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    Heavy Rain, Detroit: Become Human & Beyond: Two Souls Coming To Steam

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    detroitbecome1.jpg

    Developer Quantic Dream has announced that titles Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, and Detroit: Become Human (above) will all be available on Steam on June 18.

    Last year the trio were announced as timed-exclusives on the Epic Games Store, a Steam competitor.

    Free demos are now available on Steam.

    [Source: Quantic Dream]

    View the full article


    New Preserved Contaminants - May 26, 2020

    Curse
    By Curse,
    New Preserved Contaminants - May 26, 2020
    New Preserved Contaminants are now available for purchase from MOTHER in the Chamber of Heart.

    Available in this Rotation


    Choosing Your Corruption
    Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
    Choosing Your Corruption

    In addition to any unlocked Essences, MOTHER will now also offer several new Preserved Contaminants, which allow for a specific Corruption effect (and the associated Corruption penalty) to be applied to a selected item. The inventory of available Preserved Contaminants will change twice each week, mirroring the Assault cadence, and will cycle through all available Corruption effects at various levels of potency.

    You can use a Preserved Contaminant to apply the Corruption you purchased to any uncorrupted item that can be Corrupted, much like an enchant.

    View the full article


    The NFL And Electronic Arts Expected To Renew Madden Deal

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    m21xsx800.jpg

    Madden NFL developer/publisher Electronic Arts and the NFL are expected to renew their exclusive deal for simulation-based football titles through the 2025 season, according to senior NFL reporter Albert Breer, with the possibility for another year after that.

    NFL owners are conducting league meetings this week, where they are expected to vote to extend EA's deal, which runs through 2021. According to Sports Business Daily, a one-year extension through 2026 is also possible if EA meets "certain revenue goals."

    Earlier this month, EA told investors that Madden NFL 20 had reached the highest engagement levels in the series history.

    In March, EA competitor 2K announced that it was returning to making NFL games, but they were for "non-simulation" titles. The language of the upcoming renewal as reported by Breer appears to bear out this divide, stating that the deal is specifically for "NFL-themed realistic action simulation video games," while the rights for "arcade-style games, youth games, and casual/mobile games" is non-exclusive.

    For more on the coming landscape of NFL video games, check out my earlier Sports Desk column regarding 2K's return to football and what it may or may not mean.

    [Source: Albert Breer, Sports Business Daily via Gamesindustry.biz]

    I'm not surprised by this news. Although many gamers and the Madden community itself wants to see more competition for the Madden brand, if the series is as lucrative as EA says, I would expect nothing more from the NFL owners than a continuation of the status quo.
    For the NFL owners used to Madden's demonstrated revenue, opening up the simulation-based exclusivity could be seen as more of a risk than it might be worth. The fact that 2K and in-house developer Visual Concepts made great football titles a decade and a half ago is probably not as relevant to them as it is to us.

    View the full article


    Warface: Breakout Arrives Today On PlayStation 4 And Xbox One

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    3.jpg

    Allods Team and My.Games have unveiled a new tactical first-person shooter with Warface: Breakout, coming to both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The catch? It's coming today.

    2.jpg

    Use currency earned during a match to buy and enhance your loadout and participate in an econ-based shooter in the Counter-Strike style. Breakout launches with 5 maps, 30 weapons, and a classic "plant-or-defuse the bomb" mode. Check out multiple videos for the title below!

    Click here to watch embedded media

    Click here to watch embedded media

    View the full article


    Minecraft Dungeons Review – Familiarity Needs Content

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    minecraft-dungeons-header.jpg

    Publisher: Microsoft
    Developer: Mojang
    Release: May 26, 2020
    Reviewed on: Xbox One
    Also on: PlayStation 4, Switch, PC

    Minecraft Dungeons is a roller-coaster ride of an action/RPG, giving new players a fairly deep representation of the genre while providing veterans a nice diversion from traditionally grimdark trappings. Minecraft’s familiar world, tools, and other elements seamlessly make the transition from the mainline series. Its suite of enemies is a natural fit for this type of game, and Mojang introduces new members of the menagerie to fill out a few missing archetypes. Unfortunately, Minecraft Dungeons’ padded-out midgame is repetitive even among its grind-heavy peers. The first big drop in this ride had me screaming, but it wasn’t from exhilaration.

    Minecraft’s “play how you want to” philosophy is a driving force in Dungeons. When you start, you pick a skin for your character, but not a class; instead, Dungeons has more of free-flowing feel. One moment I was taking down zombies with a flurry of up-close dagger strikes, only to smack a golem in the forehead with a newly found giant hammer a few minutes later. That flexibility is a great goal, and I appreciate not being held down by choices I made hours ago. The implementation of this freedom isn’t fully successful, however.

    In its first few hours, the power progression comes as quickly as the leveling. Sure, the loot drops aren’t as frequent as you might expect from an action/RPG, but since just about every piece of equipment you find is an upgrade in one way or another, it doesn’t matter. After you settle into the midgame, when progress comes at a comparative crawl, the cracks are hard to ignore.

    Click image thumbnails to view larger version

    screenshot_multishot1.jpg screenshot_necromanceratack.jpg loading_screen_creeperwoods.jpg screenshot_beaconbeam.jpg screenshot_chasedbyenderman.jpg screenshot_combat_hires.jpg screenshot_combatenderman.jpg screenshot_keygolem_door.jpg screenshot_mapoverlay.jpg

     

                                                                                                                

    Most notably, you’re completely at the mercy of probability tables when it’s time to replace your weapons, armor, or artifacts. You can’t upgrade an item’s fundamental level as you outgrow it, and there aren’t stores that sell specific pieces, so you can’t craft or customize anything new to fit your desired playstyle. This approach severely limits your options, because, without any foundational class abilities, everything your character can do is determined by the items you have equipped. No matter how much you want to be a tanky fighter, you can’t unless you are lucky enough to have the right equipment at the appropriate level.

    You get these items as rewards for defeating enemies, but you also use in-game currency to buy blind-box chests from merchants. The contents of these chests are so wide in scope that they’re essentially worthless. You can buy chests with gear or artifacts, but “gear” encompasses all categories of weapons and armor – swords, bows, armor, axes, maces, daggers, and more. “Artifacts” include every type of spell-like ability, from pet-summoning to healing. This turns every blacksmith visit into a virtual casino, and rather than looking forward to what each transaction might bring, I started to dread every encounter with the smith. Good luck getting what you’re after.

    Getting gear may not adhere to the overall Minecraft spirit, but Dungeons’ take on enchanting is interesting. When you eventually get a weapon or suit of armor that you like, you can add special abilities through enchantments. A degree of randomization is at play here, with potential enchantments pulled from a large pool, but I enjoyed seeing the different possibilities. For instance, a burning enchantment sets enemies within melee range ablaze. Piercing gives arrows the ability to travel through multiple enemies. A set of armor can be imbued with a snowball enchantment, firing icy projectiles automatically at short intervals to stun enemies. Better quality gear has a higher chance of having better enchant options and additional slots.

    Click here to watch embedded media

    Artifacts are essentially your skills, and they can be equipped like gear. These operate on cooldowns, and, coupled with enchants, allow for some basic and satisfying synergies. A fireworks arrow lets you fire a special projectile with a damaging blast radius. I loved this artifact on its own, but using it with a bow equipped with multishot and infinity enchants not only gave me a random chance of firing several of these explosive payloads at once, but of nocking an additional one for a bonus follow-up salvo. Combinations like these are rewarding, which makes it even more of a bummer knowing that I’d eventually out-level their utility without a reliable way of finding replacements. Levels have defined loot tables, so it’s possible to target your desired loot a little, but it would be great to have some more agency when it comes to gearing up.

    Curiously, for a game with such a focus on items, managing them is a bare-bones affair. You can’t mark items as favorites or junk, or create gear sets for different purposes – say a loadout that focuses on support skills like healing when playing co-op, or a pure survivability build for solo play. You can’t share loot that you’ve found with other players, either. Loot is targeted for individual players when you’re grouping together, so you don’t have to worry about someone else stealing gear, but the collaborative element of keeping an item so you can give it to your buddy later is sorely missing.

    Minecraft Dungeons nails the franchise aesthetic, with 10 main story levels based on a variety of the mainline game’s biomes. Your adventure begins with a visit to a village in distress, before taking you through the autumnal Pumpkin Pastures, the rainy (and appropriately named) Soggy Swamp, through the Desert Temple, and ultimately an encounter with the evil Arch-Illager. This evil sorcerer swoops in several times throughout the campaign, which lasts around five hours, summoning minions and generally being a pain.

    Beating the campaign unlocks a higher Adventure difficulty setting, with better loot and tougher monsters. Beat that, and you get the Apocalypse setting, which promises even more of everything. I managed to do so over the course of several marathon sessions, but it’s not worth the trouble. The awkward middle period of the game lasts entirely too long; that’s when you can see the possibilities that the various enchantments and items have, but none of the drops are good enough to live up to that potential. I didn’t get any drops with three enchantment slots until the tail end of Adventure mode – after playing the same levels over and over again for about a dozen hours. Every item I picked up was a compromise in some way, but not in a fun or gratifying way. The difficultly is simply tuned too high to make all but a few items viable. It’s fun to have a llama or wolf pet, but they die almost instantly against enchanted foes. It’s better to take on another healing item instead. Useful, sure, but boring.

    screenshot_menuenchantburni.jpg

    Once the initial novelty of recognizing familiar elements from the Minecraft world wears off, you’re left with a remarkable sense of déjà vu. Sure, levels are procedurally generated, but barely so. I was convinced that something was broken since the variation between playthroughs was so slight. I played one level back to back and was proven wrong. The main beats of a particular stage are the same session to session, with subtle variations in where hallways may go or whether one section will have a few extra rooms. I’m not expecting completely reworked levels, but it makes exploration boring. That’s inexcusable for a Minecraft game, and it feels stingy. I eventually stopped trying to clear out the map fog before finishing a level, because I knew the majority of the discoveries would be worthless. Sure, there might be a pot at the end of a hallway with five emeralds inside, but when you consider the smith charges upward of 100 gems for a chest, it’s just not worth the effort.

    I was also puzzled by the overall lack of interactivity within the stages. I wasn’t expecting fully destructible environments or the ability to tunnel my way through the world; that’s what actual Minecraft is for. But the lack of any real interactive elements in the worlds makes it feel like you’re touring a museum. Crates, barrels, and other genre staples are in abundance, but your weapons pass harmlessly through them. Even Creepers detonate without leaving so much as a scratch on the environment, failing even to break nearby pots. Again, I’m not expecting them to leave massive craters across the world, but their implementation in Dungeons falls completely flat.

    Overall, I’d say my frustrations with Minecraft Dungeons are amplified because I love so much of what it does. Mojang effectively tapped what makes Minecraft Minecraft, and I marveled over the various nods and references throughout my early sessions. Witches toss (and drink) potions like they do in the mainline game, making them a priority elimination in larger battles. Endermen and Evokers pop up as mid-bosses, adding a sense of urgency and danger to the adventure. There’s even a Treasure Goblin analog, though it’s a pig with a treasure chest on its back, which you can loot after chasing it down. It’s a joy to stroll through these worlds at first, but playing the same handful of levels back to back to back gives way to monotony.

    Minecraft Dungeons has a solid core, and I’d love to see where it goes from here. Hopefully, Mojang recognizes the fact that games with grinding don’t have to be as much of a grind. It would be great to have some kind of way to experience levels in a remixed format, similar to how Diablo III has rifts or Torchlight and Path of Exile offer more randomized maps to encourage replays. But Minecraft Dungeons’ current approach is simply replaying the same stuff over again, and just isn’t enough.

    minecraftdungeons.jpg

    Score: 7

    Summary: Minecraft Dungeons’ padded-out midgame is repetitive even among its grind-heavy peers.

    Concept: An approachable action/RPG set within the world of Minecraft, featuring recognizable creatures and biomes

    Graphics: Minecraft’s iconic aesthetic shines and looks great as a backdrop for the action

    Sound: The score beautifully fits with what you’ve come to expect from Minecraft. Audio is light overall, and the silent heroes, as on-brand as they may be, feel weird

    Playability: Aim assists make targeting enemies at range a breeze, and melee has a satisfying bite. However, combat is repetitive, even within a genre built on the grind

    Entertainment: The first few hours are a treat, and the late game has a nice element of experimentation. Unfortunately, its flaws balloon during the lengthy middle stretch.

    Replay: High

    Click to Purchase

    View the full article


    New Preserved Contaminants - May 22, 2020

    Curse
    By Curse,
    New Preserved Contaminants - May 22, 2020
    New Preserved Contaminants are now available for purchase from MOTHER in the Chamber of Heart. This is live for NA players, EU players will get access to them on Saturday at 9:00 PM CET.

    Available in this Rotation


    Choosing Your Corruption
    Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
    Choosing Your Corruption

    In addition to any unlocked Essences, MOTHER will now also offer several new Preserved Contaminants, which allow for a specific Corruption effect (and the associated Corruption penalty) to be applied to a selected item. The inventory of available Preserved Contaminants will change twice each week, mirroring the Assault cadence, and will cycle through all available Corruption effects at various levels of potency.

    You can use a Preserved Contaminant to apply the Corruption you purchased to any uncorrupted item that can be Corrupted, much like an enchant.

    View the full article


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