Articles by Tony Polanco

Deciman Engine

Horizon Zero Dawn is the PS4 Exclusive You’ve Been Waiting For

The PlayStation 4 has had an impressive 2017 so far. With exclusive titles like Gravity Rush 2, Yakuza 0, and Nioh, PS4 owners haven’t lacked games to play. Now, Sony is getting ready to unleash yet another highly anticipated exclusive: Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn. Over the weekend, I was able to clock in a little over 20 hours with Horizon. Like many, I became interested in the game after seeing it debut at E3 2015. Robot dinosaurs? Sold. I avoided many of the trailers that followed, but I remained excited to play Horizon. After spending many hours with it, I can safely say that Sony has another brilliant new IP on its hands. For the uninitiated, Horizon Zero Dawn takes place a thousand years in the future after the collapse of human civilization. For the most part, it is a stone age world where people have to live off the land to survive. Advanced technology only exists in the form of robots that resemble animals. For years, humans and machines lived in (relative) peace, but for unknown reasons, all robots have become hostile. Survival in this harsh land isn’t easy, and having to contend with killer robots makes it…


Candy Crush Saga “Cupid’s Challenge” Lets Players Compete Against Each Other

Valentine’s Day (aka #Galentine’s Day) may be over, but Candy Crush Saga players can still celebrate the romantically themed holiday with a special event. Just like last weekend, players of the ever-popular mobile game can compete against one another and earn in-game rewards. “The qualifier event will see players help Dexter the Whale, dressed as Cupid, collect 10 Striped Candies to win a Lollipop Hammer and be automatically entered into the second round – the leader board,” says the press released. “In the leader board round, players are matched with 30 other players (at random) where they compete against each other to be placed in first, second and third position. The top 3 players will win rewards including Color Bombs, a Free Switch, and Unlimited Lives.” The second challenge started today at 4 am Eastern. It will continue until 4 am on Tuesday the 21st. The first place winner will get one Color Bomb, one Hammer, one Free Switch, one Striped/Wrapped Candy, and six hours of unlimited lives. The second place winner will get one Color Bomb, one Hammer, one Free Switch, and two hours of unlimited lives. Finally, the third place READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!


Gold and Silver Pokémon Coming to Pokémon GO

One of the biggest requests Niantic has gotten from Pokémon GO players is for the addition of more Pokémon to catch. Though there have been a few Gen 2 Pokemon added in the past few months, the vast majority of the roster is from Gen 1. Later this week, users’ wishes will, at last, be fulfilled. Niantic has just announced that the wildly popular mobile game will add 80 new Gold & Silver Pokemon from the Johto compendium. Also, there will be new berry types and trainer accessories. “Today is a momentous occasion for our team here at Niantic which has been hard at work to deliver these additional Pokémon and build upon the encounter and capture mechanics for our passionate global community of Trainers playing Pokémon GO,” says John Hanke, founder and Chief Executive Officer, Niantic, Inc. “Pokémon GO is a live experience which we’ll be continuing to support and evolve in new and exciting ways for years to come with new gameplay features, in-game and live events, more Pokémon to discover and much more.” [embedded content] Niantic goes on to say: “While catching Pokémon, Trainers can use two new Berries—the Nanab READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!


Nintendo Just Ruined Pokemon Cards for Everyone

While not as popular as the video games or anime series, Pokemon trading cards have remained popular among collectors for nearly two decades. There isn’t usually news to report on Pokemon trading cards. However, a nefarious development has recently been discovered that all collectors should be made aware of. As you can see from this video by YouTuber maxmoefoePokemon, the Sun & Moon booster box is mapped. This means that one can determine where the hollow and ultra rare cards will be without opening a single pack. This also means that a person can figure out where the not-so-great cards will be and avoid them entirely. [embedded content] In the video, the user opens up the first pack which has a card with a standard white code on it. Since that is the case, the following two packs won’t contain any special cards. The next pack after that has an ultra rare card. The next two packs have, as the user puts it, “garbage cards,” while the pack after that has another hollow. The user does mess up along the way, but even this mistake proves the pattern is consistent with READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!

DC Comics

Poison Ivy, Black Canary, Cheetah, and Catwoman Kick Serious Ass in Injustice 2

Right on time for #GalentinesDay, NetherRealm Studios has released a brand new trailer for Injustice 2 that introduces some of the game’s female combatants kicking ass and taking names. Black Canary, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Cheetah spout clever one-liners while performing some of their signature attacks. As you would expect from a game based on the Mortal Kombat engine, the fighting is visceral and brutal. We not only see the girls wailing on each other, but also beating the crap out of characters like Blue Beetle, Swamp Thing, Robin, and Atrocitus. We also get a brief glimpse at some of their stages — including a Poison Ivy level filled with dangerous plants! Injustice 2 picks up where the first game left off. It features alternate reality takes on classic DC superheroes like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Supergirl, Aquaman, Harley Quinn, and more. Battles take place in cities like Gotham, Metropolis, and Atlantis. The game is basically the perfect medicine for those who felt disappointed by Warner Bros’ DC films (which is pretty much everyone). [embedded content] Injustice 2 features a loot system similar to that of RPGs. The “Gear READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!

2000 AD

Rebellion Licences 2000 AD Comics for Video Games

Video game developer Rebellion Developments made an exciting announcement over the weekend. During the 40 Years of Thrill Power Festival in Hammersmith, Rebellion’s Jason Kingsley revealed that the company would be licensing its 2000 AD comics to other game developers. This includes properties like Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, and Rogue Trooper. Rebellion has actually created a number of games based on 2000 AD comics in the past. These include 2003’s multiplayer FPS title, Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death, followed by 2006’s third-person shooter, Rogue Trooper. In 2011, the company released the Judge Dredd vs. Zombies mobile game for iOS and Android devices. Despite being a game developer and creating titles based on 2000 AD properties, Rebellion feels that it is at “full capacity” according to Bleeding Cool News. Since Rebellion has so many potentially successful properties in its pocket, it has decided to license them for other studios to bring to life. Kingsley also told Bleeding Cool that Rebellion has been approached by different media to exploit 2000 AD characters for years. However, game developers and publishers have never asked to license these properties since they saw Rebellion as a competitor. Rebellion READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!


Gameband is the Game Watch You Didn’t Know You Needed

Smart watches aren’t exactly things that would interest the average gamer. Now, there is a smart watch specifically made for gamers. A Kickstarter was recently launched for the Gameband smart watch. This sleek device not only tells you the time but also lets you play games right on your wrist. Designed by Matter Global, the Gamewatch features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 processor, an AMOLED display, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, and the company’s own Android OS that comes with a variety of productivity apps. The Gameband also has an upgradeable MicroSD drive, which allows for photo and music uploads. The Gamewatch comes pre-installed with 20 games. This includes classics like Pong, Asteroids, Centipede, and Breakout. It will also have a modern game in the form of Terraria. Thanks to a partnership with Atari, there will be an Atari-themed watch that comes with different straps. This model will go nicely with the Atari games launching with the Gamewatch. “We had specific requirements for our design,” says the Gameband’s Kickstarter page. “It needed to be robust, as durable as a watch, while incorporating gaming influences and giving us the flexibility to create special editions, without overly READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!


Is Nintendo Ending Production of the NES Classic Mini?

As you no doubt know, the NES Classic Mini is an extremely difficult to find game system. For reasons unknown, Nintendo didn’t manufacture enough units of this pint-sized console. If one were lucky, they could find the system at a store for $60. Others had to visit auction sites like eBay where prices could be considerably higher. It looks as though those eBay prices are about to get a lot higher. A NeoGAF user by the name of “Roarer” who claims to work for a “large Nordic retailer” posted that production of the NES Classic Mini is coming to an end. “According to them, production has ended, and we will be receiving a few more shipments before everything dries up,” says the post. “By our estimates, we (as a single retailer) might not be able to fulfill all orders that have been placed so far. Our last shipment should arrive in April or May, and after that, there won’t be any more shipments. I have heard from other retailers that they’ve received the same information. Some of them are emailing customers to tell them that their order might be canceled.” The user updated READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!


Valve Ditches Greenlight for “Steam Direct”

For years, Steam Greenlight was the way smaller developers could get their games on the Steam Store without the help of a publisher. Though Greenlight did help smaller games stand out, the system itself wasn’t without its flaws. Now, Greenlight will be taken down and replaced with something called Steam Direct. Here is how Steam Direct will work according to Valve: “We will ask new developers to complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account. Once set up, developers will pay a recoupable application fee for each new title they wish to distribute, which is intended to decrease the noise in the submission pipeline.” Instead of relying on upvotes, developers will now submit their games directly to the Steam Store. Valve will check to see if game files run correctly and, according to VentureBeat, make sure they are actually games. This sounds like it could lead to a flood of shovelware, but Valve feels confident that its current Steam algorithm can sort the good from the bad. Right now, Valve doesn’t know how much it will charge developers READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!


The NBA Will Launch a Professional eSports League in 2018

The National Basketball Association and Take-Two Interactive have partnered to create an official NBA 2K eSports League. This will be the first organized video game league that is operated by a professional U.S. sports league. The NBA 2K eLeague will premiere in the 2018 season. Each of the virtual teams will be run by their real-world counterparts. The plan is to eventually have all 30 NBA teams involved. Each team will recruit eSports players to fill their rosters. The virtual league will mimic the real one as much as possible. Every season will start with a player combine, a draft, and then a shortened scheduled of regular-season games and playoffs. Each NBA team will have its own five-player digital team for the season. At the moment, it isn’t known if teams will be able to trade (eSports) players or have a virtual bench for reserve players. [embedded content] In an official statement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said: “We believe we have a unique opportunity to develop something truly special for our fans and the young and growing eSports community.” For all intents and purposes, the NBA 2K eLeague will be run READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!


Speedrunner Beats Resident Evil 7 on Hardest Difficulty With Only a Knife

As you would expect, some speedrunners have already blasted their way through Resident Evil 7. Most have completed the game on easy mode using special weapons. This wasn’t good enough for one speedrunner who decided to make things more challenging for themselves. Not only did they turn the difficulty all the way up, but managed to plow through with only a knife. Resident Evil 7 has three difficulty modes: Easy, Normal, and Madhouse. Madhouse makes enemies more resilient to damage and makes your main character weaker. The locations of key items have been rearranged, and one can only save their progress with VHS tapes. The regular game is hard enough, but Madhouse is downright brutal. That didn’t deter YouTuber and speedrunner Quizzle from accomplishing the seemingly impossible. [embedded content] Finishing Resident Evil 7 on Madhouse with only a knife in record time is impressive on its own. To make us all feel like lesser gamers, Quizzle manages to set this record without dying once. This is actually crucial to the speedrun since the in-game timer doesn’t stop when one dies. Quizzle’s final time is 2:49:13 — seven minutes faster than his READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!

Boost Mode

Boost Mode Makes the PlayStation 4 Pro Live Up to its Potential

Beta testers of the PlayStation 4’s upcoming 4.50 firmware update (code-name Sasuke) were the first to discover a new feature called Boost Mode. This setting allows the PS4 Pro to run games at higher frame rates even if they are unpatched. It’s a feature that, quite frankly, should have been in the system on launch day. Recently, our friends over at Digital Foundry put Boost Mode through the proverbial paces. What they’ve discovered is very promising. Though there were some games that saw minimal to no improvement, most titles did enjoy a noticeable boost in performance. Extensive testing has revealed that Boost Mode is indeed the real deal. What’s important to understand about Boost Mode is that it will not perform miracles. Any game locked to 30fps will not run above that. The same applies to games targeting 60fps. Boost Mode stabilizes a game’s core frame rate. This means titles will seldom drop below 30 or 60fps. Stabilizing a game’s frame rate may not sound like a big deal, but it did provide dramatic improvements for some of the tested titles. [embedded content] This first video shows a range of games READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!

E3 2017

E3 Opens Its Doors to the Public for the First Time

Traditionally, E3 has always been a press-only trade show. During the last few years, it has increasingly allowed more and more members of the public to attend. Now, the world-famous video gaming convention will open its doors to the public like never before. Starting on February 13, 15,000 tickets will be available for anyone to attend E3. Tickets will be priced at $250, or $150 as part of an early bird discount on February 13. Tickets will give attendees access to the show floor, panels, and other events that are taking place from Tuesday through Thursday. The ESA and Geoff Keighley are partnering to provide attendees with access to special benefits that are associated with Keighley’s E3 programming. This will comprise of developer interviews and more. The decision to open up all of E3 to the public was influenced by the success of last year’s E3 Live Event, which was free to the public. Located just outside the Los Angeles Convention Center where E3 takes place, E3 Live gave the public access to games from the show floor and let them participate in special events. Because of this success, it was decided to make E3 available to a larger audience….

backwards compatibility

Phil Spencer Isn’t Ruling Out Xbox 360 Games on PC

One of the most touted features of the Xbox One is its ability to play Xbox 360 games via backwards compatibility. Ever since the feature was launched in 2015, Xbox One owners have been able to play a great deal of 360 games. Given Microsoft’s push toward PC gaming, many wondered if Xbox 360 backwards compatibility would one day be available on PC. Xbox head, Phil Spencer, is known for answering fans’ questions on Twitter. Recently, a follower asked him about the possibility of seeing Xbox 360 games on PC. Spencer gave a direct, if noncommittal answer. @Micro_666 @TobiasFoxtail Running BC reliably on all the different PC HW configs would be a lot more work than XB1, but never say never. — Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) February 7, 2017 There are numerous PC configurations out there. Because of that, it’s understandable why Spencer believes getting 360 games to run on PC would be difficult. At the same time, it was also said that the Xbox One would never get Xbox 360 backwards compatibility. That obviously hasn’t been the case, as anyone who has played a 360 game on Xbox One can attest READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!