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Monday, Jan 26



Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel still riding the DLC train, playable Lady Hammerlock arrives January 27

3 comments Rory Young - 11:13pm (PST) Like Share

Elsa meeta Tina Turner in Thunderdome

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Everyone's talking about that new stuff, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, excited about how Gearbox is bundling their buckets of DLC in one package. Everyone's forgotten that DLC is still being released for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Yes, the DLC train never ends on the Borderlands express. January 27 will see the launch of the latest Pre-Sequel playable character, Lady Hammerlock the Baroness.

Lady Hammerlock, first name Aurelia, just happens to be the older sister of one Sir Hammerlock. This makes her the sole heir of the Hammerlock fortune, unfortunately for her younger brother. Apparently royalty does not require a semblance of propriety in the universe of Borderlands, because Aurelia can hunt vaults with the best of them. She'll add a certain chilly sensibility to the already cold-hearted roster in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

Cold As Ice is Aurelia's action skill, an icy shard which latches onto an enemy and does damage over time. Should that enemy die, the shard will be free to latch onto another enemy and continue to lay waste. Her three skill trees, Huntress, Cold Money, and Contractual Aristocracy, will provide the player with sniping benefits, ice magic boons, or the indentured servitude of a teammate, providing her buffs for each of their accomplishments -- respectively.

The Lady Hammerlock DLC will be the third of four planned packs included in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's Season Pass. That means that there's still one piece of DLC content forthcoming, presumably a campaign DLC pack to help put the Pre-Sequel to bed before The Handsome Collection is released. The two previous DLC packs include the playable Handsome Jack DLC and campaign DLC The Holodrome Onslaught.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is currently available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. The upcoming Borderlands: The Handsome Collection will bring the title to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but that purchase will also include Borderlands 2 as well as all of the DLC for both games. Picking up Lady Hammerlock right now will cost $9.99 by itself, or $29.99 as part of the Pre-Sequel's Season Pass (four DLC packs for the price of three).



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Homeworld Remastered Collection slated for February 25, teaser showcases Relic's updated classics

1 comments Rory Young - 10:06pm (PST) Like Share

Gearbox delivers on their promise, perhaps even more than expected

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1999 was when the original Homeworld, Relic Entertainment's space-faring 3D real-time-strategy epic, was launched on PC. Four years and an expansion later, they'd follow-up with Homeworld 2. Two games over a decade old, yet still iconic for their take on RTS mechanics. When Gearbox acquired the IP from a dissolved THQ and later announced an HD remaster rerelease of the two titles, it was as if a gap in PC gaming was once again being filled. Over the weekend Gearbox announced that this Homeworld Remastered Edition would be arriving February 25.

With the release date being revealed at PAX South, it's also refreshing to hear that the game itself was playable at the show. Early accounts are very complimentary, with critics saying the remaster has quite clearly updated the experience to modern visual expectations. That is to say, that Homeworld Remastered is quite beautiful in motion. Understanding that fans would want to make that decision on their own, publisher Gearbox released a teaser trailer pointing out the striking differences between versions.

For a teaser trailer, it's a great little thing for Gearbox to provide. Not only does it set the mood with some story cinematic early on, but it goes on to show a direct comparison between the 1999 classic Homeworld and the same scene in the remastered version. Then we treated to a bit gameplay featuring spaceships, various planets in the background, as well as SPACE in general. If you're a fan of space games, then this teaser should get you excited.

Homeworld Remastered Collection, bringing together both Homeworld and Homeworld 2 in classic form and remastered quality, will be available starting February 25 on PC.

Categories: PC Games
 
 

RollerCoaster Tycoon developers starting new series, announce Coaster Park Tycoon for 2016

4 comments Rory Young - 5:08pm (PST) Like Share

This should be the tycoon title that rollercoaster fans have been waiting for

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Would you believe that it has been 10 years since the developers behind RollerCoaster Tycoon last made a PC rollercoaster game? 10 years! RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Wild! was released in 2005. Since then, Frontier Developments has dabbled in various console coaster games, but none have had the same feel or quality of those classic simulation titles. Consider the drought over, because Frontier has now announced Coaster Park Tycoon for release in 2016 -- on PC.

Unfortunately, what with RollerCoaster Tycoon being an Atari-own IP, Frontier has had to create their own, new series in order to make rollercoaster simulations once more. This is potentially awesome, but also a bit scary. By doing this Coaster Park Tycoon owns all of the IP, which is great for a studio which has proven they deserve respect for these sorts of games. However, they lose a lot of that name recognition, not to mention the current lack of a big publisher partnership.

Setting aside the complicated details of how the game will be made, just how awesome is it that we're going to be getting another RollerCoaster Tycoon-style game from the folk who originally created RollerCoaster Tycoon? Coaster Park Tycoon, even with just a name, is already on my most anticipated list for 2016. It'll be the game that franchise fans want, with hopefully none of the bull that modern Tycoon titles tie in to exploit paying consumers.

Chief Creative Officer at Frontier Developments Jonny Watts offered the following prepared statement to the studio's community:

"Coaster Park games appeal to a great many people, as proven by RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. It is a field for which Frontier has unparalleled expertise and immense passion, and one to which we have long wanted to make a ‘no-holds-barred’ return. We want Coaster Park Tycoon to be another major step forward for the simulation genre, and sit alongside Elite: Dangerous as a second major self-published franchise."

Coaster Park Tycoon is slated for launch in 2016 for the PC, a "sophisticated" simulation and a "benchmark" for Tycoon gameplay. Bring on the coasters, old friends.

Categories: PC Games
 
 

EA's annual Madden NFL Super Bowl simulation predicts a Patriots victory over the Seahawks, 28-24

2 comments Rory Young - 2:12pm (PST) Like (1) Share

Simulated Bill Belichick may or may not be as clever as real life Bill Belichick

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Super Bowl XLIX is less than a week away from its February 1 kickoff. By now both New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks fans are tearing up internet message boards and comments, arguing over who will be the victor of American football's most prestigious event. Luckily, they won't have to argue any longer, because Electronic Arts has run their annual Madden NFL simulation and have predicted a victor. Congratulations to the Patriots, who will defeat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24.

The game was won in the final seconds of regulation, whereupon the Patriots' offense took the field after a Russell Wilson interception. According to EA, with just seconds left on the clock Tom Brady connected with Julian Edelman for a game-ending score. Considering that half time had the Seahawks ahead 17-14, the storyline for Super Bowl XLIX absolutely became about the throwing arm of Tom Brady conquering the simulated Seahawks defense. I think we can all assume there's no way to truly simulate Seattle's crowd noise and atmosphere, however, so maybe the real life Seahawks still have a chance.

This year's simulation was run on a copy of Madden NFL 15 for the Xbox One, which considering Microsoft's headquarters is near to the Seattle Seahawks could raise a few eyebrows. Madden, however, is developed in Florida by EA Tiburon, so hopefully they two corners of the USA balance each other out with the teams meeting to play in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. It's not noted whether or not EA runs the Super Bowl simulation multiple times and picks the most dramatic conclusion, but maybe it's best we don't ask these questions.

Super Bowl XLIX airs on Sunday, February 1. The New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks will kickoff at 6:30 EST, 3:30 PST. Madden NFL 15 is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

 
 

Bungie learning from 'mistakes' made in Destiny: The Dark Below, so stay positive

10 comments Lydia Sung - 9:08am (PST) Like (1) Share

Dev names a number of mistakes they won't make again

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Is there a more controversial yet popular game than Destiny? Well, Bungie is still listening and taking player critiques to heart. After the release of Destiny's first expansion, The Dark Below, a good percentage of the community made a fuss over some of the changes that were implemented. More specifically, many players weren't too happy to find their old raid gear made obselete by vendor items, and the process of upgrading old Exotics involved having to reset all existing progress for a fresh redo.

The good news is that the good people of Bungie are taking notes, and the prevalent complaints inspired by The Dark Below are being heavily considered with their next expansion. When someone on NeoGAF recently made a crack about the two aforementioned issues, game designer Luke Smith interjected to refute the statement.

Originally, user "rodiard" joked, "The announcement of how upgrading exotics and purchasing new vendor gear works in HoW will draw first blood."

In response, Smith noted these mistakes won't be made a second time. While he can't verbally commit to anything regarding what future updates will bring, he does at least offer some reassurances by promising that the "mistakes made with the DLC1 reward economy will not be repeated." Here is Smith's post, in full:

No it won't.

Nothing specific to announce at this time, but the mistakes we made with the DLC1 reward economy will not be repeated:

Mistakes like:

  • Vendor gear invalidating the effort of VOG Raiders
  • Upgrading an Exotic reseting its talents


Our philosophy about rewards/loot continue to evolve as we see how players play and react.

We will continue to improve acquisition stories and frequency (My understanding of the perception is that Crota's End drop rates are much improved vs. Vault of Glass: footnote below), lessen the grind and get players to the fun parts of their arsenal faster.


On CE drop rates vs. VOG:
The Forever 29 meme was a killer for us.

We sat down and talked about the rewards for VoG and the rates vs. CE and ended up with the following:

  • increase drop rates globally in CE: we wanted dedicated players to be around 32 or real close by the time Hard mode came out.
  • increase the variability of perks that a given piece can roll.
    the goal here: players would reach 32 easier than 30, but would have more customization and options to build the perfect set (in terms of stats, perks, weapon affinities)

The part where this didn't work as well as we'd hoped is with the Shard economy. Shards are a are a barrier between you and equipping a sweet new piece of gear.

We want fewer barriers to equipping upgrades. The shard economies erect these barriers between players and the new piece of gear they just got.

We're not intending to adjust the shard economy for this Tier -- we don't want to invalidate player effort (again). But removing the barrier between that new drop you're excited to get and actually being able to equip it as a member of your arsenal are something we will do going forward.

The next DLC, House of Wolves, is expected to arrive in March.

 
 

Saturday, Jan 24



The Bard's Tale IV is finally coming, as first sequel is announced in almost 30 years

3 comments Lydia Sung - 10:11am (PST) Like Share

Brian Fargo leading project, will be using Kickstarter

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Brian Fargo has announced that he will be working on The Bard's Tale IV, the first real sequel to the beloved franchise in 27 years. InXile Entertainment is planning to take the project to Kickstarter for funding, as well.

Details on The Bard's Tale IV are scarce right now, though Fargo did confirm that the developers would be taking many ideas off the original. The last true Bard's Tale game was The Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate in 1988.

"This project has always been really personal to me," Fargo commented, when speaking to IGN. "It was a game that put both me and Interplay on the map, back in the day. And it's also the franchise that launched inXile."

The story will send players back to Skara Brae, though the devs will be taking a different route with the gameplay for greater "combat diversity and depth." As for his decision to turn to crowdfunding, Fargo noted that this would ensure the game can be tailored specifically for the people who will be playing it, rather than having to worry about mass market appeal.

Categories: Console Games PC Games
 
 

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns expansion pack confirmed, ArenaNet to add Guild Halls and more

9 comments Lydia Sung - 9:34am (PST) Like Share

Update New features announced at PAX

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Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns was confirmed today at PAX South in San Antonio, Texas. A trailer (below) debuted during the panel, effectively removing the brakes on the Guild Wars 2 hype train.

ArenaNet confirmed, first and foremost, that they would not be raising the level cap or adding a new armor tier, with co-founder Mike O'Brien stating a desire to release content with substance rather than create a false sense of progression. 

The new area is called "Heart of Maguuma," filled with new maps and a "tremendous" amount of space, as described by Colin Johanson. Players will be able to move above the jungle on the canopy, the floor of the jungle, and deep underground.

Here are a few features ArenaNet mentioned, updated as more is revealed.

PVE

  • New endgame progression: Mastery System
    • Example: Players go to a new zone like the jungle, with new monsters and creatures. As such, you will "master the skills and abilities you'll need to dispatch them. The jungle is a world unto itself." The longer you stay in the jungle, the more skills you master.
    • Complete elements of the story, explore maps, earn achievements, and so forth to earn Mastery Points
    • Mastery abilities are accountwide and available for all your level 80s
    • Confirmed Masteries:
      • Gliding, by way of hang gliding as a means of exploring the jungle
      • Lore mastery by understanding new languages
      • New abilities to overcome some of the new bosses in Heart of Thorns, for more combat depth
      • Regarding legendaries: Mastery system will allow "you to build out collections that send you on epic journeys throughout Guild Wars 2," which then reward precursors. And yes, there will be new legendaries and new precursors.
  • Specialization System for professions! Here are some examples:
    • Rangers will be able to "grow themselves to become a Druid," unlocking the ability to wield a staff and learn new skills for the Druid specialization
    • Necromancers will be able to equip greatswords with their new specialization
    • New specializations will be revealed later
    • Things to note: the reveal trailer seemed to hint at Mesmers with shields and Engineers with hammers as well
  • New heavy-armor profession: the Revenant
    • Rytlock will be returning as the first Revenant ever in Heart of Thorns. He can control the powers of the Mists, a throwback to the caster Ritualist class in Guild Wars.
    • Heavy armor profession, channeling abilities into weapons and abilities
    • Revenants will be able to channel "legends," like major characters of Guild Wars past

PVP

  • World versus World will be getting a brand new Borderlands map to the existing rotation
    • Objectives will become overall more important to the WvW experience
    • Keeps in the new Borderlands will be "themed," such as the earth keep. Controlling them will activate their defenses, such as parts of the earth keep raising the ground to defend it. The fire keep will feature magma pools.

  • Competitive PVP to receive new Stronghold game mode
    • Teams fight for control of supplies, and supplies can be spent to acquire troops
    • Reminiscent of GVG: Players can form Guild Teams in Stronghold Mode
  • GUILD HALLS
    • Gird. Your. Loins.

Tragically, no release date was given for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns. Let the hype train continue on its current course.

Categories: PC Games
 
 

Friday, Jan 23



Transistor wins Neoseeker's Game of the Year 2014

61 comments Rory Young - 9:43am (PST) Like (4) Share

Here are Neoseeker's top 10 games of 2014, ranked in order of favor

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In the past few weeks Lydia Sung and I have highlighted the ten nominees that Neoseeker's editorial team decided on for our Game of the Year award for 2014. Each spotlight felt like opening a door into who we are and what we believe in as critics in the video game industry. The nomination process itself is, and you might be surprised by this, a grueling and exhausting endeavor. Yet after the nominees are decided, a sense of serenity takes over. This is perfect. It really could not be any different.

Then we do the process all over with just ten nominees. Recently Lydia and I took to a voice call and recorded our deliberations as we ranked each of our nominees from ten up to number one. One game, having survived a gauntlet of direct comparisons to 2014's best and most amazing games, comes through at the end. One game that we feel best represents Neoseeker and ourselves. This is our example of what games should be -- need to be -- in 2014 and beyond.

That game is Transistor

Lydia's written already on why Transistor belongs here and I certainly can't match that in another paragraph. All that needs to be said is that Transistor is a stunningly beautiful game, no matter which direction you look at it. There's purpose in every design decision, intent in every dotted "i".  What is the Transistor? It's in the asking and answering of this question where Lydia and I fell in love with Supergiant Games' second title. With the way it grabbed onto us, there's really no letting go.

Hey Red. We're not going to get away with this are we?

Neoseeker's Game of the Year 2014 Nominees

  1. Transistor
  2. Shovel Knight
  3. Destiny
  4. The Banner Saga
  5. Dragon Age: Inquisition
  6. Dark Souls II
  7. Child of Light
  8. Wolfenstein: The New Order
  9. Sunset Overdrive
  10. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

If you're interested in the process that led to Transistor winning Neoseeker's Game of the Year award for 2014, Lydia and I recorded a podcast -- well, it's a video of our podcast -- where we decided the ranks of the top ten games. You'll have to deal with my cold looking visage for a couple hours (I'd recommend running it in the background), but hopefully by the end you'll see how we reached our decisions. Even if you don't actually agree.

Thanks to the Neoseeker editorial team for working through a year of games with me to ultimately select just one title for Game of the Year. Thanks to the Neoseeker community for their unending patience -- a Game of the Year 2014 award in January 2015? Thanks to all of our readers who make sharing our love of games the addiction that drives us forward. Most of all, thanks to the game developers, publishers, and all of the hard-working industry folk who make this dream a reality every day of every year.

Neoseeker's Game of the Year Awards are decided by our editorial team, which includes editors Lydia Sung (@RabidChinaGirl), Rory Young (@bluexy) and Leo Chan (@bulletbutler), with contributions from writers Matt Newbould (@newbouldm), Greg Gin, and Andy Lau (@linkinpork).



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Neoseeker's Official Community Game of the Year 2014 Award Winners

34 comments Rory Young - 7:56am (PST) Like (1) Share

Neoseeker's Nintendo community dominates the awards, as per tradition

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The votes are in and the awards have been decided. Neoseeker's community, or at least the members willing to take the time to sort through the nominations and actually vote, has spoken. The official Neoseeker Community Game of the Year 2014 Awards are finalized. And many other ways for me to say that we have our award winners. Right here. In this post. These are the awards. For the community. The community's awards. Congratulations to our winners. Of the awards. From Neoseeker's community.

Neoseeker's Community Presents its Game of the Year for 2014

  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U 

Runners Up (tie):

  • Wolfenstein: The New Order
  • Transistor

Achievement

Best Original Game of 2014

  • Shovel Knight 

Runner Up:

  • Bravely Default

Best Visuals of 2014

  • Child of Light  

Runner Up:

  • Far Cry 4

Best Story of 2014

  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc 

Runner Up:

  • Wolfenstein: The New Order

Best Music of 2014

  • Pokemon Alpha Sapphire/Pokemon Omega Ruby 

Runner Up:

  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U

Best Multiplayer of 2014

  • Mario Kart 8 

Runners Up (tie)

  • Titanfall
  • Destiny

Genre

Best Action Game of 2014

  • Bayonetta

Runner Up:

  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Best Adventure Game of 2014

  • The Wolf Among Us 

Runners Up (tie):

  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Best Platformer of 2014

  • Shovel Knight 

Runner Up:

  • LittleBigPlanet 3

Best RPG of 2014

  • Pokemon Alpha Sapphire/Pokemon Omega Ruby 

Runner Up:

  • Dark Souls II

Best Shooter of 2014

  • Wolfenstein: The New Order 

Runner Up:

  • Far Cry 4

Best Horror Game of 2014

  • Alien: Isolation 

Runners Up (tie):

  • P.T.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's
  • The Evil Within

Best Fighing Game of 2014

  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U  

Runner Up:

  • Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

Best Racing Game of 2014

  • Mario Kart 8 

Runner Up:

  • Forza Horizon 2

Best Sports Game of 2014

  • Football Manager 2015 

Runner Up:

  • FIFA 15

Best Puzzle Game of 2014

  • BattleBlock Theater (PC) 

Runner Up:

  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Misc.

Most Anticiapted Game of 2015

  • Star Wars: Battlefront  

Runners Up (tie):

  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Xenosaga Chronicles X

Best Character of 2014

  • Bayonetta (Bayonetta 2

Runner Up:

  • Iron Bull (Dragon Age: Inquisition)

Most Disappointing Game of 2014

  • Watch Dogs 

Runner Up:

  • Destiny

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone in the community who contributed to the awards this year. The awards are, ultimately, a reflection of the community and I think 2014 showed just how diverse our tastes really are. The Nintendo community rose up to claim the Game of the Year award for Super Smash Bros., yes, but that's also because the rest of the community was quite divided on what title to raise up as their own. Next year perhaps the opposite will be true.

Here's hoping for a 2015 filled with as many or more excellent games for our great community to arbitrarily give community awards to! Congratulations again to our winners and thanks again to Neoseeker's outstanding community for making this happen.



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Wednesday, Jan 21



The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited drops subscription in spring, console versions due in June

23 comments Lydia Sung - 3:03pm (PST) Like Share

In-game shop will keep the game afloat

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The Elder Scrolls Online will be going subscription-free starting March 17, less than a year after its debut last April. This "new" version of the Elder Scrolls MMO will be retitled The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, sharing the name with its upcoming console release on June 9.

Hey, we all knew this was going happen. To play Tamriel Unlimited, you'll still need to buy a copy of the game for PC, Mac, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4. The big difference now is that you won't actually need to pay a monthly fee to keep playing. Existing accounts -- even inactive ones -- will be automatically upgraded to the free Tamriel Unlimited version starting in March, when the PC and Mac editions go free-to-play. The console versions will, of course, already be using this subscription-free model.

With future content releases being free as well, financial support will come from the in-game Crown Store, which should be limited to convenience and cosmetic items. So nothing too crazy or stifling from a gameplay perspective, hopefully. I'm looking at you, TOR.

Here's a cinematic Zenimax released with today's announcement. While it should be fairly obvious that the CG trailer isn't indicative of how TESO actually looks, consider yourself reminded now.

 
 
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