A Steam Advertisement Leaked JUST CAUSE 4

Just Cause 4 has just been leaked twice. First was an advertisement that was caught by Kotaku on Steam. The second leak came from a retailer listing of the game found on Walmart, which included a plethora of placeholders for unannounced titles. 

Clicking on the pre-order button on Steam reportedly brought users back to the site’s main page, and the ad has since been removed. However, it is likely that Just Cause 4 will be officially announced during Square Enix’s showcase, as you know the studio now serves as the publisher of the Just Cause franchise. The showcase event will occur on Monday, June 11 at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. 

It has been three years since Just Cause 3 was released with mixed reviews from players and critics alike. Although there has been a 5-year gap between Just Cause 3 and 2, it seems like Avalanche Studios will be releasing the next installment in the franchise a little bit earlier than usual if these rumors turn out to be true, which seems likely given the current leaks. 

Besides the rumored Just Cause title, developer Avalanche Studios just announced a new game, Generation Zero, which is scheduled for a release in 2019 for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game takes place in 1980’s Sweden where players are faced with the hostile take over of robots in an open world. 

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THE WALKING DEAD SEASON 4 Trailer Is Dark Without Even Trying

A game series that has a unique story line while also is in coordination with a popular TV shows universe isn't easy to pull off. Despite that fact, TellTale has built an audience out of fans of The Walking Dead with their own, choice based story. After already going through three difficult and memorable seasons, players can now look forward to a fourth season.

The trailer for The Walking Dead Season 4 not only is loaded with an upsetting undertone and a heart wrenching, hopefully not a foreshadow, moment. It is a short experience that tells players that this is likely to be the roughest season yet. It also ends with a launch date set for August 14, 2018 on PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One. Check it out:

Any fan of The Walking Dead TellTale series can somberly enjoy this trailer as it is exciting news in a dark package. It's great to see that AJ is growing up well, but are they hinting that we are about to lose Clementine? All in all, I'm excited for what this next season will have in store for me.

What are your thoughts on the Season 4 announcement trailer?

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CRACKDOWN 3 Is Delayed To February 2019

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Crackdown 3, an upcoming title by Microsoft has been delayed to 2019.  The game was initially scheduled to release back in 2017 and was moved to a vague launch window of 2018. 

In a statement released by the publisher via Windows Central, Microsoft said that they wanted players to have the best experience possible with the game. 

“Our fans’ response to the signature antics and explosive gameplay of Crackdown 3 has been incredible. To ensure we deliver the experience they deserve, Crackdown 3 will be launching in Feb 2019. We look forward to sharing more on Crackdown 3 this Sunday during the Xbox E3 2018 briefing.”

Talking to Kotaku, two sources who are reportedly familiar with the game’s release said that the need for additional development time is the primary reason for the delay of the game. Furthermore, the sources claimed that Microsoft is putting more time and effort in the game’s development to avert another disaster such as recent cancellations of games such as Scalebound and Phantom Dust and the closure of Lionhead Studios. 

Besides the February 2019 release window, Microsoft is yet to reveal more details on the upcoming game. However, fans won't have to wait that long as the publisher promises to give more information on the upcoming game during the Xbox E3 briefing this Sunday. 

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HITMAN 2 Is Announced For A Release This November

Developer IO Interactive and publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment just confirmed that Hitman 2 is in development and will be released on November 13 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC. 

Hitman 2 will serve as the sequel to the original Hitman game released in 2016 and will continue the story of Agent 47. Interactive Entertainment also released an announcement trailer featuring a voice-over from actor Sean Bean. Hitman 2 will take place in new locations including Miami and six others from “sun-drenched streets to dark and dangerous rainforests.”

Moreover, Hitman 2 will introduce new game modes and ways to play including a new Sniper Assassin mode that is also available for co-op multiplayer up to two players. Hitman 2 will center around a mission that seeks to “eliminate the elusive Shadow Client and unravel his militia, but when 47 learns his target’s true identity and the truth about his past, it changes everything.”

A pre-order for Hitman 2 is already available, which will allow players to get instant access to the Sniper Assassin Mode. The game will be released on November 13 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. You can check out the game’s trailer, which is posted below. 

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AGONY Review: A Great Concept That Just Doesn’t Meet Expectations

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With great hype comes great expectations. One of the most built up indie games to launch this year was Agony by Madmind Studios. Featuring grotesque scenery, a dark story, and a public battle with the game rating services; the interest of horror fans didn't stand a chance. Thing is, I don't feel that the game matched its own hype, but maybe my expectations were higher because of it. Let's divulge: 

Story

You are a soul that has been sent to hell. While the reason is unknown, you are sure of one thing: you need to escape! It isn't long before you find the Red Queen who encourages and assists your escape. Maintaining a tunnel vision focus, you accept any help you can get and do whatever you have to as long as you can find a way out of hell.

Gameplay

Starting out in a vessel that can't do anything more than move around and jump, you dive right in to the creepy atmosphere. A few paces in and you will be facing your first cryptic message telling you what to do. This is the first of many times where you will be tasked with a hide-and-seek style problem that you have to figure out.

You can use an astral guidance system that when used it floats where you need to go. These are limited, but can be filled back up. I didn't end up using this system a lot because it wasn't too helpful. Most the times I used it, the guidance just led me to the locked doors and not in the direction I needed to go in order to get them unlocked.

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The save spots are interesting as it is both simple and gory. You will find a window like section on a wall with a head on the center and hands all around the rim. By interacting with it, this becomes your new checkpoint and the head is pulled in only to have multiple limbs thrown back out. This can be used up to three times, but it isn't your only option when you die.

A death in the game will trigger what I call the Soul system. Basically you are nothing more than a soul at this point and need a new vessel. Taking too long or getting caught by a Soul eater will cause actual death. There are usually various options around, but you can guarantee a vessel by removing the bag on the heads of a few different NPC's you pass. You can also voluntarily leave your body in order to possess another that is an unreachable distance away or to simply take over a stronger vessel such as a Demon.

Possessing a Demon is by far the best moments of the game. Instead of it being a defenseless horror, the game becomes action packed. You now have the ability to fight and slaughter those in your path! The combat and vision is completely based on which Demon you possess. Common demon possession will let you use telepathic powers to control and crush your enemies while brutish demons have slower, but much more powerful physical attacks.

While you are playing with a vessel that is defenseless, you will mostly be sneaking around the enemies as you try to find the items you need to continue. There are little fire pits every so often that have a torch you can grab and occasional small cubby holes for you to hide in when caught.

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Graphics and Sounds

This is the shining section of the review. Agony is by far the most disturbing yet beautifully made games out there. While many games have created small interprets of hell before, nothing comes close to the accurate depiction created by Madmind Studios. I'm still curious just how much different the game would be completely uncensored. With the graphics being the most fascinating part of the game, I would definitely give this another playthrough with an unrated version.

The sound effects matched everything going on and I don't feel that any of it was exaggerated. The music was always a nice touch as well. Soft in calm areas and built up in accordance to the level of excitement going on for each moment of the game, but always able to make me feel uneasy with my surroundings.

Replayability

There are plenty of reasons to play through the game again. Despite the fact that there are 7 different endings to unlock, there is unique content to check out in the "New Game+" mode. There are plenty of hidden items and secrets to uncover as well, which you would have to go through in order to unlock all the different endings.

What Could Be Better

The very first thing that needs mentioning here is the AI. There were multiple times that I would catch the demon walking into a wall or getting stuck on a small hill. The worst notable moment is when I was chased back to a room that has a hiding place next to a fire pit. Even though the demon wasn't far, it didn't see me hide and when it tried to return to its usually pace, it got stuck in the fire pit. Once it finally managed to get past the fire pits glitch, it walked right over the fire and then died. All while I was forced to watch from the hiding spot it got stuck next to. This issue kills the games immersion which is worse than usual because it is the enemy itself ruining the game.

Next up is the lack of a tutorial. While this would be fine for a game with basic mechanics, there is the unique Soul mechanic that needed explaining. I had no idea what was going on the first time I died, got stuck when I first came across the purple marking spots and started getting creative to switch vessels before figuring out what to do, and I don't understand why dying from falling doesn't get the same treatment as any other death, but instead acts as a instant death. I understood later that you can remove bags from certain NPC's heads and later possess them when you die so you can continue without going back to the last check point. To be fair, I did start the game on Normal instead of Easy, but i don't feel like tutorial should of been removed from the other difficulty.

The story itself was a bit of a let down. I don't want to spoil anything, but I felt it was pretty generic and without twists. With a disturbing setting, unsettling sounds, creepy atmosphere, and an abundance of opportunity, I feel the story was bland. This particular issue may have been caused by my expectations being raised from the hype, but I still believe it to be a fair complaint.

Finally, I have to say that the NPC's that surround the various sections of the game are annoying after the first couple times. They didn't provide enough lines for these characters and so you end up hearing the same thing over and over again. There should of been more variety here. I can understand a couple of them repeating the same thing again and again, but not every single one of them.

Quick Side Note

We don't usually have this section, but I just have to say that I can't help but feel that Agony had so much potential and an amazing concept. Sure, I thought the story was a bit generic, but most of the issues that I found in the game could of easily been avoided. I think the reason they went unnoticed was due to all the distractions the team was facing as they neared launch. They had to battle with the ratings team to make sure their game could even be published, then they put a lot of focus into trying to give the least censored version to their audience, and while they continued to struggle under the legal pursuits of people who don't even intend to own this game they weren't able to focus on perfecting the game itself. It would of been better for them to push the release date out so that they could present the game in the best condition possible. This, I think, is the reason that the game ended up with so many flaws.

Final Verdict

The game has its moments where it is enjoyable and it has moments that are frustrating. The AI of the demons is poorly done and can break the immersion of the game. It is obvious that they put a lot more time into the graphical aspect of Agony than any other part of the game. It would of been more fun to have known how to play the game rather than guessing and with a smart AI that was as intimidating as its kills. With a few updates this game could easily be a great game, but as it currently stands, it simply doesn't meet expectations.

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Paradox Is Acquiring Harebrained Schemes, The Studio Behind BATTLETECH

Paradox Interactive, the publisher of games such as Stellaris and Crusader Kings II, announced that they are purchasing Harebrained Schemes to expand their PC gaming portfolio. Harebrained Schemes is an American developer behind games such as Shadowrun and BattleTech, with the latter published by Paradox, which ignited their interest in the developer. 

After the acquisition, Harebrained will be a Paradox studio. However, Paradox ensured that Harebrained Schemes “will continue to operate with its own internal management and creative teams, designing and developing the games that have earned them their outstanding reputation.” Furthermore, Paradox Interactive explained that Harebrained will be able to access the publisher’s “business and distribution expertise, financial support, and an extended colleague network of strategy enthusiasts.”

Although nothing is final yet, the acquisition is expected to go smoothly. Before Paradox, Harebrained crowdfunded Shadow Returns, Shadowrun: Hong Kong, and BattleTech via Kickstarter. In a press release, Harebrained CEO Jordan Weisman said that:

“We felt that HBS needed to team up with a company that could provide us the financial stability and marketing expertise that would allow us to focus on what we love doing - making great games and stories.”

Both Harebrained Studios and Paradox Interactive agreed that the former will still be an independent studio concerning management and creative teams and the latter will manage things outside of direct game development such as marketing, PR, and distribution. Of course, in the end, the publisher will still have the final say on new projects the studio can develop. 

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Everything You Need To Know About OVERWATCH’S Upcoming Social Features

Developer Blizzard just revealed a few of the new social features that are heading to Overwatch soon which are, Endorsements and Looking For Group. The announcement was revealed via the latest Overwatch developer update where Blizzard explained each social function. 

Endorsements will give players the ability to recognize gameplay behaviors from members of their own team or players from the enemy team. Three categories of behavior such as Sportsmanship, Good Teammate, and Shot Caller will be available. Players who acquire a high endorsement level will be rewarded in-game but the game’s director, Jeff Kaplan did not share what specific rewards a high endorsement level will entail. 

The next feature, Looking for Group, will allow players to assemble a team according to specific preferences and skill level. Players will be able to put restrictions on roles within a group, which prevents players from playing outside their role. Several adjustments in a group were also made such as requiring every team member to have voice chat. Moreover, Looking For Group is not a matchmaking system. Instead, it will create a group that will allow other players to join or will show you a list of teams that you can play for. 

A few privacy tweaks such as allowing players to set their profiles as private, friends only, or public has been introduced in Overwatch. Besides the social features that are upcoming to Overwatch, Blizzard is also adding several changes in the Horizon Lunar Map. You can check out the full details of all the other changes in the developer’s update posted above. 

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Square Enix Now Has A Dedicated Dev Group To Make Switch Games

Speaking to Game Informer, Tomoya Asano from Square Enix revealed that the studio has now established a dedicated division developing games for the Nintendo Switch, beginning with the RPG Octopath Traveler.

This isn’t the first time Square Enix revealed their interest in Nintendo’s new system. Last year, the studio’s president Yosuke Matsuda said to investors that Square Enix will be proactive in making games for the Switch. Matsuda believes that Nintendo’s hybrid system is better suited for Square Enix games.

Asano, who served as the producer on Octopath Traveler, told Game Informer that his team became the division focused on Switch games. “Square Enix has decided that it wants to focus on original titles for the Switch,” Asano said. “If Octopath Traveler does well, and this is something that appeals to fans, we want to focus on Switch. Please pick up the Switch if you want to play games like Octopath Traveler.”

Currently, Square Enix did not reveal details on these games that will be developed for the Switch or any schedule for their release. However, as E3 is just around the corner, it is likely that we can expect an announcement from either Nintendo or Square Enix concerning an all-new original Square Enix game on the Switch. 

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PlayStation Now Adds 12 New Games For The Month Of June

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For the month of June, Sony just released a dozen more games on the library of their game streaming service, PlayStation Now. The addition of the twelve new games now makes the PS Now’s library of games over 650 titles. 

The official PlayStation Blog announced the new additions, which includes titles from the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 titles. This month’s PS2 titles include Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits, Okage: Shadow King and Wild Arms 3. 

You can check out the full list of new games that are now available with a PS Now subscription below:

  • Adam’s Venture: Origins
  • Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault
  • Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits
  • Firefighters: The Simulation
  • Kinetica
  • Okage: Shadow King
  • Seasons After Fall
  • Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo
  • Table Top Racing
  • Wild Arms 3

PS3 to PS4 upgrades: 

  • Sniper Elite 3 Ultimate Edition
  • WRC 5 FIA World Rally Championship

Furthermore, the PlayStation Blog also revealed the most popular games in PS Now last May:

  • Red Dead Redemption
  • God of War (original)
  • God of War 3 Remastered
  • Mortal Combat
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • WWE 2K16
  • The Last of Us
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution
  • NBA 2K16
  • Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion

Players who are interested in Sony’s game subscription service can try out a seven-day free trial of PS Now for PS4 and PC. New subscribers will receive an introductory offer of $9.99 for the first month. 

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CODE VEIN Announces Launch Date With A Detailed Story Trailer

After releasing a mysterious trailer already over a full year ago, there is finally a launch date for Code Vein from Bandai Namco. The launch date is set for September 28, 2018 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. They will also have a playable demo at E3 2018.

Along with the launch date, we have been given a very detailed story trailer to learn what the role playing game (RPG) is all about. It even has gameplay sections so you can see just how awesome this title is going to be. Check it out:

We can see that the blood beads will play a big role in our journey and got to see what some creatures will look like. I'm still curious what the more ferocious beasts will look like that they aren't showing us. The combat is the type I prefer in an RPG personally, giving the player the freedom to attack, dodge, and move about as they see fit. There are enough turn based RPG titles out there as it is.

Bandai Namco has also confirmed that you will be able to customize your character and their abilities as you progress further. Hopefully there is a wide range of options to choose from because I know there are plenty of players interested in making the wildest looking character possible. I usually go for a badass look with scars and ripped clothes myself.

The game isn't exactly what I was expecting, given how different their announcement trailer was from their launch date trailer. The art style is even vastly different and would of been an interesting style choice to have made the game with. Either way, I'm looking forward to checking out Code Vein and seeing what it has to offer. Did their trailer get you excited for the games release?

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