Crowbar Collective releases a trailer for Black Mesa: Xen to celebrate 20 years of Half-Life

Source: Black Mesa, Steam

Half-Life turns 20 years old today, giving fans an opportunity to celebrate one of PC gaming’s greatest shooters, although sadly there comes no Half-Life 3 announcement at the top of it. Still, we’ve been given a glimpse of a new project by Crowbar Collective, the studio behind an excellent re-make of Half-Life, known as Black Mesa

The new project is titled Black Mesa: Xen, and aims to bring the developers’ vision of the alien world in Half-Life players got to visit briefly. Xen will serve as an extension of Half-Life, although besides the main assets, rest has been built up from the ground up. The story will expand Gordon Freeman’s brief adventure on the Xen world to a roughly 6-hour campaign, which will include plenty of jaw-dropping moments if the minute-and-a-half trailer is anything to go by. Level design showcased so far promises expansive maps spread across spectacular and intricate alien environments, while also looking exponentially better than the team’s Black Mesa release.

With stellar gameplay remaining unchanged, Black Mesa: Xen will once more put players in the shoes of Half-Life’s protagonist and give players an extensive range of weapons to be used. The alien world holds a lot of unknowns expressed through detailed enemy designs, and the team at Crowbar Collective will hopefully give us a fun range of weapons to use against them. Black Mesa: Xen is slated to release in Q2 2019 so the team has time to polish the game and bring it fully in line with the intended vision. Meanwhile, check out the announcement trailer below, as well as follow Crowbar Collective’s community page for further updates.

Sunset Overdrive makes its way to PC after 4 years

 

Developer Insomniac Games surprisingly confirmed release of their wacky open-world shooter Sunset Overdrive in recent few days, and today it releases worldwide on the platform. Available to purchase through Steam and the Microsoft Store, the game includes two DLC packs and retails for $19.99, which is quite a good deal for one of the most underrated open world IPs. If you missed it in 2014, there’s now an opportunity to experience the definitive edition, although details are scarce whether the PC port improves any visual aspects.

Sunset Overdrive failed to receive extensive attention during its release window, overshadowed by some higher profile titles, but critics were generally accepting of the fun experience it provided. Mashing multiple games together, it features a vibrant open world along the lines of Saints Row 4, and especially shines in player movement which resembled Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, as you grind along the metal rails spread throughout the city. The mutant outbreak caused by a certain energy drink is as silly as story premises go, but ties in well with the gameplay activities you’d be doing. With a diverse selection of crazy weapons to top it off, Sunset Overdrive really shines as one of the underlooked gems in open-world gaming.

Insomniac Games also released a trailer to accompany the PC launch of the game, which you can check it out here:

Blizzard announces a mobile spin-off Diablo Immortal

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At BlizzCon 2018, Blizzard unveiled a little surprise for mobile gamers by announcing an online action RPG Diablo Immortal. It’s set in between Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction and the third main title, and will come to both iOS and Android platforms. There’s a trailer to go along with it, and the game’s webpage offers the ability to pre-register already.

Diablo Immortal is being developed from the ground up for mobile devices, and will make the most out of touchscreen controls. We could certainly benefit from another high-profile aRPG on the platform, and the format has shown to integrate well into mobile controls. Players can expect to find a lot of the same features introduced in Diablo 3, including full multiplayer support and co-op quests. Immortal even has a lot of resemblance to the third title’s graphics.

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The game’s trailer showcases some impressive graphics and visual design, and looks almost on par with the bigger Diablo releases. Immortal looks to control smoothly, with an easy touchscreen layout and directional movement. Players will battle hundreds of demons on their adventure, and can choose to do so alone or co-operatively. With six familiar classes to choose from, Diablo fans will have an absolute blast playing this on their mobile devices.

Diablo Immortal is certainly a departure for the series, and an unexpected spin-off, but everything shown in the trailer looks promising, and I can’t wait to be able to check it out. The final release date hasn’t been announced yet, but will likely happen sometime early 2019. For now, there’s cinematic and gameplay trailers to check out:

Gameplay:

 

Cinematic:

Activision is giving away a free copy of Destiny 2 on Battle.net

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Who doesn’t like free stuff? We as gamers especially enjoy getting our hands in various freebies, from small indie titles to large profile games. With free to play events, free trials and giveaways, gamers are spoiled for choice when it comes to trying out new titles, especially when they get to keep the full game. For the next three weeks, if you game on PC, Blizzard are giving away a free copy of Destiny 2 through Battle.net online store.
The giveaway lasts until November 18, and anyone with a battle.net account can grab a full version of the game at no cost. Destiny 2 is offered through gifts, and users will find a new item located in that category, upon which they claim a free copy to own. There are no further conditions required to keep the game, which makes the giveaway pretty sweet.

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Neither Blizzard nor Activision typically give out free games, let alone such a fairly recent release as Destiny 2, but this giveaway commemorates the one year anniversary for the title. Further, it is likely a move to attract a large new base of PC gamers to the title, which isn’t a bad deal to start with. You don’t get a cheap or very old title here, but instead a triple A release from a year back.
Destiny 2 is Bungie’s improved successor to the original IP, and although many have compared the two upon release, it brings a lot of new elements to elevate the shoot and loot FPS. As a first release on the PC platform, it is a very competent port and looks spectacular on high end hardware. Whether you like its gameplay style and long term progression, this is a deal that’s hard to pass buy. For a game that still retails for $80 CAD, this is an incredible giveaway and you should head over to Battle.net to grab a copy of Destiny 2 at no cost.

Update: giveaway ended Nov 18

Vampyr will add two new difficulty modes

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Focus Home Interactive announced an upcoming update for Vampyr, a dark gritty RPG set in World War I era London. Along with some tweaks to gameplay, it will add two new difficulty modes to add “replayability for existing players and more options for those who haven’t yet sunk their teeth into this dark adventure.”

There will be a ‘Story mode,’ that will significantly decrease the difficulty of Vampyr’s combat to let players enjoy the story-driven elements of the game. It will be a welcome addition as the game’s emphasis on story left combat somewhat lacking. The second feature will be a Hard mode, which on contrary will turn up the challenge of enemy encounters, and reduce the amount of XP awarded from combat. In theory, it will force players to make hard decisions of killing named NPCs and succumbing the world to darker forces.

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When I reviewed Vampyr, I found it to be engaging in many aspects, from character dialogue to exploration of London’s streets, and of course its decision moments whether I let a character live or die. The Story mode will be welcome, although a Hard mode wouldn’t particularly benefit the combat engine, which I found to be clunky. Maybe there are those who will dig the challenge in its Dark Souls-esque combat flow. Vampyr’s upcoming update will release sometime in August. In the meantime, the game is discounted at 25% over on Steam.

Hungry Shark World goes big with a launch on consoles

 

Ubisoft’s mobile title Hungry Shark World is headed to Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch, unlocking July 17th on each of the major platform’s marketplaces. The critically acclaimed arcade game that earned 500 million downloads since its release will now be available for console players, who can indulge in playing as a deadly shark. The game will be optimized for controller support, and support enhanced graphics with scaling up to 4K displays.

In Hungry Shark World, you “start out as a small shark and work your way up the food chain,” consuming fish, small creatures and humans alike, with giant boss monsters to tackle in the later game. With over 20 sharks available, players will take on various missions to evolve their creature, take out objectives, and become the ultimate hunter of the sea. Feeding the hungry shark is the main objective, although players will get a small range of powers to play with to challenge “fearsome bosses, including goblin sharks, prehistoric predators and giant squids,” according to Ubisoft.

The launch happens tomorrow, July 17th, when Hungry Shark World will be available on all three major console systems. Although it’s too bad there doesn’t seem to be a release planned for Steam. To find out more, check out the game’s release trailer.