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Xenoblade Chronicles X photo
Xenoblade Chronicles X

Skells ain't no joke in Xenoblade Chronicles X

Launching next month
Nov 10
// Chris Carter
I've heard mixed things out of Japan regarding Xenoblade Chronicles X, but like every other release, I'm excited to experience it for myself next month. Nintendo has been consistently trying to hype people up with a ser...

Very Quick Tips: Fallout 4

Nov 10 // Chris Carter
General tips: It helps to research the perk chart first before you start putting points into anything. That way you can attain your desired choices right away without having to grind out stats. Consult the below video for some help. If anything "big" happens that seems monumental in terms of the story, check that room far and wide for bobble heads and comic books -- that's often when they show up. Don't forget to level up! That sounds obvious, but it's easy to forget when you're in the heat of battle. Check your Pip-Boy and look at the bottom of the screen to see if you have any points to spend. [from Dtoid's Jordan Devore] Get the perk Lead Belly (2 END) as soon as you can. Drinking water without repurcussions will help conserve simpaks. That way when you get into the thick of it without anything to drink, you'll have plenty of healing power. [embed]318561:61034:0[/embed] Lock picking is the same it's always been, but it's important to know the basics. If you hear or feel a vibration in any way, ease off. Tilt the sticks ever so slightly and gently try to get as far as you can with the tumbler before you commit. Confused with hacking still? Note that when choosing a password, common letters in the real answer will show up on screen. For example, if you choose CAT, and the answer is DOG, you will have zero likenesses, which will help clue you in and eliminate similar phrases. Take your time with these sections -- there's no need to rush. When you're engaged in combat and you're out of Action Points, initiate V.A.T.S. anyway, cancel, and then start shooting -- your sights should be mostly lined up with the target. It's also a good idea to regularly press the V.A.T.S. button if you are entering an unfamiliar area and you aren't sure where enemies might be. [from Dtoid's Jordan Devore] Advanced tips (light mission spoilers but nothing major): If you're turning in a Minutemen mission to Preston Garvey and he's chilling at one of your settlements, make sure to sleep on one of your beds for the "well-rested" XP boost before talking to him [from Dtoid's Jordan Devore] If you're on the "Freedom Trail" mission, look for the red markings on the ground, not the lanterns. Walk around the perimeter of the park the mission starts you off at, and follow the red lines on the ground to the north. If you get lost and lose a line, just backtrack and try your best to follow the cracks. Have you broken down yet and thrown your controller against a wall? Here's the solution. Not long into helping the Brotherhood of Steel, you'll acquire smoke grenades that you can use to call in a Vertibird to your current position. Once it lands, you can hop in the vehicle and travel to a different location or, better yet, just sit inside the Vertibird while it remains stationary and use its turret to cheese fights against giant enemies. This method requires some planning, but it works particularly well against super mutant behemoths and a specific mirelurk in one of the side missions. [from Dtoid's Jordan Devore]
Fallout 4 photo
Boston cream tips
Fallout 4, like its predecessors, is a lot to take in from start to finish. The open world and leveling mechanics can seem daunting, as any wrong move can leave you without proper equipment to take on particular tasks. Here's some tips to help you along the way.

Review: Rodea the Sky Soldier

Nov 09 // Chris Carter
Rodea the Sky Soldier (3DS, Wii, Wii U [reviewed])Developer: Kadokawa Games, PropePublisher: Kadokawa Shoten, NISMSRP: $39.99 (3DS) / $59.99 (Wii U with Wii edition for first-print copies)Released: April 2, 2015 (Japan), November 10, 2015 (US) Rodea is a strange, strange game. While the Wii version uses IR movement and is more in line with the creator's original vision, and the 3DS edition has even more differences, this assessment deals directly with the Wii U. This is a traditional single-player action game with RPG elements, most of which remind me of the golden age of JRPGs. You have your shonen hero (Rodea), a robot who has been stricken with amnesia at the start of the game, and must stop the evil Naga empire from taking over. Oh, there's one catch: his princess gave him an actual heart, so he's not a soulless machine. If you end up choosing the Japanese audio option, the narrative, while cheesy, is watchable. Where Rodea really spreads its wings is the open-ended flight gameplay, similar to Nights into Dreams. Within the confines of each semi-open level, Rodea can move around on foot, jump, hover, boost attack enemies, and blast off into the sky. The gist is that he has a limited flight time (it's actually rather generous), and once his meter is expended, he must either pivot off of a solid object, or land on the ground and start a new flight pattern. It's jarring at first, but it's easy to get the hang of after about 30 minutes, and you have a huge degree of freedom. Some of it is even automated (grabbing pickups, grinding wires), but never to the extreme degree of the 3D Sonic titles. Although the GamePad does support off-screen play, there's no need to even look at it, as the controls are entirely traditional on Wii U. The open design works both for and against Rodea. While it's amazing to look into the horizon at times and see areas you can readily explore, the draw distance is often so poor that it's tough to plot out a full course. Additionally, a lot of zones tend to blend together, with entire areas that have nothing more than empty plains seemingly unfinished. Rodea also starts to falter when it adds more elements to the mix beyond its core conceit. While the boost attack is fairly foolproof (it's a lot like the 3D Sonic games' homing attack), gunplay is shoehorned in. It isn't fun at all. The fact that the controls feel dated isn't entirely the player's fault, as the entire game feels like something out of last generation, and possibly even a generation before that. That's not to say Rodea doesn't sport a beautiful art style -- because it does -- just that occurrences like slowdown, pop-in, and occasional glitches are present more than they should be. Individual missions can get boring, but flying is always a joy, and bosses are often the highlight. They'll range from humanoid fights to giant hulking monstrosities, and both varieties are a blast while they last. This is a decently long affair, with over 25 levels, upgrades to purchase, and even a secret shop with extras like an additional mode. You can expect anywhere from 15-30 hours once everything is said and done. You rarely see things like this outside of DLC, so it's refreshing that the game feels so feature complete, even if it technically has three different versions in the end. Rodea the Sky Soldier really hits that sweet spot when it comes to evoking the wonder of flight, but the troubled developmental process is tangible in the final build. For those of you who can stomach older experiences however, you'll likely overlook some of its issues and find a lot to love. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Rodea review photo
A rusted robot with a heart
The history of Rodea the Sky Soldier is one muddled with platform changes and developmental issues galore. Originally slated as a Wii game in 2010, producer Yuji Naka ran into publishing troubles, and the project was ess...

Dark Souls III photo
Dark Souls III

Dark Souls III looks to have two collector's editions, each with a statue

And a possible release date leak
Nov 09
// Brett Makedonski
Thanks to yet another retailer slip-up, we have new information that a publisher was trying to guard. This time it comes courtesy of Geekay Games, and it seems as if we now know about Dark Souls III's collector's editions and...
Dad Quest Kickstarter photo
Dad Quest Kickstarter

Close to home: dad throws son at foes in Dad Quest

Ah, the memories
Nov 09
// Darren Nakamura
I don't know why fatherhood has become such a prevalent theme among indie games lately, but I like it. There was Octodad, then Dad by the Sword, then Dad Beat Dads. Now there is Dad Quest, and it reminds me a lot of my own ch...
Affordable Space photo
Affordable Space

Affordable Space Adventures is getting a huge update this month

For Wii U
Nov 09
// Chris Carter
A lot of people have taken to the Wii U eShop's Affordable Space Adventures, and it looks like there may be another excuse to boot it up this month. This week, the game's price will drop down to $14.99 (from $19.99) for two w...
Fallout 4 photo
Fallout 4

Video Review: Fallout 4

Just in case you hate reading
Nov 09
// Myles Cox
Looks like it's about that time again, Chris the Miracle Worker has managed to review a relatively little known game called Fallout 4. That said, who the hell reads reviews nowadays? So much time and reading text and you hav...

Review: Fallout 4

Nov 09 // Chris Carter
Fallout 4 (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Bethesda Game StudiosPublisher: Bethesda SoftworksMSRP: $59.99Released: November 10, 2015 [Light spoilers below in the first two paragraphs for the first 30 minutes of the game] With Fallout 4, Bethesda returns to the "where is my family member" storyline that began with the great search for Liam Neeson back in 2008. You'll have a brief opportunity to take in pre-apocalypse life with your family (the day the bombs dropped, on October 23, 2077), then it's off to the Vault, where you will stay, frozen in hyper-sleep, for 200 years. Upon waking up, you're off on a Mel Gibson Ransom-esque quest to find your son. The slight twist of unloading your character 200 years into the future makes for an interesting premise, but it never really fully commits. Often times you'll encounter residents who are confused and "can't believe" that you're from the old world, but those conversations quickly devolve into the matter at hand or another questline. On the other side of the coin, since the world your avatar (male or female) experiences is new, there is no need to play past games in the series outside of knowing the ins and outs of a few bits of lore fluff here and there. Even then, concepts are reexplained with reckless abandon. [End intro spoilers] Without spoiling anything further, the main narrative is generally weaker than most of the side storylines, which isn't anything particularly new with Fallout. Players will start off doing odd jobs for various wastelanders, recruiting new companions and making enemies along the way, with a few twists and turns at the tale's midpoint. Eventually, you'll come across forms of synthetic life, which serves as the crux of a core piece of the story. Again, Bethesda's writing team never fully commits to this concept, and it's kind of just there, with a few "gotcha" moments meant to elicit a response with mixed results. For those who are curious, yes, faction-divergent storylines and endings are possible. Just like in the past, most of your excitement will come from roaming around the wasteland on your own, discovering new abodes and secrets, which is far easier to do in Fallout 4. Small additions like playable retro games make discovery that much more meaningful, along with all of the coveted bobbleheads and comic books strewn about the overworld. The map is so huge and so diverse that there's a new secret boss or location waiting at every turn, and the addition of 12 total companions helps mix things up a bit. [embed]318096:60994:0[/embed] The companion system has been enhanced slightly, as it is now possible to issue basic fetch or interaction commands by clicking on their person, and clicking on an object -- you can also send them to a desired location after parting instead of leaving them to their own devices. It's very rudimentary, but it's a marked improvement. The main narrative clocks in at roughly 15 hours, but players could likely spend well over 100 in a single playthrough and still not find everything. Despite the puffing up of id Software's involvement with the combat systems though, it's relatively the same song and dance. While it is still possible to engage in active combat with an ADS mechanic, the V.A.T.S. aiming system, which pauses your game and allows players to target specific body parts, is still king. Often times I'd waste ammo shooting directly at a foe's head doing little damage, only to switch back to V.A.T.S. and score a one-hit kill headshot. Bethesda has tried to make it a tad more action-oriented with "critical shots" that can be used every so often, but it feels like a half-measure. The good news is if you loved Fallout's combat before, you'll feel right at home. Speaking of homes, housing situations are enhanced thanks to the new home building mechanic. Now instead of finding makeshift diners to camp out at, and storing knick-knacks in random drawers, players can hold a button to bring up a Sims-style crafting system, complete with furniture, power grids, and practical elements like workstations. Even if you're not all that into creating things, it's still quite useful for small quality-of-life additions, like an extra bed to recover life in, and so on. Having said that, there is a caveat -- inventory management is still a pain using the Pip-Boy. To build objects, you'll need to acquire individual elements such as "ceramics," which can be a coffee cup for instance, or "glass," such as a Nuka Cola bottle. The Pip-Boy UI still displays things like an unmanageable list, so it's really tough to see what you have on hand without spending tons of time in menu screens. The same principle goes for weapons and armor. It's doable, but it's annoying. Power armor is also completely revamped, and I'm torn as to its implementation. For one, you can't just "equip" power armor pieces and call it a day. It's now an item or a power-up of sorts that you actually get into, and need to constantly fuel with a specific power source. If you're out of fuel, the suit walks slowly and it's nigh impossible to actually get anywhere. In theory, the idea of building and using your own armor sounds cool, but it's very limited, and there were very few occasions where I'd actively want to go back to a location, grab my suit, and venture out. In fact I'd burn through fuel so quickly that I just said "screw it" most of the time, as it actively stifles exploration. The perk system is probably one of the biggest changes, all said. Perks are now acquired by way of a huge grid with lovable Vault Boy animations, and the possibilities allow for an essentially unlimited amount of leveling. Players can also put points directly into SPECIAL stats (which impact things like conversational ability and carrying capacity) if they wish. It's such a small thing, to make everything so visual, but it actively fueled my quest to acquire more experience and attain more perks, some of which drastically alter gameplay -- like the power to swim openly without gaining radiation sickness. At this point, you're probably aware of Bethesda's history with shipping buggy open-world games by now. If you were hoping that somehow a generational leap would magically buck that trend, prepare to be disappointed. Nearly every classic glitch is accounted for, including occasional save data issues, repeated dialogue, frameskipping, severe frame-rate drops, pop-in, falling through the floor, and so on. For those of you who are used to this with the past work, it's par for the course -- for everyone else who doesn't put up with it, nothing has changed. I should also note that while visual issues were persistently present in the Xbox One edition (reviewed here), I only ran into full-on game crashing twice during my travels. Given how glitchy it is, I can only speculate as to whether or not there will be any game-breaking bugs that completely halt progress, but it seems very likely. After spending over 40 hours with the game, I can safely place it somewhere in the middle of Fallout 3 and New Vegas in terms of quality. A lot of the franchise's signature problems have carried over directly into Fallout 4, but all of its charms have come along for the ride as well. It manages to do a whole lot right, but the story drags at times, and glitches...glitches never change. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Fallout 4 review photo
Like war, Fallout games never change
My first introduction to the Fallout series was in 1997, with Interplay's wonderfully open and unique strategy RPG titles. So when Fallout 3 first dropped from Bethesda years later, I was taken aback by a lot of the concessio...

Naughty Dog photo
Naughty Dog

Naughty Dog doesn't have a plan for Uncharted beyond the next game

Or where anything is going
Nov 06
// Brett Makedonski
Four months from the launch of Uncharted 4, developer Naughty Dog has no idea what direction the franchise will go next. Uncharted 4 is subtitled A Thief's End for good reason. It's said to be the last chapter in pr...
Fallout 4 photo
Fallout 4

Pre-ordered Fallout 4 on Xbox One? Better check your installed files

Placeholder file flares up again
Nov 06
// Vikki Blake
If you pre-ordered Fallout 4 on Xbox One before October 27, 2015, and don't have your console set to Instant On, check your files -- you may have a placeholder file downloaded instead of the actual game. "If you’ve digi...
AC Syndicate photo
AC Syndicate

Assassin's Creed Syndicate's PC requirements are done hiding in the shadows

They're pretty reasonable
Nov 05
// Brett Makedonski
It's almost impossible to talk about Assassin's Creed on PC without bringing up last year's Unity debacle. It was so profound that it likely affected the release of Syndicate, pushing it back a month so that Ubisoft...
One free Syndicate DLC photo
One free Syndicate DLC

Why the hell are Assassin's Creed Syndicate's goofy steampunk costumes 1GB?

Large, bad DLC (but free!)
Nov 05
// Steven Hansen
God, of course it was coming. Fucking steampunk. It will never be cool or good, you're exactly like that shitty we-live-a-Victorian-lifestyle couple that everyone made fun of for their shitty thinkpiece about how great life i...
Just Cause 3 photo
Just Cause 3

Just Cause 3 runs better on PS4 than Xbox One

Surprising absolutely nobody
Nov 05
// Laura Kate Dale
Thanks to a new interview we now know what resolution Just Cause 3 will run at on PS4 and Xbox One. Surprising absolutely nobody, the PS4 version runs at a higher resolution. According to an interview with GamingBolt, the gam...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Ubisoft: Syndicate sales were 'clearly impacted' by Assassin's Creed Unity

But it has 'nicely outperformed' since
Nov 05
// Vikki Blake
Ubisoft has acknowledged that Assassin's Creed Syndicate sales have been "clearly impacted" by the performance issues of its predecessor, Assassin's Creed Unity. In an investor call last night, Ubisoft executive Alain Martinez said: "Clearly, in our first week, we were impacted by what happened with Assassin's Creed Unity."
Smashing the Battle photo
Smashing the Battle

One man made this big-breasted PS4 brawler

Smashing the Battle
Nov 05
// Steven Hansen
A new, comic book styled 3D action game was announced at the recent Sony Korea press conference. Smashing the Battle comes from one-man Korean developer Studio HG. It started life as a mobile game, but a PS4 version is in th...
Tomb Raider video photo
Tomb Raider video

Rise of the Tomb Raider actually has tombs

Just like what's in her name!
Nov 04
// Steven Hansen
The final "Woman vs. Wild" Rise of the Tomb Raider video has been released and it focuses on the thing many thought the reboot lacked: tombs what to raid. Lara actually does way more archaeology this time around, it seems.
Disney Infinity 3.0 photo
Disney Infinity 3.0

Ultron and Darth Maul hit Disney Infinity 3.0 this week

In toy form, of course
Nov 04
// Chris Carter
This week, four new toys are arriving in the Disney Infinity 3.0 universe -- Darth Maul, Ultron, Hulkbuster Iron Man, and Spot. While Hulkbuster is technically a larger, more premium-like figure, it's listed at the same MSRP ...
AC Syndicate photo
AC Syndicate

Assassin's Creed Syndicate has a Uplay reward actually worth getting

For once
Oct 31
// Brett Makedonski
Uplay, Ubisoft's digital rights management service and scourge in the eyes of most gamers, had one cool concept once upon a time. When the program launched, it was supposed to reward players by unlocking things through gamep...
Ratchet & Clank photo
Ratchet & Clank

Ratchet & Clank has some great aesthetics, channels its inner Star Fox

Barrel rolls lookin' fine
Oct 30
// Brett Makedonski
As a part of the on-going Paris Games festivities, Insomniac put out a nice little gameplay video for the upcoming Ratchet & Clank game. The tropical setting really pops on PS4, and everything generally looks great....
Mighty No. 9 photo
Mighty No. 9

Mighty No. 9 gets a new site, still a long ways away

Man, this game
Oct 30
// Chris Carter
A new website has popped up for Mighty No. 9, delivering all of the previous information in one place. This includes a look at all eight Robot Masters Mighty Numbers Roll Call, Dr. Light Dr. William White, Mega Man's Bec...
Rise of the Tomb Raider photo
Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider launch trailer features an original song by Karen O

'I Shall Rise'
Oct 30
// Darren Nakamura
Rise of the Tomb Raider is just a couple weeks from launch (for the Xbox One at least), so naturally we can expect a launch trailer to keep the hype train rolling. This one comes with an extra tidbit of news, past the new bit...
NieR: Automata photo
NieR: Automata

First gameplay for NieR: Automata emerges

Yep it's Platinum all right
Oct 29
// Chris Carter
If you happened to attend Paris Games Week, you might have been able to catch a quick look at NieR: Automata, the newest entry in the series developed by Platinum Games. For the millions of you who didn't though, here's a vi...
Arkham Knight photo
Arkham Knight

Digital Foundry on Arkham Knight PC: 'No improvements from interim patch in September'

Except for provisions for DLC
Oct 29
// Chris Carter
Well, this is awkward. Although Batman: Arkham Knight has returned to Steam, all is not well with the game even after multiple patches, and a giant interim patch last month. In fact, investigating further, Eurogamer's Di...
Arkham Knight photo
Arkham Knight

Update: Arkham Knight Steam reviews are being tagged 'Pre Release'

No they ruddy well aren't pre-release
Oct 29
// Laura Kate Dale
[Update: Since the story was posted, the pre release tag has begun to be removed from these reviews]. Boy, Arkham Knight really is the gift that keeps on giving. Yesterday Batman: Arkham Knight finally returned to Steam after...

Review: Assassin's Creed Syndicate

Oct 28 // Brett Makedonski
Assassin's Creed Syndicate (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Ubisoft QuebecPublisher: UbisoftMSRP: $59.99Released: October 23, 2015 (PS4, Xbox One), November 19, 2015 (PC) An early sequence concerns itself with getting illegal opiates in medicine off the streets. The player must trace this back all the way up the supply chain from seller to distributor to manufacturer and, eventually, to the doctor who's behind it all. One high-profile assassination, and the city's a little better off than before. That's an evident narrative example of how Syndicate conveys this ever-present march toward improving London, but gameplay elements also support it. The biggest side-task asks that you liberate sections of town. Once enough of those are cleared, there's a gang war to take over the borough. And, once that's done, that particular one-seventh of the city is rid of Templar influence. It's a formula that Assassin's Creed has drawn from before, but it's hard not to feel as if it works best in Syndicate. That persistent slow-burn sense of accomplishment is present, as it usually is when you see the tides turn in an open-world game. But, the way Syndicate connects gameplay to narrative makes everything really come together. Progress is being made and it's apparent in the way the town goes about its business. [embed]315655:60898:0[/embed] A pivotal reason that this effort succeeds is because Syndicate has a cast of characters that are interesting and memorable. Crawford Starrick is easily one of the best villains in the series, as he puppeteers all of the going-ons. A late-introduced person is simply divine in his madness. By the time his arc resolves, he reminds more of Batman's Joker than anyone from Assassin's Creed's lore. Anchoring this effort are the dual protagonists: Jacob and Evie Frye. As siblings are wont to do, they have a bit of a rivalry that escalates throughout the course of the narrative. Their relationship is strung along by things their father used to say, as interpreted by them individually. As such, they have differing opinions on their goals and how to accomplish them, and they're constantly reminding the other of it. It grows tiresome before long. Really, I suspect that the two protagonist formula was a means for Ubisoft to explore divergent intentions within the course of one game. Evie is hellbent on recovering a Piece of Eden that's hidden somewhere in London; Jacob's set on reclaiming the city and fighting for the people's rights (he's surprisingly altruistic considering his brash demeanor). Told within the the arc of a single hero, these interests wouldn't make for a cohesive game. It'd feel schizophrenic in its approach. But, by breaking it up for two people to pursue, it makes sense. Syndicate's better off for having explored both of these angles, thus, it's better off for having tried the tandem protagonists. For all the big-picture stuff that Syndicate does right, almost all of its missteps are in the gameplay. The franchise mainstays like non-notable assassinations work just as fine as they always have (although combat still lacks sufficient impact to prove satisfying). It's the innovative parts that mostly fall flat. Horse-drawn carriages control awfully and are a pain to drive. Kidnapping is mapped to the same button as other post-kidnapping actions, often leading to mishaps with your hostage. The worst sin comes in the form of the game's most marketable feature. The grappling hook, even with its finicky nature, makes traversing London quick and simple. But it comes at the cost of almost completely cutting climbing out of Assassin's Creed. Simply walking up to a building and pushing the left bumper will transport you to the top. The grappling hook actually feels like cheating after spending eight games getting there the hard way. It's easy to appreciate Ubisoft saving you a bit of time, but pulling back and reflecting after several hours of play will lead you to realize that you've scaled just a tiny fraction of what you have in past titles. Climbing is a major mechanic that drew a lot of people to Assassin's Creed in the first place, so it's sad seeing Syndicate relegate it to an afterthought. Assassinations are the other large appeal to Assassin's Creed titles. Syndicate does them better than ever before. Extrapolating upon the "black box" missions in Unity, we're treated to unique, intriguing, and exciting kills of the game's most notable targets. For instance, that doctor mentioned oh-so many paragraphs up? It'd be easy enough to rush in and off him. Instead, I pickpocketed the keys off of a guard to open all the doors in the asylum. Then, I made my way to the basement where I hid the body of a medical corpse, and laid down in its place. I was wheeled up to the doctor, where I assassinated him as he was about to conduct an inhumane experiment on me. This is where Assassin's Creed as a whole is at its very best and most shows its promise. Anyone who's blowing them off is doing themselves a huge disservice and probably playing the game the wrong way. These black box missions are where you get to feel like an actual assassin and get clever with your kills -- even if it's still scripted in a way. It's a nice compromise after we figured out that open-world scenarios lead to more botched attempts than anything else. A game of this magnitude is bound to have its successes and failures, and Assassin's Creed Syndicate definitely has both. But, in most instances, gameplay and narrative are interwoven nicely enough to keep us vested in our pursuit of a better London. As such, it often seems as if the bad isn't all that noticeable. That's a threshold Assassin's Creed has struggled to hit over the years, and this is the first time it has accomplished that maybe since Brotherhood. One of the more poignant moments in Syndicate is a scene where Crawford Starrick is solemnly playing piano. At the conclusion of the slow, heartfelt song, he earnestly sings "In such a moment, I but ask that you'll remember me. That you'll remember me." We remember you, Assassin's Creed. And now, we have hope for what else you can do.
AC Syndicate review photo
Come together
Perched atop some large edifice in Assassin's Creed Syndicate's London, I hesitated. Many slickly-presented columns of light reached toward the sky in all directions -- each one indicating yet another thing to do in an effort...

Batman photo

Batman: Arkham Knight is back on Steam

Players are getting some free games
Oct 28
// Jordan Devore
Warner Bros. has begun selling the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight again after pulling it from the Steam store in June due to widespread performance issues and bugs. It's currently $49.99. As an apology, the publisher is ...
Horizon Zero Dawn photo
Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn is still lookin' great

Another one for 2016
Oct 27
// Jordan Devore
Horizon Zero Dawn. That's the name I can never seem to remember. Guerrilla Games showed more footage of its action-RPG at Sony's Paris Games Week conference, and this has to be one of the better-looking upcoming PlayStation 4...

The easy way to earn XP and mini medals in Dragon Quest Heroes

Oct 26 // Jordan Devore
[embed]317559:60858:0[/embed] Head to that level and zoom around to the different nodes. Doing so will cause a group of enemies to spawn and a metal slime may be among them -- if not, zoom to the next location. Once you've done that everywhere, select "Evac" from the start menu and try again. If you're struggling to kill metal slimes before they flee, try to land a critical attack. One should be enough. There are items that increase those odds, like the Raging Ruby, which is also used in mini medal grinding. You can also try raising the Deftness stat in your characters' skill trees. For farming mini medals, there is a very specific approach as outlined in this video. [embed]317559:60857:0[/embed] To recap, you will want Bianca outfitted with a Raging Ruby (lower damage, more criticals +5%), Ace of Spoils (extra spoils +10%), and Allure Ring (mini medal drop rate +2%). That last item is the most important one, and it's earned from the Yangus and Jessica quest line. With Bianca in your party, head to the "Caliburgh - Captain" map. Zoom to the Geargate warp and look for a group of red she-slimes. Swap to Bianca and use her R1 + Triangle attack, which launches a volley of homing arrows (note: you don't need to charge this move -- just press triangle once!). Keep using that attack until the enemies in that area are all dead, and then walk back the way you came to force the group to respawn. You'll do this over and over again and wrack up mini medals as well as some bonus XP and gold. This method is a slog, but it's by far the best option. If you're having trouble maintaining Bianca's mana, in the short term, just evac and start the map again. In the long term, make sure to unlock Powersaver and Critical Surge in her skill tree. She'll never run out of mana again as long as your attacks don't repeatedly miss. A note on new game plus: After the credits roll, you can tie up loose ends or begin a new-game-plus run, though I'd hold off. By starting fresh, you'll gain 50 skill points, but some of the best weapons and items in the game won't carry over. Your Battle Records progress for certain trophies won't transfer, either. It's inefficient. If you want that Platinum trophy, you can and should stick to a single playthrough. A note on those ridiculous post-story bosses: Bjorn is the easiest and should be your first target. Shoot him in the head with the turret on the left, and prioritize shooting down his boulder and fireball attacks. Eventually, you'll be able to hop on his head and stab him in the eyes for a bit. Nokturnus is no joke. Familiarize yourself with his moves above all else. The best advice I can give is to make sure your characters have Artful Dodger and Ace Evader in their skill trees. Without those upgrades, it's very hard to avoid his one-hit-kill attack from above. Atlas is unlocked after you beat all of the Veteran versions of the main story bosses (They're called Grudge Matches on the level select screen.) He has a stupid amount of hit points, but there's an easy way to bring him down: Terry! Equip him with a Mighty Armlet (critical hits on weak points +5%), Wrecklace (Coup de Grâce damage +7%), and Titan Belt (damage to weak points +6%). During the fight, use Terry's Falcon Slash (R1 + Circle) to create copies, then repeatedly spam Gust Slash (R1 + Square). This will rapidly build up his tension meter, at which point you can become invincible, activate his Coup de Grâce, stun Atlus, then repeat the process. You'll need to have Terry at a high enough level for him to kill the boss in time, but otherwise it's easy. (This tactic is super useful in most of the game, by the way.) Zoma is the biggest jerk of them all. He should be your final target. You won't win unless you have a high-level party and equipment to offset his magic. I gave my characters a Bunny Tail (reduced freeze time +40%), Lucky Dragon's Wing (magical resistance +20%), and Raging Ruby (lower damage, more criticals +5%). That finally did the trick.
Dragon Quest grinding photo
And tips for those final bosses
Dragon Quest Heroes made my weekend disappear. I had already invested enough time in finishing all of the side quests that I figured I might as well strive for full completion, but a few optional bosses stood in the way. They...

If you haven't played Darksiders II yet, Deathinitive Edition is a good place to start

Oct 26 // Chris Carter
[embed]317424:60853:0[/embed] While Darksiders II is clearly the second game in the series, you don't necessarily need to play the inaugural title to understand what's going on. After all, this is a parallel tale, where Death is on a journey to prove his brother War's innocence. From there, that's all you really need to know. Similar to the first title, Darksiders II is open world, and plays out in a similar manner to many Zelda games, or to give a more apt macabre comparison, the Soul Reaver series. Death is especially nimble as he has a fully featured dodge ability, which makes combat leaps and bounds more interactive and technical than the first game. The exploration element is damn fun, as Death has access to his trusty steed to traverse some of the larger environments, which house myriad secrets and Metroid style upgrade-accessible rooms. Darksiders II is fairly accommodating as well, with a difficulty setting that can be swapped at any time, and the power to save anywhere. It also sports memorable and challenging boss fights on top of interesting dungeons and puzzles. It really is one of the best action adventure games I've played in recent years. The only major holdup I have is the loot system, which peppers in a ton of useless items to sift through. So what's in the new Deathinitive package? For $30 you're getting a native 1080p version of the game, with "increased texture resolution," and a rework of the game's engine to be more in line with a current-generation experience (with upgrades to the metal and stone textures in particular). You'll also net all the DLC included so far, which basically includes a lot of useless items, and three missions that are roughly under an hour each. Point blank, I wouldn't recommend picking it up for the visual enhancements alone or the add-ons. Sure, the textures do look a lot a bit shinier, and native 1080p is a great feature, but it still very much looks like a last-generation title. I played both of them side-by-side and did notice an increase in quality, but not enough to spend your cash on. As for the DLC, all of it is throwaway. Again, if you already own Darksiders II and have your console or PC readily accessible, you may as well just replay your original copy. But by that same token, Deathinitive is a good excuse to dive into the world of Darksiders in general -- so if you haven't taken the plunge yet, consider it. The PC edition still exists as well.
Darksiders2 photo
Darksiders II has become a sort of joke within our community by way of the hashtag #Darksiders2, fostered by our resident funny man, Occams. To this day our readers still use that tag to denote something particularly garish, ...

Spider-Man on Steam photo
Spider-Man on Steam

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions shows up on Steam

Could we be in for more Marvel revivals?
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High Moon Studios' Deadpool recently resurfaced on Steam, and now PC players can check out another older Marvel title, Beenox's Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. By most accounts, it's a decent game. The story centers on four...

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