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.

gamesread | Crafty farming life sim RPG My Time At Portia enters early access

gamesread | Crafty farming life sim RPG My Time At Portia enters early access

Post-apocalyptic life usually seems stressful but it actually looks quite cheery in My Time At Portia, a new Stardew Valley-ish craft-o-explore-a-life sim RPG which hit early access today. Sure, the skyline is dotted with overgrown skyscrapers and the dungeons beneath the town house biomechanical monsters, but aside from that it looks pleasant enough as we farm, craft, make friends, and all that. The full version is due later this year–and I’d rather wait for that myself, as I tend to with singleplayer games–but if you want to visit Portia now you can. It does also have an old-ish demo to try first.

The end of the world as we know it came and went, and everyone feels fine. My Time At Portia has us visiting our father’s old workshop to take over and build it back up, like some other farming game you might now. We’ll craft, farm, mine, fish, befriend, fall in love, fight, attend festivals, and engage in other Stardew/Harvest Moon-y activities.

According to developers Pathea Games, My Time At Portia is expected to launch properly in about nine months. They estimate it present has “up to 25 hours of content, with lots to craft, a huge amount of story, commissions to fulfil, and areas to explore.” Over the course of early access, they plan to add new areas, commissions, side-quests, storybits, and minigames, as well as the ability to raise and ride animals. Frankly, I’m not interested until I can ride a cow.

If you want in now, My Time At Portia is £16/€20/$20 on Steam Early Access. It’s published by Team17, the Worms folks. An old alpha version is still available to try on Steam and Itch.

Staxel brings more farm-o-craft antics to early access – gamesread.com

Staxel brings more farm-o-craft antics to early access - gamesread.com

It’s typical, eh: you wait ages for a Stardew-o-Harvest-a-Crossing crafty farming daily life sim, then two come along to early access at once. My Time At Portia today delivers a cheery vision of the post-apocalypse, while Staxel here has more of a fairytale vibe and Minecraft-y style, not to mention online multiplayer. Yes, it is weird that neither crafty farmy miner has flinched in this game of chicken. But hey, they’re here now. Let’s peek at Staxel.

Staxel is going for a first-person Minecraft-ish voxely vibe as we- lawks, look at that, it’s is also about arriving in a village to restore a run-down farm to its former etc. Hey, I have seen entire genres built upon far worse stories. As is the way, we’ll get to grow crops, raise animals, expand the farm, befriend villagers, and so on. And as you might guess from the Minecraft-y look, it also lets players reshape the world block-by-block.

A little touch I like the look of: crafting tables include actual tools such as a saw that drags wood through while planking it.

Early access is planned to continue “well into late 2018”, or perhaps longer depending on what players want. The official word is that the makers “plan to increase the number and scale of quests, add more interaction with NPCs, and give more focus to animals and husbandry.” Is that animal husbandry or- ah, maybe I don’t want to know.

Staxel costs £15/€20/$20 on Steam and the Humble Store (who give a Steam key anyway). It’s made by Plukit and published by Humble Bundle on their own label.

gamesread – Meet the Cast of FIFA 18's The Journey: Hunter Returns

Posted October 11th at 5:00pm.

A number of familiar faces are back in FIFA 18’s The Journey: Hunter Returns, along with a whole new set of characters that Alex encounters on his way to global stardom. The latest chapter in Alex’s adventure takes him from a holiday in Brazil, glamorous preseason tour in Los Angeles, . Here are the actors and professional athletes you’ll be meeting as you live out the story with Alex in FIFA 18:

Tomiwa  Edun (as Alex Hunter)
The star of FIFA 17’s The Journey,  Tomiwa is an accomplished British film and television actor from Lagos,  Nigeria. His previous credits include Doctor Who, Bates Motel, Elementary, and Merlin. Edun studied classics at Cambridge and acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, after which he starred in a number of Shakespearean plays around the UK before breaking into film and television. Follow Tomiwa on Twitter and Instagram. 

 

Chris  Walters (as Danny Williams)
Chris, who also played the role  of Alex’s best friend Danny in FIFA 17, is a Vancouver-based actor from London. Trained in acting at The Poor School in London, Chris had a prolific theatre career before breaking into screen acting. He has appeared in independent films like Shooting the Musical and FSM, as well as television shows and short films, in the UK and  Canada. Follow Chris on Twitter. 

 

Lisa  Solberg (as Kim Hunter)
FIFA 18’s newest star, Lisa Solberg is a Vancouver-based actress originally from  Sydney, Australia. Prior to her role as Kim in The Journey: Hunter  Returns, Lisa’s first major screen debut was opposite Canadian country music artist Brett Kissel in the video for his song “Airwaves.” She has also appeared in short films such as The Big Cut and Erebus. Follow Lisa on Instagram.

 

Lewis Reeves (as Gareth Walker)
Reprising his role as Gareth from FIFA 17’s The Journey, Lewis is an accomplished film and television actor from Doncaster. He earned his BA in acting from the Royal Welsh School of Music and Drama, and later kicked off his West End theater career in 2012 with a role in Our Boys, which led to a starring role in My Night With Reg at the Donmar Warehouse. Lewis’ theater success earned him numerous television roles in the UK and beyond, including appearances in Misfits, Law & Order: UK, Unforgotten, and Crazyhead. Follow Reeves on Twitter. 

 

Sharon Duncan-Brewster (as Catherine Hunter)
Sharon also returns as Alex’s mother Catherine in FIFA 18, again bringing her vast acting experience to the series. A London native, Sharon snagged her first big role as Crystal Gordon in UK television prison drama Bad Girls in 1999. She has since picked up many TV and film credits, including Waking the Dead, EastEnders, Doctor Who, and Star Wars: Rogue One. Follow Sharon on Twitter.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo
Not much needs to be said about FIFA 18’s  cover star, as Ronaldo is one of the greatest footballers in the history  of the sport. The Portuguese winger has won nearly every individual and  team achievement out there, including four Ballon d’Or trophies, four UEFA  Champions League medals, and a UEFA European Championship medal. He holds  numerous records for both club and country, and he’s likely to break even more before his career is finished.

 

Antoine Griezmann
A breakout star in recent seasons for  Atlético Madrid and the French national team, Griezmann is an extremely  talented and technically-gifted forward. From flying down the wing to send  in crosses to teammates to blasting shots into the top corner from outside  the box, Griezmann never fails to entertain on the pitch.

 

Dele Alli
A two-time PFA Young Player of the  Year awardee, Alli has been sensational for Tottenham Hotspur and the  England national team in recent years. Known for his technically  impressive goals and abundance of confidence on the pitch, Alli is the  perfect representative for the next generation of English football.

 

Thomas Müller
A World Cup winner with Germany and  longtime staple with his club Bayern Munich, Müller has reached the upper  echelons of the sport—and he’s not even 30. Müller is a brilliant  playmaker, known for his intelligence, versatility, and composure under pressure.

 

James Harden
The famously-bearded Houston  Rockets shooting guard is a five-time consecutive NBA All-Star and Olympic  gold medalist. A first-round pick by the Oklahoma Thunder in 2009 after a  successful college career at Arizona State, Harden led the Thunder to the  2012 NBA Finals before being traded to the Rockets.

 

Rio Ferdinand
An accomplished former centre-back for  Manchester United and England, Ferdinand is now a well-respected, if occasionally combative, football  pundit and commentator. Known as a strong leader and defensive stalwart during his  career, Ferdinand led Manchester United to a staggering 14 trophies during  his tenure at the club, including six Premier League titles and one UEFA  Champions League title. 

 

Gyasi Zardes
An accomplished Homegrown Player for the LA Galaxy,  Zardes has gone from a breakout young MLS star to an accomplished US  national team veteran in just a few years. Zardes is known for his  incredible pace, which he often uses to beat defenders and latch onto  through balls or burst down the wing to send a cross in for his teammates  or cut inside and take a shot on goal. 

 


FIFA 18 is Available Now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.  Conditions and restrictions apply.  See https://www.easports.com/fifa/fifa-18-game-and-offer-disclaimers for details. 

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gamesread – 2018 Battle Brawl Tournament Registration Open

The next great Blade & Soul tournament begins!

The 2018 Battle Brawl tournament is getting underway, and signups are now open!

Team captains have from December 20 until January 5 to register their teams. Like last year’s Regional Championship series, the Battle Brawl will see registered teams of three players earning Fighting Points via in-game Arena ratings, competing in 1v1 and 3v3 Mix’n’Match format qualifiers, and ultimately getting a shot at a crowd-funded prize pool in the live Battle Brawl tournament. Two teams each from North America and Europe will ultimately be flown out to Orange County, California to go head to head in the finals, and we’ll find out who’s really the best in the West.

Register Now

 

Be sure to read the official rules for Battle Brawl for registration and competition restrictions, and visit the FAQ for additional details.

gamesread | Unknown Pleasures: 5 great new Steam games you might have missed

gamesread | Unknown Pleasures: 5 great new Steam games you might have missed

Welcome back to Unknown Pleasures, our weekly round-up of hidden gems released with little-to-no fanfare on Steam over the past seven days.

This week: cowboy vs space-whale, voxel swordplay, deft Gameboy throwback and 6 degrees of freedom space-racing.

Quick note – this’ll be the last Unknown Pleasures of 2017, due to that whole Christmas and New Year lark. It will return in 2018.

Violet Cycle

$9.99/£7.19, early access

Hacky-slashy, voxelly, procgen, isometric roguelike, which puts me variously in mind of Tokyo 42, Voxatron and Necropolis, despite being very different to all the above. It’s a game that’s really all about the dash button, used both to pass obstacles and to say alive during sword-based combat, but the wrinkle is that dashing and slashing build up ‘heat.’ Too much heat and you overheat, which leaves you semi-paralysed and vulnerable, be it during a fight or while trying to cross some vast gulf.

The fighting system is fairly elaborate though, a dance of timing, swiping, blocking and dodging, as well as mid-air tussles. The controls feel a little bit off – or maybe it’s that the wash of colour and abstraction makes it a little tougher to get the measure of than is entirely helpful – but I’m hopeful that it’ll get a good polish during early access.

It’s characterful and strange as it is, with incidental dialogue that teases and begs, and as you see it’s got a distinctive, chunky-yet-eerie look. A good time!

Madcap Castle

$9.99/£7.19

In almost any other situation, I’d stop playing this and start losing my mind after three minutes of death-by-jumping. However, I am a sucker for a Gameboy aesthetic, because, with depressing inevitability, that was the only console I owned as a callow youth. But I returned to the Gameboy earlier this year, and was genuinely wowed by how much developers managed to do with so little. Madcap Castle’s no exception, wringing an unbelievable amount of variety and precision out of the misadventures of a little wizard dude who primarily has to jump to avoid various lethal obstacles.

Charmingly, he also picks up different spells depending on the level, each of which essentially solves a navigational puzzle. Each level is a single screen that only takes a few seconds to complete if you do it right. But you won’t do it right. You’ll die a dozen times first. And that’s just in the early levels.

My mind tells me I should hate it, because jump’n’fail is my own personal hell. But! The steady stream of remarkable ingenuity, combined with the simplicity and characterfulness of that aesthetic and the two-button controls, makes this an incredibly charming and vibrant form of masochism. Someone port this onto a cart for me pronto, please.

Oh – this one also has a demo, by the way.

Forestation

$15.99/£12.39

It’s the last Minimalist Puzzle Game Of The Week this year! We made it! Truth be told, Forestation is desperately overpriced for what it is, and it doesn’t help that it takes for too long to get going. The first couple of dozen levels are a cakewalk. The idea is you plant trees by drawing one, uninterrupted path across eligible tiles, so it’s fairly familiar ‘find the one route that doesn’t involve passing the same title twice’ fare. But the trees are good – it makes me think of some olden, half-forgotten RTS, in a Settlers vein.

Naturally, it gets more elaborate (and thus more satisfying), including folding in trick tiles, as it wears on, and there are secrets too. But, as much I hate to say it, this should be a couple of bucks or less if wants an audience.

Arrowpoint

$0.79/£0.99

Endless runner meets archery game meets Western meets, er, giant flying whale. Very short but with a price to suit, and more importantly bags of surprisingly changeable atmosphere and a degree of thrillpower that the phrase ‘shooting floating targets at speed from horseback’ roundly fails to evoke.

Dev Spotted Zebra has currently challenged themselves to create a game a week, but they really hit the bullseye with this tiny delight.

Orbital Racer

$12.99/£11.39

Mario Kart vs Elite, which is to say a racing game set in space. But not pretend ‘actually just big metal tunnels’ space – actual, open, six degrees of freedom, zero-g space, in which you’re tussling with the physics of spaceflight if you want to stop yourself drifting thousands of metres off-course. This gives it a distinctly different – forgive me – atmosphere to the racing norm – the ‘course’ feels enormous.

Orbital Racer looks and sounds the part, and has a choice between arcade and simulation controls, so it’s as hard as you want to make it, basically. It gets a little samey, and the structuring of races as ring-shaped checkpoints brings back bad Superman 64 memories, but it certainly makes a impressive fist of blending two very disparate types of movement.

Pick of the week for this last Unknown Pleasures of 2017 is… hell, I’m gonna go with Madcap Castle. Gameboy4eva! It does so much so well with so little, and does what it does so well that I don’t hate it even though I fully expected to.

gamesread – Coco Review


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Seize your moment.

Both figuratively and literally, Coco is Pixar’s most human film. The movie delivers a compelling story centered around memorable characters that feel alive — even as they’re taking a journey through the Land of the Dead. The animation is top-notch as well, which adds to Coco’s effectiveness in telling its story.

The central conflict in Coco revolves around aspiring musician Miguel (newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) gaining new insights about his family’s history and their relationship to music. Miguel’s hometown has a rich musical history, but his family views music as a curse. Instead of singing songs and playing instruments, Miguel must put all of his energy into the family shoe business, which he despises. Miguel’s search for musical independence away from his family is deeply engaging.


Exit Theatre Mode

Throughout his adventure, Miguel must come to grips with the knowledge that what he thinks he knows about his ancestors may be inaccurate. The pains of growing up and learning harsh truths are powerful obstacles for Miguel to confront in the Land of the Dead. Miguel’s quest is about so much more than music. The theme of family and its importance is integral to Coco’s story, and whenever Miguel loses site of its significance, things go horribly wrong.

Gonzalez is incredible as Miguel, displaying a wide range of skills for an actor so young. He manipulates his voice in multiple ways to convey sadness or joy, and it speaks to his transformative abilities as an entertainer. An example of this can be found when Miguel is playing his guitar and singing along with his favorite musician, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). As he sings, the longing in his voice for a life outside the confines of his hometown is palpable. His emotions come through with each note that he belts out. There’s not a single moment where his performance falters.

Miguel’s companion through most of his journey in the Land of the Dead is Hector, played by the talented Gael Garcia Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle). Like Gonzalez, Bernal is fantastic, as he deftly creates Coco’s most complex character. He’s equal parts charm and insecurity, but to delve deeper into why the character is so rich would be to invite spoilers. The Mexican actor gives a weight and distinction to Hector’s voice that makes him seem wiser than his years. For someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience in voice-over work, Bernal distinguishes himself here.

The directors made an interesting and successful creative decision to include the prevalent use of Spanish language without including subtitles. It’s used in just the right way, so the viewer won’t feel lost in the moment, and with enough context clues for the audience to understand what is happening even if they don’t know what is actually being said. It’s one of many effective ways that the filmmakers embrace and celebrate the movie’s Mexican roots.


Exit Theatre Mode

As fine as many of the voice actors are, none of this gorgeous tale would work so well if not for its stellar animation. Disney Animation and Pixar keep one-upping each other year after year: Disney’s Moana was dazzling, but Pixar’s Coco kicks it up several notches with character models that look almost too real. The way the orange glow of the candles at a cemetery casts shadows over the faces of people visiting their loved ones is simply exquisite. Every frame — from Miguel’s hometown to the Land of the Dead — is brilliantly realized. The fact that you can see every wrinkle that outlines Mama Coco’s face in particular highlights the level of depth the animators are able to create. It’s scary at times how good Coco looks.

The Verdict

Pixar’s journey to the Land of the Dead was an ambitious undertaking, even for a studio that’s produced some of the best-animated films of the past 20 years. But Coco wonderfully explores familial themes, identity, and learning what it means to grow up in a world that isn’t perfect. Miguel’s trip is a representation of what it means to grow up and learn the truths about how life works outside the safe confines of home. Hector, Miguel and even the slobbery dog Dante are all characters I won’t soon forget.

IN THIS ARTICLE


Disney·Pixar’s Coco


Releases November 22, 2017

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