If you've got no plans this weekend, why not go for a spot of jetliner-surfing with your chums or perhaps watch a race then join in and leap from car to car? These merry antics and more will be yours to experience, as the recently resurrected multiplayer mod for Just Cause 2 is starting a short open beta test tomorrow.
The test will begin at 1am Pacific on Saturday, the dev team announced, and run for a full 48 hours. Changes include loads more vehicle spawns, standardised weapon damage, and better synchronisation between what players are doing and what you see.
The mod will be up for download on the official site once the test begins.
Here's one player's look at an earlier beta build:
One of our most hotly anticipated games is Dishonored, thanks to its flexible gameplay. A new trailer shows off the creative kills you can perform in Arkane's new game. Then, what's going on with BioShock Infinite? Two key devs have left the studio, but Ken Levine assures fans that the game is still on target. Finally, if you're picking up Sleeping Dogs, you may want to consider getting the PC version, which includes a number of features specific to the platform.
Perhaps it's been too long since you've reset your password in a mad attempt to secure your privacy? Blizzard has announced that they have discovered "unauthorized and illegal access into our internal network."
In a statement, the company says that there's "no evidence" that any financial information, including credit cards, billing address, and real names, has been compromised. Blizzard notes that their investigation is ongoing, "but so far nothing suggests that these pieces of information have been accessed."
E-mail addresses for Battle.net users was accessed, in addition to the answer to the personal security question, and information relating to mobile and dial-in authenticators. In a post on Blizzard's official website, Mike Morhaime writes that "this information alone is NOT enough for anyone to gain access to Battle.net accounts."
In addition, the cryptographically scrambled versions of Battle.net passwords was also taken. Because SRP is used to protect the passwords, it would be "extreme difficult" to extract that information. However, Blizzard is encouraging all players to change their password. And as always, if you use similar log-in information elsewhere, it would be wise to change that info as well.
Players will be prompted to change their secret questions and answers in an automated process in the coming days. In addition, mobile authenticator users will be asked to update their software. "As a reminder, phishing emails will ask you for password or login information. Blizzard Entertainment emails will never ask for your password," Morhaime adds.
Gaming's summer slump continues, and only the most popular games will survive. As expected, NCAA Football 13 takes the top position in NPD's monthly report, which should help EA's coffers until Madden dominates September's charts. LEGO Batman 2 takes the second position, and with Batman: Arkham City also in the top ten, it's clear that people are batty for the Bats.
The success of "Game of the Year" re-releases should be evident, as not only does Arkham City reappear in the charts, but Dead Island does as well. Hopefully, this doesn't encourage publishers to repeat Deep Silver's questionable use of the "Game of the Year" moniker.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Diablo 3, and Max Payne 3 are some noteworthy games that have fallen out of the top ten since last month. Here's the complete breakdown:
NPD Group's Anita Frazier predicts that 3DS will see a fair boost next month, with the release of the 3DS XL and New Super Mario Bros 2. "It will be interesting to see the performance of Sleeping Dogs," she points out, adding that although a new IP, it has "garnered a fair amount of buzz."
Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation is one of the few high profile third-party exclusives gracing the Vita in the coming months. But where are all the other heavy-hitters?
Sony Worldwide Studio president Shuhei Yoshida admits that, in spite of the quality of the Vita hardware, the platform holder is "having a more difficult time than anticipated in terms of getting support from third-party publishers."
Yoshida blames the increasing competition of handheld devices, specifically mobile phones. "Because of the growth of the social/mobile sector, lots of opportunities are being presented to publishers to choose from," he told PlayStation: The Official Magazine (via IGN). "And because the social/mobile side is the growing sector in terms of the business now, they are very quickly shifting their development resources to be part of that growing market."
So how can Sony stem the loss of interested third party developers? Yoshida doesn't offer an answer, but perhaps PlayStation Mobile (formerly known as PlayStation Suite) can offer some hope. With the Mobile SDK, developers can make games across not only PlayStation devices, but Android phones as well.
Age of Empires Online is adding another pro civilization and a booster pack later this month as downloadable content. The Babylon civilization and Fertile Crescent booster pack are due August 16, for 900 and 450 Empire Points, respectively.
Eurogamer reports that the Babylonian civilization is focused on money-making prowess and can build a strong economy quickly. To this end, it adds an Ox Cart as a mobile storehouse, letting you deposit resources easier without rebuilding several storehouses.
In terms of military strength, the Babylonians can use a Seige Tower, which fires ranged arrows while hiding the units inside. Shield Bearers can withstand shield damage but are vulnerable to anti-infantry melee, and Lancers are anti-infantry cavalry with the ability to close gaps quickly. The culture also comes with a Ziggurat (to more from Age one to two), Gardens (to raise research and unit production speed). They can also build clay walls.
The Fertile Crescent booster adds 30 new quests for users level 20 and over, and repeatable scaling quests up to level 40. It also adds AI-controlled co-op quests in case none of your friends are around at the time.
While Kickstarter has seen successful campaigns to revive out-of-favor genres like adventure games and classic turn-based RPGs, the tactical FPS hasn't fared so well, with several developers failing to fund one. Undeterred, folks behind Half-Life 2 mod Insurgency have turned to KickStarter to fund a commercial sequel, and released eight minutes of gameplay to sway you.
New World Interactive, lead by Insurgency and Red Orchestra founder Jeremy Blum, is looking for $180,000 in its Kickstarter campaign. They've been working on it since 2011 and have the game in reasonable shape, but want to make it "look as good as it plays." Stretch goals include a Linux version, an escort/ambush mode, and extra maps.
$10 will get you a copy when the game launches, saving $5, while $50 offers beta access and there are the customary vanity insertions for people who cough up huge chunks of change.
31 days into the 60-day campaign, only around $37,000 has been raised, so Insurgency 2 will need a real boost to hit the goal. To that end, here's eight minutes of gameplay supplied to RPS in the hope of inspiring gushing and wallet-opening
Free-to-play tank 'em up World of Tanks is getting a sizeable overhaul in patch 8.0, with new movement physics and a graphical revamp which runs faster while looking fancier.
The updated engine adds support for deferred shading, fancier water and other gubbins, but the main improvement seems to be that it's simply much faster. Heaps more detail is being added to maps but Wagaming claims they'll still run just as fast as ever, or even faster. Ten maps are being updated at first for version 8.0, with more to come in later patches.
8.0 will also bring new tank movement physics, which Wargaming says are jolly realistic. It's adding five new Soviet tank destroyers and the experimental Matilda Black Prince for the Brits too.
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For ardent Nintendo fans, simply offering HD support makes Wii U a worthwhile enough purchase. However, many others are still looking for a "killer app"--something that showcases the value of Nintendo's unique tablet-style controller. Pikmin 3 and Rayman Legends stole the show for us at E3. However, both games have been usurped by a surprise contender: FIFA Soccer 13.
Whereas most third-party offerings on Wii U have implemented largely uninspired uses for the Wii U GamePad (like EA's own Mass Effect 3), EA Sports radically transforms the game. FIFA offers a "best of both worlds" approach for the Wii U platform. If you want to play it as you would on PS3 or Xbox 360, you can. You can ignore the tablet controller altogether and play the game using the buttons and sticks only. Unlike the Wii U port of Madden, FIFA feels like the complete game. Considering the FIFA franchise is one of the most well-received games in sports, that's a good thing.
However, you can use the GamePad to augment the experience. Perhaps the most significant addition to play is the ability to draw routes for your AI teammates. As you actively control one runner, you can tap on another on the GamePad, draw a route, and set up some interesting passing and shooting opportunities. Being able to precisely aim your kick shot is also much appreciated. It's activated simply by shaking the controller (or pressing down L3). The GamePad will then display a picture of the goal, and you can tap which part of the net you want to aim for. It adds an appreciable level of depth to the kicking experience.
Having the GamePad makes playing FIFA an unquestionably better experience. However, you can also play the game in a completely new way by using the GamePad only. For more casual players, you can simply act as a Manager, letting the AI control all your players on field. In this mode, you can simply tap on individual players and draw plays. You can also change tactics on the fly, altering formations and substituting players.
It may feel "watered down" for hardcore players, but it's just another way of playing made possible by the GamePad. You can also have one player serve as the Manager using the GamePad, and then have four other players use Wii Remotes to control active players, for an interesting demonstration of Nintendo's asymmetric multiplayer.
The marvelous thing about FIFA for Wii U is that you're free to ignore all the bells and whistles EA has added for this iteration. You're still getting the core FIFA experience, no matter how you choose to play. However, the new features exclusive to the GamePad make FIFA for Wii U feel like the definitive version of the game. For many, that will be the system-seller that gamers have been looking for.
FIFA Soccer 13 will be available on Wii U... whenever the console launches.
Two co-op modes have been reportedly cut, including a tower-defense mode that "never worked." Players would be placed into an arcade machine, where they would fight against waves of enemy toys. The second co-op mode was internally called "Spec-Ops," as it was similar to the co-op modes from the most recent Modern Warfare games. As in Call of Duty, players would work together in missions inspired by the single player campaign.
According to Kotaku, both modes were axed, and it's unclear if any multiplayer modes remain.
Speaking to the site, Irrational's Ken Levine assured fans that, despite the setbacks, the game is still "on track" to meet its already-delayed February release. Pointing out that staff members leaving is something to be expected in the industry, Levine noted that much of the core team is still intact. "As far as the team itself, the lead artist, the art director, the creative director, the lead effects artist, the senior sound guy, the lead programer and the lead AI programmer from BioShock 1 are all on BioShock Infinite. I don't think there's a single senior BioShock team member that isn't here, which I think is amazing and a testament to their commitment to the studio."