Archived News:

Thursday, Aug 16, 2018

Get Orwell for Free

Humble Store is offering a 100% discount on Orwell for a limited time, allowing anyone to download a free copy of this Big Brother simulation for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Redemption does require a Humble account and a Steam account, so true to the theme of the game, they will be watching as you play this. Here's a refresher on the game:
Big Brother has arrived - and it’s you. Investigate the lives of citizens to find those responsible for a series of terror attacks. Information from the internet, personal communications and private files are all accessible to you. But, be warned, the information you supply will have consequences…

Orwell is a new governmental security program that has the power to survey the online presence of every person in The Nation. It can monitor all personal communications and access any computer. To preserve the privacy of citizens, human researchers examine the data Orwell finds and decide which pieces of information should be passed on to the security forces, and which should be rejected.

Selected from thousands of candidates, you are Orwell’s first human researcher. And when a terror attack rocks the Nation’s capital city of Bonton, Orwell, and you, are immediately put to the test. Starting with a single person of interest, you'll help the security forces build out and profile a network of potential culprits.

But are these people really terrorists? What does the information you reveal to Orwell say about them? What if you find out things about them that not even their loved ones know? What is the real price of maintaining the security that the Nation is yearning for?

Rainbow Six Siege Free Weekend

The promised free weekend is now underway for Rainbow Six Siege, offering a sample of the tactical shooter. This post has details on the free weekend, a sale on the game, and how progress will carry over for those who buy it:
If you're looking for a tense, tactical game where skill and cunning are equally important, than look no further than Rainbow Six Siege. Starting Thursday, August 16, PS4, Xbox One, and PC players can play the game for free until August 20.

If you find yourself hungering for some more Siege after the weekend, you can pick up the Starter, Standard, Advanced, Gold, and Complete Editions of the game for a discount of up to 60% off if you purchase before August 27. Players who participate in the free weekend will see all of their progress carry over.

The free weekend coincides with the Six Major Paris tournament, Europe's largest Rainbow Six Siege competition ever. Tune in to witness the best professional players from around the world compete at the highest level. The tournament will take place from August 13 to August 19 and be broadcast on twitch.tv/Rainbow6.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 DLC This Month

Fatshark announces Shadows over Bogenhafen is coming on August 28th, bringing the first DLC to Warhammer: Vermintide 2, their first-person action game. Even though that's less than two weeks away, they still say the content will be revealed closer to the release. Appropriately, the teaser trailer they've released doesn't really show anything. Here's the vague announcement:
Independent developer Fatshark announced today that the first DLC to the million selling hit game Warhammer: Vermintide 2 will be released on August 28 on PC and Xbox One.

Shadows over Bogenhafen is the first DLC for Warhammer: Vermintide 2. Content will be revealed closer to the release on August 28.

“We are kicking off the fall with more content to Vermintide 2” says Martin Wahlund, CEO Fatshark. “Last week of August, the players will be invited to Bogenhafen, a city where the Heroes will be tested like never before by Grandfather Nurgle's unpleasant attentions”
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Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark Early Access

Early Access to Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark is now available on Steam, offering a first crack at 1C Company's updated take on the classic tactical RPGs of yesteryear. This is set for a full launch in the spring, for PC and consoles, but Windows, Linux, and macOS users can play the current version right now. For more on what to expect we refer you to the previously released announcement trailer and the announcement:
The game focuses on storytelling and strategic battles, with a mature storyline. After an ancient evil rent the world asunder, the Immortals formed a council to prevent such destruction from ever occurring again. But, the Immortals are few and it falls to their mortal agents, the Arbiters, to guard the land. But as one Arbiter uncovers deepening corruption pervading her own order, it falls to her to halt the spread of a new and dire threat. Throughout this storyline, players will progress through hand-crafted scenarios, controlling their own group of Arbiters, with each character customizable from a wide selection of 20 classes and over 200 abilities.

Game Features

  • Classic Tactical Combat Battles: Including rugged terrain and elevation, taking place on beautiful hand-drawn environments
  • Handcrafted Look and Feel: Hand-drawn pixel art and colorful isometric graphics for all 40 maps
  • Deep Class System: Over 20 classes and 200 abilities lets you truly customize every one of your characters through the selection of their class, sub-class, and passives to create a versatile generalist, a dedicated spell-caster, or a mighty foe-crushing specialist!
  • Extensive Customization: Customize all characters via a wide selection of portraits, outfits, colors, and overall visuals
  • Epic Storyline: Unfolding over 40 story encounters and culminating in challenging end-game content
  • Nice Loot: Equip your army with over 240 pieces of equipment, either purchased, gathered from fallen enemies, or created from crafting

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FALLBACK Next Month; Trailer

ENDROAD Team sends word they are showing off FALLBACK at gamescom in Cologne. For those not close enough to Germany to take advantage of this, their fallback plan is to offer this trailer with a look at what to expect. The game is due next month on Steam, where it's listed with this description:
FALLBACK is a tale about humanity restored after a cataclysmic ecological disaster. Having mastered technology allowing them to thrive again, the people now living underground face new challenges from the outside with vicious creatures threatening their lifestyle. But also, and more importantly, from the inside. To what extent can technology really save their humanity? What are the choices and sacrifices one is willing to make to keep his or her lifestyle?

Those questions form the background of an adventure where you will explore a procedurally generated dungeon trying to survive long enough to bring back the energy required to further your explorations. What initially appears to be a simple quest for energy becomes less clear as the identity of the “volunteers” exploring the world is questioned, forcing you - the player – to make choices that you might not have thought of before.
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F1 2018 Trailer

A new trailer from F1 2018 is now available, offering another look at the Formula One racing simulation before it races out next week. The clip features cinematics and gameplay to show how virtual drivers can "make headlines." Here's more:
As the excitement builds towards the launch of F1® 2018, the official videogame of the 2018 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP™, Codemasters has today released the latest trailer for the game featuring amazing gameplay and cinematics.

Available to watch now at https://youtu.be/cS74dhnudZE, the new trailer showcases the lifelike recreation of the real world sport that you will be able to enjoy on the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices including the Xbox One X and Windows PC (DVD and via Steam) worldwide from Friday, August 24th 2018, the weekend of the season starting back up again with the iconic FORMULA 1 2018 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX™.

“We are trying to get as close to the real world sport as possible in terms of visuals, simulation and the surroundings which make F1 such an incredible spectacle,” commented F1 2018 Game Director, Lee Mather. “We have an excellent relationship with F1 and the teams which is really bearing fruit and helping to improve the game in all areas.”

F1 2018 features all the official teams, the drivers and all 21 circuits of the thrilling 2018 season, including the introduction of Circuit Paul Ricard and the return of the Hockenheimring. The game challenges you to Make Headlines in the most complete Career Mode ever seen in the franchise including press interviews, extensive research and development options and significant end of season rule changes. F1 2018 also features 20 classic F1 cars, the most in the franchise’s history.
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The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep Wishlist Initiative

inXile Entertainment announces The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep Wishlist Initiative, a marketing scheme they call "an evolution in the relationship between an indie developer and its fanbase." They encourage everyone to wishlist the upcoming RPG sequel on GOG.com or Steam, offering various tiers of incentive to inspire participation:
inXile Entertainment, the studio led by Interplay founder and industry icon Brian Fargo, is proud to announce The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep Wishlist Initiative, an evolution in the relationship between an indie developer and its fanbase. In a project that is the first of its kind, gamers who wishlist The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep on either the game’s Steam or GOG.com pages add to an overall counter that unlocks bonuses which reward all purchasers of the game now and in the future.

At 100k wishlisters, inXile will partner with Red Hook Studios to provide an in-game version of the iconic torch from Darkest Dungeon. According to Red Hook Studios Co-founder Tyler Sigman, “Darkest Dungeon has its roots in classics like The Bard’s Tale, so to be a small part of helping to bring the series back is a real treat for us as fellow game devs and especially as fans.”

At 300k wishlisters, the retail price will drop from $39.95/£29.99 to $34.95/£27.99.

At 500k wishlisters, two amazing tiers will unlock: first, the retail price will drop to $29.95/£24.99, knocking a full $10 off the original price. Secondly, a free DLC will be created and released for all game owners called “The Haernhold,” which finds characters adventuring in the dwarven realm of Kinestria.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Change Your Leftover Pizza Game Forever. I won't lie. I'm horrified, yet intrigued.

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts Announced

CI Games announces Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts for release next year on PC and consoles, saying they are "taking the Sniper series in a new direction" with this new installment. Based on community feedback they are stepping away from the open world gameplay of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 and implementing a more focused contracts system to guide gameplay. Here's the deal:
Today, CI Games announced the next game in its acclaimed tactical shooter series: Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts. The title takes its genre-defining sniping gameplay to the harsh climates of the Siberian wilderness and introduces a brand new way to play – the contracts system. The game features both single player and multiplayer modes, and is set to release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2019.

Drawing upon community feedback, Contracts delivers tense, mission-based scenarios with CI Games’ best sniping ever. This is all thanks to the new contracts system, which takes a step back from Sniper Ghost Warrior 3’s open world. In the single player campaign, players dive headfirst into tailor-made contract missions that offer a clear main objective with a fixed monetary reward, and have the option to complete secondary objectives for bonus payouts. Feel like you can do better? Jump back in and tackle the mission from a different angle — players can repeat every contract to earn more money.

Contracts distills the core sniping gameplay that series fans have come to love, offering dense, more focused maps that reward tactical thinking. With a wealth of optional objectives to complete, the combination of open-ended missions and emergent gameplay ensure these scenarios are wildly replayable. Couple this with the intense environmental obstacles presented by the harsh, modern-day Siberian wilderness, as well as hundreds of ways to take down a wide range of targets, and Contracts offers sniping gameplay at its absolute best.
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Tropico 6 Delayed; New Trailer

Kalypso Media announces Tropico 6 is now expected next year, saying the PC edition of the dictator simulation is due in January 2019 and the console editions will follow in the summer. This is a delay, as the game was announced with a 2018 release date, but the setback goes unaddressed in the new announcement. Some will get the chance to play the game this year, however, as they reveal plans for a closed beta on Steam this autumn. The news comes along with a new gamescom trailer showing off more of what to expect. Here's word:
People of the world, rejoice! El Presidente, beloved leader of Tropico, has today announced that Tropico 6, the next instalment of the critically acclaimed dictator sim, will release worldwide for PC in January 2019, with the console versions planned for a summer 2019 launch.

In a statement made directly from the palace balcony, it was confirmed that Kalypso Media and El Presidente want Tropico 6 to be the biggest and greatest Tropico yet for both PC and consoles. To achieve this, the hard-working citizens at Limbic Studios are working tirelessly and making the most of the extra development time afforded by a 2019 release to deliver the most complete and balanced experience ever seen in a Tropico game. By using the Unreal engine for the first time in the series’ history, the world of Tropico has never looked more stunning, whether zoomed out for a full view of far-reaching archipelagos or watching each individual citizen go about their daily routines at ground level.

To further excite his beloved fans, our bearded leader has approved a new gameplay video showcasing the beautiful archipelagos, breathtaking world wonders and intricate transport systems to connect his citizens together. Not to mention the many ways El Presidente can now customise his humble abode to watch over his people.
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STONE Announced

Convict Games announces STONE, a "Hip-Hop Stoner Noir" adventure in the works at this developer composed of veterans of Remedy Entertainment and Riot Games. The narrative-driven game stars a "hungover stoner koala detective," and they cite The Big Lebowski, Charles Bukowski, and Thomas Pynchon among their counterculture inspirations. This will be released for Windows and macOS this fall, and the game's Steam page is already online. Here's the reveal trailer, and here are more details:
World, it’s time to meet STONE. He’s a koala. He’s a dick. He’s hungover. And he’s coming to Steam for PC and MacOS later this fall.

STONE is a Hip-hop Stoner Noir Adventure Game that follows a gruff, loveable, fat koala private investigator as he pieces together his fragmented memory of the debaucherous night before. As if his morning couldn’t get any more stressful, Stone receives an ominous call threatening to upheave his entire life, just as he realizes his “chookie” Alex, a lorikeet raver and artist, is nowhere to be found.

STONE unfolds as an interactive adventure game story featuring an eccentric cast of anthropomorphic characters and absolutely no frustratingly flow-killing esoteric puzzles. As Stone stumbles through Oldtown, a place teeming with bars, clubs, theaters and more, players can take a “Hard-Ass” or “Soft Touch” approach while interrogating a menagerie of talking animals with bad attitudes and a deep repertoire of Australian slang as he tries to understand what the fuck happened last night.

“Leaving a stable AAA job in pursuit of my dream project STONE certainly wasn’t easy, nor has it become any easier, but knowing our small team at Convict Games faces almost no artistic restrictions is worth it – we have no obligations, no stakeholders, just the freedom to create whatever we want,” said writer, director and Chief Convict Greg Louden of Convict Games. “STONE is the interactive story I’ve always wanted to tell and play. I wrote, direct, programmed and produced the entire project, and it feels incredibly liberating to break free from publisher restraints and to release STONE completely independently.”
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Battlefield 5 Trailer Shows Battle Royale

The Official Gamescom Trailer from Battlefield 5 shows off the "devastation of Rotterdam" in the upcoming military shooter sequel. Here's the description of the in-game footage in the clip: "See new maps and gameplay in the official Battlefield V Gamescom Trailer. From the shattered streets of Rotterdam to the burning sands of North Africa, Battlefield will never be the same. Follow the Battlefield 5 channels for all the latest news from Gamescom." This includes what amounts to a post-credits Easter egg with a look at the game's battle royale mode. Continue here to read the full story.

How to HITMAN 2

A new "How to Hitman" trailer from HITMAN 2 discusses how to play the game by blending into the environment. They also include details on their HITMAN: Sniper Assassin Competition:
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today released HITMAN 2 – How to Hitman: Immersion, the first installment in a new video series showcasing the variety of features, enhancements and items coming to HITMAN 2 on 13th November. The first video takes a closer look at how players can fully immerse themselves into the world of HITMAN 2 by blending into the crowd, exploiting the hyper-detailed locations and utilising the numerous personalities populated by the revolutionary A.I. to create a domino effect with vast repercussions.

The Official HITMAN 2 – How to Hitman: Immersion video can be viewed and shared via the following link: https://youtu.be/_AWD9p9XK1g

HITMAN 2 is the follow-up to the internationally acclaimed video game, HITMAN. Featuring entirely new hyper-detailed sandbox locations full of living, breathing environments to explore, HITMAN 2 offers players the freedom to plan the ultimate assassination utilising an assortment of tools, weapons, disguises and a variety of stealth techniques to creatively trigger their own unique chain of events.

HITMAN 2 also introduces new ways to play with the Sniper Assassin mode, a standalone feature that brings a co-op experience to the Hitman series for the first time, allowing two players to work together online to take down their targets. Sniper Assassin is available to play now as an early access bonus for consumers who pre-order the HITMAN 2. Players can also enter the HITMAN: Sniper Assassin Competition and put their marksman skills to the ultimate test for a chance to win the grand prize of getting their name and likeness included in future HITMAN 2 content. For more information, visit: https://hitman.com/en-GB/competition.
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Warriors Orochi 4 Character Trailer

A New Character Highlight Trailer for Warriors Orochi 4 shows off new playable characters in the upcoming installment in KOEI TECMO's upcoming hack-and-slash sequel. The clip is accompanied by details on preorder bonuses, but these seem to be for the physical console versions. They also offer more details on the four new gods shown in the clip:
KOEI TECMO America revealed an array of new characters today for Warriors Orochi 4, the latest installment in the popular one-versus-thousands action game series. Fan-favorite characters from across the DYNASTY WARRIORS and SAMURAI WARRIORS franchises return to the battlefield when they are threatened by an unknown force; but as they uncover the mystery surrounding their fate, they discover that they are not alone.

Four new gods, each equipped with powerful mystic weaponry known as Sacred Treasures, join Warriors Orochi 4’s extensive roster; including: Perseus, Ares, Athena, and Odin. Perseus – the hero of Olympus and demigod son of Zeus – hearing news that his father is meddling in the human world, decides to rise to fight alongside them. Meanwhile, Athena – the wise and powerful goddess of wisdom – learning of Perseus’ plans descends to earth to capture him. She uses magic powers to manipulate the size of her Sacred Treasure, the shield Aegis, which she throws at her opponents to turn them to stone. At the same time, Ares – the god of war – fights passionately to fulfill his own beliefs – that the gods should dominate humanity. Wielding his twin spears to transform into a vigorous dragon, Typhon unleashes a stream of fire on those unfortunate enough to cross its path. The ruler of Asgard, Odin, also joins the fray using Gungnir, a unique spear which summons magical blades to its tip to become a powerful drill that can quickly eliminate any who stand in his way.
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Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

I recently picked up a new travel mug, one of those Contigo dealies that claims to be spill-proof. This is a well designed device, and lives up to its billing: You can lock this and toss it in a bag and it still won't spill. It's also double-wall insulated, so I decided I would try it as a desk cup to help keep my coffee hot. This worked out too well, and after two days I've given up on the experiment. This thing kept my coffee so hot I was still burning me a couple of hours later, and the heat was so extreme it took an entire day to finish one cup. leaving me slightly undercaffeinated. This is definitely too much of a good thing. I could let it cool more before affixing the lid, but it would take much less time than that to refill and nuke more coffee, so the goal of added convenience won't be met here either way. At this point I'll just be happy to recover from this experiment. I haven't had such burns in my mouth since I gave up microwave pizza.

R.I.P.: Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, Dies at age 76.

Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Hydrogenic.
Story: A Record 72,000 Overdose Deaths in 2017. More than highest annual death totals from car crashes or guns.
Science: Earth has 'minimoons,' and they may solve asteroid mysteries.
Images: Romantic Kiss at Sunset. Thanks RedEye9.
Media: That de-escalated quickly.
Dogs Love Playing with Squirrel Sibling Rescued From Hurricane. Thanks Kxmode.
Big bird.
Follow-ups: Measles outbreak hits 21 states, including Florida and Tennessee.
California may backtrack on coffee cancer warning labels.
"Westworld" S3 Undergoes A 'Radical Shift'.
The Funnies: xkcd: Repair or Replace.
Savage Chickens.
Brevity.
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