Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

If you missed them, be sure to check out highlights from Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5 of Summer Games Done Quick 2015.


This is it! It's the final day for Summer Games Done Quick 2015. Games Done Quick will wrap up its fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders today and will look to reach the $1 million mark. Shacknews is looking back at the best highlights across the week and here are the best runs from Friday.

Day 6 Highlights

Dustforce DX (PC)

Dustforce DX had all the potential in the world to steal the show and it did just that on Friday morning. Speed runner Calistus not only showed off the quickest way to polish off some of the most difficult levels in the game, he also found a slew of secret levels that most casual players have never even seen. It was an incredible show and one that's worth catching.

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (Super NES)

It was hard to pick from the Mario block, especially with some truly incredible races from Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario Sunshine, and Luigi's Mansion. So why pick The Lost Levels runthrough? To be honest, much of it was because of pure entertainment factor. Streamer GameJO6 (a.k.a. Big John) was one of the most entertaining runners of the week, offering both informative commentary and a sharp wit throughout his time. He made sure to explain the differences between the Super Mario All-Stars version of this game and the 8-bit original, as well as walk everyone through the intense difficulty of Worlds 1 through D. Big John deserves all props, so catch his run below.


Day 7 Runs to Watch

Dark Souls II (PC) - 10:03AM PT

From Software's series of 'Souls' games has confounded (and enthralled) the Shacknews Chatty community for the past couple of years, mostly for its high difficulty and the constant need to regroup and get stronger. So it'll be interesting to watch a speed run for Dark Souls II, since the "YOU DIED" messages will need to be kept to a minimum.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 100% no-glitch run (Super NES) - 12:43PM PT

Many of the older generation games have seen their speed runs defined by glitches and often-unseen shortcuts. However, through the generosity of the SGDQ donors, there will be no shortcuts for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Speed runner Xeina will run through the game in its entirety, targeting a time under two hours. So for those looking for an abbreviated, yet complete look at an all-time classic, tune in just before 1PM.

Super Metroid race (Super NES) - 5:18PM PT

As has so often been the case with Games Done Quick, the final day will feature a Super Metroid run. This year, runners David Clemens, Oatsngoats, Zoast, and Straevaras will all engage in a four-way race to see who can complete Samus' most memorable 2D adventure the fastest. This run will also determine the fate of Super Metroid's animals. Will they live or will they die? The answer was in the hands in the SGDQ donors and the viewers will witness the answer for themselves later tonight.

Summer Games Done Quick will air all week on Twitch. To donate, be sure to visit the Games Done Quick website.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Summer is rapidly coming to an end, so before the major fall releases start to see the light of day, the PC gaming retailers are looking to get some last major sales out. Bundle Stars is offering up some big-time deals on Mortal Kombat X and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, while GamersGate kicks off its End-of-Summer sale and Steam offers large price drops on its upcoming SteamOS lineup. Check out the full list of deals below.

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

Amazon

  • Amazon appears to be recovering from last week's QuakeCon 2015 sale. Come back next week for more!

Bundle Stars

Pay $19.99 for Mortal Kombat X and all of its DLC, including all current DLC characters. These activate on Steam.

Or pay $2.49 for Edna & Harvey: The Breakout, The Detail Episode 1, 1953 - KGB Unleashed, Claire, Oknytt, Joe's Diner, Doorways: Chapters 1 & 2, and Lucius. These activate on Steam.

Or pay $2.49 for Kingdom Rush, Secrets of Raetikon, Pixel Piracy, PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate, PixelJunk Shooter, Velocity Ultra, Qora, and Gauge. These activate on Steam.

Or pay $19.99 for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and its DLC packs. These activate on Steam.

Or pay $2.99 Prime World: Defenders, Heroes of Annihilated Empires, Knights & Merchants, Runespell: Overture, Eador: Genesis, Hoard Complete Pack, Puzzle Kingdoms, and Frozen Synapse Prime (Double Pack). These activate on Steam.

Direct2Drive

GamersGate

  • GamersGate is in the middle of its End-of-Summer Sale. New games will go on sale each day. Friday's deals include Sid Meier's Starships, Alien Isolation, and the Saints Row Franchise. Check out the full list of today's deals over on GamersGate.

GameStop

Get Games

  • Darksiders Franchise Pack [Steam] - $14.99 (75% off)
  • SpellForce 2: Faith in Destiny [Steam] - $3.74 (75% off)
  • Other games in Get Games' Nordic RPG Weekend can be found here.

GOG.com

  • Death to Spies - $1.79 (70% off)
  • Faces of War - $1.79 (70% off)
  • Other games in GOG.com's Weekend Stratagems sale, including Men of War and Total Annihilation games, can be found here.

Green Man Gaming

Use the code GMGSAV-E20GMG-SAVE20 to get 20% off your purchase. Some exclusions apply.

Humble Bundle

Pay what you want for Outland Special Edition, Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes, and Mercenary Kings. Pay more than the average $5.40 to get Endless Space Emperor Edition, The Stanley Parable, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II, Screencheat, Freedom Planet, and Coin Crypt. Pay $18 or more to also get Space Engineers [Steam Early Access]. All games work on Steam and Steam keys are available with a $1 minimum.

Or pay what you want for Vanguard Princess (w/Hilda Rize and Lilith DLC packs), Supercharged Robot VULKAISER, and 99 Spirits Special Edition (w/Art Book and Music Collection). Pay more than the average $7.42 to get Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure, NEO AQUARIUM - The King of Crustaceans, and The Sacred Tears TRUE. Pay $10 or more to also get Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1. All games work on Steam and Steam keys are available with a $1 minimum.

  • The Humble Store is celebrating Summer Games Done Quick 2015 by offering major discounts on select PC titles that were featured throughout the week. Check out the full list of games here.

Origin

Steam

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

Shacknews - Josh Hawkins

Tasked with stopping Scotland Yard’s newest security system within 100 days, I set out into my thieving career, ready and willing to face the challenges before me. My life ended rather quickly. Thrown into a small building in the slums, I found myself caught within the gaze of a robot security guard. Thinking as quickly as I could, and having no idea what I was doing, I jumped forward with my weapon to take the enemy out. An alarm sounded, but I paid it no heed, instead setting my eyes on the towers of treasure the small slummy building held. That was my first mistake. Police sirens wailed, and as I struggled to make my way back towards my pod to fly back up to my airship, I began to hear the whirring of guns. Out of nowhere the wall exploded, a large flying contraption with even larger miniguns pinned to the bottom looked down upon me. I couldn’t help but stare as bullets riddled my body, and sent me to an early grave. This is the moment when I knew I was going to love and hate The Swindle.

Set within a steampunk world, The Swindle is a cybercrime rogue-like. Each death forces you into a new random character, and each level that you enter is procedurally generated to give you a different experience each time. This procedural level creation is a great thing for games like The Swindle, however I ran into issues with several early levels having paths which were completely blocked behind walls. This isn’t as much an problem once you have bombs, but earlier sections of the game can easily have you missing half the cash in an area, or stuck in a hole with no way out if you don't happen to have the Double Jump upgrade.

Additionally, the controls occasionally lacked responsiveness. When pressing the jump button, character would sometimes take a second or so to jump. It didn’t always happen, but it was enough of an issue to lead to my death several times. This is especially frustrating when you consider how the game’s mechanics work. If for some reason you don’t make it back to your airship you lose any cash you’ve gained that mission, along with any experience on the character. The Swindle leaves absolutely no room for reward with failure.

Despite these issues, I still love the game. It’s a brilliant look at what indie games should be, and the unique Don’t Starve-like art style is right up my alley. Pair this with a wonderful array of sound effects, and The Swindle is probably one of the most appealing indie games to hit the market this year. But looks and sound aren’t the only thing that kept me playing. The game’s upgrade system is challenging and brilliantly open-ended. Though it may be hard to earn enough money to upgrade items at the start, once you get into the routine of the game’s mechanics, you can slowly work your way up to the bigboy toys. This can create problems in lower levels where walls are blocked off, and holes are too deep for you to jump out of, but later on upgrades like Bombs, Hacks, Double Jump, and even a short range Teleporter can easily allow you to overcome these obstacles.

Although I complained about the procedural generating of levels, I'd like to point out that I'm actually quite fond of the idea. Each level is new, and different, and although some of them ended up putting me in impossible situations (situations that I could have escaped had I wielded the right upgrades), I wouldn't change it for the world. I've put several hours into The Swindle already, and still haven't beat it. But the story that's presented in the game isn't important. It's just something to work towards as you bash, sneak, and hack your way to being the most successful thief in steampunk London.

The Swindle is filled with moments of joy, success, and failures. More often than not my deaths were caused by my own mistakes, my own misjudgments, and not by faulty game mechanics. It was the thrill of sneaking into buildings, stealing all the cash I could carry, and getting back out before the police arrived that kept me logging on. The story laid within the game doesn’t drive the game, but that’s okay because there’s plenty of rogue-like goodness waiting to be found inside of Size Five Games procedurally generated steampunk heist simulator.


This review is based on a download code provided by the publisher. The Swindle is available via digital stores today, for 14.99.

Shacknews - Steven Wong

Mario and Luigi Paper Jam takes the characters from both the Mario & Luigi and the Paper Mario series and drops them into one adorably cute action RPG for the 3DS. Players can build a team that combines the strengths of both flat and 3D characters to take on various creatures and bosses. The game is still a long ways off from releasing, but we had a chance to play a short demo that tested our teamwork skills.

The demo, which features Mario, Luigi, and Paper Mario, focuses completely on combat and gives no hint to the world the three are out to explore or how big it is. Each character has a range of abilities, with the hammer bash being the most basic move. Enemies lash back with moves of their own, including one where the Piranha Plant tries to eat one of your characters and you have to try block it with a quicktime event. That's when it's time to step things up with the special attacks, like Paper Mario's ability to duplicate (photocopy?) himself into several clones, each equipped with a large mallet. You have to hit a button in time with each copy's appearance to get the full set, and they'll all strike at once for devastating effect.

After exchanging a couple attacks with a giant Piranha Plant using a series of trial and error moves, I finally decided to get serious. Team moves bring the fighting to an all-new level by throwing mini games into the mix. For example, one move started a chase sequence where my team had to run away from the plant, and I had to hit the button in accordance to series of quicktime events. Both Mario and Luigi had to dodge, so I had to keep an eye on cues as to which the plant might attack. Then I had to move the Paper Mario kite over to the right character to protect him from harm. It's a frenzied mini game, and moving incorrectly will not only weaken the attack, but will damage your characters at the same time.

There's also a move that turns the plant into a picture, which is torn to shreds and tossed into the air. Characters need to coordinate with each other to hit each shred as they drift to the ground, which is more challenging than it might sound. These mini games take a lot of split-second reactions, while others require a great deal of multitasking to get the group moves to work out, otherwise you'll just end up injuring your own team. Much of the time, at least in this demo, part of the challenge is in figuring out what to do. But that makes it all the more satisfying when the gameplay finally clicks and you understand what's going on and what you have to do.

I eventually managed to defeat the giant creature, although poor Luigi ended up eaten a couple times and was temporarily taken out of play. There's a great deal to get used to, especially when you're playing for the first time, but I'm sure those kinks will be worked out as the game develops further.

Mario & Luigi Paper Jam is expected to release for the Nintendo 3DS in spring 2016, and will include additional characters such as Princess Peach, Toad and Bowser.

Shacknews - Steven Wong

Mario and Luigi Paper Jam takes the characters from both the Mario & Luigi and the Paper Mario series and drops them into one adorably cute action RPG for the 3DS. Players can build a team that combines the strengths of both flat and 3D characters to take on various creatures and bosses. The game is still a long ways off from releasing, but we had a chance to play a short demo that tested our teamwork skills.

The demo, which features Mario, Luigi, and Paper Mario, focuses completely on combat and gives no hint to the world the three are out to explore or how big it is. Each character has a range of abilities, with the hammer bash being the most basic move. Enemies lash back with moves of their own, including one where the Piranha Plant tries to eat one of your characters and you have to try block it with a quicktime event. That's when it's time to step things up with the special attacks, like Paper Mario's ability to duplicate (photocopy?) himself into several clones, each equipped with a large mallet. You have to hit a button in time with each copy's appearance to get the full set, and they'll all strike at once for devastating effect.

After exchanging a couple attacks with a giant Piranha Plant using a series of trial and error moves, I finally decided to get serious. Team moves bring the fighting to an all-new level by throwing mini games into the mix. For example, one move started a chase sequence where my team had to run away from the plant, and I had to hit the button in accordance to series of quicktime events. Both Mario and Luigi had to dodge, so I had to keep an eye on cues as to which the plant might attack. Then I had to move the Paper Mario kite over to the right character to protect him from harm. It's a frenzied mini game, and moving incorrectly will not only weaken the attack, but will damage your characters at the same time.

There's also a move that turns the plant into a picture, which is torn to shreds and tossed into the air. Characters need to coordinate with each other to hit each shred as they drift to the ground, which is more challenging than it might sound. These mini games take a lot of split-second reactions, while others require a great deal of multitasking to get the group moves to work out, otherwise you'll just end up injuring your own team. Much of the time, at least in this demo, part of the challenge is in figuring out what to do. But that makes it all the more satisfying when the gameplay finally clicks and you understand what's going on and what you have to do.

I eventually managed to defeat the giant creature, although poor Luigi ended up eaten a couple times and was temporarily taken out of play. There's a great deal to get used to, especially when you're playing for the first time, but I'm sure those kinks will be worked out as the game develops further.

Mario & Luigi Paper Jam is expected to release for the Nintendo 3DS in spring 2016, and will include additional characters such as Princess Peach, Toad and Bowser.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

The folks at Blizzard have been on a steady pace in revealing the 132 cards that will take up Hearthstone's upcoming Grand Tournament expansion. Shacknews' detailed look into these cards began last week and today, our analysis continues.

Be sure to catch up with our previous breakdowns: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

(3) Coliseum Manager (2/5) - Inspire: Return this minion to your hand

This is an odd one. Coliseum Manager has low stats and if you wind up using your Hero Power, it'll go right back to your hand. At that point, deploying it again will require another turn before it can attack. So at that point, the Inspire condition sounds like a drawback.

That's not to say there aren't possibilities for synergy. The Warrior may want to take a look at him. Combining Coliseum Manager with Warsong Commander will allow him to charge the face or a low-health minion before a quick Hero Power can call him back. In fact, if the Warrior is running low on cards and it's late in the game, Coliseum Manager can actually be deployed more than once for a quick rush.

Other than that, it's an unusual minion and one that you won't want to buff, otherwise a Hero Power will undo all of that work.


(2) Flame Juggler (2/3) - Battlecry: Deal 1 damage to a random enemy

This is clearly meant to be an early play minion with its menial Battlecry and low stats. Its main function will be to pretty much ensure that Ironforge Rifleman ends up more obsolete than he already is.

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of synergy possibilities for this guy at the moment. Its Battlecry won't make much of a dent in enemy minions and its randomness may not even hit the desired target. That makes it a less useful Turn 2 minion than somethihng like Mechwarper or Micro Machine. Flame Juggler looks like he'll most likely end up in the lower tier of usefulness when it comes to Grand Tournament minions.


(5) Clockwork Knight (5/5) - Battlecry: Give a friendly Mech +1/+1

Judging by his effect, Clockwork Knight looks to be an all-class alternative to the class-specific Screwjank Clunker and Iron Sensei. If there's a useful mech on the board, like Mechwarper, Clockwork Knight can give him a quick boost.

The problem here is that there's already a minion that performs that Battlecry for a lower cost. That's Shattered Sun Cleric. So what makes Clockwork Knight stand out? His 5/5 stats sound pretty nice, until the realization hits that Loatheb will offer the same with a far more useful Battlecry effect.

That's not to say Clockwork Knight should hit the scrap heap, because Mechwarper could mean a 5/5 minion on Turn 4. Aside from that, there are some good alternatives that are already out in the wild.


(4) Savage Combatant (5/4) - Inspire: Give your hero +2 Attack this turn

Just by analyzing its cost and stats alone, Savage Combatant should already replace any Lost Tallstriders that may be in a Druid's deck. Savage Combatant's Inspire effect should be helpful in finishing off any minions on the brink of death. Just be careful, though. The Druid may get +2 Attack added to his Hero Power, but he won't get any additional armor.

As one might imagine, Savage Combatant will go well with the Druid's direct attack spells, like Claw and Bite. It might even make Savagery a more useful spell. But if your opponent doesn't deal with Savage Combatant right away, it might just give the popular Savage Roar spell some extra teeth on the next turn.


(3) Silent Knight (2/2) - Stealth, Divine Shield

That's an expensive proposition for a 2/2 minion. Silent Knight's lure is obviously his Stealth and Divine Shield, so even if a Priest or Mage deployed an area-of-effect spell, it would withstand that first blow. But Silent Knight may pale in comparison to a more useful minion, the perpetually-powerful Shade of Naxxramas.

Paladins should opt for Shade every time out, since he has enough spells and minions that could give it a Divine Shield, if necessary. Priests should likewise go with Shade, since they can gradually buff if with effects like Power Word: Shield each turn until it's ready to strike. It could act as a hit-and-run striker in a Rogue deck, but beyond that, the uses for Silent Knight are fairly limited. It just gets swallowed up in the Shade in just about every way.


There's still plenty more to go with the reveals for Hearthstone's Grand Tournament expansion. Shacknews will continue its ongoing analysis of these new cards as they're released, so stay tuned for more in the coming weeks. In fact, come back Monday, as we take a look at some Legendaries.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Summer is coming to a close, which is why PlayStation is doing its best to get people playing before the summer months are over. The first week of the PlayStation summer sale offers a slew of good gaming deals for all PS platforms. Meanwhile, Xbox has some decent deals on Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, while Nintendo wraps up its Ubisoft sale this weekend. Check out the full list of deals below.

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

Xbox One

The following games are a part of Xbox One Games with Gold/Deals with Gold. An Xbox Live Gold Subscription is required to receive these discounts.

PlayStation 4

The following deals are available only to PlayStation Plus members.

Nintendo Wii U

Xbox 360

The following games are a part of Xbox 360 Games with Gold/Deals with Gold. An Xbox Live Gold Subscription is required to receive these discounts.

PlayStation 3

The following deals are available only to PlayStation Plus members.

Nintendo 3DS

PlayStation Vita

The following deals are available only to PlayStation Plus members.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Deep Silver and InXile have announced Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut will miss its previously-expected release date window of summer 2015 and will instead launch on October 13 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut improves last year’s critically-acclaimed PC game with a complete visual overhaul, more sophisticated lighting, upgraded environments, improved textures, and higher-quality character models. Additional improvements includes new voice-overs for all major characters and NPCs, combat improvements, enhanced cut scenes, and a new Precision Strike and Perks & Traits system.

We spoke with InXile's Chris Keenan about all of the improvements the developer is making to Wasteland 2, which you can read over here.

We’ve reached out to both Deep Silver and InXile to learn what the reason behind was behind the delay of Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut. We’ll be sure to update this story accordingly once we hear back.

[Update: InXile Entertainment responded to our request for a comment. "Early in development of the Director’s Cut, we were asked for approximate release dates and we estimated a window that felt reasonable," they said. " As we got closer to completion, we nailed down October 13th as the official release date."]

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Harmonix has announced Amplitude will be missing its original release date window of this summer and is now expected to launch on the PlayStation 4 in December for those who paid for the early access reward. Everyone else should now expect the game to launch in January.

Harmonix made today’s announcement on Amplitude’s Kickstarter page. CEO Alex Rigopulos shared why the company made the difficult decision to delay the game. “It’s impossible for us to finish all of these extra songs, environments, features and modes on the same schedule,” he writes. “Now that we’ve committed to this expanded scope, though, we won’t be able to complete and ship the game until the end of this year on PS4.”

Today’s news wasn’t all bad as Harmonix revealed Amplitude will now launch with 30 songs, instead of 16, and added two more playable environments, unique path topology per song, and more play modes. When Amplitude is shipped, it’ll feature a solo campaign, solo free play, 2-4 player “free-for-all”, and an all-new team play mode (1v3, 2v2). Additional nanoblasters, leaderboards, and a still-to-be-announced method of playing Amplitude round out all of the changes.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Psyonix has released a new patch for Rocket League that features a number of fixes and improvements for both PlayStation 4 and PC players.

The most notable inclusion in today’s update is a penalty for those who quit a Ranked match prior to its end. The first player to abandon a Ranked match will be banned from matchmaking for 15 minutes. The inclusion of this penalty will ensure there aren’t as many rage quitters when a Ranked game isn’t going so well for one particular team. Hopefully Psyonix will consider additional penalties, such as adding more time, for frequent rage quitting.

Some other notable improvements include Quick Chat commands being cross-platform compatible between PC and PS4, improved stat tracking, AI Bot skill level adjustments, and fixes to multiple crash scenarios.

Here’s the full list of patch notes for Rocket League patch 1.03:

NEW FEATURES

Gameplay

  • “Quick Chat” commands can now be used cross-platform between PC and PS4

Content

  • Topper: “Cherry Top” now includes a working, rotating light
  • Topper: “Propellerhead” now includes a working, rotating blade

Online Play

  • AI Bot skill levels now adjust to the average skill level of all players currently in the game
  • The first player to abandon a “Ranked” match is now banned from matchmaking for 15 minutes

UI/ UX

  • (Steam) Added “Mouse Sensitivity” setting to the “Options” menu
  • (Steam) Added support for more resolutions

CHANGES AND UPDATES

Training

  • “Freeplay” now grants truly-unlimited “Rocket Boost”

UI/ UX

  • Stats: Player’s “Win/ Loss Ratio” is now displayed as a “Win %”

BUG FIXES

General

  • (PS4) Sweet Tooth now properly unlocks when completing a game with all 10 of the other Battle-Cars
  • (PS4) Multiple visual optimizations
  • Reduced, but did not eliminate, instances of the “Invisible Car” bug
  • Fixed multiple crash scenarios

Garage Items

  • Antennas
    • Country Flags: Congo is now appropriately-named
    • Country Flags: Mexico is no longer reversed
    • Country Flags: Northern Ireland is now correct
    • Country Flags: United States now shows all 50 stars

Trophies and Achievements

  • (Steam) “Virtuoso” Achievement is now obtainable and includes appropriate description
  • (PS4) “Far, Far Away” Trophy can now be unlocked via online play

UI/ UX

  • Stat tracking for online games is now properly reflected for their correlating Garage items
  • Blog and Scrolling Ticker now work as intended and will not errantly show “Offline” messages
  • “PsyNet” icons for cross-platform players will now display properly
  • Main Menu Player Avatars will no longer disappear between matches
  • Player names are now displayed correctly during “Replays”

Localization

  • French, German, Italian, and Spanish-language corrections and improvements

...

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