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Third-Person Shooter

I can't keep up with all these Splatoon updates!

Aug 17 // Patrick Hancock
[embed]305716:60031:0[/embed] Patch 2.0 Heavy Splatling This is definitely one of my new go-to weapons. I still don't feel completely comfortable while using it, but I can already see its potential. The Heavy Splatling needs to spin up before firing, but does not need to be fully spun up to begin firing. The longer the player spins up, the more shots will come out before stopping.  I've been using the Splatling as a more defensive weapon, similar to a Charger-type weapon. It's natural to want to go on the offensive with it since it seems to beastly, but it's just not as effective at in-your-face killing compared to most other weapons. However, using it to hold a location? That's when it shines like a rainbow after a storm!  The Splash Wall is a great pairing for the Splatling, since it's great to use as cover while charging up. It definitely helps to have some Sub Saver abilities on hand though, since the Splash Wall takes a ton of ink to deploy. Slosher I thought the Slosher would be a new favorite of mine, considering I prefer to play up close and personal, but I just haven't jived well with it. It takes two sloshes to kill, so springing up and surprising someone isn't as effective as I'd like. Due to its solid range and accuracy, those who are effective with the Slosher are the ones who hang out at the edge of its range and are constantly moving around in squid form. I'm also not a fan of the pairing of the Slosher with Burst Bombs. I feel as if they serve the same purpose. I can't think of very many situations in which throwing a Burst Bomb would be better than just sloshing it up. Maybe one of you pro Slosher users can enlighten me... New Music [embed]305716:60005:0[/embed] First of all, let me just say how much I love the fact that the in-game music has in-game bands. It's the dedication to things like this that make Splatoon so consistently awesome. The new battle tune is great. I love the chiptune-y vibe from it. I'm also really glad to have more than one single music track for battles. The music that plays during the last 15-30 seconds of the original track was starting to make me go crazy... New Urchin Underpass So, I wasn't completely sure why Urchin Underpass needed a makeover, but after playing its new incarnation, I'm happy to never ever go back. The new map is so much more open than the original. The tree near the spawn apparently caused issue for players, so they moved them to the very center of the map. This is actually a brilliant decision, since these trees perfectly obfuscate part of the center of the map so snipers can't just sit on the elevated sides and wreak havoc.  I didn't mind the map before, but now Urchin Underpass is easily one of my favorites. I feel as if there are a lot of options at any given moment, which is really when Splatoon shines the most. Splatfest Victory Conditions So they changed how Splatfest victories are calculated, and increased the victory part of the equation to count four times. We've since had a Splatfest, which was Marshmallows VS Hot dogs in North America. Marshmallows had a huge popularity lead (64/36), and Hot Dogs had a slight victory lead (48/52). The result was a close one at 256 to 244. So, is this the solution? Personally, I think it's a good idea. I don't mind that popularity factors in to the equation.  Victories are definitely important, and now are weighted way more heavily as a result. Although the change didn't give team Hot dogs the victory, it did make it very close, which is impressive considering the population gap.  Rainmaker Mode This isn't part of the 2.0 patch, but did hit the game very recently. It's a new mode that works a lot like capture the flag. There's a weapon, called the Rainmaker, in the center of the map, and your goal is to bring it to your opponent's base. The Rainmaker acts like an Inkzooka, but can be charged for a much bigger tornado blast. It's a great addition to Ranked mode, but people clearly need some time to understand it. The weapon is enclosed within a shield when it is dropped, and the shield must be popped to pick it up. My advice to all you squidkids out there: pay attention to your surroundings before you pop the shield! I average around 15 kills in this mode, simply because people are staring with tunnel vision at the Rainmaker, ignoring everything else. Teamwork is essential, since movement speed is lowered while holding the weapon. Moving with a squad to protect the Rainmaker feels great, similar to how protecting the payload cart feels in Team Fortress 2.  Okay, I think I'm caught up now with the major Splatoon updates. Unless they just announced one while I was typing this....did they?
Splatoon updates photo
So much new content
It seems like every time I boot up Splatoon, Callie and Marie are telling me about something new added to the game. Weapon variations are added all the time, and just recently, a big 2.0 patch hit. New gear, new types of weap...

Splatoon update photo
Splatoon update

Squid Girl outfit coming to Splatoon this week in Japan


You gotta be squiddin' me
Aug 05
// Ben Davis
[Update: We've spotted all the Squid Girl gear in the U.S. build of the August update. Thanks, Nintendo! Please do Ranma 1/2 next.] Ever since Splatoon's characters were first announced, I've been seeing comparisons between t...
Quantum Break photo
Quantum Break

Quantum Break now has an April 5, 2016 release date


Time moves slow
Aug 04
// Brett Makedonski
Microsoft kicked off its gamescom press conference by bending time and slowly shoving bullets into bad guys. That's Quantum Break -- part third-person cover action game and part television show. We still don't have a goo...

Gears of War HD is fine, but why wasn't active reload its legacy?

Aug 03 // Steven Hansen
[embed]297093:59771:0[/embed] Fergusson calls Ultimate Edition "the first at its best." The team didn't want to update the gameplay to reflect every change brought about by the second and third sequel. It's a "balance between modernization and breaking Gears 1." You still can't move while downed, for instance, but you can spot enemies. Still, the ten-year-old game could use some cleaning up. Fergusson has talked about the slapdash putting together of the original. He noted that, "When you look at Gilligan's Island today, it's a terrible show that should never be watched." That it isn't really funny, "but Mary Ann was hot." This comparison doesn't make a ton of sense because Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is a tech overhaul. It's a shot for shot, line for line remake, like that Psycho with Vince Vaughn. An HD, visually remastered Gilligan's Island would still be Gilligan's Island. I played some Gears Ultimate last week in San Francisco. For shock value, they had Xbox 360s set up to play one round of multiplayer in the original. It is gritty and monotone. Characters feel appropriately like tanks and I struggle to discern between human and alien bug ground monster. This problem didn't go away completely when we switched over to Xbox One, but we can chalk that up to me being not particularly great. I think my team only lost one round, though the win piles were not me carrying folks. Here's a more important question: why is the gruff marine third-person cover shooter the thing that feels most copied from Gears and not active reload? Active reload is still so fucking good. It engages the player when they'd otherwise be waiting for an animation to finish, it has practical advantages, more button presses (in repeatable timing instances) makes for more rhythmic and fluid play. Why didn't everyone do this? The rest of it is still fun, too. The insult of walking patiently up behind a sniper and casually chainsawing them dead. The hulking movement and exploding heads. That one level with a killer train in between halves. And there are new additions like TDM, differing "competitive" and "social" matchmaking, 4K displays if you buy it on PC, additional content if you never played the original PC release. Playing Gears Ultimate will net you the previous Gears games when Xbox One sorts out its backwards compatibility, too, and you of course get early access to Gears 4 down the line.
Hands-on preview photo
Hands-on with the rebuilt Gears of War
Gears of War was not alone in ushering in an era of grimdark, of repetitive third-person cover-based shooting, but it ground our faces deepest into the dirt and grit. At one point an officer yells at prison-broke Marcus Fenix...


Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Devs 'aren't trying to fix gameplay' with Gears of War remaster


But things are being smoothed out
Jul 29
// Brett Makedonski
Even though it'll release almost nine years after the original, Gears of War players won't feel a lot of difference between 2006's game and the remaster. Sure, they'll notice a ton of differences, but they won't feel&nb...
New Splatoon weapons photo
New Splatoon weapons

Splatoon gets new minigun and bucket weapons


The game that keeps on giving
Jul 25
// Patrick Hancock
A new Japanese commercial for Splatoon highlights some brand new weapons coming to the game, including a minigun like the Heavy's in Team Fortress 2. In addition to that, there's a literal bucket that just sloshes paint...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

PC players will have to wait a bit for Gears of War: Ultimate Edition


No exact date given
Jul 22
// Brett Makedonski
It was only a month ago that The Coalition boss Rod Fergusson took the floor at the PC Gaming show at E3 to announce that Gears of War: Ultimate Edition would release on Windows 10. That's still true, but it wo...
Splatfest photo
Popularity contest burns Team Cat
Perhaps the greatest injustice of the year happened over the July 4 weekend. Nintendo's shooter Splatoon ran its first splatfest event, pitting cats versus dogs. The sides shot it out while less patriotic Americans were shoot...

Red Ash photo
Introducing sci-fi shooter Red Ash
Keiji Inafune and Comcept have wrapped development on Mighty No. 9 and are now returning to Kickstarter to fund their next project, Red Ash, a spiritual successor to Mega Man Legends. Announced today at Anime Expo in Los Ange...

Uncharted 4 photo
Uncharted 4

Uncharted 4 extended trailer: Drake is a Terminator


Kill me? No thanks!
Jul 01
// Steven Hansen
Hey, remember when I crouched in a bush beside skating teens and told you about the extended Uncharted 4: A Thief's End demonstration I saw at E3? (I wrote about it, too.) Now you can watch that extended gameplay and see jus...
Splatoon photo
Splatoon

Splatoon's new mode is like king of the hill with a twist


Mobile gaming
Jun 30
// Brett Makedonski
One of the primary criticisms of Splatoon upon release was its lack of variation in online game modes. Nintendo's been slowly working to fix that, as it has a set of free updates scheduled through August. Another of tho...
Uncharted at E3 photo
Uncharted at E3

Video impressions: Uncharted 4's extended E3 demo


Sneaky sneak
Jun 22
// Steven Hansen
I got to see another large chunk of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End from after the trailer cut off at E3. I wrote about that a bit here. I've also written a bit about why I think Uncharted 4 has the potential to be much better than Uncharted 3's poor showing. Anyways, if you want to see the video we shot in conjunction where I crouch in some bushes as teens do skate tricks nearby, here's that.
Gears 4's Kait photo
Gears 4's Kait

The woman in Gears 4 is Kait and it's not called Gears 4


Holiday 2016
Jun 17
// Steven Hansen
I had an appointment with Microsoft about Gears today, but it ended up being mostly about Gears of War Ultimate, the remake of the original game. I did get one piece of news about Gears 4: the woman's name is Kait. We already...

Marcus Fenix's default Gears of War face is a permanent scowl

Jun 17 // Steven Hansen
Before Gears became the big bad brolf of Microsoft franchises, it was a bit more scrappy. Fergusson was excited to be able to go back and completely change Gears' cinematics. "Back then we were under such time constraints we called them Frankenscenes," he said. Motion capture was re-used and stitched together. The dialogue in cinematics remains intact, but there are all sorts of new camera angles, zooms. Fergusson and company went back to assess, "what were we trying to convey, what did we successfully or not successfully convey," in terms of tone. The five chapters left out of Gears' 2006 360 release (they later made it into the 2007 PC release) are also being included in Ultimate. The "casual" difficulty has become the new normal and a truer "casual" setting has been added. There's still local split-screen on and offline (take notes, Halo 5) with a pillar box look to give both players a view closer to 16:9. And, as folks might be seeing in the online beta, there are dedicated servers, a spectator mode, LAN support, 19 maps, Team Death Match, King of the Hill, community designed Gnashers 2v2, and 1080p, 60fps online play. Unless you're playing on PC and want to crank it up to 4K or whatever.
Gears Ultimate photo
And more on Gears of War Ultimate
Microsoft announced a 60fps, 1080p remake of the first Gears, Gears of War Ultimate, a couple days back. I sat down with Rod Fergusson for a meeting about the remake, which has completely replaced every single art asset, adde...

E3: First hands-on Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's The Division

Jun 15 // Steven Hansen
[embed]294064:59046:0[/embed] We sure as fuck weren't as team work oriented as Ubisoft's carefully directed demo, which will basically be the case if you aren't playing regularly with a couple pals. Quoting the developer, it's a "standard shooter" in terms of controls. Each character had a few different abilities, which later can be customized (there's a turret, remote sticky bomb, a homing mine that follows you until it finds an enemy to go after) and my character was outfitted with a shotgun that somewhat unsatisfyingly took chunks of my opponents' health bar out. Like, that's not what shotguns should be doing. But The Division is heavy on its crazy tech UI theme, and the co-op focus means it could end up something like Destiny -- kind of a boring loot fest, but fun with friends. It's cool that you're at risk of losing your high level loot if you're killed in this instance and that might make even strangers try and team up (loot is evenly split, too). There are crazy dudes with flamethrowers to worry about and "Rikers," a gang of murderous inmates escaped from Rikers Island prison, which kind of doesn't make sense given how many prisoners in the United States are non-violent offenders and probably would return to their families if released rather than into a group of murderous thugs, but, hey, gritty apocalypse. Of course there are also other players to worry about. At any moment they can go rogue and start fights between fire teams (in our demo, we all tried to kill each other), but you can also all work together and wait for an extraction out of the instance. The goal seems to be making it so your first impulse isn't to kill anyone you come across, because that just makes things harder and puts your gains at risk. The Division isn't quite for me. I don't need endless progressions, bars, and numbers to play a game. But folks who got well into Destiny might find a nice little squad-based multiplayer shooter here. But I also still have no clue how the open-world element works, as this demo might as well as have been any old multiplayer map.
The Division photo
Divisioning a division in Division
Tom Clancy may be dead, but The Division isn't. It's been two years since Ubisoft announced its apocalyptic "online, open-world action RPG," but I finally got hands-on at a Ubisoft event this E3. We were set up in a boiling h...

Division release photo
Division release

Tom Clancy's The Division release date is March 8, 2016


That was cold, Ryan
Jun 15
// Darren Nakamura
Ubisoft showed off some more of The Division at its press conference today. In the gameplay preview, a team of three makes a shaky alliance with a random group of two. They all take down some bad guys, steal their loot, and ...
Gears of War 4 photo
Gears of War 4

Gears of War 4 announced, features new characters


Looks pretty spooky and stormy
Jun 15
// Jed Whitaker
Gears of War 4 has been announced by The Coalition at Microsoft's E3 press conference, and it looks spooky as hell. No familiar faces were in the trailer, as it looks like the game focuses on all new characters. Fans of the series will be happy to know that the Gnasher shotgun, Stub pistol, and Lancer are still here. Coming exclusively to Xbox One, the release date is still unannounced.
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Gears of War Ultimate Edition coming August 25


Bring on the meat
Jun 15
// Zack Furniss
Looks like the Gears of War Ultimate Edition will be here in just a couple of months. If you're itching to get the chainsaw revving, you can play it when it releases August 25. I remember being 14 and thinking Gears of W...
E3 2015 PvZ GW2 photo
E3 2015 PvZ GW2

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is coming!


YES!
Jun 15
// Jed Whitaker
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 arrives next spring, EA announced at Microsoft's E3 press conference. It will feature new characters and weapons. From watching the trailer it looks like there was a mech, and super hero ad...
Splatoon photo
Splatoon

Splatoon gets a new weapon today, here are the details


Splash-o-matic!
Jun 12
// Brett Makedonski
Splatoon players have been painting the town for two weeks now, and have had a heck of a time doing so. Tonight, they get one more method with which to carry out their madness. A tweet from Nintendo of America reveals th...
Devils Third photo
Devils Third

Devil's Third coming to Japan this August


Physical copies are exclusive to Amazon
Jun 10
// Jed Whitaker
Nintendo has posted the Devil's Third release date for Japan, revealing that it is coming August 4, just two months after E3. Also, it appears the physical edition will only be available on Amazon. Not much has been sai...
Quantum Break photo
Quantum Break

Remedy taking a (Quantum) Break from E3 this year


More at gamescom
Jun 08
// Brett Makedonski
Microsoft and Remedy are taking the exact same approach to E3 plans for Quantum Break that they took last year: Do absolutely nothing. The developer and publisher are opting out of the world's grandest stage in favor of...
SQUARE ENIX photo
SQUARE ENIX

Square Enix reveals online shooter Figure Heads


Fighting robots strike PC in 2015
Jun 08
// Kyle MacGregor
Today, Square Enix unveiled a new online third-person shooter by the name of Figure Heads. Set in a future where meteorites make the surface of the earth uninhabitable and force mankind to live underground, unmanned robo...
Uncharted 4 photo
Uncharted 4

The Uncharted 4 box art is inspired


It's always either a gun or a sword
Jun 03
// Joe Parlock
Amazon has unveiled the official box art for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and dang is it a stroke of artistic genius. The way the light plays off of Drake’s back, making sure your eye is drawn directly to the litt...
Nude Splatoon Boy photo
Nude Splatoon Boy

Nude, nippleless boy in the official Splatoon manga


Official Nintendo Rule 34
Jun 02
// Jed Whitaker
A recent issue of CoroCoro Comic -- a popular monthly manga magazine in Japan -- included an official Splatoon manga. The manga serves as an introduction into the world of Splatoon and its multiplayer mode Turf Wars. Besides ...

Review: Shooter

Jun 02 // Nic Rowen
Shooter (Book)Released: June 2, 2015MSRP: $5.00 Shooter is a collection of essays from recognizable names in game criticism speaking on a wide range of topics related to games that involve some kind of gunplay. Some chapters take a deep dive into the mechanical and technical details that make shooters what they are. Steven Wright's “The Joys of Projectiles: What We've Forgotten About Doom” for example, laments the rise of “realistic” modern shooters and how their largely interchangeable hitscan assault rifles have abandoned many of the mechanics that made early FPS games so pleasurable and skill testing. Others are more personal, such as Gita Jackson's touching reflection on how Counter-Strike could be seen as a microcosm of the (seemingly one-sided from her self-deprecating perspective) sibling rivalry she shared with her brother. Shooter strikes a great balance, it never gets so bogged down in technical minutia that it feels like a lecture in game design, but has enough mechanical grounding that it doesn't just become a series of anecdotes either. The games Shooter examines are varied and numerous. Of course genre forebears and trendsetters like Doom, Half-Life and Call of Duty are discussed as you would expect, but there is plenty of attention paid to less bombastically popular titles as well. Genre-defying shooters like Red Orchestra 2 with its brutally unforgiving depiction of realistic combat, and the insidious darkness of Far Cry 2, which sets aside the typical rationales for heroic violence to make the player complicit in something unsettling, get entire chapters dedicated to them. It's a great technique. By examining the few games that step outside of the bounds of typical FPS conventions and power fantasy dynamics and figuring out why they feel so different, it is easier to pinpoint the standard tropes and expectations of the genre that have become so ubiquitous that they are nearly invisible. Perhaps the greatest praise I can give to Shooter is that it made me reexamine and reflect on my feelings about a few games. When a piece of criticism grabs you by the collar and demands you take a second look at something, you know its doing it's job right. Filipe Salgado's chapter on the intentional ugliness and barely contained chaos of Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days almost made me want to play through the game again with a fresh set of eyes -- eyes more willing to see past the clunky mechanics and thoroughly unlikable protagonists to scan for deeper meaning. Almost anyway (this is still Dog Days we're talking about). At its best, Shooter feels like a lively conversation with some very smart people who enjoy, but expect more from, their trigger happy games. Its snappy, intelligent, and occasionally funny. At it's worst, the book veers into the pretentious. At times, it feels less like a conversation and more like an awkward dinner party dominated by a lecturing windbag everyone is too polite to interrupt. Thankfully these rough patches are few and far between. The rest of the book is well worth putting up with the occasional eye-rolling turn of phrase. Mostly though, Shooter feels important. The industry needs more “capital C” Criticism to unravel the subtext and ideas behind the games we love. Games mean something. They impart messages, communicate ideas, either by conscious choice on the part of their developers or by the assumptions they make -- the casual omissions and things taken for granted. We have to start examining these ideas in a mature, intelligent, and yes, academic way. Shooter isn't the first example of this kind of criticism in games writing of course; there have certainly been other books written, and articles penned (on sites like Destructoid, I might add) that dive into these waters. But, it is still very much a nascent field. Video games are a young medium, and we haven't had time to establish a critical tradition like film and literature has. We need to cultivate these voices; the generation of writers that will talk about games in a serious manner in the coming decades. What better way to stake a claim in this new field than to gather a variety of exceptionally talented voices to talk about and critically examine what is generally considered gaming's dumbest, most developmentally arrested genre? The thrill of shooting a Cyber-Demon with a rocket launcher may be obvious and simple, but there is a lot to unpack when you take a closer look.
Shooter Review photo
Looking at life down the barrel of a gun
Shooters seem simple. You step into the shoes of your typical tough guy space-marine or mercenary and empty clip after clip into the faces of Nazis, or aliens, or alien-Nazis from the vaguely disembodied gun bobbing up and do...

Splatoon photo
Splatoon

Splatoon ranked mode, new stages, and Zapper available in Europe


Are you a high ranked kid or squid?
Jun 02
// Laura Kate Dale
Are you a kid or a squid who has been furiously playing Splatoon since launch in the hopes of unlocking that new wave of content for the game? If you're in Europe you're in luck, as a bunch of new content is being added to th...
Rise of the Tomb Raider photo
Rise of the Tomb Raider

New Rise of the Tomb Raider trailer shows off highly unsafe climbing practices


Full reveal at Microsoft's E3 briefing
Jun 01
// Darren Nakamura
Lara Croft reaches the top of the ice wall after a probably-should-be-dead experience. She has several carabiners attached to her belt. Why didn't she use them on her way up? Granted, it wouldn't have helped if all of her an...
EDF 2 Vita photo
EDF 2 Vita

Earth Defense Force 2 strikes Vita this autumn


Go back to space!
May 29
// Kyle MacGregor
Everyone knows about Earth Defense Force 2017. For many of us, it was our first introduction to Sandlot's series of campy shooters, which involves saving the world from giant alien bugs. But that isn't where EDF got its star...

Very Quick Tips: Splatoon

May 28 // Chris Carter
General tips: Try out every weapon in the game. Too intimidated to play online with it? Go to the shop to give it a trial run in the training course. Play whatever you want, but know that early on, there will be a lot of rollers out there to deal with. Talk to the cat in town every day for the occasional bit of free gold. Try to recharge your ammo by going into ink constantly. If you can get somewhere by way of your squid form, do it. There are lots of advanced tactics in this game, but one is done by inking the ground quickly below you, squid morphing, and jumping away from your opponent. Repeat as many times as necessary. In the campaign, you can press any level to instantly super jump to it -- it's really useful for getting around quickly, and I didn't even realize it until the very end.   Turf War: This sounds self-explanatory, but when you're playing Turf War, look for a special (grenade or super attack) that can earn you more turf. For instance, the Splash Wall is a great defensive tool, but other powers will help you actually cover more ground. You always want to be taking turf, even while taking out enemies. Later on in a match, look around for areas that haven't been covered yet. It's safe bet that the enemy team hasn't even realized that this place exists, and likely won't return to it as the match ends. Always watch the GamePad map after a death. Is your ally deep into a base with lots of uncovered ground? Tap them to super jump to them. Mash the screen (gently) in case they die -- you'll jump over there anyway if you tap in time. You'll learn to see certain weapons on the map by the pattern they lay down. For instance, it's easy to spot a roller going in a straight line, switching the territory color. Learn to spot them and stay away if necessary, and get to higher ground. Ambushing people on walls is a great tactic to stay alive if you're outgunned. While running around a corner, quickly ink the wall and stick to it. Most players won't suspect an aerial attack from behind. Don't have enough time at the end of a round after a respawn? Paint objects quickly in your base. You won't have time to super jump or get to any useful location. Splat Zones: Always get to the zone immediately, but create at least one path back. If you have nothing to do and your zone is more than covered, consider ruining the other team's path towards their spawn. It'll significantly slow them down when returning. There are a lot of items here that particularly shine in Splat Zones, like Splash Walls. Use these to block off choke points and prevent enemies from rushing into your zone.
Splatoon tips photo
Jelonzo is the coolest
Just because Splatoon is a light-hearted online experience, that doesn't mean that it lacks depth. Here are some tips to help you along the path to ranked dominance.


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