to the moon, athena
AusGamers caught up with 2K Australia and Randy Pitchford to discuss the recently revealed Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and why Australia is making an impact on the moon. Click for more!
Welcome to Planet Nexus
We take a brief dip in the MMO pool with Carbine Studios' WildStar, and find out just what Planet Nexus has in store for us. Check it out in our preview for more!
oracle of ages
Batman: Arkham Knight is set to be Rocksteady's final in the Arkham series, so it's fitting that it's just so damn big. And Batmobiles. Nuff said. Click for more!
Trial By Dirt Bike
We take a look at the fourth title in the Trials series, and the first to hit next-gen platforms. Does it live up to the name? Find out in our review!
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
Post by Eorl @ 01:56pm 16/04/14 | 1 Comments
While Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment may have revealed the first paid content pack earlier this week, it seems the studio behind the mech FPS are still keen on keeping the game up-to-date with free game updates. Game director Steve Fukuda took to the game's official website to explain the three categories that these updates are split into, and just what features to expect in each one — including loadouts you can name and filters to search through Challenges.

The first-person shooter's first type of update is designed to "tend the garden and keep the weeds out," Fukuda wrote, and they take the form of "minor tweaks and fixes" like weapon balance and matchmaking changes. He refers to the second group as "convenience features," like the recent Party Colors feature that lets players identify others in the game and its lobby.

"The next update will bring more convenience features such as: the ability to rename your custom loadouts and to make custom loadouts specific to each game mode," he wrote, "a way to filter your Challenges by criteria such as 'closest to complete,' and displaying the final scoreboard from your previous match in the Last Game Summary so you can review the scores at your leisure in the lobby."

Earlier this week at PAX East we saw Respawn unveil Expedition, a three map content pack set for launch sometime next month. You can find out more on that over here, and for those who may have missed it, you can check out our review on Titanfall here.
Post by Eorl @ 01:34pm 16/04/14 | 2 Comments
Developer Fatshark has unveiled a new trailer to help celebrate the launch of their rather manly bearded medieval multiplayer title War of the Vikings, with an adequate amount of Vikings to boot.
Built on the same CQC Tech as War of the Roses; War of the Vikings delivers the next generation of Paradox’s close quarter combat focused brands that moves the setting to the Viking Age.
All of these factors enabled us to create a game experience that has an increased intensity, improved accessibility, and more intuitive combat experiences ensuring you’re always presented with interesting choices.
After being on Steam Early Access for a good six months, War of the Vikings continues Fatshark's close-quarter combat where War of the Roses left off, though with a larger amount of yelling and screaming. New additions to the game include customisable characters that allow you to be the warrior you enjoy, rather interesting historical inspired setting, both Vikings and Saxons races, and a new Arena Game Mode to compete with fellow players as you battle for glorious honour.

War of the Vikings is available exclusively on PC, with three editions to purchase via Fatshark's store. These include a rather high priced $174.99 Valhalla edition that offers a lifetime content pass, all items unlocked and some unique armour to don your bearded hero with. If your financial matters can't be solved by pillage and plundering, a standard edition is also available at $24.99.

Post by Eorl @ 12:05pm 16/04/14 | 0 Comments
League of Legends developer Riot Games has taken to their blog to reveal just some of the more recent changes that they've been making to their rather popular MOBA, namely in the AI bot development section.

Design Analyst RoamingNumeral headed the discussion, revealing that even high level players spend a lot of time practising against bots, and both co-op and PvP players have in the past asked for more “human”-like bots. Players requested less predictable bots that focus on last hits and combos rather than just “tougher” ones.
We surveyed both Coop-vs.-AI and PvP players to find out what they thought about bots. One very clear piece of feedback was a desire for more “human” bots: ones that are less predictable and focus on the same game elements that players do, such as last hitting and nailing their combos. Surprisingly, "tougher" bots was a less frequent response by comparison. Based on this data we set our sights on more-human bots as the overarching goal for this update, especially since such changes will make harder bots more interesting down the line.

Players also said that they thought bots didn’t seem to think about strength and danger the same way most players do. As it turns out, they were right.
One of the key improvements to come from this discussion is bot threat evaluation, which the team at Riot believes has changed for the better. Akin to first-person shooters, the previous systems looked at how much damage has recently been received and uses that to determine future threat. The new systems instead try to deal with scenarios by looking not only at "health but also how many spells the bot and any nearby enemies have available."

Of course, other requests from players weren't as easy to fix. One of the more common suggestions was allowing bots to jungle or wall jump, which Riot has said is actually impossible to do, due to the fact that bots don't actually know what walls are or that they even exist. Jungling shares a similar story, with bots unable to determine what paths are "safe" and what are optimal, unless the team completely re-designed the pathing and terrain systems.

Much more can be found in the full blog post, including a look at how these fixes were achieved, and also how Riot optimised bot code to compensate for their new processes.
Post by Dan @ 10:59am 16/04/14 | 0 Comments
AusGamers recently scored some more hands-on time with Evolve, the upcoming shooter from the Left 4 Dead creators at Turtle Rock that pits a four player cooperative group of hunter players against a player controlled monster creature.

In his second hands-on with the game (read the first here), Steve paws through the finer points of his experience with the latest build for us in this in-depth preview:
Evolve is the sort of game that gets your excitement glands pumping, and brings out a fair amount of geek in you, despite the desperation of the core narrative. But this speaks volumes about what Turtle Rock has brought to the table -- a veritable smorgasbord of fun and engagement.
Read on for all the details.

Evolve is due in Australian Spring 2014 (Northern Fall) on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Post by Eorl @ 10:46am 16/04/14 | 7 Comments
EA has sent word that DICE's third expansion for military FPS Battlefield 4 is now live for non-premium members across all platforms, a few weeks after the initial premium member launch.

Naval Strike brings four new maps with some watery themes, ten assignments, five new weapons, two gadgets and of course a hovercraft to manoeuvre around on. The expansion also features a new Carrier Assault mode, a remake of the classic Titan mode from Battlefield 2142 in which players will fight to sink the opposing sides ship while keeping their own afloat.

Premium members gained access to the DLC on March 25th, though PC and Xbox One players had to endure a slight delay due to some severe bugs popping up. Those interested in grabbing the DLC will find it available at $14.99, and is now available across all platforms. Check out the launch trailer below to see it in action.

Post by Dan @ 10:42am 16/04/14 | 1 Comments
Publisher Focus Home Interactive have released a new trailer for Blood Bowl 2, the upcoming sequel that once again pits the fantasy races of the Warhammer license against each other in American football.

The publisher is promoting the clip a "the very first ingame match of Blood Bowl 2 on video", but it doesn't look very representative of actual gameplay, but it is rendered in the game engine at least.
The commentary is provided by the double act and undisputed kings of the mic, Jim Johnson and Bob Bifford, and this first Blood Bowl 2 video sees two iconic Blood Bowl teams enter the pitch; the Humans of the Reikland Reavers and the orcs of Gouged Eye will kick the next season off that promises to be sensational! This video highlights the impressive and scalable stadiums in Blood Bowl 2, previously only seen in screenshots, and now showcases the meticulous team modelling and animations along with the dynamic cameras that will pack more punch to the matches.
Blood Bowl 2 is expected to launch in 2014 on PC, but a more specific release date has not yet been confirmed.

Post by Dan @ 10:26am 16/04/14 | 2 Comments
Million dollar milestones have been losing their significance with Star Citizen passing another one every few weeks, but for the $42 million mark at least, previous backers will be able to bring a towel.

There's a few less exciting non-cosmetic features promised as well, which you can read in Chris Robert's detailed blog post, but we know that you all really just want to know more about the towel (thanks Polygon):
Everyone who backs before we hit $42 million will also receive a towel for their hangar. Don’t explore the galaxy without it!

The team has put together some preliminary art for the towel, included in this post. Use your Observist towels with pride, they’re only available to backers who supported us before this level! (Just like Arena Commander itself, we’ve tried to come up with fiction to go with the towel: it’s the incentive reward your character got for subscribing to The Observist in the first place.)
The developer's sights are now set on the $44 million stretch goal, for which fans have voted for an additional hangar room.

The first spaceship combat live gameplay of Star Citizen was recently demonstrated at PAX East 2014, and some small protoyping portions of the game have already been made available to its crowdfunding backers, but a more complete release date has not yet been set.
Post by Eorl @ 09:54am 16/04/14 | 3 Comments
Hip hop legend Snoop Dogg stars in a newewst Call of Duty: Ghosts DLC, this time bringing his rather unique and famous vocals to the shooter in the form of a multiplayer announcer DLC pack.

Not only does Snoop Dogg say the typical lines you've heard before, he also adds in a bit of his own flavour that will definitely spice up your multiplayer games. From "Ballistic Vest ready, those are some fine ass threads" to "squad member active, a brother from another mother," you won't want to be missing these rather unique voice overs.

The new announcer pack comes alongside the announcement that Call of Duty fans will be seeing the return of Task Force 141 John “Soap” MacTavish, a protagonist of the Modern Warfare games. The Soap Legend Pack contains a Soap Multiplayer Character and unique Personalization Pack featuring a themed weapon camo, reticle, patch, playercard, and background.

The $3 Snoop Dogg voice pack arrives on Xbox 360 and Xbox One on April 22nd with other releases to follow. The Soap Legend DLC will be available on the same day at $2, with a host of other customisation packs announced as well.

Post by Dan @ 09:38am 16/04/14 | 0 Comments
Interceptor Entertainment, the developer currently embroiled in a lawsuit with Gearbox Software over the IP rights of the Duke Nukem franchise has launched a new teaser website for its upcoming game at nogumneeded.com.

Visitors to the previous teaser site alloutofgum.com -- which had been established by the developer to promote what was supposed to be a Duke Nukem themed real-time strategy game titled Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction -- are now being redirected to nogumneeded, where a single image of a bomb with a 29 day fuse can be found.

Although we can't confirm at this time, obvious speculation is that Interceptor has likely overahuled its unannounced Duke Nukem game to remove traces of the infringing license and launch it as a different property while the lawsuit is ongoing. Whatever it is, judging from the teaser bomb timer, we'll be finding out next month.
Post by Eorl @ 09:32am 16/04/14 | 0 Comments
Guild Wars 2 players will be happy to know that the long-awaited April 2014 Feature Pack has now arrived for ArenaNet's buy-to-play MMO, bring a number of updates "focused on features and game systems."

The features are large and the patch notes even larger, all of which are available free of charge as per the usual Guild Wars 2 content system. Of note, changes include account-wide wardrobes that will make it easier to customize your look at any time and to share cosmetic items across all the characters on your account, the introduction of megaservers (only in level 1–15 maps, main cities, and the PvP lobby) and of course a huge amount of social play improvements plus class changes.

All this and more can be read through the April 2014 Feature Pack splash page, with the rather large patch notes available over here. According to ArenaNet we can expect these rather large feature packs to become the norm in-between living world releases, so expect the next one sometime next year if history is to repeat itself.
Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Post by Eorl @ 05:19pm 15/04/14 | 36 Comments
It is never easy reviewing an MMO, and it's even more difficult when its one so vast as The Elder Scrolls Online, Zenimax Online's newest MMO take on the already expansive single-player series. The difficulty comes about because the environment of an MMO is never as static as a single-player title. Content evolves, expansions release and patches can change the very nature of how you play.

So, to help us take a look into the world of Tamriel and what it holds for both old and new fans of the Elder Scrolls world is our own MMO guru James Pinnell, who finds that while the game may have a hard time translating the single-player aspects, it does a good job at bringing to the table a unique and interesting take on the MMO genre.
If you’re a diehard fan of TES lore, there is certainly more than enough here to keep your invested. But the lack of new mechanics, interesting side activities, buggy combat and generic PVE does not help its case. Under the surface, not enough has changed to the formula that separates The Elder Scrolls Online from existing free or established properties, and I would find it genuinely hard to recommend to anyone seeking an experience outside of a cosy, well presented, box.
Read on for the full review of The Elder Scrolls Online.
Post by Eorl @ 04:05pm 15/04/14 | 2 Comments
Along with traditional video formats, Atlantic Productions has revealed plans to release its upcoming documentary, Conquest of the Skies, in a special edition designed specifically for the Oculus Rift VR headset.

"We're now filming for the Oculus Rift, so when we filmed our recent flight in Borneo, we filmed with an eight-camera rig, so you got the full [360 degree] experience," said Atlantic's commercial director John Morris in an interview with Real Screen. Not only will the film be including new technology, but also the rather well-known Sir David Attenborough, who many would know from the vast catalogue of documentaries he has starred in.

Conquest of the Skies is currently filming in Borneo, and is slated for a debut broadcast later this year.
Post by Eorl @ 03:11pm 15/04/14 | 1 Comments
Popular Twitch broadcaster Lirik has had the chance to sit down and chat with Sony Online Entertainment developer Jimmy Whisenhunt on their most recently announced title, H1Z1.

Unveiled last week, H1Z1 is an MMO that allows players to take on the role of an apocalypse survivor who is in a world that is filled with zombies. Players will find a number of similar mechanics to titles like DayZ and Rust said Whisenhunt, however with the obvious SOE twist to them. Among these changes include the use of the PlanetSide 2 engine to create a vast and open-world, where the team plan on expanding to cover all of America.

Reddit user a_monkie was able to summarise the entire interview, which clocks in at just over 50 minutes. Of interest, Whisenhunt mentioned that like past survival games H1Z1 will drop player loot once they die, enabling opportunists to take what they can. Other gameplay features include Rust level crafting as "the goal," dynamic weather, wildlife and hunting, FOV sliders for those in need and gun recoil similar to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

SOE's John Smedley last week revealed that an alpha can be expected sometime in the next few weeks, and Whisenhunt noted that the alpha will be "more of a way to find what will be fun and what to add." Interestingly, the developers are working on a bodily harm and injuries system, which should hopefully make for a more realistic take on the genre.

Gameplay for H1Z1 has yet to appear, though Whisenhunt has stated on Reddit that we can expect an unscripted and unedited Twitch livestream sometime during the early morning of April 18th for Australia. You can find the full list of features coming to H1Z1 over here, or check out Lirik's full interview below.



Post by Eorl @ 02:19pm 15/04/14 | 0 Comments
The first-person, survival horror game Grave is headed to Xbox One through its ID@Xbox program for indie games development, the game's developer, Broken Windows Studios, announced.

Set in a desert, Grave's gameplay follows a day-night cycle, with terrifying enemies appearing at night and, when the sun rises, new environmental features such as houses are procedurally generated. During the day cycle, the player collects items useful to survival; as light repels the monsters, it means finding things such as gasoline and matches to create fire.

"The world of Grave is a surrealist dreamscape inspired by the work of Salvador Dali. The world features an expansive wasteland with pockets of strange regions, artifacts and misplaced objects," Broken Windows writes on the Kickstarter page.

"As you explore the world of Grave, you will find that things are not exactly as they seem. A world previously seen as empty reveals itself to have other real people living within it. Although the creatures are frightening, their existence seems to have some larger, yet untold significance. The rest is left for the player to discover."

You can find a playable demo over here if you want to scare yourself, and the GDC 2014 reveal trailer below for those who would rather not put themselves through the horror. Those looking to help the project move along can find their Kickstarter project underway with a goal of $30,000.

Post by Eorl @ 02:06pm 15/04/14 | 0 Comments
Xbox One’s April firmware update has now been given the greenlight, heading onto all console with a number of rumoured features now being confirmed in the final batch of patch notes.

The two biggest are friend “toasts” which let you know when people on our friends list come online and improvements to Game DVR compression quality. The update also brings visual improvements that will let you know which games and apps are being updated or have recently a patch.

This update also includes Kinect voice and motion improvements, blu-ray support for 50 Hz content, controller and headset adapter firmware updates to reduce static and improve connectivity, and silent rebooting after update if you use the “instant on” feature. Check out the full patch notes via Major Nelson's blog.
Post by Eorl @ 12:18pm 15/04/14 | 6 Comments
Crytek has confirmed that the original Crysis and Crysis 2 will be losing their online multiplayer modes when GameSpy is shutdown on May 31st (vaia CVG. The games join a rather long list that will go offline come the closure.

While titles like Battlefield will be moving to a new home thanks to DICE and EA, Crytek has said that it will not be doing the same with its Crysis titles. “The single-player campaigns in both games are unaffected by this transition, and the multiplayer mode in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation3 versions of Crysis 2 remain playable,” reads a statement on the German developer’s official Crysis forum.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has taken up arms in Crysis and Crysis 2′s multiplayer modes in the last few years, and apologize to the small but dedicated community of PC players who are still actively competing against one another.”
Post by Eorl @ 11:58am 15/04/14 | 0 Comments
PlayStation 4 launch FPS Killzone: Shadow Fall has been updated with a new King of the Hill multiplayer mode, community management intern Stefan Satchkov announced via the game's website.

King of the Hill Warzone will support up to 16 players in matches that feature shorter respawn times and an upped point limit; players must now have 250 points, rather than 100, to capture an area. The new game mode also includes collectible crates and is available on all maps.

"This new addition aims to create chaos," Satchkov wrote. "The fast-paced action will prove challenging, but shouldn't deter all you challengers to the throne. The constant shift of battle locations will keep you on your edge and bring out the best in your game."
Post by Dan @ 11:38am 15/04/14 | 0 Comments
Developer Zenimax Online recently revealed the first upcoming content expansion for its freshly launched MMO The Elder Scrolls Online as an adventure zone titled Craglorn. Elaborating on the new content's features and requirements, the developer has now posted several responses to community questions, explaining the kind of groups Craglorn is being tailored toward and how it fits within the game:
Does Craglorn have separate instances for each alliance or do all three alliances intermingle? - LonePirate

Craglorn will function in a manner similar to how Coldharbour works now. Each alliance will go to an identical version.

Did you add more Veteran Ranks? There was a part in the video where the character was Veteran Rank 12! - Austin Parker

Craglorn and the Trials will range from Veteran Rank 11 to Veteran Rank 12, but you will be able to visit at Veteran Rank 1 or above.

Are Adventure Zones instanced to your group? - Magnussen

An Adventure Zone is a large area where you can explore and meet other groups along the way. The overland terrain isn’t instanced. However, much of the content you’ll find in Craglorn, like delves and points of interest, are instanced for your group.
Read the full Q&A for more information.

Craglorn is due to launch later this month. If you misssed it, watch the trailer below.

Post by Eorl @ 10:33am 15/04/14 | 21 Comments
After releasing a rather pretty looking trailer showing off all the features you can expect when utilising an Nvidia GPU on the PC platform, Watch Dogs Creative Director Jonathan Morin has taken to Twitter (via DualShockers) to offer some solid advice on what PC players can expect with their specs.

According to Morin, a lot of different specs will be able to run the game "at high level of detail, but for ultra you’ll need at least an Intel Core i7-4770K with a GeForce 780." Those wanting to get the exact quality from the Nvidia Tech trailer will be looking at throwing the big dollars down, with an Intel Core i7-3930k and a GeForce Titan used to record the footage. My GTX 570 is crying in the corner right now.

Luckily, it seems like AMD folks will be able to enjoy most of the quality enhancements. Morin's Twitter post revealed that while AMD video card users won't be able to enjoy Nvidia's TXAA (Temporal Anti-Aliasing), the HBAO+ (Horizon Based Ambient Occlusion) technology, while developed by Nvidia, will still work on AMD cards. Morin also weighed in on his view of why Watch Dogs is different from other open world games:
I think the biggest difference is how you interact with the world through hacking, profiling & seamless online. Pretty much everything in the game is structured around our hyper-connected city. This brings your brain to consider very different solutions in all situations. It makes you think/play in a very fresh/new ways.
If that wasn't an overload of information for you, according to Morin's Twitter when invading an enemy you will have an option to actually select how your victim sees you, allowing you to be creative and unique for each invasion.

Watch Dogs is planned for release come May 27th for PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. A Wii U version is also planned for release sometime this year. Check out the Nvidia trailer below to see the PC version in action.

Post by Dan @ 09:57am 15/04/14 | 0 Comments
A handful of new screenshots from Evolve escaped from PAX East over the weekend, offering another glimpse of the forthcoming cooperative shooter in the works at Left 4 Dead developer Turtle Rock.

The set of six new stills shows off an assortment of the games predatory wildlife and the firearms used to do battle with them. There's also one image of one of the game's menu screens, showing a couple of upgrade options for the player in control of the monster.

Evolve is due in Australian Spring 2014 (Northern Fall) on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

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