PC Platform RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com PC RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Killer7 PC Remaster Released on Steam Today https://www.gameskinny.com/z08i7/killer7-pc-remaster-released-on-steam-today https://www.gameskinny.com/z08i7/killer7-pc-remaster-released-on-steam-today Thu, 15 Nov 2018 15:37:49 -0500 Greyson Ditzler

The remastered PC port of Grasshopper Manufacture's cult classic shooter Killer 7 was released on Steam today with surprisingly little fanfare. The port was announced earlier this year and was developed by NIS America.

Although the release date for the game was nebulous, the bizarre, arthouse GameCube/PS2 game from auteur game designer Suda51 is now on Steam for $20. There is also a 10% discount for a limited time.

Killer7 was the first game from Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture to make its way to North America, and it is still the only game that Suda51 had complete creative control over.

In the years since its release, the game has become a cult classic because of its hybrid gameplay, unique presentation, and highly unconventional, intentionally vague story loaded with mature and disturbing subject matter. 

In the game, players assume various roles within Killer 7, a group of mysterious shapeshifting assassins who are the United States' only line of defense against a deadly terrorist cell called the Heaven Smile. In a world where nuclear weapons and international airport travel have been completely decommissioned, global conflict has slowed to a crawl. However, intrigue between Japan and the U.S. could lead to enormous nuclear devastation.

The game kickstarted Suda51's career in the West and solidified his and Grasshopper's initial fanbase.

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RocketsRocketsRockets Review: Pick Up, Play, and Get Wowed https://www.gameskinny.com/azu45/rocketsrocketsrockets-review-pick-up-play-and-get-wowed https://www.gameskinny.com/azu45/rocketsrocketsrockets-review-pick-up-play-and-get-wowed Thu, 15 Nov 2018 15:14:15 -0500 Jeffrey Rousseau

How many games can you name that offer you their entire experience in under 5 minutes? I'll be honest, many don't come to mind. RocketsRocketsRockets by Radial Games for the Nintendo Switch is certainly one of them, though. But is this shmup-party action game as fun as it's name implies?

Functionally speaking; Rockets plays like most shmups. Unlikely most, it's not a vertical or horizontal stage scroller. You play throughout the entire space of stages of varying size. You can play on a number of maps against AI or up to four friends. The goal is simple: survive. Survive until you're number one.

What's In A Name?

Rockets isn't deep, everything you need to know is right in it's name. This is in no way a knock against it. To win, you just need to blow up everyone else with...you guessed it, rockets! It's a quick pick up play title with a few modes: quick match, zen, and tournament. 

The game's ships, missiles, and rockets are all very fast. Speed is key to victory. As you zoom by opponents you can try to blanket foes in explosions like a fireworks show. The keyword here is that you can try. You can take advantage of the various map layouts and fly into your opponents or trap someone in a corner to chip away at their life and lead yourself to victory. There's so many things that you can do to win. All of it can happen in mere minutes.

It's a great reminder of what games can and should be. They all don't need to be grand sweeping theatrical events. They can still be like the arcades games of decades past, something fun to play for five minute or five hours. There doesn't have to be much of a driving force outside of beating your friends or AI. RocketsRocketsRockets isn't just a nice distraction, it's an enjoyable experience that doesn't request much commitment to get pulled in.

That Sure Is Pretty

You miss it during all the frantic gameplay but Rockets is an audio-visual treat. For example, parts of the stage pulsate in sync with the beat of the song that's playing. 

Along with the pulsating stages, your ships also leave streaks of color in space. If you pause the game you'll notice they also glow, which looks great in its own way. Using your shield also lets off small, colorful particles and unleashing your missiles explodes in a rainbow of colors. It's honestly a color feast for the eyes.

Of course, a game like this needs the right soundtrack. The music is a mix of high tempo electronica, chill synthwave, and thumping techno. Not many games have audio that fits perfectly, but RocketsRocketsRockets is one of those few. The music and visual pairing brings it all together into a cohesive package that is hard to pull your eyes (and ears) away from.

Quality Time

A lot of detail has gone into creating this game and it really shows. Personally, I think the best example is the game's Zen mode.

Radial Games decided to add a little quality of life feature with Zen mode. Weapons are deactivated and you can just fly around stages enjoying the music. Alternatively, you can just pick your favorite song and leave the game on as you just relax -- more games need to do this!

A Word of Criticism 

I had trouble thinking of some criticisms, but the few I have lie in how this game diverts from the standard shmup formula.

One is the lack of a proper arcade mode from stage to stage. I like testing my skills set by the via an arcade mode. Also, not having a highscore tracker seems odd. I think it would be great to know how well I'm doing.

Again, not having these doesn't devalue the experience in anyway. These are ultimately small qualms.

One Last Hurrah 

Had a long day at work or school? Do you want to just jump into some mayhem and blow off some steam? Rockets is the game for you. 

Perhaps you're not sold on that... that's fair. Do you just love games with impressive physics and utterly colorful explosions? Then by all means, you should definitely play RocketsRocketsRockets. It's fun for the whole family.

Fans of shmups, indie games, and or arcade games can find RocketsRocketsRockets available on the Nintendo Switch eShop Today.

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

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Fallout 76 Guide: Power Armor Tips for the Early Game https://www.gameskinny.com/pvx60/fallout-76-guide-power-armor-tips-for-the-early-game https://www.gameskinny.com/pvx60/fallout-76-guide-power-armor-tips-for-the-early-game Thu, 15 Nov 2018 15:04:24 -0500 Synzer

Power Armor in Fallout 76 is similar to a mech suit. It's big and heavy but gives you great protection, ability to breath underwater if you have a helmet, and it just looks cool! If you've played Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, or Fallout 4, you know what power armor's about. 

You can get power armor pretty early in Fallout 76 and at pretty much any time you wish. The only catch is that you can't use the actual armor pieces -- helmet, chest, arms, legs, etc -- until Level 15. The lowest level pieces are at Level 15, then 25, 30, 40, and possibly even higher (I've not finished yet, so can't confirm levels higher than 40 at the moment).

If you reach a set of power armor and you are not a high enough level to enter, you can still take it. You must select transfer and take all the armor pieces off and put it into your inventory

However, once you are high enough level to enter a Power Armor set, you'll need a fusion core. Fusion cores are required to use power armor, so be sure to save them. If nobody else has taken it, the power armors will have a fusion core in them already.

The power armor chassis is all that remains when you strip it of its parts, and there is no level requirement to enter these. You won't get the extra benefits the armor pieces give, but you'll still have increased Strength, Endurance, and carrying weight, and you'll be immune to falling damage.

Most power armors will be near a power armor station. This is a crafting station that allows you to build and modify your power armor if you have recipes and meet the level requirements.

Early Game Power Armor Locations

Fallout 76 early game map showing Morgantown Trainyard

Editor's Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all Power Armor locations in Fallout 76. We are currently still piecing that guide together and will link it here when it's ready. 

Although there are dozens of Power Armor sets throughout Fallout 76, it's important to know that you can grab everything you need very early in the game -- before you reach Level 15.

Keep in mind that you may not see the Power Armor in these locations when you go there. This could be because someone else took it or it hasn't spawned yet. 

Morgantown Trainyard Power Armor

You can find the Morgantown Trainyard Power Armor to the east of Vault 76 and decently close if you want to get power armor immediately.

If you're looking on the map, it is almost directly on top of the icon for Morgantown Trainyard.

If you come in from the south, you will see some train cars and a big building. Directly to the right of the big building is an open train car that has "USA" painted on it. Inside this car is the power armor.

fallout 76 morgantown trainyard power armor location

Morgantown Mama Dolce's Food Processing Plant Power Armor

The actual town of Morgantown is slightly southeast of the trainyard

You can find Power Armor in a booby-trapped shack down a hill behind the food processing plant. There are mines around the power armor, ground spikes at once entrance, and a doorway trap at another entrance.

Fallout 76 morgantown power armor location

Eastern Regional Penitentiary Power Armor

The next location is a little further into the Fallout 76 map, but still not too far out if you don't want to go back to the first two locations or have already made your way past them.

This Power Armor is "guarded" by Super Mutants I've seen as high as Level 16, so you must be careful.

This is to the north of Morgantown trainyard/station. If you look on the map above, it's the blue icon toward the top, northeast of Highway 59 and west of the mountains, the dam, and the lake region in the northwest corner.

If you enter from the east side of the icon on the map, you will see an open gate area and a truck. Go this way in you will see the shack with the Power Armor slightly to the left as you pass another gate.

fallout 76 eastern penitentiary power armor location

How to Farm Multiple Power Armors and Fusion Cores

Early in the game, you don't need to go around to different locations to get power armors and fusion cores. Since Fallout 76 uses different world instances, you can use that to your advantage to farm the same power armor location.

Once you've taken a power armor chassis and/or its parts, simply log out of the game. When you log back in, you will most likely be in a different instance. This means you can go back to that same location and get another set of power armor pieces/chassis.

Depending on the location, you might want to build your C.A.M.P. close to the power armor spawn point. I had one set up next to the location near Mama Dolce's Food Processing Plant.

You won't always see it, and sometimes I only saw a chassis, but this is a much more reliable method than going around to different locations. If it isn't there, just keep logging out and back in until you see it.

Unlocking Excavator Power Armor and the Power Armor Station for your C.A.M.P.

When you reach Level 25, there is a side mission in the southern portion of the map that has you to craft the Excavator Power Armor. This is special armor that increases max weight by 100. There will be a more detailed guide that fully explains this quest in the future, but keep that in mind as you progress through the game.

---

That's all you need to know to get power armor early in Fallout 76. Now you can enjoy running around in a nice suit of armor, plus the invaluable extra carrying capacity.

Let us know if you have any questions, or found other early game power armor spots. Sound off in the comments below!

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ASTRO Gaming Introduces Slick New Modular C40 TR Controller For PS4 And PC https://www.gameskinny.com/94ppd/astro-gaming-introduces-slick-new-modular-c40-tr-controller-for-ps4-and-pc https://www.gameskinny.com/94ppd/astro-gaming-introduces-slick-new-modular-c40-tr-controller-for-ps4-and-pc Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:20:24 -0500 QuintLyn

ASTRO Gaming, the company most commonly known for its range of headsets and other peripherals for gamers on PS4 and PC, revealed a new item in its lineup today. The ASTRO C40 TR Controller is the first controller in the company's catalog, and like its other products is modular and very customizable.

It's the latest in ASTRO's "Tournament Ready" series, joining the ASTRO A40 TR headset and the Mixamp Pro TR. Its modular design allows competitive players to create the most comfortable controller for their playstyle, while allegedly allowing them to adapt quickly to their play environment.

The controller features ergonomic comfort and is built to withstand the most hard-core environments. All of the control options can easily be swapped out or relocated, allowing players to swap between analog sticks and d-pads. Players can even choose the length of the stick tops.

To provide even more customization options, ASTRO has made the rear buttons programmable, while providing software that allows players to adjust stick and trigger sensitivity, create custom profiles, and more.

The CR40 TR controller is set to hit shelves in March of 2019. Until then, those looking to pick up the controller can pre-order it via the ASTRO Gaming site, for $199.99.

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Top 11 Most Anticipated VR Games of 2019 https://www.gameskinny.com/nbhiu/top-11-most-anticipated-vr-games-of-2019 https://www.gameskinny.com/nbhiu/top-11-most-anticipated-vr-games-of-2019 Wed, 14 Nov 2018 16:35:37 -0500 Ty Arthur

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There are undoubtedly many, many more games set to hit the virtual reality market in the coming months, but these are the ones we're most excited to try out.

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What did you think of our picks for the top 11 VR games slated to land in 2019? Did we miss any that should have made this list? Sound off in the comments below!

\n

 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e540546285302b4fe7e9cfcd44602ac3.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e540546285302b4fe7e9cfcd44602ac3.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12485","description":"

Population: One

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    \n
  • Release date: 2019
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  • Platform: Crossplay between Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows MR
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If you aren't sick of Battle Royale mania yet, you should be excited by the prospect of this growing genre finally coming to VR.

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Yep, you'll be falling from the battle bus, building structures, plundering empty buildings, and struggling to survive to the #1 spot as the circle shrinks all in glorious virtual reality. 

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If this catches on, I'd expect to see Fortnite add on a VR mode next year as well!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/01510398bb91005dfc10a4edefd5a5b7.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/01510398bb91005dfc10a4edefd5a5b7.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12483","description":"

Ghost Giant

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  • Release date: Unknown (maybe 2019?)
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  • Platform: PSVR
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VR is tailor-made for this kind of experience, where you are just a pair of giant disembodied hands looking down on a virtual world and deciding how you are going to interact with it.

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This seems like an excellent attempt to embrace the standard tropes of virtual reality games and expand on them, rather than try to hide them. With any luck, Ghost Giant will show all the other games how it's meant to be done.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/17e70003afe1d5c163e130a92ce78816.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/17e70003afe1d5c163e130a92ce78816.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12484","description":"

Trover Saves the Universe 

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  • Release date: 2019
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  • Platform: PSVR, with PC likely down the line
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Speaking of over the top, hoo boy, Trover Saves The Universe is going to strain the patience of anyone not fully onboard with the Interdimensional Cable episodes of Rick And Morty.

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This is going to be pure, grade-A, weapons-grade nutso that will put all other attempts at bizarre gaming to shame by several orders of magnitude.

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I still can't decide if this will be the best thing ever or if I'll be rolling my eyes and pulling my own hair out, but either way expect this game to make a splash.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/87418ced5f2688c92be45d1d04333759.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/87418ced5f2688c92be45d1d04333759.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12482","description":"

Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot 

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    \n
  • Release date: Expected sometime 2019
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  • Platform: PC, PSVR
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VR has pretty consistently shown an affinity for spin offs offering new ways to experience a well known franchise.

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With Cyberpilot, we'll get to saddle up in giant mechanical doggos to light Nazis on fire. What's not to love?

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I do have to wonder how much of the over-the-top grisly imagery from Wolfenstein 2 will make it over in the translation, as that might become a bit much to handle in VR mode.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/cacaf83464d1cf5fc2cc10a2ef1484b8.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/cacaf83464d1cf5fc2cc10a2ef1484b8.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12481","description":"

Gadgeteer 

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    \n
  • Release date: Early 2019
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  • Platform: PC
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While plenty of VR games these days are become ever more ambitious and working in fully movement, there are still plenty of great games where you remain more stationary and just interact with the environment.

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That's what's on display with Gagdeteer (previously going by the code name Ruberg), which has you setting up and knocking down intricate chain reaction puzzles. I would expect this one to be a party hit like Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/2c19b8678b7176599d74b7ed3d72da45.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/2c19b8678b7176599d74b7ed3d72da45.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12479","description":"

Stormland 

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  • Release date: Unknown 2019
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  • Platform: Oculus Rift exclusive
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This is probably the one big VR release of 2019 that's getting the most buzz right now and its being developed by Insomniac Games and Oculus Studios.

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Some of VR's biggest triumphs so far are games that change your perspective and offer a different kind of experience, and that's what it seems like we'll get as a broken down robot (the Short Circuit comparisons are coming strong and fast).

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The combat here looks like a more fully realized version of Blasters Of The Universe, and that's a very good thing, and the visuals will make you think of Horizon: Zero Dawn, but minus the humans.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/c781dc8dbe869268b8671300f3755cf2.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/c781dc8dbe869268b8671300f3755cf2.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12477","description":"

Ace Combat 7 

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  • Release date: January 18, 2018
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  • Platform: PSVR
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Surprisingly, the number of air combat simulations in VR are pretty sparse on the PlayStation 4 right now. There's that super short Call Of Duty Jackal entry, and not a whole lot else.

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Rather than a full VR game, Ace Combat 7 will include a series of VR-specific missions, but what we've seen so far looks very slick. Hopefully this is just the start of the virtual reality dog fights headed to Sony's flagship console.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/a15dca499678a006f879779ea24c2f84.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/a15dca499678a006f879779ea24c2f84.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12459","description":"

Age Of Wushu 2 

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  • Release date: TBA 2019
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  • Platform: PC
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This upcoming Chinese action MMO will include something you haven't seen in the massively multiplayer realm before.... a VR element for exploration (although sadly not for combat).

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There's not a ton of info yet on exactly how the VR sections will work and how you will switch back to non-VR during combat, but you can officially color me intrigued.

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Seeing virtual reality aspects worked into more games will go a long way towards see VR get adopted on a wider scale.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/2e1b514a31740679f0b57053100b0d6a.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/2e1b514a31740679f0b57053100b0d6a.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12458","description":"

The Mage's Tale 

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    \n
  • Release date: Very up in the air
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  • Platform: PSVR (already out on PC)
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This full VR RPG set between The Bard's Tale 3 and 4 is actually already out now on Steam, but it was actively in development for a PSVR port in early 2019.

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Sadly, the fate of this one is now very up in the air sadly, with InXile just being bought out by Microsoft.

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We can't imagine they'll be keen on letting their new acquisition release a game on a rival console, but there's been no official word yet on whether this is actually cancelled or not, since it had already been announced and was deep in development.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/604663286368b3fecb03f46696e3aa78.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/604663286368b3fecb03f46696e3aa78.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12457","description":"

Borderlands 2 VR

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    \n
  • Release date: December 14th, 2018
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  • Platform: PSVR
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OK, OK, we're cheating even more with Borderlands 2 VR! This one comes out December 14th, a half month before its officially 2019, but that's not going to stop us from putting it here.

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This is easily my own most anticipated title as it provides another opportunity to face off against awful dad Handsome Jack and interact with the amazingly psychotic Tiny Tina yet again.

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Who else absolutely cannot wait to joy puke your face off in virtual reality? Of course, with this version of the game arriving soon, it leads to a more important question... where the hell is Borderlands 3 already?

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d32889319eb495de4b13486441b41cbd.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d32889319eb495de4b13486441b41cbd.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12476","description":"

Star Child 

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  • Release date: December 31st, 2018
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  • Platform: PSVR
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Yes, Star Child does in fact arrive one single day before it officially becomes 2019, but you'll forgive us, right?

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This looks like the new unexpected VR game that's going to provide a totally different experience than you'd expect, much like Moss did for PSVR at the beginning of the year.

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Based on the trailer, it seems like we're in for some crazy platforming and giant boss-dodging action in a unique alien landscape.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/r/o/frontcov-016e4.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/r/o/frontcov-016e4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"190960","description":"

Any given trailer for a VR title these days still gets hit with the running gag about how 5 people will love the game when it releases, but the notion of VR remaining firmly underground is about to be strongly challenged in 2019.

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A whole lotta killer games have already arrived since our article earlier in the year looking at whether PSVR in particular is worth investing in at this point.

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Between horror games like The Persistence, shooters like Firewall Zero Hour, and platformers like Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, there's just no reason not to jump into the VR fray anymore.

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There's plenty more slated to land in the next month before the year's over as well, such as Arca's Path coming soon and two Persona dancing games arriving in early December.

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That's just the beginning though, as 2019 is unquestionably going to be the year VR breaks out into the mainstream. In the slides ahead we round up the 11 most anticipated tiles in every possible genre!

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While many of the upcoming games in our top 11 picks will be available for the PSVR, we've broadened out our search across the entire VR lineup, including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality.

"}]]]>
Mutant: Year Zero: Indie Studio CEO Talks Tabletop Roots, Art Design, and Tactical Stealth Action https://www.gameskinny.com/4h755/mutant-year-zero-indie-studio-ceo-talks-tabletop-roots-art-design-and-tactical-stealth-action https://www.gameskinny.com/4h755/mutant-year-zero-indie-studio-ceo-talks-tabletop-roots-art-design-and-tactical-stealth-action Wed, 14 Nov 2018 10:02:18 -0500 Tim White

Turn-based strategy games were everywhere in the '90s and 2000s, but they're almost more of a niche genre these days. Creating a TBS game that draws heavy inspiration from an equally niche hobby -- post-apocalyptic tabletop RPGs -- is a bold move in an era dominated by MOBAs and twitch shooters. If the pre-release demo of Mutant: Year Zero is anything to go by, that bold decision just might pay off when the full game releases next month.

Haraldur Thormundsson, CEO of The Bearded Ladies, the small but passionate indie team behind Mutant: Year Zero, briefly chatted with me and had some tantalizing tidbits to share about the game.

"Mutant is a tabletop RPG that was popular in the 80s and 90s here in Sweden," Thormundsson explained. "We wanted to make a turn-based game set in the Mutant universe and felt that Year Zero [in its timeline] was a good setting to explore... we felt that [a video game] RPG could never do the original tabletop game justice."

The world of Mutant is a blasted and ruined landscape created by a convergence of various cataclysms. Regular humans are fairly rare; most survivors are mutants, and there's a lot of variety in how their genetic abnormalities manifest.

Dux and Bormin, the first two party members players will meet, are far more animal than human. The characters are visually striking -- weird, but totally straight-faced. It works.

Thormundsson reminisced about the dev team's longstanding love for the original tabletop game when talking about Mutant's character design: "When we started looking at creating the characters, we got inspired by a number of things, including the characters some of the dev team members were playing back in the early days of the pen-and-paper RPG."

Post-apocalypse settings obviously invite dark and depressing stories, but there’s also an opportunity to say something about hope or to take a more optimistic view of humanity. Dux, Bormin, and a handful of other Stalkers recruited later in the game are on some sort of journey to preserve one of the last remaining cities -- an admirable goal -- but Thormundsson was tight-lipped about Mutant's ultimate narrative tone. He described its world as "gloomy and beautiful at the same time."

Still, humor plays a major role in offsetting some of the game's darker undertones.

"I hope the game will also make you laugh, because you'll see the world through the eyes of the mutants, who are interpreting artifacts from the past -- sometimes incorrectly." Thormundsson is undoubtedly referring to scenes like one in which the protagonists discover an '80s-era boombox and confidently identify it as a bomb -- it's got "boom" right in the name, after all.

Mutant's more amusing scenes serve as welcome breaks from the world's bleak past and unforgiving environment, which are reflected and reinforced in the gameplay. Mutant offers players a variety of tactical options and upgrade paths for the party, but stealth and caution are always essential to survival.

"You can play the game Rambo-style in the very beginning, but if you don't start scouting and using tactics to thin out big groups of enemies, the game will get a lot harder," Thormundsson noted.

He went on to offer a word of caution about grinding, clarifying that success in Mutant: Year Zero hinges on much more than your stats. 

"Thorough players who explore the map and do lots of side quests will be able to learn most skills for most of the party, but they'll never be superheroes. Enemies get stronger as you do. The biggest advantage of gaining more mutations is that they open up new tactical options; players still need to learn how to plan and use abilities effectively."

On normal difficulty, Mutant is challenging enough, but there are ways for players to make things even harder on themselves, including a permadeath Iron Man mode. Many side quests are high-risk/high-reward, offering tantalizing loot if you can fight through heavy resistance to get to it.

There's at least a little room for character customization throughout the main campaign's 20-ish hours. Each party member does have certain specializations and weaknesses, but players have some freedom to build the team differently.

"Each mutant can become especially good at certain things, but it is up to the player to pick mutations, weapons, and armor for each of the characters that change what they're able to do," Thormundsson said.

Buying skills and dividing gear between the party often comes down to a choice between shoring up a character's weaknesses or making them even better at their core skills. Both approaches have their pros and cons and will lead to very different scenarios in combat.

---

Bormin and his crew are set to venture into totally unknown lands, and with the full game still a few weeks away, we don't know much more about what they'll find than they do. The demo asks far more questions than it answers, teasing a dark and intriguing adventure story with tons of potential. If the story is half as solid as the gameplay, Mutant: Year Zero will surely be a can't-miss title for strategy fans.

Mutant: Year Zero releases for Xbox One, PS4, and PC on December 4. Keep an eye on our hub page for more news, previews, guides, and gameplay videos as we get closer to launch.

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Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is Coming to Xbox Game Pass https://www.gameskinny.com/tsfee/mutant-year-zero-road-to-eden-is-coming-to-xbox-game-pass https://www.gameskinny.com/tsfee/mutant-year-zero-road-to-eden-is-coming-to-xbox-game-pass Wed, 14 Nov 2018 09:55:17 -0500 William R. Parks

Fans of turn-based tactics delight -- Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, a tactical adventure game that our writers have described as a cross between Fallout and X-COM, is coming to Xbox Game Pass on December 4.

Mutant Year Zero is based on a Swedish tabletop RPG that goes back to 1984. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where nature has reclaimed the Earth, players will assume the role of mutants (who have supplanted humans as the dominate biped). "A duck with an attitude problem" or "a boar with anger issues," Mutant Year Zero will offer players the chance to meet a cast of off-kilter characters as they explore this new world -- one filled with the ruins of human civilization.

At the center of Mutant Year Zero is a "tactical combat system inspired by the X-COM games." However, this game has its own unique approach, allowing players to explore (and use stealth) in real-time. This real-time aspect shirks the traditions established by most tactics games of the past and will hopefully serve to give Mutant Year Zero some added depth of play.

While we have been expecting a December 4 release of Mutant Year Zero on PC, Xbox One, and PS4, the addition of the game to Xbox Game Pass is an exciting new development. Last month, Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption was released through Game Pass, and Mutant Year Zero looks to be another promising indie for subscribers to be excited about.

Along with this announcement, the game's publisher has also shared a new video that showcases the game's stealth and tactical combat systems in a never-before-seen area.

We are looking forward to Mutant Year Zero here at GameSkinny, and the developers are keeping us excited with these new details. If you are also in the market for mutant-helmed tactics, pre-orders of the PC version grant access to the game three days before release, and those that spring for the Deluxe Edition will get immediate access to a Beta version featuring the first hours of the game.

Stay tuned for more news on Mutant Year Zero as it develops.

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Crusader Kings II Holy Fury: How To Use The New Shattered World Rules https://www.gameskinny.com/v3lb6/crusader-kings-ii-holy-fury-how-to-use-the-new-shattered-world-rules https://www.gameskinny.com/v3lb6/crusader-kings-ii-holy-fury-how-to-use-the-new-shattered-world-rules Tue, 13 Nov 2018 16:22:34 -0500 Fox Doucette

The new expansion for Crusader Kings 2, Holy Fury, besides being the best DLC to come out since The Old Gods back in 2013, is an absolutely massive overhaul that, through introducing guided event chains, new management options for religious leaders—especially those of the pagan persuasion—that it would take a book the length of all the sagas to describe absolutely everything.

So instead of trying to cover the whole DLC in one shot, let's focus in on the one mechanic that is absolutely the most literally world-changing one in the whole package: the Shattered World rules.

Let's start by making like a god and creating a world.

One Caveat!

Shattered and Random Worlds will not allow you to circumvent DLC restrictions that lock playable pagans behind the Old Gods DLC, Muslims behind Sword of Islam, and nomads behind Horse Lords, for example. Please bear this in mind if you're shattering the world (especially if you're randomizing the religions in the game) since you might just end up with nothing but unplayable factions all over the map.

Put simply, this game mode richly rewards the completionist above all. Luckily, these DLCs go on sale a lot. I have almost all of them myself (even bought The Reaper's Due just because it was there when I got back into the game recently), and I'll be writing with that assumption in mind. If you can't use something I suggest here, and you really want it, buy the DLC. You'll be generally glad you did.

Shattered Vs. Random

The biggest difference between a shattered world and a random one is the scope and scale of the duchies and empires that start the game. That is to say, simply generating a random world means you can make it a lot like the base game, only... different.

Three of the first four settings are for “number of dukes”, “number of kings”, and “number of emperors”, after all. The point here isn't necessarily to change the fundamental flavor of a traditional CK2 game, where vassals can break free of lieges or scheme to gain the crown for themselves and where one-province minors are limited to places like Ireland if they want to grow powerful extremely early in the game.

Sure, you can turn all of those settings way down or even off, but if you're going to do that, that's where the fourth setting, the one at the very top, comes in. You can assign a maximum number of counties for counts to own.

Put that number at 8 and the game will tend to generate multi-county realms more or less exactly at the maximum demesne size that the rulers of those counties can hold.

Put it down at 1 and every count starts as a one-province minor.

In-between, of course, generates results that lead to decent-sized realms to start. This is nice if you don't want to twiddle your thumbs before you start warmongering; you can pick a county that's a bit bigger than its neighbors and get to putting together those de jure duchies and kingdoms that allow you to play “the Irish strategy” anywhere on the map.

Shattered World, meanwhile, is a lot more balanced.

Set it to “counties only” (the setting on the left at the top of the menu) and everyone's a one-province minor.

Set it to “duchies only” (the setting on the right) and every duke will start with their own complete de jure realm, ready to start vying for power to see which of those petty warlords will become the king (this is absolutely ideal for a “Bretwalda”-like game in the British Isles.)

Set it in the middle and there will be dukes with count vassals, a bit more of a headache rulership-wise but which does tend to slow down the pace of advancing “blobs” ever so slightly.

If all you did was use these options to break up an early start, it would be a fine way to go about it. But there is so much more available to you, so let's dig deeper.

Let's start with the three game settings unique to the Shattered World.

How Fast Do You Like Your Blobs?

The “Consolidation” casus belli, available for a designated amount of time from the start of the game, essentially opens the “Become King of Norway” decision from Norse pagans up to the entire game world.

During that limited time, you'll have an all-you-can-eat right to use the “county conquest” casus belli when starting a war. This has the net effect of saving you a lot of time and trouble as a non-Germanic-pagan faction in getting rid of a pesky neighbor, since you won't have to fabricate any claims.

Settings include Disabled as well as Enabled for 25 years, 100 years, or Permanent. Permanent is... well, it's way too powerful in the midgame and beyond for warmongers. Doing this for longer than a century makes the game an absolute cakewalk.

Beware the Fallen Empires

If you've played Paradox's sister game Stellaris, you know what happens when the Awakened Empires and the event-generated conquerors start showing up to screw the galaxy with a light show of space lasers.

Well, put that on Earth (minus the space lasers) and you have the Great Conquerors, of which up to 12 can be designated. These will periodically spawn with large armies, a special Invasion casus belli, and a tendency to show up nowhere near the player so they can do the maximum amount of damage and consolidation before the player eventually has to fight them. This is the check on player power from all that free consolidation in the early game that a human can do.

The more of these you spawn in, the harder the game gets.

My Son, All This Shall Be Yours

There's an option to change the succession laws, but it's either bugged or just doesn't work with tribes. It's hard to tell with Paradox what's a bug and what's a feature since their games are so complex, and I did my test playthrough for this guide as the County of Agder with a 769 historical start in a counties-only Shattered World. After 20 hours, I've only scratched the surface.

If indeed it's a bug and Paradox meant to allow feudal succession for tribes, this massively curbs the frustration factor that is getting locked to Elective Gavelkind until you can warmonger enough Moral Authority and religious holy sites to reform your religion and adopt feudalism or merchant republics.

Setting Primogeniture early is a huge buff to unreformed pagans, nomads, and tribals.

Demographics Or: How To Game Over In Year One

The next group of settings: Female Ruler Percentage, Marriage Percentage, Age Span, and Number of Children (0-10), are all self-explanatory.

The temptation is to go hog wild here, but it is real easy to accidentally trigger a game over when you make a world full of small dynasties ruled by women and find you can't keep your family line going past the first generation.

Granted, there are always ways around this (a matrilinear marriage to a lowborn courtier is every countess's in-case-of-fire-break-glass option if you can live with the prestige hit, as is the Present Debutante option to magic a wife out of thin air for a male ruler.)

But do be careful with these sliders.

How Historical Do You Like Your History?

You can, in any kind of world, keep the cultures and religions as they are and where they are in the world. Norse stay in Norway and follow the Old Gods, Italians live in Italy and are Catholic, and so on.

You can also decide to randomize historical cultures so Norse people live in the deepest, darkest parts of sub-Saharan Africa if you like. The map does extend all the way to the Sahel region, from Mali in the west to Somalia in the east.

Or those same men of the north could find themselves on the western fringes of China! If you've got the Jade Dragon DLC, that means Vikings on the Silk Road getting chummy with the Cathay emperors in Nanjing, and the idea of a bearded, axe-wielding Genghis Khan in a helmet out of a Wagner opera? Sure, why not?

But if you really want to break your brain and make yourself feel like you're playing in a world that is not our own, try randomizing the culture and religion names. Half the fun then becomes just trying to suss out what it is your neighbors believe so that you can try and formulate a strategy against it.

The Gods Must Be Crazy

And, of course, Paradox provided a cheat sheet. As soon as you randomize religions, a little green arrow lights up in the interface allowing you to look at and alter the belief systems of every religion in the game. You can't do it with historical religions (Catholics are still Catholic, Germanic pagans still worship Odin and Thor, and whatnot), but anything goes with random religions.

Want to make the “Wienkeic Rites” (the version of Norse paganism the game whipped up for me when I pressed the button just now as I'm writing this guide) a peace-loving, non-aggressive religion rooted in meritocracy and stability? Go nuts!

Want to make historically Buddhist or Hindu lands fall under the sway of a warmongering religion with bloodthirsty gods and a faithful who believe that death in battle brings eternal rewards in the hereafter? Gandhi wants his nukes!

You can choose anything in between and modify the AI as well, giving you (pun fully intended) god-like powers over belief.

Imagine No Possessions, I Wonder If You Can

The next key piece in our world-building puzzle is how fleshed out (or not) the individual holdings are.

You can keep this historical, so counties that are rich in the base game will remain so, you can randomize it so you get an unequal world with obvious strategic targets, or you can ensure that every single province in the game gets the same number of holdings in it.

You can have as few as one available holding slot or as many as seven, assigned to every province, or as mentioned you can make it random. The choice is yours.

The next section of the menu, “Holding Types”, determines whether you have fully feudal holdings everywhere on the map, fully tribal ones, fully nomadic camps, or any mixing and matching to suit the flavor of your game.

Tribalism does tend to nerf looting for pagans pretty badly, but at the same time, tribal holdings are easier to conquer the old-fashioned way.

The next slider, technology, gives you three choices: Historical (tends to concentrate early game tech in traditional “civilized” centers of learning), Flat (everyone's on the same footing, based mainly around the historical start year you choose for your game), and Random (although it won't slide too far off the start year's level of tech, advances will be randomly distributed rather than concentrated historically.)

I Dub Thee Emir of Groove-Funkistan

The last set of sliders relate to de jure duchies and kingdoms. Do you want the Kingdom of Arabia to be in... well... Arabia? Or would you rather have something much wackier?

Note that if you randomize the de jure realms, you can choose how big they are, and therefore how much conquering you'll have to do before you can form one. Fewer is better if you don't want to rely too heavily on vassals; more is better if you want a challenge of keeping a realm from disintegrating while you vie for the crown.

The same warning applies here as applies to religion. If you want to spend more time playing and less time sorting out the Tower of Babel story you just inflicted on the world by randomizing all the names, it might behoove you to change the flavor of the game mechanics without necessarily changing so much that the world is too foreign for you to understand while you're already playing one of the most complex games this side of Dwarf Fortress.

But if you do become the Emir of Groove-Funkistan, don't forget the burnoose.

Actually Playing This Weird World You've Built

At the end of the day? This is still Crusader Kings 2. Absolutely everything in the game functions according to the same rules (including the new rules the DLC adds that will present themselves over the course of your playthroughs, which we'll cover elsewhere or which you can read about on the CK2 Wiki or the Paradox forums) as it always has.

The difference is that if you've just thrown yourself into a world of petty fiefdoms vying to become the emperor of the known world, you're going to actually have to formulate a fresh strategy that may have nothing at all to do with how a “normal” person plays the game wherever it is you've spawned.

That, ultimately, is the most fun and challenging part of Shattered and Random Worlds. The history books all burned. It's up to you to write a new one.

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Fallout 76 Legendary Modifiers Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/t7zkn/fallout-76-legendary-modifiers-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/t7zkn/fallout-76-legendary-modifiers-guide Tue, 13 Nov 2018 15:26:37 -0500 Ty Arthur

The wait is over -- Fallout 76 launched early, so you can get in on the post apocalyptic multiplayer mayhem right now!

Just like in Fallout 4, special equipment can drop from enemies with a star next to their name that includes additional Legendary modifiers. These modifiers radically alter the equipment's base properties or give them huge advantages over standard weapons.

You'll know you've got a Legendary if you see a short word modifier before the weapon, like Acrobat's, Exterminator's, or Ghoul Hunter's. Below we cover all the effects current discovered.

It's entirely possible there are far more than these effects that just haven't been found yet, as the list is obviously much smaller than in Fallout 4 at the moment.

Have you seen any other Legendary modifiers not listed in the tables below? Let us know and we'll get them added!

Fallout 76 Legendary Armor Modifiers

Legendary Property Effect
 Acrobat  -50% falling damage
 Assassin  -15% damage from humans
 Auto Stim  Use stimpack automatically when below 40% health
 Bolstering  Increased damage resistance when at lower health
 Cavalier  -15% damage when sprinting or blocking
 Chameleon  Reduced enemy detection when stationary or sneaking
 Duelist  10% chance to disarm melee weapon from enemy
 Exterminator  -15% damage from bugs and mirelurks
 Ghoul Slayer  -15% damage from ghouls
 Hunter  -15% damage from animals
 Junky  Reduced damage when suffering from chem withdrawal
 Mutant Slayer  -15% damage from super mutants
 Sprinter  +10% movement speed
 Troubleshooter  -15% damage from robots
 Undying  50% chance to use stim pack while downed
 Weightless  -50% total weight
 Zealot  -15% damage from scorched

 

Fallout 76 Legendary Weapon Effects

Legendary Property Effect
Anti-Scorched   +25% damage vs scorched, -20% vs all others
 Anti-Armor  Ignore 50% armor
Assassin   +10% damage to other players
Berserker   Deal more damage if your Resistance is lower
 Bloodied  Deal more damage if your health is lower
Concussive   +33% hit chance in VATS
 Double  Double weapon magazine size
 Executioner  +50% damage if target is below 40$ health
 Explosive  Ammo explodes for 15 area damage
Exterminator   +50% damage against bugs and mirelurks
 Furious  Additional damage on subsequent hits against same target
Ghoul Slayer   +50% damage vs ghouls
 Hunter  +50% damage vs animals
  Instigating  Double damage when target is at 100% health
 Junky  Additional damage if you have chem withdrawal
 Medic  Heal your group when inflicting VATS crits
 Mutant  +10% damage if you have a mutation
 Mutant Slayer  +30% damage vs super mutants
Never Ending   Infinite ammo supply
 Nocturnal  Extra damage at night, less damage during day
 Quad  4X standard ammo capacity
Sacrificial Blade  Deals additional bleed and poison damage
 Stalker  +100% VATS accuracy at+50% AP cost if not in combat
 Suppressor  Target deals 20% less damage for 3 seconds after being hit
 Troubleshooter  +30% damage vs robots
 Two Shot  Fire one additional round per attack
 Vampiric  Heal after striking an enemy
 Zealot  +30% damage vs ghouls

 

Fallout 76 Unique Weapons

Weapon Special Effect
 All Rise (Super sledge)  -90% weight, +10 HP
Blade Of Bastet (Chinese officer sword)  Increased armor penetration
Black Diamond (Ski sword)  +1 Strength to wielder
Bunker Buster (Missile launcher)  +20% damage
 Guitar Sword (Sword)  Currently unknown -- let us know if you find this weapon!
 Makeshift Rifle (Assault rifle)  Bonus damage when HP below 40%
 Perfect Storm (10mm SMG)  Incendiary bullets deal damage over time
 Rose's Syringer (Syringe launcher)  Makes target extra powerful for 60 seconds, then extra weak for 60 seconds
 Voice Of Set (.44 pistol)  Bonus damage vs robots

 

Need more help getting started in the open world wasteland of this series spin off? Check out our other Fallout 76 guides here:

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The Three Best Beginner Builds in Fallout 76 https://www.gameskinny.com/fwnxr/the-three-best-beginner-builds-in-fallout-76 https://www.gameskinny.com/fwnxr/the-three-best-beginner-builds-in-fallout-76 Tue, 13 Nov 2018 12:42:44 -0500 Sergey_3847

Fallout 76 is finally coming out in its full form, and if you didn't have the chance to try the game out during the beta test, then you will probably have a hard time getting to know all the perk cards available in the game from the start.

Having a plan before playing such a complex game as Fallout 76 is essential for effective survival gameplay. Fortunately, you can use helpful resources, such as Nukes and Dragons to pre-construct your SPECIAL builds and figure out beforehand which cards you want to use in your builds.

If you need help figuring out a powerful build for your first playthrough of Fallout 76, then follow our guide below for the three best beginner builds.

Best Strength Build

The first most logical build you can go for in Fallout 76 is the Strength build, which will give you a lot of APs to play with and a decent number of defense mechanisms.

At the heart of this build you will find three main perks: Strength, Endurance, and Agility. Strength will give you power to weild and damage opponents with melee weapons, while Endurance will let you withstand damage. Lastly, Agility is needed to create enough stamina for you to use during combat.

Here is a complete breakdown of the Strength build for Fallout 76:

  • Strength (15)
    • Gladiator (3)
    • Slugger (3)
    • Shotgunner (3)
    • Pack Rat (3)
    • Basher (1)
    • Sturdy Frame (2)
  • Perception (3)
    • Skeet Shooter (3)
  • Endurance (15)
    • Iron Stomach (3)
    • Natural Resistance (3)
    • Vaccinated (3)
    • Professional Drinker (3)
    • Hydrofix (2)
    • Aquaboy/Aquagirl (1)
  • Charisma (5)
    • Bodyguards (4)
    • Team Medic (1)
  • Intelligence (3)
    • First Aid (3)
  • Agility (9)
    • Action Boy/Girl (3)
    • Born Survivor (3)
    • Dodgy (3)
  • Luck (6)
    • Serendipity (3)
    • Junk Shield (3)

Best Agility Build

Strength is a powerful perk, but having a ton of APs and Luck can also bring some amazing results in the form of this Agility-based build. It is focused mainly on giving a massive advantage to your VATS and reducing any harmful effects that may come from either physical damage or radiation.

This build requires you to carry a good weapon, as it will significantly increase both the targeting precision and the critical hit chance. You can choose to become a very effective sniper or a gunner with the help of this build, so be sure to invest in all these cards if you are interested in this playstyle.

Here is a complete breakdown of the Agility build for Fallout 76:

  • Strength (5)
    • Pack Rat (3)
    • Sturdy Frame (2)
  • Perception (6)
    • Concentrated Fire (3)
    • Crack Shot (3)
  • Endurance (6)
    • Radicool (1)
    • Ghoulish (1)
    • Iron Clad (4)
  • Charisma (4)
    • Lone Wanderer (4)
  • Intelligence (5)
    • Gunsmith (5)
  • Agility (15)
    • Action Boy/Girl (3)
    • Adrenaline (1)
    • Gun Fu (3)
    • Gunslinger (1)
    • Expert Gunslinger (1)
    • Master Gunslinger (1)
    • Evasive (3)
    • Gun Runner (2)
  • Luck (15)
    • Four Leaf Clover (3)
    • Grim Reaper's Sprint (3)
    • Critical Savvy (3)
    • Better Criticals (3)
    • Class Freak (3)

Best Charisma Build

Many players would argue why would they need to play a Charisma build. But this is the type of build that is perfect for players who want to play a support role in their team. So, if you like to play in co-op, then opt for this excellent Charisma build, which also has a huge pool of APs due to several well-chosen Agility perks.

The most important perk card in this entire list is Team Medic, which fully heals your other team members when using stimpaks. This is highly important when your team gets engaged in a PvP combat, and in case the opposing team doesn't have a support player, then it will surely lose.

Here is a complete breakdown of the Charisma build for Fallout 76:

  • Strength (3)
    • Sturdy Frame (2)
    • Strong Back (1)
  • Perception (7)
    • Crack Shot (3)
    • Sniper (1)
    • Concentrated Fire (3)
  • Endurance (5)
    • Ironclad (5)
  • Charisma (15)
    • Team Medic (3)
    • Suppressor (3)
    • Tenderizer (3)
    • Quack Surgeon (1)
    • Squad Maneuvers (2)
    • Rad Sponge (1)
    • Magnetic Personality (2)
  • Intelligence (10)
    • Gunsmith (5)
    • Scrapper (1)
    • First Aid (3)
    • Pharmacist (1)
  • Agility (14)
    • Adrenaline (5)
    • Gunslinger (1)
    • Expert Gunslinger (1)
    • Master Gunslinger (1)
    • White Knight (3)
    • Gun Runner (2)
    • Marathoner (1)
  • Luck (2)
    • Luck of the Draw (2)

---

With the help of each of these three excellent Fallout 76 beginner builds, you will be able to explore the vast map of West Virginia either in solo mode or provide a real support for your teammates in co-op. Also, be sure to come back soon for even more Fallout 76 guides here at GameSkinny!

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How Will Artifact Perform in a CCG World Dominated by Hearthstone and MtG? https://www.gameskinny.com/gxns2/how-will-artifact-perform-in-a-ccg-world-dominated-by-hearthstone-and-mtg https://www.gameskinny.com/gxns2/how-will-artifact-perform-in-a-ccg-world-dominated-by-hearthstone-and-mtg Tue, 13 Nov 2018 11:23:37 -0500 Sergey_3847

Artifact, a brand-new CCG from Valve and Richard Garfield, will enter its beta testing stage on November 19, and it will get a full release on November 28. Invariably, these two dates will mark the beginning of a new CCG era, one that has the potential to dethrone the two CCG mammoths on the market: Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering.

Artifact offers innovative card game mechanics that combine the best elements of Hearthstone and Magic, which makes its gameplay highly engaging and never boring. But more importantly, Valve's new CCG will provide a unique card trading system that will prevent pay-to-win schemes that cripple games like Hearthstone and Magic

However, an obvious hurdle getting Artifact's way right out of the gate is that the base game will cost $20, and later, when the new expansions come out, players will have to buy each pack for $2 each. While free-to-play can often hide pay-to-win on the backside, a priced CCG can alienate potential players before they've even had a chance to play it. 

But pricing is not the only concern CCG players have when it comes to Artifact -- there are always concerns regarding systems, economies, and more. Let's take a look at what other surprises Valve's new card game might have and if players should be concerned. 

Artifact: The Rules of the Game

Artifact's three lanes show cards being played

Before discussing Artifact's future and comparing it to other card games, it's important to understand the mechanics of the game, as they are quite complex. This should come as no surprise since Artifact's lead designer is Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering.

If you thought that one board was not enough for a card game, then how about three? These correspond to the three lanes found in games like DoTA 2, where there are three towers at the end of each lane. 

Each turn in Artifact includes four phases; we'll take a look at them below. 

Action Phase

At the beginning of each turn, both players are able to start playing their cards (using mana) on each of the three lanes. Mana count starts at three and grows by one each turn. Hero and item cards don't cost any mana and can be played for free each turn.

When players use all of their mana, they can pass their turns. Then, the Combat phase begins -- for both players at the same time.

Combat Phase

Cards that have been placed on the board in the previous phase can now attack each of their opponent's towers simultaneously. If there is a card blocking an opponent's card, then the damage goes to the defending card instead of the tower.

When the Combat phase on one lane has been resolved, the game automatically resolves combat on the rest of the lanes.

Shopping Phase

After combat comes the Shopping phase, which serves as a sort of a "break" in the match. 

If during the Combat phase players manage to destroy some of the enemy cards or cast spells, they earn gold coins, which can then be spent to buy special items that are either generated by A.I. or manually put in the shop by the players themselves prior to the match-up.

These item cards cost no mana to cast and can enhance the performance of the players for the remainder of the match.

Deployment Phase

During this phase, players can also add two creeps on each lane. What's more, hero cards are immortal in Artifact, and during the deployment phase, players can replay them on lanes even if they've already played them on prior turns. 

This phase also begins the card drawing phase, but instead of one card, each player draws two cards. There is no limit on the amount of cards players can hold in their hands.

That is how complex one turn is in Artifact. It includes a vast number of decisions that need to be made on each of the three lanes, as well as devising quick strategies for placement and use. 

In the end, a winning player will have to destroy at least two of the three towers in order to claim victory.

How Artifact Fares Against Hearthstone and MtG

The Tinker card is shown with a cyberpunk robot on its face

Will Hearthstone and/or MtG players see any interest in Artifact?

First of all, it's already clear that Magic players will have a blast playing Artifact because of its complex gameplay. Richard Garfield is a genius game designer and he knows how to engage players with all kinds of mechanics, including the infamous RNG.

Hearthstone players, on the other hand, will most likely find it difficult to keep up with three boards at the same time. Some of the more experienced HS players do grind on several servers at the same time, but most casual players just want a quick rush of adrenaline.

The time required to finish a game in Hearthstone can be as short as a few minutes, while it's already obvious one match-up in Artifact may take up to an hour. This fits better with the MtG world, where players tend to spend long turns, pouring over possibilities and strategies.

But time consumption and complex decision-making aren't the only two factors that will influence how Artifact connects with CCG players. There is one more factor, which is probably the most important one -- the game's monetization system.

Artifact Economics vs. Hearthstone and MtG

The Artifact shop shows the cards players can buy

Monetization schemes in all three games are very different. Magic and Artifact are tradable card games, meaning that you can buy and sell cards on the open market. Hearthstone, on the other hand, is a collectible card game that requires players to buy packs and craft cards using dust. 

Hearthstone also stands out from the other two games because it's free-to-play. Artifact will cost $20 for the game client, two pre-constructed decks and 120 cards.

Magic Online will cost you $10 for a game client, but you pay nothing if you decide to play Magic Arena instead, which is a far more limited experience.

Artifact cards will be available for purchase on the Steam market and will range from $0.15 to $1. In comparison to Hearthstone, this is decent pricing, as one HS card also costs around $0.30, taking into account the cost of one pack.

MtG in this regard follows a completely different pattern, where cards sell on an extremely volatile market and can reach $1,000+.

This means that if you are ready to spend some cash in Hearthstone, you will be ready to spend the same amount of cash in Artifact -- and get a decent amount of good cards. However, if you've never spent a single cent in HS, then Artifact might not be your cup of tea as Gabe Newell told PC Gamer in an interview that:

"If time is free, or an account is free, or cards are free, then anything that has a mathematical relationship to those things ends up becoming devalued over time, whether it's the player's time and you just make people grind for thousands of hours for minor, trivial improvements, or the asset values of the cards, or whatever. That's a consequence. So you don't want to create that flood of free stuff that destroys the economy and the value of people's time."

Although it doesn't look like Artifact will ever have any free components, Newell also said in the same interview that Valve will make sure Artifact will be protected from malicious pay-to-win schemes: 

"There are plenty of very common cards that are going to be super powerful. The whole point is to steer away from pay-to-win and that kind of approach. We always want to reward investment. You always want to feel like, as a player, that the more time you spend on it, you're getting better and you're enjoying it more."

This is a good sign and shows that Valve really wants to create something valuable for their fans and not just another clone of Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering.

Final Thoughts

We can now say for sure that the economics in Artifact is far better in many respects when compared to both Hearthstone, which promotes a shameless pay-to-win system, and MtG, which exploits card markets with its insane prices.

In the case of Artifact, Valve (or the market) will regulate the prices and will not allow the most powerful cards to soar in prices. In this way, everyone who is ready to pay will get the chance to play the game at the highest competitive level.

This is a really smart system that should make many players satisfied. And all of those CCG fans who want to play for free can keep grinding for gold in Hearthstone or Magic Arena.

So, taking all this into account, will Artifact gain any traction after release? The answer is most likely "Yes", even for the simple fact that it's a Valve game -- the name alone will draw players from far and wide. 

It will be interesting to see what niche it carves for itself in the CCG space, and if players are willing to move away from Hearthstone and MtG to play it -- or at least give it some space at the table. 

---

What do you think about Artifact's gameplay mechanics? Do you find them too difficult to understand? What do you think about Valve's monetization system? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Can Bethesda Softworks beat out hackers in Fallout 76? https://www.gameskinny.com/dt5tq/can-bethesda-softworks-beat-out-hackers-in-fallout-76 https://www.gameskinny.com/dt5tq/can-bethesda-softworks-beat-out-hackers-in-fallout-76 Tue, 13 Nov 2018 10:26:09 -0500 Gabriella Graham

Last week, one Reddit user threw a heavy hand of criticism at Bethesda Softworks's and their Fallout 76 B.E.T.A. This came directly before Bethesda announced updates to come with the game's official launch, but the Reddit post highlighted Fallout 76's hacking vulnerabilities.

Video game fans tend to be die hard and loyal, but what will happen if Bethesda can't deliver and these supposedly "incorrect" claims actually break the game?

I predict angry fans (duh) and low opportunity to venture into the online competitive action world again. Trust is hard won once lost, after all.

First off, the claims 

Reddit user teetharejustdone's post primarily concentrated on Fallout 76's overall security - or lack thereof. The claims include:

  • Easy-to-mod files calling back to Fallout 4's shortcomings
  • No server checks to verify models or file integrity
  • Unencrypted client to client communication, allowing players to view other player's in-game stats, network information, and IP addresses
  • Vulnerability to Wireshark

Next, the response

Bethesda addressed the post via several news outlets, including IGN. While the game studio refuted much of what teetharejustdone wrote, they also admitted there was some validity to the Redditor's concerns, albeit in a roundabout way.

"Many of the claims in the thread are either inaccurate or based on incorrect assumptions. The community has however called to attention several issues that our teams are already actively tracking and planning to roll out fixes for. Our goal is always to deliver a great experience for all our players. Cheating or hacking will not be tolerated. We know our fan base is passionate about modding and customizing their experience in our worlds and it's something we intend to support down the road."

Naturally, Bethesda did not elaborate on which issues were actively tracked. The choice of the word "assumptions" stands out as well considering teetharejustdone did briefly lay out just how he discovered the basis of his claims. The Reddit user played around in the client and files personally, suggesting this is more than "inaccurate [. . .] assumption".

Damning evidence

As an additional point of interest, a lockpicking mod ported from Fallout 4 made it's way successfully into the B.E.T.A., throwing users into a tizzy. When mods from a previous title port so easily into something brand new, it doesn't bode well.

Consider: Gamers familiar with Bethesda games and their inherent files don't have much standing in their way at this point. They already wrote a list of preferred hacks and know how to get them in.

This lockpicking mod comes after even earlier reports of "speed hacking," which basically means for certain users, the game is moving much faster than normal. Not a huge deal in a single-player campaign. A much bigger deal in an online competitive platform.

Bethesda promised to fix the latter hack by launch, but they don't exactly have a clean track record regarding high performance and low bugs.

That's a face that says: "I may look charming, but I've got bugs baby."

Risky business (and not of the Tom Cruise variety)

To a point, I get Bethesda's response. Maybe admitting something is wrong and needs to be fixed outright isn't the best confidence builder for an audience.

However, studies have shown more and more that modern consumers seek out honesty and transparency. They desire corporations with human faces and demand accountability when things go wrong. Which means if Bethesda is downplaying the truth of that Reddit post, it's a high risk for fan backlash.

Unfortunately, sometimes studios allow (through lack of security or sub-par updates) bugs and mods to build and build and then when things fall apart.. well good luck, because you aren't getting your $60 back.

Please don't be broken.

Consider the past

Let's travel back in time a second, to 2011 to be precise. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has hit the shelves and sits cozy in your system of choice. Over time, aimbots and hackers fill the game with treacherous cheating tactics. Matches have nothing at all to do with skill and more to do with luck of the draw, i.e. whether you've got mod-happy cheaters in your midst. 

Cue rage-induced yelling and broken controllers. Your brand new game has been rendered unplayable. 

And that was seven years ago from an entirely different slew of developers. Fair point, I hear you. But let that example serve as a painful reminder of what code savvy gamers can do with low scruples and insecure files to work with, as well as the results of a studio that can't hold them at bay.

Keep in mind as well that this, again, is Bethesda's first foray into an online competitive multiplayer action title. Low experience does not equal instant success.

Let's just all just play nice and agree not to cheat, like these fine fellows.

Other gamers chime in

Even in the Bethesda community, players nervously voice their concerns. One player, Creepster77, remembers another online horror story with Grand Theft Auto V. They point out Rockstar Games only recently brought the hammer down on hackers and that game has been out since 2013. Ouch.

 Another user, GameShrink, makes his own prediction in the same thread:

"The game will probably be rife with hacking early on. People are really familiar with Gamebryo and it's an extremely easy engine to mess with, so I fully expect some craziness around launch (guarantee someone finds a way to play offline within a week or two of release, ala SimCity)."

Amid Bethesda supporters and well-wishers for the title's success, doctor_atomic also chimes in:

"There will be cheats and Bethesda will always be a step behind on dealing with it for a while.  The more popular the game the more numerous and determined the cheater demographic will be. The solution is to wait for private servers where you can control who you are playing with."

In the end, all we can do is wait and see

We've already got multiple unfair advantages on record from dreaded cheaters. Do we really believe there won't be more and Bethesda can truly fix or prevent the worst of them? Personally, I'm hoping for the best but dreading the worst.

It takes a lot to bring a studio so large and successful to their knees. I don't believe, even in a worst case scenario, that failure here will lead to any kind of end for Bethesda. And, as angry as some fans may become, I don't think any of us want that end either.

However, Bethesda's success with Fallout 76 is crucial as an indicator to fans on whether or not they are equipped to run an online competitive action game. I don't think consumers will be apt to give them a second chance any time soon, should this title fall through the cracks.

We'll barely have to wait with the 14th right around the corner. And if you need some Fallout 76 tips and tricks to get started, we've already got you covered.

What do you think? Are your hopes high or are you feeling skeptical? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Crusader Kings 2 Holy Fury DLC Review: High Praise https://www.gameskinny.com/kesne/crusader-kings-2-holy-fury-dlc-review-high-praise https://www.gameskinny.com/kesne/crusader-kings-2-holy-fury-dlc-review-high-praise Mon, 12 Nov 2018 15:06:38 -0500 Fox Doucette

Some of the highest praise I can give a game is when it blows me away with how good it is that only the little “due in 24 hours” reminder email I get sent to me ahead of my deadline can drag me away from it for long enough to do my job.

And while Crusader Kings 2 is usually like that, the new Holy Fury DLC goes above and beyond even that lofty standard.

Put simply, this is the best DLC for Paradox's six-year-old, ever-evolving grand strategy masterpiece since The Old Gods came out back in 2013.

For one thing, pagans are back with a holy fury. After being effectively nerfed in Sons of Abraham and Charlemagne, and by getting stripped of feudal government by the tribal system introduced with Horse Lords, the men of the north get a big dose of power with the Swedish pagans, forged in Valhalla by the hammer of Thor.

For example, new “warrior lodges” give pagans what essentially amounts to the Companions from Skyrim, which in turn grant questlines that allow a ruler to massively improve his or her military skill, army morale, and all that other fun statistical stuff that makes the gods of the random number generator favor their generals in battle.

A ruler can duel other characters for honor and glory (governed by a brand-new Personal Combat modifier), and as they rise up the ranks, they get all kinds of other fun toys to play with like gaining a commander trait of the player's choice, choosing to turn into a berserker (which, keeping up the Skyrim analogy, is only slightly less overpowered than turning into a werewolf), and appointing a shieldmaiden to lead armies. You'll be first to the battle, first to the feast.

Great warrior heroes of all faiths get to found legendary bloodlines. Some of them are included in the historical rulers in-game like Charlemagne, Ragnar Lothbrok, El Cid, and their ilk; others can come from that nobody you built in the Ruler Designer, starting a no-name dynasty in some far-off corner of the map.

Want to spend way too much time, money, and effort getting your spouse to love you? In-game, I mean.

Well, that's where the new “Sway” and “Antagonize” mechanics come in, perfect for making friends and enemies to shape the diplomatic landscape in your part of the world.

There are even new sainthood rules and coronation rules for the Christians, giving them that much more historical flavor when they're getting knocked around all over Europe by the newly-beefy Vikings.

Oh, and the game even takes names so your berserker king can keep a list of every single one of his kills.

And did I mention that it's not just the Norsemen who get to have a lot of good pagan fun at the expense of the Christians in this DLC? If you want to not just revive the Roman Empire (which has been an option for years in CK2) but really bring the Classical era back, there's an entire event chain for Hellenism.

But all of the above would just relegate this DLC to another case of “depends on your playstyle” but for one mighty, overwhelmingly awesome feature that makes it an absolute must-buy:

Shattered Worlds

Want every county in the game to start under the independent rule of a one-province minor in a massive free-for-all where nothing is predetermined except the religion and culture of certain parts of the map? Buckle up, buttercup;  that's exactly what you get. And it's awesome.

If you like an aggressive game where you have lots to do in terms of claiming titles and building up your power at the expense of your neighbors in the earlygame, this is the game mode for you.

Want to raid your Christian neighbors but don't want to wait for the Viking Age event in 793 when you're playing the Charlemagne early start? Norse culture coastal provinces start with shipyards so you can make with the looting and start in on your ambitious building projects sooner than you normally would in the basegame.

Tired of having Europe bottlenecked by you being a vassal of the real movers and shakers in the world, waiting for a big realm divide before you can take advantage of the chaos? This is the game mode for you.

And if all one-province minors isn't your thing, there are even game options that create a randomized world. Same basic flavor as a historical start, but with a wildly different setup of counts, dukes, and kings than you'd normally expect to see, giving you a truly different start every single time you play.

I want this in Europa Universalis IV without having to use the Shattered Europa mod. Hopefully Paradox learns a thing or two from trying it out in CK2.

But Shattered Worlds? That's why only the unpleasant reminder that I actually have to earn the free review copy of the DLC that Paradox sent me by writing this review could drag me away from playing it.

That's some of the highest praise I can give a game. If you play Crusader Kings 2, buy this DLC. I can't make it any simpler than that.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go spend every free moment I have for.. oh, about the next week or so.. playing it.

[Note: Writer was granted a review copy of the game from the publisher.]

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Steel Rats Review: A Misaligned Destruction Derby https://www.gameskinny.com/49vrq/steel-rats-review-a-misaligned-destruction-derby https://www.gameskinny.com/49vrq/steel-rats-review-a-misaligned-destruction-derby Mon, 12 Nov 2018 14:21:40 -0500 Thomas Chiles

Indie studio Tate Multimedia has taken the concept of physics stunt driving often found in games like Trials HD and Trials Fusion and redesigned it for console and PC gamers who want a little more action.

Steel Rats, the culmination of that distillation, is a 2.5D action platformer where you drive a motorcycle hellbent on destruction through a retro-futuristic city overrun by killer robots -- or in this case, JunkBots. You'll control one of four members of the Steel Rats biker gang (which you can switch between) as they fight their way through Coastal City across 28 levels and five unique districts.

Riding through the second district, Halcyon Isle.

Familiar Gameplay Gets Advanced

If you have played any game from the Trials series, you will be familiar with the physics-based motorcycle gameplay Steel Rats is built upon, such as flipping your 2D bike through the air during both precarious and non-precarious jumps. But Tate Multimedia didn't stop there as Steel Rats has turned that concept into a fully fleshed out 2.5D experience, complete with a progressing storyline, unique level design, and unlockable upgrades.

Despite all of that, though, the game still plays like an arcade game at heart — each level is short and can usually be completed within a few minutes. No moments of lengthy exposition here.  

In fact, it's really all about gameplay. 

Your motorcycle’s front tire is equipped with a glowing red saw, which helps you destroy the many enemies and obstacles in your path through the city. Hands down, this feature is one of the game’s coolest — activating the saw has different uses, too, such as receiving a speed boost and clinging to walls and ceilings, both vertically and horizontally. 

Not only does it do that, but it also helps you destroy cars, debris, and JunkBots that get in your way by holding down the blade's activation button.

Although each character’s motorcycle handles the same, each of the four has a unique attack. For example, Toshi has a small, flying robot that shoots lasers, while the front of James’ motorcycle slams down like an energy hammer. You can also unlock different upgrades for each character as you progress through the game, adding a bit of variety to the overall gameplay. 

When it works, driving through Coastal City at full speed is when this game is at its best. Each level has moments where everything transforms into an eclectic playground full of high-speed stunts and destruction. Unfortunately, you aren't always going top speed — you'll sometimes find yourself stopping to fight JunkBots, complete short puzzles, or navigate through impossibly slow, tight turns. 

While each level is short, they are not always linear. Sometimes you will have to complete a task, such as powering up generators in a specific order, before backtracking to proceed through the level. This sounds OK and does add variety to the gameplay, but it also slows down a game that's built around speed, and for some players, this anachronism will stand out.  

Hard-to-Master Controls

All of that aside, the main issue with Steel Rats' control scheme is that it’s not intuitive. Even after playing for a while, you may find yourself thinking about the next button you will need to press instead of just intuitively reacting. 

Holding the right trigger/bumper accelerates your motorcycle while pressing "circle" (PS4) or B (XB1)performs a U-turn. Since the game is on a 2.5D plane, pushing up and down on the joystick moves you up and down along a horizontal track. Pushing left and right on your joystick rotates your bike forward and backward while in mid-air, akin to mobile motorcycle stunt games like Trials.

However, controlling your motorcycle can feel “floaty” and loose at first. For example, your first instinct may be to turn the joystick the other way to get your motorcycle to turn around, but that makes you tilt back.

"R2" and "RT" is throttle and holding "X"/"A" activates your saw blade, which means you will most likely be holding both of these throughout most of the game. But with "triangle"/"Y" being jump, it can be awkward to let go of your saw blade to reach all the way up to jump.

"R1"/"RB" will cause you to dash forward, which means you end up holding down three buttons on one hand. If you could change the controls for Steel Rats, it would greatly improve the overall experience, but as of right now, you can't. 

Getting used to Steel Rats will test your patience and your true gaming ability. You most likely haven’t played a game with controls like this before. And if you have, it has never been this demanding.

Don't make a mistake will riding the vertical walls of the Coal Mine.

The Verdict

In the end, great sound design and a creative concept carry this game far. The sound of driving your motorcycle is immensely satisfying, and the idea of driving a destructive roadster through a robot-infested city is just plain cool -- and the gameplay has some great arcade elements that help it stand out. 

However, there are a few aspects of Steel Rats that could be tweaked or changed completely, especially in the controls department. If a future update includes button configuration, Steel Rats would become a completely different game. Couple this hiccup with the game's weak enemy design, where basically every Junkbot is a smaller or larger version of the last, and the experience can devolve into arduous repetition at times. 

If you get frustrated with difficult-to-master or awkward controls, you should skip this one. But if you love a real challenge, Steel Rats is an easy purchase.

[Note: The developer provided the copy of Steel Rats used for this review.]

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Amazon Reveals Release Date for Sunset Overdrive on PC https://www.gameskinny.com/hahzu/amazon-reveals-release-date-for-sunset-overdrive-on-pc https://www.gameskinny.com/hahzu/amazon-reveals-release-date-for-sunset-overdrive-on-pc Mon, 12 Nov 2018 13:24:49 -0500 William R. Parks

While Microsoft has remained quiet about a PC version of 2014's Sunset Overdrive, a SteamDB listing and an ESRB rating for a PC release have fueled fan excitement over the last weeks.

Now, Amazon has further confirmed Sunset Overdrive's desktop arrival, launching a pre-order page that gives the game a November 16 release date.

Amazon indicates that the release will include both of the game's DLCs, Mystery of Mooil Rig and Dawn of the Rise of the Fallen Machine, as well as the post-release Weapon Pack that added four new guns to the game.

All of this will be available for $19.99.

Overdrive is an action-packed third-person shooter focused on keeping the player moving. Do not expect a quiet stroll through the park here -- if you plan on surviving, you will need to hit top speeds as you zip line, parkour, and grind your way through Sunset City.

Developed by Insomniac Games, fans of their recent Spider-Man will find a lot to love in the high-speed thrills Overdrive has to offer. And, if you have been waiting for something to take you back to the classic Jet Set Radio, this may be the perfect game for you.

Now, if only Microsoft would get behind Insomniac's desire to put out a sequel, we would have something to really be excited about.

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New Game Releases: Week of November 11, 2018 https://www.gameskinny.com/7vek1/new-game-releases-week-of-november-11-2018 https://www.gameskinny.com/7vek1/new-game-releases-week-of-november-11-2018 Mon, 12 Nov 2018 10:59:27 -0500 William R. Parks

Following a relatively quiet week for new AAA releases, studios are coming out swinging with some major titles this week.

On Tuesday, IO Interactive is back with Hitman 2 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, the seventh title in the series and a direct sequel to 2016's Hitman.

For those unfamiliar with the franchise (and who cannot glean the premise from the game's vague title), Hitman 2 puts players in the shoes of Agent 47, a killer-for-hire. As with Hitman, the sequel functions as a sandbox game, setting players loose in six unique (and massive) locales as they decide how they will reach and execute their targets.

If you have been hankering for more stealth murder, Hitman 2 promises an updated and expanded Hitman experience. And if you have never dipped your toes into the series, this new releases looks to be an excellent entry point.

On Wednesday, Bethesda's multiplayer RPG Fallout 76 comes to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Set in a fictionalized West Virginia, 76 is an online-only open-world entry, and it boasts a map four times larger than Fallout 4. While many aspect of the game may prove familiar to fans of the franchise, the emphasis on multiplayer, the absence of NPCs, and alterations to the series' notable SPECIAL and VATS systems means this going to be a title not quite like any other from the series.

While reactions to 76's B.E.T.A. appear mixed, it is difficult to have a full understanding of exactly how the game will function until the general public is let loose on its servers. I am certainly curious to see how things will unfold.

And on Friday, Pokemon comes to Nintendo's newest console with Pokemon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! for Switch.

Let's Go is an updated version of 1998's Pokemon Yellow with modernized gameplay. For instance, Pokemon will now be visible on the game's map, allowing players to approach them directly rather than engage them through random encounters.

Additionally, Let's Go has integration with Pokemon Go, allowing trainers to transfer first gen Pokemon from the mobile game to their Switch. While this integration is optional, if you are looking to catch Meltan, a new mythic, in Let's Go, you will need to transfer at least one Pokemon from Go first.

What are you looking at for this week? Let us know in the comments below, and here is a more complete list of this week's releases.

Tuesday, November 13
  • Hitman 2 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
  • The Room 3 (PC)
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider - The Forge DLC (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
  • SNK 40th Anniversary Collection (Switch)
  • Spyro Reignited Trilogy (PS4, Xbox One)
Wednesday, November 14
  • Fallout 76 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Thursday, November 15
  • Underworld Ascendant (PC)
Friday, November 16
  • Civilization 6 (Switch)
  • Pokemon: Let's Go, Pikachu! & Let's Go, Eevee! (Switch)
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Hitman 2 Review: Engineered Rampages Have Never Been so Fun https://www.gameskinny.com/ih21u/hitman-2-review-engineered-rampages-have-never-been-so-fun https://www.gameskinny.com/ih21u/hitman-2-review-engineered-rampages-have-never-been-so-fun Mon, 12 Nov 2018 10:57:30 -0500 Tim White

Hitman 2 is more like the biggest expansion pack of all time than a truly new game. That's not a bad thing, as long as you know what you're getting into. It's essentially a half-dozen (enormous) new missions for 2016's Hitman; you can play those original missions right in Hitman 2, even if you don't own the original.

Story

Most fans of the Hitman series have probably never been drawn primarily by the writing. It's never been bad—it's just not the central focus or main appeal of the games. Agent 47 is usually either working for or running from one super-secret international shadow organization or another, and it's no different this time around.

You'll unravel hints of a new conspiracy in the first mission and gradually learn more about it through five more that will fill 47's (fake) passport with stamps from Miami, Columbia, and several other beautiful locations.

I'm essentially not factoring the story into my rating of Hitman 2, for better or worse. It serves its function as a reason for 47 to move from one location to another; that's about all it's good for.

Gameplay

The main reason the Hitman series has been so successful is a simple one: it's really, really fun to find a hundred different ways to kill somebody. The 2016 Hitman reboot took lethal creativity to new heights, turning players loose in some of the biggest and most intricate environments the franchise had ever seen.

If you thought those levels were big, you're in for a real treat this time around.

Let me describe the sheer size of Hitman 2's missions this way. I write for a living. I've written dozens, if not hundreds of game guides since the PS2 days. I've got a pretty efficient system for writing guides for games as I'm playing them—it doesn't take me all that much longer than simply playing the game for enjoyment.

This morning, I spent six hours exploring a single mission, taking notes and screenshots. When I decided to wrap it up for the day, I'd discovered 17% of the content in that mission—in six hours. The sheer volume of stuff to find and do is staggering. As long as you find it entertaining to set up elaborate assassinations, sneak around in disguise, or simply blow everything up, Hitman 2 will keep you busy for a long time.

Within the first three missions, assassination opportunities include but are not limited to: sabotaging vehicles, shoving targets off rooftops and balconies, crushing them under ludicrously heavy objects, feeding them to hippopotamuses, feeding them into heavy machinery, feeding them to piranhas, burying them alive in wet cement, and programming killer robots to shoot them.

This list barely scratches the surface, and these are just the unique opportunistic kills—you can always shoot, blow up, choke, stab, or poison anybody at any time. Completing assignments skillfully (i.e. smoothly and quietly) will unlock new weapons, gear, disguises, and insertion points, giving you even more options for next time.

Don't get me wrong, the core gameplay loop is really fun and enormously satisfying. But in a way, Hitman 2's greatest strength can also be its biggest weakness. There are, after all, only so many ways to kill people.

There's a real risk that Hitman 2 will overstay its welcome before you even finish all the missions, especially if you're a completionist reluctant to move to the next level until you've fully cleared the current one.

I recommend not doing what I'm doing (completing every single challenge in every level), at least not the first time through. It'll eventually get old for all but the most die-hard fans. Play each mission two or three times, try out a handful of assassinations that look the most fun to you, and then move on. If you're still hungry for more after you clear each mission, you can always replay them later.

Multiplayer

Almost every game has some sort of multiplayer component nowadays. Frankly, I don't think it belongs in Hitman games, but I gave it a whirl anyway.

As of right now, there's only one mode, called "Ghosts." To be blunt, it's dumb. You and one other player race to kill the same target using limited weapons and equipment.

The first one to kill the target scores a point, but if your opponent also kills (a different version of) the target within twenty seconds, they cancel out your point. What all this means is that you both spend a very long time canceling each other's points and keeping the score eternally at 0-0. It's not worth spending any time on.

Visuals

Hitman 2 is quite pretty to look at, especially considering how gargantuan some of the maps are. IO Interactive easily could have phoned it in and copy-pasted the same areas over and over, making only minor changes, but no two areas of any map are even close to identical.

From lush jungles to packed race tracks to the markets of Mumbai at sunset, the game's settings are just as diverse visually as they are mechanically. Though Hitman 2's gameplay might eventually get boring, its artwork never will.

 

Sound & Music

Hitman 2 is a quiet game. I assume that's intentional; it's easier to track moving targets, sneak effectively, and stay focused on a dozen different things if you're not bombarded by noise. The music during stealth/non-alert sections is intense but mellow, creating a sense of mild urgency without panic.

I can't comment extensively on battle music or on many of the weapon sound effects—I strongly prefer to take Hitman games slow and steady, so I rarely found myself in open conflict. On the few occasions when I found it unavoidable, I appreciated the deep, sharp crack of unsuppressed gunshots and the dramatic soundtrack that accompanies them.

Most of the voice acting is grade A, with only a few minor characters giving performances bad enough to be distracting. 47's usual deadpan monotone is the same as always, but in a few scenes, he steps it up considerably in order to impersonate someone or bluff his way past some guards. It's a shame that these scenes are so uncommon; an assassin of 47's skill would surely be a social chameleon, and it would be nice to hear him take on a wider variety of personas.

Performance

Hitman 2 is exceedingly well optimized, particularly in light of the fact that we live in a time when many developers seem content to release unfinished games and patch them later—if ever.

The game consistently maintained frame rates of 70+ on Ultra settings while running on a GTX 1080 and an i-7700 Skylake processor. This level of performance is even more impressive when you consider that most of the maps have hundreds, maybe even thousands of NPCs, all of whom move around and do stuff even when you're not close to them.

The load times are superb, never running longer than about five seconds on a Samsung 1TB solid state drive.

Unfortunately, it's not all good news. Like its predecessor, Hitman 2 requires an active internet connection at all times. This is, in a word, obnoxious. Your save data is effectively held hostage; you can't access it while offline. I understand that it's an anti-piracy measure, and I fully support content creators protecting their work, but there really are better ways to do it.

Verdict: 8/10

The Highlights

Pros
+ Excellent level design
+ Tons of enjoyable assassinations
+ Top-shelf optimization and performance

Cons
– Always-online requirement for single player
– Almost too much content, might get boring
– Lackluster, boring, tacked-on multiplayer

When sequels are described as "more of the same," that's usually a bad thing, but not in this case. Hitman 2 is really just season two of Hitman, but it's so big and interesting that I didn't mind. Fans of stealth, exploration, and jaw-dropping violence will find a lot to love here—as long as the clumsy DRM isn't a complete deal-breaker.

Note: the reviewer received a copy of this game for free from the publisher.

Check out our Hitman 2 guide hub for in-depth guides and more content!

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Hitman 2: 100% Challenges Guide (Nightcall) https://www.gameskinny.com/tqbdq/hitman-2-100-challenges-guide-nightcall https://www.gameskinny.com/tqbdq/hitman-2-100-challenges-guide-nightcall Sun, 11 Nov 2018 11:43:06 -0500 Tim White

Each of Hitman 2's missions offers a wide variety of opportunities to inflict creative carnage, but not all of them are easy to uncover. Unlocking 100% of the available challenges in a mission will require patience and planning across several runs.

Note: Each 100% challenge completion guide in this series will only cover mission-specific Assassinations, Feats, and Discoveries. "Classic" challenges are the same across all missions and are straightforward in nature, so they won't be covered here. These guides also assume you've played through the mission at least once and have a basic knowledge of the map and objectives. Since there is a good deal of overlap between many Assassinations and Feats, these guides will offer suggestions on how to complete several at once wherever possible.

Nightcall Discoveries

There are four Discovery challenges in this mission.

WOOD YOU BELIEVE IT? - Find the "driftwood" weapon

You can find several pieces of driftwood on the beach; there's a convenient one near the ruined boathouse due south of the house.

UNDER THE MAT - Find the hidden house key

The hidden house key can be found in this white vase next to the pool (shoot it). Note that the key only unlocks the door right next to it.

DON'T TREAD ON ME - Find a squeaky toy

The squeaky toy can be found behind the bathtub in the second floor bathroom. Another can be found on the floor next to Alma's bed.

DISCOVER HAWKE'S BAY - uncover all map areas

There are six map areas to discover in this mission:

  • Ruined boathouse (on the beach near the default starting location)
  • House exterior
  • House exterior, roof
  • House interior, main floor
  • House interior, second floor/master bedroom
  • House interior, panic room

Nightcall Feats

There are eleven Feats in this mission. Some of them are fairly specific, while others can be completed in a number of ways.

CHAMELEON - Acquire all disguises

There's only one disguise available in this mission, and it can be claimed from any of Alma's bodyguards (except for Orson or the "guard captain," the guy standing next to her when she first enters the house). If you hide in her bedroom as soon as she arrives and wait a bit, a bodyguard will come in shortly and make a convenient target of himself.

NO RUNNING ON THE TILES - Push someone into the pool

Once Alma and her goons come home, one guard will take up a post just outside the door to the pool at the back of the house. Toss a coin as close as possible to the edge of the pool. When he goes to pick it up, cross another Feat off your list. (Beware the patrolling guard who also sometimes comes into the pool area—don't let him see you wax his buddy.)

TASTELESS, TRACELESS - Kill a mission target with poison

There are a number of ways to do this one, and it's one of the five requirements for completing the VERSATILE ASSASSIN Feat. In any case, you need to first retrieve the lethal poison from the second floor bathroom medicine cabinet, which you'll need a lockpick to open. You can find one in the panic room, or bring one in your initial loadout if you've unlocked it.

Once you've got the poison, you can put it in the honey that Alma will eventually put in her tea...

...or you can sneak up to the roof and hide from the guards until Alma goes into the second floor bathroom to brush her teeth. Use the poison on the bathroom air vent to eliminate her; this will also complete the SMELLS LIKE NAIL POLISH challenge.

A third option is to throw a frag grenade on top of the bathroom skylight while she's brushing her teeth (make sure it doesn't kill one of the guards). This will drive Alma and Orson into the panic room, at which point you can use the poison on the panic room vent instead. This will also complete the LIKE FISH IN A BARREL challenge.

ORSON BATHES - Kill Orson with a kitchen knife while he showers

This one is relatively simple. Grab the kitchen knife from the kitchen before Alma and her entourage return home, then stash yourself in the laundry basket in her bedroom and wait. Get comfy, it will be a while.

Wait until Alma and Orson start to get ready for bed; Orson will shower while Alma brushes her teeth. Sneak through the closet and you'll come out right behind the shower stall. You can either stab Orson at close range or throw the knife at him from the closet doorway; the latter is louder and will likely alert Alma, but I nonetheless found it easier to avoid detection this way.

DEATH OF A STATESMAN - Kill Orson by poisoning his whiskey

Since there's only one dose of lethal poison in this mission, you can't do this and poison Alma in the same run. It's easy to pull off, though; use the poison on the glass of whiskey in the master bedroom, then hide in the laundry basket nearby and wait a while.

I recommend also closing the blinds in this room so nobody outside sees the mayhem you'll cause a bit later.

After Orson showers and Alma brushes her teeth, Orson will do some weird sit-ups while Alma goes outside on the balcony. Once he joins her, go hide behind the couch.

The two of them will chat outside for a bit. Orson comes back inside first, but Alma follows soon after, so you need to be quick here. As soon as he drinks the whiskey, drag his body behind the couch such that Alma won't see it when she comes back in—you only have about 3-5 seconds to do this.

STRAIGHT SHOT - Kill a mission target with a headshot

This counts for VERSATILE ASSASSIN and can be done in just about any way you please, but if you want to do it quietly, it's best accomplished right after completing DEATH OF A STATESMAN. Once Alma turns the lights off, no guards will come into her room again, so you can shoot her in the head whenever you like. (Hide the body afterward, because there's a chance one of the roof guards might see her through the skylight.)

If you're looking to be as efficient as possible, simply completing the MR. SANDMAN Feat will satisfy this requirement as well. You can also complete the Assassination challenges LIKE FISH IN A BARREL or A CLEAN KILL by shooting her in the head (through the skylight of the panic room, in the former case).

SOMEONE COULD HURT THEMSELVES - Kill a mission target via an accident kill

Nightcall contains fewer accident kill opportunities than most of the other missions do—I've outlined two possibilities here. An accident kill is also a requirement for VERSATILE ASSASSIN.

The easiest way to do this is to use emetic rat poison on the honey before Alma comes home, then hide in this closet outside the first floor bathroom and wait for her to drink the tea.

Once she enters the bathroom to puke her guts out, sneak up behind her and drown her in the toilet to complete this challenge and HOLD MY HAIR at the same time. Oddly enough, this still counts as an accident even if you hide her body afterward.

You can also complete this Feat by waiting until just before Alma goes to bed, then pushing her over the balcony railing while she leans on it to talk to the guards below. It's very difficult to do this without being detected, but if you can manage it (perhaps by throwing something behind the guards so they turn around), it will count as an accident.

PIANO MAN and/or HOLD MY HAIR - Kill Alma with the fiber wire/by drowning her

Both of these Feats are required for VERSATILE ASSASSIN and are easily accomplished by luring Alma into the bathroom after using emetic rat poison on the honey as described above. Once she stars throwing up, you're perfectly positioned to drown or garrote her, which will check off HOLD MY HAIR or PIANO MAN, respectively.

MR. SANDMAN - Kill Alma with a headshot from the roof while she's sleeping

This Feat requires the least work, but the most patience. Simply head up to the roof as soon as the gang gets home and wait until she goes to bed and falls asleep, which takes 5-10 minutes. Shoot her in the head through the skylight and you're done. If you care about doing this quietly, you may want to kill Orson and hide his body before Alma goes to bed. Completing this Feat also satisfies STRAIGHT SHOT and will count toward VERSATILE ASSASSIN.

VERSATILE ASSASSIN - Complete five other specified Feats

To complete this one, you need to do all five of the following:

  • TASTELESS, TRACELESS
  • SOMEONE COULD HURT THEMSELVES
  • PIANO MAN
  • HOLD MY HAIR
  • STRAIGHT SHOT

Nightcall Assassination Challenges

There are five Assassination challenges in this mission.

SUGAR, HONEY, HONEY - Kill Alma by poisoning her tea

Use the lethal poison on the honey in the kitchen, then wait for Alma to drink the tea. This is the only way to complete this challenge, as she never eats or drinks anything else.

LIKE FISH IN A BARREL - Kill Alma from the roof while she's in the panic room

It can be tricky to drive Alma into the panic room; sometimes she will run for one of the vehicles outside, or simply summon all her guards to kill you. I've found that the most reliable method is to wait until she's brushing her teeth, then throw a single frag grenade on top of the bathroom skylight.

Once she's in the panic room, you can kill her any way you like: by shooting her through the glass, with a proximity mine placed ahead of time, or by poisoning the panic room vent with lethal poison. Get creative.

SMELLS LIKE NAIL POLISH - Kill Alma by sabotaging the bathroom vent system

Simply use lethal poison on the bathroom vent as described in the TASTELESS, TRACELESS section above.

A CLEAN KILL - Kill Alma while Orson is in the shower

This can be done in any way you like, as long as Orson is in the shower at the time.

SLEEP TIGHT - Kill Alma by smothering her in her sleep

If you care about doing this quietly, you may want to kill or subdue Orson and hide his body before Alma goes to bed. Once she does, simply sneak over to her and follow the prompt.

There you have it! It will take several runs, but you now know all you need to know in order to fully complete Nightcall.

Keep an eye out for more Hitman 2 guides right here on GameSkinny as we get them posted.

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HellSign Early Access Beginner's Guide To Clues And Monster Hunting https://www.gameskinny.com/0bpx1/hellsign-early-access-beginners-guide-to-clues-and-monster-hunting https://www.gameskinny.com/0bpx1/hellsign-early-access-beginners-guide-to-clues-and-monster-hunting Sun, 11 Nov 2018 11:05:56 -0500 Ty Arthur

Paranormal investigation ARPG HellSign has finally hit Early Access, which means its time to start searching haunted houses for clues while avoiding grisly death at the hands of ghouls, shadow beasts, giant spiders, and other unpleasant creatures.

Having a hard time figuring out how to survive and make money as a scout? We've got you covered with a full run down on getting all the clues and making it out alive!

Important Note: All of the info below is based on the 0.0.0.1 update after the initial launch of Early Access. Things are expected to change radically as development progresses. If you notice anything out of date or wrong, please let us know so we can update the article with new info!

Finding Clues

When searching for clues in a scouting mission, note that sometimes the clues are outside the house in the surrounding area (like the second EMF clue in the tutorial mission)

The best way to tackle each house is to sweep a room with your gun out in case enemies appear, then quickly switch to the EMF to hear if an object is nearby. If there's no sound, put the EMF away.

If there's a corpse in the room, pull out the blacklight and check for a blood trail. If there isn't one, switch to the gun again. Repeat the process with each room to most efficiently search a house in minimal time.

Using The Black Light

In theory, the black light should always start at a dead body and lead through a blood trail to a clue on the floor near where the trail ends. In execution, not every body has a blood trail, and sometimes the object isn't anywhere close to where the trail ends.

Don't forget the blood trail leads both directions. If you can't find the object at the end of the trail, go back to the body and search all the objects around it, as the body may be the end of the trail rather than the beginning.

This lack of clarity is particularly frustrating in the opening tutorial mission, as the final black light clue isn't outside where you use the EMF meter. Instead, the second black light tutorial clue is found back inside the house and doesn't have a blood trail at all.

To complete the tutorial, just use the black light on every object in the house (closets, drawers, paintings, etc.) until you hit the random object that has the clue.

The developer is currently compiling a list of issues with the black light and need info and screenshots to resolve the problems. If you've got a specific issue being unable to find a black light clue or where you can't see blood splatter, head over here and log a report.

Accessing Locked Rooms

Many players are reporting problems finding the last clue in a house, and that clue is usually behind locked doors.

This isn't explained anywhere in the game, but you actually can enter the locked rooms, and they aren't permanently closed by poltergeists.

You just have to upgrade to any weapon besides the nailgun. Hold right click with the weapon selected and aim at the doorknob to blow off the lock and enter the room. You'll know you have the aim right when a white circle appears.

Finding All Clues

Keep in mind that you can't always find every clue in a house with the basic starting equipment of all the game's classes.

Some clues require more than the EMF meter and black light. When you select a location to scout, the summary on the right lists what equipment is required to find all clues, with the parabolic mic frequently needed in addition to the starting equipment.

Combat

First and foremost -- in the early stages of the game you aren't meant to complete a full scouting mission and get every clue in a house. The enemies are too overpowering with your current equipment.

If you die constantly, just grab a single clue, then go back to your van and leave. Sell the clue to the fixer at the bar, then repeat the process again on another scouting mission.

When you have enough cash, go buy a better weapon before trying to seriously tackle the combat. The Poor Man's Colt is one of the best starting weapons to buy, as it deals enough damage to take out spiders in a single shot but can be purchased fairly early.

If you find you just absolutely cannot survive the early monster encounters, start over and pick the Stalker class, as you begin the game with a shotgun instead of the revolver.

Finally, remember that finding multiple clues in a house and using them in your Cryptonomicon gives you bonuses against enemies in the area, which will be a necessity to surviving the bigger creatures and the bosses.

Poltergeist

The game again doesn't tell you this, but the powerful poltergeist attack can in fact be dodged! It seems like an unavoidable cut scene, but it isn't.

When the screen shakes, wait for an object in the room to rise up in the air, then dodge roll just before it flies at you and breaks. This saves you a ton of health for the rest of the house.

Spiders

These are the bane of your existence until you figure out the wonky combat due to their skittering movement that makes aiming impossible.

To more easily manage the spiders, dodge roll away into an area with only one tight entrance, like a hallway, bathroom, or an outside area with a short deck. They will pop out one by one, and can easily be dispatched by aiming at the ground.

Centipede

For the centipede, note that he can crawl under closed doors, so there's no point in trying to lure him into a tight space.

Look for an area where you aren't going to get stuck on a door or overturned piece of furniture. When he approaches, listen for the sound of his body cracking like a whip, as that's the exact moment you need to dodge roll away to avoid taking damage.

It's best to get off a single shot before dodge rolling, then wait for the centipede to run away and come back. Shooting while he's fleeing is just a waste of bullets in most cases.

---

Those are all the basics you need to know to get started and begin investigating areas on your own in the first chapter of the game!

Do you have any other combat or clue tips we missed? Sound off and let us know your strategy in the comments below!

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The Blackout Club Early Access Impressions: Close Your Eyes and Hope https://www.gameskinny.com/ppqzf/the-blackout-club-early-access-impressions-close-your-eyes-and-hope https://www.gameskinny.com/ppqzf/the-blackout-club-early-access-impressions-close-your-eyes-and-hope Sun, 11 Nov 2018 10:34:28 -0500 RobertPIngram

Nothing is more certain to draw gripes and groans out of seasoned gamers than a tutorial level, so when you come across one which isn’t just tolerable, but truly terrifying and engrossing, it’s the sign of great things.

Unfortunately, the early access version of The Blackout Club doesn’t quite live up to the expectations its opening act sets. On the other hand, while the game’s current state is no doubt flawed, much of the games biggest issues have been openly admitted and addressed by developers, meaning it’s likely they will be worked on before the final version hits the market.

If the limited version available so far is any indication, expect The Blackout Club to deliver when the last tweaks are made.

Nope. Nope, nope, nope

The prologue tutorial is truly a spectacular effort. It’s hard to oversell how effectively it sets the mood. The game quickly establishes that strange things are afoot with the adults in town, and it has fallen on the kids to get to the bottom of it. I won't say too much about what happens in the tutorial, as it's best to experience it yourself with as clean of a slate as possible.

Going through the process of learning about your character’s basic actions doesn’t feel like a chore, because the implementation keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. Every new action comes with its own garnish of the games unique brand of terror.

Close Your Eyes and Look For Me

More specifically, that terror is The Shape, the game’s big bad, who can only be seen when you close your eyes. It’s a simple game mechanic, but a diabolical one.

Closing your eyes is only made more eerie by the game’s rather unappealing representation of the inside of your own eyelids. Unfortunately, as excellently as it is implemented in the prologue, it falls flat in the game.

Most often, the only time you’ll close your eyes to see The Shape is when it’s attacking one of your friends. When you’re the one in the crosshairs, running away as fast as you can almost always feels like the preferable option once The Shape is at all close. There's simply no time to waste closing your eyes, then turning around to see if you're still being chased, because if the answer is yes you just gave up so much ground.

This loss of tension is a common issue so far with the multi-player main story mode. While the prologue plays as a moody, creepy horror game, the main game feels more like an action game with stealth mechanics. Hopefully as development continues they will find a way to bring that tension over into the rest of the game.

Hardcore Parkour

The kids in The Blackout Club are all highly adept at vaulting themselves great distances and climbing fences and rooftops. Unfortunately, their efforts are often hindered by some clunky controls.

More than one of our nearly-successful missions came undone when a player couldn’t manage to successfully mount one of the game’s awkward ladders while in the midst of a hasty retreat, leading to an untimely introduction to The Shape, either directly or by way of one of The Shape's adult servants dragging their victim to the feared red doors.

Future Expansions Will Do Wonders for Replayability

One of the biggest draw backs to The Blackout Club in its current state is an issue sure to be rectified through further development. The developers have already made it clear that the current map will be extended significantly when all is said and done, and that will provide a huge boost to the game.

As is understandable given a plot which revolves around a group of school kids exploring their own neighborhood, your missions all take place in the same map. While enemies and perks are procedurally generated to create variety, there’s only so many times you can head out into the same homes and the same caves before it feels a bit too samey.

This is compounded by the current release lacking variety of missions. While there are ostensibly differences between the small sampling of possible tasks assigned on a given night, at the end of the day they all play out in a similar routine: find the target item or person, interact with it, and get the heck out of Dodge. Although there is plenty of tension to be mined from sneaking around, I look forward to tweaks to the formula for some missions in later releases to keep gameplay fresh.

The World Needs More Co-Op Stealth Games

The surface level view of The Blackout Club is of a mash-up of multiple beloved properties -- the team-based horror of Left 4 Dead; the mood of Stranger Things; and the aesthetic of Bioshock, which comes by way of developer Question's prior experience with the series.

Those don’t tell the whole tale, however, as the heavy focus on stealth adds a powerful element of its own. Sneaking around as a team is, quite simply, fun, and led to some hilarious and satisfying moments. During one particularly tense mission, a teammate held down one of the “lucid” enemies, while I attempted to set up a trap if he followed, only to accidentally knock the baddie out cold immediately.

If this were a game where defeated foes could simply be killed and forgotten, we’d have never had that moment. The tension of sneaking also led to several great surprises, like a teammate playing scout on a rooftop only to find themselves nabbed by The Shape themselves.

Get Me Out of Here

If you’re considering picking up the game in early access, and at a discounted rate it’s certainly worth considering if this sounds like your type of game, be prepared for glitches.

In addition to the above-mentioned issues with controls, we also experienced some clipping issues. In one particularly funny moment of I fell victim to instant karma. While trying to steal the grappling hook my buddy had used to get our team into an upstairs window, I suddenly found myself stuck on the ledge, unable to enter or exit. After a couple of minutes of hopping, crouching, leaning and more, I had succeeded in getting embedded firmly within the walls.

I was so removed from the game during this ordeal that even when my teammate led an entire procession of enemies out the window in hopes they would wrench me off toward a door, I watched as they barrelled right past me out the window after him.

None of this should be a surprise with Early Access, but if you’re dropping down the money now and expecting a flawless experience, you’re in for disappointment.

A Strong Start, With Room to Improve

The Blackout Club is not a flawless effort -- yet. Although it struggles with some of the expected bumps and bruises which come with Early Access, and the developers haven’t yet figured out how to bring the magic of the prologue into the main game, there’s still a lot to like here.

The game isn’t a must-buy quite yet if you're on the fence, but if it sounds like your type of game, you could do a lot worse than to get in on the Early Access rate and try it out now while you wait for the full edition to arrive in 2019.

[Note: Writer was granted a copy of the game from the publisher.]

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