Playstation Platform RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Playstation RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Fortnite's New Infinity Blade is Getting Nerfed [UPDATE: Now Vaulted] https://www.gameskinny.com/ah0bv/fortnites-new-infinity-blade-is-getting-nerfed-update-now-vaulted https://www.gameskinny.com/ah0bv/fortnites-new-infinity-blade-is-getting-nerfed-update-now-vaulted Fri, 14 Dec 2018 13:51:27 -0500 William R. Parks

[UPDATE 12/14/15: Epic has taken to Twitter to announce that the Infinity Blade is now Vaulted, and the company is currently "re-evaluating" its approach to Mythic items.]

Original story: 

Earlier this week, Fortnite's newest melee weapon, the Infinity Blade, was added to the popular battle royale game mode. Unfortunately, the release of this powerful sword has not been received well, with a vocal portion of the player base calling for an immediate nerf.

Epic has responded by outlining changes that will be coming to the weapon in an upcoming patch.

These changes are focused on increasing the risk of wielding the Infinity Blade, and, after patch V7.10, Fortnite players will no longer be able to build or harvest with the weapon in their inventory. "By taking away the ability to harvest/build we hope to tune the Infinity Blade to where it feels risky to have, but still satisfying to wield," Epic's announcement on Reddit states.

The Infinity Blade is currently the only Mythic item available in battle royale. Mythic items are a step above the game's Legendary items, and this power increase can certainly be felt with the new melee weapon.

Not only will players find that they are dealing devastating damage with the Mythic sword, it also boosts mobility and comes with some extremely powerful effects. Specifically, players that are wielding the weapon receive an increase to their health and shield pools, regenerate health over time, and get health and speed boosts whenever they kill an opponent.

This is a deadly combination, and while only one player is able to obtain the Infinity Blade per match, the weapon is having a great deal of effect on Fortnite. While Epic's proposed changes may reduce this impact, some players are wondering why the weapon is not simply relegated to a Limited Time Mode (LTM).

In a previous LTM, players attempted to locate yet another Mythic item, the Infinity Gauntlet, which would give them powerful abilities and transform them into the supervillain Thanos. The goal of this game mode was to be the last Thanos standing, and some players are citing this as a perfect structure for an Infinity Blade-based LTM.

That said, Epic has indicated that it is committed to including Mythic items in Fortnite's battle royale mode going forward. Following the initial implementation of the Infinity Blade, this may come as troubling news to some fans. However, it is clear that the company has its eye on balancing Mythic items, and perhaps a solution can be found that does not require removing the Infinity Blade in full.

Epic's full announcement can be found on Reddit.

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Fortnite's Cross-Platform Services Offered Freely to Developers https://www.gameskinny.com/y1saj/fortnites-cross-platform-services-offered-freely-to-developers https://www.gameskinny.com/y1saj/fortnites-cross-platform-services-offered-freely-to-developers Fri, 14 Dec 2018 10:17:43 -0500 William R. Parks

As multiplayer gaming continues to exponentially grow in popularity, the ability for players to play their favorite titles with friends, regardless of their preferred platform, is becoming increasingly important. Fortunately for players that are dreaming of more pervasive cross-play support, a recent announcement from Epic, the developers behind Fortnite, suggests that their dreams may be one step closer to reality.

Specifically, Epic is making portions of its cross-platform game services free to all developers. These services, which are the foundation of Fortnite's cross-play support, will begin their rollout in 2019, and they will be "open to all engines, all platforms, and all stores."

Furthermore, the company emphasizes that developers are free to take the portions of the online services that fit their needs and that all services are operated under GDPR compliance.

Epic's announcement offers further insight into the release of these services:

The service launch will begin with a C SDK encapsulating our online services, together with Unreal Engine and Unity integrations. We’ll start with a core set of features and expand over time.

Developers will begin seeing these core features made available during the second quarter of 2019. This includes the ability for supported games to recognize friends and acquired items (such as cosmetics) across PC, Mac, iOS, Android, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch. 

Then, in the third quarter, Epic will be making cross-platform voice communication available as well as trophies and the beginnings of the requisite support for matchmaking across the seven major platforms.

"The services described above are just our first steps," Epic's announcement reads. "As you can see from our game and engine efforts, we’re also working on further support for user-generated content, enhanced social features, anti-cheat, and more."

Between this announcement and the launch of the Epic Games Store, a digital distribution platform with a focus on increasing developers' revenue, it is clear that Epic is committed to turning the success of Fortnite into an opportunity for other developers. This sentiment is specifically reflected in this new announcement, as it states that the company's goal is to "help game developers succeed."

While clearly these new offerings are not completely selfless acts, and some have already leveled criticisms at the Epic Games Store for locking developers into exclusive distribution deals, many small game makers are certain to benefit greatly from them. These freely available cross-platform game services may not guarantee that all multiplayer gaming has full cross-play support moving forward, however, they will make it an option for studios that could never have considered it previously.

Epic's full announcement is available on the company's blog.

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Fortnite: How to Complete All the Season 7, Week 2 Challenges https://www.gameskinny.com/3mqxj/fortnite-how-to-complete-all-the-season-7-week-2-challenges https://www.gameskinny.com/3mqxj/fortnite-how-to-complete-all-the-season-7-week-2-challenges Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:47:07 -0500 William R. Parks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Get the Infinity Blade in Fortnite https://www.gameskinny.com/px1uk/how-to-get-the-infinity-blade-in-fortnite https://www.gameskinny.com/px1uk/how-to-get-the-infinity-blade-in-fortnite Thu, 13 Dec 2018 10:32:21 -0500 Oscar Gonzalez

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

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

 

The Blade Is Mightier Than the Gun

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

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

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

The Sword in the Stone

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

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

The exact location is marked on the map below. 

Survive the Bum Rush 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gimme That Sword!

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

Getting the Blade Tip 1

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

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

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

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

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

Getting the Blade Tip 2

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

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

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

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

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

Getting the Blade Tip 3

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

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

---

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

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

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

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Hitman 2 Gets New Contracts, Escalations, and an Elusive Target https://www.gameskinny.com/rxb01/hitman-2-gets-new-contracts-escalations-and-an-elusive-target https://www.gameskinny.com/rxb01/hitman-2-gets-new-contracts-escalations-and-an-elusive-target Thu, 13 Dec 2018 10:06:15 -0500 William R. Parks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Battlefield 5 Gets Its First Post-Release TTK Changes https://www.gameskinny.com/79yn1/battlefield-5-gets-its-first-post-release-ttk-changes https://www.gameskinny.com/79yn1/battlefield-5-gets-its-first-post-release-ttk-changes Wed, 12 Dec 2018 20:35:14 -0500 William R. Parks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What the FTC's Loot Box Investigation Could Mean in the U.S. https://www.gameskinny.com/hg1mc/what-the-ftcs-loot-box-investigation-could-mean-in-the-us https://www.gameskinny.com/hg1mc/what-the-ftcs-loot-box-investigation-could-mean-in-the-us Wed, 12 Dec 2018 20:23:12 -0500 Gabriella Graham

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

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

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

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

Gateway Transactions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Talk about laying it on thick.

A Point of Contention

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why the Definition Matters

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

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

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

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

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

They include:

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

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

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

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

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Obsidian Dishes Out New Info on The Outer Worlds, Promises No Microtransactions https://www.gameskinny.com/6ikuo/obsidian-dishes-out-new-info-on-the-outer-worlds-promises-no-microtransactions https://www.gameskinny.com/6ikuo/obsidian-dishes-out-new-info-on-the-outer-worlds-promises-no-microtransactions Wed, 12 Dec 2018 16:37:23 -0500 Gabriella Graham

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

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

Steam Gets a New Listing -- and Screenshots

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

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

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

Key Features in a Vibrant World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Interview with Megan Starks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hints for future game mechanics

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

Here's a list of highlights:

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

  • The game utilizes the Unreal 4 Engine.

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

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

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

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

A Shining Promise in a Sea of Loot Boxes 

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

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

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

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

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

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Fallout 76's New UltraWide Support is Not Up to Snuff https://www.gameskinny.com/aot8y/fallout-76s-new-ultrawide-support-is-not-up-to-snuff https://www.gameskinny.com/aot8y/fallout-76s-new-ultrawide-support-is-not-up-to-snuff Wed, 12 Dec 2018 15:00:42 -0500 William R. Parks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rumor: Fortnite to Be Banned in China https://www.gameskinny.com/xsgw6/rumor-fortnite-to-be-banned-in-china https://www.gameskinny.com/xsgw6/rumor-fortnite-to-be-banned-in-china Wed, 12 Dec 2018 13:25:41 -0500 William R. Parks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Desert Child Review: Sweet Ride https://www.gameskinny.com/fchyh/desert-child-review-sweet-ride https://www.gameskinny.com/fchyh/desert-child-review-sweet-ride Wed, 12 Dec 2018 12:00:02 -0500 Jeffrey Rousseau

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

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

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

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

Vroom Vroom

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

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

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

Customization and Powering Up

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

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

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

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

Life In The Big City

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

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

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

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

Being Cool For Yourself

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Zombies Mode Gets New Story and More https://www.gameskinny.com/fzhre/call-of-duty-black-ops-4s-zombies-mode-gets-new-story-and-more https://www.gameskinny.com/fzhre/call-of-duty-black-ops-4s-zombies-mode-gets-new-story-and-more Wed, 12 Dec 2018 11:09:47 -0500 William R. Parks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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8 Most Anticipated FPS Games of 2019 https://www.gameskinny.com/2lr0f/8-most-anticipated-fps-games-of-2019 https://www.gameskinny.com/2lr0f/8-most-anticipated-fps-games-of-2019 Wed, 12 Dec 2018 09:00:01 -0500 John Schutt

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

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

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/4a0e0927ad7ee439af8ef2f0af6e4446.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/4a0e0927ad7ee439af8ef2f0af6e4446.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12536","description":"

Cyberpunk 2077

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

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What have they shown so far?

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

  2. \n
  3. Fully explorable... everything

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

  6. \n
  7. CD Projekt Red's strong storytelling

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

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

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/1098351582f1586b6a7467c3819a6faf.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/1098351582f1586b6a7467c3819a6faf.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12535","description":"

DOOM Eternal

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

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

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

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

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/4fff71eecdeb9c6204f2fee93508e607.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/4fff71eecdeb9c6204f2fee93508e607.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12534","description":"

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

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

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

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Metro: Exodus

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

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

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

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

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d34099318c48cf257877588ead730ad3.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d34099318c48cf257877588ead730ad3.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12526","description":"

Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass

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

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

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

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

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/a9b6163d413dd4b4e4d9849884578174.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/a9b6163d413dd4b4e4d9849884578174.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12527","description":"

RAGE 2

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

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

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

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d308fd75082cfa08c92625d7cd58bc2e.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d308fd75082cfa08c92625d7cd58bc2e.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12525","description":"

Generation Zero

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

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

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

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/6b513c9726fd8c35d5c8d63975025c14.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/6b513c9726fd8c35d5c8d63975025c14.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12524","description":"

Halo Infinite

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

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

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

\n

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

"},{"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/c/y/b/cyberpunk-6a568.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/c/y/b/cyberpunk-6a568.jpg","type":"slide","id":"192260","description":"

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

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

"}]]]>
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Update Brings Big Changes to Blackout https://www.gameskinny.com/3j5tn/call-of-duty-black-ops-4-update-brings-big-changes-to-blackout https://www.gameskinny.com/3j5tn/call-of-duty-black-ops-4-update-brings-big-changes-to-blackout Tue, 11 Dec 2018 15:06:59 -0500 William R. Parks

In late November, Treyarch's Studio Design Director David Vonderhaar indicated that changes were coming to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's battle royale game mode, Blackout. Now, with today's "Operation Absolute Zero" update, fans are learning more about what exactly these changes are, and there are indeed quite a few.

Amongst them are updates to Blackout's map, something fans have been inquiring about since the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. This includes some seasonal changes such as a "softer winter lighting," as well as environmental details that will more concretely establish the boundaries of the map.

However, the most impactful of the map's changes are likely to be an increase in the number of areas that can be explored in Blackout. The Hydro Dam, Factory, and Nuketown Island all have had previously closed buildings opened for players to enter, and new structures have been added that will allow for these areas to be navigated in different ways.

Treyarch has also tweaked Blackout's audio "with the goal of creating more predictability around when a player can hear another player’s footsteps." This manifests as the addition of an audio filter that will muffle sounds made by opponents that, while close, are not directly in a player's line of sight.

Furthermore, there has been a rebalancing of the distance from which players can hear opponent's footsteps as well as the opening of garages and stashes. These changes, coupled with an overall decrease to the volume of the ambient noises created by the environment, should allow players the ability to more reliably use audio cues to inform their strategies.

Players will also find that this update has completely reworked the game mode's armor system. In the past, it was common for a player's armor to be fully destroyed after a single engagement, even if they were on the winning side. Today's patch looks to change that by increasing armor durability and introducing Armor Plates, an item that can be used to repair damaged pieces.

These changes make up the majority of the update, there are some weapon tweaks (specifically, reduced SDM and Spitfire damage) and quality-of-life features that look to improve the Blackout experience. These can be seen in Treyarch's full patch notes.

While the post-launch plan for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 may not be as elaborate as it is for other new first-person shooters, Treyarch has been consistent with updates, and "Operation Absolute Zero" has a lot to offer. It may take some time for the full ramifications of today's Blackout changes to be understood, however, fans are certain to be excited to rediscover the battle royale game mode in the upcoming days.

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Fallout 76's New Update Improves CAMPs, Offers Character Re-Specs https://www.gameskinny.com/cilai/fallout-76s-new-update-improves-camps-offers-character-re-specs https://www.gameskinny.com/cilai/fallout-76s-new-update-improves-camps-offers-character-re-specs Tue, 11 Dec 2018 13:08:31 -0500 William R. Parks

Since Fallout 76's release in November, Bethesda has been hard at work attempting to correct the many problems that plague the company's new multiplayer RPG. This has manifest in a series of patches that focus on performance improvements, bug fixes, and gameplay adjustments, and this week marks yet another one of these updates.

Releasing today for PC, and on Thursday for consoles, this new patch is loaded with small tweaks that will impact many areas of Fallout 76, from its graphics to its quests. However, the most exciting aspects of the update is its focus on C.A.M.P. improvements, character re-speccing, and a number of quality-of-life improvements for those playing on PC.

C.A.M.P.'s are Fallout 76's player-made bases, and they have been a point of much frustration since the game's beginnings. While it is no problem for players to log out of the game without dismantling their C.A.M.P., if that player then logs into a server where their base's location is already occupied, issues can occur. Specifically, the C.A.M.P. of the newly logged in player will be dismantled and, sometimes, completely lost.

Bethesda has addressed this issue with this new update, as players will now be notified if their C.A.M.P.'s location is taken. These players then have the opportunity to relocate their base, at no cost, or find a new server where the original location is available.

Furthermore, small obstructions found in the landscape (rocks, trees, etc.) will no longer prevent players from building C.A.M.P. items in their locations. Instead, these world objects will simply be removed if a player attempts to build upon them.

Beyond these critical adjustment to the C.A.M.P. system, players may be excited to find that they can re-spec their characters following this update. For each level a player attains past level 50, they will now be able to decide if they want to gain a new Perk Card or re-allocate a SPECIAL point.

While some players may feel that this is a less than ideal approach to character re-speccing, considering it cannot occur prior to what amounts to Fallout 76's end-game, this is certainly a step in the right direction. For many, the Perk Card and SPECIAL systems may feel opaque as they begin their time in Appalachia, and the ability to make adjustments later is a welcome and necessary change.

Finally, PC players will be happy to find some much requested features have been added. This includes a push-to-talk hotkey that prevents players' microphones from always being active, a Field of View slider, and 21:9 resolution support.

Following last week's update, Bethesda came under fire for what players perceived as a lack of transparency in the provided patch notes. It seems that the company has taken this criticism to heart, as the the aforementioned changes are just a small portion of what is outlined in today's communication. With these frequent updates, it is clear that Bethesda is committed to improving the Fallout 76 experience, however, it remains to be seen if players will feel satisfied with the details provided this time around.

Full patch notes for today's update can be found on Reddit.

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Fortnite 7.01 Patch Notes Rundown https://www.gameskinny.com/dymtm/fortnite-701-patch-notes-rundown https://www.gameskinny.com/dymtm/fortnite-701-patch-notes-rundown Tue, 11 Dec 2018 12:25:17 -0500 Jonathan Moore

We're a week into Season 7 of Fortnite, which means it's time for a new update. This week's 7.01 patch brings a lot to the popular battle royale, including the much-anticipated Creative Mode, a surprise in the new Infinity Blade weapon, and, as we've come to expect, loads of bug fixes. 

The patch went live this morning at 5 a.m. EDT; here's what you can expect when you log in, per the official Fortnite website and release notes. 

Creative Mode

Although it might sound similar, Fortnite's Creative Mode is a slightly different experience than its Playground Mode. 

Whereas Playground Mode allows players to explore the Fortnite map and practice their skills without fear of dying, Creative Mode is a more traditional sandbox mode that allows players to build their own islands using individual assets or prefabricated buildings. These creations can (eventually) be shared with friends or the community at large on Reddit, YouTube, and Twitch

The mode has been out for several days now, but it has only been available to Battle Pass owners. The 7.01 patch makes it available to all Fortnite players. 

Islands

Originally, Creative Mode had only four islands on which players could build structures. Patch 7.01 increases that number to five. 

Players will be able to "load creations that have been shared with the Island Code system", but as of this writing, Epic has said that the Island Code system will initially be available to only a select number of Fortnite players.

The company said the feature will be expanded over time, but it did not specify how quickly the feature would roll out to all Fortnite users. 

Prefabs

Epic has added six new prefabs to Creative Mode, all of which are modeled after Lucky Landing. Indestructible parts have also been added to prefabs. 

The obstacle course has been split into floors, walls, roof and stairs, and parts.

Devices

The new item spawner allows players to spawn one item per match after dropping it on the device, while the player checkpoint plate creates a respawn checkpoint that lets players "choose" where they respawn after they bite the dust. 

Other changes to devices include letting players use the player checkpoint plate to spawn at Island start instead of game start, and the player spawn device now allows for team spawning. 

Gameplay 

Creative Mode now allows for infinite health, players can create a flag that keeps pre-built structures from being damaged during games, and building can now be blocked after games have started. 

Flying

Prior to 7.01, players could not switch to flying while their glider was deployed. That's now a thing of the past. Just double tap the jump button: "Space" on PC, "A" on Xbox One, and "X" on PS4. 

Players can also now fly upward by holding jump. 

Infinity Blade

Although Epic has pulled all three Infinity Blade games from the App Store, the developer has added a little Infinity Blade goodness to Fortnite. According to the official patch notes, the new melee weapon doles out some hefty damage and can be found in Polar Peak. 

Primary fire performs a sword slash that deals 75 damage to players, while alternate fire will let you jump "great distances", dealing 25 knockback damage upon landing. 

In addition, health and shield pools will increase to 200 when wielding the blade, and the weapon will provide 1HP regen per second. On top of those health buffs, the Infinity Blade also provides "an instant burst of effective Health upon elimination of an enemy (50 HP)" as well as "increased movement speed (130%)."

Removing the Infinity Blade from its location in Polar Peak instantly heals the first player to do so. 

The weapon appears only once per match. 

Save the World

As per the usual, Fortnite's Save the World mode takes a back seat to the game's battle royale offerings. 

This week, we get a single bug fix ("Storm Shield Defenses no longer grant reduced primary rewards if the 80% health bonus objective is failed"), alongside the return of Ralphie's Revenge, which will be in the weekly store from December 12 at 7 p.m. EDT to December 19 at 7 p.m. EDT. 

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Those are the major additions in the new 7.01 update for Fortnite. For the full patch notes, head over here, where you'll find more info on Creative Mode tools and teams, UI, social, and performance tweaks, and changes to Fortnite mobile. 

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Monster Hunter: World's Last Free Updates Outlined https://www.gameskinny.com/pqirp/monster-hunter-worlds-last-free-updates-outlined https://www.gameskinny.com/pqirp/monster-hunter-worlds-last-free-updates-outlined Tue, 11 Dec 2018 12:05:39 -0500 William R. Parks

In a time when post-launch game support is frequently defined by paid DLC and Season Passes, Capcom's approach to adding free content to Monster Hunter: World has been a real treat. However, in today's Special Developer Update, the company has confirmed that only a few more free additions are planned before these updates come to an end.

Amongst the remaining updates are the introductions of two Arch-Tempered Elder Dragons: Kulve Taroth and Nergigante. Arch-Tempered monsters are currently the strongest foes in Monster Hunter: World, even more challenging than Tempered monsters, and these two are certain to be excellent opportunities for players to acquire powerful gear and augmentations.

Arch-Tempered Kulve Taroth is first up, and the hunt will be available from December 19 at 7pm EST to January 3 at 6:59pm EST. As with a standard Kulve Taroth encounter, up to 16 players will be split into groups of four to take on the beast.

However, unlike the standard siege, Arch-Tempered Kulve Taroth can enter a "furied" state, which gives the monster new attacks. Players that slay the Elder Dragon after it has entered this state will be granted more powerful "rainbow" items, and the Arch-Tempered Kulve Taroth's materials can be used to craft a new gamma amor set.

Then, in Spring 2019, Arch-Tempered Nergigante will make its appearance. While Capcom has not yet elaborated on this encounter, Arch-Tempered Nergigante will, no doubt, be a challenging hunt, and it will mark the last of Monster Hunter: World's free updates.

Additionally, fans can look forward to a Monster Hunter: World The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt crossover event in early 2019 that will give them the opportunity to take Geralt of Rivia on a "unique quest line." An "Appreciation Festival" will also take place during this timeframe, which will celebrate the game's first anniversary and feature special quests.

Since the game's release, frequent updates have brought new monsters, powerful gear, and more challenging hunts to Monster Hunter: World, all at no cost. While the news that the end of these additions is on the horizon is likely to disappoint some of the game's fans, there is a lot to look forward to — namely, Iceborne, Monster Hunter: World's upcoming "massive expansion," which will mark the game's next stage of post-launch support.

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China Introduces New Ethics Panel to Review Video Games https://www.gameskinny.com/84q5w/china-introduces-new-ethics-panel-to-review-video-games https://www.gameskinny.com/84q5w/china-introduces-new-ethics-panel-to-review-video-games Tue, 11 Dec 2018 10:29:41 -0500 Gabriella Graham

Via the Xinhua news agency, China has officially revealed an Online Games Ethics Committee.

The committee has already reviewed twenty different games. Meanwhile, the gaming world looks on, waiting to see what this means for evolving Chinese regulations.

What we know

The Chinese ethics committee operates under the ready guidance of the Communist Party’s propaganda department. Panel members include university and industry experts on video games and adolescence, as well as representatives from government research institutions and media outlets. (Participant names and specific contributing institutions have not been publicly released.)

Of the twenty games reviewed thus far, nine have been outright rejected for sale in China due to "improper content." Some of the prohibited games include H1Z1, PUBG, and Fortnite.

Requests for modifications were issued for the remaining eleven. Their respective developers must "eliminate moral hazard" and otherwise controversial material to have any hope for a stamp of approval. League of Legends, Overwatch, Diablo 3, and World of Warcraft are among the games that must make changes.

The new committee will continue to conduct ethical evaluations for games boasting online content.

 

A backdrop of fear and control

The reveal of this committee marks an important regulatory step following the suspension on licenses for new video games that began in March of 2018. The approval process screeched to a halt when the responsibility of clearing games for sale passed to the (also new) State Administration of Press and Publications (SAPP).

Fears around epidemics of video game addiction and increasing myopia (or nearsightedness) among youths are driving change in China, like the installation of SAPP. 

The online ethics panel naturally sets themselves against these consequences as well while simultaneously removing sexually intimate or violent content from young hands.

A sign of hope or dark foreshadowing?

Speaking of the suspension around new game licenses, consumers and industry developers seem divided on the most recent development of an ethics panel. This committee could indicate that the current licensing freeze will lift in the near future, possibly with a schedule for new game releases before mid-2019. Hopeful evidence for this turnout comes from the quick work the committee made of the first twenty titles assigned to them.

Photo By Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

However, the new panel may also be a sign of more suffocating game regulations to come. There are even those observing China's market that have questioned whether or not this year's license freeze was "a deliberate attempt by the government to hurt the video game industry’s growth rate."

Regardless of the exact nature of future details, they promise to have a heavy effect on the video game industry at large. Granted, western developers like EA, Take-Two, and Ubisoft have been nonplussed by China's snail-paced approval process. But companies both large and small within the nation's borders have suffered considerable financial loss since March. Zacks reported:

The stalled approval process and stringent regulations have negatively impacted gaming companies like Tencent, NetEase and Bilibili [. . .] A number of Japanese game makers like Capcom, Nexon and Konami were also hurt due to their ties with Tencent and NetEase.

Keep in mind that Tencent and NetEase are the biggest game distributors in China, which in itself is the world's largest video game market.There's little doubt that decisions made by China's new ethics committee will be far-reaching.

In fact, Chinese regulations could push their larger video game companies to invest in western developers. Tencent alone lost $200 billion of their market value since January. It pays a company like that move away from an uncertain market at home and into the global market.

In this case, that means taking steps westward, new ethics committee or not.

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Gungrave VR Review: Iggymob Should Be Ashamed To Have Released This https://www.gameskinny.com/misn3/gungrave-vr-review-iggymob-should-be-ashamed-to-have-released-this https://www.gameskinny.com/misn3/gungrave-vr-review-iggymob-should-be-ashamed-to-have-released-this Tue, 11 Dec 2018 03:15:01 -0500 Ty Arthur

The PS2 shoot 'em up Gungrave has been resurrected yet again, but this time the unholy necromancy that brought it into the realm of the living clearly went horribly wrong somewhere along the way.

There's no way to sugar coat it -- this is hands down the very worst VR game I've ever had the displeasure of playing. From the baffling camera angles to the extremely half baked gameplay to the boring, by-the-numbers music, there is almost no redeeming value of any kind to be found here.

Without question, this will be remembered as the bottom of the barrel for PSVR games.

So why did Gungrave VR score a 2/10 instead of a 1/10? According to Gameskinny review standards, a 1 is a game that doesn't work and can't be finished. Sadly (very, very sadly) Gungrave VR is a stable, functioning game that can be played beginning to end, so a 2 it is.

A Case Study In Truly Bad Game Design

Nominally an action game, Gungrave VR's levels shift between extremely limited third-person arena-style levels and on-rails first-person shooting. In either type of level, your undead gunslinger will take on waves of drug dealers, with the occasional giant robot for good measure.

The only praise I can muster for this game is to say that some of the bosses have interesting anime-based character designs, and the comic book aesthetic is sorta fun from time to time -- but that's where anything good officially ends.

Developer Iggymob made every possible mistake you could when developing a virtual reality game, starting with the lack of Move controller support.

Since a large portion of the game is in third-person, there is absolutely no sensation of being in the action, which is the whole point of VR. You are looking down on the main character in third-person but you aim his gun with your head instead of the stick, which is unbelievably awkward.

You'd think since this is a DualShock controller-only game that you'd have full range of movement and camera rotation like in any worthwhile action game, right? Wrong.

You can't smoothly swivel the camera with the stick as expected. Instead, you flick through four different angles one at a time.

This is just straight up godawful game design for a fully 3D environment where there are enemies surrounding you in waves. Can you imagine trying to take on a group of opponents in God Of War or Darksiders if you couldn't ever see behind yourself? 

The camera essentially uses the single panel flip movement from The Inpatient, which was acceptable there because it was such a slow-moving first-person game. Here, in a third-person action title, its the kiss of death. 

Why On Earth Did They Do ANY Of This?

Virtual reality games don't have to always be first-person. Moss and Astro Bot Rescue Mission both clearly showed that third-person can work in VR -- it just stunningly fails in every possible way here.

Despite the limited camera angle rotation, I still constantly felt like I was going to fall down, throw up, or possibly both at the same time. Even when standing totally still, you will lose your balance due to the awful point of view flips.

Worst of all, the actual action isn't that fun. The core gameplay is bare-bones, by-the-numbers shooting in extremely tiny levels.

The experience doesn't improve in the first-person segments either, where the game becomes even more limited and boring. None of this is helped by the incredibly dated, bland visuals and laughably bad explosion effects. It seriously feels like playing House Of The Dead or Area 51... on the Sega Saturn.

Every single element of this drek feels like the developers totally missed the whole point of giving a game VR support. Frankly, Gungrave is a worse experience in VR than if it had remained a standard action/on-rails arcade hybrid with no virtual reality support to begin with.

The very sad part is that none of this needed to happen because we've seen all these elements presented in PSVR games with much more grace before.

Blasters Of The Universe, for instance, has you remain mostly stationary like with Gungrave VR, but you dodge bullets flying at your head while getting the heft of a gun and shield in both hands due to the Move controllers.

Gungrave is the opposite of that dynamic, picking the worst possible VR design decisions at every step.

I Cannot Overstate How Awful This Game Is 

Pros
  • The game is mercifully short
  • The anime-based character designs for the bosses are occasionally interesting to look at
Cons
  • The worst possible combination of camera and controller choices for a VR game in the entire history of VR games
  • Boring, bare-bones enemies and levels
  • Laughably bad visuals
  • Do you like feeling like you're going to throw up due to spinning too fast while you are standing perfectly still? Because you're going to feel like throwing up due to spinning too fast while standing perfectly still

Remember Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad on the Xbox 360? It was a terrible game with wonky controls and awful level design, but it had jiggly bikini samurai girls to oggle, so there was some small amount of reason to keep playing. 

Picture that, but with worse controls, no eye candy of any kind, and you'll be on the verge of throwing up for the entire (blessedly short) duration of the game.

That's Gungrave VR -- a game that flat out should not have been released. Shame on you Iggymob.

[Note: The developer provided the copy of Gungrave VR used in this review.]

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Pair PS4 Controllers To The PS Classic With These Special Adapters https://www.gameskinny.com/p9g6w/pair-ps4-controllers-to-the-ps-classic-with-these-special-adapters https://www.gameskinny.com/p9g6w/pair-ps4-controllers-to-the-ps-classic-with-these-special-adapters Mon, 10 Dec 2018 17:13:43 -0500 QuintLyn

For gamers, the trend of releasing mini-retro consoles loaded with classic games is a pretty sweet thing. But, let's admit it, not everything about old-school gaming is still awesome -- like literally being tied to the console by your controller cables.

Instead, most of us would much rather sit on our couches a reasonable distance away from the behemoths that our TVs have become. So, of course, the controller complete with a five-foot cord that comes with the PlayStation Classic isn't exactly ideal.

The good news is, there's a solution for that.

8BitDo, a third-party company specializing in controllers and adapters, has created a wireless USB adapter that plugs into the PS Classic and works with any controller via BlueTooth -- meaning you can use your PlayStation 4 controller just fine. 

Other controllers that work with it are the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and anything 8BitDo makes.

The adapter also works with multiple platforms, including the Nintendo Switch,  PC, and Mac. Those looking for a similar solution for their SNES and NES Classic console systems can find separate adapters for those on the 8BitDo site as well.

Just because you're playing old-school games doesn't mean you have to play them old-school. 

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