During its press conference at E3 this year, Ubisoft revealed the next entry in the Watch Dogs series, set to take players to the streets of post-Brexit London, England. The subtle ways corporations and the government controlled the population in the past games have now fully changed into an oppressive regime, if much of the tone in the reveal trailer is to go by. City streets are filled with armed forces and military drones, against whom players would amass a large resistance force from the general population, in the aim to take back freedom.
The recruiting mechanic promises to be a big selling point in Watch Dogs: Legion, as developers state we’d be able to take control of any NPC in the city to offer vast variety in approaching targets. Each will also offer a randomized set of skills and gadgets to give players room for experimentation. This sounds like a tall order on the developers, who appear to strive giving personality to each those random NPCs, and hopefully they can pull it off without much downgrade elsewhere. One would quickly remember the finalized state of the original game, which at E3 showed considerably more potential than what we got in the release’s final form.
Watch Dogs: Legion is currently set to release on March 6th, 2020 – to be available through PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Google’s upcoming game streaming service Stadia. On the initial platform, my bet is it’ll be exclusive to the Epic Store for a period of time, although we’ll see the distribution platforms closer towards release. Ubisoft further revealed a gameplay walkthrough clip, which can be seen below.
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.