Shacknews - David Craddock

Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft's digital subscription service that lets you play hundreds of Xbox One and Xbox 360 games, will launch on Thursday, June 1, for $9.99 a month. The service will offer a 14-day free trial, and Xbox Live Gold subscribers can sample the service starting today.

You'll need an Xbox Live Gold subscription on top of a sub to Xbox Game Pass to use the service. As of today, there are already over 100 games available to play. The main difference between Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now is that you download rather than stream the games on offer. "For gamers, this means endless play of full-fidelity gaming experiences without having to worry about streaming, bandwidth or connectivity issues," explains Parimal Deshpande, director of Xbox product marketing, in the announcement published on Xbox Wire.

Announced back in February, Xbox Game Pass is off to a strong start. Some of the titles you can play starting today (if you subscribe to Xbox Live Gold) include all three BioShock entries, Halo 5, NBA 2K16, Resident Evil 0, Gears of War Ultimate, and the first three Gears of War games on Xbox 360.

"Our commitment to an exciting catalog goes well beyond launch," says Deshpande. "Each month, Xbox Game Pass will add a new set of games to the catalog so there is always something new to play across a diversity of experiences, genres, ratings and more."

You can view the full list of games, and sign up for services such as Xbox Live Gold or your 14-day free trial of Xbox Game Pass, on Xbox.com.

Shacknews - Shack Staff

When it comes to games that require you to progress to get better skills or gear, leveling up is very important. Injustice 2 is no different, so the quicker you gain XP, the faster you will level. Injustice 2 matches offer experience points, as does most of the single-player content. But doing it efficiently and quickly will get you leveled up fast. Here's how to do it.

Bonuses Through Equipment

Lots of Injustice 2 items give XP bonuses. Some are straight adds to the base XP, while other will give XP if you meet certain conditions. Granted mixing and matching may not give your character the most dapper look, but if you are trying to level fast, you will need to sacrifice the GQ image for equipment that grants the most experience. If you are lucky, you can find a good piece that looks good with your set, while granting solid XP at the same time..

Getting Good in Matches

Most matches in Injustice 2 will grant some form of XP, but the better you perform, the more XP you will get. Using a variety of moves and combos will grant you better experience than using the same move or single moves repetitively. Combos that do a lot of damage or meter-burning special moves, couple with a super move, will give you the most experience once the match concludes.

Single-Player Story Mode

You can choose you difficulty level in the single-player story mode content, and the higher the difficulty, the more experience you will get. Of course, you need to be up to the task, as higher difficulty could mean more failure, frustration and a stagnant XP level. But just be aware that max difficulty will give the best XP

Opening Your Wallet

Source Crystals are a big part of Injustice 2. Once you hit level 20 with one character, you have the option of using 10,000 Source Crystals to get another character to level 20. Seeing as you tend to get them rather slowly, you can spend real cash to get crystals and save time on leveling in game. Here are the source crystal prices:

  • 2,000 for 99 cents
  • 11,000 for $4.99
  • 23,000 for $9.99
  • 50,000 for $19.99
  • 150,000 for $49.99

For more on Injustice 2, check out how to unlock Brainiac and Darkseid, along with the finer points of special move cancels.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Ubisoft has released yet another tease for Far Cry 5 leading up to this Friday's announcement, and it sheds a little (but only a little) more light on what's going down in the fictional Hope County, Montana.

In a scene reminiscent of The Last Supper, we get an apparent cult leader surrounded by willing supplicants who are armed to the teeth. The religious zealotry is evident in both the church in the background and the word "sinner" carved into the back of a kneeling victim. And while these individuals could easily be mistaken for alt-right extremists, it appears they have a pretty different 'Murica in mind, since the stars on the flag have been replaced by the cult's symbols. Their own flag is also flying above the American flag, implying devotion to one over the other.

Further digging into the picture reveals a variety of weapons and enough ammo for a small war, the possibility of airplanes as a plot point and a wolf that looks like it would be just as comfortable eating human flesh as the steak that has been speared by a knife on the table. Heck that steak could even be human. Who knows? Ubisoft definitely isn't telling yet.

The image is the latest tease after a teaser video that showed off the sprawling vistas of Montana. Looking closely at the video, though, something ominous happens in each scene. The placid mountain vista is interrupted by a scream, sending birds flying. The peaceful sound of a running river is interrupted by a gunshot. A man running through a field of high grass is dragged down by an unseen force (maybe the wolf). And in the final scene, as the strains of Amazing Grace waft in the background, an armed man is banging the head of another individual into the church bell.

For the love of God, Ubisoft, just tell us already. We'll join the cult, we promise, but only after they pry the weapon from our cold, dead fingers.

Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich - John Keefer

The most recent update to Final Fantasy 15 has included a survey from Square Enix, seeking to gauge what interests fans when it comes to DLC. Just be warned that the publisher isn't committing to actually including the choices with the most votes in the game, but that they "may be included in future updates."

Note that there could be spoilers ahead if you haven't finished the game.

The survey, which can be found under the "Special" area of the main menu, includes selections for additional playable character, such as Cor, iris and Lunafreya, to more story content, such as Cor's activities, Ardyn's past or Ifrit's betrayal. There is even a choice for a harder difficulty mode.

All of the previous Final Fantasy XV updates have been free, and any other DLC planned would likely follow the same format. Gladiolus got a story update in March and Prompto is expected to get one in June. Ignis will also get a story update, and a co-op multiplayer expansion called Comrades is also planned.

Shacknews - John Keefer

We haven't heard too much about Crackdown 3 for Xbox One since it was delayed to sometime later this year to work on its campaign. But luckily, we get new tidbits here and there, and one of this is that the  "hyper-powered sandbox of mayhem and destruction" will also be coming to PC.

In response to a fan query on the possibility of Crackdown 3 being a Play Anywhere title, the game's official Twitter account confirmed that, yes, you will be able to jump into the game with a mouse and keyboard. As E3 approaches, developer Reagent Games says it will have much more to share soon. "The mood in the air is palpable. We're getting closer and closer to sharing so much with you. Hope you're ready!" it said via Twitter.

Crackdown 3 is one of the primary Xbox One games due out in 2017, a year that Microsoft has said will be "a different year" for the company in the games space. This is no Gears of War or Halo FPS planned, and Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2 and Sea of Thieves are expected to be the major releases on the platform this year, along with Project Scorpio.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

E3 is right around the corner, which means we're getting the usual spate of leaks and pre-seeded announcements to prepare for the big event. Before we look to the future of the industry, though, we're going to take stock of the past. This week the Chattycast talks about the long, rich, weird history of E3–from a relatively small tech retailer show to a press bonanza to its current amorphous press-fan hybrid. 

Come watch live today at 12 noon ET / 9 AM PT.

Shacknews - Shack Staff

Injustice 2 has a few different currencies, used to unlock and purchase different things. One that is more hard to come by is the Source Crystal, which is used to purchase items and even level up your character. This guide will show you the most efficient way to collect them.

Uses

Source Crystals are mainly used to purchase alternate skins and shaders for the games roster of characters. Once you’ve gotten a character to level 20, you can pay a lump sum of Source Crystals to directly upgrade another hero to level 20.

Getting Source Crystals

Playing through the story mode and leveling up your profile is probably the simplest way to obtain Source Crystals. We must make it clear that your profile level is different from the level of your various characters. Profile level can be found on the Hero Card. Every time you level up, you receive a certain amount of Source Crystals. This number changes as you reach different levels:

1-19: 100

20-39: 150

40+: 200

Another cost-effective way to earn Source Crystals is by playing through the Multiverse and completing challenges. Check the rewards tab on a Multiverse mission or daily challenge to see if they offer Source Crystals as a reward.

There is one last way to earn Source Crystals, but we can’t really say that it’s “cost-effective.” For those of you who don’t mind digging into your pockets irl, you can purchase Source Crystals through micro-transactions. The prices in both the PSN and Xbox Live Marketplace are as follows:

2K Source Crystals - $0.99

11K Source Crystals - $4.99

23K Source Crystals - $9.99

50K Source Crystals - $19.99

150K Source Crystals - $49.99

Keep an eye on our Injustice 2 guide hub for more walkthroughs such as Injustice 2: All Story Chapters Revealed and How to Unlock Brainiac and Darkseid.

Shacknews - David Craddock

8bitdo, manufacturer of find retro goods like throwback gamepads, has updated its classic controllers to work with Nintendo's Switch console. All of 8bitdo's controllers are wireless, which means you now have numerous sturdy and affordable alternatives to first-party controllers such as Nintendo's Pro Controller.

Getting an 8bitdo controller synced to your Switch isn't quite at plug-and-play levels of simplicity, but the process is far from complex. First, you'll need to update your 8bitdo controllers—those being the FC30, FC30 Pro, NES30, NES30 Pro, SFC30, or SNES30—to the company's 4.0 firmware version. To do that, head to 8bitdo's support pages. Assuming your controller is charged, get close to your PC and hold the Start, L, and R buttons until the LEDs start flashing. Follow the on-screen connections to connect the controller to your computer and download your controller's firmware update.

Last, you'll need to make sure your Switch is running a system update from 1.0 through 2.2.0. Once your console and 8bitdo controllers have been updated, you can enjoy Switch games using classic-style controllers.

If only Nintendo's Virtual Console service was up and running, no?

Shacknews - Shack Staff

Injustice 2 pays tribute to the history of fighting games by providing you with an ability called Special Move Cancel. The Special Move Cancel technique allows you to interrupt one of your regular attacks, such as a punch or kick, and flow seamlessly into one of your character's special moves. You can even perform a Special Move Cancel in mid-combo.

All you need is a sense of timing, knowledge of the button presses required to pull off your special move of choice, and the dexterity to press those buttons quickly.

How to Perform a Special Move Cancel

The technical intricacies of Special Move Cancels involve a deep dive into animation frames and the timing of animation cycles. It's an interesting subject, but you don't need to get bogged down by technical jargon and explanations to pull them off. Quite simply, you perform Special Move Cancels by inputting a special move immediately after performing a regular attack or a combo.

Timing is key. The idea is to input your special move before your character finishes executing the previous attack, be it a normal move or a combo.

How to Perform a Special Move Cancel from a Normal Attack

Let's use Bane, the man who broke the Batman, as an example. The Mercenary's Elbow special attack is performed by pressing Left, Right, and Medium Attack. The commas between each button indicate that you should press each one in a smooth, unbroken sequence. Go ahead and practice until you can pull it off flawlessly.

All set? Now try cancelling out of a medium attack and then transition into a Mercenary's Elbow. Here's how to do it: Medium Attack + Left, Right, Medium Attack.

The plus ("+") between Medium Attack and Left indicates that you should beginning inputting the controls for the Mercenary's Elbow special attack immediately after pressing Medium Attack.

Keep practicing this sequence until you've got it down pat.

How to Perform a Special Move Cancel from a Combo Attack

Pulling off a Special Move Cancel during a combo offers a number of strategic advantages, the largest of which is this: since you can cancel out of almost any part of a combo, your opponent stands a low chance of anticipating it.

Start off by learning two combos for your hero (or villain) of choice. Now look at breaks in the combo and determine where you could insert a Special Move Cancel to transition from the combo sequence into a special attack.

Referring back to our pal Bane, his Hard Time combo is as follows:

Light Attack, Light Attack, Medium Attack, Down, Light Attack

Special Move Cancels work best if you plug them in immediately following any attack button such as Light Attack or Heavy Attack. Try cancelling out of Hard Time by sticking a Mercenary's Elbow after the third attack:

Light Attack, Light Attack, Medium Attack + Left, Right, Medium Attack

Now try inserting a Mercenary's Elbow after the second attack:

Light Attack, Light Attack + Left, Right, Medium Attack

Remember, Special Move Cancels work with almost any combo. Experiment with your favorite character's regular and combo attacks to determine when and where to use cancels.

Magicka: Marshlands Trailer - John Keefer

Looking for a new monitor to go with your new kick-ass gaming rig that has a high-end video card? Maybe one with a curved 35-inch display and 3440 x 1440 resolution? Throw in a 100-120 Hz refresh rate and Acer may have just what you are looking for.

The new Acer Predator Z35P is a major upgrade to the Acer Z35 from about two years ago. The resolution is much higher, since video cards can now handle it, although the refresh rate (even overclocked to 120 Hz) is lower, but still above what gamers need and what non-gaming monitors offer.  

Here is a full breakdown of the specs (courtesy of Anandtech):       

Panel 35" AMVA+
Native Resolution 3440 × 1440
Maximum Refresh Rate 100 - 120 Hz
Response Time 4 ms GTG
Brightness 300 cd/m²
Contrast 2500:1
Viewing Angles 178°/178° horizontal/vertical
Curvature 1800R
Color Gamut 100% sRGB (?)
Dynamic Refresh Rate Tech NVIDIA G-Sync
Pixel Pitch 0.2382 mm × 0.242 mm (?)
Pixel Density 106 PPI
Inputs 1 × DP 1.21 × HDMI 1.4
Audio 3.5 mm input/output2 × 9 W speakers
USB Hub 4 × USB 3.0 Type-A connectors1 × USB 3.0 Type-B input
Power Consumption Idle: 0.5 WActive: 65 W

Amazon is currently taking pre-orders for the monitor, which runs around $1099.99. Delivery is estimated to take one to three weeks.

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