Nova Covert Ops Pt.1 Impressions: Fresh Approach, Fading Fun

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Nova Covert Ops Pt.1 Impressions: Fresh Approach, Fading Fun

I really like the model that Blizzard is using to implement the next StarCraft II “campaign” this year – a series of mission packs centering on everyone’s favorite Ghost, Nova. Nova does a great job at being a badass in the first three missions (available now), and the groundwork is laid for some interesting systems at work, allowing players to customize Nova’s loadout from mission to mission as well as units. The cinematics and cutscenes are top notch, and the types and styles of missions are varied. Sadly, they’re just not that engaging. 

The first mission has us playing Nova in a Solid Snake-style escape mission (there’s a wonderful Easter egg nod to this right when you begin, involving a cardboard box). You do a lot of running around performing stealthy takedowns, rescuing companions, and finding your way out of the ship. The mission then turns into a sort of R-Type style shooter as you fly off, speeder-bike style. It should be a lot of fun, but it ends up feeling mechanical and rather boring, moving up and down and slamming your hotkeys appropriately. I appreciate Blizzard’s willingness in this mission to break away from resource-gathering, unit-building conventions and letting us play around with Nova’s abilities, but it didn’t stimpack my interest level to any appreciable degree.

Your Questions Answered About Destiny’s New Gear And Leveling

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Your Questions Answered About Destiny’s New Gear And Leveling

Today’s Destiny live stream has recently wrapped up, and the presentation offered some extensive details about changes coming to the game’s gear and progression loop. Last week, we showcased an interview with live events lead designer Ryan Paradis, who shared a number of details about new activities. This week, we’re here to explain what we learned from the live stream about how those activities will help you improve and customize your guardian.

What’s the new light value cap?

Players can now take their characters to a light value of 335. The previous cap was 320. Several in-game activities and rewards will help your character reach 330, but those last five light points are only going to be obtainable on gear from very particular activities.

From Guild Leader to Game Director Part 1: Landing a Job at Blizzard

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Photo Credit: Ed Carreón

Jeff “Tigole” Kaplan got his first industry gig thanks to being an EverQuest guildmate of former Blizzard chief creative officer Rob Pardo. His thoughts on game design landed him a job on reigning MMO juggernaut World of Warcraft, and now Kaplan is the game director on one of 2016’s most promising upcoming first-person shooters, Overwatch.

How did you get started in the gaming industry?

Eight Video Game Franchises That Make Sense For VR

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Eight Video Game Franchises That Make Sense For VR

No more waiting; VR is finally here. Except we are still waiting – waiting for some games that we’d really like to play with our new toys. The Rift and Vive both have some novel launch experiences, but they are a far cry from the system-selling titles that gamers are used to seeing year-in and year-out on other platforms. While you wait for the libraries on the Vive and Rift to expand, let’s dream about which some established franchises we’d like to see make the move to VR.

X-WingEve: Valkyrie has already established that space-based shooters work really well in VR, so we’d like to see the king of space shooters make the plunge. Sure, we’ve done the Death Star trench run a million times in games at this point, but VR finally allows us to relive those epic space fights as we always dreamed we would.


Burnout
Car accidents are incredibly dangerous and no one wants to actually be in one, but as the Burnout series has taught us, smashing two souped-up muscle cars into each other creates an amazing visual display. That display will be even more impressive if players could experience it in a full 360-degree environment. We also wouldn’t mind a mode where you could pause time and actually walk around these car pile-ups – from the safety of your well-insulated house. Also, we really just want another Burnout game.

Afterwords – The Elegant Challenge Of Jonthan Blow's The Witness

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Afterwords – The Elegant Challenge Of Jonthan Blow's The Witness

The Witness is one of the early success stories of 2016, with critical acclaim (including our review) and encouraging sales numbers. Developer Jonathan Blow and his team at Thekla began the project in 2008, but the years of waiting have paid off for players in the form of an intriguing puzzle game unlike anything else. We chatted with Blow about creating the experience, the significance of certain puzzles, and his reaction to the whole pee-bottle thing.

This article originally ran in Game Informer issue 276.

In 2014, reports indicated that The Witness was nearing the finish line. Were there any big changes that pushed the release to 2016? Nothing really changed. “Finish line” is relative, right? I didn’t think it would be as long as it has been; I was thinking, “Oh, maybe six or eight months, we’ll have this wrapped up.” But everyone has a different interpretation. Basically, that was a time when all of the major components of the gameplay were finalized…it just maybe needed to go faster, or certain objects needed to feel better. Because it’s such a big game, this finishing took a long time. If it comes down to working on it three more months or having something be kinda crappy, I’d rather work on it three more months. There was no dramatic setback or anything.

PlayStation Vue Isn't A Cable Killer, But It Could Cut Your Bill In Half

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PlayStation Vue Isn't A Cable Killer, But It Could Cut Your Bill In Half

Sony's PlayStation Vue streaming TV service has rolled out nationwide, and it presents the exciting possibility of canceling your cable subscription and still retaining a range of channels and even cloud-based DVR functionality. What is PS Vue, and is it worth it? I tested out the service via the free seven-day trial (later deciding to pay for the month) and took a look at its particulars.

What You Need

Vue requires a PlayStation account (but you don't need PlayStation Plus); a PS4, PS3, Chromecast*, or Amazon Fire TV device; a TV; and an Internet connection. On this last point, Sony suggests a minimum connection of 10mbps, plus 5mbps for every additional stream (more on that later).

Black Desert Online: An Oasis For Sandbox MMORPG Lovers

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Black Desert Online: An Oasis For Sandbox MMORPG Lovers

If you’re looking for a dungeon-oriented, raid-centric endgame MMORPG where it’s all about getting to level cap and gearing up, Black Desert Online isn’t for you.  If  themepark-style MMORPGs where you’re getting your tickets to ride the dungeons and raids are losing their luster for you, Black Desert Online may be exactly what you’re looking for. After several years in Korea, Pearl Abyss’s sandbox-style romp comes to North America, offering a wildly different approach to the genre. The open-ended experience has a hefty focus on developing your character in ways outside of level-ups and armaments.

That’s not to say there isn’t leveling and all kinds of gear to collect; those elements are still in play, but there are no instanced dungeons or raids. Instead of bashing your way to a boss, you may opt to cultivate a network of workers and NPC allies, forming trade routes to acquire resources, developing a home that other players can visit, or just getting in there yourself and farming the next big crop of potatoes. And you must plan your actions around a dynamic weather system and a day/night cycle as well. Pro-tip: Things can get hard to see at night, so bring a lantern if you plan to roam the woods after dark.

Details On Epic’s Abandoned Vision For Gears Of War 4

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Details On Epic’s Abandoned Vision For Gears Of War 4

Epic Games created the Gears of War franchise, and the series became incredibly successful for the studio. So after wrapping up the original Gears trilogy, the company wasn’t planning on putting Gears in a box and throwing it in cold storage. While People Can Fly helped co-develop the side story that became Gears of War: Judgment, a smaller team inside Epic itself started to dream up a proper Gears of War 4. This is everything we know about what happened to that project.

Gears of War became something of a flagship for Epic Games. The first entry released almost a decade ago, and quickly became the fastest selling title of 2006. Gears of War 2 fared even better, selling more than two million copies on its first weekend, while Gears 3 pushed the series past 1 billion in sales, becoming the second Xbox franchise to ever hit that milestone (the first being Halo). According to The Coalition, Gears fans have played more than 2.3 billion hours of Gears of War’s multiplayer – logging in 22 million hours on Gears of War 3 in January of this year alone.

It’s hard to ignore the fact that Gears of War is a popular brand, and Epic would have been foolish to not consider making a Gears of War 4. Unsurprisingly, the company did begin work on a Gears 4, but that project likely looked a bit different from the one that The Coalition is now working on.

The Best Stardew Valley Mods (So Far)

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The Best Stardew Valley Mods (So Far)

Stardew Valley has barely been out for a month and its passionate community is already creating useful, creative, and utterly bizarre mods for the game. Here are some of our favorites. Be sure to read the installation notes for each of these mods before you install them because the process for some of them is more than a teensy bit complicated.

CJB Cheats MenuNot patient? Wanna succeed in Stardew Valley and get on the fast track to building your open-range empire. Why not cheat? CJB's cheat menu is a simple mod that lives up to its name, essentially functioning as a trainer for the game and giving you a menu of cheats and shortcuts, like letting you kill enemies in one hit or controlling the weather. You can watch the whole thing in action as well as step-by-step instructions for how to install it here:

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