Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Evil Dead: The Game Cover Story – Raising Hell

Saber Interactive and Boss Team Games are targeting the asymmetrical horror genre for a battle between demons and survivors, but it’s quite different than other creature feature forays on the market. In Evil Dead: The Game, don’t expect to find the human heroes cowering in corners or attempting to flee – this 4v1 fear festival takes the fight directly to the forces of evil, hacking enemies in half and blowing them to pieces. In 1981, Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead made a grisly splash onto the horror scene, featuring what’s become an almost formulaic setup: Five unfortunate friends head out to a cabin in the woods for a good time, and then, spoiler alert, good times are not had. The idyllic journey into the country turns into a bloody massacre, spurred on by an ancient evil book known as the Necronomicon. I remember I first saw the movie in a time when villains like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers fought for dominance over our grade-school nightmares. The film offered the terrifying simplicity of facing your friends after they become possessed undead. It gloried in the sheer, unflinching willingness to lean into the intimate, grim goriness of it all, and the experience left a strong impression. Interestingly enough, it’s possible that The Evil Dead wouldn’t have had the chance to thrive without horror maestro Stephen King’s praise. After seeing it out of competition at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, King wrote a rave review, leading to New Line Cinema picking the film up for distribution. The movie has gone down as a cult classic and had plenty of influence within the horrorsphere. But Bruce Campell’s portrayal of character Ash Williams has undeniably become the campy, comical face of the otherwise incredibly macabre franchise, infusing the gruesome themes and blood splatters with a hefty dose of comedic quips and one-liners. Multiple films followed the original, including Evil Dead 2 and the completely off-the-wall Army of Darkness, where Ash travels back to medieval times to fight the titular demonic forces. In more modern times, the series has had both a soft reboot and a TV series, with yet another film, Evil Dead Rise, scheduled to hit this year. And then, of course, there’s Saber Interactive’s upcoming game. Read more...
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    April 8 borderlands 3’s variety-packed Director’s Cut DLC hits

    You’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating: every single video game launch is a minor miracle. So many decisions have to be made. So much content has to be completed. So many variables have to fall perfectly into place. For massive triple-A titles like Borderlands 3, releasing a final product requires years of dedication and perseverance. Increasingly, though, launch is not the end – it’s only the beginning. While Borderlands 3 is not technically a “live service” game, we have treated it as such to make sure that each week it’s a better game than it was the week before. To keep this looter shooter alive and thriving, we have relied on the passion and determination of our incredible development teams, who’ve kept development happening against the backdrop of a pandemic that fundamentally changed the way we needed to work. Later this week, more than 18 months since the base game launched on PlayStation 4, we plan to release the Director’s Cut add-on for Borderlands 3 on April 8, introducing a brand new raid boss, a series of murder mystery missions, new daily and weekly challenges via Vault Cards, and a cache of never-before-seen, behind the scenes content, not to mention new Legendary gear and cosmetic items. To mark the occasion, we wanted to look back at everything we’ve released since launch and pull back the curtain on what it takes to keep a triple-A game feeling fresh.  Broadly speaking, we’ve been guided by three major goals since launch. First, to continue to polish and improve the game by addressing reported performance issues. Second, to strive to maintain a balanced experience so that build diversity could flourish at the end-game. And finally, to deliver a variety of new content, whether free or as part of a paid campaign DLC, at a consistent cadence. That first goal is the most straightforward of the three. Nearly every single week since launch (up to and including this week), we’ve released a hotfix to adjust the content that’s already available. We’ve also added numerous quality of life improvements, such as more backpack and bank space, expanded ammo storage, and performance and UI improvements. In effort to be transparent, update notes are always available on borderlands.com. Yes, a few updates saw us remove power from over-performing gear or skills, but far more often, we buffed gear and characters. We made all of these changes with the goal of improving the long-term health of the Borderlands 3 experience. We always want that experience to feel both challenging and rewarding. From the beginning, this has been our guiding light when approaching the adjustments we’ve made to the balance of the game. While these weekly updates often stem from our own internal play-testing and the direction of our live team, they just as often result from fan feedback. Have you ever wondered, “Do developers actually read their games’ subreddits?” Well, the answer is: yes, of course! We read all those critiques, as we know those comments come from the most passionate members of our community. Those weekly adjustments keep us plenty busy, but the real work – and the real joy of Borderlands 3 – comes from that third goal: releasing a variety of new content. And when I say variety, I really, really mean it. In the first year after launch, we released four story-driven campaign add-ons that ranged from a cosmic horror rom-com to a gritty western tale to a space casino super heist to a journey into the broken psyche of a psycho. After that, we released the Designer’s Cut add-on, which added entirely new spin of the Borderlands formula with Arms Race, plus a new skill tree for each of our four Vault Hunters.  And that was just the paid content. In addition, we released a huge number of free additions, again leaning into the variety that a game like Borderlands 3 makes possible. We overhauled the end game loop with Mayhem Mode 2.0; we challenged high-level players with the intense and original Takedowns; and we gave the entire community new reasons to play together with rewarding seasonal events like Revenge of the Cartels and Bloody Harvest. We even gave players a way to contribute to real-world scientific research with Borderlands Science, a game within the game that helps map the human gut biome (we were all pretty proud of that one). Maybe our biggest free addition, though, was the PlayStation 5 upgrade that launched last November, right alongside the console itself. If you own a PlayStation 5 and a copy of Borderlands 3 for PS4, you can download the next-gen upgrade for free, enabling frame rates of up to 60 frames per second in 4K resolution during single-player and online co-op. The upgrade also adds local split-screen co-op for up to four players and support for some of the PS5’s unique immersive capabilities like Adaptive Triggers, Game Help, and Spoiler Block. To us, building towards this moment felt like launching the game all over again, but it was well worth the effort. So what does all of this take? Where do ideas come from? How do decisions get made and content created? These are big questions, but the answers are ultimately pretty simple: it takes dedication and hard work. Ideas come from everywhere. For the campaign DLCs, the entire Borderlands team was asked to pitch any idea they liked. The ones that sparked the most enthusiasm were ultimately selected and created. Other times, it might be just a simple conversation between a couple developers – that’s exactly how Arms Race originally came to be. Then of course the community has become a huge part of the development process; features like the upcoming anointment re-roll machine are a direct result of our community’s input. In a lot of ways, we feel extremely lucky. The massive scope and flexible tone of Borderlands 3 have allowed us to explore all kinds of ideas, including plenty that probably would have been deemed too outlandish for other triple-A titles. Whether it’s a narrative premise or a new gameplay hook, we’ve always been able to make our ideas work within the context of the universe. That freedom has been crucial not only to maintaining our own passion for the game internally but also for keeping the experience fresh and engaging for the community. If you’re part of that community now or have been at any point in the past: thank you. We are so grateful you’ve come on this journey with us and given all of our ideas a chance. We’ve also got a new content add-on, Director’s Cut, dropping April 8, as well as more in-game events scheduled through the remainder of the year. (Just remember you need to own a copy of the base game in order to play our content add-ons.) We’re not stopping now, so there’s never been a better time to jump. See you out there, Vault Hunters! 

    Prepare for battle with a deeper dive into Godfall’s combat techniques

    The team here at Counterplay Games has been working hard on Godfall to create an experience for players where they can truly embrace an engaging combat experience while fighting with intensity and finesse, as they dominate the battlefield. We want players to put their own fingerprint on the game with how they play. That said, we created a number of ways to approach and defeat the enemies you’ll face in Godfall. Recently, we debuted a combat trailer that showcased a closer look at the Water Realm and some of the challenging enemies you will encounter there. With that trailer, we focused on a couple specific things, one of which is exploiting the Weakpoints in enemies. Weakpoints are one of the many combat features in Godfall that we want to dive deeper into with you today as we break down some of the different combat techniques you’ll have at your disposal when the game launches on PlayStation 5 on November 12. Targeting an enemy’s Weakpoints Valorian knights can use their Valorplates to reveal hit locations of particular vulnerability on their enemies. This allows skilled knights to take advantages of the imperfections and weaknesses of an otherwise daunting foe. An enemy’s Weakpoint will typically reveal itself after they attack, and there are also a few additional unique triggers for Weakpoints that you will find while you play. With Weakpoints, we want to reward players who approach the game with patience and accuracy. Once an enemy’s Weakpoint is revealed, you will need to aim for a direct hit to deal bonus damage. Additionally, there will be loot traits tied to some weapons that will give added benefits to hitting Weakpoints (e.g. healing, detonating elemental explosions, etc.). Breaching an enemy As you fight your way through the World of Aperion, you will come across heavily armored enemies. You will need to breach these enemies in order to do effective damage against them. So how do you breach an enemy? The most effective way is to hit them with a heavy attack (R2) and then follow-up quickly with light attacks (R1). Using Heavy attacks on their own can also be effective. Once you fill up the enemy’s breach bar, the enemy will be stunned and become vulnerable to takedowns. Finish an enemy with a Soulshatter Every Valorian knight learns to affect their opponents’ internal Aetherium – the very fabric of their spirit. As a Valorian strikes their foes, they make small rends in their enemies’ spiritual fabric. Then, at the right tactical moment, a powerful strike is delivered that will turn these fractures into a large internal detonation. When performed correctly, this move will utterly destroy a being. Soulshatter finishes are a fantastic way to dispose of enemies in your path. As you deal damage to an enemy, you accumulate a bank of damage that can be consumed with a heavy attack (R2). If that bank of damage is larger than the enemy’s remaining health, you will soulshatter the enemy. Soulshatters also serve as an additional trigger to traits you may have on individual pieces of loot. As you finish your enemies off with a soulshattering blow, you will see various payoffs as you utilize those triggers. In addition to the already beautiful explosion of your enemy, you may see additional payoffs such as shooting elemental projectiles from the shatter, triggering secondary explosions, and more. Utilize Polarity Attacks to increase your potential As you utilize both your weapons at your disposal, there is a bonus for players who swap their weapons mid-battle. Players can charge up a Polarity Attack by hitting enemies with their weapon. When fully charged, a weapon swap unleashes a shockwave that boosts your weapon’s damage by 20% for 30 seconds. The potential shockwave damage can be increased as you level up specific player attributes. Players who want to maximize their damage completely will find themselves swapping between weapons mid-combat. Similar to Weakpoints and Soulshatter, Polarity Attacks are tied to loot effects. A simple example is increasing the damage for the shockwave or increasing the charge rate. Some examples of exotic loot traits you may find include inflicting an ailment whenever you use your Polarity Attack or applying a debuff on enemies hit by the shockwave. Shields are made for offense Sure, you can use your shield for defense, but it is an equally capable offensive tool. Here are some ways you can utilize your shield to defeat your enemies: Parrying – You can test your reactionary skills in battle by parrying an enemy’s attack (L1). A successful parry right before an enemy attack lands leaves the enemy vulnerable for a short time. Shield Throw – Need to get an enemy out of your way or maybe they’re just too far across the fight from you? Hold L1 to aim your shield, and then throw it at the enemy by pressing R2. Throwing your shield can damage and knock them down. Just remember that your Shield Throw has a short cooldown, so utilize it wisely. Stomach Punch – Up close and personal and just want to knock your enemy on the ground? Once unlocked from your skill grid, players will be able to utilize a Stomach Punch with their shield to knock down enemies. Flat Bash – Once unlocked from the skill grid, players can utilize a Flat Bash that can interrupt an enemy’s Red Power Attacks (non-interruptible attacks), and petrify the ones Breached by it. Petrified enemies will be turned into obsidian that can then be smashed into pieces across the battlefield. Shield Ground Slam – Once unlocked from the Skill Tree, players can perform a Shield Ground Slam to cause area-of-effect damage. This attack will also petrify enemies Breached by it. Petrified enemies will be turned into obsidian and can then be smashed into pieces across the battlefield. Shield Catch Area Blast – Once unlocked, give yourself room to breathe by causing a large Shield Shockwave. Press L1 right as your Shield Throw returns to you to release a blast of energy. Shield Zoom Attack – Want to get up close and personal with your weapon but the enemy is just too far away? Once unlocked, press L1 right as your Shield Throw hits an enemy to dash quickly to their location and start swinging away. Archon Mode Archon Mode is the ultimate showcase of what your Valorplate can do. We want players to discover and try all the archon modes as they play. At a high level, you will fill up your archon bar as you fight enemies around you. Once completely full, press down on both analog sticks (L3+R3) to activate your Archon Mode. Alongside an ability (like summoning three allies to fight alongside of you), you will receive buffs that have triggers attached to them. Trigger those effects to immensely escalate your destruction potential. We can’t wait to see how high players can rachet up their damage output. Weapons in your arsenal In a previous blog post, we shared some of the unique combat features of the Dual Blades and Longsword. We wanted to touch on the final three weapon classes with you today. You saw the Warhammer and Polearm used in the Combat Trailer, but we’re also going to give you a look at the Greatsword in action. Warhammers Because Valorians are frequently outnumbered or outsized on the battlefield, the great Warhammers were developed to take advantage of the strength give to wearers of Valorplate. These heavy-duty weapons the hardest armors and scatter multitudes of smaller enemies with each strike. Wield the Warhammer to inflict slow, but big area-of effect blasts as part of its standard combos. Outside of your normal light and heavy attacks, Warhammers gain charge over time. You can gain charge faster by attacking enemies. When the charge is completely full, you can perform one of your two weapon arts. The first technique is massive energy discharging slam in an area around the player. Your other option is to aim and slam your Warhammer to send a directional shockwave that deals bonus damage at the end of its travel. Polearms The term Polearm, as it applies to Valorians, encompasses a class of weapons with a long reach designed to keep enemies at bay. Because the Valorian martial style is predicated on attack, Polearms are typically used to drive back opponents with their superior area control rather than as weapons meant to receive charges. The Polearm is a fast precision weapon with lots of thrusts and aimed stabs to deal high damage to a single target. Beyond your normal light and heavy attacks, Polearms have a charge bar that charges overtime. When the bar is blue, you can perform one of your two weapon arts. Utilize your first weapon technique to jump quickly forward and perform an area-of-effect slam that deals moderate damage but gets you in the middle of the fight and staggers nearby enemies. Your second technique is a powerful javelin throw. This attack is perfect for a precision strike from distance. Aim it at an enemy’s Weakpoint to inflict massive damage.  Greatswords Like the Warhammers, the Valorian greatswords require the incredible strength granted by your Valorplate to properly wield. Greatswords exist to give knights the striking power of the Warhammer, but the precision of a Longsword. Depending on the weapon, these swords are just as capable of smashing as they are of actually cutting. Your Greatsword has a charge bar that fills whenever you hit or are hit by enemies. The charge gradually empties over time. While the bar is red, you can perform either of the Greatsword’s unique weapon techniques. The first technique at your disposal is one that launches yourself forward in a whirlwinds hitting nearby enemies. The second technique requires more precision as you aim and launch your Greatsword to deal damage to enemies in its path.  We hope you have enjoyed a deeper look into some of the combat features that Godfall has to offer. We can’t wait to see the amazing ways players come up with to dispatch enemies in front of them as they ascend to fight the mad god, Macros. Keep your eyes open as we’ll be sharing even more information with you as we get closer to our launch on November 12.

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