September 1st, 2012
(as of 2012-12-04 20:52:14 PST)
(as of 2012-12-04 20:52:14 PST)
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Ubisoft plans to run a closed beta for Rainbow Six Siege ahead of its release, and you can guarantee yourself access by preordering a copy of the shooter.
The closed beta will be available on all platforms--Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC--and is set to take place "sometime after" the end of the PC-only closed alpha. The beta will include more content and be better polished than the alpha, which we recently got a look at thanks to a leaked gameplay video.
"The Closed Alpha and the Closed Beta will help us to build a stable experience and to playtest game elements on a very large scale," reads a post on the official blog. "Whether you're testing early on PC during the closed alpha, or helping us validate the experience once we open on all platforms, we’re looking forward to interacting with you and working together to make Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege the best it can be at launch."
If you've already preordered Siege, you'll still get a beta code prior to its launch. In the meantime, you can still sign up to take part in the alpha if you haven't already done so.
Ubisoft has published a short FAQ offering more details on the beta and how it differs from the alpha. A key point is that the alpha is much more limited in the number of people who will be allowed in, and its focus is on dealing with bugs and server stability.
What are the "best" guns in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's multiplayer mode? Developer Sledgehammer Games on Monday answered that question, listing off the five most effective weapons based on their overall kill-to-death ratio.
Writing on Twitter, Sledgehammer co-founder Michael Condrey revealed the top guns. Also included are the variants, which can increase overall lethality.
Any surprises here? What guns do you use the most? Let us know in the comments below.
The next expansion for Advanced Warfare is called Ascendance. The content, which includes four new multiplayer maps and the next Exo Zombies chapter, arrives March 31 first on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
The first single-player campaign expansion for Dragon Age: Inquisition has been teased by developer BioWare.
Known as Jaws of Hakkon, the DLC is set to release on Xbox One and PC first,with a PlayStation 4 release expected later according to a Twitter post. Few details have been revealed about the add-on, though further information will be available on GameSpot tomorrow when the trailer comes in.
Publisher EA has already released DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition, such as the Destruction and the Deluxe Upgrade, which added new paths to existing destinations and various weapons and armor. And a recent leak of new images and achievements indicated that more is on the way.
Dragon Age: Inquisition released in November 2014 to rave reviews, and the game has earned numerous game of the year awards.
GameSpot's Inquisition review scored the game a 9/10. Reviewer Kevin VanOrd said: "Dragon Age: Inquisition is a wonderful game and a lengthy pilgrimage to a magical world with vital thematic ties to one we already know."
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata is not a fan of the term "free-to-play," feeling it's a disingenuous way to describe games that often don't turn out to be free for long.
Following a Time interview last week in which Iwata repeatedly used the phrase "free-to-start," the publication has published more of its conversation with the executive, including an explanation for why he uses that expression.
"I do not like to use the term 'free-to-play,'" Iwata said. "I have come to realize that there is a degree of insincerity to consumers with this terminology, since so-called 'free-to-play' should be referred to more accurately as 'free-to-start.'"
"The thing that concerns me most is that, in the digital age, if we fail to make efforts to maintain the value of our content, there is the high possibility for the value to be greatly reduced as the history of the music industry has shown," he added. "On the other hand, I have no intention to deny the free-to-start model. In fact, depending on how we approach this model, we may be able to overcome these problems."
The company has already begun to explore the free-to-play/start model in the past, most notably with games like Pokemon Shuffle (a mobile-style, energy-based puzzle game) and Rusty's Real Deal Baseball on 3DS. Rusty's is a free download but can be expanded with new mini-games that are purchased with real-world money. Unlike other games, you're able to haggle with a character to lower the cost of those additional downloads.
Nintendo recently announced its intention to begin developing games for smart devices in conjunction with Japanese company DeNA. These games won't necessarily all be free-to-start, as Iwata told Time, "I do not believe it is an either-or situation between free-to-start and packaged game retail business models. There are games which are more suited for the free-to-start model. We can flexibly choose between both revenue systems depending on the software content."
Capcom has partnered with Six Flags to offer a Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate-themed roller coaster at the amusement park chain's Magic Mountain location.
Beginning on March 28, visitors will be able to ride a special version of the Goliath coaster, which will have a custom-skinned passenger train made out to look like MH4U's Gore Magala monster. The coaster features a 255-foot drop where the train reaches 85 miles per hour, thus ensuring I never step foot on it. You can see the non-Monster Hunter Version of it in action in the video below.
In addition to the coaster, the park's Cyber Cafe will have 3DS units on hand to allow visitors to try out a demo of MH4U. There will also be special Monster Hunter merchandise of some kind available for sale.
The custom coaster will be in the Valencia, CA-based park through August 10. If you're able to make it there on March 28 or 29, the ongoing Caravan Tour will be stopping in, giving you the chance to "be immersed in the world of Monster Hunter with a custom setting that recreates the look and feel of the traveling Caravan from the game."
Capcom didn't have any photos to share of any of this just yet, but promised we'll be getting a look at it all soon.
This isn't the first time Capcom has partnered with Six Flags, having done so for the release of Resident Evil 6 previously.
MH4U was released in February for 3DS in North America and Europe. Combined with those of the Japanese version released last October, sales had already eclipsed three million units as of mid-February.
PC gaming company Razer on Monday released the first installment of a new mini-documentary series that offers a look into the lives of people "whose love of gaming managed to transcend geographical borders and cultural barriers and influence global culture."
The first episode, called "The Handless Gamer," chronicles the life of Massimiliano Sechi, known in the League of Legends community as "MacsHG." Born without arms and living in Sardinia, Sechi has reached Diamond Rank in the MOBA by playing with his feet.
Check out the full, 12-minute documentary above to hear directly from Sechi and his friends and family about his struggles, achievements, and more. In the video, Sechi talks about his "no excuses" philosophy and shows off his custom gaming setup, among other things.
"We started working with Macs when we discovered he used Razer gear to overcome his handicap and become a champion," Razer said in a statement. "His story isn't just about perseverance and inspiration--it's about something bigger."
The series is called "Character Select." Additional episodes will follow.
Capcom has finally revealed the details of its upcoming Special Edition release of Devil May Cry 4, which will feature the most playable characters in a DMC game to date.
In addition to Dante and Nero, both of which were playable in DMC 4, Dante's brother Virgil is being added to the game's roster. Virgil will be an amalgamation of the Devil May Cry 3 and 2013 Devil May Cry versions, according to Capcom's blog. Joining him as new characters are Trish and Lady.
The official details on all three new characters:
Also being added is the Legendary Dark Knight mode that lets players fight through huge waves of enemies. This was first seen in the PC version of DMC 4.
All of this runs in 1080p at 60 frames per second, with other, unspecified "improvements to the game tempo and balancing" being made. You can also count on seeing new costumes that you'll even be able to see during cutscenes.
DMC 4: Special Edition is set for release as a downloadable title this summer on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
For more, check out the newly released trailer above and screenshot gallery below.
Nevertheless, the first few hours of the pack are a bit of a chore, as you travel through Claptrap's consciousness and memories hunting down needed objects. One of your earliest tasks is to scavenge for broken pieces of a bridge so you can continue. The stereotypical obstacles cause the quest to march on at a sluggish pace, and during the moments when a lack of real progress causes Jack to sigh in frustration over the intercom, I began to understand how he felt. After all, what is less exciting than a fetch quest within what is technically one large fetch quest?Claptrap looks much nicer on the inside.
The environments in which you tackle these early bits are a bit of a drag as well. Sure, there is that warm swelling of nostalgia when you first enter Claptrap's memories of Pandora's rustic Fyrestone, complete with cameos of broken holographic characters such as Dr. Zed who offer guidance. However, it is merely a brief distraction, as if to inquire, "Hey, remember this?" before ushering you onward with your dreary item hunt. I understand that this is merely a broken memory and little else. But as the quest inched onward, I longed for those old Borderlands days when Fyrestone was like an "Old Western" town in which to stock up on supplies, chat up the locals, and grab new missions (accompanied by that lovely acoustic soundtrack), instead of being just a brief distraction.
Thankfully, the game does loosen up some as you move along. As you venture deeper into Claptrap's consciousness, the broken memories of former Pandora, the structures made of neon lights and steel, and even the black hexagonal skies are brushed away. They are replaced with bright pink-orange hues, clouds, and floating islands, not unlike anything out of BioShock Infinite. Go deeper still, and you stumble into something akin to M.C. Escher, with waterfalls flowing from floor to ceiling and staircases on the walls leading to nowhere. It's a striking visual contrast with the cold interiors that first greet you. Claptastic Voyage deserves some credit in refusing to stick to one type of aesthetic, adding an appreciated splash of whimsy to the mind of our dubstep-loving robot. The main story itself revolves around running about searching for keys or other precious objects, but at least the landscape becomes fascinating enough to serve as a nice distraction from the tedium.You can't escape Claptrap, even when you're in his head.
The electric combat that I loved so much about the gravity-defying Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel also helps to put a charge into this short digital adventure. New enemies come in the form of glowing bugs and glitches, sharp-angled foes that attack in swarms and phase in and out of existence. Worse, however, are computer viruses, able to adapt to the elemental effects of your weapons. These foreign invaders are tough, but they provide some engrossing confrontations, with flying bolts of energy turning every battle into an industrious light show. It's doubtful you'll soon grow weary of blasting these nasty baddies, and you have plenty of opportunities to fight enemies from high in the air or butt-slam them into sparkly digital bits. You must also tackle Claptrap's own immune system, manifested as insecurity bots, robotic guard dogs, turrets, and more.
You won't always find yourself against one group of enemy types at a time. Scenes become chaotic as bugs and viruses clash with Claptrap's defense troops. If you find yourself being overwhelmed, you can look to the skies for volatile bits, floating lazily while switching colors between pink and green. Shooting one while it's green sends a barrage of corrosive missiles at nearby enemies, while pink gives you a welcome health boost. You find yourself caught in many encounters where these bits make a huge difference in whether you go down for the count or continue the fight.Welcome back to Fyrestone! Well, parts of it.
Claptastic Voyage features a new peculiar weapon type, one that is about as mixed up as Claptrap himself. Glitched weapons, typically recognizable by their sheen of flowing ones and zeros, flicker wildly, randomly changing their behavior. For example, by default a glitched weapon glows with a soft blue and doesn't act out of the norm, but with a flash to green, it's suddenly imbued with a scatter shot. When yellow, it fires nonstop until you reload or switch weapons, and when red, it shaves colossal chunks of health off enemies. I must admit: glitched weapons are easily my favorite component of this pack. They add a flare of unpredictability to every battle, allowing you to change tactics at any moment. One of my favorite weapons was a glitched laser gun, which performed admirably against single enemies, but not so well against multiple targets, forcing me to turn heel or leap away before getting overpowered. But in some of those fights, with a sudden shudder the gun turns green--once a rifle, now a rapid-fire shotgun--and allows me to turn back to lay waste to the pursuing army of hapless bugs and viruses. It is just so satisfying.
But not everything about Claptastic Voyage is equally as rewarding--and here I'm referring to the pack's extra content. Finishing the main quest opens up the mutator arena, offering loot if you survive three waves of enemies. Before starting, you can choose a game mode, such as half gravity, a difficulty--the higher you go the better chance for rarer loot--and a game modifier, which includes increasing butt-slam damage or increasing reload speed and likelihood of ammo drops for the rocket launcher while also decreasing its damage. The arena fights are not all that engaging, however, and I quickly decided that the chance of rare loot wasn't worth the effort.Travel through Claptrap on streams of data.
It also doesn't help that the arena's two hosts, a racially insensitive hot dog and a bored cat with a perpetual birthday, are incessantly annoying. Now, you would perhaps believe this has the makings of comedy gold, but in reality, no--it does not. The scripts for these two could have used some brushing up, as the unlikely duo often try too hard to be edgy and funny all at once. And hearing the hot dog shout "Treat 'em like Truxicans crossin' the border!" is not only aggravating after the tenth time, but also strays too close to being actually offensive. That, mixed with lousy hot dog puns and the cat's bored phrases interspersed with "meow," meant I found myself looking forward to the end of the third wave just so I didn't have to hear them anymore. I just…I just really miss Mr. Torgue.
Not all of the extras are bad, but they also aren't particularly thrilling, either. Some of the side missions that appear following the story are, again, more fetch quests whose prizes aren’t worthy of the time spent going back and forth to complete them. There are some standouts, though, such as helping Claptrap live out his hidden fantasy as a caped superhero or getting him in touch with his, ahem, more feminine side. Claptastic Voyage also comes equipped with the Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2--this increases the level cap from 60 to 70, which means 10 more skill points for your chosen vault hunter.New enemies include glitches and computer viruses.
Claptastic Voyage, much like our dear Claptrap himself, is an imperfect little thing. But it's still decent thanks to Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's outstanding combat formula and some superb environments revealed as you delve further into the story. The adventure is a lengthy one, coming in at around 10 hours with the main quest and side missions complete--though that time should vary depending on your vault hunter's level. Yes, this is the end of Claptrap the mighty vault hunter, and though Claptastic Voyage could have been a better sendoff for his implausible profession, at least we know that his story will continue onward for some time to come. So long as there aren't any stairs in the way.
The pratfalling starts early as our heroine, an axe-wielding, platinum-haired, Amy Brown-meets-Assassins Creed-styled Red Riding Hood, states, "This is no fairy tale, because nothing here is fair.” She could've been warning everyone about the game's combat, but she's actually referring to the bustling city of Ulrica, which is currently falling to ruin at the hands of B.B. Wolfe, a steampunk Daniel Plainview who industrializes the tiny village and needn't associate with the unwashed masses again. Wolfe then puts the whole place under martial law enforced by an army of murderous tin soldiers designed by Red's father. After Red's father dies and her mother goes missing, Red, under the strict tutelage of her grandmother, takes it upon herself to infiltrate Woolfe's businesses and find the truth.
The pitfalls of such an approach are numerous, and Woolfe provides a harsh lesson in how to fall into all of them.
The elephant in the room must be acknowledged here, and it's named American McGee. The game feels like a story that'd be right in that designer's wheelhouse--and in fact, McGee’s game Akaneiro has already pursued the Red Riding Hood theme. (Tale of Tales’ The Path should also be acknowledged for having trod this ground as well, and with great style to boot.) Woolfe does look and act the part. The architecture and atmosphere of Ulrica are marvels of ruined, washed-out, Victorian splendor, with disorienting, flashy clockwork technology intrusively laid over it. This look is intentional, and it tells the story of this place much better than Red does. The impressive lighting effects in the town and forest only enhance it by imbuing everything with a natural magic, contrasting with the ruin instead of clashing with it. This is, in fact, the same marvel American McGee accomplished with the Alice games.
Alice and Alice: Madness Returns work not because they overwrite Lewis Carroll but because they expound upon it. The young Alice in Carroll's story is found insane in the real world, and her being surrounded by mental illness influences the changes in Wonderland. It's an organic blossoming of classic ideas into something darker, and it requires a sure hand to pull it off—one that Woolfe doesn't have. Instead, Woolfe settles for a lazy shorthand of fairy tale tropes but lacks the foresight to introduce any measure or promise of joy or catharsis worth running, jumping, or fighting for. The greed of the Big Bad Wolf is reduced to corporate greed. The sadness of a father forced to make toy soldiers into a real, unyielding military never has enough of a foundation in good times to stick. Red herself speaks in a mix of sub-Buffy the Vampire Slayer modern teenage one-liners and broken, self-loathing pseudo-poetry. It’s a mess, needlessly dour and "edgy" for its own sake, an immature approach to subversive reimagining. The exhilaration starts and stops with the art design.
Red herself speaks in a mix of sub-Buffy the Vampire Slayer modern teenage one-liners and broken, self-loathing pseudo-poetry.
When the game leaves story behind in favor of player interaction, it involves competent platforming and puzzle solving with a small measure of 3D movement and backtracking, but it’s still fairly linear. It's also wholly unremarkable, marred by a score of tiny and annoying but not game-breaking bugs. A puzzle on the second stage requires Red to perform a relatively simple shimmy along a set of pipes to jump across a gap before being drowned in a pile of sludge from above; this stranded me 20 minutes longer than it should have because the game refused to recognize and grasp the pipes on the other side. Long stretches of running from enemies are aggravating because Red snags herself on the edges of walls.
Combat is rather boring to begin with, with a light attack, heavy attack, and two magical attacks. Nothing works more effectively than just spamming heavy attack ad nauseum, especially at the frequent moments when hits don't register, which is especially frustrating in sections involving an evil Pied Piper who summons groups of rats. A ground pound attack, which is supposed to make quick work of the horde, rarely connects in the way you think it will, and the group can chip away at Red's energy far faster than she can readjust and aim for whatever's attacking her. Boss fights compound all these issues, with scripted events all suffering from occasional moments of glitchy failure.
Woolfe barely comes into its own before it's over, with the entire game taking about 2–3 hours tops. It's apparently only half of a two-part experience, but the halfway mark of the game doesn't show much promise for the second. Adult takes on childrens' stories are a hard balancing act, and the moral of this particular take is perhaps in showing just how much a storyteller has to grow up to get it right.