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According to its listing on the Xbox.com marketplace, Halo 3: ODST remastered for Xbox One is only a few days away.
Following the botched online multiplayer launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, 343 promised it would give the Halo 3 follow-up campaign, ODST, the same remaster treatment and make it available for free to Master Chief Collection owners. We’ve known the game wouldn’t be too far off, and even that it would release in May, but this is the first hint of a solid release date.
This could certainly be a mistake or an inaccurate release date as it doesn’t appear 343 has confirmed the date anywhere else, but it has said the game would be available in May and considering the last day of May is this coming Saturday, a Friday release seems like a pretty solid bet.
In Sunset, you sweep dusty floors, wash spotted windows, and fold a stranger’s well-pressed, tailored clothes–every week for a full year.
These acts might sound routine and tedious, but when you’re rooted in the fictional Latin American country of Anchuria during a 1972 military coup, a ritualistic comfort goes along with carefully making a bed or unclogging the upstairs sink. Still, uncertainty lies even within these constants because the man whose house you maintain has ties to the political and cultural turmoil engulfing the streets. Sunset beautifully pairs its dull corners with a sharp, sociopolitical edge, and while its inconsistent pacing and nagging technical hiccups blur the vision, there’s an unquestionable beauty in watching the sunset kiss the tips of skyscrapers as another somber day comes to a close.
You’ll spend Sunset’s four-hour run with Angela Burns, an African-American engineer working as a housekeeper to cover her hefty school bills. Angela works for the affluent art collector Gabriel Ortega, whom Angela gets to know solely through his surplus of sculptures and paintings, his eclectic taste in literature, and a series of notes on which you can write personal responses. You become most intimately acquainted with the actual apartment, though, which both subtly and dramatically morphs as the revolution outside its walls progresses. It’s a character all its own, and you grow accustomed to its many distinguishing features–such as the deep closet dug into Ortega’s bedroom, the neatly prepared chess board in the game room that pines for players, and, maybe most importantly, the wide windows by the patio that act as a thin veil between calm and chaos.
How this apartment is decorated and what you do during each in-game hour is up to you. If you feel compelled to go above and beyond the to-do list and hang up pictures of Ortega’s accomplishments, you have the option. If you just don’t feel up to lifting a finger on a cool September evening, you can simply turn around, open the elevator doors, and call it a night.
You do work within boundaries, though. You can’t throw a chair in the fireplace or send the grand piano out the window and into the streets (I tried), but the chores you’re assigned have variations. You’re given a warm and a cool option when you hover your cursor over a task, which determines whether you want to add some personality to the work or complete the task plainly. You can decorate the second floor with bright, floral wallpaper or slap on whatever drab design Ortega has tucked away in the closet. The material of the rug in front of the fireplace, the color of the fresh coat of paint on the bar walls, the care taken when stitching a patch into a ripped piece of clothing–this system provides a fork in every road. How these decisions affect actual change in the grand scheme of things isn’t always clear, but they do act as a silent, day-to-day means of communication between you and Ortega.
Much of the storytelling in this first-person experience is visual, but Angela’s running monologue provides direct context for each week’s happenings and her current feelings toward Ortega. In addition, Angela can sit on a canvas-wrapped chair located within the apartment at any time to begin scribbling notes into her diary. Beyond questioning Ortega’s intentions and worrying for her rebel brother’s safety during the conflict, she digs deeper into her interpretation of Ortega’s art, the social differences between Anchuria and her hometown of Baltimore, and her place in this unstable country. This is where the superb writing shines brightest, and while the text’s sluggish scroll quickly drains precious minutes before the sun sets, it’s worth your time to drink it all in.
Depending on how often you complete tasks and reply to notes with a warm sensibility, a strong romantic bond begins to form between tenant and housekeeper. It starts as an innocent flirtation, but as the revolution escalates, so do their feelings toward one another. And while the passion isn’t capped by a nightly embrace and kiss goodbye, watching the unspoken dance grow and evolve into something deeper is satisfying. It’s hard to know whether or not it’s a kinship born from tragedy and stoked by fear, but they find comfort in each other’s presence–even if that presence isn’t physical.
For the most part, the deliberate pacing benefits the relationship’s establishment. However, the steady climb toward a resolution is occasionally broken by days of inactivity and narrative stagnation. More than a few visits feel like filler, with no notes to respond to and few tasks to complete. These periods slowly drag you away from an otherwise compelling story. Sunset excels at using subtlety to build tension and curiosity, but when the progression halts, the activities start to feel like exactly what they are–chores.
Running Sunset on higher graphical settings can also be called a chore. Even after experimenting with a handful of different option combinations, I couldn’t find a mix that permanently steadied my framerate or prevented hitching. The presentation–from the glamour of the sky’s often-lavender glow to the dark smoke billowing from the buildings in the distance–is salient but often muddled by technical inconsistency. It’s a shame, too, because when Sunset does run smoothly for a visit or two and the powerful, orchestral soundtrack booms across the household, it can be an audiovisual marvel.
Sunset presents so much, all while asking you to do so little. A revolution burns, bombs burst just out of sight, and all you can do is decide if your boss would rather have a fancy dinner or a hefty portion of macaroni. The complexity of your decisions is occasionally greater than setting the table, but Sunset succeeds at making each small action feel significant by giving them all similar weight. Though the story is peppered with periods of inactivity that are detrimental to the pace, Sunset acts as a thoughtful, pensive walk through social themes and struggles not often explored in this medium.
Bandai Namco’s arcade game Star Wars: Battle Pod caught our attention when it was unveiled earlier this year. At the time, we weren’t able to direct would-be pilots to where they needed to go to play it themselves. Today, we’ve learned that it could be as simple as looking in your house – provided you have the cash.
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The company is making the game available to consumers. Starting June 18, you can preorder your own 1,200-pound unit for the cool cost of $35,000. If that’s not enough, Bandai Namco is also releasing special Premium Editions (below), which are themed to either the Rebel Alliance of Mr. Vader himself. For $100,000, you also get special carpeting (ooh!), a specially bound owner’s manual (ooh!!), special leather seats (ooh!!!), and your special name on an engraved plate and in the game’s credits (OOH!). Shipping and handling, unfortunately, are not included in the price.
The game features five stages based on moments from the classic trilogy, including the Hoth escape, assault on the first Death Star, Battle of Yavin, and more. Additional stages will be coming at some point in the future, in what could be the most expensive DLC of all time.
The good news is that a new patch for The Witcher 3, 1.03, is rolling out in Europe and a number of other countries on PlayStation 4. North America isn’t included yet, but if it’s an increase in the text size you’re looking for, you still have some time to wait.
Patch 1.03 includes many of the same things that the recent PC patch did. It improves the game’s performance in some areas, corrects the ability to shoot bolts at friendlies, and deals with an infinite loading bug during the Wandering the Dark quest. It also corrects a problem in which gas clouds could spontaneously combust (a little known Witcher problem).
Here’s the full list:
- Corrects a bug where the player was able to shoot bolts at friendly NPCs.
- Corrects an issue related to Stamina regeneration while sprinting.
- Corrects a bug that could cause spontaneous combustion of gas clouds.
- Reduces spawn times for certain groups of NPCs.
- Blood particles will now properly appear on water surfaces after foes are killed.
- Corrects a visual effect in the Wandering in the Dark quest.
- Improves foliage behavior in scenes.
- Reduces foliage shadow popping.
- “Melltith” sword is visible again.
- Fixes some minor graphics bugs in gwent.
- Corrects some missing translations in localized versions.
- Improves performance, especially in cutscenes and during gameplay.
- Introduces a number of minor improvements in SFX.
- Fixes an issue that could have caused an infinite loading screen in certain circumstances in Wandering in the Dark quest.
- Corrects an issue in the dialogue system that might have caused rare instances of dialogue looping in certain scenes.
- Improves stability in gameplay and the UI, especially during games of gwent.
- Upgrading items included in gear sets no longer destroys rune sockets on said items.
- Fixes an occasional bug in the Journal in the Fake Papers quest.
- Enlarges the loot pop-up window in the UI.
The patch is in certification for Xbox One, according to community lead Marcin Momot. Whether that version will include the save problem that executive editor Andrew Reiner wrote about last week is still unknown. With no mention of the text problem or when the next patch might be arriving, your eyes are just going to have to take the hit for a little while longer.
The eyes of America’s youth are in your hands, CD Projekt Red. Well, not literally. That would be disgusting.
What I mean is, please fix the text problem. Your game is quite lovely. We would still like to be able to see it after playing The Witcher 3 for 200 hours.
With Guitar Hero making its big return this year, Activision is coming out swinging with the songs available at release. Back in April, the publisher told us that it will feature “hundreds” of songs at launch in the GHTV mode of the game alone, and with “Tracklist Tuesday” making it a weekly event to learn more about what we’ll be shredding along to when Guitar Hero Live releases, the setlist is shaping up to feature a diverse collection of songs from a wide array of artists and genres.
If you haven’t kept up with all of the announcements, you can check out the updated official soundtrack to this point below. The songs that are a part of the newest batch of songs have been made bold to easily spot what’s new.
- A Day to Remember – “Right Back At It Again”
- Alt-J – “Left Hand Free”
- Alter Bridge – “Cry of Achilles”
- Anthrax – “Got the Time”
- Architects – “Grave Digger”
- Beartooth – “I Have A Problem”
- The Black Keys – “Gold on the Ceiling”
- Black Veil Brides – “In the End”
- Blitz Kids – “Sometimes”
- Bring Me The Horizon – “Shadow Moses”
- Broken Bells – “Leave It Alone”
- Chevelle – “The Clincher”
- Deftones – “Diamond Eyes”
- Ed Sheeran – “Sing”
- Fall Out Boy – “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)”
- Gary Clark Jr. – “Don’t Owe You a Thang”
- Green Day – “Nuclear Family”
- Halestorm – “Love Bites (So Do I)”
- Judas Priest – “Breaking the Law”
- The Killers – “When You Were Young”
- Killswitch Engage – “In Due Time”
- The Lumineers – “Ho Hey”
- Marilyn Manson – “Disposable Teens”
- Marmozets – “Move Shake Hide”
- Mastodon – “High Road”
- My Chemical Romance – “Na Na Na”
- Of Mice And Men – “Bones Exposed”
- Pantera – “Cowboys from Hell”
- Pearl Jam – “Mind Your Manners”
- Pierce the Veil – “King for a Day (feat Kellin Quinn)”
- The Pretty Reckless – “Going to Hell”
- Rage Against the Machine – “Guerrilla Radio”
- Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Higher Ground”
- Rise Against – “Tragedy + Time”
- The Rolling Stones – “Paint It, Black”
- Royal Blood – “Little Monster”
- Skrillex – “Bangarang”
- Sleigh Bells – “Bitter Rivals”
- Soundgarden – “Been Away Too Long”
- Tenacious D – “Tribute”
- Trivium – “Strife”
- Vista Chino – “Sweet Remain”
- The War on Drugs – “Under the Pressure”
Activision and FreeStyle Games have not clarified which mode each of the following songs will be available for, but these are the songs that will be playable at launch. If you’d like to learn more about how the newest Guitar Hero plays, you can check out our hands-on impressions.
While there won’t be a major Final Fantasy XV E3 presence this year, director Hajime Tabata will be responding to fans next week. Square Enix has announced the date and time for the next episode of Active Time Report.
Tabata and global marketing manager Akio Ofuji will be back to offer another development update. In previous episodes, we learned about plans to update the Episode Duscae demo.
It was also during Active Time Report that Tabata shared that the game won’t be making a splash at E3. The program is fully subtitled, so you can understand everything, even if you don’t speak Japanese.
I’ve spoken with Tabata before and have enjoyed how enthusiastic and open he is. The Active Time Report is a great way to keep fans in the loop, especially after Final Fantasy XV seemingly made no progress for years. Tabata seems like the right person to bring Final Fantasy XV through to the end, and I especially enjoy that Square Enix subtitles the Active Time Report so we can enjoy and learn from it.
There’s playing Bloodborne, and then there’s playing Bloodborne with the Kirkhammer. If you’re doing the latter (and if so, you are to be commended), you’ll be happy to know that your weapon of choice just got a bit more useful.
While the update history on your PlayStation 4 will only tell you that 1.04 brings improved balance and various bug fixes, the finer details revail a host of tweaks and changes. Currently, only the Japanese patch notes are available, however the Bloodborne Wiki offers a clean translation.
A number of weapons have been adjusted, with the Kirkhammer and Logarius’ Wheel now consuming less stamina, the Rifle Spear receiving a damage increase, and arcane items buffed almost across the board. The update also changes the Insight fountain, so that it appears with only one point instead of the old minimum of ten.
Multiplayer among friends received a major change, with the level requirement abolished. As long as you use password matching, you can team up. Also, having a different oath as a friend will no longer inhibit matching.
Blood Stone Chunks are now available for purchase at the Insight store, too. This will allow you to level more items up to +9 (the highest without rare blood stones).
Finally, that pesky “storage full” message should appear less frequently. You can now store up to 600 vials and quicksilver bullets. For more on Bloodborne, check out our review.
I just finished Bloodborne this weekend, and while some of these improvements would have been handy, I’m glad they’ll be in place for New Game+. That stamina change to Kirkhammer will go a long way for me, and the storage issue might have been the one that annoyed me the most after the load screen times were reduced. I’m glad to see the game continues to improve.
Also, if you are still playing, I recommend the Bloodborne Wiki. It’s a great repository for lore and other quirks.
Microsoft previously stated that its plan for Windows 10 was to have it reach 1 billion devices by 2018. Now, it’s becoming clear how Microsoft will do that: by bringing the operating system to non-Windows devices.
The company on Tuesday announced that a Windows 10 companion app will be available for iOS and Android devices alongside the main version for Windows devices.
“A real challenge people face is figuring out how to make everything work together,” Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore wrote on the Windows blog. That’s why we’re announcing a ‘Phone Companion’ app built-in to Windows 10, which will help you connect your Windows PC to whatever phone you own–whether it’s a Windows phone, Android phone, or iPhone.”
In addition, Microsoft announced today that Windows 10’s Siri-like digital assistant Cortana–named after the Halo character–will also be available for iPhones and Android devices. Cortana can fetch net-based data such as web results and weather reports, among many other things.
However, there will be some limitations.
“Although the functionality will be very helpful, because it’s “just an app” there will be certain things that Cortana does on Windows phones that won’t work on Android devices or iPhones,” Belfiore said. “Some features require access to the system that aren’t currently possible with iOS or Android, so things like toggling settings or opening apps won’t initially be available in the Cortana companions for those platforms. Similarly, the ability to invoke Cortana hands-free by saying ‘Hey Cortana’ requires special integration with the device’s microphone, so that feature will be limited to Windows Phones and PCs.”
An upcoming patch for the Xbox One edition of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will lock the game at 30fps. That’s according to CD Projekt Red community lead Marcin Momot, who offered the following statement.@stay_scialla The lock should be there in the upcomi…
As with the PC version last year, those who preorder The Elder Scrolls Online for Xbox One or PS4 will receive the Explorer’s Pack, a bonus that provides some in-game content and gives you more flexibility when creating a character.The Explorer’s Pack,…
Former Remedy head of franchise development Oskari “Ozz” Häkkinen has announced the founding of a new studio called Futurfly. The nine-person team also includes individuals with experience at Electronic Arts and Microsoft.
Häkkinen is hinting at what his team is working on so far. “We are designing consumer apps with playable mechanics as part of the primary input mechanism,” he writes. “This is a new take, and something that is better shown than talked about.”
Futurfly’s first project is described as a messenger program that includes a number of playable gaming elements. How that actually works in practice is something we likely won’t understand until we see it in action.
Häkkinen played an important role at Remedy, but he told us that the things he’s working on at Futurfly have been something he’s long wanted to do. Competing with established apps is going to be challenging, but if the gaming elements are unique and well married, the target audience might pay attention.
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