Desktop Platform RSS Feed | Desktop RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Learn the Ropes with our Beginner's Guide to Book of Demons Thu, 13 Dec 2018 16:15:01 -0500 Jordan Baranowski

Anyone familiar with action RPGs like Diablo will feel right at home loading up Book of Demons.

Outside of its storybook aesthetic, it follows a fairly tried-and-true formula. There are a few wrinkles in it that would take you a while to learn if you aren’t paying attention however. Here are a few tips to hit the ground running with Book of Demons now that it’s out of Early Access.

Watch for Visual Cues

Most of the dungeons in Book of Demons are fairly small, but there are a few visual cues to look out for to help you navigate each one a little smoother. The first thing to notice are your footprints. Obviously, they show you which paths you’ve taken. However, notice that they will turn gold on occasion. That means you’ve explored every branch of the path back that direction - nothing to see here. Once you’ve hit every nook and cranny of a floor, every footprint will turn gold to let you know that you can move on.

If you hover over the icons at the top of the screen, they will point out to you what points of interest you’ve encountered on the map and if there are any others left to find. Finally, if you’re searching for one monster or piece of gold lying on the floor that you previously overlooked, watch the edges of the screen. Every few seconds, you should see a little twinkle. That will show you the direction of any last pieces you’re missing in your exploration.

Know Your Cards and How to Improve Them

Each of the three classes in Book of Demons has its own deck of cards to collect. These cards represent your inventory and abilities, and you have a quick toolbar that can house a growing number of them throughout the game. It’s important to know what each card type is and how they operate:

  • Blue: Ability cards. These are things like spells and talents, they use mana each time you activate them, which means being able to top off your mana reserves is key if you use a lot of abilities. Having a few powerful abilities at your disposal is going to be key to surviving as the difficulty ramps up.
  • Red: Item cards. These are things like potions, traps, and scrolls. You can collect a certain amount of them that you can hold at a time before you will have to buy more charges for them in town or pick some up during a dungeon crawl.
  • Green: Equipment cards. These are items like weapons, shields, armor, and rings. They generally provide passive bonuses, but they lock up a portion of your mana (and fill in a valuable card slot) as long as they are equipped.

There are also two ways to get improved versions of your cards. One is by finding the magical and legendary variants in your adventures. These will add additional, randomized stats to your cards - for example, your normal card might be a Chaos Ring. You might find a “Chaos Ring of the Raven,” which has additional positive effects attached to it. Magic items add one additional positive trait, and legendaries add two.

You can also start finding “Rune Cards” while you trek through dungeons. If you take these to the Fortune Teller in town, you can upgrade your cards from one to two or from two to three stars. They become more powerful as you do (and more expensive to use and recharge).

Understand Different Types of Enemy Hearts

One thing that will get you killed very quickly in Book of Demons is not understanding what your enemies are capable of and not prioritizing them in the order you should be. There are a few different aspects to familiarize yourself with to most effectively defeat your foes and stay alive longer.

The hearts above an enemy’s head show how many more hits it will be until they are defeated. It is important to know that not all hearts are created equal - here’s what you might encounter:

  • Red hearts: The normal measure of a monster’s hit points. Each heart will take one point of damage to destroy.
  • Green Hearts: These are known as Poison Hearts. They absorb the same damage as regular hearts, but they indicate that the monster will heal if they are hit with poison damage. They also usually mean that the monster will explode into a poison cloud upon death.
  • Grey Hearts: These are known as Stone Hearts. They take the same amount of damage, but indicate that the monster is immune to damage effects like poison, burning, or freezing.
  • Golden Hearts: Whenever a golden heart is destroyed, the monster’s other hearts will “lock” for a certain period, rendering them immune to damage for a few seconds. They will unlock when you can deal damage again.
  • Frozen/Burning Hearts: These function in essentially the same manner as one another. Each heart takes three hits to destroy, and will reveal a different type of heart underneath it. That means it will take four hits for every heart these enemies have; it will take them a while to go down during a fight.

Prioritize Monsters with Spells and Summoning Abilities

Another easy-to-miss aspect of combat in Book of Demons is that you can interrupt enemies who are casting spells. When using a spell or ability, a monster will become immune to damage as a circle above them fills. Once the circle has filled, they will use that ability.

If you are close enough to the enemy, you can hover your pointer over that ability and hold down the attack button to keep them from using it. This will also instantly open them back up to damage - take out those spellcasters quick before they inflict serious damage on you. Note that you cannot disrupt spells and abilities of boss enemies.

Dispel Poison ASAP

If your hit point meter turns green, we all know that means poison. However, there is a quick visual indicator you can use to dispel poison almost as soon as you are inflicted with it.

A small demonic face will drop from the top of your HP orb after a second or two of being poisoned. If you click inside your HP orb when that face is visible, it will cure you of poison. Don’t eat that extra damage - it adds up quickly!

Save Time After Clearing out a Level

I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I find the exit to a dungeon right away, and know I’ll have to explore the entire floor before backtracking all the way back the way I came in order to get to the next level. Luckily, Book of Demons has a lovely little time saver for you.

Once you’ve found the exit for a floor, a little icon will always appear on the edge of the screen to show you what direction you need to go to find it.

Once you’ve completely cleared out a floor, that icon will turn green. You can then just click it and - voila - you will instantly be teleported to the start of the next floor. No backtracking necessary.

Utilize the Magical Cauldron - Before Its Contents Disappear

Occasionally, you will find loot in a dungeon that will appear to fly into a giant pot that appears on the side of the screen. If you approach the Barmaid in town, you will have access to the Magical Cauldron, which can open up all sorts of rare loot.

It may be tempting to leave this to collect, since the cost of using it increases every time you use it. However, keep in mind that, if you die, everything that has collected in the cauldron will disappear. Not getting every last bit of loot in a dungeon crawler is a mortal sin, so don’t press your luck too long - you might get overwhelmed and lose access to several powerful items.

There are still going to be some bumps along the road to your showdown with the Archdemon, but knowing these tips out of the gate will save you time and frustration in your quest. Good luck in your race to the bottom of Book of Demons!

Kenshi Review: A Divisive, Demanding Adventure Thu, 13 Dec 2018 15:29:25 -0500 Tim White

Let's make one thing clear right away: Kenshi, the newly completed free-roaming survival-ish RPG-type-thing from Lo-Fi Games, is not for everyone. If you're looking for something casual and accessible to spend no more than 45 minutes on after work, move along. Kenshi doesn't care how grueling your day was.

However, if you've got some time and energy to devote to it, and if you can handle rejection, this game needs to find a home in your library. It'll make you work for its love, but oh, what a deep and sweet love it is.


I seem to be reviewing a lot of story-less games lately, but Kenshi is a little different. It's not a simulator or an "experience." It's more like a blank canvas and a ton of paintbrushes with which to create your own story, if you're into roleplaying in your own head. Even if you're not, its engaging and intricate mechanics might fascinate you anyway.

There's no linear narrative to speak of, but I really think you should give Kenshi a try whether that bothers you or not. It does contain a ton of intricately crafted lore; after spending about 10 hours with the game, I suspect I've only just begun to scratch the surface in terms of learning about its world and the factions that inhabit it.


Imagine Diablo without eighty thousand billion "new" weapons dropping every ten seconds; now you know how movement and menus work.

Now imagine Mount & Blade's squad building system sandwiched by Fallout's wasteland vibe and simplified versions of the construction found in ARK: Survival Evolved, with just a dash of E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy's future-primitive techno-religion vibe.

Got all that? Me neither, at first. Just roll with it for now.

Upon creating a character, you'll be dropped alone into the middle of nowhere with nothing but half a pair of pants and a rusty iron bar that will do absolutely nothing to fend off aggressors. Where you go and what you try (and fail) to do is up to you.

The possibilities are myriad, but all paths are fraught with danger. You can start a farm, buy a fixer-upper house in town, rob the general store, or set out to explore ludicrously perilous ancient ruins brimming with valuable artifacts. You can go it alone or hire up to 29 other companions.

Whatever you do, you'll regularly find yourself beset by thieves, cannibals, vicious wildlife, and killer robots. You can run, fight (and lose), or try to pay them off—or join them. No matter what you decide, there are no simple paths and no easy answers. Every meaningful choice you might make has serious pros and cons associated with it. Each time the in-game clock rolls over, you'll simultaneously breathe a sigh of relief at living to see another sunrise and wonder how the hell you're going to make it to the next one.

If you can survive for about an in-game month, life does get easier, but it never gets easy. Once your settlement grows large enough to reliably sustain itself, you may think the worst of your troubles are over, but in fact you're now also a more tempting target for bigger gangs of deadlier criminals.

Life in Kenshi is a constant process of adaptation, exploration, being terrified of the unknown, and gradually overcoming it with the tiniest of baby steps. If you can embrace the fear and uncertainty, it's a wild and enjoyable ride.


Kenshi isn't ugly, at least not when you consider that about five people made the whole thing. It's blocky, and most of it is really, really brown. The bulk of the team's energy was spent developing the game's mechanics and setting, not its graphics, and that's okay by me.

There are some different biomes to explore throughout Kenshi's huge map, but a solid 70% of the map seems to be barren deserts and arid plains. Even though living off the land becomes even more difficult in snowy areas, it's almost worth it just to have something different to look at.

Character models move rather choppily, although a lot of the weapons and armor sets do look pretty cool. There's definitely a neat design aesthetic throughout much of the world, it's just not rendered in photo-realistic 4K.

Sound & Music

Kenshi is a relatively quiet game—perhaps deliberately so, in order to make sure you feel as isolated as possible. Your one constant companion is the low howl of the wind moaning through the canyons around you, but for the most part, there's not much to hear.

Pitched battles are another story. At some point—probably much, much later in the game—you might find your squad of 24 up against an equally numerous foe. The cacophony of clashing metal and angry shouting is jarring in contrast to the usual silence of your daily routine, but if nothing else, it makes it pretty hard not to notice when a huge battle is raging just off-screen.


Kenshi runs well on a GTX 1080 and an i-7700 quad-core 4.5GHz processor, at least in certain respects. There are some minor performance hiccups, but I doubt they'd disappear no matter how beefy your hardware is.

Loading times and pop-in are small but persistent headaches. Because Kenshi's map is so huge, and because you can send individual squad members all over it at any time, it might very well be technologically impossible to keep enough data in memory to eliminate this problem entirely. Nonetheless, it's mildly annoying to switch between a dozen squad members and have to wait several seconds for their current locations to load each time.

However, the game is pretty stable where it counts most. I encountered no instances of what I call "unacceptable" bugs—things which severely hamper your enjoyment of the game and that the developers could have been reasonably expected to find and fix ahead of time. The game has yet to crash or freeze on me, and all of its intricate subsystems appear to work exactly as intended.



+ Huge world crammed full of deep lore and lots of activities
+ Squad A.I. is simple but powerful and efficient
+ Unforgiving learning curve is satisfying to (eventually) conquer


– Brutal difficulty and lack of hand-holding will turn many players off
– Frequent, stuttery load times are an ever-present low-grade annoyance
– Ugly, boring environments

Kenshi will ultimately appeal strongly to some while instantly repelling others. Whether or not you like what Lo-Fi Games has done, it's hard to deny that they've done it superbly well. If you're willing to play by an unfamiliar and harsh set of rules, Kenshi will keep you entertained for many hours.

If you're having trouble with this game, be sure to check out our growing collection of Kenshi guides to help you gain some traction.

Note: The developer provided a complimentary review copy of this game.

GRIS Review: A Watercolor Platformer Full of Hope Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:53:38 -0500 ESpalding

This week sees the release of an indie narrative platformer called GRIS. It is Barcelona-based Nomada Studio's first game and is being published by indie giant Devolver Digital. It is available on PC and Mac and will also be released on Nintendo Switch at a later date.

GRIS follows the story of a young girl who is beginning to explore her own emotions following on from a drastic event which has changed her world completely. The game boasts no combat, no deaths just plenty of platforming goodness and puzzles.

Story and Setting

As I've already said, GRIS follows the story of a young girl as she tries to come to terms with her emotions following a sad experience in her life. The titular character starts off with no special abilities and is just her exploring the world around her.

It has an unspoken story but as you progress through the game, you start to get an idea of what might have happened. There is no dialogue and no text to read. Through changes in the artwork and gradual introduction of abilities, the more you play the more you develop the story and begin to understand what is going on.


I don't know about you, but there are certain things I look for when looking at new indie games. The first thing is always going to be its look. One of the first things you will notice about GRIS is that the developers have gone for a very fine hand-drawn kind of look and, in my opinion, this has got to be the best thing about this game.

The watercolor effect the game has is simply superb and adds a beauty to it that is rarely seen in games these days. It has also been used to influence the story and the more you progress, the more color is introduced in the game. It starts out pretty monochromatic but, as you will find out, it becomes more colorful as you progress.


I'm not going to lie. The controls themselves are pretty basic and straightforward for anyone who has spent a lot of time playing platformers. Given that there is no combat in GRIS, the controls simply move you around and activate the abilities you gain as you progress.

These abilities come in the form of her dress. The dress can move independently and change shape depending on what you want it to do. Do you want Gris to become heavier? The dress turns into a block and gives you extra weight. You want to do a double jump to get over an obstacle? The dress wafts up to give you extra lift. This gives the character a good bit of development as the game progresses.

Aside from completing puzzles, the one other thing that you need to do in GRIS is to collect stars. Stars can be used to form walkways or bridge gaps when they are joined together. It is also through collecting these stars that Gris' dress gains its abilities. Once you have enough stars, they can be made into constellations to form special symbols and creatures which will grant you these special abilities.

Verdict: 8/10

All in all, GRIS is an absolute charm of an indie game. The story developing as you go along is engaging, the artwork is stunning and the puzzles are just hard enough to keep your mind working without being too hard and make you frustrated. For the first game from a small indie studio, this game is very impressive. If they continue this trend of blending aesthetics and gameplay in such a way, I can see them gaining a lot of recognition.

  • Mechanics change and develop as the story develops
  • Beautiful artistic design and emotive storytelling
  • Consequence-free world
  • Could be considered simplistic

[Disclosure: A copy of GRIS was provided for review purposes.]

Fortnite: How to Complete All the Season 7, Week 2 Challenges Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:47:07 -0500 William R. Parks

Fortnite's seventh season has been live for a week, and players have been familiarizing themselves with its new wintery biome, the game's first ariel vehicle, and the newly introduced Infinity Blade. Additionally, weekly challenges are keeping fans occupied, as they work to acquire the newest cosmetics, and the Week 2 challenges are now available.

For players that do not own a Fortnite Battle Pass, there are three free challenges:

  1. Search a Chest in different Named Locations [7]
  2. Damage opponents with different types of weapons [5]
  3. Eliminate opponents in Snobby Shores or Fatal Fields (HARD) [3]

All of these challenges are straightforward, and they should be easily completed by slightly modifying play patterns in order to focus on these objectives.

For those that do own a Battle Pass, there are four additional challenges, including one multi-part challenge, and some will require a little more work than the free challenges:

  1. Stage 1: Visit Snobby Shores and Pleasant Park in a single match
    Stage 2: Visit Lonely Lodge and Dusty Divot in a single match
    Stage 3: Visit Frosty Flights and Tomato Temple in a single match
  2. Play the Sheet Music on pianos near Pleasant Park and Lonely Lodge [2]
  3. Compete in a Dance Off at an abandoned mansion [1]
  4. Eliminate an opponent from at least 50m away [1]

As with the free challenges, the first Battle Pass challenge should be easily completed by simply modifying gameplay to make sure that the criteria is met over a few matches. For those that would like to expedite the process, starting a match by landing in the first location and then going directly to the second location is the fastest option.

In the second challenge, players will need to locate two pianos and play the notes indicated on the accompanying sheet music. This can be done by jumping on the corresponding piano keys.

The Lonely Lodge piano is located along the east edge of the island in J5, and the Pleasant Park piano is located on the hill in B3:

The third challenges asks players to dance in an abandoned mansion, which is located in J5 (very near to the Lonely Lodge piano):

After arriving at the mansion, players should make their way to the building's basement, where they will find a dance floor and scoreboard. Those that dance in this location will complete the challenge.

Again, the fourth challenge is straightforward so long as players hone their sniping skills and are intent on executing it.

With a few exception, the Season 7, Week 2 challenges will be easy for most players to complete. As a result, fans should have plenty of time to work on their buildings in Fortnite's new creative mode and also pickup a melee kill or two.

Top 7 Off-Season Roster Changes in the NA LCS Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:46:30 -0500 Ted Racicot


This has been one of the most interesting off-seasons in the history of the North American LCS. All 10 teams have made at least one change to their starting roster, with some making as many as four. Additionally, many teams have added players from different regions, including ex-World Champions, ensuring that North American fans will have plenty of new players to cheer for in the upcoming season. 


Be sure to tune in on January 26th when the first week of the North American LCS Spring Split kicks off! 


100 Thieves Gets Bang 


100 Thieves is another team that had an impressive season last year. Having impressive finishes in both splits last year, one might not expect huge changes from this team. However, like Liquid, 100 Thieves is a team that has always expressed ambitions to preform on the international stage. While making it to the World Championship, they fell short of expectations, showing that there is clearly room for improvement. 


What better way to improve a roster than adding a World Champion to the roster? Bang is one of the few players in the world to have won the World Championship not once, but twice. Furthermore, the AD carry position was by far the weakest point for 100 Thieves last year.


Bang is not only a huge upgrade for 100 Thieves, but is a player that out-classes the majority of other North American players in his position. His skill, as well as his experience on the international stage, will certainly be an asset to 100 Thieves as they look to make another run at international success in 2019. 


Liquid Snatches Jensen 


This is the second time Team Liquid appears on this list, and for good reason. Few roster changes were as shocking as the announcement that Jensen would join Team Liquid. Once again, it is hard to claim Team Liquid had a weak link considering their dominating season last year, however Jensen is definitely an upgrade when compared to Liquid's old mid laner, Pobelter. 


This move for Jensen is also interesting for what it means for Cloud 9. Despite going through a variety of roster swaps over the years, Jensen has always been the center piece of the Cloud 9 roster. By picking up Jensen, Liquid has not only improved their own roster, but potential dealt a major blow to the roster of one of their main rivals in North America. 


Crown Joins Optic Gaming


Optic Gaming was another team that struggled in the 2018 season. Despite a few flashes of brilliance throughout the year, they failed to make the playoffs during either split. Because of this, it was clear that the team was going to need to make some drastic changes for the upcoming 2019 season.


Few League of Legends players are more well-known than Crown. As a part of the Samsung Galaxy roster that won the World Championship in 2017, Crown has a well-earned reputation as a dominant mid laner. While some Korean players struggle with their transition over to North America, Crown has proved that he has the mechanical skill that can help him out-play many of the opponents that he might face in North America.  


Will Hauntzer Help Turn Golden Guardians Around?


If Team Liquid was the undisputed best team in North America last year, then Golden Guardians were the undisputed worst team. Finishing last in both the Spring and Summer Splits, Golden Guardians certainly had a lot of work to do over the off-season. 


The most noteworthy pick up for the Golden Guardians leading into the 2019 season is the addition of Team Solo-Mid's top laner, Hauntzer. While not the most dominate player, Hauntzer has been a consistent force in the top lane for years. This consistency is something that the Golden Guardians lacked in 2018 and will be a welcome sight. The Golden Guardians can only improve upon their dismal performance last year, and the addition of Hauntzer is certainly a step in the right direction for the team.


CoreJJ Returns to North America 


Team Liquid was the undisputed best team in North America last year, finishing in first place during both the Spring and the Summer splits. The team however, fell slightly short of expectations during the World Championship. As a team that was put together for success not only in North America but also on the international stage, it was clear that something would need to change for the 2019 season.


The team made two additions to their roster, the first of which was adding Gen.G's Support Player, CoreJJ. CoreJJ is not the only Korean player that is making their way over to North America for the 2019 split. However, it is important to keep in mind that this will be his second time playing in North America, having played for Team Dignitas in 2015.


One of the biggest concerns for teams when picking up Korean players is getting them comfortable in their new country, but CoreJJ's previous experience in North America makes this less of a concern. Furthermore, while Liquid certainly had a dominating year last year, their support was one spot that could certainly be improved. This makes CoreJJ an even more attractive pick up for Team Liquid.


Can Huni Carry Clutch?


Clutch Gaming has been busy during their off-season. Of their five starters last split, only their Jungler, Lira, is returning for the 2019 season. It is impossible to know how this brand new team will function together, but their is one player that stands out among the rest. Echo Fox's Huni has been confirmed to be replacing Solo as Clutch's top laner.


Huni has proven himself to be a world-class player, dominating opponents in Europe, South Korea, and North America. While on Echo Fox, Huni has consistently shown that he has the ability to take over games, especially when he gets help from the Jungle. If he can form synergy with his fellow South Korean Jungler Lira, then he certainly has the opportunity to carry Clutch Gaming to respectable finishes in the 2019 season. 


PowerOfEvil Joins Counter Logic Gaming 


Counter Logic Gaming, one of the North America's oldest League of Legends teams, had a very disappointing year in 2018. Missing out on playoffs in both the Spring and Summer Splits, it was clear that CLG needed to make some drastic changes. These changes started late in the summer of 2018, when the team parted ways with Ziks, their long time coach. During the off-season, CLG continued to make roster changes. The most notable of these changes is the addition of Optic Gaming's old mid-laner, PowerOfEvil. 


While CLG certainly had many issues last year, Mid Lane was certainly one of the biggest ones. Huhi, their old mid-laner, was well known for playing supportive champions. While not necessarily a bad thing, it forced CLG into one-dimensional strategies where they relied heavily on their Bottom Lane to carry most games. PowerOfEvil was the primary carry for his team last year, and his addition ensures that CLG will have multiple carry threats next year.


The start of the 2019 Spring Split for the North American League of Legends Championship Series is less than a two months away. Though it has been a while since any of the teams have played a competitive match, each team has been busy during the off-season adding new players to improve their rosters.


Here are the 7 roster changes that will have the biggest impact on the upcoming LCS season.  

Chef: A Restaurant Tycoon Early Access Impressions Thu, 13 Dec 2018 11:58:50 -0500 QuintLyn

Starting and running your own restaurant is not an easy task -- a fact developer Inner Void makes apparent with its simulator Chef: A Restaurant Tycoon Game. Not to be confused with more casual restaurant games, Chef does its best to emulate the restaurant entrepreneur's experience , from deciding where to set up shop to the day-to-day routines of customer service and general maintenance.

At the start, players are tasked with choosing a location for their restaurant, taking into account a variety of factors including rent, what might be nearby that can affect business, and what kind of customers they'll be most likely to attract. From there they'll need to purchase equipment and furniture, decorate, build a base menu and hire staff.

As players progress, and hopefully begin making a profit, there's plenty of opportunity to improve on things and create the restaurant of their dreams.

Surprisingly deep

When it comes to Chef: A Restaurant Tycoon Game, first impressions will likely be deceiving. Upon first logging in, players are greeted with an adorable intro and a fairly simple character creator for their cute chef avatar. Players can choose skin tone, preset facial features, clothing, and hair; but don't expect to be able to do full RPG-style customization.

This does make sense, however. After all, once in the game, players will have an isometric view of their restaurant, so they won't even be looking at their avatars faces anyway.

Where the depth in this game lies is in the actual management systems.

For instance: not only can players build their own menu, but they can actually create dishes to go on it. Recipe creation is much more than just throwing a few random items together and calling it a day. Recipes are important in this game, and their quality has a direct impact on the success of the restaurant.

Much like a real-world restaurant, the menu is only one factor in creating a successful business. Players will need to determine what kind of customers they want to base their business around and cater to them. This means determining how much effort to put into cleanliness, how much to spend on decor and employees, and how to advertise.

Each of the systems tied into these decisions provides players with a variety of options. For instance, if a player plans on advertising,  they'll need to decide what platform to advertise on -- billboard, TV, social media, etc -- and what kind of customers to direct those ads at.

And then, of course, there's a skill system that offers players a way to improve upon existing abilities.

Effectively, there's a lot to learn in order to play the game well. The good news is that for the most part the tutorial is pretty solid.

Some hitches

Before we go on with this section, it's important to note that as of this writing Chef: A Restaurant Tycoon Game is currently in Early Access on Steam. According to the writeup on the Steam page, the developer doesn't plan to release the final version for about 12 months -- meaning December of 2019. 

Between now and then, Inner Void plans to expand on the game, adding skill-trees for the entire staff in addition to the one that already exists for the player character, cooking challenges, more  management options, and even the possibility of owning multiple restaurants.

With that said, if you're planning on picking up the game right now, there are some things to be aware of.

Game stalls

First, while playing the game, I've run into a few instances where the simulation just kind of stalls. The customers already in the restaurant just sit there without ordering, the waitstaff doesn't leave whatever spot they're standing in, and no one else comes in.

Twice, I had to create a whole new game in order to deal with it. By the third restaurant, I learned to save after every week summary popped up, assuring I'd have a point to go back to after a stall.

The skill menu is tricky

After spending 20+ hours in Chef, the one thing I'm still not 100% comfortable with is  the skill menu for the player character. This also happens to be the only system where the game's tutorial feels lacking.

If a player uses the tutorial, it will effectively tell them that there are points that can be spent and to concentrate on the skills they want. It does not, however, explain what certain abilities are and how they can be unlocked. As a result, anyone playing may have to spend some time using trial and error to get this right. Unfortunately, once a point is used, it can't be taken back. So trial and error may result in creating more than one restaurant.

Still a really solid game

The above issues aside, Chef is a really solid game. Not only that, it's fun and it emulates the restaurant entrepreneur experience about as well as a game can. Speaking as someone who worked in  the restaurant industry for years, I can honestly say it hits all the notes, particularly when it comes to customer reactions.

Even as an Early Access game, it gives players plenty of ways to customize their restaurant and really make it their own -- although it may not seem like it at first as customization options tend to open up as a restaurant becomes more successful. But, if we're honest, that's pretty much how opening a restaurant in the real world works.

Is it worth the purchase?

Before answering this, I want to state once again, the current iteration of Chef is an Early Access offering. That more or less means it's a paid beta. You get in early, but this is not the exact game you'll be playing at launch.

(It also means we won't be providing an official review score. That will have to wait until the game officially releases.)

That said, if you're okay with that, the game is already fun to play. Particularly if you're a number cruncher or a problem solver. Yes, you will have to spend some time learning some of the systems, but once you have them down you may find yourself spending hours on the game.

What's more the developers have noted that players purchasing the game during Early Access will be getting a special rate as their purchases assist the developers in their work to create the final product.

Inner void has not stated what the price of the final product will be. We do know that the Early Access price is $20, so it will be more than that.

[Disclosure: GameSkinny was provided with a review key for Chef.]

How Trade Offer Subscription Works in X4 Foundations Thu, 13 Dec 2018 11:38:46 -0500 Sergey_3847

Trading has always been a huge part of X series of video games, and in the latest X4 Foundations it has become even more important. Players now have a variety of trade options that make the gameplay truly dynamic.

Actually, trading can be your main occupation in the vast universe of X4 Foundations, where you can create an entire trading fleet, which is capable of increasing your profits immensely.

One of the most cryptic and interesting trading options in the game is buying a Trade Offer Subscription. For more details on this deal keep on reading our guide below.

What is Trade Offer Subscription?

Before making a decision to buy Trade Offer Subscription (TOS) in X4 Foundations, let's first define what it is. TOS is a deal that a player with high level of reputation can make with one of the main factions.

As a result, you will have a complete list of all trade operations with live prices within that faction at all times.

Who needs a TOS?

Now let's see who would want to purchase such a deal. Usually, players that have a special interest in auto-trading schemes would sure want to know all the prices of the faction and all their trading positions at any point in the game.

So auto-traders simply ought to buy TOS, which will cost around 10 million credits. This is quite a hefty price for a deal with one faction, so it will not fit all types of players.

How Does a Trade Offer Subscription work?

If you have a +10 reputation level with a certain faction, you can just land at that faction's station and speak to any faction representative. The option to buy their faction's TOS will appear automatically in the dialogue option.

When you open the map, you will see all their trade operations with live prices after the purchase. However, if your reputation falls below the 10 mark with that faction, the deal will be automatically annulled.

Is it worth a buy?

If you aren't focused on auto-trading, then you should probably skip this deal. Instead you could deploy a number of satellites around stations and get all the trading info you need in this way.

The cost of satellites is much cheaper, but you need to manually deploy them around the stations of your interest.


Hopefully, our quick guide helped you make the decision concerning the Trade Offer Subscription, and be sure to come back soon for more X4 Foundation guides here at GameSkinny!

How to Get the Infinity Blade in Fortnite Thu, 13 Dec 2018 10:32:21 -0500 Oscar Gonzalez

Fortnite: Battle Royale Season 7 is underway, and to celebrate the new season, Epic Games added a new weapon to the game this past Tuesday. This weapon, however, is actually from Infinity Blade, another franchise owned and developed by Epic, and it is by far the most powerful object in the game.

The Infinity Blade is now available for any player who is quick and brave enough to pull it from where it rests. Those who survive the mad rush for the sword will have in their hands a power that can't be matched by any other weapons in Fortnite.


The Blade Is Mightier Than the Gun

Since the Infinity Blade is a Mythic melee weapon, it is incredibly overpowered. When a player pulls the weapon from the ground in Polar Peak, they will immediately receive 200 shields and 200 health.

Each swipe of the blade will deal 75 damage to other players, and there's a jumping dash attack that will cause 25 damage. The blade can also destroy buildings and structures like a hot knife cutting through melted butter. 

It doesn't end there, though. Each elimination made with the Infinity Blade will increase the wielder's health or shields by 50. There's also regeneration that comes with the blade that will increase health or shield by one point every three seconds

The Sword in the Stone

To get the Infinity Blade, players will have to head to the new snowy areas on the island that were added in Season 7. More specifically, Polar Peak.

Where the letters for Polar Peak are on the map, there is a mountaintop with a castle half-buried under snow. Players will see a square with several pillars, and in the middle sticking out of the ground is the Infinity Blade.

The exact location is marked on the map below. 

Survive the Bum Rush 

Finding the Infinity Blade is easy, but actually getting it is the hard part.

The first obstacle is the rush of players going for the sword. Numerous players will head to Polar Peak at the start of the game, especially if the Battle Bus passes over it.

The next problem is the lack of weapons and materials in the area. There are a few buildings around the sword, making the decision on whether to battle with pickaxes or run to a building in hopes of finding a weapon before another player gets the Infinity Blade somewhat tough.

Several trees are also in the immediate area, but like the conundrum of finding weapons, getting wood or brick will take time and you may be too late to the blade. 

What could be the biggest problem is the five seconds it takes to claim the Infinity Blade. You can stop while trying to pull the sword from the ground, but that will reset the five-second timer.

But we've got some tips that might make things easier.  

Gimme That Sword!

Since it's currently OP, the Infinity Blade isn't easy to get. While the strategies below aren't foolproof by any means, they should give you a fighter's chance in pulling the sword from the stone. 

Getting the Blade Tip 1

If the Battle Bus travels over Polar Peak, forget about going for the blade. Everyone will take a stab at it since it's right there. 

However, if the route for the Battle Bus is more down the center of the island, jump out and glide your way to the mountaintop.

Going straight for the sword in this configuration is a good tactic because you will most likely only deal with other players with pickaxes. You'll be able to take a few hits from a pickaxe as you try to pull it out.

The key thing is to make a run for it when other players are preoccupied, which is likely to happen since most people will be afraid to go after the blade when there are others around.

If there's one player in the vicinity of the Infinity Blade, then take a shot at claiming it. You will be able to survive multiple pickaxe attacks as long as it's only from one player. 

Getting the Blade Tip 2

Those that want to go the weapon route first should head for the castle buried under snow. There are two chests in the building: one on the ground floor and another on the fourth floor.

Use the weapons in either chest to take other players in the building. If you obtain a sniper, head to the rooftop and take shots at the player who acquired the sword. If not, go to the ground entrance and leave through the door in the direction of the square where the blade is.

Make sure to get some materials in the building as you make your way up and down the floors. If someone has the Infinity Blade, keep your distance and attack from afar. Do not get close or you'll be dead in just two hits.

You can try building a structure for protection, but a player with the sword will quickly demolish it. Stay far away and try to maneuver back to the castle in the snow or any high ground. Build some ramps to get the higher ground and try to do a quick edit to remove parts of the ramp so the sword wielder won't follow you.

Ideally, you being above them will be enough to get some free hits as its unlikely the player with the Infinity Blade has enough materials to build a ramp to chase you.

Getting the Blade Tip 3

If you do get the sword, use the jumping dash attack to close the distance on any player. It'll be easy to take them down up close, but as mentioned, from a long distance, you are a sitting duck, especially if someone has a sniper rifle.

After you've killed all nearby players, start gaining those materials so you can defend yourself from snipers and assault rifles as you try and get close. Since the Infinity Blade can heal you, don't be ashamed to disengage in order to heal up.


Like the Infinity Gauntlet Limited Time Mode from earlier in the year, the Infinity Blade will likely last for a short period of time before Epic removes it from Fortnite. At the very least, it will get nerfed since it's currently OP.

This means you'll need to jump on right away in order to get a taste of its power.

Looking for more Fortnite tips? Head over to our Fortnite guides page for more.

Hitman 2 Gets New Contracts, Escalations, and an Elusive Target Thu, 13 Dec 2018 10:06:15 -0500 William R. Parks

With Hitman 2, IO Interactive moved away from the episodic model that defined 2016's Hitman, choosing instead to give players the entirety of its main campaign on release day. Executive Producer Markus Friedl explained that this new approach would allow for "much more varied live content right after launch," and his words are proving true, as a myriad of new activities are already coming to the game this month.

Hitman 2's December content updates began last week with five Featured Contracts grouped under a unifying theme: "Occupational Hazards." Each of these contracts are "focused on jobs, occupations, and professions," and they are all player-made creations hand selected by IO.

Details on the theme for January's Featured Contracts, as well as how players can submit their contracts, are forthcoming.

From there, the content continues with an Escalation Contract, titled "The Aelwin Augment," releasing today. Escalation Contracts are typically high difficulty challenges with multiple objectives, and IO promises more of the same here, as players will make a "memorable visit" to the Isle of Sgail.

Next up is a Limited-Time Holiday Event scheduled for December 18. No further details about this seasonal offering are currently available.

Then, on December 21, players can track down Hitman 2's next Elusive Target in Santa Fortuna. Titled "The Revolutionary," fans will have 10 days, and one chance, to complete the assignment if they want to walk away with the "Casual Tourist with gloves suit."

"The Revolutionary" marks Hitman 2's second Elusive Target, following behind a target, portrayed by veteran actor Sean Bean, that accompanied the game's launch.

To round out the month, yet another Escalation Contract will begin on December 27. This time around, players will be off to Santa Fortuna for what IO has called "The Turms Infatuation."

While Hitman 2's initial sales were less than impressive, critical response to the entry has been strong. Our writers praised it for its "staggering" amount of content, and with December's new offerings, it is clear that IO intends to add much more.

For those who have been asking for more assassinations for Christmas, it seems that their wish has been answered. 

Battlefield 5 Gets Its First Post-Release TTK Changes Wed, 12 Dec 2018 20:35:14 -0500 William R. Parks

At the end of November, DICE announced its intentions to adjust Battlefield 5's Time to Kill (TTK) values in response to what the company perceived as players dying "too quickly" on the battlefield. While this announcement was met with resistance by a vocal portion of the player base, DICE has continued forward with its plans, and the game's first post-release TTK changes arrive today.

TTK values are a defining characteristic of all first-person shooters, determining the speed of a game's action and establishing how skilled a player needs to be in order to compete. Changes to TTK can have a major impact on gameplay, and DICE has made its reasons for making these alterations in Battlefield 5 very clear:

Although not extremely vocal within our deeply engaged community, we see from our game data that the wider player base is dying too fast leading to faster churn - meaning players may be getting frustrated with dying too fast that they choose not to log back in and learn how to become more proficient at Battlefield 5.

This first set of changes focuses on decreasing the amount of damage weapons do when they hit body parts aside from an opponent's head. For example, players using assault rifles, machine guns, and semi-automatic rifles will notice that body shots are dealing less damage overall.

In general, players should expect a kill from one of the changed weapon to take one additional bullet, and DICE has provided the following chart that outlines the new weapon damage multipliers. The numbers in red indicate the damage multipliers prior to today's update.

Furthermore, the distance between players has always had an impact on how many bullets are required to kill an opponent in Battlefield 5. However, today's update decreases the distance at which this phenomenon starts to take effect. That is, a weapon that may have been able to kill an opponent with four bullets within 50 meters will now need to be within 28 meters to do the same.

DICE has specified these Bullets to Kill alterations in today's TTK change list.

As stated, many players were initially opposed to DICE's intentions to alter TTK values, and it may take some time for the dust to settle on today's shake-up. Fortunately, the company has implemented a new playlist called "Conquest Core" that keeps the old TTK values in tact — the "first step toward a traditional Battlefield 'Hardcore' experience."

What the FTC's Loot Box Investigation Could Mean in the U.S. Wed, 12 Dec 2018 20:23:12 -0500 Gabriella Graham

On Tuesday, November 27, Sen. Maggie Hassan called for the serious scrutiny of video game loot boxes from the Federal Trade Commission. Hassan said she requested the inquiry as an investigation into loot box marketing and its potential effects on children. 

Hassan also stated that the inquiry would work to educate parents on the potential dangers loot boxes pose as it relates to gambling and virtual chance. 

In response, FTC Chairman Joe Simons and fellow members of the FTC pledged, without hesitation, to investigate the matter of loot boxes.

The pledge, alongside recent developments in countries such as Belgium, could indicate upcoming regulations in the U.S., depending on the FTC's findings.

Gateway Transactions

Loot boxes are virtual items awarded at random in an increasing number of video games. There are two ways to acquire loot boxes in-game: using in-game currency or real-world money. 

Although many games do allow players to purchase some or all loot boxes with in-game money, that in-game money is often very hard to acquire, making the use of real-world money more enticing.  

Loot box "prizes" range from various in-game boosts to weapons to new characters, skins, and/or outfits. More often than not, loot boxes do not grant access to items that help players beat other players.

Although there are pay-to-win structures in place for some games, specifically in the mobile space, players typically buck against pay-to-win structures in most console and PC games, such as those originally found in Star Wars: Battlefront 2.  

When Hassan introduced concerns about loot boxes to the FTC, those concerns were not unique to the United States but rather common in the gaming industry. She reported:

Loot boxes are now endemic in the video game industry and are present in everything from casual smartphone games to the newest, high-budget video game releases. Loot boxes will represent a $50 billion industry by the year 2022, according to the latest research estimates.

So why does this matter to the FTC? Primarily, the children.

The rising correlation between loot boxes and gambling may come as no surprise to seasoned players or anyone paying attention to the gaming industry as a whole.

Hassan reminds us that Belgium, the Netherlands, and Japan have all already made moves to regulate the use of loot boxes. These efforts have been attempts to curtail gambling in younger generations.

To correlate this further, Hassan also cited that earlier in November, the United Kingdom's gambling commission reported that "30% of children have used loot boxes in video games."

To further drive this point home, Sen. Ed Markey cited the rise of manipulative marketing techniques in correlation to loot boxes. Although the game and character were not named, Markey pointed to a virtual character that continually cries if an in-game purchase isn't made, effectively manipulating some players (such as children who are more susceptible to such tactics) to make purchases they otherwise might not have. 

Talk about laying it on thick.

A Point of Contention

Hassan made claims that loot boxes constitute an "integral part" of video games.

Regardless of your personal opinion on chance-based revenue, this precise wording may become part of the debate and could influence FTC investigative findings.

It's true that titles like Star Wars: Battlefront 2 have been criticized for play-to-win structures. But not every game that features loot boxes punishes players' who don't fork over extra cash.

Consider Nintendo's response to digital revenue concerns. Back in June, Reggie Fils-Aimé, President and Chief Operating Officer of Nintendo of America, addressed the nasty reputation of loot boxes in an interview with Bloomberg.

He compared loot boxes to the same sort of chance kids have taken for decades with packs of baseball cards. This example is admittedly outdated, but his point still stands with cards for tabletop games like Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Magic: The Gathering.

Fils-Aimé further differentiates loot boxes as a necessity versus an engaging option:

What we believe at Nintendo is that a gameplay mechanic that offers the consumer something to buy that they’re not sure what’s inside can be interesting as long as that’s not the only way you can get those items. And that’s where some developers have made some mistakes. For us, its one of many mechanics we can use to drive on-going engagement in the game.

Fils-Aimé isn't alone in his interpretation. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) released a statement to Variety regarding Senator Hassan's assertions:

Loot boxes are one way that players can enhance the experience that video games offer. Contrary to assertions, loot boxes are not gambling. They have no real-world value, players always receive something that enhances their experience, and they are entirely optional to purchase. They can enhance the experience for those who choose to use them, but have no impact on those who do not.

Why the Definition Matters

Let's back-track for a moment and look at this from a slightly different perspective.

Sen. Hassan cited Belgium as an example of countries that have raised flags on loot box inclusions in games. Interestingly enough, the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) has emphasized how loot boxes alter gameplay experiences in their own studies, considering massive titles like FIFA 18 and Overwatch.

The stance it's taken could be bad news for the ESA if America follows suit; according to the BGC, "enhancing" the experience through loot boxes still equates to gambling, where the BGC defines gambling as "a game in which a cost from the player can lead to loss or win for at least one person, and where chance plays a role in the progression of the game, the winner, or worth of the winnings."

The concern then shifts to the possibility of how gained advantages manipulate players into making loot box purchases. Since children aren't known for their impressive impulse control, that temptation becomes more pronounced.

Some suggestions from the BGC for loot box regulation mirror those implemented by other countries, as well as those suggested by a range of psychologists.

They include:

  • player-spending limits
  • age verification methods to avoid targeting children
  • easy access to the odds of winning and the value of the rewards
  • clear indication on any and all titles that contain gambling

Depending on the FTC's findings, the United States could see similar adoptions of these recommendations. 

How do you feel about loot boxes? Are you hoping the FTC pushes regulation in the United States?

Share your thoughts and/or loot-driven horror stories in the comments.

Obsidian Dishes Out New Info on The Outer Worlds, Promises No Microtransactions Wed, 12 Dec 2018 16:37:23 -0500 Gabriella Graham

Last week, Obsidian Entertainment announced their new sci-fi RPGThe Outer Worlds, at The Video Game Awards with a trailer reveal that the gaming world eagerly ate up. With anticipation high, the developer has shared even more details about the game, forgoing the typical industry caginess that tends to follow such big reveals.

Over the past several days, gameplay details and extra screenshots have hit Steam under the game's official listing, RPG Site interviewed Megan Starks (Obsidian's senior narrative designer), and Timothy Cain made a bold but concise proclamation to quiet fan fears.

Steam Gets a New Listing -- and Screenshots

We already know the bare basics from the original trailer shown at The Game Awards: The Outer Worlds is a single-player, first-person sci-fi RPG steeped in space politics, conspiracy, and power struggles. What's more, the trailer's dialogue further emphasizes choice and player agency, right down to who you shoot in the face and who is spared that tragic indignity. 

The Outer Worlds' Steam listing confirms all of this while also adding some storytelling context to the events of the trailer. The player, a lost colonist formerly on their way to the colony of Halcyon, is pulled out of hibernation to jumpstart your journey. Fun fact, Halcyon sits at the furthest edges of the galaxy. (We mentioned sci-fi, right?)

Among minor gameplay and story details, The Outer Worlds' listing provides hints regarding features such as multiple endings, a natural consequence of such a choice-based open world.

Key Features in a Vibrant World

The new Steam listing also delves into the game's "flaw" system, which exists for the sake of well-rounded character development. Despite the name, flaws can be good and act as a direct gameplay mechanic.

While playing The Outer Worlds, the game tracks your experience to find what you aren't particularly good at. Keep getting attacked by Raptidons? Taking the Raptiphobia flaw gives you a debuff when confronting the vicious creatures, but rewards you with an additional character perk immediately.

For a game so quickly compared to Fallout and Fallout: New Vegas, this freshly conceived system sets The Outer Worlds apart from its Obsidian predecessors. It promises to add an extra layer of not only strategy but immediate consequence and reward.

This facet takes Fallout's perks a step further, perhaps to purposely set the new title on its own playing field while exploring one of Tim Cain's core ideas (which we'll discuss further later on).

Your strategy won't end at flaw management. Various characters across the Halcyon colony can join your crew. Your new companions come with unique abilities, individualized side missions, and fully-formed motivations and ideals.

Alien monsters, such as the lovely Raptidons mentioned above, add an extra challenge to the otherwise corporate-controlled colony in which you find yourself. And as you would expect, exploring Halcyon leaves a lot of ground to cover. Just as the name suggests, The Outer Worlds (plural, of course) will send you gallivanting through surrounding settlements and space stations.

Note: There aren't any descriptions of Raptidons or other aliens yet, so perhaps the only specific name we have refers to the creatures seen in the game trailer.

An Interview with Megan Starks

Given Obsidian's reputation for crafting deeply engaging narratives, RPG Site dove into the specific design philosophies behind The Outer Worlds' writing while interviewing the game's Senior Narrative Designer, Megan Starks. 

Starks' resume marks her as both an experienced narrative designer and game designer. She's worked on MMOs and fantasy RPGs alike, including Pillars of Eternity II: DeadfireTyrannyWildstar, and Fallen Earth.

The interview began by touching on the single-player specialty of Obsidian Entertainment, especially concerning RPGs and advanced storytelling. Starks' role in creating fully developed, engaging worlds entails writing a story-focused experience. 

Starks also elaborated on companions as a crucial element to Obsidian's immersive style of story development, saying:

We want our companions to really emphasize that they have stakes that are important to them. They'll ask you to help out on their quests and they'll speak out against you if they don't support what you're doing, we want their motivations and goals to always be at the center of their character. 

To further clarify, companions can and will ditch you for certain actions in The Outer Worlds. While this NPC reactivity doesn't appear in every Obsidian RPG, it certainly won't be new to Fallout fans.

It will be interesting to see if siding with one faction over another, for example, is enough to scare off some of The Outer Worlds companions, or if it will take the building of more specific actions over time to send them running, like in Fallout.

Either way, Starks promises fans a wide selection of fascinating NPCs. She specifically credits Leonard Boyarsky, a fellow designer, with creating highly-personalized characters with varying relationship motivators and moral obligations.

While the trailer already showed off some lively voice-acting, the player character will not be voiced. Starks explains, "... we didn't want to force a character, or even a voice, onto [players]".

Hints for future game mechanics

New details didn't stop there, however. Starks made various comments that shed light on some of what we can expect from gameplay mechanics. 

Here's a list of highlights:

  • The Outer Worlds' team has considered post-launch DLC, but the primary focus stays with the core game.

  • The game utilizes the Unreal 4 Engine.

  • The Flaw mechanic revolves around Tim Cain's notion that "the most interesting characters are the flawed ones."

  • Multiple difficulty settings are already under discussion. One suggested mode would force players to accept all offered flaws.

  • Bloodthirsty villains will find little to no limits when killing NPCs as a result of Obsidian's dedication to player agency.

  • The game will have several endings (as hinted on Steam), but there is no specific number as of this writing. 

A Shining Promise in a Sea of Loot Boxes 

One of the original creators of Fallout, Timothy Cain, reiterated Obsidian's year-old promise to GameStar this week, declaring: 

There are no microtransactions in the game. You buy it once and then enjoy it forever."

And we'll end on that very positive note. No loot boxes. No micros. 


The Outer Worlds will release on Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC in 2019. 

Will the creators of Fallout outsell themselves and fan expectations? Share your thoughts, your hopes and dreams, and your fears in the comments below. We've got some time to kill, after all.

Fallout 76's New UltraWide Support is Not Up to Snuff Wed, 12 Dec 2018 15:00:42 -0500 William R. Parks

Yesterday, Bethesda rolled out a new Fallout 76 patch with a number of improvements, including some much-requested features for those playing the multiplayer RPG on PC.

One of the additions is resolution support for Vault Dwellers using UltraWide monitors, and, unfortunately, some players are finding that its implementation leaves a lot to be desired.

Since the release of Fallout 76's new patch, players have taken to Reddit to discuss the newly added 21:9 resolution support. The general consensus from these conversations suggests that Bethesda's "fix" for UltraWide monitors amounts to little more than an edit to the game's .ini file.

With Fallout 4, another Bethesda title that did not support UltraWide monitors, players found that they could alter the .ini file to tweak in-game display settings, including field of view values and resolution.

While this made it possible to play at 21:9, the game's UI did not scale accordingly, causing menus and text to appear stretched and enlarged.

This is exactly the effect players are seeing with the UltraWide support offered by the latest update, and, after a month of indications that this feature was in progress, some are wondering how Bethesda could have implemented something of such poor quality.

This frustration is being further exacerbated by an unofficial mod to Fallout 76, which provides what many consider a higher quality UltraWide experience. This mod was, of course, created without access to Fallout 76's source code, and it has been available since the game's B.E.T.A.

Thus, it has taken Bethesda a month to release a 21:9 resolution experience that is less desirable than an unofficial mod.

While some players may be scratching their heads, trying to determine how that could happen, it is likely that the feature was simply never given any real priority within the company.

While this may seem like a minor issue, Bethesda's every move is currently under heavy scrutiny following the myriad of controversies that have surrounded Fallout 76's release. If the company hopes to ever return to the status it held prior to the game's troubled launch, this fact needs to be acknowledged and handled with care.

The ongoing conversation about the game's UltraWide support can be found on Reddit.

How to Find and Manage Crew Members in X4 Foundations Wed, 12 Dec 2018 14:54:50 -0500 Sergey_3847

Anyone who plays space combat and trading simulators knows that a well-trained crew is important to success. And in X4 Foundations, the latest game from Egosoft, that's no exception.

Although you only have to hire a few crew members to run your ship properly, having more can make your journey through the game's missions much more enjoyable. 

In the guide below, we'll cover how to find crew members and how to properly manage your crew. 


How to Find Crew Members in X4 Foundations

The first thing you need to do is to hire a captain/pilot. You can find a free (volunteer) pilot on any space station with NPCs. Just walk around the station and speak to any NPC. During the conversation, you will see the dialogue option "Hire."

Here's how you do assign the pilot to the captain's chair:

  1. In the Hire Staff menu, select an Unassigned Ship in the left menu
  2. Right-click on the ship and press Select
  3. In the Assign Staff menu to your right, click on Selected Role
  4. In the drop-down menu, choose Captain
  5. Confirm your choice by pressing Hire on the bottom of the menu

This is also how you hire and assign any crew member to your ship, whether they be marines, managers, or other crewmen.

Here is the breakdown each shipmate's role and corresponding skill:

  • Captain: Piloting, Morale
  • Manager: Management
  • Marine: Boarding
  • Service Personnel: Engineering

How to Manage Your Crew in X4 Foundations

If you want to hire new crew members, transfer them to another ship, or change their roles, then you can do it by upgrading your ship at any Wharf or Shipyard.

At the ship's upgrade menu, you can hire additional personnel by following these steps:

  1. Select Crew in the left menu
  2. Choose a number of service crew and/or marines you want to add
  3. Select Add to shopping list in the right menu

If you want to transfer your personnel to another ship or change their roles, then follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Map menu and choose Property Owned
  2. Right-click on your ship and select Information
  3. Go to Personnel -> Crew -> Full Crew List
  4. Choose a crew member you want to promote or transfer
  5. Right-click on the name and choose Promote to change role
  6. Or choose Comm -> Work somewhere else for me to transfer
  7. After choosing a transfer, select another ship from the menu


That's all you need to know about finding and managing your crew members in X4 Foundations. Be sure to keep an eye for more X4 guides as we make our way through the cosmos and find more tips and tricks. 

Rumor: Fortnite to Be Banned in China Wed, 12 Dec 2018 13:25:41 -0500 William R. Parks

Last week, it was announced that a Chinese "ethics assessment committee" had reviewed the contents of 20 online games, requiring that 11 of these titles be amended before release in China and banning nine of them outright.

Now, a recent report suggests that the battle royale sensation Fortnite is one of these banned titles.

According to China's state-run press agency Xinhua, the assessment committee is "comprised of online gaming experts and researchers from the government departments, industry institutions and media outlets," and its goal is to be certain that online games, like Fortnite, "meet a certain code of ethics" prior to their release in China.

While Xinhua does confirm that 20 games have been reviewed by the committee, the suggestion that Fortnite is amongst the banned titles comes via a post on NGA, a Chinese gaming forum, which has since been translated on Reddit.

The reason for the ban is cited as "blood and gore, vulgar content," and the post indicates that other battle royale titles, including PlayerUnknown's BattlegroundH1Z1, and Ring of Elysium, are being denied for similar infractions.

In March, China's regulators put a full stop on issuing commercial licenses for online games, effectively preventing the public release of new titles and creating a significant shake-up in the massive market. While the results of this first round of reviews suggest that the newly established committee has strict guidelines for approval, it is, at least, indication that this total freezing of new licenses is coming to an end.

This increased focus on online gaming follows what Xinhua describes as "social concerns" about video game addiction and the negative impact they can have on their players. For instance, in August, China's Ministry of Education suggested a correlation between video game playing and damaged eyesight, and they called for a decrease in the number of online games released in the country as a result. 

At this point, there has not been an official statement confirming the ban of Fortnite in China, however, it is clear that the assessment committee has recommended that a number of titles not be granted official release. While it is difficult to be certain the exact impact this new approval structure will have, China is the world's largest video game market, and these types of bans will, no doubt, be felt the world over.

The post outlining the rumored banned titles can be found on Reddit.

Desert Child Review: Sweet Ride Wed, 12 Dec 2018 12:00:02 -0500 Jeffrey Rousseau

Whenever I review a game, I don't just look at the obvious points of interest, such as mechanics and graphics. I tend to also look for deeper meaning, even if the game isn't narratively rich in a traditional sense. 

Since I started reviewing games, I've found that indies typically have more freedom to answer more philosophical and esoteric questions.

Desert Child, developed by Oscar Brittain and published by Akupara Games is a game that does that, even if it doesn't look like it on the surface. 

A racing RPG about a young man, his trusty hoverbike, and the goal of winning a Grand Prix so he can move from a dying Earth to a vibrant Mars, Desert Child xyz

Vroom Vroom

Although it might be philosophical in nature, Desert Child is a racing game at heart. Races last about two minutes; you can gain speed by destroying targets along the way or damage opposing racers to slow them down. Of course, your NPC opponents can do the same to you, so you'll need to race with care and employ strategy to get through them in one piece. 

Of course, you can't win races unless your hoverbike is in shape. Upkeep and customization will determine how difficult the road to victory will be.

When you sustain damage, you'll start to notice performance issues, such as your bike getting slower. Needless to say, keeping your bike in shape is a priority, which you can do at various shops... for a cost. 

Customization and Powering Up

You can customize your bike with various parts that yield special effects. Some parts give you more firepower, while others can help you obtain more cash. Some parts can even help you determine when the finish line is coming, helping you cut off your opponents at the right times.

You can also increase these effects with battery packs, which you can earn for every race you win. So the more you race, the more you'll have available. 

For example, you can significantly increase your firepower via battery packs, which will let you really wallop your opponents. However, the tradeoff is that it now takes longer to reload your weapon. 

The beauty here is that this system increases the depth of a game that on the surface, seems relatively simple. The opportunities are broad, and testing out combinations is half the fun. 

Life In The Big City

With nothing but a bike to your name, there's a certain feeling that you're on the fringe of society. The game drives this point home further by letting you know you're flat broke -- repeatedly.

You can't fix your bike, you can't eat, and you most definitely can't enter the Grand Prix if you're penniless. This is where your city life comes into play. It's a big city, after all, and there's a number of ways you can get paid.

Sure, you have your share of odd jobs like pizza delivery or race tutoring, but you can find more exciting gigs like bounty hunting or herd-farming as well. You'll also find the occasional dollar testing weapons and doing odd jobs, as well as investment opportunities. You can, of course, also score payouts from winning races.  

However, not everything is above board. Head to the red-light district and you'll find some not-so-legal options. You can throw races, damage other vehicles, and even hack bank accounts. Of course, these all net more funds than legitimate jobs, and, of course, these shady jobs do come with consequences: completing any job will raise your wanted level. If it gets high enough cops will come after you. 

Being Cool For Yourself

Desert Child, much like it's influences and aesthetics, prides itself on being unconventionally cool. Visually, you can see that this pixelated adventure isn't very detailed. But the entire game maintains that distinct look.

Desert Child's music also fits into that "cool loner" vibe; with tunes ranging from hip-hop, chill-hop (laidback jazz fusion), lofi-hip-hop, and even vaporwave, the album's worth of songs don't skip a beat. 

  • Races are fast
  • Relaxing music
  • Customizing your bike is fun
  • Visuals aren't the best
  • Difficulty spikes up randomly 
  • Controls could be better

Desert Child is a fun game to decompress with. The entire journey will take you a few hours to play through, all at your own leisure and pace.

Every time you get ready to race you can race or chill. If you select chill, you'll see our hero taking a smoke break while the game's soundtrack plays. This is a nice little quality of life option for players; what better way to enjoy your favorite tracks?

That sense of operating at your own speed is what makes this game unique to play. Even though you have this looming goal and serious work to do, why stress it? No saving the planet, stopping evil, and all that jazz. It's just you and that cool hoverbike taking things one race at a time.

Fans of indie games, RPGs, and racing games can find Desert Child available on Nintendo Switch eShop, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, and Steam today.

[Note: The publisher provided the copy of Desert Child used in this review.] 

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Zombies Mode Gets New Story and More Wed, 12 Dec 2018 11:09:47 -0500 William R. Parks

For many players, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is about putting their PvP skills to the test in the game's core multiplayer playlist and Blackout. However, a third game mode, Zombies, is available to those that are looking for a more cooperative experience, and a newly released Zombies story offers these players yet another way to play.

Titled "Dead of the Night," this new "undead experience" is now available to owners of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Black Ops Pass. Starring veteran actors Helena Bonham Carter and Kiefer Sutherland, "Dead of the Night" will transport players back to 1912 as they "fight the mysterious force" that has invaded the estate of Alistair Rhodes, a famed relic-hunter.

"Dead of the Night" features new enemies, including vampires and werewolves, and it will put new weapons into players' hands as they attempt to "survive the nightmarish evening."

However, this is not all that Zombies fans have to be excited about, as today's "Operation Absolute Zero" update has also made Daily Tier Skip credits attainable through Zombies. These credits can be obtained, every day, by completing 15 rounds in a game of Classic Zombies. 

Previously acquirable through multiplayer and Blackout, a Daily Tier Skip allows players to advance more quickly through the ranks of the game's cosmetic marketplace, The Black Market. Today's change means that players can now focus on Zombies as they work to acquire the Contraband items they desire. 

Furthemore, Treyarch indicates that this addition is only the "first of this week’s three new Zombies features," and a litany of fixes round out today's update to the co-op game mode. Focusing on reducing crashes and providing a "smoother Zombies experience for all players," a full list of these fixes are available in Treyarch's patch notes.

While only days ago, a cheaper edition of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was made available without Zombies included, Treyarch has made it clear that it is committed to supporting this game mode. Between the major "Operation Absolute Zero" update and this new Black Ops Pass content, it is a good day to be a fan of the company's new shooter, and of Zombies in particular.

8 Most Anticipated FPS Games of 2019 Wed, 12 Dec 2018 09:00:01 -0500 John Schutt


This coming year, there's an FPS to fit almost every playstyle, every niche, and every sensibility, so long as you like big open worlds. Some are breaking new ground, some finding new ways to tell old stories, and some are just new. 


No matter which way you swing, if you're a fan of the genre, it's going to be a good time. 


Cyberpunk 2077

  • Developer: CD Projekt, CD Projekt RED
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  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
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  • Release Date: TBA
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CD Projekt Red has always gone the extra mile, and from everything we've seen about Cyberpunk 2077, they've pushed their limits even further.


What have they shown so far?

  1. A vast, interconnected world where almost every choice, no matter small, echoes outwards

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  3. Fully explorable... everything

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  5. More customization than you can shake an augmented bioweapon at

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  7. CD Projekt Red's strong storytelling

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  9. The creator of the series itself on board as a design consultant
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  11. What appears to be solid shooting and first-person movement mechanics

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  13. A hundred other little details
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Most importantly is a lack of a firm release date. A game this big should only release when everyone on the team is satisfied. Deadlines will only get in the way.


DOOM Eternal

  • Developer: id Software
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  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
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  • Release Date: TBA 2019
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The Doom Slayer returns from exile. He's angrier, equipped with grappling hooks and arm blades, and wants nothing more than to tear Hell a new one.


Mobility and gameplay variety seem to be id's modus operandi once again, and now players can dash about the maps. It might not look like much on paper, but if you've played the recent Shadow Warrior titles, you know how a simple, quick boost of speed can change an entire gameplay loop.


That, and it looks like Doom Slayer has a host of new ways to make his enemies explode into gibs, with tons of new uses for his various weapon abilities.


If they can get the Super Shotgun right again (which would be shocking if they didn't) and pair that level of satisfaction with more Mick Gordon metal, there's no way this won't be one of the most rewarding, cathartic shooters since... well, DOOM 2016.


Wolfenstein: Youngblood

  • Developer: MachineGames
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  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
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  • Release Date: TBA 2019
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Though New Colossus disappointed some, Youngblood appears to be taking the series in another new direction, both in terms of narrative and gameplay. While we don't know much about the game save for what's in the trailers, we do know it's going to have co-op elements to make use of the two main characters: the Blazkowicz sisters. 


There will still be plenty of Nazis to shoot, and with MachineGames at the helm, the gunplay will likely be as tight and frantic as we've come to expect. How the series will fare without one of the first identifiable FPS protagonists at the trigger remains to be seen, but if the developers can recapture the magic of the first Wolfenstein reboot with a new cast of characters, this entry will be something to see.






Metro: Exodus

  • Developer: 4A Games
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  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
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  • Release Date: February 22, 2019
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The long-awaited return to post-apocalyptic Russia is almost upon us.


Unlike the previous games (sans Halo), the Metro series is defined not by its vastness but its focus. Not its gunplay but its story. Both Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light were purely linear experiences. There were open areas to explore, but both games were dedicated to their narrative.


Metro: Exodus is the franchise's first foray into the open world, but things are shaping up to still be story focused. One of the main complaints — or selling points — of previous entries was the scripted story sections that gave us short walking simulators before that genre even existed. 


In any event, the environment is full-on snow level and there look to be plenty of rusty nooks and crannies to explore. That's half the point of a post-apocalypse: find the hidey-holes filled with ancient secrets.


Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass

  • Developer: Croteam
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  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
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  • Release Date: TBA
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Always a welcome return to a simpler FPS era, the Serious Sam series is an unapologetic rush of testosterone, almost endless enemies, and even more endless bullets.


The developers were quite clear on one matter, however: Planet Badass is not an open-world game, but a linear experience of large, linked levels. Big enough, apparently, for Sam to need vehicles this time. That opens up tons of different options for play the series hasn't seen before, and an opportunity for the game to throw an as-yet-unheard-of number of enemies at the player.


When describing the gameplay, the developers also emphasize that it's still the same fast, always-on-your-feet style the series is known for.


Also, it's being published by Devolver Digital, so almost all bets are off as to what the game will be getting away with. 



  • Developer: id Software, Avalanche Studios
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  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
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  • Release Date: June 2019
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What was once an ambitious but ultimately lackluster showcase of the id Tech 5 engine has blossomed into an apparently huge open world FPS with influences from Sunset Overdrive and Just Cause


Gameplay is typical id fare: fast, frenetic, and immensely satisfying. Add in some melee and throwable mechanics, plenty of crazy vehicles and even crazier weapons and enemies and, by all appearances, there's real potential to right the Rage ship. At the very least there's more color, and while I doubt the story will make much sense or have significant depth, that's not really the point.


If Rage 2 delivers on the fun factor, I doubt anyone will care.


Generation Zero

  • Developer: Avalanche Studios
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  • Platform: PC
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  • Release Date: TBA 2019
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Avalanche is all about their gigantic open worlds, but they've never attempted a game like Generation Zero before. A mix of survival, stealth, FPS, and crafting, there's a kind of Horizon: Zero Dawn feel if the main character was a normal person and the machines were more post-grunge and less science-fantasy. 


Everything about the game screams "deadly," and the developers emphasize that guerilla warfare and smart co-operative play are better options than head-up fights. Their dedication to a persistent game world is also intriguing, as every enemy will remember the damage you've done to it and will thus be weaker the next time you decide to face it. That hints at a very hit-and-run style gameplay loop.


Add in weapon crafting and plenty of customization options and Generation Zero looks like it will break a few new barriers, or at least be a fun, tense romp on a gigantic map filled with deadly machines.








Halo Infinite

  • Developer: 343 Industries
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  • Platforms: Xbox One, PC
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  • Release Date: TBA
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We're starting off big, so let's set the ground rules: there aren't any. We don't know when Halo Infinite is coming out, but we can hold out hope, right?


Almost every game on this list is a massive open-world game, and Halo Infinite is no exception. It's been built with a new engine 343 constructed specifically for Halo Infinite because they couldn't make the game without it. We don't know much more about the game than what's shown in the trailer, but we probably expect a solid — and beefy — single-player campaign with plenty of Chief being a badass.


One thing we can be sure of is another return to classic Halo multiplayer, though there will probably be some 343-style modifications and evolutions to the formula. There won't be a battle royale mode, but the battle rifle isn't going anywhere. 343 learned their lesson after Bungie's Halo Reachnever take away the battle rifle. 


And finally, after 14+ years, PC is getting the full Halo treatment rather than being stuck with a stripped-down version that lacks a proper single-player campaign or robust multiplayer support.


In 2019, the first-person shooter is poised to take the grand spectacle the genre is known for to new heights. Featuring titles with bold new takes on established mechanics and plenty of innovations to boot, next year is poised to be a great one for anyone looking to sate their hunger for virtual mayhem and destruction.


Check out our list for eight FPS games you'll want to put on your wishlist today. They'll be here before you know it.

Human Fall Flat Gets 'Dark' Content Update Today Tue, 11 Dec 2018 15:26:29 -0500 Ashley Shankle

If you're one of the many hoping for new Human Fall Flat content on PC, today's your day! No Brake Games has released a new level named Dark, which fits its name perfectly.

As of today, players who own Human Fall Flat on Steam can jump in-game and try their wobbly hands at the new Dark stage, which is more on the spooky side than festive. Haunted houses, tricky puzzles, and new contraptions await in the new stage for players who want a little darkness with their holiday cheer.

The new level isn't all today's update brings, either. Players will also be able to grab up four brand new Christmas-themed skins in this latest update. If you ever wanted to be a turkey, Christmas pudding, a present, or a gingerbread woman, then today's definitely a good day to hop back into Human Fall Flat -- though the new level is more of a draw than the skins.

Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One players will have to wait for the Dark update in 2019, but No Brake Games promises even more Human Fall Flat content is coming next year. You're not done with the game just yet!

Canada Announced for Civilization 6: Gathering Storm Tue, 11 Dec 2018 15:22:53 -0500 Ted Racicot

Last month, Fraxis announced Gathering Storm, the newest expansion for Civilization 6. Though the expansion is not scheduled to be released until February 14, several of the new civilizations that will become playable in the new expansion. The most recent civilization that has been confirmed to be a part of Gathering Storm is Canada. 

Canada's unique abilities focus around culture and diplomacy. Canada is unable to declare war on City-States or declare a surprise war on other civilizations. They are also unable to have a surprise war declared on them, making them the perfect civilization for someone looking to have a more peaceful game. They also gain bonuses to global events such as Emergencies and the World Games, making Canada ideal for the new Diplomacy victory being added in Gathering Storm

The unique unite being given to Canada is the Mountie. Not only is the Mountie a powerful Calvary unit, it also has the ability to construct National Parks. Similarly, the unique building for Canada is the Ice Hockey Rink, which provides culture and tourism. Both the Mountie and Ice Hockey Rink are effective late-game tools for players aiming for a Cultural victory. 

Wilfred Laurier, Canada's seventh Prime Minister, is the historical figure that has been chosen to lead Canada in Civilization 6. He is known for expanding the borders of Canada, and this is reflected in the special abilities that Canada receives with him as their leader.

Unlike other civs, Canada may build farms on Tundra tiles. Furthermore, Tundra tiles are cheaper to purchase and give double the amount of extracted resources. This allows Canada to make use of cold regions that other civilizations struggle in. 

Canada fits into a very niche play style, focusing more on diplomacy than warfare. It is also interesting to see a Civilization that will be able to thrive in territories that others find useless. Overall, Canada looks to be an incredibly unique addition to Civilization 6: Gathering Storm. We'll finally get to take Canada for a ride February 11, 2019.