The Quest Log: March 30, 2017

Welcome back to The Quest Log, gamers! I hope there are some Guardians among you, because Destiny 2’s still dominating the headlines this week. That’s not all that’s happening, though. As always, we’ve compiled a list of the hottest gaming news highlights below. Enjoy!

Destiny 2 Pre-orders Are Live, PC Release Confirmed

Just this past Monday we learned that Destiny 2 was officially a thing. Since then, we’ve gotten not one, but two (brief) trailers. The first, a delightful teaser featuring Cayde 6 front-and-center, gave us a glimpse at a burning Tower and Last City, implying that the Cabal were at the heart of the threat. The second launched today, and while it still doesn’t show off any actual gameplay, it does promise “a ton of loot.” Pre-orders are live, and, as expected, the game has been confirmed for a PC release.

https://www.bungie.net/en/News/Article/45795/7_Destiny-2-Revealed

Thimbleweed Park Launches Today

I won’t make a habit of including game launches in news, but Thimbleweed Park is one that’s mostly slipped under our radar before. A point-and-click adventure game, heavily inspired by classic Lucas Film Games (later, LucasArts), from none other than the man who created Monkey Island himself. Thimbleweed Park promises plenty of humor and puzzles, and I can’t wait to sit down with it.

https://thimbleweedpark.com/

Battlefield 1 Will Allow “Premium” Users to Share DLC Maps with Friends

As has largely become the norm, Battlefield 1 offers an optional “premium” (i.e., season) pass that grants players access to all of the upcoming multiplayer maps as they’re released. Since the days of Halo 2, paywall-restricted maps have caused a divide in multiplayer shooter communities. Some players have them, some don’t. EA thinks they’ve found a workaround, though, and they call it “Premium Friends.” The gist of it is that if you party up with someone who owns the Premium Pass, you can play along with them on any and all of the maps. Hit the link up below for more details.

https://www.battlefield.com/news/article/introducing-premium-friends-a-word-from-our-producer

Club Penguin Finally Says Goodbye

Club Penguin, the kid-friendly MMO that initially launched in 2005, was never my jam. I was way too old for the game by the time it came out, but I know there are plenty of gamers today for whom the name is bound to kick up some nostalgic dust (metaphorical dust, to be clear). Today, after months of warning and the fateful flipping of the game’s iconic iceberg, the game closed down for good. In its wake, Disney are pushing a mobile-only game called Club Penguin Island.

http://www.clubpenguin.com/

Most Anticipated Games of Q2 2017

It is time yet again for another look into what the next 3 months of videogames hold for us, following up on what most certainly was a historic Q1. After sinking hundreds of hours into games like Zelda BOTW, Horizon Zero Dawn, & Resident Evil 7, it’s time to look forward and review what we have in store from April 1st through the end of June. Without further ado, here are my most anticipated games of Q2 2017:

1- Person 5

Release Date: April 4, 2017

After the huge success of Persona 4 and the PS Vita iteration Persona 4 Golden, the cult classic franchise is finally upon us and looking to start off Q2 in a big way. The JRPG is promising all of the familiar tropes that we have come to expect– you’re the new kid in the area just trying to make some friends and discovers he has the special ability to use Personas– and from there it takes off. I had the opportunity to play this last December for about a half hour, and it delivers on all the look and feels that we have come to love, with the addictive gameplay loop that will keep you going for hours (hundreds is more accurate here). Whether you are an old fan of the series, or a first timer looking to get on the hype train, Persona 5 promises to be a thrilling experience you won’t want to miss. 

2- Outlast 2

Release Date: April 25, 2017

Who’s ready to scream? Outlast 2 is finally here, following the huge success of the original’s debut back in 2014. The first-person survival horror game is set in a small village in the Sonoran desert, where you are separated from your wife in a helicopter crash. You are tasked to find your wife and to survive as long as you can, all the while catching as much of this craziness on your trusty camcorder (let’s hope he brought a LOT of batteries with him this time). Outlast 2 is already looking to be one of the scariest games of the year, and if it plays any similar to the original, it will give you plenty to lose sleep over. 

3- Prey

Release Date: May 5, 2017

Let me start this by saying, I was incredibly disappointed the day that they canceled Prey 2, the originally intended sequel to the 2006 cult classic. However, early previews have described their time with the game as Bethesda’s take on the Dead Space franchise, and now I cannot wait. You control Morgan Yu, trying to make his way off of a space station and escape a violent alien race known as The Typhoon, sound familiar? Blessing it as the spiritual successor to System Shock, players will be given the ability to craft weapons and even mimic everyday items found around the space station to help make your way off. The truth is, the original Prey was a blast because it was a game that didn’t take itself too seriously, and gave the player the ability to feel like a badass; so far the newest entry of the same name looks to be much of the same, only better.

4- Crash Bandicoot N sane Trilogy

Release Date: June 30, 2017

Whether you grew up playing the games or have never controlled the bandicoot for yourself, one thing is for sure: Sony is finally giving the fans what they wanted. The N sane Trilogy is composed of the first 3 entries in the series, Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back, & Warped. Remastered with updated graphics, PlayStation owners will get to re-experience the platformer since the last title had been released nearly 20 years ago. Crash will always hold a soft spot for me, since I can attribute these games in helping me learn the mechanics of basic games all those years ago. 

5- Tekken 7

Release Date: June 2, 2017

I will be the first to admit that I am not exactly “great” at fighting games, so I was a little questionable to put this game on the list. However, since it has been nearly 8 years since the previous entry, I thought it only right to highlight the upcoming title. With a focus on 1v1 combat, there are 2 new features being added to the game that will help shape a change in the flow of the game: Rage Art & Power Crush. The first of the two, Rage Art, will offer a new technique for each character that can damage up to 30% of a player’s health once their health bar is critical. The latter, Power Crush, will allow the player to continue dealing damage to their opponent even while they are being hit themselves. Needless to say, I cannot wait to get my hands on the game that pros were showing off at last year’s EVO tournament. 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I will never forget the first time that I watched the official reveal for a new Zelda project during E3 2014, when we saw Link soar through the air after leaping from his horse and launching an arrow at what we would later find out to be a “Guardian”. Although it was only a brief glimpse into what the future held for the franchise, it seemed as though Nintendo had something slightly different in mind for the forthcoming installment. While I knew that the franchise was in desperate need of a refresh, with a steady decline of fan reception, I was cautious on expecting any stellar changes since this was, after all, Nintendo we are talking about here. Hell or high water, they walk to the beat of their own drum as the rest of the world refuses to slow down. After multiple delays that seemed to indicate the likelihood of a title that could ever possibly live up to the hype seem to slowly slip away, to say I was anxious to get my hands on the title was a severe understatement. After more than 60+ hours into the experience, I can safely report that not only did Nintendo somehow deliver a game that actually lived up to the incredible hype and expectation, they actually managed to give us a game that will be discussed and praised for years to come. 

…but instead hands over the reigns to the user and says, “go ahead, give it a try…”

While Zelda: Breath of the Wild still has its flaws, when you begin looking at the gameplay mechanics and the way that they mesh together, there is no denying the levels of greatness this game hits in several moments of the game. From magnet abilities, to bombs, and to the glorious attribute of climbing nearly every surface, Link no longer finds himself being held back by the usual tropes and barriers that have silently outlined what we have come to expect in a Zelda game- but instead hands over the reigns to the user and says, “go ahead, give it a try”. With every insane idea that I had, or combination that I was sure was going to “break” the game, I was instead rewarded in a way that I have never experienced before in a video game. The result? An experience that has literally challenged the way I think about gameplay mechanics in a sandbox that only wants to provide you with the tools to succeed the way that you want. 

From the moment you begin your journey, you find yourself in the all-too-familiar scenario in which you are woken from a deep sleep and off you go. However, this is where the familiarity ends. Following the exit of your sleeping chamber, paired with your newfound ability to climb nearly any surface, you stand atop a cliff that overlooks the vast landscape of a Hyrule without any invisible barriers and more challenges than you could imagine. This is where you begin shaping your adventure, while you get a sense for a general flow that you could follow, the fact is that you can run in the opposite direction for hours avoiding any sense of true responsibility until you are ready. This kind of freedom ensures that no two players will experience the same adventure, but can instead swap stories of how they beat the game.

…none have empowered the player to explore, bend, and twist the mechanics of the world to this degree…

Anyone that has played a previous entry in the franchise will understand the usual flow of the game: you spend some time in the first areas available to you trying to acquire some bombs, which then allows you to move a rock, and thus gives you the ability to access a water temple at some later point down the road. Essentially, while it may seem like you are given an open world, you are still guided by invisible hands that ensure you check the boxes in the order that they want. Breath of the Wild crushes this expectation, and hands you all of the tools that you will need to complete literally every aspect of the game within the first hour or two. With all of your abilities in hand, you are thrust into an open world that screams to be explored, with no area that you can’t immediately get to. While there have been games before it that offer a vast open world in which you can explore such as the Fallout or Witcher series, none have empowered the player to explore, bend, and twist the mechanics of the world to this degree, and all the while maintaining the same level of polish that you learn to expect as you scavenge every nook and cranny. BOTW does this so well, that there is no doubt in my mind that this will be game developers and analysts alike who study just how they mastered this level of gameplay experience.

Now there are a couple of small additions to the system that can and will cause some frustration: the introduction of breakable weapons and of course the stamina system. While neither are a first time for the genre, previously executed in some of the other franchises I named earlier, I can definitely understand the feeling of defeat when you lose that sword you were so excited about after a short time. There was more than one instance that I found myself cursing the makers of the game as to why I needed to lose a bow after one boss battle. However, as with everything else in the game, you learn to adapt and later understand this system is implemented to force us to try new things instead of hoarding the same 4 weapons from beginning to end. As for the stamina bar? While it will impede the distance you run or the heights you can climb, again you learn to adapt by finding higher areas to glide from, as well as the ledges you can scale to. Throughout your journey, you will have several opportunities to expand your stamina meter, not to mention the use of food ingredients you can consume that will give you a temporary buff. 

If by now you haven’t guessed, I enjoyed this game thoroughly. From the shrines and trials that you wished never ended, to the peaceful music and sound of the breeze as you ride your horse across the countryside in search of another easter egg, this game is a masterpiece in nearly every aspect and must be played. It is a game that will continue to dominate water cooler conversations, and pop up in casual conversations of the greatest of all time. This game has earned every praise and acknowledgment that it has received, and will continue to dominate the background noise of my mind. Simply put, I can’t get enough of this game — and I cannot wait to see what is next for Link and Princess Zelda. 

The Quest Log: March 27, 2017

Happy Monday, gamers! And welcome back to The Quest Log, where you’ll find the hottest gaming news highlights. When I started collecting news items to highlight here, I didn’t intend for Activision Blizzard to dominate the post, but here we are…

Bungie Officially Announces Destiny 2

After a very official-looking poster began making the rounds on the internet last week teasing a September release date and an upcoming beta test, Bungie have finally made Destiny 2 official. All we have from them at this point is a very simple and uninformative teaser image, but expect to see some more substantial news right around the corner, especially with the Age of Triumph event kicking off tomorrow.

https://twitter.com/DestinyTheGame/

Blizzard Reveals StarCraft Remaster

Well, they’ve finally gone and done it. Over the weekend, Blizzard surprisingly pulled the curtain back on StarCraft Remastered. Here’s what fans of the classic RTS can expect:

We’ve remastered our units, buildings, and environments, improved game audio, and broadened our supported resolutions. Illustrated interludes bring the struggles and victories of heroes like Artanis, Fenix, Tassadar, Raynor and Kerrigan to life like never before. Most importantly, the strategy gameplay that StarCraft perfected years ago remains unchanged.

A trailer’s live that demonstrates the upgrade in resolution. On top of audio and visual enhancements, the remaster will also integrate fully into Blizzard’s modern social and multiplayer platform.

https://starcraft.com/en-us/

“Battle.net” Is No More

It’s the end of the era (but not really). Blizzard’s online gaming service and game client will henceforth be known only as the “Blizzard App.” Battle.net first launched along with the original Diablo and helped to usher in an age of online gaming that was more accessible and more compelling to gamers than it had ever been before. The studio laid out their plans some time ago to phase out the name “Battle.net” in favor of a more cohesive developer identity, so while this isn’t a surprise, it might take some getting used to.

Image courtesy of Reddit user /u/Sawovsky

Final Fantasy XV March Update Brings New Content to Final Chapter

The long-awaited March update to Final Fantasy XV has gone live, bringing with it a number of improvements aimed at the epic RPG’s endgame, including buffs to some upper-level spells and an “alternate” route to progress through the game’s ultimate chapter, allowing players to take control of Gladio and Ignis as they search for Noctis. The update is free to all owners of the game and launches on the eve of “Episode Gladiolus,” the DLC mission that launches tomorrow and stars, you guessed it, Gladio.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLrB7N-XfPs

Horizon Zero Dawn

It’s been almost a month since Guerilla games released their latest IP, “Horizon Zero Dawn”, and just last week, Sony Interactive Entertainment announced they had sold 2.6M units of the game in its first two weeks.  This is extremely impressive for a game that was released just days before everyone jumped on the Zelda train.  “Horizon Zero Dawn” is truly a breath of fresh air for the post-apocalyptic RPG genre, and should be a strong potential candidate for game of the year.  With the release of “Mass Effect: Andromeda” this Tuesday, I fear that the attention to this gorgeous game will continue to be overshadowed by the more established IP’s that have dropped since its release.

I’ll be the first to admit that this review is a tad delayed, but consider it “delayed with purpose”.   I’m a little selfish, but I don’t want the hype train for this game to end.  If there is one game that deserves to be riding the hype in first class, it’s “Horizon Zero Dawn”.  I tend to get hyper critical of RPG games because it’s the genre that I tend to favor above all others.  Call me an “elitist” but if an RPG misses the mark in either its storytelling capabilities or how immersive it makes the gamer feel, then it’s not worth my time.  The truly great RPG games are the ones that manage to capture both elements at once.  “Horizon Zero Dawn” is one of these games, and I urge you to check it out if you haven’t already.

This game is about Aloy, a young girl who is cast out the Nora tribe for seemingly just existing.  She has no understanding of who her mother is or why the “Matriarchs”, essentially the leaders of this tribe, seem to dislike her so much.  Eventually, she goes through a trial called “The Proving” where she not only comes out on top, but she also becomes a survivor after a cult massacres the other trial participants.  For her reward, Aloy discovers her origin but this ultimately leaves her with more questions than answers. With a burning desire for both vengeance and knowledge, and being granted the status of “The Seeker” by the Matriarch’s, she embarks on her journey outside of the Sacred Lands.  This is how the game starts, and it sets the tone that this is more than just another “Post-Apocalyptic” game.

One thing I commend the Guerrilla developers in doing, is creating a world that feels very natural despite having massive animalistic robots roaming around the world and vastly differing human civilizations strewn across a relatively small geographic area.  Human’s have rejected the technology that created the robots, and are living in various types of early governments.  The Nora are a tribal based society, the Carja are heavily influenced by Aztec/Mayan cultures, and the Oseram appear to have reverted to almost a medieval Europe society.  There are other tribes alluded to throughout the game, and you even find a few of these along the way, but these are essentially the big three.  Although the map in the game is quite large, it’s not massive.  Geographically, this game takes place in Western Colorado and sprawling into Eastern Utah, and it’s clear the design team did their homework when researching what this area actually looks like.  It’s no secret that this game is gorgeous, but it takes it to a whole different level when you realize that this whole game is based on real world locations and that it actually looks like the locations it’s trying to represent. This attention to detail in the setting is honestly what makes this game believable.  My one critique with the visuals from this game are the facial features on various characters.  The character models, as a whole, are beautifully designed.  But when you start interacting with them, they feel very robotic and plastic.  It’s a very petty thing to complain about, but it’s something that bothered me even up to my final hours of playing this game.  It was clear that the developers spent more time smoothing over the setting but didn’t spend as much time polishing up the characters found within the world, and that’s a miss.

Setting plays a big part in the immersion process that is vital to the success of an RPG.  Along with setting, you also need to have a sense of character progression or evolution.  From the mainline story to the little errand side quests you never have a moment of wondering, “Why the heck am I doing this?”.  Whether it’s avenging your tribe for the cult massacre, or it’s ultimately stopping a crazed warlord from killing an entire civilization, you feel the story unfold in front of you and you feel like what you do is impacting the world around you.  As a gamer, we need this sense of impact because it makes us actually care to keep discovering and saving this virtual world the developers created.  That isn’t to say that there aren’t some quests that one could deem as “grind quests”, but “Horizon Zero Dawn” has a really unique way of quest organization and classification.  There are, of course, the “main” quests.  But after this, you will find there is a separate section for “side” quests, “errand” quests, and then the subsequent grind quests.  My one critique with this section is that the distinction between what is a “side” quest and what is an “errand” quest is not very clear.  I consider “side” quests as quests that are created to specifically allow the player to delve deeper into a subsection of lore that wouldn’t normally get covered in the main questline.  On the other hand, when I think of “errand” quests I think of the typical, “Go to X location to get me Y thing(s)”.  This is not always the case with Horizon, and a lot of the classified “errand” quests actually fit more of what we are used to thinking as “Side” quests, which leaves me feeling confused on why the developers even felt the need to establish this differentiation.

 The second aspect of creating a successful RPG, is the story.  You can make your gamer feel as much like the main character of the game as you want, but if your story sucks then that desire to complete the game and see the end gets tossed out the window.  One thing I appreciate is that the developers established Aloy as a baby, as a determined child, and then finally as a strong young woman.  You understand her backstory, and you understand the impact of what this means to her.  Let’s be clear, this is not a story about “finding oneself” because she does this at the beginning.  This is a story about discovery and salvation.  As you progress through the game, your goal shifts from answering deep questions to saving your world from ultimate destruction.  It keeps you on your toes and is paced in such a way that you never get the feeling that you aren’t ready to tackle your problems head on.  

Although there is a leveling system in this game, at no point did I ever feel like I needed to pause the action to go complete a handful of the other quests in order to complete my objective.  Now don’t get me wrong, this game is not easy and can get very punishing if you don’t execute the objective properly.  Usually, this is heavily stealth based.  I tended to snipe heavily throughout the game, but there are also sneak attacks and traps that are at the player’s disposal to complete the game.  Since the main quests are paced perfectly, you never have the chance to lose sight of what the game’s story actually is.  This is fantastic because that’s what an RPG should be about.  It should be about creating an immersive environment to allow for you players to experience and appreciate the story that you are trying to present.  My one critique about the quest design and execution is that it leaves very little wiggle room to allow for various types of gameplay.  If you are a person who tends to run face first into your foes with guns blazing, you will die.  This game forces you to analyze the situation you are about to get yourself into and actually plan ahead what tactic you will use at your disposal.

This game is a solid 9 out of 10, based on my RPG criteria.  It creates a vastly immersive gameplay experience while also maintaining a consistent and interesting story.  It’s different from other games in the apocalyptic world genre in that you never feel a sense of loss for society, but rather hope.  You aren’t trying to restore society to what it once was, instead, you are trying to protect the world you have.  The small critiques that there are for “Horizon Zero Dawn” pale in comparison to everything that this game has done right.  Let’s keep this hype train going for a game that deserves it!  If you haven’t checked it out yet, I strongly suggest you give it a go

Mass Effect: Andromeda First Impressions

The wait for the next installment of the Mass Effect franchise is finally over, and with all major game releases we have been asked the ever returning question: is it worth my money, though? Ash, Joe, & Cole have all given their different perspectives of their time spent with the early portion of the game and wanted to give you some insight on what to expect as you weigh the option of making the purchase or not. With all of the early impressions beginning to surface on Mass Effect: Andromeda, the HUD Crew wanted to be sure to give you our initial impressions with our first hours of the game to help you understand if some of the complaints actually hold any merit- as well as our initial thoughts on this massive game.

Ashton’s Take:

Andromeda was my most highly anticipated release of the year. Prior to the launch of the Switch, I was, as I said in one of our podcasts, even more excited for Mass Effect than I was for Breath of the Wild (of course, I hadn’t yet anticipated just how amazing BOTW would be). Because of my sheer levels of hype before its release, I’m naturally feeling a little underwhelmed by Andromeda, but it’s definitely too early to make any final judgment. I like most of what I’ve played a lot, but it hasn’t yet captured the magic of the original trilogy–some of my favorite games of all time–just yet. Here are some random thoughts I jotted down as I played- both good & bad:

  • Character creator is no good…

  • I miss the codex narrator for primary entries. He was one of my favorite little details about the first three games.

  • Facial animations are every bit as bad as I was worried they’d be after seeing that first gameplay trailer. It’s weird for a series that set the bar for expressive characters to have fallen so far behind the pack.

  • Graphics out “in the field,” however, are gorgeous. The Frostbite engine sings with explosions and sprawling landscapes.

  • Checkpoints are annoying as hell. Why can’t I quicksave anywhere I please mid-mission?

  • Where’s my power wheel?

  • Issuing commands to companions has been reduced to a single keystroke, and it sucks. I want to call out for specific powers

  • Why go through the effort of animating raindrops on character faces if it’s going to bypass their helmets? It looks silly.

  • Unskippable cutscenes? Really?

  • Music’s & mobility are great!

  • Combat’s fun and fluid, and the biotic powers I’ve used so far feel amazing

Unfortunately, what marred my experience the most was the constant crashing I experienced during cutscenes. Seems like it’s a relatively widely reported occurrence, and it might have something to do with my specific video card (Nvidia GTX 970), but I literally wasn’t able to progress beyond the prologue mission due to one of the series of cutscenes inevitably freezing on me. If only I could just skip it…

Joe’s Take:

I’ve been doing my best to avoid any spoilers leading up to the release of Bioware’s latest iteration of Mass Effect. The ME series has always been one of my favorite franchises, and I wanted to experience Andromeda with a fresh mind; free from prejudice. But sure enough, I couldn’t help but see the avalanche of criticism regarding ME:A’s animations. While I admit this tempered my expectations, I still jumped into the game as soon as I could.

After clocking in about 10 hours into the story, the flawed animations are noticeable, and while this can be world breaking sometimes, the series has never been known for its great animations, considering Commander Shepard’s dancing has been meme-worthy long before Andromeda’s release. Outside of cutscenes, gone are the days of the camera cutting away to conversations, with ME:A using a slight camera zoom to frame NPC’s during interactions. And while these decisions give the game a less cinematic feel, the soul of Mass Effect is alive and well in Andromeda’s universe. The story is enthralling, filled with intrigue and moments where the game can even play with your preconceived knowledge of the series. The combat is exhilarating, and I’ve been most impressed with ME:A’s cover mechanics, although cover seems to be a lost concept to your A.I. squadmates, leading to some frustrating encounters.

But Andromeda’s action truly comes alive in multiplayer, the mix of different classes and combo powers showcases the level of intensity the firefights can truly amount to when a team knows what they are doing. Gamers familiar with the series’ previous multiplayer offerings will feel right at home; playing matches earns points that you can use to buy packs of randomized loot, which can contain new classes to play as, or maybe the next exceptional weapon to utilize.

Overall, Mass Effect: Andromeda is not perfect, but the game does offer something unique to the series, while still being familiar. The criticism is deserved, but don’t let it deter you from having a fun experience.

Cole’s Take:

Mass Effect: Andromeda has some big shoes to fill, so it was only natural to see the realm of hyperbole take its effect on the new entry when early impressions started to surface on less-than-stellar animations. While I don’t want to add fuel to the fire, with every passing glitchy cutscene, framerate drop during action moments, or jarring facial expressions has me wonder why not hold the game a bit longer to cover more polish? Believe me, the last thing that I wanted to do was wait any longer to get my hands on the next entry in one of the most impactful franchises I have ever played, however, internal reviews or QA must have raised the flag on this to some length before it ever reached out fingertips. Nevertheless, Mass Effect: Andromeda is finally here and with it, my emotions begin a roller coaster ride.

I want to make this very apparent- I am only about 4-5 hours into the main campaign at the time of writing this, so there is still MUCH that I have yet to experience in this massive RPG. My initial impressions started out pretty rough- not being able to get over characters flashing in and out of the scene, wrapping my head around new jump physics, and a younger band of characters with more playful dialogue that took me by surprise following Commander Shepard’s more stoic and noble approach. However it was at the final moments of the first main mission that I began to realize that I was doing this game a disservice by putting it in a constant comparison of earlier titles- after all, I had spent more than a hundred hours with my old companion Shepard. The more I play, the more it becomes very apparent that the concept of a group exploring new uncharted areas in the galaxy is very appropriate for Bioware because everything has seemed very foreign thus far. But in small doses I see the greatness of its predecessors shine through, and it is these moments that make my heart skip a beat that this new band of characters might actually be able to make their way into our hearts the way the last bunch did. It’s going to take time and commitment, an open mind on our parts, and the ability to remember that while the Shepard Trilogy was incredible, it took time for him to establish himself in our psyche. At this point, I’m cautiously optimistic and open to a new set of adventurers.

Enough of what we think so far, we want to hear your thoughts. How has your time been so far with the game and do you think the visual complaints that are plaguing the release valid? Let us know in the comments below as we put together the HUD’s final review in the coming week.

The Quest Log: March 22, 2017

Welcome back to The Quest Log, where we cover the hottest highlights in gaming news. It’s been a while since our last update, so we’ve got plenty to talk about.

Impassioned Fans Are Modding Red Dead Redemption into GTA V

Over on GTAForums.com, a team of modders called .White have announced a rather ambitious project: modding the entirety of Red Dead Redemption into the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V. Given that Rockstar have never released an official port of their Spaghetti Western masterpiece, the mod might be PC fans’ best shot of actually experiencing the game, assuming Rockstar doesn’t shut it down. .White promises a trailer of the mod will be available this summer.

http://gtaforums.com/topic/883655-wipv-red-dead-redemption-v/

GOG Galaxy Leaves Beta with Version 1.2 Update, Gets Cloud Saves

GOG (formerly Good Old Games) have announced the features to be included in version 1.2 of their optional game client and launcher, GOG Galaxy. The DRM-free digital retailer will be bringing cloud-enabled game saves, a true in-game overlay, and a built-in FPS counter among other cool new tools, bringing it even closer to the feature-rich standard of Steam’s mandatory game client. The update also marks the end of the client’s “beta” status.

https://www.gog.com/news/gog_galaxy_biggest_update_yet_marks_the_end_of_beta

Blizzard Are “Open-minded” about Potential Overwatch Map Editor

On the official Blizzard forums, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan responded to a thread in which fans were pining for a map editor to be released for the hit team-based shooter, suggesting it was something they’d like to pursue but that “because Overwatch was made with a brand new engine, this is not a small task or one that can happen any time soon.” He added that they “believe heavily in user-made content,” and that an editor was on their “long-term road map.”

https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20753537194#post-15

Nintendo Responds to JoyCon Wireless Problems

Even if they might affect a minority of the hardware, JoyCon wireless connectivity issues have been one of the more widely reported hardware issues plaguing Nintendo’s Switch. If you’re like me and can make your left JoyCon controller disconnect at will, you’ll be pleased to hear that Nintendo’s finally given an official response on the situation, saying that the issue is caused not because of a faulty design but by a “manufacturing variation” that impacted a relatively small number of shipped units. The fix for the issue appears to be relatively simple: a small piece of conductive foam. It’s easy enough that some Redditors are already posting images of their own self fixes, but Nintendo’s also offering to install the foam for impacted users with a turnaround of “less than a week.”

http://kotaku.com/nintendo-says-joycon-wireless-issues-were-caused-by-man-1793530147

The Quest Log: March 17, 2017

Hello gamers, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Also, welcome back to the Quest Log, where you’ll find the top highlights from the latest gaming news.

Blizzard is Seeking $8.5 million from Cheat Maker
The makers of Overwatch, Starcraft, and World of Warcraft are seeking a $200 fine per infraction from Bossland, the German manufacturers of popular hacking and cheating tools for Blizzard games including WOW and Diablo as well as a currently unavailable program for Overwatch, citing copyright infringement along with business lost due to illegitimate players and bots driving away rule-abiding players.

https://torrentfreak.com/blizzard-wants-8-5-milion-copyright-damages-from-cheat-maker-170314/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Guerilla Games Planning an Expansion to Horizon: Zero Dawn

In an official press release by Sony Interactive Entertainment, Guerrilla Games, developers of the critically acclaimed Horizon: Zero Dawn, seemingly confirmed that an expansion was in the works. “This is only the beginning of Aloy’s story and our exploration of the world of Horizon Zero Dawn, with the team already hard at work on an expansion to the story,” says Hermen Hulst, Guerrilla’s Managing Director. While his language is ambiguous enough that it’s possible he’s hinting at a sequel or some other related project, a DLC-style expansion seems more likely

https://www.guerrilla-games.com/read/horizon-zero-dawn-global-sales-exceed-2-6-million

Warren Spector to Direct System Shock 3

While the fact that System Shock 3 has been in development hasn’t exactly been a secret–and neither has the involvement of Warren Spector–it’s now official. Starbreez AB, a producer and developer based out of Stockholm, Sweden, announced this week that they’d be publishing the long-awaited horror-shooter sequel currently in development by Otherside Entertainment. Spector, the producer of the original System Shock along with a slew of other legendary titles (i.e., Deus Ex) will be directing the project.

http://news.cision.com/starbreeze-ab/r/starbreeze-publishing-signs-otherside-entertainment-s-system-shock–3,c2214464

The Quest Log: March 14, 2017

Happy Pi day, everyone, and welcome back to The Quest Log, where we cover the top highlights in gaming news.

Nintendo Releases Three-part Making of Zelda: BOTW Video Series

Today on their official YouTube channel, Nintendo released a three-part video series that takes viewers behind the scenes of the creation of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The videos include interviews, concept art, and a glimpse at features and locales that got left on the cutting-room floor. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3CsGbtifZI&t=278s

For the First Time Ever, D&D Players are Getting an Official Digital Companion

Wizards of the Coast–the publisher of the quintessential tabletop RPG, Dungeons and Dragons–unveiled early this week their upcoming official companion app to the game, the first in its history. D&D Beyond will give users access to official content, allow them to create and manage “homebrew” content, and track character builds and progress. Interested tabletop fans can sign up for the beta test via the following:

https://www.dndbeyond.com/

Co-founder Leaves Kinda Funny

Colin Moriarty, co-founder of popular YouTube channel Kinda Funny, announced on Facebook page his immediate departure from the group. Moriarty, who previously worked for IGN, says he has other opportunities in the pipeline and that, “you haven’t seen or heard the last of me.” The move comes following an offensive Tweet Moriarty made on International Women’s Day.

https://www.facebook.com/appealtoheaven/posts/10103367920696739

The Quest Log: March 10, 2017

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Breaks a Metacritic Record

It’s no mystery that the latest, seminal entry in the series is getting rave reviews, but it’s difficult to quantify just how well it’s being received. To that end, the game’s already surpassed one major milestone as it now holds more 100 (i.e., perfect) review scores on review aggregator Metacritic than any other released title in history. Breath of the Wild takes the mantle from one of Nintendo’s own, Super Mario Galaxy 2, as well as GTA IV. The latest Zelda title currently holds an average critical score of 98.

http://www.metacritic.com/game/switch/the-legend-of-zelda-breath-of-the-wild/critic-reviews

Steam User Review Scores Will No Longer Include Non-paying Gamers

In their official community blog, Steam announced today that they will no longer include user reviews of gamers who did not directly purchase a given title in the game’s customer review score in the store, which means that players who received game codes by other means (e.g., developer giveaway, bundle, etc.) will no longer be able to affect the game’s average. This restriction is an expansion of one put in place just last September as a continued effort to “improve the relevance of the score by better reflecting the sentiment expressed by invested, paying customers.”

http://steamcommunity.com/games/593110/announcements/detail/563352991934009789

Project Scorpio Will See Improved Performance for All Xbox One Titles Right Out of the Box

While official details on Microsoft’s Project Scorpio are few and far between, Windows Central revealed new details about the upcoming console in an exclusive detail. They report that not only will Scorpio enable 4k gaming for supported titles, it will also improve the performance of existing 1080p (or less) Xbox One games right out of the box. This revelation comes hot on the heels of Sony’s recently released “boost mode” for the PS4 Pro.

http://www.windowscentral.com/project-scorpio-supersampling-for-1080p-tvs