Xbox Platform RSS Feed | Xbox RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Big Studio Changes for New Call of Duty, Next Game Will be Black Ops 5 Mon, 20 May 2019 11:33:00 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

A new report from Kotaku states Activision's Call of Duty game slated for 2020 will be handled by a different studio after some internal disputes.

The news comes from several sources close to the project who spoke with Kotaku's Jason Schreier in recent weeks.

CoD gets a release every year, usually in the fall. In previous years, Activision has rotated its development teams, with each team taking the helm every three years.

Based on that schedule, the 2020 Call of Duty game was set to be developed by Sledgehammer, the team responsible for CoD: WWII and CoD: Advanced Warfare.

However, Activision reportedly included Raven as a second lead studio working alongside Sledgehammer for the 2020 game, which is said to have a Cold War and Vietnam focus. That's where things started to go askew.

Schreier's sources said the alleged infighting between Raven and Sledgehammer was too much and had a significantly negative impact on the game's production, described as "a mess" at this point.

Treyarch will be taking over from Raven and Sledgehammer, and the game will be Black Ops 5 instead. Work already done on the game's single-player mode will be folded into Black Ops 5's main campaign, with the promise that it will be meatier than Black Ops 4s single-player mode.

The same sources say the new Black Ops game will also take place during the Cold War. Also, it's expected to be a cross-gen title, available for the new Sony and Microsoft systems anticipated to launch around the same time in 2020.

What's less certain, Schreier says, is how the change will impact Treyarch. The studio now has two years to create the game, instead of the usual three, and apparently, staff members are already anticipating serious overtime and crunch to make the game a reality.

Schreier's sources say this year's still-unannounced Call of Duty game, which most expect to be a new Modern Warfare title, is still on schedule, though.

Also on schedule is Call of Duty: Mobile, which is entering regional beta testing and slowly getting some info teases as well.

GameSkinny Weekend Download: Sony Partners With Microsoft, Plus Rage 2, Super Mario Maker, More Sat, 18 May 2019 09:00:01 -0400 GS_Staff

We skipped last week, but GameSkinny's Weekend Download is back.

This week we have Sony partnering with Microsoft, PUBG getting slapped with restrictive modes, and Nintendo dropping way too much news on Super Mario Maker 2.

Outside of that, World of Warcraft Classic finally got a release date, news games were announced for the Genesis Mini, three big digital storefronts have three big sales going on. We also spoke to Asobo Studios about A Plague Tale: Innocence, reviewed Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, and wrote way too many guides on new and old games alike. 

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy. It's the weekend. What else are you gonna' do? Play video games? 


  • Sony and Microsoft Partner For Gaming, Technology Solutions
    Sony and Microsoft have unexpectedly partnered to focus on "new innovations to enhance customer experiences in their direct-to-consumer entertainment platforms and AI solutions." Read more

  • Super Mario Maker 2 Direct Reveals New Modes, New Parts, and So Much More
    Stage share returns to Super Mario Maker, with multiplayer, story mode, and whole lot more. Read more

  • WoW Classic Releasing August 27— Here's How to Sign Up for Beta
    Where and how to sign up for the World of Warcraft Classic beta, and when to expect release. Read more

  • PUBG Mobile Encouraging Responsible Play with New Management System
    Following several recent PUBG bans, the mobile version is getting a new management system worldwide, designed to promote time management and responsible gameplay. Read more

  • Sega Genesis Mini Gets 10 More Titles Announced, Includes Street Fighter II
    Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition joins the fight on the Sega Genesis Mini this September. Read more

  • New Call of Duty Mobile Info Surface as Beta Testing Draws Closer
    Call of Duty: Mobile multiplayer modes, loadouts, customization options and more get some attention in a new Activision blog post. Read more

  • Monster Hunter: World Gets Free, Limited-Time Demo
    The demo is only available for a limited time and lets players experience a big helping of what the main game has to offer and carry that data to the main game. Read more.  

  • Red Dead Online Leaves Beta With Big Additions
    After months in beta, Red Dead Redemption 2's online component is now available with a full official launch and a ton of tweaks and extra features! Read more

  • Ghost Recon Breakpoint Is Another Epic Store Exclusive
    Ubisoft's recently announced Ghost Recon sequel is yet another jewel in the Epic Games Store's crown. Read more

  • Pokemon GO Extraordinary Raid Week Includes Shiny Lapras Day
    Pokemon GO players are getting the chance to obtain some extra powerful, and potentially Shiny, Raid bosses next week, with some other special events planned as well. Read more

  • New Details on Metro Exodus Expansion Pass Content
    We finally get some new info about Metro Exodus' DLC expansion content, with the first round set to launch soon. Read more

  • Here There Be Deals: Sales on Epic Games, Fanatical, Green Man Gaming Store Fronts
    Three big digital storefronts have three big deals going on right now. Here are some of the best deals and links to each sale. Read more

  • Outer Wilds Becomes the Latest Epic Games Store Exclusive
    The announcement comes in an update from Mobius, where the studio lists a pretty important reason for the exclusivity deal. Read more.

  • Ubisoft Releases Big The Division 2 Update Ahead of Operation Dark Hours
    The Division 2's first raid is coming soon, and the patch makes a bunch of adjustments and improvements designed for a smoother experience when it does release. Read more

  • Vambrace: Cold Soul Showcases World in First Feature Trailer
    The first of three trailers for Vambrace: Cold Soul is live. The Town showcases the game's central hub. Read more
  • It's Minecraft's 10th Anniversary! Minecraft Earth Is on the Way
    Minecraft's anniversary is kicked off with a huge surprise: Beta registration for the upcoming title Minecraft Earth! Read more

  • Barotrauma Hitting Steam Early Access June 5th, Try the Free Pre-alpha!
    Barotrauma's June 5 Early Access build looks awesome, but you can try the pre-alpha for free if you want to get a feel for it. Read more


  • Sniper Elite V2 Remastered Review: A War Dog Losing Its Bite
    Despite a graphical upgrade, Sniper Elite V2 Remastered shows its age in almost every way — but that doesn't mean it's not a good time. Read more.  

  • A Plague Tale: Innocence Review — A Unique but Uneven Throwback to an Earlier Era of Video Games
    A Plague Tale: Innocence is an odd and often frustrating experience, with an escort mission front and center. There's a lot here that makes it worth checking out, though, even if only once. Read more

  • Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest Review — Fluid Combat but Stilted Story
    Druidstone nails turn-based combat, with some remarkably user-friendly options, but is held back somewhat by an uninteresting story. Read more.

  • Figment Review: Pure Imagination
    Figment turns a touchy topic into an engaging puzzle adventure that's filled with heart and some excellent setting and soundtrack designs. Read more

  • Shakedown Hawaii Review: A Repetitive Biz Trip
    Shakedown Hawaii gets you into a business trip around a 16-bit world that sometimes leaves much to be desired. Read more


  • 5 Reasons To Get Excited About The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr
    The Elder Scrolls Online is about to get a whole lot bigger and more dangerous when Elsweyr releases this summer. Here's why you should be excited to play! Read more

  • Asobo Studio's Kevin Choteau Discusses the History and Brutality of A Plague Tale: Innocence
    Kevin Choteau, game director for Asobo Studio, discusses the historical inspirations and background of A Plague Tale: Innocence. Read more

  • The Easter Egg You Missed in A Plague Tale: Innocence's Post-Credits Scene
    A Plague Tale: Innocence caught the MCU bug and hid a huge reveal in its ending, post-credits scene. Here's the easter egg you may have missed in the final moments. Read more

  • Magic the Gathering: Mardu Top Tier Deck for WAR Standard
    Let your creatures die to win games with the help of Cruel Celebrant and Teysa Karlov in this top-tier Mardu deck for WAR Standard in MtG. Read moreGuides
  • Rage 2 Won't Start? Here Be Fixes!
    Can't get Rage 2 to load at all, or get stuck on a black screen that never loads anywhere? We've rounded up all the current workarounds so you can get playing! Read more

  • Rage 2 BFG 9000 Location Guide
    The BFG 9000 is one of Rage 2's most badass guns. Here's how to get it, how to find its location, and where to buy ammo for it. Read more

  • How to Unlock All Cheat Codes in Rage 2
    Looking to boost your gameplay experience in Rage 2? Here are the locations of the Wasteland Wizard, who can sell you all the cheat codes you need. Read more

  • All Ark Locations in Rage 2
    Rage 2's wasteland is a dangerous place, but the weapons and abilities found at these Ark locations change the equation. Read more
  • All Gold Bar Locations in Sniper Elite V2 Remastered
    There are 100 gold bars in Sniper Elite V2 Remastered. This guide shows you where all of the locations are. Read more

  • All Wine Bottle Locations in Sniper Elite V2 Remastered
    Sniper Elite V2 Remastered has 37 collectible wine bottles. This guide has all of their locations. Read more

  • Fill Out Your Shopping List with the Collectible Gifts of A Plague Tale: Innocence
    Amicia always has an eye out for something her friends might like. Search for and find all the collectible Gifts in A Plague Tale: Innocence with this to-the-point guide. Read more

  • Finding All the Historical Curiosities in A Plague Tale: Innocence
    There's a lot about 14th-century France that's barely recognizable to modern players. Get a leg up by searching for and finding Curiosities, with the help of this guide to A Plague Tale: Innocence. Read more

  • Discovering Hugo's Herbarium in A Plague Tale: Innocence
    Hugo de Rune is many things, including an avid botanist. Help him discover all the collectible flowers in this short, illustrated guide to A Plague Tale: Innocence. Read more

  • A Plague Tale: Innocence Crafting Guide — Best and Worst Upgrades
    A Plague Tale: Innocence, a new and grim IP from Asobo Studio, is out this week. If you want to survive the rat plague and the Inquisition, use our guide on how to craft the best tools. Read more
  • Mordhau Toolbox Guide: Can We Fix It? Yes, We Can!
    Here's how to use the toolbox in Mordhau: what you can build, what it all costs, and how to use it effectively. Read more

  • Mordhau Not Responding? Try This
    Stuck at the starting screen? Here are a couple of possible solutions for fixing the freezing bug in Mordhau. Read more

  • Fallout 76: Scout World Challenge Badge Exam Answers
    We've got the answers to Fallout 76's athlete, archer, cook, code breaker, entomologist, herpetologist, medic, mammalogist, and swimmer tests! Read more

  • Fallout 76: Order Of The Tadpole Quest Guide
    Want to rise through the Pioneer scouts and go from tadpole to possum scout? We show you how to start the quest and go through each of the four scouting virtues! Read more

  • Fallout 76: Where To Find Pemmican
    Can't find pemmican for the Backpacker possum badge? By completing the right repeatable quest, you can get three pieces in no time! Read more

  • Fallout 76 Purveyor Legendary Vendor Location
    We know the Purveyor legendary vendor location in Fallout 76. This is where you can offload your junk equipment and find better weapons and armor. Read more

  • Fallout 76: What is the Stimpak Diffuser, and Where do I Get One?
    There was a slight oversight in the tadpole badges as Bethesda accidentally forgot to add a required item for the medic badge. Whoops! Read More

  • The Best Skills in Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest
    Every character has a choice of skills when they level up, but which are the most useful in Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest? Read more

  • Buyer's Guide for the Best Items in Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest
    Steelface's Emporium has a wealth of weapons, equipment, and accessories to purchase, but only a few stand out in Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest. Read more

  • Knights of the Card Table Heroes Guide
    Knights of the Card Table gives you 7 Heroes with their own unique abilities. Here's how you can get, and use, them all. Read more

  • Knights of the Card Table Weapon Guide
    Wondering what the best Knights of the Card Table weapon is and which Hero to use it with? Read on, dungeon traveler. Read more

  • Where to Find Tasha in Sea of Thieves
    Looking for Tasha in Sea of Thieves? Look no further! Check out our guide to find her location and what she offers in the new Tall Tales mode. Read more

  • Grim Dawn Ultimate Beginner's Build Guide
    Not sure which mastery combo to pick or how to navigate the devotion system? We can show you exactly how to get into this grimdark fantasy ARPG and annihilate your enemies! Read more

  • Another Eden Black Pearl Farming Guide
    Can't seem to find any of the new black pearls? You'll need to look in out of the way places in the Dragon Palace to start farming them and earn your rewards! Read more

Check back next weekend for another roundup of news, reviews, guides, and features. 

It's Minecraft's 10th Anniversary! Minecraft Earth Is on the Way Fri, 17 May 2019 15:59:18 -0400 Ashley Shankle

It feels like Minecraft's been around for ages. Heck, 10 years is a long time. It may as well be ages!

Minecraft's been toiling around the game industry for longer than a decade, but the game's full release in 2009 took the game from a simple fad to a full-on worldwide phenomenon.

Today people know what Minecraft is, even if they don't know an Enter key from a Start button. While Fortnite may have superseded Minecraft in terms of trendiness, the blocky sandbox continues to be a force to be reckoned with here in 2019.

We've seen how Minecraft has evolved over the years -- the Marketplace, texture and mashup packs, and content updates that have pushed it well past its initial vision. The 2014 acquisition of Mojang by Microsoft changed the fate of the game forever, many would say for the better.

Today's the game's 10th anniversary, a milestone for Mojang and the Minecraft community at large. As a Minecraft player, you've got to celebrate! Luckily there are a few ways to do so.

The first is the most exciting: Minecraft Earth!

Mojang announced Minecraft Earth today, an augmented reality (AR) mobile game that will bring those pixelly blocks to the real world... virtually.

Minecraft Earth will allow players to build their own creations anywhere in the world, viewable via the game. This isn't going to just be a Creative Mode affair, though. The announcement specifically mentions Survival and the ability to fight them in the AR title. No simple sandbox here!

So how do you get into the Minecraft Earth beta? You can sign up for the Minecraft Earth closed beta right now by heading over to the beta sign-up page.

Those who sign up get a free special limited skin for Minecraft Earth and Bedrock, so get to it! It's too cute to pass up. You should get the skin within 24 hours of registering for the beta, whether you get in or not.

Mojang stated they will be rolling the beta out to hundreds of thousands of players, so just about everyone's got a chance to get in. However, you must be 18 or older to be eligible for the beta.

10th Anniversary Sale!

Maybe you're a longtime player trying to get their friends to hop on the Minecraft train or someone just considering jumping in, now's the time to throw some cash Mojang's way. The game is 50% off on Windows 10, Java, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One.

There's really never been a better time get into Minecraft considering the recent Village & Pillage update that's been rolling out across platforms (the PlayStation 4 Edition still doesn't have the whole thing, however) and this big sale.

The Minecraft Marketplace is also going through a sale, discounting the top 10 most popular worlds, mash-up packs, and skins by 10% for a limited time. Not the best discount, but it's certainly better than nothing!

So what are you planning on doing for Minecraft's 10th anniversary? Sound off in the comments below, and keep your eyes peeled for your beta invites as Mojang rolls out the Minecraft Earth beta to blend your real life with your favorite game.

Also check out our awesome Minecraft seed lists, which millions of players have used thus far and are well-worth checking out. Have fun!

Fallout 76: What is the Stimpak Diffuser, and Where do I Get One? Fri, 17 May 2019 14:57:16 -0400 Ty Arthur

There are a million and one things to do in Fallout 76, and the Wild Appalachia update brought along even more. Now you have the option to complete challenges for earning scout badges.

Any aspiring medics may have noticed that something called a Stimpak Diffuser is required to complete the medic badge as part of The Order Of The Tadpole quest. 

Unfortunately, there's just one slight snag: this item and its crafting recipe don't actually exist. However, you can still get the badge. Read on to find out how. 

How Do You Make A Stimpak Diffuser? You Can't!

Yep, Bethesda added a requirement for a badge that you can't possibly complete  no matter where you search or what items you make. Whoops.

Note that this not-so-minor oversight doesn't actually prevent you from completing the quest. You just have to work through a different badge challenge. There are dozens of them, and you only need to finish three badges to complete the quest.

The non-existence of the Stimpak Diffuser has been added to Bethesda's "known issues" list for fixes to be handled in an upcoming patch. Here's what the devs had to say about the problem:

STATUS: The Stimpak Diffuser is a Stimpak that restores health to you and your nearby teammates. The recipe for this item will be available in the next update. We're aware that this creates an issue with completing the Tadpole Challenge referencing the Stimpak Diffuser, however you may still complete other world Challenges to earn badges.

At the moment, it looks like the recipe will most likely be acquired by completing either the Unsolved: Best of Intentions quest or the Project Paradise quest. However, that's just a guess from the community as the specifics of where it will be acquired remain a mystery at this point.

When the Stimpak Diffuser finally gets added, we'll update this article with specifics on how to make one so you can complete the medic badge!

Looking for the answers to the exams to complete the other badges instead? We've got all the scout world challenge badge exam answers over here. For more tips, walkthroughs, and strategies, be sure to head look through our other Fallout 76 guides

Sony and Microsoft Partner For Gaming, Technology Solutions Thu, 16 May 2019 17:52:27 -0400 Jonathan Moore

In a move that surprised a large swath of the gaming community, Sony and Microsoft on Thursday announced a partnership aimed at "technology and information sharing."

The two giants of industry did not directly mention any current or future gaming platforms. However, the announcement said that among other things, some focus would be placed on "game and content-streaming services."

Additionally, both Sony and Microsoft said the partnership would allow for exploration in the areas of technology and A.I., specifically mentioning semiconductors for imaging technology as well as research into the "incorporation of Microsoft’s advanced AI platform and tools in Sony consumer products..."

Of the partnership, Kenichiro Yoshida, president and CEO of Sony, said: 

PlayStation itself came about through the integration of creativity and technology. Our mission is to seamlessly evolve this platform as one that continues to deliver the best and most immersive entertainment experiences, together with a cloud environment that ensures the best possible experience, anytime, anywhere.

For many years, Microsoft has been a key business partner for us, though of course, the two companies have also been competing in some areas. I believe that our joint development of future cloud solutions will contribute greatly to the advancement of interactive content.

With that said, the exact nature of the partnership remains muddy and it does not dispel the fact that both companies are still very much competitors in the current gaming sphere.

Sony has confirmed work on its next-gen console has been underway for some time, while it's all but certain official news regarding the next Xbox is on the immediate horizon. Additionally, Sony's PlayStation Now service currently competes with Microsoft's upcoming xCloud streaming service, as both allow streaming of console-specific titles to multiple devices. 

At GDC in March, Google unveiled Stadia, the company's cloud-based video game streaming service. It allows for the streaming of high-quality AAA games to any internet-connected device, including PCs, phones, and tablets. 

While some hands-on impressions were positive, others in the gaming community remain skeptical of the technology and the infrastructure needed for it to succeed. 

Considering Azure's database footprint extends to 140 countries, Microsoft is conceivably one of the only companies that could rival Google's cloud-streaming capabilities. 

Fallout 76 Purveyor Legendary Vendor Location Thu, 16 May 2019 15:58:14 -0400 Ty Arthur

Patch 9 recently dropped for Fallout 76. It not only offered up brand-new Wild Appalachia content, but also brought changes to personal vending machines and tweaks to the C.A.M.P. and Workshop systems. It also brought with it a new shopkeep, and now everyone is looking for the Purveyor legendary vendor location. 

As its name implies, the Purveyor legendary vendor only sells legendary items. These can only be purchased with a brand-new kind of currency called legendary scrips (and we all know we wanted another form of in-game currency, right?).

The Purveyor legendary vendor arrived a week earlier than originally announced and can now be found near Berkeley Springs.

Finding the Purveyor Legendary Vendor Location

The Purveyor legendary vendor is found in the (formerly) abandoned train station just southeast of Berkeley Springs. It's hard to miss, as there are only two buildings in this location, and one is clearly marked as the Berkeley Springs Station.

Smash down the boarded-up door if you haven't already, and the Purveyor will be waiting for you with a brand new shop.

Unfortunately, the Purveyor's legendary wares are totally randomized, so you're rolling the dice and hoping for something decent at these prices:

  • 1-star legendary armor: 15 scrips
  • 2-star legendary armor: 30 scrips
  • 3-star legendary armor: 60 scrips
  • 1-star legendary melee weapon: 25 scrips
  • 2-star legendary melee weapon: 50 scrips
  • 3-star legendary melee weapon: 100 scrips
  • 1-star legendary ranged weapon: 25 scrips
  • 2-star legendary ranged weapon: 50 scrips
  • 3-star legendary ranged weapon: 100 scrips

Don't have any legendary scrips yet to buy equipment from the Purveyor? Head to a train station and look for an exchange machine, where you can break down your existing legendary items into legendary scrips for trading.

If you've got plenty of low-quality legendary items you don't ever use, it's worth breaking them down and giving the Purveyor's wares a shot on the off chance you get something better.

Have you managed to get anything decent from the legendary vendor yet? Let us know your best pull so far in the comments below, and be sure to also take a look at our full list of Fallout 76 guides:

All Ark Locations in Rage 2 Thu, 16 May 2019 11:54:18 -0400 Jonny Foster

Rage 2 is here and, as you may know, the game can be completed in a short amount of time if you rush through everything. But where's the fun in that? Exploring the map and finding all of the game's Ark locations has its benefits. 

This guide will show you how to find every Ark in the game, some with maps to their specific location. Heading to these will unlock every ability and weapon in the Rage 2, except for the exclusive BFG 9000, which has its own guide. 

We also include each Ark's name, what's inside, how difficult the ark is, and how useful its contents are. 

Ark Names and Locations

Blackout Ark (Shotgun)
  • Ark: 402a
  • Weapon: Shotgun
  • Difficulty: n/a
  • Usefulness: 4/4

The Shotgun is amazing; you have to get this weapon as soon as possible, as it's possibly the best weapon in the whole game.

It's found during the Blackout mission after you head to Gunbarrel in Torn Plains, so you can't miss this one.

Junkers Pass Ark (Shatter)
  • Ark: 416a
  • Ability: Shatter
  • Difficulty: 2
  • Usefulness: 1/4

Shatter is found north of Vineland in the starting region, Twisting Canyons, and should be on your map from the start.

It's a pretty weak ability, though, as it's only a little stronger than your melee attack. 

Quake Hill Ark (Vortex)  

  • Ark: 403a
  • Ability: Vortex
  • Difficulty: 2
  • Usefulness: 2/4 

The Vortex ability can be also be found in Twisting Canyons, the hills northeast of Vineland.

It's a nice ability to have, but ultimately, it isn't much use against anything but low-level mutants. Its best use is to boost you into the air to get off a stronger Slam attack.

Great Crack Ark (Grav-Jump)

  • Ark: 408a
  • Ability: Grav-Jump
  • Difficulty: 3
  • Usefulness: 2/4 

The Grav-Jump ability is due south of Gunbarrel, just across the border into Torn Plains. It should be on your map as soon as you leave Vineland.

Again, it's nice to have  allowing you a mid-air jump that's good for climbing and exploring  but it won't really impact your combat.

Earthscar Ark (Slam) 

  • Ark: 422a
  • Ability: Slam
  • Difficulty: 3
  • Usefulness: 4/4 

North of Gunbarrel and up into the Broken Tract region, the Slam ability can be found near the border

Not only is Slam the strongest ability you'll find, but it's also the most fun. You should absolutely get this one early in your campaign.

Jump off something high and activate it for maximum damage.

Strongbox Ark (Smart Rocket Launcher)   

  • Ark: 415b
  • Weapon: Smart Rocket Launcher
  • Difficulty: 4
  • Usefulness: 3/4 

Still in Broken Tract, the Smart Rocket Launcher can be found just southeast of the Slam ability

It's a powerful weapon that can disperse crowds with ease and deal a good chunk of damage to bosses, so pick this one up reasonably early.

Canyon Cove Ark (Defibrillation)

  • Ark: 404c
  • Ability: Defibrillation
  • Difficulty: 5
  • Usefulness: 2/4 

The Defibrillation ability is about halfway between Vineland and Gunbarrel, on the border between their regions, and should be signposted on your map.

It is Difficulty 5, though, so you might have some trouble if you head straight there without some of the better weapons. 

The ability is good for saving you in a pinch, but the game doesn't take that long to respawn you after death, anyway, so it isn't the ultimate boon you'd expect.

Dealypipe Ark (Rush)  

  • Ark: 407a
  • Ability: Rush
  • Difficulty: 6
  • Usefulness: 1/4 

Heading west into the Sekreto Wetlands, the Rush ability can be found south of the region's town, Lagooney.

Rush just lets you sprint faster for a short period of time. Good for traversing the wasteland, but there's a slew of vehicles that can do that better.

Spikewind Ark (Barrier)

  • Ark: 412b
  • Ability: Barrier
  • Difficulty: 6
  • Usefulness: 1/4 

The Barrier ability is another lackluster skill that you probably won't use very often. 

It can be found due east of the Rush ability, near the border between Torn Plains and Sekreto Wetlands.

Shrouded Vault Ark (Charged Pulse Cannon)

  • Ark: 411c
  • Weapon: Charged Pulse Cannon
  • Difficulty: 6
  • Usefulness: 3/4 

The Charged Pulse Cannon can be found near the bottom of the southwest region, Dune Sea.

It's a heavy-hitting plasma weapon that's great against bosses and cannon fodder alike. I strongly recommend finding this one early on.

Dank Catacomb Ark (Firestorm Revolver)

  • Ark: 410b
  • Weapon: Firestorm Revolver
  • Difficulty: 7
  • Usefulness: 2/4 

The Firestorm Revolver is located north of Lagooney, at the top of the Sekreto Wetlands. 

It's a stylish weapon that can set enemies alight but does very little damage. Often best used as a crowd control tool, it's a worthy addition to your arsenal, but don't rush to find it.

Needle Falls Ark (Grav-Dart Launcher)

  • Ark: 421c
  • Weapon: Grav-Dart Launcher
  • Difficulty: 7
  • Usefulness: 3/4 

The search for the Grav-Dart Launcher takes us north into The Wilds. This can be found just across the border from Broken Tract.

Another weapon that's more fun than functional, the Grav-Dart Launcher is worth finding early mainly due to the shenanigans you can pull of with it. 

It does fare slightly better than other weapons, though, as you can kill large crowds of weaker enemies if you boost the ammo capacity.

Greenhaven Ark (Hyper Cannon)

  • Ark: 409c
  • Weapon: Hyper Cannon
  • Difficulty: 10
  • Usefulness: 2/4 

The northernmost and final Ark houses the Hyper Cannon, right at the top of The Wilds. 

Rage 2's closest answer to a sniper rifle, the Hyper Cannon is punchy and brutal, but not all that useful in most situations. Other weapons and abilities will kill a crowd quicker. 


Can't get Rage 2 to start? We've got a guide for that. Looking for a full list of the game's cheat code? We've got you covered. And if you're looking for more tips and tricks for Bethesda's latest shooter, head over to our Rage 2 guides page

New Details on Metro Exodus Expansion Pass Content Thu, 16 May 2019 11:24:45 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Deep Silver and 4A Games have finally announced the details of Metro Exodus' expansion pass content, the first portion of which will launch this summer.

The Metro Exodus expansion pass will include two brand-new story campaigns set after the events of the main game. Those who haven't finished the game yet and don't wish the narrative to be spoiled should skip below to the release date and pre-order information.

Each new story campaign stars a character other than Artoym. The Two Colonels is the first and is told through the eyes of Colonel Khlebnikov — a new character — while the second, Sam's Story, centers on Sam (surprise!), the only American in the Aurora Spartan Rangers.

The Two Colonels is set to launch this summer and follows Khlebnikov's journey under the dead city of Novosibirsk as he tries to make his way home to his son Kirill in time for New Year's Eve.

However, Novosibirsk is in trouble. The material people use to defend against radiation is running out, and mutant monster attacks are increasing. Khlebnikov's journey through the city during its last days lays the foundation for Colonel Miller's tale a year later.

Sam's Story is slated for an early 2020 release date. Where The Two Colonels is a linear story, Sam's Story will be a sandbox-style survival adventure. Sam is a U.S. Marine at the diplomatic embassy in Moscow before the world is nearly obliterated by nuclear bombs. He only wants to go home to his family, but initially believes, like everyone else, that Moscow is the last city left on the planet.

When he finds out otherwise, Sam tries to make his way back home. The DLC campaign will focus on his danger-filled time in Vladivostok, navigating industrial ruins and decrepit residential districts as he tries to make it out alive.

The expansion pass will be available for PC via the Epic Games Store, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Metro Exodus is already having a big year. Not only did it cause a ruckus when Deep Silver and 4A made it exclusive to the EGS on PC, but it also managed to outsell its predecessor and has already received a major update to improve the game's quality and content.

Sniper Elite V2 Remastered Review: A War Dog Losing Its Bite Thu, 16 May 2019 10:18:50 -0400 Jonathan Moore

In review, a lot has changed since Sniper Elite V2 originally released in 2012. Back then, the quasi-remake of the original Sniper Elite presented a tactical World War 2 experience from the lens of stealth. While other shooters set in the Second World War had stealth elements and infiltration missions, most had become more focused on the terrifying, yet more marketable, front-line violence. 

Sniper Elite V2 slowed things down. Through the lens of the lone wolf, players gained a new perspective into the war's waning days. For some, it was the perfect marriage of games like Metal Gear Solid and Medal of Honor, Syphon Filter and Call of Duty. A more surgical experience, Sniper Elite V2 might have been niche, but it had a firm place in the shooter genre. 

Enter Sniper Elite V2 Remastered. Boasting enhanced graphics and all of the original's DLC, Remastered seeks to rechamber the bullet that started it all. However, it does so with varying effect. This is, after all, a remaster and not a remake

Similar to the Onimusha remaster earlier this year, it's certain that V2 Remastered will be criticized for its "outdatedness." Missions are linear and the save system byzantine. Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is, in fact, an old game with a new skin. 

But in our review of the game, that didn't make it any less fun. 

Karl runs through dark, ruined streets in Sniper Elite V2 Remastered

Players take the role of master sniper Lieutenant Karl Fairburne in his quest to stop the Nazi V2 rocket program from swinging the tide of the war. In propagandistic fashion, the story is trite and cliched, and you'll experience few if any surprises along the way. We've seen this sort of tale before in countless films and video game franchises. 

All you need to know is that Nazis (and some Russian combatants) need killin'. Of course, you're the one to do it. 

Gameplay mostly centers around you and your rifle. As you progress through the game's 10 story missions, you come across several rifles, including a Mosin Nagant and a Gewehr 43. Neither truly seem to provide any appreciable benefits over the other, and you only change between them because the story dictates it.

In addition to sniper rifles, you have access to a Thompson submachine gun and a silenced pistol called a Welrod. The Thompson comes in handy in a pinch, although burst fire is the only "accurate" way of hitting anything, and the Welrod comes in handy during stealth situations but is woefully inaccurate if fired from more than a few feet away from your target. 

As with other stealth games, you can also distract guards by throwing rocks, blow up groups of soldiers with grenades, and set traps with dynamite, trip wires, and mines. 

You have some choice in how you dispatch the enemies in your path, but you won't find the options/loadouts/skill trees provided by most modern games. Even those in Sniper Elite 3 and Sniper Elite 4 are (unsurprisingly) more robust.  

The X-ray killshot cam is still awesome in this version of the game.

Despite such a small armory, shooting a rifle in V2 Remastered still feels fantastic seven years later. On Cadet difficulty, simply lining up a shot and pulling the trigger often does the trick. That's especially true if you kneel and empty your lungs beforehand. 

However, Sniper truly shines on its higher difficulties. Here, shots are more strategic and tactical. Most require patience and restraint, with all taking windage and drop into account. In these moments, you feel most like the methodical, skilled sniper you're portrayed to be. 

That feeling intensifies when Remastered's X-ray killcam comes in to play. Sure it's old and now a staple of the series, but that doesn't mean it feels any less invigorating. There's nothing quite like the cornucopia of blood and bone that explodes from the backend of a well-placed shot. 

Watching your bullet spiral through the air looks better this time around, too. Gone is the weird-looking airwave spiraling behind the bullet from the original. A small tweak, but one that makes the world just a tad more visceral. 

The biggest "upgrade" in V2 Remastered is, unsurprisingly, the game's graphics. The comparison trailer above does a good job of showcasing what Rebellion's done, but I can't sit here and say the graphics are a huge improvement over the original. 

For the most part, the game looks fantastic. Character models are smoother, although they show their age. Karl's fatigues aren't as muddy as they once were, and thankfully, his hair doesn't remind me of Bela Lugosi's in White Zombie anymore. But these improvements aren't game-changers. 

Guns now have more accurate color palettes, with the game's rifles switching from the original's muddier tones to brighter ones here. Vehicles now look a touch more detailed, with better-defined edges and angles. But these improvements aren't game changers. 

Where the graphics are seemingly most refined, though, are in its environments and lighting. Now, stages have more rubble in the streets or piled against buildings; individual pieces are more easily recognizable, looking less like muddy globs and more like defined shapes. In this version, cobblestone looks more like cobblestone, wood more like wood, and foliage more like foliage. 

Since light and shadow play such integral roles in stealth games, it's good to see those have been improved as well. Street lights cast more uniform glows and lightning illuminates environments in more realistic tones. The most noticeable differences aren't in the game's many fires, but in the night and evening levels, where light creeps over the horizon or through slatted windows. 

Playing an intense game of team deathmatch in game's church level

I never played multiplayer in the original Sniper Elite V2, so I can't make comparisons to Remastered. However, I can say that MP in Remastered is smooth. Servers aren't bustling a day after launch, but finding matches in both competitive and cooperative play is easy. 

Overall, connections are good, load times are adequate, and lag is nearly non-existent. Maps aren't teeming with players, but in a game predicated on stealth and patience, that's a welcome change from the frenetic online battles found in other games. 

Moment to moment, competitive play is some of the most stressful and nerve-wracking I've ever experienced. Playing with a group of like-minded snipers is long and laborious but extremely rewarding, especially considering the game's old-school mechanics. Along with the campaign's higher difficulties, this is where SEV2 Remastered feels the most like a sniper simulator. 

However, I enjoy co-op in SEV2 Remastered the most. I'm a sucker for taking on the A.I. with another human player, so I'm biased here. Playing the campaign and the game's various challenge modes with another player opens up new strategic avenues, and I can only wish local co-op was an option. 

Karl hides from a tank in the ruined streets of Berlin

  • Lighting and shadows upgrades really make the world pop
  • X-ray killcam is still as cool as ever
  • Shooting a rifle feels fantastic
  • Comes with all SE2 DLC
  • While nice, the graphics aren't a monumental improvement
  • Run-and-gun controls still suck
  • No manual save feature
  • Can't skip cutscenes

For those that already have Sniper Elite V2 and its DLC, it's hard to recommend Remastered, especially at the $9.99 upgrade price. There's just not much new here. Running the original V2 at 4K 60fps provides a similar graphical experience; Remastered looks great, but its graphics aren't leagues better. And the gameplay is essentially the same. 

If you already have the game in your Steam library, you're essentially paying $9.99 for a skin upgrade. That changes if you don't have the game's DLC or want to play multiplayer on servers that are bound to live longer than those of the original. 

But for those that have never played Sniper Elite V2, this is the perfect way to experience a classic, blemishes and all. Remastered is a throwback. Having read forums and conjecture on social media, I cannot stress enough this is a remaster not a remake. 

What was "wrong" with the original Sniper V2 is still "wrong" here. It doesn't have the quality of life improvements we've come to expect of third-person shooters — or even the Sniper series after games like SE3 and SE4

That fact alone doesn't make it any less fun, but it does mean it's wise to temper expectations before deploying to World War II Berlin once again.

[Note: A copy of Sniper Elite V2 Remastered was provided by Rebellion for the purpose of this review.]

Looking for more on Sniper Elite V2 Remastered? Be sure to head over to our collectibles guides for wine bottles and gold bars

How to Unlock All Cheat Codes in Rage 2 Thu, 16 May 2019 10:12:02 -0400 Sergey_3847

Some time before the official release of Rage 2, the developer announced that there will be cheat codes available in the game. Some of them were even revealed before release, which made a lot of players super excited about all the new cheat possibilities.

Now you can unlock these cheat codes for a certain price. But first you need to find Mangoo, the Wasteland Wizard, the only merchant in the game that sells these cheat codes.

You may need to find him several times on different locations if you want to grab up all of the cheats, since the contents of his secret store change depending on his location.

Yep, you guessed it: Mangoo does move around the map at all times in his hot air balloon.

There are six possible locations to find the Wasteland Wizard, which can be found in four different regions of the map. So keep on reading if you wish to find them all.

Note: By using the codes all trophies and achievements will be automatically disabled.

Location 1: The Wilds

The first location is the northeastern part of The Wilds, a region where the bandit clan of River Hogs rule over the swamplands.

Usually, the Wasteland Wizard lands on a small island near the northern road indicated by a red dot on the map above.

You can get there using either a Monster Truck or a Hover Boat.

Location 2: Broken Tract

The next possible location of the secrets shop is the northwestern area of the Broken Tract region near the southwestern border of The Wilds.

The easiest way to get there is to travel to the Wellspring trading post, and then use the road heading north.

Pretty soon you should see the familiar air hot balloon in the distance, and that's where the Wasteland Wizard usually stops for trading.

Locations 3-4: Sekreto Wetlands

However, your best bet would probably be the Sekreto Wetlands region that has not one but two spots where you can unlock all the cheat codes in Rage 2.

First, check the western part of the Wetlands. You can check out the trading post at the Lagooney town in the very center of the region, and then head straight to the west. If the Wizard landed there, you will undoubtedly spot his location.

But if there is no luck there, then check the southeastern part of the Sekreto Wetlands. This second spot is a bit more dangerous as there is a bandit den nearby, so be very careful when trying to approach the merchant here.

Locations 5-6: Torn Plains

Lastly, you can check another two spots in the Torn Plains region of the Wasteland.

The first one is the easiest to locate, as all you need to do is go to the Gunbarrel town located in the center of the region and exit the town through the southwestern road. That is where the secrets merchant likes to stop.

But on the other side of the map, in the easternmost area of the Torn Plains, there is another possible spot, which can be located between the Forlorn Shack and Eden Space Center.

List of All Cheat Codes

Once you've been able to get the merchant's attention and take a look at his inventory, here's what you can purchase for in-game cash.

Cheat Code Price Effect
Klegg Support $0 Summons a friendly ally to help you in combat.
Progress Booster $500 Double all Feltrite collected for four hours.
Git Gud $1000 Stop being a casual and git gud. All enemies go down in one hit!
Super Phoenix $1000 You thought the Phoenix was already overpowered? Well then, think again!
Phoenix Rejector Seat $1000 When you hit eject, your car flies off into the sky instead of you. Perfect.
Super Overdrive $1000 Rage even harder and boost the power of your Overdrive!
Super Wingstick $1000 Unleashes a spinning blade that tracks and cuts down enemies on its own.
Diamond Geezer $2000 Cockney geezer Danny Dyer narrates as you play. Proper naughty.
Red Barrel Rain $2000 It's raining explosives, hallelujah! Drop in a cluster of red barrels in front of you.
He's On Fire $2000 The Announcer from the NBA Jam game will commentate on your actions and kills.
Son of Thor $2000 You've been thunderstruck! Now redirect it to your enemies and electrocute them.


For more Rage 2 guides, check out the list below:

Rage 2 BFG 9000 Location Guide Wed, 15 May 2019 15:23:22 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Rage 2 is out. If you're playing the game, you know that for two reasons: because you're playing it and there's an in-menu ad telling you the game is out. The funny thing is that the game isn't so clear on how to get the BFG 9000. The weapon's location isn't readily clear. 

Straight from the hellish halls of DOOM, the BFG 9000 is a powerful weapon. It's meant to quickly obliterate many of Rage 2's enemies. Because of its ability to chain damage, the weapon is perfect against groups of enemies. 

However, there's one major hurdle to getting the weapon in your hands. 

How to Get the BFG 9000 in Rage 2

As of now, the only way to get the BFG 9000 is to buy the Rage 2 Deluxe Edition or the Rage 2 Collector's Edition. There is no other way to find the gun in the game. If you bought the Standard Edition, you're simply out of luck. 

Bought the Deluxe Edition but still don't see it in your inventory?  

Follow these steps to get the gun: 

  1. Start Rage 2
  2. Go to settings
  3. Choose near the bottom
  4. Link an active Bethesda account 
  5. Completely exit Rage 2
  6. Relaunch the game

If you followed these steps correctly, a pop-up will appear when you relaunch. It will confirm that your Deluxe Edition content has been successfully activated. 

BFG 9000 inside a crashed meteor in Rage 2

How to Find the BFG 9000

Of course, the BFG 9000 won't automatically appear in your inventory. You have to find it. However, that's easy enough.  

Load up your game (or start a new one). Go to the crossroad just north of Vineland in Twisting Canyons. Look for a meteor falling out of the sky; it will land on a small hillside right next to the crossroad. It's also possible the meteor lands before you get to the location, so look for the smoke coming from the hilld side. 

Inspect the meteor after it lands. The BFG 9000 is inside. 

How to Get More BFG 9000 Ammo

The BFG 9000 initially comes with three rounds. However, that's not enough to lay waste to all of your enemies and all of Rage 2's bosses.

Unfortunately, enemies don't drop ammo for the gun. Instead, you have to buy it for $1,000 per round, and it holds seven rounds. 

To get more ammo, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Wellspring in the Torn Plains region
  2. Go to the Wellspring market
  3.  Find the ammo shop called "Boom"


That's all you need to know about getting the BFG in Rage 2, as well as getting more ammo for the big f*^!&ing gun. Having trouble starting Rage 2? We've got a guide for that. You can also find all of the game's Ark locations and a full cheat code list over on our Rage 2 guides page

Fallout 76: Where To Find Pemmican Wed, 15 May 2019 14:45:20 -0400 Ty Arthur

With the Wild Appalachia update anyone can go spend the weekend camping out in the wilderness... I mean sure, it happens to be an irradiated wilderness filled to the brim with things and people who want to kill you, but its still camping!

As part of that update you may have been surprised to see pemmican -- a staple of jerky vendors and outdoors enthusiasts everywhere -- making an appearance in Fallout 76!

Other than being quite tasty, you're going to need to collect at least three pieces of pemmican if you plan on getting a badge on your quest to graduate from tadpole to possum scout.

 You only need to earn three badges to complete the quest, and this one is fairly easy

In addition to building a campfire, boiling water, grilling hot dogs, and crafting s'mores, three pieces of pemmican are needed for the Backpacker Possum badge. The trouble is they aren't just lying around anywhere and won't be found as random loot in containers.

With the new vending machine system, its always possible another player will put some of their excess pemmican out for sale, but don't expect it to come cheap or be readily available.

The more reliable way is to farm repeatable quests that have a chance to drop Pemmican as a reward. In particular, you want to complete the repeatable quest Operation Tidy which is found at the Kiddie Corner Cabins area.

To farm this repeatable quest, first you need to start The Order Of The Tadpole quest line by finding a flyer at a train station. If you haven't done that yet, check out our full guide to the different parts of this Wild Appalachia quest over here.

With that out of the way, talk to Pioneer Scout Leader Pompy at the Kiddie Corner Cabins to start the Operation Tiday repeatable quest.

After its initiated, wander around the area and clean up the toxic mutagenic waste deposits found on the ground. Once you've got enough collected, go drop the waste deposits off at the blue containment bucket found near Scout Leader Pompy.

Return to the Scout Leader for your reward, which will include pemmican. Unfortunately it doesn't net you all three pieces at once, so you'll need to do this multiple times to complete this part of the Backpacker badge.

How to Get Hot Dogs and S'mores

Haven't found the hot dogs and s'mores yet either? Those are fairly easy:

  • Hot dogs are found in Camden Park by talking to the robot Zeke, who puts you on a quest for a hot dog eating contest. Nearby you can find the Mr. Handy robot Zoe who will have you eat as many hot dogs as possible. If you already completed this quest, hot dogs randomly spawn on grills found around the wasteland.

  • For s'mores, you need to do the Campfire Tales event, which only pops up at night. The s'mores recipe is granted at the end of the event, which requires bone, brahmin milk, razorgrain flour, spices, sugar, syrup, and wood to craft.

 You know, as a 3D game model it doesn't actually look all that appetizing... 

Since you may end up with more than you need, you might be wondering --what else can you do with pemmican? Well obviously you can eat it to reduce hunger and gain the following effects:

  • +3 END
  • +45 HP
  • +0.7 Rads

Other than that, pop any leftover pemmican (or s'mores and hot dogs) in your vending machine to help out other players having trouble with this badge!

Looking for the scout badge exam answers to complete the three badges required for this quest? We've got the answers for all of the badge categories right here.

Looking for the Purveyor legendary vendor? We have the location. Want to know how to complete the Order of the Tadpole Quest? That's right, we've got you covered. Be sure to also take a look at our full list of Fallout 76 guides.

Rage 2 Won't Start? Here Be Fixes! Tue, 14 May 2019 15:56:48 -0400 Ty Arthur

It wouldn't be a Bethesda release without a host of bugs and problems on launch, now would it? Unfortunately, this time around the issue isn't dancing corpses, invisible weapons, or getting stuck in elevators. 

While Id Software delivered on the fast-paced carnage, the big problem with Rage 2 is that a portion of players flat out can't load the game right now. You might get a black screen with audio playing, or even see the cursor on the loading screen, but that's as far as you'll get if you experience this bug.

While we wait on an official patch to fix the issue, there are a few workarounds that have managed to get the game up and running for most players, so let's dive in and see what you can do to play.

How To Fix The Can't Start Rage 2 Bug

The main issue right now seems to involve graphics card drivers not playing nicely with Rage 2, so your first order of business should be to update your drivers.

Fixing Driver Problems

For NVIDIA users, this can be done by opening the GeForce Experience tool and navigating the Drivers tab. If you don't currently have the program installed, you can grab it at this location. For AMD users, you can download the tool to auto-detect and update drivers for your Radeon card over here.

If you aren't sure what kind of card you have, type Device Manager in the search box and click the icon, then open the Display Adapters entry to see the specific name of your graphics adapter.

After updating to the latest graphics driver, restart your computer entirely and then boot up Steam again to see if the problem is resolved.

If it isn't, there may be an issue with the game looking for the wrong graphics card that has vexed some player. Search for the file named amdvlk64.dll using the Windows search bar. If this file is present, delete it and then restart your computer.

If the file doesn't show up due to your search settings, you can find it by navigating to the file path C:\WINDOWS\System32\amdvlk64.dll. Although the file contains the letters "AMD" in it, you should still try this even if you have an AMD card and not an NVIDIA chip.

Fixing Launcher Issues

After taking that step, its time to look at if the launcher for the game is the culprit. If you are using the Bethesda launcher, uninstall and then re-install the Bethesda launcher entirely to make sure you aren't using an out of date version (don't forget to take note of your user name and password first, since you'll have to re-enter them again).

If you use Steam instead, go through the standard process of right-clicking Rage 2 in your library, selecting Properties, navigating to the Local Files tab, and then click Verify Integrity Of Game Files. This process lets you know if any files required to properly load the game are missing or corrupted, and it will automatically re-download those files.

Troubleshooting Other Potential Problems

Some players are finding their anti-virus program is immediately quarantining the Rage 2 executable file, which prevents it from launching.

To see if this is the problem you are having, either temporarily disable your anti-virus and try to load the game, or open your anti-virus tool and select the option to create an exception for the Rage2.exe file to run normally.

Finally, if you use a multiple monitor setup, the game doesn't seem to run well in full screen or borderless mode. What you need to do here is force the game to launch in windowed mode, but obviously, you can't change that setting in the game since the game won't launch.

To work around this problem, right-click Rage 2 in your Steam library and choose Properties, then click Set Launch Options on the General tab. Type the phrase -windowed in the text box, then click Apply and re-launch the game.

Have you found any other workarounds to the Rage 2 loading problem, or are you still unable to launch the game after going through our troubleshooting? Leave us a comment with your issue and we'll try to find a solution!

For everything from cheat codes to Ark locations and where to find the BFG 9000, head over to our Rage 2 guides page for more. 

Ubisoft Releases Big The Division 2 Update Ahead of Operation Dark Hours Tue, 14 May 2019 14:06:34 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Ubisoft recently released patch notes for The Division 2's next major update, which makes a plethora of changes right before the game's first raid, Operation Dark Hours, launches.

There's a release date for the Raid now too. Operation Dark Hours will be available starting May 16 at 12pm EST, after a lengthy delay while Ubisoft handled some nasty bugs. Ubisoft is still keeping fairly quiet about what the Raid might entail, though as earlier leaks suggested, it will take place at least partly in the DC Airport.

Year 1 pass holders gain access to the first two Classified Missions with this update as well, which unlock Backpack Trophies and tell the story behind the fall of DC.

The notes don't actually mention a lot about fans can expect the first The Division 2 Raid, as mentioned. However, they do include new trophies connected to the Raid and a new Apparel Event — opportunities to snag exclusive gear and skins — tied to it as well.

Operation Dark Hours is also getting some new Commendations, but like the trophies and Apparel Event, there's no concrete detail about what to expect from them.

Speaking of Commendations, the development team removed several in this update. Commendations tied to consecutive logins over a specific period of time are no longer in The Division 2, since they were deemed unfair if players had circumstances preventing them from logging in on a given day.

In their place are five new Commendations (not tied to Operation Dark Hours):

  • Full Deck Distinction – Acquire all Snitch Cards.
  • Distinguished Service Distinction – Complete 30 hours of service.
  • Supreme Response Distinction – Complete all main missions and Strongholds on Hard difficulty (or above).
  • Control Point Takeover Merit – Take over 50 Heroic Control Points.
  • Invasion Service Merit – Complete 10 Invaded Strongholds.

There's a new Vendor in the Base of Operations as well, Inaya al-Khaliq, and a change to Gear Scores for exotic items upgraded via crafting. They will now automatically be given the highest Gear Score available for the tier level associated with the Crafting Bench used.

Loot is getting some similar changes to make life easier for agents. New loot will be skewed towards the higher end of the item's Gear Score so there are fewer chances players will come across items below their Gear level.

NPCs received a fair bit of attention in this new update too. They'll actually act like they have intelligence and try to preserve their lives from now on — for example, wearing protective gear, trying to help themselves if they're taken hostage, and not stealing players' cover spots.

The full notes are quite extensive and can be found here for those interested in seeing them.

Red Dead Online Leaves Beta With Big Additions Tue, 14 May 2019 12:16:42 -0400 Ty Arthur

Get ready to saddle up once again fellers, because Red Dead Online is officially leaving beta mode behind and entering full release. 

In celebration of that milestone, anyone logging in and playing this week gets an extra 15 Gold Bars and a 25% increase of XP in most activities.

Rockstar issued a statement to fans who tried out Red Dead Online over the previous months:

A massive thank you to everyone who participated during the beta period. Your feedback has been instrumental in helping us fine tune the game so far with many of your suggestions implemented in today’s update, and we will continue to implement more of your feedback in future updates to come.

This is just the beginning. The future of Red Dead Online not only includes continued improvements to the core elements of the world to make every aspect of the game fun for all kinds of players, but also brand-new experiences that establish a deeper, more immersive connection to the world and your character.

What's New In Red Dead Online

So what exactly did will be in Red Dead Online's full launch? 

Easily the biggest change is the addition of the Offensive and Defensive modes to reduce griefing and allow players to decide how they want to play.

All players default to Offensive mode to start, but they can change if they prefer not to fight other players. Anyone playing Defensive mode takes less damage from other players and can't be lassoed or targeted by the auto-aim system. On the flip side, they also can't join PvP mission.

In addition to that updated system, all of these new features just landed on Red Dead Online:

  • Cooperative story missions (including both the honorable Gunslinger path and the dishonorable Outlaw path)
  • Free roam activities (with characters and locations from the base game, such as the Aberdeen pig farm)
  • New dynamic events when wandering the countryside
  • Poker games seating up to 6 players in Blackwater, Saint Denis, Tumbleweed, Valentine and Flatneck Station.
  • Competitive fishing, hunting, and plant gathering in Posse Versus challenges
  • Showdown Mode gains Overrun, a new playstyle where you have to capture enemy territory 
  • A new 9 round handgun named the LeMat Revolver is now available from the Wheeler, Rawson and Co. Catalogue.  
  • The flip off and throat slit emotes are now available
  • Updated Hostility System better tracks aggressive player behavior
  • The auto-aim headshot tracking against other players has been removed
  • Weapon swapping now occurs much faster
  • The economy has shifted with gold bar payouts bumped up for activities

What do you think of these changes to the game, and are you planning on coming to Red Dead Online with the full launch?

A Plague Tale: Innocence Crafting Guide — Best and Worst Upgrades Tue, 14 May 2019 11:48:21 -0400 Mark Delaney

Asobo Studio's biggest game in their history launches this week. In A Plague Tale: Innocence, players will explore a 14th-century blend of grim historical fact with dangerous fantastical fiction all through the eyes of two young children.

To make it through the swarms of disease-ridden rats and the stifling Inquisition, you'll want to know how best to take advantage of the game's skill tree, which is based entirely around crafting survival tools.

The game slowly reveals what the skill tree looks like as you play through the story, so if you want to get a preview of what's available and be given tips on which upgrades are most worth your precious materials, our guide will come in handy.

The Full Skill Tree

By game's end, there are seven areas of Amicia's skills that can be upgraded, each of them with three areas of focus totaling 21 skills overall.

Every skill won't all be visible from the beginning and in fact it takes many hours before the full tree is visible. Here's what to expect in the complete skill tree:



  • First upgrade: Hitting enemies in the head kills them instantly
  • Second upgrade: Reduces initial load time for Amicia's sling
  • Third upgrade: The sling no longer makes any noise


  • First upgrade: Reduces the time it takes to achieve maximum accuracy
  • Second upgrade: Reduces reloading time
  • Third upgrade: Allows two consecutive shots without priming and reloading


  • First upgrade: Holds up to 12 materials of each type
  • Second upgrade: Holds up to 16 materials of each type
  • Third upgrade: Holds up to 22 materials of each type

Ammunition bag

  • First upgrade: Holds up to 10 ammunition of each type
  • Second upgrade: Holds up to 14 ammunition of each type
  • Third upgrade: Holds up to 22 ammunition of each type


  • First upgrade: Running and dodging make less noise
  • Second upgrade: Amicia no longer needs a workshop to upgrade her gear
  • Third upgrade: Amicia no longer needs tools to upgrade her gear


  • First upgrade: Increases the duration of effect of Odoris and Luminosa
  • Second upgrade: Allows Luminosa to be thrown with a sling
  • Third upgrade: Allows Somnum to be thrown


  • First upgrade: Ignifier ammo distracts enemies
  • Second upgrade: Improves the speed of ammo crafting
  • Third upgrade: Shooting a stone with a sling removes the target's helmet

Best Skill Upgrades

Not all 21 skill upgrades are created equal. After extensively playing A Plague Tale, we've come up with this list of recommendations as to how to spend your materials.

The world of A Plague Tale is a ruthless one, and you don't want to use up your precious materials frivolously. Understanding that sometimes you'll need to unlock a preceding upgrade to unlock a subsequent upgrade in the same area, these are our picks for the most advantageous skills in Amicia's survival tool belt.

Pocket and Ammunition Capacities: All Upgrades

While there's certainly not a surplus of materials lying about the world of A Plague Tale, good scavenging will sometimes net you more materials than you can carry, which painfully means you'll have to leave them behind.

Upgrading both your ammo and material carrying capacities should be one of the main priorities. As the game gets tougher, you'll want to have a more abundant and diverse arsenal, and you can't do that unless you're able to carry the extra materials.

Attirail: First Upgrade

Stealth is the central mechanic to A Plague Tale's gameplay, so that means you'll want to very quickly make yourself quieter.

When you time things perfectly, you can often sneak past guards without running at all, but assuming you want some wiggle room, upgrading your ability to stay quiet in the shadows will greatly aid you from a very early point in the game as it's one of the first upgrades available.

Strings: All Upgrades

Amicia isn't a super soldier, nor is she a trained survivalist. In her story, she's armed with only a slingshot to defend herself and Hugo against the dual threat of rats and religious tyrants. That means you really can't go wrong with upgrading her sling's strings to their maximum effectiveness.

You should especially consider getting the first upgrade early as it will help you with an early boss battle.

Pouch: First and Second Upgrades

Similar to the strings, Amicia's pouch upgrades directly aid you in combat. Often you can avoid combat by staying sneaky, but sometimes the game forces you into it, or things may otherwise devolve, like how Hugo can be captured and killed fast if you don't intervene.

It's in these moments where you'll either be thankful you've upgraded your pouch or wishing you did. Getting multiple shots off fast is hugely important as the enemy numbers increase later in the game, and it would be nearly impossible to see the end credits of A Plague Tale without spending some materials on the pouch. 

Containers: First Upgrade

The alchemy branch of the skill tree isn't available until about halfway through the game, but when you do get it, it introduces some very advantageous new tools. Particularly, Luminosa and Odoris can be huge when you're solving some of the game's environmental puzzles.

Luminosa illuminates areas for a short while, which keeps the rats at bay, while Odoris draws rats over to an area. Both can be used in clever and improvised ways that will help clear paths, eliminate Inquisition members, or save the life of an ally. This first upgrade simply makes their effects last longer so it's one of the best to consider. 

Skills to Ignore

If you're not the type to chase achievements and trophies unlocking the entire skill tree, it's likely you'll beat the game without unlocking every skill. That means you'll want to pass over some skills in favor of those better ones listed above.

Three skills that we don't find necessary are:

  • Attirail second upgrade
  • Attirail third upgrade
  • Instruments' second upgrade

In the case of the attirails, while not needing a workshop to unlock skills may sound beneficial, they actually appear regularly enough that this skill didn't help us very much and in the end felt like we wasted materials.

The most scarce crafting item in the game is tool kits, so you may think it's best to not need them anymore for upgrading. However, at the time we unlocked this skill, we had three tool kits in our inventory. They are often off the beaten path in the game's mostly linear levels, but for those who are scouring over the less-traveled areas, you'll find enough to keep upgrading at a helpful pace. 

As for the Instruments' second upgrade, being able to throw Somnum may sound great when it's first introduced as a sleeping agent to combat the Inquisition, but considering just how many resources it eats up and how Somnum is meant as a last resort item, you're much better off finding alternate solutions. A single Somnum usage can be the difference between unlocking a new skill or not, and for a one-off item like that, such a cost-value proposition just doesn't add up.


If you're looking for more on A Plague Tale: Innocence, don't miss the huge reveal hidden in the game's final scene easter egg. or any of our other A Plague Tale: Innocence guides here on GameSkinny.

The Easter Egg You Missed in A Plague Tale: Innocence's Post-Credits Scene Tue, 14 May 2019 09:00:01 -0400 Mark Delaney

One of May's biggest new releases is now available. Asobo Studio's third-person stealth-action game, A Plague Tale: Innocence, sneaks into stores during a busy week that also features RAGE 2 and Team Sonic Racing. However, its ending, post-credits scene is hiding something. 

Once you make it to the end of A Plague Tale, stick around for Chapter XVII after the credits. Asobo went the Marvel route and left a massive reveal hidden in the last images of its thematically dark story.

Not sure what it means or what you might've missed? Don't worry, we'll get you caught up.

Beware: spoilers ahead!

The final chapter of A Plague Tale shows Amicia and Hugo walking through the streets of a small village. Amicia plays a carnival game using her slingshot (which by then is surely quite simple for her), wins Hugo an apple, and together, they head back to their carriage to meet up with Lucas.

After a brief conversation, the camera slowly zooms out as bittersweet music plays and our heroes' journey comes to an end... or does it?

Just as the camera zooms out to its fullest extent, right before the game cuts to black, in the distance, you can see where the kids are heading. It's to the shore to get on a boat. 

The ending of A Plague Tale Innocence

Why is this important? Because recently, the game's publisher, Focus Home Interactive, held an event where they teased several upcoming projects with studios from all over the world.

They even announced with a teaser image that they have agreed to publish Asobo's next game. The image doesn't tell us much on its own, but together with this final scene of the game, it's very revealing. Check it out below.

A teaser image for A Plague Tale Innocence that ties to the post-credits scene

It's the same boat! In a very clever and sneaky way, Focus Home and Asobo have already revealed a sequel to A Plague Tale: Innocence is on the way. If you need more proof, the red garment floating in the water belongs to Hugo and is the shirt he wears in the game by default (though players can change his clothes in the options).

Additionally, the entire game is about Amicia caring for Hugo and keeping him safe in a harsh world where swarms of sickly rats and The Inquisition are both constantly threatening to kill them. "Care. Rise. Defy."

On top of all that is the fact that when A Plague Tale: Innocence was first revealed, it was called simply "The Plague." However, not a long time after, it was retitled to what it is today. That seems to indicate the creators were looking at branding it as the Plague Tale series.

Given all that happens in the game and what's shown in the teaser image during the end, post-credits scene, our money is on A Plague Tale: Defiance next. A sequel is coming. Now we wait for the official word from Focus Home and Asobo.

Discovering Hugo's Herbarium in A Plague Tale: Innocence Mon, 13 May 2019 18:15:01 -0400 Thomas Wilde

Starting in Chapter IV of A Plague Tale: Innocence, you can find a series of hidden flowers, all of which contribute an entry to your in-game Codex. Hugo doesn't necessarily have to be present in the stage for a collectible flower to show up, but if he is, you'll be able to tell when you've found a flower because Hugo will make a beeline for it. (No pun intended.)

Finding a flower also results in Amicia wearing a blossom in her hair for the rest of the current level.

Collecting half of the flowers in the game unlocks the Herbalist trophy/achievement. Once you've found them all, you receive the Botanist trophy/achievement.

Discussing the collectibles in A Plague Tale will involve unavoidable mild spoilers. Please do not read further until you've had a chance to clear the game for yourself. Once you've completed a stage, you can revisit it from the chapter selection menu at any time.

Note that any collectible you find in A Plague Tale is saved to your profile on the spot. Even if you die after finding it or quit out of the game, the collectible item is still saved in your Codex. You can pick it up again on subsequent attempts or runs through the game, but all you have to do is grab it once.

Flower Locations in A Plague Tale Innocence

1: Carnations

When Hugo finds flowers in the courtyard of the church in Chapter III, stop to inspect the plant he's looking at. You can technically skip this if you move on without interacting with Hugo, but it's otherwise difficult to miss.

2: Aquilegia

Once you get through the fields to the farm in Chapter IV, go all the way to the back of the lot, between the farmhouse and the back fence. You're looking for a little purple flower at the base of a tree.

3: Gladiolus

At the start of Chapter V, before you get to the battlefield, keep an eye on the left side of the path. You can see this flower well before you can reach it, growing on a ledge that overlooks the path.

Once you've caught up to Hugo, keep an eye on your left. You can follow the hillside up a bit at one point to find a well-hidden alchemists' chest. Keep going past it to follow the path back around to the flowers.

4: Hawthorn

In Chapter VII, when you reach the ruined village that Melie says is cursed, don't follow her to the left right away. Instead, go right and look behind the fallen wall at the end of the path. Hugo will find a bush.

5: St. John's wort

After the scene with the tree at the end of Chapter VIII, before you go to talk to Melie, look at the plant Hugo's playing with.

6: Lavender

Right at the start of Chapter IX, keep an eye on the left side of the path as you follow Melie.

7: Daisy

In Chapter X, in the university library, make progress until the point where you have to unleash a rat swarm on a couple of armored guards. Once the rats have fully left the alcove they've been sealed up in, investigate it to find this flower growing out of the floor. Somehow.

8: Rhodendron

Before you go to talk to Lucas in Chapter XI, take a right and go along the outside edge of the courtyard. You're looking for these flowers, in an easy-to-spot bush.

9: Cinquefoil

Once you emerge from the castle after visiting Hugo's room in Chapter XII, hang a left before you go down the stairs and look for this flower, on the ground next to a deformed statue.

10: Daffodil

After you rescue Hugo in Chapter XIII, keep an eye on your right as you go down the path. You can find this flower in a small clearing there.

11: Nightshade

This is an easy flower to find, as there's only one place in all of Chapter XIV where a flower could theoretically be growing. The problem is that it's in the courtyard, which is crawling with Inquisition guards.

While you're following Nicholas, he'll pause to talk to a couple of people in the courtyard. When he leaves, don't follow him right away. Instead, dodge the guards and work your way around to your left, to the hedges on the far right-hand side of the courtyard. The berries are growing on a small bush inside it.

12: Rockfoils

Right at the start of Chapter XV, talk to Lucas, then open the door near him and walk through. The flowers are at the other end of the room, next to the bench.

13: Christmas rose

Progress through Chapter XVI until you reach the part where Rodric has to break into the burning house for you. Fend off the guards, then use the door they came in through to reach a yard on the other side of the chasm. Hugo will present Amicia with "her flower."

If you need a hand finding the other collectible items in A Plague Tale, check out our guides to the Curiosities and Gifts. If you're still on the fence about whether or not to play the game, you can also head over and read our full review.

A Plague Tale: Innocence Review — A Unique but Uneven Throwback to an Earlier Era of Video Games Mon, 13 May 2019 18:00:02 -0400 Thomas Wilde

A Plague Tale: Innocence is meant to be, above all else, a story of the fraught relationship between two siblings, against the backdrop of war-torn, disease-ridden 14th-century France. The older, Amicia, feels like she had to grow up largely on her own, due to her father’s travels and her mother doting on her unwell little brother; the younger, Hugo, is a sheltered, sickly five-year-old with zero attention span and no concept of personal danger.

It’s a perfect recipe for friction, as they barely know each other and are suddenly thrust into a situation where they’re forced to depend on each other to survive.

The gamble that the developers have taken is that you’ll be invested enough in Amicia and Hugo’s personal dynamic that you’re willing to play through an hours-long escort mission. Roughly two-thirds of A Plague Tale is dedicated to you as Amicia keeping Hugo safe, as you make a desperate run through dead cities, hot zones, and active battlefields.

As these things go, it should be said that this isn’t the worst take on the concept. (That, in my experience, is still 2011’s Knight’s Contract.) Hugo usually stays fastened to your hip whenever you’re actually in the field, he does what you tell him, and most of the time, he's a typical tagalong NPC. He does lose his damn mind and get guards' attention if you get more than about 20 meters away from him, so you can’t just dunk Hugo into a barrel like he's RE4's Ashley Graham, but that’s not much of an imposition.

That said, he’s also the sort of support character who’s not only the center of the game’s plot but is also the source of most of that plot’s major complications. A Plague Tale would be about four hours shorter if Hugo had the basic self-preservation instincts of the average cocker spaniel. His habit of throwing a tantrum and running away on his own at the worst possible time, for the most specious possible reasons, is the focus of not only a couple of different chapters of the story, but forms the lead-up to the game’s denouement.

It’s actually a neat bit of narrative design. Hugo is a sheltered little kid and acts like one, which I have to assume is meant to make the player as frustrated with him as Amicia often is. I can admire the intention and even the implementation, even as it and Hugo annoy me.

That central dynamic is one of a handful of things that are holding A Plague Tale back. There isn’t much else like it on the shelves right now, and a few of its levels are legitimate must-sees, but it’s rough around the edges. It’s worth checking out, if only for the absolute insanity of its final stages, but its first real barrier to entry is your ability to tolerate Hugo.

A Plague Tale is set in southern France, in the early 14th-century, at the start of the Hundred Years’ War. The English army is steadily gnawing on the nation’s borders to back up Edward III’s claim to the French throne, the Inquisition is in full swing, and entire villages are being torn apart by the Black Death.

You play as Amicia de Rune, the oldest child of a retired French knight. One day, following a hunting trip with her father, Amicia’s home is attacked by the forces of the Inquisition. Amicia’s forced to flee into the countryside with her little brother in tow, pursued by religious zealots and bounty hunters, and surrounded on all sides by sickness, insanity, and hostile soldiers.

That’d be enough to hang a game off of as it stands, but shortly after their escape from their father’s castle, Amicia and Hugo run into a larger threat: invading hordes of ravenous black rats. Anyone caught by them is reduced to bones in a few bloody seconds, and the "lucky" ones who manage to get away are likely infected with the Black Plague. The only protection from the rats is to stay in well-lit areas, using torches, lanterns, campfires, and even burning sticks to keep the horde at bay.

Notably, Amicia is a teenage girl, armed with a sling, up against armored soldiers. If anyone gets close enough to draw a bead on or take a swing at Amicia, she’s dead. As such, particularly in its opening levels, A Plague Tale is a stealth game with a fragile protagonist. Most of the time, being detected at all will end badly for you.

You can throw rocks or clay pots to create distractions and slip by guards, hide in tall grasses, and use your slingshot to destroy distant targets. Eventually, you start getting upgrades, such as alchemically-enhanced ammunition, and Amicia can enhance her sling to the point where landing a headshot to an un-helmeted human is a one-hit kill. Stealth never stops being important, however, as it takes Amicia a couple of crucial seconds to spin the sling up to lethal velocity, and it’s a lot harder to hit a target who’s coming straight at you.

More often, when you need to take a human out rather than just slip by him unnoticed, you’ll use the rats. Being a six-foot-tall bastard in plate armor is no defense whatsoever against being pulled down and devoured, and the rats are almost everywhere.

Most of the challenges in A Plague Tale are thus about stealth, finding a way past the rats, or both at once. You can distract the rats with an easy meal, by throwing joints of meat or fresh corpses to them, or get them out of your way with sources of light.

Early on, you get special sling stones that burst into flames on impact, which only annoys a human target, but which can be used to ignite distant torches, embers, or haystacks. Your plain old sling stones can also be used to destroy a human target’s lantern, so if you pick your window carefully, you can get a dead enemy and a rat distraction all at once.

The rats actually impress me quite a bit. Whenever they’re not on center stage, the world of A Plague Tale feels like a sort of interactive documentary, with little of the artificial romanticism of medieval life that you often see in fantasy or historical fiction. The developers, Asobo Studio in Bordeaux, France, set A Plague Tale in its own historical backyard and built its environments without any real sentimental attachment.

The game’s setting is muddy, dark, crudely built, and falling apart at the seams; it’s full of muted colors, untamed wilderness, and people half-mad from grief. The music is mostly acoustic pieces from period instruments, expertly pitched to match the mood of a scene. Even the collectibles are little snapshots of French history, both good and bad, like alchemical trivia and artifacts of the Inquisition.

That makes it twice as surreal when the rats do show up, as they represent the sudden intrusion of a malevolent force into a relatively normal scene. It’s made obvious from the moment they first appear that they’re supernatural; even if they didn’t have a habit of bursting into flames if they’re exposed to too much light, the swarms behave less like a living thing and more like some kind of hostile carnivorous liquid.

In areas where they’ve been able to build nests, it looks like something out of an H.R. Giger painting, full of stripped skeletons and old blood. No one in A Plague Tale is equipped to understand the rats, and no one’s trying. They’re treated like a divine plague, one more bad thing in a bad time, and that’s one of the creepiest things about them.

(I had a conversation with the game’s creative director about it at E3 2018, although it was slightly complicated by a language barrier. He insisted that his studio doesn’t consider A Plague Tale to be a horror game at all, but it’s hard not to think of it as one. It is, at least, highly horror-adjacent.)

It’s all leading up to a conclusion that is worth the cost of entry by itself. The last level of A Plague Tale requires a lot of trial-and-error gameplay, as a nearly-new mechanic suddenly comes to the forefront, but it’s one of the weirdest and most memorable final stages of a game in quite a while. It’s on the same level of achievement as the chapter in Condemned 2 where you’re suddenly being pursued by an angry bear; people ought to be talking about this for a while.

That makes me inclined to be charitable towards A Plague Tale in the final analysis, as it’s nicely strange, with a unique setting and some interesting design choices. It’s still a decidedly flawed product, however.

I’m not even really that down on it for saddling you with Hugo, although that’s likely going to be the most controversial thing about it. If you’re not interested in playing full-contact babysitter to a little French kid who screams at you while you’re saving his life, in the rare event that he’s not actively doing something stupid at the time, then A Plague Tale just isn’t your game. Asobo made a deliberate creative choice and stuck with it despite it being potential market suicide, which is hard to truly fault it for.

The whole game does feel a little under-budgeted for what it is, however. The combat is awkward and clumsy, which makes it feel much worse on the occasions when the game forces you into an open confrontation. It’d make more sense if Amicia had more specialized alchemical tricks that let her avoid a fight altogether, like smoke bombs, or if the Ignifer flame ammo could stun or knock over human targets.

Instead, you have to pop headshots on advancing soldiers like it's a medieval-themed version of Space Invaders, and the game’s systems are not equipped for the challenge. If you made the mistake of not investing in the theoretically optional upgrade path for the sling, a couple of those sequences are damn near impossible.

A Plague Tale’s engine is also not quite up to the task of its design, particularly in levels that involve both giant hordes of rats and player-controlled light sources. I played the game on a fairly beefy PC and still got some dangerous framerate drops in certain levels, as the constant churn of the rat hordes and the dynamic lighting fought each other for a chunk of my CPU. The rest of the game looks good enough, with nicely varied environments and expressive character models, but the rats often come off like a couple of them are somehow gnawing on your graphics card.

It’s also worth noting that A Plague Tale is about 12 hours long, and when it’s over, it’s over. You could maybe justify one or two additional runs for the sake of completing its achievements, but it doesn’t have any real branch points, extra challenges, a new game plus mode (which it really needs, both for finishing off the upgrade-related achievements and so I can mow down the bastard soldiers in the opening chapters), or additional difficulty levels.

In fact, A Plague Tale is one of those games that’s so excited for you to progress through it that, if you take a few seconds too long to consider the challenge in front of you, Amicia or a nearby member of her supporting cast will just blurt out the answer. It’s made for you to get into and out of it in a long weekend, which isn’t much value for a starting price of US$50. You'll remember the trip, though.

  • It's a bloody, picturesque run through a dramatically underrepresented, realistically-depicted period of history.
  • The harsh thwack of your sling stone against an Inquisition soldier's skull is always satisfying, and a testament to good sound design.
  • The wetly organic structures of the rat nests are creepy and compelling.
  • The final stages are something you really do have to see to believe.
  • Melie is a great character who enlivens every scene she's in.
  • The combat is awkward as hell, which makes it awful in the handful of instances when it becomes mandatory.
  • If you're spotted by enemies in a stealth sequence, you have almost no ability to escape.
  • Lots of dynamic lighting and angry rats simultaneously is going to be murder on your system's frame rate.
  • Little replay value.
  • Linear. All stages have one real path and all obstacles have exactly one intended solution. A couple may have additional brute-force options late in the game, but they're not what the developers planned for.
  • Binding the context command for climbing ledges and the dodge move to the same button is pretty obnoxious.
  • Okay, yeah, I spent a lot of the game wanting to throttle Hugo.

There’s a lot about A Plague Tale that I find weirdly refreshing. There used to be a lot of games like this a couple of software generations ago. It’s just a simple, memorable single-player experience, made precisely as its designers wanted it, intended to be enjoyed and definitively completed. It doesn't even end on a sequel hook. A Plague Tale: Innocence feels like the highest-budget B-list PlayStation 2 game ever made, and I assure you, I mean that as a compliment.

[Note: A copy of A Plague Tale: Innocence was provided by Focus Home Interactive for the purpose of this review.]

Finding All the Historical Curiosities in A Plague Tale: Innocence Mon, 13 May 2019 18:00:02 -0400 Thomas Wilde

A Plague Tale: Innocence would count as a straightforward historical drama were it not for the armies of flesh-hungry rats. You can get some background details on the history and culture of 1300s France by looking around for Curiosities, a collection of random tools, toys, books, alchemy devices, and other artifacts that teach you more about the culture of this specific time and place.

Find 13 of the 26 Curiosities to earn the Curiosities hunter trophy/achievement. If you manage to find them all, you'll get the Curiosities collector trophy/achievement.

The Curiosities are some of the harder-to-find collectibles in A Plague Tale, and discussing their locations requires a few mild spoilers. Try not to read further until you've had the chance to beat the game for yourself.

Curiosity Locations in A Plague Tale: Innocence

1: Cinnamon

Before you go upstairs to see Amicia's mother, Beatrice, in Chapter 1, go into the kitchen's back room and climb the ladder near the fireplace. The dish of spice is on a table against the far wall.

2: Tablecloth

In Chapter 1, when you go upstairs, go into the open hallway past Louise before you double back to see Beatrice. This item, the surprise Louise mentioned, is on Amicia's bed. If you wait until after you've spoken with Beatrice, the hallway door is locked and you won't be able to backtrack for this.

3: Soap

Once you reach the village proper in Chapter II, take the first right and go across the short stone bridge. Keep an eye on your right to find a dark, easy-to-miss alleyway that leads to a cul-de-sac. The collectible you want is in the corner nearest you as you enter.

4: Incense and Herbs

When you go upstairs to change your clothes in Chapter II, before you open the chest, look on the desk to the left of the bed.

5: Brew

Shortly after the rats first make the scene in Chapter III, you're asked to knock a brazier off the ceiling to set it swinging, then follow its arc to make it to the other side of a room. Instead of doing so, hop the fence halfway across to find the monks' brewery. Inspect the cauldron on the workbench to find this Curiosity.

6: Crusader Tabard

After you catch up to Hugo in the monks' old barracks in Chapter III, climb the ladder up to where he was hiding to find this in an open chest on the second floor.

7: Hermetic vessel

At the beginning of Chapter IV, look at the base of the tree stump near the small campsite by the side of the path.

8: V.I.T.R.I.O.L.

Just before or after you meet Laurentius in Chapter IV, go into Lucas's bedroom to the right of his, on the second floor of the farmhouse. You'll find this formula on the desk.

Notably, you get a different conversation about it depending on when you pick the VITRIOL up. You may want to wait until after you've met Lucas, as he has a bit to say about it.

9: Sickle

Upon reaching the early bit where you have to push the cart in Chapter V, look forward and to the left. There's a soldier in the distance with a torch in his hand who can be easily sniped from a distance with your sling, and he's standing next to an open chest.

Kill him, then push your cart in that general direction to find the Sickle and a few reagents in the chest he was guarding.

10: Oliphant

After you knock down the two hanging corpses to distract the swarm in Chapter V, don't go straight forward into the siege tower yet. Instead, hang a U-turn to your left to find a hidden cache of reagents, with this horn on the ground nearby.

11: Pounds sterling

As you leave the officer's tent with Melie in Chapter VI, don't follow her left into the soldiers' mess hall. Instead, take a detour right, around the cart, to a well-hidden side room. Here, you'll find some Sulphur, some Fabric, and a stack of English coins.

12: Declaration of War

After you free Hugo in Chapter VI, cut across the main drag to the left side of the camp and work your way towards the exit. The Declaration is on a stool in the smithy, near a couple of horses.

13: Horseshoe

After you get past the mill's wheel with Melie and Hugo at the start of Chapter VII, take a look through the gap in the wall near the workbench. There's a lock in the next room that you can break off with a sling stone, which reveals a hidden door in the previous room next to the mill's lever.

Go back inside with Melie to boost yourselves up into the hidden area, which contains nothing besides this collectible. It's actually a little hard to spot, but it's the only interactive object in the room so you can keep an eye out for the little white circle that marks it.

14: Map

When you emerge into the clearing full of guards in Chapter VII, right after Melie teaches you how to make Devorantis, clear out the patrolers along the right side. One of them is poring over this collectible, spread out on a table under a tent to the right of your destination.

This does require you to kill a few more of the soldiers than would be necessary if you were simply trying to escape. Fortunately, they're in the Inquisition, so it's hard to feel too bad about it.

15: Iconography

When you wake up in Chapter VIII, follow Hugo. The curiosity in question is at the end of the wrecked staircase in the first tower you pass through above Lucas's new laboratory.

16: Bird Language Manual

At the end of Chapter VIII, you can talk to Melie near the fireplace to progress to Chapter IX. Before you do that, go back to the ramparts where she and Amicia had their conversation. This book is hidden behind a barrel on the rampart where Melie was standing.

17: Sheepskin

In Chapter IX, after you knock down a hanging corpse to get a pack of rats out of your hair, a guard immediately bursts in with a lantern.

There's a chest with this curiosity in it near the door he used to get in, but you have to be careful to not dispose of the guard in a place that renders the chest impossible to get to. Ideally, you can lead him a bit and let him get further into the room, then destroy his lantern and let the rats take care of the rest. You do have to be careful to not let him get too close, however, as Amicia doesn't do well at point-blank range.

18: Piece of Transis

In Chapter IX, once you've managed to maneuver the old cart to the ledge in the graveyard, backtrack a bit. There's a part of the fence in the courtyard where you found the cart that you can vault over.

Do so, and you'll find this Curiosity inside a mausoleum at the end of a short path.

19: Study of a skinned person

As you pursue Rodric's captors through the university in Chapter X, you'll enter a lecture hall with seating to either side. The right side is blocked but features this Curiosity on a seat on the near side. You'll either need to move fast and grab it while the guards are distracted, or wait for most of them to leave and kill the guy they left behind.

20: Theriaque

When you reach the hidden library in the university's basement with Rodric in Chapter X, check the corners of the room. One of them hides an easy-to-miss study with this item on its desk.

21: Harnois helmet

In Chapter XII, in the kitchens of the de Rune estate, you'll find a second servant whose body has been totally untouched by the rats. This Curiosity is in the open hope chest behind her, against the wall, where it's easy to miss among all the flickering shadows in the room.

22: Family tree

When you finally reach Beatrice's laboratory in Chapter XII, this can be found on a table in the corner. It's really easy to find as long as you go exploring while the room's still dark, just like the game has been trying to condition you not to do.

23: Rag doll

At the end of the village section of Chapter XIII, before you go through the door Clevie's guarding, look to your left. There's a hole in the wall that's half-hidden by a hedge, and you can find Hugo's doll on the other side in an old cradle.

24: Knight figurine

When you reach Hugo's room in Chapter XIII, before you go to his little fort in the corner, check in Beatrice's workroom. This curiosity is on the table in the center.

25: Discipline

In Chapter XVI, once you reach town, go straight forward and put out the first torch to unleash your first pack of rats. Use them to take out the next two guards, then take a look to your right. The curiosity is in the little side yard, next to a dead guy, and is somehow grosser than the corpse.

26: Inquisitor's Manual

Once you've punched through the last of the guards between you and the cathedral in Chapter XVI, look to the right of the gallows' stairs, behind the barrels.

If you've missed any of the Curiosities on your first run, you can use the chapter selection option in the main menu to skip right to each stage you've reached or completed. Picking up a Curiosity saves it to your Codex on the spot, so you don't have to finish the level for it to count.

To finish off your time with A Plague Tale, consult our other guides for the game's Gifts and Hugo's Herbarium. If you're still on the fence about it, see what we've got to say on the subject in our review.