, | News
boom_robo_bowl

Frozen Cortex (formerly called Frozen Endzone) now has a single player game just in time for the Superbowl. The early access future-sport title from Mode 7 Games had skirmish matches previously, but they were bare little things lacking context. The NFL knows fans love a big helping of drama served with their manly football antics. Check out the features being rolled out in the latest update! Knockout mode is a hardcore, lose-one-game-and-you’re-done option, teams now have unique coaches, there’s a random league feature, announcers have dialogue, and there’s even a story behind all the running and robot tackles.

Also featured for the first time is Frozen Cortex’s narrative. A scandal in the Global Cortex League threatens to undermine the entire game and might just be connected to the fate of the entire country…

The narrative develops as the player plays their matches, persisting between playthroughs and between Knockout and Global Cortex League mode. We’ve tried to tell an involving story while still allowing the player to dip in and out of whichever mode they wish.

Mode 7’s Frozen Cortex is available on Steam and the official site.

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Dying Light

This week Jason gushes over Techland’s latest zombie opus Dying Light much in the way your blood would gush over the gaping maw of a zombie that just chomped down on you because you don’t know how to mantle over a dumpster. Whoopsie! Brandon mostly complains about how open world games force him to do things he doesn’t want to because he’s a weak, weak man. He definitely would not be able to mantle over a dumpster.

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Trials_Fusion_saw_train

The very first course in Fire in the Deep, the new set of challenges for Trails Fusion, is a train. In case you thought there weren’t any new mechanics in a Trials game, the train hurtles past overhanging signal lights, so you have to time certain sections so you don’t smack into them, Wile E. Coyote style. Of course, the train is carrying a spinning sawblade the size of a Volkswagen that you have to ramp over. Ten tries later and I finally make it, only to be unable to jump far enough to clear the car carrying loose bombs. I call this train the pain train.

Fire in the Deep is the fourth of six add-ons, available for $5 each, or as part of the $20 season pass.

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lego_dino

Warner Bros. Interactive has announced Lego Jurassic World and Lego Marvel’s Avengers. TT Games will be handling development on both movie toy tie-in games. Lego Jurassic World will take builders on a journey through locations and set pieces from all four movies in the franchise, including the upcoming Summer movie starring Chris Pratt. Lego Marvel Avengers will contain elements from the 2012 Avengers movie as well as The Avengers: Age of Ultron which will premiere this May. Both games are slated to appear on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

Conspicuously absent from Warner Bros’ announcement was any mention of DLC for Lego The Hobbit that might complete the storyline from that trilogy of movies.

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Offworld_Trading_Company

Offworld Trading Company is the economic real-time strategy game from Civ IV designer Soren Johnson and his new company, Mohawk Games. It has been shrouded for a while now. Not that no one’s been able to play it or talk about it. On the contrary. Early builds have been circulating and the people who’ve played them have been very vocal describing the experience. But no one has posted videos or screenshots. Why? Because they were asked not to. It was easy to imagine some sort of hideous Frankenstein monster placeholder graphics that developer Mohawk Games didn’t want us to see.

But now the shroud has been lifted, with screenshots and even a video on the official site. And I’m delighted to say that — surprise! — it’s an absolutely lovely game, clean and simple, with a shiny but quaint hard sci-fi vibe. Well played, Mohawk Games.

Offworld Trading Company will be available for early access in two weeks. Furthermore, Soren Johnson will be on the Quarter to Three Games Podcast in the near future.

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selfie_wow

If it’s good enough for folks in San Andreas, it’s good enough for citizens of Azeroth. Patch 6.1 for World of Warcraft includes the S.E.L.F.I.E. Camera reward for completing the new Field Photography quest. Complete a follow-up mission, Lens Some Hands, and players get to upgrade their camera to a version that adds simple Instagram-style filters. The MMO’s upcoming patch also includes integration with Twitter, so your duckfaced character can unleash her inner Kim Kardashian. It’s all about the social!

Patch 6.1 is available for players to check out on the public test realms.

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citadel_dien_bien

What’s a Dien Bien Phu and why should a gamer care? Let Bruce Geryk deftly explain. His new series examines boardgames set in the pivotal engagement of the First Indochina War. Bruce humbly calls it a “wargaming documentary” and beyond just a neat lesson about what makes Citadel, Frank Chadwick’s 1977 game of the battle work, (or not) Bruce supplies historical context for the game’s systems. As he explains, the actions of the real-life forces should inform the game’s mechanics. It’s a history lesson disguised as a boardgame review!

None of that has anything to do with Dien Bien Phu games, except that it explains why the events on the board had the repercussions they did. Which is important, because the absence of this context is what I think deprives many good games of the satisfaction of closure. At least games about a single battle.

Bruce Geryk’s five-part series will continue on Wargame_[space].

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, | Game reviews
Grey_Goo_review

Grey Goo is something worse than bad; it is mundane. Not so much a throwback as a bland crust, the heel of a loaf of bread left on a cutting board. It is a competent husk missing any vital organs. You can practically smell the Westwood coming off the feature list, which is hardly surprising given that developer Petroglyph includes a bunch of former Westwooders. Grey Goo has a lot of the trappings of those Westwood classics: simplicity, speed, streamlining, individual soldiers and tanks jostling each other as they swarm around in a big blob. But what you can’t smell is any sense of personality or joy. In their prime, Westwood games reeked of giddy pleasure. Even when the games weren’t good, they were overflowing with an ebullient affection for the act of throwing armies into each other and watching them blow up. Polish? Pah. Watch these bazooka dudes break up this tank rush!

After the jump, we’ll always have Command and Conquer. Continue reading →

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lady_hammerlock_wintertide

Sir Hammerlock, hunter extraordinaire of the Borderlands series, has a sister and gamers will soon be able to step into her boots in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Gearbox has announced The Lady Hammerlock DLC pack which will unlock Lady Aurelia the Baroness as a playable character. Her main power is the ability to send out a shard of ice that attaches to enemies and slowly kills them.

Her Huntress skill tree focuses on sniping, including a skill that offers a massive critical hit bonus for each consecutive hit she lands without missing. Her other skill tree, Cold Money, focuses on ice damage and includes a skill that can add Cryo damage to any gun. Her third skill tree is Contractual Aristocracy, which allows her to turn a co-op teammate into a servant, earning her bonuses for their kills in addition to her own.

The Lady Hammerlock pack will be available for purchase on January 27th for $9.99. It is included as part of the game’s season pass.

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GW2_revenant

ArenaNet announced the Heart of Thorns expansion for Guild Wars 2 today. I suppose I’m as excited as the next person about some of the new features, but I’m also disappointed. The new features are exactly what you’d expect in an expansion, but I can’t help but feel a bit of an “is that all there is?” sensation. I blame Guild Wars 2 itself. It can’t be easy to expand a game this generous, expansive, and varied. There are already so many ways to play, and the classes feel so different, and there are so many options for what would normally be considered endgame grind: dungeons, fractals, exploration, legendary weapons, completing skills, pet collecting, achievements. Furthermore, with the living world storyline, ArenaNet has done such a great job adding new content and new places. And I say that having barely played any of season two. So what’s left for an expansion to do?

After the jump, what specifically is being added in Heart of Thorns? Continue reading →

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simuniverseatwar04

In the top ten list of dumb gaming industry decisions, requiring a paid membership for PC gamers to access multiplayer in the earliest days of Games For Windows Live has to be near the first place spot. There was no way that PC gamers would pay $50 a year to fight against other Universe at War: Earth Assault players. Microsoft had to admit defeat and repealed the membership requirement in July 2008, but the damage was done. The pricing scheme flopped and left gamers wary of Microsoft’s foray into the PC gaming client space.

Never let it be said that Microsoft won’t learn from history. Why not revive the idea of paid Gold memberships for PC gamers, but this time make multiplayer free? After Microsoft showed off some neat Xbox Live stuff for Windows 10 at the recent press event, Mike Ybarra, the ‎Partner Director of Program Management at Xbox, told Polygon that the company is looking at that very idea. Why would a PC player pay for Xbox Live Gold if multiplayer remains free?

“In terms of anything around the Gold program that we might bring to PC, we think there is a lot of value on the console with that above and beyond multiplayer.”

What else could Microsoft offer besides a PC version of the Games With Gold program? Although Microsoft declined to clarify their plans, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything else a PC gamer might find compelling enough to pay for in a Gold Xbox Live membership.

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, | Games
evolve2

Pre-order incentives are nothing new. Putting money down on a game before launch may be a sucker’s bet because you don’t know how the game will actually turn out, but publishers love these programs because they lock customers into the purchase. The old reasoning given for preorders, that stores needed them to gauge demand for supply, has nothing to do with digital sales, yet the practice thrives. Sometimes, they’re fun little bonuses like a gold version of a weapon, or an extra mission crammed into a game with umpteen quests, but lately pre-order incentives have either become too convoluted to suss out or place a significant feature behind a paywall. Evolve goes for option 1.

Let’s figure out what we need to buy to get the full game after the jump! Continue reading →

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ms_win10_phil

Windows 10 will have a feature that will allow Xbox One games to be streamed from the console to the PC. The feature, revealed during Microsoft’s Windows 10 press event, is part of a suite of upgrades to the PC gaming experience that the company is promoting for their upcoming operating system. Microsoft presented a unified vision for Windows 10 across phones, PCs, tablets, and the Xbox One console which included Xbox functionality between devices.

During the presentation, Xbox honcho Phil Spencer demonstrated streaming Forza Horizon 2 from an Xbox One to a PC via Windows 10. Although the feature is limited to local devices, the possibilities for bathroom gaming are endless. As long as you have a PC in your bathroom. (I’m not the only one, right?) Additionally, the new Xbox app tracks games across all of a user’s devices and even allows recording of PC game footage with integrated software regardless of the client. You will be able to play a game on Steam, bring up the Xbox app and tell it to record the last 30 seconds of gameplay, just like you can on the Xbox One console.

Microsoft also revealed Fable Legends on Windows 10, which will have cross-platform multiplayer between PC and Xbox One. We may finally fulfill the promise of Shadowrun on the Xbox 360!

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