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Every good defense needs a Torbjörn. People panic in Overwatch when they're getting shot at and Torbjörn's turrets are very good at shooting at people. But for the most part, the tiny Santa Claus has not changed much since the game release. Now, according to Jeff Kaplan, we're going to start seeing more changes for the gruff old mechanic.
It's not a drastic change, Kaplan warns, but completely eliminating armor and scraps seems pretty drastic to me. Torbjörn replaces those abilities with Overload, which is a less intense version of his previous Ult. He moves faster, takes more hits, and shoots at a higher rate of speed.
This also means turret upgrading is completely gone, as well. Torbjörn can toss out a turret, which will build itself over three seconds, up to the equivalent damage of a level 2 turret. It can't be upgraded past that, but hitting it with the hammer still repairs it.
Since his old Ultimate is now his secondary ability, Torbjörn's new one is simply called "Molten Core," which allows him to spit out pools of lava on the floor. This lets players zone out approaching enemies and keep them at bay or drive them to certain spots for traps and ambushes.
Blizzard goes into exact detail, including changes to the rivet gun, in their blog post here.
FIFA 19 doesn’t have many vital, new additions. Career mode is practically the same and Ultimate Team’s biggest change impacts only competitive players. However, the gameplay is satisfying enough that even with some of the series’ legacy issues, I witnessed many moments where I could say, “Last year that would have never have happened.” These don’t transform the series’ fundamental experience, but they add up and entertain to cut through the stagnation of the modes.
In FIFA 19, a player in the box might try to get off a shot with a desperate slide or hurry their attempt with their weak foot and send it wide. Natural actions like these didn’t always happen in the past, but now make the game feel less stiff. Similarly, players’ feet can bring in slightly wayward passes, first touches exhibit fine footwork (or the lack thereof), and dangling legs and feet can produce passes and disrupt them from the other team. 50/50 balls in the open up for grabs between players also produce varied results. While the determination of who gets possession is still animation-based (and therefore not always correct), it’s nice to see the ball dribble out unexpectedly at times.
Along with other welcome surprises like more near-miss shots comes those of the less-pleasant variety: headers that have too much velocity and which are sometimes undefendable in the box, passes nowhere near the mark, and bouncy ball physics that make the new flick moves odd.
FIFA fans will recognize some of these legacy gameplay issues, as they will much of the career mode because it’s largely the same as last year. Your club gets more transfer money to play with because some of it carries over from year to year, but you can’t always trust the A.I. to conduct prudent transfer busines. Fringe players ask for playing time above their station, the transfer market dries up quickly, and squad rotation due to fatigue is not a concern as it is in real life. These don’t break the mode, but they are symptoms of its staleness – which is not solved by the addition of the Champions League and Europa League.
The Journey story mode is back, but whereas it was nice to catch up with Alex Hunter and Danny Williams last year, the finale to their tale here is drained of such fascination. The calendar of training sessions (with new skill games) and matches is a familiar and tedious grind which neither the story’s predictability nor progression can solve. Danny has a jerk brother? Don’t worry, it’s not a spoiler because you don’t care. Adding Kim Hunter’s journey as an ascending USWNT star is welcome, as is being able to switch between each character’s story at will, but it doesn’t lessen the burden, fix the rigid skills tree, or make your teammates smarter. The Journey this year isn’t worse, but having more of it doesn’t make it better, either.
Ultimate Team is FIFA 19’s one mode that enjoys some growth – at least if you’re a competitive Weekend League player. Qualification is more accommodating of when you want to play, and the leagues has been shortened to 30 games in three days. However, casual players are limited to Squad Building Challenges that can cost a relatively high amount of coins for packs without good odds, and a marketplace that needs quality-of-life-improvements to better help you find cards. I like FIFA Ultimate Team, but unlike the version found in Madden, I tire out quicker because my avenues to making coins are less enjoyable.
Ironically, the one mode in the game that is usually not worth mentioning – the Kick Off exhibition mode – has something to talk about this year with the inclusion of couch-based House Rules games revolving around variations like long-range goals counting for two and the leg-breaking, card-free No Rules match type.
FIFA 19 sits relatively still this transfer window. We may want a shiny, new multi-million acquisition to come in and transform everything, but that hasn’t happened. Instead, developer EA Vancouver has added just enough to keep things ticking along. The gameplay cuts down on predictability, providing a layer of freshness to the familiar and producing a squad that can compete – but is also in danger of missing a Champions League spot.
On social media and image boards today, a screenshot that purports to be from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate showing a new character for the game. The shot, which you can see below, seemingly shows Street Fighter's Ken standing among several other characters from the game on the game's Splatoon stage.
While we cannot verify the screenshot as real, it is worth noting that the Ken model seen here does not appear to be from any other game. It also looks different enough from Ryu's appearance in Smash Bros. that creating an edit likely wouldn't be that easy. If it's fake, someone went through some effort to make it.
Ken's foot clipping through the ramp is also an odd detail and does appear to happen to characters who stand on the ramp in Moray Towers.
With the introduction of Echo fighters, the name director Masahiro Sakurai has given to clone characters that do not greatly differ from another character, fans had assumed Ken was likely to show up as one for Ryu. The two have differentiated greatly over the years, but were initially identical and still play fairly similarly today.
Another possibility is that the character is real but the screenshot is not. In the lead up to Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, a fake screenshot showing Mario standing with Palutena set speculation on fire on the internet. When Palutena was eventually revealed, she didn't look like the screenshot, which prompted the person who made it to confess and show how he created the model just for the shot. People will go pretty far for their fakes.
Regardless of whether or not it's real, we'll find out for sure when Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releases on the Switch on December 7.
One of the most fascinating evolutions currently unfolding in the board gaming world is the integration of technology into games that are nonetheless meant to be played with friends as you’re gathered around the table. Few recent projects so acutely illustrate the potential for that type of integration as Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game from Portal Games. Action plays out on a board, each player takes a character card, and tokens track things like the passage of time. A deck of cards communicates storytelling beats and many of the clues uncovered, along with an appropriate amount of detective-themed pathos about rain, cigarettes, and coffee breaks. But make no mistake; this is a board game in the truest sense.
But Detective (from Ignacy Trzewiczek, the designer of Robinson Crusoe) is also an interactive web experience quite unlike anything else I’ve ever played. As you play, you log in to a dedicated website (on any PC, phone, or other connected device) called the Antares Database. Built to feel like an FBI computer system that contains the records of all relevant info, the database works in tandem with the cards you uncover over the course of the game, demanding you search out names, analyze fingerprints, and follow through on leads that might lead to story snippets, questioned witnesses, and more. The database feels immersive and exciting, helping you feel like a real analyst bringing to light details that had until then remained hidden.
In addition to the curated content of the Antares Database, it becomes increasingly apparent that you’ll need to cast a broader net to solve the mysteries at hand, and that means breaking the fourth wall, and finding information on the real internet beyond the database. Whether you somehow know a piece of geographical info, or you have to pull up a map to find it, you still need to somehow suss out that one crucial piece of info. Maybe Wikipedia has a relevant historical entry that has a bearing on your investigation? I felt a genuine thrill as I uncovered real-life information that had a direct bearing on the fictional mysteries that the game presents.
I’m writing in generalities about the details of the story because every step of each case is something you should uncover for yourself. Detective is an experience to be played through without spoilers. It’s enough to know that you and your friends are taking on the role of investigators working for a newly formed agency with broad discretion to complete your investigations as you see fit. Over the course of five cases included in the core game, you’ll have to work the clues cooperatively and try to figure out what happened.
Every player controls a named detective, each with different skills. One of you might be a dedicated researcher, with bonuses to track down that hard-to-discover buried detail. Another is a whiz at technology, giving your team the edge with a crucial piece of info left behind from a computer printout. And yet another is a skilled interrogator, able to cull essential admissions from a suspect. Many decisions and actions in Detective are taken as a group, particularly regarding which leads to chase and when to spend limited resources. However, the inclusion of characters for each player helps communicate a sense of personal connection to the story and ownership over the narrative growth. When played with fewer than five players, the extra character cards are flipped, and on their opposite side are consultants, who can be tapped for valuable help without being official investigators.
The sense of true deduction is the best thing about Detective, but it only works because of the surrounding mechanics. And those mechanics are a success because they’re so straightforward and they don’t get in the way of the real fun of trying to figure out the mystery. Gameplay is split up into a designated number of days, and every lead you follow comes with a time cost. You can move between different locations like the lab and the courthouse, but that also takes time. Once 4pm rolls around, you can certainly keep working the case, but now you’re in overtime, accruing stress tokens that can end the game prematurely if you’re not careful.
Along the way, the lead cards you draw often have an opportunity to “dig deeper.” By spending one of your team’s precious tokens, you can flip the card, and potentially learn more. Perhaps you realize that the recently analyzed blood sample hides additional info, and you spend a perception token to take a closer look at the actual body tissue. The information you get back may be the thing that breaks the case open, or it could be a red herring.
That’s the magic of Detective, because this is not a game of clear answers. There’s not enough time or resources to chase every lead, and you must trust your instincts to tell you which clues deserve a closer look. Even after you think you’ve figured it out, you could have missed something crucial. Or, you may have to make some deductive leaps to get to the answer. Such is the nature of police work.
When you think you’ve got it all wrapped up, or more likely, when the number of days allotted for your investigation have come to an end, you’ll head to the Antares Database one last time to offer your conclusions. A series of multiple choice questions attempt to ascertain how much you’ve correctly deduced, assigning your team a loss or victory in the case based on the number of victory points reflected through your answers. Win or lose, in a particularly ingenious twist, the events of each case dovetail into one another; figuring out certain clues in your first case may add a surprisingly tantalizing new card into the deck of a later case, which you'll likely play a different night. While each case (or game session) is its own largely standalone experience, the five cases link together into a connected campaign that you can only understand after all the puzzle pieces are out.
I’ll be the first to admit that Detective is not a board game that works for everyone. The pace is deliberate and demands intense focus and attention. You’ll likely need a few notebooks at the table, just so everyone can keep track of all the relevant info that’s been gathered; the next time I play, I want to set up a cork board and use thumbtacks, index cards, and string to create my map of events and clues. It’s also a game that refuses to be rushed, at least if you hope to really enjoy it; if you’re really considering each card, discussing the clues, and agonizing over how to spend your limited in-game time and resources, you should expect a single case to take three to four hours. And along the way, expect to do a lot of reading, both silently as you each dig into separate clues, but also aloud, as you move the narrative forward by narrating cards and database entries.
Those are important caveats before I tell you that Detective is an absolutely fascinating experiment in game design, and if given the attention it deserves, it will blow you away. The sense of engagement with a real mystery is second-to-none. The game and its clues aren’t meant to be encountered in a linear fashion. Rather, you slowly put the picture together from separate and often incomplete info, making your best guess about where it all leads, and hoping you’ve got it right.
The collaborative problem-solving of Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game makes for a singular night of board gaming fun with the right group of players. But if you’re looking for something else, you can find tons of recommendations through the backlog Top of the Table entries by clicking into the hub from the banner below. I also regularly field email requests for personalized tabletop gaming recommendations for specific groups; if you’d like some ideas, drop me a line.
These days, box offices are dominated by comic-book and superhero movies from Marvel and DC. Unfortunately, while superhero movies have improved dramatically over the last decade, superheroes haven’t been as powerful in the realm of video games. In fact, nearly 40 years after the first superhero video game, many developers still struggle to create worthwhile experiences using some of the biggest names in entertainment today.
While not all superhero games are monumental duds like Superman on Nintendo 64, many tend to deliver middling, forgettable experiences. However, a select few that defy the stereotype to become superb titles we still look back on fondly as not only great superhero games, but terrific video games in their own rights.
While the superhero films of today are often critically acclaimed and feature a wide array of faces, our list of the best superhero games is substantially less diverse, with half of the list focused on two heroes. This speaks to the drastically different levels of quality these games have featured over the years.
Check out our list of the 10 best superhero games of all time and be sure to let us know your favorites in the comments below.
PS3 • 2009
As the sole non-licensed entry on this list, Infamous delivers a compelling, original story starring Cole MacGrath, a bike messenger given the power of electrokinesis after being caught in an explosion. Cole must face off against other superhuman conduits and track down Kessler, a mysterious man with similar powers as him. Sucker Punch’s morality-based superhero debut was a terrific exclusive for the PlayStation 3 library and kicked off a great series for the studio.
9. Spider-Man 2
PS2, Xbox, GameCube • 2004
Treyarch’s game loosely based on the second Tobey Maguire film was fun for its open world and its large stable of Spider-Man villains to fight. However, it was revolutionary for how it nailed the feeling of swinging through New York City. While Insomniac’s 2018 title finally surpassed Treyarch’s 2004 experience, Spider-Man 2 was the best game starring the wallcrawler for a long time.
8. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
PS2, Xbox, GameCube • 2005
Everyone knows that Hulk is at his best when he’s unleashed and smashing everything in his path, so it stands to reason that his best video game appearance would be the one that lets him do that nearly unimpeded. Hulk can run up walls, smash cars to use as weapons, and annihilate anything foolish enough to get in his way.
7. Marvel Ultimate Alliance
PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PS2, PSP • 2006
Marvel has an incredible lineup of heroes and villains, and Ultimate Alliance allows you to assemble a dream team and dungeon crawl through several well-known locations in the Marvel universe. Crafting your own custom superhero team made from the star-studded Marvel stable is beyond satisfying, and blasting through waves of enemies lives up to expectations.
6. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Vita • 2011
The Marvel universe is no stranger to crossover events either, but Capcom took things to the next level. In 1994, Capcom released its first fighting game starring Marvel characters in X-Men: Children of Atom. In the 17 years following, Capcom expanded to feature characters from the entire Marvel universe, as well as its own. That crossover vision reached its pinnacle in 2011 with Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, and its Ultimate expansion improved the experience with a ton of new characters, as well as refined and reworked gameplay mechanics later that year.
5. Injustice 2
PS4, Xbox One, PC • 2017
Ed Boon and his Mortal Kombat team have a long history with DC Comics. After creating Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe at Midway in 2008, Boon founded NetherRealm Studios and successfully rebooted the Mortal Kombat universe in 2011. Following the well-received reinvention of that series, Boon’s team released DC Comics fighter Injustice: Gods Among Us in 2013 using similar mechanics. After making marked improvements to the formula with 2015’s Mortal Kombat X, NetherRealm created the ultimate DC Comics fighting game: Injustice 2. Not satisfied with simply continuing the robust story mode and adding new characters, NetherRealm added a gear-customization system, daily live events, and improved fighting mechanics.
4. Batman: Arkham Knight
PS4, Xbox One, PC • 2015
With Rocksteady’s third (and to this point final) entry in its Arkham series, the studio weaves a fascinating story surrounding Batman, his fiercest rivals, and a mysterious new threat known as the Arkham Knight. Exploring an open Gotham City under attack from Scarecrow is thrilling, and while the Batmobile may be a sore spot for some, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the rest of Arkham Knight is Rocksteady at the top of its game.
3. Batman: Arkham Asylum
PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3, Xbox 360 • 2009
Perhaps the most revolutionary superhero game of all time, Batman: Arkham Asylum didn’t just demonstrate how to make a great comic-book game, it influenced several games with its perfected rhythmic combat, as well as its approach to predatorial stealth gameplay. Before Arkham Asylum, no game ever made you truly embody a comic-book character like Rocksteady’s inaugural entry in the stellar series.
PS4 • 2018
By bringing a studio known for its ability to craft imaginative gadgets and deliver supremely fun traversal to the Spider-Man franchise, Sony found a match made in heaven. Spider-Man excels in its web swinging and combat, but it truly sets itself apart in its storytelling. Insomniac delivers a narrative that’s as focused on Peter Parker and those around him as it is his alter ego, while also nailing the feel of those beloved characters. Not just that, but just like in the comics, Insomniac’s interpretation of Spider-Man is at its best when the life of Peter intersects with the duties of Spider-Man. Spider-Man is not only the best Marvel game ever released, but it’s an exciting jumping off point for what could become an enormous and promising universe.
1. Batman: Arkham City
PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3, Xbox 360 • 2011
It may be strange to see three of the top four entries on this list dominated by DC’s Dark Knight, but it’s hard to argue Rocksteady doesn’t deserve it. Following the runaway success of Batman: Arkham Asylum, many wondered if lightning could strike twice for Rocksteady. Thankfully, Rocksteady’s gamble to move the action from the compact hallways and confined courtyards of Arkham Asylum to a wide-open portion of Gotham City paid massive dividends. Not only did this allow greater player freedom in determining how to experience the story, but it truly let Rocksteady flex its muscles with regards to Batman’s various traversal options. Grappling through Arkham City is a pure delight, but the true thrill comes in perching high above a group of thugs, plotting how you’re going to take them down. In addition, the stellar combat of Arkham Asylum received some improvements, and the open nature of Arkham City allowed Rocksteady to cram loads of Easter eggs for comic fans to discover.
This August, the Jakarta Palembang 2018 Asian Games (a pan-Asian multi-sport tournament) were held in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang. For the first time in the games’ history, esports were included among the various sporting events. As China took home two gold medals, and esports made their debut, many Chinese, and gamers around the world, were eager to watch the tournament. Unfortunately, many fans could not because state-run media, CCTV, did not broadcast the event. In turn, many Chinese citizens flocked to Twitch to watch the games, resulting in a massive spike in downloads for the streaming site.
Seemingly in response, and since yesterday, Twitch’s website has become inaccessible in China, and its app is no longer available in the country’s iOS App Store, suggesting that Chinese authorities deliberatly moved to censor the streaming service.
According to The Verge’s Shannon Liao, this block follows a regular pattern by Chinese censors who, as a precaution, will block Western media platforms that become too popular.
While Twitch has since confirmed that is being blocked in China, it has not provided any further details.
Other popular companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter and Reddit have also run afoul of the Great Firewall of China. So far, Chinese authorities have not released any official statements.
[Source: BBC News]