Destiny Expands into The Dark Below on December 9

I could and frankly should start this article with a manifest destiny joke, but I’ll save you from that.

As we’ve all been aware, Bungie has promised a couple of downloadable expansion packs for their recently released shooter, Destiny. Yesterday, details finally released about what players can expect to find when The Dark Below finally strikes the PlayStation and Xbox platforms.

Destiny_charater

Taking place on the Moon against The Hive, players will face off with the creatures in three new campaign missions detailing how they plan to resurrect the old god, Crota, in a plan to wipe out humanity on Earth. What’s interesting here is that Bungie has stated that these campaign missions will handle the story differently than the core game (which is basically not at all) in an effort to fix the almost universal negativity towards that aspect of Destiny. With The Dark Below, Bungie hopes to address that major issue by adding strong story-telling elements in this expansion through the new character Eris in the Tower. Hopefully, this will finally start to tie together the solid gameplay with the very subpar plot. At the very least it shows that Bungie is indeed listening and is aware of Destiny’s shortcomings.

In a discussion with Eurogamer, Bungie Studio Head Harold Ryan had this to say about what they’re looking to achieve in this first expansion:

“What you’ll see in this expansion, it’s going to be a very different approach to telling a new story to players than the thematically-driven story from the original launch of the game. It’s going to feel much more loot driven and story driven in that it’s going to feel faster-paced with more action as you go through it, and with exposition. The important thing about Eris is, this story is going to be her story, and she’s going to send you on a mission that’s a lot of fun.”

Outside of the story missions, the light rank will increase from 30 to 32, a wave of new gear (including exotics) is being added, a new Strike and Raid mission where you’ll (more than likely) face off against Crota himself, and 3 additional PvP Crucible maps. If you’re on a PlayStation system, you’ll get another Strike called The Undying Mind. Don’t worry Xbox users, all of this PlayStation content will be yours Fall 2015. Just a…little…bit longer to wait.

Players will finally have access to this content on December 9 for $20 or free if you picked up the season pass already. With that said, I’m curious to know what you guys think? Disappointed in the content offering, moved on to other things, or are you ready to dive in feet first? Let me know in the comments.

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Tactical Assist: Shadow of Mordor Hunting Challenge Guide

There’s no denying that Shadow of Mordor is a robust game, filled to the brim with content. Currently, I’m nearing 30 hours total invested in this game and I’m still finding things to do and hold my attention. If you haven’t already, definitely have a look at this game, it’s damn fun.

Middle-earth™: Shadow of Mordor™_20141017000700

It’s been a while since my guides, Tactical Assist, made a contribution to the site, and with specific hunting challenges making up a part of Mordor, I figured what better time to bring it back. Below the jump you’ll find all ten challenges detailed and filled with tips and tricks to help you complete them.

If there’s a game you’d like to see featured here, let me know. I’ll see what I can do.

Full guide below the jump…

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16 Minutes of Awesome: Quantum Break Walkthrough

It’s been a couple of months since we’ve heard from Sam Lake and the gang at Remedy since revealing their next project, Quantum Break, at Gamescom. Interestingly enough, what we saw at the show wasn’t the entire thing. Late last week, Remedy posted the entire 16 minute extended demo complete with narration from Sam Lake. There was a lot going on in the demo so getting some perspective behind it is never a bad thing.

Hitting sometime in 2015, Quantum Break follows Jack Joyce as he deals with a corrupt corporation known as Monarch Solutions. Not only that, there’s also the issue of a failed experiment causing the very fabric of time to break down becoming more and more unstable. Due to the experiment, Jack also has the ability . Frankly though, I just like how Sam Lake refers to Quantum Break as an “Intense, story-driven action game spectacle.” It’s not everyday someone uses “spectacle” to describe a game. The visual effects during the time manipulation is very cool, though I wonder if the respawn on the time meter recharges too fast?

To me, Quantum Break seems like a game that blends the best qualities of Remedy’s past games like Max Payne and Alan Wake, blending them in a tasty smoothie of modern gameplay elements. I’m intrigued by the project and can’t wait to see more on it. Here’s the full demo walkthrough:

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Saturday Video Round Up: October 19 – 25

Saturday’s back and so to is a brand new Video Round Up bringing you the latest trailers and gameplay from the week that was. We’re deep in the heart of the fall release schedule and that means it’s another great week for trailers. Here’s a small taste of what you can expect.

The Witcher 3 makes it’s long overdue return to the Round Up this week with an epic and badass cinematic trailer. Seriously, the action is awesome and the trailer rivals the stuff that Blizzard puts out. I’m a relative rookie to The Witcher series but this trailer definitely grabs my attention.

Are you ready for the Awesomepocalypse? We’re just a few days out from Insomniac’s latest game, Sunset Overdrive. To celebrate, the company has put out the launch trailer which just looks downright fun. Not only that, the vibrant color palate and frenetic action will definitely please your eyes.

I’ve also got new videos for Far Cry 4, Dragon Age Inquisition, Assassin’s Creed Unity and so much more after the break, so come check out this week’s batch of trailers!

The full list of videos await you after the jump…

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The Hype Train Rolls On: 50 Things You Need To Know About Super Smash Bros

If one thing is very clear, Nintendo is all in with Super Smash Bros. Seeing this as a legitimate opportunity to not only steal the spotlight from other AAA games/platforms, but to actually move hardware as well, Nintendo poured even more hype over a frothy and very excitable crowd yesterday with their latest Nintendo Direct.

SmashBrosWiiU

As you can probably imagine, yesterday’s Direct focused squarely on Super Smash Bros detailing an absurd 50 things you need to know about the title. Considering the 3DS version is already out and Nintendo has detailed this game at length in the past, it’s still amazing to learn that there’s just still so much we don’t know about this game. The trailer focused on a lot of exclusive WiiU features and additions.

While I’m not going to pour over every single item, here’s some of the bigger announcements from yesterday’s Direct. As a bonus, I’ve also added the video so you can hear Mr. Announcer Man detail each aspect of the game if you want. Enjoy!

Major News
1. MewTwo returns to both the 3DS and WiiU titles as free DLC if you own both the WiiU and 3DS versions of the game. I’d assume Nintendo would eventually offer him as paid DLC, but no announcements on that.

2. Bowser Jr got his own trailer and he was also joined by the Koopalings as well. It wasn’t explained well, but I’d assume they act as his costume swaps or something to that effect.

3. Do you enjoy chaos? Smash for WiiU now allows more than 4 players to battle in the same match. The peak of the action caps out at 8 players which, I can’t even fathom how insane that would be. Obviously, to support the match size, only the large maps will be selectable and the 8 players are locked into local multiplayer, not online.

4. Stage Builder has been confirmed.

5. Masterpeice Mode lets you play demo sized chunks of classic Nintendo titleslike Kid Icarus, Kirby’s Dream Land and others based on the character roster.

6. So many modes! Master Orders, Crazy Orders, Target Blast, Stadium Mode, All-Star Mode, Event Mode, Special Smash Mode and Smash Tour to name a few.

7. New exclusive stages in the WiiU version with some existing ones being altered to fit better on the WiiU.

8. 40 fighters available to fight with more to be unlocked or grabbed via DLC.

Want all of the juicy details? Let the world’s most excited announcer explain everything to you:

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The End of an Era: Jade Raymond Departs Ubisoft

UbiTO

In a surprising announcement earlier this week, Ubisoft revealed that Ubisoft Toronto studio head, Jade Raymond, is leaving the company after ten years of service at the company. Alex Parizeau, another founding member of the Toronto studio, will be taking over the role she’s leaving behind.

Jade originally produced the original Assassin’s Creed, has been the executive producer on games like Watch_Dogs and Assassin’s Creed II, and most recently helped found the Ubisoft Toronto studio which released Splinter Cell Blacklist last year. Currently the studio is assisting with a couple of major releases in Assassin’s Creed Unity and Far Cry 4. Make no mistake, she was an important part of Ubisoft. One thing that we don’t know is what’s next for Jade as she hasn’t publicly said anything yet.

“I’ve spent 10 extraordinary years at Ubisoft, and I am proud to have been part of many of the best teams in the industry making truly remarkable games,” said Raymond in a press release. “This is one of the hardest decisions of my career, but the Toronto studio is strong and on a solid path. I’m confident that now is a good time for me to transition leadership of the studio to Alex and to pursue my other ambitions and new opportunities. Stay tuned for more on what’s next for me, but for now, I’d like to thank Ubisoft for its partnership through the years, and I wish them the very best in all their next endeavors.”

On a personal level, I have nothing but respect and admiration for Jade and was thrilled to actually meet her in person last year up in Toronto. During her time at Ubisoft she’s helped create and develop some of my favorite franchises like Splinter Cell and Assassin’s Creed. She even put the very first Assassin’s Creed on the map for me as she was it’s sort of public face during it’s development lifecycle. For me, seeing a game that managed to blend open world action with the Crusades timeline really intrigued me considering that history is something I love. In my eyes, it managed to marry the best of both worlds.

So thank you Jade for your contribution to the industry while at Ubisoft. I wish you all the best and can’t wait to see what is next for you.

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PlayStation’s Road To Greatness Tour – Hands-On Impressions

Sony began a nationwide “Road to Greatness” tour earlier this year which was essentially a way for the company to promote the PlayStation 4 and all of it’s upcoming titles. The best thing about this tour is that it gave people the opportunity to go hands-on with the console and some unreleased games. This tour actually set out for stops that are not as high profile or feature major industry events like PAX or E3.

PSTruck

Considering that the tour was in a town that I could reasonably get to without much fuss this past weekend, I decided to head on over and check things out. Situated on a skate park, Sony brought a big semi truck which actually expanded out like a RV would. Including a DJ playing music, contests with prizes like a Vita, and free food/water, the main show was inside the big semi. Upon getting inside, I was greeted with more rows of kiosks than I figured. From Singstar, to NBA 2K15, to highly anticipated titles like The Order 1886, you had free reign to get your game on.

While I didn’t have time to try my hand at everything, I did manage to go hands (or eyes) on a number of titles. Below I’ve included my thoughts and impressions from everything I played and saw first hand.

LittleBigPlanet 3
I’m not sure what I can say about this one. It’s distinctively LittleBigPlanet, a platformer with cute characters, a world created from household materials like fabric, wood and stone, and controls that still feel good if not just a tad bit floaty. It’s very much LittleBigPlanet and if you’ve played one before, there’s absolutely no reason why you won’t like this one as well. It’s so cute, you’ll be crying rainbows for weeks.

DriveClub
It’s been a downright terrible launch for DriveClub, but even with the massive server issues, Sony gave the game a lot of kiosks in the truck. Running a single player only demo, the game featured three tracks to race on with only three cars to pick from. Upon getting behind the wheel, the first thing you notice is how great the game looks. The colors are vibrant, the cars are really well modeled, and the landscape is lush and impressively built. Control wise, DriveClub is more forgiving landing more towards the arcade style of racing. The thing that really bummed me out about DriveClub however is that it was penalizing me for driving aggressively, taking points away for hitting the landscape or bumping the other cars. I’m not sure DriveClub knows what it wants to be between an arcade style racer hell bent on fun, or a more serious simulation style racer. There’s no denying that the game looks great, but from what I played, the core aspect of racing didn’t grab me like I was hoping.

An artist was painting this mural during the day's events.

An artist was painting this mural during the day’s events.

OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood
Surprised to see this one stashed away in the back, I was immediately surprised to see how upgraded this title looked. The first game had a very distinct art style, relying on more pixel block graphics. OlliOlli 2 however, looks way smoother and features an almost hand drawn art style. The gameplay remains as rock solid as it was in the first game, and I wasn’t at all ashamed to faceplant all over the place. It’s still as addictive and frustrating as ever, but now with improved graphics and animations.

Bloodborne
One of the titles I didn’t actually get to go hands on with due to there being only one kiosk and a time crunch, Bloodborne was none-the-less wildly impressive.This one was the game that really stood out to me, and keep in mind that this is coming from someone who’s not really a “Souls” player. Basically, Bloodborne looks like a victorian era Demon’s Souls with much faster gameplay. The combat alone moves at a quicker pace and the representative told the crowd that unlike a traditional “Souls” game, Bloodborne actually rewards the player for being more aggressive. The world is as detailed as it is hauntingly beautiful, and the enemies reminded me of scarecrows holding torches like they were going to riot. The tone is very much Demon’s Souls, but the combat and pacing makes it feel and look new. This is definitely one to watch for.

The Order 1886
Another title I didn’t actually get to go hands on with due to time restrictions, but I did watch a demo being played by someone else. Graphically speaking, it’s a knockout. The characters are modeled so well and the animations are also striking. The clothing sways realistically and characters show great emotion through facial expressions. Where the game kind of tripped up a bit in my opinion is in the combat. It looks to be a basic third person cover based shooter without any new hooks or frills. Granted, it was just a short demo, but I didn’t see anything that really made it stand out during these combat situations. I really don’t want to be saying that it has stunning visuals, an impressive setting, creative weapons but simplistic combat when this comes out early next year but as of right now, that looks to be the case. I really hope I’m proven wrong because I love the theme of the game, but so far, it’s exactly what you think it’s going to be based on the trailers they released. I really hope Ready at Dawn has some tricks up their sleeves.

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