EA Releases ‘Dead Space’ on Origin For Free — A Mea Culpa for Past Problems?

PC Gamers have had precious few nice things to say about EA over the past six months, but things might start turning around here shortly. EA just announced a free release of the hit 2008 title, ‘Dead Space’. The game, developed by the dismantled Visceral Games, was released to almost universal critical acclaim and it has helped to reinvigorate the science fiction/horror genre that has so often been woefully overlooked. For fans that didn’t get a chance to play ‘Dead Space’ the first time around, now might be the perfect opportunity. All you need in order to download the free release is an Origin account.

The story of ‘Dead Space’ pulls from several of the greatest works of science fiction horror around, from ‘Alien’ to ‘The Thing’ and everything in between. The title follows Isaac Clarke, yes a pretty deliberate reference, in his journey aboard the USG Ishimura. Clarke is an engineer aboard the massive ship, known in-game as a Planet Cracker, and he is there when horrors are unleashed thanks to a relic possessed by the Unitology. The title follows Clarke as he seeks to right the very horrific wrongs that have begun to pile up aboard the ship all while he suffers from a hallucinogenic breakdown of his own. Yeah, it’s a pretty heavy title.

Fans of horror and science fiction titles owe it to themselves to get their hands on ‘Dead Space’ in order to get involved with one of the better PC single-player titles in recent memory. With that said, the game won’t be for everyone and if you are claustrophobic or tend to be filled with nightmares you might be better off turning away from this one.

EA is doing their best to try and fix their reputation after a disastrous period surrounding the release of their latest ‘Star Wars’ arena brawler, ‘Battlefront 2’ where they were heavily criticized for microtransactions and other predatory financial practices. A few great tiles being released might sway fans to be a little easier on the legendary company.

Nintendo Switch Adds Another Perfect Title to Their Library.

The developers at Nintendo have been having themselves quite a year. The Nintendo Switch released out of nowhere to incredible critical acclaim and that critical reception was followed up by sales numbers that would turn out to be historic. After beating the PS2’s legendary sales run in Japan, the Nintendo Switch leaps in 2018 with something to prove: that the innovative console was no fluke. In order to keep gamers coming back to the Switch, especially with the strong titles being released on the PS4 and XB1, Nintendo has had to make sure that their library is always expanding with high-quality. Continuing their string of amazing ports and remakes, Nintendo is dropping ‘Bayonetta + Bayonetta 2’ for a release date of 2016 — and the reviews are sparkling.

Fans who haven’t heard of the Bayonetta games probably didn’t spend much time with their Wii U. While the Wii U was pretty much an abject failure, the Bayonetta titles came out and scored amazing reviews. Now, gamers are going to get the chance to play it again, or for the first time, on their Nintendo Switch. Developed by Platinum Games, Bayonetta + Bayonetta 2 is an incredible hack ‘n slash title that brings together everything we love about the genre. For those that missed out on the title the first time around, now is a better time than ever to get back on board. Critics have been absolutely gushing about Nintendo’s ability to capably port the title to the Switch in a way that makes sense and our game libraries are better off as a result.

The ability and desire to port titles from across their library, and often across third parties, has been one of the biggest indicators of success for Nintendo with the Switch. Nintendo has already ported several popular titles like ‘Mario Kart 8’ and ‘Pokken Tournament’ and as long as they keep doing so, we will keep on buying. The Nintendo Switch is already looking to have incredible legs for the legendary gaming company.

Eve Online Continues to Innovate MMO World.

We can comfortably say that there is easily no game more divisive in the MMO world than ‘Eve Online’. Eve Online has been called everything from the greatest MMO ever to a functional spreadsheet simulator and very few people end up taking a stance anywhere in between those two extremes. With that being said, Eve Online continues plugging away and this February we saw the infamous title release its new Valentine’s Day update along with a host of re-balancing tweaks and fixes that’ll leave half of their fans happy and the other half annoyed.

Let’s start off by talking about the Valentine’s Day event: Guardians Gala. Fans who have been playing Eve will recognize the game from last Valentine’s Day and they’ll be pretty much expecting the same experience. During the time that this event is live, players will be able to track down gatherings of NPC’s throughout New Eden in order to crash their party and reap some rewards. The fights are easy but the rewards are worth grinding for as you can collect a variety of special ship skins and implants. The event isn’t game-changing but at this point, nothing really is going to be.

The V-Day event update takes a backseat to more functional notes as EVE’s team released their Upwell Structures 2.0 intro and Assault Frigate balancing update. Citadels in the game have been dramatically altered, changing the way that they handle which means that they are stronger on offense, worse on defense, and much more likely to end up as space debris when in low power mode. Defenders in EVE will now be urged to pay attention to their resources while attackers have more of an incentive to take on these massive ships.

There are a host of other technical updates to a variety of different ships and it is well worth booting up the patch notes in order to keep ahead of schedule and in order to know what modifications you need to make going forward.

‘Seat of Thieves’ Takes Proud Stance Against Loot Boxes.

There’s a new title dominating both consoles and PCs thanks to its unique twist on an old genre and that game is ‘Sea of Thieves’. Developed by Rare, Sea of Thieves has been gaining some serious momentum as the seafaring pirate-venture has drifted closer and closer to a full release. Amid the many different things you can do in the game, from attending massive ship-based battles, to locking up your enemies in your own brig, Rare is doubling down on making sure that your experience is NEVER going to be ‘pay to win’. Do you hear that EA? Rare is firing shots from their broadside cannons, and you are their targets.

Mike Chapman is the design director at Rare in charge of making sure Sea of Thieves looks as good as it plays (and boy does it look good). Chapman hasn’t been afraid to go on record regarding how his title is going to be different than others out there. Chapman spoke up in a recent interview saying that there are no plans to implement microtransactions for their upcoming launch. While this statement sounds wish-washy on the surface, Chapman goes on to make it very clear where Rare stands on what could become a flagship product. Chapman goes on to emphasise that the team will NEVEr add loot boxes into their game. Chapman explains, “There’ll never be a form of gambling in Sea of Thieves, of any description.” Chapman went on to lob a shot at companies who have embraced random ‘prizes’ by saying that ‘pay to win’ is something that will be ‘completely out of the question’.

With all of that being said, Chapman understands the reality of the gaming market and he isn’t brushing aside the idea of adding expenses into the actual game itself — but they have to make sense, and they can’t alter the balance of the game. Chapman says with a smile, “What’s a Sea of Thieves way of doing it? What’s going to bring value to our players?”

Blizzard’s Overwatch Will Be Free to Play on Valentine’s Weekend

As a special Valentine’s Day gift to its playerbase, Activision-Blizzard has just announced a free weekend for their hit game Overwatch. Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, Overwatch will be available free to play for the entire weekend of February 16 to the 19 starting midday on Friday and ending a minute before midnight on Monday.

Overwatch is a massive online multiplayer first-person shooter game developed by Blizzard Entertainment, the same company behind enduring hits like World of Warcraft and StarCraft II. Praised by critics and fans alike for its fast paced gameplay, colorful and unique character roster, and engaging narrative, Overwatch has gained huge amounts of attention since its launch in May 2016.

While many have already taken the plunge and bought the game, others have held out for various reasons. Periodically, the developers will announced events like these where new players are encouraged to try the game entirely for free without having to spend the normal $40 to buy it.

Those new to the game who begin during the free weekend will have access to all 26 heroes, 17 maps, and 4 different game modes, as well as extra features like Loot Boxes, level progression, and alternate skins. Additionally, any progress made during the free weekend will carry over if and when a person buys the full game so long as they do so on the same network account they played on originally. Achievements, though, are disabled for free players.

With Overwatch’s intuitive matchmaking system that pairs lower ranked players with others of their skill level and vice versa, there’s no reason not to try things out entirely for free. Players will be under no obligation to buy the full game once the free weekend comes to a close, either.

For more information and a complete list of everything offered to free players, check out the Play Overwatch website to stay up to date on everything. PC players can even head over to Battle.net to pre-download the game before the weekend, giving them extra time to play.

“Sea of Thieves” Upcoming Stress Test

After the great reception of its closed beta from two weeks ago, “Sea of Thieves” is set for another weekend of early access. From Feb. 16 to 18, the game will be playable to those who pre-ordered, are part of the game’s founders club or have Xbox Insider. Rare is using this weekend as a much-needed stress test for their server capacity. The closed beta was much buggier than expected.

Though not officially released until March 20th, Rare’s pirate-themed adventure game is making a big splash in the gaming community. Many of the game’s eventual features were leaked in press conferences earlier this week. With plans for supporting the game for at least five years after launch, it seems that “Sea of Thieves” will offer no shortage of fun pirate activities for groups of up to four players. Some of the announced features encourage several groups to work together towards a common objective.

On the other hand, the developers have caught some flack for opening the gates for microtransactions. Game developers have been exploiting this feature for years, and Rare looks excited to jump into the mix. Rare has made great efforts, however, to point out that only cosmetic gear can be purchased with microtransactions. The last thing gamers want is for “Sea of Thieves” to become a pay-to-win affair.

Despite all the new content on the horizon, this weekend’s playable build figures to be a lot like the closed beta from two weeks ago. Rare has made efforts to publicize this weekend as a stress test and not a sample of new content. Unless there’s full beta between now and launch, we’ll have to wait until March 20th to fend off the newly-announced Kraken.