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Destiny 2: Beyond Light Review – Smaller World, New Trajectory

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Destiny 2: Beyond Light Review – Smaller World, New Trajectory

Beyond Light has the feel of a turning point. In a long-running living game with many expansions and seasons to its name, Destiny 2 is always changing, but this installment feels different. The past and future of the franchise rotate around this release, which clears away much of the old and sets the stage for new story and gameplay beats. Like a tree that needs to get pruned back to allow for healthy growth, it also means that Beyond Light’s release leaves the game looking especially barren. Even as I’m excited to discover new powers and activities, the breadth of the overall experience has been reduced.

Several separate storylines converge to kick things off, sending players to the frigid moon of Europa to meet a couple of long-missing allies and fight a surging army of ice-cold Fallen aliens. In a plot turn that doesn’t feel especially earned after years of fighting its encroachment, your Guardian is forced to take on the powers of Darkness itself to hold back the tide. The campaign features several fun missions, but I was surprised at the way it is balanced, demanding either significant grinding or several battles that are frustrating endurance chores to tackle solo.

The Darkness-infused Stasis powers are mostly used against you by enemy bosses in the early hours, and it simply isn’t much fun to be frozen in place in a game all about speed and freedom of movement. Once the Stasis powers open up for regular use, the new subclasses add an interesting strategic tool to explore, and feature some gorgeous visual and sound effects that recall crystalline ice formations and shattering showers of sleet. The Hunter and Warlock powers are exciting and distinct, though I was disappointed by the Titan’s similarity to its own existing Arc powerset. No matter the class, I enjoyed using Stasis in PvE activities, but I’ve struggled to warm to its presence in PvP, where it feels like the barriers and freezing slow down the pace of play. I was also frustrated by the grindy nature of unlocking the subclasses for multiple characters; for the significant percentage of players who like to try out all three, it’s quite tedious.

Huge swaths of old activities and destinations have been swept away in Beyond Light, and a design decision to “sunset” the majority of old weapons and armor combine to subtract a lot of beloved playstyles. Simply put, the absence is keenly felt. Europa is a beautiful new location to uncover, filled with vast snowy plains and mysterious underground facilities, but in a game about ever-expanding horizons, it’s strange to suddenly have fewer places to play out missions. Europa is forced to bear too much weight as a gameplay and mission destination, without the relief of more alternate locations. And as of now, there are too few new armaments to justify the obsolescence of so much of players’ existing collections.

I was pleased to see the return of the original Destiny’s Cosmodrome destination. The site is largely unchanged, but notable because it now houses the best onboarding for new players that the franchise has ever seen. The New Light mission thread echoes the opening steps players first encountered way back in 2014, but with several new twists that confront the challenging task of introducing the many interlocking systems that make up the game.

Bungie continues an admirable trend of introducing seasonal content that gradually evolves the state of the world’s story and activities, and these first couple of weeks in Beyond Light prove that effort is ongoing. The arrival of the Crow character is a clever plot twist that reintroduces an old foe in an intriguing new role, and his hunting missions are a good time, with some simple touches that give you the sense that you’re stalking a dangerous wounded animal. Meanwhile, the new Deep Stone Crypt raid once again proves Bungie’s flexibility and eye for balancing complex encounter design. Equally important, the raid’s initial completion also kicked off a whole new loop of missions and story for all players in the game. That sort of reactivity makes the universe dynamic and unpredictable, and I love it.

I respect the hard decisions that were involved in chopping the size of Destiny 2 down and consolidating the focus of play, and the similar moves that were involved in refocusing on gear acquisition rather than letting players continue to endlessly reuse old favorites. But it doesn’t change the reality that Destiny 2 feels greatly stripped back at the moment, even with the addition of several new ventures in these early weeks of Beyond Light. As an expansion, Beyond Light introduces some captivating narrative beats and missions, but it’s not enough all on its own to carry the load of the Destiny universe. I’m left ambivalent, with plenty of enthusiasm for the new content, and excitement about what comes next, but also the sense that for the first time, my longtime hobby game feels lesser than before.

 

Source: www.gameinformer.com

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15 Frostpunk Tips To Protect You From A Bloody Revolt

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15 Frostpunk Tips To Protect You From A Bloody Revolt

The world of Frostpunk is frigid, brutal, and uncaring. As you build up an outpost in the middle of nowhere, you will face a never-ceasing onslaught of crises, including an angry populace, dwindling resources, and the dawn of a new ice age that makes it nearly impossible to survive. 

Like a grizzled survivor who has returned from the frontier a changed man, I’ve seen and done things I hope you never have to experience. Hundreds died during my reign – some from the weather, others from starvation – and I’m not proud. But I hope to pass on the lessons I’ve learned to hopefully make your leadership turn more successful than my own. 

Check Your Heat Map Often
Heat is a precious resource when an ice age is setting in, so you need to monitor it often. If buildings get too cold, they cease production. If homes succumb to cold weather, your medical facilities may buckle under the stress of the sickly. This is why it’s important to always keep an eye on the temperature of your buildings. Once you install heaters in buildings or steam hubs, you have another layer of control over what buildings get warm. 

Optimization can save you a lot of coal, so if you notice your city is glowing with warmth, turn a few heating elements off to preserve your precious stocks for when you really need it. You can also set steam hubs to run only during working hours, which is a great way to save energy when they are placed by places of employment.  

You Can Upgrade Pre-Existing Buildings For Less
When you unlock facility improvements like the bunkhouse, house, or steam upgrades to your resource-gathering operations, you don’t need to place them on a fresh plot of land. If you build directly on top of the older building, you actually re-use the resources it took to construct the original, which drops the resource price significantly in some instances.  

It’s Okay To Leave Buildings Empty
Frostpunk’s inhospitable world is indifferent to your min-maxing plans. Sometimes you just need to cease resource gathering on one material to throw workers at an urgent problem. If your medical posts are overflowing, pull some engineers off a project where you are running a surplus and squelch the sickness for a while. Once things are under control, you can return them to their original duties. 

Pay special attention to medical posts at all times. If things are going well and your population is healthy, you may have workers sitting around twiddling their thumbs with nothing to do. If that’s the case, transfer them to another job until the need inevitably arises to employ more doctors.

This yo-yo approach to workforce management also means it’s smart to build more resource buildings than you may need at the time. If supply demands suddenly surge, it’s nice to be able to quickly open a new mine, sawmill, or thumper that has been waiting to be put to good use. 

Keep Workshops Busy
Workshops are vital buildings that allow you to research new technologies, which is the best way to improve your efficiency. You should always make sure you have enough resources to put your researchers to work immediately after they complete their previous task. 

After you get your beacon set up, you have a lot of tantalizing options. I recommend improving your hunting and exploration right away, then transitioning to researching the coal thumper, sawmill, and steelworks so you can scale up quickly. After that, you should heavily invest in heating technology to deal with the impending ice age.

Coal Thumpers Need Gathering Posts
The coal thumper produces more coal than the mines do, but it also requires more people to work the operation. The tutorial glances over this, but if you want your thumper to be at its maximum effectiveness, you need to pair it with two gathering posts. As you upgrade your thumper, you will need to increase the number of gathering posts around it as well. 

Enact Only The Laws You Need
The book of laws extends in many directions, from forcing amputations and child labor to eventually declaring you an untouchable supreme ruler. All of these are at your disposal, but you are under no pressure to make the more egregious ones a part of your leadership platform. 

Two laws I highly recommend enacting off the bat: Emergency Shift and Extended Shift. These aren’t permanent modifiers, but you can use them when things get tough to pull you out of a vortex. When a serious ice storm is on the horizon and you need to make multiple improvements to your heating infrastructure, having your research workshops work 24 hours straight can be a lifesaver. The same goes for extending shifts of coal workers when infrastructure improvements leave you at a resource deficit. 

Never Leave Workers Idle
When your citizens leave work for the sick bay, the natural inclination is to replace them with new workers at vital facilities like the various coal operations. This means when they come back from sick leave, they won’t have a job assignment. Whenever you see an idle worker, which are indicated on the population widget at the bottom right of the screen, find them a new home. 

Build Several Resource Depots
When things are going well, you may end up hitting your storage cap for a particular resource. Rather than sitting comfortably against the cap, unless your workers are desperately needed elsewhere it’s better to build resource depots and continue the gathering operation. 

Queue Construction During The Day
Workers return from their jobs each night, but they don’t head straight to bed. If construction needs to be done, they tackle it during the evening. To make sure new operations are built quickly, place the new structures on the map before the work day is over. If you are in a pinch for time, you can also assign idle workers to construction projects during the day as well. 

Keep Buildings Close To Each Other
When designing your city, try your best to build right next to your other dwellings. The reason is twofold. One, you only have so much room to build, so wasted space could come back to haunt you. Two, if you leave gaps, this creates places where the cold can penetrate your city and necessitate the addition of another steam core. 

Optimize Your Scouts
You can form several teams of scouts to explore the area surrounding the city. They often find vital materials for your community to use, but don’t rush them home immediately after a discovery. If they are in a busy area where they could investigate several sites quickly, this is a better use of time than having them trek back and forth every time.

Steam Cores Are Invaluable
The one resource you cannot produce in your city is a steam core, which are used to build factories, automatons, and the higher level resource-gathering buildings. Take these whenever your scout teams find them. Because of their scarcity, think about their application before spending resources to make sure you are improving your operations in the best possible way.

Build Outposts
At a certain point in the game, you’ll come across abandoned mines that can either be harvested for supplies or re-opened by establishing an outpost. These outposts are lifesavers, as they can deliver vital supplies on a daily basis. I particularly recommend opening the coal mine, which delivers 800 units of coal a day. As your city grows and the temperature drops, you’ll need it. 

Your Citizens Need Entertainment
Dissatisfaction can lead to revolt, so it’s important to bring some levity to your people’s lives. You can do this primarily by instituting new laws that allow fight houses, public houses, moonshine, and even brothels (though the last option also slowly drains hope, so be careful). 

Automatons Are The Best
Seriously, the more steam-powered robots you can get to work your city, the better. They are our superiors. Unlike lazy humans, automatons can work 24/7, never get sick (though they sometimes break down), never revolt, and consume coal rather than food. Whenever you discover one during expeditions, send it back to your city and put it to work in one of your facilities. You can also create them in a factory, but the cost is steep. That said, the more robots you have working vital operations, the better. 

Do you have other tips? Share them in the comments section below.

Source: www.gameinformer.com

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How To Get A Pet Dog In Skyrim

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How To Get A Pet Dog In Skyrim

A wife or husband is all well and good, but sometimes you just want the unwavering affection of a canine companion. Skyrim includes a number of wild wolves and foxes, but you have to know just where to look if you want to find one of the hardy and loyal domesticated dogs of the region. We’ll show you the different places you can find a dog, and how to make him into a permanent pet in whatever place you call home.

Apologies in advance for the camera-captured screenshots.

If you plan to keep your dog for the rest of the game, start out by purchasing a house. The easiest and earliest option for most players will be Breezehome in Whiterun. You’ll need to have completed the early part of the main story quest that occurs in Whiterun before the house becomes available, after which you can purchase the abode from Proventus Avenicci, the Jarl’s steward. The house costs 5,000 gold, and you’ll be looking at several hundred more gold to decorate the interior.

Alternately, acquire any other home in the game.

Next, it’s time to pick out your dog. There are three options, but only two of them are regularly available.

The first (and our favorite) option is Meeko. Meeko the dog lives at a place called Meeko’s Shack. You can find the little cabin west of Morthall and south of Solitude, as marked on the map above. Inside the cabin you’ll find a dead Nord, who looks to have died peacefully in his sleep. Unfortunately, he’s left behind a loyal dog named Meeko who now has no master. Meeko will regularly sit and wait by his former master’s bedside, but occasionally will run around in the nearby forest. If he isn’t present when you arrive, just use the wait system for an hour or two, and he should show back up. Talk to Meeko, and he’ll happily accept you as his new human friend.

If the story of Meeko is just too heartrending for you to handle, you should head over to Markarth Stables, marked on the map below. There you’ll find a man named Banning willing to sell you a war dog named Vigilance for 500 gold.

Your third option is less of a sure thing, and you’ll just have to wait for it to happen. Various events in the world will include a character named Stray Dog. In one instance, we ran across a Stray Dog fighting a pair of wolves. If you help out and the dog survives, you can talk to the dog to make him a follower. In another instance, a Stray Dog joined in to help with a dragon attack, and we had him join us after the dragon was dead.

No matter how you get your dog, you now have a choice. You can keep your dog like any other follower in the game, and he will fight at your side until he either dies or you tell him to leave.

Instead, if you’d like to keep your dog as a permanent pet, travel (or fast travel) with your new canine back to your owned house. Enter the house, pick a comfortable spot for your dog to hang out, and ask him to wait there.

Your dog will stay in your house and wait for you for a time, but you’ll eventually get a message that your dog has gone home. However, because you’ve given him a nice warm place to stay (and because we don’t think he can open doors) he’ll consider your house his new home. From then on, when you return to the house, your dog will be waiting for you when you arrive. We tested this option of acquiring your dog as a permanent pet multiple times, and in every instance, the dog would remain in the house no matter how long you were away from home.

Don’t worry. We’re confident that your housecarl feeds him on a regular basis.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Having your dog wait for you at home can regularly result in a bug where you can’t interact with the dog anymore. He’ll remain in the same area of your house where you last told him to wait. This shouldn’t be a problem, but you should make sure and have him wait in a place where he won’t be in your way when you’re passing through.

Source: www.gameinformer.com

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Avatars Aang And Korra Announced For Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

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Avatars Aang And Korra Announced For Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

Everybody’s favorite pair of Avatars have finally been confirmed for the roster of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, just days before release. Both Aang and Korra will be bending all kinds of elements against the likes of Ren and Stimpy, Danny Phantom, and Patrick Star.

While Aang can utilize bending techniques for all four basic elements in the show, his moveset in Nick Brawl focuses on what he knows best: air bending. Aang is suited to aerial combat using these bending techniques and excels at mid-air combos and incredible mobility. Some highlights of his light and strong moves include his Strong Up attack “Rising Wind Kick,” which propels Aang into the sky diagonally, and his light neutral “Staff Spin” can hit surrounding enemies on either side of him. Aang’s Air Strong attacks make him float a little, so they’re good to use while trying to get back to a platform safely.

Aang’s special attacks make use of his glider for flying upward, can ride on a ball of air, and use a prolonged spinning staff attack for trolling opponents on the edge of a stage. When Aang has taken 100% or more damage, the spinning staff becomes “Avatar State” which surrounds him with a sphere made of Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire, damaging anyone it touches. Check out the full move breakdown above.

On the other hand, Korra has been training to use all four elements since she was very young and has a better grasp of incorporating them into her moves. This prowess is most evident in her strong attacks, which have two variations each depending on whether the attack button was tapped or held. Charging a strong attack brings out an elemental flair to add a devastating effect to her martial arts.

Korra’s special attacks propel her to where she needs to be while dealing out some punishment to those in her way. “Bending Leap” is her neutral special, which charges a super punch that sends her flying horizontally. Down special move “Landslide” lets Korra skate across the ground, turning up rocks in her wake. The same move in the air performs a flaming downward dive kick, great for getting in for follow-up offense. Korra’s full breakdown can be seen above.

Now that most of the Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl cast has been revealed, who are you looking to play as in the platform fighter? Are you planning to deliver sugary justice with Powdered Toast Man, or is the tricky CatDog more your style? Let us know in the comments!

Source: www.gameinformer.com

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