Outcast – Second Contact Revealed For A 2017 Release

Cutter Slade is headed back to Adelpha in a remake of the PC title Outcast. The newly announced Outcast – Second Contact is due for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in March 2017.

The game is being developed by French studio Appeal and published by Big Ben Interactive. Outcast’s plot follows a United States Special Forces operative on a quest to protect a group of scientists on a newly discovered world. Talans, the planet’s native aliens, give Slade a less-than-warm welcome and threaten the future of Earth.

Details are sparse on the game so far, with the first official look due at Gamescom next week. Stay tuned for more info, and check out a few screenshots below.

Beta Test Outcast – Second Contact Revealed For A 2017 Release

Overwatch Is Getting ‘High Bandwidth’ 63Hz Tick Rate For All Modes On PC

Back in June, just a couple of weeks after Overwatch launched, Blizzard started tinkering with the game. One of the big experiments was offering an option in custom matches to up the tick rate (refresh rate) to 60Hz on the client side to match the server performance.

At the time, Blizzard said that if the test was a success, it would consider implementing it for all game types. Starting today, Blizzard is rolling out high bandwidth for all modes and regions. This will increase the refresh rate from 21 updates per second to 63. 

It’s going to take sometime for the worldwide rollout, so look for things to get more responsive in-game over the next few weeks. Also, don’t worry if your connection can’t keep up. Blizzard has figured out a way to auto-regulate if things seem to be bogging down.

Down the line, Blizzard anticipates adding a way to self-limit. That way, if you know your internet connection can’t keep up, you can ensure that you don’t even attempt to run at the faster client-side refresh rate.

The high bandwidth update is confirmed for PC. Blizzard is exploring whether it can bring it to console.

[Source: Blizzard]


Our Take
I’m curious to see how this impacts the experience. Given that the servers aren’t changing and it’s just an appearance issue, it shouldn’t alter how people play. Otherwise, implementing this kind of change in quick play and competitive modes would create an unbalanced playing field.

Beta Test Overwatch Is Getting ‘High Bandwidth’ 63Hz Tick Rate For All Modes On PC

Super Replay – Shadow Of The Colossus Episode Six

Team Ico’s latest, The Last Guardian, is finally (pending any additional surprise delays) arriving this October, which is a perfect excuse to play through Shadow of the Colossus in its entirety.

Of course, you don’t really need an excuse to play Shadow of the Colossus because it is a fantastic game. Join myself and Andrew Reiner as we relive some of our Shenmue magic by keeping this a two-person show, making our way through the game’s strange world and bringing down its imposing beasts. We don’t have a strict schedule in mind for this series, because we want to be able to absorb everyone’s feedback episode to episode, so we likely won’t be recording multiple episodes in advance. We’re all going on this journey together, so please sound off in the comments section below or on YouTube.

For more Super Replay, follow the links to find our full playthroughs of Shenmue and Tex Murphy: Under A Killing Moon. You can also see our full playthrough of Dark Souls III here, which technically isn’t a Super Replay, but is pretty close. For our Replay of Shadow of the Colossus, head here.

Episode 6
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For more episodes of Replay, check out our Replay hub, or click on the banner below to watch episodes on YouTube.

Beta Test Super Replay – Shadow Of The Colossus Episode Six

The Division: Underground Impressions – Slave To The Grind

New York City is full of surprises, and we’re not just talking about secret speakeasies or the hundreds of rooftop gardens you can’t see from street level. Far underneath the bustling streets of Manhattan runs a vast network of neglected subway tunnels, abandoned train stations, and cavernous sewage canals that zig-zag below the island for hundreds of miles. New Yorkers have gossiped for decades about the purported rat-eating “mole people” who call these underground passageways home, but in The Division a new breed of tunnel dweller has taken root. 

After agents successfully pushed the various factions of ne’er-do-wells out of their strongholds by the end of The Division campaign, these heavily armed threats to society all disappeared into the nether regions of the city. To continue its assault, the Division has established a new foothold beneath its midtown headquarters, sending groups of agents into the tunnels to weed out the remnants. This is the primary directive of anyone who enlists in the Underground DLC, the first paid expansion for Ubisoft’s third-person shooter.

Rather than stick to the narrow and straight passages of the real underground, developer Massive chose to mix and match elements of New York City’s netherworld with procedurally generated environments. These random combinations of subway stations, train tracks, and sewage pipes lack the hand-crafted feel of some of the better battle arenas in the base game, but it’s an understandable direction for Massive to go considering the source material doesn’t allow for a lot of setting diversity. The procedural environments are better suited to combat than long stretches of uninterrupted tracks, but after a few hours of play you’ve seen everything the expansion has to offer. 

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Rather than raise the general level cap for this expansion like most games that skew toward MMOs, Massive instead added a new underground leveling system that stands alongside the base level and the Dark Zone level. As agents tackle a revolving door of basic “kill-this, secure-that” missions, they climb the rankings up to level 40, periodically unlocking new modifiers that allow you to enhance the challenge and earn extra XP. 

Loot grinding is the primary purpose of the Underground. Each time you raise a level, you earn a valuable underground cache, which exclusively contains high-end items and gear sets. Even if you ignored the Dark Zone and all the free add-ons like Incursions, you can aggressively rank up your agent by collecting these caches, along with the handful of high-end drops you get during each mission. I raised my Gear level from the 160s to 220 in only a handful of hours. 

The excellent matchmaking makes it easy to find a pick-up group in a matter of seconds, which I strongly recommend. The underground isn’t as inhospitable to lone wolves as the Dark Zone, but the entire area is a no respawn zone. This makes going it alone a frustrating gamble, because if you die close to the end of a mission you receive nothing for your efforts and have to start from scratch in a different procedurally generated dungeon.

Since you’re fighting the same enemies as the base game, the combat doesn’t evolve in the underground. The only new wrinkles are an enemy-controlled signal jammer that prevents players from deploying their gadgets while active and a security alarm that calls more henchmen to the location when activated. If you weren’t on board with the combat already, this expansion won’t change your mind. 

The final piece to the Underground DLC is the new Incursion, dubbed Dragon’s Nest. This showdown with enemy elite tests the mettle of even the best Division agents, forcing you to dodge explosives on remote controlled cars while taking out elite enemies and eventually coming face to face with a mortar spewing fire truck. It may take new players a while to realize they need to bring some specific skill loadouts to this fight, but the trial and error nature of this end game content is an appreciated addition; we’d love to see more of this type of content in future expansions.

The Underground adds a much-needed new PvE space to the Division spread, but don’t expect much depth behind the grind. With no new major story beats moving the narrative forward, no new enemy types to contend with, and no new curated combat spaces outside of the new Incursion, the expansion rarely rises above the familiar shoot, loot, repeat cycle. You rank up your loadout quickly, but once you reach the high-end of the gear threshold, the allure of attaining slightly better equipment doesn’t offset the monotony of fighting the same enemies in the same environments ad infinitum.

Beta Test The Division: Underground Impressions – Slave To The Grind

Killing Floor 2 Gets Release Date & Multiplayer Details

Today developer Tripwire Interactive announced that Killing Floor 2 is releasing globally on November 18 (PC/PS4), and with it comes modes for both solo players and those playing with and against friends.

Killing Floor 2 supports six player co-op and solo play, as well as a “12
Player PvP Versus Survival Game Mode.” In it, a team of humans face against a team of Zeds (the game’s zombie-like enemies).

On PC, the game’s base release will cost $29.99 digitally, and its Digital Deluxe edition will cost $39.99. In conjunction with Deep Silver, the game’s deluxe edition will come to PC and PlayStation 4 on digital storefronts and retail also for $39.99. Check out the game’s box art and a host of new screens below.

For more on Killing Floor 2, check out Tripwire’s developer diary from last March.

Beta Test Killing Floor 2 Gets Release Date & Multiplayer Details

Funny To A Point – Are You Suffering From Summer Gaming Remorse?

Whether you’re a student trying to enjoy the final weeks of vacation
or a working stiff who just appreciates the warm weather, escaping into a
virtual world during the summer months can come with a hefty side of guilt. If you
or a loved one is currently suffering from Summer Gaming Remorse, this week’s
Funny To A Point has just the cure!

No matter what your age, it’s easy to feel guilty about parking
your butt in front of a video game during the summer. Everyone wants to make
the most of their free time, and while games can be extremely rewarding, they
can also suck hours from your life in the blink of an eye like the creepy naked
space-vampire from Lifeforce. When you’re a
kid, you’re always working against the Doomsday clock that is going back to
school; the later into the season you get, the more bittersweet gaming sessions
become, tainted by pubescent panic over the upcoming reading assignments, cafeteria
lunches, and endless exams you’ll soon be enduring. As an adult, the regret
shifts to (among other things) your neglect of the great outdoors – especially
in Minnesota, where we only get about five nice days of weather a year.

Normally, Minnesota’s weather works out great for us gamers.
In the winter (which lasts roughly from September to mid-July), there’s not
much of an incentive to go outside – the only things waiting amidst the snow
drifts are frostbite, wet shoes, and driveways in desperate need of shoveling. Snow
days are basically a doctor’s note for an impromptu gaming session; unless you’ve
got a spare tauntaun you’re willing to sacrifice, you’re better off staying
inside with a cup of cocoa and a controller.

Actually, the work commute can be quite pleasant during mild Minnesota winters…

On the flipside, Minnesota summers also offer their share of
guilt-free gaming opportunities, thanks to our state’s penchant for sweltering humidity
– the motivation for going outside tends to nosedive when you melt into a
puddle as soon as you hit the front steps. Sudden torrential downpours, bloodthirsty
mosquito swarms, and roving gangs of wild turkeys (yes
that’s a thing
), are all valid excuses to stay indoors in Minnesota as well…depending
on how much you’re willing to bullsh– yourself, anyway.

I often use Minnesota’s bonkers weather (not the turkeys
though; they’ve grown on me) as an excuse to get in some extra gaming, but unfortunately
– or fortunately if you’re a normal person – the weather has been great this
year. A long, mild spring has brought virtually everyone out of their homes
(there may be other contributing
this year as well). The people I pass during walks in my
neighborhood seem to appreciate the rarity of our idyllic weather, especially
the tottering seniors who have more horror stories about the winters of their
youth than the Stark family. Staying in to play video games would be like some
kind of cosmic crime.

I’ve come to realize that at least a small part of my underlying
guilt has been inherited from my parents. Back when I was a kid (disconcerting
side note for young readers: The older you get, the more you will find yourself saying this un-ironically),
both my parents viewed video games as a waste of time. One of my most
soul-crushing childhood memories was the night my grandma called to ask if she
could buy my siblings and me an NES for Christmas. I still remember my mom
politely saying no as my face melted off in the hallway like the guy at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. At least
that’s what it felt like, anyway…

She eventually acquiesced to our pleas during the SNES
generation, but my dad was still firmly against them (when he wasn’t playing
Super Mario Kart with us
, the lousy hypocrite). To him, video games had
three strikes against them: They kept us indoors, they kept us in front of the
television, and…they were video games (I know it doesn’t make sense, but they’re
not my strikes, okay?). His idea of a hobby was going to the lake and catching
fish – and Magikarp didn’t count.

And yet my dad thought Duck Hunt was cool, despite the fact that you were shooting waterfowl with a pistol.

I eventually got the last laugh when I landed a job writing
about games, but even before then I wasn’t buying the waste-of-time argument.
Sure, we could all be out building houses or knitting
quilts for world peace
, but as far as fictional entertainment goes, the
interactivity of video games can’t be beat. Even the best movies and television
shows can’t engage viewers like a video game can, because you’re no longer just
a viewer – you have a say in the action. (That said, books are still better for
cultivating the imagination, so read one every now and then, ya big illiterate dummy!)

Above and beyond story, video games also have the distinct
advantage of being games, challenging us in ways the real world rarely offers,
and allowing us to challenge others as well. The thrill of competition and
desire to test ourselves drives every athletic sport, most of which somehow
escape the waste-of-time argument despite revolving solely around getting a dumb
ball across a line or into a hole. Video games routinely surpass the depth,
complexity, and strategy of most sports, while also taking us to fantastical worlds
and letting us role-play a plethora of different characters to boot. That’s
pretty awesome.

Chances are you won’t be flying your own spaceship in the real world anytime soon…lousy real world.

All that said, I still sometimes feel a twinge of guilt
about playing games on a particularly picturesque evening or when I’ve got a
laundry list of things (often literally laundry) I need to get done – so maybe my
dad got the last laugh after all? When I was in college, the solution was just
to go full-on vampire, playing games until dawn and then shuffling to class
like a zombie (if you’ll pardon the mixed horror-monster metaphor). However,
being an adult requires finding a healthy balance between gaming and…everything
else. So, for those still looking for relief from Summer Gaming Remorse, I’ll
leave you with my patented three-step cure*:

Step One: Spend an
hour a day outdoors.
Whether it’s mowing the lawn, doing a rain dance to
avoid having to mow the lawn, or dragging your spouse/child/dog around the
neighborhood to catch Pokémon, spending a little time outside will make any
subsequent gaming session feel earned. If it’s rainy or too humid or your state is on fire,
congratulations, your conscience is off the hook – that’s Mother Nature’s
fault, not yours!

Step Two: Unplug for
a week.
Once a year, I head to a cabin up north for a weeklong break from gaming
and the Internet in general. But you don’t need to burn up vacation time for
the same effect – just swearing off social media for a few days and focusing on
the things and people around you can remind you how distorted your worldview
can get from being connected all the time. An Internet detox is kind of like
Neo sliding naked out of The Matrix, only
the real world that you’re waking up to is actually the nice one.

Step Three: Remind
yourself that gaming is awesome.
The first two steps should help ensure
that gaming doesn’t take over your life and turn you into the Lawnmower Man. But
finding a healthy balance doesn’t just mean limiting your all-night video game
benders – it also means not working too hard. The dumb things we do for fun
allow our minds and bodies to recharge, which in turn makes us better workers. It’s
why European workers get an obscene amount of vacation
, and another reason you shouldn’t feel guilty for spending a summer
evening gaming. After all, everyone is entitled to the entertainment of their
choice, and as far as choices go, video games are a great one.

*Common side effects of
the cure include: headache, stomachache, and/or buttache. May cause eyes to burst
into flames as if seeing an angel in its natural form. Other reported side
effects include: irritability (both mood and bowel), inflammation of the joints,
and deflation of the ego. May cause drama. Taking the cure may cause your skin
to turn green; this is permanent. Do not take the cure if you are on any other
medication, operate heavy machinery, or wish to continue seeing the world in
color. May cause Dane Cook to appear funnier than he really is. The cure has
been known to cause exploding vocal cords in a small(ish) percentage of
patients. Wash your hands after using the bathroom – this doesn’t have anything
to do with the cure, but is just good hygiene. Some patients taking the cure
have experienced erections lasting longer than four hours, but weren’t really
complaining about it per se. If you experience death while taking the cure,
please discontinue use and contact your doctor immediately.

Beta Test Funny To A Point – Are You Suffering From Summer Gaming Remorse?

Rome: Total War Marches Onto iPad Later This Year

One of Creative Assembly’s most important games, Rome: Total War is headed to the iPad this fall. This port will only be playable on first generation iPad Air and iPad mini 2 models or better.

Originally released in 2004, Rome: Total War puts players in charge of the early Roman Empire and tasks them with making strategic decisions for the future of their people. Feral Interactive will be bringing the game’s full experience to iPad, including the campaign’s 11 factions as well as new touch controls. Get a brief tease of the iPad version below.

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The Alexander and Barbarian Invasion expansions will be available separately in the future. For more on the Total War series, check out our review of the sequel Total War: Rome II.


Our Take
Rome: Total War is one of the best strategy games I’ve ever played, so if the price is reasonable I am down to revisit it on iPad. If you’ve never played, this version might be a good introduction to the series.

Beta Test Rome: Total War Marches Onto iPad Later This Year

An Exclusive Roundtable With Destiny: Rise Of Iron's Story Team

Visiting Bungie for our cover stories on the original Destiny and Destiny: The Taken King, there’s always been one aspect of Bungie’s universe that has eluded the spotlight: The writing team. This time, with our cover story on Destiny: Rise of Iron, we finally got the opportunity to meet and speak with some of the key figures responsible for continuing the story of Destiny.

Game Informer’s senior previews editor (and Destiny lore fanatic) Matt Miller is honored to sit down with lead writer Chris Schlerf, senior writer Christine Thompson, writer Jill Scharr, and cinematic lead Matthew Ward to talk about the evolution of characters and storytelling in Destiny. The video discussion starts out on broader topics including the challenges of writing the Grimoire and adding humor to the game, but continues on into an intricate discussion covering the history of the Iron Lords, the importance of flavor text for equipment, and the potential future of key Destiny characters, including some choice tidbits about the mysterious Efrideet. Also, we should note, in the video the team occasionally refers to Destiny: Rise of Iron by its internal Bungie name “DLC 3”.

Watch the video discussion below to learn from the team what it takes to write Destiny: Rise of Iron, how they think the game compares to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the ways they’re inspired by Arthurian legend, and whether Cayde is ever going to get out of the Tower.

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Click on the banner below to enter our hub of exclusive content on Destiny: Rise of Iron.

Beta Test An Exclusive Roundtable With Destiny: Rise Of Iron’s Story Team

No Man’s Sky Is Having Trouble Lifting Off On PC

You know something’s wrong when one hour after a highly anticipated game launches its Steam reviews peg it in the “mostly negative” category. Hello Games’ challenging week continues, with the No Man’s Sky PC launch having some serious issues right off the bat.

The Steam user reviews cite framerate problems on powerful GPUs, including Nvidia GTX 980. For many (including us for the first few tries), the program doesn’t open. For others, it crashes after mere minutes. As of publication, only 29 percent of the 3,279 reviews are positive.

Still other users reporting stuttering, audio problems, and general optimization issues. A user going by the name “Dr. Dangledick” says, “You’re severely wrong about the minimum system requirements, replace them with this: Minimum – A computer made by Jesus Christ himself, but it’ll still struggle to hit 20 fps.”

We can confirm a number of problems on a computer sporting an i7-6700, GTX 980Ti, and 16GB RAM. Stuttering occurs regularly, key binds do not work for flight controls, and framerate is unreliable, even with recommended specifications. 

We’ve reached out to Hello Games for comment. Right now, the only guidance we have is from founder Sean Murray’s Twitter account:

Even after updating our graphics drivers, things weren’t ideal. Stuttering still occurs (though a bit less frequently), with framerates dropping to as low as 10-15. The keybinding issue makes the game exceedingly hard to play with a control pad once you get off the first planet.

We’ll continue to monitor and update.

[Source: Steam]


Our Take
The PlayStation 4 launch was relatively smooth, even with complaints about framerate and field of view. The PC launch is hard to play right now. You could tough it out, but the optimization and performance issues are severe. Hopefully this gets fixed fast.

Beta Test No Man’s Sky Is Having Trouble Lifting Off On PC

Nintendo Shares A Fly-By Look At The Temple Of Time In Breath Of The Wild

For fans who didn’t make it out to E3 this year, Nintendo has shared a new piece of information regarding The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. A very short video teaser released on Facebook shows off a ruined Temple of Time running in the game’s engine.

Those who were lucky enough to get hands-on time with the hotly-anticipated game at E3 could have visited the famous Zelda landmark if they chose to. The caption with this video asks, “Does this seem familiar?”, playing up the changes that that are coming to Breath of the Wild. Check it our for yourself below.

For more on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, revisit our hands-on impressions and interview with Eiji Aonouma.

[Source: Facebook]


Our Take
While this admittedly isn’t the most exciting piece of information, it is always cool to get little updates on the next Zelda title. The game is coming to NX, which all speculation says will be unveiled in September. Here’s hoping we get a new trailer or maybe a release date for Breath of the Wild to tie in to the console’s announcement.

Beta Test Nintendo Shares A Fly-By Look At The Temple Of Time In Breath Of The Wild