PSA: Star Wars Battlefront's Bespin DLC Free To Play For Limited Time

If you haven’t snagged the DLC for Battlefront that includes Cloud City, you can now play it free–for a bit anyway. DICE and EA are making the map open for everyone to play until September 18.

The free trial was initially revealed when the game’s live events calendar was updated last. There’s also a double XP weekend coming up on September 23 to celebrate the release of the upcoming Death Star DLC.

You can check out Andrew Reiner’s review of the game here.

Beta Test PSA: Star Wars Battlefront’s Bespin DLC Free To Play For Limited Time

Is World Of Warcraft: Legion Its Best Expansion Yet?

World of Warcraft’s sixth expansion, Legion, has been out for just about two weeks, and it’s caused editors around the Game Informer office to ask: Is this the best expansion yet?

Dan Tack and Matt Miller dive into the gritty detail of everything Blizzard is doing differently with Legion, from the dungeon design to the artifact weapons, and more. 

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Have you leveled to 110 in Legion yet? Where does it rank for you among the Warcraft experience? Let us know in the comments below!

Beta Test Is World Of Warcraft: Legion Its Best Expansion Yet?

Test Chamber – Laying The Beatdown In Mother Russia Bleeds

Mother Russia Bleeds is a gross, brutal homage to the likes of Streets of Rage and Double Dragon. And when I say “gross,” I mean there is some straight up gnarly nastiness in every frame of the game. Fellow editor Brian Shea and I decided to play through the first level together for your viewing pleasure.

Your can watch the whole thing here:

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And be on the lookout for our review soon.

Beta Test Test Chamber – Laying The Beatdown In Mother Russia Bleeds

Fun With Prisma Game Screenshots

This summer has seen a lot of excitement around the new photo filtering app called Prisma, which is available on both iOS and Android. The app allows users to take or input photos and then apply one of several different filters to produce images in a desired artistic style, from a mosaic form to more abstract inspirations. We thought it would be fun to warp the app’s original intent a little bit, and see what it could do with some of our favorite game screenshots.

We’ve seen lots of game players around the world doing the same thing throughout this summer on community forums and social media. We asked our staff to do the same. Several of our editors and production staff took to the task with gusto, and shared some beautiful images crafted from individual game screenshots run through one of Prisma’s many filters. 

Check out some of the best ideas our team came up with, and  let us know your favorites in the comments below. And if you want, create one of your own and tweet it our way. 

Game: Madden 17, Filter: Electric

Game: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Filter: Femme

Game: Fallout 4, Filter: The Scream

Game: Destiny, Filter: Gothic

Game: Street Fighter V, Filter: Daryl Feril

Game: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Filter: Flame Flower

Game: Until Dawn, Filter: Dreams

Game: Overwatch, Filter: Tokyo

Next Page: Our Prisma takes on The Witcher 3, No Man’s Sky, and Super Mario World

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Beta Test Fun With Prisma Game Screenshots

The Sports Desk – Three Impressive Things In The Forza Horizon 3 Demo

Microsoft and developer Playground Games just released the Forza Horizon 3 demo. It may be only a slice of the game’s large open-world representation of Australia, but I like what the game is putting together so far.

THE LAND OF OZ

This isn’t the first Forza Horizon title on Xbox One, but it sure feels like stepping into a gorgeous new world. Whether it’s the beautiful Australian scenery or simply the power under the hood of the Xbox One (or both), the game looks amazing. I don’t know if Forza Horizon 2 was held back at all by the fact that it was also out on the Xbox 360 at the time (that’s pure speculation), but with this game it definitely feels like all the might of the console is being brought to the table. The environment is gorgeous and varied, and the sense of speed is strong. Beaches, jungles, and residential areas make the game feel like there’s something around every corner, and I hope that continues with the full game. The dusty outback, bigger cities, and who know what else awaits.

FREEDOM & PROGRESSION

One of the things I didn’t like with Forza Horizon 2 was I didn’t feel that it balanced the carrot to progress your Festival experience with the freedom of the open world. I think FH 3 might have solved this with the fact that part of your job as the Festival organizer is to build out the Festival itself. At the end of the demo, I was able to choose the next Festival tent (outback or in the city), which would have naturally introduced me to a new area of the map. This feels like it functions similar to the Outposts of the original Forza Horizon that were missing from FH 2. I missed this kind of breadcrumb structure that didn’t impede the need to explore from the last title, and am glad it’s back in the form of choosing new Festival sites.

Even with this roadmap for the Festival, the demo proves that the game still encourages plenty of freeform exploration. I didn’t even care that I was in a expensive sports car – it had four wheels, so I was taking it wherever I wanted to: up hills, in the water, through ravines, off cliffs. There are still plenty of billboards to collect, bucket list challenges, and events to happen upon while you’re exploring. I even think I found some barn find locations that were deactivated for the demo, but who knows.

DRIVATARS

The Forza series has proven that its Drivatars are a great, stable way to produce the illusion that you’re racing those on your friends list even though they’re not there in real-time. FH 3 and the demo expand this by giving players four slots to add captured Drivatars to your lineup. After you find and beat a Drivatar in a specific event, you can add them to this list. Once there, they generate XP, fans, and money for you. It’s going to be cool constantly swapping out Drivatars as you beat better ones so they can help you up the ladder. 

The Forza Horizon 3 demo constitutes roughly the first hour of the game, but even though that’s just a drop in the bucket of the overall experience, it certainly teases a lot of promise.

Missed some of the previous Sports Desk entries? Take a look at the past installments via our Hub page by clicking on the banner below.

Have a suggestion or comment? Put it in the comments section below, send me an email, or reach me on twitter at @mattkato.

 

WIN A COPY OF NHL 17!

Hit the ice with EA Sports’ latest NHL title developed by EA Canada. We’ve got a handful of PS4 digital codes for Sports Desk readers – all you have to do is tell us about your favorite moment playing with the franchise.

Codes will be given away just before next Monday’s Sports Desk on the 19th.

Put your story down below in the comments section or email me at kato@gameinformer.com. Winners will be notified by email or via the gameinformer.com conversation system at the top of your screen.

 

RELEASE LIST

NASCAR Heat Evolution (PS4, Xbox One, PC) September 13
NHL 17 (PS4, Xbox One) September 13
Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, 360, PC) September 13
NBA 2K 17 (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, 360, PC) September 20
FIFA 17 (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, 360, PC) September 27
Forza Horizon 3 (Xbox One, PC) September 27

 

THE TICKER
A quick rundown of some of the sports news from the week.

A Handful of NBA 2K17 Trailers
Check out how the game’s improving its arenas, commentary, and MyCareer mode

FIFA 17 Has Been Rolling Out Its Player Ratings
Click along the right hand side for the various categories.

FIFA 17 Demo Out September 13; Includes The Journey
September 13 sound familiar? It’s also the release date of FIFA competitor Pro Evolution Soccer 2017. Well played, EA. The FIFA 17 demo naturally features exhibition play and skill games, but is also notable because it lets players get a taste of the game’s story mode, The Journey.

Forza Horizon 3 and Forza Motorsport 6: Apex Wheel Support Detailed 

Beta Test The Sports Desk – Three Impressive Things In The Forza Horizon 3 Demo

Destiny's First Private Match Competition To Be Streamed Tomorrow

Coinciding with what appears to be the leaked news that private matches in Destiny are going live tomorrow, a separate official and confirmed release from Bungie has announced that Destiny will have its first streamed private match competition hosted by Major League Gaming, beginning tomorrow at 10 a.m. Pacific time. Given the announced timing of the two events, it seems likely that the original plan was that full public functionality for private matches is meant to launch after this streaming event completes. 

The two teams will be playing a mode new to Destiny: Rise of Iron called Supremacy. The best of five wins the match.

Commentators Chris Puckett, Michael Tash, and Benson Bowe will be tackling the play-by-play on the match, along with Crucible designers from Bungie including Lars Bakken and Derek Carroll. The announcement also included the names of the players going up against each other, which includes several established Destiny players already in the top tier of competitive play:

Alpha Team

  • Luminosity
  • Bodies
  • Viole
  • SirDimetrious
  • TripleWRECK
  • SayWallaHBruh

Bravo Team

  • nKuch
  • Lil Sonic
  • iFrostBolt
  • KJHovey
  • TrueVanguard
  • RealKraftyy

You can tune into the stream here at 10:00 AM Pacific tomorrow to watch the teams face off.

 

Our Take
This first streamed match between top-tier Destiny players has the potential to be the beginning of something big. Entire careers have been made through professional play of other popular titles like Call of Duty and League of Legends. If Destiny finds a similarly enthusiastic viewing audience, some of the players listed above may be among the first to reap the benefits, presuming they provide a good showing.

Beta Test Destiny’s First Private Match Competition To Be Streamed Tomorrow

BioWare Holding Contest For Fans To Put Their Voices In Mass Effect Andromeda

You a Mass Effect fan? Dream of hearing your voice while you’re roaming around that universe? Best get in front of that mirror and start practicing your voice. BioWare’s giving you the chance to end up doing some voice work for Mass Effect Andromeda with a new contest.

The publisher recently posted a blog entry titled “Explorers Wanted” that revealed the details of the contest:

Starting September 12, 2016 at 6 PM GMT, we’re giving you the chance to voice a character in an upcoming Mass Effect videogame.

All you need to do is download a script, upload your vocal take, send the link to explorers@bioware.com, and you’ll be entered. Video and audio recordings are both acceptable. Once you’ve submitted your entry, we encourage you to share it on social media with #ExplorersWanted.

The winner will be flown to one of our recording studios, put up in a hotel for up to two nights, and perform in a professional recording session.

There’s also an amusing trailer for the contest you can watch it down below.

You can find the rules here.

 

Our Take
We’re sure plenty of Mass Effect fans will jump at the opportunity to get their voice into Andromeda and that trailer is pretty adorable.

Beta Test BioWare Holding Contest For Fans To Put Their Voices In Mass Effect Andromeda

Destiny Private Matches Opening Tomorrow

A mistaken email from a third-party representative for Activision has revealed that Destiny’s private match functionality is going live a week ahead of Rise of Iron’s launch. While the press release was sent in error ahead of a planned announcement tomorrow, the email appears to be official, and comes from a source that has sent official Destiny-related details in the past.

If the press release is to be believed, and there’s little reason to doubt it, the full private match functionality will be available on Tuesday, September 13, possibly as early as 11 a.m. Pacific time, when the email was originally planned for release. 

Private matches are supported on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but not on older consoles. With the new functionality, players can choose between Destiny’s many competitive game modes and play on any of the available game maps. For the first time, private matches mean that Destiny will be a viable option for tournament play, as well as opening up the possibility of a professional Destiny gaming scene. For the average player, it means you can pick and choose the style of play you want and play exclusively with your friends.

We’ve got extensive details about private matches and how they work in our in-depth write-up from last month’s cover story

We reached out to Activision for an official comment on the press release, but the publisher offered no further details or confirmation at this time. 

 

Our Take
Email leaks are a fact of life, but the presence of this info a day early does nothing to diminish my enthusiasm for the announcement. Private matches have been a long time coming for Destiny, and allowing players to explore the functionality a week ahead of the expansion’s launch is a great way to build excitement. I’m very eager to see all the variant game modes that players concoct over the coming days. 

Beta Test Destiny Private Matches Opening Tomorrow

Inside The Challenging Origins Of Horizon Zero Dawn

During Sony’s press conference at E3 2015, the world was introduced to an brand-new world from the creators of Killzone that featured mechanical dinosaurs and a protagonist named Aloy. In this video feature, we bring viewers further back in time and behind the scenes of Horizon Zero Dawn‘s development within the halls of Guerilla Games. While visiting the Dutch studio for our October cover story, we spoke with the game’s art director Jan-Bart van Beek, game director Mathijs de Jonge, and the studio’s managing director Hermen Hulst about the challenges of creating such a bold game.

Watch the video below to learn how 80s cartoons, Duplo, and Killzone 3’s Jammer helped forge the PlayStation 4’s Horizon Zero Dawn.

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For more on Horizon Zero Dawn, click on the banner below to enter our constantly updating hub of exclusive content.

Beta Test Inside The Challenging Origins Of Horizon Zero Dawn

PS4 4.0 Update Hits Tomorrow

PlayStation Blog just announced that the long-awaited PS4 Firmware update will be live tomorrow.

The update includes PlayStation Pro preparation fixes, High Dynamic Range inclusion, music menu tweaks, as well as folder organization. Sony initially detailed what would be coming in the update here last month and, as well as announcing the release date today, also mentioned the new features in its most recent post.

The firmware update will also include a data transfer feature that will likely prove handy to those planning to upgrade to a PlayStation Pro.

Beta Test PS4 4.0 Update Hits Tomorrow