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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Fez Free on Epic Games Store

Fez is now available for free to keep via the Epic Games Store as the latest giveaway on the fledgling game shop. As usual they also take the opportunity to announce their next freebies, saying on August 29th they will be giving away both Celeste and INSIDE. Here's word on Fez, which is available for Windows and macOS:
Gomez is a 2D creature living in a 2D world. Or is he? When the existence of a mysterious 3rd dimension is revealed to him, Gomez is sent out on a journey that will take him to the very end of time and space. Use your ability to navigate 3D structures from 4 distinct classic 2D perspectives.

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 Free Weekend

Publisher Focus Home Interactive and developer Tindalos Interactive announce a free weekend is underway for Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2. The space-based real-time strategy game is free on Steam between now and August 26th, and the game and its new Chaos Campaign expansion are also currently on sale. Here are some details:
The Emperor calls for new Admirals! The epic Warhammer 40,000 RTS from Tindalos Interactive and Focus Home Interactive is free to play on Steam right now until August 26, 6pm GMT, and can be purchased at 40% off, the biggest discount yet. The Chaos Campaign Expansion, that brought a brand new Chaos arc in June, is also available at 15% off, but is not free to play during this time. Select your faction and prepare to dominate the galaxy!

With the recent release of the Campaign Update and Chaos Campaign Expansion, Tindalos and Focus Home Interactive have added a gigantic amount of content: secondary objectives on each map, significantly improved fleet management, A.I. ultimate powers, a ton of quality of life additions, and in-depth campaign options that allow you to tailor every facet of a campaign to your liking.

As a result of numerous updates, the game is currently in the best state it has ever been in. Whether you play solo, co-op, or versus multiplayer, there has never been a better time to delve into the grim darkness of the far future.

Hades on Steam This Year

Hades is one of the first games to arrive on the Epic Games Store, as Supergiant's hack-and-slash game entered Early Access there on December 7, 2018, the day the EGS launched. This means its one-year exclusivity will end this December, and it now has a Steam Listing for when Hades will freeze over on December 10th. This makes it the first Epic exclusive to graduate to a different storefront. PCGamesN notes that the game will still be in Early Access for a while, and version 1.0 is expected sometime in the middle of next year. Here's a refresher on Hades:
Hades is a rogue-like dungeon crawler that combines the best aspects of Supergiant's critically acclaimed titles, including the fast-paced action of Bastion, the rich atmosphere and depth of Transistor, and the character-driven storytelling of Pyre.

BATTLE OUT OF HELL
As the immortal Prince of the Underworld, you'll wield the powers and mythic weapons of Olympus to break free from the clutches of the god of the dead himself, while growing stronger and unraveling more of the story with each unique escape attempt.

UNLEASH THE FURY OF OLYMPUS
The Olympians have your back! Meet Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, and many more, and choose from their dozens of powerful Boons that enhance your abilities. There are thousands of viable character builds to discover as you go.

Battlefield V Cancelling 5v5 Mode

An Update on Battlefield V with Ryan McArthur has a status report on Battlefield V, discussing the latest goings-on in the military shooter sequel. This includes details on what DICE is fixing in an upcoming version 4.4 patch, map update plans, and their goal of being more communicative and transparent going forward. In that vein, Ryan announces they are cancelling development of their five-versus-five competitive mode, offering the following explanation for the change in direction:
The added focus on improving the quality of the experience and adding more of the content you want has led us to step back from our original plans to offer a competitive 5v5 mode. Not creating this mode was a tough decision, but vital for us to more quickly reach our bug-crushing and content goals. However, we will still pursue building a competitive gaming experience in Battlefield™. We know that there’s already an existing competitive scene in our community, and we’re helping build features to support these communities. We want to work more closely with our players to help improve the tools that they have available to shape their play experience. This way, we can better support the places where competitive Battlefield V play already exists.

This change in focus allows us to better deliver on our promise of new content that we know our players will love, as well as providing new ways to enjoy some of our more intense existing modes.

Space Engineers Economy Update

Keen Software House now offers a new version 1.192 update for Space Engineers that introduces a new economic system to this voxel game set in space, where no one can hear you make dad jokes. This is free for all owners of the game, but it also comes along with a new cosmetic Economy Deluxe Pack, and buying this helps support further development of the game. They also add a surprise announcement that they are adding new content to some existing DLC, which is now available as part of previous purchases. Finally, they also say to keep eyes peeled for the future release of a free Space Engineers digital comic book, which is coming very soon. Here's a trailer showing off all of this, and here's word:
So What’s Included in the New Update?

  • NPC Trading Stations; AI controlled store and contracts
  • Contracts: generated and player made
  • New Blocks: Store, Contracts, and Safe Zone
  • New items: Datapad, Zone Chip
  • Faction Reputation System
  • Ingame Currency: Space Credits
  • Player to Player Trading
  • Consumables: Medkit, Powerkit
  • New Admin Tools Features: trash cleaner, economy

All new game features related to the economy are free for all players. The free update includes the economy code updates, the safe zones, all the contract features and long term fixes. We also added the free safe zone skin, Small Hexagons. You can find all the details in the changelog.

Economy Deluxe Pack
For players who wish to support the further development of Space Engineers, we have created a pack which consists of cosmetic items designed to enrich your game visually. None of these things brings any advantage to players who purchase this DLC. The price of the Economy Deluxe pack is $3.99, or your regional Steam equivalent, so if you wish to support us, check out the Economy Deluxe Pack on Steam.

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Elite Dangerous Fleet Carrier Details and Trailer

Frontier offers additional details on the two content updates coming to Elite Dangerous, their space exploration and combat game. Last month they announced a September update that will include a new starting experience to be followed by a December update that will add fleet carriers. Today they offer a Fleet Carrier Gamescom Reveal Trailer and fill in some blanks, including word that the September update will come on the 17th:
Frontier Developments revealed further information on the much-anticipated Fleet Carriers coming in the December Update. These huge ships can support up to 16 player ships and are available to ANY Elite Dangerous Commander to purchase (one per player, they're really big). The new Fleet Carrier trailer gamescom reveal trailer (https://youtu.be/lNNj97HznUU) gives a better look of these giant structures in action.

Before we get to December though, we have the September Update. This is focused on improving the starter experience for new commanders meaning there's never been a better time to get into Elite Dangerous. We're adding a fully-voiced, in-ship tutorial, covering the basics of space flight, combat, traveling and scanning.

In addition, the September update will also include a reworking and rebranding of Frontier Points, introducing them as Arx. These Arx will be purchasable and used to buy Game Extras such as Paint Jobs, Ship Kits, Bobbleheads and more. As announced earlier this year, Arx will also be earnable via in-game activities. Giving players further reason to regularly check in on the state of the galaxy.

The September Update will be launched September 17 for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

New Fleet Carrier Details:
Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

GamesIndustry.biz - Respawn at the Apex of community dysfunction.
"The internet has made direct communication between developers and the audience easier. Free platforms -- whether social media or games without up-front purchase prices -- have made it trivial for bad actors to continuously return to communities even after being banned, a problem aggravated by a short-sighted reluctance from developers to ban players for bad behavior. Combine that with an upstart influencer media thirsty for high-engagement outrage fodder and a traditional press dealing with both the usual pressures for traffic and existential worries about its continuing relevance and you've got an ecosystem that can take trivial grievances from a fraction of a game's player base and help amplify them to pitchfork-wielding mobs in a heartbeat."

ONINAKI Released

SQUARE ENIX now offers the release of ONINAKI, and the action/RPG is now available for Windows and consoles, and the PC edition can now be picked up on Steam. Here's word on the game and its pedigree: "With supervision by Creative Producer Takashi Tokita (CHRONO TRIGGER®, Parasite Eve), ONINAKI depicts the story of Kagachi, a young Watcher whose duty is to usher Lost Souls into the next world. After meeting a mysterious girl named Linne, his fate becomes entwined with blood and death. Kagachi can unleash the powers of Daemons against his foes, using them to provide unique and powerful skills and abilities during gameplay." The Official Launch Trailer takes a look, and there is a chance to try before you buy, as there's a free playable demo. Here's more on what to expect:
Reincarnation is the foundation of our way of life. We celebrate the lives we’ve been given, and offer up prayers for the next.

It is grief of death which shackles the living, and causes the dead to stray. Indeed, there is no greater affront to reincarnation.

So do we turn our grief to joy as we send off the dead.

But the souls of those who held back their tears in life still need salvation in death. A duty that falls to the Watchers.

Their task is to guide the wandering souls known as the Lost, and serve as keepers of the Living World and the Beyond.

The Watchers sever the bonds that tie the Lost to this world, and send them on to the next. They navigate the emotions of the living and the dead. They prize life above all else.

This is the story of one Watcher.
Continue here to read the full story.

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid Battles for PC Next Month

Developer nWay announces Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is coming to Steam on September 24th, offering a Windows edition of this fighting game set in the Power Rangers universe. Word is this will support cross-platform gameplay with consoles, and progress made on one platform will carrry over to the others for those who decide they need to own more than one edition of this. The game's Steam Listing is online for your wishliting pleasure but the game is also available for preorder on this page. This comes as either a Standard Edition with one bonus skin or as a Digital Collector's Edition with a Season One pass and two additional skins. This video celebrates the news with a look at gameplay. Here are more details:
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid pits current and classic Power Rangers and villains from the multiverse’s 25 year history against one another in epic 3v3 tag team battles. The controls promote simplicity and fluidity, enabling beginners to enjoy the combat system and encouraging advanced players to delve into its gameplay mechanics, which include real-time assist takeover, dynamic defense through push blocking and aerial guard, customizable juggle combos, and a unique Megazord comeback mode.

“After the tremendous success of Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid on console, we are proud to offer the PC version to gamers and Power Rangers fans around the world,” said Taehoon Kim, co-founder and CEO of nWay. “We know that the introduction of the game on PC will allow a new audience of gamers to experience the fierce battles and incredibly fun action of Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid.”

Key features of Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid on PC include:

  • An amazing roster of 12 starting characters to provide multiple fighting options. Characters include: Jason Lee Scott, Tommy Oliver, Gia Moran, Ranger Slayer, Magna Defender, Kat Manx, Mastodon Sentry, Goldar, Lord Drakkon, Udonna, Dragon Armor Trini and Cenozoic Blue Ranger. Additional characters are available for purchase as downloadable content, including Trey of Triforia, Jen Scotts, and Lord Zedd.
  • Three Ultras to keep the action going: Dino Megazord, Dragonzord and Mega Goldar
  • Seven Arenas including Zordon’s Training Room, Harwood County Warzone, Mystic Forest, Lord Drakkon’s Throne Room, Command Center, Corinth, Planet Earth: Cenozoic Era
  • Collectibles include 120 collectible banners
  • Multiple online gameplay modes include:
    • Ranked Mode: Match up against players from across the world in online battles and fight to earn League Points
    • Casual Mode: Similar to Ranked Mode, but without the pressure of losing League Points. This is the best place to practice with new characters or just to have fun
  • Variety of Offline Modes include:
    • Versus Mode: Compete against another player or the computer
    • Arcade Mode: Fight in a series of battles that ultimately ends against the final boss
    • Training Mode: Hone your skills against training mode AI and utilize a variety of functions specifically tailored to training
    • Tutorial: Learn how to play the game’s core mechanics by playing in a series of step-by-step instructions

Continue here to read the full story.

Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars Beta Trailer

A new Beta Trailer for Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars offers a look at the strategy game that was uploaded a few weeks ago, but just released. This is from the game's beta test that's open to those who preorder the game through the Kalypso Store. Word is: "As well as securing instant beta access, pre-purchase customers will also get a special 15% discount, a digital soundtrack and bonus in-game content." Here's more on the game, which is due to launch for Windows on October 11th and on consoles next year:
Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars is an engaging strategy game set in a dark vampire world in turmoil, that combines empire management and turn-based combat with unique card-game elements. Discover the secrets of Nemire and experience an enthralling story from the perspective of four mighty vampire lords while commanding one of three unique vampire clans with distinctive units, powers, gameplay mechanics and characters. Players will make strategic manoeuvres in kingdom mode before switching over to combat mode to take on their foes in tense, closely fought battles. Each clan and vampire lord has access to their own set of cards, which can be combined to powerful effect.
Continue here to read the full story.

Hardware Reviews

  • AMD Radeon RX 5700 Series Graphics Card Overclocking on The FPS Review.
  • ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming X Motherboard on Overclocked Inside.
  • Best gaming headsets for 2019 on Ars Technica. Thanks Neutronbeam.
  • Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240P Mirage Liquid CPUI Cooler on ThinkComputers.org.
  • Corsair K57 RGB Wireless Keyboard on Vortez.
  • Lanmodo Vast 1080p Full Color Night Vision System on Nikk Tech.
  • MSI Trident A PC on Vortez.
  • Mushkin Pilot-E NVMe M.2 SSD on TweakTown.
  • Phanteks Eclipse P400A / P400 Air Case on Vortez.
  • Team Group T-Force Cardea Liquid M.2 SSD on TweakTown.
  • TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan 1TB SSD on Guru3D.
  • Team Group T-Force Xtreem Gaming DDR4-4133 CL18 2x8GB RAM on TechPowerUp.

Out of the Blue

This bout of sciatica is proving to be more of a pain-in-the-ass than expected, as it has started to bother me more again after I thought it was going away. Though I'm a lifelong side-sleeper, I've even tried sleeping on my back after reading that might help, but MrsBlue keeps nudging me awake, as this apparently causes me to snore. I've read that this condition will usually go away on its own, which is my favorite form of medicine. But I've also read that seeing a doctor may be in order if this persists for more than a week, which it has already. I'll give it a little more time before I get that drastic, but it's a sign of how painful this is that I'm entertaining the thought.

Nervy Links: Thanks Ant.
Links: 10 Genius Ways Video Games Fixed Their Own Mistakes.
Stories: Pack of service dog trainees attends musical Billy Elliott at Stratford, were very good boys. Thanks Max.
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey: Plant-based meat not good for your health. Thanks RedEye9.
Aaron Rodgers arrives in Winnipeg wearing a Canadian tuxedo. Thanks Cutter.
Science: Researchers are creepily close to predicting when you’re going to die.
Record-breaking 20 qubits entangle to make “Schrödinger’s cat” in the lab. Thanks Neutronbeam.
India’s Skeleton Lake Has Bones Separated by Centuries. Thanks RedEye9 and Max.
Media: Watch and listen to THX's new Deep Note trailer with spatial 3D audio. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Rogue Waves Queens Bath. NSFW.
Transforming stadium from concert to football field in 67H.
Follow-up: Titanic sub dive reveals parts are being lost to sea. Apparently entropy is not waterproof. Thanks Max.
The Funnies: xkcd: Review.
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