Eric Watson

Eric Watson

Eric has been writing for over five years with bylines in Dicebreaker, Pixelkin, Polygon, PC Gamer and Tabletop Gaming magazine, covering movies, TV shows, video games, tabletop games and tech. He reviews and live streams D&D adventures every week on YouTube. He also makes a mean tuna quesadilla.

Kunai Review

Posted by | PC, Reviews, Switch | No Comments

Available On: PC (Steam), Switch

Shovel Knight was one of the most popular and well-received indie games of the last several years, lovingly ripping off NES-era pixels and gameplay.

With fun abilities, excellent level designs, and a charming art style, I’m declaring Kunai the Shovel Knight of 2020, though Kunai shoulders the much more expansive (and oft-overused) genre of metroidvania, and not without some significant growing pains. Read More

anthem

BioWare “Focusing on Long-term Redesign” of Anthem

Posted by | News, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One | No Comments

Once upon a time, Anthem was one of the most anticipated games of 2019. It felt well short of the mark. This week BioWare General Manager Casey Hudson confirms they are reworking and redesigning the game. From the official blog post:

We have also heard your feedback that Anthem needs a more satisfying loot experience, better long-term progression and a more fulfilling end game.  So we recognize that there’s still more fundamental work to be done to bring out the full potential of the experience, and it will require a more substantial reinvention than an update or expansion.  Over the coming months we will be focusing on a longer-term redesign of the experience, specifically working to reinvent the core gameplay loop with clear goals, motivating challenges and progression with meaningful rewards – while preserving the fun of flying and fighting in a vast science-fantasy setting.  And to do that properly we’ll be doing something we’d like to have done more of the first time around – giving a focused team the time to test and iterate, focusing on gameplay first.

Anthem is a Destiny-like, online cooperative third-person action game. Players travel and battle in special Iron Man-like suits called Javelins, which have limited flight and can equip different weapons. Critics and fans were not impressed with the lame weapons, forgettable story, and repetitive missions, leading to poor sales and few updates.

Hudson promises to continue to support the current iteration of Anthem with some events, but will “move away from full seasons as the team works towards the future of Anthem.”

It’s not unheard of for large but mediocre games to go through major redesigns and improvements. Notable examples include Final Fantasy 14 (which took three years) and Destiny’s highly lauded third expansion (which took one year). Hopefully Anthem (and BioWare) can find its way again with a new, improved Anthem 2.0.

Phantasy Star Online 2 Beta Opens This Weekend on Xbox One

Posted by | News, Xbox One | No Comments

Eager MMORPG fans outside of Japan will want to clear their schedule this weekend. The Phantasy Star Online 2 closed beta will begin today, at 5 pm Pacific/8 pm Eastern on Xbox One. This will be the first time to game will be playable in English.

The closed beta test will only run for the weekend, and only on Xbox One, ending Saturday, Feb 8, at midnight pacific time. The sequel originally released in Japan way back in 2012 on PC, and has since been ported to PS Vita, PlayStation 4, and Switch, but has yet to make it to the west, until now.

“We are thrilled to kick off the first live testing of the game this weekend,” said Fred White, Head of Marketing, Sega Games. “The teams have been working hard getting ready and while there is still work to be done before launch, we are anxious to get some early player response as well as test out the new servers.”

“Many multiplayer constructs came from the original Phantasy Star Online,” said Phil Spencer, Executive VP of Gaming at Microsoft. “Glad to see the sequel landing on Xbox One and PC!”

Beta testers will be able to earn special rewards, including just for logging in, as well as daily consumables rewards, and rewards upon completing 12-person boss battles called Urgent Quests. Find the full breakdown of events and rewards for the closed beta test here.

Phantasy Star Online 2 is due out as a free-to-play MMORPG on Xbox One and Windows PC in early 2020.

asmodee

Digital Board Games Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne Free on Epic Games Store

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This week, from Feb. 6 to Feb. 13, you can get two excellent digital board game adaptations for free on the Epic Games Store: Ticket to Ride, and Carcassonne: The Official Board Game.

“We leverage our board game DNA, combined with our specific digital expertise to immerse players into amazing stories. Combining the two most thriving categories of entertainment, board and video games, our titles are intellectually rewarding, driven by player choices and set in awe-inspiring universes,” said Pierre Ortolan, CEO, Asmodee Digital. “Because we love to play, craft and publish these kinds of games, we aim to get more and more people on board with our passion. That’s why we’re so excited by our partnership with the Epic Games Store as it enables us to introduce new audiences to the genres we love. For the launch we have selected major iconic digital board game adaptations, offering a premium experience for free.”

To nab the free games, you’ll need go login with your Epic Games account. Then simply scroll down on the store page to the Free Games section. Both games also feature optional paid DLC.

In Ticket to Ride, players take turns drawing train tickets to complete their destination goals, forming routes along the US map. It’s considered a popular gateway game with its simple gameplay and family-friendly theme. You can play single player with bots, or multiplayer online and locally.

Carcassonne is the original tile-laying game where players collectively build up a French countryside, using their meeples to score points off of completed roads, cities, and monasteries. Carcassonne also features single player as well as local and online multiplayer.

The press release also announced Pandemic: The Board Game as a third offering, but it has since been removed, and can no longer be found on the Epic Games Store at all.

The Asmodee Digital version of Carcassonne is also available on Steam PC, Android, and Nintendo Switch. Ticket to Ride is available on iOs, Android, Steam, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.