Shacknews - John Keefer

After much teasing and anticipation, Gearbox is set to release its Winter Update for Battleborn, complete with early access to its newest hero, the hypo-wielding Beatrix.

Beatrix is a ruthless Jennerit with medical knowledge to go along with a massive hypodermic needle that has replaced her right arm. See uses it to dispense debuffs and disease on opponents. She will be available later today for season pass holders, and then on January 26 for everyone else for 47,500 in-game credits.

As for other contents in the update, Battle School is in with the Story Operation 3, courtesy of Oscar Mike. Also, all 25 base characters are unlocked for players to try. Completing the unlock challenges will now award a new champion skin. The update also brings UI enhancements, Draft mode, main and daily quests and two new training modes. The in-game economy has also been revamped. The official Battleborn site has lengthy posts on each of the changes in the update.

The DLC will be available at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT for PC (15GB), Xbox One (18 GB) and PS4 (13 GB). Make sure you have the disk space.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Total War: Warhammer has released another piece of Free-LC, this time the Legendary Dwarfen warrior Grombrindal, aka the White Dwarf.

Recognized by his flowing white locks and beard, Grombrindal is a Legendary Lord and joins Thorgrim and Ungrim in leading the Dwarf faction. He comes with four new quest chains that will reward him with various pieces of Legendary gear. If you want the real nitty gritty, here are his abilities:

  • Grombrindal can assume the aspect and attendant benefits of one of the illustrious Dwarf deities, Grimnir, Valaya and Grungni, through his unique Living Ancestor dilemma 
  • The greatest campaign reinforcement range of any Lord
  • Increased Underway evasion chance
  • His unique battle ability, ‘Grimnir Has no Fear’, is an augment which bestows increased melee attack, melee defence, vigour and the Unbreakable trait. 
  • His unique battle ability ‘Flash Bomb’ temporarily blinds enemies and slows their advance.

Grombrindal is available now for PC on Steam.

Shacknews - John Keefer

The Oculus-Zenimax case has moved on to another day, this time with the VR company co-founder Palmer Luckey and CEO Brendan Iribe taking the stand.

Zenimax lawyers spent much of the day going after Luckey (via Polygon), trying to establish that the young entrepreneur could not have developed the Oculus without help from then-Zenimax employee and current Oculus CTO John Carmack. Part of the dispute revolves around an NDA Luckey signed in June 2012 with Zenimax on its proprietary information. To drive home the point, Zenimax lawyers introduced emails between Carmack and Luckey suggesting that Luckey had misrepresented who knew about the NDA, which happened around the time that Oculus was founded. Zenimax is using that as the basis for its conclusion that Luckey violated or deliberately tried to circumvent the NDA.

Apparently, Luckey got a bit flustered as he and the Zenimax lawyer started talking over each other, as Zenimax tried to show timeline conflicts and Luckey trying to offer technical explanations, prompting Judge Ed Kinceade to step in and essentitally tell the two to behave. The defense then produced its own evidence showing how Luckey learned VR from his own research, despite lack of a college degree, and that much of what was used in early development of the first prototype was public knowledge long before any initial contacts with Carmack. The fourth iteration of the prototype for Rift was out in public three months before Carmack first asked for info on the device.

Iribe also took the stand to discuss the Oculus software, the meaning of such terms as SDK, shaders and source code, and explain that the software had nothing from Zenimax or Carmack.

Iribe is expected to continue his testimony today, wrapping up before the afternoon. Previously, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was on the stand to talk about the acquisition of Oculus, with Carmack offering his testimony last week.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Blizzard has teased the next update for Overwatch, titled "Year of the Rooster." The teaser image in an official tweet says it will begin next Tuesday, January 24.

The event appears to be themed after the Chinese New Year, which begins on January 28. The image shows off a likely new skin for Mei, who is Chinese in the game's continuity. A separate tweet from the Korean Overwatch Twitter account similarly shows a skin for D. Va

Past events like Halloween Terror and Winter Wonderland have included new skins, sprays, voice lines, and poses, usually accompanied by a special themed game mode in Brawl. We had previously seen data-mining that found voice lines that seemed to correspond with Valentine's Day. We're not sure yet if Blizzard is planning two events so close together, or if those lines actually correspond to this "Year of the Rooster" event.

Shacknews - Jason Faulkner

The original Gravity Rush released for the PlayStation Vita as something of a niche title that spawned a fairly dedicated fan base. Admittedly I missed out on playing it during its first run in 2012 since I hadn’t yet purchased a Vita, and I wasn’t able to test out the PlayStation 4 port last year. But after nothing but positive buzz surrounding the title, I was eager to sink my teeth into the tale of charismatic Kat and her awesome gravity powers. I came away with a stark appreciation for just how much Gravity Rush 2 gets right. This is one game you’ll certainly want to check out.

Gravity Ain’t Weighing Me Down

Unfortunately for me as a newcomer, the story picks up where the previous game left off, so I had to do a bit of research to be able to really immerse myself and understand Kat or her friends as characters. The game assumes you have prior knowledge of the cast from the original run, so you’ll have to make sure you read up about it or complete Gravity Rush before tackling this one.

But if you’re going into it fresh like I did it’s still immediately easy to see Kat as a charming and entertaining lead, with characters you can relate to and impressive gravity powers that feel wholly unlike most other games out there on the market. They provide an impressive array of abilities that you can call on for physics-defying attacks, special moves and other navigational techniques that feel totally fresh and unique.

Kat is a Gravity Queen, controlling gravity as she sees fit thanks to the aid of her feline friend Dusty. She can fly through the air and “fall” toward just about anywhere she wants to go. You have the freedom to take her wherever you need her, and it’s just as awesome watching it happen as it is performing these actions. It brings to mind echoes of Bayonetta and its velvety-smooth controls.

Utilizing her Lunar style Kat can also launch off the ground and travel wherever she needs to go without using gravity, or the Jupiter style that weighs her down a little but offers more powerful attacks with lumbering strength. These come in addition to the main style Kat uses most often, and offer a satisfying sense of variety. Combat and exploration are where the game shines the most, so having additional play styles makes sense.

Expanding Your Horizons

Gravity Rush 2 is mission-based, and you’ll often receive instructions from the NPCs dotting the map in every new area. Sometimes you’ll be in wide open spaces and others you’ll explore tighter areas in addition to stealth missions. There’s a decent variety to keep you entertained, but unfortunately there are issues with the camera being finicky here and there that do begin to aggravate.

For example, smaller areas mean the camera angles will frustrate you more, and sometimes it’s even a little difficult to lock onto certain enemies while in combat. It’s also a little annoying to orient yourself in these tighter spaces, because of Kat’s unique abilities. This doesn’t completely mar the experience, but it can be tempting to put the controller down and come back to the game later when these things do happen.

It has a ton of missions, side quests, and other challenges to complete in addition to the main errands you’ll be given to run, and if you want to spend a lot of time taking care of all the side missions you’ll be spending a whole lot of time in-game. Engaging conversations between characters, an intriguing story that builds upon the first in significant ways, and Kat herself make the game a pleasure to breeze through even when the camera angles do get you down.

Falling in Love

Gravity Rush 2 is a game unlike most of what’s out there on offer right now. It might take a little getting used to, especially if you didn’t play the first game, but if you give it a chance it will absolutely grow on you. Taking on the role of Kat is rush of an experience, and there’s so much here to absorb that you’ll need a couple dozen hours to get through it all. Whether or not you played the original Gravity Rush or are looking for a unique game to add to your PlayStation 4 library, Gravity Rush 2 is certainly a breath of fresh air.

This review is based on a PlayStation 4 digital download code provided by the publisher. Gravity Rush 2 is available on PlayStation 4 for $59.99

Shacknews - David Craddock

Microsoft's Phil Spencer confirmed on Twitter that Resident Evil 7 supports the company's Xbox Play Anywhere title: consumers can buy the game digitally on either Xbox One or PC and carry over their progress and Achievements between both platforms.

Only the Windows 10 Store version of Resident Evil 7 supports Play Anywhere. Consumers can buy the game on Steam, but will not be able to take advantage of cross-play features.

Capcom will throw open the creaky doors of its latest haunted house on January 24 when Resident Evil 7 shambles onto Xbox One, PS4, and PC. A free demo is available on all platforms, and Sony locked down timed exclusivity for the game's VR functionality, playable using PlayStation VR.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Super Mario Run will make its way onto Android devices in March, according to a tweet from Nintendo's Japanese account (via NeoGAF).

Super Mario Run is an endless runner featuring Shigeru Miyamoto's golden touch. It's free to start, with an optional, one-time fee of $9.99 to unlock all worlds and modes.

The object is to run through six worlds to rescue Peach from Bowser and collect colored coins on your way. Replay value was a big focus for Nintendo. Once you nab all coins in one color on a given level, you can play through the same level to collect different coins placed in new locations.

Super Mario Run launched on iOS platforms on December 15. The company promised an Android version, but held back due to security concerns. Nintendo allayed its fears by requiring players to be connected to the Internet to play the Apple version.

"The security element is one of the reasons that we decided to go with iPhone and iOS first,” Miyamoto explained in an interview with Mashable. "So this is just, based on the current development environment, a requirement that's been built into the game to support security and the fact that the three different modes are connecting to the network and interacting with one another."

Shacknews editor and Modojo editor-in-chief Brittany Vincent came away impressed by Super Mario Run when she reviewed it back in December. "As a Mario title, it's obviously going to be less of an engaging adventure than normal since it's so stripped-down. As a mobile game, it's excellent, save for its extremely short playtime and $9.99 price tag that will undoubtedly scare some users away. However, it's an extremely polished speedrunner's dream, and an absolutely fantastic first mobile release for Nintendo."

You can pre-register Super Mario Run on the Google Play store if you want to be notified when the Android version becomes available.

Shacknews - Greg Burke

We look back at Detana!! TwinBee on this week's episiode of Shack's Arcade Corner. Detana!! TwinBee, originally released outside Japan as Bells & Whistles, is a vertical-scrolling shoot-'em-up game originally released by Konami in 1991 as a coin-operated video game. 

For more great videos, including gameplay and interviews, visit the Shacknews and YouTube channels.

If you have a suggestion for a future episode of Shack's Arcade Corner, please let us know in the comments section or tweet @shacknews & @GregBurke85 with #ArcadeCorner.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Today on its Fire Emblem Nintendo Direct, the company revealed more details about its plans for Fire Emblem on smartphones.

Fire Emblem Heroes is recognizable to fans as mostly similar to the main series, albeit shrunk to fit on a smart device screen. The maps are designed to fit entirely on a smartphone, and the rock-paper-scissors weapon triangle makes its return. Nintendo promises the characters will all feature brand new art and voices made especially for Heroes, alongside a new original story centered on warring kingdoms.

You can recruit famous faces from the Fire Emblem series, summoning them using Orbs with some level of randomness attached. It appears likely this will follow a microtransaction model to unlock new heroes, but the presentation didn't focus on pricing or monetization. 

Fire Emblem Heroes is planned to release in February. As part of the promotion leading up to release, Nintendo has opened a public vote to find the fan favorite hero and heroine. The winners will be featured as special versions of the characters in the final game. Plus, voting nets you a Platinum point bonus for your MyNintendo account.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Nintendo mentioned Fire Emblem Warriors without much context in its Switch presentation, revealing no more than a title and an eventual release on its console/handheld hybrid.

Today's Nintendo Direct cleared things up: Fire Emblem Warriors is a crossover between Fire Emblem and Koei Tecmo's Warriors series.

Gameplay looks to be in the same vein as Dynasty Warriors and 2015's Hyrule Warriors, which rolled in Zelda characters in frantic hack-and-slash missions.

The game will be available on Nintendo Switch as well as New 3DS. Nintendo specified the New 3DS and New 3DS XL, so it looks like 2DS owners might want to consider switching to a newer platform if they want to get it on the tactical-RPG fun.

Nintendo expects Fire Emblem Warriors to release this fall.


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