Best Of E3 Part 2: Questions And Concerns – gamesread.com

In my last post, I took a look at the games that impressed me at this year’s E3 the most. The ones that despite my better judgment made me feel hype. Now I wanted to do something different. I wanted to discuss 2 games that look great but that just, for one reason or another…I am not too sure about. I do plan on playing both of the following games and there’s a good chance I’ll fall in love with them. But I just have a few questions and concerns which are preventing me from feeling the hype.

Anthem

I had to include this title for a number of reasons. First: I am going to buy it. I am going to buy it and play it sooo much. But I’m not excited for it, like, at all. It could be because I would 100% rather have a new Dragon Age game. It could also be that Bioware’s last release, Mass Effect: Andromeda was the only Bioware game I’ve ever played that I didn’t like. Bioware is my favorite developer and more often times than not, it feels like their games are made specifically for me. The only game of theirs I’ve played where that hadn’t felt like the case was Andromeda. I’m willing to chalk that down to a fluke but the way that game was treated as if in a rush to get to Anthem has me feeling suspect about it.

Anthem looks unlike any game Bioware has done before. Which is to say…it looks a lot like Destiny. I get the temptation to try and capitalize on Destiny’s success but I kind of feel like that ship has sailed and as far as fads go they should be coming out with a PUBG clone–like everyone else. I know that Bioware can craft amazing worlds and stories but the snippets of dialogue I heard during the demo seemed straight out of Bungie’s handbook of nonsensical scifi-fantasy prattle. Nothing as bad as “That Wizard came from the Moon,” but pretty close. Of course if all of these details are explained thoroughly throughout the course of the game’s campaign it will feel less hokey and forced. And if anyone could do that it’s Bioware, right? I hope so.

But if I’m being completely honest the main reason I’m not excited for Anthem is that if everyone hates it I’ll feel bad because that’s how much of a Bioware fanboy I am.

 

Flying looks dope though.

Death Stranding

I consider Hideo Kojima one of the true auteurs of the video game world, someone who is consistently producing high art in the medium. Because you know you’ve seen a good foreign film when as soon as it ends you go: Wait. What? So the main reason I’m not hyped for Death Stranding is that I have no idea what it is. I realize I’m not supposed to know that yet (if ever) but it still bothers me. Because just when I start to get excited by the graphics and the setting, I see something like this:

Best Of E3 Part 2: Questions And Concerns - gamesread.com

I mean, what even is this?

 

Best Of E3 Part 2: Questions And Concerns - gamesread.com

Kojima? What is this???

Just like Anthem I plan on playing Death Stranding because I love the Metal Gear Solid series. I adore everything about it. The gameplay, the corny jokes, the unnecessarily long cutscenes–everything.

Best Of E3 Part 2: Questions And Concerns - gamesread.com

Please tell me more about the Patriots and take your time…I have snacks.

It’s a series jam-packed with fun and memorable moments and while the story may not always be coherent, it is always entertaining. And that fist fight at the end of MGS4? Easily one of my favorite gaming moments of all time. And I hope there are more unforgettable moments in Death Stranding. Like the sniper battle with The End. Or the one with Quiet–or Crying Wolf. I guess what I’m saying is that I want more more sniper battles and, wait–is that a baby? Is, is he using the baby for camouflage? Or some type of baby-powered radar system? Okay. Okay, I guess that makes sense.

 

Wait, what?

Best Of E3 Part 2: Questions And Concerns

The Last Of Us, Cyberpunk 2077 and Shadow Of The Tomb Raider on gamesread

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say this: E3 is one of the best and worst times of the year. On the plus side, you get to peer into the future of gaming. On the downside, that future is usually a ways off. Both in terms of time and accuracy. I mean sure you get all of these tantalizing tidbits of games you’d never thought you’d see again and games you’ve been waiting your entire life for, but that doesn’t mean the games will actually turn out the way you want. There’s even a decent chance they won’t be released at all. It’s only naturally that after all of this time I’ve become more than a little jaded about E3. I find myself actively resisting the hype that begins to swirl around the games shown off at the conference. I do the best I can to love nothing. To want nothing–no matter how shiny or genre-defining. But despite this, there are still a few games that get my blood pumping no matter how hard I try to resist. Games that look so good and so enticing that I just can’t help but to give into the hype. The following are those games.

The Last Of Us: Part 2

So full disclosure: The first Last Of Us is my favorite game of all time. And that means a lot coming from me because I cannot play scary games. At all. Not even kind of scary games or even scary levels in super cutesy games about kids with magic hats.

The Last Of Us, Cyberpunk 2077 and Shadow Of The Tomb Raider on gamesread

Whhhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy???

And there were plenty of parts in the Last Of Us which made me want to crap myself. But I persevered because I was so drawn in by Joel and Ellie’s story. Needless to say, I was eager for a glimpse of the game’s sequel at this year’s conference and man was I not disappointed. The game looks fantastic. And everything, to the way characters move, talk and fight, looks like it’s happening in a real place. I could say it looks like you’re playing a movie but I won’t because I’m not a hack. So I will say that the game’s combat made me wince. A lot. I could be getting old or the graphics could be getting too good but man. I would be lying if I said I didn’t flinch away from every blow as if it was coming directly for my face.

Gameplay wise it seems very similar to the first game, so zero complaints from me. Ammo and supplies are scarce and a loose beer bottle may be the only thing between you and death. But now it looks as if every action carries so much more gravity and weight. That lends the game an added level of visceral feedback which, honestly, may be too much at times. But I am a sucker for contextual animation. I loved all of the little details that helped to sell the whole experience. Like the way Ellie ducks when a bullet flies past her shoulder or the bewildered way she looks around after the human shield she’d just taken slumps to the ground after being shot by an arrow.

The Last Of Us was easily my favorite part of E3 this year but I still wanted to put it here first. Because it’s E3 and you have to be skeptical of everything you see. And there were a number of moments during this trailer where I wasn’t sure if I was watching actual gameplay or an extended cutscence. And it wouldn’t be the first time a game bent the truth during the conference. It’s a lesson we’ve learned countless times from other show-stealers like Watch Dogs, Killzone and many others. But can’t help it. Still hyped.

Cyberpunk 2077

When the Cyberpunk 2077 trailer started I honestly thought it was going to be for Watch Dogs 3. And while I don’t hate the series (honestly, I kind of hate it) I felt that leaving the reveal of a new Watch Dogs game for the end of your press conference seemed like a really underwhelming move. Not Ridge Racer levels–but close. But when I saw CD Projekt Red’s name flash across the screen, I squealed. And why shouldn’t I? These guys have been killing it for years now. The Witcher 3 is still the most impressive game I have ever played. Considering it in terms of lore, story, scope, and execution I think its easily a masterpiece. And honestly, I expect Cyberpunk 2077 to be even better. And thankfully there are more details trickling out about the game which makes it sound like CD Projekt Red’s most ambitious title to date.

Shadow Of The Tomb Raider

For my money right now, the Tomb Raider franchise is the best when it comes to over the top action adventure. And I say that with all due respect to the Uncharted franchise. I mean, I adore Uncharted but I feel like that series has run its course while Tomb Raider pushes the genre further with each entry. The gameplay is fantastic, the set pieces and graphics are top-notch and while Lara may not have the charm or snark of Nathan Drake, I feel like she’s arguably a more compelling protagonist. I think a big reason for this is due to how well they’ve used the games in the (rebooted) series to build on her legend and character. Shadow Of The Tomb Raider seems like it will continue on this trend and I can’t wait to play it or any of the games on this list.

Which is the problem.

 

The Last Of Us, Cyberpunk 2077 and Shadow Of The Tomb Raider

gamesread – Hoping and Hopping to it – Friday June 22 2018

Hi Folks,

Busy, busy, busy. Going to keep things brief this week so that we can focus on getting beta out the door! While we remain on track for our July 4th Beta 1 date, it’s very close. We need to do some rigorous testing, and make sure we’re ready.

This week, I had the pleasure of hosting our End of Week Wrap-Up and Q&A from the Seattle area studio with George. Unfortunately, we had to keep it short as we all have a lot to get done, and every minute counts. The pressure is on, but in the best of ways. The energy in the studio is incredible, we are all excited about how close we are. Although we are working harder than ever, everyone is laughing and joking, no death march here! We’ll be working through the weekend, and really hammering on the last pieces of the beta 1 list and beta bugs.

Let’s recap our Top Tenish!

Top Tenish:

  1. Beta in T Minus 12: Twelve Days. Its a number that is frightening, exciting, and super important to everyone here. We are just under two weeks out from our planned date for Beta 1 launch. Because of the unfortunate cost of implementing GDPR we lost time from some of our most valuable developers, and that hurt a lot. It is down to the razor’s edge, we have a lot of work and testing ahead of us.

    • And Mark wanted us to tell you that as of right now there are 19 mission critical bugs we feel need to be fixed for Beta 1. We still believe we can make this date, and a number of us are coming in this weekend/staying late to make this happen.

  2. Testing: As we quickly approach Beta, everyone in the studio has been helping to test the builds this week. Features and fixes are coming in hot so we have to make sure we don’t miss anything!

  3. Tech – Buildings: Almost every engineer in the studio has pitched in on buildings at this point. We’ve had small bug fixes and testing by Rob, improvements to plots by Matt, Caleb, and Christina, and even rendering updates by George. This has been an all hands on Deck feature! Updates include changes to how blueprints are formed and loaded, building persistence, how these are loaded in game, and the ability to spawn a building via an ECT!

  4. Tech – Plots: One part of updating buildings has been rethinking our building plots. In Beta 1 you will be able to explore and claim an arbitrary plot of land with an item from your inventory. This took work from Matt, Wylie, Caleb, even Christina and Andrew!

  5. Art – Islands: Tyler and Dionne have been busy adding set dressing and terrain tweaks to the template home island. This requires a lot of by hand work on the terrain and lots of propping of new and existing assets. They are now starting the process of cloning the island and making changes to props and terrain for realm variation. Ben has also been busy adding resource nodes to our terrain mods so you will be able to harvest resources for crafting and building.

  6. Art – NPCs: Joe and Scott teamed up this week to almost finish the outfits for our greeter NPCs you will see scattered around the home islands. We’re currently testing and polishing the tech and will soon add these guys in.

  7. Tech – Crafting: Christina and Mark have been busy adding additional touches to the Beta 1, Day 1 crafting system. This involves configuring raw materials and alloys, and hooking them into the system. Expect a lot of changes/additions to the system once we are in Beta 1!

  8. UI – Warbands: JB, along with Anthony and AJ, have been putting the last pieces of the warbands systems back together and updating the UI. Specifically, features like promoting another player to leader, and granting permissions.

  9. Art – Animations: The last pieces of the planned character animations for the start of Beta 1 are coming together with Scott and Sandra’s last character class ability specific animations in review. We plan to use our remaining time wisely, improving current animations and getting in some new class specific fidgets to give the classes more character.

  10. Tech – Server Transitioning and Stability: We have made a number of significant improvements to how we handle server transitions, load balancing, zones, and overall start-up performance. Tim, Colin, and Marc have been working to get our overall architecture and net code in a great place for beta!

  11. Tech – Patcher Patching: Dave has fixed a number of issues with the patcher to get us ready for a busy beta 1 so that we can support a lot of people all downloading/patching the client at the same time.

  12. Tech – UI: AJ has been sheperding in some wonderful work by our Mod Squad to our UI which helps fix some of the bugs that Backers have reported. This is great because it helps us make the experience better for all our supporters.

  13. Tech – Tools: Sadly, our support tools don’t get enough love, but it’s been a busy week for Bull who has been implementing a series of tools changes that will greatly ease our asset pipeline. While this won’t mean much for beta 1 day 1, it means everything for the first 30 days.

  14. Progression: The last pieces of B1D1 progression were hooked up and tested this week. This includes progression systems, the way skills grow and how players are rewarded for practice.

  15. Art – Concept: Michelle has handed off several different pieces of concept art at a rapid pace to support the art team. She’s now working on finishing up some new art for the patcher splash screens

Now let’s talk art. The team has been working hard to not only deliver on their original goals, but also to get more done, time allowing.

We’re foregoing animation renders right now as they take up several hours in the day to put together; time better spent actually animating! You’ll have to join us in game to check out this WIP Physician special ability from Sandra. A big ability requires a big jug, and a frog! In this clip our Physician takes out a large jug containing his various concoctions, adds a frog to it, then gives it a gleeful lob into the air. The resultant explosion, which Mike is working on right now, is a visual cacophony of color giving allies a bunch of positive effects!
gamesread - Hoping and Hopping to it – Friday June 22 2018

Next up, we have renders of the new statue Jon made to adorn the Arthurian home island dock. First, just geometry, then with materials added.
gamesread - Hoping and Hopping to it – Friday June 22 2018
gamesread - Hoping and Hopping to it – Friday June 22 2018

Jon has a Viking themed statue in the works too! Next up, we have some images of the new market stalls Dionne has been working on.
gamesread - Hoping and Hopping to it – Friday June 22 2018
gamesread - Hoping and Hopping to it – Friday June 22 2018

She also found some time to assemble a new stone and metal resource node tent, from which players can gather resources. These will be used during Beta in lieu of additional tech. Here’s a test shot from inside the metal one.
gamesread - Hoping and Hopping to it – Friday June 22 2018

While Tyler continues to work on the home island template, Michelle continues to work in the background on new props to add later, time allowing. Today she did a quick pass on some unique TDD lamps. Believe it or not she whipped these ideas out in only a couple hours!
gamesread - Hoping and Hopping to it – Friday June 22 2018

We end art this week with some more out of game renders of our class shots which will be used in the character creation screens. As mentioned previously, these are in lieu of some tech updates that will later allow us to render the 3D characters in the patcher. First is the Viking Mjolnir, then the Viking Stonehealer, and last the Tuatha Luchorpan Forest Stalker. Pretty sweet. These also use our improved UV layouts which increase the overall character texture resolutions. We’ll be looking to add these updates later during Beta.
gamesread - Hoping and Hopping to it – Friday June 22 2018

It’s all coming together! We’ve got more work ahead of us, and look forward to seeing you guys online to help us test. That’s all for this week folks. Thanks again for your support and patience. I look forward to seeing each and everyone of you in the game!

-Ash

gamesread | Staying on track – Friday, May 18, 2018

Folks,

Progress continues at a solid pace on our march to the start of Beta 1 on July 4th. We’re still on track as we continue to churn out features, assets, and fixes! Ben, Max, and I (Tyler) enjoyed our usual weekly wrap-up this afternoon. If you missed that livestream, you can catch it HERE. There were a lot of great questions during our Q&A section of the stream, especially because Ben was there to field all sorts of interesting design questions.

We spent much of this week testing fixes on our current testing build, leading up to another weekend of testing! We said we had our Beta 1 level Backers in mind, and we’ve been wanting to get you into a more stable test for a while! So, this weekend, we have an opportunity to find out how stable this build actually is! 

When: Saturday and Sunday, May 19th and 20th, 2018
12-2PM EDT (18:00-20:00 CEST)

If you’re confused about the times, you can go HERE (https://www.worldtimebuddy.com/?qm=1&lid=5,8,100,14&h=5&date=2018-5-19&sln=12-14)

Where: Nuada

Who: IT, Alpha, Beta 1

We will send out a separate test email later with more details.

For the rest of the week’s highlights, including art from our talented team, read on!

Top Tenish:

  1. Testing: This week, Colin focused on improvements to the physics server crashes we have been experiencing. Compared to the previous fix, this one does not significantly impact performance with large scale battles, tested at 3k A.R.C.S. (When we say large scale, we mean it!) We tested these changes from Tuesday through Friday with IT and Alpha, and toward the end of the day today, Beta 1 Backers! We’ll be testing again this weekend on Saturday and Sunday.

  2. Tech – Audio – Audio Objects: Dave continues his adventures into sound this week with his completion of audio objects. This work removes the “leak” of audio assets in the scene, and gives us more control over defining the proper events for ending looping sounds. Now, during big battles, you should not experience “extra” sounds that should not have been there.

  3. Tech – Item Permissions and Equip Restrictions: This week, AJ committed code that will allow us to do things like add restrictions on who can use certain types of gear or set permissions for containers, such as a guild stash.

  4. WIP – Tech – cross server scenario: After working on the physics server issue, Colin found time to get back to his original task, allowing players to queue for scenarios from different zones. This week, he’s working on finishing up the zone transition part of the the task, and is beginning work on the logic to determine which server a scenario should start on.

  5. Tech – Server Startup and Collision: Earlier this week, Rob improved our server startup process, which helps with stability overall. He also fixed some collision issues that were causing an object’s collision to not match the visual if it was scaled and rotated.

  6. WIP – Branching Content System: Bull began work on this system earlier in the week. It will allow us to have different content on different servers. This will make it easier for us to have more timely bug fixes and in some cases, hotfixes. Additionally, it will allow for fine-tuned control over backing up and removing changes to the game, which should reduce the overall bug count.

  7. Tech – Terrain Editor Fix: We don’t always put bug fixes in the highlights, unless they are of special significance. In this case, the environment artists have been dealing with a long-standing bug that caused assigned terrain mods to be invisible in the terrain editor. Matt found and fixed this bug, which he theorized has been in there for a long time and only now found as our environments become more complex.

  8. WIP – Tech – Crafting: Christina has been neck-deep in crafting. Now, the flow of generating a Vox from a Vox token should be working end-to-end, with the help of AJ and Matt. Players can right-click on their Vox token in their UI, choose deploy, choose the spot they want to place their Vox in the world, and pack it back into their Vox when done. Christina has also been creating mock-ups for the crafting process, which will be the next step for the upcoming crafting UI.

  9. WIP – Art _ Environment Art: Dionne is currently working through several new variations of spruce pines, while Tyler has begun work on more variation for our beaches. Andrew provided some great reference from his trip to Ireland, including many pictures of a really great bog he visited.

  10. WIP – Art – Scenario 2 Concept Art: Michelle and Tyler are brainstorming changes we want to make to the scenario 2 environment art. This phase was planned ahead of time, knowing we’d want to take a step back from the first pass and look for ways to make it better. Check out the concept art below! To quote Michelle, it’s “Pulling away from the desert quarry vibe to a lusher highland vibe.”

  11. WIP – Art – Updated Character Creation Renders: Joe has moved through the female armor variations for our renders quickly, and is on track to wrap them up around the middle of next week and then hand off to Jon and Michelle. Jon finished the render of the Arthurian Male Physician and the body of the Male Stonehealer. Next, he needs to render out the rocks that will fill out the scene.

  12. Art – SFX: This week, dB created a track for our pub buildings, and is moving onto some Realm-specific ambient tracks.

  13. Design – Home Islands: Ben began work on a new template for the home islands. This initial blockout, once approved, will then get an art pass on the environment, and testing on creating the buildings.

  14. WIP – Art – Mjölnir Animations: Scott moved quickly through much of the Mjölnir’s animations this week. He completed an updated class-specific idle, right and left crushing attacks and deflects, as well as the flinch and cast. If you missed it, you can see his livestream HEREwhere he finished up the new special ability “Crushing Annihilation.” Next week, he’ll wrap up all the movement animations, and then get back to working on the Empath.

A very solid week from our hard-working team. Remember, these are just the highlights! Let’s move on to some of the art-in-progress this week, starting off with an image of the Mjölnir’s Crushing Annihilation ability.
gamesread | Staying on track – Friday, May 18, 2018

Next, we have the previously-mentioned paintover of the scenario 2 map from Michelle. I (Tyler) have particularly enjoyed this opportunity to work with Michelle on ways to improve the look of the map. We both have a similar aesthetic sense, so our conversations are typically short, as we quickly come to agreement on what we want to address.
gamesread | Staying on track – Friday, May 18, 2018

I made sure to plan out how the terrain mods were assigned around the map, so we could easily make sweeping changes later. (It’s rare that we artists are happy with the first pass

Tech Blog #8 — Mobile Porting on gamesread

The Banner Saga Now Available on Xbox One and PlayStation®4

By Myll_Erik|January 12th, 2016|Releases|Comments Off on The Banner Saga Now Available on Xbox One and PlayStation®4|

 

Stoic, an independent game development company, and Versus Evil, one of the leading independent video game publishers, today announced that the epic Viking RPG strategy game The Banner Saga launches on PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and to the Xbox One via the [email protected] self-publishing program today for a SRP of $19.99 / €19.99 /£15.99.

The Banner Saga, which launched to much critical acclaim on both PC and mobile devices has received several awards and nominations, including winner of the 2014 Geekie Awards for “Best Video Game,” winner of 2014 Game Developers Choice: “Best Debut” award, finalist placement for “Excellence in Visual Arts” category at the Independent Game Festival, 3 BAFTA Award Nominations, and winner of Pocket Gamer’s 2015 Best Adventure/RPG Game and Best Android Game of the Year.

“Merging the story and gameplay of Banner Saga with a refined controller interface makes it a very enjoyable console gaming experience. Despite the technical challenges we initially faced in porting the game, we’re extremely happy with the end result of many months of hard work to deliver a worthy console version,” said John Watson, founder and technical director at Stoic.

The Banner Saga is a single player driven Viking saga, where a player’s choice in travel, conversation and combat determines the outcome of their own personal story as well as the survival of an entire civilization. The game also features stunning 2D animation and art, a unique tactical combat system and a cast of unforgettable characters, all of which drive this epic journey forward. Players will enjoy a beautiful and haunting original score by Grammy nominated, two-time BAFTA winning composer Austin Wintory conducting The Dallas Winds orchestra, as well as a powerhouse trio of acclaimed YouTube sensations: Peter Hollens, Malukah and […]

gamesread – Build a kingdom in the sky in puzzle/sim blend Volantia

gamesread - Build a kingdom in the sky in puzzle/sim blend Volantia

One of the great things about games is that you really can just take two disparate concepts, mash them together and come away with something genuinely good. Volantia: Kingdom In The Sky from Tangled Mess Games (featuring some of the talent behind the lovely micro-roguelike Desktop Dungeons) is a blend of city-building management and block-tessellation puzzle, and it launched today.

While I strenuously object to the genre descriptor ‘Greenpunk’ (where’s the punk part?), there is definitely a lot of lush and verdant grass to be seen in Volantia. The game promises a relatively low-pressure experience, giving players the time and resources they need to build, expand and refine their floating island kingdom.

While the heart of the game does seem to be in managing the minutia of your kingdom, you’ve also got to continually expand your territory and reinforce land so that it doesn’t go falling into the sea of clouds below. You do this by attaching additional chunks of land in block-rotating puzzle style as neatly as you can. Ideally, you want a landmass rich in resources, without huge gaps and ravines that’ll make it difficult to build on.

For those who immediately thought of early online RTS Netstorm, I had exactly the same thought. While there’s definitely some similarity with Volantia’s land-expanding mechanics, fans of that might be better served by Stratus: Battle For The Sky, an unofficial remake currently in early access.

While Volantia’s game sessions may be longer than Netstorm’s frenzied puzzle-strategising, it does sound like a relatively slight game, with not much in the way of story and a given session completable in under two hours. Good for an afternoon chill-out session, but unlikely to devour entire nights the way a good game of Civilization can. Whether that’s something to be held for or against the game is down to personal preference.

Volantia is out now on Steam for £10.29/10.79€/$13.

gamesread | Harry Potter Wizards Unite

It’s another fantastic week at Attack Gaming. The team is hard at work on our brand new weekly series, where we bring you the latest in top MMORPG games for pc, mobile, and console! We are very excited to see what everyone thinks about it. Meanwhile, I managed to sneak away and spend some time researching the latest news, mauling nazis in some Wolfenstein II The New Colossus, and [of course] playing tons of the free online fantasy games. But first the MMORPG news of the week.

 

Project W Revealed

Details about the game codenamed “Project W” have emerged, including it’s official name, Ascent: Infinite Realm. This game has been in secret development, with the earliest evidence of it dating back to November 2016, when Kakao Games announced they would invest in the development in a “forthcoming Triple-A MMORPG” with Bluehole Studios (the makers of the massively popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds ). Here’s what we can safely ascertain at the moment. It’s a persistent MMORPG, one that will allow you to build a character over multiple sessions (not at all like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The evidence for this is in the presence of custom outfits and cooking in the trailer). We also know that some of the game will be linear raids you can embark on with other players, and some of the game will consist of large PvP battles. We are shown highly diverse types of creatures and characters fighting one another: with steampunk armor suits taking on winged swordsmen, and giant dragons taking on futuristic aircraft; the only thing missing is the aliens fighting in space. Thankfully there’s room for DLC.


It may turn out, however, that all this optimism could be the red herring. Upon further investigation, my hope for Ascent: Infinite Realm suffers some minor blows. It all sounds great on paper; a persistent universe where entire realms engage in massive battles with one another; a marriage between the gorgeous detailed character models of Black Desert Online with the western-style hair trigger shooter that was PUBG. But it comes apart at the seams when you start asking the realistic questions. Has either company been good at story? Will Kakao Games microtransaction their userbase to death as seen in Black Desert Online? How vital will these purchases (if any…but come on…) be to the fun/meta of the game? And weren’t the PUBG servers always laggy and inconsistent? My initial take: Project W maybe should have stayed a project, because it’s at risk of being a hodgepodge mess. The racing minigame where you are “rolling inside a barrel and collecting Mario Kart-style power-ups” says it all.

gamesread | Harry Potter Wizards Unite
“Can’t wait for everyone to try….this….”

The partnership with Bluehole studios seems like a no-brainer on the surface; Player Unknown’s Battle grounds widespread success has earned Bluehole studios the hearts [and possibly the blind trust] of millions of gamers, who were treated to an experience like any other. But, at present, I’m approaching with caution.

Harry Potter…Go?

Niantic, the creators of the hugely popular Pokemon Go, announced that they are making a Harry Potter game in this press release. The game is called Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and promises to be the next step in AR mobile gaming. Briefly summarizing the game, the post read, “ Players will learn spells, explore their real-world neighborhoods and cities to discover & fight legendary beasts and team up with others to take down powerful enemies.”. Diehard Pokemon trainers expressed frustration around the web, thinking for sure that this will reduce attention and resources devoted to their favorite game; but Niantic has since released a statement, saying that will continue to work very hard on Pokemon Go. Be sure to check back here often for the latest on the best free mmorpg games, best free to play mmorpg’s, top mmorpg games for pc, mmos that you can play for free, and free online fantasy games.

 

By @R2Deepu

Harry Potter Wizards Unite

Robocraft Royale Partners with GhostShark, Free Alpha Begins March 1st on gamesread

Robocraft Royale Partners with GhostShark, Free Alpha Begins March 1st on gamesread

Robocraft developer FreeJam announced today that they partnered with GhostShark Games to help develop Robocraft Royale, a battle royale game built on Robocraft’s engine and gameplay elements. GhostShark will be at first responsible for the optimization of the resources streaming and rendering systems. These systems are super important to ensure a stutter free experience, especially on a large map with 100 players.

A free alpha test is scheduled to begin on March 1st, 2018. While it’s obvious Robocraft Royale was inspired by the success of Fortnite and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, a build your own robot battle royale style game actually sounds pretty interesting. Though it looks like player designed robots will make it into the game to be found, everyone won’t get to make their own and load in with it. According to the game’s website Robocraft royale will feature:

  • A 64 square kilometer map with cities, industrial sites, and crashed spaceships
  • 100 players on a single map
  • Hundreds of robots and vehicles scattered across the map (player designed)
  • Precision damage system to knock out weapons, movement, and other specific systems based on where bullets land

There’s no official release date for Robocraft Royale just yet. Learn more about the game on their homepage.

  • Reddit


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gamesread | Overwatch launches $5 Overwatch League team kits

gamesread | Overwatch launches $5 Overwatch League team kits

Blizzard’s swanky Overwatch League kicks off on Wednesday, with 12 teams representing cities across the globe, and what sport would be complete without flogging expensive merch? Blizzard today launch “jersey” skins, letting Overwatch characters wear your favourite team’s clobber for $5 each. Five dollars! If you just like pretty skins, hey, Blizzard are letting all players buy one outfit for free so pick yourself something nice. Just remember: no team colours allowed in pubs on match day.

The Overwatch League’s first season will start at 4pm PST tomorrow (that’s midnight in the UK) with San Francisco Shock playing Los Angeles Valiant, followed by Shanghai Dragons vs. Los Angeles Gladiators then Dallas Fuel vs. Seoul Dynasty.

Yes, the team names are weird. But good grief, the UK’s only team is the London Spitfires, a name almost as shocking as Tracer’s accent.

Here, have a look (apols. for the Twitter embed, it’s not on YouTube grumble grumble):

The new team skins are bought with a new microtransaction currency, League Tokens. Blizzard are giving everyone 100 Tokens to get started, which is enough to buy one kit for one character (yes, they’re per-character) and would usually cost $5. You’ve got until February 13th to grab those free points. Some money from skin sales will go to teams, at least, as Dota 2 and some other digital sports have done.

The Overwatch League kits and offer are live, arriving in today’s patch. I don’t believe they’re live in Europe yet, as our patches launch a day late, but I don’t own Overwatch to check. [and that’s why you’re wrong, fool -ed.]

League games will be streamed on Twitch.

Oh goodness me I’ve just discovered you actually can buy real Overwatch League shirts.

gamesread – Nvidia’s GeForce Now PC beta is much better at cloud gaming than you think

gamesread - Nvidia’s GeForce Now PC beta is much better at cloud gaming than you think

Cloud gaming has become a bit of a dirty word these days. There have been plenty of people who have tried their hand at it over the years, promising high-end, lag-free gaming without the need for all that bulky, costly hardware, but most (*cough*Gaikai*cough*OnLive*cough*) have ended up on that age-old trash heap of crushed dreams and broken promises, their meagre uptake prompting them to disappear back into the ether almost as quickly as they appeared.

This time, though, Nvidia might have finally cracked it, as the beta for their GeForce Now streaming service has finally arrived on PC in Europe and North America. It’s free, uses your very own game library and their respective cloud saves, and, whisper it, it’s actually pretty good. So rejoice all you laptop and creaking PC people whose rigs would probably faint at even the slightest suggestion of running something like Doom or Shadow of War at Ultra quality settings and 60fps. Your time in the gaming big leagues has arrived.

So how does this GeForce Now malarkey actually work? One important point to make before we dive into the nitty-gritty is that this isn’t the same thing as GeForce Now on Nvidia’s own Shield tablet or their Shield TV streaming gizmo (helpful, I know). Those have a different library of games and completely separate pricing structure to the PC version, so cast whatever you currently know about GeForce Now to the wind. It’s no good here.

Instead, GeForce Now for PC is all about turning low-end systems such as laptops, netbooks and ancient PCs into high-powered gaming rigs, letting you play games you already own at the shiniest, most extreme graphics settings possible without said laptop or PC collapsing into a wheezing, undignified mess.

gamesread - Nvidia’s GeForce Now PC beta is much better at cloud gaming than you think

Doom running at 1080p, 60fps and Ultra-Nightmare settings on my four-year-old laptop? You’re having a laugh, mate. Oh…

It’s not every game you own, mind. Right now, there are around 150 games that support GeForce Now (you’ll find a full list on the next page), but Nvidia says they’ll continue to add more at regular intervals.

You’re also currently limited to games from Steam, UPlay and Battle.net. However, provided Nvidia’s previously announced partnerships with GOG and Origin haven’t fallen through since they were first unveiled in January 2016, then games from these platforms should also hopefully be making their way over either very soon or when GeForce Now launches properly once the beta’s over.

There is, admittedly, a small loophole that lets you play Steam games that aren’t on Nvidia’s supported list, but to be honest, it’s a bit of a faff. You not only need to install the game each time you want to play it through GeForce Now (which Nvidia says can take up to 30 minutes as opposed to a one-time ten second install like the rest of GeForce Now’s library), but you won’t be able to take advantage of things like cloud saves either – unless, that is, it already supports Steam’s Cloud Sync and you’ve got that enabled.

Still, there’s a pretty good selection on offer in the main GeForce Now library, including favourites like Plunkbat, Fortnite and CS: GO, as well as newer, fancier things you might not have found time to play yet, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2, Destiny 2, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, SpellForce 3, Prey and Dishonored: Death of the Outsider. You can also buy supported games you don’t currently own within the GeForce Now app, as clicking on each game will take you straight to its relevant store page.

gamesread - Nvidia’s GeForce Now PC beta is much better at cloud gaming than you think

Just some of the games available on GeForce Now right now

It’s certainly a tempting prospect, both if you’ve never owned a proper gaming PC or have ever contemplated whether it’s worth going all in on and spending thousands of pounds on a full-blown gaming laptop – particularly when graphics card prices are still fluctuating faster than Steam’s best-seller list. If you bought the 4K-capable Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 over Black Friday, for instance, you could have bagged one for around £480. Now, you’re looking at paying something closer to £650. No thank you. The GTX 1070 is even worse. This cost £350 in November. Now you’ll need to add another £200 to your budget.

There are, of course, cheaper graphics cards available like the £140 GTX 1050Ti (our current 1080p gaming champion), but that still doesn’t help much if you’re often tied to a laptop or all-in-one PC, or simply don’t have the confidence or know-how to start tinkering about inside your current PC case.

GeForce Now also takes a lot of the hassle out of owning and maintaining a gaming PC, as annoying things like updates and game drivers are all handled automatically at Nvidia’s end, meaning you’ll never have to wait for a new patch to install ever again. You also don’t have to worry about clogging up your hard drive or SSD with loads of game files either, as that’s all taken care of in the cloud. Each game installs in about ten seconds, taking up next to no space at all instead of tens of GBs, and there’s no limit on the number of games you can have installed either. GeForce Now games all support cloud saves, too, so your files won’t be locked inside Nvidia’s servers forever should you decide to leave or stop your subscription.

gamesread - Nvidia’s GeForce Now PC beta is much better at cloud gaming than you think

That said, the big question that still hasn’t been answered is how much does all this actually cost? Well, the short answer is we don’t know yet. The PC beta is currently free for everyone who signs up (there’s currently a waiting list, so it may take a while before you get onto it), and will remain so until GeForce Now launches properly. Nvidia couldn’t give me any kind of timescale on when that might happen when I probed them about it, but they did say that the beta would continue for at least the next three months, so it might be a while before you find out for sure.

GeForce Now PC beta performance

Is it really as good as it all sounds, though? Well, much like any cloud gaming service, the quality of the service depends very much on your current web connection, as you’ll only be able to see all those Ultra-fied face pores and wafting hair locks if you’ve got big enough internet pipes. Anything less and those pristine textures will descend into a giant, smeary blob of pixelated Vaseline, a bit like when you’re trying to stream something on the telly and it hasn’t quite buffered yet.

According to Nvidia, you need an internet connection with at least a 25Mbps download speed, but ideally you should have 50Mbps or more to get the best out of it. Nvidia also recommends you’re hardwired into your router via an Ethernet cable, or have a 5GHz one you can connect to wirelessly.

gamesread - Nvidia’s GeForce Now PC beta is much better at cloud gaming than you think

You’ll also need to make sure the laptop or PC you’re using has at least Windows 7 or higher for your OS, a 3.1GHz Intel Core i3 processor or faster, 4GB of RAM and a GPU that supports DirectX 9 – i.e.: an Nvidia GeForce 600 or AMD Radeon HD 3000 series card or newer, or Intel HD Graphics 2000 or newer if you’re using a laptop.

To put GeForce Now through its paces, I installed it on my 2013 Dell XPS 13 laptop, which has never enjoyed anything more than Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 4400 chip, and gave it a thorough going over at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz on my BT Smart Hub router.

When connecting over 2.4GHz, I was warned about having poor signal and that I might experience stutter or latency issues, but on the whole, it wasn’t really the latency that was the problem. Instead, it was the bitrate – or rather that aforementioned Vaseline issue. Despite measuring a bitrate/download speed between 45-49Mbps, the overall sharpness of each game I tried tended to vary quite wildly – like everything had a dynamic resolution feature that would produce pixel-perfect textures one minute and descend into a blurred mess the next.

Now this wasn’t the case all the time. Running GeForce Now on a Monday morning, for instance, was much more stable than using it on Friday evening (when a pop-up message warned me that the sheer number of people trying to use the service at that time might mean connection times were a bit slower than normal), and I also found the bitrate tended to be a bit hit and miss when my partner was playing something else downstairs in the living room. When it did drop, however, even if it was just for the briefest handful of seconds, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed – even though under ordinary circumstances my laptop would struggle to spit out a single frame at similar settings.

gamesread - Nvidia’s GeForce Now PC beta is much better at cloud gaming than you think

Doom, in all its demonic, perfectly streamed glory. (Click for full size)

This wasn’t much of a problem in games like Doom, Tacoma or Dishonored 2, as their broader colour palettes and stylised art direction aren’t so dependent on reproducing the absolute finest detail. In something like SpellForce 3, however, even a small drop in bitrate can quite literally spell disaster, as there were times when its reams of text became almost illegible. That’s a problem when you’re managing lots of units and need the game’s detailed UI to help send them into battle or manage your town’s building resources, and in cases like these, a 2.4GHz connection just isn’t really enough to produce the seamless experience you’d want from a cloud gaming service.

I also experienced the occasional latency issue in Doom. Again, most of the time it was absolutely fine. The frame rate never dropped below 60fps on Ultra/Nightmare settings at 1920×1080, but there were still a couple of times when it ground to a choppy, stuttery halt in big fight scenes, turning what should be fast, fluid shoot-outs into a disastrous slideshow.

gamesread - Nvidia’s GeForce Now PC beta is much better at cloud gaming than you think

This screenshot doesn’t quite capture the full extent of how blurry text can look in real life, but you really need a 5GHz wireless connection if you like playing strategy games. (Click for full size)

The latency and bitrate problems got a little better when I turned on the Ultra Streaming Mode option in the GeForce Now’s menu options, which is meant to adjust in-game settings to help minimise latency issues, but this was nothing compared to switching over to my router’s 5GHz network.

At 5GHz, those bitrate issues completely disappeared, restoring my faith that I didn’t, in fact, just need to go to the opticians and get some new glasses. SpellForce 3 ran like a beaut, rendering all its glorious text in picture-perfect detail, and it even ironed out most of Doom’s latency issues as well. I still encountered one instance of some quite nasty lag during a particularly busy demon brawl, but it recovered in a couple of seconds and never happened again in a single mission. To all intents and purposes, it really did feel like I was playing on a proper gaming PC – not an ultraportable laptop that’s never seen the inside of a dedicated graphics card its entire life.

That’s a pretty great feeling if I’m honest, and even those few seconds of lag over 5GHz weren’t enough to dim my overall view of GeForce Now. Even my own Nvidia GeForce GTX 970-equipped PC can’t run Doom without the odd frame rate plunge every now and again, and having the opportunity to play games like Dishonored 2, Okami HD, Destiny 2, Prey and Metal Gear Solid V on a laptop in any room in my house is about the closest I’m going to get to a PC version of the Nintendo Switch any time soon – which, let’s face it, is all anyone really wants in life. Steam Link comes close, admittedly, but that still requires you to sit down in front of a TV or monitor. GeForce Now, on the other hand, lets me fire up a game when I’m tucked up in bed.

gamesread - Nvidia’s GeForce Now PC beta is much better at cloud gaming than you think

The rough locations of GeForce Now’s data centres

Of course, this may change once Nvidia tell us how much this is all going to cost – the nice thing about the Switch, of course, is that you don’t have a running monthly fee for the privilege of portable play. But provided GeForce Now doesn’t start costing silly money, I think this really could be a force for good in PC gaming spheres and give older devices a new lease of life. It would certainly make me think twice about the need to upgrade my four-year old laptop and, given current graphics card prices, it might even work out to be just as cost-effective in the long run.

Look at it this way. A £650 graphics card would effectively cost £54-per-month over the course of the year, or £18-per-month over the course of three. Even if you don’t upgrade that graphics card for another five years (which works out at roughly £11-per-month), that might end up being roughly the same kind of money you’d spend on GeForce Now over the same time period – all without the hassle of game storage woes, install times, driver updates and constantly fiddling around with the graphics settings.

Only time will tell, of course, but right now, I’m feeling optimistic. A lot will depend on the kind and number of games Nvidia adds to GeForce Now in the future, but as long as it keeps up with new releases and provides enough variety across all the major genres, it might finally be the thing to restore cloud gaming’s good name. It’s certainly worth checking out if you’ve got the right internet connection and can bag a spot on the beta, and here’s hoping it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg when it finally launches.

For a full list of games currently supported by GeForce Now, head over to the next page.