Thursday, Jun 26
July's Games With Gold cuts Xbox One games to one, nabs Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
Erm, well, this is a surprise. Microsoft has revealed their July line-up for Games With Gold and, well, they've already cut down their monthly Xbox One games from two to one. After an invigorating June leading into E3 where both Halo: Spartan Assault and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood we both made available on Xbox One, Microsoft apparently decided that was too much of a good thing. I'd guessed they were trying to impress for E3, but I didn't think they'd then pull the rug.
No insult intended to the remaining Games With Gold titles. They're each exceptional and there will be many of gamers excited to give them a run. Here's July's Games With Gold line-up for Xbox One and Xbox 360:
- Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
- Gotham City Imposters
- BattleBlock Theater
Just a month after Microsoft they were focused on "Games, games, games!" going forward, here they are chopping their free offerings on Xbox One in half. Of course, it must be taken into consideration that Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition will effectively be launching as a Games With Gold title. This is a brand new edition of the game, so there's no doubt that Xbox One gamers will get some great value out of that.
The Xbox 360 games, however, are rather a mixed bag. Gotham City Imposters is free-to-play on PC these days and BattleBlock Theater just went through a Steam Sale charging just $2.50. Basically, neither game is of particular high value. That doesn't mean they're poor games, quite the opposite in reality, but it just continues to be a curiosity to me that Microsoft isn't pushing to properly compete with Sony's PlayStation Plus.
Hopefully Xbox gamers will be pleased with the selection for Microsoft's Games With Gold in July. Great free games packaged in with a service everyone was buying anyway is hard to argue with.
Update: The patch is here! Xbox One owners should be getting their Titanfall update over the remaining hours of the day. PC versions will be patched tomorrow morning, starting at 10:00 AM PDT.
Original (6/24): Another big Titanfall patch is on the way, listed as "coming soon" on the official website. Today, Respawn posted the patch notes in advance of the actual update, confirming the upcoming release of Featured Game Mode and the Marked For Death mode. In addition, 14 new burn cards will be added to the existing set, along with Titan Insignias for bragging rights.
As always, the patch notes are pretty extensive. All of the new features, from the game modes to the new OS voices. Anyway, here are the cross-platform features:
NEW FEATURES (All Platforms)
Featured Game Mode - We're introducing Featured Game Modes into our playlist rotation. These are game modes that will be available for a limited time only. New Featured Game Modes will be introduced periodically to replace any outgoing Featured Game Mode. Our first Featured Game Mode is Marked For Death, and Wingman Last Titan Standing will follow shortly after.
Marked For Death - A player on each team will be marked for death! Kill the enemy mark while protecting your teammate.
Titan Burn Cards – 14 new burn cards that add amped Titan weapons and enhanced Titan abilities. You won't lose your selected Titan Burn Card if you die as a Pilot, only when you die as a Titan. There is an orange highlight around Titans that have Burn Cards equipped on the Titan Counter HUD and Titans with active Burn Cards have an indicator near their health bars.
Titan Insignias – Want to show off your accomplishments? You can now select from a host of emblems to customize your Titan. Insignias are unlocked by completing challenges but if you've already completed the requirements, that emblem will be ready to use when the update installs. Two emblems come courtesy of Penny Arcade (thanks, PA!) and another recognizes users who completed the "Gooser" challenge the hard way.
Matchmaking - We've made improvements to matchmaking & team balancing. Now, teams are rearranged just before the level loads, to further balance the teams' skill and player counts. You'll notice that you're greyed out in the lobby until teams are set. You'll also notice "Connecting…" as players join a match.
Titan OS Voices – Players now have 3 Titan V.O. options to choose from including the classic "Betty" as well as Jeeves and Lisa.
More Titan OS VO - New helpful warnings and observations from your Titan.
Challenge Tracker – You can now select which challenges you want to work towards and find them easily. You can review your tracked challenges during a match by bringing up the in-game menu.
Lobby Music – The ability turn lobby music on or off.
Updated Menu Art – Menus get a new coat of digital paint with additional art. The Main Menu background movie has been updated as well.
Audio - Killing a Pilot now plays a special sound effect to the killer and unique sounds are played when killing a Pilot or Titan via Titanfall.
Auto-Titans – Your Auto-Titan will now use all Titan abilities. If you've equipped electric smoke, it will deploy electric smoke when it gets rodeo'ed. If you've equipped the particle wall, it will deploy a particle wall when it is under fire.
Rodeo - You now see the name of the Titan you rodeo.
Burn Cards – You'll notice a Triple Burn Card selector on bottom right of the HUD after you die. It's a reminder to use your cards and a convenient way to select them.
Burn Card overflow protection - To protect players who have a full Burn Card deck from losing the opportunity to earn valuable rare Burn Cards, you may now exceed your maximum deck size. However, you must discard down to a legal deck size before you arm new Burn Cards. To make this less obtrusive, the maximum base deck size has been increased from 26 to 46.
Burn Card Deck Limit tied to Gen level – Maximum deck size is increased by 6 cards per gen on top of the base 46 with a maximum of 100 for Gen 10.
Drift Guard - New "Movement Drift Guard" gamepad setting in options.
Unlocks – You'll still be able to unlock the Stryder and Ogre chassis by playing Campaign, but you can also unlock them in normal MP modes. The Stryder will unlock at level 15 and the Ogre at level 30.
Win/Loss Streak – Your win/loss streak for the last 10 matches is now displayed in the lobby over the image of the next map.
Xbox One players will be getting new Achievements for the Expedition DLC, and a number of platform-specific bug fixes will be issued with Update 4. Otherwise, the majority of bug fixes and 100 percent of the balance changes will be for PC, Xbox One and Xbox 360.
The balancing notes are definitely worth taking a closer look at for avid players. To start, the popular R101 Carbine will be seeing a slight nerf, and the Hemlock is getting a boost in effectiveness.
BALANCING (All Platforms)
In this update we've made a few changes to Pilot weapons and Big Punch to ensure proper balance. Some weapons, like the Hemlok, were barely being used while other weapons were slightly overpowered. We've done another round of balancing based on feedback we've received from inside and outside of the studio. We'll continue to listen to our community in regards to weapon/game balance and thanks for sharing all of your feedback with us. Here are the changes we've made this time around:
Satchels: Satchel damage has been reduced against Pilots only. They will still kill a Pilot caught close to the center of the explosion, but the fall-off is more severe now, allowing Pilots that are far from the satchel to survive more often than they currently do.
Shotgun: The shotgun now does a little bit less damage at midrange. It was proving to be able to win fights that it should lose when at this range. We also fixed a bug where the cursor would turn red, indicating it will hit an enemy when the enemy was actually outside of the range of the shotgun's max distance.
R101: This weapon was designed to be an all-purpose weapon, and it does that quite well, too well, even. We've slightly adjusted it to make it a bit more uncomfortable to handle and hit targets at long distances. It will kick a bit more when fired but the effects are subtle enough to only be felt at long range. We've also reduced its mag size from 30 to 24. The extended ammo upgrade brings it from 24 to 30 (it used to go from 30 to 40).
R97: While it already had a higher rate of fire than the CAR, the R97 was pretty much inferior in all other ways. We've upped the RoF even higher to make it handle up-close fights better than it did. It also has the fastest time into ADS (aiming down the sights) now. The biggest change, though, is that it now does a lot more damage than it did when rodeo'ing, making it a better choice for Pilots who enjoy taking on a Titan. It is now the second best weapon to use when rodeo'ing Titans (behind only the LMG).
Hemlok: The Hemlok was one of the least popular guns in the game. Its role was intended to be the long-range assault rifle, but it wasn't doing that quite well enough. We've made it so that it is never more than 4 bullets to drop an enemy Pilot (it used to be 5 at long range). The Hemlok will also kick less when fired. The drift when ADSing has also been reduced to allow easier use against long-range targets. The silencer MOD used to take 6 hits to kill an enemy Pilot at long-range, now it is 5.
AMPed Hemlok: The AMPed Hemlok already killed close-range Pilots in 3 bullets, now it will also kill long-range Pilots with 3 bullets.
G2: The G2 now kills Pilots with 3 shots, always. It used to take 4 at range. The G2 has slightly less kick now as well. When the silencer is attached, the G2 will always kill an enemy Pilot with 4 shots whereas it used to be 5 at range. The clip size has been increased when the match trigger attachment is used to give you 12, rather than 8, rounds per magazine.
AMPed G2: The Amped G2 will always kill an enemy Pilot with 2 shots now. It used to take 3 at a distance.
Titan Plasma Railgun: The FOV, while ADSing, has been pulled back some to allow players to keep more of their surroundings in focus. This makes it easier to maintain your "charge" while tracking enemy targets.
Big Punch: We've taken a look at complaints about the Big Punch kit, and decided to adjust it. Big Punch was especially problematic when an Ogre was dealing the punch. It did enough damage to destroy the shields of a Stryder and still do a chunk of damage to the Stryder's permanent health. Spamming Big Punch as an Ogre also let it travel around at speeds higher than intended. As such, we've decided to weaken Big Punch's effects significantly when taken as an Ogre. The Atlas and Stryder didn't need as large of a change, so we've only made small adjustments to Big Punch's effect when applied to the Atlas and Stryder chassis.
For the full patch notes, head over to the Titanfall website and start scrolling.
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Dragon Age: Inquisition spotlight falls on Dorian, the rebellious Tevinter mage with a vintage mustache
Today's Dragon Age: Inquisition character showcase features Dorian, the Redeemer, a mage born and raised in the Tevinter Imperium. I know what that sounds like, but Dorian really does seem like a nice enough guy, as a fellow who doesn't approve of his people's practices and unfortunate reputation. Hence, the whole "Redeemer" thing.
Dorian isn't exactly a new reveal. He appeared in BioWare's Dragon Age: Inquisition E3 demo earlier this month, and quickly established himself as the new Anders. By that, I'm referring to the wisecrack mage thing, a role Anders once filled prior to Dragon Age II. Considering we already have Cole to fill the might-be-a-demon slot, I'm going to assume Dorian doesn't end up having a Justice to call his own and go off the deep end.
So Dorian is a mage with a conscience from a region where that's not a common thing. He also happens to be an accomplished mage, and won't hesitate to show off his skills -- for good, of course.
Being from a proud bloodline of the Tevinter Imperium has its advantages: Dorian was born with a flair for magic that made him the envy of his peers. He is charming and confident, his wit as sharp as any blade, and if some suggest his manner cocky, it could be attributed to being a powerful mage in a land where mages rule. Indeed, Dorian would be the pride of his family—if he didn't oppose everything his homeland has come to stand for. He wears the labels of "pariah" and "outcast" proudly, knowing that views of the Imperium are unlikely to change until and unless someone of his ability stands up to make a difference.
As for that E3 demo, we saw a great deal of combat featuring Dorian and other party members. With a renewed focus on Dragon Age's strategic gameplay, Inquisition promises to be an improvement over Dragon Age II. Exploration more akin to that of the Witcher series might be a positive indication as well, which you can read more about in our E3 preview.
Dragon Age: Inquisition will be released for PC, Xbox One and PS4 on October 7. Until then, enjoy some screenshots of Dorian and his old-timey mustache below.
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Danganronpa Another Episode's Japanese release confirmed for Sep. 25, trailer shows 3rd-person action
Here's an interesting oddity for Danganronpa fans in North America. More information has been revealed regarding Danganronpa Another Episode, a spin-off title that's less murder mysteries and point-and-click adventuring and more third-person action. Literally translated as Absolute Despair Girl: Danganronpa Another Episode, the game takes place in-between the two Danganronpa adventure games, though it's certainly a tad more out of this world.
Fear ye, those who dislike spoilers. We'll be talking about the events of the original Danganronpa from here on.
In the starring role of Another Episode we have Komaru Naegi, who fans of Danganronpa may recognize as Makoto's little sister. Makoto being the protagonist of the first Danganronpa, of course. Basically, Makoto is stuck in the midst of some insane attack by an army of mechanical Monokumas. She arms herself with a sort of megaphone hacking device and sets off to set things right. Players will also have the opportunity to play as Toko Fukawa, or should we say Genocide Jack?
Komaru will encounter, beyond the robotic Monokumas, a group of adult-murdering children who fancy themselves RPG characters. The five kids consider themelves a part formed to include a hero, a priest, a warrior, a sage and a mage. Of course, they're just little kids, but in an Absolute Despair game even little kids can be terrifying murderers.
There's an odd trend in Japan to make these sorts of oddball third-person action/shooter titles right now. I'm not entirely persuaded that they're either good or interesting, but when the brand name Danganronpa is slapped on there I lose all critical composure. I can't wait to see what sort of game Danganronpa Another Episode turns out to be.
Absolute Despair Girl: Danganronpa Another Episode will launch in Japan on September 25. There's currently no planned western localization at this time, though Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair will be launching North America also this September. Both are PS Vita titles, and hopefully the success of both with lead to more and more Danganronpa.
Video sourced from AllGamesBeta.
Saints Row IV is probably the most patriotic game ever, so a National Treasure Edition just makes sense. Yes, Saints Row IV National Treasure Edition will soon be a thing, bundling together the full game and its 29 (holy cow) DLC missions and content packs for $29.99. That really is quite the discount, when you consider the add-ons alone are worth more than $60 in total.
The DLC mentioned will throw in all the extra missions, weapons and outfits released over the past year or so, since Saints Row IV came out in August 2013. Also included is the multipurpose Grass Roots Merica! gun, formerly a collector's edition exclusive and described as "a light machine gun, a sub machine gun, an auto shotgun, heavy pistol, a minigun, a rocket launcher, a flamethrower and a huge combat knife all in one gun."
The Saints Row IV National Treasure Edition will be released first to retailers on July 8, sadly missing the July 4 holiday by a good few days. A digital version will be available some time in "mid-July."
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Wednesday, Jun 25
Net Articles Summary
Valiant Hearts: The Great War puzzle game out today, see the new trailer for this emotional war story
Ubisoft's 2D war story Valiant Hearts: The Great War is out today, and comes highly recommended. The official release also comes with a launch trailer featuring the game's many characters, their fates intertwined by the war and, well, a dog.
In Valiant Hearts, players step into the shoes of various unlikely heroes during the first World War. They are driven by different things -- family, friends and survival -- but come to affect one another in more ways than one. The dog, Walt, becomes an integral part of their lives, and what plays out is a surprisingly emotional story told in 2D puzzle form.
Each character is a different experience, but no matter who you play as or like the most, their lives make for rather moving tales of love and sacrifice. See our preview for more, then grab Valiant Hearts on PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 or PS4.
After 28 years, Princess Zelda is finally getting her promotion to queen. Hyrule Warriors, the Dynasty Warriors crossover created for the Nintendo Wii U by Tecmo Koei, will put an unexpected spin on the Legend of Zelda series. Fans recently received more news regarding the game and the changes, especially concerning the relationship between Link and Zelda, and the lack of Amiibo figurine inclusion. All this comes from an interview with producers Hisashi Koinuma and Yosuke Hayashi of Tecmo Koei, and Eiji Aonuma of Nintendo.
Though Mr. Hayashi himself revealed that there was no Amiibo inclusion on the books for Hyrule Warriors, stating that he didn't even see the figures until E3 two weeks ago, he did say that the Zelda that players have come to know and love will not be the princess for Link to save in the next Zelda installment. In fact, the former princess is now the Queen of Hyrule and in charge of an army, which Link just so happens to be a soldier in. Mr. Hayashi also confirmed that Queen Zelda and Link appear to be simply acquaintances at the beginning of Hyrule Warriors, though the relationship evolves as the storyline of the questing beat-'em-up unfolds.
In Hyrule Warriors Princess Zelda is actually Queen Zelda. She has an army, as a Queen would, and Link is a trainee, but as the story unfolds the relationship between the two greatly changes.
Although it looks like players will not be getting a nifty Impa figurine anytime soon, fans of the long-lasting Legend of Zelda series will be able to see Zelda as a Queen for the first time soon. Hyrule Warriors is coming exclusively to the Nintendo Wii U on September 26, 2014.
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Update: Konami has requested that the images and trailer related to this article be removed due to licensing issues.
Konami is currently busy working on the latest game in the Pro Evolution series, Pro Evolution Soccer 2015. Today the first real glimpse of the game was made available with a very Juventus-centric trailer. The 48-second trailer is dominated almost entirely by the Italian side Juventus and a few of its star players, though their opponents in the match - Bayern Munich - do get the odd look in. Previously, all fans had seen of Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 was a brief teaser trailer which revealed little more than the tagline for the upcoming title "The Pitch Is Ours".
Unfortunately, as is the case with many game trailers these days, the actual game content is only around 28 seconds of the whole 48 second trailer. What it does display however are some decent looking visuals of a few Juventus stars doing their thing. From Andrea Pirlo pulling off a wonderful back-heel, to Paul Pogba scoring a goal with a well timed header.
Carrying on with the Juventus theme, though I’m unsure as to why one team in particular takes such focus, a series of screenshots were also unveiled. The screenshots provide a couple of nice, if a bit boring, stadium shots to go along with some close ups of four Juventus players. Current World Cup stars Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal feature alongside former Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez and the impressive looking hair of Spaniard Fernando Llorente.
It’s very early in production of Pro Evolution Soccer 15, so I would be wary of drawing too many conclusions from the content revealed so far. What has been revealed looks decent, if perhaps not quite the step up from the previous edition that I would have liked to have seen. Just like its predecessor, Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 will also be running in a modified version of the Fox Engine.
More features are set to be announced July 3, but as of yet little else is known about the upcoming title beyond a confirmed release on PlayStation 4. Hopefully next week will bring a proper release schedule and console list.
Mirror's Edge 2 is still a long way off, but the sequel will likely feature better combat than Mirror's Edge. This is what DICE general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson implied, when asked about Mirror's Edge 2 being more of an action-adventure game than the first one. To this, Troedsson mentions the studio's focus, noting there being more attention to combat design this time around.
For the first Mirror's Edge, DICE concentrated on really capturing first-person movement, and they certainly succeeded. However, the clunky combat mechanics made direct confrontrations incredibly difficult and just overall unpleasant. This didn't exactly diminish the impact Mirror's Edge made on the industry, but DICE devs have taken some notes from that, so combat will be better the second time around.
Beyond that, Troedsson won't comment much further on the matter, given that Mirror's Edge 2 is still so early in development. He makes a point of saying so:
What I can say is that if the last game focussed on first-person movement, it was definitely shown in the movie here that the DICE team will be focussing on first-person combat as well, to really nail and refine that. But I don't want to go into more detail on what the actual game is.
We did something different at the show this year and showed a lot of work in progress. If you actually go frame-by-frame through the movie you'll see there are missing floors and textures etc. We just decided to show something in progress, because it's not the environment that's most important, it's the movement or the message of what we're doing.
Fans of the game will just have to wait and see until we talk more about the actual game is and the vital mechanics of it. We've shown the combat and movement now, but there's so much more to talk about. What I can say is, this is not just going to be the same game as the last one. We're building Faith for a new generation.
DICE is the same company previously in charge of the Battlefield franchise, before Battlefield Hardline was given to EA's Visceral Games. Currently, the DICE team are hard at work on the new Star Wars Battlefront game, in addition to Mirror's Edge 2.
June is coming to a close and we're that much closer to both Independence Day and a glorious trove of more free games via PlayStation Plus. Sony has now announced their PlayStation Plus line-up for July, and as they promised the PlayStation 4 game count has indeed stuck with two total, rather than its previous solo star. Both title are still smaller in nature, roughly $15-$20 games, but considering they're both awesome... bring it on!
Of course, both of the Playstation 3 and PS Vita games are incredible as well. They've got to be running low on amazing Vita games to put on PlayStation Plus, right? Meanwhile, the PlayStation 3 has a bevy of big, epic games that are dropping in price and fit perfectly with the service. I'd almost rather some of the more classic titles that are more meaningful games, but beggars can't be choosers. Here's da games!
- TowerFall Ascension
- Dead Space 3
- Muramasa Rebirth
- Doki-Doki Universe
An important note for all PlayStation Plus subscribers! Recall that all games will be available starting Tuesday, July 1, and last a month. They're not doing their tiered releases anymore, which is probably easier for them to organize, I'd imagine.
What's everyone's favorite game of July, then?
Europe's PlayStation Plus line-up for July is exactly the same as North America's except for one change. Instead of Muramasa Rebirth, which Europe received in May, they get Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes.
- Battlefield Hardline delayed into 2015, further work on "multiplayer innovation" and "stability" cited 
- Dragon Age: Inquisition delayed by over a month, won't be out until late November 
- See new Titanfall screenshots featuring 'Haven' map, Frontier's Edge DLC comes out July 31 
- Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth hits 3DS on November 25, opening cinematic localized 
- Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed to bare all for North America on PS4 this holiday season 
- 'Areal' Kickstarter suspended due to rules violations, West Games crowdfunding independently 
- Disney Infinity 2.0 finally gets Rocket Raccoon and Groot with Guardians of the Galaxy Play Set 
- Tales of Xillia 2 dated for August, $129.99 Collector's Edition revealed 
- Neoseeker is giving away Guild Wars 2 Living Story t-shirts! 
- Get acquainted with Dragon Age: Inquisition rogue Cole, resident creepy guy and maybe-demon 
- Saints Row IV National Treasure Edition coming soon, bundles together game and DLC for $30 
- The International 2014's group stage continues, day three's set of 36 matches to decide many teams' fate 
- DICE: Mirror's Edge 2 will also focus on first-person combat, not just movement