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Thursday, May 23, 2019

RiME Free on Epic Games Store

The Epic Games Store now offers RiME as their newest free game, as they've increased the frequency of their freebies to once a week during their big sale. This will remain free until May 30th, when City of Brass will take its place. With no particular RiME or reason, here are the details on this puzzle/adventure game from Tequila Works:
Play as a young boy who has awakened on a mysterious island after a torrential storm. You see wild animals, long-forgotten ruins and a massive tower that beckons you to come closer. Armed with your wits and a will to overcome—and the guidance of a helpful fox—you must explore the enigmatic island, reach the tower's peak, and unlock its closely guarded secrets.

Get Jalopy for Free

There's another freebie on the Humble Store where they are offering a free copy of Jalopy to those who subscribe to their Humble Bundle newsletter. The offer stands for the next two days, and you are also eligible for the free game if you are already subscribed. For those not satisfied to play the DRM-free version, they are also providing a coupon code that allows you to buy the game from Steam for $1.00 USD. They offer this trailer with a look at the game, along with the following details:
Navigate miles and miles of tyre changing, fuel burning, carburettor busting, mud clattering terrain, through night and day, rain and shine. Adapt to whatever the procedurally generated world of Jalopy can throw at you.

Upgrade, maintain and care for your Laika 601 Deluxe motor vehicle. Keep close attention to everything from the state of your tyres, the condition of your engine and even the space in your trunk. Repair each aspect of your scrappy little car and install unique upgrades to deal with the changing world. Everything from cargo weight to the condition of your carburettor will determine how your car performs on the open road.

The rise of capitalism brings an economical conundrum. Scavenge for scraps to make a small return of investment, or become a baron of the open road and smuggle contraband under the eyes of border patrols to make a sizable profit.

Developer Greg Pryjmachuk worked on the Formula 1 franchise from 2009 through to 2014. In late 2014, Greg began work on this new driving simulation featuring the fictional Laika 601 Deluxe car; reminiscent of the East German “Trabbie”, it will need much love and care to keep it going on this memorable road trip!
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Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey in August

Private Division and Panache Digital Games announce an August 27th release date for the Windows edition of Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, the upcoming first project from Panache, the studio cofounded by former Assassin's Creed designer Patrice Désilets. The PC version will be an Epic Games Store exclusive for the first year, and the game will also launch for consoles in December. Here's a bit:
In Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, players are challenged to survive and evolve in the harsh yet beautiful land of Africa spanning from ten million to two million years ago. As humankind’s primate predecessors, players explore Neogene Africa, expand their territory, and evolve to advance their clan from one generation to the next in order to survive in this innovative take on the open world survival genre. The game and its mechanics rely on evolution, discovery, and survival as players traverse a variety of terrain and environments, encounter various predators, and learn new abilities to pass along to the next generation of their clan.

“Our goal for Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is to provide an experience no player has ever lived before,” said Patrice Désilets, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Panache Digital Games. “Our small team is creating an ambitious and immersive game with a unique setting that will captivate gamers of all types, and we look forward to players exploring our world later this year.”

Dead Island 2 Still Not Dead

GamesRadar+ reports that Dead Island 2 is still in the works, following a similar story from last year and another similar story from two years before that. Developer YAGER was taken off the project in 2015, and the game has been in undead limbo ever since. Now word is that THQ Nordic CEO Lars Wingefors says that Dead Island 2 is still "being worked on," and we should "stay tuned."

BATTALION 1944 Released

BATTALION 1944 is now available for Windows on Steam, offering a classic first-person shooter with a five-on-five MOBA flavor. This news post has the elevator pitch: "Battalion recaptures the core of classic competitive shooters & refines the ‘classic’ FPS feel for the next generation. Focusing on 5v5 infantry combat, where precise flick shots with your Kar98, covering fire with your Thompson and fluid movement are key to clutching every round for your team." Here's a description:
Battalion recaptures the core of classic competitive shooters & refines the ‘classic’ FPS feel for the next generation. Focusing on 5v5 infantry combat, where precise flick shots with your Kar98, covering fire with your Thompson and fluid movement are key to clutching every round for your team.

KEY FEATURES:
FACEIT – The Highest Level Of Competition
Battalion 1944 is the first game to integrate FACEIT’s competitive toolset directly into the game. FACEITs world-renowned skill-based competitive matchmaking, tournaments, rankings & leaderboards power competition within Battalion 1944.

5v5 Wartide – FACEIT Ranked
A 5v5 Attack/Defend scenario in which the first team to win 16 rounds goes home victorious. Perfect your tactics, sprint timings, and when to aim down sights in this highly competitive game mode. Every life matters and every round counts.
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Pathologic 2 Released

Anyone who says that Pathologic 2 isn't out yet must be a pathological liar, as the Windows survival sequel is now available on GOG.com and Steam. The release comes with this launch trailer which offers a look at the game. Here's its official description:
Pathologic 2 is a narrative-driven dramatic thriller about fighting a deadly outbreak in a secluded rural town. The town is dying. Face the realities of a collapsing society as you make difficult choices in seemingly lose-lose situations. The plague isn’t just a disease. You can’t save everyone.

The plague is devouring the town. The chief local healer is dead, and you are now to take his place. You’ll have to look for unexpected allies. The local kids are hiding something. Try playing by their rules.

You only have 12 days.

  • 12 days in an odd town ravaged by a deadly disease.
  • Time is of the essence: if you don’t manage it carefully, it’ll simply run out. You’ll have to choose how to spend the priceless minutes you have.
  • Survival thriller. You’ll have to manage your bodily functions, offsetting hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and so on. It doesn’t boil down to scavenging resources. Surviving on your own is hard; you’ll have to win over allies.
  • An uphill battle. Managing your bodily parameters may seem bearable at first, and as time goes by, it becomes harder and harder. Your own body is only waiting for an opportunity to give up and betray you. Things are changing from bad to worse and the odds are stacked against you.
  • A duel with an enemy you can’t kill. Your main foe is the plague itself, an incorporeal and malevolent entity that you have to defeat… without having the means to. It’s more powerful and more treacherous than you can imagine.
  • Loot, murder, mug, steal, barter, beg… or don’t. You need resources to survive, and it’s up to you how to obtain them.
  • The fights are short, ungraceful, and vicious. They’re not always lethal though. Many people—yourself included—would prefer to exchange their wallet for their life.

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Conglomerate 451 Early Access

Early Access to Conglomerate 451 is now underway on Steam, offering a first crack at this first-person dungeon crawler RPG for Windows. Publisher 1C Company and developer RuneHeads offer this trailer with a look at the game, which carries a 10% launch discount for the next week. Here's more on the game, which is expected to go into full release before the end of this year:
Set in a city overrun with corrupt corporations, assemble a squad of cloned agents in a bid to restore order to sector 451. From altering your agents’ DNA and installing ability-granting neural implants, to equipping them with powerful cyberlimbs and literally hacking the world around you mid-conflict, you’ll need to take every advantage you can get. Not only will agents lost in battle lose all their previous progress, starting again as a fresh clone, but even basic wounds can have a lasting impact on your agents, evolving into permanent disadvantages.

Key Features:

  • Classic dungeon crawling - Face your enemies in a cyberpunk take on classic, turn-based dungeon crawling gameplay by choosing the best strategy, taking advantage of their weak points and making the most out of your agents' skills
  • Manage your resources - Make use of your own personal R&D department to research advanced technology, unlocking new features, powers and options for progression
  • More than just body mods - In addition to upgrading weapon and armor proficiencies, augment your body with interchangeable cyber implants that completely change your agent’s skills and utility
  • Pain and Trauma system - Even the smallest wounds can have a lasting impact. By taking damage in combat, agents risk generating permanent Traumas that will follow them between missions
  • Procedural cyber dungeons - Experience the dungeon crawling you love, mixed with future technology as you take on procedurally-generated dungeons and missions
  • If you die in the game... - Each mission could be your last thanks to agent permadeath. Consider every move, because if an agent dies in battle, they will be lost forever
  • Hack the world - Enter cyberspace mid-mission and hack your way ahead of the competition to get crucial intel and give yourself the advantage

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SpellForce 3: Soul Harvest Dwarf Trailer

A new faction trailer from SpellForce 3: Soul Harvest introduces the Dwarves from the upcoming RTS/RPG expansion. This comes along with a helpful primer on this faction and the add-on itself:
The Dwarves! Masterful builders, legendary blacksmiths, seasoned warriors and the most stubborn folks you'll ever meet are making their way into SpellForce 3. With the Soul Harvest expansion, two more playable factions will boost the ranks of the RTS smash hit. Watch the new faction trailer and pick a side! The stand-alone expansion SpellForce 3: Soul Harvest will launch on May 28th, 2019 on PC for an SRP of $24.99 | £19.99 | €24.99!

Features:

  • Build distinct heroes through various options and combinations on a skilltree
  • Lead your army to victory in a reworked sector-based RTS system
  • Use unique mechanics of your army units to win epic battles
  • Use flying units for even more advance tactics
  • Epic fantasy soundtrack and bleeding edge top down graphics

Multiplayer Features:

  • Each faction has two unique heroes that compliment individual play styles
  • A modern multiplayer lobby will allow easier matchmaking and ranked play
  • Create your own maps with the powerful modding tools.

New features compared to SpellForce 3:

  • All-New Campaign: Featuring new storyline with over 20 hours of content
  • All-New abilities and skilltrees for even more diverse heroes
  • All-New RTS Gameplay: Sector-based system with a focus on global resource distribution and unique faction mechanic
  • Unique mechanics and unique unit kits make the races feel very diverse and offer replay-value in the campaign
  • Flying units allow more tactical elements
  • New factions: Dwarves and Dark Elves
  • Overhauled UI makes the game more pleasant to look at and more readable

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Evening Metaverse

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Star Trek: Picard.

Total War: THREE KINGDOMS Released

Total War: THREE KINGDOMS is now available for Windows, macOS, and Linux on Steam, offering the new installment in Creative Assembly's long-running strategy series. This Liu Bei Launch Trailer for the game was released last week, and there's a launch day live stream that's currently underway on YouTube. The release is announced in this post, which shows that the Yellow Turban Rebellion DLC will be free to those who purchase the game within the first week of release. Here's word on this chance to unite ancient China under your presumably benevolent rule:
This beautiful but fractured land calls out for a new emperor and a new way of life. Unite China under your rule, forge the next great dynasty, and build a legacy that will last through the ages.

Choose from a cast of 12 legendary Warlords and conquer the realm. Recruit heroic characters to aide your cause and dominate your enemies on military, technological, political, and economic fronts.

Will you build powerful friendships, form brotherly alliances, and earn the respect of your many foes? Or would you rather commit acts of treachery, inflict heart-wrenching betrayals, and become a master of grand political intrigue?

Your legend is yet to be written, but one thing is certain: glorious conquest awaits.

ANCIENT CHINA RECREATED
Discover Three Kingdoms China, a land of breath-taking natural beauty. Battle across lush subtropics, arid deserts and snow-capped mountains. Marvel at legendary landmarks like the Great Wall of China and the Yangtze River. Explore the length and breadth of ancient China as you restore harmony to its embattled landscape.

CHINA’S GREATEST LEGENDS
Forge a new empire as one of 12 legendary Warlords drawn from China’s celebrated historical epic, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Peerless commanders, powerful warriors and eminent statesmen, these characters each have a unique playstyle and objectives. Recruit an epic supporting cast of heroes to command your armies, govern your provinces and strengthen your growing empire. Characters are the beating heart of the game, and China’s very future will be shaped by its champions.
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Mutant Year Zero: Seed of Evil Announced

Funcom announces Seed of Evil, an expansion for Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden that will come to The Bearded Ladies' tactical adventure game on Steam on July 30th. Preorders should start later today, and there will also be a new Digital Deluxe Edition that bundles the game and the add-on. They promise "Hours of gameplay, new locations to visit and a new leading character," showing off what to expect in this bizarre trailer. Here's more of the plan:
The turn-based tactical adventure game Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden received critical acclaim for its gameplay, artwork and captivating characters. Set in post-apocalyptic Sweden, the player controls a group of mutants searching through the ruins of civilization for salvation or simply something to eat. Using a mixture of stealth and combat strategy, while evolving your characters through a series of interesting mutations, is paramount to overcoming the evil that is threatening to eradicate what is left of decent society.

A new menace is looming in the expansion. Powerful and ominous roots have emerged and seem to be taking control over the minds of friends and foes alike. Fortunately, a new hero has arrived, and players can now add Big Khan the moose to their squad of mutants. He is not only skilled at landing critical hits but comes with the unique mutations Ground Pound and Flame Puke, giving the option to apply a more diverse playstyle in order to succeed.
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S.W.I.N.E. HD Remaster Released

Kite Games and Assemble Entertainment announce the release of S.W.I.N.E. HD Remaster for Windows on GOG.com and Steam, with the latter (but not the former) offering a 15% launch discount. This updates this anthropomorphic RTS game to allow it to go hog wild on modern systems, as shown off in the release trailer. Here's word on what's new and what's familiar in this release:
S.W.I.N.E. HD Remaster ain’t your momma’s RTS — it’s packed full of high-octane battles, explosive competition, and a dynamite sense of humor sure to send you home squealing!

Key features of S.W.I.N.E HD Remaster include:

  • Remastered graphics: S.W.I.N.E HD Remaster boasts a redesigned interface reworked for the 16:9 aspect ratio, along with detailed unit textures and extended graphics features. Anti-aliasing, v-sync, screen selection, and full-screen mode are now available, modernizing the game’s visual elements and letting you see all the awesome battlefield action
  • Improved game experience: Tons of bug fixes, extended zoom, improved unit ordering, and plenty of other updates bring the game into the modern age
  • Multiplayer is back: Travel back to the good old days with your friends and play this unique landmark of a game either online or via your local network

On July 26, the Republic of the Pigs was overthrown by General Iron Tusk. After dealing with the remaining Republican loyalist forces in his territory, Tusk turned his attention to the neighboring nation of Carrotland, home of the Rabbits. The Rabbits worked out their strategy, too; and now the two species need to find a capable officer who can lead their operations.

S.W.I.N.E. HD Remaster features numerous improvements and visual enhancements, such as an integrated language selection, a polished UI, and improved unit ordering for a smoother gameplay experience. The remastered version also features the original 2001 S.W.I.N.E. soundtrack, an artbook with previously unreleased concept art, and a developer documentary detailing the process behind the recreation of the beloved classic. Developer Kite Games have worked with fans to extensively modernize the game to bring big, beautiful bunny-blasting, pig-punching battles to PC. For more information, visit https://swinethegame.com.

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ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN ADF-11F Raven DLC

A new ADF-11F Raven Set on Steam offers a new aircraft DLC for the Windows edition of ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN, their aerial combat game. You can see this plane take flight in this trailer. Here's more on the Raven and the other additions in this release:
ACE COMBAT fans, you have updated orders to report direct to the PlayStation™ Store, Microsoft® Store, or STEAM® for additions to your aircraft fleet with the arrival of the ADF-11F Raven, new deployable weapons with the UAV, and new aircraft skins with the F22A Mobius skin. The ACE COMBAT franchise has always presented cutting edge aircraft and weaponry and ACE COMBAT 7: Skies Unknown continues this tradition with today’s DLC #1 package.
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Mechanic Miner Early Access

Mechanic Miner is now available in Early Access for Windows on Steam, offering a physics-based action/adventure carrying a 15% launch discount. This features stylized 8-bit graphics, which can be seen in the launch trailer. "In my spare time I began working on a game about engineering… this was seven years ago and it turns out I haven’t been able to stop!" said Finn Nielsen, Game Director and programmer at Hello John. "The team and I wanted to create an authentic world where players can make real, working machines. Once we put out a closed alpha an exceptional community grew around the game that helped us develop it so much. We look forward to the players enjoying the game that we have made with this amazing community." Here are the details on the game:
Mechanic Miner is sandbox builder where you construct crazy steam-powered machines, collect resources and acquire new technologies to help you survive a hostile alien planet. Limited only by your imagination; create a fleet of steampunk machines ranging from submarines, air balloons or spiderbots to traverse deadly terrain, protect you from the elements and survive encounters with malformed monstrosities.

Take part in the adventure in Story mode, where procedural environments ensure each run feels different. Tick off the challenges, scour the environments for resources, mine, fight, and research new technologies to prevail. With over 50 physically-simulated building parts (and more to come), player creations will be as varied as the challenges they face. Your imagination and your ability to source the required components will be the key to your survival.
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Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 Trailer

A new Clan trailer from Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 introduces the Ventrue, not to be confused with the instrumental band, the Ventures. The cinematic clip shows off some non-biting violence from this faction, which is described in detail in this post. Here's a bit of trivia related to the trailer: It is extremely unlikely you will set off a pool of gasoline with a cigarette like that. The more you know. Here's the description of the video:
Historically, Seattle has been the site of many industrial booms, and of course, the Ventrue have been there to capitalize on its fortunes. As more and more billion-dollar corporations shape the local and global landscape, enterprising Ventrue have entrenched themselves in the businesses of the 21st century, paving the way for a prosperous future for their clan… and making enemies of the residents who preferred the way things used to be.
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Morning Previews

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Here's a new Terminator: Dark Fate Teaser Trailer. This capturing my interest makes me feel guilty, as I recognize this is part of the problem with geeky fandom. Sci-fi fans like myself are too willing to stick with endless attempts at sequels to properties after one or two good movies. The Predator, Aliens, Star Wars, Robocop... the list goes on. There have already been three disappointing Terminator sequels after two great movies, so if this one turns out to be good, the series will at least be 50/50. But this probably just confirms that not every good movie needs to become a franchise. At least from a story standpoint. I understand that corporations have to corporate. I don't really have a solution to offer though, as the heart wants what the heart wants. As I write about this, I have to admit to myself that I'll probably go to the theater to see Star Wars episode IX, knowing in advance there's an incredible chance I'll find it disappointing. I feel so used.

Used Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Station Master.
Stories: ‘Chernobyl’ Launch Is Third Best Ever For Sky Atlantic Original Drama. Thanks Reddit.
'Violent tornado' delivers direct hit to Missouri, killing 3 overnight.
Science: Billion-year-old fossils may be early fungus.
Poor diet tied to 5% of all cancer cases, study says.
China emits illegal greenhouse gas that destroys ozone layer.
Media: Flame of Darkness - Epic NPC Man (simple puzzles & riddles).
B-2 Spirit Bomber Drops Massive Ordnance Penetrator Bomb. Scary.
Follow-up: Measles outbreak spreads to Maine, cases now in half the country.
Craig Undergoes Surgery For Bond Set Injury.
The Funnies: Savage Chickens.