Tag: Games

Court, Allegations, and More Court

Apple Refuses to Testify

Apple is being urged to provide a witness for an upcoming hearing on app stores and digital competition. The demands by Senate Judiciary Committee leaders are becoming more persistent after Apple abruptly decided to not provide a witness a couple of weeks before the hearing. The hearing had been planned for weeks, and Apple had been in discussions with the staff on who would testify on Apple’s behalf.

Apple’s App Store has been under scrutiny by lawmakers over the previous year. In 2019 an investigation had been launched into competition in the tech industry, which includes Apple’s App Store, with a focus on the 30% fees Apple charges app developers. Last year, Fortnite publisher Epic Games sued Apple with the accusation that the company is violating US antitrust laws after the game was removed from the App Store. Apple had won a similar case with Epic Games within Australia, when Fortnite had been pulled from the App Store for listing an alternative method of playing the game that would allow players to pay Epic Games directly, at a 20% discount.

The hearing is set to take place on May 3rd.

French Court Overturns Dismissal Ruling for Ex-Quantic Dream Dev

Revisiting a 2018 court case against Quantic Dream, a French court has overturned the decision of that unfair dismissal case. In 2018 it had been ruled that the employee had been forced out of the studio due to toxic and targeted behaviour.

The court has come to the consensus that the alleged misogynistic, homophobic, and racist culture at Quantic Dream wasn’t the reason for the employee’s departure, so the unfair dismissal ruling doesn’t apply.

The allegations included mentions of a collection of 600 photoshopped images that were alleged to contain discriminatory jokes and altered images of employees. Four former Quantic Dream employees cited the information uncovered by that report as the grounds for their unfair dismissal claims. The court sided with one of those employees, but that has been overturned, as the employee knew about the image in question when it was created in 2015, and therefore was unrelated to their departure in 2018.

Now that individual has been ordered to pay Quantic Dream $12,000.

Quantic Dream is using the ruling as a dismissal of those toxic culture allegations as a whole.

Hearthstone Esports Player Suspended over Abuse Allegations

Hearthstone Esports has announced that one of the game’s Grandmaster tournament players, Paul “Zale” Nemeth, has been suspended due to allegations of domestic abuse.

After nearly three months of silence following these allegations coming to light, and a day before the 2021 Grandmasters season begins, Blizzard finally responded, saying that they are “aware of the allegations and are assessing the matter”. Many Hearthstone fans have expressed relief and approval for Blizzard’s response, and the act of suspending the player.

And now for some upcoming game releases!

April 15:

  • Ashwalkers: A Survival Journey (PC)
  • Carly and the Reaperman (PC, VR)
  • SaGa Frontier Remastered (PC, PS4, Switch)
  • Sea of Thieves Season 2 (PC, XSX, XBO)

April 16:

  • Super Meat Boy Forever (PS4, XBO)

April 20:

  • Don’t Forget Me (PC)
  • Maskmaker (PC, VR, PSVR)
  • MLB The Show 21 (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)

April 21:

  • World Splitter (PC, PS4, Switch)

April 22:

  • Buildings Have Feelings Too! (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Orbital Bullet (PC)

April 23:

  • Judgement (PS5, XSX, Stadia)
  • NieR Replicant ver1.22474487139… (PC, PS4, XBO)

Trashed Review

Developer: Josh Presseisen
Publisher: Crescent Moon Games
Music: Josh Presseisen
Platforms: Steam
Released: Early Access – 17/February/2021, Planned Release – early 2022
Genre: Adventure strategy

Garbage disposal and management is a problem that has plagued us for years, and it continues to be a problem far in the future, on a planet far, far away. Hundreds of ships dump their rubbish on some far-off desert planet, leaving bags of waste, plastic lawn chairs, and who knows what else.

And you, the newest hire, are tasked with solving this eternal problem: how to make all this trash go away?

Trashed is a strategy game about garbage management and disposal. With a chunky, 3D artstyle, your long flowing blue hair, and more than a few guns under your belt to take care of some problems you might run into, this is definitely a game meant to challenge you. And maybe overwhelm you, just a bit.

So, the main goal of Trashed is to dispose of garbage, and manage the waste and pollution it causes. A ship will come by about once every minute (or an in-game hour) to dump rubbish at a marked site. This can very quickly develop into a gigantic pile, with garbage bags just rolling all over the place. You need to move that garbage into an incinerator. You have a helpful robot that manages to push some bits of trash into an incinerator, and you can pick up a piece of garbage, and toss it in yourself. But you will not be able to keep up. And each bit of rubbish burnt will affect the air quality.

Thankfully, you have more than a few tools to help you out. As you earn money, you can buy a garbage blower, to move several pieces of rubbish, and blueprints to build more incinerators, air purifiers, solar panels, batteries, recycling machines, grinders (for the giant pieces of garbage that will get thrown onto your head by yet another ship), and more, including conveyor belts, which quickly became my favourite thing in the game.

In addition, you progress by picking up bounties from the office, requiring you to process a certain amount of garbage, or to kill some of the local creatures who will rock up to cause some trouble.

Of course, you can purchase various weapons to help you.

It’s addictive, it’s satisfying to optimise your dump site, to set it up so you only need to worry about some wayward rubbish. There are cutscenes with voiced characters, for some reason they’re all from Texas. I named my helpful robot Marvin. I love him. He gets stuck sometimes but he’s doing his best.

The music is pretty minimal, and there is a lot of silence in the game. The creatures I run into make some weird, alien-like sounds that makes me a bit nervous to hear. The sound of the ship arriving is overwhelming, and I’m glad to hear it go (mostly so it stops making a mess of things). It’s really satisfying hearing the constant sound of garbage being recycled and burnt, it tells me things are working. More music would be nice, but I find myself zoning out a lot, so I’m not too bothered.

There is one thing to note however, this game is in early access, and at the time of writing this review, in pre-alpha. There are a lot of bugs, there is only a portion of the planned content in the game, and I wasn’t able to actually complete the tutorial. My playthrough could be described as playtesting. This is not a finished product. But the content it already has, and the gameplay so far, is enjoyable. When I get past some of the worst bugs, and I get used to the rough controls, I found myself playing for hours. I had a playthrough where the bounties glitched out, so I couldn’t progress through the game, but I had so many conveyor belts, and you have never imagined air could be so clean.

I am looking forward to seeing this game continue to develop, and to revisit it over time. And I can’t wait until the team goes ‘Yup! That’s a finished game!’. Because my heart needed a garbage management game that takes place on an alien planet.

Money Money Money

GameStop hasn’t made enough

GameStop the massive video game retailer with subsidiaries such as EB Games Australia may have had a profitable fourth quarter however still hasn’t made enough to offset the losses from the pandemic. Due to numerous store front closures for the past 12 months their net sales took a dive for the fiscal year which ended January 30th. GameStop have reported net sales down by 21% to $5.09 Billion USD with a total of $215 million USD in net loss. Despite this loss it still manages to be a better year for GameStop than 2019 which was a reported loss of over $470 million USD. CEO George Sherman commented after the announcement saying, “I am proud of how our entire organization came together in 2020 to adapt to the challenging pandemic environment, effectively serve our customers’ demand for gaming and entertainment products, and navigate through the year with strong liquidity and a strengthened balance sheet,” Sherman goes on to say that he is positive about 2021 since their sales this year has already risen by 23% and that GameStop intend on investing in more technology as well as out-sourcing talent and improving upon current systems to hopefully bring more opportunities to the company and to consumers.

Genshin Impact passes $1B in mobile revenue

miHiYo’s popular game Genshin Impact has reached over $1B USD exclusively from its mobile versions. According to numbers from Sensor Tower the free-to-play mobile Gacha game has hit 10 figures in just over six months. It took Pokémon Go 9 months to reach that same goal. After Genshin Impact’s release in September 2020 it only took two months for the behemoth game to hit the $400 million USD mark. Remember that these figures still don’t include the PC and PS4 versions of the game and it is expected that Genshin Impact will only climb in popularity for the remainder of 2021 with the release of the game later this year coming to Nintendo Switch.

Razor makes $1B thanks to the pandemic

At the end of 2020 Razor reported revenue upwards of $1.2B which is a 48% hike compared to 2019. This is quite impressive given that Razor had reported a profit loss at the beginning of 2020. To help provide a decent spike in sales for this year Razor has just confirmed that it will be creating a RGB face mask. In an interview with CEO of Razor Min-Liang Tan shared that when the mask was first revealed there really wasn’t anything set in stone about actually making one. However, Tan goes on to say, “We were thinking, this is a concept project and is this going to be relevant when vaccinations and everything has been rolled out. I think moving forward we decided — and I can tell you now — we are going to proceed in making it a reality and ship the smart mask,” This RGB Razor face mask development has be dubbed as Project Hazel.

The Week in Gaming Releases:

March 31st the Binding of Isaac: Repentance DLC comes to PC
April 1st Outriders is released on all platforms (but the Nintendo Switch)
April 6th Lost Words: Beyond the Page (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch), Oddworld: Soulstorm (PC, PS5, PS4), and finally Star Wars Republic Commando (PS4, & Switch)

Monster Hunter World

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Music: 
Akihiko Narita
Platforms: 
Microsoft Windows PC, PS4, & Xbox One
Released: 
22 December 2017
Genre:
 Action Role Playing Game (ARPG)

Monster Hunter World is the fifth instalment of the Monster Hunter series. For those of you who haven’t heard about Monster Hunter you play as a hunter that you can customise that is tasked with hunts to either kill or trap monsters that roam certain environmental landscapes. The idea usually is to kill them, harvest materials and use those materials to make new weapons, armour and other unique game items. You also have a friendly little side kick called a Palico which is an anthropomorphic cat that you can also name and customise that will assist you in combat. There is also your assistant Handler whose job is to keep you up to date with all your objectives and educate you on how the New World works.

In Monster Hunter World you start as part of the fifth fleet which has been called upon by the Research Commission to provide more back up to previous hunters in the New World. The major focus of the journey is to perform Expeditions into new environments to study Elder Dragons, which are very powerful monsters that play a big part in the ecosystem or each new area you discover. Early on in the story you learn that these monsters migrate to this New World every ten years in an event known as Elder Crossing. During the first initial cut scene on the ship to the New World you encounter Zorah Magdaros who is an Elder Dragon moving towards your destination. Throughout the rest of the main narrative, you are to discover why they migrate and what part they play in the ecosystem of this New World.

There are many twists and turns ahead should you take on this perilous journey, and if you should feel afraid do not worry Monster Hunter World is very big on multiplayer cooperative hunts. You can post a quest and other hunters can join you or you can join a quest that other players post. Not to mention loads and loads of optional side quests, special events and wonderful game cross overs; such as Geralt of Rivia or Mega Man. Also, once you finish the main quest line and hit the credits there is still more monsters to discover and challenges to face. The game almost seemingly never ends even after 50 hours of gameplay.

Something incredible about the Monster Hunter series is the impressive number of weapons you can choose from and you don’t have to be locked into specialising in one. There are 14 to choose from ranging from close combat, mid-range, high mobility, aerial, rapid fire, long ranged and versatile. I originally started playing on a Charge Blade which has to be on the most unique and if not most complicated weapons to master however provides insane damage once you reach the high hunter ranks. It has a couple of different modes such as it looks like a small sword and shield however you can combine them together to form a large axe that you can charge with power to deal massive blows. I later learnt the bow and arrow because some monsters fly and learning a ranged weapon definitely helps with certain hunts. Honestly one of the best parts of the game is enjoying a range of different weapons that can completely change the game play as well as the outcome of monster fights. I highly recommend learning more than one weapon.

The best, if not most incredible part of Monster Hunter World is the monsters themselves. They are fascinating, visually exceptional, diverse and extremely dangerous. Some of them are so hard that you definitely need a full team of hunters to take it down and some can be an hour-long grind. There are moments of such beauty for example during fights you have these scenes of incredible high-definition beasts up against these incredible environmental back drops that are simply jaw dropping. There is one particular hunt against an Elder Dragon where you are set in the volcanic pit with a what looks like a giant flying lion that explodes these incredible red and blue flames. Honestly there is nothing like it.

I should also mention the comradery of multiplayer hunting. Most of my time with Monster Hunter World has been cooperative, myself and some of the Zed Games team helped me climb in rank and experience by hunting together. There is so much fun to be had testing out different weapons and taking on different monsters all over the New World. Something that Zahra mentioned to me was, “Every hunt is different, even if it’s the same monster you fought before you are guaranteed to have a different experience the next time you’re out there.” Seeing massive fights between two different monsters or having your party crashed by an unwanted visitor is always a good opportunity to get the hell out of the way and see something new, maybe even try something new.

A quick tip for players interested in playing Monster Hunter World on Windows PC is get yourself a controller that is compatible, usually Xbox controllers wired or Bluetooth will work nicely. You can play using keyboard, however, depending on your weapon you might find your fights to be more challenging. On a personal level I find the controller to make to experience more immersive.

Akihiko Narita is the composer for Monster Hunter World and has created much of the soundtrack for many other Monster Hunter games as well as Resident Evil 5. His compositions are epic in nature, making everything feel like this grand adventure. There is mystery and suspense as well as fear and darkness. The orchestral tones and rising string sections of the music gives your heart a good stir especially when you’re fighting a Diablos. Speaking of Diablos this monster has some of the best sound effects, tunnelling underground and exploding up from under you. There’s the sound of monster roars that stun you in battle, some of these guys are pretty terrifying.

All in all, Monster Hunter World is extraordinary. It’s not my first Monster Hunter game and it certainly won’t be my last. If you are unsure about the soon to be released Monster Hunter Rise don’t be afraid to go check out this one instead. Plus, there is a massive expansion Iceborne should you love it as much as I did. To give you an idea of how resoundingly positive Monster Hunter World has been received internationally the lowest score it’s had was an 8/10 and with overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam you are bound to find something you love. Are you ready to depart on your quest hunter? I am.

Blizzcon Turns 30 & Nintendo Direct

Nintendo Direct

Earlier this week Nintendo Direct also showered us with announcements for upcoming games, updates, and events. The 2011 Legend of Zelda game, Skyward Sword, originally released on the Nintendo Wii, is being remastered for the Switch. It will release on July 16th this year, accompanied by new joy cons modelled after the Master Sword and Hylian Shield. Nintendo also announced the 3rd game in the Splatoon series, this time setting the bright colourful characters in a vast barren wasteland. The game will be released early 2022. As part of Super Mario’s 35th Anniversary Celebrations, a Mario-themed DLC is coming to Animal crossing, featuring costumes, decorations, and furniture. This free update can be downloaded from Feb 25th. Smash hit rogue-like Hades will get a physical release for the switch on March 19th. There are far too many announcements to list them all, but we can’t leave out a new title in everyone’s favourite Nintendo series, Miitopia.  This title boasts an entire kingdom for your Miis to explore, after you’ve dressed them up with the new makeup and wig features that is!

Blizzard Entertainment Celebrates 30 years at this year’s BlizzConline.

With this came a slew of announcements of things we have to look forward to. More and more information is coming out about the development of Overwatch 2, like character updates, new maps and details of the leveling system. Diablo II is getting a remaster which will arrive later this year on both PC and Console. PC players interested in public testing for this game can sign up for the chance here.  Word of Warcraft will be getting a huge content update for the recent Shadowlands expansion called Chains of Domination. And Hearthstone fans can expect a new expansion “Forged in the Barrens” and an entirely new mode of gameplay called Mercenaries coming later this year.

Unfinished Nintendo 64 Game

An online group of game preservationists Forest of Illusion have recently shared a leaked build of Dinosaur Planet. This game never made it to release but was repurposed for the GameCube as StarFox Adventures. This copy of Dinosaur Planet was obtained from a private game collector and dates back to December 2000. It is a late build of the game and fully playable but has a fair few bugs throughout and will need hacking to play all parts of it in an emulator. Strangely, this is not the first cancelled game from Rare to be released online this month. Earlier an unreleased build of the XBLA remake of Goldeneye was also shared.

Games this week:

The 25th of February sees the release of Ghost n’ Goblins Resurrection and Lawnmower Game: Racing, both on the switch.

Bravely Default 2, sequel to the popular JRPG, gets its worldwide release for the switch on February 26th.