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Pax East 2018 PC Previews

Pax East 2018: Deathgarden Preview

Deathgarden is the newest game from Behaviour Interactive and is the spiritual successor to Death by Daylight. Following the same idea, Deathgarden has you assuming the role of one of five “runners” who’s goal is to try to activate 2 out of 3 totem poles to open the exits, while being actively hunted by a heavy armored “Hunter.” Once you activate a totem, your location is revealed to the Hunter who will come quickly and hard. Don’t worry though, the hunters are without ways to defend themselves.

The Hunted

Each Runner is armed with wrist arrows to stun and knock back the Hunter. Should you be downed by the Hunter, your team can rescue you and revive you, but you will most likely be sent to the blood post to think about what you have done. Once again, your team can rescue you from the “blood post,” but the Hunter can execute you removing you from the game. Once the “Hunter” has removed 3 people from the game, the round ends. Best 2 out of 3 rounds wins. The runners are playing in third person, while the Hunter is playing in first person. This whole experience creates a really fun “cat and mouse” type gameplay that I can see being fun for a long time.

Overall, although in early alpha, the game ran super smooth and without many hiccups. The Hunter did seem to be a little overpowered. Several times, I was downed and was instantly sent to the Blood Post only to have the hunter run straight over to me to execute me without my team having a chance to rescue me. When I explained this to the dev, they stated to me that the Blood Posts don’t become active until at least three people have been downed and even after a blood post is activated, there is a 15 second wait til a runner could be executed. Playing the game, it did not seem to be the case, but I also wasn’t counting the seconds or watching to see how many runners were downed before me. Which speaks well for the game and not me playing. I may have been a bad teammate, but the game was so intense that I was running for my life most of the time, enjoying myself while playing a game that normally would not have appealed to me. Deathgarden has opened my eyes to these types of games, giving me a reason to go back and try Death by Daylight.

Another Proven Gamer, Matt Murray, previewed the game from the Hunters Perspective. Here are his thoughts:

The Hunter

Hey everyone, Matt here. I previewed the Hunter role in Deathgarden opposite to Tricky’s experience with the runner. I’ve played quite a few asymmetrical multiplayer games but none have ever really nailed the formula. Jason was scary in Friday the 13th and the monsters in Evolve all were pretty cool but playing as the bad guy in these types of games often feels slightly limiting, underwhelming, and kind of clunky. I’ve always felt more like I was flailing and failing than some monster of total bad-assery. That is decidedly not the case in Deathgarden. I ended up playing two rounds, I won one and lost the other. The whole time I felt like I was walking imminent Death. I felt like the soldier from Doom that had been accidentally dropped into a bad teen slasher flick. They were a cabin full of kids expecting a machete wielding maniac. Unfortunately, for them, I was a shotgun duct taped to a cheetah.

Though I only pulled out the win in one of my two rounds I spent most of my time smiling like an idiot. Deathgarden, if nothing else, is incredibly fun to play. Bouncing between the three capture points I’d watch the runners scurry off like mice as I’d approach. Most times I would down at least one of them. I liked that I was able to see an outline when one or more of the runners was at a particular capture point. It made it easier to track who was where. I wasn’t entirely clear on how the Blood Posts worked. I know my win condition was to kill three of the runners, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to trigger the stands when I needed too. This was probably more due to how much info I had to take in prior to playing than poor instruction.

In my time with the game, even though I did feel extremely powerful, I never felt overpowered. The round I won was by the skin of my teeth and the round I lost wasn’t particularly close.  I really had a blast playing Deathgarden and can’t wait for it to make it to full release. I think they’ve hit the nerve of the genre that so many have missed.

 

The game is in early alpha with no release date. Platforms unknown at this time though we played on PC for this demo. Price point is also an unknown at this time.  One thing I was assured of, however, was Behaviour Interactive will  be staying far away from loot-boxes stating “We don’t want to go down the same path as EA”.

 

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Game Stuff Podcasts

Game Stuff 19 – Multiplayer vs Single Player. Fight!!

On this episode of Game Stuff Kalai, Joe, and Kory discuss the impact that multiplayer has on the gaming market. Who will win the fight of Multiplayer vs Single Player???

Special thanks to the shows contributors, you can find the band of our intro music, Take Away The Ugly here and find Isaac Sagoeii (the shows artist) at https://isaacsagoeiii.carbonmade.com/

We appreciate your support (and your ears)!

Please subscribe to the Game Stuff feed in iTunes, Google Play or RSS  and please leave a review. We won’t give you cookies, but it will help us make the show better.

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You can also email us at Gamestuff@provengamer.com.

If you wish, you can always download the show here – Game Stuff 19 – Multiplayer vs Single Player…

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PC PC Previews

Cutthroat Gunboat

Cutthroat Gunboat is a fun multiplayer game that I had the opportunity to try out during Play NYC. It is a fun take on local multiplayer games and is currently available on steam for purchase.

Cutthroat Gunboat lets you pick from a wide array of ship each with their own stats and kinds of weaponry. It is 2-4 player local multiplayer with a few different maps to sink each other on. The controls need a bit of time to get accustomed to. The different ships have different degrees of difficulty in their control and use. This makes for very diverse combat with every match.

The different kind of weapons not only does differing amount of damage, but they also fire differently and have different effects. Some fire the traditional cannonball while another fires fireworks. One ship even launches a small AoE draining field which can affect the ship that cast it as well.

I also had the chance to speak with Boris Poletaev, Game Developer with Minor Faction. Be sure to check out Cutthroat Gunboat on Steam!

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PC Reviews Playstation 4 Reviews X-Box One Reviews

Absolver Review

SloClap’s Absolver is and isn’t one of the best games I’ve played this year. It comes under the genre of MMO games. If you’re playing MMO games it is worth buying a decent mouse, we recommend you check out the iControlPad review of the best MMO mice for an overview. It’s unique take on hand to hand combat is by far the game’s bread and butter and I can’t recall a game where I’ve felt more like I was actually doing martial arts. Unfortunately, in between the intense moments of reading opponents moves and firing my own back I found myself wandering around a largely- lifeless, mildly-claustrophobic open world wondering what the game could have been if it had been a bit more fleshed out. There are no side quests, no real distractions at all to be found in the world of Adal. It’s empty. It’s maddening at times. But, it’s completely deliberate.

Absolver’s barely-there story is your character’s rise from a lowly Prospect to Absolver and is as ambiguous as the rest of the game. You’ll wander the world, fight all the dudes that need to be fought and rise to the position of Absolver. I wish the game’s namesake title held more weight. By the time I finished the game I felt like I had learned a lot but barely accomplished anything meaningful.

For how short it is, the “Boss” encounters are all relatively challenging, especially if you’re going at them solo. I lost at least once to each of the bosses I went up against before finally figuring it out what I needed to do to best them.  All told the campaign took me roughly 5-6 hours to complete. The meat of the game is really in the PvP and “Combat deck building” aspects.

How the combat in Absolver comes together and feels is absolutely brilliant and full of choices. Right from the get go you’re asked to chose from one of three styles: Forsaken, Khalt, or Windfall. Once you choose a style you are unable to switch. Luckily there are multiple character slots so you can try out all of them and figure out which is best for you. Each style has it’s own unique defensive ability. Forsaken can Parry attacks, Khalt can straight up absorb attacks, and Windfall(my personal favorite) is all about dodging attacks at close range. All three of the starter styles are rated by “difficulty” but I found the rating of the three styles to be pretty arbitrary. I had more trouble timing the Parry and Absorbs with Khalt and Forsaken but was perfectly adept at timing my dodges with Windfall. A final fourth class, Stagger, is unlockable in game after encountering a particular enemy. This Drunken Master type style mixes Offense and Defense Simultaneously and is meant to be the most difficult style to master in Absolver.

Each of these styles also ties into one of the attributes you can increase by leveling up. Paying attention to which style is effected by which attribute is key to success in PvP. While they don’t explicitly tell you what style is anchored to which attribute it is pretty clear before committing any points what effect it will have on your current build. You also gain a few special moves via leveling up: Being able to quickly drain an opponent of stamina or push back some encircling enemies and a few others.


The rest of a player’s moves are tied to their Combat Deck. Here players can equip loads of different moves to eight different slots. Each of these slots corresponds to one of four “Stances”. Players can create  huge flowing combos and pick powerful transitional moves.

The selection screens for combat and gear aren’t explained upfront and can be very confusing at first. You really have to dig in to understand each of the systems.

While combat choices are pretty slim when you first start out, you’ll fill in much of your Combat deck quickly within the first few hours. By dodging and blocking enemy attacks you gain knowledge of moves you don’t currently have. Do this enough and you’ll eventually unlock new moves to throw into your deck. Each move in your deck has certain starting and ending stances that will determine what you can and can’t combo into or out of. I tried my best to create a deck that if executed properly could loop infinitely. I’m not sure if this was the best strategy or not but it seemed to work well and it gave me a better understanding as to what was coming next in a combo chain and what attacks came from what stances.

You can also manually adjust your stance by holding right trigger and pointing your control stick toward whatever stance you’d like to better suit your current predicament. At first I didn’t use this much, but, after a few hours went by, I was doing it constantly because it was imperative to use certain strikes in certain situations. Hitting block immediately after throwing out an attack will feint the attack. Again this was something I didn’t understand how to use till much later. I started using it to bait out certain attacks and counter accordingly. This is how Absolver makes you thing about fighting differently than any other fighting game I’ve ever played.  It doesn’t handle it’s complexity in the same way as a Tekken or Soul Calibur. It isn’t about memorizing overly complicated inputs. It’s not about chaining special moves together that are Down Right Fierce(puns are fun).  Absolver derives its complexity in understanding the tempo and timing of fighting; The management of space and stamina and it does it damn well.

Often, by accident, fights would end up looking choreographed. This was especially the case when fighting another player as opposed to A.I. I can’t even explain how cool I felt the first time I ducked a high shot, jumped over a low shot, and counter attacked an opponent. That’s one of the really interesting facets of Absolver. Not only is the combat weighty and balanced, but it also has the tendency to just feel and look like it’s straight out of an old king-fu flick.  

Though Adal is small, it’s all intricately designed and pretty easy on the eyes. Soft Pastels and a minimalistic art style make Adal look stunning without being to visually busy. This tonal shift away from high-definition sprites and character models isn’t foreign to the world of indie game development. Polygonal and Voxel models are all the rage at the moment. But here, Sloclap did such a good job of making Absolver’s package so ambiguous that any other stylistic choice would have been a disservice to the rest of the game. There were a ton of times where I stopped dead in my tracks just to take in my surroundings. Whether it was looking over a vast forest or staring up at a massive tower, I was continually surprised at how gorgeous this compact open world was.


Many people at a glance have compared Absolver to Dark Souls. While I understand the comparison at a base level I don’t think it’s apt in describing the core experience of what  Absolver is.  It’s very much in it’s own category. It’s kind of a simulator in a sense. It’s more about the feel of the combat than the look of it(though it does look great). Absolver, altogether, in everything it presents and how it presents them seemingly has a singular purpose: It is laser beam straight from martial arts to a controller and in that pursuit it absolutely succeeds.

7/10








 

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PC News Playstation 4 News X-Box One News

Battlefield 1 Adding Incursion Mode

EA annouced today that Battlefield 1 would be getting a new mode soon. This scaled-back mode will pit teams of 5 against each other with one vehicle per-team. A closed alpha will be held in September, Sign-up for a chance to take part. Sign-ups close on August 26th.  The Alpha will feature a smaller version of Battlefield 1’s Giant’s Shadow Map. More news to come soon.

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PC PC News PC/MAC Playstation 4 News X-Box One News

Super Dungeon Bros Available Now

React Games and Wired Productions have announced that its rock-‘n’-roll inspired co-op dungeon brawler Super Dungeon Bros is now available worldwide for Xbox One, PlayStation4, Steam and Windows PC for an MSRP of $19.99. Gamers with an Xbox Live Gold account can download Super Dungeon Bros on Xbox One at no charge starting today for the game’s first month of sale, and the recently-revealed cast of Broettes – four fearless female counterparts to the titular Bros – are available to download free from November 1 to November 15 across all platforms.
“We’re delighted to finally see the game hitting shelves and digital storefronts around the world,” said Leo Zullo, Managing Director at Wired Productions. “Super Dungeon Bros is a brilliantly fun game to play – whether that’s as a single player experience, in co-op or with three other bros in tow. It’s all about having fun and it’s no exaggeration to say that Super Dungeon Bros turns it up to eleven!”

“The game is the result of a tremendous ongoing effort by the React Games team,” said Brad Moss, CEO at React Games.  “Super Dungeon Bros began life as a concept over two years ago, and to see the game now available at retail is a truly humbling experience; we can’t wait to share it with fans who have waited patiently to finally get their hands on the finished product.”

In the multiplayer-centric Super Dungeon Bros, a band of heavy metal heroes are summoned to embark on a quest from the Gods of Rock. Their mission: to navigate the fantasy realm of Rökheim and seek out epic loot, vanquish hordes of evil undead and uncover the legends of long lost fabled rock stars! Featuring captivating, laugh out loud action and adventure, players can rock out on or offline with four bros as they fling their friends onto far off ledges and distant trap triggers, or unleash their best tag team tactics with the ultimate bro-op offensive. Legendary tools of destruction can be individually leveled up to carry progress across sessions, and players can unleash weapon-specific co-op attacks that grow in power as others join in, such as the Bronado (stack up to create a whirling totem pole of destruction).

Three unique and challenging worlds await the brave ones as they explore the rock-themed realm of Rökheim and dive deep into the worlds of Cryptheim (an underground dungeon complex), Chillheim (a brewery built upon a natural brew geyser) and Bogheim (a sprawling jungle filled with poisonous plants and animals). Players will never rock the same dungeon twice thanks to the random room generation AI, and near-endless dungeon combinations! To keep things fresh between campaign sessions, players are also able to assemble and compete against other teams in the daily and weekly challenges to see who can claim the top spot on the global leaderboards!

Developed by Utah-based React Games, Super Dungeon Bros is published by Wired Productions and physical retail distribution is handled by THQ Nordic. This title has been rated “E10+ for Everyone 10 and up” by the ESRB.

For more information and to stay up to date with all the latest Super Dungeon Bros news, announcements and more, please visit the official website at www.superdungeonbros.com , Like the game’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DungeonBros or follow the Dungeon Bros on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DungeonBros.

Check out the launch trailer for the game below:

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PC Previews Playstation 3 Previews Playstation 4 Previews X-Box One Previews XBOX 360 Previews

Call of Duty: Black Ops III Preview

With less than a week to the release of the much anticipated Call of Duty: Black Ops III, now is as good a time as ever to look at what players can expect from the newest entry in the series. Every year developer Activision’s highly successful franchise adds both new features and gameplay tweaks to continue to keep the long running series fun and exciting. This year’s entry seems no different.

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Black Ops III seems to be continuing the series trend of taking place in futuristic environments, much like every title since Black Ops II, which is great in my opinion. Advanced Warfare and Black Ops II’s futuristic settings were the most appealing story-wise since the original Modern Warfare. The sci-fi aspects of these future battlefields allow for storytelling that is hard to accomplish with modern day settings. It allows the developers to develop new weapons and technology, that isn’t present in a modern day setting, to enhance gameplay. In this title the characters are even augmented, in a way reminiscent of Deus Ex, which should allow for interesting twists to gameplay.

One of the most interesting new features of Treyarch’s upcoming shooter is the campaign being designed for co-op play. Some of the fondest memories I have of the Call of Duty series are of the spec ops missions in Modern Warfare 2. Sitting on the couch with my wife playing the game split-screen, running through these missions, was extremely fun. I hope the co-op campaign structure of Black Ops III delivers the same level of joy.

Interestingly, there are two changes in the campaign that I find odd (though I can see purpose within the first of the two). All campaign missions will be unlocked from the get go this time around. Since multiplayer is the main aspect of Call of Duty games that most players enjoy, this new feature allows players to experience campaign missions that friends may brag about being great without having to play through the whole game. The second of the two changes is the exclusion of a campaign in last-gen versions of the game. Though this seems to be an odd design choice, it may be due to time restrictions.

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After playing the beta for Black Ops III, I can say that the game boasts the same tight gameplay experience that fans have come to enjoy with the series. Black Ops III‘s gameplay felt similar to Black Ops II in my opinion, though it was much smoother and had a Titanfall-esque flare to it. Black Ops III allows for players to utilize jumping abilities similar to what we received in last years Advanced Warfare. Player opinion continues to be a split among fans of the series; some players loved the jump mechanics whereas others hated them. To me, the mechanic adds a new layer of strategy to the game and I am glad that it is returning.

There are also happens to be a lot more customization options available for players this time around. Among these options are super soldier classes, such as “Call Sign: Prophet” and “Call Sign: Nomad.” These two new classes offer special abilities outside of the regular gun customization or killstreak perks. It reminds me of the way your characters can have different abilities in titles like Borderlands or even Destiny—a welcomed addition should this new gameplay mechanic be balanced correctly.

The multiplayer experience of Call of Duty continues to evolve to keep the game fresh. Where some players may feel that old titles off the pristine version of the multiplayer experience, I enjoy the new experience offered every year with the various changes made to the series. As long as Activision keeps the experience fresh, Call of Duty will remain at the top.

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Call of Duty‘s beloved zombie mode, Treyarch’s bread and butter, returns in Black Ops III as well. Every iteration of the series has offered some type of horde or mission mode since World at War was released and zombies is the king of these modes. Zombie mode is thrilling and nail biting, but remains fun. The teamwork involved has continually kept me coming back to Black Ops II three years since it was released and I hope that this version delivers as well.

This year’s iteration includes a progression system, which allows players to build up their characters and not have to start from scratch on every play through. This could be a welcoming addition, though half of the fun is earning power-ups throughout each match of zombies mode. Abilities this time are served to players through a bubble gum machine—which is campy, but so is zombie mode, so it fits. Like previous versions of this staple game mode, new celebrity vocal talents like Ron Pearlman and Jeff Goldblum are joining the fight agains the undead. Zombies looks destined to deliver.

All in all, the package looks well worth the wait, especially on current-gen platforms. The campaign is darker than ever, the multiplayer is fast and tight, and zombie mode looks like a blast. The Black Ops series has been a fan favorite since Treyarch established it, and this one seem like it will continue that tradition. November 6th is just around the corner, so we will see if they live up to the standards that have been set. But, as of this moment, all signs point to yes.

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PC News

Drug Testing In The Electronic Arena

In recent years, e-sports has taken a larger and larger role within the gaming hemisphere. Where, in its infancy, it was a niche subset of the larger community, e-sports has grown and evolved to the point where a games multiplayer component is judged on how e-sports worthy it is. This is a far cry from the days of yore, where a game that shipped with multiplayer was simply a game with multiplayer. Now serious competitive gaming is in the spotlight, and developers want to be part of that market.

However, there has always been the carefully whispered rumor around these electronic arenas. The rumor that these cyber-athletes have been taking prescription drugs such as Adderall to enhance their focus and give them the edge in competitions. While these allegations are mostly hearsay, there is a grain of truth to them. Kory Friesen, a professional gamer, has admitted that he and his teammates take prescription drugs to give them an edge in competitions. The reason this is becoming a big deal now and not before? E-sports has a lot of money. This subset of the gaming industry stands to make $250 million in 2015, according to games research firm Newzoo.

Not only do tournament hosts stand to make a lot of money from e-sports, the players do, too. Year after year the prize pools increase, with the money expected to reach $71 million. The higher the stakes, the more tempting it is to abuse substances. While no team openly condones use of prescription drugs, Mr. Friesen has said “Tons of people do it.”

The Electronic Sports League, or ESL, has taken to partnering with the National Anti-Doping Agency of Germany to develop new policies and has met with the World Anti-Doping Agency about helping with enforcement. Unfortunately many e-sports competitions and qualifiers are held online, which makes testing an impossibility. This new policy may force serious e-sports leagues to drop online competitions altogether and go fully with live games.

E-sports is blowing up and becoming closer and closer to traditional sports, and with that spotlight comes standards and practices. More and more large corporate sponsors are throwing their hats into the ring and the market is eating it up. This is simply the next step in legitimizing e-sports in the mainstream.