In the newest Overwatch developer update, Blizzard vice president Jeff Kaplan took to the traditional video camera motif to announce the newest feature coming to their premiere competitive shooter called Overwatch Workshop. The new mode is a scripting program that lets players essentially futz with the game's modifiable code to create things and even go as far as to edit their heroes to their liking.
The mode will include some pre-built examples for players to open up and look at, such as a Floor-Is-Lava mode called Molten Floor. Kaplan warns that this mode is intended mostly for programmers and enthusiasts, which he collectively calls power users, that like looking at tinkering with code. However, Workshop does come with its own debugger that will run through the custom modes and explain why things are or are not happening.
Even if you're not well-versed in programming, Blizzard is hoping that this gets people who might be interested in exploring game logic into the idea of video game development, perhaps even realizing they can do this themselves. This isn't a map creator, as players will not be able to edit geometry or anything like that, but it is a small tool to get people interested in tweaking Overwatch variables themselves.
The Workshop is now currently being tested on the PTR and everything made there will be able to be moved to the final release.
Atlus has been teasing Persona 5: The Royal for the last little while, and now we finally have a better idea on what you can expect from the upcoming, upgraded version of the JRPG.
The Royal brings several new features to the game, such as new Phantom Thief Kasumi Yoshizawa, a confidant named Takuto Maruki who works at Shujin Academy as a counselor, and a new location called Kichijoji. This expansion will take place during the third trimester of school.
Furthermore, in Atlus' newest Japanese trailer for The Royal, some other additions are teased. These include an aquarium (a new dating location), and a bar where you can play darts and pool. Polygon reports that selfies through the in-game texting system will be possible, new storylines for Caroline and Justine are coming, and new enemies will also be introduced in The Royal.
It still feels moderately strange that a Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 is happening at all, so each new bit of information comes as a bit of a surprise. In this case, Paradox Interactive has information about the thinblood disciplines your fledgling vampire chooses from at the start of the game.
The thinbloods are freshly turned and weaker vampires that are having a harder time in the new world of darkness than full bloods are. However, because Seattle has only recently come under Camarilla control, thinbloods can rise to the top with a little opportunity and luck. Check out the animated cinematic, which contains more rat eating than you might be comfortable with, introducing the thinbloods below.
The three thinblood disciplines players pick from at the beginning are Chiropteran, Mentalism, and Nebulation. The much more detailed information comes from Paradox right here:
Chiropteran - Strong affinity for bats, allowing vampires to move through the air and summon swarms.
Glide — Greatly lower the weight of the player character's skeleton and muscle mass and create an updraft to briefly float in the air; gliding into an NPC will knock them down. This can be upgraded to allow the player to swoop down on NPCs while gliding above them.
Bat Swarm — Summon a small swarm of bats to attack target NPC, temporarily disabling them and dealing low damage. Bat Swarm can be upgraded with a Pheromone discipline that increases its duration, as well as with a Maelstrom of leathery wings that surrounds the player and damages any enemies that come too close.
Mentalism - Use telekinesis to manipulate objects and even allows the vampire to pull weapons from enemy hands.
Pull — Manipulate target inanimate objects using telekinesis. The range of Pull can also be upgraded.
Levitate — Pull target NPC to the player and telekinetically suspend them in the air for a brief period. The strength of this discipline can be upgraded, allowing the player to levitate all NPCs and objects around their target, and even throw them around like ragdolls.
Nebulation - Allows the vampire to summon and command mist.
Mist Shroud — Summon a shroud of mist that surrounds the player for a short period. The shroud muffles the sound of footsteps and reduces the range at which the player can be seen. In addition, the player may fully transform into a cloud of mist to perform a choking attack on an NPC or travel through a tight space, like a ventilation fan or duct. Mist Shroud can be upgraded to increase its power as well.
Envelop — Create a stationary, swirling cloud of mist on a target that surrounds, blinds and forcefully enters the lungs of the first NPC that it touches. This discipline can be upgraded to increase its reach and area of effect.
Players can eventually join fullblood clans down the line, each with their own disciplines and abilities for you to eventually raise your character up to. Paradox plans to detail those clans within the upcoming weeks.
Planet Zoo is an upcoming management sim by Frontier Developments, the company behind Planet Coaster. We recently got to watch a 15 minute demo of the game in action and came away rather impressed by Frontier's ambitions and the promise of their take on running a zoo and caring for its animals.
Here's why we're excited to play the game when it releases this Fall.
The Developer Knows The Genre Well
If you haven't played Planet Coaster, but loved management sims like Rollercoaster Tycoon and Zoo Tycoon, you should give it a go. Frontier Developments showcased the it knows how to bring the park sim into the next generation by striking a fine balance between meticulous management and wacky shenanigans, and we look forward to seeing the result with Planet Zoo.
The Animals Are Impressive
The occupants of your zoo are more than just units you have to care for. Frontier is working hard to make sure each individual animal stands out, with genomes affecting major things like behavior to small details such as coat patterns. Every species of animal reacts realistically to their real-world counterpart, with wolves following a pack mentality while other species might just go off and do their own thing.
You'll need to do more than feed your animals to take care of them. Every animal has different needs you'll need to respond to in some fashion. Do you have a zoo in the desert? You'll need to build cooling pads beneath the floor of your timberwolves' den (not to mention power generators) to accommodate them as well as shelters for your lions to hide in during storms. Hippos will need deeper ponds than other species so they can swim and bathe, and so on. There's more than enough here to keep nitty gritty management fanatics excited.
The Game Looks Beautiful
Whether you're watching everyone explore your park from a distance or you're zoomed into a patch of fur on one of your lions, everything looks realistic and colorfully vibrant. The visuals here really pop everywhere you look.
A Story Mode
One of the biggest criticisms directed at Planet Coaster was the lack of a substantial campaign or story mode. Frontier Developments wouldn't go into details about what Planet Zoo's story mode is about but the developer did say there would be one, which will hopefully delight those in search of a narrative reason to become the best zookeeper possible.
A very, very short trailer for Dragon Ball FighterZ's next character has appeared, showing off Dragon Ball GT Kid Goku's super attacks. These attacks include his transformations, including the either maligned-or-loved Super Saiyan 4 Goku.
For his level 1 super, Goku goes Super Saiyan 3 for a short blast, but his stronger super turns him into the adult and decidedly hairier Super Saiyan 4. This form has been more or less scratched out of canon, but so has Super Saiyan Bardock and we saw that super move a billion times during Evo last year. Maybe non-canon moves will just end up being stronger for some reason.
The newest Goku to join the roster lands on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on May 9.
I am not sure if it has been a bumpy road for Anthem or not. It seems like it crested the hill it needed to crest and then just sort of stalled after that. Bioware has promised to fix the major complaints about their multiplayer shooter as soon as possible and, at least as far as today's update goes, some of that is true.
The 1.1.0 patch released today makes some much-needed quality of life changes to the game, namely having to do with how often you need to go back to Fort Tarsis or the launch bay. You can now select contracts from the mission board without needing to physically be in front of the mission board, and you can also choose a new mission right from the end of the mission you just finished. Perhaps most crucially, you now possess the ability to access the Forge during missions, strongholds and freeplay.
So that's all good! Unfortunately, it looks like the roadmap for the future is going to take a little while longer in the meantime. On the game's subreddit, Bioware's head of live services Chad Robertson and Anthem's lead producer Ben Irving wrote that a detour is being taken at the moment.
"While we have delivered many of the Act 1 features on time, we are not going to hit all the goals on our Act 1 Calendar," the two said in the subreddit post. "We have been prioritizing things like bug fixes, stability and game flow over the new features of Act 1. We set aside time for this work, but the reality is there are more things to fix and improve than we planned for. While this is the best thing to do for the game, it means some items from the calendar will be delayed."
That list of what will be delayed includes a few freeplay events, the second phase of legendary missions, guilds, the weekly stronghold challenge, leaderboards, the mastery system, and Cataclysms, the expansion-style content meant to come out every so often. It is not a small list. Bioware says that, when they have information on when these things will come, they will release it.
Anthem is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
There was a time where it looked like For Honor may be on the short list of Ubisoft live service games that just don't make it very far and the company would eventually move past or take another run at with a sequel. But here we are, several years and updates later, and For Honor is still keeping its community fairly strong. It looks like there will be another reason for fans to keep playing, as Ubisoft reveals For Honor's newest character, a warrior named Sakura.
With a ghostly yet demonic voice and a bloody weapon, Sakura comes equipped to the battlefield with everything she needs to defeat her foes. Check out the cinematic trailer introducing her below.
There's not a whole lot of details about the new Japanese warrior yet, but she will be in the third year's second season, so it won't be too a wait. I just know that if I saw that at the other end of a bridge in Sekiro, my personal terror bar would probably go up.
For Honor is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
It's easy to be immediately charmed by SteamWorld Quest's colorful fantasy world and the band of merry heroes you'll journey across it with. Their plight is simple and straightforward, making its adventure of confronting evil and its tightening grip on the kingdom around you palatable without feeling overbearing. Underneath this whimsical veneer, however, is a daunting strategy game, one which uses its clever take on turn-based card combat to create a wickedly complex system of decision-making opportunities. But it's also one that is designed intelligently enough to make each part easy to learn and engage with.
With regard to gameplay, SteamWorld Quest bears no resemblance to the rest of the games in the series. This is first and foremost a turn-based strategy game, with a light sprinkling of role-playing thrown into the mix in the form of character classes to differentiate each of your five potential party members. Each character features a variety of moves that deal different types of damage and inflict status effects on foes. Fire attacks will deal additional damage to enemies that deal frost, electrical attacks will have the chance to stun enemies for several turns, and poison will inflict recurring damage over time. It's easy to pick up and play, which helps SteamWorld Quest get you right into its combat without strenuous onboarding.
The act of deciding what moves to enact in combat is a bit more complex, though. It's governed by a deck of 24 cards, made up by your party of three who can bring eight cards each. In battle, new cards are drawn with each turn, while your deck resets automatically once depleted. Cards that represent the most basic moves in your repertoire cost nothing to play and in turn reward you with cogs once placed on the field. These cogs act as a currency that you spend to play more powerful cards--ones that inflict greater damage, target multiple enemies, or buff your party with helpful attributes--making you consider when to hold back and when to go all in.
The process of constructing a deck that works cohesively is as engaging as combat itself. You can combine multiple character-specific cards in powerful ways; for example, simply playing all three of one character's cards in a turn will play a bonus fourth move automatically, which itself is governed by the weapon you choose to equip on the character in question. Some cards will perform better when used as a follow-up to a specific character's card, boosting damage or adding a bonus effect. Your effectiveness in combat then is not just about the decks you construct, but all the ways in which you use the hands dealt to you efficiently. All these options can initially feel overwhelming, but the restriction to just eight cards per character condenses your options down to a level that balances its complexity without sacrificing its potential depth.
Combat is accentuated by delicately detailed character models that do a great job of retaining the signature SteamWorld look while also slickly adapting to the new high-fantasy setting. The vibrant coloring on each main character is also aptly used to inform you of what type of abilities they bring to the table. The red-hot knight's armor of Armilly alludes to her ferocious fire-based attacks, while the yellow and rose-petal adorned gown of a mysterious samurai flows with each of his fast-striking electrical attacks. Being able to tell this information at a glance is helpful, and on top of that, each design looks great.
Stylistic and impressively detailed effects also help each combat encounter feel intense, despite having a turn-based rhythm. Blistering fireballs explode in a blaze of red and orange glory on impact, and electrifying lightning attacks bounce furiously between foes while engulfing them in static. Some moves have repeated effects, layering damage numbers and sprites atop one another furiously until the attack has ended. These often resulted in the frame rate dropping to a complete crawl at times, however, and it was most prominent when the Switch was running in docked mode. It's infrequent enough to not hinder gameplay, but it is an eyesore when it does crop up.
That's a shame, because SteamWorld Quest looks delightful both inside and outside of combat, sucking you into its steampunk-inspired medieval world. The bold outline that each character bears helps them stick out from the hand-drawn backdrops you explore, but none of those backdrops go unnoticed, either. Gorgeous and brightly coloured forests contrast dark and gloomy castles whose hallways are sparsely lit with auburn lanterns. Your adventure also moves you along from one intriguing setting to the next, letting you take in the sights of an abandoned sorcery school before whisking you away to snow-capped mountains with billowing winds. Each chapter of SteamWorld Quest gives you something new to look at, and it's always a rewarding transition.
With so many combat options to play around with and captivating backdrops to accompany them, it's disappointing that SteamWorld Quest struggles to find a balance in its difficulty. Each chapter--broken up into small areas filled with either small treasure to collect or groups of enemies to fight--features increasingly varied foes to test your decks against. Despite their changing movesets and elemental defences, most regular enouncters feel too easy, rarely forcing you to consider strategic changes to your constructed decks or active party members. At a point I was simply making changes for the sake of curiosity and not necessity. This can trick you into a false sense of security, encouraging you to focus on only a subset of cards available to each character. This becomes problematic when SteamWorld Quest suddenly introduces daunting and demanding combat scenarios, while giving you few avenues to rectify poor past choices.
These encounters are predominantly made up of SteamWorld Quest's nightmarish boss battles. They are far more challenging than the foes that litter the areas around them, acting as unfair skill checks that ask you to understand your abilities in ways you're not required to elsewhere. Since you can only store a single saved game at a time, it's impossible to go back a handful of hours and better prepare your party, either, locking you into the decisions you've made and forcing you to rapidly rotate though your available options until a combination (hopefully) works. It's frustrating, too, because most of these bosses can feel like they break the rules of combat that all other enemies conform to. They can consistently pull off powerful moves one after the other without the same strict resource requirements you're confined to, bombarding you with damage you can't wrestle with effectively. Given that most of these encounters can be prolonged bouts, it's hard to work up the motivation to try again after a loss.
The process of constructing a deck that works cohesively is as engaging as combat itself.
Outside of its frequent and occasionally rigorous combat encounters, SteamWorld Quest plays it safe. Its narrative is framed as a story being told to characters you might be familiar with from other SteamWorld games, giving it a subtle attachment to the rest of the series. It is a simple, sometimes juvenile tale of a band of misfits coming together and vanquishing an uncomplex force of evil. It retains the same tongue-in-cheek wit of past SteamWorld games, with chuckle-worthy one-liners thrown in throughout. It keeps the narrative light and humorous, even as it eventually explores the purpose of heroes in an age where no one seems to care about society one way or the other. Although SteamWorld Quest falls short of ever saying something meaningful, it does leave the door open for even more tales in the future.
It's difficult to ignore Steamworld Quest's missteps, especially when it transforms itself from a delightful romp through a light-hearted medieval kingdom into a grueling test against unfair enemies. Despite most encounters not pushing you to play with new party configurations, building a powerful deck of moves is still rewarding when you see your clever experiments play out. Quest gives you a lot of complex combinations to play around with while also keeping things approachable enough to not feel daunting. Its uneven difficulty saps some enjoyment out of the otherwise whimsical journey through this new and gorgeous kingdom, but it's still one that is admirably accessible while deep enough to be engaging throughout its 20-hour adventure.
If you're one of the many still working your way through Sekiro, From Software's recently-released ninja action game, there might be some respite coming for you soon. An update scheduled to go live tonight will make a few changes in the game and attempt to make it easier for players to diversify the way they fight enemies by using more shinobi tools.
To begin with, the Blazing Bull has been toned down in the new update. The midboss, who appears shortly after the game's first real boss, ended up being a real wall for a lot of players. Up to that point, most enemies you fight are some manner of pragmatic human that acts with some rationality, while the Bull kind of stomps your face in with reckless abandon. The bull's posture and vitality have been "slightly" reduced, so it's not a walk in the park now, but it's a bit more manageable.
The bulk of the other changes are centered around the shinobi prosthetic. Seemingly From has gotten feedback of players not using ninja tools because they're afraid they'll run out of spirit emblems, so a number of tools have been made more efficient. You'll be spending fewer spirit emblems to use them, because From Software really wants you to use them.
You'll also find more divine confetti as drops from vanquished foes and information from Anayama the Peddler will decrease in cost post-patch.
Sekiro is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Mac, iOS
A few weeks ago, dataminers discovered a reference to Thanos in the game's update files, strongly suggesting a return of the Thanos mode in Fortnite Battle Royale that had appeared a year prior. That mode was made fairly quickly due to an unlikely mutual fandom between Epic Games and the Avengers: Infinity War directors, the Russo brothers, but it looks like an extra year has given Epic time to do the collaboration justice.
A new tease on the Fortnite Twitter account isn't being subtle about the fact that Avengers content is coming to Fortnite and likely soon. The tweet simply reads "Whatever it takes," followed by the date for Avengers: Endgame's theatrical release, and the hashtag "#FortniteXAvengers" at the end.
While definitely expository, the tweet doesn't give us a whole lot of information, as is typical of Epic's Fortnite teases. The shield in the picture is obviously Captain America's, so there will probably be Avengers-themed items in the mix this time around. Will you be able to don the Iron Man suit? Can you swing around buildings like Spider-Man? Will you have to gather infinity stones? There's a lot of different possibilities.
Fortnite is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, and mobile devices. Avengers: Endgame releases on April 25 in theaters.