January 19th, 2010
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Mass Effect 2 Platinum Hits by Electronic Arts
DescriptionThe second chapter in the Mass Effect trilogy takes you to the darkest reaches of space, where you must uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of humans across many worlds. Prepare yourself for a suicide mission to save mankind. Travel the galaxy to assemble a team of soldiers and combat specialists, and launch an all-out assault on the heart of enemy territory.
Resident Evil 5 can now use Steamworks on PC instead of Games for Windows Live for its online features, Capcom has announced.
If you purchased the game on Steam, you'll be automatically upgraded to the full Steamworks edition so you don't have to use GFWL anymore. If you originally bought a retail package GFWL version, you can use the GFWL activation code on Steam to redeem the Steamworks-enabled version. The game also has a built-in tool to allow you to transfer save data and Achievements from the GFWL version to Steam.
Sadly, any DLC content you bought directly from Microsoft's GFWL Marketplace store will not carry over to Steam due to the lack of a CD or activation key.
If you want, you can also just keep playing the GFWL you have installed.
The new Steamworks version also adds the Gold Edition content that was released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Available for $15, the Untold Stories Bundle adds a versus mode, four new costumes, Mercenaries Reunion, and two new story-based chapters.
Valve and HTC will give their virtual reality headset Vive to some developers for free, Valve has announced.
Valve's spokesperson Doug Lombardi told Ars Technica that the company hopes to start taking requests from developers soon. "More info and 'sign up' forms will be available to all interested developers, big or small, via a new site coming soon," Lombardi said, adding that a new sign-up site might go live as early as next week.
So far, we've seen only a handful of developers make games for the Vive headset, like Owlchemy Labs, which is working on Job Simulator.
Giving the development kits away for free could help Valve and HTC encourage developers who are already making games for the Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus develop games for Vive as well, which Valve said will be out by the end of the year. Oculus, by comparison, currently charges $350 for development kits, while the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition (which is powered by Oculus and a Galaxy Note 4 smartphone) is already for sale at Best Buy for $199.
If you're benchmarking different PC hardware components in a short period of time you can accidentally lock yourself out of games that use Electronic Arts' digital distribution platform Origin, the publisher has confirmed.
The news comes out of Guru 3D, where writer Hilbert Hagedoorn discovered he had locked himself out of Battlefield Hardline while running a graphics performance test using different graphics cards.
After using a "handful" of graphics cards, he received a notification from Origin that too many computers have accessed his account's version of Battlefield Hardline. Hagedoorn thought that this was a new kind of digital rights management software associated with Battlefield Hardline, but Electronic Arts has since released a statement that this is a part of Origin in general.
"Origin authentication allows players to install a game on up to five different PCs every 24 hours," Electronic Arts said in a statement. "Players looking to benchmark more than five hardware configurations in one 24 hour period can contact our Customer Support team who can help."
It's not going to be an issue for most players, but at least now you know that if you're going to be testing a lot of new PC hardware components, you'll need to contact EA's Customer Support team first.
Mortal Kombat X's gory fatalities are a gruesome sight, but have you ever thought about the work that goes into creating the sound effects for them? Turns out, that process is almost as gross as the fatalities themselves.
Yesterday, Mortal Kombat X developer NetherRealm held a live broadcast, "Kombatcast," where it offered some new information about the fighting game as well as a look behind the scene.
During the broadcast, NetherRealm showed some of the foley work (the process of recording sound effects) that went into the game. In the video, which you can see above, NetherRealm developers use green goo, a plunger, and some other tools to create the gross, goopy sounds you'll hear during Fatalities. NetherRealm added that it destroys a lot of vegetables, fruits, and nuts with hammers to create other sound effects.
NetherRealm also discusses how it created the game's music and other improvements it's introducing to Mortal Kombat X, so the video is definitely worth watching if you're a fan of the series.
The Mortal Kombat X release date is April 14 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 editions, however, have been delayed.
Update: The second wave of tickets--equal in size to the first--went on sale overnight and was gone even more quickly. By 10:04 PM Pacific, all tickets to The International were sold out, meaning it took a total of just 10 minutes for all 2015 International tickets to be sold. Unfortunately, we're already seeing some people resell their tickets on eBay, though it remains to be seen if Valve will do anything to prevent this from happening.
Original Story: If you're the sort of person who takes six minutes to blink, you may have just missed your chance at the first wave of tickets for The International, Dota 2's wildly popular championship tournament.
After going on sale today at 10 AM Pacific, the first half of the tickets that will be available for the event were gone by 10:06, Valve has announced. Last year, it took an hour for all of the 10,000 tickets available to be gone.
The second--and final--wave of tickets for this year's tournament will go on sale later today, at 10 PM Pacific. You can place an order (or at least try) on Ticketmaster's website.
There are no assigned seats, and all tickets are available for the same price of $99. Buyers are limited to five per household, a limit that carries across waves.
This year's International takes place August 3-8 at KeyArena in Seattle, WA, the city that's hosted the last three tournaments. Last year, the prize pool eclipsed a whopping $10 million.
That sense of isolation dictated my playstyle in the previous games. Even with a Twitch audience, Dark Souls' world was scary, and its combat pacing entirely foreign to me. My natural reaction was to equip myself with a sword and shield from the outset. After all, defence equals safety, right? I could hide behind my shield from any of the Undead Burg's lumbering residents, and catch arrows and crossbow bolts in its wooden frame. I crept forward slowly, shield always raised, and tended to take two steps back every time a skeleton took a swing at me.
You can imagine how this would make for slow progress through the game. However, it gave me time to study my enemies, learn their attack patterns, and use the shield bash to parry their strikes and follow up with a riposte. I could parry almost every strike. What resulted was a playstyle wholly focused on being reactive, rather than making the first move.
Imagine my horror when I discovered there was no shield on offer in Bloodborne's initial equipment choices. Imagine my double horror when I found out that the health regain system meant that survival encouraged aggressive action. In removing the sword and board, Bloodborne removed the only way I knew how to play the Souls games. From what I understand, it was a playstyle that was considered a somewhat amateur way to play, too. So, with threaded cane and blunderbuss equipped, I ventured into Yharnam with a timidness brought about by my assumed vulnerability.
In removing the sword and board, Bloodborne removed the only way I knew how to play the Souls games.
The first thing I needed to get past was my own fear. Dark Souls and its sequel have scary moments--such as the Capra Demon’s appearance in the former, or the pitch-black hallways of the latter--but I’ve never been particularly scared of its enemy designs. The fear in those games comes through the mechanics--it’s a fear of losing souls, and progress. That’s still present in Bloodborne, but the enemies themselves are far more monstrous. They scream at you with ungodly howls, and the beast-folks’ unnervingly detailed body hair accentuates every swipe of their sharp claws. Without a shield, my natural reaction is to run, but that’s the opposite of what Bloodborne wants. So I keep them at a safe distance by emptying my blunderbuss’ quicksilver bullets into them at fast as the weapon will reload.
The first time I stagger a half-man, half-wolf doing this is a turning point. He falls to his knees, and I follow up with a visceral attack that results in much literal viscera, along with massive damage. I have just learned that my gun is basically a shield with ammo. Dark Souls’ parry and riposte is there, just in a limited supply. In a way, the blunderbuss is actually safer than a shield--if you mis-time a shield bash in Dark Souls, you’re going to get hit by the enemy’s incoming attack. If you mis-time a stagger in Bloodborne by firing too early, you’re still going to interrupt the enemy. And here, the cost isn’t stamina, but readily-available quicksilver bullets. I imagine my character looking at her blunderbuss with a mixture of shock and awe upon this realisation.
Suddenly, Bloodborne’s enemies aren’t so scary. I’m no longer waiting for them to come to me, but I’m closing the ground--willingly, for a change--and baiting them into a strike. Those big ogres that try to squash you with a massive brick? Dead with one parry attack. Father Gascoigne? Straight to third form with a couple of parry attacks.
I’ve also learned to do something that I never thought I’d be capable of in the first two Souls games: run past everything. There’s a childish glee to be had upon realising that most of the game’s enemies aren’t all that quick on their feet. I figured out direct routes to the Cleric Beast and Vicar Amelia that don’t require me to make a single strike, or take a single hit. I’ve become more focused on identifying environmental constraints, such as available rolling space, than keeping an eye on my character’s stamina and health bars.
I feel now that I’m playing Bloodborne in the way that Souls veterans do. There’s a confidence and cockiness to my movements that I had never thought I’d be capable of exhibiting in these games. Central Yharnam is no longer a scary place crawling with crazed citizens; it’s where I go if I need to collect a few bullets and blood vials quickly. The scythe-wielding witches of the Frontier are just a roar of my blunderbuss away from no longer being an obstacle.
I begin to wonder if all this time my sword and shield build was weighing me down. It has taken multiple things to get to that realisation: the time to discover Bloodborne’s intricacies on my own, without a Twitch audience, without the constraints of a press event, and without walkthroughs to turn to. Most of all, it has taken a game that hasn’t just encouraged me to try a new play style, but required it. Bloodborne may just be the first From Software game that I truly click with. And you know what? I haven’t even used the wooden shield I found.
Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin's release is nearly here, as is its convoluted, tiered pricing system.
If you're planning to buy Scholar of the First Sin on Xbox One or PS4 (releasing April 7), the price is simple: $60. If you're on PC (releasing April 1), things are a bit more complicated, as there are four possible price points.
There are two different PC versions of Scholar of the First Sin: DirectX 9 and DirectX 11, each of which will have its own Steam store listing. The latter offers a variety of new features and--assuming your PC can handle it--is the more desirable version. As such, the DX9 version is priced at $40, and the DX11 version is priced at $50.
However, if you already own Dark Souls II and its DLC on Steam, and your computer can't handle DX11, there's no point in upgrading to the newer version, as an update released last month on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 will have already provided you with the full DX9 Scholar of the First Sin experience.
If your PC is DX11-capable, upgrading to Scholar of the First Sin costs $30. That is, unless you have all of the DLC already, in which case the price is $20.
As for transferring your save data over, that doesn't have a single answer, either. Players staying on Xbox 360, PS3 or the DX9 version can move their saves, whereas those going from any of those versions to the Xbox One, PS4, or DX11 versions cannot.
Additionally, these two groups of players (last-gen consoles/DX9 and current-gen/DX11) can't play with each other online due to changes that Scholar of the First Sin introduces, such as enemy spawns and item locations.
Bandai Namco also provided minimum and recommended system specs for the DX9 and DX11 versions of Scholar of the First Sin, which you can find below.
Typing of the Dead: Overkill will now let you type zombies to death with words of your choosing, Sega has announced.
Typing of the Dead: Overkill plays just like a light gun game you'd find at an arcade, but instead of pointing and shooting at zombies you type in specific words that appear on screen in order to kill them. With the Custom Dictionaries update, players can create their own list of words that will appear in the game, and offer them to others through Steamworks.
Basically, all you have to do is create a text file with a list of words and add it to the game. You can find instructions on how to do this here.
Players are already adding their own dictionaries to the game, and as you'd expect, using them for nefarious means. One user has created a "Social Justice dictionary," which includes racist, sexist, and anti-semitic words. At the time of writing, the mod was still available to download.
Sega and developer Modern Dream has done a great job of supporting Typing of the Dead: Overkill since it was first released in 2013. They've released several pieces of DLC which let you play the game with different dictionaries, like the Shakspeare DLC, and the foul-mouthed Filth DLC.
The game is currently on sale for $5.
OK. It's obviously not Arnold Schwarzenegger, but while defending humanity's last home from incoming enemy spacecraft and environmental hazards, you do randomly spout some famous lines in his voice. It's a fun touch, but don't let the comedic side of Protector get in the way of what's most important: defending that house. You run along the ground, firing into the sky as enemies nosedive into frame. Although the house you're defending can withstand some damage, similar to structures in the classic game Missile Command, all it takes is one hit for you to die in Commando mode, and there are no continues. You do have a few of the same abilities as your spaceship, including bombs and speed boosts, and you can jump, which is useful when ground-based enemies eventually appear. Because you can fire in more than two directions with the right analog stick, Commando mode feels like it has more in common with twin-stick shooters than it does with Resogun.
Blasting through increasingly difficult waves of enemies in Commando mode is challenging and the Schwarzenegger impersonations are humorous, but fighting on foot isn't as thrilling as zipping around in a ship. You don't move particularly fast, and your gun is underpowered for what feels like too long relative to how fast the number of targets increases on screen. This new style of gameplay is intriguing because it's different, but it lacks the sense of speed and excitement that's typical of Resogun. That's not to imply that it's bad or even not fun--you still experience the wonder of voxels and the drive to earn higher and higher scores, and likely a bit of laughter--but Commando mode just doesn't compare to the rest of Resogun.
If you're looking for something more fast-paced and exciting, focus on Protector mode. It plays very similar to Resogun proper, where you zoom around a ring-shaped level, shooting down enemy ships and rescuing vulnerable humans on the ground, but you earn weapons and armor upgrades at a much faster rate than usual. The trade-off is that enemy swarms grow equally fast and you don't start with any extra lives; the only second chances you get are in the form of expendable shields that occasionally come as bonuses for saving humans.
Piloting a fully-upgraded ship is a treat rarely afforded in other modes, where extended boosts and more destructive overdrive cannons are reserved for the best players, so Protector mode is a great way to experience a side of the game that may have been out of reach before. It's oh-so-sweet to have a massively upgraded ship, and because the difficulty also scales fast, you still feel like you're being challenged, even with all of the added firepower.
If Resogun has already run its course in your mind, there's nothing in Defenders that's going to lure you back in for the long haul. Of course, it's hard to imagine how someone could ever get enough Resogun, being that it's one of the best arcade-game experiences in years. In that sense, Defenders is a worthy addition to an already great game that will no doubt please anyone with a fondness for fighting within an inch of their life while also blowing up everything in sight into tiny, beautiful pieces.
The Frostback Basin is a deceptively big zone. What seems easily conquerable on the map screen is actually a sizable and intricate mix of environments. Foothills open up into plateaus, which feature deep, dangerous pits. A lakeshore runs into the bubbling, muddy shallows of the basin, and those turn into misty swamplands and damp jungles. It's all brought to life with vibrant color and fresh ambient sounds. The Frostback Basin feels distinct from the game's other zones, and it's mostly a joy to explore.The environments in Jaws of Hakkon really show off Inquisition’s lighting engine.
I say "mostly," because sometimes it feels like BioWare is trying to stretch out the available content in Jaws of Hakkon. Over the course of eight hours in the Frostback Basin, five different missions make you "follow the trail" across territory you've already explored thoroughly in the course of doing other missions. Most egregious is a mission that sends you around to flip a number of switches scattered across the northern half of the zone. For the previous six hours of play, these switches had been visible but inactive, and I knew that they'd send me back eventually. They did. This decision is particularly strange because Hakkon doesn't need to be stretched in any way. The Frostback Basin is packed with all of the elements that made me love Inquisition to begin with: smart characterization, interesting combat encounters, and carefully written lore.
The Frostback Basin is home to two rival tribes of the Avvar, a human society that briefly pops up early on in Inquisition. The development of these groups (and of the region's history in general) is the high point of Hakkon, and you'll get the most out of this DLC if you dig into the lore about these people and their culture and religion. Dragon Age has always been at its best when the stories it tells are multifaceted and mysterious, and the same is true here: Religious iconography blurs together; magical traditions are at once remarkably similar and fundamentally different; and the final, "true" history is often left unknown.What’s better than hanging out on a moonlit beach with some buds?
Best of all, the Avvar work to break apart the classic binaries that show up throughout the Dragon Age series. They share the Elven relationship to nature, but are human. They're human, but don't belong to any of the major political powers. They're deeply spiritual, but also incredibly practical. They have a strict system to govern the use of magic, but use terms and concepts to explain the magical world that are entirely different than those used by the Templars and Circle of Mages. All of this works to complicate the world of Thedas by providing yet another potential perspective to consider.
This makes it extra frustrating that so little of Jaws of Hakkon shares the cinematic sheen of the rest of Inquisition. Most other zones in the world of Thedas have a mix of two different sorts of quests. Firstly, there are the little, MMOG-style missions you complete for this or that character: kill ten bears, or recover a missing satchel, or perform some other small task. Secondly, there are the major story missions that take you out of the third-person perspective and into a cutscene view, where dramatic music supports characters who emote and animate as the plot unfolds. In Hakkon, only the very beginning and very end of the main questline offer this second sort of storytelling. Throughout the rest of my eight hours, I watched as world-shaking information was delivered without any pomp or luster.Learning about the Avvar culture is a highlight.
If you told me last week that this would bother me, I'd tell you that you'd be absolutely wrong. But here I am, missing the intimate close-ups and the sweeping vistas. (Maybe this shouldn't be be surprising: Imagine an episode of Game of Thrones that never shows the detail of a character's face.) Over the course of the previous 70 hours, Dragon Age: Inquisition had quietly taught me to expect a certain rhythm: I'd meander around a zone until I was ready to commit to one of the many "big" story events. There was a sort of storytelling grammar at work, and by reducing the use of that grammar, Hakkon rarely feels as substantial as it should. Thankfully, the final hour or so of Hakkon does utilize those storytelling tools to great effect, and it joins them with some new, unique mechanics in a series of major combat encounters that build momentum and velocity until an explosive climax.
Though I wish that Jaws of Hakkon was less bloated, and though I miss the cinematic flair of the rest of Dragon Age: Inquisition, I know that in a month I'll have forgotten these quibbles. Instead, I'll remember my time spent in Frostback Basin fondly. I'll remember the sharp wit of Svarah Sun-Hair, the leader of the local Avvar clan. I'll remember the holy symbols that blur the line between competing faiths. I'll remember the mist and the mountains and the sun's light through the trees. I'll remember confronting legendary foes, and the time I got to spend with some of my favorite characters in video games.