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Play Arma 3 for Free, Get Saints Row 4 for $7, and More Weekend Deals

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2014-10-25 13:34

You can play the realistic military simulator Arma 3 for free this weekend on Steam and also buy it for $30, a 50 percent discount.

The game is free to play now through Sunday at 1 p.m. Pacific Time, and the 50 percent discount offer will end on Monday 10 a.m. Pacific Time.

Players can also log into Arma's website with their Steam account during the free weekend to vote for their favorite Arma 3 mods and maps in the €500,000 Make Arma Not War contest, a collaboration between developer Bohemia Interactive and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The winner of the Total Modification category (DayZ, for example, is an Arma total modification) will take home €200,000, while in the other categories the prize money is divided between first place (€50,000), second place (€30,000), and third place (€20,000) winners. You can vote in the contest until October 31, and the winners will be announced on March 5, 2015.

Steam has a few other great deals this weekend. You can get Saints Row IV for $6.79, Metro: Last Light Redux for $15, Dead Island Riptide for $5, and Risen 3: Titan Lords for $33.49.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

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Google Search Will Tell You Way More About Games Now

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2014-10-25 12:46

If you Google search a video game, Google's Knowledge Graph will now offer more details related to that game, like its release date, developer, publisher, and more.

If you search for Civilization: Beyond Earth, for example, you'll see a panel on the right with screenshots from the game, its Metacritic score, a short description via Wikipedia, the series it belongs to, and what platforms it's available for. The search works for both specific game titles and game series.

First introduced in 2012, Google's Knowledge Graph enhances searches by offering these summaries of movies, books, places, people, food, and more. Video games are just the latest addition.

“We always want to help people find the best answers to their questions – fast,” a Google spokesperson told VentureBeat. “With today’s update, you can ask questions about video games, and (while there will be ones we don’t cover) you’ll get answers for console and PC games as well as the most popular mobile apps.”

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

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Destiny's Next Iron Banner Discourages Quitting, Makes Levels Matter More

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2014-10-25 11:18

Bungie will launch another Iron Banner event in Destiny by the end of the year that addresses feedback from players, the developer has announced.

Destiny's competitive multiplayer normally balances the gap between higher and lower-level Guardians so they can play together, but the Iron Banner should have been different by taking players' levels into account. However, players quickly noticed that Guardian levels didn't seem to make as much as a difference as Bungie suggested. Bungie later explained that the largest advantage a player could have is around 7 levels.

"In the next Iron Banner, we will debut a much more dramatic difference between players of wide variation in Level," Lead Designer Tyson Green said in the latest Bungie Weekly Update. Green also said that Bungie will detail the changes in an article of its own as soon as it settles on some of the numbers, but added that for the next Iron Banner, a Fireteam leader will need to be Level 20 to enter. Lower Level players may join in with a Level 20 "chaperone," but they will find it very challenging.

Additionally, in order to discourage players from quitting a match if they feel that they're about to lose, in the next Iron Banner players will receive a Medallion of Iron on a loss. The next time they win, those Medallions will convert into a reputation gain almost equal to a win.

The next Iron Banner will also add exclusive, Level 30 reward Armor, easier, more valuable Bounties, and adjustments to the event's reputation system.

For more details about changes to the Iron Banner, head over to Bungie's website.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

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Final Fantasy 14 Getting Flying Mounts, Personal Airships and More - Sat, 2014-10-25 10:23

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is set to get a host of new features when its first expansion, Heavensward, launches next spring.

At today's Fanfest in London, game director and producer Naoki Yoshida took to the stage to build on the initial news out of Las Vegas last week to confirm flying mounts will be coming to the popular MMO, along with a new tanking Dark Knight job.

With regards to flying mounts, Yoshida explained the first such beast we were likely to get our hands on will be the Black Chocobo but eventually we'll be able to get our very own personal airship built by Cid. Taking off and landing will be permitted in any of the zones added to the game in Heavensward, and new areas will incorporate flying islands and rocks to encourage exploration. As for whether you'll discover treasure, rare monsters or something else entirely on these platforms, we were told to wait and see.

Continue reading…

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Halo 2 Remaking the Legend Documentary Gets a Release Date, New Trailer

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2014-10-25 10:20

Remaking the Legend, the documentary about the making of Halo 2: Anniversary, will be free to download via Xbox Video on October 31, Microsoft has announced.

Halo developer 343 Industries said it recorded over 400 hours of footage and 80 interviews with creative partners, Halo fans, pro players, and industry experts for the documentary. It will feature interviews with Halo contributors Bonnie Ross, Frank O'Connor, Dan Ayoub, and Head of Xbox Phil Spencer, as well as members of the original Halo 2 team: writer Joseph Staten, multiplayer designer Max Hoberman, composer Marty O'Donnell, and voice actor Keith David.

“As we got deeper into the project, we realized we couldn't talk about Halo 2’s impact on the industry without telling the story of Halo’s origins," Director of Programming for 343 Industries Tina Summerford said on Xbox Wire. "It’s pretty awesome to hear the original team from Bungie talk about the beginning of this franchise and it’s something we think both new and old fans will appreciate.”

You can also watch Remaking the Legend on the Halo Channel on November 11, or tune in to the Xbox Twitch channel at the following times:

  • Friday, October 31 at 11 am PST/2 pm EST
  • Saturday, November 1 at 6 pm PST/9 pm EST
  • Sunday, November 2 at 6 pm PST/9 pm EST

Much like Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, which is included in Halo: The Master Chief Collection, is an updated version of the original Xbox game first released in 2004. The campaign will feature a Classic Mode to instantly switch between the remastered next-gen graphics and original game, updated sound effects, and completely new cut-scenes.

The Master Chief Collection includes remastered versions of Halo 1-4, as well as beta access to 2015's Halo 5: Guardians. It launches for Xbox One on November 11.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

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Watch How PS4's Share Play Feature Works

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2014-10-25 09:42

Sony has released a short video tutorial for Share Play, a new feature that allows you to share your PlayStation 4 games with friends who don't own them.

As you can see in the video, Share Play is accessed through the PS4's party menu. If you're the host, you'll see a new option for Share Play in the party menu, where you can select "Give Controller to Visitor." This will give the guest control of the game for up to an hour. The host will need to be a PlayStation Plus member to use this feature, but not the guest. If the guest is a PlayStation Plus member as well, you can use the Share Play feature to play a multiplayer game together without the guest having to own or download the game.

Share Play, a feature Sony introduced at its Gamescom press conference as a "virtual couch" experience, is being added to PS4s this Tuesday in the v2.00 firmware update dubbed "Masamune." The update also adds YouTube sharing, themes, and a USB music player that effectively enables custom soundtracks.

You can find out more about what's included in the "Masamune" update right here.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

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IGN UK Podcast #251: Soundtrack Shenanigans - Sat, 2014-10-25 08:00

First off, thanks to everyone who came down for the Podcast 250 Podquiz celebrations – we really do appreciate the support, and hope you all had as good a time as we did.

Stars of the podcast past and present - can you name them all? Stars of the podcast past and present - can you name them all?

As for this week's show, we're joined by Chris Carle – head honcho at IGN's LA office and star of movie podcast Keeping It Reel.

Carlito joins Krupa and Chris to pull apart the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, speculating about who Andy Serkis might play in the flick and what that could mean for the Marvel Cinematic Universe at large.

Continue reading…

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Weekly Recap: Huge Titanfall Update, Sunset Overdrive Is 900p, and Jade Raymond Leaves Ubisoft

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2014-10-25 07:15
(Some Of) The Big Stuff:

Ten-year Ubisoft veteran Jade Raymond left the French video game giant this week. She produced the original Assassin's Creed, its sequel, and various entries in the Splinter Cell series. Most recently, she worked on Watch Dogs and was managing director of Ubisoft Toronto. She called the decision to leave Ubisoft "one of the hardest decisions" of her career. No word yet on what she's doing next. Her replacement is Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six veteran Alexandre Parizeau.

Sunset Overdrive creative director Marcus Smith this week explained why the upcoming Xbox One game runs in 900p, not 1080p. He said developer Insomniac Games had the game running at 1080p at one point, but decided to shift to 900p so it could create a level of on-screen mayhem that would make Transformers director Michael Bay proud.

On Wednesday, Respawn Entertainment announced details on Titanfall's biggest ever update. The wide-ranging update includes multiple new game modes, including a co-op, horde-style mode that you can play against AI, and not real-world players. Be sure to read our detailed coverage of the update to get up-to-speed with everything the update introduces. It's available today on Xbox One and PC.

The Other Stuff (Stories We Like, But Didn't Cover With a Standalone Post):

Pornographic website YouPorn is getting into gaming. The site says that after fielding "hundreds" of requests (who knows how many were actually serious) it is close to reaching a sponsorship deal with an eSports team. There are quite a few sex jokes to make here.

Halloween is nearly here, and Disney is celebrating by updating its mobile games with new features and functionality focused around the freaky holiday. Marvel Puzzle Quest got a spooky new character called Blade on October 24, while a new mission is coming to Marvel: Avengers Alliance that sees players fighting off a demonic threat.

Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey says in a wide-ranging and fascinating interview with Smithsonian that when the Oculus Rift consumer version is eventually released, it won't be perfect. But that's OK, because the Ford Model T wasn't either, he says. "This is the Model T," he said about the first edition Oculus Rift. "We want to be where the Tesla is eventually. What we have now is something that's affordable, that's good enough for people, and that will be able to sustain the growth that’s needed to get to the Tesla."

Who will win next week's UFC 179 featuring fighters Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo? EA Sports simulated the bout in EA Sports UFC, and Aldo came out on top, finishing off Mendes with ground and pound moves to win his seventh consecutive title. We'll find out if EA was right when the actual fight takes place Saturday, October 25 at the Ginasio do Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Mass Effect's Commander Shepard has killed more than 300,000 people. That's according to an in-depth analysis done by one super-dedicated fan. Writing on Reddit, user mocha820 reports in extremely detailed depth about how many people Shepard killed in Mass Effect 1-3 and all of the game's DLC. The total bodycount is even broken down by race and faction.

Remember that awesome arcade game Time Crisis? It's coming back! Bandai Namco's classic light gun franchise is returning to arcades in March 2015 in the form of Time Crisis 5. Per a new report from Polygon, the new game will feature left and right foot pedals, which will allow you to flank enemies. The game will be played on 55-inch monitors, and the gun controller lets you to cycle through weapons. The Time Crisis series debuted in 1996, and the most recent release was 2006's Time Crisis 4.

A new report from security solutions company Symantec reveals what you probably already knew: gamers are a top target for DDoS attacks. "Short DDoS attacks against competing players are unfortunately very popular among online gamers," Symantec writes in the full report.

Expansion alert! Boston-based indie studio Disruptor Beam this week announced (and released) the first expansion for mobile and Facebook title Game of Thrones Ascent. It's called The Long Night, and it features a new World Event, new Alliance tactics system, and new quests and items. You can read more about The Long Night in a blog post here.

Think you're good at Tetris? You might be, but you aren't better than Harry Hong. He won the recently concluded Annual Classic Tetris World Championship, which took place in Oregon. Gamers from around the world competed in round after round of 8-bit Tetris on NES. After two days of qualifying rounds, Hong--who hails from Los Angeles--took home the crown. He cleared more lines of Tetriminos (the name of the falling shapes) and scored more points than everyone else. For his victory, he won $1,000 in prize money and a grand prize trophy. Nice work!

There's no NHL 2K game on consoles or PC this year, but now you can play NHL 2K on the go. 2K Sports this week released the game for iOS and Android. You can buy the game, developed in-hour at Visual Concepts, for $8. 2K Sports calls the game a "full-featured professional hockey game" and it includes a My Career mode, live roster updates, asynchronous multiplayer, and classic modes such as NHL Winter Classic and Free Skate. Download it today from iTunes and Google Play.

A group of filmmakers are looking to make a Legend of Zelda parody movie in the vein of Family Guy's Star Wars episode, Blue Harvest. They've turned to Kickstarter to help fund their dreams, asking for $225,000 to make the project a reality. So far, they've raised just over $500. You can read more about the campaign here.

Microsoft announced this week that all 104 Microsoft Stores will celebrate the release of Xbox One game Sunset Overdrive with launch parties kicking off at 10 PM on Monday, October 27. Attend one of the events and you'll get to play the game early, take part in special giveaways, and more. Plus, be one of the first 25 to show up and buy a copy of the game and you'll receive special Sunset Overdrive swag.

A group of Spanish video game developers have launched a Kickstarter campaign for a Christian-themed mobile game called A Journey Towards Jesus for iOS and Android. They're looking for $8,500 to make the project a reality, and have so far received over $3,400 in pledges. "We believe that Christian content available for mobile devices is scarce and sometimes poorly designed," the developers say. "Young people have many ways to spend their free time. Unfortunately there are currently few Apps that serve to evangelize, teach, and entertain them. Our idea: Why not create quality Christian Apps, so that all interested young people can have fun while learning more about the Word of God?"

Time for another Super Meat Boy game? Maybe. Probably not. Who knows. But the studio behind the 2010 game made a tease on Twitter this week, saying: "4 years ago today Super Meat Boy was born. Since then the world has been constantly going down hill. Time for another Meat Boy game I think." I personally would not object. How about you?

Interested in the history of video game development? A pretty neat new interactive graphic from PriceSpy lets you explore the history of famous game developers, including information about where and when they got started, what they created, and lots more. See it here.

A new professional study from Ryerson University suggests that kids eat less after playing video games such as Angry Birds. On average, children consume 50 fewer calories at mealtime compared to when they didn't play video games, the study found. Reading this made me hungry, so I guess I should now go play video games.

The World Series started this week, and it's now been revealed that the Kansas City Royals' love for Supercell's mobile hit Clash of Clans nearly ruined the team's season. The team got so swept up playing the game that they often played in the locker room instead of devoting their energy to improving their real-world baseball game. It all worked out in the end, though, as the Royals are now playing against the San Francisco Giants for a World Championship.

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9 of Skyrim's Craziest Mods - Sat, 2014-10-25 04:39

Despite having been released way back in 2011, the gaming world ( the PC community in particular) still can't seem to get enough of Tamriel's northern kingdom. This is largely thanks to the tireless efforts of the modding community, who have created thousands of mods that make Skyrim as beautiful and bug-free as any next-gen title out there... plus a BUNCH of other mods that are just downright insane. These are nine of our favorite so-wacky-you-almost-won't-believe-it mods for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.


Continue reading…

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9 of Skyrim's Craziest Mods - Fri, 2014-10-24 23:09
IGN takes a look at some of our favorite wacky mods for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
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Legend of Grimrock 2 Review

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2014-10-24 20:16

It's fitting that the music first greeting you in Legend of Grimrock II is a rousing, bombastic tune that would just as easily be at home in a summer fantasy blockbuster. The sequel is a grand adventure, a far cry from the claustrophobic tunnels of its predecessor's excellent first-person, tile-based dungeon-crawling revival. And while the suffocating atmosphere of the franchise's first entry has been diluted by a focus on exploration rather than escape, its mechanics and well-crafted content have flourished and been improved in almost every way. Legend of Grimrock II is a logical and brilliantly executed next step for the series, exhibiting slight symptoms of too much freedom, but never stumbling for long.

Grimrock II has little to do with the mountain peak in the game's title; rather, it serves as reassurance that the formula defined decades ago, and modernized in the original Grimrock, still elegantly drives the experience. You fashion a party of adventurers with classic Dungeons & Dragons character trappings and step through unexplored three-dimensional terrain one tile at a time. Along the way, you acquire armor, weapons, and artifacts of increasing prowess, outfitting each of your characters to do real-time battle against a bestiary of monstrous creatures. You trigger fatally hidden traps, avoid the obvious ones, and search for vital clues to unlock gates and doorways, while solving riddles and puzzles in a quest for answers to larger mysteries and the almighty pursuit of power itself.

Giant rats are so 1990. It's all about pirate rats now.

Legend of Grimrock II shirks the longstanding reliance on subterranean labyrinths that have so-well suited the genre; instead, it pulls a new foursome of characters to the Isle of Nex, and the welcome addition of outdoor locales. From the temperate woodlands of Twigroot Forest to the noxious vapors of Keelbreach Bog, each environment carries a unique personality, and together they create a more diverse setting than the original's endless halls of stone and darkness. Of course, thousands of steps are still waiting to be taken in decrepit dungeons and tight tunnels, but the promise of returning to the fresh air of the surface alleviates the impenetrable gloom of underground life. Even returning to an open sky of a pitch black night--thanks to the great addition of a day and night cycle--feels like a safe haven from the skittering terrors that roam the chasms below."

The openness of the island setting is mirrored in the game's navigation. Shortly after your arrival on Nex, you're free to traverse nearly anywhere you can see, assuming you can unlock the barriers to entry and survive your own curiosity. To that point, there's a naural sense of progression in Grimrock II: it gently guides you through each new zone without spelling out an optimal order for visiting them. Should you somehow decipher the means to wander into territory too dangerous for your fledgling skills, that gentle hand becomes a clenched fist, ready to immediately bludgeon your party for its foolhardiness--but the option exists, and that non-linearity is refreshing.

Returning to an open sky in a pitch black night--thanks to the great addition of a day and night cycle--feels like a safe haven from the skittering terrors that roam the chasms below.

Unfortunately, that freedom of choice and ambiguous direction is where Grimrock II briefly falters. Much of the adventure hinges on the collection of scattered MacGuffins, conveniently spaced and designed to require the exploration of every area in order to chase them all down. In fact, the journey from your shipwrecked landing to the heart of the mystery is largely devoid of overarching narrative until the climax. What little references there are to a grander scheme are delivered in coy notes from an unknown master of this undiscovered island.

It's understandable that a focused narrative pushing you from one area to the next might hamper your ability to freely navigate the isle, but the chosen alternative is a nearly blind journey requiring a herculean effort and an enormous amount of good faith that it's going to pay off in the end--which it thankfully does. Instead, the real story takeaway is found in the immaculately designed riddles, puzzles, and moments of sometimes-not-so-near fatal choice that punctuate every step of the adventure.

Developer Almost Human has deftly crafted dozens of bite-sized, standalone engagements that are often vague, frequently complex, and always clever. And it's in these moments, when you're stuck wondering how exactly the provided clues don't point to the seemingly obvious conclusion, that you might truly appreciate the openness of a world that allows you to go off and perform some other task while you let all the elements of a particularly devious obstacle simmer in the back of your mind.

Word of advice: Don't fall in the pit full of zombies, aka, the Zombie Pit.

Overcoming the many vague riddles in Legend of Grimrock II is occasionally grueling, but to Almost Human's great credit, the answers are nearly always rooted in logic or interpretation, rather than finding some minute trigger on a wall. Oh, there are many secrets on Nex that are only uncovered with a keen eye, say, scrutinizing a sea of stone for the smallest switch, but these instances are almost exclusively tied to superfluous loot rather than vital game progression.

The vein of thoughtful improvement running through Legend of Grimrock II may be most apparent in its intricately designed quandaries, but it snakes through even the most basic elements of the franchise. Character creation, the cornerstone of the dungeon-crawling experience, exhibits a comparable leap forward. Where the original Grimrock opted for a trifecta of class selections--Fighter, Rogue, and Mage--the second offering builds on that trinity, filling the spaces between with new and unique roles. Choose to crush monsters through the Barbarian's brute force, strike a balance between marshal and mystical arts with a Battlemage, or brew life-saving concoctions with collected herbs as an Alchemist. All are viable additions to a budding party, though in practice, some classes are clearly more beneficial than others.

The real story takeaway is found in the immaculately designed riddles, puzzles, and moments of sometimes-not-so-near fatal choice that punctuate every step of the adventure.

In another sly wink poking fun at the tropes of the genre, there's even a Farmer class, which excels in absolutely nothing you'd want in an adventurer and gains experience not by killing enemies but by eating food. It's these small touches of playful meta--for example, some races gain hidden statistical benefits after ingesting their preferred foods, and the new Ratling race has a special affinity for cheese--that paint Grimrock II as a creation that's totally comfortable in its own skin while still true to the dungeon crawling mantle of yore.

But while an old-school spirit might power the core, the vessel is a more modern, expanded take on the experience than even the original Grimrock had to offer. The addition of weapon-specific special attacks adds a welcome layer of depth to combat; by drawing from your characters' energy pools, you're able to trigger devastating blows with titanic axes, or launch a flurry of slashes with a sabre. Moreover, the overhauled spell casting system allows you to quickly swipe across runes to prime a spell, replacing the cumbersome need to click each individual one. Now you can engage in combat that is fluid and interactive, rather than just repeatedly hacking at something until one of you squeals and collapses.

Better still, when paired with the active and passive bonuses of available skills and traits, each character can potentially attain enough unique purpose that fights are often elevated from slugfests to battles of timing, positioning, and resourcefulness. The appointed leader of my party, Arielle the Knight, started as the tough-as-nails tank, but somewhere during my 30-hour adventure she learned to dual-wield rune-adorned scimitars, backstabbing unsuspecting enemies in her impractically bulky armor. Thanks to the untethered skill system, she did it all, and you're free to similarly build any class in any direction you choose.

Poison, petrification, disease, blindness--there's a status effect for everyone!

Combat in Grimrock II is a more refined, empowering, and choice-centric part of the experience this time around, and with good reason: The beasts that inhabit the Isle of Nex are a much more formidable breed. Mainstay monsters that have adorned the darkened hallways of grid-based crawlers for years are well-represented: giant spiders, rats, ogres, and the undead. But new to the fray are creatures that, like your characters, carry their own functional skillsets. The giant toads roaming the bog may seem straightforward, but when one leaps across several tiles, landing behind your party, lashing out with its sticky tongue and pulling your characters' weapons out of their hands, the encounter shifts dramatically in its favor. Wispy elementals patrol the forests and press their attacks, unfazed by conventional weapons and spells, and leaving you helplessly searching for a vulnerability of some kind. And amethyst-hued cycloptic floating squid-beasts spew blinding ink from both ends, disgustingly enough, in the jewel-encrusted mines beneath the surface of Nex.

These functional additions to the bestiary are fairly indicative of what you should expect from Legend of Grimrock II: A well-established foundation revisited and excellently enhanced in the years between releases. Nearly every aspect of this dense adventure has been touched in a positive way, with none of the clutter that often accompanies second-act offerings that try to cram too much in. And despite the lack of narrative, Grimrock II is an outstanding second trip to the nostalgia well. It synthesizes the key elements that made the first game great, improves upon them in intriguing and powerful ways, and uses that as a platform for designing and launching more of the same great content.

Legend of Grimrock II is similar to one of its many well-designed riddles: While solving it may be a long, arduous process, approaching each obstacle with newfound understanding and hearing the victorious click of gears finally turning gives you a feeling of profound pride and accomplishment. Legend of Grimrock II is another glorious glimpse of the past, a window to a genre dead and buried and brought back to life with care and respect, and I urge you to peek through it.

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Neverending Nightmares Review

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2014-10-24 20:13

There's an elite brand of horror that, even in these glory days when players are drowning in utterly terrifying interactive experiences, is rare to see, and harder to pull off, and that is the horror of the self. That is, the terror that comes not from a malignant, malicious invader that must be put down, but from witnessing perversions and desecrations beyond imagining, and realizing you're responsible for such terror, and you have to forever change to keep it at bay. This is the territory that Silent Hill 2 occupies, and it's one of only a few games to get it exactly right.

Neverending Nightmares is a solemn attempt to flourish in that territory, and it has the right ideas. It's the story of a young man named Thomas who is stuck in a seemingly eternal Inception-style loop of visceral Edward Gorey nightmares. His own house is slowly overtaken by living, ominous shadows and dolls with frozen smiles whose eyes follow him when he walks by. He finds himself in an asylum overrun by straight-jacketed cannibals and with haphazardly-piled mutilated dead in the hallways. Dead women rain from the sky in a cemetery while birds feed on the corpses. There are common elements in each scenario, but the omnipresent one is the ephemeral specter of a black-haired girl. The girl takes many forms: sister, wife, psychiatrist, daughter, china doll, bride, and, not least of all, bloody, knife-wielding murderwoman. She is both the reason to press on and the reason to want to escape every nightmare Thomas finds himself in. But you don't escape. You simply… persist.

Spot the creepy ghost lady, win a prize.

The devil is quite literally in the details in Neverending Nightmares. As you explore, a room might be little more than a bunch of family paintings, or a benign toy chest in a corner, or a sterile bathroom. Returning to that same room later, the wallpaper might have turned into deathly skulls, or the expression on the doll’s face turned to terror; random blood stains might’ve appeared, or you might hear random whispers, crying, and screams off in the distance. When Neverending Nightmares is at its best, it’s a sort of hellish Gone Home, where opening a new door means falling forever, having your Achilles tendons slashed, ripping out your own veins like string cheese; and making progress towards a new nightmare is indistinguishable from abject failure until you notice the change in the air, a different set of taunting voices. It's a perfect storm of fear: You are free to explore yet claustrophobically trapped, all at once.

This dichotomy would create a distressing combination even if movement weren’t so restricted. Thomas' regular gait when walking is a limping shuffle that makes simple walks down a hallway feel like roaming 40 years in a desert. Yes, you have the ability to run, but Thomas apparently has the stamina of a chain-smoker with one lung, and you can get maybe five seconds of sprinting out of him before he’s exhausted. It adds a nice layer of tension to the game's many terrifying chases, but when it takes forever to get from point A to B, tension turns into flat annoyance.

Worst. Slumber party. Ever.

The monotony isn't helped by the fact that Neverending Nightmares is such a sparse game. After knowing what's scattered around each environment, you can go for stretches where you’re walking in and out of doors with nothing happening, nothing having changed, and with nothing new to interact with. The intent seems to be to give the player breathing room before going in for the scare, but it feels more artificial. Bad dreams typically aren't characterized by moments of lukewarm emptiness, and the fact that there are many here distracts.

What dreams do have, however, is abstraction, and Neverending Nightmares excels here. The game speaks in the broken dream language of trauma and internalized pain like few games do, and the facts of Thomas continually murdering himself, being marauded by defective babies, or seeing the girl dead in so many configurations are meant to walk the careful line between subtext and text. You are meant to put the pieces together, and the more the game feeds you on the far extremes of violence and sadness, the less it makes sense. Are you watching a man who killed a loved one and can no longer rest? Are you watching a brother stuck in purgatory for attempting suicide? Are you seeing the aftereffects of a parent grieving a dead child? The emotions are clearly represented: Fear, grief, surrender, self-loathing, and doubt.

Protip: Anything she found here is terrifying. Please don't follow her.

What those emotions are in aid of is the pertinent question, and it's a haunting one, which the game's multiple endings do muddled work in answering, to both the game’s benefit and detriment. You walk away with heady questions about what you’ve played. What you might not come away with is satisfaction. Despite being only a one-to-two- hour game, it feels like a long way to get to either of the three finish lines; even trying for a second ending feels like work, and at least one of the endings puts far too easy a cap on what came before to feel true to the preceding hour.

And yet, having slept on it, I find myself obsessing over the questions raised, and the imagery foisted upon me by the encroaching darkness, than I have with any game in recent memory. Its frustrations are many, but they are not what sticks in the mind after it’s done. Neverending Nightmares might be a dream only worth taking once, but once is all it needs to work its ill upon you.

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Street Fighter 4 Omega Edition Changes Things Up - IGN News - Fri, 2014-10-24 20:01
Before the end of the year, Ultra Street Fighter IV will be getting a new free feature called Omega Mode, and with it, drastic changes to how players favorite World Warriors feel and play.
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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Preorder Bonuses

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2014-10-24 19:24

With a near-future take on military combat, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the latest in the long-running COD shooter franchise. This year's entry is in development by Sledgehammer games, and to get you in on the game early, the company has put together a wide range of pre-order incentives.

Eschewing the normal trend of retailer-specific offers, the bulk of the game's exclusive content will be available to everyone:

  • Advanced Arsenal -- This pre-order pack consists of two cosmetic items: items the Bullet-Brass exoskeleton and the Bullet-Brass EM1 Quantum
  • Day Zero Edition -- Everyone who pre-orders the game gets the Day Zero edition which includes: Access to the game 24 hours early on November 3, Two bonus weapons (AK-12G Assault Rifle and the Crossbow-B2), and double XP on November 3

But that doesn't mean that some stores aren't also trying to entice you in. Here are the current store-specific pre-order bonuses:

Outside of the pre-order bonuses, there's also:

And you don't want to forget that the game also has an ongoing cross-buy promotion. Until March 31, if you buy Advanced Warfare digitally on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, you'll be able to get a copy of of the next-gen version for free. Multiplayer stats and gear, as well as downloadable content you've purchased, including the season pass, will carry over.

The final point to think about if you're considering purchasing Advanced Warfare is how quickly you want access to the game's downloadable content. As has been the case since Black Ops in 2010, Xbox owners will have first crack at Advanced Warfare's DLC, but it will still make its way to other platforms.

See any deals we missed or have a great news tip? Email

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GS News Top 5 - 8-Player Smash Bros, Insane Assassin’s Creed PC specs!

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2014-10-24 19:00
We get heaps of Super Smash Bros. Wii U news, a silly dev threatened to kill Gabe Newell, and the PC specs for Assassin’s Creed Unity are crazy high!
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Huge Smash Bros Reveals & PS4 Updates Soon - IGN Daily Fix - Fri, 2014-10-24 18:54
Win a $60 Gamestop Gift Card! Huge Super Smash Bros. reveals & PS4's 2.0 update out next week. Plus, Xbox Makes 2.4 Million in last quarter & Outlast 2 gets announced.
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All Collectibles in Chapter 7 of The Evil Within - Fri, 2014-10-24 18:49
We show you where to find every collectible in Chapter 7 of The Evil Within. Want to find collectibles from other chapters? Check out our wiki @
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Chapter 6: Losing Grip on Ourselves (Part 3) - The Evil Within Walkthrough - Fri, 2014-10-24 18:48
We take you through the sixth chapter of The Evil Within. To see more of our walkthrough, or anything else on the game, check out our wiki @
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Super Smash Bros Wii U - 4 player mode - Gameplay

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2014-10-24 18:00
Check out a four player free-for-all featuring Kirby, Toon Link, Wii Fit Trainer, and Sheik from Super Smash Bros Wii U.
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Super Smash Bros Wii U - 8 Player Mode - Gameplay

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2014-10-24 18:00
Check out some gameplay from the crazy 8 player mode from Super Smash Bros Wii U.
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