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Gillian Pemberton

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  1. God of War, the highly anticipated PS4 game, comes out tomorrow, April 20. There's a lot of excitement surrounding the game, and critics have already played and reviewed it, just in time to let everyone know if it's worth it. So far, it seems to be living up to the hype, with some reviewers stating that it's one of the best games they've played this year. It's only April, but according to the rave reviews, God of War may stay at the top of the list as the year goes on. It's hailed as "a new beginning for God of War. Living as a man outside the shadow of the gods, Kratos must adapt to unfamiliar lands, unexpected threats, and a second chance at being a father. Together with his son Atreus, the pair will venture into the brutal Norse wilds and fight to fulfill a deeply personal quest." (Playstation) Again and again, reviewers focus on the impressively beautiful game and the expected combat elements, but it is Kratos and Atreus that are the stars. Their unique father-son relationship and Kratos' quest for redemption, along with the game's quest and battles, are unforgettable. Erik Kain of Forbes shared his initial opinions. He was notably impressed by the overall gameplay, combat, sound, and visuals, but was most excited by the leap to a more compelling story with well-developed characters. This, combined with new RPG elements and an over-the-shoulder camera, are highlights of this extremely promising game. Creative Director of the game, Cory Barlog of Santa Monica Studios, also highlights the story, and especially the characters, as God of War's strongest elements: "This game is about Kratos teaching his son how to be a god, and his son teaching Kratos how to be human again." God of War promises the violent, grueling combat that players expect, while providing a moving and engaging story experience — a true feat. Creatures, monsters, and gods populate a dark world that players will be eager to explore. Plenty of critics have weighed in: "About midway through God of War, Kratos and his son Atreus sit in a canoe in the middle of a lake, listening intently to a disembodied head recount the tawdry and tragic dramas of the Norse gods. The head dishes with the gusto of a gossip columnist and the smoothness of a public radio host. Kratos and son show the orator respect, only interrupting with the occasional question for clarification. That this serene moment doesn’t ring false, let alone veer into tedium, speaks to the tremendous heavy lifting done by the creators of God of War to shift the tone, the style and the expectations of one of the most beloved but also most violent and debaucherous franchises in modern games." - Chris Plante, Polygon (Score: 10) "Kratos remains capable of startling violence. But there is a sense that even Sony Santa Monica has recoiled from some of “God of War’s” legacy, and the game is better for it. It is a game that treats its history with respect where appropriate, but without obligation, even in its very concluding moments. This new “God of War” has some rough edges remaining in its transition to something new, but even in its concluding moments, it commits to its vision in a way that few games do — and it’s the first time the series has felt vibrant and important in a decade." - Arthur Gies, Variety "Set in a new, Norse mythology-inspired world and starring a familiar but thoughtfully reimagined character, God of War’s fish-out-of-Greek-water tale is a nonstop whirlwind of emotions. It’s all framed by one continuous camera shotthat never cuts away or takes the focus off of the heart of it all: Kratos’ relationship with his young son, Atreus. But the story also encompasses an indelible supporting cast, a gorgeous world consistently rewarding to explore, and immensely satisfying combat." Johnathon Dornbush, IGN (Score: 10) Watch the God of War Story Trailer: God of War releases for PS4 on April 20. Are you excited about this game? We would love to hear from you!
  2. What will the world look like after this storm, what will remain of humanity? There's a lot of buzz surrounding the upcoming release of State of Mind, a futuristic 3D thriller that delves into transhumanism, or "the belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology". The game takes place in 2048 Berlin in a world that it finds itself at the edge of a cliff. Society is at a crossroads: resources are no longer readily available, and illness, hunger, and constant war plague humanity. Even though much of this is brought on by the technology that destroyed the environment and rendered the human workforce virtually useless, ultimately causing financial collapse, government and corporations continue to insist that this same technology will solve everything. From Daedalic Entertainment: "In the game, main character Richard Nolan is one of the few journalists openly criticizing this development. When he wakes up in hospital after an explosion and finds that his wife and son have mysteriously vanished, Richard realizes: he and his family have become more than just bystanders in a storm of rivaling ideas pertaining humankind’s salvation between dystopian reality and digital utopia. Instead, they find themselves right at the center of it. This domestic drama evolves into a thriller about a worldwide conspiracy, which at its core aims to determine the fate of humanity: Could a perfect digital utopia be the answer? A virtual paradise not affected by material needs and quarrels? Could a super-AI be our savior – or would it simply declare us as dispensable since it could not be taught the value of philanthropy?" Set in the not too distant future, State of Mind is a timely game. It grapples with questions that affect us even today — how technology and AI impact the environment and our day to day world. Our ever-increasing reliance on automation could be our path to a better future but it could also be our ultimate downfall. In this future, it has had a profound impact on human existence, right down to our thoughts, feeling, and relationships. This may not be our eventual future but one of the things that make State of Mind so gripping is that it could be. Daedalic is known for developing games that are highly story-driven and with a unique visual style. Games like The Long Journey Home and The Pillars of the Earth are dissimilar in their time period and gameplay mechanics, but Daedalic always manages to provide players with a thoroughly engrossing storyline, no matter the time or place the game takes place. State of Mind promises to deliver the same experience — well-developed characters, compelling story, and a game that makes you question your choices and how they will affect not only your character's future but the fate of humanity within the game. State of Mind is now available for pre-order on Steam and GOG, but will expand to consoles, including Nintendo Switch, upon release. Watch the latest trailer:
  3. Dead Ground: Arena, the early release version of the upcoming FPS VR game Dead GroundZ, is now available through the Oculus experience store. Previously, the game was only available on Steam and via Viveport. Keep in mind that playing Dead Ground: Arena requires an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive VR headset. This early release title includes missions, battles, a variety of maps, realistic military-style weapons, exotic weapons like the Freeze Ray and Gravity Gun, and the opportunity to fight more than thirty types of NPCs. In addition, players can customize the difficulty level, which ranges from normal to the challenging veteran mode. The release of Dead Groundz promises much of the same experience, with more weapons, additional maps, and a fully-immersive story mode. Dead Ground: Arena takes place in four levels of arena combat against hordes of flesh-eating zombies and bosses. VRillAR, the game's developer, highlights the exquisite graphics and "new standards for VR gun handling", all thanks to the Unreal 4 engine. From the press release: "Players take on the role of a secret agent for Blackrain, for whom they are sent on a range of challenging missions. To fulfill their objectives, players can choose from twenty different weapons to take down thirty different, terrifying enemies. Missions range from VIP and hostage protection to fighting your way out of ever-swelling hordes in a confined space. Dead Ground: Arena supports teleport movement through your VR controller and direct player movement, and comes with a variety of graphic settings to fit each player's hardware requirements providing a seamless immersive experience." As with any early release title, Dead Ground: Arena suffers from a few issues and bugs, but the developer is making a point to respond to players' reviews and bug reports, and is making adjustments in updates. While playing with bugs can be a frustrating experience, early access gives gamers the opportunity to be involved in the development process and to play a promising new game. The lower price point is also a draw. One Steam review states: "Overall: Very fun zombie shooter with unique gameplay. You go into each mission with two pistols, then pick up weapons, health upgrades, and ammo by shooting floating bubbles that appear when zombies are killed. This adds to the action, because you are not only trying to kill the zombies, but shoot your upgrades as they float away. Add to that, very likable civilians to protect, and the game is a blast. The zombie types and attack styles are creative and the environments well done and varied. I enjoyed the quirky voice acting. I run the game on Super Ultra, and it is beautiful. The game is AAA quality. I would really like the addition of checkpoint saving, especially right before a boss fight. Replaying an entire mission just because I die in a boss fight is unnecessarily tedious. I recommend this game, and am excited to play the main game being released soon." Both Dead Ground: Arena and the upcoming Dead Groundz are part of the growing VR gaming movement. VR technology is quickly becoming the wave of the future with new and better hardware and software available to the masses at accessible prices. Dead Ground Arena is available for $14.99 on Steam, the Oculus experience store, and Viveport for the HTC Vive. Watch the early release trailer below:
  4. On April 27th, Marvel Studio's Avenger's: Infinity War is coming to theaters, and to celebrate the release, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has added another DLC Level and Character Pack to LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2. The original LEGO Marvel Superheroes game was so successful that it required a sequel and fans of the Marvel Universe and LEGO games can't get enough of the franchise. Too often, LEGO video games are pushed aside as "games for kids", and while that may be true in some cases, LEGO Marvel Superheroes is entertaining for adults and families alike. It may not be the most challenging game out there, but it's difficult enough, and the iconic characters and familiar LEGO sense of humor are endlessly enjoyable. Puzzles, combat, and co-op play offer a multi-layered gaming experience. But, it's the characters that keep players coming back. The press release details the all-new level included in the latest Level and Character Pack DLC: "This action-packed level offers players the chance to control Thanos, one of the most dangerous Super Villains in the Marvel Universe, and his ruthless army. The Mad Titan and the Children of Thanos have invaded Attilan to take on Black Bolt and the Inhumans in an all-new original game level. Working as a team, the menacing crew must work their way through the various levels of Attilan before they are given the opportunity to break through to Black Bolt’s throne. New unlockable characters Thanos, Corvus Glaive, Cull Obsidian, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw, Hulkbuster 2.0, and Groot (Avengers: Infinity War) add to the main game’s roster of over 200 Super Heroes and Super Villains." The LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War DLC Pack is part of the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 Season Pass which includes six playable levels and four character packs inspired by Marvel universe comics and movies. The entire Season Pass features: • Classic Guardians of the Galaxy Character Pack • Agents of Atlas Character Pack • Out of Time Character Pack • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 Movie Character and Level Pack • Champions Character Pack • Marvel’s Black Panther Movie Character and Level Pack • Cloak And Dagger Character and Level Pack • Runaways Character and Level Pack • Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War Movie Character and Level Pack (not released) • Marvel’s Ant-Man and The Wasp Movie Character and Level Pack (not released) The Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and The Wasp haven't been released yet, but the Infinity War pack should arrive this week along with the movie. Each character pack and character/level pack is available separately, but at $14.99 for the season pass, it's the best deal. The character packs are cool, but the new playable levels are what players look forward to the most. The LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War DLC Pack gives gamers a chance to play as some of the biggest villains in the Marvel Universe as well as unlock even more playable characters in the game. LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2 is available for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
  5. Shenmue III, the third installment in the beloved Shenmue series, is set to release later this year. But, before the much-anticipated game hits Xbox One, PS4, and PC, fans will get the chance to play the games that started it all — this time on consoles and PC. There are still Dreamcast systems and original games out there, but the new games promise an experience that stays true to the previous versions while taking advantage of modern gaming technology. The *new* Shenmue I & II are not complete remasters, but the reimagined versions of the originals. From Sega's press release: "Since their original release, Shenmue I & II have established a passionate following and are revered as one of gaming’s greatest series of all time. These revolutionary masterpieces deliver a gripping story of retribution as Ryo Hazuki sets out to avenge his father’s death and attempts to unravel the secrets behind a mysterious artefact known as the Dragon Mirror. Shenmue I & II comes complete with the original feature set that defined modern gaming, including enthralling jujitsu combat, investigative sleuthing, and RPG elements in addition to memorable mini-games. Shenmue I & II is set within engrossing real-time open worlds that feel truly alive thanks to day-to-night cycles and weather changes, with a population of civilians who follow their own schedules. This is the definitive version of these all-time classics and will be the best Shenmue experience to date. The re-release will stay true to the originals with modernised features including fully scalable screen resolution, choice of modern or classic control schemes, PC graphics options, an updated user interface and the option to enjoy either the original Japanese or English voiceovers." The first Shenmue released for the Sega Dreamcast in 1999, with the unique distinction of being the most expensive video game ever created — and it was worth it. Shenmue II was only released for the Dreamcast in Japan and Europe but was later ported to the original Xbox. Players often remember Shenmue as one of their favorite games of all time and many give it credit for starting a lifelong gaming obsession. In a way, that makes the timing of this game particularly special; Shenmue I & II will be introduced to an entirely new generation of gamers who don't remember them and have never even played the systems that they released on. The games will not only draw an audience of nostalgic gamers but should gain a new, younger audience. Shenmue I & II follows Sega's successful re-release of 2008’s Valkyria Chronicles, which first appeared on PC and eventually on consoles. It makes sense that Shenmue I & II would release to help generate hype for Shenmue III, but it also comes at a time when there's a growing audience for Japanese titles, as well as an entire generation of gamers looking for familiar, nostalgic games. Shenmue III is in the works for PS4 and PC, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign. It is set to release later this year. Watch the Shenmue I & II Re-Release Announcement Trailer below: Did you play the original Shenmue? What are your thoughts on the new games and the upcoming Shenmue III? We'd love to hear from you!
  6. With the upcoming release of Nintendo Labo on April 20, it's a big week for the Nintendo Switch . Labo is a new idea and direction for Nintendo, tapping into the versatility of the hybrid Switch console and the popularity of STEM-based "maker" education. Users build cardboard kits and interact with them in a variety of ways using the Switch. Labo promises to be a unique hands-on gaming experience, but the cardboard kits and games are designed primarily for kids and aren't likely to appeal to adults and hardcore gamers. Fortunately, Nintendo isn't ignoring the folks that made Nintendo popular and continue to buy new games and consoles — there are plenty of great new games that have recently been released and more games to come. When the Switch was first announced, there was a certain amount of skepticism about whether the combination of a home console and portable system would actually work. The verdict is in and it's a resounding success. However, it has excelled in a way that many people didn't expect. Nintendo consoles have always relied on their flagship games, but the Switch has become a favorite console to play indie titles. With the Switch, many of the games available for other consoles and PC are now completely portable. Some players aren't even purchasing the big, more expensive Nintendo flagship games and opting instead for the cheaper, downloadable indie titles from the Eshop. Nintendo caught onto this shift and is adding new games to the Eshop quicker that we can download them and play them. Here are some of the best new recent releases: Don't Starve (release date: April 12) If you haven't played this wilderness survival game on PC, mobile, or on console (or even if you have), it's a fantastic game and perfect for the Switch. "You play as Wilson, an intrepid Gentleman Scientist who has been trapped by a demon and transported to a mysterious wilderness world. Enter a bizarre and unexplored world full of strange creatures, dangers, and surprises. Learn to exploit the environment and its inhabitants to escape and find your way back home." The Switch version includes both of the expansion packs, Shipwrecked and Reign of Giants. $19.99 on the Eshop. Rogue Aces (release date: April 12) Rogue Aces is an action/arcade style game in which players must " join the Rogue Aces and liberate the islands from The Baron and his dreaded pilots". Play as a fighter pilot and take down enemies in a variety of gameplay modes. Available on the Eshop for $10.40 Burly Men at Sea (release date: April 12) This surprising breakout hit and adventure style puzzle game "is a folktale about a trio of large, bearded fishermen who step away from the ordinary to seek adventure". The minimalist graphics combine folklore and storytelling for a "refreshing" gameplay experience. One of TIME's top ten games of the year. Available on the Eshop for $9.99. There are plenty of fantastic games on the Eshop, with something for everyone. Nintendo continues to release games every week; here are some of the most anticipated upcoming games: South Park: The Fractured But Whole (April 24) Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze (May 4) Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition (May 18) Dark Souls: Remastered (Summer 2018)
  7. On April 10, the second DLC pack released for Call of Duty: WWII — on PS4. The new DLC, titled "The War Machine", released a full month earlier for PS4 players, due to an exclusivity deal between Sony and Activision. XBox One players will have to wait until May to get a hold of the game's newest content. PS4 players are already enjoying three new multiplayer maps, a new War Mode map, and a new zombies chapter. Like the full game and the previous DLC, "The Resistance", this DLC packs a lot of punch. There's no fluff or cosmetic options, just the new chapters, maps, and missions that players have been hoping for. The new, unique multiplayer maps are likely to keep players busy for a while. Sledgehammer Games has added Dunkirk, Egypt, and a map titled V2. From Sledgehammer Games: Dunkirk "Players face off on the sands and beachfront boardwalk of the French sea-side city of Dunkirk. This map features a large, open and dangerous beach area flanked by tight interiors through the buildings lining the beach-front. Sniping can be effective here, though aggressive running and gunning can also pay off, so keep sharp and watch your angles and surroundings to win the day." Egypt "For the first time in Call of Duty: WWII, we’re bringing players to the battlefields of Northern Africa and the Egyptian pyramids. Players fight in and around the ancient ruins at Giza with landmarks that you’re sure to recognize. The map features an interior temple in the center that heats up during intense Domination matches with more open exterior lanes to either side. There’s something for everyone, as all ranges and playstyles have a place to call home here." V2 "Welcome to V2 – a rocket development and test site located in rural Germany. V2 is a tight, ultra-fast paced map that never lets up for a moment. The launch tower sits at the map center, providing a focal point and an opportunity to grab an elevated sightline on unsuspecting opponents. Short-to mid-range engagements are dominant here, with fast and furious gameplay throughout – don’t blink!" For fans of the War Mode, there's an all new objective experience titled "Operation Husky". In this newest mission, the allies join the invasion of Sicily, Italy, gathering intel and locating enemy ports to transmit their hard-won information. Operation Husky also includes a fighter pilot section in which players must protect the bomber squadrons on their mission to reach their targets. Finally, a Call of Duty: WWII DLC wouldn't be complete without an addition to the zombies mode. While the audience for Call of Duty zombies remains smaller than the number of traditional players, it's popular enough that Sledgehammer continues to update and expand on the game mode. What started off as a novelty has become the primary gameplay mode for some players. The War Machine offers a new chapter in the version of Call of Duty that delights fans of the horror genre. In "The Shadowed Throne", Berlin is burning and the familiar zombies mode characters, Marie, Drostan, Olivia, and Jefferson, must continue to eliminate Doktor Straub's terrifying undead monsters. Watch "The War Machine" Official Trailer:
  8. On May 1, the popular VR title, Killing Floor: Incursion is set to release on PS4, utilizing PSVR. As of now, the violent and terrifying virtual reality game was only available for PC, requiring either Oculus Rift or HTC Vive Headsets. Killing Floor: Incursion comes from developer Tripwire Interactive, who is responsible for the Tripwire franchise, Red Orchestra, and Rising Storm. From Tripwire Interactive: "...Based on the multi-million unit selling action horror franchise Killing Floor, Killing Floor: Incursion takes the action horror genre to the next level with a fully-realized, made-for-VR, story-driven adventure. Play alone or with a friend in co-op mode, explore diverse environments from creepy farmhouses to high-tech facilities — and fight to survive against the horrific Zed hordes with a variety of weapons, including pistols, shotguns, axes, and even the occasional leftover limb." While the PC game struggles with a few bugs, players are quick to applaud the over the top horror experience brought to life by VR — it appears that most of the positives outweigh any complaints, and update patches have successfully solved many issues. An intriguing critical review of Killing Floor: Incursion reads: “A game forcing me to chuckle to myself after nearly needing to change my underwear from the last combat sequence is never a bad thing.” Killing Floor: Incursion takes place in the established Killing Floor universe. You play as a Horzine soldier who has been wounded in combat in a bloody battle with the Zeds. Because you can't risk further injury while you heal, you are placed in a simulation. You're guided through the simulation by Horzine officer Emma Rose and must battle hordes of the genetically modified monsters. It may be "just" a simulation, but with your brain in the mix, if you die too many times you run the risk of going completely insane. The original Killing Floor: Incursion has five levels of story-based gameplay, but PS4 players will have access to a sixth level, titled The Crucible. The story campaign is a fully-narrated immersive experience, in which you seek answers about Horzine and their mysterious relationship with the Zeds. It's unsure yet how The Crucible will fit into the story, or if it represents something of an epilogue; it promises to be a full level addition to the game. The number of games available for VR play is still relatively low. However, as more high-quality games are introduced to the market, developers and publishers are in close competition, forcing one another to raise the bar on gameplay, graphics, and overall experience. By moving Killing Floor: Incursion to PS4, Tripwire interactive is accessing a new group of players and hopefully building a fanbase for their particular brand of VR, early on. While VR games aren't on everybody's radar, yet, they are likely more than just a fad. In the past, games that relied completely on extra hardware to play came off as clunky and gimmicky, but the idea of VR has been around for a long time. As VR headsets become more accessible to the gaming masses, it is likely that VR gaming will become an integral part of the gaming landscape somewhere in the near future. Watch the Killing Floor: Incursion PSVR Announcement Trailer below:
  9. The popular card game by Bethesda Game Studios , The Elder Scrolls: Legends has released its newest expansion, The Houses of Morrowind . From Bethesda: "You have no idea what you’ve wandered into. From the moment you stepped off the docks in Seyda Neen, you became a potential pawn in a grand power struggle between the Great Houses that govern this land and even between the living gods themselves and their terrible ancient enemies. But of course, if it maneuvers correctly, a pawn can become a queen. Who will you trust? Who will you fight for? Can you control the Houses of Morrowind?" Houses of Morrowind is an exciting update to the game. It adds 149 new cards, including creatures and characters that can be found in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls: Online. One of the most exciting aspects of the expansion is that it breaks the rule that a deck may contain cards of only two attributes, or colors. Morrowind brings with it several three-attribute cards. Place one of those cards in your deck, and your deck can now use cards of all three of that card's attributes in your deck. But, it comes with a catch: you must have a deck of at least 75 cards. Previously, the deck limit was 70, but with the Morrowind expansion, it has been raised to 100. That may seem like a bonus — you won't have to pare down cards that you would like to have in your deck, but as experienced players know, a bigger deck is not always a better deck. A larger deck decreases the chances that you will pull the cards and combinations that you're hoping to draw. So, it's best to keep your deck as tight as possible, with no extra cards that don't play well with the rest of your deck, even if they look cool. But, players now have more options build their decks in new and unique ways. The Houses of Morrowind are as follows: House Redoran (STRENGTH/WILLPOWER/ENDURANCE) House Telvanni (INTELLIGENCE/AGILITY/ENDURANCE) House Hlaalu (STRENGTH/WILLPOWER/AGILITY) Tribunal Temple (INTELLIGENCE/WILLPOWER/ENDURANCE) And finally: House Dagoth (STRENGTH/INTELLIGENCE/AGILITY) Dagoth is the outcast house. From Bethesda: "The Tribunal attempted to destroy this house centuries ago, ensuring it was all but forgotten. But deep within the Red Mountain, Dagoth Ur has plotted his revenge and rebuilt his house – in the form of frightening beings known as Ash Creatures. As an outcast house of monsters, House Dagoth wants no part in the Great Houses’ political dance. Instead, it seeks raw power. Dagoth cards, which you can find in Strength, Intelligence and Agility, reward you for having creatures with 5 or more power." House of Morrowind promises to shake up the game with new cards and card packs and so far, players are happy with the new additions and elements of gameplay. Watch the Offical Houses of Morrowind Trailer below: In another interesting (potential) change for the game, Vice President of Marketing for Bethesda, Pete Hines, recently stated in an interview that the game may be coming to consoles. He spoke about the change in an interview with Dualshockers: “Honestly I think everything is on the table. At the end of the day — and this is true for every game, not just Legends — we like to try and get our games to as many platforms as possible, so that as many people as possible have the option to play.” That doesn't sound very concrete, but there's a chance that console players could eventually add The Elder Scrolls: Legends to their library. The Elder Scrolls: Legends is currently available for PC, iOS, and Android.
  10. Thank you! I'm interested to see how this drama plays out.
  11. Fans of battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds , also known as PUBG, may have noticed that it's not the only popular game that follows a particular format. This isn't uncommon in the gaming market. When a game becomes wildly popular and draws a huge audience, similar games will begin to appear. This is especially true with mobile games. After PUBG released a mobile version earlier this year, countless "clones" began to appear on mobile app stores. On April 2, PUBG Corp, which is owned by the Korean publisher Bluehole , filed a lawsuit in the US District Court of Northern California against Chinese publisher NetEase . NetEase is responsible for two clones in particular: Rules of Survival and Knives Out. Objectively, if you take a look at these two games, the similarities to PUBG can't be ignored. Both games are 100-player battle royale games, with battles taking place on an island that players access by parachuting from a plane. The battles feature shrinking "safe zones" and a similar collection of weapons and vehicles across their maps. Bluehole is suing NetEase for both copyright and trademark violations. In the lawsuit, Bluehole states that “PUBG has suffered irreparable harm” due to the clone games' presence in the mobile gaming market. They are asking that NetEase cease distribution and development of Rules of Survival and Knives Out. There is some speculation as to why they are choosing this moment, as well as these particular games in the lawsuit. The legal action follows PUBG's mobile release, and Bluehole is addressing the mobile games that may be taking profits away from their own game. If PUBG had stayed exclusive to console and PC, these mobile clones wouldn't be as much of a threat and would have most likely been ignored. Another game that follows the popular formula is Fortnite Battle Royale, which also started as a PC game and released a 100 player mobile version, was not addressed by the lawsuit, even though Bluehole has vocally criticized the game in the past. Fortnite is quickly becoming the battle royale game to play and has legions of devoted fans. However, Epic Games, Fortnite's developer, is the creator of the Unreal Engine 4, the engine that Bluehole licensed for use in PUBG. So, it seems that the companies behind both games are keeping things civil — for now. In an interesting twist to the battle royale storyline, NetEase has decided to sue clones of their games. NetEase has stated that other developers are copying their "unique ideas" and that they plan to pursue legal action in order to protect their intellectual property. It is unclear as to how this battle of the Battle Royales will eventually play out in the courts. However, though both Bluehole and NetEase are arguing that very specific creative aspects of their games have been copied, none of the games involved in the lawsuits are the first of their kind. Games like The Culling, Last Man Standing, and GTA: Motor Wars were battle royale games before they were the must-play games of the moment. While they may lack the polish and overall playability of blockbusters like PUBG and Fortnite, neither title can claim that they were the first.
  12. If you're looking for a new game to play this weekend, now is the time to try This War of Mine on Steam. It's free to play this weekend, until April 8! The game's developer, 11 Bit Studios, is gearing up to release a new game, Frostpunk. Frostpunk is already receiving rave reviews and is sure to be a hit from for the studio. From the developer: "In an ultimately frozen world, people develop steam-powered technology to oppose the overwhelming cold. The city ruler has to manage both the inhabitants and the infrastracture the citizens live in. Leader’s tactical skills face challenges, frequently questioning morality and the basic foundation of what we consider an organized society. Here optimization and resource management often clash with empathy and thoughtful decision-making. While city and society management consume most of the ruler’s time, at some point exploration of outside world is necessary to understand its history and present state." While Frostpunk looks really cool, like a dark, violent, deadly, steampunk Stardew Valley, it's not free, and it hasn't been released yet. But, the opportunity to play This World of Mine for free is generating even more buzz for both games. While Frostpunk is set in a completely fictional universe, allowing the player to be somewhat removed from the dark content, This War of Mine, though still fictional, exists in a world that could, and does in some places on the planet, exist today. One reviewer from the Steam community, an Iraq war vet, played and reviewed the game. His take: "This "game" puts you square in the middle of the experiences of those civilians. It is a brutal, kill or be killed world - where an act of unimaginable violence may let you live another day, but it can also break your heart and soul. Some days, you are offered a chance at compassion - and if you take that chance, risking your own safety and resources for others, you may find you feel a bit better about yourself." Without question, this is a powerful game that leaves a lasting impression on its players. The reviewer continues: "Then there are the times where you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. You are unarmed, scavenging for anything to save your friends, and you peep through a keyhole and see a soldier brutally beating - and possible worse - a woman. He has an AK-47, you have a lockpick and a rumbling stomach. So you sit there and watch - afraid that any noise may turn his violent attention upon you. When it is all done, you hide until he leaves and then, shamefully, pick over the bloodied body of the woman for anything she may have scavenged before the soldier got to her." Basically, with unique visuals and a dark, heartbreaking story, This War of Mine tells a story that perhaps none of us want to see or experience, but perhaps should. If you enjoy unique survival simulators and questioning your own humanity, you should give this game a try. While a pen and ink sidescroller isn't for everyone, for the sake of the game, it's worth not allowing yourself to give up on the story based solely on the animation style. At the very least, the game is free to play until the end of the day on April 8. After the free period ends, the game can be purchased at the heavily discounted sale price of $5.99 (regular $19.99) for another day. If you're still enjoying the game, there are a couple of DLC packs, including The Little Ones, which allows you to play the game through the eyes of a child and The Father's Promise, the first in a series of independent episodic stories with more to be released this year. The prices for the DLCs are all $4.99 and under, an absolute steal in the DLC market. Even with the upcoming release of a new game, developers are continuing to bring new and engaging content to a heartbreaking but intriguing game.
  13. It's Spring! The flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, and my allergies are killing me! Which means it's a great time to stay inside and play video games. Fortunately, it's also time for Xbox's huge Spring Sale. Many of their most popular titles are discounted up to 60% and Gold members receive an extra boost to their discounts. There are plenty of deals for Xbox One players and 360 players can still get in on the action, as well. The sale ends April 10, so make sure to check them out before they're gone. Some of the most notable discounts: Cuphead, the beautifully animated breakout hit is getting a rare discount. That's a little low compared to many of the other titles, but this enormously popular game rarely goes on sale. If you've been wondering what all of the hype is about, now's the time to grab this game. After playing Cuphead, you're going to need to relax a bit, and ABZU is the perfect game. Play as a scuba diver and explore a gorgeous underwater landscape at your own pace. The controls are a little strange to master at first, but this game is surprisingly addictive. It's also only $11.99 for the sale. Looking for something unique? Fans of games like Night in the Woods and Dear Esther will be drawn to the atmospheric, dark, and emotional journey of Blackwood Crossing. Described as "a story-driven first-person adventure game", Blackwood Crossing follows orphaned siblings Scarlett and Finn. If this game has been off your radar, now is the perfect time to give it a try. While these lesser-known titles are a great deal, Xbox has not ignored many of the biggest game franchises out there. And it's not just older installments that are on sale — the newest games are discounted, too. Now is the time to grab some of the best new Triple-A titles to round out your collection. Call of Duty WWII takes players back to the game's roots in WWII, in a newly reimagined experience. All of your favorite gameplay and multiplayer action is there, with the expected upgrades and improvements that come with each new game in this blockbuster franchise. Call of Duty isn't the only Triple-A franchise getting attention in this sale. Assassin's Creed, Battlefield, Dishonored, FIFA, Dead Rising, and Far Cry all made the list. Be sure to scroll all the way through the sale page and check out some of the great bundles and even more of the most popular games and franchises available. There's something for everyone included in the sale and nearly all of the most popular titles are discounted enough to make the purchase worth it. 360 players haven't been ignored either, with some of the older console's favorite titles and a few you may not have played on the list. Finally, it's not just games that are on sale, but XBox has discounted their Design Lab Wireless Controllers. With Design Lab, you can design your own custom controller in a nearly endless number of color combinations and designs. Match your most-played game, your favorite sports team, or just design a unique controller that no one else has. They're only discounted at $10 off, but it's a little something if you've been holding off on a custom controller. The XBox Spring Sale runs until April 10. What did you pick up at the sale and what do you think are the best deals? We would love to hear from you!
  14. The Fortnite 3.4 update has arrived, with lots of cool new content. But, it's not without issues. There are new weapons, loot adjustments, and changes to the rates of supply drops. Epic Games has also changed the way that new content will be delivered on a weekly basis. A note from Epic Games: "Every other week we will drop new content without the need for an update. These will be called Content Updates. This new cadence allows us to iron out more complex bugs, while continuing to provide fun content every week." These are the newest content updates to the game as of April 8: Battle Royale has its own exclusives, including an update to the High Explosives mode and a vending machine. Vending machines are located at various spots on the island and players can spend materials for the chance to receive items. Each vending machine has a rarity that is randomly selected and machines of different rarities are different colors. As the rarity increases so do the material costs. The rarity colors and costs are as follows: Common/White/100 materials Uncommon/Green/200 materials Rare/Blue/300 materials Epic/Purple/400 materials Legendary/Gold/500 materials For Save the World players, there's a new spring-themed weapon, the Easter Egg Launcher, and it's adorably deadly. The colorful weapon tosses explosive easter eggs which lie in wait until an enemy comes near. Then, they explode. It has some limitations, however, and allows for only six active easter eggs at one time. The Easter Egg launcher is available starting April 8 at 8 pm EST. Of course, no update is complete without a few bugs and issues. While there are no major issues that are causing huge problems with gameplay, users are reporting a number of bugs. Notably, some mobile players are experiencing crashing, but it doesn't seem to affect all players. In addition, some PS4 players are having freezing issues. Some bugs are appearing across all platforms including: Floating weapons that can't be used. Occasional inability to edit structures. Hitching when jumping from the Battle Bus. Random controller vibrations. All of the current bugs and issues can be found on the Fornite Community Trello Board. Last week, Epic released the huge 3.4 update. Weapons additions and changes, bug fixes, especially for the mobile platform, streamlining of the crossplay system, and much more are all included in the 3.4 patch notes found here . Most notably Battle Royale added the powerful Guided Missile weapon. It comes in two rarities, Epic and Legendary, with those levels doing 105 and 110 damage to players respectively. The rocket also does 1000 damage to the environment and carries 100 health. From Epic Games: "Powerful and mighty, the newly released Guided Missile can devastate targets. Complete control right at your fingertips. Skilled players can take advantage of its range and maneuverability to get around cover and land the final blow on their opponent." For players who enjoyed the limited time Sniper Shootout, it's back! Save the World has its own updates, including a new questline called "The Three Husketeers". There are also two new heroes, Rabbit Raider Jonesy and Miss Bunny Penny. Fortnite and Fortnite: Battle Royale continue to add more exciting and engaging content. Stay tuned for more content updates to these popular, fast-growing, accessible games.
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