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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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beyond_beyond_earth

Firaxis recently announced the Winter update for Civilization: Beyond Earth. The developers are making wonders and trade routes a little better, while hitting rest of the game with some balance changes. Unfortunately, nothing in the patch notes look like it’s going to really change the game into anything worth playing more than a couple of times. Say what you will about Civilization V’s faults, but that game is at least interesting enough to people that some of them are willing to watch the A.I. play against itself in mammoth computer-only matches. The most interesting thing about Civilization: Beyond Earth’s Winter update is that Firaxis or 2K felt the need to add a news feed to the main menu to advertise DLC as well as a future tie-in to the upcoming Sid Meier’s Starships. Of course, 2K wants players to create and sign-in with their games-as-service boondoggle.

- Added my2K functionality to title, allowing cross-game connectivity and unlocks with other Firaxis titles (starting with Sid Meier’s Starships), along with other future perks
– Added Glacier map that unlocks when signing in to my2K for the first time

You can check out Tom’s thoughts on Civilization: Beyond Earth here.

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majoras mask 3d moon

As much as I love the Legend of Zelda games, Majora’s Mask never clicked with me. Between the game’s central premise of repeating the same three days over and over again and the ever-present timer counting down my doom, it presented such a change from Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker that I never gave it a chance to make an impression. Thank goodness Nintendo has worked so hard to bring their back catalog of older games to the 3DS, because without the release of Majora’s Mask 3D, I would have missed out on one of the creepiest, most interesting, and most humane of the Zelda games.

After the break, time is a flat circle. Continue reading →

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If you love numbers and stats, a good action RPG like Diablo III will happily oblige you with more numbers and stats than you can shake an abacus at. But I didn’t have the foggiest notion about the game’s concept of distance until I saw The Escapist’s breakdown of just what “one yard” means in Tristramiam measurement.

In related news, here are some upcoming changes in the next patch. Hey, Blizzard, Diablo III is already good enough! Stop trying to make me want to keep playing!

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axemaster

When Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns expansion was announced, there was a lot of stuff dumped into the info-sphere sans detail. We learned about the MOBA-lite mode and how ArenaNet plans on keeping it short but sweet. Today, we’re covering the new character profession. The Revenant holds to the developer’s philosophy of not just adding more levels onto their game, but instead offering ways to grow vertically.

The new profession’s archetype revolves around mixing up legendary powers from a pool of options. Along with that, Revenants will need to manage the energy cost of their powers’ upkeep, while keeping mind that weapons aren’t tied to the legend power. Get ready to play havoc with your hotbar!

The current active legend will determine the skills on the right half of your skill bar. It’s similar to weapon swapping, but instead it affects your healing, utility, and elite skills. Not only will the legend you select determine your skills, but you’ll have an energy bar tied to your currently invoked legend.

New players to Guild Wars should probably avoid starting a Revenant character until they’ve tried one of the simpler professions first. The basic Warrior or Ranger is right over there on the selection screen.

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