Monster Hunter World Reveal Event Announced For This Week

Capcom is airing a Monster Hunter World Spring Update Reveal livestream later this week, on May 9. The broadcast kicks off at 4 PM PT / 7 PM ET (12 AM BST on May 10) and will share some new information about the game “straight from the development team.”

Beyond those details, Capcom hasn’t specified what will be shown during this week’s broadcast, although the stream will feature an appearance by Monster Hunter producer Ryozo Tsujimoto. You’ll be able to watch the presentation in English on the Monster Hunter Twitch channel and in Japanese on YouTube.

This past December, Capcom announced a big expansion for Monster Hunter World called Iceborne. The developer didn’t share many details about the upcoming DLC, but it is slated to launch for PS4 and Xbox One in Fall 2019 (with a PC release to follow) and will introduce new quest ranks, locales, monsters, moves, gear, and more to the action RPG. There is a chance Capcom will reveal more information about the expansion in this week’s livestream, although that has not been confirmed.

Monster Hunter World is currently in the midst of its second annual Spring Blossom Fest. The seasonal event runs on all platforms until May 16. During that time, the Gathering Hub will be decked out with flowers and other springtime decorations, and “almost all” of the previous special Event Quests will be available again.

Monster Hunter World launched for PS4, Xbox One, and PC back in 2018 and quickly became a critical and commercial success. Capcom confirmed the game has shipped more than 12 million units across all platforms since its release, making it the publisher’s best-selling game of all time. If you’ve yet to pick Monster Hunter World up, it’s one of the many games on sale this week in the Microsoft Store.


Anthem’s Latest Update Removes Special Loot Chests

Today’s Anthem update has removed special Elysian chests from the game just over a month after they were added. This comes on the heels of several delayed updates, leaving the game’s remaining players bewildered and frustrated.

Anthem’s 1.1.1 patch went live earlier today and fixed a handful of small bugs, including one which was causing the wrong equipment stats to be displayed. The patch notes also included a note encouraging players to use up their remaining Elysian keys before they vanished from the game completely. “A reminder that Elysian Caches will be going away on May 7th, so if you have any keys left be sure to use them today!” it read.

Elysian Caches were special loot chests that appeared at the end of Stronghold missions and had unique cosmetics like decals and fabric textures inside. They were originally added to the game in a March 26 update, the game’s first major new piece of content since its February release. The cosmetics inside the chests weren’t fantastic, but they did give players an additional reason to keep running through the same old content over and over again.

“I know they weren’t very rewarding but Elysian Caches were literally the only thing that kept me in the game. Log on. Do a daily. Get a key. Heart of Rage. Log Out. Easy enjoyable experience,” wrote one player on the game’s subreddit. “Not rewarding mind you. But I still had fun. Hell, sometimes I would run TWO strongholds in the same night.”

In the comments section of Reddit, BioWare global community manager Jesse Anderson responded that the Elysian Caches were never meant to last. “They’ve always been planned as a temporary thing since there was a timer under the challenges,” he wrote. “There is a chance that they’ll come back again at some point.”

A post on EA’s website about the chests does indeed allude to them being temporary. “You’ll have to move fast, though, because Anthem’s world is always changing, and the Elysian Chests won’t be around forever,” it reads. But that hasn’t made the game’s remaining players feel any better about their removal given Anthem’s overall lack of content.

It’s especially discouraging in light of the several updates that were originally scheduled for April but never arrived. There were 14 new additions to the game planned for April in BioWare’s original 90-day calendar, but only the new Sunken Cell Stronghold mission made it, with things like guilds and a new mastery-progression system falling to the wayside. Two weeks ago, BioWare announced that the big Cataclysm event planned for May was being indefinitely delayed as well.

In the meantime, the game’s popularity on Twitch has plummeted, and some of its players have taken to the subreddit to announce they’re taking a break. Last week, Chad Robertson, the game’s head of live service, took to Twitter to try and reassure fans that Anthem wasn’t dead.

“We remain 100% committed to Anthem and look forward to showing players the new content we are working on,” he wrote. “We want to make sure we aren’t overpromising, so our updates on what’s coming in the game will be focused when we have things near completion.” Unfortunately, the removal of some of the game’s only new content since release isn’t the type of update many were hoping for.


Xbox One Backwards Compatible List Gains Two New Games

Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb has revealed two more Xbox 360 games are now backwards compatible on Xbox One. As usual, you can play the games on Xbox One if you already own them, but both are available for purchase on the console’s online marketplace as well.

The two titles added are From Dust and Costume Quest. From Dust puts you into the role of a god-like figure, and your actions in shaping the land influence the lives of a tribe you oversee. Your goal is to nudge them along in their search for ancient totems and knowledge, all while helping them overcome natural disasters. Costume Quest, meanwhile, is a party-based RPG where you’re a young trick-or-treater who must recruit allies in your search for your twin sibling, who’s been kidnapped on Halloween night. In battle, you and your party members transform into the monsters and creatures you’re dressed as and gain powers as a result.

In our From Dust review, Chris Watters wrote, “From Dust doesn’t offer the heady feeling of omnipotence, but it’s a lot more fun to have to contend with the greater forces of nature as you try to exert your influence over this raw, lovely world. The churning sea, the flowing lava, and the burgeoning forests create a vivid sense of life that is amplified by the light percussion, ambient music, and lively animal vocalizations. While the gameplay may be uneven and finicky at times, it’s definitely worth taking up the manipulator’s mantle in From Dust.”

In our Costume Quest review, Giancarlo Varanini wrote “Without question, the art and overall premise serve as Costume Quest’s biggest hook, and these things are ultimately what drive the game and turn it into something much more than a superficial RPG. Still, whether or not you can overlook and overcome its initial shortcomings is tied directly to how much you buy into its premise on a nostalgic and comedic level. That said, when Costume Quest picks up steam and truly reveals all it has to offer from a gameplay perspective, it relies less on that premise and simply delivers an all-around satisfying gaming experience.”

The full list of Xbox One backwards compatibility games is quite long. If you’re wondering where to begin, we’ve outlined our favorites.


Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 May 7 Update – Alcatraz (PS4), Spectre Rising, And More

Treyarch has released latest Game Settings Update for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

On PS4, Treyarch has added back the Alcatraz map in Blackout for players that wanted it with some improvements and updates to the overall map.

For Xbox One and PC, Operation Spectre Rising and its first batch of content has arrived in Black Ops 4. Learn more here.

Operation Spectre Rising continues on PS4 and rolls out on Xbox One and PC today! In case you missed it, you can get the full overview of what’s new and incoming in our Operation Spectre Rising Blog, including the debut of Spectre in Multiplayer, our new “Wetworks” map update and Bounty Hunter mode in Blackout, “Super Blood Wolf Moon” Gauntlet in Zombies, and new weapons & cosmetic items to earn.

Now live through 10AM PT Friday, May 10, we’re turning on 2XP in Featured Playlists across MP, Blackout, and Zombies on all platforms, including:

  • Multiplayer: 2XP in Map Pack Moshpit
  • Zombies: 2XP in Super Blood Wolf Moon
  • Blackout: 2X Merits in Bounty Hunter

Get out there, jump into our newest game modes, and level up twice as fast!

Alcatraz also returns to Blackout this week on all platforms with new map improvements, along with additional gameplay updates for Bounty Hunter in Blackout and Prop Hunt in MP (launching May 10 on Xbox One and PC). Read on to see what’s new in Black Ops 4:

  • Multiplayer
    • Spectre in MP and Blackout after unlocking Tier 1 in the Black Market (Xbox One/PC).
    • 3 Black Ops Pass Multiplayer maps: Masquerade, Artifact, and WMD (Xbox One/PC).
    • Prop Hunt gameplay improvements.
    • Featured Playlists:
      • Earn 2XP in Map Pack Moshpit through 10AM PT Friday, May 10.
      • PS4: Map Pack Moshpit, Prop Hunt, Barebones Moshpit, Deathmatch Domination, Mercenary Deathmatch Moshpit.
      • Xbox One: Map Pack Moshpit, Infected, Barebones Moshpit, Deathmatch Domination, Mercenary Deathmatch Moshpit.
      • PC: Map Pack Moshpit, Infected, Barebones Moshpit.
  • World League Hub
    • Restricted Tigershark LMG.
  • Blackout
    • “Wetworks” map update now live in Blackout, flooding large portions of the main map (Xbox One/PC). Also now available in Custom Games.
    • Bounty Hunter mode now live in Blackout (Xbox One/PC).
      • Earn 2X Merits in Bounty Hunter through 10AM PT Friday, May 10.
    • DART now available to find and equip in Blackout (Xbox One/PC).
    • Uncle Frank character now playable with the Black Ops Pass (Xbox One/PC).
    • Tuning changes to Spectre in Bounty Hunter.
    • Alcatraz returns to Blackout on all platforms.
  • Zombies
    • New “Super Blood Wolf Moon” Gauntlet (Xbox One/PC).
    • Earn 2XP in “Super Blood Wolf Moon” through 10AM PT Friday, May 10.
    • New Tigershark LMG added to Mystery Box (Xbox One/PC).
  • Black Market
    • 50 Tiers with new Contraband items to earn (Xbox One/PC).
    • New Death Effects and Weapon Charm item types added (Xbox One/PC).
    • New weapons in the Contraband stream: Tigershark LMG and Nifo’Oti melee weapon (Xbox One/PC).
  • Events
    • 2XP in Featured Playlists
      • Now live through 10PM PT Friday, May 10 on all platforms.
      • 2XP in Multiplayer in Map Pack Moshpit.
      • 2XP in Super Blood Wolf Moon in Zombies.
      • 2X Merits in Blackout in Bounty Hunter mode.
  • Weapons
    • Swordfish
      • Addressed an issue where the NVIR scope was misaligned on the Swordfish when used underwater.
  • Miscellaneous
    • Addressed an issue where players joining a match in progress were able to change their class indefinitely without respawning.
  • Stability
    • General stability improvements.
  • Weapons
    • Restricted the Tigershark LMG in World League matches.
  • Miscellaneous
    • Updated the category names for the Victory Flames tiers to more clearly distinguish between tiers.
  • Game Modes
    • Bounty Hunter
      • Decreased Spectre’s roll speed.
      • Increased the cooldown between Spectre’s rolls.
  • Custom Games
    • “Wetworks” map update is now available in Blackout Custom Games.
  • Miscellaneous
    • Addressed an issue that caused players to die while being revived if the revive was started at the end of their bleed-out.
    • Addressed an issue where players could sometimes deploy in third-person and not properly take damage.
  • Mystery Box
    • Addressed an issue where players were unable to obtain the Tigershark LMG from the Mystery Box.
  • Stability
    • General stability improvements.
  • Specialists
    • Spectre
      • Unlocked at Tier 1 in the Black Market during Operation Spectre Rising.
      • Specialist Weapon: Shadow Blade.
      • Special Issue Equipment: Smoke.
  • Black Ops Pass Maps
    • Masquerade, Artifact, and WMD added to rotation in Core and Hardcore playlists for Black Ops Pass holders.
  • Game Modes
    • Featured Playlists
      • Map Pack Moshpit, Infected, Barebones Moshpit, Deathmatch Domination (Xbox One), and Mercenary Deathmatch Moshpit (Xbox One) added to Featured category.
  • Wetworks Map Update
    • An explosion at Hydro Dam has flooded the map, affecting several areas in Blackout.
    • Hydro Dam, Factory, Cargo Docks, Hijacked, and the farm near Firing Range have been transformed, allowing for new types of engagements and new avenues for water-based vehicles to turn the tides of battle.
  • Games Modes
    • Bounty Hunter
      • Find the beacons of light that indicate new Spectre Stashes, which contain the Shadow Blade and other valuable items, including Level 3 Armor, Smoke, stealth-related Perks, and Trauma Kits.
      • Equipping the Shadow Blade transforms the player into Spectre, giving them unique skills including increased movement speed, the ability to see digital footprints of nearby enemies, and full third-person camera perspective.
      • Spectre can carry both the Shadow Blade and a normal weapon. When the normal weapon is equipped, Spectre will return to first-person view.
      • With each new Collapse, players with the most kills will be marked as Bounty targets that only Spectre can see.
      • Eliminate the target or survive the Bounty attack to be rewarded with a Supply Drop on your position.
      • Unique to Bounty Hunter, players can also perform Humiliations on downed enemies. These are fatal finishing moves to end an opponent in dramatic fashion.
      • Last team standing wins the game.
  • Equipment
    • DART
      • DART now available to find and equip in Blackout.
      • Use for a bird’s-eye view of your opponents and detonate the DART on command or when it hits its target.
  • Black Ops Pass Content
    • Uncle Frank character now playable for Black Ops Pass holders.
  • Gauntlets
    • Super Blood Wolf Moon
      • New Gauntlet now available for “Dead of the Night” featuring 30 unique challenges.
  • Weapons
    • Tigershark LMG added to the Mystery Box.
  • Black Market
    • Tigershark LMG and Nifo’Oti melee weapon now available in the Contraband stream.
    • Weapon Charms are now available in Blackjack’s Reserves and can be equipped on weapons through the Weapon Personalization menu.
    • Death Effects are available in Blackjack’s Reserves and can be equipped on weapons through the Weapon Personalization menu. Death Effects play when shooting an enemy and are only visible during first-person, Best Play, and Killcam.
  • Game Modes
    • Prop Hunt
      • Addressed an issue where players were able to replenish their Decoys when destroyed.
      • Enabled drowning damage for underwater Props.
      • Various stability fixes, including a fix for instances where the player could be kicked back to the main menu with a “game session no longer available” error.
  • Game Modes
    • Featured Playlists
      • Map Pack Moshpit, Prop Hunt, Barebones Moshpit, Deathmatch Domination, and Mercenary Deathmatch Moshpit added to the Featured category.

SOURCE: Treyarch

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New Black Ops 4 ‘Spectre Rising Edition’ and ‘Spectre Rising Starter Pack’ available on all platforms

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, Xbox One, and PC, with other platforms to follow. The Spectre Rising edition costs $59.99, but from today through May 14, the edition is on sale for $38.99 on Xbox One and PC.

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 Gesture
  • 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.

SOURCE: Activision

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New Black Ops Pass content for Black Ops 4 available now on Xbox One and PC

The latest set of Black Ops Pass content for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is available now on Xbox One and PC with the launch of the next Operation for the game called Operation Spectre Rising.

Operation Spectre Rising includes three new MP maps for Black Ops Pass owners, alongside the final exclusive Blackout character:

  • New Multiplayer Map, Masquerade – A medium-sized map set amidst an embassy under siege. Masquerade is structured for mid-range combat as players must weave through markets and city alleyways to get to the fortified embassy courtyard.
  • New Multiplayer Map, Artifact – A larger-sized map set in a remote landscape where treasure hunters have located and unearthed an ancient artifact. The map is filled with a variety of rock formations from thermal geysers to ice caverns. Combat is fierce with engagement ranging across environmental hazards on a vertical map.
  • New Multiplayer Map, WMD – Remastered from the original Call of Duty: Black Ops, WMD is a medium-sized map set in an active weapons manufacturing facility. Combat takes place in a combination of interior and exterior engagements at different ranges that supports all types of weapon types and playstyles.
  • New Blackout Character, Uncle Frank – Black Ops Pass owners get instant access to Uncle Frank, also known as the older version of Frank Woods. This iconic, fan-favorite character originally from Call of Duty: Black Ops II makes his debut in Blackout.

New content is available in Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 with the Black Ops Pass! Black Ops Pass owners get instant access to three exciting Multiplayer maps in Operation Spectre Rising. Fight amid the chaos of an assassination attempt in ‘Masquerade’, and explore the natural wonder of ‘Artifact’. Plus, revisit a remastered classic Black Ops map, ‘WMD’! Finally, drop into Blackout with a new exclusive character.

The new Black Ops Pass content is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

With this content launch, the Black Ops Pass has thus far released a total of 7 of the 12 multiplayer maps, 4 out of the 4 Blackout characters, and 2 of 4 Zombies Experiences. There’s 5 MP maps and 2 Zombies Experiences left to come in the Pass.

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Hasbro’s Made Some Fine Overwatch Action Figures, Except For Reaper

All photos by Mike Fahey

Hasbro’s Overwatch Ultimates action figure line, which is hitting store shelves as we speak, gives fans of Blizzard’s hero shooter a less-expensive alternative to those hot, Japanese Figma toys. Let’s take a look at the first wave, including Pharah, Mercy, Tracer, Lucio, Ana, Soldier 76, Sombra, a very large Reinhardt, and a sad, maskless Reaper.

I do not play Overwatch that often, but I adore Blizzard’s character designs. While core players get excited about the gameplay potential of a new character reveal, I can’t wait to see what outfit the new addition is wearing. I love the little details, like Lucio’s weird frog shirt or the sweet gradient on Tracer’s leggings. Hasbro has captured the bits I love quite nicely.

First, let’s talk about my main. As I said, I don’t play Overwatch often, but when I do, I play Reinhardt. As a very tall person, I can relate to being a giant among tiny people, right down to the urge to protect those tiny people whenever possible.

Hasbro’s Reinhardt is not tiny people. He is a massive beast of a man in a mech suit, weighing close to two pounds. While the rest of the figures in the line retail for around $20 a pop, Reinhardt comes in a very large box all by himself and costs $50.

Part of the reason for the large packaging is his shield. Taking up the entire back of the box, Reinhardt’s deployable shield is a translucent thing of beautiful. It’s like buying a large action figure and getting a microwave-safe serving platter for free.

Probably, though, the main reason he costs so much is his bulk. He is a big boy. I love him. Tracer also loves him.

Tracer, packaged by her lonesome, comes in a much smaller box. It can barely fit her personality.

Each of the smaller figures comes with a set of action figure essentials—weapons, extra hands, that sort of thing. Tracer’s extra hands let her be sassy, which is completely in character.

Sombra’s extra hands let her pose with her very clever hacking accessory.

Sombra is also an excellent example of how Hasbro has nailed the characters’ facial features, right down to the tweaked eyebrow.

Combining sass and distinctive facial features is Lucio, the last surviving rollerblader. He’s a beautiful character, and a beautiful figure.

Lucio comes with a Sonic Amplifier that plugs into his arm. But, also, it wouldn’t be Lucio without kick-ass skate trails.

To help me show off the figures’ flexibility, we have Ana in her Shrike outfit. Ana comes packaged together with Soldier 76 in what I like to call the $40 senior discount bundle. For an older woman, she is quite spry.

The legs next to crouching Ana of course belong to Soldier 76, the second-most G.I. Joe-looking figure of the bunch.

If he’s the second, then who is the first? Why, it’s my least favorite figure in the lineup, Reaper in his Blackwatch skin. Why make a figure of the cool, specter-looking fellow when you can just make a dude.

On the plus side, Reaper makes an excellent corpse for Mercy to resurrect.

Next to my boy Reinhardt, Mercy is the finest figure in the set. The translucent wings, the colors, the promise of never dying. Plus, Mercy is this wave’s other two-pack. Who does she come bundled with?

What a good choice. Pharah is a close third best out of all the Hasbro Overwatch figures. She’s got that gorgeous armor, complete with shoulder airfoils that open and close. The wings on the back also open and close, with translucent yellow jet effects. Plus she comes with a clear stand, so she can fly.

I really can’t get over how good they all look, aside from Just-A-Guy Reaper (with Shelf-Warming action). The medium-tier i toy license is in good hands with Hasbro. Now give us a giant plastic hamster, you cowards.


Operation Spectre Rising for Black Ops 4 live now on Xbox One and PC

The new content season for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 starts today on Xbox One and PC, after launching last week on PS4, with Operation Spectre Rising! The new Operation brings a new Specialist, new modes, and more throughout the course of the Operation over the next few months.

“The community has anticipated Spectre’s return for a long time, and that’s inspired us to build Operation Spectre Rising all around this shadowy, fan-favorite assassin and the wetworks theme,” said Dan Bunting, Co-Studio Head, Treyarch. “This new Operation delivers lots of new game modes and fun ways to play Black Ops 4, including some really cool changes to the Blackout map following Spectre’s dramatic introduction – players won’t want to miss this event!”

With the launch of the new game settings update on Xbox One and PC, Operation Spectre Rising is now live in Black Ops 4!

Checkout the roadmap of what’s to come in this Operation here over the next few months.

Spectre Rising Trailer:

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Operation Spectre Rising is now live on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC and bring a new batch of content and updates across all modes of play.

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Destiny 2 Ascendant Challenge Guide, Week 6 Location (May 7-14)

Well, the Revelry is over in Destiny 2, meaning we’re back to just normal activities to do with this week’s reset. The good news is, there are plenty of opportunities to gather more Powerful gear if you’re still working on the climb up to the Season of the Drifter’s Power level cap of 700. As always, a reliable way to get the gear you need fast is with the weekly Ascendant Challenge, which takes you into the strange recesses of the Dreaming City. This is the end of the six-week cycle of challenges, and this one, the Cimmerian Garrison, is one of the spookiest and most involved. Here’s where to find the Taken portal and what to do once you’re inside.

As always, the first step is to pick up the Ascendant Challenge from Petra–this is what nets you a piece of Powerful gear for completing it. Once that’s done, make sure you have a Tincture of Queensfoil. With that in hand, you’ll enter the Lost Sector in Rheasilvia, the Chamber of Starlight. You’ll need to make your way through the entire thing, as the portal is located just behind the chest that unlocks after killing the boss. While optional, you might as well complete the Lost Sector to make things easier on yourself. With that out of the way, use the Tincture to gain the Ascendance buff, which allows you to see the Taken portal. The exact location can be seen in the video above and map below.

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Jump through the portal to head to Cimmerian Garrison, located in the Ascendant Plane. Here, you’ll be faced with what amounts to a gauntlet–you’ll need to make your way through and kill an enemy at the end. Once you go inside, you’ll be chased by three knights. As you progress, you’ll have to deal with various enemies, including hobgoblins, shriekers, and thrall with yellow health bars. Take them out as you go, and you’ll reach a point where you have to platform across some rocks (because it wouldn’t be an Ascendant Challenge without some first-person platforming). Along the way, be mindful of the Taken corruption that will periodically explode with a blast of energy, which can send you falling you to your death if you aren’t careful.

Once you’re done platforming, you’ll have to kill a knight to finish things out, but beware the shrieker that spawns nearby. With the knight dead, open the chest to complete the Ascendant Challenge. There may not be any special rewards inside there, but you’ll get a piece of Powerful gear for turning in the associated bounty.

There are plenty of other ways to find good gear for Iron Banner in Jokers Wild, including the hunt to find the Exotic hand cannon Thorn. You should also be delving into the Gambit Prime and Reckoning activities, and pledging your allegiance to the Drifter or to the Vanguard–each of which offers different rewards.


Mix FTL with a hardcore submarine sim and you get the new Steam hit, Uboat

Deep Water Studio’s Uboat, a novel World War II-themed submarine game, has been locked among the top-selling games on Steam since it was released just over a week ago. The hardcore submarine sim blends the third-person management genre — a la FTL or Dwarf Fortress — with first-person action. But the experience swings wildly from a dramatic game of cat and mouse to a comedy of errors thanks to its bugs and a thin tutorial. This is an early access game, after all, so get ready for a series of troubled patrols.

My first tour of duty with the German Kriegsmarine in Uboat’s brief tutorial started out as a simple salvage mission. Before long I was tailing a British aircraft carrier in the North Atlantic, lining up a firing solution with a full brace of torpedoes, each one roughly a third the length of my own warship. But flooding the tubes — filling them with water in order to push them out of the sub and toward the enemy — took far longer than I anticipated.

After three tries I eventually managed to get the red firing button to light up. I was finally able to set them loose. Of course, that’s when the prow of my submarine literally bounced off the hull of the British warship.

Lost in the fog, the enemy hadn’t seen me until I was directly on top of them. And, since the game hadn’t helped me to stop or slow the engines, I was still going full speed the whole time I was tinkering with the tubes. So my stealthy attack run turned into a comical collision.

Uboat. The interior of U-96 can be explored in first- and third-person.
The interior of U-96 can be explored in first- and third-person. The details have been lovingly rendered. I had flashbacks to grade school field trips visiting U-505 at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.
Deep Water Studio/PlayWay

That’s when the gun pit along the port side of the carrier opened up on me. There was no escape.

Disheartened, I hit the fire button anyway. All four torpedoes leapt from their tubes, but they weren’t able to travel far enough out to arm their explosives. So they just pinged harmlessly off the hull of the carrier, careened off at right angles, and started sinking. I followed them shortly thereafter, torn apart at close range by the carrier’s measly deck guns.

But this is early access, I thought. Have faith, I thought. Embrace the suck. So I started off a new game — Uboat comes with two modes of play currently, including the wan tutorial described above and a sandbox mode — and headed out on another patrol.

During idle periods of long-distance travel there’s a surprising amount of activity on board, and players are responsible for directing much of it. Here the game turns into a Sims-like experience, with the commanding officer setting the pace with regard to individual assignments. Micromanagement is key, with options to allow each individual crew member time to sleep in the bunk. Keep them on watch for too long and their capabilities begin to fade.

Keeping morale high is another balancing act. Come down too hard on your sailors and they won’t be mentally fit when you need them. Ignore their laziness and they’ll stay in bed when you need them on station.

Once contact with the enemy is made, the game flashes over into something more like a proper wargame. Inside the sub is a hive of activity, with officers observing the enemy through periscopes and engineers working at damaged equipment. Players are able to press lowly sailors into service at a given station to speed up certain tasks, but manpower and resources are limited. Uboat does a decent job of making it clear what you need to do once something breaks, while also giving you plenty of rope to hang yourself.

Uboat, the view from the anti-aircraft gun on the deck.
The player can take control of virtually every station on the ship. Man the guns to shoot down attacking aircraft, or use the targeting scope to measure the speed and range of enemy warships using period-accurate instrumentation.
Deep Water Studio/PlayWay

And that’s where the real difficulty is right now for the team at Deep Water Studios. Making a digital replica of a working German submarine is a daunting challenge, but showing players how to fight with a German submarine is a different challenge entirely. Thankfully, a recent patch mercifully added English voiceovers, so at least I know what my crew members are talking about. But otherwise, it’s all been a process of trial and error.

German submarines were notoriously fragile. They depended on stealth and wolfpack tactics to be effective. As the game itself says, life as a submariner was deadly. Only one in 10 survived the war. Unfortunately, in its current state, Uboat fails to teach players how to run silent and sneak up on the enemy. It also doesn’t have clear hooks for collaborating with allied AI-controlled subs nearby.

So, on that second patrol I was eventually spotted by a British naval group including two sub-hunting destroyers. I dove as far as I could and shut down all my engines, watching helplessly on the tactical map as the destroyers circled directly above my position.

Eventually, the two big ships collided and stuck together, one massive vessel dragging the other sideways by the nose. Hours ticked by. My oxygen supply began to run low. Rather than surface and allow them to destroy me, I simply restarted the game.

On my third mission, I tried to keep a low profile. While I succeeded at sea, I eventually wandered too close to the shoreline. That’s where I was intercepted by a massive British seaplane on the way back from my assigned sector. Luckily, I was able to shoot it down with a deck-mounted anti-aircraft gun before it did significant damage. As a reward I watched as the crippled aircraft hit the water at an oblique angle, then bounced around on the surface like a rubber duck before winking out of existence. I sailed over to where the wreckage should be and found nothing.

The mapping table in Uboat.
Uboat also includes a sophisticated mapping table, with a compass and drawing tools. Players can map out their own missions, and then monitor their progress in real-time.
Deep Water Studio/PlayWay

But, through my efforts I had earned a bit of experience. Crews in Uboat can level up, and the ship itself earns money that can be used to purchase supplies and make improvements. So I headed back to port to cash in my winnings. Unfortunately, as I pulled into safe harbor, my ship suddenly stopped responding. The rudders flipped about, but the ship simply wouldn’t steer.

Changing from the world map to the close-in third-person perspective, I found that my submarine had somehow managed to beach itself about eight kilometers inland. I’d gotten the 770-ton warship hung up on a tree. Switching back to the world map, the icon for my submarine suddenly began to rise into the air, hovering giddily in orbit over the north of France.

That’s when I had to walk away.

People are clearly having fun with Uboat. I found one YouTube video with over a 100,000 views where someone manages to get a nice attack run in against a helpless group of merchant vessels. Good for them.

And good for the team at Deep Water Studio. They went from modest Kickstarter success all the way to the top of Steam. They’re keeping the game concept narrow, focusing on a single submarine and telling its story in as much detail as they can manage. But the game is very clearly early access, based on the bugs I encountered. I’m interested in learning about how to conduct operations with the U-96, but I’m just not in a place where I can dedicate time and energy to brushing up on my 1940s era naval tactics. It would be nice if the game was able to help me out with that.

I’m stepping away from Uboat for now. I can tell that there’s a brilliant experience lurking in its depths. Here’s hoping that this early success is a sign of big improvements to come.


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