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vive

Valve’s virtual reality solution is The Vive and it’s made by HTC. We knew Valve had a VR project in the works, but what everyone was wondering was who Valve would partner with to manufacture the consumer device. HTC is the answer. At their press event in Barcelona, HTC unveiled The Vive VR system and announced Valve as their primary partner. Don’t expect Valve’s involvement to result in a headset from the Portal 2 design book. The device looks like something Doc Brown would wear in the bathroom.

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desmond

Did you play Assassin’s Creed: Unity and feel like you got shorted on the Abstergo storyline? Miss Desmond Miles? Good news! Ubisoft heard your complaints and assured gamers that they’ll be cramming more modern-day antics into future Assassin’s Creed games. Lead writer Darby McDevitt revealed that the use of Monteriggioni in Assassin’s Creed 2’s past and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood’s future may be a template for how the team would like to handle Abstergo antics. Fans of the way Unity handled the issue by toning down the Abstergo storyline entirely should brace for disappointment.

“I’ve been working the past two years, with all the other writers, on getting a great document together on the First Civilization. We created 500, 600, 700 years worth of history that we hope to start teasing out for the next 10, 20 years or however long we’re around.”

Although the next Assassin’s Creed game hasn’t been officially announced, rumor has it that it will be set in Victorian London.

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, | Games podcasts
underworld-large

Tim Stellmach and Chris Siegel join Jason and Brandon for this weeks podcast. Nearing the end of their Kickstarter for Underworld Ascendant, which would revive the Underworld series that began with Ultima Underworld, Tim and Chris stop by to discuss game development, boardgaming, and what current games are occupying our time.

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, | Game reviews
A_Druid's_Duel_review

With only four playing pieces, how good can a game be? But developer Thoughtshelter, which is basically a fellow in Minneapolis named Kris Szafranski with a keen sense for how to balance intricacy and simplicity, has crafted an shrewd interplay of mobility, defense, and dirty tricks. These four pieces are dramatically different from each other, and since they’re druids who shapeshift into animals, they’re each technically two pieces.

After the jump, two times four is still only eight. So how good can it be? Continue reading →

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Onward_to_Venus_review

The Martin Wallace games I know are intricate affairs, challenging to learn and teach, often with some distinct or even controversial twist. Brass, A Study in Emerald, Mythotopia, A Few Acres of Snow. You wouldn’t whip them out for a casual group. No one would ever mistake them for party games or palate cleansers. They are the main event of a gaming night, or perhaps better a gaming afternoon when everyone is sharp and alert. But Onward to Venus bucks the trend of the Martin Wallace games I know. Here is a joyous, snappy, whimsical, and gloriously colorful science fiction side dish, suitable for a wide range of players and distinct enough to ensure a unique place at the table for a long time to come.

After the jump, remember when the space pirates of Titan attacked Great Britain’s factories on Ganymede? Continue reading →

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Battlefield: Hardline enters the world of live-action theater with their cops and robbers saga called Get a Piece of the Action. Electronic Arts’ UK division produced it, so the film is less hardboiled crime war and more tea time of misdemeanors. While I appreciate the effort, these folks don’t even have guns. That’s not Battlefield!

Battlefield: Hardline launches on March 17th for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC. EA Access members can start playing the game on March 12th for 10 hours.

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Iron_and_Steel_review

Wild West Rampage, one of the two tables in the Iron & Steel Pack for Zen Pinball 2, is Zen’s first non-licensed table in a long time. And it’s about time, too. I enjoy Star Wars and Marvel superheroes as much as the next guy, but Zen has been drinking from those wells for a very long time now. It’s nice to see them going back to reliable tables that stand on their own.

After the jump, not a lightsaber or cape in sight! Continue reading →

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greedy

Patch 2.2.0 is bringing a lot of good stuff to Diablo III, but something bad must come with every good. In this case, it’s a new “platinum” in-game currency that players can purchase with real-world money which can be used to buy cosmetic items and boosts. In other words, Diablo III is getting microtransactions. Blizzard was quick to point out that this was experimental and not coming to the North American or European regions for now.

We recognize that many players have expressed an interest in microtransactions being added to Diablo III. While we may explore this model in some regions, we have no immediate plans to implement such purchases or the aforementioned features anytime soon for the Americas region.

That discontinued real-money auction house is going to start looking really good once platinum trading shows up in Battle.net chat.

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ff7

Fast & Furious isn’t generally what you think of when you play any of the Forza games. Microsoft’s serious sim racer generally has a brightly-lit (some say bland) aesthetic that doesn’t mesh well with the neon high-five street hustling action movie series. Need for Speed is probably the closest game to Fast & Furious, but they’ve got their own movie. Despite Forza’s obvious disconnect to blockbuster popcorn movies, Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious is on its way. It’s a standalone game coming to Xbox One and Xbox 360 on March 27th meant to tie-in with the release of the Fast & Furious 7 movie. Grab it before April 10th and it will be free. Past that date, it will cost $10 to experience the melding of bland and boom.

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, | Movie reviews
Dead_Snow_2_review

“Is there a carnival in town?” This is the reaction of one of the characters upon arriving for the climactic sequence of Dead Snow: Red vs Dead. He will later reiterate the sentiment: “What the fuck is going on? It looks like a computer game.”

Norwegian director Tommy Wirkola’s sequel to his 2009 zombie movie wants more than anything to be outrageous, funny, and self-aware. Instead, it’s just messy, overblown, and winking. Ha ha, I’m a carnival and a videogame, it insists. It even proclaims itself “an entirely new genre”.

The original Dead Snow played more like a slasher movie. The Nazi zombies were its backstory, but it was mainly concerned with dispatching good looking young people in a remote cabin. And although it appreciated the silliness of Nazi zombies — we’ve come a long way since Peter Cushing in Shockwaves — it was clearly a horror movie. Not so with this sequel, which is a slapstick comedy with all the finesse of a tank driving through a house.

It’s always a bit disappointing to see horror going full comedy. A lot of us horror fans died a little when Sam Raimi resorted to Army of Darkness. Funny and grim can go hand in hand, as Raimi demonstrated adroitly in Evil Dead II. Most gore is inherently ridiculous, so there’s no need to push it. But Dead Snow: Red vs Dead giggles merrily as it dispatches old folks, people in wheelchairs, children, and even infants. And none of this is grim, because it’s all played for laughs. Remember in American Werewolf in London when the Nazi monsters burst in and slaughtered the family watching The Muppet Show? That was hilarious and horrifying. That was how to do funny and grim. When you stop and wink at the camera, the grim goes out the window and the funny just feels strained.

Dead Snow: Red vs Dead doesn’t even have the courage to stick to its own national identity. Martin Starr — unfortunately, this movie has no use for his droll sense of humor — leads a team of Americans bringing in easy jokes about nerds and Star Wars. For a movie with just the right balance of horror, humor, and a towering sense of Norwegian national identity, there’s always Trollhunter.

Dead Snow: Red vs Dead is available for video on demand.

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gta_v_waaagh

Oy vey! Back in January, Rockstar announced a slight delay to the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V, pushing the launch date back to March. Well, it’s been pushed back again. This time, Rockstar says the PC version of the open-world crime sim isn’t launching until April 14th. By way of a small apology, the developer is offering another $200k for use in GTA Online to pre-order customers.

Oh, Heists are still coming. No, really. They are. Rockstar promises.

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wolves

Lionsgate and Telltale are partnering. Lionsgate has made a significant investment in Telltale Games, and they will be producing interactive media together. As part of the deal, Lionsgate’s CEO Jon Feltheimer will take a seat on Telltale’s board of directors. According to Telltale’s, Kevin Bruner, their first project will be something they’re calling a Super Show, which boils down to more episodic games, but cross-produced with live-action media. You have to give Bruner credit for having some lofty goals.

Our goal is to create products that have a legitimate chance of winning both a Golden Globe and a Game of the Year.

That could take the place of the EGOT. Imagine the accolades from Doritos and Mountain Dew that would come with that!

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bob_lawn

Steam Controllers, Steam Machines, and now we’re looking at SteamVR. In a small, almost stealthy notice, Valve announced that they will be showing off some of their hardware projects at GDC 2015, including something called SteamVR. While Oculus Rift piffles about with Facebook and the NBA, Valve seems ready to hop into the growing VR space with their own setup. Steam VR is part of a “family of entertainment devices” according to Valve. See? While everyone was watching Sony and Microsoft battle over control of the living room, Valve ran around straight to the den. Like Oculus, Valve is reaching out to the community to start working on stuff to actually use with their hardware.

With the introduction of SteamVR hardware, Valve is actively seeking VR content creators. Are you a developer or publisher interested in experiencing the new SteamVR hardware?

Interested in trying the SteamVR Dev Kit? Space is limited – schedule your demo today!

GDC 2015 starts on March 2nd. Previous glimpses of Valve’s experimental work in VR headsets have been limited.

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doughty_beards

Creative Assembly has announced the Longbeards Culture Pack DLC for Total War: Attila which will be released on the 26th. The DLC comes with three Germanic factions: the Burgundians, Alamans, and Langobards. It’s not just unit roster changes and cosmetic skins, either. The DLC includes unique campaign events and story beats.

Playing as these factions will present you with a new series of linked narrative events. The Lay Of Ybor is delivered in the style of a Germanic Saga, in which you direct the actions of a fabled hero through a series of branching narrative choices. As the story draws to its conclusion, Ybor himself becomes available as a general for your armies, complete with traits that mirror the choices you made.

This Longbeards Culture Pack DLC comes a week after the game’s launch and is not the Viking Forefathers pre-order DLC which has been available for purchase since the game went live. You can imagine how well the surprise DLC unveiling is going over with the vocal Total War crowd.

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