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Game of Thrones trailer photo
Game of Thrones trailer

The Game of Thrones finale trailer hopes you have been following along

Spoilers abound
Nov 16
// Darren Nakamura
Don't watch the trailer below if you aren't caught up with the first five episodes of Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series. It highlights a lot of the major choices from the previous episodes, including the one right at th...
Destiny photo

Refer a friend to Destiny and get a reward

'We're planning something new'
Nov 13
// Vikki Blake
As a thank you for recruiting new Guardians this holiday season, Bungie will be rewarding players with a new Refer-a-Friend scheme for Destiny. "After this update is deployed, some of the more tech savvy among you will b...
Xbox One photo
Very smoothly
The New Xbox One Experience rolled out today, and for me and many others, the transition has been painless. I simply booted up my console, downloaded a roughly 1GB update, and the UI popped right up after a restart. I think s...

Microsoft photo

Here's how DLC will work with Xbox One Backward Compatibility

TL;DR: go to
Nov 12
// Vikki Blake
[Update: To clarify, while you can't purchase DLC via your Xbox One, you can still buy Xbox 360 DLC via the 360 store, or via] Microsoft has detailed how DLC will work for those backward compatible Xbox 360 games. &...
Walmart Black Friday photo
Walmart Black Friday

Walmart Black Friday deals include amiibo, $250 Wii U, $299 PS4, and more

Get ready to stand on the edge
Nov 11
// Mike Cosimano
Best Black Friday, one of the many sites dedicated to collating deals available during the ebony-black altar of consumerism and bloodlust known as Black Friday, has published an early version of Walmart's ad, detailing its en...
Xbox One update photo
Xbox One update

The new Xbox One dashboard rolls out tonight

Backward compatibility to follow
Nov 11
// Jordan Devore
November is flying by me. It's nearly time for the new Xbox One dashboard update, and you know what that means: backward compatibility! The initial list of supported Xbox 360 games falls short of my expectations, but it'll im...
Diamond Cat photo
Diamond Cat

Wear a cat on your head in Metal Gear Online

He's helping!
Nov 11
// Jordan Devore
Well, damn. Now I regret spending those Mother Base coins on that sweet crocodile hat. If you haven't checked in with Metal Gear Online in a while, this headgear might be just the nudge you need. It's a cat named Ricky that you can place on your head. That'll be 300 MB Coins, thanks.
Game of Thrones screens photo
Game of Thrones screens

First screens for Game of Thrones finale are non-canon (for me)

Gared fights a claymation bear
Nov 11
// Darren Nakamura
The long-awaited season finale for Telltale's Game of Thrones series following House Forrester is almost here. It releases next week, but today we have a few tastes of what to expect. Mira looks like she's in trouble with the...
Blops makes bank photo
Blops makes bank

Call of Duty: Black Ops III biggest launch of 2015 at $550 million

Until Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Nov 11
// Steven Hansen
Call of Duty: Black Ops III made a lot of money in three days. And while that's not surprising, it is notable, given that the series sales had been in a bit of a decline with Ghosts and Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. I guess the...
Fallout 4 photo
Fallout 4

That free Fallout 3 with Fallout 4 offer expires in February 2016

Don't hold out for Fallout freebie
Nov 11
// Vikki Blake
If you've picked up Fallout 4 on the Xbox One specifically so that you'll also be able to play Fallout 3, don't leave it too long to redeem your code - the offer expires in February 2016. GameSpot spotted the deadline on the Xbox Live store, which also confirms that you'll need to have bought Fallout 4 on Xbox One by February 6, 2016 to qualify for the freebie.
The Phantom Pain photo
The Phantom Pain

You can bring back a certain buddy in Metal Gear Solid V

But the process is repetitive
Nov 10
// Jordan Devore
As of a recent update in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, it is now possible to bring back a beloved buddy who becomes unusable after you progress far enough into the story. But you're not going to like the method. In a game full of padding, there's now just a little bit more repetition. To be clear, you'll want to stop reading now if you're looking to avoid specifics. Spoilers.
Alien: Isolation photo
Alien: Isolation

A modder has taken the Alien out of Alien: Isolation

And I bet it's still fantastic
Nov 09
// Brett Makedonski
The first time I played Alien: Isolation, I was at developer Creative Assembly's studio in Horsham, England. The game hadn't been announced yet and we were the first non-Sega people to see it. There was the briefest of introd...

Review: Rise of the Tomb Raider

Nov 09 // Steven Hansen
Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One [reviewed], Xbox 360, PC, PS4)Developer: Crystal Dynamics (Xbox One), Nixxes Software (Xbox 360)Publisher: Microsoft (Xbox One, 360); Square Enix (PC, PS4)MSRP: $59.99Released: November 10, 2015 (Xbox One, Xbox 360); Q1 2016 (PC); Q4 2016 (PS4) Having previously glimpsed the supernatural, Rise of the Tomb Raider's Lara is open to the wild theories of ancient immortality that consumed her father. A brief trip into Syria introduces the new enemy, a highly-funded, obviously evil group called Trinity led by Konstantin, a religious zealot and less comic book version of Uncharted 2's Lazarević. Lara then tries to beat the stonejaw-led shadowy entity to the Siberian wilderness, where most of the game takes place. The first thing I noticed in Syria was its rich orange sands, a strong contrast to the last Tomb Raider's much more muted palette. Then it was Lara's powerful blue glow stick as she began navigating tombs, providing the same orange/cyan look you find in most Hollywood movie color grading. Naturally, when Lara goes to off to Russia and the blue-white snow and ice, she's suddenly packing orange glow sticks. It's not a bad thing, though. Rise of the Tomb Raider is not shy about using unrealistic lighting to set a mood and it works, like when the blizzarding night sky is illuminated with an eerie deep red light thanks to Trinity flares. It's one of the best-looking games this year, but it also goes beyond stylish at times and helps set the mood. Coupled with a camera that occasionally, but never annoyingly, takes control from you to frame the next impressive mountain establishment or some such thing you have to climb. [embed]319740:61038:0[/embed] The combination of framing, use of color, and lighting are welcomed Hollywood cribbing. Most of the additions since the last entry are welcomed, too. The stealth options make more sense in a supposedly serious game hellbent on showing the brutality Lara deals with (gruesome death close-ups are still plentiful), rather than the more discordant Lara-as-Terminator that doesn't jive with the story being told. That said, you can still mostly do that. Even when the game hinted I could stealth through an environment, unless I saw an obvious path, it was easy to loose bows from afar into enemies' heads. Rise also touted the tombs pre-release, which are peppered throughout the world. They're probably the highlight. I think Tomb Raider is a better platformer than shooter and working out these beautiful, often complex environmental puzzles had me yearning for a more ICO-like distribution of puzzle/platforming versus murder. The stealth, too, kind of hints at a game that could've made death and killing meaningful in line with the narrative, but instead we're left with a refinement of the Uncharted series sans one-liners.  Except for the bloat, which kind of flies in the face of the snappy movie cues and Uncharted's beats. Rise borrows slightly from the Legend of Zelda formula in that there are distinct areas ("hubs") organically woven together, but requiring back-tracking with new gear and items. It's a very game-y conceit. In the cinematics I asked why Lara hadn't a camera (or even a cell phone) to prove (evidence!) the things her father died over, but she didn't even slip an iPhone out of her pocket. At the same, coming across a rope and being told I can't cut it until I find a knife, well, why the hell does Lara not have a knife? People who like busywork will probably appreciate the hub areas replete with open-world style challenges (burn all 10 communist propaganda posters, cut down all the snared rabbits, etc.), but it kind of grated on me. I didn't open the map until a few hours in and I immediately wanted to slam it shut after seeing the Assassin's Creed-style unreadable mess of icons. And while these tasks often yield rewards, including XP, it just feels to unnecessary. Which is kind of true, given that I got through the game fine without doing anything but the most convenient extras, and didn't find a +2 damage Polished Barrel to affect my capacity to kill folks all that much. So why's any of it there at all? Rise has a very pressing, dire narrative, and is a joy when you're moving around and exploring the gorgeous environments. Constant IU flashes (10XP!!!) only serve as an intrusion and gum up the works. Having to pause the game and look at a static menu screen to hear picked-up audio logs (already a bit of a lazy, all too convenient way to shove more story into your game) kills momentum, tension, excitement. You just have to stare at a render of a tape recorder if you want to know why the big bad bleeds from his hands. The story handles the necessary, telegraphed third act turn to the supernatural well, but generally suffers from a glossing over. The Burberry-clade arm of Trinity trying to beat Lara to the punch are well-acted, but pretty one-dimensional (even with everything wrapped up in explanatory audio logs). An entire society isolated in the Siberian wilderness speaks perfect English. It's perfunctory Hollywood boilerplate, down to the set up for the sequel, but competently done. Worth noting: I ran into an odd problem late in the game where enemies would disappear. First right before me when I was swinging an ice axe at them as if Lara did so with enough force to banish them from this plane of existence, but then sometimes they'd vanish completely on their own. Once this locked me in a room because whatever needed to trigger to open the door couldn't and I had to restart (not losing much progress), while it also happened during the game's final boss fight, which was anticlimactic. The loss of XP from these tactical Houdinis might impact games on harder difficulty settings where the leveling and crafting system could prove more necessary, though on normal I got to a point where I didn't even care to spend my skill points. That excess is a problem shared with the last Tomb Raider, which bills itself (and thematically tries to be) a survivalist game, but simply isn't. It's a bit goofy ruining the beautiful colors of the world by constantly jamming down the "survival instincts" button to light up objects of interest and clambering around to strip trees of their boughs. Eventually I stopped going out of my way to pick up trash, yet I still always had ammo and arrows. Crafting, skill trees, open-world-style quests: it just feels like bloat. Busy work. And it isn't consistent with the story. Moving around, on the other hand, is sublime. It is odd, though. There's an animation for when Lara is pushed up against a short, maybe knee-high lip; pressing the jump button has her labor up it a bit. Yet if you push the jump button otherwise, she will leap clean four feet into the air like a cat. That amusing inconsistency aside, Lara's movement animations are all so fluid and impressive. If she barely makes a jump, she can slip and fall if you don't press a button. But rather than her needing to get a grip be a recurring quick-time event, it organically happens every time you barely snag a ledge. This means you can tell if that prompt is about to come up and can preemptively push it, and Lara will secure her grip and you can continue about fluidly climbing around. It's a good bit of adding interaction to the platforming without having to pre-plan bits of structure that will start to crumble when you grab them. Rise of the Tomb Raider is better than its predecessor, but only because of its additions; it doesn't fix any of the things that were wrong with Tomb Raider (2013). The story is smoothed down, much of it hidden away in dull audio logs. It's not about "survival" as billed, given the ease of mowing down dozens of folks and plenty of resources. But finding tombs wherein to clamber about ancient Rube Goldberg machines, coupled with the gorgeous visual flair and diverse environments, make Rise's wilderness one worth exploring and elevate Tomb Raider's otherwise perfunctory take on the third-person action platformer. I still get a strong sinking feeling in my stomach when I've misjudged a jump and watch Lara careening towards a splat. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Tomb Raider review photo
Get to know 'er
I sometimes forget that Raiders of the Lost Ark came out in 1981. Its breezy pulp adventure quality carries only obvious signifiers of its era (like, Nazis), and the repetition of these tropes act as enough hand waving to the...

Xbox 360 photo
Xbox 360

Here's the first full list of Xbox 360 backward compatible launch games

104 in all
Nov 09
// Chris Carter
I really think that Microsoft and Sony have switched places in terms of functionality with their consoles this generation. The former came out of the gate with a terrible DRM concept that crippled their image, and Sony took t...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

91% of Black Ops 3 UK sales were on PS4 or Xbox One

Up from 67% for Advanced Warfare sales
Nov 09
// Vikki Blake
91% of all physical sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops III sold in the UK were for PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. According to UK chart company GfK Chart-Track, just 8% were picked up for last-gen consoles PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, leaving just 1% preferring to pick up the game on PC. The chart does not account for digital sales.
Call of Jr. photo
Call of Jr.

Carl's Duty: eat an absurd burger and win a gross gun skin

You know, for the veterans
Nov 06
// Darren Nakamura
The United States of America, right? Where our burgers are big and our guns are bigger. And our heart failures are spectacular. Or something. Let's start over. Carl's Jr. (also known as Hardee's) is teaming up with Activision...

Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops III

Nov 06 // Chris Carter
Call of Duty: Black Ops III (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: Treyarch (PC, PS4, Xbox One), Beenox/Mercenary Technology (PS3, Xbox 360)Publisher: ActivisionMSRP: $59.99Released: November 6, 2015 I'm just going to get right into it -- this is the weakest campaign yet from Treyarch. Right from the start you can see what it's going for, and things get way too heavy-handed and exposition-laden without actually saying anything. There's lots of talk about a "new Cold War" in the future, and after rescuing an Egyptian minister after an uprising in Cairo, it's off to the races. There's plenty of Terminator-esque "Man vs. Machine" going on with the 2065 backdrop and a touch of surrealism, but all of it has been seen before and done better. To boot, none of the characters are memorable or compelling in any way, and the dialogue is the most generic it's ever been. Part of it is because you're now "The Player" (male or female) instead of someone like Modern Warfare's Soap MacTavish, a character you can somewhat connect with while you're playing. You're kind of just there, and the relationships with each cast member never really have a chance to flourish across all 11 missions. Treyarch seems to have a knack for historical narratives, but I'm not really buying its grimdark sales pitch here. Now, that doesn't mean that the campaign is all bad. The powers that be have now implemented a system where you can choose any mission you want, right from the start, without having played any prior stages. That way if you get bored and want to see the ending, you can skip right to the end. Additionally, the hub center where you can switch your abilities, weapons, and loadout around is convenient, as is the progression system with full XP rewards to encourage multiplayer playthroughs. There's also an arena-based "combat immersion" center to test weapons out in, which looks a lot like Metal Gear's VR missions. [embed]318891:61008:0[/embed] Split-screen play (for two players) is also in, as is online play for the story, on top of a "Nightmare mode" that remixes every level with undead foes. With the recent removal of split-screen from Halo 5, support for multiple players on the same console is a breath of fresh air. Yes, the framerate does suffer as a result of playing couch co-op, but I'm very glad it's there, and that Treyarch is still actively pushing for it. Hell, LAN play is even supported on consoles -- in 2015, that's pretty damn rare. Now, we get to the good stuff -- all the other modes besides the campaign. Although light, the Freerun gametype is a cool way to show off all of the new mechanics (wallrunning and the toned-down jetpack). It's only playable solo and has a scant four maps, but it's really reminiscent of Mirror's Edge's abstract DLC packs, which were my favorite part of the game. Plus, it has leaderboards, which are a major plus for a mode like this. I don't want to spoil much, but the Smash TV-like Dead Ops Arcade is back, and it's better than it was before. Of course, it wouldn't be a Treyarch game without zombies, and I think it's assembled the best cast, alongside of the most interesting setting to date. I'm talking Jeff Goldblum, Heather Graham, Ron Perlman, and Neal McDonough in a Lovecraftian noir city unique. Seeing Goldblum play a washed-up scumbag magician is a treat, and the actors really give it their all for this new chapter of the zombie saga, "Shadows of Evil." While I did appreciate the campaign tie-in for Advanced Warfare's zombie mode, I like where this particular setting is going, and I hope it can keep this same cast going forward. It's also the most fully-featured from a gameplay perspective, with customizable weapon loadouts, individual upgrades, and a leveling system. You can also change up your "Gobblegum Gumballs," which are like miniature $500 soda machines that grant temporary perks. It's a tiny little thing, but it really helps you play the way you want, which is only a recent concept for zombies. In terms of secrets I think this is going to be the most challenging one yet for the community, as a lot of it hinges on changing into the "beast" (read: a Cthulian creature) to unlock specific areas and bonuses. I've spent nearly 15 hours in Shadows of Evil alone and I feel like I've only scratched the surface. What the campaign lacks in personality, zombies makes up for in spades, and that principle also goes for multiplayer. Now players will choose a "specialist," when playing traditional multiplayer, which operates a lot like a unique character skin, with an added ability in tow. For instance, the robot "Reaper" has access to a minigun power-up that comes out of his arm, or a skill that creates non-lethal clones of himself to run around the battlefield. One dude even looks like The Fury from Snake Eater, complete with a flamethrower special. They clearly had a lot of fun designing these creations, and it plays that way. Most of the powers feel balanced, especially when you consider the fact that they can only be used once you earn enough meter for them, which is typically only one or two times per match. This is on top of the classic scorestreak rewards -- but since those reset your meter upon death and the specialist powers don't, it's a way for casual players to engage without feeling like they're never earning anything. Wallrunning also adds a new depth to arenas (of which there are 12 at launch), where specific chokepoints can be circumvented by traversing raised platforms on the sides of some bases. Likewise, swimming, as simple of a mechanic as it is, bids a welcome return from Advanced Warfare, with a lot more freedom in terms of movement and combat. Those of you who found Advanced's crazy twitch movement system to be too frenetic will be pleased to hear that it's been toned down for Black Ops III, as the jetpack is now essentially a double jump, or a slide boost, and that's it. While I did like airdashing and all of the craziness that the last iteration entailed, I'm happy that each game has a distinctly different feel to it. Multiplayer has been overhauled from a features standpoint too, as there's now full support for streaming (including a cavalcade of spectator options), arena ranked playlists with seasons, and an even more convenient instant menu option for perma-muting anyone outside of your party. There have been hundreds of people populating Black Ops III's servers during this testing period without issues, but if anything changes we'll provide updates as needed on the front page. At this point, at least two of the Call of Duty developers (Treyarch and Sledgehammer), have it figured out. They now have a three-year development cycle, which means that technically, each individual game is not a rushed "annual" iteration. While the campaign could certainly be a lot stronger, Black Ops III is living proof of that concept. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Call of Duty review photo
Zombies...uh...zombies, find a way
Call of Duty campaigns are some of the most inconsistent storylines in all of gaming. While some entries are content with wowing you on a constant basis with new setpieces and unique sequences, a number of them (Ghosts&n...

Destiny photo

Bungie finally addresses Destiny's weapon parts problem

Well, to some it's a problem
Nov 06
// Chris Carter
Destiny's economy is in constant flux, and Bungie never seems to know what to do about it. This patch everyone seemed to be fine with the changes in The Taken King, but after a few weeks, some issues started creeping up. For ...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Not all UK pre-orders of Black Ops III will get bonus Nuketown map

Turns out Nuketown is a GAME exclusive
Nov 06
// Vikki Blake
If you pre-ordered Call of Duty: Black Ops III in the UK, did you expect the Nuketown multiplayer map but a code hasn't turned up? You're not the only one. (via VideoGamer) noticed that a rec...
Star Wars: First Assault photo
Star Wars: First Assault

See the Star Wars game that was cancelled before EA got the rights

Star Wars: First Assault
Nov 05
// Steven Hansen
There's Star Wars: Battlefront III. There's Star Wars 1313. There's even that Darth Maul game. But no one mourns Star Wars: First Assault. According to the YouTube description, "This was a tech beta ran on Xbox Live a while ...

Call of Duty: Black Ops III's Dead Ops Arcade II minigame is batshit crazy

Nov 05 // Chris Carter
Call of Duty photo
Chicken love
Just like the original Black Ops, there's a hidden arcade game locked within Call of Duty: Black Ops III. It's actually quite easy to access (just select the top-left icon in the video on the mission hub screen), and like its...

Black Ops III photo
Black Ops III

Surprise! Black Ops III looks not great on last-gen, turns tanks into vans

Most likely will not care
Nov 05
// Brett Makedonski
Activision's in the fortuitous position with Call of Duty where the fanbase is so large that they haven't all adopted current-gen consoles yet. But, that means it's mostly obligated to keep releasing games on legacy sys...
Ubisoft photo

Ubisoft reports PC sales are rising, current-gen console sales are dipping

Not enough people have upgraded
Nov 05
// Chris Carter
In addition to its brief mention of how Unity impacted Assassin's Creed Syndicate sales, Ubisoft has broken down sales numbers as it pertains to the PC and console platforms. Evidently, despite its Uplay system, the...
Showing some skin photo
Showing some skin

Cringey Resident Evil 2 Easter egg is an outfit in Resident Evil 0 HD

Who likes short shorts
Nov 05
// Steven Hansen
You can find this picture of Rebecca ready to hoop in Resident Evil 2's S.T.A.R.S office if you grab a little black film canister (remember that smell?) and actually go get the thing developed. Capcom's giving it a nod in the...
Bungie photo

Bungie: 'Microtransactions and expansions can co-exist' for Destiny

'Fans are hungry for more'
Nov 04
// Chris Carter
Well, nuts. Shortly after the release of The Taken King, rumors started coming out that Bungie would supplement Destiny's new content with cosmetic microtransactions, and would refrain from going back to the underwhelmin...
Peanuts photo

There's a new Snoopy game and it kind of looks like Yoshi's Woolly World

It costs more than peanuts, though
Nov 03
// Brett Makedonski
Comic strips are three-panel bundles of joy. Well, sometimes. The likes of Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, and Dilbert fit the bill. Marmaduke does not. Marmaduke has only brought pain and suffering to those ...
Surprise Black Ops fact photo
Surprise Black Ops fact

Three-year-old Call of Duty: Black Ops II still has 12 million players a month

Called to duty, never called home
Nov 03
// Steven Hansen
Want to feel old? Call of Duty: Black Ops II is three years old. Want to feel, I don't know, surprised? Impressed? That "huh" feeling when you learn a moderately interesting but not too interesting or at all valuable piece of...
Destiny photo

25 million people have played Destiny

We average three hours a day, apparently
Nov 03
// Vikki Blake
The Taken King has brought an extra five million players to Destiny, boosting the number of registered players from 20 million to 25 million. Activision confirmed the figures yesterday during its earnings report. "Day-one dow...
Xbox One photo
Xbox One

Here's when Xbox will reveal the initial list of 360 games coming to Xbox One

Phil Spencer confirms reveal date
Nov 03
// Vikki Blake
Microsoft will confirm the first 100 Xbox 360 games available via backwards compatibility on November 9, 2015. Phil Spencer confirmed the news via a tweet yesterday.
Metal Gear photo
Metal Gear

Kojima shows how he made Metal Gear Solid V's 'Nuclear' trailer

Behind-the-scenes video translated
Nov 02
// Jordan Devore
Few trailers rival the "Nuclear" video for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. I must've watched it half a dozen times when it debuted last year at E3, and probably doubled that number leading up to the game's release in Se...

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