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Joseph Madding

As Nerd Interests LLC. Co-Owner, I oversee daily operations. You can follow me on Twitter @TheVisionEx, or join me on Facebook/TheVisionEx. I'm always down to play with anyone who invites me, so let's play!

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Captain Spirit Brings Imagination and Story from Life is Strange Developer

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is coming to all platforms completely free.

As revealed in the Microsoft E3 press conference, FREE on June 26 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC (Steam), Captain Spirit is an adventure thematically very much like Life is Strange. Set in the imagination of a young boy whose family recently went through hard times, have a look at the trailer below for more details on what you’ll be able to play for absolutely free very soon.

As a special extra, check out their development methods for this great fully-free game!

Crackdown 3 Brings Terry Crews Goodness; Explosions to E3 2018

Pushing forward to the February 2019 release, Crackdown 3 hit the E3 show floor today with guns blazing.

Setting out the hounds against a ruthless criminal empire gone wild, Crackdown 3 came out strong today as a major part of the Microsoft E3 2018 Press Conference. Developed by Reagent Games, Sumo Digital, and Cloudgine, this violent open world game is ready for your 4 person squad combat. Look on below for the official trailer released at E3 this year.

Fallout 76 Comes to Life at E3 2018

Released as part of the E3 Microsoft 2018 Press Conference, Fallout 76 is on the way, and new footage is here from Bethesda Softworks.

Announced on stage at the Microsoft presser by studio head Todd Howard, Bethesda Softworks is bringing the next title in the Fallout franchise to life in Fallout 76. Adventuring as the first few humans to step outside after the initial nuclear fallout, Vault 76 opened after just 20 years in West Virginia. Have a look at the gameplay trailer below before the Bethesda press conference kicks off!

Ori and the Will of The Wisps Trailer Hits During 2018 E3 Microsoft Conference

Kicking off the sequel to indie darling Ori and the Blind Forest, developer Moon Studios released a new trailer for an all-new sequel in the series.

Announced as Ori and the Will of The Wisps, Moon Studios released a two minute trailer today during the Microsoft E3 Press Conference highlighting the fantastic platformer series’ new sequel. Have a look at the trailer below for footage from the award winning developer.

Hitman 2 Logo Leaks, Confirming WB Games’ Tease

After attempting to tease a new announcement coming next Thursday, the internet strikes back on WB Games by finding and revealing a “Hitman 2” logo confirming what is to come ahead of the E3 press conference.

Originally posted to the WB Games Twitter account, a 72 hour countdown marked “the LIVE reveal” of something. What that something was? No one knew, until a new logo file was found uploaded to the WB Games website.

Revealed almost simultaneously on the @Hitman Twitter:

Without anything official to work from, fans could only speculate until the logo was dug up from the WB Games site. Now revealed to the public, its safe to assume that WB Games intends to release more than just one trailer or title before the major press conference gets into full swing. As with many publishers, this is clearly a sign of WB Games trying to be in the limelight, and Hitman 2 will do just that!

God of War [2018; Review]

In development from Sony’s first-party studio Santa Monica Studio, God of War [PS4] is the fourth title in the main line God of War series, the eighth title in the franchise, and first title rooted in Norse mythology. Centered around Kratos, the Ghost of Sparta, and his son, a story line focused hack-and-slash title finds a new face on modern consoles. Over the course of two-and-a-half acts of story, God of War features beautiful 4K graphics, solid and varied game play mechanics, a wonderful story, and amazing polish. Short of a somewhat disappointing ending that leaves the player wanting more, God of War on the PlayStation 4 is one of the best titles released on the platform to date, and a solid candidate for Game of the Year in 2018.

Graphics – 5/5

There is no comparison on the PlayStation platform today that meets what Santa Monica Studio reached graphically with God of War. Simply put, no detail was spared to push the PS4 Pro to its limits and if the title were reviewed exclusively on looks, we could end the conversation right here. Throughout your adventures with Kratos and his son Atreus, details seamlessly pop and fade with terrific draw distances and high definition texturing designed to help push perspective to important game play and story elements. Santa Monica Studios attention to detail in motion blur proves that the company won’t let you fall out of a dramatic moment with a strange texture swap or focal blur misstep. While playing God of War on the PlayStation 4 Pro even the simplest aspects of real life had the experience at the forefront. In fact, if you’re looking for the distinguishing differences between God of War and any other title, you might appreciate this quote I found myself saying during the game’s first act, “Wow! They even rendered the Goose Bumps around his nipples!”

During action scenes Santa Monica ensures that you don’t lose your sense of focus, as blurs for both action and attention to where you’ll need to go will quietly drive your eyes to weaknesses and strengths for Kratos to gain advantage in the battle. Particle physics and subtle glows are built in to to separate gameplay aspects of the series from beautiful background effects. Designed with intent, the mythical and designed elements blur the line between what helps you play and what a Rune or Spell would look like in this world. There really is nothing like this on PS4 today.

Gameplay – 5/5

As excellent as the Graphics for God of War are, game play has always been at the core of the series. Hack and Slash aspect of the series seem to give way to tactics and depth without forgetting the roots. Starting out as a narrative focused in Norse mythology and building the bridge between the old and the new, Kratos will smash and grab as much as ever, but will now include use of a new Norse magic infused axe and his Boy.

Throughout your adventures with Kratos and his son Atreus you’ll enjoy evolving and increasingly more impressive skills found using Runes and Relic-like objects. These can be found in treasures in Midgard and the other Realms of Norse mythology, and will serve as a good push for replay-ability at the end-game. As you acquire more skills throughout the adventure, you’ll find that no two skills are specifically more powerful than the other, but they do allow Kratos some diversity in a few specific button combos. Rather than build up an eternal list of combo varieties, the game keeps simple what can be made simple, and builds the character the way the player wants Kratos to be built. A very satisfying system, ready for any player.

Story – 4.8/5

Built on a story of Norse mythology, Kratos has stepped away from his life as the Ghost of Sparta as in all 7 previous God of War games. Now married with a child, Kratos has settled down into an immediately shaken life style as the player arrives in Kratos’ new life. As we step into the story, Kratos’ wife has died and has set the family on a Father-Son bonding quest to spread her ashes on “the highest peak in all of the nine realms”. Among these nine realms is Midgard, where you have lived for years, and serves as the realm of Humanity. During your adventures with your son Atreus you’ll quest along many of the nine realms solving riddles, learning and developing the skills of both Kratos and his son.

Without building a road of spoilers for you, God of War drives an excellent narrative. As your son grows to learn his origins and learns more about who you are, external strife turns to internal struggle. God of War includes excellent cues to old series events to flesh out backstory without feeling repetitive. Despite an extensive and developed 40+ hour campaign, God of War slips in one of very few categories by possibly prioritizing story cues in the wrong order, however. After facing off against one particular adversary, it wasn’t until 15-30 minutes later in the campaign that I realized that he was the “final boss” fight in the campaign. Given the story elements that followed, I was under the impression that we would face something larger and stronger yet still. With the inclusion of the Nine Realms aspects of the game, and the fact that only 6 realms could be explored, the narrative of the story dictated that there were greater struggles ahead. Despite this, the campaign ended on an open-ended conclusion.

While not hollow, the story seems to intentionally leave you wanting – and not as a cliffhanger. For this reason, I couldn’t justify saying that this was simply the best story on modern consoles, but it does come quite close.

Polish – 5/5

Sony’s Santa Monica Studio went all out in the polish department with God of War. While for the first few weeks players received an update nearly every night, we also never experienced a single glitch while playing God of War. That said, polish is about more than simply not glitching out. Polish is about the flow of the game and game play. Transitions from cutscenes and game play are flawless in God of War. The third-person camera works without a hitch, and requires little-to-no user control to point you in the right direction, without leaving you with that “on-rails” feeling. Simply put, the experience is truly immersive in your adventures, and nothing gets in the way of the narrative that the end-user was supposed to absorb. Simply superb.

Replay Value – 4.5/5

After completing the main-line story, there are plenty of nuanced subplots in tiny side-quests to whet your pallet. Be they treasure hunting, exploring for Odin’s Ravens, opening chests, or trying to face off against the most difficult enemies in the game – the Valkyries, you’ll find something to keep you going. God of War serves as a decently difficult “platinum” trophy as well, but clearly has something down the line in terms of DLC. This category only truly suffers because of the inherent nature of the single player experience in God of War. When you’re finished with the main story and smaller sub-quests, you’ll only be able to piecemeal together personal achievements as there is no option for a multiplayer experience.

That said, you knew that there would be no multiplayer experience going into God of War, and after 40+ hours of game, God of War serves as a great experience and an excellent bang for your buck.

Nvidia GTX 1180 Specs: The Math Behind Your Next GPU

With the next generation of GPU seemingly right around the corner, Nvidia is primed for the release of new architecture, and possibly a new series of GDDR for the GTX 1180/2000 Series GPU. So what’s in the box? Let’s do the math together.

Based roughly on the transition from the GTX 980 to the GTX 1080, and in coupling with leaks ahead of Nvidia’s expected announcement for the 1180 series, we’ve compiled the raw numbers to break down what the GTX 1180 series of graphics cards could actually perform like in a real-world setting. Based on a new 12nm architecture set to release in 2018, reports suggest that Nvidia will be cramming bigger Die into the 1180 series cards this time around to pump out higher performance chips than ever.

This upgrade to performance will relate to a minimum of 140% more processing hardware occupying the same space, and on a larger die, translating to 160% of today’s standard GTX 1080 performance – about 11% faster than the latest GTX Titan XP. Have a look at the preliminary data we picked up from the leak and the math behind it below:

Cores

980 – 2048 CUDA Cores
1080 – 2560 CUDA Cores (125% vs 980)
1180 – 3584 CUDA Cores (140% vs 1080)

Texture Mapping Units

980 – 128
1080 – 160 (125% vs 980)
1180 – 224 (140% vs 1080)

Bandwidth

980 – 224.3 GB/s Memory Bandwidth
1080 – 320 GB/s Memory Bandwidth (143% vs 980)
1180 – 512 GB/s Memory Bandwidth (160% vs 1080)

Memory Speed

980 – 7010 MHz
1080 – 10000 MHz (143% vs 980)
1180 – 16000 MHz (160% vs 1080)

FP32 Performance

980 – ~5 TFLOPS
1080 – ~8.9 TFLOPS (178% vs 980)
1180 – ~13 TFLOPS (146% vs 1080)

Architecture

980 – 28 nm
1080 – 16 nm (43% smaller per die vs 980)
1180 – 12 nm (25% smaller per die vs 1080)

Estimated FPS In-Game*

980 – 91.3 FPS
1080 – 122.1 FPS (133% vs 980)
1180 – 184 FPS (151% vs 1080)

*Calculated based on hardware requirements for Dirt 3 at 2560×1440 resolution

All things considered, the release of the GTX 980 series of cards launched less than two years after the GTX 1080 series. Given that fact, the GTX 1180 series is overdue for an announcement. This neither solidifies or invalidates the leaked data we’ve got here, but given that the launch is about the same amount of time vs. performance changes, it makes sense that Nvidia is looking to update as soon as possible. Look out for the official confirmation of this data from Nvidia coming as early as August 20th at the Hot Chips 30 [pictured below].

Red Dead Redemption 2 Pre-Order Bonuses Cash in on Exclusive Story and Multiplayer Content; Adds GTA Cash

Rockstar Games revealed Red Dead Redemption 2 pre-order bonuses and what comes with your Special and Ultimate Edition copies today along side a Collector’s Edition.

If you’re the kind of gamer who’s interested in pre-order content, or you’re just obsessed with Red Dead Redemption, you’ll live for today’s announcement from Rockstar Games. Offering up bonuses for every pre-order, and detailing what each edition of the game will release with, Rockstar revealed three versions of Red Dead Redeption 2 today aside from the standard edition.

For those pre-ordering any version of the game, you’ll get to enjoy a War Horse and the “Outlaw Survival Kit”, which is said to include “key supplies for enduring the rigors of life on the frontier”. Sounds like some basic gears to get you through the early goings. All digital pre-orders can take advantage of cross-play goodies, as Xbox or PlayStation platforms will receive a story mode cash bonus for Red Dead 2, a treasure map for the game, and bonus cash in Grand Theft Auto 5. More GTA cash will be given depending on which digital version of the game you pick up – between $500,000 and $2,000,000 in-game cash.

Special Edition versions of the game, as well as every version upward pack in a load of content not available in the standard version. Starting with the Special Edition, you’ll get the game, with loads of story mode exclusives. A dappled black thoroughbred horse with Nuevo Paraiso saddle, the Nuevo Paraiso Gunslinger Outfit, and a free Volcanic Pistol, Pump Action Shotgun, and Lancaster Varmint Rifle from the in-game Smithy. Special Edition players also get an Eagle Talon Talisman, making Arthur’s environmental awareness skill last longer, and the Iguana Scale, which has Arthur taking less damage while on horseback.

The Special Edition also grants exclusive access to the Bank Robbery Mission “In which Arthur and a couple of his fellow gang members come up with a daring plan to break in and rob the bank in the southern town of Rhodes”, and Gang Hideout Mission. It appears that with all this, Special Edition players will also get a “Core Stat” boost, pumping up Stamina, Health and Dead Eye stats. You’ll also have a cash boost, and you’ll have discounts on all upgrades at the Van der Linde gang’s camp. Now that’s all just for the Special Edition.

In the Red Dead Redemption 2: Ultimate Edition, players will have access to all the Special Edition Story content, as well as exclusives for online play. Blackrose Bounty Hunter Outfit and the Copperhead Enforcer Outfit will be available for you to show off with your friends, adding the black chestnut thoroughbred horse and High Plains Cutting saddle on top for your style showcase. The Ultimate Edition will allow players to take the Volcanic Pistol, Pump Action Shotgun, and Lancaster Varmint Rifle online, and also a Survivor theme to customize your personal camp, and online rank bonuses enabling you to level faster, up to rank 25.

If you’re interested in the physical loot, the Red Dead Redemption 2 Collector’s Box will get you a TON of great things from the game, but importantly not the game itself for $99.99 USD. The Collector’s Box includes the following:

  • Metal Tithing Box with Lock & Key: Inspired by the lockbox used by the Van der Linde gang to stash contributions to the camp’s upkeep, this thick gauged metal box includes a lock & key, and features black metal band detailing and an engraved Cornwall Freight & Commodities plaque.
  • Collectable Challenge Coin: Featuring the majestic American Buffalo on one side and a scenic landscape on the other side, this engraved, gold-colored collectable coin comes in a magnetic presentation holder with a black, engraved plaque describing the history of this endangered species.
  • Double Sided Puzzle: This double-sided, 100-piece wooden jigsaw puzzle features an illustrated view of the bustling port of Saint Denis on one side, and a classically inspired Rockstar Games logo on the reverse.
  • Six Shooter Bandana: A staple for any frontier outlaw, this bandana features a traditional paisley-inspired pattern with hidden weapon iconography throughout.
  • Treasure Map: Printed on durable, unrippable paper, this exclusive treasure map reveals the location of some buried treasure that may start Arthur on a search for more riches hidden throughout the world of Red Dead Redemption 2.
  • Pin Set: This set of six individual pins includes representations of key weapons from Red Dead Redemption 2 including a shotgun, revolver and Dead Eye “X” marker. The set comes in a canvas carrying bag.
  • Playing Cards: Commemorate the outlaws of the Van der Linde gang with this fully illustrated deck of playing cards featuring key members of the gang including Arthur Morgan, John Marston, Javier Escuella, Bill Williamson and Dutch van der Linde.
  • Wheeler, Rawson and Co. Catalogue: The one-stop shop for everything from weapons to clothing, the Wheeler, Rawson and Co. Catalogue is an essential shopping tool for turn of the century life. This complete 150-page book is a replica of the edition found in stores throughout Red Dead Redemption 2.
  • 12 Cigarette Cards: These beautifully-illustrated collectable cards can be found throughout the world of Red Dead Redemption 2. This physical collection includes one select card from each set like Famous Gunslingers and Outlaws, Stars of the Stage and Marvels of Travel and Locomotion.

With plenty of content both physical and digital available, it’s easy to see why fans might want to pre-order or buy a special version of Red Dead Redemption 2. Those interested in picking up the title can do so today over on the Rockstar Warehouse.

YouTube Live Will Come to E3 2018 With Exclusive Interviews, Demos and More

Working in partnership with Producer Geoff Keighley, YouTube Live will be at E3 2018 for the biggest show in gaming.

Kicking off on Sunday, June 10th, YouTube will showcase 16 hours of live coverage at the 2018 E3 press conference this month. Set to include live simulcasts of all the major press conferences, including Microsoft, Sony, Bethesda Softworks, Ubisoft, and more. Viewers can also enjoy world premiere gameplay demos, interviews with top game developers, and appearances from some of YouTube’s top gaming content creators.

As part of the presentation exclusive to YouTube, fans of Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and DJ Marshmello will enjoy a live Let’s Play and debut of a new music track “Tell Me” from the upcoming album “Joytime 2” ahead of its release on June 22nd.

You can view the full schedule of events as posted on the official YouTube Live E3 page just below in the source link. As always, we’ll be covering the full extent of the E3 press conference right here on PowerLeveled.

Square Enix Closing Down “GO” Mobile Games Series

Developed by Square Enix Montreal, titles like Hitman GO will have their future development cut as the studio reconsiders the mobile platform.

Four years into development of a series of “GO” titles, Square Enix Montreal has decided to cut the mobile series at just three games. Originally published in 2014 with the release of Hitman GO, the company found critical success if not commercial. Pushing the mobile titles at just $4.99, Hitman was followed up by Lora Croft GO and Deus Ex GO – admittedly average AAA brands for the team to develop with.

In an interview with PC Games Insider, Square Enix Montreal studio head Patrick Naud claims that the “premium” cost of a mobile title at $4.99 was the misstep of the company that caused this development stoppage.

“The Go series was a great adventure for us as a studio. We’ve done the three games, we’ve seen the wind. The hardest element is making premium games on mobile. You’ve got more and more high-quality free titles so there are even fewer and fewer people inclined to try something that will not be free.”

“Despite the critical success and the great revenue we’ve had, it’s sad to see that our games are only played by a small slither of the population because of the price point. A lot of people consume mobile games only and they have all these options, all these games; why should they invest money in this one unless they’re very convinced?”

With Hitman releasing in 2014, Lara Croft GO launched in 2015 and was much received the same as Hitman – critics enjoyed the title, but units didn’t move on mobile despite the reasonable price. Clearly perception on the Android and iOS marketplace isn’t the same as Steam or any console platform, but at 500,000+ downloads to date for Lara Croft GO, it may be that Square Enix feels their resources could be better used.

Released in 2016, Deus Ex GO has moved just 100,000+ units on the Google Play Store, which may have been a direct result of a less recognizable branding and “samey” reception from critics around the world.

All three titles are currently on sale for just $0.99 USD on the Google Play Store. Check them out on the Developer’s official Play Store page if you haven’t yet played one of the best mobile games of the last 5 years.

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