The Quest Log: April 28, 2017

Nintendo Announces 2DS XL

Completely out of left field, Nintendo have unveiled the next iteration of their ultra-popular portable console. The 2DS XL features the same buttons and layout of the 3DS XL but without the, you know, 3D. While the glasses-free three-dimensional graphics were once the selling point of the console, support for it has been slowly fading over the last few years. Nintendo released a 2DS in 2013, which lacked both the 3D effects of the 3DS and the clamshell portability. This time, it looks like they’re giving us the best of both worlds with a lower price point to boot. At $150, the console’s an incredible value when you take into account its vast library of games.

Industry Pioneer and Inventor of the N64 Analogue Stick Retires

A Nintendo veteran is retiring this month after 45 years with the company. Genyo Takeda contributed to a ton of gaming tech during his illustrious career, but one of the standouts is certainly his invention of the analogue joystick on the N64’s controller. While plenty of 64 owners will no-doubt remember the joystick as fragile and rudimentary, it’s hard not to recognize it’s importance on the modern gaming landscape. Takeda also worked closely on the Wii and WiiU, and while his presence will certainly be missed in the industry, the guy’s certainly earned some time off, I’d wager.

Resident Evil 7’s “Not a Hero” DLC Has Been Delayed

Capcom released a video earlier this week in which the directors of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard personally apologized for the delay of their upcoming “Not a Hero” DLC. Citing concerns over the quality of the content, they’ve promised to continue working on it until it’s better. It’s a refreshing display of candor and transparency that’s all too needed in the industry. And my philosophy to game releases has always been: release it when it’s done. Feels like a good move here.

The Quest Log: April 25, 2017

Welcome back to the Quest Log, gamers, your place for the latest highlights in gaming news and rumors. Heroes of the Storm 2.0 rolls out today, so I know what I’ll be checking out later tonight, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Check out the headlines below!

Heroes of the Storm 2.0 Goes Live, Brings Overwatch’s D.Va Along for the Ride

We reported last week that Blizzard would be giving away a bunch of free heroes this week as part of their celebration for the just-released version 2.0 update to Heroes of the Storm, and that day is here. The real big news, however, is the third and final new hero they’ve just revealed: everyone’s favorite pro-gamer turned freedom fighter, D.Va. Miss Song is a personal favorite of mine in Overwatch, and I’m very excited to see how she plays in the online brawler.

Blizzard’s kicking off the update’s launch with a 4-week event in which players can earn mounts for HOTS and skins for Overwatch. Also, check out the sweet cinematic above showing off HOTS’ two newest heroes battling it out with Diablo in the new, Overwatch-themed map, Hanamura.

SNES Classic Edition Rumored to Be in Production

Nintendo surprised nearly everyone earlier this month by announcing that the NES Classic Edition was being discontinued, but Eurogamer’s reporting on a rumor that might help to explain the move. Citing “sources close to (Nintendo),” they’re saying that a miniature SNES is already in development. It’s not necessarily a surprise given the NES CE’s popularity, but take the rumor with a grain of salt nonetheless. If true, it’s plausible that Nintendo had to free up production for their next diminutive gaming machine.

South Korena Presidential Candidate Releases StarCraft: Brood War Maps

Despite being nearly 20 years old, the original StarCraft and its expansion are still very popular in South Korea, so maybe it won’t come as a surprise to hear that Moon Jae-in, a presidential candidate in the country, has created and released two maps for the real-time strategy game. They’re as simplistic as they come with the only noteworthy element being that he’s spelled his name out in mineral deposits, but I can’t help but think that the US is lacking in game-savvy politicians of our own.

The Quest Log: April 21, 2017

Hope you’re as ready for this weekend as I am gamers. This weeks’ going out with a bang–I’m talking free games galore–in the gaming news department, so check out our highlights below.

EA: So, Activision, you got something special up your sleeves for COD this year?

Activision: Do we ever. We’re gonna see your WW1 shooter and do one better. World. War. 2. That’s right: TWO.

EA: Haven’t you guys done a half-dozen of those already?

Activision: Pfft. Whatever.

— Okay, this conversation probably didn’t happen.

Call of Duty: WWII Officially Announced

All we’ve got so far is a teaser image and a title, but the next COD has officially been announced. Looks like the series is returning to its roots as a World War II shooter, which were all the rage when Call of Duty first hit store shelves. I’m sure that dev work started on the game well before Battlefield One launched last year. I’m also sure that I’m not the only one who feels like Activision is looking to jump on the retro war shooter fad.


Original StarCraft Goes Free-to-play

That remaster that we talked about a few weeks back is still on the way. In the meantime, Blizzard just rolled out a patch to the 19-year-old strategy game, which, actually makes a number of significant improvements to the game in order to make it more palatable on modern systems. In addition to all of those, the game and its expansion are now totally free to download and play. If you’ve always wondered what all the fuss was about, now’s the best time to find out.

Blizzard to Give Away 20-hero Bundles to Heroes of the Storm Players

Blizz has just been killing it lately, and HOTS is no exception. With version 2.0 due out on the 25th, they’ve been showing off new heroes, new maps, and an updated loot box system that’s reminiscent of Overwatch’s. To celebrate the release of the single most significant patch the game has ever received, they’re giving every player who logs into the game after the update goes live enough of the in-game currency to buy any one of four 20-hero bundles. HOTS is a good time even for players like me who may not actually enjoy typical MOBA-styled titles, so it’s worth checking out.

Saints Row 2 Is Free on Steam and GOG

Blizzard aren’t not the only ones giving away free stuff this week. GOG started giving away the second Sainnts Row title earlier this week to promote the arrival of Saints Row 4 and its DLC on the DRM-free digital retailer. Not to be outdone (and probably because I’m sure the game’s publisher doesn’t want to play favorites), Steam also has the game up for grabs on their site. It looks like you’ve got a limited window of opportunity to nab it, so do so quick.

The Quest Log: April 18, 2017

Hey Gamers! Looking for the latest gaming news? Look no further because we’ve got you covered

The Switch is Nintendo’s Fastest-selling Console in History

TIME is reporting that “according to retail tracker NPD Group,” the Nintendo Switch has already sold 906,000 units, making it the fastest-selling system in Nintendo’s history. Given the phenomenon that was the Nintendo Wii, I’m a little personally surprised to hear this, although I’d venture a guess that short supplies of that console during its first few months on the shelves are to blame. TIME goes on to explain that while the Switch still lags behind Sony’s PS4, which holds the title as the fastest-selling console of all time, the fact Sony’s current gen system launched in the holidays might have something to do with that.

It probably goes without saying, but much of the credit for the Switch’s early success is being lauded upon The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The critically acclaimed latest entry in the widely beloved series has sold over 1.3 million copies, including 925,000 units on the Switch. And no, that’s not a typo. TIME says, “(Nintendo) reasons this is because some bought the limited edition, and a second copy to play.”

Microsoft Unveils Self-service Refund Program

An Xbox Insider member took to NeoGaf to share an exciting new feature Microsoft is bringing to Xbox and Windows 10: self-service refunds for digital game purchases. So long as the game you’re looking to “return” is eligible, attaining a refund for it may soon be as simple as logging into your Microsoft account online. We’ve seen PC-based gaming platforms offer similar programs, but this would be a first for home consoles, and it’s a big step towards a friendlier digital economy on them for users. Here’s hoping Sony and Nintendo (I won’t hold my breath) follow suit.

Battlefront II to Ditch Season Passes, Specs Ops Writer Attached to Campaign

After its official reveal late last week, Walt Williams–the writer for the critically acclaimed military shooter Spec Ops: The Line–confirmed that he was working on the Star Wars shooter’s singleplayer campaign, which should come as good news for apprehensive fans who feared the singleplayer portions of the game might feel tacked on.

Also, it’s since been rumored that EA is ditching season passes for the game. It would feel like a gamer-friendly move, and it’s in line with some of the messaging that EA’s been making in recent months (see Titanfall 2). The last Battlefront had four individual DLC packs released over the course of about a year, and it’s possible that EA’s looking to avoid dividing the community with new content, which means longer wait times during matchmaking and a generally less awesome experience for everyone.

UPDATE (4/19/2017): Since publishing this article, there has been some mixed messaging about Battlefront II and a possible season pass. I’ve updated that section accordingly.


The Quest Log: April 14, 2017

Hey Gamers, and happy Friday. The biggest news of the day is certainly that sweet new teaser trailer for Episode 8, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been plenty going on in the world of gaming. Speaking of Star Wars and news…

Battlefront II Trailer Leaks

While the trailer is supposed to hit the internet officially later today, we actually got our first look at the next entry in the storied Star Wars multiplayer shooter series earlier this week when a French version of the trailer found its way onto the web. Fans of the franchise and of the earlier games in the series who may have been disappointed with the last game just might have a renewed reason to look twice at Dice’s efforts here. The trailer shows off a singleplayer campaign in addition to playable heroes from the prequel trilogy and The Force Awakens.

Bayonetta Comes to PC

The (sexy, hairy) witch is back! The original Bayonetta, Platinum Games’ classic stylish action game, has finally come to PC with an official port now available on Steam. The release comes in the wake of a clever April Fool’s Day “joke” that we reported on last week. While it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see a port of the Nintendo-published Bayonetta 2, it’s great that PC gamers are finally getting a chance to play the heavily Devil May Cry inspired series. Platinum Games have since gone on to say that they’d love to bring more of their games to the platform, but that it’s not really up to them.

Nintendo Kills the NES Classic

If you managed to get your hands on one of the uber-popular, diminutive game consoles, count yourself lucky because Nintendo has officially announced the death of the NES Classic Edition. The system, which came pre-packed with 30 classic NES titles, has been wildly successful since it launched last holiday season, and it seems it’s been next to impossible for retailers to keep them in stock. Even still–and for reasons currently unknown–Nintendo is discontinuing it, stating that it “wasn’t intended to be an ongoing, long-term product.” Remaining stocks will be shipped to retailers through April, and then that’s it.

Could Nintendo be paving the way for the virtual console’s return on the Switch? Do they just hate money? These are not easy questions to answer.

And in case you were wondering, the Japanese analogue, the Famicon Classic Edition, is also being discontinued, but just temporarily.

So You Want to Be a Hero Again: An Interview with Corey Cole

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is an upcoming hybrid RPG-adventure game by none other than Lori and Corey Cole, the creators of the groundbreaking series, Quest for Glory, which first hit stores in 1989. After four years and two successful Kickstarter campaigns, the first in a planned series of games that will see players returning to the universe of the classic Sierra adventure games is nearing completion with a backer-exclusive Alpha test just around the corner.

“The roots reach back to Quest for Glory, but are quite distinct from it.”

The Coles were gracious enough to take a break from their crunch to chat with me about Hero-U and the unique challenges that have come along with it, including funding a large portion of the game directly out of their pockets, managing a largely remote development team, and combining two dramatically different game genres to create something that looks truly special in today’s gaming landscape.


Hi Corey and Lori,

Thanks so much for taking some time to chat with me about Hero-U. With your most recent update on Kickstarter, I get the sense that you and your teams are really in crunch mode now, so I’ll try not to monopolize too much of your schedules.

For my own part, Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is a project that I’m very emotionally invested in. It’s one of only a handful of Kickstarter projects that I’ve backed and for good reason. I grew up playing the Quest for Glory series, and I mark it as one of the most influential works of fiction in my life. As a kid, I used to daydream about one day becoming a paladin. Naturally, I jumped on board as soon as I heard the Coles were planning a return to the universe I had fallen in love with so many years ago.

First off, can you tell me what the original catalyst behind Hero-U was? Have you guys been wanting to return to the Quest for Glory universe (i.e., Gloriana) for a while, or did you originally conceive of it as an entirely independent story and setting?


A fan who is now a successful fantasy author – Mishell Baker – co-wrote the first of a planned series of young adult novels loosely based on themes in Quest for Glory, “How to Be a Hero”. Mishell came up with the idea of a web site to promote the books, and Lori and I later took it over. We expanded it into the School for Heroes website and thought we should make a game based on that.

So the roots reach back to Quest for Glory, but are quite distinct from it. In particular, I’ve been very careful to avoid anything remotely resembling infringement of Activision’s copyrights on the Quest for Glory games. Gloriana is “our world”, going back to D&D games we ran at least a decade before we started work on Hero’s Quest / Quest for Glory. One of two worlds actually – we had another “pocket universe” in the parallel world of Coriann, whose amazingly creative name comes from “Corey” and “Lori Ann”.

“Hero-U is different from most adventure games in that we’ve mostly avoided having arbitrary puzzles… mostly the game is about exploration, discovery, and relationships. Oh, and fighting bad creatures for riches and glory.”


As a project, Hero-U outgrew the original Kickstarter pitch almost immediately. I remember some reluctance to even call the original version an adventure game, and you were demo-ing (if memory serves) a sort-of turn-based combat system. Now it’s a full-blown adventure game and RPG hybrid like the QFG series was, which was always something that was unique to those games. How does Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption combine elements of both genres in new and interesting ways?


As for “outgrowing”, I think we were overly ambitious from the start. The Kickstarter campaign barely met its goal – a fraction of the budget of a normal adventure game – and we pretty much promised a game as rich as a Quest for Glory to get there. We modeled our campaign after Broken Age (the “Double Fine Adventure”). That campaign got 8 times as much as we did, and still ended up going over budget. Our proposed one-year schedule was based more on the budget than on reality, but we always wanted and intended to deliver much more game than could realistically be done under that budget.

Combining adventure and RPG was probably a silly idea. Then again, combining RPG and adventure in Quest for Glory was crazy too. This time, we have turn-based combat that is more tactical than in Quest for Glory. We also have a broad selection of weapons, armor, and other combat tools that QfG did not provide. Hero-U is different from most adventure games in that we’ve mostly avoided having arbitrary puzzles. There are a few “find this and use it to solve that” puzzles, but mostly the game is about exploration, discovery, and relationships. Oh, and fighting bad creatures for riches and glory. Most of the combat is optional; players who want a pure adventure game can stealth past the monsters and focus on discovery.

 Showing off the updated lighting effects afforded by Unity 5.5 in the latest Kickstarter update


The general premise wasn’t the only thing that changed. It wasn’t long after the initial Kickstarter campaign got funded that the general aesthetic of the game really started to take shape. Eriq Chang had produced some really gorgeous artwork for the initial pitch but departed the project shortly afterwards, and since then you’ve announced a number of artists on the game including John Paul Selwood and Terry Robinson, both of whom have created some more classical-style artwork for the game. This leads me to a few questions:

How has the overall feel and tone and atmosphere of Hero-U changed for you in terms of writing, artwork, and gameplay (both conceptually and in development) since you first started?


“At Sierra, when it became clear we needed more people, they assigned more people to the team. It’s much tougher as an indie long after we paid out the Kickstart funds.”

The changes we made in Hero-U from the original concept were mostly forced on us, but we’re very happy with the improvements they made. The original programmer quit a month into the project, followed shortly by the lead artist, both for personal reasons. Terry didn’t like the cartoony flat tiled graphics, so moved us to pseudo-3D isometric art. The programmers we brought on had a hard time making that work, and I had a hard time finding excellent 2D animators. Eventually that forced us into going almost-full 3D.

This added a lot of additional time and expense to the project. It’s actually reminiscent of Quest for Glory V, where we changed graphics and development engines two or three times, and the game took two extra years and $3 million more to develop than the original plan.

Other than the visual look, we’re actually making the game we originally proposed on Kickstarter. However, we made a lot of promises that have turned out to be very time-consuming. In particular, our focus on social interactions with other characters requires a huge amount of dialogue. Total game text is on the order of the largest Harry Potter novel – Order of the Phoenix – 255,000 words and climbing.


I understand Lori does most if not all the writing in the game? That sounds like a monumental task! How do you manage it?


“Total game text is on the order of the largest Harry Potter novel – Order of the Phoenix – 255,000 words and climbing.”

Lori wrote essentially all of the dialogue in Quest for Glory with just a few contributions from me, and she is doing the same on Hero-U. This is possible only because we’ve stretched the schedule – she’s been at it for over four years and is *almost* done. I had planned to write all the non-dialogue text, but that’s been a challenge. Fortunately, Josh Mandel joined the team and has taken over the lion’s share of writing descriptions and object interaction text. I doubt you’ll be able to tell his writing from mine in the game; we have similar styles. Josh previously contributed much of the writing in our Shannara game.


Because your team seems more dynamic than one might find in a smaller project, but also markedly different from some AAA game dev studios or when you were both at Sierra, what challenges has that presented for you, and how has it enhanced the (near) final product?


It’s been very challenging. Many terrific team members left the project for better paying or longer-term opportunities. Each time that happens, we’ve lost knowledge and expertise, and had to search for new developers. I’m very happy with the team now, and I’m hoping they’ll all make it at least to release. If the game sells well enough initially, we hope to keep most of them on for the rest of the series.

At Sierra, when it became clear we needed more people, they assigned more people to the team. It’s much tougher as an indie long after we paid out the Kickstart funds. Now Lori and I are paying team members out of personal loans and our own rather shallow pockets. Once the game releases, we might or might not make some of that back. That’s a lot different from working for a company on a fixed salary.


Final questions. First, do you have any plans for immediately after Rogue to Redemption launches? You’ve said before that you envisioned Hero-U as a series of games, for example, but do you think you’ll head right back into development on the next game?


We have a ton of work ahead of us after launching Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. We’ll need to work with distributors, try to get publicity, fulfill physical orders such as game boxes, posters, and art prints, fulfill new direct orders, and so on. We owe a visit to a fan in Germany as a Kickstarter reward, and hopefully we can meet with European gaming press while we’re over there.

What we do after that depends on initial success of the game. We might add foreign language localization, speech, ports to consoles or tablets. Then we’ll get started on the design of Hero-U 2: Wizard’s Way. But if the first game sales are dismal, we’ll instead refund pre-orders of the second game and try to figure out how we can dig our way out of massive debt. Every game production is a gamble, and this is a distinctly personal one.

We are very thankful for our backers who have enabled us to take on this ambitious game project, and we are doing our best to give them a beautiful and fun game experience.


One last question: will we see any Liontaurs in Hero-U?


There are no Liontaurs currently enrolled in Hero-U.  However, there are many statues and paintings commemorating famous people, fabulous creatures, and Heroes. And of course quite a variety of fantastic and terrifying creatures guarding the dungeons and catacombs beneath the castle.

“We are very thankful for our backers who have enabled us to take on this ambitious game project, and we are doing our best to give them a beautiful and fun game experience.”


Thanks, Corey!

To learn more about Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption, visit the official website at

The Quest Log: April 11, 2017

Happy Overwatch Uprising day, everyone! I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait to get back into my favorite shooter and start winning some of those sweet skins. That’s not the only thing going on in the news, though, so check out our highlights below.

Nintendo Expands HackerOne Program to Switch

Last December, Nintendo extended the call to would-be 3DS hackers with an offer of $100 – $20,000 for the discovery vulnerabilities and security flaws in the system’s hardware and/or software. Today, Nintendo have officially expanded the program to include the Switch. While they’re reluctant to share hard details about what possible discoveries qualify for which rewards, it sounds like three savvy individuals have already received undisclosed sums for their work. Seems like a good chance for budding security experts to bolster their resumes and potentially earn some money.

KOTOR Is (Probably) Not Getting a Reboot Anytime Soon

Earlier this week, a rumor originating from popular gaming journalist Liam Robertson began circulating that BioWare’s Austin, TX studio were working on a possible reboot of the beloved RPG, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. While similar rumors come and go, this one picked up some speed, particularly after some ambiguous comments were made by Drew Karpyshyn, the original lead writer of KOTOR (and Mass Effect) on his official Twitter account. BioWare Austin have historically been responsible for Star Wars: The Old Republic, the MMO spinoff, and EA continue to hold exclusive game development rights to the Star Wars universe, so it seemed as if the stars had aligned.

We dared to dream, but it seems it was not to be. Kotaku’s Jason Schreier reached out to Robertson who quickly backed down on his initial report. Instead, Schreier says that BioWare Austin is working on an as-of-yet unannounced all-new IP, which he says will be more akin to Bungie’s Destiny.

Overwatch’s Newest Event Rises Up

We reported last week that Blizzard were teasing something big for Overwatch, and now the other shoe has fallen. Like the events that came before it, Overwatch Uprising brings a slew of new unlockables (including one Dva highlight intro for which I’ll absolutely die if I don’t get it) and a new game mode, which sees players facing off in teams of four against waves of AI-controlled Omnic opponents in Tracer’s first-ever mission with the team seven years prior to the game’s current setting. Last Halloween’s PVE event was a blast to play, and this one looks even better. Hit the link up below for a look at the sweet new skins as well as the official trailer.

Latest Dragon Quest Lets Players Choose Their Preferred Art Style

We may or may not ever see it outside of Japan, but Square Enxi is making some surprising decisions regarding the upcoming Dragon Quest, which is a series far more popular in the Land of the Rising Sun than it is here in the states. Not only will DQXI be released in a special edition bundle that includes both the PS4 and 3DS versions of the game, it will be playable in any one of three distinct art styles. The PS4 version includes high-res 3D graphics, as you expect, but the 3DS game can be played in either a cell-shaded aesthetic or as a classic, SNES-style isometric JRPG. It’s pretty wild, and worth checking out the trailer even if you’re not a fan of the series.

The Quest log: April 8, 2017

Welcome back to the Quest Log, where we regularly feature the top highlights in gaming news.

Microsoft Shows Off Impressive Scorpio Specs

Earlier this week, Digital Foundry released an exclusive look at the guts of Microsoft’s Project Scorpio, the Xbox update slated for release this fall. The new console will feature both a custom 8-core CPU, clocked at 2.3 Ghz per core, and a custom 40-core GPU clocked at 1172 Mhz. From a hardware perspective, it definitely looks like Microsoft will have the most powerful console on the market this year, but the finer details of software and developer support remain to be seen.

Nier: Automata Ships Over 1 Million Units

Square Enix announced in an official press release earlier this week that Nier: Automata, the postmodern action JRPG developed by Platinum Games, had shipped over one million physical and digital units. The success of the game is largely unprecedented given its predecessors’ largely niche status. The game’s director, Yoko Taro, made a heartfelt tweet thanking all of the players who’ve made the game a success.

Atlus Threatens Persona 5 Streamers

Atlus, the developers behind Persona 5, the best JRPG since Final Fantasy IX, have issued a formal threat to social media streamers who, stating:

“If you decide to stream past 7/7 (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND NOT DOING THIS, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED), you do so at the risk of being issued a content ID claim or worse, a channel strike/account suspension.”

The idea here seems to be that as a story-driven game with relatively linear progression, Atlys is concerned that streamers will diminish the value of actually buying the game (why play when you can watch?), which is of course ludicrous.

Mass Effect Patch Improves Character Faces

Mass Effect: Andromeda got its first major update since BioWare laid out their plans for post-launch support, and it’s having a surprisingly positive impact on the appearance of characters throughout the game. One character, Director Foster Addison, who was the subject of plenty of criticism prior to the patch looks markedly better than before.

Gaming Payment Processor Xsolla Begins Collecting “Tips” from Buyers

Xsolla, a popular payment processor used by gaming services such as Twitch and Steam, has reportedly begun including tips of up to 18% by default as part of their regular transactions. The tip goes directly to the payment processor as opposed to, say, the game developer, publisher, or retailer, and is akin to tipping someone for taking your money and handing it over to someone else, which is itself already in addition to Xsolla’s regular service fees. It would appear that the setting can be altered at the request of the Xsolla subscriber (i.e., Twitch), but if you’re planning on sending some money via Twitch to one of your favorite streamers via Xsolla, it behooves you to check the final total at checkout.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Mass Effect: Andromeda revolves around the Andromeda Initiative; a group of colonists with the mission of settling in the uncharted Andromeda Galaxy. You play the role of Ryder, a Pathfinder, tasked with finding suitable planets for your people’s colonization efforts. While exploring this new galaxy, you will discover new worlds, encounter new races, and uncover ancient alien ruins; all the while bonding with your ragtag crew, each equipped with their unique quirks and personalities.  While this may sound familiar to most fans of the series, Andromeda expands and builds upon the positive aspects of what made the Mass Effect games so engaging, but is ultimately hampered by its technical shortcomings along the way.

ME:A continues Mass Effect’s tradition of presenting the player with fast paced 3rd-person shooter combat. Ryder’s abilities are impressive to see in action; while mixing and matching them on the fly is necessary to exploit weaknesses on tough enemies or create massive combos on opposing forces. The vastly improved cover system also helps to create desperate, exciting battles that never seem to play out the same way.

The new jetpack is also a welcome feature; adding a level of mobility unprecedented in the series thus far.  I found it extremely useful in combat situations as I was able to create angles on enemies behind cover simply by jumping in the air. The jetpack also gives way to new platforming sections in which I never really minded as they never felt obstructive to my progress in the game. 

Outside of navigating the world on foot, you will have access to the Nomad, a six-wheel all-terrain vehicle. Driving the Nomad is pretty fun due to the design and layout of the different planets offered in Mass Effect. One of the more memorable moments of the game consists of driving the Nomad on a low gravity planet, as I spent the majority of my time there launching myself as high as I could before slowly crashing back down.

This new sense of freedom translates directly into Mass Effect’s emphasis on catering to your play style. Customizing your character’s combat abilities is easier than ever with the introduction of the Profile system, allowing you to switch combat roles on the fly. You can start a battle with being a Sentinel to soak up damage and then switch to a more damage dealing profile, such as the Adept or the Soldier, or just stick with the always fun, jack-of-all-trades Pathfinder profile, giving you teleportation abilities. This freedom encourages you to experiment with different loadouts, and with the game’s exceptional selection of weapons, you can spend quite a bit of time re-specializing your character to find out what works for you as well as what complements your team’s strengths and abilities. And while your teams A.I. can sometimes get you into trouble, as they seem to find it hard to find cover at times, I still found them helpful specifically in setting up combos and taking down priority targets.

The teamwork expressed in combat translates into your conversations with your squad as well. Your team will interact with your character unprovoked, sometimes at random, interjecting their personality at their whim, shouting at you in a fight or even arguing with another squad mate. Conversations feel more organic than in previous entries, with Andromeda forgoing the Paragon/Renegade morality system used in previous games, and allowing the player to easily express their genuine response to a situation, rather than tying the player to one of two responses.  The game also uses this to great effect in missions where I found myself not entirely sure what was the “right” thing to do.

While the majority of your time will be dedicated to exploring planets and shooting enemies, that would be just a snapshot of what Andromeda has to offer. From solving murders to stopping assassination attempts, and even tracking down movie snacks- ME:A seems to have an endless variety of missions to try. I’ve clocked in around 70 hours with the game, and I still find new missions to complete or items to collect for the robust loot system. Researching and developing new upgrades or weapons for your team becomes an addicting endeavor. Not to mention Andromeda’s excellent, wave-based online co-op multiplayer also offers countless hours of entertainment. Simply put, the amount of content offered in Andromeda is staggering. 

And while ME:A provides a lot of value to the player, it fails in its execution at times. Besides the controversial facial animations, I’ve found myself falling through the map after fast travel, or stuck in one place, unable to move and having to reload a previous save to fix the problem. While these errors are inexcusable, nothing I’ve encountered so far is game-breaking and can only hope a patch can fix the issues I’ve come across. ME:A’s glitches certainly add frustration to your journey, but there is enough good in this game to keep you interested regardless of its faults. You’ll still find yourself anxious to uncover the next story development or discover the next planet to survey. Mass Effect’s spirit is alive and well within Andromeda’s universe, even if it’s ugly to look at sometimes.

The Quest Log: April 4, 2017

Welcome, Gamers, to our first Quest Log of April. Looking for what’s going on in gaming news? You’ve come to the right place.

Destiny 2 DLC Launch Dates Leak

Redditor /u/noblesteeda posted on the Destiny subreddit an image of what appears to be an official dossier from Bungie to GameStop regarding their upcoming launch and post-launch plans for Destiny 2. The document also details what specific cosmetic customizations for Destiny 1 guardians will carry over into the sequel (which is mostly just a confirmation of what we’ve seen before) and a pre-order bonus exclusive to GameStop. More interesting, however, is the language surrounding the optional season pass that Bungie naturally wants to incentivize players to buy. The pass will grant gamers access to the first two planned expansion packs, the first of which is due this winter, with another one due next Spring. If that seems like a relatively short time to release two full-blown expansions packs (it probably is), remember that they did something similar for the original game’s release.

Blizzard Teasing April 11 Event in Overwatch

Yesterday, the official Overwatch Twitter account tweeted out a 20-second video that seems to be teasing… something. Some keen fans noticed what appears to be an Omnic-themed (the Omnics being the sentient AI race in Overwatch lore) skin for Tracer, and a post on Facebook by the game’s lead character artist has only fueled the fires on that hope. The game’s one-year anniversary is just around the corner, so it’d make sense to see some a celebratory seasonal event. But will that event also include Doomfist?

8-bit Bayonetta Launches on Steam, Accompanies Countdown Clock

In what initially looked like an April Fool’s Day prank, Sega have released 8-bit Bayonetta on Steam. The game, which is free to play, sees players battling waves of enemies in just one environment and features sprite-based artwork that is reminiscent of classic action platformers (albeit not actually 8-bit, by the looks of it). It’s a fun diversion, but what’s more interesting to fans of Platinum Games’ stylish shoot-em-up is the countdown clock that appeared on Sega’s official site around the very same time the mini game launched.

BioWare Lays out Plans for Post-launch Andromeda

In an official press release today, Aaryn Flynn, the general manager of BioWare, laid out their plans to support and improve upon Mass Effect: Andromeda post-launch. The hotly anticipated sci-fi RPG has been met with a good deal of controversy, largely stemming around the game’s character animations since it hit shelves just two weeks ago. The first patch, due this Thursday, will allow players to skip ahead when traveling between planets, increase inventory limits, and “improve eye appearance for human and asari characters,” among other changes. Hit up the link below for the full release as well as the patch notes.