I think I’m bad at role-playing games. I’m far too impatient, too lusty, too easily distracted. I usually leave a trail of dead party members behind me because I keep missing those five-second side-conversations earlier in the game that somehow butterfly-effect themselves into someone dying.
NSFW WARNING: A butt.
I lost Lydia somewhere in a Skyrim dungeon, and she was murdered by elder tech while I was off looting. My boyfriend refuses to play Divinity: Original Sin 2 with me because I keep trying to pickpocket people, and then we have to fight twenty angry guards, and when I’m not pickpocketing I’m running around accidentally triggering important quests while looking for treasure. But playing Dragon Age: Inquisition, I felt like the game was designed around my awkward clumsiness. Here is the tale of how I ended up with three love interests.
It all started with Dorian. He’s a sassy asshole, and I love him. Something about his wit, sarcasm, and stupid tiny mustache drew me to him, and in typical RPG style, I ignored all other characters for every chance I could get to trigger new dialogue with him. It wasn’t long before he took me on his personal quest, during which I was sure he would tell me that we were to be married at once, or whatever the Dragon Age equivalent was.
But the personal quest turned out to be a mission to confront his father about his attempt to use blood magic to suppress Dorian’s homosexuality. Oh. Oh.
I went to the library and had a tough conversation with Dorian, asking him what he had meant by all that flirting if he wasn’t interested in me. Not only did he acknowledge that it was misleading, he apologized for toying with my heart, and offered to never flirt with me again if it was too much for me—which was a moment in and of itself, because, wait, had the game expected me to do this? Was this all part of writer David Gaider’s plan? Damn him! Damn that sexy mustache! But I moved on, satisfied with the realness of our conversation and with Dorian’s agency as a non-playable character who was only interested in men.
I dallied for a while with Blackwall, a man with a stupid beard, a gravelly monotone, and a distinct lack of personality (apologies in advance to all Blackwall fans). When I say I dallied, I mean once. Precisely once. I chose one flirty dialogue choice out of curiosity, and it wasn’t until four painful romantic cutscenes later that I was able to tell him to take his beard and fuck off back to the stables. He was convinced we were very much in love. From my perspective, it was more like a clingy guy that thinks one date is a tangible commitment.
From there, I only really had one option, because Josephine—the gold-plated angel who was basically Andy from the end of The Devil Wears Prada, knowledgeable and ever-present—wasn’t dateable, and I accidentally made everyone else hate me. That remaining option was Iron Bull, AKA Freddie Prinze, Jr., AKA the ten-foot Qunari who was as horny as he was, uh, horny. Because he had horns.
Iron Bull, being made entirely of beef and trauma, was very, very into BDSM, a topic I wasn’t expecting to find in a AAA game. Despite the fact he could have pumped my poor dwarf protagonist into a sex-paste, I went for it. The height difference was probably at least six feet, a fact the game attempted to gloss over. He asked for my enthusiastic consent over and over again, and although this was probably more like a waiver—because of the danger of the aforementioned sex pulverization—it impressed me nonetheless.
(Apparently, if you don’t date Iron Bull or Dorian, they can end up together. Dragon Age: Inquisition did a lot for me, but it didn’t let me be the mayonnaise in that man-sandwich, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find some fan-fiction.)
It’s been said a thousand times before about Dragon Age: Inquisition, but it sure is refreshing to play a AAA game that treats sex not like a win-state, nor a titillating cutscene, but as a living part of an ever-changing relationship. We don’t have to treat sex like something divorced from the narrative of the game, nor do we have to act like it only exists for the player’s enjoyment. Good sex in games, as rare as it is, should be about sex in context, with all the dynamics of power and personality that come with it. Giving characters like Dorian the agency to reject people is just as important as giving the player and the player-character the agency to consent, and I’d love to see more of that in the future.
Not to mention that sex is a great opportunity for silly jokes that show a different side of characters, like the sex scene between the Inquisitor and Sera, who falls off the bed laughing at the Inquisitor’s failed attempt to shave initials into her pubes. And why not! It’s a tender, heartwarming scene that lets us take a break from battles and misery.
I am eternally grateful that Dragon Age: Inquisition let me roleplay as the hot mess I am, with all the relationship fuck-ups and responses that acknowledged that everyone, from Dorian and Blackwall to Sera and Iron Bull, was fully aware of how much of a romantic dumbass I was.
Unlike most of the other Legendaries to appear in Pokemon Go, Azelf, Mesprit, and Uxie aren’t available as Raid bosses; rather, the Legendaries are spawning in the wild like typical Pokemon. However, as befits their status, the Pokemon are quite rare, so the odds of running into one are fairly low.
Moreover, it appears that each Pokemon is currently only available in a specific part of the world. According to Serebii, it seems Azelf is only appearing in America; Mesprit is available in Europe; and Uxie is currently spawning in Japan. Just as in the mainline games, the Legendaries are also reportedly appearing near bodies of water.
It’s unclear how long the new Pokemon will appear in Go, but Legendaries typically hang around for approximately a month before Niantic cycles them out for new Pokemon. With the reports that each one is only available in a certain area, it seems likely that the Legendaries will swap regions before they leave the game entirely.
Azelf, Mesprit, and Uxie aren’t the only Legendaries currently available in Pokemon Go. Groudon has also returned to the game for a limited-time as one of the game’s Earth Day bonuses. On top of that, Ground-type Pokemon are spawning more frequently than normal, and Shiny Diglett is appearing for the first time. However, these Earth Day bonuses will only be live until May 2.
The Valve Index headset features a pair of 1440×1600 RGB LCD displays running at 120Hz (with an experimental 144Hz mode.) It also has built-in stereo headphones that are off-the-ear, to provide a more natural soundstage for VR applications.
The Index headset is controlled by the new Index controllers. Each controller features 87 different sensors for detecting finger and hand position, movement speed, and other measurements necessary to translate real-world hand motions into virtual space. The Index controllers are compatible with all existing HTC Vive games and apps.
The controllers and the new Index base stations are also compatible with existing HTC Vive hardware. The controllers, which sell for $279 a pair, can be purchased separately, as can the $149 base stations. Vive owners with Vive controllers and the original base stations can opt to upgrade to the Index headset by itself for $499.
The full Valve Index kit comes with the headset, two controllers, and a pair of base stations for $999. That price tag makes the package seem like it’s not an entry-level VR setup, but more for people who’ve tasted what virtual reality has to offer at lower levels and want to take the next step.
After months of speculation, Niantic has introduced the infamous Lake Trio to Pokémon Go. Azelf, Uxie, and Mesprit can now be found as very rare wild spawns in the game.
First introduced in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, the Lake Trio is a group of three Legendary psychic Pokémon located at three of the in-game lakes. According to the Pokémon lore masters at Bulbapedia, Azelf, Uxie, and Mesprit were created by the god of the Pokémon universe, Arceus.
As for where you can find them in Pokémon Go, it isn’t going to be easy. Early reports are stating that the these are totally random spawns that can show up just about anywhere. Your only shot is to keep an eye on your Nearby Pokémon list and hope for the best.
Several lucky players have already nabbed members of the Trio, including this Mespirit, this Uxie and this Azelf. All of these catches have been wild, meaning no raids required, and they seem to appearing all over the world.
We hope to have more information about where and when to capture the Trio. Until then, keep those eyes peeled.
Fortnitemay be a battle royale game on its surface, but over the last year it’s also morphed into a place to meet friends and spend time together in a digital space. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Epic has increased the party limit in Fortnite’s big team game modes to 16 players.
This new feature is called Large Party Support and was announced in a tweet on Tuesday morning. Players can group up in these large parties in any of Fortnite’s larger modes like Team Rumble, Creative, or even Endgame (while it lasts).
The idea of larger parties is something that players have been requesting from Epic since Limited Time Modes first launched. Modes like 50vs50 seemed like perfect fits for players to get more friends into matches. These big team game modes have always been fan favorites, and that’s not likely to change now that large groups of friends can join matches together.
The Oculus Quest is the most innovative virtual reality headset since the arrival of the original Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
The benefits of Oculus’ new hardware, which is out May 21, don’t come from enhanced resolution or a lighter weight, but from the ease of use and lack of setup. The external sensors are gone completely, and the unit is self-contained — no PC required — but the Quest still offers the same tracking abilities as the Oculus Rift. That means the controllers offer six degrees of freedom to manipulate objects in virtual reality, but you don’t need to go through any extensive setup or use any external sensors at all to enjoy room-scale VR. You can use the hardware in any room after going through a setup process that takes around 10 seconds to complete.
So what’s going on, and why is the Quest such a big jump from existing VR devices? Let’s start by looking at the headset and controllers.
The Oculus Quest looks similar to a standard Oculus Rift, despite its four built-in sensors and the fabric around the outside of the hardware. The straps make it easy to put on or take off, even with glasses, although things may look blurry if you don’t have it adjusted so your eyes hit the sweet spot that allows you to see everything clearly. Putting the Quest on and adjusting the straps to be comfortable and give you the best view takes a bit of practice, but you can do it in a few seconds once you get a feel for it.
The two included controllers look and feel very close to the original Oculus Touch controllers, which is to say that they’re comfortable and easy to use. The biggest change is the addition of another button below the trigger that allows you to squeeze the controller to make an in-game fist — or whatever the developer would like to use the interaction for.
The headset is around 100 grams heavier than the original Oculus Rift, but the weight didn’t bother me once I had the straps adjusted properly. You can use the built-in speakers for audio if you’d like, but I prefer to connect headphones for a bit more immersion.
The 72 Hz OLED panel offers a resolution of 1440×1600 per eye, which gives you a strong, clear image. The whole thing is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system on a chip, and the Quest will give you around two hours of play time for graphically intensive games or closer to three hours of play time if you’re just watching media. The hardware takes two hours to charge using the included USB-C charging cable.
How the Quest tracks your movement and playing space
The Oculus Rift required the use of two external sensors for standing VR, and three external sensors for room-scale VR. The sensors had to be placed on a solid surface or mounted to your wall, and each one had to be connected to your PC with a USB cable. Initial setup and calibration was a pain in the ass, the sensors took up space and connections on your PC, and moving the whole thing to another room or over to a friend’s house meant that you had to do it all again before you could start playing.
The Quest, on the other hand, uses four sensors that are built into the headset to see your playing space and track the controllers. The hardware senses the floor automatically, and setting up your play space only requires you to look through the passthrough cameras and trace an outline of your usable play space on the floor, using the controller like a laser pointer.
The system will remember and recognize multiple rooms, so if you walk into the bedroom from the living room and have a play space set up for both, the hardware will remember and respond appropriately. That’s a nice touch, but creating a new playing area just requires that initial trace, which only takes a second or two. Moving to new rooms or taking the hardware to another environment entirely is now trivial.
I have been testing the hardware in my own home with a variety of launch software for over a week, and have yet to see any issues with the tracking. I was able to play Beat Saber and Space Pirate Trainer without feeling any lag or noticing any loss of precision in my movements.
Using hardware with full motion tracking for the headset and controllers without a cable attaching it to a PC feels wonderful; it’s so much easier to get lost in a game when I don’t have to worry about twisting the cable around myself or tripping over it. I can spin, duck, walk around inside VR, and even jump up and down without issue. Room-scale VR requires a minimum of 2×2 meters of free space, but the Quest also supports regular standing or sitting options if you don’t have a free VR room.
You don’t have to worry about slamming into a wall as you’re playing, either. The Guardian system will show a wireframe grid when you get too close to the edges of your playing space to keep you from wandering into a wall, and the virtual world will even fade away. If you step completely outside of the limits of your play space, you can see the real world, and you can tell where you are.
Being able to play games like Superhot VR or I Expect You to Diewithout worrying about the cable makes the entire experience much more enjoyable and less of a worry. The upcoming Rift S will be able to offer more visually impressive games since it’s powered by your gaming PC instead of its own self-contained internals, but the lack of wires of any kind when using the Quest may make it a better pick for many people, especially if you don’t happen to already have a fast gaming PC.
And speaking of processing power …
Is this system really powerful enough for VR?
A self-contained VR system that relies on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip — the same hardware that powers the Pixel 2 smartphone — seems like it would be underpowered, especially when you consider how much computing power the tracking software must take up before you even get to the image. But somehow it all works.
The Quest has its own game library outside of the Rift, but right now the announced list of games feels like a best-of collection from the Rift’s best games. I noticed a slight visual downgrade from what I was used to playing these games on the Rift that my gaming PC powers, but I was never distracted by a lack of visual fidelity. Low-latency tracking and a good screen are much more important than pure graphical power when it comes to immersion in VR, and the Oculus Quest delivers enough of the good stuff that the visual trade-off felt worthwhile.
It helps that most of the best VR games that are currently on the market rely on stylized visuals and strong design more than high-resolution textures or general visual whiz-bangery to make their point, but prospective buyers should still know that not every game coming to the Rift will also come to the Quest.
Beat Saber features simple graphics, but the effect is still mesmerizing in the Quest
The good news is that Oculus seems committed to cross-buy support: If you’d like to play any game that works on both the Rift and the Quest on both pieces of hardware, you won’t have to purchase it twice. If you have a copy of Robo Recall for your Rift already, you’ll be able to download the game on your Quest for free if you decide to upgrade into that platform. It’s a nice touch that helps bring value to the software ecosystem.
There is one big feature that the Quest lacks, however.
Being social in VR
Most existing VR platforms, from the PSVR to the Rift and Vive, output the image from the headset to a television or computer monitor so everyone in a room can see what the player sees. Knowing what the player is doing, and how well they’re doing it, goes a long way to make VR a social activity as you take turns playing and watching. Pulling off something really difficult or impressive in VR is a lot less enjoyable when no one can see what you’re doing.
And that’s an issue with the Quest at launch. You can send a live feed from the headset to the phone that’s running the Oculus app, but it’s not like it’s easy to crowd around a phone. Also be aware that you’ll need a smartphone with the Oculus app to setup the headset the first time, and you can browse and buy games through the phone’s interface to be downloaded on the Quest.
The Quest supports streaming to a display using an Nvidia Shield, Chromecast Ultra, or Chromecast Generation 3 devices, but not everyone has one of those or wants to spend money on extra hardware after buying a $399 VR headset.
Hopefully sharing the Quest’s image gets easier as the software is built out.
VR keeps getting better
Portable VR used to mean getting rid of full 3D tracking for your head and controllers, but the Quest solves that problem. VR in general used to mean fiddling with multiple sensors that had to be plugged into your PC, in the case of the Rift, or wall sockets for power for the Vive. The Quest solves that problem as well.
And the result is a system that does everything it needs to do to provide a full VR experience without the player needing to place any sensors or perform a lengthy calibration for their playing space. You just put on the Quest, trace your playing area, and go. The rest takes care of itself.
All the wires and setup of traditional VR weren’t an issue when I first started using the hardware, because at first it’s so cool to have functional, high-quality VR at all. But once the shine wears off and you’re stuck managing cables or fiddling with sensors, it’s easier to just go watch a movie than it is to play a game in VR. The Quest means that suddenly playing a game in VR is just as easy as most of your other entertainment options, and that’s a jump that consumer-level VR needed to take if it wants to find mainstream acceptance.
The system could be a bit lighter and the internals could be a bit more powerful, but the breakthrough has occurred. Portable, easy to use and full-featured VR is here, and for now Oculus doesn’t have any competition in that particular market.
After using the Quest for the past week, my only note to companies like HTC and Lenovo is a simple one: Catch up.
The Oculus Quest hardware final “retail” was reviewed with a unit provided by Facebook You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.
Based on reports from users unlocking Reserve Crates in Black Ops 4, the new content that came to the Black Market Reserve in Black Ops 4 with Operation Spectre Rising has to be earned….per weapon.
Every single item has to be unlocked for each weapon which is now bloating the loot pool with a bunch of the same item over and over, until you get it for each of the weapons or characters in-game.
PrestigeIsKey showcased that he earned three of the same thing, but it was set for a different weapon:
A user on Reddit also showcased the same situation, earning the “Surprise Party” numerous times for each of the different weapons:
Treyarch has not stated yet why they made this change to the Reserve Cases, but it does seem like it’s a way to fill up the loot pool with a bunch of the same content, restricting players from earning some other new content types.
Ubisoft’s love for microtransactions and map defogging missions may be tiresome, but the company’s propensity to support its games for a long time continues to impress. The mega-publisher just announced that Ghost Recon Wildlands, fresh off two years of post-release content additions (and two years of season passes, naturally), is now getting more free missions in year three.
Ubisoft announced the two new missions, called Operation Oracle, in a trailer today that also introduces a new character to the team-based stealth shooter set in Bolivia. The character, Cole Walker, looks to be played by Punisher and Walking Dead actor Jon Bernthal, though we’ve reached out to Ubisoft to confirm.
A Ubisoft press release describes the missions and Walker as follows:
Playable in single-player or co-op, Operation Oracle sends the Ghosts on a rescue mission for a Skell Tech engineer taken hostage by Unidad. This typical rescue mission will soon turn into something much bigger. Forget what you know about your enemies and friends as you meet Cole D. Walker, a Ghost Team Leader on the hunt for truth.
Unidad are Bolivian special operations troops who hunt the player throughout the game.
The update is free and will come out this Thursday, May 2, to kick off an extended free weekend of all of Wildlands on Xbox One, PS4 and PC from then through May 5.
Wildlands’ DLC has been wide-ranging. It has included big expansions, PvP and crossover content with fellow Tom Clancy-branded Ubisoft franchises Rainbow Six, Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon Future Soldier. There has also been a surprise crossover with the Predatormovie series and, earlier this year, the addition of several audio logs to tease the release of The Division 2.
Our reviewer found Ghost Recon Wildlands fun, but as with other Ubisoft Clancy stuff, the gameplay competes with a potentially off-putting political tone as the player, in this case, runs roughshod through a country wracked by drug violence with limited exploration of the consequences of your government-sanctioned violence.
Following a leak or two, Valve has now formally debuted its virtual reality hardware solution, named Valve Index. The official site promises high-fidelity VR with superior comfort and control. Pre-orders begin on May 1, and pricing has been announced for the full set along with the a la carte pieces of it.
The centerpiece of the VR kit is the headset, which boasts two 1440×1600 RGB LCDs, promising more pixels and less screen door effect than OLED displays. It also runs at 120Hz (with optional 90Hz and 144Hz modes) for higher framerates. Valve promises a greater field-of-view than other devices, and the headset itself sports two off-ear near-field speakers to balance comfort and sound quality. It also has an adjustable head band for head size, ear placement, and angle, and swappable face pads for sharing the kit. Finally, the headset has room for expansion and mods with cameras and a front expansion slot.
A pair of custom-built controllers strap onto your hand and respond to natural movements like throwing or dropping held objects. Valve boasts that each controller has 87 sensors to help determine your movements and intent. The grip input helps determine how you’re holding objects and finger tracking, and the controllers sport a full range of standard buttons along with a track button. A pair of base stations have a 160º x 115º field-of-view range, and are expandable to up to four stations.
The full Valve Index set costs $1,000, while the headset and controllers alone are $750. The headset is the most expensive single part at $500, and a pair of controllers are $280 by themselves. A single base station costs $150. Each of these are planned to ship by June 28, 2019.
As part of the launch of the newest Operation, Spectre Rising, for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Activision has introduced a new Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Spectre Rising Edition, alongside an Operation Spectre Rising Starter Pack.
The new Black Ops 4 Spectre Rising Edition is a full edition of Black Ops 4, which includes the Black Ops 4 game, the Spectre Rising Starter Pack, and more. It’s available now on PS4, with other platforms to follow. The Spectre Rising edition costs $59.99, but from today through May 7, the edition is on sale for $38.99.
Black Ops 4 – Spectre Rising Edition. Purchase the digital edition to receive the following:
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (The Full Game)
The Spectre Rising Starter Pack (Rare Spectre outfit, ‘Retro Game Art’ jump pack, and five Reserve crates)
A Specialist Outfit for all Specialists.
A Calling Card, Emblem, Sticker, and Tag inspired by the iconic Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 skull.
If you already own Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, there’s a new Operation Spectre Rising Starter Pack bundle that will be available in the Black Ops 4 Black Market. The bundle includes: a Rare Spectre outfit, a ‘Retro Game Art’ jump pack, and five Reserve crates.