The first expansion for Battlefield 1 ,They Shall Not Pass, will be released in March, featuring all-new maps, new weapons, and the new playable French Army faction.
The four new maps will be: Verdun Heights, Fort Vaux, Soissons, and Rupture, and will take place on a range of terrain and features, such as underground forts, decrepit tanks, towns under fire and forests ablaze. There will also be a new game mode called Frontline, offering a mix of Conquest and Rush where you fight for control points in a tug-of-war. You’ll also be able to take control of the French Char 2C tank, otherwise known as the Steel Behemoth, and the St. Chamond (assault tank gun), alongside the French army.
There’s a new elite class too, the Trench Raider, who uses a raider club and grenade arsenal, and a new stationary weapon known as the Siege Howitzer which acts like a mortar.
The final instalment of the Witcher is a big deal. After the superlative main game, the ton of free DLC, the competent and enjoyable Hearts of Stone expansion, the gaming community – even those not particularly enamoured by RPG’s – have to admit that CD Projekt Red’s magnum opus is a highly polished and prime example of open-world game design. With that in mind, it would be very easy to lose all that good will in one single stroke, by failing to provide a fitting finale for Geralt, or should the latest expansion, Blood & Wine, fail to impress. Such is the fickle nature of gamers; You are only as good as your last success.
Blood and Wine sees a new bounty notice placed, calling for the attention of Geralt of Rivia to aid the Duchy of Tuissant, (yes, that is pronounced with a French lilt), in hunting down and removing the “Beast of Beauclair”, which has been terrorising the city and killing prominent knights and aristocracy. Arriving in Tuissant you find a world which has been excluded from the Northern wars. With its acres of vinyards, grandiose architecture and open, pastel inbued villages and towns, Beauclair is a unique area with a distinct mediteranean vibe when compared to the dark, medieval British aesthetics of Velen.
One of the first encounters with the new enemies you face, is extremely reminiscent of the original teaser trailer, (a night to remember), where Geralt faced a foe that few witchers dare to engage. Much like the trailer, it also leaves you with a distinct respect for the power of these creatures and, for me at least, made me question my confidence in my combat proficiency. This was not for the only time either. Without the right preparation, timing, spells or potions you will quite frequenty be seeing “You are Dead”, even on the lower difficulty levels.
These overbearing enemies are thankfully the exception and not the rule, and alongside the regular denizens inhabiting the world, there are dozens of new variants and strains of enemies to be encountered and overcome in the Duchy of Tuissant. With an area approximately half the size of Velen, Tuissant brings a significant expansion to the game with a rich, vibrant and open-world to explore full of winding mountain paths, deep vales, derelict estates and crumbling ruins and crypts alongside the bustling towns and villages that make up the country’s focal points.
CD Projekt Red have delivered a compelling, expertly crafted story that is not only engaging, but has several twists along the way to veer the story off in a new direction. Of the several times this occurred; I would believe myself closing on the final credits only for the plot to take a logic, yet unexpected, twist and lead me further down a rabbit hole in the world of courtly intrigue and deception. As you progress through the main quest, there are several choices you can make that deviate further and further from your original path, and each of these endings can be played through should you wish. For the sake of clarity in this review, I thought it prudent to do precisely that, and there is plenty of content for this final expansion to feel justified.
These diversions would quite regularly be a simple side step on the main story arc, but more often than not would provide enough details and revelations to allow you to re-evaluate characters and their stated beliefs several times over. For me, a particular character who marked himself out as openly hostile from the outset stuck out as a primary suspect, and several times the writers presented situations which could easily have allowed you to continue to believe this to be the case, yet by the end you find this character not only to be one of the most interesting characters based on how much insight you receive into his background, but also turns out to be the most stalwart of Geralt’s supporters by the time the story’s final act rolls round.
This is primarily down to how extremely well-acted the characters are, with particular honour going to Mark Noble for his amazing work voicing Regis. As a long-time wanderer of the world, the weight of knowledge and conviction conveyed in the delivery he provides is superlative and there is a credibility in the way he interacts with Geralt that made me believe the revelations that he is a long time and close confidant of Geralts. This is particularly poignant given the fact that most of the DLC exposition is between these two characters and as such a focus on his dialogue was critical.
The world itself is spectacular to behold, and full of character. From the dusty goat tracks leading up to the highest peak, the crystal clear lakes that decorate the valleys, and the peasants picking and crushing grapes throughout the many vineyards. Everything pulls together to make the environment feel alive and reactive. Additional the character embued in the many denizens as well as the world, something CD Projekt Red do so well, make it all just feel so grounded. There is nothing that made me chuckle more, than a small side quest I stumbled upon late game to aid a pair of ghosts who had spent an obscene amount of time bickering over who should rightfully rest within a chosen crypt. Watching one of these bickering spectres flip off their unwanted neighbour when they finally knew they were going to escape the hell in which they had been trapped, is probably one of the, if not the, most amusing encounters I found during my time in Tuissant. It’s this charm that makes this DLC infinitely redeemable.
Once again, CD Projekt Red have stuffed the world to the gills. Dozens of complex and voiced side quests, several treasure hunts this time for Masterwork Witcher schematics to improve on those already upgraded sets, several bounties, countless landmarks, hidden treasure, crypts, graveyards; the list continues with easily 30+ hours of additional content to get your teeth into. This is not to mention that you also receive a customisable and upgradeable house and lands, much like the Hearthfire expansion to Skyrim, but more focus on the cosmetic rather than the actual construction.
As I said at the start, to me this was a big deal, and I thought it only justified that I dig as deeply and as widely as I possibly could to try to find the chink in the armour or the blemish on the skin of this expansion. Thankfully, in my own opinion, there was nothing to be found. The expansion is, for want of a better word, flawless. Its deep, involving, contains a metric ton of content for a relatively low price, all while maintaining the high level expected from a game with so many distinctions as this one.
All in all, if you are a fan of the core game, (and if you aren’t, why exactly are you reading a review of its DLC?), Blood and Wine is exactly the sort of content pack you would want. I cannot recommend this title enough, and I believe everyone that owns the Witcher 3 should pick this up and enjoy it as soon as possible. A must buy if ever I saw one.
Thanks to Xbox and CD Projekt Red for supporting TiX
Teeming with new monsters, quests, NPCs and loot, with an offering of 15 hours or more of adventuring, Far Harbor is indeed the expansion Fallout 4 fans have been waiting for. Better yet it’s also fantastic.
With a radio signal informing you of a new case at Valentine’s Detective Agency, you’re soon heading to the North West coast to jump on a boat and journey to a mysterious island drenched in an eerie, radioactive fog. What starts off as an investigation into a missing person soon develops into a fascinating set of mysteries about the island’s denizens, the fog, and the huge mutated creatures that call it home.
Three faction live on the island and soon seek your aid, conversion, or destruction: The Children of Atom, a colony of escaped synths, and the human settlers. It doesn’t take long for you to find yourself in the middle of them, with choices of brokering peaceful existence, annihilation, or something in-between.
The options available to you are even broader here than during the main game, allowing you a great deal of flexibility on how you deal with the three factions. Meanwhile, dialogue has seen a significant improvement, helping to develop the characters into people and synths that you can care about and truly get to know. This also makes your decisions more meaningful and interesting, encouraging you to create a few extra saves in order to see the multiple outcomes.
The new fog effects, meanwhile, adds a fantastic sense of atmosphere to the island that makes it feel and look very different to the mainland. Moreover, the fog helps conceal enemies, making your adventuring more treacherous and far scarier. Having a bandit jump out from nowhere is enough to send you several feet up from your couch, but having a ghoul of super mutant do it can send you into orbit. However, it’s the new creatures that will really get you flying.
Giant frogs, praying mantises, crabs and other sea creatures, all plague the residents of this island, and they are truly a sight to see. Hermit crabs using trucks as shells, and praying mantises that can give a deathclaw a run for their money. These are wonderfully unique, intimidating, and powerful creatures for you engage that test your skills thoroughly.
The Far Harbor story alone can take a good 15 hours to complete, however, there’s plenty of island to explore and get caught up in your own adventures. The terrain is also very different from that of the mainland, with a more rugged feel and a terrifyingly eerie mountain path to ascend.
New equipment is also strewn across the island for you to find and use, including nautically themed weapons to add to your collection. Unfortunately the new companion is a bit of a let-down; he can help guide you around the island but his fisherman backstory doesn’t yield much interest. However, some new puzzles you come across during the expansion’s story are a welcome break from the norm.
Far Harbor’s new and fascinating setting, menacing monsters, more in-depth characters, and well-paced story, all make for a superb expansion. The eerier atmosphere is a welcome change that helps make the new location feel very different to what we’ve encountered before, and the abundance of content finally delivers the expansion we’ve been craving. You’re not going to want to miss this boat.
If you were frustrated with Automatron’s lack of content, then Fallout 4’s latest addition, Wasteland Workshop, is going to fail to impress, consisting of new objects to place in settlements, the ability to capture creatures, and new arenas for NPCs to duel, and nothing else. Indeed Wasteland Workshop is more akin to minor add-on pack than an expansion.
Fortunately the new additions are ideal for those looking to better customise their settlements. A whole host of new objects have been added, such as the ability to build concrete walls and floors as well as significantly more options for lights and decorations. Potted plants have also made an appearance, which better suits the more arid settlements you may have founded. However, the most intriguing additions are certainly the NPC combat platforms and the cages to trap the many creatures that call the wasteland home.
By placing the new fight platforms in a settlement and assigning an NPC to them, they will then engage each other in a fight to the death. And of course, with the vast building options available in the settlement management side of things, it doesn’t take much imagination to foresee the elaborate Colosseums and trap filled death-houses you could build to entertain you and your fellow settlers. Furthermore, being able to capture and unleash or tame the wasteland’s many creatures adds another interesting facet to explore.
You can now build cages to capture specific creatures, and even raiders, gunners and super mutants, which can then be unleashed within the aforementioned arenas, or in the case of the wildlife, tamed and used to protect your settlements. Either way it’s an entertaining aside to the quests and troubles of the wasteland, one that fits in wonderfully with the already compelling settlement building. However, we did encounter a few bugs, such as traps not opening once they’d captured something, and the taming beta-wave transmitter failing to turn creatures docile.
That is, however, all that Wasteland Workshop provides. There are a handful of new achievements related to the new building options but no new quests or content. Meanwhile, unlocking the perks you need to use the beta-wave transmitter can take some grinding if you haven’t got them already, and plenty of materials and bait are required as well, so further exploration of the wasteland is an almost inevitable side-effect. As such, these are good new options to the building aspect of Fallout 4, ones that can provide hours of fun for those already hooked on settlement building and customisation, but it otherwise doesn’t offer much.
The first of the three recently revealed DLCs for Fallout 4, Automatron, has hit digital shelves, offering some new story missions and a new crafting option. However, is this mini-expansion worth purchasing?
Bethesda mentioned before release that Automatron wasn’t going to be a large expansion to Fallout 4, and indeed that’s the case. The DLC brings with it the new ability to craft robotic companions and a mere handful of story missions. In all it only really offers a couple of hours of additional wasteland shenanigans, however, the quality is superb.
With the DLC installed, upon loading up a save you’ll receive a new radio broadcast that points you in the direction of the new missions. Action is the crux of the new quest line, with it starting off strong with a small skirmish and the combat scenarios escalating wonderfully from there. You’ll be facing off against peculiar looking robots led by The Mechanist – who may sound familiar to the Silver Shroud enthusiasts amongst you. These are a fearsome and aggressive cabal that truly test your might. Moreover, seeing these cobbled together robots unleashing lasers, steam, tesla arcs or good old fashioned metal fists, swords and saws, is a delightfully menacing and different look to what you’ve fought before. It absolutely feels like something new yet thematically harmonious.
Two hours later and the quest line is over with, however, it’s hard fought from start to end. The robotic foes put up tough fight, one that teaches you the importance of quick saving. You’re also thrust into some particularly frantic combat scenarios with multiple foes mixing it up with melee and projectile weaponry. It’s awesome fun and hugely satisfying.
In addition to the new enemies comes a few new friends and the potential for many more. You’ll meet two robotic companions with their own, unique personalities, one of which is particularly reminiscent of GLaDOS, and with the new robot crafting, you can build yourself an army of new metal friends. This is also pleasantly deep; allowing you to create some aesthetically interesting robots from the many parts you can scavenge and then kit them out with an assortment of devastating weapons and helpful mods. Fortunately the new quest line also gives you plenty of opportunity to collect the resources you’ll need to create your very own robot companions. Indeed this DLC is very well implemented and thought-out so to provide a fun set of new and challenging missions and a new crafting option that doesn’t provide busy work despite its crafting flexibility.
Automatron doesn’t offer enough to reengage you with the Commonwealth wasteland for any longer than a single play session, but the quality of the experience is excellent. The new enemies are interesting and challenging to fight and the new crafting options are deep and entertaining. Roll on April when the next DLC hits.
For the first time, players will be able to create and play with a group of Sims, and explore a beautiful European inspired world, making new friends and living it up.
Brand new to the Sims franchise, players will be able to introduce their Sims to a variety of clubs, and other Sims with distinct interests, behaviours, and personalities. If, however, they cannot find the perfect club for their Sim, they can create ans customise their own clubs.
The new world players will be able to explore Windenburg, with its sprawling hedge maze at the garden chateau, stunning pools along the bluffs, and mysterious ancient ruins, as well as lots of socialising.
Taking their Sims for a gossip at the local cafe, visit the pub to play games, dance the night away at the disco, and much more, there’s always something fun to do with your Sims.
The Get Together expansion will require the original Sims 4 to play, on PC and Mac. EA have yet to announce a release date.
Neverwinter: Strongholds – the seventh expansion for the action MMORPG set in the Dungeons & Dragons’ Forgotten Realms universe from Wizards of the Coast is due for release.
Strongholds introduces the largest playable map released for Neverwinter and focuses on players banding together to take back a stronghold from the wild. The initial release will focus on player-versus-environment gameplay in order to allow guilds the opportunity to build their strongholds before taking the fight to other players when large scale player-versus-player content launches.
Reminiscent of early Dungeons & Dragons gameplay, Neverwinter: Strongholds empowers guilds to reclaim a keep and its surrounding wilderness areas from monsters. As the lands are cleared, guilds will build defenses both in and around their strongholds using structures like archer towers to fend off attackers, while building siege structures to increase their ability to wage war against enemy guilds. Once the keep has been secured, guilds will work to solidify their foothold along the ranges of the Sword Coast.
Neverwinter : Strongholds is due for PC launch on August 11th with an Xbox One release to follow shortly thereafter.
Return to Atlantic City and expand your criminal empire in an original story with new weapons and characters
Irish mobsters, villainous Ku-Klux-Klan members, a mysterious business man from the far-east and a beautiful Japanese woman – it’s time for another episode in the life of The Boss! Our friends over at Kalypso Media today announced that The Japanese Incentive, the expansion for the gangster themed strategy game Omerta – City of Gangsters, is out now to download for the Xbox 360 for £7.99/€9.99/$9.99.
The Japanese Incentive includes the following new features:
All new! – Play an exciting new campaign with unique characters, storylines and cut scenes
Explore and dominate – Discover districts of Atlantic City and its outskirts not yet seen in Omerta
Kill it with fire – new weapons include the katana, flamethrower and machine gun
The gang’s all here – Hire additional characters whose special new traits will help make quick work of your foes
Outsmart a new challenger – Battle for the city against an updated enemy gang AI
Pick a wheelman – Plan fantastic heists, then use lavish new cars and armoured vehicles for getaways
It’s all business – Take over new buildings like the security agency and the auto shop and put them to criminal use
Watch the world burn – Set the battlefield ablaze with a unique new “fire” feature, which makes the most of the new flamethrower weapon
Screenshots included below for your viewing pleasure.
EA Access subscribers will be pleased to hear that EA has added even more content to its already bargain-filled service.
The subscription service already grants players free access to Battlefield 4 and its first batch of downloadable content but for a limited time only, players will be able to download the Second Assault pack free of charge.
You have from now until 28th February 2015 to grab the content which includes four new maps, five new achievements, five new weapons and two new vehicles to play around with.
So, what’re you waiting for EA Access subscribers? Get downloading!
XCOM: Enemy Within is the expansion to the 2012 Game of the Year award-winning strategy game XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Enemy Within adds an incredible array of new abilities, upgrades and weapons to combat new enemy and alien threats. This expansion pack also introduces new maps, new tactical and strategic gameplay, and new multiplayer content providing a fresh new gameplay experience.
XCOM: Enemy Within will be available in North America on November 12, 2013 and internationally on November 15, 2013