If you’ve been waiting for the return of Destiny’s notorious PvP mode, prepare to wait a lot longer.
Bungie, the developers of the franchise, announced that
the Trials of the Nine crucible mode will be taking an extended vacation until
further notice. Admitting to the dissatisfaction of the game mode in the second
iteration, Bungie has decided the best course of action is to further delay its
“With the introduction of Trials of the Nine in Destiny 2, we made a few changes to the formula which never really hit the same mark…Until we have a solid prototype for a pinnacle PvP endgame activity, Trials is staying on hiatus indefinitely and will not return over the course of the next few seasons. When we have those new plans ready, we’ll be sure to share them with you.”
This news came as both a shock and unwelcomed surprise as players anxiously waited for Trials to return. While no set date was ever given by Bungie, many anticipated a return of the PvP mode sooner than later. Prior to the launch of Destiny 2: Forsaken, Bungie made a series of announcements detailing their plan to rework some of the systems and features the game currently offered, with Trials being the most noteworthy. With the fate of Trials remaining to be seen, long time fans and players of the title have taken to social media to voice their displeasure.
Leading up to its launch in May 2015, Bungie introduced Trials of Osiris as a new PvP experience and changed the franchise for the better. Placing guardians in a unique 3v3 elimination mode, players went head to head in hopes of achieving the ultimate victory: securing 9 consecutive wins to visit the elusive Lighthouse. Additionally, players were able to obtain unique gear and weapons that doubled as trophies to symbolize their achievements. This format was changed during the launch of Destiny 2, which renamed the game mode to Trials of the Nine, among other changes that were initially accepted but later rejected by the community.
One infamous change was the inclusion of a short cut scene that highlighted the teams and their loadouts prior to the start of the match. While these introductions were initially accepted as they removed the need to navigate through menus to see what your opponents were equipped with, they were later rejected by the community as time went on. Although still helpful, the absence of a “skip” option brought frustration to players, especially to those that were that were being matched with the same rivals and found the clip to be repetitive and unnecessary.
Another change that affected the game mode was a change in the process of obtaining the elusive Trials gear and weapons. As an effort to double down on their plan to integrate more clan features within the game, Bungie allowed players to essentially obtain Trials gear without having to ever play a match. By joining a clan, members that were skillful enough to win 7 matches without obtaining 3 losses allowed for the whole clan to receive a “Trials Engram”, which would contain either an armor piece or a weapon. Due to excessive feedback, Bungie affirmed to the Destiny community that Trials gear should only be obtained by participating in the game mode and rolled back this feature.
While the absence of a Trials game mode will continue to be felt, the effects of Bungie’s decision to further delay its return will soon been revealed in the coming months. Since its introduction, the game mode has helped the Destiny franchise in times of content drought and provided players with a recurring challenge every week. With future content coming on March 5 during the “Season of the Drifter”, we’ll have to see if that content will bring a similar challenge and engagement to the game as Trials once did.
Do you miss Trials? Does Destiny need a mode like this to maintain its playerbase? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.
Far Cry games are all about gratification. You get to run, drive, and fly around beautiful open worlds, armed to the teeth with military-grade weaponry, gunning down the bad guys like an unstoppable killing machine. It feels good, but the games just sort of hand you everything. Not Far Cry 2, though. Far Cry 2 fights back, and that’s why it’s the best game in the series.
Far Cry always struggles with blending gritty realism and survival with lighthearted open world fun, and while later games lean more toward open world shenanigans, Far Cry 2 is all grit, all the time. Set in an unnamed African country embroiled in a bloody civil war, Far Cry 2 never lets the player feel safe. And that’s brilliant.
The setting itself plays a huge role in that. Being a video game from 2008, you better believe Far Cry 2 is drowning in different shades of brown and gray. That’s not to say it isn’t pretty, there are still stunning vistas and landscapes to behold, but the environment feels oppressive. Other games in the series try to do this by just throwing a bunch of wildlife at you, but I never felt as unwelcome in the mountains of Kyrat as I did roaming the jungles and savannas of Far Cry 2.
The gameplay is a far cry from other Far Cry games too (I apologize for that joke). 3, 4, and 5 supply you with shiny new assault rifles tricked out with multiple attachments, alongside buckets of ammunition. Far Cry 2’s weaponry is held together with duct tape. Your guns will jam, and they will jam at the worst times. Your guns will fall apart in your hands. These are not the pristine firearms of later Far Cry games, these are heavily used, poorly maintained weapons caked in dirt and grime, and you’ll have to work if you want better equipment. These guns aren’t the laser beams most other first person shooters give you either, you have to manage and control your aim to land shots. It’s tough, and combat is incredibly tense because of it.
There’s also the issue of malaria. Very early in the game, you contract malaria, and you need pills to suppress the negative effects. Pills, however, are scarce, and the malaria stays remains an issue throughout the entirety of the game. You’ll feel the effects of it at random, even in combat, and you’ll lose control until you take a pill, or pass out and wake up at the doctor’s if you’re out. Far Cry 2 very rarely lets things go according to plan. You may think you’ve planned out the perfect outpost takedown, but then malaria strikes, or your gun james in the firefight, or there’s a fire, or the car you planned to escape with won’t start. This forces you to react and respond, and it makes for incredibly engaging gameplay.
The buddy system is another one of Far Cry 2’s dynamic systems. Rather than playing a predetermined, voiced character, you choose one of nine mercenaries. The other eight aren’t just forgotten, though, they’re out running around like you are, and they’ll even help you out in combat, give you side missions, and save you before you die. Buddies can die, too, and you make even have to be the one to put them down. The buddy system creates memorable emergent stories. Maybe a buddy swooped in and rescued you after a malaria attack left you vulnerable. Maybe a buddy called you on your way to a mission and offered an alternative means of completion. The buddy system and the sandbox Far Cry 2 provides creates highly personal stories that you’ll want to share with people, just like something out of Breath of the Wild. Far Cry 4 and 5’s Guns for Hire system is just a hollow shell of what the buddy system once was. Sure, Hurk’s lines might get a chuckle out of me every now and then, but that’s nothing compared to the time I had to mercy kill my buddy Warren.
Far Cry 2 also excels in its UI. For the most part, there’s never anything on your screen. When you shoot you’ll get an ammo count and health info, but that’s pretty much it. The lack of UI really helps immerse you in the world, and, like the Metro games, the map is a physical item you have to look at, and it makes navigating more fun than just pressing start and placing a waypoint. The map might seem like a small detail, but it really adds a whole new layer to the experience.
Of course, the game does have its faults. Enemies at outposts respawn way too quickly, to the point where if you drive away and turn right back around, there’ll be new enemies. It really gets old when you’re just trying to reach an objective on the other side of the map. The voice acting is stilted to say the least, and the story is as generic as they come. The shooting also feels clunky compared to today’s standards. This is a decade old game, after all.
Despite these flaws, Far Cry 2 is still a phenomenal video game. It nails the feeling of a hostile environment like no other game. You really are just some guy lost in the jungle with nothing but a map, a worn down gun, and a deadly disease. Not even a character, just one of nine mercenaries. Just another solider in a world where you’re not treated like a superhero or a one man army. Far Cry 2 has a vision that it commits to wholeheartedly, and because of that, it fosters its own unique identity and I’ve yet to play anything like it to this day. It sets out to create a specific mood and it accomplishes that with flying colors. If only Ubisoft would look back at this one instead of the follow up.
Years ago I told a friend of mine how much I’d love a sequel to PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. “In your dreams,” he told me.
He was partly right.
Originally unveiled alongside the PS4 itself way back in 2013, Media Molecule’s Dreams will finally see the light of day sometime this year. The game’s beta just came to an end, and people have been eagerly sharing their creations now that the NDA has lifted. From recreating Super Mario 64 to designing wholly original first person shooters, players quickly learned the extensive creation suite and got to work on their projects. Some projects, however, are more ambitious than others.
Atomic Productions is a group of creators that plans on working with Dreams when it’s released. Rather than just creating levels or small demos, they’re buying into Media Molecule’s idea of creating entire games within Dreams. They currently have two projects planned: an entirely new Infamous game and a fully fledged follow up to PlayStation All-Stars.
Featuring fan favorites like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and of course, Knack, it seems like this project is among the most ambitious projects announced for Dreams as of yet. The starting roster features 15 returning fighters from the original and 19 newcomers, totaling a whopping 34 total characters. Even new characters like Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn and 2B from Nier: Automata made it in. They even have Kiryu from the Yakuza series, a personal favorite.
The more Dreams gets shown, the more extensive the creation tools seem to get. Media Molecule promises that players will be able to make entire games, songs, and even movies within Dreams, and based on what’s been shared from the beta, it looks like that might actually be true. Dreams will be interesting to follow after its release because fans like these will surely continue to attempt to revive dormant franchises through fan games, only now they’ll have a pretty substantial platform on which to share them.
And these won’t be held together by scotch tape like the more elaborate LittleBigPlanet levels were. Instead of having to work around the toolset to do cool things, the cool things are supported from the get go this time around. Someone even recreated P.T. in Dreams, and it’s pretty amazing how close it actually is to the original. And while that may be incredible on its own, someone recreated Dead Space in Dreams, and just look at it. Media Molecule remade their own game, LittleBigPlanet, in Dreams, so we’ve already come full circle. All of this just in the beta, imagine a year after launch when people get really comfortable with the tools. Dreams is going to be a game changer, and you can mark my words on that.
Dream was featured in our 30 Games to Look Out for in 2019 list, and you can check that out here. Are you looking forward to Dreams? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.
I’ve played a lot of Anthem over the past two weekends and while it’s not the dumpster fire some might lead you to believe it is, it definitely has its share of problems.
Before we get into the gameplay, the story, and all that fun stuff, I have to mention the plethora of technical issues I encountered during my time with Anthem, especially during the VIP Demo weekend. Server issues were rampant. I logged less than an hour of play time the first weekend because I couldn’t even get into the game. When I did, my time was cut short by infinite load screens or crashes. It was a mess.
Luckily, the second weekend fared much better. I could actually play the game, which was nice. However, textures wouldn’t load, the draw distance was abysmal, environments were barren, enemies would despawn, and the framerate was consistently below 30fps on PS4 Pro. All of that on top of a noticeable graphical downgrade from what we saw at E3 2018.
There was an abundance of gameplay glitches too, not just visual ones. When I would die, my respawn timer would count down from 5 and then say “respawning”, but I never did. I had to wait for a teammate to come and revive me, but a lot of the time squadmates would be AFK or just not even care. I just had to wait or abandon the mission. Sometimes enemies wouldn’t take damage from my attacks. Other times they would take damage but they’d just ignore me and stand in place. I had to close the game once because the exit button stopped working while I was customizing my javelin.
During most of the time I spent with Anthem, Anthem did not work. Considering this game is out next week for EA Access subscribers, it’s not in a good spot. But how’s the gameplay? Surely flying around in those cool suits and shooting ash titans with your friends is a good time, right? Well, sort of.
The javelins are awesome. Learning to balance flying and hovering with being on the ground and managing cooldowns creates a relatively high skill ceiling. A really good Interceptor, for example, won’t get hit often if they utilize their jumps, dodges, and flight efficiently. Each javelin handles differently from one another. The Ranger is the balanced one and handles just like you’d expect it to. The Interceptor is the agile glass cannon that can weave in and out of incoming fire with three jumps and quick dodges. The Colossus is the tank and it has quite a heft to it, so it can’t move too quickly, but it can take a lot of damage. The Storm is essentially the Warlock from Destiny, relying on elemental attacks to do damage and handling way floatier than the other three. Navigating combat arenas in whichever javelin you may choose feels good, and nailing your cooldown management so you don’t overheat is a fun challenge on top of regular shooting.
Of course, you won’t be spending all your time flying. Anthem is a shooter, not a flight-sim, after all. Unfortunately, the gunplay in Anthem just isn’t good. A game’s shotgun is an easy way of telling how good the shooting is. Destiny? Great shotguns. Doom? Even better. Anthem? It’s like I’m shooting marshmallows instead of bullets. I spent most of my time as the nimble, close-range Interceptor, so I would fly in and expect to blast somebody point-blank with my shotgun, except it didn’t feel nearly as powerful as it should’ve. Using a shotgun in Anthem feels like using an Airzooka. The rest of the arsenal feels a bit better, but enemies are spongy and don’t react to getting shot. Guns in Anthem just feel weak, and that’s a shame when its competitors do it so much better.
What Anthem does better than its competitors, though, is team play. Anthem has a combo system that’s very poorly explained, but once understood, it adds a layer of depth to the combat system. Some javelin abilities are primers, which usually afflict enemies with a status effect. If these enemies are then hit with a detonator ability, it’ll combo with the primer and do a lot of damage. Having a squadmate prime a bunch of enemies with a flamethrower so I could fly in and detonate with a melee ability felt good, and combos like these are a necessity at higher difficulties. Not every ability is a primer or a detonator though, and those falling outside of either category seem useless in comparison.
The customization system is pretty deep. Not only can you paint each individual part of your javelin, but you can also change the material and the wear status of each part. Want to run a bright pink leather Interceptor? You can. How about a battle-scarred red and black Colossus with metal plates laid over rubber? Go for it. There was only one additional vanity set available for each javelin in the demo, but people got really creative with mixing and matching just the base set and the one extra one we got. It seemed the first minute or so of every mission involved my squad and I inspecting each other’s javelins and looking at the cool designs other players had come up with (or laughing at ridiculous material/color schemes). Player expression is a huge part of this genre, and Anthem nails this aspect so far.
Anthem’s endgame has me worried, though. The endgame will consist of daily missions, strongholds, of which there are only three, and cataclysms, events that change the open world and present players with new challenges and rewards. Daily mission and strongholds offer a decent amount of content, especially the strongholds, which last about half an hour or longer on harder difficulties, but I feel they won’t be enough to keep players engaged for a long time. Cataclysms, ideally, offer the variety Anthem so dearly needs, but the “small tease” we got right before the demo ended worries me. All it did was change the skybox and spawn strong enemies, but that’s not a big enough change to keep players interested, and the spawn rates are so low that you just end up flying around aimlessly for 15 minutes until you find one ash titan.
Hopefully a strong campaign will make up for a relatively weak endgame experience, and Anthem might actually be able to provide one. The mission design was simplistic, it’s the same go here and kill this design philosophy that so many multiplayer shooters employ today, but some of the boss fights were really cool and made me utilize my movement abilities to dodge area of effect attacks or weave in and out of rings of fire. The writing also didn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out, which is a plus. The scenario the demo let us play through kept me somewhat engaged, but cutscenes dragged a little. Of course, it’s hard to judge the full story now, but Anthem does show some promise in that regard.
The majority of the game’s narrative segments take place in Fort Tarsis, the game’s single player hub. Here you’ll pick up quests, shop at vendors, and talk to people. It’s strange having the hub in a game like this be strictly single-player, but a social hub is coming at launch. There are some other strange decisions about Fort Tarsis, like the movement speed being way too slow, or having a generic five second song loop right next to the vendors, but Bioware has stated they’re adding some quality of life features for Fort Tarsis for the game’s full release, and the social hub will hopefully alleviate some of the other issues with the antisocial nature of Fort Tarsis.
Anthem has a lot of problems. The gunplay needs some work, the game needs a lot of technical improvements under the hood, and it’s in desperate need of substantial endgame content. However, what’s here is a promising foundation that could possibly blossom into a fantastic cooperative shooter. I just hope it won’t be too late by the time that happens.
Earlier today, Ubisoft sent out a promotional email for the upcoming Division 2 Private Beta.
The email’s subject read “Come see what a real government shutdown looks like in the private beta.” Within an hour, Ubisoft sent out an email apology.
“A marketing email promoting Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 was sent in error today,” it read. “This was a grave breakdown in process and we apologise for this error and the offensive subject line of the email. We recognise the very real impact of the United States government shutdown on thousands of people and did not intend to make light of the situation.”
The Division 2 launches on March 15 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The Private Beta begins on February 7. Are you looking forward to The Division 2? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.
Fallout 76 was easily the biggest letdown of last year. Critics hated it, and we weren’t too fond of it either, criticizing its lack of sorely needed direction as well as the technical faults under the hood.
One of many criticisms of Fallout 76 at launch was the weight of bobby pins. Bobby pins in Fallout are really handy. They unlock locked doors and safes that contain precious loot, caps, and stimpaks. Nobody’s ever upset if they search a container and find bobby pins. It helps that they’re incredibly light, too, only weighing in at 0.001 pounds. Or at least, they should weigh that much.
At launch, bobby pins originally weighed a ridiculous 0.1 pounds, which adds up when players are carrying around 50+ bobby pins. Bethesda patched the game to fix the weight of the bobby pins, among other things, a while ago, but after yesterday’s Patch 5, bobby pins are a lot heavier again. Another glitch where enemies take no damage from attacks has seemingly returned as well. Not only that, but some posts on the game’s subreddit have pointed out that item duplication has returned, and there are a bevy of new listings on Ebay for rare duplicated items. Certain perk cards like Demolition Expert were also nerfed, and some players who have invested heavily in these skills feel like they’re at a disadvantage. Overall, people aren’t too pleased with this new update.
While the weight of bobby pins isn’t exactly game-breaking, it’s a small misstep following a long series of blunders that doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon. Yes, as games get larger and more complicated, bugs are to be expected, but Fallout 76’s especially troubled development seems like some kind of cruel joke. People with higher framerates could move at super speed, power armor turned players into hulking, naked monsters, players found a developer room containing a multitude of items, and now the latest patch undid some of the fixes of the last patch.
It’s never good news with Fallout 76, is it?
What are your thoughts on the many missteps with Fallout 76? Is the game too far gone, or is there still a chance to save its reputation? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.
After spending a weekend with Resident Evil 2, I can’t stop thinking about it. I still see the dark corridors of the Raccoon City Police Department when I close my eyes, I hear Mr X’s thudding footsteps when it gets too quiet, and I’m worrying about inventory management when I’m getting my things ready for class in the morning. Resident Evil 2 is chilling, Resident Evil 2 is oppressive, and Resident Evil 2 is fantastic.
It’s no secret that Resident Evil lost its way after the release of Resident Evil 4. After the mediocre Resident Evil 5 and blunders like Resident Evil 6 and Operation Raccoon City, it seemed like the franchise would never return to its survival horror roots. But then Capcom surprised everyone with the reveal of Resident Evil 7, which turned out to be a brilliant return to form for the series. After the buzz surrounding 7 died down, though, people started wondering “whatever happened to that remake of Resident Evil 2 they announced a couple years ago?”
Resident Evil 2 originally launched back in 1999 for the PlayStation, and now, two full decades and three whole PlayStations later, Resident Evil 2’s remake is out for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The remake is virtually unrecognizable from the original. Fixed camera angles are ditched in favor of a third person perspective, the game is a lot darker, and it looks a whole lot better. The game is changed so drastically that it’s less of a remake like the first game got, but more of a complete reimagining. Despite all these changes, Resident Evil 2 still maintains the soul of the original. This is how a remake should be done. This is the standard by which all other remakes should be judged. Speaking in terms of modernizing a classic while still maintaining the feel of the original, Resident Evil 2 might just be the greatest remake of all time.
When you start Resident Evil 2 for the first time, you’ll be presented with a choice. Do you want to play as rookie cop Leon Kennedy or college student Claire Redfield? This choice is more significant than you might think. Like the original, the remake of Resident Evil 2 features an A scenario and a B scenario. Leon and Claire get split up very early in the story, and you’ll only get to see what happens to the character you chose. Once you finish the story with that character, you can start the B scenario, or “2nd run” as the remake calls it, and see what the other character was up to the whole time, complete with remixed areas, different enemy placements, and an overall more challenging playthrough. Completing the 2nd run lets you see the true ending and fight the real final boss. I started off with Leon, and once I rolled credits I started the 2nd run with Claire.
Leon is a rookie cop waiting to start his first day, but he hasn’t heard from the Raccoon City PD, so he heads to the station himself to see what’s going on. The voice acting isn’t spectacular. Leon sounds like an idiot most of the time, but it’s almost charming in a way. Claire’s performance is a bit better, but not by much. Her story, however, isn’t as interesting as Leon’s, but neither story is particularly riveting. Even though they aren’t written particularly well, I still found myself attached to both Leon and Claire because of the way they react to their surroundings. When a zombie gets back up or there’s a particularly gory corpse, Leon or Claire will let out an “oh shit” or “oh my god”. Most of the time their comments would mimic mine. One time I was running from a group of enemies only to enter a room filled with more, and Leon said “are you kidding me?” I felt for Leon. Our frustration was mutual. It’s little character moments like these that really make both protagonists feel human. My favorite moments with Leon and Claire weren’t in cutscenes, but tense gameplay situations where I knew we were feeling the exact same things.
And the gameplay is tense. Like classic Resident Evil games, ammo is scarce, and choosing when to fight is more important than how you fight. Zombies don’t die either, not unless you completely destroy the head, which takes a lot of bullets (which you don’t have) or a well-timed shotgun blast (which you should save for stronger enemies). Ideally you just want to shoot them enough until they fall down so you can get by. Ammo conservation and item management are key components of the game here, just like the original. The game is at its best when you can count your remaining bullets on one hand and you’re a long way from a safe room. The survival in survival horror is emphasized in Resident Evil 2. The horror doesn’t necessarily come from the monsters, but rather the harsh and oppressive atmosphere the game creates.
There’s still some traditional horror, though. For starters, the game is really dark. I’m talking pitch black here. Unless your flashlight is pointed directly at it, you can’t see it. It’s a clever way to recreate the limited visibility that came with fixed camera angles, and the lighting (or lack thereof) is incredibly atmospheric. You have to check the floor for any zombies laying around, and you have to check the walls and ceilings for lickers. There’s also an extremely detailed gore system. Jaws will come loose from faces, intestines will spill out of stomachs, and torsos will be ripped from legs. It’s disgustingly beautiful, and the incredibly detailed bodies strewn about RPD in the pale moonlight are mesmerizing in a messed up sort of way.
All of this is accompanied by excellent sound design. Music is seldom used in Resident Evil 2, save for the first time you enter a new area or a save room. Most of the time it’s eerily silent. You hear your footsteps echo through empty hallways, followed by distant groans of the undead. Rain and wind blowing in from broken windows create unsettling howls. The sounds in this game draw you into the nightmare, leaving you alone in deafening silence until you stumble across something, or something stumbles across you.
Sound also plays a big role in the game-wide cat and mouse game between you and Mr. X. While he only appeared in the B scenario in the original, Mr. X is present throughout the entirety of the remake. While you’re exploring RPD searching for items to solve puzzles, he’s exploring RPD searching for you. His footsteps are very loud and you can hear them rooms over. As you play Resident Evil 2, you’ll get more and more acquainted with the thud of his boots. Mr. X is relentless in chasing you, crashing through walls, lifting huge debris, and even following you into some areas you thought were safe like the RPD main hall. Some of my scariest moments with this game were with Mr. X, holding my breath and praying he walks by the room I’m hiding in, or trying to complete time sensitive actions knowing he’s just one room over.
Sometimes, though, Mr. X goes from frightening to frustrating very fast. Resident Evil 2 likes to throw him at you when you need to take time to be stationary and perform an action, like lifting a heavy object. At times like those, it felt less like I was evading a ruthless hunter and more like I was taking advantage of its somewhat limited AI to lure it away so I could move a bookshelf. Resident Evil 2 has a handful of moments that disrupt the pacing throughout both campaigns, but they’re small hiccups in the greater scheme of things.
After finishing the 2nd run, you’ll unlock the Fourth Survivor, an extra mode that tasks you with navigating through a challenging gauntlet of enemies with very limited resources. Once you clear Fourth Survivor (which is easier said than done), you’ll unlock the Tofu Survivor mode, which is essentially the same as Fourth Survivor except you play as Tofu and you only have a knife, so it’s much, much harder. There are also three bonus stories called Ghost Survivors releasing next month, so there’s plenty of Resident Evil 2 to go around
Resident Evil 2 is not simply an incredible remake of a classic horror game. It’s able to stand on its own and and adopt its own identity while still remaining true to the original. It takes the ideas first employed 20 years ago and molds them into a game that feels like it could’ve come out today. Resident Evil 2’s haunting atmosphere, stellar presentation, and wealth of content make it not only the best in the series, but one of the best survival horror games ever made.