and out of local cooperative multiplayer. This updated approach is further demonstrated in Let’s Go’s modern evolution of one of Pokémon’s oldest conventions: wild Pokémon encounters.
Not only are random encounters gone (now you see wild Pokémon roaming in the map), but you no longer must battle wild Pokémon to weaken them prior to catching (with a few exceptions). Instead, you simply flick your Joy-Con in their direction to land as accurate of a throw as possible – no battling necessary. Some players may miss having to weaken wild Pokémon you intend to catch, but after the initial shock of the simplification, I appreciated how it kept the pace of the game up. Not only does this separation make wild encounters feel distinct from trainer battles, but it makes the few wild Pokémon you do need to battle first feel special.
However, the motion controls for catching Pokémon, whether you’re using a Joy-Con or the Poké Ball Plus peripheral, are unreliable. On multiple occasions, I flicked my controller directly at the screen, only to have the ball sail in the wrong direction. Playing in handheld mode tones down the motion controls; you just aim with the gyroscope, then press a button to throw a ball. This makes handheld mode the best way to play Let’s Go, effectively deflating the excitement of the series being on consoles for the first time.
While you can find rare Pokémon in places you couldn’t before, other avenues of collecting uncommon species have been removed. You can now use lures to draw out rare Pokémon, but I’m disappointed the Game Corner no longer lets you play for items and Pokémon. My personal favorite, Safari Zone, has been replaced by Go Park, which lets you connect your Let’s Go save file with your Pokémon Go account.
Using Go Park, you can transfer previously captured Gen 1 creatures from Pokémon Go into Let’s Go. I love being able to move Pokémon from the mobile title into the Switch game, allowing me to further fill in my collection. After that, you enter Go Park and encounter these Pokémon as you would normally a wild Pokémon – you still need to toss a few balls at them to add them to your team in Let’s Go. While I enjoy this integration, I still miss the surprising nature of Safari Zone encounters, and I’m disappointed you can’t transfer Pokémon back to Pokémon Go once you’re finished. I hated losing my shiny Charizard in Pokémon Go so I could have him in Let’s Go. Also, if you’re hoping to start your playthrough with a full team of awesome monsters from Pokémon Go, you may be disappointed as you can’t use this functionality until you’re in Fuchsia City in the latter portion of the story.
Even if you’re not interested in the Pokémon Go integration, Let’s Go adds multiple reasons to keep playing after you finish the story. Throughout the adventure, you encounter coach trainers that put up a stiff challenge and reward you with move-teaching technical machines and stat-boosting items. Once you defeat the Elite Four at the end of the game, master trainers appear to put a specific Pokémon to the test. If you think your Charizard, for example, is better than the master trainer’s Charizard, they serve as an awesome challenge. While these special types of trainers are among the most difficult in the game and sometimes give you good rewards for beating them, the most meaningful reason to keep playing is to continue filling in the holes of your collection, with Mewtwo serving as the ultimate post-game addition to your collection.
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu & Eevee are strong remakes of the original games. The feeling of amassing a giant collection of monsters and customizing your team never gets old, and the timeless turn-based combat is still fun to this day. Shoddy motion controls aside, Let's Go is a great time whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer to the series.
Sometimes a game just doesn’t work out. Despite lots of time, a strong property, and capable development talent, the experience fails to solidify. In the case of Overkill’s The Walking Dead, major technical problems and connection issues, baffling gameplay systems and controls, tedious combat and stealth, and poorly structured missions all contrive to halt the fun. A deep and rewarding upgrade and progression path hides behind the mess, but you’re unlikely to enjoy it, as the game fails to offer meaningful engagement.
In this four-player, first-person survival shooter, players take on new characters in The Walking Dead universe, but face gruesome challenges similar to those seen in the comic and TV shows. Working as a team, you scavenge for supplies and face off against enemy survivor groups, then defend your camp from those that would take what you have. The story is too bare-bones to hold up to scrutiny, though I appreciate the effort to surprise, including at least one cool character twist.
While purporting to be balanced for solo players or teams of various sizes, most missions are profoundly disheartening with anything less than a full four-person team. That’s a big problem, because matchmaking is spotty, and it is often unable to find me a matching team. Load times are long, and failure in a mission means starting over from the beginning. This can result in losing 30 minutes or more of time, with paltry rewards to show for the effort. When the games does manage to find a match, I’m often thrown in halfway through with the team already most of the way to failure. I’ve also encountered many hard crashes, together amounting to hours of lost progress.
Enemies are a mix of mindless undead and nearly mindless enemy survivors. The human enemies lack any of the tactical complexity you’d expect from any FPS of the last 10 years, often standing together in groups as you gun them down, even as they fail to animate in response to a hail of submachine gun bullets.
Gunplay is stiff and unresponsive. More prominent and frequent are lengthy sections of unsatisfying melee engagements. Whether bashing with a baseball bat or slashing with a machete, the close-up battles lack variety or panache, and regularly devolve into long stretches of standing in a doorway and repeatedly smashing the left mouse button for minutes at a time. A lackluster stealth system may as well be absent; it lacks sufficient cues to help you be successful, and the level design and enemy placements provide too few opportunities to be sneaky. A punishing sound meter discourages the use of your more interesting weapons and abilities, since it means that the zombie horde will soon descend. Upon death, an infuriatingly long respawn timer gives you just enough time to fume about the futility and loss of your free time.
The relatively small number of environments are confusing to navigate, with procedurally placed elements that frustrate as often as not, as you scramble around attempting to find the necessary jumper cables or gasoline. You’re encouraged to spend increasingly boring stretches scouring for additional bullets and supplies, slowing down any momentum a mission might have had.
The lone standout success is a rewarding progression system, which offers a lot to explore and plenty of opportunities for experimentation. Classes have their own leveling trees to improve abilities, though I would have liked more flexibility to customize what weapon skills each character can improve. As it is, if you like a particular ability, like the Scout’s smoke grenade, you’re obligated to go with her crossbow and pickaxe. Additional supplies let you upgrade your camp in a variety of ways, but you must balance your expenditures against the ongoing upkeep needs of your survivors, which makes for a compelling tension. As you gather more survivors, you can alternately send them out on missions or set them to work in the camp for some handy bonuses. Finally, a wide variety of weapons can be modded and improved over time. I appreciate the feature, but it also means that you’re wielding especially clumsy weapons in the early hours. Nonetheless, the growth of your camp and characters provides a sense that your missions have meaning, and may be enough to push you back into another banal scavenging run.
Overkill’s The Walking Dead plans to dole out content in seasons, so the current batch of missions will soon expand. But dramatic reworking of most core combat and mission systems are necessary before the game could be worthy of a recommendation. The premise sounds promising for fans of cooperative play, zombie action, and the taut survival storylines implied by the license. The execution fails to meet the needs of any of those groups. You’re better off heeding the warning – keep this menacing door closed, and leave the zombies to their gnawing hunger.