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Test Chamber – Star Wars: Force Arena

Netmarble's new take on Star Wars has many of the classic characters from the epic universe, including Rogue One heroes and villians, and even things like Grand Admiral Thrawn. The mobile "microRTS" meshes elements of MOBAs and Clash Royale to form a lane-pushing battle royale packed with many iconic vehicles and units. With packs to crack and battles occurring in both 1v1 and 2v2, there's force flying everywhere.

Join Daniel Tack and Andrew Reiner as they Boba Fett and Princess Leia through a few matches in this fast-paced version of Star Wars.

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For more Test Chamber, click the banner below, or check out our hub. – The Feed

Star Wars Is Getting A Free-To-Play Mobile Multiplayer Game With Force Arena

Korean developer Netmarble Games Corp. has announced a new
multiplayer mobile Star Wars game that looks like it was inspired by Clash

The game is planned for a global release on iOS and Android platforms. No release date has been announced outside of "coming soon", but it will be free-to-play. The game is currently accepting applications for its beta. You can sign up by heading here.

The game will feature 65 Star Wars characters and vehicles with confirmations that Han Solo, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, and Ezra Bridger will be in the game. Players will be able to play as the Rebellion or the Empire commanding a squad in real-time multiplayer battles. It will offer 1 v. 1, 2 v. 2, as well as single player.

Those who play in the beta will receive some bonus crystals, which acts as the in-game currency. The more people sign up, the bigger the opening pot of free crystals will be.

You can check out a gallery of images from the game below which hint that you will be placing heroes on the battlefield similar to the way players do in Clash Royale. – The Feed

Slime Rancher fan letter highlights how games can be a force for good

Slime Rancher dev Nick Popovich shares a snippet of a nice fan letter from a mother who says a love for Slime Rancher inspired her dyslexic son to develop his writing and problem-solving skills. …

Gamasutra News

Metroid Prime: Federation Force Review – At The Intersection Of Fun And Frustration

The announcement of Metroid Prime: Federation Force garnered
significant backlash from fans of the series. With nary a mention of the
oft-requested 2D Metroid game, many saw Federation Force – a four-player cooperative
first-person shooter for the 3DS – as a slap in the face and refused to accept
it as a true Metroid title. While those complaints are justified, Next Level
Games overcame the scrutiny to release a spin-off title that is enjoyable most
of the time.

In the latest Metroid Prime game, you're cast as a new
recruit to the Federation Force, an elite intergalactic group devoted to
ridding the galaxy of impending threats. The campaign consists of traveling
between three unique planets and completing bite-sized missions that tie into
the Metroid Prime universe. The 22 missions range from clearing out a base of space
pirates to progressing through a level full of sphere-based puzzles. Unlike
most Metroid games, there is little emphasis on exploration or upgrades,
setting Federation Force apart as a definite spin-off.

Each mission provides a different challenge, but Federation
Force is at its best when you're blasting through a room full of baddies. I've
always had an aversion to shooters using the 3DS controls, but Federation Force
employs a strong lock-on system combined with motion controls to pick exactly
what part of the target you want to shoot. Even at great distances I could lock
onto enemies then target their weak points by tilting the 3DS system.

The only times the lock-on system failed me were rare
occurrences when several enemies and points-of-interest were on-screen at the
same time and the system had a hard time deciding which one I was trying to
target. An alternate control configuration exists that lets you use the C-Stick
of the New 3DS models for aiming instead of the motion controls, but it's much less precise.

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Amiibo Functionality
Using any Amiibo with Metroid Prime: Federation Force unlocks a special skeleton paintjob for your mech, but you’re going to want to use one of the Samus Amiibos for your playthrough. Scanning the standard Samus figure unlocks a paintjob that mirrors the iconic bounty hunter’s armor while boosting your missile inventory to 10 for each bundle you equip, while the Zero Suit Samus figure opens up a Zero Suit paintjob that boosts the Slow Beam auxiliary ammo to 5 rounds per bundle. I highly recommend using the paintjob from the standard Samus Amiibo if that’s an option.

Though the missions are diverse and the mechanics are sound,
the experience is hindered by the lack of checkpoints. That means if all players
die or the objective fails, you must play it again from the start. In many
missions this isn't a problem, but some contain longer boss fights with
subsequent battles, and the lack of a save point is enraging. In a later
mission, I had little problem dispatching the multi-stage boss, but the difficult
area following that boss battle caused me to fail out repeatedly. Each time I
failed, I had to face that long boss battle before getting to the difficult
part. Another mission required that I ride a slow-moving cart through an
enemy-filled stage before facing an all-out assault that destroyed the precious
cargo on the cart and forced me to restart the level.

When you combine the lack of a checkpoint system with the
sheer challenge of the missions, the game is not ideal for solo players.
Federation Force is an experience best played with friends, but the game
sometimes gets in the way of letting that happen. To play with another person,
each player must be on the level that you want to play on their individual save
files. This means if you're stuck on mission 20 and want your friend who just
got the game to help you out, you need to wait for them to catch up before they
can help you progress.

When I wanted to power through a mission by myself, I needed
to use the equipment systems to my advantage. Before each mission, you can equip
modifiers and auxiliary weapons to your mech's slots. The mods range from armor
plating and increased missile payloads to even one that auto-revives you upon
death. The special ammo uses an inventory system to let you bring things like
missiles, repair kits, decoys, and elemental weapons into the mission. You can
also activate autonomous combat drones to help you, which I found necessary on
harder missions. While this system doesn't quite deliver the variance of the
arsenal of a standard Metroid title, I enjoyed reconfiguring my mech each
mission to try and optimize it for the situation at hand.

Outside of the main campaign players can tackle Blast Ball,
a three-on-three soccer minigame with the objective of using your blasters to
push a giant ball into your opponents' goal. This mode puts the shooting mechanics
to good use, and while you won't find much depth, it's fun to step away from
the main game to play some quick rounds and it can even played with locally with
friends who don't have their own copy of the game using Download Play.

If you're interested in Federation Force, I recommend verifying
that someone you know is also planning on buying it. It's not impossible to
beat by yourself, but it's more fun to play alongside someone else – especially
when you can do so locally.

Metroid Prime: Federation Force features strong
shooting mechanics, diverse missions, and a high level of challenge, but the
frustrating matchmaking infrastructure and lack of checkpoints prevent it from
truly achieving the greatness of its namesake. – The Feed

Where Is Our Metroid Prime: Federation Force Review?

The review embargo for Metroid Prime: Federation Force has lifted, and you're likely seeing reviews from other outlets at this time. We're not quite ready to deliver our final verdict on the new first-person shooter from Next Level Games, but we are able to give some impressions on our experience so far.

The reveal of Metroid Prime: Federation Force at E3 2015 saw a high level of backlash, as fans of the series made it known that a four-player cooperative shooter on the 3DS was not the direction they wanted from the series. While those who are still waiting for Nintendo to reveal a 2D Metroid game will likely remain unhappy with Federation Force, I've been having a fun time with the Metroid spin-off title.

Shooters on handheld devices are often difficult to play, particularly with the 3DS, but the shooting mechanics of Federation Force are probably my favorite I've experienced on the system to date. The lock-on system works well most of the time (it runs into some trouble when several enemies or points of interest are in your view), and I'm enjoying the mod and tool systems that let you augment your abilities with things like rockets, armor plating, and a freeze shot. While I wasn't a fan of the motion controls used for precision aiming in games like Splatoon and Star Fox Zero, I actually like the implementation of motion controls for Federation Force. If you want a more traditional setup, however, you can change your control scheme to use the added nub on the right side of the New 3DS for your precision aiming.

The levels are well-designed for the most part, but it quickly became evident during my playthrough that this is not a game designed for solo play. The early stages give little indication of this, but the more I played, the more I needed to spam missiles and rely on my A.I. Combat Drones to power through the levels. Unfortunately, you can't join a lobby with a friend who is playing a stage you have not yet reached on your save file, meaning if you're playing solo and you get stuck on a later stage, you need to find someone who is on that same level or higher to help you out. With the missions are designed to favor co-op over solo play, this feels like a big misstep that will prevent many players from being able to play with each other. When you are able to play with others, the experience is a better one.

The stages are bite-sized, lasting between 10 and 20 minutes most of the time, but when they don't have any checkpoints, it can become tedious to replay the entire mission just because you failed at the very end. The missions could have greatly benefited from implementing some form of a checkpoint system rather than having you fail out immediately. In some later missions, a lengthy boss fight isn't the end of the level, so you can still fail out even after spending a good chunk of time on a difficult boss. This leads to some infuriating moments in the campaign that affected my enjoyment of some of the missions.

Despite my complaints, I'm overall fairly on my Metroid Prime: Federation Force experience to this point. Even the Blast Ball side mode that drew such tremendous ire upon reveal scratches that Rocket League itch a bit and is a fun little mode. I hope to have my review up very soon, but if you're looking for more impressions (as well as an impassioned debate about the game's very existence), check out this week's episode of the Game Informer Show. – The Feed

Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D Blu-Ray Contains New Deleted Scenes

The 3D version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases on Blu-Ray on November 15, and it offers a suite of new bonus features, including additional deleted scenes. Why these were left off of the original Blu-Ray releases disc is anyone's guess, but I'm hoping Lucasfilm took the time to finish the sequences. The deleted snowspeeder scene on the original disc is comically bad due to the unfinished CGi work.

This disc also contains a commentary track from director J. J. Abrams, which I would love to hear given just how upfront he's been in interviews about the creation of this film. Other exclusive features dive into the film's foley work, costumes, and armory. This Blu-Ray also contains a new conversation with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega.

I hate buying films twice, but…well…I'm a sucker for stuff like this. I don't like doing it, but I gotta see it all. Don't worry, I'll shake my fist in anger at Lucasfilm as I ring up at the checkout.

Below is a clip from the film that Lucasfilm is using to promote the new Blu-Ray release. – The Feed

Mystery Of C-3PO’s Red Arm Revealed In Trailer For New Lego Star Wars: Force Awakens DLC

The Phantom Limb, a free DLC pack for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 versions of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now available. TT Games has released a trailer showcasing some of the DLC, which stars C-3PO before the events of The Force Awakens and focuses on his journey to join the resistance after he crash lands on a planet filled with droid-eating spiders.

You can watch the trailer here:

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Be sure to check out our review of the base game, which editor Andrew Reiner called "A fun expansion of Star Wars' Canon." – The Feed

LucasFilm Uses Legal Force To Quash Star Wars Battlefront Knock-Off

A few months ago, the studio Frontwire announced that it was releasing a Star Wars Battlefront successor titled Galaxy in Turmoil via Steam. However, without any licensing rights from LucasFilm or Electronic Arts, the project's development has halted due to its unauthorized usage of the Star Wars IP. Frontwire president Tony Romanelli detailed in a blog post that as of June 22, Frontwire received a letter from LucasFilm requesting development on Galaxy in Turmoil be halted immediately.

Romanelli, however, wasn't ready to back down just yet. He reached out to LucasFilm and asked if they would be willing to negotiate to find "common ground." In an unexpected turn of events, the company agreed to speak with him on the phone. "Honestly, I didn’t expect too much negotiation to occur," he writes in the post. "But much to my surprise, executives at the top of Lucasfilm agreed to meet. A week later, that meeting took place."

Romanelli goes on to clarify that he bears no ill will towards LucasFilm, and that the discussion between both parties was pleasant. "I only wish we were able to speak and conduct business on different terms," he writes.

During the meeting, LucasFilm informed Romanelli that while it would have considered the opportunity to negotiate a Star Wars license with Frontwire, it is currently impossible due to their contract with EA, who had "no desire" in allowing Galaxy in Turmoil's development to continue. Romanelli then suggested that the game could be put behind EA's paywall, but that request was also denied. "Their main concern was due to the possibility of Galaxy in Turmoil taking away attention from their Battlefront franchise," Romanelli writes. 

He also tried reaching out to EA to get the full scoop, but no response was extended to him. After reiterating that he understands both EA and LucasFilm's position on protecting their intellectual property, Romanelli states, "While I do wish EA would realize that backing a free fan game would actually be an effective way to help and promote their brand, their decision is final, and we as both a business and as a community must respect that."

Frontwire's attorneys, according to Romanelli, nonetheless believe that their case falls under Fair Use, and notes that he doesn't plan on crowdfunding the game until a playable demo is available.

"From the bottom of my heart, thank you all for your continued support of both Frontwire Studios and Galaxy in Turmoil," he writes to end the post. "I look forward to continuing this ride together as we move forward with the brand new Galaxy in Turmoil universe."

[Source: Frontwire Studios]

Our Take
It's not surprising in the least that LucasFilm and EA have demanded that Galaxy in Turmoil abandon the Star Wars IP, considering the game in no way falls under Fair Use. As Romanelli pointed out, however, not all hope is lost for his game, as long as it no longer associates itself with the Star Wars brand and its assets. – The Feed

Trailers Highlight Two Character Packs Now Available For Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Starting today, players can download two new character packs for Lego
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, provided they aren't playing on Wii U,
3DS, or Vita. These are the first two of five planned DLC waves included in the Season Pass.

Joining in on the brick-based fun are a total of 16 new heroes and
villains, as well as four new vehicles of varying sizes. You can see a
few of these new characters and starfighters in action in the trailers

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Characters included in the prequel trilogy pack are a damaged Anakin
Skywalker , Captain Panaka, Darth Maul, Jango Fett, Jar Jar Binks,
Padmé Naberrie, Watto, and Zam Wesell. The Freemaker Adventures
television series is represented by  Kordi Freemaker,
Rowan Freemaker, Zander Freemaker, Naare, Raam, Roger the Battle Droid, Baash, and Graballa the Hutt. The Naboo Fighter and Star Scavenger are also added in full size and microfighter form.

Each of these DLC packs can be purchased individually for $ 2.99, or in the $ 9.99 Season Pass. In our review, we found Lego Star Wars to be a fun way to experience the latest stories in a galaxy far, far away. – The Feed

Pokémon Go Was A Force At San Diego Comic-Con 2016

This week's San Diego Comic-Con is behind us, and while we received a ton of trailers, teasers, and even some cool announcements, the one inescapable element of San Diego Comic-Con 2016 was Pokémon Go. No matter where I went or what I was doing, the Pocket Monster app was somewhere close by.

Aside from the obvious fact that the app has far transcended the typical Pokémon audience and the fact that I was going to one of the largest nerd culture gatherings in the world, the first indication that Pokémon Go was going to be the biggest thing at Comic-Con was the abundance of lures placed on the Wednesday night before SDCC opened its doors. The Gaslamp Quarter around the San Diego Convention Center is full of PokéStops, and the SDCC attendees took full advantage of that fact. That's when I knew that devoted trainers would not be shirking their duties in the name of SDCC.

All throughout the week, you couldn't walk any distance without hearing someone talking about Pokémon Go. People stopped in the middle of the show floor to catch monsters, attendees sought out WiFi and areas with strong reception to try and pick up a GPS signal to play, and one of the most common conversations on the floor revolved around how poor the cell service was and how disappointed they were that they couldn't catch Pokémon between their other SDCC activities. In my final moments on the show floor I heard a vendor sadly tell another that because the service was so bad on the show floor, he missed out on a Dratini and a Magneton. Again, these instances weren't me walking up to people and asking them about Pokémon Go; this was just what you heard as you walked from booth to booth.

The lure scene on any given night in downtown San Diego during SDCC

I also noticed an increased interest in all things Pokémon at the show. Collectibles related to the franchise seemed to sell out faster than other adjacent products, while some booths took advantage of the new interest and charged a premium on some Pokémon merchandise. On multiple occasions during parties, I heard people cry out that a coveted Pokémon was present. Of course, that led to the majority of party-goers to whip out their phones to catch the nearby Squirtle or Pikachu.

By now, we've all seen businesses cater towards Pokémon Go players, but it was even more intense in San Diego this past week. Restaurants had Pokémon Go-themed food specials, promises of lures being thrown down with every purchase, and even discounts for those who show the waitstaff their Pokédex. Of course this is nothing new, but the number of participating restaurants and bars participating in such specials skyrocketed during this time. We've been saying that this is a smart business move since the app first appeared, and with so many people who are predisposed to love Pokémon Go in San Diego for the convention, it only made sense that a ton of restaurants would take advantage of that to help them stick out from the crowd.

But I get it: SDCC is a huge convention focused on nerd culture. This is all to be expected. But what about the fact that nearly every interview or panel that I attended had some discussion about the app? In addition, it actually caught me off-guard when I took an Uber and the driver didn't make a remark like "Did you catch anything good?" The answer was almost always "yes," seeing as how lures were everywhere. I remember arriving at a bar looking distraught. When my friend asked me what was wrong, I angrily said, "The Kadabra got away because the stupid app froze." 

When I spoke with Gears of War 4 lead voice actor Liam McIntyre, we spent five minutes discussing how to be more effective at collecting creatures and the ins and outs of gym battles. Before he jumped on the Gears of War 4 panel, Gears of War co-creator Rod Fergusson made a quick remark that McIntyre was playing Pokémon Go backstage, to which McIntyre joked, "I don't mean to alarm anyone, but there are several Doduos in this room." 

During the South Park panel, a question was asked during the Q&A session about whether we'd be seeing a Chinpokomon Go episode of South Park. Series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone laughed and said that they actually felt they already did given that the premise of the Chinpokomon episode was that the Chinpokomon brainwash children to travel around and catch all of the creatures while Japan collected data on us.

I spoke with voice actors Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke (SpongeBob and Patrick on SpongeBob Squarepants) and we spent their first five minutes with me talking about the app. Kenny joked that we could talk about Pokémon Go all night instead of the interview.

My favorite moment on this topic came when I encountered a small group of cosplayers who were dressed as PokéStops. Even before I ran into them, I had heard about them from three or four different people on the show floor. Anything that was Pokémon Go-related seemed to get amazing traction at the show as the app and franchise sit comfortably in the front of everyone's mind.

The craze surrounding Pokémon Go at SDCC 2016 was most evident during the final day when the panel was so in-demand that hundreds of people were unable to enter before the talk concluded. This was already after Comic-Con International bumped up the room size for the panel to its biggest area: the massive Hall H. Prior to the panel kicking off, rumors swirled about what would be announced at the talk. Speculation and rumors that the first Legendary creature was going to be revealed were so prevalent, many thought them to be fact. Some even asserted that not only would the first Legendary monster be revealed at the panel, but everyone in attendance would be given the opportunity to catch it. It was amazing how many times I heard these rumors.

Of course, those rumors never amounted to anything, but it was amazing to watch it all unfold. It was fun to be a part of the experience, just as it was fun to witness how this cultural phenomenon reached its fever pitch during the enormous celebration of nerd culture that is San Diego Comic-Con. – The Feed