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Friday, Nov 17, 2017

  

Overwatch Free Weekend Underway

The promised free weekend for Overwatch is now underway, offering the chance to sample the multiplayer shooter and discover whether you're a Hanzo main or a Genji main. To go along with the free weekend, Blizzard announces a Black Friday sale, making the game 50% off through November 27th. Their announcement from last week has all the details:

Attention, recruits! If you haven't already had the opportunity to suit up and save the world as one of the heroes of Overwatch, now's your chance.

From November 17–20, we're calling on all prospective agents: assemble your team and dive in during the Overwatch Free Weekend on PC, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One!

For this free weekend, we're making Overwatch's full roster of 26 heroes and 16 maps available for play in a variety of modes, including Quick Play, Custom Games, and the Arcade. Players will also have the ability to level up, earn Loot Boxes, and unlock a variety of different customization options.

Plus, if you decide to purchase Overwatch after test driving the game, you'll get to keep any progress that you made during the weekend—just be sure to use the same Blizzard, Sony Entertainment, or Xbox Live account that you played on.

SpellForce 3 Free Weekend

SpellForce 3 is also playable for free this weekend, making it one of (at least) five commercial games running such promotions (the others are Overwatch, as noted above, as well as Rainbow Six Siege Endless Space 2, and Hyper Universe). This is available for Windows on Steam, where the upcoming strategy/RPG is also on sale for 10% off. Here's a trailer and here's the announcement, which includes details about a tournament being held during the event:

The upcoming RTS/RPG hybrid SpellForce 3 will be playable for free on Steam from 10 AM PST November 17th, until 10 AM PST November 20th.

Players can play all three factions of the game in multiplayer matches for up to six players, or try the co-op mode. Also, one single-player mission is playable alone or with a co-op partner, which takes place before the events in the full game’s campaign.

Join The Tournament
During the free trial period, a SpellForce 3 tournament will be taking place with the chance to win a signed version of the limited Collector’s Edition or a Steam key of the game. You can earn points by playing (and winning) 1vs1 multiplayer matches – the players with the highest scores will win. You can find all the details on SpellForce 3’s official Facebook page.

Continue here to read the full story.

Titan Quest Ragnarök Released

THQ Nordic announces the release of Titan Quest Ragnarök on Steam, a new expansion for Titan Quest which requires the Titan Quest Anniversary Edition. This is one of those rush jobs, following just ten years after the first expansion for the Windows action/RPG. This trailer shows off the add-on, and here are some details on what this brings to the party:

At long last, Titan Quest continues its epic journey through the world of antiquity. A mysterious threat calls the heroes of Hades to the uncharted lands of northern Europe, where new enemies await and new powers and treasures are waiting to be found!

This new expansion to the acclaimed Anniversary Edition of Titan Quest adds a fifth act of unprecedented scope, along with many new and requested features including new weapon types and a 10th Mastery for your characters to learn.

Features

  • New story act with dozens of new quests
  • Brave the realms of the Celts, the Northmen and the Asgardian gods in the largest act to date
  • Revisit the other acts to find new items and secrets
  • New 10th Mastery
  • Become a Runemaster, a magical warrior fighting with both, spells and weapons
  • Combine newly learned with existing masteries for a total of 45 combinations
  • New experience curve
  • Reach level 85 and maximize your character’s potential
  • New weapons and gear
  • Find new and powerful gear, from colorful Celtic shields to famous weapons of Germanic legend
  • New relics and charms for crafting, and a new option to improve even legendary items
  • New thrown weapons strike the balance between range and speed
  • New Enemies and bosses
  • From the denizens of Germany’s dark forests to the forces of Asgard itself
  • Improved character customization
  • A wider variety of regional styles and color dyes
  • Finally: wear pants!

Technical and QOL improvements

  • New shaders and graphical effects
  • Improved ragdoll physics (When Runemaster angry, Runemaster smash!)
  • Improved UI and combat feedback for total information
  • Improved control customization
  • Improved modding tools

Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Patches

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Into the Black

Link of the Day: Navy Admits Its Aircraft Drew Lewd Images in Sky. NSFW? Thanks David.

Star Wars Battlefront II Launches

EA announces the launch of Star Wars Battlefront II, the action game sequel set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Controversy over player progression and microtransactions have swirled around this game for a while now, and just last night EA announced they are temporarily suspending all real-money transactions within the game (according to VentureBeat this was at the behest of Disney CEO Bob Iger). They do say microtransactions will return at some point when they "get this right," but bear in mind they felt they already had this right before the firestorm erupted. Controversy aside, the announcement also says the game will be supported by the release of free seasonal content, starting with free DLC related to The Last Jedi, the next installment in the series of films on which this is all based. The game is available on Origin. Here are more details:

Star Wars Battlefront II allows fans to play as and against Star Wars’ most feared villains and cherished heroes in DICE’s rich multiplayer experience, including Darth Maul, Rey, Yoda, and joining this December, Finn and Captain Phasma. There’s something for everyone in six different multiplayer modes: Starfighter Assault, Galactic Assault, Strike, Blast, Heroes vs. Villains, and Arcade. High in variety and breadth, Galactic Assault allows up to 40 players to step into battle as one of four distinct classes with a massive array of vehicles and customizable weapons in new in-game locations including Yavin 4’s jungle canopies, Kamino's cloning facilities, and Kashyyyk's Wookiee filled forests. Space combat has been designed from the ground up and brought to life by the legendary Criterion Games in Starfighter Assault, featuring distinct handling, weapons, and customization options through Star Cards. Players can immerse themselves in thrilling, multi-stage battles in space and choose from three unique starfighter classes and iconic hero ships including Darth Maul's Scimitar and Poe Dameron's T-70 X-wing. In Arcade, fans can jump into offline single-player or on consoles, split-screen couch co-op, allowing them to take on AI enemies and hone their skills across a variety of scenarios.

New to Star Wars Battlefront II is a carefully crafted and authentic Star Wars story developed by Motive Studios in partnership with Lucasfilm. The campaign helps to tell the story of what happened in the empire after the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi from the perspective of an all new hero, Iden Versio, leader of Inferno Squad. In addition to exploring iconic locations from the films, players will be introduced to new ones including the coral planet of Pillio and Iden’s home planet of Vardos.

“With Star Wars Battlefront II, the teams have brought to life a period of Star Wars that hasn’t previously been explored in the films,” said Steve Blank, Creative Executive, Lucasfilm Story Group. “We’ve worked diligently to craft a compelling story of what it’s like to view a familiar conflict from a very different perspective by allowing players to experience the Battle of Endor and destruction of the second Death Star as an Imperial.”

Following the launch of the game, all players who own Star Wars Battlefront II will be able to experience free themed seasons that can include a mix of new locations, characters, challenges, live events, rewards and more in a world that's constantly growing with the community. The first season, Star Wars Battlefront II The Last Jedi, inspired by the upcoming film, Star Wars™: The Last Jedi™, will start on December 5th when players can choose to align with the First Order or fight for the resistance. Then on December 13th, things will kick into high gear when fans will get access to Finn and Captain Phasma as playable characters, the new planet Crait, a new space location in D’Qar, daily and weekly challenges and rewards. Players can also continue their journey as Iden Versio in Star Wars Battlefront II Resurrection, a new chapter in the single-player campaign.

Three IL-2 Sturmovik Games Announced

1C Game Studios takes to their forums to announce ambitious plans to expand their IL-2 Sturmovik series with three new games to be released over the course of 2018 and 2019. They are also outline plans for a new aircraft, a playable demo, and announce a new name for their game engine. There's a lot to unpack, so please make sure your seats are in the upright position as we take off. First off, they reassure fans that IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Kuban will emerge from early access into full release later this year. Then they take the lid off the three new games, Battle of Bodenplatte set during the closing months of World War II; Flying Circus Volume I, which bring the series back to World War I, and Tank Crew – Clash at Prokhorovka, entirely focused on tank combat in the second world war. The first of the three is already available for preorder, and preorders for the other two should start in the first half of next year. They also kick off preorders of two new planes, LA-5 FN and Bf-109 G-6, say they will unveil plans for a playable demo in Q1 2018, and say they've enhanced their Digital Nature Engine so much that they've renamed it the Digital Warfare Engine (which also has the advantage of sounding less like it was designed for a farm simulator). Here's the rundown on the three planned new games:

Battle of Bodenplatte
Although it was technically an “operation”, for continuity sake, we’re calling it a battle! Battle of Bodenplatte will explore the air war near the end of 1944 and into 1945. This late-war setting offers a wide variety of classic fighters and fighter-bombers for you to fly including some of the hottest piston powered airplanes to ever grace the skies. In addition, we’ll introduce our first jet aircraft! The Allies flew many low-level tactical missions into Germany from bases in Belgium and Holland during this time. In a desperate attempt to stem the tide of war, the Germans launched a surprise attack on Allied airfields on January 1, 1945. The ensuing battle became legendary.

Flying Circus – Volume I
Flying Circus will finally give our loyal and patient Rise of Flight customers a new way forward into the future! Our eventual goal is to essentially re-build ROF inside of the Sturmovik universe and give WWI all the latest technology like VR, 64bit, DX11 and improved visuals. We will start by focusing on re-furbishing ten of our existing WWI airplanes and providing a partial map of France to fly and fight over. Subsequent Flying Circus products will further expand content and we’ll work to integrate Flying Circus into our Campaign and Career systems over time. Volume I is merely the first important step and it will be a lot of fun! If Flying Circus proves popular we can eventually fire up the Great War assembly line and break out the canvas and timber once again to make some new crates! Guynmere, Fonck, Coppens, McCudden, Bishop, Rickenbacker and von Richtofen shall fly again 100 years later!

Tank Crew – Clash at Prokhorovka
Tank Crew will be expanding upon our initial adventure into tank combat by including ten new tanks and armored vehicles and improving our two existing tanks. Tank Crew will create a ground combat component that can be integrated into single-player content and multiplayer servers. Our tanks will be multi-crew in multiplayer which most other leading tank games are not capable of. Our playable tanks will also be modeled both inside and out with realism in mind and improved damage modelling. The map will feature the southern portion of the Battle of Kursk with the village of Prokhorovka and town of Belgorod included. The map will also be built somewhat differently giving tank players a better ground environment then our current large maps. Further details about Tank Crew will be released as development ramps up.

Door Kickers: Action Squad Early Access

Early access to Door Kickers: Action Squad is now underway on Steam, offering KillHouse Games' new side-scrolling take on the top-down shooting of their original Door Kickers (if this trend continues, the next one will be a text adventure). Here's a trailer with a look at gameplay, and here's the game's official description:

Door Kickers: Action Squad is an old school side scroller action game that puts you in the role of a SWAT trooper and sends you to deal with bad guys in various locales of Nowhere City USA.

Chose your gear wisely then kick the doors down and face the outlaws. Master weapons recoil and time your reloads, use distance and cover to your advantage and, most importantly, know your enemy and deal with him accordingly.

And when it gets too hard, bring over a friend to help.

Continue here to read the full story.

THQ Nordic Buys Biomutant and Developer Experiment 101

Compulsive shoppers THQ Nordic reveals their latest acquisition, saying they now own developer Experiment 101 as well a Biomutant, the studio's upcoming action/RPG. The announcement is pretty sparse, though PCGamesN notes it's seasoned with a pinch of salt. Here's word:

The IP-acquisition itself is being handled by THQ Nordic AB, based in Karlstad, Sweden, whereas the day-to-day business will be handled by THQ Nordic GmbH, based in Vienna, Austria.

Experiment 101 is currently working on Biomutant® for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. More details on one of the biggest surprise hits of this year’s Gamescom will be revealed in 2018.

ShadowHand Next Month; New Trailer

A new trailer from ShadowHand offers a look at this virtual card strategy game coming from developer Grey Alien and publisher Positech Games. The game is due for release for Windows and macOS on December 7th. Here's more on the game:

Set in late 18th Century England, we follow the story of Lady Cornelia Darkmoor, a beguiling young aristocrat who masquerades as the notorious highwaywoman, Shadowhand. Fleeing a crime scene and forced to act under the cover of darkness, Shadowhand's mission to safeguard a woman she holds dear leads to a web of corruption, smuggling and blackmail.

Continue here to read the full story.

Master X Master Ending

The Master X Master website announces NCSoft is pulling the plug on the RPG/MOBA as of January 31, 2018. This is a surprisingly short run for this project, which launched just five months ago. Here's word on the shutdown which explains to players they are ending real-money transactions and giving everyone enough free spacebux to unlock everything the game has to offer:

There is no easy way to say this, but regretfully, we will be discontinuing our service for MXM, with the final day of the game’s life to be January 31. Deciding to close the game is not a decision we come to lightly, but ultimately it came down to a matter of business—we explored several options, but none of them were sustainable. We truly believe that MXM is special, and offered a lot of new ideas to change up the MOBA genre, but in trying to carve out a niche for itself, we failed to connect with players.

For the remainder of the game’s service, we’re going to do everything we can to honor the community and show thanks for your support. We know this news is difficult to hear for remaining players—trust that we are as heartbroken as you are that we have to say goodbye to it. To that end, in recognition of all of you who love playing the game, here are our plans from now until the servers close:

  • All players will receive 500,000 X-Coin to unlock all content
  • The community-developed Lua skin will be made available to all players for 1 X-Coin
  • Real money purchases on the MXM Store will be permanently disabled
  • All game modes will be turned on, and available at all times
  • Refunds in full on purchases made between Aug. 30 and Nov. 16. This will happen automatically within the next 7-14 days, and will be refunded via the same method the purchase was made, if possible. For additional refund specifics please refer to our FAQ.

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Patches

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

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Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

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