“Get to the chopper!” will no longer be a death sentence in Ghost Recon Wildlands

, | News

Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Wildlands has its share of issues but many people are able to look past the open-world game’s faults to get to the co-op shooting. Those that do, eventually run up against the number one player-killer in the game. A deadly, merciless foe that has the ability to wipe out a full four-man squad of online players in one go. Behold Ghost Recon Wildlands’ inscrutable helicopter controls. They’re an ungainly square dance of third-person yaw, pitch, and speed that defies sanity. Just when you think you’ve gotten a handle on them, the true horror is revealed: Armed helicopters don’t have any way of aiming their forward-facing weapons! Thankfully, Ubisoft has heard the cries of its players, and rather than laughing and walking away, they laughed and updated the controls in Title Update 6.

In related Ghost Recon news, player versus player Ghost War mode is coming soon.

Hover is as Jet Set Radio as you can get without the Cibo Matto

, | Game reviews

After the obligatory “press this button to do this, dummy” tutorial, Hover drops you into a bright city, stacked absurdly vertical and mildly bustling with activity. Have at it. No agenda. Just get out there. Feel free to tick off the list of activities in the corner of the screen. Or not. Your choice. Of course a game about anarchists skaterpunking sans skates through a plasticky neon dystopia would be this free form. You can run right up to the top or indulge your completionist neurosis in the starting area, which is far more cheerful than you’d expect for a place called “Garbage Village”. Everything in Hover is the opposite of grim. Continue reading →

Stars in Shadow finds its place in the sun

, | Game reviews

Sometimes you just want to blow spaceships up. I mean, sure, it’s fun to shuffle colonists between mines and farms, do a little diplomacy with a picture of an alien, pore over a tech tree’s fork in the road between neutronium beams or quantum fusion, make the adjustments to boost a -2Cr income to a +4Cr income, and decide which planet is going to build the Interstellar Moon Mall wonder of the universe. But when it’s all over, what you remember are the attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion and the c-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. Continue reading →

Doom’s multiplayer on life-support. May not be doomed after all.

, | News

Tom and I really liked Bethesda and id Software’s 2016 re-imagining of Doom. One of the few wrinkles was it’s bog-standard forgettable multiplayer. It was a weird retro mish-mash of arena shooting with flavorless modern concessions like random unlocks and map pack DLC. Most gamers rejected Doom’s multiplayer quickly moving on to something else once the exquisite single player campaign was done. With Update 6.66 (get it?) the developers hope they can turn the general opinion around on Doom’s multiplayer.

First, the season pass and DLC map packs have been made free for everyone that owns the game. Second, the developer is revamping the progression system. Instead of waiting for random cosmetic unlocks in the old system, players need to achieve clearly defined milestones to unlock specific items. Everyone is being reset to level 0, but vets will have the option of retaining all previously unlocked items. New multiplayer Runes replace the old Hack Modules and are persistent player abilities that are equipped in your loadout. Finally, the HUD and kill cameras have been adjusted to give players more information.

Bethesda is rolling out a temporary price cut to $14.99 during this weekend’s free tryout period.

American Truck Simulator isn’t quite ready to do what Spintires does

, | Games

A section of Highway 1 in Big Sur, California was closed due to a landslide that occurred on May 20th. If you’re not cruising down the historic Pacific Coast Highway this summer, you may not think this would have an impact on your activities, but if you play American Truck Simulator, think again. SCS Software has implemented an update of the game that includes this 13-acre addition to California’s coastline and closure of the in-game route.

Its reopening in our American Truck Simulator will depend entirely on real world events.

It appears SCS Software may have its first test of their software-as-service approach. As of a few hours ago, the California Department of Transportation has issued an alert that the previously closed route is now partially open. If only American Truck Simulator modeled mud-slogging and dirt traversal!

Don’t sweat it with Domina

, | Game reviews

I’m not convinced Domina is an actual game. The AI basically plays it for me. I’m sitting in the shade watching. I click the occasional decision, and it might not even be a decision of much consequence. But that’s fine. I shouldn’t have to mess with meaningful decisions. I’m just some rich ancient Roman gladiator manager living a life of luxury and maybe corruption. Corruption seems to take effort, but I guess it can also happen when I get a multiple choice question. Do I a) accept the bribe or b) reject the bribe? I don’t really need 50 ducats or whatever they are, so I just clicked one of the options to get the screen out of the way. “Who can be bothered?” is the theme of the game. I’m guessing “domina” is Latin for “Who can be bothered?” Continue reading →

American McGee wants everyone to stop asking him about the next Alice game

, | News

American McGee’s Alice and Alice: Madness Returns struck a chord with gamers. Years before Tim Burton was given Disney’s backing to create twisted 3D movie versions of Lewis Carroll’s fantasy books, American McGee was arming Alice with a butcher’s knife and setting her loose in Hot Topic levels filled with crooked doorways. Years later, people are still pestering American McGee about a third go-around in goth Wonderland. In a firm blog post American McGee answers the question once and for all. It’s not up to him, so stop directing questions his way. It’s all up to the license holder, in this case, Electronic Arts.

“I HAVE NO CONTROL over the Alice rights, EA’s decision-making process, or anything at all related to Alice, Alice merchandise, Alice adaptations, etc, etc.”

McGee thinks there may be another Alice game someday, but interested fans should tweet the publisher instead of wasting his time. The good news is that every other fable in existence is up for grabs and American McGee’s latest game in development is Out of the Woods which combines a book and a card game with “dark” fairy tales.

The Wire, season 1, episode 11: empathy whiplash

, | TV reviews

Hey, The Wire, I’m cool with some ambiguity about the characters I like. So McNulty’s an asshole, D’Angelo’s morally crippled, Bubs is a junkie, Prez is incompetent in the field, Daniels is supposedly “dirty”, and Omar is a cold-blooded murderer. All that’s cool. I can work with that. But once I’ve decided I don’t like characters, stop making me like them. Continue reading →

Your mission in Cryptark, should you choose to accept it…

, | Game reviews

You know that part in a heist movie where the heisters are poring over a map figuring out how to get into the bank vault? “What if we cut the power to the basement?” one of them suggests. “No, that won’t work,” another says, “because it will trigger the alarm system.” “Okay, then we’re going to have to shut down the alarm system from outside.” “But that will initiate a lockdown and we’ll be trapped.” “Hey,” says another, “what about this sewer line that runs under the bank?” They’ve found the way in! Time to see if they can pull it off.

That’s Cryptark. Continue reading →

Atari wants in on the throwback console fad

, | News

The site may not have much on it, but here’s the first complete image of the Ataribox. First teased in early June, the Ataribox will come in two editions, the retro-inspired faux wood-faced one above, and one with a more modern silver and red front. The only specifications mentioned by Atari are “an array of new ports” including HDMI, four USB ports, and an SD card slot. While they haven’t released any game information, the company noted that savvy gamers may have figured out what’s up.

As you can guess, those ports suggest modern internal specs. It also means that while we will be delivering classic gaming content, we will also be delivering current gaming content.

Atari states that they have months of “milestones, challenges and decision points” prior to launch. So why announce anything when they don’t have much nailed down for public release? One could guess that they aspire to end up as an eBay hot-seller like some other retro consoles.

Worst thing you’ll see all week: A Ghost Story

, | Movie reviews

If you’ve been waiting for an opportunity to watch Rooney Mara eat pie for ten minutes, you’re in luck! Arty director David Lowery has returned from his stint making a movie in which things happen (the Pete’s Dragon remake) to bring us this eulogy to anything happening. A Ghost Story is literally a story about a ghost, which opens up a lot of possibilities. None of them are explored. Instead, everything and nothing happen, leaning mostly in the “nothing” direction. The minutes pass like years, the hour like a millennia, and yet there are still a few scenes to go. Then you don’t get to read a fortune cookie. Roll credits.

A Ghost Story is pretentious, ponderous, and curiously boxed into a very square aspect ratio with curved edges. I think it’s supposed to invoke the time someone made you watch slides of their vacation. The movie also invokes getting stuck in the kitchen at a party while some boorish hipster with overalls and pierced ears spools out his penny-ante nihilism. It invokes it by making it actually happen. The guys just goes on and on and for some reason the scene doesn’t cut. It’s enough to make you long for the pie-eating scene.

A Ghost Story is in limited release. Not limited enough.