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Following Overwatch Tease, Blizzard Shares Something Different

9 hours 51 min ago

As if one weren't good enough, Blizzard's given us another Overwatch tease this week, but it's not for a new character or map this time. Instead, it's turning its eyes to a lore database, beginning with a loving letter Torbjörn penned to his wife.

Earlier this week, the Overwatch Twitter revealed the after-action report of an operation called "White Dome." Things didn't go exactly as planned, and the team was ambushed, leading Reinhart to take the charge and rescue an injured Torbjörn.

[DECLASSIFIED] After-Action Report: Operation “WHITE DOME” pic.twitter.com/fvnUQQEFDC

— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) February 23, 2018

The most recent update to this story details a letter Torbjörn wrote to his wife, Ingrid, from the hospital, promising her that all is well. From the letter, it appears this is the battle in which he lost his arm.

"I know that by now you have gotten news of my injuries in our latest mission. While the descriptions may sound terrible, the doctors are quite sure I'll make a full recovery. Even Angela came to visit me! On the matter of my arm, I promise to make it my first priority to construct a suitable prosthesis that will make everyone forget that it was ever gone. If only Angela's dreams of tissue regeneration were a reality! I told her she should be working harder!"

The letter also details a few other sweet details about Torbjörn and his family, so it's worth checking out. We recommend grabbing some tissues first; find the letter in its totality here.

The "Story Update" appears to be part of an ongoing Overwatch lore archive. This will give fans "secret clearance" to art, videos, stories and more about the title's characters and world, good or evil. As of right now, there is not an exclusive section on the Overwatch website to find the rest of this lore database's entries.

In other Overwatch news, this story might not make you quite as emotional as Torbjörn's letter. Blizzard made Zenyatta walk, and it's as weird as you'd expect.

The History Of Total War

12 hours 34 min ago

The Total War series continues to go strong after nearly 20 years, but it didn't start out as a no-brainer success story. The debut title, Shogun: Total War, was released in 2000 by Creative Assembly, a developer that was not exactly known for its experience with the strategy genre.

Prior to Shogun's release, many of the studio's previous titles had been based on rugby and cricket. And while the past two decades have seen it try its hands at some different types of games--it developed 2014 horror game Alien: Isolation, for instance--it has almost exclusively focused on strategy games with Total War in the title.

In the video above, we dive into the history of the Total War series, which now consists of more than a dozen games. We look primarily at the core entries in the series, which have often been based on historical settings--although recent years have also brought Warhammer-inspired entries, which we also explore. Although the games share a familiar underpinning, Creative Assembly has managed to introduce wrinkles to keep the series fresh across so many titles, thanks in part to shifting between radically different settings.

Things aren't slowing down for Total War in the near future by any means. Following Warhammer II's release last year, Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia is due out in April. Beyond that, there's the next big historical entry, Total War: Three Kingdoms, and the free-to-play spin-off Total War: Arena. And while it has not yet been announced, Creative Assembly has not been shy about making it clear that its Warhammer games are viewed as a trilogy.

Dragon Ball FighterZ Devs Want To Rule The Fighting Game Scene With BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle

12 hours 34 min ago

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Arc System Works has been a mainstay of the fighting game community since the release of the original Guilty Gear. After its recent success with Dragon Ball FighterZ, the developers are looking to their immediate future with BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, with grander plans to expand their audience. In BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, launching June 5 in North America, characters from Persona 4 Arena, RWBY, Under Night: In-Birth--and of course BlazBlue--will face off in fast-paced tag battles. Launching with 20 characters, along with another 20 set for post-launch DLC, Cross Tag Battle, pulls from a number of games from Arc's past while also bringing in some first-timers to the fray.

Using a more accessible gameplay setup designed around a traditional controller, Cross Tag Battle incorporates many of the characters from their respective games into a fighting game that's easy to pick up, but challenging to master. We had the opportunity to chat with president and founder of Arc System Works Minoru Kidooka, BlazBlue creator Toshimichi Mori, and Guilty Gear director Daisuke Ishiwatari, they spoke about their plans to expand in the future, and how they want to dominate the Evo fighting game tournament in the years to come.

Arc System Works has been around for sometime, celebrating 30 years in 2018. Can you talk about how it was like seeing the developer grow over the years, and how things are looking at the moment?

Minoru Kidooka: Being the 30th anniversary for us, it's all really thanks to our fans. The fans recognize us for our fighting games, but there are a lot of other games we've made in the past as well. But their passion for our games have kept us going for many years. This game is one of the pinnacles of our 30 years, but we've also opened a new North American office, along with the success of Dragon Ball FighterZ. We didn't expect to do this all at once, but we want to move forward in big ways. We're always thinking about how we're going to survive for the next ten to 30 years--so in a way, this anniversary for us a new start for us to continue growing.

Toshimichi Mori: Thank you for recognizing the 30th anniversary, and we'd also like to add that it's the tenth anniversary for BlazBlue, and the twentieth anniversary for Guilty Gear. So it's really a great time for these characters in the game. But at the same time, this game isn't necessarily the end-product of our years making fighting games, more of like the first step of something more.

Can you talk about how you went about incorporating all these characters into Cross Tag Battle? Especially considering that they all come from different titles with their own unique combat mechanics.

Mori: There was originally a controller set-up called the Stylish Mode for earlier Arc System works games; that was the basis for the Persona games. The Stylish Mode is the basis for the combat mechanics in BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle as well. But for this, we feature characters from other games and we had to completely redo the controls. It took time to design how to bring in RWBY [characters], the first time these in a game, but we were able to get it to work after some time. Under Night characters were a bit of a challenge, as their mechanics were set and had to be redesigned to fit our game.

That's not to say that the game is easy, far from it. While you can do a number of moves pretty quickly, the number of ways to execute them in combos and tag mechanics is quite complex. It should be quite fun to see how players take advantage of the mechanics.

In addition to the anniversary, Arc System Works will have three unique titles present during the Evo 2018 fighting game tournament, which is a rare honor as most developers have just one game. Do you have comments about that?

Kidooka: Yes, we've got three titles at EVO, and that's exciting. Guilty Gear Xrd, BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, and Dragon Ball FighterZ--which we developed with Bandai Namco. That's all exciting, but we want to dominate EVO entirely. Maybe in 10 years. [Laughs] Last year, we had a booth at EVO for everyone to come visit, and it was a big success for us.

Daisuke Ishiwatari: As you know, Arc System Works' titles over the years have been mostly fighting games, and with big titles like Street Fighter and Tekken on the market, we've been mostly focused on offering more niche titles that offer a bit more originality. While we have a dedicated following, they're still niche games. So moving forward, we want to bring in more fans to understand the Arc System Style.

Kidooka: This year, we'll be trying to figure out how to make our games more user-friendly and how we can become closer to the fans. It's really an honor to have three games at EVO. But oftentimes, we find that it's mostly Japanese players making it to the finals. With the new American office, we want to expand our user base. We want to someday see Western players make it to the finals with our games. That will show that we've made the games more approachable. We want a more global user base, and we'll be working hard to make that happen.

Looking back, are there any games that stand out over the years as your favorites? Whether you simply liked working on them or because they represent something greater for you.

Kidooka: I have two answers, because I'm currently president, but I also started out as a programmer. The foundation of this company is Guilty Gear, and that came out for the PlayStation. That took three years to make, and there was a big discussion to figure out whether or not to make it 2D or 3D. We settled on 2D and there were comments from other developers asking why we were making it 2D instead of 3D. 20 years later, and the franchise is still alive and well with many fans all over the world. As president, releasing the original Guilty Gear was very important for me.

But as a programmer, there were a lot of nightmares I don't want to revisit. But I will say that the first project for Arc System Works was the Master System port for Double Dragon, and now today, we own the IP. In the future, Double Dragon is definitely an IP we'd love to use.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance Combat Guide

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 12:00

Kingdom Come: Deliverance has frequently drawn comparisons to Elder Scrolls games like Skyrim, and while that's apt to some degree--they are expansive, open-world games that present you with a great deal of freedom--there are other areas where they greatly differ. There's of course the complete absence of anything magical in Kingdom Come, which seeks to deliver a world based more in history than fantasy, but combat is also quite different.

Put simply, there's a lot more to account for during a fight in Kingdom Come. There's much more going on than simply hacking away with your weapon--you have to bear in mind the type of armor your enemy is wearing, the type of damage your weapon deals, and more if you hope to be truly effective.

In the video above, we walk you through some tips on how to excel at combat in Kingdom Come. We look at the different weapon types, leveraging combos to deal extra damage, pulling off perfect blocks and master strikes, and some other useful tidbits. One thing you'll want to always do is stay on the move, both to keep your opponents off-balance and to ensure you're in proper position to attack. Unlike many games, you'll be unable to swing your weapon if doing so would cause it to go through a nearby wall.

Kingdom Come launched recently on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. It's an experience not without its faults, but those don't necessarily mean it's worth overlooking. As our Kingdom Come review states, "It's an impressive and unflinching look at the medieval era that transports you inside the compelling story of a real person caught in the middle of a civil war. As such, this is one of those rare, memorable games that stays with you long after you stop playing. While quirks and bugs can certainly be frustrating, none of these issues interfere much with the unique and captivating nature of the overall experience."

PS4's Persona 3 And Persona 5 Dancing Games Will Support PSVR

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 11:41

Persona fans have a new reason to be hyped up for the upcoming rhythm game spin-offs; Japan's PlayStation Blog has revealed that both Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night and Persona 5: Dancing Star Night will be PSVR compatible. There were no details as to what exactly the virtual reality portions entail, just an addendum on the blog post saying that these games will support PSVR. All we can really do is use our imagination, and at least hope that we'll get to either stand atop Tartarus as we watch Mitsuru and Akihiko bust their moves, or get down with Morgana and Makoto at Shibuya Crossing.

Persona 3 originally released in 2006 for PlayStation 2, but also had a re-release with Persona 3: FES that added new content. Persona 3 Portable came to PSP in 2010, which added the option to play as a female lead where dialogue, social links, and characters were improved to fit the new protagonist. With the new dancing game, we see the return of our old friends from Gekkoukan High School, but with all new 3D character models in the same vein as Catherine and Persona 5. Many of the songs we know and love are included in the game along with some new tracks and remixes.

The ultra-stylish Persona 5 came to the West last year and featured one of the greatest original soundtracks in games. Series composer Shoji Meguro fused several genres like acid-jazz, metal, and downtempo to create music that was both unique and empowering. It's no surprise that a rhythm game was going to follow; we definitely saw it coming. Plenty of amazing songs from the game make their way into the Dancing Star Night tracklist in addition to new remixes.

Both games will not have a traditional story campaign, but there will be a mode that features original settings and character interactions. However, developer and publisher Atlus hasn't revealed much of the new mode.

Those that buy the "Persona Dancing All-Star Triple Pack" for PS4 will get both new games in addition to a downloadable version of 2015's Persona 4: Dancing All Night, which was previously a PS Vita exclusive.

For more details on both games, you can read our previous article covering the different editions available and what's included, and their full tracklists. Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night and Persona 5: Dancing Star Night are set to release in Japan on May 24 for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. There's currently no release date or window for North America and Europe.

Persona 5 stole our hearts here at GameSpot when it released last year; read and watch why this fantastic, heartfelt JRPG took second place in our Top 10 Games Of 2017. If you're new to the world of Persona, catch up on this wonderful franchise with our History of Persona video. And if RPGs or mainline Shin Megami Tensei is more in your wheelhouse, you can get more details on the upcoming Shin Megami Tensei V for Nintendo Switch.

Get These High-End CPUs From AMD And Intel For Cheap Right Now

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 10:23

Video cards might be incredibly expensive right now due to the cryptocurrency mining bonanza, but a few options for the other key component to a good gaming PC are going for cheap right now. Both flagship consumer CPUs from AMD and Intel are on sale for well below MSRP. The AMD Ryzen 7 1800X can be snagged on Ebay via Newegg for $300 USD, and the Intel Core i7-8700K is available on Walmart for $313.

The Ryzen 7 1800X CPU, which released in March 2017, sports eight cores and 16 threads and is the top-end processor to show off AMD's new Zen architecture at the consumer level. It runs a base clock speed of 3.6GHz and a boost clock speed of 4.0GHz, but it's capable of reaching higher frequencies given the right cooling system and hardware configuration. Note that only motherboards with the X370, X300, or B350 chipset allow for unlocked overclocking. The 1800X originally launched at $500 and it was an example of unprecedented value by offering more CPU cores at an affordable price. Now it's even more cost-effective at just $300.

Intel's 8th generation of Core CPUs (Coffee Lake) was the company's answer to AMD's Ryzen family. With the Core i7-8700K, Intel bumped up the core count of its consumer flagship processor (from four to six) for the first time since the Core line started in 2008. In terms of performance, the 8700K made noticeable strides in terms of performance from past generations by virtue of being a six-core 12-thread CPU. Its base clock speed sits at 3.7GHz, and it can bump one core up to 4.7GHz or two cores to 4.6GHz through Intel's Turbo Boost technology. However, the CPU requires motherboards with a Z370 chipset, which means the 8700K is not compatible with any previous motherboard. The 8700K launched in October last year for with an MSRP of $360; now on sale for $313, it's one of the better deals we've seen for this processor.

Both CPUs prove to be great for gaming, although Ryzen CPUs tend to fall a bit behind their Intel counterparts in benchmarks. AMD does offer a higher core count for a lower price, which makes Ryzen an attractive option for those who multitask and do a lot of video production/encoding and image rendering. If you want to learn more about how these CPU perform, be sure to read through our Ryzen 7 1800X review and Core i7-8700K review.

Since video card prices are extremely high at the moment, we suggest looking into pre-built systems if you want an entirely new gaming PC. You also can't overlook the CPU security issues that were recently discovered; read more about how you can protect yourself from Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities.

Warcraft Movie Director Explains How It All Went So Wrong

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 10:06

When Warcraft, the live-action movie based on the MMORPG video game series and novels, arrived in theaters in 2016, it was neither the box office or critical hit that many had been hoping for. Now, nearly two years later, the movie's director is explaining why that may be the case.

In an interview with Syfy to promote his new Netflix movie Mute--which is also being hailed as something less than a smash hit--Duncan Jones is very open about the troubling production. From the sound of it, filming of the movie sounds incredibly contentious.

"Warcraft was a political minefield as far as filmmaking goes. And I think a lot of the rewriting in that, over the course of making the movie was really, really difficult and at times disheartening," he says. "Just being forced to make changes and compromises just due to the politics and the nature of that film. So, that was a real heart-wrencher. But I've learned a lot and I've become more mature and able to deal with those kinds of situations because I've been through it now. But at the time, that felt pretty traumatic."

At the heart of the issue, Jones believes, was turmoil at Legendary Pictures--the studio producing Warcraft. "It was mainly studio politics. You know, Legendary had an incredibly turbulent period while we were making Warcraft," he says. "They were associated with Warner Bros. They left Warner Bros. and joined Universal. They were sold to Wanda, this Chinese conglomerate. They lost or replaced a number of their producing staff halfway through our movie."

Jones also points out the importance of the Warcraft brand to Blizzard, the studio behind the game. "We were also working with Blizzard, who understandably were very careful about what happened with the movie because their bread and butter was the game Warcraft, which was bringing in a billion dollars a year for them," he explains. While he admits that the movie's returns would likely be "small potatoes" compared to what Blizzard makes from subscriptions to the game, it was still very protective of its brand. "It was really a very active political landscape," he says.

Still, the experience of making Warcraft hasn't necessarily turned Jones off to doing approaching another big-budget property. However, he would certainly approach it in a different way. "I'm a lot wiser now," he says.

Fable Collectible Card Game Available For Free Now On Xbox One And PC

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 10:01

Although there's no new mainline Fable game announced, you can return to the land of Albion right now. Fable Fortune, the collectible card game based on the fantasy series, has fully launched on Xbox One and PC.

Fable Fortune has been playable through Microsoft's Game Preview program since last summer, but developers Mediatonic and Flaming Fowl launched the 1.0 version of the game this week. As with other collectible card games, Fable Fortune is free to play, but it offers additional card packs for purchase.

For the launch version of the game, the developers have also added a bunch of new features and implemented changes. These include Achievements, co-op voice chat, new cards, and deck-building tips. Additionally, low-cost cards have been rebalanced to reduce their effectiveness in swinging the course of a match.

Finally, the developers are also holding a bunch of temporary events to provide rewards like double XP and free cards. There will be a new event each week for the next five weeks; you can read more about Fable Fortune's upcoming events here.

New Metal Gear Survive Co-Op Mission Type Coming Next Month

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 09:40

Metal Gear Survive launched earlier this week, and Konami has just revealed some of its upcoming plans for the game. Specifically, a new cooperative mission type, Rescue Mission, is coming to the game next month.

These missions will give players an additional way to team up beyond simply exploring the game's world and completing Salvage Missions. The Rescues task you and your team with fighting into enemy territory and saving soldiers in need. According to the publisher, they'll require a "whole new level of cooperation" above Salvage Missions, although Konami has said little about them beyond this.

The mission type will be added to the game in March. In the meantime, Konami will offer a Daily Mission from the current set of co-op missions that offer greater rewards and special modifiers. One of these battle conditions is called HellFire, which appears to light all of the enemies on fire. There's also a special weekly mission to complete.

Metal Gear Survive is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It requires a constant internet connection and has microtransactions. Be sure to check out our feature on how Metal Gear Survive's class system works if you're just getting started with the game.

Tomb Raider Demanded A Sigourney Weaver-Like Transformation From Its Star

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 08:45

Throughout the history of film, female heroes have proven to be some of the most fierce icons of the action genre. With the upcoming release of Tomb Raider, based on the 2013 reboot of the video game franchise, Alicia Vikander hopes to add one more hero to that list as Lara Croft.

Unlike the 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie, which was based on the first video game, this new movie is looking back at Lara Croft's origin and the role they played in the adventurer she becomes. As Vikander explains, while speaking at Tomb Raider's press junket, it's the best way to introduce the world to her Lara.

"If you have the origin story, then that's a way for us to get to know our character, to feel for them, to relate to them on a more human level," she says. "I thought it was wonderful that I could play a young woman who's still trying to find her footing in the world..."

Just as important to Vikander, though, was showing audiences that anyone could be a hero--not just those with superpowers. "What I loved was that when I met [director] Roar [Uthaug] and Graham [King] and the producers, the fact that we wanted the actions sequences that were going to be a big part of this film kind of be set in a reality," she says. "Would you buy that this young girl could beat this bigger, stronger man? We then, storywise, integrated that she's a physical being--[she] trains in MMA and is a bicycle courier. I wanted her to be a strong girl."

Of course, to portray it, Vikander had to become that physical being herself. According to King, Vikander trained hard in the gym every single day throughout production to keep herself in peak physical condition. It's a transformation he likens to another iconic big-screen heroine. "I would actually put her performance along Sigourney [Weaver] when she did Aliens," he says.

Speaking to GameSpot, he elaborates. "She committed in a huge way. She was excited from an early stage. She has a lot of ideas, which I love. Actors should have a lot of ideas," King says. "She was so committed in the transformation of her physically and mentally. She's in every scene in the movie, I think, apart from maybe one or two. She worked her butt off every single day in the most extreme heat in Africa."

Whether the work Vikander and the movie's creative team put into bringing Lara Croft to life was worth it is something audiences will have to decide. Luckily they won't have to wait long. Tomb Raider hits theaters on March 16.

The Evolution Of The Character-Select Screen

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 08:12

For all the advancements that have been made in gaming, one element that remains in place is the character-select screen. Talk to someone who played games years ago--whether it was Super Mario Bros. 2, Street Fighter II, or any number of games--and you'll likely see them reminisce about the time spent on those screens agonizing over their character choice.

While they're most commonly associated with fighting games, that genre is hardly the only to be home to them, as evidenced by games like Mario 2 to Team Fortress 2 to countless MMOs. And although perhaps not as prominent as they once were, character-select screens are still present in many games today.

In the video above, we've put together a nostalgia-inducing run through a number of the most memorable such screens. You should get a sense for how they've changed over the years, from the basics of the aforementioned Mario to more modern examples, like Overwatch and Injustice 2.

What character-select screens do you remember most fondly? Let us know in the comments below!

New Monster Hunter World PS4/Xbox One Quests And More Now Available

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 07:57

Another week has gone by, and that means there is new Monster Hunter World content now available on both PS4 and Xbox One. While the most exciting thing going on right now is limited to PS4, there's something to occupy your time right now regardless of your platform.

PS4 players with a Street Fighter V save file on their hard drive still have early access to a special challenge quest called Down the Dark, Muddy Path. The actual particulars of what you're doing aren't exciting--it's an Arena where you hunt a Barroth--but the rewards include the materials to craft the armor based on Street Fighter's Ryu. Eventually, everyone on PS4 and Xbox One will have access to this quest and the Ryu gear, plus the Sakura-inspired gear still to come. For more on what to expect if you're eligible now, check out our guide on how to unlock Monster Hunter World's Ryu armor. You can see how it looks below--it literally transforms you into Ryu.

In terms of Limited Bounties, there's the usual assortment of additions. You'll need to hunt three bird wyvern-class monsters for one, hunt four Anjanath for another, and slay five tempered monsters for the third. These each offer their own set of rewards comprised of varying amounts of research points, armor spheres, and trade-in items (which are sold for zenny). A fourth limited bounty gives you even more of these rewards if you're able to complete the other three before these bounties reset on March 1/2 (depending on your platform).

There are also a handful of new event quests to take part in. Two of these (Ya-Ku With That? and The Poison Posse) are fairly mundane low-rank quests, asking you to hunt two and three monsters, respectively. Wildspire Bolero is a high-rank, seven-star quest that tasks you with hunting five monsters--including a Diablos, who proves difficult for many players--in under 50 minutes. There's also Snow & Cherry Blossoms, a nine-star quest to hunt a tempered Legiana and Pink Rathian. This also has a time limit of 50 minutes but has the highest Hunter Rank requirement (30) of any event quest so far.

Finally, you still have some time left to complete the current challenge quest, excitingly titled Challenge Quest 1: Intermediate. As before, this places restrictions on the particular weapon types you're able to use, limiting you to those that fall under the umbrella of Sword & Shield, Hunting Horn, Charge Blade, Insect Glaive, or Light Bowgun.

Mute Review Roundup: What Do Critics Think of Netflix's New Original Sci-Fi Movie?

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 05:49

Netflix isn't having the best of luck with its recent genre-focused original movies. Bright--starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton as buddy cops, one of which is an orc--was shredded by critics upon release. Still, the streaming service claims the movie is a success and ordered a sequel. After that, the streamer released The Cloverfield Paradox with little warning, and it suffered a similar critical fate.

Many were hoping this course would change with the arrival of Mute, the new film by Moon, Source Code, and Warcraft director Duncan Jones. Both Moon and Source Code received critical acclaim upon their release. Given that Mute had been positioned as something of a spiritual sequel to the former, it seemed like a home run.

And yet, somehow, things went horribly wrong. The first Mute reviews are in and they aren't exactly glowing. With a score of 35 on GameSpot sister site Metacritic, it's hard to find anyone who loved the movie. Before you decide whether to invest the time yourself, take a look at a sampling of reviews below.

  • Movie: Mute
  • Studio: Netflix
  • Release date: February 23
GameSpot

"From Netflix and Duncan Jones, Mute promised to be a return to form for the director and writer behind the instant classic 2009 mind-bender Moon (and, more recently, the less-than-classic Warcraft). Unfortunately, Mute is a cartoonish, nonsensical, tone-deaf, derivative, outrageously awful nightmare without a single redeeming quality. Bummer, right?" -- Michael Rougeau [Full review]

IGN

"The main problem with Mute is that it doesn't use its technologically-advanced backdrop to say anything new. There are hints of a war in Kandahar via a news video, problems with cloning, and a large number of American soldiers going AWOL, but other than those brief glimpses, co-writer/director Duncan Jones (Warcraft, Moon) has created a world that feels empty." -- David Griffin [Full review]

The Guardian

"In the parallel universe where everything's gone right for Jones, this long-labored-over passion project would have been his magnum opus, an idiosyncratically imagined futuro-fantasia worthy of the Blade Runner comparisons it so shamelessly courts. But while Jones has never been lacking in ambition, here that quality seems more like a willingness to 'go for it'. The depth of his creative commitment hasn't turned shallow, but it has been applied to a collection of perilously bad impulses." -- Charles Bramesco [Full review]

Uproxx

"Here's where I should be clear that Mute isn't a good movie. It manages to be both bizarre and boring. While I admire Jones' inventive details like a bowling ball that looks like a giant die, or a severed cow cartoon shilling for steak, or the way cell phones have advanced to where people don’t acknowledge they’ve answered a ring before screaming hello into a startled room, the film simply looks cheap." -- Amy Nicholson [Full review]

The Wrap

"A dystopian noir that’s neither especially compelling as a vision of the future nor as a hard-bitten mystery — much less as a quirky tale about a woodwork-gifted anti-hero — its arrival on Netflix this weekend suggests that the content-ravenous streaming service add a new category alongside 'Trending Now' and 'See It Again': 'Because You Literally Have Nothing Else To Watch.'" -- Robert Abele [Full review]

Slashfilm

"Mute is a disjointed, nihilistic trip through two distinct storylines that have almost nothing to do with each other--save for the fact that they inhabit the same world. Slowly, these storylines do come together, but never in a convincing or satisfying way. The end result is a frustrating film--one loaded with potential, but lacking distinction." -- Chris Evangelista [Full review]

Variety

"Got an old screenplay in your bottom drawer that's been rejected by practically everyone in town? Now's your chance: Netflix seems to be greenlighting second-rate 'content' like cinema was going out of style (and if the company's stream-at-home strategy succeeds, it just might). The latest beneficiary is Moon director Duncan Jones, who dusted off a 15-year-old idea, attached a few name actors, and delivered the latest disappointing Netflix Original with alliterative Mute, an over-designed but otherwise uninspired slice of sci-fi noir." -- Peter Debruge [Full review]

Blizzard Made Overwatch's Zenyatta Walk, And It's As Weird As You'd Expect

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 04:45

One of the many challenges with creating a hero shooter like Overwatch is ensuring that each character is distinct and unique. Blizzard has done an admirable job in this regard, drawing on different cultures and inspirations to create the members of the roster. Zenyatta is particularly notable in this regard, as he's the only character to never set foot on the ground. Thanks to Blizzard, he's finally done so, and it's unsettling, to say to the least.

Zenyatta is different from all other Overwatch characters in that he floats in a zen-like position in mid-air; he never physically walks anywhere. A fan in attendance at a recent Overwatch League event brought with him a sign that called for Blizzard to finally let him walk, and so the company has obliged, as you can see below.

K. @overwatchleague pic.twitter.com/rVHb6gkFmF

— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) February 23, 2018

Now that you've got that image stuck in your brain forever, there is potentially more meaningful news on the Overwatch front. Blizzard has released a teaser in the form of an "after-action report" for something called Operation White Dome. It remains to be seen what this will actually turn out to be, but the speculation is that it could be setting up the reveal for a new Overwatch character. Game director Jeff Kaplan previously said that the game's next hero was already in testing back in January. He didn't offer any specifics but did say the character is "very needed."

We're currently in the midst of the game's new Lunar New Year event. That brought back a revamped CTF mode and introduced a lot of new Year of the Dog skins and cosmetics that you can still get your hands on for a limited time.

Dragon Ball FighterZ Patches Coming To Fix Online Issues Soon

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 03:38

Since its release in late January, Dragon Ball FighterZ has suffered from issues relating to online multiplayer. These are still present almost a month later, but Bandai Namco has reassured fans that it's both aware of the problems and working on updates to resolve them--the first of which should be out quite soon.

In a video discussing the upcoming roadmap for FigherZ patches, producer Tomoko Hiroki states, "We've heard all of your feedback since the release, and we're fully aware of the online issues that you're having, such as the matching in Ring Match or being disconnected from the lobby. We're aware of the situation, and keen to resolve them with all our might."

The first step toward fixing the problems will come before the end of February, when a new update is scheduled for release. Hiroki doesn't specify what this will do precisely or which of the problems it will address, nor was a specific release date provided--she only says it'll be out in "late February."

"Please bear in mind that this first patch might not fix everything at once," she continues. "Therefore, we're also planning to release another patch in mid-[to]-late March to gradually resolve the issue. Rest assured that we will not stop until the fix has been completed."

Hiroki also thanks fans for their support and teases upcoming announcements, which will presumably involve more character reveals. Just recently, Bandai Namco announced FighterZ's first two DLC characters will be Bardock and Broly.

Here's Assassin's Creed Origins' New Curse Of The Pharaohs DLC In 4K

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 03:01

Following the release of its first DLC pack, The Hidden Ones, another Assassin's Creed Origins DLC is on the way, this one called The Curse of the Pharaohs. With its launch on PS4, Xbox One, and PC drawing near, we recently got to check it out.

In the video above, you can see about half an hour of gameplay from two different main story missions. These feature totally new locations you won't have ventured through previously, and they're home to some notable encounters. Those include one with some giant scorpions and a boss fight against an undead Nefertiti.

The Curse of the Pharaohs differs from The Hidden Ones in that it introduces a totally new storyline that is separate from that of the main game. You'll take on a variety of Egyptian beasts and famous pharaohs as you try to figure out why the dead are being brought back to life. In addition to the new areas, story, and enemies, you'll be able to acquire new outfits, gear, and weapons. Furthermore, it raises the level cap to 55.

Curse of the Pharaohs is due out on March 6 and is included in the $20 season pass or as a separate purchase. Before its release, everyone will be able to take part in an introductory quest called Lights Among the Dunes, which will be added as part of a free Origins update on February 27. [Update: The DLC itself has been delayed slightly and is now due out on March 13.]

This DLC comes not long after the release of Discovery Tour, a free update that allows you to play through the game without any quests or combat. It effectively transforms the game into a learning experience as you're able to explore ancient Egypt and even take part in guided tours that will teach you about the world. If you'd prefer something different, Ubisoft has also released a New Game Plus mode for Origins.

Pokemon Go Legendary Week Offers Another Chance To Catch Groudon And More

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 02:50

With the second Pokemon Go Community Day approaching, developer Niantic has announced another, unrelated event that is now underway. And if you missed out on the opportunity to catch two of the previous Legendary Pokemon that were available in the game, you're in luck, as they're back for a limited time.

As part of Pokemon Go Legendary Week, which is now underway, both Kyogre and Groudon have returned to Raid Battles, where they can be found alongside Rayquaza. Groudon was the first Gen 3 Legendary added to the game and was available to face during December and January. Kyogre then took its place until mid-February, when it was replaced by Rayquaza, which will stick around until March 16.

Despite the name, Legendary Week will last more than a week--it runs from now until March 5, giving you a total of about 10 days to get your hands on the returning Legendaries. To further mix things up, the specific Legendaries that are taken down during that period will have an additional effect. Should Rayquaza be defeated more than Kyogre and Groudon combined, eggs hatched from March 5-16 will be more likely to contain "Pokemon that typically prefer windy weather," such as Bagon. Alternatively, Pokemon who like sunny or rainy weather (Trapinch or Lotad, for example) will be more likely to hatch.

Starting on February 24, Niantic will offer a new special box for purchase that contains Raid Passes "to help you prepare." No further specifics were shared. February 24 is also the date of the next Community Day event. This three-hour event will provide various bonuses and, more notably, the opportunity to catch or evolve a rare Pokemon with a special move. For this event, it'll be the Dragon-type Dragonite, who can learn Draco Meteor.

The Assassin's Creed Origins DLC Where You Fight Giant Scorpions Has Been Delayed

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 02:00

The Curse of the Pharaohs, the second and final expansion for Assassin's Creed: Origins, is not going to launch on time. Ubisoft announced today that the expansion has been delayed by a week, shifting from March 6 to March 13.

A spokesperson for Ubisoft told GameSpot that the delay was necessary so as to "deliver the best experience possible to our players." The expansion is included in Origins' $20 season pass or as a separate purchase on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Before its release, everyone will be able to take part in an introductory quest called Lights Among the Dunes, which will be added as part of a free Origins update on February 27. It is unclear if this date is still accurate given the delay for The Curse of the Pharaohs, but we've followed up with Ubisoft to try to find out.

The Curse of the Pharaohs adds completely new locations, including Aaru, which is the heaven-like paradise filled with beautiful reed fields...and giant scorpions. Players will also face off against an undead Nefertiti in a boss battle of sorts. You can see all of that in our Curse of the Pharaohs 4K gameplay video.

The Curse of the Pharaohs differs from previous DLC, The Hidden Ones, in that it introduces a totally new storyline that is separate from that of the main game. You'll take on a variety of Egyptian beasts and famous pharaohs as you try to figure out why the dead are being brought back to life. In addition to the new areas, story, and enemies, you'll be able to acquire new outfits, gear, and weapons. Furthermore, it raises the level cap to 55.

This DLC comes not long after the release of Discovery Tour, a free update that allows you to play through the game without any quests or combat. It effectively transforms the game into a learning experience as you're able to explore ancient Egypt and even take part in guided tours that will teach you about the world. If you'd prefer something different, Ubisoft has also released a New Game Plus mode for Origins.

Kingdom Come And The Importance Of First Impressions

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 02:00

At first glance, Kingdom Come: Deliverance bears more than a passing resemblance to other medieval RPGs, particularly the Elder Scrolls series. Both share a first-person viewpoint and take place in a sprawling, European-inspired world inhabited by an extensive cast of characters going about their daily lives. Beyond those superficial similarities, however, Kingdom Come is an entirely different experience, carving out its own identity by removing fantasy elements entirely in favor of a historically accurate setting and gameplay.

Where most other medieval RPGs populate their worlds with magic and dragons, Kingdom Come eschews all of the fantasy trappings typically associated with the genre for a story that's firmly rooted in history. The game takes place in 15th century Bohemia, with players assuming the role of a lowly blacksmith's son as the country becomes embroiled in a brutal civil war. This emphasis on realism extends into the gameplay systems; combat has a steep learning curve, and you must learn how to bandage up wounds to keep from bleeding out if you happen to get struck by an arrow.

Unfortunately, as is often the case with such ambitious titles, Kingdom Come is also burdened by its share of bugs, which will undoubtedly turn some players away. In the video above, GameSpot's Peter Brown, Jean-Luc Seipke, and Rob Handlery discuss their experience with the title, particularly their initial impressions and how, despite its many technical issues, they eventually came around on the game after spending more time with it.

Kingdom Come is available now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Critic Brett Todd called it "a rewarding, one-of-a-kind game" in GameSpot's Kingdom Come review. "It's an impressive and unflinching look at the medieval era that transports you inside the compelling story of a real person caught in the middle of a civil war. As such, this is one of those rare, memorable games that stays with you long after you stop playing," he wrote.

If you're interested in seeing more footage from the medieval RPG, you can watch us play through the opening portion of Kingdom Come, giving you a look at how the tutorial unfolds, along with a glimpse at the game's demanding combat system. You can also watch footage of us fleeing from a band of attackers on horseback and learning how to use a sword and bow for the first time.

What You Need To Know About Ex Machina Director's New Film, Annihilation

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 01:57

Between Arrival, Blade Runner 2049, and Altered Carbon, we've had a pretty good run of science fiction entertainment over the last few years. One of the most memorable modern sci-fi movies is Ex Machina, written and directed by Alex Garland. Three years after its release, Garland's next movie, Annihilation, is gearing up for release, and it looks to be just as ambitious.

Based on the novel of the same name, Annihilation follows a biologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist, a surveyor, and a linguist as they investigate a strange, uncharted stretch of land. What they find there, however, promises to take viewers on a mild-melting sci-fi journey.

Garland, who video game fans may also know for his work on Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and DmC: Devil May Cry, recently visited the GameSpot offices and sat down with us to discuss his film, specifically the approach to adapting the book for the big screen, and what attracted him to the story.

On top of that, he also takes the time to address a controversy surround the movie's production relating to the whitewashing of a character. Garland discusses his feelings on the issue of whitewashing as a whole and the issue as it pertains to his movie. There's also a chat about the rise of Netflix as a distribution service for movies, and how it fits into the type of entertainment he makes and we consume.

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