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  1. Today
  2. The massively popular Player Unknown'sBattlegrounds is now available on both iOS and Android. BlueHole announced the game's release on its Twitter account a few hours ago: The true Battle Royale experience is now on your phone. PUBG Mobile is available for iOS and Android in the US today. More regions will be announced at a later date. pic.twitter.com/RiyUWVdpQn — PLAY BATTLEGROUNDS (@PUBATTLEGROUNDS) March 19, 2018 This version is free-to-play. We haven't played the mobile version yet so we can't speak to its performance quality. For more on PUBG, check out our review of the PC version here. View the full article
  3. Challenge Rift - Week 38 The Witchwood Card Reveal Livestream is on March 26 at 11 AM PDT Legion PvP Season 6 Ends March 20 Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums) The gates will close on Legion PvP Season 6 for all Arena and Battleground competitors in as early as two weeks. Season 6 – End of Season Rewards If you participated in Season 6, to ensure you receive the rewards that you’re due, please keep the following in mind: Refrain from transferring your character(s) to another realm or faction until after Legion Season 6 has ended. Legion Season 6 titles and mounts will be awarded approximately two weeks after the season ends. Faction-Based Rewards Don’t forget—end-of-season rewards are based on your faction. If you transfer your character to the other faction, you must have 50 wins after your transfer to receive the reward. Please note that you must have 150 wins for Gladiator and Dominant Gladiator. Fan Art - Demon Hunters Machinima Ivan Kuzkin released a nice cinematic for Demon Hunters. Dark Legacy Comics #625 DLC #625 has been released! View the full article
  4. Infinity War shall be upon us soon, and with it, fan hype is rising quickly. Artist Kode LGX paid tribute to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with this incredible looking homage to The Last Supper. Like Da Vinci's The Last Supper, LGX's The Last Shawarma (a humorous reference to the post-credits sequence of the first Avengers film) is packed to the brim with details for those who look closely. Look long enough and you might just find an insect-sized surprised. You can look at the full-sized piece of art right here: If you dig the illustration enough and want a print, you can grab it here. You can find the rest of Kode LGX's work here. [Source: Artstation] View the full article
  5. Yesterday
  6. Much like Bubsy's puzzling return from obscurity with Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back, there's been an air of great confusion surrounding Atari's unexpected resurgence to penetrate the video game market with a new console. A crowd-sourced campaign on Indiegogo was originally planned for the system with modern and retro design variants, but the project was put on hold when "one key element" snagged the publisher's progress with no word since then. With PC architecture running on open Linux-based software, creator and general manager Feargal Mac Conuladh told GamesBeat last year, "We wanted to create a killer TV product where people can game, stream and browse with as much freedom as possible, including accessing pre-owned games from other content providers." Now, Atari has resurfaced with a plan. The company has announced that the Ataribox has been renamed the Atari VCS. More details on the console's capabilities will be disclosed at this week's Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco. In the meantime, the console is now accompanied with a modernized joystick and sleek controller reminiscent to the Xbox One's button layout and build. COO of Connected Devices Michael Arzt said, "With the Atari VCS name, we know how important it is to get everything completely right and that’s why we briefly paused an imminent launch late last year. It was a difficult decision with the countdown underway, but we weren’t willing to go forward with even one thing out of alignment." A pre-order date for the Atari VCS will be annoucned sometime during April. Our Take I'm getting Ouya flashbacks from this strange direction that Atari is going in with this new console. It'll be key for the company to establish what makes the Atari VCS worth owning if consumers can already stream movies and play retro or modern games on other consoles. It's admittedly attractive in design alone, but it needs to have a hook or meet some demand in order to avoid turning into a nostalgic decoration. View the full article
  7. I’ve been extremely impressed with Ubisoft’s commitment to consistent new content drops for Assassin’s Creed Origins. After releasing a lengthy core game back in October, we’ve seen several smaller events, as well as a story expansion set in the Sinai Peninsula, and the surprisingly deep and rewarding Discovery Tour mode, which turned the game into an educational tool. The third major expansion just released last week, and it takes us to Thebes, the Valley of the Kings, and the strange happenings of the Curse of the Pharaohs. Based on my playtime, it’s a heftier batch of gameplay than many might expect, with many hours of new zones to explore, quests to complete, and enemies to fight. If you’ve been following along with the game’s expansions up to this point and enjoying the ride, there’s plenty more of what you like to be found here. However, after so many dozens of hours of the Origins gameplay loop, Curse of the Pharaohs also feels like it might be the moment when fatigue and over-familiarity with core systems begin to take their toll. Here’s what you can expect if you dive into the adventure. A Land of Legend Curse of the Pharaohs takes Bayek into Upper Egypt, where the ancient capital city of Thebes awaits discovery, alongside the many hidden tombs within the Valley of the Kings. The new areas are intriguing, setting themselves apart from the base game through a focus on ruins, mysticism and piety from the populace, and an overall mystique born of venerable age and secrecy. I was also satisfied at the number of distinct zones to explore over the course of the expansion. This is a big playspace that features a lot of variety in landscapes, buildings, and monuments. Origins features one of the most intricate and thoughtfully imagined settings I’ve encountered in an open-world game, and it’s great to see more interesting sites within this reimagined world, from the sprawling Luxor Temple to new vistas overlooking the serpentine Nile. In addition to all these real-world locations, players also visit physical manifestations of several Pharaohs’ afterlives. These bizarre self-contained landscapes are each distinct, but I don’t want to spoil too much about the sites you might encounter there, other than saying that they’re all beautiful and majestic. But each of them has its own appeal, and does the interesting task of telling you more about the pharaoh who resides there, since the environments reflect his or her personality and desires. Accept The Fantasy Until now, Assassin’s Creed Origins has flirted with fantastical elements in a way that could largely be reconciled with the rest of the franchise and its insistence on maintaining consistency and realism. Sure, the series has always had a fictional group of ancient beings that predate humanity, as well as the sci-fi conceit of the Animus, but the actual historical sections never saw your Assassin fighting dragons or casting spells. If Origins’ base game began to bend that rule with flaming swords and drug-fueled hallucinations of giant snakes, then Curse of the Pharaohs is the expansion that breaks the rule. From beginning to end, Curse of the Pharaohs plays as a fantasy. But unlike, say, The Tyranny of King Washington from Assassin’s Creed III, this new expansion to Origins doesn’t hide behind a dream sequence or other mask. Rather, our hero Bayek is fighting undead mummies, traveling into physical manifestations of the afterlife, and engaging in magical rituals that shape the fate of dead souls. The experience can be jarring, especially if you have a long history with the franchise and its insistence on not veering into pure wizardry. With that said, there’s no denying that these new magical elements add something new to the game. Fighting a giant scorpion is strange and amusing. And entering the afterlife of a long-dead pharaoh and seeing a ship sailing across a sea of open grassland is surreal and visually exciting. A Lot To Do…For Better And Worse As a rule, players cheer for game expansions that add a lot of new content, and Curse of the Pharaohs certainly fulfills that desire. There’s a lot to do, and a lengthy story to uncover. But that length may also be the expansion’s biggest problem. Bayek can level from 45 to 55, which is satisfying and takes many hours of play. Those new levels fuel several new abilities in the power-up tree, but I can’t say that too many of them blew me away, with the exception of one especially powerful ability connected to overcharge use in combat. In short, it feels like we’ve already fully powered up Bayek in the original game, and at this point the new abilities don’t feel meaningful. Likewise, despite the arrival of some new fantastical monsters to fight, the flow of gameplay in Curse of the Pharaohs is disappointingly similar to what we’ve already experienced for dozens of hours in the base game and its first expansion. Origins was already a lengthy game, and by the time I’d hit level cap, the combat had begun to grow stale, the fetch quests and become routine, and the fort infiltrations had become all too familiar. Those same problems are all the more apparent in an expansion that does little to change the core loop. Origins is a really enjoyable game, but I’m not convinced that the depth of gameplay and the potential for upgrades matches the time investment that the game asks of its players. That problem is intensified in the lengthy adventure that makes up Curse of the Pharaohs, often leaving me feeling ho-hum about the action and missions, even as I continue to marvel at the beautiful setting. Big Bosses, Small Returns More than Bayek’s previous adventures in Egypt, Curse of the Pharaohs doubles down on the potential of big fights against powerful foes. Whether it’s the undead Shadows that rise up in the middle of city streets that must be fought off, or the actual boss fights against pharaohs like Nefertiti and Ramesses, expect to spend a good chunk of time fighting powerful, dangerous foes. These bosses look quite cool, often encased in sarcophagus-like suits of armor, and wielding legendary weapons that become yours when the fight concludes. Unfortunately, like in the base Origins game, the boss fights simply aren’t any fun. The combat system doesn’t have the depth or complexity to support tight exchanges with powerful foes, and these undead pharaohs boast often absurdly high health bars that can take a long time to chip away at. Meanwhile, the attacks they inflict on you can often be one or two hit kills, which simply doesn’t encourage close and intense melee confrontations. Instead, I found myself constantly looking for cheap tricks to outwit a boss, like charging past repeatedly on horseback and then galloping away, or picking away at a foe with arrows until my overcharge meter was full and I could do a single devastating attack. The final boss fight, in particular, is a tedious slog that I just couldn’t enjoy. That’s too bad, because the visual presentation and setup for these important fights is often thrilling. But without gameplay depth and precision to match the backdrop, I always came away unimpressed after these supposedly climactic confrontations. Magical or Muddled? Curse of the Pharaohs features a clear threat (a curse of reincarnated pharaohs) and a path to resolving that threat in the conclusion (assassinating the figure behind the curse). That’s good, because much of the space in between ends up a bit confusing. Assassin’s Creed Origins has always excelled at bringing Ancient Egypt’s culture to life, particularly that society’s focus on religion, death, and the interaction between mortals and their gods. That dynamic is especially potent in this expansion, as nearly every conversation, main quest, and side quest seems to circle back to issues of life and death, the nature of divinity, or the pain of grief that separates us from those that have passed on. These are heady concepts to tackle in an action game, and at times, Bayek’s interactions with the people he encounters are intriguing. But it’s easy to get lost in the constant allusions to gods, prophecy, and omens. At times, I found myself losing the thread of the story, simply because almost everything is couched in these otherworldly conceptions of religion and human existence. Several new characters are introduced, but rather than really flesh them out in meaningful ways, the script often falls back on yet more conversations about belief, heretics, or ceremonies, and potentially compelling character concepts are left to flounder. I love Origins authentic vision of mysticism and religion at the center of life for these people that might have lived thousands of years ago. But Curse of the Pharaohs makes the case that it’s possible to get a little carried away, losing touch with the narrative by getting lost in the game’s self-imposed mythology. (Please visit the site to view this media) Strip away concerns about the story or gameplay repetition, and Curse of the Pharaohs is a large and worthy follow-up to the core game. If you were an enthusiastic player of the original game, hungry for new sites to explore, Curse of the Pharaohs has you covered. If, on the other hand, Origins felt like it had begun to wear out its welcome by the latter hours, I suspect Curse of the Pharaohs may not improve your opinion. While dressed in some increasingly fantastical garments, these myths are still very similar to the ones you already know. Assassin’s Creed Origins: Curse of the Pharaohs is available now as part of the season pass, or separately for $19.99. Like the original game, you can pick up your copy on PS4, Xbox One, or PC. View the full article
  8. Fortnite on mobile has only started releasing invites to early access, but it's already a huge success. Along with topping the App Store's chart as the top free game, Fortnite has already hit the number two spot for the top grossing games on Apple products. Candy Crush Saga still clings to the top overall spot, but Fortnite has surpassed games like Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, and Pokémon Go on its way up the ladder. According to Apple's iTunes chart, the battle royale behemoth is the fourth-highest grossing app throughout the entire App Store, only eclipsed by Netflix, Pandora, and Candy Crush Saga. Fortnite's popularity continues to grow as the game makes it way onto more and more platforms, prompting Epic Games to announce Party Royale, a celebrity-focused event that will take place in Los Angeles during E3. Our Take So ... when is Fortnite coming to Switch? In all seriousness, Fortnite has been a huge hit on every platform that it touches. We can't say how long Fortnite will retain this level of popularity, but we're hoping it'll last long enough for Microsoft and Sony to start playing nicely together. View the full article
  9. The football season may be over, but Madden's Ultimate Team mode is still going strong with new solos, programs, and cards. Given that we're in the official football offseason, however, I thought now would be a good time to take a look back at how the mode fared this year. What better way to do that than talk to one of the people behind Madden Ultimate Team – producer Jake Stein. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What are some of the programs that did well this year? It's important to outline how we define a successful program. For us, we really look at how much people are engaging with the content as well as what the community sentiment is. One that exceeded our expectations was MUT Heroes. That program is a great example of what can happen when you have time for iteration. The team spent a long time trying to develop the right theme for the program and landed on this concept of "superheroes" with "superpowers." It resulted in players being really strong in one particular rating and the art treatment for the program might still be my favorite of the year. Another program I want to mention is with Gauntlet Unleashed. It was a great way for players to engage in Solo Challenges and get rewarded on a weekly basis. And players who engaged in that program from the beginning had a great reward waiting for them at the end. There's been a lot of positive sentiment around this program, and it's something I'm sure we'll see make a return in one form or another. Do you think it cost too much to power players up? Power Ups is probably the thing we hear the most feedback on this year. A lot of it is extremely valid as well. The way the content is setup does not give the players the flexibility they are used to having (between the Sets being non-repeatable and the players being Non-Auctionable/Tradable). The team has taken a long look at what it takes to improve upon the idea of powering up players. We feel like there's a path to making this successful in the future. MUT is accessible to casual fans, hardcore solo grinders, and competitive players. Is it possible to balance MUT on the whole in order to serve these different kinds of players – as well as players who start playing at different times in the year? This is one of the tougher challenges we face every year. What's ironic is that it can always feel like we are building the game for someone else – hardcore solo grinders could care less when we spend time developing something like Weekend League, competitive players are vocal when we have content that takes a lot of time to engage with especially if it takes playing Solo Challenges to get to the finish line, and casual fans are always trying to understand the nuances of the mode. So what does this all mean? It means we are trying to maintain a balanced mode. Not every piece of content or feature development will be dedicated to the space that each type of player cares about the most. But just know we are doing everything we can to make sure we are serving each type of player who steps into Madden Ultimate Team. Many fans did not like that there were so many NAT cards. Are there too many? What was the thinking behind having as many as there are? The team decided that rewards from Solos should be NAT this year. It's something that both rewards the players and gets them engaged with new pieces of content as well as helps maintain value for players who are opening packs. Additionally, having NAT content has allowed us to offer up higher OVR rewards on a more consistent basis. With Thanksgiving you could get a 93 OVR Michael Irvin, with Snow Beasts you could choose one of four players to get to 93 OVR, with Team of the Year you could get a 94-96 OVR player for both offense and defense, and with NFL Playoffs you got to earn a Playoff Elite player from each of the 12 teams. I don't think we've been able to offer anything close to that in the past. The other one worth calling out is MUT Master. Again, the team had some very strong feelings about only players who went on that long journey to acquire MUT Master should be the only ones who get to play with that player. We knew that would rub some players the wrong way, so we made sure to add a path that gave the players the opportunity to earn one million coins in addition to the MUT Master. And finally we added a set that let you upgrade your MUT Master and choose his chemistry which was something that was received extremely positively. Can you talk about the decision to replace/drop some programs this year like Ghosts? Was this planned from the beginning of the season? For your specific question about Ghosts, no it wasn't planned out at the beginning of the season. This year we took the approach of assigning a particular program to each of our content designers, and they were given the freedom to pitch whatever they wanted to the rest of the team. Designing programs in MUT is a classic Catch 22 – you'll get criticized when it's structured too similarly to the past but then you'll also take some criticism when we take some chances and it's not exactly what the players are used to. Our two programs around Christmas personify that challenge like no other. We launched with Out of Position Players (OOP), a staple for MUT during Christmas. The initial reception from the community made it feel like there was a little bit of fatigue around that concept and wished that we did something completely different. The second half of Christmas introduced Snow Beasts, a name that is new to MUT. However, the players were exactly the same mix of current-day players and legends that would've filled the same buckets had we actually called them "Ghosts of Madden." In the end, we are going to continue finding the right balance of innovation and familiarity to MUT. Some players have difference-making thresholds like 91 Zone Coverage defensive players. Do you mind that people have noticed the importance of these thresholds and other powerful traits? And do you mind that this has influenced the market/people's lineups in that these players are coveted? These thresholds are definitely something that have influenced the market. As for the conversation around thresholds in general, it's something that we're continuing to discuss with the gameplay team. How flexible were your plans for the season in terms of rolling out programs, rewards given, packs sold in the store, which players were getting cards, etc.? Did you adjust any of these variable during the season due to something unexpected happening like a player getting hot or the general flow of the mode/NFL events? We started what I would consider a "best practice" about halfway through Madden NFL 17 and knew we would continue that into this year. At the start of every kickoff design meeting for a program, we were required to detail how this program is appealing to each type of MUT player. That exercise really helps us define the experience we want to deliver which includes rewards and packs. As for the players part of your question, it's another really challenging part of the job. We have an idea of who might "headline" a given program, but you really can't pick a majority of the players until you're 2-3 weeks out – and believe me, even then you are going to have some last-minute changes. This challenge is the most difficult during the season when we have Team of the Week which is based off of real-world performances. The players selected in that program must 1) not have a recent release 2) meet a specific OVR range and 3) not be at a position that we just recently showcased and 4) ideally isn't somebody that we have already slotted into an upcoming program. It's definitely an inexact science. Where there any particular player cards that were stronger/viable for longer than you anticipated? None that I would say exceeded my expectations. I'm really proud that a lot of our "Masters" felt like Masters. Most Feared Ray Lewis and Randy Moss, Madden Blitz Night Train Lane, and Madden Harvest Barry Sanders all continue to show up in lineups that I'm playing against online. Are there any tweaks to the auction house, reward payouts, or overall economy of the mode for next year that you're going to change due to feedback or what's happened post-release that you can talk about now? Nothing is really being discussed with the auction house. We have floated the idea of defaulting a player's auction house value (when you go to auction it away) to the median value from the previous 24 hours. That would be a nice accessibility feature to limit the amount of scrolling players have to do for every single auction, but nothing really noteworthy beyond that. As for reward tweaks and overall economy I'll say this – I take pride in being a group that takes feedback very seriously. You can see that with the amount of iteration we've put into Weekend League rewards this year. Every year will present a new set of challenges. We don't just take this year's game and drop into the next and optimize the things that didn't go as well as you wanted. But we can absolutely take the data and knowledge that we know and apply them to better serve the players. Missed some of the previous Sports Desk entries? Take a look at the past installments via our Hub page by clicking on the banner below. Have a suggestion or comment? Put it in the comments section below, send me an email, or reach me on twitter at @mattkato. THE TICKER A quick rundown of some of the sports news from the week Game Informer's Interview With UFC President Dana White About His Inclusion In UFC 3 We talked to White about his excitement about letting gamers punch him in the face. EA Creates Info Portal For Disable Gamers The site currently lets games know how what kind of disability features are available for Madden 18, UFC 3, and NHL 18. More games will be added over time. Super Mega Baseball 2 Closed Beta Planned On Xbox One MLB The Show 18 Franchise Details Out Of The Park Baseball 19 Features Trailer New V-Rally 4 Announced Check out a teaser trailer for the title available in September. View the full article
  10. Streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins has joined the millionaire club, emerging as one of the most prominent streaming personalities in a sea crowded with them. Ninja made news last week for shattering Twitch viewership records by streaming Fortnite with rapper Drake. The streamer recently chattered with CNBC about his experience as a professional streamer, where his income comes from, and what its like to play Fortnite with celebrities. Tyler '@Ninja' Blevins says he makes $500,000 a month playing video games. pic.twitter.com/jk9fvOiNZV — CNBC (@CNBC) March 19, 2018 To watch our own streaming escapades with Fortnite, head here. Our Take Regardless of your own feelings about streaming, that's a heck of a lot of money, and yet another sign that the way we consume game content and the audience that consumes it is changing. View the full article
  11. Sony Santa Monica invited us over to its studio last week, where we got to play about three hours of the upcoming God of War. Join us for today's episode of NGT, where Joe Juba and I talk about our hands-on experiences with the game – and Leo listens. Sony provided us with more than 15 minutes of new footage, which includes plenty of scenes of Kratos and son wrecking monsters, as well as a glimpse at some of the upgrades and crafting opportunities. There's a lot to absorb, but Joe and I do our best to provide some context for what you're seeing. And Leo is great, too! (Please visit the site to view this media) For more of our thoughts on God of War, take a look at our recent feature, where we discuss five of the biggest overall surprises from the demo. View the full article
  12. For anyone who grew tired of all the waiting in Hitman , we've got a speedrun for you. Speedrunner inkblowout utilized a save glitch in Hitman 2: Silent Assassin to set the record for the any-percentage category at three minutes and twenty-two seconds. This isn't inkblowout's first foray into speedrunning Hitman 2, as he currently sitting in second place for his 49 minute and 45 second run of the game on Professional difficulty with a Silent Assassin rank for each level. After hitting the 3:22 mark on multiple occasions, inkblowout has decided he can let someone else try and beat his time, even though he says there are spots where he could improve his timing. (Please visit the site to view this media) For more on Hitman, check out our Virtual Life column on the latest game. View the full article
  13. Calling All Devs

    Every week, designers, engineers and other developers from our five offices around the world answer backer questions submitted on SPECTRUM and voted on by YOU. This week, we get answers on Market Tracking, Radar Displays, High-Velocity EVA and various types of Electronic Warfare. You can submit your questions for consideration in future episodes of Calling All Devs here. And for info on becoming a subscriber, go to: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/subscriptions View the full article
  14. Top of the mornin’ to you Citizens! We hope you had a wonderful St. Patrick’s weekend – or in case you’re living in Ireland, still enjoy a fantastic Paddy’s Bank holiday Monday! But as all enjoyable things must come to an end eventually, so have our green festivities. Our St. Patrick’s Day Screenshot Contest is over, and we’re currently in the process of selecting the winners of our fabulous prizes. With 695 entries, this is no easy job, even more so with all the 695 entries being as good as they are. A big thank you to everyone who submitted a screenshot! Our special St. Patrick’s Day promotion is also coming to an end today, so grab those ships now before the promotion is over and upgrade your wardrobe with a “Cal is my Wingman” Squadron 42 T-shirt for a discounted price. And everyone that is attending GDC in San Francisco this week: make sure to stop by the Intel booth to chat with some of our team members and don’t miss Sean Tracy’s GDC talk on Thursday, March 22nd. Let’s see what’s going on this week: On Monday, Jared will put on his headset for a brand-new episode of Calling All Devs. This week, we’ll answer YOUR questions about EVA between fast-moving ships, the future of real-time commodity tracking and more! You can watch the full episode here once it goes live. Tuesday spells L-O-R-E! Our magnificent Lore Team will expand on the lore and narrative that makes up the Star Citizen universe. To shorten your wait, you can check out previously published lore posts here. No Bugsmashers this Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean those pesky bugs are safe this week. We’ll be smashing in the background while our show will return on the 28th! Psst! Listen! Thursday will bring us an episode of Around the Verse that will focus on all things audio in Star Citizen. Hear us out; this will be a sound episode! Make sure to tune in to our Twitch Channel for a new episode of Reverse the Verse on Friday. We hope to see you there! Sláinte, Ulf Kuerschner Community Manager The Weekly Community Content Schedule MONDAY, MARCH 19TH, 2018 Calling All Devs (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) TUESDAY, MARCH 20TH, 2018 Weekly Lore Post (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch) WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21ST, 2018 - THURSDAY, MARCH 22ND, 2018 Star Citizen: Around the Verse – Audio Special (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) Vault Update FRIDAY, MARCH 23RD, 2018 Reverse the Verse (https://www.twitch.tv/starcitizen) Roadmap Update RSI Newsletter Community Spotlight: March 19th, 2018 We are constantly amazed by the contributions made by the Star Citizen community. Whether it’s fan art, a cinematic, a YouTube guide, or even a 3D print of your favorite ship, we love it all! Don’t forget to submit your content to our Community Hub for a chance at seeing it here! Baily’s beads during the Stanton eclipse by Corsair62 Astronomy amateur Corsair62 witnessed Baily’s beads, a short-term optical phenomenon, during the full phase of the eclipse. Always keep your eyes open for that kind of shots while in the ‘verse! Check out his pictures on the Community Hub. Letters From Vega – Part 1 by Alex_S189 Dalynn Cross and Eddie Daniels are sent to Aremis, Vega II, to visit one of the planets military installations and document the base operations. Will this be ‘just another job’? Visit the Community Hub and find out. View the full article
  15. Fredrik Rundqvist, a producer on The Division, has broken away from Ubisoft Massive to form his own studio with other notable talent including developers who worked on Hitman. The company is called Sharkmob and is working on a multiplayer iteration on a "cult classic" game but wouldn't go into further detail. "We're not really interested in making a more traditional single-player type of game," Rundqvist told Gameindustry.biz. "What we play privately, the kind of games we love, are very social, very competitive, always multiplayer. The more the merrier." The studios' site is online and says the developer is looking for new recruits. [Source: GameIndustry.biz] Our Take It's always refreshing to see established talent set off on new ventures. We're curious to see what Sharkmob is bringing to the table. View the full article
  16. Rare's open world pirate adventure, Sea Of Thieves, officially launches tomorrow, but the servers are live, so no one is going to stop us from treasure hunting. Come back at 3pm CST to see how Andrew Reiner, Ben Reeves, and Ben Hanson fare on Sea of Theives' open waters. In the meantime, head here to watch us prank Kyle while playing the beta, or read our feature about Rare's development of the game. You can click the banner below to watch the stream on Twitch or YouTube today, or just tune in here using the embedded video below. View the full article
  17. The untimely demise of MOBAs like Gigantic and Paragon are telltale signs of how unpredictable video game industry trends can be. In regard to the latter, Epic Games went a step further by refunding PC and PS4 players who had purchased the game and any DLC released for it. With the runaway success of Fortnite at its back, the developer has gone a step beyond by releasing all of Paragon's assets for use in Unreal Engine 4 for free, which come around to $12 million in total development costs. There are 20 characters and 1,500 environmental components to experiment with at anyone's leisure. Animation cycles, sound effects, and skins are even being retained. You can peruse the current list of assets by clicking here, which is expected to expand over time with additional characters this summer. [Source: Epic Games via Kotaku] Our Take Epic Games continually surprises with its generous actions through Paragon's end. I have no doubt that this will give many aspiring game developers incredible insight into what goes into the intricate 3D modeling and animation of the developer's work. View the full article
  18. History Respawned is a YouTube channel that discusses the real-world history of popular stories in all mediums. Sometimes they even taken on video games, like Assassin's Creed and Papers, Please. This week they're chatting about Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus' historical inspirations and how the game borrows from history to create its bleak vision of an alternate timeline. It's a pretty interesting discussion, even if Wolf II isn't your jam, with hosts Bob Whitaker and John Harney a discussing the interplay between history and pulp in one of the most politically charged AAA games in recent memory with guest and filmmaker Robert Greene II. You can watch the whole thing right here (be warned: this is pretty heavy stuff, with an emphasis on racial tension and violence). (Please visit the site to view this media) For more on Wolfenstein II, check out our Virtual Life column on the game's powerful storytelling. [Source: History Respawned via Kotaku] View the full article
  19. For the 300th issue of Game Informer magazine, we crafted a list of the top 300 games of all time. Despite all the arguing and life-long interpersonal grudges that resulted from the discussions, we had a good time, and we wanted to extend that opportunity to the reader. At the end of February we opened the polls to let readers vote for their favorite games of all time. Readers were able to submit an ordered list of three games. We took those results, weighted them, and the result is the list you will find below! If you think the list is wrong you only have yourselves to blame, but we will happily absorb your criticism in the comment section below! Special thanks to Margaret Andrews, Curtis Fung, and Brian Shea for helping to put together this deceptively complicated project! 300. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption 299. Mega Man X4 298. Dragon Age II 297. Limbo 296. Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions 295. Divinity: Original Sin 2 294. Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! 293. Donkey Kong 292. Battlefield 4 291. The Witness 290. OverBlood 289. Heavy Rain 288. Star Wars: TIE Fighter 287. Catherine 286. Shenmue II 285. Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra 284. Fallout 2 283. Membrane 282. Ico 281. Rome: Total War 280. SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs 279. Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver 278. XCOM 2 277. LittleBigPlanet 276. Gears of War 4 275. Call of Duty: WWII 274. Star Wars: The Old Republic 273. Ori and the Blind Forest 272. Sid Meier's Pirates! 271. Everquest 270. Final Fantasy XIII 269. Mass Effect: Andromeda 268. Starflight 267. Mount & Blade: Warband 266. L.A. Noire 265. Streets of Rage 2 264. Splatoon 2 263. Sid Meier's Civilization IV 262. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 261. Team Fortess 2 260. Valkyria Chronicles 259. Galaga 258. Heroes of Might & Magic III 257. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back 256. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 255. Splatoon 254. Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus 253. Spec Ops: The Line 252. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky 251. Jet Set Radio Future 250. Jak 3 249. Breath of Fire III 248. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth 247. Tomb Raider (1996) 246. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective 245. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings 244. Final Fantasy III 243. Ratchet & Clank 242. Radiata Stories 241. Zork I 240. Diablo III 239. The Bard's Tale 238. Resident Evil (GameCube) 237. Lego Dimensions 236. Phantasy Star Online 235. Final Fantasy XII 234. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 233. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 232. Planescape: Torment 231. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island 230. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening 229. Sonic Mania 228. Telltale's Tales from the Borderlands 227. Life is Strange: Before the Storm 226. Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors 225. Bayonetta 2 224. Mafia II 223. Donkey Kong 64 222. Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright and Conquest and Revelation 221. Fire Emblem Awakening 220. Gran Turismo 219. Super Smash Bros. 218. Shining Force II 217. Inside 216. Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen 215. BioShock 2 214. Banjo-Tooie 213. TimeSplitters 2 212. Prey (2017) 211. Panzer Dragoon Saga 210. Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 209. Rocket League 208. Tomb Raider (2013) 207. Flower 206. Sonic Adventure 2 205. League of Legends 204. Mortal Kombat 2 203. Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht 202. Fable 201. Tecmo Super Bowl 200. Mario Kart 64 199. DotA 2 198. Call of Duty: Black Ops 197. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 196. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII 195. Mega Man Legends 194. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword 193. Deadly Premonition 192. Spyro The Dragon 191. God of War II 190. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 189. Sid Meier's Civilization V 188. Pokémon Emerald 187. Mega Man 2 186. The Pandora Directive 185. Counter-Strike 184. Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag 183. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D 182. Assassin's Creed Origins 181. Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete 180. Terraria 179. Psychonauts 178. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire 177. Borderlands 176. Diablo 175. Legend of Legaia 174. Hearthstone 173. Shovel Knight 172. Grand Theft Auto III 171. Gears of War 2 170. Super Mario Sunshine 169. Mario Kart 8 168. Fortnite 167. Sly 2: Band of Thieves 166. Fallout 165. Doom II 164. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn 163. Skies of Arcadia 162. Rise of the Tomb Raider 161. Sonic The Hedgehog 2 160. Tales of Symphonia 159. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 158. Dead Space 2 157. Dishonored 156. Destiny 2 155. Crash Bandicoot 154. Baldur's Gate 153. Bully 152. Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening 151. Dragon Quest VIII 150. Beyond Good And Evil 149. Demon's Souls 148. Nier 147. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 146. Final Fantasy IV 145. Pokémon Crystal 144. Grim Fandango 143. Chrono Cross 142. Fable II 141. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando 140. Pokémon Yellow 139. Dead Space 138. Shenmue 137. Suikoden II 136. Jak and Daxter: The Precurson Legacy 135. Guild Wars 2 134. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 133. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars 132. Age of Empires II 131. Monster Hunter: World 130. Perfect Dark 129. Undertale 128. Final Fantasy XI 127. The Last Guardian 126. Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn 125. Journey 124. Batman: Arkham Knight 123. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest 122. Stardew Valley 121. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix 120. EarthBound 119. Gears of War 3 118. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds 117. Street Fighter II 116. Mega Man X 115. Tetris (Game Boy) 114. Rainbow Six Siege 113. Banjo-Kazooie 112. Gears of War 111. The Legend of Dragoon 110. God of War 109. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 108. Telltale's The Walking Dead Season 1 107. Doom 106. Secret of Mana 105. Baldur's Gate II 104. Super Mario Galaxy 2 103. GoldenEye 007 102. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords 101. StarCraft 100. Star Wars: Battlefront II (2005) 99. The World Ends With You 98. Super Mario Bros. 97. Final Fantasy VIII 96. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door 95. Resident Evil 2 94. Dark Souls III 93. Halo: Reach 92. God of War III 91. Half-Life 90. Batman: Arkham Asylum 89. Portal 88. Grand Theft Auto IV 87. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal 86. Final Fantasy Tactics 85. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time 84. Diablo II 83. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain 82. Xenogears 81. Alan Wake 80. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots 79. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 78. Pokémon Gold and Silver 77. Resident Evil 76. Assassin's Creed II 75. Persona 3 74. Minecraft 73. Deus Ex 72. Life is Strange 71. Super Mario Odyssey 70. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty 69. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 68. Nier: Automata 67. Dragon Age: Inquisition 66. Pokémon Red and Blue 65. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas 64. Fallout 4 63. Okami 62. Xenoblade Chronicles 61. Silent Hill 2 60. Super Mario Galaxy 59. Metroid Prime 58. The Legend of Zelda 57. Super Smash Bros. Melee 56. Destiny 55. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night 54. Halo 2 53. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind 52. Borderlands 2 51. Final Fantasy XV 50. Batman: Arkham City 49. Final Fantasy IX 48. Grand Theft Auto V 47. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess 46. Dragon Age: Origins 45. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End 44. Persona 4 43. Mass Effect 3 42. BioShock Infinite 41. Kingdom Hearts 40. Half-Life 2 39. World of Warcraft 38. Super Mario 64 37. Super Mario Bros. 3 36. Fallout: New Vegas 35. Persona 5 34. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 33. Final Fantasy X 32. Portal 2 31. Halo 3 30. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker 29. Overwatch 28. Horizon Zero Dawn 27. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 26. Super Mario World 25. Super Metroid 24. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves 23. Halo 22. Fallout 3 21. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 20. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion 19. Kingdom Hearts II 18. Mass Effect 17. Shadow of the Colossus 16. Metal Gear Solid 15. Resident Evil 4 14. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 13. Final Fantasy VI 12. Dark Souls 11. Chrono Trigger 10. Bloodborne 9. BioShock 8. Red Dead Redemption 7. Final Fantasy VII 6. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 5. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 4. Mass Effect 2 3. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 2. The Last of Us 1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt That's not all! Head to page two from some interesting stat breakdowns, details about the games that didn't make the top 300, and more! View the full article
  20. Each Monday, come here for a rundown of all this week's big events that we know about, from game releases, to betas, to recapping the biggest continuing news stories from the previous week. If there's anything we missed, feel free to let us know! This week covers the dates from March 19 to March 25. Upcoming Releases Assassin's Creed Rogue: Remastered (PS4, Xbox One) – March 20 Attack on Titan 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch) - March 20 Sea of Thieves (Xbox One, PC) – March 20 Titan Quest (PS4, Xbox One) – March 20 A Way Out (PS4, Xbox One, PC) – March 23 Detective Pikachu (3DS) – March 23 Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom (PS4, PC) – March 23 Pure Farming 2018 (PS4, Xbox One, PC) – March 23 Things To Watch Out For Street Fighter Costumes (Captain Commando, Monster Hunter) – There are multiple Capcom costumes this week, including Nash as Captain Commando and Ken in Rathalos armor. Nindie Direct On March 20 – Nintendo is holding a direct focusing on indie titles on March 20 with games like Hollow Knight expected. Noctis Coming To Tekken 7 – Final Fantasy XV's young prince joins Tekken 7 on March 20. EA Details New Progression System For Battlefront II – Battlefront II's new progression system goes live on March 21. Monster Hunter World March Update – The angry pickle Deviljho and balance changes come March 22 on Xbox One and PS4. Game Developer's Conference – The Game Developer's Conference is taking place in San Francisco this week and sometimes includes announcements from developers. Overwatch League (Stage 2, Week 5) – Watch the Houston Outlaws take on Seoul Dynasty and see Dallas Fuel face off against London Spitfire. In Case You Missed It Yakuza Kiwami 2 Is Coming To The West, And We Got To Play It Sonic Mania Plus Announced, Physical Release And New Characters UFC President Dana White Coming To UFC 3 As Playable Fighter A Way Out Director Josef Fares On Designing Games As Their Own Medium Ten Underappreciated Sequels That Never Got Their Due Streamer Ninja And Rapper Drake Shatter Twitch Viewership Record With Fortnite Stream Shadow Of The Tomb Raider Confirmed For September Jeff Goldblum Returns For Jurassic World Evolution Former Halo, Battlefield Devs Announce Scavengers, A Third-Person “Co-opetition” Shooter Here Are The Game Informer Crew's Personal Top 10 Games Of All Time What are you looking forward to this week? Let us know in the comments below! View the full article
  21. Amazon has announced the GameOn applications programming interface (API) for developers that lets studios award in-game and real-world prizes fulfilled by Amazon. Amazon envisions the developer tool ultimately being used by players to create in-game competitions (including leaderboards and leagues), with developers "retaining complete control over the prize type, value, and quantity." GameOn launch partners include Eden Games, which created the Gear Club mobile title (shown), although the tech works with any platform. [Source: Amazon] Our Take Crossing the line between in-game rewards to real-world ones is a tantalizing prospect that gamers have wanted, but which hasn't become widespread to this point. It will be interesting to see if GameOn makes this practice popular. View the full article
  22. Sony Santa Monica opened its doors to the press last week, giving attendees a chance to spend a considerable chunk of time with the upcoming God of War. For about three hours, I was glued to the TV, as I got to experience Kratos' new story from its opening moments. Over the course of that time, I played through sections that resonated with me as a God of War fan, and was also pleasantly disoriented by its new direction. Read on for five of my most surprising and rewarding takeaways from the game. Warning: I'll avoid diving too deeply into spoiler territory, but I will describe a few events from the first few hours that particularly spoiler-sensitive types may want to avoid. The story is a slow, powerful burn The God of War series is known for many things, including huge bosses, gruesome massacres of grunt enemies, and insanity stacked atop insanity. Most of the time, those elements are introduced within seconds of pressing the start button. That's not the case with this entry. I did get to see Kratos kill something with with his new Leviathan Axe, but it was a tree. And that came only after a contemplative moment where Kratos paused to put his hand atop a mysterious glowing handprint that marked its bark. We haven't heard many details about Kratos' wife before, and the game's opening hours isn't exactly oversharing. Still, I was able to learn a bit more about this woman, who is named Faye. She's dead by the time we join Kratos and his son, Atreus, but it doesn't appear that she was murdered or faced a violent end. She had personally marked trees in the forest for her funeral pyre, which leads me to believe that she saw her own death coming. With her passing comes an emboldened enemy, the undead Draugr. As Atreus writes in his journal, these are warriors who are too stubborn to put down their weapons, even in death. The valley that Kratos' family lived in was protected by a magical circle of trees, but when Kratos felled them – at Faye's request – an opening in the barrier was created. All of this is revealed naturally and deliberately through dialog between Kratos and Atreus as they prepare Faye's body for the funeral rite, hunt together, and explore the surrounding forest. God of War isn't afraid of taking its time to reveal where it's going, which was definitely a change of pacing. We learn that Faye was teaching the boy how to hunt, but it's clear the focus was more on tracking animals than slaying them. Atreus also makes a passing reference to his mother not wanting Kratos and the boy to go hunting together. I'm not ready to put money on it quite yet, but people may have been jumping the gun with their assumptions that Kratos had settled down with a mortal. Faye is awfully close to the word "fae," the catchall word for elves, dwarves, and giants in Norse mythology. There's a beautiful world to explore, and reasons to do so Sony Santa Monica wasn't attempting to create an open-world experience with God of War, but the team has made an effort to reward players who take the time to explore. The paths that Kratos and Atreus took during my demo were ultimately linear, though there were opportunities to move off the critical path. For example, in the early moments of the game Kratos and Atreus are tracking a deer. Rather than stick to following its muddy hoofprints, I veered off to explore an alternate pathway. It led to a treasure chest, filled with crafting materials. You can certainly blaze through the critical path, but you run the risk of making things more difficult later on. Over the course of my demo my methodical slow-poke style paid off, as I collected three hidden apples and extended Kratos' life bar by a considerable amount. Sometimes these alternate routes are obvious, and other times you have to really scour the landscape to figure out how to access hidden paths. Kratos can't jump at will in this entry; his leaps are situational moves across gaps, similar to those that you see in the 3D Zelda games. There's a fair amount of puzzle-solving It's been a while since I played through the earlier God of War games, but the latest game had more puzzles that I remember. Don't worry, however. I didn't push a single crate, pull any levers, or stand on any switches. Those things could pop up later, to be certain, but they were mercifully absent from the game's opening hours. Instead, Kratos' axe gets to show its versatility. The Leviathan Axe is a magical weapon that freezes (most) enemies, and it can return to Kratos' hand at will. (If that reminds you of Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, that's probably not a coincidence. Both were forged by Brok, a blacksmith in the Norse mythology that props up the game.) At any rate, the Leviathan Axe's frosty qualities can be put to good use in puzzles. An early puzzle is set around a pair of gates connected by a chain. Pulling the chain opens the inner gate as the outer gate closes. The secret is to fully open the inner gate and then freeze it in place by aiming the axe and chucking it at a target. From there, it's safe to run through, retrieve the axe, and pass through the outer gate. One of the later puzzles had a deadly riff on that concept, with a spiked ceiling that could be raised by hitting large wooden paddles with the axe. Once again, I had to hit a target with the axe to lock the ceiling safely into place, but then had to take on a wave of enemies unarmed. Or, I could summon it back and do more damage while keeping an eye on the ceiling and ensuring it didn't drop too low. These might not break anyone's brain, but I saw these a welcome change of pace from the rotating columns of yesteryear. Oh yeah, the fighting is good Sorry! With all this talk about story and exploration and puzzles, I forgot about that whole fighting thing. Don't worry! It's still a big part of God of War, and it's made the transition to a tighter third-person camera quite nicely. I understand purists may look at the new presentation and think, "I'm out." It's definitely different, but I was taken aback by how much it still feels like a God of War game, even though it's such a visual and mechanical departure from past games. The axe has a nice weighty feel around it when you're using it as a melee weapon, but that's just part of what it can do. Yeah, yeah, I already talked about the puzzles. In addition to hitting targets, you can also aim it an enemies (surprise!). If it lodges into smaller enemies, it'll freeze them in place, giving Kratos an opportunity to move on to another target or finish that one off. It's an effective way to control the crowds of enemies. My favorite part is how you can chuck the axe at an enemy and recall it, and if any other enemies are in the way of its return flight, they'll take damage, too. I wasn't able to dive too deeply into the skill tree during my time with the game, but I did get a technique called the executioner's cleave. It's a charge attack for Kratos' heavy attack that does an absurd amount of damage, with one caveat: You can't walk around with it charged, so you need to time it just right, or you'll end up hitting empty space. Atreus is fun to have around. Really We've all been burned before by A.I. companions. When they're not getting stuck on geometry they're lagging behind, getting killed, or not listening. Atreus is different in that Sony Santa Monica has made a real effort to make sure Kratos' son isn't annoying. Well, he's kind of annoying sometimes, but from a deliberate narrative standpoint, and not because he refuses to jump across a gap. If you don't want to worry about him, he runs well on autopilot. As you fight enemies, he'll pepper them with arrows, causing damage and drawing aggro from you. (Don't worry, he can't die.) You can also manually command him to target specific enemies. He has his own upgrade path, as well as gear that you can craft for him – if you choose to do so. It's really up to you. Personally, I liked having him around. He was helpful in combat, and he never got between me and a target – which is huge. He also calls out when enemies are coming from behind, which helped on occasions when I wasn't paying close attention to the onscreen indicators. Kratos isn't nearly as into Atreus as I was, however. He's a grumpy dude who has little patience for a child's impulsive and irresponsible ways. I suspect that they'll get closer during their journey, however. God of War is coming to PlayStation 4 on April 20. For more on the game, including a variety of video interviews with the game's creators, be sure to check out our hub below. View the full article
  23. Lego has had a fair amount of luck turning properties into interesting video games over the years, with memorable titles being crafted out of the Star Wars, Marvel, and DC comic universes. Looks like the company is turning its gaze onto Pixar now. According to The Brick Fan, a Lego fan site, sets being released for The Incredibles 2 have started showing up early at Walmart. Included with those sets is a teaser for a Lego video game version of The Incredibles: The Brick Fan says the game will be developed by TT Games (responsible for developing the majority of modern Lego titles) and will be released in 2018. There is no word on whether or not the game will be a straight adaptation of the movie or have its own story. [Source: The Brick Fan] Our Take
 Obviously take all of this with a grain of salt since Warner Bros, Disney, and TT have not comfirmed any of this. However, The Brick Fan is pretty reputable and the photographic evidence lines up with what the site is saying, so it seems like this is happening. View the full article
  24. No government is perfect. While many idealistic concepts give birth to new nations, the implementation of those ideas usually strays from the intent – and yet, governments can succeed and thrive despite their imperfection. Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is the same. It chronicles the monarchy of King Evan with an ambitious framework that includes elements of traditional role-playing, city-building, and real-time strategy – which all sounds amazing in theory. In reality, these concepts fall short in their execution and leave the game’s full potential conspicuously unrealized, but those missed opportunities don’t prevent it from being charming or entertaining. Ni no Kuni II is a brand new story, and doesn’t require any familiarity with the first game. It follows Evan, a young ruler forced to leave his homeland and start a new kingdom from scratch. I can’t exactly say that the narrative is bad, but the straightforward fairy tale doesn’t go anywhere interesting. Evan wants to create a world without war, so he sets off to unite the other kingdoms one by one. You collect a handful of archetypical party members along the way, but after their initial introductions, they fade into the background and stop playing any notable role in events. Because of this, most characters never grow; you know everything you’re going to learn about the smart and confident sky-pirate princess as soon as she joins your party early on. This means advancing a lot of dull text-box conversations that don’t convey much in terms of personality (due to sparse use of voiced dialogue and full-fledged cutscenes), and cast members who feel like interchangeable cardboard cut-outs. (Please visit the site to view this media) Though the story didn’t keep me interested, the gameplay propelled me forward due thanks to a clever kingdom-building system. Your realm, Evermore, starts as a meager encampment and grows into a sprawling city as you upgrade abilities, recruit specialists, and build structures like farms and shops. The brilliance here is how Evermore functions as your primary progression system. If you want better armor, upgrade the outfitters. If you want better items, invest in the general store. You can also research passive buffs that improve your experience gains or help you expand Evermore more efficiently. I was completely hooked on this loop; I loved chasing down sidequests that lured new residents that my kingdom. This gives you new research and construction options, and the abundance of available tasks always provides something enticing to pursue. Plus, I like how currency and items accrue in the background as time passes, so no matter what you do (even if you’re just standing idle), you’re making progress. With things like weapon development and spell upgrades, much of what you accomplish in your kingdom funnels into combat. Battles are fluid and action-driven, letting you control any party member in real time and take down crowds of monsters with various techniques. The simple system is accessible and fun, but it is also the nexus for the myriad ways in which Ni no Kuni II’s ideas need refinement. Fights may be entertaining, but they also don’t provide much challenge, so you don’t have any incentive to learn its intricacies. For instance, you can craft and level up a vast array of magical helpers called Higgledies to assist you, but you can also get by just fine with a basic set, so the extra effort seems pointless. And despite your ability to upgrade spells, magic isn’t more efficient or useful than basic skills, so that endeavor also feels like wasted resources. The optimizer in me still enjoyed digging through my options and mowing down my opponents, but ultimately, my reward was making an already-easy game even easier. A secondary combat system involves more strategic encounters that have Evan controlling a small army, but this idea feels half-baked. A basic rock-paper-scissor dynamic generally determines victory, so choosing your four units before the encounter carries much more tactical significance than any decision you make on the battlefield. I enjoyed getting new units and bolstering the strength of my forces, but the limited scope and clunky controls of these conflicts hold them back. I enjoyed engaging in these skirmishes occasionally for a change of pace (or to get a new citizen), but they were usually on the bottom of my to-do list. Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom may not nail everything it attempts, but it gets the important things right. Building your kingdom is satisfying and engaging, even with the weak narrative hooks. The cycle of rewards became an obsession, and had me staying up late to recruit just one more ally, or complete just one more upgrade. Combat could be tighter, and other supporting elements could use some polish – but like any kingdom, this experience isn’t about individual contributions. It’s about how those contributions come together, and the fun of this experience as a whole outweighs its flaws. View the full article
  25. HTC has announced the Vive Pro, the upgraded version of its current virtual reality headset, will retail for $799. With that news also comes news of pre-orders, which will begin shipping on April 5. Additionally, anyone who purchases a Pro before June 3 will receive a free six-month subscription to Viveport, which lets customers choose five free games per month to play from a selection of games (anyone who buys one within 60 days of release will get a two-month subscription). The price of Viveport will also be increasing to $8.99 per month after March 22, though current subscribers can lock in at the current $7.99 price point until the end of the year. The company isn't leaving out the original Vive, however. That unit's price point is dropping to $499. The Pro makes a number of improvements on the original Vive; it increases the headset's resolution to 2880 x 1600 across both eyes (up from the Vive's 2160 x 1200), adds integrated headphones, better microphones and cameras, and makes the headband more comfortable and adjustable. Our Take The press release briefly mentions that "Current Vive owners can upgrade their headset for the best display, audio, and comfort in the industry," but I think that's more of a general "you can buy the new thing now!" than an announcement of any kind of program. If that's not the case, I'd love to see an upgrade path for current owners to get a Pro, since early adopters often get the short straw when it comes to companies releasing new hardware iterations. View the full article
  26. Battle for Azeroth New Races - Vulpera Preview The Vulpera are a race of fox people that live in Vol'dun on Zandalar. They haven't officially been announced as an Allied Race. Customization The Vulpera offer a variety of faces, ears, markings, skin colors and snouts. You can view them all in the screenshots and modelviewer below. Faces Ears Markings Snouts Skin Colors View the full article
  27. The year 2014 was a simpler time. Destiny was hot off the presses and fans of Assassin's Creed were forced to decide if they should play Assassin's Creed Unity or Rogue first... since they were released on the same day. With Tuesday's release of Assassin's Creed Rogue Remastered, you can correct any mistakes from the past by playing the good one! On this episode of New Gameplay Today, I fill in for Jeff Cork and our best buddy Leo Vader is joined by the great historian Matt Miller. You can read our original review for Assassin's Creed Rogue right here! Check out the video below to see how this last-gen game looks running on a PlayStation 4. (Please visit the site to view this media) View the full article
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