Shacknews - Asif Khan

Speaking at a VAQSO panel at Tokyo Game Show 2017, Palmer Luckey spoke about virtual reality and his views on future VR products. VAQSO is demonstrating a smell-producing attachment for VR HMDs and the early part of the panel was spent discussing the product. The moderators pivoted the discussion to broader VR topics. 

Palmer went on to say some interesting things about the medium which he helped bring to consumers several years ago at Oculus. "Anything to help VR, I'll do it," said Luckey when he was thanked by the panelists for stopping by their booth. When asked about the pace at which consumer adoption of VR HMDs has been going he pointed to the problem of waiting for the next great VR HMD. "VR is always going to be getting better," if you wait forever you will never end up experiencing it.

One of the most interesting moments of the panel came when Palmer gave a hint at what he is currently working on. "I think the future of virtual reality is implant technology," said Luckey. He went on to say that "I can't talk about my ideas. They're too crazy." It definitely seems like Palmer is still interested in working on VR technology but he also commented that there are a ton of HMDs hitting the market. It doesn't seem like making another VR head-mounted display is something that interests him, which makes the rumors that he may acquire HTC Vive swirling around his appearance today at their TGS 2017 booth seem pretty unlikely.

Shacknews - Kevin Tucker

A fortnight has passed since the last Modojo Rewind was forged, and throughout those dazzling days and placcid nights, great bounties of information coalesced within the aether, swirling, agitating, and spontaneously materializing into a tide of new stories covering all angles of the mobile and portable gaming kingdom. Every significant market in the handheld gaming arena found its way into the headlines, and thanks to this surprising deluge, Modojo has had the opportunity to curate a collection of must-know stories, including a bevvy of Nintendo Switch release highlights, Apple's reveal of the two new iPhone models, the launch of iOS 11, and suprising details regarding the Switch's mysterious "flog" emulator.

Though their mettle will be tested, glorious detail awaits all those brave enough to face this week's Modojo Rewind.

The Latest From Apple Park

Last week, consumer electronics corporation Apple made their first-ever showing at the all-new Steve Jobs Theater. The show was a particularly big effort, with the company eventually revealing several new products, including the LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3, the new 4K and HDR-compatible Apple TV 4K, two all-new iPhone 8 models, and the formal reveal of the company's latest flagship device, the iPhone X. With so much new tech around, of course we had to unveil some critical stats, so we've got new stories on models, features, and specifications for the iPhone 8 as well as a new guide that should help mobile users decide between buying an iPhone 8 or the new iPhone X.

Not too long after the showing, Apple began the formal rollout of iOS 11, the latest and most feature-packed version of their mobile operating system ever. Even though it's shiny and new, however, there are some reasons to wait on installing the OS, and we've got a new guide on why it might be a good idea to wait to install iOS 11. Still, some people just don't want to wait, and for all of those users who have already placed a pre-order for the new iPhone 8, we've got an all-new guide detailing how to protect their latest investment by picking up one of the best iPhone 8 cases on the market.

Of course, Apple didn't make all of the mobile news: Google and HTC announced a new cooperating agreement that sees the Android developer exchanging $1.1 billion in exchange for a host of HTC employees that worked on the Google Pixel phone. While the motivation behind this act isn't totally clear, we've got some ideas on what the Google HTC collaboration could mean for consumers.

Naturally, we can't leave out the mobile gaming realm: Pokemon Go developer Niantic is teasing players with a rare chance to earn double Stardust in celebration of the coming equinox as well as a free new in-game Global Goals t-shirt; Apple surprise-revealed the immediate launch of The Witness for iOS devices; lastly, we've got a review for the recently-released free-to-play puzzle title 2 For 2, which combines classic tile matching gameplay with a math-based twist and culmines in a deliciously addictive experience.

Switching Things Up

Nintendo hosted yet-another Direct Presentation last week, and as might be expected, the company revealed loads of new information regarding Nintendo systems, including a release date for Minecraft: New Nintendo 3DS Edition, a selection of classic arcade games coming to the Nintendo Switch, a new version of Snipperclips called Snipperclips Plus, the formal debut of Lola Pop in Arms, a slick-looking "HD-2D" RPG codenamed Project Octopath Traveler, and a vast array of minor news and release dates for upcoming games.

On the less-formal front, more details have surfaced regarding "flog," the mysterious bit of code found within the Nintendo Switch firmware that seemed to be a fully-functioning NES emulator. It turns out that flog is an emulator after all, albeit one wrapped around a digital version of the NES sports title Golf. Curiously, the emulated version of Golf seems to have been intended for use with motion controls, which would make it the first Famicom title to ever be updated for that type of input. Even more curious are the steps required to launch Golf, which involves a series of specific hand gestures as well as setting the Switch to the date that beloved Nintendo president Satoru Iwata passed away.

Lastly, we've got a few stories for those Nintendo fans looking to step their gaming up to the next level: the company has just launched re-released versions of classic Pokemon titles Gold and Silver for the Nintendo 3DS, and we examine whether Pokemon fans should buy Gold and Silver for the 3DS by taking an in-depth look at the significance of the series' second generation. We've also got all the information Switch owners need to know to break out of the Switch ecosystem by connecting Nintendo Switch controllers to a PC.

As always, more stories like these as well as the biggest news in the mobile and portable gaming realm can be found over on Modojo.

Shacknews - Charles Singletary

In Absolver, you arrive on the scene as a fallen empire attempts to gather itself back together. You’re guided by the new rulers of this land as you seek to become an Absolver, an elite corp of peacekeepers. While playing Absolver, a melee brawler that pays homage to the martial arts tradition, I thought of Bruce Lee’s legendary quote: “You must be shapeless, formless, like water.”The journey to the honored title of Absolver, and even the experience after, is set upon a road that is as simple or as complex as you want it to be. It will acquiesce to your desires, like water.

The path to becoming one of those peacekeepers involves becoming more adept at Absolver’s main dish: melee combat. Thankfully, that main dish is an incredibly delicious experience with more layers than I expected. You’ll choose from three fighting styles (with a fourth to be unlocked later) to use in the game but you can expand and evolve your style over time by adding new attacks to your Combat Deck and changing your combo structures. Button-mash at your own risk, but this brawler rewards pacing and laser focus on the stance and moves of your opponents. In short bouts of frustration, I’d start throwing everything but the kitchen sink at enemies, only to be quickly be reminded I should relax when I was countered into oblivion and my health bar depleted rapidly.

After surviving the tutorial, Absolver’s world opens up and you’re able to explore eight areas with another unlocked later. The Guidance Bridge is the hub for players and a few exits from it lead to areas for you to fight and explore. There’s not much actual “guidance” at this hub other than a totem with a few lights to show where your main targets are and, in general, the game takes a very hands-off approach to discovering the corners of the game world in way that’s reminiscent of hardcore RPGs like The Surge or Dark Souls. That minimalist approach can be found all over Adal, from the art design to the sound, and it all comes together in a really beautiful package.

When it comes to voice acting, there’s barely any to speak of. Your own character and the majority of those you encounter in the world are silent. This works well in a couple of ways: It gives you a chance to appreciate the lovely ambient noises of each area you move through and it also makes the voice acted boss fights that much more impactful. Words aren’t spoken aloud in Adal except to signal the appearance of an important character so you’ll do the most communication with your fists and, when you do, every statement is striking. The sounds of your limbs cutting through the wind and the varying degrees of impact all come together to create a wonderful song you won’t get tired of hearing throughout your experience.

The general structure early on has you fighting through the game world against AI and other players as you seek out special warriors. Once those warriors are defeated, you’ll unlock the final dungeon: The Tower of Adal. Throughout all of this, you’ll be earning gear that changes your strength, defense, health, stamina, and speed. The speed attribute isn’t increased over time, but is changed depending on the weight of your gear. Thus, you can put on heavier gear that will likely give you a defense boost, but it will likely slow your attacks and make it easier for opponents to read and defend against. Once you complete the game’s campaign, you’ll become an Absolver and the endgame will be focused on improving your Combat Deck, facing harder versions of bosses, and creating a school based on your fighting style if you reach a certain level of prominence.

You’ll often see a bunch of players running around and getting their bearings in the Guidance Bridge hub and other locations because Absolver is always online. You can turn it off temporarily but, you’ll be reconnected to the online world once you enter a new area of the map. You’re able to team up with the other players you see in your instance and take on the scattered AI enemies and bosses. You can also eschew the cooperative element and just fight anyone you come across, but you will have to encounter them at some point no matter what.

At launch, this “always online” feature could lead to some incredibly frustrating moments. Enemies would randomly pop up or disappear suddenly, putting you in a precarious situation or taking away your opportunity to learn new moves. When you block, counter, or dodge enemy attacks that aren’t a part of your own combat deck, a progress bar climbs until it fills and, once you defeat that enemy, that progress is chiseled in and you learn the move if you have done enough. If you die, that progress is lost, and it’s also lost if the enemy just disappears. The server issues also hindered the private PvP matches. With a combat system so dependant on timing and awareness, constant stuttering muddies the experience fully.

Appearances can be deceiving when it comes to martial arts. With the right knowledge, the unassuming or physically unimposing can dismantle opponents completely. Absolver, on its surface, is a multiplayer brawler with progression elements. At its center, it is a hardcore RPG that will reward players that invest in it heavily and it has more than enough value at its lower price. The game’s most significant issues have been addressed with a patch, thankfully, and any that step into the world of Andal is in for a treat. 


This review is based on a PS4 code provided by the publisher and the game was played on PS4 Pro. Absolver is now available on PC and PlayStation 4 for $29.99. The game is rated T for Teen.

Shacknews - Joe Stasio

When Buffa’s away, the children play. Unfortunately Papa Buff had to take care of his other children during today’s recording, so we definitely missed out on his SNES expertise which likely would’ve made for a more enriching show. However, what we have for you is a silly and entertaining run through of all the games that come shipped with Nintendo’s new all-in-one retro console. Before that, however, we’ll run through some recent headlines in the gaming world but for the most part you can look forward to some fun talk about some old, old (but charming) video games. Thanks as always for listening!

On this show:

- Joseph Stasio - http://twitter.com/beardedaxe

- Vin Genova - http://twitter.com/vinbatplays

- John Benyamine - http://twitter.com/hammersuit

Shacknews - Jason Venter

Sony has activated another Flash Sale, just in time for the weekend. Running from now through 8AM (PST) on September 25, 2017, the sale includes deals on a variety of PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Vita games, with discounts as high as 75%.

You can check the official flash sale page to find all of the deals, but there are quite a few to sort through. We’ll potentially save you some time by discussing a few of the ones that caught our eye below. Prices referenced are in USD.

On PlayStation Vita, you can currently find The Arland Atelier Trilogy Plus offered at a 70% discount. Regularly priced at $79.99, the collection includes Atelier Rorona Plus, Atelier Totori Plus, and Atelier Meruru Plus. It is available for $23.99 while the sale lasts.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven Bundle offers the base game, as well as a playable Kujo Jotaro and custom victory voices that otherwise are available as DLC. You can download everything for $14.99, a savings of 75%. Meanwhile, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle on PlayStation 3 is offered at an 80% discount, meaning it will currently set you back only $5.99.

Also on PlayStation 4, Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force is available for $14.99, which is a 70% discount. If you like JRPGs, the game may be of interest, since it represents the best edition of a reasonably popular title from late in the PlayStation 3 generation.

Rayman Legends on PlayStation 4 is also available, and at a 75% discount that drops its price to $9.99 from the standard $39.99. An even deeper discount is offered on The Darkness II, a comic-based shooter for PlayStation 3 that is 80% off its standard price. You can download it for only $7.99 through the sale’s duration.

If you’re interested in a VR experience, you also might want to grab Oasis Games Shooter VR Bundle while it is available for only $6.24, or the Oasis Games Horror VR Bundle for $4.99. Each title is available at savings of 75%. Other games offered at pleasing discounts include Broken Age (now only $3.99), South Park: The Stick of Truth (only $7.99), The Disney Afternoon Collection (priced at $7.99), Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution 2 Plus (offered for $4.99 on Vita), and Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty ($5.99, compared to the usual $14.99).

The PlayStation Flash sale is a terrific event. Check it out so you don’t miss the opportunity to spend way more money than you really should.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

With Junkertown opening its doors, that means it's time to pick up Overwatch again. And as part of the latest update, that means Xbox One and PlayStation 4 owners can play for free this weekend, with the full GOTY edition discounted across both platforms.

Xbox owners can also look for some deals on Battlefield, while PlayStation is throwing a giant Flash Sale, along with deals on the Assassin's Creed and Batman franchises.

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.

The following deals are available to all Xbox One users.

PlayStation 4

The following deals are available to all users. PlayStation Plus members may be eligible for additional discounts.

The following deals are available only to PlayStation Plus members.

Nintendo Switch

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.

The following deals are available to all Xbox 360 users.

PlayStation 3

The following deals are available to all users. PlayStation Plus members may be eligible for additional discounts.

The following deals are available only to PlayStation Plus members.

Nintendo 3DS

PlayStation Vita

The following deals are available to all users. PlayStation Plus members may be eligible for additional discounts.

The following deals are available only to PlayStation Plus members.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

There's a heavy bounty to be found in this weekend's PC deals, with many digital retailers still finding something to celebrate. Bundle Stars turns 5 and offers up a slew of deals, while the Humble Store wraps up its End of Summer Sale by giving everyone a second chance at all of the past month's deals.

Not to be outdone, Steam is offering a free weekend of Depth. If that game sounds familiar, it's because our own Greg Burke recently spotlighted the game on our YouTube channel. Check it out!

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

Amazon

Bundle Stars

Use the promo code BIRTHDAY5 to receive an addition 5% off of your Bundle Stars purchase.

Pay $20.39 for Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition, and the Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear DLC. These activate on Steam.

Or pay $3.49 for Party Hard, SpeedRunners, Door Kickers, Never Alone Arctic Collection, The Fall, Cook Serve Delicious, Sir You Are Being Hunted, and CastleStorm. These activate on Steam.

Or pay $4.99 for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and its DLC packs. These activate on Steam.

Direct2Drive

  • Direct2Drive will return with more deals next week.

GamersGate

  • For Honor [UPlay] - $26.40 (56% off) (Gold Edition and Deluxe Edition are also on sale)
  • Minecraft: Story Mode Season One [Steam] - $6.25 (75% off) (Adventure Pass is also on sale)
  • Tekken 7 [Steam] - $26.49 (47% off)
  • Mortal Kombat XL [Steam] - $10.00 (75% off)
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens [Steam] - $15.80 (60% off)
  • LEGO Marvel's Avengers [Steam] - $11.99 (40% off)
  • Other games in GamersGate's LEGO-Mania sale include the LEGO Batman games, LEGO Jurassic Park, and more. Find the full list of deals here.

GameStop

  • What happened, GameStop? We'll be back next week.

GOG.com

Green Man Gaming

  • Sid Meier's Civilization VI [Steam] - $32.15 (46% off)
  • Stellaris [Steam] - $16.00 (60% off)
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration [Steam] - $24.00 (60% off)
  • Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth [Steam] - $10.56 (74% off)
  • Other games in Green Man Gaming's Weekly Sale, including the Tomb Raider series and Civilization series, can be found here.

Humble Bundle

Pay what you want for RIVE: Wreck, Hack, Die, Retry, Neon Chrome, and Dungeon Souls. Pay more than the average $7.25 for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor GOTY Edition, Ultimate Chicken Horse, and Oxenfree. Pay $10 or more to also get Death Road to Canada and Beat Cop. Pay $80 or more to also get Middle-earth: Shadow of War (coming in October) and a Shadow of War T-shirt. These activate on Steam. (Except the T-shirt, obviously.)

Or pay $1 or more for Rollers of the Realm, Zeno Clash 2, Sonic Adventure 2, Bionic Commando, and Citizens of Earth. Pay more than the average $6.90 for Renegade Ops Collection, Sonic Generations Collection, Resident Evil 4, Dead Rising, and Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure. Pay $12 or more to also get Motorsport Manager and Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition. These activate on Steam.

Origin

  • SteamWorld Dig - Free!
  • Battlefield 1 Revolution - $39.99 (33% off)
  • Battlefield 1 Revolution + Titanfall 2 Ultimate Edition - $59.99 (25% off)
  • Find the rest of the games in Origin's Battlefield Blowout Sale here.

UPlay Shop

Steam

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

And finally, there's the Stardock Steam Publisher sale. For an idea of what to pick up, check out Asif's picks from earlier today.

Shacknews - Charles Singletary

The potential of immersive technology like virtual and augmented reality is untapped and will likely not be fully realized for a long while as creators figure out the best way to put things together. Apple put AR under the spotlight during their reveal of the iPhone X but one of the developers of Pokemon Go, an experience that brought augmented reality to a massive audience, believes the AR Apple showed off is just the tip of the iceberg. 

"So…. did we just see the future today?" Hanke asked in his blog post after the Apple iPhone X presentation. "Yes and no."

Hanke felt that Apple's AR exhibition focused too heavily on the visual effect of having a digital object or annotation overlaid on the camera view of the device. That's "really missing the point" as he put it.

"What AR really means is connecting digital information, objects, and experiences with the physical world in situ as you experience them. It’s the part about connecting information to the world that’s important. The way that information gets to you is secondary. What I mean is… AR can be something like we see in the movie ‘Her.’ It could be a whisper in your ear telling you the path to walk or historical facts about the building in front of you."

There are projects that come fairly close to what Hanke speaks of but, one of the barriers to mass AR adoption is the lack of an affordable and comfortable wearable. As time passes, AR headsets are getting closer to that reality but we won't see true AR for a while. Apple's device will help to influence the early conversation, though.

Shacknews - Bill Lavoy

As casual players begin returning to their normal routines, dedicated Guardians are starting to get a sense for what gear works and what gear doesn’t in Destiny 2. We’re beginning to arrive at objective conclusions for whether something should be locked away in our vault until it’s patched into relevancy, or if we should wear it above all else. With Xur’s Week 2 wares including the Sunbracers Exotic Warlock Gauntlets, it’s as good a time as any to review this item and see what it’s worth.

Sunbracers Exotic Warlock Gauntlets

The Sunbracers Exotic Warlock Gauntlets, as mentioned, are available through Xur right now, but that will end and you’ll have to get the from a drop once he’s gone. If you don’t own them, grab them no matter what. There is no harm in owning every Exotic piece of gear for your class. Be prepared for the game to change and currently insignificant items to become essential.

Here are the perks of the Sunbracers Exotic Warlock Gauntlets in Destiny 2.

  • Helium Spirals: Increases duration of Solar Grenades and grants grenade energy on Solar melee hits.
  • Mobility Enhancement Mod: Increased Mobility
  • Plasteel Reinforcement Mod: Increased Resilience

The Sunbracers should also come with a Kinetic Munition Loader that will improve the reload speed of your Kinetic weapon, and raise the Defense rating of these Gauntlets by five. That’s important to know if you plan to infuse these into something, or something into them.

The Sunbracers are a very niche Exotic. The only reason you’d really be interested in using them is to double the duration of your Solar Grenade. However, the effectiveness of that is tied directly to whether you can keep your target inside the grenade’s area of effect for the full eight or so seconds that it will last with the Sunbracers. Therefore, it’s probably not helpful for you to wear the Sunbracers because you plan to use your Solar Grenade on random enemies or in PvP. Instead, it would be something you purposely use on a boss who isn’t likely to wander out of the area of effect in the eight seconds.

How could the Sunbracers be useful? Imagine for a moment that you’re completing a Nightfall with a Solar burn, be it permanent or through the Prism mechanic. If you can land the Solar Grenade on the final boss while wearing the Sunbracers, enjoying the effects of the Solar burn or Solar Prism, you could do a huge amount of damage in a short amount of time. Of course, this is assuming everything works out perfectly in your favor, which is rarely the case.

For more help with Exotics and your general PvP and PvE journey, be sure to visit the Shacknews Destiny 2 complete strategy guide. We’ll cover everything you need to know to help you become the most powerful Guardian you can.

Shacknews - Jason Venter

Limbic Entertainment and 505 Games have announced a partnership that will find the latter publishing an unannounced game from the former. That title, an online survival sandbox game, will serve as a new intellectual property within the increasingly crowded genre.

On the official Limbic Entertainment site, the development studio is introduced as “industry veterans,” and the team is described as “best known for its work on the Might & Magic franchise in cooperation with Ubisoft and their current [work] on Tropico 6 with Kalypso.” Gamers outside of Europe likely won’t recognize the studio for any work at all beyond the recent contributions to those two franchises, but the studio also worked on a successful game for children in Germany called Colorelli, among numerous others.

“Our team is excited to dive into creating a new IP, and we are especially happy with the creative freedom in our cooperation with 505 Games,” said Stephan Winter, CEO, Limbic Entertainment. “505 is making a name for itself as a great publishing partner, and we knew right away they were the right company to embark on this project with us, as we move to defy the current limitations of the survival genre. We think players will really respond to this game, and we’re looking forward to sharing more details soon.”

Limbic Entertainment is based in Hesse, Germany. The company was founded in 2002 by Stephan Winter, Eike Radunz, and Alexander Frey, a trio of developers who previously contributed to the popular Anno series while working at Sunflowers. Its staff is rather small by industry standards, with a core group of around 50 people, but the site notes the team working on the upcoming project has grown to include 40 developers. Limbic Entertainment is also actively accepting employment applications.

“We are always on the lookout for new development partners who bring something unique to our diverse and indie-focused portfolio, and Limbic Entertainment’s new project does exactly that,” said Tim Woodley, SVP of global brand and marketing, 505 Games. “The team at Limbic is pushing the limits of the online multiplayer survival genre, putting a fresh spin on an emergent game world and an innovative character progression [system], and we’re looking forward to having a part in bringing that to players around the world.”

505 Games is a global publishing studio with offices in the United States, the U.K., France, Germany, China, and elsewhere. The prolific publisher has had its hands on everything from Rocket League, to Terraria, to Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, to Payday 2, and has been active on PC, consoles, and handheld devices for more than a decade.

No one is ready to talk about just when the new game might be released, but we will likely hear more about it soon enough. Are you anxious to play another online survival sandbox game?

...

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