I am proud of my ugly, humble creation in Space Engineers

For reasons, Space Engineers got its hooks into me last week. I had plans to fly around in space exploring, salvaging, and maybe pirating some rich jerks. But I started on a Mars-y orange planet (I am assured that Mars is not actually red, just its atmosphere), and had to get to space first. Well, first I had to figure out how the game worked, which was needlessly difficult, but whinge moan complain, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about what I built.

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Have You Played… Theme Park World?

Also known as Theme Park 2, also know as Sim Theme Park. This game consumed my prepubescent years. That Theme Park World hasn’t received a gussy up and polish to sell on Steam or GOG is a genuine surprise to me, because it’s a smashing little management sim. I mean, it’s a Bullfrog game, so you know what to expect.

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Rivals Of Aether – Definitive Edition Arrives On Switch This Summer

Prepare to fight.

One brawler that’s yet to be released on Nintendo’s hybrid system is the indie hit Rivals of Aether by Dan Fornace. Its standard release has been available on certain other platforms since 2017 and now the game’s official Twitter account has revealed the “definitive edition” will be arriving on Switch and Steam this summer.

This was the official announcement over on Twitter:

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

This Week’s Deals With Gold And Spotlight Sale Plus A Publisher Sale

Here are this week’s games and add-on deals on the Xbox Games Store. Discounts are valid now through 03 February 2020.

These deals will expire at 11:00 am UTC on Tuesday February 4th 2020

Xbox One Deals

Content Title Content Type Discount Notes
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – Digital Standard Edition Xbox One Game 35% DWG
Red Dead Redemption 2: Ultimate Edition Xbox One Game 60% DWG
Splash Blast Panic Xbox Play Anywhere 40% DWG
Mordheim: City of the Damned Xbox One Game 75% DWG
Yooka-Laylee: Buddy Duo Bundle Xbox One Game 50% DWG
V-Rally 4 Xbox One X Enhanced 65% DWG
Blood Bowl 2 Xbox One Game 75% DWG
2Dark Xbox One Game 80% DWG
Agatha Knife Xbox One Game 40% DWG
AngerForce:Reloaded Xbox One Game 40% DWG
Initial2: New Stage Xbox One X Enhanced 50% DWG
JackQuest Xbox One Game 50% DWG
LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity Xbox One Game w/ Free Trial 50% DWG
Lost Sea Xbox One Game 80% DWG
Seasons after Fall Xbox One Game 75% DWG
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter Xbox One Game 80% DWG
Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom Xbox One Game 75% DWG
Songbringer Bundle Xbox Play Anywhere 70% DWG
Sudden Strike 4 – European Battlefields Xbox One X Enhanced 67% DWG
Digerati Card Game Bundle Vol.1 Xbox One Game 80% DWG
The Church in the Darkness Xbox One X Enhanced 50% DWG
The Technomancer Xbox One Game 75% DWG
V-Rally 4 Ultimate Edition Xbox One X Enhanced 65% DWG
Worbital Xbox One X Enhanced 50% DWG
World to the West Xbox One Game 70% DWG
WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship Xbox One Game 85% Spotlight
WRC 5 FIA World Rally Championship Xbox One Game 90% Spotlight
Tennis World Tour Xbox One X Enhanced 65% Spotlight
Tennis World Tour – Roland-Garros Edition Xbox One X Enhanced 50% Spotlight
Sublevel Zero Redux Xbox One Game 75% Spotlight
Knee Deep Xbox One Game 70% Spotlight
Horse Racing 2016 Xbox One Game w/ Free Trial 90% Spotlight
Rento Fortune – Monolit Tycoon Xbox One Game 30% Spotlight
Cast of the Seven Godsends – Redux Xbox One Game w/ Free Trial 80% Spotlight
Industry Giant 2 Xbox One Game 70% Spotlight
Industry Giant 2: 1980-2020 Add-On 70% Spotlight
Gekido Kintaro’s Revenge Xbox One Game 50% Spotlight
The Forbidden Arts Xbox One X Enhanced 40% Spotlight
Madden NFL 20 Xbox One X Enhanced 50% Spotlight
Madden NFL 20: Superstar Edition Xbox One X Enhanced 50% Spotlight
Madden NFL 20: Ultimate Superstar Edition Xbox One X Enhanced 50% Spotlight
EA Sports FIFA 20 Xbox One X Enhanced 50% Spotlight
EA Sports FIFA 20 Champions Edition Xbox One X Enhanced 50% Spotlight
EA Sports FIFA 20 Ultimate Edition Xbox One X Enhanced 50% Spotlight
Inferno 2+ Xbox One Game 30% Spotlight
Sudden Strike 4: The Pacific War Add-On 50% Spotlight
Sudden Strike 4: Africa – Desert War Add-On 50% Spotlight
Zombieland: Double Tap- Road Trip Xbox One Game 40% Spotlight
Batman: Arkham Collection Xbox Game Pass 67% Spotlight
Batman: Arkham Knight Xbox Game Pass 60% Spotlight
Batman: Arkham Knight Premium Edition Xbox Game Pass 60% Spotlight
Mortal Kombat 11 Xbox One X Enhanced 60% Spotlight
Mortal Kombat 11 Kombat Pack Add-On 60% Spotlight
Mortal Kombat 11 Premium Edition Xbox One X Enhanced 60% Spotlight
Mortal Kombat 11 PE + Injustice 2 LE – Premier Fighter Xbox One X Enhanced 50% Spotlight
Injustice 2 Xbox One X Enhanced 50% Spotlight
Injustice 2 – Ultimate Pack Add-On 50% Spotlight
Injustice 2 – Legendary Edition Xbox One X Enhanced 50% Spotlight
Wreckfest Xbox One Game w/ Free Trial 20% Publisher Sale
Monster Jam Steel Titans Xbox One X Enhanced 50% Publisher Sale
MX vs ATV All Out Xbox One X Enhanced 70% Publisher Sale
Darksiders III Xbox Game Pass 67% Publisher Sale
Fade To Silence Xbox One Game 67% Publisher Sale
Elex Xbox One X Enhanced 60% Publisher Sale
Sine Mora EX Xbox One Game 80% Publisher Sale
MX vs. ATV Supercross Encore Xbox One Game 75% Publisher Sale
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Director’s Cut Xbox Game Pass 80% Publisher Sale
Red Faction Geurrilla Re-Mars-tered Xbox One Game 75% Publisher Sale
Aces Of The Luftwaffe – Squadron Xbox One Game 50% Publisher Sale
Baja: Edge of Control HD Xbox One Game 80% Publisher Sale
Battle Chasers: Nightwar Xbox Game Pass 75% Publisher Sale
Battle Worlds: Kronos Xbox One Game 85% Publisher Sale
Black Mirror Xbox One Game 80% Publisher Sale
Clouds & Sheep 2 Xbox One Game 80% Publisher Sale
Crazy Sports Bundle Xbox One Game 80% Publisher Sale
Darksiders Fury’s Collection – War and Death Xbox One Game 80% Publisher Sale
Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition Xbox One X Enhanced 80% Publisher Sale
Darksiders III – Blades & Whip Edition Xbox Game Pass 60% Publisher Sale
Darksiders III – Deluxe Edition Xbox Game Pass 60% Publisher Sale
Darksiders 3 DLC Bundle Add-On 50% Publisher Sale
Darksiders Warmastered Edition Xbox One X Enhanced 80% Publisher Sale
de Blob Xbox Game Pass 80% Publisher Sale
de Blob 2 Xbox One Game 75% Publisher Sale
Dynamite Fishing – World Games Xbox One Game 80% Publisher Sale
Jagged Alliance: Rage! Xbox One X Enhanced 67% Publisher Sale
Lock’s Quest Xbox One Game 80% Publisher Sale
MX vs ATV All Out 2017 Honda Vehicle Bundle Add-On 50% Publisher Sale
MX vs ATV All Out 2017 Husqvarna Vehicle Bundle Add-On 50% Publisher Sale
MX vs ATV All Out 2017 Kawasaki Vehicle Bundle Add-On 50% Publisher Sale
MX vs ATV All Out 2017 KTM Vehicle Bundle Add-On 50% Publisher Sale
MX vs ATV All Out 2017 Suzuki Vehicle Bundle Add-On 50% Publisher Sale
MX vs ATV All Out 2017 Yamaha Vehicle Bundle Add-On 50% Publisher Sale
MX vs. ATV Supercross Encore Supercross Track Pack 1 Add-On 50% Publisher Sale
MX vs. ATV Supercross Encore Supercross Track Pack 2 Add-On 50% Publisher Sale
MX vs. ATV Supercross Encore Supercross Track Pack 3 Add-On 50% Publisher Sale
MX vs. ATV Supercross Encore Supercross Track Pack 4 Add-On 50% Publisher Sale
MX vs. ATV Supercross Encore Supercross Track Pack Bundle Add-On 50% Publisher Sale
MX vs. ATV Supercross Encore All-in-One Bundle Add-On 50% Publisher Sale
Rad Rodgers Xbox One Game 50% Publisher Sale
Rebel Cops Xbox One X Enhanced 25% Publisher Sale
Stunt Kite Party Xbox One Game 67% Publisher Sale
Super Party Sports: Football Xbox One Game 80% Publisher Sale
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 Xbox Game Pass 80% Publisher Sale
The Dwarves Xbox One Game 85% Publisher Sale
The Raven Remastered Xbox One Game 75% Publisher Sale
This Is the Police Xbox One Game 75% Publisher Sale
This Is The Police 2 Xbox One X Enhanced 70% Publisher Sale
Titan Quest Xbox One X Enhanced 75% Publisher Sale
We Sing Pop Xbox One Game 85% Publisher Sale
Wreckfest Deluxe Xbox One Game 20% Publisher Sale
Wreckfest Season Pass Add-On 20% Publisher Sale
Wreckfest – Retro Rammers Car Pack Add-On 20% Publisher Sale
Wreckfest – Goofy Roofs Pack Add-On 20% Publisher Sale
Wreckfest – Backwoods Bangers Car Pack Add-On 20% Publisher Sale

*These offers are only valid for Xbox Live Gold members.

Please note: prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by region.

Xbox 360 Deals

Content Title Content Type Discount Notes
Mars: War Logs* Backward Compatible 80% DWG
Bound By Flame* Backward Compatible 80% DWG
Alien Breed Episode 1* Arcade 75% DWG
Alien Breed 2: Assault* Arcade 75% DWG
Alien Breed 3: Descent* Arcade 75% DWG
Grand Theft Auto V* Games On Demand 50% DWG
Destroy All Humans! Backward Compatible 80% Publisher Sale
MX vs. ATV Reflex Backward Compatible 80% Publisher Sale
MX Unleashed Backward Compatible 80% Publisher Sale
Full Spectrum Warrior Backward Compatible 80% Publisher Sale
Frontlines: Fuel of War Backward Compatible 80% Publisher Sale
Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon Games On Demand 80% Publisher Sale
MX vs. ATV Alive Games On Demand 80% Publisher Sale
Darksiders II Backward Compatible 80% Publisher Sale
de Blob 2 Backward Compatible 80% Publisher Sale
ArcaniA Games On Demand 80% Publisher Sale
Avatar: TLA: TBE Games On Demand 80% Publisher Sale
Black Knight Sword Arcade 80% Publisher Sale
Conan Games On Demand 80% Publisher Sale
Darksiders Games On Demand 80% Publisher Sale
Deadfall Adventure Backward Compatible 80% Publisher Sale
Elements of Destruction Arcade 80% Publisher Sale
Fantastic Pets Games On Demand 80% Publisher Sale
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams Arcade 80% Publisher Sale
JUJU Backward Compatible 80% Publisher Sale
Legend of Kay Anniversary Backward Compatible 80% Publisher Sale
MX vs. ATV Supercross Games On Demand 80% Publisher Sale
MX vs. ATV: Untamed Games On Demand 80% Publisher Sale
Painkiller Hell & Damnation Games On Demand 80% Publisher Sale
Panzer Elite Action: Fields of Glory (Not available in US) Backward Compatible 80% Publisher Sale
Red Faction: Armageddon Backward Compatible 80% Publisher Sale
Red Faction: Battlegrounds Backward Compatible 80% Publisher Sale
Red Faction: Guerrilla Games On Demand 80% Publisher Sale
Rocket Riot Arcade 80% Publisher Sale
Sine Mora Backward Compatible 80% Publisher Sale
Stacking Backward Compatible 80% Publisher Sale
Stuntman: Ignition Backward Compatible 80% Publisher Sale
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 Games On Demand 80% Publisher Sale
The Outfit Games On Demand 80% Publisher Sale
The Raven – Legacy of a Master Thief Episode 1 Arcade 80% Publisher Sale
The Raven – Legacy of a Master Thief Episode 2 Add-On 80% Publisher Sale
The Raven – Legacy of a Master Thief Episode 3 Add-On 80% Publisher Sale
Thunder Wolves Arcade 80% Publisher Sale
Zombie Driver HD Arcade 80% Publisher Sale

*These offers are only valid for Xbox Live Gold members.

Please note: prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by region.

Related:
This Week’s Deals With Gold And Spotlight Sale Plus Lunar New Year And Artistic Adventure Sale
This Week’s Deals With Gold And Spotlight Sale Plus Add-On Sale
This Week’s Deals With Gold And Spotlight Sale Plus Last Chance And Free To Play Sale

Pillars Of Eternity II: Deadfire – Ultimate Edition Is Now Available For Xbox One

The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners Review

Imagine what would happen if you took a half-season of The Walking Dead TV show, mashed it together with a Deus Ex or System Shock style of exploration and decision-making, and then drizzled it with the best aspects of a modern VR game. What you might end up with is a survival horror game that’s oppressively tense and brutal, but also tugs on you relentlessly to explore every corner of its post-apocalyptic world for hidden loot and nuggets of lore. The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is exactly that, and it absolutely nails the mix, delivering it with a level of detail and a depth of interactivity that feels like a genuine step forward for virtual reality.

You play as the Tourist, a storied survivor and living urban legend who seems to be immune to the fictional virus that makes everybody else a little bitier in The Walking Dead universe. You’ve rolled into the sunken remains of New Orleans following a rumor about a buried hotbed of limitless supplies called the Reserve, and the rest is up to you. It’s a simple setup, but one that’s perfect for the size and scope of Saints & Sinners because it doesn’t immediately saddle you with any presumptions about your character’s morality.

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You’re introduced to New Orleans by your old buddy Henri, but the moral choices you’ll make while navigating its several open-ended zones are yours alone. As an Obsidian fan, I was pleased to find that there were several major factions fighting for control of the Reserve, each with their own perspective on the bleak situation around you. One such moral choice involves a mission where a faction member will send you to rescue their brother in exchange for an important item, and it’s fantastic that you can then choose to upend the original mission and kill the brother, earning his captors as allies and instead taking the item by force – if that’s the path you prefer, of course. Saints & Sinners’ ending depends entirely on the decisions you make throughout the campaign too, few of which are decidedly ‘good’ or ‘evil’.

All that choice makes the Tourist primarily a shell for you to insert your own personality into, with decent voice acting that gives life to each dialogue option, much like Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect series. By comparison, Telltale’s The Walking Dead accomplished some truly great feats of cinematic storytelling and meaningful decision-making in its hostile and zombie-riddled world, but it never gave me free rein to do whatever I wanted. That’s something I had craved for years when I was a regular watcher of The Walking Dead TV series, and while Telltale’s take on The Walking Dead certainly made me care about Clementine, it never made me feel like I was in that world.

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Saints & Sinners scratches that itch with the grace and confidence of a well-lubricated bowie knife. The portrayal of killing zombies – or walkers – has never been as satisfying as it is here, and the abject terror of an unexpected walker swarm has never been as palpable. Zombie guts and brains are rendered with great detail, but what really grounds you in this world is the fact that weapons have appropriate weight and heft. Heavy weapons like axes and rifles require you to grip them with both hands for stability, while small weapons like shivs are much lighter and easier to land precise blows with. It’s not as nuanced as a game like Boneworks; you can’t wield just any item as a weapon, but this combat system is far more tactile and exciting than if you were doing it remotely with a gamepad or a keyboard.

Diseased walkers explode and unleash poisonous gases that lower your health pool when killed up close, meanwhile helmeted walkers are far tougher to kill, requiring a complete decapitation or extremely precise blows to exposed parts of their heads. This increased challenge only adds to the intensity of fighting an entire pack of walkers at once, a common occurrence later on, as you need to quickly pick and choose which walkers need to be killed in which way and in which order to preserve the durability of your best weapons. Rapidly juggling my inventory in real-time to acclimate to each fight forced me to be smarter and, as a result, Saints & Sinners never fell into that Action-RPG trap of becoming repetitive. I spent a little over 18 hours in the campaign – the story itself is a few hours shorter than that, but it was just loads of fun to complete scavenging runs and hunt for secret recipes on my own.

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The walkers and human NPCs themselves have their own agendas too, often interacting with one another in interesting and useful ways. While the AI isn’t always the most bright, causing enemies to sometimes get stuck in hilarious and vulnerable positions, an impressive amount of the unfurling drama that makes Saints & Sinners exciting is simulated in real-time rather than deliberately scripted. To my satisfaction, I found that many of the quests allowed me to choose my own path to a solution, and it was a delight to discover alternate routes and secrets, even if the map can feel a little nondescript or claustrophobic at times. Even when I was presented with straightforward options for moving through a group of wary human NPCs or solving a quest with diplomacy – or simply by attacking an NPC directly – I could just as easily avoid interacting with certain characters altogether, either by attracting a herd of walkers and sneaking past the ensuing carnage, or by climbing over the side of a wall or up the side of a house. That freedom to tackle a situation so many different ways is fantastic.

And though the bigger story about breaking into the Reserve can sometimes feel pretty thin between long periods of exploring, looting, killing, and crafting my way through the streets of New Orleans, it was refreshing for a VR game to let me define my character through my own decisions in a setting as meticulously detailed and open-ended as this. While Saints & Sinners isn’t exactly the first of its kind, this caliber of storytelling reaches a height that VR had otherwise yet to achieve.

Zombalaya

Central to the tension of Saints & Sinners is that you only get so much time each day to do things before the city’s bells are rung and the streets flood with ravenous corpses. Once you head back to safety you can go to sleep and skip to the next morning, but the number of undead you encounter the following day increases. This creates a compelling risk-reward choice between pushing your luck past dark or playing it safe at the cost of worse odds tomorrow, driving the tension of the entire game.

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That dilemma would be perfectly manageable if not for the fact that you only have a limited amount of inventory space, pushing you to think more carefully about what you grab. You also have to continue crafting or finding new weapons as your old ones tend to fall apart at a distressingly high rate. That forces you to make each attack count, which is easier said than done since you actually have to swing and aim with your real-world appendages. With a ticking clock looming behind all that, Saints & Sinners quickly becomes the perfect storm for adrenaline junkies.

Luckily, the inventory management is intuitive and feels great. Picking up items and placing them into your backpack is as simple as throwing them over your shoulder, and to access them again you simply grab the pack off of your back and pull items out of their neatly arranged slots. Meanwhile, weapons can be holstered in convenient slots on your waist and back while your journal and flashlight fit snugly on your chest. This style of physical inventory management has existed in VR games like Rec Room and Township Tale for some time, and it’s far more interactive and interesting than simply tapping on a menu screen with your fingers or pointing at some text with a laser pointer.

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Limited stamina is also a worry. Running out of stamina makes you slow and unable to swing, aim, or run away, meaning it’s all the more critical to land each and every blow with finesse. Likewise, having a strong weapon or beefed up stamina pool makes you feel satisfyingly powerful, but never so much that you can let your guard down, keeping combat engaging even as you get stronger.

If you do die to the shambling hordes, you’re forced to respawn at the start of the map while the day’s clock is still ticking, and you only get one chance to reclaim your inventory before it’s gone forever. As time wears on, high-quality supplies and weapons can become so difficult to find that scrounging up a broken bottleneck or screwdriver in the nick of time is sometimes the difference between life and death. This, mixed with the fact that your health and stamina pools are temporarily decreased when you die, is a perfect formula for some of the most terrifying moments I’ve had in a VR headset – but that terror was met with an equal amount of satisfaction if I could make it back to my loot and come out alive after.

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It is disappointing that character progression is fairly linear, with only a few tech trees to branch into – Gear, Guns, and Survival – and no mutual exclusivity between them. There’s nothing stopping you from unlocking every possible upgrade at the crafting stations in short order, just as long as you can find the right components from scrapping items you find in the world, similar to Fallout 4. It’s plenty of fun to use newfound upgrades like the Nail Bomb and the Grass Cutter, and there are some recipes that you first have to uncover the hidden nooks and crannies of New Orleans to find, but it’s too bad that there’s no real way to personalize your Tourist beyond the story choices you make.

Stone, the Aussie LGBT Stoner Noir, is Out Now on Xbox One

Summary

  • Stone is a single-player, third-person interactive story where a hungover koala detective wakes to find his lover Alex has been kidnapped.
  • Made by Convict Games, a new team of ex-AAA developers, filmmakers and musicians that have worked on games like Control and Quantum Break and films like “Gravity” and “Prometheus.”
  • A passion project, Stone was made to tell a new type of story.

Hey Xbox Wire, nice to meet you all. I’m Greg Louden from Convict Games and I’m here to talk about our debut, Stone. It’s an Aussie LGBT stoner noir interactive story that follows our koala private investigator Stone who wakes to find his lover has been kidnapped. You need to find out what happened.

As I
wrote, we’re an interactive story, so super, super story driven. While playing,
there’s constant reference-filled dialogue like a great hip-hop track and an
eclectic soundtrack. So mechanically in the game you walk, talk, interact,
dance, smoke, and drink. Some call it a Walking Sim; we like to call it an Interactive
Story. We have one ending in Stone, so you don’t change the story with
these choices, but rather you adapt it and make it your own.

Stone

To
bring noir to 2019 and Xbox, it had to be hip hop, that to me is also about
wordplay and Stone is filled with references and throwbacks. It’s also a
genre with a set use in games, however we wanted to present it in a different
way and bring my passion for the genre to storytelling in interactive stories.

The
whole koala, anthropomorphic concept came from the fact that it’s a great
metaphor; and in games we need to build everything. So why do we recreate the
real world when we can create something new and something only games or CGI can
do.

Stone

Stone is filled with licensed
tracks and public domain cinema. I’m stoked with the selection and I think
people will really enjoy the music and cinema we have available. We have Ryan
Little providing our central hip hop vibe with Ilkka S providing our techno. On
the Aussie side we have Luchii involved along with Grand Oyster Palace, Joseph
Banks and Golden Grove on the Aussie rock front. In terms of cinema some
players will watch some cinema like “Night of the Living Dead” and will be
blown away, because all of these films are masterpieces that are now free for
use.

Convict
Games is a new Aussie remote story game company telling high impact and
alternative stories. We’ve got talent from Moscow, Helsinki, Los Angeles,
Sydney and Melbourne that have worked on our debut Stone. Convict was
founded by my Co-Founder Sarah and I on July 5, 2017 and our motto is “Breaking
free since 2017.” Which means we’re trying to do something fresh with our
stories rather than follow others.

Stone

All
of us who have worked on Stone like telling alternative stories. In
games, those types of stories are very rarely played and usually you evade,
attack and shield as mechanics. We wanted to push interactive storytelling
further. Usually there’s the same sort of music too; we wanted to challenge
that as well.

This is Stone and we’re Convict Games.

Related:
Xbox Insider Release Notes -Delta Ring (2002.200123-2000)
Xbox Insider Release Notes – Alpha Skip Ahead (2004.200124-1750)
Phantasy Star Online 2: Closed Beta Test Starts February 7th

Metro Exodus’ second expansion is coming in February

The Russian post-apocalypse game Metro Exodus has announced a date for its second DLC coming in February. Like the first DLC, Sam’s Story ditches the main game’s protagonist in favor of a new set of eyes. It will follow the story of a US Marine trying to make his way back to the states from the Moscow embassy where he was stationed before the nukes started a’flying.

(more…)