Author: Danny Cowan

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‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ post-launch patch addresses balance, animation bugs

Why it matters to you

Mass Effect: Andromeda shipped with a host of issues that impact gameplay and fans are eagerly awaiting fixes on multiple fronts.

The first post-launch patch for Mass Effect: Andromeda will roll out[1] across all platforms this week in a bid to fix the game’s widely criticized lip-sync and facial animation issues.

Mass Effect: Andromeda Patch 1.05 will also introduce several major balance changes while adding a “much-requested” option to skip the many autopilot sequences players will see throughout the game’s lengthy campaign.

More: BioWare addresses ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ complaints, will reveal full plans in April[2]

Released in March, Mass Effect: Andromeda is a sci-fi action-RPG with a focus on character building and interpersonal relationships. The release marks the series’ first appearance on current-generation consoles, following up on the success of an initial trilogy of games for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PCs.

Unlike previous series entries, Mass Effect: Andromeda is developed by BioWare Montreal, a spinoff studio that was founded in 2009. The studio’s inexperience with the series, combined with tight deadlines imposed by publisher Electronic Arts, ultimately resulted in a product that hit retail with buggy animations, awkward dialogue, and stability issues.

More: A Complete Guide to ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ Romances[3]

BioWare Montreal will begin addressing Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s various bugs starting this week with the multiplatform release of Patch 1.05. The studio notes that incoming fixes include improved lip-sync and facial acting, the addition of missing sound cues, and corrected collision detection in certain areas.

Players can also expect to see many balance changes across the game’s single-player and multiplayer modes, addressing reported issues with difficulty and progression. Other planned improvements target problems with tutorial placement, save file functionality, voiceover sequences, interactivity following certain cutscenes and events in single-player and multiplayer modes, and “logic, timing, and continuity for relationships and story arcs.”

The game’s first post-launch patch arrives as a downloadable update for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC platforms on Thursday.

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Better spend your points: Nintendo DSi Shop closes at the end of March

Why it matters to you

It’s now or never — if you have any DSi Shop points remaining, you’d better spend them now, as they will be gone forever at the end of the month.

Nintendo is closing[1] its DSi Shop at the end of this month, and players have until March 31 to spend any remaining points before permanently losing the ability to purchase new games.

While purchased games will still be redownloadable for the foreseeable future, Nintendo warns that any unspent DSi Shop points will be gone for good once the service officially closes at the end of the month.

More: Nintendo’s DSi online storefront set to close in 2017[2]

Nintendo’s DSi Shop was a predecessor to the company’s cross-platform eShop, and was available exclusively to owners of Nintendo DSi and DSi XL portables. The DSi arrived in 2009 as a stopgap release between the original DS and the 3DS, and established a catalog of digitally distributed portable games for the first time in Nintendo’s history.

The DSi Shop hosted hundreds of digital DSiWare games, many of which were not released at retail. Popular DSiWare titles released over the portable platform’s lifespan include the puzzle-platformer Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again, retro-style puzzler Pictobits, and the since-discontinued animation app Flipnote Studio.

While many DSiWare games are downloadable and playable on 3DS systems, many featured titles remain exclusive to DSi family portables. These games will no longer be available for purchase once the DSi Shop closes across all regions this week.

More: Best Nintendo DS Games and Nintendo DSi Games[3]

Last-minute DSi Shop purchases will not guarantee permanence, however, as Nintendo warns that the ability to redownload purchased DSiWare games “will also stop at some point.”

“You can still … purchase content in the Nintendo DSi Shop until March 31, 2017,” Nintendo said. “The ability to redownload Nintendo DSiWare games will also stop at some point; we will announce specific details as that time approaches.”

Nintendo adds: “Note that even after the Nintendo DSi Shop closes, most Nintendo DSiWare will continue to be sold in the Nintendo eShop on systems in the Nintendo 3DS family.”

References

  1. ^ closing (www.nintendo.com)
  2. ^ Nintendo’s DSi online storefront set to close in 2017 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ Best Nintendo DS Games and Nintendo DSi Games (www.digitaltrends.com)
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LiquidSky promises seamless PC game streaming with relaunched client

Why it matters to you

LiquidSky promises high-caliber gaming performance in exchange for viewing ads, making it an attractive prospect for PC gamers on a budget.

Gaming-focused cloud streaming service LiquidSky relaunched[1] with support for hundreds of compatible PC games, promising high-quality, low-latency performance across Windows PCs, smartphones, and tablets.

Powered by remote PCs equipped with AMD Vega graphics cards, LiquidSky streams live gameplay via a cloud-based infrastructure, allowing gamers to experience modern PC games at speedy framerates without investing in pricy gaming rigs.

More: AMD’s upcoming Vega-based graphics cards will be called Radeon RX Vega[2]

After signing up for LiquidSky, players import their existing PC game libraries and queue up into boarding groups for access to a fleet of virtual PCs. Once boarded, players pay by the hour for access to high-performance PC gaming hardware, allowing games to run at high resolutions with speedy framerates.

LiquidSky offers several performance packages based on the needs of individual users. Players who opt for the “Gamer” package can access the service free of charge for up to three hours a day by watching ads; each watched ad awards 40 “SkyCredits,” and up to 180 free credits can be earned daily.

Players can access the service’s Gamer performance package at a cost of 60 SkyCredits per hour, which grants control over a virtual PC with three vCPU cores, 8GB of RAM, and a 2GB GPU. The package promises framerates starting at 30 frames per second and supports resolutions up to 1080p.

More: AMD’s Vega graphics chip appears on CompuBench as its launch nears[3]

LiquidSky’s “Pro” performance package bumps virtual PC specs up to six vCPU cores, 16GB of RAM, and a 4GB GPU. Hardcore gamers may also want to check out the “Elite” tier, which delivers 12 vCPU cores, 32GB of RAM, and an 8GB GPU. Access to Pro-level virtual PCs costs 120 SkyCredits per hour, while Elite packages charge 240 SkyCredits hourly.

In addition to earning SkyCredits by watching ads, LiquidSky users can purchase playtime via microtransactions, starting at $10 for 1,500 SkyCredits. Service sign-ups and client downloads are available free of charge.

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‘Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey’ remake announced for Nintendo 3DS

Why it matters to you

Persona fans who missed out on Strange Journey the first time around can now experience a remastered version … if they can tear themselves away from Persona 5, of course.

A remake of Atlus’ 2009 dungeon crawler Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey is in the works for the Nintendo 3DS, and fans can expect to see new recruitable demons, added voice acting, and an all-new ending that promises a unique take on series events.

Shin Megami Tensei: Deep Strange Journey will launch in Japan this fall, and while a North American release has not yet been announced, Atlus will likely address the game’s localization status following next month’s launch of Persona 5.

More: ‘Persona 5’: Our first take[1]

Originally released for the Nintendo DS, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey is a first-person dungeon crawler with turn-based combat mechanics. Like previous games in the Shin Megami Tensei series, Strange Journey features character recruitment mechanics, allowing players to forge alliances with demons and monsters encountered throughout the quest.

Recalling the first-person dungeon exploration sequences that defined earlier Shin Megami Tensei games, Strange Journey uses the same gameplay engine as Atlus’ Etrian Odyssey games. As players explore the game’s massive labyrinths, an automapping feature tracks progress on the portable’s bottom screen, making careful cartography a part of the core gameplay experience.

Strange Journey is part of the same series as Atlus’ Persona games, and many Persona fans have explored the franchise’s origins in the years following the launch of Persona 3 and Persona 4. In general, the dungeon-crawling entries in the Shin Megami Tensei series are more complex and difficult than the Persona games, and players braving Strange Journey‘s mazes should expect a steep challenge.

More: Atlus details free and paid DLC set to be released in support of ‘Persona 5’[2]

Shin Megami Tensei: Deep Strange Journey will feature all content from its DS predecessor while adding voice acting for all major story sequences. Deep Strange Journey also expands its character roster to over 350 recruitable creatures, and added story sequences will give new insight into the game’s narrative.

Shin Megami Tensei: Deep Strange Journey launches this fall for the Nintendo 3DS in Japan. Localizations for North America and Europe have not yet been announced.

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‘Star Wars Battlefront’ and ‘Need for Speed’ follow-ups headline EA Play 2017

Why it matters to you

Fans are eager for an early glimpse at the next Star Wars Battlefront, and the timing is right for yet another Need for Speed sequel or reboot after the series took a break in 2016.

Electronic Arts announced[1] its featured lineup for the upcoming EA Play 2017 gaming event in Hollywood, revealing that attendees will get a first look at “the next Star Wars Battlefront and Need for Speed experiences.”

EA Play will also host the playable debut of the company’s 2017 EA Sports lineup, offering hands-on demos for Madden NFL 18, FIFA 18, NBA Live 18, and more.

More: ‘Star Wars: Battlefront’ follow-up will feature single-player mode, multiple eras[2]

Launched in 2016 as an alternative to the Electronic Entertainment Expo, EA Play is a public, fan-oriented event that shows off the publisher’s upcoming lineup of games for consoles and PCs. Last year’s show gave players the chance to try games like Star Wars Battlefront and Titanfall 2 months before they hit retail, and this year’s event will follow suit with a similar lineup of upcoming releases.

While EA did not specify whether “the next Star Wars Battlefront and Need for Speed experiences” are all-new games or add-on content for existing releases, it’s likely that many sequels will be unveiled for the first time at EA Play 2017. EA notes that the event will also host “detailed gameplay deep dives, competitive events, and exclusive interviews with the development teams” for many of its featured games.

More: Next year’s ‘Star Wars: Battlefront’ sequel will add much-requested campaign mode[3]

EA Play 2017 will kick off at The Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, California, on June 10, and festivities will continue through June 12. Players who aren’t able to attend the event in person can catch up on announcements, trailers, and live panel sessions via EA’s official Twitch channel.

“Those that can attend in Hollywood will experience hands-on gameplay, live entertainment, and much more,” EA said. “For anyone joining digitally around the world, EA Play will feature live-streams, deeper looks into EA’s upcoming games and experiences, and content from some of the best creators in the community. For players, content creators, media, industry partners and more, EA Play 2017 will deliver a network of experiences to celebrate a world of play.”

Tickets for EA Play 2017 will be available for purchase starting April 20 at 9:00 a.m. PT.

       
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