New XCOM game coming April 24 with a twist on turn-based gameplay

about X hours ago from
New XCOM game coming April 24 with a twist on turn-based gameplay

There’s another chapter in the story of XCOM, Firaxis Games’ reboot of the venerable turn-based strategy franchise. It’s called XCOM: Chimera Squad, and it’s coming very soon: The stand-alone game is due out for Windows PC on April 24.

The game focuses on a group of 11 named characters, brought together in a new location called City 31 to form the special operations team called Chimera Squad. Events take place five years after XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. All characters are combat veterans pulled from the ranks of human and alien forces alike. They include sectoids capable of mind control and mutons with overwhelming strength and agility. Together, this hybrid group of special operators is tasked with enforcing an uneasy peace after the fall of Advent.

Nintendo Switch system update adds button remapping, SD card transfers

about X hours ago from
Nintendo Switch system update adds button remapping, SD card transfers

Nintendo released a new system software update for Nintendo Switch on Monday, version 10.0.0, which lets console owners remap controller buttons on the Joy-Con controllers and Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, as well as transfer software data from system memory to an SD card (and vice versa).

The update also gives Animal Crossing fans some new user icons from New Horizons: Tom Nook, Timmy and Tommy Nook, Isabelle, Wilbur, C.J., and Flick.

Minecraft with ray-traced graphics playable this week

about X hours ago from
Minecraft with ray-traced graphics playable this week

Minecraft players will be able to see the game in a whole new light this week: Real-time ray tracing will come to its blocky worlds through a public beta on April 16, Nvidia and Minecraft developer Mojang announced Tuesday.

Known as “Minecraft with RTX,” following the naming scheme of Nvidia’s line of graphics cards with hardware-based support for ray tracing, the visual revamp was revealed last August during Gamescom. It’s a complete overhaul of the graphics courtesy of a fully path-traced rendering of the game — the look of everything (aside from a few exceptions such as particle effects) is based on a simulation of the way light behaves. That includes real-time calculations of reflections, shadows, and ambient occlusion.

Players starting from scratch can be ready for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands in 15 hours

about X hours ago from
Players starting from scratch can be ready for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands in 15 hours

Players have been testing the new World of Warcraft expansion for nearly a week now in the Shadowlands alpha. In addition to testing new zones and content, they’ve also started experimenting with the level squish changes, which takes World of Warcraft’s current level max of 120 down to 50 — up to 60 with the Shadowlands expansion. And with the squish, players have discovered a much shorter journey from starting the game to reaching max level.

In my own experience, current World of Warcraft leveling can be a multi-day slog. Even with some items increasing my experience gains, and my knowledge of old zones, it’s taken me over two days of in-game time to reach max level before. Some players can drastically lower that time, but it’s still an extremely long experience. For new players with no items or knowledge of what to do, leveling from level 1 to 120 can take nearly 80 hours.

P.T. remake imagines the game for Apple Macintosh

about X hours ago from
P.T. remake imagines the game for Apple Macintosh

Kojima Productions’ brilliant horror game teaser P.T. has, after its painful removal from the PlayStation Store, been remade by fans on a variety of platforms — on PC, in virtual reality, in the video game creation game Dreams. A new take on the game reimagines P.T. in HyperCard, the black and white visual database application for Apple Macintosh computers. It works surprisingly well, capturing the hallway horror of the Silent Hills teaser in clean, lo-fi graphics.

Hyper P.T., spotted by Warp Door, was created by Ryan Trawick and submitted to Itch.io as part of a recent HyperCard-themed game jam called, appropriately, HyperJam. You can download it for free or pay what you want; the game is playable on Linux, Mac, and Windows PC.

Animal Crossing has an A button problem

about X hours ago from
Animal Crossing has an A button problem

This past Saturday, Animal Crossing: New Horizons hosted its very first Fishing Tourney. Fishing Tourneys have long been Animal Crossing staples, and their inclusion in New Horizons was exciting, bringing with them a fish-themed furniture set and trophies to earn. But man, this latest tourney was rough.

The actual competition was simple: Catch as many fish as you can in a three-minute span to earn points, then turn those points in for prizes. But the process of starting and finishing each round was comically terrible.

A real aquarium is giving tours of Animal Crossing’s in-game museum

about X hours ago from
A real aquarium is giving tours of Animal Crossing’s in-game museum

The island of Sears has a sprawling museum. An owl named Blathers greets players at the front door, and the museum branches into three immersive sections: fossils, bugs, and fish. The aquarium, to the right, houses gallons of waters in its enormous tanks, each recreated to mimic the island’s different ecosystems. In a man-made pond, koi fish dodge lilypads and sea grass while a snapping turtle lounges on a log. Deep ocean creatures — like oarfish and coelacanth — creep slowly along a darker tank, one reminiscent of the ocean floor.

The Sears Museum is not real, of course. It’s the virtual establishment on my Animal Crossing: New Horizons island — and it’s one of the very few places of the sort open in the world right now. Museums and aquariums alike have closed indefinitely as the coronavirus pandemic keeps visitors confined to their homes.

Nookazon makes all Animal Crossing: New Horizons items easy to get

about X hours ago from
Nookazon makes all Animal Crossing: New Horizons items easy to get

Animal Crossing: New Horizons fans all want to fill out their islands with specific sets of furniture and clothing items. You can rely on your own island’s stock, tap friends for trades, or use social media to speed things up. But some clever fans have found a much more efficient solution to this problem.

Nookazon is a tool where anyone can post their inventories. Furniture, fruit, crafting items and even neighbors are all up for sale for Bells, Nook Miles, or an equal value barter. Once fans select an item, players use the site to instantly find owners, along with contact info such as Discord ID and Switch Codes. Nookazon adds a whole extra layer of infrastructure to Animal Crossing, allowing players to build wishlists and easily trade with other islands.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands may be adding autobattler mode

about X hours ago from
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands may be adding autobattler mode

Since World of Warcraft’s 2014 expansion, Warlords of Draenor, the MMO has used some kind of mission table for players to gain passive bonuses while logged out of the game. Two years later, Blizzard introduced a mobile app, which let players send followers on important missions while far away from their computers. But with the upcoming Shadowlands expansion, it seems Blizzard is trying something a bit different with missions: an autobattler.

The popular autobattler mode (games like Teamfight Tactics, Dota Underlords, and Blizzard’s own Hearthstone Battlegrounds) lets players draft units and place them on a chess-like board. The units then battle the units of another player. Between battles, players can buy new units, upgrade existing units, or rearrange them on the board. And according to Shadowlands’ most recent datamine on MMO Champion, World of Warcraft is getting a similar mode.

During quarantine, learning games are having their moment, too

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During quarantine, learning games are having their moment, too

Many of us have framed the coronavirus lockdown as an ideal time to tackle long-delayed self-improvement projects, like learning a new language or a musical instrument. Also, a lot of us are spending our time playing video games. But it looks like plenty of people have combined the two, using this time to learn new skills via game-like apps.

Duolingo, for example, is one of the most popular learning games in the world. It poses visual and audio puzzles that build skills without resorting to rote memory work. One common game is selecting from a panel of words to answer a question. Millions of players have worked their way through Duolingo’s fun challenges, which are heavily lathered with game-like rewards, such as earning “gems” and leveling up.