Destiny 2: Thunderlord is back for players who completed the Murder of Master Ives questline

By Stephany Nunneley, Tuesday, 13 November 2018 22:10 GMT

The Exotic machine gun Thunderlord is back in Destiny 2.

Destiny 2 players who enjoyed using the Thunderlord Exotic machine gun in Destiny 1 will be pleased to know it has made a return.

Rumors of the gun coming back to the game surfaced earlier this month, and of course, proved to be true.

Destiny 2 players who completed the final phase of the Murder of Master Ives questline will receive the weapons as a reward.

The quest kicked off during the Festival of the Lost event with the quest Journal of the Reef Cryptarch. In order to claim their prize, players will need to go to the Cosmodrome in Old Russia and fight waves of enemies and the Fallen boss.

How do you get it? Beat all of the aforementioned baddies, earn the Exotic Engram from the murdered Master Ives, and decrypt it into Thunderlord. Pretty simple.

As Arekkz notes in his video, perks for the machine gun is stronger this time out and lightning still plays a part. The intrinsic perk Rein Havoc will generate lightning strikes from above. Its trait, Lightning Rounds, sees the weapon fire faster and more accurately the longer the trigger is held down with continuous damage generating lighting strikes.

Kills with the weapon also increase reload time for a short while.

When Black Armory arrives in December, more machine guns will make it into the game.

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s first DLC The Forge is now available

By Stephany Nunneley, Tuesday, 13 November 2018 22:29 GMT

The Forge, the first of seven new content drops for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, is available now.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider season pass holders can now play the first DLC drop, The Forge.

In The Forge, Lara will traverse the “lava-flooded Forge of the fallen gods” to uncover the secrets of Kuwaq Yaku. Players can expect a new challenge tomb, and upon completion will earn the Grenadier skill, Brocken outfit, and Umbrage 3-80 weapon.

The challenge tomb is playable in solo and co-op.

Like The Forge, the six remaining DLC drops will contain new content, challenge tombs, co-op experiences, weapons and outfits, gameplay modes, and new narrative side missions.

Additionally, two tombs from the main game, Court of Death and Gate of Xibalba will be playable in Score Attack and Time Attack.

Court of Death is playable in those modes today, and Gate of Xibalba will be playable on November 27.

Those who own Shadow of the Tomb Raider and purchase the DLC content can invite a friend who also owns Shadow of the Tomb Raider to join a play session for co-op.

Next up on the release schedule is The Pillar, and it arrives in December.

The Shadow of the Tomb Raider season pass will run you $29.99, and The Forge is available as a standalone purchase for $4.99.

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Fallout 76 beginner’s guide

Fallout 76 isn’t like the Fallout role-playing games preceding it, in that the first several hours are rather linear as players complete a long series of introductory missions. After creating a character, players leave Vault 76 and may go anywhere. There is a main quest line to pursue, but there are more places and encounters in the rest of the world vying for players’ attention, distracting them from a less obvious main goal.

This guide sheds light on what is worth doing in the immediate surroundings outside Vault 76, and what new players should focus on developing and building up at lower levels before moving on to more advanced missions and content. Fallout 76 is much more survival-oriented than its predecessors, so scavenging, conserving ammunition and maintaining supplies of clean (or at least acceptable) food and water take on greater importance in Appalachia.

Fallout 76 - playing banjo Finding and playing instruments (for 30 seconds) will give you the Well-Tuned effect, which regenerates Action Points 25 percent faster for one hour. Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks

General tips

  • As an online multiplayer game, Fallout 76 has no pause function. You can still be attacked while you’re hunting for an item in a menu, for instance. So you should always have a melee weapon favorited, and a firearm with a lot of ammo helps too. When you’re surprised by enemies, one or two taps left on the D-pad will give you the emergency weapon you need (and tapping right will use a Stimpak). Any other weapons should be assigned to the weapons wheel, not favorited. Furthermore, when bringing up the Pip-Boy, toggle it to the overlay (the View button/touchpad on console controllers) so that you can continue to see the world around you while navigating the menus.
  • Keep that melee weapon favorited and ready at all times. Ammunition is a lot more scarce in Fallout 76 than in past games. Mongrels and Feral Ghouls move quickly and are best dealt with using a machete, knife or hatchet. Killing Docile Radstags or Brahmins for food and hide is also best done with a melee weapon as opposed to a firearm.
  • The button you use to bring up your Pip-Boy is also the one that turns on/off your light. You’ll need your light a lot in Fallout 76. Hold this button down to turn it on. X/Square both readies (tap) and puts away (hold) your weapon (or fists). RB/R1 is a bash attack with the weapon in your hand (the butt or stock of a gun if you’re out of ammo). The best bash attack to have is a gun with a bayonet affixed. Bayonets are either found or crafted.
  • Scavenge everything. Until you reach level 5, you should be picking clean every building, dwelling or site you encounter. Then break down the junk at any workbench (X or square when you step to it) and store all the junk in a stash box. (Raw materials take up less space than junk items; also, when you die, you lose all your junk and have to backtrack to get it before someone else does.) While you may trade with other human players, and there are robot vendors (in places like the Morgantown Airport, or the railroad station in Sutton), caps are harder to come by than in past Fallouts — and anyway, you will likely need your currency more for fast travel or relocating your CAMP site. You should expect to craft and modify, or find and repair, what you need rather than buy it. Seriously consider increasing your strength (to increase carry weight) or taking Luck Perk Cards that improve the condition or the quantity of items you find.
  • Food and water will be a greater concern than in past Fallout games. This will also increase your exposure to radiation. Consider taking Perks that either increase the nourishment/hydration you receive from drinking and eating, or Perks that reduce the rads you absorb from eating impure food. Being careless about food or water will mean emergency side trips to find and/or cook some, or eating raw or irradiated things out of desperation. It can get in the way of what you really want to be doing, so plan ahead.

Food and water will be more important than in past Fallouts, sort of like hardcore mode in New Vegas or survival mode in Fallout 4. Purified water is so useful and rare it almost shouldn’t be used as a thirst quencher. Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks

  • Both RadAway and Stimpaks may now be diluted, using purified water, at a chemistry station. While this halves the healing gained from a full dose, it also lets you take half doses when you’re trying to heal lesser amounts of damage, and save a full Stimpak or RadAway bag for when you are gravely hurt or seriously suffering from radiation poisoning. For this reason, purified water is so valuable it should rarely be used as a thirst quencher. Drink impure water instead, taking the minimal radiation hit (or mitigating it with Rad-X) and flushing that out with a diluted RadAway dose once it accumulates to about a quarter of your health bar.
  • You can take radiation just from gathering dirty water (from a stream, a pump or a tap). When you are stocking up on water supplies, pop a Rad-X and then also use this time to fully hydrate yourself (and eat any irradiated food).
  • Diseases play a greater role, and with enough radiation you can acquire mutations — some of which are helpful, and nearly all of which carry drawbacks. Mutations can be cured (along with radiation) by taking RadAway, but note that RadAway also significantly lowers your disease resistance for a good chunk of time. The Starched Genes Perk, which we haven’t seen through level 10 yet, will allow you to keep beneficial mutations after a RadAway flush.

It might be a good idea to take a nap in your bed before leaving Vault 76, to get the Well Rested effect for the next two hours of game time. Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks

  • Sleeping on bare ground (a mattress or sleeping bag) also significantly increases your chance of contracting a disease. This is why the first base-building plan you find is for a standing bed (it’s on a bench at the Overseer’s Campsite). There are standing beds inside the church in Flatwoods, which serves as a Responders’ hospital. Sleeping on the ground after taking RadAway is a sure way to contract a disease.
  • Scrap duplicate weapons rather than keeping them for resale or trade. When you scrap a weapon, you will unlock a mod recipe for that weapon. This includes knives; scrapping a combat knife (found at the Overseer’s Campsite) gives you the serrated edge mod to upgrade the machete. It’s also a good idea to have only one weapon per type of ammunition — for instance, a bolt-action pipe pistol, unmodded, is redundant alongside a short hunting rifle (both use .308 ammo). Scrap the one that’s in worse condition.
  • At crafting benches, you can click the left thumbstick to see the available recipes (that is, all the items for which you have ingredients or components). But pay attention to the condition of your weapons, as repairing them will usually require the same components (adhesive particularly). Further, some weapons will be in worse shape but have a higher potential condition (represented by the condition bar next to it in the Pip-Boy menu). One item may be in better condition than a duplicate item but have a lesser optimal condition.
  • Avoid the “Events” (marked on your map by a yellow hexagon) when you are early in your adventure (through level 5, at least, if not longer). They will automatically be added to your list of quests if you enter the area where one is going on, so just ignore it or unfollow it inside your Pip-Boy or map. Events are chorelike experiences that waste ammunition and don’t provide enough of a reward in weapons, gear or other items, especially if fought solo.
  • Avoid claiming Workshops early on, for the same reason as you should avoid Events. Once claimed, Workshops will have to be defended against waves of enemies that also eat up ammo and degrade the condition of your weapons for little return.

What about leveling up?

We’ve made a guide about that already. Advancement, attributes and Perks work differently in Fallout 76. Don’t agonize too much over your choices early on. Remember that you can swap Perks in and out as necessary, which is very handy for skills like hacking and lockpicking.

Have fun making your Vault-Tec ID card, but once you leave the Vault, you’re not going back inside it. Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks

Starting out

Inside Vault 76

After the opening cinematic, you begin in your apartment inside Vault 76. This is where you create your character name them, and take a picture representing your Vault-Tec ID.

You can change your appearance at any time in the game. Go to the map and, from there, the main menu (LB/L1 on consoles); the appearance options will be in the list there. But you can’t change your character’s name. If you’re wondering how you will appear to other players, they’ll see your user ID.

When you leave Vault 76, that’s it; you cannot reenter. So it might be a good idea to nap on the bed in your apartment to gain the Well Rested effect (5 percent bonus to XP earned) for the next two hours (real time).

Inside Vault 76, you’ll see a lot of useful-looking junk, in your apartment and outside. The only stuff you can pick up is the Nuka Tapper tape (from the Vault-Tec terminal inside the apartment), a love note on a table in the diner (not a quest item), and the Overseer’s log from her office terminal. Nothing else inside the vault can be picked up except for the items left for you on a series of tables in the short onboarding path that is upstairs leading toward the exits. So don’t waste time trying to scavenge here.

This corpse is located at the bottom of the first set of stairs upon leaving Vault 76. Take that machete. It will be your best friend early in your adventures. Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks

The Overseer’s office is the only “secret” (though not really) area. It’s behind the table with the water supplies on it. Logging in to the Overseer’s terminal will check off an optional goal; the holotape on it explains the larger story of what’s at stake in Fallout 76.

Pick up all of the items left on the tables. At the “Get A Job” table, don’t forget to pick up the Perk Cards scattered on the table. These will give you (at random) the first bonuses you can apply to your SPECIAL attributes, all of which start out at 1.

Outside Vault 76

Immediately in front of you is a Responder’s corpse with a pipe gun and a small amount of ammunition. Take it and anything else you find. Don’t go exploring to the right. Two Liberator robots are there. Though they’re little more than nuisances, they still aren’t worth wasting the ammunition, and there isn’t anything that way to scavenge.

Go down the steps to the lower level and scavenge another Responder corpse, taking the machete. As mentioned above, melee weapons will be critical in your early adventures.

Moving south along the path, if you venture off to the left/west you’ll encounter a pond and, near it, what looks like an elevated shelter or deer stand. This is not marked on your map and is not a discoverable location. Inside are some useful supplies and scrap items. There is also a banjo and a mouth harp on the two chairs here. Play either for 30 seconds, and you receive the Well Tuned effect, which regenerates Action Points 25 percent faster for the next hour (real time).

The Forest, the starting location in Fallout 76, with discoverable locations highlighted. The unnamed shack with the instruments in it is roughly near where the cow is. Nukapedia

Wixon Homestead

Continuing south toward the quest icon that is the Overseer’s Camp. Stop by Wixon Homestead, but be prepared to fight several of the Scorched. These are humanoid foes like Ghouls, except they can (and do) wield weapons, including firearms. Use your machete on as many as you can to conserve ammunition. The Scorched here are low-level and probably won’t kill you, but you can still take enough damage to require a Stimpak after it’s all over. There are petrified Scorched corpses in the area, too. If you stumble into or otherwise disturb one, it will disintegrate and shed radiation (about 10 RADs) for a short while.

Scavenge everything from this site — the farmhouse, the barn, plus a shed and a storage building on top of a hill a little to the west. We found an armor mod in here. Importantly, there is a ton of fertilizer lying around. That can be scrapped (broken down) into acid at the Tinker’s Workbench in the shed. Acid plus scrap cloth creates gunpowder (though you will need a chemistry station to mix it). Gunpowder plus lead and steel scrap creates ammunition. (Also, if you hang on to raw food or vegetables for too long, they will spoil.)

Gilman Lumber Yard

Gilman Lumber Yard to the north of Wixon Homestead offers free wood, which might be useful to pick up before departing for the Overseer’s Campsite to the south. The Overseer will have left you a cache of supplies in her trunk, and there will be other items lying around here, too. Take all of the junk, break it down at the armor or weapons bench, and store it in the Stash Box. Anything you put into a Stash Box is accessible from any Stash Box you find elsewhere in Appalachia.

By the time you arrive at the Overseer’s Campsite, you should have enough raw material to craft a full set of leather armor (even modding some or all of the pieces to boiled leather) and either mod your pipe pistol or create a pipe revolver. Get to crafting pronto, cook any raw food you have, and get moving southwest to Flatwoods, keeping your machete out to deal with the mongrels and Mister Handy you encounter on the road there.

Flatwoods. Inside that church are standing beds for you to get some rest. Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks

What’s to do in Flatwoods

Flatwoods is southwest of the Overseer’s Camp, and it contains a wide array of materials, consumables, items and missions to help build your character up before adventuring elsewhere. There is a chemistry station in the church (it’s part of the “Thirst Things Thirst” mission), a cooking pit behind the tavern and a Tinker’s Workbench behind the Red Rocket south of town. These utilities, plus the Stash Box at the Red Rocket and the weapons and armor benches back at the Overseer’s campsite, will help you maximize the junk you scavenge before setting off north for the Morgantown Airport to continue the main quest line.

The Green County Lodge is midway between the Overseer’s Campsite and Flatwoods. It contains a lot of useful junk, particularly in the weight room on the bottom floor. You can lug it back to the Overseer’s campsite in one overencumbered shot, but just note you can’t use fast travel when you are overencumbered, like in past Fallouts.

Flatwoods has a lot of Brahmin cattle roaming around, useful for both leather and food. It will also see a lot of interference from Mister Handies and Securitrons from the nearby “Fertile Soil” event centering around the Vault-Tec Agricultural Research Center.

Across the creek in Flatwoods and up the very steep hill to the west, you will find Relay Tower EM-B1-27 guarded by a minimal robot presence. If you have found a government requisition holotape elsewhere (we did at Wixon Homestead), loading it into the terminal inside here will trigger a supply drop filled with useful items. (Look for a circle icon on your minimap, and listen/look for a sizzling flare marking the drop.) There is also a requisition tape inside this facility, so hike up here even if you don’t have one yet.

The main quest line is an elaborate tutorial up through the missions at Morgantown Airport, where you will ultimately be given instruction in how to set up your mobile CAMP and be given a lot of useful material for doing so.

But take your time in Flatwoods, inspecting all of the homes and sites that are available, listening to holotapes, completing these low-level missions, and gaining an understanding of what has happened here in the 25 years since the bombs fell. Use Flatwoods to build up your inventory of weapons, ammunition, food and aid before setting off.

Fallout 76 - Vault-Tec University Vault-Tec University in Morgantown. Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks

Where to go from here?

After completing the missions Flatwoods has to offer, and loading up on useful gear and items, the most obvious next step is to turn back north for Morgantown Airport to continue the main quest line there. The Morgantown Train Yard on the way has a Power Armor Chassis (and at least a couple of pieces of armor) inside one of the abandoned box cars, along with one Fusion Core to run it.

The Gorge Junkyard is on the way to Morgantown Airport. While it contains useful weapons and resources to scavenge, it’s also a Workshop, which in Fallout 76 costs caps to claim and then must be defended against waves of pestlike enemies. The upside is that a claimed (and defended) Workshop will produce resources for the owner as long as they hold it. A Workshop is not essential to your adventuring at very early levels, but an easy one to take and defend (if you have enough ammo) is here at The Gorge Junkyard.

You’ve probably also gotten notices to keep searching for your Overseer’s holotapes, which will take you to her childhood home in Sutton (and that contains a standing bed, among other useful items and resources). The Sutton train station has a robot vendor, Stash Box and Chemistry Station. From there, the next tapes are in Morgantown High School and then Vault-Tec University, both of which offer plenty of scavenging and combat encounters to level up.

Fallout 76 - a barn/garage marked ‘The Devil’s Pitchfork’ Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks

A note about your CAMP

The CAMP is a base that you build from scratch after selecting a location. Your CAMP is movable, but it costs caps to do so. The advantage in making a CAMP is to have all of your basic needs met in one place (rest, food, storage, gun and armor repair, and modification), even though you will find the same resources in scattered locations around Appalachia. Fast travel to your CAMP is always free. Moving a CAMP will cost caps relative to the distance you are moving it.

If you’re about level 6 or lower, pick a CAMP site if you come across an aesthetically pleasing area in your early adventures. Otherwise, wait until after you have finished the missions (including the CAMP tutorial) at Morgantown Airport. Don’t worry about picking a geographically advantageous location yet, as the map is vast and you will be spending a lot of time in one place before moving on to another. After you’ve explored all of the regions in Fallout 76 and gotten an idea for what resources are where, then it might be a good time to start thinking about a permanent CAMP with elaborate structures and amenities.

Very important Diablo 3 Switch update changes its menu icon

Blizzard released a software update for the Nintendo Switch version of Diablo 3: Eternal Collection that fixes yadda yadda yadda and updates the game’s menu icon, which is of great significance to many Switch owners. People care about how their Switch home menus look, and many Nintendo fans tell developers loud and clear that their menu icons aren’t always up to snuff. So developers change them.

Diablo 3’s situation is slightly different from other Switch games, however. The game launched on Switch on Nov. 2, and did so with a distressingly bland menu icon: the stylized D from the Diablo 3 logo on a stark white background.

The old Diablo 3: Eternal Collection icon on the Switch home menu Polygon

According to Blizzard, that boring ol’ Switch icon wasn’t really meant to ship with the game anyway.

“It was intended as a placeholder and the final one missed the submission build by JUST enough,” Blizzard community manager Brandy “Nevalistis” Camel said on the Diablo subreddit. “Apologies for the flub up on our part!”

The good news is that now Switch owners have this to look at when they want to play Diablo 3:

The new Diablo 3: Eternal Collection icon on the Switch home menu Polygon


What the patch doesn’t do is fix a bug with the Necromancer class on Switch. Blizzard says an update to address that situation is forthcoming.

The Art Of Castlevania’s Netflix Series

Fine Art[Fine Art]( is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you’re in the business and have some art you’d like to share, [get in touch!](  

With two seasons now under its belt, Castlevania’s animated series is looking cool as hell. Here’s a bit of a celebration of that, with a collection of art that went into the series’ production.

There’s not only character and background/environment art, but some 3D stuff, logos, posters and even animation as well.

You’ll find links to the artists responsible in their names.

Frederator Studios


Spencer Wan


Robby Johnson

Bo Li


Jose Vega


Sean Randolph


Sean Vo


Stéphane Wootha Richard

Stephen Stark


Tucker Roche


Billy Garretsen


Justin Kauffman


Danny Moll

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Dive Into ABZÛ When It Swims Onto Nintendo Switch At The End Of November

Out of the blue, the appropriately-named developer Giant Squid, in partnership with independent publisher 505 Games, have announced the 2016 title ABZÛ will make a splash on Switch on 29th November for $19.99.

Several members of the development team previously worked on the highly-praised 2012 PlayStation exclusive Journey. This includes the director Matt Nava (also the artistic mind behind Flower) and two-time BAFTA-winning composer Austin Wintory, previously known for his work on The Banner Saga series.

ABZÛ is described as a meditative oceanic adventure that immerses players in a vibrant underwater world filled with mystery and plenty of aquatic life. You take control of a diver – with your mission to change the world around you for the better. Below is the full description:

Playing as the Diver, you’ll discover hundreds of unique species based on real creatures and form a powerful connection with the abundant sea life. But this underwater world can be dangerous, broken and toxic – and your mission is to unlock the mysteries of the deep and change the world around you for the better.

ABZÛ is told in the form of mythology and folklore, while capturing the dream-like feeling of underwater exploration. The name is derived from ancient Sumerian language; AB, meaning water, and ZÛ, meaning to know: ABZÛ is the ocean of wisdom.

Tell us if you’ll be diving into this underwater adventure when it is released at the end of this month.

Rumour: PlatinumGames Is Working On Three Switch Titles

Another rumour has surfaced online. This time it’s regarding the Japanese developer PlatinumGames – a company originally founded in 2007 after a merger between Seeds Inc. and Odd Inc.

According to Nintendo Insider, the developer has a total of three games currently in development for Nintendo Switch. The first, as we’ve known since last year’s Game Awards, is Bayonetta 3. As for the other two titles – take a guess.

The source – LeakyPandy – said Hideki Kamiya is associated with all three projects and two of the games – one of them being Bayonetta – are targeting 2019 releases:

PlatinumGames has two more games for Switch beside Bayonetta 3… [Hideki] Kamiya is credited in all three of them. Both Bayonetta 3 [and] a second game target 2019.

Earlier this year, both Atsushi Inaba and Hideki Kamiya were throwing around the idea of Wii U title The Wonderful 101 making a comeback on the Switch, and at the time were reportedly in negotiations with Nintendo.

On a separate occasion, Inaba said Platinum had a desire to create and self-publish a brand new IP – with it likely to be a mid-tier release, not a AAA one due to finances at the company.

What do you make of this rumour? What other games would you like to see Platinum release on the Switch? Tell us below.

Architects Of The West Kingdom: The Kotaku Review

Architects of the West Kingdom is what you get when a designer takes a very good board game they’ve already made and figures, you know what, I’ll now do something similar, only better.

I reviewed Shem Phillips’ Raiders of the North Sea earlier this year after absolutely loving it. A simple worker placement title, it took a couple of very strong mechanics, layered an appropriate theme over the top, added some amazing art and left us with one of the games of the year (well, of 2017 since I was a bit late to it).

Architects is his follow-up, designed this time with fellow Kiwi Sam Macdonald. It’s once again all about worker placement, only this time around instead of raiding coastal villages as a Viking, you’re building cathedrals as a 9th century French architect.

With the same artist onboard (Mihajlo Dimitrievski), the same emphasis on gathering and assigning resources and even the same kind of board design, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was some kind of glorified expansion to Raiders, a semi-sequel of sorts.

You barely even need a manual for the game after the initial setup, as most of the actions are spelled out clearly on the board.

There are a number of key differences here beyond the superficial, though. There’s no more raiding, for a start, as here your resources are being put into construction, not destruction.

The bigger difference is the way that your workers are placed. Raiders was built on a one-two punch where you had to assign one worker then take another away, a great idea where single moves would allow you to claim something for yourself while denying it to a rival.

Wait, what’s “worker placement”?

It’s a board game mechanic that’s basically also a genre. It involves placing “one or more pawns on a play surface to claim the right to do a specific action.”


In Architects, you only get one move per turn. You drop your guy, claim your stuff/perform your action and that’s it, your turn is over and the game moves on. What’s lost in immediate tactical options is made up for by the increase in the game’s speed, which might be my favourite thing about this. Turns just fly around the table once everyone knows how to play, which helps keep downtime to the barest of minimums.

It’s not like this is sacrificing decision-making depth, either. You’re just offsetting it. You can stack your workers on a single location, allowing you to extract more resources or perform additional actions, but those workers aren’t in infinite supply. As your stocks start to run low, you’ve got to wonder whether it’s worth spending a worker to recall some others, in effect forfeiting a turn in the short-term since you’re not getting any resources, in favour of giving more options a few turns down the line? Or do you push your luck and keep squeezing more wood and stone out at the risk of making things even harder as the game drags on?

All games with money should ship with metal money. That’s the rules now.

The object of Architects is to claim victory points, and the player with the most of them at the end wins. There’s a multitude of ways to get hold of them, so you can approach each game—and each unfolding situation within—in a ton of different ways. Contributing to the construction of a giant medieval cathedral will provide all kinds of big bonuses at great expense, but you can also score lots of points from constructing smaller buildings like trading posts, hoarding valuable resources like gold and marble and becoming virtuous through good deeds.

Yes, being a 9th century game means the church plays its part. Gaining virtue will provide the player with rewards, but its presence in the game implies that you can be a prick as well. There’s a black market you can use to score resources at a good price, while you can also take advantage of the game’s tax system, which sees a percentage of all the money paid by players put in a communal area. If you’re willing to take the virtue hit, you can raid this and just…take all the money.

So far all of this talk has been of solo play and strategies, but there is one very cool means of interaction with other players: you’re able to round up and capture rival workers, imprisoning them on your own player card or transferring them to the local dungeon for a cash reward. With workers so valuable to everyone’s cause, and with the bonuses that can be had from stacking large numbers of them in a single space over time, wrecking someone else’s shit never ceases to be one of the highlights of the game.

Mihajlo Dimitrievski’s art continues to be the perfect fit for these games.

Architects of the West Kingdom is great. It’s a fresh take on worker placement, building further on Raiders’ already stellar offering, and is able to boast the same elegance in design as its predecessor but with a snappier speed.

It’s the perfect game for a table that wants to go head-to-head for a couple hours but not have to get bogged down with tons of rules or excessive downtime. Or, if that doesn’t appeal, it’s for anyone who wants to steal everyone else’s tax money and blow the cash on a giant cathedral.

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Review: Full Metal Furies – A Fantastic Fusion Of Role-Playing, Puzzle-Solving And Good, Old-Fashioned Beat ‘Em Up Action

Cellar Door Games put itself on the map with the release of Rogue Legacy, a critically lauded roguelike sidescroller that in some ways set a trend still being followed by indies today, but the studio later went on to release a new game, Full Metal Furies, to much less fanfare. There were plenty of factors that resulted in the studio’s sophomore release largely flying under the radar, but the overall dismissal of this beat ‘em up certainly couldn’t have been due to its quality. Full Metal Furies is one of the best brawlers we’ve played in years, expertly weaving together old-school arcade elements with modern game design to provide an experience that no fans of the genre, or action games in general, will want to miss out on.

Full Metal Furies follows the story of a group of four girls: Alex, Triss, Meg and Erin, as they spearhead a resistance effort against a group of powerful foes called Titans, whose warmongering is causing all sorts of collateral damage. The war-torn world that they live in is a dangerous, broken place, and though each Titan may initially seem to be purely villainous, later plot developments reveal that there’s much more to each character than it seems. Despite the seemingly dark overtones, Full Metal Furies delights in keeping things lighthearted and borderline silly, with witty dialogue and plenty of fourth-wall-breaking humour woven throughout the experience. Each of the four girls is given plenty of screen time in cutscenes and though they don’t generally experience all that much character development over the course of the narrative, you’ll likely come to love this team of quirky and interesting characters.

Full Metal Furies is a beat ‘em up brawler at heart, but there’s actually considerably more going on behind the scenes if you choose to delve in deep enough. There are four characters to pick from on the team: the tank, the sniper, the engineer and the fighter, and each of them has a radically different playstyle that impressively alters the way that you approach combat. Erin the Engineer, for example, primarily deals damage with her pistol—which has to be reloaded when your clip runs empty—but she also has a deployable drone that can lock down a specific area with cover fire. Meanwhile, Alex the Fighter carries around an enormous hammer that would make Amy Rose jealous, and relies on rapid-fire hammer swings and a Marth-esque counterattack for doling out punishment. Every character’s kit is the same in the sense that they each have an escape move, a big damage dealing move and so on, but it’s rather striking how well Cellar Door has managed to differentiate each move-set. Although the foundations may be the same, switching up characters requires dramatically different tactics in many situations, making Full Metal Furies feel like a much deeper and replayable experience than a typical brawler.

Of course, Full Metal Furies isn’t just about punching bad guys in the mouth; there’s a strong RPG system underlying all the chaos that creates an addictive and rewarding feedback loop that encourages you to regularly diversify team compositions. Each character is equipped with four items—one for each kind of attack—but there are three extra items available in each category that must be unlocked by beating certain missions and acquiring the blueprints. The newer gear is more powerful in some ways and less powerful in others, giving players plenty of autonomy for speccing each character to a specific playstyle, but there’s even more depth to then be found in levelling-up the gear itself.

Full Metal Furies employs a deeply satisfying ‘account-centric’ system of levelling in which levelling every individual piece of gear benefits the entire team. Each piece of gear is affected by a certain stat, like TEC or HP, and every time you level up that gear, it adds a percentage buff to the overall account buff being contributed to. For example, you could have a 6 percent boost to strength that all four of the girls benefit from, and 3 percent of that comes from Alex’s hammer being levelled-up twice while the other 3 percent comes from levelling-up both Meg’s rifle and Erin’s pistol once. What’s nice about this system is how it encourages players to constantly experiment with new team setups; it takes longer to level up gear that’s already accrued a couple levels, so if you want to see more stat percentage gains, you have to equip new gear and use characters that usually sit on the bench.

The RPG mechanics don’t just stop with gear either, each girl can be individually levelled-up to acquire character-specific stat gains and skills. Gold is dropped by each enemy you kill and stage you clear, and this can then be spent on buying nodes in a skill tree for each girl. Hitting certain level milestones unlocks new nodes which contain powerful abilities, such as Alex’s hammer swings lowering ability cooldowns, and once again, players are subtly encouraged to invest in all the girls rather than just a couple. Unlocks for each girl become gradually more expensive with each purchase, but there’s a ‘VIP’ system at play which discounts unlocks across all girls by a set coin amount which goes up a bit with each purchase you make. Therefore, buying new skills for under-levelled girls is made free or extremely cheap, while the upper unlocks for your higher level girls require a heavy grind if you don’t want to lower the costs by boosting your VIP discount through making cheaper purchases on other girls. Between this and the system used for gear levelling, Full Metal Furies finds that sweet spot where there’s a steady stream of meaningful upgrades being doled out while ensuring that players are experiencing the full scope of the game through playing all types of characters and gear equally.

Once you’re on the battlefield, combat is relatively straightforward, primarily orienting around moving between arenas, roundly defeating all comers and then moving on to the next arena. New enemy types are introduced at a consistent clip as you move through the story, continuously requiring players to change tactics and adapt to new threats on the fly. For example, one enemy attacks by calling in repeat airstrikes for devastating AoE damage, while another enemy is almost completely invisible and attacks with powerful sniper fire. It would be hard enough to dodge between the madness on screen as it is, but things are made further difficult by the introduction of colour-coded shields; each shield corresponds to a character, and only that one character can damage that enemy to break their shield.

In single player, you control two girls at a time—tagging out as needed with a tap of the shoulder button—but this shield system can still make fights extremely difficult if one of the girls happens to get knocked out. When this happens, a bar over the girl’s head slowly creeps up towards one hundred percent, which you can speed up by running over to her and holding down the tag button to revive her. In the thick of battle, it can be quite an effort to dodge between all the shielded enemies to bring back the character needed to fight them, but then again, Full Metal Furies revels in its punishing difficulty. You’re sure to see the game over screen plenty of times here, as there’s a distinct rhythm to combat that can take some time to get to grips with. Moreover, it takes a while to learn new enemy attack patterns and weaknesses, and given how many enemies Full Metal Furies loves to throw at you at once, it can be a lot to handle. If you consider yourself to be someone with slow reflexes, you’re gonna have a bad time, but mastering battle is an exhilarating experience once you get the timing of attacks down.

Beat ‘em up games are typically expected to be shallow and relatively straightforward arcade experiences that don’t require much thought, but this is yet another area in which Full Metal Furies defies expectations. When traversing between arenas in each stage, its possible to stumble upon one of the game’s many secrets in the form of optional side areas. Some of these require a careful navigation of a difficult obstacle course while others contain more cerebral puzzles that we won’t spoil here, but the journey is almost always worth it as you’re treated to a new blueprint or a Rosetta Stone.

Rosetta Stones form the foundation for a mystery that permeates the entirety of Full Metal Furies, and the depth to this mystery is more complex and rewarding than you’ll see in most games in general, let alone beat ‘em up games. Each Rosetta Stone is part of a pair, and the first one that you find always includes a riddle pointing you towards the next one. These have you doing relatively simple things like pausing the game at a certain point on the overworld map or going backwards in an area that you ordinarily would go forwards in, but soon give way to much more meta-puzzles that require you to do things like translating morse code or watching trailers for the game to find a critical piece of info. We often found ourselves solving a puzzle, only to realize that the solution to the puzzle is part of a much larger puzzle, which itself is part of an even bigger puzzle that intersects with other puzzles in some ways.

Clearly, Cellar Door Games has put a considerable amount of effort into designing this system of puzzles and mystery, and praise is certainly deserved for the creative ways in which solutions are hidden behind riddles and misdirection. Indeed, if you’ve ever felt that the design of puzzles in Zelda games has been a bit too simple, you’ll be more than pleased with the challenging brain-benders on offer here, and the developers have ensured that there’s an equally enticing reward waiting in the centre of it all. It’s satisfying how much more depth this adds to the gameplay experience; when you aren’t busy managing team compositions or dexterously combating the pleasurably difficult hordes of enemies, you’re staring at a wall of gibberish or hieroglyphs with a pen and paper trying to decode a message that’s stumped you for hours. We’d recommend that you go into this one as blindly as possible; though the temptation of going to the internet to find the answers may be strong, these puzzles are considerably more rewarding when you finally reach that ‘Aha!’ moment.

All these disparate gameplay elements are made considerably more compelling, then, when you throw some other players into the mix. Full Metal Furies is a wonderfully engaging experience when playing in single player, but it’s taken to another level when you have a friend or two next to you on the couch to experience it with you. Not only is it more fun to find a good rhythm and set up multi-character combos that positively melt the opposition, but having a couple more brains to throw around theories and ideas around the more esoteric puzzles makes for a collaborative experience that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere on the Switch. And for those of you that don’t have any friends on hand, Full Metal Furies features online multiplayer, too.

Unlike most other indie games of this generation, Full Metal Furies employs an art style that doesn’t use pixel art as a crutch, tastefully weaving in retro character and enemy models into carefully hand-painted environments. Each character sprite is exceedingly well detailed and animated, and though the environments do fall into relatively uninspired world tropes (oh boy, another desert world), there’s a striking visual style to having pixelated characters fighting on semi-realistic backdrops. Backing all the action is a wonderful soundtrack that employs a mixture of chiptunes and rock, evoking the soundtracks of the Mega Man X series in more ways than one. There weren’t any particularly anthemic tracks to be picked out of the bunch, but what’s here is sure to please and fit tonally with everything happening on screen.

Report: Former Treyarch QA leaks huge amount of Black Ops 4 Zombies info after getting fired

By Shabana Arif, Monday, 12 November 2018 23:14 GMT

Former Treyarch QA spills the beans on Black Ops 4 Zombies Easter eggs and further plans for the game.

A Redditor claiming to be a former Treyarch QA has leaked a ton of information about Black Ops 4 Zombies after stating that they were unfairly dismissed from the studio over a “blatant miscommunicatuon [sic] and mismanagement” regarding a lunch break, of all things.

The disgruntled user, CallOfNobodyCares, took to Reddit for an AMA post entitled “Fired from 3Arc Zombies EE team today – Ask me anything!” although the account seems to have been deleted since.

While their identity can’t be verified, the information they’ve shared so far in regards to Easter eggs has been accurate, from the Viking Boat EE on IX to the Samatha “Crooked Man in a Crooked House” Easter egg, so make of that what you will.

Redditor Oswin-Pond shared a Glassdoor link in a thread keeping track of everything the leaker has spilled so far to demonstrate the mistreatment of other QAs at the company, and CallOfNobodyCares has posted about their firing over there as well.

“They fired me because they decided to retroactively change my lunch break time after I had already went on my lunch break,” reads the Glassdoor review that highlights the discrepancy in how “QA level one” and “level two” employees are treated, adding that “They don’t care how much you care for the game and your job, you are a worker ant and disposable piece of trash to them.”

Under the Advice to Management section, they’ve written, “Give me my job back and they’ll be no hard feelings. You literally pushed our lunch break back twice, retroactively.

“How can it possibly be my fault if I took my lunch break at the time I was told to and then afterwards you decided to push it back again. Come on now, this was your blatant miscommunicatuon [sic] and mismanagement of time. I was literally the #1 hardest working employee as proven by my performance. You broke my heart.”

The review was posted on November 9, with the AMA going up on November 10.

A collection of screenshots of all of CallOfNobodyCares’ Reddit comments were posted on imgur, in which they say that they slept in their car for two years in order to work at Treyarch.

Outside of the in-game leaks about Easter eggs, here’s the round-up from Reddit of the other tidbits that were shared, courtesy of CadzTrikz:

  • DLC 1 is a prequel to the Chaos storyline and will introduce four new characters
  • Nuketown Zombies is definitely happening but doesn’t have a confirmed date
  • Each DLC pack will have one Zombies Map
  • More maps are coming that will follow the Aether Storyline
  • A 4v4 Zombies mode is in the works, but there’s a chance that it might be cancelled
  • Speed Cola is making a comeback in the next title update (tu6). When players have the four main Vapors equipped, it’ll be equipped automatically as a bonus in-game Vapor. It can deactivate and reactivate.

We’ll have to see if Treyarch has anything to say about all of this, but based on the accuracy of the leaks so far, the community is convinced that the QA’s story holds water.

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