Archived News:

Thursday, Nov 30, 2017

Get The Bureau: XCOM Declassified for Free

The Humble Store offers The Bureau: XCOM Declassified with a 100% discount for the next two days, taking the Humble Bundle "pay what you want" strategy to the extreme. As usual, this will be redeemed through Steam, so a Steam account is prerequisite for this. Here's a reminder of what to expect from this third-person shooter set in the XCOM universe:
The year is 1962 and the Cold War has the nation gripped by fear. A top-secret government unit called The Bureau begins investigating a series of mysterious attacks by an enemy more powerful than communism. As agent Carter, call the shots, pull the trigger and lead your squad in a gripping third-person tactical shooter set within a covert war to protect humanity from an otherworldly enemy.

DOOM VFR Released

Steam News announces the release of DOOM VFR, a virtual reality take on the most recent installment in id Software's first-person shooter series. This requires a headset, and unsurprisingly only supports HTC Vive (Bethesda and Oculus are still enemies). Here's word on the game:
Developed by id Software, the studio that pioneered the first-person shooter genre and modern VR, DOOM® VFR brings the fast-paced, brutal gameplay fans of the series love to virtual reality. Immerse yourself in the UAC facility on Mars and the depths of Hell, as your skills are put to the test through intense combat and challenging puzzle-solving. Play as a cybernetic survivor who is activated by the UAC to fight the demon invasion, maintain order, and prevent catastrophic failure at the Mars facility. Lay waste to an army of demonic foes as you explore and interact with the outlandish world of DOOM from an entirely new perspective.

Fortnite Battle Royale Plans

Epic Games offers state of development update for Fortnite Battle Royale mode, explaining where it is heading from here. They outline plans for playing with friends, dealing with team killing, a new shooting model, an inventory revamp, post-match stats changes, map updates, new cosmetics, audio changes, and more. Here's word on how they plan on addressing the scourge of team killing:
TEAM KILLING
We dropped the ball on addressing team killing. We take action based on player reports, but the system isn’t straightforward to use, and doesn’t let you know whether we took action or not. This needs improvement. Last week we started casting a wider net to catch current and past team killers and issued numerous warnings and bans. We are also working on better analytical models to weed out the worst offenders and long term would love to have the ability to pair you with players with good reputation.

Arma 3 Tac-Ops DLC Mission Pack Released

Bohemia Interactive today released the brand new Tac-Ops DLC Mission Pack for Arma 3, adding new content to their military shooter sequel. This is available on the Bohemia Interactive Store or Steam, and requires Arma 3 on Steam. This announcement has all the details and this trailer showing off gameplay. Here's a briefing on what to expect from this:
In Arma 3 Tac-Ops Mission Pack, players are tasked to lead an infantry, mechanized infantry, and/or special forces unit across an unrestricted warzone, often with multiple objectives to accomplish. The keys to success are thoughtful mission preparation, careful movement and positioning, skillful shooting, as well as patience. Altogether, the missions should take at least 8+ hours to complete, which soon becomes more depending on playstyle and difficulty settings. Additionally, players can replay selected missions from the perspective of another unit. This, in turn, rewards them with a greater understanding of the military operation as a whole . Furthermore, people can watch special After Action Report (AAR) videos, which are presented by one of Bohemia Interactive's military consultants, and offer mission-specific insights on military tactics and combat.
Continue here to read the full story.

Raiders of the Broken Planet Wardog Fury Campaign Released

MercurySteam announces the release of the Wardog Fury Campaign for Raiders of the Broken Planet, the second premium campaign for the action adventure. This is available for PC and consoles, and the Windows version is available on Steam. This requires the original Raiders of the Broken Planet - Eternal Soldier Campaign to play, but since that is free-to-play, this is essentially a standalone release. This trailer (NSFW) shows off the new campaign, and here are some details, including word on how it can be temporarily unlocked for free:
Wardog Fury includes four new epic story missions, all playable in single-player, 4 player co-op or the intense 4 v 1 Antagonist mode, and a new exclusive character. In this story, the Raiders will face the deranged General Marmalade and his Umbra Wardogs faction. General Marmalade conducts Aleph experiments on himself and his units, creating mutants that are as grotesque as they are deadly. Wardog Fury players will exclusively be able to recruit one of Marmalade’s rogue experiments, Loaht, in the first mission.

But those are not the only changes arriving to Raiders of the Broken Planet. The game’s economy and reward system will experience a complete overhaul, radically changing the way fans play Raiders of the Broken Planet.

Now, Raiders of the Broken Planet’s missions from Wardog Fury and Alien Myths premium campaigns can be temporarily unlocked using Gold, the currency earned by completing objectives during the game. All players can invest their Gold rewards in unlocking missions they still don’t own for 4 hours.
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Esports Life: Ep.1 - Dreams of Glory Early Access

Steam now offers early access to Esports Life: Ep.1 - Dreams of Glory, a pro gamer simulation for those of us who don't have the skills for the pro gaming scene. This is from U-Play Online, developers of Youtubers Life, which simulates the life of a video blogger for those of us who don't have the charisma for that. You can get a look in this trailer, and pick up more details in the announcement:
Esports Life is the pro-gamer simulator featuring official team licenses in premiere. The clubs appearing on the launch date are Fnatic (Europe), G2 Esports (Europe), Team Heretics (Spain), PSG (France) and Millenium (France). More top teams will be added before this episode is fully released.

“Esports Life is the first pro-gamer simulator to trustworthily depict the universe of esports,” says Guillermo Aguilera, Game Director at U-Play Online. “In Episode One: Dreams of Glory you can make your fantasy of earning a life playing video games come true”.

Esports Life is divided in two different episodes. In Episode Two, after joining a professional esports team, you will have to compete against the strongest professional gamers in the world to prove yourself as the best electronic athlete ever. More details about it will be unveiled soon.
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Total War: Rome II - Empire Divided Released

SEGA announces the new Empire Divided DLC is now available for Total War ROME II on Windows. This is available on Steam, and requires the Total War: ROME II - Emperor Edition, which is currently on sale for 66% off. The news is accompanied by this trailer which shows off other DLC for the game, and offers owners of the game a free DLC pack for those who sign up for Total War Access. Here's word on what the new release adds to Creative Assembly's historical strategy sequel:
SEGA® Europe Ltd. today announced the launch of the new campaign DLC Empire Divided for Total War™ ROME II. Empire Divided plunges players into the crisis of the third century, a do-or-die era for the Roman Empire. Players can embrace challenge of unifying the disparate Roman factions in glory – or playing as one of Rome's enemies, and dealing the killing blow.

Empire Divided breathes new life into ROME II, with 10 different playable factions, new victory conditions and new campaign features for players to contend with such as plagues, cults and banditry. Empire Divided also has a big narrative focus, as it chronicles the journeys of the characters and powers involved in this turbulent and fascinating time.
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New GeForce Drivers and DOOM VFR Specs

The GeForce website announces the release of new GeForce Game Ready 388.43 WHQL drivers for Windows, saying these are game-ready for DOOM VFR. The post includes details on the new drivers as well as system specs for the game, which acknowledge AMD CPUs but ignore AMD's competing graphics cards (AMD released their drivers for the VR DOOM game yesterday). The game will unlock at 7:00 pm EST today on Steam, and a FAQ on Steam covers release timing and offers complete system specifications:

Here are the system requirements for DOOM VFR:

MINIMUM:
OS: Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit versions)
Processor: CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 or better
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 / AMD Radeon RX 480 or better
Storage: 17 GB available space

RECOMMENDED:
OS: Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit versions)
Processor: CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K or AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
Memory: 16 GB RAM
Graphics: Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 / AMD RX Vega 64
Storage: 17 GB available space

Project CARS 2 Fun Pack Expansion This Winter

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment announces the Fun Pack, a first expansion for Project CARS 2 they say will come to the racing game this winter (thanks IGN). This will add new cars, a new liveries, and new events. Here's the plan:
Live the joy of full-lock, sideways dirt-racing action on every surface, every time with the first expansion pack for Project CARS 2, the Fun Pack.

Strap in tight and experience 3 of the most brutal, violent, and dangerous cars in motorsport history—banned 500+bhp Group B monsters that astonished a generation of rallycross fans at Brands Hatch Rallycross Historic circuit in the late-’80s.

Adding to Project CARS 2’s already impressive line-up of rallycross content, the fan-favourite Circuit De Barcelona-Catalunya Rallycross will encourage drivers to get into some seriously crazed drift angles as they pop-and-rattle world championship-winning Matthias Ekstrom’s Audi S1 EKS RX quattro, and Petter Solberg’s Citroën DS3 RX Supercar to all-out top speed.

Race in big-grunt, low-grip, American muscle courtesy of Professional Fun-Haver Vaughn Gittin Jr. Get airborne, race anywhere and do anything with Vaughn’s bespoke offroad 1969 Ford Bronco “Brocky”, a 4x4 600bhp ticket to outrageous, vertical-flying fun; burn through some rubber and drift in billows of tyre smoke with Vaughn’s heroic 960bhp Ford Mustang RTR Spec – 5D; and get a serious adrenaline-rush with the Mustang '66 RTR, a big-block V8 Trans Am-runner designed and tested by Vaughn and his RTR team.

Always sideways dirt-racing action comes to Project CARS 2 with the Fun Pack that also includes 6 Vehicle liveries from major esports racing teams, and 4 new Invitational Events.

The Fun Pack will be available this winter for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC Steam.

Tekken 7 DLC Released

BANDAI NAMCO announces the release of the Geese Howard Pack for TEKKEN 7, adding this character from the Fatal Fury franchise to the fighting game sequel. A new trailer shows Geese in action, and the announcement adds a couple of details:
Get ready for the next battle! Geese Howard from the Fatal Fury franchise is now available as a playable character in TEKKEN 7. Geese brings his trademark fighting style along with his red hakama training pants and white kimono to the world of TEKKEN, joining diverse cast of characters in one of the most critically acclaimed fighting games of 2017.

The new DLC will include Geese Howard as a playable character, a new original stage, and new costumes. In addition to offline and online versus modes, Geese will also be available in Practice, Arcade, and Treasure Battle modes as well as the Ultimate Tekken Bowl mode from DLC1.
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PUBG Map Reveal Next Week

Geoff Keighley tweets that gameplay from the new desert map for PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS will debut a week from today on The Game Awards. Put this in your hashtag pipe and smoke it:
Don't miss the first-ever gameplay of the new desert map from @PUBATTLEGROUNDS live during @thegameawards on Thursday, December 7! #TheGameAwards

AMD Driver Rebranding

AMD's next major driver update will carry a new name, as this video (thanks AnandTech) reveals it will be dubbed Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition. AMD has been renaming their graphic drivers on an almost annual basis for the past few years, and this replaces the most recent nomenclature, which carried the clunky label Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition. The next release is expected sometime next month, and the description of the clip says: "Radeon™ Software is where visible and invisible have been woven together to empower gamers and enrich the visual experience."

Destiny 2 Ghost Comes to Alexa

Activision and Bungie announce support for Amazon Alexa is now underway in Destiny 2, saying using Alexa devices as a physical version of the first-person shooter's Ghost is a first for the industry. This requires an Alexa speaker, and they also plan to release a limited edition physical Ghost speaker on December 19th. Here are the details:
Bungie and Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI), announced the introduction of the Destiny 2 Ghost Skill for Alexa, giving players of one of the best-selling video games of 2017 to date* the first-ever Alexa voice integration in a live game experience**. Revealed on stage by Tom Taylor, senior vice president, Amazon Alexa and Byron Beede, Activision’s senior vice president of Product Management for Destiny at the AWS re:Invent 2017 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Destiny 2 Ghost Skill, voiced by the in-game Ghost’s voice actor Nolan North, is available now for Alexa customers to enable, free of charge, through the Alexa app.

The Destiny 2 Ghost Skill serves as a premier companion for Destiny 2 players, creating brand-new ways to interact with the game, players can say, “Alexa, ask Ghost to…” with a variety of utterances — from “…tell me which friends are online,” to asking “…what should I do next?” giving recommendations for what to play next based on players’ real-time current progress, to “…call for back up,” which offers an easy way to interact with friends in their clan to enhance the social experience of Destiny 2, to “… equip my Raid loadout,” equipping players’ favorite weapons and armor for a number of different gameplay activities, to learning more about the world and characters of Destiny 2 with a request like, “…tell me who are the Red Legion?”

”The Ghost serves as your guide and companion in Destiny 2 the game, and now players will be able to bring that experience into the real world with them through Alexa,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision. “The Destiny 2 Ghost skill is the first of its kind and the most innovative and immersive gaming experience to date on Alexa. We’re excited to give our community of players, who are among the most-dedicated fans in the world, new ways to play Destiny 2 with the Ghost skill and Limited-Edition Destiny 2 Ghost. The lines between in-game and out-of-game have been blurred in an incredible new way.”
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Op Ed

IGN - 5 Reasons Not To Buy Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris. Thanks ^Drag0n^.
"With all the hubbub happening this last month, it's interesting to see Bungie's Destiny 2 caught in its own firestorm of controversy. It's probably not all that surprising though. The original Destiny seemingly messed up every single week, especially en route to its first DLC. We seem to be on a similar path with Destiny 2's Curse of Osiris, which launches on December 5th. So let's take a look at five reasons why you should give this $20 DLC a miss."

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

It's Thursday, so I'll remind participants in our football pools to get their picks in, and use that as an excuse for a lengthy sports rant (apologies in advance). As a lifelong fan of the New York Giants, I've had many occasions to be proud of the organization and how they handle things. This is not to say they've been perfect, but they have generally been a classy outfit, which is often referred to as the "Giant Way." But some are saying The ‘Giant Way’ is a thing of the past, thanks to co-owner John Mara. This comes to a head based on the news that they are benching QB Eli Manning, which has me beyond upset. Like the organization, Eli hasn't always been perfect, but he has been a credit to the team since he arrived, and his two Super Bowl MVP awards speak for themselves (in case they don't, only four other players have been SB MVP more than once). He's also the reigning NFL iron man whose streak of consecutive starts is 10th in NFL history, and second only to Brett Favre among quarterbacks. He's been classy, clutch, and clean for his entire career, and taking him out to take a look at the other QBs on the roster incorrectly implies their bad season (the team is currently 2-9) is somehow on him (the blame for that is on a disappointing defense and one of the league's worst offensive lines, which is largely unchanged from last season). And if the plan is to move on from Eli next season, when he will be 37 years old (which is real-life young but makes him a football geriatric), he deserves to go out on the field, not on the bench.

The team wants to evaluate its future QB options, and as further demonstration of his classiness, Eli was given the opportunity to start and keep the streak alive before giving way to the backups, but he declined, since that is cheesy. Here are my predictions on what's to learn with this experiment: Davis Webb will turn out to be the second coming of Ryan Nassib, and Geno Smith is going to turn out to be the second coming of Geno Smith (I'm hoping I'm wrong, and will gladly apologize if I am). The organization is not one to fire front-office staff midseason, but if they are departing from the Giant Way I'd much rather they just cut bait on GM Jerry Reese and Coach Ben McAdoo over their obvious failures and leave Eli in place for the rest of the year, especially when there are indications both the GM (who has failed with most of his draft picks) and the coach (an offensive "genius" who has failed to put 30 points on the board even once as head coach) will be justifiably fired after the season anyway. Instead they are making this move under the delusion that their next franchise QB is on the roster, and the implication that somehow Eli is to blame for the horrible season the team and its fans have suffered. Okay, I'm done venting. I'm sure this was not of much interest to most of you, though there was a single comment in the forums expecting some response from me (popular demand?), so I thank you for your indulgence. If you do want more ranting on the topic, I can hand you off to radio host Mike Francesa, pro quarterback Philip Rivers, and John Mara's own niece, Kate Mara.

Ranting Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Super Pineapple Pen. Pen Pineapple Apple Pen?
Stories: "American Gods" Loses Its Showrunners.
Man claims he contracted eye-eating parasite from amusement park water ride.
Science: The Colorado School of Mines Wants to Launch the First-Ever Space Mining Program.
Scientists Move A Step Closer To Making Synthetic Life.
Scientists demonstrate one of largest quantum simulators.
Media: How Millennials Are Killing the Diamond Industry.
Gigantic Hornets Nest Extraction in Louisiana. Nightmare fuel.
Chased By Angry Sea Lion. Much cuter nightmare.
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