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wilding_time

WildStar is going free-to-play. The by-the-numbers MMO from Carbine Studios is changing from a traditional subscription model to one supported by an optional monthly payment plan and in-game shop purchases for everyone else. The monthly subscribers, or “signature service” players, will get perks like XP boosts and better trading privileges. Free players will get less extras, but the developers assure them that it won’t be unbalanced. Freeloaders will be able to experience everything paying customers will. The only real required payment will be time. Potential players will have to ask themselves how much of that they’re willing to spend.

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FIFA 16 will feature the Women’s National teams. Players will be able to use the all-female teams from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and the USA for the first time in the soccer game franchise. Electronic Arts spoke with IGN to let fans know that no effort was spared to bring female players into FIFA. New model rigging, animation, and fresh motion capture was used to translate the players’ on-field movements into their digital versions. All the important stuff was covered.

“We’ve even gone so far as to rejig the physics on our hair to make sure that the ponytails are more believable.”

FIFA 16 launches on September 22nd for PC, Playstation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

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bruce_almighty

Once sci-fi and fantasy genre stars started showing up in the Call of Duty series’ multiplayer packs, it was only a matter of time before Bruce Campbell starred in one. Supremacy, the third DLC pack for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare features the actor, author, and raconteur blasting zombies and mugging for the camera in that special way that only a veteran of the Deadite Invasion can pull off. Campbell lends his likeness and voice to Carrier, the next chapter in the co-op Exo Zombies storyline. He joins the already full cast of characters voiced by John Malkovich, Bill Paxton, Rose McGowan, and Jon Bernthal. The DLC pack also comes with four new maps for multiplayer killing, but why bother with that stuff when you have the almighty Ash with his boomstick ready and waiting for you?

The Supremacy pack will be available for Xbox players on June 2nd. PlayStation and PC players of Advanced Warfare will have to wait a couple of weeks for their chance at the new DLC.

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Evolve is getting a free update that adds a quicker gameplay mode than the standard 4v1 hunting matches. The Arena Mode update features deathmatches between stage 2 Hunters and a similarly leveled monster duking it out in one of 70 domed spots in the game’s maps. Players get one life per round. The winning side is declared after defeating the enemy in two out of three rounds. Turtle Rock Studios expects this mode will result in faster matches since it jumps past the tedious hunting part of the game. The free update for Evolve should be live on all platforms today.

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gauntlet

Gauntlet, by Arrowhead Game Studios, launched on PC last September and quickly disappeared from sales lists due to a lackluster reception. Despite having a strong multiplayer component complete with seasonal events, the revamp of the classic arcade game just didn’t attract enough of an audience to build critical mass. Arrowhead will try to change that with a free update bringing improvements to include a new game mode. In a frank blog post, Arrowhead admitted that the game did not live up to their goals.

In truth, we were never fully satisfied with how Gauntlet turned out. So, rather than just fixing little things here and there, we have been working on the core of the game to turn it into what we originally envisioned.

Gauntlet is available on Steam for Windows PC.

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Admit it. You’ve missed Need for Speed. The nitro-jammed neon-lit arcade drifter has been missing from the landscape since 2013’s Need for Speed: Rivals and street racing just hasn’t been the same. While everyone has been revving their engines in more serious fare like DriveClub, Assetto Corsa, Project CARS, and Forza Horizon 2, what’s a budding chop shop aficionado to do? You could play The Crew or even the decent bit of marketing fluff that was Forza Horizon Presents Fast & Furious, but neither title had the same obnoxious mix of bro-humor and faux thug earnestness that Electronic Arts perfected in the Need for Speed series. Ghost Games and EA has announced that our wait is over. Need for Speed (no subtitle) is coming this Fall to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and the developers told GameSpot that they’re really going to concentrate on delivering a good story.

“We are taking a very innovative approach to how we tell a story. That’s actually probably as much as I can say at this time. If you just go back three years with Need for Speed: The Run, there were stories in Need for Speed. Absolutely not the best executed stories. But we had stories. And I think a missing piece from the last games we had has been narrative. I think we can deliver a better game to our fans if we connect to them emotionally through story.”

If it means more quality scenes like this one, then bravo!

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Expeditions_Viking

Expeditions: Conquistador is a fantastic variation on the X-com theme, letting you play a team of conquistadors working their way through Central and South America. The overland layer is an intriguing survival challenge and the turn-based combat is brimming with detail and variety. At the heart of the game is an intricate character development system and a unique morale model based on individual characters’ personality traits. For instance, if one of your Spaniards is a racist, she will gain morale if the party consists entirely of Spaniards, but she will lose morale if you hire natives. A pacifist character will gain morale if you make decisions that avoided combat, but he’ll lose a little morale with every battle. As a role-playing game, Expeditions: Conquistador is about making the best decisions based on the idiosyncracies of your party. Can you keep the team together long enough to find El Dorado?

The developers are a small Danish team called Logic Artists. And they’ve just announced the follow-up game will be based on Vikings, both at home and away.

…the Expeditions Sequel will have an upgradable player village, which they must return to between expeditionary raids to build and protect. Over-land travel and combat will now exist as part of the same layer, transitioning from unrestricted, exploratory movement to turn-based combat smoothly. Additionally, players will see their character manifested in the game world, not just as a role-playing character for conversations and decision making (as was in the first of the Expeditions series), but also visibly represented in travel and combat as a custom character.

Expeditions: Viking has just started development and won’t be released anytime soon. In the meantime, Logic Artists are close to releasing Clandestine, a two-player asymmetrical co-op game in which one player controls a spy and the other player controls an off-site hacker. Clandestine is currently available on Steam as an early access title.

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lionette

A little over a year ago, Lion’s Arch, the capital hub of Guild Wars 2 was destroyed in a devastating attack at the climax of the Living World season one storyline. Since then, players and NPCs have had to make do with a tent-town on the outskirts of the city’s ruins. The broken tumbledown of the Lion’s Arch district was a lonely reminder that ArenaNet wasn’t kidding about making drastic changes to their MMO world. See the fallen bricks that once made up the bank headquarters. Look yonder at the cracked statue that once stood proudly in the city center. Take heart adventurers! Lion’s Arch will be rebuilt! ArenaNet revealed that construction has started on a new version of the city that eschews the stacked boat architecture of the previous incarnation.

Construction projects are dependent on workers and weather, both of which can be unpredictable. But while we don’t have a date for the final unveiling, we can say that – due to the advantages of off-site construction – one morning in the next few months you’ll awake to a newly refreshed Lion’s Arch.

Lion’s Arch 2.0 will be a “more fortified city” to reflect the storyline, but will retain the functionality that players require.

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, | Games
clicky_clicky_dead

Click. Click. Click. Clicker Heroes is a game about clicking. You click the screen to kill monsters, gain gold, and level up heroes to gain more abilities, to click bigger monsters, etc. It starts harmlessly enough with one click of your mouse doing one hit point of damage on a cartoon RPG beast. Click-click-click and the monster dies with a satisfying sound accompanied by a gold piece dropping out of its body. There’s no strategy. There’s no way to fail. Hoover up the gold and wait for the next monster to appear. How did four hours pass? Why am I trying to maximize click damage and calculate grind times to get to 100,000 damage per click? It’s dumb and simple and insulting, but you’ll sit there clicking away because stuff is happening and the lizard part of your brain feels good.

Clicker Heroes isn’t the first of its kind, but it’s likely the first in the genre to make the transition to Steam, complete with in-game app purchases. ($99.00 for a bunch of gems to help you click faster!) Cow Clicker by Ian Bogost is probably the genesis of this type of thing. If you haven’t checked out Mr. Bogost’s analysis of his own creation, you should. He goes into a lot of the reasons why it works and why you may want to look out for these tactics in “real” games. That’s if you get time between clicks.

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, | Movie reviews
Good_Kill_review

The history of warfare is partly a history of being able to stand farther and farther away from the people you’re killing. From longbows to muskets to battleships to aircraft to missiles to drones in Afghanistan remotely piloted by airmen in Las Vegas. This latter distance is the subject of Good Kill, in which Ethan Hawke and Bruce Greenwood are mostly secure in the knowledge that their targets are always and only bad guys. If kids get in the way of their drone strikes, they’re suitably upset about it. So when the CIA tells them — over speakerphone, no less! — to just blow up innocent bystanders, and then some first responders for good measure, they get even more suitably upset. As the new girl on the job and bleeding-heart-on-her-sleeve liberal, Zoe Kravitz actually cries about it. She’s just that sensitive to what’s Right and what’s Wrong. Don’t worry, she’ll turn in her wings before the movie is over.

Good Kill is convenient pap with characters declaiming superficial political stances in lieu of dialogue and shots of the hero’s home from the same angle as shots of the drone targets because, uh, reasons. What a disappointment considering Good Kill was directed by Andrew Niccol, who previously directed the smart and intimate Gattaca. And then he went on to direct the not smart In Time and the even less smart The Host, each with ballooning budgets. With Good Kill, Niccol is obviously pining for smaller and more cerebral message movies, but the message here is obvious, facile, and ham-handed. In the end, Good Kill decides to find redemption by shooting a Hellfire missile at a serial rapist. Hurray for vigilante drone strikes!

Good Kill is in theaters now in limited release.

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Cities_Skylines_tunnel_update

Today’s update for Cities: Skylines finally adds tunnels, giving you yet another option to deal with traffic issues. If you can’t go around it or go over it, now you can try going under it! The update also adds a new European tileset, although the default tileset seemed pretty European to me. The new tileset only appears on specific maps, such as the three new maps included in the update.

Read more specifics here, including a word about how to avoid conflicts with any mods you may be using.

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Crysis as a board game. That’s the premise of Crysis: Analogue Edition. Frame6 is taking the first-person power suit shooting of Crysis and turning it into a top-down exercise in pushing little plastic soldiers around a hex map. If their Kickstarter gets funded you could be adjusting the chairs around your gaming table instead tweaking video settings. How adorable! The developer says they have the full blessing and cooperation of Crytek.

Play with up to eight friends and score points in either Team Instant Action or Capture the Relay game modes. Defeat your enemies using advanced weaponry and the unique abilities provided by the Nanosuit in this team-based tactical game.

You can check out a breakdown of the white-knuckle board game combat here.

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, | Movie podcasts
Mad_Max_Fury_Road_podcast

George Miller returns to the Mad Max series and we couldn’t be happier with the results. In fact, we’re so thrilled that we don’t get around to this week’s 3×3 on tutorials until the 1:27 mark.

Next week: Tomorrowland

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