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Petroglyph’s Grey Goo didn’t knock our socks off at launch, but the throwback real-time strategy game had a lot of moxie. It took on the traditional three-way faction setup and mixed it with Petroglyph’s unique sensibilities, leading to an in-game race made up of amorphous blobs, and a campaign animated by Weta Digital. Unfortunately, the game didn’t click with the intended audience and the player numbers have remained woefully low.

Petroglyph hasn’t given up on Grey Goo. The Descent of the Shroud DLC adds an entirely new fourth faction to the game for free. The Shroud’s units are built around disrupting the other race’s normal build orders. In fact, according to the DLC trailer, The Shroud are powerful enough to make the Goo flee! Dropping a new faction into an RTS in’t possible without some disruption, so the game is also getting a balance update to account for the newest gooey enemies. Perhaps it’s time to give this game another look?

Grey Goo is available on Steam.

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Need for Speed’s newest update features community sharing of custom wraps. The Showcase Update for Ghost Games’ surprising racer has added the ability to share custom livery designs, (called “wraps” in the ultra-bro world of Need for Speed) like in more recent Forza games. Forza, of course, is the game that proved if you give people a canvas, some of them will inevitably create the most detailed offensive content imaginable. It’s like the internet itself, writ small!

If you’re tired of old-fashioned stock stickers like Red Bull and Penzoil lamely adorning your Need for Speed ride, you can now browse other people’s hand-crafted anime princesses and curse words to download and use. The update also add more customization parts and a photo mode so you can capture the epic grandeur of Sailor Moon spread-eagle on your Nissan Skyline.

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The_Witness_reach

I’m looking at a puzzle. I’m considering how to solve it. I’m pretty sure there’s no way to solve it. Literally no way to solve it. It simply can’t work. It’s nonsense. It’s clearly impossible. You might as well ask me to make two plus two equal five. But then something clicks, suddenly and decisively. A Copernican shift introduces itself into a simple set of inviolable rules. The center has moved and now everything turns into something else entirely. It feels like a miracle of geometry, of logic, like oh, hey, a fourth dimension has opened up where a wall used to be. Maybe Newtonain shift is a better way to put it. What seemed impossible is now as simple as letting gravity take an apple.

These are the best parts of The Witness. And, to be fair, they’re fairly frequent. Regular even. But to what end?

After the jump, ssentiW ehT, dnalsi na, nalp a, man a. Continue reading →

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I’m a sucker for Euro Truck Simulator. I’m also American, which means I’m probably going to be a sucker for American Truck Simulator, despite the fact that it was scaled down from American Truck Simulator to West Side of America Only Truck Simulator. But even I have a hard time taking the above launch trailer seriously. It’s like a beer commercial that never gets around to mentioning the beer it’s supposed to be about.

American Truck Simulator comes out February 3rd.

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Far Cry Primal’s stone age characters converse using a made-up language called Wenja. Speaking to IGN in normal English, the game’s writer, Kevin Shortt, revealed that the in-game language is a fictional construct based on proto-European speech. Thankfully, the dialogue is subtitled, so players won’t be scratching their heads when someone grunts “klaatu barada nikto” at them.

“So we created the setting, the flora, the megafauna and then when it came to actually telling the story it just felt wrong to say ‘ok we’re going to do it in modern language.’ Because it was going to pop. You were going to feel it. So we did some tests, and it did pop. It wasn’t right. So we thought, ‘hell, let’s make a language.'”

Far Cry Primal will release for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on February 23rd, but PC players will have to wait until March.

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Boba_Fett_sarlacced

Really, the main reasons I’m writing this is so I can use that headline. It’s not even that good of a headline. It’s certainly not accurate. But I couldn’t resist. Today’s patch just makes Boba Fett’s wrist rocket less powerful. But his mobility still gives him an enormous advantage. Have you tried to hit a flying Boba Fett? I have and it’s not easy, let me tell you. And don’t get me started on Slave One in the fighter squadron matches! To be fair, the patch did strip Boba Fett’s ship of 30% its hit points. And the Millennium Falcon. Now they’re only 70% of the bullet sponges they used to be.

The more relevant changes in the patch are nerfs to the DL-44, aka Han Solo’s pistol; the bowcaster, aka Chewbacca’s crossbow thing that Han Solo apparently didn’t notice until Force Awakened; the ION anti-vehicle torpedo, aka the thing that makes AT-STs one of the quickest ways to give the other team points; and the homing shot and smart rocket, aka the things that always kill you from out of nowhere.

The patch also adds daily challenges, which is all I need. Yet another reason to keep playing what turned out to be last year’s best shooter. Electronic Arts has even announced the upcoming content will add more support for the excellent split-screen and single player challenges. How much was that season pass again?

Read the full notes here.

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feb7dGliding-In-Central-Tyria

Gliding, a feature previously limited to the new areas introduced in the Heart of Thorns expansion, is now enabled in Guild Wars 2’s original base game areas. The Winter 2016 update makes gliding possible for owners of the Heart of Thorns content throughout the world map, except in player versus player areas and instanced dungeons. The patch brings a host of balance fixes and user interface enhancements as well, but the most important change is that players can now stretch their wings and wobble clumsily from the highest point in Lion’s Arch to eventually lawn dart straight into the ground if they so wish thanks to the update. Fly! Be free!

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sf5_dramallama

Remember the epic moment when Ryu betrayed Ken? Or that time when Chun Li finally got revenge for her father’s death? Apparently there are Street Fighter fans that love the convoluted soap opera stories that go with the Street Fighter games. It’s not all hundred-hand-slaps and whirlwind kicks. There’s drama! For all the players that look forward to more exposition and histrionics, Sony and Capcom have some good news. They’ve announced that Street Fighter V will get a free story expansion post-launch. Confusingly, he storyline will take place between the events of Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter III.

M. Bison and Shadaloo will be a main focus of the story…and I can’t say much more than that right now.

Will anything in the game be better than Raul Julia’s portrayal of M. Bison? “For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me, it was Tuesday.” Street Fighter V launches on PlayStation 4 and PC on February 16th.

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Pokmon is turning twenty. To celebrate two decades of monster battling and capturing, The Pokemon Company is airing the above TV advertisement during Super Bowl 50. It’s a slick bit of marketing that feels completely worthy of standing next to the latest Nike or Gatorade commercials. The 20th anniversary site is also pretty good at capturing the dramatic sportiness of it all. “Train on” goes well with “Gotta catch’em all!”

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Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has co-designed a solitaire app. Churchill Solitaire is based on a variant of the popular solo card game that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill played and passed on to his wartime acquaintances. As the Wall Street Journal explains, Donald Rumsfeld learned of Churchill’s hobby while serving as the U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1973. During his NATO tenure, Rumsfeld was taught the game by Andre de Staercke, the Belgian NATO representative, who had been taught by Churchill himself. Keith Urbahn, the CEO of political consulting firm Javelin DC, created the Churchill Solitaire app with design help from his former boss Donald Rumsfeld who had input on everything from the rules of the game to the presentation of the play board.

Why is Churchill Solitaire a favorite of deep thinkers and political strategists? It’s played with two decks of cards, a “Devil’s Row” of six cards that must be cleared, and a timer making it one of the most difficult variants of solitaire. An early mistake can result in a hopelessly futile game.

“There is no question,” Mr. Rumsfeld said, “it is a game that requires you to be strategic, to look around corners, to think ahead, and to never give in – which is the phrase Churchill would have used.”

Churchill Solitaire is free to download from Apple iTunes for iOS devices.

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Amplitude Studios is celebrating their company anniversary with free stuff for players. Owners of Endless Legend, Endless Space or Dungeon of the Endless who play those games until the 25th (Monday) will unlock bonus content if they accomplish certain in-game tasks. Dubbed Endless Day, the free unlocks can be snagged by doing the following activities:

Endless Space – How to unlock the Emlek Tarosh hero: you need to start a new game of Endless Space (make sure you have disabled your mods if you are playing with any), before January 25th (end of the event). If you manage to do so, the hero will be unlocked for your future games once the event is over.

Endless Space – To unlock the “Endless Day” achievement: win a game in “Endless” difficulty, started between January 21st and January 25th, but completed at any time.

Dungeon of the Endless – How to unlock the archivist, Esseb Tarosh: you need to start a new game of Dungeon of the Endless. The hero will be available in your pool right away, for the duration of the event. Like any other heroes in DotE, you need to survive at least three floors with the hero or finish the game with it. If you manage to do so, once the event ends, you will be able to keep the Esseb Tarosh in your pool of heroes.

Dungeon of the Endless – How to unlock the “Endless Day” achievement: you need to start a new game in any difficulty, hire the archivist hero and keep it alive, and complete the game. Make sure you start and complete a game between January 21st and January 25th in order to get the achievement.

Endless Legend – How to unlock the Eslek Tarosh hero and the “Endless Day” achievement: you need to start a new game of Endless Legend (make sure you have disabled your mods if you are playing with any), before January 25th (end of the event!). Once you have built your first city, a new quest will appear: Day of the Awakening. Complete it and you will unlock the new hero and the Steam achievement.

If you’re too busy to get in on all the hot Endless Day action before the 25th but still want the goodies, Amplitude posted a hint to a workaround in their FAQ. Endless Legend, Endless Space, and Dungeon of the Endless are all available on Steam for PC.

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XCOM_goes_Long

If there was one thing better than Firaxis smartly streamling X-Com with XCOM, it was John Lumpkin and Rachel Norma smartly deepening and expanding that streamlining with their ambitious Long War mod. One of my reservations about the impending release of XCOM 2 in a few weeks is that it will take a while for cool mods like Long War to catch up with the sequel.

Except that — surprise! — it won’t. Firaxis announced today that designer Lumpkin, programmer Norma, and their artist James Karlson have already been working on XCOM 2. Furthermore, they’re far enough along that “multiple mods” will be available when the game launches. Firaxis will release more details about these mods on January 30th at a PAX South panel in Texas.

XCOM 2 will be out on February 5th for PCs. There are currently no plans for a console version. Ha ha.

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