fortnite

Fortnite Extends Competitive World Cup to Creative Mode

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The Fortnite World Cup began last week with a series of competitive tournaments for both Solos and Duos. The ongoing competition will last for 10 weeks and consist of three different tiers: Arena Mode, Semi-Finals, and Finals.

In the new Arena Mode players will need to climb to the top of a leader board to qualify to the Semi-Finals, which take place every Saturday. From there the top 3,000 players will quality for the Finals to compete for a $1 million prize pool. The highest ranked players will be invited to the World Cup Finals, taking place in New York City in July.

This week Epic Games announced that the World Cup is being extended to Fortnight Creative Mode. World Cup Creative will task players with making it through five different trials created via Fortnite’s Creative mode. Each week will feature a new event, beginning April 29 and running through June 7.

Gameplay will need to be recorded and clips submitted using the event specific hashtags on YouTube. The hashtags will be provided when the events officially kick off. Three finalists will be selected from each of the five trials, earning a $5,o00 reward and an invitation to the Creative Competitions Finale in New York City in July.

See the official rules for the Fortnite World Cup Creative here. Note that participants must be age 13 or older.

notre dame

Ubisoft Donating Over $500,000 for Notre Dame; Assassin’s Creed Unity Free on PC

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Earlier this week the world stood shocked as one of the most famous landmarks in the world, the Cathedral at Notre Dame in Paris, France, suffered a devastating fire. Donations from individuals and corporations have been flooding in to repair and rebuilt one of our most iconic landmarks.

French game studio Ubisoft has pledged €500,000 (about $562,000) to aid in Notre Dame’s restoration.

“As the smoke clears on the events that unfolded on Monday at the Notre-Dame de Paris, we stand in solidarité with our fellow Parisians and everyone around the world moved by the devastation the fire caused,” states the press release. “In light of Monday’s events, we will be donating €500,000 to help with the restoration and reconstruction of the Cathedral. We encourage all of you who are interested to donate as well.”

Additionally, Ubisoft is giving away Assassin’s Creed Unity for free on PC, via UPlay. The catch is, well, you’ll need a UPlay account. The free giveaway is also only available for one week, now until April 25.

Assassin’s Creed Unity released in 2014. It took place in France during the French Revolution era of the late 18th century. Notre Dame is a fully explorable location with Unity. Many famous historical landmarks like Notre Dame are painstakingly modeled to be exact replicas of their real world counterparts.

If you’re interested in donating, the French Heritage Foundation has set up an online form for tax deductible donations.

risk of rain 2

Risk of Rain 2 Shows Incredible Promise in Early Access

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I lived through the initial 3D gaming era of the mid to late 90s. Whether for better or worse, most games made the awkward, ugly transition from pixels to polygons. And for every Mario 64 there was, well, a Sonic 3D.

Thankfully we’re far removed from those days. But rarely do we see a series so completely, and effectively transform from 2D to 3D, as I’ve seen in Risk of Rain 2. The sequel was announced and released via Steam Early Access during the Gearbox panel at PAX East, and it’s already fantastic.

The core gameplay of Risk of Rain 2 is almost completely unchanged from the 2013 original. Players select a class and battle through increasingly difficult levels, becoming stronger and gaining new equipment. You battle through alien planets and creatures, while the world continues to throw more and tougher enemies at you. The hallmark of the game was the excellent four player co-op, with the on-screen action reaching truly ridiculous heights of chaos.

The first Risk of Rain was a pixelated 2D adventure.

Roguelike dungeon crawl isn’t exactly a groundbreaking concept. Indie games have been mining that genre for years. But Risk of Rain’s rapid pace and tight shooter-platforming combat made it an easy game to pick up and get sucked into. And I still listen to the most excellent soundtrack to this day.

The systems worked so well that the designers smartly took the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to the sequel. Instead they made one literally world-altering change, creating full 3D levels with Risk of Rain 2.

Clear Skies

Like the original, Risk of Rain 2 plops me down onto an alien world with no pretext or story. The only unlocked class at the beginning is the Commando, who is armed with a pair of rapidly firing, never depleting guns. I don’t even need to reload. The Commando is armed with three other abilities that operate on a simple cooldown system: a rolling dodge, a penetrating laser blast, and a volley of shots that can stun enemies.

Hostile creatures begin to spawn around me, including fire-ball hurtling lizardfolk, flying fire wisps, and laser-firing stone golems. The goal of each level is to find and activate a teleporter, which spawns an immense and chaotic boss fight. Before then I need to earn money by killing enemies and spend it to open chests scattered around the level.

risk of rain 2

You’ll find a lot of useful items in each level.

Items are completely randomized and almost always provide passive boosts, such as increased critical strikes, firing missiles at nearby enemies, adding additional jumps, or increasing shields. Occasionally I’ll find a special orange item that adds a new ability on a lengthy cooldown, like a massive heal or a huge missile strike.

Collecting these items while defeating foes and leveling up is critical, and needs to be done as quickly as possible. As soon as I spawn into a level the timer begins to tick up, filling a bar from Easy to Medium and Hard, and far, far beyond into hilariously terrifying difficulty levels. As the difficulty reaches new thresholds, harder enemies being to spawn, and in greater numbers.

Time is the biggest enemy. Thankfully getting around each level remains snappy and fun. The 3D worlds are not randomly generated, but that’s probably for the best. Currently there are only a handful of layouts available, including a swamp, desert, and snowy landscape, and they’re generally small enough to memorize once I begin to wander. Most levels offer high vantage points to look out and see the rest of the area, with plentiful jump pads to get around. Given that chests and shrines can be generated in any number of areas, exploring each nook and cranny is both necessary and rewarding.

risk of rain 2

Massive bosses tower over you.

Risk of Rain 2’s other big improvement is modern multiplayer support. No more having to mess around with port forwarding as with the original game. Risk of Rain 2 uses Steam’s friends list to quickly invite players and jump into multiplayer sessions. You can also play online with random allies, for better or for worse. But surviving the never-ending onslaught with friends, as with most games, makes everything exponentially better.

Many of the game’s systems are kept purposefully obtuse. I find out the hard way that the 3D printer requires a random item of my own in order to use it, while the Shrine of the Mountain spawns an extra boss to fight at the end. I had to look up what the hell Lunar Coins are used for, and delved into a myriad of interesting secrets, including how to unlock one of the other character classes.

The primary faults lie with the limited content, particularly with enemy types and levels. Currently Risk of Rain 2 features only about half the content that developer Hopoo Games plans on launching with, after an estimated year-long Early Access period.

Risk of Rain 2 is the perfect genre to take advantage of Early Access. The framework and gameplay are already fun, while more bosses, enemies, and levels will be a very welcome addition. For now I’m still having a blast unlocking new classes and trying completely new play styles. It’s giving me fond memories of the original game while representing the perfect transition into an all new dimension.