First-person Shooters Tagged Articles RSS Feed | First-person Shooters RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Destiny 2 Activities are Getting More Difficult and Hopefully More Rewarding Tue, 21 Feb 2023 22:20:30 -0500 John Schutt

Bungie can’t seem to help themselves, with another blog post detailing significant systems changes coming to the Lightfall expansion. This time, we got a detailed look at how Destiny 2 is getting more difficult across the board to accommodate our Guardians’ vastly increased Power after the Subclass 3.0 updates. There is a lot to go through, and while the exact numbers are a little too granular to cover, we’ll talk about the major bits.

Difficulty Changes Coming to Destiny 2 in Lightfall

On a base level, most high-level content will get a game-side difficulty increase thanks to a Power-level cap. Adept difficulty, the lowest increase, is disappearing entirely, so Nightfall and other adjustable challenges will start at Hero level at the Power threshold of 1770, 20 above the soft cap.

Legend and Master/Grandmaster difficulties will be 1830 and 1840, and the game will limit and downscale player power to compensate. In other words, Guardians will always be at least five Power levels beneath the activity threshold, with a massive 25 decrease in GMs.

One of the other major changes is the removal of Singes, where incoming and outgoing damage is increased across the board. In their place, we’ll get Surges and Threats. A Surge increases elemental damage by 25%, and a Threat increases damage taken by the same. Higher-difficulty activities will also have a rotating Overcharged weapon type that deals 25% more damage. Overcharges and Surges do not stack, however.

Combatants are also harder to stagger, so a headshot won’t immediately cause an enemy to reel, for instance. They also have more health.

For the core Vanguard Ops playlist, many adjustments are coming as well. The long-requested Strike Scoring system is returning, with higher scores giving more reputation at the end of an activity.

Both the Arms Dealer and Lake of Shadows Strikes have received a rework to reach parity with more recent content, and the Inverted Spire and Exodus Crash Strikes will be getting the same. Until they’re redone, they’ll be much less frequently chosen by the playlist. Lastly, the PsiOps and Heist Battlegrounds will be added to Vanguard Ops for more variety.

Additionally, Nightfall Strikes, Raids, Dungeons, Lost Sectors, Weekly Story Missions, and many other activities will receive the Surge, Threat, and Overcharge mechanics and the various Power limiting values where applicable. These updates will also make their way into the Lightfall year’s Seasonal Battlegrounds.

See Bungie's official post if you want a full rundown of all the data. There will be a metric ton of other changes coming, including ability updates, PvP improvements, a crafting overhaul, and more. There was no mention of Gambit anywhere, which will make about two people in all of Destiny 2 sad, but even without changes to no one’s favorite mode, Lightfall is rewriting almost every core aspect of the game. For more coverage of Destiny 2, check out our hub for the game.

Destiny 2 Interactive Trailer Recaps Story Leading to Lightfall Wed, 15 Feb 2023 18:46:35 -0500 John Schutt

The Destiny 2 Lightfall expansion is closing in, with less than two weeks before Guardians everywhere descend on Neptune to battle the forces of Calus and his master, The Witness. There's a lot to take in from a narrative perspective, and you can take in a lot of it with the latest Interactive trailer released to hype people up even further.

Destiny 2 Interactive Trailer Recaps Major Plot Points from the Game's History

The trailer, narrated by Zavala with contributions from Osiris and Rhulk (the Vow of the Disciple Raid boss), is about two minutes long if you don't interact with it. It's also peppered with polyhedral symbols you can click on to view additional background about what's currently on screen. It all starts with The Witness, a godlike entity responsible for the devastation of humanity's Golden Age and the extinction of billions of civilizations through the Hive, among their many other atrocities.

The trailer describes Guardians' false conception of Light and Dark as moral forces, the Witch Queen Savathun's return as a Lightbearer from her eponymous expansion, her possession of Osiris following an ill-fated adventure, and more.

Of particular note is Calus, the first Raid boss the game ever saw and a recurring antagonist across multiple years and seasons. Once again, he takes center stage as the leader of the forces laying siege to the Neptunean city of Neomuna in his new position as the latest Disciple of the Witness.

It's a solid recap of all the central plot and lore points that have led to this point in Destiny 2, though it doesn't cover the nigh-on-a-decade of lore, nor does it touch on most of the older content before Beyond Light. Thankfully, many of those narrative threads have been tied off recently or aren't immediately relevant.

Be sure to head to to see the trailer and tons of additional information about the Lightfall expansion, including changes to crafting, Guardian abilities, Strikes and Crucible difficulty changes, and more. We've covered plenty of other Destiny 2 content in our guides hub.

Dead Island 2 Rises One Week Earlier Than Expected Mon, 13 Feb 2023 16:04:42 -0500 Peter Glagowski

Publisher Deep Silver and developer Dambuster Studios have announced that Dead Island 2 will be rising from the dead one week earlier than originally anticipated. Previously set for a release on April 28, Dead Island 2 is now scheduled to hit store shelves on April 21, 2023. The reason for this change? Dead Island 2 has just gone gold.

In the lead-up to its release, Deep Silver promises to unveil more gameplay and new trailers of Dead Island 2 for fans. Despite being in the public consciousness for nearly a decade, there are still quite a few unknowns when it comes to this game. It will be good for fans to actually see more of the game beforehand.

After nearly a decade of back-and-forth development and changes between publishers, the long-anticipated sequel to Techland's original 2011 hit is finally crossing the finish line. Skyrocketing to infamy with one of the most viewed trailers of all time, Dead Island didn't quite live up to expectations when it finally shambled onto consoles. While a semi-sequel improved things, Techland would find much more success with its follow-up title Dying Light.

As for Dead Island 2, it was originally announced as a PS4 title during E3 2014. With Techland having split away from Deep Silver to create its own series, the publisher was left scrambling to figure out who would create this latest installment. Dambuster Studios was eventually put on the task in 2019, reworking the game from multiple studios before it. The game will be available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Series X|S.

Destiny 2 Strikes and Crucible Will Be Harder But More Rewarding in Lightfall Mon, 13 Feb 2023 15:04:42 -0500 John Schutt

Every major Destiny 2 expansion brings systemic changes to how the game works on both a functional and gameplay level. Lightfall looks to be doing more than almost any expansion since Forsaken. As laid out in the latest State of the Game blog post, some of the most important sets of updates are to the Strikes and Crucible playlists, a big part of the core of most players' Destiny 2 experience. Here's how it all shakes out.

The Strikes Playlist is Getting Major Updates

Strikes and Vanguard Ops, more generally, are getting a bit of an overhaul in Lightfall. Bungie has been toying with the difficulty and Power level disparity for a few seasons now, and they're finally ready to put some of their learnings into practice.

First, the Vanguard Ops playlist (Strikes and Battlegrounds) will receive both the Season 16 Psi-Ops and Season 19 Heist Battlegrounds activities, adding even more variety to what has long been a stagnating set of activities. It's certainly not preferable to getting brand-new content, but Heists are one of the better seasonal offerings we've had in recent years, so it's a good middle ground.

To drive this point home, the Mars Heist Battleground will be a part of the Nightfall rotation come Lightfall. There will, of course, be a few new Neptune-related activities coming to the playlist as well.

Second, older Strikes — Lake of Shadows and the Arms Dealer — are getting retooled to be more in line with more recently available content from the Witch Queen. Think the Lightblade Strike, for instance. Two other Strikes ripe for updates include Exodus Crash and The Inverted Spire, but until Bungie can take the time to dig into them, they'll receive a much lower appearance rate in the playlist, so their dated design doesn't grate on players quite so much.

Lastly, Vanguard Ops will be slightly more difficult than they were previously to account for increases in Guardian power. Some of that will come from the game limiting character level deltas, and some will come from direct enemy tuning, though don't expect things to be far more difficult than they already are.

PvP Players Get Some Love

The Crucible has long languished, and many players who once loved Destiny 2 PvP have been rightfully complaining about how things have felt for a long time. Some of their complaints are ability spam (addressed in Lightfall), few good maps (hopefully addressed in Lightfall), and general dissatisfaction with the sandbox.

In the blog post, there are three main concerns discussed:

  • Modes. Beyond the modes featured in Iron Banner (Eruption, Rift, and Fortress), which will probably make their way into the vanilla Crucible experience, Bungie has at least three additional modes on the way. Countdown, the attack and defend mode from back in the earliest days of Destiny 2, is coming back. Countdown Rush, a respawn variant, and Countdown Control, where weapons, abilities, and ammo are all specifically adjusted, so a single Super isn't enough to win the day.

  • Maps. Three new maps will make their way to Crucible: Meltdown is returning in Season of the Deep. A brand new map set in the Vex Network is coming in Season 22, and then Citadel returns in the year's final season.

  • Connections and Skill. Bungie isn't yet satisfied with the player experience in PvP. They're continuing investment in ensuring everyone has a good connection and is playing with teammates and enemies around their skill level.

Reward structures are also changing, with both Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris getting potential changes to their reward to encourage more players to engage with the modes. However, details were sparse on these particular updates. We know Iron Banner is getting three weeks in Season 20 rather than just two, but Trials improvements were left ambiguous.

What do you think of these upcoming changes to the ritual activities in Destiny 2? Do they go far enough? Hopefully, Gambit gets some love someday, or maybe just remove it altogether. For more Destiny 2 content from the past and present, check out our guides hub.

Destiny 2: Season of Defiance Weapon Crafting Will See Big Changes Mon, 13 Feb 2023 14:38:49 -0500 John Schutt

In a massive State of the Game blog post, Bungie Game Director Joe Blackburn detailed some of the significant changes coming to Destiny 2 during Lightfall and its first two seasons: Season of Defiance and Season of the Deep, as well as updates coming afterward.

One of the most notable was a further explanation about the crafting overhaul coming to the game that attempts to address some of the biggest community pain points with weapon crafting.

Crafted and Dropped Weapons Can Get Enhanced Perks

Crafted weapons in Destiny 2 are better than randomly dropped ones because of the ability to equip Enhanced Perks, upgraded versions of base Perks with additional benefits and utilities. Come Lightfall and the year that follows, some big changes are coming to help equalize the two disparate loot pools.

First, Bungie is reducing the number of craftable weapons, though those already available aren’t going anywhere. In their place, more weapons will be available via “long-term sources,” likely including Raids, Dungeons, ritual activities, and year-long Seasonal offerings.

Second, specific non-craftable weapons will have the ability to have Enhanced Perks of their own. You’ll be limited to enhancing only perks currently on the weapon, but rather than dismantling every roll that isn’t immediately useful for crafting or going after specific activity-dropped loot, you can now invest in them through leveling up, adding mementos, etc.

Deepsight weapons are also going the way of the Dodo (kind of). While you will still see them as potential loot sources, they’ll only appear when they have an extractable pattern. That is, when you can use or dismantle them to progress toward making a craftable version. They gave no timeline for this particular change.

Bungie also hopes to bring the ability to add Deepsight to any craftable weapon that drops, but you don’t yet have the pattern for. Put another way: if you get a basic version of a gun you can progress the pattern for, you would be able to add a red border to it by some means, allowing you to more deterministically move toward crafting it. Bungie hopes this update is coming in Season of Deep, but they make no promises.

Those are about the width and breadth of crafting changes coming to Destiny 2 during the Lightfall expansion year. Crafting has long been a sticking point for the more hardcore members of the community, and while these solutions won’t please everyone, they hopefully strike an agreeable middle ground. For more on Destiny 2 content across its many years, check out our guides hub.

Bungie Reveals How Strand Subclass Lets You Weave Enemies Out of Existence in Lightfall Tue, 07 Feb 2023 19:18:52 -0500 John Schutt

The Lightfall expansion for Destiny 2 grows closer each day, and we learned a metric ton of new details about the upcoming Strand subclass in a recent blog post from Bungie. There was a lot to unpack, from Aspects and Fragments to grappling information, a new trailer, and a few developer insights. We’ll be discussing a few smaller details today: buffs, debuffs, and the origin of Strand.

Building Strand, Destroying Enemies

Image via Bungie

Initially called “Damage type 5,” Strand started as an ephemeral concept of “something astral,” and it also fit “the fantasy of [Lightfall]: the 80s action hero.” The design and narrative teams continued collaborating to land something satisfying to both parties until their concept became “dark telekinesis,” which evolved into Strand.

With the overall concept settled and many of the names and verbiage that would define it for players, the design continued to come together. Now there are, like the other 3.0 class updates, a trio of keywords that acts as some of the core interactions between player and enemy.

On the player side, we have “weaving,” which is the creation of objects with Strand. Defeating an enemy with Strand “unravels” them, which creates a “tangle.” Tangles left behind will explode when shot and can also be picked up and thrown.

Enemies can also be affected by three different keywords, which change how they interact with Strand when damaged or defeated by it.

  • Suspend: A suspended PvE enemy is lifted off the ground for a brief duration and is essentially disabled. In PvP, suspended players are lifted off the ground but can still move (albeit slowly) and fire their weapon to fight back.
  • Unravel: Attacking an unraveled enemy will cause threads to burst out of the target and attack other nearby targets. Once hit, that target will also become unraveled.
  • Sever: A severed enemy is less capable of affecting the material world, reducing their damage output as a result.

Finally, Guardians can be clad in Woven Mail, a special Strand armor that reduces incoming damage and flinch, though, in PvP, that reduction is only for the body. Both headshots and melee attacks are exempt when damaged by other Guardians.

For more about the Strand update, check out our guide to all the new subclass abilities and our analysis of the Strand trailer. For more on Destiny 2, see our guides hub.

Featured image via Bungie

New Destiny 2 Lightfall Trailer Shows Off Strand, Explains Darkness Ability Tue, 07 Feb 2023 13:12:14 -0500 John Schutt

With Destiny 2's Lightfall expansion less than a month away, Bungie is going all out to get Guardians excited for the new content, today releasing their trailer for the Strand Darkness subclass. You'll unlock these unique abilities in the neon-soaked city of Neomuna on Neptune, using them there and across the system to grapple, weave, and unmake enemies. Here's what we learned from the trailer.

The Lightfall Trailer Shows Off Strand

Throughout the latest trailer from Bungie, we see all three subclasses using various abilities new with Strand. The Warlock, for instance, consumes some Strand energy, which seems to empower their weapon with the power, causing a kill to create a burst of it. Affected enemies are debuffed before disintegrating when defeated.

Strand kills also generate what Bungie calls "threadlings" that crawl along the ground and detonate when they hit an enemy. Titans can generate energy waves with their Barricades and swathe their arms in Strand blades. Hunters use a Strand kunai attached to a long whip-like energy rope to attack their enemies both up close and at a distance.

Perhaps the most versatile ability Strand grants is not unique to any one class, however. The ability to summon a grapple point in mid-air, attached to a building or specific points across Neomuna, will give players unprecedented maneuverability. There's some concern that the new traversal abilities will crack open old content, trivializing many of the roadblocks put in place long before Strand was conceived.

We know that you can attach your grapple to other Guardians and possibly to weapon-fired projectiles. With Supers like Thundercrash already providing Titans with the ability to fly for short distances and mechanics like Well of Radiance and Shatterdive skating already pushing the bounds of balance, adding in a grappling hook has the potential to unravel a lot of Bungie's good work.

That won't be an issue for the Neomuna destination or the story told in Lightfall, as both were built with Strand front and center. Guardians will be working with Osiris, recently revived by a powerful Darkness cocktail, to unlock the potential of the new energy type. It seems, too, that there are nexuses of Strand energy throughout Neptune that we'll be able to tap into, either to unlock new powers or empower what we already have.

Here's hoping everything else about Lightfall seems as deep and involved as Strand, from its story to the activities we'll be grinding for all the new loot. We'll learn whether that's true when Lightfall releases on February 28. For more Destiny 2 content on seasons and expansions passed, check out our guides hub.

PlayStation Plus Games for February 2023 Revealed Wed, 01 Feb 2023 21:05:55 -0500 Jonathan Moore

The slate of complimentary PlayStation Plus games for February 2023 have been revealed over on the PlayStation Blog. Four games are on the docket for Essential subscribers this month, a change-up from the usual three offerings on gratis. The selection is quite a bit more varied, as well, with the lineup including Evil Dead: The Game, OlliOlliWorld, Mafia: The Definitive Edition, and Destiny 2: Beyond Light.

The games will be available starting February 7 for all PlayStation Plus members, Essential, Extra, and Premium. Fans can pick them up until March 6, when a new lineup will hit the service. Subscribers can still pick up January 2023's offerings until February 7, which include Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Fallout 76, and Axiom Verge 2

PlayStation Plus February 2023 Games Lineup

Evil Dead: The Game (PS4/PS5)

Evil Dead: The Game is a 4v1 asymmetric multiplayer game where you'll play one of several iconic characters from the cult-classic franchise, all in an effort to survive against another player controlling a Kandarian Demon hell-bent on your destruction. We called it "just groovy enough" to be a good time with friends, but a bit lacking in the single-player department. Either way, it nails the Evil Dead vibe, providing "some of the best Evil Dead fan service ever."

OlliOlli World (PS4/PS5)

OlliOllie World released exactly one year ahead of it being included as one of February 2023's complimentary PlayStation Plus games. Well-received by critics and fans alike, this high-octane platformer sees you skateboarding toward Gnardvana. While we didn't play it ourselves when it released in early 2022, our friends at Destructoid rated it an 8.5, and the good folks at Prima gave it a solid 9, making it well-worth a look in our book.

Mafia: Definitive Edition (PS4)

Mafia: Definitive Edition launched in 2020 and is a remake of the 2022 action adventure game from 2K. A focused, story-driven single-player experience in an open world, the Definitive Edition rebuilds the city of Lost Heaven from the ground up. In our review, we said that the Definitive Edition takes a compelling, nuanced approach to its writing and provides a "rich atmosphere" to play in, even if the world can feel a bit empty at times, and the actual shooting stiff. 

Destiny 2: Beyond Light (PS4/PS5)

Destiny 2: Beyond Light is surely part of February 2023's PlayStation Plus games lineup to help prepare new players (or those who've been away from Bungie's shooter for a while) for the impending release of Destiny 2: Lightfall on February 28. Including a new story line, the Stasis subclass, and a number of other additions, tweaks, and balances, Beyond Light is a great place to start or re-start your D2 journey in 2023. Giving it an 8/10 in our review, we said that "you can and will spend hours and hours discovering everything Beyond Light has to offer." Which is quite a bit. 

Those are the PlayStation Plus games for February 2023. Remember: be sure to pick up January's complimentary games before February 7, when these games will take their place. Stay tuned for more reveals for the Sony service in the future, such as the closure of the PS Plus Collection

Destiny 2 Lightfall Tuning Preview: Weapon Buffs, Nerfs, and Exotic Changes Aplenty Wed, 01 Feb 2023 19:10:44 -0500 John Schutt

The Destiny 2 Lightfall expansion is less than a month away, and Bungie is quickly ramping up the hype train with both trailers and extensive breakdowns of changes coming to the game. Detailed in the Season 20 Weapon Tuning Preview, we got a solid look at how combat in Destiny 2 will be shifting come February 28.

Destiny 2 Weapon Update Highlights

The Tuning Preview is separated into three parts: Legendary and Exotic weapon updates and Perk changes. There's a lot to unpack, but there are some significant highlights from the post.

Legendary Weapon Updates

  • Linear Fusions are getting nerfed. Legendary Heavy Linear Fusion Rifles have been the go-to damage subtype for more than a year, and Bungie is finally reining them in with a 15% flat damage nerf. This change does not apply to either Sleeper Simulant or Queenbreaker.
  • Heavy Grenade Launchers are back. Heavy GLs got their damage to Champions, minibosses, bosses, and vehicles by 20%, and against minor enemies, they're now 40% stronger. Their explosive radius and projectile collision were also improved. The only exception is the Parasite Exotic GL, as it's already a monster. Once the PvE gold standard, Anarchy should also be getting a buff.
  • Light Machine Guns are getting more in ammo reserves across the board, depending on the size of their hidden "Reserves" stat, for 20-50% more ammo.
  • Shotguns and Kinetic weapons got more love. Shotgun reticles now dynamically resize to show their spread angle. Kinetic weapons, both Primary and Special, had their damage increased (except Stasis weapons), and there will be Kinetic weapon effects come Lightfall.

Exotic Weapon Changes

Many underused and older Exotics are getting buffs or Subclass 3.0 synergy come Lightfall. Here are the highlights there.

  • Ruinous Effigy's transmutation sphere pickup now suppresses targets.
  • The Leviathan's Breath Heavy Bow got a damage buff, can one-shot Supers in PvP, makes targets Volatile, and got a 30% damage buff against Champions.
  • One Thousand Voices now instantly ignites enemies with the Ember of Ashes Solar 3.0 Fragment equipped (not accounting for other sources of Scorch).
  • Two-Tailed Fox now applies both Scorch and Suppression, and its catalyst will apply Jolted, hinting at adding a third rocket to every shot.

Perk Changes

  • Both Osmosis and Elemental Capacitor work with the new Strand subclass. Elemental Capacitor adds from 20-25 airborne effectiveness.
    Rewind Rounds will be usable on more than just Vault of Glass weapons
  • Eager Edge received adjustments: its lunge distance was slightly reduced, but the airborne penalty was also lowered, and having the enhanced Perk now gives you more lunge distance, as it used to. The Perk also doesn't deactivate if you're going too fast and stops after a single swing.
  • Blinding Grenades are now Disorienting Grenades, as they don't do Arc damage and thus shouldn't use an Arc 3.0 keyword.
  • The Veist Stinger perk now only refills 25% of the magazine rather than the whole thing.

Destiny 2 will undoubtedly change quite a bit when Lightfall drops if these updates are anything to go by. Hopefully, these changes are all positive in practice, as they're great in theory. We've covered plenty of content for the Witch Queen and its subsequent seasons, which you'll find in our guides hub.

Featured image via Bungie.

Neon White Slays Demons on PlayStation This December Thu, 01 Dec 2022 15:02:23 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Developer Annapurna Interactive announced that the acclaimed first-person shooter and speedrunning darling Neon White is making its way to PlayStation 4 and PS5 on December 13. The news was first shared on the PlayStation Blog, with Game Director Ben Esposito sharing more details about what fans can expect from the release. 

Originally released for PC and Nintendo Switch mid-way through 2022, Neon White looks to take full advantage of the PlayStation hardware, specifically the PS5's SSD and 120hz output capability. Esposito said the team knows that performance is essential for a frenetic game like Neon White.

Neon White is all about speed, so one of our highest priorities was performance. It was important to us that the PlayStation 5 version runs at 120hz across the board. When precision matters, the high framerate makes a difference.

We’ve also made the most of the system SSD to reduce load times significantly. It’s important that restarting levels is as quick and painless as possible. If you want to beat your friends’ leaderboard times, you’ll be restarting levels over and over again.

Neon White will also implement haptics on PS5 via the DualSense controller's adaptive triggers, tying the capabilities with the game's Soul Card and movement systems. 

Neon White also makes use of PS5’s adaptive triggers to make each Soul Card feel unique when you fire them as well as when you discard. Controller Haptics provide an extra level of feedback on top of that.

You’ll feel it when you’re moving faster on water, and you’ll get a subtle confirmation when you successfully snipe a distant demon. Our goal wasn’t just to make you feel cool, but for you to develop a sixth sense. 

You can wishlist Neon White over on the PlayStation Store. Stay tuned for more. 

Warhammer 40k: Darktide Rips Onto PC, Game Pass Wed, 30 Nov 2022 11:09:03 -0500 Ashley Shankle

Rejects, it's almost time! Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is finally out in full today, the game having gone through a nearly two-week beta period before release for pre-order holders.

Darktide brings a formula similar to Vermintide to the Warhammer 40,000 universe, allowing four players to rip, tear, and shoot their way through hordes of heretics and mutants in the name of the Emperor in an overall experience that is best described as brutally visceral. (Seriously, there's viscera flying everywhere — and you make it happen! I am perhaps a little too giddy over the fact that my Ogryn slices through heretics like butter).

Four classes will be included at launch:

  • Veteran: Sharpshooter — As the name indicates, you'll be shooting your way to victory with Veteran: Sharpshooter.
  • Psyker: Psykinetic — Makes heavy use of single target and area of effect psychic attacks to shock or blow up hordes.
  • Ogryn: Skullbreaker — Larger than the others, Ogryn make use of their brute strength and size to either be protectors or melee-focused meat grinders.
  • Zealot: Preacher — Primarily focused on melee DPS, the Zealot is a risky class that deals more damage at lower health.

There's more variety in playstyle than one might expect, with the Psykinetic standing out as a caster and the Skullbreaker as more of a hybrid than the Sharpshooter or Preacher.

Warhammer 40,000 Darktide Launch Times

The day-long maintenance has been hard for beta players, but launch is here to bring normalcy back to the Mourningstar.

Darktide will be launching today at 10 a.m. PST / 1 p.m. EST / 6 p.m. GMT on PC via Steam and the Microsoft Store, and the game will be included in Game Pass for PC players.

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S owners will have to wait to see the game on their platforms, as the Darktide console release has been delayed for now. Considering the game's performance during beta, it's for the best.

Imperial Edition pre-order holders on PC should be receiving their exclusive goodies as well today, as they were not available through the beta.

Will launch bring more stability to Fatshark's latest co-op release? We'll find out here in a few hours as Warhammer 40,000: Darktide opens the floodgates for all rejects.

Overwatch 2 Review: More of the Same Mon, 17 Oct 2022 13:28:03 -0400 John Schutt

Trying to review Overwatch 2 feels like cheating at the ol' reviewing game. You can count the number of significant changes between the sequel and its predecessor on two hands, and while the updates here are large enough, the core is the same as it was in 2016.

The joke that this is Overwatch 1.5 or some other fractional number is truer than we'd hoped, but that's not always bad.

At the center of Overwatch 2's design philosophy is its vast roster of unique characters, all of whom play differently and fill different roles, even within their specific niche.

No two DPS heroes play the same, with the likes of Soldier 76 requiring a completely different playstyle than Sombra or Genji, or any of the other dozen or so heroes in the class. That doesn't account for the differences between a DPS and a Tank, a Tank and a Support, and so on.

In short, there is something for every kind of player in Overwatch 2 — within a few limitations. Better still, you can be a credit to your team using almost any hero in the roster, though some are leagues better than others.

Blizzard's changes during the first Overwatch's tenure are still here. Some other heroes have received additional tuning to make them either more viable, more active, or simply to upend how they play at a base level. It's mind-boggling that Blizzard was able to keep everything balanced as well as it has, especially with the addition of the three new heroes in Sojourn, Junker Queen, and Kiriko.

It's more impressive that these three characters are so different from the others in their class and yet are viable — even essential — at most levels of play. Sojourn, in particular, is a monster at the higher skill tiers. Kiriko and Junker Queen don't get as much play in the Master and Grandmaster-level lobbies, but both can be terrifying in the right hands.

The returning heroes that didn't receive significant updates are as effective as you remember them. If you're new to the series with Overwatch 2, you'll quickly learn the likes of Genji, Ana, Winston, Zenyatta, and D.Va remain at the top of their game. Veteran players returning after a hiatus will find these characters play much as they remember them, and newcomers will quickly learn to fear players who can use them well.

Those heroes who saw reworks — Bastion, Doomfist, Torbjorn, and Orisa, among others — are a mixed bag. Bastion and Torbjorn, for instance, are currently disabled due to bugs, but the changes made to their mechanics have made them more mobile and overall more effective in battle.

Orisa is a menace in the right hands, capable of out-damaging even the best DPS characters while still mitigating thousands of points of incoming damage. Doomfist has been sent to the trash by the community's estimation, where many believe he should stay.

Considering there are 35 heroes available to play, the majority of them are viable in almost any situation, which is a testament to the skill and care Blizzard gave and gives to the game. While there aren't many new additions, the ones on offer are all great fun to play and fill a somehow unfilled niche within their respective classes.

Like the hero roster, most of the maps in Overwatch 2 return from the first game. In fact, the old maps have received no updates to speak of save the time of day when the fighting takes place. That's probably fine, as the maps in the original Overwatch were excellent, so there's no real reason to change them.

The new maps are split between two modes: Payload, a classic attack and defense mode, and Push, where two teams fight over control over a robot that pushes a barrier to either team's base.

The Payload maps — Paraiso, Midtown, and Circuit Royal — are good, but they lack some nuances of the original game's offerings. Where levels like Watchpoint: Gibraltar and Eichenwalde offer plenty of gameplay variety, the options introduced in Overwatch 2 are more straightforward, with fewer ways to get around and engage with the game's mechanics.

Push as a game mode is a fun idea, but in practice, it comes off as sluggish and far less fun than either zone control or Payload. There are two factors causing this: the movement of the objective away from spawn and the concentration of fights around the robot.

In Push, you have two spawns: your default and a forward position once you push the robot past a certain point. You'll lose access to the forward spawn if the enemy pushes back beyond that same point, forcing your team on the back foot. As a result of this back and forth, you'll spend half of your time getting back to the fight than actually fighting.

Fights around the robot are somehow even more hectic than in Payload or zone control, with not only a smaller space around the objective but also a tighter environment in general.

There aren't nearly as many open areas with longer sightlines or hiding places, making certain heroes less effective than they would be in other modes. Some parts of the map are even optional, in the sense that they aren't on the robot's path, offering flanking routes and places to catch your breath, but that you'll be less likely to use given how out-of-the-way they can be.

All that said, the good maps are good enough that playing on the bad ones sometimes doesn't bother as much. The only real issue is how heavily Push maps are weighted compared to the others, meaning you'll play them more often than you'd like.

Overwatch 2 Review — The Bottom Line


  • Well-designed shooter mechanics.
  • Tons of gameplay variety across the many heroes.
  • Great level design.


  • Horrid monetization systems.
  • Not enough new content.
  • Buggy and unfinished.

Overwatch 2, on launch, is a PvP-only free-to-play live service game. There is a PvE mode on the way come Halloween 2022, but anything else is up in the air. Being free, it needs some way to make its money back and seems to have taken the worst possible route. The battle pass and real money shop prices for new and old skins are just this side of exorbitant, and leveling the pass is a slog unless you play every day for at least a few hours.

Things are so predatory and hard — or impossible — to earn in-game that players have asked for the loot box system to return. Given that the original Overwatch went a long way toward popularizing loot boxes on the broader market, having the community ask for their return is a testament to how bad things are.

Sadly, there's not much more to say about Overwatch 2. It's a fun shooter with great gameplay variety, solid map design, and well-designed mechanics, but the same could be said for the original game, which no longer exists. The new iteration is less than a sequel and more a payment model transition that comes with a few new characters and maps. Was all the hullabaloo surrounding this "sequel" necessary? No, and the fact it was marketed as such is frustrating, at the least.

Is Overwatch 2 a good game, though? Yes, and one you should play if you enjoyed the first outing. However, we don't recommend spending a cent on it, especially if you played the original. If you're new, we still don't recommend spending anything if you can help it. There's nothing here worth the cost.

[Note: The free-to-play version of Overwatch 2 was used to write this review.]

Prodeus Review: That's One Doomed Space Marine Tue, 27 Sep 2022 17:03:41 -0400 Thomas Wilde

A few years ago, while discussing a couple of retro-styled strategy games, a friend made an interesting distinction. There's a difference between how you remember a genre, he said, and how playing it actually felt. By that metric, Prodeus is a version of Doom that we could only imagine existing in the '90s.

I don't care for the term "boomer shooter." Actual Boomers, in my experience, play ultra-realistic military action games, ideally set in World War II. That being said, Prodeus is an ideal example of the subgenre.

If your idea of a good time in an FPS is circle-strafing at Mach 10 while you hot-swap between a dozen guns to turn an army of demons into angry paint, then Prodeus was made for you. For everyone else, it's going to depend on your tolerance for speed, speed metal, and high-speed murder.

Prodeus Review: That's One Doomed Space Marine

The story of Prodeus is nearly irrelevant. I think researchers experimenting with alien technology have turned a human mining colony into a warfront between demons (Chaos) and aliens (Order; also, the titular Prodeus).

You're one of the last human survivors, turned into a cyborg by Prodean technology. Initially, you're out to shoot everything you see, but then you get the chance to shut down the Order/Chaos incursion. This will, happily, require you to shoot everything you see.

The plot is about as relevant moment-to-moment as Doom's. This is a critical comparison, because Prodeus comes off like a particularly thorough total conversion mod for Doom.

The primary enemies are close matches with Doom's rank-and-file demons (Fiends are Imps, Bloaters are Cacodemons, Skull Fish are Lost Souls, etc.), your initial arsenal is similar, and it has an onscreen character portrait that gets increasingly skeletal as your health drops. If you showed a hardcore shooter fan Prodeus footage and told them it was a new Brutal Doom, they'd believe you.

Blood on the Walls

Prodeus sets itself apart from Doom in a lot of little ways. The soundtrack is heavy industrial; the stages are nicely cluttered and vertical; and every weapon has a useful alt-fire mode. Exploring each level reveals hidden ore samples you can exchange for upgrades, like a double-jump or the weirder guns.

Most importantly, Prodeus has some of the most satisfying kills I've ever seen in an FPS. Every enemy in Prodeus takes location damage, can be dismembered, has multiple death animations, and will splatter if hit hard enough. The first couple of times I killed a monster in a confined space, I thought I heard another enemy's footsteps afterward, but it was actually the sound of the last demon's corpse bits bouncing off the walls.

Even better, demons' bodies disappear in Prodeus, but bloodstains don't. You can track your passage through each level by the gore you've left behind, especially once you've unlocked some of the more destructive weapons. Prodeus's version of the super shotgun has four barrels, you can alt-fire to hit something with all four shells at once, and doing so turns the target into a modern art project.

The stage design does take a while to take off. For the first 75% of the single-player campaign, you're fighting through a procession of dark industrial environments. It's not until the endgame that things get more interesting. There's one all-time great level where you fight your way onto and back off a space station, and there are a few more where the stages distort around you as you progress.

Even so, Prodeus' 10-hour base campaign runs out of steam before the end. Chaos and Order field most of the same enemy types; Chaos throws more cannon fodder at you, whereas Order has fewer but tougher monsters in each wave. By the last couple of stages, every second wave is primarily comprised of tiny explosive monsters, visibly just there to inflate your kill count.

The real climax of the game comes early, on the stage Hexarchy. It's the toughest challenge in the default campaign, as an ersatz boss rush against the forces of Order, and almost everything after it is a step down.

Even the final boss is a relative pushover compared to Hexarchy, because he challenges you in a small room, and you've got at least two different grenade launchers. Welcome to splash damage hell, lunch meat. You aren't leaving.

Infinite Murder Party

Prodeus has a robust albeit user-unfriendly level editor built into the PC version, with a big community of creators that have been playing the game for the last couple of years via Steam Early Access.

While this is a particularly masochistic audience — it seems like all the best-reviewed maps are also the most brutal — it gives you substantial content to blast through once you're done with the campaign. At the time of writing, the Xbox version doesn't have the level editor, but it does have the Community Workshop option in its UI, which has nothing in it. Maybe crossplay is coming later.

It also seems like the multiplayer modes are dead on arrival; I was never able to get a pick-up match going during my time with the game. It does give you the option to build your own maps, then bring up to three friends for whatever custom-made FPS experience you're looking for.

Prodeus Review — The Bottom Line

  • Nicely bite-sized servings of absolute mayhem.
  • Almost all the weapons feel great to use.
  • Really satisfying enemy death animations.
  • Smooth, customizable difficulty curve.
  • Some weapons' muzzle flash is so intense you can't see what you're aiming at.
  • Maybe a little too much of an assault on the senses.
  • The last boss of the campaign is a comparative pushover.
  • Could've used a few more enemy types.

Prodeus is one of those Kickstarter success stories. It's laser-focused on a specific audience that knows what it wants: dark metal, bloody kills, and fast-paced action. It's self-billed as "the boomer shooter you've been waiting for" and just about lives up to that hype.

At the same time, it's got some of the typical crowdfunding pitfalls, like visible inconsistencies and obvious design creep. Some of the guns aren't in the base campaign, the most challenging stage isn't anywhere near the finale, and it takes a while before you reach the best levels.

It's still one of the better action games I've played this year, and I can see myself loading it up again whenever I'm in the mood for some stylized ultraviolence. Whatever issues I have with Prodeus become as irrelevant as its storyline whenever I liberate a demon's entire upper half with one four-barreled shotgun blast.

[Note: Humble Games provided the copy of Prodeus used for this review.]

Metal: Hellsinger Review — One Helluva Tune Mon, 12 Sep 2022 11:19:23 -0400 John Schutt

Metal: Hellsinger has one mission: deliver Doom-quality FPS action to a heavy metal soundtrack featuring some of the biggest names in the genre. I'm happy to report that it succeeds with flying colors.

This is the complete package, with satisfying gameplay, fantastic music, non-stop action, and a story that hits familiar beats but is both well-told and well-acted. There's also no filler — Metal: Hellsinger knows exactly how much game it needs to get its point across and adds nothing extra to take away from the experience.

Metal: Hellsinger Review — One Helluva' Tune

You can't talk about Metal: Hellsinger's gameplay without talking about its music. The two are inseparable. As a rhythm shooter, your performance and combat effectiveness are directly tied to how well you shoot to the beat of each level's unique track. Thankfully, none of the early songs are particularly fast or challenging to sync your shots to, with the tutorial level being particularly forgiving.

That doesn't mean the tutorial soundtrack is lacking, though it is one of the shortest songs in the game, befitting the level's brevity. Everything you learn in that first easy experience carries over into the rest of Metal: Hellsinger. Slaying to the beat, as the game's marketing calls it, is essential, and there are both audio and visual cues to assist you in shooting along with the music.

The percussion is more pronounced to rise above the noise of gunshots and exploding demons. The aiming reticle takes up a good portion of the center of the screen as well, ensuring the beat markers are easy to see even in the most hectic of scenarios.

As you make your way through the game, the HUD becomes less and less of a factor as you become more and more accustomed to the combination of gunplay and music.

Difficulty in Metal: Hellsinger ramps up quickly and follows how music gets harder: it gets faster. The first two levels — the tutorial and Voke — are relatively casual songs compared to the high-tempo shred-fests of the mid and late game.

Every level has a short learning curve as you get used to the new beat, but because of the precise controls and enjoyable shooting mechanics, you'll want to engage with the music. The shift in soundtrack when you reach a boss can be a little jarring after 20 or so minutes of learning a new rhythm, but never enough to cost you anything.

All of these factors come together when you're in the thick of things, exploding and dismembering demons with the weaponry on offer. You start with nothing more than a sword and a particularly talkative, flame-spewing skull. Throughout the first four levels, you'll add a shotgun, dual revolvers, a rocket-launching crossbow, and a pair of infernal boomerangs, which are more deadly than you'd think.

Every weapon on offer is incredibly effective if properly used. Still, the dual revolvers are by far the most consistent because of their damage over long ranges and their Ultimate ability, which summons a second instance of the player character to do damage on your behalf. Paired with the shotgun as a backup, I rarely found a need to use the crossbow or boomerangs except to add some variety to my loadout.

What was never in question was my desire to be at the highest bonus tier. Metal: Hellsinger is, after all, more than just a shooter. It's an arcade-style shooter with scores and multipliers and buffs. The higher your score multiplier (called Fury), the more of the music you'll be able to hear, and at maximum Fury (16x), not only will you be raking in the points, you'll be able to hear the vocals as well. Every enemy you shoot and kill to the beat raises your Fury, but taking hits reduces it, so staying aggressive, accurate, and deadly is paramount.

The dynamic music usually works as intended, with the melody increasing in complexity and intensity the better you do. If you swap between Fury tiers, however, the music can get a little muddled, and it goes from kickass to mildly bungled quickly. This can frequently happen in boss fights, especially on a first encounter, taking what are otherwise amazing fights and transforming them into garbled messes. Not unlike the encounter at that point, really, but off-putting all the same.

There are also challenge rooms called Torments that provide selectable and increasingly powerful buffs that make getting high scores even easier. These Torment levels won't add more than a few more hours to your playtime, but they do get quite challenging and don't give much room for error.

Hell is a Sequence of Arenas

Metal: Hellsinger's story is primarily told through hand-drawn cutscenes with plenty of exposition from your friend Paz, the talkative skull. The levels themselves add little to the narrative, existing primarily as a well-realized and aesthetically interesting series of arenas for you and the demons to fight in. Free of Paz's dialog, expertly voiced by Troy Baker, each level could be a featureless collection of rooms filled with demons and accomplish the same purpose.

That's not to say the setting isn't appreciated. Hell has been associated with metal music for a long time, and having a long series of generic arenas set to this game's fantastic soundtrack would be confusing in the extreme. In other words, while the levels themselves are uninteresting from a layout perspective, combined with the rest of the game's aesthetic and tone, they function exactly as they're meant to.

The story follows much the same throughline. You are the Unknown, a particularly angry and tenacious damned soul in Hell who had her voice stolen from her by the Red Judge (voiced by Jennifer Hale) eons ago.

Following an extended stay in an extradimensional prison, she forces her way out with the help of Paz, who calls himself the Pulse of the Universe. You then spend the next four or so hours of in-game time carving a path of destruction through increasingly more hostile levels of Hell, taking down Aspects of the Judge on your way to killing the Devil herself.

The story is done well, but the overarching narrative relies on more than a few cliches and is content to tell you what happens rather than let you experience it. There are a few twists and turns, but you, as the player, have almost no say in what goes on in the cutscenes, and they serve primarily as window dressing that connects each level. There are some plot holes as well, which the game tries to handwave these away, but they are all the more noticeable for it.

All that said, there is nothing offensive about the story of Metal: Hellsinger, and there are a few cool surprises along the way. While it was frustrating to see it lean on old tropes as much as it does, I was invested enough in the Unknown's plight primarily because she's such a cool character, reminiscent of Doom 2016's Doom Slayer. She's more a force of nature than character sometimes but has enough emotive presence to be engaging in a way that made me want to see her succeed.

Metal: Hellsinger Review — The Bottom Line



  • One of the best soundtracks of the decade.
  • Fantastic gunplay and music integration.
  • Satisfying fights no matter what you're killing.


  • A trope-y story more told than shown.
  • A small selection of weapons, some of which are more fun than effective.

Metal: Hellsinger doesn't overstay its welcome. It knows exactly what it wants to be and gets it done in the space of no more than five or so hours. It is the perfect length, its music is just this side of perfect, the gunplay is terrific despite the limited weapon selection, and every level is enjoyable enough to play again and again.

The enemy variety is surprisingly large for such a tightly-built experience, with every mob needing a different approach and each boss taking a new spin on established mechanics. The later game enemies are some of the toughest challenges, but by the time you face them, you'll have enough mastery that they won't take long to overcome.

Metal: Hellsinger's only real failing is technically its narrative, but that isn't even a failing so much as it is a secondary concern for the game it wants to be. I'd have liked it to take a few more risks and be a little more engaging, but like the rest of the game, it does exactly what it means to and then gets out of the demon-slaying.

All in all, Metal: Hellsinger is a short, sweet, and immensely enjoyable experience worth every second of your time. It more than earns its purchase price. I cannot wait to see what the team at The Outsiders makes next because if this outing is anything to go by, they have one Hell of a future ahead of them.

[Note: Funcom provided the copy of Metal: Hellsinger used for this review.]

Redfall Gameplay Trailer Reveals What Hunters Do in the Shadows Tue, 14 Jun 2022 16:24:01 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Redfall debuted during E3 2021 with a nearly-five-minute cinematic trailer introducing the eponymous Massachusetts town, the vampire plague afflicting it, and the heroes hellbent on saving the world. At the Xbox and Bethesda showcase as part of Summer Games Fest 2022, developer Arkane Austin debuted Redfall's first gameplay footage. 

Clocking in at almost six minutes, the trailer gives some more background on the characters and world (the locations give me real Lost Boys vibes), shows vampires and cultists getting their asses kicked, introduces the four playable heroes, and teases the game's skill trees and loadout options. 

The trailer also provides a great look at the different types of weapons and powers you'll be able to wield while taking down the vampire menace. There are assault rifles, sawed-off shotguns, and handguns; there's dynamite and other throwables; there are unique weapons, like the stake launcher and UV beam, according to Arkane, and there are special character abilities, sometimes supernatural.

Layla can use her telekinesis to create shields for allies or manifest an elevator to launch them into the air. Jacob, the sniper, can call forth an ethereal falcon or sniper rifle if he doesn't already have one. Devinder can use his gear to sense temporal gateways that lead to nests and other areas. Remi, the engineer, has a cool robot named Bribon, and that's good enough for us (there's probably more there, we just don't know it quite yet). 

Redfall is set to release sometime in 2023 for PC, Xbox Series X|S, and Game Pass. Its open world can be explored in single-player or in co-op for up to four players. Stay tuned for more.

Turbo Overkill Early Access Review: Cyberpunk Chainsaw Man Mon, 25 Apr 2022 14:46:16 -0400 Peter Hunt Szpytek

Turbo Overkill is the type of game your parents were afraid you were playing when you were a kid. It's a loud, gratuitously violent, dark look at a potential cyberpunk future. Despite feeling like the type of thing parents might want banned in the early '90s, it's an Early Access shooter full of potential that grabbed me from the beginning.

While Turbo Overkill takes many queues from modern arcade shooters, specifically Doom: Eternal, it doesn't feel like developer Trigger Happy Interactive's influences stopped there. Turbo Overkill takes lessons from a wide range of titles like Hotline MiamiLeft 4 Dead, and the original BioShock that manages to be a Frankenstein of sorts. For the most part, it juggles its mechanics and systems well. 

Its fast-paced, aggressive gameplay is certainly not for everyone but it's a fantastic way to spend your time if you've been a fan of any modern arcade shooters of the past 10 years. Even in Early Access, Turbo Overkill has a lot to offer and will only get better as Trigger Happy Interactive continues to work on it.

Turbo Overkill Early Access Review: Cyberpunk Chainsaw Man

On the surface, Turbo Overkill seems like a pretty straightforward cyberpunk-themed run-and-gun shoot-em-up. After completing the tutorial level, however, its depth becomes clear.

Levels are huge and sprawling with hidden secrets and paths scattered about, giving you the option to be an unstoppable freight train of bullets and chainsaws (don't worry, we'll get back to the chainsaws in a bit) or a methodical detective investigating every nook and cranny available to them hidden just off the main path.

It's pretty refreshing to see a game in this mostly linear genre be full of truly secret optional areas worth poking around for. The environments are well designed and pique your interest without hitting you over the head with the fact you might be missing a thing or two if you leave some stones unturned.

The rewards for exploration range from finding collectibles (that don't ultimately add up to much) to accessing new weapons before they're introduced through the main path. For me, that was the true goal of exploring: the variety of weapons is excellent and their abilities are, for the most part, satisfying.

Turbo Overkill features a lot of guns. They're your typical FPS finds from shotguns to rifles and pistols, but their alternate fire modes are where they shine. Shotgun blasts can be saved and stacked on one another, pistols can turn into insta-kill, motion-tracking death machines, and rifles can be duel-wielded to double damage or picked up one at a time for higher accuracy. The list goes on, and there isn't a single weapon that doesn't have its place in combat.

Combat is fast-paced as you shoot your way through waves and waves of horrific cyberpunk monstrosities that have taken over sections of the city. Movement speed is high and each gun packs a real punch, but the true cherry on top is the player character's chainsaw leg. 

The chainsaw leg is used anytime you slide, which gives you a burst of speed while you cut down absolutely everything in your path. As you explore the world, you're able to buy body augment upgrades, but the very best ones increase the power of your chainsaw leg and allow you to drain enemy health and armor for yourself. Essentially, most of the upgrades are meant to encourage you to be aggressive with the chainsaw.

It gives combat a real sense of momentum and brutality that sets Turbo Overkill apart from the likes of other popular arcade shooters. Every so often, I would run into a tough room of enemies that would take me a few tries to get through, all before realizing that I could forget shooting my way out because I'm essentially a cyberpunk Chainsaw Man.

Perhaps the best thing I can say about Turbo Overkill is that it feels packed to the brim with ideas. From the chainsaw leg to the inspired level design to its interesting alternate weapon modes, the game keeps you guessing and continues to impress. The one thing that stands in the way of it being one of the best in the genre is its difficulty and poor checkpointing.

I died a lot playing on the recommended difficulty. At first, it seems as if Turbo Overkill is going for a Hotline Miami-type system where death is frequent, but if you have a plan, you can overcome any obstacle. That quickly fades away once you begin to realize how infrequently the game dishes out checkpoints.

I spent a lot of time fighting through a few rooms of manageable enemies before getting to a troublesome room and dying within a few seconds of setting foot inside. After repeating that a few times, frustration become one of Turbo Overkill's strongest foes.

Paired with some clunky insta-death platforming sections, the checkpoints still need work and stick out a bit from an otherwise well-polished experience. If the checkpoints were better, the difficulty might be more manageable since you're back in the fight a few seconds after going down. But as it stands now, there's plenty of frustration to be found in the later levels because of it. 

The game does have a story, but it takes a pretty major backseat to the gameplay. From what I could tell, a rogue A.I. is spreading a mind virus throughout the city and you're there to stop it. It's such a minor thing, however, that it hardly feels worth mentioning other than to say Turbo Overkill doesn't have much for anyone looking for a great cyberpunk story full of lore and meaning. 

Turbo Overkill  Early Access Review — The Bottom Line


  • Fast-paced, exciting combat arenas.
  • Excellent variety of weapons and enemies to use them on.
  • Stylish cyberpunk visuals.
  • Chainsaw legs.


  • Sharp difficulty curve with no real solution other than turning the difficulty down.
  • Poor checkpoint system. 

Everything about Turbo Overkill suggests it's a game to watch closely. The problems I had with it seem like the kinds of things Trigger Happy Interactive will be able to fix before it's done cooking, but if they're neglected could be major roadblocks in the way of a truly great shooter.

While it's story-light, it's chainsaw-heavy, and I think that more than makes up for the cyberpunk aesthetic being nothing more than window dressing for a brutal run-and-gun shooter. If you can get past the issues listed above, then a recommendation is easy, even before its official launch. Check out the demo if you think it's up your alley

[Note: Trigger Happy Interactive provided the copy of Turbo Overkill used for this Early Access review.]

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Review: Loot Galore Wed, 06 Apr 2022 14:30:41 -0400 Michael Feghali

Gearbox Software is already known for its stellar looter-shooter franchise, Borderlands. With Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, the studio aims to add elements of D&D, alongside some even quirkier quirkiness, to its winning formula to create a unique experience.

And for the most part, it succeeds. Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is only held back by its story, which sees the return of some iconic characters and picks up where Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep ended back in 2013.  

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Review: Loot Galore

The most important aspect of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is, of course, the loot, and it doesn't disappoint in that respect. Loot is plentiful, and you’ll be rewarded with new gear and weapons constantly.

The rate at which you receive drops helps keep the combat fresh and encourages you to try out new weapons and tactics, even if you just want to stick with a weapon that feels good regardless of level and stats.

Finding new armor and weapons to make your character more powerful is as addicting as ever, and you’ll find yourself constantly swapping between items to optimize your build. The loot in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is, as it is in Borderlands, RNG-based, so you’ll need a bit of luck to get a weapon with the perks and abilities you want. This element of randomness makes it even more satisfying to discover items with the exact perks and passive abilities perfect for your build.

Of course, customization is a massive part of the game, and thankfully, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands excels here, too. Starting out, you’ll be greeted with an in-depth character creation screen that lets you change everything from your character’s physical appearance to your armor patterns and colors. You will also have the chance to change your character’s appearance at any point as you unlock unique cosmetic items throughout your journey.

In terms of changes from Borderlands games, grenades have been removed and replaced with spells, which makes combat even more chaotic than before. Wonderlands is filled will all types of wacky incantations, letting you do everything from summoning hydra heads to raining down fiery meteors from above.

As always, the gunplay is incredibly polished and the weapons do have some weight to them, which gives Wonderlands some realism to offset its wackiness. On top of that, melee attacks are surprisingly effective this time around, especially when finishing off enemies at low health. Not to mention how satisfying it is to send enemies flying with a strike from your hammer.

The combat and gameplay are as intense as ever with hordes of enemies swarming you from all directions, made more chaotic by the small-sized arenas as opposed to an open world. To come out victorious, you must learn to make use of every tool at your disposal. This means constantly switching between weapons and casting spells shortly after their cooldown.

The stakes are also quite high as dying will deduct a significant portion of the gold you’ve collected. Thankfully, the “Save Your Soul” mechanic returns in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, giving you a second chance at staying in battle after your health bar is depleted.

Welcome to The Wonderlands

The events of Tiny Tina's Wonderlands take place on a Bunkers and Badasses (D&D) board, with Tiny Tina taking the role of Dungeon Master. She can essentially control the narrative by bending the rules of the game and altering the world to her liking. This doesn’t happen too often as not to break immersion, but the game makes sure to sprinkle in hilarious moments throughout the main story.

The vibrant colors, wacky landscapes, and occasionally ridiculous story all help remind that everything has originated from Tina’s wild imagination. You’ve also got Valentine and Frette, who have great chemistry with Tiny Tina and do well to throw some humor into the mix whenever things get stale.

Where Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands falters is the main story. The narrative follows a fairly standard format with little in terms of innovation or creativity. Just like most every other game, you take on the role of an aspiring warrior who must save the world from the large, powerful villain. Wonderland's writing and witty dialogue help make things slightly more bearable, but don't expect a rich story that makes you care about its characters.

While these types of games don't need a strong story to be great, it would have been nice to at least have an intriguing antagonist similar to Handsome Jack.

When you’re not busy completing quests and fighting enemies, you’ll be running around in the Overworld, which represents the board you’re playing on. In the Overworld, you guide your character across a map filled with treasure, side quests, and portals. It's a nice change of pace from the high-octane action if only for a few minutes. Exploring the Overworld, though, is worth your while. It is filled with ridiculous side missions, secret areas to uncover, and fun little encounters to complete.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Review — The Bottom Line


  • Fun and intense gameplay.
  • Abundance of loot with unique perks and abilities.
  • Plenty of content in the form of side quests and encounters.


  • Mediocre story with forgettable characters.
  • Could have been released as a DLC instead of a full-priced game.


The game's similarities to Borderlands 3 make it an easy sell for longtime fans of the series who already know what to expect from these looter shooters. Still, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands puts its own D&D twist on things, which makes it a unique experience that can draw in new players thanks to its quirks and wacky gameplay.

With an excellent loot system and stellar gunplay, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is easily one of the most addictive and satisfying FPS games in recent memory.

[Note: 2K Games provided the copy of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands used for this review.]

Forgive Me Father Review: Make the Old Gods Pay Wed, 06 Apr 2022 11:00:01 -0400 Peter Hunt Szpytek

You've likely already played a few games like Forgive Me Father. That's not a bad thing (spoiler alert: it kicks ass), but understanding if you're going to like the game greatly depends on if you like the original DoomWolfenstein, or Quake.

Saying that Forgive Me Father wears its classical first-person shooter inspirations on its sleeves is a bit of an understatement based on just how much it borrows from them — again, not a bad thing.

Forgive Me Father makes excellent use of its inspiration by taking the classic arena shooter formula and adding just enough to have its own identity. It strongly stands out amongst the sea of "Doom clones" that gaming has seen over the years through its H.P. Lovecraft-inspired aesthetics and finely tuned run and gun mechanics.

Forgive Me Father Review: Make the Old Gods Pay

When Forgive Me Father starts, it asks you to choose which character you want to play as: a priest or a journalist. It says that the characters' abilities differentiate the playstyles associated with each, making the priest better for guarded, defensive play and the journalist best for aggressive combat.

I chose the journalist because I didn't spend four years getting a journalism degree not to be recognized for it, but it seems to have been the proper choice. Given the fast-paced run and gun gameplay loop of Forgive Me Father, I can't imagine that abilities that slow you down and put you on the defensive would fit with the rest of the mechanics.

Simply put: Forgive Me Father is fast. Your movement speed is extremely high, enemies track your position quickly, and the soundtrack mainly consists of blast beats and deathcore which adds to the overall blistering nature of the game. In general, the speed at which Forgive Me Father takes things feels quite good. It's like developer Byte Barrel not only took inspiration from classic Doom, but also from its most recent iterations.

The pacing in general is pretty solid as well. Each arena you're dropped into takes roughly 10-minutes to complete, changing up the scenery several times in an hour. However, it's something of a double-edged sword because Forgive Me Father's level design is a mixed bag.

Some levels end with you saying to yourself, "Wow, I would play that on repeat for five hours," while others can feel painfully slow, such as the late-game water and factory levels. Many of the poorly designed levels feel almost intentional and deliberate throwbacks to Forgive Me Father's old-school inspirations. Unfortunately, intentional or not, a poorly designed level just isn't fun to play and takes a lot of the wind out of the sails of the game's otherwise solid pacing. 

Forgive Me Father's steep difficulty curve is also an issue as you'll hit a difficulty wall around the second boss. It's something that made me turn the difficulty down so that I could even parse what was going on without dying.

That said, lowering the difficulty didn't hinder my enjoyment; the challenge wasn't part of the appeal. Exploring the eerie environments and discovering the best tactics to adopt when facing new, expertly-designed H.P. Lovecraft-inspired enemies is where Forgive Me Father shines the brightest.

In terms of a story, Forgive Me Father is extremely light. The intro cinematic tells you that your cousin seems to have been kidnapped by a Cthulu death cult, and you've headed into town to try and track them down. That's just about all you'll get.

Each level has a small peppering of hidden story elements to track down, but this isn't a game about story — it's about blowing the heads off of Lovecraftian horrors. Luckily, that's something that Forgive Me Father is extremely good at.

Along the way, your character provides a running narration of many of the events in each level. Unfortunately, they're probably the worst part of the game. The voice performance simply isn't very good and feels extremely out of place with its constant quips and jokes against the grim backdrop of shooting your way through the possessed inhabitants of a harbor town.

This voice acting almost feels like a temporary element that got thrown down the list of priorities until Byte Barrel gave up and decided to leave it in the game, only to be fixed later. Seeing as Forgive Me Father has had a long life in Early Access on Steam, that doesn't seem entirely out of the question, considering the voice-over lacks polish elsewhere. 

Specifically, when getting hit, jumping, or dying, the voice actor is completely different and, notably, always a man despite being able to choose a woman character. The VO isn't a dealbreaker by any means since the rest of Forgive Me Father stands confidently on its own. Still, it's emblematic of some of the polish that rubs off when examining some aspects of the game a little too closely. 

Forgive Me Father Review — The Bottom Line


  • Finely tuned, fast-paced shooting.
  • Excellent art design and soundtrack.
  • Generally good level design.
  • Good pacing.


  • Bad voice performances.
  • Lack of polish in areas.
  • Major difficulty spike.
  • Poor level design stands out in some areas.

While Forgive Me Father is a throwback to shooters' past, it brings a fresh take to a tired genre that many have moved on from. Although it falls into certain pitfalls that games have moved away from in terms of level design, there are enough fantastic areas to keep you glued to your seat in hopes of seeing its brilliance again.

There's a reason why Doom was so popular when it first debuted, and Forgive Me Father understands that and more to create an all-around ass-kicking experience where you turn out to be the final boss for the enemies, not the other way around.

[Note: Byte Barrel provided the copy of Forgive Me Father used for this review.]

Serious Sam Siberian Mayhem Review: Fan Service at Its Finest Tue, 25 Jan 2022 11:00:01 -0500 Samuel Adams

When it comes to AA shooters, Serious Sam has been a long-time cult classic for fans of the genre. Where other first-person shooters strive for realism and grittiness, the Serious Sam series has always brought together elements of Doom, Quake, and Duke Nukem to create over-the-top explosive action with a protagonist that is packed with personality. 

2020’s Serious Sam 4 marked the first new entry in the franchise in nine years. Sam Stone’s return earned lukewarm reviews, but the explosive action of the franchise was enough to catapult Serious Sam back into the spotlight. 

Now, Croteam has teamed up with Timelock Studio — a team of modders and hardcore Serious Sam fans — to expand their passion project and release Serious Sam Siberian Mayhem. This latest entry in the franchise is a “midquel” that fills in the backstory between the penultimate and final levels of Serious Sam 4, giving the most passionate fans a deeper look at the story while delivering on the insane firefights packed with a barrage of bullets, missiles, cannonballs, and several surprises along the way. 

Serious Sam Siberian Mayhem Review: Fan Service at Its Finest

After teaming up with General Howard Brand and the Alien Artifact Acquisition Team to find the Holy Grail and turn the tide of the alien war against Mental’s Horde in Serious Sam 4, General Brand betrays humanity and chooses to side with the alien army (turning into a monster figuratively and literally in the process). Now on his way to deliver the Grail to Mental in Tunguska, Sam Stone has to make his way from the Arctic Circle and across Siberia to stop General Brand and protect humanity. 

Siberian Mayhem is certainly packed with the hilarious writing and one-liners found elsewhere in the series. Between the classic Serious Sam dialog and a ragtag cast of characters that harp on classic Russian stereotypes, Siberian Mayhem successfully stays true to what fans of the franchise have come to expect: a loose story with fun characters that guide them through intense patches of gunplay.

The additional story beats are a nice touch for hardcore Serious Sam fans, but the franchise’s signature old-school gory gameplay is still the star of the show. As is tradition, you will gradually expand your arsenal packed with everything from a basic handgun to a literal cannon  yes, the type that shoots cannonballs.

Siberian Mayhem introduces three new weapons to the franchise, as well: an electric crossbow, a raygun, and an old-school Russian AK. Combined with classic weapons and dual-wielding, these weapons are right at home and fantastic tools to fight back wave after wave of enemies. 

Speaking of enemies, Siberian Mayhem introduces four new enemy variants. The Hopper, Octanian grenadier, and Draconian Burner all add some variety to firefights while still being taken care of with a few blasts of a weapon, but Sentry Towers can bring danger in firefights and take some focused power to bring down. Don’t worry, though: Serious Sam’s iconic Beheaded Kamikazes are still in the mix along with the rest of the franchise’s iconic baddies. 

Along with a few new weapons are a pair of new gadgets. An airstrike designator calls in a shower of missile support, defeating powerful aliens with extra health or dozens of weaker enemies in seconds. A portable hoverboard scooter may not bring firepower, but it’s perfect for exploring the wider open areas of the game with ease.

Unlike Serious Sam 4, Siberian Mayhem puts a focus on exploration as you make your way through each level. Secrets and Easter eggs are hidden throughout, along with puzzles that come in a variety of difficulties to keep things fresh and break up the signature gunfights. Optional objectives give you branching options; going directly to the objective can easily get the job done, but taking the scenic route can unlock hidden areas, skill points, and boss fights that really flesh out the experience and add some extra adventure.

This open-world exploration is a welcome change of pace, but Siberian Mayhem brings out the best in Serious Sam with tightly packed gunfights against dozens of enemies in tight warehouses and corridors. Certain rooms are littered with jump pads, health, and ammunition, encouraging you to run and gun your way through the horde to eliminate the threat and unlock the door to the next hallway. These sections create some of the most heart-pounding moments in Siberian Mayhem

Each level also adds a section with a twist. From tank gameplay to a mech with a chainsaw, Siberian Mayhem does a fantastic job of switching up the gameplay style and giving you the firepower needed to rip through hundreds of enemies in a matter of seconds. It’s this kind of unhinged action that has kept Serious Sam players coming back for more for 20 years, and Siberian Mayhem marks some of the best combat sequences the franchise has to offer.

Croteam has also added “a bunch of general fixes, engine upgrades, tweaks, and updates for existing mechanics” with the release of Siberian Mayhem, along with weapon and enemy balance tweaks. While I noticed some FPS dips during intense battles with dozens of enemies on the screen at once, Siberian Mayhem still performs well even on a mid-range PC. There’s no doubt that future support will also add further optimizations and bug fixes, along with seasonal content that gives players a reason to come back to the game for another romp. 

Serious Sam Siberian Mayhem Review — The Bottom Line


  • Classic old-school shooter gameplay
  • Fantastic level design
  • New weapons and enemy varieties


  • Lackluster PC optimization
  • Enjoyable, but forgettable characters and story

Croteam has teamed up with truly passionate Serious Sam fans to make their vision for the game a reality, and it shows. Siberian Mayhem’s new weapons, enemies, and gameplay variations keep the experience fresh while sticking to the roots of what makes Serious Sam so great: ruthless alien-killing action with plenty of puns along the way.

[Note: Croteam provided the copy of Serious Sam Siberian Mayhem used for this review.]

Rainbow Six Extraction Review: A Solid Start Wed, 19 Jan 2022 06:15:01 -0500 Justin Koreis

The long-term prospects of an online-focused game largely depend on ongoing support from the developer. The core game at launch can be a meaningful experience, but the lack of a defined end can lead to games running out of metaphorical gas until future updates freshen the content.

Such seems to be the case with Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction from Ubisoft. This cooperative first-person shooter has a strong hook with compelling progression but runs out of ways to reward players in meaningful ways by the end game. I’m sure that will change over time, but as it is on Day One, this is a good game that left me wanting something more by the end. 

Rainbow Six Extraction Review: A Solid Start

The premise of R6E is surprisingly interesting. Some sort of alien invasion has occurred but is relatively contained. You and your fellow Operators undergo missions into the quarantined areas to gather intel, rescue trapped agents, and collect data to help combat the invasion. It’s not sophisticated, but it is well presented and informs the gameplay in a consequential way.

When you select a location to start an incursion, you are assigned three objectives, one per zone. Some ask you to stealthily eliminate a specific enemy or plant trackers in the Archæans spawning nests throughout a zone. Others force you to hold specific points against incoming waves of enemies. You have no say over what objectives will be assigned in which order, but you are free to skip straight to an airlock and advance deeper into an incursion without completing a task if you so choose.  

Preparing for an incursion is one of the most important parts of R6E. You and your squad choose from up to 18 different Operators, each with their own unique abilities and weapons. Success in higher-level incursions depends on making smart decisions with the makeup of your squads.

You may do one incursion as Vigil, taking advantage of his cloaking ability to complete sneaking missions, then another as Rook, handing out free body armor to your squad for an inevitable fight against an elite enemy. There is real, meaningful decision-making in Rainbow Six Extraction 

Same Levels, Fresh Experience

Incursions themselves are broken into three sections. Each is timed and separated by an airlock. You can extract at any time, and rewards are increased as you move from one section to another and complete more objectives.

The structure fits narratively, as the infestation becomes increasingly aware of your presence, and more dangerous further in. As a game mechanic, it presents a compelling risk assessment, and you must make calculated decisions about whether or not you can press on. It’s a rewarding cohesion between story and action that is often missing in gaming.

The levels are self-contained sandboxes, and you can play in them however you want. Settings vary from city streets to a rocket laboratory, the Statue of Liberty, and more. According to in-game lore, the Archæans, as the aliens have been dubbed, are constantly evolving. For you, this means enemy types and locations will change on every incursion. Combine that with the revolving objectives, and no two runs ever feel quite the same, keeping the Extraction fresh even after dozens of hours.  

Eliminating Archæans isn’t necessary but does make completing objectives easier. Player control is reminiscent of 2015’s Rainbow Six: Siege. Moving and shooting is slow and deliberate, and carefully navigating around corners is key to eliminating enemies without being seen.

If you are spotted, an Archaean will let out a howl alerting others to your presence. Not only does this bring a hoard of aliens down upon you, but nearby Archæan nests will start to continuously spawn new enemies until they are destroyed. Nests also generate Sprawl, a tar-like alien substance that slows your movement and buffs Archæans.  

The Best-Laid Plans

The unpredictable nature of each incursion is what makes Extraction interesting. You and your team will plan as best you can, but once the mission starts, you won’t know for sure exactly what is going to happen.

Flawless planning and execution is extremely satisfying. Sometimes that means a ghost-like infiltration, with no trace you were ever there. Other times it means preparing traps, closing doors, and deploying temporary walls to create chokepoints; then watching an army of Archæans break against your preparations while you defuse a ticking bomb.

Not every mission goes according to plan. Botching an objective, or alerting your enemies when you aren’t ready, leads to heart-pounding chaos. Operators don’t die in a mission, but they can go MIA and are left behind if their health runs out. Carrying a wounded ally to an extraction point while your other team member provides covering fire is exhilarating, and leads to some of the best post-incursion stories. 

The MIA system in R6E is really well implemented. When an Operator goes down, their suit deploys a protective foam, putting them into a stasis-like state. If you fail to extract them, or if the entire squad goes down, the Operators are left in the hands of the Archæans. MIA Operatives are no longer available to be used until they are rescued. You will have to return to that same area in an upcoming excursion, and extract them as one of your objectives. Nothing will get you to relaunch into a location faster than losing your favorite operative.  

Leveling is Fun While It Lasts

Operators level up and new equipment is unlocked as you gather experience in successful incursions. Some of the upgrades are powerful. This, in turn, allows you to take on more challenging incursions for great rewards, making the loop effective motivation to keep playing. It’s easy to fall into a repeated cycle of “just one more incursion”, as you unlock another perk for your operative or a handy new piece of equipment you've had your eye on.

Eventually, you will run out of basic upgrades to unlock, and that’s where Extraction gets thin. There are end game-oriented missions, such as the rotating Maelstrom Protocol incursions, which ramp up the challenge with special modifiers and only permit specific operatives. But by this point, your characters will be at max level. The bounty of experience points doesn't really help the fully powered-up operative you bring to the engagement. Instead, the end game content becomes a lot of work for purely cosmetic items.  

Ultimately, it’s a lackluster endgame. There isn’t a bespoke story in which you reach a conclusion. You won’t earn exceptional rewards for completing the highest-level content. Once all of your operators are leveled up, and you’ve unlocked all of the equipment, there really isn’t any motivation to keep playing. There’s no reward or payoff; you just run out of things to do.  

Rainbow Six Extraction Review — The Bottom Line


  • Good tactical first-person shooting action.
  • Compelling progression system.
  • Constantly remixing objectives and enemies keeps things fresh.
  • In-game systems cleverly synergize with lore.


  • No compelling reason to engage endgame content.
  • Some objectives are more annoying than others.


Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction is a very solid game. It plays well and does a good job remixing every run to feel fresh. The gameplay is ably informed by the core narrative, resulting in a cohesive experience.

It’s a shame there aren’t more reasons to continue playing the more difficult end game content, but that doesn’t take away from what is otherwise a genuinely fun game to play, especially with friends. 

 [Note: Ubisoft provided the copy of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Extraction used for this review.]