Wednesday, Feb 26
No, RedLynx, don't make me try and make the jump again
More ridiculous motorcycle mayhem is in our near future as Ubisoft announced that RedLynx's next game Trials Fusion will be launching April 16. Yes, more crazy levels, an all new tricks system, and of course multiplayer and a level creator as well, all coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox 360 on April 16. It may be the most enjoyable racing series available for people who hate racing games.
For those who haven't had the chance to experience it, Trials is basically this extremely mechanically simple game. There's a gas pedal, a break, and the ability to lean forward and backwards on the bike. With these limited options players are forced to traverse the most ridiculous and torturous of tracks, each growing in difficulty from "Hey, this is a cool downhill course," to, "What disturbed mind put this hell-map together?"
Trials Fusion will be coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC (no PlayStation 3) on April 16. Digitally the game will be available for $19.99, but if retail fits your fancy the game will be available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for $39.99. Double the price? Well, the retail box also comes with a season DLC pass which includes 6 packs of DLC. Not sure how much digital purchasers will be paying for that individually.
Click here to see more images
Most premium features now designed to be part of recent and upcoming CoD titles
Activision is officially pulling the plug on the Call of Duty: Elite multiplayer online service this Friday, February 28th. The publisher reasoned that many of the features which originally made Elite what it was are now incorporated into new Call of Duty titles like Ghosts, which supports the Call of Duty Mobile app for tablets and smartphones.
First launched in 2011 alongside Modern Warfare 3, Elite provided premium members with access to match analysis, skill tracking, custom classes, clan management, and of course privileged access to DLC. By August 2012, Elite attracted some 12 million subscribers, of which 2.3 million were premium members. Premium service required a $49.99 USD annual subscription with MW3, but eventually became free with the release of Black Ops II.
Activision has provided a customer support page with additional details ahead of Elite's shutdown. No, it won't be coming back as we know it.
Tuesday, Feb 25
Net Articles Summary
Yet another unboxing video reaches us today, this time featuring Dark Souls II, the upcoming fantasy action game by From Software. Yeah, you know the one. Where you keep dying but come back a little smarter than before? Anyway, the Dark Souls II Collector's Edition unboxing trailer gives us a closer look at the exclusive statue, artbook, and map. Hooray for statues, right?
The Dark Souls II Collector's Edition includes a copy of the game (either for PS3 or Xbox 360), the official soundtrack on disc, a cloth map of the in-game world, a small artbook, and a 12" Warrior Knight statue. That'd be the armored fellow we keep seeing in promotional trailers and artwork.
All this stuff costs a standard $120, so not exactly cheap. Definitely cheaper than it could be, though, especially compared to that other unboxing video we saw today.
Dark Souls II comes out on March 11, 2014.
There is a curse placed upon these Titanfall beta impressions. It's as if some benevolent good is looking down upon me and saying, "No, Rory, those impressions simply won't do," followed shortly by: a brief power outage, an error in my word processor, an error in my internet browser, or a mystery so grand I don't remember what happened but three hours of work disappeared off my computer and I'll never know why. Four times have I had to rewrite this most important of sentences. This is the fifth. Titanfall is great.
Technically Titanfall starts with a series of training levels to help players get acclimated, but honestly I believe the game would do better getting rid of this and shoving players right into the game. Taking those first step, tentative and wary. It look like Call of Duty; it feels like Call of Duty. You look down your iron sights and imagine how disappointed you'll be as soon as combat starts and despite firing at their head for five seconds they don't die, but you do to a knife at your back. The expectation of imminent heartbreak is the first emotion I experienced in Titanfall.
Then you press the sprint button and it feels good, it feels smooth. Then there's a wall in front of you and a voice in your head says, "Hey, remember, this game lets you climb and jump off walls." I pressed jump, I ran along the wall, I double jumped off of it and my feet never left the ground again for the next twelve hours I spent playing Titanfall. For lovers of console multiplayer games who have grown to be lethargic about years of Call of Duty, Titanfall is like sprouting wings and learning to fly.
Wall jumping, wall running, double jumping and dexterous climbing, all of the increased mobility features don't have anything on Titans. To be honest, they're nothing special in terms of features or gameplay. They're large mechanical suits that players can summon from time to time with decreased mobility over uneven terrain and increased mobility over flat ground. Hitting people is basically a one-shot kill, but hitting them in the first place can be challenging. Yes, Titan's are nothing more than bigger, stronger, sitting ducks.
Yet the way Titanfall changes as a result of Titans being introduced to the game is tangible and immediate. Boom, the ground shakes, and suddenly the streets aren't safe anymore. Half the players speed to the roofs and windows with rocket launchers buzzing, the other half carefully guard their locations counting down the seconds until their own Titans become available. Heartbeats pound on the enemy team, because one Titan is easy to take down, but if left ignored can turn into two Titans, then three, then four, and suddenly they're a speeding wall of steel and explosives impenetrable without a concerted effort.
Half of the strength of the Titan lies in their firepower, but the other half revolves around the pilot's relative invulnerability inside of the machines. Upon taking severe damage a Titan enters Doomsday mode, where a pilot can either eject or escape just by opening the door and leaping out. With certain perks an exploding Titan can become a humongous bomb, a threatening in death as it was alive. Just to clarify, the beta only provided (easy) access to one of three Titans. I don't even know what sort of insanity awaits the launch of the full game.
One last aspect of gameplay completely unique to Titanfall's multiplayer, which I find inspired, is the addition of AI controlled fighters. The dumb "Grunts" and beefier "Spectres" rarely contribute meaningfully to the fight, but they change how every game is played in subtle and potentially striking ways. For one, they keep most players on the map fighting, all the time. There's always an AI somewhere near you which means killing them quickly or taking light gunfire, both of which give away your position, or traveling a different and potentially riskier route. These guys can also help out by peppering Titans with gunfire, since Titans are so big and loud, and over time it can add up to a lot of damage. 6v6 may not seem like many players, but with the AI every match feels as intense as a there were much larger teams battling it out.
No, Titanfall is nothing like Call of Duty, but it does understand where Call of Duty was great and strives to improve on it. This includes a leveling system that will feel familiar to console shooter players. While the beta only featured 14 oh so short levels, it still felt good to unlock what Respawn had made available. This included player and Titan customizations, access to progressively larger features. Items like weapon modifications require players to take those weapons into game and succeed with them, which was easy enough considering the cannon fodder that's pervasive.
Burn cards. These are another addition from Respawn and just happen to be my least favorite aspect of the game. These are cards that players randomly earn after each match, though they often reflect the play-style you had in the game. After acquired, players take as many as three Burn Cards in the next match and then consume them for a brief power up or boon that expires upon death. At times they're great, like when they shorten Titan drop countdowns or when they make you permanently stealthed. Good cards are rare, however, so most of the time cards are utter crap and when used they don't feel impactful in any way. In other words, they should be more meaningful, otherwise why even have them in the game. Also, what the hell are "Burn Cards" anyway? At least make them fit into the universe of Titanfall. "I played my Pokemon card, so my Titanfall can use Sand Attack!" Give me a break.
I have very few other complaints. I wasn't a fan of one of the maps, which was wide-open and poorly organized. There was very little to jump off of and Titans took too long to get from one end of the map to the other. Plus, the NPCs would often flounder in the most ridiculous of places, easily farmable and never contributing. Well, contributing less than usual.
I'd also like to come out and say that while 6v6 works perfectly fine -- great, in fact -- I want more. 8v8 or 10v10 would be absolutely brilliant. My favorite part of Titanfall is the intensity, the frantic moments players discover are often unavoidable. More players means more depth to every fight, as opposed to jumping on a Titan, killing it's pilot while dodging gunfire only to discover there are no other real human players anywhere around you. The Titan was AI controlled and the enemy gunfire came from grunts. Sure, I pulled off an epic move, but I still feel like an idiot. Custom matches, maybe? Titanfall 2, maybe? Gah, we'll give this a try and see how perfectly these maps are balanced for 6v6.
That's Titanfall to me. I can't really comment on the story yet, because I experienced very little of it beyond what was ambient in training and the two maps. I'd be disappointed if that was it, though. I could have played much more of the game, but held myself back because I had maxed level so quickly and wasn't particularly interested in grinding unlocks -- yet. When Titanfall fully launches I can see myself printing out a spreadsheet and scheduling out my equipment grinding for two months ahead.
In other words, I played just enough Titanfall to say it was an incredible experience. Intense, frantic, great with friends, refreshingly new (contrary to my worries it would be too similar to Call of Duty) and with outstanding production standards. For 14 levels, across 2 maps, Titanfall was great. Hopefully I didn't get the full experience already. Burn 'Em if You Got 'Em, soldiers. To be continued.
Click here to see more images
The old Diablo III is dead, long live the new Diablo III
The Diablo III as we know it is no more. Introducing Diablo III 2.0, ushered in with today's 2.0.1 patch, is now live and I doubt anyone's going to want to go back. With 2.0.1 several portions of the game have been entirely recreated including: the difficulty levels have been trashed, replaced entirely; how loot drops is completely reworked in "Loot 2.0"; Paragon levels, how they level and what bonuses they provide, is completely reworked in "Paragon 2.0"; plus some new community features like clans. Blizzard's really outdone themselves this time around. To think this may just preparation for the Reaper of Souls expansion... awesome.
While going into the entire list of patch notes would be a bit too expansive of a single article, I did want to key in on the major features that I mentioned above:
- Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno modes have been removed
- Difficulty is now dynamic and monsters will level up with your characters
- There are now five difficulty settings to choose from: Normal, Hard, Expert, Master, and Torment
- Torment level also includes a difficulty slider, offering an additional six adjustments with increasing rewards and more powerful monsters
- Loot 2.0 - Only effects new items that drop, where existing items will not be effected
- The Smart Drop System - Smart Loot items roll intelligently based on the character being played (example: A Wizard is more likely to find items with Intelligence or bonuses to Wizard skills than a Barbarian).
- Item properties have been separated into two categories: Primary and Secondary, this is to prevent stats that directly and indirectly increase character power from competing with one another
- Stat ranges on items have been narrowed significantly (example: instead of an item having a stat range of 1-200 Strength, its range might now be something like 140-200)
- All Legendary items have been reworked
- Paragon 2.0
- There is no longer a cap on the number of Paragon levels a player can gain
- Players now earn Paragon points each level to spend in one of four separate categories: Core, Offense, Defense, and Utility (Paragon levels have been refunded so players can invest points amongst these categories)
- Paragon levels are now account-wide and shared across all characters and existing Paragon levels across each player's account have been added totaled and recalculated
- Should be pretty self-explanatory: Make or be invited to a clan, of which you can only be a member of one at any given time
- 120 players maximum per clan
- Features a Members Roster, a Private Chat, and a News & Info tab
Of course, that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of patch 2.0.1. All character classes have had severe changes to their skills in order to rebalance them. Monster strength, how they spawn, where they spawn and the abilities they have has all been reworked too -- and don't even get me started on bosses! Crafting has been changed, simplified, too, and then several pieces of the GUI have also been smoothed over just for the 2.0 transition.
I'll absolutely be patching tonight and rerolling a Diablo III character. Maybe a Barbarian or a Monk this time. It's exciting to see Blizzard not only addressing fan complaints, but doing their best to keep their game fit and trim almost two years after launch. Bring on Reaper of Souls; I say it's high time for a huge new campaign.
Plants vs. Zombies is a weird franchise. Whoever thought up a garden of plants defending their homeowner from waves and waves of brain-craving zombies probably started the thought process with heavy drug use. A sequel later and now the franchise is growing into something completely different. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is out today on Xbox One and Xbox 360, with PC to follow a few months down the line.
In the accompanying launch trailer we get to see, well, more of Garden Warfare than is likely parse-able by any single human mind. Zombie monstrosities and creepy humanoid plants sporting customizations like 3D glasses, army uniforms, televisions and that's just the beginning. The impressions they're trying to convey is that this game is crazy, it's intense and fun, fun, fun, but I can't help feeling a bit dizzy.
"Shooters Just Got Weird" reads the tagline on Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. If that sounds like something you want from a third person shooter, on top of the great discounted price, then check it out today. It's now available! $30 for the Xbox 360 version of the game and $40 for the Xbox One version. No microtransactions involved!
Outlast: Whistleblower has been confirmed for April today, because the first Outlast just wasn't traumatic enough. Today, developer Red Barrels announced the release window, stating the DLC will be released for PC and PS4. As many of us have already guessed, Whistleblower will be a prequel for the most part. Interestingly enough, however, the events will actually overlap with those of Outlast, providing the "final chapter" in the Mount Massive Asylum story.
In the Whistleblower add-on, players step into the shoes of Waylon Park, a software engineer at Mount Massive. He also happens to be the guy who emailed journalists -- including Miles -- about the horrors at the asylum. During his tenure at the medical facility, he developed a severe distrust of the staff, eventually triggering the events of Outlast itself.
Here is what Red Barrels posted to their fans on the official Outlast Facebook:
The whole team here at Red Barrels is pleased to reveal that our first DLC, Outlast: Whisleblower, will be released this April for PC and PS4!
Whistleblower will let you play as Waylon Park, a software engineer under contract with Murkoff and the man who emailed journalists around the world - including Miles - at the beginning of Outlast. Spending a couple of weeks at Mount Massive, during which he was unable to even talk to his wife and son in Boulder thanks to strict security protocols, Weylon developed a deep-seated distrust of the profit-motivated scientists and doctors leading dangerous and irresponsible experiments on their patients. Identifying with those poor souls fueled Weylon's anger, and set the stage for his unmasking of Mount Massive's rotten core.
Although Whistleblower tells the story that led to Outlast, it will actually stretch past the events of the first game to show the final chapter in Mount Massive Asylum's story.
See you in the asylum.
The RB team.
Regardless of when the DLC takes place, Outlast: Whistleblower will undoubtedly prove just as terrifying as the standalone game. Hell, it may even be scarier, considering Red Barrels now knows exactly what makes horror fans crap their pants. The studio first teased the upcoming DLC in October, for Halloween.
Guys, I'm scared. I think I need a hug.
Oh my, Heimerdinger. You've certainly grown out of your goofy, spaghetti-haired "I'm not a Yordle!" phase haven't you? League of Legends' latest extremely impressive visual update is for none other than the brains behind the 'stache, Heimerdinger. It should be immediately apparent that Riot is going out of their way to make clear that the 'Dinger is indeed a yordle, but they're also providing him a few cool gadgets to accent his already impressive skill set.
On top of his much furrier appaearance (and might I add suave, because he's got marvelous hair now) Riot is also adding what they call the D.I.N.G.R. to his animations. Basically, when Heimerdinger fires his rockets or throws a grenade, the D.I.N.G.R. extends an arm from out of his hair (fur?) and carries out the attack. The D.I.N.G.R. is indeed a type of mechanical helmet Heimerdinger hides underneath his cleverly concealing hair-do.
While Riot Games unfortunately couldn't match Heimerdinger's visual update up with his skill-set rework, it's great to see it finally getting done. Heimer was one of tthe worst offenders when it came to low-quality models and animations, though his alien and snowman skins made this less apparent. Hopefully Riot manages to keep his iconic waddle and wrench throw in the transition, only perhaps a little better animated.
Check out Riot's updated models for both Heimerdinger and his turrets (regular and ultimate-level) across each of his skins below. In addition, they've put together a cool video of one of their modelers sculpting out Heimerdinger's base skin in fast motion. It's a little terrifying to start, but quickly becomes ridiculously impressive. Talented guys working on League of Legends, for sure.
Click here to see more images
Titanfall is almost here, and to celebrate the game's impending release on March 11, Respawn has released an unboxing video featuring the $250 Collector's Edition. Yes, that'd be the one with the motorized, light-up Atlas Titan statue, among other goodies.
The video shows us the outside of the box, which features the official artwork of a pilot perched atop a Titan. The box itself is apparently large enough to hold a man inside, so we'll test that later, at some point, ourselves.
Anyway, the contents in the box include schematics printed on paper, a full-size Titanfall artbook, and the beautiful 19" Atlas Titan statue. Gaze upon its glory, and rejoice.
The Titanfall Collector's Edition was revealed in October, last year, when we learned about the whopping $250 price tag. Ouch. Considering everything you get, though, I'd say it's well worth it.
Hey, you want that statue as much as anyone else. Let's just be honest with ourselves here.
Sony's 5.3 million PlayStation 4 systems sold after three months is now a thing of the past. The record breaking console was finally released in its home territory of Japan on February 22. Despite ensuring better availability of the system, Sony still found that its first two PS4 shipments to the country were sold out pretty quick. Japan's Famitsu magazine estimates that 322,083 units were sold over the PlayStation 4's first two days on the market, bringing the total number of PS4 systems to an astonishing 5.6 million consoles sold.
It took the people of Japan a few hours to put their 3DS handhelds and mobile phones down long enough to start buying what could turn out to be their new favorite console. Some people began to think the PS4 wouldn't sell that well because we weren't seeing the sold out signs go up as quickly as they did at the Taipei Game Show last month. Slowly but surely, websites and retailers alike began announcing that they were sold out of the coveted PlayStation 4. Much like elsewhere in the world, it's probably going to be pretty tough to find one in Japan for a little while.
Check out Japan's PlayStation 4 launch line-up in three parts below.
- Rumor: Final Fantasy VII remake could be a reality 
- World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor now available for pre-order, the Iron Horde awaits 
- EverQuest turns 15 this weekend and skips the cake for presents 
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt pushed back to 2015, RPG fans everywhere cry out 
- Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft released, win three games to get a WoW mount 
- Ragnarok Odyssey ACE day-one DLC revealed, try these fancy new duds 
- February NPD Number Crunch: Xbox One almost catches up to PS4 
- Steam controller receives another update, drops touchscreen for colorful buttons 
- Nintendo wants you to have Pokemon X or Y for free next month 
- Rumor: Final Fantasy VII remake could be a reality 
- Nintendo DS and Wii 'Wi-Fi Connection Service' discontinuation May 20, end of online play 
- Microsoft could offer targeted political ads on Xbox LIVE in the US 
- Limited Xbox One Titanfall bundle costs $499, Europe bundle drops price to Â£399.99 
- 5.3 million PlayStation 4 units sold, officially the fastest selling PlayStation console ever