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Watch Dogs Review: Does this Sci-Fi Open-World Game Meet Expectations?

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As one of the major game development companies in the world, Ubisoft is widely regarded as a “top dog” in the realm of open world games, mostly thanks to the well-received Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry series. Quality and appeal is the French developer’s forte, so when word came out it was working on brand-new open world game, one with a sci-fi bent, we had high expectations. Watch Dogs is out, and having sunk dozens of hours into it, we can gladly say that it met most of our expectations.

Story

The main character is Aiden Pierce, a brilliant hacker situated in a virtual Chicago that. As a result of a theft at the beginning of the game, he becomes a prime target for an unknown organization that seeks his death. While Aiden tries hard to protect both himself and his family, his niece gets caught in the crossfire and dies. Her death pushes Aiden into an all-out war with said organization as he tries to find out who controls it and how he can bring it to its knees.

Aiden’s personality doesn’t really show in the game, as the main character is quite bland, but the other characters are quite unique and they all have numerous traits that will appeal to gamers. Partner in crime Jordi Chin is a class act.

Gameplay

The X-factor in Watch Dogs is the ability to hack virtually anything in the world, which surprisingly adds a lot of value to the gaming experience. Playing as Aiden, you can hack just about any traffic light, person, car or door. You can steal money from their bank accounts and transfer them you’re your own, steal cars and roam the streets, complete missions and/or just have a lot of fun exploring the vast location at your leisure. There are quite a lot of guns available and they all cater to different situations.

The only major problem is how similar the missions and task become. As interesting as they initially are in the first hours of the game, they can get a little too repetitive at times, a quantity-over- quality issue that plagues virtually all open world games. A lesser issue has to do with the driving. Considering that there are many opportunities to enter races against various AI characters or even against other human players, the cars that you navigate sometimes move too fast or too slow, making the controls a little difficult to get used to.

One of the biggest highlights of Watch Dogs is how single-player seamlessly integrates with multiplayer. If you agree to it, random people can enter your game session to steal your money, challenge you to races, and engage you in numerous other activities. This idea overall is very interesting and greatly enhances the gameplay experience.

The number of things you can do in this game is simply mind-blowing. Fortunately, the trailer above breaks them down into digestible bits.

Graphics & Sound

Watch Dogs was the first next-gen title to be announced, and while it doesn’t make use of all the graphic technologies showcased in the E3 2012 demo, it still is one of the best looking games out there. The game world is large and beautifully designed; lighting, shaders and high quality textures all blend well together to create a unique, amazing world brimming with life. We were impressed at how well everything looked.

The user interface is cleverly designed and is very intuitive to use, showing you only the information pertaining to the equipped gun, the game map and the current objective. There is no unnecessary clutter whatsoever.

Sounds quality is superb and is befitting of a game as grand in scale and ambition. Everything sounds realistic, be it shooting guns, chatting with people or driving around the city. Noteworthy is the diverse music soundtrack, which features an eclectic mix of well-timed tracks that play at the appropriate times. We especially like the pieces that play during the driving missions.

Verdict

Watch Dogs is an intense, action-packed game that offers fans of the open world genre a fresh and unique gameplay mechanic. Its robust hacking system is a strong pull, while its graphics and sound quality are among the best to date, especially on the Xbox 360 and PS4. As with most sandbox games, it ends up suffering from repetitive missions down the line, but we think there is enough originality to keep gamers plugged in for hours on end.

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Classic Games

Classic NES Games Zelda 2, Blaster Master Come To Switch Online

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 Zelda 2 The Adventure of Link intro screen

Nintendo has added two additional NES games to Switch Online.

Switch Online subscribers can now download and play Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link and Blaster Master, two classics that will surely make some old school gamers feel nostalgic. They join previous NES releases Super Mario Bros. 3, Ninja Gaiden, Excitebike, and many others.

In Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link, our hero Link returns to Hyrule to search for the Triforce and to awaken Zelda from an endless sleep. You embark on a quest to find the Triforce of Courage and save Hyrule from ruin, learning magic spells, talking to people in towns to get clues, collecting items to increase your power and exploring six palaces invested with
Ganon’s underlings.

Originally released in 1988, Blaster Master is a run and gun platformer that has you blast through an endless maze of tunnels, seeking secret passages for an escape. You’re tasked with destroying the Plutonium Boss and his mutant cronies before these they destroy the earth.

You can try out Nintendo’s Switch Online seven days free. If you decide to stick with it after the trial period, you’ll have the choice of three pricing tiers for membership: $3.99 per month, $7.99 for three months, or $19.99 per year.

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PlayStation 4

God of War Won Big At The 2019 D.I.C.E. Awards

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God of War PS4

Krato’s incursion into ancient Norse mythology has been lauded the world over.

God of War walked off the big winner at the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’ (AIAS) 22nd D.I.C.E. Awards. It led the group with 12 nominations, and walked off with nine total, including Game of the Year.

It beat other critically-acclaimed titles like Breach, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Return of the Obra Dinn for the top title

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild won game of the year in 2018, as well as three other awards.

Celeste also received multiple nominations, and won two: best independent game, and best action game.

The full list of nominees can be found below, with the winners for each category bolded. Check them out and let us know if you think
God of War is worthy of the accolades.

2019 D.I.C.E. Awards Nominations

Game of the Year

  • God of War
  • Into the Breach
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Return of the Obra Dinn

Outstanding Achievement in Animation

  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • God of War
  • GRIS
  • Moss
  • Red Dead Redemption 2

Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction

  • God of War
  • Detroit: Become Human
  • GRIS
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Red Dead Redemption 2

Outstanding Achievement in Character

  • God of War (Atreus)
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Kassandra)
  • God of War (Kratos)
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man (Peter Parker/Spider-Man)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (Arthur Morgan)

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition

  • God of War
  • Detroit: Become Human
  • Forgotton Anne
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Tetris Effect

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design

  • God of War
  • Battlefield 5
  • Detroit: Become Human
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Moss

Outstanding Achievement in Story

  • God of War
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
  • Florence
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Return of the Obra Dinn

Outstanding Technical Achievement

  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission
  • Battlefield V
  • God of War
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man

Action Game of the Year

  • Celeste
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  • Destiny 2: Forsaken
  • Far Cry 5
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Adventure Game of the Year

  • God of War
  • Detroit: Become Human
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Return of the Obra Dinn

Family Game of the Year

  • Unravel Two
  • ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission
  • Kirby Star Allies
  • LEGO DC Super-Villains
  • Starlink: Battle for Atlas

Fighting Game of the Year

  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ
  • SOULCALIBUR 6

Racing Game of the Year

  • Forza Horizon 4
  • F1 2018
  • Wreckfest

Role-Playing Game of the Year

  • Monster Hunter World
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
  • Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
  • Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
  • Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Sports Game of the Year

  • Mario Tennis Aces
  • FIFA 19
  • MLB The Show 18

Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year

  • Into the Breach
  • Bad North
  • Frostpunk
  • Northgard
  • RimWorld

Immersive Reality Technical Achievement

  • Tónandi
  • ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission
  • Beat Saber
  • Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders
  • Torn

Immersive Reality Game of the Year

  • Beat Saber
  • ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission
  • Moss
  • Sprint Vector
  • Transference

Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game

  • Celeste
  • Florence
  • Into the Breach
  • Minit
  • Return of the Obra Dinn

Portable Game of the Year

  • Florence
  • Dandara
  • Donut County
  • Dragalia Lost
  • Oddmar

Online Game of the Year

  • Fortnite
  • Destiny 2: Forsaken
  • Laser League
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Sea of Thieves

Outstanding Achievement in Game Design

  • God of War
  • Into the Breach
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Return of the Obra Dinn
  • Subnautica

Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction

  • God of War
  • Florence
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Return of the Obra Dinn
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PlayStation 4

Switch Was The Best-Selling console in 2018, Nintendo Had The Highest Game Revenue

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Nintendo Switch with Zelda Breath of the Wild

The year 2018 came to  a close on a decent note, but Nintendo stood out as the clear overall winner.

According to market research company NPD, consumers spent $3.4 billion on games, hardware, accessories, and game cards in December 2018. Although that represented a decline in software and hardware spending, continued strong sales of game cards and accessories helped lift the overall industry by 2%.

2018 overall was a banner year for video games. Sales amounted to $16.7 billion, an increase of 13% compared 2017 and the highest ever since 2011’s $17.4 billion.

Hardware

The Nintendo Switch was the winner in December, having generated the highest dollar sales during the month. In fact, the console’s revenues  was the highest for any single platform since the Wii back in December 2009. In unit sales, December 2018 was its highest December haul since 2010.

Thanks to the strong December, the Nintendo Switch was the best-selling console in all of 2018, both in unit and dollar sales. It recorded the highest total since the PS4 in 2015.

It was a great year for video game hardware in general. Sales increased by 8% to $5.1 billion and all consoles contributed, including the mini consoles from Nintendo and Sony.

Combining all platforms, hardware and unit sales were the highest since 2009.

Software

Video game software generated $7.1 billion in 2018 across all systems, a 7% year-over-year increase. The NPD notes that this is the highest annual haul since the $7.5 billion generated in 2012.

The best-selling game was Red Dead Redemption 2, with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and  NBA 2K19 following behind at number two and three, respectively.

It was Nintendo, however, that generated the most money from software sales, something it hadn’t done since 2009. As the best-selling game during December and the fifth overall in 2018, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate played a big part in that success.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was so successful, in fact, that it set a new release month dollar sales record for an exclusive game, a title previously held by 2010’s Halo: Reach.

Mario Kart 8 also sold well for Nintendo, becoming the second best-selling racing game ever, just behind Mario Kart Wii.

The critically-acclaimed Spider-Man ended the year at number six, the highest ranking for a superhero game since Spider-Man: The Movie 2 took the fifth spot in 2004.

Top 10 best-selling games across all platforms in 2018:

  1. Red Dead Redemption
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  3. NBA 2K19
  4. Madden NFL 19
  5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  6. Spider-Man
  7. Far Cry 5
  8. God of War
  9. Monster Hunter: World
  10. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

What were you fondest gaming memories of 2018? What was your game of he year? Let us know in the comments below.

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Switch

Fortnite Was The Most-Played Nintendo Switch Game Of 2018

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Fortnite characters

Fortnite is dominant on every platform its own.

Nintendo has revealed that Fortnite was the most-played Switch games of 2018.

The free-to-play title from Epic Games topped a list of the 21 most-played titles, with Nintendo’s own IPs rounding out the remainder of the top five.

This is especially impressive considering Fortnite launched six months into the year. By October, almost half of Switch users worldwide had it installed.

Here’s the full list of most-played Switch games for 2018. Are you surprised by the results?

  1. Fortnite
  2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  3. Super Mario Odyssey
  4. Splatoon 2
  5. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  6. FIFA 19
  7. Minecraft
  8. Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu
  9. Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee
  10. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
  11. The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
  12. Rocket League
  13. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
  14. Pokemon Quest
  15. Stardew Valley
  16. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
  17. Octopath Traveler
  18. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  19. Paladins
  20. Super Mario Party
  21. Mario Tennis Aces
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PC

This Is Mortal Kombat 11’s Official Cover, What Do You Think?

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Mortal Kombat 11 official Cover art with Scorpion

It’s familiar, but different; simpler, but engaging.

Mortal Kombat creator Ed Boon has revealed the official cover art for Mortal Kombat 11, and its of little surprise that it only features Scorpion.

Compared to Mortal Kombat 10, the overall design is brighter and simpler, featuring a yellow, hot background that surprisingly works well with Scorpion’s yellow outfit.

Scorpion’s pose is imposing, and its interesting that NetherRealm chose go with the more modern version of the character rather than the classic one that appeared in the reveal trailer.

Mortal Kombat 11 releases on April 23, 2019 on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.

What do you think about the cover art? Better yet, what’s you favorite Mortal Kombat cover art of all time? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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PC

Epic Games Store New Return Policy Allows Unlimited Refunds, But…

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Epic Games Store logo

Gamers get more leniency and a simplified verification process.

Epic has updated the Epic Games Store’s return policy to make it more competitive with other digital storefronts.

With the old policy, you were allowed just two refunds per year, but now everyone has unlimited refunds within 14 days of purchase and with under two hours played.

The Epic Games Store doesn’t have a “self-service” solution, at least not yet, so you will have to go through Customer Support to request a refund.

A change was also made to the verification process for receiving a refund. Customers no longer have to provide their IP address, last four digits of the card used, account creation date, and other information if the return meets the set criteria, though a contact form will still need to be used.

Epic plans to add more regional pricing options to the store. There are currently 30 different regions available, encompassing a total of 130 countries.

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