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Thursday, Feb 01, 2018

  

New AMD Drivers

AMD Support now offers new Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.2.1 drivers for AMD graphics cards (thanks Bill). These include support for the just-released FINAL FANTASY XII: THE ZODIAC AGE and address some bugs. Here's word on what they bring to the table:

Support For

  • Final Fantasy® 12: The Zodiac Age

Resolved Issues

  • Radeon FreeSync may rapidly change between min and max range when enabled causing stutter in fullscreen games on single display system configurations.
  • Sid Meier's Civilization® V may fail to launch on Hybrid Graphics system configurations when using DirectX®9 API.
  • Radeon FreeSync may exhibit a black screen on some games when using Samsung™ CF791 displays.
  • Radeon Chill game settings profiles may fail to enable on Vulkan™ API games.
  • Radeon Overlay may fail to open in some Vulkan™ API games.
  • Need for Speed™ Payback may exhibit corruption on some terrain.
  • Textures in Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3 V Generation™ may appear corrupted or exhibit flickering colours.

Fallout 4, Rock of Age 2, and Alphabear Free Weekends on Steam

Steam is offering free access this weekend to three different games. First up is the promised free weekend for Fallout 4, which is currently on sale for half-off. This post has directions on installing and playing the post-apocalyptic RPG. For those with a more blunt-force approach may be interested in this post announcing a free weekend is underway for Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder. Like Fallout 4, this game is also now carrying a 50% discount. Last, and possibly least, they also announce a free weekend and half-off sale are underway for Alphabear: Hardcover Edition, a puzzle game centered on, what do you call them? Oh, yeah, words.

PC FINAL FANTASY XII: THE ZODIAC AGE Released

As noted above, Steam now features FINAL FANTASY XII: THE ZODIAC AGE, offering Windows gamers the chance to play this installment in the RPG series that first came to PlayStation 2 in 2006. Here's a PC Edition Launch Trailer, and here are details on the Windows edition:

The release of FINAL FANTASY XII THE ZODIAC AGE last year included high definition visuals, a remastered soundtrack, new Speed and Trial modes, fast forward function, and other enhancements. With over a million units shipped for console, the STEAM version upgrades the game even more with brand-new features for PC players, including:

  • 60fps - Ivalice will look better than ever with the game running at 60 frames per second.
  • Compatible with 21:9 ultra-wide monitors - Up to three HD monitors can be used for a potential 48(16x3):9 experience.
  • New Game Plus and New Game Minus - Post-game content modes are now accessible from the beginning of the game.
  • Three background music options – The original, re-orchestrated and soundtrack versions are now available from the beginning of the game.
  • Maximized License Points and Gil - New functionality added to grant players max License Points and Gil from the configuration screen.
  • Full controller support, Steam Trading Cards and more to optimize the PC player experience.

Continue here to read the full story.

FINAL FANTASY XV Benchmark and Preorders

Speaking of FINAL FANTASY, the promised FINAL FANTASY XV WINDOWS EDITION Benchmark is now available, to see how FINAL FANTASY XV runs on various Windows systems. This comes as SQUARE ENIX opens up preorders for the PC edition of the RPG sequel. Here's are the preorder incentives:

Pre-orders through STEAM, Origin and Windows 10 will include receive pre-order bonuses:

Pre-order through Microsoft Store:

  • The bonus “FFXV Powerup Pack,” containing “Dodanuki,” a sleek sword created by a bladesmith, reducing enemy defense with each slash. The pack also includes 10 phoenix downs and 10 elixirs.

Pre-order through STEAM:

  • The bonus “FFXV Fashion Collection,” containing a selection of T-shirts for Noctis to wear.
    • EPISODE GLADIOLUS Tee enhances strength
    • EPISODE PROMPTO Tee accelerates HP recovery rate
    • EPISODE IGNIS Tee increases critical hit rate
    • COMRADES Tee increases maximum HP

Pre-order through Origin:

  • The bonus “FFXV Decal Selection,” containing an array of colorful decals for the Regalia car celebrating Gladiolus, Prompto and Ignis, along with the men and women of the Kingsglaive.

BATTALION 1944 Early Access

Steam now offers Early Access to BATTALION 1944, a new World War II shooter for Windows from Bulkhead Interactive. This recent trailer features gameplay footage to show off what to expect. A post on Steam discusses some server issues that have popped up along the way, explaining what's happening, and promising a client update tonight. The announcement has the following details on the game and Early Access:

Square Enix Collective® is delighted to announce that Battalion 1944™, the old-school WW2 FPS from Derby based studio Bulkhead Interactive™, has entered Early Access on Steam.

The shooter - which is designed to replicate the feel of the best FPS games from the 1990s - albeit with all the extra grunt and gloss of a modern day game – recently enjoyed a successful beta weekend as a sign off before its Early Access debut. Now, however, is when things ramp up.

“It’s no exaggeration that Battalion 1944 is the game I’ve always wanted to make,” says Joe Brammer - Studio Lead at Bulkhead Interactive. “We’ve enjoyed success at Bulkhead before, but we’re all gamers who grew up playing the best FPS games, so the idea of making one that stripped things back to the competitive nature of the shooters of old has been a dream come true.

“What’s even better is seeing the reaction of the gamers who have been able to play it so far - it seems they’re as excited as we are.”

Bulkhead Interactive previously worked on The Turing Test™ back in 2016, a celebrated puzzler also published by Square Enix Collective.

Continue here to read the full story.

Ashes of the Singularity Gets DLC and Patch

Stardock now offers the Secret Missions for Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation, a new DLC pack adding new units, new scenarios, and new maps for both single-player and multiplayer modes. In addition to what they are calling their "biggest DLC ever," they also offer a new patch for all owners, updating the base version of the real-time strategy game to version 2.7. Here's what's up:

"This is our biggest DLC ever, and it expands every key part of the game," said Callum McCole, the game's lead designer. "The new units open up additional strategic depth by allowing for different compositions and counters. The scenarios are challenging and interesting, and the maps are absolutely massive."
Secret Missions includes two new frigates, one for each playable faction:

  • PHC Atlas - This anti-air, anti-drone frigate is an excellent line of defense against Drone Hives. Since it only costs metal and doesn't require radioactives, the Atlas is a less powerful, but inexpensive, alternative to the Apollo cruiser.
  • Substrate Tormentor - This indirect fire frigate is capable of saturating an area with artillery shells, causing damage to anything in its radius of attack. Although it lacks accuracy and direct single target damage, the Tormentor is at its most powerful against groups of units rather than structures.

There are also 8 new scenarios in the DLC that cater to players who enjoy large, late-game battles and tactical flexibility. "These scenarios are designed to put players in unique situations that are unlike any in the already existing campaigns and scenarios," said McCole. "There are missions for both the PHC and the Substrate, all of which focus heavily on late-game units and large armies. Some may require you to destroy an enemy base or protect an allied base, while others may focus on stopping your enemy from achieving critical mass of Turinium."

Dota 2 Spring Cleaning

The Dota 2 Blog announces it's spring cleaning time in Valve's MOBA. This is mostly bug fixes and quality-of-life improvements, though there are some gameplay tweaks as well. This page has an illustrated rundown on all that's changed, and here's the overview:

Though winter’s breath still blows across the land, the vernal hopes of creep and hero alike are bolstered by today’s Spring Cleaning 2018 update. Full of bug fixes and a variety of quality-of-life improvements, this update also includes some small gameplay changes.

Check out the Spring Cleaning update page for some feature highlights and a complete list of changes.

We’ve heard the community talking about the Battle Pass recently and we wanted to let you know that our attention is still on reworking the Battle Pass, however we aren’t sure when it’ll be ready just yet.

Battlezone: Combat Commander Next Month

Rebellion announces a March 1st release date for Battlezone: Combat Commander, their upcoming remastered version of Battlezone 2, the strategy/shooter hybrid. Those who can't wait should head over to the game's website and sign up for beta testing that's planned for this month. They celebrate the news with a new gameplay trailer showing off how the graphics from the original game are updated in the remake. Here's word:

Today’s “Graphics Comparison” trailer showcases the impressive visual enhancements coming to Battlezone®: Combat Commander, including updated art and effects, DirectX 11 rendering and shading, 4K resolution support, and retextured and upscaled terrain. Big Boat Interactive’s remaster will also offer cross-play online multiplayer across Steam and GOG, support for both online and LAN multiplayer, achievements, cloud saves*, support for the game’s two-decade old modding scene, and many other refinements and tweaks.

Continue here to read the full story.

Freeman: Guerrilla Warfare Early Access

Early Access to Freeman: Guerrilla Warfare is now underway on Steam, offering a first chance to play this genre-blending first-person shooter for Windows. This recent trailer offers a look at gameplay, and the announcement has word on the role-playing and strategy elements it includes:

Now live on Steam in "Early Access," Freeman: Guerrilla Warfare, is a single-player pc game which features a unique combination of tactical first-person shooter and strategy game. Players assume the role of a commander and raise money, build an army, engage the enemies in field combat. You can attack hostile territories and defend currently held ones and eventually dominate the world.

“There aren’t many first-person shooters that combine or strongly focus on strategy and role-playing elements. In Freeman: Guerrilla Warfare, we managed to marry the essence of first-person shooter, grand strategy and role-playing games into one unique hybrid game. We want to give players the freedom and challenge to choose their equipment, troops, tactics, enemies, and play-style. Our goal is to provide our players with the first sandbox FPS and grand strategy hybrid game that will allow them to experience shooters from an exciting new angle.

The game is not just a shooter; it is about taking the role of an army commander and every action that players make will influence the next steps of their career." - says, Lead developer, Hai Ren.

Continue here to read the full story.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance Trailer

There's now timer on the official website for Kingdom Come: Deliverance counting down to the release of this open-world RPG. If watching this tick away the seconds for the next 11+ days gets tedious, there's also a new video featuring "A Blacksmith's Tale" from the game for your viewing pleasure. Word is: "The new gameplay trailer showcases key plot points of the visually extraordinary and historically accurate RPG, as well as exhilarating action sequences such as an all-out assault on a remarkably recreated castle from the time period." Here's a bit on what makes this game unusual:

Becoming a powerful warrior is only one way to succeed in Kingdom Come: Deliverance. There are plenty of other paths to choose from in this thrilling medieval game, which embodies the truest sense of the roleplaying game genre. The script in the game amounts to twice the entirety of the complete Lord of the Rings saga, and the passion of the developers can be seen in the love for detail that Warhorse has put into the game painstakingly since its Kickstart inception.

Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: SUPER MARIO CAT BROS. Thanks Ant.

Time Warner Financials

Time Warner Inc. Reports Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2017 Results, with the company's latest financials. They make videogames under their Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment arm, but that is just one of many irons the giant company has in the fire, so games only get a passing mention. Here's most of what they say on the topic:

Revenues increased 5% ($185 million) to $4.1 billion, primarily reflecting higher games revenues, partially offset by lower theatrical revenues. Games revenues benefited from a favorable mix of releases in the current year period, including Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Theatrical revenues decreased as lower home entertainment revenues related to the comparison to last year’s release of Suicide Squad were partly offset by higher television licensing revenues of theatrical product.

Gone Gold - Surviving Mars

Publisher Paradox and developer Haemimont announce they've started the countdown to the launch of Surviving Mars, saying their space strategy game will come to Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on March 15th. A new Mysteries trailer illustrates the news, and here's word on how you'll be able to science the doody out of this:

Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games that reach bold new frontiers, today announced that Surviving Mars, the upcoming management strategy game from Haemimont Games, will launch for all systems on March 15, 2018. Surviving Mars will put players in charge of planning, designing, and maintaining a sustainable colony on the red planet, and players will be able to undertake this mission next month on the Xbox One, on the PlayStation®4 console, and on Linux, MacOS, and Windows PCs. Pre-orders will begin later this month, allowing aspiring Martians-to-be the chance to be among the first colonists and collect in-game pre-order bonuses. Surviving Mars will be available starting at a suggested retail price of $39.99 on all platforms.

The challenges awaiting players will be many – and not all of them will be the ones science has prepared for. A new trailer is available today, showing a glimpse at some of the Mysteries of Mars:

Continue here to read the full story.

World of Mixed Martial Arts 5 Released

The Grey Dog Software Store now offers the release of World of Mixed Martial Arts 5, their latest simulation of the violent mano a mano sport. The WMMA 5 Page is where to go for all the details on this, and for the first time, a playable demo to allow you to sample the game for free. Here's word:

Grey Dog Software announced this week the release of World of Mixed Martial Arts 5 – the deepest, most comprehensive MMA simulation game ever created!

Since its debut in 2007, World of Mixed Martial Arts (WMMA) has taken gamers behind the curtains and beyond the hype, straight into the owner’s chair, where they sign their own fighters, book matches, and take on other organizations around the world.

With its fifth installment, Grey Dog Software, the Phoenix based developer of sports management simulation software for personal computers, is introducing over 380 additions and modifications from the previous game series that take WMMA to a whole new level of game play. Among those, players will find themselves haggling over contracts, dealing with fighter morale, building hype, and planning promotional work. Plus, an ultra-powerful fight-simulator offers a blow-by-blow account of each bout.

WMMA5 also comes with a detailed editor that allows players to alter any aspect of the game world. Not only can you edit existing worlds, you can even create your own!

Dota 2 to Patch More Frequently

A tweet from IceFrog has word from the pseudonymous lead developer of Dota 2 that they are going to shift from monolithic semiannual patches for Valve's MOBA to a more frequent update approach (thanks Rock, Paper, Shotgun). Word is for about six months they will experiment with a new patch every two weeks:

We want to try taking a different approach to how gameplay patches are released. Instead of big patches a couple of times a year, we'll be releasing small patches every 2 weeks on Thursdays. We'll be trying this out for about six months and then reevaluating.

Attack on Titan 2 Preorders and Trailer

KOEI TECMO America offers a new battle trailer from Attack on Titan 2, showing off gameplay from the upcoming action game sequel. This is due for release for Windows and consoles on Match 20th, so they also take the opportunity to outline preorder bonuses for those who buy the game before then. Here's word:

KOEI TECMO America today revealed a cornucopia of additional bonus content available to fans who pre-order ATTACK ON TITAN 2’s standard or Digital Deluxe versions ahead of its launch. The heavily-anticipated sequel is coming to the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, Nintendo Switch™, and digitally on Windows PC via Steam® on March 20, 2018.

ATTACK ON TITAN 2’s Digital Deluxe version will include the full game and a pack of unique costumes, which will be released on a weekly basis after the game’s release. Digital pre-orders of either the Digital Deluxe or standard versions on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch will include a bonus pack of plain clothes costumes for Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Levi, Christa, Ymir, Reiner and Bertholdt. For PlayStation, it will include a bonus pack of plain clothes costumes for Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Levi, Christa, Ymir as well as six PlayStation avatars for Mikasa, Eren, Levi, Reiner, Christa and Erwin.

Those who purchase the game digitally on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch or PC via Steam within four weeks of the game’s launch will receive a bonus pack of plain clothes costumes for Eren, Mikasa, Armin and Levi.

These bonuses will allow additional modification of player’s playable characters as they relive the gripping narrative of the worldwide anime hit, ‘Attack on Titan’ – including a potential new perspective with their very own custom scout. In ATTACK ON TITAN 2, players can select their own custom scout – created through the Character Creation Studio - or one of their favorite characters from a roster of over 30.

Continue here to read the full story.

Hellmut: The Badass from Hell Beta Update and Trailer

Publisher Grindstone and developer Volcanicc announce an update to the closed beta of Hellmut: The Badass from Hell, their Roguelike dungeon crawler, saying this is the final such patch before the game's official PC launch. Those interested in participating in this testing can gain entry by pre-purchasing the game through GOG.com. You can also get a look at gameplay while leaving your wallet in your pocket through this new video, which shows off the first of the game's three Transformations. Here are further details:

Publisher Grindstone and developer Volcanicc today announced that their roguelike dungeon crawler Hellmut: The Badass from Hell has received the final closed beta update in the run-up to its commercial launch on PC in Q1 2018, and subsequently on Xbox One, PS4 and Switch. Along with the update, developers have released a new in-game video introducing the key feature in Hellmut - Transformations. The gameplay footage showcases three out of ten Transformations in gun-toting action that will be available in the final build: Stitchmonster, Construct and Rat King.

Continue here to read the full story.

Vampyr Video

Focus Home Interactive now offers this video from Vampyr that's the third installment in a webseries on the upcoming bloodthirsty role-playing game. The final video is expected next week, but in the meantime, here's more on this penultimate episode:

Join DONTNOD Entertainment in their studio once again, for another look into the Parisian studio’s signature creative process behind their upcoming action-RPG Vampyr. Dontnod Presents Vampyr – Episode III: Human After All introduces more exclusive gameplay footage, while focusing on the citizens of London and how each individual has been hand-crafted to feel as human as possible. This is the penultimate episode of this four-part webseries, produced and realized by the video department of Focus Home Interactive, with the final episode releasing next Thursday.

In Episode III: Human After All, DONTNOD reveals how integral each districts citizens are, both in terms of gameplay and narrative. Players will need to gain XP for Jonathan Reid to evolve new powers and grow stronger, but the most lucrative way to earn this is not through quests or defeating enemies in battle. Instead, the most effective way to get stronger is by killing and feeding on the various citizens living within the game’s four districts. Players are able to increase the XP from each citizen, by curing their illnesses and gaining more insight into their lives and emotions – but the price can be immense.

As explained by Stéphane Beauverger, Vampyr’s narrative director, players will hear the dying thoughts of every citizen they choose to sacrifice. This gives a bittersweet poignancy to every death, as DONTNOD wants players to not consider these citizens as nameless blood bags. In addition, each dead citizen will erode the status of the district they belonged to, with too many resulting in the population evacuating districts and causing them to be overrun by Skals and worse.

Continue here to read the full story.

Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena Launches

Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena is now available on Steam, offering a free-to-play strategy/RPG for Windows and macOS that began as a mobile app. You can find a ton of videos showing this off on the game's YouTube channel. This post covers changes to the game as it emerges from Early Access, and here's a rundown on what to expect:

=GAME SUMMARY=
Experience the rush of 3-5 minute strategy battles in the world of Tactical Monsters comprised of monsters from all corners of the world. Whether you are competitive in real life or virtual reality, this is the ultimate competition game for you!

=GAMEPLAY GENRE=
Form the most monstrous team and conquer the real-time multiplayer gameplay. Outsmart and destroy your opponents by strategically positioning your monsters before battle and tactically controlling their actions in battle.

This is a turn-based, hex grid tactics gameplay with monsters from all time and space. From Franky the Frankenstein, to fantasy monsters like Medusa and Griffin, to culturally established creatures like WuKong and the Mummy, to monsters you’ve never seen before such as Bigfoot and Nobu the ghost samurai. Each monster have their own unique background and jobs. Each monsters have unique skills such as magic skills, physical skills, or even world-ending skills like the nuclear warhead from Dr. Walter’s Mecha Machine.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

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Out of the Blue

I had a car inspection yesterday that left me across the street from a Smash Burger that I've been curious about since it recently popped up in that spot. Though the burgers I make in Manstovia are half-pound monsters, I have a lifelong affection for the kind of squashed on a flattop type served by places like this. Unfortunately the street I had to traverse was basically a highway, and it took over five minutes to cross three intersections to cover what had to be 100 yards as the crow flies, putting extra pressure on them to serve a good burger. But it did turn out to be pretty satisfactory, and the place had surprising elements of an actual restaurant for a fast-food joint. The only disappointment was the fried pickles. They did them right (chips versus spears), but there was something weirdly wilted about them like they were over-fried or came out of the freezer or something.

R.I.P.: 'Devastated': NBA saddened by death of Rasual Butler.

Smashed Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Donald Trap.
Links: Hut! Hut! Hut! What? Thanks Cutter.
Stories: Dog approved for unemployment benefits of $360 a week.
Truck Driver Plows Over Peru's 2,000-Year-Old Nazca Lines, Leaving 'Deep Scars.' Thanks RedEye9.
Natalie Wood Death: Investigator calls Robert Wagner a person of interest.
Science: Debunked: Earth’s Magnetic Poles To Swap And Make Parts Of Earth Uninhabitable - NOT.
Cancer ‘vaccine’ eliminates tumors in mice.
Media: Funniest Super Bowl Commercials 2018.
Can We Build Portal’s GLaDOS?
6 Weird Units of Measurement We Still Use for Some Reason.



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