Diablo Immortal brings Diablo universe to mobile

After five long years of anticipation and marketing hype, “Diablo: Immortal” was announced earlier this week at Blizzcon, developed by NetEase in partnership with Blizzard for mobile devices exclusively. An MMO Action-RPG described aimed at gamers on the move. Diablo Immortal will recreate the franchise’s traditional multiplayer point and click action gameplay with optimizations for touchscreen controls. It may not be the Diablo fans were expecting but could potentially keep fans entertained until Diablo 4‘s eventual release. Early details regarding Diablo Immortal confirm that the mobile game will feature six different classes at launch: Barbarian, Monk, Wizard, Crusader, Demon Hunter, and Necromancer. More classes post-launch is planned, with developers hinting at Diablo 2‘s Assassin and Diablo 3‘s Witch Doctor. Each class will have a unique selection of 12 or more different skills to choose from.

As for how Diablo Immortal fits into the greater Diablo universe, Diablo Immortal’s storyline will take place between Diablo II and Diablo III. 20 years passed in the Diablo Universe between those two games which were released in 2000 and 2012, respectively.The story in Diablo Immortal focuses on the aftermath of the destruction of the Worldstone in Diablo II with demonic invaders trying to bring back a rule of terror. Players will work out of Westmarch, a social hub where players can meet and show off their armor. Through Westmarch, players will visit 9 different outdoor zones, hunting corrupted fragments of the Worldstone and the demons left in their wake.

The gameplay uses a virtual thumb stick on the left side of the screen and an ability cluster on the right. When using abilities that require precise aiming, holding down the button will let you draw where you want to aim. Despite being a fast-paced action game on a phone, the controls seem to work pretty well.

The Diablo Immortal announcement received a mixed response that Blizzard didn’t expect. Blizzard has been teasing a Diablo-related reveal for Blizzcon ever since the convention was announced. Fans were quick to express their disappointment on forums and social media, and at Blizzcon, one attendee’s had to ask if the game was “an offseason April Fool’s joke.” Fans were so lead on to believe that Diablo 4 would be announced and Blizzard went out of its way to inform fans that there would be no Diablo 4 at Blizzcon 2018, but confirming that it was in development, fans were still surprised. Other rumors had swirled prior to the event regarding both a potential Diablo and Diablo 2 remaster. The NetEase mobile exclusive Diablo Immortal that was announced instead was a surprise on all fronts. While no release window has yet been announced for Diablo Immortal, players can visit the game’s official website and google play store to pre-register and potentially be invited to future beta tests.

Diablo Immortal is planned to release “when it’s done” exclusively on iOS and Android devices.

Closed Beta now that’s Injustice

Injustice

If you weren’t able to get an invite code for the closed Injustice 2 closed beta, here is what we’ve experienced so far. The gameplay is very similar to the first Injustice game, which isn’t a bad thing. The games pace, combat distance and combo mechanics are comparable to the prequel, especially for common characters like Batman and Superman, the key strokes themselves are  almost identical, which will give older players an initial advantage. Most of it is good, bouncing your enemies off intractable objects and through walls is strangely satisfying but you still have to key in your combinations before the animation kicks in, this makes the gameplay more repetitive than it needs to be. There is a significant upgrade to the visuals in Injustcie 2, which is why well be reviewing the full game on PC.

As teased in the trailer Injustice 2 brings armor customization to the franchise, there and hundreds of unlockable upgrades and skins within the game for each character, which will hopefully extend the life time of the game itself. In the current beta unlocks are very frequent and I doubt it’ll stay the same in the final release. I wish the armor was more varied, and similar to the characters back story itself. It makes sense to give Batman a mech suit but why do the same for Wonder Woman, she should be wearing armor that’s forged by Cyclopes. Unlocks are not just limited to HP and aesthetics either, you can unlock new moves and counters as well, making online casual play much more challenging. The gear can also be set to effect only visuals before a match begins if both players agree to the same.

The servers are stable but the quality of gameplay can vary a lot between games. This will most likely get patched out before the actual launch in May. The beta is pretty limited and only lets you play as Batman, Superman, Atrocitus and Supergirl.

  • Aquaman
  • Atrocitus
  • Bane
  • Batman
  • Brainiac
  • Black Adam
  • Black Canary
  • Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes)
  • Captain Cold
  • Catwoman
  • Cheetah
  • Cyborg
  • Darkseid
  • Deadshot
  • Doctor Fate
  • Firestorm
  • Flash (Barry Allen)
  • Green Lantern (John Stewart)
  • Green Arrow
  • Gorilla Grodd
  • Harley Quinn
  • Poison Ivy
  • Power Girl
  • Reverse-Flash
  • Robin (Damian Wayne)
  • Scarecrow
  • Superman
  • Supergirl (Power Girl Costume Included)
  • Swamp Thing
  • Wonder Woman

Here is the confirmed roster for Injustice 2 so far, stay tuned for more on Injustice 2.

Will you Switch ?

Switch

The console runs customized Tegra, while the competitions running Octa Jaguar cores and Polaris GPU’s.  Nintendo’s art style makes the most of its hardware and the brilliant first party gameplay will make teraflops irrelevant, things only fanboys like me will claim.

Legend of Zelda Breath of the wild, will be the last first party game to be made for the Wii U. Nintendo promised to continue support for the Wii U, even after the switch launch. What they meant was the servers will support online activities in games like Mario Kart and Splatoon.

The switch comes bundled with everything you need for $299, or does it? The tiny “Joy-Con” controllers, which you will eventually loose, are $49.99 each and $79.99 for a pair. The Switch Pro Controller, which almost everyone will want is $69.99. The console’s pitiful internal memory will force you to buy an additional microSD card so that’s at least $30 more. Nintendo expects you to carry the Switch around, so that’s an additional $25 for a case. Even if we ignore all accessories, The Switch does not come bundled with a game, which is a capital crime at least to me.

The launch line up of games for the Switch is tragic, you get Zelda which is also releasing on the Wii U. You get Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, that’s a slightly better than DLC for Mario Kart 8. This puts Wii U customers in a horrible predicament. Do you keep the Wii U and enjoy the superior library of games or do you sell the Wii U and get the Switch while it’s worth 10 cents. Nintendo is crippling a relevant system just to sell more Switch units. The Wii U is still a great console, even if sales figures disagree. We’ve spent months playing Smash, Zelda, Pokken, Mario and more, all of which are titles worth replaying.

Fine you decide to bite the bullet and sell your Wii U, what about the library of games you have built over the year? The Switch isn’t backward compatible it doesn’t even have a disk slot. So you’ll have no games for a year and you’ve lost a lot of money selling the games you love.

Updated UI and Online store, finally an actual update, the Switch will not support any media functionality such as Netflix, Amazon Video, Crunchy Roll and worst of all YouTube at launch. No Blueray or DVD playback I could forgive but why aren’t apps that already work on the Wii U missing from the Switch?

Nintendo’s new online subscription service is coming soon, but you need to pair the Switch with an app on your smart phone to access match services. So basically if you have younger kids who don’t have a smart phone yet or for some reason you are against smart phones in general, you can’t access certain features like voice chat. So basically you pay Nintendo to use voice chat on a phone which already has a million apps like including Skype, which let you voice chat for free. The only other benefit to the online service, is the free NES and SNES game downloads, but these “free games” aren’t yours to keep, they will only be available for a month.

I’ve been waiting for the Switch ever since I first heard of the NX, but I am not going to pre order the Switch. I’m going to buy Zelda for the Wii U and hope that Nintendo to get their act together by 2018.

Careful what you wish for

Deus Ex is an action role-playing first-person shooter first developed by Ion Storm in 2000. The series, set during the 21st century, focuses on the conflict between secretive factions who wish to control the world by proxy, and the divide caused by augmentation in a dystopian future. Mankind Divided is the 5th installment in the franchise (Excluding Deus Ex Go) which sits between Human Revolution and the original Deus Ex chronologically. Before we get into the rest of the review, I have to mention the awful default settings the game launches. The game made me nauseous every time id move the cursor, it kept twitching violently which made me motion sick in minutes. I tried turning down the settings, and every combination of motion blur and VSYNC settings possible, in a 4790K rig running a GTX 1080 and 32 GB of RAM. I had almost given up before discovering the issue. The mouse sensitivity is set to 50% and for any other game that would be perfectly normal, anything above 20% is unplayable in Deus Ex.

A very rocky start indeed, however, the game does an excellent job of introducing the plot, it’s been 5 years since the last game and the 12 minute video breaking down critical events from past story lines is a welcomed addition to new comers and fans alike. The game is rather complex and you have access to a lot of abilities from the get go, fortunately tutorials are well implemented and seldom distracting. The story picks up after the Aug incident, which forced people with augments into a killing frenzy, and though Adam Jensen saved the day, the world is weary of augmented people and this societal aversion towards Nano Implants can be felt deep within the dialog, animation and character interaction. Adam Jensen, who we still play as, is a nonchalant bad ass, Interpol agent / underground hacker hunting down the illuminati. Cliché? Most probably, but we can let it slide because the game play is absolutely brilliant. You have a lot of new abilities and augments, including special augments which can also be upgraded as you progress. The cover system is near perfect and freedom to get through large maps using any tactic is amazing, it up to you to either hack, shoot or dodge your way past foes. Gun mechanics have been greatly improved, compared to previous games and it’s actually possible to go through the entire game emptying clips into everything that moves. The game is impressive visually, lighting is on point and there is rich variety within the city of Prague itself and almost everything that you can see you can interact with. If you get tired of the story and miss GTA or Watchdogs, there is nothing stopping you from wandering the city, hacking strangers, creeping around in apartments or even randomly shooting civilians.

As entertaining as the game is, Deus Ex Man Kind Divided is not without flaws, the worst being its unfinished story line, vapid Aim, unnecessary micro transactions and mediocre voice and music. Deus Ex isn’t a horrible game by any means and maybe we are being too hard on it, especially compared to other reviews, but it’s only because it could be so much more.

Ryū ga waga teki wo kurau!

NOW

The FPS genre isn’t short of great games Counter Strike, Titanfall, Halo, Destiny, Doom, Rainbow Six, Battlefield, Call of Duty and the almighty Half Life 2 to name a few. FPS players are some of the most competitive and dedicated gamers on the planet. Countless hours perfecting head shots, Thousands of dollars invested on high refresh rate low lag panels, network equipment and bleeding edge hardware only to edge out the competition. Fans of a franchise are fanatical about their title, COD vs Battlefield is nerd El Clasico. Only the exceptionally inventive can hope to attain recognition in this saturated a market.

Overwatch isn’t all about vaporizing enemies to score points, stunning diversity is its greatest strength. 23 playable characters to date, each impeccably designed vary in skill sets, play style, personality, gorgeous art style and a backstory make Overwatch the best team based game of 2016. All characters are unlocked from the moment you sign in, 21 at launch (Sombra and Ana were added as free DLC). There is no pay to win system, the only items one can buy with actual currency are loot boxes which contain skins, voice lines, character animations all of which can be unlocked by leveling up in the game. Team building is essential in Overwatch, although characters are mostly divided into Attack, Defense, Tank and Healer each character plays very differently and it is up to the player to adapt. There can only be one of each character in a team making it crucial to familiarize oneself with the strengths and weakness of each character.

Quick play requires you to either move or stop a convoy, which moves along a fixed route. Learning the map gives you a better chance of setting up, a difficult to hit bastion or hidden widowmaker can prove devastating.

The game is usually well balanced although the recent buff to Symetra makes her rather OP at close range. Each character is has a counter and the ability to switch characters after each respawn, combined with intense overtimes make matches exiting to the end. It isn’t all about the character either, every map is unique and well executed. Blizzards continual updates bringing new and limited themed loot boxes throughout the year, brawls and varying arcade gameplay keep the game endlessly entertaining.

OW

The entry barrier to most online FPS games are very high and can be disheartening for new comers. As a 6v6 multiplayer, objective-based shooter, Yes, the character head shot damage modifier is much bigger than most ranked FPS games, but Overwatch finds accessibility not by lowering the skill ceiling, but by broadening the definition of skill. The person with deadshot aim is no more valuable than the person with the decision-making ability to know when a well-timed ability will turn an engagement, or the person with the map-sense to find the optimal locations to place sentry turrets.

Blizzard is legend in the realm of online gaming and with Overwatch as their new champion have affirmed their dominance over it. The pivotal marketing campaign pulling in 9 million users on beta out of which 7.6 million of them kept playing post launch. "Players have swapped heroes 326 million times and teamed up to deliver 11 million payloads to their destinations on the battlefields of tomorrow." Was their only press statement prior to launch. Currently there are 20 million Overwatch players all over the world and this figure is only growing.

Blizzard Beautiful, Diverse and immense tactical depth, Overwatch is a must play. If you don’t trust our review, Overwatch is free to play on the weekends on PSN, It will not disappoint.

Neural Link Established

If you are familiar with Titanfall, it quite possible you dint pay much attention to Titanfall 2 and initial sales figures did indicate the same. The lack of a single player campaign, ridiculous unlock system, Xbox exclusivity and the unbalanced Titan mechanics in multiplayer left a bitter taste if unmatched expectations especially considering the hype it generated post E3 2013.

Instead of teasing you till the end of the page, lets jump right into it, Titanfall 2 is absolutely stunning. It is better than the original in every way and could be our favorite game of 2016. It’s fast paced, visually stunning and incredibly entertaining. The game has a proper 6hr long story driven single player campaign, that’ll challenge fps player and platformer lover alike. COD may have created the whole wall run, double jump atmosphere but nothing comes close to the sheer momentum of Titanfall. The parkour style gameplay isn’t optional either, the levels are designed such that you either master traversal or quit. Luckily you have the Ghost mechanic to aid you if required, basically a hologram directing you on how to get from point A to B. Although you start as Rifleman Cooper, who aspires to be a pilot someday, A mortally-wounded mentor to transfer ownership of his Titan, BT, over to you in the first 10 minutes of the campaign. Although unusable until restored, BT’s voice and humor is a welcomed addition while you leap around looking for fuel cells. The unlikely friendship that grows between Jack and BT elevates the story mode into something that’s truly rewarding. You quickly believe that these characters really care for each other, which is repeatedly demonstrated by their actions throughout the campaign. BT is a devastating vanguard class Titan during firefights and a friendly giant at other times. Although game play is at its core fps, the game periodically separates both pilot and Titan which makes their relation almost symbiotic. You need BT to get through toxic sludge among other perils and often BT won’t be able progress without your aid. Titanfall’s boss battles have you facing other Titans which are interesting but not too challenging. Unlike previous titan fall games the Titan load out can be switched on the fly and picking the right mix of offensive and defensive abilities makes the boss battles much more satisfying.

TF

Multi player has been essential to the franchise and they have improved upon where the original left off. Attrition mode is back, player and Titan mobility has been increased, and Titan drops now happen quicker, thanks to a change which sees players receiving a small passive amount of Titan meter every few seconds. Meanwhile, the HUD has been improved, and bots are available in certain modes such as the new addition Bounty Hunt. Along the aforementioned modes, players can also compete in Mixtape, which constantly changes modes with each game; Amped Hardpoint, which has you stealing and protecting bases, Pilots vs. Pilots, 8v8 Mixtape, Last Titan Standing, Capture the Flag and Free for All. Coliseum allows users to have quake style 1v1 Titan battles but we won’t pay a lot of attention to something that requires you to but Doritos and Mountain Dew. Though some issues from the tech beta still remain, Titanfall 2’s multiplayer remains fun and addictive. There’s no season pass either, meaning every player is given access to any new map, weapon or mode for the life of the game.

A brilliant single player campaign married to inventive, skill-intensive multiplayer that takes fps to a whole new level. If you haven’t played it yet, try it and we are sure you’ll grab a copy immediately. Best played on the PC, Titanfall 2 is also available now on the PS4 along with the XBOX.

Be The Very Best

Pokken

How does one become a Pokémon master? By battling of course. Trainers have been battling Pokémon since 1996, as console technology advanced three dimensional character animations became available in Pokémon Stadium and Xd but gameplay has always been turn based. Pokken combines Pokémon and Tekken. My first impressions were rather mixed, you’d think it’s just a Pokémon skin on Tekken, not completely wrong but the game play is much more complex than Tekken or possibly any fighting game to date. Technique is key and picking the right support character can sway the outcome of a battle greatly. As you progress in the game the AI gets smarter and stronger, keeping the game accessible to new comers and challenging for veterans. The only downside is that the leveling system isn’t just specific to you as a trainer. You have to individually level up each Pokémon just like the RPG. I was disappointed at first to see a lot of my favorite Pokémon being left out from the current roster of 20 playable characters, but leveling up a larger set would get rapidly tedious. It’s like picking you first starter Pokémon and its move set based on your play style, do you want a hard hitting Charizard or a lightning quick Pikachu.

Gameplay is split into two phases which you switch in and out of constantly. The field phase which requires you to use ranged attacks from a distance and dodge or block unfriendly projectiles, favoring more agile technical characters and the dual phase which is similar to the close ranged combat style inherent to the genre. Landing a heavy hit in field phase switches you into duel phase, where continual damage is key as Pokken’s pace can turn linked combos into one stroke KO’s. Similarly a heavy attack in duel phase mode can throw you back into field phase, learning the move set for each phase is key. Not only are light attacks quicker than heavy attacks, certain heavy attacks leave you defenseless and vulnerable to attack in case you fail to land a hit. Keeping on blocking and the opponent punishes you with a grab throw combo. Counters need to be planned as breaking an ongoing combo isn’t easy, but get it right and charged counters deal devastating damage. Meter or Synergy can be collected from random drops on the field or during gameplay, collect enough and you can Mega Evolve, Ultimate, Synergy Burst, basically do a crazy amount of damage while being treated to breathtaking animations, if timed properly. Support mechanic is similar to picking a perk you get an additional 30 characters out of which you can whose 2 for each battle and 1 per round, it brings even more variety to an unpredictable game. It’s up to the player to pick a stronger attack that takes longer to regenerate, dish out consistent milder attacks or use support to regain health or a temporary stat boost.

The controls system lets new players execute combos using a single button and experienced users can control timing and complex key combinations to create unique combos. Pokken isn’t just a good Pokémon game, it’s a must have for any fighting game enthusiast and best of all you can play the entire game using just the Wii U Gamepad

Hell on Mars

IDDQD if you are as old as I, you probably remember what that does. Doom has been around for over two decades and yet gameplay feels identical to the 1993 original, at least single player does. You charge into a room, shotgun demons in the face and repeat. There is little to no story, but looking for a plot in Doom feels dishonest. Doom excels are at what its supposed to be, great shooting and a variety of goring elite kills, which not lets you rip a demons arm off and beat it to death with it, but lets you regain health and ammo in the process. If you do get tired of the mindless violence, you have the opportunity to explore the rather large game environment and seek out hidden goodies all over including 26 Doom Guys. Doom is also one of the best looking games of 2016, the lighting and character models, explosions all look brilliant, especially on PC (Ultra Settings). The game is well optimized and transitions effortlessly between cut scenes, animations and gameplay. Fast, Frantic and absolutely Fantastic.

Doom Guy

Unfortunately, that’s just the single player campaign. Doom’s multi player is for the lack of a better word confused. It’s a bit of call of duty, some quake and melee cut scenes that teleport you with very little control.

Load outs give you two weapons each time you spawn and you pick up perk modules within the map. More experienced players will know where items are located and the shortcut system makes it exponentially challenging for the newer player. My biggest gripe about the multi player is the demon ruins, which let you transform into one of four demons. The system is critically imbalanced and lets you one shot enemies, it negates all player skill as you either run and hide from a demon or die. The snap map system works well and lets users create their own maps and share them online, users have already recreated classic levels among others which provides variety and adds to the overall experience. Doom isn’t a must buy, but for old fans this is a welcomed addition.

The Familiar Stranger

Gears of War has been a staple in every XBOX owners inventory and a one the biggest console sellers along with HALO. Besides the original game released in 2006, remastered as Gears of War Ultimate Edition in 2016, PC Gamers have not had the opportunity to enjoy the franchise until now, unless they were messing around with some shady emulator. Microsoft obtained the Gears IP in 2014 and Gears of War 4 is the first game to be developed by The Coalition under Rod Fergusson, who is no stranger to the franchise. I dint know what to expect and having to download a 60GB file only to have it download another 60GB of data before I could even play the game was infuriating at the least. The game brilliantly updates the game by download a complete package (original + update patch) installing it and then deleting the old file. So make sure you have at least 150 GB of free storage on the drive.

Still an XBOX title but Gears of War 4 is not a port and runs exceptionally well. If you have a PC that can push it, the game is absolutely gorgeous and is much superior to its console counterpart. Character models and environment lighting are where it shines the most. You do have the occasional gravity defying rain drop but we can let it slip in a game with glowing wind flares that effect weapon physics, colossal explosions, unlocked frame rates, buttery smooth animation and seamless cut scene integrations.  The experience isn’t just visual, Gears of War 4 has some of the best combat and weapon sounds and voice acting in any game. You can feel the difference between a Lancer and Markza, even if you don’t see it. The game lets you use positional audio to locate targets with ease. You are treated to music by Ramin Djawadi, the guy behind the Game of Thrones title, enough said.

Gears of War 4 is set 25 years after the original trilogy, and gears still plays like the day Dom rescues Marcus from prison. It’s still a cover based shooter at its core, but instead of being a part of COG. We play as James Dominic Fenix or JD “Where have I heard that name before?” We play as part of the outsiders, a group of rebels who refuse to live by the rules of the new all mech COG, which brings us to the new, we no longer face the locust but automated DeeBee’s and the Swarm. Ones automated robot the other locust zombie on steroids. Both act differently and need to be dealt with differently which manages to keep scratching off grubs interesting. Along with Kait Diaz, Delmont Walker you get Marcus with you for most of the campaign, hence never fight alone. At times JD feels like the weakest link in the story, whiney and suffers from crazy mood swings. I actually felt like I skipped over cut scenes as he’d go from enraged to euphoric in under a minute. Ignoring him, the story is very strong and there is a strong sense of purpose to every act and you end up caring about the characters. Does it move you like Dom’s last line in Gears 3? No, not even close, But even the A team needs to retire eventually. The game tickles nostalgia while being open to new comers. The game preps you with small skirmishes, brief and strategic horde events, amazing chase sequences and great pacing. You get moments to breathe and explore the environment between insane gun fights. The AI also steadily gets smarter as you progress making it challenging as you get better at the game. If you couldn’t tell by now we loved Gears of War 4 and think you will too.