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Jay Castello

6 days ago

Feature: For a "shadow" "desert" it was plenty light and lush, actually

Shadow Arena shakes up the battle royale genre with a cast of action heroes

Black Desert Online developers Pearl Abyss are in the process of branching out of their MMO roots, having announced a clutch of new games this week. But while they might be working on games as far removed as a shooter and a cutesy monster catch ‘em up, it’s Black Desert’s battle royale-esque spinoff Shadow Arena that’s furthest through development. I got my hands on it…

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2 weeks ago

Feature: But protesters still hope they raised awareness

It was business as usual at Blizzcon despite Hong Kong protests

It wasn't possible to ignore the protesters directly outside Blizzcon's gates this year. They were drawn by Blizzard's ongoing failure to respond appropriately to Hearthstone pro Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai calling for the liberation of Hong Kong in an interview. They clustered right outside, handing out shirts, placards, and information. But inside, it was easy to forget. In a sea of people wearing Blizzard merchandise,…

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3 weeks ago

Feature: A new way to tell the same story

Overwatch 2 focuses on the story, but doesn’t seem to correct any of its issues

If you’ve played one of Overwatch’s lore PvE events, you probably know what to expect from the bulk of the new stuff that’s unique in Overwatch 2. The mostly-sequel format of its release means that a cleaner UI, new heroes, and a new map type will be added to the first game at the same time that the sequel launches, leaving a new look for…

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Feature: It's always online again

Diablo 4 mixes up the darkness of its dungeons with a varied overworld

Diablo 4 was revealed yesterday in a swirl of blood and grime and men talking about the lure of the darkness both in the trailer and onstage. I chatted with a couple of the developers about the new world they’ve created, the monsters they filled it up with, and their painterly inspirations. And I played a bit. It was surprisingly well lit.

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Abandon Ship sails out of early access

The wind has caught the sails of naval FTL-like Abandon Ship, moving it out of early access and into its 1.0 release. I never thought seafaring was particularly safe, but I wasn’t quite expecting the dangers in this trailer. Fighting other ships, sure. I’ll even take a horrible kraken creature. But volcanoes? Spiders descending from nowhere? That just seems unfair.

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4 weeks ago

Screenshot Saturday Sundays: Comforting caves, peculiar planes, and bubbling baths

Screenshot Saturday! A day for game developers to give us all a look at what they’re working on. And considering the time of year, a surprisingly unspooky one, but we’ll do our best to find scares where we can get them. This week: somewhere to hide from the rain, a mysterious plane crash, and a nice dip in the hot springs.

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BBC Radio 3’s Sound Of Gaming is a nice look at video game tunes and the people behind them

BBC Radio 3 are getting stuck in to the world of video game music beginning today, with composer Jessica Curry (whose work you’ll hear in Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture) beginning her new show Sound Of Gaming. It’s good listening, particularly if you, like me, can’t stand to have lyrics on while putting words to paper (or internet) lest it become a…

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Slithery squish ’em up Carrion has a free demo available this week

Since I first saw a gif of the squishy guts monster of Carrion I haven’t been able to decide whether its movement is nauseating or beautiful. Playing its free demo, which is available now through next Saturday, November 2nd, has neither settled my stomach nor my appreciation for its aesthetics. I think this is a good thing.

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WWE 2K20 promise a patch for all those wrestling mishaps

Many people, including myself, have only been clued into WWE 2K20’s existence because of some wonderfully gif-able glitches that have been whizzing around the internet like a character model caught in the rapidly-twanging arena ropes. But there are those who actually wanted to play the game as it was intended, and developers Visual Concepts have taken to Twitter to say that they’re aware of the…

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Epic Games sue tester for “spoiling” Fortnite: Chapter 2

Epic Games, developers of that little game that you might have heard of called Fortnite, are suing a UX tester for leaking details about their big shift into Chapter 2. They say that Ronald Sykes caused them harm by Tweeting things he shouldn’t have about season 11, which eventually arrived after their big black hole event a couple of weeks ago.

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Stellaris’s newest species, the Lithoids, are here to eat rocks and take names

Stellaris’s newest alieopals, the Lithoids, have arrived, crunching their way through space in extremely cool crystalline ships. The lore claims that this new rock-based species lives for ages and can hang out on even the harshest of planets, but their blingy transport suggests a different kind of je ne sais quoi if you ask me. You can see them in the trailer below.

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Feature: More poros please

Legends Of Runeterra already has a meta after its first preview patch

Riot’s freshly announced card game Legends Of Runeterra just finished its first testing period. Though I had some hands on with it at a preview event, it wasn’t an especially natural setting, with all the cards unlocked and a narrow pool of opponents, so I came back to investigate the Preview Patch event to see how well it stands up in its first tentative steps…

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1 month ago

I played Morels: The Hunt with a mycologist, who also happens to be my father

I have never met a person who loves mushrooms as much as my dad. It is, in fact, rare to meet anyone who loves anything as much as my dad loves mushrooms. Therefore, after some time playing and enjoying mushroom gathering adventure Morels: The Hunt myself, I invited him to come and play with me. As we were waiting for an update to download, I…

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Screenshot Saturday Sundays: weird water, glitchy ghosts, and corgi consumerism

Screenshot Saturday! A day for peeking at what game developers are working on at the moment. Games, probably. Also, it’s October, and if you haven’t heard, that’s Halloween month, so this week two out of three are spooky. Maybe next week we’ll go for a full house. Who knows! That’s so far away! Within: a leaky basement, a chill spirit, and some light relief in…

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Pathologic 2 DLC The Marble Nest scurries out this month

Plagued village Pathologic 2 is expanding, with a DLC called The Marble Nest opening its doors before the end of the month. It’s its own story, putting you in the shoes of a new doctor, this time of the PhD variety. Scientist Dr. Daniil Dankovsky will only be on town for one day, so you’d better make the most of it.

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Plants Vs. Zombies: Battle For Neighborville grows out of early access

Plants Vs. Zombies: Battle For Neighborville, the latest shooter spinoff to the goofy tower defense original, released proper yesterday after a short stint in early access. Popcap have been carefully watering it with content updates for a few weeks, and now it’s ready to blossom into its final form. They’ve released a pun-filled musical trailer to celebrate.

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Manifold Garden releases its gravity-bending architectural puzzles

Escher-inspired puzzle game Manifold Garden has found its way through the topsy-turvy corridors of development and out into stores this week. As a person with very little sense of navigation at the best of times, its physics-agnostic world threatens to break my brain, but gosh, it is pretty though isn’t it. You can get a look at the infinite architectures within infinite architectures courtesy of…

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