It's probably safe to say that at this point the Sim City crown is sitting firmly on top of Cities: Skylines, err, figurative head. Okay, the point being that when it comes to city builders and simulation games you really only need to be looking at Cities: Skylines, one of the most important releases for the genre in a long while. And now it's made it's way to console with the debut of Cities: Skylines for Xbox One.
It certainly looks the part.
And with the 'console optimisation' being handled by local studio Tantalus Media, we're definitely curious to see how this turned out. So much so that you should expect our impressions and thoughts in the near future.
Sometimes you don't know what you want until you're taken by surprise. The latest cinematic trailer that has launched alongside the release of Heroes of the Storm 2.0 to showcase the arrival of Overwatch's Genji into the Nexus alongside the serene battleground of Hanamura has done just that. In it we get to see Genji face-off against Diablo. Yeah, ol' Deebsy himself. And just when things couldn't get any cooler, in comes D.Va to lend a helping hand. This is the best sort of illogical fan fiction come to life in stunning detail.
Check it out.
Very cool. But perhaps even cooler is the amount of stuff up for grabs if you log into Heroes of the Storm and bask in its shiny new coat of paint. Which means one of the most popular events we've seen for the game is coming back, the Nexus Challenge 2.0. And thanks to the new reward and progression system... this time it's personal. And by that I mean, I love it. Teaming up with friends will not only unlock a number of cosmetic items and special mounts to use in Heroes of the Storm, but also new skins and stuff for use in Overwatch too. Including a very cool Officer D.Va outfit.
As the unlocked stuff is all centred around playing games with friends, Blizzard has also launched a new Looking For Group site so you can find local players to team up with -- www.heroeslfm.com.
Oh, and let's not forget that if you log in to play Heroes between now and May 23 you also get access to a free Mega Bundle containing 20 Heroes.
The long-awaited next installment in the Dawn of War series is out this week, and Relic are once again taking the series in a slightly different direction -- with larger-scale battles and multiplayer that features elements reminiscent of the MOBA genre. Our review will be up later this week, but in the meantime click through for a snazzy new launch trailer, and some impressions from playing the campaign.
Here's the latest trailer which highlights the three main players from the game's campaign -- Gabriel Angelos of the Space Marines, Farseer Macha of the Eldar, and Gorgutz ‘Ead’unter of the Orks.
From a sheer spectacle perspective we're happy to report that the campaign is indeed pretty epic and switches up the perspective from mission to mission as you deal with the mysterious planet Acheron. And with a story that spans 17 missions that can take upwards of an hour to complete, there's no shortage of strategic warfare. It's big.
But, Dawn of War III is very different to Dawn of War II. And Relic's other strategy classic Company of Heroes. For one, using the environment and rubble for cover is all but absent, paving the way for a more, well, StarCraft-style approach. Meaning that capturing resource points and building and upgrading an army before making your move is pretty-much how most of the encounters play out. In that sense it feels a little traditional, and with the introduction of Elite heroes, like Gabriel Angelos and others, you get the sense that it's more Warcraft III than Dawn of War II.
Being a huge fan of both of those games it's hard not to feel a little conflicted, longing for more of the action-RPG meets strategic squad mechanics of Dawn of War II. As opposed to the building and amassing of larger armies. But in execution, once the battle commences, the results look spectacular. And the look and feel of the three races on offer -- Space Marine, Ork, and Eldar -- is different enough that the shifting perspective works wonders in adding variety to the campaign. And no matter how serious the tone of the story gets, Gorgutz ‘Ead’unter of the Orks is simply hilarious. And so much fun to play.
Our review will go up later this week, covering the campaign and multiplayer. So stay tuned.
Both for Xbox 360 and playable via Backwards Compatibility on Xbox One. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 and Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga makeup the Star Wars offerings for the month, most likely to celebrate May the Fourth. And remind everyone how much better the original Force Unleashed was. On the Xbox One front two titles are also up for grabs, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams - Director's Cut and the pretty cool isometric affair Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris.
After speculation and a teaser from Activision that the next Sledgehammer Games developed Call of Duty would see the series return to its roots comes confirmation that Call of Duty: WWII is happening. Coming later this year (with a rumoured release date of November 3), the game will take place during the second World War. A full reveal is set to happen at 3AM on April 27 this week.
After the success of Battlefield 1's return to the early parts of the 20th century, a new World War II game feels like the right move for the next Call of Duty. Like a pendulum that swung away from classically-set shooters to the more current-day futuristic setting of recent years, World War II in gaming is fresh again.
Leaked marketing material suggest that the game will feature both co-op and a mission or set piece around D-Day.
Last week it was reported that Nintendo was ceasing production on last year's popular NES Classic Mini, the palm-sized USB-powered NES that housed 30 games and connected to a TV via HDMI. It proved to be quite the draw, so much so that it's still hard to find, with online auction prices sitting in the several hundreds of dollars. So ceasing production left a lot of people scratching their heads as to why? Well, now we probably know with several sources claiming that a SNES Classic Mini is on its way for Holiday 2017.
Arguably the superior of the two consoles the SNES or Super Nintendo was home to countless classic 16-bit titles that both looked and played markedly better than those found on the 8-bit NES. We're talking Super Metroid, The Secret of Mana, F-Zero, Super Mario World, Super Contra, Pilotwings, Star Fox, and many more. Which probably means that the SNES Classic Mini, if that's what it ends up being called, will be harder to find than its NES counterpart. Fingers crossed Nintendo learns from the mishandling of its 8-bit piece of nostalgic kit and ups the production numbers to the point where, you know, it's possible to walk into a store and see one. And then buy one. Because the SNES rules.
Although Call of Duty World League Global Pro League is a bit of a mouthful it will house 16 Call of Duty teams from around the globe across two stages of competition, with each offering USD $700,000 in prizes. Not too shabby, especially when the outcome will affect the placement in the Call of Duty World League Championship, where another USD $1.5M will be up for grabs. Taking place in Columbus, Ohio, Stage 1 kicks off this weekend with Australia's Mindfreak going up against some stiff competition.
Presented by PlayStation 4, the matches will be streamable via the in-game viewer and over at MLG.
The Stage 1 divisions are as follow (thankfully OpTic Gaming are in a different bracket).
Team EnVyUs, Splyce, Cloud 9, Mindfreak – April 21 - 23
With eight more rounds to go before the playoffs. And things are looking good so far for Australian team, Blank Esports, who are currently sitting in first place on the ladder. And they'll be taking on Hong Kong Attitude tonight from 9:00 PM AEST, and then Japanese team SunSister, on Sunday, 24 April at 9:00pm AEST. Both matches can be streamed here so be sure to tune in and support our Aussies!
Also, we've embedded the stream below so you can check back in later.
In case you were wondering GTA V is still keeping it real on the weekly and monthly best-sellers lists. And a big part of that is due to the way Rockstar has kept updating GTA Online with great new content ranging from heists to biker gangs to stunt racing. And now, a top-down viewpoint that is reminiscent of the very first Grand Theft Auto, crossed with the high-speed racing of Micro Machines.
It's called Tiny Racers, and looks like it'll be a lot of fun when it launches April 25.
Thanks to the addition of DRM-free versions of the Saints Row games arriving on GOG.com, the digital store is currently celebrating that by offering everyone that logs into their account with a free copy of Saints Row 2 on PC. DRM-free and compatible with just about any Windows-based PC. This also means that Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV are both heavily discounted and available for under $5 each.
So yeah, the offer will only be available for another day or so. Some might call that a weekend, so be sure to head on over to GOG.com to grab your free copy.
Which is a move by Valve to combat players will multiple accounts taking part in what's commonly referred to as "smurfing". A MOBA staple seen in a variety of free-to-play titles where secondary and third accounts are treated in a less serious fashion than someone's primary, or utilised in a way to boost lower level friends to higher ranked tiers. Generally, unfair stuff all round.
Asking for a phone number in order to make players eligible to take part in Dota 2 ranked play may sound extreme, but it could be the only way to combat this phenomenon. A two week grace period for players to link phone numbers with their Steam Accounts is currently in effect.
This announcement comes as part of a larger update to matchmaking, which you can read all about here. One of the cool new features is the introduction of proper Solo Queuing whereby players will only be matched up against and with other Solo Players. Very cool.
With the news dropping today that Heroes of the Storm 2.0 goes live April 26 comes additional word of a nice little bonus from Blizzard. One where everyone that logs into the game gets to unlock one of four hero Mega Bundles, themed around different play-styles. There's Support and Specialists, Assassins, Tanks and Bruisers, and the all-round Flex bundles with each one containing 20 heroes to become part of your roster. Freebies!
A very cool offer indeed. Here's some basic info on the bundles:
Support and Specialist: Playmakers in Heroes of the Storm come in many forms. The Support & Specialist bundle is all about keeping your team in fighting shape, turning the tide of battle, and providing the flexibility and strategic tools to conquer any obstacle. Heroes include: Overwatch’s Lucio, Diablo’s Auriel, World of Warcraft’s Medivh, StarCraft’s Abathur, and more.
Assassin: The Assassin Mega Bundle is hyper-focused on Heroes who dish out destruction wherever they go. Get in your opponents' faces as a sustained auto-attacker, nuke enemies from the back line, or roam the battlefield to gank unsuspecting targets. Heroes include: StarCraft’s Raynor, World of Warcraft’s Gul’dan, Diablo’s Nazeebo, Overwatch’s Tracer, and more.
Tanks and Bruisers: This bundle is brimming with Heroes who have no problem getting up close and personal. Create opportunities to pick off an enemy, peel threats away from your teammates, and lead from the front with the Tanks & Bruisers bundle. Heroes include: StarCraft’s Alarak, World of Warcraft’s Arthas, Diablo’s Leoric, Overwatch’s Zayra, and more.
Flex: If you’re eager to fill different spots in your team composition, or are brand new to the MOBA genre, consider picking up this bundle to gain experience with a wide variety of roles and playstyles, including Warriors, Specialists, Support, and Assassin Heroes. Characters include: StarCraft’s Lt. Morales, Diablo’s Li-Ming and Johanna, World of Warcraft’s Greymane, and more.
Calling all Space Marines, Orks, and weird psychic alien Eldar. Thanks to Sega and the fine folks at Five Star Games we've got five copies of the Limited Edition of the upcoming Dawn of War III to give away -- which includes the full game in a premium case, the official game soundtrack, and exclusive lenticular card. All you need to do to go in the running, is answer a simple question.
If you were thrust into the world of Dawn of War III, which race would you side with (Space Marine, Ork, or Eldar) and why?
Okay, not so simple. But to be in the running head on over to the competition page to get your entry in. Also get in quick because the competition closes on the day Dawn of War III is released, April 27.
In addition to the main Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event where a a record prize pool of AUD $260,000 is up for grabs, the Intel Extreme Masters coming to Sydney in may will also feature a multi-esport Community Stage. Which is where the AU&NZ Season I 2017 Rocket League Finals will take place. Plus a SMITE invitational tournament and League of Legends activities.
It's certainly shaping up to be one of the premiere esports events in Australia for 2017.
The event will kick off the global circuit in IEM’s 12th season, with Sydney being the first stop on the global tour. The event in Sydney will mark the first time that esports has been elevated to the spectacle synonymous with major European, North American and Asian events.
IEM Sydney will be held at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena on May 6 and 7. For more information head to the official site.
Out May 5 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, Arkane Studio's Prey is a first-person sci-fi action game that we've been talking up quite a bit on the site. And for good reason too, as its BioShock in Space vibe is a hard one to resist. Taking place on a large and luxurious space station called Talos I, where players will uncover a mysterious alien threat and all manner of secret experiments, the latest behind the scenes video gives a closer look at the size and scope of the environment.
Where, as is the case with a game like this, Talos I becomes a key character in the story.
A free Prey demo will be available on April 27 for PS4 and Xbox One that will let players experience the opening hour of the game.
Announced over the weekend at Star Wars Celebration, EA and DICE's follow-up to Star Wars Battlefront won't release alongside a Season Pass. Which would be a departure for the studio. In an interview with Mashable, DICE and Star Wars Battlefront II creative director Bernd Diemer stated, "When we looked at the way Battlefront had evolved over its lifetime, with the DLC and everything, we decided, for this type of game, season passes are not the best thing."
Overall, this is definite good news. Season Pass content for online titles tend to be centered around new maps, which always tends to fragment the audience and divide them into the haves and have nots. This doesn't rule out additional paid for DLC content for the game, it just means that EA and DICE's post-release plans for Star Wars Battlefront II will be a little different than what we saw with the original game, or with the more recent Battlefield 1.
Star Wars: Battlefront II is out November 17 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
And will make you bow down like Wayne and Garth in that movie from the early '90s screaming "we're not worthy", "we're not worthy!" Coming next week as part of a larger, and free, A Glitch in the Frontier DLC pack the new map provides long winding paths, huge vertical drops, and the ability to string together moves that highlight what makes Titanfall 2 so much fun to play.
Or, just sit back in awe when you see what's possible.
Here's a list of what's in the update coming April 25.
A medium-sized map designed for objective modes and inspired by Captain Lastimosa’s home planet of Harmony. Vertical drops and long, twisting paths dominate the environment, perfect for chaining together long wall runs to seamlessly glide across the map
Deck Live Fire Map
Tight interior spaces, exposed courtyards, and watchful drones circling overhead. You may see a M.R.V.N. or two puttering around in the background…
Marked for Death game mode. We’ll be introducing this as a featured mode around the launch of Glitch in the Frontier update.
Update to the Main Menu
We spruced things up a bit with a new look and tiles for news and other cool stuff we want you to check out.
Max Gen increase for Pilots
You will now be able to Gen to 100.
New Gen icons for your callsign. You will receive a new one for each 10 gens you achieve.
Ability to choose between Prime and regular executions for Titans
For fans of classic point-and-click LucasArts adventures then this a headline that will no doubt put a smile on your face. That's right, the long-awaited and often mythical, Full Throttle Remastered is finally available on GOG and Steam. And PS4. Like the work carried out on the excellent Day of the Tentacle remaster, this new version allows players to choose between an authentic old-school pixel heavy presentation or a fancy HD rework that recreates all the art down to the smallest detail.
And yeah, the results are pretty impressive.
Apart from a visual upgrade the core game remains pretty much the same, including its still contentious, and short, running time. Something that a lot of people complained about in 1995, so you can be sure that it'll be the same story in 2017. But short running time aside, Full Throttle still represents the best of adventure games. Great characters, great story, and a truly memorable experience.
Bears! Ghost Trees! Yeah, this definitely looks cool. A nature-based class, the Warden will release alongside the new Morrowind expansion coming to The Elder Scrolls Online in June. In a new gameplay trailer released to showcase the new class we get to see quite a bit of War Bear action, and more.
Revealing themselves to the world for the first time, Wardens possess a wide assortment of abilities to help defend the wilds and people of Tamriel. With the versatility to act as a damage dealer, a healer, or protector (or any combination in between) the Warden’s powerful and unique nature-based magic brings an entirely new element to ESO. The Warden can be fully customised based on your choices and your playstyle -- summon the fearsome War Bear, encase yourself in rock-solid ice, or conjure healing plants from the soil.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind and the new Warden class releases June 6 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Mac.
That's right, both StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War are now completely free to download and play. But hey, I hear you say. What about that fancy new HD shindingle coming out this year? Well the new 1.18 update, which introduces some new features and fixes a number of bugs, also lays the groundwork for StarCraft: Remastered. Meaning that both versions will be compatible, so players will be able to play against or with each other no matter what version they have.
For the full patch notes and links to the new free client for PC and Mac, head here.
Oh, and because we can't get enough of seeing this, here's the StarCraft: Remastered announcement trailer for you to watch again. And again.
Out now the first expansion for Ghost Recon Wildlands lets players infiltrate various gangs in order to take them out and reach the mysterious, and silly named, El Invisible. It's certainly sounds a lot less serious than using drones to sneak into a compound and rescue a high profile target. Instead, you'll get to drive a suite of new bright, colourful, and supped up cars. And attend what looks like one hell of a party.
Check it out.
Alongside the expansion Ghost Recon Wildlands has received a pretty hefty update that introduces seasons and challenges that let players unlock exclusive rewards.
I'm still holding out until I get my hands on a final copy of the game, because the substance might be there given the breadth of content announced, but Wicked Witch's official debut trailer for this year's AFL Evolution really doesn't sell the game as being in any form of Triple-A realm.
There's clearly budgetary constraints, though the AFL should have sunk more into the game given the record-breaking media rights deal they sorted out last year, and as mentioned in the OP, judgement needs to be reserved, but the debut trailer for AFL Evolution leaves a lot to be visually desired.
What is fantastic, however, is the trailer does tease the Woman's comp being added to the final retail version of the game, which cannot be overlooked. Hopefully there's plenty of depth to the game, but so far, it's not looking great.
For Heroes of the Storm fans it was only a matter time before we got our hands on the first Overwatch-themed battleground. And with the introduction of Hanamura, a large scenic battleground where teams will need to defend and escort payloads in order to damage the opposing team's core, you can be sure that Blizzard hasn't taken any half-measures with this debut. And alongside the update, in addition to the substantial 2.0 stuff coming this month, Genji is also joining the ranks.
If you've played Overwatch you can probably guess how he'll handle in Heroes. Genji is a super-fast assassin with multiple abilities tailored around moving around a battleground very quickly. And being very deadly. He can also jump over walls, making him a potentially very dangerous hero to try and take on alone. Fans of quick heroes will find a lot to love in Genji, and with the recent additions of Cassia, Probius, and Lucio, Blizzard has been on a bit a role lately with its new heroes.
But enough about that, take a look at Hanamura! A brilliant addition to the game that like the best battlegrounds feels like a new mode.
With awesome Overwatch content, and the 2.0 update, April is shaping up to be quite the month for Heroes of the Storm. And the perfect time to check it out for the first time.
Namely new maps and Titans, but also a number of refinements to the matchmaking system plus new cosmetic items to purchase in-game. The announcement also comes alongside word from EA and Respawn that they plan on supporting the game for many months to come. Which is good because for a lot of people Titanfall 2 was one of the sleeper hits of 2016.
Although full details haven't been provided we do know that generally the next few months should see:
Two new general multiplayer maps
Two more Live Fire Maps
A new Titan
Two more purchasable Prime Titans: Ronin and Tone
Gen cap increase to 100
Expanded Private Match settings including the addition of Live Fire and Coliseum to the selectable modes
A new Faction
Marked for Death game mode
More Pilot executions
Addition refinements to matchmaking like estimated wait time and more
More purchasable camos, skins, etc. from the store
After the recent release of the Xbox One upgrade's hardware specs over at Digital Foundry we know that the console will indeed be one powerful piece of kit. But what we don't know or haven't seen yet, are games running on the machine or what it even looks like, or how much it'll cost. Well, for that we have to wait until Microsoft's E3 conference in June. According to Phil Spencer, that's where all will be revealed.
It's pretty clear that Microsoft and Phil in particular is very happy with the state of Project Scorpio.
We designed Project Scorpio to be the best console to play the blockbuster multiplatform games from our publishing partners, made it easy for recently released titles to upgrade to true 4K and for beloved, backward compatible titles to play better than ever before.
Personally, I'm just wondering what it'll end up being called. Xbox One X? Xbox One Next? Xbox One BFG Edition?