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Horizon Zero Dawn free on Playstation for a limited time

by: Rob -

Play at Home 2021 is upon us, and with it brought 9 free games for the Playstation starting last month. Since March 25th the lineup in the pic below has been available for free download on the Playstation Store. That offer ends this week, April 22nd being your last day to nab them so act fast if you haven't already. 

Starting tonight however, one of the all-time great games of the PS4, Horizon Zero Dawn, also joins the lineup. The HZD pick-up is on offer from now until May 14th. It is a triumph of a game and a must-play for anyone with Sony hardware. This is the Complete Edition which includes base game and DLC, but the offer doesn't go live for a little over an hour from when I'm posting this. 

Here's the direct link to the HZD page on the Playstation Store: https://store.playstation.com/en-us/product/UP9000-CUSA10237_00-HRZCE00000000000 

And here's a link to the rest of the Play at Home 2021 lineup: https://store.playstation.com/en-us/category/9779f12f-50c8-4c07-8d20-47e21293b6c6 

I can't stop thinking about the Russian dieselpunk-looking HighFleet

by: Randy -

Two friends living in a very cold, very northern, very Russian town got together and started making a game called HighFleet. Back in 2016 it caught the attention of the Moscow DevGamm conference. They slapped a Best Indie Game of the show sticker right on the box. And then for years there was seemingly nothing. Sometime between then and now, however, publisher MicroProse picked up HighFleet. That five-year-old DevGamm conference could've very well been the last we ever heard of this awesome-looking roguelike. But thank you, back-from-the-dead MicroProse, for putting it back on the radar.

HighFleet looks like a low-atmosphere game of arcade Asteroids, maybe sprinkling in a little of the Commodore-64's ol' Jupiter Lander. Big, bright, explosions and lots of smoke perk things up between the  exploration, logistics, and diplomacy. Also, you just might be the answer to a world-saving prophecy? If I get to do all this in bulky, shapeless missile barges, too, all the better. 

HighFleet hits PC sometime in Q2 2021. (Hey, we're in Q2 now, hooray!) But as they say in Russian, "Ne goni loshadyei." Don't rush the horses.

Bad Dream: Coma brings a big pile of hand-drawn creepiness to Xbox One

by: Eric -

Bad Dreams: Coma, possibly the darkest point-and-click adventure game I've ever heard of, is releasing this week on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. Developed by Polish indie studio Desert Fox, Bad Dreams: Coma released a while back on PC and Switch to a fair amount of critical acclaim. There is still a huge audience out there for point-and-click adventure games, and I would assume that a certain subset of that audience will gravitate towards the dead-bird-and-dismembered-corpse imagery on display in this one. Take a look at the trailer to see if this one might be for you (you know who you are):

Yup, that's looking pretty grim. I kind of love the art style combined with the super-gross imagery. According to a recent press release, "players can count on, among others, a minimalistic graphics style and an original soundtrack. The reality of nightmares is deepened by the surreal, very disturbing atmosphere. Choices play a key role in the game, because in a Desert Fox game even the smallest decision can have a direct impact on the development of the story." 

Even more interesting is this list of fun features, which cracked me up when I saw it:

  • darkness, sadness and unease;
  • the surreal reality of nightmares;
  • non-linear story with numerous choices;
  • amazing secrets to discover;
  • original soundtrack.

Bad Dream: Coma is scheduled for release on Xbox Series X|S for April 20th, 2021. The game is also available now on Steam and Nintendo Switch.

Pull calves out of cows and bike home drunk in...Farmer's Life – Farming Simulator?

by: Randy -

Yes, it's called Farmer's Life – Farming Simulator. I know there have been a lot of incredibly boring titles coming out of the West with those exact words, in various configurations, in the title. But this an Eastern European famer's life, which means, in my slightly unfair estimation, that it will be kind of janky but in really, really entertaining ways.

So, it opens with you chopping wood. Great. Nothing crazy. I do it all the time in Skyrim. I don't get to do it in a wife beater and an ushanka hat, though. And listen to that slightly menacing soundtrack. Is this a horror movie in the making? I bet it is, just not in the way we're all thinking. 

But please don't leave yet because you see that cow you're milking? We're only about 20 seconds into this trailer before you're pulling a calf all the way out of that slightly spread-eagled momma cow. Then, in a slightly Edgar Allen Poe-ish scene, you're told to "mind the seasons" as you spread seeds in the field, even though you've got about four-and-twenty black birds cawing and eating up all your hard work.

Then, as a reward for your labors, you're catching a beer bottle over the head at the local pub. I mean, this game can't be serious! But I'm so happy that it is, indeed, serious! How do you wrap up an amazing trailer like this? By trying to ride your bicycle back home, bottle of vodka still in hand, wiping out in the ditch that runs alongside the lovely country lane, and belching into the credits. Man, Farmer's Life – Farming Simulator keeps getting better every time I watch this trailer. I don't know what y'all are doing, but I'm getting my Soviet Bloc on with this one.

Farmer's Life – Farming Simulator, the most unassuming game title ever for how low-key wild this game gets, has "Wishlist now - discount at launch" for a release date because Steam let's you put whatever you want there, apparently.


So, what are we playing?

by: Randy -
Mass Effect Legendary Edition has gone gold, which means BioWare can "celebrate briefly" before one of the internet's most loving and unforgiving audiences gets a hold of the remaster. IndieWire looks at the arcade machines that will take your game room back to the '90s. And this is a monkey playing "MindPong" with Elon Musk's Neuralink microchip implanted in its brain.
So, what are we playing?
Eric Hauter
With my current review complete, and still being pretty laid up, I decided to spend the last weekend dipping back into Star Trek Online. I spent at least 100 hours playing STO when it first released, but that was years ago, and I've lost the majority of my memories of my time with the game. 

I ended up putting about 10 hours into Star Trek Online over the weekend before I remembered why I quit in the first place. Playing on my PS5, I really enjoyed heading into the game with an original series captain and crew. But in the end, the missions are too repetitive, and the game is too janky on consoles for me to really get hooked. It was a fun weekend diversion, but I'm already ready to move on to something new.
Elliot Hilderbrand
I sound like a broken record, but I am still checking in on my Cozy Grove every few days, it doesn’t take a lot of work, but I am only playing when I feel like I want to kill some time, usually while I’m watching a movie with my wife.

My next game coming up for review is Star Wars: Republic Commando. I played the original one way back when I was a senior in high school (do you feel old or young when I say that?) I’ve been surprised by how much I didn’t remember from playing it back then. The funniest parts are all the extras that are included. Videos from developers made back in 2005, they’re still included in this version, and they look like they were filmed in 2005, no remaster going on there.
Randy Kalista
Trekking through a black-and-white Borderlands. Approaching strangers ready to shake hands or take everything from you. Cooking meager rations over cold campfires. Staring directly into the storm. I have no idea where Ashwalkers will take me. But there are 34 possible endings, provided I manage my party, food, and equipment well enough to even get there. We'll see how engaging the relentless grayscale is. My phone does the same thing when it goes into nighttime mode. Turning the internet black and white is supposed to make everything much less interesting to look at. And it works. I'm usually asleep within minutes. Here's hoping Ashwalkers doesn't trigger that now-Pavlovian response in me.
John Yan
So I just can't stop playing the retro arcade I built and now that it's running off a PC. I'm going to play some classic fighters like Killer Instinct as well as some modern day ones like Street Fighter V. With the upgrade, I am using my Samsung Odyssey+ VR headset in a more open space since the retro arcade PC has enough power to run that and I'll be doing some exercises with BOXVR and maybe some Skyrim VR to boot.

Games N Moorer rushes them bosses in Godstrike

by: Eric -

Games N Moorer's Joseph Moorer took some time out this week to check out Godstrike, which he refers to as a "speedrunning boss rush" game. In Godstrike, players take on a series of bullet hell-style bosses, but they are on a timer. Even worse, every time they get hit, the timer loses a few seconds.

With some buttery smooth dual-stick controls, players lose and gain time as they play, even using time as a currency to buy new abilities. Joseph prepped before the stream to familiarize himself with the first boss. "I died a lot of times," he says, heading into the first fight, before proceeding to (barely) beat the first boss on his first try. Beating a boss fills your time meter some, and grants new powers. This all makes for some very clever gaming mechanics, and one extremely difficult-looking game that is a ton of fun to watch. 

Godstrike is now available on Nintendo Switch and Windows PC for $14.99.

King's Bounty II revives classic franchise for modern audiences

by: Eric -

I took a look at the trailer for King's Bounty II, and immediately wondered why I was unfamiliar with the original King's Bounty. The trailer looks like something that I would absolutely fall in love with, which had me thinking that I could go and snag the original game so I could catch up with it by the time the sequel releases late this summer. Turns out that, nope, it's not going to happen.

King's Bounty originally released on PCs in 1991, with an eventual port to Sega Genesis. The game is widely considered to be the template for the Might and Magic series. The franchise quickly went dormant, with a few spiritual sequels arriving in the late 2000s. But King's Bounty is the first official sequel since the original '91 game.

A team at 1C Entertainment has been working on the game for several years, and believes that they have something here that will stand out in the crowded RPG marketplace. "King's Bounty II is a genre in and of itself and offers a very unique and intriguing combination of RPG elements, turn-based strategy and fantasy elements which, when combined, really stand out," says Denis Maltzev, Lead Producer.

King's Bounty offers a unique, (fairly) new open world for players to explore, with three main characters to choose from. It isn't often we see an open world game with turn-based strategy combat, so this is one that I'm going to be keeping an eye on. I'm looking forward to seeing an actual gameplay trailer, so we can start to get a feel for what the combat is going to look like.

King's Bounty II is scheduled to launch on August 24th, 2021 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

Listen to gaming plugged in or audio on the go with the SXFI Air Gamer

by: John -

We reviewed their last headphones the Creative SFXI Gamer and found it to be a solid gaming headset. How does Creative follow up? How about going wireless when using it with a mobile device.

The Creative SFXI Air Gamer is what they are referring to as a hybrid set of headphones. It works wired when used for gaming to deliver top notch audio with features such as Battle Mode to enhance various sounds in games and the CommanderMic for top notch voice quality.

Super X-FI support delivers audio that can make you feel like you're in a concert hall or movie theater with just a set of headphones.

Unplug the SFXI Air Gamer and pair it with your mobile device to listen to music or movies on the go via Bluetooth 5.0. Control it all with touch controls on the outside of one of the ear cup.

Of course, there's RGB with an RGB ring on each side that you can adjust with an app.

Retailing for $149.99, you can go to Creative's website to order yours right now.

Creatives launches a new DAC with the Sound Blaster GC7

by: John -

Creative makes some good DACs and their latest is looking at offering up some nice features for streamers. The Sound Blaster GC7 is a gaming DAC that gives you many controls at your fingertips.

The tilted control deck gives you two nice easily accessible knobs for voice and volume control, four programmable buttons, and quick toggling of other sound aspects.

Super X-FI support is also built in and offers up awesome expansive audio that makes it sound like you're listening to large speakers when paired with headphones. There's also Battle Mode, which can help emphasis gun shots and foot steps as well as make them more easily discernible from what direction they are coming from.

The Sound Blaster GC7 is available now for a price of $169.99 and you can order from Creative themselves.

The Forgotten City mod is becoming a fully fleshed out game

by: Elliot -

The Forgotten City is a mod available on PC for Skyrim that has over three million downloads. It was also the first mod to win a national Writers' Guild award. In the mod you followed a non linear path around an underground city to interrogate people and solve a crime. A cinematic trailer for the new The Forgotten City has been released. This stand alone title coming to every console; Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X /S, Xbox One, and PC will attempt to bottle the mod's success into it’s own time hopping mystery.

“Trapped in a secret underground city in the time of the Roman Empire, twenty-three lost souls cling to life. In this precarious utopia, if one person breaks the mysterious Golden Rule, everyone dies. As a time-traveler drawn two thousand years into the past, you’ll relive their final moments in an endless loop, exploring and interrogating, and changing the course of the day with each secret you uncover.”

Some of the features include:

  • Explore an authentic, open-world ancient Roman city brought to life with Unreal Engine.
  • Become entwined in the lives of richly detailed, deeply interactive characters.
  • Grapple with moral dilemmas which have life-and-death consequences.
  • Investigate a gripping, non-linear mystery with multiple endings.
  • Role-play as whoever you want, choosing your own gender, origin and backstory.
  • Solve problems your own way, with reason, charm, bribery, stealth, intimidation, or by cleverly exploiting the time-loop.