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The increase might not seem like a lot, but the execution behind all of this is puzzling. Instead of using the new images to mask the game’s load times, they lengthen them. You would think that while you’re looking at the multiplayer screenshots, the game would be loading in the background, preparing to immediately dump you into the mode after a certain number of screenshots. Essentially, it would be a fancy loading screen. Except that’s not how it works. Instead, the screenshots take place before multiplayer starts loading, for some odd reason.

This makes a simple thing like entering or exiting multiplayer a slightly stressful process.

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Winning any game of 3on3 FreeStyle begins with starting off on the right foot. You always want to make sure that your team gets the jump ball so in a worst-case scenario, you’re never the one trying to tie the game. To get the jump ball every time, don’t jump until the ball is about one second into its free-fall. At this point, your character should snatch the ball out of the air, allowing you to gain the upper hand on the opposing team.

5. GUARD YOUR MAN!!

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This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t do it. Guard whomever the game tells you to. Hold R1 next to them to stick your arms out for a “face up.” This makes it more difficult for them to move around or juke you, and helps burn seconds on the clock while they try to find an open player.

4. Use Lulu for easy blocks and dunks

3on3-lulu-dunk

Lulu is an absolute beast. There’s no denying that. Not only can this powerhouse dominate the court from anywhere in front of the two-point line, but she’s also a great defender who can block shots like nobody’s business. Oh, and she can dunk. Level-up Lulu and make sure she’s on your team for an interesting, easy game. If she’s not on your team, watch out!

3. Play 1v1 matches for quick money and exp

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3on3 FreeStyle is an expensive game. Buying a character costs 15,000 credits, which takes quite a while to actually get. Because 3v3 matches take so long and offer such little reward, the best way to get credits is by playing 1v1 matches. Not only are these short, but getting a match together oftentimes takes seconds, whereas 3v3 matches can take a minute or more.

2. Duck and weave

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While moving left or right, pressing “O” will give you a quick burst of speed in that direction, allowing you to juke anyone in your way. The best part of this maneuver is that it lets you effortlessly weave in and out of other players, regardless of how big or small they may be. Combine juking with a layup and you almost have a guaranteed two points.

1. Move forward to nail the buzzer-beater

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Whether you’re playing by yourself or with two other people, there will be times when the scores are tied with a fraction of a second left on the clock. During these moments of high-tension, either get your teammate to pass the ball to you or get it into the hands of someone who you trust before the timer starts. As soon as the timer begins, run in front of the three-point line and take a shot. Because two-point shots are almost always guaranteed to go in, you’ll get the points and win the match.

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One of man’s very first creations was fire, or at least that’s how the saying goes. Whether or not that’s true, we thought it was fitting that fire made the list, in its basic form. While the fire powerup can be buffed to shoot out more fireballs, we haven’t really found a need for this extra firepower. It’s easier to keep track of one fireball, it’s more useful than the powered-up versions, and it just looks cool.

4. Obliterate

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Midway through some levels, you’ll find a merchant who will sell you power-ups you can’t find in the Item shop. One of these power-ups is “obliterate.” BUY IT IMMEDIATELY! Even if you have another power-up you want to buy, forget it. Buy obliterate. This is an instant kill to any non-boss monster on the screen. We haven’t had to use it outside of boss battles, but it’s really good for taking out large chunks of their health, or killing off their minions.

3. The monkey transformation

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Shantae’s default running speed isn’t slow, but when you’re going through the same levels multiple times, trying to get a very specific item to advance the story, it can be annoying. We’ve found that switching to Shantae’s monkey form is the best for level trecking. Not only is this form significantly faster than normal Shantae, but it can also jump higher and climb walls. In most cases, this will do just fine. Just remember, your options for fighting off enemies are limited, so you might need to switch back to Shantae’s base form every now and then.

2. The faster hair whip

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When you first visit the Item shop with enough money to buy something, you might gravitate toward the higher damage item. Don’t get it. The first thing you’ll want to do is buy the faster hair whip. This will increase the damage-per-second (DPS) Shantae is able to do to her enemies. As a former World of Warcraft player, I know that a high DPS can be very useful. That said, buy the higher damage item next, because high, fast damage is ultimately the best option.

1. Mirror

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One of the power-ups I wish I had earlier in the game is the mirror. You’ll first encounter it as the “bubble” power-up, a shield that absorbs damage, but as is the case with most things in that Item shop, the second tier unlocks once you purchase the first tier. That second tier for Bubble is Mirror, a long-lasting shield that reflects enemy projectiles. In battles against bosses that use projectiles, this is like bringing a bazooka to a fist fight.


Shantae: Half-Genie Hero will be available on PS4, PS Vita, PC, and Wii U on December 20th. A physical release will be availabe the same day for all platforms except the Wii U. Nintendo customers will have to wait an extra week to get their hands on a retail copy.

ps4-patch

Let’s face it, one of the worst things about this generation of console are the growing sizes of patches. It’s not uncommon to have to download a patch that’s more than 7 GB to enable features for DLC you might not need or, in some cases, multiplayer in general. The last thing anyone wants to do when they boot up a brand-new game is to wait for a patch to download.

Sure, you might be able to skip the patch or download it in the background, but what if you want to play multiplayer with your friends? Back to waiting you go! Allowing players to download patches before they install a game would save a lot of time and headache.

5. Let us group friends

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Do you remember how you met xXCoolDude770Xx, your very first online friend? What about the guy you just met a month ago? No? Well, neither do we. Being able to group friends together under categories of our choosing is something we’re shocked hasn’t been implemented by Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony. It just seems like a very common-sense thing to do. We have our WhatsApp groups for families and friends, so why can’t we have a PSN group for Uncharted 4?

4. Automatic live streaming

ps4-streaming-hub

Back in 2011, OnLive tried changing the way we play PC games by pushing a cloud gaming initiative. As long as you could run the client (which almost any computer could), you could run the games on the service. While we’re all aware of how well that went, the service had some pretty novel ideas. Not only did OnLive help build the foundation for PlayStation Now, but it gave users the ability to jump into anybody’s game and watch them play. This was shortly before streaming to Twitch and whatnot was popular, and long before the days of PS4 and Xbox One.

The best part about this feature was that it was automatic. You could jump into OnLive’s hub and select someone’s game and just observe. On the players’ end, nothing extra was required. You could enable a microphone so you could interact with your viewers, but you weren’t required to. Hell, you didn’t even have to acknowledge their existence. It was that easy.

While Xbox One and PS4’s method of streaming to YouTube and Twitch are working pretty well, it’d be nice if this process were always-on. It gives consumers an easy way to check in on a game they might want, and who knows, you could build a following.

3. Incremental upgrades

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This is one we already addressed in an earlier article, but we can’t stress this enough. Options are good, so long as they don’t divide the player base of a game. Being able to choose your desired frame rate or resolution makes everyone happier, whether you’re the hardest of the hardcore, or someone who’s just trying to flex the muscles of their new TV. So far, we’re enjoying our PS4 Pro and wouldn’t mind if incremental upgrades became a new trend.

2. Bluetooth headset support

FILL headset

Remember when people used to use those one-ear Bluetooth headsets? In retrospect, the sheer concept of it being attached to one ear instead of just using headphones with a microphone is funny, but those were the days. In fact, we used them too, and that’s kind of the point with this..errr….point. We can almost guarantee that most, if not all, the people reading this article have a Bluetooth headset laying around their house somewhere. It doesn’t have to be one of the old ones, either. It may be a snazzy pair of headphones from Boze, Sony, or whomever. The point is this: They’re all too common and make it easier to discuss important topics like Kim Kardashian, elections, and possibly whatever game you’re playing in party chat.

Sony had the right idea when they let PS3 users choose whether they wanted to use a Bluetooth microphone or something else to chat with friends online. When they revealed there wouldn’t be Bluetooth support on PS4, we were kind of taken aback. Now, none of the big three support the feature and that has us bummed. With the popularity of Bluetooth headphones on the rise, this would be a great way to help people get into online gaming.

1. External storage support

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This is mostly aimed at Sony. While Playstation platforms do allow you to swap out the internal hard drive (something neither Nintendo nor Microsoft allow in their consoles) the biggest problem with this method is how inconvenient it is. Swapping out a hard drive requires purchasing a new one, backing up your content (which can take hours), switching drives and restoring your content (which can also take hours). Simply saving your content to an external drive as big as you can find saves time and is easier.

@smitegame Twitter handle. Once you’ve followed the account, head to this page on the official Hi-Rez website in order to verify. Once verified, Artemis will be unlocked and you’ll get a brand new skin to try out.

Artemis is fun to play if you enjoy ranged classes as her damage is absolutely beastly during the late game once you’ve leveled properly and purchased the right items. The Stalker skin isn’ that different from the default skin, but there are quests in the game to unlock a new skin occasionally and these are a great way of fulfilling those without spending a dime.

You can unfollow the account later if you don’t want Smite news in your feed and you’ll still keep the skin.

Nu Wa and Water Dancer Nu Wa skin

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Nu Wa can bring variety to the mages you have in your pantheon if you’re not feeling the perpetually free-to-play Ra. Her playstyle is much different and she provides ways to mask your movements from enemies on the map, which is helpful in Conquest maps where wards are often the key to victory. Her abilities are mostly area of effect abilities, which require less accuracy than the straight line spells Ra casts.

You can unlock Nu Wa and her Water Dancer skin just by subscribing to the Hi-Rez Smite channel on YouTube. Once you’ve done that, return to the Hi-Rez website and verify that your profile has liked the page to receive the skin. As with Twitter, if you don’t want to see Smite news and updates in your YouTube feed you can unfollow the page immediately after you’ve verified the skin and you’ll keep it.

 

Solar Eclipse Ra skin

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Ra is one of the default heroes that is always available to Smite players. He’s a mage that features high damage and can be a huge pain to fight in late game, thanks to his ability to heal his teammates and put out a lot of burst damage with his ultimate and other abilities. Ra is great if you like being as far away from the action as possible while still doing great damage to help out the team.

Since Ra is already unlocked, all you’ll get for completing this step is the Solar Eclipse Ra skin, which you can see in the image to the left. As I previously mentioned sometimes you’ll get quests to unlock a god skin, so this is great to clear those out of your quest queue. Just like the Smite page on Facebook and verify on the Hi-Rez website. Once verified if you don’t want news and updates, just unlike the page.

 

Apollo and Apollo Curse skin

apollo-curse Apollo is another Hunter class god, but he brings a lot more mobility to the game than Artemis or any of the other Hunters save Jin Wei. His ultimate ability allows him to hop in his chariot and ride across the map at a moment’s notice and like his sister, he’s capable of putting out a ton of damage in the late game with a few stuns thrown in.

This one is more involved than the other three, so you’ll definitely have to be dedicated to get it. It’s totally worth it though, because you get two for one with this task. Download the Curse Voice program and start it up, playing at least five matches while Curse Voice is running in the background. You should then receive an email to the address you signed up for the service containing the code to unlock Apollo.

Since this is a code it generates, you should be able to redeem it on the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game, but you’ll have to play the matches to earn it on the PC version of Smite.

Agni and Curse Agni skin

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Agni is another mage god that offers different utility compared to Ra and Nu Wa. He’s speedier than Ra when it comes to getting around the battlefield and he fights a war of attrition that sets his foes on fire for lasting damage even after he’s out of the attack. Combined with his Noxious fumes ability, any of his fire abilities will stun enemies who are caught in it making for the perfect team fight setup.

All you have to do to unlock this god and skin is play 10 matches with the Curse Voice client you downloaded to unlock Apollo. Once you’ve played a total of 10 matches, you’ll receive a code to the email you used to sign up for Curse Voice. As previously mentioned, you’ll need to complete this challenge on a PC, but you should be able to enter the code on the console versions of the game.

 

 

Blood Eagle Thor skin

 

blood-eagle-thorThor is one of the default heroes that’s available in the game. He’s an assassin, which means he’s great at single target damage and absolutely raining hell down on the enemy. He’s also quite mobile thanks to his ultimate, which tosses him up in the air after a brief charge and allows the player to choose where to land.

To unlock this skin, you’ll have to download Hi-Rez Entertainment’s other game, Tribes: Ascend. It’s a fast-paced first person shooter that’s fun to play and also available for free. To unlock the skin, you’ll need to reach level 50 in the game.

 

 

 

Janus and Keymaster Janus skin

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Janus is yet another mage to add to your pantheon courtesy of Hi-Rez. His unique abilities revolve around creating portals for you and your allies on the battlefield, making him very useful for getting a team across the map quickly. He can be quite powerful during Conquest maps where navigating the jungle can waste precious seconds between switching lanes.

To unlock this skin, all you need to do is go to the Smite eSports page and sign in with Facebook. After that you’ll be able to choose a platform and the code will be given to you to unlock this unique skin for a unique god.

 

 

 

 

Odin and Worlds Collide Odin skin

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Do you love playing Faceless Void in DOTA 2 and you’re looking for a similar character to trap your enemies? Look no further than Odin. Odin is a Warrior god who is capable of doing some high sustained damage against targets caught in his Ring of Spears ultimate. This ultimate ensnares all enemies inside and prevents them from healing while allies can move and damage freely.

To unlock this god and skin, you’ll need to have access to a PS4. Linking your PSN account with your Hi-Rez account will unlock this. If it doesn’t show up instantly, don’t worry. Some people are reporting that this skin may take upwards of two weeks to show up in the game, but you’ll get a notification when it does.

This god and skin is limited to the PlayStation 4 version of Smite.

Zeus and X Zeus skin

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Zeus is a powerful mage with a lot of area of effect utility that mages like Ra lack. His lightning storm ability will make quick work of the enemy team and his lighting bolts he throws from his hands can be charged using his Aegis ability.

In order to unlock this god and skin, you’ll need to download Smite on Xbox One and link your Xbox Live account with your Hi-Rez account. The same process applies as mentioned above, it could take a few days or a week for the skin to show on your Xbox account.

This god and skin is limited to the Xbox One version of Smite.

 

 

Bonus Gods using Raptr

Obviously if you’ve made it this far, you’re committed to getting gods and skins free in Smite. Raptr is a companion program that offers rewards every time you get achievements or game with others while the service is open. It also offers a selection of four gods and skins for each of them to purchase with points.

Since this takes some dedication to earn enough points to unlock them, I’ve left them off the traditional numbered list but wanted to include them here. These skins are for the PC version only, unfortunately.

  • Hel and Solstice Skin – 4,000 RP
  • Guan Yu and Guan Fu Skin – 4,000 RP
  • Bakasura and Ravenous skin – 2,500 RP
  • Freya and Valkyrie skin – 2,500 RP

Which MOBA should you play?

Review Roundup: Steep

Destructoid (6/10)

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It is, however, those adrenaline-filled moments that are the best Steep has to give. When it can display a real sense of speed and danger, Steep can be engrossing. It’s in these times that it feels infinitely replayable, like this reckless catharsis will never grow old. It’s these challenges that you don’t mind trying again and again because skidding down a cliff face of snowless rocks never ceases to entertain. And, these moments are fantastic reminders of how navigating a half-pipe where it’s a struggle to maintain any speed is such a goddamn waste in this game.

Xbox Achievements (78/100)

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The jumping and the tricking aspect of Steep is surprisingly deep when you get used to it. It can be a little daunting at first, as a lot of things come into play really quickly – especially timing that launch off an edge or ramp – but once you’ve got used to the basics, you’ll be Double Cork 1440 Popairing in no time! It’s a case of fairly easy to pick up and play, but a lifetime to master. Well, a few hours at the very least.

Digital Spy (3.5/5)

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The problem with Steep, however, is that, while you may well love it, that love begins to fade with time. Partly, this comes down to niggling irritations. The 3D map, for a start, is hard to navigate, often making it unnecessarily awkward to find your next event. The rest of the UI isn’t much better, turning simple character customisation into a bit of an ordeal.

God is a Geek (5.5/10)

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There is some fun to be had in Steep. The crux of the game, the actual snowboarding and skiing, do feel good and are fun to play and there are a whole lot of varied challenges to do in the frosty Alps. But a whole bucket load of bizarre design decisions distract from that. Ubisoft tried to innovate, but instead just over-complicated.

PlayStation Lifestyle (6.5/10)

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The sheer idea of a gigantic extreme winter sports sandbox is extremely compelling. While the game manages to live up to some of its potential by offering up an expansive, beautifully detailed map and an extensive collection of modes, it falls short on several fundamental elements, critical to the success of a new franchise. Odd storytelling, inconsistent controls, practically non-existent tutorials and imprecise collision detection all combine to derail what should have been a new premier franchise for Ubisoft.

All 33 trailers from PSX 2016

gone on record stating that Koch Media (who handles distribution for Square Enix in Europe) contacted them directly about the state of their Final Fantasy XV review, which they gave a 7.5/10. They stated that the outlet was crossed off the list of media to receive embargoed games because of the disapproval of the score.

This practice of blacklisting sites with unfavorable reviews is a publisher strong-arm tactic that would not be acceptable in any other industry. Cars couldn’t be sold before they were properly tested. The same with any other consumer electronic or appliance. But because video games are digital code and entertainment, the experience you get at launch is the one the publisher can get away with. There’s very little the consumer can do to return a game once it’s released and publishers know that.

no-mans-sky-planet-scan

One of the most useful features in No Man’s Sky is the ability to scan a planet from orbit. This allow you to get a peek at what resources you might find on that planet. As you probably should know by this point, resoures are very important, especially in Survival mode.

4. Keep track of your resources

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We’re going to assume that you played No Man’s Sky’s “normal” mode before rolling the dice with survival mode. If not, then props to you. If you did though, then you should have a basic understanding of what each resource does and how it can help you refill your various meters. Use that knowledge to your advantage. Keep important things like Carbon, Thamium, and Zinc on hand just in case you find yourself in a pinch and need to refill a meter or two quickly.

3. Know your meters

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Speaking of meters, you should probably take a minute or two to really understand them. They’ll help you out. On the ground, you have your life support, shield, and hazard protection meters. Each of these meters is affected by different conditions.

Life support drains as you move around in an environment (we’ll cover this more in a minute).

Shield is rather self-explanatory. Anytime you take damage, your shield will absorb those hits until it runs out. At that point, the life bars below your shield will begin to deplete until you die. In the event that you’re able to escape any damage for a few seconds, your shield will begin to regenerate, just like most games today.

Hazard protection depletes in hazardous conditions. Really, just being on a planet will cause it to drop, but staying out during a storm, cold night, or hot day will see the gauge tank. In that instance, you’ll want to duck into a nearby cave or building, wait it out in your ship, or (if you have the spare ammo), burrow deep enough into the ground so the weather doesn’t harm you.

2. Don’t be afraid to restart

no-mans-sky-survival

Let’s face it, we all make mistakes; whether that’s forgetting to turn the oven off before you leave for work, or misjudging the distance between you and your ship in No Man’s Sky. Whatever your situation may be, mistakes are a part of life. No Man’s Sky is no different. A large part of Survival mode, even with this guide, is trial and error. You have to crawl before you walk, and in this case, you need to die before you can learn.

If you start out on a hellish planet, hit that reset button and try again. Since everything’s procedurally-generated, there’s no guarantee that you’ll have a better planet on the second or third try, but keep going until you’re in an environment that is comfortable. Or you can try your luck in a hellish starter planet. Those can yield a lot of lessons too.

1. Walk, don’t run

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Those first few moments as you’re trying to survive long enough to make it to your ship are grueling and after a few retries, we wouldn’t blame you if you gave up. However, like we already said, use this as a learning experience. Now that you know your meters, you need to know how basic movement impacts them, namely life support, because that’s pretty important.

When running or using your jetpack in No Man’s Sky, your life support drains faster than normal. This is indicated by the arrows right next to the meter. Three arrows are the max, indicating you should probably chill out. Walking is the most cautious way of traversing a planet (outside of using your ship) because it only drains a small portion of your meter at a time. Staying still doesn’t effect it at all, so don’t move when you’re mining something.

nms-atv-resources

Now how the ATV will use fuel is unknown at this time, but we can expect more information the deeper eegandj digs or as we get closer to this update…whenever that may be.

Eegandj also notes that they found information about a 4th race called the “Diplomat” and some new information about freighters. There’s a lot more in their post, so go check it out.