Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Killer Instinct is about to take its ranked online play to the next level, as Iron Galaxy is ready to introduce Ranked Leagues with tomorrow's 2.4 update. Today, the developer offered up some more details on this new feature.

Ranked Leagues are a monthly clash to the top, with participants determining their tournament placement after playing online ranked matches. Players will be placed in a bracket of similarly-skilled players, where they'll fight to reach "Killer" status.

"Every Tier game matches players up with similar skill levels," Iron Galaxy's Kraig Kujawa said on Xbox Wire. "Bronzes play Bronzes, Silvers play Silver, and so on. A shiny, new Player Card banner will show everyone the status you’ve reached. As the battles rage on, you can gain or lose Ladder points and Rank Titles, but once you’ve made to a Tier, you can’t fall out of it. No need to stress out about flubbing a match or two! Occasionally, you’ll even match up with someone outside of your Tier, but bonus Tier Points make it well worth your while for you and your opponent to take the risk. After you reach a certain threshold of Tier points, you graduate to the next Tier."

Upon reaching the Killer rank, Ranked Matches become best two-out-of-three, as is the tournament standard. Reaching this ranking will put those players on the monthly leaderboard, while also unlocking exclusive Player Card PRO stars that will separate them as the best of the best.

The 2.4 update will also introduce Aganos to the game, with Ultra Edition owners of the game able to take him out for a spin. Other changes detailed in the Killer Instinct forums include XP system changes, as well as some new skins.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

NetherRealm returned to Twitch to discuss some of the new additions set to hit Mortal Kombat X. Recall that a few weeks ago, the studio alluded to a whole new -ality that would be revealed. That time has come, with Mortal Kombat X set to bring back the hard-hitting Brutalities.

Brutalities were last seen in in the Nintendo 64 version of Mortal Kombat Trilogy. For Mortal Kombat X, the Brutalities will utilize the same principle of beating your opponent to a complete and utter pulp. This time around, however, the Brutalities will end with a gory finishing move that will often leave opponents dismembered in some fashion. Unlike the MK Trilogy Brutalities, NetherRealm is making these more accessible and easier to perform. It should be noted, however, that these finishers are performed towards the end of a match and not after the traditional "FINISH HIM" prompt. Rather, special conditions will have to be filled in order to perform them, much like the old school days. NetherRealm further notes that there are over 100 different Brutalities, meaning fighters will each have more than one Brutality avaliable to them.

NetherRealm also showed off some of the fighting variations for a few of the previously-revealed kombatants. Cassie Cage got to show off her Hollywood variation, which gives her an air pistol attack; her Spec Ops variation, which allows her to call in homing drones from the sky; and her Brawler variation, which adds some extra throw moves, including ones that can be performed in mid-air.

NetherRealm discussed some more details for MKX's Kombat Pack, which will act as something of a Season Pass. This will feature four DLC characters, which are currently in development (which NetherRealm made sure to emphasize are not on the disc), along with some additional skins. The Kombat Pack will come in the game's Special Edition, but also be sold separately.

To get your first look at Brutalities, check out the archived NetherRealm stream below. (The Brutality montage begins at the 18:15 mark.)

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare players are finally getting their chance to check out the game’s first DLC pack, Havoc, as Activision has made it available on Sony’s platforms.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Havoc includes a total of four new multiplayer maps, access to the AE4 directed energy assault rifle, the AE4 Widowmaker custom variant, as well as an all-new co-op mode, Exo Zombies.

Here’s a description to all four of the new multiplayer maps:

  • Core: Deploy to the Gobi desert where the ravaged ruins of a nuclear fusion plant set the stage for a high-octane warzone. Take down enemies through the wreckage in long-range combat or get up-close and personal in the tunnels surrounding the central turbine. Activate decontamination drones using the map-based scorestreak to help clean out the competition.
  • Urban: Prepare yourself for brutal, high-speed combat in Dallas Ward 3, a future mega structure, funneling players into a close-quarters free-for-all. This modular compound's verticality unleashes the exoskeleton's capabilities. Stay focused during the timed event as blast doors alter the map's flow and sightlines.
  • Sideshow: In the shadow of Devil's Tower, Wyoming, this abandoned inn's open layout amplifies its creep factor. Blast your way through the clown inn with close-quarters battles or use long-range site-lines from the mining facilities and natural terrain. Use the map-based scorestreak to activate the lights, music, and magic of the clown marquee and rain down a barrage of rainbow smoke-trailed cannonballs.
  • Drift: An idyllic ski resort high in the Rocky Mountains is transformed into a festive high-altitude playground, perfect for an all-out firefight. Make your way to the highly contested over watch in the glass observation deck or take a ride on the carousel to deliver 360 degrees of carnage. Players can use the map-altering timed event to their advantage as an avalanche of snow and debris disorients players, intensifying the battle.

As for PC players, Havoc is being delayed until next week due to an “unexpected issue” with the platform. As a way to make up for the delay, Sledgehammer Games has turned on double XP for all PC players to enjoy.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Compulsion Games, best known for last year's Contrast, is already hard at work on their next game. It's an unusual and disturbing adventure that will go by the title We Happy Few.

The first teaser trailer takes players into a strange alternate version of 1960s England where all of its citizens wander around with permanently painted-on happy expressions. However, the main character is trying to escape this Twilight Zone-style existence and seeks to escape, only to find that the town's denizens are not nearly as nice as they appear to be.

Check out the first teaser for We Happy Few below. Look for more information about this game to surface next weekend during PAX East.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

NVIDIA is once again getting in on the eSports scene as the company has announced its Hearthstone World Pro/Am international tournament.

Professional and amateur players can register on Nvidia’s eSports website from today until March 19 with group stage gameplay running from March 26 to May 14. The tournament finals will be taking place on May 16 with the top 16 professionals facing off against the top 16 amateurs in a best of five, single elimination bracket playoff.

Players will compete online for a piece of the $25,000 prize pool as well as qualification points to take part in the Hearthstone World Championship. In addition to cash, all pros and the 16 amateurs who make the brackets will be receiving NVIDIA SHIELD tablets.

Premier matches will be streamed on NVIDIA’s Twitch stream with premier live streams happening every Thursday night from 8PM to 12AM PST.

Shacknews - Shack Staff

Harran is a massive cityscape of buildings, alleyways, and streets, all of which are overrun by hordes of the undead. Your task, should you choose to accept it, is simple. Locate and collect all 100 of the Zombie Statues hidden through the city. Upon completion of your mission you’ll be granted with bragging rights, and the nice warm feeling that you’re one step closer to completing 100% of Dying Light.

First up I’d like to take a moment to point out what these statues look like, so as to alleviate any confusion when you’re searching through areas as you play. As seen below, this is what the Zombie Statues look like, they are bronze-colored and feature a sporty-looking zombie holding its hand out, waiting to grab some unsuspecting traveler. Now that you know what they look like, it’s time to get started.


The Tower

Statue 1:

The first statue you’ll find is located on the balcony outside of the room marked “Headquarters” on the 19th floor of The Tower. Once you enter the room, head straight for the balcony, take a left outside, and then another left at the corner to find the Zombie Statue resting beside the radio.

Statue 2:

The second statue is found up on floor 20. Once you exit the elevator take a left, and then another left. Move all the way to the “waiting” area with the pink chairs and enter room 204. Once you’re in the room, head all the way through to the bedroom to find this statue on the shelf beside the little boy playing his handheld.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Anyone that grew up in the late 20th century was excited to hear news coming out of Disney that one of its most revered animated shows would be returning for a whole new audience. Many that were raised in the 80s and 90s fondly remember the old Disney Afternoon and the early days when it was headlined by Scrooge McDuck and his nephews in DuckTales. That made yesterday's shocking news story more exciting than anything else, because given the high quality of some of Disney XD's animated shows, like Gravity Falls and Star Wars: Rebels, there's no reason that older viewers shouldn't be able to enjoy this new show alongside their children.

Before going any further, let's just get this out of the way right now.

Yes, it's the show with the unforgettable theme song. But DuckTales was far more than the world's catchiest opening song. In a decade filled with low-budget animation and nonsense that has since been lampooned by modern parodies, DuckTales was regarded as higher quality for the time period. It was a show filled with thrilling treasure hunts, suspenseful narratives, and some unforgettable characters. With its immense popularity, DuckTales naturally found its way into other aspects of pop culture and, yes, this includes video games.

In order to celebrate yesterday's monumental announcement, Shacknews is looking back at some of Scrooge's tales in gaming, from the obvious (Hello, Capcom!) to some of the more obscure.

DuckTales (1989)

Anyone that remembers the NES era likely remembers this all-time classic. While Capcom was setting its foothold in the gaming world with the Mega Man and Ghosts & Goblins series, the developer also dabbled in certain adaptations. One of the most recognizable was DuckTales.

DuckTales grasped the idea of the show perfectly, playing on Scrooge's desire for the world's rarest valuables. Players would travel to the world's most exotic locations (and even to the moon itself) in search of five great treasures before Flintheart Glomgold could beat him to it. Many of the settings were based on locations seen in the show, while many of the game's characters would make cameos as helpful NPCs.

Capcom recognized the formula to success for a game like this and that was to emulate the Mega Man formula. Scrooge would face similar hazards and some equally quirky enemies, deviously placed in such a way that would require some precision jumps. Levels could be tackled in any order, each with their own distinct theme, before Scrooge would head to Transylvania for one final climactic battle.

DuckTales would find a home on the Game Boy a year, but the NES version would be the one that stood out in players' minds, thanks to its faithful treatment of the license, its clever level design, and its unforgettable soundtrack.


DuckTales: The Quest for Gold (1990)

For as many people that remember Capcom's NES classic, just as many people have easily forgotten Scrooge's sole floppy disk adventure, released in 1990 on the PC, Amiga, and Commodore 64. Subtitled 'The Quest for Gold,' this particular DuckTales game from Incredible Technologies features a familiar premise. Flintheart Glomgold gets in Scrooge's face and insists on determining who the richest duck in the world is. Scrooge accepts this challenge. The race is on for the world's treasures. At this point, the premise sounds strikingly similar to its NES counterpart, aside from the fact that the race would only last 30 days.

However, that's where the similarities would end. For one thing, players would actually have to manually fly to their destinations via short 2D flight sequences. Players would have to watch out for obstacles and while Launchpad's crashes were always a fun part of the original show, crashing before reaching his destination meant losing precious days. From there, players would be placed in different stage types. The caves, for example, would see Scrooge and his party exploring adventure-style labyrinths, while other areas like the jungle would center around platforming. Unlike Capcom's platforming stages, however, Quest for Gold appeared far more primitive.

The Quest for Gold also featured some interesting qualities that the NES version did not. For one thing, the game featured some limited voice tracks. Launchpad McQuack would actually say "Ready to fly, Mr. McD!" prior to taking off on his bi-plane, while Scrooge's nephews would utter a line about reading out of the Junior Woodchuck's Guidebook. The different stage types also offered up some interesting variety, though none of those options proved particularly fun. Also, anyone looking for a soundtrack akin to what Capcom offered would be disappointed by the complete lack of background music. There's a reason Quest for Gold is largely left in the Disney vault and that's because it can hardly hold a candle to its cherished NES predecessor.


DuckTales 2 (1993)

While the original NES DuckTales was a revered classic, it's very easy to forget that Capcom would go on to create a sequel. That's because the sequel would land on the NES in 1993, two years after the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis ushered in the 16-bit era. Despite this, DuckTales 2 proved to be a solid game in its own right.

Many of the platforming elements of the original DuckTales game would remain intact, giving Capcom another chance to show off their level-making prowess. Capcom would also give Scrooge's cane some additional abilities. Players could now push and pull objects, hang onto hooks, and flip switches. It would offer a natural extension of the original's gameplay without overly compromising it, making it a fine extension of what fans of the original enjoyed.

DuckTales 2 doesn't get the same kind of love as the original game, mostly because it was a product of the past. Put aside the fact that it released after the 16-bit console wars had started. Not only had the DuckTales popularity period lapsed, but this game was also released nearly three years after the animated series was canceled. It was a case of "out of sight, out of mind" and it was far too early for nostalgia to kick in. With that said, DuckTales 2 is more of the same DuckTales goodness from Capcom and is something of a buried treasure. And even though the music wasn't as catchy, there were a few gems, like the "Niagara Falls" theme.


DuckTales: Remastered (2013)

Nostalgia for the old Disney Afternoon era was rising in the early part of this decade. However, no one ever expected to wake up on March 22, 2013 to the news that Disney Interactive, Capcom, and WayForward had all come together to bring back the beloved 1989 NES DuckTales with a complete top-to-bottom remaster. But DuckTales Remastered was indeed in the works and with WayForward's history of treating old franchises well (Contra 4, chief among them), there was every reason for fans to get excited.

While restored graphics was fine and all, all parties went the extra mile with this game's presentation. Animated cutscenes, updated music tracks, and even the old surviving voice actors were all trotted out for this update and the final product proved to be everything a DuckTales fan could have wanted. Not only was everything returning intact, but WayForward even added an all-new tutorial stage and a brand-new final level that gives the original story's ending a little more suspense. That final level also offers something of a glimpse of what a fully-original WayForward DuckTales game might have looked like, utilizing its own precision platforming sequences and even some cool graphical touches, like silhouetted art and a sequence in which Scrooge would move forward as Glomgold also moved along in the distant background.

Did I mention the music? Yes, the music was fully restored and better than ever. As an example, let's listen to that Moon theme again, only with a more modern twist.


The Cameos

For as beloved as the old DuckTales show was, cameos were few and far-between in video games. However, Scrooge had a few cameos you may have missed. The big one, of course, is Disney Infinity, where Disney Interactive has sprinkled in elements of the old show. Scrooge's Money Bin is available as a set piece, while Beagle Boy Costumes will lurk around Toy Boy mode as enemies. And while Scrooge isn't available individually, his Costume counterpart is an unlockable part of the Toy Vault and can be used as a prop.

There's still a lot of DuckTales content that hasn't made it in yet, but Disney Interactive hasn't forgotten the show. In fact, they closed 2013 with a special DuckTales Challenge that displayed the Disney Infinity community's amazing creativity.

Scrooge's other lone gaming cameo came in the Kingdom Hearts series, tying together a minor subplot surrounding that world's tasty Sea Salt Ice Cream treat. Sora first bumped into Scrooge in Kingdom Hearts II, where the millionaire duck's latest endeavor saw him trying to replicate the Sea Salt Ice Cream recipe with little success. While this subplot resolved itself neatly over the course of KH2, it wouldn't be the Kingdom Hearts series if there wasn't further backstory. Thus Scrooge momentarily appeared again in the prequel Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, this time with Alan Young returning to voice the character, where audiences would be reminded what makes the old bird such a voice of experience.


Should players expect to see more of DuckTales when this new Disney XD series arrives? Well, given that DuckTales Remastered performed better than Capcom expected, there's plenty of reason to believe that Scrooge will return to video games sooner than later. After all, it would make good business sense and nobody knows business sense better than Scrooge McDuck.

Any other DuckTales memories we may have forgotten? Let us know in the comments.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is set to arrive soon and though the recent trailers have featured plenty of exposition and visual flair, Square Enix is now looking to explain a little more about the actual gameplay with its latest video.

This Type-0 trailer offers more details on controlling the various members of Class Zero, with certain party members specializing in different areas, such as combat or exploration. Combat will focus more on action-based melee assaults, with party members able to utilize customizable magic spells. Collecting 'Phantoma' can reduce cast time, increase magic power, up a spell's range, and more. Party members can also gain summon power that will allow them to call forth massive Eidolon monsters.

For more on what Final Fantasy Type-0 HD's gameplay will entail, check out the video below, which of course, includes a brief glimpse at the Final Fantasy 15 demo that will be included. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD will arrive on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on March 17.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

While Guild Wars 2 prepares for its first expansion, Heart of Thorns, the base game is about to receive one of its biggest changes to date. Today, ArenaNet announced that the game would receive multiple camera options, including the ability to play with a first-person perspective.

An upcoming update will introduce new sliders that will allow players to control how much they can see. This includes a zoom for perspective that can be used to shift into first-person view, a field of view slider that can reveal more of the game world, and a pair of position sliders (horizontal and vertical) that can enable over-the-shoulder view. A collision sensitivity setting will also adjust how many objects need to be between a player and the camera before the camera automatically zooms in, to help prevent nagging camera troubles.

The update is set to prioritize camera position on a character's head, however ArenaNet acknowledges that this could have a negative effect on jumping puzzles. Therefore, an option to adjust the camera to a character's height will be available.

More information about the new options will be revealed on the Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel this Friday, February 27 at 12PM PST. The new camera options will officially be ushered into Guild Wars 2 on March 10.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Far Cry 4 still has some more story-based downloadable content coming its way. This time around, players will return to one of the more memorable points of the game's story and play it out from a different point-of-view. The new tale is called Valley of the Yetis and it will arrive on March 10.

Valley of the Yetis goes back to the moment that Ajay crashed his helicopter along the Himalayan ridge. In order to help Ajay survive, players must set up camp and ward off a dangerous cult. Also, yetis. There are an awful lot of yetis. As Ajay makes his escape, players will learn more about the cult that's out to kill them, as well as learn about the hidden mysteries of the yetis.

Valley of the Yetis is set to release for $9.99, though it is included as part of the Far Cry 4 Season Pass.

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