Desktop Platform RSS Feed | Desktop RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network How to Eat in Kenshi: Just Do It Mon, 10 Dec 2018 16:48:44 -0500 Ashley Shankle

You've got a ton of things you have to worry about in Kenshi, and eating is sort of one of them.

Well, it's halfway one of them -- you've certainly got a lot more to worry about, but you've got to eat or you'll wither away and die.

There are two steps to eating:

  1. Have food
  2. Get hungry

After both steps are completed, your character will automatically eat any food you may have in your inventory. Really, that's it. You don't have to manually eat.

You can purchase food stuffs from traders or make it yourself. Bread, which is easy to make, will very likely be a staple of your diet but is generally a bit pricey from traders.

If you don't want to cook, dried fish is one of the cheapest food options out there and can be found at fish traders.

Eating in Kenshi really is this simple, thank goodness. It would be nice if there were an animation for eating, but auto-eating is fine, too.

Monster Hunter: World's First Major Expansion Revealed Mon, 10 Dec 2018 14:46:22 -0500 William R. Parks

Since its release in January, Monster Hunter: World has kept fans engaged with new monsters, frequent crossovers, and seasonal events. Now, Capcom has revealed its plan to continue to keep players slaying monsters and crafting gear: a "massive expansion" called Iceborne.

Announced through a trailer at this morning's Special Developer Update, the events of Monster Hunter: World: Iceborne will take place just after those that transpired in the base game. Additionally, the expansion will include new quests, monsters, locations, equipment, and more, and the trailer also confirms that Monster Hunter: World will be required in order to play Iceborne.

While the news of a significant content update is likely to be exciting for many players, Iceborne is still a ways off. The trailer indicates that release is currently scheduled for autumn 2019, though Capcom has promised more details on the expansion, including its price tag, in the spring. 

Little more than what has been outlined can be gleaned from today's trailer, which primarily depicts Rathlos flying out across a vast body of water. That said, the title of the expansion certainly suggests that a frigid biome is in the future for monster hunters the world over.

Capcom is no stranger to post-launch support for its Monster Hunter titles. As stated, they have continually added new, free content to Monster Hunter: World, and the previous entries in the franchise all have enhanced and expanded releases.

These "Ultimate" versions often include many of the features that are to come with Monster Hunter: World: Iceborne, however, there is one common component that is not directly addressed in today's trailer: "G Rank."

When a Monster Hunter title is released, there are often two difficulty settings for each monster, Low Rank and High Rank. G Rank is typically a post-launch addition, and it gives players a third, and more difficult, version of the game's beasts. In G Rank, monsters may hit harder, have more HP, and have more attacks in their arsenal (which they will execute more frequently).

Now that players have throughly explored what Monster Hunter: World has to offer, and others are getting a chance to try the game for free, the addition of G Rank has been a frequent topic of conversation amongst the community. It is possible that fans may still see G Rank come with Icebore, however, it does seem that Capcom may be currently focused on supporting Monster Hunter: World with new content, rather than reworking the game's older monster.

Destiny 2: Black Armory Spoiler-free Raid Guide Mon, 10 Dec 2018 13:26:45 -0500 John Schutt

With the "Black Armory" expansion, Destiny 2: Forsaken moves into the meat of its Year 2 content. And with it comes a brand new Raid: Scourge of the Past. Some of the most dedicated Guardians have already completed it, and in no time flat. 

That's not what we're here to talk about. In this spoiler-free guide for the latest pinnacle activity in Destiny 2, we'll be discussing how you and your fireteam can go in blind and learn the mechanics quickly and efficiently.

It's not as hard as you think. All it takes is a little knowledge of how Bungie structures their Raid encounters, which can all be summarized as follows:

  • Wave(s) of enemies
  • Unique mechanic
  • Secondary wave
  • Damage phase
  • Repeat

Every encounter will also have a team wipe mechanic, though some are more forgiving than others. For some, just knowing the basic breakdown is enough, but we'll be going into much more detail shortly.

Like, right now

The Core of Every Raid

Since the first Destiny's first Raid, "Vault of Glass," every encounter that contains a boss has followed the blueprint outlined above. Now, let's break it down into more granular detail and look at how you can use your understanding of the core mechanics to learn these new encounters.

Wave of Enemies

This phase is exactly what it says on the box. The first part of a Raid encounter will be a (sometimes) endless wave of enemies that you'll have to clear or contain if you want to have the breathing room to deal with the boss's unique mechanic. 

Your primary goal here is to decide how you want to split the team to best deal with the oncoming waves. In the Baths room in "Leviathan," for instance, each player has their small groups of enemies to deal with. In the Argos fight in "Eater of Worlds," enemies spawn in droves, but because of the rotating nature of that encounter, you only need to clean up a single platform at a time.

Take your time during this initial phase, as you'll likely be doing it several times before you get everything right. Think about where people are standing, the layout of the room, where cover is, and more importantly isn't, and from which directions the enemies spawn. Consider if you need to funnel them into kill boxes or move around them.

You can answer most of those questions within a few moments, but be sure to communicate what you see to your squadmates because their experience often isn't the same as your own.

Unique Mechanic

Whether the enemies stop spawning or not, Step 2 of any Destiny Raid encounter is dealing with a mechanic geared specifically to test you prior to the damage phase. For example:

  • Leviathan: Calus's Throne Room and Shadow Realm
  • Eater of Worlds: Preparation of the skulls and removal of the boss's barrier
  • Spire of Stars: Destroying the ships and lowering the boss's shield
  • Last Wish: Using crystals to remove the boss's immunity (to name just one)

What you might notice is the timing of these unique mechanics is, well, unique. On the Leviathan and Spire, and especially Last Wish, there are plenty of ways to lose your stride, but in Eater of Worlds, the add wave and the unique mechanic blend almost seamlessly into the DPS phase.

When you go into Scourge of the Past and get past the first boss encounter's enemy wave, know three things:

  1. There's probably not going to be much of a break before the mechanics start.
  2. Don't be afraid of failure. Like a Dark Souls boss, Raid encounters are not built to be conquered on the first go around.
  3. Once you've pulled off the mechanic once, you need to internalize why you succeeded and how you can replicate your success. That can mean wiping to discuss and practice, or trying to learn on the fly. Unless you want to speed through the Raid like the World First racers, I recommend the former.

Be aware that the unique mechanic often has something to do with the damage phase. Pay close attention to the left side of your screen for buff and debuff notifications and messages demarcating whether you've completed the mechanic or not (Challenge Failed, Ship Destroyed, Force of Will x100, etc.). 

Most importantly, though, you want to approach this step of each encounter with care. In the moment, tensions will run high, and mistakes will happen. If you're looking to get the most out of your Raid experience, don't push yourself or your team too hard, and play every moment like you're at low health.

Trust me. It'll save you a major headache later on.

Secondary Wave and Damage Phase

Some encounters, like the Baths, the Argos fight, or the final phase of Shuro Chi in Last Wish, don't let you breathe. You'll be dealing with a second wave of enemies that you'll have to clear before you can safely deal damage. If the first wave wasn't endless, this one probably will be. 

Once you're set up to do damage, you have to figure out the best weapons to use. In most cases, Whisper of the Worm is your best bet, with the IKELOS shotgun taking a very close second for shorter-ranged encounters.

Rockets with cluster bombs can sometimes be better options, depending on the size of the boss or its position about the player.

The enemy weak spot is usually pretty easy to spot, but if it isn't, have your teammates each go after a different candidate for critical damage. Once you find it, make shooting it your top priority.

Bosses usually only die if you shoot them.

Repeat, and it gets harder

If the boss isn't dead after DPS phase 1, one of two things will happen: either there will be a second unique mechanic you need to figure out, or the first one will shift in some fashion.

For instance, Calus's Shadow Realm gains some inconvenient new holes in the floor, or Shuri Chi demands you solve an arbitrary hopping puzzle to not die.

One you aren't dead, start the damage phase a second time and repeat as necessary. Follow the same basic strategies outlined above to figure out new mechanics, just know that if you fail, you'll have more to do if you want to get back to where you were.

Wipe Mechanics

Wipe mechanics are always well-telegraphed, and you should make note of them as soon as you see them. I would almost suggest letting one happen to figure out what the trigger condition is, but if the mechanic occurs deep into the fight, best to try and avoid it if at all possible. 

As with the unique mechanic mentioned above, keep a sharp eye on the left hand side of the screen, because if there isn't a loud sound and some majorly flashy particle effects telling you that "This thing will kill you get away from/kill it now," that's the only place that will.

To deduce how to avoid wiping is usually not hard either. Raids are structured such that where you deal damage from has line of sight on what will be doing the wiping. Keep an eye out for something you've never seen before or something that feels out of place. Odds are that strangeness wants to kill you. 

Don't let it.

Non-boss encounters

Lastly, the Destiny franchise has seen many instances of encounters without so much as a single boss. Because these encounters are primarily mechanical, they require more trial and error, but again, there's plenty you can glean through simple examination.

Look around the encounter area and take stock of the big, shiny things that stand out. Ask yourself:

  • Are there items appearing and disappearing?
  • Are there visual distortions that you don't see anywhere else in the arena?
  • When you step somewhere, does it cause a message or enemies to appear? 
  • Are there specially named enemies that look or act differently than everything else? How can you make them spawn?
  • What causes a Guardian to die seemingly without explanation (there is one)?

It might take your fireteam a few goes to get a handle on where and what you'll be doing. Communication is your friend in these matters. Everyone should be saying what they see because not everyone will be seeing the same thing or focus on the same place all at once.

No question is not worth asking.

No clarification is unwarranted.

No strategy is not worth pursuing, at least until you find something that works.

Most of all, try to keep it fun. Don't be afraid to take a break. The checkpoint will be waiting for you when you get back.


Raiding in Destiny is one of the most satisfying ways to engage with the game. Though the community always settles on the "right" way to do something, that doesn't mean you and your team need to follow "the meta." After all, if you're laughing your way through every encounter, that's the whole point of playing with a group. Embrace it.

If you found this guide useful, take a gander at our other Destiny 2 guides here on GameSkinny.

Monster Hunter: World Welcomes The Witcher's Geralt of Rivia Mon, 10 Dec 2018 13:08:36 -0500 William R. Parks

At last week's Game Awards, Monster Hunter: World Producer Ryozo Tsujimoto teased some forthcoming news that he indicated would "make everyone happy." This morning, in a Special Developer Update, fans had this statement clarified as a slew of Monster Hunter: World-related announcements were revealed.

These included a crossover event that will bring The Witcher's Geralt of Rivia to Capcom's action RPG and news that the game will be free to play on PS4 until December 17.

Monster Hunter: World The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is scheduled for release in early 2019, and it was announced at the Developer Update with a brief trailer.

In the teaser, fans got a glimpse at Geralt walking through Monster Hunter: World's landscapes and standing against some of its beasts, including Diablos, Paolumu, and Teostra.

Additionally, the trailer establishes how Geralt has found himself in this strange world of giant monsters, showing him dropping in through a portal. "And folk wonder why I hate 'em," the Witcher says with his characteristic nonchalance.

Fans of The Witcher series are certain to recall Geralt's disdain for these magical gateways, as well as their ability to transport those that pass through them to different realms.

While little more concrete information can be gleaned from the trailer, Capcom has indicated that this crossover will give players an opportunity to use the White Wolf's monster hunting prowess to "take on a unique quest line in Monster Hunter: World."

In the past, these types of collaborations have often been, more or less, the addition of a collectible cosmetic that can be acquired by slaying monsters and farming materials. For example, players have had the opportunity to transform their characters into Horizon: Zero Dawn's Aloy and Dante from Devil May Cry by completing limited time events.

However, it seems that Capcom has a bit more planned with this one. There is currently no indication that Monster Hunter: World The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will bring new monsters to the game, however, a quest line that offers a new dimension to the game is certain to be an exciting prospect for many fans.

To suggest that this is the announcement Tsujimoto was referencing at The Game Awards may be a bit of a stretch. That said, it is just one from this morning's Developer Update. While many players are likely to have their eyes on the newly announced "Iceborne" expansion, pitting Geralt against some of Monster Hunter: World's meanest monsters may help keep them occupied until it comes.

14 Great Single-Player Weapons in Monster Hunter: World Mon, 10 Dec 2018 12:30:11 -0500 Tim White

Monster Hunter: World is almost two games in one; the weapons you choose and the tactics you employ can vary significantly between solo play and cooperative mode.

With so many weapons to choose from, and in light of the fact that everyone will have different preferences, this guide is not meant to identify any end-game weapons as objectively superior (there really aren't any, most of them are exceptionally well balanced).

We're only trying to point out why our favorite weapons are well suited to playing alone.

Note: Because not all players may have access to limited-event weapons, they are not eligible for inclusion in this list.

Note #2: Weapon damage ratings (weak, low, average, high, outstanding) are assessed relative to typical damage values for that class of weapon, not against all weapons; the strongest dual blades are obviously going to have much lower base damage than the weakest hammers.

Be sure to head over to our best multiplayer weapons guide for even more great MH: World weapons. 

Charge Blade

Charge blades are slow, heavy, and often considered the hardest weapons to master—but they hit ridiculously hard and their shields can block most attacks too. In skilled hands, charge blades can fell even the beefiest monsters in short order.

Our pick: Xeno Ra'atz

Attack power: Average
Sharpness: White
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 3 (x2)

Why it's great for solo play: 
This is a great all-around charge blade. While it doesn't excel at anything (other than in having two level three slots), it's capable of taking down almost any monster. Spend a Hero's Streamstone to give it Health Regen and you'll have a fantastic weapon for survivability.


Hammers have one main job: shutting down enraged or exceptionally dangerous monsters by hitting them in the head. All hammers deal stun damage and excel at breaking armor, but their range is deceptively short; you'll need to be right in the monster's face.

Our pick: Obliteration's Footfall

Attack power: Outstanding
Sharpness: Blue
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 1 (x1)

Why it's great for solo play: 
If you're using a hammer, it's probably because you like to shut down a monster's worst attacks, so it makes sense that you'd also want the high elderseal that this weapon comes with. It also just hits really, really hard. That's kind of all there is to it.

Dual Blades

Dual blades are among the weakest weapons on a per-hit basis, but their DPS can reach respectable levels, especially with their unique demon mode activated. Because they hit so fast, they're also the melee weapon of choice for inflicting status effects.

Our pick: Empress Daggers "Styx"

Attack power: Average
Sharpness: White
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 3 (x2)

Why it's great for solo play: 
These puppies are hard to make but worth it. Look in the bottom right corner of the screenshot above and you'll notice that the Empress Daggers "Styx" is one of the rare weapons that has an armor skill—Razor Sharp/Spare Shot in this case, meaning its impressive white sharpness will last twice as long.

Its 120 blast damage on top of that makes this a highly formidable offensive weapon.


If you want to be a heavy hitter, but charge blades aren't quite doing it for you, try a greatsword. They hit harder than charge blades, but they're slower, so your DPS will likely be a bit lower. However, you'll be a little more mobile when wielding a greatsword.

Our pick: Jagras Hacker III

Attack power: High
Sharpness: Blue
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 3 (x2)

Why it's great for solo play: 
I know what you're thinking, "Why are we recommending a weapon made from the very first monster you ever see?" Well, for one thing, it's non-elemental, so it'll deal consistent and respectable damage to every monster in the game.

It's also got room for two level 3 decorations and, as a rarity 6 weapon, it has three augmentation slots—you can add some seriously powerful upgrades of your own if you're willing to spend the streamstones.


Longswords are the weapon of choice for generalists and the indecisive. They're neither amazing nor terrible in any respect, offering moderate speed, reach, and damage.

Our pick: Divine Slasher

Attack power: Outstanding
Sharpness: Blue
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 3 (x1)

Why it's great for solo play: 
Like the Jagras Hacker III greatsword, the Divine Slasher is non-elemental and focused purely on raw attack power. Extending its sharpness gauge with Handicraft would give this weapon great staying power in extended combat, and if you're willing to invest in a few ranks of Hidden Element, you'll get high elderseal and 150 dragon damage too.


Have you ever found yourself thinking, "I wish this charge blade could launch artillery barrages?" Of course, you have.

Gunlances offer high damage in the form of both melee and ranged attacks, and they come with medium-high tier shields too. They take more practice to master than most other weapons, so hit the training room for a while.

Our pick: Royal Burst

Attack power: Average
Sharpness: Blue
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 1 (x1)

Why it's great for solo play: 
While its single low-level decoration slot leaves much to be desired, the Royal Burst's solid 330 poison damage and two augmentation slots make up for it.

Consider using one of them to add Health Regeneration, which will give you extended survivability in solo play. Gunlance wielders who can stay cool when they're pulling 100% of the aggro and time their shots well will find this weapon to be dependable and capable in most situations.


Lances are ideal for tanks; most of the best shields in the game can be found paired with lances. Their melee strikes have longer reach than those of gunlances, and they're somewhat more maneuverable, but the tradeoff is missing out on those sweet ranged attacks.

Our pick: Empress Lance "Ruin"

Attack power: High
Sharpness: White
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 2 (x2)

Why it's great for solo play: 
This was a tough call; there are a lot of great end-game lances to choose from. There are lances with higher base damage, but this one's white sharpness increases its overall damage potential, and no other lances have the Health Recovery skill built right in, which allows you to leech health from your target with every hit.

It's also got 150 blast damage, so you're basically healing yourself with explosions.

Switch Axe

Switch axes are strange. They have a weird rhythm and it takes a while to get a feel for the wide variety in the range of their different attacks, but they can put out decent damage with practice. They're like a cross between a charge blade and a greatsword, without the strong advantages (or disadvantages) of either.

Our pick: Terror Tyrannos

Attack power: Outstanding
Sharpness: Blue
Decoration slots: 

Why it's great for solo play: 
This was another tough call. Ultimately, since switch axes are such a weird hybrid, a good one needs to excel in at least one area, so we went with base damage here.

Yes, the Terror Tyrannos has negative affinity, which sucks, but even with that penalty, it has the potential to be the most damaging switch axe available. Its respectable 180 dragon damage (which most monsters don't resist), high elderseal and two augmentation slots help to set it apart from most comparable switch axes.

Sword & Shield

Your classic sword n' board is primarily a defensive weapon, but not in the same way that the heavier weapons are; the shield can't withstand many of the more powerful attacks you'll face. Instead, they leave you fast and flexible, able to quickly retreat or launch aerial attacks to mount a monster.

They're also the only weapon with which you can use items while blocking, which is amazingly helpful at times.

Our pick: Barroth Club III

Attack power: Outstanding
Sharpness: Blue
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 2 (x1), Lv. 1 (x1)

Why it's great for solo play: 
This weapon class tends to attract jack-of-all-trade types, and the Barroth Club III is surprisingly competent at almost everything. If you're willing to commit a few armor skill slots to Hidden Element, you'll be superb at inflicting paralysis.

But even without that, you've still got three augmentation slots, great base damage and sharpness, and enough decoration slots to make most medium-tier configurations viable.

Insect Glaive

Like most weapons, the glaive takes some getting used to, but it's worth mastering. You'll need a huge amount of stamina to use one effectively, as you'll be in the air most of the time, and aerial maneuvers chew up stamina.

It's hands-down the best weapon around for mounting monsters or for builds centered around maximizing critical hits.

Our pick: Empress Cane "Styx"

Attack power: High
Sharpness: White
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 3 (x1), Lv. 1 (x1)

Why it's great for solo play: 
Another hard winner to pick. Glaives do two things exceedingly well: inflict statuses and critical hits, and this weapon is predisposed to be great at both. Its base affinity rating of 10% certainly isn't the best around, but if you're willing to boost it with skills like Weakness Exploit and Critical Eye, you can put together a devastating weapon.

In any case, Empress Cane "Styx" has double white sharpness thanks to Razor Sharp and a punchy 210 blast damage. Fast, aggressive players will be able to pump out ridiculous damage with this glaive—at that point, you can pretty much attune your kinsect however you please, it's all good.

Hunting Horn

You can use a hunting horn by yourself, but it's designed to be a co-op support weapon. To effectively fly solo with a hunting horn, you'll need to be very comfortable with its somewhat awkward combos and the timing of playing songs (i.e. buffing yourself) when you're the only target for the monster to wail on.

Our pick: Desolation's Overture

Attack power: Outstanding
Sharpness: Blue
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 1 (x1)

Why it's great for solo play: 
Hunting horns aren't primarily built for damage, so to get far on your own, you'll need to pick one of the few with great attack power. In addition to being the second strongest horn in that respect, Desolation's Overture has high elderseal and 150 dragon damage to help you put the hurt on some of the game's stronger enemies.

It can also play some highly useful songs, including Earplugs (L) (which frees up your decoration or charm slots), Affinity Up (S) and Health Recovery (S). Bring a Palico with a Shieldspire gadget to pull aggro and you just might be able to call yourself a successful solo hunter horn main.


Like the hunting horn, the bow is not really meant to be a solo weapon, but it can be done. It's much better at inflicting status effects and at briefly stunning enemies than at dealing significant damage to them, so fights with stronger monsters might take a while.

On the plus side, it's a great defensive weapon, as it allows for speedy dodging and permits most attacks to be canceled.

Our pick: Great Hunter's Bow

Attack power: Average
Sharpness: N/A
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 3 (x1)

Why it's great for solo play: 
Bows are limited by the types of coatings they can use (close range, power, paralysis, poison, sleep, or blast). Most bows can only use 2-3 coating types by default, but the Great Hunter's Bow can use everything except power coatings right out of the box. (Unfortunately, it will never be able to use power ammo, as there's a decoration-based coating skill available for every type except power.)

Nonetheless, with decent damage and a level 3 decoration slot, this can be a serviceable solo weapon capable of inundating monsters with any and all status effects, provided you carry an absolute truckload of crafting components to constantly replenish your coatings.

Light Bowgun

Light bowguns are the smallest of the three ranged weapons, offering brisk rates of fire at the cost of stopping power. They can also be expensive to use, as you'll need to constantly craft or buy many different kinds of ammo.

Nonetheless, they can be an effective solo weapon, especially with liberal use of special ammo types catered to your target's weaknesses.

Our pick: Karma

Attack power: Average
Sharpness: N/A
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 1 (x1)

Why it's great for solo play: 
Karma has the highest affinity of any light bowgun at 30%, making its normal shots highly effective despite its so-so base damage. Its three custom mod slots allow greater flexibility in choosing its bonus attributes (three Reload Assists would be a great choice for better DPS).

Finally, it has zero deviation, meaning every shot will land precisely where your cursor is; few other light bowguns can claim that distinction.

Heavy Bowgun

Heavy bowguns are among the most challenging weapons to use when you're by yourself. They need range and time to be effective—two things that are generally in short supply when you're alone in combat. To come out on top, you'll need to spend a lot of time getting to know how each ammo type works and how long they take to fire and reload.

Our pick: Magda Gemitus II

Attack power: High
Sharpness: N/A
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 2 (x1)

Why it's great for solo play: 
Heavy bowguns, in particular, seem to sacrifice a ton of affinity as their base attack power gets higher, so the -20% affinity on this model isn't an atypical price to pay.

The single level two decoration slot (better than most other high-end models) helps make up the difference, and it's got two augmentation slots for further customization. Consider stacking some shields in your mod slots to gain limited blocking ability, since it's pretty hard to dodge with these weapons.


There you have it! Hopefully, you'll fall in love with at least a few weapons from this list, but even if you don't find your forever weapon, perhaps you've learned something useful about different ways to evaluate other options.

Keep an eye on our Monster Hunter: World hub page for more guides.

Stellaris: MegaCorp DLC Review: Free Enterprising Ferengi Mon, 10 Dec 2018 10:34:08 -0500 Fox Doucette

Paradox Interactive has taken an interesting tack with their DLC packages for Stellaris, specifically when compared to their earthbound grand strategy titles.

For one thing, there haven't been quite as many of them; while there are 15 expansions for 2012's Crusader Kings 2, 12 for 2013's Europa Universalis 4, and four for 2016's Hearts of Iron 4 (including the announced “Man the Guns”), Stellaris has only gotten three major expansions, as MegaCorp joins Utopia and Apocalypse in the spaceport.

As for MegaCorp, a DLC that expands trade and profit opportunities for a spacefaring race? Yeah, it's Stellaris: Ferengi Edition.

For the capitalist-minded empire, MegaCorp has a new empire type, the Corporate Authority. This replaces the old Corporate Dominion, which has always been viable for societies built strongly on the Materialist side of the Spiritual vs. Materialist slider. Those without the DLC still use the older Dominion.

There's a new civic in play for the corporate factions called "Criminal Heritage". Think Orion Syndicate from Star Trek. Taking the trait identifies your civilization as basically "the Mafia developed a warp drive", and your government is more like a crime family than a republic. It's a way to play an "evil" faction while still making use of the DLC's new features.

Criminal Heritage cannot be removed once selected, but it removes the more civilized requirements for expanding your commercial footprint. Instead of asking nicely for mutually beneficial trade agreements, you expand your empire like the mafia, not like a consortium of space traders.

The Megacorporation empire type has a higher administrative cap, so in theory, it would be ideal for wide players, but instead, harsh penalties are put in for anyone foolish enough to try that style.

Instead, there's a new Branch Office mechanic and Commercial Pact diplomatic option.

In other words, instead of an Emperor bringing warships, you instead have the Grand Nagus using his lobes to create lucrative business opportunities, all while the Megacorp's homeworld reaps the benefits from pursuing a strategy traditionally known as “going tall”, where a smaller core empire uses non-expansive ways to push for victory conditions.

Of course, what's a Paradox grand strategy game without a massive array of vassals? That's where Subsidiaries come in, and they involve the target empire paying 25% of their energy credit production in tribute and joining the master's wars.

There are also new options available so even the spiritual rather than material societies can get in on the fun, and they come in the form of “Gospel of the Masses”, a civic that is basically what would happen if Joel Osteen got his hands on a warp drive.

Long story short, instead of the consumerism coming through material avarice like a Ferengi, it instead comes through a sort of Prosperity Gospel on steroids, where religion is used to encourage consumerism and tithing in order to fund operations.

And at last, there's the Slave Market, because why go to the trouble of conquering and subjugating sovereign people for use as labor or livestock when you can just buy the product of someone else's soldiers dying to do it for you?

It's the same mechanic, but if you're freedom loving, you could even buy slaves for the sole purpose of immediately setting them free.

And if all of the above sounds a little bit like putting a fresh coat of paint on completely bog-standard mechanics from the basegame, you begin to see the problem with putting a $20 ask on Ferengi cosplay.

There just isn't enough here, even in the endgame, that has the gee-whiz factor that Utopia or Apocalypse does.

MegaCorp is just... the same, except for one huge difference that's worth talking about. 

In the 2.2 “LeGuin” patch that released alongside the DLC, the way planets are built and developed has completely changed.

The tile system? It's gone. No more. Forget everything you knew.

Instead, a planet's size is now more important as it determines how many of the new “districts” can be built on the planet. This is straight out of Civilization 6, to the point where you want to see Paradox's crib notes on the subject.

Districts are divided into City, Generator, Mining, and Agriculture, and they govern population size, energy credits, minerals, and food production respectively.

Instead of working tiles directly, your pops now have jobs that are created not only by the districts themselves but by the buildings that you can build with every 5-pop increase in overall population.

This allows for a much more adaptive form of planet-building, which is also massively more flexible and leads to a lot more interesting decisions. For example, you can selectively develop a planet to produce a specific resource.

Also in the free patch is the addition of the Unity system, previously locked behind the Utopia DLC. Unity becomes far more important not just to the Ascension Perk system (which is otherwise unchanged and still plays exactly the way it does when Paradox lifted it from Civilization 5) but to the empire's overall ability to govern itself.

And finally, the free patch brings Trade Value, a new resource that's gathered by upgraded space stations and produced on planets. This can be used via different policies to generate different types of resources. Most players, however, will find that trade value provides first and foremost the energy credits required to power mining stations and acquire resources on the Galactic Market.

Now, all of the above sounds like a meaty, worth-20-bucks expansion, right?

Well... not exactly. For one thing, all of the really big improvements to gameplay are available right there with the free patch.

There are two big takeaways here.

One, the new Planetary system with its jobs and its revamped ways to manage your pops, is right there in the free patch; you don't need to spend 20 bucks to get it.

And two, thanks to Unity/Ascension perks being brought out from behind the paywall that previously required you to own Utopia, that's another big thing you get for free that you don't even have to pay 20 bucks for (but you should still buy Utopia because it's a wonderful endgame DLC for "tall" playstyles.)

The actual Megacorp stuff? It is strictly depends-on-your-playstyle and might be too niche for all but the most determined role player.

In a game like Stellaris, which has been out for over two years now, there are a lot of well-developed and tremendously fun strategies to play around with, and even though Megacorp empires and the features in Utopia go together like hands and gloves, the same is simply not true of Apocalypse.

And since so much of what MegaCorp has to offer on the paid side of the equation doesn't really bear fruit until the late-game, you'll play it for hours on end and never feel like you're playing anything but the same old Stellaris you know and love.


  • The new Corporate Authority and its associated ways to expand your empire can be great fun for a less militaristic player
  • Synergizes amazingly well with the Utopia DLC
  • The free patch alongside the DLC is a great reason to start playing Stellaris again if you've put it down for a while


  • There's not $20 worth of paid content here; most of it, you'll never even see unless you invest a ton of time into it
  • All the best new features are in the free patch; you don't have to buy the DLC to enjoy most of the changes
  • New features are useless for militarist/conqueror playstyles.

This is a great time to get back into the game. It's going to feel fresh in a way that games this well-established rarely do so far out from release.

But there is simply not enough meat on the bones of this expansion to merit paying 20 bucks for it. The game's mechanical changes in the DLC are way too niche to be practical, and that's going to severely limit the value you get out of it past the first couple of experiments and full playthrough.

Everything here is well-made and lovingly crafted like it always is. The objection is that it's just not broad enough for lasting appeal.

Anthem Demo Dates Announced Sat, 08 Dec 2018 11:09:22 -0500 William R. Parks

Following a new trailer at Thursday's Game Awards, Anthem is starting to step into the spotlight prior to its February launch. This is further established by the beginning of the game's closed alpha, set for this weekend, and while not everyone will be able to participate in this testing phase, a newly announced demo will give players an opportunity to tryout the game before its release.

Anthem's demo will be made available in two stages, first to "VIPs" on January 25 and then to all players on February 1. The VIP Demo will be for players that pre-order the new multiplayer RPG as well as EA Access and Origin Access subscribers.

This is a different approach than the one EA has taken with the closed alpha, where preference is not given to pre-orderers and subscribers, however, the rest of the potential player base will not be far behind with the Open Demo. That said, VIPs will receive an "in-game item celebrating their trailblazing spirit." 

"It's time for the fans to get their hands on Anthem and experience it for themselves," Lead Producer Mike Gamble states in the demo announcement. "We truly hope they enjoy this taste of flying and fighting in this brand-new world our team has been crafting for many years."

Since the game's official announcement at E3 2017, BioWare has focused first on familiarizing fans with Anthem's gameplay. This is indeed a logical approach, as Director Jonathan Warner has indicated that the studio is taking a gameplay-first approach to developing this one.

However, with the trailer showcased at The Game Awards, it is clear that BioWare is also committed to offering an elaborate story and expansive world in Anthem. This will feature factions and NPCs to engage with and a powerful force capable of tearing the universe asunder.

While it remains to be seen how gameplay and narrative will coalesce in the game, it seems that fans of BioWare's previous releases need not worry that they have gone in an entirely new direction here. Fortunately, with this newly announced demo, everyone is going to have the opportunity to experience the game before buying it.

14 Awesome Multiplayer Weapons in Monster Hunter: World Sat, 08 Dec 2018 11:07:54 -0500 Tim White

Monster Hunter: World becomes a substantially different game depending on whether you're playing it alone or with others. In multiplayer mode, monsters get much tougher and often attack differently. As such, your favorite weapons to use when playing alone might not be ideal in co-op, and vice-versa.

With hundreds of weapons to choose from, finding a few that you love can seem overwhelming. MHW is pretty well balanced, and different players will always have different preferences; this guide is certainly not intended to be The Final Word in the best weapons, only to highlight some of our favorites and point out their niftiest features.

Note: Because not all players may have access to limited event weapons, they are not eligible for inclusion in this list.

Note #2: Weapon damage ratings (weak, low, average, high, outstanding) are assessed relative to typical damage values for that class of weapon, not against all weapons; the strongest dual blades are obviously going to have much lower base damage than the weakest hammers.

Be sure to head over to our best sing-player weapons guide for more Monster: Hunter World weapons. 

Charge Blade

Often considered the most difficult weapons in the game to master, charge blades are slow and have complex move sets, but make up for it by having excellent offensive and defensive capabilities, whereas most other weapons aren't so great at one or the other. All other factors being equal, charge blades have the highest damage potential of any weapon class. Their large shields can also block all but the very strongest Elder Dragon attacks.

Our pick: Devastation's Thorns

Attack power: High
Sharpness: Blue
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 1 (x1)

Why it's great for cooperative play: 
Not only does this charge blade deal pretty good damage to just about everything, it's utterly devastating to Elder Dragons, and only slightly less so to anything else with an aversion to dragon damage. Its impact phials make its non-elemental axe form attacks even more potent, and with teammates around to pull some of the aggro, you'll be free to attack more liberally, ensuring that this weapon's high elderseal stays active at all times. (The shield component of this weapon is also super strong, if you're a tanky charge blade user.)


Hammers have the shortest range of any weapon other than dual blades, but they're built specifically for hitting things in the face and stunning, so they're great for getting monsters that like to rage frequently to take a chill pill.

Our pick: Pandemonium's Root

Attack power: High
Sharpness: Blue
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 2 (x1)

Why it's great for cooperative play: 
As a hammer user in a party with others, your main job is generally to hit the monster in the face repeatedly in order to stun it as often as possible (and to break its parts for extra drops). This weapon's 270 dragon damage and average elderseal are both pretty darn good for a hammer with such high base damage, and the same is true of its single level two decoration slot. You can do (a little) better in terms of raw damage, but you'd have to sacrifice some of the extras.

Dual Blades

Dual blades have the fastest attack speed of any weapon, but deal the least damage per hit (obviously). This makes them superb for inflicting status effects, and their unique demon mode is capable of dealing out surprisingly big damage for such little weapons.

Our pick: Fire and Ice

Attack power: Average
Sharpness: Blue
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 2 (x1)

Why it's great for cooperative play: The biggest limitation of dual blades for solo players is the fact that your DPS is compromised by needing to dodge frequently, but with teammates around, dual blades users generally pull the least aggro. This means you're free to take advantage of both ice and blast damage at impressive values of 240 each. As long as your target doesn't fully resist either, you can dish out a lot of pain with this weapon, especially if you bring armor that enhances affinity or Blast Attack.


Greatswords are both slower than charge blades and less damaging on a DPS basis. You might ask: "Why use them, then?" Well, they're easier to handle and they boast higher damage per hit, making them the best choice for waking up sleeping monsters. They also don't limit dodging quite as much as charge blades do.

Our pick: Purgation's Atrocity

Attack power: High
Sharpness: Blue
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 1 (x1)

Why it's great for cooperative play: 
This is the third strongest greatsword in terms of base attack power, and it boasts another 150 dragon damage and high elderseal on top of that. With other hunters helping out, you should be able to attack more aggressively, taking full advantage of all that hard-hitting goodness. Adding Health Regeneration to its single augmentation slot has the potential to make you nigh unkillable.

Long Sword

Long swords are the most popular weapon in Monster Hunter: World according to the wandering Wyverian, and it's not hard to see why: they're the most versatile and flexible weapon class. Featuring decent range, damage, and speed, long swords are a solid choice if you're not sure what to expect or if you'll be taking on several different monsters at once.

Our pick: Reaver "Calamity"

Attack power: Outstanding
Sharpness: Blue
Decoration slots: 

Why it's great for cooperative play: 
The Reaver "Calamity" is the single hardest hitting long sword—759 base damage is amazing, considering how quick these weapons can be. 210 dragon damage and high elderseal, along with two augmentation slots, make this decision kind of a no-brainer, even though it lacks decoration slots. Recruit some teammates to pull aggro so you can go to town on the target undisturbed.


These truly weird weapons are tricky to master, but capable of both great offense and defense in skilled hands. They're not quite as good at either as charge blades, but they're somewhat more user-friendly and even I (a devout charge blade user) have to admit that gunlances are way cooler.

Our pick: Earthshaker Magda Lahat

Attack power: Average
Sharpness: Green
Decoration slots: 

Why it's great for cooperative play: 
Don't be underwhelmed by this weapon's middle-of-the-road attack power or its absence of decoration slots—it boasts long-range shells and level 4 shells, making its ranged attacks among the most devastating to be found in its class. Being a Zorah Magdaros weapon, it also makes everything explode with a whopping 420 blast damage. With fellow hunters distracting the monster, you can fire off slow, long-range charge attacks in relative safety—or shoot the monster right in the face at point-blank range if you're in charge of tanking.


I must confess that I know less about lances than any other weapon, but to the extent that I've used them, I find them to be a better choice for multiplayer than for solo play. They lack the ranged and burst damage options of gunlances, but offer better maneuverability, better defense, and more consistent (if lower) melee damage, making them a more "vanilla" (but still useful) weapon.

Our pick: Empress Lance "Blaze"

Attack power: Average
Sharpness: White
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 2 (x1), Lv. 1 (x1)

Why it's great for cooperative play: 
If you're a lance user in a party, odds are you're the designated tank. Keeping that in mind, it's hard to ignore the free rank of Guts you get from this lance, which will let you survive a fatal hit once per battle. Its 20% affinity is bested only by a small handful of other lances, and you've got 180 blast damage as well. Taken as a whole package, this weapon makes you a veritable bastion of defense while also granting above-average offensive potential.

Switch Axe

If a charge blade and a greatsword had a baby, that would be extremely weird, and the baby would be a switch axe. These awkward weapons have a strange feel and rhythm to them, but make good offensive weapons in trained hands. They lack both the incredible damage potential and the major weaknesses of their parents.

Our pick: Jagras Raider III

Attack power: Average
Sharpness: Blue
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 3 (x1), Lv. 2 (x1)

Why it's great for cooperative play: 
As you've no doubt learned, rarity isn't everything when it comes to comparing different weapons. Though the Jagras Raider III is "only" a rarity 6 weapon, that does mean you get three augmentation slots to play with. What's more, it has dormant sleep damage of 240 (you'll need Hidden Element to take advantage of it) and 210 exhaust power, meaning it's capable of tiring monsters out fast and frequently. Since monsters can't use their worst attacks when they're exhausted, your teammates will thank you.

Sword & Shield

The bread and butter of fantasy melee weapons, the good old sword n' board does it all. While long swords are also versatile weapons, they're mostly offensive in nature, whereas swords and shields are better suited for defensive play. They also have a unique property: they're the only class of weapon that permits item usage (and slinger shots!) in combat while blocking, which is an enormous advantage during tougher fights.

Our pick: Grand Barong II

Attack power: Average
Sharpness: Blue
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 3 (x1)

Why it's great for cooperative play: 
You're never going to get superlative damage output with a sword n' board, so embrace its other strengths instead. The main attraction here is the 300 paralysis damage that can lock monsters down for your allies to wail on, but it's dormant, so you'll need to invest in Hidden Element. It also grants a +10 defense bonus, which is unusual for this weapon class. Swords and shields are designed to be versatile, so do whatever makes the most sense for you with its three augmentation slots and single level three decoration slot.

Insect Glaive

An insect glaive was the first weapon I tried in MHW, and I hated it at first. It's now my second favorite weapon type. Glaives take some getting used to, but they offer the best speed and mobility of any weapon, and they have some nifty extra abilities too. Glaive users spend most of their time in the air, excel at dodging and mounting, and can inflict multiple element or status effects on the fly with different glaive and kinsect combos.

Our pick: Xeno Shmaena

Attack power: Average
Sharpness: White
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 3 (x2)

Why it's great for cooperative play: 
Few glaives offer stamina boost as a kinsect bonus, but this is one of them. (Note that this refers to your kinsect's stamina recovery, not yours; this boost allows you to dispatch your bug more frequently.) 15% affinity is decent for a glaive; you can boost that number way higher if you're an affinity-based fighter, or just focus on keeping the monster under low elderseal with an unrelenting barrage of aerial attacks. Consider allocating a few armor skill slots to Handicraft to boost this glaive's offensive potential.

Hunting Horn

It's not quite fair to say that hunting horns are useless to solo players, but they're definitely intended to form the backbone of a party. Their buffing and healing songs will be of limited use to lone hunters, but can overcharge a party's abilities to an impressive degree.

Our pick: Teostra's Orphée

Attack power: High
Sharpness: Blue
Decoration slots: 

Why it's great for cooperative play: 
As any experienced Monster Hunter vet will tell you, status effects are often way more dangerous than a monster's direct damage attacks—but Teostra's Orphée has you covered on both sides. It can play Divine Protection and All Ailments Negated songs, and it can also turn the tables on enemies by boosting your allies with an Abnormal Status Attack Increased song. It can't restore HP directly, but that's about the only support task it can't do.


Bows are definitely meant to be used in multiplayer, as they're primarily for distracting or lightly stunning enemies and for inflicting status effects. They're ideal for lazy players that don't like to do much dodging, too; stay well out of range, and monsters will rarely bother to come harass you.

Our pick: Xeno Metora

Attack power: Average
Sharpness: N/A
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 3 (x2)

Why it's great for cooperative play: 
This bow can use power coatings by default, which means if you want access to the two it doesn't have (sleep and paralysis), you can add them via decorations in order to support the team more effectively. Its 15% affinity, low elderseal and 180 dragon damage are all respectable, making it more physically powerful than many other bows as well as useful for keeping Elder Dragons under control from a safe distance.

Light Bowgun

As you might expect, light bowguns fire more quickly and permit greater mobility than their heavy counterparts at the cost of reduced damage. They're great with support ammo for inflicting status effects, and they can plant mines in the ground to set up traps for moderate damage.

Our pick: Devil's Madness

Attack power: Outstanding
Sharpness: N/A
Decoration slots: 

Why it's great for cooperative play: 
This bowgun is hard to control and has negative affinity, but it's got great base damage and two augmentation slots to play with. However, it has a hidden property that isn't openly advertised: it deals amazing slicing damage, making it superb at severing monster parts from afar. Most light bowguns don't really distinguish themselves from one another, so this one stands out from the crowd and can be a great support weapon.

Heavy Bowgun

Beefier and slower than its little brother, heavy bowguns can be particularly challenging to use effectively without teammates, as they're slow and unwieldy, and they make dodging difficult. But if you do have a friend or two backing you up, heavy bowguns become much more useful.

Our pick: Empress Cannon "Styx"

Attack power: High
Sharpness: N/A
Decoration slots: 
Lv. 3 (x1), Lv. 1 (x1)

Why it's great for cooperative play: 
There are stronger HBGs out there, but damage isn't what this weapon class is all about anyway. The main draw here is the free rank of Spare Shot, which grants every shot fired a chance to not consume ammo; this means you can support your team effectively throughout much longer fights. After that, the medium-tier affinity rating and decoration slots are just added bonuses.


There you have it! Hopefully you'll fall in love with at least a few weapons from this list, but even if you don't find your forever weapon, perhaps you've learned something useful about different ways to evaluate other options.

Keep an eye on our Monster Hunter: World hub page for more guides.

Mortal Kombat 11 Release Date Announced at The Game Awards Fri, 07 Dec 2018 17:32:45 -0500 William R. Parks

As promised, last night's Game Awards not only focused on celebrating a year of great games, but it also looked forward to what the future of gaming holds, showcasing a slew of new game trailers and announcements. Amongst these reveals was one that is likely to have stood out to fighting game fans the world over: Mortal Kombat 11 is on its way.

Mortal Kombat 11 is set for release on April 23, 2019, and it is coming to PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. This reveal was accompanied by an extravagantly violent trailer featuring Raiden and (apparently) two Scorpions locked in a brutal battle. While the meaning of these multiple manifestations of the undead ninja is open for speculation, there are further concrete details for fans to latch on to.

One such piece of information is that those that pre-order Mortal Kombat 11 will not only get access to Shao Kahn as a playable character, but they will also be invited to the fighter's closed beta. Pre-orders open on December 7, and the beta is scheduled for March, though it is important to note that only PS4 and Xbox One owners will be able to participate.

Furthermore, Mortal Kombat 11 will give players "unprecedented control to customize the fighters" with its new Custom Character Variations, and it includes a cinematic story mode. Additionally, it has been confirmed that the fighter utilizes a more powerful graphics engine than its predecessor.

While all of this information is a healthy start to getting fan excitement going, a Community Reveal Event is scheduled for January 17, and many further details are likely to be presented then. This may include elaboration on the "new and returning Klassic Fighters" that are said to comprise the game's roster.

Last weekend, an alleged Mortal Kombat 11 QA tester took to 4chan, leaking many details about the new fighter, including that it would emphasize customization and be revealed at The Game Awards. While these two statements are now proven, it is not a guarantee that the leaks are valid in full.

However, for those that do not wish to wait for new details at the Community Reveal Event, these assertions are still available on 4chan.

Just Cause 4's Region Strikes are the Definition of Disappointment Fri, 07 Dec 2018 16:14:32 -0500 Jonathan Moore

In my Just Cause 4 review, I was pretty lenient on region strikes, the secondary missions you undertake to gain control of new regions. Now I'm beginning to think that was a mistake. 

This morning, I played three region strikes back to back to back. All three of them had the exact same flow:

  1. Destroy generators on one side of a Black Hand facility
  2. Destroy generators on the other side of the facility
  3. Destroy generators where the first generators were (because more have magically appeared completely out of thin air)
  4. Drive a vehicle to a hacker hiding in a garage
  5. drive said hacker to a set of terminals
  6. Defend hacker as he hacks terminal 1
  7. Then defend as he hacks terminal 2
  8. Then defend as he hacks terminal 3 

This. I performed this exact sequence three times in a row in three different regions. I've got one word for this tripe: disappointment. 

Why Are They So Bad?!

Sometimes, these missions exchange generators for breakers and remove the shenanigans of chauffeuring hackers from Point A to Point B, but this is the computational equivalent of semantics.

There is no difference between the two seemingly disparate objectives in any sense of the word. To hide the fact region strikes are mundane as all hell, Just Cause 4 will sometimes(!) let you push the buttons yourself (woooooow).

All this does is save you from the utterly inane claptrap that is killing 75 infinitely-spawning Black Hand soldiers while also furiously honking the horn of an artillery truck while a halfwit hacker runs from passenger side to driver's side helplessly trying to get in, taking half a bar of damage in the process. 

In the handful of cases you aren't escorting and defending said hacker, it's entirely possible to take over a Black Hand facility without firing a single shot in anger -- or even a single shot at all.

Why, Though?!

You could just use your tether to fly from one end of the base to the other pressing buttons. Eventually, Sargento, one of the game's rebel leaders, will come across the comms and give you an appropriately undeserved "Attaboy!" for your efficient, yet utterly unsatisfying efforts. 

Oh yeah, you can also extract hostages sometimes. But this is still escort and defend. It's always escort and defend or press buttons. Always. 

My point is this: Just Cause 4 wastes the plethora of zany options at its disposal by pigeonholing every region strike into a paint-by-numbers snoozefest that does a very poor job of engaging the player.

This aspect of the game is just plain lazy, completely laughing in the face of its own creatively wacky ethos. Of course, you get to blow shit up, but that only covers the underlying blemishes so much. It's infinitely more fun to just randomly wreak chaos than capitulate to these missions. 

Seriously, Why?!

Problem is, you ultimately have to do region strikes to progress and get better gear and vehicles. You have no choice but to submit yourself to this repetitive and mundane test of player will and patience.

I don't mind some defense and escort missions; I don't mind some hacking/stealth/espionage missions. I'd wager you don't mind some either, especially as their inclusion tweaks the blistering action-movie pace of the series in sometimes interesting ways. However, it's downright unacceptable to leave so much on the table and not even give the appearance of trying. It's not just unacceptable -- it's disappointing.

Like, why doesn't the weather system play any part in some of these takeovers. Aside from one (one!) region strike "thoughtfully" placed inside a sandstorm, there's not so much as a single drop of weather in the 40 other strikes. Yeah, you have to do this 40 other times.

Let us control a tornado, for God's sake; let us use it to demolish everything in sight and wipe out mobs of soldiers in glorious tornadic wonder. I dunno, maybe let us use a lightning storm to fry a base's infrastructure like you do early in the game. I mean, let us at least have the chance take over a base in a full-scale assault, putting Frontline squads to even greater (and even more interesting) use.

OMFG, Why?!

Nearly anything would be better than the mind-numbing repetition found in region strikes. Anything. 

At the end of the day, it's all emblematic of a sad state of affairs for the Just Cause sequel. Since the series is so predicated on user choice and "emergent" gameplay, continually handcuffing players into a singular playstyle undermines the entire experience. Historically, you've been able to use the game's toolset to light the world on fire as you see fit -- or slap rocket boosters on the ass end of a cow and let er' rip.

Once you've blasted a burly bovine into the stratosphere, there ain't no goin' back. Forced into rote mission repetition, it simply feels like in some of its most promising moments, Just Cause 4 chose to leave its "emergent gameplay" on the cutting room floor.

Before setting it on fire. 

Then loading it into the deck gun of a Conquistador Warship and launching it out to sea. 

'Tis the Season to Be Gaming: A Guide to 2018's Winter Gaming Events Fri, 07 Dec 2018 12:14:21 -0500 Victoria B.


This month will be filled with all sorts of new content for you to enjoy, so be sure to celebrate the season by playing with your friends this month while these additions are available.


We'll be keeping an eye out for more announcements from developers as new holiday events arise, so check back for further updates.


Killing Floor 2 -- Twisted Christmas: Season's Beatings 


Killing Floor has tons of new content for its players this season with Season’s Beatings.


Play as killer Santa Clause as you slice through zeds and take on Krampus to reclaim your workshop on the new map Santa’s Workshop.


You can also fight the crowds of Black Friday zeds in the new map Shopping Spree. On top of that, use an arsenal of new weapons which include Krampus Battle Axe, M32 Grenade Launcher, Fire Axe, and the Road Redeemer.


Oh, and did we mention that the one and only Gary Busey voices Badass Santa? That alone is worth checking out. 


Rocket League -- Frosty Fest


No official announcements have been made regarding Rocket League’s Frosty Fest. However, last year’s event ran from December 11 to January 2, and it brought all sorts of antennas, toppers, wheels, rocket boosts, and decals.


Playing various matches, including hockey, rewards players with snowflakes, used to obtain new holiday content.


While we wait for the Frosty Fest to return, we can still look forward to the recent Rocket Pass 2 announcement, which will be available starting December 10. Buying a premium upgrade for this pass ($9.99) will include the new Artemis Battle-Car.


Fortnite -- Winter Royale: Season 7


Winter Royale will officially dropped on December 6 and the seventh season has brought all sorts of holiday-themed themed content. Remember, however, this content comes at a price. You must purchase the battle pass for exclusive tier content, primarily skins.


Some of these new skins include:

  • Srg. Winter -- A ripped and battle worn version of santa
  • \n
  • Yetti -- A blue skinned monster with white fur and crossed eyes.
  • \n
  • Pajama -- A burger onesie complete with slippers and a googly eyed hood.
  • \n
  • Lynx -- A legendary sleek cat suit.
  • \n
  • The Ice King -- Another legendary skin of a cloaked man with glowing blue eyes and icy boots.
  • \n

Once jumping from the bus with your new skin and gear, you’ll find the map coated in snow and ice to fit the season.


Destiny 2 -- Dawning 


Destiny 2’s Dawning event will be returning once again this year, but at a later time that it’s previous release.


The official start date will be December 11, but no end date is currently in sight. You’ll find the farm and tower decorated, Dawning engrams, game modes, and quests.


Though there are few announcements on what to anticipate in this year’s Dawning event, there may be returning game modes and content. Be sure you check into the Crucible once the event is released because the developers may bring back last year’s Mayhem PvP mode, which lowered cooldowns for intense and fast-paced matches.


Another added feature were snowball fights. It is likely you will be able to pummel your friends and enemies with snowballs both inside and outside matches.


New quests and milestones usually come with the winter updates, and though there are no official announcements on what they could entail (outside of confirmed powerful gear drops), rumors suggest it could be centered around Eva Levante.


Rewards and engrams for the crucible, strike, and quests are bound to contain themed armor, weapons, shaders, and more.


Overwatch -- Winter Wonderland


It’s round three for Overwatch’s Winter Wonderland event, so here’s what you should expect as far as game modes, skins, loot boxes, and environmental map changes.


This update will be active December 11 to January 2, but for those of you who have added new game modes to your wish list, you may be disappointed.


The Overwatch team has expressed that they will not be adding new game modes for events this year and will instead bring back recurring seasonal game modes while focusing on new heroes and balancing current ones.


This means we will most likely be seeing “Mei’s Snowball Offensive” on Ecopoint: Antarctica and 2017’s “Yetti Hunter” on Nepal return to the arcade for the winter season.


However, some of the maps will be adjusted to fit the holidays. The locations that will be festive and decorated with snow, lights, and trees this year include Blizzard World and King’s Row.


Along with these game modes and environment changes, be prepared for new legendary and epic skins, one of which Overwatch has already announced as Zarya’s Snowboarder Legendary skin, equipped with furry bear hat and tail.


This year’s previous Halloween Terror event brought with it nine new skins, so players can expect a similar turnout for 2018’s Winter Wonderland. Loot boxes are also bound to contain seasonally themed sprays, emotes, highlights, and voice lines.


Monster Hunter World -- Winter Star Fest


Capcom is joining the festivities this year with their latest update for Monster Hunter: World, the Winter Star Fest. Log in each day between November 30 and December 17 for rewards, consumables, quests, costumes, emotes, and festivities.


Celebrate the season at the The Celestial Pursuit, which is decked with cascading lights and ornaments. NPC characters also don winter wear to match the holiday spirit.


Along with changes to the environment, you will find new gear for your hunter. Every day that you jump into the game, you will be gifted with Winter Star tickets. Gathering star tickets will allow you the craft the new Orion winter gear for your journey, along with adorable snowcat costumes for your paleco and sweaters for your pig, Poogie

If you missed special event quests throughout the year, you will now be able to seek them out again since the star fest is bringing back old and new quests for players. Be sure to keep up with the winter schedule here to avoid missing opportunities. 


Sleigh bells ring in the distance. Gamer’s rage, but we won’t listen. It’s a beautiful site. We’re happy tonight. Season events are coming 'round again.


December is here -- and you know what that means. Holiday events are back on our PC’s and consoles this month with new winter and Christmas updates. It’s time to dive back into those games we love and spend these cold days wrapped in a warm blanket with a steamy cup of coffee.


Let's warm up, boot up, and level up. 

Surefire Drafting and Deck Editing Tips for Artifact Fri, 07 Dec 2018 11:39:28 -0500 Sergey_3847

Drafting mode is an essential part of almost every card game in existence. You can find it in Magic: The Gathering and you can find it in Hearthstone Arena. Artifact also has a Draft mode, which is quite similar to Magic booster drafting.

However, drafting in Artifact is still unique and requires a different approach than what you might be used to considering you are allowed to draft two cards from one pack.

If you want to know how to draft properly in Artifact, then follow our tips below.

How to Draft in Artifact

There are two types of drafts in Artifact: Phantom and Keeper.

Phantom Draft allows you to play the complete draft game, but in the end, you can't keep all the cards you've drafted.

The Keeper Draft, on the other hand, allows you to keep the cards in your collection.

When the draft starts, you will be given a chance to select two cards from each pack. You will have five full packs opened for a total of 60 cards. If you haven't chosen any heroes during your draft, the game will automatically add random heroes to your deck.

Taking this into account, let's now assess which cards to choose during drafting.

Hero Cards

Hero cards are the most important cards in Artifact, which means that you need to pick them up first. But how do you know what heroes are the best? Well, you need to know the cards well, or you could refer to our best Artifact heroes guide.

Heroes should also help you define the colors of your deck. But don't eliminate the most powerful cards if they don't fit your heroes. You never know how your draft will end up, as you could easily change your strategy during the deck editing process.

Main Cards

Always look at the rarity of the card before drafting.

Every pack will offer your one rare card, three uncommon cards, and the rest will be common cards. Rare and uncommon cards are usually the best, so you should pick them up in the early stages of a draft.

In the second half of drafting, you can start choosing proactive common cards that fit your deck archetype and colors. We'll talk more about archetypes and colors in the deck editing part of this guide (which you can find in the next section).

Here are some of the best spells and creeps you can currently draft in Artifact:

  • Mist of Avernus
  • Unearthed Secrets
  • Time of Triumph
  • Annihilation
  • Emissary of the Quorum
  • Spring the Trap
  • Tyler Estate Censor
  • Conflagration
Item Cards

The shopping phase at the end of each turn allows you to buy item cards that can significantly improve your chances of winning if you know which cards to buy. During the draft, you can pick your own item cards, which is strongly advisable.

These items can be used for buffing your heroes, so it is recommended to buy a complete set for one of your heroes, including, a weapon, an armor, and an accessory.

If you decide not to draft any item cards, then the game will offer the three basic types of items for your item deck.

In any case, here is a short list of the best item cards in Artifact:

  • Stonehall Cloak
  • Blink Dagger
  • Revtel Signet Ring
  • Traveler's Cloak

You can also train your drafting skills in Artifact using Howling Mind's draft simulator, which allows you to master the art of drafting in a safe environment.

How to Edit a Drafted Deck in Artifact

After you're done drafting your 60 cards, you can edit your deck by removing any unwanted cards. Just like in Constructed, the optimal size for a drafted deck is 40 cards. This means that you can remove 20 cards that don't fit your desired colors or are generally weak cards you don't wish to play.

Before removing any cards from your deck, you need to consider a few key points:

  • Which colors you wish play
  • Which archetype you wish to construct
  • How your mana curve should look like

It is almost impossible to draft a solid mono-color deck in draft, so the best and most optimal option is to go for two-color deck. If you really see the potential in splashing a powerful hero that doesn't fit your chosen two colors, then you can sometimes opt for three colors.

There is no one strongest color or pair of colors in the game as everything mainly depends on the chosen archetype of your deck. But if you need to choose a specific color, then go for Red, as it is the best supplementary color.


You can figure out the deck archetype in your draft by looking at the colors you have chosen:

  • Black has a lot of cheap creeps and removal spells
  • Blue has the best spells in the game, but it has understatted creeps
  • Green focuses on health and buffing with some really large creeps
  • Red has the best statted creeps in the game and some decent spells

Taking all this into account, if you want to be aggressive and win quickly, then opt for Black and Red as your two main colors for an Aggro archetype.

But in case you have Blue and Green colors, then you should definitely aim at a Control archetype.

Mana Curve

When drafting a deck in Artifact, mana curve doesn't play such an important role as in other card games, since you already start with three mana in your pool.

This allows you to play some really expensive cards without getting worried that you will lose.

With all that said, the game in Draft mode rarely goes up to ten mana, so try to keep your cards in the range between 3 and 8 mana with most of your cards somewhere in the middle. This will allow you to play everything you want and have a great chance of winning.


With these tips, you should be able to quickly draft a powerful deck in Artifact. Do you have any strategies that you've found to work well? Let us know in the comments. 

Mutant: Year Zero Review: A Grittier, More Accessible X-COM Fri, 07 Dec 2018 11:23:37 -0500 Tim White

X-COM has garnered a fiercely loyal fan base and cemented a reputation for itself as an intricate and challenging turn-based strategy title. It's just too bad that its RNG system is absolute horseshit.

Mutant: Year Zero clearly draws strong inspiration from X-COM, but it definitely has its own identity. It's dark and gritty, yet punctuated with well-timed laughs. It's easy to learn, hard to master. Developer The Bearded Ladies Consulting clearly put lots of TLC into it, and the result is a polished, balanced turn-based strategy game that would make a great holiday gift for fans of the genre, even if it's not the holidays.


Note: As of this writing, the reviewer has not fully completed the main story.

For me, post-apocalypse tales are extremely hit or miss. They tend to spring from some variation on the premise that humans are a disease infecting the planet and/or that we're all scumbags that will inevitably destroy everything, and frankly, I'm way beyond tired of that outlook.

Mutant: Year Zero takes place in a world ravaged by a number of calamities, at least some of which are implied to be humanity's fault. Regular humans are fairly uncommon; most people have been subjected to varying degrees and forms of mutations, some of which are more useful than others.

I haven't yet progressed far enough into the story to know for sure what caused the initial armageddon—or if that's even relevant—but at the very least, Mutant: Year Zero doesn't seem to exude the same brand of childish nihilism often found in other post-apocalypse stories.

Not far into the game, it's revealed that an important person has gone missing from one of the last human(ish) cities. He's a smart guy and generally well-liked, so Bormin and Dux, your first playable Stalkers, volunteer to go find him. They pick up other mutants with common goals along the way, battling through thieves, thugs, and wildlife as they go.

I've made decent progress into the game, but not far enough to know exactly where the story is going, so for now, I'll describe my impression of the narrative's tone and content as "cautiously optimistic."


Mutant's real claim to fame is its unique blend of real-time and turn-based combat. Every enemy encounter throughout the game is heavily influenced by how well you understand and balance these two systems.

As we mention in our strategy guide for the game, stealth is mandatory in this game. Outside of combat, the action unfolds in real time. One button orders your currently-selected squad member into cover, while another splits the party and allows each member to move around independently. Picking great positions for each character based on their strengths and weaknesses is key to a successful ambush, which is in turn essential to victory.

X-COM is punishing but in a kind of unfair, frequently douchey way. Mutant is much more consistent and transparent. If you find yourself staring at a "Game Over" screen, it's almost always your fault.

The game lets you know right from the outset that you won't last long without sneakiness and planning, but it also rewards you when you play along and do things the right way. 50% shots actually do connect roughly half the time, and the sting of an embarrassing defeat is soothed by the knowledge that, as long as you take your time, you can inflict equally brutal punishment on your enemies.

My only real complaint about the gameplay is that it's just a tad simplistic. Each character has their own unique skill tree, which is great, but there are only a handful of skills to choose from. More variety in tactical options would have been nice, but don't misunderstand—what's here is done very well. I'd much rather have a simpler experience that works great than muddle through a complex series of mechanics that aren't fully fleshed out.


Much like its gameplay elements, Mutant's visuals are a bit lacking in variety, but they are nonetheless well done. Environments, in particular, are rather samey. You can only wander through so many collapsed tunnels and overgrown forests before you begin to yearn for something else to look at.

Character models are a little bit low-res and polygonal, but this strikes me as more of an aesthetic choice than a lack of competence. Giving the character models a rougher, boxier appearance jives nicely with the game's general vibe of a wild, desperate landscape outside the city walls.

Weapon models also deserve special praise for their inventiveness. Most ranged weapons are slapped together with duct tape, and one rifle looks to be sporting half of a pair of binoculars as a scope. The prospect of firing them is utterly terrifying, further enunciating just how primitive life has become.

Sound & Music

While Mutant is certainly not a boring game, its sound design is less than thrilling. Voice acting is competent, but not stellar, and on occasion, certain lines of dialogue sound flat or stilted. Dux is especially hard to listen to at times. His voice actor comes across as though he's only kind of trying to sound like a duck; he should either fully commit to Donald Duck mode or just talk normally.

Weirdly enough, random enemy chatter is usually conveyed by better voice actors than the main protagonists. Human and mutant enemies bicker, scream, and grumble in a wide range of voices ranging from silly to deeply threatening.

Music is even more uninspiring. I enjoy and pay close attention to soundtracks, but for the life of me, I mostly can't recall any of the music in Mutant once I'm not actively listening to it. I eventually decided to just turn the in-game music off and listen to some somber battle tunes in the background.

Sound effects are not much better, either. Gunshots are kind of empty and boring, as are many other ambient sounds.

Fortunately, Mutant's lackluster sound design is not reflective of the overall experience.


The game's hardware specifications are relatively modest by modern standards, recommending at least a GTX 970 and 8GB of RAM for best performance. On a GTX 1080 and a Skylake i-7700 CPU, Mutant runs flawlessly and has no trouble maintaining frame rates above 80 on max settings.

I'm approximately 15 hours into the game and I've experienced no crashes or obvious bugs. It's not especially resource hungry as far as I can tell, and I wouldn't expect any but the most bare-bones budget rigs to struggle.

  • Well-balanced gameplay is challenging but fair
  • General aesthetic is engaging and has flair
  • It just works—no major technical problems
  • Boring music and sound effects
  • Tiresome, depressing "humans suck" narrative premise
  • Skills and tactics are somewhat lacking in variety

It's nice to see carefully crafted turn-based strategy games years after their last major heyday. Mutant: Year Zero isn't groundbreaking in most respects, but it's much more good than bad, and it's refreshing when developers clearly loved making the game they're now asking you to buy. Its launch price of $34.99 is more than fair for what you get.

Mutant: Year Zero is available now for PC, Xbox One, and PS4.

[Note: The developer provided the copy of Mutant Year Zero used in this review.]

The Game Awards: Pre-Show World Premieres Include Switch Rhythm Game Fri, 07 Dec 2018 00:50:34 -0500 QuintLyn

Prior to the official kick-off of the annual video game celebration The Game Awards, fans and attendees got first-looks at several new games and a surprise announcement.

Sayonara Wild Hearts

The evening kicked off with the reveal trailer for a new Nintendo Switch Rhythm game from Simogo titled Sayonara Wild Hearts. The trailer gave a brief look at some of the characters but didn't offer any other information about the game other than that it should be available sometime in 2019.

Journey to the Savage Planet

The second early announcement was for a game from a brand new studio. Canadian company Typhoon Studios, along with 505 Games, Epic Games, and the Makers Fund, revealed their sci-fi adventure game Journey to the Savage Planet.

While the devs don't plan to show much in the way of gameplay until next year, they did explicitly state it is not a battle royale or survivial game.

The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe

Possibly one of the biggest surprises among the announcements at The Game Awards was from the developer of The Stanley Parable. Five years after the game originally launched on PC, it is now coming to consoles.

It won't be a direct port, however. Instead, it will be an Ultra Deluxe version containing new endings and content along with the base game.

Among Trees

Another unexpected reveal was from self-described micro-studio FJRD Interactive. Their first game, Among Trees, is a survival adventure game slated to come to early access on Steam next year.

Not a lot is known about the gameplay, but the graphics are definitely eye-catching.

For more things Game Awards, head over to our Game Awards hub.

The Game Awards: The Outer Worlds Trailer Out-Fallouts Fallout Fri, 07 Dec 2018 00:45:35 -0500 QuintLyn

Tonight, at The Video Game Awards, Obsidian, the developers of Fallout: New Vegas, premiered the trailer for their upcoming sci-fi game, The Outer Worlds -- a single-player, first-person sci-fi RPG.

The trailer starts with the player's character waking up from stasis in an unfamiliar place. It's filled with quirky characters living in a vibrant world (or worlds since we're talking about a galaxy here).

The player will find themselves caught up in a huge conspiracy that threatens the galaxy, and they must deal with various factions fighting for control. The story's still a little hazy, but the game essentially looks like Fallout in space. 

The Outer Worlds is built upon the player choice, with each decision made affecting how the story plays out.

Already, YouTube commenters are looking at this as not only a spiritual successor to Fallout: New Vegas, but some have declared it the game that will "rescue us" from Fallout 76. Others are noting it's as if Fallout had a baby with Borderlands.

Even without comparing the game to anything else, it looks stunning. I know I can't wait to get my grubby hands on it.

The Outer Worlds does not currently have a release date, but it will be coming to PC, PS4, and Xbox One. 

Obsidian was recently acquired by Microsoft. 

The Game Awards: BioWare Highlights Story In Anthem Trailer Fri, 07 Dec 2018 00:14:57 -0500 QuintLyn

If the world premiere trailer at The Game Awards 2018 is any indication, BioWare isn't skimping on story when it comes to Anthem. The game has been on the radar of most gamers since it was first announced, with many looking at it as a direct competitor to Bungie's Destiny series. However, there's still a lot we don't know about the game.

With the game being a BioWare title, many hope it will have the kind of story they've come to expect from the developer after games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age.

Tonight's trailer offered players a look at the game world, including several NPCs players will interact with, various locations, and the game's main big bad, the Monitor.

While the trailer doesn't offer any new info on gameplay, it does go some way to indicate players might be getting what they expect from BioWare when it comes to narrative.

Anthem will reportedly have two demos ahead of its 2019 release. The first demo will be only available to those who pre-order the game. It will run for two days, beginning January 25 and ending January 27. Anthem's second pre-release demo will run from February 1 to February 3. 

You can see more trailers, as well as Anthem gameplay, over at the game's official YouTube channel

Where to Pre-Order Far Cry New Dawn Thu, 06 Dec 2018 23:50:13 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Far Cry New Dawn may have just been announced at The Game Awards, but a handful of retailers and marketplaces, including Amazon, Gamestop, PlayStation Network, Steam, and the Xbox Marketplace, already have pre-orders locked and loaded for the game's February 19, 2019 release. 

New Dawn will, of course, be available in both physical and digital formats, and there will be two editions, a $39.99 standard edition and a $49.99 deluxe edition.

As of this writing, and since the game was just announced, we don't know the exact pre-order bonuses each retailer will be providing, but we do know that the deluxe edition will give you access to "additional weapons, outfits, and vehicle skins". We will update this article when bonuses for each storefront are announced.

Here's where you can pre-order each edition right now. Note that not all platforms and editions are available on every storefront at the current time, but they should be made available in the coming days. 


PlayStation 4
Xbox One


PlayStation 4
Xbox One

Best Buy

PlayStation 4
Xbox One

PlayStation Network

Xbox Marketplace


Set in post-apocalyptic Hope County, Montana, the newest installment in the long-running FPS series is set 17 years after the ending of Far Cry 5, and it is the first game in the franchise to be a direct sequel. 

Based on the game's reveal trailer, players can expect more Mad Max than Fallout, as well as a vibrant color palette that rivals the one seen in Rage 2.

Far Cry New Dawn will also feature online co-op play, and allow players to craft new weapons from old items, including (hopefully) the high-profile saw-gun that's been heavily featured in the game's trailers. 

The Game Awards: Far Cry: New Dawn Is A Post-Apocalyptic Montana Romp Thu, 06 Dec 2018 21:54:03 -0500 QuintLyn

Over the past week, The Game Awards and Ubisoft have been busy hyping up the reveal of the next title in the Far Cry franchise.  Of course -- as is the case with such highly anticipated games -- there was a bit in the way of leaks cluing people in to what the focus of the game might be.

Well, now we know for sure.

Far Cry: New Dawn's official trailer was aired about halfway into the award show, giving fans their first true look at the game's post-apocalyptic universe.

New Dawn in a standalone sequel to Far Cry 5. It takes place in Hope County, Montana, 17 years after a planet-wide nuclear apocalypse. Interestingly, the game doesn't appear to take on the dark and gritty look and tone that most people associate with the apocalypse.

The trailer features two tough-as-nails ladies that seem to be right at home in their new world. They also appear to be people you probably don't want to mess with.

Aside from giving viewers and over-all feel for the upcoming game, the trailer did offer one other bit of information. Players can expect to play Far Cry: New Dawn in February 2019.

Fortnite's X-4 Stormwing Plane Locations and Stunts Guide Thu, 06 Dec 2018 21:49:50 -0500 William R. Parks

Today marks the beginning of Fortnite's seventh season, and it has brought a bevy of changes and content, including a wintery biome, new challenges, and the game's first ariel vehicle, the X-4 Stormwing Plane.

While this new vehicle may have a lot of fans excited, some may be wondering where to find one and what they can do with it once located.

The X-4 Stormwing Plane can seat up to five players, a pilot and four passengers, and it spawns in specific locations throughout the battle royale's map. While an X-4 will not always appear at every one of these locations, and there are likely to be more possible spawn points, this map (compiled from confirmed locations provided by Heavy and Eurogamer) can act as a guide for those that are looking to make their first Fortnite flight.

  • D3: On the mountain northeast of Pleasant Park
  • F3: By the river south of Lazy Links
  • B5: In the mountains north of Viking Village
  • F5: On the mountain west of Dusty Divot
  • I5: On the mountain by Loney Lodge
  • A8: In the hangers at Frosty Flights
  • B8: In a camp east of Frosty Flights
  • E8: On the mountain north of Happy Hamlet
  • H8: On a hill between Fatal Fields and Paradise Palms

As some players might expect, the new iceberg biome (at the bottom-left of the map) appears to have a high density of new planes, though there are opportunities to nab one throughout the map.

Once an X-4 has been acquired, and the basic controls have been understood, players can move on to performing stunts in their new plane. This includes flying the vessel upside down, by pressing the roll right and roll left inputs simultaneously, as well as the ability to perform an evasive maneuver by quickly pressing a roll button twice.

With the ability to locate an X-4, and some tips on trick flying, players should now be ready to hop in a plane and conquer their next Battle Royale match. Just remember, for those that are manning the plane's machine gun, this mounted weapon can overheat, and prolonged firing should be avoided when possible.

CS: GO Gets a Battle Royale Mode, Goes Free-to-Play Thu, 06 Dec 2018 21:36:42 -0500 William R. Parks

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has been available for over six years, and, despite the myriad of multiplayer shooters that have come since its release, it is still one of the most popular shooters ever made. That said, it seems that Valve is still looking to get more players into the fray, as the company has just announced that the game is now fully free-to-play and includes a new battle royale mode called Danger Zone.

Danger Zone is a lightning-quick battle royale experience, with a full match lasting around 10 minutes, that is "built on CS:GO's tactical gameplay." It features traits that will be familiar to many fans of the genre, including airdropped equipment, caches to loot, and a shrinking play-area, however, the new game mode has unique aspects that some players may find intriguing.

Specifically, Danger Zone's map contains special missions that can be completed, granting those that participate additional rewards. Throughout the course of a match, players may find themselves escorting hostages to a rescue zone or eliminating a high-value target in service of bettering their load-outs. 

Danger Zone can be played solo or as a duo/trio, with players entering alone joining 16-player matches while those that join as a squad will enter 18-player matches.

Furthermore, anyone that would like to try out Danger Zone can do so at no cost, as CS:GO is now officially free-to-play. This is down from a $15 price tag, and players that paid full retail for the title previously will be given a "commemorative Loyalty Bade they can display on their profile."

Additionally, these paying players will be upgraded to Prime Status, which gives them access to the Souvenir MP5-SD submachine gun as well as the Danger Zone Case, which features "17 community-designed weapon finishes, and the Horizon knives as rare special items." New players can also pay $15 if they wish to be granted Prime Status.

With CS:GO's addition of Danger Zone, the battle royale genre continues to grow ever more ubiquitous. Fortnite shows no signs of slowing down, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 shirked a single-player campaign for its battle royale mode, and even Rockstar is getting in on the act with Red Dead Online.

While it remains to be seen if CS:GO's new game mode will be able to pull any players away from these established titles, its free-to-play status is certainly a valiant attempt.