Nick Diamon

It’s shrug-day for Battlefield V’s world war

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DICE and EA have published the last major content update for Battlefield V. It may be the final hurrah for the game, and it may not have lived up to fan expectations, but the Summer Update is a substantial one. Although there is a caveat, even here. There are nine new weapons and five new gadgets for the soldiers on their feet as well as six new vehicles. The update comes with a bevy of balance changes and map tweaks to go with the new kit. Finally, the bit with the caveat is that there are two new-ish maps.

The Al Marj Encampment is another North Africa map featuring a spice market and a German headquarters to fight in. The Provence map was released back in June of last year, but as an infantry-only map. This “expanded” version gives players a bigger battle space and allows vehicles to actually do the stuff Battlefield players expect.

All in all, it’s not a bad update, but it leaves something to be desired as a finale. The game’s rocky reception and dwindling player numbers speak to unrest in the community. Can DICE recapture that “only in Battlefield” magic that drew so many to previous games?

Elite Dangerous is taking a small step for mankind in its next expansion

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Elite Dangerous already had spaceships, rovers, and even aliens, but the next DLC expansion is adding the most important way to travel. Look! It’s legs! Elite Dangerous: Odyssey is adding the ability to get out of your vehicle and walk around the way we’ve been doing it for decades. Not only that, but Frontier is adding first-person infantry combat to the game, so you can shoot other people just the way we’ve been doing it for decades.

You can see Cloudpunk the way Roy Batty might’ve seen it

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Developer Ion Lands has added new views to Cloudpunk. You can use a snazzy first-person view or a new zoomed-in third-person view along with the original zoomed-out perspective. They’re optional and free. The feature feels a little bit like it’s held together with gum and persistence, but it works. Check out the gorgeously voxelated neon world and feel like a Nexus-6. There’s no C-Beams or attack ships off the shoulder of Orion, but blocky heads and rain abound.

There’s a secret cow level in Minecraft Dungeons

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Minecraft Dungeons is a mostly okay take on the ARPG formula. It’s maybe a tad simplified, but it’s got the Minecraft branding all over it so the kids will like it. But wait! There’s a little something for us old-timers tucked away in there too. In what can only be a nod to Diablo II, Minecraft Dungeons has a secret cow level. As first reported by Lords of Gaming, you need to beat the game at least once, then do a bunch of silly things (I won’t spoil it here) and you’ll get access to this homage to Blizzard’s game. Moo!

Make others pay the Bounty of Blood in Borderlands 3

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Gearbox has announced Bounty of Blood: A Fistful of Redemption. It is the next chunk of season pass DLC for Borderlands 3. In it, players will travel to the planet Gehenna and Man With No Name it up in a town beset by bandits. Borderlands is no stranger to classic Western movie tropes, but Bounty of Blood looks to push the homage even further with overt imagery and characters. of course, it’s still Borderlands, so there’s bound to be toilet humor and clumsy robots besides the oat opera.

Bounty of Blood launches on June 25th. It will be the third of four planned season pass DLC installments.

Also announced today, Takedown at the Guardian Breach, a new endgame mission for high-level groups, will be released on June 4th. It will be a free permanent update for all owners of the game.

Black Ops Cold War could be the next Call of Duty

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According to multiple independent sources, the next Call of Duty will be a return to the Black Ops timeline. It is rumored that Cold War would essentially be a reboot of the first Black Ops game, taking players back to the post-Vietnam War era. Like the current Modern Warfare game, it wouldn’t be a straight up remake, but more of a do-over that recontextualizes the old game’s elements in the more modern style.

Lending credence to the rumors, the bunker locations in Modern Warfare’s battle royale Warzone map recently became accessible, and they are filled with Cold War details like a U-2 spy plane. The next season of the battle pass will feature bunker-related missions and the timing of the next season’s start would match the release of past Call of Duty annual game announcements.

Expect conspiracy theories and battle pass seasons to meld and say hello to The Numbers again!

The newest features in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater are dad bods and grey hair

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Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 collection is the inevitable high resolution remaster of the classic skating games, but the lineup has something the old games didn’t. Middle age. The titular star is 52 years old and he appears in the game with his modern look thanks to developer Vicarious Visions’ decision to update the in-game models to match his real age. He looks damn good for 52! That goes for all the other skaters, too. You’ll get Bucky Lasek at 47, Steve Caballero at 55, and Bob Burnquist at 43. Even Elissa Steamer is depicted as the 44 year old she is now. (You can see the new models at around the 38 second mark of the trailer.) It’s a nice change of pace for an industry that usually panders to a younger audience.

At least Civilization VI isn’t getting a battle pass

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2K Games and Firaxis are releasing months-long DLC plan for Civilization VI. The New Frontier Pass, launching on May 21st, will kick off a content schedule that extends to March of next year. It starts with the addition of the Maya and Gran Colombia civs in the first drop and continues until owners of the pass get eight total new civs, six new game modes, and a host of new buildings, map resources, and other goodies. There are even free updates that will benefit non-owners as well.

There are no plans to make the individual content updates available separately. Check out Tom’s review of Civilization VI here.

Battlegrounds may not be Number 1, but he’s in their commercial anyway

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I guess this is what you do when you’re Jonathan Frakes. You come off Star Trek Picard and narrate a faux Unsolved Mysteries ad for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegounds. It’s another convoluted backstory for the battle royale genre. This time, it’s an attempt to explain how and why people are killing each other on the island of Vikendi, home to the Dinoland theme park. Something, something, cursed family or some-such. Here’s a simple solution. Don’t bother. Players spawn in and they shoot each other. The end.

You can be the bad guy in Jedi: Fallen Order’s new content

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May the 4th and all that hooey for Star Wars fans and marketing drones everywhere! Electronic Arts and Respawn have released a free update for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order that makes use of the various arena sets in the game. Fight your way through waves of enemies to unlock new cosmetic bits, or even design your own custom horde attack session. Who doesn’t want a snazzy new space poncho? There’s even an Inquisitor outfit and red saber blades to unlock if you’re feeling especially emo.

The internet isn’t safe at all for The Last of Us Part II

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Last of Us fans, take note! There are massive spoilers being posted on the internet for The Last of Us Part II. The game was “indefinitely delayed” near the beginning of the global COVID-19 crisis, and although that has been updated to launch on June 19th, apparently that wasn’t good enough for some folks. Someone, rumors say perhaps a disgruntled Naughty Dog or Sony employee, has leaked a ton of footage and story details for the highly anticipated sequel.

While the development studio and the publisher are diligently stamping out the offending videos with copyright claims, tweets and posts that could ruin your enjoyment of the upcoming game are hiding in the wild, so beware. Get off the internet entirely, just to be safe!

Super Mario Maker 2 signs off by letting you make whole games

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Nintendo has announced the final content drop for Super Mario Maker 2. The free update for all owners arrives tomorrow and features World Maker Mode and some additional treats like Mario’s frog suit. World Maker Mode will finally give players the ability to stitch up to 40 levels (eight worlds of five levels each) together to make their own toadstool-hopping experience.

Let’s take a moment to imagine the millions of Super Mario sadists primed to jumble up all their soul-crushing death gauntlet levels into symphonies of frustration. How many will you give up on?

How long until we get Godzooky in Magic: The Gathering?

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Godzilla is in Magic: The Gathering and Magic: The Gathering Arena. The “King of Monsters” is now a card in the latest expansion for the digital and physical CCG. Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths features heavy-hitter beasts from the game’s lore, but the real stars are Toho creations like Mothra, Biollante, Ghidorah, and Rodan. There are 19 Godzilla themed cards spread throughout the set. Collectors will likely be scrambling for the three Japanese exclusive cards, so hoard away, little monsters!

Blizzard finally noticed how much World of Warcraft’s beginning sucks

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Blizzard is adding a new starting zone and newbie quests to World of Warcraft. Exile’s Reach, a small island springing up in the upcoming World of Warcraft: Shadowlands expansion, features a “new starting experience” for levels 1-10. It’s a more guided and linear set of quests meant to present a better first impression to new players. It even has tutorials for signature class powers.

Since the MMO was overhauled in 2010 with the Cataclysm expansion, scant attention has been given to the beginner experience. Blizzard has focused most of its development on providing a steady stream of high-level content for vets, but the opening twenty levels have remained the same slog it’s always been. The current unguided, and largely lore inconsequential, opening is infamous for being something players just have to grit their teeth and bull through to get to the good stuff. The studio hopes to change that roadblock for attracting new players with Exile’s Reach.