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Updated: 3 hours 1 min ago

How Apex Legends Does More Than Just Pay Lip Service To Its Diverse Roster

3 hours 31 min ago

Respawn Entertainment's free-to-play battle royale, Apex Legends, has always stood out from the crowd. Compared to other hero shooters and battle royales, Apex Legends' fluid movement mechanics and powerful hero abilities make for a game which appeals to a large audience. But what truly makes Apex Legends stand out in an ever-growing sea of battle royale games is the level of care the narrative team puts into writing and creating the game's characters. While plenty of games have characters with interesting backstories, very few live-service shooters features as detailed a lore, with individual stories that curate believable and organic characters.

Every legend is unique--each of them has highly detailed backstories, motives, desires, and pet peeves. Respawn further develops its characters by introducing relationships between the legends themselves. Some of these relationships are romantic, while others are platonic, but the ever-evolving state of each character's interpersonal relationships gives the legends an added layer of depth, with in-game voice lines that change from season to season based on plot developments from previous seasons.

From day one, Respawn has made it quite clear that it values diversity and inclusivity, and seeks to foster a similarly diverse, inclusive community among its playerbase. The game launched with an openly gay character (Gibraltar) and a nonbinary character (Bloodhound). As the game evolved, so did the roster, with later seasons introducing LGBTQ+ characters Loba, Fuse, Valkyrie, and Seer.

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Nintendo Switch's Demos Are Miles Ahead Of PlayStation and Xbox

3 hours 51 min ago

With another Nintendo Direct (albeit a miniature one) behind us, Nintendo has released another demo for another highly anticipated game just before its launch, this time for the remake of cult-classic JRPG Live A Live. It's a pattern that the company has established over the years and only improved over time, with many demos now featuring the ability to transfer progress over to the full games once they launch, usually weeks later. It's a free service leveraged powerfully for Nintendo's exclusives--and one that stands in stark contrast to the almost non-existent counterparts offered on Sony and Microsoft's hardware.

While both Microsoft and Sony have recently warmed up again to the idea of game demos in some form, their approaches are far from that of Nintendo. Sony, for example, is kicking off several time-limited game trials for some of its exclusives, with Horizon Forbidden West being one of the first games supported. Like with some of the offered Nintendo games, you'll be able to carry over your Horizon progress should you want to dive into the full game, too.

The catch, however, is that the Horizon game trial isn't free--instead, it's offered as a bonus for subscribers to PlayStation Plus, and only to those currently paying for the service's highest membership tier. It seems misguided to offer trials solely to customers who are already so deeply invested in the ecosystem rather than a broader group of potential new customers. That's especially true considering Sony's decision to not immediately add new exclusives to these PS Plus tiers as soon as they launch.

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From Software 30 FPS Stutter Finally Fixed, But Only On Hacked PS4s

4 hours 15 min ago

As you may or may not know, From Software games on the Xbox One and Playstation 4 suffer from a similar problem: apparent frame rate stuttering. The effect is inconsistent, and only negligibly affects play, but is noticeable across titles on the Playstation 4, from Bloodborne to Elden Ring.

In a new Digital Foundry video, Rich Leadbetter discusses a new series of patches for From Software games on PS4. However, these patches can only be implemented on hacked PS4s and are not an official From Software fix.

The reason for the stuttering effect, is that some frames are delivered slightly slower or faster than the standard rate of 33 milliseconds. That difference in delivery appears to the eye as a stutter, even though the game is technically displaying at 30 fps.

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Latest Apex Patch Fixes Loba, But Breaks Legend Abilities

4 hours 15 min ago

Respawn Entertainment released a massive update for Apex Legends this week, but it appears the patch may have caused more problems than it solved.

The patch--which was released with no patch notes beyond a vague mention of "stability improvements"--appears to have fixed the issues with Loba's tactical, which had been broken for nearly 50 days. The latest update was likely also intended to address the input lag issue that had been plaguing Xbox players since the 13.1 patch was released last week.

While we can confirm that Loba's bracelet now appears to be functioning as intended, many players are claiming that input lag issues persist. Additionally, the party chat issues that Xbox users have been experiencing for over three months do not appear to have been resolved by the latest update. Even worse, new bugs are beginning to pop up--including one that breaks the players inventory and prevents them from using legend abilities after crafting at a Replicator.

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Final Fantasy 14's August Patch Adds Island Sanctuary

4 hours 27 min ago

Final Fantasy XIV's Patch 6.2 will drop in late August and will include the highly anticipated Island Sanctuary feature. In a new live letter, the FFXIV devs revealed more about what activities players can expect.

Island Sanctuary is like a mini-farming sim within FFXIV. Players can create buildings, take care of creatures, and grow crops--all without having to level up gathering and crafting classes.

These areas will essentially act as a "base of operations" that players can create and customize. Players can also collect materials on the island and create tools. These tools will help players grow and cultivate crops on the island that are different from estate crops--plants you can grow if you own a house in-game. Materials will also be limited to the island and reside in a separate inventory space.

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Here's What's In The $5,000 Drink On The Disney Cruise

4 hours 47 min ago

On the Disney Wish cruise line, patrons can soak up the sun, visit with their favorite Disney characters, and purchase an alcoholic drink that costs $5,000, called the Kaiburr Crystal. That's not a typo. It's a drink that costs $5K. Luckily we know what's inside.

During GameSpot's Chris E. Hayner's trip on the Disney Wish, he found that the drink existed on the menu; however, no one would explain what the heck was in it or what would make is cost that much money.

I spoke to an imagineer and a bartender at the Hyperspace Lounge on the #DisneyWish and they would not say what’s in the $5000 drink or even admit it exists (it’s literally on the menu). So best of luck buying whatever it is. #starwars

— Chris E. Hayner (@ChrisHayner) July 1, 2022

Eventually, after speaking with another bartender on the cruise, we found out what is inside the Kaiburr Crystal. And there's more to it than the drink itself. Served in a camtano--the ice cream maker-looking machine featured most recently in the possession of The Client (Werner Herzog)--the presentation is just as important as the drink itself.

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Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Perks Available In July 2022

5 hours 3 min ago

In addition to offering access to a library of games across console, PC, and the cloud, Pass Ultimate also offers plenty of additional perks for subscribers. These include discounts and free items within the service, as well as through third-party applications like Discord.

Best of all, this perks have no additional cost. However, not every perk lasts forever and new things are added fairly regularly, so your time to claim them is limited. Check in on your Xbox console, Xbox Mobile App, or even the PC Xbox App to see what is offered. Once you've claimed it, be sure to check in on the relevant game or service to see if your items are there.

Here are all the perks available to claim as of July 1, 2022

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Baldur's Gate 3's Next Early Access Update Is Coming Soon, Will Increase RPG's Size To 104 GB

5 hours 10 min ago

Baldur's Gate 3 is set to get another major content update, Patch 8, prior to leaving early access. Patch 8 looks to be a fairly substantial update, nearly doubling the size of Larian Studios' upcoming RPG.

"Patch 8 is drawing near, and it's going to be roughly 40 GB (so make sure you have space free!), bringing the total install size for Baldur's Gate 3 to approximately 104 GB," Larian Studios writes in a Steam blog post. "As with our previous patches, saves made on Patch 7 or prior will no longer be compatible when updated."

Larian Studios is also using Patch 8 to do a little "digital house-cleaning," as the update will remove the ability to download Patches 1-5. "Patches 6 and 7 will remain available for download, but we encourage all players to update to the most recent version of the game in order to get the latest fixes and content updates," the studio writes.

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WoW: Dragonflight Talent Trees Will Allow For "Very Bad Builds"

5 hours 27 min ago

When World of Warcraft's Dragonflight expansion ushers in a significant rework of the game's current talent system later this year, it will do so with the goal of putting players in control, even if that means letting players make "bad" builds.

Blizzard has outlined its goals and philosophy behind the new talent tree system in a new blog post, giving players of the long-running MMORPG more details on what to expect come the arrival of Dragonflight. Certain core abilities, like basic class-defining combat abilities, non-combat related abilities, and group buffs or spells, will be obtained by each class prior to level 10 without needing to invest any talent points.

As for the rest of a class's toolkit, players will need to select them via the game's talent trees, which are reminiscent of the talent trees from the early days of the MMO. One talent tree will be for the class as a whole, while another will be for a chosen specialization for that class. Players will earn their first class tree point at level 10 and their first specialization point at level 11, after which points for each tree will alternate with each level gained. At level 70, players will have 31 class points and 30 specialization points.

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Stranger Things Season 4 Ending Explained

6 hours 13 sec ago

On July 1, Volume 2 of Stranger Things Season 4 was released. While it was only two episodes long, it clocked in at four hours, with the finale coming in at nearly two and a half hours. A lot happened towards the end, and it may be a bit tough to piece together everything that happened. Don't worry, we're here to explain it all.

Warning: Spoilers for the end of Season 4 of Stranger Things below.

Chrissy, this is for you: Stranger Things 4 Vol 2. is now streaming! pic.twitter.com/HDLEpFaL9w

— Netflix (@netflix) July 1, 2022

While Volume 1 wrapped up with an expositional drop about who Vecna is and was, the season finale explains a little bit more about the character and the creation of the Upside Down to what we know it as today.

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Some Halo Infinite Fans Think Co-Op's 1000-Foot Restriction Isn't Far Enough

6 hours 4 min ago

Online co-op is finally coming to Halo Infinite via a test flight this month, and some fans are upset that they'll have to be within 1000 feet of their friends while playing the campaign.

343 recently announced that it would begin an early test on July 15 and shared more news on how the co-op would work in Halo Infinite. To keep the game from breaking, it created an "Area-Of-Operations," limiting how far players can move from another in-game. "If you stray too far from your Fireteam, you will get a warning to return to the team. If you ignore that warning and continue, you will be killed for going AWOL and be spawned back on your nearest teammate," 343 said.

A player will be warned when they're 800 feet away from another player and then killed once they reach 1000 feet.

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Monster Hunter Rise Gets DLSS Support On Steam, With An Unfortunate Side Effect

6 hours 36 min ago

Enabling the newly added Nvidia DLSS feature for the PC version of Monster Hunter Rise comes with the unfortunate side effect of giving furry friends and foes a shaven appearance.

Via Rock Paper Shotgun, the feature comes as part of a new update for Monster Hunter Rise released alongside the game's Sunbreak expansion, which in addition to new content has brought a number of changes and quality-of-life improvements to the latest entry in Capcom's long-running series. That includes DLSS support on Steam, which uses AI-powered upscaling to boost in-game frame performance at higher resolutions.

That sounds great on paper, but unfortunately enabling DLSS currently smooths out fur and feathers to make the game's creatures look significantly less furry or feathery, which is a problem. It's particularly noticeable for the game's cat-like companions, the Palicoes, which look like they just got buzz cuts at the barber down the street.

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Sucker Punch Has "No Plans" To Revisit Sly Cooper Or Infamous Series

6 hours 40 min ago

To celebrate nearly 25 years of Sucker Punch Productions, the studio has released a blog post offering an update on some of its most beloved series. However, Sly Cooper and Infamous fans be warned--this one does not end too happily for us.

According to the blog post, Sucker Punch has "no plans to revisit Infamous or Sly Cooper right now, and no other studio is currently working on projects related to those franchises either." The team says this is because as its games "continue to grow in scale and complexity, they require the full attention" of the studio. Which, you know, is a great reason that makes complete sense, but is still a bit of a bummer.

"These characters are very special and near and dear to our hearts," Super Punch added. "So while we’d never say never to re-opening those doors down the road, for now there are no Infamous or Sly Cooper games in development."

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Nintendo Switch Online Adds Four More Genesis Games

6 hours 43 min ago

Nintendo has announced another slate of games for its Nintendo Switch Online subscription service, this time filling out more of the Genesis catalog that that's included as part of the Expansion Pack. Those include a compilation of Mega Man games, a stylized brawler, and a game best known for its memes.

You can catch up with the early Mega Man games in Mega Man: The Wily Wars, a compilation of the first three games in the series with some graphical revisions. If you beat all three games you can unlock a Wily Tower to confront a new boss. In Comix Zone, you play as a comic book artist drawn into a comic world. You'll have to beat your way through legions of mutants, hopping between comic panels as you go. Target Earth is a side-scrolling shooter that pits you against Chron cyborgs with customizable loadouts. Finally, Zero Wing is a side-scrolling arcade shooter, but it's probably most recognizable these days as the source of the "All Your Base" memes that set the internet ablaze in the early 2000s.

Zero Wing

As part of the announcement, Nintendo also reiterated that the original Pokemon Snap has been released on the Nintendo 64 library. That photo safari game was a fan favorite for years before finally getting a sequel, New Pokemon Snap, last year. The N64 library is also part of the Expansion Pack.

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Rocket League Celebrates Its 7th Anniversary With The Birthday Ball Event

6 hours 52 min ago

In honor of its seventh anniversary, Rocket League is holding a special in-game event to celebrate the occasion--no RSVP required. Rocket League's Birthday Ball event brings with it a multitude of new features including new challenges, limited-time modes, and free rewards--including a very special type of reward that players have never received in previous events.

The game's official anniversary isn't until July 7, but Rocket League developer Psyonix is kicking the festivities off early on July 6. Keep reading for a detailed look at all the gifts you can expect to unwrap during the Birthday Ball event.

New LTMs

Two limited-time modes will be available during the Birthday Ball event. The first is a new version of Heat Seeker, which will be playable in teams of two instead of the standard three-player team. The chaotic LTM will run from July 6-13.

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Friday 'Nite: Fortnite's Reality Tree Shows Nostalgia Comes In Many Forms

6 hours 55 min ago

Friday 'Nite is a weekly Fortnite column in which Mark Delaney takes a closer look at current events in the wide world of Fortnite, with a special emphasis on the game's plot, characters, and lore.

Though it's likely intrinsically linked to the game's next major--and yet unnamed--villain, the vibrant Reality Tree is the fan-favorite star of the Fortnite Chapter 3, Season 3. This towering growth near the western shores of the island is one of the most visually striking places of interest (POIs) in the nearly five-year history of the game. With its impenetrable base standing tall and its otherwordly foliage, it's a sight like no other. Even this season's working roller coaster can't compete.

Though the tree itself is a new sight to behold this season, its special properties are giving fans a heavy dose of nostalgia. As its twisted roots spring up and out of the ground all across the island, places it comes in contact with are shifting as though they're endlessly cycling through a multiverse that somehow includes Fortnite islands of the past.

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Avatar 2 Brings Back Sigourney Weaver In A New, Unexpected Role

6 hours 58 min ago

Avatar: The Way Of Water's cast includes Sigourney Weaver, and this has perplexed fans for some time, as her character, Dr. Grace Augustine, died at the end of the 2009 film. Well, Weaver is returning to play a brand-new and unexpected role that was revealed today by Empire. Grace isn't being reincarnated, but instead, Weaver is lending her talents to a totally new character.

Weaver will play a Na'vi character named Kiri. She is the adopted teenage daughter of Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). Weaver spoke about the challenge of playing a youngster when she herself is 72.

"I think we all pretty much remember what we were feeling as adolescents," she said. "I certainly do. I was 5' 10" or 5' 11" when I was 11. I felt strongly that Kiri would feel awkward a lot of the time. She's searching for who she is. I was thrilled to be given that challenge by [director James Cameron]."

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World Of Warcraft's Next Patch Will Bring Auction House Changes And A New Trade Channel

7 hours 48 min ago

World of Warcraft's next patch will add two major changes to how certain goods and services are sold in Azeroth, introducing region-wide commodities and a new trade channel.

As revealed in a forum post, patch 9.2.7, which is currently being tested on the game's public test realm, will make selling consumable items like herbs, gems, and potions on the in-game auction house a region-wide affair, rather than a server-specific one. Blizzard notes that how the auction house functions or looks won't be changing, but that the region-wide change will result in "way more buyers and sellers" for certain commodities. Many other items, like armor and weapons, will still be server-specific.

It's a big shift for the economic side of WoW, which has always been server-specific. Having server-specific economies allowed dedicated players to corner markets, which will be much more difficult now that players will have to compete across all the servers in their region. However, the move should be a win for smaller-population servers that don't have many goods and consumables to choose from on their server-specific marketplaces. The last major change to WoW's auction house came in 2020 during the Battle for Azeroth expansion, during which Blizzard overhauled the Auction House's user interface.

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Best Buy 4th Of July Sale: PS5 SSDs For Cheap, $600 Gaming Laptops, And More

8 hours 5 min ago

Best Buy’s gigantic Fourth of July Sale is now live, offering steep price cuts on laptops, monitors, video games, and more. Some of the deals are truly impressive (like this RTX-equipped laptop for just $600), but you’ll need to move fast--the savings end on Monday. We’ve selected some of our favorite deals and listed them below, although be sure to peruse the full catalog to find hundreds of discounted products.

Tons of video games are on sale this weekend, including big titles from the last few years such as Far Cry 6, Returnal, Call of Duty Vanguard, and more. Be sure to check these out, as some are getting surprisingly generous discounts. Far Cry 6, for example, is down to just $16, while you can snag Vanguard for $20. Some of the highlights of the game sale are listed below, but you'll also want to search Best Buy's site if you're looking for a specific game.

See all deals at Best Buy Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (RTX 3050) $600 (was $940)

This might be the most affordable way to upgrade to an RTX GPU. Lenovo's IdeaPad Gaming 3 laptop offers an RTX 3050, 256GB of storage, and a 15.6-inch anti-glare screen. All of that is paired to an 11th generation Intel Core i5 and 8GB RAM. That’s a stellar rig for just $600, and it might be one of the best deals we’ve seen this summer.

See at Best Buy WD Black SN850 1TB Internal SSD $142 (was $270)

If your PS5 is finally running out of storage space, this weekend is your chance to upgrade your SSD without breaking the bank. The PS5-compatible WD Black SN850 1TB Internal SSD is seeing a big $128 price cut, now listed for just $142. Of course, it also works with desktop PCs, so just about everyone can cash in on the savings to upgrade their rig.

See at Best Buy Alienware 25-Inch IPS LED Monitor $260 (was $400)

Alienware gear is notoriously expensive, but there’s no doubt the company makes some of the most high-end gear on the market. That holds true for this 25-inch monitor, although Best Buy is offering it for just $260, down from $400. With a 240Hz refresh rate, AlienFX Lighting, AMD FreeSync Premium, and a futuristic white and blue design, few other monitors in this price range can compete. It’s also a great monitor to use with your Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 when you’re not on the road.

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Best Gaming & Tech Deals This Week

The Biggest Games Releasing In July: Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Stray, And More

8 hours 11 min ago

With Not-E3 month over and done with, July is a month where you can catch your breath and sit down with games that are more relaxing in comparison to the blockbuster titles scheduled for the end of the year. This is a month where the headline acts consist of high-speed racing in F1 2022, a fresh collection of retro classics from Capcom, a feline protagonist in Stray, and the return of one of Nintendo's most popular RPG series. Here's a look at the highlights of the month and everything else that you can expect from the July gaming calendar.

F1 22 (July 1)

Codemasters' F1 series of games have captured the sport at its most thrilling technical level for several consecutive years now, and thanks to the success of the documentary series Drive to Survive, there's been an effort to add some drama to the digital track as well. This year promises more of the same, with updated tracks, cars, and teams competing to see who can stick to the line and come out on top of the fastest motorsport in the world. PS5 players can expect to feel that action in their hands, as DualSense controller features include subtle vibrations and intuitive feedback on the track.

See at Amazon Stray (July 19)

While it may not look impressive to actual cats, Stray still has plenty of us bipedal humanoids eager to soak up its atmospheric tale of a lost cat stuck in a cyberpunk world. The furry friend must navigate through a city using its cat-like reflexes, avoid enemies, solve puzzles, and survive in this dangerous world. Stray will land on PC, PS5, and PS4, and for anyone who has a PS Plus Extra or Premium subscription, they'll be able to hop into the game on day one.

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