This Week at Bungie: Iron Banana is back

by: Rob - - 0 Comments

In my experience, the Warmind DLC has thus far been a success for Destiny 2 if only because it has my clan playing again. At least for a while. We just dipped back into the raid last night and had a great time. On top of that, Iron Banana (Banner really but I prefer to call it by the fruit) is back on with 6v6 control action all week. It once again proves that the 4v4 that the rest of Destiny 2's PvP is shoehorned into is really only worth the face palm memes that best describe it. The game feels soooo much better played 6v6 and the fact that Iron Banana pulls it off flawlessly proves there was no technical reason to move to 4v4 in the first place. 

The details for Iron Banana is all captured in Bungie's This Week at Bungie (TWaB) including the return of the popular Bannerfall map, some details about the theory behind Escalation Protocol (when we actually level up our light it is meant to be a three man activity), and some talk about the planned armor changes for next month (further proof Bungie still hates Hunters: the changes for that class so situational they are borderline useless).

It's another step in the right direction for the much maligned sequel. We still have a ways to go but its nice to feel that we are on that road. And raiding with the clan again this weekend was a blast. 

Step out of Hope County to where there is no hope in Far Cry 5's first DLC

by: Rob - - 0 Comments

In Hours of Darkness, the first DLC for Far Cry 5, the scene moves from present day Hope County, Montana back in time to explore the backstory of NPC Wendell "Red" Redler's time in Vietnam. Surviving a helicopter crash, Red has to track down his imprisoned squad mates. After competing the primary storyline in the DLC, two new game modes will be unlocked. Survivor Mode gives players a greater challenge by only allowing for a limited loadout. While Action Movie Mode highlights the over-the-top action with a more generous one.

With the DLC about a week form release now, the Vietnam themed assets are already available for all players in Far Cry Arcade. All future DLC will follow this course as well, opening up the assets for everybody via Far Cry Arcade to add to existing maps and creations or to start new maps themed around the updates themselves.

Another freebie is the music to the expansion, which can be found here: Composed by Wade MacNeil and Andrew Gordon Macpherson and featuring Kim Uyen Le, the music is a mix of traditional Vietnamese instruments with psychedelic 60's sounds.

Hours of Darkness releases June 5th across all platforms. It can be purchased as a standalone DLC for $11.99 or as part of the Season Pass for $29.99. That Season Pass contains all three planned DLCs, this one and Lost on Mars which is scheduled for a July release and Dead Living Zombies in August. They are also included in the Far Cry 5 Gold Edition, which is the base game plus the Season Pass. 

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Dauntless suffers first-week server blues

by: Eric - - 0 Comments

The team at Phoenix Labs have apparently not gone home from work since the game entered open beta on Thursday, May 24. They have opted instead to say at the office, plugging away at the myriad of issues and problems that the game has faced since release, deploying fixes and adding servers willy-nilly in an attempt to keep up with the unanticipated waves of players attempting to get into the game.

According to the game’s official Reddit, “We anticipated 75,000 concurrent Slayers hitting our servers at launch. This number was based on player activity during the Closed Beta and on our previous experience with game launches. 75,000 players would have put our game in the top three of actively played Steam games (for comparison). A lofty goal, but we didn’t want to run out of servers for our players. However, an error in our system prevented our online service from working correctly.”

Looking at the player comments, the “error in the system” might have been due to the hoard of slayers banging on the door to get in, with one player noting that he was “currently 144,000th in the queue”. For their part, the Phoenix team has repeatedly stated that "our ultimate goal is zero-queue, global matchmaking, and we will be working tirelessly to deliver on that.” They have been extremely open and transparent with the community, offering updates regularly, even in the middle of the night. Often, the update deploys come during the middle of hunts, knocking players out of the game with little warning. For the most part, players seem to be responding with cooperation and encouragement (with the occasional troll thrown in there for good measure, it IS Reddit after all). It is clear that the Phoenix team is locked in their office, running on coffee and good wishes as they work through the nights in shifts in an attempt to stabilize both the queueing system and the global matchmaking system.

For my part, my attempts to log in to the game on the first couple of days were met with hard crashes during the opening cut scene, causing my computer to completely shut down (first time that has ever happened!). I decided to give the team some time before trying again, and last night I was able to log right in, completing the tutorial and the first hunt with relatively few problems. The load times seemed a bit long, but hey, its only been three days. During the hunts, the game performed smoothly, right in line with what I saw during the closed beta.

As I expected, there is a huge amount of interest in this game, making the opening day server stress something akin to trying to pump the Mississippi River through a garden hose. I am quite sure that the devs will continue to stabilize things and get the problems all smoothed out within the next week or two.

If you are a Dauntless fan, raise a chicken wing towards Phoenix Labs’ dev team at the BBQ this afternoon. They are not likely to get any chicken wings themselves, as they add matchmaking servers and deploy codez.

Ultra-modern F1 2018 demos anachronistic track

by: Dave - - 0 Comments

I have to hand it to Codemasters - they really do understand the culture surrounding the venerable Formula 1 racing series. A more disinterested developer probably would not have chosen the incredibly boring Monaco Grand Prix to showcase this year's F1 2018, especially for the first promotional video of this cycle.

The thing about Monaco is that despite being the slowest track of the season, which also happens to be the race that will have the fewest passes for position of any other races this year (it's called an "elephant walk" for a reason), it is steeped in tradition. As a temporary circuit located in a town with less square footage than a typical Ikea store, one would think it would have been replaced by a racier track by now. 

It helps that many of the wealthier drivers actually maintain a residence there, but the real stickiness comes from the fact that the first Formula 1 race held there was in 1929 - that's some serious tradition at work! The roads are tight and cramped, and there is a single turn that is so tight that the race engineers have to modify their entries to allow enough steering lock to get those relatively tiny cars to even make the turn. As far as racing goes on such a constricted track, well, it really.... doesn't.

Qualifying, for the most part, is the race at Monaco, but despite that it is still one of my favorite races of the year.

It is all about the tradition. If someone were to propose such a race in this day and age, they would be laughed out of town on a rail. Conversely, if someone were to propose taking this race off of the schedule in favor of yet another generic, boring Hermann Tilke designed track, their departure from town would be far more violent.

It is simultaneously the best and worst race of the year. It is also very commonly scheduled on the same weekend as two other big races: the Indy 500 and the 600 mile Nascar race in Charlotte. NC. It's the most important day of the year when it comes to having a good TV and a lot of time to use it.

Codemasters also passed along some comments from the driver:

Speaking about F1 2018, Charles said, “I love playing the F1 game. As soon as I get out of the car, I miss racing. So, when I am back home, I play for fun. This is the closest I can get to driving a Formula 1® car outside of the track, so it is always very enjoyable to play.”

On the recreation of Monaco in F1 2018 Charles added, “First of all, I was amazed at how realistic the scenery was. Being born in Monaco, I know the circuit very well. Well done for visualizing the track so nicely in the game. My favorite part is the last sector because there is a great rhythm to the drive there.”

Sit back and enjoy the video, at least to the degree you can with that hideous halo they've added to the cars this year.

So, what are you playing?

by: Randy - - 0 Comments

Microsoft is making its first game controller designed for people with disabilities. Some developers feel that Green Man Gaming's "average cost per hour" statistics will only lead to worse games. And this Democrat and Republican battled it out in Mario Kart on a rooftop at Comic-Con.

So, what are you playing?

Kinsey Danzis
I've made a financial mistake, and that financial mistake is called "purchasing Razer Nommo Chroma speakers." What I lost in my bank account, though, I gained in sound—and honestly, anything was better than the $25-ish speakers I had before. Add in a new desk that I got for free (my fiancee's cousin is moving, and generously handed off her old desk to me) and my rig is finally looking decent. I think this might mean that it's time for me to revisit my old haunts in World of Warcraft. Because after all, my dad practically weaned me on WoW, and it'll always have a special place in my heart. Or finally start up Overwatch on PC, which I've been delaying because I don't want to abandon my stars on Overwatch for Xbox One. I've missed a lot during my Overwatch hiatus; even though I've kept up with the news, it might be cool to play the changes for myself.

Dave Gamble
On my way out to Vegas, so this week is video poker and penny slots, or what I call “renting an air-conditioned chair.”

Eric Hauter
I borrowed God of War from a buddy at work, so I thought that I might take a few hours and check that out. I have never really locked in on the series, but from everything I've heard and read, this new game is something special.

I'm also toying around with Wrongworld, a fun survival title that focuses on a google-eyed ewok creature, trying to make his way in the world by bashing everything in with his face.

Charles Husemann
Thanks to the magic of the Xbox Game Pass I will be checking out State of Decay 2. I didn't play the first game but I'm interested to see if I can just hop into the second one. I'm going in blind so I'm hoping this is a good experience.

I hit my second prestige in Call of Duty: WWII last week and I'm 1/3rd of the way to my third one. I finally figured out that I should use Prestige token on a good weapon rather than something lame. This has lead to the unlocking of the BAR rifle which has helped speed up my path to my third prestige.

Randy Kalista
Had a great time with Detroit: Become Human. It takes place atop a city’s ruins and its cybernetic integrations, so I didn’t get the cyberpunk fatigue I usually get from Blade Runner-styled environments. Plus the game isn’t afraid to slow down and interpolate what Motown—or at least a tribute to the Motor City—could sound like 20 years from today.

I’m now heading into an old favorite: Elite Dangerous. But this time I’m equipped with some newfangled software called VRidge. It streams (a few) Steam games to my phone and, with a phone VR headset, lets me use my phone as a full-fledged VR device. If this works, it could be nuts.

Rob Larkin
I’ve been so busy at work I’ve hardly had any time for games. All work and no play makes Rob a dull boy. I have snuck some Destiny 2 in because the Warmind DLC has gotten a good number of my old clan back involved. I don’t think a raid is entirely out of the question this weekend.

I also have Uncharted 4 downloaded onto the hard drive and staring back at me so it’s high time I finally closed out that series. And I need to make some time for VR. But the reality is I’m trying to do some work on the side to help out my brother-in-law with a programming solution to an issue he’s facing and that must take priority.

Nicholas Leon
Now that I'm on the job search, I don't know how much time I will have for new game experiences. However, I do think that I'll have more time to devote to finally finishing Persona 5, maybe even concluding the second and third playthroughs of NieR: Automata. Granted, these are projections of what I think my summer will look like. There are no guarantees, there are no promises.

Kevin O’Connell
Could be one of the least diverse gameplaying weeks for me since coming to GN. I am slowly working on a review for a child-friendly game called Trailblazers. I have found very little wrong with the gameplay save that it is slated for five- and six-year-olds...or someone who's used a massive amount of drugs.

For Titan Quest I can confirm that The Overlord—a small turtle (though 4x bigger for consoles) that leads to a secret area filled with hilarious game-creator enemies—has been officially found in the console version! I had to kill Hades about 12 to 15 times before he dropped it, but it does 100% exist.

Codemasters drops a video explaining all four modes in ONRUSH

by: Eric - - 0 Comments

After a very successful and entertaining beta last weekend, Codemasters is sharing more information on the four different race modes in ONRUSH. As I stated last week, ONRUSH is not a race in the traditional sense. There is no finish line, and if you far too far behind, the game rubber-bands you right back into the heat of the action. Your goals in ONRUSH are different, and though the video makes things clear enough, here is a breakdown:

Countdown – Countdown is a race through the gates against an ever-ticking clock. Hitting the gates will add precious seconds to your team’s time, keeping you in the game.

Lockdown – Lockdown is a race to fight for control of a moving zone in a 100mph King of the Hill free for all. Get in the zone and fight for survival.

Switch – Survive as long as you can hunting down your opponents. You’ll get increasingly stronger vehicles each time you’re knocked out, but so will they. Be strategic and work with your team to win.

Overdrive – Overdrive mode is a pure ‘boost to win’ onslaught until the very end. Get boost any way you can as quickly as possible and burn it up even quicker.


Only Countdown and Overdrive modes were available in the beta, so I'm very anxious to try the other modes. 

ONRUSH has a couple of different packages to preorder in anticipation of the June 5 release. The Onrush Day One Edition comes with the unique 'Vortex' buggy design, with the Onrush Deluxe Edition including eight exclusive additional vehicle designs with gold and black liveries, extra Crashtag artwork and Track Tombstones.

Onrush will launch on PS4 and Xbox One on June 5, 2018.

Zombies and bad Russian Accents in the new World War Z trailer

by: Eric - - 0 Comments

I don't have a lot of details to report here on the new World War Z trailer. YouTube sent me an alert (their brain-bots correctly guessed that I would find the video interesting). After watching the trailer, I thought that I might share with the group.

I was unaware of this game's existence before seeing this trailer. I enjoyed the original novel, and thought that the film was reasonably entertaining for a PG-13 zombie flick. I do know that they are working on a sequel, so perhaps this game is a tie-in with that. 

I can say that it looks like some of the game takes place in Russia, though if it falls in line with the rest of the franchise it will be more of a globe trotting affair. Which is probably for the best, considering those accents. Woof.

7 things you might not know about Smoke and Sacrifice

by: Sean Colleli - - 0 Comments

I apologize for that rather clickbaity title, but it's the name of the latest trailer for Curve Digital's upcoming RPG Smoke and Sacrifice. The game stars a young adventurer named Sachi, who explores a shadowy world presented from an isometric perspective. The steampunk-inspired action RPG also has some strange and unique characteristics. For example, you can collect fireflies that reside in lantern plants, and the fireflies will use their light to protect you on your quest into the shadows. You can also milk certain enemies mid-battle to obtain HP-restoring milk, assuming that you've stunned the monster first. This may recall a fairly disturbing scene from the last Star Wars movie, but think of it more like fighting very angry, spiky cows.

Check out the video for more whimsical aspects of this game, which comes to Steam and Switch on May 31st.

Maingear produces first custom PC with a Nintendo Switch Dock

by: Sean Colleli - - 0 Comments

Maingear are mostly known for high end gaming PCs and one-off custom models that demonstrate potential future products. Their latest build, the F131 1ofOne, is a high-octane gaming rig with an integrated Nintendo Switch dock. This lets you interface a Switch directly into a capture card, for seamless streaming and gameplay recording.

The F131 also includes an APEX SPECTRUM software controllable RGB liquid cooling system, that changes color dynamically based on gameplay and CPU load levels. Naturally the F131 and its accompanying Switch are decked out in a very Mario-esque automotive paint job. The press release doesn't include a potential price point--this is a custom proof of concept build made for Intel's Extreme Rig Challenge after all, after all--but if you want a closer look at the specs, check the full release after the break.

Check out almost one hour of Vampyr before release

by: Kevin - - 0 Comments

A game I have followed since last September, Vampyr, is finally getting a release date of June 5th. To help players get a full idea of how the game plays, DONTNOD has taken 55 minutes of gameplay from last week's stream. In it you will see developers answer questions straight from gamers.

This gameplay, taken from around six hours into the story, shows off several of the deep systems that make up Vampyr’s citizen and district ecosystems. Players are free to kill (or spare) any and all of London’s citizens, using their blood to evolve deadly new powers.

Check it out below and a second video stream on June 4th.


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