Steam has a “review bomb” problem—but will today’s new feature fix it?

Enlarge / Have you struggled to understand Steam review bomb incidents? Do these incredibly unclear line charts help at all? (credit: Valve Software) Steam, the largest digital PC game storefront in the West, continues to struggle with user-contributed game reviews. Valve launched the feature in 2013, and since then, it has seen various updates to deal with issues such as false and gamed reviews. But none of those updates was much comfort to the game Firewatch last week. Its Steam review page was swarmed with negative reviews after its developer, Campo Santo, denounced the hateful speech of game streamer PewDiePie and issued DMCA challenges to that streamer’s videos about Firewatch. Maybe it’s a coincidence that Valve not only announced a new Steam user review feature on Tuesday but also tied it in a huge way to the issue of “review bombing.” Either way, Steam store pages now come with a lot more data in the form Read the full article…

Minecraft’s cross-platform update is now available on Xbox, PC, and mobile

Minecraft has been available on tons of different devices in the past. Now, Microsoft is finally bringing all those platforms together with the “Better Together” update, which is rolling out today for Xbox One, mobile devices, and Windows 10 PCs. The Nintendo Switch is still set to get the Better Together update, too, although that’s been delayed until later in the winter. The update essentially takes the different versions of Minecraft that have been available on PC, Xbox, iOS, and Android, and consolidates them into one master version, with the same features, functionality, and content no matter where you play. That means that the console versions of Minecraft on Xbox One (and eventually, the Nintendo Switch) will now run the same… Read the full article…

Valve is ‘fixing’ its review-bombing problem by making users do more work

Last week, the indie game Firewatch suffered a Steam “review bombing.” Developer Campo Santo ordered Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg to remove a Firewatch video after he shouted a racial slur elsewhere. In response, angry fans pushed the critically acclaimed game’s score from an overall “very positive” to a more recent “mixed” reception, against PewDiePie’s wishes. Firewatch’s reviews are still generally excellent, so this controversy hasn’t necessarily hurt Campo Santo. But review bombing and similar attacks are a long-standing issue for developers, making Steam a less useful platform to buy and sell games. Given that Steam holds massive sway over the PC gaming market, that’s a real problem. Yesterday, Valve seemed like it was finally… Read the full article…

Blizzard’s Overwatch league will finally debut in January

After nearly a year of building up its ambitious e-sports league for the colorful shooter Overwatch, Blizzard has finally announced a start date for the competition. The Overwatch league’s debut season will start on January 10th and will last until June, with playoffs following in July. Meanwhile, teams will be getting an early start with a series of pre-season exhibition matches that start on December 6th. The total number of teams is now 12 Along with the start date, Blizzard also announced the final three teams that will be joining the e-sports circuit. They include a team in Philadelphia, owned by the same group behind the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers, as well as teams in Dallas and Houston, operated by e-sports groups Team Envy and… Read the full article…

Zone of the Enders’ VR Mode Is Promising

Announced during Sony’s TGS PlayStation conference, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner is getting a remastered edition for PS4 and PC complete with VR support. The entire game can be played in VR and also includes a separate VR mode that I got to try out at Konami’s booth at TGS. Though the main campaign seems to have gotten a complete visual upgrade, the VR mode doesn’t have much of a modern polish outside of the cockpit. Still, I enjoyed the simple, polygon style. It reminded me of sitting and playing an enclosed light gun shooter in an arcade, but this time I got to be fully immersed. The space I was allowed to fly in was a tad empty. That may have been for the best as the few waves of enemies that spawned kept me occupied as I tried to figure out my various weapons. Powered Read the full article…

SteamWorld Dig 2 Review

In the cluttered landscape of fictional post-apocalyptic worlds, 2013’s SteamWorld Dig was a breath of fresh air. A steampunk Western, it sends you digging deep into the earth, searching out precious resources to sell in the dusty, one-mechanical horse town above. It’s a glorious a tale of robot cowboys, mutant humans and mysterious technology. SteamWorld Dig 2 is very much the sequel I was hoping for. It has the same core gameplay loop of digging for riches, but leans further into platforming, puzzle solving and RPG elements, while boasting a gorgeously detailed aesthetic. In contrast to its predecessor, SteamWorld Dig 2’s world is not procedurally generated, and you can feel the handcrafted quality as a result. Dungeon layouts take devious pride in enemy positioning and cleverly hidden secrets. You’ll also come across cave entrances that take you to an impressive variety of self-contained challenges. These rooms make for a nice Read the full article…

Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet Team Referred to Destiny, The Division for Gameplay

Unlike past Sword Art Online games, Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet takes place in the Gun Gale Online game and features a custom character as the protagonist. Kirito, Asuna, Sinon, and other characters for the original series are still involved in Fatal Bullet, but for the most part, Fatal Bullet’s original story (supervised by series creator Reki Kawahara) is about your custom protagonist and three other new characters. Previous SAO games have had custom characters, but the story was still about Kirito. Bandai Namco emphasized that player choice is the main theme of the game. Since Fatal Bullet is set in SAO’s gun world, it features a blend of third-person shooter and RPG gameplay. Fatal Bullet producer Yosuke Futami said that when developing the gameplay, the team referenced games like The Division and Destiny. Read the full article…

FIFA 18 Review in Progress

Note this is a review in progress for FIFA 18. While we’re confident we’ve thoroughly tested every aspect of the game, we won’t pass final judgement until we’ve had the chance to test its online components on public servers. FIFA 17 was a season of bold, headline-grabbing ideas, with The Journey – its ground-breaking story mode – leading the charge. Following young hopeful Alex Hunter’s rise through the league was short-lived but refreshing, and the added grunt of the Frostbite engine have extra details to the players, the stadiums and the lighting. It provided the foundation on which future games in the series would be based. This season, for better or worse, is one of consolidation. FIFA 18 builds directly on its predecessor, refining many of the ideas introduced last year. This continuity is most apparent in The Journey: Hunter Returns, which picks up our prodigy’s story where it left Read the full article…

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite isn’t the same without arcade-era pixel art

In 1996, near the end of the Golden Age of arcade fighting games, Capcom released X-Men vs Street Fighter. Featuring 17 characters taken from both the Street Fighter and X-Men universe, the game was like a schoolyard argument come to life: “Who would win in a fight, Akuma or Wolverine?” The Street Fighter formula was tweaked to include tag-team character battles, super jumps, over-the-top full-screen effects and super moves, and ridiculously drawn-out combos both on the ground and in the air. If you liked your Street Fighter turned up to eleven, this was your jam. The game was bright, loud, and frantic, like a cartoon come to life. That was appropriate, as the X-Men characters were modeled after the animated series, right down to the voice actors used for the game. The sprites were large (for the time), colorful and well drawn, and beautifully animated, bringing the two worlds together Read the full article…

Microsoft opens standard Xbox One X preorders worldwide

Microsoft today announced worldwide preorder availability for the standard version of its new Xbox One X console. The device, first unveiled back at E3 in June, has only been available up until now as the Project Scorpio special edition, preorders for which promptly sold out when Microsoft began selling them during the Gamescom conference last month. Now, the company says preoreders for the standard black Xbox One X will be available at local retailers around the world, as well as through its own website and the Microsoft Store. The console will retail for $499 in the US with 1TB of storage, and it starts shipping worldwide starting November 7th. With preorders more widely available now, Microsoft is also taking the opportunity to… Read the full article…

YouTube opens up Twitch-style subscriptions to more creators

YouTube is expanding Sponsorships, its relatively new service that lets viewers pay creators a monthly subscription fee in exchange for exclusive perks. The program, which existed only in beta prior to today, will now be available to any channel in the YouTube Gaming mobile app, a Twitch competitor that encourages gaming personalities to live-stream their play sessions and post edited recordings of gameplay footage. Sponsorships will also be available for non-gaming channels across all of YouTube in a limited beta testing phase starting today. YouTube says Sponsorships will replace the rarely used paid channels feature the company launched all the way back in 2013. “This service offered monthly subscriptions for some channels, but with… Read the full article…

See Halo Wars 2’s Expansion Running in 4K on Xbox One X

Halo Wars 2 looked and ran just fine on the standard Xbox One or Xbox One S, but the top-down real-time strategy game is a natural choice to benefit from the added power and resolution of the Xbox One X. We had a chance to sit down with the upcoming expansion pack, Awakening the Nightmare (out next week). Take a look at the video above for our full playthrough of the expansion’s entire first mission, played on an Xbox One X running at 4K resolution. And if you’re unfamiliar with Halo Wars 2, take a look at our review of the game below. Read the full article…

Shadow of War: See the Worst that Mordor Has to Offer

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is fast approaching, and we got the opportunity to delve into the heart of Mordor to see what the late-game experience was like, taking the fight directly to Sauron. In our demo, we tangled with a mighty Balrog, assaulted a level 300 fortress, and found ourselves surrounded by a host of powerful Warchiefs. We’ve got a couple of gameplay clips for you. Above, check out our fight against Tar Goroth the Balrog. Below, watch us go on a suicide mission against six different Warchiefs at the same time. Finally, you can watch us successfully take out the commander of a powerful fortress right in the heart of Mordor. Look for more videos as Middle-earth: Shadow of War hits on October 10th, and if you missed it, be sure to check out our huge IGN First preview coverage right here. Read the full article…