Xbox One Platform RSS Feed | Xbox One RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Beta Impressions — Almost on Target Tue, 17 Sep 2019 12:29:38 -0400 John Schutt

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

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

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

Solid, Grounded Gameplay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neo-Classic Map Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Improvements Needed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall Verdict of the Beta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bugs in the Sawmill

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

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

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

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

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

Hero Shooter-Lite

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

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

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

The Great Escape

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

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

Charting Your Own Way

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

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

"If It Ain't Broke ..."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to be a Collector: A Professions Guide to Red Dead Online Mon, 16 Sep 2019 13:50:25 -0400 Sergey_3847

Gold fever and the Wild West go hand in hand. And Red Dead Online fully embraces that connection with the Collector profession. Included in the Frontier Pursuits content update with the Bounty Hunter and the Trader professions, the Collector is the second-best specialty for players who want to make money. 

Instead of actually searching for gold bars, though, players in this role will find themselves searching obscure portions of the RDO map for old relics. Of course, these relics can be sold for big rewards, which is a great way to generate even more cash than some other specialties.

Below, you will find a complete tips and tricks guide on how to become a Collector, and how to make the most of this unusual business.

Getting Started as the Collector in Red Dead Online

Out of all three new professions, becoming a Collector is probably the hardest for any character. This method of play comes down to encountering Madam Nazar's Caravan, which always moves around the map.

While hard to chart, it regularly appears on the map near Moonstone Pond and O'Creagh's Run in the Grizzlies East region.

Once you've located Madam Nazar's Caravan, here's what you need to do to start finding treasure and other lootable items:

  1. Talk to Madam Nazar
  2. Purchase the Collector's Bag for 15 gold
  3. Open the Collector's Bag to activate map markers

If you have collected all 54 cards in GTA Online, then you don't need to pay for the Collector's Bag. Your progress in Rockstar's other popular action game will net you save you 15 gold. 

Deals, Skills, and Items

The first problem that you will face after becoming a Collector is that Madam Nazar will not give you all her map markers for free. First, you need to buy a few things from her:

  • Buy Pennington Field Shovel. This should be your first purchase, as it will unlock other maps in her shop.
  • Purchase all unlocked maps. Each map costs about $20, and it will unlock new map markers.
  • Purchase other accessories. These include belt buckles, goggles, and gloves, which will all help you locate various treasures.

Besides these items, you will get a number of items and skills by default: 

Rewards What They Do
Divination Sense nearby collectibles
Potential Detect disturbed earth when using Eagle Eye
Intuition Narrow your search area
Horse Saddlebag Upgrade Carry more in your Horse’s saddlebag
Refined Binoculars Specialized binoculars that make dig sites glow from a great distance
Aguila Machete A classic, restyled machete 
Metal Detector An important tool which can identify collectibles buried underground
Equine Assistance Collect herbs from horseback
Horse Lantern Light the path ahead with a lantern attached to your horse’s breastplate
Valuables Satchel Upgrade Store more items in your Valuables Pouch
Criollo Horses Known for their hardiness and stamina, they're fast and agile


Collecting Tips and Tricks

There are so many maps to unlock and so many items to find that you may easily get confused in the mess that is the Collector specialty. To help prevent that, follow these gameplay guidelines for the role whether by yourself or with friends: 

  • Never open a new map until you've collected all the items from the first one. Otherwise, you will lose all the previous map markers even if you haven't found the treasure yet.
  • If you've made a mistake and accidentally opened a new map, then you need to go back to Madam Nazar and purchase it once again.
  • Try to play with your gamepad vibration on, as it will help you locate hidden items.
  • Use Eagle Eye vision for better visibility.
  • Use the Metal Detector in hard-to-get-to places.


That is all you need to know on how to become a successful Collector in solo or multiplayer. For more Red Dead Online guides, check out the list below:

Red Dead Online is the online component of Red Dead Redemption 2. It is currently available for the PS4 and Xbox One.

RDO is free to those who own the RDR2 base game, though PlayStation 4 players must subscribe to PlayStation Plus to play online, while Xbox players must subscribe to Xbox Live. 

For more on Red Dead Redemption 2, be sure to head over to our official review of the game

How to be a Bounty Hunter: A Professions Guide to Red Dead Online Mon, 16 Sep 2019 12:11:46 -0400 Sergey_3847

The Frontier Pursuits content update for Red Dead Online adds several new professions to the game — Trader, Collector, and Bounty Hunter — of which Bounty Hunter is the most dangerous. The profession will appeal to players who like to live on the edge, challenge themselves, and make money doing it. 

Just like every other profession in Red Dead Online, one must fulfill certain requirements to become a Bounty Hunter; there's a code, after all, to hunting for gangs and other lawbreakers across the RDO map.

Our guide below outlines helpful tips and tricks for those who want to play the specialty role. 

Getting Started as Bounty Hunter in Red Dead Online

Before getting yourself into all kinds of trouble, you need to get a proper license first. Here's what to do for a fast start:

  1. Travel to Rhodes
  2. When you arrive, follow the yellow marker on the map
  3. Speak to the Sheriff
  4. Purchase the Bounty Hunter license from him for 15 gold

If you already have a Twitch Prime Member account linked to Red Dead Online, then you will get the license for free, regardless of your platform.

After getting a license, you will see a new marker appear in each town. This is for the bounty board, which, of course, provides you with different types of bounty missions — and different ways to make money and gain XP.

Maybe you will even get lucky and find a legendary bounty. 

Deals, Skills, and Items

All bounty hunting missions are pretty much straightforward, but if you're having trouble getting to your first mission, here's the complete cycle:

  • Mark your destination: Follow the marker on the map after activating the bounty hunting mission.
  • Deal with bandits: Take out all enemies except your target, which should be taken alive.
  • Deliver the package: Bring the fugitive back to the Sheriff's office for a reward.

Obviously, bounty hunting is extremely dangerous business, since you will operate alone in most cases. You will need to be on the lookout for griefers, too, as you hunt your prey since they can make things more difficult.

Because of all of the variables at play, this method requires extra preparation for each mission. Fortunately, every Bounty Hunter is given a number of new skills and items to use while on this dangerous path:

Rewards What They Do
Focus Targets glow red in Eagle Eye
Reinforced Lasso A lasso made with reinforced rope to keep bounties secure
Reverse Spin Perform a Reverse Spin with a single pistol or revolver
Tonics Satchel Upgrade Store more items in your Tonics Pouch
Eagle Eye+ Track enemies while sprinting or galloping
Spin Up Perform a Spin Up with a single pistol or revolver
Kit Satchel Upgrade Store more items in your Kit Pouch
Tracking Arrow Pamphlet A pamphlet recipe on how to craft Tracking Arrows
Reverse Spin Up Perform a Reverse Spin Up with a single pistol or revolver
Ducking Duck for protection while on horseback
Bolas A thrown weapon, perfect for tangling the legs of bounties
Bounty Wagon A wagon for securely retaining multiple bounty targets
Perception Receive bounty notifications from a greater distance
Alternating Flips Perform Alternating Flips with a single pistol or revolver
Dual Gun Spinning Perform gun spinning tricks with two pistols or revolvers
Breton Horses This breed is strong and muscular

Bounty Hunting Tips and Tricks

Even though bounty hunting is a very straightforward trade, there are a few things one should keep in mind if they want to succeed in the role: 

  • Bring your targets back alive rather than dead for bigger rewards
  • Take advantage of your lasso for capturing your targets alive
  • Check out post offices and train stations for more bounty hunts
  • Bring your posse or play with friends for top-tier bounty hunts
  • Reinforce your lasso to win hard-to-get targets
  • Reach Level 15 and hunt for real players for $20 or more


That is all you need to know on how to make money as a successful Bounty Hunter. For more Red Dead Online guides, check out the list below:

Red Dead Online is the online component of Red Dead Redemption 2. It is currently available for the PS4 and Xbox One.

RDO is free to those who own the RDR2 base game, though PlayStation 4 players must subscribe to PlayStation Plus to play online, while Xbox players must subscribe to Xbox Live. 

For more on Red Dead Redemption 2, be sure to head over to our official review of the game

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

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

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

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

Full Side Play Stars

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

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

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

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

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

VOLTA Disappoints... For Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Whistle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Get SHiFT Codes and VIP Points

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

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

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

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

How to Redeem SHiFT Codes in Borderlands 3

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

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

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

Free SHiFT Codes and Vault Points

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Finding Skag Dog Days Cactus Fruit

         The Big Succ Location.

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

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

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

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

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

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

            Using Big Succ grenades to get Cactus Fruit.

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

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

Borderlands 3: How to Equip Weapon Trinkets Fri, 13 Sep 2019 13:29:48 -0400 Tobbpitt

Who doesn't want a little trinket hanging off their current flavor of the minute weapon in Borderlands 3? Your vault hunter and weapons can be customized in so many ways, the weapon trinket almost seems paltry but aside from slapping skins on your guns, equipping trinkets is one of the few ways to always see your customization skills at work.

Trinkets don't do anything: literally nothing... Aside from adding a little more flair to your weapons, they have no other use.

Weapon trinkets dangle off the side of the gun you have it equipped to, which is enough for some. It's certainly enough for me.

How to Equip Weapon Trinkets

Equipping a trinket isn't all that different from equipping a skin to your weapon since both have to be done from your inventory. (You can equip a skin just by pressing the Inspect button/key when highlighting a weapon in your inventory. Easy peasy.)

Popping a trinket on your guns isn't much different.

Open your inventory and shuffle your way over to the weapon you want to slap a trinket onto, then press left on your D-pad or what have you — I'm sure this is just done with the arrow keys or something with KBM, though I can't comment — to select the little empty box to the left of the weapon you want to attach a trinket to. Choose one and you're all done.

Equipping a trinket does not consume it, meaning you can equip one trinket across multiple weapons as you play the game (that's right, you can slap that diamond ponytail on every weapon if you want). No harm in making use of them, if you want to give your play a bit more flair.

Weapon trinkets may not mean much to some Borderlands 3 players, but any bit of customization you can see pretty much all the time is A-OK by me.

Gears 5 Campaign Review: Gears Has Never Been Better Fri, 13 Sep 2019 11:39:08 -0400 Mark Delaney

We're still a few days out from handing down our final verdict on the expansive Gears 5 multiplayer suite, but in the meantime, we want to weigh in on the campaign.

Unlike many popular multiplayer games, the Gears series has always attracted a large number of campaign players as well, and that's never felt more justified than it does with Gears 5.

By taking some stunning risks, delivering a better script, and putting on an audiovisual clinic, Gears 5 offers the best campaign in the series. Ever. 

Gears 5's biggest shift  that being its move to Kait as the main protagonist is apparent in all its marketing materials, but that change doesn't come until Act II. Before that, it's JD, Marcus' son and the flawed hero of Gears of War 4who remains the still-imperfect playable character. 

These first few chapters look and feel a lot like what series veterans are used to, even as it still bears the style of The Coalition's more colorful makeover. City streets and corridors re-invite players to the Gears we've had for so long, where you can chainsaw ugly monsters or cut them down from a distance with loads of firepower. After an unsettling story moment at the end of Act II, one that represents this script's best-in-series writing well, the tone abruptly shifts to something that feels quite different.

Kait's saga is the most personal in the series to date, even literally, as we often see inside her own unwell mind. However, it's the best in the series for reasons that go beyond just that introspection. Gears 5 makes a welcome habit out of subverting expectations over and over again throughout the 12-hour campaign.

Moments big and small are upended by surprises, like the ebb and flow of combat and dialogue, which has for so long been metronomic in this and other shooters but now cleverly unravels in Gears 5. Character moments will be interrupted by chaos when you least expect it, while the game lets things breathe more than Gears is known to do.

Gears 5 cares more for its characters, too. Even as many fans were invested in the likes of Dom, Baird, and Marcus in the original trilogy and scoffed at JD, Del, and Kait in 4, the latest in the series does more for all the living characters, both past and present, than ever before. Beneath the bulky exterior, Gears has fully-fledged human beings in its starring roles now. I even got goosebumps a few times. That's new.

The series once dedicated to gravel-voiced testosterone junkies is no longer afraid to cry, and it's a beautiful thing. It's so affecting in Gears 5 that it's made me retroactively care more for the series' earlier narrative shenanigans. 

It's especially daring how Kait is promoted to the starring role, and even more so when you realize she's likely to be the pivotal character in Gears 6, too. I can't think of other series that have pivoted from one hero to the next mid-trilogy like this, and it seems unlikely any similar moves would've been successful. From a storytelling view, it feels unfathomable almost improper that the story could unfold as it does in The Coalition's first two outings as Gears caretakers, but they've nailed it, and I'm excited for what's ahead.

The final scene of Gears 5 has the pitch-perfect summer blockbuster cliffhanger mood they're going for, and I now find myself a bigger fan than ever thanks to Kait's motivation.

It's one of many sweeping changes that The Coalition has made since taking over with Gears of War 4, and the handoff looks even more secure here in Gears 5. New enemy types in basic combat and boss battles are to be expected from any shooter, but the cover-shooting heart of the franchise still doesn't miss a beat. Supplemented with new environmental tactics, like shooting the ice beneath enemies, as well as the returning storm mechanics from 4 make Gears 5 a game that always feels great.

The Coalition's north star seems to be paying homage to what worked before but not fearing big changes. They've made many in this game alone and most of them work well.

A pair of open-world hubs have their ups and downs, though. With one main objective in each of the two areas, players are left to their wind-sailing skiff to explore for more blips on the map. Twelve side missions and some collectibles round out the optional content in total, while the bookend sections surrounding Acts II and III don't offer any similar areas, making the move to open-world feel half-baked.

Stuck between a linear past and a future potentially more vast, Gears 5  feels like a trial run for an even more expansive Gears 6 in a few years, and that move will be a smart one as the side missions are a fun addition to the series. But for now, players may be wondering why they have so few toys for so much sand.

But at least that sand is gorgeous. Environments in Gears 5 make it the best looking Xbox game to date. It instantaneously becomes the new benchmark for their first-party titles and will help usher in the next generation with this pretty of a picture. Act III's red sand screams of The Last Jedi, but Gears makes it work for itself just as memorably. Before that, the crystalline blue tundra helps diversify the battlefield like never before for the once grey-brown franchise.

Character models have always been inflated, though The Coalition slimmed them down a bit when they took over. However, by imbuing the world with a wider color palette and using some amazing lighting effects, Gears 5 is visually flawless, even as sawing Swarm monsters in half doesn't tend to be the most portrait-ready scene.

It also sounds great thanks to awesomely designed audio, including the return of Ramin Djawadi, of Westworld and Game of Thrones fame, as composer. The Coalition has found their sonic soulmate in Djawadi and can't let him out of the building until he scores the finale to this new trilogy.

As this review arrives post-launch, I didn't experience some of the issues reported elsewhere regarding progression bugs, though I did encounter some that required checkpoint restarts. Given how unforgiving the checkpoints often are in Gears 5, those were annoying. Thankfully, they never persisted and some have already been patched out, too.

Still, this is Xbox's biggest game of the year and the flagship launch for its holiday rush Game Pass initiative. It would be silly to say Gears 5 is unpolished since it does so much so impressively, but several of the bugs, like an interact prompt that never seems to work the first time, have the feeling of QA reports deliberately overlooked.

  • Revitalizes the series with a new emotional core
  • Environments are more varied and interesting than ever before
  • Takes big risks in the story and gameplay and most of them pay off
  • Frequently subverts expectations 
  • Some bugs cause annoyances and force restarts
  • Open-world sections feel half-baked

Before Gears of War 4, the series felt like its future was up in the air. For some, that feeling grew stronger after a polarizing debut for The Coalition. 

Gears 5 not only puts that debate to rest, it delivers a new benchmark for Xbox Game Studios. When Master Chief returns next Christmas, it's Gears 5 he'll need to contend with to claim the top spot among Microsoft's first-party campaigns. 

[Note: A copy of Gears 5 was provided by Microsoft for the purpose of this review.]

How to be a Trader: A Professions Guide to Red Dead Online Fri, 13 Sep 2019 10:57:16 -0400 Sergey_3847

Rockstar Games has just released a new summer content update for Red Dead Online, titled Frontier Pursuits. It adds new gameplay elements to the mode, as well as three new professions — Bounty Hunter, Trader, and Collector  which players can pursue to make more money.

Whether you're playing with friends or randos, trading is probably the safest and most profitable job in Red Dead's multiplayer (though the other two professions certainly have their merits).

If you are looking take on the role of Trader in Red Dead Online and ultimately maximize your efforts, then follow our tips guide below.

Getting Started as Trader in Red Dead Online

Here are the details for what you need to do to start your business: 

  1. Go to any Post Office 
  2. Collect a Letter from Cripps.
  3. Open the letter and read it.
  4. Open the map and look for a new marker.
  5. Travel to the closest General Store (indicated by the marker).
  6. Purchase the Butcher's Table (15 gold on Xbox One; free on PS4).
  7. Open the map and look for another new marker.
  8. Find a wagon indicated by the marker.
  9. Bring it back to your Camp.

Cripps will now be your partner in trade, which opens the doors for lots of business and money-making opportunities.

Deals, Skills, and Items

After you've become a trader, you can start selling goods that you and Cripps have produced using the Butcher's Table. These are the three basic steps you need to go through to complete a full trading deal:

  1. Get materials: Hunt animals and bring them back to your camp.
  2. Get supplies: You can either buy supplies for $20, or you can start a resupply mission from your camp at no cost.
  3. Produce goods: Give your materials and supplies to Cripps, who will turn them into goods, which you can distribute for money and XP.

When you've managed to produce enough goods, you're ready to start selling your specialty goods to grow your business. It's worth noting that you can make more money by trading to rural clients

It's also worth noting that Traders have special skills and items that will help you make money:

Rewards What They Do
 Stew Pot Camp upgrade. Unlocks stew recipes to boost cores
Hammer A hard-hitting melee weapon
Ingredient Satchel
Store more items in your Ingredients Pouch
Awareness Identify rival Trader wagons at an increased range
Canine Warning Dog warns you when thieves try to raid your camp
Med/Lg Delivery
Upgraded wagons that can hold more goods 
Weapons Locker Store weapons for later use
Lance Knife A knife style only available to Traders
Efficiency Increase the number of usable materials from perfect carcasses
Materials Satchel
Store more items in your Materials Pouch
Hunting Wagon A sturdy capable of carrying multiple carcasses, hides, pelts
Protection Reduce the chance of raids at your camp
Kladruber Horses Distinctive, strong and steady horses


Trading Tips and Tricks

There is a natural progression to this profession. Here are some tips to help you survive in the highly competitive trading business of Red Dead Online:

  • Improve your hunting yields with a Hunting Wagon at Level 10.
  • Improve your Delivery Wagons and sell larger quantities of goods.
  • Improve your Pot Stew to maintain a steady source of food in your camp.
  • Purchase a dog for your camp to protect it from raiders.
  • Raise a white flag in your camp during item drop off.
  • Only do hunting missions. Forget fishing since it's not economical.
  • Hunt Turkeys.
  • Hunt Alligators and Deer.
  • Bring more horses when hunting to carry more animals.


That is all you need to know on how to become a successful Trader in the game, and for more Red Dead Online guides, check out the list below:

Red Dead Online is out now for the PS4 and Xbox One. Players must own Red Dead Redemption 2 to play the online multiplayer/co-op mode. For more on Rockstar's Wild West epic, be sure to head over to our official review.

NHL 20 Review: Top-End of the Talent Pool Fri, 13 Sep 2019 09:00:01 -0400 RobertPIngram

It's fall, which means it's time for another rollout of EA's NHL series. For fans of the genre, there's good news: NHL 20 is back with an entertaining hockey simulation and a variety of fun ways to play.

With the always-popular Ultimate Team mode, an intuitive and instructive Career Mode, and some pond hockey inspired games to enjoy, there's a little bit of everything waiting for you in this year's edition.

Getting Up to Speed is Easy 

The most important thing about any sports game is how it handles. Clunky controls can drive a player insane and steep learning curves can make it difficult for anyone new to get into the game.

When it comes to converting the minutiae of an entire sport into a single controller, the NHL series is perhaps the biggest challenge EA faces outside of the UFC. With players flying around the ice on skates and wielding their sticks in dynamic fashion, it's important for EA to truly replicate the high-speed feel of elite hockey.

And, thankfully, EA does it with impressive economy. Button and joystick usage is efficient, and the game provides a great deal of creative expression and control with minimal use of the gamepad's functions.

While classic controls that harken to the series' much revered early iterations on the Super Nintendo and SEGA Genesis are available, the game is meant to be played on a modern two-joystick scheme, and it's at its best when you do so.

On a very basic level, your left stick controls your skater while your right stick controls their stick, but what at first seems like a somewhat limited layout actually delivers controls which help you to feel like a true NHL star.

By combining the right stick with a few buttons to modify it, not only do players have full control over the shots they take, but a deep system of dekes and misdirections opens up for skilled players to master.

With a little practice, your next open ice opportunity can see you beat the last man with a spin-o-rama, then fake the goalie out of his pads before nudging the puck past him into the exposed net with the toe of your stick.

If the above sounds rather intimidating and like something you'll never be able to manage, you are in luck. The game includes a Training Camp, which guides you through controlling your players, starting with basics like passing and shooting, before progressing to open-ice dekes and playing the puck between your legs.

The entire process plays out through a series of small tutorials which teach the moves, explain why and when to use them, and has you perform them in a training setting to get them down pat.

As a player who has always been more comfortable relying on the old-school controls of my youth, it got me acclimated and finally modernized in no time at all.

Be a Pro Career Shines

The series' franchise modes are always popular options for players, and the "Be a Pro" mode, in particular, lives up to expectations. While the lack of extras like interviews and apartment building from some of EA's other sports franchises will be seen as a plus by some and an omission by others, what it delivers here is a focus on playing hockey, which is easily strong enough to stand on its own.

When starting your career, you have three options for pre-draft preparations. If you want to jump straight into the league, you can go right to the draft. Those who prefer earning their slot can instead join a CHL side as a teenager and start making a name for themselves.

The Memorial Cup offers a happy compromise of the two, with your pro joining a CHL side for the four-team round-robin tournament, which will see you playing between three and five games before entering the draft.

No matter how you choose to go about your formative years, the experience is a can't miss way to play the game.

Playing in shifts means you can power through your career at a reasonable clip, while the coaching instructions you receive double as a training camp feature by encouraging you to perform certain moves for bonus experience and also showing you how to perform them. Even if you've never played an NHL game before and skip training camp, you'll be feeling like a veteran on the ice after a few games.

World of CHEL Goes Royale

If there's one thing the NHL's stadium series has taught us, it's that hockey fans will always have a special place in their hearts for the game being played in its pickup setting outdoors on a frigid winter's day.

It was only natural that it would find its way into the NHL series, and the expanded role of World of CHEL in NHL 20 shows EA is committed to the concept. While the grind-heavy approach is frustrating, with your character starting out with only a small handful of customization options unlocked in your free starter bag, the gameplay itself is an excellent change of pace from full side games.

Taking a sporting twist to the trendy world of last-man-standing, this year's edition of CHEL includes two different online elimination modes.

In THREES Eliminator, you can pair up with two friends to take on opponents in a rapid-fire series of winner-moves-on-pond hockey. Survive all three rounds and you'll be the kings of the bracket.

Even more fun is the ONES Eliminator option, which cuts the ice in half and places you and two opponents on the ice at the same time, all looking to bang in the most goals before the clock runs out. As in THREES, the winner moves on to the next round until finally, the 81 players who started the game are whittled down to one winner.

Ultimate Team is Back

At this point, the existence of an Ultimate Team mode, where you open packs of cards to cobble together a team logo, uniform, and players, is a given in any EA sports game, but the NHL version is among the best. While there are the usual concerns about the appeal to microtransactions that these modes include, it does offer a variety of ways to play for those opposed to such things. 

In addition to the option to play online seasons to progress through the game's online tiers, there are offline options which allow you to play with and build your team even if you don't like online play. From taking on challenge modes with set objectives to battling against computer-controlled versions of other players' actual HUT squads, there's plenty of Ultimate Team fun to be had without ever venturing online.

  • The game's tutorial and overlay options provide an easy entry for new players without oversimplifying gameplay and harming the top-end of the talent pool
  • New World of CHEL options add even more fun to an already enjoyable side mode
  • Strong "Be a Pro" mode is an absolute pleasure to play
  • Players who have NHL 19 may not feel there is enough new about the latest addition to justify the cost
  • Some mechanics in "Be a Pro," specifically the camera when coming off the bench, can be aggravating and lead to on-the-ice errors
  • The inability to utilize the game's in-depth team creation feature for HUT in order to maintain the unlock-based system of earning real uniforms is disappointing and wasteful

NHL 20 is definitely a strong entry in the larger sports simulation world. For those looking to try a hockey game for the first time, or who have taken a few years off from the series and are ready to get their hands on some new features and updated rosters, this game is a no-brainer. The gameplay is fluid and fun, and the various play styles offer enough variety to more than get your money's worth.

For players who purchased NHL 19 but aren't members of the every-year club, it's a more challenging call. While there are certainly nice elements to the game, and the addition of Elimination modes promises a good time, it's hard to say if that's enough to justify paying full price for an improved version of a game that's only a year old.

If you opt to sit this one out until next year, you'll be missing out, but if you don't mind playing a year behind, you can wait for NHL 21 with the peace of mind knowing that you're missing out on a step forward, not a giant leap.

[Note: A copy of NHL 20 was provided by Electronic Arts for the purpose of this review.]

New Resident Evil: Project Resistance Details Shuffle Out of the Tokyo Game Show Thu, 12 Sep 2019 17:24:02 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Capcom revealed its latest Resident Evil project, Resident Evil: Project Resistance, just a short while ago, and now we're getting some new gameplay information out of the Tokyo Game Show.

As expected from the initial teaser trailer, Project Resistance is a 4v1 multiplayer survival game. Capcom describes it as an asymmetrical experience, one where every player sees and deals with something different.

That's because one of the players is trying to do the other four in. One player takes on the role of the Mastermind and tries to impede the other players' progress (read: kill them) by taking control of a series of security cameras, directing enemies and weapons, and manipulating the environment — all thanks to a handy deck of cards that grants the Mastermind their power.

On the other hand, each of the four survivors has a unique set of skills they can employ to overcome the Mastermind's traps, and despite players working to survive on their own, Capcom says teamwork will be absolutely vital for making it out alive.

Think of it as the escape room from hell developed by Umbrella.

There's one other pretty big power the Mastermind has, and it's a series first: the Mastermind can control zombies and step into the skin of Mr. X (or Mr. Cross, for those inclined to see it that way.) to confront the other four players.

As of now, we still don't have an official release date for Resident Evil: Project Resistance, but RE Ambassadors and Xbox Insiders get access to a closed beta of the game from October 4 through October 7. No similar access for PC gamers has been announced yet, despite the game being set for a PC launch as well.

GreedFall Companions Guide: Quests and Romance Thu, 12 Sep 2019 13:42:21 -0400 Jordan Baranowski

You've set sail for Teer Fradee, the new world entirely at your fingertips. What better way to go about colonizing this new world than with your trusty companions by your side? GreedFall, like many RPGs, allows you to set up and outfit a variety of allies who can help you on your journey.

Each companion has a few different sidequests that you can complete to earn bonuses and, if you play your cards right, pick up a romantic partner along the way. Here are the different companions you can fight alongside and whether or not you can start a romance with them.

You'll want to make sure to talk to your companions regularly to unlock their quests and special talents. If you complete all three quests for a companion you can romance, you will then have the option to invite them home with you and start a relationship.

Here's what we know. 


Where Can I Find Her?

You encounter Aphra after you complete the quest "Scholars in the Expedition."

Can I Romance Aphra?

You can only start a relationship with her if you play as a male character. You will get the "Love and Botany" achievement/trophy for being in a relationship with her. 

What are Aphra's Quests and Missions?
  • Islander Knowledge: Unlocks after the quest "The Battle of the Red Spears."
  • Cave of Knowledge: Unlocks shortly after completing her previous quest.
  • The Linking Ritual: Unlocks shortly after completing her previous quest.


Where Can I Find Him?

Kurt joins you almost immediately at the start of the game.

Can I Romance Kurt?

You can only start a relationship with him if you play as a female character. You will get the "Guardian of Love" achievement/trophy for being in a relationship with him. 

What are Kurt's Quests and Missions?
  • Missing in Action: Talk to Kurt after you've spoken with Constantin after your arrival in New Serene.
  • Amongst the Ghosts: Will open shortly after completing his previous quest; a new dialogue option will appear when you speak with Kurt.
  • Settling Scores: Opens after you complete the quest "Treason!" SPOILER: Kurt will survive "Treason!" if you have already completed his other two quests.


Where Can I Find Him?

Head to Theleme and speak with the governor there. Petrus will then join your party.

Can I Romance Petrus?

Petrus is not available as a romance option.

What are Petrus' Quests and Missions?
  • The Vices of the Mother Cardinal: Speak with Petrus after completing the "Old Countries in the New World" quest.
  • Dangerous Bets: Speak with Petrus' father after finishing his first quest. Then talk to Petrus.
  • Sins of Father Petrus: Unlocks shortly after completing his previous quest.


Where Can I Find Her?

Siora joins you shortly after your arrival on Teer Fradee.

Can I Romance Siora?

You can start a relationship with Siora playing as either a male or female character. You will get the "Minundhamen" achievement/trophy for being in a relationship with her. 

What are Siora's Quests and Missions?
  • Find Queen Bladnid: Unlocks after completing "The Battle of the Red Spears."
  • Promises Set in Stone: Unlocks after completing "The Trial of the Waters." Do not accept the bribe that is offered to you as part of the main questline. If you do, Siora will leave the party and not return!
  • The Queen's Farewell: Unlocks shortly after you complete her previous quest.


Where Can I Find Him?

Vasco joins your party immediately after you arrive in Teer Fradee.

Can I Romance Vasco?

Vasco is a romance option for male and female characters alike. You will get the "Love and the Sea" achievement/trophy for being in a relationship with him. 

What are Vasco's Quests and Missions?
  • A Name for a Family: Unlocks immediately after speaking with Constantin when you first arrive at Teer Fradee.
  • Family Reunion: Unlocks shortly after completing the previous quest.
  • Forever a Naut: Unlocks shortly after completing the previous quest.


As you can see, there are four possible romance options in GreedFall, but only three on any given playthrough. You unlock achievements and trophies for each companion whose questline you complete, and they also give you stat bonuses as their opinion of you increases.

Don't fret if a quest doesn't open immediately if the only prerequisite is "complete the previous quest." Sometimes you need to wait until some time has passed in game. Go complete some other sidequests while you wait.

Looking for more on GreedFall? You can read our full, hands-on PC review here to find out if it is worth it before you buy it. GreedFall is currently out on PC, PS4, and Xbox One for $50. 

How to Become a Witch in The Sims 4: Realm of Magic Thu, 12 Sep 2019 11:38:32 -0400 Sergey_3847

The latest content update for The Sims 4, titled Realm of Magic, is out now, and it introduces a brand-new set of spellcasting abilities for your characters. However, not everyone can become a witch in The Sims 4, as this ability can only be acquired by teens, young adults, adults, and elders.

Also, the process of becoming a spellcaster may seem a bit daunting to new players. That's why you can save your time by following a simple step-by-step guide on how to become a witch below.

Step 1: Speak to a Sage in Magic HQ

In order to get to Magic headquarters in The Sims 4, you need to travel through a portal located at the waterfall on the edge of the new Glimmerbrook town.

When you arrive at the Magic HQ, you need to find a sage. There are three of them in the headquarters:

  • Simeon Silversweater: Sage of Practical Magic
  • L. Faba: Sage of Mischief Magic
  • Morgyn Ember: Sage of Untamed Magic

It doesn't matter who you speak to first, as all of them are capable of turning your character into a witch. When you find one of them, follow these steps:

  1. Start a conversation
  2. Introduce yourself
  3. Click on "Friendly Interactions"
  4. Choose "Ask How to Use Magic"
  5. Click on "I was born ready" option in the next menu

Step 2: Collect Magical Orbs

As a result of your conversation with one of the sages, you will be given a task to collect seven magical orbs scattered around the Magic HQ.

Go outside and find all seven orbs; they are very easy to see since the sage will give you a special ability for that purpose.

Go back to the sage and give him the orbs. As a reward, your character will be turned into a witch.


For more The Sims 4 guides, check out the list below:

Gears 5 Guide: All Relic Weapons Locations Wed, 11 Sep 2019 13:57:26 -0400 Sergey_3847

Gears 5 on Xbox One and PC introduces a whole slew of new and improved weapons called Relic Weapons. They can be found in secret locations scattered all over the game's map. In total, there are 17 Relic Weapons in the game.

They have one identifiable feature to help you find them: the Crimson Omen. If you see this, these weapons are very close. Grabbing them means you can destroy hordes of enemies in a much more effective way.

If you don't want to look out for these unique pickups on your own but still want to be a terminator, then just follow our guide below for all the possible locations of Relic Weapons the open(ish) world of Gears 5.

Enforcer Relic

The Enforcer Relic map location in Gears 5

The relic variant of Enforcer Submachine Gun can be found in Act 2 Chapter 2, right after you open the Northern Passage gate. Go to your left and look out for the Crimson Omen on the cliff wall. Your prize is right under the tree nearby.

This variant deals a lot more damage than the vanilla version, although there is one drawback as the firerate is a little bit slower.

Longshot Relic

When you reach the Train Tunnel at Act 2 Chapter 4, go to east and enter a shack that is painted red. Inside the shack you will see a sniper rifle on the table near the Crimson Omen.

This rifle has Active Reload, which means that you will always have an a free extra bullet.

Retro Lancer Relic

After the shack in Act 2 Chapter 4, go to the Old Cog Wall. From there, go northeast and locate a rocky area with a Crimson Omen clearly seen on top. You don't need to go up, though. Simply search for the relic at the foot of the hill.

This Lancer uses explosive ammo, which hits and damages all nearby enemies.

Dropshot Relic

From the above, move further to the west from the Old Cog Wall and locate the Transmission Signal Source objective. You will see huge ice boulders nearby with the omen inscribed on one of them. The weapon can be found right behind it.

Dropshot is designed to literally freeze your enemies. It fires cryo-blasting rounds that can stop any enemy in its tracks.

Torque Bow Relic

Now go back to the Old Cog Wall and turn south. Reach the Abandoned Mine and look out for the omen atop the hillhouse. The relic bow can be seen right under the trees.

If you like quiet weapons, then this relic bow will suite you just right.

Boltok Relic

In Act 2 Chapter 4, go to your next objective, which is the Condor Crash Site. Just above the marker you will see a wall with the omen and a relic pistol on the ground.

Boltok Relic can be a very accurate weapon because of its ability to fire from the hip.

Boomshot Relic

From the Condor Crash Site, go all the way up north to the North Tower Substation. Locate the buildings to the right of the substation and look out for the omen on the wall of the power generator. The relic weapon is right behind it.

Boomshot is a customized version of the grenade launcher that can shoot three grenades at a time.

Talon Relic

In Act 3 Chapter 2, you will be relocated to the Abandoned Airport. There you will see a row of hangars. Go to the first one and look behind the corner to your right of the entrance. The weapon can be seen by the wall.

Just like Longshot, this weapon has an Active Reload mechanism, which allows it to deal more damage while shooting.

Gnasher Relic

Then, go north from the Water Tower to the edge of the mountain. Just follow the marker indicated on the map above and you should be able to spot the weapon at the foot of the mount.

Gnasher is a highly potent shotgun that can kill enemies with a single shot, although it's not terribly accurate.

Lancer GR Relic

To the south of the Water Tower you will see an overhang supported by massive pillars. You can find the relic under the central pillar.

This customized assault rifle has a mind of its own. Basically, it detects nearby targets when you shoot straight and bursts into the air dealing damage to those nearby targets.

Overkill Relic

Follow the northeast path from the Bridge Control House and locate a huge rock protruding from the earth. The weapon can be seen laying around the rock.

Overkill is a semi-automatic shotgun, which can be easily switched to full auto mode by simply holding the trigger.

Embar Relic

After you reached the Train Turntable objective, move to the far west, and locate the Crashed Condor site. Search for the weapon among the crates that have fallen out of the airplane wreckage.

Embar is a powerful shotgun that shoots with electro-magnetic rounds that deal devastating damage. The only drawback is that it takes quite a while before the weapon is charged and ready to fire.

Lancer Relic

Find the Cargo Shipwreck objective located to the southwest of the Train Bridge. Look out for a relic weapon in the pile of debris south of the shipwreck.

Lancer is a multi-purpose assault rifle, which can be used as a firearm and as a melee weapon. Just press the Melee button to activate a melee atack, or activate its chainsaw for the ultimate execution.

Hammerburst Relic

Locate a building that stands between City Ruins and Harbor Docks. Enter the courtyard through the gate and go to your right. There is a weapon crate with a new relic weapon at the end.

Hammerburst is another assault rifle with a powerful ability to fire longer bursts with each trigger-pull action.

Markza Relic

Search for a Pump Station north of the Cosmonaut Training Facility and check out the vehicle graveyard to the north of the station. The trunk of the leftmost car holds a new relic weapon.

Markza is a sniper rifle with an option to shoot in fully automatic mode by holding the trigger. However, the accuracy of the weapon drops significantly.

Snub Relic

Go southeast of the Pump Station and follow the marker indicated on the map above. When you reach the edge of the map, search for the weapon at the base of the wall.

Snub is a modified pistol, which can shoot two bullets at a time. The distinctive feature of this firearm is the extreme accuracy of its shots.

Claw Relic

Lastly, find a half-buried building with a tower between the Cosmonaut Training Facility and Pump Station. This one can be seen in the bushes near the building.

Claw is a light machine-gun capable of reaching unbelievably fast rates of fire with the help of the Active Reload feature.


Various versions of Gears 5 are currently out on Xbox One and PC. Aside from being on Game Pass for PC, it is also available on Steam for the platform. For more Gears 5 guides, check out the list below:

PAX West 2019 Preview: Solving All My Problems With Violence in Streets of Rage 4 Wed, 11 Sep 2019 10:13:06 -0400 Thomas Wilde

Streets of Rage 4 feels like… well, pretty much exactly what it is. A French studio teamed up with a French-Canadian studio to make a stylish, faithful sequel to one of the great idle franchises in video game history, with a soundtrack by the original composer and a few equally legendary collaborators.

In a lot of ways, this feels like a fan project, the same way Sonic Mania did. Streets of Rage 4 isn’t an attempt to “update the series for a new generation,” or any other kind of random cash grab off an old license. It’s an arcade-style beat-‘em-up from stem to stern, with most of the old tricks, gimmicks, and conventions firmly in place. It felt familiar, and I felt and comfortable with it from the moment I picked it up, just as if it hasn’t been 25 years since the last Streets of Rage game.

Streets of Rage 4 is a collaboration between three studios. Lizardcube (the recent remake of Wonder Boy 3), in Paris, is handling the art direction, while Montreal’s Guard Crush Games (Streets of Fury) is handling the programming and Paris’s Dotemu is providing design work. The latter is also publishing the game.

I will say that the visuals are the biggest change. SoR4 in motion looks like the animated version of a European comic adaptation of the series. It's as if someone threw a giant sack of money at the guy who draws Yoko Tsuno to have him illustrate those old Sega licensed comics that ran in the U.K. in the ‘90s.

SoR4 is supposed to be set 10 years after the events of Streets of Rage 3, but Blaze Fielding hasn’t aged a day, Axel Stone looks like he joined a grunge band, the nameless city they’re in is still mostly populated by garish ‘80s gang members and the occasional dominatrix, and many of the backgrounds are rich with that ‘80s New York style of urban rot that all the old arcade beat-‘em-ups got out of movies like Death Wish and Cobra. It almost feels like a period piece.

Streets of Rage 4 has a soundtrack composed by series veteran Yuzo Koshiro, as well as Hideki Naganuma (Jet Set Radio, Sonic Rush, the last couple of Smash Brothers games), Yoko Shimomura (Final Fight, Street Fighter II, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy XV), and Keiji Yamagishi (Ninja Gaiden, Tecmo Bowl, The Messenger). If you’re the sort of person who sits around listening to 16-bit chiptunes for fun, you should probably plan on ordering the SoR4 OST now. This is basically a supergroup for the 16-bit era.

I got a chance to play Streets of Rage 4 at this year’s Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, at publisher Dotemu’s booth on the sixth floor of the convention center. They just handed me a controller and let me and a friend pummel our way through the game’s sixth stage.

The first thing I noticed, playing co-op, is that friendly fire is on by default, and according to a nearby Dotemu producer, cannot be turned off. Your worst enemy in Streets of Rage 4 is the person you’re playing with. The game was generous with its power-ups, so I was able to regain life by punching apples, hamburgers, and entire cooked chickens out of oil drums, but I wouldn’t have taken half as much damage if I wasn’t catching stray hands from Player 2.

I ended up playing as the newest character, Cherry Hunter, who’s the daughter of Adam from the original Streets of Rage. (Since Skate from SoR3 was Adam’s little brother, I guess the cross-city beatdown tour is now officially a Hunter family tradition.) Cherry felt like she was in the same mid-range zone as Axel always was, not too slow and doing decent damage, with the ability to bust out her guitar for an explosive chord that cleared the area around her.

One thing that did change in SoR4 from past games is that your special attacks still cost you small amounts of life, but it isn’t a permanent loss. Any life you spend on specials will regenerate a tick at a time as long as you don’t take any additional damage. The idea, according to Dotemu’s producers, is to make your special moves a risk vs. reward issue, rather than an emergency measure. As long as you can stay out of danger, you can freely incorporate your specials into your offense, which is great for clearing out sudden crowds of enemies.

That’s just one way in which SoR4 is a little kinder than the older games ever were. I remember complaining back in the day about a few other franchise revivals  like Contra  that kept a lot of the bad habits from the quarter-muncher days despite not being on an arcade cabinet anymore. Streets of Rage 4, though, at least in the stage from the PAX demo, doesn’t do that. You don’t have to memorize its patterns to avoid sudden cheap hits or deaths, the way that old ‘90s arcade games would in order to suck more change out of your pockets. It’s got a smoother, more intuitive difficulty curve.

Watching other people play SoR4, I did notice that I’d missed a few things. There are apparently a lot of secret moves and special attacks hidden in each character’s moveslist, the same way there were in Streets of Rage 3. There’s also at least one character that hasn’t been revealed yet, to go by the game’s key art. (I kind of hope it’s Busujima from Zombie Revenge, since this is suddenly the year for unexpected crossovers.)

I do wonder how Streets of Rage 4 will play if you didn’t grow up on arcade beat-‘em-ups. There’s a lot it improves about the original series the animation, the general difficulty curve, some of the basic mechanics but in a lot of ways, it’s trading heavily on nostalgia. The retrogaming guys I know are already hype for SoR4  Sega fans have been asking for a new Streets of Rage game since the Saturn was a thing but it’s enough of a throwback product that I wonder how well it’ll do with a brand-new audience.

Then again, it’s not a subtle genre. There are half a dozen guys over there with intact teeth, and your job is to go fix that. That will always have a timeless appeal.

For more coverage from PAX West 2019, be sure to head over to our PAX West 2019 hub

JD or Del? Who to Save in Gears 5 Wed, 11 Sep 2019 09:52:23 -0400 Ty Arthur

Gears Of War has always included binary choices, but one particular decision in Gears 5 has a much bigger impact on the continuing story line. Whether to save Del or JD at the end of the campaign isn't an easy option.

Having trouble choosing which character to save? Obviously, there are major spoilers coming up, slow up and stop reading if you don't want to know about the game's ending!

The Real Question: Choosing to Save JD or Del In Gears 5

The ending of Gears 5 has you choose between saving JD and Del

After the lengthy intro, Gears 5 moves away from JD as the main character to let Kait's connection to the Locust take the stage.

However, near the end of the campaign, you have a sudden and devastating choice to make: stop Queen Reyna from killing either JD or Del by slicing off one of her tentacles. Depending on who you choose, one or the other will be dead. 

The actual impact of either character's death is more effectual for the player than a major change to the game's ending. You'll get slightly different dialog depending on which choice you make, a mildly different scene where either JD or Del's tags are picked up, and obviously, a different reaction from Marcus, who isn't happy if you let JD die. 

No matter which cast member you choose, though, you still unlock the Discovered the True Threat to Sera achievement at the end, or, alternatively, All Aboard The Crazy Train if you are playing on Insane difficulty.

What's in Store for Gears 6

The real question lies in how choosing JD or Del will impact the trailers, cut scenes, and character choices in the next Gears Of War. So which Gears 5 ending is canon?

As there's no indication (at this point) as to whether one character death is canon or if Gears 6 will read your save file to determine who you chose to save, we don't know. 

Of course, it's driving the player base nuts, as it seems likely we'll be waiting a minimum of three years to find out the answer if the development time between Gears of War 4 and Gears 5 is any indication.

Like with the previous entry developed by The Coalition, there aren't any plans at this point for story-based expansions to expand the plot, which have been noticeably missing from the franchise since it left Epic.

Who did you choose to save, and do you think The Coalition will force one option as the true choice for Gears 6? Gears 5 is currently out for Xbox One and PC. It is also available on Game Pass. 

Stay tuned for out official review in the coming days. 

How to Get Dave Bautista to Unlock in Gears 5 for the "Batista" Skin Tue, 10 Sep 2019 17:07:00 -0400 Ty Arthur

Update 9/17/19: The "Batista" skin is now available in Gears 5. All you have to do to unlock the skin is go to the character customization menu in the game's multiplayer mode. You will see the skin, which you can get for free

Original story: 

Well ahead of the release of WWE 2K20, it's old news that former pro wrestler Dave Bautista is about to curb stomp into Gears 5 on PC and Xbox One. As a character that players can unlock, The Animal recorded a horde of lines in the game as a replacement for Marcus Fenix, but with a number of jokes and twists to keep any fan or wingman happy.

So here's the question: how do you actually unlock Bautista to use in the open world of Gears 5?

Unfortunately, you can't get him just quite yet. You will have to wait a few days longer for the pseudo DLC, but the unlock will eventually be completely automatic, no download needed.

Here's what Dave himself had to say about joining the battle of COG versus Swarm:

The Bautista character skin will be available to anyone who owns any version of the game, even those playing through the monthly Ultimate Game Pass membership for Xbox and PC, from September 15 to October 28, 2019.

Want to know more about what to expect? Bautista just released an interview with WWE's YouTube channel UpUpDownDown, which can be seen over here.

Of course, this all fuels speculation about the possibility of Bautista, who already plays Drax in Guardians Of The Galaxy, getting a role in an upcoming Gears Of War live-action movie.

The Animal notably isn't the only "celebrity" cameo appearance with a skin in Gears 5, as Spartans from Halo are also available with the game's Ultimate Edition, and this is the first time in franchise history you can play as lovable robot Jack during online matches. Even the Terminator shows up as a skin, as Sarah Conner rounds out the cast. 

Gears 5 has already been out in early access for Game Pass and Ultimate Edition owners, and just launched for all players today, September 10. While some reviews say it's good and a return to form, others have said it's bad, ranking as one of the lower Gears titles. 

While we didn't get a code early enough to provide a review by the game's release date and time, we're currently working on it. So be sure to check back in the coming days for our thoughts on the game, including multiplayer.

GreedFall Review — Set Sail Through a World of Fantasy Mon, 09 Sep 2019 18:00:02 -0400 Jordan Baranowski

When you first set foot on Teer Fradee, the mysterious island at the heart of GreedFall, it's pretty impressive. While the intro of the game takes place in the "Old World," which is based on Colonial Europe, Teer Fradee opens up a land of infinite promise. After you step off the boat with your companions, who knows what you'll discover?

Exploring your new home is exactly what you'd expect from an open-world RPG like GreedFall. Boxes glow yellow if there's loot inside. Citizens give brief rebuke if you knock into them. Little hints at story elements lie in plain sight.

Suddenly, a character shouts in a language you don't understand. A question mark appears above their head. Oh yeah, it's side quest time. Welcome to GreedFall, the best and worst of the open-world genre. 

Wonder by Wonder

GreedFall is first and absolutely foremost designed for people who want an open-world RPG experience. Your map is jam-packed with stuff to do almost from the get-go. Quests dot the map. Points of interest pop up as question marks. Camps, merchants, crafting benches bob against the horizon. There are little icons everywhere!

Especially early on in GreedFall, the amount of stuff you can do is a bit overwhelming. While you're still figuring out the basics of the game's controls, it's quite possible to wander into an off-limits zone and get attacked by guards — all because you're trying to follow your map. 

It can certainly be a lot to take in, but as you start to get into the groove of things and figure out how GreedFall differs from other games of the same ilk, it all starts to come together.

In fact, one of GreedFall's biggest shortfalls is that it is not The Witcher or Dragon Age. Surely, it's tough to compare a lower budget game from a small studio to those genre behemoths, but since GreedFall shoots for the stars, it's worthwhile making at least a loose comparison. In many ways, though, it has a lot going for it if you're searching for another RPG in which to lose yourself.

Diamond Skies

The main thing that helps GreedFall stand out in a crowded genre is its setting and story. As mentioned at the top of this review, it's inspired by the Colonial period and the age of piracy. That doesn't mean you're sailing to Bermuda, however.

Teer Fradee is full of monsters, elves, and all sorts of interesting takes on standard fantasy tropes. The developers do an excellent job pulling you in and making you care about the world you're interacting with.

Equally, GreedFall also does a great job of making you feel like your decisions impact its world. As the Legate, you are forced to listen to several different sides and stories and proceed accordingly. There are several different factions to interact with, and each faction's opinion of you can open up new questlines and story options.

Even with all these different options, GreedFall never comes out and says, "These are the good guys, these are the bad guys." Instead, most of the people you encounter (and your own character, for the most part) exist in a sort of moral grey area. There are definitely bad people, but they are spread out all over the world. There is a sense of realism lent to the universe knowing you can navigate its complex web however you like.

Little details stand out and help the world to feel alive as well. One of the driving story points is searching for the cure for a horrible disease. Some elements of the plot take some predictable turns, but it's nice to see plague doctors, citizens in different stages of the disease, doors with big, red "X"es painted on them. It's equally that a wizened old hermit explaining the world to you isn't found at each and every turn. 

You put things together on your own, which makes everything feel a little more real.

Every Turn a Surprise

The story and world-building are great, but not everything in GreedFall is as polished. The combat is just OK. It gets better as you progress and unlock more abilities, but the "Tactical Pause" option, which lets you instantly freeze combat and pick your next move, doesn't gel for me.

Maybe I never found a good key binding, but I would accidentally hit that key instead of the dodge or secondary attack button, bringing the game's action to a standstill. Some of the more complicated attack options, like GreedFall's magical abilities, make combat more interesting, but I often found that smashing through things was the most tactically sound plan.

That's not to say combat is bad. There just isn't all that much to it.

You have a few different attack buttons, depending on the weapons you're using. You can quickbind about a dozen items and abilities: health potions, spells, and the like. The tactical pause always gives you the option to take stock of what's happening around you but, otherwise, everything is happening in real-time. Especially if you want to focus on other elements of character building, combat is just a fine element of the game.

GreedFall also seems to have some technical issues regarding graphics. Turning quickly around, especially in the middle of the city, would often cause stutters and tears, and things often look great until you get close. Scenes with extended talking venture into the uncanny valley with poor lip-synching and glossy eyes, and the background blurs horribly to help make the characters look sharp when you're up close and personal.

Finally, the sheer amount of quests tend to drag because so many of them are a bit fetch-y. For example, the quest I mentioned at the top of the article regarding the merchant is nothing more than a bunch of running back and forth and back and forth for dozens of minutes. 

Maybe that's how colonialism actually works: tons of bureaucracy, a lot of backtracking, and an unfair death at the end of it. But it sure isn't a lot of fun to just traipse around the world as a glorified gopher simply to pad out the length of a quest in a game that has so much more to offer its players.

A Whole New World

  • Interesting setting and story
  • Voice acting is solid
  • Lots of options and ways to approach
  • Decisions feel like they matter
  • Tons to do
  • Quests can get drawn out
  • Technical issues
  • Combat isn't as streamlined as it could be

There's a lot to like in GreedFall. It ticks many of the most important boxes an RPG should. It makes you care about the characters and the world, all while giving you a sense that you can actually impact those things. Building relationships with your companions, deciding which factions you want to ally with, and changing your armor and weapons so your character looks dandy as all hell, GreedFall has all these elements covered and covered well.

However, GreedFall's limitations rear their heads frequently. It tends to be a combination of the "best and worst" of the open-world RPG genre. For some, that may be exactly what's needed, The Witcher in a new setting, with hours upon hours of new quests to run.

For others, GreedFall might not quite scratch those hard to reach itches due to its less impressive aspects.

[Note: A copy of GreedFall was provided by Spiders for the purpose of this review.]

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne — How to Get Monster Essence Mon, 09 Sep 2019 16:13:57 -0400 Ashley Shankle

There's a whole slew of new materials to farm for weapons and gear in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, many of which are carryovers from previous entries in the series. Monster Essence is just one of these new mats, and it's tied to Master Rank.

Like anything worth farming, crafting, or equipping in Iceborne, Monster Essence is exclusively a Master Rank item. Players can only obtain Monster Essence from Master Rank hunts and expeditions.

Most notably, Monster Essence is used in pieces for the Kadachi, Rath, and Baan Alpha+ and Beta+ headpieces. It is used in the Vespoid and Hornetaur sets but... eh. Just eh.

As it's the Master Rank version of Monster Fluid and Monster Broth, you can only get Monster Essence by slaying Vespoids in Master Rank.

Vespoids are found in the following areas:

  • Ancient Forest
  • Wildspire Waste
    Coral Highlands
  • Rotten Vale

They are most plentiful in the Wildspire Waste, with my favorite areas to seek them out being Area 9 and Area 11.

The easiest way to kill Vespoids is to shoot them with Redpits or stones using your slinger. They go down in short order, and will always leave a corpse using this method, unlike with some weapons, which will generally shatter them and leave no corpse for you to loot.

Monster Essence is just one of the many new materials found in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, and it's certainly not the only new thing you're going to be hunting down with the goal of meeting your ideal build.


Are there any other materials you're having trouble finding in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne? Let us know in the comments below! Happy hunting, and be careful out there in Master Rank!