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Eldest Souls' first boss fight tells me it's a keeper

Eurogamer - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 16:00

Souls-like games are sort of like Hilbert's Hotel by this point. You can't imagine ever needing another one, but then the right game turns up and you realise you've got a bit of room for it after all. Eldest Souls is a game I have room for. It's a pixel-art Souls-alike and all the parts are in place. Muddy environments, moody art and sound, a massive sword on your back and a stamina bar that you have to keep an eye on. All the parts are great. But then I reached the first boss fight and I realised - oh, this may be special.

Reader, I was flattened immediately. So I went back and was flattened again - maybe quicker this time. Then I started to use the recharging dash move to get in and out of danger. Lasted a bit longer but still flattened. Then I went away and sulked.

I came back the next day. And I started to notice things. Hey, the dash move doesn't come from my stamina pool. Hey, this comically large sword I have actually comes with a real bit of range. Hey, the charge attack actually slide me forward in a direction I can pick while it's charging.

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Categories: Video Games

Gears Tactics is more Gears of War than you think

Eurogamer - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 15:00

You can do the Gears of War slide into cover slam in Gears Tactics, and honestly that would probably have been enough for me to say 'yes please' to this spin-off. But the developers at Splash Damage haven't just plopped slide-to-cover in this top-down, turn-based tactical twist on gaming's most famous cover shooter. They've made it useful.

You see, if you slide into cover in Gears Tactics, your unit gets a little bonus distance. It's the game's equivalent of that cover-hugging crouch walk we're so used to seeing Marcus Fenix, the Cole Train and, more recently, Kait Diaz perform with the camera placed in third-person. And it tells you all you need to know about how Gears Tactics feels to play: yes, it's Gears of War meets XCOM, but Tactics wants you to keep pushing forward. It wants you to move your units up and get in the face of the Locust. As far as these sorts of XCOM-style turn-based games go, Gears Tactics is relatively fast-paced. Hunkering down and waiting for the Locust to swarm you will do you and your units no good. Best to take the fight to them.

Across the board the mechanics nudge you to go aggressive. Gears Tactics does not play out on a grid. The maps are open, and you can move your units anywhere, which lends movement a fluidity you don't often get from the genre.

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Categories: Video Games

Virginia Is the First Southern State With a 100 Percent Carbon-Free Electricity Goal

Slashdot - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 15:00
An anonymous reader shares a report: Virginia has become the first among the Southern US states to take on a goal for 100 percent carbon-free electricity. State governor Ralph Northam, an Army veteran and pediatric neurologist, issued Executive Order 43. The executive order detailed the state's plans to reach a zero CO2 energy goal by 2050. In September 2019, Northam also brought Virginia into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which is a carbon trading network that spans nine states. Before then, Northam's efforts to take these initiatives and to join the RGGI were thwarted. However, following the 2019 election, voters in the state changed the political climate in the state. This opened the opportunity to move forward with renewable energy-based efforts. Earlier this month, the state General Assembly passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), which brought Northam's previously failed efforts into law. The House voted in favor 51 to 45 and the Senate voted 22 to 17. Among the VCEA goals are to gradually reduce the use of fossil fuels until they are no longer a part of the state's electricity production. Instead, it will use 100 percent clean energy to power the state. In order to achieve this goal, Virginia has a four-part plan: 1. Join the RGGI and develop a cap-and-trade system. The states that are already using similar strategies and that are a part of the RGGI have experienced healthy economic effects overall. Moreover, the hope is that the addition of Virginia to a heavily supplied market will only boost competition. This is meant to drive the clean energy transition forward even faster. 2. Achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2050. 3. Keep power costs low and protect vulnerable and low-income communities. 4. Build rooftop solar, offshore wind, and power storage.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Mad Max, Lego Batman and Injustice 2 join the PS Hits lineup

Eurogamer - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 14:14

A trio of games from Warner Bros. has arrived on the discounted PS Hits lineup from today.

Gritty post-apocalyptic collect-a-thon Mad Max, blocky superhero adventure Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and DC universe beat-em-up Injustice 2 are all now red-tagged and available for a reduced price of £15.99/$19.99.

These are the latest games to be given the PS Hits tag since God of War, Uncharted: Lost Legacy and GT Sport were added at the end of 2019.

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Categories: Video Games

People are using Animal Crossing: New Horizons for birthdays, weddings and dates while stuck inside

Eurogamer - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 14:02

As the world stays home, people are turning to Animal Crossing: New Horizons to host their social gatherings and special occasions.

In just a week of release, there have been heartwarming stories of the game being used as a place to gather, celebrate and connect with friends and loved ones.

One couple forced by coronavirus to cancel their wedding ended up being thrown a surprise ceremony in Animal Crossing instead.

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Categories: Video Games

Five of the Best: Specials

Eurogamer - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 14:00

Five of the Best is a weekly series about the bits of games we overlook. I'm talking about potions, hubs, bags, mountains, anything really - but things we ignore at the time. Then, years later, we find they're cemented in our memory, inseparable from our experience of the game. Turns out they were important after all. So now we're celebrating them.

Five of the Best works like this. Various Eurogamer writers will share their memories in the article and then you - probably outraged we didn't include the thing you're thinking of - can share the thing you're thinking of in the comments below. We've had some great discussions in our other Five of the Best pieces. Some of you have memories like elephants!

Today's Five of the Best...

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Categories: Video Games

Call of Duty: Warzone makes loadout drops a little pricier

Eurogamer - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 13:58

The first big update for Call of Duty: Warzone is here, and along with adding the new weapons announced earlier this week, the update has made some noteworthy balance changes. Namely, those loadout drops are a little more expensive.

As detailed in the patch notes, the price of loadout drops is being bumped up from $6000 to $8500. It's not a massive increase, but should require your squad to scrounge around a little longer for the necessary funds.

Loadout drops have previously been criticised for being too easy to attain: not only do they drop regularly in-game, but the original buy price was rather cheap. As the loadout drops allow veteran Modern Warfare players to bring over their loadouts from months of grinding multiplayer, it also felt a little harsh on new Warzone players. There's also an argument that RNG loot is a necessary component of the battle royale experience, prompting players to adapt and survive based on what they find - while the loadout drops made every round very similar, with players simply picking their favourite guns over and over. Hopefully the price increase should make loadout drops feel more like a high-tier reward rather than a necessity, although it seems one drop can still be used by the entire squad.

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Categories: Video Games

How to get into game journalism

Eurogamer - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 13:46

For the last few years, I've appeared on a panel at EGX Rezzed to talk about how to get into game journalism. I love doing this panel, answering questions from the audience and chatting on-stage with my super cool colleagues about their personal journeys. So when EGX Rezzed was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, I was heartbroken at the thought we wouldn't be able to do it again this year.

Thankfully, the wonderful events team behind EGX Rezzed has pulled together Rezzed Digital, an online version of the show, and we're running the panel remotely. It kicks off at 1pm today, 27th March on YouTube, where I'll be joined by Eurogamer news editor Tom Phillips, Eurogamer reporter Emma Kent, and Rock, Paper Shotgun reporter Imogen Beckhelling to offer our advice and answer your questions. Tune in via the embedded video below.

A word on the Eurogamer internship. We've made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 internship until a point we feel it's right to do it. With all the uncertainty around coronavirus, we're not sure when that will be. But we are committed to the internship, we are proud of the interns we've worked with over the last three years, and it will return.

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Categories: Video Games

Shadows of Doubt is a head-scratching wonder of an immersive sim

Eurogamer - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 12:00

We're taking Rezzed online over the next few days, presenting sessions and bringing you highlights of what's new and interesting in the world of independent games. You can find more details on exactly what's going on over here, and we'll be bringing you more write-ups over the coming days.

You can't have a good detective game without a good mystery, and Shadows of Doubt has plenty of them. The biggest one rattling around my brain right now, though, is how is this possible? This is a work of staggering ambition and no small amount of artistry, presenting an evocative, fully-functioning cityscape for you to explore, complete with several intricate systems underpinning your sleuthing. I've played 20 minutes and I'm simply staggered.

So what exactly is it? Allow me to do the lazy journalist scum bit with a quickly-dashed-together comparison - Shadows of Doubt is like Thief in a trenchcoat and with a ketamine hangover. Okay, let's put a bit more effort in - Shadows of Doubt is a first-person detective stealth game set in a procedurally-generated noirish city. The art-style is exquisite, a lo-grade pixellated affair that sits perfectly with the subject at hand. It's fuzzy and gritty - the perfect texture for a detective thriller.

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Categories: Video Games

Coronavirus: Radio Listening Booms While Music Streaming Stalls

Slashdot - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 12:00
People staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic appear to be listening to more radio rather than music apps, figures suggest. The BBC reports: Global, which owns Capital FM and talk station LBC, said online radio listening had risen by 15%. The BBC said streaming of its radio stations had risen 18% since last week. Meanwhile, data from two US analytics companies suggested use of music-streaming apps such as Spotify had dipped by about 8%. According to trusted music industry monitor BuzzAngle, US music streaming between 13-19 March fell by 8.8% compared with the previous week. Rolling Stone magazine, which uses a different data provider, Alpha Data, said streams were down 7.8%. But not all services are equally affected. Classical music site Primephonic said streaming had gone up by about 20% since isolation measures had been introduced in Europe. "There are likely to be multiple causes," said BBC News music reporter Mark Savage. "Fewer people are commuting to work or going to the gym and shops that use Spotify for their in-store music are closing their doors. People who stream music in the office also seem to be turning off and watching Netflix instead and there's a big rise in radio listening - suggesting we're seeking companionship alongside our music."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Trials of Fire has that Slay the Spire magic

Eurogamer - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 11:00

We're taking Rezzed online over the next few days, presenting sessions and bringing you highlights of what's new and interesting in the world of independent games. You can find more details on exactly what's going on over here, and we'll be bringing you more write-ups over the coming days.

Yes finally! I found and killed the god, but it was a bloody close-run thing. Two of my fighters went down and the third, the only one left, wasn't far off joining them. One basic slice attack did it, with only a sliver of health remaining. Glory was mine, victory against all odds.

Yeah OK Bertie don't get too carried away, you've hardly finished the game have you?

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Categories: Video Games

The Double-A Team: Titan Quest is a lovely sunny holiday with a bit of swordplay thrown in

Eurogamer - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 10:00

A few days back I realised that, even after all these years of clicking away, I didn't really know what Titan Quest is about. I mean I know what it's about - it's about murdering stuff, Diablo-style in Ancient Greece or whatever. But I didn't know who I was really murdering, or for what reasons. All these years and I've never watched the opening cinematic, and never really listened to a full sentence of in-game dialogue. That's ARPGs right? "Oh hero could you--" "Master, we have been waylai--" "Brigands have--" Gotcha. Gotcha. Quest, I gather? Murdering time.

The thing is, the setting, even if I have steadily ignored the finer details, is still one of the main strengths here. When I think of Diablo I think of dark depths with nasty things moving around. When I think of Titan Quest I think of blinding sun glinting off polished gold armour, of implausibly balmy days and beautiful seas. Ancient Greece is a nice place to be regardless of what horrors are threatening the place. Titan Quest is at its best as a summer holiday romp. It's one of the outdoorsiest games ever.

And I don't know if you've read the Iliad, but, as I remember it, it's finely-detailed, sinuous descriptions of a lot of people getting hacked to pieces. Intro Pylon - or whoever, in fact maybe it's not Pylon, it has been a while - then he's out onto the battlefield and someone's had his head off while death swirls down in darkness from above. The Iliad, right, is like reading about a lot of people who were hit full-force by billowing bedsheets on a windy day. This is not a criticism. Homer's a keeper. All I'm saying is that Titan Quest, whatever its story, is pretty faithful to the source material in terms of what you actually get up to.

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Categories: Video Games

US Space Force Successfully Launches First Mission

Slashdot - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 09:00
schwit1 shares a report from UPI: The first official mission for the new U.S. Space Force lifted off from Florida at 4:18 p.m. EDT on Thursday into a virtually cloudless sky with a military communications satellite aboard. A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket emblazoned with the Space Force chevron logo carried the satellite toward orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Stations Complex 41. The payload on board is the sixth in a constellation of next-generation satellites known as Advanced Extremely High Frequency or AEHF. The satellite system, developed by Lockheed Martin, has upgraded anti-jamming capability. Northrop Grumman is the manufacturer. The new network provides global coverage for national leaders and tactical warfighters operating on the ground, at sea or in the air, Lockheed said. The anti-jam system also serves international allies such as Canada, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Australia.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

88 Out of Top 200 US Cities Have Seen Internet Speeds Decline This Past Week

Slashdot - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: The impacts of telecommuting, shelter-in-place laws and home quarantines resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak are starting to impact broadband speeds across a number of U.S. cities, a new report has found. According to broadband analysis site BroadbandNow, 88 out of the top 200 most populous U.S. cities analyzed have now experienced some form of network degradation over the past week, compared with the 10 weeks prior, as more people are going online to work from home, video chat and stream movies and TV to keep themselves entertained. In a small handful of cities over the past week, there have even been significant degradations with download speeds dropping more than 40%, compared with the 10 weeks prior. It's not necessarily the areas hit hardest by the spread of the novel coronavirus that are experiencing the worst problems. Cities including LA, Chicago, Brooklyn and San Francisco have seen little or no disruption in download speeds, the report claims. Seattle is also holding up well. But New York City, now considered the epicenter of the virus in the U.S., saw download speeds drop by 24% last week, compared to the previous 10-week range. That said, NYC home network connections, which have a median speed of nearly 52 Mbps, are managing. The good news is that in the majority of markets, network speeds are holding up. But of the 88 out of 200 cities that saw declines, more than two dozen saw dips of either 20% below range or more, the data indicates. The three cities seeing network degradations over 40% include: Austin, TX (-44%), Winston Salem, NC (-41%), and Oxnard, CA (-42%). San Jose, CA was nearing this range, with a drop of 38%.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Instead of Hazard Pay, Spectrum Offered a $25 Gift Card To Technicians Who Enter Homes Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

Slashdot - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 03:25
Amber Jamieson writes via BuzzFeed News: Spectrum technicians connecting cable and internet for customers during the coronavirus outbreak will receive a $25 gift card for a local restaurant as a "token of our appreciation" from management, after staff called for hazard pay and protective equipment. "These gift cards never expire, so if you choose a restaurant that is currently not open, the card will remain valid for future use," read the Monday night internal staff email from Tom Adams, the executive vice president of field operations. "Please take some time out of your busy day to enjoy a meal and recharge." Field technicians told BuzzFeed News on Monday night they feared going into people's homes during the pandemic to fix their internet and cable without gloves, a mask, or hand sanitizer in case they got sick or carried the virus to other customers or loved ones. On Monday night, the company announced it was offering a $25 weekly gift card as a thank you -- an initiative that left many workers who spoke with BuzzFeed News unsatisfied. "Would you do it for $25?" asked a field technician from Irwindale, California, who asked to remain anonymous, along with the other technicians quoted in this story, to protect his employment. He called Spectrum management "vultures."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Engineers Test a Powered 'Ankle Exoskeleton' To Make Running Easier

Slashdot - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 02:45
Engineers from Stanford University developed a motorized exoskeleton rig that attaches around the ankle and foot and found that it made running 15 percent easier. "They explained that when the exoskeleton's motor is switched on, it reduces the energy cost of running and allows the user to run longer than they're usually capable of," reports Engadget. "The device can also boost a runner's speed by as much as 10 percent." From the report: Here's how the exoskeleton works: Its motors tug a cable running through the back of the rig from the heel to the calf. That pulls the foot upward during the toe-off, extending the ankle at the end of every step. Team member and Stanford grad student Delaney Miller said: "Powered assistance took off a lot of the energy burden of the calf muscles. It was very springy and very bouncy compared to normal running. Speaking from experience, that feels really good. When the device is providing that assistance, you feel like you could run forever."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Unpatched iOS Bug Blocks VPNs From Encrypting All Traffic

Slashdot - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 02:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bleeping Computer: A currently unpatched security vulnerability affecting iOS 13.3.1 or later prevents virtual private network (VPNs) from encrypting all traffic and can lead to some Internet connections bypassing VPN encryption to expose users' data or leak their IP addresses. While connections made after connecting to a VPN on your iOS device are not affected by this bug, all previously established connections will remain outside the VPN's secure tunnel as ProtonVPN disclosed. The bug is due to Apple's iOS not terminating all existing Internet connections when the user connects to a VPN and having them automatically reconnect to the destination servers after the VPN tunnel is established. "Most connections are short-lived and will eventually be re-established through the VPN tunnel on their own," ProtonVPN explains. "However, some are long-lasting and can remain open for minutes to hours outside the VPN tunnel." During the time the connections are outside of the VPN secure communication channels, this issue can lead to serious consequences. For instance, user data could be exposed to third parties if the connections are not encrypted themselves, and IP address leaks could potentially reveal the users' location or expose them and destination servers to attacks. Until Apple provides a fix, the company recommends using Always-on VPN to mitigate this problem. "However, since this workaround uses device management, it cannot be used to mitigate the vulnerability for third-party VPN apps such as ProtonVPN," the report adds.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Acclaimed city builder Cities: Skylines is free to play this weekend on Steam

Eurogamer - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 01:33

You're not exactly stuck for choice as far as free games on PC go right now, but if you're eager to sling another candidate on the tottering pile, then acclaimed city builder Cities: Skylines is currently free to play all weekend on Steam.

Cities: Skylines has, of course, been around the block a few times by this point; it initially launched in 2015, where it successfully managed to capitalise on the less-than-stellar reception of 2014's SimCity, attracting players looking for a more robust set of city building options - even if Eurogamer contributor Daniel Starkey felt it lacked its own identity on release.

Since then, Cities: Skylines has received a heap of new content in the form of both free and paid updates, significantly expanding the core experience, with today's fishing-themed Sunset Harbour update bringing the total number of major paid expansions to nine - and that's not counting publisher Paradox Interactive's various bits of music and cosmetic DLC.

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Categories: Video Games

'League' of Cybersecurity Professionals Band Together To Help Hospitals Fight Off Hackers

Slashdot - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 01:20
pgmrdlm shares a report from NBC News: A growing group of cybersecurity professionals is volunteering their expertise to help hospitals fight off hackers while doctors and nurses fight the coronavirus. Calling themselves the CTI League -- Countering Threat Intelligence, and a nod to the superhero team the Justice League -- the group has swelled from a handful of professionals to 450 members worldwide in less than two weeks. "If some hospital gets attacked by some ransomware and wouldn't be able to pay, people will die because they wouldn't be able to get the medical services needed," said the group's founder, Ohad Zaidenberg. Coordinating over Slack, the CTI League identifies what types of vulnerabilities active hackers are using, then searches for hospitals and other medical facilities that might be vulnerable to them so that they can fix them first. "The first thing we want to do is neutralize attacks before they happen. The second is to help any medical organization after they are attacked," Zaidenberg said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Elon Musk Says Tesla's New York Factory Will Make Ventilators 'As Soon As Humanly Possible'

Slashdot - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 00:40
140Mandak262Jamuna writes: Elon Musk announced that the Gigafactory in Buffalo, New York, making solar roof tiles and battery packs for home energy storage is switching to making ventilators in collaboration with Medtronic. "Days after offering 1,255 free ventilators to help deal with the coronavirus outbreak, Tesla boss Elon Musk said the company's New York factory will restart to make more," reports CNET. "Giga New York will reopen for ventilator production as soon as humanly possible. We will do anything in our power to help the citizens of New York," he tweeted on Wednesday. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state needs 30,000 ventilators at the peak and they have 400 at hand.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff
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