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8-BITS OF NEWS: INCREDIBLE INDIES, DLC DATES AND PAY-TO-WIN CONTROVERSY

By: Ryan Jenkins & Imran Chaudhry
August has kicked off with a great week for gaming, from AAA standard indie releases to free weekends and Switch news. In this week’s 8-bits of news we cover Ninja Theory’s latest release Hellblade, Nintendo developments and more Middle-Earth let downs.

1. Shadow of War Micro Transactions

In the build up to the (delayed) release of Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, a rather unsavoury announcement has been made, indicating that the nemesis system will include micro transactions for Loot Chests, War Chests, XP Boosts and Bundles.
Middle Earth: Shadow or War Gameplay
Whilst these aren’t exactly ‘pay to play’ micro transactions, many fans are upset about the concept of a ‘pay to win’ element being introduced to the much-loved nemesis system, especially for a game retailing at £44+. You can earn everything that you can purchase through the market by playing the game and putting hours into the campaign and nemesis system. However, fans are worried that this will create a ‘pay to win’ environment for the game, creating unfair balances between players who can afford more on top of the base price.

2. Xbox Achievements About To Change

Microsoft are working on changing the user experience in relation to Xbox game achievements. During an interview with IGN vice president Mike Ybarra elaborates on the matter, stating that his team is “working towards a bigger, more meaningful change about somebody’s gaming accomplishments in history, as a gamer on Xbox.”
Upon further discussion, he discloses that they are “going to go big in the area of letting people show off and represent their gaming history and the type of gamer that they are, far more than we do with Gamerscore”.
Although Ybarra couldn’t go into further details, this denotes that we can expect some significant changes within the coming months, specifically in how we are represented on Xbox Live as individuals.

3. Hellbalde Permadeath Controversy

The massively popular indie title, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice has finally been released, and there’s controversy. You’d probably expect that it would surround the portrayal of psychosis and mental illness within the game, however this is not the case, with many media outlets praising how Ninja Theory have handled the subject. Forbes even went on to state “Moving forward, I can only hope that other game studios look to Hellblade as a shining example of how to respectfully handle a largely misunderstood subset of very real, very debilitating human suffering.”
Hellblade_03
But the big controversy in the game’s launching week actually falls into a bizarre category of difficulty. Permadeath is a word most gamer’s will scowl at, with only a few being excited by such a challenge, and Hellbalde may or may not have a permadeath system you cannot turn off. It hasn’t been officially confirmed whether permadeath is an actual gameplay dynamic, with many conflicting opinions from people who have tried and tested the game. Pcgamesn call the permadeath a bluff, whereas other people online have stated they have indeed lost their save files after a certain number of deaths. Only time will tell how this mechanic really works within the game, with it being less than a week since launch.

4. For Honor Free To Play This Weekend

Over the weekend, For Honor will free to play for all PC, Xbox and PlayStation owners. The trial period started August 10th at 8:01 AM BST and will run up until 9:00PM BST on August 13th (PC) and 8:01AM BST August 14th (Xbox/ PS4).
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For the ill informed, For Honor is a popular PvP (courtesy of Ubisoft) that’s set in an ambiguous medieval time period, where the players must utilise ancient weaponry and siege tools to outsmart their opponents. Although the game’s solo campaign is somewhat lacklustre, it’s multiplayer functionality and combat mechanics make up for it, meaning as a free title, this will be well worth playing while you can.

5. Smash vs. Switch

Having become one of the most requested Nintendo Switch ports at present, it was only a matter of time until our prayers were answered. With numerous enhanced iterations for existing titles ported over to the Switch (e.g Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon 2), die hard fans of the Mario franchise have long awaited the arrival of Super Smash Bros.
It looks like Nintendo may have finally dropped a huge hit that Super Smash Bros could be coming to the Switch after all. On Nintendo’s Danish portal, their promotional material was giving away 15 trips to Denmark’s Legoland, for which visitors were posed with a multiple choice quiz; the question in question was:
“What colorful shooter game was released on July 21 for the Nintendo Switch?”
For which they had the choice of:
A) Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo Switch
B) Pokken Tournament DX
C) Splatoon 2
It’s possible this was a ploy to narrow down the correct answers, though considering Nintendo know’s how closely fans pay attention to their material, this is highly unlikely.

6. Release Date For Horizon: Zero Dawn DLC Confirmed

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For hardcore Zero Dawn fans, good new! Aloy will be returning to our screen in her latest saga, through the release of The Frozen Wilds DLC on November 7th.
The managing director at Guerilla Games noted that we can expect a “very substantial” and “very beefy” player experience during an interview at E3 earlier this year.
Set in new territory, the DLC will take us beyond the scope of Zero Dawn’s map and all the way to the Banuk lands, located further up from the northern mountains of the game. An epilogue to the events of the main campaign, this expansion will also include new machine archetypes and weapons, which is already available for pre-order, currently priced at £14.99 for PS Plus members.
Coincidentally, the DLC release coincides with the launch of the Xbox One X, so for those lucky few who’ll have access to both consoles, this may yet be a physiological struggle.

7. LawBreakers Released

The much hyped new multiplayer team shooter, LawBreakers, has finally been released after many iterations of alpha and beta releases. The electrifying, anti-gravity arena shooter isn’t for the feint of heart, requiring a high skill level to manoeuvre well balanced classes across a Quake-paced arena. If Overwatch was Disney meets Call of Duty, then LawBreakers is Quake meets Doom.

 

With favourable reviews coming from the likes of IGN giving the game a preliminary score of 7.7/10 and Eurogamer stating “this could end up being the best classic competitive shooter released this year.” We hope that with time and patches LawBreakers works its way up to being a great success in such an oversaturated market.

8. Splatfest Condiment Battle

Mayo vs. Ketchup, who would win your battle? The first Splatfest of Splatoon 2 has been a huge hit, despite players worrying the system may be broken. Kotaku summarised the backlash of the results of this Splatfest, where Mayo came out on top, despite being a dismal 27% of the popular vote against Ketchup’s 73%.
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The question lies, how did the results come together, were the 27% better than the overwhelming 73% at the game? Either way, one thing we do know is that ketchup is much more salty.
What are our thoughts on some of this week’s controversies; will these discussions deter your from getting your hands on Splatoon or Hellblade; as ever, share your thoughts on our twitter page @JenChauMedia
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