, | News
StarCitizen_shooter

What’s going on with Star Citizen? That seems to be the question du jour for many. On the surface, everything seems to be fine. Cloud Imperium Games has raised over $85 million to make their everything-in-space game. The project status looks to be on-track with the largely cosmetic hangar module and ship against ship “Arena Commander” module released to backers. So where is the doubt coming from?

After the jump, an internet urban legend rises against Star Citizen. Continue reading →

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, | Game diaries
Massive_Chalice_GD_7_chalice

It’s been 300 years. I started with ten territories, but I’m down to five. One of them has the Standard where my kingdom trains children. The other four have keeps for my noble houses, including the caberjacks of House Wayne, the hunters of House Gaffney, and the alchemists of House Flink. The Flinks actually have two keeps. They’re just that good. Everyone else, everyplace else, has crumbled into the sea, devoured by the Cadence.

While my land holdings might seem dire, the more accurate picture of how I’m doing is my list of available heroes. I’ve got over thirty and most of them are level eight or nine without ever having seen battle. That’s just how powerful their parents and teachers have been.

So one of the hardest things about fighting the final battle is deciding which five heroes to bring. Actually, it’s not that hard. Three of my heroes have relics as weapons. A relic is incredibly powerful once it’s leveled up, and these relics are well and truly leveled up. You can bet they’re going into battle. Etlanta Flink with a thrower called Gatekeeper, Matt Gaffney with a crossbow called Division, and Margaret Gaffney with a crossbow called Honor. That’s an alchemist and two hunter classes. I round out the team with another alchemist named Mako Flink and my best caberjack, Yuloria Wayne, for tanking.

After the jump, I’ll spoil the finale of Massive Chalice, which you should play for yourself instead. Continue reading →

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, | News
alex-morgan-fifa-16

If you follow soccer, (Europeans call it “footyballz”) you’ll be familiar with Alex Morgan, a forward on the Portland Thorns FC, and one of the star players on the US Women’s National Soccer Team in the 2015 Women’s World Cup. Add another bullet on her resume. She’ll appear on the cover of Electronic Arts’ FIFA 16. She’ll share the coveted honor along with Lionel Messi. With EA spending so much time on getting their hair just right, it makes sense to have a female grace the cover of the long-running sports game.

Canadian soccer fans will have Christine Sinclair representing the Canada Women’s National Team on their copies of FIFA 16 instead. Australians will get Stephanie Catley on their boxes. The cover appearances of this trio will mark the first time females represent the FIFA videogame. FIFA 16 will launch on September 22nd.

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, | News

That’s Tremor, the new dirt-powered fighter in Mortal Kombat X. NetherRealm Studios and Warner Bros. Entertainment unveiled the trailer for the “kombatant” during the Evolution Championship 2015 event. If you have the Kombat Pack, you’ll be able to access him in-game today. He’ll also be available as a separate piece of DLC on July 28th. This is the first time that Tremor will be available to gamers as a playable fighter. He was previously seen in Mortal Kombat: Special Forces and the PS Vita version of Mortal Kombat.

In related news, Jamie Lee Curtis and her family went to Evo 2015 in costume. The scream queen attended the tournament as Vega from the Street Fighter series. That’s one way to rack up some fighting game fans on social media.

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signs

Female player models are coming to Rust. In an interesting twist on character creation, Facepunch Studios is not letting players determine their avatars’ gender. Like the penis size on the male models (no, that’s not a joke) whether someone will be male or female in the game will be determined by a player’s Steam ID. The player will have no input on the matter.

To clear up some confusion, when we it does go live you won’t get a choice of whether you’re female or male. We’re not “taking the choice away” from you. You never had a choice. A man’s voice coming out of a woman’s body is no more weird than an 8 year-old boy’s voice coming out of a man’s body.

Additionally, Facepunch shared their plans for Steam Workshop integration, as well as their strategy to allow trading and creation of loot. They aim to model their system on Team Fortress 2’s current implementation. People will be able to submit their creations for review, and once vetted, they could show up in random loot drops that will appear in players’ inventories after a few hours of play.

Rust is currently available in early access on Steam.

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, | Game reviews
Splendor_review

I first heard about Splendor in connection to its Spiel des Jahres nomination last year. “I got this new game called Splendor,” my friend told me, displaying a box that promised adventures in jewelry. “It’s up for the Spiel des Jahres!”

So we played it exactly once and were slightly dismayed to discover a little math puzzle. We shouldn’t have been surprised, since “spiel des jahres” is German or Portuguese or something for “boardgame themes are pointless exercises in appeasing people with no imagination, but we’ll barely attempt them to disguise the fact that we’re just making math puzzles”. I am paraphrasing, since I don’t actually know German or Portuguese. The shorter translation is “Eurogame”. Settlers of Catan, Carcassone, and Ticket to Ride — all games I’ve owned, played, and no longer own — have all won top Spiel des Jahres honors.

After the jump, so why am I playing an iPad port of Splendor? Continue reading →

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, | News
Porsche_911

Players can now download two free Porsche cars for their collections in Forza Horizon 2. Microsoft is giving everyone the chance to own the 2012 Porsche 911 GT2 RS and the 2012 Porsche Cayenne Turbo via the Forza Hub app on the Xbox One. Although the two cars in the Porsche Bonus Pack are meant to entice racers to purchase the recently released Porsche Expansion for Forza Horizon 2, owners of that DLC may want to grab these free cars anyway since they aren’t part of that pack.

The Porsche Bonus Pack will be available until July 24th, after which it will be “gone for good.”

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dai_DLC

Dragon Age: Inquisition is now partly free-to-play. Electronic Arts has announced that they now offer a free six-hour trial of the single player portion of the PC version of the game. Per the details, if a gamer later decides to buy Dragon Age: Inquisition, his or her saved progress will carry over to the full game. The publisher has also made the multiplayer portion of the game fully free-to-play. This includes both multiplayer expansions, and special weekend events. Presumably, the purchase of microtransaction packs that are available for sale in multiplayer will support that part of the game.

According to the site, the trial is “for a limited time only” but no specifics are offered.

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DI2-Dead

Publisher Deep Silver has removed the development team from Dead Island 2. In an email sent to press representatives, Deep Silver announced that Yager will no longer be working on the zombie survival sequel to Dead Island. Although no further details were given regarding the development change, the publisher promised to continue working on the game. While there haven’t been any stories of development issues, Dead Island 2 was delayed in April when the launch date was pushed back from Spring of this year to sometime in 2016. It was also a no-show at this year’s E3.

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That’s the demigryph, a fantasy mount in Total War: Warhammer. One of the big questions people have about Creative Assembly’s foray into Warhammer Fantasy Battles is how their team will handle the change from realistic arms and armor to things like plague-bearing ratmen and steam-powered siege engines. Going by the renders in that video, the developers seem to be doing just fine.

The first in-engine gameplay footage for Total War: Warhammer will be released this Friday.

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, | Movie podcasts
Terminator_Genisys_podcast

If you listen to just one synopsis this year, listen to Kelly Wand’s synopsis for the critically reviled Terminator: Genisys, which we saw this week. You might be surprised at our reaction to the movie itself. At the 1:20, we plunge into a discussion of our favorite aquariums in movies.

Next week: Ant Man

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, | News
BO3_zombie_reveal

“You know what’s fuckin’ weird? I don’t consider this shit weird anymore.”

The reveal of the new zombie mode in Black Ops III doesn’t seem like much of a reveal. Yeah, yeah, new narrative is all well and good. But can we do something about the gameplay? I had hoped for a rework of the overall structure, in which you fail repeatedly to make any progress until you look up a walk-through online, at which point you have to balance the razor’s edge of better weapons to hold off increasingly difficult waves with unlocking the new areas you need to progress the level. All the while, dogs or zombies in exo-suits mess up the flow. Reset to zero when you fail.

At least this latest zombie mode has a new noir setting. Well, new for anyone who hasn’t been playing in Arkham Knight’s Gotham. Among the latest voice actors, Heather Graham and Jeff Goldblum are a pleasant surprise. Watch the trailer here.

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limeys

The British are coming to Company of Heroes 2. Sega and Relic Games announced the latest standalone expansion, Company of Heroes 2: The British Forces. It’s a multiplayer-only affair that adds 15 units, eight maps, and six commanders to the real-time strategy game under the new British Army faction, including the Churchill Crocodile flamethrower tank and the RAF glider. Players who purchase this title without any of the other Company of Heroes 2 games will be able to play against any faction on any of the previously released maps. Along with the expansion, Relic is updating the game with a motion-captured animation system, and a “major” design upgrade to balance the existing factions.

Play as the unconquerable Britons and their motley-crew of soldiers! A force remarkable for its diversity, including Englishmen, Scotsmen, Welshmen, Irishmen – representing everyone from the working classes to the upper class elite of the United Kingdom.

Company of Heroes 2: The British Forces is available for preorder on Steam. The standalone expansion releases on September 3rd.

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walk_pixel

The Escapists, the 2D roleplaying prison escape indie hit, is getting a standalone crossover game set in the zombie apocalypse. Developer Team17 is working with Skybound Entertainment to make The Escapists: The Walking Dead. The cartoon pixel art and humor of The Escapists may not seem like a great match for the grim world of The Walking Dead, but when you consider the chaos of the prison breakout scenarios in the game and the way things go pear-shaped so quickly in Robert Kirkman’s comics, it’s not such a stretch. Rick Grimes’ clan of survivors are basically always escaping from one terrible location to another. Plus, the Meriwether County Correctional Facility from the comics is a natural fit for at least one good scenario.

The Escapists is available on Xbox One and PC. The Escapists: The Walking Dead will launch later this year for the same platforms.

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