Category Archives: Game

One of ‘Destiny’s most iconic abilities won’t be coming back

Yesterday’s long-awaited Destiny 2 reveal was undeniably awesome, but for the game’s enthusiastic hardcore community it was also bittersweet. Yes, there’s a new Destiny adventure on the horizon, but that also makes the old one history. And moving forward means leaving things behind.

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Bungie keeps saying that Destiny 2 will be a “fresh start” for old and new players alike. All the precious trophies we’ve earned over the last three years — the flamboyant armor, the outrageous guns, the rocket launchers and giant lasers we pined for and sought after endlessly — will be gone. And so will Destiny’s two most unique abilities, the Defender Titan’s bubble shield and the Sunsinger Warlock’s self-resurrection.

But there might be good reasons for that.

At its massive unveiling event in LA, Bungie showed off three new subclasses that will appear in Destiny 2: The Dawnblade Warlock, with a flaming sword; the Arcstrider Hunter, wielding an electric staff; and the Sentinel Titan, flinging a glowing purple Captain America shield. The Defender Titan and Sunsinger Warlock were conspicuously absent from those announcements, aside from the bubble shield popped by one non-playable character in a cutscene. And that’s because they’re not in the game, Destiny 2 World Lead Steve Cotton confirmed in an interview.

“Super” abilities in Destiny 2 are meant to be more offensive than tactical or defensive. The three new classes, as well as the Destiny 1 classes that are confirmed to be returning (Striker, Gunslinger, and Voidwalker), are focused on causing large amounts of damage as quickly as possible. “The super is for when you want to go to town,” Cotton said.

Those types of tactical abilities aren’t gone — they’re just not your super anymore.

Don’t panic, though. Yes, the Defender’s bubble shield is one of Destiny’s most iconic abilities. And the Sunsinger’s self-res has caused more clutch saves than all the others combined. But those types of tactical abilities aren’t gone — they’re just not your super anymore.

Now, Warlocks, Titans, and Hunters have their own distinctive “class abilities” that augment their loadouts with more tactical powers, several of them fulfilling similar roles to the bubble shield in the first Destiny. Titans, for example, can periodically deploy front-facing shields of various sizes, while Warlocks can deploy a “rift” that powers up or heals players within a small area. These abilities have their own cooldowns, much like grenades and melee attacks. By themselves they aren’t as impactful as a Titan bubble is now, but they can be used more frequently, and Destiny 2 players will no doubt find creative ways to combine them. Titan mains will no doubt miss their bubbles, but Cotton said the changes are for the best.

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It’s to create a fantasy that you really understand about your character — what Warlocks are all about, what Hunters are all about, and what Titans are all about,” he said. “Instead of just being a flat list of ‘here’s all the things that you can choose,’ [the subclass menu now has] paths for you to choose. And the goal there was to make it so you can’t make a bad choice. It’s like, you go this path, you’re going to become this fantasy; you go this path, you’re going to become that fantasy. And you always have those abilities sitting there for you to use.”

So what’s the point of supers in Destiny 2, besides “going to town”? If they’re all about causing damage, what differentiates them? Cotton laid out some of the distinctions among Titans, Warlocks, and Hunters in general, like the fact that Titans are now more focused on defense, while Hunters are all about acrobatics and dodging. But for now there doesn’t seem to be a satisfying answer to the question of what separates a flaming sword from an electric staff or a glowing Captain America shield. They’re all great for bashing aliens in the face, but whether there’s more to these abilities than that remains to be seen.

Titans are now more focused on defense, while Hunters are all about acrobatics and dodging.

There are a lot more big changes in store in Destiny 2. Weapon slots have been re-jiggered so you now get two primaries and one “power” weapon, which includes shotguns, snipers, fusion rifles, rocket launchers, grenade launchers, and swords. (Cotton said heavy ammo will drop more often to compensate.)

There are new social features, including integrated clan support and a form of matchmaking Bungie is calling “guided games,” which matches solo players up with compatible clans. And Destiny 2 has the biggest and most detailed open world areas yet — Cotton said the new European Dead Zone is larger and far more dense than the current game’s Cosmodrome, even including the Plaguelands area added on in the “Rise of Iron” expansion last year. And that’s just one of four confirmed new areas.

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Destiny’s journey from Bungie’s imagination to players’ screens over the last few years has been tumultuous. Change is hard — no one knows that better than those who make and play Destiny. But sometimes it can be for the best, too. We’ll find out if that’s the case this time when Destiny 2 launches on PS4 and Xbox One Sept. 8, and PC some time later.

Mike Rougeau is a freelance journalist who lives in Los Angeles with his girlfriend and two dogs.

‘Pokémon Go’ is holding a weeklong ‘adventure’ event

Splendid news, trainers: starting Thursday, Pokémon Go will be running yet another event — and this one’s a whole week long.

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Pokémon Go Adventure Week will run from Thursday 18 May (1 p.m. PDT) until Thursday 25 May (1 p.m. PDT). Continuing in the type-based theme of recent grass and water events, this one will be all about rock Pokémon.

So what exactly will the event involve?

There are four main points from Niantic’s press release about the Adventure Week event:

1. More rock-type Pokémon.

All rock-type Pokémon — such as Omantye, Kabuto, Aerodactyl, Onix, and Sudowoodo — will spawn more frequently during the event.

Niantic list the specific Pokémon mentioned above as their examples, but the implication is that every Pokémon that’s rock-type will be more common (including, we can only hope, Larvitar).

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2. More items from PokéStops.

Throughout Adventure Week “more items will be available at each PokéStop to help Trainers stock up for their adventure”.

3. Faster buddy candy.

This is a nice one. The distance you have to walk with your buddy Pokémon to find a candy will be quartered during the Adventure Week event (it’ll be the perfect time to start walking your newly-captured Larvitar, in other words).

4. A brand new hat.

Last but by no means least, there will be a brand new Adventurer’s Hat item in the avatar wardrobe (because what good is going on an adventure if you can’t do it in style, eh?).

The Best Video Games I’ve Never Played

A reader admits to the classic franchises he’s never played a single game from, including The Legend Of Zelda and Mass Effect.

As a gamer, quite often I miss out on the latest hot TV series. As I juggle gaming with other social obligations I make the choice to sacrifice watching TV. So, for example, I haven’t seen a single episode of Breaking Bad, not one. I’ve not finished the first season of Game of Thrones (I hope Sean Bean’s Eddard Stark makes it the whole way through, he’s my favourite character) but apparently a load has happened in that too. When I tell friends this I get a look like I just farted loudly in a lift, but even more egregiously I have not played some games that other people would regard as all-time classics.

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This annoys me more, because when you miss a game series you really miss the bus and the commitment to catch up can be even more onerous. Once fandom has been established for a game it can be hard to understand the fuss from the outside. Here are some of the series I’ve missed.

Mass Effect

I’ve not played one game of this classic series, so I wasn’t furious when apparently Mass Effect 3 messed the whole trilogy up. Seeing the build up to Mass Effect: Andromeda I couldn’t join in on the fevered speculation about whether Commander Shepherd will have a dog or if his moustache will be curlier (see my total lack of any appreciable knowledge!). But if it’s any consolation I‘ve played every mainline Assassin’s Creed game, gaming philistine that I am.

The Legend Of Zelda

Nope not a one. Why? Because to my eternal regret I was a massive Sega fanboy back in the day and looked down with barely concealed derision at anything Nintendo and those plumber-loving big kids. By the time I was old enough to appreciate Nintendo (about the N64 era) without my stupid blinkers on I could see what everyone else did but still couldn’t play their games.

Why? Because at this stage I had been turfed out of the nest and had to buy my own consoles at that point in my life. And I couldn’t look past the PlayStation’s early ice cool style and diverse game catalogue, and that’s the pattern that has followed me on. Appreciating Nintendo much the same way Cameron appreciated that Georges Seurat painting in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

So I missed out and the people loving Breath Of The Wild who can see the deeper meanings and history of the series have my envy. I don’t have a Switch and will probably end up with a PlayStation 4, so this trend will continue. #sadface #firstworldproblem

Castlevaina and Metroid

Both games seem so important that they get scrunched together to make the weird compound word of Metroidvania. I haven’t played either iconic series, but of all of the many games in both series the one I regret the most not having played would be Metroid Prime. It’s constantly held up as a masterwork. I’d have to nod, mumble and bluff my way through any conversation around Metroid. Being careful to drop in that it was great to see a woman in a leading role in a video game… See! I know things. Also, isn’t it great when you find a new power that allows you to access another part of the world… Facts! What bit did I like best? … explodes smoke bomb and runs.

Dead Space

I played all the Resident Evils – even the rubbish ones – why do I need to play Resi in space? Like, how cool could it actually be? Turns out it sounds like it was very, very cool. For this one it’s a real case of it just passing me by. I know that the later iterations seemed to be received badly, but the reason I wasn’t grabbed was the terror factor. I had played two parts of the very first game at a friend’s house, and the swarming antagonists freaked me out to the point I didn’t play it for my mental health.
The second part involved blowing up a bunch of asteroids to prevent the station from exploding, I just couldn’t do it. I’d get a good bit through but couldn’t bring it home, the two negative snippets probably ruined the game for me.

Pokémon

Finally, the last entry I’ll admit to with a shame face would be Pokémon. Pokémon are a mystery to me. They seem to have been going since the times when consoles were made from string and magic, and yet once again I’ve missed an entire gaming media juggernaut. They look like good light role-players, certainly more accessible than Final Fantasy – a series I’ve definitely enjoyed.

Don’t get me wrong, it looked lots of fun and playful in ways that only Nintendo can master but I never evolved a single charmander or squirtle. I’ve seen a few of the early cartoons but not enough to get engaged with the world, and 10 years in I accepted I probably won’t be a Pokémon guy.

I often toy with the idea of picking these games up cheap. I wonder which series the denizens of the Underbox would recommend if I could choose just one? And I also wonder at the series that they would admit to missing out on? Perhaps someone has never played a Call Of Duty? Or maybe some lone wanderer has somehow avoided all of the GTAs. This is the opportunity to confess and get the shame off your chest.

Risk Of Rain 2 Revealed, Makes Jump To 3D

Much-loved indie game Risk of Rain is getting a sequel, developer Hopoo announced today, and the follow-up will make the leap from 2D to 3D.

“Risk of Rain 2 is our first fully 3D project,” the company revealed in a blog post. “We think that 3D allows for much deeper design spaces and more possibilities for cool gameplay. Feelings of scale and atmosphere are also much stronger. We are really happy with the core of Risk of Rain–and we’re finding it plays even better in 3D. It just won’t crash anymore.”

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You can take a look at a short clip of the game in action above, though Hopoo did warn that the build shown off is “very, very early in development,” and that “none of the systems, art styles, assets, or game design choices will necessarily translate to the final game.” The company says it’s been working on the sequel “for about 6 months,” and it did not announce pricing, a release window, or what platforms the game might come to.

The original Risk of Rain launched on PC in 2013 following a successful Kickstarter campaign, before later coming to both PlayStation 4 and PS Vita.

“Risk of Rain is highly enjoyable,” said critic Cameron Woolsey in our review. “And with constant rewards of new items and character classes, it’s hard to put down once you start. Even as I watched the last of the end credits roll by, I wiped the sweat from my brow and jumped back into the fray: I have an item log that still needs to be filled.
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Four Pro Gaming Teams Drop Overwatch In One Week

It’s been a gnarly handful of days for the professional Overwatch scene. Since last Tuesday, four organizations have dropped their Overwatch teams, citing a lack of certainty about Blizzard’s upcoming Overwatch League and potentially prohibitive costs they’ll have to pay in order to join it.

Today, esports organization compLexity bid farewell to their Overwatch team with a statement (via PVP Live):

“Anticipation of Blizzard’s upcoming Overwatch League and an uptick in mainstream esports attention means that now more than ever, we have to be confident we’re making the best investments in each game,” they wrote. “The decision to part ways with long-term members of our organization is never one that we take lightly, but ongoing roster instability has resulted in inconsistent performances in an already narrow field of events.”

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They added that their former team will be able to continue using team house facilities for two months, so as to “provide what sense of stability that we can.”

They’re not the first to release an Overwatch team in the past seven days. Team SoloMid, another esports heavy hitter, backed out on May 5. Former player Taylor “b1am” Forrest said they just put the finishing touches on their player roster, but claimed that the cost of entry into Overwatch League is too steep for TSM to go all-in right now.

Red Reserve also bid a resigned farewell to their team on May 5, saying that not all is well on the European front. “Due to Overwatch remaining a relatively small esports title in Europe compared to the North American and Asian esports scene, the decision came to put our focus in different titles such as CS: GO, Call of Duty, and Fifa,” they wrote. “Whether or not we will continue in the Overwatch scene is yet to be decided as the esports scene is ever growing, but for now, this ends our run for Overwatch.”

Denial Esports kicked off the trend last Tuesday, dropping their team with little in the way of an explanation.

This all comes in close proximity to a report alleging that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross have both purchased Overwatch League spots for, potentially, millions of dollars. If true, that would put a lot of esports organizations in a tight spot, if not an outright untenable one.

For the moment, Blizzard isn’t making any concrete announcements, but they did tell PVP Live that they “are in active discussions with teams and owners from endemic esports as well as traditional sports.” We’ll see where that all goes… eventually. Overwatch League is set to launch sometime later this year, but there’s no exact date yet.

Killer Donkey Kong combo is tearing up ‘Smash’ tournaments

Donkey Kong is making moves in the competitive Super Smash Bros. 4 scene. At the Umebura Japan Major this weekend, the king of grabs himself showed why the ape is popping up more and more at high-profile tournaments.

Jason “Mew2King” lost his first game against Takuto “Kameme” Ono during the tournament Saturday and needed to switch it up to get a point on the board in the best-of-three set. Mew2King busted out a Strawberry Nesquik-pink Donkey Kong to counter Kameme’s Sheik and immediately got to work.

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Mew2King landed a down-air on Kameme’s Sheik and followed up quickly, grabbing Sheik, slamming her down, tossing her up, and hitting her onto the platform for better height. That was an impressive combo on its own, but the next sequence is where the magic happens.

Once Kameme is on the platform, Mew2King goes for another grab, hits for some extra damage, throws Kameme into the air, and finishes with an up-air hit near the top edge of the map sending Kameme flying into oblivion.

The gist of that combo — an upward throw into an up-air for a KO — is called the Ding Dong, and it’s making Donkey Kong a much more viable pick in the competitive Smash 4 scene.

Proper Ding Dong execution can KO characters at pretty low percentages, especially those who soar easily. On stages with platforms (like the one in the video above), heavy characters like Sheik can be KO’d without much trouble, too.

For players like Mew2King who have mastered the art of grab combos, this can be a particularly deadly combo. It also requires a lot less tech skill compared to Mew2King’s infamous Marth chain grabs from Melee.

via GIPHY

‘Fallout’ becomes a board game in ‘Wasteland Warfare’

Fallout has appeared on computers, consoles, tablets, and smartphones, but one format still eludes it: tabletop.

No longer. The hit series from Bethesda Softworks is finally getting the board game treatment. And unlike the older, themed version of Monopoly, this one is its own game.

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Fallout: Wasteland Warfare is a miniatures game from Mophidius Entertainment. It’s “coming soon” and… that’s pretty much everything we know at this point.

A teaser image offers an early look at some of the game’s miniatures. Lots of familiar sights here: a power armor-wearing Brotherhood of Steel soldier, a couple of raiders, a deathclaw, an eyebot, and even a Nuka Cola machine.

Miniatures games tend to fall somewhere between pen-and-paper RPGs and strategy-focused board games. They’re generally more complicated than traditional board games, with long play times and progression/upgrade elements reminiscent of video games.

Mophidius is one of a younger generation of tabletop game publishers that have discovered the power of Kickstarter as potent marketing tool. The company launched in 2012 and has found repeated success with bringing projects to the crowdfunding platform.

There’s no word one way or another one whether or not Fallout will stick to that same pattern, but there’s no reason to believe it won’t. You can sign up for news blasts about the game on the Mophidius website.

Easter comes to ‘Pokémon GO’ with egg-stravagent bonuses

Easter is just around the corner and Pokémon GO is celebrating with a limited-time Eggstravaganza.

No, you don’t get any free eggs, but between April 13 to April 20 there will be double XP as well as some generous egg-related bonuses.

Throughout the week, your 2 km eggs will have a chance to hatch more than just the low-tier Pokémon they currently do. When the eggs hatch, they’ll give you more candy than before. Finally, lucky eggs will be 50% off in the in-game store, and they’ll give you 4x XP.

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Unfortunately, Niantic Labs didn’t share exactly which Pokémon can be hatched from 2 km eggs during the Eggstravaganza, but hopefully there are some Exeggutors, Togepis, and Chanseys.

Luckily the weather is finally warming up this time of year, which should make all the egg-hatching walks you go on a little bit more bearable.

Who run the galaxy? Star Wars women get their own cartoon series and toys.

Despite the presence of Princess Leia, Queen Amidala, Rey, and Jyn Erso on our screens, it can’t be said often enough: the Star Wars franchise isn’t just for boys.

That point will be driven home this summer by a new initiative called Star Wars: Forces of Destiny. It’s a series of toys and cartoons, aimed at a younger demographic, where the women of Star Wars take center stage.

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Narrated by Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o), Forces of Destiny will offer 16 animated shorts, each around three minutes long, which will be available online and on the Disney Channel beginning in July.

Daisy Ridley voices Rey, Felicity Jones reprises her Rogue One role as Jyn, while Shelby Young (American Horror Story) steps in to speak for Leia. Also getting a cartoon of their own: Padme Amidala, Ahsoka Tano (Clone Wars) and Sabine (Rebels).

Some of those characters will meet each other, and the stories will count as Star Wars canon. The show, animated by a San Francisco company called Ghost Bot, will absolutely pass the Bechdel test, Lucasfilm says.

These tales focus on “what it means to be a hero, what it means to be a good friend,” says Paul Southern, VP of licensing at Lucasfilm.

For example, a short called “Tracker Trouble” takes place during the events of The Force Awakens, and shows Rey defusing a bomb set on the Millennium Falcon by its former owner, Unkar Plutt, saving the lives of Han, Chewie and Finn.

Here’s another glimpse of Rey in action, voiced by Ridley:

http://mashable.com/videos/bUAiqj0u/

Alongside the shorts, Hasbro is launching a new line of 11-inch “adventure figures” with real hair, retailing for $20 apiece.

Just don’t call them Barbie dolls — they’re a lot more posable, not to mention realistically proportioned.

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Perhaps the oddest part of the whole lineup — Hasbro’s first full-hair Chewbacca figure, which looks a little more Planet of the Apes than the Wookiee we know and love.

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Will Forces of Destiny catch on and become a full-fledged animated series? Only the Force knows for sure — but it’s certainly about time.

Check out these latest ‘Overwatch’ skins from the ‘Uprising’ event that are awesomely retro

Overwatch’s latest event — Uprising — is taking players back seven years in the past to battle hordes of robots during the month of April, and to collect as many old-school skins as possible in the process.

The Uprising hero skins show us what our favorite Overwatch characters looked like seven years ago, including Reinhardt, Mercy, Torbjörn, and Tracer’s Overwatch team uniforms, Widowmaker’s Talon apparel, McCree and Genji’s Blackwatch duds, and Omnic uprising versions of Bastion and Orisa.

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The new skins are randomly won through loot boxes earned during the Uprising event, which lasts until May 1. Or, you can purchase them with your in-game gold until that same date. Check out the new skins below:

Lieutenant Wilhelm Reinhardt

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Talon Widowmaker

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Chief Engineer Lindholm Torbjörn

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Ironclad Torbjörn

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Combat Medic Ziegler Mercy

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Blackwatch Genji

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Null Sector Orisa

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Cadet Oxton Tracer

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Blackwatch McCree

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Null Sector Bastion

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