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Three Billboards, The Shape of Water, Blade Runner 2049 Score BAFTA Wins

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 22:52

The acclaimed drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was the big winner at this year's BAFTA awards. The movie claimed five prizes at the British film awards ceremony, which is seen as an indicator of who might succeed at the Oscars next month.

Three Billboards won Best film, Best British Film, Best Actress (Frances McDormand), Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell), and Best Original Screenplay for writer/director Martin McDonagh.

McDonagh was also nominated for Best Director, but that prize was taken home by Guillermo Del Toro for The Shape of Water. Del Toro's offbeat sci-fi fantasy actually led the pack in terms of nominations--12, compared to Three Billboard's nine. But in the end, it had to settle three wins--Best Director, Best Original Music, and Best Production Design.

Elsewhere, Gary Oldman won Best Actor for Darkest Hour, Allison Janney won Best Supporting Actress for I, Tonya, and Coco claimed Best Animated Film. Blade Runner 2049 won Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects, while Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya took home the Rising Star award, which is voted on by the public.

Check out the full list of winners below:

Best film

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Outstanding British film

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Leading actress

Frances McDormand--Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Leading actor

Gary Oldman--Darkest Hour

Supporting actress

Allison Janney--I, Tonya

Supporting actor

Sam Rockwell--Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


The Shape Of Water--Guillermo Del Toro

EE Rising Star Award (voted for by the public)

Daniel Kaluuya

Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer

I Am Not A Witch

Film not in the English language

The Handmaiden


I Am Not Your Negro

Animated film


Original screenplay

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Adapted screenplay

Call Me By Your Name

Original music

The Shape Of Water--Alexandre Desplat


Blade Runner 2049--Roger Deakins


Baby Driver--Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss

Production design

The Shape Of Water--Paul Austerberry, Jeff Melvin, Shane Vieau

Costume design

Phantom Thread--Mark Bridges

Make-up and hair

Darkest Hour--David Malinowski, Ivana Primorac, Lucy Sibbick, Kazuhiro Tsuji


Dunkirk--Richard King, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo, Mark Weingarten

Special visual effects

Blade Runner 2049--Gerd Nefzer, John Nelson

British short animation

Poles Apart

British short film

Cowboy Dave

BAFTA Fellowship

Sir Ridley Scott

Top 10 UK Sales Chart: FIFA 18 Is Back On Top

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 21:28

FIFA 18 returns to the top of the UK sales chart for the week ending February 17, "boosted by a heavily promoted Nintendo Switch version and smaller price drops across other formats," according to sales monitor GfK Chart-Track.

EA's sports title forces Deep Silver's new release, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, to settle for No.2 in its debut week. It manages to stay ahead of chart mainstay Grand Theft Auto 5, however. Capcom's Monster Hunter: World spends its fourth week in the chart at No.4, ahead of Bayonetta 2 for the Switch. The placement of this Switch re-release is the highest Bayonetta 2 has ever reached, as it originally debuted at No.7 for the Wii U in 2014.

EA Sports UFC 3 moves down four spots to No.6 and is followed by last weeks top performer, Shadow of the Colossus, at No.7. Rounding off the top 10 are Call of Duty: WWII, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Assassin's Creed Origins at No.8, No.9, and No.10 respectively.

You can read the full top 10 sales chart below, courtesy of UKIE and Chart-Track. Note this table does not include digital sales data, and so should not be considered representative of all UK game sales.

  1. FIFA 18
  2. Kingdom Come: Deliverance
  3. Grand Theft Auto V
  4. Monster Hunter: World
  5. Bayonetta 2
  6. EA Sports UFC 3
  7. Shadow of the Colossus
  8. Call of Duty: WWII
  9. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  10. Assassin's Creed Origins

A Tomb Raider Barbie Doll Arrives Next March With The New Movie

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:49

Toy giant Mattel has announced its next Barbie doll, and it's none other than iconic video game hero Lara Croft. Based on Alicia Vikander's version of the character from the upcoming movie, the collectible launches in March just ahead of the new movie, according to IGN.

The doll is priced at $30, and pre-orders open on February 19 through the Barbie website. There are a few accessories included with the Barbie, including her pick axe, journal, map, and more, as well as a certificate of authenticity. You can see an unboxing video below, courtesy of the Panic Pixie YouTube channel.

This is not the first video game Barbie. In 2016, Mattel launched a video game developer Barbie for its Career of the Year line. It does, however, appear to be Mattel's first Barbie based on a specific video game character.

The new Tomb Raider movie comes to theatres on March 16. Vikander, who won an Oscar for her role in The Danish Girl opposite Eddie Redmayne. Dominic West (The Wire), Walton Goggins (Sons of Anarchy, The Hateful Eight), and Daniel Wu (Warcraft) also star. The director is Roar Uthaug, who previously helmed the acclaimed disaster movie The Wave.

Like the 2013 video game reboot, the movie sounds like it will tell an origin story. "She has all the fierce, tough, curious, intelligent traits," Vikander said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "But we've stripped away all of her experience. She hasn't gone on an adventure just yet. She thought she was a stuck up businessperson living in the modern youth culture of suburban London, but then this whole box of information. This is the beginning."

A new Tomb Raider game is on the way. Official details remain a mystery, but last year, the title "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" was potentially leaked, though it's unclear if that was real.

Microsoft Talks Xbox One Keyboard And Mouse Support, Addresses Concerns

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:43

While the Xbox One does not have an official, Microsoft-approved plan for support keyboard and mouse controls (at least not yet), there are ways to do it. One way is through the use of adapters. Microsoft is apparently aware of this, but the company is not taking action in the case of multiplayer shooters--where keyboard and mouse players would theoretically have an advantage.

The reason? According to Xbox engineering lead Mike Ybarra, Microsoft could block keyboard and mouse setups on console, but won't do it because the company wants to give developers the freedom to operate their games as they see fit. Not only that, but a keyboard and mouse setup can be a helpful solution for players with accessibility considerations.

Developers have the choice to use APIs that detect and not allow these. It’s up to them, but the capability is there.

— Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) February 18, 2018

We could but there are helpful scenarios with these devices (accessibility for one). Our general approach is to empower the developer to manage their game how they want.

— Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) February 18, 2018

For a long time now, Microsoft has said it is considering bringing an official keyboard and mouse solution to the Xbox One. In September last year, Ybarra said keyboard and mouse support is "definitely coming" to Xbox One, but he didn't say when or in what form.

Crucially, Ybarra said Microsoft understands the concerns people have about keyboard and mouse users having the upper hand against people using a controller.

"We have to be very smart in how we do that. We'll leave it a lot up to developer choice," Ybarra said at the time. "A lot of people tweet me and say, 'You can't do this because of fairness,' and we understand that. We run two platforms; the Windows platform and the Xbox platform."

Ybarra said one solution is that developers can create systems in their games that allow players to decide if they want to play against people using controllers or a keyboard and mouse setup. In fact, Microsoft's Gears of War 4 supports cross-play between Xbox One and PC, and the company already tested the waters with controller versus keyboard and mouse setup. Xbox One players can choose whether or not they want to play with PC users.

Would you like to see official keyboard and mouse support on Xbox One? Let us know in the comments below!

400-Player Battle Royale Game Gets A Teaser Trailer

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:54

A new trailer for an upcoming Battle Royale game that promises to support 400 players in a multiplayer environment has been released, but unfortunately it doesn't deliver what we want to see. The trailer for Mavericks: Proving Grounds shows off some nice-looking visuals and environments, but, critically, it does not show any gameplay. 

Mavericks is in development at the new UK studio Automaton Games. The game was formerly known as Project X before getting its new name over the weekend during a PC Gamer event. Mavericks will have a 12km squared "living and breathing" world, the developer says. It also promises dynamic elements such as wildfire that spreads and more. 

"This year, we're coming out with our competitive, Battle Royale-style mode, which we hope will show that there is so much more for that genre than what people have seen today," Automaton's James Thompson told PC Gamer. "How much more we can do with the game world and the [Battle Royale] game mode as a whole."

Mavericks' Battle Royale mode is scheduled to launch in 2018, presumably for PC, but it is just one part of the game. The full game, described as an MMO that supports 1000 concurrent players in an "ultra-high fidelity world instance, is coming in 2019. 

"It is set in a huge, photoreal, and highly dynamic environment, with strong character progression, social hubs, intelligent mission systems and global-scale player-driven narrative," reads a line from the game's description.

Some kind of announcement about Mavericks is coming at the Game Developers Conference in March, and we will be sure to report back with more details then. A closed beta for Mavericks is coming, but there is no word yet about when it will start.

PUBG, which supports 100 players, popularised the Battle Royale movement and made it one of the most talked-about genres in gaming. It's no surprise to see other, similar games pop up with their own unique spin on the formula. Epic's Fortnite: Battle Royale has seen a lot of success, as the game recently surpassed 3.4 million concurrent players

New Xbox One Deal Drops The Price Of The System Nicely

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:12

Are you in the market for a new Xbox One S? If so, there are a few deals available now in the US and around the world and some coming up soon that you may want to consider.

Right now in the US, Microsoft is cutting $50 off the price of all Xbox One S bundles. This wicked-sweet deals drops the price of the console to $230, and this covers bundles that come with games such as Forza Horizon 3, Madden 18, and Minecraft, among others. This offer is available at a number of retailers, including big ones like Amazon and GameStop. You have to act relatively quickly, however, as the offer expires on March 3.

Additionally, Microsoft is launching the Xbox One S PUBG bundle, which includes a 500 GB system and a copy of the Battle Royale game for $300. This system goes on sale in the US and Canada on February 20, so there is not much longer to wait.

In other news, gamers in Canada can now save $60 CAD on 1 TB Xbox One S bundles

And in terms of Xbox One X deals, Microsoft has brought back to the deal where you get a free copy of PUBG when you buy an Xbox One X. This promotion runs through February 24 in the US, though it ends in other parts of the world on March 4. You will want to check with your local retailer for specifics around availability and timing.

Black Panther Sets New Box Office Record

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:42

Black Panther opened this past weekend, and it was a huge hit. The 18th Marvel Cinematic Universe film is expected to make around $218 million in the US and Canada for the four-day Presidents Day weekend, which is ahead of what analysts were expecting.

Black Panther's three-day US/Canadian haul of $192 million sets a new record for a film released in February. It surpasses Deadpool, the R-rated superhero movie that made $132.4 million in February 2016.

The film was directed by Ryan Coogler (Creed), and its opening-weekend box office haul represents a new record by a black director. Black Panther boasts a pretty-much-perfect A-plus CinemaScore rating (the first A-plus rating for a MCU film since Avengers 1 in 2012).

This CinemaScore rating, which is derived from movie-goer opinions, suggests the second-weekend box office performance will be strong as well on the back of positive word-of-mouth.

Black Panther, which stars Chadwick Boseman in the lead role, pulled in a further $169 million from international markets through Sunday, so it's a global success. The film reportedly cost $200 million to make. For more, check out GameSpot's review of Black Panther.

Below you can find a breakdown of the February 16-18 US/Canadian box office performance, with the four-day totals posted in parenthesis. Go to Entertainment Weekly to see a full and detailed breakdown of this weekend's domestic box office results.

  1. Black Panther — $192 million ($218 million through Monday)
  2. Peter Rabbit — $17.3 million ($22.1 through Monday)
  3. Fifty Shades Freed — $16.9 million ($18.9 through Monday)
  4. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle — $7.9 million ($10 million through Monday)
  5. The 15:17 to Paris — $7.7 million ($9 million through Monday)
  6. The Greatest Showman — $5.1 million ($6.3 million through Monday)
  7. Early Man — $3.2 million ($4.2 million through Monday)
  8. Maze Runner: The Death Cure — $2.5 million ($3 million through Monday)
  9. Winchester — $2.2 million ($2.7 million through Monday)
  10. Samson — $2 million ($2.3 million through Monday)

Rainbow Six Siege's Alien Outbreak Mode Is Completely Different To Traditional Siege

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 06:02

Rainbow Six Siege has changed significantly in the two-and-a-bit years since launch. The Operator number and map count have nearly doubled, strategies have evolved, and we no longer all sit in one room, terrified, waiting to be picked off by attackers. But we are essentially still shooting similar guns at similar enemies, just in different combinations. Operation Chimera's Outbreak event, however, is the first PvE update Siege has received since launch, and it is markedly different to anything the game has seen before.

Starting March 6, it's a one-month co-op event that sees you and two companions team up to fight an alien invasion in the New Mexico town of Truth or Consequences. Three missions are included--colloquially known as Junkyard, Hospital, and Resort--and you can pick from new Operators Lion and Finka as well as veterans Smoke, Ash, Doc, Glaz, Kapkan, Tachanka, Buck, Ying, and Recruit.

Outbreak feels distinct from traditional Siege gameplay, eschewing the usual attack/defend dynamic in favor of more explorative scenarios. In Hospital, for example, you must escort Doctor Macintosh around the veterans' wing of her hospital while simultaneously collecting samples, defending jammed doors, and escaping the building alive. Junkyard and Resort, on the other hand, see you safeguarding explosives as you attempt to destroy the visible signs--columns of miscellaneous alien matter--of the zombies' infestation.

This is as close to traditional Siege as Outbreak gets: you still barricade doors and reinforce walls--albeit with much faster animations to account for the increased number of enemies--and can lay Kapkan traps and claymores. It's here that Outbreak feels much like earlier Call of Duty games' Nazi Zombies maps. However these periods are brief: you usually only need to defend that position for a minute or two before moving on to the next objective.

During these movement phases, Outbreak feels a little more like Left 4 Dead. You're often outside in open-ended environments, frantically keeping an eye out for enemies if they haven't yet spotted you and unloading bullets if they have. You refill ammo, gadgets, and health before moving on to the next area, with Thermite providing instructions over comms and your three chosen Operators offering quips in response.

During movement phases, Outbreak feels a little like Left 4 Dead

Attempting to undo all your hard work are five types of enemy. There's the standard humanoid Grunt, who gets stronger when alerted to your presence. Breachers are hunched over with yellow pustules growing on their backs that explode when shot, hurting both you and nearby enemies, if positioned too close. Next are Rooters, who travel underground and burst onto terra firma to pin you to the floor. The Apex, meanwhile, is a more powerful opponent who hangs back, spitting smoke at you to blur your vision and summoning other enemies in the meantime. Rounding off the group is the Smasher, a gorilla-like figure who charges at you and can throw you meters across the map--get him to crash into a wall, however, and you can stab his exposed back to inflict heavy damage.

All this is wildly different to any other Rainbow Six Siege game mode. It's a far more colorful affair than PvP, with the zombified aliens wearing reds, yellows, and greens rarely seen in the base game's more drab color chart. The intensity curve also feels far flatter in Outbreak, with constant streams of alien enemies pouring towards you and constant barrage of bullets streaming out from you in response, rather than the long periods of inactivity followed by spikes of acute action we're used to. Finally, the PvE mode repurposes existing Operators to make them feel fresh again. Characters who rarely get picked become useful once more, so Outbreak serves as a welcome but rare chance to play as those you wouldn't dare pick in Ranked play. Tachanka's LMG takes care of swathes of zombies with ease, and no human enemy waiting to pick off downed allies means you actually have chance to use Doc's med gun, for example.

A lot of work has clearly gone into Outbreak

With varied enemy types and three extensive missions and maps, a lot of work has clearly gone into Outbreak, which makes its short life span a seemingly odd choice on Ubisoft's part. Once April 3 rolls around, the developer says you'll no longer be able to play its new mode. However, while I enjoyed the different flavor Outbreak brings to Siege, I can understand why it's not billed to be a permanent fixture. Despite only playing for around three hours, I was already sensing a slight lack of depth. Once you've finished one of the three missions, there's not a lot to do save for replaying it on the more difficult Pandemic setting, which makes enemies stronger and more plentiful. And once you've completed all three levels on that? You'd probably jump back into PvP.

Nevertheless, Outbreak represents a welcome change of pace for Rainbow Six Siege. I'm not sure it will hold my attention forever, but as a timed event, it's not exactly designed to do so. Until that point, I'll enjoy the sensation of popping a zombie head off rather than a human one, and of playing Tachanka. It always warms my heart to hear the Lord's LMG is mounted and loaded.

Multiple Rainbow Six Siege Operators Going Free Soon, Following Controversy

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 06:01

Rainbow Six Siege will soon be giving a number of its Operators away for free, Ubisoft has announced. Starting with the new season of DLC on March 3, all versions of the game except for the Starter Edition will include all 20 base Operators for no extra charge. In addition, all past and future weapon attachments will now be unlocked from the get-go, and the game's Starter Edition will now include six Operators rather than four, as was the case before.

Currently, players wanting to unlock more Operators are required to either spend in-game experience points, called Renown, or pay real-world money to purchase various season passes. Going forward, all 20 Operators included with the game at launch will be automatically unlocked, along with all weapon attachments. The move comes just weeks after Ubisoft announced it would be discontinuing Siege's Standard Edition in favor of a more expensive Advanced Edition, before reversing that decision based on fan feedback. The company says these new changes will ensure new players get more options from the beginning and a better experience when playing online.

Additionally, Ubisoft has unveiled more of its plans for Year 3. It's introducing a new PvP mode called Pick & Ban that allows each team to prevent their opponents from choosing two Operators of their choice for the entire match. The catch is your team is also banned from choosing those two Operators for the match, as well as the two your opponents choose to ban. Pick & Ban will be introduced as an option in Custom Games only at first, with the potential for a rollout in public matchmaking further down the line if things go smoothly.

Later in Year 3, a number of maps will be receiving updates, some of which are minor and some major. The smaller of these, called buffs, will change maps in subtle ways such as adding a room between Bedroom and Cash Room on Clubhouse. The first map to receive a larger rework will be Hereford, in Year 3 Season 3. It will keep the British theme but the map's layout will be completely changed and aesthetic very different to that of the current Hereford base.

Finally, Ubisoft has reaffirmed its aim to eventually reach 100 Rainbow Six Siege Operators. For more on the shooter, check out our look at how its new Operators will change the Siege meta and read more about the new Outbreak co-op mode.

First Dragon Ball FighterZ DLC Characters Revealed

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 05:43

On top of the 24 characters already available in Dragon Ball FighterZ, Bandai Namco is introducing an additional eight fighters to the roster post-launch as DLC. While the publisher has been quiet about who these characters will be, we've now gotten a look at the first two coming to the Dragon Ball fighting game, courtesy of Japanese magazine V-Jump (via Gematsu).

The first two DLC characters on the way to Dragon Ball FighterZ are the Legendary Super Saiyan Broly and Goku's father, Bardock. The former was one of the 15 DLC characters we wanted to see added to the game. According to Gematsu, Broly's special is Gigantic Meteor--an enormous energy ball that uses three Ki gauges. Bardock's special attack is called Revenger Assault; when activated, the warrior transforms into a Super Saiyan and delivers a rush attack.

Broly and Bardock are included in Dragon Ball FighterZ's season pass, along with the other six yet-to-be-revealed DLC characters coming to the fighting game. Bandai Namco hasn't announced individual pricing for the two fighters, but the season pass costs $35 USD / £29 / $52.95 AU.

Dragon Ball FighterZ is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Critic Peter Brown awarded the title a 9/10 in GameSpot's Dragon Ball FighterZ review and said, "Even if you think Dragon Ball is old hat, and even if you're intimidated by fighting games, there's a good chance you'll be drawn into the explosive action and personalities that expertly evoke the anime's infectious spirit."

If you're still new to the Dragon Ball fighting game, we've put together a guide of tips and everything you need to know about Dragon Ball FighterZ. We've also detailed how to find all the Dragon Balls and summon Shenron during a match, as well as how to unlock Android 21, Super Saiyan Blue Goku, and Super Saiyan Blue Vegeta.

New On Netflix This Week: FullMetal Alchemist Movie, Mute, And More

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 04:00

The last full week of February brings a bunch of new shows and movies to watch on Netflix. From talk shows to original movies to animate adaptations, there's more than enough to binge if you've got the time.

Likely the biggest addition of the week in the live-action movie adaptation of FullMetal Alchemist. The film, based on the popular anime, was released in Japan back in December. In lieu of a theatrical release in the United States, it will instead stream on Netflix.

Joining it are new seasons of Netflix originals Marseille, Seven Seconds, and Ugly Delicious. Additionally, February 18 will see the premiere of the streamer's new weekly talk show, The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale. Based on what's been revealed about the series thus far, it sounds like a hybrid of a traditional talk show and McHale's former E! series The Soup.

Rounding out the week is Mute, the new film from Moon and World of Warcraft director Duncan Jones. The sci-fi movie stars Alexander Skarsgard as a mute bartender searching for his missing girlfriend in the near-future. Joining Skarsgard on the project are Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, and Sam Rockwell.

You can take a look at what is coming to Netflix this week below. After that, go ahead and take a look everything added in February.

February 18

  • The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale (Netflix Original)

February 19

  • Dismissed
  • FullMetal Alchemist (Netflix Original)

February 20

  • Bates Motel: Season 5
  • The Frankenstein Chronicles: Season 1 and Season 2 (Netflix Original)

February 21

  • Forgotten (Netflix Original)
  • Lincoln
  • The Bachelors

February 22

  • Atomic Puppet: Season 1

February 23

  • Marseille: Season 2 (Netflix Original)
  • Mute (Netflix Original)
  • Seven Seconds: Season 1 (Netflix Original)
  • Ugly Delicious: Season 1 (Netflix Original)

February 24

  • Jeepers Creepers 3

System Shock: Remastered Delayed, Developer “On Hiatus"

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 02:52

Kickstarter crowdfunding has allowed plenty of die-hard game fans see their dreams come true, but also plenty of those dreams die. In the case of System Shock's remaster by Nightdive Studios, those dreams are now another step away from becoming reality.

Nightdive Studios' System Shock remaster was expected to release this year on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, but a recent update from the team says otherwise. The remaster has been delayed, again, and the development team is on hiatus.

On a Kickstarter post, Stephen Kick, CEO of Nightdive Studios, takes responsibility for a change of direction, which is why he decided to put the team on hiatus to "reassess" its vision for the game. Kick also makes it clear that the remaster is not being canceled. His update does not detail how long the team will be out, nor an expected release date.

"Maybe we were too successful," Kick's update states. "Maybe we lost our focus. The vision began to change. We moved from a remaster to a completely new game. We shifted engines from Unity to Unreal, a choice that we don't regret and one that has worked out for us. With the switch we began envisioning doing more, but straying from the core concepts of the original title."

"Please accept my personal assurance that we will be back and stronger than ever. System Shock is going to be completed and all of our promises fulfilled."

In 2016, Nightdive Studios created a Kickstarter campaign for a remaster of the 1994 game System Shock. The team released a trailer of their vision done in Unity beside the campaign, which gained over 21,600 backers and raised $1.3 million. A third System Shock game is also supposedly in development by ex-Looking Glass and BioShock developers.

Play Overwatch's Lunar New Year Event For Free Right Now

Sun, 02/18/2018 - 07:20

If you haven't had a chance to jump in on Blizzard's team shooter Overwatch, now might be the perfect time to do so. This weekend, Overwatch is free to play on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

To make the deal even sweeter, the base title and the game of the year edition are 50% off on Steam, the PlayStation Store, and Xbox. The sale also includes retail and will last until February 26.

Overwatch's Lunar New Year event, Year of the Dog, is currently underway until March 5. This year's event includes new skins, emotes, and more for the game's loot boxes, as well as changes to the Capture the Flag mode, a new competitive mode, and a new map called Ayutthaya.

To see all the changes for this year's event, check out the patch notes. In other Overwatch news, the title may be restricted in Hawaii as representatives are taking action against video games with "predatory" loot box practices and microtransactions. If team shooters aren't your cup of tea, make sure to check out these other free games available this weekend.

How Rainbow Six Siege's New Operators Change The Meta With Operation Chimera

Sun, 02/18/2018 - 06:59

Rainbow Six Siege's third year of DLC is about to kick off, introducing a new, limited-time co-op event and two new Operators. We'll have more on Outbreak--the elaborate co-operative missions set during an extraterrestrial invasion--soon, but for now, let's look at how Siege's new characters will change the way you play its traditional PvP mode.

Operation Chimera, as this first new season of content is called, introduces a new Russian Operator, Finka, and an additional French character, Lion. The former is essentially an attacking form of Doc: she comes equipped with a stim pen that applies a 20 HP boost to both herself and every teammate for 20 seconds, and it even revives any downed allies, wherever they are on the map. In addition, each of the three adrenal surges grants the team a movement and reload speed buff for the same period, as well as a reduction in recoil and resistance to stun effects. Be warned, however: the health boost--like Doc's--slowly depletes back to your normal HP level, and if you get hit while buffed to below 20 HP, you will be immediately downed when the buff ends.

Finka's gadget is clearly capable, but I fear it will--again, like Doc's--go underused. It takes considerable organization to be used to its fullest: it doesn't last long, so it's best triggered when you and a group of allies are about to breach and clear an objective room together. But these situations are infrequent, and despite some attempts to the contrary, Siege has since launch become more about individual talent than moments of coordination. And, like Doc's med pistol, it's rare you actually have chance to revive a fallen teammate before they get finished off; with Finka you stand more of a chance since you don't need to be next to the injured player. However, it's still unlikely you'll have time to activate your stim and come to your friend's aid, and even if you do, they won't have much health left once the temporary buff subsides.

Perhaps the gadget is Ubisoft's attempt to pull Siege back to its core of coordinated, timed attacks, and Finka will usher in a return to that style of offense as teams utilize her gadget's effects to storm a room together. On the other hand, it could encourage attackers to roam further away from their teammates, since they can be revived from across the map at the click of a button.

Regardless of how her gadget is received, Finka could be a popular choice thanks to her weapon. While she can pack the ASG-12 shotgun or 6P41 LMG, it's her Spear assault rifle which could propel her to similar high pickrates as Operation Blood Orchid's Ela. It has very little recoil and decent damage, and it's sure to be a go-to choice for those wanting to try out the Russian operative.

Lion--another two-speed, two-armor attacker--shakes things up in a rather more dramatic way. His gadget is the EE-One-D drone, and it can be used up to three times per round to scout out the positions of every moving member of the opposing team. Activating it not only supplies HUD markers showing you and your team which Operators opposing players have picked, along with their locations, but your squad will also see those players' exact outlines for four seconds. This let me pop a headshot through a wall on more than one occasion, and it proved a powerful tool in both racking up kills and discovering which areas of the map enemies were hiding.

The counter is that both teams receive a three second countdown after the drone is triggered but before its x-ray vision comes into effect. This allows the defending team a moment to stop what they're doing, lie still, and wait for the drone's scan to pass, meaning they'll remain undetected. On the other hand, this forces the defending team to stop what they're doing, lie still, and wait for the drone's scan to pass, so even if this happens and you don't get their outlines, you can still gain an advantage by exploiting their lack of movement. For example, three members of my team got wiped out by enemies who used Lion's ability immediately before Fuzing the objective room--the enemies already knew there would likely be at least one of us in that room, so Lion's ability was used purely to make them stay still while Fuze worked his explosive magic. If my teammates had tried to escape, the enemies would know exactly who had gone where.

Conversely, a poor Lion player could rely on the Frenchman's drone too much, assuming the coast is clear when no enemy is detected, when in fact one lies in wait around the next corner. The Operator's effects on the Siege meta are widespread: spawnpeeking is discouraged, since an early drone sweep will see you detected close to the enemy attack force or standing still in an open window, vulnerable to headshots. Roaming is also riskier, since Lion could take away your element of surprise and easily flank you. And, like Finka, Lion is useful during a final, last-minute push to the objective, when strategy goes out the broken-down barricade in favor of sheer panic. At this stage, defenders are more likely to be scrambling around, trying to cover multiple entry points, so a well-timed drone scan can be a massive advantage. Similarly, Finka's health boost and stun resistance is a huge help to any attacking team that doesn't have the precious seconds to check for Kapkan and Ela traps when dashing into the objective room, though her adrenaline does make every ally breathe faster and thereby take more damage from Smoke's beauties.

[Lion's] effects on the Siege meta are widespread ... spawnpeeking is discouraged [and] roaming is also riskier

For those thinking Lion is simply a better Dokkaebi, think again. Dokkaebi's phone hijack cannot be countered by simply keeping still, and Lion cannot hack into enemy cameras, so the Korean will still be required to help counter the increasing ubiquity of Valkyrie cams. The two are simply interesting twists on each other, and I feel at least one of those and Jackal are needed in any good attacking lineup to stop roamers from tearing an advancing attacking team apart.

When Operation Chimera launches on March 6, it will be another step towards countering roaming, pushing defending players back into the objective room just like how we all played on Siege's launch. It's interesting, then, that Ubisoft hasn't introduced another Operator to counter the current trap meta, especially after Twitch's recent nerf. Nevertheless, the two new Operators are worthy additions to Siege's roster, with Lion in particular serving as a major shakeup that I'm eager to see in the wild.

Pokemon Go's Next Community Day Further Detailed, Exclusive Move Revealed

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 11:37

Pokemon Go's second Community Day is quickly approaching, and like the inaugural event held last month, it'll give players a brief chance to capture a rare Pokemon with an exclusive move. Developer Niantic had previously revealed that the Pokemon in question this time will be Dratini, and now the studio has shared details about what its exclusive move will be and how players can learn it.

The rare Dragon Pokemon will spawn much more frequently for the duration of the Community Day. If players manage to evolve its evolution, Dragonair, into a Dragonite during the event, it'll learn the ultra-powerful Dragon-type move Draco Meteor. This applies to all Dragonair you own, even ones that were obtained prior to the Community Day. However, Dragonite will only learn Draco Meteor if it is evolved during the event hours, giving you a very brief window of time to get one with the exclusive attack.

The Community Day takes place worldwide on February 24 and runs for three hours, although the starting times will differ depending on your region. The event kicks off in the US at 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET, while Europe's Community Day begins at 10 AM GMT. In addition to the increased Dratini spawns, players will earn triple the normal amount of Stardust for any Pokemon they catch during the event, and Lure Modules will last for three hours.

Community Days are a new series of events that Niantic plans to hold once a month for Pokemon Go. Each event will feature a Pokemon that knows a move it cannot typically learn in the game. During the first Pokemon Go Community Day in January, players could find and catch a Pikachu that could use Surf, just like the one you get in the classic Pokemon Yellow version.

Before the next Community Day event begins, Pokemon Go players still have a chance to take part in the game's Lunar New Year event. From now until February 17, you'll earn triple Stardust for catching certain dog-like Pokemon such as Poochyena, Growlithe, Snubble, Eevee, or Electrike. Players can also encounter the latest Legendary Pokemon, Rayquaza, in Raid Battles until March 16.

This story has been updated.

New Xbox One X and S Deals Coming Up Soon

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 11:05

If you're in the market for an Xbox One, there are a couple of good deals coming soon. Microsoft is discounting the Xbox One S, and it's also bringing back the deal that threw in a copy of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds with the purchase of an Xbox One X.

In the United States, starting on February 18, you can grab any Xbox One S bundle for $50 off. This includes the new 1 TB PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds bundle that was recently released, bringing the cost down to $250 (originally $300). This deal runs through March 3. If you're in Canada, meanwhile, you can buy a 1 TB Xbox One S bundle for $60 CAD off from now until February 23.

If you would rather get the more powerful Xbox One X, you can get a free copy of PUBG with the console beginning on February 18 in the United States, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Latin America. The deal starts on February 20 in Australia, India, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

This isn't the only Xbox One X deal going on at other retailers right now. At Walmart, you can grab the console and Destiny 2, Star Wars: Battlefront II, and Grand Theft Auto V for $500. In other news, be sure to check out this week's Xbox One Deals With Gold and the new Games With Gold available now.

Action RPG Code Vein Will Have Dark Souls-Like Co-op On PS4, Xbox One, And PC

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 10:41

Bandai Namco's upcoming action-RPG Code Vein promises a distinct style, a dense world, and difficult combat--and , the publisher revealed that it'll also feature cooperative multiplayer. On Twitter, the company announced that you'll be able to explore the vampire-themed world and tackle its difficult enemies with friends. From the description, it sounds like it'll operate similarly to Dark Souls' co-op functionality.

As you explore and attempt to complete dungeons alongside an NPC companion, you can send out a distress signal to summon a different player. As Gematsu reported, this player will have to fulfill "certain conditions," although it's unclear what these conditions will be.

This player will appear alone and can help you clear a dungeon, and then they can stay with you as a party member. They'll also be affected by your NPC's special perks, called Gifts. Bandai Namco also released a few new screenshots for the game, which you can see above.

Code Vein is scheduled to launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in early 2018. It's in development with the team that made the God Eater series, and it won't have an easier difficulty setting; instead, you can change your stats freely throughout the game.

Nintendo Switch Game Sale: Eshop Deals From Now Until Feb. 22

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 08:59

A bunch of new titles arrived on Switch this week, including Platinum's critically acclaimed action game Bayonetta 2. If you're still looking for something new to play on the console, however, a new batch of deals are also now available on the Eshop, and they include discounts on some good games.

Just as in the PlayStation and Xbox Stores, 2K's latest basketball game, NBA 2K18, is on sale in the Eshop this week. From now until February 20, you can download the standard version for $39, while the Legends and Legends Gold Editions run for $50 and $82.49, respectively. Additionally, Capcom has discounted both Resident Evil Revelations titles for a limited time. Each game can be downloaded for $14 until February 21.

In addition to those titles, Switch owners can find a number of other ongoing deals that are available until next week and beyond. Axiom Verge is $14, Battle Chef Brigade is $18, Retro City Rampage DX is $10, Robonauts is $12, Semispheres is $7, Inversus Deluxe is $12.74, The Jackbox Party Pack 4 is $20, Lichtspeer is $7, Forma.8 is $6, Superbeat: Xonic is $30, Tales of the Tiny Planet is $12, Wheels of Aurelia is $6, and Puzzle Box Maker is $12. You can find the full list of all ongoing sales in the Eshop this month and when they expire below.

This week was an especially busy one for Switch, with 18 games arriving to the Eshop over the past several days. Along with the aforementioned Bayonetta 2, the original Bayonetta is also now available digitally for the hybrid console. A download code for the first game is included in physical copies of Bayonetta 2, but those who purchase either Bayonetta in the Eshop will get an automatic discount on the other one.

Other notable games out for Switch this week include Fe, Owlboy, and The Longest Five Minutes, as well as the second DLC pack for Fire Emblem Warriors. You can find the full list of this week's Switch releases here.

Nintendo Switch Eshop Game Sale

Expiring February 17

  • Tumblestone -- $6

Expiring February 19

  • Astro Bears Party -- $4
  • Axiom Verge -- $14
  • Battle Chef Brigade -- $18
  • Brawl -- $7
  • Energy Cycle -- $2.39
  • Grand Prix Rock n' Racing -- $6.39
  • Robonauts -- $12
  • Semispheres -- $7

Expiring February 20

  • NBA 2K18 -- $39
  • NBA 2K18 Legends Edition -- $50
  • NBA 2K18 Legends Gold Edition -- $82.49

Expiring February 21

  • Jydge -- $10.49
  • Resident Evil Revelations -- $14
  • Resident Evil Revelations 2 -- $14

Expiring February 22

  • Bleed -- $11.24
  • Butcher -- $7
  • Farming Simulator -- $37.49
  • Inversus Deluxe -- $12.74
  • Jackbox Party Pack 4 -- $20
  • Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition -- $7
  • Retro City Rampage DX -- $10
  • Superbeat: Xonic -- $30
  • Tales of the Tiny Planet -- $12

Expiring February 26

  • Cartoon Network: Battle Crashers -- $25
  • Monster Jam Crush It -- $25
  • Puzzle Box Maker -- $12

Expiring February 28

  • Forma.8 -- $6
  • Wheels of Aurelia -- $6

You'll Want An Overwatch Fighting Game After Watching This Impressive Fan Video

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 08:24

Overwatch marked Blizzard's first attempt at making a first-person shooter, and given its continued success, it's fair to say it turned out pretty well. Some fans may hope the developer tries its hand at a spin-off fighting game next, thanks to a new video.

Created by YouTube channel TGN, the video below imagines what Overwatch would be like as a 2D fighting game. It initially pits Reinhardt versus Zarya as the two use their actual Overwatch abilities in the context of a one-on-one fight on the Volskaya Industries map. At one point, we even get a stage transition, as Reinhardt's Charge ability is used to drive Zarya out of one area, through a wall, and into another portion of the map.

A second match sees Genji and Doomfist throw down on Numbani. All of this is accompanied by a fighting game-style HUD, complete with health bars, damage indicators, and special meters. There are even transitions from round to round, and it's all capped off with a bonus stage a la Street Fighter where Doomfist beats the hell out of an inanimate object.

Unfortunately, this is all merely a video, not a playable mod. On the bright side, there's a lot of new stuff in Overwatch right now to check out--including Year of the Dog skins--courtesy of the ongoing Lunar New Year event. If you don't own the game, Overwatch is playable for free on PC, PS4, and Xbox One right now--and is only one of several games you can try out without paying this weekend.

Hidden Gems: 5 Games To Be Excited For In 2018

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 07:43

Even with something like Anthem being delayed out of 2018, this year still has a ton of big-name games coming--Red Dead Redemption 2, Far Cry 5, a new Battlefield, and perhaps Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. But there are countless other, lesser-known games that are plenty deserving of your attention, too.

In the video above, we've highlighted five such games. One of these, Celeste, is actually already available; the stellar platformer is out now on Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It's well worth a look--as our Celeste review states, "[Madeline's] tale is delicately told and beautifully illustrated, confidently coalescing with the satisfying, empowering game it lies within. Not bad for a game about climbing a mountain."

Looking further ahead this year, games like Donut County, Way of the Passive Fist, Wattam, and The Gardens Between look like exciting releases. We've spent time with each of these previously, and the video above dives into what makes each of them notable. If that's not enough, we have an even more extensive rundown on the biggest hidden gems of 2018, which covers a wide variety of genres and styles.

To get a look at the bigger games releasing this year, we have roundups of the most anticipated PS4 games, Xbox One games, PC games, and Switch games. We've also broken down lists for all the Xbox One exclusives, PS4 exclusives, PC exclusives, and Switch exclusives.