Quantcast
Archive | shooter RSS feed for this section

Resident Evil 7 will bring back Chris Redfield with Not a Hero DLC

24 Feb

Chris Redfield will return in Resident Evil 7 with an upcoming add-on.

resident_evil_7_chris_redfield_dlc_shot_2

Resident Evil 7 is getting a DLC this spring that will bring one of the series’ most recognisable protagonists, Christ Redfield.

Called Not a Hero, the add-on will be free to all owners of the game, but Capcom isn’t saying anything yet about how or why Redfield will be involved. It did confirm, however, that Not a Hero will be a “separate story.”

We’ve only got those couple of screenshots below to go on, but the character design is definitely different from his Resident Evil 5 and 6 days.

resident_evil_7_chris_redfield_dlc_shot_3
resident_evil_7_chris_redfield_dlc_shot_2
resident_evil_7_chris_redfield_dlc_shot_1

Not a Hero is out this spring.

GIVEAWAY! 2000 closed beta keys for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

24 Feb

Get in on the closed beta for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on Steam.

We have 2,000 closed beta keys to give away for PlayUnknown’s Battlegrounds, a new battle royal multiplayer shooter for PC.

The game pits 64 players against one another, forcing them to scavenge for weapons and survive in a gradually shrinking arena.

You can check the system requirements and beta times right here. It all kicks off February 24 at 4pm GMT and runs for four weekends.

Just enter your details in the widget below and the first 2,000 will get a key which they can redeem via Steam. Good luck!

Destiny: Xur location and inventory for February 24, 25

24 Feb

As a new weekend approaches, so too does Xur.

xur_march_27_location

Xur: Agent of the Nine, the most important vendor in Destiny, has popped up again to set up shop and take your Strange Coins. Xur brings Exotic weapons and armour every week.

Find Xur by the Crucible Quartermaster this weekend. He shall stay put until 9am GMT on Sunday, February 26.

See his inventory below:

Hawkmoon is a fun weapon for sure, but not the big deal it used to be. It still has its uses, though.

Paladins fans are furious over Essence and Legendary Cards, calling them “pay-to-win”

24 Feb

The most recent Paladins update introduced two new features players are not at all happy about.

paladins_screen_1

Paladins, the free-to-play shooter from Smite developer Hi-Rez, has recently received an update that added a new currency called Essence, and the concept of Legendary Cards.

Open beta patch 44 made it so instead of getting Gold – the game’s main currency – for duplicates in Radiant chests, you instead get something called Essence. Essence is then used to buy higher-end cards, including the new Legendary Cards. This means that you can no longer shoot for specific cards by grinding the required Gold.

Instead, what you can do is either spend Gold on random card chests, or use Essence to buy the cards you want directly. For its part, the developer said it’ll award new accounts 36,000 Essence, and add 72,000 to the Founder Pack.

Still, the Essence payout you get from duplicates is very small. This system also damages the game in another way. Existing players will have already amassed a decent deck of cards, but new players will have to rely on the RNG to get the cards they want.

Many players on Reddit argue that this system turns the game into “pay-to-win” and effectively makes Gold, earnable thorough regular play, useless.

This is especially disheartening to see, as one player notes, because the game already includes a number of different cosmetic options for players to buy in order to fund continued development. The new systems are unnecessary, and mess with Paladins’ gameplay at its core.

“We firmly believe that the Legendary Cards are a strong addition to Paladins and we will continue to improve them over the coming patches,” said the game’s lead designer.

“We also believe the addition of Essence and overhaul to the Radiant Chest system that allows Radiant Chests to be directly purchased with Gold will improve the experience of unlocking new ways to play each champion.”

So we know, at least for now, the new systems will be staying.

Here’s a bunch of changes Ghost Recon: Wildlands has undergone from closed to open beta

24 Feb

PC build, connectivity, gameplay and missions have all been tweaked for this weekend’s open beta.

ghost_recon_wildlands_gamescom_2016_screen_4

Ghost Recon: Wildlands has undergone a stack of improvements since the closed beta, with Ubisoft focusing particularly on the PC build for the game, connectivity problems and improvements to missions and gameplay.

While the publisher hasn’t detailed all changes, it has outlined some of the biggest in the open beta, including compatibility to PC hardware, better hosting and syncing for co-op players, and the all-important ability to revive dead team mates.

Although the open beta is not without its troubles, it’s good to see Ubi actively on the case and tackling problems as they occur.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of changes between the closed beta and the open beta, and a few words on each from the developers themselves.

PC Version

“We’ve made a great number of improvements to the PC version of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands since the closed beta. We are working closely with our partners to complete the final enhancements for the release of the game.

“First, we tackled all the issues that prevented some players from enjoying the game during the closed beta. We also included improvements on both the performance and stability sides.”

  • Unable to launch the game: “Your graphics card does not support DirectX 11 features.”
  • Unable to launch the game: “Your graphics card does not have enough video memory.”
  • Adaptive V-Sync support.
  • Introduction videos now skippable after first boot.
  • Added Ultra preset in the game.

Gameplay and Missions

“Fixes include – Of course, we have also been working hard to keep improving the core gameplay experience of the game, especially during missions – main or secondary – that were blocking the progression of the players in the province of Itacua. Here is a non-exhaustive list of fixed issues:”

  • Santa Blanca choppers never face the players.
  • Unable to revive teammate after killing all enemies.
  • Unable to access a vehicle that’s leaning on a ledge.
  • Target or VIP is not present.
  • Extensive drone cooldown after respawn.
  • Yuri and Polito behavior during fight and animations.
  • GPS location of convoys.

Co-op and Connectivity

“Another critical aspect of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands is the co-op and the possibility at any moment to play solo or with your friends seamlessly. More than half of the players of the closed beta played in co-op, and we were able to document a real interest for this experience.

“We were able to fix some connectivity issues affecting players who were unable to join their friends or use matchmaking. This includes, for instance:”

  • Sync of missions during co-op among all players.
  • Improved replication, especially related to vehicles, enemies, and drones.
  • Improved host migration feature.
  • Fixed animations after death of player.

“If you still are experiencing issues on PC during this open beta, we highly recommend you check out the connectivity-troubleshooting guide here.”

Difficulty

“The difficulty has been tweaked and improved to offer players a real challenge, especially at the highest difficulty levels.”

  • Removed “enemies areas” in mini-map in Extreme difficulty mode.
  • Improved difficulty balancing for AI and missions.
  • Improved stealth break situations.

Others

“We’ve also worked on various other topics to offer the best experience to all players during this open beta. For example, improvements have been made to the animations (for instance, on the cover), various glitches or sound issues have been fixed, and more.”

The Overwatch League kicks off in Q3 2017, regular seasons promised for 2018

24 Feb

Plans for the Overwatch League are moving ahead, and the initial team building process will start later this year.

overwatch_league

The Overwatch League, a competitive, Blizzard-run eSports league for Overwatch, was first unveiled during BlizzCon last year.

At the time, Blizzard said it wanted it to be a premier league, but things have been quiet on that front since. Recently, Blizzard’s eSports director Nate Nanzer, spoke about the company’s plans for this year and beyond. The interview was hosted in Korea, but Reddit user bartlet4us (via PCGamesN) kindly translated it to English.

Nanzer confirmed that this year’s season will start in Q3, but it won’t be until 2018 that we’ll start getting regular seasons. During the initial run, the company will be busy building teams and acquiring players, so the league will start small. The plan is to host the finals in a different city every year, not at BlizzCon.

The competition will be region-based, with major stadiums in some regions hosting the games. Later on, Blizzard hopes to have teams play at their home stadiums in their home cities. With that in mind, Blizzard will not restrict teams to a single nationality, the same goes for gender.

“We aim for diversity in sex, race, and rolls, etc. If the team wants to, they are free to have not only multi-sex team, but they are also free to have players with different nationalities. It is a region based league, but there are no boundaries in region or nationality when it comes to players,” the translated interview reads.

During the interview, Nanzer also confirmed a plan to make full-time professional Overwatch players a thing, promising regular salaries through sharing profits. These profits ideally would come from ticket sales, merchandise and other similar avenues.

Blizzard is also looking at creating in-game DLC to support specific teams and so on.

Hit the link for the rest of the interview, which includes fun tidbits like why Tracer was chosen to be on the logo.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands open beta crippled by ribera-1000b error and maintenance downtime

24 Feb

Solo and co-op play hindered by errors and maintenance issues.

ghost_recon_open_beta

Ghost Recon: Wildlands players are coming up against a number of problems during the open beta, but if it’s any consolation, it’s not your fault.

A common ribera-1000b error has popped up for a lot of players, which makes the game unplayable for even solo play using AI co-op. It looks like that can be fixed by port forwarding if you don’t mind tinkering with your set-up. There’s a quick video guide here.

And at the time of writing Ubisoft has taken the game offline twice in less than 24 hours since going live, on all formats; PC, Xbox One and PS4.

It’s to be expected of course. This open beta is not just a demo to help sell the game, but a way for Ubisoft to stress test its back end as well as tweak the game before the proper release on March 7.

But it’s no less frustrating to get kicked from a game, especially one designed specifically for four buddies to experience in co-op.

Although it’s not the same backend design as Ubisoft’s recently released For Honor, that game is currently suffering game-breaking problems online, crippling a game that has been well received by critics.

Our advice if you do come across the ribera-1000b error or any other maintenance issues is to keep an eye on the official Twitter support for updates. Maintenance so far on the game has been relatively quick, taking between 15 minutes and an hour. You can also check on the server status right here.

Expect more downtime over the Ghost Recon: Wildlands open beta weekend. It’s the nature of the beast. Let’s just hope the same problems don’t follow for the full game at release. Plus, you know, the game is pretty cool from what we’ve played of it.

The Division Last Stand, patch 1.6 out next week

24 Feb

The Division’s big 1.6 patch and final expansion, Last Stand, have a release date.

Ubisoft Massive has announced a release date for The Division‘s Last Stand expansion and the 1.6 patch. During yesterday’s State of the Game show, the studio revealed the date, and it’s surprisingly soon.

Last Stand releases alongside patch 1.6, on Tuesday, February 28. There is no exclusivity period for any platform this time, so the release date applies to PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Patch 1.6 has seen a number iterations during testing in the PTS so far, and it’s one of the game’s biggest. The number of sweeping changes to gear balance, mechanics and other items will no doubt make a heck of patch notes list. The patch notes will be deployed on Monday.

During the show, Massive also announced that PS4 Pro players will have one more thing to look forward to with 1.6. Though the game already has a Pro patch, the upcoming update will improve the resolution.

We’ll bring you more details when we have them.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands – we’re livestreaming the open beta, come watch us kick some cartel butt

23 Feb

Are you playing the Ghost Recon: Wildlands open beta this weekend? Are you planning to? Yes or no, stop what you’re doing and watch Shabana shoot bad guys in the game for a bit.

Watch live video from vg247 on www.twitch.tv

Shabana has already created her character, so she’ll be able to jump right into Ghost Recon: Wildlands and start kicking some cartel ass.

We’re not too sure how much we’ll get to see today, but the first mission in the open beta takes place in Itacua, a mountainous province. So, expect to see that part at least.

The second area is Montuyoc, which is set in the snowy Altiplano – and it’s a much more challenging area.

All the content in the open beta will is playable with up to three friends on the same platform via four player co-op, or in single-player. Shabana is going it solo and will just be directing her AI squad.

The Ghost Recon: Wildlands open beta runs through February 27, and you can find out everything you need to know about it through that link.

It’s out on March 7 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Xbox 360 titles Borderlands 2, Assassin’s Creed Rogue, The King of Fighters 2002 now playable on Xbox One

23 Feb

More games have been added to the list of Xbox 360 backwards compatible games for Xbox One.

Borderlands-2_2011_08-17-11_002

As noted in the headline, three of these are Assassin’s Creed Rogue, Borderlands 2 and The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match.

If you don’t already own Borderlands 2 for Xbox 360 and you have an Xbox Live Gold account, you can play the game for free on your 360 or Xbox One console from March 1-15 via Games With Gold.

Those who already have the disc, can start playing it today for Xbox One.

Other titles added this week were Gyromancer, Moon Diver and Space Invaders Infinity Gene.

Xbox 360 titles Borderlands 2, Assassin’s Creed Rogue, The King of Fighters 2002 now playable on Xbox One

23 Feb

More games have been added to the list of Xbox 360 backwards compatible games for Xbox One.

Borderlands-2_2011_08-17-11_002

As noted in the headline, three of these are Assassin’s Creed Rogue, Borderlands 2 and The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match.

If you don’t already own Borderlands 2 for Xbox 360 and you have an Xbox Live Gold account, you can play the game for free on your 360 or Xbox One console from March 1-15 via Games With Gold.

Those who already have the disc, can start playing it today for Xbox One.

Other titles added this week were Gyromancer, Moon Diver and Space Invaders Infinity Gene.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s multiplayer mode is free to play on Steam this weekend

23 Feb

If you’re a PC player itching to try Call of duty: Infinite Warfare, you can give the multiplayer mode a go for free this weekend on Steam.

COD Infinite Warfare_MP_Frost 3_WM

Starting today, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare multiplayer is free on Steam until February 26 at 1pm PT/4pm ET/9pm UK.

There are no level caps and you can make use of all weaponry, Combat Rigs, game modes, and everything in between. The only thing not available is Zombies mode.

Any multiplayer progress made during the free period on Steam will carry forward if the game is purchased. As incentive, the standard edition on Steam is currently 50% off and the Digital Legacy Edition is 33% off.

The latter includes the Season Pass, additional content and of course Modern Warfare Remastered.

Mass Effect Andromeda’s ship doctor is voiced by Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer

23 Feb

Natalie Dormer will play Dr Lexi T’Perro in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

EA and BioWare have announced a new Mass Effect: Andromeda cast member and the actress voicing her in the game. Dr Lexi T’Perro is the Asari doctor on board The Tempest.

Dr Lexi T’Perro is voiced by Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer, and in the video above, we get to take a bit of a behind the scenes look at what went on in the recording booth.

In the game’s story, Lexi is among the first people you meet after waking up from crysleep. The video also gives a bit of her personal relationship away, as we hear more and more about her from BioWare’s Caroline Livingstone and Mac Walters.

You may have noticed that Dr T’Perro was present in the most recent batch of screenshots. Though her name was not revealed at the time, everyone assumed she’d be a doctor of some kind given her attire.

Watch out for more Mass Effect: Andromeda coverage hitting the site today. The game releases March 21 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Mass Effect Andromeda: finally, hands-on gameplay reassures us Bioware’s sci-fi RPG is worth the wait

23 Feb

A quick trip to Andromeda leaves us relieved. Things are looking up!

mass_effect_andromeda_tempest

“Andromeda has the attitude and aesthetic of Mass Effect, the story and character execution of Mass Effect 2 and the combat of Mass Effect 3.”

I love Mass Effect. I was crazy enough to nab 100% achievements on all three games in the original trilogy and logged an impressive number of hours into its multiplayer. But I’ve been worried about Mass Effect Andromeda. EA hasn’t shown it much. It’s been quiet.

One side of that is to view it as a show of confidence, the sort of minimalist PR positioning that Bethesda managed with Fallout 4. Announce the game, release it. Don’t worry about that preview hands-on guff in between. There is key difference, mind – Fallout 4 debuted with an hour of stage demos before disappearing until launch. Why that worked is obvious. Andromeda has instead largely shown short story trailers that show cinematic flair with little context, and that filled me with trepidation. Was there something to hide? Well, now I’ve played it. I feel better. In fact, I’m pumped.

Let’s get the big, important stuff out of the way at the top: what I played. EA set us up at the start of the game on a high-end PC with either keyboard and mouse or controller input available. Because Mass Effect has a rocky history with PC controls I figured it important to note the game was good about switching between KB/M and controller on the fly, and both seemed perfectly valid. We got to play the very opening of the game through to the end of the opening mission, then could boot up saves from later in the game (around four main story missions in, I’m told) to experience some more open areas and missions not covered with tutorial assistance.

For the record: This preview will deal in basic information about the flow of what I played, but I won’t talk about any detailed story-specific spoiler information.

MEA_February-54

Part of Andromeda’s mission is to pull what its developers perceive to be the strengths from each of the main Mass Effect games and put them into one definitive package. I’m not quite sure how this breaks down for them, but I get the impression that means the attitude and aesthetic of Mass Effect, the story and character execution of Mass Effect 2 and the combat of Mass Effect 3. This is the feeling Andromeda gives to a series fan: there’s a slice of each of these on offer, the most immediately exciting to me being the return of the general ‘feel’ (a nebulous concept, I know) of the first game in the series.

The nature of the clean break the game takes is obvious even in its opening crawl. A brief story-establishing stinger is followed by the series traditional introductory text, but that’s followed by a title: Andromeda. The words Mass Effect do appear, fading up, but the emphasis is on the game’s subtitle. It feels, I thought, like a new IP.

It’s perhaps thanks to that that the intro feels similar to the opener for this franchise. Where the sequels relied heavily on established events to catapult you into an explosive opener, Andromeda is forced to give the player time to breathe for a few moments. There’s time to look around and enjoy the sights, a chance to talk to the people on your ship and read optional text scattered about as you’re funneled to an urgent mission.

Almost immediately the game encourages you to meander off the beaten path. The very first objective the game gives you comes with an optional alternative, and there are plenty of characters around to chat to, such as future squadmates and the ship’s Doctor, an Asari. I have limited time and EA encourages us to not stop and speak to everyone as “it could take you ages”. So while I can’t comment on the depth exactly, it certainly feels like there’s a lot of optional world-building conversation and context to soak up compared to Mass Effect 3’s more linear journey.

MEA_February-47

“Combat doesn’t quite feel as crisp as something like Gears of War, but it feels a damn sight better than past Mass Effect.”

What follows is a trip down to a planet that has an amazing tone of discovery as you burn through the atmosphere, and then a first mission that has shades of Mass Effect’s Eden Prime – but longer, broader in scope and with entirely optional content. The planet is easily identifiable thanks to its frequent and deadly thunder storms and floating rock formations – it’s hardly a second earth.

At one point in the opener papa Ryder chastises me for not exploring enough, noting that I’d have discovered the same things he did if I’d taken my time and paid attention. A vocal cue had tried to push me towards an optional structure which I elected to ignore due to time constraints, but the space the first mission takes place in seemed pretty significant.

After a smartly-designed first-contact encounter with alien species you’re treated to combat – and this is where Andromeda feels most like the third game. The core of Andromeda’s team worked on Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer and you can tell: it feels like it was built to deliver a snappier version of that experience, and that comes complete with streamlining of the number of actions you can use and the removal of the full powers wheel for a loadout-based power-select system. Only time is going to tell how good this stuff is from an RPG perspective (though the character progression menus showed promise, I feel), but it felt good to move and shoot.

The most significant and best new addition is the booster jet that let you jump and dash at will. This adds a whole new layer to combat, though the same basic cover-based flow remains too. Boosting and then hovering to fire over cover to hit a cowering enemy feels great in particular. EXP is now enemy and encounter based as well as action based more like the first game also, so you can level up mid-mission. Combat doesn’t quite feel as crisp as something like Gears of War, but it feels a damn sight better than past Mass Effect. The jump jets are incredibly fun to use.

There is one aspect of combat that felt clunky: cover. Cover is no longer a snap-in, snap-out system, but is something your character will dynamically hunker to as appropriate. The theory is that this makes more objects viable pieces of cover, but it made me often unsure of how safe I was from enemy fire. I don’t know if it’ll continue to feel clunky or get better as I get used to it but I hope it’s the latter, since the rest of combat feels pretty damn slick.

In the latter half of the demo when I get my hands on some biotics in a sentinel-style class build I was a happy chap indeed. Some might be worried about the fact the powers wheel is gone, but given the game makes it pretty easy to switch between different ‘profiles’ built out of different skill-sets on the fly I’m now feeling much less concerned: it all seems by design. Oh, and PC players rejoice – you’ll have much easier access anyway with full skill hotkey action.

“The smallest Andromeda zone is larger than all of Dragon Age Inquisition. The squad mate with the least lines in Andromeda still has more than Shepard in Mass Effect 3.”

Also in the ‘feels pretty good’ category sits the Nomad, the replacement for Mass Effect’s infamous Mako. I don’t have much to say about this one other than that it actually controls like a good-feeling video game vehicle rather than an all-over-the-place mess. In a cute touch it has two modes – a rear wheel drive mode that’s focused on speed and a much slower all wheel drive mode that’ll allow you to get at least some of that classic climbing up an almost vertical incline Mako action… if that’s your thing.

The Nomad is key since the environments are massive. A fact repeated by Bioware repeatedly is that the smallest Andromeda zone is larger than all of Dragon Age Inquisition. This is insane, obviously, but there’s an economy of scale involved: the nomad moves a lot faster than a horse, and so the game is larger to make up for it. It does offer a great sense of discovery all the same, with impressive vistas showcasing just how good EA and DICE’s Frostbite engine is, as if we needed more proof after Battlefield 1. It’s certainly one of the best in the business.

MEA_February-19

Less impressive are the faces, which as with the previous trilogy often have something strangely uncanny about them. One imagines this has something to do with the sheer amount of facial animation needed for the game (another Bioware factoid was that the squad mate with the least lines in Andromeda still has more than Shepard in ME3), and fans of Bioware’s games are no doubt a little used to that facial jank by now, but it still bears mentioning. Generally speaking I think the game is visually striking, however.

This preview is going on quite a way, and each extra word is probably just a deeper indication of my Mass Effect fandom. I very much wanted this game to be good, and so after months of feeling nervous as all hell about the game’s quality it’s incredibly reassuring to be able to report that it seems like everything is going the right way. Some of the little foibles and quirks of old Mass Effect somehow persist, but things like dodgy facial animation didn’t hold those games back from greatness either.

Much now hinges on how the game grows: a few hours is not long enough to get a true feel for the story, nor is it long enough to truly understand how its RPG systems will grow and expand combat. These are questions we’ll be able to answer in a month’s time when the game arrives, but for now: I’m stupidly excited again. This is a strong start, and I really hope Bioware stick the landing.

Mass Effect Andromeda: finally, hands-on gameplay reassures us Bioware’s sci-fi RPG is worth the wait

23 Feb

A quick trip to Andromeda leaves us relieved. Things are looking up!

mass_effect_andromeda_tempest

“Andromeda has the attitude and aesthetic of Mass Effect, the story and character execution of Mass Effect 2 and the combat of Mass Effect 3.”

I love Mass Effect. I was crazy enough to nab 100% achievements on all three games in the original trilogy and logged an impressive number of hours into its multiplayer. But I’ve been worried about Mass Effect Andromeda. EA hasn’t shown it much. It’s been quiet.

One side of that is to view it as a show of confidence, the sort of minimalist PR positioning that Bethesda managed with Fallout 4. Announce the game, release it. Don’t worry about that preview hands-on guff in between. There is key difference, mind – Fallout 4 debuted with an hour of stage demos before disappearing until launch. Why that worked is obvious. Andromeda has instead largely shown short story trailers that show cinematic flair with little context, and that filled me with trepidation. Was there something to hide? Well, now I’ve played it. I feel better. In fact, I’m pumped.

Let’s get the big, important stuff out of the way at the top: what I played. EA set us up at the start of the game on a high-end PC with either keyboard and mouse or controller input available. Because Mass Effect has a rocky history with PC controls I figured it important to note the game was good about switching between KB/M and controller on the fly, and both seemed perfectly valid. We got to play the very opening of the game through to the end of the opening mission, then could boot up saves from later in the game (around four main story missions in, I’m told) to experience some more open areas and missions not covered with tutorial assistance.

For the record: This preview will deal in basic information about the flow of what I played, but I won’t talk about any detailed story-specific spoiler information.

MEA_February-54

Part of Andromeda’s mission is to pull what its developers perceive to be the strengths from each of the main Mass Effect games and put them into one definitive package. I’m not quite sure how this breaks down for them, but I get the impression that means the attitude and aesthetic of Mass Effect, the story and character execution of Mass Effect 2 and the combat of Mass Effect 3. This is the feeling Andromeda gives to a series fan: there’s a slice of each of these on offer, the most immediately exciting to me being the return of the general ‘feel’ (a nebulous concept, I know) of the first game in the series.

The nature of the clean break the game takes is obvious even in its opening crawl. A brief story-establishing stinger is followed by the series traditional introductory text, but that’s followed by a title: Andromeda. The words Mass Effect do appear, fading up, but the emphasis is on the game’s subtitle. It feels, I thought, like a new IP.

It’s perhaps thanks to that that the intro feels similar to the opener for this franchise. Where the sequels relied heavily on established events to catapult you into an explosive opener, Andromeda is forced to give the player time to breathe for a few moments. There’s time to look around and enjoy the sights, a chance to talk to the people on your ship and read optional text scattered about as you’re funneled to an urgent mission.

Almost immediately the game encourages you to meander off the beaten path. The very first objective the game gives you comes with an optional alternative, and there are plenty of characters around to chat to, such as future squadmates and the ship’s Doctor, an Asari. I have limited time and EA encourages us to not stop and speak to everyone as “it could take you ages”. So while I can’t comment on the depth exactly, it certainly feels like there’s a lot of optional world-building conversation and context to soak up compared to Mass Effect 3’s more linear journey.

MEA_February-47

“Combat doesn’t quite feel as crisp as something like Gears of War, but it feels a damn sight better than past Mass Effect.”

What follows is a trip down to a planet that has an amazing tone of discovery as you burn through the atmosphere, and then a first mission that has shades of Mass Effect’s Eden Prime – but longer, broader in scope and with entirely optional content. The planet is easily identifiable thanks to its frequent and deadly thunder storms and floating rock formations – it’s hardly a second earth.

At one point in the opener papa Ryder chastises me for not exploring enough, noting that I’d have discovered the same things he did if I’d taken my time and paid attention. A vocal cue had tried to push me towards an optional structure which I elected to ignore due to time constraints, but the space the first mission takes place in seemed pretty significant.

After a smartly-designed first-contact encounter with alien species you’re treated to combat – and this is where Andromeda feels most like the third game. The core of Andromeda’s team worked on Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer and you can tell: it feels like it was built to deliver a snappier version of that experience, and that comes complete with streamlining of the number of actions you can use and the removal of the full powers wheel for a loadout-based power-select system. Only time is going to tell how good this stuff is from an RPG perspective (though the character progression menus showed promise, I feel), but it felt good to move and shoot.

The most significant and best new addition is the booster jet that let you jump and dash at will. This adds a whole new layer to combat, though the same basic cover-based flow remains too. Boosting and then hovering to fire over cover to hit a cowering enemy feels great in particular. EXP is now enemy and encounter based as well as action based more like the first game also, so you can level up mid-mission. Combat doesn’t quite feel as crisp as something like Gears of War, but it feels a damn sight better than past Mass Effect. The jump jets are incredibly fun to use.

There is one aspect of combat that felt clunky: cover. Cover is no longer a snap-in, snap-out system, but is something your character will dynamically hunker to as appropriate. The theory is that this makes more objects viable pieces of cover, but it made me often unsure of how safe I was from enemy fire. I don’t know if it’ll continue to feel clunky or get better as I get used to it but I hope it’s the latter, since the rest of combat feels pretty damn slick.

In the latter half of the demo when I get my hands on some biotics in a sentinel-style class build I was a happy chap indeed. Some might be worried about the fact the powers wheel is gone, but given the game makes it pretty easy to switch between different ‘profiles’ built out of different skill-sets on the fly I’m now feeling much less concerned: it all seems by design. Oh, and PC players rejoice – you’ll have much easier access anyway with full skill hotkey action.

“The smallest Andromeda zone is larger than all of Dragon Age Inquisition. The squad mate with the least lines in Andromeda still has more than Shepard in Mass Effect 3.”

Also in the ‘feels pretty good’ category sits the Nomad, the replacement for Mass Effect’s infamous Mako. I don’t have much to say about this one other than that it actually controls like a good-feeling video game vehicle rather than an all-over-the-place mess. In a cute touch it has two modes – a rear wheel drive mode that’s focused on speed and a much slower all wheel drive mode that’ll allow you to get at least some of that classic climbing up an almost vertical incline Mako action… if that’s your thing.

The Nomad is key since the environments are massive. A fact repeated by Bioware repeatedly is that the smallest Andromeda zone is larger than all of Dragon Age Inquisition. This is insane, obviously, but there’s an economy of scale involved: the nomad moves a lot faster than a horse, and so the game is larger to make up for it. It does offer a great sense of discovery all the same, with impressive vistas showcasing just how good EA and DICE’s Frostbite engine is, as if we needed more proof after Battlefield 1. It’s certainly one of the best in the business.

MEA_February-19

Less impressive are the faces, which as with the previous trilogy often have something strangely uncanny about them. One imagines this has something to do with the sheer amount of facial animation needed for the game (another Bioware factoid was that the squad mate with the least lines in Andromeda still has more than Shepard in ME3), and fans of Bioware’s games are no doubt a little used to that facial jank by now, but it still bears mentioning. Generally speaking I think the game is visually striking, however.

This preview is going on quite a way, and each extra word is probably just a deeper indication of my Mass Effect fandom. I very much wanted this game to be good, and so after months of feeling nervous as all hell about the game’s quality it’s incredibly reassuring to be able to report that it seems like everything is going the right way. Some of the little foibles and quirks of old Mass Effect somehow persist, but things like dodgy facial animation didn’t hold those games back from greatness either.

Much now hinges on how the game grows: a few hours is not long enough to get a true feel for the story, nor is it long enough to truly understand how its RPG systems will grow and expand combat. These are questions we’ll be able to answer in a month’s time when the game arrives, but for now: I’m stupidly excited again. This is a strong start, and I really hope Bioware stick the landing.

Battlefield 1 – there’s a bit of Metro and Locker in the Fort de Vaux map from They Shall Not Pass DLC

23 Feb

Another map from Battlefield 1’s They Shall Not Pass DLC has been shown off, and it looks like it shares a few things with old favourites.

Battlefield 1 developer DICE pushed an update to the game’s CTE recently that brought a number of big balance changes. More importantly, the update included content from the upcoming They Shall Not Pass expansion.

We’ve already seen the the Soissons map and the two new tanks that you’ll see on it, not to mention the new French Army player models.

In today’s video from Westie, we get treated to our first look at Fort de Vaux, another one of the four maps coming with They Shall Not Pass. Fort de Vaux is made up of massive wastelands above ground, a network of underground tunnels, and the big fort itself.

It looks like we’ll be having many close-quarter combat in this one, judging by the footage, bringing to mind the many corridors of Operation Metro and Operation Locker. The video features commentary from YouTuber Stoddeh in the latter half, since he captured the footage.

They Shall Not Pass releases sometime in March.

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.

Efi Oladele will play a part in the story of the next Overwatch hero, but she’s not the one

23 Feb

Efi Oladele may not be Overwatch’s next hero, but her role is important.

overwatch_efi_oladele_crop_1

The theory-crafting obsessed Overwatch community has been quite active in the last few days. After Blizzard published an in-world interview with someone called Efi Oladele, fans began working the new character into their theories.

Some thought Efi would be the creator of Doomfist, long believed to be the game’s next hero, before the idea was shut down. Others thought Efi is herself the new hero, which seemed unlikely given her age.

After more or less confirming that the four-legged tank hero is not the one we think it is, game director Jeff Kaplan more or less sent fans back to square one.

To make things a bit easier on them, though, Kaplan later clarified to Polygon that Efi will play a part in the story of the next hero, adding that the identity of the character has not been confirmed.

Kaplan didn’t outright say Efi won’t be the new character, so perhaps we’re looking at some form of transformation? Back to speculation, it seems.

Titanfall 2’s 6v6 Pilot only mode Live Fire releases tomorrow with double XP

22 Feb

Live Fire, the 6v6 Pilot only mode for Titanfall 2, will be released tomorrow.

titanfall_2_live_fire

The news was posted by Respawn Entertainment on the official Titanfall 2 website.

It will feature two mode-specific Live Fire maps, Featured Playlists, a new execution, an additional Coliseum map, mixtape-style matchmaking, balance patches, and more.

Balancing was touched upon last week via the preliminary patch notes found here.

Here’s more information on the content included in tomorrow’s drop, straight from Respawn:

  • Mixtape Matchmaking: You’ll notice a complete overhaul of the matchmaking menu. Thanks to hard work from the team and feedback from the community, this new feature will allow you to create your own “mixtape” of modes.
  • Featured Playlist: Here we will be swapping out new modes each week that we think you should play, and for some of them we’ll reward you with Double XP events for checking them out.
  • Live Fire Maps: There will be two maps, Stacks and Meadows, that will support Live Fire mode only. Live Fire will be a limited time mode that will show up on Featured Playlists. We’ll be rotating this with other modes that we want to feature.
  • New Patch: There will be a large patch included with this update that will bring a plethora of game changes and fixes among many other things. We will provide patch notes online at release as well as in the Multiplayer menu FAQ.
  • New Execution: Inspired by the Stim, Last Hit packs a punch and you’ll see it show up with the rest of the executions in the Pilot customization options.
  • New Coliseum Map: Go mano e mano in a brand-new map called Columns that adds a twist to the existing formula.
  • New Factions Intros: We’ve added some new dialogue for faction leaders, so enjoy the new pep talk as you drop into that next match.

If you want some pointers on playing the new Live Fire mode, Visceral Games community manager Jay Frechette has you covered over on the PS Blog

To celebrate, the studio is also hosting a double XP weekend from tomorrow, through Monday February 27. The bonus XP will be granted only for playing in Live Fire mode.

Theorys suggest Overwatch’s new hero could be a spider tank

22 Feb

Speculation surrounding the new Overwatch hero continues, and an interesting theory has popped up.

As you already know, as teased yesterday, Efi Oladele is an 11-year-old robotics prodigy from Numbani, the city where the Unity Celebration took place. This is where the gauntlet of Doomfist is location, and where an attempt to steal it took place.

overwatch spider-tank

Efi is interested in Omnics, she lives around then in peace and all that so it goes without saying she wants to create one to help mankind. This Omnic could be Anchora, a female Omnic quadruped tank hero who was outed by a 4chan member who also leaked the Lunar festival.

Enough of the recap. You can read all of that in the previous posts. Here’s the interesting bit: hints one the new hero seem to have been present in both the Sombra reveal trailer and concept art featuring a mechanical spider (thanks, PCgamesN) Blizzard showed at BlizzCon 2014 during a panel.

sombra oevrwatch efi thing

In Arekkz’s video you get a look at the hints from the Sombra trailer. The eye symbol is similar to Efi’s facial paint, there is a robot of sorts that looks like a spider and it connected to the gauntlet of Doomfist. Yeah, there he is again despite the fact he is not the new hero per Blizzard. Maybe someday then, or as part of an event.

Anyway, enjoy the continued teasing and my lovely MS Paint skills in the screencap above.

When the new Overwatch character is fully revealed we let you know of course.