Saturday, July 24, 2021

IN THE EVENT YOU Play ” NEW WORLD “? Beta Impressions From The Frontier

Amazon Games’ upcoming MMORPG New World is in the spotlight as a lengthy closed beta session shows off the action ahead of an August 31st release. New World has changed its vision multiple times over the course of development, and now the question on everyone’s mind is – where is this going to land on release? What kind of player is it for? What kind of MMORPG is it? And perhaps the most important question, is it worth your time at all? Over the course of the beta (and a demo session that took me into an endgame slice with a fully-geared character), I’ve seen some areas with huge potential that are currently underserved in the MMORPG space – and some others that could be intense detriments for the title. Let’s talk about New World!It successfully lands a powerful frontier survival vibe If you’re familiar with survival games that have you punching wood to get a house going, New World delivers on this front initially by giving the player myriad survival pursuits. Hunting turkey on the borders of your established safe zones to raise your cooking skill and create rations is far more engaging than it has any right to be. Hunting down elusive saltpeter deposits in mines and crafting your own shells for your old-timey rifles feels fun. Being able to skill up in everything to your liking is a classic system à la Runescape, and its nice to know you can work up every single crafting and gathering skill if you wish, right down to doing some fishing. Banging together your first batch of gathering tools is actually freaking awesome. Digging up carrots and potatoes feels meaningful. Coming back to your town in the middle of the wilderness to trade feed and talk with your fellow explorers has all the allure of bustling about Disney’s Frontiertown, and I’ve rarely had so much investment into crafting and trading systems in MMOs. I can see potential problems with these aspects later down the line, i.e. do I really want to spend my time in the endgame gathering resources just so I can play the game, but for now, there’s plenty of magic in creating my own food, ammunition, and supplies before I trek out into the wild. It feels gritty, it feels raw, and it feels fresh. Faction PVP can be a lot of fun Territory control and faction-based opt-in PVP not only bring back a bit of realm-vs-realm feel from the glory days of Dark Age of Camelot, but they inject something that many online experiences have moved away from in the last decade – social interaction. That means yes, you are going to see a player named PoopyPants (Yes, this was a real player I saw) cutting down trees and screaming outside of town about the price of silver ore, and your chat feed is going to be inundated with comments that make the infamous Barrens chat look downright erudite. However, it also successfully adds shared social stakes to the experience, even if you choose not to interact at the verbal level with any other players. By funneling players into three different factions, you have an investment in your tribe regardless of how deep you want to take it. If you still just want to solo and bring back a load of furs to trade in town, you can – but the real fun is to be had by grouping up, interacting with others, and eventually taking over some territory as your chosen faction. At the solo, guild, and greater level, having game flow dictated by players instead of the “theme park” experience is a bold choice and more than a bit refreshing. The issue here is how interesting and meaningful are these faction wars going to be in the endgame? While I don’t have the answer to that yet, the prospect of really engaging with other players in a meaningful way in a MMORPG gives me a powerful nostalgia bump and some serious differentiation from many other genre offerings today. On the flip side, if you’re not really interested in territory wars or PvP, other existing MMORPGs might be a better choice. The combat is New World’s biggest weakness In almost every MMORPG, you’re going to be doing a ton of combat. It’s probably the biggest portion of the entire gameplay experience. With limited skill options, awkward animations, and very little excitement, New World’s combat is decidedly dull. Now, there’s something to be said about popping an opposing faction member from a great distance before you engage in a 3v3 skirmish that gets real greasy, but that’s more about the player-to-player interaction than the combat, which can often feel wooden and wonky. While I enjoy systems that attempt to break the genre out of the tab-targeting standard that’s been grandfathered into MMOs for ages, it misses the mark here.  I found it hard to determine if the other aspects of the game that seem enjoyable can carry this particular aspect either, as combat is the core of almost every other pursuit. Even if you’re just spelunking for saltpeter, you’re going to have to fight a ton of various zombie-like creatures, wolves, or bears, and it simply does not feel good. This problem is exacerbated in group experiences, both PvP and PvE, but more pronounced in the latter. Chewing into spongey opponents as a pack with the glaring lack of feedback from weaponry is almost comical, and your options in combat feel extremely limited and lacking. Everything can feel the same Enemies, locations, and activities can become a big bowl of mush without breaking it up with some PvP pursuits. You’ll see many of the same rickety little fishing villages, decrepit farms, and crumbling ruins as you traverse the giant world. Killing some undead buccaneers at level 5 feels the same as it does at level 15, and you’re going to be doing a ton of daily-quest/fetch style activities in order to grind out your faction reputation, like wandering around the aforementioned locations for boxes and killing X undead baddies. It feels intensely repetitive even after only twenty hours of gameplay, so I’m concerned about how that will translate to the endgame – will I still, as an elite member of the Syndicate, still be wandering farms killing undead and picking taters? I mean, I do like picking taters... Travel is rough When you’re just starting, it’s fine that you’re walking everywhere because you don’t have far to go. However, this takes a turn at around level 12, where you’ll find the autorun button and some movies on your favorite streaming platform to be your best friends. The world is large, and traveling it all on foot is a huge pain. Without mounts, and the fact that fast travel is limited by resources, moving around the map is an absolute bore and a chore. I realize there are other meaningful concerns that probably flow into this decision, like the implications of having everyone zoom around in a game that’s attempting to create stakes with territory control and PvP, but this becomes harder and harder to ignore the more you play and get quests on opposite ends of your map. Forging ahead Based on the beta, New World is going to be an interesting but potentially niche addition to the current crop of MMORPGs. However, it seems to really serve players that want to play with small groups of friends for faction skirmishes and that are interested in greater territory control wars with big guild politics and all that. If you’re not interested in that kind of greater pursuit with plenty of social interaction and PvP, the PvE elements by themselves do not seem compelling enough to keep things rolling.  While I love the feeling of crafting my own stuff, slowly increasing the areas that I’m strong enough to explore, and fastidiously upping all my gathering and crafting skills, I can see those charms fading rapidly as the activities become somewhat rote. The dynamics involved in faction wars and territory control seem to be the peppy antidote for the never-ending rock farm in various undead shacks and homesteads. As with other games that lean into this kind of emergent gameplay (RIP Shadowbane), some of New World will be what players shape it into.
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    Konami officially announced on Wednesday a few changes for its soccer series. It will be renaming the Pro Evolution Soccer series to eFootball and turn it into a digital-only, free-to-play experience that will launch later this year on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC. Android and iOS will follow later.RELATED: Netflix Games Will Be Free For SubscribersBy winter, the plan is to have all versions of the game feature cross-play. This is a huge move for the game, and one that fans of sports games have long asked for in other titles. “It all began with the implacable determination to create a revolutionary soccer platform,” Konami said in a statement on its website. “Our ambition was to recreate the perfect soccer environment, from the grass on the field, to the players’ movement, all the way to the crowds in the stadium. To this end, we decided to create a new soccer engine with a newly built animation system and revamped game commands. The final result was even more impressive than we had originally conceived. We went beyond the border of PES, into a new realm of virtual soccer. To signal this new era, we have decided to part ways with our beloved PES brand and rename it eFootball.” Konami also detailed some of the game’s roadmap, with an all-new game engine to release in early autumn, along with local matches using some of the most renowned clubs in all of soccer, including FC Barcelona, Arsenal, and Manchester United. Later in the fall, the company plans to have online leagues open up alongside Team Building Modes. Finally, esports tournaments will kick off in winter with full cross-platform and mobile controller support enabled. RELATED: Aliens: Fireteam Elite Seems Like Just Another Bug Hunt 

    Psychonauts 2 Story Trailer Shows Life as a Psychonaut

    A brand Psychonauts 2 story trailer has been released, detailing some more of what players will be able to experience when the game launches next month.RELATED: Psychonauts 2 Receives Gameplay Trailer and Release DateIn the brief trailer, we see Razputin experience his first official day on the job of being a Psychonaut, before jumping through various scenes of what seems to be a mystery Raz will have to solve. The trailer then showcases some of the many places and settings you’ll explore, along with many of the enemies you’ll be taking on in battle.You can check out the Psychonauts 2 story trailer below:[embedded content]Psychonauts 2 will be launching on August 25, giving players the chance to dive into the game that’s been in development for some time. Just like nearly every other game revealed during the showcase, Psychonauts 2 will also launch on Xbox Game Pass, giving players even more reason to dive into the service.RELATED: Skate 4 Teaser Trailer Showcases Gameplay Reactions But No Actual FootageThe game, which is being developed by Double Fine, was initially announced years ago, with a crowdfunding effort on Fig launched in 2015. Since then, Microsoft has acquired Double Fine, but Psychonauts 2 will still be coming out for PlayStation 4 alongside Xbox platforms and PC.

    Tom Clancy’s XDefiant is really a Free-to-Play Shooter, For August closed Test Set

    Ubisoft has announced a brand new free-to-play shooter set in the Tom Clancy universe, called Tom Clancy’s XDefiant. It features characters inspired by the various Tom Clancy video games such as Splinter Cell, Watch_Dogs, Rainbow Six, and more.RELATED: HBO’s The Last of Us Series Budget Exceeds Eight Figures Per EpisodeDeveloped by Ubisoft San Francisco, Tom Clancy’s XDefiant is a 6-versus-6 multiplayer first-person arena shooter that Ubisoft claims will feature fast-paced firefights meets punk-rock mosh pit. The game will aim to combine intense gunplay with personalized loadouts and specialized factions, with teams of gunfights known as Defiants battling for dominationA brand new reveal trailer was also shown off, giving players a look at what some of the look and feel of the game will be. You can check out the trailer for Tom Clancy’s XDefiant below:[embedded content]An early gameplay test for Tom Clancy’s XDefiant is taking place next month, starting on August 5, 2021. Players interested in joining the test can sign up for the chance to be selected at the game’s official website. More tests are planned beyond the initial one, and with the game still early in development, its creators have said that they are looking for tons of feedback.RELATED: EA Gives Skate 4 Update, Teases Reveal for TomorrowTom Clancy’s XDefiant is set to launch on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S, with versions for Amazon Luna and Google Stadia also planned.

    Los Santos Tuners arriving at GTA Online soon

    On July 20, the underground tuner scene in Los Santos roars to life with the launch of GTA Online: Los Santos Tuners. In addition to a ton of action-packed, Tuner-based missions and races, this update introduces the LS Car Meet, a gigantic, shared social space where you and your cherished personal vehicle can mingle freely with fellow car fans to race, show off your customized vehicles, and even link up with shady contacts looking for skilled drivers and a chance at easy money. To get started, you’ll need to visit a non-descript, graffitied warehouse on the edge of town in Cypress Flats — listen close and the sound of engines revving might give it away, or look for the makeshift finish line on the road outside. Inside, the LS Car Meet has a “good vibes only” policy, making it a great place to skip the attention of the law and any small-time chumps looking to terrorize the citizens of greater Los Santos. Park your attitude (and your weaponized vehicles) at the door and share your love of car culture with some like-minded personalities. Here, you’ll find countless ways to immerse yourself in the beating heart of the scene, show off prized personal vehicles from your collection or check out everybody else’s. Dropping GTA$50,000 to become an LS Car Meet Member will get you even more privileges. To start, you’ll unlock a new Reputation progression with new benefits unlocking after each Level. Plus, you’ll get access to the Test Track, a large underground space inside the Car Meet warehouse where you and your friends can drive, drift, and race vehicles freely, without interference from pesky pedestrians or the law. You can also sample new Test Rides in the Test Track – your chance to get behind the wheel of a rotating selection of vehicles and push their limits. Members will also get to compete in rotating Prize Ride Challenges for the opportunity to win a special Prize Ride and get access to a range of special shops and features — including the Merch Shop, Tattoo Shop, and the Modding Area, where you can show off your customization prowess to other players in real time as you work on your stanced build. Higher level Members can also create a Private Takeover complete with customizable lighting and banner colors to decorate the Car Meet space to your tastes. Los Santos Tuners introduces new races inside and outside the Car Meet, each with their own Leaderboards. On the Test Track, you can engage in friendly competitions like Head-to-Head where speed and precision will give you the necessary advantage to best your opponent in a short format race, and Scramble where up to four players race to collect 20 checkpoints. Time Trials around the Test Track give you the chance to put your vehicles through their paces and score your own Personal Record. Up to 30 players will share the track space with you, but contact will be disabled while competing, and members can also go into Private Test Tracks solo. Off the Test Track and throughout the city, there are also new race series for members: Street Race Series and Pursuit Series. The Street Race Series delivers exactly what it says on the can: bruising competition on creative tracks built on the streets of some of Los Santos’ most scenic neighborhoods, complete with shortcuts that are as much about risk as they are reward. The Pursuit Series offers drivers a more open-ended experience, with checkpoints placed sparsely throughout the map to encourage creative routes — after all, you’ll be competing against your fellow racers, as well as having LSPD’s finest hot on your heels. Meanwhile, Sprint offers a point to point challenge in Freemode with up to three other drivers in a breakneck race from the LS Car Meet out to various locations like LSIA and back. In the underground world of the Car Meet, Reputation is a valuable commodity. Earn Rep by participating in races (and more for winning), daily log in bonuses, putting in time on the Test Track, and even just hanging out at the Car Meet. Earning Rep gets you an assortment of rewards to elevate your status in the scene — these include unlocking access to all sorts of fashionable gear, flashy new car customization options like new wheels and liveries, as well as Trade Prices on certain vehicles, access to new Race modes, and even the ability to hold your own private Car Meet. Naturally, this update to GTA Online will inject a whole new ensemble of fresh vehicle inventory across Los Santos dealerships — ranging from imported tuner cars from Annis, Dinka, Übermacht, and more to that straight up Vapid muscle that Americans have come to know and love. There will be 17 new cars in total over the course of the summer, with 10 dropping at launch on July 20. Plus, when GTA Online launches on PlayStation 5 later this year, select vehicles will be upgradable with all new speed improvements and more. These special upgrades will be available only on the PlayStation 5 version of Grand Theft Auto V — stay tuned for more details. Playing GTA Online from now until the launch of Los Santos Tuners will give you the opportunity to earn some special rewards. Just “Meet Up” by playing GTA Online anytime between now and launch to get the Los Santos Customs Tee, and participate in any Impromptu Race (accessible via the Interaction Menu) to receive the Los Santos Tour Jacket. Stealing and successfully selling a vehicle to LS Customs in Freemode will also earn you the Los Santos Customs Coveralls, perfect for your inner grease-monkey. Claim your rewards by playing Los Santos Tuners on or after July 20. Your items will land in your Wardrobe 72 hours after logging in after July 23. 

    Marvel’s Avengers Red Room Takeover Event Spotlights Black Widow

    Square Enix is bringing a new game event to Marvel’s Avengers called Red Room Takeover. It will take place between May 20 to May 31.In the all-new single-player event, Agent James “Jimmy” Woo has uncovered several anomalies within the HARM Room, the virtual training simulator the Avengers use to practice and master their abilities. These anomalies are linked to an unknown computer virus, courtesy of Rooskaya Protocols. Along with the virus are encrypted messages sent by Yelena Belova.RELATED: Marvel Sets Directors for Secret Invasion Disney+ SeriesThere are five different hacked HARM Rooms, all of which are single-player only. According to the recent post by Square Enix, this decision was made because the rooms “require agility and a keen sense of one’s surroundings that may be interrupted by having a team.” Some of the obstacles you’ll have to overcome include Techno Lava, which instantly kills heroes and enemies, and Red Lightning, a more powerful version of AIM’s blue lightning. Each room will scale from Power Level 1 to 120. New mission chains will also be available.Playing the new Marvel’s Avengers Red Room Takeover event and mission chains will earn you an animated nameplate, tons of experience, and new outfits for all heroes.The event also serves as an introduction to the game’s new Champion System. Before the update, if you reached the level 50 level cap with a hero, XP becomes useless. The new Champion System allows you to continue improving your level 50 characters with Champion XP helps increase your Champion Level. Whenever you gain a Champion Level, you earn Champion Skill Points which unlock Champion Skills. These skills can range from Perk chance activation to Heroic charge rate.RELATED: Disney+’s Ms. Marvel Wraps Production in ThailandFor those wondering, as of right now, you will not be able to re-spec your Champion Skills just yet. It does seem that feature will be available in the future, but make sure to choose where you allocate your skill points carefully for now.Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics is also introducing Hero’s Catalysts to Marvel’s Avengers which increases the amount of XP you earn. They will occasionally be available on the game’s Marketplace for free. The developer also states that they are looking for other ways to earn Hero’s Catalysts.Marvel’s Avengers is available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, PC via Steam, and Stadia.Check out the Red Room Takeover trailer below:

    Gets July Release Date the fantastic Ace Attorney Chronicles, New Trailer

    The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles heads west!For the first time, the Ace Attorney spin-off series Dai Gyakuten Saiban is coming west. Both Nintendo 3DS titles in the series will come packaged as The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles and releases on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC on July 27, 2021. It is priced at $39.99 or available for $59.99 as a bundle with the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy (which contains the first three titles in the core series.RELATED: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy Review | Object once more, with feelingWhile Phoenix Wright doesn’t appear, his ancestor Ryunosuke Naruhodo does for this 19th century investigation game. Expect plenty of courtroom drama in the 10 cases to discover. There’s even an appearance by the legendary detective Herlock Sholmes, who surely isn’t based off anybody. Plus, it includes eight mini-episodes, three alternate costumes, and a gallery that features art and music.There are two new gameplay mechanics to look out for: Dance of Deduction and Summation Examinations. Dance of Deduction will see Ryunosuke battle wits with Sholmes as they uncover new facts by finding faults in the detective’s logic. Meanwhile, the Summation Examinations will have players finding juror issues in order to achieve a Not Guilty verdict.Herlock Sholmes is on the case 🕵️‍♂️ (yes, really) The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles comes to PS4 July 27, including games previously released only in Japan: https://t.co/CvLwbaor2x pic.twitter.com/tU9lHirnoR— PlayStation (@PlayStation) April 21, 2021This is great news for Ace Attorney fans that have wished for these titles to get localized. Let’s hope an Apollo Justice or Ace Attorney Investigations bundle is next.

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