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Travis

Always outnumbered. Probably always outgunned, too.

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Joined 01/23/2012
Phantasm 4

372 Posts

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A couple weeks back, Super Mario Run dropped off of the App Store, leading to speculation as to why. It came back with an update for "bug fixes" a little while later. In that time, one player claimed to have received an update with a new game mode. Presumably, the update was released earlier, was taken down to prevent more people playing it, and the bug fix update was to get the few people who got it back to the pre-update state.

The big news from that rumor was a new mode. Here's what the source said at the time:
When starting up X 10 Run for the first time, players are told that Princess Daisy is in trouble, and it’s up to the player to rescue her. X 10 Run asks for Toad Rally Tickets to allow you to play, and consists of 10 quick, 10-second levels where the player collects three rainbow coins before reaching the Goal Pole. The more rainbow coins collected, the closer the player gets to a chance to hit a giant Rainbow ? Block that gives bigger items to be used in Kingdom Builder, such as Toad Houses. As far as our source could tell, there was no penalty for not collecting all three coins — you were rewarded just for completing the levels.

Up until now, this was just rumor, and I didn't want to write about it and get people's hopes up. But now, let me proceed to get your hopes up! It appears that the rumors were true. Apple dropped some news today about the new update, coming September 29.

Amongst the new features:

  • A new game mode (Remix 10) in which you go through quick mini-levels in order to save Daisy.

  • Daisy as a playable character, once you save her in the aforementioned mode.

  • A new world with nine more levels to explore.

  • New items to build in your world.

  • Other neat stuff.



Since the news is only available on the App Store in iOS 11, someone was kind enough to screencap the full announcement:
https://imgur.com/a/Db6fw

And since that rumor is confirmed, here's the original report about what the one player who has played it experienced. Since this was released earlier than planned, things may be different from what this person experienced, but it should give you a good idea:
https://nintendowire.com/news/2017/09/05/rumor-new-mode-coming-super-mario-run/

Also, if you've been holding off on unlocking the full game, wait until September 29. There's a 50% off sale starting then, and lasting for two weeks!

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After the upcoming Fall Update, there will be no new content for Battleborn, Gearbox's somewhat ill-fated team shooter.

The game had lukewarm reviews at launch, and the timing was all wrong. Competing with Blizzard is almost always a bad idea. After an attempt to bring in new players with a free-to-play option failed to generate new interest, Gearbox has decided to cease active development and enter maintenance mode.

The game isn't shutting down, but it's entering it's last days, with a skeleton crew remaining to keep things working properly.

As a thank you to the players, Gearbox is giving out the skin pictured above with this SHiFT code:
ZKK33-FT59R-KCK3S-XCR33-B56HB

Full announcement: https://forums.gearboxsoftware.com/t/a-message-from-randy-varnell/1637649

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Humble Bundle (or as I like to call it, "the reason my Steam library has more games than I'll ever play") launched in 2010 with a simple mission: supporting charities by giving gamers the opportunity to pay what they want for awesome games. Since then, there have been countless bundles, including new categories of bundles like books, music, movies, mobile games, and a monthly subscription bundle. Plus, they've expanded to a full game store where you can get DRM-free and Steam games while still supporting charities.

And they've reached a major milestone: over $100,000,000 in charity donations. They've helped provide water to those who need it, protected people's civil liberties, fought cancer, helped gamers with disabilities, and much more.

This is a huge accomplishment. I bet back with the first Humble Bundle these folks never imagined where they'd end up.

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Game Informer has posted some demo footage of Cuphead, the upcoming indie platformer styled after 1930s cartoons. The art style is amazing-- as someone who grew up watching all the Looney Tunes and older cartoons I could get my hands on, this looks like tight, difficult, and satisfying gameplay wrapped up in charming bit of nostalgia.

The game is coming in a few weeks on September 29 to Xbox One and PC.

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(This review does not contain spoilers past what the release announcement discusses. If you want to go in totally blind about new features, please consider skipping this one.)

After the third major update, Atlas Rises, No Man's Sky is what it was meant to be.

A common criticism of the game was that it's as wide as the ocean and as deep as a puddle. I never thought it was that dire, but the depth has improved dramatically. A game with "Mostly Negative" reviews on Steam has achieved "Very Positive" recent reviews for the first time.

So what makes things different now?

First, there's a new main story, separate from the Atlas Path (which has also been tweaked). The fourth race is revealed, and you learn more about the mystery of the simulation you're in. Interestingly, there's a story reason for why multiplayer is appearing now (more on that later), and why it's only "glitches" of other players. The ends of the Atlas Path and actually traveling to the center of the galaxy still do the same things they did before, but you now have another option for how to proceed.

Second, there's just more variety in everything. There are more plant and animal types (including those giant animals from the E3 trailer), and more planet biomes. Many more blueprints to have focused and varied builds for your ship and multitool. Each ship type (including the new, rare exotic ship type) handles differently now, and comes with a set of bonuses for different types of gameplay. Different star systems have a conflict rating and economy rating to determine the danger and trade in that system.

Portals now allow you to easily share coordinates to anywhere in the galaxy and go check out other people's amazing creations or interesting planets.

Mission boards in space stations let you build up faction standing and get rewards for doing things you'd probably already be doing anyway.

Crashed freighters on planets add to the landscape and offer a way to get some loot. Mostly, for me, they make the galaxy feel more alive.

And yes, multiplayer has been added, in a limited fashion. You can see other players as a glowing orb, and you can hear voice chat within a certain radius. There's no other interaction possible, with the exception of making a lasting monument that you and this other player met. Imagine Journey with voice. The plot reason for this (as explained in the release announcement) is that the simulation is experiencing issues, so other subjects in the same area are starting to bleed through. I took a trip to the former Galactic Hub, a project started by players even before the portals were activated, on the day the hub was moving to a new location (the new update significantly changed some planets, leaving the Galactic Hub capital a bit on the cold side). There was a party in the old capital to celebrate the move, and there were tons of orbs in a cacophony at first. But after a few minutes I saw what this limited multiplayer could offer: emergent gameplay. Someone set up an exocraft race, and I watched what may have been the first real-time exocraft race.

Yes, there are other new features. Redesigned UI, tech and cargo inventory slots, lower flight capability, crafting improvements, and so on. Those are nice quality of life improvements, but for me, it's all about depth. The game now has deeper gameplay, deeper story, deeper mystery. No Man's Sky, even at launch, scratched an itch I never knew I had. But the magic did eventually wear off. Even with base building and freighters and exocraft, there was only so much you could do before it got a little boring. Those beautiful planets that were pieced together procedurally used the same set of components, and once you'd seen them all, the newness wore off a bit. Now it's so much better in every imaginable way, and the replay value has skyrocketed.

If you were interested in this game before, but were holding off to see if there were any massive improvements, this is what you were waiting for.

Image credit: Noderpsy on reddit

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Netflix dropped a new show based on the classic Castlevania series and in this episode we break it down for you to easily digest. Does Castlevania elevate the spate of terrible video game shows and movies or is it something else? The show contains some mild show spoilers so we recommend you watch it before listening. Don't worry the show is only four episodes and well worth watching!

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In this episode of Cheerful Ghost Radio we discuss Jon’s recent disappointment in losing his Super Nintendo Classic pre-order and all the games we are looking forward to playing this year. We round things off by talking about Luke Skywalker's Cane and our theories about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. As always, we start the show talking about what we are playing and watching and we’re interested in what you are playing too, so let us know in the comments!

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Just look at that beautiful video! I got about 20 minutes with it earlier and even in that small window, it feels like a very different game now. It reminds me (fittingly) of Terraria 1.3 with how much the game has changed.

Here's a brief rundown:

  • A new story. the lore of Atlas continues and the path has been reworked some. The NPCs you could have in your home have changed dialogue to fit the new story. Apparently, there's 30 hours worth of story content here. The long-rumored fourth race is here!

  • The galaxy has been redone again. Your home planet may look completely different now. The variety has been significantly increased.

  • They've added economy, wealth, and conflict ratings to each system, and those ratings affect what you can find.

  • You can now find crashed freighters on planets and loot them.

  • You can manipulate terrain with a multitool upgrade.

  • There's a mission board in every galaxy with procedural missions.

  • The amount of items you can craft and find have increased dramatically.

  • The visor looks very different, and scanning can help you find rare items.

  • The menu UI has been overhauled, to accommodate a new ship inventory system (you now have separate areas for equipment and cargo) and a more in-depth reputation system.

  • Portals are now functional! You can input the coordinates of planets to transport to them. Which helps with...

  • Multiplayer! In a sense. "Glitches in the simulation" are causing fragments of other participants to show through, and voip works within a certain radius. Basically, it's the Fable 2 take on multiplayer where everyone else is a floating orb. BUT it's the start of more to come, and still neat.

  • You now have the ability to fly low to the ground instead of hitting an invisible barrier far above the surface.

  • There are new ship models, some of which are only available in high-wealth systems.

  • Tons, tons more. But those are the big ones.



Full patch notes with screenshots here: http://nomanssky.com/atlas-rises-update/

And just a reminder, No Man's Sky is $25 on PSN, GOG, Steam, and Humble right now so if you don't have it, now's a good time to get it!

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The ARG Hello Games organized for No Man's Sky is over, and we ended up with some hints and somewhat cryptic information about the lore of the game. It appears we're playing a simulation started by a rogue AI, which was a common theory. We also got some 1.3 screenshots!

The one above shows a portal-- a structure present in the game already, but one that had no apparent use. Apparently that's going to change soon! The control panel thing pictured isn't currently in the game, so it looks like we're getting some interactivity.

In addition, this beauty dropped showing a new ship class! It's parked next to an observatory, so those may be an important part of the update, or maybe just a neat thing to put in a picture.
https://s3.amazonaws.com/cdn.wakingtitan.com/loop16/a8af5654-879c-4cea-a476-77c2fd54dfee.jpg

A few places have No Man's Sky for around $25 right now, possibly in preparation for an update. If you're interested, now's a good time to grab it for cheap!

UPDATED: The man himself, Sean Murray, sent out an email today with more information about the update. It's called Atlas Rises (which I hope is a reference to a Metallica song) and will focus on new lore and making portals do fun things. The full text of the email follows:


Hello Citizen Scientists,

It’s been a year since No Man’s Sky first released, and it’s been an exciting, intense and emotional year for us at Hello Games. We have been quiet, but we have been listening intently.

We've spent that year working hard on free updates for this game our team cares about so much.

Update 1.3 will release this week and will be available for free to all No Man’s Sky players. We're calling it Atlas Rises. It focuses on improving the central story of No Man’s Sky and adds the ability to quick travel between locations using portals. Patch notes will be made available shortly before the update goes live.

What we do is much more important than what we say, but since launch we have sometimes focused too much on that.

We wanted to reach out and celebrate the devoted community that means so much to us. We launched Waking Titan to try to do that.

When we posted those cassettes we didn't know what to expect. In the last eight weeks a quarter of a million players from across the globe (174 countries, to be precise!) have come together - united by a shared love of mystery and science fiction - to form the Citizen Science Division. You’ve travelled great distances both real and virtual, undertaken complex tasks, and explored the depths of simulation theory. New friendships have been forged, and a tight-knit community has been created. Most importantly a cute hamster has a new home.

You've become part of the No Man's Sky origin story.

It's been an honour to watch, but this is just the beginning. Whether you’ve followed Waking Titan or not, we welcome anyone to sign up to the Citizen Science Division, and to join us on the official CSD forums.

Our journey continues.

Thank you for this year. We hope you enjoy what comes next.

Sean

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There's a new ARG/Viral marketing thing going on for No Man's Sky, and unless you've been following from the beginning it's easy to be confused like me. It started with cassettes being sent to some people involved in No Man's Sky subreddits that, when the waveform was analyzed and decrypted, had a secret message: portal.

Since then, the Waking Titan project site has launched, with the promise of 10,000 random entrants receiving a physical Atlas Pass v4, a questionnaire, a secret decoder wheel to get you into a website with Titan commands, PDFs with what may be coordinates to planets in-game, and other strange things.

I do worry that this is building hype for something that may not deliver what people expect, but I'm having fun tuning in to see what's new. I'm hoping for that shiny Atlas pass too.

Gamespot has a good breakdown of what's happening:
https://www.gamespot.com/articles/mysterious-no-mans-sky-website-goes-live-as-part-o/1100-6451908/#comments-block-33399448

And the NMS subreddit has some more history:
https://www.reddit.com/r/NoMansSkyTheGame/comments/6orsy9/waking_titan_megathread_phase_2_begins_edition/

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We are back with Cheerful Ghost Radio with a special extra episode about Ridley Scott's latest horror extravaganza Alien Covenant! In this episode, we discuss our thoughts on Prometheus and expectations we had for the next installment, and then Jon and Travis discuss and review Alien Covenant itself. If you haven't seen it yet, we warn you before we go into spoiler territory.

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The mouthful that is the New Nintendo 2DS XL, will be released on July 28 for $149.99.

If you've been waiting to get into the 3DS/2DS scene, now might be the time!

This is the first new product in the 3DS family since 2014/2015's release of the New Nintento 3DS and the XL version. The NN2DSXL (which is totally not an official initialization, but I'm going to make it a thing) comes on the heels of the Switch launch, the news of the NES Classic being canceled, and rumors of the SNES Classic coming later in the year.

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Disney and Lucasfilm have announced the release date for the conclusion to the sequel trilogy: May 24, 2019.

This means a bit less waiting than if they'd kept the holiday release schedule, but I have to admit, after the past two movies December just feels like Star Wars season to me, and I'll miss that a little.

Not enough to make me wish it was coming out 7 months later, though :D

In addition, the fifth Indiana Jones movie will be coming out July 10, 2020. Here's hoping the new Indy movies get the same treatment as Star Wars.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/25/media/star-wars-episode-ix-release-date/

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As many surmised and/or feared, it looks like the silence on updates *was* a result of issues with development. Re-Logic has announced today that they were unhappy with the development from Engine Software, and are bringing in Pipeworks Studios to continue development.

"Our team had a clear vision for this game – one that we shared with all of you with much shared excitement – and, as much as we hate to say it (and in spite of all of the reforms we tried last year) - the current state of the game is still equal parts far from that vision and well behind schedule.

As a result, we have made the decision to move on from having Engine Software continue development of Terraria: Otherworld.
...
The great news is that we already have a dedicated and passionate team ready to pick up the torch and continue the Otherworld journey! Based upon their really impressive work to-date with the Terraria re-write on Console/Mobile, coupled with an amazingly on-point proposal for completing Otherworld (after a thorough review of the game on their end), we have made the decision to bring Pipeworks on board as our new development partner for Terraria: Otherworld!

We know that the "radio silence" and all of the shifting development work aimed at continuing the journey for Terraria: Otherworld has been frustrating for a lot of you.
...
The length of the silence was purely driven by "these things take time to occur and then set up" coupled with our desire to have an actual solution/path forward before just sharing the news about Engine."


This is good news, really. We now understand the long gaps between updates, and we know that Re-Logic is moving forward with a new team. The bad news would be if they had just pushed on. I'm more optimistic now, knowing that Re-Logic is taking care of things and bringing in some fresh eyes.

Full statement on the forums: https://forums.terraria.org/index.php?threads/changing-of-the-guard-an-update-from-otherworld.56207/

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I've been playing Mass Effect: Andromeda in basically all my free time over the past couple days. EA has a program called Origin Access (or EA Access on consoles) where you pay $5 a month and you get access to a ton of games. It's like Netflix only for EA games. In addition, you get a 10% discount on any purchase. I had just gotten a new PC and wanted to try some games that I'd missed so I paid for a month.

Little did I know, however, that it also included timed game trials before release. In Mass Effect: Andromeda's case, I was able to play the game for up to 10 hours and up to a certain point in the story. I only got to about the 8:30 mark before I ran out of stuff to do, and I had been really taking my time. And now I have to wait until Tuesday, when it actually releases, to continue. And I'm like a kid waiting for Christmas.

In short: there are issues, but it's great overall... so far. The following are first impressions that may change over the course of the game, and I'm keeping things spoiler-free.

The bad
First, lets get the bad stuff out of the way:

  • The facial animations. Oooooooooohhhh boy, those facial animations. At best they're as bad as the previous entries. Bioware has a bad track record for those. But with the new shiny graphics, the bad facial animations are more pronounced. At worst, they're really distracting and jarring. These have been getting a lot of ridicule and it's clear why. The odd thing is, the aliens have perfectly fine animations, it's the humans who have weird thousand-yard stares and creepy smiles. Bioware/EA has said that there's a bug involved and that it wouldn't be fixed by day 1, so we may get some improvements.

  • The writing for character dialogue is inconsistent. One character can go from seeming real to seeming cliché in two lines. While it isn't bad overall, the bad parts bring it down a bit. Thankfully it seems like only a few characters are affected. Perhaps they just didn't have a solid idea of who these characters should be? I'm hoping this improves as the story moves on.

  • Planet scanning seems to have less of a point. Almost no planets have anything to scan. And while the on-planet vehicle makes a return, at least at this point in the game the only planets you can land on are the ones involved in the main story.

  • Getting around in the galaxy is slower. You have a really pretty cutscene every time you switch from one planet/system to another. It's nice the first few times, not the 20th.

  • The omni-tool scanner slows you down and I felt compelled to pull it out often to make sure I wasn't missing something.

  • The first planet you visit (after the intro planet) isn't a good one to show off for the demo. Or, alternatively, the demo ends just too soon. You can barely go anywhere until you do something (which I won't give away in case people are really wary of spoilers) but the trial stops right before you get to do that thing. So even when you get to the end of where the plot will take you in the demo, you've probably exhausted what you can explore too.

  • There are some sidequests that feel identical to ones I've done before in Mass Effect and other games. It's not something unique to this game, but a couple of times I thought, "Oh THIS again. OK." Not a huge thing, but there are some tropes.

  • I don't care about the enemies. At this point, they're just violent and nothing else. I wish that, by this point in the game, we had learned about them a bit more.

  • This is more nebulous but worth mentioning. I like the characters but none of them seem as memorable as the wonderful cast of characters from the first three games. I could be wrong, there's a lot of game left.

  • Sometimes the new on-planet vehicle is an asshole. I see what they were trying to do with the new controls for it, but it may be overcomplicated at times. And it doesn't have any weapons!



The good

  • The graphics, facial animations aside, are wonderful. I can't say much more about them than that. It's really good stuff.

  • The world-building is fantastic. Er... galaxy building? Andromeda feels alien. Even more than the planets you visit in the previous Mass Effect games. The structures built by the Milky Way crew look like modernized architecture from the previous games. It feels very Mass Effect, and yet separate from the Mass Effect trilogy that came before it.

  • The more open design helps make the worlds feel real. I wouldn't call it open-world, but it benefits from being more open. The addition of jump jets let you explore more of the space, and it feels less restricted.

  • Combat is much improved, largely because of the more open design and the jump jets, but everything just has more weight to it now. Enemies seem smarter, and will actively flank you. You have to pay attention.

  • Aside from the tropey quests mentioned above, the quests and sidequests are great. Even in the intro, when you first get control of your character, you can see things happening around you that you can jump into or not. When you first find a certain place (again, being careful of spoilers) you can start a murder mystery that takes you to multiple systems to solve.

  • Even if the lips don't match all the time, the voice acting is solid. I got used to FemShep, so in my mind Mass Effect has female protagonists and I chose Sara Ryder. Her voice actor is no Jennifer Hale, but she does well, and the supporting cast does as well.

  • There are callbacks to the old games. So far, they've been minor ones but it helps to tie the series together.

  • Omni-tool scanning, while not perfect (see above) is fun. I felt like I was in No Man's Sky, running around scanning animals, rocks, plants, and tech. I hope the folks at Hello Games play this and modify the scanner in No Man's Sky a bit, honestly.

  • (This isn't really a spoiler unless you've literally avoided everything about this game, so if you're here I assume you at least know the premise.) You aren't saving the galaxy this time, I don't think. I say "I don't think" because the plot has a long way to go and could significantly change. In the previous games there was a massive threat that needed to be stopped. In this game, it's all about making a new home. The new goal and focus are refreshing.

  • Multiplayer is pretty solid but I suck at it.

  • The Tempest isn't the Normandy but it's pretty sweet. It's that same familiar ship design from the SR-1 and SR-2, but modernized and shinier.

  • The characters are good. I'm pessimistic about them achieving the character development from the first three games, but they are good. I care about them. Natalie Dormer's Lexi T'Perro is a fantastic Asari doctor (who totally isn't into women, a fact I discovered accidentally), Vetra is a Turian who would make Garrus proud, and so on. The characters retain the traits of their races, while also having unique personalities.

  • The on-planet vehicle is much improved over the Mako. Yeah I know I complained about it up top, but in general it's far better. GTA it ain't, but it serves its purpose better than the Mako.



Bottom line
When I was looking for a screenshot to include up top, I found a screenshot from Shepard's apartment in Mass Effect 3, when she throws the party and they take a group photo. That felt like seeing a picture of my absolute best friends that I haven't seen in years. While Mass Effect 3 was a downgrade for the most part, I seriously felt regret and loss at seeing that screenshot. That's how much I loved the original trilogy. The question for many won't just be "Is Mass Effect: Andromeda a good game?" It will be "Does Mass Effect: Andromeda achieve what the previous games did?" And that's not really even something we can answer until there's a trilogy, because the strength of each new game builds because of the history.

For now, I can say Andromeda is really good so far. I'm simultaneously optimistic and hyper-critical because of loving the first trilogy. I have problems with Andromeda, some of which may get fixed, some of them are there for good, and some are my own brain telling me "BUT IT'S NOT SHEPARD!" But the problems don't make it bad, not at all. The facial animations are the biggest issue but, while they're distracting, I'm not playing the game for how people's faces look when they talk.

I'm thoroughly enjoying the game. There's a lot of promise here, and I just want to sleep until Tuesday so I don't have to wait to keep playing.

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