Ultimate Fishing Simulator coming to consoles, VR

by: Dave -

Ultimate Fishing Simulator, which we reviewed here, will soon be appearing on consoles as well. Slated for release sometime later this year, it will be playable on the PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch. 

In related news, Ultimate Fishing Simulator VR for the Rift and Vive is expected to be available this summer. The announcement didn't state whether the VR version will be a separate purchase or as an update to the current version.

Auston Matthews is your NHL 20 cover athlete

by: Chuck -

At the NHL awards last week EA sports revealed that Toronto Maples Leafs forward (and American) Auston Matthews would be the athlete featured on the cover of NHL 20. It was just a matter of time before the former first rounder appeared on the cover of the game as he's one of the leagues brightest stars.  

As for new features in this years game, fans can look forward to more signature shots from big name players, a new battle royale mode called "Eliminator", and a host of other tweaks and upgrades. It also looks like EA will be including some new celebrations as seen in the first gameplay video below. I will say that it is nice to see the Carolina "Bunch of Jerks" celebrations making it into the game.  

Summer Games Done Quick 2019 begins today

by: Russell -

For fans of speedrunning one of the most anticipated events of the summer begins in just a few hours as Summer Games Done Quick (SGDQ) 2019 will start at 1:00 PM Eastern. Kicking off with the original Spyro the Dragon from the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, SGDQ will run throughout the week as speed runners from all over raising money for Doctors Without Borders while playing games from as early as the 80s to very recent titles, ending with a run of Chrono Trigger on Saturday night.

You can check out the stream at www.twitch.tv/gamesdonequick.

So, what are you playing?

by: Randy -

On the heels of an appearance at E3, Elon Musk deletes his Twitter over a NieR: Automata fan art controversy. You'd think the imminent console generation would be the biggest news out of E3, but it's actually how every major publisher wants to become the "Netflix of gaming." And here's a short and sweet ode to video game enemies.

So, what are you playing?

Kinsey Danzis
I had my doubts about Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda for a few reasons, including the fact that the name is more than a bit of a mouthful. I’d heard how unforgiving the original Crypt of the NecroDancer games could be. But, being on my Zelda kick, and fresh off a fun time of sun and sand in Florida, I decided to give it a shot. Totally. Worth. It. Cadence of Hyrule brings some sweet remixes of classic Zelda tunes to the Switch, and more often than not I found myself bopping along to the beat in real life as I moved my character in time through this 8-bit version of Hyrule. It keeps true to the beloved franchise’s designs and music, while still giving the devs freedom to put their own spin on things. Plus, I can play as Zelda—and in the wake of the Breath of the Wild sequel trailer, I’m hyped to potentially play as Zelda in any way, shape or form. I know it probably won’t happen in the sequel, but a girl can dream, right?

Dave Gamble
As much as I enjoy our wheeled home away from home, it has one glaring deficiency, and that is the fact that my PC and Rift don't get to come along. There's only so much sedate quietude that I can stand before I start itching for some VR racing and/or flying. That said... I do have a PS4 that goes with us in the camper and one of the first things I bought for it (well, one of the first things that wasn't RDR2) was a used Project CARS 2 disc for next to nothing. Unfortunately, it was utterly useless as it turns out that a transition from a Fanatec FF wheel to a game controller is, in a word, problematic. The little sticks on the controller are far too twitchy. An embarrassingly long six months later (or "last week" for those of you on the metric system) I realized that the PS4 DS controllers are also motion controllers—using the "tilt" setting for steering made all the difference in the world.

Still, PC2 on the PS4 is a nice pair of TLAs, but it in no way compares to my fave PC sim, rFactor2. As we returned home halfway through the annual 24 hours of Le Mans, my first thought was to drive a few laps on rF2 to prep for a few hours of viewing. My second thought was "Why isn't there a Le Mans track in rF2???" Well, that worked like a charm! Just a couple of hours later, Studio 397 released their Le Mans track. While I didn't quite spend 24 hours driving it, I did get some pointed looks from the boss as I merrily drove around a virtual while she did real world chores on the camper. And there you have it: the number one tangible benefit of using a Rift headset: plausible "Oh, were you calling me?" deniability.

While I was buying DLC trinkets that would surely prompt a spousal lecture on the ever-deplorable state of our finances, I figured if I was in for $12, I might as well go for another $12 more, which came in the form of the Reiza-ported Virginia International Raceway and their Formula Vee car—the car most likely to be an "affordable" real race car and perfect for my one-man racing league that I call the Attainable Racing Series. There went a few more hours since my toxic masculine pride would simply not allow me to quit until I had completed at least one lap of the tricky VIR course in the very, very easy-to-spin Formula Vee car. As you can probably imagine, I was alone in thinking that to be a goal worthy of the time spent on it.

I end up missing flying in DCS just as much as I miss the racing. This morning I decided that I needed to pick a plane and really stick with learning as many of its arcane details as possible rather than jumping around from plane to plane. I ended up torn between the F-18 and the Harrier, those two being the only ones that have complex landings on moving ships. It's easy to hit a runway, much harder to land on a carrier. I started with the F-18, but I'm still not sure I won't go with the Harrier instead, mostly because of this morning's incident. I was in a fairly steep dive in the F-18, getting ready to obliterate a cargo ship with 1,000 lb bombs. I mis-configured the bomb settings and failed to set them to use the drag fins that pop out to slow down the bomb in order to let the plane that dropped it get away from the blast area before it explodes. So there I was, somewhere around a 50 degree dive, the target reticule centered on the bridge of the cargo ship, ready to blast it to smithereens. I pressed the bomb release button and almost immediately exploded into a giant ball of flame. Apparently after dropping the bomb, the retardation fins didn't open (because I hadn't set them to) and I was basically flying in tight formation with a live bomb. That didn't last long.

Suddenly helping to clean up the camper looked like it might be a safer project.

Randy Kalista
That $1 upgrade to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate got me. Three years' worth. Suffice it to say, I'm in Microsoft's pocket until 2022. And this is from a guy that genuinely enjoyed his PS4. So, here's looking forward to the next generation of consoles. Particularly Xbox Project Scarlett. I mean Project Lockhart. Project Anaconda? I've read that Microsoft calls Anaconda the "Scarlett Pro" and Lockhart the "Scarlett Arcade." Just...never mind. Pick a name, Xbox.

Game Pass Ultimate now gives me a few games to pick from, was my point.

First up, a little dungeon delving and merchandising kicked things off in Moonlighter. Mom n' pop shop owner by day, Zelda-like adventurer by night. Next, I tried coming to terms with the drone-y flying in Everspace. It's weird how changing one aspect of (arcade) space flight can throw away decades of muscle memory. I hopped back into Sea of Thieves just long enough to get a grab-the-chicken mission, sail halfway off the map, then realize I forgot to pick up a chicken coop to actually cage the thing when I found one. Then I played through the intro to Prey, which is a perfectly paced half-hour opening of a sci-fi thriller. And Void Bastards is probably the first roguelike I've ever really liked, with its space prison inmates, its (intentionally) choppy-frame-rate comic book animations, and clever narrative swings between the proper English gentleman voiceover and the "Surprise, buttface!" enemies.

Whew. I've only tried out those games for 45 minutes or an hour each. But in just one week, I've already made back the cash I spent on three years' worth of Game Pass Ultimate. Money well spent. It also helped that the wife and kiddo were out of town for a few days, making

Despite all that, I'm mostly turn-basing through 2nd century China in Total War: Three Kingdoms. As actor-philosopher Wallace Shawn once said: Never get involved in a land war in Asia. But here we are. If I played Three Kingdoms like a regular ol' "paint the map red" game of Total War, I'd have problems. Big problems. I'd have 360 degrees of warfare on every single one of my borders. My nation's leader, Cao Cao, is the hand-holding easy-difficulty leader the developers recommend starting with. But it's still a struggle. I've never spent this much time on negotiation screens in my life—and I love it.

I've arranged military access through neighboring countries to my distant enemies. I've set up trade agreements and non-aggression pacts to isolate my rivals from their allies. I remarried after my first wife was killed during the Yellow Turban Rebellion. I put my oldest son in command of his first army, then sent him off to patrol the cow pastures. Hey, food supplies are crucial. Then, uh, I learned that my "hot-headed" general took an arrow to the eye, pulled out the arrow with his eye still stuck to it, swore an oath to his mother and father, and then, unwilling to lose any part of himself, swallowed his eyeball. But it's fine. He gained the Scary trait which makes enemies just turn around and run away from him. So, that's been my week. Romance of the Three Kingdoms. With an eyeball appetizer.

My Friend Pedro is out today

by: Nicholas -

My Friend Pedro, the shooter in which a sentient banana tells you to kill bad guys, is out today on PC and Switch. 

I've already had some time with the game, and can tell you that it has been worth the wait ever since it dropped onto the marketing radar last year. 

The launch trailer doesn't show off any gameplay, but rather a unique animation that still manages the funny and ultraviolent tone of the game. 

Look out for our review.

Total War: Three Kingdoms "Reign of Blood" DLC is Mortal Kombat as heck

by: Randy -

War is bloody hell. But if you're playing the base Total War: Three Kingdoms game, that isn't 100 percent apparent. I personally feel like the thousands of bodies littering the battlefield face down is gory enough. But for those of us that want to leave a little less to the imagination—and hey, just to add some more Hollywood-level fun (?) to the whole equation—Three Kingdom's Reign of Blood DLC introduces arterial sprays, amputations, and even decapitations. That'll be $2.99, please.

Creative Assembly has been doing this for nearly a decade now. At least since Total War: Shogun 2 in 2011. It releases a vanilla Total War game that's rated T for Teen. Then it releases a blood and gore DLC that pushes the game's rating up to an M for Mature. Hence the age gate button here on the site to see all the grim details. Not everyone can legally purchase M-rated games, so this makes perfect business sense. Now, whether Creative Assembly is asking you to pay extra for "cut content" that should've been included in the original game, or if it's something they worked on post-launch? That's a can of worms I'm not going to open. I'm not a developer, nor am I into rampant speculation. But this post pinned on Total War's official YouTube channel does make it appear that there's at least additional work being done, post-launch, to justify a $3 price tag:

Reign of Blood will be released on 27th June and will cost £1.99/$2.99/€2.99. We were hoping to release it this week, but we found some minor bugs a few days ago and we want to make sure the pack is as polished as possible before we release it.

I'll admit I was surprised to see this DLC. I hadn't played a Total War game since Medieval II, 13 years ago. There may have been mods for this kind of thing in the early 2000s that I'd missed, sure. But Creative Assembly started making these blood and gore releases more official after Napoleon: Total War in 2010. If you're ready to see just how vile war can get, then this is the DLC for you. The idea is growing on me. Especially with how up close and personal your one-on-one generals' duels get.

Total War: Three Kingdoms – Reign of Blood DLC is still scheduled for June 27, provided the bug fixes don't get away from them.


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Detail emerging on Sniper Elite VR

by: Rob -

Maybe it's just me, but I think this has the potential to be really good. Sniper Elite games tend to be really good, and while the crew at Rebellion could easily have just ported that into VR, the video below really shows the lengths they are going to make Sniper Elite VR a true first rate VR experience. All the while working hard to maintain the key elements from the franchise like bullet cam and all the trappings and intensity of the carefully placed shots of sniper combat. I love the way they aren't forgetting about the PSVR Aim Controller too. I've played vr shooters where everything feels great with the handguns but gets very loosey goosey as soon as you try and manipulate a two handed weapon and incorporating the aim controller could actually push PSVR above the bigger badder headsets in my mind for a true sniping experience.

New story, new mission, new experience, new medium: I'm very happy for what I'm seeing here for Sniper Elite VR and only wish we had a release date rather than "coming soon." But if we're honest and realize the effort they are putting in to making this a standalone success then that soon is certainly going to be farther away than I'd like. However, it is important to bear in mind that this is way more detail than we had last time we were talking about Sniper Elite VR back in March when it was but a whisper. Here's to hoping good things come to those who wait...


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April Fool's joke becomes a real game, Conan Chop Chop coming in September

by: Rob -

It started as a gag, but went over well. New we'll actually get a chance to play it in about 6 weeks. Conan Chop Chop releases September 3rd where Conan and his barbarian friends will get a chance to hack and slack their way through Hyboria with a release on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.


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Look at the lovingly crafted environments of Remnant before you blow them up

by: Randy -

Now this is some science-fantasy I can get down with. Remnant: From the Ashes is a third-person survival action shooter. When they say "survival," the developers mostly sound like they mean the "scavenge resources to build better guns and armor." They don't necessarily mean there's hunger, thirst, sleep, and temperature considerations for your character.

In Remnant, it's you and up to two other players in some (presumably) drop-in/drop-out co-op. The stages are distinct. There's a consistent aesthetic to all of it, sure, but the half-drowned nature-reclaimed area is distinct from the woody elvish area, which is distinct from the dusty sandpunk level (see below). They're all very good.

One other thing I appreciate in these videos? They're exemplary of patient world building and slow-burn revelation. It's not our three co-op heroes running in guns blazing. It's not cracking jokes and throwing grenades. It's just a moody soundtrack with a patiently orchestrated set of locations. The explorer in me is intrigued. Those of you that need large explosions and bullets, bullets, bullets in order to pay attention? This trailer may not be for you. 

In Remnant, the players open portals to other realms and—don't worry—get to shoot a lot of the inhabitants they find there. The developer is called Gunfire Games after all. It's just neat to see how the world works when the players aren't around to blow it up. Don't misunderstand: I want to go ahead and shoot enemies and blow stuff up, too. I just like how I'm given two minutes in order to enjoy it first.

Remnant: From the Ashes launches August 20 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Xbox Live is down across platforms

by: Dan -

Looks like Xbox Live is down across platforms per the official Xbox Support Twitter feed.  Started around 4:00 PM EST and is since continuing, with users getting error code 0x87DD0006 when attempting to sign into our services across devices:

This will impacts Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows 10 games and Xbox on devices (such as phones and tablets).  The last update was that the issue appears to have been identified, but yet to be rectified.  Keep an eye on the Twitter feed or visit the Xbox Live Status page for updates.