Marvel Strike Force, the mobile hero-collection RPG from FoxNext, is about to receive its biggest update yet. Since its launch last March, Marvel Strike Force has grown substantially, adding tens of new heroes and several new features over the course of its first year. However, it’s been rare that an all-new mode has been implemented, but that’s just what players can look forward to next week.
Joining an active Alliance is a critical part of getting the most out of Marvel Strike Force; completing raids and Alliance-wide milestones deliver some of the best rewards to boost your roster. However, FoxNext is ready to take the incentives to the next level with a feature that has been teased through a giant “Coming Soon” spot on the menu since launch: Alliance War.
Alliance War has been on the menu since the early days of Marvel Strike Force for a very good reason: The team created the mode the same day they drew up the concepts for the game itself. “As live-service games mature – and certainly this is what we’re trying to do in this case – you kind of think about it the way you might concept a pilot for a TV show; you don’t just think about what will happen in the pilot, you think about what will happen over the entire course of the show, hopefully running many, many seasons,” FoxNext VP and GM Amir Rahimi says. “That was the approach here. We wanted to not launch with Alliance War because the game was going to be a big enough challenge to get out there, but really design the game for Alliance War and design them hand in hand.”
In Alliance War, your Alliance of 24 players takes control of its own helicarrier. The goal of the mode is to attack an opposing Alliance’s helicarrier while defending your own in head-to-head matches. You do this by using your ever-growing roster of heroes and villains. Battles play out much like they do in modes like Arena; you set a defense team to protect the room, but when the opposing Alliance attacks, your characters are controlled by A.I. However, you control your offensive attack like you do in any other Marvel Strike Force mode.
Each helicarrier has 12 rooms, with each providing different benefits. For example, the Med Bay provides health buffs to attacking and defending characters, while the Armory gives global attack buffs. Others have specific bonuses for attackers or defenders, making them less valuable overall, but more valuable in specific situations.
Each room has two slots for players to work together to defend the room with their characters. Each player can leave 8 teams of characters to hold down that room for a total of up to 16 teams for the opposing Alliance to work through before it can take the room. The mode is designed to force players to use their entire rosters, something that should give players who have kept their teams well-rounded an early advantage.
Be prepared to use your whole roster when Alliance War goes live.
You must be strategic about which characters you use where and when, as each character can only be used once per war. This means that if you leave your best character behind to defend a room, they cannot be used on offense. In addition, if you use a team to attack a room once, you cannot do so a second time. If you can’t fill out a room you’re defending, you can either leave fewer characters to at least give some resistance, or you can leave it empty and the game will fill the room with weak, yet better-than-nothing SHIELD minions.
According Rahimi, this particular layer of strategy is among his favorite parts about the mode. “What often happens is you’ll encounter a room and you’ll do this calculation in your head about, ‘What’s the minimum team strength that I could bring in to beat this opponent?’ and that’s a very different way to think about the game than before,” he says. “You don’t have to bring five characters into a battle. Now teams of one all of a sudden become interesting. So if it’s a room full of SHIELD minions and my Crossbones is powerful enough, he becomes really interesting because his ultimate can just clear that whole room out. Or just teams of two that synergize well become interesting, like Ant-Man and Wasp synergize really well.”
Certain characters also have a new “Military” trait, which means their origin stories have some involvement with or service to the military. So far, the only characters to possess this trait are Captain America, Captain Marvel, War Machine, and Winter Soldier. This means these characters possess various abilities that buff them in Alliance War. Just as some characters like Night Nurse are great in raids, these military characters will be great in Alliance War. Some characters who have military experience, like Punisher, don’t have the trait yet, but FoxNext says that may change in the future.
Once the war begins, attacking Alliances must start at the top deck and work through rooms, so you can’t just jump right to the bottom. Once you defeat one player in a room, you can see what room is beneath that one; if you defeat both players in a given room, that room is destroyed and all buffs and bonuses granted from it to the opposing Alliance are lost. Destroying a room also grants big point bonuses, which determines the winner of the Alliance War. If you’re defeated in the room you’re defending, don’t worry: You can still attack with the remaining characters.
Since destroying rooms weakens the opposing team and each room has different point values, choosing which rooms to attack first adds a layer of strategy and requires coordination throughout the entire Alliance. To mix things up, Alliance leaders can reconfigure these 12 rooms however they see fit prior to a war starting. “The goal of this feature for us is to keep players playing forever and ever and ever,” Rahimi says. “That’s why we added a lot of things like moving the rooms around. A lot of the depth of complexity is in the service of infinite replayability.”
One of the chief concerns of any mode like this is that it can easily become pay-to-win. Just like every other mode in Marvel Strike Force, Alliance War operates on an energy system. Energy caps at five attacks at a time, with that regenerating over time. No outside currency can be used within Alliance War outside of Power Cores, but even then, you’re capped on how many times you can refresh energy using Cores. This is done to help level the playing field. “Once the war starts, we want it to be as even of a playing field as we possibly can,” Rahimi says. “You can use your Power Cores to refresh twice, but you’re capped.”
Another way FoxNext is helping level the playing field is through a sophisticated matchmaking algorithm for Alliances. Looking for Alliances with equal overall power isn’t fruitful, as one powerful outlier player could throw off the entire balance. Instead, FoxNext’s system looks at individual players within Alliances and matches them up based on how well individuals will face off.
Because this mode is more involved than even raids, FoxNext is limiting the number of wars that happen per week. Rather than having a war every day, players can probably expect a few wars each week. FoxNext says that even once you understand the flow of Alliance War, being a fully participating member of your team could consume up to an hour a day.
At the end of each Alliance War, both teams are awarded with Alliance War shop currency. Just as Blitz, raids, and Arena have their own shop and currency where you can buy character shards and gear, Alliance War does as well. However, the quality of Alliance War’s shop is going to be more valuable to players. “The Alliance War shop will definitely be the best shop in the game in terms of value and by far the best source of orange materials,” Rahimi says. “Players are definitely going to want that currency.”
With so many moving parts and so much to learn with this new mode, players are probably going to want to get started as soon as possible. Thankfully, they don’t have to wait long for that placeholder menu slot to activate; Alliance War comes to Marvel Strike Force on March 26.
Back in 2004, Troika Games released an uncut diamond with Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, a moody, choice-driven role-playing game set in the White Wolf pen-and-paper universe. The game released in a state of disrepair, not unlike an energy-drained vampire desperate for blood, but dedicated fans glamoured by its atmospheric world and unique premise gave it new life, rounding out the rough edges and even restoring scrapped content. The game’s reputation continued to grow while the franchise collected dust inside a coffin, but now it’s primed to emerge from the shadows.
With Troika long since disbanded, franchise rights owner Paradox Interactive handed the resurrection duties to Hardsuit Labs, which includes Bloodlines writer Brian Mitsoda among its ranks. This makes the studio well-suited to handle the delicate work of updating the series with new hooks while maintaining the elements that have earned the original loyal fans.
Rather than pick up where the original game left off 15 years ago, Hardsuit instead chose to tell a new tale set in a city never really explored by the World of Darkness fiction – Seattle. With its pervasive cloud cover, unceasing rainstorms, and vibrant nightlife, it’s a perfect city for bloodsuckers to take residency. The setting may be new, but the politics among the various vampiric clans should be familiar to anyone who played the first game.
The story follows an innocent protagonist swept up into this supernatural subculture when a group of vampires go rogue and illicitly perform a Mass Embrace, descending on a bunch of pedestrians in Pioneer Square in the middle of the night and converting them into vampires. This action goes against the vampiric code, so the Camarilla wants to hunt down these “thinbloods” to learn what happened and put them out of their misery. As one of these targets, you must evade capture and navigate the faction wars to learn who turned you into a vampire and why.
The world of Bloodlines 2 operates much like the original, with certain parts of the city and its outskirts operating as hubs ripe for exploration and story missions. These spaces feature plenty of vertical spaces and alleys to keep your nefarious deeds in the shadows, and even a series of underground passageways and basements that were actually the ground level of the city in the mid 19th century before the Great Seattle Fire swept through and the city planners decided to build on top of the ruins.
As a fledgling vampire, you start off with a small suit of supernatural powers. Activating your heightened senses highlights points of interest like the investigation mode in Batman, which is also helpful for identifying prey when it’s feeding time. Depending on the choices you make, you can also learn how to levitate and glide through the air, control bats, manipulate objects with your mind, or even turn into a mist cloud to move through pipes to new areas. You don’t start as a member of any particular vampire clan, but as the story plays out you can align yourself with certain factions and even learn new vampire powers from them. Make certain decisions, however, and you may alienate another clan and cut off an entire progression path.
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Vampires are formidable predators, and this prowess is on display during first-person combat sequences. Much of the skirmishes are focused on hand-to-hand combat, with players taking advantage of their supernatural agility to dodge incoming attacks and close the gap between them and their opponent quickly. Guns are occasionally interjected into the mix, but most of the time you’re relying on your supernatural gifts to survive these scraps. During our demo, we saw the player pull off impressive feats like running up a wall to pounce on an enemy from above.
You can always choose to cap off your fights by feasting on the weak, but you need to be careful about how much blood you drink at any given time. If you mortally wound a person during feeding you can take on other accruing effects like madness. Over time, you could eventually compromise your humanity and make your hunger more uncontrollable. Going down this beastly path will also have implications with your dialogue choices.
After years of thinking a Bloodlines sequel was an unrequited dream, it’s nice to see the franchise get the sequel it long deserved. We hope to learn a great deal more about how Hardsuit Labs hopes to live up to its legacy in the coming months.
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Release: March 26, 2019
The latest update for Anthem is now live and, thanks to the patch notes, Bioware has confirmed that they have made some changes to the game’s criticized loot table to better emphasize endgame weapons when you’re actually in the endgame. You might ask why it was different before this update and it seems like Bioware also agrees.
The new update is server-side, which means you don’t need to actually download anything for it to take effect. On the grandmaster 2 and 3 difficulty levels, the drop rate for Masterwork & Legendary items has been increased. Masterwork & Legendary drop rates have also been increased for tougher enemies at all difficulty levels in general.
The changes come fairly soon after Bioware community manager Jesse Anderson wrote an extensive and lengthy response on the game’s subreddit to player concerns. Anderson explained why Anthem differed between pre-launch and the final product, how reactive Bioware is to feedback, and strongly insisted that “Anthem is here to stay.”
Anthem is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. You can find our review of the game right here.
Control invites players to explore The Oldest House, a mysterious building located in Manhattan. Just because the events of the game take place within a single location doesn’t mean you should expect a lack of diversity in the environments. I not only had the chance to explore a small section of The Oldest House, but also chat with the team at Remedy Entertainment to see what we could learn about Control’s enigmatic setting.
The Oldest House serves as the headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Control (FBC), a government agency that investigates the unexplainable. The Bureau discovered The Oldest House in the 1960s while looking into Altered World Events, different supernatural phenomena they’re tasked with researching. After discovering the shifting Place of Power hidden beneath the New York subway, the Bureau decided to make it its headquarters.
Being a Place of Power means it can hold Objects of Power, items that grant protagonist Jesse Faden additional abilities, but that’s not all. Places of Power have unique logic to them, and they operate under their own rules. The Oldest House shifts and transforms in unexpected ways as you move through it. The Bureau calls The Oldest House home, but an unexplainable threat known as The Hiss has invaded, corrupting or killing employees and infecting The Oldest House.
The Oldest House features Brutalist architecture, with hard, sharp cement lines showcasing function over form. Control is a game about contrasts. Just as the realistic look of the game contrasts with the supernatural happenings throughout, the clean, grounded design of The Oldest House is also contrasted by the fluid, mysterious entity of The Hiss.
The shifting nature of The Oldest House also contrasts with the sturdy look of the building. As I explored the cement hallways of the building in my hands-on demo, I stumbled upon a maze that felt ripped right out of the 1950s. As Jesse walks toward walls, they fold away like paper to reveal openings, which lead her either toward the end or back to the beginning.
In addition, various locales feature drastically different design. From a basement overrun by plants and fungal-looking enemies to an area full of overlapping cement blocks with a menacing red light serving as the backdrop – perhaps a sign of heavy Hiss corruption – players can expect a high degree of diversity throughout The Oldest House.
The biggest departure from the lobby of The Oldest House came with a dive into the Black Rock Quarry. Black Rock is a mineral discovered by the FBC that dampens supernatural and paranormal forces. Because of this, the Bureau devotes effort to mining it. The quarry itself is beautiful, with a gorgeous star-filled night sky obscured only by mining equipment that casts silhouettes resembling a city skyline. While none of the activities in the area were set up as I explored the Black Rock Quarry, the diversity of design made me excited to see what other unique locations we’ll uncover during a full playthrough of Control.
Being a Place of Power has made The Oldest House a perfect target for The Hiss, as the strange entity is seemingly interested in power, whether that be powerful people or powerful places. Much like Eastern medicine’s philosophy of qi or energy channels throughout the human body, The Oldest House also has locations called “Control Points” that are more powerful or important that The Hiss target.
“These are the spots that the Bureau harmonized so they stabilized, so the shifting of the place actually stopped,” game director Mikael Kasurinen says. “Then what happens with The Hiss, it’s akin to a disease hitting the human body that affects those points and corrupts and twists them like cancer, if you will. That’s what’s occurring with the transformation in the building. It affects humans as well. We call it resonance, but not resonance in the sense of audio, but more like dimensional resonance. Resonance through reality that starts to affect you and change you. There are pretty extreme transformations you’ll see as well, but in the building and the humans.”
Part of Jesse’s mission in Control is to cleanse The Oldest House and its inhabitants of this corruption. As you cleanse Control Points, you unlock that spot for fast travel throughout the building.
Though I saw hours of gameplay, there are still so many mysteries to uncover within The Oldest House and the world of Control. While it’s the only Place of Power we visit in Control, Remedy teases that The Oldest House is not the only Place of Power that exists in this world. We’ll have to wait and see what else we learn about Control’s mysterious setting when it releases this summer.
Click the banner below to visit our coverage hub for Control, which will be updated throughout the month with exclusive interviews, features, videos, and more.
After a bumpy and controversial launch, No Man’s Sky has steadily improved over the years, culminating with a massive expansion in the form of No Man’s Sky Next last year. Now Hello Games is announcing the next step in No Man’s Sky’s direction with what they’re calling No Man’s Sky Beyond. The first part of that that is No Man’s Sky Online, which is a massive push for a social online experience.
Check out a very, very short teaser for Beyond below.
In terms of No Man’s Sky Online, Hello Games is eager to emphasize the ways people have been playing the game since Next.
“No Man’s Sky Online includes a radical new social and multiplayer experience which empowers players everywhere in the universe to meet and play together,” Hello Games wrote in a release. “Whilst this brings people together like never before, and has many recognizable online elements, we don’t consider No Man’s Sky to be an MMO – it won’t require a subscription, won’t contain microtransactions, and will be free for all existing players.”
Hello Games say it will offer more details about No Man’s Sky Online and the other aspects of Beyond soon, but for right now, fans can look forward to more No Man’s Sky in the future.
Bandai Namco has announced Jump Force’s slate of DLC through August – featuring nine characters, including Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh! – with more to come.
Kaiba and two other characters (TBA) are part of May’s paid DLC component, and while three more are coming in August, it looks like the final trio won’t come out until some time after that.
These fighters can be bought individually, and they are included in the game’s Fighters Pass. The DLC also includes free content such as events, costumes, and a new stage: Valley of the End.
Here’s the list direct from publisher Bandai Namco.
- Clan feature
- Vertex event
- New avatar costumes
- Online Link Mission
- Raid Boss Event
- New stage: World Tournament Stage
- Seto Kaiba and two other playable characters
- Avatar costumes and skills
- Arena event
- New avatar costumes
- Tournament event
- New avatar costumes
- New avatar costumes
- New stage: Valley of the End
- Three new playable characters
- Avatar costumes and skills
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release: November 15, 2018
Rating: Matur… 繼續閱讀
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Publisher: EightyEight Games
Developer: EightyEight Game… 繼續閱讀
There are no screenshots or trailers yet, unfortunately, but the studio behind Evolve that is made of the creative minds behind Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2, announced a partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive today to make a cooperative zombie shooter called Back 4 Blood.
The name, Back 4 Blood is an obvious callout to the studios’ previous work. In the press release for the game, co-founder and design director Chris Ashton is quoted saying, “It’s hard to overstate what an awesome opportunity this is. We get to return to a genre that was born in our studio with over ten years of additional experience and zombie ideas racked up in our brains.” Regarding whether or not this is Left 4 Dead 3, Turtle Rock’s community manager writes, “No. Back 4 Blood is our own brand new, original IP. You’ll be able to shoot up a lot of zombies like in Left 4 Dead, but there’s a whole lot of new stuff in Back 4 Blood which makes it unique.”
According to the game’s FAQ page, it is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC at some point, it will have a campaign and PvP, it’s not a battle royale, and pricing has not been decided yet. Turtle Rock’s community manager writes, “We haven’t locked down a price point yet, but the game will be a premium, AAA title.”
For more on Turtle Rock Studios, you can watch the video below to learn all about its history.