Sony holds $5 Flash Sale; no one can buy anything

by: Eric - - 0 Comments

Update (Saturday, 9:41 AM):

The West Coast apparently woke up and is working to repair the PlayStation Store.

While connectivity is still spotty, I was able to log into the sale for long enough to catch sight of a few more pretty great deals:

  • The Order: 1886 ($4.99)
  • Octodad ($2.99)
  • Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 ($4.54)
  • Oxenfree Bundle: Game + Theme + Avatars ($4.99)
  • Knack ($4.99)
  • Thief ($2.99)

I'm gonna snag Oxenfree. That's a great deal.

Also included are all of Sony's PlayLink Games, including SuperMassive's Hidden Agenda. That one is worth five bucks, for sure.

Original Story:

If you pay attention to the PlayStation Store, you can usually spot a Flash Sale coming before they drop it. If the weekly deals only hold a couple of indies that no one wants and add-on packs for free-to-play games, you can be sure that a Flash Sale is heading your way that weekend.

This weekend, Sony is holding a $5 Flash Sale, with everything listed costing $5 or less. This would be great if the sale weren't completely broken. Since Friday night, I've tried to browse the sale from my PS4, from the Playstation App on my phone, and from my PC. Every time I click on any link from the $5 Flash Sale, I am greeted with a lovely banner. Under this banner is a bunch of blank space. Sony does not want us to buy their sweet $5 games. It is as though they were holding a garage sale with a bunch of stuff they don't really want to sell.

I've attempted to reach out to Sony to inform them that their sale is not functioning, but everywhere I look seems to indicate that Sony runs on Pacific Time, so they are all still asleep. Which is nice for them, I suppose.

If they get it up and running, the big advertised deals are:

  • Mirror's Edge Catalyst
  • Need for Speed Rivals
  • Jackbox Party Pack 3 (great deal!)
  • Transister

I'd love to tell you what else is on sale, but for now, Sony is keeping its secrets.

So, what are you playing?

by: Randy - - 0 Comments

[illustration by Xavier Henry]

The gamer that made a swatting call on a random address now faces involuntary manslaughter charges. "I had physical things thrown at me as a result," says Seamus Blackley, talking about his design of the dinner plate-sized Duke controller for the original Xbox; The Duke is being re-released at the end of March. And the ESA, the video game publishers' lobbying group that runs the annual E3 convention, condemned President Trump's disparaging remarks toward Haiti and African countries.

So, what are you playing?

Russell Archey, Staff Writer, @NeoScyther
I'll be going back and forth between an upcoming review and clearing out my backlog. For the former I'm checking out The Escapists 2 on the Switch. I didn't play the original, but after going through the tutorial for this one, I'm kind of worried. Not that the game won't be good—I am enjoying it—but that I'm usually not that good at games that require me to not be noticed. It's probably why I've never gotten anywhere in a Splinter Cell game. As for my backlog I started up Batman: Arkham Asylum prior to Christmas, and while I haven't played it in a couple of weeks, I've actually made more progress than the first time I played it, so I'm slowly making my way through it.

Kinsey Danzis, Staff Writer,
I'm putting off the final fight with Calamity Ganon in Breath of the Wild for as long as possible. And just so you know, I typed Clamity Ganon and am subsequently imagining the beast at Hyrule Castle as a giant flying clam. I just downloaded the Expansion Pass and immediately went for the Ancient Bridle and Saddle, and am currently cavorting around Hyrule Fields trying to find hidden chests. It's definitely freeing not to be afraid of Guardians or Lynels anymore; the fully upgraded Champion's Tunic is a bit OP, but not enough to make the game feel broken, which is great for someone like me who plays mainly for the story and the cool loot.

Eric Hauter, Staff Writer,
I'm continuing my playthrough of the first season of Batman: The Telltale Series. Telltale continues to surprise me with their narrative choices, throwing certain Batman traditions to the wind, while still hitting major story points. Playing this game is like looking at the Batman universe through a slightly warped glass, and I'm loving it.

I completed my playthrough of the story missions in Star Trek Bridge Crew with my sons last weekend, and I think we might dip back in this week to try to wrap up some trophies and take another run at the Kobayashi Maru challange. We have managed to get at least 100 folks off of the doomed ship, and we should be able to pull together a run that gets us 120 and the "No-Win Scenario" trophy.

In the evenings, I've been playing the PSVR port of Vive's early hit Out of Ammo, in anticipation of my review on the January 30 release date. Between that and Bridge Crew, my mind is pretty locked up in military strategy.

Charles Husemann, Editor-in-Chief, @chusemann
Darkest Dungeon is out for the Switch and I'm planning on diving in this weekend. I logged a lot of ours with the PC version (which I Kickstarted) but the Switch seems like the perfect platform for the game—well, other than for tablets.  

I'm also hoping that I get in the closed beta for Sprint Vector this weekend as I've been looking forward to the game since it was first announced. It looks great and I'm always on the hunt for another VR game that gets my blood pumping.

Outside of those, I'll be logging time with the multiplayer portions of Call of Duty: WWII and Battlefront II.

Randy Kalista, Staff Writer,
As an act of self-discipline, needless or otherwise, I've deleted all but one game from my PC and all but one game from my PS4. This is how I'll finally glue myself to one game until completion on either platform. When I'm on the PlayStation, it's Mass Effect: Andromeda. When I'm on the PC, it's Elite Dangerous. Wait wait, play Elite Dangerous "to completion," you say? How, exactly, might one do that in a sandbox sci-fi flight simulator set in a 400-billion-star Milky Way? Well, one doesn't. One doesn't do anything to completion there. Unless you set up an arbitrary goal for yourself. Which I have. It's to reach the center of the galaxy, using any meandering path I choose. Not to mention making a Scrooge McDuck pile of money exploring stars, planets, and their moons along the way. I crossed the 200-hour mark in Elite Dangerous last weekend, taking photographs of mountain passes on rocky planets somewhere between Cepheus Dark Region and Veil West Nebula. But Elite Dangerous is the distraction. Mass Effect: Andromeda is the goal. 2018 is still a year of second chances, for me. And when it comes to games that need a second chance, Andromeda is my obvious choice.

Rob Larkin, Staff Writer, @Rob_GN
There are all sorts of goings on around my home nowadays with renovations happening downstairs. Unfortunately the noise is causing a big disruption in my infant son’s sleep schedule and my wife might take him to Montreal this weekend for some peace and quiet. If that happens, I’m breaking out the PSVR that still sits unopened from Black Friday. I’ve decided to keep both the PSVR and Vive until I play through the small handful of PSVR exclusives on my mind and then maybe eBay it to fund a Vive Pro. So I’m hoping to jump in on the handful of PSVR games I’ve already got, like, Arizona Sunshine, EVE: Valkyrie, Skyrim, and the PS Plus freebies from months past.

Nicholas Leon, Staff Writer,
Ha! I think the real question is: What do you have time to play?

In between what readings I have and finishing my thesis, as well as two birthday parties (ha, is that considered too much information?), I think that the only thing I'll really have time for this weekend is a quick match of Battlefield 1, just to keep from getting rusty. And I really don't think that's too bad.

Kevin O’Connell, Staff Writer,
I am at a standstill with GN gaming for right now, so I am putting some time into the Mass Effect Trilogy. I was going to save my replay for a remastered version of the original, but it seems to be a hope dream rather than a happening. Love the story of ME1, though I am ignoring the less-than-spectacular gunplay right now.

Am planning on a South Park marathon in February (I and II) when my brother visits. But for now, it is still shelved.

Awaiting my new HP computer at the end of this week. I will be working to get everything moved and set up as soon as it arrives. Hope I can get all my old games to work...they are a staple to my video gaming life.

From Other Suns - free weekend at the Oculus store

by: Dave - - 0 Comments

Sometimes you just get lucky. Kind of on a whim, I stopped by the Oculus store ti browse through the multitudinous games I can't/won't buy. Much to my surprise, I found a Free Weekend title that was going to unlock in just 3 minutes. It me all of three seconds to start the download of From Other Suns, even though I knew absolutely nothing about it other than a quick description on the store page.

And that, folks, is how I found myself on the bridge of a starship trying to figure out which part of the other ship nearby I should aim at. You know, to kill him before he could kill us. Space can be that way.

That was the end of the tutorial and I have yet to enter into an actual mission, but the tutorial itself guarantees that I soon will. Early impressions are of a full VR and somewhat shallower Elite: Dangerous but with a lot more motion and some shooting, too. Aesthetically it's pretty barren, though, at least to the extent that I've seen in the admittedly brief period I played with it.

It looks pretty good, so you probably ought to head on over to the Oculus Store to give it a try.

Highly anticipated Switch title Ambition of the Slimes now available for $4.99

by: Eric - - 0 Comments

After topping many “Most Anticipated Games of 2018” lists, Ambition of the Slimes has arrived on Nintendo Switch, and is now available for $4.99.

Just kidding about the lists, of course. But, I must admit that I am intrigued by anything named “Ambition of the Slimes”. Developed by Flyhigh Works, Ambition is a tactical/grid-based RPG, featuring the lowliest of all RPG villians – the slime- as the heroes of the story. Judging by the trailer, different colored slimes have different battle abilities, including the ability “Claim”. With this disgusting sounding ability, slimes thrust themselves into enemies’ mouths, taking control of their bodies for the duration of the battle.

All joking aside, I love the 16-bit look and feel in this trailer, and the music is just what the doctor ordered for a game like this. I love Final Fantasy Tactics and Vandal Hearts and other tactical games of this ilk, so I am 100% buying Ambition of the Slimes.  In fact, it will now become my official second Switch game ever, right after Golf Story.

Come on, folks!  It’s called Ambition of the Slimes! It’s five bucks! This game looks awesome! Get on board!

Is anyone with me?  Anyone? Anyone?

Sega releases a trailer showing off all of the minigames in Yakuza 6

by: Nathan - - 0 Comments

Along with having amazing stories and gameplay, one of the big selling points of the Yakuza series is all of the various mini games and activities you can participate in. Seriously, you can spend hundreds of hours just playing mini games and not even worrying about the story. 

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life will be no different as Sega has released a new trailer showing off all of the various things you can do in the game. 

You can participate in activities like darts, karaoke, batting cages, arcade games, mahjong, a hostess club, deep sea diving and even caring for a child. 

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life releases in North America on March 20th 2018

Your first Switch accessories will be a bunch of DIY punch out cardboard sheets

by: Randy - - 0 Comments

I didn't see this coming. You didn't see this coming. Nobody saw this coming. Introducing Nintendo Labo. A series of actual cardboard punch out sheets that, after a little do-it-yourselfing, turn into bona fide peripherals for your Nintendo Switch. Labo fishing poles. Labo pianos. Labo robot backpacks, or something. I think one of them is just a house. What's that even supposed to do? Who knows! Sign me up.

I've never bought a Nintendo anything. But I have to just give The Big N a standing ovation, one, for the Switch, and two, for always, always, always keeping fans and industry pundits on their toes. I mean, would you have thought of the next line of console peripherals being a bunch of cardboard origami? No. And that's why you don't work at Nintendo. You work at Microsoft, where their most powerful console ever can't hardly snatch a headline to save its life. Or you work at Sony, where their PlayStation VR is selling just fine, thank you very much, but is still thinking inside the box.

Nintendo is thinking so far outside the box that it climbed out, grabbed the box by its nappy little flaps, and started folding it into different shapes. I mean, c'mon. Is this perhaps in response to that old Greenpeace Green Scorecard that gave Nintendo an F in eco friendliness? I doubt it. Besides, you don't sell 10 million Switch consoles within a year without polluting up the environment just a little bit. But it will be nice not clogging your storage bin with yet another plastic video gaming instrument. Is cardboard durability going to be an issue? Absolutely. It's almost insane to think about. But hey. Labo is about to reestablish Nintendo as one of the planet's #1 toy makers. 

I'm kidding. I love the idea. But I don't think 10 million Switch sales will turn into 10 million Labo sales. Not by a long shot. But it's nice to know that Nintendo is the company willing to push the boundaries of video gaming once again. Even if you didn't think of it first.

Nintendo Labo (is it pronounced LAB-oh or LAY-boh?) launches April 20—that's 4/20, huh huh—with kits starting at $69.99. I don't know what to make of all this. Except that it looks fun. Have at it, kiddos.

The digital philosophy of Black Mirror and the USS Callister

by: Eric - - 0 Comments

Spoilers from Black Mirror and the Season Four episode "USS Callister" are rampant in this article.

USS Callister”, the first episode of the fourth season of the Netflix original program Black Mirror, is already being hailed as a classic, though the season is less than a month old. In the episode, Robert Daly (Jesse Plemons) is the neglected but brilliant co-founder of a massively successful immersive VR MMO. VR, in this case, is represented as being more advanced than our current technology, allowing users to “jack in” to the game via a small node placed on their forehead. Unbeknownst to the rest of the game company he works with, Daly maintains his own secret iteration of the game, which he has re-skinned after his favorite Star Trek-like 60s science fiction television show. In this secret environment, which he maintains in his apartment, he keeps digital copies of the personalities of people he works with in real life, which he secretly procured without their knowledge or consent. As the episode progresses, it is revealed that Daly lords over his digital NPC slaves (his co-workers recreated as his starship crew) in a cruel manner, forcing them to perform their assigned roles to his liking or undergo severe physical and psychological torture.

[Read More]

Flight Sim World to fly out of Early Access, sets course for Phase 2

by: Dave - - 0 Comments

Dovetail Games has announced that Flight Sim World (FSW) has finished its Steam Early Access phase and is poised to get busy on Phase 2 development. I picked it up early in the Early Access and found it to be quite capable, and a bargain at the Early Access price of $24.99. Now that Early Access pricing has expired, it will cost you $39.99 which, while not quite the bargain price I paid, is still pretty good in my opinion. For that, you get a collection of seven general aviation planes, running the gamut from the Van's RV-7, a two-seat sport plane, to a six-seat Piper Seneca V.

There has been a lot of angst around this title from the crowd that views DLC as the Devil's business model, as they remain firmly convinced that spending hundreds of hours doing intricate design and coding work should be done as a charity. When you consider that FSW not only includes seven payware quality airplanes but also a very sophisticated mission editor, I can't even begin to understand the grousing.

That having been said, the concentration on general aviation planes to the total exclusion of jet airliners seems to have upset the folks that for whatever reason don't just go get a copy of X-Plane (note: X-Plane goes for a lot more money than FSW. A lot.) if they want that level of complexity. When you consider that FSW also includes a previous Dovetail product, Flight School, it makes a certain kind of sense to start with more approachable airplanes, right?

All that will soon be water under the bridge, though, as Dovetail also released some details regarding what we can expect in Phase 2. While indications are that the next area of focus will be dynamic and live weather, things like commercial airliners, IFR and ATC upgrades, and overall improvements to the FSW world are also on the list.

I remain confident that these things will get done based on the update history Early Accessors have already seen. Just since the time I came on board, Dovetail has added the ability to start all aircraft from a cold and dark state, advanced weather featuring trueSKY technology, lighting and rendering updates, and countless fixes and performance improvements.

The first Phase 2 update is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 1.

Flight Sim World is now available to purchase from Steam for $39.99.

There's no question who the real monsters are in Vampyr

by: Randy - - 0 Comments

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It's about time we got a deeper look at Vampyr. This is a period piece action RPG taking place in London during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. In this video series, Dontnod Entertainment looks at the making of a monster. They examine the psychological and self-aware differences between making your main character a vampire as opposed to, say, a werewolf or a ghoul. In Vampyr, you're a newly minted vampire, sure—but you're a scientist first, coming to terms with your new supernatural, predatory self.

There's also talk of the different vampire factions. There are normies, and brutes, and super deformed vampires hyper-affected by the Spanish Flu interacting with their vampirism. 

I also love how Dontnod's workspaces have the deepest mood-setting lighting setup I've ever seen in a game studio. 

I know everybody's hype for a Life is Strange sequel, myself included. But Vampyr, which is focused on a classic monster that I've never really expressed much interest in, is starting to ping my radar. Besides, fighting your base nature, a la Interview with a Vampire, can always present difficult choices.

Vampyr is coming to PC, PS4, and Xbox One sometime in the first half of 2018.

[Read More]

PDXCON 2018 coming to Stockholm in May

by: Rob - - 0 Comments

Paradox Interactive, the Sweedish studio behind games Crusader Kings or Hearts of Iron and partner behind Cities: Skylines and Pillars of Eternity has announced that tickets for their annual convention PDXCON 2018 will go on sale February 8th for the weekend event in Stockholm. This is the 2nd ever PDXCON and the convention runs May 18th to the 20th providing a "public celebration of their global community of fans and players." From the press release:

Attendees will have exclusive chances to meet the creators of their favorite games, mingle with top content creators within the community, learn what’s in store for future titles, and of course, play Paradox games with their friends to tell new stories within the publisher’s many worlds.

Tickets are available in tiers, each with a set of perks and attractions. All tiers have an Early Bird discount for those purchased in the first month of availability. The basic package, the Baron, is an all-access pass to the convention for Saturday and Sunday, the 19th and 20th, and a goodie bag, with additional access to special multiplayer events and on-site betas. The premium King ticket will is the Baron package along with special Friday the 18th activities at the Paradox Interactive offices, a larger goodie bag, and in-game swag for Crusader Kings II. Then there is the Emperor ticket that includes personal workshops with the Paradox developers, discounts on upcoming titles, meals at the convention, and will allow the purchasers to have their own personally designed characters added to an upcoming Paradox game.
More details available on the PDXCON website, along with sign up information.