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Saints Row IV wasn’t exactly hurting for post-release content. I count 25 bits of DLC for sale for a grand total of about $60. Or you can get it all for $4.99 when you buy the Game of the Century upgrade pack. It’s your call. Most of the DLC is new costumes. Let’s face it: part of being a crazy over-the-top superhero is deciding what you’re going to wear. And now a lot more options will be available for free, because Volition announced official support for Steam’s Workshop. Now user-made mods can be easily added, browsed, and installed. Although some stuff has been available for a while, with official support, we can expect more stuff, and more quality stuff. For instance, this in-progress new textures mod could be promising for making the world look more “SR Miami style”, according to the author.

So what else is on the Steam Workshop? A lot of the items are more new clothes. For instance, a mod that lets you buy clothes you might see NPCs wearing, but that aren’t available in any stores. Now you can play as a cheap Iron Man knock-off (pictured). Or don this tasteful party dress. If it weren’t for the sultry off-the-shoulder style, I might want this T-shirt in real life.

Some of the mods break the game in weird ways. You can find the usual cheats, but you can also find some interesting gameplay tweaks. Here’s a mod that lets you bring different styles of homies into the game to fight with you. No, there’s no nude Kinzie. I checked for a friend of mine. You can be the Doof Warrior. This lets you fly beyond the actual sky. Apply weird rifts affects across a city block, or even throughout the whole city. Saints Row IV is, after all, a game about hacking the matrix. And now the matrix itself supports hacking the hacking. Whoa.

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Zen Studios and Bethesda have partnered on a trio of pinball tables for Zen Pinball. The Bethesda Pinball pack includes virtual tables based on Doom, Fallout, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Ever since pinball tables became dazzling mixed-media productions filled with multi-balls, video graphics, and Dolby audio, Doom has been a logical candidate for being licensed to someone like Bally or Stern. It’s in virtual form, but we’re finally getting an official Doom pinball table! Bonus points for being based on one of the best versions of Doom. The first-person shooter’s dancing, blasting, and chainsawing from demon to demon seems a perfect fit for pinball.

The Bethesda Pinball pack will be available on the Xbox Store, PlayStation Network, and Steam on December 6th, and on mobile platforms December 8th.

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, | Game diaries
leaving_saigon

(This is the second entry in a weekly (or so) game diary about the boardgame Vietnam 1965-1975. The series starts here.)

A few years ago, I wrote a game diary on this site that turned into an ongoing series that eventually became one of my favorite things I had written. The reason was that as I wrote, I found myself following the gameplay to my bookshelf, chasing the assumptions behind the mouseclicks, and turning my thoughts inside out to look at exactly how and why I was enjoying the game, the subject matter, and the very hobby I was embracing. It was completely unplanned, but also unstoppable.

One of the things that made this such a special project was the subject. Continue reading →

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, | Game reviews
shadow_warrior_2_zilla_city

As you play Shadow Warrior 2, one of things you learn is that the absolute batshit over-the-top nonsense isn’t, in fact, nonsense. But who could blame you for thinking this is all just a glut of silly killing? The game seems to say as much. Here, have some guns, it says. Have some spells, have some gear. Oh, have these special melee moves. Now have some burning and freezing and poisoning. Have some more guns. Have even more special melee moves. Have more guns. Have a second kind of chainsaw. Now have some slo-mo fury. The more you play, the more of this stuff spills from the absurd gaping maw of the Shadow Warrior cornucopia. It’s overwhelming in the same sense that a Christmas morning would be overwhelming if you thought you’d opened all your gifts, but you kept finding another one behind the tree.

Oh, look, here’s another one! Continue reading →

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The Sniper: Ghost Warrior games have been decently entertaining lone-wolf stealth shooters, but they’ve also struggled to be as popular as the Sniper Elite series from Rebellion. City Interactive’s CEO Marek Tyminski explained to Gamespot why Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 will stand out from the competition. According to Tyminski, the open-world structure of their game is inspired by games like Far Cry 4 and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but offers more realism and authenticity. But then Tyminski shared some details.

Being [a] sniper is much more than just sniping. You are a one man army. You are part spy, part sniper, but you also partake in close-quarters combat using assault rifles.

Eye-rolling Hollywood misconception aside, what’s the realistic story going to be?

Right, you are John North and you’re in the country of Georgia. You’re there because you have your orders, but at the same time, it’s personal. Your brother turns out to be your biggest enemy in the game.

It’s personal. Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is scheduled to launch on January 27th.

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You know how when older celebrities die, sometimes you hear the news and you think, “Oh, I didn’t know he was still alive…”

The MMO Rift gets an expansion today. Starfall Prophecy is the first post-free-to-play paid DLC for a game that was released somewhere around 2006. I could be off by a few years.

…explore the ominous Comet of Ankhets marshes, forests, deserts and volcanic wastes with five new zones, two new dungeons, a new level cap of 70, new Fortress Sieges and much more.

That screenshot sure does bring back memories. Those holes opening up in the sky. Everyone converging to fight whatever fell out. I really liked the character progression, in which you combined two classes to make your own class, Titan Quest style. I think I even had a mount. A giant turtle, if I recall correctly. Maybe I dreamed that.

Rift is free-to-play. Starfall Prophecies is $40. Yikes.

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In Dead Rising 2 and 3, bashing the undead while partnered up with a buddy was exciting and lead to cooperative zombie-crushing shenanigans. It was almost unfair, pinballing the living dead between your baseball bat hits and your friend’s sword. In Dead Rising 4, Frank West returns to the Willamette Mall in Colorado for another zombie outbreak, but cooperative multiplayer is only present as a separate mode. In a Twitch stream, producer David McAnerin revealed that Capcom wanted to create a 4-player cooperative survival experience that wouldn’t intrude on Frank West’s single player story.

The separate cooperative gameplay tasks players with navigating the undead-filled streets of town while trying to complete various missions. Once daylight wanes, players must retreat to the safehouse to await the morning for another round of survival. Successful play will unlock story bits for the four player characters. Some co-op is better than none, but it sounds like a step back from the modes offered in previous games. At least we can look forward to more wacky in-game outfits based on random Capcom properties.

Dead Rising 4 will launch on Xbox One and Windows 10 on December 6th.

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frozen_synapse_2_delay

You know why you should be looking forward to this year’s release of Frozen Synapse 2, don’t you? I mean, even if you weren’t super jazzed about the first game’s turn-based plotting in real-time combat arenas. Because this is the elevator pitch from developer Mode 7:

It will feature a vast procedurally generated city, where tactical encounters can occur within any building, or at any map location. AI factions will vie for control over the map, issuing contracts, taking on missions and engaging in diplomacy in just the same way as the player.

Frozen Synapse busting out of its combat arenas into a procedurally generated open world is the sort of thing that might make a fella clear a date on his calendar. Unfortunately, that date will no longer be in 2016. The release has been delayed until 2017. Which should be a very good year for Mode 7, who is also publishing Tokyo 42 in 2017.

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dedsec

Watch Dogs 2, Ubisoft’s open-world hacktivist game out today on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, has nudity. We’re not just talking topless women in strip clubs like Grand Theft Auto V or even the bland Playboy images in Mafia III. This is full genital nudity on modeled characters. It’s also not limited to specific areas or missions. As some early players of the game have discovered, some random non-player characters on the streets of virtual San Francisco are “going commando” as the kids say. Knocking people over while running through the streets (an activity open-world game players love) sometimes results in unintentional X-rated up-skirt views. Eurogamer has some not-safe-for-work details.

The kicker is that Sony is reportedly handing out temporary bans to PlayStation gamers that post media from Watch Dogs 2 with nudity for violating the terms of their service. Apparently, sharing nudity from the game is considered offensive and Sony does not find it amusing.

“Content of an adult or sexual nature is against our Code of Conduct.”

Sorry, PC gamers. You’ll have to wait until November 29th to get your dose of Watch Dogs 2 nakedness.

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Total War: Arena, the in-development PC strategy game from Sega and Creative Assembly, will be the first collaborative product of the Wargaming Alliance. The new publishing label, managed by World of Tanks studio Wargaming, promises partners that it leverages Wargaming’s long experience with free-to-play gaming. Sega representatives say that Creative Assembly is still very much in charge of the project, and the partnership allows the studio to concentrate on development while Wargaming handles the nitty-gritty of publishing and marketing Total War: Arena in the free-to-play space.

Total War: Arena was first revealed in 2013 and is in closed testing. No release date has been announced yet.

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