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FF7 Remake: Intergrade Preorders Are Live Now

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 10:25

Final Fantasy VII Remake: Intergrade comes to PS5 on June 10, and if you want to snag the game ahead of launch, so you're ready to jump in as soon as it releases, there are a number of ways to do so. The PS4 version comes with a free next-gen upgrade, though you won't get the bonus episode that stars the ninja, Yuffie--that will cost extra for those that upgrade.

Deal: FF7 Remake

$30 (was $60) | Includes free PS5 upgrade

See at Amazon

If you don't already own Final Fantasy VII Remake on PS4, then you can snag it right now for $30 at Amazon or Walmart. That'll get you the 60fps PS5 version that features improved textures and a higher resolution when it releases in June. However, if you want to hold off and wait for the PS5 version, there are two different editions to choose from.

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Blackfire's Titans Season 3 Costume Revealed By HBO Max

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 10:17

We still don't know exactly when Titans will return for Season 3 on HBO Max. However, the TV series adaptation of the DC Comics title of the same name has a lot on tap for its characters--and a slew of new superhero and supervillain costumes to put to use.

Previously, we've gotten new costumes for both Kory Anders/Starfire (Anna Diop) and Jason Todd's (Curran Walters) new alter ego, Red Hood. Now, HBO Max has revealed the first look at Blackfire in her super suit. The character, played by Damaris Lewis, was first introduced at the end of Season 2 as Kory's sister. She came to Earth to hunt down her sister and return her to their homeworld of Tamaran.

The new costume was created by costume designer Laura Jean Shannon, and Lewis is the first person to portray the Blackfire character in a live-action TV show or movie.

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Two New Final Fantasy 7 Games Revealed: Ever Crisis And The First Soldier

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 10:08

Two new Final Fantasy 7-related games have been revealed: Ever Crisis and The First Soldier, both of which are mobile games. Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade took the spotlight during the recent State of Play, showing off new story content starring Yuffie and flexing the free PS5 upgrade features, but these new mobile games seem to be some wild twists to the FF7 universe in their own right.

Ever Crisis is a...remake of the original Final Fantasy 7 along with reimaginings of Crisis Core, Before Crisis, Dirge of Cerberus, and Advent Children. It follows the same timeline in a chapter structure, but with an all-new graphical style and visual stylings that bridge the game between the original game and FF7 Remake's flair--a demake of a remake, if you will. It's coming to iOS and Android platforms sometime in 2022.

The second mobile game we're presenting today is @FinalFantasy VII Ever Crisis.
It's a chapter-structured single player game covering the whole of the FFVII timeline - including the events of the original game and the FFVII compilation titles.

— FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE (@finalfantasyvii) February 25, 2021

The other game coming to the Final Fantasy 7 universe is called The First Soldier. It's a multiplayer battle royale game that fuses third-person shooter elements with some of the action-based combat and RPG elements of FF7 Remake. It's also coming to iOS and Android later this year.

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PS5's Returnal Aims To Capture The Horror Of Being Trapped In A Time Loop

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 10:00

Housemarque's Returnal is a new roguelike that leans into the developer's pedigree for arcade-style shooters, yet it also has something to say about the effects of being trapped in isolation and in a perpetual cycle. Following an emergency landing on the planet Atropos, the game's protagonist Selene finds herself stranded on a planet filled with ancient ruins and hostile monsters. After meeting her seemingly inevitable end, she re-awakens shortly after the crash, retaining memories of her past attempt at survival. Selene is forced to relive the day again and again until she can uncover why she's trapped in a time loop, and why the strange world seems to have a growing attachment to its new visitor.

Ahead of its April 30 launch, I had the chance to view an extended preview of the game in action and also spoke with game director Harry Krueger and narrative director Gregory Louden about Returnal's scope. During the preview, I noticed that Returnal adds a Metroid-style sense of action and exploration to its time-looping roguelike structure. I was surprised to see that the game uses its conceit to showcase Selene's unsettling descent into a mysterious, sentient world that always seems to be two steps ahead of her.

Enter The Void

The roguelike sub-genre has seen a significant surge in recent years, and 2020's Hades was a breakthrough that demonstrated that a meaningful and poignant story with a personable cast of characters can have an impact within a structure that is inherently random. Returnal operates in the same territory as Hades, and with each run, Selene not only expands her powers and knowledge of the planet Atropos, but it in turn reveals more about the protagonist's past, even forcing her to confront visions and constructs that evoke memories of what she left behind before her arrival.

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Xbox Live Is Down, Impacting CoD: Cold War Season 2's Launch

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 09:51

A major outage is impacting certain aspects of Xbox Live, preventing users from signing in. That is effectively locking people out of content and the ability to play games online--which is unfortunate timing with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Season 2 having just launched today.

Microsoft has already acknowledged the problem, with the Xbox Live status page highlighting an outage to multiple aspects of the service. On Twitter, it also provided an update, saying it's investigating the issue:

We are aware that users may not be able to sign-in to Xbox Live at this time. Our teams are currently investigating to fix this issue. We will update here and on when we have more information to share!

— Xbox Support (@XboxSupport) February 25, 2021

A subsequent update noted that party chat and the ability to purchase content are also impacted, so there are a variety of Xbox Live-centric services that aren't working correctly. There's no word on exactly when things will get back to normal, although the status page does suggest a fix could be near.

Deal: FF7 Remake Is $30 At Amazon With Free PS5 Upgrade On The Way

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 09:44

Square Enix just revealed Final Fantasy VII Remake: Intergrade for PS5, and if you want to get in on the free next-gen upgrade, you can snag the PS4 version of Final Fantasy VII Remake for $30 at Amazon and Walmart. It will upgrade to the 60fps PS5 version for free when it releases on June 10, though you will have to pay extra for the bonus episode that features fan-favourite Yuffie as a playable character. In addition to the improved frame rate and resolution, the PS5 version will also feature a photo mode, new difficulty setting, and quality-of-life improvements.

Deal: FF7 Remake

$30 (was $60) | Includes free PS5 upgrade

See at Amazon

While the PS5 version sounds exciting, the last-gen version of Final Fantasy VII Remake is still a great game. It was named one of GameSpot's best games of 2020 and received a rare 10/10 in our Final Fantasy VII Remake review.

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Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade Stars Yuffie In New Story Content; Free PS5 Upgrade Included

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 09:32

State of Play came through with the reveal of new content for Final Fantasy 7 Remake. This includes new story scenarios to introduce Yuffie and new character Sonon in what's called Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade. PS5 owners will also get options for visual and performance improvements like higher resolution, better textures, visual effects, and 60fps gameplay. A few other features will be added to the game as well, such as a photo mode and new difficulty setting.

The update and story content both launch on June 10--the next-gen upgrade will be free for all owners of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, but the Intergrade story content must be purchased separately after upgrading to the PS5 version.

Story And Gameplay Of Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade

In a surprise reveal, the original Final Fantasy 7 character Yuffie will be making her Remake debut in new story content called Intergrade. She arrives in Midgar and teams up with another character named Sonon. They seem to have a close sibling-like relationship and will be in a party together as you play through brand-new scenarios within Midgar.

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Kena: Bridge Of Spirits Will Launch On PS5, PS4 This August

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 09:28

PlayStation revealed a new trailer for Kena: Bridge of Spirits during February 2021's State of Play. The trailer reveals that the upcoming PlayStation console exclusive will launch August 24 on both PS5 and PS4.

In the trailer, we get a closer look at the story in Kena: Bridge of Spirits, as well as how the titular Kena will utilize the cute Rot in both combat and platforming challenges. Those little black creatures may be adorable, but when Kena has a lot of them together, they sure can pack a punch.

Interestingly enough, we see Kena don a mask in the trailer as well--developer Ember Lab made their mark with a fan film of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, a video game all about using masks to gain additional abilities.

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PS5's Oddworld Soulstorm Will Be Free On PS Plus When It Releases In April

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 09:24

Oddworld: Soulstorm launches for PS4 and PS5 on April 6, Sony revealed during its February 2021 State of Play presentation. What's more, Sony confirmed the game will be free for PlayStation Plus subscribers when it releases in April.

Soulstorm is a remake of the second installment in the Oddworld franchise, Abe's Exoddus, which first released back in 1998. Like the original, the game is a side-scroller that pits players in the role of the titular Abe, who can save more than 1,000 allies during the course of the adventure. Abe will also be able to scavenge, loot, and pickpocket items from enemies, as well as take control of them via possession and turn their strengths against them.

According to game director Lorne Lanning, your actions in Soulstorm will ultimately determine the fate of Abe and all of the allies you rescued during the game. Soulstorm will also make use of the PS5 DualSense's haptic feedback, allowing you to feel Abe's heartbeat.

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Deathloop Gets Stylish New Trailer At State Of Play

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 09:22

Sony showed off a new trailer for the PS5-exclusive shooter Deathloop during its State of Play, and it was nothing if not stylish. The new trailer interspersed combat footage with a Bond-like animation sequence set to a smoky ballad.

And fitting with the Bond vibes, we saw some impressive tech gadgets at play too. You can cloak to look like someone else, turn invisible near enemies, or use phase out similar to Dishonored's Blink ability.

Deathloop is coming to PS5 and PC on May 21.

Absolver Dev's New Game Revealed During State Of Play; Coming 2021

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 09:19

During February 2021's State of Play, PlayStation revealed a new trailer for Sifu, an upcoming game from developer Sloclap. Sifu is set to come to PS5 later in 2021.

The game seems to be a combo-focused action game in which "dying" only ages the protagonist. Throughout the trailer, we see them grow older and older, becoming an old man by the end. The cinematics seen in the trailer were captured on PC, but Sifu is also coming to PS5 and PS4.

Previously, Sloclap developed Absolver, a combat-heavy game set in an online world. Absolver was first released in 2017; in GameSpot's Absolver review, critic Richard Wakeling gave the game an 8/10 and said: "There's a significant challenge involved in learning Absolver's combat intricacies, but it's the kind of struggle that rarely frustrates. Defeat is part and parcel of the experience, but your demise always teaches you something new that you can take with you into the next battle--and Absolver's deep, nuanced combat always finds ways of enticing you back for one more fight."

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Five Nights At Freddy's: Security Breach PS5 Gameplay Revealed

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 09:14

During its February 2021 State of Play presentation, Sony debuted a new trailer for Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach, which is coming to PS4 and PS5 in 2021. The creepy trailer gave a better look at the colorful environments and what appear to be new mechanics coming to the series.

The trailer showed the player interacting with environments like a colorful ball pit inside the indoor amusement park that is the hallmark of the FNAF series. The trailer showed the player-character going behind the scenes through hallways with pipes and other backstage equipment, and a companion voice warned that the enemies will never stop hunting you. The trailer ended with a suitably creepy clawed monster coming straight at you.

The most recent Five Nights at Freddy's game, Help Wanted, was also revealed during a State of Play presentation. That game was originally released only in VR before a non-VR version came to PC and PS4 at the end of 2019.

Hyper Light Drifter Studio Gives Us Closer Look At Solar Ash Gameplay

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 09:00

One of the many games showcased during PlayStation's State of Play was Solar Ash, the follow up from Heart Machine, the creators of Hyper Light Drifter. We got a closer look at its gameplay which emphasized its movement system and combat, as well as a bit of insight into the premise.

Creator Alx Preston said that the game focuses on speed and fluidity with some platforming elements. The main character, Ray, glides across the environment as if she's skating across the colorful lo-fi world, and uses a grappling hook for platforming elements. Combat is also simple, but challenges do ramp up throughout the game.

Solar Ash is set to launch sometime this year for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. For more on the recent reveals, be sure to catch our State of Play recap.

Baldur's Gate 3's Patch 4 Is Now Live, Adds Druid Class And Whole Lot More

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 06:37

Developer Larian Studios has released Patch 4 for Baldur's Gate 3, which is still in early access. Patch 4 is the largest update for Baldur's Gate 3 to date, adding the Druids class, a loaded dice feature, quality-of-life adjustments, and more.

Patch 4 is live across all platforms, so you can dive into the new content whether you're playing via Steam, GOG, or Google Stadia. From here on out, Larian Studios plans to release smaller patches as Baldur's Gate 3 approaches official release out of early access.

"Good news for your computers: In the future you can expect our patches to be smaller in download and install size, regardless of how hefty they may be," Larian Studios writes in the full patch notes. "The short version is, we've split large pak files into smaller chunks."

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Sony Is Winding Down Its Oldest First-Party PlayStation Developer, Japan Studio - Report

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 06:14

Sony Japan Studio is winding down, according to a report from VGC. The studio that made Ape Escape, Knack, and Gravity Rush did not renew the contracts for a "vast majority" of its developers for the next financial year, which starts April 1, the report said.

The site reported that Japan Studio's localization and business staff are staying on board, while the Asobi Team--which made the Astro Bot games--will exist within Sony Japan as a standalone studio. Some affected Japan Studio developers will take new positions at Asobi and others are joining former Japan Studio employee and Gravity Rush director Keiichiro Toyama's new Bokeh studio.

The decision to wind down Japan Studio reportedly came down to money. Simply put, the studio wasn't profitable enough over recent years, the report said. Another reported reason was that PlayStation is now centralizing power to its US headquarters and away from Japan. The site also backed up a Bloomberg report from November 2020 that claimed PlayStation's studios in Japan were being "sidelined."

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South Park Releases Vaccination Special Promo

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 06:13

South Park has released a quick 15-second promo video for its upcoming hour-long Vaccination Special, which will be premiering on Comedy Central on March 10 at 8 PM ET/7 PM CT. The special, which is a standalone episode that is not part of the still unannounced Season 24, will serve as a bookending counterpart to last year's Pandemic Special. Check out the clip below.

As you can see in the video above, the long-running show is now calling itself South ParQ. Why? The episode's official logline reads: "The citizens of South ParQ are clamoring for the COVID-19 vaccine. A hilarious new militant group tries to stop the boys from getting their teacher vaccinated." That "hilarious new militant group" will, most likely, resemble the much-discussed conspiracy group QAnon, sometimes referred to only as "Q."

South Park tends to be at its best when there are major events in the news ripe for satire--and even though the Pandemic Special only aired in September, there's been no shortage of emerging and twisted topics for the show to tackle.

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Diablo 3 PTR 2.7.0 Patch Tests Changes To Follower System, Class Sets

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 05:43

Diablo 3's Public Test Realm (PTR) is rolling out its 2.7.0 patch, which will introduce a bunch of new balance changes and features ahead of their implementation on the regular live servers. If you're in the PTR you can begin trying them out today, and content updates will be phasing in over the next two weeks.

According to the Diablo blog, Blizzard is specifically looking for feedback on a few key areas: the new Follower System revamp, the Greater Rift solo leaderboard, and class sets including the Wizard's Firebird Finery, Necromancer's Bones of Rathma, Demon Hunter's Gears of Dreadlands, and Witch Doctor's Gazing Demise. As usual, Blizzard recommends focusing your attention on the class you're most familiar with so you can give the most informed feedback.

To help you along, the PTR will introduce three unique buffs. Playing during this testing period will net you an increased Legendary drop rate, increased experience gains, and double Blood Shard drops. There's also an exclusive PTR vendor to trade those Blood Shards for Legendary loot.

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Twitter Announces New Paid Super Follows Feature

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 05:42

Twitter has announced two new features coming to the platform sometime in the future that gives users more ways to earn income as well as a space to connect with like-minded people.

Super Follows is a paid feature that lets Twitter users charge their followers for access to additonal content. While it's unclear what price users can set, a mockup Twitter used showed someone charging $4.99 for extra perks like bonus tweets, community group invitations, newsletter subscriptions, and a badge of support. It's like Patreon, Twitch, or Substack in that it's a direct payment tool for users to financially support their favorite Twitter personalities.

A mockup of what Twitter's new Super Follows feature might look like.

In addition to Super Follows, Twitter also unveiled Communities, the bird app's rendition of Facebook Groups. Much like groups on Facebook, Twitter users will soon be able to join communities that are focused around one specific topic. Once in a community, users will see tweets geared toward that topic rather than the gluttony of tweets that flood the timeline.

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Bungie Ends Destiny 2 "Gunsetting," Plans To Research Loot Structure Changes

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 05:39

Bungie is doing away with a system that makes Destiny 2 loot obsolete after a certain amount of time, a controversial feature added with the Beyond Light expansion to keep players engaged in chasing new guns and armor.

The announcement came in a new blog post in which Bungie outlined a number of changes to its loot and Power grind. The "Infusion caps" feature (known in the player community as "gunsetting"), in which weapons and armor can only have their Power level raised to a certain number (and therefore eventually become too weak to handle later-game content). Bungie said the system "made our rewards feel like they have an expiration date and have frequently made playing our legacy content feel shallow."

Gunsetting isn't going away entirely--older weapons that have already become obsolete under the system, including player favorites like The Mountaintop and Luna's Howl, will remain capped. But all weapons players have that can be brought up to the game's current maximum Power level will retain that capability. In other words, if you've got a maxed out weapon right now, it'll never hit an Infusion cap, and you'll be able to continue raising its Power level through the release of Witch Queen and beyond. Essentially, any guns earned since the release of Beyond Light can be saved in your collection indefinitely.

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BioWare Cuts Multiplayer From Dragon Age 4, Report Says

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 05:39

BioWare is back in the news again, as Bloomberg is reporting that Electronic Arts has decided to make a major change to Dragon Age 4. The report says developers on the game have been given the go-ahead to remove "all planned multiplayer components" of the RPG and make it a single-player only game.

Dragon Age 4 will now be a purely single-player game, the site reported. The decision to cut Dragon Age 4's reported multiplayer features came from two main points, apparently.

One was that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, a single-player game, was a huge success with more than 10 million copies sold at launch. The other vector that reportedly drove the decision was that BioWare's multiplayer game Anthem struggled to find an audience. Just this week, BioWare announced that is had abandoned its "Anthem Next" plans to revitalize the game and would instead move on to other projects (though the servers are staying online).

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