Need For Speed Heat Revealed

The newest instalment in the Need For Speed series was revealed earlier today with a trailer giving a glimpse into the setting, backstory and gorgeous visuals.

“Hustle by day and risk it all at night in Need for Speed™ Heat, a thrilling race experience that pits you against a city’s rogue police force as you battle your way into street racing’s elite.”

Need For Speed Heat will release on November 8th worldwide but for those with Origin Access Premier/Play First Trial, you can get your hands on the wheel November 5th. Heading to Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

Published by Rhys Baldwin.

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Gaming To Blame?

Yeah? So’s your face!

The success of PUBG has in turn spawned an even larger success in Fortnite. Following a mediocre financial reception to their survival-craft-zombie-horde-defence-cooperative-action-shooter (actual genre. Fact), Epic games saw it fit to add a Battle Royale mode. Since then the game has crushed all expectations and sports one of the largest fan bases ever achieved in gaming, catering to the casual and core markets alike.

But here is where things turn a little sour. All successful games come under criticism at some point and end up with a large target strapped to the back. Mainstream media and day-time shows love to stir up some of that brown stuff that usually hits the proverbial fan.

The difference this time, it’s not the typical rehash of old arguments. It’s not Gran Theft Auto or Call of Duty being scrutinised for its depiction of real-life aggression/violence or crime, no no. This time it’s the addictiveness of gaming in general and Fortnite is “apparently” the culprit. Using the greatly popular title as a scapegoat for antisocial behaviour in our children.

Fortnite‘s battle royale mode launched on a free to play model last year, in fact I would argue that this is responsible for around 80% of its player base. Now when you have a multi-platform internationally successful title thats free to play you can expect a large amount of youngsters enjoying in the fun. And this is exactly the problem …”supposedly”.

So I’m gonna throw an image your way, an image grabbed from the social media account of a prominent morning tv show here in the UK. Which has been a staple of getting ready for the day for decades …and I mean decades.

I apologise, I truly mean no offence …but, just look at it. No doubt the most offensive item you’ll see today. I’ve come across this argument twice before and both times I’ve failed to coalesce or articulate my own counter argument. Not because I couldn’t think of any reasoning but because these arguments got a little heated if I’m being honest. No matter what would say, all I would receive is blind rhetoric or refusal, statements based on a shallow understanding of Fortnite and a dismissive view of video games in general.

So my initial spat would be “they’re children stop them playing” or at least something like it. Only to be verbally slapped with the greatest answer known to man. Oh it’s brilliant, stupendous. Ends all arguments and works in so many situations …ahem, “You don’t have kids” they say.

Well, “So’s your face!.” Right? When someone says something daft to me I cannot help but reply with a brain fart of equal magnitude. Me not having kids has no relevance, the fact that your child has anger issues when not getting his/her own way or withdrawal symptoms when not playing games is the problem here.

Yet once again the media turns it’s attention to video games in attempt to shade them in negativity. Children of the world are not the problem here. Games of any genre or platform are not the problem here. Even the media are not the problem with their half cut news, purely created to incite misdirection away from the real issue. Parents. Parents that fail to understand the art form and the restrictions in place to protect our youth.

Let’s make something 100% clear, it’s not Fortnite’s fault – or any other game for that matter – if a child plays it too much. It is not a child’s fault if their behaviour changes when they aren’t able to play. Just like most things in life we like, gaming can be addictive and moderation or boundaries must be put in place for a healthy balance.

Would you blame food for the reason your child started gaining weight? Of course not, you would educate yourself and then your children and set restrictions to protect their health. Sweets, chocolate and fizzy drinks are addictive but we don’t let our children indulge on them all day. So why do we do it to games?

The Xbox 360 was the first console on the scene to introduce parental controls. To many this just seemed like a pointless addition …”it’s just a few games, my kids will be fine.” But the reality that’s slapping us in the face now demands you look at these controls much more seriously.

There is a ratings board out there for games, just like the movie industry and it’s no less serious. Using parental controls built into consoles as standard these days you can stipulate which rating is appropriate for your children – as a whole or individually. You can set which movies and TV shows can be seen, how long your children can use the console on a daily or weekly basis and whether or not they can access Xbox Live at all.

I’m an adult (honest), I love video games, it is my passion and hobby. A career in the industry would be a dream come true. Often I wish I could play games when I can’t, wether it’s just life getting in the way or I’ve decided I cannot play right now, it doesn’t matter. The point is that moderation comes naturally to me because I was taught how.

Don’t paint gaming in a negative light for faults elsewhere. Stop this ill-thought crusade, attacking something many either refuse to take seriously as an art-form or refuse to admit fault. Educate yourself on what your children are playing. Educate yourself on how you can guide your children’s gaming sessions for the better.

There are a few problems in games and just as widespread, such as underage gambling in the form of loot-boxes paid with real world cash, games made by white supremacists and other hate groups. These problems lay with the distribution platforms and publishers in both cases. I don’t know who thought it would be a good idea to let a game about shooting kids at a school release via Steam but it arrived there none the less.

Rather than tackle the real problems, mainstream media and politicians will always look for the answer that suits them.

Nobody wants to admit the fact that bad parenting is at the root of the “Fortnite Addiction,” nobody likes to admit their own failings. As anyone familiar with any addiction rehab program would tell you, there are 12 steps …one of the first of those, is admitting you have a problem.

Written by Michael Jones

Warhammer: Vermintide II Preview

I remember back in the day – to when there were only 4 tele channels – I went round my mates house and found a massive 6ft by 12ft table in the garage. It was setup with micro terrain, roads, bushes, trees, partly destroyed buildings, etc… I was looking at a games table – war-games that is. My introduction to Warhammer, meh. I was a kid, there were consoles to play on… not tables.

Never did I expect to see such a pastime flower so profusely. Warhammer is huge, even World of Warcraft was originally being developed for the Warhammer universe before stepping out on its own (strikingly similar) two feet. Since then Warhammer games have taken many different genres by storm, from action-adventures to table-top sims, from dungeon crawlers to first-person shooters and rarely they fail to meet expectations.

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What we have here is Warhammer: Vermintide II, following directly on from where the first game left off with its just released Death on the Reik DLC. A first-person melee action co-op masterclass. Think Left 4 Dead’s mechanics meets Lord of the Rings, just typing that made me think genius. Developed and published again by Fatshark, also known for the War of the Roses/Vikings titles and Bionic Commando:Re-Armed. 

You and up to 3 of your besties can hack and slash your way through a gorgeous fantasy realm (bots will be there to help if you want to play solo). A word of warning – the Vermintide series is quite gory, limbs and heads will fly high into the air as they are severed and grenades… well, you get the idea. Anyway, each mission has a linear path and mostly its just about getting from A to B but often there’s something in the way, whether it’s just a horde defence for a few minutes or having to collect a few gunpowder kegs to blow up a gate you’ll find the journey frantic and exciting all the same. As mentioned above, Vermintide II is similar to Left 4 Dead in design and mechanics, even to the point where an AI directs the horde of enemies and specials to get in the way.

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In the first game you battle against a race of rat-men known as the Skaven, this time round its the Chaos Army (north men) and the Skaven .The game features five different characters to play as. These characters are divided into 15 different careers (three per character), each with a unique set of skills and abilities. You get a skill point every 5 ranks to spend, picking one of three passive abilities to enhance your play which you can change around how you like. After completing missions you receive rewards through a randomised loot system. Depending on how well you explore within each mission, to collect Tomes, Grimoire and Loot Die which will increase the quality of the items in your Spoils of War. Each loot box will contain three items to improve your gear.

Our biggest beef with the first game is that loot was too slow coming, a right proper grind if you will. Putting in well over 100 hours of game time to create a solid gear setup was normal due to the pace at which loot was handed to you, a usually pointless weapon upon levelling and a quasi-random reward for having completed a mission. Not this time though – each box contains three lovely items.

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Similar to Tom Clancy’s: The Division and Destiny, Vermintide II has a gear score system – the higher your individual equipment then the higher your overall score will be. Creating the opportunity to find higher gear still. This time, the weapon options are much more diverse (the spear is a favourite of mine) and all have distinct tactics to use. Flails, Spear, Repeater Crossbow, Halberds, Double Axes, Irondrake gun – all new to the fold as well as a few more.

As you would expect with having two factions to fight this time round, you also get double the amount of specials. As well as the Packmaster, Globadier, RatlingGunner and so on we are treated to the Chaos Army‘s nastiest, the Marauder and the Bile Troll , in particular the Mage has an effective magical green tornado that follows you about and the mutated Chaos Spawn is much more dangerous than the old Rat Ogre. Double the amount of special enemies means double the fun.

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Visually speaking, it’s bloody stunning. It’s stepped up from its predecessor and then leapt some more, particularly with the lighting. If you’ve set your gamma right at the settings screen – the game will come alive, the couple of seconds adjustment needed from looking at bright sunlight then running into a barn or something is a great immersive touch.

One of the better points this time round is audio. I had massively better awareness with my space this time round than in the previous End Times outing, each of the specials are distinctive in sound making them much easier to prioritize and locate while in the thick of things. Overall atmosphere is heavily accredited to the soundtrack design. Without it, it just wouldn’t feel so alive. The banter between the characters is very similar to the last title and can get somewhat repetitive, nevertheless the quality of the voice acting is superb.

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During our time with Vermintide II we only got access to three missions but its understood that the game will launch with 13 minimum with no doubt a long line of planned DLC in the pipeline. I wish I had more because I didn’t want to turn the game off! There is something truly special in the making here, I cannot wait for the full release and get stuck into the Chaos gits.

One of the strongest titles of the year so far it seems. If you like Warhammer, like first-person shooters/slashers, like co-op games, liked the first game or even liked Left 4 Dead then I urge you to give this beauty a go. I will no doubt be spending many a late nights getting up to some antics with the lads on this one.

Written by Michael Jones.

(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a preview copy of Warhammer: Vermintide II, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)

Ataribox Pricing, Launch Window and More Details

More pictures have been shared today of the first prototypes for the Ataribox.  The device is to be powered by a customised AMD processor with Radeon Graphics technology.

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It will run Linux and boast a customised, easy-to-use navigational user interface. They mention that this approach means that “as well as being a great gaming device, Ataribox is also a full PC experience for the TV, bringing you streaming, applications, social, browsing, music and more.”

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The team at Atari details a little more about the operating system used, “Most TV devices have closed systems and content stores. Linux lets us be more open; you can access & customise the OS, & you can access games you’ve bought from other content platforms (if compatible with the OS and HW).”

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There will be classic Atari retro games pre-loaded onto the system and current titles from a range of studios which are to be announced at a later date.

The Ataribox will launch on Indiegogo this fall, through this the community can gain benefits such as early access and access to special editions. They plan on shipping late Spring 2018 with an expected price range of $249-$299 which is dependent on memory configurations and specific editions of the box.

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They also confirmed that the Wood Edition is made of real wood. For more on the Ataribox, stay tuned.

Written by Rhys Baldwin.