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Shooters

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...

Review: AIPD - Artificial Intelligence Police Department

Feb 02 // Chris Carter
AIPD - Artificial Intelligence Police Department (PC, PS4 [reviewed])Developer: Blazing BadgerPublisher: Mamor GamesReleased: January 29, 2016MSRP: $9.99 One part Geometry Wars, one part...Geometry Wars, AIPD is a shmup that sports interesting neon visuals and a bumpin' soundtrack. It's relatively easy to pick up given its twin-stick nature, as the only nuances you'll need to learn are the differences between the scant few powerups at your disposal. There's gadgets like slo-mo, shields, and the like to choose from, most of which you've seen before. Despite the lack of innovation, AIPD succeeds at a base level with tight controls and a fun aesthetic. I also like how it occasionally switches objectives after clearing out specific waves, and presents players with a choice of challenges -- something like picking between "enemies do more damage," or "players earn less points." It keeps you on your toes constantly. And since there's several difficulty levels available, the top of which is actually challenging, it mixes things up even more. But once you realize that those challenge nodes are basically there as a smoke and mirror effect to hide the fact that there's one level (a circle), the formula starts to falter. There's just a few enemy types in total to do battle with, and only two -- the laser-blasting Battleship and the snake-like Bouncer -- are truly unique. The rest feel like fodder, and wander around aimlessly without any real rhyme or reason. Even though there's two colors (red and purple) to differentiate them, most of the time I couldn't tell them apart. [embed]338525:62101:0[/embed] As time goes on, you have the options to unlock new weapons and starting loadouts, but that's about it. Mechanics like the heat meter, which halts fire momentarily to jettison a bomb that can harm the player, are cool in theory (it sounds cool just talking about it), but they only serve to break up the pacing. The few modes that are available feel too similar, and the "creation" mode that I was initially excited to dive into only allows players to choose custom rulesets from a strict table, so you aren't actually given a lot of freedom. The good news is that AIPD supports up to four players locally, so if you have three other friends who are die-hard shmup fans, it's worth checking out. Otherwise you can steer clear and pick up the heap of other great shooters on Steam or PS4. Those platforms have no shortage of them. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
AIPD review photo
Yes, that's the actual title
Who polices the AI Police? Good question.

Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops III: Awakening

Feb 02 // Chris Carter
Call of Duty: Black Ops III (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: TreyarchPublisher: ActivisionReleased: February 2, 2016 (PS4) / TBA (PC, Xbox One)MSRP: $14.99 ($50 Season Pass for four packs) When it comes to map design, Treyarch is one of the best in the business. One of its go-to staples is the three-lane approach, which allows for all sorts of interesting firefights and strategies throughout every game type. It takes it to an extreme here with Gauntlet, as it hosts three unique themes in each lane -- tropical, arctic, and industrial. Each area evokes feelings of the past Black Ops maps, Jungle, Discovery, and Kowloon respectively, which is good company to be in. Gauntlet is instantly recognizable, and really feels like three maps in one. If anything it's a bit too tunnel-oriented as folks will no doubt have issues with a lack of elevation (especially in the arctic and jungle themes), but it gets the job done and I'm glad it's in the rotation. [embed]338194:62083:0[/embed] Splash (pictured up top) is typical Treyarch at its finest. It's an absurd water park map that wouldn't feel out of place at Disney World's Caribbean Beach Resort. It's bright, it's littered with shops and rides, and even has a Main Street area. Water slides dot the landscape, as do cute mascot signs that top the previous meta Burger Town franchise -- it would feel right at home in the wackier Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare games. It's crazy that you can consistently read the detail on individual signs now as well (a few of which made me laugh, like the "no selfie stick" one), instead of haphazardly trying to read blurry scrawls. It's one of my favorite maps in years, with a wide array of open areas and indoor close-quarters combat sections. Skyjacked, quite simply, is a remake of Hijacked from Black Ops II. This map was a bit divisive in the community due to its close-quarters focus and propensity to promote camping, so most of you have already made up your mind on it. Personally it was one of my favorites, so I'm glad to see Treyarch bringing it back here, and was happy to play it again. The new theme isn't a half-measure like some past remakes, as the entire affair now takes place in a floating fortress, set to the backdrop of an ongoing city battle. It's a remake of a good map that's made even better due to jumpjet and wallrunning capabilities. There's usually one map that I outright dislike in a pack, and this time it's Rise. It's far too gated and familiar for my tastes, and is nearly indistinguishable from a few industrial levels included in the base package (namely Exodus). There are times where you'd think a cool new area is just waiting around a corner, but then the game doesn't allow you to actually go there due to invisible walls. It's almost like they spent too much time building the other three to really put the proper amount of care in here. If it comes up in the rotation I usually cringe. Der Eisendrache (The Iron Dragon) caps off the DLC, which immediately adds more of an incentive to pick up Awakening. Peppering in one zombie (or alien) map is a strategy the other Call of Duty developers (Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer) have adopted for good reason -- the sheer amount of depth in these things keep people coming back for more. I really dig the whole castle theme, which basically goes full Wolfenstein from the start. I'm sad to see the Jeff Goldblum crew seemingly isn't returning for more, but the original cast is iconic enough to last, spearheaded by Steve Blum's Dempsey. The animated intro certainly helps give the level a different feel as well, and it's crazy that Treyarch is still building upon the lore it created so many years ago in World at War. Der Eisendrache surprised me as well with its open layout, with plenty of room to move, lots of teleporters, and tons of secrets that players will be tracking down weeks after launch. As Nikolai even remarks during Der Eisendrache, "will there ever be an end to this nightmare?" Not as long as Activision keeps selling DLC, there isn't! But one man's nightmare is another man's video game, and the good news is that each Call of Duty developer has been pushing itself harder in recent years to justify the price. If you still play Black Ops III, you can't really go wrong with Awakening -- especially since the new maps are now built into normal playlists from the get-go.
Call of Duty DLC review photo
Four maps and some zombies
It's still crazy to me that I'm loading up a Call of Duty DLC pack first on PlayStation 4. After years of Microsoft-dominated timed exclusivity Sony finally has its shot at heading it up, and it has perfect timing with Black Ops III. As one of the best Call of Duty games in years, it allows Awakening plenty of room to breathe, and lets Treyarch be its unconventional self.

Dying Light photo
Dying Light

Dying Light will be removed from digital storefronts for three days


Be prepared
Feb 02
// Chris Carter
Technland has announced that come February 9, you won't be able to buy vanilla Dying Light digitally. Instead, it will be removed entirely, and replaced with the Enhanced Edition of the game on February 12. This transiti...
The Division photo
The Division

Leaked schedule confirms existence of open beta for The Division, Homefront beta


Among others
Feb 01
// Chris Carter
Ubisoft extended the Division closed beta for a day, but there may be hope yet if you wanted to get in. According to this post from the Xbox Italy Facebook account, Microsoft will host an event that's open to everyone fr...
Star Mazer photo
Star Mazer

Create your own '80s anime adventure in Starr Mazer


Wall-to-wall shower scenes for me
Jan 31
// Nic Rowen
I used to skip Sunday school every weekend I could to watch poorly localized episodes of Tekkaman and Robotech and hang out in my pajamas. I loved them, but even at the time something seemed off about them, stilted ...
Star Wars photo
Star Wars

Disney will not allow EA to break canon with Star Wars Battlefront


But I want to be BB-8!
Jan 30
// Zack Furniss
While we've known since last month that Star Wars Battlefront is going to focus on the original trilogy for this release in the series, we didn't know exactly why. An EA earnings call (via VideoGamer) has shed some light on w...
The Division photo
The Division

Ubisoft can't keep up with demand for The Division's closed beta


Some people are stuck waiting
Jan 29
// Jordan Devore
Ubisoft says it "can no longer guarantee access" to this weekend's closed beta for Tom Clancy's The Division due to "unprecedented demand." "If you have already pre-ordered The Division and have yet to receive your key, we'r...

Review: Bombshell

Jan 29 // Steven Hansen
Bombshell (PC)Developer: Interceptor EntertainmentPublisher: 3D RealmsReleased: January 29, 2016MSRP: $34.99 The most surprising thing about this 2016 heir to the Duke Nukem throne is how toothless it is. The Duke's puerile shtick is beyond dated as 2011's tragedy Duke Nukem Forever might remind us, but save for a rocket launcher called the "PMS" -- haha, menstruation! -- Bombshell is tonally distinct, and instead goes for a nerfed "ooh rah" à la Independence Day. It even opens with a Fourth of July alien invasion of the White House and kidnapped president (whose American flag eye patch is, admittedly, hilarious). The result is a milquetoast lead whose repeated, constant combat barks like, "I never thought aliens would land on the White House lawn" or "You're not worth the metal you're made of" or "Die, alien scum" do disservice to a solid acting performance. Making an old-school, character-led action game with a boring character is a huge misstep. In the opening cutscene, Shelly's jeep is blown up. It's on screen and blown up in a few seconds. There are two combat barks devoted to complaining about her lost car and they're totally unearned. I forgot there even was a car until roughly the 25th mention. At one point an enemy must've fallen off the map without dying because I had to hear his robotic droning about his shield every five seconds for the next 45 minutes.  [embed]337527:62042:0[/embed] In addition to being boring, Bombshell is a bit broken. I fell through the level and died three times. Shelly got stuck in place on a couple occasions, necessitating a restart to accompany the countless times she hitched on the environment. Enemies get stuck, too, or at least some choose to lay down arms and not attack until I kill them, anyway. Sometimes the map, which is uncovered as you explore, completely erases itself and leaves you with no sense of direction. The latter was far more annoying than I thought it could be, especially given that it was coupled with archaic level design. There are three distinct areas in Bombshell, including an ice stage, because this is a video game, and they're all designed like someone cracked a sheet of glass and traced the sprawling result. There are constant dead ends, fetch quests, and side quests that actually require backtracking to turn in. The mini-map, on the other hand, is incredibly useful because the camera is kept so tight that you will regularly run face-first into bullets if you navigate by watching Shelly move rather than watching the blips on the mini-map. Apparently fixed isometric perspective shooters were also missing a huge thing all these years: platforming. Most of my deaths came after falling into a pool of water or after walking over a nonsensical hole in the ground like some Wile E. Coyote shit, like the architect of the alien home world had a debilitating Swiss cheese fetish. But it isn't just that there is platforming, it's that it is floaty and unsatisfying. One of the reasons Shelly's lines bomb (besides that they're vacuous and repeated a hundred times) is that they're so disconnected from the character in the isometric view, and similarly there isn't anything to ground or give weight to her jumps. Even her walking animation is like a hockey puck on ice. That missing weight is a big part of why Bombshell's most redeeming factors, the twin-stick-style shooting, also falls flat. The weapons (rapid-fire machine gun, shotgun, flamethrower, and so on) have little stopping power. Enemies don't seem to react when shot, but instead absorb bullets like sponges until their HP empties and they limply rag doll to the floor. The first two worlds accost you with loads of pain-in-the-ass tiny enemies that poison (damage over time) or freeze you (slow movement speed) while the last just goes full bore and sends out six Gundam-sized robots at a time. I appreciated being able to see them more clearly than the ankle-biters, but seeing giant robot after giant robot go weak in the knees after getting hit with a laser beam was almost pathetic. Also, the last level theme (it goes alien, ice, metal) looks exactly like the end of Mass Effect 2 down to the Terminator-cribbed robots. Which reminds: Bombshell has some of the worst boss fights I have ever played. Sticking to conventions, they tend to be of the three-phase fare and toss regular enemies into the mix to make things more difficult. By the last form of the first boss I was out of ammo save for Shelly's default, infinite-ammo weapon. I beat it by standing pissing distance in front of the boss and holding the trigger for a few minutes while scrolling through Twitter. The same thing happened with the boss of the ice world, which decided it just wasn't interested in attacking me during its final phase. Every once in a while, during a taut firefight that actually necessitates mixing and matching weapons (the shotgun alt fire, a stun gun, is possibly too useful), there are glimpses of a solid shooter let down by everything else around it. As it stands, playing Bombshell for more than an hour at a time is like ingesting a sedative, save for flashes of rage as you fall through the map one more time or are asked to find six more crystals. [This review is based on a build of the game provided by the publisher.] 
Bombshell reviewed photo
Dud Nukem
"It's so hard to believe this is real. It's like a video game or something." A random soldier told me this in Bombshell and it's not the worst meta dialogue in the game. Shelly "Bombshell" Harrison is quick to complain about ...

Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Peter Stormare returns in Call of Duty's new ad campaign


'The Replacer'
Jan 29
// Chris Carter
Peter Stormare has entertained me for years, and is one of the greatest character actors of our time -- Fargo, Big Lebowski, Bad Boys II, Until Dawn, hell, even Prison Break -- classic performances. Now he's ba...
Duke Nukem 3D photo
Duke Nukem 3D

Duke Nukem 3D turns 20 today


[Extremely Buzzfeed voice] 'Feel old?!'
Jan 29
// Chris Carter
Want to feel old? You'll never believe which 3D Realms game turns 20 today! Duke Nukem 3D was released on January 29, 1996, two decades ago. At the time it was not only a great shooter (my favorite by far), but it also s...
Ubisoft photo
Ubisoft

Ubisoft spills the beans for The Division's Season Pass


DLC is the place to be
Jan 28
// Chris Carter
The Division is an Ubisoft game, so it will have DLC. Lots of it. We all assumed this, now we know -- the publisher has laid out their plans openly before its March launch. In addition to free regular updates, there will...
Destiny photo
Destiny

You can now view Destiny's Calcified Fragment list by character


Finally!
Jan 28
// Chris Carter
After not having it since launch, Bungie has made it possible to view Destiny's Calcified Fragments per character. For those who aren't aware, fragments are small little hidden objects found in various missions -- if you...
Destiny photo
Destiny

Bungie president steps down, new CEO announced


'Destiny is a one-of-a-kind experience'
Jan 28
// Vikki Blake
Harold Ryan has stepped down as Bungie's president.  As yet a replacement president has not been announced, although former COO Pete Parsons will be taking up a new position as CEO. Though there’s no explanations a...
Team Fortress 2 photo
Team Fortress 2

Think you're good enough to rock Team Fortress 2 competitively?


Time to prove it!
Jan 28
// Vikki Blake
Here’s your chance to prove it, boyo. Though there’s, as yet, nothing on the official Team Fortress 2 website, Valve has launched a new Steam Community Group dedicated to keeping players updated about the new beta...
Deep Silver bundle photo
Deep Silver bundle

Two of Deep Silver's best (and most different) series got bundled together


Saints Row and Metro
Jan 27
// Brett Makedonski
Two of Deep Silver's best franchises, Saints Row and Metro (some would probably throw Dead Island in there), are no longer mutually-exclusive entities. Well, not as far as consumerism goes, anyway. A Saints Row/Metr...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Call of Duty: Black Ops III's newest zombie map has Wolfenstein vibes


I'm in
Jan 27
// Chris Carter
I'm all in with the new zombie cast in Call of Duty: Black Ops III (headlined by Jeff Goldbum), but I'll take Der Eisendrache as well -- the newest map set to debut in the Awakening DLC. It brings back the original ...
Homefront photo
Homefront

Homefront: The Revolution has four player co-op


Gang Solves the North Korea Situation
Jan 26
// Brett Makedonski
Homefront: The Revolution's fight for freedom will be a tough one, but not necessarily a lonely one. Deep Silver revealed today that the game is sporting a four-player cooperative mode. Multiplayer cooperative has been dubbe...
Bombshell photo
Bombshell

Bombshell's sword does exactly what you'd expect a sword to do


Cut my life into pieces
Jan 26
// Brett Makedonski
The sword may be the pinnacle of tried-and-true when it comes to weaponry. The formula was perfect some 3,000 years ago and little has changed since. Sure, there have been some incremental improvements (everyone wants a Hatt...
Battlefront DLC photo
Battlefront DLC

These are Star Wars Battlefront's DLC plans


Some free, some paid
Jan 26
// Jordan Devore
Despite liking Star Wars Battlefront quite a lot initially -- far more than I would've expected, going in -- I think it has been, what? A month since I last played? That weekend bonus XP event in December is the last time I r...
Destiny photo
Destiny

Destiny's matchmaking is getting overhauled this week


During Iron Banner
Jan 26
// Chris Carter
Destiny is getting a much needed overhaul with its matchmaking process, as it pertains to the PVP element of the game -- the Crucible. According to a post from Bungie, "more emphasis" will be placed on connection quality...
Umbrella Corps photo
Umbrella Corps

Umbrella Corps is coming in May, looks more mod than Resident Evil game


I hear it's alright
Jan 26
// Chris Carter
Capcom has revealed the release date for Umbrella Corps -- May 2016. It'll be released digitally on the PC and PS4. Can I just pause for a second to say how odd that is, despite the fact that we knew the platform and dig...
The Division photo
The Division

Beta codes for The Division just went out


Check your email
Jan 26
// Chris Carter
If you're excited to give The Division a go (you can read all about it here compliments of our own Zack Furniss), check your inboxes -- Ubisoft is sending out codes for the beta now. Of course, the actual event doesn't s...
Halo 5 photo
Halo 5

Someone created Peach's castle in Halo 5


Brick by brick
Jan 25
// Chris Carter
Someone re-created Peach's Castle from Mario 64 in Halo 5. That's good! Due to the object limit though there's no interior. That's bad! The resourceful Bearskopff has taken to Halo 5's Forge mode to craft his own version...
Garden Warfare 2 photo
Garden Warfare 2

These are the loyalty rewards for Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2


Based on your Garden Warfare 1 rank
Jan 21
// Jordan Devore
When you first play the final version of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (how'd you like the beta?), you're going to want to look out for the mailbox in the hub world -- that's where you can import your characters and pr...
Overwatch photo
Overwatch

The Overwatch beta will return with a new mode and more maps


Expected to reappear in mid-February
Jan 21
// Jordan Devore
Blizzard took its closed beta for Overwatch offline in December to pore over player feedback, tighten the balance, and continue working on new features. It will return a little later than some were expecting -- January is now...
Tom Clancy's The Division photo
Tom Clancy's The Division

You'll be able to preload The Division beta 48 hours in advance


Love this feature
Jan 21
// Chris Carter
When the PC beta for The Division is apparently going to weigh in at 26GB, you'll appreciate the fact that you can preload it. Ubisoft has confirmed that players will be able to preload 48 hours in advance, in fact, so plan a...
At least he doesn't vape photo
At least he doesn't vape

Epic's Paragon introduces a pipe-smoking Ivan Ooze


New characters unveiled
Jan 20
// Steven Hansen
There is some barrier to entry for the (wildly successful) MOBA genre. Epic's (Gears of War) shot at the genre, Paragon, is coming to consoles (PS4 and PC) and is a pulled in third-person game following MOBA principles, whic...
Bombshell photo
Bombshell

Bombshell from 3D Realms is out next week, costs $35


First in a decade from the publisher
Jan 20
// Chris Carter
3D Realms reminded us yesterday that Bombshell is the first 3D Realms game to go gold in over a decade. While the jury is still out on this rather elusive title, I'm glad they're still around having grown up with th...
Metal Gear Online photo
Metal Gear Online

Metal Gear Online's PC beta is already over, officially launches today


That was fast
Jan 19
// Chris Carter
Last we heard, Metal Gear Online's PC beta was pulled due to an exploit last week, but in the middle of researching when a fix would happen, I found out the thing already launched! According to a post on Steam from the develo...

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