Archived News:

Friday, Feb 01, 2019

Anthem Open Demo Live

EA announces that, as promised, everyone can now access the open demo for Anthem, BioWare's upcoming mechanized action/RPG. The demo is available on Origin and here's what to expect:
It’s finally time to get hands on with Anthem. The Anthem Open Demo runs from February 1-3, 2019, and it’s your chance to jump into a javelin and explore the beauty and chaos of the world you’ve heard so much about. Progress from the VIP Demo carries over to the Open Demo, so players who joined the VIP Demo will get to jump in right where they left off – with all four of their javelins in the forge.

Take a second to check out these four things you can expect from the Anthem Open Demo.

  1. Visiting Fort Tarsis
    The Open Demo starts in Fort Tarsis, the walled city that you call home in Anthem. It’s your hub for everything you’ll need between missions -- it’s also a space where you are protected from dangerous forces that torment the outside world. In Tarsis, you can visit the Forge and customize your javelin with loot you pick up on missions, or head to other locations in the fort – like the Enclave, the Bar, or the Arcanist Lab. This will be where you get to know the characters of Anthem, who will be around to chat, though their contracts (special in-game missions) will not be available.
  2. Your Own Javelin to Personalize (Two of Them, Actually)
    In the Open Demo, you’ll start out as a level 10 pilot with a fully equipped javelin of your choice. You can unlock a second javelin of your choice (either Ranger, Colossus, Storm, or Interceptor) at level 12. Your level will be capped at level 15 for the Open Demo. Since you have access to the Forge, you’ll also be able to personalize your javelins and change your loadouts to equip any new gear or weaponry you get on missions.

    The earn rates on XP, Items, and Coin have been adjusted to give you a full Anthem experience over the relatively short timeframe of the Open Demo. You’ll also be given some Coin in the demo so you can have the chance to purchase and equip cosmetics.
  3. Embarking on Expeditions
    Head into the world with the Open Demo, completing missions and discovering some of the secrets it holds. You’ll meet the Arcanist Matthias, part of an order of researcher-monks charged with unlocking the mysteries of the world, who will send you on a three-part expedition to track down a shaper relic with mysterious powers. Explore, fly, and swim in Freeplay and take on emergent challenges as you travel through a section of Great Falls Canyon and some of the surrounding areas. You’ll even get to delve into one of the Strongholds, high-level dungeons that require a full squad of Freelancers to complete.
  4. Some (Mostly) Unfriendly Wildlife
    Whenever you venture into the world of Anthem you can be sure that you’ll encounter beautifully dangerous wildlife. You might be hoping for a grabbit sighting but don’t let your guard down -- there are living, moving threats that can come from all angles.

    These creatures don’t care if you’re in the midst of a mission or casually exploring the world in Anthem’s free-roaming mode Freeplay, they’re poised to make you have a no good, very bad day -- and cause major damage while they’re at it. You may encounter wyverns, vicious flying creatures, will attack anything they come across, raining fire on their prey from above and leaving you desperate for a way to douse the flames and regain your health. Oh, but if you think that’s terrifying, just wait until you meet an Ursix.

Get Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China for Free

The Ubisoft Store is offering Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China for free between now and February 5th (thanks Ant). This first installment in a trilogy of 2.5D stealth/action games was originally released in 2015, and for those interested in the other installments, Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India and Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia are each on sale for 66% off. Here's the game's original launch trailer, and here's a description:
Assassin’s Creed® Chronicles: China takes place in China, 1526, as the Ming dynasty starts to crumble. You embody Shao Jun, the last remaining Assassin of the Chinese Brotherhood, returning to her homeland with a vendetta. Newly trained by the legendary Ezio Auditore, she is hell-bent on exacting vengeance and restoring her fallen Brotherhood.
Continue here to read the full story.

Kholat Free on Steam

Another game first released in 2015 is available for free, as Steam is offering Kholat with a 100% discount. This is a limited time offer, but once you add it to your library it's yours to keep permanently. One of the hooks of this adventure game is that it is narrated by Sean Bean, which is immediately noticeable in the release trailer from back in the day. Here's a rundown of what to expect:
Narrated by one of the most popular British actors, Sean Bean, Kholat is an exploration adventure game with elements of horror, inspired by a true event known as the Dyatlov Pass incident – a mysterious death of nine Russian hikers, which led to countless, unconfirmed hypotheses. The player will plunge directly into the boundless scenery of the inhospitable Ural Mountains with the task to find out what really happened. In the course of events, you may come across more speculations than expected...
Continue here to read the full story.

Epic Games Store Adding Opt-in Review System

Responding to the accusation that the Epic Games Store is "trying to silence consumers" by not hosting user reviews, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney tweets that they are planning on introducing an opt-in review system (thanks GamesIndustry.biz). Here's his reasoning:
We’re working on a review system for the Epic Games store based on the existing one in the Unreal Engine marketplace. It will be opt-in by developers. We think this is best because review bombing and other gaming-the-system is a real problem.

Foundation Early Access

Early Access to Foundation is now available on Steam, offering an Isaac Asimov-free medieval city building simulation for Windows. The game carries a 10% launch discount, and word is the current version is Alpha 1.0.1.0201. Here's an Early Access trailer along with a description of the game:
Foundation is a grid-less, sprawling medieval city building simulation with a heavy focus on organic development, monument construction and resource management.

In this strategy/city-builder/economy simulation game, players must create a prosperous settlement as the newly appointed lord of a region untouched by man.

Setting to redefine the city-builder genre, Foundation puts the emphasis on the organic aspects of urbanism in the cities of old, powered by Polymorph Games’ proprietary game engine, Hurricane, which allows for full mod support and is optimized for the thousands of moving parts that come with building humongous cities.

Among other things, the engine provides the player with robust building tools, to create countless unique monuments that will seamlessly integrate into your settlement.

With medieval architecture and urbanism at the forefront of its design, Foundation’s vision is to allow players to recreate cities of that period as they envision them or even as they really were.
Continue here to read the full story.

Ape Out This Month

Publisher Devolver Digital offers a new trailer from Ape Out showing off gameplay from this upcoming action game and celebrating the news that this is planned for release on February 28th on Steam and Switch. Here's the accompanying announcement:
Despite what previous media alerts might have claimed, Ape Out is slamming its launch fists into Nintendo Switch and PC on Feb. 28. Developers Gabe Cuzzillo, Matt Boch, and Bennett Foddy demand that all Ape Out enthusiasts get 60 frames in each glorious second of the game and Devolver Digital was helpless to stop their madness.

Consumers around the world can show their appreciation for a good old-fashioned delay by pre-ordering the game on Nintendo Switch to prove blind loyalty to framerate.

Ape Out is a wildly intense and colorfully stylized smash ‘em up about primal escape, rhythmic violence, and frenetic jazz. Build up nearly unstoppable momentum and use your captors as both weapons and shields to crush everyone on your procedurally generated path to freedom.
Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Barry Season 2 - Teaser Trailer ft. Bill Hader. Can't wait. Thanks Acleacius.

EA's Battlefield 5 Quality of Life Commitment

A post on the Battlefield Forums offers a Battlefield V Quality of Life Tracker, as EA commits to improving the base version of the military first-person shooter in parallel to their development of additional content. They explain their process for identifying gameplay issues and prioritizing solutions, reminding players how they can help with this by communicate with them. Here's their punchlist for this week:
Top Issues for Week of January 28
Below are the top issues we are committed to resolving with details on when you can expect a fix to be implemented.
Please note, we are limiting this list to the top 5 -10 issues we've prioritized. So, you may not see an issue that you feel should be on this list for the week. Rest assured, we are working on improving Battlefield V in many other areas alongside the issues mentioned here.

1. Loading screen hangs between map loads

  • Platforms Affected: All
  • Status: Currently, we are trying to reproduce this issue internally so that we can get detailed logs of what happens under the hood when this issue occurs. Unfortunately, it has proven very difficult to reproduce it internally so it's taking longer to debug than we had hoped, but we will keep you in the loop once we have a status update for you!

2. End of Round screen not reporting correct Company Coin gained

  • Platforms Affected: All
  • Status: We have seen that some Rank 50 players are still getting an incorrect end of round Company Coins counter, where the system thinks that the player has just ranked up from level 49 to level 50 while the player already has previously reached Rank 50. We currently do not have a fix for this issue internally, but we are working on resolving it as quickly as possible.

3. Tiger Tank skin reward does not unlock when collecting all the letters in the single player campaign

  • Platforms Affected: All
  • Status: We are looking into the cause of this issue. As a work around for now, it might be possible to obtain it by following these instructions. https://help.ea.com/en-us/help/battlefield/battlefield-v/battlefield-v-bugs-known-issues/

4. Ammo Crates and Health Crates fall through the floor

Continue here to read the full story.

ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN Takes Off

ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN has taken off on Steam, offering the Windows edition of this aerial combat game. There is a Standard Edition and a Deluxe Edition which includes the Season Pass, which is also available separately, and the most recent video developer's diary offers a look at the game. User reviews are mixed and DSOGaming notes that this is in part due to missing PC features, even though the Windows version followed a couple of weeks after the console editions. The game does not support 21:9 resolution, and users are reporting they are unable to get it to run in 4K either. There is also no mouse support for navigating menus, and no HOTAS joystick support for navigating your aircraft. Those who purchase either SKU between now and March 4th are getting a Launch Edition, which includes a playable F-4E Phantom II, three aircraft skins from prior installments in the series, and eight emblems. The description mentions another free DLC that comes with a purchase:
Purchase ACE COMBAT™ 7: SKIES UNKNOWN and get the playable F-104C: Avril DLC as a bonus.

Become an ace pilot and soar through photorealistic skies with full 360 degree movement; down enemy aircraft and experience the thrill of engaging in realistic sorties! Aerial combat has never looked or felt better!
Project Aces aims to revolutionize the sky with this entry in the series, offering an experience so immersive it feels like you're piloting an actual aircraft! Weather and the environment affect your aircraft and the HUD, adding a sense of extreme realism never felt before in a flight combat game. Epic dogfights await!
Continue here to read the full story.

Warhammer Quest 2: The End Times Released

Steam now offers the Windows and macOS editions of Warhammer Quest 2: The End Times, offering a turn-based strategy sequel that debuted on mobile devices. The PC Launch Trailer and PC Gameplay Trailer offer looks at the game, and here's word:
In Warhammer Quest 2: The End Times, you will lead your warriors across a war torn land and into dungeons for wealth and glory! Swing swords, fire arrows and cast spells as you fight through the denizens of Chaos that threaten the Warhammer world. Success in battle is rewarded with new weapons, armours, skills and treasure.

Explore a war-torn fantasy world!
Be on your guard as you travel through a world in turmoil. The road holds danger for the heedless traveller, but rich rewards for the wary hero.

  • Explore three regions, each with their own enemy sets, objectives and multi-part campaign quests.
  • Visit towns to barter in markets, discover new quests, and level up your warriors to gain new skills and gameplay possibilities.
  • Paths between dungeons are littered with events and opportunities to improve your chance of victory in the next turn based battle!

Continue here to read the full story.

Lovecraft's Untold Stories Released

Now it can be told! Lovecraft's Untold Stories is now available on Steam, offering an action roguelite/RPG based on H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. The game's intro was released recently, but for a look at gameplay we should turn to the official PC trailer from May. Here's word:
Follow the path of five different characters (the Detective, the Professor, the Ghoul, the Thief, and the Witch) in their adventures against the Great Old Ones, their minions, and their worshippers. Explore their different storylines inspired by Lovecraft's stories that cross randomly generated levels such as the hospital, the jungle or the port city, and look for the clues you need to face terrible foes like Dagon, Shub-Niggurath, Azathoth, Nyarlathotep, and Great Cthulhu.

Lovecraft’s Untold Stories is an action roguelite with RPG elements. You explore randomly generated levels based in H.P. Lovecraft stories, fighting cultists and all kinds of monsters from the Mythos, improving your weapons and gear, solving puzzles and challenges, and looking for clues and knowledge to defeat the Great Old Ones and the Outer Gods.
Continue here to read the full story.

Bannermen Beta Next Weekend

Developer Pathos Interactive and publisher 2tainment announce a free beta for Bannermen will take place next weekend, kicking off on Friday February 8th and ending Sunday February 10th. You can sign up for the beta on the Bannermen Website and keep up with the game through its Steam Listing, which shows a February 21st release date. Here's the recent campaign trailer and here's word on the game and its setting:
Bannermen takes place in the realm of Valtoria, a low-fantasy medieval world ravaged by decades of war, starvation, and natural disasters. Players take on the role of Lord Berrian trying to recapture his kingdom’s former glory, finding and rallying bannermen to battle against a host of tribes and the dark Lord Karthor. By utilizing nature powers players can leverage natural phenomena such as lightning strikes to electrocute armies, take advantage of dust storms that limit vision to sneak past enemies, and much more. With a fully story-driven campaign, each mission contains varied gameplay and challenges designed to push the narrative forward. Bannermen also provides online multiplayer modes with matchmaking and ladders.
Continue here to read the full story.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • ASRock Phantom Gaming X Radeon RX 590 8G OC Graphics Card on OC Inside. German.
  • CRYORIG C7 Cu CPU Cooler on Nikk Tech.
  • Razer Panthera Evo arcade fightstick on PC Gamer.

Out of the Blue

My buddy Devicer sent a link to a video on How to Disassemble Razer Deathadder Elite so I could check if there was a debris issue causing the flaky behavior I mentioned the other day. I was looking for a small screwdriver to open up the mouse when I came across my old Logitech G400. This was handed off to MrsBlue when I got the Deathadder in case she wanted to use an external mouse with her laptop, and it's been sitting in a drawer ever since. This gave me an easy way out that I took, as I've resumed using it, and it didn't take more than a few minutes to reacquaint myself to its odd ergonomics (the hump on the back is rather tall). This thing served admirably before, and I'm reminded of its dutifulness every time I notice how all the color is rubbed off the Logitech logo on the back (I got it in early 2013). I think I'm just going to toss the Razer and try not to feel too bad about the disloyalty I showed old faithful here.

Faithful Links: Thanks Ant.
Links: The best and worst store-bought mac and cheeses.
Stories: Photobombing FIJI Water woman is suing FIJI Water and yes, you read that right.
Science: Go to bed! Brain researchers warn that lack of sleep is a public health crisis. Thanks RedEye9.
Almost half of Americans have heart or blood vessel disease, new report finds.
E-Cigarettes Really Can Help You Quit Smoking, Large New Study Finds.
Media: Auralnauts Top 10 Things You Definitely Didn't Know About SW.
8th Grade Sax Speedrun of Flight Of The Bumblebee.
Tornado Forming in the Clouds Caught on camera.
Follow-up: As measles outbreak spreads, one anti- vaxxer asks how to keep her child safe.
Ariana Grande Misspelled Tattoo Fix. Thanks RedEye9.
The Funnies: Savage Chickens and Savage Chickens.
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