Monthly Archives: March 2017

Mass Effect: Andromeda – Tempest Tour

(Produced in partnership with EA) You’ll be spending a lot of time aboard the Tempest in Mass Effect: Andromeda, so get to know the scout ship that you’ll be exploring the galaxy with.

Descend Into Dark Souls 3’s Ringed City In This Trailer For Final Expansion

The launch of Dark Souls III‘s final DLC expansion is just days away, and now Bandai Namco has released the official launch trailer.

Dark Souls III: The Ringed City takes players deep into a mangled, destroyed land. They’ll discover the decrepit Ringed City, encounter nasty new enemies and bosses, find new armor and weapons, and cast new spells. The expansion marks the end of the Dark Souls III saga.

There are also new PvP maps and an improved online matchmaking system. Check out some gameplay of the first 10 minutes here.

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The Ringed City launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on Tuesday, March 28, and will cost US $15 / £11.99 / AU $22.95. It’s also included in the season pass for US $25 / £19.99 / AU $37.95, which gives you access to the first expansion Ashes of Ariandel.

Dark Souls III’s latest update just went live yesterday. It adds support for The Ringed City, increases Dark Souls III’s frame rate on PS4 Pro, fixes severals bugs, and re-balances many items and weapons in the game.

Star Wars Han Solo Movie: Han Might Not Be His Real Name

He might be cinema’s most famous space smuggler, but it seems Han Solo might not be his real name. According to Disney boss Bob Iger, the upcoming Star Wars spinoff focusing on a young Solo’s adventures will reveal “how he got his name.”

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Iger spoke recently at the University of Southern California, and discussed the Solo movie, which releases next year. He said the film, “picks up with Han Solo when he was 18 years old and takes him through when he was 24. There are a few significant things that happen in Han Solo’s life, like acquiring a certain vehicle and meeting a certain Wookiee that will happen in this film. But you will also discover how he got his name.”

It was already known that Han would come into possession of the Millennium Falcon and meet Chewbacca in the movie. But this is the first time there has been a suggestion that his real name isn’t actually Han Solo. Harrison Ford played the character in the original Star Wars trilogy and returned to the role for 2015’s The Force Awakens.

The new Solo movie stars Alden Ehrenreich as the iconic space smuggler, while Donald Glover portrays Lando Calrissian, and Woody Harrelson will play Solo’s criminal mentor Beckett. Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke is also in the film, alongside Thandie Newton (Westworld), and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag).

It is currently in production, directed by Chris Miller and Phil Lord (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street.)

The Han Solo movie opens on May 25, 2018. The next entry in the series is this year’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which picks up immediately after 2015’s The Force Awakens.

Splatoon 2 Beta Starts Today, Preload Available Now

Splatoon 2‘s Global Testfire starts today, and the app is available to download on Nintendo Switch now.

You can grab the application from the Switch eShop, though until the event starts, booting the game up will just give you the following message: “The Splatoon 2 Global Testfire hasn’t started yet.”

You won’t have to wait long, however. The first trial kicks off on March 24 at 12 PM PST / 3 PM EST / 7 PM GMT. Players have a number of limited-time slots in which to try the game, all six of which are coming March 24-26–check out all the times and details here, or take a look at this teaser video for more.

Available in the Splatoon 2 demo will be four main weapons, as well as “remixed” versions of the Splat Roller and Splat Charger. Take a look at the new guns in action here, or tune in to our livestream of the Testfire at noon PST.

The full Splatoon 2 launches for Switch this summer. It supports Joy-Con controllers, the Pro Controller, and is compatible with both TV and handheld modes. You can even connect up to 10 Switch consoles together for tournament play, if you can find enough stock.

Fighting Off A Skeleton Army – Has Been Heroes Gameplay

Assemble your team of heroes and fight enemies in this action-strategy rogue-like, Has Been Heroes!

The First 12 Minutes of Has Been Heroes

Check out the first 12 minutes of Has Been Heroes — the latest action-strategy game from the developers of the Trine series — and hear the tale of how three heroes came to escort a king’s princesses to school!

Ex-Mass Effect Animator Explains Andromeda’s Issues

Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s animation issues have been well-documented, and its dialogue scenes criticized by much of the game’s community. Now, an ex-BioWare developer has provided some insight into why Andromeda’s facial animations might not be as high quality as some other games’.

Jonathan Cooper, who is now an animator on the Uncharted series at Naughty Dog, explained on Twitter that “animating an RPG is a really, really big undertaking–completely different from a game like Uncharted so comparisons are unfair.” He said that in a more linear series like Uncharted, every encounter with another character is “highly controlled,” where the the developer can create “bespoke animations.”

“Conversely, RPGs offer a magnitude more volume of content and importantly, player/story choice. It’s simply a quantity vs quality tradeoff,” he pointed out.

Cooper, who was the lead animator on the original Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, goes on to explain that in an RPG like Mass Effect: Andromeda, “designers (not animators) sequence pre-created animations together–like DJs with samples and tracks.” Because of the amount of dialogue options, conversations, and order these can come in in an RPG, “dialogues are separated into tiered quality levels based on importance/likelihood,” where “The lowest quality scenes may not even be touched by hand” and an algorithm covers the rest.

“Andromeda seems to have lowered the quality of its base algorithm,” Cooper posits. He thinks BioWare may have “underestimated [the] task” of “hitting every line by hand.”

The attention Andromeda has received “is exacerbated by us living in an era of Share buttons and YouTube,” says Cooper, “Getting the lowest quality out to the widest audience.” You can see the animator’s full explanation at the bottom of this article.

Since the game went live for EA and Origin Access Members on March 15, reaction has been mixed when it comes to the game’s animations and facial models in particular. The game’s Subreddit, for example, has multiple posts from fans disappointed by those aspects of Andromeda.

Though no animation improvements were included in its day one patch, Andromeda’s lead designer, Ian Frazier, has said there will be “more patches later on, but what goes into them is still in discussion.” Another recent update addressed a number of other single-player and multiplayer issues–see the full patch notes here.

In other Andromeda news, the sci-fi title recently got even bigger with the addition of its first free Apex mission. You can track your progress in those quests with the game’s new companion app.

In our review, critic Scott Butterworth said Andromeda “feels like a vision half-fulfilled.”

“It contains a dizzying amount of content,” he explained, “but the quality fluctuates wildly.” Read more in our full Mass Effect: Andromeda review, or read what other critics thought in this review roundup.

For more on the huge space adventure, you should definitely check out our two-part documentary series, The Story of Mass Effect: Andromeda.

On Mass Effect Andromeda’s Dialogue Animation

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 3 Release Date Revealed, New Trailer Released

The third episode of Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season 3 has been teased in a new trailer, which also reveals the episode’s release date as March 28.

Episode 3 – Above the Law sees this season’s new playable character, Javier, struggling to settle with his newly reunited family. Take a look at the video below to find out more before the new instalment arrives for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and mobile devices next week.

The Walking Dead Season 3 – A New Frontier kicked off with a two-part premiere in December 2016, after a small delay from November.

Both Clementine and Javier are playable in this third season. They come from different backgrounds but unite in their struggle to protect their loved ones. Executive producer Kevin Boyle previously said, “Javier will begin to unravel the mystery of who Clementine has become, as her story intersects with his–both of them still driven by the things they value most, long after society’s collapse.”

The new season allows you to import saves from Season 2, and you can find out how to do that here if you’re moving between platforms such as from PS3 to PS4. If you’re approaching the new season fresh, then Telltale’s story generator will tell you what kind of survivor you are, filling in your character’s journey so far.

In other Telltale news, Nintendo Switch versions of Telltale’s Batman and Guardians of the Galaxy series have potentially been leaked by a number of retailers, though there’s not been any official indication as to whether they’re real or not.

For more on Season 3 of The Walking Dead, however, you can read our reviews of the first two episodes below:

Football Manager 2017 Is Free To Play This Weekend

Publisher Sega has announced that its soccer sim, Football Manager 2017, is free to play this weekend on Steam. That means PC users can access “the full Football Manager experience” without charge until Sunday, March 26 at noon PST / 3 PM ET / 8 PM GMT.

In a blog post, Sega promises this free trial grants players “unrestricted access” to the game, including the stripped-down Classic Mode and the dream team-style Fantasy Draft. The latter has you manage a squad packed with the world’s biggest stars, with the ability to challenge your friends online.

Once the free trial ends on Sunday, FM 2017 will be half price to purchase permanently, making it $25 / £17.50–and your progress from the free period will carry over if you decide to buy the full game. The game’s tablet and smartphone versions (called Touch and Mobile, respectively) do not appear to be on offer.

Critic Richard Wakeling awarded the PC game a 7/10 in our Football Manager 2017 review, praising the match engine and overall presentation, but criticizing the lack of new features found in this year’s title.

“Football Manager 2017 is not a game of revolution, but one of refinement,” he said. “Transfers are smarter and more involved, and the faster player development and streamlining of information are welcome. The perennial strengths of Football Manager are stronger than ever, yet it’s the furtive improvements to the match engine that really set Football Manager 2017 apart from its immediate predecessor. Sure, I still have gripes with the tactical interface, and there isn’t anything new there worth writing about. But if your rear end has ever been entrenched in the virtual dugout or you’re just a fresh-faced hopeful looking to begin your journey, Football Manager 2017 is easy to recommend to the budding manager.”

Outlast 2 Will Be Released In Australia

After being refused classification earlier this month, horror game Outlast 2 has been successfully re-classified and given the adult rating of R18+ in Australia.

An entry for Outlast 2 listed on the Australian Government’s Classification Board website has confirmed that on March 21st 2017, Outlast was given the R18+ rating, with warnings of “high impact horror themes, violence, blood, gore, and sex.”

The ruling comes roughly a week after the game’s initial classification refusal, which stated that Outlast 2 was found to: “depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified.”

In a report obtained by Kotaku, it appeared as if scenes of “implied sexual violence” were a significant factor in the board’s original decision to refuse classification.

It’s unclear what caused the Classification Board to alter their original decision, but what we do know is that the contents of Outlast 2 were not altered in any way during resubmission, and that Australia will receive the same game as everyone else.

In a statement provided to Press-Start, developer Red Barrels confirmed: “Outlast 2 has been rated R18+ by the Classification Branch in Australia and will be released 26th April 2017. There will be only one version of Outlast 2 available worldwide.”

For a closer look at Outlast 2, check out Let’s Play of the demo.