Evolve Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Evolve RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Nine Coolest Things That Happened in Gaming 2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/kgjea/nine-coolest-things-that-happened-in-gaming-2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/kgjea/nine-coolest-things-that-happened-in-gaming-2016 Sun, 27 Nov 2016 16:30:24 -0500 Lampstradamus

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In 2016, many new things appeared and excited gamers, while many old things popped up out of their graves and surprised us. Some of these trends might continue into 2017 and some might not. Let's hope a majority do. 

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We can't predict everything that is going to happen, so we can just wait and enjoy what is to come. 

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Second Lives for Old Games
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There are many games that try to make a mark on the field of gaming and sometimes, it just doesn't happen. Games fail to make a mark and simply disappear and die off. The fan bases for those games are often left without much else and have to move on. However, we saw something different happen this year: Evolve got a second life.

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Released back in 2015, Evolve was a highly hyped game but left many disappointed. The game had a big player base that died off a few weeks after its release, and the game was proclaimed dead by the gaming community. 

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But Evolve went free to play in 2016, giving it new life. Turtle Rock Studios opened the floodgates and tried to resurrect their dead game -- and it actually worked. There was a massive influx of new players wanting to try out Evolve as well as an influx of returning players wanting to see what was new.

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Though 2k is stopping production of the game even after the resurgence of interest, this little experiment shows us that dead games don't have to stay dead. Maybe developers could resurrect other old gems, too.

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"Development Hell" Games Releasing
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The only wait that seems as long as waiting for VR to become a thing is the eventual release of a "development hell" game. Several games that many gamers have been waiting years for are finally releasing (or have a release date).

The world will finally get their hands on games like Final Fantasy XV, The Last Guardian and Persona 5. Many gamers have been waiting for these games since the last generation of consoles and though Persona 5 is releasing in 2017, we have do (finally) a release date for it.

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The wait will finally be over.

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Nvidia Geforce 1000 Series
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Though this is more relevant for the PC gamer, the fact that Nvidia managed to develop and release an entirely new line of graphics cards is great. The Geforce 900 series released back in 2014, so the release of the 1000 series is a nice upgrade for those of us looking for new tech.

With the 1000 series being more affordable than Nvidia's Titan Xs, gamers can look forward to cards that won't completely break the bank. And even if you don't want to buy a 1000 series card, the 900 series of cards will obviously go down in price, since they are no longer the latest tech on the market.

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Cross-Platform Play
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Cross-platform play is something that many gamers have wanted for quite some time. From some wanting to crush players on other platforms to prove console superiority, to others just wanting to play with friends who own other platforms, cross-platform play is something that many gamers thought may never actually happen.

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But in 2016, it did. 

With Microsoft pushing integration between Windows 10 and Xbox One and with Rocket League opening up cross-platform play with PCs and consoles, the barriers between platforms are slowly but surely crumbling.

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Class Based Team Shooters
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From Overwatch to Paladins and Battleborn to Paragon, any gamer can see the interest in team shooters increased in 2016. After the release of the last really memorable team shooter, Team Fortress 2, there had been a drought of class-based team shooters. 

Though a couple of these games haven't been fully released (some are still in beta) and Battleborn having basically died, it can be seen that there's an emergence of interest in team shooters from gamers and developers alike.

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FPS Resurgence
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The first-person-shooter genre had been in sort of a rut for a while. With many gamers swapping genres, sticking to staples such as Counter-strike, or just downright bemoaning about the lack of innovation, the FPS genre was thought to be in decline.

So when several excellent FPS games released in 2016, everyone was surprised. DOOM surprised many gamers with its excellent single player campaign. Battlefield 1 excited players with its World War One setting. And TItanfall 2 gave gamers an interesting campaign, which built upon the polished gameplay from the first title.

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In a nutshell: 2016 has been a good year for the FPS genre.

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Virtual Reality Gaming
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Virtual reality is finally here. After decades of dreaming and waiting, virtual reality is finally in the hands of people. Though it may be more for enthusiasts at the moment, virtual reality and virtual reality gaming exists, and it isn't completely terrible.

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Of course, there are issues with virtual reality, but it is still young. From the pricier headsets and setups on the PC with the Vive and Rift, to the the first console headset in the PSVR and the affordable Gear VR and Google Cardboard, VR is here to stay -- and we can look back on 2016 as the year it really took off.

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Japan Embraces the PC
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For the longest time, if you wanted to play an English port of a Japanese game, you'd have to get it on a console. But since 2015 Japan has been porting more and more games to the PC.

With games such as Zero Time Dilemma, the Danganronpa series and God Eater making their way to the PC, some Japanese developers have showed that they understand that there is a market for their games on the PC and hopefully, other developers and publishers will see the same.

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Pokemon Go
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Arguably one of the most talked about games during the summer months, Pokemon Go released and took the world by storm. Anyone and everyone was talking about it. Everyone was writing about it. And everyone was playing Pokemon Go. Old players and new players all picked up their phones and installed the app, wandering the world to catch pokemon. Even if the fad has died down since, Pokemon Go left its mark.

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The gaming industry is always evolving and changing as the years go on. Trends always change and technology is always being invented. And despite how some people may say that the gaming industry hasn't changed or that it is in a rut, there are clear signs that great things have been happening and that the industry is trending up.

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Here are 9 of the coolest things that happened in gaming in 2016.

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Unexplored and Underexplored Game Genres https://www.gameskinny.com/8ipx2/unexplored-and-underexplored-game-genres https://www.gameskinny.com/8ipx2/unexplored-and-underexplored-game-genres Fri, 18 Nov 2016 06:00:02 -0500 Lampstradamus

Games have come a long way from the simple days of Pong, and we've been basking in an age where all kinds of gamers can find something that scratches their itch. From mechanically dependent RTS and MOBAs to real time action RPGs and My Summer Car, we've had many things to play but there may still be some genres that could use a little more exploring.

Asymmetrical Games

In recent years, games with asymmetrical gameplay have been popping up, but what exactly is an asymmetrical game? It's when one player might have more or different traits, abilities, or knowledge than another player. Asymmetrical gameplay brings a different type of experience than symmetrical gameplay due to the gap between players.

Of course this is always something that is difficult to balance, but it is because it is complicated that it is interesting. Natural Selection 2 was one of the successful attempts at asymmetrical gameplay, and Nintendo made attempts at asymmetrical games with their Wii U console -- one player gaining an advantage with their tablet controller that the other players wouldn't have.

One of the bigger examples of this type of thing would be Evolve. The playing field for the monster and the hunters are completely different. Each side having different advantages with monsters being able to grow and evolve, but hunters having a number of advantages on top of their varied gear and powers.

Another older, but well known example would be in Left 4 Dead's PvP mode, where 4 players can play as the infected against the survivors.

Something with asymmetrical gaming that I would love to see is an RPG, with one player being the antagonist, and set up a campaign or a dungeon and control the monsters that the other players would face.

Or maybe there would be a tower defense with asymmetrical gameplay. One player tries to break into a team's fortress or the reverse.

Augmented Reality

Pokemon Go blew up when it first released this year, but the popularity of the app seems to have died down a bit since -- with 2 million players daily it's far from dead. Augmented reality games have existed for a long time but Pokemon Go seemed to be one of the first big augmented reality games with a wide appeal.

The idea of augmented reality games is interesting but Pokemon Go left many players wanting more. They wanted an app that was a little more than just opening the app to catch something, and then maybe fighting a gym. An augmented reality game with PvE or actual PvP gameplay would be interesting. Maybe an RPG with augmented reality integration where you could get certain things out in the real world to help you progress.

Virtual Reality RPG

If you've watched any anime in recent years or played anything of the .hack series then the idea of a virtual reality RPG has probably crossed your mind. The genre is something that hasn't been explored yet due to the just emerging virtual reality technology.

RPGs are known for being long extensive experiences compared to many of the demos and short term experiences that are coming out for VR now, but when it comes to stories and characters, RPGs are one of the genres where people get immersed the most. A VR RPG where you can immerse yourself in the story, and the game in first person would probably be a very interesting and mind blowing experience.

Conclusion

There are many types of  game genres that have been explored but there are always itches and urges that need scratching that we might not even know are there. A good example of this would be the Dark Souls/Demon Souls series of games. It scratched an itch for many players that went untapped for years and it's gone from being a cult hit to being a household name when people talk about hard games.

Just because you don't know there's a market there, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

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Micro-Transactions and The Future of Gaming https://www.gameskinny.com/a60gp/micro-transactions-and-the-future-of-gaming https://www.gameskinny.com/a60gp/micro-transactions-and-the-future-of-gaming Wed, 14 Sep 2016 07:36:39 -0400 ForTheTwo

If you've picked up and played a game in the past half-decade, it's happened to you. You've clicked on a weapon you haven't unlocked yet, seen a bright overlay on-top of that extra skill slot, or maybe you went a bit too far down the main menu, and you opened that large gleaming 'Store' button. If you're very lucky, those have been the worst of it, but you keep seeing them everywhere. At worst, and these stories are becoming depressingly more frequent -- that new piece of gear that drops for everyone but you is only available as a paid item; your main is finally added to the roster as paid DLC.

Micro-transactions, the literal game-changing monetization method that funded the app store and propelled mobile gaming into its adolescence, has been pushing its way back into the market from whence it came -- and ruining it forever, if the internet is to be believed. 

Defending micro-transactions was never the hill I wanted to die on, but let's kick off the party that ends in my immolation at the stake right here: Micro-transactions aren't going to ruin gaming. The situation isn't as good as you might have hoped, but it's not nearly as bad as you think it is.

Is There Such A Thing As A Good Micro-Transaction?

For starters, micro-transactions aren't the revolution anyone thinks they are. The rise of the video game market, before home consoles were a technical possibility, and for years after, is closely tied to micro-transactions. 

The secret origin of the micro-transaction, as told by Dan Griliopoulos, is found in one of the first pieces of gaming hardware:

"Arcade machines. . . follow the whole model the microtransaction businessmen tell us that they've just invented - big upfront investment by the company, paid back by micropayments driven by compulsion."

By the time smartphone apps came around, the arcades had died out, and games were sold like software: pay a large amount once, and play it as much as you wanted. This model died in the early days of the app store: there was a 'race to the bottom' as consumers flocked to the lowest priced version of an app, regardless of quality. It hit games and game developers right in the wallet. The simple fact of mobile was that quality and success had a much weaker relationship than price and success. Profit in this environment came from charging lower prices to a wider audience, and hoping to make profits there.

Micro-transactions had seen success in the glory days of Facebook Gaming: while ads were the initial sources of profit, by early 2010 micro-transactions would account for "90 percent of . . . revenue." Game developers took this strategy to the app store, and literally changed the entire landscape of mobile app development. On iOS, the most profitable games are all free-to-play titles, with revenue coming entirely from small in-app purchases.

The Games Industry Takes Notice

It would be wrong to ascribe micro-transaction's growth in 'hardcore' gaming to any one particular player. Lots of companies were involved: 

  • Valve's fanbase-splintering decision to make Team Fortress 2 a free-to-play title, supported entirely by in-game purchases of cosmetic items was a hot topic for months afterwards.
  • Two years before that, Riot Games introduced the future king of Twitch, League Of Legends as a free to play title, supported entirely by purchases of in-game characters, stat-buffs and skins.
  • Two years before that, before the first iPhone, before Android meant anything outside of science fiction, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion had already started to sell horse armor for real-world money. 

The saving grace of micro-transactions was this: by relying on profits generated by a small percentage of their community (the so-called 'whales'), games could afford to ditch traditional payment methods. MMOs facing cancellation after a drop in subscribers could recover by retooling themselves as F2P titles. Top-rated, infinitely replayable games like Path of Exile were built as free-to-play, micro-transaction funded titles. Genre titles like Harmonix's Rock Band were able to extend the lifespan of the title, by releasing over a thousand new songs as playable tracks, selling them as singles and collections.

Micro-Transactions Today: Who Foots The Bill?

The issue, of course, happened when micro-transactions were viewed not as an alternative to charging full-price for a game, but as an extension of it.

It doesn't matter where it first happened: in a boardroom, college seminar, in a moment of drunken inspiration, wherever it was, someone thought: 'What if I put micro-transactions in a $60 game and I still sold it for sixty dollars?' 

 When the rant begins about Publisher X ruining Game Y, this is often the result. Paid DLC isn't new: paying for skins and cosmetics, even in single player titles isn't a revolution either. The real frustration began when these charges became exploitative, charging players for features or items that should have been in the game to begin with, or overcharging for non-essential features.

The former generates unease because it changes how the game is perceived from the very beginning: if a game is fundamentally different without those items, it's a bad experience. Offering players assistance for cash can challenge a gamer's pride, but requiring an additional purchase to clear a particular challenge, or to avoid hours of tedious grinding? Calling it fleecing would be nicer than the practice deserves.

"No. No. God, I hope not."

Payday 2 lead designer, David Goldfarb, when asked if the team planned to introduce micro-transactions.

 The past few years have seen some abuses of micro-transactions and appropriately negative reactions from the community:

  • Payday 2introducing micro-transaction based drops in 2015.
  • Payday 2, after a year of feedback, drops micro-transactions,
  • Evolve, retails at $60, majority of playable characters locked, with micro-transactions heavily encouraged to unlock extra content.
  • Evolve keeps micro-transaction model, goes free to play.
  • Overwatch is widely criticized for its use of micro-transactions: while items are cosmetic only, they are unlocked randomly, regardless of if they are acquired from in-game experience of through purchase.

As more games continue to add micro-transactions at launch, including the recent Assassin's Creed: Unity, and Mortal Kombat X, the question becomes not only 'how bad will it get?' but 'when will it stop?'

It Probably Won't Be That Bad

The worst offenders were never that respectable to begin with, and communities have spoken, repeatedly and forcefully, when they cross the line. Gamers, a typically divided group, have been shockingly coherent when it comes to what they will and won't allow. Even if they can't stop micro-transactions financial appeal, or themselves from buying in -- EA still makes over $650 million on DLC alone -- their ability to impact change couldn't be any clearer from the above examples.

"We are building (in) all of our games the ability to pay for things along the way, either to get to a higher level, to buy a new character, to buy a truck, a gun, (or) whatever."

-- Blake Jorgensen, CFO at EA

EA's earnings are hardly an exception, and while some critics of micro-transactions hope the practice might die out on its own, it's increasingly unlikely. Gamers have voted with their wallets, and while the majority may eschew DLC and its like, enough have paid for micro-transactions and in-game purchases that they are likely to become a permanent fixture. If they do vanish from the gaming landscape, it will only be because a more financially successful method has taken its place.

If micro-transactions are destined to ruin gaming, the best possible outcome is that they do it now, and do it quickly. The gaming industry can be naive, insular, myopic, and ignorant, but it has never failed to respond to the financial results of its actions. If micro-transactions as a practice are as cancerous and malignant as its biggest failures imply, failing fast is the best possible future for all parties involved. 

The most likely answer is the simplest, the safest, and most unexceptional: micro-transactions are here and they're going to be here for a while. When they cross the line, enough people will object that it ultimately becomes of little consequence. Most things ultimately are.

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Evolve Stage 2 Hunter Guide: Electro Griffin Tips and Tricks https://www.gameskinny.com/gmu4j/evolve-stage-2-hunter-guide-electro-griffin-tips-and-tricks https://www.gameskinny.com/gmu4j/evolve-stage-2-hunter-guide-electro-griffin-tips-and-tricks Mon, 25 Jul 2016 04:50:22 -0400 Sergey_3847

The latest patch for Evolve Stage 2 introduced a new type of hunter – Electro Griffin – an adaptation of a trapper Griffin Hallsey. He wears a brand new Electro Suit that will allow Griffin to move and shoot at the same time. This makes Electro Griffin much more effective in domes and at close range combat.

The two new weapons - The Laser Storm and The Final Lockdown - are worthy substitutions for Griffin’s standard Gauss SMG and Harpoon Gun. Their attributes are slightly different, and thus require a new approach to handling the character.

This guide will give you all the necessary tips and tricks on how to hunt the monsters with Electro Griffin in Evolve Stage 2.

The Final Lockdown

evolve The Final Lockdown

This is Electro Griffin’s ultimate weapon – a modified harpoon gun that will not only slow down the monster, but will heavily damage it, as described by the developers: “Face melting, chord ripping, shredding sonic disrupter.” However, its range is shorter (25 m) than that of the standard harpoon (41 m).

Tips and Tricks:
  • Try to shoot the monster with The Final Lockdown exactly before it goes for a Traversal.
    • In this way it’ll not only be disrupted, but will receive tremendous amounts of damage.
  • Sometimes the monster manages to keep enough distance, but if you manage to hit it in the back, the monster will be stopped for a moment, which will significantly decrease the distance.
    • Use it to catch a fleeing monster. 
  • Always pair yourself with a medic when harpooning since the gun doesn’t work well on the front side of the monster.
    • In this way medic will be able to heal you, and if the monster goes for a medic, you will be able to harpoon it from the back.

The Laser Storm

evolve The Laser Storm

This is not a bad weapon, however, it should be used mostly in combination with harpoon gun, as by itself it won’t do too much. The advantage of The Laser Storm over the standard SMG is that it is highly precise.

Tips and Tricks:
  • Before using The Laser Storm, always harpoon the monster first, and then you can deal damage with your side weapon.
  • Use its electro neuron dampening plasma to slow down the wildlife.

Sound Spikes

evolve sound spikes

Electro Griffin’s Sound Spikes have a smaller radius (45 m) than the standard spikes (70 m), so it makes him weaker when it comes to trapping the monster than the standard Griffin.

Tips and Tricks:
  • Because of the smaller radius Sound Spikes need to be placed as close as possible to the pathways, in order to have the highest chance of detecting the monster.
  • Sound Spikes are still very vulnerable to destruction, so try to keep them hidden.
    • Also, a destroyed spike may indicate a close presence of the monster.
  • Mini Map is highly advisable to use in combination with the spikes.
    • Set your spikes as early in the game as possible and put them above the ground.

Other tips and tricks

  • You want to have a Reloader/Speedloader perk with your Electric Griffin’s harpoon gun since you need to be able to hold the monster down as quickly and as long as possible.
  • When the monster is inside the dome, you should slow it down immediately and wait before the rest of the hunters will finish it off.
  • When you see that the monster’s life total is at its end, you can switch to your Laser Storm in order to help finish the monster more quickly.
  • Electro Griffin is now much more efficient against mobile monsters, such as Goliath and Wraith.
    • But you still need to move a lot and try to stay behind the enemy’s back.

It is impossible to say which version of Griffin hunter is better, and there is no need to since they are quite different. So, if you want to keep distance and use your Sound Spikes, then go for standard Griffin. If you want to be more mobile and engage in close combat, then choose Electro Griffin.

Which of the two Griffins do you like the best in Evolve Stage 2? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

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Evolve Stage 2 Hunters Guide with Tips and Tricks https://www.gameskinny.com/i1i4e/evolve-stage-2-hunters-guide-with-tips-and-tricks https://www.gameskinny.com/i1i4e/evolve-stage-2-hunters-guide-with-tips-and-tricks Sat, 16 Jul 2016 08:04:38 -0400 Sergey_3847

There are 24 hunters (including adaptations) in Evolve Stage 2 -- which can be categorized into four classes: Assaults, Trappers, Medics, and Supports. Each hunter has primary and secondary weapons, and a number of abilities that will be covered in this guide.

You will learn how to use each hunter and their particular abilities in specific situations. If you like to play as a monster, then check out this guide to monsters’ abilities here.

If you are completely new to the game, first read this beginner’s tutorial on the basic game mechanics here.

Assaults

Assaults

This class of hunters is designed to fight monsters face-to-face. They usually wear two weapons for long- and short-range combat, and a shield to protect themselves from massive hits.

Aleksey Markov
  • His main weapon is Lightning Gun that deals a lot of damage. It emits a beam of energy that burns everything on its way.
  • Tips and tricks:
    • Use it to hunt small wildlife, such as Trapjaw and Reaver.
    • It also has a special analyzer that will not deal damage to your allies.
  • His secondary weapon is Assault Rifle that can serve as a good change for the period when you need to recharge the Lightning Gun.
  • Arc Mines are great for making traps in the most unexpected places, such as top of the cliff or other hideouts.
Blitz Markov
  • Blitz is using the so-called Tesla Gun that is similar to Aleksey’s Lightning Gun, but in this case its power grows the longer you use the beam.
    • Concentrate the beam on one or more enemies without interruption and watch it demolish everything on its way.
  • The same principle goes for his Tesla Mines -- the longer they lay charging, the bigger they explode.
Hyde
  • Hyde’s Flamethrower is a great weapon although it is quite short-ranged.
    • Use it to set enemy on fire and even if it escapes the burn will keep dealing the damage.
  • The Minigun, on the other hand, is great for short long-range bursts. In this case, it will be both very accurate and deal a lot more damage.
  • Use Toxic Grenades to lure the monster out of its hideouts.
James Parnell
  • Parnell uses Combat Shotgun for close-range combat and Multifire Rocket Launcher for long-range combat.
  • His trademark is Super Soldier Armor that boosts all of his damage, but also deals damage to himself.
    • Use it when you need to increase your firepower for a short period of time.
Torvald Stavig
  • Similar to that of Parnell’s equipment, Torvald uses an Autofire Shotgun for close-range combat and Mortar for long-range combat.
  • The Shrapnel Grenades are great for dealing damage to a monster in compact areas, such as caves.
Ida Lennox
  • This female hunter carries Plasma Lance that doubles its damage after each consecutive hit. However, if Ada gets damaged, the counter on the Lance damage nullifies.
  • Her Thunder Strike ability allows Ada to jump high into the air and deal a lot of damage when she crashes back down.

Trappers

Assaults

This class of hunters specializes in tracking down monsters using all sorts of gadgets and traps. They also have a weapon that is usually used to slow down the prey.

Margaret "Maggie" Lumumba
  • Maggie uses Harpoon Traps to catch a monster. It should step on it for it to activate -- which slows down the monster enough for Assaults to pick it up.
    • Set up Harpoon Traps on the waysides, so the monsters wouldn't be able to see them immediately.
  • Daisy the Pet Trapjaw is a hound that can smell the monster, thus leading Maggie to its exact position.
  • Her improved version -- Wasteland Maggie -- has Fire Traps instead of Harpoon ones, and her Pet also has a flamethrower.
Griffin Hallsey
  • Griffin also has a Harpoon weapon, but he carries it in his hands. It does the same job as Maggie’s Traps.
    • Use it when monster runs straight at you -- Harpoon Gun will stop it immediately.
  • His main tool is Sound Spikes -- a positioning system that tracks down the monster’s movements.
    • Set them in different locations, for example, hide them in the bushes.
Abraham "Abe" Presley
  • Abe’s got Stasis Grenades that slow down all creatures within the radius of explosion.
    • Use these grenades against especially mobile monsters, such as Wraith and Goliath.
  • His other weapon is Tracking Dart Pistol -- which deals no damage, but shoots darts with tagging ability similar to Griffin’s tracking spikes.
Khovalyg "Crow"
  • Crow is carrying two rifles: Stasis Rifle -- for slowing monsters down, and Kinetic Rifle -- for dealing damage.
  • He also has a pet -- Gobi (Batray) that can fly and detect monsters on the ground. As soon as it detects the monster, it will be tagged.
Jack Arthur Lennox
  • Jack’s Repulsor is also designed to slow monsters down, but instead of harpoons it shoots a laser beam.
    • Use Jack’s jetpack to jump high into the air and use Repulsor on the monster from above.
  • The Survey Satellite is a neat gadget that emits constant laser beams. If monster touches one of its beams it’ll get both damaged and tagged.

Medics

Assaults

Medics’ purpose does not entirely revolve around healing their teammates, they can also have offensive weapons and some special abilities, such as reviving the dead.

Valerie "Val" Wolski
  • Medgun is her main tool that heals one target at a time and has a fantastic range.
    • As a Medic it’s your job to heal your party, so keep your Medgun ready at all times.
  • She also has the Tranquilizer Gun that can slow the monster down and highlight its position.
  • Her modified version -- Rogue Val -- uses Medgun with an AOE ability, meaning that it can heal all three other teammates simultaneously.
Ðorde “Lazarus” Živkovic
  • This hunter is nicknamed after the Lazarus Device that brings dead hunters back to life with full health.
    • Before reviving dead teammates try to distract the monster from eating the body, then you can safely restore them.
  • He also has a Personal Cloak that makes him invisible to others.
    • Use it in combination with Lazarus Device to revive your party in a sneaky way.
Caira Diaz
  • Caira’s arsenal consists of a Grenade Launcher that shoots two types of grenades -- one with napalm and the other one with healing.
    • Use napalm grenades to damage the monster and healing ones to restore your party’s HP.
  • Her Acceleration Field ability is really cool -- it creates a field of energy that boosts your team’s movement speed.
Alex "Slim"
  • Alex carries two types of guns -- one for damage and one for confusion.
    • Leech Gun is used for damage that shoots with charged green particles.
    • Spore Gun creates a cloud of spores around monster that prevents him from smelling the prey.
  • His Healing Drone is used as a passive source of heal, so you don’t need to chase your teammates to heal them.
    • Just set up the drone somewhere close and it’ll do the job.
E.M.E.T.
  • This medic utilizes a Replay Cannon that works in an interesting way -- first, it shoots out a tracker that hits the target, and then, it sends a swarm of missiles that chase the tracker, thus damaging the target wherever it is.
  • In order to restore his teammates’ HP E.M.E.T. throws a bunch of small Healing Beacons into mid-air that provide slow, but reliable healing.

Supports

Supports

As the only hybrid class in the game Supports combine many different abilities of all the other classes of hunters, thus making them the most flexible choice.

Henry “Hank” Allen
  • Hank is clearly closer to Assault class than any other Support. His Laser Cutter is so strong that it can single-handedly put down a monster.
  • Shield Projector protects him from damage, and Orbital Barrage ability allows him to summon a lot of explosives falling from the sky, thus serving as an AOE.
  • The adaptation of Hank -- Tech Sergeant Hank -- has all the same abilities, but slightly boosted.
    • For example, his Laser Cutter fires faster and his Orbital Drill lasts longer.
Bucket
  • Bucket’s Guided Missile Launcher is a great weapon for long-range combat. It fires a missile which can be controlled to precisely hit the target.
  • He can also have up to three Sentry Guns at the same time. These look like floating drones that fire automatically and explode when they’re out of ammo.
    • Use them to trap monster inside the cave or lure it out.
William Cabot
  • Cabot’s Rail Cannon is a heavy weapon that can pierce through solid rocks and other terrain.
  • Damage Amplifier is a gadget that when targeted at the monster will double all the damage that it receives.
  • Similarly to Hank's Orbital Weapons Cabot’s Dust Tagging drops radioactive dust from the sky that highlights every living being in the radius of 200 feet.
Sunny Yú
  • Sunny owns probably the most devastating weapon in the game -- Mini-nuke Grenade Launcher.
    • It can only be used as a long-range weapon, so it’s up for you to decide if that’s an advantage or a drawback.
  • Use Sunny’s Booster to increase her jetpack’s burst potential by 50%.
  • Shield Drones are great for protecting your teammates.
    • Put them somewhere high to cover a larger territory.
Kala Kapur
  • Kala’s weapons are really weird. She uses Siren Missiles that turn into mines when they hit the ground. They continue moving and dealing damage.
  • Her Teleport Pads work as an in-n-out teleport rifts that allow hunters to quickly move from one position to another. If you’ve ever played Portal, you will instantly like this ability.
  • Use her Armor Reducer to weaken the monsters’ armor.

It doesn’t matter which of the two classes -- hunters or monsters -- you want to play in Evolve Stage 2. You still need to know the characteristics of all the characters to be able to not only play them well, but also to effectively counter their abilities.

Come back soon for more Evolve Stage 2 guides at GameSkinny!

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Evolve Stage 2: Can Turtle Rock's Second Attempt Succeed? https://www.gameskinny.com/oigin/evolve-stage-2-can-turtle-rocks-second-attempt-succeed https://www.gameskinny.com/oigin/evolve-stage-2-can-turtle-rocks-second-attempt-succeed Mon, 18 Jul 2016 11:46:43 -0400 Erro23

Disclaimer: Evolve is back in beta, so any issues I have are subject to change. 

As some of you may know, Turtle Rocks' FPS hunting style game Evolve went free to play a week ago on the PC. This wasn't a surprise to many, following a disastrous DLC campaign which left a bad taste in many people's mouths -- especially those users who shelled out out over £100 throughout the life of the game for elements many felt should have been free or included in the base game. 

The devs of the game summed this up best by describing it as a "DLC shit show."  The player base shrank severely over the first year, with players dropping off rather quickly -- even soon after the game was released. Following the announcement of this shift towards free to play however, the count of Steam users has exploded -- leveling out at 51,126 players last Saturday.

Geronimo 

Hunters become the Hunted

There are 4 classes (or hunters as they're known) to choose from in Evolve, and numerous characters within each class -- each with different weapons, play styles and aspects about them. You have the Assault, Trapper, Medic, and Support classes.

There are also a variety of monsters to choose from -- the Goliath, Meteor Goliath, Kraken, Elder Kraken, Wraith, and Gorgon. Both the monsters and the hunters are on a free weekly rotation, as is par for the course with free to play games these days. Alternatively, they're all unlockable through daily login bonuses or through silver keys, the game's currency.

Your job as a a hunter is to find the monster in what is a glorified game of hide and seek before it can reach stage 3 of its evolution. Upon reaching stage 3, the hunters become the hunted and the goal of the monster is to destroy a power relay located on the map. With each evolution, the monster grows in size and power, becoming exponentially more difficult to defeat in its final stage than in stage 1.

Now I have one key complaint about Evolve that I need to get out of the way early. 

It's a serious issue I have with the beta and the game in general. There's is a problem with the design behind and idea of two monsters -- the Meteor Goliath and Elder Kraken. Both of these monsters render the originals (who are still purchasable) completely obsolete, as they do everything the originals do but better.

The Meteor Goliath, for example, is exactly the same as the original Goliath in gameplay and attack style; however, all of the attacks deal fire damage over time as well. The Elder Kraken is the same -- all of the Kraken's original issues and problems are addressed and the amount of shortfalls from the character are reduced considerably.

Personally, I can't get my head around why they introduced two monsters that are better in every way than the originals and that cost more. It reeks of pay to win elements to me, and makes me rather uncomfortable about the future of Evolve Stage 2 when it leaves its beta period.       


 

Balance also seems skewed towards the monster player.

Of the numerous games I played, every single time we lost to the monster -- and vice versa, I won every game I played as a monster. This happened regardless of what stage in the evolution they found me at.

One of my games, where I was playing a Trapper against a Meteor Goliath, he attacked us as soon as we had exited the drop ship and managed to kill all of us. This may just be because of the influx of new players to the game, but it still left me questioning the balance changes that Turtle Rock has made -- especially those regarding the strength of the monster in its early stages and the changes made towards Trappers and Medics.

But again, this game is still in beta, so changes can still be made towards balance.

In the end I didn't enjoy my time with Evolve. The gameplay elements are as stale as in the original, and the future of Evolve seems questionable too me. Unless there is a severe overhaul in gameplay mechanics, I can see there being another drop off in players akin to the one that occurred after the original release.

Whilst currently the only way to gain silver keys is by playing the game, the fact you can buy perks (which improve your character) with a considerable amount of silver keys, and the fact that certain monsters are just upgrades of others, makes me worry for the future of the game. It might be free to play, but it looks like it may be pay-to-win. 

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Evolve Player count increased to 1 million after going free-to-play https://www.gameskinny.com/al10t/evolve-player-count-increased-to-1-million-after-going-free-to-play https://www.gameskinny.com/al10t/evolve-player-count-increased-to-1-million-after-going-free-to-play Thu, 14 Jul 2016 04:49:26 -0400 Joseph Ocasio

Last weekEvolve surprised the game industry by re-constructing itself into a free to play shooter. Since the co-op shooter from Turtle Rock Studios (the team behind the original Left 4 Dead) and 2K Games went free to play, the player count has gone from a couple hundred actives to now over 1 million people playing the game.

If that wasn't enough, according to Steam Charts, the game has peaked at more than 51,000 concurrent players recently. This is up from June’s peak of only 234 concurrent users. As a big thank you to fans, 2K and Turtle Rock Studios are now offering the Blood Eagle skin for Griffin to anyone that logs in between today and Monday.

Evolve was originally released in 2015, to mostly positive reviews from critics. But general audiences weren't as enthusiastic as critics, with most feeling the game featured too little content and was just being made to exploit consumers out of their money for DLC.

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Evolve Stage 2 Monsters Guide with Tips and Tricks https://www.gameskinny.com/88qst/evolve-stage-2-monsters-guide-with-tips-and-tricks https://www.gameskinny.com/88qst/evolve-stage-2-monsters-guide-with-tips-and-tricks Wed, 13 Jul 2016 08:30:38 -0400 Sergey_3847

On July 6, 2016 Evolve, an online first-person shooter, entered the Alpha test period of Stage 2. Turtle Rock, the game’s developer, promises to enter Beta this August. What does this mean? Well, Evolve becomes a free-to-play game for everyone on Steam, so you don’t have to pay for it anymore.

The game also went through some changes -- such as longer respawn times, non-ranked casual mode, and changes to hunters’ abilities. Since the game received lots of new players due to the new distribution model, it is time to give a few tips to those who are completely new to the game.

This guide will cover all the monsters available in Evolve, their abilities and how to use them in the most effective way. If you need help understanding the basics of the game, here is an excellent beginner’s guide for you.

Goliath

Goliath

Goliath is the first monster available in Evolve. It’s quite mobile for its size, and it is especially effective in a close combat with the hunters. He has some amazing abilities that you should use appropriately.

  • Rock Throw -- allows Goliath to pick up a massive rock and throw it with high precision at one or more targets, thus serving as an AOE.
  • Tips and tricks:
    • If you want to aim well, you need to stand still, so choose safe spaces to perform the throw.
    • Also, be aware of the huge knockback from the throw.
  • Leap Smash -- helps Goliath cover huge distances very quickly by jumping really high and far. When it lands, the smash hit can be extremely damaging to the hunters party.
    • Unlike Rock Throw you can move while performing Leap Smash.
    • If you simply need to jump far and away, use the Traversal ability, which is the same as Leap Smash, but without the Smash.
  • Charge -- makes your monster rush forward through the area damaging all the hunters and wildlife on its way.
    • Use it to quickly escape the danger zone.
    • Remember that you can’t turn while performing Charge.
  • Fire Breath -- an excellent AOE that sets everything on fire. If you use it on one target, it can deal massive amounts of damage.
    • You can effectively use this ability to uncover cloaked hunters. Just set them on fire and you will be able to see them.
    • Also, it is the best way to hunt for wild animals.

Another type of the same monster is Meteor Goliath -- a slightly improved version of original Goliath that carries more armor, but basically has the same set of abilities.

Kraken

Kraken

Kraken is larger than Goliath and it can fly. This ability allows him to be especially effective in a long-range combat and in controlling the battlefield from above.

  • Lightning Strike -- since Kraken is designed after a mythical god-like monster, it has god-like abilities. So, it can cast a lightning storm over a large area dealing a lot of damage.
    • Use it as an AOE on hunters that can’t quickly escape the area of damage.
    • You can actually manually change the position of the Lightning Strike before it hits the ground.
  • Banshee Mines -- when in air Kraken can throw down these little mines that explode on impact. It can also serve as an AOE.
    • Use Banshee Mines to track the movements of the hunters when they chase you.
    • Also, remember that mines can be destroyed as well.
  • Vortex -- an energy impulse that can knock down and damage any target that stands on its way.
    • Use this ability to protect yourself by pushing away the chasing hunters.
    • It can be used to lock an enemy in the corner.
  • Aftershock -- definitely one of the strangest abilities in the game, but if used correctly it can be quite useful. It creates a bubble of energy around Kraken that deals a lot of damage.
    • You need to move constantly to get the most out of this ability.

The modified version of Kraken is called Elder Kraken and is available in the game. Now, with Stage 2 it’s really good and received some cool buffs to its abilities.

Wraith

Wraith

Wraith is an assassin among the Evolve monsters. It’s extremely agile and fast, but it has the lowest pool of health. So, the main strategy here is to be quick and sneaky with your attacks.

  • Abduction -- allows Wraith to perform a quick hit-and-return move. So, as soon as it hits an enemy, it immediately returns to its initial position.
    • This ability can be used to grab a fleeing hunter.
    • You can also set the hunters off of their track of movement.
  • Warp Blast -- an excellent ability that lets Wraith teleport to a certain location and create a blast of energy at the spot of arrival.
    • If you’re in trouble, use this ability to quickly leave the danger zone.
    • You can use it in the air as well by creating a blast in the sky.
  • Supernova -- Wraith creates a field of energy around itself that boosts all of its attacks and the speed of movement.
    • Try to stay inside the Supernova as long as you can -- in this case enemies will have serious trouble dealing with you.
  • Decoy -- this ability allows you to spawn a decoy that hits even harder than Wraith itself. It can be your personal assistant in times of trouble.
    • Try to spawn a decoy when you’re inside Supernova -- you’ll be undefeatable.
    • Focus on one enemy at a time and let the decoy work through the rest.

Behemoth

Behemoth

Behemoth is the biggest and the strongest monster in Evolve. It is well armored and has a huge pool of health. However, it is quite slow and cannot jump.

  • Fissure -- appears when Behemoth smashes the ground. It travels all around and can cover a large territory, thus it works well as an AOE.
    • This is Behemoth’s main ability, so use it as often as you can.
    • Use it as a long range attack, when you don’t want to approach the hunters directly.
  • Tongue Grab -- similar to Wraith’s Abduction ability, but in the case of Behemoth its body stays on the same spot.
    • Use it to catch a fleeing hunter or a wild animal.
  • Lava Bomb -- appears when Behemoth spits a pool of lava that forms into a sphere. It then deals damage to any target that tries to approach it.
    • Use this ability to prevent hunters from chasing you down.
  • Rock Wall -- Behemoth summons a wall of rock that deals damage. It’s an unusual ability, but it can serve you well in special circumstances.
    • Summon a Rock wall when you need to hide from your enemies.
    • You can also use it as a trap.

Gorgon

Gorgon

Gorgon is a truly hideous monster. It looks like a giant spider that has some neat characteristic abilities, such as Web Sling that allows it to stick to the walls and a few others.

  • Acid Spit -- allows Gorgon to spit a pool of acid. Obviously, anyone getting into the pool will be severely damaged.
    • Use it as a trap for chasing hunters.
  • Web Snare -- an ability that lets Gorgon spit a flock of webbing at a target, thus slowing it down and making it vulnerable to damage.
    • Use Web Snare to catch fleeing hunters or wild animals.
  • Spider Trap -- another huge spider spawns and chases hunters. It then swallows the hunter and deals damage to it inside its belly.
    • This is another classic trap from Gorgon and it should be used to prevent hunters from chasing you down.
  • Mimic -- Gorgon produces a copy of itself that can use Web Sling ability and explode when heavily damaged.
    • It’s a tricky ability and you can use it to lure hunters into your other traps.
    • Also, use it to protect yourself from the hunter party by detonating the Mimic.

If you are new to the game, then avoid using Gorgon in the beginning since it’s a really tricky one. Choose something like Goliath or Behemoth to get a better grip of the mechanics and abilities, and then you can try something harder.

Come back soon for more Evolve Stage 2 guides at GameSkinny!

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Evolve Lives Up to Its Name and Goes Free to Play https://www.gameskinny.com/nflz8/evolve-lives-up-to-its-name-and-goes-free-to-play https://www.gameskinny.com/nflz8/evolve-lives-up-to-its-name-and-goes-free-to-play Mon, 11 Jul 2016 05:31:40 -0400 Kevin Malkiewicz

Turtle Rock Studios [TRS] added a countdown timer to the Evolve website that left players wondering what update or announcement was coming. At the end of the timer it was announced that Evolve would be “evolving” into Evolve Stage 2.

Evolve Stage 2 is Turtle Rock Studios’ answer to their dwindling player base. The game’s new iteration is now free to play with micro-transactions. The game was flooded with new players upon re-release, an increase from roughly 100 to 20,000+.

The increase in player base is to be expected, but what was slightly off was the regression in beta stage. In this beta stage, TRS removes already existing content to be tweaked, redesigned, and improved for a later release. What players are left with is a game that has roughly the same content as was available for its initial release in early 2015.

Only time will tell if Evolve Stage 2 will be able to hold on to its influx of new players as it works through its post-launch beta.

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The slow death of single player games? https://www.gameskinny.com/licsi/the-slow-death-of-single-player-games https://www.gameskinny.com/licsi/the-slow-death-of-single-player-games Mon, 15 Feb 2016 11:48:28 -0500 Engela Snyman

Are single player titles dying out? This is a curious question, but one that seems to be popping up more and more of late.

 A lot of companies have been throwing out games that look, sound and jingle like a good single player, but in the end it just boil down to FPS MMOs with a 3-4 hour campaign thrown in there to make us feel better for paying 60-80 dollars for it. Destiny, Evolve, and Call of Duty are just a few examples of these types of hybrids.

 

Companies are certainly putting less and less focus on single player games, and it is a known fact that online features, like multiplayer, can turn a game into a potential cash-cow, enabling companies to milk forced gameplay out of gamers - cue Mass Effect 3 - and ensure they make enough to follow up with a sequel. However, Ken Levine, a game developer who worked on Bioshock believes they will disappear completely from the market.

“[T]hey’re very expensive to make and I think gamers are saying pretty loud and clear that if they’re going to spend $40, $50, $60, they want an experience that lasts more than 10-12 hours. That’s a lot to ask somebody to spend.”

Yes, that is true, but there is such a thing as “quality over quantity,” Mr. Levine. Players do want more bang for their buck – it's their right to demand it - but they sure as heck don't want it as cheaply and generic as you can pork it out. Games like the Mass Effect series, God of War, Witcher 3, Dragon Age: Origins, Elder Scrolls, and the Arkham Series are solid proof that AAA single player titles aren't only good, they are what people enjoy. More so than a glorified multiplayer.

I'm looking at you Destiny.

Is multiplayer better?

Countless MMO's are being released every year and every company seems to want to get their slice of the pie. This, in turn, has over-saturated the market and gamers start to get bored, stale and frustrated with poorly designed MMO's and rehashed themes being shoved down their throats. World of Warcraft managed to grab the hearts of its audience for being the first true MMO on the circuit. Consistent updates and expansion has ensured Blizzard essentially corner and dominate that market. Though interest seems to be waning, it still has a huge player base.

Internet is our lives, sometimes our livelihood. Getting people to play online isn't only ingenious but a logical step for companies to use and exploit an essentially free service. The chances of certain games evolving to be purely online is very valid.

War games (like Call of Duty) seem to be taking this route, which is sensible. Most people buy these games for online features, the campaigns are short and powerful, but most of our 400 + hour gameplay are poured into the online servers. But these war games still seem to cling to their single player campaigns like safety blankets, ensuring they have something to snuggle up to when the MMO goes down the toilet. Rainbow 6 Siege is heading in a new direction, though the game wasn't perfect by any means, it, at least, is trying to shrug off its it's safety net.

But, many gamers might ask, why should players pay for an MMO when most of them are essentially free? And why get it on opening day if it will make little to no difference if your grind starts now or in six months? These problems have encouraged companies to slap in a small single player campaign, just to make the deal a bit sweeter and give players something to chew on before herding them to the multiplayer server, where they will grind themselves to dust.

But then why even make multiplayer?

As Mr. Levine said; money. It doesn't cost less to make a multiplayer than a good single player, the multiplayer just has the potential to bring in more money.

This is why DLC is such a thing nowadays. It's like getting players to keep paying for a game they already bought. Monthly, yearly subscriptions or micro-transactions can be milked for years. Where a basic singplayer title, with none of these features, is like a movie screening with no DVD release.

However, the single player campaign in your game can be a chance for you to impress us. If you muck it up then we will be bitter while playing the multi-player as well. We will feel forced into playing it, because, as you said Mr. Levine, we want to have more value, and being desperate to make up that value, we play the multi-player. Because you gave us no other choice.

So are single player titles dying?

Hell no. Singe player games will always have a place in the market, simply because people get passionate about them.

Becoming passionate about a game does not necessarily mean playing online Call of Duty for thirty hours straight. That just means you are passionate about getting a good kill ratio or pushing your DPS into the 10 000's. Instead it refers to a passion for the story, characters and setting you are playing with. It needs to invoke some sort of emotion in you.

Five Nights at Freddy's, probably one of the most well-known horror games of the past few years, has stirred up enough passion and discussion to put the Star Trek vs Star Wars debate to shame. It's a great example of how people are inspired to love these games. Smother them with so much lore they'll be breathing it for the next three years.

Other games like Limbo, Terraria, The Binding of Isaac, the list goes on, are games that inspire conversation and debate, which in turn feeds the flames of passion. And that is what turns a game from just a game into something truly special.

Single player titles carry more weight and longevity than multiplayer. They have the potential to be classics, because they stick to their stories, and they don't keep changing to fit a newer audience. Which means every time we go back to them, we can enjoy the gameplay and story we loved in the first place.

But companies need start to decide; multiplayer or single player, because these hybrids are not doing the gaming industry any favors. Both appeal to different audiences, but they are both equally challenging to design and produce.

In the end respect the audience you are designing for, and don't try to be "a jack of all trades but master of none."

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Evolve's update 8 includes monster-human hybrid hunter Kala and a lot of fixes https://www.gameskinny.com/zoy9g/evolves-update-8-includes-monster-human-hybrid-hunter-kala-and-a-lot-of-fixes https://www.gameskinny.com/zoy9g/evolves-update-8-includes-monster-human-hybrid-hunter-kala-and-a-lot-of-fixes Fri, 29 Jan 2016 10:06:35 -0500 Douglas A. Skinner

Dr. Kala Kapur is the latest character in the multiplayer monster hunter, EVOLVE, from Turtle Rock Studios.

Rounding out the roster of 20 hunter now, Kala is a support hunter who spliced monster DNA into her own genetics and now uses her new monster abilities to hunt them.  

According to the official EVOLVE website, her abilities include :

SIREN MISSILES

An improvement on Kraken technology, these airborne missiles home in on nearby enemies. When placed on the ground, they become more powerful, slower moving homing mines

TELEPORT PADS

An improvement on Wraith technology, these pads create rifts that allow teammates to move instantaneously from one part of the map to another;

ARMOR REDUCER

Using Goliath’s armor technology, the Armor Reducer shoots a beam which temporarily eliminates the Monster’s armor. The armor quickly regenerates once the beam connection breaks.

You can pick up Kala separately for $4.99  or you will already have access to her if you bought the Hunting Season 2 for $24.99. For those who do not have the game, she is included in the Ultimate Edition of EVOLVE for $59.99 which include all skins, and DLC so far.

Besides Kala, update 8 comes with a lot of  bug fixes across all platforms and the Elder Kraken skin which has yet to be released at the time of this article. A lot of bugs that resulted in the game crashing have been fixed along with some animation, respawn, and invisible wall problems.

Most characters and monsters have been rebalanced with new difficulty ratings that the community suggested via feedback. The Gorgon has been given a decrease in dps for Spider Trap and Acid Spit, but it has also been given a health increase when using Mimic. 

With 20 hunters, 5 monsters, and a ton of fixes, EVOLVE is looking good. Happy Hunting.

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10 Awesome gaming -themed statues (that are probably too expensive for you to buy) https://www.gameskinny.com/ykcvl/10-awesome-gaming-themed-statues-that-are-probably-too-expensive-for-you-to-buy https://www.gameskinny.com/ykcvl/10-awesome-gaming-themed-statues-that-are-probably-too-expensive-for-you-to-buy Thu, 21 Jan 2016 11:39:23 -0500 Nick Harshman

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Have you seen any statues or collectibles that you thought were particularly awesome? Share them with us in the comments below!

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Kratos On Throne (Exclusive Edition)

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Wow. Just wow. Look at that thing. It's incredible.

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We finish with the God of War himself, Kratos. This has got to be the coolest statue I've ever seen, and it's a whopping 29 inches tall. Yet another from Gaming Heads, this statue comes in two versions. The regular edition is Kratos without the God of War armor, and the exclusive (read: more expensive) version is the above picture. I think it's obvious which one is better. Unfortunately, the exclusive edition is no longer available, but the standard statue - sans armor - is still up for pre-order and will cost $480.

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Goliath

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This product is definitely a goliath. Standing at 29 inches tall, this piece is still in pre-order and will cost you $750. For that much money, I feel like it should walk around or something -- just saying.

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Either way, the figure looks amazing, and I'd love to get my hands on one. 

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War and Ruin

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Darksiders was an awesome game, so it makes sense that a statue based on the game would be just as awesome. Created by State of the Art Toys, this statue lights up, similar to the Diablo statue. The detail in this piece is breathtaking, particularly War's sword, which sports quite the complicated design pattern. Unfortunately, this is one of the only ones I cannot find anywhere, and so is unavailable. Oh well.

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Diablo

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Do I need to say anything? It's Diablo and he glows. HE GLOWS! I'm just gonna leave it at that.

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Price wise, this one sits at $350 on Sideshow but is sold out and can instead be found on Amazon for $720 or $999.

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Raiden

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I love this statue. This piece was perfectly crafted by Gecco, a Japanese company. This one is special in that it also comes with some interchangeable parts, something most of the others on this list don't do. It comes with a red visor to go over Raiden's face, as well as a red sword and the sword sheath to place in his other hand.

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Another plus is that it seems to be the most reasonably priced on this list, listed at $219. In fact, I might buy it right now...I'll be right back.

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Tali'Zorah vas Normandy

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Another one from Gaming Heads, Tali was an easy choice since she is one of the best characters in the Mass Effect series. This statue boasts amazing detail, especially in the hood of Tali's suit.

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If Tali isn't quite your cup of tea, you can always check out Garrus and Liara as well. They are equally well-crafted. But who cares about them, right? I think we can all agree that Tali is the best.

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Right now, Tali is still up for pre-order and you can nab her for $330, or the exclusive version for $340.

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The Clicker

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These guys give me nightmares, so of course I'd love to have one in my house. Made by Gaming Heads, the clicker stands at 19 inches tall and is one of the grossest looking collectibles out there. But the details are so well done that you can't help but want it.

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They're still up for pre-order at $350, if you'd like to get one.

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Edward Kenway Resin Statue

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McFarlane Toys is responsible for this 14-inch, $400 beauty, which shows the notorious pirate Edward Kenway enjoying a lovely jaunt down a beach. This is one of my personal favorites, purely because of the attention to detail. Kenway's costume is one of the more complicated designs of the Assassin's Creed universe, so to see it rendered with such accuracy and care makes this one of the best I've ever seen. 

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Link on Epona

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Created by First 4 Figures, this statue stands 17 inches tall. This one is cool because who doesn't like Zelda? I mean Link...of course I meant Link. This particular statue is based on The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and also comes in an exclusive faux bronze finish that honestly looks kinda ugly. In case you were wondering (and if you weren't I'll tell you anyway) that exclusive version is selling for over $2,500 on Amazon. Sheesh.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinnyop/0/e/9/0e9915674883ade01e53da8a00376bbf.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinnyop/0/e/9/tiny_0e9915674883ade01e53da8a00376bbf.jpg","type":"slide","id":"100216","description":"

Nathan Drake Premium Format Figure

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We start with Uncharted's Nathan Drake. Created by Sideshow Collectibles, this statue is just pure awesome. Sitting at 16.5 inches tall, the attention to detail on this piece is incredible. 

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What really stands out to me, though, is the way they created such realistic looking clothing. Not to mention they got Nathan's face one hundred percent right, something that is more difficult than you'd think. As for price, this one is $350 from Sideshow, but since it's sold out there you can go to Amazon and find it for...wait for it...$550.

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I personally wonder where Drake is running off to, though I suspect it's to break up with Elena again.

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If you're like me, you've always wanted to start your own collection of comic/game/movie memorabilia. And if you're like me, you can't afford it because those statues cost hundreds of dollars and your firstborn child.

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That doesn't mean we can't dream though! We can still look at these beautiful pieces of art and hope that someday we'll be able to buy one of them...but just one since they're so damn expensive. Either way, here are 10 of the coolest gaming-related statues that are out there.

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The state of first-person shooters in 2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/wxwu0/the-state-of-first-person-shooters-in-2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/wxwu0/the-state-of-first-person-shooters-in-2015 Wed, 02 Dec 2015 19:55:24 -0500 Addison Blu

Looking back at the big first-person shooter (FPS) video game titles of 2015, there are a couple of major takeaways:

First, FPS games are focusing more on minor improvements and small amounts of new content rather than vastly changing the game genre. The biggest changes aren't new ideas; they're better integrations of old ideas.

That brings us to our second takeaway: first-person shooters that add elements of flight simulators, third-person shooters, multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs), and role-playing games (RPGs) are becoming more popular as genre lines blur.

We're taking a look at the biggest titles of 2015 to see how they exceeded expectations and where they fell short. And for the ones that have single-player campaigns, don't worry: no spoilers.

Best titles

Halo 5: Guardians

No matter how you feel about it, Halo 5: Guardians is doing pretty well. 

Video game ratings aggregators Metacritic and GameRankings gave Halo 5 an average of about 84%. None of the other major first-person shooters from 2015 averaged higher than this score, so consider Halo's 84% as the gold standard for this year's titles.

The game's campaign has been highly criticized for both confusing presentation and lack of content. Considering that those are two pretty big problems, it means one of two things. Either campaigns are considered a luxury in 2015 and therefore cannot bring the score down, or the popular multiplayer mode is single-handedly holding up the game's ratings.

That's right: even though very few critics had positive things to say about Halo 5's campaign, it still rated in first place for first-person shooters based on its multiplayer scale, balance, and the new Warzone multiplayer mode.

Warzone combines team fights, with AI bad guys serving as a third faction that both teams fight. Each team also spawns its own helpful AI. The concept works much more like a MOBA game, where there are neutral monsters both teams can fight, as well as minions that belong to a single team.

Basically, Halo 5 is healthy because it does both of the things we expect from FPS games in 2015: it improved on the Halo concept and adopted new ideas from other genres.

But not everything about Halo was improved. Tell your friend in the room to put down that second controller, because Halo 5 has no split screen mode.

Black Ops 3

Black Ops 3 still rated well enough to be considered a "great game," averaging about an 80% score from GameRankings and Metacritic across all three platforms.

Many fans have come to expect Call of Duty and the spinoff Black Ops games to be only marginally different with each release. Black Ops 3 expanded to a 4-player cooperative campaign and added new customization for multiplayer loadouts. Black Ops 3 did exactly what people predicted it would, which is not such a bad thing.

In summary, Black Ops 3 focused more on perfecting the FPS genre and really getting more mileage out of next-generation consoles. It truly steered clear of going hybrid with any other video game genres, except that the customization and loadouts are still more like an RPG than a shooter.

The baby steps are probably a good choice, considering that most games are already struggling to be more like the Call of Duty series to begin with.

Star Wars Battlefront

When it came to reviews, Star Wars Battlefront got an average of 72%. Apparently the hype got this best of this title, and it backfired when players got a lot less content diversity than they expected.

The game plays much like Battlefield games, but with fantastic renditions of Star Wars sounds, styles, locations, weapons, and combat. That being said, there's no single-player campaign and very little multiplayer customization. Battlefront is visually beautiful, polished, and smooth, but the actual experience feels incomplete. It's as if the creators wanted to make a work of art first, then figure out how to let us play it.

Our Star Wars FPS still has its merits, though, especially if you love just goofing off in simple, large-scale multiplayer games. Remember the opening scene of A New Hope where the Stormtroopers and Rebels face off in a hallway, crouching and packed in, dying in droves and firing aimlessly? There are plenty of times when Battlefront actually looks and feels just like that, and it's not a bad thing at all.

Casual gamers and die-hard Star Wars fans alike can enjoy Battlefront, if they're willing to give up time with the other awesome FPS titles of 2015. That being said, Battlefront also includes third-person shooter and flight simulator elements that might just tip the scale in the game's favor for skeptics.

Battlefield Hardline

The atypical Battlefield Hardline averages about 73% with major critics. That rating isn't so bad, considering that Hardline feels less like a Battlefield game than Star Wars Battlefront does.

The game tried to incorporate a lot of new concepts for Battlefield that aren't really new concepts for the FPS genre. We can't fault Visceral Games too much, as the military game market feels oversaturated, and the incorporation of stealth helped Hardline work more like a law-enforcement game.

Hardline generally tried new combinations of old ideas, attempted to give them purpose, and came out with mixed results on implementation. Battlefield basically did the opposite of what Black Ops ended up doing.

Evolve

One of the biggest titles in terms of innovation, Evolve ranked an average of 75% from the major review aggregators.

Evolve focuses on playing both in single-player and multiplayer as either a hunter or as a monster; however, there are 4 hunters and only 1 monster. The teams are uneven and the objectives for each side are different, so the game doesn't feel like a typical force-on-force or free-for-all fight.

The campaign's story is light on plot, but Evolve isn't a sequel from a major franchise and managed to hold its own simply based on fresh ideas and solid execution. This game is really the best implementation of new FPS ideas that didn't draw entirely from other game genres. Evolve is no work of art and it's not a crossover -- unless you count playing third-person as the game's "monster" character.

It's just a very original FPS, and for that, it gets a very honorable mention.

Single-player campaigns

With players spending so many more hours in online multiplayer, most of us thought that story-driven campaign modes would be gone by now. Even 2014's Titanfall basically turned the campaign into a narrative skin placed over slightly-modified online multiplayer matches.

I also take for granted that many players don't ever even use the single-player mode in their games. I know from experience that I often don't play or finish the single-player or co-op material for various reasons.

Star Wars Battlefront doesn't even have a campaign, and while it has already sold well, it rated lukewarm among critics. The lack of story may have contributed to the generally mild reception, although not all critics mentioned the missing campaign as a flaw.

Halo 5 and Black Ops 3 both still had prominent campaigns, with Halo 5 focusing more strongly on the story in the marketing for the game. Perhaps there's still a warm and fuzzy sense that gamers get from knowing that the story came first and got a lot of attention, even if that story's execution is poor.

Multiplayer modes

Most online multiplayers modes have moved towards larger scales with more diverse game types, as well as a collection-driven RPG sense of progress.

Multiplayer has moved away from reliable, competitive gaming that seeks to rank players who perform better, like back in the Halo 2 and Halo 3 days. The cornerstone has become how much a player plays, with individual and team game performance slightly boosting the RPG "points" element.

A number of games are on the fence when it comes to competitive balance being played against character building. Battlefront makes players choose and purchase their own loadouts with very few combat options coming from the battlefield itself. On the other hand, Black Ops 3 allows for much more customization than Battlefront, tilting the game even more in favor of the devoted gamer over the skilled one.

Halo 5 backtracked more to the classic map-spawning weapons that make for the most even gameplay. If everyone starts with the same avatar, equipment, and stats, then only the best teamwork and skill will triumph. This was a deviation from Halo 4, which was definitely a Halo-themed knockoff of Call of Duty.

All in all, multiplayer games are in decent condition as far as diversity and scale, but unfortunately the competitive ranking system has almost completely disappeared.

What to expect going forward

Video game companies are still making a ton of money by simply tweaking small parts of first-person shooters with each new release. With major sequels still breaking sales records so close to their predecessors, we cannot expect production to slow down.

The bad news: the forecast for 2016 is mostly just sequels and reboots.

The good news: we can expect each new release to improve on the detail and execution, because they certainly aren't reinventing the wheel at this point.

For 2016, Battleborn offers the most new opportunities, as it will be a first-person shooter and MOBA game. It also won't be a sequel, repurposing, or reboot of an existing game. Battleborn is likely to set a new standard for the FPS-MOBA genre if it overcomes the risks inherent in starting from scratch.

Of course, with an open market share for role-based arena shooters like Battleborn, there are other titles jumping into the mix. Another major 2016 FPS arena title with brand new intellectual property will be Overwatch. The primary ambition of Overwatch is to make the game simple enough for a short learning curve. Overwatch’s closed beta roster of characters is currently pretty small, which the developers hope will lead to more skillful mastery, quicker onboarding for new players, and a better balance of gameplay than other arena FPS games.

We can also keep our eyes open for the Doom reboot, which should give us some of the absurdity we used to love about the originals. On the other hand, we have yet to see why they're even doing a reboot, since the intellectual property will probably struggle to appeal to the younger audience that has little familiarity with the Doom franchise. 2016's version may just be an exercise in nostalgia. We hope not.

As far as sequels go, you can expect Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the sequel to Human Revolution. You'll also see Homefront: The Revolution as a sequel to 2011's Homefront. For those of you who wanted another Deus Ex or Homefront game, you'll finally get your wish in 2016. 

From where I stand, there's no reason to save your video game budget right now. There are a ton of great FPS games to spend your money on depending on what you like, and they won't be trumped by anything new for at least another year.

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Play Evolve (and all DLCs) for free this weekend https://www.gameskinny.com/zsbyy/play-evolve-and-all-dlcs-for-free-this-weekend https://www.gameskinny.com/zsbyy/play-evolve-and-all-dlcs-for-free-this-weekend Mon, 31 Aug 2015 20:56:00 -0400 Chelsea Senecal

In an attempt to gain subscribers, Turtle Rock Studies is making Evolve available for free to Xbox One and PC gamers this weekend. The Hunt 2.0 update (released earlier this month), all available DLC, and the premiere of Meteor Goliath (a new monster) is included in the free weekend. 

For players who choose to check it out, all progress will be saved for those who go on to buy the game after the weekend. Even players who already own the game, yet still have not had the chance to check out the DLC, can check it out this weekend for free. 

Evolve's player count is in decline, netting less than 500 players at the lowest low. This may be an opportunity for Evolve's fan base to gain those hesitant players unready to dedicate themselves wholly to the game. 

For those newcomers to Evolve, the gameplay is a 4 versus 1 death match between a monster (of the player's choice) and 4 hunters of various classes. Online players hold all positions (monster and hunters) as they cycle through several maps to take down the beast with teamwork, or take down the hunters with brute force.

Evolve is available for free on PC from 12 p.m. PDT September 3rd until 10 a.m. PDT September 7th.  Xbox One's free weekend begins 12:01 PDT September 4th and ends 11:59 PDT September 7th.

If you already own Evolve, the free DLC is available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC from 12:01 a.m. PDT September 4th until September 6th. September 4th until 5th will include season one DLC and September 5th until 6th will include season two DLC.

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Interview: Simon Golding, founder of Nephilim Game Studios https://www.gameskinny.com/yax4r/interview-simon-golding-founder-of-nephilim-game-studios https://www.gameskinny.com/yax4r/interview-simon-golding-founder-of-nephilim-game-studios Fri, 04 Sep 2015 18:20:07 -0400 katlaborde

Indie games have certainly risen in popularity over the past few years. After gaining more exposure through Steam, developers have been able to break away from the creative limitations of the corporate gaming industry to pursue more personal and innovative projects. An industry veteran since 1986, Simon Golding recently founded his own studio, Nephilim Game Studios, to develop his own projects.

And what's this project about, you ask? Well, he's not telling anyone...yet.

A Seasoned Pro(grammer)

Simon's experience in the gaming industry is not only voluminous, but diverse including various genres of games such as puzzle, real-time strategy, and shooters, under his belt. Of course, Simon's initial experience with game programming were much different then than they are now.

From 1990 to 1993, I worked on a number of Gameboy titles, only needed one programmer in those days.

In the mid-90's, Simon worked for Sega, contributing his programming skills to popular titles like Mortal Kombat II and FIFA. Soon afterward, Simon worked for the iconic Westwood Studios, developers of the wildy popular Command and Conquer series, in Las Vegas, Nevada. When Westwood Studios merged with Electronic Arts in 1998, Golding programmed a number of titles including:

  • Medal of Honor: Rising Sun, PS2/XBOX/Gamecube (2003)
  • GoldenEye: Rogue Agent, PS2/XBOX/Gamecube (2004)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II, Xbox 360 (2006)
  • Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, Xbox 360 (2007)
  • Boom Blox, Wii (2008)              
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, PlayStation 3 (2009)

Golding describes his work on Epic Mickey 2 as a 'great thrill', ending his quote with a mischievious smiley face. 

More recently, Simon was the Director of Studio Technology for Junction Point's Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two and 2K's man vs. monster FPS, Evolve

The amassment of such a diverse and prestigous resume of games is quite an achievement. However, Golding remains modest about his contribution to each title:

I’m proud of all of them in some way, each one had its different high points. This might sound strange but once I’ve finished making a game I will never play it again, time to let it go.

Time for Something "New 'n Tasty"

After establishing himself as a talented and successful programmer, Golding's next step was to do something bigger and bolder. He created Nephilim Game Studios, giving him an oppurtunity develop his own games. Although Golding is not willing to spill any details on his new game yet, he did give some insight into his secret project:

I can’t tell you much except it will be a trilogy and characters in the game come from the name of the studio. Right now its in pre-production, getting the story worked out so it can span across the 3 games and feel like a full experience when it all comes together.

As of right now, Nephilim Game Studios is working on completing the Wii U and PlayStation Vita versions of Oddworld: New 'n Tasty. Oddworld: New 'n Tasty was originally released for the PlayStation 4 in July 2014 to critical acclaim as an impressive remake of Oddworld: Abe's Odyssey.

Personally, I am excited to see what is on the horizon for Nephilim Game Studios. With Golding's talented programming, his secret game is likely to be stellar!

For more on Nephilim Game Studios, visit their website or Facebook page.

Image Sources: Games-All & PlayStation.com

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Transparency: Why Gamescom had that "meh" feeling https://www.gameskinny.com/mgryl/transparency-why-gamescom-had-that-meh-feeling https://www.gameskinny.com/mgryl/transparency-why-gamescom-had-that-meh-feeling Fri, 07 Aug 2015 11:49:40 -0400 Larry Everett

As many of you are aware, my primary focus in the gaming industry is on MMOs. So understand that my perspective is a bit focused on that area of gaming. I don’t mean to say that the other parts of gaming aren’t legitimate: I spend a lot of time playing single-player RPGs, and I’m clearly a sucker for Star Wars games. Despite this -- or perhaps because of this -- this year’s Gamescom really left me wondering why sites even covered this event. But then I remember that Gamescom is the biggest gaming convention in the world.

In the US, we usually look at E3 or PAX Prime as the biggest gaming conventions, but in truth these two conferences pale in comparison to the giant that is Gamescom. This year, 50,000 people attended the press-focused Electronic Entertainment Expo, which isn’t too shabby. But last year, PAX Prime beat that number by about 20,000 - hosting over 70,000 attendees.

Of course, many gamers also look for news to come out of San Diego Comic-Con, too. Although it’s definitely geek-focused and I watch for news from it every year, the gaming news is a bit light. And the 130,000 con-goers is a lot of nerdy in one place. However, that still doesn’t match Gamescom. We don’t yet have the exact stats on this year, but last year, Gamescom boasted 335,000 attendees.

With over 335,000 people in one location, you’d think that this would be the perfect place to really give your fans some of the best that you have to offer as a gaming company. Yet some of my favorites seemed to sit on their hands, without any real explanation from the companies as to why. Unfortunately, that leads to a lot of speculation: Why have many games kept their hype to a mild roar? I’m not above speculation, but after I’ve made my points, I’d like to hear yours.

World of Warcraft: Legion

The issues I have with Blizzard are really not that much different from the issues that I have with studios whose games I actually play. The only real issues I have with World of Warcraft are directed at the game itself: It’s just not a game I enjoy playing. Many of its parts are great, and I’d be idiotic not to recognize the trends that it set. And this particular time, Blizzard did nothing wrong. This time the problem was other studios reacting to Blizzard.

I remember a discussion with some of the people I work with about Blizzard’s announcement of its announcement. Besides the continued hilarity of announcing an announcement, many commented on how the announcement seemed rushed. And in hindsight, it probably was a bit rushed. I have a theory as to why.

My theory was that Blizzard was going to keep the expansion announcement kind of low key. Of course, it’s Blizzard, so “low key” is relative. Regardless, the idea was to not say much about what was going to be at the announcement, until it actually happened. But close to crunchtime for getting things together, the marketing team realized that the announcement was so huge that if they let people know what was going to be announced, it could shut out the competing announcements in the genre. And that’s exactly what it did. Did anyone who’s not a Star Wars: The Old Republic enthusiast even notice that BioWare talked about its new expansion, too? Yeah, I didn't think so.

The way I see it, when Blizzard said that it was going to announce its next expansion at Gamescom, the other MMO-type games decided that it would likely be best to not try to compete. Points go to Blizzard for doing that, but I have to give negative points to other MMOs for baulking.

 

Oversaturation

Compared to many reporters who focus on MMOs, I believe that I spend enough time in the mainstream to have a basic understanding of what the gaming atmosphere feels like. And currently, MMO gaming is becoming niche again. Of course, I like to think that MMOs will hit another stride soon like single-player RPGs did recently, but right now, I understand that their popularity is waning slightly.

This means when you have a large crowd, it's likely that your MMO may be lost in the shuffle. You might have the most super MMO experience in existence, but everyone’s MMO is the most super experience in existence according to them. And as Syndrome from the Incredibles said: “When everyone’s super… no one will be.” You kind of have to be super-duper to stand out in that crowd.

However, I do believe there is merit for sticking to your guns and giving a good show, even when the odds seem to be stacked against you.

Smaller games can make an impact on attendees, too. I attended PAX South earlier this year, and I remember hearing about Life is Feudal (which I mentioned last week for having cool business cards) when there were bigger multiplayer games stealing the spotlight, like Evolve and Elite: Dangerous. Life is Feudal stood out to me because of the gameplay and the developers that I talked to. It was a genuine multiplayer sandbox, and the developers were passionate about creating a deep and interesting game.

Those are my theories. I like to consider them educated theories, but I could be completely wrong. Let me know how I’m wrong in the comments. But I might be completely right, too. Let me know why your agree with me in the comments. Or maybe you fall somewhere in between. I’d like to read about your theories, and the comment section is the perfect place to express your ideas and own theories. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again next week.

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How to responsibly pre-order https://www.gameskinny.com/0qal2/how-to-responsibly-pre-order https://www.gameskinny.com/0qal2/how-to-responsibly-pre-order Fri, 07 Aug 2015 02:30:01 -0400 Duran Boskovic

It seems like in today’s climate the word pre-order has become synonymous with disappointment or shoddy corporate tactics; why would anyone pre-order a game before seeing the game (and it's day one bugs) in action? 

Say pre-order and you'll hear (oh god will you hear) about such titles such as Batman: Arkham Knight, Evolve, and Aliens: Colonial Marines and a slew of others. It's perfectly legitimate to bring up these cases as cautionary tales warning people to think before throwing money at these publishers for your limited edition batman Bathrobe and xenomorph full body suit.

It's sad that there are so many reasons why one can't take a publisher ANY publisher at face value when considering cost-benefit of reserving their copy of the game and picking up some cool Spiderman socks while their at it. When I hear that nobody should pre-order games, however, I have to disagree and I’ll defend it until I’m blue in the face.

Pre-orders are fine when you do your homework.

Pre-orders are fine WHEN YOU DO YOUR HOMEWORK!  

One of the biggest game changers in indie game development has been the popularity of Kickstarter and crowdfunding in general, and if crowdfunding has taught us one thing it's that we can use our dollar more effectively now than we ever could before. I mention this because in the light of some great (and terrible) Kickstarter campaigns a methodology has begun to develop to inspire consumer trust in a project (Who is the dev, what's the likelihood this'll actually get finished? etc.).The problem with pre-orders is that this research falls on the consumers entirely (no handy videos explaining how and why this promotion is going to be everything it's promised to be) and when the hype train hits full speed it can be hard to remember that shitty deals are out there waiting for the unsuspecting fan to step in their trap. 

But how can this relate to a triple A game like Fallout 4?  When Fallout 4 was announced at E3 it was to a chorus of applause and the more info Todd Howard teased the more hyped we all got. When the Collector's edition was available for pre-order it didn't last long, people were trying to reserve during the presentation! I was riding the hype train right there with everyone else but I knew that if I was going to put $180AUD down on this I’d have to do some (quick) considerations.

One of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to getting the facts is asking: Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Who: Is the company selling the pre-order? If the company behind the pre-order had the headline "shitty company rips off gamers" for their last game maybe think twice. Look at the lead up to the game, with the amount of info out there it's easier than ever to see if something looks too good to be true.

What: Am I getting for the extra dosh? Is the content I’m getting really worth shelling out the amount of money I’m spending? This one can be hard as it's pretty much entirely up to your tastes. These deals tend to come at times when you're so ready to jump at the game you'll buy anything (E3. enough said). Ask yourself "Would I give anything up to own this?" if the answer is no and you still get it then odds are you have a lot of disposable cash, if yes then the package is obviously worth it to you.

(Quick note: food is never worth giving up for games limited or otherwise so pre-order responsibly and make sure you can pay rent).

When: Do i have to make my decision? Take your time, if you're not sure right up to making the actual order then the package probably isn't for you.

Where: Do I place the order? Do i get it cheaper or get more content getting it through Amazon or EB? A big flag is if the exclusive content is carved out between several retailers (Evolve) as it can lead to a very hard to understand system that could cost you way more than you're willing to spend. Find what you want the most and just go for that, stick to your limit.

Why: Do i want this? This one is entirely up to you if you don't or you’re sort of iffy on the extras then don't pre-order, if you know hype has hit you think about What again.

These are just some guideline questions to ask yourself before you go out and pre-order, yes the extras are cool but are they cool enough for you?

I can safely say that I know what I’m getting into and that for the extra content I’m getting I’m happy to shell out the extra cash, don't hate pre-orders for pre-orders sake, do your research and make the decision for yourself.

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EVOLVE - Money Bloodhound or Underdog Beast? https://www.gameskinny.com/xnh2s/evolve-money-bloodhound-or-underdog-beast https://www.gameskinny.com/xnh2s/evolve-money-bloodhound-or-underdog-beast Wed, 22 Jul 2015 19:47:20 -0400 IntCel

Who wouldn't like to be a Big A** Monster, trampling teensie little soldiers to dust...

...or the next epic Ghostbusters squad, taking down a huge abomination of doom in an intense and nerve-racking team effort?

Now that is EXACTLY what Evolve is.

Well, unfortunately too much so - but let me elaborate:

Presentation

If you have seen trailers or even just gameplay videos (if you haven't, you MUST check them out!), you will have noticed that visuals and sounds in this game are really impressive. Unfortunately not as impressive as they are in-game, especially if you play it on a big screen, in a dark, quiet house.

But while there certainly are visuals and sounds that are absolutely enjoyable on their own, and for some more than for others, they are still just a part of the game and should never be the sole point of focus.

Either way, Evolve does somewhat live by its stunningly immersive presentation.

Gameplay (The Culprit)

Competitive PVP games that offers a variety of classes, abilities and equipment is as hard to balance as it gets, obviously even more so when the playing field is uneven by default.

In fact, EVOLVE is so dramatic and radical in every way, that it is probably best described as a "that's life, suck it up!"-simulator. But this is exactly where I believe this game shines.

If you need a new enemy to headshot every 2.5 seconds before your attention deficit kicks in, this game is not for you. If you do not enjoy tracking down and cornering targets in tactical maneuvers, this game is also not for you.

This is not a "bouncy, quick-scope, bullet-dodge, jump-in-the-air-headshot twitch-shooter". It is a ruthless "give all you got, put your team's needs above your own" hunting-simulator set in a science fiction world.

No matter how skilled you may be at insta-headshots and line-of-sight plays, if you can't take the heat, cooperate and communicate on almost supernatural levels and don't love the "thrill of the hunt", then being a hunter in this game is NOT for you.

On the other hand, if you are a born lone wolf, living for the thrill to outsmart entire teams of high-skill players, then being a monster is definitely for you!

This game will deliver as many heart-pounding moments as boring, frustrating or even heart-breaking ones.

Your heart will drop down your pants when you are hiding behind a rock or in a bush as a monster with low health, while the hunter team chases directly past you, as you know this could have been the end for you.

You will feel the thrill of the hunt as you track down footprints, sprint after your hound and dart into the direction of startled birds, trying to cut off the monster's possible routes without directly running into it all by yourself.  You rush in a panic because you know, find it now, or it will evolve and eat you alive.

It can even become truly touching when you hunt down, fight and evade a young stage 1 monster so tenaciously that it gives up, stops defending itself and accepts its grim fate, letting you forget the player behind it for a moment, as if you were staring at a scene from a wildlife documentary.

All these moments make this game exceptionally intense and usually fun; that is, until you come across the infamous unfairness fairness of life, which is so much more present in this game than in most other games. While the developers will juggle attributes of classes and abilities with the intention to balance the game as a whole, there will always be all the other factors such as the monster's stage (3 in total), the hunter team composition, the environment in which the fights break out, the team's skills and teamwork as well as the monster's skill and even the fauna - yes, wildlife WILL participate if disturbed, and some of those creatures hit like a truck!

Besides the typical team based PVP problems like team balancing, another issue is the rather small player base which gets split across 3 different platforms:

  • PC
  • Xbox One
  • PS4

And multiple game modes.

Although the rather professional, but not perfect A.I. takes over for empty slots or even AFK players, depending on your time zone it can be difficult to find full player matches with everyone in their preferred role, as you will only be able to prioritize roles, but not exclude any.

Content

This is where the game gets truly controversial.

Being a shooter, albeit with very slight RPG influence, the content is definitely limited. Especially at this point in time, with the game being rather fresh, content is limited to:

  • a linear ability/weapon upgrade for hunters and monster
  • a number of unlockable buffs to pick 1 from at the beginning of the match for hunters and monster
  • great looking, although questionably useful custom skins for monsters, especially if you value camouflage
  • next to useless custom skins for your hunters' weapons/equipment - unfortunately these do neither match the rest of the outfit, nor do they look very high quality
  • unlockable monsters/hunters
  • purchasable monster/hunters

And the last point on the list leads to all the controversy about the game's business model.

Not only are you required to purchase the base game, with currently extremely high price fluctuations, but you are also given only one way to play certain monsters/hunters. By dropping additional, rather small but still noticeable sums into the game.

On top of all this, the publishers and developers 2K and Turtle Rock Studios created a great amount of confusion with 2 separate season passes, which do sound like good deals in the long run, but given all the outrage of customers about the mere existence of more than 1 season pass on top of an originally high price tag for the base game (around $60 depending on your location) it begs the question how populated the servers are going to be, and for how much longer. Then there are also DLC packs, all of which contain content you may very well just purchase separately for cheaper, if you are more picky about your characters. 

Verdict

Evolve is, in my opinion, much less a game and much more a punch in the face. A punch from the harsh reality of a sci-fi shooter and the unfair story of life. It can be absolutely captivating for the hardcore hunters and born monsters among us players, but it is a harsh game in many ways, which for the longest time included the business model. 8 stars because of the difficult nature of this game as well as the slow development into the required direction. But I definitely have hope.

Don't punish a good game for overpriced content if you don't actually want that content, or for the confusing way the publishers handle their content packs.

This game is a cold-blooded hunt-simulator for people who feel at home in the harsh reality of the wilderness, where only the strongest, smartest and sneakiest will survive - one of the most unique, polarizing and intense shooters you will have ever played.

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Theory-crafting Evolve's next stealth-based monster https://www.gameskinny.com/tivdn/theory-crafting-evolves-next-stealth-based-monster https://www.gameskinny.com/tivdn/theory-crafting-evolves-next-stealth-based-monster Wed, 03 Jun 2015 12:13:00 -0400 MarkL_TGG

2K's release of the most recent Evolve gaming mode, Arena, started a chain reaction of gears turning between my ears. For a game that revolves around hunting and survival, the hunting aspect is kind of rudimentary and basic; so maybe a game mode that abandons the concept entirely could have been accompanied by something that plays true to the hunt. Arena mode abandons the hunter/prey dynamic, limiting the map to a small section within a mobile area. Players duke it out with one another until either the hunters fall or the monster is defeated. 

So what would have worked as the antithesis to Arena Mode? Maybe a new monster. Not something hulking, loud, and bulbous like Behemoth, but a creature that is sly and can easily snake around the environment.  Something that replaces explosive attacks with cunning and agility and brings a heavy focus back to the hunt - but this time turning the hunters into the prey.

So, not one to be satisfied with being dissatisfied, I took to my internal proverbial drawing board. In response to my current qualms with Evolve, I created Chameleon, a new monster concept brewed up during a marathon of SyFy monster movies. 

Chameleon is Shears prime hunter. Though it looks weak and generally is compared to its counterparts, the creature's ability to naturally camouflage itself provides it a massive advantage. Think of it as the Solid Snake of Evolve's monster line-up, a creature that blends into the environment near seamlessly so it can strike unknowing passersby. 

Evolve: Plenty of Places to Hide

Plenty of Places to Hide

The beast will focus more on defense as its only real weapons are the long tail it slithers on and two muscular arms that are normally used to increase movement speed. As with the other four monsters, Chameleon's four abilities are unique to its strongest points:

  • Tail Whip (Increased Skill Level Inflicts More Damage and Quicker Recovery)
  • Camouflage (Increased Skill Level Decreases Distortion)
  • Decoy Call (Increased Skill Level Increases Area of Effectiveness)
  • Lunge Grab (Increased Skill Level Increases Lunge Distance and Damage)

Tail Whip is Chameleon's primary special attack, but is meant more for room clearing to knock hunters back and allow a chance for escape. Accompanying this is the creature's primary attack, a series of swipes from its strong arms. With Camouflage, the monster gets its greatest advantage: the touch of a button will have Chameleon blend itself into the environment, detectable only by sound spikes, an over-curious Daisy, and a small bit of visual distortion the camo gives of.

While camouflaged, Chameleon can use its final two abilities effectively. Using Decoy Call will have Shear's nearby wildlife come running. This is great for attracting prey for food or, should the hunters get too close, maybe calling over a lingering Megamouth or pack of Trapjaws. Lunge Grab will make the monster visible and vulnerable, but can help to quickly dwindle down the hunter's numbers. 

Lunge Grab will make the monster visible and vulnerable, but can help to quickly dwindle down the hunter's numbers. The beast will get a burst of speed as it grabs a solitary hunter and separates them from the group. Similar to Wraith's Abduction, though it allows the gamer to controller where Chameleon uses this speed burst to hide too.

Evolve: A Great Distraction

Imagine Calling in This as a Distraction

Playing as this stealthy monster will need patience, but with that patience will come the greatest reward - a satisfying victory over a heavily armed quartet of hunters. Players that are used to moving quick won't get the most out of Chameleon, especially if they leave a trail straight to their camouflage spot for the hunters to track. The change in pace that Chameleon would require could easily highlight some of Evolve's stronger points that have taken a backseat to the frantic firefight, including the rich, dynamic environment.

It's not that Evolve's more frantic play is getting stale, but the game is in need of something that provides a greater deal of tension and truly hones in on "the hunt." With the current roster of monsters, it's impossible to miss when one is in the area thanks to the dynamic environment; but when faced with a true hunting machine, one that can disappear into the foliage despite its massive size, only a sharp eye and some truly useful tech (or panicked shooting a la Jesse Ventura in Predator) will reveal this sly beast. 

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Multiplayer Is NOT The Future https://www.gameskinny.com/flo1x/multiplayer-is-not-the-future https://www.gameskinny.com/flo1x/multiplayer-is-not-the-future Mon, 01 Jun 2015 12:51:04 -0400 Curtis Dillon

For those of you out there that don't care for multiplayer/online-only video games, don't fret, they are not the solitary future of the industry.

For a few years now many have professed a multiplayer-only future, in which no game will have a single-player campaign. This theory came about due to the excess of such games announced and released in the past few years, i.e. Destiny, Evolve, The Crew, Star Wars Battlefront, Tom Clancy's: The Division, Titanfall, Smite, DayZ, and many more.

However, there is a much more evident pattern emerging with all of these games; an expiry date. If you look at Evolve, a game that had an incredible promotion, was released to positive reviews and "sold-in over 2.5 million units", and yet the player base dropped off incredibly fast. Even with the latest batch of DLC, the player base for Evolve has not returned. The same can be said for Titanfall and The Crew, and we'll see what happens with Splatoon.

Evolve rip meme

Manifest Destiny

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, Destiny, for example, has managed to maintain an impressive fan base. As has Smite, State of Decay and PC classics W.O.W, DOTA, and League of Legends. That being said I believe the PC games are a different case entirely and don't reflect the state of console multiplayer games.

Destiny has been a great success for Bungie, despite being obviously lacking in content at release. Which is another trend with these games, they somehow manage to release with only half of the features and modes, Splatoon being a great example of that. So why is Destiny successful and others are not? There doesn't seem to be an obvious answer to that questions, but there are a lot of factors. For one, Destiny is very accessible and offers a grind that keeps players coming back again and again.

Splatoon voice chat meme

Destiny isn't convoluted, and that makes it easy to jump into. It also rewards players fairly regularly, and the team aspect of it seems to have really caught on more than it did with Evolve.

Play It For The Plot

Then there's the lack of features in many games that were mentioned previously. Splatoon has no voice chat and Nintendo has promised new modes once the players have "levelled-up". The idea of a developer holding off on game modes until it thinks you are ready is preposterous. Then there's Tom Clancy's: Rainbow Six Siege, for all intents and purposes a multiplayer game.

Of course, Ubisoft has said there will be a reason for single-player gamers to play the game but they way they have described it is all-too reminiscent of Titanfall. They won't comment on the scope of the campaign, and they said they included it as a result of comments from gamers, so it seems more like an afterthought. Expect a pseudo-campaign.

But the lack of a dedicated campaign isn't the problem with Rainbow Six Siege, the problem is the repetition. Similarly, like Evolve, the game is based around 4-person teams in small maps. Now don't get me wrong, the multiplayer footage that has been shown looks fun and interesting but, other than a few varying modes, what we've seen so far is essentially the entire game. Is a game in which you continuously play small 4v4 maps really worth $60? I guess that's up to the players, and we will see if the fall of Titanfall and Evolve will play a role in these future games.

The more and more online-only games are released, the more we see the need for a single-player component of some kind. This was recently stated outright by Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick, at the 43rd Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in New York. Zelnick was discussing Evolve and called it a "permanent" franchise for Take-Two but went on to say:

"I think we come out of that experience reminding ourselves we have to have a strong single-player opportunity. But we knew that about Evolve. We think we've developed another permanent IP. But if there were something lacking, I would say it would be that it was probably a bit too multiplayer-focused, which we knew all along."

These comments from Zelnick are very interesting because he implies that they were aware that lack of a single-player campaign could hurt Evolve. And it did. It also hurt Titanfall. Many of these games release with a small single-player component that is basically just thrown in for the sake of it. One of the reasons Call Of Duty is as successful as it is, is because it features both dedicated multiplayer AND a fully-fledged campaign.

Now this is nothing new, nearly every game nowadays features both, but you notice how COD never just gave up on the single-player. Because that is because Activision knew that a sizeable portion of COD's player base would buy the game for the campaign, and then jump into the multiplayer.

Doctor Evil Titanfall meme

The Call of Duty Way

This seems obvious, but there's more to it than meets the eye. So someone like me, for example, will play a Call of Duty campaign, which lasts around 10 hours, then I will feel comfortable enough jumping into the multiplayer for a while. Without that single player experience, I would never buy the game because it immediately makes COD a straight multiplayer game; something that casual gamers are less likely to buy.

The games are advertised with the campaign front and center, so they are very important to the casual audiences. That's why COD is as successful as it is, it's accessible and both casual and hardcore gamers can jump in on the action and not feel out of their depth. If the campaign was removed, then that training is lost and the game becomes more hardcore, meaning harder and less accessible. 

This is where most other games get it wrong.

Evolve is 4-person co-op multiplayer, this already is a barrier to entry because most gamers like to play alone or play with their friends. Not everyone has 4 friends ready and waiting to play games at their beck and call. Then the game isn't all that easy to play. Sure you can do a rudimentary training scheme, like in Titanfall, but that isn't very helpful when you're with 3 other players, who are relying on you, and there's a giant monster running at you.

Games like Evolve would have fared significantly better had there been a campaign mode that told a story and taught you how to play, before throwing you into the multiplayer.

Kevin Spacey in COD: AW

Where to next?

So back to the original point; multiplayer games are not the future of video games. The recent trend suggests that the always-online, multiplayer-only future that was predicted only a year or two ago, is falling flat on its face. Games like Dying Light and Bloodborne sold immensely well, proving that single-player games are very much alive and kicking. Assassin's Creed: Syndicate was recently announced and Ubisoft vaunted "no multiplayer" as an apology for Unity and a selling point for Syndicate.

While games like Destiny continue to be successful and carve out a sizeable niche, other games like Evolve and Titanfall will be forced to (no pun intended) evolve and include a strong campaign and reason for non-multiplayer gamers to jump in.

Multiplayer in games are very much a part of the future, but they will be just another feature and not the entire experience. That way everyone is happy.

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