Overwatch Art Book and Comic Anthology Releasing in October

The award winning online Multiplayer first-person shooter video game Overwatch has enjoyed MASSIVE success since it was released in May, 2016. Across the Windows, Playstation 4 and Xbox One platforms, over 30 million registered gamers have flocked in droves to enjoy the intense, team work based action game play and from the looks of it, there seems to be no sign of it slowing down.

Apart from the great gameplay Overwatch has to offer, the unique setting, the mythology and detailed world building that developer Blizzard has created alongside, it is immensely
detailed and interesting, causing many a fan to obsess over and discuss with other players.

There is little doubt that this uniquely crafted detail has contributed to the longevity of Overwatch. To top things off, Blizzard is getting Overwatch fans excited all over again by setting themselves up to deliver two absolute treats to them this October.

Up first is The Art Of Overwatch, a 368-page hardcover, coffee table sized art book. The hardback is set to contain a whole slew of never before seen artwork based on the world of Overwatch, plus thoughts and commentary from key development members of Blizzard. This book will surely be a “must-buy” purchase for fans.

The art book will be available in two separate editions, the standard hardcover edition (book only) which will set you back $50, and a deluxe limited edition which comes packaged in a collectors clamshell box, complete with variant cover of Overwatch’s most popular hero, Tracer, and featuring three unique prints from the Overwatch team unique to this collection. This superb deluxe edition will cost $100.

Another thing to note is that Blizzard are well known for hiding riddles, secrets and info on upcoming developments in their extended media. Fans would no doubt remember Riddler’s mind worm mount quest from World Of Warcraft with fondness, so there are sure to be more than a few little tidbits about possible future playable heroes or upcoming maps spread throughout the art book for keen eyed readers to pick up on.

Also slated for release in October is a special collector’s anthology of the Overwatch comic book series. Created by a world class team of writers and illustrators, the comics depict the interesting and unique back story of each hero in the Overwatch universe. Ever wonder how Bastion became a team member? Why Ana mysteriously disappeared? How Tracer came up with her awesome catchphrase? The answers are all contained within this essential companion to the Overwatch universe.This hardcover book will collect all of the currently released Overwatch comic books from Dark Horse Books, fans will most likely have read all 12 issues already on the Overwatch website, but for $20, the Anthology is an absolute must buy.

With the game’s one year anniversary coming up in just over a week, and a special event planned with plenty of skins, emotes, sprays and a multitude of highlight intros to be unlocked for all of the heroes, it looks like Overwatch fans are going to be quite satisfied with Blizzard’s continuing resplendent output for them over the next few months at the very least.

And, as always, please feel free to head over to Boostards if you’re ever in need of any kind of Overwatch boosting service, or Overwatch coaching!

Diluvion: The Good, The Bad, and the Oh So Pretty

I had been watching this crowd-funded indie game for a long time, eagerly awaiting its release. Well, that release finally happened, and now that I’ve finally had a chance to play it I thought now would be a good time to do a review and see if the game truly lived up to its promises. In many ways the game met my expectations spectacularly, but unfortunately there were a few technical shortfalls that make me hesitant to give Diluvion a solid recommendation.

To give you guys a quick refresher: Diluvion is an open world survival/exploration game set in a universe where some unknown cataclysm has frozen the surface of Earth’s oceans and forced all of humanity underwater. Now, everyone survives amongst the decaying ruins of their once-great civilization, huddled in cramped pressure capsules struggling to survive on scant resources. In this world submarines are the only practical form of shipping and transportation, and submarine crews are busy either trading, raiding, or scavenging the ruins for valuable salvage to keep themselves and the rest of humanity alive. While all of this day-to-day bustle is going on, sub captains and their crews daydream about being the ones to find an arcane mythical artifact in the deepest parts of the ocean, which legends say was left by a goddess to help usher humanity back up to the surface.

Before going any further, I’d like to admit I have a few biases going in to this game – I’m a big fan of submarines in general, and a lover of Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), which Diluvion is allegedly inspired by. Further, I’m also a big supporter of slower paced games that emphasize exploration over excessive action. Both those things helped paint Diluvion in a far better light when it came to forming my personal opinion.

With the disclaimers out of the way, let’s take a look at some of Diluvion’s strong points. For starters, the game does a great job of conveying the “feel” of traveling and exploring a deep ocean. By that I mean the environment is fairly restricted in its visibility, and that only gets worse the deeper down you go. In fact, at especially deep depths you’ll likely find yourself unable to freely navigate at all, instead having to rely on regular ping bursts from your sonar in order to see where you’re going. Your ship is also deliberately slow even at full throttle, which helps give the impression you’re traversing vast distances. While many gamers are going to find this frustrating, I loved that restricted visibility and it greatly increased the immersion factor for me.

Anybody who’s used to contemporary “party” based RPG mechanics will also appreciate Diluvion’s crew-management approach to managing your stats. Put simply, your ship has several discrete departments on board such as your helm, sonar, and gunner stations. Each department can be manned by one or more crew members to strengthen or weaken its respective stats. Crew members can be hired at many of the inhabited settlements you dock with or rescued from various derelicts and wrecks you find during your exploration. Further, each individual crew member has his/her own stats that can be trained up with the use of medallions, which you can salvage from the depths or buy from local merchants.

While the game environment and the basic mechanics are solid, Diluvion does have some pretty serious drawbacks. The most glaring issue is the developer’s insane choice of control mechanics. Take for example the basic piloting of your ship – in most games when you’re presented with a vehicle such as a plane, spaceship, or submarine the W and S keys control your pitch (meaning, whether you dive or climb), while the A and D keys control your lateral steering. Not so with Diluvion – for some reason the default controls are mapped so that W and D control your throttle, while dive/climb controls are pushed off un-intuitively to the Q and E keys. This has come back to bite me several times when I’ve been in the heat of battle trying to take evasive action and instead accidentally ordered my ship to a dead stop. While it’s true I can simply remap the keys I still find it frustrating that they’re arranged this way by default.

Diluvion also suffers from some bad game balance issues. While you’re out at sea your ship has to manage several critical resources, such as food and your supply of air. Both of these resources get consumed incredibly fast, especially when you’re maintaining a large crew (which increases the consumption rate). While air will get automatically refilled for free any time you dock with a structure, food much be purchased at an exorbitant price or, if you’re extremely lucky, you might find a few scraps of it in a wreck.

There were other detractors too that I don’t have room to go in to in this article, such as the overabundance of ocean currents on the game map and the confounding decision to rely on old-school save points in order to store your game progress. Suffice it to say the general mechanics of this game need a lot of polish.

I do want to end this review on a high note, however, and point out that this game is just plain PRETTY. Diluvion uses a unique visual style wherein exterior environments are rendered in 3D while interiors switch to a flat “cartoony” aesthetic. While I’m not a big fan of the style they chose for those 2D shots, the 3D environment is simply breathtaking. The undersea landscape is surprisingly varied thanks to brightly lit flora, epic-scale ancient ruins, and the hodgepodge cobbled-together look of the steel pressure capsules that now house the human race. All of this works brilliantly with Diluvion’s Verne-esque aesthetic and makes a visually compelling masterpiece of game art.

Long story short – There’s a lot of promise to Diluvion, especially if you’re already a fan of that particular visual or gameplay style. However shoddy gameplay mechanics and other annoying issues very seriously detract from even the most easy-going gamer’s enjoyment. Ultimately I’d say IF you like slow-paced exploration games and/or steampunk, then keep an eye for when Diluvion goes on sale. If, however, you’re a more mainstream gamer then you may, unfortunately, want to go ahead and sail past this one.

CounterStrike: Global Offensive for Beginners

Many gamers have been a part of the CounterStrike community since the franchise’s very first installment all the way back in 1999. These veteran players may be a bit intimidating to newcomers, especially if they’re new to the competitive team shooter genre as a whole. While the curve can be steep learning the basics isn’t too hard, and with a few pointers even a fresh player can hope to be competitive.

It may sound obvious, but you need to start by learning how to shoot. Your bullets don’t simply run in a straight line towards your targeting reticule – instead, they’re going to spread out much like they would with a real gun. It’s impossible to get rid of this spread completely, but there are some steps you can take to minimize their effects. Bullet spread is severely impacted by your gun’s recoil, so shooting in short bursts to allow your aim to “reset” will improve your aim considerably. Also be aware that spread gets considerably worse when you’re moving, so you might want to consider standing still when shooting (at least until you’re more comfortable with the game). As you gain experience you’ll learn other little tricks to help counteract the spray effect, such as taking advantage of the perfect accuracy that exists in the split second when you change strafing directions.

Once you know how to aim, the next important step is to know WHERE to aim. You might find yourself saying “aim at the other team, obviously” but it’s not always as simple as that. Players move around the game map at a pretty rapid clip, so pointing your reticule directly at their face usually won’t do much. Instead, you need to learn to lead your shots – to anticipate where a player is going to be a split second from now and aiming at that point instead. What’s more, experienced players have learned how to camp around corners and other hiding places in the environment so that they can pick you and your team-mates off as you walk in to your line of sight. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the game’s various maps you’ll be able to anticipate this and mitigate their attack by aiming and firing as you strafe around the corner.

Speaking of maps, one of the most important skills a new player will need to learn is how to navigate a map smartly. Make an effort to learn each map in detail, taking special note of its critical points as well as areas where enemies might hide or try to get the jump on you. The maps are one of CounterStrike’s most defining features, each one lovingly crafted to be a strategist’s wet dream. If you don’t take advantage of their individual characteristics your opponents definitely will.

Along with managing the map, you need to learn to manage yourself. What I mean by that is, you need to learn when to be sneaky and when to use brute force. For example, crouching down and “sneaking” is a great way to keep your character quiet and avoid detection, but it will also make you much slower and a potentially more enticing target. On the other hand, attacking the enemy head-on is suicide when the opposing team is well entrenched in an easily secured area. On a related note, don’t forget that ANY noise you make could tip off nearby assailants, even the simple action of reloading your weapon.

Weapons, by the way, are another hallmark of the franchise. CounterStrike has a rather unique mechanic for obtaining guns – you earn money during each round of play, and in between rounds you’re able to purchase guns, armor, and other equipment. This mechanic might seem pretty straightforward but actually has an entire strategy all its own. Most teams will try to conserve their collective money and forego buying excessive equipment for several rounds until they have enough cash to seriously load up. If you see members of your team calling for an “eco round” or simply “eco”, it means that they’re short on money ($4,000 is a good rule of thumb) and is requesting such a forbearance. The key here is communication – don’t go rogue and buy equipment willy nilly – coordinate with your team so that you can make a harmonized attack against your opponents.

And that is the single most important lesson for a beginner to learn – talk to your team as much as possible. CounterStrike is not a solo game – you MUST work well as a team if you’re to have any hope of victory. Communicate as much as you possibly plan and follow your team’s general strategy and you’ll find yourself being a useful contributing player in no time flat.

Dota 2’s Winter Pass 2017 Edition

The new arrival of the world renown Dota 2 winter 2017 Battle Pass compendium has had a wonderful response on its recent worldwide release and the prize pool has yet to reach its end.

The Battle Pass offers many new immortal items and other visual effects ranging from the map itself, to character skins, couriers, taunts and many other effects too numerous to mention.

It is advisable that anyone considering the following information before making the credit card purchase of this Steam and Dota 2 product. The adverts lead its players and potential buyers to believe that the visual effects and item sets of each playable hero are won off as a complete “Set” which generally includes 6 separate items to form a set. The items are sold at a specific price separately in any normal instance however with the battle pass the prizes are not sets including all 6 items. Only a single item is awarded which is not told to the public.

To add, there is also an issue on the leveling up of this Battle Pass product because unlike a normal Profile “level increment” which is based on winning and losing matches; the Battle Pass levels are based on bets dependent on the wagered coins, completion of daily quests and the participation and completion of specifically chosen quest-lines. Once a player has used up their pool of wagered points, which totals strictly one thousand a week and has completed the 3 active quest-lines entirely the player is then left with the single option to generate leveling experience which amounts to playing a specific hero and winning. Other than this option, players are almost forced to having to spend actual money to generate further experience points so that they may actually achieve the Battle Pass levels ranging from 1 to over 900. Currently, I am at level 20 and am nearing the completion of what I mentioned above. I’m guessing I would probably reach level 40 once completing all quest-lines and a few wagers.

On a plus note, the Battle Pass offers a vibrant assortment of visual effects tied to this compendium which cannot be obtained anywhere else, to add the price of getting this is incredibly cheap as-well so the common worker could easily purchase it without a problem and parents could easily buy it for their children as the price would, in no way have any real impact on their money. Also, updates are done daily, so ensure you have a good internet limit but they are updates that help the game have no bugs or glitches. Personally, I have not seen any since having joined in 2013

To conclude, it is worth buying if you are either a new or seasoned Dota 2 player as it adds a new perspective on online gaming as a community because as no doubt many will agree, the game is incredibly addictive, enticing as well as infuriating at times but without a doubt, no matter how many times you walk away from the game in anger I would bet that you would have a desire to play more in a hours time!

What is Overwatch Boosting?

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll have noticed that I occasionally do posts about Overwatch, whether it’s about their PTR changes or Doomfist release rumours, I actually enjoy playing this game, so I tend to make more articles about it. You’ll also notice that sometimes I will publicly endorse the services provided by Boostards, and today I want to talk about this service specifically!

Boosting in Overwatch

Overwatch Boosting has been growing really fast due to the competitive nature of the game as Overwatch can be quite a tough hurdle to vault if you lack a good team. After all, it is a team dependent game and if you are regularly stuck with terrible teammates who constantly hold you back or find yourself not performing up to par. This can be frustrating and demoralizing.

Therefore, you may find yourself in need of some additional assistance from competent players to aid you with your quest to reach Top 500. Boosting is a service offered by companies of your choice to help you reach any rank in the game, either by letting them “pilot” your account or grouping up with them while you play on your own account. They would then do their utmost to carry your account, or yourself, during the competitive matches, to great victory!

A number of websites have started to appear since this service’s inception and Overwatch boosting just seems to appear to start getting quite competitive itself. Some of these sites charge a hefty price tag that can go into the range of hundreds of dollars, but it seems that with how competitive the game itself is, and how much money people are spending online these days, boosting in Overwatch won’t be going away anytime soon.

However, one needs to be more careful with the malicious security risks of granting an unknown person unrestricted access to your account. They may charge your account with hefty in-game purchases, and in the worst case scenario, they might delete it completely. This is why I would recommend doing your research and making sure you are certain that the boosting company you have selected is trustworthy before giving them your account details.

This is why I would recommend doing your research and making sure you are certain that the boosting company you have selected is trustworthy before giving them your account details. Either that or you can opt to go with the “duo queue” option which is exactly what I did when I purchased my Overwatch boost from these guys.

Furthermore, boosting is not restricted to only PC players. Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players are also offered the service by most of the sites providing this service.

The History of Nintendo Consoles

I’ve always been a big fan of Nintendo consoles. In fact, my very first console was the SNES, and I will never forget playing Power Rangers and Donkey Kong on it back when I was 11 years old. It’s amazing how time flies, huh?

Nintendo has been around 27 years now. It’s a great company, and their products were very popular before we had Microsoft and Sony. So today, I want to look at how Nintendo has progressed, from when it was opened on 23 September 1889 to our present day.

Before you get started on this read, you might want to check out my other article on the epic battle between the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS!

First, the evolution of their consoles. Their first home console was the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It is an 8-bit system that introduced Nintendo’s most popular franchises, like The Legend of Zelda, Kirby’s Adventure and Super Mario Bros. This console’s successor was the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). It was released 5 years after the (NES). It’s a 16-bit system and was a global success. This introduced more popular franchises, like StarFox and Mega Man.

The SNES was followed by the Nintendo 64, which was released along with Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64. Then, Nintendo released a system similar to the Xbox, the Nintendo Gamecube. This system was the first to use discs, unlike its predecessors which used cartridges. But, the Gamecube wasn’t able to sell as much as the SNES, or the Nintendo 64. Although, its successor is the most successful home console of all time – the Wii.

The Wii brought a whole new experience to video games with its controllers that can detect motion in three dimensions. The drawback of the Wii is that, unlike the other consoles in its generation, it can only achieve 480p, while the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 can achieve 1080p. In 2012, the Wii U was released. Although a good console, it didn’t sell the way Nintendo wanted it too. The system brought a new controller, the Gamepad. The Gamepad is a tablet-like device with two joysticks, the four buttons which are the same as the buttons on the 3DS. Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, Splatoon, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Mario Maker were all games that boosted the sales of the console.

As well as Nintendo’s home consoles, they manufactured portable consoles as well. The Game and Watch was the first system. It used two screens and had two buttons; Button A and Button B. Only one game was able to be played, so you’d have to buy different systems for games, for example, you could buy a Game and Watch with Donkey Kong 2, then another with Zelda.

This was followed by the Game Boy, which was a best-seller in its day. They were also able to release the Game Boy Color, which was the same as the Game Boy, but the games had color, and the Game Boy Advance, which shares a similar design to the Wii U Gamepad. The Virtual Boy was the first console to display true 3D graphics, but it was discontinued a few months after its release. The Nintendo DS, released in 2004, gets its design from the Game and Watch, but the lower screen is touchscreen.

The system also has a built-in microphone, a stylus (a pen for the lower screen) and WiFi. Other consoles in the DS franchise were the DSi and the DSi XL. The latest portable console is the 3DS, which is the same as the DSi, but it has autostereoscopic 3D effects. Autostereoscopy is a process that sends different images to the left and right eyes to enable the viewer to view the screen in 3D “without the need for special glasses”. (A good scientific fact!) Other systems in the 3DS franchise are the 3DS XL and the 2DS.

Hopefully, you picked up some information and you can now go to your other friends who like Nintendo as much as you and show them how much more you know about Nintendo’s long-standing history than them!

5 More of My Most Anticipated Games of 2017

2016 was a great year for us with lots of amazing releases. However, 2017, new year new me right? Here are 5 more of 2017’s tiles that I’m really looking forward to playing, and why. These are different titles that I posted in my previous “Top Games” article, so please give it a read!

1. Legend of Zelda remains (RPG)

There are currently over 40 Nintendo switch games confirmed for release in 2017. However, the Legend of Zelda remains. This game was expected in 2016, but it was pushed back and will now be released in 2017, with the developers already picking March 3 as its launch date. The game will also be released alongside the Nintendo switch, making it available for both the Wii U and the switch platform. This game contains some peculiar game mechanics with a cooking link, sliding down on his shield and many other quirky stuff. This game promises to be the best Zelda game ever.

2. Batallion 1944 (FPS, Multiplayer)

The battlefield 1 came with a lot of thrill, but all focus has shifted to Battalion 1994 on its announcement, because of the back to basics feel of a World War II shooter it gives. From the preview, the game has a beautiful outlook; it will also be multiplayer ONLY and will be available for PS4, XBOX and PC. You can definitely look forward to this title if you’re an FPS buff.

3. Nioh (Action RPG)

Personally, I am a huge fan of samurais, and Nioh promises to be another great one from the team ninja, the RPG game is expected to be available by February and we can’t wait to get our hands on it. From its demo, it is garnered that you will play the role of a western samurai who would attempt to slay all enemies (both humans and supernatural) in a typical ancient Japanese setting. The game is quite dark in nature but full of excitement. I’m definitely looking forward to role-playing a western samurai.

4. Shenmue 3 (Action Adventure)

This game was expected in 2016, but it is now set to be released in 2017. It is a continuation of the Hazuki story of the Shenmue 2, with Lan Di and a new antagonist featuring as well. The game created a record on Kickstarter after it reached an initial target of $2 million under 8 hours.

5. Vampyr (RPG)

Vampyr is yet another great game from Dontnod, it involves a vampire doctor who struggles to fight his vampire condition. He tries to abide to the Hippocratic Oath despite the thirst for blood. The game is a set in 1918 during a flu pandemic in London, and Dontnod has noted that it is possible to complete the entire game without spilling a drop of blood. This game is a master piece that vampire fans can’t wait to start playing.

These are 5 titles that I’m looking forward to playing in Q1 of 2017. I know there are a bunch of other game titles that I’ve missed out here, but that just proves how amazing of a year 2017 will be for gamers worldwide. Looking forward to it!

Why Playstation Vita Lost to Nintendo 3DS?

In the past few months, there had been a growing rumor that the Playstation Vita will soon be discontinued by Sony. There had been many reports of a steady decline of Vita’s hardware and game availability from numerous retail stores in North America. On the other hand, its rival the Nintendo 3DS, still continues to steadily make a good number of sales. So what caused the downfall of the Vita?

Since the early days of the “Console Wars”, Sony has always relied on the superiority of their hardware to promote their products – better graphics, faster processors. While this is still true today on their handheld devices, it is somehow no longer significant to the consumers as reflected in the market figures. The initial reception for the Playstation Vita was quite good with combined sales of more than 500,000 units in North America and Japan! From there however, figures had a general decline in the succeeding years. Here are some of the factors that may have contributed to the downfall of the Vita:

Emergence of Mobile Games

Mobile phones are considered to be one of most essential devices of this generation. Its emergence heralded the demise of many technologies in the past – pagers, FM radios, digital cameras and PDAs, among others. This also poses a threat to handheld consoles now that the market for mobile games rises in popularity not only for casual gamers but to hardcore ones as well. Many consumers would rather purchase a phone with tons of practical uses that one that is designed specifically for games. Titles like Mobile Strike and Clash Royale are the favoured on-the-go games for many gamers.

Game Titles

Let’s face it. When people hear the word Nintendo, a face of Mario instantly pops out of their minds. One of the strongest reasons why Nintendo kept a tight grip on the handheld market was their own set of exclusive titles. The Pokemon video game franchise alone has sold about 279 million games worldwide as of February 2016. This together with Monster Hunter, Super Mario, Super Smash Brothers and The Legend of Zelda, among others ensure that a steady number of fans will support their devices. Sony might also have notable exclusives under their name, but numbers prove that it is not enough to keep them afloat in the market.

Game Production

Apparently, hardware superiority is also one of the downfalls of the Vita. Its advanced specifications made it harder for developers to create games. They find it harder to utilize some of the PS Vita’s features. It also poses a great risk for game developers to produce a high budget title given the uncertainty of Vita’s consumer base. This is possibly one of the reasons why Nintendo chose to produce cheaper consoles and focused their strength more on innovative ideas.