Shacknews - Steve Watts

8-Bit Cuisine is back this week, with a recipe served to a character most famous for eating everything in sight. Kirby may not have the most discerning of palates, but he knows good food when he vacuums it into his chubby pink face. Check out the video below for how to make the super spicy chili from Kirby's Dreamland and Super Smash Bros Brawl.



MEASUREMENTS & SERVINGS:1 White Onion2 Peppers Red/Yellow2 Cloves of Garlic1/2 Red Apple1/2 Cup Water1 tsp Chinese Five Spice1 tsp Ground Ginger1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper1/2 tsp Chili Powder1/2 tsp Cumin1/2 tsp Black Pepper1/4 tsp Nutmeg2 Crushed Dried Chilis2 Cups Canned Tomatoes3 tbsp Olive OilYour Favorite White RiceYIELD: Makes 3-4 servings

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Skylanders: Trap Team is getting another new addition to the mix in addition to the toy traps. At San Diego Comic-Con, Activision announced "Eon's Elite" figures, limited edition versions of the original poses from the first Skylanders game, with a few extra bells and whistles.


Eon's Elite toys will get a metallic finish and a golden base, and come in special packaging with a display case with a 3D lenticular background. Inside the game, they'll be three times as powerful as other characters. Eight will be available in all, but only two have been announced so far: Spyro and Chop Chop. The announcement states they'll be available in limited quantities in GameStop and EB Games locations.


No price has been given for the line, but given the limited run and all the talk of premium Skylanders figures, we would expect them to come in at more than the average $10 price point for a regular toy.


Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Comic-Con is underway! But let's face it. If you aren't in San Diego right now, you probably aren't going to be there. So why torture yourself by reading tweets and looking at Instagrams from the Convention Center floor? Don't do that to yourself. Bury yourself in PC games, instead.


Steam is offering the full Dead Island franchise and a sprinkling in some story with Broken Age and The Walking Dead: Season 2. Amazon is looking to get you into Titanfall before next week's DLC hits, while GameFly Digital gets you some great 2K games like the XCOM: Enemy Unknown Complete Pack (that's the one with Enemy Within expansion). And Humble Bundle has a whole lot of Square Enix games! Check out the full list below!


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


Amazon




Bundle Stars


Pay $3.49 for Vector, Rush For Glory, Montas, Steel & Steam: Episode 1, Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory, Ionball 2: Ionstorm, Clockwork Tales: Of Glass & Ink, and Growing Pains. They activate on Steam.


Or pay $3.99 for Q.U.B.E. Director's Cut, No Time To Explain, iBomber Attack, Deponia, Skyward Collapse Complete, Ignite, Clones, LightFish, Crystals of Time, Litil Divil, Fortix, The 39 Steps, //N.P.P.D RUSH// - The milk of Ultraviolet, and Super Killer Hornet: Resurrection. All activate on Steam.


Or pay $4.99 for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2, Alien Rage: Unlimited, Disciples III: Reincarnation, Deadly 30, Fearless Fantasy, Muffin Knight, Street Racing Syndicate, I Am Vegend - Zombiegeddon, Iron Grip: Warlord and the Scorched Earth DLC. All activate on Steam.




GameFly Digital


Use the code JUL20OFF to get 20% off purchases over $9.99. If you're across the pond, use UKMAY20OFF.



  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown - The Complete Edition [Steam] - $24.99 (50% off)

  • Borderlands 2 GOTY Edition [Steam] - $14.99 (63% off)

  • BioShock Infinite [Steam] - $7.49 (75% off)

  • Other games in GameFly Digital's 2K Sale, including NBA 2K14 and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, can be found here.



GamersGate




GameStop




Get Games




GOG




Green Man Gaming




Humble Bundle


Pay what you want for Thief Gold, Daikatana, Mini Ninjas, Anachronox, Hitman: Codename 47, and Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. Pay more than the average $8.42 to also get Deus Ex: Invisible War, Deus Ex: The Fall, Hitman: Absolution, Nosgoth Veteran Pack, and Battlestations: Midway. Pay $15 or more to also get Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut, Just Cause 2, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition, and Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days. All games work on Steam and are available with a $1 minimum.


Or pay what you want for Ethan: Meteor Hunter, Finding Teddy, and Mechanic Escape. Pay $6 or more to get Legends of Persia, Kill The Bad Guy, Freaking Meatbags Early Access and Project Temporality. Pay $10 or more to also get WRC 4 FIA World Rally Championship. All games work on Steam and are available with a $1 minimum.



  • Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion (Today only) [Steam] - $9.99 (75% off)

  • Simulators 2 Weekly Bundle (Euro Truck Simulator 2 (w/Fantasy Paint Jobs DLC) + Tropico 4 + Turbo Dismount + Universe Sandbox + Cook, Serve, Delicious! + Out of the Park Baseball 14) - $14.99 (85% off)

  • Gamepedia Bundle (Windforge + Stacking + ReignMaker + Paranautical Activity (Early Access) + Tower of Elements + ReignMaker + a closed beta key for Strife + Darkout + Signs of Life (Early Access) + 30-Day subscription to Curse Premium + Lifeless Planet + Edge of Space (Early Access)) - $19.99 (84% off)

  • Saturday Morning RPG [Steam] - $2.99 (50% off)



Indie Royale


Pay $4.30 for Stealth Bastard Deluxe, Savant: Ascent, Mr. Bree+, Jack Lumber, FLY'N, Oozi: Earth Adventure, Akane the Kunoichi, and Doomed'n Damned. Pay $6 or more for a bonus soundtrack. All of these games work on Steam.


Steam


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



  • Broken Age - $12.49 (50% off)

  • Dead Island Franchise Pack - $7.49 (75% off) (Individual titles also on sale)

  • Ace Combat Assault Horizon Enhanced Edition - $4.99 (75% off)

  • The Walking Dead: Season 2 - $16.74 (33% off)

  • Fronzen Byte Complete Collection (Shadowgrounds + Shadowgrounds Survivor + Trine 2: Complete Story + Trine Enchanted Edition) - $6.99 (80% off) (Individual titles also on sale)


Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes, the standalone expansion for the turn-based strategy game Elemental, is getting a bit of an overhaul with its latest update. The 'Adversaries' 1.7 update is said to be the game's biggest one todate, refining just about every aspect of the adventure so far.


Among the items that developer Stardock is addressing is the game's AI, which promises to function smarter and exercise better strategy. It'll also stop waging war on players they aren't at war with anymore, which should be a bit more realistic. Each of the game's five champion types will also receive some new class-specific items that will affect them and their armies.


Other improvement include polish to monster behavior, economy balancing, and a slew of other fixes and balance tweaks. The full patch notes can be found here.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

The Chattycast welcomes our first guest this week, friend of the show Dr. Bryan Carr. He's an avid gamer, a college professor, and the only person we know of to have written a professional paper about Lollipop Chainsaw. This week we head off-topic with discussion of hoverboards, talk a little about the game review process and what it's like to attend conventions, and bring it home with our favorite cheat codes and genres we'd like to see retired


Thanks go out to sergeon, kaddar0, Raoul Duke, ant_hillbilly, and Nerdsbeware for this week's topics.


Segment 1: Murdered: Soul Suspect, Splatterhouse, Steel Battalion, Bravely DefaultSegment 3: Mortal Kombat, GTA Vice City, NBA Jam, Goldeneye, Game Genie, Kid Icarus, MetroidSegment 4: Wolfenstein, Sniper Elite 3, Rogue Squadron, Star Fox, Valiant Hearts, Assassin’s Creed, Elite Beat Agents, Crypt of the Necrodancer, Batman Arkham Series, Batman: The Brave and the Bold


RSS | iTunes | Download this episode


Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Bandai Namco and Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada offered a first look at Tekken 7 during Evo 2014 a few weeks ago, promising more details at San Diego Comic-Con. That time has arrived, with Harada unveiling a second trailer and going more into detail regarding the final chapter of the Mishima saga.


According to Siliconera, Bandai Namco alluded to several questions during their Comic-Con panel. Questions such as why Heihachi had to throw Kazuya into a pit, why he had to kill Jin, and who Devil Jin really is will be among the lingering mysteries resolved in Tekken 7. The new trailer gets the ball rolling, hinting that Heihachi is on the verge of unleashing his true power.


The trailer below features no gameplay, since Harada states that it is currently being polished. However, the trailer once again reiterates that Tekken 7 will be built on Unreal Engine 4.


Shacknews - Steve Watts

Warner Bros Interactive has announced that Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will release a week earlier than previously planned.


Originally slated for October 7, it's now scheduled to hit on September 30. The PC and Steam version will follow on October 2. WB chalks the change up to "hearing fans' excitement over the latest chronicle in Middle-Earth," but October 7 was shaping up to be a crowded day for releases. Even with the delay of Dragon Age: Inquisition, the date still holds NBA 2K15, DriveClub, and Alien: Isolation.


Shadow of Mordor focuses on Talon, a ranger who loses his family and his own life, but is revived by the Spirit of Vengeance. He proceeds to lay waste to orc hordes, and a "Nemesis System" lets enemies remember and respond after surviving a fight against Talion, building their own grudges.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
Warning: Story spoilers for The Walking Dead: Season 2 ahead. If you haven't played through Episode 4: Amid the Ruins, turn back now.


My original intention for this article was to write out a character recap for The Walking Dead: Season 2. The plan was to recap where the story's characters have gone over the course of the season's first four episodes and where they're lining up to go for the final episode. Unfortunately, I started to come to a sad realization once I sat down to actually write it.


The characters simply aren't all that interesting.


It's kind of staggering how Clementine is single-handedly carrying the narrative for The Walking Dead: Season 2, because her supporting cast has been quite terrible. It goes beyond them being distrustful of her, but it's also that their survival instincts are so dreadful to the point that they become a liability. When that happens, the entire narrative is affected. The idea of games like this is to become attached to characters so that their deaths and sacrifices are meaningful. It's so that there's genuine emotion when inevitable loss comes.


The first season of The Walking Dead understood this. There were personalities behind those characters, but more than anything, they also grew to become survivors. Carley and Doug started off rocky, but grew into pivotal members of the group. Their deaths meant something. Ben started off as the group's biggest screw-up to the point that even he thought himself to be a liability, but grew up before our eyes to the point that his loss was real punch to the gut. And though Kenny's family didn't have his survival instincts, they helped shape Kenny's character to the point that we became more empathetic towards him, because we witnessed his world shatter around him.


By comparison, there are almost no signs of this type of growth with Season 2's survivors. Characters like Carlos, Nick, and Rebecca were borderline one-dimensional. Their deaths felt more like they were there to fill a quota and as a cheap way to move the story forward. These losses were simply glossed over, because they never evolved as characters. Carlos never went beyond the doctor with a kid. Nick stayed a screw-up to the bitter end. Rebecca was nothing more than "the pregnant lady" for the entirety of the story, so it made sense that once she gave birth, she had nothing left to offer.


Let's also look briefly at Sarah, who was Season 2's equivalent of Ben. Ben had next to no survival instincts, constantly held the group back with his own deficiencies, and was always wallowing in his own self-pity, even though it helped no one. Sarah turned out to be very similar, but her weakness can be seen in Clementine's interaction with her. Clementine helped Ben believe in himself and helped him grow as a person, eventually making him a functioning member of the group and a devastating loss when his death eventually came.


Sarah, on the other hand, was unsalvageable. Even if Clementine opted to help her as much as humanly possible, Sarah could never escape her childhood bubble. When her father died, she was completely lost and hopeless. Instead of understanding the gravity of the situation, she (intentionally or not) became a total liability. Her death should have had some meaning, but because she was such an unhelpful member of the group, it was simply something to shrug over and move on. I never felt happy about losing members of my group in Season 1, but Sarah was among the deaths that affected me the least, helping illustrate what a weak character she was in the end.


The remaining cast members are no different. Luke, especially, has proven insufferable throughout the first four episodes. He thinks himself a brilliant leader, but he's constantly exercising the poorest judgment possible. The scene at the cabin in Episode 2? Luke disappears, fancying himself as a savior. The scenes at the camp in Episode 3? Luke goes to the well once too often and gets himself captured trying to steal food, compromising the group's escape plan and indirectly getting Kenny's eye crushed. And don't get me started on the latest episode, where Luke thought it would be a good idea to stop and have sex with Jane, who he had known for maybe two scenes at the most, knowing that Rebecca was going to give labor any minute.



Luke was supposed to be Season 2's version of Kenny, but the man himself has shown what a poor comparison that is. Even with his world crumbling around him once again and finding himself crushed by despair once again, Kenny overcame all of it to do the right thing and do what's best for the camp. He came to his senses in time to fend off the herd of walkers and help Rebecca deliver her baby. By comparison, not only is Luke continuing to show poor judgment and awful survival skills, but he actually becomes a liability by constantly arguing loudly with Kenny and potentially attracting more walkers.


None of the other supporting cast is any better. The game has done little to give any background to Mike or Jane, making their characters feel superfluous. And even with the benefit of a backstory from 400 Days, Bonnie comes off feeling flat. There's nothing about any of these characters that particularly stand out. I ask myself the question of whether I would be emotionally affected if any of those characters were to die and my answer is always a resounding "No."


It's hard to fathom what The Walking Dead: Season 2 would have going for it if it didn't center around Clementine. She's proven, by far, to be the single most well-rounded, brilliantly-written character in the entire series. In fact, she's probably one of the best characters of the decade, period. The growth she's shown in this season cannot be understated, as she's been forced to grow up and become more of an adult, sometimes in unimaginable ways. But with this supporting cast to work with, you'd have to grow up fast, too, in order to survive.

Shacknews - Robert Workman

The San Diego Comic-Con floor is jumping enough as it is, but for those of you who don’t have a badge, the Nerd Machine’s goings-on at the nearby Petco Park is the next best thing. Here, fans can drop in and check out a number of promotional events, as well as take part in giveaways and panels. It’s like their own little Comic-Con.


Meanwhile, on the top level of Petco Park, Nerdist Industries has taken over with a number of activities all its own, including a free candy booth (Red Hots! Nerds!) and an interactive stage featuring Nerdist talent, such as Jessica Chobot. The real activity, however, is laser tag.


2K Games has teamed up with Nerdist to host an interactive laser tag session, complete with an enclosed arena with plenty of cover points and high-tech rifles with an indication screen, showing when you score kills or when you’re hit. There’s no need to wear some ridiculous get-up here, as the rifles actually read everything you’re doing on the battlefield. Finally, no reason to wear a stupid helmet!


The session we took part in featured two teams, green and yellow. To tell the difference between teammates, we were all given headbands and wristbands that clearly show our team colors. From there, we got our guns and prepped for battle, spreading out across the two areas and slowly but surely taking over each other’s domain.


So why would 2K host a laser tag session instead of playable Borderlands kiosks, you ask? First off, laser tag is more fun. Even in the hot San Diego sun, the activity presented the opportunity to feel what combat is like first hand.


Secondly, we’ve played Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel already, and there’s still plenty of opportunity to check out the game while waiting in line, as well as catch a photo with Handsome Jack and snag a pre-order poster, if you’re up for it.


Finally, did we mention laser tag was fun? Because it is. The whole time beforehand, they had us waiting in the bleachers at Petco Park while they prepped the arena and guns for the next battle. This was an ample opportunity to pass along some trash talk, including “Well, your mother’s on TEAM BLUE!” or stuff along those lines. This helped bump up the action to another level, even though it remained playful and enjoyable. Plus, one guy even had two laser tag guns for some reason. Hey, we want to double wield, too!


Thanks to 2K Games for hosting the session and inviting us out for some laser tag shooty fun. If you’re in the San Diego area and want to check it out, stop by Petco Park and take the escalators all the way to the top. Enjoy yourself.


Oh, and if you see us going into battle, you're already dead!

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Humanity will continue to thrive in Firaxis' futuristic take on the Civilization franchise. So far, we've seen one type of biome in Civilization: Beyond Earth and, appropriately enough, it's the one most similar to our own atmosphere. However, there's more than just the lush biome to look forward to.


There's also a barren desert to look forward to called the arid biome. Inspired by the desert worlds of various science fiction works like Dune's Arrakis, Star Wars' Tatooine, or Star Trek's Vulcan, the arid biome will contain extreme conditions and a less-than-ideal setup for Beyond Earth's many factions.


So how will players have to adapt when placed within the confines of this new environment? Shacknews recently had the opportunity to speak to Firaxis lead designers Will Miller and David McDonough about the new arid biome and the manner in which is affects gameplay in Beyond Earth.



Shacknews: Can you describe some of the exclusive plant life and terrain that players will find in the arid biome?


Firaxis: The biomes are visual markers rather than having separate gameplay values, much the way we had American, Asian, African, and European tile sets in Civ V. Each of these gave the world a unique look, but played identically. This is because resources and their distribution is so key to the gameplay for Civ, that walling off resources behind a specific biome would have created problems for players given the way the game is designed. However, when you're on the arid biome, your forests will be giant cactus-like plants, rather than woody trees. Also the mountains and craters will look different than the other biomes.


Shacknews: In what ways can Civilization factions thrive in the arid biome, given that it's suited for more extreme desert temperatures?


Firaxis: If you're on a map and you're confronted with a lot of desert, the best thing to do is prioritize constructing the Vivarium building in your cities. It enables more food out of desert tiles your city work, which means that you'll be able to continue to grow your cities.


Shacknews: What types of resources are explorers likely to find within the arid biome?


Firaxis: Almost anything! There are usually deposits of resources near your landing site, but a distance away there are typically new resource zones. However, these also tend to be near alien nests, which means if you want to expand out to take advantage of these resources, you're probably going to run into problems with the aliens at that point.



Shacknews: Aside from humans, what type of life inhabits the arid biome? Given its dry environment, what type of life can survive here?


Firaxis:The alien life of the world has little problem with arid biome. Even the Siege Worms. Especially the Siege Worms. There's something very awesome about the Siege Worms on the arid biome.


Shacknews: Do individual units respond differently based on this new environment?


Firaxis: Not as such. For human units, the biome's type doesn’t affect the AI's calculation as much as the tiles it can see and work do. The aliens are obviously comfortable living on their home world.


Shacknews: How do the different factions respond in different biomes, given their respective goals? Are their goals made easier or more difficult in certain biomes?


Firaxis: No one faction does better in a biome than the others – that would seriously limit the capability of certain Civs based on the map type, which doesn’t seem like that would be very fun if you're playing that Civ.



Shacknews: How do your overall strategies vary depending on your faction/biome combination?


Firaxis: No one faction does better in a biome than the other, but each faction has unique advantages, and each will need to find the best way to adapt those to the terrain of the planet. Starting on an arid planet might make it easier to get Energy, for instance, and if your faction has strengths or weaknesses associated with Energy production, you'll definitely need to take that into account when setting up your colony.


Shacknews: What are some other types of environments that Firaxis is looking into for future biomes?


Firaxis: At present, we've got three biomes: Lush, Arid, and Fungal. Fungal is the strangest-looking of the three, since the entire ecosystem's vegetation is based on mushrooms and shelf fungi. It's probably the biome that most lets you know you're not on Earth anymore.




Firaxis will reveal more about Beyond Earth's different biome types in the coming weeks. Civilization: Beyond Earth will arrive on PC on October 24.

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