American Truck Simulator is adding on another state as the game continues expanding across the continental map of the United States. Coming in the future DLC, players will venture across the state of Utah to further build their trucking portfolio, and experience larger variety in shipping destinations. With this design direction, we can expect the game to cover the entire map of the US, similar to what one can find in this driving sim’s European counterpart. The latter continues to grow 7 years past initial release, and is set to receive yet another expansion with the Road to the Black Sea.
In a brief blog post, the developers released a short visual trailer for the Utah region, though was extremely light on detail in regards to the upcoming map expansion. There’s no release date confirmed, and it could be ways out, given the Washington state map just released not too long ago on June 11th. As with past DLC packs, expect to see a close to life representation of the location’s environment and drive through most notable urban centres.
SCS Software has built a solid development framework for its trucking sims, where they can easily slot new map packs into existing progression. And further focusing on one state at a time, the developers are able to deliver expansive shipping routes with all features you’d expect in the real world. Players will seamlessly transition into Utah once the map is available to purchase, and should expect to pay $12 like for past expansion packs. For subsequent updates, stay tuned in to SCS Software’sblog.
I’m a sucker for sporty yet fashionable wrist watches, so seeing Bulova release a new variant of its Marine Star range, I simply could not resist getting my hands on one. This stunning automatic timepiece expands the conservative design of Bulova’s diving watch line with an open aperture and some vivid colours, especially if you go with the reference reviewed here. While not a true diving watch in that it lacks a rotating bezel with minute marker – a handy feature for scuba divers – the Marine Star’s visuals closely mimic a nautical design theme. Though with a clever choice of colour contrast and exceptional detail of the dial in the price range, Bulova made this watch to be just as fashionable with a business suit as it is with casual outfits.
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider tasks you with killing a god, which outright doesn’t look like an easy task. Following Billie Lurk, one of Daud’s assassins and also one known as Meagan Foster in Dishonored 2, the standalone expansion brings players back into the city of Karnaca on a path to kill the Outsider himself. Death of the Outsider plays very much like any Dishonored, although avoids the binary choice system of previous titles by removing the impact of city chaos on the ending. I appreciated this feature, as the game no longer forces you to pick a play style to get a certain ending, but instead, you play whichever way you feel like. Apart from it, Death of the Outsider plays very familiar and I could always go for more Dishonored, with open level exploration and a multitude of approaches to select from. Being a standalone expansion, Death of the Outsider is done fairly quickly, yet playing as a different character with new powers doesn’t get boring by any extent. The game carries similar elements to other Dishonored titles, although there is always something new to discover in this universe, and Death of the Outsider fleshes more about Karnaca with its numerous side contracts. With even more supernatural elements than before, the game really stands out as an excellent standalone title, and for anyone who thoroughly enjoyed previous titles, is well worth playing.
Remember when you paid for a game and got to enjoy 100% of its content at launch? Those days have long gone, with publishers seeking to drain you of hard-earned money as much as they can. The explosion of DLC packs created for games after launch was the culprit at first, following most major IPs through their life cycles. Not everyone liked that push, though gamers were never forced to pay in most cases. A bunch of games didn’t follow that, but you always get a few of those greedy oddballs in the industry. More so, we’ve got to experience some brilliant stories added the games post launch, with likes of Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker and The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine providing quality entertainment once you’ve finished the main storyiine. Now, however, the industry has adopted a mass trend of throwing microtransactions in every pot, with publishers like EA and Activision being worst offenders of the bunch. The former seems to take up a new headline each year, with no end in sight for slowing its greedy momentum. You pay for a game, then buy some DLC (which doesn’t seem to be that widespread these days), and maybe you’d also want to spend extra cash on useless cosmetics or worst case – pay to win the game. Costs of a new release now suddenly spike to over $100 from initial $60, with especially EA known to be most aggressive with its premium currency.
Since revealing their own storefront in 2018, Epic Games have been busy snagging titles from under Steam’s nose, whether be it smaller indie projects, or the few bigger guns in upcoming releases. One can’t deny Fortnite’s success played a huge role here, giving Epic loads of cash to spend on luring developers away from PC’s biggest distribution platform. It doesn’t even care for the rather simplistic platform it built, which yet lacks cloud saving out of all things that Steam gave us as quality of life improvements. Despite that, developers shift to it without much thought, and one could see the reasons here; Epic takes a 12% cut from publishers, whereas Steam has always remained at consistent 30% demand of revenue.
As I explore a strange steampunk island I’ve just arrived on, the earth begins to rumble, my senses disoriented for a few seconds. Getting back to my submarine, I seal the doors behind me in preparation for inevitable danger, looking out of a handy periscope, only to see the island suffer gigantic volcano explosion, and my vision gets blocked. With the smoke gone, the once green environment is now concealed under a layer of ash, though I’m capable of venturing out yet again. From there on, Volcanoids asks to construct a ship core, setting you up for what you’ll be spending much of your time playing with. An open-world, base building survival game, it sends you out on a quest to reclaim this land for the people once more, and somehow figure out how you’re going to silence the volcano all by yourself.
Playing Just Cause 4, I can’t escape the notion that something went wrong in Avalanche’s open-world series, with a slightly new design direction that doesn’t fit quite as well as fans would hope. I’m still having a blast destroying the multitude of enemy bases scattered across the huge map of Solis, which I traverse with Rico’s trusty grappling hook, paired with weirdly unlimited parachute, and a jet-powered wingsuit you can now use. Blowing up explosive barrels and enemy structures is a usual display of unlimited chaos, which you can now further facilitate by sending a tornado towards an enemy base. Weather effects have a convoluted plot around them, and Just Cause never aimed to have complex exposition, but utilizing them leads to spectacular results. Yet in many ways, the revamped mission structure here feels too restrictive, taking away much of the freedom to do your own thing, where you’d normally be able to progress in the game simply by engaging with its open world. In Just Cause 4, repetitive objective design is now more apparent than ever, and so is its serious lack of improvement over predecessors, though let’s not write the game off just yet.
February 2019 is priming to be a huge month for video game releases, with numerous big names slated to compete for gamers’ limited budgets and attention. We’re even getting four released at once on the same day, which doesn’t really help in deciding the one to go for. There’s no way to buy them all, or even play through within a span of a month, but this list has my own personal picks for titles I’m looking out for. The release dates aren’t set in stone, and a few could always get delayed sometime further, but each is so far listed to drop February 2019. I mostly focus on bigger names here as they’re the ones I’m most excited to play in the coming months, although I’d love to hear about any great picks I may be missing in the comments below.
I originally planned to write this post as an introduction to a list of games on my radar set to release in February 2019, however, it would simply result in too much reading for one to digest without falling to boredom. Thus, I’m separately covering the few major hits remaining in the last week of January, which will further break up the already intense competition of big releases primed for February 2019, and vie for gamers’ limited budgets and time. There’s no way to buy them all either, or cover the entire spectrum of releases, with many left behind as the strong leads take over. While much of my selection consists of larger games, and I’m sure the comments can point out some gems I’ve missed here, I list the ones I’m personally interested in so far.
Whenever games attempt to combine various genres into one, it always either ends up a complete failure, or a niche success that finds good traction among the adopting player base. Refract studios created something special with Distance – a survival-themed racer where you explore a mysterious futuristic city, having to avoid numerous obstacles scattered throughout each level in an effort to make it through until the end. It mixes in platforming elements of the sort, with jumping, spinning and flying mechanics introduced to compliment traditional arcade racing, and add a unique spin on the experience. It’s quite relaxing, yet intensely gripping at once as you try to navigate the diverse obstacles, and nail those perfect runs to advance in game further. Whether you attempt to uncover what happened to this strange world, grab perfect scores across each level in Arcade mode, or compete online against other players, Distance offers something for everyone with its engaging gameplay mechanics.