Desktop Platform RSS Feed | Desktop RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Nauticrawl Review: Crawling Through Endlessly Repetitive Trial and Error Wed, 18 Sep 2019 16:47:36 -0400 Ty Arthur

If you're a world-class puzzle solver, there's a game you might be interested in. It involves an impossibly obtuse control panel and a submersible, and if you fail to properly solve the puzzle in time, you'll be crushed by the remorseless pressure of the depths or ejected from an alien machine into an un-survivable environment.

Still up to the task? 

That's the premise of Nauticrawl, which puts you a nameless, faceless worker identified only by a three-digit code into a stolen underwater ship that you don't know how to operate.

You start with absolutely no clue of how to turn it on, let alone pilot it to the surface. It kind of feels like the sort of thing some might call a recurring, inescapable nightmare. 

Survival Of The Persistent

                   The first of many, many, many, many ignominious deaths

First and foremost, Nauticrawl is slow. Very slow.

In many ways, it plays like a full-length Flash escape room popular circa 2009, and it's mixed with elements of old-school text adventures for extra flair.

Throughout Nauticrawl, there's the illusion of movement across the ship's sonar screen, but you don't actually go anywhere or see, well, anything else. Instead, the game takes place entirely within the confines of the submersible's cockpit, and it's exemplified by the tag line: "Theorize. Experiment. Repeat."

It's important to note the emphasis is very much on that last word: Repeat. Here's the story of how my first few hours of the game played out.

"Huh, I'm totally in the dark and nothing's turned on... What do all these unmarked buttons do? I'd better figure something out fast, because they (whoever "they" are) will definitely notice I'm stealing a nauticrawl unit at some point."

A truly genius idea pops into my head: I'll randomly pull levers and press tabs until something happens.

"Cool, the power is on now! Uh... except why is that blinking light bar rapidly depleting, and what is that wildly alarming beeping sound?"

I don't want to die in the dark, so I start frantically flipping switches hoping to make the sound stop, but with absolutely no clue of how the hardware works, I've run out of time and am sitting in the dark again, the battery apparently dead.

A few seconds later I experience a brief glimmer of hope when a covering pops open and a new button emerges. 


Turns out my hope was unfounded because that's the emergency eject switch which only comes online when you run out of battery power. Know what happens to someone without a pressurized suit who manually ejects from a submarine? You guessed it, I'm drowning as I'm crushed to death. Good thing random worker #667 will shortly step into my place and start over from scratch.

This time I'm determined to figure out how to start the battery charger before running out of power. After an absolutely frenzied minute pulling every lever and mashing everything that looks vaguely like a button, I'm met with my first taste of success. 

The generator is on and the battery is charging; I can actually operate this vehicle now.

Overzealous, I divert power to the engine and pull the lever to move forward... immediately crashing into a wall and destroying the hull's integrity. It's my second time dying and starting over in less than 10 minutes.

Random worker #668 appears and starts again. Thankfully, he's got my knowledge on how to turn on the lights, start the engine, and move forward, but this time, we're going to try to not immediately die.

After more random button pushing, the sonar screen finally flickers to life, and I have some basic idea of where the Hell I am and what direction I'll be crawling if I pull that deadly movement lever.

That means it's time to divert some power into the engine and go full speed ahead towards something that isn't a wall!

"What the Hell is that smell?"

Unfortunately, worker #668 didn't have any clue how to vent the engine heat, so about 15 paces later, the nauticrawl unit overheats and shuts down. The escape hatch button pops out again.

With a sigh, I start over as worker #669.

This button will come to represent all your failures and fears in life

After going powering on again, charging the battery again, pinging the sonar again, and slowly moving around yet again, I finally figure out which rod to pull to vent heat. I'm locked, loaded, and ready to explore! What could possibly go wrong?

Turns out my nauticrawl doesn't have that much fuel, so I run out almost immediately exploring the starting area. That damnable escape hatch button pops out again, and I'm thinking about actually smashing my screen instead of lightly tapping the button.

Attempt number five gets underway, again repeating the same things over again, but this time, I don't charge ahead and stay close by to look for anything to salvage. Lo and behold, a broken nauticrawl unit from another unlucky escapee is on the ocean floor, and it doesn't take me very long to figure out how to salvage fuel.

Unfortunately, I have absolutely no clue how to transfer that fuel into my unit's tank, so the eject button pops open, staring at me with a level of taunting menace that a freaking button shouldn't be able to project.

That's the entire Nauticrawl gameplay loop, just endlessly repeated as you build on past failures until you figure out how to charge the hook and pick things up, how to navigate the sonar map, how to read transmissions, how to use the cloaking device to avoid defense turrets, and so on.

There are some minor randomized events and transmissions through the computer screen with each try, so it's not the exact same thing every time, but it's pretty close, especially when you consider the map remains the same on each an every playthrough. 

This is what you will stare at for 95% of the game

The Bottom Line

  • Unique premise
  • Expansion of the classic "escape room" style to a full game
    • If you liked Objects In Space, you'll probably get some enjoyment out of Nauticrawl
  • Repetition to a masochistic extent
  • Not a ton of actual gameplay

As a game entirely focused on trial and error repetition, Nauticrawl has one major flaw that's difficult to overcome: whether its five minutes in or two hours in, you are going to eventually hit a massive, immoveable frustration wall. It's probable you don't have the patience to work through it, either.

That flaw was glaringly highlighted by the guide sent to advance reviewers, which had every single button clearly marked and gave step by step instruction on what to pull in which order. The fact that reviewers would need that sort of thing to even start the game (and not throw their hands up in frustration and quit) says something about the sort of experience you can expect here.

Through sheer trial and error, it will probably take you double-digit hours to get through all three chapters and eventually make it from the nauticrawl unit to a zeppelin to escape. If you somehow manage to guess all 81 button presses and movement maneuvers correctly on the first try, though, you could get through this whole game in less than an hour.

Unfortunately, Nauticrawl lacks the major gameplay elements or visual designs that might keep you playing other purposefully difficult games. With a title like Death's Gambit, for instance, at least you have gorgeous pixel graphics and cool backgrounds to gawk at while dying constantly. Pathologic 2 has its bizarre atmosphere and incomprehensible dialog to keep you somewhat interested.

While playing Vambrace: Cold Soul, I spent 19 hours on the first level, but there's just no motivation to keep up that level of effort here because there's nothing going on that's interesting enough to solidly hook you. Sadly with Nauticrawl, I just don't care enough to keep trying, because all I have is the same damn screen to look at the whole time.

To be clear, this isn't an actively bad game it starts, it runs without crashing, it has a distinctive graphical style it's just not a particularly entertaining one.

Obviously, a certain section of gamers will absolutely love everything about Nauticrawl  and for that section of players, I could see this being a 9/10, must-play but for anyone else, there aren't many compelling reasons to figure out the next mechanic and move forward another inch.

[Note: A copy of Nauticrawl was provided by Armor Games for this review.]

Siege of Centauri Guide: Best Strategies For Each Enemy Type Wed, 18 Sep 2019 16:03:56 -0400 Sergey_3847

There are several ways to play tower defense game Siege of Centauri, but whether it's Campaign mode or Endless mode, both beginners and veterans are thrown into the heat of the battle right away.  

While veterans should quickly understand the concepts at play, newcomers might drown under the game's vast number of weapons, enemies, and strategies.

So, to avoid that fate, we've put together this beginner's guide for Siege of Centauri. The tips below will help you learn how to fight and destroy hordes of aliens in the most effective ways possible.

We'll cover: 

  • Best strategies against Frigates
  • Best strategies against Cruisers
  • Best strategies against Air Units
  • Best strategies against Dreadnoughts and Juggernauts

Every mission in Siege of Centauri starts with intelligence gathering, where you learn what types of enemies will attack your base and from which direction(s).  After this phase, you are given time to build and place weaponry as you see fit.

If you choose wisely, then defending your position should be easy. But to be sure, here's how you gain the advantage against your enemies. 

Best Strategies Against Frigates

A masochist enemy unit shown in a Siege of Centauri menu

There are seven types of enemy frigates in Siege of Centauri. Each has its weaknesses and strengths, which you can utilize to defeat them.

Here are the best weapon strategies against each enemy frigate type:

vs. Masochists
  • Rail Guns with Shotgun upgrade
  • Drone Bays on large maps
  • Pulse Cannons
  • Mortars and Arc Projectors in large quantities
vs. Capacitors
  • Arc Projectors with Shotgun upgrade
  • Rail Guns with Shotgun upgrade
  • Artillery Post with Incendiary Payload upgrade
vs. Reapers
  • Gun Turrets with Shotgun upgrade
  • Arc Projectors
  • Mortars
  • Milton's Missile Attacks
vs. Scarabs
  • Mortars
  • Artillery Posts
  • Arc Projectors with Chain Lightning upgrade
  • Corrosion Mortars with Contagious Virus upgrade
  • Minos Cannon with Lure of the Volatile Reaction upgrade
vs. Martyrs
  • Nova Cannon
  • Artillery Posts
  • Reinforcements
vs. Corrupted Healers
  • Mortars
  • Artillery Posts
  • Rail Guns
  • Particle Lasers
  • Corrosion Mortars
vs. Hatchlings
  • Mortars
  • Arc Projectors
  • Shotguns
  • Artillery Posts

Best Strategies Against Cruisers

A destructor shown in a Siege of Centauri menu

Cruisers are the most frequent enemies you will face. There are nine types of enemy cruisers in the game.

Cruisers can become very dangerous in large numbers, so be sure to use these strategies against each type:

vs. Destructors
  • Corrosion Mortars
  • Particle Lasers
  • Minos Cannon with Overcharging upgrade
vs. Falling Stars
  • Ion Disrupters
  • Corrosion Mortars
  • Minos Cannon with Overcharging upgrade
vs. Eradicators
  • Particle Lasers
  • Nova Cannons
  • Upgraded EMP Blast
  • Pulse Cannons
vs. Hooded Turbines
  • Ion Disrupters
  • Pulse Cannons with Colony Pulse upgrade
  • Corrosion Mortars
vs. Mobile Nullifiers
  • Particle Lasers
  • Ion Disrupters
vs. Rolling Hives
  • Disruption Beam
  • Flak Cannons
  • Rail Guns with Shotgun Upgrade
vs. Floating Factories
  • Minos Cannons
  • Corrosion Mortars
  • Pulse Cannons
vs. Taskmasters
  • Gravity Wells
  • EMP
  • Disruption Beam
vs. Clutch of Eggs
  • Minos Cannon with Violent Overload upgrade
  • Corrosion Mortars

Best Strategies Against Air Units

A punisher shown in a Siege of Centauri menu

Until now, we've been focusing on terrain units, but there is also a large number of air units that attack from above.

Currently, there are five different types of air units, and each requires a different kind of strategy.

vs. Punishers
  • Falcons
  • Icarus SAMs
vs. Sparrows
  • Anti-Air Turrets
  • Arc Projector with Storm Projector upgrade
vs. Harbingers
  • Icarus SAMs
  • Disruption Beam
  • Reinforcements
vs. Vultures
  • Rail Guns
  • Disruption Beam
vs. Gliding Cranes
  • Icarus SAM with Overcharging upgrade
  • Scavenger Modules

Best Strategies Against Dreadnoughts and Juggernauts

An overmind shown in a Siege of Centauri menu

Lastly, the most dangerous types of enemies are dreadnoughts and juggernauts. These massive machines can single-handedly destroy your base if you don't have a pre-planned strategy against each of them.

vs. Overminds
  • Ion Disrupters
  • Minos Cannons
  • Pulse Cannon with Disruption upgrade
vs. Retributors
  • Ion Cannon with Defense Scrambling upgrade
  • Particle Lasers
  • Gravity Wells
  • Stasis Hammers
  • Amplifiers
vs. Nest of the Queen
  • Minos Cannons
  • Ion Cannon with Defense Scrambling upgrade
  • Particle Lasers with Graviton Beam upgrade
  • EMP
  • Temporal Shift
vs. Heart of the Phoenix
  • Nova Cannon with Field Leak upgrade
  • Particle Lasers
  • Gravity Wells
  • Stasis Hammers
  • Temporal Shift


These are the best strategies for each enemy type of Siege of Centauri. For more on the game, be sure to head over to our official review

Siege of Centauri is currently available on Steam for PC. 

Borderlands 3 Guide: How to Farm Legendary Weapons and Gear Wed, 18 Sep 2019 14:32:54 -0400 John Schutt

As more Borderlands 3 players approach the endgame, there are three questions they must answer before moving forward: Where can I farm legendary weapons? Legendary shields? And legendary class mods? 

You know, the best gear in the game for each class...

There are a few surefire ways to load up on these shiny golden guns. The best and most broken of them — such as those outlined at the bottom of this guide from PC Gamer and Heavy — are likely to be patched or adjusted.

Since the pipe bomb trick and loot tink won't be around for long, we'll be discussing five different methods unlikely to be patched or removed. They are:

  • Boss farming
  • Chest Farming
  • Quest Hoarding
  • The Circle of Slaughter
  • Proving Grounds

Please note: All of these methods require True Vault Hunter Mode and Mayhem to be active. Also, this article does not discuss specific farming locations, focusing instead on the means of acquiring legendary items, the ultimate upgrade for your guns and gear.

Shiv boss title card from Borderlands 3

Farming Bosses and Red Chests

As in Borderlands 2, every boss in Borderlands 3 will respawn after a set period passes, provided you've completed the main story on their planet.

For instance, you can endlessly kill and loot the Gigamind and/or Killavolt boss fights on Promethea. That is, provided you've completed all story missions there and killed the bosses in question.

Typically, there's about a 45-minute to a one-hour delay between each boss spawn. As of writing, though, you can expedite the process by tricking the game into respawning bosses early.

How to Spawn Bosses Faster in Borderlands 3

All you need to do for this quicker method is:

  1. Kill the boss
  2. Exit their arena (completely)
  3. Reload the game
    • Quit to the main menu and reload

You'll spawn at the checkpoint nearest your previous location, and the boss should be similarly back in action. 

This farm works endlessly, and you can continue to fight as long as it takes for the boss to drop the weapon you want. 

Get Red Boss Chests for Better Loot

Bosses usually come with red chests as well, and these chests have a much higher probability of spawning legendaries than other weapon caches throughout the world.

Red chests respawn after about 45 minutes. If you find a good spot to grind for a few hours, you can supplement boss murder with additional chances at the best loot.

Claptrap stands in front of a poster of the Clypso twins

Quest Hoarding

There are a lot of quests in Borderlands 3. However, unless you've completed the main story, they won't scale in level or value with your character. Once you do beat the final boss, they start scaling just fine. 

You're likely to hit the max level cap (50) by the time you complete True Vault Hunter Mode's second playthrough. That means every quest you picked up along the way is not at the level cap, bosses and loot included.

Bear in mind, most completed quests are not repeatable, so hoarding them until endgame is the best way to secure everything at the proper endgame levels.

Twinks and other borderlands enemies fire weapons

The Circle of Slaughter

Another endgame, the Circle of Slaughter is a classic Horde mode. You'll fight through five rounds of three waves each with additional challenges thrown in.

Difficulty increases with each round, meaning more and tougher enemies, with the fifth round being the hardest of all. In the end, you'll meet a small horde of quality loot as a reward for conquering the Circle.

"Farming" this activity is less about the act and more about the theory. You want to maximize four things to get the most out of your time. 

  1. Damage: If you can't kill enemies, you aren't spawning loot. Prioritize damage wherever possible. Efficiency is key.

  2. Survivability: Tailor your build so you can stay in the fight as long as possible. Whether that's damage reduction, regeneration, misdirection, or any other method of keeping yourself alive, do it.

  3. Luck: If you can find the gear to increase your luck by any significant margin, equip it. Don't sacrifice either damage or survivability, but a little extra luck increases your chances of a legendary weapon by more than you might think.

  4. Maximum Mayhem: In most scenarios, Mayhem Level 2 is more than enough for increasing your loot chance. Curate your builds around modifiers and play the best Borderlands you've ever played.

 A mech stands in front of other characters

Proving Grounds

Another endgame unlock, Proving Grounds is Borderlands 3's take on a classic dungeon instance. Think Diablo Rifts, but without quite so much randomness in map layouts. 

Proving Grounds are round-based affairs culminating in a final boss and a loot chest. As with the Circle of Slaughter, you want to ensure your builds are up to snuff. Strategize as above.

The farm here isn't quite as time-consuming as Circle, but it isn't boss-farm efficient either. Instead, you want to kill and kill and kill, melt the boss, repeat ad infinitum. With good luck and Maximum Mayhem, legendaries should be plentiful enough.

Be sure to check out our other Borderlands 3 guides below:

As noted at the beginning of this guide, you can also try these farming methods, though they're likely to be patched sooner rather than later: 

Siege of Centauri Review: Tower Defense By the Numbers Wed, 18 Sep 2019 13:27:04 -0400 David Jagneaux

Remember those simple Flash games you'd find on websites like Newgrounds and Kongregate? If they didn't feature clicker-game mechanics or stick figures exploding, then there's a good chance they included features from the tower defense genre.

Siege of Centauri reminds me a lot of those games, except with a supremely polished coat of paint and (very) high production values. But underneath its shiny exterior, this tower defense title still feels relatively archaic and overly simple by modern standards.

Ideas Under Siege

Siege of Centauri is a top-down tower defense game developed and published by Stardock Entertainment. The game takes place in the same universe as the developer's popular Ashes of the Singularity RTS series. Here, though, you deploy an arsenal of mechanical defenses to protect remote bases from alien onslaughts.

It's a simple premise that's bolstered by lengthy, involved, and entirely unnecessary mission dialogues that actually feature some surprisingly good voice over efforts. It's a shame, however, that the talent feels a bit wasted on content most players will likely skip. Much more of that flavor context should have been woven into the missions themselves to aid pacing and inject some much-needed personality into the overall product.

Instead, after the first hour or so, the game winds up feeling like a bit of a slog. There are about 24 missions in total that will take roughly seven hours to complete, plus a meager endless mode for a few maps, and a level editor that also lets players download community maps.

Generally, though, all of the maps feel the same. There is little variation, especially in terms of enemy lanes and movement along those lanes. Basically, each map is flat and forgoes varied elevation. It simply feels like the game's level designers ran out of ideas far too early in the development process.  

Polished But Not Perfected

Now, let me be clear: I'm not saying Siege of Centauri looks, feels, or plays like a hobbyist Flash game. Stardock is responsible for some excellent strategy titles such as Sins of a Solar Empire, Ashes of Singularity, and Galactic Civilizations. That's their specialty. But despite what you might assume based on how much these genres overlap, that doesn't seem to have translated to the same depth, complexity, and thoughtfulness in the tower defense scene. 

Thankfully, there are some things that work very well. Visually, Stardock's tower defense title certainly shines through.

Siege of Centauri is undoubtedly one of the best looking tower defense games in terms of not only map design and texture detail but also gadget and enemy quality. Even its particle effects are flashy.

Swarms of enemies pour into maps later in the campaign in such a way that it feels almost like they're stumbling over each other to rabidly attack your base. It can often feel intense and overwhelming for brief moments, which is a welcomed change of pace from most of the game's pacing — and they look fantastic doing it. 

It's just a shame that the glorious mobs of creepy, crawly, and sometimes mechanized alien hordes aren't smarter and more dangerous. Other tower defense games really make you plan and think and pick and choose your battles. It's a genre about cost-benefit analysis and this one usually devolves into the same brand of chaos at the end of just about every mission.

While some enemy types are weak to certain weapons and not others, it doesn't end up mattering much in the end since most weapons have similar ranges and area of effect attacks that hit multiple groups at once. If you spread out your weapons enough and summon reinforcements when available, most levels won't be much challenge without manually raising the difficulty slider.

  • Great visuals and detailed animations
  • Surprisingly engaging voice acting before missions
  • Solid, albeit derivative, core gameplay loop
  • Level design lacks variety and verticality
  • Most missions devolve into identical chaos by the end
  • Upgrades aren't very rewarding
  • Performance issues plague stability

As far as I'm concerned, Hidden Path's Defense Grid: Awakening and Defense Grid 2 the standard-bearers of the defense genre; they've set high bars that have yet to be surpassed, and Siege of Centauri doesn't come close in any regard. The genre has seen plenty of spin-off iterations like Dungeon Defenders, Orcs Must Die, Plants vs. Zombies, and more bring in extra mechanics. Siege of Centauri feels decidedly stuck in the past by comparison.

All that being said, Siege of Centauri is still extremely playable, brings high-quality production values to the table, and has a brisk campaign that's solid to play through at least once. At $15, you can certainly do worse, but it's hard to commend it much beyond that at this stage.

[Note: A copy of Siege of Centauri was provided by Stardock for the purpose of this review.]

Mythgard Impressions — A Plucky Challenger to the CCG Throne Wed, 18 Sep 2019 09:00:01 -0400 Jonny Foster

Being a free-to-play card game, Mythgard faces a handful of hurdles from the get-go. The already established might of Hearthstone, the power of Magic: the Gathering Arena, and the popularity of other free-to-play genre titles makes for a flooded market, causing lower-budget competitors to like flies.

Valve’s Artifact (though not actually free) is a notable victim, with its rapidly dwindling playerbase.

Thankfully, Mythgard, a plucky young offering from developers Rhino Games Inc., has a few aces up its sleeves that might give it an edge, particularly its monetization aspect. Like all free CCGs, Mythgard gives you the option to pay real money for card packs, but its approach is commendably user-friendly.

Not only can individual cards be crafted using an essence system similar to Hearthstone’s Dust, but the card packs can also be purchased with an in-game currency that you steadily collect across all modes of play.

This means that you never need to spend any money if you don’t want to, and though this is technically true of other titles, Mythgard’s pacing feels more organic than any other CCG I’ve played. All too often, CCGs make earning packs feel like a horrific grind, leading players to pay their way to a better deck out of frustration — or stop playing entirely.

Mythgard, on the other hand, feels like the Warframe of CCGs; an ethically paced experience, where a devoted community will likely spend money out of a desire to support the developer, rather than feeling that they have no choice but to pay their way to success.

The comparisons don’t end there, though; Mythgard also has systems that could do with better explanations.

The gameplay itself feels like a cross between Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering, with monster cards having single-digit numbers for attack and defense, and an associated mana cost, as well. There are no land cards, though, and cards must be discarded to earn additional mana or gems — a secondary resource that functions almost identically to mana.

Though reasonably simple to pick up, it isn’t aimed at a casual market, especially considering the additional rules that take more than a single match to master. What will keep players of all abilities coming back, however, is the great selection of modes to play, which range from a basic single-player story that leads you through various tutorials to multiple casual and ranked PvP options.

Once you’ve spent some time with the game and leveled up your profile, you’ll even find constructed and draft modes, with PvE versions that ease newcomers into Mythgard’s ins and outs, letting them get acclimated to the game before taking their decks and drafting talents to the game's PvP arenas.

There are also a number of puzzles in Mythgard, which give you a predetermined playing field and one turn to finish off your opponent. Though these offer a decent level of challenge and fun, the completion rewards are relatively low, leaving the mode feeling more like a minor distraction than a robust attraction.

The primary draw here, though, is the story mode, which blends gorgeous, comic-book-style narration with tutorials and duels. While the rest of Mythgard’s art might not maintain the lofty quality found here — the character portraits can look a little rough, in particular — the storyboards are wonderfully drawn.

The animations, on the other hand, become more of an encumbrance than they should be, often taking far longer than they need to. This slows turns — and, ultimately, matches — down to the point where my interest eventually began to wane. And it was this, along with the over-complication of some of its systems, that ultimately led me to put Mythgard down in favor of something else.

  • Variety of solo and multiplayer modes means there's always something new to try
  • Already a diverse selection of builds available, with good synergy between multiple colors 
  • Pacing is ethical and microtransactions are less egregious than other card games
  • Not the simplest set of rules
  • Tutorials still lacking in some areas
  • Some animations take much longer than they should

Despite putting up a good fight against the established might of CCGs like MtG, Mythgard ultimately lacks the finer polish to feel like a true competitor.

Hopefully, the Early Access will allow it the time it needs to work out the kinks and elevate itself to a higher standard, but it’s on the right track; having already played an earlier alpha build of Mythgard, it's plain to see that steady progress is being made towards improving the game as a whole.

[Note: A copy of Mythgard was provided by Rhino Games Inc for the purpose of this review.]

Remnant: From the Ashes Guide — Best Traits Tier List Tue, 17 Sep 2019 16:56:27 -0400 Jordan Baranowski

Remnant: From the Ashes is all about bringing your best builds to the fight. Everyone wants the best combination of weapons, armor, and traits to breeze through even the toughest runs.

That's where this guide comes in. Here, we'll take a look at the best traits for beating the game's many bosses. We'll break down each one of them, tell you how useful they are, and, like a sommelier of death, pair each with the best builds.

Don't worry if you already spent all your trait points: just respec your character and min/max them to the top.

The Best Traits in Remnant: From the Ashes

While these are the traits that make up the best builds in the game, they are also useful for almost any build. Most of these are focused on dealing massive damage or giving you superior late-game survivability.


The Executioner trait increases your chance of scoring critical hits. Enemies in Remnant's late-game have big health pools and do a ton of damage, so dropping them quickly is extremely important.

Critical hit builds tend to dominate the metagame, and for good reason. You'll want to have points in this if you are trying to advance to later stages in the game.


Exploiter increases your weak spot damage. Beating enemies by targeting weak points is another popular build in the late game, and the damage increase given by this trait makes you a death dealer if you have decent aim.


You're going to need consumables to survive some of the tougher battles, and the Glutton trait allows you to use them quickly. This is one of the weaker top-tier trait, but it's still useful in nearly any build.


If you're running a critical hit build, Kingslayer is where a big chunk of your points will go. The damage increase to critical hits is massive. Coupled with Executioner, Kingslayer makes any build much more fearsome.

Mind's Eye

A very strong perk that helps any class, Mind's Eye increases your ranged damage. The increase isn't as big as some other specific traits, but its versatility makes up for that. This is a solid pick early while you're still figuring out your style.

Quick Hands

Increasing reload speed is extremely important for many builds, especially ones that utilize powerful weapons like rifles and shotguns. Quick Hands helps you deal massive damage faster.

Shadow Walker

Reducing enemy awareness allows you to utilize your build's strengths more often. Pick enemies off one by one, scoring critical hits or weak point hits one after another. Putting many points in this trait will make you almost undetectable.

Trigger Happy

Increase your fire rate. This works really well with guns that spit out a lot of bullets, but it can also give you a little extra support in sniper and shotgun builds. It's a strong choice.

Solid Traits

These traits will be useful no matter what, but they aren't as powerful as the ones listed above. They also might be useful in the early game, but fall by the wayside when you start running into tougher enemies.

Elder Knowledge

Increasing your experience gain is key if you want to max out your other traits. Eventually, you'll want to respec the points you used here to actually make your character stronger. However, Elder Knowledge is a great way to bulk up quickly.


In the right build, Handling can be devastating. Turn your SMGs into accuracy machines and watch enemies melt. If you're planning for the "lots of bullets" approach, this is the right trait for you.

Mother's Blessing

This one stays relevant even once you've become pretty darn good at Remnant: From the Ashes. You're going to get hit on occasion, and it's usually going to be by ranged attacks. This trait will help you stay alive long enough to fight back.


This trait increases your health regeneration. There are plenty of builds and certain items that can make good use of this. It's great for staying alive early. However, you'll probably want to shift away from it in the later game.


Despite being a starting trait, Vigor is pretty useful, even in the late game. Increasing your health keeps you alive early and gives you a parachute if you make a mistake in the late game. There are sexier traits, but Vigor does good work.

You Could Do Better Traits

These are traits that are either fine but mediocre or extremely build-specific. In general, you'll be able to find a better option than these traits unless you are on a very specific path.


There are some powerful status effects in Remnant: From the Ashes, and this trait will better let you inflict them on enemies. If status effects are the focus of your build, you can't go wrong here.


Increasing your stamina is... fine. In general, if you're dodging this much, you probably aren't doing it right.

Guardian's Blessing

Reducing melee damage is useful in the early game. In the late game, however, you should be killing enemies before they get close enough or you should be dodging their attacks, negating this trait. 

Keeper's Blessing

Reducing elemental damage is nice when you're figuring the game out. But once you've learned enemies and bosses, it becomes obsolete.

Rapid Strike

Unless you are running a dedicated melee build, which can be very powerful, increasing your melee attack speed is pretty worthless. This trait is devastating in a specific build, but it should be ignored otherwise.


Increasing your mod power generation can be good in a support role, as there are some really powerful mods out there. At the same time, wouldn't you rather just kill something faster?


Increasing your melee damage can be powerful on a melee only build, but it's pretty much useless in any other context.

Bottom Tier Traits

You'll probably want to avoid these.

Arcane Strike

Increase mod generation from melee attacks. Take two very specific and unimpressive traits and combine them. Not a great pick.

Bark Skin

You probably shouldn't be getting hit enough that armor effectiveness matters, and there are better traits with similar outcomes.

Cold as Ice

Increasing damage when you attack enemies from behind sounds powerful, but this trait is outclassed in nearly any build by other options.


Better stamina regeneration is not going to help you win many fights.


Bringing back fallen teammates is not great for two reasons: it's only useful in multiplayer, and good teams shouldn't need this. Skip it.


A better way of getting more scrap is by killing more enemies.


Friendly fire is always on in Remnant: From the Ashes, but on the right team, you wouldn't know it. If this trait is helping you by decreasing friendly fire damage, you should find new teammates.


Meh: You'll find better uses for your trait points than increasing your movement speed.


Increasing teamwork range is only useful in multiplayer, and not much there either. Skip.

Will to Live

This increases your health when you're wounded. Again, there are far better ways to spend your trait points.

World Walker

This decreases your stamina usage. You'd have to put far too many points into this trait to notice the effects. Points that are better spent elsewhere.


There you have it. These are the traits you should focus your trait points on, whether now or in your next playthrough of Remnant: From the Ashes. If you can't get enough of the game, check out our review here and all our guides right here! Happy hunting!

GreedFall Gear Guide: Where to Find Legendary Weapons and Armor Tue, 17 Sep 2019 16:25:35 -0400 Jordan Baranowski

GreedFall is a huge game, and there are tons of different builds and strategies you can put together to help you succeed. However, one of the best boosts you can get comes from the legendary gear you find in the form of weapons and armor.

To get legendary sets, you often need to complete certain quests or quest chains. Below, you will find two lists of legendary gear: weapons and armor. Each entry lists the requirements for each item and set, as well as how to get them and where to find them on the open-world map. 

Legendary Weapons

Asili's Blunderbuss

You can find this gun during the "Doctor Asili's Experiments" quest. Look for the chest inside Asili's lab.

Broadsword of the Deceased King

To obtain this brutal two-handed weapon, you need to complete the quest "Champion of the Arena."

The arena is located in New Serene in the basement of the Coin Guard Tavern. You will have to fight through waves of tough enemies, so come prepared.

Great Honor Duel Flamberge

Go to the Hot Springs in Magasvar: The Vale of the Great Battle. Complete the boss fight and look for a corpse with a "Coin Guard Soldier's Key" item on it. Take that, then head to the easternmost area in this section.

There is a watchtower in a camp there. Climb to the top and use the key to open the chest and obtain the weapon.

Great Scythe

The great scythe is one of the best weapons in the game and can only be obtained in Root's Passage. This area is only available during one quest: "Quest for a Panacea."

When exploring Root's Passage, you will come across a broken bridge. If you go around it, you will find passages off to the side. Follow the pathway to the right, and you will find a glowing room. The great scythe inside.

Hammer of the Forgotten God

This is probably the easiest legendary weapon to obtain.

Build up your reputation with the Coin Guard faction to at least "Nice." You will then find this inside a chest in your camp or residence.

Light Flamberge

This weapon is in the Wenshaganaw Singing Waters. You will find a location in this area with a large group of difficult enemies wearing skull helmets. They are guarding a chest with the light flamberge inside.

A good strategy for killing these tough enemies is to lure one away from the group, then defeat them on their own. Back up, heal, and pick the others off until you can reach the chest.


You will find this weapon in Glendgnamvar: The Shore of the Tall Bones. It is in the southeastern part of the map, on the way to Bedri.

Be on the lookout for a broken bridge with a corpse underneath it. Grab a key off the corpse, then move up to the bridge. Have your Vigor stat increased to at least Level 2 in order to leap over the gap.

On the other side of the gap, you'll find a chest with the Scimitar inside.


Like the Scimitar, you'll find the Yataghan in Glendgnamvar: The Shore of the Tall Bones. To get this weapon, you'll want to travel to the Ruins of Didri subsection.

Defeat the boss to find a chest nearby that contains this one-handed weapon.

Legendary Armor

The Major Set

This set is located in Magasvar: The Vale of the Great Battle near the Great Honor Duel Flamberge. Finish the boss fight to find a corpse in the water with a few pieces of this set and a key.

Take the key to the easternmost area in this section look for a watchtower in a camp. Climb to the top of the watchtower and use the key to open the chest.

The Merchant Prince Set

Go to the central area of Wenshaganaw: The Singing Waters. Defeat the boss there and search for a corpse wearing an orange coat in the nearby bushes.

Take the key from this body and head north up the river. You'll soon find a locked chest near several rocks; open it to find this armor set.

Ring of Divine Fury

You'll get the Ring of Divine Fury while completing the quest called "In Pursuit of the Tierna Harh Cadachtas." Defeat the boss, including the summon that is called forth, and the ring will be placed in your inventory.

Saint Matheus Set

This set is located in Vedvilvie, inside the Cousoneigad Cave. Go through the huge stone archway to enter the cave, then head towards the northwestern portion of the area.

You'll need to have increased your Intuition to Level 2 to get through the passage there. Open the chest and claim your armor.


There you have it: GreeFall's legendary gear locations. Hopefully, this tips and tricks guide helped you find the weapons and armor you were looking for. The info here should have you slaying bosses and minions with even greater ease. 

For more on GreedFall, and to see why we compared it to The Witcher 3 and the Dragon Age franchise, be sure to head over to our full review here. And be sure to check out our other guides on the game while you're here, such as our companion quest and romancing guide

Final Fantasy 8 Remastered Guide: Best Weapons Tier List Tue, 17 Sep 2019 15:08:08 -0400 Sergey_3847

Whether it's Final Fantasy 8 Remastered or Final Fantasy VII Remake, the FF franchise features some of the most iconic weapons in the JRPG genre. Of course, not all of them are created equal, hence the need for the following FF8 tier list. 

Below, you'll find a complete tier list for the game that includes the strongest weapons, as well as their individual strength values, hit rates, and crafting recipes. We've chosen to only include the best weapons because once you get them, there's no reason to use anything else on the game's bosses and minions. 


  • Type: Gunblade
  • Strength: 30
  • Hit Rate: 255

Squall's best weapon has always been the Lionheart gunblade. After it appeared in Final Fantasy 8, it became so popular that developers included it in myriad FF games, including Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy XV, and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.

Lionheart has earned the status of the best weapon in the game not only for its cool looks but because of the Lionheart ability, which allows players to perform an ultimate finishing attack as a part of the Renzokuken limit break.

This weapon is hard to get, but it's not impossible. Here is the crafting recipe for Lionheart:

  • 1x Adamantine
  • 4x Dragon Fang
  • 12x Pulse Ammo

Shooting Star


  • Type: Blaster Edge
  • Strength: 28
  • Hit Rate: 107

This weapon may not look terribly dangerous because of its feathery edges, but this is Rinoa's best projectile weapon.

Getting this weapon is just as hard as getting Lionheart, and you will need to go through a number of dangerous battles against Thrustavis, Torama, and Elnoyle before you get all of the necessary crafting components.

Here is the crafting recipe for Shooting Star:

  • 2x Windmill
  • 1x Regen Ring
  • 1x Force Armlet
  • 2x Energy Crystal

Strange Vision

  • Type: Nunchakus
  • Strength: 25
  • Hit Rate: 255

This is the rarest and strongest melee weapon in Final Fantasy 8. It's got an incredibly high hit rate, which means it can deal heavy damage.

Some of its components can only be obtained by playing card games, such as Triple Triad, and winning Star Fragment cards (e.g. Iron Giant). If you have played these card games, then you will know why it's so hard to actually get this weapon.

In any case, here's the crafting recipe for Strange Vision:

  • 1x Adamantine
  • 3x Star Fragment
  • 2x Curse Spike


  • Type: Gunblade
  • Strength: 24
  • Hit Rate: 255

In case Lion Heart turns out to be too difficult to craft, you can opt for another highly powerful gunbalde: Punishment.

It is also possible to get this weapon very early in the game by defeating Ifrit and Fastitocalon monsters on Balamb Beachside, which will give you a good amount of AP. Then, learn Quetzacoltl's card abilities and win every card mini-game.

After that, you can craft Punishment with the following recipe:

  • 1x Chef's Knife
  • 2x Star Fragment
  • 1x Turtle Shell
  • 8x Screw


  • Type: Shotgun
  • Strength: 25
  • Hit Rate: 115

The only really worthwhile firearm in FF8 is Exeter..

In order to get his weapon, you must first learn the Mug ability, which will allow you to steal Dino Bones from T-Rexaur in the Balamb Garden. After getting the bones, head to Esthar City and fight Elnoyle. Then play some more card games.

Eventually, you will have all the necessary items for crafting Exeter:

  • 2x Dino Bone
  • 1x Moon Stone
  • 2x Star Fragment
  • 3x Screw

Save the Queen

  • Type: Whip
  • Strength: 25
  • Hit Rate: 107

This whip made of tentacles can do just as much damage as any other top-tier weapon in Final Fantasy 8. It's also the only weapon that can be obtained via Triple Triad and Card Mod without leaving Balamb Garden. 

It has an alternative title and is sometimes called the Gold Snake, but in either case, the crafting recipe is the same:

  • 2x Malboro Tentacle
  • 4x Sharp Spike
  • 4x Energy Crystal


  • Type: Gloves
  • Strength: 25
  • Hit Rate: 103

Lastly, Zell's ultimate fighting gloves need to be mentioned. These can only be crafted using a very rare material; Dragon Skin.

To get the required number of the dragon scales, you will need to fight Anacondaur in Dollet.

Here is the crafting recipe for these powerful gloves:

  • 1x Adamantine
  • 4x Dragon Skin
  • 1x Fury Fragment


These were the strongest weapons in Final Fantasy 8 available through junk shop crafting. If you're looking for a way to get more screws in FF8 Remastered, then head over to this guide to find out more. 

For even more on the digital only remaster that launched on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam for PC (sorry, Mac, iOS, and Android), be sure to head over to our review of FF8 to read about our comparisons to the PS1 original and how the game holds up today. 

Gears 5 Guide: Potential 0x8b050033 Error Fix Tue, 17 Sep 2019 14:19:19 -0400 Ty Arthur

Gears 5 might have been the biggest launch in the franchise's history (thanks, Ultimate Game Pass), but that doesn't mean it hasn't suffered from a few bumps along the way, including an ugly error code: 0x8b050033

The latest problem reared its ugly head this morning as players worldwide have had trouble launching the game at all. Many receive the error message "You need this update, but we can’t get it right now. Try again in a while. (0x8b050033)."

Xbox Live completely crashed the night Gears 5 went live, and a steady stream of issues have popped up since the Dave Bautista skin event launched last week.

How Do I Fix the Error? 

Unfortunately, the issues is that there's no Xbox One console update to actually download. The game is searching for an update that isn't there yet.

Uninstalling and re-installing doesn't solve the problem as of now, so don't bother, especially considering the bulky install-size of Gears 5!

While it isn't sure-fire, the most frequent fix for the largest number of users is to:

  1. Log out of your profile
  2. Log back in
  3. Completely close the Gears 5 app
  4. Re-open it
  5. Check if the error code pops up

Some players have successfully circumvented the update error message that way, but it isn't guaranteed to work in all cases.


          This is a whole mood for Gears 5 players right now

That's all you need to know about the 0x8b050033 Error for now. The good news is that a patch is supposed to arrive later today, so this is likely a limited-time problem. Check back later tonight, and we should (hopefully) see an official fix from The Coalition.

Have you found a workaround besides logging out and back in? Let us know what you did!

Looking for relic weapon locations or want to unlock that killer new Bautista/Fenix replacement skin? Check out the rest of our Gears 5 guides here.

Biome the Vote: Choose Which Minecraft Biomes Get Updates, New Features Tue, 17 Sep 2019 12:51:43 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Minecon Live is the celebration of all things Minecraft, and Mojang is adding to this year's event by holding a user poll to see which Minecraft biome gets a big upgrade first.

The choices are Swamp, Mountains, and Badland, and Mojang promises a variety of new features for all three biomes, including new mechanics and new models. Regardless of which biome wins, all will eventually get upgraded, since the Big Biome Vote is just to determine which one should gets the big makeover first

The poll opens on September 28 at 12 p.m. EDT, but between now and then, Mojang will release videos on Twitter showcasing what players should expect from each biome's update.

Minecon Live 2019 itself also begins September 28 and will be broadcast via Twitch, Mixer, YouTube, Facebook, and

This year's convention is hosted by four influencers and Minecraft experts, Masuo, Marielitai, Shubble, and Dangthatsalongname.

It'll include all of the usual fare: a 90-minute presentation of in-depth announcements about upcoming changes to the game and a series of panels hosted by Minecraft masters talking about what they do best, from modding to being a marketplace creator.

With Minecon Live, there is a number of Minecraft-related announcements we might expect to see. Minecraft Earth is one, or the recently announced ray tracing and graphics suite updates.

Then there's the Diablo-inspired Minecraft Dungeons, which hasn't gotten much attention since its initial announcement earlier in the year.

Whatever it is, we'll just have to wait and see. Be sure to tune in on GameSkinny to watch it all unfold. 

Meanwhile, check out some of the highlights from last year's Minecon Earth, which kicked off the Life Aquatic update, here.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Beta Impressions — Mostly on Target Tue, 17 Sep 2019 12:29:38 -0400 John Schutt

This past weekend, everyone with a PS4 had the chance to try out Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's multiplayer beta. We took on the franchise's first 10v10 mode on Grazna Raid, detonated EMPs on Hackney Yard, and generally got a feel for how Night Vision gameplay felt. 

Going in, there was no end to my list of questions: How would gameplay feel? How effective were the killstreaks? Were the maps any good? Was it satisfying to use the guns? Did the game perform well? 

Here are my impressions from about eight hours with the game over the weekend, touching on gameplay, map design, and overall enjoyment.

Solid, Grounded Gameplay

From what I played, I can safely say that the jumpy, floaty, incredible pace of previous Call of Duty titles is significantly pared back. Your soldier feels heavier, the guns have more weight, and getting around generally takes more effort than other games. 

I think that's both a good and bad thing.

On the one hand, Call of Duty is often at its best when it embraces the arcadey games that birthed it — Quake, Doom, and other early FPS games. On the other, there's something incredibly satisfying about the punch and weight of Modern Warfare. There's a deeper sense of immersion when everything seems to take effort to accomplish.

And that's not for everyone. There's a reason the original Modern Warfare, and Black Ops 2, are remembered as fondly as they often are. Neither game had any pretentions about what kind of experience they were selling. They eschewed a substantial sense of realism for power fantasy, fast pace, and moment-to-moment thrills.

Modern Warfare's gameplay is something of a hybrid. On the smaller maps and in more constricted game modes, instant action is still very much the order of the day. It still feels like Call of Duty: fast time-to-kill, quick, responsive controls, the occasional killstreak, and generally high-pace. 

Jump to the larger maps and more open modes and suddenly, everything slows down, as might be expected. What I wasn't expecting was how quickly players would gravitate to the close-quarters areas. The long sightlines and open fields got almost no use save for the occasional sniper.

Players spend their downtime avoiding — or at least minimizing — the time they spend in large areas. It's something I found myself doing as well, if only because I'm about three times worse when playing on the sticks. 

Frequently enough, I was more comfortable in spaces where I had some amount of control over my own destiny. I knew when and where enemies would appear and respond accordingly. The large maps, when they felt large, robbed me of that sense of control. 

Another player with another playstyle (I'm a rusher, often to my death) probably feels exactly the opposite. The large, open field and the long streets of Grazna Raid are a sniper's playpen, or really for anyone with good aim. Frustrating as it might have been for me never to use a portion of a map, I think the general population will have plenty of places to play.

While we didn't have the opportunity to try out vehicles in the PS4 beta, we should in the cross-platform beta this weekend. We'll be getting our hands on the Ground War game mode starting Thursday.

Neo-Classic Map Design

Infinity Ward made something of a stir when they announced a departure from the classic, more symmetrical three-lane map design philosophy. While they clarify that overall, the three-lane design remains, symmetry is out the window to avoid the arcadey-ness I mentioned above.

I was concerned that even with the core design thinking intact, maps wouldn't be as nuanced, or that they'd play poorly.

In practice, that's rarely the case. None of the 6v6 maps lost much to the subtraction of symmetry. Even 10v10, spaces were compartmentalized enough that hot zones still developed, movement patterns became predictable and safe, killstreak-call-in locations were plentiful. 

Of the maps on offer, I cared for Azhir Cave the least. The cave clutter, lights, and general flow were too haphazard for my tastes. The map fell into the old trap of "not enough ways to move between lanes" that plagued many Black Ops 3 maps. It forced players into sightlines and into hidey-hole to await their prey.

On the flip side, the Hackney Yard map was my favorite. It has everything I want out of a Call of Duty map. There were plenty of sightlines and ways to traverse, so I always had options for attack or defense. There was ample airspace for killstreaks to do their work as well.

Hackney Yard also played to the strengths of some of Modern Warfare's new mechanics — from doors to its new equipment types — while maintaining the fundamentals that make CoD maps work.

The other two maps fell somewhere in the middle. Docks played a bit like Hackney Yard, but like Ahzir Cave needs more traversal routes, and there's almost too much clutter. The visual noise sometimes makes it hard to pick out what is and what isn't an enemy.

Grazna Raid is also a mixed bag. I like the center area filled with its broken buildings and verticality, but I could do without the large field on the one side. That said, I don't know if the map isn't much bigger than saw Strike from CoD4 or Plaza from Black Ops 2. It just feels bigger because of the layout.

If Modern Warfare can introduce even a few more maps like Hackney Yard — large scale or otherwise — we'll have a great game on our hands.

Improvements Needed

Thankfully, the Modern Warfare beta was just that: a beta. Several things need tending before it's a game I could sink hundreds of hours into. It does seem like the developers are listening to help make such dedication a reality.

Just two days in, Infinity Ward reenabled the minimap after player outcry. While I didn't feel its exclusion as someone better at the game, the experience was rather odd without it. I found myself looking to the top left of the screen often, only to find it empty.

And while I wasn't as bothered by a lack of minimap, what did frustrate me were the spawns. I kid you not: I watched an enemy player kill me as one of my teammates spawned almost inside him. To add insult to injury, those two kills were in the final killcam, and you could hear my teammate spawning just after I died.

The number of times I entered the fight with an enemy either looking at me or otherwise close was almost comical. I sincerely hope spawn logic receives a long look before launch.

Performance on a base PS4 also left something to be desired. I don't feel like I was pushing a stable 60 FPS for even a minute of my playtime, and CoD at 30 FPS is like playing in quick-drying concrete. I felt like textures, draw distance, and overall fidelity were also heavily compromised in ways previous games haven't been  at least this generation.

Lastly, and this isn't something that has a good answer, I think UAV spam is a bit much. That's likely because it was one of the only streaks players could equip, but I know from experience that a three-kill UAV (with Hardline, in this case) is asking for the announcer's throat to go dry. 

The callouts were non-stop, and if Modern Warfare has as many people running UAV as previous games, I'm almost a proponent of taking out the minimap. At least as long as a UAV puts it right back. There's always one in the sky anyway.

Overall Verdict of the Beta

If Infinity Ward wanted to get people back into Call of Duty, this is the best chance they've had to reinvigorate the franchise since Modern Warfare 2. No game on the market does quite what CoD does quite as well. Some titles offer similar experiences, sometimes much better experiences, but none that capture the old magic. 

Based on the beta alone, it's not a perfect game by any means, and I can see old-school fans of the series turned off by some of the design choices. The maps are hit and miss as well, as can be the movement system. I'm on the fence myself, unsure whether to embrace this slightly more realistic take on an old formula or retreat to what's familiar.

It's a good game, though. Not the game people expected, and maybe not the one they wanted, but one worth trying at least once.

Gears 5 Multiplayer Review: A Greater Arsenal, But Not Without Issues Tue, 17 Sep 2019 10:49:46 -0400 Mark Delaney

While we delivered our Gears 5 campaign review ahead of the weekend, we wanted a few more days with the expansive multiplayer suite before passing our final judgment on that side of The Coalition's blockbuster.

As it turns out, we didn't need a heck of a lot more time anyway. Even a week post-launch, the game's multiplayer component is plagued by connectivity issues.

When it is working, the component's modes are phenomenal, and in time, Gears 5's multiplayer will likely deliver a best-in-series experience just as its story mode has. But as of now, there are too many issues plaguing it to be anything better than decent. 

Bugs in the Sawmill

For a game that launched to some players on September 6 and to the rest of the world four days later, Gears 5's stability is still inexcusably poor.

Maybe it's a sign that the game's launch was bigger than anyone expected, which, considering the numbers coming out, may mean Game Pass is having a hell of a month, but none of that matters outside of Microsoft's corporate offices.

For fans, Gears 5 multiplayer is a brilliant experience, but only when it's working  and that's currently not often.

Several of my play sessions both before and after launch were hit by connectivity flaws, including disconnects and false starts when heading into new rounds. These hiccups don't happen all of the time, or else I wouldn't have so much forthcoming praise to share, but it is more common than anyone should find permissible.

To their credit, the development team has been extremely vocal on forums and social platforms like Twitter, as well as on the game's website, keeping players updated with how fixes are progressing. Once these issues are ironed out, it looks likely Gears 5's multiplayer will join its campaign as being the new benchmark for the long-running franchise.

Hero Shooter-Lite

While several fan-favorite modes return with little tweaking, like Arms Race, Dodgeball, and TDM, these are supplemented by completely new modes that give Gears one of the most robust multiplayer offerings in the industry.

Arcade mode is what The Coalition has called a "hero shooter-lite," where players load into a battlefield with their preferred character and abilities they can customize. Meant to be played a bit faster and wackier than the standard modes of old, Arcade offers game-changing mid-match upgrades that feel like totally new ideas for the series.

Properly balanced out of the gate, you'll quickly find your own playstyle as you learn to work with others to maximize effectiveness just like you would in something like Overwatch

The Great Escape

The greatest addition to Gears 5 is the new Escape mode. A three-person PVE experience, Escape drops you into a Swarm hive where you detonate a bomb before charging as fast as you can to find the exit in a long, labyrinthine interior. Your only clue as to where to go next is often to follow the trail of bodies you've left ahead of you.

With safe rooms on the way and an emphasis on resource management, it's often the case that you don't have what you want in terms of ammo or weapons when things go down, but as a true survival experience, that's perfect. You rely on teammates and well-timed item drops from corpses to keep charging ahead until you find salvation in the outside world.

Charting Your Own Way

Escape is an excellent mode all on its own, but it's made even better because players can make and share their own maps. The Coalition hopes to expand this map-making ability to Versus and Horde modes later, but even for now, it's an interesting tool that gives the whole suite the feeling of a studio going above and beyond.

Featured maps from The Coalition will welcome players to the Escape menu each week, but the best and most played user-generated content will be highlighted too, and you can search for specific maps that you've heard are good or maybe your friends made. There are even some already designed to boost achievements.

"If It Ain't Broke ..."

Versus and Horde, meanwhile, return their familiar elements to Gears 5 and don't add a whole lot new. For many players, this makes for an "if it ain't broke" proposition, though it should be noted that it's not all just shotgunners so far in the early days. 

It's obvious that the devs gave more attention to bettering other gun classes, meaning firefights should be more varied than the old days where enemies wall-hugged from room to room until they were in your face with a Gnasher.

All of this comes on the foundation of the deepest customization and ranking system ever seen in the franchise.

Unlocking skill cards improves characters across all modes and allows you to craft your exact character to a level that I can't recall seeing in any other shooter. Add to that the most content, be it characters, maps, or many cosmetics, will be free or earnable with in-game currency, and you've got a player-friendly system that still leaves space for the "whales" to buy into some content and keep the studio working for the betterment of the whole.

  • The deepest Gears online experience yet
  • Escape mode is a fantastic new addition to the series
  • Tweaks to gunplay make it more worth playing without a Gnasher
  • Arcade is a faster, looser take on Gears with hero shooter inspirations
  • Connectivity issues continue to plague the game at the time of writing

If this review was written a few weeks from now, I'd bet the score you see below and the words written within would contain more praise. Sadly, it's too unstable even 10 days after the Game Pass Ultimate launch day to earn those higher marks.

It feels safe to assume The Coalition will iron out the problems found here, and Gears 5's multiplayer will join its story mode as the best in the franchise. For now, you can see how great it will be, but that doesn't hide how troubled it is today.

Daymare 1998: Aegis Chamber Temperature Cooling Puzzle Guide Tue, 17 Sep 2019 09:15:01 -0400 Ty Arthur

Daymare 1998 is chock full of key cards, computer unlock codes, and puzzles. One of those puzzles is a little more difficult than the rest, requiring agent Liev to adjust coolant levels to proper temperatures in order to access the Pollux virus, fight the first mini-boss, and leave the Aegis level.

Thankfully, cooling things down is easy with the guide below. 

Aegis Temperature Puzzle Solution

When you enter the room with the PL-X 731 temperature control computer, don't be distracted by the zombie on the left by the desk; another zombie will immediately assault you from the right.

After taking care of the two Zeds, run up the stairs and go past the locked door to access the coolant computer.

 Temperature Start Point

Your goal is to go from the start point in the image above to the end point in the image below so that Chamber 1 is full, Chamber 4 is at two bars, and Chambers 2 and 3 completely empty.

To get there, you need this temperature combination:

  • Chamber 1: -15 degrees
  • Chamber 2: 20 degrees
  • Chamber 3: -5 degrees
  • Chamber 4: 0 degrees

Here's where things get difficult: you can only empty or fill one bar at a time, and the reserve tank only has enough space to hold one bar's worth of coolant, so you have to remove and add coolant strategically to make this work.

To skip all the frustrating guesswork, here is the fastest, easiest method to get to the correct temperatures:

  • Empty Chamber 3
  • Fill Chamber 1
  • Empty Chamber 2
  • Fill Chamber 1
  • Empty Chamber 2
  • Fill Chamber 1
  • Empty Chamber 2
  • Fill Chamber 1
  • Empty Chamber 2
  • Fill Chamber 4
  • Empty Chamber 3

After completing that pattern, you should end up with this solution:

 Temperature End Point Puzzle Solution

Unlike with the Aegis power puzzle, you don't have to flip any switches or do anything extra at the end. The mini-game automatically ends and you are popped back out into the main gameplay loop.

Afterwards, it's time to fight the game's first mini-boss, so make sure you've got your ammo combined into clips and ready to go before leaving the room.

Need help with any other puzzles? Check out our other Daymare 1998 guides.

Daymare 1998: Aegis Greek Password Puzzle Solution Tue, 17 Sep 2019 09:00:01 -0400 Ty Arthur

There's classic challenging survival horror puzzles, and then there are brain teasers that are just flat out unfair or poorly designed, and the Daymare 1998 Greek Password puzzle falls into that latter category.

Don't feel too bad if you're stumped by this one -- the game really doesn't go out of its way to offer clues as to how to answer the phrases (and hopefully that will be dealt with after launch in a patch).

Below we explain exactly how to input the proper Greek passwords into the founder's office hidden desk terminal at the end of the Aegis level.

For all three of the phrases, don't forget to scroll over to the big Enter key (the one with the 90 degree turning arrow, of course) after each Greek letter combination is entered and hit F to actually input the password.

Greek Password 1

Phrase: "Cast a light unto the darkness and there shall be no storm from which he cannot save you."

  • Answer: ΧΑΣΤΟΡ

It's easy to accidentally answer this one wrong since there are two O symbols on the keyboard, one with a line through it and one without -- you want the one without the line to proceed.

Greek Password 2

Phrase: "No matter the injury it will never end his journey."

  • Answer: ΠΟΛΛΥΞ

This one is even more annoying because there are two different N symbols and three different E symbols on the keyboard.

Here you are specifically looking for the flat topped N at the top-right corner of the keyboard and the three-tiered E symbol at the bottom-left near the Z.

Greek Password 3

Phrase: Long and perilous was the journey of the Argonauts to enter into its possession.


Yeah, this one's the most obnoxious of all. The first letter is the one that looks like a lower case "r," followed by the O with no line, the upside down V, the triangle, the normal E, the normal N, and the O with a line through it. From there the letters should be easy to select before inputting the password.

Make sure your ammo clips are full before entering the password, because a zombie will frequently get up from the floor near the computer after completing this puzzle -- even if you cleared the room first.

Need help with any other puzzles? Check out our other Daymare 1998 guides:

Daymare 1998 Aegis Power Puzzle Guide Tue, 17 Sep 2019 09:00:01 -0400 Ty Arthur

Retro horror game Daymare 1998 started life as an unofficial Resident Evil 2 remake — before the real remake squashed those plans  so you've got to put your old-school survival horror goggles on to figure out some of the game's puzzles, including the Aegis Power puzzle. 

If you're having trouble with the power switch puzzle in the Aegis level, we've got you covered in the guide below. Once you know the proper pattern, it's simple to bypass the electricity issue and restore power to the facility.

Aegis Power Switches Solution

 The correct power switch order

While the trainee note on the swivel chair and the power status screen on the computer terminal next to the switch panel give a basic overview of how the puzzle is supposed to work, they don't give you the full answer. There's a bit of trial and error involved.

If you want to skip all that and just move onto the next portion of the level, then flip these switches from red to blue on:

  • Cargo Area
  • Submarine Shaft
  • Lab Area
  • Control Room
  • Reception Hall
  • Server Room
  • Security Room

When those switches are all blue, the Helipad Access, Decont. Area, Offices Area, and Canteen/Dorm lights should still be red. You'll know you've got the pattern correct when all of the white dots in the middle are lit up from top to bottom.

Here's the part that's vexing some players, though: you then need to press "D" to move away from the power lights to the switch, and press "F" to actually pull the switch and reset the power.

Most of the game's other interfaces don't work this way, so make sure to go through that extra step or the power won't come back on.

After the power comes on, you'll immediately be attacked by a zombie from the left side (from the staircase where you entered the room), so make sure your ammo is loaded before completing the puzzle.

Stumped on another puzzle found later in the game? Check out our other Daymare 1998 guides covering the major puzzles across the game's 14 levels, and be sure to leave us a comment if you need help with any we haven't covered yet!

Watch 40 Minutes of Gameplay for The Outer Worlds Mon, 16 Sep 2019 17:52:36 -0400 GS_Staff

Now that the Tokyo Game Show is behind us, publications lucky enough to attend have started posting videos and reactions from the show.

One of those is Video Games Chronicle, which was able to grab a whopping 40 minutes of gameplay for The Outer Worlds, Obsidian Entertainment's upcoming sci-fi RPG. 

While others have shared 20 minutes of gameplay from a Taiwanese outlet that attended TGS, the footage from VGC features menus and dialog in English. 

The trailer gives us a good idea of what to expect from The Outer Worlds: expansive story, vast exploration choices, and dozens of customization options. What the trailer didn't show was lots of combat. However, considering Obsidian's pedigree with titles such as Fallout: New Vegas and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2, it's a safe bet there's plenty to be had in the final product. 

The Outer Worlds is set to release on October 25, 2019, for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One. It will release on the Nintendo Switch at a later date

We were able to see The Outer Worlds at E3 earlier this year, where the colony of Halcyon was showcased alongside companions and a mission involving the Monarch Corporation. 


FIFA 20 Demo: Reactions to the Latest Generation are Mixed Sat, 14 Sep 2019 09:00:01 -0400 RobertPIngram

With the summer transfer deadline in the rearview mirror and club rosters finalized, that means that the dawn of a new year of FIFA is just around the corner.

While fans will still have to wait until September 24 to get their hands on the full version of FIFA 20, the demo is available early, and it gives players just a small taste of what's to come this year. While the standard demo fare rears its head, like a limited assortment of teams to actually play as, the big news is the ability to try the new street soccer VOLTA mode.

After spending some time with the demo, the news is mixed for fans of the series.

Full Side Play Stars

Although VOLTA might have stolen headlines since the announcement of the new feature, the core of any FIFA game will always be its ability to create a realistic and fun simulation when it comes to full-side of world-class soccer, and FIFA 20 lives up to the series' lofty standards. 

FIFA has long been the standard-bearer for EA's various sports simulations, and while each new iteration has been loaded with buzz words and big talk, it's fair to say there has generally been an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach to the game's mechanics.

With FIFA 20, that is still the clear operating premise. While the game doesn't feel exactly like its predecessor, and elite-level players may remain upset about the increased variance in chained skill maneuvers, if you've played a recent edition of FIFA, you'll likely find that you're right back in the swing of things in short order.

If you're new to the series or haven't played in a few years, don't worry about your skills. The game's default trainer overlay provides visual cues for suggested actions and the button or stick combinations to perform them, so you can hit the ground running.

While the new features aren't revolutionary, they're not invisible either, and at the end of the day, what you're left with is another very strong performance from the FIFA team.

VOLTA Disappoints... For Now

Before getting into my hands-on experience with the new mode, it's important to remember that a limited demo with only one-offs is far from the full picture of a game. With that large caveat out there, however, the early look is a big let down.

While the early talk of the new mode was appealing, with the game taking a realistic approach to small-sided games, what's actually delivered so far doesn't quite live up to expectations. 

The game leans into the flair and style of street ball, with standard passes and lobs occasionally being delivered in show-stopping, over-the-top manners, but the mode lacks the fluidity you'd hope for with a proper streetball option. Although highly skilled players may have more luck using flair and style to their advantage, new payers may find themselves playing the same game only cramped, ironically finding that the game, in turn, feels more bogged down than a standard match.

That's not to say there isn't promise in the mode, though. Just by the very nature of changing the dynamics of the game it does provide a fun alternative to standard play. Three-a-side on a tiny pitch is a vastly different experience, as is trying to tuck the ball into the game's small, keeper-less goals.

The first time my player rocketed a shot off a side wall then hammered in her own rebound for a self-pass goal was genuinely exhilarating, and the ability to have coed teams may seem small, but only if you've never been unable to squad up with your friends because your Pro is the wrong gender.

There are sprouts of how VOLTA may yet deliver on the promise of its first press release. Unless more is done to make the mode run smoother and the full options expand the world of VOLTA enough, however, it will remain a fun occasional diversion more than an expansive mode worth pouring hours into.

Final Whistle

As far as demos go, this is a promising showing from EA. There's every reason to believe that the standard favorites, from pro campaigns to FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT), will be as great as ever.

Although VOLTA failed to blow the doors off in demo form, it may well shine once players have access to the full array of options. If you're considering picking up FIFA 20, put on your game face and give the demo a spin.

While you wait for the game to arrive, be sure to check out our article on everything we know about the game, which includes everything from flair and career mode to pre-order information, trailers, and gameplay. 

FIFA 20 is set to release on September 27 for the PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It will be included in Origin Access and EA Access.  

Borderlands 3: How to Redeem SHiFT Codes (Plus a Bunch of Vault Codes) Fri, 13 Sep 2019 17:17:37 -0400 Tobbpitt

SHiFT Codes are back in Borderlands 3, and with them have come VIP Codes for use by members of the Vault Insider Program. To top things off, there's already a free code for three Golden Keys you surely want to get your hands on.

Becoming part of the Vault Insider Program doesn't cost anything, and can be done on the VIP portion of the Borderlands 3 website. However, you must have a SHiFT account to sign up for the VIP — so before you get to crackin' some codes, you'll need to:

  1. Sign up for a SHiFT account here
  2. Sign up a Vault Insider Program account here

If you don't intend to sign up for the VIP, just skip the second step.

How to Get SHiFT Codes and VIP Points

Codes will be passed out via social media and other means, such as product purchases, much as they were with Borderlands 2. As a matter of fact, the very first free SHiFT code for the game was a Borderlands 2 code. Crazy, right?

You'll have to keep your eyes peeled over the coming weeks and months to grab up codes while you can.

VIP Points are another matter, which can be earned by participating in the program. Have a click around the VIP site once you've signed up to take a gander.

Be sure to link your preferred platform to your SHiFT account.

How to Redeem SHiFT Codes in Borderlands 3

You have three available methods for redeeming SHiFT Codes as it stands:

  • Go to the SHiFT website and redeem the code
  • Head to the game's main menu, navigate to SHiFT Code, and enter the code there
  • Go to the VIP website and redeem the code

Really, it's very easy, but again: Do be sure to link your preferred platform to your SHiFT account.

Free SHiFT Codes and Vault Points

The first free code I mentioned above must be put into the SHiFT website, and not the VIP website.

  • Three Golden Keys: ZFKJ3-TT3BB-JTBJT-T3JJT-JWX9H

However, more codes are being discovered. Some of these may not work for you, but try them all on the SHiFT website rather than in-game or the Borderlands 3 VIP website.

No guarantees, but here are some codes to try. Make sure you include the dashes, it's easiest to copy and paste. These were found spattered about Reddit, again: No guarantees!

  • One Golden Key: ZRWBJ-ST6XR-CBFKT-JT3J3-FRXJ5
  • One Golden Key: Z65B3-JCXX6-5JXW3-3B33J-9SWT6

As for Vault Point codes, these must be input into the Vault Insider Program site. It's best to put these in as soon as you can, who knows how long they'll last:

  • ABCEASYAS123 (250 Points)
  • ALMOSTTHERE (1000 Points)
  • BL3REVEAL (100 Points)
  • BL3ATE3 (250 Points)
  • BL3WELCOME (250 Points)
  • BUILDURSQUAD (250 Points)
  • CLAPTASTIC (250 Points)
  • Dreamlandvip (100 Points)
  • DIGISTRUCT (250 Points)
  • EARLYACCESS (500 Points)
  • FIGHT4SANCTUARY (250 Points)
  • FORTNITEXMAYHEM (250 Points)
  • FRESHBOOTY (250 Points)
  • GAMEVIP (100 Points)
  • ITSHERE (1000 Points)
  • LARALOFT-BL3LAUNCH (200 Points)
  • LESSTHANTHREE (250 Points)
  • LOOTLOOTLOOT (250 Points)
  • MYMAIN (250 Points)
  • OVERCLOCKED (250 Points)
  • OVERONEBILLION (250 Points)
  • SEVENDAYS (250 Points)
  • SOHAPPYTOGETHER (250 Points)
  • Unblinkingeye (1000 Points)


Found some more SHiFT and VIP Codes? Post what you've found in the comment section below and help your fellow Vault Hunters out!

Be sure to check out our other Borderlands 3 guides for more tips and tricks. Borderlands 3 is out now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. 

Borderlands 3: How to Complete Skag Dog Days Fri, 13 Sep 2019 16:10:48 -0400 Ty Arthur

The long wait is over and fans can finally joy puke their faces off with Borderlands 3, which of course in proper franchise fashion includes utterly insane starter quests like Skag Dog Days. Not quite sure how to pick up those Cactus Fruit and complete this intro quest? 

Turns out Cactus Fruit is wildly resistant to bullets and elemental damage effects like shock, corrode, cryo, and radiation. There's one simple trick to get those fruit to fall free, though, and its easier than you think!

Finding Skag Dog Days Cactus Fruit

         The Big Succ Location.

To find the fruit, just run around the areas marked with the triangle on your map and look for the very obvious red cactus.

The fruit itself is immune to damage, no matter how many bullets you lob at them or special class abilities you use, but they will immediately fall free if you deal even a single point of area effect splash damage.

The easiest way to do that is with The Big Succ gun found inside the trailer marked on the map position above.

Just use the gun's alternate fire mode to lob grenades instead of firing bullets.

If you didn't pick up The Big Succ earlier in the quest (or ran out of grenades or whatever), you can still get the Cactus Fruit to fall free by causing melee splash damage instead.

To go this route, use the the ground pound ability by tapping the crouch button while falling from a distance. Any large rocks near the plants with the Cactus Fruit should be high enough to deal splash damage through the ground pound and knock the fruit loose.

            Using Big Succ grenades to get Cactus Fruit.

It seems like those grenades should really obliterate the fruit, but whatever, we're not going argue the physics of a game that has guns with legs.

What method did you use to cause splash damage and grab your Cactus Fruit? Let us know in the comments, then head over to our other Borderlands 3 guides here after you finish the Skag Dog Days quest!

Borderlands 3: How to Skip Cutscenes Fri, 13 Sep 2019 15:30:42 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Let's face it: with more than a million guns to "pew pew" and worlds to explore outside of Pandora, most of us just want to play Borderlands 3 — desperately. We don't really want to sit through cutscenes. No, we want to skip them, especially the long cinematic at the beginning. 

While you might start with one Vault Hunter, you'll certainly want to try all of them since each presents wildly different abilities and playstyles. Thing is, there's the opening movie to sit through, then the one after you choose your VH.

While gorgeous and fun and raucous the first time 'round, watching it a second, third, or fourth time quickly becomes a slog, even if the theme song is a good one and the bar fight is pretty badass.

How to Skip Intro Cutscenes on PS4 and Xbox One

Unfortunately, you can't skip the intro cutscene on console

How to Skip the Intro and Splash Screens on PC

Of course, resourceful PC players have a solution for everything. Follow the steps below to get around the pesky opening cinematic: 

  1. Go to your game files
  2. Look for Borderlands3/OakGames/Content/Movies
  3. Locate the file called Marcus_Intro
  4. Change the file name (it doesn't matter what it's changed to)
    • However, do not delete the file

If you want to skip the splash screens, too, change the "LOGO" files found in the same folder. It won't net you any trophies or achievements, but it will help you get into the game even faster. 

As always, thanks to the great Redditors that continuously figure all of this crazy stuff out. For more tips and trick for Borderlands 3, be sure to check out our growing guides page