Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

It's Black Friday, so it's time to start looking out for the best deals across all online retailers. Amazon and Steam seem to be leading the pack with great discounts, but there are also several other stores that are offering flash deals that will last for today only. Those shops include the Humble Store and the all-new Direct2Drive. Keep a close eye out on what's out there, but for a brief taste of what's available, check out the list of deals below.

But first, a word from Shacknews Deals.

Here's our selection of this weekend's PC deals:

Amazon

Bundle Stars

Pay $3.49 for Eador: Masters of the Broken World, Battle Group 2, Eador: Genesis, Supreme Commander: Gold Edition, Jagged Alliance: Gold Edition, Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal, and Planet Stronghold.

Or pay $3.49 for Wickland, Waves, Enemy Mind, Guns and Robots: Terminator Pack, QbQbQb, Chuck's Challenge 3D (w/soundtrack + DLC), Panzer Tactics HD, Spoiler Alert: Collector's Edition, and Tiestru. These activate on Steam.

Or pay $3.99 for Scania Truck Driving Simulator, Bus Driver, Euro Truck Simulator, Ski Region Simulator: Gold Edition, Rulers of Nations, Trucks & Trailers, Farming World, and Taxi. These activate on Steam.

Direct2Drive (formerly GameFly Digital)

  • Direct2Drive is celebrating its relaunch with new flash sales every hour. Check out the latest deals on Direct2Drive.

GamersGate

GameStop

Get Games

GOG.com

  • Epic Anniversary Promo (Unreal Gold + Unreal Tournament GOTY + Unreal 2: The Awakening + Unreal Tournament 2004 Collector's Edition) - 4 for $7.96 (80% off)
  • Two Worlds 2: Epic Edition - $5.99 (70% off)
  • Jagged Alliance 2: Wildfire - $1.79 (70% off)
  • Other games in GOG's Tip Top Topware promo can be found here.

Green Man Gaming

Humble Bundle

Pay what you want for Dreamcast Collection, Nights Into Dreams, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, the Total War: Rome II Caesar in Gaul DLC, and the Football Manager 2015 Miles' Tactic DLC. Pay more than the average $3.73 to also receive Empire: Total War and Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies: Oberkommando West. Pay $12 or more to also get Total War: Shogun 2 - Fall of the Samurai. Pay $50 or more to get an exclusive Dreamcast t-shirt. Select soundtracks included. All games work on Steam and are Steam keys are available with a $1 minimum.

Or pay what you want for six Pinball FX2 tables: Star Wars Pinball Balance of the Force, Excalibur, Mars, Doctor Strange, Captain America, and Civil War. Pay $6 or more to also get three more Pinball FX2 tables: Deadpool, Marvel Pinball Vengeance and Virtue, and Star WarsPinball Heroes Within. Select soundtracks included. All games work on Steam and Steam keys are available with a $1 minimum.

Steam

As well as regular discounts, Steam has a couple of additional weekend deals.

Shacknews - John Gaudiosi

Publisher Kemco and developer EXE Create have brought the role playing game Alphadia Genesis to mobile devices. The game makers have worked closely with Nvidia to bring a more console-style experience to mobile gamers on Shield. The game has also been optimized to work on Android TV. Shuhei Nobuki of Kemco Games explains how the developer worked with Nvidia to bring this old-school RPG to mobile gamers in this exclusive interview.

What were your goals heading into this game?

We wanted to offer the same playability and gaming experience that exist in a console game.

What’s the storyline in this mobile game world?

Alphadia Genesis is an adventure game with themes of discrimination, persecution and the struggle of magical-artificial beings called Clones. There’s also the theme of love and friendship overcoming such negative things.

Can you talk about the gaming experience and how it utilizes tablet and smartphone functionality?

It’s a completely stress-free touchscreen interface during movements with easy command and target inputs.

What does your game bring to the genre?

Tradition. It has good old-school elements for a new generation of RPG gamers, as well as brand new and responsive playability.

What excites you about what you can accomplish in mobile gaming today?

I like the ubiquitous nature of mobile, which allows players to enjoy high-quality RPGs everywhere, whenever they want, on any device.

How do you feel you're pushing things forward with this game?

We are confident because RPG is one of the strongest genres, which guarantees a sufficiently long gameplay experience for players who wish to enjoy full gaming experience.

How have you worked with Nvidia on your game?

We received guidance for Tegrazone submission and Shield devices for testing, as well as advice to help make our game compatible with Nvidia Shield. They also provided useful technical advice for the game optimization for Android TV.

How does your game make use of the latest Tegra 4 technology?

We think the technology has been useful for the Unity 3D rendering. It has impacted the gameplay experience across platforms with high 3D rendering performance without any differences on the device, regardless of mobile or console.

What does Shield open up for your game?

Its keypad controls enhance the controllability of our app.

What are your thoughts on Nvidia Tegra K1 technology?

We’re always looking for technical innovation like what the Shield provides.

What do you see Android TV gaming opening up for game developers moving forward?

Developers will be able to provide gaming experiences, such as fighting games, that cannot be fully realized with the limitations of touchscreens.

What does Tegra K1 add to the equation for big screen gaming experiences?

It will actualize high-quality visual expression in every type of device and will make porting possible without any downgrades.

How do you see mobile gaming evolving moving forward with mobile technology advancing and migrating to the big screen?

Development costs will definitely increase, so a new way of monetization will be necessary to increase developer profits. Since the mobile gaming industry tends to lower the price of digital content, we need to maintain a price standard and find an easier way to monetize content with users.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Killer Instinct continues its second season with another new fighter making his debut this week. This time around, Iron Galaxy has an original creation up their sleeve. It's the mummified warrior known as Kan-Ra. Shacknews was feeling curious about the bandaged behemoth, so we reached out to lead combat designer Adam 'Keits' Heart to learn some more about this new combatant.

Shacknews: Kan-Ra is one of your original creations for Killer Instinct. How did you come up with the concept for the character? And what can you tell us about his back story?

KI lead combat designer Adam Heart: Kan-Ra’s original concept was quite a bit different. It was a loose gameplay archetype idea with a loose character description that, over the course of many brainstorming meetings over many months, evolved into what you see before you now.

His backstory (from the official forums):

Babylon, 559 BC: Kan-Ra is named Vizier, head advisor to the throne.

Over his years of study in this position, he becomes fascinated with the King's enigmatic royal guard – a living bronze statue – and the magic that keeps it alive. From all of Kan-Ra's cautious attempts to observe and study the creature, he deduces that its power source could theoretically keep it alive forever. The thought of being able to study and learn until the end of time enthralls Kan-Ra and feeds his obsession for knowledge.

Scholarly research in the royal libraries into past wonders and lost arts of magic fuels his ambition; Kan-Ra feels that as the smartest person in Babylon only he is qualified to rule. He seduces the King’s wife using a charm spell and begins setting in motion a plan to take the throne by using the Queen as his assassin.

Lacking the power to control the spell effectively, it wears off prematurely. The Queen, thinking herself simply coming to her senses after being seduced by Kan-Ra, is overwhelmed by guilt, killing herself and leaving a note detailing her and Kan-Ra's betrayal.

Enraged, the King has Kan-Ra hunted down and captured by his royal guard, who brings a bloodied a broken Kan-Ra before the throne. The King summons his most powerful sorcerers and curses Kan-Ra with a withering rot- a painful dark magic curse that disintegrates flesh and organs slowly... painfully. Writhing in agony, rotting a bit more every day, Kan-Ra is exiled, he and his ambition doomed to wither away into nothingness.

In exile Kan-Ra uses what little knowledge he has gained of magic to slow the rot. While the King assumes him dead, Kan-Ra's intellect is focused on reversing the rot so that he can have his revenge. He tracks down sorcerers and occultists versed in dark magic, learning what he can. Unable to slow his rot further, he instead places upon himself other curses that work to offset the rot. He seeks out magical artifacts and talismans to ease the pains and ailments these layers of curses cause him, carrying them on him in ever-growing number; a magical balancing act of curses and boons at play throughout his being.

This guy was inflicted with a curse of rot, meant to slowly and painfully kill him. He sought out other dark magic and artificats in an effort to remove this curse, but was only able to slow it. Eventually, by purposely adding additional curses to himself, he was able to halt the rot, though he deals with the agony of his carefully chosen curses every day. He seeks ultimate knowledge and thinks of anyone who would dare oppose him as a joke.

Shacknews: I've seen some cool ranged attacks and some neat counters, but what type of KI player is Kan-Ra best suited for?

AH: Making new characters to add to KI in season 2, we are always looking to fill a gap and appeal to a player type or gameplay type that nothing currently in the game does. Kan-Ra may appeal to fans of trap-based characters, zoners, or grapplers. If you like two of those things, you are almost sure to like him. If you enjoy all three, we think you are in for a treat. We affectionately call him a "Trappler."

Shacknews: Which of Kan-Ra's moves and combos are you particularly proud of? What did you see from him that just made you go, "Ok, that's badass!"

AH: I really like the way he can ping-pong you off of his spikes into swarms and into tornadoes. It's a like a crazy Rube Goldberg of sandy death. Of course, his ranged command throw "Clutch" is totally amazing, and his sand construct Antlion is also pretty damn cool.

Shacknews: What have players had to say about Kan-Ra thus far? And what have players shown you about the character that you weren't necessarily expecting?

AH: We have a really scary Kan-Ra player in our QA department, so we haven't seen anything surprising just yet. He is a tricky character that will take some time to get the hang of for most players, so it may take a month or two to see his potential start to show in the wild. People seem to really be digging his personality, visual effects, gameplay, and animation. Keep playing him and see what you can discover!

Shacknews: What would you consider to be Kan-Ra's best matchup? And which character is just a nightmare for him to deal with?

AH: Anything we think could change if we learn something about a matchup we didn't know before, but in my opinion Fulgore gives him a hard time, and he gives Thunder a hard time.


Killer Instinct is available now for Xbox One. Season 2 is now available for $19.99, while Kan-Ra is available individually for $4.99.

Shacknews - Brittany Vincent

Most people wouldn’t know what NFC stands for if their life depended on it, but this season is changing that with hot toys that utilize it combine the appeal of physical figures and video games. We’re talking Near Field Communication, a form of wireless connectivity that makes information transfer over short distances easy. It’s the same technology some Android phones use to send pictures and other files to each other by pressing them against each other.

The series of Skylanders games and toys by Activision started the craze of utilizing small action figures with a NFC chip inside along with a scanner base to unlock characters in a video game, and things have only grown from there. The concept was a huge success and was quickly adapted by Disney for its Disney Infinity series. Last, but not least, Nintendo entered the fray with the Amiibo line of figures, which released just this month.

The plethora of figures lining the halls of the electronics aisle in your nearest department store can be overwhelming. Although each series utilizes the same concept, the NFC figures interact with their respective games differently, they have different prices, and every kid (along with quite a few adults) will be clamoring for them this holiday season. However, the best bang for the buck doesn’t mean that the cheapest solution when it comes to these figures.

Several categories are outlined here, comparing the three series so that you can make the best possible decision for your loved ones... or yourself.

Pricing

Skylanders: The latest edition in the franchise is Skylanders: Trap Team. The starter pack comes with the game itself (which is a necessity), two figures, and two traps with an MSRP of $74.99. Some of the older starter packs can be had for less, but with the holiday push to sell Trap Team, they’re going to be hard to find in stores. The figures themselves typically come in packs of three for MSRP $24.99, or in packs of two, plus a new level for the game at MSRP $19.99. Trap packs are available for $14.99. Older figures can be found for a bit cheaper, and any previous Skylanders character can be used in Trap Team.

Disney Infinity: Disney Infinity’s newest starter packs come in two flavors. You can either purchase the Toy Box 2.0 starter kit which retails for MSRP $59.99 and comes with the Merida and Stitch figures, or the Marvel Super Heroes 2.0 Edition starter pack that comes with Thor, Iron Man, and Black Widow for MSRP $74.99. The individual characters come in at MSRP $13.99, and the playsets which feature two characters and a new set of story levels come in at MSRP $34.99

Amiibos: Featuring recognizable Nintendo characters like Mario, Samus, and Link, Amiibos work a bit differently from other figures in that they not tied to a specific game. Any copy of Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros. Wii U, or Hyrule Warriors will work with or without Amiibos. The figures come in individual packs that retail for MSRP $12.99.

Functionality and Gameplay

Skylanders and Disney Infinity: Both series utilize a base plate that uses NFC to detect a figure. Once a figure is detected, the character the figure is based on becomes playable in-game. The base plate is also used to unlock new levels for both games. Skylanders adds the addition of the trap crystals in its newest game, which are used to capture defeated enemies that players add to their roster. Both games feature a story mode, but Disney Infinity takes its host of features a little further with the addition of the Toy Box sandbox mode, which players can use to make their own adventures with any characters they own adding a much loved injection of replayability and imagination.

Amiibos: Unlike Skylanders or Disney Infinity, Amiibos are not the focus of the games they are used with. Once pressed against the Wii U Gamepad, they can: be imported into Super Smash Bros. Wii U as a CPU fighter and trained by fighting against or alongside the player; unlock new costumes for Miis in Mario Kart 8; or unlock random weapons and items in Hyrule Warriors. Those are currently the only three games that are compatible with Amiibos, but Nintendo plans to expand their functionality toward a number of upcoming titles.

Appeal

Skylanders: While the series has become very popular, none of its all-original characters are going to be very recognizable to adults the way a Disney or Nintendo character would be. Some of the characters have interesting designs, but for the most part it seems to consist of a menagerie of tiny troll-like creatures. The series has more appeal towards kids who are riding the fad and those who have a “catch em’ all” mentality and just love to collect. The amount of Skylanders figures currently available is by far the highest of the three, weighing in at 300+ figures. The game itself is a simple affair, marketed for children, but adults won’t find to much here to enjoy.

Disney Infinity: Disney has been a hallmark of children’s lives for decades and Infinity appeals to children and adults alike. With the faces of Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Man, and others from the Marvel universe alongside Donald Duck, Maleficent, Elsa, Stitch, and friends covering the Disney universe, this series has the broadest appeal. However, like Skylanders, the game itself does not lend itself to adult tastes and is very easy. However, parents might appreciate the Toy Box mode, because it’s a fun way to creatively bond with their kids. Adults will love the nostalgia, but probably won’t stay around for the main game.

Amiibos: Amiibos are great for adults and kids alike, as everyone can recognize the likes of Mario, Pikachu, Peach, and other classic Nintendo characters. Some of the games that utilize the figures may be too tough for smaller kids, but the beauty of this series is that the figures work on a variety of games instead of focusing on one. Mario Kart 8 is great for younger kids, as it has very simple and intuitive controls, while Super Smash Bros. Wii U and Hyrule are great for older kids, teens, and adults, meaning that no one has to miss out on the fun of Amiibos.

Which is Worth It?

Each series has its own strong points. Skylanders has a huge variety of characters, Disney Infinity has nostalgia and creativity, and Amiibos have a wide age appeal and diverse utilization. Out of the three though, Disney Infinity and Amiibos stand out as the best choices. Although Skylanders is the longest running series, it simply has too much of a dollar investment with the gigantic amount of characters (it would take more than $3000 to collect the whole series), and it lacks recognizably unique traits.

Disney Infinity would probably be the best choice for smaller kids (7 and under), as it is tooled around providing the best experience for children that age, and lets them play as their favorite Marvel and Disney characters through a unique and age-appropriate story. The smaller number of figures and recognizable characters means that instead of a constant drive to collect more and more of them, a child can simply pick their favorites and be content. However, adults won’t find much here other than nostalgia, as the gameplay is just too simple to keep mature interests.

Amiibos are great for the teen or adult in your life who plays games regularly or just enjoys Nintendo characters. The are a welcome addition to existing games, and even if a person doesn’t have the games or even a Wii U, the figures are well-made enough to collect without ever touching them to a gamepad. However, the selection of games they’re compatible with, as well as the features they unlock, are not really enough to justify the price if a person wants them solely for their NFC features. This will change down the line as Nintendo releases more and more games with Amiibo compatibility.

Which set will you be buying this season? Let us know in the comments!


Look at you, hacker. Brittany is fueled by horror, rainbow-sugar-pixel-rushes, and video games. Until her dying breath she'll be wielding a BFG made entirely of killer drive and ambition. Check out her work at PfhorTheWin.com. Like a fabulous shooter once said, get psyched!

Shacknews - Shack Staff

Steve Watts

I actually had one more review in the pipe that readers will see next week, but once I wrapped up that gem I was honestly a little paralyzed with choice. At this point in the year, there's just so much I've left untouched it's hard to even know where to begin. Assassin's Creed Unity? Far Cry 4? Smash Bros? Even with plenty of of reviews under my belt, there are still tons of GOTY contenders I've barely even dipped a toe into.

Ultimately it came down to which one I was most excited for: Dragon Age Inquisition. Steven's review really sold me on giving it a go sooner rather than later, and I've barely even left the first area yet. There's just so much to do and see everywhere, I keep wandering around on my way to finish one quest and finding five more. I've heard this runs the risk of making your character overpowered for most of the game, but I wouldn't mind that, because I tend to enjoy feeling just a little superheroic in RPGs.

When I'm not in the mood for shooting magic bolts at demons, Smash Bros for Wii U will probably be the next game I give a whirl. I never made much time for the 3DS version, but the Wii U just seems more full-fledged, and I'm curious to try out these Amiibo figures. I've already imported them into my Mario Kart 8 too, so I can race as a Link- or Samus-themed Mii while zipping around the new DLC tracks.

Steven Wong

I spent an absurd amount of time playing Far Cry 4, but I can already feel the game calling me back for the holidays. I think bouncing between that and Dragon Age: Inquisition may eat up all my time, but the Steam Autumn Sale is happening and I really want to put my new Alienware Alpha to the test, so who knows what I'll pick up?

To be thematic for the holiday, I'll jump into some Don't Starve.

Ozzie Mejia

I should have my Black Friday early access delivery from Best Buy by the time you're all reading this, so I'll be jumping into Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Infamous: Second Son this weekend. This will also be the first chance for me to jump into the Mario Kart 8 DLC. And of course, I will still be on the lookout for Super Smash Bros. lobbies on Wii U and I will be happy to take on all comers.

Daniel Perez

This holiday weekend will be spent bouncing back and forth between Grand Theft Auto V and Dragon Age Inquisition,

I really enjoyed what Rockstar Games has done for the current-gen version of GTA 5 as I can't get enough of its first-person mode as well as all of the extremely detailed visuals. I also now have a reason to sink as much time as I like to level up my GTA Online character beyond level 10 now that the service is actually playable.

As for Dragon Age Inquisition, I've been hearing nothing but positive things about the game, and since I missed the boat on Dragon Age II, I thought I'd dedicate some time to the game this weekend. I already started playing it a few nights ago and only got as far as actually forming my inquisition. Even though my female elf mage is much uglier than I intended for her to be, the rest of the world and its cast are absolutely stunning. The combat also offers a nice mix of fast-paced action and strategy as I can pick and choose exactly what I want each character to do in battle, or I could just go balls to the wall and attempt to kill everything I come across.

Oh, and I'll still be spending some time with the Alienware Alpha, especially with the upcoming Steam sale. I have a feeling I'm going to once again go broke because of Steam's sale, but at least I'll be broke from the comfort of my living room.

Joe Tirado

I will be playing Far Cry 4, while patiently waiting for the Master Chief Collection to work properly. Hiding from killer eagles goes hand in hand with being thankful for family and stuff. Plus, I keep having daydreams that people in the street are going to just randomly start shouting EAGGGGGGLEEEEEEEEE and running away

Andrew Zucosky

Usually, my Thanksgiving consists of my family and I gorging on food then watching one of those sportsball games without fail. And I am by no means a sportsball fan. I just grasped the idea of the ball being covered in pig skin, however I am still hazy on what they did with the rest of the pig (celebratory organ chucking?). Thanks to technology I no longer have to face this problem. I plan on playing Alpha Sapphire a lot on my 3DS, until I at least get 6 badges and have my Mudkip evolve into a Swampert. Then while everyone is enjoying the pop flies in the endzone I'll be using the Wii U gamepad to play Super Smash. And finally, once everyone has been taken hold by the "itis" I will sit down and play Dragon Age: Inquisition until my eyes bleed.

Sam Leichtamer

This Thanksgiving I'll be traversing the new Summoner's Rift in League of Legends. The standard map is completely redesigned and I'm excited to see just how my favorite champions will play on it. I'm looking forward to practicing the new champion, Kalista. My favorite role to play in the game is Marksman and that is just what she is. But she's way cooler than the others because she's a Spector.

Joe Stasio

I'll be playing Dragon Age: Inquisition... or at least doing my best to make time to play it.

Josh Hawkins

I'll be dosing myself up with hefty amounts of Grand Theft Auto V. Not really anything else from my library on my radar right now.

Shacknews - Nathaniel Hohl

It’s finally that time of year. The leaves have fallen, rain is quickly becoming snow, and turkeys have been eaten and pardoned. The holiday season is officially in full swing and there’s no better way to celebrate the holidays than by spending them with the people closest to you. And what better way to accentuate that feeling of togetherness than by sitting down and playing some fun cooperative multiplayer games with each other? Whether you’re using your holiday vacation time to catch up on your backlog or enjoying all of the new holiday releases, there are plenty of co-op multiplayer options to keep you and your friends playing together well into the new year. Below, I have listed some of my personal recommendations.

Dragon Age: Inquisition’s Multiplayer

Dragon Age: Inquisition's multiplayer proves that BioWare is capable of striking lightning twice. Despite the premature doomsaying of critics, BioWare’s first foray into cooperative multiplayer in Mass Effect 3 ended up being a very fun side-activity and Inquisition's multiplayer is no different. Like the multiplayer in Mass Effect 3, Inquisition's multiplayer is all about working together to defeat legions of A.I. foes. Unlike Mass Effect 3's multiplayer however, Inquisition's online offering aims to recreate the classic dungeon-crawling experience of a well-played game of Dungeons & Dragons.

Whereas Mass Effect 3's multiplayer tasked players with defending a set area from encroaching foes, Inquisition has them progressing through a randomized linear dungeon. Players can play as several different fantasy classes and unlock new skills, gear, and even new character classes as they amass experience points and gold. Randomized events, craftable gear, multiple difficulty levels, and three different enemy factions to fight keep the mode feeling fresh and BioWare has already stated that, much like what it did with Mass Effect 3, it will continue to support Inquisition’s multiplayer with free DLC updates and special timed events in the future.

If you're looking to play a fun new digital dungeon-crawling experience with your friends without dealing with the extra hassles of dice or pencils or overly complex fantasy MMO’s, Dragon Age: Inquisition's multiplayer might be exactly what you're looking for.

Titanfall’s Frontier Defense Mode

Even though it isn't even a year old, Respawn's online-only sci-fi shooter Titanfall has likely already fallen off many gamers' radars, which is a shame since there has never been a better time to give the game a second look. Not only did Respawn just release a new Deluxe Edition that bundles Titanfall with its three DLC map packs, but the game now includes a dedicated cooperative mode, titled "Frontier Defense", which was introduced in a recent update.

Frontier Defense includes many iconic Titanfall elements such as pilotable Titans, acrobatic pilots, weapon loadouts, and fierce first-person combat. The only difference is, instead of other players, the opposition consists of various A.I. foes. In addition to standard Grunt and Specter opponents, Respawn took the time to create several new types of A.I. enemies such as Suicide Specters, Mortar Titans, and Nuke Titans. These new opponents utilize various tactics, such as Titan rodeos and long-range bombardments, in their mission to destroy the large harvester machine players are tasked with protecting. It may not be the most original co-op concept, but Frontier Defense is a blast to play when you’re working with a well-coordinated team, and it proves just how committed Respawn is to supporting its ambitious shooter.

If you previously wrote Titanfall off as just another twitch-based competitive shooter, you'll be happy to hear that Respawn has taken the time to craft a cooperative mode that perfectly complements the game's unique sci-fi theme and certainly warrants giving the game another chance.

Assassin’s Creed Unity’s Co-Op Side Missions

I know it might be odd seeing Assassin’s Creed Unity on this list, considering the severe technical issues it has been suffering since launch. But, issues aside, the game includes a cooperative mode that finally does the series justice (when it works). Ubisoft's initial attempts at cooperative multiplayer, the dedicated Wolfpack mode featured in both Assassin’s Creed III and IV, are admirable but the premise of racing against the clock to hunt down non-lethal and mostly passive targets has grown stale.

With Unity's co-op side missions, Ubisoft combines engrossing story elements and combat of the series' single-player campaigns with the teamwork-oriented multiplayer elements of Wolfpack mode. The cooperative multiplayer in Unity consists of both standard objective-based missions as well as more elaborate heists, complete with randomized elements that keep the experience feeling fresh through multiple playthroughs. Unity's multiplayer also comes with the added benefit of allowing players to show off their unique versions of protagonist Arno to their teammates thanks to the game’s extensive equipment, skill, and outfit customization systems.

While I wouldn't recommend getting too invested in it now, Unity's multiplayer is definitely one cooperative experience you won't want to pass up if you're a fan of the series. I imagine once Unity is working properly, the co-op multiplayer will only grow more robust in the coming months thanks to the community events and DLC Ubisoft no-doubt has in store.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Exo Survival Mode

It may not include the ranks or unlocks of competitive multiplayer, but Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s Exo Survival co-op mode still offers a fun challenge for co-op fans while also putting the game’s new Exo abilities to good use. Not only can players tweak and utilize various weapons, Exo abilities, and score streaks but in later stages of the wave-based survival mode, enemies start using them as well, adding on a whole new layer of difficulty. If battling against waves of enemies who can boost, hover, and even turn themselves invisible sounds fun to you, Advanced Warfare’s Exo Survival has you covered.

Even better, those who manage to reach the 25th wave of the mode’s final map will be treated to a special easter egg treat that has them scrambling to escape from an undead threat. We may not yet know how the DLC Zombies mode in Advanced Warfare will function but if you consider yourself a truly dedicated co-op shooter player, you can get a sneak peek of just how challenging the game’s undead masses will be. It is a little disheartening to see Call of Duty’s cooperative multiplayer once again receiving the short end of the development stick (co-op fans like earning experience and unlocking things too guys!) but Exo Survival is still a fun and challenging undertaking with a few neat surprises along the way.

If you want to enjoy a little sci-fi first-person shooting but Titanfall isn’t really your cup of tea, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s Exo Survival is another option to consider as long as you don’t care too much about unlocks or permanent progression.

Honorable Mentions: Payday 2, Far Cry 4, and Heroes of the Storm

If none of the above titles tickle your fancy, there are other co-op options to consider, too many to list in one article alone. Here’s an even briefer rundown of my favorites.

Overkill’s co-op heisting sequel Payday 2 recently benefited from a slew of new updates. These updates have added in several new heists (including one based off of Hotline Miami), a boatload of new weapons, two new playable characters (including John Wick of the recent Keanu Reeves movie of the same name), and new “Perk Decks” that allow you to further customize your character. Payday 2 didn’t exactly make a strong showing when it was first released last year but now it’s shaping up into the ultimate cooperative crime-committing experience. Best of all, Overkill is far from done adding new content for the game.

For those who prefer open-world exploration that includes seamless co-op, we can once again turn to Ubisoft. Far Cry 4 has had its own issues since launch though they are mercifully not as crippling as those affecting Assassin’s Creed Unity. The co-op in Far Cry 4 allows players to invite a friend along as they cause destruction and mayhem in the game’s world of Kryat (the friend doesn’t even need to have their own copy of the game if you’re playing on PlayStation 3 or 4). The only caveat is that story missions cannot be played with a co-op partner which means you’re limited to just exploring the world or taking down enemy outposts. Still, if you enjoy getting to explore lush environments and engage in tense first-person gunplay with a buddy to watch your back, Far Cry 4 is a good option to consider.

But what if you don’t care for shooters or action-adventure games? What if you’d rather engage in a co-op experience that requires a little more thought and finesse? Well if you happened to sign up for the technical alpha of Blizzard’s upcoming MOBA Heroes of the Storm, you can still have your co-op cake and eat it too. Heroes of the Storm includes a dedicated co-op vs. A.I. mode that allows you and your friends to mix it up in an accessible yet engaging MOBA environment without the added stress of fighting other players.

Like other MOBA’s Heroes of the Storm is free-to-play, which means the only real commitment you have to make is ensuring there’s enough free space on your computer’s hard drive. If you don’t have access to the Heroes of the Storm alpha, you can also try out other MOBA’s such as League of Legends or Heroes of Newerth, both of which also have dedicated co-op modes.

If you can think of other cooperative multiplayer experiences that more people should play, feel free to share them in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to do fun non-gaming stuff with your friends and family this holiday season!

Shacknews - Steve Watts

This week, the Chattycast crew keeps it lean in preparation for Thanksgiving turkey. Recorded just before the national day of stuffing faces, this Black Friday companion addresses post-turkey-day shopping, diversity in games, this bug-filled season, and memories of family time with games.

Thanks as always to those who provided our topic suggestions this week: kaddar0, ejectorpod, Nerdsbeware, and Amusatron. If you want see your name in lights, keep an eye on Chatty to suggest topics!

Games Discussed:Segment 1: Saints Row, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Tomb Raider, Shadow of MordorSegment 2: Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Assassin's Creed Unity and Rogue, DestinySegment 3: Wii Bowling, Super Mario Land 2, Donkey Kong Country

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Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Telltale struck earlier this week with its unique take on the Borderlands franchise, but Tales From the Borderlands isn't all that on the studio's plate. There's still a Game of Thrones game coming and it now has a release date.

Telltale tweeted earlier today that the first episode of Game of Thrones would arrive next week. "Iron From Ice" will hit PC, Mac, and PlayStation 4 on Tuesday, December 2. It'll arrive on Xbox One and Xbox 360 (as well as PS4 in Europe) on Wednesday, December 3, while it'll touch down on iOS the next day.

Game of Thrones follows the HBO series and will take place between seasons 3 and 5, putting players in the role of the noble House Forrester. If you missed the teaser for the new series last week, we'll present it to you again below.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Just because it's Thanksgiving in the United States doesn't mean the rest of the world stops turning. In fact, the fine folks at CD Projekt Red are offering a handy way to ignore your family while they argue politics at the dinner table. Simply take out your mobile device, because The Witcher Adventure Game is out today.

The Witcher Adventure Game is the board game adaptation of the beloved franchise. Four of the Witcher characters will be available to select, as they run through the world exploring, questing, using diplomacy, and fighting monsters. Players can opt to team up with friends or simply stab them in the back.

The Witcher Adventure Game is available now on the App Store and Google Play store for $5.99. If you'd rather play it on a bigger screen, it's also out today on Steam and GOG.com for a few more bucks.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

If you're out enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday, Nintendo would like you to have something waiting for you when you get back. The second Hyrule Warriors DLC featuring another batch of characters is out today and filled with new additions.

The Twilight Princess Pack features Midna in her true human form, as well as some new weapons and costumes for Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf. The DLC is going for $7.99 or as part of the $20 Season Pass. The latest update also increases the level cap to 150 and allows players to carry 999 of an item.

There's no English language trailer at the moment, likely because... well... it's Thanksgiving. But there is no such holiday being celebrated in Japan, so here's a Japanese trailer!

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