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By Jonathan Balofsky On 28 May, 2017 At 11:45 PM | Categorized As News, News, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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NetherRealm Studios and WB Games have released a new trailer for Injustice 2. This time it is to show off the DLC character Red Hood.

 

Jason Todd once served as Batman’s second protégé “Robin” before being brutally murdered by The Joker. Years later, the powerful healing waters of the Lazarus Pit brought Jason Todd back to life. However the power of the pit comes at a cost, and a change takes hold in Jason. He now uses mantle of the Red Hood to wage a lethal war on crime.

 

 

 

We will have a review of Injustice 2 up very soon, so please look for that.

By Nate VanLindt On 28 May, 2017 At 04:24 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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13,925.  693, no platinum trophies.  5,906 XP – Level 29.  These numbers are meaningless out of context.  The fact is, they’re pretty much meaningless in context as well.  Chances are, you already know what I’m talking about if you’re reading this, but for the few that don’t, the above numbers are gamer scores and achievement statistics.  Specifically my personal gamer statistics.  I had to look them up because I had absolutely no idea what they were and I didn’t really care.  They are from Xbox Live, Playstation Network, and Steam respectively if you’re wondering.  That’s the point, however.   Why have people become obsessed with their personal statistics?

Gamerscores and stats started almost at the same time as gaming with the advent of the high score.  The very first high score was in Sea Wolf, way back in 1976.  Most games of the early gaming era featured scoring systems of one kind or another, whether it be the number of points scored in a Pong game or the points from the number of alien ships shot down in Galaga.  High scores stuck around until the mid to late 80s, when the NES reigned supreme and longer, more complex games at home became the standard.  Even then, many games still had score tabulation functions, whether they were the game scores in R.B.I. Baseball or a run n’ gun like Contra by Konami.   In other words, high scores have always been kicking around, but as gaming advanced, high scores slowly disappeared and became less meaningful, excluding a handful of genres like SHMUPS (SHoot eM UPS such as R-Type, Gradius, and Raiden for those who aren’t familiar with the term). 

But then, something odd happened in 2005.  Microsoft introduced achievements on the Xbox 360.  All of the sudden, every time you completed a specific set task in a game, you got a digital attaboy.  A little notification would pop up on screen and tell you you’d completed a task that you didn’t even know you were working towards and it added to what Microsoft calls your “gamerscore”.  Suddenly people were trying to have the best gamerscore, competing with their friends, doing things they’d never bother to do in a game before and spending lots of extra time in a game to do it.  Companies noticed this.  Nearly every game had achievements in short order.  In 2007, Valve added their version of gamerscores, badges, to Steam.  The next year, Sony added Trophies to the PlayStation Network as well.  Suddenly, everyone had a scoring system to track how much better (or worse) you were than everyone else you knew.  People bought into it.  Companies offered rewards for the highest gamerscore and Microsoft even gave away a lifetime membership to Xbox Live Gold in 2013 to the player with the highest gamerscore.  The entire concept had entered the collective consciousness of gamers and they have accepted it as a standard.

Should we be paying attention to our gamerscore and our trophy list, however?  Perhaps we should not.  In 2006, Gears of War was released for the Xbox 360.  It was one of the first games I played that had achievements.  I’d seen the achievement notifications pop up before, but I generally just tolerated them.   As I played Gears of War, I reached the end of a section and defeated the Berserker the first time, earning the trophy “My Love For You Is Like A Truck”, a reference to a fairly obscure song called Berserker by a band called Love Among Freaks.  Unfortunately, the trophy notification popped up prominently onscreen in the middle of a cinema sequence, blocking me from seeing the cinema fully and destroying my immersion in the game instantly.  On top of that, I couldn’t go back and see the cinema again without replaying that entire section of the game.  From that moment on, I was dead set against gamerscore in all its iterations.

In case you didn’t know, you can actually turn off achievement notifications on both Microsoft and Sony consoles.  On the Xbox One, it’s under Settings,  All Settings, Preferences, Notifications.   For the PS4, the option is under Settings, Notifications.  I did this as soon as the option became available on each network (as far as I know, it still isn’t available on Steam unfortunately) and I never looked back.  As a gamer for over 30 years, I ask you to consider it this way.  Games are designed to have fun.  They’re a form of escapist entertainment.   We generally play games to try and either finish them or get a high score.  But with achievements, we play through tedious grinding activities just to get an ephemeral payout of gamerscore so we can brag to friends and strangers.  That’s not only weird, it borders on pointless.  Take Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End for example.  I played Uncharted 4 right after it came out.  I blew through the game in my spare time (about a week).  The pacing is fantastic, the story moves just the right amount at a go, none of the gameplay holds you up too badly, but you still feel challenged.  It’s one of the most well-crafted games I’ve played in years in terms of pacing and structure.  I finished the game, had a blast, and came away fully satisfied with my experience.  I can’t speak highly enough of the game (keeping in mind that to enjoy it fully you must play the entire series in order).   Now, take a look at my personal trophies on the PS4 for Uncharted 4.

That’s right.  I got a measly 14 bronze trophies playing through a game that I raved about as one of the best games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.  A game that I just stated I was ‘fully satisfied’ with.  There are sixty-eight trophies in this game.  Sixty-eight!  Essentially, I didn’t ‘play the game’ according to the current thinking in gaming.  How could I possibly call myself a gamer?  Obviously, I don’t take gaming seriously enough, right?  Wrong.  Gaming is for fun, and I had fun playing Uncharted 4.  A lot of fun actually.  I don’t want to waste my limited free time finding 109 treasures that have no bearing on the story in my well-paced story-based game.  I am not interested in spending hours hanging from ropes to get the trophy for making 20 headshots while hanging from a rope.  And I certainly don’t want to buy an apple just to let the lemur steal it in chapter 11.  Because that’s not fun.  It’s tedious make-work in a game I’m playing for entertainment.  And achievements, trophies, and badges get much more ridiculous than that, up to and including repeating a specific activity or action thousands of times just to get that pop-up payoff.   Let’s call it what it really is, a Pavlovian response pattern that reinforces obsessive-compulsive tendencies in a mostly antisocial social sub-group.   In short, they are a prize with no value.

And yet there is a large and vocal demographic online that openly mocks anyone who dismisses the value of achievements.  Gamers often minimize the impact of these psychological tools, resorting to simplistic responses such as ‘if you don’t like them, just ignore them’, or ‘only people that suck at gaming hate trophies’.  Who is missing the point here?  Obviously, games are designed for both types of gamers now, the trophy hunters and the purists.  There’s no arguing that.  But are game designers themselves compromising their vision to provide a game that appeals to a wider audience due to the frothing demand for achievements?  It seems like they are.  Adding online content, online trophies, and various other extras to games that don’t really need them seem like pandering.  Some games force you to go online to get some of the achievements, necessitating play against others as well as paying for premium network access in the form of Xbox Live or Playstation Plus.  And gamers are falling for it.  In a recent discussion with a colleague, he informed me that he was replaying a game after finishing it so that he could “platinum” it because he loved the game so much.  When I asked him about the achievements though, he related that many of them were tedious and difficult to achieve.  After this discussion, I asked him about his game backlog and he admitted that he has games that he hasn’t even opened yet.  In other words, achievements are artificially inflating the average gameplay and dissuading gamers from moving on to the next title, regardless of the next game’s quality, even after they’ve finished a game and have stopped enjoying it.

It seems to me like this is an issue that gamers should actually take seriously.  Not because it matters whether you play for score, but because game developers take it seriously and they design games based on the trends of the market and the input they receive online.  The best games, the ones that everyone raves about for years or even decades, are the ones that provide an uncompromised creative vision.  These games are at the top of everyone’s list for a reason.  They were designed to enjoy, not to appeal to every single person, and that makes them rise above.  Too few of those games exist these days, and fewer are released every year.  Maybe if we focus a little less on finding every flag or using every weapon for a thousand headshots or revealing every single tenth of a percentage point of every single map and a little more on just immersing ourselves in the fun a game can provide, we’ll all get a bit more enjoyment out of gaming.   Try turning off your notifications for a game or two and see if you have more fun.  If you don’t know you’re missing out…maybe you aren’t.

 

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 26 May, 2017 At 02:46 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Guilty Gear has undergone a major resurgence of late. It began with Guilty Gear Xrd Sign and doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. The latest release in the series is Guilty Gear Xrd Rev2, but does it really offer much in comparison to Gulty Gear Xrd Revelator? Or should you avoid it?

I will begin by stating what I felt to be a key point. The combat has been refined yet again by Arc System Works and is smoother than ever. The game continues experimenting with different playstyles for players who do not want the standard inputs and that is highly commendable. Along with the amazing tutorial, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 has the unique nature of appealing to two different groups of players at the same time. I must say again about the tutorial, in that it is one of the best tutorials ever made for a fighting game. It teaches you exactly how to play a fighting game if you were unfamiliar and will help you not only in this game but others as well.

The revised combat has more than a few balance adjustments. I would say that most fans will notice them depending on the time they put in to the previous game, the more time the more you will notice and vice versa. More notably in my opinion, is that there are animation additions almost everywhere. This is just a gorgeous 2.5D fighting game and I do not think I have ever seen a better one. Everything just feels smooth and fluid. My complaints about the little moments of stiffness in Revelator are gone, and even the online works so much better. It seems Arc System Works took each and every criticism to heart and set out to make the ultimate Guilty Gear game. I have to say that in my opinion, they succeeded. The music is top notch as always in the series, but it just feels even more epic here. It feels that the music has been kicked up a notch or three and that gives the game a more exciting feeling.

In terms of the roster, there are two additions, Baiken and Answer. Answer is a difficult character to learn, but very rewarding, while Baiken is true to past iterations. I like that not much was changed in terms of the roster, but what was added, were well done and excellent additions.

There are of course multiple online modes and story modes, as to be expected in a Guilty Gear game, and to be honest, I feel this is one of the most complete fighting games around. With its cheaper price ( and even cheaper digital price if bought as a DLC  upgrade), I cannot recommend this enough. Guilty Gear Xrd Rev2 is just an awesome game all around, and one of the best fighting games for both fans and newcomers to the genre. I urge you to check this out as soon as you can. You will not regret buying this game anytime.

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EA sent out the following

 

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) announced today that EA PLAY 2017 in Hollywood will feature performances by the eight-time platinum recording artist Nas, DJ Green Lantern and Dave East. All three will perform on Saturday night, June 10th from 6-8pm PST, at the EA PLAY FanFest, one of the biggest pop culture events of the summer. The FanFest is at the heart of EA PLAY 2017, featuring more than 140 hands-on gaming stations where fans will be the first to play EA’s newest lineup of games including:

 

  • Star Wars™ Battlefront™ II
  • FIFA 18
  • Madden NFL 18
  • NBA LIVE 18
  • The latest Need for Speed™ experience
  • The Sims™ Mobile and The Sims™ 4
  • Battlefield™ 1: In The Name of the Tsar
  • New content from Star Wars™: Galaxy of Heroes and Titanfall 2
  • Madden NFL Mobile
  • NBA LIVE Mobile
  • EA SPORTS™ FIFA on the Nintendo Switch

 

Widely celebrated as one of the greatest artists of all-time, Nas has received more than a dozen Grammy nominations since his debut album *Illmatic* in 1994. Joining the stage with Nas is DJ Green Lantern, a long-time DJ for some of hip hop’s top artists, and Dave East whose mixtape *Kairi Chanel* hit the US Billboard 200 last year. These three artists will headline a lineup of musical talent that will perform each day at EA PLAY from June 10-12 at the Hollywood Palladium.

 

EA PLAY is open to the public and tickets are free. The FanFest schedule is:

  • Saturday June 10 from 4pm – 8pm
  • Sunday June 11 from 12pm – 6pm
  • Monday June 12 from 12pm – 5pm

 

For those that attend in-person at the Palladium in Hollywood, they can experience even more surprises. Each day of the show, the first 2000 fans that play Star Wars™ Battlefront™ II will receive a numbered, limited edition poster. On Sunday and Monday, the first 500 people to play Madden NFL 18 and EA SPORTS FIFA 18, will receive a free copy of Madden NFL 17 and FIFA 17 respectively.

 

For anyone joining digitally around the world, EA PLAY will come to life through a variety of different content including livestreams. From behind-the-scenes looks and developer interviews to in-depth gameplay walkthroughs and new gameplay footage, learn more about EA’s upcoming games and experiences directly from those behind them. EA is also empowering the creative storytelling of more than 300 of the best content creators in the community to develop their own unique way of sharing their gameplay impressions with their fans all over the world who love to watch them most.

 

Please visit http://www.ea.com/eaplay2017 to learn more about the event, and visit https://eaplay17.fishsoftware.com/public/ to get your free ticket. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more EA PLAY news and information.

This is a very interesting lineup and some cool performances. It is very interesting that the Switch version of FIFA is mentioned separately. Still, the event looks like it will be a good time and is well planned. Hopefully it all goes off well.

 

Source: PR Email

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 24 May, 2017 At 08:21 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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CD PROJEKT RED sent out the following

 

CD PROJEKT RED, creators of The Witcher series of games, announce the start of Public Beta for GWENT: The Witcher Card Game for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Gamers can start playing immediately by visiting playgwent.com on PC, or — on consoles — download the client directly through Xbox Store or PlayStation Store.

“Public Beta is an important step towards GWENT’s final release,” said Marcin Iwi?ski, co-founder of CD PROJEKT RED. “We’re opening the gates to everyone who wanted to play, but didn’t make it into the Closed Beta, and — at the same time — we’re introducing some pretty significant content and gameplay changes like adding animated versions of cards for every card in the game, new starter decks, or how weather cards work,” Iwi?ski adds. “I’m extra curious how all of the community feedback we’ve incorporated will resonate with both current players and those who’re just starting. Please keep the feedback coming, we’re listening!”

More information about GWENT and the Public Beta is available in the FAQ section of playgwent.com.

You can watch the cinematic trailer below

It is great that even though the Witcher III has been out for a while, CD PROJEKT RED has been able to keep the franchise alive in new ways. Making GWENT a standalone game is a smart move, especially given games like Hearthstone and Elder Scrolls Legends.

Source: PR Email

By Jonathan Balofsky On 23 May, 2017 At 11:42 PM | Categorized As Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

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The following was sent out

Rest that lazy bum and turn on your consoles as Vile Monarch have manufactured another brilliant way to hurl insults through the power of technology! That’s right, Oh…Sir! The Insult Simulator is coming to PS4 on May 30th, and Xbox One in June!

Take part in the smash hit that has sold over 250,000 copies, and magically cure all insult-related woes with the console release of Oh… Sir!! The Insult Simulator. You can purchase Oh…Sir!! The Insult Simulator for $2.99 USD on PS4 and Xbox One upon release!

We’ve explored all of our inner insults, but for those who can’t wait we’ve channeled the cosmos to create an unmatched insult board. For reference, mine was “Your mother wanted to be a muppet!”; I’ve since notified my mother of this news.

Game Features:
– Loner’s Insult Tournament Mode: Battle your way through numerous unique situations and verbally assault your CPU
– Real-Life Friends Mode: Beleaguer your actual friends on a couch, ottoman, or whatever else you like to rest your fanny on
– Imaginary-Friends Mode: Verbally take down strangers from all over the “Online world”
– 10 Hilarious Playable Characters: Each with their own unique voices, quirky traits, and hilarious “insult components”
– 5 Conflict Scenarios: Lay down some verbal jujitsu across 5 different trying situations and environments- Contentious Battle System: Employ combos, criticals, continuations and other new mechanics to outwit your argumentative opponents!

Oh…Sir!! The Insult Simulator is a truly unique game and is quite different from what most are used to. It is this kind of inventiveness that helps show just what is capable in gaming,

Source: PR Email

By Jonathan Balofsky On 23 May, 2017 At 11:16 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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The following was sent out

 

Rest that lazy bum and turn on your consoles as Vile Monarch have manufactured another brilliant way to hurl insults through the power of technology! That’s right, Oh…Sir! The Insult Simulator is coming to PS4 on May 30th, and Xbox One in June!

Take part in the smash hit that has sold over 250,000 copies, and magically cure all insult-related woes with the console release of Oh… Sir!! The Insult Simulator. You can purchase Oh…Sir!! The Insult Simulator for $2.99 USD on PS4 and Xbox One upon release!

We’ve explored all of our inner insults, but for those who can’t wait we’ve channeled the cosmos to create an unmatched insult board. For reference, mine was “Your mother wanted to be a muppet!”; I’ve since notified my mother of this news.

 

Game Features:
– Loner’s Insult Tournament Mode: Battle your way through numerous unique situations and verbally assault your CPU
– Real-Life Friends Mode: Beleaguer your actual friends on a couch, ottoman, or whatever else you like to rest your fanny on
– Imaginary-Friends Mode: Verbally take down strangers from all over the “Online world”
– 10 Hilarious Playable Characters: Each with their own unique voices, quirky traits, and hilarious “insult components”
– 5 Conflict Scenarios: Lay down some verbal jujitsu across 5 different trying situations and environments- Contentious Battle System: Employ combos, criticals, continuations and other new mechanics to outwit your argumentative opponents!

Oh…Sir!! The Insult Simulator is a truly unique game and is quite different from what most are used to. It is this kind of inventiveness that helps show just what is capable in gaming,

 

Source: PR Email

By Jonathan Balofsky On 23 May, 2017 At 11:42 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Uncategorized, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Bethesda sent out the following

 

With its unique setting and extensive player freedom, Prey has been praised by GamesRadar+ as “bursting with personality”, while Game Informer simply calls it “Stellar”. IGN describes Talos I, the game’s space station backdrop, as “fantastically explorable”, a sentiment echoed by Eurogamer, which refers to Talos I as a  “truly magnificent setting”.

 

When you awaken aboard the Talos I space station, you that find you are the key subject of an experiment meant to alter humanity forever – but things have gone terribly wrong. Talos I has been overrun by an alien force, and you must stop the Typhon threat from destroying humanity. As Morgan Yu, and mankind’s last hope, fend off the alien infestation armed with the tools found on the station, your wits, weapons, and mind-bending abilities. It’s up to you to uncover the mysteries of Talos I and safeguard the world from the Typhon threat.

 

Out now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, Prey is the highly anticipated first-person sci-fi action game from Arkane Studios – creators of the award-winning Dishonored series – which includes the 2012 ‘Game of the Year’ and the critically-acclaimed follow-up, Dishonored 2. Embracing its signature style, Arkane developed Prey as an “open space station game,” complete with the studio’s characteristic freedom, player choice and deep story.

 

Be sure to check out prey.bethesda.net for more details on how you can fight the invasion.

 

Prey is a great new game from Bethesda and Arkane Studios. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can check out our review here.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 23 May, 2017 At 07:07 AM | Categorized As News, News, News, NINTENDO, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Koji Igarashi recently did an interview with Famitsu and some new details were shared on  Bloodstained Ritual of The Night.

The game is roughly 20-30% complete so far. This may not seem like much, but this could be due to being the base parts of the game, with other parts coming out faster. That said, Igarashi did note that he needs to increase the pace of development.

When it came to cancelling the Wii U version for a Switch release instead, he mentioned that the reason Switch is being favored over Wii U is that the game is being developed with Unreal Engine and ported from PC. As the Switch supports Unreal Engine 4 natively, this means that they don’t need to do any workarounds and can make a straight port. As well, the planned release in 2018 also lead to the decision of moving away from Wii U as the system is pretty much dead.

It seems IGA knows what he is doing with Bloodstained and wants to pick up the pace. I am sure the game will be amazing when it is released.

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 22 May, 2017 At 09:30 AM | Categorized As News, PlayStation, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Cliff Bleszinski’s new game LawBreakers will be making the jump to consoles this year, with a release on PS4.

 

CliffyB shared the following on the PS4 blog

 

After a few twists and turns last year after our initial Alpha, the game really got in front of a lot of players. There was no NDA so people could post footage, and we found that there was a lot of interest from console players for this very fast, competitive multiplayer game. To be honest my Twitter feed was one part “Bring LawBreakers to console!” or “Fix Gears!” (hah) So, we made something spectacularly vertical. Something heavily skill-based and super competitive, with our twist on game modes that haven’t been done before. We were making the game we wanted to play, and it seemed to resonate. When deciding which platform to bring the game to these players, it was a hard choice. I’ll leave it at that. The choice, obviously, was PS4.

Ok – here’s where we all are going. LawBreakers is coming out this year on PS4 as a digital-only title. Discs are like voicemail, so ten years ago. It’s important to know that something that’s important for the studio and me is to create a game with no season passes and no “pay-to-win” mechanics at a price that is what we feel is fair to players. It will be $29.99. We don’t want to fragment our playbase with silo’d season pass BS, nor do we want to pollute matchmaking with “pay-to-win” incentives. We want to create a game ecosystem that’s all about highly skilled players competing on even playing fields, and a landscape for average players to aspire to become better. More details on launch date soon. Right, PR?

 

LawBreakers is an interesting take on the genre, and looks to put its own spin of competitive gaming. It is interesting that the game is coming to PS4 but he explained is reasoning well.

LawBreakers has gained a bit of an interesting reputation for how it does things, and I think most gamers on PS4 will appreciate this. Plus the pricing and pay model are well thought out and not insulting to players.

 

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