In a new post that begins with "At Bethesda, we value media reviews" the publisher goes on to announce that it will no longer send out review copies of games prior to release. Instead, like with the recent release of DOOM, both press and consumers will get to play the games at the same time. Equality! So if you value media reviews like Bethesda, you'll just have to wait until after they extract value from your wallet before you can gauge any sort of critical response.
Okay, that was a bit harsh. Bethesda are free to engage with media in anyway that they see fit. And naturally with this sort of announcement, they point out that if you like to peruse a few reviews before shelling out money for a game -- you should wait. Which is a fine stance to take, but also one that feels a little strange when pre-order bonuses and limited editions are dangled in front of you for months.
Earlier this year we released DOOM. We sent review copies to arrive the day before launch, which led to speculation about the quality of the game. Since then DOOM has emerged as a critical and commercial hit, and is now one of the highest-rated shooters of the past few years.
With the upcoming launches of Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2, we will continue our policy of sending media review copies one day before release. While we will continue to work with media, streamers, and YouTubers to support their coverage – both before and after release – we want everyone, including those in the media, to experience our games at the same time.
We also understand that some of you want to read reviews before you make your decision, and if that’s the case we encourage you to wait for your favorite reviewers to share their thoughts.
Perhaps the weirdest aspect of this news is that preview coverage for Bethesda titles probably won't be affected. It'll just be strange to see a bunch of hand-on stuff before a game comes out, and then no review come launch.
After going free-to-play earlier this year, development on the 4v1 multiplayer shooter Evolve has effectively stopped. With developer Turtle Rock taking to the community forum to say a big thank you to the players and that the decision was not theirs to make. Since launching last year Evolve has struggled to maintain a sizable audience, and even though the change to a free-to-play model helped, this news probably doesn't come as a huge surprise.
It’s always hard to leave one of our games behind. Left4Dead was no different and now it’s Evolve’s turn. There will always be a special place in our hearts for our past projects. No matter what happens with Evolve in the future, we’ll know it was born in this studio and developed by this team alongside this beautiful community.
This is the life of AAA game developers who aren’t self-funded and don’t own their own IP. We don’t get to make the call. We all know that going in but we still sign the dotted line because we love what we do. We are happy to have gotten the opportunity to do something risky, something new and innovative. We created a brand new Sci-Fi world. We got to go to planet Shear and interact with alien flora and fauna. We got to hunt down, trap and kill giant monsters together. We got to BE the monster. What an awesome experience.
The last five and a half years represents so much. We are so proud of Evolve, the Turtle Rock team and the Evolve community. Getting on the forums, Reddit, Facebook and Twitch and talking directly to you has been a highlight of many of our careers. On no other project have we ever been able to interact so directly. The Evolve community is the best we could have hoped for and we hope you come with us and become a part of the Turtle Rock community.
Evolve will stay online for the foreseeable future with publisher 2K handling day-to-day server operation.
At a preview event held in San Francisco for Watch Dogs 2, Ubisoft declared that they wanted players to try and break their game, such is the confidence they have in what they've built and in players' abilities to maximise and break gameplay systems.
At the event we were let loose into the full, final game-world of Watch Dogs 2 and were essentially allowed to play the first full four hours of the game from its opening sequence. Click through for our full thoughts.
Here's a snippet:
While Watch Dogs and Watch Dogs 2 owe their very design to the success of the Grand Theft Auto series, the similarities end at “open-world” and “player-agency”. The tones shifted around Watch Dogs 2, specifically, are completely removed from the inspiration material and what you find is a game forging a unique voice in a place that has really only been spewing out a single, criminal concept for most of its journey. Watch Dogs’ Aiden Pearce was a vigilante as we know them from popular culture -- an evolution of the Punisher draped in a long trench coat with a hidden face and clear agenda. Watch Dogs 2’s Marcus Holloway is a different protagonist. A young African-American hacker-genius unjustly profiled by a system designed to facilitate stereotypes and maintain a quasi segregationist status quo. The game’s opening rams this to the player in a surprisingly short and direct way, and within just a few minutes Marcus’ plight is ours, and his cultural struggle is a very real, and very honest one.
And with that we've got a trailer for the Episode after the jump. But, of course if you haven't played the first two episodes you may want to avoid this as it's chock full of spoilers. Of the aftermath variety. After a somewhat slow and subdued start Telltale's Batman series is progressing very steadily now, with a story that's beginning to take unexpected twists and turns.
And the fact that a new one drops every month is awesome. Now if they could only improve the terrible frame-rate issues that plague the game on every platform.
With the launch of the retro-inspired Super Dungeon Bros on Xbox One, plus the free backwards compatibility combo of LucasArts' The Secret of Monkey Island and Ubisoft's neon-epic Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, November's Games with Gold line-up is perfect for anyone who grew up in the '80s. Add in the weirdness and cheesiness of Murdered: Soul Suspect for Xbox One in the latter half of the month and you've got a pretty killer line-up.
Super Dungeon Bros will offered for free during the entire month of November. Murdered: Soul Suspect will be available from November 16th to December 15th. On the Xbox 360 backwards compatible front, Monkey Island will be free From November 1 through November 15. Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon will be available from November 16 through November 30.
And in all honesty it looks kind of goofy. Yet when viewed as a fan film that went the extra mile to make authentic Dishonored costumes, and then ensured that the lighting was so bright that you could see every little detail, it's actually pretty cool. With the already impressive gameplay footage shown so far, we're not sure there was a need for this. But then again getting to see a live-action Blink, we'll take it.
Dishonored 2 is out 11/11/16 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
It's that time of year again: shooter time. Specifically, first-person shooters (with the exception of the likes of Gears of War 4, of course). And today we have our in-depth review of Respawn's Titanfall 2, which now comes packaged with a complete single-player campaign and also finds itself releasing on PS4 alongside Xbox One and the platform we reviewed it on -- PC.
Check out a snippet from Joaby's review:
They weren't shipping with a singleplayer campaign, for example. They were including a card system in the place of Perks (a rewards system they'd essentially invented in the first place). Titans had the potential to be huge balance issues. Pilots could wallrun and double jump and power slide, so the game was much, much faster than most other games on the market. There was a big chance that people wouldn't want to play this--and looking at the way the game dropped off after its launch, that might have been the case.
But the impact it had is obvious. At the time that Titanfall released, the Call of Duty series had just launched Ghosts, which (on top of its many other problems) was probably the slowest Call of Duty since 3. Post-Titanfall Call of Duty games, on the other hand, feature Wall-running, Double Jumping and Power Sliding as if the CoD teams still took their cues from Vince Zampella and Jason West. Once again, the team who changed the landscape of shooters with COD4 did so again--this time, with mobility.
It's clear Respawn Entertainment is capable of making massive, game-changing risks. So why does Titanfall 2 play it so safe?
As one of the only titles confirmed so far to be coming to the Nintendo Switch, and probably the swan song for the Wii U, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild looks to be Nintendo's most impressive game in quite a while. And ahead of the Switch debut, Nintendo of Japan posted a few new clips that showcase just how gorgeous the game looks in motion.
From a cool time-lapse video showcasing the dynamic weather effects to the impressive animation and scope of the combat and exploration, we simply cannot wait to play this.
Here's a look at the weather.
And here's combat.
And finally, some exploration.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is currently slated for release March 2017 for the Wii U and Nintendo Switch.
The still in Early Access hit ARK: Survival Evolved has just gotten a new patch, one that lets players generate their own custom or random world with direct control over the heights of mountains, the number of rivers, and what biomes they want. Naturally with everything ARK the results look impressive, but probably not as impressive as the new Diplocaulus. An underwater creature that stores air in the bladders of its head, which in turn supports underwater exploration without the need for breathing gear. Gross.
Also with this update comes the Explorer Note System that adds a sense of discovery and archeology in digging up various stories from explorers past.
Recently Blizzard announced that they would be utilising the Overwatch PTR on PC as a place to test some significant changes to Heroes separate to the regular patch process. As to what these changes would be was anyone's guess, but with the first of them rolling out over the weekend we can see that they weren't kidding. And we're a little baffled by some of the choices.
Namely because I currently main Lucio in Competitive Play and nerfing Amp It Up feels a little off. What with its long cool-down.
Anyway, here's the changes so far. And it should be clear that these are in no way final, with Blizzard actively monitoring player feedback.
Hero Balance Changes
Dealing damage to non-players (like like Torbjorn's turrets or Symmetra's teleporter), no longer charges ultimate abilities
Ultimate costs have been increased by 25% for all heroes
Mech health increased to 200 (formerly 100). Armor remains at 400
Movement speed while firing has been increased by 25%
Call Mech - Ultimate cost has been decreased by 20%
Developer Comments: This reduces the cost back down to what it was before the global ultimate cost change.
Pulse Rifle - Bullet damage increased from 17 to 20
Pulse Rifle - Maximum bullet spread Increased from 2.2 to 2.4
Nano Boost - No longer increases move speed
Blizzard - Ultimate cost has been increased by 15%
Amp It Up - Healing-per-second has been decreased by 10%
Particle Barrier - Power gained from barriers decreased by 20%
Projected Barrier - Power gained from barriers decreased by 20%
Scrap is now automatically generated over time
The amount of scrap collected from a fallen enemy has been decreased by 40%
Forge Hammer - Swing speed increased by 25%
Forge Hammer - Damage decreased by 27%
Venom Mine - Explosion no longer damages the player who placed the mine
Widow’s Kiss - Charge rate increased by 20%
Rocket Launcher - Minimum explosion damage has been increased to 25% of rocket’s total damage (formerly 12%)
Rocket Launcher - Minimum explosion knockback has been decreased to 0% of rocket’s total knockback (formerly 75%)
Passive health regeneration now kicks in when Mercy avoids taking damage for 1 second (formerly 3 seconds)
And there you have it. No doubt some of these changes will affect how the game plays, especially the increase in all Ultimate costs. A change that probably came about due to Ultimate abilities becoming the focal point for just about all substantial attack pushes.
The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim Special Edition comes out later this week, on October 28. And for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 owners it offers up a substantial improvement over previous console versions thanks to a number of visual upgrades and the inclusion of mod support. A new trailer showcases a number of the improvements which all add to creating a more immersive and impressive Skyrim to explore.
Check it out.
PC owners won't be missing out on the fun, and if you currently own Skyrim and all the DLC, you'll be getting a free update to the Special Edition. Which looks to bring the game up to par (visually speaking) with a number of mods already available.
Although we don't have full technical specs for the Nintendo Switch, but as per rumours prior to its reveal we do know that the console-tablet hybrid is powered by NVIDIA tech. And judging by NVIDIA's announcement, it sounds like just about everything under the hood (or screen) has been developed by NVIDIA -- working closely with Nintendo.
The development encompassed 500 man-years of effort across every facet of creating a new gaming platform: algorithms, computer architecture, system design, system software, APIs, game engines and peripherals. They all had to be rethought and redesigned for Nintendo to deliver the best experience for gamers, whether they’re in the living room or on the move.
Even without technical specs, it sounds like the Switch will run on a next-generation version of the Tegra processor. An already impressive bit of technology that in a newer more powerful version could mean some impressive tablet performance for the Switch. With a custom Tegra processor, apparently based on "the same architecture as the world’s top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards", the partnership extends well beyond Nintendo simply finding the right hardware manufacturer for the GPU/CPU. The Nintendo Switch not only has stuff like its own physics engine and custom libraries created by NVIDIA, but also the development tools.
The Nintendo Switch’s gaming experience is also supported by fully custom software, including a revamped physics engine, new libraries, advanced game tools and libraries. NVIDIA additionally created new gaming APIs to fully harness this performance. The newest API, NVN, was built specifically to bring lightweight, fast gaming to the masses.
This points to a very interesting partnership between NVIDIA and Nintendo, as both companies have in the past tried to bridge the gap between tablet and gaming console with varying levels of success -- as seen with the NVIDIA Shield and the Nintendo Wii U. In joining forces, and with mobile technology advancing at such a rate that something like a GeForce GTX 1080 can live inside a laptop, perhaps the Nintendo Switch will live up to its promise.
Since the release of Super Mario Galaxy on the Nintendo Wii, fans have been waiting patiently for a new real-deal HD Mario 64 style game. Sure, the Wii U can do HD and it has Super Mario Bros 3D World and New Super Mario Bros U and Super Mario Maker. Plus when we stop to think about it, Mario everywhere really. But we haven't seen a true 3D platformer Mario game from Nintendo in a while, not since the just about perfect Super Mario Galaxy 2. And the Nintendo Switch reveal gave us a glimpse of just that. And we're excited to see more.
How do we know it's a new Mario 3D platformer? Well, when we see it for the first time at the 2:10 mark in the Nintendo Switch ad below Mario does the triple-jump first seen in Super Mario 64. And by showcasing that iconic jump move Nintendo is basically telling us that, yes, a new HD Super Mario game is coming. And it'll be a 3D platformer. The footage we see only goes for a few seconds, but already we can see that it will feature themed levels, classic platforming, and the man himself -- Super Mario.
A lot of people have been digging DOOM's campaign this year, as it seemed to find that sweet spot between classic old-school action with a dash of modern sheen and controls. Since its release DOOM has seen a number of free updates, but as they've been mainly on the multiplayer side of things many have been waiting patiently for some more campaign action. With Arcade Mode that wait ends, as it introduces a Score Attack system that rewards players for playing the game the way it's meant to be played. Fast and brutal.
Arcade Mode comes as part for Free Update 4 for DOOM, an update that also brings classic '90s DOOM titles and other stuff to SnapMap.
Play every level with all guns, Runes and equipment upgrades fully unlocked. Customize your DOOM Marine's gear, guns and Praetor suit before each run to see what combinations will give you an edge. Compete against friends and players worldwide for the highest score by attacking demons quickly, avoiding their attacks and grabbing multipliers along the way. This is a perfect opportunity to replay one of the best single-player FPS experiences of 2016, and for the speed runners out there to make their mark.
So, Nintendo has played its hand and revealed the old switcheroo. As in, the Nintendo Switch, formerly Project: Nintendo NX, and it looks very promising. Overnight a video showcasing the new portable home-console was released and featured a number of standout elements, while Nintendo also released a stack of official information.
Namely, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the console's flagship title, but also featuring what is likely The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition and NBA 2K17 in the video gave a glimpse that The Big N might finally be back in the third-party title support camp. And right out of the gate they have a large list of supporting companies in tow:
In addition to providing single-player and multiplayer thrills at home, the Nintendo Switch system also enables gamers to play the same title wherever, whenever and with whomever they choose. The mobility of a handheld is now added to the power of a home gaming system to enable unprecedented new video game play styles.
At home, Nintendo Switch rests in the Nintendo Switch dock that connects the console to the TV and lets you play with family and friends in the comfort of your living room. By simply lifting the Nintendo Switch console from the dock, it will instantly transition to handheld mode, and the same great gaming experience that was being enjoyed at home now travels with you. The portability of Nintendo Switch is enhanced by its bright high-definition display. It brings the full home gaming system experience with you to the park, on a train, in a car, or to a friend’s apartment.
Gaming springs into action by removing detachable Joy-Con controllers from either side of the Nintendo Switch console. One player can use a Joy-Con controller in each hand; two players can each take one; or multiple Joy-Con controllers can be employed by numerous people for a variety of gameplay options. They can easily click back into place or be slipped into a Joy-Con grip accessory, mirroring a more traditional controller. Or, if preferred, the gamer can select an optional Nintendo Switch Pro Controller to use instead of the Joy-Con controllers. Furthermore, it is possible for numerous people to bring their Nintendo Switch consoles together to enjoy local multiplayer face-to-face competition.
“I hope this first glimpse at Nintendo Switch has made our fans as excited as we are, and has captured their imagination with the possibilities and freedom of play it offers,” said Kamon Yoshimura, Managing Director of Nintendo Australia.
Developers can design their games supporting a variety of play styles which gives gamers the freedom to choose an experience that best suits them. Some of the publishers, developers and middleware partners announcing support for Nintendo Switch are as follows:
Activision Publishing, Inc.
ARC SYSTEM WORKS Co.,Ltd.
BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.
CAPCOM CO., LTD.
CRI Middleware Co., Ltd.
Epic Games Inc.
GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE INC．
Gungho Online Entertainment,Inc
INTI CREATES CO., LTD.
KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD.
Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd.
Maximum Games, LLC
Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.
Parity Bit Inc.
RAD Game Tools, Inc.
SEGA Games Co., Ltd.
Silicon Studio Corporation
Spike Chunsoft Co., Ltd.
SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
Tokyo RPG Factory Co., Ltd.
Unity Technologies, Inc.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Web Technology Corp.
Obviously more information is yet to be revealed -- such as the device's battery life, what's the hardware driving it all (Nvidia is involved in this department, apparently), its price-point, how it works with online, what the OS is and what the full list of launch titles will be, but Nintendo is still sticking to the March, 2017 release window so it's likely most of this will be revealed soon.
What are your thoughts on the new machine, and do you think they can pull themselves out of their home console rut, finally?
And here we are. Nintendo Switch! Coming March 2017! An all new console from Nintendo that yep, is a tablet hybrid thing that docks next to a TV or can be taken on the go. And the controller thingies slide out and click together real cool-like. Or, if you have two you can have portable four-player Mario Kart action. Or even, play Skyrim on a plane!
So as the first year in recorded history where there isn't a new Assassin's Creed game coming out, in its place comes the Assassin's Creed movie starring Michael Fassbender. Out this December, a new trailer has been released that delves into the story whilst giving us glimpses at some of the action. Plus, some running and jumping from rooftop to rooftop.
And, it looks pretty good. Now, there's no way to judge the quality of the film based on this trailer alone but it does feature a talented cast both in front of and behind the camera, with Australian director Justin Kurzel at the helm. It evens looks to be quite faithful to the source material with a story that leans as heavily into science fiction as it does historical conspiracies.
Traditionally speaking it's easier to setup a server for online PC gaming than it is for console. Because one is a locked system, and the other is mostly open and allows for a wider variety of hardware configurations. A short while ago we dropped word that EA would be handling the Battlefield 1 Rent-a-Server stuff internally, as to control the quality of what's on offer. On paper that sounds fine, but in a recent post it looks like renting a Battlefield 1 server for the PC version will cost substantially more than one for the PS4 or Xbox One.
The post was made over at the official forum here, and the below prices are in USD.
As you know, Rental Servers for PS4 and Xbox One have gone through EA. Now with Rental Servers going through EA, there’s quite a lot of questions. Let’s answer some now:
And if you're heading to this year's event, you'll probably want to head over there now. This year looks to follow in the footsteps of PAX events of the past with a great and diverse line-up of panels and events covering just about all sides of gaming and geek culture. PAX Australia kicks off in Melbourne on November 4.
Attendees will go hands-on with games and hardware from PlayStation, Microsoft, Nintendo and more. In addition to the Big Three, publishers including Ubisoft and Bandai Namco will exhibit alongside Wizards of the Coast, creators of Magic: The Gathering, and more than 100 independent game developers, including those selected for the Australian Indie Showcase.
PAX attendees can also hear the creators of their favorite games discuss their ground-breaking work. Panels will include a conversation about the world of Dishonored 2 and the creation of new champions in League of Legends, along with Xbox Live director Major Nelson's Opening Storytime Keynote on Friday morning.
Tournaments including the Omegathon, a competition where select PAX attendees clash across a variety of games and ultimately culminates in a live championship match during closing ceremonies, will also keep gamers busy along with the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session with Penny Arcade and PAX founders Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins.
"This year's PAX Aus is set to be the biggest yet, with a weekend that gives players hands-on access to this holiday's slate of anticipated titles," Holkins said. "Gaming is a global culture, and for the weekend of PAX Aus, its capital is Melbourne, Australia."
Out February 21 for Xbox One and Windows 10, Halo Wars 2 comes from veteran strategy studio Creative Assembly. In a new behind the scenes video from Microsoft you get a good idea of how it plays, and how the multiplayer looks to be doing things a little differently. In addition to the usual mix of modes, there's something called 'Blitz' which removes all economy from the game. And replaces recruiting and building units with a card-system.
Now, as strange as that sounds, in motion it looks pretty cool. And gives the multiplayer aspect of Halo War 2 a faster-more-arcade like feel to it.
In terms of the campaign the video doesn't really cover that at all (probably due to it being titles 'multiplayer'), but an official post over at Xbox HQ has dropped word that Halo Wars 2 will pick thing up after the events of the first game.
The last time we saw the crew of the UNSC Spirit of Fire in Halo Wars, they were settling in for a long cryosleep on their way home, knowing that with a little luck, they’d make it back to civilized space in one piece. Nearly 30 years later, they’re awakened to a new threat to the Halo universe and find themselves as the one thing standing between hope and annihilation.
The Ark, which was used to create the iconic Halo Rings, will be the primary setting for Halo Wars 2. Keen readers may know that this is the very same installation the Master Chief destroyed in Halo 3. Well, it turns out he only damaged it. Now, enough time has passed that this magnificent Forerunner installation has begun repairing itself. The last time we had a chance to run around this world, it was in the first-person, so it’s exciting that Halo Wars 2 will afford us a new angle from which to do battle.
Tonight! At 1:00am AEDT. Which is an hour before the Red Dead Redemption 2 reveal. As the saying goes, when it rains you get both a Nintendo NX reveal and new Red Dead Redemption trailer. The announcement came via a Tweet from Nintendo of America that simply states, "Be among the first to discover #NX. Watch the Preview Trailer". Ooh, it's going to be a late one tonight.
Our only concern is that it's a preview trailer. Here's hoping Nintendo uses the time to properly sell the concept of its new console as well as showcase what gaming on the NX will look like. After the recent leaks and rumours pointing to a tablet-hybrid from the company, a console that connects to a TV as well as being something you can take on the go, at the very least this time tomorrow we'll be in a position of knowing exactly what the NX is about.
Hot on the heels of Hi-Rez Studios' Paladins entering open beta comes the announcement of a new turn-based strategy game, SMITE Tactics. Born from the studio experimenting with creating their own board-game and god-themed cards, SMITE Tactics looks to take the franchise in an entirely new direction. One where grids, movement, attacks, and strategy are key.
"We’ve always wanted to expand the SMITE universe," said Scott Lussier, Lead Designer on SMITE Tactics. "SMITE has millions of fans worldwide, and with SMITE Tactics, players will get to experience mythological warfare from a whole new perspective, overseeing battles as their favorite gods and goddesses while wielding their signature abilities."
SMITE Tactics will offer 1v1 in addition to adventure modes against the AI. Here's hoping that they use this to add a fair dose of story into the already very rich mix of SMITE characters. Check out the reveal below.
2K and Firaxis Games have released a six-part "How To" video series in preparation for the launch of Civilization VI on Friday. Covering topics like 'How to Choose a Civilization' and 'How to Make Diplomacy Work' these videos also double as a great primer if you're still on the fence about how the game measures up against previous entries.
Check out the first video, How To Choose a Civilization, below. And then head here to go through the full playlist.
Reviewing an MMO is not an easy task, which is why Glen Gugliotti has taken up the review mount for World of Warcraft: Legion. And after spending countless hours questing, leveling, obtaining rare items of various colour, shine, and worth he's come back with part two of his review. And given the whole experience a nice tidy score.
From the review.
Since my first entry I have quested throughout all of the leveling zones and spent a heap of time in the dungeons available to characters that aren’t max level -- and had a great time. I credit this to both the newly introduced Artifact Weapons and the new tagging system. Both of these new introductions to the game have made the act of simply leveling a character quite the enjoyable experience. Credit should also go to the Blizzard team for constructing a top notch looking environment and creating quests that while at their core are the usual MMO fare, are presented in such a way as to not feel like a chore.