Categories
Tech Review

Jake Sapir: Starwars: Knights of the Old Republic game

Us gamers go by a code. Let’s call this a set of unspoken rules if you will. There is a certain etiquette to what we do and with this comes an understanding that certain behaviors just aren’t on. One of the top-ranking rules in this list is the spoiler rule. This goes for books, movies, and absolutely for games. Don’t tell people who haven’t played the game anything about the plot of the game, especially the end. This can basically be boiled down to, “don’t be a dick.” This, if you’re not a dick, will all be fairly self-explanatory. Now with this in mind and with a bit of trepidation we come to the third installment of QOTW. I clearly hate my own existence…

The question I’ve posed the TVGB crew this week is as to what their favorite videogame plot twists are. Before we go any further (because I like my knees), I’m posting a very big, very obvious disclaimer to this article. The next 10 entries will, without a doubt, contain spoilers that may ruin the game for those of you wanting to play that entry. If you really fancy any of the games on this list and don’t want to be let down, SKIP THE ENTRY AND MOVE ON. I do not want people looking for me or any of the others later. We know what we’re doing. It isn’t big and it isn’t clever, but for those of you that don’t care, it will be entertaining.

Right …with that little rant over, let’s get on with things, shall we? Without further ado … TVGB’s favorite plot twists in videogames.

Jake Sapir: Starwars: Knights of the Old Republic

Perhaps this is cliche, but my favorite plot twist in a game has to be the one in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. I know lately people have given this one flak for being obvious and dull but finding out that my character was really Darth Revan all along shocked me when I was a kid. Suddenly, this was a very different story, and I had important choices to make. It was very cool seeing how my various crewmates responded to the revelation; the characters respond the way you would expect each of them to, thanks to Bioware’s stunning writing back in the day. It made me feel like my choices from then on really mattered, not just for me and my crew, but for the entire galaxy. Whether you choose the Light or the Dark, your character becomes central to the conflict engulfing the galaxy, and that wouldn’t be nearly as exciting without this twist.

Emily Mullis: Final Fantasy X

My favorite plot twist, that actually blew my mind when I was a kid, was in Final Fantasy X when it is revealed Tidus is actually dead. I was so invested in him and Yuna my mind couldn’t comprehend what was actually happening. I believed there had to be some way for them to be together. But when the ending came and he started to disappear I thought, nope, this is it. All this for nothing.

I was pretty new to RPGs and big storyline games when I first started playing Final Fantasy X so I didn’t know what I was getting into. The experience of playing that game was life-changing. I mostly play RPGs now because of games like Final Fantasy X, I can’t get enough of good videogame storytelling. The stories are rich and plot twists are a possibility. Keeps you on your toes.

Jonathan Crawford: Super Mario RPG

My all-time favorite plot twist took place in Super Mario RPG for the SNES. The game starts off in what we think will be typical Mario fashion: Bowser kidnaps the princess. However, a new villain appears on the scene, kicking Bowser out of his own castle and turning the Mario story on its head! The real twist comes about halfway through the game when Mario comes across a sobbing and distraught Bowser. Bowser and Mario agree to work together against their common enemy! Technically, Bowser allows Mario to join the Koopa Troop. In any event, Bowser and Mario team up, and the most famous videogame villain of all time becomes a playable character! In recent years, a sillier side of Bowser has often been shown, but during the SNES era, he was still the saddest baddie on the planet, and joining forces with Mario was unheard of. I’m still holding out for the true sequel to this classic!

Peter Daubert: Bioshock Infinite

I was 16 when I played this game, I played the whole thing through, loving every single minute of its crisp shooting mechanics and invigorating story and setting. I became irrationally attached to Elizabeth, mostly due, I believe, to our shared fascination with out of reach worlds. I went on an absolutely incredible journey in this game and became intensely invested in freeing Elizabeth from the horrors of her tower and her captor, Comstock.

To find out I WAS Comstock, truly shattered me. The final scene of the game completely put me in a tailspin, and it made me question everything I had done all game long. It put everything in perspective, while simultaneously forcing me to act out the very thing I was so wanting to change. Sometimes I still think about how much I wish I could go back and play the whole thing again.

Alex Southgate: The Legacy of Kain/Soul Reaver series

I’ve mentioned this franchise in the past but I truly believe that if you’re talking about twists, this wonderful five-game series cannot be overlooked. There is no one twist in these games that stands out because there are so many little, cleverly written facets to the story that it’s full of surprises.

You have two separate stories and as such two separate protagonists in the Legacy of Kain series. Kain is a vampire who has to save the world of Nosgoth after its council, The Circle of Nine, become corrupt. The Council keeps the magical Pillars. Each pillar represents a fundamental aspect of existence, and as they break down, the world falls into darkness. The story starts with the murder of Ariel, the keeper of the Pillar of Balance. This sends her lover Nupraptor, the Guardian of the Mind, mad. As he is a powerful telepath, this madness seeps like poison into the rest of the council and everything goes to hell from there. You will find out it’s all planned. Kain is the new guardian of balance and he will have to make the ultimate choice to die with the others and set the world straight or take over. We can guess what happens. I suggest having a look here. That was confusing and rambling but this is a great little page that covers everything.

In the background, Moebius, Keeper of Time, hasn’t gone mad and is pulling the strings of everything and will be throughout all of the games. Raziel appears in Kain’s past, present, and future. As the protagonists of the Soul Reaver games, the two are both friends and sworn enemies depending on where in the plot you look. Everything finally comes together in Defiance, where you will play both characters who will have to put aside their differences once and for all.

This is supposed to be an entry, not an article, so one twist I really love is how Malek, the Guardian of Conflict, can’t protect an earlier council from a vampire attack, something that gets him turned into a haunted suit of armor. This is in the first game. You don’t see why though until the fifth game and it’s because he’s fighting Kain and Raziel and can’t get to the others in time.

Enough of my babbling. If you haven’t played this series and love a well-written, action-packed story, you must go out and find it. It’s well worth your time. To get the most out of them, you have to play all of the games in order or you’ll miss out on so many twists in the plot.

There you have it! I’ll be back next time with another question for the lads and lasses on the team. Until then, go out and play some of the entries above. I don’t think we’ve ruined too much for you. Remember, no angry mobs, please. You were warned in advance.

Categories
News

Hasbro Unveils The Next Batch Of Star Wars Collectibles

May 4 is right around the corner, and that’s a big deal for Star Wars fans. May 4 is “May the 4th be with you,” and it usually means we get new Star Wars merchandise to buy and perhaps even a sneak peek at what is coming next for Star Wars movies and television series. Hasbro jumped the gun a little today with new Star Wars reveals falling into what it is calling “Fan First Friday.”

The reveals include new figures for the Black Series and Vintage Collection, along with a fantastic Boba Fett prototype helmet. If you are fan of Hasbro’s throwback design for the 40th anniversary Empire Strikes Back figures, many more are on the way. For the Black Series, Hasbro announced new 40th anniversary versions of 4-LOM, Zuckuss, and Han Solo in Carbonite. Hasbro is also releasing a Black Series two-pack of Luke and Yoda, a “carbonized” version of Darth Vader, a new Clone Trooper, and a Stormtrooper inspired by The Mandalorian.

If you like the smaller 3.75-inch line, Hasbro is issuing a new version of Luke Skywalker in Stormtrooper armor for its Vintage Collection. If you are looking for something a little different, yet another Star Wars version of Monopoly is on the way, this one is called “The Child Edition,” and yes, it’s all about Baby Yoda. Most of these toys will be hitting in the summer and fall. You can see all of them below:

Categories
Review

moving-out-review-packed-with-frustration

If you’ve moved (or helped people move) at any point during the past few decades, odds are you’ve heard someone make a joke about their Tetris skills paying off. There’s something satisfying about finding the perfect spot for a box or arranging things to fit into what seems like an impossibly small space. That sensation is part of what Moving Out promises; as a member of a furniture moving company, you and up to three co-op buddies are tasked with filling up the truck as quickly and efficiently as possible. Moves get more complicated and sillier over time, but ghosts, flamethrowers, and rising pools of guava juice prove to be far from the biggest obstacles to success.

You begin your career as a certified Furniture Arrangement and Relocation Technician with fairly mundane jobs. The first few homes allow you to get the hang of the basics, which include surveying the area for the objects you’re required to load into the truck and sizing up the trickier parts of each move. It might be tempting to grab the nearest boxes and lob them into the truck, but those smaller objects can quickly add up. Before you know it, it’s time to put a sectional couch inside and you don’t have any room. But first, you need to maneuver that couch through narrow hallways, around obstacles, and potentially out the front window.

It’s possible to schlep all this stuff around as a solo player, but that’s an option of last resort. You don’t have any A.I. companions, so you’re stuck dragging heavier objects around without the option of performing a handy co-op “heave ho” toss with a partner. That move is incredibly useful for making the most of the limited truck space, since objects like beds and tables can be stacked if you put enough of your back into it. Bringing a friend along for the ride via local co-op makes some aspects of the game much easier, but it comes with a warning: If you aren’t a patient person, or you’re prone to getting frustrated or lashing out at other people, avoid this game. I’m only kind of joking.

Even the early moves seem designed to be as maddening as possible. Doorways are just barely wide enough to accommodate larger pieces of furniture, making them a tight squeeze in ideal circumstances. Moving Out takes clear cues from Overcooked, but it adds a significant wrinkle: wacky physics. Overcooked is great because a group can fail, evaluate where they went wrong, and regroup with a better strategy in mind. Moving Out has that element of strategizing – such as figuring out what objects the team needs to move and how to prioritize those mini tasks – but success is unpredictable. Maybe you’ll get hung up on an invisible barrier around a doorway. Perhaps your throw will land weirdly short, dropping a fragile package in the pool. There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason for a lot of these goofs; even if you’re able to clearly call out what the team needs to do next, performing what should be simple actions feels like you’re rolling the dice.

As frustrating as it can be, I found myself drawn to a few standout levels. I enjoyed a Frogger-inspired section in particular, where the movers have to cross a busy street before making their way across logs and alligators. Some later levels, where players have to communicate and work out which switch-controlled doors to open and when, are similarly amusing. Players who find themselves getting into the game can look forward to completing secret objectives like breaking all the windows in a house or not stepping on rakes in a yard. These allow you to access arcade-style levels, which feature more abstract platforming/moving challenges. They’re good for a quick burst of fun, but I never felt compelled to stick around to set high scores.

Moving Out has a charming sense of humor and the developers clearly went out of their way to make the game as accessible as possible. You can adjust the difficulty in an impressively granular way, checking individual boxes to tweak the time you have to complete goals, make objects lighter, remove some obstacles, and more. That does make it easier to zoom past some of the trickier levels, but it doesn’t ultimately change the fact that moving furniture in the game is as fun as the real deal.

Categories
Board Game Review

Gears Tactics gets the turn-based fundamentals right, but isn’t consistently fun

Gears of War games are at their best when players are pushing forward, chewing through the Locust horde with chainsaw bayonets. The same is true for Gears Tactics, the franchise’s first-ever turn-based strategy game.

But the moment that developer Splash Damage asks players to stand still — whether it’s for a drawn-out boss battle, a defensive mission, or simply to peruse the menu system — the illusion falls apart.

Gears Tactics lacks the pacing that makes the iconic third-person shooters so much fun to play, and it’s weighed down by a reliance on stunt missions that detract from its otherwise solid fundamentals.

A VERY DIFFERENT GAMEPLAY LOOP

A locust leader holds a COG soldier by the throat near the end of act one of Gears TacticsImage: Splash Damage, The Coalition/Xbox Game Studios

Gears Tactics is played from an overhead perspective, with Coalition of Ordered Government, or COG, soldiers and the evil Locust forces each taking their turns before moving to the next round of play. Things bounce back and forth until one side is eliminated, or until that particular mission’s objectives are met.

Gears Tactics might look like a clever clone of Firaxis’ XCOM games, but it’s something else entirely. There’s no grid that provides strict rules for how units can move, so the game actually has more in common with miniatures-based wargames and skirmish systems like Bolt Action, Infinity, and Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team.

That subtle difference gives Gears Tactics the fluidity of movement — referred to as “horizontal platforming” by its developers — that drives the Gears franchise. Units snap into cover, use attacks of opportunity on passing enemies, and generally flit around the board in a very Gearsian way.

An early mission in Gears Tactics asks players to defend a group of civilians on a broken down emulsion mining rig. Here a team of four COGs makes a desperate last stand, back to back outside the rig.

The same can be said of the game’s endless stream of equipment, offered in the form of weapon mods and bits of armor. I stopped getting excited with pickups a few hours in, mainly because another 5% here or there doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. The opening hours were a bit dire, in fact, with gear that didn’t get me excited to try it out and soldiers that all pretty much felt the same.

But then I started to understand what the game needs from me to come to life. Gears Tactics relies on a nested series of buffs to generate additional actions during the player turn and to give the action some momentum. If you do something cool during your turn, you will be rewarded for it, and that reward will keep your soldiers fighting.

I STARTED TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE GAME NEEDS FROM ME TO COME TO LIFE.

Pinion a Locust on your old-school bayonet? Take another shot. Nail a sniper shot at long range? Reload your weapon and take a few more shots. Execute a downed enemy? Everyone on your side gets another action. You can run roughshod over the enemy by chaining your successful attacks together, even against impossible odds. Toss in some deft work with a hand grenade or two and it’s mission accomplished. Learning how to keep things rolling so the enemy barely has a chance to respond feels good, and brings the game the weighty feeling of power and capacity for violence that made the originals so satisfying.

Gears Tactics holds up the standards of the franchise for visual quality, as well. Cutscenes were indistinguishable to my eye from those in Gears 5, as were some of the animations. Every map includes a fully rotatable camera, and the lighting and the textures are all top-notch. In fact, this is the only turn-based tactics game that I’ve ever played that comes with its own benchmarking system.

BEHIND THE CURTAIN

A player lines up a lancer run on an unsuspecting locust drone. A blue track, like a ruler, extends from the friendly unit towards the targeted enemy.Image: Splash Damage, The Coalition/Xbox Game Studios

But the game falls apart when it tries to create a cohesive, unified experience. The wires holding everything together are too often visible, and it wrecks what little immersion Gears Tactics manage to build up.

When things are going well for your side, the game can sometimes fail to provide a tone that matches where you are in a level. Soldiers will crack wise with a tense bark, or command new recruits to act more like soldiers. Everyone needs to man up and stay frosty! Meanwhile, the board is completely empty, and you’re just killing time for a few rounds before another wave of enemies invariably drops from the sky. My team never seemed to be as connected to what was going on as I’m used to from other games.

Missions will sometimes stop on a dime, ripping you out of the game too suddenly. It may happen because you’ve failed to protect the main character and need to start over, but sometimes you’ve just accumulated enough of a resource to fulfill the objective and trigger the cutscene, which ends the round instantly. This can happen just when it feels like the mission is just getting good, and during those moments it almost feels like my reward for doing well is taken away. I won the mission, and to celebrate that win everything just kinda … ends?

Players battling a giant Brumak. The beast shows tens of thousands of points of armor. Previous enemies only had hundreds, maybe a thousand points. Red circles show where it’s powerful missiles will land.Image: Splash Damage, The Coalition/Xbox Game Studios

This happened more than once — another Boomer had come up from an emergence hole, or an avenue of escape was suddenly blocked off by some explosive Tickers. I wish that Gears Tactics was able to sustain those fun gameplay moments in a way that let me play out whatever would have happened next, rather than kicking me out and making me start over with a new mission while I’m stuck feeling like I wasn’t able to properly bring the last section to a close.

Not all missions are created equal. As I mentioned above, Gears Tactics — just like every other Gear of War game — is best when you’re on the move. Defensive missions in this turn-based adaptation tend to drag on and on, once again killing any sense of momentum or fun.

Meanwhile, I was forced to sit through the same cinematic of the Brumak firing its shoulder-mounted missile launchers more than a dozen times, dragging out the dull experience of whittling down its health. I didn’t celebrate when it finally fell, I just happened to be done with an encounter that felt like an endless drag.

The menus that players use between missions are also poorly designed. That’s especially true of the equipment system, which buries all of your available kit four menus deep. Say that you want to rebuild your lancer, the classic Gears of War rifle with a chainsaw attachment. To find our what your options are for the ammunition magazine, for instance, you have to drill all the way down to the last menu in the chain to see what’s available. Repeat the process for the stock, the weapon sight, and the barrel and it becomes an incredibly tedious process.

There are at least four other weapons in the game, meaning that you’ve got to do this dance dozens of times ahead of each mission to try and stack up the best incremental bonuses for your troops. I would have much rather had the ability to strip every soldier down to their skivvies and dress them up for every mission, instead of playing this dreary game of Tetris trying to figure out how to best spread all the available equipment around.

The fundamentals of Gears Tactics work, but Gears 5 did much more than just work. It pushed the formula forward.

Moving and shooting and cutting up Locusts is a good time, even in a turn-based system, but that’s not enough to sustain an entire game. Every other element of the game — from the class system to the perks, to the way that missions and UI elements are designed — needs more refinement and care.

This is a near miss, but as anyone who has ever played a turn-based game will tell you, a near miss can be all the enemy needs to take you out. This is an interesting, but hardly essential, addition to the Gears family.

Categories
App Reviews

Apple Allowed A Fake Minecraft: Pocket Edition 2 App To Be Sold For More Than Two Weeks

Earlier today, Apple App Store users noticed that the long-awaited, unannounced, probably not even in development sequel to Minecraft is now available. Yes, we were surprised, too. So was Mojang.

Before you rush off to download Minecraft: Pocket Edition 2, there are two things you should know. First, it was a fraud. Second, it’s gone. But before it got pulled, it shot up to the #4 spot in Apple’s paid app rankings.

The app was not authored by Mojang, of course. It was published on December 21 by someone going by the name “Scott Cawthorn.” Prior to Apple apparently wiping the “developer” from its store, he also had a fake Five Nights at Freddy’s app.

While those apps are now gone, a cursory search reveals other infringing offerings for both Minecraft and Five Nights at Freddy’s. The Minecraft End User License Agreement allows guides, but apps like paid quizzes and infinite runners that invoke the Minecraft name or content are not permitted.

We’ve reached out to Apple to find out more about its review process, how a fraudulent offering infringing on the store’s top-selling app passed muster, and what (if anything) it will do to prevent this sort of behavior in the future. We’ll update should we receive a response.

Our Take
This points to an ongoing failure on Apple’s part. The store has notoriously permitted clones and other deceptive apps, as evidenced by the number of copies of Threes and Flappy Bird that emerged last year. 

It’s no surprise that something pretending to be a Minecraft sequel performed well. It’s just shocking Apple’s review process, whatever it is, is so porous.

Categories
News

Best graphics card 2020: every major Nvidia and AMD GPU tested

Replacing your graphics card is the number one upgrade you can make for your PC and the most profound in terms of improving gaming performance, so it makes sense to spend some time researching your options. Choosing the right card depends on many factors, so we’ve streamlined that process for you. Right here, you’ll find strong graphics card recommendations for budget 1080p gaming PCs all the way up to 4K and high refresh rate beasts, based on our extensive testing of every graphics card on the market.

If you just want our direct, no-nonsense GPU upgrade recommendations, that’s not a problem.

  • Right now, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is our top pick for the best graphics card. If you want the highest possible frame-rates in games, plus support for hardware-accelerated ray tracing and other modern techs, then the RTX 2080 Ti stands head and shoulders above any other consumer card from Nvidia or AMD.
  • If you’re looking to maximise your performance per dollar, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 offers excellent 1080p and 1440p frame-rates and is the cheapest card with hardware-accelerated ray tracing. That makes it our pick for the best value graphics card.
  • In terms of our lower tier picks, we’ve targeted a degree of longevity and better-than-console throughput for our best budget graphics card – in this case, the old but still powerful AMD Radeon RX 570.

While these are our top picks, we’ve also highlighted a few alternatives for each category, so look out for those after each major recommendation.

Graphics card buyer’s guide

While gaming desktop PCs tend to be last longer than the average games console or gaming laptop, the graphics card is one component you’ll need to replace regularly if you want to keep getting good performance in the latest games. Where processors might get faster by only a few percentage points every few years, graphics cards can see gains of 25 per cent from one generation to the next – and sometimes, the increase in performance is even more substantial. For example, the Intel Core i7 2600K launched back in 2011 and still holds up pretty well in modern games, yet graphics cards of a similar vintage will struggle even at low quality settings.

Choosing the right graphics card is important because this is the component that does most of the heavy lifting that brings your games to life. Graphics hardware capable of easily running triple-A titles starts at around the £110/$110 mark, with Nvidia’s GTX 1050 and AMD’s RX 560 offering (on paper at least) significantly more graphics processing horsepower than the base PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. That means that every major multi-platform title should run at least with ballpark equivalent performance. From there, it’s all about paying more and scaling up, with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti sitting at the current top of the pile.

Of course, it’s also important to avoid building a bottle-necked system, so you should aim to pair your video card of choice with a suitably powerful CPU, RAM and other components. We generally recommend system builders plump for at least 8GB of system RAM, with 16GB being a worthwhile upgrade. If you’re using an AMD Ryzen or a mainstream Intel CPU, using two RAM modules in dual or even quad-channel mode ensures you’re not handicapping your performance. Your choice of processor is also crucial to building a balanced system. AMD’s Ryzen 5 and Intel’s Core i5 are the price/performance champions for 60fps gaming, but if you’re looking to run the latest games at the highest possible frame-rates, particularly on a high refresh rate display, we would recommend the Intel Core i7 8700K or its ninth-generation successors.

Thankfully, we’ve reached the point where even the cheaper end of the discrete GPU market offers some good results if you’re prepared to put just a little effort into tweaking your in-game graphical settings. Beyond that, there’s seemingly a graphics card for every kind of use-case – and that’s where this guide comes in. Every GPU worth considering is included in this exhaustive guide, and if you’re looking for more detailed performance metrics, we can link you through to the some of the most detailed gaming benchmarks around so you can see exactly what kind of performance you should expect.

Categories
News

Nintendo confirms up to 160,000 accounts accessed in huge privacy breach

UPDATE 2PM UK: Nintendo has now published an English language statement on today’s announcement its account system has suffered a privacy breach affecting up to 160,000 people.

In the statement, Nintendo says that, at present, there was no evidence to suggest Nintendo’s own databases, servers or services have been accessed. This again suggests the log-in data used to access accounts was obtained elsewhere – a tactic known as credential stuffing.

To protect accounts going forward, Nintendo will not detail more of how the attack took place.

Finally, as we reported earlier, log-in via Nintendo Network ID has been disabled and all users are highly recommended to enable two-factor authentication immediately.

Nintendo’s statement follows in full:

Important Notice

We would like to provide an update on the recent incidents of unauthorised access to some Nintendo Accounts.

While we continue to investigate, we would like to reassure users that there is currently no evidence pointing towards a breach of Nintendo’s databases, servers or services. As one action in our ongoing investigation, we are discontinuing the ability to use a Nintendo Network ID to sign in to a Nintendo Account. All other options to sign-in to a Nintendo Account remain available.

As a further precaution, we will soon contact users about resetting passwords for Nintendo Network IDs and Nintendo Accounts that we have reason to believe were accessed without authorisation.

In addition, we also continue to strongly encourage users to enable two-step verification for their Nintendo Account as instructed here: How to set-up two-step verification for a Nintendo Account.

If any users become aware of unauthorised activity, we encourage them to take the steps outlined in the article about the Nintendo Account recovery process.

During the investigation, in order to deter further attempts of unauthorised sign-ins, we will not reveal more information about the methods employed to gain unauthorised access.

We apologise for the inconvenience and concerns caused to our customers, and we will continue working hard to safeguard the security of our users’ data.

ORIGINAL STORY 12PM UK: Nintendo has confirmed that up to 160,000 Nintendo Accounts have been accessed in an enormous privacy breach.

If you were affected, your private data such as your nickname, email, date of birth, gender and country/region were potentially viewable by a third party.

Credit card data was not accessed, though as Eurogamer reported earlier this week, linked payment methods were used in some cases to make unauthorised purchases.

In a statement on its Japanese support site, Nintendo confirmed the issue was related to the company’s own Nintendo Network ID (NNID) log-in system – one of several methods used to log into your Nintendo account.

NNID usernames and passwords were obtained illegally outside Nintendo’s service, the company said, and then used to access accounts and make purchases.

As a result, log-in to your Nintendo account via the NNID method has been disabled. All affected NNID passwords will be reset.

Three days ago, Nintendo told Eurogamer it was “investigating” a growing wave of reports we had heard from Switch owners saying their accounts had been accessed.

Some people whose accounts had been accessed had seen charges on their account via linked payment methods for up to £100 worth of digital items – most commonly, Fortnite’s VBuck currency.

Today, Nintendo said the hacking attempts had been ongoing since early April.

Nintendo Account users will now be contacted via e-mail to reset their passwords with a unique passcode not used elsewhere. Nintendo recommends you use a different password for your NNID and Nintendo account, and set up two-factor authentication.

News of the breach has so far only filtered through from that Japanese support page. Nintendo has yet to make an official English-language statement, though Nintendo UK has now tweeted to acknowledge NNID is no longer available as a sign-in method.

Categories
News

PUBG adding bots to public matches on console

It’s almost inevitable: once a multiplayer game’s been out for some time, veteran players tend to pull ahead to a point where newer players just can’t keep up. The situation is the same for PUBG, which has now developed a player base so proficient that new joiners are simply being flattened before they can improve.

“We’ve seen the general skill level of our players grow significantly over the last three years”, PUBG Corp explained in a blog post today. “We’re seeing more often that many newer players are being eliminated early with no kills – and oftentimes with no damage dealt.”

It’s a serious problem for developers who want to keep their live service games populated, as a skill gap can alienate new players who are needed to refresh the pool. And so, to solve the skill gap issue, PUBG is adding bots to its public matches on console.

“You’ve been telling us for a while that the widening skill gap is creating a more and more challenging environment for some of our players and we’re now ready to talk about our plan to help this,” PUBG Corp explained. “In an effort to provide more ways for players to hone their skills and be able to fully enjoy what PUBG has to offer, we’ve decided to introduce bots with Update 7.1.”

PUBG

In order to reassure players that the bots will be properly programmed, PUBG explained a little about how the bots will be implemented. Navigation meshes will ensure that bots will detect environmental hazards instead of throwing themselves off cliffs like lemmings, while PUBG’s bots will also “consider bullet physics when shooting”.

“What this means is that players will be able to dodge the bots’ bullets if they use the same evasive maneuvers as they would in any other firefight. But of course, a computer would still be better at calculating bullet trajectory, so systems were put in to make sure that the bots’ accuracy differs based on range.”

And, finally, the quality of the loot dropped by bots will increase as the game progresses, meaning the loot pool should remain balanced, and none of the bots will come at you with an SKS as soon as your feet touch the ground.

PUBG hopes that introducing bots will help new players get “the full battle royale experience”, but there’s some good news for veteran players worried about encountering dozens of bots. According to the blog post, you are “less likely to engage bots the higher your MMR is”, while the Ranked system is due to get an upgrade next month, which will not have any bots.

Despite these attempts to reassure players, it seems many are already upset about the idea of introducing bots. One reason is that it’s seen to dilute the exhilarating battle royale experience of facing an island full of people you know are real. Another frequently-aired concern, which PUBG Corp tried to address in the blog post, is that bot behaviour can often be rather silly and somewhat immersion-breaking, so we’ll have to see if these ones will be well-implemented.

PUBG isn’t the first battle royale to introduce bots on console: Fortnite already made the leap last year, and according to our news editor Tom Phillips, these vary from a selection of player bots tuned to skill level which are “designed to be a relatively easy kill for those who would otherwise get none”, to NPC bots which “often attack en masse with pretty deadly results”.

PUBG Mobile has also had bots for a long time, and from my experience, they were unfortunately quite easy to spot: they would pace around up and down next to buildings, until you shot near them, at which point they would lie down on the ground. Let’s hope PUBG’s console bots are a bit smarter.

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Iratus: Lord of the Dead Leaves Early Access Today On PC

Unfrozen’s Iratus: Lord of the Dead leaves early access today on Steam. If you haven’t heard of it, it draws plenty of inspiration from Darkest Dungeon with one major catch – you’re the bad guy.

Instead of taking on misshapen dungeon denizens, you craft an undead army (quite literally, by assembling horrible creatures from parts) and take on those that would attempt to stop your necromantic rise to power.

Eliminate your enemies through traditional combat or by embracing fear mechanics to send your enemies fleeing in terror. Build up a base to keep your progress going, even when your minions end up being smashed into dust by the forces of good.

Check out the launch trailer below!

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Red Dead Redemption 2 Coming To Xbox Game Pass In May

Red Dead Redemption II is coming to the Xbox Game Pass subscription on May 7, replacing fellow Rockstar title Grand Theft Auto V.

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Red Dead II can be pre-downloaded now via the Xbox Game Pass mobile app, and before it leaves the service, subscribers can purchase GTA V for 20 percent off.

In case you’ve been mauled by a mountain lion, fallen down a canyon, and weren’t aware of how good a game Red Dead Redemption II is, here’s the review.