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Ghost Recon: Wildlands open beta is live – watch Twitch streamers livestream the whole thing

23 Feb

Right on schedule, the Ghost Recon: Wildlands open beta has kicked off on all platforms.

Watch live video from MyDopefish on www.twitch.tv

Provided your download is finished, you can now load up the Ghost Recon: Wildlands open beta and start fighting crime. Servers are now live all over the world on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

A lot of Twitch streamers have been waiting to jump back in, with many of them slapping countdown timers on their channels. Since you may be stuck at work or don’t have access to your gaming system for any other reason, we thought we’d show you some of what the top streamers will experience in the opening hours.

Above, Twitch streamer MyDopefish plays the PC version in solo.

As for the one below, it’ll be the Xbox One version being played in co-op by streamer Angrysausagetv.

Watch live video from angrysausagetv on www.twitch.tv

The open beta is around 24GB in size, but you can update your closed beta client if you still have that installed. You’ll still download some 20GB worth of data, but it’s smaller than the full thing.

The Ghost Recon: Wildlands open beta includes access to two regions from the game’s 21. Itacua, and Montuyoc is what they’re called. You may recognise the former from the closed beta, and it’s where you’ll be starting again this time. Montuyoc is designed as a higher-level region than the introductory Itacua, so there’s definitely more to play this time around.

If you do end up joining the beta, and decide to also play the full game before March 31, you’ll receive an extra mission for free. The Unidad Conspiracy mission lets you fan the flames of war between the Santa Blanca cartel and the Unidad militia.

One other thing you can do before the game releases is mess around with this interactive mini-game. It’s easy to follow and it unlocks some in-game content and XP boosts.

The beta wraps up on Monday, February 27 at the same time it starts. That’s 3am PST, 6am EST, 11am GMT, and 12am CET.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands is out March 7 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Nintendo says early sale Switch units were stolen, and everyone involved has been fired

20 Feb

Switch units in the wild may result in criminal charges for those who helped them run free.

Switch fever peaked last week when some dodgy shakycam footage showing the Switch setup menu and UI as well as a Switch unboxing video made some corners of the Internet wild with envy.

Hiphoptherobot said at the time that a retailer had supplied the Switch unit early, presumably by mistake; they even said several times that they wouldn’t be talking about the matter if they had done anything shady. Unfortunately it looks like they were taken in by someone else, as the Switch was stolen.

“Earlier this week, individuals claimed to prematurely purchase a small number of Nintendo Switch systems from an unspecified retailer,” Nintendo told IGN.

“Nintendo has determined these units were stolen in an isolated incident by employees of a US distributor, with one system being illegally resold. The individuals involved have been identified, terminated from their place of employment and are under investigation by local law enforcement authorities on criminal charges.”

The original poster of last week’s Switch videos has confirmed this includes their Switch unit. “Nintendo has the console back and I am personally not in any trouble,” they said in an update posted on posted on NeoGAF.

They also said they’d unknowingly bought a stolen Switch, and that everyone has “been very nice and reasonable” throughout the return process – but that they don’t expect to get their money back. The full thread is worth a read, although it’s light on details as the OP is understandably a bit wary of sharing too much.

Switch launches March 3. Buy it from a shop on or after that date. Anybody who offers you an early one is probably doing something dodgy.

A full Switch interface Nintendo Direct is expected this week, if the videos are pulled in the meantime and you’re dying to take a peek.

Payday 3 development has kicked off, but don’t hold your breath for it: “you simply don’t rush” Starbreeze’s most important brand

16 Feb

Payday 3 is the “most important” thing on Starbreeze’s radar, so expect it to go slow and careful.

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Payday 3 development has formally kicked off, Starbreeze told investors in its most recent financial releases.

“It is with great satisfaction that we also can announce that Payday 3 production is officially initiated and at a full design stage,” CEO Bo Andersson Klint said.

Klint stressed that Starbreeze isn’t setting any timeframe right now and Payday 3 will be in the works for “as much time as we deem needed” and “will be done when it’s done”.

“This is our single most important brand today and the cornerstone of our business and we will treat it accordingly. Updates in the near future might be scares and far between. You simply don’t rush Payday 3,” he emphasised.

Payday 2 has been an enormous success for Starbreeze and its Overkill studio. Continuous content and support from the team has overcome stumbling blocks like hugely unpopular microtransactions and abandoned console ports, enabling a lively community – which obviously coughs up money in huge dripping wads given Starbreeze’s description of the IP as its cornerstone brand.

Starbreeze gave some figures regarding the Payday franchise’s earnings this quarter, but as it wasn’t immediately clear which was GAAP (the one we care about) and which was non-GAAP (useless to us), we’d better not randomly regurgitate them.

We did get an update on the 505 Games situation, though. Since Starbreeze regained the rights early last year 505 Games is not providing any extra funding, but is still taking console revenues as it hasn’t yet received the $5 million it is entitled to.

“We expect 505 to have reached their $5 million recoup in Q1 2017 as we see impressive Payday performance through digital distribution on consoles following the latest update,” Klint added.

Starbreeze receives 100% of all PC revenue on the Payday franchise, and describes this revenue source as “healthy”.

The ability to transfer GTA Online characters from old-gen to PS4 and Xbox One ends next month

15 Feb

If you still haven’t made the jump from Xbox 360 and PS3 with your GTA Online character, you’ll want to decide soon.

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Since the launch of the remastered GTA 5 on PS4 and Xbox One, Rockstar has been offering players the ability to bring their GTA Online characters forward from PS3 and Xbox 360.

Well, soon this will be coming to an end. Rockstar confirmed in a blog post that after March 6, you won’t be able to transfer your GTA Online character from PS3 or Xbox 360 to PS4 and Xbox One.

Bringing your character forward only affects GTA Online progress, not the single-player save. Not everything is transferred over, too. If you want a step-by-step guide on how to make the move, and what is and isn’t coming along, our simple and detailed guide will get you sorted.

It’s surprising Rockstar didn’t end support for the feature sooner, considering the developer stopped releasing GTA Online updates on PS3 and Xbox 360 ages ago.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, GTA Online is offering double RP, discounts, and other bonuses. Of course, these type of events are only available on new consoles.

Yakuza 1-4 have been reprinted, and we can probably thank a chicken

13 Feb

The Yakuza series is enjoying a surge of long overdue popularity. We blame the chicken.

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Yakuza 0 seems to have reignited interest in Sega’s cult-favourite open world series.

Yakuza games have always been beloved of their fervent fanbase, but have never really found mainstream appeal – and so Sega generally takes its time localising them, and releases them in limited quantities. A few years on, it can be really difficult to find a copy.

Now GameIdealist reports Sega has issued a limited reprint of Yakuza 1 through 4, so that fresh copies are available through major online retailers. (Yakuza 5 was not released on disc in the west, so don’t go looking for it.)

One can only assume that interest in Yakuza 0 is responsible for this pleasant turn of events. But why has Yakuza 0 lit a small fire under the Internet when its precursors haven’t? Look, it’s probably the chicken. Behold:

The chicken scene, which has been shared widely by a number of different players (this one was the first example I found with a quick Google), has gone a bit viral, drawing new attention to Yakuza 0. Even Sega acknowledged its pull in a marketing survey. Check out the bottom options in both images:

The chicken scene is actually pretty typical of the Yakuza series, which goes from ultra-dramatic scenes of syndicates clashing, street violence and betrayal, to, uh, possibly even more ultra-dramatic scenes of Kiryu photographing an old lady doing a flip on a granny bike without dropping her dog out the shopping basket, rapid-fire writing a blog post, and thereby learning a new wrestling move for use in combat. It’s a game series where you can ignore the plot and go play lovingly recreated arcade games, throw all your money at hostesses, and just immerse yourself in the weird and wonderful.

Here’s a nice summary of Yakuza 0:

If Yakuza 0 isn’t enough to satisfy you but you can’t be bothered dragging the PS3 out the closet for the older games, take heart: Yakuza Kiwami, a remake of the first game, is coming west in northern summer, while Yakuza 6 will arrive sometime next year, both for PS4.

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Nioh debuts at No.2 in UK charts, but it made the most money

13 Feb

Nioh could not quite land at the top spot in this week’s UK charts, but it’s not all bad news.

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Nioh officially came out last week, and although it made quite the splash at retail and with critics, it didn’t quite manage to reach the top spot in the UK charts of that week.

GfK published the weekly charts and revealed that Nioh landed at No.2, one place below GTA 5, which is having its third week at the top spot this year, and the 12th overall.

That said, Nioh actually topped the revenue charts across all platforms, thanks to its higher price point (£44.45) compared to GTA 5. Resident Evil 7 dropped to No.3, after earning the top spot last week.

Find the rest of the top 10 below:

  • 1- GTA 5
  • 2- Nioh
  • 3- Resident Evil 7
  • 4- FIFA 17
  • 5- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  • 6- Battlefield 1
  • 7- Rocket League
  • 8- Hitman: The Complete Season
  • 9- Overwatch
  • 10 – Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2 sales have improved since “soft” release period thanks to word of mouth, says Ubisoft

10 Feb

Watch Dogs 2 is doing better than early reports indicated, which must be a relief to Ubisoft.

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Watch Dogs 2‘s release window sales were described as “soft” during Ubisoft’s post-financials release briefing today.

Despite this admission, Ubisoft remained bullish on the franchise, saying that strong sales followed release due to positive word-of-mouth buzz. The publisher is “happy” with Watch Dogs 2’s performance, CEO Yves Guillemot said, and commented that these healthy sales are important for the long term future of the Watch Dogs franchise.

Watch Dogs 2 UK release sales were well down on the first game’s performance, and it came in eighth on the NPD’s November charts – although it was a crowded month, mind.

At release, Ubisoft said it was “incredibly happy” with critical and player response to Watch Dogs 2 and expected the positive reception to lead to a good sales tail. Looks like it was right on the money, there.

Though Ubisoft did not give hard numbers on Watch Dogs 2’s sales to date, it did say it has already out-performed Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, which came out a year earlier.

Syndicate was the last Assassin’s Creed game before Ubisoft suddenly put the franchise on hold after years of annual sequels. It’s a shame, really; although it suffered the same weaknesses as other series entries and multi-studio open world games in general, Syndicate had a lot of points in its favour and was an improvement on the notoriously broken Assassin’s Creed: Unity – the game likely responsible for Syndicate’s subdued sales and Assassin’s Creed going away until, perhaps, 2018.

Speaking of which, Ubisoft said it has just four triple-A releases coming between April 2017 and March 2018 – one of which is the delayed South Park: The Fractured But Whole – and had in fact elected not to release a fifth planned triple-A game, but instead focus on supporting an existing title currently enjoying powerful engagement.

Ubisoft will be actively supporting six live games this year (I think it means For Honor, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Rainbow Six Siege, The Division, Steep and The Crew), which is a new record for the publisher – so it probably doesn’t need any extra triple-A releases to contend with on top of all that.

No idea what the three unaccounted for triple-A releases are. Assassin’s Creed might come back earlier than expected, and Far Cry probably has another release in it. It seems a little early for a sequel to The Division, but The Crew might be good for another go round.

Mafia 3 is getting three story expansions this year

3 Feb

There’s more story content in the works for Mafia 3, all due out in the next few months.

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Mafia 3 developer Hangar 13 has revealed a roadmap for the game’s various DLC releases throughout the year. The studio confirmed the game will be getting three paid story expansions.

The first is called Faster, Baby, due out by the end of March. The add-on will see protagonist Lincoln join forces with Roxy Laveau to take down a corrupt sheriff. Hangar 13 promises “fast cars, dramatic chases, and epic stunt driving.”

Stones Unturned, due for release in May, reunites Lincoln with CIA agent John Donovan to settle an old feud with a new rival the pair is familiar with from the Vietnam war.

Finally, Sign of Times is aiming for a July release and it tells the story of ritualistic killings linked to a cult. Lincoln’s investigation “will take him from the dark heart of the old bayou to the drug-ridden counterculture of the inner city.”

All three pieces are part of the game’s season pass. The studio said each one will bring “focused” story with compelling narratives. New gameplay mechanics, environments and activities will also be introduced as part of the deal.

The studio also pointed out that these dates may slip, but promised to update us if they do.

Here’s a more serious Hitman on disc launch trailer in case yesterday’s was too lighthearted for you

1 Feb

Hitman is very serious business, I take it all back.

Hitman has arrived in shops in a very handsome physical edition, and since Square Enix wants to make sure you absolutely have not missed this information, here’s another trailer.

This one plays up Hitman’s gravitas, with slow pan atmospheric scenes showing off the variety of locations and targets, moody music, slow motion action and a stack of accolades.

That’s all very well and good; Hitman certainly provides the stylish action power fantasy this trailer sells. I just think it’s less interesting than when you play Hitman for laughs, as yesterday’s what’s-in-the-Hitman-box trailer did.

But you do you, my cherubim; there’s a lot to be said for looking good in a sharp suit, while hiding any number of sharp objects about your person. Hitman’s very good at that.

Hitman is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One and has won rave reviews all over the place. A return to form after the slight detour of Absolution, it manages to be both newb-friendly and offer the depth series veterans loved in earlier games.

It’s hard to believe there are any sandbox action or stealth fans out there who haven’t already pressed Hitman lovingly to their bosom, but on the off-chance, well, now you know all about it.

GTA Online: double cash and RP bonuses, property and vehicle sales and last chance to upgrade to PS4 or Xbox One

1 Feb

GTA Online massive, here’s what’s happening in the first half of February.

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GTA Online players can take advantage of several bonus offers over the first two weeks of the month.

Right through February 13, players can earn double cash and Rockstar Points in GTA Online by checking out Juggernaut, Vehicle Vendetta and Lost vs Damned Adversary Mode missions. Look for the dedicated playlist to jump right in and get started.

Looking for another way to earn extra credit for your hard work? Check out the latest GTA Online premium races. Until February 6 check in with The Wave (locked to the Principe Diabolus) and from February 7 through 13 try Vespucci. You can launch these races from Quick Job App or via the yellow blip at Legion Square, and as usual, there’s triple RP for all participants and major cash prizes for the top three.

On the Time Trail scene, Storm Drain is featured through February 5, and replaced by Up Chiliad until February 12. Forget about other GTA Online players; just beat the par time for a nice cash and RP point bonus. Travel to the start zone and enter the purple corona to have a go.

What are you going to do with all that extra money? Why, buy yourself an Executive Office at 50% off, or a Vehicle Warehouse at 25% off. In addition to these major discounts, there are a couple of sale offers on less expensive GTA Online items. Here’s the full list:

  • 50% off Executive Offices
  • 25% off Vehicle Warehouses
  • Ammu-Nation: 25% off all Pistols, Sniper Rifles and light Machine Guns
  • Warstock Cache & Carry: 25% off the Turreted Limo, Buzzard attack chopper and Cargobob
  • Legendary Motorsport: 25% off the Pegassi Osiris supercar
  • Benny’s Original Motor Works: 25% off the Principe Diabolus motorcycle and Vehicle Cosmetic Modifications
  • Los Santos Customs: 50% off all Vehicle Armor and Bulletproof Tires, 25% off Vehicle Cosmetic Modifications

In addition to detailing the latest GTA Online deals and featured activities, Rockstar took the time to warn players that it will cease allowing character transfers as of March 6. If you’re playing on PS3 or Xbox 360 and want to upgrade to PC, PS4 or Xbox One, get it done before the deadline and you can keep all your characters and progression.

GTA Online is no longer updated on PS3 and Xbox 360, so if you’re yet to transfer over you’re missing out on Import/Export, Bikers, Cunning Stunts, Further Adventures in Finance and Felony, Lowriders and Lowriders: Custom Classics, Executives and Other Criminals and Freemode Events, among other updates.

Rockstar has no plans to stop supporting GTA Online, apparently, so it’s probably not a bad investment.

Who’s responsible for this Hitman: The Complete First Season trailer?

31 Jan

Hitman produces a suspiciously amusing trailer.

Hitman is a game about murdering people that somehow manages to be as lighthearted and playful as you want it to be; the sandbox provides so much room for experimentation and emergent nonsense, and IO Interactive gets so creative with its tools, that missions can devolve into hilarious farces even when everything is going right.

So it makes sense that this new trailer for Hitman: The Complete First Season, the disc version releasing this week, shouldn’t take itself seriously. There are already plenty of po-faced trailers around that play up the dramatic and stylish face of Hitman, and it’s nice to see one that doesn’t take itself so seriously.

In general, video game marketing isn’t funny – even (or possibly especially) when it tries really hard to be. Hitman got a few chuckles out of me with this one, though. Well done, Square Enix marketing; this is by way of being a calendar event.

GTA grandaddy and former Rockstar president founds new studio and VR firm, trademarks “Time for a New World”

23 Jan

What do you do when you can’t make GTA any more? We’re about find out.

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Grand Theft Auto series producer and former Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies, last seen suing Take Two over his unwilling departure from Rockstar, is back in the headlines.

The Scotsman reports Benzies has incorporated five new companies, including Royal Circus Games Limited, Starship Group and Everywhere Game Limited.

Royal Circus Games Limited is the one that holds most interest to those of us keen to see what’s next from one of the minds that gave us GTA. According to its application to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), this company’s purpose is to develop video games for consoles, PCs and mobile devices. Nice.

In fact, the company has already filed a trademark for a game title – “Time for a New World” – along with the hashtag #TFANW.

Apart from perhaps being a subtle jibe at Rockstar, the title doesn’t mean anything to us just yet – but it’s fun to speculate. Given how transformative and influential Benzies’ GTA 3 was, both on the franchise and the whole games industry, his ambition to create yet more new worlds is pretty exciting.

It’s possible whatever Benzies is up to relates to VR, as one of his other new companies, VR-Chitect Limited, will produce virtual reality hardware and software. Again, imagine what sort of major shift a Benzies-led team might introduce in this area. What shape could the “Grand Theft Auto of VR” take?

Benzies joined the Grand Theft Auto team in 1999, just one year after Take Two’s acquisition of DMA design and the founding of Rockstar Games. He took over responsibility for GTA starting with GTA 3, and has had a major influence on its evolution ever since. He received a BAFTA Special Award in 2005, and was inducted into the AIAS Hall of Fame in 2014.

His achievements and impact have been widely acknowledged and celebrated, especially within the UK, and he’s usually listed alongside the two Houser brothers as one of the key forces behind the GTA series.

Do yourself a favour and take another look at Hitman now that its got a complete season under its belt

18 Jan

Hitman is waiting for you. How long will you resist its wiles?

Hitman is coming out on disc at the end of the month, so if you’re not yet madly in love with IO Interactive’s assassination sandbox you might be starting to think about jumping in.

This new trailer does a great job of explaining the Hitman journey for those new to the series or only familiar with Absolution, which didn’t highlight its strengths as well as past entries.

There’s the messy beginning, when you faff everything up royally. The gradual understanding of the possibilities of the sandbox as you explore. The growing desire to see just what you can do. And finally the challenge of truly living up to the Hitman fantasy with elegant executions.

Hitman’s a game that rewards replaying, and when your first elusive target pops up you’ll be glad you know the ropes. In that sense the episodic release has been really cool, because players have had plenty of time to check out each environment before moving on to the next. But hey, your game, your way: the whole slab of the first season can be yours digitally right now, or at retail on January 31.

GTA Online January update offers big 25% off sale, new featured premium stunt race, and multiple ways to earn double cash and RP

17 Jan

GTA Online wants you back, assuming you ever left.

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A GTA 5 update delivered a new car and Adversary mode to GTA Online earlier today, but at the time Rockstar didn’t have anything to say about the patch, and it was left up to the community to detail the new additions.

Now that we have Rockstar‘s formal description, we know there’s more to it than that. For starters, GTA Online players can enjoy a new featured premium stunt race, Chiliad.

Right through January 30, if you manage to place in the top three in this non-contact point-to-point race you’ll score a big cash prize, but everyone who finished will earn triple RP. Just look for the yellow blip at Legion square or fire up GTA Online’s Quick Job App.

There are also a big batch of special offers on. Double cash and RP are available for GTA Online Biker Clubhouse Contracts and Special Vehicle Work through January 30.

Spend your hard earned GTA Online rewards by taking advantage of 25% off the following purchases, likewise through January 30:

  • Benny’s Upgrades
  • Executive Garage Renovations
  • Executive Custom Auto Shop Renovations
  • Biker Business Properties
  • All Import/Export Tattoos

GTA 5 is being used to train and test self-driving cars, although you do have to switch off the violence

12 Jan

GTA 5 is an enormous simulated environments with potential for more consequential interactions than your quest to explode the most police cars.

GTA 5 is being used to test and train self-driving car AI.

The project is an offshoot of Universe, a software platform for “measuring and training an AI’s general intelligence” across a huge variety of game worlds and simulations, and DeepDrive, an open source self-driving car AI agent.

“GTA 5 gives researchers access to a rich, diverse world for testing and developing AI,” according to a Universe blog post.

“Its island setting is almost one fifth the size of Los Angeles, giving access to a broad range of scenarios to test systems. Add to that the 257 different vehicles, 7 types of bicycles, and 14 weather types, and its possible to explore a huge number of permutations using a single simulator.

“GTA 5’s 49 square-mile island of San Andreas gives researchers the ability to train AI agents across bustling metropolitan areas, winding mountain passes, flat deserts, and freeways.”

Of course, not everything in GTA 5 is conducive to research of this kind, and the modding suite used to get this up and running “modifies the behaviour of people within GTA 5 to be non-violent”. So the popo won’t call in a tank when you have a fender bender, in other words.

This is a fascinating use of a product originally designed for entertainment, but built to such high fidelity that it has important applications. By leveraging a game like GTA 5, researchers could save millions of dollars that would otherwise be paid to companies who craft bespoke simulations.

You can find out more about the project, and even download the packages to try it for yourself, through the various links above. You’ll need a copy of GTA 5 on PC, mind.

Hitman tips: 11 quick tips for beginners and master assassins alike

11 Jan
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Hitman Guide: 11 quick tips for those taking on their first contract

We’re almost a full year removed from Hitman’s original release, though it’s only now beginning to hit store shelves in a ‘proper’ form. Originally releasing in a bite-sized episodic format, Hitman is now feature-complete for its first year, and as a result it can finally be put on store shelves as a complete disc.

We named it was one of our favourite games of 2016, and we definitely think that as many of you should try it as possible. Our anticipation is that a lot of you will pick it up off the word of mouth from the last year – and so we’re here to help.

With some 50 hours logged on Steam and a good number more on PS4, we know our way around Hitman’s world of assassination. Here are our top tips for those stepping into 47’s shoes for the first time – plus a few that might surprise veterans too.

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Understand how suspicion works

At its core, Hitman is a stealth game, and absolutely vital to posting good scores or completing those pesky one-time-only elusive targets is understanding in detail how the suspicion and alert mechanics in the game work. The game does explain this, but it’s so important that it bears repeating.

So, here’s the deal with suspicion: When wearing any given disguise, there are characters who will still be suspicious of you in it. As a guard, for instance, most other guards won’t know all their colleagues and so won’t be suspicious of you. Some guards however might be higher in the food chain or simply sticklers for detail, and so they will recognize you’re a stranger if you get too close.

People like this are represented by a white dot above their head. To be clear, you can get close to these people but you will need to move quickly – don’t remain in their sight for too long. Some outfits are much less likely to be suspected than others, so work with what’s available to you and experiment.

Running, sneaking, climbing and vaulting is generally fine as long as you’re not in ‘trespassing’ status, but be aware that it will draw attention to you – so be careful.

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Use the game’s various alert stages to help you

In a best-case scenario in Hitman you’ll never even see an alert stage in a good run of a level, but sometimes things go wrong. It happens. It’s part of the game, and we recommend you don’t save scum to get yourself out of it – deal with it!

To help with that, one thing you need to know about are the game’s alert stages. Your current status is displayed around your map. Let’s quickly run them down.

Tresspassing

Trespassing is pretty self-explanatory – it means you’re in an area where your current disguise doesn’t give you any right to be. If anybody spots you they will be suspicious. There’s a brief period where trespassing is less of a focus for NPCs whenever there’s a panic in a level, such as if a fire alarm is pulled or there’s an explosion or death nearby, distracting people.

Suspicious

This status appears when people know something is up. Maybe there’s been an event, or something you did has had an adverse impact on the level. Maybe somebody just spotted you somewhere you shoudn’t be and entered this status. Suspicion expires relatively quickly, but you don’t want to stick around people who are suspicious – move away quickly, before they become more aggressive. Actions that let you ‘blend in’, such as scrubbing a floor as a janitor, will make you inconspicuous to everyone unless you’re already compromised.

Compromised

Compromised is a condition you want to avoid. It means, quite literally, that your current outfit is compromised because you’ve been spotted or the like. You’re rumbled. Guards know who you are and will actually spread the word about you. If you open up your ‘Hitman Vision’ people who know your true identity are highlighted in orange. You’ll want to avoid these people and switch costumes as soon as possible.

If you knock the person who saw you out, you’ll still be compromised as long as they can be found and awoken. You’ll want to either stash their body or kill them outright to remove the compromised status without losing your outfit.

Hunted & Combat

I’ve bundled these two together, ‘cos they’re both Very Bad. Hunted means people know who you are and have a pretty good idea where you are and are coming for you. Move! Hide! Hunted will eventually deteriorate into Compromised.

Combat means they’re on you, and you probably don’t need me to tell you this as bullets will be flying at you.

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Don’t ignore the opportunity & challenge systems

While some Hitman purists scoff at the new ‘Opportunities’ system in Hitman, we wholly recommend it to beginners and newcomers alike. Found in the menus before and during missions, opportunities are special paths through levels that the game will basically give you some assistance in finding.

While there are ambient clues to every potential route into a restricted area or special assassination, Opportunities and Challenges are still simply a great way to learn the level. Our recommendation is to try a run or two of a level with them turned on and properly used – doing so will help you to learn the level.

Once the level is learned that’s almost where the real Hitman fun begins – then you can begin escalations, elusive targets and other missions, using the knowledge you gained via opportunities in other challenging missions.

As a bonus, opportunities and challenges also generally award EXP, raising your skill and available gear and starting points in each level.

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Disguises directly impact suspicion, so plan ahead

A major element of Hitman is dressing Agent 47 up in different outfits and using that to get around the level. We covered that a bit in earlier points, but there’s an aside we didn’t mention: costumes impact what you can get up to.

What we mean by this is that some actions that will rouse suspicion in some outfits will be perfectly acceptable in others, making it easier to get up to certain nefarious acts if you have access to the right disguise.

The best possible example of this is in being a waiter or chef – if you go to poison food or drink in other outfits if anybody sees it’ll make those around suspicious. A waiter adding something to a drink or a little garnish to a meal doesn’t make people suspicious at all, however. Use that to your advantage.

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Sometimes throwing a blunt object is even better than a gun

This is a weird little tip, but it’s true: Hitman is built in such a way where it does generally discourage the use of guns. Guns are messy and loud (even with a suppressor), and Agent 47 is a master assassin – he doesn’t do messy.

One way to get rid of people at range is with thrown objects. Anything from busts to soda cans, wrenches to coconuts and so on can be thrown at the enemy with alarming accuracy – if you’re close enough, 47 will lock on to them and smash them with his clone aim and reflexes.

These items will incapacitate an enemy on impact. This system is even snappy enough that you could hit one guard, switch items and hit another one before they know what’s happening. Be careful not to throw stuff in a guard’s line of sight, however, as them seeing you beginning the attack may still result in a compromised status.

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Clean up after yourself to maximize your score

This tip might seem obvious, but yes: make sure you clean up after yourself not only to get a higher score but also to eliminate suspicion.

In the best case scenario you’ll want to hide bodies in containers, cupboards or the like, but if you can’t do that at least try to get them out of sight. As mentioned on a previous page, doing so will also ensure they can’t be roused by other NPCs and if they know your identity spill the beans and compromise you further.

Dealing with CCTV

Also littered through levels is CCTV – and this’ll record your antics. Either avoid cameras or take them out by spotting and shooting them, or there’s another way: you can delete the CCTV footage. To do this locate the guards’ security outpost on each level. The CCTV machine is a big set of screens and the like. You can either get up close to this and sabotage it by hand or simply shoot it from a distance to make it malfunction – either will do.

Oh, and, a minor tip – if you put a weapon in a bin or the like to hide it, if you take it back out its ammo will be replenished. Magic bins!

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Master the art of distraction

I can’t emphasize enough how important a proper distraction is in Hitman. It’ll clear out guards, divert enemy attention, the works. Learn to use it well.

Coins should be your go-to distraction tool and will work for thinning the herd of guards without being seen, luring them to be vulnerable and alone, Batman-style. But if you run out of coins, keep in mind that any thrown item will attract attention if thrown by somebody unseen – even a brick, or crowbar, or whatever.

Using guns, but not for killing

The second best distraction aside from coins is actually a gun. If you use your silenced pistol you can fire near enemies from a distance and the bullet impacts, if nearby enough, will distract them – handy. Be careful, as if they can figure out where the shots are coming from they’ll head your way in an instant.

Also useful, but only once, is putting your gun down. So long as you’re not seen doing so, if an NPC finds it they will summon a guard, and that guard will pick up the gun and take it to the nearest security room. Used carefully, this can seriously (albeit temporarily) disrupt guard patrols and punch a hole in their defenses that you can then sneak through.

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Look to the skies – and climb

The levels in Hitman are all designed to be awesome little sandboxes – and a major part of that is that most of the levels have a large degree of verticality to them, too. 47 is also super-cloned with abnormal human strength. D’you see where this is going?

Yeah, 47’s upper-body strength is ridiculous. He can hang from things like ledges and drainpipes for an unlimited amount of time, and people seem to very rarely look up to upper-floor ledges and the like for a trespasser.

Make careful use of the climbing traversal to get around a level and you’ll find new entrances to restricted areas and new ways to sneak around. This sort of thing is sometimes vital if you’re planning disguise-free, suit-only runs, as let’s face it… shooting everyone isn’t really an option.

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A few notes on poison

Poison is awesome. It doesn’t leave a trace and it’s a reliable way to take people down if you can get people to ingest it. There are a few things you should know, however.

First – tampering with food or drink will be a deeply suspicious act unless you’re in an outfit where doing so would make sense, such as a chef or a waiter. Do it when nobody is around or do it in the right outfit.

The poison syringes you can unlock in some levels at certain mastery levels are extremely powerful, but don’t let anyone see you stick the target with them. They’re useful as the window of opportunity you need to effectively use them is much smaller than, say, choking or shooting a target – but you still have to be careful.

Don’t forget there are three types of poison – lethal, which kills, sedative, which knocks out, and emetic, which will cause targets to find a place (such as a lovely, isolated toilet) to throw up. Poison isn’t just a method of assassination, but a useful way to thin the herd to reach your target alone or incapacitate a target whose clothes you need without hurting them.

Oh, and – poison kills don’t count as ‘body found’ even if they drop dead right in front of an enormous crowd, since it looks like a horrible accident. Good to know.

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Replay every level to raise its mastery level

Every level in Hitman has a player experience level associated with it between 0 and 20. Each time you complete certain tasks in the stage you’ll earn EXP and level up – and doing so unlocks new stuff.

Each level will unlock gear that you can use on any level in the game or new starting positions and disguises for that specific level. It is well worth taking the time to level up each level at least halfway, as some of the best and most useful items in the game are unlocked this way, and this stuff will even carry forward into Hitman’s season 2 content.

Some of the best and most potent items in the game such as remote mines, explosive rubber ducks (yes), poison syringes and even a tiny limited ammo micro-pistol undetectable in guard pat-downs are unlockable this way, so you’ll want to make use of that.

Hitman Elusive Target 18: The Chameleon goes live on Friday, achieve Silent Assassin rating for the fifth time for the Winter Suit

10 Jan

Hitman players can finally unlock the Winter Suit this week – if they’re pretty good.

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Hitman‘s 18th Elusive Target kicks off on Friday, IO Interactive has confirmed.

This limited-time Hitman event has players tracking down a man known as The Chameleon. There are two objectives, and special contract conditions apply:

  • Objectives:
    • Eliminate Richard M. Foreman
    • Retrieve Documents
  • Special Contract Conditions:
    • Eliminate the target with a non-explosion accident.

The Colorado contract will go live in Hitman from 2:00pm CET / 5:00am PT on Friday January 13, and as usual will be available for seven days.

The reward for Hitman faithful this time is the Tactical Gear with Hunter’s Hat outfit, which you can admire below.

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There’s an additional possible reward in the offing. This is the fifth Elusive Target since IO Interactive changed Hitman’s Elusive Target outfit unlock requirements in November, which means those of you who’ve had a perfect record of Silent Assassin ratings on Elusive Targets since the 14th event will also receive the Winter Suit.

Hit up the Hitman website for more details on how you unlock outfits through cumulative Elusive Target events and a breakdown of content coming throughout January.

Hitman releases on disc at the end of the month, if you’ve managed to resist diving in during the episodic release – and thereby missed out on a season of limited time events.

The episodic release was a bit of a sore point originally but turned out to fit Hitman really well; having a decent amount of time to thoroughly explore each location rather than powering on to the next mission really allows IO Interactive’s level design and the replay value of the core concepts to shine.

Two of Razer’s triple-monitor laptops were stolen at CES 2017

10 Jan

There’s little doubt you noticed Razer’s rather interesting triple-monitor laptop being shared all over social media last week. Well, guess what? Two of the prototypes were stolen at CES 2017 on Sunday.

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According to a Facebook post from Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan (thanks, Gamespot), two of the prototypes known as Project Valerie were stolen from the firm’s booth during the Las Vegas trade show.

The company is working with both law enforcement and show management on the situation, and Razer is offering a $25,000 reward for original information leading to the “identification, arrest and conviction of a criminal suspect.”

“Our teams worked months on end to conceptualize and develop these units and we pride ourselves in pushing the envelope to deliver the latest and greatest,” wrote Tan. “We treat theft, larceny, and if relevant to this case, industrial espionage, very seriously.

“Penalties for such crimes are grievous and anyone who would do this clearly isn’t very smart.”

Tan goes on to notes the Project Valerie units were stolen from the Razer press room at approximately 4 pm PT on Sunday, January 8.

The post goes on to note stipulations regarding the reward, such as overall value of information provided, monetary amount offered should multiple informants come forward, and other legalities.

Hit up the Facebook post to find out more on the situation.

Hitman Roulette is an amazing way to squeeze more from the game

9 Jan

Generate yourself a random challenge.

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Hitman Roulette isn’t official, nor is it entirely new, but I just discovered it and it’s basically a perfect new way to play the 2016 iteration of Hitman, which was one of my favourite games of 2016.

Built by Kotti, a Hitman speed runner, Hitman Roulette has a pretty simple concept: you can tell it a mission and set a bunch of other parameters and then hit go.

The end result will be a list of requirements that are like a reverse version of Cluedo – once you have your requirements of who is killed in what way and in what costume, you then head into Hitman and try to complete the mission with those requirements.

I just did an example spin, for instance, and got the following: Paris. Start in the Attic. Kill Viktor Novikov with the Sniper Rifle as the Vampire Magician, and kill Dalia Margolis with an Explosion as Palace Staff. Escape via the front gates, and do not kill or subdue non-targets.

Some of that would be particularly difficult, especially the not killing or subduing non-targets. Generate again and I get an entirely different set of requirements and thus an entirely different way I need to navigate the a level’s particular sandbox. If you already know the levels pretty well this is a different and challenging new way to play.

It seems like it might occasionally throw out an impossible combination though, so be wary of that. Kotti does appear to be updating it and improving it, so hopefully all that improves over time.

Anyway… this is pretty cool. Obviously the game has no way to track your progress, but if you self-police this gives you an interesting new way to play the game’s story missions – as if with escalations and elusive targets and all that other stuff there isn’t enough in Hitman already. The crew at Giant Bomb actually did a hilarious video where they played the game in exactly this way, albeit using cue cards drawn from a hat – this roulette page just makes matters easier.

Did you know Mafia 3 got a PS4 Pro patch? Check out the “perceptible upgrade”

9 Jan

Mafia 3 now supports PS4 Pro, and you’ll see definite improvement on the beefier console.

Mafia 3 has PS4 Pro support now, although 2K and Sony don’t seem to have told anybody it was happening.

In the video above Digital Foundry goes over the PS4 Pro build of Mafia 3, noting a “perceptible upgrade” for those with access to the more powerful hardware.

It’s not at all clear when PS4 Pro support was added to Mafia 3. The latest update (1.05) and released on December 20 – it’s the one that added races and car customisation to Mafia 3 – but the patch notes make no mention of PS4 Pro support. Nor do earlier ones.

Why wouldn’t 2K and Sony advertise this patch given how much interest there is in PS4 Pro support – especially as Mafia 3 was advertised as a day one PS4 Pro title? Maybe PS4 Pro support was in there all along and nobody bothered to check because Mafia 3 hasn’t gone down especially well? Perhaps we’ll never know. I’ll ask 2K, anyway.

Here’s a summary of the what you’ll get in the PS4 Pro build of Mafia 3, as noted in the video and summarised on NeoGAF:

  • Resolution bumped to 1440p in 4K mode
  • 1440p resolution downsampled to 1080p on non-4K output
  • Improved spotlight shadow quality in dark scenes
  • Improved motion blur
  • Frame rate drops dip deeper than the base PS4, but less screen tear due to v-sync

On the subject of frame rate dips, it seems to happen during firefights, which is unfortunate as this is a core competent of Mafia 3’s gameplay. Most of the time, however, it holds steady at 30fps on PS4 Pro.

Base PS4 owners also benefited from the patch, with fixes for Mafia 3’s frame pacing issues, adaptive v-sync and improved frame rates only getting as low as 27fps.