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Sony will not require players to have PlayStation Plus to play No Man’s Sky online. Game Informer reached out to Sony and the console-maker confirmed that despite requiring an active PlayStation Plus subscription to play most games online, they will not require it for No Man’s Sky. That’s a good thing because while the game has some shared universe gameplay like logging discoveries and tagging them with your name, the studio is treating the game as a single player experience. Thanks to the procedurally generated nature of the galaxy, there are 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 planets in the No Man’s Sky universe. Running into another player on accident should be a rare occurrence, but congratulations if you do! You just got free multiplayer!

No Man’s Sky will release on August 9th for the PlayStation 4 and August 12th for Windows PC.

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cossacks3

Cossacks, the real-time strategy games from the Ukraine, have always been a niche series here. The first game was a little too obscure for western gamers to embrace in 2001. Cossacks: European Wars showed up on store shelves right between Age of Empires II: The Conquerors and Age of Mythology, so many real-time fans never got to experience the fiddliness of managing rifle formations and cavalry charges. Cossacks II: Napoleonic Wars faced direct competition with Age of Empires III. GSC World is ready to change all that with Cossacks 3. Think of it as “Cossacks HD” because despite following a sequel naming convention, it’s really a remake of the first game.

Without an Age of Empires game to fight against, GSC World is hoping the time is right to reintroduce Cossacks to the West. Five single-player campaigns, 12 playable nations, random maps, multiplayer, and a slew of teeny units and buildings should be enticing for any fan of the era. Cossacks 3 will launch on September 20th on Steam.

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The latest faction trailer for Firaxis’ Civilization VI runs through some basics of China. Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, leads the civilization in the game. The video includes some details about China’s Great Wall, that illustrates how different this sequel seems to be from previous Civilization games. In the upcoming game, The Great Wall is a tile improvement that must be built on each hex that a player wishes to use to extend the building’s effect, like a road. Since each worker unit can only improve a limited amount of tiles before being used up, (no more endlessly building farms and mines) players will have to choose between normal tile improvements and wonders. This is a major change from what Civilization vets are used to. Much like the one-unit-per-tile rule in Civilization V, altering the way wonders and improvements are built will have an immense impact on the game.

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI launches on PC on October 21st.

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Gary Busey, the famously manic actor from The Buddy Holly Story, Point Break, and Under Siege, will be the seventh elusive target in Hitman. Players will be able to hunt Gary Busey’s virtual likeness in the Sapienza level starting on Thursday, July 21st. He will be available to hunt in the game until the next Thursday, the 28th.

Elusive targets are time-limited special assassination challenges in Io Interactive’s episodic Hitman game. Each player can attempt an elusive target once, and if they miss, the chance is gone forever. Special in-game rewards are available to those that complete elusive targets. Unfortunately, the prize for killing Gary Busey is not a pair of thick Buddy Holly glasses or a weekend bender.

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Offline skirmish matches with A.I. bots are coming to Star Wars Battlefront. Creatively called Skirmish Mode, Battlefront’s offline gameplay will be available for Walker Assault and Fighter Squadron modes. The console versions of Battlefront will also have offline split screen capability. Although offline modes won’t contribute to persistent account progression, it will offer more opportunity for players to practice on maps that may not get as much time in server rotations. Offline skirmish is coming to Battlefront on July 20th.

In related news, the third DLC pack for Battlefront will launch in September. The Death Star expansion will feature more maps, new weapons, in-game cards, and two new heroes including a “larger-than-life character” that Electronic Arts says we’ve been waiting for. I assume that’s Lobot. The unsung hero of the Star Wars galaxy.

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Eldritch_Horror_update_post

Last year, I predicted that Fantasy Flight would choke their elegant Lovecraftian adventure boardgame, Eldritch Horror, with the usual glut of add-ons. This was like predicting the sun would rise in the East.

Was I right? In a fit of pique, curiosity, and indiscretion, I bought all of the expansions. I spent a day organizing everything. Labeling plastic baggies (not included), integrating the bits and bobs from six (6!) separate boxes, and trying (and failing) to fit everything in fewer than three full-size boxes. Then I spent several more days playing Eldritch Horror. I lost several points of sanity. But I have emerged to update you on my prediction.

After the jump, rumors of Eldritch Horror’s death are mildly exaggerated. Continue reading →

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SkyBoats_Kickstarter

I don’t normally post Kickstarter campaigns, because I prefer getting excited about finished games that are currently available. But Brain Good Games doesn’t normally announce a new title. The creators of the minimalist and clever Axes and Acres are looking for support for Skyboats, which seems to be abandoning the minimalist part of the equation. They’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign and a page on Steam’s Greenlight.

Skyboats is what us boardgamers call “pick up and deliver”, but the twist is that a skyboat doesn’t just go where it wants to go. A skyboat is at the mercy of the wind. The flow of goods is dictated by the wind patterns, which are in turn dictated by the flow of goods. If you’re not convinced, you probably haven’t tried Axes and Acres. You can get it here and I’ll walk you through the basics here.

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Apex_mens_sm

The lumberyard sits steaming in the jungle and my unit, a special operations task force consisting of me and two guys, has orders to destroy bandit supplies hidden within. I open with some rifle shots, taking out a couple of sentries, before the bandits catch on and start laying down a withering blanket of fire into random terrain features. My buddies shoot at an idling cargo truck. I don’t think they’re following the plan any more. An enemy runs down the road, goes prone, spins on his belt buckle, then runs back only to get flattened by another truck going the other way. I die thanks to a lucky shot, but I kill everyone by respawning as a grenadier and lobbing explosives into the encampment. I run between stacks of logs and shoot the last enemy as he stands arms-outstretched in a Christ-like pose while slowly sinking into the concrete floor of a garage. My partners split up so one guy can kneel and stand up, kneel and stand up, kneel and stand up, while the other moron watches a rock. Thanks for the help guys. We leave, me on foot, my team by teleporting. I’m dumped to a mission end screen showing that I killed 23 bad guys by myself. This is Arma 3: Apex.

100 square kilometers of South Pacific Generation Kill, after the break. Continue reading →

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Before there was Vermintide, the very good Left 4 Dead But With Warhammer Rats, there was Lead and Gold. In 2010, developer Fatshark released a very good Western-themed multiplayer shooter with unique character classes, carefully built multiplayer modes, and an absence of unlockable hats. No one played it.

Now that Vermintide is presumably paying the bills — the latest DLC was released a month ago — Fatshark is feeling magnanimous; they’re handing out copies of Lead and Gold for free. Well, at least the first 100,000 copies. Get yours here. You can even find populated servers online.

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Even if you don’t have plans to jump back into Guild Wars 2 just yet, you’re going to want to at least reinstall it when season 3 starts on July 26. Otherwise, later in the year, you’re going to jump back in and you’re going to be all, “Wait, there was a new season and now I have to buy it?” From the announcement:

Just as in Season 2, you can unlock each episode for free by logging in to Guild Wars 2 any time between the episodes initial release and the release of the next episode. If you dont own Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, you can still log in to unlock the episode for free — itll be there waiting for you once you purchase the expansion!

This gives me just under two weeks to finally get around to finishing season 2…

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Meet Ana Amari, the next Overwatch hero. She’s a sniper. She’s also a healer. She can kill enemies from long-range as well as heal teammates waaaaay over there. She’s either going to be your best buddy or your worst nightmare, depending on which way her sniper rifle treats you. Be nice to Ana. She’s voiced by Emmy award-winning actress Shohreh Aghdashloo.

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