Mass Effect: Andromeda

Mass Effect: Andromeda Launches Today

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The first new Mass Effect game in five years is out today in North America. Developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts, Mass Effect: Andromeda  is available for PC (Origin), Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. A companion app is also available for iOS and Android.

“We’re very happy to welcome the fans back to the Mass Effect universe,” said Aaryn Flynn, VP and GM of BioWare. “The team’s vision for this epic new chapter was to take what our fans love about Mass Effect – great characters and combat – and add more emphasis on exploration while telling a different type of story. We’re following a group of characters who are just starting their heroic journey, and we can’t wait for our fans to discover more about them and this new galaxy.”

Mass Effect: Andromeda distances itself literally from the original trilogy through both time and space. A 600-year long journey thrusts your colony-seeking crew into an all-new galaxy far from our Milky Way. You play as one of the Ryder siblings, a brother or sister. Your Ryder is a Pathfinder, a leader and vanguard of the dangerous exploration missions you’ll undertake.

In addition to a single player campaign, Mass Effect: Andromeda will feature cooperative multiplayer, which play similarly to the multiplayer found in Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Mass Effect: Andromeda also utilizes the Frostbite 3 engine, which is featured in all of EA’s games of the last few years such as Dragon Age: Inquisition and Battlefield 1.

Launch day reviews have been lukewarm, ranging from praise to harsh criticism. The title currently hovers around a mixed Metascore of 75 (stay tuned for our review).

Mass Effect: Andromeda is available in Standard Edition ($59.99), Deluxe Edition ($69.99), and Super Deluxe ($99.99). The Deluxe Edition grants access to additional digital goodies, such as armor, booster packs for multiplayer, and a pet space monkey. The Super Deluxe Edition is digital only and comes with everything in the Deluxe Edition, plus “a [multiplayer] Premium Pack coming your way every week, for 20 weeks.”

pathfinder

No Man’s Sky Adds Massive Pathfinder Update

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No Man’s Sky is one of the most controversial games in recent memory. Its launch last year was fraught with drama, both in technical execution and content delivered. Then, complete silence by the developers for several months. Last November, Hello Games released their first post-launch patch, The Foundation Update, which added planetary base building. The next big update just arrived, titled Pathfinder. The 1.2 patch adds planetary vehicles, base sharing, permadeath, new weapon mods, and more.

Three new moon-rover style vehicles called Exocraft have been added. They come in three different flavors, light, medium, and heavy, with the light Nomad able to glide over water. You can acquire Exocraft by hiring a Technician to your planetary base and completing their missions. Like spaceships, Exocraft can be equipped with scanners, mining lasers, weapons, and speed boosters.

Once you have your Exocraft you can also map out your own race courses using the new Race Initiator. Other players can attempt your course through the new base sharing feature. Custom built planetary bases are now available to upload and share via the Steam Workshop.

The Pathfinder update also doubles the customization options for your bases. Over 40 new parts have been added, as well as new textures and decals.

Starships have been given a big boost. Now you can finally own multiple starships in a large freighter. Ships have also been rebalanced into four different specializations: Fighter, Shuttle, Hauler, and Explorer. Each ship will then have a different class rating, from A to C, and the top-of-the-line S class. Weapons have also received a a similar specialization and class rebalance.

Other new updates include an overhaul to the game’s graphics, including better Ambient Lighting, Ambient Occlusion, and higher resolution textures. Support for the PS4 Pro has been added with 4K resolution. New weapon mods, a more hardcore Survival Mode with Permadeath, and an Instagram-like Photo mode with filters are all in this massive Pathfinder update.

What do we think? Is it enough to jump back into No Man’s Sky and give it another try, or has that proverbial starship already sailed on past?

pax east logo

PAX East 2017 Takes Place This Weekend in Boston

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The eighth annual PAX East gaming convention begins today, March 10, and runs through the weekend. PAX East is held in Boston at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

Since 2010 PAX East has rocketed in popularity, selling out every year to become one of the biggest gaming conventions in the U.S. (along with PAX West in Seattle).

If you’re not attending PAX East, don’t fret. We live in the age of live streaming, and Twitch.tv has you covered. No less than four different channels will broadcast various games and panels of PAX East. See the full schedule for the weekend here.

The keynote speaker for PAX East 2017 is game designer Jake Solomon, Lead Designer for XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2 at Firaxis. The keynote speaker is the first panel at every PAX. Solomon will take the stage of the Main Theatre at 10:30 AM EST. You can watch it live on Twitch.

This year’s PAX Arena at PAX East will feature Rocket League and For Honor on Friday, Brawlhalla on Saturday, and close out with Super Smash Bros. 4 on Sunday. Live stream begins at Noon Eastern today.

More than 100 publishers will have booths on the massive show floor this year, from the big guys like Bethesda and Nintendo to the Indie Megabooth. Stay tuned for any major announcements and reveals.

Banner Saga 3

Banner Saga 3 Kickstarter Ends With Over Double the Funding

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A few indie developers have found continued success via crowdfunding over the last several years. Stoic’s Banner Saga series is a prime example. The extra-long 40-day Kickstarter campaign for sequel Banner Saga 3 raised $416,986, more than twice its initial goal of $200,000. A little over 8,000 backers contributed.

“The support from backers and the community has been amazing, and it’s humbling to know that RTS fans around the world really want to support us,” said John Watson, co-founder at Stoic. “The additional funds will be invested into bringing as much of our intended vision to the final game and rewarding our backers’ support with an unforgettable experience to conclude this epic tale.”

Banner Saga 3 will represent the final journey of the harrowing tactical series. The series is set in a world based on Norse viking myths. It’s also a world on the bleak of apocalyptic destruction. The story features many tough moral choices and decisions you make during your journey, many of which decide who lives, who dies, and who joins your party of warriors.

The original Banner Saga was among the first wave of video game crowdfunding successes on Kickstarter, back in 2012. It raised over $700,000 from over 20,000 backers. The tactical-strategy game brilliantly combined Oregon Trail-like structure with grid-based tactical turn-based battles within its uniquely dark setting.  It won Best Debut from the GDC Awards in 2014.

Banner Saga 2 launched last year and was similarly critically acclaimed. Funding for that sequel was made possible by the over-funding and sales from the first game.

A number of Stretch Goals were unlocked during the Banner Saga 3 campaign. Stretch Goals include playable Dredge, Survival Mode, “Ubin Lives,” and an all-new Eternal Arena game mode. Note that the Eternal Arena will be added post launch.

Banner Saga 3 is listed with an Estimated Delivery of December 2018. As always, consider that the extreme earliest date possible.