Shacknews - Brittany Vincent

If you're looking to make a move within the Oculus game, you might be interested in purchasing a bundle rather than going for the headset only.

Today Oculus has announced the first series of Oculus Ready PCs from Dell, ASUS, and Alienware. Beginning February 16 you can start preordering these PC and Rift bundles from Amazon, Best Buy, and the Microsoft Store.

Bundles begin at $1499 and each include an Oculus-certified PC with an Oculus Rift headset, sensor, Xbox One controller, remote, Lucky's Tale, and EVE: Valkyrie Founder's Pack. If you already went ahead and preordered a Rift, you'll get a discount on a PC if you choose to pick one up.

Are you ready to get all VRed up?

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Over the holiday break, rumor started hitting that Final Fantasy 9 would come to mobile devices. Square Enix confirmed that announced days later and it now appears that the mobile version of the JRPG classic is ready to go.

For those that don't remember the original 2000 game, Final Fantasy IX follows the story of Zidane. After he and his theater troupe abduct Princess Garnet, they're quickly confronted with a powerful new threat named Kuja that seeks to destroy their entire world. There are some noticeable differences with this version of the game, including autosave and the addition of high-speed and no encounter modes. Graphics and cutscenes have also been given a makeover for more modern times.

A Steam version is coming, but that's not quite ready yet. Those looking to pick up FFIX can pick it up now on the App Store or Google Play for $16.99, but maybe hold off on doing that for a moment. Both stores are pointing to a 20 percent promotional price drop to celebrate the game's launch, but the discount period isn't set to kick off until tomorrow, because... um... hey, look, a trailer!

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Street Fighter 5 will be welcoming Alex from Street Fighter 3 as its first downloadable character next month and will support PlayStation 3 fight sticks and FightPads.

The report comes from one of Spain’s largest video game portals, Meristation, who appears to have leaked the information prior to an apparent embargo as the link to its story has since been removed. Luckily, members of NeoGAF were quick to pick up the information, even publishing screenshots of the PlayStation 3 controller support option within the game’s menus.

The screenshot, which you can see above, mentions players will need to register the PlayStation 3 controller in order to use them within Street Fighter 5. Both players can register their PS3 controllers, as well as restore the game’s default settings.

Another NeoGAF member notes Alex’s arrival might mean a previously-released image that shows the Street Fighter 5 2016 season pass lineup may hint as to when we can expect additional characters to be released. The image shows Alex as the first downloadable character, followed by Guile, Balrog, Ibuki, Juri, and Urien. This could mean we can see the following characters released in the coming months within the following schedule:

  • Alex (March)
  • Guile (April)
  • Balrog (May)
  • Ibuki (June)
  • Juri (July)
  • Urien (August)

We’ve reached out to Capcom for comment and will proceed to update this story accordingly.

Update: Capcom has confirmed the majority of information in our story in their response for a comment. "We can confirm that Alex will be the first DLC character and he will be available in March," Capcom says. "In terms of the release schedule after that, we haven’t made any announcements. Additionally, the final version of Street Fighter V (on PS4) will be compatible with PS3 controllers."

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

There’s been a rise in brutally difficult games lately with games like the Dark Souls series gaining popularity. The reason for this is how rewarding it feels to complete one of its many nearly-impossible tasks, and Titan Souls is no different as it’s you against a number of Colossal Titans with nothing more than a solitary arrow.

Titan Souls is a deceptively simple and straightforward game as you’re a hero who is armed with a bow and a single magic arrow. The arrow can be fired and recalled at the player’s command, and with your ability to roll on the ground to dodge attacks, you have the very basic tools to take down a number of huge titans. How big? Well - some can often take up a great majority of the playing area, and it’s up to you to find its weakness in order to progress.

Titan Souls can be played on any of NVIDIA’s Android products, but we recommend playing it on the SHIELD Android TV as you’re going to want to have the comfort of a game controller if you want any chance taking down these colossal titans.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

It's Valentine's Day week, so whether you've got a special someone or you're hoping to celebrate the joys of being single, there seems to be some Rock Band 4 DLC for you this week. The latest offerings from Harmonix include tracks from Bruno Mars, J. Geils Band, Joan Jett, and more.

The following tracks will be sold individually for $1.99 each:

  • Bruno Mars - "Locked Out of Heaven"
  • Bruno Mars - "Treasure"
  • Generation X - "Dancing With Myself"
  • Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - "I Hate Myself For Loving You"
  • J. Geils Band - "Love Stinks"
  • masaya matsuura - "speed fighter"
  • Orleans - "Still The One"

These tracks are all available today. So celebrate the joys of Rock Band 4. You may be the only ones.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Plague Inc. has been a name familiar to Shacknews users for a couple of years. It's been an engaging mix of strategy and simulation, requiring users to essentially end the world via pandemic. But for Shackers, it's also recognized as a game released by one of their own, Ndemic Creations founder James Vaughan, better known to Shack circles as jamiejme. Plague Inc.: Evolved has been on Steam Early Access for a while (though it's officially set to launch on February 18), but it also just released on Xbox One last week as a downloadable title.

To help celebrate this launch, Shacknews has some Plague Inc.: Evolved codes to give away to Xbox One users, courtesy of the folks at ID@Xbox. We have four codes that we'll randomly issue out to commenters on this post, so be sure to join the conversation. Tell us what excites you about Plague Inc. or share your best Plague Inc. experience.

We'll also give away a 5th code over on Twitter, so be sure to follow us and retweet the post below for another entry.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Many are still adventuring through Shacknews 2015 Game of the Year The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. But are those people packing the right equipment for CD Projekt RED's RPG or are they heading into battle unprepared? The folks at ESL Gaming have recently been creating videos to help adventurers venture forth prepared and today's focus is on a more fun aspect of the game, especially for PC users: the modding scene.

Among the mods that see the spotlight today:

  • Over 9000 - This is the weight limit mod that adjusts Geralt's weight limit to 9000 without compromising his movement. That mod can be found here.
  • Auto-Loot - This streamlines combat in a big way, as it automatically picks up items from fallen foes. This is particularly helpful when taking on enemies in large numbers. Find this mod here.
  • Debug Console Enabler - This can be used to play around with the world in different ways, whether it's playing around with Geralt's look or spawning in hundreds of monsters while in God Mode. Find that mod here.
  • Fast Travel from Anywhere - Finding fast travel points can be a drag sometimes, but this mod simply allows users to just jump to fast travel points from anywhere in the world. Find this helpful mod here.
  • Young Geralt - Because let's face it. Geralt is... not the best looking guy in the world. Make him more handsome with this mod here.
  • AMM - The Appearances Menu Mod - So the romance novel look for Geralt isn't for you. With the AMM mod, you can shape him to whatever you want him to look like. You can also do the same for Roach. Find that mod here.

To get a look at ESL's favorite mods, check out the video below. Some of them may even look familiar, since Shacknews has previously laid out our own best mods list late last year. (We've included that video below, too, because why not?)

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

The Assassin's Creed Chronicles series has been an interesting couple of side-stories, looking at different corners of the AC universe that the main games just haven't had a chance to look at. While the games themselves haven't been particularly great (if our China and India reviews are any indication), the trip into different historical settings has at least been novel. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia takes a slight step further, not only going into a different period of history, but also stepping into the boots of a previously-established character. Unfortunately, even with that novelty, Russia brings back some of the worst tendencies of the series.

'Russia' puts players into the role of Nikolai Orelov, a character that's previously appeared in an Assassin's Creed comic book series. Much like Ezio Auditore in AC Revelations, Nikolai is at the end of his road, now an old man looking to leave the life of the Order behind him. However, there's a small matter of the Russian Revolution that's currently unfolding around him and amidst the chaos, the Templars have apparently gotten hold of one of the Pieces of Eden. He was just days away from retirement, but that puts Nikolai back on the rooftops for one final job.

For those that haven't made the jump to Chronicles, there are certain elements that set these games apart from their 3D compatriots. The 2.5D setting allows for a more experimental art style, one that maintains the watercolor style of China and India, albeit with an emphasis on grays and reds. The reds are particularly emphasized, since they mark the interactive parts of the stage, like ladders, climbable walls, and more. It's a novel style and one that adds to the game's atmosphere. It doesn't depart from the atmosphere of the cutscenes, either, which are told in brightly-colored motion comics.

'Russia' also introduces two distinctively different characters. Orelov will have his limited arsenal (given the game's brevity, coming in at around 6-8 hours) of a rifle, smoke grenades, and mechanical winch. He'll also bump into Anastasia, the daughter of the deposed Tsar of Russia, who becomes playable, thanks to a neat plot twist that won't be spoiled here. She becomes far more stealth-oriented, since she only has Nikolai's dagger and often won't use it. In fact, if face-to-face with a guard, she'll just stand there and wait to get stabbed or shot. If that sounds frustrating, that's because it is, but that's just the beginning for 'Russia' and its issues.

While there's plenty of novelty in 'Russia,' the game has managed to reproduce some of the same feelings from other AC games. None of those feelings are positive. The frustration factor, the finicky controls, and the many, many cheap fail states all seem to be present, just in slightly different forms. While previous AC frontmen could hold their own should things go south, Nikolai feels brittle, by comparison, often going down in one hit. While that encourages a stealthier approach, stealth is often unforgiving, as it's often hard to gauge whether a foe will decide to just take a glance behind him, just because. Assassinations aren't always reliable, either. Causing distractions is often a crapshoot, since they won't always move guards far enough to make any tangible difference. Assassinations from hiding spaces feel like just as much of a coin toss, as guards will either be in prime position for a takedown or decide on a lark to just look behind your spot to find you, at which point they'll take you down. And yet, even with that, it's possible to cheese a lot of these sequences, as players can hide in vents, behind walls, or outside windows, because in a vast majority of cases, the guards won't come out and search for you. They're complete blind spots, which further creates a feeling on incosistency with the enemy AI.

Now let's take a moment to talk about the sniping objectives, which rank up there with the game's most irritating features. Aside from unconventional controls (scope and firing are tied to the bumpers, not the triggers), sniping feels like a timed objective in itself. When you're scoped in, you're completely helpless. There's no option to duck or dodge at all. You're stuck in the zoomed-in state, so if an enemy lands a hit, prepare to die and start over. That'll happen quite a bit, since it's very easy to miss a shot with the game's iffy shooting mechanics. The sniper sequences become more frequent towards the end of the game and they don't get any less aggravating.

'Russia' does its best to keep gameplay varied, but some of the other additions don't quite work so well. As mentioned, there are several timed objectives that require Nikolai or Anastasia to reach a certain point quickly, but that often just becomes a case of Man vs. Controls, as the game's jumps will often have a mind of their own. This is another case where cheap deaths will be plentiful and less patient players will feel their blood pressure start to rise.

Had 'Russia' stuck to some of the roots of the main AC series, this could have been an interesting departure from the 3D games. But making the main characters feel paper thin while stacking the deck with inconsistent stealth mechanics, fussy controls, and timed objectives starts to make 'Russia' feel like a weekend in Siberia. There are unlockable upgrades for those that can complete runs without being spotted and there's an intriguing story for fans of AC lore, but this one won't really call for more than one playthrough.

Shacknews - Brittany Vincent

If you're an avid Metal Gear Online player looking for some additional DLC content, you might want to pay attention. Konami has announced an upcoming update package releasing this March known as Cloaked in Silence.

The Cloaked in Silence package comes with three new maps to explore in multiplayer, including Coral Complex, Rust Palace, and Azure Mountain. All three offer various riffs on the typical Metal Gear Online terrain, and range from a cluster of buildings to dedicated Mother Base environments. But you'll probably want another buddy character to go along with the new locales, right?

Cloaked in Silence adds on Quiet as a playable character, and you can use her quick movement speed and sniping skills as well as jumping abilities to take out the competition. She can also cloak her visibility while sprinting.

Aside from this content, which you'll have to purchase, Konami has announced a free update that'll release alongside Cloaked in Silence. The update contains a new competitive mission called Sabotage, where one side must destroy or fulton an enemy missile before the end of a round.

The Cloaked in Silence map will net you three maps and Quiet and will release for $3.99. In addition, you can purchase three $1.99 Appeal Packs, or essentially a set of character poses, the same time this DLC package releases.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Ubisoft has announced an open beta for The Division will begin on February 19 to February 21 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC and can proceed to pre-load it starting on February 16. Xbox One owners will have exclusive 24-hour early access beginning on February 18.

The open beta will test the game’s systems further as well as provide player feedback which will benefit the game experience at launch. Players can expect an all-new story mission for players to explore, and participants will receive a special in-game reward, which will unlock for players once the game is launched.

We first learned an open beta would be available earlier this month as a promotional image leaked ahead of Ubisoft's official announcement. Its closed beta took place in late January and received an extension, which was a good thing considering it was nearly filled to capacity. With the open beta launching next week, we're curious to see how Ubisoft's servers will handle the load of new players attempting to access The Division's open beta.

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