Star Citizen Alpha 3.5 Adds Female Characters, New Planet & More

Star Citizen Alpha 3.5 will release this weekend for all backers, and the update will finally add playable female characters alongside a new city-planet named ArcCorp and other features. Star Citizen has released several patches since its inception, but remains in a purely Alpha build currently, one that is accessible to those who have backed the game via crowdfunding.

Star Citizen is one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns ever. Developer Cloud Imperium celebrated hitting $200 million in crowdfunding late last year by giving everyone a glimpse of how the game is progressing, and despite the incredible amount of time that it has taken to get the game playable even into Star Citizen Alpha 3.5 stage, it continues to impress those who have interacted with it. One of the most consistent elements of the game is that it opens the door for many different possibilities at any given time, with popular videos like the Star Citizen player catching someone falling through a planet’s atmosphere providing evidence of just how intense the game’s sandbox features can get.

Related: Squadron 42 Won’t Be in Beta Until Mid-2020 At The Earliest

Star Citizen Alpha 3.5 will continue to add more content to the game, including a heavily requested feature: it took years, but players will finally be given access to playable female character models. On top of that strangely absent element finally getting addressed, the game will also introduce a new city-planet called ArcCorp alongside its two moon, while an entirely re-worked flight model that differs planetary and space flight will be introduced as well. Star Citizen Alpha 3.5 will also introduce new missions, ships, and weapons for players, as well as “dozens” of quality of life and performance improvements. Chris Roberts, the CEO of Cloud Imperium, shared his feelings on the game’s newest update:

3.5 is one of our biggest updates so far…we’re adding the dense urban planet ArcCorp, which we showed a prototype of at CitizenCon 2017, as well as delivering the revolutionary Gene Splicing system we developed with 3Lateral…but for me, the headline feature we’re adding is playable female characters. This has been a long time coming, and it was a huge undertaking.

Star Citizen Alpha 3.5 will also be adding CIG Character Customization Technology, an updated system that will allow players access to new customization options that will create permutations that increase the amount of player possibilities drastically. Cloud Imperium is also placing a bit of a larger focus on communication technology, with updates that will allow players to participate in video comms calls “no matter how far away they are in the Persistent Universe”. Essentially, players can now stay in contact while further away from each other, which is a huge boon to those who want to team up and use the game’s in-game comm tech for the full Star Citizen experience.

There are a lot of updates coming in Star Citizen Alpha 3.5, and all of them appear to be increasing the quality of an already deep, satisfying game. The issue comes with the fact that Star Citizen is somehow still in Alpha despite having so much financial backing and time behind it. While Cloud Imperium clearly cares about the game a great deal, and its fans continue to report successful implemented content that improves the gameplay experience, at a certain point there needs to be meaningful progress toward whatever the actual finished product of this game is. Until then, though, Star Citizen continues to become one of the most fascinating evolutionary projects in the games industry, and Alpha 3.5 will do more of the same in that regard.

More: Star Citizen Called Out For Copying EVE Online Ship Design and Charging $140 For It

2019-03-29 01:03:33

Cody Gravelle

Anthem Closed Alpha Starts in December: Here’s How to Register

Gamers who have been keenly looking forward to playing BioWare’s upcoming multiplayer action role-playing game Anthem now have the opportunity to sign up for the Closed Alpha, which will run from December 8-9, 2018 across four separate three-hour sessions. The deadline to register is the end of day on December 3, and requires an EA account.

Anthem will be something of a departure from the kind of role-playing games that BioWare fans are used to. The developer is best known for the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series, which have single-player campaigns, extensive dialogue trees, and offer romantic relationships with other characters in the game. By contrast, Anthem won’t have large, branching dialogue trees (just two dialogue options each time) or romances, and the action gameplay is primarily focused on the multi-player experience (though it does have a single-player portion).

Related: BioWare Gets Rid of the Dialogue Wheel in Anthem

To sign up for Anthem‘s Closed Alpha, go to the EA Community Playtesting portal and log in with your EA Account (if you don’t already have one, you can create one). Read and accept the terms and conditions, and then choose from either the PC, Xbox One, or PS4 playtest. Once you have completed these steps, your status will appear as Pending, and should be changed to Approved within a few days. Be sure to sign up (and add your Xbox gamertag, if you’re signing up for the Xbox One playtest) by the end of day on December 3, or you’ll risk missing out on the Closed Alpha. Once approved, you will receive in email with further instructions.

Anthem‘s approach to mingling single-player and multi-player gameplay has been dubbed “Our World, My Story.” There is a central hub where players can progress through the single-player story and build relationships with non-player characters. Then, upon donning exosuits called Javelins and venturing out into the world, the multi-player portions of the game will begin. You can also choose to play through the entire game solo, if teamwork isn’t your thing.

The Anthem pre-launch demo will become available for players who have pre-ordered the game (or signed up for the premium services EA Access or Origin Access) on February 1, 2019, and Early Access will begin on February 15. However, the Closed Alpha will be the first opportunity for players to explore BioWare’s new sci-fi world, and see if it measures up to the studio’s past titles.

More: There Are Too Many Huge Games Releasing February 22nd, 2019

Anthem will release February 22, 2019, for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Source: EA

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John Wick 3 Movie Logo Revealed At Licensing Expo

The first logo for John Wick 3 has arrived. Keanu Reeves’ career as an action lead was revitalized in a major way with the launch of the John Wick franchise. Reeves plays the former hired gun who gets pulled back into the lifestyle he left behind after some tragic losses. His need for revenge has served the story for two films so far, and next year will see John on the run as the entire assassin community will be after him. And after the success the franchise has experienced so far, Lionsgate is moving Wick into an ultra-competitive summer next year.

Since there are still several months before John Wick 3 hits theaters, there’s been hardly any marketing for the movie outside of a photo here and there. Instead, most of the attention for the movie has come from Reeves talking about it himself. Well, the marketing campaign may be gearing up to start as the official logo has now been revealed.

Related: Keanu Reeves Escapes On A Horse In John Wick 3 Photo

Dirtees provided the first look at John Wick 3‘s logo straight from the Brand Licensing Expo in London. The logo, which could be a concept and not the final design, is rather simplistic. The outline of Wick takes the place of the “I” in his last name, while it switches the franchise to Roman numerals. The design itself is one thing, but what some may be surprised by is the actual title itself.

Studios and marketing teams traditionally like to stay consistent with franchise titles, but John Wick 3 could be an example of change. The movie was previously referred to as John Wick: Chapter 3 (and still is on the social media pages for the film). It is possible that the third installment has dropped the “Chapter” altogether, or could further point to this not being the final logo design.

However, Reeves himself made this a bit more complicated when he said that John Wick: Parabellum was the title and revealed the meaning behind it. This came after the working title was changed from Alpha Cop to Parabellum right before production began. It is possible that Reeves was simply explaining how they chose the working title as it related to Wick’s actual story and it was mistakenly thought that Parabellum was the movie’s title.

We will hopefully get complete clarity on John Wick 3 and its title sooner rather than later. Since it is moving to the summer season, the marketing needs to be a bit more aggressive to make sure the movie isn’t lost among a slew of blockbusters. The threequel does have an impressive cast that includes Halle Berry, but it may need an extra dose of the franchise’s gun-fu to really sell audiences on coming back one more time.

MORE: First Official Look at Halle Berry in John Wick 3

Source: Dirtees

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2018-10-10 04:10:31 – Cooper Hood

Planet Alpha Review: A World We’ve Been to Before

Planet Alpha is a puzzle platformer that asks a lot of questions, but gets too bogged down in its own muddled mechanics to answer them. What is the cost of war? Will nature run its course? What separates man and machine? Planet Alpha is interested in the exploration of these ideas, but through its short four-to-five hour play-time, it makes the user do most of the heavy lifting.

Planet Alpha tells the story of an explorer alone on a mysterious planet. After a brief journey through the alien world, the player discovers this planet is under siege by an army of robots. They must run, jump, and hide to evade the war that engulfs the world. Maybe they’ll discover something greater along the way.

RelatedNo Man’s Sky: A Beginner’s Guide To The NEXT Update

It must be said that Planet Alpha looks phenomenal. Developed by a tiny team at Planet Alpha ApS in Denmark, it’s truly a testament to their skill and quite a calling card for future endeavors. Tim Loye Skafte’s art is the stand-out here; the bio-luminescent scenery is reminiscent of No Man’s Sky at its best. The player traverses across deserts, dense jungles, ancient temples, and dark caverns. Each location is breathtaking, requiring a moment’s pause (accessing the “pause” menu unfortunately obscures the player’s view) to take it all in. Subtle details like the movement of primordial beasts in the distance to the ebb and flow of anemone-like plants create a rich and layered environment.

In the same spirit of the beautiful backgrounds, the character designs are colorful and light. The adventurer is almost a blank slate, humanoid and featureless, allowing the player to place their own interpretation on his/her origin. The robots are like 1950s space invaders, adorable even as they laser their way through nature.

Past its arresting visuals, Planet Alpha has little else to offer. The gameplay is at times both tedious and frustratingly difficult. Time is split between physics-based puzzles, stealth sections, and basic platforming. Each one has its heights: the discovery that a giant skeleton can be used to crush your enemies, finding an alternate route below the watching robot eyes, and tense chase sequences from a giant creature. Yet there’s a surprising lack of polish when it comes to the mechanics.

The puzzles are very traditional. Move a block to the right to create a stepping stone for access to higher ground. Occasionally back-track to find an additional block. Planet Alpha struggles to advance these mechanics to new heights, but the change of scenery from its largely monochromatic peers at Playdead (Limbo and Inside) is a nice touch.

What Planet Alpha does offer is the player’s ability to change the time of day to solve puzzles. With a simple click of a button, the sun fades in the distance, welcoming a host of new flora and fauna to come out to play. The inverse is also true; trading night for day can clear paths that were once obstructed. What presents itself as unique mechanic soon revels in its simplicity. All puzzles are either cleared at night or day; the mushrooms create a pathway in the moonlight, the bugs feed when the sun is out. Sections where the player is unsure how to move forward become a hackneyed button mash.

Planet Alpha‘s platforming misses the mark entirely. Most of the gameplay involves jumping across gaps, clinging to the foliage on the cliff-side. It would be enjoyable, maybe even serene at times, but the finicky mechanics make it hard to tell when a jump is possible. Often times a player will die without any idea how they missed a jump that seemed simple. On sections where the level zooms past (either due to falling debris or sloped “slides”) there’s far too much trial and error for any fluidity. The game has a very generous checkpoint feature, but one could argue it’s better to start over less frequently than constantly have to reset even if it’s a short ways back.

There are several low gravity sections that feel thrown in for the purposes of mixing-up more basic platforming and while they are occasionally fun, they feel like DLC interspersed throughout the main story. There’s no actual connection to the narrative, save for some cryptic achievements (on Steam, PS4, and Xbox) , so the real mystery is why they were included at all.

Where Planet Alpha shows its true colors is in its stealth levels. A ducking mechanic is frequently used to go through narrow sections of platforming, but its true purpose is to help avoid detection from the many machines of the robot army and the occasional bit of aggressive wildlife. These sections are consistently frustrating. When ducking in high grass or other vegetation, the player remains unseen by the enemy. But sometimes even the slightest movement instantly alerts them to your position. Other times the player can immediately route a pursuing robot by simply ducking in the grass, even if the robot is watching them during this action. This can result in some unintentionally hilarious gameplay. On the flip side, the consequence for failure is extreme here: most of the enemies instantly kill the player. The player will often find themselves trying to sprint through tougher sections, waiting for inordinate amounts of time for enemies to finish their cycle,  or repeating areas due to small errors of movement. These stealth sections highlight a key problem with Planet Alpha: it sets its sights for the moon but never quite takes off.

Planet Alpha has major issues with its mechanics but all that might be forgiven if it told the story it set out to tell. After all, the puzzles and platforming are at times frustrating, but never impossible. There’s always some way through the player didn’t think of that will leave them smacking their forehead. But the story offers no such reprieve.

The player is an explorer, clearly from another world (he/she wears a space suit). Their purpose on the planet is unknown, their sudden ability to control time unexplained. These questions go unanswered under the false guise of “interpretation.” The cyclical nature of the story and its silent, meditative telling is serene but there’s a dissonance between the ideas it presents and the way in which the player must pursue the answers. The player feels entirely inactive in the story (save for one segment towards the end), simply watching as the world falls around them. They have no connection to this land, but pursue its greater mysteries. 2D platformers are limited in their design, and  in Planet Alpha, it really shows. The story’s silence does not speak volumes here; it says nothing. The game may take you to the depths of a planet’s core, but on its grander themes, it fails to ever scratch the surface.

Planet Alpha is pretty and will please those looking for a short trek across new and familiar ground, but time and money would be better spent on superior predecessors.

Next: Elea Review – A Clumsy But Beautiful Walking Sim

Planet Alpha is out now on Steam, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch for $19.99. A digital PS4 copy was provided to Screen Rant for purposes of review.

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2018-09-13 08:09:43 – Ty Sheedlo

Untitled Goose Game – Pre-Alpha Gameplay Trailer

From the makers of Push Me Pull You comes the first footage of a stealth game about being a mkischievous goose. Amazing.

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2017-10-04 21:30:01

System Shock Remastered Official Early Pre-Alpha Trailer

The game is now running on Unreal Engine 4.

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2017-03-02 19:00:00