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2018-02-19
With Rainbow Six Siege's Operation Chimera update coming soon (including the new Outbreak mode), Ubisoft has been talking more about its plans for the third year of the game's DLC. First, the company has revealed a new PvP mode on the way called Pick & Ban.The mode allows each team to ban their opponents from choosing two Operators of their choice for the entire match. The catch is that your team is also banned from choosing those two Operators for the match, as well as the two your opponents pick.In addition, both teams' lineups will be revealed to all players at the start of each round. However, you'll then have the chance to re-pick one Operator without the enemy seeing--they'll have to identify that player in the usual ways, using drones and cameras. Finally, it appears Pick & Ban will allow you to choose your spawn point before you choose your Operator rather than afterwards, as it is currently.Pick & Ban will be introduced as an option in Custom Games only at first, with the potential for a rollout in public matchmaking further down the line if things go smoothly. Ubisoft says the mode will be introduced into the Rainbow Six Siege Pro Leagues at the start of Year 3 Season 2 in June, though it's not yet clear if all players will receive the mode then.- New Maps and Operators.- Pick and Ban System.- Hereford Base Map rework.- Map buffs starting with Clubhouse.- A new and improved Pro League format.All this and MUCH more will be coming during Year 3. For now, let's take a look at the new Hereford Base 🔥 pic.twitter.com/NnPZKvQvSD — Rainbow Six Siege (@Rainbow6Game) February 18, 2018Ubisoft has also detailed some of the changes coming to Siege's maps in the coming year of DLC. It says it will be changing maps with small updates called buffs--such as adding a room between Bedroom and Cash Room on Clubhouse--and larger updates called reworks. The first map to be reworked will be Hereford in Year 3 Season 3. It will keep the British theme but the map's layout will be completely changed and aesthetic very different to that of the current Hereford base.Finally, Ubisoft reaffirmed its aim to eventually reach 100 Rainbow Six Siege Operators, stated all past and future weapon attachments will now be free, and revealed that every version of the game except for the starter edition will include the 20 base Operators unlocked from the start for no extra cost. For more on the shooter, check out our look at how its new Operators will change the Siege meta and read more about the new Outbreak co-op mode.Info from Gamespot.com
2018-02-19
Arc System Works has teamed up with Japanese game director and writer Hidetaka "Swery" Suehiro for a new project in 2018. From the mind that brought Deadly Premonition to life comes an ambiguous announcement for The Missing.Our first look at the title in the video above doesn't say much. We weren't given any clear hints as to what the title's true premise is or what kind of platforms we'll see it on. All we know, from the Arc System Works website, is that it is expected to launch sometime this year."The title, The Missing, has many meanings,” Swery said. “A missing person, someone who’s lost, or even something lost. Maybe it’s your loved one…or a place you belong. Do you ever feel lost in your everyday life? The Missing is for someone like you."This is the first game for Swery's studio, White Owl, to be be developed in house. Swery has confirmed on Twitter that the team is still devoted to its work on his other title The Good Life, an RPG about a village that turns into cats at night. That title will be going through another round of crowdfunding in March."Frankly, this title will blow your mind," Swery said. "I think it's sick. I'm confident it will exceed your expectations, so please stay tuned."Info from Gamespot.com
2018-02-19
Black Panther opened this past weekend, and it was a huge hit. The 18th Marvel Cinematic Universe film is expected to make around $218 million in the US and Canada for the four-day Presidents Day weekend, which is ahead of what analysts were expecting.Black Panther's three-day US/Canadian haul of $192 million sets a new record for a film released in February. It surpasses Deadpool, the R-rated superhero movie that made $132.4 million in February 2016.The film was directed by Ryan Coogler (Creed), and its opening-weekend box office haul represents a new record by a black director. Black Panther boasts a pretty-much-perfect A-plus CinemaScore rating (the first A-plus rating for a MCU film since Avengers 1 in 2012).This CinemaScore rating, which is derived from movie-goer opinions, suggests the second-weekend box office performance will be strong as well on the back of positive word-of-mouth.Black Panther, which stars Chadwick Boseman in the lead role, pulled in a further $169 million from international markets through Sunday, so it's a global success. The film reportedly cost $200 million to make. For more, check out GameSpot's review of Black Panther.Below you can find a breakdown of the February 16-18 US/Canadian box office performance, with the four-day totals posted in parenthesis. Go to Entertainment Weekly to see a full and detailed breakdown of this weekend's domestic box office results.Black Panther — $192 million ($218 million through Monday)Peter Rabbit — $17.3 million ($22.1 through Monday)Fifty Shades Freed — $16.9 million ($18.9 through Monday)Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle — $7.9 million ($10 million through Monday)The 15:17 to Paris — $7.7 million ($9 million through Monday)The Greatest Showman — $5.1 million ($6.3 million through Monday)Early Man — $3.2 million ($4.2 million through Monday)Maze Runner: The Death Cure — $2.5 million ($3 million through Monday)Winchester — $2.2 million ($2.7 million through Monday)Samson — $2 million ($2.3 million through Monday)Info from Gamespot.com
2018-02-19
This week's batch of new games have plenty to take on, whether it's the undead in Metal Gear Survive, rival kingdoms in Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, or a bunch of ghosts in Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus. You can also explore a mysterious space facility in The Station, or throw down with some four-legged animals in Them's Fightin' Herds.Metal Gear Survive -- February 20Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PCThe first Metal Gear game since Hideo Kojima left Konami is very different from Snake's sneaking missions. This open-world survival game is all about scavenging for resources to build weapons and defenses. You can take the challenge solo or with friends in co-op.Further Reading:Metal Gear Survive Requires A Constant Internet Connection, Has MicrotransactionsMetal Gear Survive Story Mode Impressions - No Snakes In SightAge of Empires: Definitive Edition -- February 20Available on: PCAfter a delay, the best way to play this classic strategy game is launching this week. It's souped-up for the modern era with 4K support, brand-new narration, and rebuilt sound effects--but you can always turn all that off and play in Classic Mode too. Definitive Edition includes the base game and the Rise of Rome expansion.Further Reading:PC's Age Of Empires: Definitive Edition Gets New Release Date After DelayE3 2017: Age Of Empires Remaster AnnouncedThe Station -- February 20Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PCThis first-person game has you exploring the titular station as it orbits above an alien planet in the midst of a civil war. For you, that means finding out what happened and deciding the fate of the alien race below. There's a lot to discover as you learn the truth and solve puzzles around the station.Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus -- February 22Available on: SwitchChampionship Edition 2 is coming to Switch with new features. First and foremost, you can hand your friend a Joy-Con and play co-op. And of course there are plenty of boards and bosses to complete in both Time Attack and Adventure modes. Watch out for ghost trains!Further Reading:Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Coming To Nintendo Switch With New ModeThem's Fightin' Herds -- February 22Available on: PCIf this cartoon-looking fighter seems familiar, that's because it comes from the same mind behind My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. But don't let the cutesy look fool you: this fighter takes cues from series like BlazBlue and Guilty Gear, so don't expect an easy battle.Info from Gamespot.com
2018-02-19
Are you in the market for a new Xbox One S? If so, there are a few deals available now in the US and around the world and some coming up soon that you may want to consider. Right now in the US, Microsoft is cutting $50 off the price of all Xbox One S bundles. This wicked-sweet deals drops the price of the console to $230, and this covers bundles that come with games such as Forza Horizon 3, Madden 18, and Minecraft, among others. This offer is available at a number of retailers, including big ones like Amazon and GameStop. You have to act relatively quickly, however, as the offer expires on March 3. Additionally, Microsoft is launching the Xbox One S PUBG bundle, which includes a 500 GB system and a copy of the Battle Royale game for $300. This system goes on sale in the US and Canada on February 20, so there is not much longer to wait. In other news, gamers in Canada can now save $60 CAD on 1 TB Xbox One S bundlesAnd in terms of Xbox One X deals, Microsoft has brought back to the deal where you get a free copy of PUBG when you buy an Xbox One X. This promotion runs through February 24 in the US, though it ends in other parts of the world on March 4. You will want to check with your local retailer for specifics around availability and timing. Info from Gamespot.com
2018-02-19
JJ Watt, one of the biggest names in the NFL, wants to know: PUBG or Fortnite? Posting on Twitter today, the Houston Texans DE asked his 5 million followers to weigh in on which Battle Royale game they prefer. He initially simply tweeted the question, "Fortnite or PubG?" before following up with a Twitter poll with the same question. Right now, Fortnite is dominating PUBG in Watt's poll. At press time, 78 percent of respondents said they prefer Fortnite, compared to 22 percent for PUBG. Almost 20,000 people have voted so far, and the poll is open for another 22 hours. This will be easier to see... — JJ Watt (@JJWatt) February 18, 2018It's not immediately clear why Watt posed the question today. It could be that he's looking for something new to play (it is the offseason, after all). And, as with many other people right now, the NFL star might be considering which of the popular Battle Royale games he wants to check out. For a deeper dive on the subject, you can check out GameSpot's in-depth breakdown--"Fortnite Vs. PUBG: Which Battle Royale Game Is Right For You?" Additionally, you can see both games compared in the video embedded at the top of this post.Watt suffered a season-ending injury in October, fracturing the tibial plateau in his left leg. He is expected to return for the 2018-2019 season. After going down with the injury, Watt kept busy, raising an incredible $37 million for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.What do you think, PUBG or Fortnite? Let us know in the comments below!Info from Gamespot.com
2018-02-19
A new trailer for an upcoming Battle Royale game that promises to support 400 players in a multiplayer environment has been released, but unfortunately it doesn't deliver what we want to see. The trailer for Mavericks: Proving Grounds shows off some nice-looking visuals and environments, but, critically, it does not show any gameplay. Mavericks is in development at the new UK studio Automaton Games. The game was formerly known as Project X before getting its new name over the weekend during a PC Gamer event. Mavericks will have a 12km squared "living and breathing" world, the developer says. It also promises dynamic elements such as wildfire that spreads and more. "This year, we're coming out with our competitive, Battle Royale-style mode, which we hope will show that there is so much more for that genre than what people have seen today," Automaton's James Thompson told PC Gamer. "How much more we can do with the game world and the [Battle Royale] game mode as a whole."Mavericks' Battle Royale mode is scheduled to launch in 2018, presumably for PC, but it is just one part of the game. The full game, described as an MMO that supports 1000 concurrent players in an "ultra-high fidelity world instance, is coming in 2019. "It is set in a huge, photoreal, and highly dynamic environment, with strong character progression, social hubs, intelligent mission systems and global-scale player-driven narrative," reads a line from the game's description.Some kind of announcement about Mavericks is coming at the Game Developers Conference in March, and we will be sure to report back with more details then. A closed beta for Mavericks is coming, but there is no word yet about when it will start.PUBG, which supports 100 players, popularised the Battle Royale movement and made it one of the most talked-about genres in gaming. It's no surprise to see other, similar games pop up with their own unique spin on the formula. Epic's Fortnite: Battle Royale has seen a lot of success, as the game recently surpassed 3.4 million concurrent players. Info from Gamespot.com
2018-02-19
While the Xbox One does not have an official, Microsoft-approved plan for support keyboard and mouse controls (at least not yet), there are ways to do it. One way is through the use of adapters. Microsoft is apparently aware of this, but the company is not taking action in the case of multiplayer shooters--where keyboard and mouse players would theoretically have an advantage.The reason? According to Xbox engineering lead Mike Ybarra, Microsoft could block keyboard and mouse setups on console, but won't do it because the company wants to give developers the freedom to operate their games as they see fit. Not only that, but a keyboard and mouse setup can be a helpful solution for players with accessibility considerations.Developers have the choice to use APIs that detect and not allow these. It’s up to them, but the capability is there. https://t.co/jE97R6oj0c — Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) February 18, 2018We could but there are helpful scenarios with these devices (accessibility for one). Our general approach is to empower the developer to manage their game how they want. — Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) February 18, 2018For a long time now, Microsoft has said it is considering bringing an official keyboard and mouse solution to the Xbox One. In September last year, Ybarra said keyboard and mouse support is "definitely coming" to Xbox One, but he didn't say when or in what form.Crucially, Ybarra said Microsoft understands the concerns people have about keyboard and mouse users having the upper hand against people using a controller."We have to be very smart in how we do that. We'll leave it a lot up to developer choice," Ybarra said at the time. "A lot of people tweet me and say, 'You can't do this because of fairness,' and we understand that. We run two platforms; the Windows platform and the Xbox platform."Ybarra said one solution is that developers can create systems in their games that allow players to decide if they want to play against people using controllers or a keyboard and mouse setup. In fact, Microsoft's Gears of War 4 supports cross-play between Xbox One and PC, and the company already tested the waters with controller versus keyboard and mouse setup. Xbox One players can choose whether or not they want to play with PC users.Would you like to see official keyboard and mouse support on Xbox One? Let us know in the comments below!Info from Gamespot.com
2018-02-18
As it currently stands, Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch League--a hybrid of both esports/traditional sports systems--is already a solid success. With the closing of Stage 1--the first of five phases leading up to the Season 1 playoffs later this year--the London Spitfire came out on top against their current rivals in the New York Excelsior. While the end of the first part of the season is a major milestone, there's still a ways to go as we inch closer to the grand finals later this year. In the meantime, there's much room for growth and change for the League and the many teams over the next few stages.While the League itself is has been gaining traction and found an audience of diehard fans, there's still plenty of room for improvement--which the organizers are well aware of. We had the opportunity to speak with Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer during the Stage 1 finals, where he spoke about how things are progressing with Blizzard's big gamble on esports, how they plan to refine how the games are run, and how they hope to make their sport as welcoming and inclusive as Overwatch itself is.GameSpot: Even though it's only been a few weeks for Stage 1, it already feels like Overwatch League is off to a solid start. Can you share your thoughts on how things are going so far with the League?Nate Nanzer: Yeah, I think we're off to a good start. There's tons of things we want to continue to iterate on and improve, but right now we're just really focused on figuring out how to continue to evolve and improve the show throughout the year, and have all of that culminate in the awesome finals event. But yeah, that's the focus right now, and it's really awesome that people are happy with it. Nothing is broken, so right now we're just focusing on making it better. Our goal is to just make every stage and every season better than the last.Esports is still in its infancy, and sort of trying to define what it is seems like a tough challenge. The sports genre is always evolving, and having this League try to define itself within the broader and evolving esports pantheon must a tough thing to get a handle of.Yeah, that's sort of the idea here. The thing about esports, with it being this awesome and organic thing, was really hard for people to follow--like there was no one place to go to aggregate the information--so we wanted to make following the Overwatch League really easy and have a consistent schedule. It's been amazing to see all these teams play week in week out, and how the playing field has leveled. I think everyone coming into the League had certain ideas about which teams were good, and which teams were bad. And that in itself is exciting from the fan perspective.Sports always has an underlying sense of drama to it, and you may end up finding yourself becoming attached to teams you didn't expect you would. The Shanghai Dragons in particular haven't been doing so great so far, yet I can't help myself to root for them. Especially with their recent inclusion to the roster in Geguri, who's the first female player in the League.That's one of the things that's common in all of sports. Fandom often times is generated from familiarity with something, like your dad liking a team or being in the city where you grew up, or being a part of the same college, and we're seeing that a lot here--such as the fans that drove up here to watch the finals to support their local team. Or, and in a lot of cases, you see fandom generated from the players themselves. And also, fans tend to like rooting for the underdog--which is why there are so many people hoping to see Shanghai turn things around. It's really exciting to see how players have taken to game, the teams, and the players themselves. But all in all, it's really cool seeing a bunch of fans come together whether at watch parties or online to come out and support their local teams. It's really cool seeing how the regionality of it all is taking shape.The game of Overwatch is something that celebrates diversity and inclusiveness, and it's what many fans find most endearing about it. Do you feel there's still room to go for the League itself, in terms of the regionality of the teams, and representation to match up with what the game is all about?Well as of now, there's 113 players in the League currently from 19 different countries. It's an incredibly diverse league. Obviously we have players from Korea and China, but then we have players like Nomy is from Tijuana, and dhaK is from Venezuela. The League looks like what our playerbase looks like--with players from all over the world. One of the cool things about esports is that there are no physical differences between female and male players at this level, and we're going to see things change and evolve over time. As a game, and as a league, we take professionalism and being a good citizen of our community very seriously. We're not gonna solve toxicity on the internet and gender equality issues on our own, and it's a bit unreasonable that one game is going to solve all those problems, but we definitely want to make Overwatch League just as welcoming and inclusive as Overwatch the game is, and we're gonna do our best to do that.With the League in its infancy, and there's bound to be a few missteps here and there from players and also in how its systems function. Can you speak to how the League will go about addressing upcoming changes and fixes going forward?Well, the Overwatch League is four and a half weeks old, and I don't think we're gonna have all the answers right away, and who knows what the League will look like three, four, five, ten years from now, so what we're really focused on is just listening to all of our feedback from our players, our teams, our community--and making changes where we need to. We've already changed the order of the maps and flow our games, and we've always been iterating things, but at some point when designing a eague like this you have to put a flag in the ground and say "alright, this is what we're doing"--but I think we're gonna be very quick about something that needs fixing or needs to be addressed in a certain way, then we're not going to be precious about our original decisions. We're constantly listening to feedback from all of our stakeholders.For more content on our coverage of Overwatch League, check out our additional interviews with Nate Nanzer and Game Director Jeff Kaplan about the making of the League, and how Overwatch can be the game to push esports into the mainstream.Info from Gamespot.com
2018-02-18
As the first stage of Overwatch League drew to a close, it represented a major milestone for Blizzard's big gamble on esports. The London Spitfire faced some setbacks during the final day of Stage 1, but after coming back from an earlier defeat against their rivals the New York Excelsior, they were able to secure victory and earn $100,000 in prize money. During a chat with Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer at the finals, he spoke about how event organizers plan to refine their approach to the competition, while also reflecting on how things have transpired so far."I think we're off to a good start," said the commissioner. "There's tons of things we want to continue to iterate on and improve, but right now we're just really focused on figuring out how to continue to evolve and improve the show throughout the year, and have all of that culminate in the awesome finals event. That's the focus right now, and it's really awesome that people are happy with it. Nothing is broken, so right now we're just focusing on making it better."With Stage 2 set to begin on February 21, there's already some notable changes coming up that could potentially alter the dynamic for the 12 teams. In addition to ongoing gameplay balances and tweaks for the base game, which included some notable changes to one of the most useful healer characters in Mercy, the league will also see an influx of new talent coming in to shake up the current roster.The Stage 1 finals, while engaging and dramatic, ended up being a perfect storm of scheduling and scoring issues that resulted in many players feeling the heat after extended periods of play--and the organizers agreed. Taking place over the course of 12 hours--making the show itself somewhat exhausting to sit through--it forced the London Spitfire into playing several consecutive matches during the semi-finals and finals. While the London Spitfire were able to secure the win for the finals after a total of 14 games during the day--a testament to their team coordination and composure--this still made for a rather exhausting experience for all involved.Immediately after the end of Stage 1, League commissioner Nate Nanzer took to Twitter after the finals to state their plans for addressing how the Stage 2 finals will work. He stated, "Let me save you some time from tweeting @ me about the schedule: we are looking into playing Stage Finals games on Sunday starting Stage 2. That and other schedule news soon."On February 14, the revised schedule was finalized on the Overwatch League blog. The finals for Stage 2 will now take place on Sunday March 25, with anyone purchasing a ticket for Saturday March 24 being given a free ticket for the finals match the next day.For the teams that had a hard time during the month, Stage 2 represents a clean slate for many players, allowing them to change the narrative surrounding their group. The Shanghai Dragons, featuring some of China's top esports talent, have struggled throughout their games in Stage 1. While they had some successful matches, they ultimately placed last. However, things could be be looking up for the Dragons. Three new players are set to join the Shanghai Dragons in Stage 2, which includes Lee Eui-Seok from Element Mystic, MVP Space flex Cheon "Ado" Ki-hyun, and Kim "Geguri" Se-yeon--who will be the first female player for Overwatch League.As one of the top Zarya players in the world, Geguri could prove to be an effective player to round out a team that's in need of stronger defensive and support play. Many fans of competitive Overwatch have been clamoring for Geguri to have a spot in the League, and her placement on the roster could just be the shot in the arm that a team like the Dragons need to make it out of the bottom tier.One thing that's common for an online game is for the developers to roll out gradual updates and tweaks for the game. Recently, both Junkrat and Mercy, two of the most used characters in the League, received some tweaks that toned down some key abilities that the developers felt could be easily exploited by players. Mercy became the go-to healer for teams thanks to her ability to resurrect dead players, along with her speed and healing range. However, the upcoming nerf will make the time to revive players last a bit longer, lower the speed boost from her Guardian Angel buff by 50%, and remove the bonus buff from her Resurrect skill. In addition to Mercy, Junkrat--a popular character for quick offensive strikes thanks to his Ultimate ability--will also see a nerf for one of his support abilities.During a post-game press conference after losing to the London Spitfire, Jacob "JAKE" Lyon of the Houston Outlaws spoke about the changes to Junkrat, who is his signature character."I think it's interesting, actually," said the Houston Outlaw's top assault player. "The character is way weaker against dive, because the 120 AoE was really especially powerful against characters like Genji and Tracer--dodging Genji's reflect and still doing 120 and obviously one-shotting Tracer with damage boost is still a very powerful ability--but I think you'll still see the character a ton if people are running Reinhardt because he's still the faster shield-breaker in the game. Junkrat's RipTire is still the best ultimate in the game, so I think we'll still see Junkrat as viable, but it will be more situational. And it'll be more map dependent."While Stage 2 will still largely keep the same flow and dynamic of its previous phases, the organizers are already looking to the future of the league given its immediate success. Overwatch League has kept a steady audience over the last month, and with the finals earning solid viewership, the organizers are confident that their audience will only grow from here. During a recent Activision-Blizzard investor call, the company already confirmed that the League was a solid success, and that the buy-in cost for new sponsors for Season 2 will increase--which is expected to add new teams and additional players. For now, Stage 2 is already looking to show more growth for the league, and what players can expect for Blizzard's rapid increase in esports.For more content on our coverage of Overwatch League, check out our additional interviews with Nate Nanzer and Game Director Jeff Kaplan about the making of the League, and how Overwatch can be the game to push esports into the mainstream.Info from Gamespot.com
2018-02-18
The quirky crossover costumes continue in Monster Hunter: World, but unlike the previous Horizon Zero Dawn armor--which was an understandable fit for Monster Hunter--this new Street Fighter V set is a bit of a surprise. Have you always wanted to hunt monsters as Ryu? Your wish has been granted. The quest to unlock the Ryu gear is relatively simple, but if you're curious about how the process works, we've outlined the timing and quests below to access the extras. It's worth noting that the Street Fighter V gear is only available on PS4 currently for people with a Street Fighter V save on their system, and will be available on for others on PS4 and Xbox One later.Ryu is the first of two Street Fighter V armor skins available now for the game; Sakura is the second and will be available at a later date. Like the Aloy gear, you'll have to wear the entire Ryu set together--you can't just wear the pants or chest alone. And the set will also alter your appearance so that your character looks like the legendary wandering shotokan fighter.To unlock the Ryu armor, you must complete a quest called "Down the Dark, Muddy Path," which you can find at the Arena Quest Board in the Gathering Hub. The quest is a three-star mission that requires a Hunter Rank of 3 or higher. You only have access to the following loadouts: Greatsword, Dual Blades, Hammer, Gunlance, and Heavy Bowgun. It's also important to note that the quest is only available for a limited time, until March 1.The quest objective is to slay a Barroth. When you complete the quest, you earn a Street Fighter V Ticket, a special currency used to unlock the Street Fighter costumes. However, you need to defeat Barroth seven separate times in order to earn enough Street Fighter V Tickets to unlock the Ryu gear.Since the quest battle is in an arena, slaying Barroth has been scaled up to fit the space. As a result, its hit boxes are much larger, so make sure to dodge accordingly. In addition, avoid hitting its head, as that's where its armor is the thickest. Once you've defeated Barroth seven times, simply take all the Street Fighter V tickets you've earned to the Smithy to craft the Ryu gear. Check out the screens above for a more visual break-down of where to find everything.Monster Hunter World's second Horizon event begins on February 28. Like the previous quest, it will be exclusive to PS4 players. The mission this time around will be to hunt a giant Anjanath, and the reward will be materials to craft Aloy's bow and armor. Equipping the armor will change your appearance to look like Aloy, regardless of your hunter's gender.Info from Gamespot.com
2018-02-18
If you haven't had a chance to jump in on Blizzard's team shooter Overwatch, now might be the perfect time to do so. This weekend, Overwatch is free to play on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.To make the deal even sweeter, the base title and the game of the year edition are 50% off on Steam, the PlayStation Store, and Xbox. The sale also includes retail and will last until February 26.Overwatch's Lunar New Year event, Year of the Dog, is currently underway until March 5. This year's event includes new skins, emotes, and more for the game's loot boxes, as well as changes to the Capture the Flag mode, a new competitive mode, and a new map called Ayutthaya.To see all the changes for this year's event, check out the patch notes. In other Overwatch news, the title may be restricted in Hawaii as representatives are taking action against video games with "predatory" loot box practices and microtransactions. If team shooters aren't your cup of tea, make sure to check out these other free games available this weekend.Info from Gamespot.com
2018-02-18
Rainbow Six Siege's third year of DLC is about to kick off, introducing a new, limited-time co-op event and two new Operators. We'll have more on Outbreak--the elaborate co-operative missions set during an extraterrestrial invasion--soon, but for now, let's look at how Siege's new characters will change the way you play its traditional PvP mode.Operation Chimera, as this first new season of content is called, introduces a new Russian Operator, Finka, and an additional French character, Lion. The former is essentially an attacking form of Doc: she comes equipped with a stim pen that applies a 20 HP boost to both herself and every teammate for 20 seconds, and it even revives any downed allies, wherever they are on the map. In addition, each of the three adrenal surges grants the team a movement and reload speed buff for the same period, as well as a reduction in recoil and resistance to stun effects. Be warned, however: the health boost--like Doc's--slowly depletes back to your normal HP level, and if you get hit while buffed to below 20 HP, you will be immediately downed when the buff ends.Finka's gadget is clearly capable, but I fear it will--again, like Doc's--go underused. It takes considerable organization to be used to its fullest: it doesn't last long, so it's best triggered when you and a group of allies are about to breach and clear an objective room together. But these situations are infrequent, and despite some attempts to the contrary, Siege has since launch become more about individual talent than moments of coordination. And, like Doc's med pistol, it's rare you actually have chance to revive a fallen teammate before they get finished off; with Finka you stand more of a chance since you don't need to be next to the injured player. However, it's still unlikely you'll have time to activate your stim and come to your friend's aid, and even if you do, they won't have much health left once the temporary buff subsides.Perhaps the gadget is Ubisoft's attempt to pull Siege back to its core of coordinated, timed attacks, and Finka will usher in a return to that style of offense as teams utilize her gadget's effects to storm a room together. On the other hand, it could encourage attackers to roam further away from their teammates, since they can be revived from across the map at the click of a button.Regardless of how her gadget is received, Finka could be a popular choice thanks to her weapon. While she can pack the ASG-12 shotgun or 6P41 LMG, it's her Spear assault rifle which could propel her to similar high pickrates as Operation Blood Orchid's Ela. It has very little recoil and decent damage, and it's sure to be a go-to choice for those wanting to try out the Russian operative.Lion--another two-speed, two-armor attacker--shakes things up in a rather more dramatic way. His gadget is the EE-One-D drone, and it can be used up to three times per round to scout out the positions of every moving member of the opposing team. Activating it not only supplies HUD markers showing you and your team which Operators opposing players have picked, along with their locations, but your squad will also see those players' exact outlines for four seconds. This let me pop a headshot through a wall on more than one occasion, and it proved a powerful tool in both racking up kills and discovering which areas of the map enemies were hiding.The counter is that both teams receive a three second countdown after the drone is triggered but before its x-ray vision comes into effect. This allows the defending team a moment to stop what they're doing, lie still, and wait for the drone's scan to pass, meaning they'll remain undetected. On the other hand, this forces the defending team to stop what they're doing, lie still, and wait for the drone's scan to pass, so even if this happens and you don't get their outlines, you can still gain an advantage by exploiting their lack of movement. For example, three members of my team got wiped out by enemies who used Lion's ability immediately before Fuzing the objective room--the enemies already knew there would likely be at least one of us in that room, so Lion's ability was used purely to make them stay still while Fuze worked his explosive magic. If my teammates had tried to escape, the enemies would know exactly who had gone where.Conversely, a poor Lion player could rely on the Frenchman's drone too much, assuming the coast is clear when no enemy is detected, when in fact one lies in wait around the next corner. The Operator's effects on the Siege meta are widespread: spawnpeeking is discouraged, since an early drone sweep will see you detected close to the enemy attack force or standing still in an open window, vulnerable to headshots. Roaming is also riskier, since Lion could take away your element of surprise and easily flank you. And, like Finka, Lion is useful during a final, last-minute push to the objective, when strategy goes out the broken-down barricade in favor of sheer panic. At this stage, defenders are more likely to be scrambling around, trying to cover multiple entry points, so a well-timed drone scan can be a massive advantage. Similarly, Finka's health boost and stun resistance is a huge help to any attacking team that doesn't have the precious seconds to check for Kapkan and Ela traps when dashing into the objective room, though her adrenaline does make every ally breathe faster and thereby take more damage from Smoke's beauties.[Lion's] effects on the Siege meta are widespread ... spawnpeeking is discouraged [and] roaming is also riskierFor those thinking Lion is simply a better Dokkaebi, think again. Dokkaebi's phone hijack cannot be countered by simply keeping still, and Lion cannot hack into enemy cameras, so the Korean will still be required to help counter the increasing ubiquity of Valkyrie cams. The two are simply interesting twists on each other, and I feel at least one of those and Jackal are needed in any good attacking lineup to stop roamers from tearing an advancing attacking team apart.When Operation Chimera launches on March 6, it will be another step towards countering roaming, pushing defending players back into the objective room just like how we all played on Siege's launch. It's interesting, then, that Ubisoft hasn't introduced another Operator to counter the current trap meta, especially after Twitch's recent nerf. Nevertheless, the two new Operators are worthy additions to Siege's roster, with Lion in particular serving as a major shakeup that I'm eager to see in the wild.Info from Gamespot.com
2018-02-18
The new Secret of Mana is billed as a remake, but "reconstruction" is probably more accurate. If not for the updated graphics, it could almost be considered a port of the SNES game. Combat, magic, and movement are much the same. The new mini-map—one of the scant few quality-of-life tweaks--is the original SNES bitmap of each stage. It also ports over every mechanical flaw and obtuse element from the 1993 original. It's a strange game to assess, then; it simultaneously shows how far ahead of the curve Secret of Mana was 25 years ago, while also making its problems all the more pronounced under a modern lens.Secret of Mana tells the tale of a spiky-haired boy named Randi who frees a mystical sword stuck in a stone. Instead of his home village giving him the King Arthur treatment, Randi is admonished for accidentally undoing the balance of the magical forces in the world. Monsters, an evil empire, and a world-ending dragon threaten to ruin the world as they know it, unless Randi can find the mystical Mana seeds and use his sword to restore order.It's a fairly rudimentary tale of swords and sorcery, but one that's easy to see through to the end thanks to the cast's charming personalities. Newly written dialogue for the remake smooths out the original translation's rough edges, and introduces a few completely new scenes, where Randi and his cohorts--Primm and Popoi--hang out and talk over dinner every time you book a night at an inn. The remake sees our characters learn to know and love each other in new ways, and it makes a big difference in the long run.The biggest change, of course, is the complete graphical overhaul, putting it on par with I Am Setsuna and some of the better Final Fantasy mobile ports. It maintains the original game's striking color palette, bathing the world in vibrant greens, blues and pinks. Most environments look delightful, but particularly dazzling locales like the Sprite Forest and Ice Country are breathtaking. Character models are a step up from Square Enix's previous remakes as well, though the decision to introduce voice actors yet not let characters' lips move is a jarring one. The fact that the voice acting is played so campy and cheesy--in both English and Japanese--doesn't help.The remixed score is the same two-steps-forward one-step-back situation. For the most part, the expanded instrumentation works well. Some areas, like Matango and its '70s prog-rock theme, introduce surprisingly catchy tunes. The score keeps the original freewheeling approach as the world design, with no limits on what a particular dungeon or area might be accompanied by. But this occasionally leads to one too many strange, dissonant moments, with many of the village themes defined by the heavy use of bagpipes and accordions.Secret of Mana's "anything goes" approach extends to gameplay as well. You can swap control between the three characters at any time, and they are each capable of wielding any of the game's eight weapon types. Each strike during combat initiates a recharge time where the chances of actually landing your next attack or doing decent damage improve as your character regathers their energy. This system forces you to move around the playing field as much as possible to avoid getting hit by enemies while you wait. Magic attacks can hit from anywhere, as long as your enemy is in range, but magic points are limited, and items that refill the meter are expensive. There aren't many console RPGs from the early '90s that forced you to consider so many things at once, but in 2018, it actually feels right at home.There are, however, quite a few aspects that are less welcome by modern standards, and despite a golden opportunity to do so, nothing has been done to address them. The Ring system--the game's quick menu--is serviceable, but the color-coding used to indicate whose options, weapons, and magic you're accessing is too subtle for its own good; it gets worse as your repertoire grows over the course of the game.It's also still extremely easy for your crew to get surrounded by lesser enemies during combat, getting smacked around from all directions with nowhere to go. Yet if you walk into another room where huge, dangerous enemies are lurking, you can often stroll right past them without raising alarm. Sometimes, the NPC A.I. being oblivious is a good thing. When that same obliviousness applies to the CPU controlled characters in your crew during a major battle, and your offensive spell caster is stuck behind a doorway, it's an unforgivable annoyance.The original game's Grid System, where you could adjust how aggressive/passive you wanted your A.I. characters to be, is gone. In its place is a much more simplified system of dictating basic behavior, but there's not an effective way to instruct your allies to favor self preservation. Granted, that's a problem easily solved with the game's local multiplayer, where two friends can jump in at any point and control the other two characters in your crew--another area where Secret of Mana was way ahead of its time--but it's still no excuse for the issues experienced while playing solo.Altogether, the new Secret of Mana exists in a weird nexus of being a forward-thinking RPG that occasionally shows its age, or a very modern RPG with some baffling design decisions and sub-standard A.I..Other problems the original game didn't have, however, stem from the lack of general information. The Super Nintendo release came with a full-fledged world map and a manual which explained what store items were meant to do, and where certain cities were located in reference to major landmarks. The latter is critical once Flammie, a friendly dragon, comes into play, allowing you to travel anywhere in the world at will. None of that is included here, which could very well create a problem for newcomers since there's no place in-game that explains what anything does. That disconnect extends to weapons and armor, where there's no way to know whether a piece of equipment is better or worse than what a character is already wearing aside from buying it anyway and praying.Altogether, the new Secret of Mana exists in a weird nexus of being a forward-thinking RPG that occasionally shows its age, or a very modern RPG with some baffling design decisions and sub-standard A.I.. Its ambitions, coupled with the outright charm of the world, are certainly more than many RPGs offer, and very few as visually dazzling as this. Secret of Mana remains an adventure worth taking, as long as you're prepared for a bumpy ride. Info from Gamespot.com
2018-02-18
It's hard not to have your interest piqued by Rust. Few other games strive to make you feel as helpless, vulnerable, and lost as its startling opening and outwardly confusing mechanics do. Rust wants you to think it's about survival, but it never uses the tools at its disposal to realize that. Instead it becomes a playground limited not by your understanding of its inner workings, but instead by how much time you want to spend slogging away at its tedium.Starting stark naked on a beach with nothing more than a rock and torch on your person, Rust doesn't waste time letting you know that you're in danger. Health, hydration, and hunger bars make it immediately clear that your time on its massive island is borrowed. Without food and water (and later shelter, light, and warmth), you can slowly watch your life seep away with every passing minute. Rust attempts to guide new players with an often less-than-helpful tutorial to keep you alive longer than a handful of minutes, but it does nothing to prepare you for the real dangers its world holds.Rust's facade is its survival mechanics, and its menagerie of crafting options and resources for you to gather up keep the illusion alive at first. You can use your otherwise useless rock to chop down trees or hammer away at different types of ore, and eventually you might gather enough to make a hatchet or pickaxe to increase your bountiful gains and speed up the process. This process quickly ramps up into more meaningful items, with the allure of modern weapons and robust armor only at the tip of the proverbial iceberg.It's a nightmare of menus and item wheels that really slow things down to a halt. Rust might be out of Early Access, but it has so many elements that indicate otherwise. You can easily search for a building foundation in one menu, watch its building timer somewhere else on the screen, and then have it pop into your inventory, which is an entirely different menu at this point. Equip it and you have a relatively flat surface in front of you (Rust absolutely doesn't like any gradient variations and refuses to allow you to place items on them), and you're good to go. But what about moving it? You'll need an entirely separate tool for that, as well as another trip into a separate equipment wheel with options to rotate, move or otherwise dismantle one of your creations.The cycle of gathering, crafting, and building up something to be proud of never feels rewarding. Rust doesn't have the tools you need to be creative, nor does it care about practicality when it comes to redesigning a small dwelling you might have crafted for that first chilly night out in the wilderness. Teases meant to entice you to brave Rust's other dangers fall flat fast, giving you few reasons to stick around for the tedious slog of dismantling greater weapons and gear to hopefully have the means to build them down the line.You don't know these items exist because you see them on a list, but rather because they're probably what's being used to endlessly kill you. The island in Rust is inhabited by many other players, capping out at 250 per server. And despite only being alive for a few minutes and having nothing really of worth on your person, they will (often) waste no time in showing you how far down the food chain you really are.In this way, Rust's true enemy shows its face: its other players. That's somewhat fascinating to ponder on for a moment. Rust has been the subject of many a think piece during its long time in Early Access, often centering around discussions of human nature and the tendencies towards violence when other options clearly present themselves. But while that makes for a neat article to read or interesting mechanic to discuss, it detracts from another vital part of the game: what it feels like to play.Playing Rust is a frustrating experience even with a friend or two in tow and feels downright impossible to go at alone. Wandering players will attack you at a moment's notice, with their time spent in the server used to build up an arsenal that no amount of skilled play can overcome. Rust's ceiling has nothing to do with how well you understand its survival mechanics or get to grips with its clunky movement and cumbersome first-person action. It's a game that rewards those who put the most time into it first: giving them the boots to step on the ants that are any other players that might dare join after a server wipe.Design is partly to blame for this, with Rust's server wipes a clear indicator of how little depth its survival elements hold. Some servers might routinely reset after a week of play, while all are forced to this measure within a month. The idea is to re-level the playing field--just a day or two into a fresh server is enough for towering fortresses and high-level weaponry to be crafted by those incredibly dedicated few--so that the process can start again. This wouldn't need to be a feature if Rust had any semblance of balance to it. But because time is the only commodity it rewards, it pushes itself into a corner where this is the only viable solution.Without a skill ceiling of any kind, Rust demands that you dedicate every waking moment you have to it if you're planning to have any sort of fun. Logging off leaves you vulnerable to attack from other players, while your shelters slowly decay should you not top them up with the right resources. And a momentary slip up means certain doom. Death means your corpse and anything you've gathered to that point is ripe for pillaging, leaving you to respawn on that same beach with just a rock, a torch, and questions about what you've actually achieved.Rust's community might sometimes offer glimmers of hope, but it's fleeting. Every so often you can witness players making amicable agreements to trade or stumble upon a shop that needs to be both stocked and protected by players. I once ran into another survivor that handed me a hatchet and bandages to make my early game easier; a simple, memorable moment to dull the pain of the frequent deaths in the hours preceding it. Rust's mixture of trigger-happy players and often toxic in-game chats make the entire experience profusely unwelcoming and unpleasant.Technical issues only add to the unpleasantries. Rust routinely runs into periods of incredible slowdown, tearing the game from an unlocked framerate (its options menus riddled with spelling mistakes couldn't lead me to a lock of any sort) to single digits at the most inopportune times. Animations look stiff and unnatural. Character models look ugly and dull. And both stand in stark contrast to an often-gorgeous backdrop. Rust's island is serene and pleasant to look at, with its saturated blue skies and purple haze sunsets inviting you to take pause. There's beauty to mask the repetitive models used for resources and the inconsistent textures, but not enough to make them truly go unnoticed.Rust is also disappointing because of just how long it took to realize its own inescapable faults. Its lack of survival depth and inclination to only reward time served instead of clever play saps whatever life it might have had to give. Its survival systems show their age, while its community does its best to chase off those who might dare try surviving a new night on the island. Rust might make for an interesting discussion on what it brings out of its players, but it's not one you need to experience firsthand.Info from Gamespot.com
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