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Category Archives: News

Aliens: Fireteam Elite, Stardew Valley, Halo Infinite, And More Join Xbox Game Pass This Month

Happy Holidays, Xbox fans. Once again, a bevy of prominent titles are joining the Game Pass catalog. We’ve got some classic, recent-popular, and day-one titles coming this month. So, get ready for your very own Xbox-themed winter wonderland and check out what’s going to be on offer and what’ll be leaving below:

Games Joining Game Pass (December 2-14)

  • Aliens: Fireteam Elite (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 14
  • Stardew Valley (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 2
  • Halo Infinite (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 8
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2 (Console and PC) – December 2
  • Among Us (Console) – December 14
  • Archvale (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 2
  • Lawn Mowing Simulator (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 2
  • Rubber Bandits (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 2
  • Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 2
  • Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 7
  • One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 (Cloud, Console, and PC) – December 9
  • ANVIL (Console and PC) – December 2

DLC

  • Sea of Thieves: Season Five – December 2
  • Minecraft Caves & Cliffs Update: Part II – Available Now
  • Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition Mexican Civilization DLC – Available Now

Games Leaving Game Pass (December 15)

  • The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan (Console and PC)
  • Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (Cloud, Console, and PC)
  • Guacamelee! 2 (Cloud, Console, and PC)
  • Beholder (Cloud and Console)
  • Wilmot’s Warehouse (Cloud, Console, and PC)
  • Unto The End (Cloud, Console, and PC)

For more info, head to the official Xbox post here


Which new Game Pass games stick out to you the most? Of course, I’m excited for Halo Infinite, but I might hop into Final Fantasy XIII-2 for old time’s sake.

New US Congress Bill Could Ban Bots Used To Purchase Consoles

A new bill introduced to Congress could automatically ban bots often used by resellers to buy consoles such as the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. 

This news comes by way of Video Games Chronicle, which reports that the bill, dubbed the “Stopping Grinch Bots Act,” was introduced by Representative Paul Tonko, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Senator Majority Leader Charles Schumer, and Senator Ben Ray Luján. In a statement about the recently-introduced bill, Tonko said that “Grinch bots” are forcing Americans to pay exorbitant prices for gifts this holiday season. 

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Only second to sneakers, a market that’s been heavily influenced by bots for years, consoles are likely what bots are targeting most this season. With the release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles still fresh, it’s been more challenging than ever to nab one of these new-gen consoles at MSRP. That’s because the second these consoles go live, would-be buyers must beat out bots that automatically place the consoles in someone’s cart and check out. 

It’s not easy beating bots, and while some customers have found success, the lengths people must go to secure a console at MSRP can be ridiculous. Bots are the main problem behind the struggle, and if this new bill is passed, the use of bots on online retail sites would be banned. 

“At a time when families should be able to spend time with their loved ones, digital ‘Grinch bots’ are forcing Americans to scour online sites in the hopes of finding an affordable gift or paying exorbitant prices for a single toy,” Tonko said. “These bots don’t just squeeze consumers, they pose a problem for small businesses, local retailers, and other entrepreneurs trying to ensure they have the best items in stock for the customers.” 

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“Our Grinch Bots Act works to level the playing field and prevent scalpers from sucking hardworking parents dry this holiday season. I urge my colleagues to join me in passing this legislation immediately to stop these Grinch bots from stealing the holidays.”

Schumer said the average holiday shopper can’t compete with the speed of bots, something anyone who’s tried to buy a new-gen console as of late is likely aware of, and that this bill would thwart these “Grinch bots” from stealing the holidays.  

Sadly, considering the time it can sometimes take to pass a bill in Congress, especially during the global COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a good chance this bill won’t be passed before the holiday shopping season is over. However, it’s still a welcome bill despite that, as it seems that buying a new-gen console at MSRP will continue to remain a challenge in the new year.  

It doesn’t help that the actual stock of new-gen consoles remains low due to an ongoing chip shortage as well. Analysts expect this shortage to continue into 2022, too. 

[Source: Video Games Chronicle]


Have you been battling bots this holiday season? Do you welcome new legislation like this? Let us know in the comments below!

Halo Infinite: Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Subscribers To Get Monthly Multiplayer Bonuses

Halo Infinite’s multiplayer has been out for a couple of weeks now, and besides some issues with battle pass progression, it’s been widely received as a great comeback for the series. Starting next week, it’s going to get even better for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. 

That’s because Microsoft has announced that Ultimate members will get monthly multiplayer bonuses. The first bundle will go live on December 8. 

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“It’s an awesome time for Perks because we’re excited to reveal that Ultimate members will be locked in to get monthly Halo Infinite multiplayer bonuses, starting with your first bundle on December 8,” an Xbox Wire blog post announcing this month’s upcoming Game Pass additions reads. “Don’t forget to claim this and more in the Perks gallery on your Xbox console, Xbox App on Windows PC, and Xbox Game Pass mobile app.” 

This month’s bonus is the “Pass Tense” MA40 AR Bundle, and it comes with an exclusive “Pass Tense” MA40 Assault Rifle coating, as the bundle’s name would suggest, along with four 2XP Boosts and four Challenge Swaps. You can check out the bundle above, which includes a look at the new AR coating. 

While waiting for this bundle to go live next week, check out this post detailing everything available in the Halo Infinite multiplayer shop this week. Then read about how 343 Industries has updated multiplayer progression to give players increased XP in the first six matches of a given day. This new bundle goes live the same day Halo Infinite’s campaign launches, and to get prepared for that, check out this recently-released Halo Infinite campaign trailer.   


Are you excited about these monthly Halo Infinite multiplayer bundles for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers? Let us know in the comments below!

New Sons Of The Forest Trailer Is Terrifyingly Brutal, Spring 2022 Release Announced

I loved The Forest. My small team of survivors committed a little under forty hours building fortifications around the crash zone, scouring for food and rare weapons in sprawling underground caverns, and keeping cannibals and, later, grotesque mutants at bay. The sequel, Sons of the Forest, got two trailers earlier this year, highlighting a newfound emphasis on storytelling. An unnamed NPC – specifically, a nonvolatile mutant – is slated to be the player’s companion. But beyond montages and short action sequences, previous Sons of the Forest footage inspired more questions than answers.

A new trailer (seen below) continues that exciting, albeit frustrating, tradition of narrative vagueness. However, this time around, we finally got a release date set for Spring 2022. 

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As you can expect, Sons of the Forests’ mechanics build upon the survival horror systems from the first game. Collecting materials to craft makeshift shelters and hunting equipment has returned. The eating mechanic – most notable when the player character kills a turtle and eats its raw meat (damn!) – is back as well. And, of course, once you venture into dense forests or descend into pitch-black caves, horrifying enemies await. New variants of mutants with fleshy bristles and conjoined torsos will require new weapons to be bested – shotguns, stun batons, and more will aid you in the open world. 

Javy Gwaltney also enjoyed The Forest, awarding it a 9 in his Game Informer review and concluding with:

“Perhaps the highest praise I can give The Forest is just how natural the game ties together. A lot of emergent storytelling games often end up having a novelty that overstays its welcome by the end … The Forest is a triumph, both for the survival genre as well as gruesome horror. It gives players just the right amount of freedom to enjoy the challenge of this hellish nightmare.”

Sons of the Forest launches on May 20, 2022, for PC. If you haven’t played the first game yet, I’d highly recommend it, and be sure to read Javy’s 30 Wacky And Gross Things You Can Do In The Forest piece while you’re at it!

Ghostrunner: Story-Driven Project_Hel DLC Announced, Launching January

Next year, a new story-driven DLC is coming to first-person cyberpunk action-platformer, Ghostrunner, and it’s called Project_Hel. 

IGN revealed the news yesterday after developer 505 Games teased the “Ultimate DLC” last week. It turns out that “Ultimate DLC” was Project_Hel, the upcoming story-driven DLC where players will control Hel, one of the bosses from the game. Project_Hel will go live in January, but before that, some players will have the chance to go hands-on with it during a private beta held sometime before the DLC’s launch. 

Hel will be a “combat-oriented character designed to appeal to ‘new players and veterans,’ and will feature her own ability progression system,” according to IGN. The story of Project_Hel will take place over six new missions that task Hel with descending from Dharma Tower, a locale heavily featured in the base game. Alongside new missions, Project_Hel will include new enemies, new bosses, and six new songs from Daniel Deluxe. 

505 Games told IGN that it was initially planned as a smaller DLC before becoming a “full-blown Ghostrunner experience.” It will hit PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Amazon Luna on January 27. It will cost $14.99.

The studio also revealed that a new Holiday Pack would hit the game on December 7, and it’s a free cosmetics pack that includes holiday swords with matching gloves and more. 

While waiting for Project_Hel to launch in January, read about how native PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions of Ghostrunner launched back in September. Then, check out this flashy neon pack that launched back in August alongside new assist options and a roguelike wave mode. Read about how 505 Games has already confirmed Ghostrunner 2 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC after that.  

[Source: IGN]


Are you excited about Ghostrunner’s Project_Hel DLC? Let us know in the comments below!

Halo Infinite: Here’s What Is In The Shop This Week

Halo Infinite’s shop updates every Tuesday at 10 a.m. PT with new items that players can purchase with credits. Since the launch of the free-to-play multiplayer component, 343 Industries has updated the shop three times. The latest rotation brings a pricey legendary bundle, as well as a cool camo option for your spartan and vehicles (see above).

The biggest bundle is the Anubis Armor Set for the Mark VII Spartan. This set offers the Arctic Void Epic Armor Coating, the Anubis Epic Helmet, a new visor and shoulder pads, and the rather mundane Vigilant Watch stance. It retails for 2,000 credits, which players can purchase for $17.99.

The most visually pleasing option in this week’s offering is the Splinter Desert Epic Armor Coating that gives your Spartan a gray camo look. This texture can also be applied to all vehicles. This bundle is 1,500 credits.

If you love seeing your Spartan stand in generic poses, you can purchase the Tacticlamp 117 bundle to get another stance of a Spartan holding a pistol in a rather trivial way. The last item offered is the Reach Falcon Pilot Pack, consisting of a Falcon Nameplate and matching vehicle and weapon Emblems, along with new shoulder pads for your Spartan. This pack requires you have the Mark V armor from the Heroes of Reach Battle Pass. You can see all of the items in the image below:

More Steam Users Are Still Playing Farming Simulator 22 Over Battlefield 2042

Over the past couple of days, sites like Game Rant, which we first saw surface these stats, have been keeping an eye on how Steam users are spending their time by comparing two disparate but new titles from the month of November. One is a humble farming sim, while the other is a blockbuster multiplayer shooter. Which would you guess more people are playing on the platform just weeks after launch? As of 6:30 p.m. on November 30, Farming Simulator 22 was beating Battlefield 2042 in concurrent Steam users. That’s a bit of a surprise, yeah?

In the image above (captured from Steam’s own data you can see here), the numbers on the left represent current active players for each game, while the numbers on the right are total players for the day. As of the time of this snapshot, Farming Simulator 22 had over 3,000 more current players than Battlefield 2042. 

However, time of day does matter when collecting this data. A scant 45 minutes later, at 7:15 p.m., the tables had turned in favor of Battlefield with 27,685 active players compared to the 26,782 playing Farming Simulator, which you can see below. 

Active player counts will jump around throughout the day, but the important numbers to take away from this are the total daily numbers which shows almost double the daily users focused on agriculture versus those partaking in virtual war, 79,410 vs. 34,599, respectively. That’s a big difference in mindshare for Steam users this week.

Now, there are quite a few factors to consider when looking at these numbers. First, we aren’t seeing the whole picture. Battlefield on PC is available in other storefronts like Origin and wouldn’t be included in these stats, and it doesn’t account at all for console players. Second, we’re looking at numbers late on a Tuesday afternoon/early evening. Not exactly the red-hot hours for gaming. Although, we can factor in Game Rant’s data from this weekend which had Farm Sim with 30,000 more active players. And third, while maybe not a huge factor, Farming Simulator is the newer game, releasing a whole three days after Battlefield, though a little longer if you consider 2042’s early access period. 

Whether these numbers are concerning or not is entirely up to EA and Dice, the ones who can see the whole picture. But perception is what it is when the public can see whether a big, exciting AAA release looks to be less popular than planting crops.

If you want to know more about Battlefield 2042, we have a review you can read right here from our very own Alex Van Aken. 


What are you playing right now? Are you one of the many Farm Sim fans, or are you squading up in Battlefield? Is your Steam time going towards something else entirely like Inscryption? Let us know in the comments below!

Dead By Daylight’s Portrait Of A Murder DLC Arrives Today

A new map, a new killer, and a new survivor all arrive in the asymmetrical 4v1 horror hide-and-seek game Dead by Daylight today. In fact, they’re in right now! The killer, Carmina Mora, is the Artist – commanding a twisted murder of ink crows that can highlight and harm survivors with a little savvy placement. While her projectile assault may not be as direct as the Huntress’s ax or some of the other long-range options, her kit expands with add-ons and can be used to play keep away on pallets or windows that look prime for a chase.

Depending on how she’s played, she can either use her artistic swarm to help track down survivors and keep tabs on them over long distances or be used for direct assault at close range. However, even more interesting and important, especially as the Dead by Daylight meta continues to evolve, is one of her perks, Hex: Pentimento.

As the survivors have gained their own boons to help utilize totems to assist with game wins, the totems scattered around each map have grown in importance. No longer just killer tools to be used for hexes, the totems can be turned to either side to confer big benefits. With Hex: Pentimento, the Artist (or any other killer you attach the perk to can punish survivors that hunt down and take out hexed totems. This perk gives stacking powerful debuffs based on how many totems that the killer restores after they’ve been destroyed, so combining this hex with other hexes is likely to become a powerful suite. Force the survivors to remove totems like Hex: Ruin and then bring them back, fueled by Hex: Pentimento. The Artist has other perks to check out of course, but Hex: Pentimento seems like the real eye-opener.

On the survivor side, we have newcomer Jonah Vasquez, who comes with a bevy of useful perks. Overcome allows the survivor to get hit and run much longer and harder than usual, almost ensuring a successful escape from a chase. Boon: Exponential is absolutely wild, and lets survivors pick themselves up out of the dying state in its radius, and gives a huge buff to recovery speed on top. If you find yourself playing against a lot of killers that engage in “slugging” where they knock you down but don’t hook you, this is bound to give them immense headaches. Finally, Vasquez comes with Corrective Action, which is a perfect perk to bring into games with Dead by Daylight newcomers that are likely to miss a skill check. With Corrective Action, you can effectively store up points when you land great skill checks and then automatically spend them when a player fails one nearby to ignore that failure and turn it into a standard success – meaning the days of watching XxxDBDGodXxx come up and touch your generator, blow it up, and run off out of embarrassment are gone.

In addition to the new characters, there’s a new map for everyone to play in, the Eyrie of Crows. Perfect for throwing some ink around! Do either of the new characters (or, more succinctly, their perks that you can swap around) look interesting to you? Let us know in the comments.

Take A Behind The Scenes Look At Starfield In New Trailer

A new Starfield trailer today takes a bit of a different approach compared to the traditional sizzle reel or gameplay blast. Instead, you can take a look at Starfield in a very different fashion, with a behind-the-scenes look with game director Todd Howard, studio director Angela Browder, and art director Matt Carofano. It’s more of a micro look at Bethesda’s approach to their games, their stories, and their open worlds. It’s more of a conversational approach than a lot of game trailers, but it looks like it’s simply setting the stage for lots more to come regarding Starfield. Check out the full video right here.

This is really just Episode One of a Starfield trailer series, so inevitably there will be a lot more on the way before Starfield’s release. In case you were wondering, Starfield is set to hit on November 11, 2022. That may seem like a long way off, but I’m sure we’ll get to see a lot more from the game as we progress into next year. Yeah yeah, I know. I want to see some serious gameplay slices too. We’ll get there. What do you think it’s going to be like? We do know some things… Expect wars, space pirates, and mysteries to unravel.

Are you excited for Starfield? When do you think Elder Scrolls VI will launch? Do you like discussions like this trailer about games? Let us know in the comments! 

Media Molecule-Developed Dreams Game Ancient Dangers: A Bat’s Tale Announced, Available Today

Media Molecule has announced Ancient Dangers: A Bat’s Tale, a new playable game the studio made in its 2019 creation game, Dreams.  

The game seems to be centered on two dungeon-crawling protagonists who must battle “hideous monsters” and solve “fiendish puzzles” to advance through Ancient Danger’s medieval setting. There is, of course, loot and wealth to be found throughout each of these dungeons, and there seems to be a cute bat at the center of its story, as the name alludes to. 

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As you can see in the trailer above, Ancient Dangers looks quite great and it’s tough to picture it as a game made inside Dreams, which is itself a game. Credit to Media Molecule, though, for doing just that. Ancient Dangers looks great, too, which is especially exciting because it’s already out as of today. 

Here’s the official description for Ancient Dangers:

“Join the teenage orcs Scoria and Gabbro as they team up with their new friend, Herb the Bat, on a quest to find the renowned snozzleaf. Will Scoria and Gabbro find the herb they need to cure their grandmother’s terrible snoring? Can their wise-cracking bat pal find his way home? Get playing now and go show those dragons what happens with you mess with teenage Orcs!”

Ancient Dangers is a third-person dungeon crawler, featuring a single-player mode where players control Scoria, and a co-op mode, which adds Scoria’s twin, Gabbro, to the mix. The co-op mode is couch co-op only, though. Media Molecule says new PlayStation trophies have been added to Dreams for players to unlock while playing through Ancient Dangers, too, so if trophy hunting is your thing, you don’t want to miss this. 

For more about Dreams, check out our thoughts on its release in Game Informer’s Dreams review


Will you be checking out Ancient Dangers: A Bat’s Tale? Let us know in the comments below!
 

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