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50 Details We Noticed During Our Hands-On Time With Mass Effect Andromeda

I recently had the chance to play three hours of Mass Effect Andromeda. If you want in-depth impressions, you can find those here. However, there were also A LOT of details I noticed as a fan of the series that I thought were worth collecting, so here they are. All 50 of them.


Character Generation



1. Since our protagonist, Ryder, doesn’t have a military background like Commander Shepard, the character creator has a plethora of customization options for face and hair. Want a character with a pink mullet? Go for it.



2. You are not locked into classes like you were in the original trilogy. The training you choose at the beginning of the game just gives you a boost in certain skills. 



3. The training options you can select are as follows: Security, Biotic, Technician, Leader, Scrapper, and Operative. 



4. Outside of your player character, you’ll also be able to customize the look of your twin, who will play a large part in the story, according to BioWare. 



5. We didn't see Ryder's father get customized, though BioWare mentioned during our cover story that would be an option. That doesn't mean that option isn't in the final version of the game, or some variation of it, but I didn't see it in action.



6. Before you get into the game proper, you can choose the gender of the Shepard you played in the original trilogy and it will affect Andromeda’s story somehow.

Combat And Loadouts

7. Enemies are still bullet sponges and the guns feel kind of weak as a result, but the powers you can use during combat are fierce and made me feel powerful.

8. Squadmates seem as, or more, competent as they were in the first three games, hurling their special attacks at foes and laying down cover fire.

9. Weapons from the original trilogy return, including the M-8 Avenger and M-96 Mattock.

10. As far as biotic powers go, old favorites like Pull and Stasis are back. However, there are new powers as well, including one that lets you pick enemies up and throw foes into each other.

11. Elemental ammo (fire, cryo) is no longer a power you can select, but instead a consumable item you find. Each use gives you three clips of elemental ammo before you switch back to normal rounds.

12. Certain enemies you come across can kill you in one hit (hi, yes, this happened to me).

13. The Kett look a lot like The Collectors from Mass Effect 2 and fight like them. I didn’t get any details about their background or motives during my gameplay demo.

14. The armor you wear out in the field is also customizable. You can customize it on your ship.

15. You can upgrade your weapons using a workbench on the ship; you cannot upgrade or modify them out in the field.

16. You can loot boxes for crafting materials and ammo, and the interface looks like a more streamlined version of the looting menu from the first game. 

17. Putting a scope on your weapon forces your perspective into first-person mode whenever you aim instead of the typical over-the-shoulder view.

18. The jetpack Ryder wears not only lets you jump to hard-to-reach places, it also has combat functionalities. For example, you can make an enemy levitate helplessly in midair with a biotic blast and then leap toward them and unleash a devastating melee attack that sends them spinning into space.

19. You can combine your powers to do critical combo-specific damage to your enemies, like trapping a foe with a biotic power and then hitting him with a grenade or concussion round.

20. All enemies have life bars over their heads. I could not turn off the life bars in the options menu.

21. In addition to finding and adding firearms to your loadout, there are a variety of melee weapons you can switch between and use, including the fan-favorite Omni-blade from Mass Effect 3.

22. The autosave points seem generous, often restoring me back to a minute or two before Ryder died. 

23. The skill tree is massive, granting you access to a number of powers you can mix and match during the course of the game to create different character loadouts for different situations. I mostly stuck to a mix of biotic/tech powers that let me disable enemy functionality and hurl them across landscapes, but it was clearly only a taste of what is available.

Storytelling

24. The Paragon/Renegade binary has been done away with. Instead, Andromeda opts for a more open-ended dialogue system that’s intended to let you build a complex character.

25. Interrupts aren’t gone but they’ve been retooled as "Impulse Actions." I didn't get to see or execute any Impulse Actions during my playthrough.

26. Before venturing out into the planet’s badlands, I explored a station on the planet that had a strong Mos Eisely vibe, populated with scrappers and pirates.

27. One sidequest I didn’t pursue (because of time constraints) would have had Ryder investigating a murder in the station.

28. The main quest on the station involved me having to interrogate a prisoner for the location of an item. I first had to get past his captor, who let me interrogate the prisoner on the condition I let the captor kill him shortly afterward. I could have contested that condition and been noble, but I decided to play my Ryder as a cold, calculating individual who will get her mission done at any cost. It was a branching segment that felt very in line with the sorts of side quests Mass Effect had in the first two games.

29. I didn’t hear Shepard’s name mentioned once during my preview time.

30. I didn’t see any Drell, Hanar, or Quarians. That doesn't mean they're not in the full game, of course, but I didn't see them at all during my preview.

31. The transition sequence of your ship flying to your destination and docking that was a mainstay in the first three games is still here. I saw a fair bit of the Tempest flying and docking.

32. On the Tempest, there’s a war room where you and your squadmates meet to discuss main storyline missions as well as sidequests much like the comm room in Mass Effect 2.


Exploration


33. The Tempest feels a good bit larger than The Normandy.



34. The Nomad controls a lot like the Mako but less rubbery. You don’t bounce. Sorry, bounce fans. 



35. For mountains and inclines, the Nomad has a second mode you can shift into that lets you scale them.



36. The Nomad didn’t have any turrets or projectile-based weaponry I could use, but it sure could run enemies over. 



37. While in the Nomad, you can return to The Tempest at nearly any time by holding down the Evacuation button for a few seconds. 



38. Doors take a long time to open. No, really. I often found myself holding the action button for 2-3 seconds waiting for a door to slide open. It might sound like a small thing, but it got annoying when I had to pass through two doors near each other. 



39. The planet I explored had a varied environment, with plenty of floral life and nice environmental touches like geysers, as well as different kinds of wildlife roaming the plains. 


Characters



40. Like previous Mass Effect titles, crewmates and squadmates are sectioned off into their own rooms and you can go visit them. 



41. You can customize the clothes that Ryder can wear. I switched between a nice suit and a leather jacket complete with a scarf she could wear around her neck.



42. Vetra, the Turian squadmate, is rad.



43. The pilot of The Tempest is a Salarian named Kallo. In the brief scene I saw with them, they seemed a bit more concentrated and serious than Joker was in the original trilogy.



44. I could flirt with every squadmate I came across on the ship (Vetra, Liam, Jaal). That doesn’t necessarily mean a relationship can be born out of all of these during the course of the game, since in Mass Effect 2 Samara shuts you down after you flirt with her, but I did flirt with them.



45. I found the conversations I had with my squadmates to be just as engrossing and confessional as the ones from the original trilogy. 



46. There are collectibles littered around the planets you explore that give you insight into the motives and beliefs of a certain other character in the game.



47. The clunky (but also somewhat endearing) animations that have been part of BioWare’s recent games are still here, especially when a character expresses frustrations by waving their hands about.



48. SAM (Simulated Adaptive Matrix) is the Andromeda-equivalent of EDI. He’s an A.I. that eventually bonds with your brain and becomes a part of you. When he isn’t functioning as your HUD or informing you about your environment, you can have philosophical discussions with him about existence.



49. I got a glimpse of the big baddie, The Archon, but he just stood there menacingly for a bit and I didn’t get any details about what he wants, though the Kett’s plans seem to involve terraforming or mining planets for their resources.



50. Party chatter is back. While I drove around in the Nomad, party members would talk about their lives before the Andromeda Initiative in conversations that ran the gamut from amusing to downright sad.

For more on Andromeda, you can check out my in-depth preview of the slice of game I got to play here. You can also check out our cover story hub by clicking on the banner below.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

The Sports Desk – 48 MLB The Show 17 Details: Gameplay, Graphics, Diamond Dynasty & More

MLB The Show 17 comes out on PS4 in a little over a month, and we're just starting to dig into some of the new gameplay offerings and myriad details for the year. We talked with game designer Ramone Russell about a few of the things we can expect from the game, including Diamond Dynasty, smarter A.I. (as well as more less-than-perfect-but-realistic), new ball physics, the importance of animations, and more.

New Ball Physics/Hit Types

  • The video below shows off some of the new hits in the game thanks to the ball and bat actually interfacing as a round bat hitting a round bat – instead of it simulating a ball hitting a flat wall. "It has vastly increased the hit types possible in the Show moving forward," Russell told us. "This year you are going to see hundreds of thousands – up to a million – new hit types. It's completely opened up, and I say that with extreme confidence."
  • The team is currently analyzing the hit types the new ball physics has produced to make sure the results are realistic. The developer at San Diego Studio performs overnight tests where the game can relatively quickly play thousands of games over an eight-hour period to produce the number of singles, home runs, etc. the team can then compare against real-life data. So far, even with all the new hit types, the results are realistic says Russell.
  • Things affecting the ball physics and behavior: The location/height of the pitch, ball speed, where the swing is, the height of the batter, angle of the bat, velocity of the bat, spin of the ball, and more.
  • Russell says he doesn't think that you'll feel/notice the new ball/bat interfacing when you're hitting, although your timing will affect the ball and how it comes off the bat.

A.I.

  • Players had non-perfect routes to the ball last year, but the team thinks the multitude of new hit types and ball behaviors will add even more non-perfect routes and actions for fielders.
  • Players are smarter and understand context more, which the team has dubbed "Humanity A.I." For instance, a fielder knows he has to get to the ball and get it out faster if Billy Hamilton is at bat because the A.I. understands how fast Hamilton is. Conversely, you'll see throwers take more time with the ball if they feel they have it. When players rush throws, the game takes that into account when it's calculating the accuracy of the resulting throw.
  • In a recent livestream, the team says it is also working on fielder context so that the pitcher gets over to first base more, there is less confusion between him and the first baseman, and to avoid the looping throws on potential double plays.

Animations

  • The game has over 1,000 new gameplay animations, including non-perfect/mistake animations, which the game didn't have in the past. 
  • Fielders perform running catches and the subsequent throws from multiple branching points (which happen sooner), as opposed to just a single point last year. This generates different animations as well as being more forgiving if you miss a branch point. Thus, your catch and throw animations for fielders will be more varied and smooth.
  • Russell estimates that there are somewhere between 25-50 new home run swings. There are also more outfield animations at the end of the game (like the Red Sox's Win, Dance, Repeat, which has been mo-capped), team-specific handshakes in the dugouts and at the end of the game, and rituals for crossing home plate.

Diamond Dynasty

  • More missions are available, including early missions to get you started such as when you make a team. Everyone can do these and not just a set number of entrants.
  • New mission types include time-limited missions like doing something in the next 24 hrs. to get a card, packs, piece of equipment, etc.
  • The live content team will update every Thursday.
  • Programs are what Russell calls "the long game." These are various missions you complete over a longer period of time, but which dole out rewards based on certain percentages. For instance, the Diamond Program can't even be fully unlocked until the All-Star break. There will be a few different Diamond Programs through the year.
  • Events are weekly themes where you play with restrictions. This means that low-rated players you may have ditched previously may have some value. The game's first event is Wild Wild West where you can only use players from the Padres, Dodgers, Athletics, Angels, Mariners, and the Giants. Other events planned (they will be introduced every few weeks) include only having lefties, rookies, etc. Events have a rating salary cap to force you to make further choices with your lineup.
  • Events will have some rewards that don't show up in any other mode.
  • The dev team will drop in Conquest-specific missions that could change how you approach the map from day-to-day. There will also be more rewards in the mode.
  • Head-to-Head play includes seasons which could last a week or a month. Every season has a theme with tiers that have their own rewards.

Graphics

Click each comparison picture for a better look.

  • Some of the work done on the faces in particular include: Sweat effects, new skin tone lighting and textures, and eyes with more depth and life. The latter includes getting the eye shapes right. "Hopefully," says Russell, "we lost that ghost look."
  • The shadows on players' faces when wearing caps were faked last year, but in 17 they are from real lighting sources.
  • Uniform detail has also improved, including a slider for sleeve length.
  • Russell says the team is doing something for PS4 Pro, but can't talk about it yet.
  • The screens above and their noticeable detail aren't the product of new face scans. The improvements are inherent in the work done this year. Face scans in general are done during spring training and implemented in the following year.
  • The grass patterns in 2017 are no longer faked like in 2016. They change realistically depending the camera angle and how the light is striking the field.
  • More licensed equipment has been added.

Player Creation

  • The old 17 heads used through the years are gone and have been replaced by 49 heads based on different archetypes. "You won't see any more of those monsters," says Russell.
  • There are 22 new facial hair sets, including some modeled after players such as Josh Donaldson and Dallas Keuchel.
  • The number of hair styles has been expanded (mullets, mohawks, rat tails, African-American hairstyle types, etc,), including old-school hairstyles.
  • The team is doing different body modeling for the game to represent more body types. This includes a new husky body type and sliders for hips, glutes, shoulders, and spine length in the player creator.
  • Player-specific animations can be mixed and matched, so you could have one guy's home run celebration with another's batting stance.

Retro Mode

  • It's a one-button exhibition mode where you can move the pitcher on the rubber and batter in the box like old-school baseball titles, and while pitchers can't select their pitches, they can select speed (down on the analog for fast/up for slow) and move the ball around left/right in mid-air.
  • The mode uses old-school sound effects like a slide whistle during hits and in the menu screens
  • Ken Griffey Jr. adds some comments from time to time.
  • Some player animations are included such as players breaking their bat after striking out.
  • Retro mode uses the same physics as the rest of the game.
  • Throws to the bases use the X button/d-pad, and not the face buttons.
  • Pitchers do not need to be warmed up before they are brought into the game.
  • There is no replay in Retro mode.
  • On the recent gameplay livestream, the team says there are some easter eggs hidden in the mode.

Other Tweaks & Improvements

  • Russell on MLB The Show 17 and eSports: "I can't say anything about that subject at the moment."
  • Environmental factors such as the time of year and temperature affecting balls are for all parks, not just certain ones like in the past (like Coors Field).
  • The new optional catcher throw meter for pickoffs featured in the video contains a green sweet spot that shrinks/grows based on the catcher's arm accuracy. The red area shrinks/grows based on the catcher's ability as well as the running ability of the runner. Hitting the green is obviously good and red means the throw is off target, but a green won't always produce an out, and a yellow can still produce one. Where you are in the meter simply refers to how good the catcher's throw is.
  • Russell wouldn't elaborate, but he says the balancing of the cat and mouse aspect of catching a runner between the bases, is being completely redone. The livestream did mentioned that pitcher step off timing for pickoff throws varies, so it's not like they do it exactly when you take off to steal.
  • Ball placement in the throws is being tweaked, as Russell says the ball placement for the accurate throws is off a little.
  • Apart from some of the bugs and exploits mentioned in the video (including players throwing too hard on close throws), Russell says that in MLB 2016 bunting was too easy, guys were too lazy on some throws, and players could get sucked into the wall when retrieving the ball too close to it. The animations around the walls in particular are being redone, as is the shortstop animation for getting runners out.
  • The tutorials have been totally redone.
  • Players played out of position will be punished in terms of their ratings and effectiveness.
  • How much new commentary is in the game? This much: 

(Please visit the site to view this media)

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.

 

2017 TEAM UPDATE FOR NASCAR HEAT EVOLUTION

Daytona and the start of another NASCAR season is just around the corner, and to celebrate, DMRacing and developer Monster Games are putting out a 2017 team update for NASCAR Heat Evolution.

The update is available on February 21 for $ 9.99 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and lets players update the game's roster of drivers, sponsors, the schedule, and paint schemes.

While 2017 is a year full of changes for the real-life sport, this update is more focused on rosters than rules. As such, aspects of the real-life season such as the stages format for races or the new Phoenix start/finish line are not included in this update. Publisher DMR hasn't officially announced the next NASCAR game, but has stated that it intends to release a NASCAR game annually. So, we're sure the new rules and changes for 2017 will be available in a different title in the future.

Some of the changes in the update include:

  • New team rosters including the absence of Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, and Greg Biffle; the inclusion of the new Toyota Camry model; and Stewart-Haas Racing's switch to Fords.
  • New drivers such as Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon, and Ryan Reed, as well as new rides for the likes of Landon Cassill (#34), Matt DiBenedetto (#32), and David Ragan (#38).
  • New paint schemes and sponsors, including Monster Energy's sponsorship of the Cup series (formerly the Sprint Cup), and 5 Hour Energy.
  • The 2017 Schedule

I tried the update for a little bit, and when you go into the game it first asks you which year you want to play. If you choose 2017, the game's online multiplayer and challenges are NOT available. Race, Championship, and Career are selectable, however. While the new paint schemes cannot be played in the 2016 branch of the game, you can switch back to last year, and your speed points, level, and unlocked tracks follow you no matter which year you select. The Career mode does, however, start over.

In other NASCAR Heat Evolution news, on February 10th, the Pit Pass 5 DLC is available featuring paint schemes such as Tony Stewart's last ride and much more.

 

PROJECT CARS 2 ANNOUNCED FOR LATE 2017

Slightly Mad Studios has officially unveiled Project Cars 2, and while the sequel aims to replicate the first game's simulation-based racing, multitude of different racing series, and plethora of options, it's also trying to push itself even further.

While all the game's features have not yet been announced, the one big game-changer so far is the dynamic weather system that combines a 24-hour day/night cycle with different weather conditions across the seasons. Conditions change as you race, demanding you adapt to previously dry curves that are now wet, as well as the fact that they may be wet in different places and affected by other cars and changing levels of track debris. Adding this up across different track surfaces (including snow), and you will constantly adapt as new challenges arise on the track from turn to turn.

Project Cars 2 will launch with over 170 licensed cars, which is a big step up from the 60 that the first game debuted with, and PC 2 includes new and old vehicle types and series, including Rallycross and IndyCar.

The game also claims to have "the largest track roster of any console racing game ever" (no specifics given), and has VR headset support (Vive and Oculus for now), and triple-monitor 12K support on PC.

Project Cars 2 comes out in late 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

(Please visit the site to view this media) 

 

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

NBA & NBA2K Announce eSports League 

EA Sports Clarifies FIFA On Switch, Sort Of  

Madden 17 Ultimate Team Draft Champions Gets Update 
Includes new QB round, updated pools, and more.

EA Fines & Deducts Points From Madden Bowl Winner After Racist Comments 
Also, check out EA's official statement here

Racing Title GTR 3 Coming In 2018 

Demolition Derby Title FlatOut 4: Total Insanity Announced 

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Rock Band VR Gameplay Trailer And Release Details

The rhythm genre may not be as hugely popular as it was in its heyday of 2007-09, but there is still an audience out there who loves to rock out on their plastic instruments. Rock Band 4's steady stream of DLC is showing no signs of stopping, and Online Quckplay mode just released to owners of the Rivals Expansion. In addition to this, developer Harmonix is celebrating the tenth anniversary of the series with a brand-new title exclusive to Oculus Rift: Rock Band VR.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Rock Band VR is a guitar-only game compatible with any PS4 or Xbox One Rock Band 4 controller (no legacy instruments allowed at present, sorry!). Players will strap on the Oculus headset and be transported to a virtual-reality concert stage where they can rock out in two distinct modes: Classic Mode retains the classic Rock Band five-button beatmatching gameplay, while Performance Mode takes full advantage of the immersive nature of Oculus VR. A natural extension of Rock Band 4's Freestyle Solos, Performance Mode lets players put their own spin on 60 rock and roll tunes. Three tracks have been announced so far:

  • The Killers – "When You Were Young"
  • Aerosmith – "Walk This Way"
  • Paramore – "Ain't It Fun"

Rock Band VR releases on March 23 for Oculus Rift on PC and is available to pre-order now. The Amazon bundle retails for $ 69.99 and includes a digital copy of the game as well as a Rock Band 4 Fender Stratocaster guitar controller.

[Source: Rock Band VR]

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Rainbow 6 Siege Dev Diary Details Year 2 Improvements

Rainbow Six: Siege has been out in the wild since December 2015, but Ubisoft is continuing to support the popular tactical shooter with a slew of new content and updates for Year 2, as detailed in a new developer diary.

Siege is getting new Operators throughout the year, and the old Operators are also being revamped, rebalanced, and even remodeled. Additionally, the old, slow matchmaking system is being thrown out and replaced with a new one-step system, which should allow players to hop into matches much more quickly. Perhaps most importantly, the metagame is being reworked, with the addition of loot drops which should, ideally, reduce the grind and hasten players' access to premium Operators.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

The first taste of Year 2 content comes in the form of the "Velvet Shell" update, releasing tomorrow, February 7. The patch contains two new Operators and one new map.This patch will revamp the game's menu system to streamline the experience for players eager to jump straight into the action.

For more on the Velvet Shell update, check out the full patch notes here, and for more on Rainbow: Six Siege, check out GI's rundown of the upcoming Year 2 expansions here.

[Source: Ubisoft]

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Hangar 13 Details Upcoming Mafia III Story Expansions

After a string of free DLC updates, Hangar 13 is finally
revealing some details for Mafia III's paid DLC expansions.

The open-world mob sim has three story-focused expansions on
the horizon, with the first hitting next month. Here are the names, release
windows, and short descriptions for the DLC, courtesy of the developer:

Faster, Baby!
Release: End of March
Fast cars, dramatic
chases, and epic stunt driving take center stage as Lincoln joins forces with
Roxy Laveau, a sister-in-arms out to take down a corrupt Sheriff terrorizing
Civil Rights activists on the outskirts of New Bordeaux.

Stones Unturned
Release: May
When a merciless rival
resurfaces in New Bordeaux, Lincoln must join forces with CIA agent John
Donovan to settle a blood feud that began in the war-torn jungles of Vietnam.

Sign of the Times
Release: July
A string of
ritualistic killings has New Bordeaux on the edge of terror. At Father James'
request, Lincoln agrees to hunt down the cult responsible, a quest that will
take him from the dark heart of the old bayou to the drug-ridden counterculture
of the inner city.

Additionally, Hangar 13 says that Faster, Baby! focuses on "thrilling
stunt driving and high-octane car chases" and features new environments, gameplay
mechanics, activities, and a female lead.

For more on Mafia III, read our
review
, watch our hour-long
Test Chamber
, or check out Javy's Virtual Life on why Mafia III is a
necessary game
.

[Source: Mafia
III Official Site
]

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Respawn Lays Out Titanfall 2 DLC Road Map And Details New Live Fire Mode

Respawn and EA have stuck to their free DLC plan since announcing it, and have some new details to offer about what's in store for the future.

Live Fire mode will be available in February. It is apparently inspired by playing speedball in paintball, according to the mode's designer Griffin Dean. In the 6 v 6 mode, players have 60 seconds to grab a neutral flag. Whoever has the flag when the timer runs out wins, regardless of how many lives have been lost up to that point. The mode will be available, for free, in February.

In March, a (sort of) new map, Colony will be available. It is a map from the original Titanfall that is being updated to appear in the sequel.

For our review of Titanfall 2, head here.

[Source: Titanfall 2]

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Nintendo Details The Differences Between Zelda: Breath Of The Wild On Switch And Wii U

The Wii U and Switch version of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will not be identical, and Nintendo recently detailed some of the differences.

Speaking wit IGN, Nintendo shared a list of what will separate the two versions of the game. The good news is the game design, mechanics, etc. will be the same. Neither game features additional gameplay content. Both will also feature the same framerate.

The Switch version of the game will have a higher resolution, running at 900p in TV mode, where the Wii U version runs at 720p. The Switch version of the game will also have improved audio quality. The Wii U version will also require an installation that will take up 3GB of space.

For our impression of the Switch version of Breath of the Wild, head here.

[Source: IGN]

 

Our Take
I'm happy to hear the gap between the two versions of the game isn't too wide, but there is no denying that the Switch version is the superior way to play Breath of the Wild.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Switch Impressions And Equine Details

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has a lot to do with the potential success of the Nintendo Switch, which makes it no surprise that it was featured prominently on Nintendo's Switch showcase floor.

There were two ways to play: One was a 20 minute hands-on demo using the new hardware. The other was a hands-off demo from a Nintendo representative showcasing some later-game content.

Hands-On
If you've been following Breath of the Wild, then you're likely familiar with this demo as it was the same one playable at E3. You can actually see my full playthrough here. It opens with Link mysteriously waking from a 100-year slumber before being let loose on the open world. Nintendo had Joy-Con Grip controllers on hands, but you could also attach the Joy-Con controller to the Switch screens and play as though you were playing mobile. I tried all the variations and landed on leaving the screen on the base, while using the two Joy-Con controllers one in each hand without the aid of the Grip. I always enjoyed that Wii games allowed you to play with your hands separated, and I was eager to see how it felt with the Switch.

My overall impressions are positive. The controllers are responsive and feel good. I was quickly fast-swapping weapons to beat up bad guys, sprinting, climbing, and collecting food without having to think about the controller. I didn't get far in my 20 minutes as I spent a lot of time picking fights and exploring.

Re-attaching the Joy-Con controllers to the screen and pulling it out of the base had barely any pause at all. Reverse, however, sticking the screen back in the dock to play on the TV, did feature a few moments of black as the TV had to acknowledge a new HDMI device had been plugged in.

Overall, however, the game feels great with the new controller and Zelda works as initially promised in the Switch's early commercials.

Hands-Off
For the hands-off demo, I was given three choices of what Nintendo's representative would like to me. We could see some general combat, explore a puzzle Shrine, or tame a horse. I went with the latter.

Nintendo's representative started by ambushing a Bokoblin camp and clearing them out so they could use their grill to cook up a Sneaky Elixer so that it would be easier to sneak up on a wild horse.

After finding a group of them, I watched Link climb a rock and leap off with his glider to land on the wild horses back. He soothed the horse to calm it down and wrote it to the nearby Riverside Stable, where he registered the horse and learned about its stats. Per my request, the horse was named Buttz.

Using this method, Link can have a handful of horses on call at assorted stables. You will not have a single horse you ride through the whole game, but you can name every single one of your horses Epona if you want.

Finally, I learned Link can call his horse to come closer to him by whistling. This is not a get a horse anywhere, anytime call, however. Your horse needs to be somewhat close in order to respond to your call.

Visually, Breath of the Wild does not look dramatically different from the Wii U version of the game, but the two were not side-by-side making direct comparison difficult. Wii U still seems like a perfectly acceptable way to play Breath of the Wild, and my time with game today makes it seems like it will serve as a perfectly good excuse to get a Switch on day one.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Destiny Details Next Iron Banner, Incoming Hotfix

The Dawning event provided some fun content for Guardians to dig their teeth into, including a refined and expanded Sparrow Racing League, along with the addition of Strike Scoring. Now that the holiday event has wrapped up, Destiny players can expect a return to the more regularly scheduled event roll-out; specifically, Bungie has used today’s weekly update to detail the next Iron Banner competitive tournament. 

Crucible players can take to the battlefield next week on Tuesday, January 17, and engage in a full week of ranking up with the Iron Banner vendor, Efrideet. If you’re still looking for an excellent sidearm or rocket launcher, the event should definitely be on your radar, as both weapons will be available for acquisition. In addition, if your armor set still needs either the Iron Banner arms or chest piece, it’s time to equip your favorite gun and get out there to win some matches. 

A new hotfix (2.5.0.1) isn’t is robust as some players might have been hoping for, but it does address a couple of notable dilemmas, including the unreliability of Plaguelands enemies to drop necessary patrol rewards, as well as weapon stability issues with both the Nova Mortis and Abaddon, the two newest exotic machine guns in the game. A few other issues are unfortunately not yet being addressed until a later update, including what sounds like a frustrating bug where skeleton keys can disappear from your inventory. Another issue is also not being addressed quite yet, which has caused some big problems for Trials of Osiris players, in which rounds of an Elimination game don’t end when they’re supposed to, allowing a round-winning team to rebuild supers without penalty as the enemy team sits dead. 

Finally, while there’s not much detail, the update does suggest that the Live team (who most recently rolled out The Dawning) is already back at work on a subsequent update. Without any concrete details, a betting man might suggest that’s an early hint of an impending spring update for the game, but we’ll have to wait and see.

You can read the full weekly update on the Bungie site

 

Our Take
Anecdotal evidence from a glance at my PS4 friends list suggests that the Destiny player population is at a particularly low point right now, following the conclusion of the holiday event. Without a doubt, a large percentage of Bungie’s development efforts must be getting poured into the inevitable sequel to Destiny. As such, current players may need to get used to the idea that the game simply isn’t going to see dramatic updates, patches, or new content drops on a frequent basis in the next few months. 

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Nintendo Details Switch Battery Life

During tonight's Nintendo Switch Presentation, Nintendo answered one of the most pressing questions for its upcoming home console/handheld gaming device hybrid, Nintendo Switch: How long does the battery last when the Switch is not docked and connected to the television?

While the battery life varies depending on game, Nintendo claims that while in portable mode, the Switch's battery will last anywhere between two-and-a-half and six-and-a-half hours.

Nintendo Switch launches on March 3 and retails for $ 299.99.

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