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Free Xbox 360 Online Multiplayer This Weekend

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2015-10-09 12:15

The Xbox Live Gold requirement for Xbox 360's online multiplayer is being dropped for the next few days, Microsoft has announced.

Halo 3

Beginning today, October 9, and running through October 11, Xbox 360 members worldwide can play their games online for free. You'll still need a free Xbox Live account in order to do so, but you won't need any kind of Gold trial or membership to get online, which normally runs $60 per year.

Keep in mind that, while you have access to online multiplayer, this isn't full access to Xbox Live Gold. You won't be able to take advantage of the ongoing Deals With Gold offers for the week, nor will you be able to grab the free Games With Gold titles that are currently available.

The free multiplayer weekend is now in effect and will be available until 11:59 PM PDT on October 11.

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Gaming Deals: $25 Bloodborne, $55 20th Anniversary PS4 Controller, $10 Game of Thrones

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2015-10-09 11:58

The PS4 today received a $50 price cut, bringing it down to $350.

It's a Sony-centric day for Best Buy's deals of the day; you can get Bloodborne or God of War III Remastered for $25 each ($20 if you're a Gamers Club Unlocked member), a PS4 camera for $40, or DualShock 4 controllers for $50-$55. That includes the new 20th Anniversary Edition controller, which is $55.

Buy an Xbox One at Best Buy this week, and you'll get a free copy of NBA 2K16 (and 50 percent off three months of Xbox Live Gold, if you so choose). This includes system bundles like the new FIFA 16, Forza 6, and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition ones.

Similarly, Amazon is offering a 1 TB Xbox One bundle with Madden 16 and NBA 2K16 for $399, while eBay has the FIFA 16 bundle with a free copy of NBA 2K16 for $370.

Target is offering 25 percent off any Xbox or PlayStation game when you reserve a game for $1. The exception is Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, though if you buy that and put $1 on Uncharted 4, you'll receive a $10 gift card.

Save $50 when you buy two select EA Sports games at Toys R Us, including NHL 16 (PS4/Xbox One), Madden NFL 16 (PS4/Xbox One), FIFA 16 (PS4/Xbox One), Rory McIlroy PGA Tour (PS4/Xbox One), and more. With all of these games costing $60, that brings the total price down to $70 ($35 each).

Tales From the Borderlands's first episode is free on PS4, Xbox One, and PS3.

Below you'll find the rest of today's best deals divided by platform.

PlayStation 4

Spend $100 or more on PSN between now and November 3, and you'll get a $15 PSN credit.

Buy a PS4 at Target and receive a $50 gift card. This includes the Destiny: The Taken King and The Last of Us Remastered bundles, but note that both of these still cost $400.

Check out all of this week's deals on the PlayStation Store here, and all of the PlayStation Plus member-only deals here.

Other PS4 game deals:

The free PlayStation Plus games for October are now available and include Super Meat Boy and Broken Age.

Xbox One

Target Cartwheel has a coupon taking 15 percent off the price of an Xbox One.

The Microsoft Store is throwing in free copies of Assassin's Creed Unity and Project Spark with the Madden 16 Xbox One bundle. It's unclear what value (if any) the copy of Project Spark has at this point now that the game has gone completely free.

If you're a Gamers Club Unlocked member, get a $15 gift card when you purchase the Spartan Locke Xbox One controller from Best Buy's website.

Amazon Prime members can get a 3.5mm jack-equipped Xbox One controller with a Play & Charge Kit for $58. Just add the bundle to your cart and proceed to checkout to see the discount.

You can get a year of Xbox Live Gold at Newegg for $35 using the promo code EMCKAAT87. EBay also has it for $35.

This week's Deals With Gold are now available and include sales on WWE 2K15, Forza Horizon 2, Sniper Elite III, and more.

Other Xbox One game deals:

The first of October's free Games With Gold games, Valiant Hearts, is now available. You can also still get Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition for free.


Telltale games are on sale on Steam, including the full Telltale Collection for $45, Game of Thrones for $10, and Tales From the Borderlands for $8.49.

Green Man Gaming has a promotion going on for the Civilization series, discounting Civilization V to $7.49, Beyond Earth to $20, and the new Rising Tide expansion for Beyond Earth to $27.

GOG is discounting classic Square Enix games this week, including Deus Ex, Tomb Raider, Legacy of Kain, and Thief titles, all of which can be had for $2.49 or less.

The newest Humble Indie Bundle is a good one. It includes games like Skullgirls, Planetary Annihilation: Titans, Xenonauts, and more. You can get everything for $10, or only select games by beating the average (currently $7.30) or paying any price you want. New games were recently added.

Humble Bundle last week introduced its new Humble Monthly Bundle, a LootCrate-style subscription service that delivers mystery games on the first Friday of the month for $12. If you subscribe before the first one launches in November, you'll get a free copy of Legend of Grimrock II right away.

Preordering a Steam Machine, Steam Controller, or Steam Link right now will get you free copies of Rocket League and Portal 2.

Buy select Nvidia GPUs (or Nvidia-equipped laptops) and get a free copy of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Other select cards come with a Heroes of the Storm bundle.

If you have a free Green Man Gaming account, you can access the VIP area, where you'll find deals like Skyshine's Bedlam for $15, FIFA 16 for $40, and Killing Floor 2 for $22.49.

Stardock games are 50 percent off or more on Green Man Gaming.

You can save 23 percent at Green Man Gaming using the voucher 23PERC-AUTUMN-SAVING.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 is Origin's next free On the House game.

Other PC game deals:

  • Darkest Dungeon early access -- $12 (Steam)
  • Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut -- $2.49 (GMG)
  • Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition -- $7.49 (GMG)
  • Depth -- $8.49 (Steam)
  • Prison Architect -- $20 (Steam) / $20 (Humble Store)
  • Chroma Squad -- $10 (Steam)
  • One Finger Death Punch -- $2.49 (Steam)
  • Road Not Taken -- $3 (Steam)
  • Retro City Rampage DX -- $4 (Steam)
  • Dead Island Franchise Pack -- $6 (GMG)
  • Metro Redux -- $10 (GMG)
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt -- $40 (Amazon - Prime only) / $50 (Best Buy)
  • Saints Row IV -- $5 (GMG)
  • Titanfall -- $5 (Best Buy)
  • Diablo III -- $20 (GameStop digital) / $18 (Walmart)
  • Civilization: Beyond Earth -- $20 (Best Buy)
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited -- $40 (Amazon) / $37.69 (Walmart)
  • The Evil Within -- $11 (Amazon)
  • Batman: Arkham Origins -- $10 (Amazon)
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel -- $24 (Best Buy)
  • SimCity -- $7 (Best Buy)
  • Diablo III: Reaper of Souls -- $24 (Amazon)
  • StarCraft II: Battle Chest -- $20.49 (Amazon)
  • Evolve -- $20 (Amazon)
  • Watch Dogs -- $10 (Amazon) / $10 (Best Buy)
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition -- $25 (Amazon) / $30 (Best Buy)
Wii U

If you don't mind buying a refurbished system, Nintendo's online store has a Wii U bundle with Nintendo Land for $200, Nintendo Land and Super Mario 3D World for $225, or The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and Nintendo Land for $235.

  • Hyrule Warriors -- $44 (Walmart)
  • Kirby and the Rainbow Curse -- $32 (Amazon)
  • Just Dance 2015 -- $20 (Amazon) / $20 (Best Buy)
  • Yoshi's Woolly World -- $43 (Amazon - Prime only)
  • Lego Jurassic World -- $38.60 (Amazon)
  • Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge -- $12 (Amazon)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD -- $39 (Walmart)
  • Wii Fit U + Fit Meter + Balance Board -- $25 (Nintendo Store)
  • The Wonderful 101 -- $30 (Nintendo Store)
  • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate -- $18 (Amazon)
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut -- $14.50 (Amazon)
  • Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two -- $11 (Amazon)
  • Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition -- $17 (Amazon)
  • Watch Dogs -- $18 (Amazon) / $12 (Best Buy)
  • Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed -- $24 (Amazon)
  • Scribblenauts Unlimited -- $15 (Amazon)
  • Transformers Prime: The Game -- $14 (Amazon)

Nintendo's online store is offering refurbished 2DSes for $60.

  • Mario Party: Island Tour -- $26 (Amazon) / $20 (Walmart)
  • Super Smash Bros. for 3DS -- $33 (Amazon)
  • Code Name: Steam -- $20 (Amazon)
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening -- $34 (Amazon) / $34 (Walmart)
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf -- $21 (Walmart)
  • Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth -- $30 (Amazon) / $20 (Best Buy)
  • Angry Birds Star Wars -- $5 (Best Buy)
  • Etrian Mystery Dungeon -- $22.61 (Amazon)
  • Disney Infinity Starter Pack -- $15 (Amazon)
  • Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance -- $20 (Walmart)
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 - Record Breaker -- $37.40 (Amazon)
  • Steel Diver -- $5 (Best Buy)
  • Tetris Ultimate -- $12 (Amazon)
  • Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate -- $11 (Walmart)
  • Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion -- $12.47 (Amazon) / $5.36 (Walmart)
  • Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars -- $22 (Amazon)
  • Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed -- $19 (Amazon)
  • Hometown Story -- $11 (Amazon)
PlayStation Vita
  • Metal Gear Solid HD Collection -- $20.39 (Amazon)
  • LittleBigPlanet -- $13 (Amazon)
  • Persona 4: Golden -- $20 (Amazon)
  • Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz -- $14 (Amazon)
  • PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale -- $12 (Amazon)
  • Gravity Rush -- $23 (Amazon)
  • The Wolf Among Us -- $11 (Amazon) / $7 (Best Buy)
  • The Walking Dead: Season Two -- $7 (Best Buy)
  • Mind Zero -- $26 (Amazon)
  • Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed -- $18 (Amazon)
  • Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd -- $19.49 (Amazon)
  • Xblaze Code: Embryo -- $30 (Amazon)
  • Arcana Heart 3: Love Max -- $29.50 (Amazon)
  • Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars -- $22 (Amazon)
  • 16GB Memory Card -- $35 (Amazon)
  • 32GB Memory Card -- $67 (Amazon)

The free PlayStation Plus games for October are now available and include Super Meat Boy and Broken Age.

  • PS4 20th Anniversary Edition DualShock 4 Controller -- $55 (Amazon) / $55 (Best Buy)
  • Xbox One Limited Edition Halo 5 Spartan Locke Controller -- $60 (Amazon - Prime only)
  • PDP Xbox One Kinect Mount -- $8 (Walmart)
  • PlayStation 4 Camera -- $40 (Best Buy) / $45 (Walmart)
  • Wireless Xbox 360 Controller for Windows -- $42 (Amazon)
  • Wired Xbox 360 Controller for Windows -- $35 (Amazon)
  • DualShock 4 PS4 Controller -- $52 (Amazon - Prime only) / $50 (Best Buy)
  • Xbox One Controller -- $53 (Amazon)
  • PlayStation Silver Wired Stereo Headset -- $22 (Amazon)

Amazon prices are accurate as of publishing, but can fluctuate occasionally throughout the day.

GameSpot's gaming deals posts always highlight the best deals we can find regardless of retailer. We also occasionally use retailer affiliate links, which means that purchasing goods through those links helps support all the great content (including the deals posts) you find for free here on the site.

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James Franco Smashes a Guitar Hero Live Controller in This New Trailer

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2015-10-09 11:26

Activision has published new live-action trailer for Guitar Hero Live starring real-world guitar hero Lenny Kravitz and actor James Franco. Directed by Tim and Eric and Portlandia's Jonathan Krisel, the humorous video is called "Win the Crowd" and it's meant to demonstrate how the crowd reacts to the way you play.

As we saw in the initial teaser, Franco makes a joke about Kravitz's leather pants wardrobe malfunction this summer, while Kravitz takes a few shots at Franco as well. According to Activision Publishing CMO Tim Ellis, some of the back-and-forth between the pair was "purely spontaneous."

You'll want to stick around to the end, as Franco screams "rock and roll" as he proceeds to smash the controller on the coffee table. Kravitz's response to this is a slow-cap, which seems about right.

This video was produced by ad agency 72andSunny, which also has worked on various Call of Duty and Destiny live-action trailers. It will air on TV stations around the globe starting this week.

Guitar Hero Live--the first entry in the series since 2010's Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock--launches on October 20 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, and mobile devices. Competitor Rock Band 4 was released earlier this week and received a generally positive response from critics.

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PC Dinosaur Game Ark's Halloween Update Lets You Fight Zombie Dodo Birds

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2015-10-09 11:02

Ark: Survival Evolved is getting a Halloween-themed update, developer Studio Wildcard has announced. The in-game event, called Ark: Fear Evolved, will bring a number of changes to the dinosaur-themed game, including shorter days and longer nights, while the moon will turn red. In addition, bats and other beasts will appear in the world. Players will also be able to carve pumpkins.

In addition, Studio Wildcard teases that "other nasty creatures" will show up with the Halloween update, including "powerful undead beasts." One of these is the totally-fake-but-awesome-sounding "Dodorex," which will come to the game alongside zombie Dodos who are out for blood. Kill these creatures and you'll earn "limited edition treats," though they were not named outright.

More details about Fear Evolved will be announced in the coming weeks, Studio Wildcard said. The update itself is scheduled to go live at the end of October and run for "about a week."

Ark: Survival Evolved launched this summer on Steam Early Access and has now sold more than 2 million copies. It remains in development, with the full version expected to launch in summer 2016.

It's also coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with owners of Microsoft's system able to play starting this winter through Game Preview. For more on Ark: Survival Evolved, check out GameSpot's Early Access review.

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Latest Steam Sale Discounts Telltale's Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Minecraft

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2015-10-09 10:43

PC gaming giant Steam has rolled out its latest Publisher Weekend Sale, this one putting Telltale Games in the spotlight. Beginning now and running all weekend, you can save on the company's biggest adventure game franchises, including The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Tales from the Borderlands.


In addition, this promo extends to upcoming games, as Telltale's Minecraft: Story Mode is available at a 10 percent discount. There is also a a Telltale Collection bundle that comes with 23 games for $45. This is a 75 percent discount, as it would normally cost you $175 to buy all of them individually.

Some of the offers are listed below (click through the links to go to their Steam store pages), while a full rundown of deals is available on Steam's website.

Looking for more gaming deals? Check back later today for GameSpot's complete roundup of the day's best offers across all platforms.

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Star Wars Battlefront Beta Is 900p on PS4, 720p on Xbox One

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2015-10-09 10:13

A new technical analysis of the ongoing Star Wars Battlefront beta reveals that the PlayStation 4 edition runs at 900p while the Xbox One edition is 720p. Digital Foundry today posted its breakdown of the Xbox One version specifically, which outlines the game's performance on Microsoft's console.

"From an image quality perspective, the compromises are just as you'd expect; we see more aliased edges, and a higher level of shimmering on fine distant detail--particularly on Tatooine's flag-lines," the site said about the Xbox One version. "Added to that, there's a softening to the picture as a whole--a result of a more drastic upscale, combined with a similar grade of post-process anti-aliasing to PS4."

Digital Foundry goes on to say that texture and shadow quality are identical between both consoles, while the same is true for their use of tessellated geometry across the maps. "The Battlefront beta's three included maps give us some of the best-realized Star Wars locales in video game form, and both consoles get the goods in this sense."

Both the Xbox One and PS4 editions of Battlefront's beta experience similar levels of "pop-in," too, as it relates to the draw distances.

"Of course, Xbox One's resolution is a factor in this respect, particularly with map visibility across range," Digital Foundry said. "As with DICE's earlier titles on the console, 720p has an impact when picking out enemies across broad expanses of terrain--the Hoth map being the biggest example in this case. The rebel base interior area holds up well enough during shootouts, and it's fair to say DICE's anti-aliasing does a surprisingly thorough job of cleaning up a base 720p image.

"Unfortunately, this core pixel count isn't high enough to resolve details clearly across the map as a whole, and the anti-aliasing's attempts to clean the image has the side effect adding a noticeable blur to the distance. In effect, this especially dulls the spectacle of this mission's final third, bringing us to a long spread of trenches--and from an AT-AT's top-down perspective, Xbox One's resolution starts to obscure the great art design DICE puts into this scene."

In terms of frames per second, both console versions target 60fps. However, Digital Foundry claims the Xbox One version more regularly drops below 50fps during intensive scenes.

"It's fair to say PS4's beta is in the healthier shape," the site said. "With a clearer image and the better average frame rate of the two consoles, the strong suggestion right now is that the PS4 version is the one to gun for on launch."

PC performance, meanwhile, will vary depending on your setup. You can see the game's minimum and recommended PC specifications here. This technical assessment, of course, is based on the game's current in-development status. Final performance--for both consoles--could be better at launch.

The Battlefront beta started on October 8 and runs through October 12. It's free and open to everyone across Xbox One, PS4, and PC. The full game, meanwhile, launches on November 17.

In other recent news about the Battlefront beta, DICE is bringing more PC servers online to accommodate demand.

How are you enjoying the Battlefront beta so far? Let us know in the comments below.

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The Point - Buggy, Rushed Games & Annualized Franchises

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2015-10-09 10:00
This week on The Point, Danny investigates what happens to games that are on strict time-frames, and how feature creep can topple even the most popular of franchises.
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Get Free Destiny Microtransaction Currency By Playing Between Now and December

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2015-10-09 09:49

Everyone who plays Destiny between now and December will receive a bonus payout of the game's new currency, Silver, developer Bungie has announced.


As part of the latest Bungie Weekly Update, the developer reiterated that everyone is getting some free Silver when microtransactions come to Destiny on October 13. However, the studio also teased, "If you appear in the game between now and December, you'll get even more Silver. Thanks for playing."

Silver is Destiny's new microtransaction currency that players can spend in the game's new Eververse Trading Company in-game store. When the store opens on October 13, players can spend Silver to buy more than a dozen emotes. It remains to be seen if Bungie will ever offer anything more than emotes.

Bungie has not yet announced Silver pricing details, but that information should come soon. Whatever the case, expectations are high, as one analyst believes Destiny's microtransactions could generate "hundreds of millions" in revenue per year.

Destiny players are already putting emotes to good use, as evidenced in this unexpectedly great Backstreet Boys/Gwen Stefani video.

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Resident Evil Stuntwoman Out of Coma After Crash, Details Her Horrifying Injuries

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2015-10-09 09:44

Olivia Jackson, the stunt performer who was seriously injured on the South African set of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, is on the road to recovery. Jackson, who was acting as stunt double to star Milla Jovovich, was placed into an induced coma last month after colliding with a camera crane while performing a motorcycle stunt. But now she has posted a message of Facebook, detailing the horrific extent of her injuries, but assuring friends and family that she was beginning to heal.


The post, released by a friend through the Life Is Savage website, reads:

2 weeks in a coma, brain bleed, brain swelling, severed main artery in the neck, crushed & degloved face, several broken ribs, paralyzed arm, shattered scapula, broken clavicle, broken humerus, broken radius & ulna, with an open wound and a 7.5 piece of bone missing, amputated thumb, torn fingers, 5 nerves torn out of the spinal cord.... not my funnest day on set."

Jackson finishes her post by saying: "Thanks to everyone for their prayers and beautiful messages. I'm sure it's all helped pull me through this difficult time. Long road to recovery but just gonna take it day by day."

The sixth part of the Resident Evil movie series is scheduled for a January 2017 release, with Jovovich and director Paul WS Anderson returning to the zombie action franchise one last time. Earlier this week, on-set pictures were released of the cast and crew at work.

The previous Resident Evil film, 2012's Retribution, grossed $240 million worldwide, and the series has to date made more than $915 million globally.

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Watch Joel McHale Joke About Abandoning His Kids to Play Halo 5

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2015-10-09 09:20

Actor and comedian Joel McHale is really excited for Halo 5: Guardians, so much so that he recently jokingly said he plans to abandon his children when the game comes out. On Wednesday's episode of Late Night With Seth Meyers, the host asked McHale if he was amped for Halo 5. He responded in the affirmative. "I don't love my kids anymore," McHale says. Watch the full video below.

McHale says he thought his life was complete with 2012's Halo 4, but admitted Halo 5 is sucking him back in with its galaxy-changing story that pits Master Chief against Spartan Locke.

Gamers may know McHale as the host of the 2013 VGX awards show. He also appears in promotional campaigns for Warner's recently released toys-to-life game Lego Dimensions.

Halo 5 launches on October 27 exclusively for Xbox One. The game recently achieved "gold" status, meaning development on the base game is finished, though 343 continues to work on post-release content, including December's Forge mode and lots of free DLC maps. In addition, Microsoft will promote the game through specially painted Master Chief and Spartan Locke cars at a NASCAR event.

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Rise of the Tomb Raider's Music Written by Game of Thrones Composer

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2015-10-09 09:02

With just about a month to go before its release, Microsoft announced today that the music for Rise of the Tomb Raider was composed by Game of Thrones, Iron Man, and Despicable Me's Bobby Tahouri.


"It's been an honor working on such a storied franchise,," Tahouri said. "Lara is someone who embodies an indomitable spirit, and crafting music to accompany her on her journey has been a fantastic experience."

In addition, Crystal Dynamics confirmed that Rise of the Tomb Raider will support "procedurally generated music" during stealth encounters. This is made possible through a "middleware system" licensed by Intelligent Music Systems. "This system analyzes Tahouri's compositions and dynamically composes new music, making every play-through unique," the developer explained. That sounds pretty cool.

You can listen to a preview of Tahouri's Rise of the Tomb Raider soundtrack below. The game launches on November 10 for Xbox One and Xbox 360, and presumably you will also be able to buy the soundtrack.

In other recent Rise of the Tomb Raider news, Crystal Dynamics has revealed how the game's microtransactions will work and announced some extra game modes. The PC and PlayStation 4 versions of the game will launch in 2016.

For more on Rise of the Tomb Raider, check out GameSpot's recent preview, "Like Father, Like Daughter."

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Worlds Adrift - Gameplay Overview

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Thu, 2015-10-08 19:58
From the developers of Surgeon Simulator and I am Bread, Worlds Adrift is an ambitious and massive online sandbox. Luke Williams of Bossa Studios explains the many open possibilities they strive for in day to day gameplay.
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Destiny Shotguns Get Nerfed

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Thu, 2015-10-08 19:30

Sci-fi shooter Destiny will be getting a patch soon that nerfs Shotguns, Bungie has announced in its latest weekly update. The upcoming Update 2.0.1 will remove the Shot Package perk from all shotguns, making shotguns less lethal and thus less likely to kill another player in a single shot.

Any shotgun which had the Shot Package perk will instead have close and/or Personal, Crowd Control, or Knee Pads. Bungie stated that it hoped to reintroduce the perk again eventually, after tweaking it for balance purchases.

The update follows on from Bungie's recent announcement to introduce microtransactions to Destiny. Players will soon be able to buy an in-game currency called Silver using real-world money. Silver can be used to purchase select emotes. An analyst has said that the introduction of microtransactions could generate as much as "hundreds of millions" per year in revenue for publisher Activision.

Destiny was the top-selling game for the month of September on the PSN store, beating out Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, FIFA 16, and NBA 2K16. Sales were likely boosted by the release of the launch of the game's latest expansion, The Taken King.

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Grand Ages: Medieval Review

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Thu, 2015-10-08 19:21

The air was still when I finally took over Europe. After some 200 years, countless expansions, and political jockeying, I had everything from the British Isles to the western Ottoman Empire in my grasp. For the most part, my conquest was peaceful. I called on my army only a handful of times, and even then, they were an absolute last resort.

I knew this was what Grand Ages offered going in. I knew that the game focused on economic and diplomatic power and even went so far as to discourage military intervention beyond basic self-defense. I was excited to see a game try to focus on more subtle definitions of power. What I played, however, was possibly the dullest iteration of this. Grand Ages attempts to build itself on an intricate web of economic systems, but it reduces the nuance of finance and politics into convoluted trade networks and one-dimensional diplomacy.

Grand Ages Medieval looks good when it showcases detailed models of towns and buildings.

You begin the game as a merchant, but your goal is far more ambitious: to bring the entirety of Europe under your control. To accomplish this, you need to first manage and optimize smaller regions and townships. Small settlements have limited capabilities, so to spur economic growth, you lash cities together with roads and keep them alive with an army of traders to keep the money flowing. This is Grand Ages’ best conceit.

The limited capabilities of any given town incentivizes cooperation on a massive scale. You get your metals from one place, your coal from another, use both to forge tools in a third, and then sell them to the highest bidder in your best port. Supply lines, not armies, are your primary weapons. Crashing the economy of nearby rivals before flooding their markets with your cheap goods isn’t just possible: it’s one of the only ways you can expand your territory.

For a strategy game that funnels everything through the lens of economics, Grand Ages is disappointing because it over-complicates the management process.

This leads to a pattern of building momentum followed by rapid expansion. You build up stockpiles in your cities before demanding that other nations submit to you and your merchant fleets. Then you can rework and retool the new trade routes you control to grow your profits. Conceptually, this is incredible. This flow gives nods to the real historic importance of trade and financiers in the creation of the global society we see today. But Grand Ages fumbles the execution.

Most of Grand Ages: Medieval's gameplay revolves around balancing spreadsheets

For a strategy game that funnels everything through the lens of economics, Grand Ages is disappointing because it over-complicates the management process. You can set your traders, for example, to automatically choose when to buy and sell which goods to maximize profits or help boost the material production of local businesses. It's a great feature, but each town can only support one trader, so you need to be careful about their routes and monitor where they're buying what and for how much. Grand Ages doesn't make the task easy for you. Production costs for goods can vary based on a number of conditions, and that can have a huge impact on whether or not your empire is making money. Instead of making that information easy to understand, Grand Ages puts it all into one field. This is confusing, and it makes it difficult to make easy decisions.

Balancing budgets can also be tedious. Once, I expanded a bit too much, and as my economy began to crash I turned to my balance sheet to see where all my cash was going and whether any markets were still turning a profit. I could see broad categories--I was spending a large amount on building maintenance-- but not the specifics I needed to start turning things around. Because the prices of goods are always in flux, the general balance sheet you see is never accurate enough to base your decisions on. You could cut excess coal production and boost your pastry output, expecting a boon only to dip further into the red the very next week. It makes for an unstable economic base, and rather than feeling in control of a situation, you're always at the whims of an unpredictable system that's difficult to decipher.

Rather than feeling in control of a situation, you're always at the whims of an unpredictable system that's difficult to decipher.

Things get even worse when your economy has completely tanked. You can't borrow money to get enough cash to make investments in new businesses to bring it back. Instead, you have to shed production and overhead, undoing hours of work. I enjoy balancing spreadsheets, and I love planning and organizing, but Grand Ages gives you a lot to do but too little information to make informed decisions. It's a struggle to keep anything aloft.

Battles and wars are dull, and when the economy starts slipping, you won't be able to maintain an effective military. The morale of your troops drops so fast and the effects are so crippling that soldiers carry little value.

You can find landmarks and events in the overworld, but beyond that the board is pretty barren.

You can exercise some level of soft power through well-managed trade routes, but there's little in the way of political deal brokering. There's nothing mimicking the complexities of swapping nobles and royals to secure trading rights, and that leaves you with no stakes. The best way to conquer a city is to trade a lot, establish yourself in the region, and ultimately pay for ownership outright. Grand Ages doesn't offer much pushback at that point; once you have the gold, you're set.

As time went on, I didn’t get the sense that I was becoming better at the game so much as I was smashing my head into walls until they relented. And that’s a shame because Grand Ages has so much potential, and it does one thing--trade--really well. But there’s nothing to support that core, and the more you play, the more you run into roadblocks. For a game that needs to present information clearly and effectively, it fails to do so, and this failure has an unfortunate ripple effect on the rest of the game.

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GS News - Video Game Actors Set To Strike; Fallout 4 PC Specs Revealed!

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Thu, 2015-10-08 19:00
Sony announces PS4 price drop, video game voice actors are ready to strike over working conditions, and find out what kind of PC you need to run Fallout 4!
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The Best Horror Movies of the 21st Century So Far, Ranked

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Thu, 2015-10-08 18:24

15: Dawn of the Dead (2004)

A Zack Snyder remake of the classic George Romero film, the story remains as fresh today as it did when it first hit audiences in 1978. Starring Sarah Polley, Jake Weber, and Ving Rhames as the survivors of a mass plague that creates flesh-eating zombies out of its victims, the group takes refuge in a mall to stay alive (and uninfected). Snyder delivers plenty of thrills, while keeping true to the socio-political undertones of the original. (Photo: Universal Pictures.)

14: The Devil's Backbone (2001)

Against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, 12-year-old Carlos arrives at an orphanage. No sooner does he settle in than he begins to be haunted by the ghost of a former student, who warns of an impending tragedy. Beautifully directed by Guillermo del Toro, the film seamlessly weaves the very real terrors of a country torn by war with that of the paranormal. (Photo: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)

13: [Rec] (2007)

Putting the found footage genre to use in a zombie story, Spanish film [Rec] chronicles the fate of TV reporter Angela, as she and her cameraman, Pablo, follow an emergency crew into a menacing apartment building. Though a string of sequels has followed the original, the first remains the best when it comes to delivering a good old-fashioned scare. (Photo: Castelao Producciones)

12: The Orphanage (2007)

When will people learn revisting scenes of their childhood in horror movies never pays off? In this case, a woman named Laura brings her entire family back to the orphanage where she grew up. When Laura's son soon goes missing, what follows is a master class in suspense, as Laura and a team of parapsychologists attempt to unravel the mysteries within. (Photo: Warner Bros.)

11: The Conjuring (2013)

Loosely based on the true story of a pair of paranormal investigators, the blue eyes of Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are put to very good use in a wide array of close-ups. Not quite a possession story, not quite a ghost story, it's worth watching for the performances of its stellar cast and creepy atmosphere, rather than genuine jump-in-your-seat moments. (Photo: New Line Cinema)

10: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)

A hilarious take on the classic horror scenario of "what happens to a group of people trapped in a cabin in the woods," this genre-bending, comedic romp stars Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine as a pair of hapless friends who get their vacation upended by gore, mayhem and plenty of screaming. In between the laughs and tongue-in-cheek bromance bonding are plenty of actual shriek-worthy moments. (Photo: Magnet Releasing)

9: The Others (2001)

This suspenseful gothic tale keeps the viewer on the edge sans any big special effects. Take Nicole Kidman in one of her finest performances, add a bunch of creepy servants, an old house, two children with a really weird allergy, and a twist ending worthy of The Sixth Sense, and you get one of the best ghost movies ever made. (Photo: Miramax Films)

8: 28 Days Later (2002)

Danny Boyle's take on a zombie apocalypse has it all: thrills, chills, gore and Christopher Eccleston in a small but memorable role as a cold-blooded soldier. A young Cliian Murphy doesn't hurt either. (Photo: 20th Century Fox)

7: Saw (2004)

You will cover your eyes when watching this film. Whether it's because of the gore, the visceral torture scenes, or the horrifying dilemma central to the film's premise, we couldn't tell you. But you will be taken on a roller coaster of emotions, we guarantee. (Photo: Lions Gate Films)

6. Zombieland (2009)

Woody Harrelson steals the show in this coming-of-age-slash-zombie movie. Jesse Eisenberg is the hapless hero who has a lot of learning to do; the zombies are ickily gory; the ingenue (Emma Stone) kicks some serious butt; and the laughs abound. Also, casting Bill Murray in a zombie flick? Genius. (Photo: Sony Pictures)

5. Battle Royale (2000)

We don't care if the year 2000 doesn't technically fall into the 21st century.

The Hunger Games is nothing compared with this cult masterpiece by Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku. A group of middle school students go on what is a seemingly innocent field trip, only to be rendered unconscious and taken to a remote island. Upon awakening, they discover they are the year's participants in the nation's ultimate game, where students must kill each other until only one remains. Philosophical, horrifying, controversial, and above all, packed with suspenseful thrills, this is one film bound to go down in film history as a classic. (Photo: Anchor Bay Entertainment)

4. I Saw The Devil (2010)

What happens when revenge turns you into the monster you're chasing? That question is at the heart of this action-packed Korean horror thriller. Starring Oldboy's Min-sik Choi as a sadistic serial killer, and Korean superstar Byung-hun Lee as a man on a quest for vengeance, you won't be able to tear your eyes away from the screen. (Photo: Magnolia Releasing)

3. Confessions (2010)

Bloodthirsty schoolchildren, the murder of a child, and a mother's love taken to the extremes–this moody Japanese psychological thriller is the most twisted whodunit you'll ever see. What makes it so chilling isn't ghosts, monsters, or things under the bed, but the darkness that lies within every human being. (Photo: MGM Home Entertainment)

2. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

One of the best bromances ever captured on camera set against a massively gory zombie apocalypse, this film, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, posits that, yes, a zombie may eat your bestie, but true video-game marathon friendship can survive even death.

1. Let the Right One In (2008)

Real vampires are everywhere. They may even lurk behind the face of the mysterious girl in your apartment complex, a girl who's just a lonely kid like you. Masterfully written, directed and acted, this atmospheric thrill-fest delivers skin-crawling moments when least expected. True horror at its finest, it forces the viewer to confront that deep-seated, ancient fear every human feels at the monsters that go bump in the night. (Photo: Magnolia Home Entertainment)

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Everything You Need to Celebrate Back to the Future Day

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Thu, 2015-10-08 18:22

This is How You Do Back to The Future Day: Start With a Hoverboard

In 2012, Mattel manufactured a limited number of hoverboards as special collector's items. They’re still available for purchase on Amazon, but be prepared to pay a sizable premium on the original $120 price. And before you ask, no -- it doesn’t actually hover. We’re disappointed about that, too. (Photo by: NBC Universal)

Fly on a Real, Working Hoverboard

Okay, okay, we hear you -- nothing short of the real hoverboard deal will do. The folks at Hendo Hover have successfully Kickstarted their own working prototype of a levitating hoverboard. It uses magnets, so it only works over metal substrate. It also carries a hefty five-digit price tag. (Photo by: Hendo Hover)

Drink a Pepsi Perfect

No need to head to the 80s Cafe the next time you’re thirsty for a bottle of Pepsi. Starting October 21, Pepsi will begin selling cola out of the same oddly-shaped “Pepsi Perfect” bottles seen in the movie.

The are some big catches, though: The drink is only being released in limited quantities, and each bottle will set you back about $20. You’ll also need to pay close attention to Pepsi’s social media pages -- it’s where the company will announce how you can actually buy one. (Photo by: PepsiCo)

Put on a Multi-Colored Hat

Going hatless is so 1985. The best way to fit in with your fellow citizens of 2015 is to don a shimmering, multicolored, reflective hat, just like Marty. Fortunately, you can purchase your own replica of the Back to the Future II prop over at Think Geek for just $24.99. (Photo by: NBC Universal)

Build a Real-Life DeLorean Time Machine

Turn your run-of-the-mill stainless steel gullwing sports car into the time-traveling dream vehicle you’ve always wanted! Bob’s Prop Shop in Dallas, Texas offers a full-service DeLorean prop kit that can turn any ordinary Delorean into an authentic-looking Back to the Future clone. The conversion costs a whopping $49,999; DeLorean (and plutonium) not included. (Photo by: Bob's Prop Shop)

...or Just Rent a Time Machine

If you don't have $50K (and a DeLorean) to spare, Bob's Prop Shop will also let you rent a modified DeLorean for the day. You'll pay $1,500 per day for the privilege, plus a $0.15-per-mile travel fee if you want it sent outside of Texas. Fortunately, that price includes a security detail for the vehicle, so you won't need to worry about Biff Tannen stealing it. (Photo by: Bob's Prop Shop)

Watch the Trailer for Jaws 19

In our world, Jaws: The Revenge (1987) was so terrible that it killed off the series. In Hill Valley circa 2015, however, the Jaws franchise is still going strong. To celebrate Back to the Future Day, Universal Pictures has created a hilarious trailer for the fictional Holomax movie Jaws 19 that you can watch right now on YouTube. (Photo by: NBC Universal)

Wear Marty's Jacket of the Future

In Back to the Future II, Marty McFly and his future son both wear automatically adjusting jackets that can dry themselves when wet. You won't find such a thing in our version of 2015, but you can find a decent-looking replica at for $68.99. To complete the look, remember: In 2015, all the kids wear their pants pockets inside out. (Photo by: NBC Universal)

Wear a Pair of Nike Mag Sneakers

Marty’s automatically lacing Nike Mag shoes may still be science fiction, but in 2011, the shoe company decided to manufacture and auction off a limited number of kicks inspired by the movie. The effort raised more than $5.6 million for charity, with most pairs selling for between $30,000 and $40,000 each. That’s pretty expensive for sneakers you need to put on manually. (Photo by: NBC Universal)

Or Save Some of That Money For ... the Future!

Don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to drop on Nike Mags? You can still get your fill of futuristic 2015 style with these Universal Pictures-licensed replicas available via The shoes light up, just like in the movie (rechargeable via USB). They’re lacking the Nike logo and trademark swoosh, but that missing detail drops the price of a pair all the way down to $98.99. (Photo by:

Embrace the Chicago Cubs' World Series Destiny

Not to spoil the future for you (sorry, Doc Brown), but according to Back to the Future II, 2015 is the year that the Chicago Cubs finally break their 107-year World Series losing streak. And indeed, the supposedly cursed team has made the post-season this year. We're slightly less bullish, however, on the movie's call that the Cubbies victory will be the result of a 5-game sweep over the Miami Spacers. (Photo by: NBC Universal)

Build a Lego DeLorean

If you love Back to the Future and Legos, prepare for your head to explode: The beloved toy brick maker has made an official DeLorean Lego kit, complete with mini Marty and Doc Brown figurines. Sadly, this Lego kit has been officially discontinued and is no longer available directly from Lego, but you can still find boxes in collectible shops and on Amazon at a markup. (Photo by: Lego)

Use a Funky DeLorean iPhone Case

This specialized Back to the Future DeLorean iPhone 6 case from Japan is one of the weirdest -- and coolest -- iPhone cases we’ve seen in a while. The case itself is a full 3D model of a DeLorean hovercar, complete with working lights. It sells for the U.S. equivalent of $50 in Japan; ordering it stateside from Amazon will cost you closer to $100. (Photo by: Bandai)

Grab a Copy of Grays Sports Almanac (for your iPad)

Any Back to the Future fan knows: Putting a copy of Grays Sports Almanac (1950-2000) in the hands of the wrong person could create a dystopian, casino-filled nightmarescape. Fortunately, this version of the almanac is just a case for your iPad Air, so it’s been cleared for time travel. You can find yours on Firebox for $30.39, much cheaper than the $7,250 (U.S. equivalent) that the actual movie prop recently sold for. (WARNING: Do not send your iPad Air back in time.) (Photo by: Firebox)

Install a Flux Capacitor

You don't need big bucks or a DeLorean to add a little bit of Back to the Future flair to your car. This light-up flux capacitor USB car charger will keep your smartphones and other gadgets charged on the go. You can find yours at Think Geek for $24.99. (Photo by: Think Geek)

Stream the Full Back to the Future Trilogy on Amazon for Free

Arguably, the best way to celebrate Back to the Future Day is to re-watch the series. Amazon Prime members can now stream all movies in the Back to the Future trilogy for free via Prime Instant Video. (Photo by: Corbis)

Play Jetpack Joyride's New Back to the Future Theme

To celebrate Back to the Future Day, popular mobile sidescroller Jetpack Joyride has added a brand-new mode where you can play as Marty McFly, Doc Brown or Biff Tannen, piloting your choice of hoverboard or DeLorean through 2015 Hill Valley. The app itself is free on iOS and Android; Amazon Underground users (Android) can enjoy free in-game purchases as well. (Photo by: Halfbrick Studios)

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Watch WWE's Stardust Play Star Wars Battlefront

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Thu, 2015-10-08 18:07

The Star Wars Battlefront beta is available now across all platforms, and even the WWE's star wrestlers are getting in on the hype. In the video below, Stardust (aka "The Prince of Dark Matter") joins Austin Creed to play through a few rounds of the demo.

Stardust stays in character for the entire bit, and he proves that he's a Star Wars superfan by dropping some obscure trivia (e.g. Ewoks are never called "Ewoks" in Return of the Jedi, only in the credits). He also references the best way to watch the full series: Machete order.

In other Star Wars news, we learned the game's recommended PC specs and that Luke and Darth Vader will be joined by Han and Leia as Heroes in the game. For some straight-up Star Wars gameplay check out:

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These Are The Most Fun Things To Do In Destiny

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Thu, 2015-10-08 18:00

Destiny's most fun activities

Destiny is the incredibly popular first-person shooter game from the creators of Halo. But before you turn your attention to the Taken King expansion, make sure you haven't missed a hidden trick or two in the original. (Photo: Bungie)

Visit The Master Chief Building

Bungie, the creator of Destiny, paid homage to its previous series, Halo, by creating a building in the game that looks very similar to the helmet of Master Chief. You can reach the structure on Mars during the Garden's Spire mission. (Photo: Bungie)

Backstreet's Back For Light!

If one of your biggest gripes in Destiny is that there isn't enough singing and dancing, then fret no more! A group of intrepid Destiny players named the Husky Raids danced to Backstreet Boys's "Everybody," after defeating some evil aliens. (Photo: Bungie)

Play Soccer!

Everybody needs some downtime from destroying your enemies. One hobby that Destiny players have picked up is playing soccer. To find the hidden ball, go to the Tower, and, on the left side, under the stairs, is your own soccer ball to play around with. (Photo: Bungie)

Ball Out Some More

If soccer isn't your cup of tea, there are other easter eggs to be found in Destiny, like the giant purple ball in the Tower. This ball is resting on a stack of crates to the right of the Bounty tracker. There's no kicking around this purple sphere, however. Once it's interacted with, it'll fly up in the air like a balloon sputtering into the empty abyss. (Photo: Bungie)

Start a Dance Party

Who in their right mind could possibly pass up an intergalactic dance party? Not Destiny fans. At the Tower, get your entire team to start a dance-off in the middle of the market. Others who have done the same thing have made quite the discovery: Online players they've never met before deciding to join in the fun. Who's ready for a Destiny flash mob? (Photo: Bungie)

Master the Slide-Tackle Kill

Destiny's slide isn't just about running for cover and hiding. It can also be used as an offensive tactic. To pull off the advanced move, sprint toward your foe, slide and hit the melee button right before you pull up. (Photo: Bungie)

Never Speak of This Again

One of the more fun trophies to earn in Destiny is the "Never Speak of This Again" medal. To achieve this honor, you must spawn your Sparrow bike during a PvP match, then run over one of your enemies. You'll get a sweet accomplishment, while schooling your foe. (Photo: Bungie)

The Remnants of the Loot Cave

Located just outside the Cosmodrome, there was once a cave that spewed out and endless line of enemies, helping Destiny players level up quickly. Unfortunately, Bungie got rid of the loot cave, but that doesn't mean the location is gone completely. Current players who reach the loot cave can still see the bodies of the fallen enemies. (Photo: Bungie)

Level Up While Sleeping

Is leveling up your player too much of a hassle for your busy lifestyle? YouTuber Yavin Four found a way to better the skills of his Destiny character while sleeping. He taped down the right bumper on his controller to auto-melee enemies. While in his slumber, Yavin Four got 3,600 kills and 900 deaths, according to his post on Reddit. (Photo: Bungie)

Soar Via the Super Fan

You may have noticed there's a giant fan on the top of the Postmaster's building in the Tower. To reach it, take the stairs near the building and jump onto the roof. Once the fan is activated, you'll be sent flying into the air. If timed right, your character should reach the top of some of the taller objects nearby. (Photo: Bungie)

Do Some Stargazing

Once you've landed on the Moon, take a look above. You should able to see the remnants of the International Space Station. If you want to stare a little deeper, get out your sniper rifle and look through the scope. You just might see some of your favorite real-life stars and planets. (Photo: Bungie)

Use The Golden Gun

Destiny is full of pop-culture references, but none is more obvious than James Bond's Golden Gun from GoldenEye. The gun from the former N64 game was so devastating that it could kill with just one shot. In Destiny, the gun can cause immense damage. The only caveat, however, is only the Gunslinger subclass is able to use the weapon. (Photo: Bungie)

Earn Access to the Lighthouse

If you're able to go an unblemished 9-0 in the Trials of Osiris, you'll be able to enter the Lighthouse. The Lighthouse is full of loot to help you in your quest to defeat Destiny. (Photo: Bungie)

Listen to Paul McCartney's Destiny Song

Sir Paul McCartney (maybe you've heard of him? From, you know, The Beatles?) composed a song solely for Destiny. To hear the song, you'll first need to beat the game and then access the credits menu on the world map. (Photo: Bungie)

Revive The Dead Ghosts

Missions might be the lifeblood of Destiny, but there's plenty more to do in the game. One side task is to revive all 62 dead ghosts throughout Destiny. For each ghost saved, you'll earn a grimoire card, and if you save 50 ghosts, you'll receive an achievement. (Photo: Bungie)

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Xbox One MMO Neverwinter Adds Biggest Map Yet, 20-on-20 Multiplayer Mode

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Thu, 2015-10-08 16:20

The Xbox One version of Neverwinter gets its next expansion in November, Perfect World announced today.

Strongholds is the game's seventh expansion, and was first released on PC back in August. When it arrives on November 3 for Xbox One, it'll do away with the waiting that PC players had to do; all of its features will immediately be available.

Strongholds adds the game's "largest in-game map" to date, which is home to a new competitive multiplayer mode called Stronghold Siege. It's essentially a large-scale MOBA--two teams of 20 fight across three lanes as they attempt to reach and destroy the enemy's guild hall. You can get a feel for this in the video above.

Before taking part in this, guilds will establish their own strongholds, erecting buildings that will provide assistance in Siege, help gather resources, or serve other purposes. These can be built up over time, and can enhance both individual characters and the guild as a whole.

Neverwinter originally launched on PC back in 2013 and was followed by the Xbox One version in March 2015. Since then, it's been catching up with updates, though the console versions of new updates tend to lag behind their PC counterparts.

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