, | News
the_crew_free

Ubisoft’s driving MMO The Crew (aka, Tom Chick’s 2014 GOTY) is available for free. There’s just one catch, and it’s the same catch for any game by Ubisoft: you have to install UPlay. As part of some sort of insane “here, have a bunch of free games that don’t suck!” initiative at Ubisoft, they’re giving away a different game every month for seven months. And not giving away as in making them free for that month only. These are yours even past that month. And you don’t have to keep paying for a subscription service to keep your game. It’s yours for free and forever. So long as you have Uplay installed.

I suspect part of the thinking behind giving away The Crew is that Ubisoft hopes to sell you a copy of the Wild Run DLC, which isn’t included in the free giveaway. And I hate to tell you this, but it’s good DLC. It adds a few new types of gameplay and a whole new track of advancement and competition.

However, this free deal only applies to the PC version. Which looks great, especially when you’re accustomed to the console version. I had played — even recently since it’s a game with those kinds of long legs — the Playstation 4 version. But I made the mistake of installing the PC version to “have a real quick look”. And, oops, here I am playing an MMO, realizing all over again that it’s not a grind when it’s a game this good.

FacebookEmailTwitterGoogle+
, | Games
fifa_ult

Two men have been arrested and charged with promoting unlawful gambling in the United Kingdom. Dylan Rigby and Craig Douglas of Essex, England are being prosecuted by the UK Gambling Commission for violating the Gambling Act and for inviting underaged participation in betting activity. Both men individually owned and operated numerous sites related to FIFA Ultimate Team gambling and trading. They co-owned and promoted the FutGalaxy and Ultimate Coin Exchange sites. Rigby and Douglas are the first people being prosecuted by their government for illegal videogame gambling.

The recent CS:GO Lotto scandal involving Counter-Strike: Global Offensive cosmetic gun skin betting prompted Valve to issue cease and desist letters to gambling sites and has resulted in some civil suits, but no criminal charges have been filed yet. While the Attorneys General in the United States are aware of some of the videogame gambling complaints, they have thus far declined to prosecute.

That’s how you know an illicit activity is maturing, by the way. It’s when the law finally takes notice of it. Now that the scope of videogame gambling has grown sizable enough to attract the attention of the government, you can expect further legal action in the future.

FacebookEmailTwitterGoogle+
, | News
winwinwinwin

Quantric Foundry, an analytics outfit focused on gaming, has published a report breaking down some metrics about competitive videogaming. While it seems intuitive, the results of their report confirms that the older you get, the less competitive multiplayer will appeal to you. While there is a difference between when genders fall out of love with pwning noobs, the most significant factor was age. At about 35 years of age, most players cease being concerned with their kill/death ratio and winning matches and shift their gaming to single-player or cooperative fare.

If you no longer care about smack-talk and jacking wins from scrubs, congratulations! You made it past your twenties. You probably curse less in public and have responsibilities.

FacebookEmailTwitterGoogle+
, | News
beaming_down

In August, Microsoft made a low-key blog post to announce that the company had acquired Beam. Haven’t heard of Beam? That’s okay. You’re going to hear a lot more about it since the service is coming to Xbox and Windows 10 later this year. Beam is a streaming service for social video game broadcasting like Twitch or YouTube Gaming. Beam’s twist is that it allows viewers to interact with the game being streamed.

Using Minecraft as one example, with Beam you don’t just watch your favorite streamer play, you play along with them. You can give them new challenges and make real-time choices that affect their gameplay, from tool selection to quests to movement; all through simple visual controls.

While certain games like Rise of the Tomb Raider and Choice Chamber had Twitch interactivity, these early efforts relied on the viewers’ chat to vote on actions. Beam allows players to use on-screen controls to mess with a streamer’s game, and those buttons and widgets can be customized for different games. If that’s not impressive enough, Matthew Salsamendi, the CEO and founder of Beam is just 19 years old!

FacebookEmailTwitterGoogle+
, | Game reviews
star_wars_rebellion_review

I hate hidden movement games. Me and a friend stranded on a desert island with nothing but a copy of Scotland Yard? My worst nightmare. Plaid Hat’s Specter Ops sprinkles a bit more gameplay and a splash of theme into its Scotland Yardness, but hidden movement is hidden movement. You’re still playing a fluid (i.e. drawn-out) version of Battleship. B4? Miss. C4? Miss. B3? Hit! You caught my specter op! Not even Fury of Dracula, spattered with its ropey entrails of viscous gameplay substitute — it’s offal, really — can obscure the fact that it’s just Scotland Yard stretched into an insufferable too-many-hour guessing game, pencil and paper not included.

So it came as a bit of shock when I realized Star Wars: Rebellion, a game I really like, is also a hidden movement game.

After the jump, movement: hidden and loving it Continue reading →

FacebookEmailTwitterGoogle+
, | News
reedus_stranded

Kojima Productions’ Death Stranding, the enigmatic game revealed at last year’s E3, is an open-world experience with online interactions. Before Hideo Kojima’s appearance at Sony PlayStation’s pre-Tokyo Game Show pree event today, it was assumed that Death Stranding was going to follow the Silent Hill model from which it seemed to be derived. During Kojima’s keynote address, he revealed that Death Stranding, while sharing a healthy dose of Norman Reedus, is actually an open-world action game and not a typical hallway horror game. The black substance seen in the E3 trailer was not oil or X-Files goo, but actually strands representing the connections between players. These “death strands” are a manifestation of the online links players will have as they play the game. Kojima hopes to create a new kind of multiplayer gameplay that’s not specifically adversarial or cooperative.

Death Stranding will launch on PlayStation 4 and PC, but it’s likely going to be a long time before release. Hideo Kojima explained that the studio has only recently begun “full-blown development” on the project.

FacebookEmailTwitterGoogle+
, | News

Blizzard is considering announcer packs for Starcraft II. In a survey sent to selected Starcraft 2 players, celebrity announcer packs are proposed for $3.99 each, along with other DLC options like premium chat emoticons, and cosmetic unit skins. Proposed celebrity voices included Morgan Freeman, Snoop Dogg, and the Hearthstone Innkeeper. Similar voice packs have been a staple DLC for games like Dota 2 and League of Legends for years, but this would be a first for the Starcraft franchise. A Blizzard community manager responded to the original leak with a good-natured chide.

Surprisingly, this would not be the first such gig for Snoop Dogg. His voice talent was featured in an announcer pack DLC for Call of Duty: Ghosts in 2014.

FacebookEmailTwitterGoogle+
, | Movie reviews
morgan_review

Morgan is why I don’t watch trailers or even read cast lists if I can help it. All I knew going in was that Morgan was some kind of thriller directed by Ridley Scott’s son. The title is written in a vaguely sci-fi font. The poster has someone in a hoodie just standing there. Is that Morgan? He’s gotta be a hacker, wearing a hoodie like that, right? Is Morgan a good guy? Does he have superpowers? Is Morgan even a dude or a chick?

The price I pay for this sort of ignorance is occasionally stumbling into junk like Bad Moms, Don’t Breathe, and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. But the reward is an occasional gem like Morgan, a broadly derivative thriller and a cavalcade of wonderful actors. A cast like this probably happens when you’re Ridley Scott’s son. From beginning to end, Morgan is all, “And guess who else is in this!” Then it opens a door. “Ta-daa!” It’s like a 90-minute advent calendar for people who enjoy watching good actors. So I’m not going to tell you who’s in this. In case you don’t know the cast yet, I don’t want to spoil the fun.

The script is nothing if not familiar, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with formula. Formula is formula because it works. So Morgan merrily draws from slasher movies, rogue AI yarns, Frankenstein stories, little girl assassin tropes, and even a touch of CITOKSA when Kate Mara falls into a lake during a fight scene and her smart pants suit gets titillatingly clingy. But director Luke Scott keeps things moving so you’re not dwelling on the obvious similarities to better movies. Okay, here are the characters. Now here is a terrible thing that could happen. Now here is the terrible thing happening. Now here is the ensuing chaos. Now here is the resolution, with the twist that you could see coming a mile away, so it’s not so much a twist as an acknowledgement that, hey, you sure did figure it out. Snappy, satisfying, stylish, and littered with capable celebrities. It turns out Luke Scott is more Tony than Ridley.

FacebookEmailTwitterGoogle+
, | Games podcasts
faery_tale_adventure

Itinerant Brit Alex Chapman talks about an early rogue-like, a flight simulator, and the unfortunately named Faery Tale Adventure as the games of choice growing up with an Amiga in the house. We also clash so dramatically over his dietary advice that I barely manage to stop myself before comparing him to anti-vaxxers.

Play
FacebookEmailTwitterGoogle+
, | News
tommy_f4

Player made mods for Fallout 4 are awesome. That’s something most people can agree on. The ability to change things like graphical effects, or add new assets, or just shut Preston Garvey up is possible through the extensive modding community. While PC players have been enjoying mods on Bethesda roleplaying games for years, Fallout 4 is the first one that’s offered mods on a console. Mods through the Bethesda.net portal have been available on the Xbox One since May 31st, and the developer had said they were working on mods for the PlayStation 4. Since that time, we’ve been given repeated assurances that Fallout 4 mods on PlayStation 4 were coming. That dream ends today. Bethesda has announced that mods for Fallout 4 and Skyrim Special Edition will not be available on the PlayStation 4.

Like you, we are disappointed by Sony’s decision given the considerable time and effort we have put into this project, and the amount of time our fans have waited for mod support to arrive. We consider this an important initiative and we hope to find other ways user mods can be available for our PlayStation audience. However, until Sony will allow us to offer proper mod support for PS4, that content for Fallout 4 and Skyrim on PlayStation 4 will not be available.

What happened? There are no specifics as to where the breakdown occurred, but as early as July, Bethesda’s Pete Hines expressed frustration on Twitter when asked about the delay. In a more recent interview with Metro UK, Hines declined to blame Sony, but did say that mods for Fallout 4 on PlayStation 4 was “undergoing an evaluation process” outside of his control.

FacebookEmailTwitterGoogle+
, | Games

Frost is an indie deck-building game with superlative atmosphere, clever gameplay, and some unfortunate interface issues (see the video above). It’s also got excellent post-release support, as you can see in the latest update, which adds new cards, characters, and scenarios, as well as a new mechanic for temperature. What does temperature do?

It affects the size of your hand

After a couple of quick playthroughs, I haven’t seen its effect yet, so I presume I haven’t unlocked any temperature cards (a lot of Frost’s content is locked behind how much you’ve played). But I can plainly see a slider in the upper left hand corner showing how warm I am alongside a count of how many cards I can hold. The colder you are, the fewer cards you get to play. In other words, as we all know, being cold shrinks appendages.

FacebookEmailTwitterGoogle+
, | News
homefront

Look, you don’t have to take my word for it. This weekend only, the developers of Homefront: The Revolution will let you get a first-hand look for the price of a 42GB download.

Okay, maybe you already bought it on Steam and got a refund because it had serious performance problems when it was released. Maybe you got a refund because you didn’t realize from the first bits that you’re going to be playing a spirited “hey, get out there with some AI buddies and shoot bad guys to take back territory!” game. Both perfectly valid complaints. But with a passel of patches since release, and without having to worry about exceeding the play time for a refund, you can play Homefront: The Revolution free from now until Sunday afternoon.

FacebookEmailTwitterGoogle+