June 2015

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Ronin Review

Ronin is a stealthy, cyberpunk-themed action platformer starring an assassin with an axe to grind. Taking some cues from Kill Bill, slick tracksuit and motorcycle helmet included, you infiltrate enemy compounds to pinpoint the location of five targets who left a stain on your past. Marred only a little by control flubs, Ronin is a brief but entertaining ride, packed full of gripping covert infiltrations and plenty of bloodshed.

As video games have often taught, it is a lot of fun to play as a lithe assassin, and Ronin is no exception. Here, you clamber up walls and dive through windows; you stick to the shadows, dodging traps and enemy eyesight; you crawl on ceilings, swing from a grappling hook, and slide down ventilation shafts–all the while sinking your sword into anyone who stands between you and your goals. The locomotion of your vengeful assassin is intuitive and fun. Hopping over platforms and rooftops is smooth, and ending your brisk sprint by bursting through a glass pane to knock down a dumbfounded security guard and plunge a katana into his back is a sinister thrill that never gets old.

The combat is …read more

Big Changes Coming to the ‘Clash of Clans’ Competitive Scene

Apparently, Supercell Games hasn’t heard of the “if it works don’t fix it” principle because it has decided to overhaul the multiplayer scene of its juggernaut, Clash of Clans [Free]. The developers want to improve the fairness of Clash of Clans’ competitive play, improve high-level matchmaking, and create a true, competitive experience to many more players than before. Considering that this is a game played by half the world’s population (by my empirical estimation), Supercell definitely risks getting so many curses from so many people. Good for the company though for daring to change what it felt wasn’t working properly.

And what exactly wasn’t working, you might ask? Firstly, the matchmaking search times were very long, the Trophy offers were repeatedly lopsided (+1 Trophy Win/ -39 Trophy loss), and the Trophy ladder’s low mobiility made players feel stuck in place without the ability to improve. The main cause of these problems was not enough players at the top, which meant matchmaking suffered greatly. So, the developers decided to introduce the Legend League Tournament, the biggest step in their attempt to address this problem. This new Tournament will introduce the Legend League at 5000 Trophies and a new, monthly Legend League …read more

Unikrn Picks Up $7M To Bring Betting To Esports

Unikrn, a startup focused on esports betting, has raised a fresh $7 million, bringing its total capital acquired to $10 million. Binary Capital led the infusion. Previously, Mark Cuban invested in the company. The startup, whose name is pronounced ‘unicorn,’ helps people place bets on upcoming video game matches. Competitive gaming, commonly known as ‘esports,’ is a… Read More …read more

Where Should Fallout 5 Take Place?

Fallout 4 was revealed a few weeks ago on June 3, and it’s been non-stop Bethesda since then. The initial trailer confirmed that Boston would be the game’s setting, and did a fantastic job of teasing a much larger gameplay reveal at E3 2015. Cut to a few weeks later, and Bethesda blew the doors off of Fallout 4 with a whole mess of story reveals, new gameplay systems (crafting!), and a mobile game that took the IGN office by storm.

Now obviously all eyes are on Fallout 4 leading up to its November 10th release, but our good friends at ThinkGeek wanted to get ahead of the curve. They polled over 800 people on where they wanted the next-next Fallout game to take place. They also wanted to see which platforms gamers were stoked to play the upcoming game on. Take a look:

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Stylish Runner ‘Vector’ is Getting a Sequel this Autumn

Nekki Games has announced that their extremely stylish side-scrolling runner Vector [$0.99 / $0.99 (HD)] will be getting a sequel later this year. Like Nekki’s other popular mobile game Shadow Fight 2 [Free], Vector relies on silhouetted characters with extremely smooth animations to give the game a really unique and stylized look. Vector also has quite a bit more depth than your average runner, with special abilities for your character, unlockable gadgets, and even an interesting storyline to follow. Here are a few screens from the upcoming Vector 2.

In addition to those core concepts that made the first Vector a hit, Vector 2 will introduce some new ideas to the fold. These include procedurally generated levels, plenty of new gadgets to unlock, and new locations to run through. All pretty standard stuff that you might expect from a Vector sequel, but Nekki also mentions that they’ll be adding roguelike elements to the game. Vector 2 producer Oleg Egorov says “While working on Vector 2 we try to stay true to what makes Vector a great game, but also we put a great effort to improve its formula by making each game session as unique as possible. We’ve …read more

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Star Wars Battlefront Leads Game Critics Awards Best of E3 Nominees

This year’s Game Critics Awards Best of E3 nominees have been announced. IGN’s Game of the Show, Star Wars Battlefront, leads the way with five nominations, followed by Fallout 4 and Horizon: Zero Dawn with four each.

2015’s Best of Show nominees are Fallout 4, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Oculus Touch, Star Wars Battlefront, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Electronic Arts and Sony Computer Entertainment lead all publishers this year with eleven nominations. Bethesda earned seven nominations, while Microsoft Studios and Nintendo each have six.

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Opinion – Batman: Arkham Knight Is A Brilliant Use Of An Unpopulated Open World

Batman: Arkham Knight delivers on many fronts, including the best narrative found in the series to date and improvements to the already stellar combat mechanics of Arkham games past. Following the feeling of emptiness of Arkham City’s open world, however, Rocksteady’s use of Gotham City in Arkham Knight is the component that’s most improved upon in this entry.

Warning: This article contains minor spoilers to the opening sequences of Batman: Arkham Knight, as well as for some of the side missions.

Rocksteady had a tall order to fill when it expanded the series’ open world to include a larger section of Gotham. Having 6.3 million civilians within the city limits means that the chance for Batman to inadvertently harm one of them – particularly with the Batmobile now in play – was high. Rocksteady worked around this with a narrative reason that not only evacuates the city, but also raises the stakes for the Dark Knight as he fights through some of his darkest hours.

One of the biggest obstacles of open-world games is it’s so easy for players to get sidetracked by inconsequential tasks and distractions. With Arkham Knight, however, the narrative continually pushes you forward, introducing you to the next …read more