Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

With 2013's Injustice: Gods Among Us, NetherRealm Studios showed it was more than capable of putting together a solid fighting game featuring the DC Comics pantheon. More than that, the developer capably made it stand out from sister franchise Mortal Kombat with its own distinct features and mechanics. For an encore, Injustice 2 further builds on the foundation set by its predecessor and steps forward as a truly superheroic effort.

For Justice

The original Injustice featured a grand DC Elseworlds narrative of a world ruled by a totalitarian Superman and while that plot featured several twists and turns, Injustice 2's Story Mode seamlessly continues this tale with an easy-to-follow recap. Injustice 2 takes place in a post-Regime world with Superman safely imprisoned and Batman desperately trying to pick up the pieces of a world still shaken to its core. His efforts are quickly stalled by a supervillain gathering, the Injustice world's take on the classic Society, which would herald the arrival of extraterrestrial threat and perennial Superman baddie, Brainiac.

With Batman's team overwhelmed, there's a certain pattern the narrative starts to follow. The heroes have had their differences and it looks like now it's time to come together to take on the real villains. Then everyone hugs it out and everything's okay again? In actuality, much like the rest of NetherRealm's Injustice narrative, things aren't that simple. The story that unfolds surrounds the increasing complexity of the classic good vs. evil conflict, as well as what it means to truly deliver justice. It's an eye into Batman's perfectionist (and somewhat naive) view of what justice should be. It's a continuing look at why Superman has pursued the path that he has (albeit one that does Wonder Woman's character a disservice by making her into a Lady MacBeth type). But more than anything, it's the desire from all sides for things to be the way they were and the heartbreaking realization that there is no going back. Fixing things isn't as easy as remembering that everyone's mother happens to be named Martha.

Of course, between all the deeper themes, there's an outstanding, action-filled superhero story that culminates in epic battles unfolding through cutscenes and through standard gameplay.

One big improvement from the first Injustice game is that the quick-time events of the original story are gone. Instead, they're replaced with chapters that center around two characters. Whenever a fight is cued up, the player selects between one of the two heroes, with some of the story's dialogue unfolding differently depending on the character chosen. The choices take a much more extreme turn towards the end of the game, but the story remains cohesive throughout.

Crisis on Infinite Earths

Besides the Story Mode, Injustice 2 also offers the standard single-player mode, but this one comes with a bit of a twist. Playing off the Brother Eye satellite used in the game's story, Multiverse mode offers up contains the standard Arcade mode, where players take on one opponent at a time. However, there are also other Earths that open up with different scenarios and different opponents. Beyond having their own versions of the game's fighters with their own distinct looks, Multiverse mixes things up by occasionally tossing in game-altering conditions, like hazards, boosts, or souped-up opponents.

Multiverse is a great example of using an online connection for something positive, adding in new worlds every day with a finite time to complete their missions and collect their rewards. Some of those worlds have rarer rewards that are worth pursuing. The game even offers a social element to help make Multiverse hopping a little more fun with the Guild system, where groups of friends can earn rewards by completing specific Multiverse tasks. The whole Multiverse package is a robust expansion of the Arcade Mode concept that gives it a much longer life, though anyone with an offline connection can still play the normal Battle Simulator.

Clothes Make the Hero

Let's discuss those Multiverse rewards. They come in the form of Mother Boxes, as Injustice 2 is the latest game to get into the mystery loot craze. With a full comic book universe to play with, the Mother Box rewards dig into the rich DC Comics lore and give each character a dapper new look. The most interesting element, however, is that each piece of gear offers RPG-style boosts. Some of them offer advantages specifically for Multiverse Mode, while others can help give a little boost during multiplayer. What makes the gear system particularly cool is that it gives the sense that a player's fighter is progressing and growing over the course of invested hours. There's a sense of something to aim for, in addition to the usual character ending and the like.

The one problem with the gear system is that oftentimes, a cool Epic or Legendary item will get opened up, but won't be accessible until that particular figher levels up. And sadly, the characters level up about as slowly as the Batmobile with a flat tire. Getting to actually play with that awesome piece of gear will mean hours of grinding and that's when the Multiverse can start to feel tedious.

There's a sense of accomplishment once that gear is finally available, especially for those that want to take it online or assign it to an AI squad that can fight other players' AI squads in simulated combat. The latter is a particularly nifty feature that adds a fantasy element and a cheap way to earn extra experience or loot.

Of course, those that are looking for a more even playing field can also play multiplayer without gear benefits. After all, some people just want to see who's the better player without fancy toys.

Fists of Fury

Speaking of Injustice 2's fighting system, it feels like a further evolution of NetherRealm's distinct fighting style. A friendly tutorial explains everything in great detail, gently explaining how to perform combos, overheads, throws, specials, and anything else required of a NetherRealm fighter. Dashes and slides can cover much more ground, with environmental cues also helping cover a full screen's worth of ground in a moment, helping quell the rise of trigger-happy projectile spammers.

Given that combos are often the bane of the novice's existence, Injustice 2's eloquent explanation of the overhead and other moves that bounce opponents off walls is a godsend. The game encourages players to experiment with juggles, whether it's a simple light attack combo or a cool special move that catches an opponent in mid-air. This complements the rest of the game's mechanics smoothly, including the theatrical Super Moves and the returning Clash system. The latter goes a long way towards giving the game its identity, even if they start to feel old upon repeated viewings.

For All Seasons

Injustice 2 feels like a step up from Gods Among Us in every way imaginable. It's a far deeper experience, follows up wonderfully on the last game's story, and also gives reasons to keep coming back for repeat visits. The rich cast of fighters all have their own distinct styles, but they're all wrapped up in an easy-to-learn fighting system that's just plain fun to play. NetherRealm has a true grasp of what makes the DC Universe special and this game is as much of a love letter to that world as it gets.

Magicka

Paradox' varied, frequently excellent catalogue of sims and strategy games is on sale on Steam this weekend. 

Highlights include the superb Cities: Skylines, true heir to SimCity's throne, which is 68 percent off. The gorgeous, evolving space 4X Stellaris is 40 percent off. Crusader Kings 2, actually one of the best games in the world, is 75 percent off. Glorious co-op wizard-'em'-up, Magicka, is also 75 percent off.

Also! The huge, excellent ode to cRPGs of old, Pillars of Eternity, is 60 percent off. The moody, challenging rop-down shooter Teleglitch is 80 percent off at £1.79 / $2.59. That's a lot of horror for the price of a coffee.

If you want to dig into Paradox' back catalogue you can grab Hearts of Iron 3 and the complete Crusader Kings 1 pack for cheap too.

Great sale. If you were short of something to sink your teeth into this weekend, any of the above will serve you well.

Community Announcements - [Pdx] Escher
Announcement - Valve
Save up to 75% on Magicka games during this week's Midweek Madness*!

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time

Community Announcements - [Pdx] Escher


STOCKHOLM — Dec. 15, 2015 — Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games for chill people, today released “Ice, Death, and Fury” for Magicka 2, a new DLC set which adds all new ways to play with your combustible companions. The DLC, which contains ice, death, and fury in a broad variety of styles and combinations, is available today for Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs, and the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system.

Magicka 2, the critically exclaimed game that lets you spell “success” using electrified healing steam, can be played in brand-new game modes using the new DLC, and also challenges players to new boss fights and new questionable fashion advice with a new set of robes and weapons. To get “Ice, Death, and Fury,” visit https://www.paradoxplaza.com/magicka-2-ice-death-and-fury

Icy what we did here in this new video sneak peek:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EysTIISb-cw&feature=youtu.be

Magicka 2 brings players a vampire-free co-op action experience, featuring a creative spellcasting system where eight elements can be combined to generate a massive variety of destructive and occasionally productive effects. In the new “Ice, Death, and Fury” DLC set, new challenges and gameplay features have been added to the game, including:

Meet the New Bosses: Do battle with all-new standalone boss encounters, such as Insane Maxi, Mr. Carrot, and The Great Porkolino!!

Be On your Midgard: Use your cunning, creativity, and human-shield friends to survive new scenarios such as “Protect the King,” “Troll Cave,” “Darkness,” and “Old Wizards”

The Robe Warriors: Wear some sweet new wizard robes and weapons, including the “Death Apprentice Robe,” the “Crow Staff,” the “Robe of Riviera,” and a pearl-handled revolver, “Ol’ Trusty Rusty”

For more information on Magicka 2, visit www.Magicka2.com
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

With Magicka, Arrowhead Game Studios showed when four well-meaning but inept wizards try to save the world: co-op antics with a whole load of fun and friendly fire. Surely four sci-fi futuresoldiers would fare better? Ha ha>.

Good news, fans of friendly fire: Arrowhead are bringing their Helldivers [official site] over to PC next month. Released on assorted PlayThings in March, it’s a twin-stick shooter with hordes of aliens, mechs, and a great many ‘incidents’ that would require difficult questions and mounds of paperwork. Look at this:

… [visit site to read more]

Announcement - Valve
The Paradox Publisher Weekend is on now, with deals up to 80%* off on great games and franchises!

Offer Includes:

- Cities Skylines - 50% Off
- Pillars of Eternity - 50% Off
- Magicka - 80% Off
- Europa Universalis titles - Up to 80% Off

*Offer ends Monday October 5th at 10AM Pacific Time.







Community Announcements - [Pdx] Escher


Hi Wizards!

Exciting news to share today! Today we introduce a huge re-vamp (totally no reference to Vlad there) of our spell system as well as release some exciting new DLC! First of all watch the below video and then read on for the full breakdown of what you can expect to see in today's update!

https://youtu.be/-ehtQ5F4L_U


Free Spell Update
- Improved Spell System and Effects. There are now even more spell combinations to make use of, most of the existing spells have had a graphical overhaul.

- Added Steam and Ice as Individual Elements. Just as it was in Magicka 1 these will take up one slot in the element queue:

  • Steam is made from Water and Fire
  • Ice is created from Water and Cold

- New Element! Poison! As above, this will take up one slot in the element queue. Poison is created from Death and Water.

- Added Poison State. When poisoned, the target will take damage over time. Damage done is dictated by the target's total health and the amount of Poison applied, the target will also become slowed. The poisoned state can be extended by applying more Poison to the target. The poisoned state can be removed by applying the Life element.

- Changed Ice Projectiles. Pure Ice is now a channeled spell, while Ice + Earth will work as it did before the change.

- Changed Projectile Charge Time. Earth and Ice + Earth have had their charge time reduced, meaning they will reach full effect faster. Damage for these spells has been re-balanced to work with this change.

- Re-balanced Mines. Mines now deal more base damage and reach their full damage faster.

- Changed Earth and Ice armor to also Reduce Push Received. When using an Earth or Ice armor, you will now also be more resistant to push effects . The amount of resistance depends on the amount of elements used when creating the armor.

- Changed Pure Shield. Duration has been increased, and will decrease faster when taking magic damage.

- Re-balanced Barriers and Elemental Walls. Physical barriers (Earth and Ice) now have a longer duration. They have also received a buff to the amount of damage they do when imbued with other elements.

- Overhauled the Challenge Experience. Reworked the challenge menu and added leader-boards.

There are also two bugfixes included:

- Mine Damage on Clients Fixed. Fixed an issue where clients mines would always deal damage as if they were fully charged.

- Fixed Sometimes not Getting Achievement for Completing Campaign. This issue should now be fixed and you should be able to get the achievements.

New DLC!

The Magicka 2 Gates of Midgård Challenge Pack ($3.99) A set of three new Challenge Maps, perfect for sampling new spells

http://store.steampowered.com//app/393830

The Magicka 2 Three Cardinals Robe Pack ($4.99) A stylish new selection of wizard-wear (not stain resistant; highly flammable; do not eat). Three robe and item sets are included, each with their own theme.

http://store.steampowered.com//app/393831
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jem Alexander)

There s something about Magicka s sense of humour that makes the series instantly likeable. The first game and all of its DLC was daft and fun and refused to take itself seriously. It helped that it was a cracking good game, as well. Judging from the Magicka 2 [official site] launch trailer, the sequel looks to follow the same vein. Only 96 seconds long and I definitely caught myself mid-chuckle at least twice. Bodes well.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - TotalyMoo
We at Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games with its own casting department, just released our next spell casting adventure. Magicka 2, a game titled “Mad Magicks: Fury Robe” at one point (but not now), is available to download and play now on both platforms, enabling would-be Wizards everywhere to play alone or in groups through a new adventure with hundreds of spells and zero vampires.

A new trailer is available today thanks to the sorcery of images that move right before your very eyes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWVaIE3HUXY
“For so many of our fans, Paradox and Magicka are practically synonymous,” said Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox Interactive, not a vampire. “Which is strange, because the two words don’t mean the same thing at all, and our company is not populated by terrifying and irresponsible misanthropes who are constantly liquefying each other with fire-infused beams of pure death. However, it is still a wonderful milestone for us all to share the next chapter of our best-selling series with the world, and to publish our first game on the PlayStation 4. Magicka 2 is the perfect game to play together on the couch in front of a big screen, where you’re always within reach of the friend causing all of those friendly-fire ‘accidents.’”

Magicka 2 brings players back to the world’s most irreverent co-op action adventure series, providing all-new game features alongside the original’s iconic spellcasting system, humor, and always-on friendly-fire. Guided by Vlad, up to four Wizards at once can challenge a series of new levels in a co-op campaign, or take on challenge levels for score, prestige, and game-altering ‘artifacts’ that alter Magicka 2 in strange and wonderful ways. The world is invited to put on their robes and wizard hats, invite their friends, and learn to spell all over again.

Best of luck, Wizards!

Regards,
The Magicka 2 Team
...

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