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A beginner’s guide to Monster Hunter: World

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Since Monster Hunter: World‘s release on PC was a few days ago, chances are good that you may be a complete newbie to the series. Like me, you may have been intrigued by the franchise since its debut in 2004 on the PlayStation 2, but just never got around to picking it up for a console or handheld. New players can quickly find themselves overwhelmed, because the Monster Hunter games do very little hand-holding. Monster Hunter: World is slightly better in that regard, but it can still be a steep learning curve. Luckily, there are dozens of great starter guides available to ease new players into the lore and gameplay. They’re written by hardcore folks that can tell you the best combat strategies, how you should prioritize your crafting, and secrets of endgame play. Here, we offer something different. This is a beginner’s guide to the game. A beginner’s guide.

After the jump, it’s our Monster Hunter: World guide written by a beginner. Continue reading →

Doom Eternal turns skate parks into a circus trapeze act

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Bethesda and id Software’s reinvention of Doom was a revelatory experience that turned monster closets into skate parks of death. The sequel, Doom Eternal, looks like it will evolve those largely horizontal combat arenas into acrobatic sky-dances of death. The Doom Slayer’s new toys include a “meat hook” for the super shotgun that propels the player through the air by latching onto meaty demon parts and pulling him towards the target. As demonstrated in the QuakeCon video, that meat hook pull can be combined with maneuvered turns, and by stringing hook targets one after the other, the player becomes an airborne threat. Rocket-jumping is so 2016.

Creative Assembly’s Middle Kingdom shows up Warhammer’s kingdoms

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Maps of fantasy kingdoms look cooler than maps of real kingdoms, because real kingdoms don’t have lava rivers, mountains festooned with Minas Tirith looking cities, or massive blue sky vortices. But that’s not stopping Creative Assembly from trying to wow Total War: Warhammer players with the map of China in their upcoming Total War: Three Kingdoms. The above video has a touch of the usual army spectacle, but it’s mostly a flyover of campaign map graphics that would make any ork green with envy.

Total War: Three Kingdoms is scheduled for a spring 2019 release.

It’s finally time to fix PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

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“Fix PUBG.” That’s the motto of the new push from Bluehole and PUBG Corp. Acknowledging that the community of players has been urging developers to do the hard work of actually addressing the numerous performance, balance, and quality-of-life issues plaguing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the developers have promised to work on a “months-long campaign” to essentially “fix PUBG.” It’s a stunning public admission that the studio for too long was focused on revenue generation instead of basics like security and engine optimization.

“The bottom line is, you’re the reason for our success. You’ve stuck with us, and now it’s time for us to deliver the fixes you’ve been asking for.”

The campaign started with a live update that launched yesterday.

Cities: Skylines was almost good enough to fool a city

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That’s one of the images UK-based land developer Lanpro used in a proposal for the construction of a 10,000 home “garden town” near Norfolk. An avid player of Colossal Order’s Cities: Skylines immediately recognized that image as a creation of the game. In fact, the image wasn’t even created for the company’s proposal. According to The Eastern Daily Press, it was from a three-year-old Reddit thread. Matt Carding-Woods, the sharp-eyed Cities: Skylines fan credited the presence of the distinctive in-game refinery in the bottom of the proposal image for tipping him off. For its part, Lanpro says the image was only being used in an illustrative manner and the game software is used by other city planning firms “to model, engage and explain projects” which is quite the feather in Chirpy’s cap.

Fortnite on Android dodges Google’s store

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Fortnite will soon be available on Android mobile devices, but not through Google Play. Instead, iOS-less players will need to “sideload” Epic’s proprietary software to install and play the game. Speaking to Eurogamer, Epic’s Tim Sweeney confirmed that one of the reasons for not using Google’s app store was a financial concern.

Avoiding the 30 per cent “store tax” is a part of Epic’s motivation. It’s a high cost in a world where game developers’ 70 per cent must cover all the cost of developing, operating, and supporting their games.

Epic admitted that they would’ve done the same thing on Apple’s devices if they were able to load their software without using the curated (and revenue-sharing) method. Epic has not announced a date for Fortnite’s Android launch.

Who will woo Haley first in Stardew Valley? You, or your friend?

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Stardew Valley now has official multiplayer support. Developer Eric Barone has been working on the free co-op update for months, and thanks to an extensive beta and network assistance from publisher Chucklefish, the feature is now live. The 1.3 update doesn’t just add a way to farm with your four of your friends at the same time. It also comes with bug fixes, special winter events like a traveling festival and a mystery collection, new NPC interactions, and items to hoard. It also adds one thing that the game has been sorely missing.

You can now put hats on your horse.

Coo-op multiplayer is nice, but horse hats? How was this not a day one feature?

The Long Dark is getting longer, but the future is brighter

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The third story installment of The Long Dark is coming. Episode Three will launch as a free update in December 2018. According to the developer’s post, the third story act shifts the player’s perspective to Dr. Astrid Greenwood’s and the aftermath of Will Mackenzie’s travels in the first story episode.

More depressing survival adventure in the frozen Northern Canadian wilderness would normally be reason enough to (not) celebrate, but the update will also come with “redux” changes to Episodes One and Two. The revamped chapters will feature fully voiced NPC dialogue, a more open mission structure, an enhanced tutorial, bug fixes, and narrative scenes have been rewritten and will be presented in first-person view. Hinterland Studio is even removing the “fetch-questy” Trust System for now, but hopes to bring it back in another part of the game at a later date. Making a survival game is like crafting a fire in the snow with only newspaper rolls and wet matches. You just have to keep at it.

The theme song for Civilization IV still rocks

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That’s the Angel City Chorale bringing down the house on America’s Got Talent. They are indeed talented, but their choice of song obviously helped showcase their amazing sound. Christopher Tin’s Baba Yetu, originally written as Civilization IV’s theme song, remains a powerful, beautiful piece of music. The Lord’s Prayer in Swahili seems to transcend language. It deservedly won a Grammy in 2011. You can check out the version used in-game here, or the re-release from Tin’s album, Calling All Dawns.

Forza loses some of its mystery

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Turn 10 is removing prize crates from Forza Motorsport 7. The prize crates, Forza’s version of random loot boxes, will take at least until winter to be fully excised due to their ties with other elements of the game, but the developer has already removed cars as prizes from the crates. Turn 10 has also unlocked 100 previously locked exclusive cars to all players. While the prize crates were never available directly for real money, they now offer nothing but cosmetic doodads and will stay that way until they leave entirely. Additionally, the tokens which you could buy with real money in previous Forza games will never be coming to Forza Motorsport 7, and Turn 10 promises that they will not appear in Forza Horizon 4.

“The overwhelming feedback has been that this system feels out of place in the game.”

While the tide may not be fully turning against the loot crate model, recent high-profile reversals from games like Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Middle-earth: Shadow of War show that publishers are paying attention. The additional revenue crate gambling brings in may not make up for the loss of some players that refuse to engage with the model, and the hit to the brand’s reputation. Recent legal developments in other countries are undoubtedly taking a toll on the scheme as well.

No Man’s Sky changes everything, but leaves the futility intact

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That’s me on my third No Man’s Sky starting planet in a row that tried to kill me. Those are the breaks in the infamous survival crafting game from Sean Murray and Hello Games. I was trying to check out all the changes in the much-anticipated NEXT update that was just released. True multiplayer, a third-person view, more junk to craft, a better guided beginning, and loads of other stuff came in the free update. Some of it works better than others. For example, the guided beginning works a lot better if the random number gods put you on an hospitable starting planet. The ones that burn you with constant acid rain or the fiery heat of a too-close sun make for a less great first impression. Overall, NEXT is a lot of greatness. It doesn’t fundamentally change the nature of the game, but it does fulfill a lot of the promise people thought the game was supposed to have originally.

Tom’s review of the game at launch is here.

You have less than a 1% chance at getting that popcorn goal explosion in Rocket League

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Psyonix has published the drop rates for the loot in their Rocket League crates. According to the developer, the published figures have been true since the system went into effect in September 2016. Like most loot crate schemes, the rarer unlocks require a significant amount of luck to get. For example, the current Black Market tier of unlocks start with a 1% base roll to be present in the crate, and then each particular item in that tier has an equal chance of appearing. The good news is that you’ll probably unlock that common double-lightning decal pretty quickly.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands may be ready for launch soon

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Ghost Recon Wildlands’ Special Operation 2 is launching on July 24th. More Ghost War versus multiplayer characters, new maps to fight in, more cosmetic loot to purchase. All fairly standard stuff for multiplayer content. What is notable is the new Ghost Mode coming to the single player and co-op campaign. The new feature enables permadeath, restricts you to one main weapon and one sidearm, disables inventory management unless you’re at a gear station, reloading early loses unspent ammo, and (this is the big one) turns off the AI team. Finally, an end to the garbage squad chatter! Goodbye faux stealth NPC.

The free update addresses a lot of the criticisms we had with the game in its original launch state. Say what you will about Ubisoft’s open world game design, but they’ve shown a willingness to listen to players and support their games for a good stretch of time.

The stars of Uncharted and Destiny trade roles

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That’s hunky star Nathan Fillion playing Nathan Drake in an Uncharted short film. While it’s an unofficial fan production, this is something fans of the Naughty Dog action game series have wanted to see for a long time. Thankfully, director Allan Ungar did too. Between ABC’s The Rookie going from pilot to series, Fillion was able to squeeze in some time for the passion project.

“This is what we set up to make, what we set out to do when we sat down for vegan Thai food. It’s a fifteen-minute short film. It’s our tribute to the character. For right now, we’re very happy with this just this being what it is.”

Nathan Drake is famously voiced by Nolan North in the games, so it’s a bit coincidental that at about the same time the Uncharted short was hitting the web, Nathan Fillion confirmed that he does not voice Cayde-6 in Destiny 2’s upcoming Forsaken expansion despite voicing the character previously.

“I wasn’t available for this last instalment – it’s not me doing the voice for Cayde-6. In a wonderful, amazing turn of events – it’s actually Nolan North!”

When a door closes, a window opens. Something like that.

The man who gave us Warcraft is working on a Rogue Trooper movie

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Duncan Jones is developing a movie based on the Rogue Trooper property. Rogue Trooper is a British comic character that first appeared in 1981 in the pages of 2000 AD. There’s a videogame relationship in the form of a 1986 Commodore 64 game, a 1990 Amiga game, and a 2006 game from Rebellion which was given the HD teatment with a 2017 Redux Edition. Jones even linked to the Rebellion game’s site in his announcement.