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Quantum Break photo
Quantum Break

Just kidding, these are the REAL Quantum Break PC requirements


Tricked ya!
Feb 12
// Brett Makedonski
Show of hands: Who thought when Remedy revealed the PC requirements for Quantum Break yesterday, that those were the real requirements? Fools. All of you. How could you be so gullible? This is what you'll actually need to run Quantum Break on Windows 10:
Flash Sale photo
Flash Sale

PlayStation's new Flash Sale is for lovers


Just like Ohio
Feb 12
// Brett Makedonski
It's time for Sony to throw another PlayStation Flash Sale, an event that challenges the very notion of the word "flash." This sale lines up with Valentine's Day, a holiday for romanticism, conversation hearts, and cheap vide...
Destiny photo
And a 'large, new expansion' this year
Plans to follow Destiny up with a full-fledged, proper sequel haven't changed, but they've been pushed back a little bit. Activision says that the Bungie-developed shooter is expected to launch a second game in the serie...

The Division photo
The Division

Ubisoft has some awfully lofty expectations for The Division's launch


The beta did exceedingly well
Feb 11
// Brett Makedonski
Ubisoft released its most recent earnings report this morning. As is customary during those sort of things, Ubisoft co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot talked to investors about the company's past and predicted its future. Tom ...

Jordan approved this photo
Jordan approved this

Backwards Man, the Backwards Man, four games added to Xbox backward compatibility plan


The New Citizen Kane
Feb 11
// Brett Makedonski
Remember Freddy Got Fingered? Damn, that movie was great. "Daddy, would you like some sausage? Daddy, would you like some sausa-ges?" I sing that every time my roommate's cooking breakfast food. Classic. This film is a godda...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Ubisoft confirms there won't be a new Assassin's Creed game this year


But still plenty of Assassin's Creed
Feb 11
// Brett Makedonski
Kotaku was right. There won't be a new main entry in the Assassin's Creed series this year. Ubisoft is giving its flagship franchise a short breather, the publisher announced today. In a post on UbiBlog, Ubisoft confirms...

Finding Weezer's 'Across the Sea' in Firewatch

Feb 10 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]340578:62211:0[/embed] Firewatch's protagonist, Henry, is in need of something, anything that's therapeutic. That's why he accepted this job in the mountains away from his ever-crumbling life. His wife was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's and her parents took her back to Australia to live with them. Henry didn't have much say in the matter. So, he fled to the isolation of a Wyoming outpost, more alone but not necessarily any more lonely. The only human communication Henry would have for three months was with his boss, Delilah, via walkie talkie. It's the most beautiful part of Firewatch. The two converse regularly -- sometimes in a boss-to-subordinate capacity, sometimes just shooting the shit. On day one, Delilah feels like a stranger on the other side of the radio; by day 70-something, she feels like a best friend. Or, something more. Throughout "Across the Sea," Rivers maybe laments more than anything else. "Why are you so far away from me? I need help and you're way across the sea," he sings. It's clear that he has fallen to the rock star loneliness complex, the thought that even though you're immensely popular, there's no one who's actually close to you. It may be aggrandizing to cling to one fan in Japan, but he did. And it helps. In Rivers' case, his anchor is a world away. For Henry, it's as far as a short-range walkie talkie can reach. It doesn't matter; the difference is all the same. Both have found resounding solace in another person they've never physically met.  As both examples reveal, these types of relationships amplify certain emotions. There's an exchange early in Firewatch where Delilah prods Henry to describe himself. She wants to know what his eyes look like, what he'd be wearing if she caught his glance from across the bar. Rivers and counterpart have the same natural curiosity described in lines like "You wanted to know all about me and my hobbies," and "I wonder what clothes you wear to school, I wonder how you decorate your room." There's a darker side, though. Feelings of insecurity and guilt manifest for both. More accurately, they've always been there, but they surface now. Rivers emphatically states "I could never touch you, I think it would be wrong." Henry's reactions in certain moments make it clear that he's not sure all of this is appropriate, especially while his wife is still alive. He and Delilah aren't romantic, but they're intimate. They're close. Is that any better than a physical tryst? The answer is, well, it's complicated. Firewatch affords a lot of time to walk around and think about these things, but nothing ever becomes any more cut and dried. There's ambiguity and uncertainty, just as there should be. But, like Rivers' Japanese girl, Delilah gives Henry something to lean on. She's a beam of hope in an otherwise dark cloud of loneliness and doubt. That seems like it's probably worth it all. "Why are you so far away from me," indeed.
Firewatch photo
Fall to little pieces
As I trekked through Firewatch's forested western Wyoming landscape, one song kept entering and leaving my head, and it wasn't one of the game's serene, folksy acoustic guitar tunes. It was a song I listened to a lo...

Pokeman photo
Pokeman

Well, look at that: A soccer player with a Poke Ball shaved into his head


Pretty Great (Ball)
Feb 09
// Brett Makedonski
I don't get to talk about sports enough around here. I suppose that's to be expected when you write for a video game site. But, I like discussing sports and am left without a place to do it. So, I'll look for any excuse and m...
PS Plus photo
PS Plus

Exercise your Sony-given rights and vote now for the next free PS Plus game


Vote to Play (or die)
Feb 09
// Brett Makedonski
Voting in the United States is a very haves versus have-nots thing right now. Only a few people have gotten to cast ballots lately, and they're the citizens in the probably lovely states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Those of us...
Rift bundles photo
Rift bundles

The first batch of Oculus Rift PC bundles go up for pre-order next week


They start at a discounted $1,499
Feb 09
// Brett Makedonski
Now that full-blown VR Fever is upon us, many people find themselves in the regrettable position of having an under-performing PC. Running the Oculus Rift requires a decent rig, which isn't something that everyone who wants V...
GameTrailers photo
GameTrailers

Before GameTrailers shut down, it re-scored Bloodborne a perfect ten


Its first ten ever
Feb 09
// Brett Makedonski
The games industry was saddened yesterday to hear of the closing of GameTrailers, a media staple for the past 13 years. People like to say "it's the end of an era" anytime anything popular ends, but the phrase actually feels...

The biggest secret hidden across the three Assassin's Creed Chronicles games

Feb 09 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]340170:62181:0[/embed] It's unclear exactly when this sequence takes place, but it's sometime after Master Templar Berg recovered Assassin's Creed Rogue protagonist Shay Cormac's precursor box. These boxes are a source of great interest to Abstergo because they might hold the key to what Abstero is ultimately chasing after. More on that in a minute. Berg has been assigned to take Cormac's precursor box to Álvaro Gramática, one of Abstergo's highest-ranking scientists. Gramática's ecstatic with the find because he plans to use it in order to analyze another artifact, possibly another precursor box. In closing, Gramática exclaims that this is all to support the Phoenix Project. The Phoenix Project might be a means to the Templars' end-goal. The idea is to get close to the First Civilization by decoding their DNA. However, the Phoenix Project is centered around the notion that it might be possible to create a living First Civilization member from scratch with precursor DNA, rather than trying to clone an existing person. Even though it's basically just a teaser, it seems as Cormac's box may have Gramática and Abstergo one step closer to creating someone from the First Civilization, which would allow them to understand Pieces of Eden and other precursor technology. Maybe that's why Gramática sounds so stoked. If that's the case, it very well might mean the next Assassin's Creed puts a heavy emphasis on the present day. That fits right in line with the clues we found late last year. Abstergo's up to something and it might be huge. Who would've thought the Chronicles series would bring us three new protagonists with three separate stories, yet the biggest development would be on the Templars' side? At least it looks to have set the table for more Assassin's Creed to come.
Assassin's Creed photo
A precursor to something huge?
The Assassin's Creed Chronicles titles have been criticized (and rightfully so) for their lack of emphasis on narrative. Even though these are games where the narrative stakes are just as high as the mainline Assass...

Firewatch photo
Firewatch

Get real printed pictures from Firewatch's photo mode


What else is on that old Kodak?
Feb 08
// Brett Makedonski
When Firewatch releases tomorrow, it'll have a neat little bit of functionality that blurs the line between video game and real life. Photo modes traditionally are used as a passive feature to memorialize something ...
Bloodborne photo
Bloodborne

Badass blacksmiths make Bloodborne's iconic Saw Cleaver


Cleaver? I...
Feb 08
// Brett Makedonski
Bloodborne's rife with unique weapons, almost all of them fitting the criteria of being interesting enough to warrant a real-life adaption. But, the Saw Cleaver edges out the rest this time and is the one that's actually mad...
Mad Catz photo
Mad Catz

Three Mad Catz executives resign prior to tomorrow's earnings report


Probably not a great sign
Feb 08
// Brett Makedonski
Mad Catz is going through a tumultuous shake-up at a time that isn't likely to inspire confidence from investors. On February 9 (tomorrow), Mad Catz will publish its third-quarter 2016 fiscal results. In the lead-up to that, ...
Google VR photo
Google VR

Google will reportedly release a Gear VR competitor this year


And it won't be cardboard
Feb 08
// Brett Makedonski
The past four years have been VR hype-dominated, but if you were really pressed to pin one as The Year of VR, I suppose it would be 2016. That's when most of these machines leave their comfy nests and beta states, and they ac...
Madden photo
Madden

Madden backed the Panthers to buck the Broncos (and was wrong)


Roaring back
Feb 07
// Brett Makedonski
[Update: Well, Madden was wrong. Contrary to EA's simulation, the Denver Broncos prevailed in Super Bowl 50, winning over the Carolina Panthers by a score of 24 to 10. Also, it seems EA has removed the video. Maybe the folks ...

Review: A Boy and His Blob

Feb 06 // Brett Makedonski
A Boy and His Blob (Linux, PC, Mac, PS4, PS Vita, Wii, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: WayForward TechnologiesPublisher: Majesco EntertainmentReleased: October 13, 2009 (Wii), January 20, 2016 (Re-released on other platforms)MSRP: $9.99 WayForward's take on A Boy and His Blob is intentionally vague and that's possibly its best quality. In an opening sequence reminiscent of EarthBound, a child is woken in the middle of the night to a crash outside his window. After a brief bout of exploration, Blob is discovered. From there, it's just adventuring for the sake of adventuring, and saving the world for the sake of saving the world. Blob is billed as the greatest asset, a shapeshifter who can perform about a dozen different functions. For example, Boy feeds Blob a jellybean and Blob turns into an anvil. Or a soccer ball. Or a trampoline. Over the course of 40-some levels, variations of this sequence play out hundreds (maybe thousands) of times as the main function of this puzzle platformer. You wouldn't think it from the game's title, but Blob is actually a tertiary character. If it were named more accurately, this would be called A Boy and His Jellybean Wheel. A disconcerting amount of time is spent in a time-frozen state clumsily navigating a menu of the level's eight-or-so pre-assigned jellybeans. After a jellybean is thrown and Blob (hopefully) performs his duties, it's only a matter of seconds until you're forced to again pull up that menu. That process sucks the life out of A Boy and His Blob. Even though most of the game's levels are notably short, they often feel like arduous endeavors because the pace grinds to a crawl. Puzzle solutions are usually easily identifiable -- in fact, there are often giant signs pointing out the answer -- but their execution is needlessly slow and sluggish. [embed]338372:62152:0[/embed] Making matters worse, there are many many instances when Blob simply won't do what you want. Blob has a tendency to shift shapes just ever-so-slightly not quite where intended. It's annoying at first, but becomes a detriment in later levels. That combined with stiff and unresponsive platforming controls often leads to starting the section over from scratch.  And, that's all when Blob is actually on-screen. It's not uncommon for Blob to be missing altogether, either because it was left behind or it hopped into an abyss. When this happens, the game would like for the balloon jellybean to be tossed, causing Blob to eventually float to your position. Mercifully, however, there's a call button that can just be impatiently pressed over and over until it balloons your way automatically, slowly but surely. What A Boy and His Blob has on its side are intangibles, of sorts. They're plucky attributes that significantly and understatedly enhance a game, but don't necessarily make a game. For instance, there's no denying A Boy and His Blob's innocent aesthetic, unspoken emotion, or charming spirit. Those are the qualities that make the game more tolerable than it would otherwise be. Without much option of anything besides leaning on the NES version's method of using Blob (a non-playable character) as the means of gameplay execution, WayForward's take on A Boy and His Blob is frustratingly imprecise and inaccurate. But, by deviating a bit and adding the jellybean wheel, it killed any momentum and turned the game into a slog. That is truly the worst of both worlds. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
A Boy and His Blob review photo
Blah-b
A Boy and His Blob, a 2009 "re-imagining" of the NES game of the same namesake (and recently re-released on current platforms), is an interesting case study. When does retro game design and a devotion to source material becom...

Rise of the Tomb Raider photo
Rise of the Tomb Raider

First Rise of the Tomb Raider PC patch mostly just makes sure you can go 'sploring


And murdering too, I guess
Feb 05
// Brett Makedonski
Rise of the Tomb Raider is quite the good showing from Crystal Dynamics. Good enough, in fact, that we awarded it our Best Xbox Game of 2015. But, when we put it through its paces on PC, we found performance to be lackin...
Rocky Horror Far Cry Show photo
Rocky Horror Far Cry Show

Far Cry Primal does the Time Warp


Oh, fantasy free me
Feb 04
// Brett Makedonski
Far Cry Primal has a new trailer and it's really well-produced. It's a reverse look at some of the major eras of combat in human history, all culminating in a showdown with a CGI sabretooth tiger. But, it also reminded me of "Time Warp," and now I've been listening to that all morning long. It's just a jump to the left, then a step to the right...
Mirror's Edge photo
Mirror's Edge

Mirror's Edge Catalyst is getting a closed beta, and you can register now


Then buying won't be a leap of Faith
Feb 04
// Brett Makedonski
Before Mirror's Edge Catalyst releases on May 24, you have an opportunity to take it for a test drive and kick the wheels a little bit. Well, "test run" might be a more appropriate term considering this game is all about...
Life is phone cases photo
Life is phone cases

Someone get me this Life is Strange phone case


It's hella sweet
Feb 03
// Brett Makedonski
The last time I got a new phone, the Verizon rep asked me if I'd like to trade in my old phone for credit toward accessories -- specifically a case for it. I politely declined and she was shocked. "You mean you don't want a c...
Xbox photo
Xbox

Here's what Xbox has in store for 2016


And beyond
Feb 03
// Brett Makedonski
Xbox has a new video meant to pat itself on the back for 2015 and to let us know what it has up its sleeve for 2016 and beyond. The message is clear: "We kicked ass last year and we're going to do it again." Whether or not y...
Pokemon photo
Pokemon

Attention, Pokemon hipsters: The Red/Blue soundtrack is on vinyl now


Limited to 500 copies, though
Feb 03
// Brett Makedonski
When you think about it, "With a Little Help from My Friends" is a song that's pretty fitting for trainers in Pokémon. After all, they only command the adorable little critters; they don't actually do any of the f...
Dark Souls III photo
Dark Souls III

New Dark Souls III gameplay comin' in hot!


And rollin' all over the place
Feb 03
// Brett Makedonski
April isn't that far off on the horizon, but it might as well be an eternity when you're eagerly awaiting a new game. For many, that game is Dark Souls III, a franchise that has the pedigree to make waiting unbearable. If a ...
Dust 514 photo
Dust 514

CCP shutting down PS3-exclusive Dust 514, segueing into PC shooter


Project Legion comes to life, sort of
Feb 03
// Brett Makedonski
At EVE Fanfest 2014, CCP announced a prototype called Project Legion, a new PC shooter in the EVE Online universe. We were immediately left to wonder what this meant for Dust 514 which already fills that shooter rol...
The Division photo
The Division

Here's how The Division's beta's graphics stacked up on PC, PS4, and Xbox One


Pretty good, pretty good
Feb 02
// Brett Makedonski
Now that The Division's first beta is over, how do the three versions across different platforms compare? Here's a video so that you can parse the evidence first-hand. IGN put this graphics comparison video together to show ...
Rainbow Six Siege photo
Rainbow Six Siege

Rainbow Six Siege gets frigid for its first free map


Black Ice
Feb 02
// Brett Makedonski
As classics such as The Thing and Alien vs. Predator have taught us, people get hurt when the temperature goes down. Rainbow Six Siege is already about hurting people (killing them, in fact!), so the game's fi...
Ubisoft Humble Bundle photo
Ubisoft Humble Bundle

There are some fantastic games in the $1 tier of the new Ubisoft Humble Bundle


Rayman Origins, Grow Home
Feb 02
// Brett Makedonski
The newest Humble Bundle is showing its hand early and cheap. Usually, the lowest tier is reserved for moderately enticing games, while the "pay higher than the average" tier is what everybody really wants. That's not th...
Nintendo photo
Nintendo

Nintendo updates its list of top-selling Wii U and 3DS games of all-time


3DS dominating Wii U
Feb 02
// Brett Makedonski
Nintendo has updated its list of best-performing first-party software to reflect its recent earnings report. Unsurprisingly, Mario is making his presence felt all over the charts, especially when it comes to kart racing. As o...

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