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Tag Archives: Xbox 360

Horizon Zero Dawn: how Guerrilla made open world content that doesn’t feel like checklists and chores

25 Feb

Horizon Zero Dawn is a pleasure to play to 100% completion, every step of the way. How did Guerrilla achieve this remarkable feat?

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Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the few open world game to respect the player’s time and energy.

As touched on in our Horizon Zero Dawn review, side content is carefully laid out around hubs to reduce backtracking; optional quests take you on tours of environments you might otherwise miss; and when you do step off the beaten path, it’s usually rewarding in some way – narratively or mechanically or both.

“Either we’re going to spend another couple of months and really try to get this up here, or we’ll just cut it. We don’t want something to be in there that’s mediocre.”

This makes Horizon Zero Dawn a refreshing antidote to open world fatigue, and according to senior producer Joel Eschler, Guerrilla Games made a conscious effort to avoid checklist-style gameplay.

“It’s definitely something we were aware of,” he told me at a Horizon Zero Dawn pre-launch event in Sydney last week.

“When we were building our feature set for Horizon and we got to the point where we agreed we are going to polish this and we’re going to commit to this staying in the game, we wanted everything to be up to a certain quality level. We wanted everything to be really good.”

Eschler made a series of gestures indicating multiple levels of content. “We didn’t want to have this: amazing, really good, crappy,” he said, waving a hand well below the other levels.

“If we were working on something and it wasn’t working, we didn’t like it internally or it was going to be too expensive to make right or the playtests were saying that it wasn’t working, then we looked at it really hard and decided, okay, either we’re going to spend another couple of months and really try to get this up here, or we’ll just cut it. We don’t want something to be in there that’s mediocre.”

Even so, Horizon Zero Dawn makes clear distinctions between main and side content – and that’s one of the reasons Eschler believes it works so well.

“We have our varying tiers of quests. We have our main Aloy progression story which is our big main path that everyone who finishes the game will see. We have teams dedicated to that,” he said.

“And then we have other teams dedicated to the side activities like the Hunting Grounds, which are tests of skills. And they were really, really heavily designed between quest designers, artists, the designers that built the robots, to highlight the skills of the robots and to give you the chance to become really, really expert at hunting them.”

“We have teams dedicated to the side activities, and they were really, really heavily designed between quest designers, artists and the designers that built the robots.”

This particular side quest chain stands out in Horizon Zero Dawn as proving far more interesting than the usual timed twitch-reflex tests open worlds throw in for really hardcore players; the Hunting Grounds offer more tactical challenges that work as advanced tutorials for mastering the combat sandbox.

Also of note are the Cauldrons, which Eschler described as “pure gameplay” tests of both combat and traversal as well as a chance to understand more about the origins of the machines. Other open world content includes bandit camp take overs, a modest collection of viewpoints and collectibles – but Horizon Zero Dawn also features traditional narrative-driven side quests.

“Then we have other quests, which are kind of side quests and lower in tier than the main story, but we really tried to make these more personal by telling individual stories of people who live in the world,” Eschler said.

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“We spent a lot of time doing the world building and building up the lore, so we could have these side stories that don’t necessarily impact the big overarching narrative, but still impactful to these individuals. We wanted it to feel like a real, living world.”

These are also noteworthy, presenting an array of colourful characters that make Horizon Zero Dawn especially memorable. Eschler’s comments about making the stories fit into a “real, living world” aren’t just PR waffling, either: Guerrilla has worked hard to make good on this promise.

In one particularly noteworthy example, I elected to follow an NPC at the end of a quest to see whether they reverted to a generic face in the crowd, as in so many games – and instead discovered a permanent change in their behaviour and some unique ambient dialogue. Since the quest has completed and there’s no objective to find out what happens next, most players won’t even see this scene, but its existence makes the quest feel meaningful and consequential.

This sort of thing is possible because Guerrilla divided its forces on Horizon Zero Dawn, Eschler said.

“We have these multiple teams that are focused on making [one] particular part of it as awesome as possible rather than spreading the team thin spending time here and there and there,” he said.

Horizon Zero Dawn releases February 28 in the US and March 1 in Europe, exclusively for PS4.

Mass Effect: Andromeda – here are the minimum and recommended PC requirements

24 Feb

Bioware has finally released the system requirements for those who plan to play Mass Effect: Andromeda on PC.

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It doesn’t look like you’ll need a super-awesome state-of-the-art machine to enjoy Mass Effect: Andromeda. That’s always good news.

Minimum

OS: 64-bit Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i5 3570 or AMD FX-6350
MEMORY: 8 GB RAM
VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB, AMD Radeon 7850 2GB
HARD DRIVE: At least 55 GB of free space
DIRECTX: DirectX 11

Recommended

OS: 64-bit Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-4790 or AMD FX-8350
MEMORY: 16 GB RAM
VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GTX 1060 3GB, AMD RX 480 4GB
HARD DRIVE: At least 55 GB of free space
DIRECTX: DirectX 11

Mass Effect Andromeda is out March 23 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

Some Nier: Automata players are crying foul over NIN64 trash item found while fishing

24 Feb

Nier: Automata was released in Japan earlier this week, and some players have taken offense to an item considered trash in the game.

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According to a post on Japanese site jin115, Nier: Automata players took to Twitter to express their displeasure over an item called “NIN64” which is added to the character’s inventory as a trash item.

Nier has a fishing mechanic which can result in the player catching rare items, and in other instances trash – which is pretty standard for any game with a fishing feature. However, some players think the NIN64 item being called trash by the game is a slight to the Nintendo 64 console.

Apparently, enough people complained because the game’s producer, Yosuke Saito, said Square Enix plans to “change the name of an item you’ve all pointed out.” The name change will be included with the upcoming patch which also fixes some game bug.

As Siliconera points out, the game takes place 10,000 years into the future, and it’s more likely than not a fun little Easter egg paying homage to a popular gaming system that’s still floating around (no pun intended) 100 centuries later.

The site also notes not all players in Japan think it’s a play on the MIM-46 Mauler which was an anti-aircraft missile system used in the 1950s. We’re going with the former, as it makes a bit more sense, we guess.

Nier: Automata will be released in North America on March 7 and Europe on March 10 for PS4. It will also come to PC at a later date.

The Horizon: Zero Dawn launch trailer is totally worth three minutes of your time

24 Feb

You should really take a few minutes out of your day and watch the launch trailer for Horizon: Zero Dawn. It’s totally worth it, in our opinion.

In the video above, you’re given a look at the gorgeous landscapes in Horizon: Zero Dawn, combat situations, and a really cool tribal ritual involving cave art.

It’s a rather cool video, and that’s saying a lot considering there have been so very many released. All you have to do is look at our hub page for the game and see for yourself.

Considering the game has garnered positive reviews from critics, we enjoyed it as well, SuperData might be on to something with its sales prediction: it estimates the action-RPG will sell 4-6 million units by the end of 2017.

A couple of reports from Digital Foundry make note of how phenomenal the game looks on PS4, going so far as saying it’s the best 4K title yet for PS4 Pro. That said, an updated analysis of the game posted today called out a few issues with the quality of water rendering, instances of bad lip sync, and human enemies being rather dense at times. However, Digital Foundry said what works “far outweighs the more localized gripes” of what is wrong with it. Future updates could resolve some of the issues, according to the report.

That’s just something to keep in mind should you decide to pick it up. The game has a seamless world without loading screens, and it’s massive, so if you come across a few hiccups, hopefully it won’t break your immersion.

Those with either a PS4 or PS4 Pro should prepare themselves for a small day-one patch which adds a Performance Mode for smoother framerates, and higher visual fidelity for both 4K and 1080p displays.

Horizon: Zero Dawn releases next week on February 28 in North America and March 1 in Europe.

Horizon Zero Dawn looks and runs great, but not every part of it is on the level – report

24 Feb

There’s a lot to like about Horizon Zero Dawn’s presentation, but because most of it is so good, the poorer aspects stand out more.

Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the best looking games on PS4, that much is clear. But how it manages to do so and have a stable performance is a more interesting conversation.

Digital Foundry published a comprehensive analysis of the game’s tech and how it uses the Decima engine to create its seamless open world. Though the outlet’s initial look at the game summarised why it’s a technical masterpiece, today’s analysis is more in-depth, and goes on to identify what works and what doesn’t.

The report praised the look of the world, thanks to the game having physically-based rendering and a mix of materials and textures that make it easy to identify if the object you’re looking at is a relic of the old world or something new. Lighting and foliage make the environment look rich, and the game even has a real-time cloud simulation system.

Post-processing effects and character animations were also cited among the game’s triumphs. The latter in particular is very impressive, when you consider how much open-world games sacrifice to reach that scale. Managing a stable frame-rate of 30fps amidst all that is an achievement, according to the outlet, even if it doesn’t appear impressive on its own.

However, there were a few negatives Digital Foundry thought to highlight. The biggest culprits here are the quality of water rendering – which is surprisingly lacking compared to the rest of the game’s presentation, the game’s AI, and some instances of bad lip sync.

For the AI, the analysis noted how humans don’t react the way they should, this is particularly jarring considering how well the machines do. The report gives the example of the whistle ability, which allows you to hide in a bush and call out enemies to perform a stealth take down. Doing this doesn’t alert others, so you can easily repeat it until all enemies are dealt with.

Finally, lip sync was also highlighted as one of Horizon: Zero Dawn’s lacking aspects. The issue appears more pronounced when talking to non-important NPCs.

You can watch the video or head to the link above for more.

This week’s best game deals: Steam Link, Nintendo Switch, Hitman, and more

24 Feb

Here we are, right at the end of February, days left to go before Horizon Zero Dawn and the Nintendo Switch are released and we’ve got another week’s worth of the best gaming deals. What a time to be alive. Let’s get started.

As usual, we’ve got deals that’ll work in the UK, deals that’ll work in the US and some deals that will work in both the UK and US, as well as presumably many other places.

UK & US Deals

Steam Link and Controller

This weekend, the Steam Link and Steam Controller are getting some nice discounts in both the UK and the US. Right here in these United Kingdoms, GAME is offering up the Steam Link for £15.99 (60% off) while the Steam Controller is available for £27.99 (30% off), this offer ends March 1st. Over in the US, however, it’s Amazon offering up the discounts – with the Steam Link available for $19.99, the Controller up for $34.99 and a bundle of the pair available for $54.98.

In the UK:

Steam Link for £15.99
Steam Controller for £27.99

In the US:

Steam Link for $19.99 (out of stock at time of writing but available to order)
Steam Controller for $34.99
Steam Link and Controller bundle for $54.98

mirrors_edge_catalyst

If you head over to the PlayStation Store today, you’re sure of a big surprise. That is, of course, if you’re surprised when EA puts its games on sale. For a limited time, you can pick up some of EA’s biggest titles for a fraction of the cost. Some of the highlights of the sale are below, but let me just underline the fact that you should get Titanfall 2. Because you should.

  • Titanfall 2 for £22.24
  • Star Wars Battlefront for £7.99
  • Dragon Age Inquisition for £7.99
  • Unravel for £3.99
  • Mirror’s Edge Catalyst for £10
  • Battlefield 4 and Battlefield Hardline bundle for £7.99
  • UFC 2 for £15.99

EA Games sale on PlayStation Store

mass effect 2

Between Mass Effect Andromeda’s impending release crawling ever closer and the straight-up real-world discovery of brand new potentially habitable planets, it’s a good time to think about going to space. Unless Elon Musk gets that passenger program up and running sooner than expected, your best bet is to grab a copy of the Mass Effect Trilogy on PC while they’re on offer for £8.49 / $10.56 / €9.99.

Mass Effect Trilogy on PC (Origin) for £8.49 / $10.56 / €9.99 from Games Planet

thomas_was_alone

Curve Digital has some nice games that you’ve probably heard of. If you don’t recognise the company name, perhaps you’re aware of Thomas Was Alone, Action Henk, OlliOlli, Hue, The Swindle, 10 Second Ninja X, Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure or The Swapper? Well, funnily enough, right now you can get every game I just mentioned in one big bundle on Xbox One for £19.20 / $20. At least for the next two weeks. Not a bad deal for that many indie darlings.

Instant Indie Hits from Curve Digital (ten games) on Xbox One for £19.20 / $20 from Microsoft Store

nintendo_switch_reggie

Nintendo recently announced some of the file sizes for the Nintendo Switch’s launch line up, revealing that unless you plan on buying all of your games strictly as boxed editions, you’re going to want to pick up one of those dinky little MicroSD cards to get some extra storage space. We’ve got a guide to the best Nintendo Switch Micro SD cards over at Jelly Deals but here’s a few of our top picks in case you wanted to grab one before next week’s launch.

For context, here’s the full list of announced game download sizes:

  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – 13.4GB
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – 8GB
  • Puyo Puyo Tetris – 1.09GB
  • Disgaea 5 – 5.92GB
  • Snipperclips – 1.60GB
  • I Am Setsuna – 1.40GB
  • Dragon Quest Heroes 1 & 2 – 32GB
  • Nobunaga’s Ambition – 5GB

In the UK:

64GB SanDisk Ultra Micro SDXC for £17.39 from Amazon UK
128GB SanDisk Ultra Micro SDXC for £37.19 from Amazon UK
200GB Lexar Professional MicroSDXC card for £61.45 from Amazon UK

In the US:

64GB Samsung EVO Micro SDXC for $19 from Amazon US
128GB Samsung Select Micro SDXC for $39.99 from Amazon US
200GB SanDisk Ultra Micro SDXC for $69.95 from Amazon US

UK Deals

hitman

Hitman, arguably one of the best games of last year, finished up its first season around November 2016 and made its way onto store shelves as a boxed edition about a month ago. Rather nicely, that fancy Steelbook boxed edition, which contains the entirety of Hitman’s first season, is reduced down to just below £30 at the moment, with the PC version coming in at just a hair under £27.

Hitman Complete First Season Steelbook Edition on Xbox One for £29.99 from Amazon UK
Hitman Complete First Season Steelbook Edition on PS4 for £29.99 from Amazon UK
Hitman Complete First Season Steelbook Edition on PC for £26.95 from Amazon UK

rise_of_the_tomb_raider_20_year_celebration

Rise of the Tomb Raider’s eventual PS4 release brought with it a boxed edition that comes complete with an artbook and some downloadable skins in order to celebrate the franchise’s twentieth anniversary. If nothing else, this gives you the ability to play through the game as PS1 Lara and get your cognitive dissonance on. This edition is currently reduced down to £24.99 at GAME and Amazon UK, although for some reason it’s only for Prime members at Amazon UK.

Rise of the Tomb Raider 20 Year Celebration on PS4 for £24.99 from GAME
Rise of the Tomb Raider 20 Year Celebration on PS4 for £24.99 (Prime members) from Amazon UK

yooka_laylee_screen_new_1

By now, it’s damn near impossible that you haven’t heard of or at the very least seen screenshots of the ultra-brightly coloured spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie. Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee is due out in April (fingers crossed) but it’s currently available to pre-order for the cheapest price so far at Amazon UK, where Prime members can get the game for £26.99 and non-Prime members can put an order down for £28.99.

Yooka-Laylee on Xbox One for £28.99 (£26.99 for Prime members) from Amazon UK
Yooka-Laylee on PS4 for £28.99 (£26.99 for Prime members) from Amazon UK

battlefield_1_they_shall_not_pass (10)

So far since launch, Battlefield 1 has done a fairly good job of holding its value. That being said, it’s currently down to its lowest historical price at Amazon UK on all formats. The Xbox One and PS4 versions are available now for £30.85 while the boxed PC version is down to £27.99 – that is, as long as you don’t mind getting the massively pointless code-in-a-box version.

Battlefield 1 on PC (code-in-a-box) for £27.99 from Amazon UK
Battlefield 1 on Xbox One for £30.85 from Amazon UK
Battlefield 1 on PS4 for £30.85 from Amazon UK

farming_simulator_17

Look, I know how much you want to play the Milk mini game, but why buy 1-2 Switch when you can just buy the Farming Simulator 17 while it’s on offer for £17.14? There’s a whole lot more to simulate than milking a cow, after all.

Farming Simulator 17 on PC (boxed) for £17.14 from Amazon UK

Libertalia UC4

Odds are good that if you were going to buy the big, bulky collector’s edition of Uncharted 4 that by now, you would have. If, for whatever reason, you don’t own this one and fancy it, it’s cheaper than ever at GAME – down to £44.99 when you use the code MVC10 during checkout.

Uncharted 4 Libertalia Edition for £44.99 using code MVC10 from GAME

US Deals

PS4 with XCOm

Look, I’m not telling you to get this PS4 Slim console that comes with both Uncharted 4 and XCOM 2 while it’s discounted down to $230. But I’m also not NOT telling you to buy it. All that aside, those are both rather nice games with a nice console, so…

PlayStation 4 500GB Slim with Uncharted 4 and XCOM 2 for $229.99 from Dell

Logitech G602

Logitech’s G602 gaming mouse is one of the better gaming mice (mouses?) available on the market right now, which makes it a little bit nice to know that it’s currently discounted down to $39.99, which is about half price.

Logitech G602 wireless gaming mouse for $39.99 from Amazon US

bioshock_infinite_sad_elizabeth

There’s always a man, a lighthouse and a deal on Bioshock Infinite’s PC edition. This time, you can grab yourself a Steam key for the game for $5.99 from Amazon US.

Bioshock Infinite on PC (Steam) for $5.99 from Amazon US


With that, we’re done for another week. Keep in mind that deals, prices and availability can change at the drop of a hat, so apologies if you miss out on something you wanted. I’ll be over at Jelly Deals, scouring the world wide web for more deals. Feel free to visit, or follow us on Twitter and give us a like on Facebook.

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild: how big is the map? Let’s take a walk and find out

24 Feb

The word on the internet is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has a rather large map to explore. Let’s find out if such rumblings are true.

In this video from Arekkz, who has spent plenty of time with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at events over the last few months, we get a quick look at what the game world has to offer.

Starting in the southern most part of the map and jogging as straight as possible north, it took Arekkz 28:19. He tried to avoid scaling mountains when possible and never sprinted once, even when confronted with enemies.

South to North is the quickest route, which means the map is shorter in length than width. Since the entire map won’t be available to him until launch, Arekkz estimated it will take 33:25 to cross the map when traveling east to west.

Previously, during a visit to Nintendo UK, Arekzz played a demo and it took him 3:40 to walk across the entire area available. Doing some math, he estimated it would take 40 minutes to walk across the entire game world from north to south and 33 minutes to walk from east to west. Again, this is only if you are able to go in a straight line without running into environmental obstacles.

breathofthewild

His math when playing the demo wasn’t too far off it seems, as Breath of Wild does indeed have a rather large chuck of land to traverse. Also, due to all options available when exploring the world, he said the map feels massive.

It should be noted he was unable to show the entire map due to an embargo agreement with Nintendo, but you get to see a decent bit of it in the video.

Nintendo said previously The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is 12 times the size of Twilight Princess, which takes around 12 minutes to cross. The size description from Nintendo likely also includes dungeons, shrines and other factors.

You can find out how large the game world is for yourself next week when the game is released alongside Nintendo Switch.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will also be released for Wii U on March 3.

Steam Audio is Valve’s attempt at helping developers create more realistic sound in games

24 Feb

Valve wants to improve the audio experience in games with Steam Audio.

steam_audio_1

Steam released a new software dev kit today called Steam Audio. The free SDK, is available now to download and works on PC, Linux, macOS, and Android.

Steam Audio, according to Valve, is a physics-based audio solution that aims to recreate a realistic behaviour for sound in games. Although it’s designed for VR, any game can utilise it.

The SDK includes a number of very exciting features that should improve the fidelity of sound in games. For instance, Steam Audio will take into account the type of objects in the room, their location, and whether or not sound should be echoey in these scenarios.

Valve hopes this will save developers the time it takes to go into each level and adjust occlusion and other factors by hand. The SDK already has plugins for major engines such as Unity, Unreal, and other middleware software.

Steam Audio is royalty-free, and isn’t made for any one specific VR headset. You don’t even need Steam to use it.

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!

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.

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 video shows how to create profiles, slot favorites and command your squad

23 Feb

The second Mass Effect: Andromeda Gameplay Series video has dropped, and it provides information on profiles, favorites and squads.

The previous Mass Effect: Andromeda video provided a look at weapons and skills. Since there isn’t a class system in the game, all skills are available and can be upgraded with varied upgrade paths for playstyle customization.

There are over a dozen skills and 300 upgrades available available in the three main skill categories: Biotics, Combat and Tech. As skills are unlocked, the player will be able to access the seven types of profiles available. Two of these are explained in the video: Adept and Explorer.

For those more interested in Biotics, the Adept profile will provide more bonuses in that category to suit the player’s style. These bonuses will provide more damage to the Biotics chosen as well as the duration of the skill. The more the player levels these skills the more powerful they become.

For those who prefer a mixture of skills, the Adept profile is a combination of the skills Biotics, Combat and Tech. It will provide various buff and perks for all abilities chosen.

As with the loadouts noted in the previous video, players are also able to swap between profiles at anytime. To make this easier, the player can map one of the profiles a Favorite. One slot will hold three skills and one profile. There are four slots available, which means players can map up to four profiles and 12 skills to Favorites.

Squads will come in handy during battle, and each of the six members have three active and two passive abilities. Cora, for example, uses Biotics as a support character in the video while Drack acts as bruiser soaking up damage. Members of the player’s squad can also be leveled up.

Squad-mates can be ordered to various areas of the battlefield and given orders to defend, attack or rally. The player can also team up with them to use power combos which activate when a squad member to the player primes one or a group of enemies. This sets up the kill, allowing the player or a squad member to “detonate and finish the job.”

Alex recently spent some time with Mass Effect: Andromeda, and seemed rather pleased with what he was able to play. The video you see in his hands-on preview is the same as the one above, only without commentary. Basically, B-roll footage.

He also had a chat with the game’s producer, Fabrice Condominas. You should really give that a read, as it’s rather interesting.

We’ll have more on Mass Effect: Andromeda as it gets closer to release on March 21 in North America and March 23 in Europe.

The latest Steam client beta makes browsing controller configurations less of a pain

23 Feb

You won’t have to worry anymore if the controller configuration you’re looking at is busted or not.

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Sometime after the launch of the Steam Controller, Steam allowed users to upload and download the many user-created configurations for any of the available games. Because of how versatile and customisable the Steam Controller is, this list is massive.

Now that Steam officially supports Xbox and PS4 controllers, this list is getting even bigger. The latest Steam client update aims to make browsing the many configurations easier.

The way it does this is through a new voting system that sorts configurations based on a rolling, 30-day window of usage. Voting allows the page to highlight the most useful or liked configs. To start with, vote numbers will be seeded from the previous sorting method, before eventually wiping the vote counts when the update goes live.

The update was released yesterday, but only to those subscribed to the beta branch. Find the full list of notes below:

Library

  • Fix sort order for games that start with punctuation or Unicode characters.

Steam Controller

  • Added voting for controller configurations. Initial vote numbers are seeded via the previous sorting method, however the vote counts will be reset when voting feature leaves Beta.
  • Configurations are now sorted based on a rolling 30 day window of usage. The most used configurations by playtime over the last thirty days will be shown at the top.
  • Configurations can optionally be sorted by votes instead of recent usage.
  • Fix for special characters in Steam Configuration Links for non-Steam games.
  • Fix for crash when changing filter type for controller configurations.
  • Fixed Link configuration title updating after it’s loaded
  • Fix for showing (Username) when previewing a configuration with multiple controllers attached.
  • Fix for dead-zones on some controllers being too small when using joystick mouse, which

This Prey video shows how Mimic Matter turns the player into a turret and a coffee mug

23 Feb

A new gameplay video for Prey has been released, and it provides a look at the various forms the player can take using the Mimic’s power.

As you can see in the Prey video above, the player can turn into everything from an apple to a turret.

Called Mimic Matter, this is one of the first alien powers the player will learn once acquired from the small, Mimic Typhon. The power can be leveled up, so expect to start out small before you can start mimicking more complex objects.

It seems to fool enemies rather well, and surely it’s a bit of a shock when a harmless teapot turns into a human with gun. Then blammo. They’re dead.

Be sure to give the video a watch.

Prey will be released worldwide on May 5 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.