All posts by Cat Evans

Web Developer by day, massive geeky gamer by night. I've been playing games for as long as I can remember... You can see me stream most weekday evenings on Twitch as KooKatchu!

New features rolling out to Preview members

The latest update for Xbox Preview Programme members brings a host of new quality of life changes, as well as a neat new feature for rare achievements.

The addition of Arena will allow like-minded Xbox One gamers to setup tournaments and challenges directly through Xbox Live. This should help with the painstaking task of having to use third party sites to create competitions, and allow players to get stuck in.

Looking For Group is another quality of life addition, which will let members post LFG requests with other gamers, all through the game’s Hub. As someone who has seen the struggle of getting a group together for a raid in Destiny, this should help ease that pain a little bit.

Recently, Microsoft decided to take a leaf out of Sony’s book, and show you the rarity of the achievements you have unlocked, and added their own twist to it, of course. Today, they are introducing a special notification when you unlock a rare achievement, including a brand new sound and visual to make it really stand out.

Have you unlocked any rare achievements, or have any thoughts on the latest updates to the Preview Programme? We’d love to hear your comments below.

Brand new Mafia 3 video emerges

New footage for the newest instalment of the incredibly popular crime-em-up, Mafia, has emerged after IGN met with Mafia 3’s creative director, Haden Blackman, and executive producer Andy Wilson.

Packed full of brand new information regarding new characters, locations, and large portion of new gameplay footage, it’s a must watch for any Mafia fan out.

Set in an incredibly turbulent time in American history, rife with racism, sexism, drug and alcohol abuse, and everything in between, Mafia 3 looks to be quite the experience.

Set in a gorgeous open-world environment, compiled of 10 very different districts with their own look and feel, there will be lots to explore when Mafia 3 released on Xbox One and PC on October 7, 2016.

 

New Fallout 4 content coming this year

Many eager Wastelanders were waiting with baited breath for any updates on their beloved Fallout 4, and they were not disappointed.

Bethesda announced three new DLCs coming to Fallout 4, this year, which includes two new workshop DLCs, and what appears to be a new story DLC, set in a brand new location.

First they teased the new Contraptions DLC, which is due next week, which allows players to build incredible machines to either aid you in your settlements, or to just entertain you. Wastelanders will be able to create elevators, conveyor belts, armour and weapon racks, use new track kits to create Rube Goldberg-esque machines, and much much more.

The second of the new workshop DLCs allows players to create their own vaults, to their own standards. After clearing the area of any nasty creatures, you will be able to lay down your perfect vault, from wall placements, to stairwells, everything is yours to control. Once your vault is secure, dwellers will start to appear, and help you to keep it safe, or be used for experimentation. This will be available to download from July 2016.

Lastly, a brief tease was shown for what looks like could be a brand new story DLC, based in a new location Nuka World. Not much was shown, except a 1950s style theme park, full of the waifs and strays of the Wasteland, enjoying some quality time with friends and family. Of course, anything this tranquil can last…

Bethesda also announced some new updates coming to their incredibly popular mobile game, Fallout Shelter. Boasting a current total of over 50 million downloads, the new updates promise to bring more exciting adventures to your pocket. Players will be able to send dwellers out on quests, visit brand new locations, and battle new enemies. They are also introducing a brand new combat system, as well as a host of new characters to meet. For those of you who prefer to manage your dwellers on a bigger screen, Fallout Shelter will also be coming to PC in July 2016.

Oh, and one last thing…

For the ultimate and most immersive experience, Bethesda have announced that they will be bringing Fallout 4 to the HTC Vive virtual reality headset in 2017.

Destiny: Rise of Iron revealed

The much anticipated, and for many much needed, expansion Rise of Iron has finally been revealed to eager fans of Destiny. After multiple leaks over the last day or two, Guardians across the world were finally able to see their first true glimpse of what is in store for them this September.

Watch live video from Bungie on www.twitch.tv

Starting off with what was probably the biggest news of the evening, was the return of the often mythical but loved by many Gjallarhorn rocket launcher. Famously known for it’s unique tracking rockets with wolfpack rounds, this fan favourite will require completion of a specific quest to obtain. Those who preorder Rise of Iron will receive a special Iron Gjallarhorn, adorned in black, to show off to the other Guardians. It’s great to see something which was so loved, and almost unobtainable for many, to be available to all without having to rely on that dreaded RNG.

However, there was more to the reveal than the return of a beloved weapon, Bungie teased with some beautiful concept art, and actual in-game imagery, some of the new things Guardians will expect when Rise of Iron launches. Starting with a brand new trailer, viewers caught a glimpse of a new race they will be facing,along with a new environment to explore.

 

Rise of Iron will focus mainly around a new area of the Cosmodrome, based around the unexplored Felwinter’s Peak, which has been taken over by a new breed of Fallen. Augmented to the eyeballs, the new Fallen have grown into a formidable force, and taken over the frosty foothills of the mountain, and it’s up to us to take it back. Tucked away in an unknown location, a brand new social space will also become available, to those strong and brave enough to take it. Guardians will also have the Fallen-invested Plaguelands to explore and encounter the new Fallen adversaries.

Of course, as with any new Destiny expansion, Guardians will be hunting new gear to adorn themselves, including new armour and weapons. It was briefly mentioned that there will be significant light increase, but didn’t say by how much.

It was also announced that Rise of Iron will feature a brand new raid, new multiplayer maps, new factions, and much more. The reveal stream was little over half an hour, so didn’t go into too much depth overall, however they did state that viewers should keep an eye on the announcements at E3.

Rise of Iron will release on Xbox One and PS4 on September 20, for $30.

Fallout 4 mods coming to Xbox One this May

Many inhabitants of Fallout 4’s Wasteland have been waiting patiently for the promised PC mod support to arrive. However, the wait is nearly over as Bethesda announce mod support will arrive in May, 2016, for Xbox One gamers.

For more information on how mods will change how you play Fallout 4, check out the post on the Bethesda website. They also included the following video, showcasing the new Creation Kit, the centre of mod development for Fallout 4.

The Creation Kit and mod support is due to arrive on Xbox One May, 2016, and will come to the PS4 in June.

New Mirror’s Edge Catalyst City and Narrative video released

EA’s latest developer diary video has us discover how DICE tackled Faith’s story, the city’s architectural design, and the factions which roam within the city of Glass in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst.

First focusing on how they developed Faith’s iconic look from the original Mirror’s Edge, and how DICE took inspiration from the comics, they discuss how her hard-edged look compares to the look and feel of the city of Glass.

The city of Glass has received a makeover as well, featuring areas similar in style to the gritty and grimy original Mirror’s Edge, to the bright and clean districts ran by the Authorities. DICE have created an exciting and dynamic environment for Faith to jump and slide around after spending two years behind bars.

Faith is not alone, however, and must overcome the Authorities, as she attempts to move on from her stay in prison, hopefully with the help of the resistance group Black November, or with the neutral Runners, who are forced to pledge their allegiance as Faith’s story unfolds.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is due to launch on Xbox One on May 24, 2016. If you can’t wait until then to get your first-person free-running experience, the original Mirror’s Edge is available to play on Xbox One with backwards compatibility.

Incursions and more coming to The Division in April

During a special stream, Ubisoft and Massive announced the first free DLC, Insursions, and some new features coming in the April update.

In the first of two free expansion for The Division, Incursions adds a new endgame activity specifically designed for squads, and rewards players which are triumphant with some all important high-end loot.

The first Incursion, titled Falcon Lost (which now appears on the map in the south east corner) is set in a brand new, underground water treatment facility, which has been turned into a Last Man Battalion stronghold. There will be two difficulties available for Falcon Lost, hard mode and challenge mode, and will not have checkpoints throughout the mission. If your team goes down, you all have to start from the beginning of the mission, however, if you are successful you will be able to repeat the mission multiple times and still be rewarded new loot.

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A further Incursion, Conflict, is due to launch later in the year, which takes Agents into New York’s Columbus Circle region, but no date has been set for this.

The April update doesn’t stop at new endgame activities, new gear will also be available to obtain. Featuring four new sets, Sentry’s Call, Striker’s Battle Gear, Path of the Nomad, and Technician’s Authority, each set has been tailored to cater to specific play styles; the Sentry’s Call set promotes constant precision, and the Striker’s Battle Gear is for the more assault-focused player, for example. When players find an equip four pieces from a specific set, they will unlock a brand new talent for their Agent, but developers are not specifying details at this moment in time.

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Massive have also introduced a mechanic similar to that in Destiny, where the Agent level is capped at 30, however equipped gear will boost your abilities beyond your level, and are seen as a new way to level up for top-level players. Falcon Lost will be the first activity which will require Agents to have higher gear score, as the hard mode will be recommended for those with a gear score equivalent to 31, and challenge mode will be even tougher.

Something which many players have been looking forward to is loot trading, which has been confirmed to appear with the April update. When an Agent picks up some loot, they will be able to drop it on the ground for other group members to pick up. For those of you brave enough to enter the Dark Zone, you will only be able to do this inside the Dark Zone gate.

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The April update will also introduce Assignments, new tasks for Agents to carry out to earn Phoenix Credits, Division Tech, and other rewards. These appear to behave much like the daily activities introduce in the open beta, and will include tasks such as killing 10 Cleaners. These are completely optional, but with the high rewards at stake, I know I won’t be ignoring them.

The Dark Zone has not been completely forgotten in the April update, and players will periodically see supply drops fall from the sky. These will contain uncontaminated loot, so an extraction will not be required, however the temptation of new loot will be too much for other Agents, and skirmishes are expected. These supply drops will also be protected by tough NPC enemies, so make sure to bring your best gear and squad to have a chance at obtaining the items within.

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Speaking of NPCs, new challenges will appear with in the introduction of enemy drones. Agents should also expect to be pitted against an armoured personal carrier, which will behave much like a boss enemy, and is impervious to bullets, forcing you to think of other ways to take it down.

One thing which I do know the community have been crying out for is also coming in April. Currently, if you’re dead and your squad is continuing the fight without you, you have little choice but to stare at your dead body until either they hit the next checkpoint, or fail. Massive are introducing the option to switch your camera to one of your teammates, allowing you to follow what they are doing, and to offer call outs and assistance while you wait to be revived.

Of course, what good is an April update without a release date? You’ll be pleased to know that all this will be coming to Xbox One, PC, and PS4 on April 12, 2016.

The whole announcement is available to watch below.

Watch live video from TheDivisionGame on www.twitch.tv

New gear, and a few old favourites, coming in the Destiny April update

Last week, Bungie announced the new content coming with the April update, due to launch on April 12, 2016. However, what good is new content without new gear?

In the latest April update reveal, Bungie announced all of the new armour and weapons which will be available to help Guardians reach the new light level cap of 335.

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Starting with new armour, there are now new sets for each class type for each of the three Crucible factions, Dead Orbit, Future War Cult, and New Monarchy, all of which follow the traditional colour palettes of each of the factions. As teased in recent promotional images, a new Taken-themed armour set was also shown, the Desolate set, which players can only obtain through special packages called Sterling Treasure boxes. These treasure boxes are awarded by completing the level 41 Prison of Elders, finishing your weekly Crucible bounties, or are purchasable from the Eververse kiosk. A neat additional bonus when completing the full set of the Desolate set, a special Taken emote is unlocked, completing the full look. Stirling Treasure boxes will always drop a guaranteed piece of armour, which may or may not be for your class, as well as some items you could possibly get, including class items, faction reputation boosts, a ship, or a Sparrow.

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Bungie also announced a brand new set of armour called the Spektar line, which feels much more traditional to the class archetype. The Hunter’s armour is inspired by cold weather gear, the Warlock is much more streamlined and sophisticated, and the Titan gear has a more organic and rounded appearance. The Spektar gear has been developed with the new customisation option available for Guardians, the Chroma system. Available in blue, red, yellow, or white, the Chrome system adds an additional flourish to the armour pieces, and allows players to further customise their appearance. Once again, the Spektar armour is obtainable via Stirling Treasure boxes, completing the level 41 Prison of Elders, or by finishing your weekly Crucible bounties.

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Chroma can be applied to each piece of armour separately, allowing you to create a completely unique look. Chroma is acquired via the Stirling Treasure boxes, or by dismantling items which have Chroma applied to them. You can apply Chroma to an item via the upgrade nodes, but each item has a Chrome value already assigned to it, so you can’t apply yellow to a helmet which already has a Chroma node of red, for example. However, at the cost of 100 glimmer and the loss of any Chroma applied to an item, you can re-roll for another colour, however this is completely random. To encourage further customisation, Chroma is not affected by the active shader, so expect to see some very interesting colour combinations…

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What you may notice, however, is that these new pieces of armour all drop at light level 3, which isn’t great if you’re working towards that elusive 335. You will be pleased to hear that Bungie has changed the way infusion works with the new update, so if you want to get that light level 3 helmet up to 335, there are far fewer steps to go through. If you have a helmet which is light level 335, previously you would have infused it into the light level 3 helmet, with no guarantee of what the new light level would be. Now, infusing a 335 helmet into a 3 helmet, makes the light level 3 helmet 335. No more guess work, no more calculators, it’s just nice and simple.

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Of course, it can’t all be about armour, can it?

Bungie are also bringing some new weapons with the update, including a rather interesting Taken sword, complete Void elemental damage, as well as a rather sweet looking Taken shotgun. But, there’s more… In an announcement which took most people by surprise, Bungie are updating some of our original Destiny favourites. Shadow Price, LDR 5000, Badger CCL, familiar names to those who played before The Taken King, are being brought up to light level 335. It has also been announced some of the older exotic items are also making their way to the grand heights of 335 light, including the Feedback Fences, Patience and Time, and Queenbreaker’s Bow. Be aware, though, that these old legendary weapons will not be purchasable, and only obtainable through encrypting engrams.

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Of course, what good is all this new stuff if we haven’t the space to store it? No worry, Bungie also announced that the vault has once again been increased, as well as a few other quality of life changes. Those of you who were frustrated with special Ghost not appearing when previewing them in your inventory, will now appear. They have also added the ability to reduce the visibility of the HUD, or remove it completely, so you can appreciate the truly beautiful world of Destiny. New emotes are coming, as well as a new Taken ship, and brand new sparrows including a special Variks version.

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If you want to watch the full stream, it’s now available on demand on the Bungie Twitch channel, and the update will be available to download on April 12, on Xbox One and Xbox 360.

 

 

New activities, light level, and more coming in Destiny’s April update

As was announced in their last weekly briefing, Bungie are releasing the next big update to Destiny on April 12, 2016. In the first of three special reveal streams, Community Manager Deej gave eager Guardians some insight into what they can expect with this update.

With Oryx dead a new Taken threat has appeared, Malok, and once again it’s up to the Guardians to defeat him. This time, however, your attention turns from the Vanguards at the Tower, and to Variks the Loyal at the Reef… The apparently friendly Eliksni Reaver takes a central role once again and with it returns a focus to the Prison of Elders.

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Variks will become our main point of call for the new quest line, and for new weekly bounties, but that’s not all. With the return of the Prison of Elders, two new variants have also appeared, offering new challenges and new opportunities for loot. First is a new level 41, light level 260, Taken version of the Prison we know and love, and with it the chance for current players to get to the elusive light level 320. With the level 41 Prison of Elders, players will have a 50/50 chance of encountering a Taken version of the Prison, as well being able to access the infamous treasure chest. Vanguard Marks will also be rewarded with each completion, quite possibly in the same way the Heroic strikes do now.

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Along with the level 41 Prison of Elders, a brand new level 42, light level 320 challenge mode of the Prison will also be coming with the April update. In this, players will be faced with three rounds of enemies, week-long set modifiers (much like Nightfall), and the chance at much better rewards. Players will receive their rewards upon completion of the final round, and will not be required to take the plunge into the Treasure room.

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With the new Challenge mode comes a new way for PvE-specific players to get the highest level gear, the Elder Sigil. This works much in the same way as the Trials of Osiris passage, but only one card is valid for the whole week. The Sigil will contain two challenges Guardians must complete to receive the new gear; completing one with reward a new weapon, the other a new piece of armour. The example shown in the stream this evening has players chasing specific point goals, one which was highest team score, and the other was to achieve a set cumulative score. Those of you who have picked up the Iron Banner weekly bounties will be familiar with how this works. The highest score will award the weapon, and the cumulative score the armour.

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Points are awarded through playing the Prison of Elders Challenge mode, with new damage-type modifiers giving players the opportunity to score more points. For example, in the stream a precision kills modifier was shown which would give players more point, compared to when the precision damage modifier isn’t active. Pretty much anything you do awards points, orb creation, grenades, kills, and players are not punished for choosing their preferred subclass. Defender Titans, for example, don’t have an aggressive super ability, however with the right combination of perks can generate as many orbs as a Striker Titan performing a Fist of Havoc on a group of enemies.

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So, players have to think of the best approach receive the highest amount of points, however, Guardians must be fairly swift in their destruction. If players are taking their time, Variks will grow weary of a boring fight after approximately five minutes, and will start to deduct points as time goes on. This means players will have to weigh up the risks of taking too long to despatch the boss, in favour of gaining more points with killing lower level enemies.Of course, these lower level enemies are not an endless stream of bullet catchers, no, there is a total of up to five round of “reinforcements”, that spawn depending on the health level of the boss.

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But that’s not all… Not only are there new challenges to face in the Prison of Elders, Bungie are also bringing a brand new strike into the equation. Guardians are expected to go toe-to-toe against the new Taken threat, Malok. Unfortunately Bungie didn’t go into too much detail with the new strike, but I imagine it won’t be long until we see more from it.

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Talking of strikes, an old fan-favourite, the Winter’s Run strike featuring everyone’s favourite mobile boss, the Archon Priest, is also receiving a Taken makeover. Askor, The Archon Priest, has been captured by the Taken and has learned some new tricks. His previous battle style has changed, so Guardians of old will have to rethink how they can defeat him once again.

Bungie are continuing there special reveal streams for the next two weeks, with the next one focusing on new things to learn. Tune into the Bungie Twitch channel from 7pm GMT to find out more.

The Destiny April update is due to launch on April 12, 2016.