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Free Survival Mode For Banner Saga 2 Now Available

As if life wasn't tough enough in the world of Banner Saga 2, now the PC/Mac versions of the game are getting a free new survival mode featuring 40 successive levels.

Players assemble a team of heroes and work their way through the mode with permadeath weighing on their actions. New allies can be brought into the fold, however, by using the renown you earn from victories. Your chances are also bolstered by items that drop in combat and which can be similarly bought with renown.

The mode also features a 30-second timer, leaderboards, and three difficulty levels.

Publisher Versus Evil says that it's currently trying to get the mode included in the PS4 and Xbox One versions, which are out on July 26.

For more on the game, take a look at Tack's review of the PC version as well as our Test Chamber with the title.

Our Take
Survival modes are everywhere, but this is a nice addition, particularly in its attempt to mix things up for the strategy game, that its free, and considering that the developer is also trying to get the console edition out the door. – The Feed

GTA Online Gets New Game Mode And Supercar Today

Rockstar announced the new "Power Play" online game mode, as well as a brand new super car – and both are available today.

In Power Play, players will be able to pick up power-ups that change their abilities, giving them powers such as invisibility, increased damage, and super jump. The power play jobs are available at Vespucci Beach, on an aircraft carrier, and at Bolingbroke Prison. 

A new supercar, called the Grotti
X80 Proto, is also available now. 

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For more on Grand Theft Auto, make sure to check out our review of the game's re-release on current-gen consoles. – The Feed

Overwatch Update Will Have Golden Guns And Other Rewards For Competitive Mode

In a developer update for Overwatch from game director Jeff Kaplan, it was announced that several new cosmetic awards will be available for skilled players in competitive mode in the update arriving at the end of June. Along with exclusive sprays and player icons, there will be a customized golden gun system that can be unlocked by the highest skilled players in a season. Who wouldn’t want dual golden shotguns for Reaper, or a massive golden war-hammer for Reinhardt?  

Kaplan says in the video that when dealing with rewards, Blizzard wants to avoid anything that would disrupt an even playing field through power gain systems. Therefore, cosmetic rewards were the best way to make players feel unique within games without sacrificing fairness.  

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The developer update also talks about some of the other changes arriving with the update. More attention will be paid to improve spectate mode, the appearance of sudden death will now be much less frequent, the seasons will extend to approximately three months instead of one for competitive mode, and skill ratings can be viewed for both individuals and teams so players can have more transparency in play.    

There is still not a set date for the Overwatch update, but it is aiming to reach players by the end of June. For more Overwatch you can check out our review, or its latest animated short. – The Feed

The rumors about the death of story mode are greatly exaggerated

A few years ago, game developers declared story modes dead–today, they’re alive and well. We looked at some data and talked to developers to find out why. …

Gamasutra News

Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 6 Review – Telltale Crafts An Intriguing Whodunit

The first five episodes of Minecraft: Story Mode took Jesse and friends to exotic locales all over the Minecraft world. When Episode 5 ended with the team stepping through a mysterious portal door, I had no idea where Episode 6 would take us. The answer, oddly enough, is an isolated mansion; that’s where the entirety of Episode 6 is set. This change allows for Telltale to deliver an intriguing self-contained murder mystery that changes up the pacing, but plays further into some ongoing issues from recent episodes.

The exciting introductory sequence sees Jesse and friends fending off a horde of zombies while fleeing to the mysterious mansion in the distance. This scene is a major highlight of A Portal to Mystery, as it features stylish action and fast-paced quick-time events. This is one of the shorter episodes of the series (clocking in at slightly longer than an hour), but that actually plays to its advantage. With concise storytelling, less wandering, and simpler puzzles, the story runs at a strong pace that kept my interest.

A Portal to Mystery introduces new characters that take part in the thriller alongside Jesse’s familiar crew. Rather than creating original characters, Telltale and Mojang chose to give a nod to Minecraft’s strong streaming community by casting popular YouTubers as themselves. The idea of this brand of fourth-wall-breaking initially made me cringe, but the more I played, the more it made sense. 

The streamers feature their signature looks as well as the unique, quirky traits you’d expect. By including YouTubers like  CaptainSparklez and Stampy Cat, Telltale not only adds layers of fan service to this episode for its target audience, but it’s able to splash in over-the-top personalities that work well within the context of the classic whodunit formula and don’t necessarily need to continue on to the next episode. This means that many of the consequences that happen during A Portal to Mystery do so in a vacuum thanks to the presumed one-off nature of the YouTube stars, allowing for a clean, sitcom-like bow to be tied at the end without affecting subsequent episodes.

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Of course, that adversely affects an area that I’ve been critical of throughout the entire run of Minecraft: Story Mode: the impact your choices have on the storyline. The number of difficult choices you need to make is less than average for Telltale’s episodes. Even when I made a tough decision, little came out of it. I even accused the wrong person of murdering the others, only to have him become one of Jesse’s better friends near the end of the tale. 

Of the choices that present themselves, few have the potential to carry over and affect future episodes. Most of those choices revolve around whether you favor the regular members in your party or the new cast members, but one such choice saw the new character with the largest potential to return for follow-up episodes begging you to help them. I imagine that if that character returns, that decision point could come back to haunt players. Unfortunately, those carry-over consequences feel too few and far between for an ongoing adventure such as this. This is in line with Telltale’s recent shift to featuring more standalone adventures following the conclusion of the Wither Storm saga in Episode 4, but it still betrays much of what makes Telltale’s episodic stories so engaging in the first place.

This also plays into the fact that the feeling of building toward something big that was present in the first four episodes is still missing. With no powerful menace encroaching on the heroes at every turn, the stakes are lower than ever. Even in Jesse’s most perilous moments of A Portal to Mystery, I couldn’t help but feel that his group had easily gotten out of much worse.

Despite these flaws, I had a good time with the murder mystery format. The constant guessing game was fun; each time I thought I had the killer nailed down, a well-timed twist or new piece of evidence forced me to second guess myself. By the time the big reveal happened, I was so invested in figuring out the mystery that I had a prioritized mental list of who I thought was the killer.

Episode 6 is said to kick off a new arc that will continue through the final two episodes, but things feel fairly wrapped up within this episode, and the “Next time on Minecraft: Story Mode” segment at the end offers little explanation of where the story is heading. Regardless of my curiosity surrounding Telltale’s future plans for the series, A Portal to Mystery is a fun and refreshing episode of a series that has recently shown signs of fatigue. – The Feed

Minecraft: Story Mode – Episode 6 Launch Trailer Shows More YouTubers Being YouTubers


Last week, Telltale Games revealed details about the latest installment of Minecraft: Story Mode. Episode 6, "A Portal to Mystery," is a murder mystery that features the voice talents of some of the biggest names in the Minecraft YouTube community. An all-new trailer shows a bit more of the game as we head into its release week.

Watch the video below to see Stampy Cat, Stacy Plays, DanTDM, LDShadowLady, and CaptainSparklez in the recording booth, and see how they look with the rest of Minecraft: Story Mode's cast. Will they have what it takes to match wits with the White Pumpkin? Will they make it out of the mansion alive? 

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The episode kicks off a new three-episode arc. It's available as part of the new Adventure Pass, which includes episodes 6, 7, and 8, or as individual chapters for $ 4.99. If you do want to buy the new chapters a la carte, you'll have to either own the first episode in the series or the season pass disc. – The Feed

[Update] Capcom Now Targeting Last Week In June For Street Fighter V Story Mode, Ibuki DLC

Update 2: Capcom has apologized for the delay, promising to improve its communication moving forward. The company has also narrowed down when Street Fighter V story mode and the next DLC character, Ibuki, will be out.

Both are now slated for the last week in June, but Capcom isn't making any guarantees that it will hit that mark. "We are doing our best to release the content in the last week of June," the company says. The company also warns that it may not meet a regular release schedule as it is prioritizing quality over deadlines.

Additionally, Capcom says developers are exploring reports of input lag. Given how serious an issue this is for fighting games, especially at the competitive level, Capcom will likely prioritize research and repair.

The company is also looking into additional methods to dissuade and punish rage quitters. "We know some of you are still not having the best experience online due to players who rage quit but we are happy to report that the latest solution has brought the amount of players who disconnect during matches down by roughly 60%," Capcom says.

You can read the entire blog post on Capcom's site.

Update 1 (May 31, 2016 @ 2:46 p.m. Central): Capcom has confirmed that Ibuki's release will not be arriving in May as originally intended. The character will launch later in June, alongside the Story Mode content.

The publisher explained in a series of tweets that Ibuki's release was met with "unforeseen delays." We've inquired as to the nature of these delays and will update should we receive a response.

Original Story (May 31, 2016 @ 12:45 p.m. Central):

Capcom has released a gameplay trailer for its new Street Fighter V character, Ibuki. Check it out to see her combat in action.

Ibuki first appeared in Street Fighter III: New Generation and has appeared in a number of mainline and spin-off games since. In the trailer, she can be seen taking on Guile using a number of her special moves, including her V-Trigger, Isshaku Horokudama, where she throws a bomb at her opponent with several different detonation options depending on the direction thrown. Also shown in the trailer is an upcoming alternate stage of the Kanzuki Estate called Estate at Noon.

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No release date has yet been given for Ibuki, but we've reached out to Capcom for clarification on a specific date and will update the story accordingly. Make sure to read our review for more on Street Fighter V.

[Source: Capcom Blog] – The Feed

Players use Alto’s Adventure as coping mechanism, dev responds with ‘Zen Mode’

Dev Snowman has updated its endless snowboarder with a new ‘Zen Mode’ that cuts scoring, power-ups, and even the UI so players can relax and snowboard an endless mountain without any distractions. …

Gamasutra News

[Update] Overwatch Competitive Mode Still Targeted For Late June

Update: Blizzard has responded to our request for clarification. A company representative told us via email that the tweets referenced below were in error.

"We're still on target for late June," he says. Tweets have been issued to those individuals referenced below advising them of the correct, as well.

Original Story (June 1, 2016 @ 8:06 a.m.):

You may have more time to brush up on your Overwatch play and figure out counters to a team full of Bastions. New information suggests that competitive mode isn’t returning at the end of June as originally indicated.

It appears that ranked play will now likely be headed back to the action later in July. The information comes via a pair of tweets from the official Overwatch account.

Last week, Blizzard explained why it had held ranked play from Overwatch’s release. Among the changes being worked on are season length and new gameplay elements.

We've reached out to Blizzard to confirm the tweets are accurate, as there is occasionally a disconnect between development and social media management. For more on Overwatch, you can check out our review.

[Source: Blizzard (1), (2) via Eurogamer]


Our Take
Overwatch has big potential in the esports scene, and getting it right the first time is crucial. A delay up front could make all the difference in the crowded competitive gaming market. – The Feed

Overwatch Ranked Competitive Mode Will Hopefully Return In Late June

In a community Q&A video on Facebook today, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan fielded a number of questions about the game. When the servers open up in just a few hours, you’ll be able to dive in, but one mode will be absent.

Competitive mode was pulled from the release for some tuning, and Kaplan explained what players can expect when it returns. He was asked what, if anything will be changing.

“A lot has changed,” Kaplan says. Competitive mode is the current focus of the Overwatch team. It’s the most important for us to add to the game. Players saw that we tried to get it in for closed beta, and we had a version in and working. The feedback that we were seeing was a little bit critical of some of the decisions we made, and we took that to heart.”

The first major content update for Overwatch will be the game’s competitive mode. Kaplan is hesitant to promise a specific date and was even hesitant to commit to release window, but says he’s hopeful for a late June rollout.

“We already have it in internally, and we were playing it this weekend, starting to get a feel for it,” he says. “One of the things that we want to change is the season length. We heard a lot of complaints from the community that they felt that one-month seasons were too short. We thought there was a lot of cool about one-month seasons. Particularly, Hearthstone does it really well. This game is different than Hearthstone, so we decided to go with seasons that will probably be about three months. Even more specific than that, there probably be a two-and-a-half month season with a couple of weeks off in between.”

Competitive mode will likely have new game play elements. Kaplan says that sudden death was happening too frequently. The team is also looking at how to better incorporate that into Assault and Escort match types.

Overwatch servers are going live today, May 23. You can play on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

[Source: Overwatch on Facebook]


Our Take
With Blizzard’s experience in the esports arena, there is a lot at stake for making sure Overwatch is well-tuned for those players. Most people won’t miss this at launch, and those looking for it have time to practice before the first season kicks off. – The Feed