Outward: The Most Interesting Game You Haven’t Heard Of

Ninedots Studios was founded back in 2011 with the goal of pushing the potential that games have to offer. Their first two games – Brand and GoD Factory: Wingmen – were both well received, with GoD Factory getting greenlit on Steam and published by Bandai Namco; however, their next project, Outward, looks to be their most ambitious project yet and a big step towards their goal.

Outward is an unique take on the open world RPG genre. It doesn’t tell the story of a young knight and his rise to prominence or the leader of an army facing an impossible threat, just a story about you. Who you are in Outward is quite simple, you are an adventurer living life in the land of Aurai. That is what makes Outward such an intriguing prospect, it gives you the freedom to do what you want and play how you want.

There is a big, beautiful world for you to explore with four different biomes within it. Two different mountain regions with varying weather and enemies, a desert region that has extremely warm and cold temperatures depending on the time of day, and a marsh that has poisonous waters. The changes in the weather in the game will also change the way you go about navigating the world. Your character is effected by extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) and you will want to pack appropriate clothes for the right conditions.

Your pack is something that is unique to the game as well. Backpacks will vary quite a bit in size and will effect your characters movement. If you carry around a large pack you will be able to fit more loot and supplies with you but you will be sluggish while carrying it. You will be able to remove your backpack and explore and fight without it on but you run the risk of losing it.

These types of mechanics are why Outward has my interest piqued. The world feels very much alive in a way that many RPGs haven’t explored yet. For example, if it snows during the winter, snow will actually accumulate on the ground. You will also see events that take place in real time; so if someone were to ask you for help and you decide to continue on with other things, that person doesn’t just stay there waiting for you to come back they carry on with the task without you. Sprinkle in survival elements, dungeons to explore and towns to explore, and you have a game that could help lead the RPG genre forward to new depths.

Hopefully Ninedots desire and efforts to test what games can be inspires other studios to test the boundaries of not just the open world genre, but all types of games. I would highly recommend checking out some gameplay so you can see some of what Outward has to offer before it drops on March 26th (which you can find here).

 

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Madden 19 First Thoughts…

We are getting close to the start of the NFL season, and that means madden is here! Myself and Manny got our hands on the Hall of Fame edition of the game nearly a week ago, and so far we have had a very good time. I have always been a huge fan of the madden franchise where on the other hand Manny hasn’t purchased a current Madden since Madden 13 and hasn’t played one since Madden 16.

I have to say, this is the most fun I’ve had in Madden in almost 3 years now. Last year really fell short for me and I quit playing after only about two months of being released. Where most Maddens I continue to play until after Christmas. I have always been a huge fan of Madden Ultimate Team (MUT) for the excitement of pack openings and the grind to make your team better throughout the season and different holiday events that pop up through the year. So, I will admit ALL of my time spent on the current Madden has been all in MUT over the past week of the game. I really enjoy the different aspects this year to make it much easier to figure out what you want to do and the game is much more straight forward for MUT. This is my first time ever playing MUT Squads (a new game mode that was implemented in last years Madden to allow you to play MUT with your friends.) Manny and myself have played a few matches so far and overall it has been really fun to play with your friends in this game mode. We did a huge pack opening the first day of launch and it was incredibly fun we got some amazing cards in our packs. Manny even pulled a 90 overall Legend card which blew my mind. There is a new addition to MUT this year that I’m sort of having a bit of a love-hate relationship with currently. That is the new upgrade progression system. Now there are cards in the game that you can upgrade with new tokens. Which yeah is really cool and all but at the same time I feel like it makes it so much easier now to get a really good team, which is something I always loved about the grind it meant a lot when your team’s overall was around an 85. Well, after the first week my team overall is already a 79… which usually took me about a month to achieve, and I know if I spent more of my tokens I could probably break the 80 overall threshold. Which scares me because the grind is what always kept me around playing Madden to get my team as close to a 90+ as possible, and I have a feeling I may hit that in the first month if I keep grinding like I am. All in all the Madden Ultimate Team is very fun again this year like most. Now for the gameplay.

This years Madden has the smoothest gameplay I have ever felt in a sports game. Most of you are probably thinking “shouldn’t the newest game always feel smoother then the last?” Well yes it should but honestly Madden 18 felt clunkier then 17, and others have felt worse then previous years. This one has it all so far. The passing and running are very fluent while the new player movement system is fantastic and really allows you to combo different special movements with the ball carrier. Also hit sticks on defense seem to make a much bigger impact, but are also way harder to land now. You pretty much either force a fumble, or you are giving up a huge play. I really love that they have fixed a lot of the gameplay issues from last year. The only thing that is bothering me when it comes to actual gameplay is when you begin running on a play the ball carrier or defender doesn’t accelerate like old maddens. It’s very slow, and feels kind of weird. The two best parts about the new player movement system in Madden 19 has to be the celebrations and the fact that different players are slower then other players. To touch on this first, in most Maddens my 90+ speed running back would get caught by a 67 speed Defensive lineman running down the sideline, which was super unrealistic to me. They have finally fixed this problem! The second portion the statement previously… touchdown celebrations are in the game and they are so fun and exciting! Everytime you score now you just get so excited to see which celebration your character will go with after you choose. It really makes scoring feel even better now in Madden 19!

I am going to give Madden 19 an 8.8 out of 10. The MUT is extremely enjoyable, and from what Manny has told me about franchise you have so much more control this year as a player with bonus rewards mid game and different goals throughout the season. The only things so far holding me back to give the game a higher rating is the MUT progression system, MUT Squads not allowing you to play with just 2 players, and the acceleration aspect of the game. That being said the game has some amazing new additions with player movement, and prior to Madden 19, the highest I would have scored another Madden would be around a 8.2, so this game takes the cake with the new motion system! Let us know why you thought of the article and your options of Madden 19 in the comments! Make sure to hit the star so we know you enjoy the article! Untill next time.

-Brandon Maj

Black Ops 4 Beta Dates

The dates have finally been announced when the beta will drop for Black Ops 4, the upcoming installment for the Call of Duty franchise. It has been a sigh of relief the last few years when the developers have allowed us to indulge on early gameplay for multiple reasons. The biggest of course is for the not so hardcore fans to know if they will be interested in the newest Call of Duty. Then another benefit for the hardcore fans is they will be able to express their opinions of different gun balances pre launch. Even though some people may view the Call of Duty as a second evil to EA with their microtransactions, it really has been much appreciated that we have been getting betas for the past few games. Yes, for most part the franchise has become stale, but I will argue that the recent Call of Duty installment betas have lead to a much more polished game release.

Multiplayer Beta Dates:

Playstation 4 (First Weekend):

Start: August 3rd 10am PT / 1pm ET

End: August 6th 10am PT / 1pm ET

Playstation 4 and Xbox One (Second Weekend):

Start: August 10th 10am PT / 1pm ET

End: August 13th 10am PT / 1pm ET

PC:

Start: August 10th 10am PT / 1pm ET

End: August 13th 10am PT / 1pm ET

Black Ops 4 Blackout Beta: Classified

There are a plethora of different elements the community is eager to get their hands on in the beta. Black Ops 4 is trying it’s best to make Call of Duty feel innovated again, but this could be its ultimate downfall. As much as the community complains about Call of Duty being stale by not taking risks, these same people lash out when the game does change (jet packs). There is potential for a pivotal year for Call of Duty with the addition of new combat changes such as self healing, medics, five man matches, and BATTLE ROYALE… this could be a huge turning point for the franchise. If pulled off correctly, fans will find their love for the game again. But if the additions lack, it could be the final dagger to the heart for the franchise. As a long time Call of Duty lover… I really hope this could be the change we are needing.

Let us know what you think about the upcoming Call of Duty game, Black Ops 4. Are you interested with the changes? Are you buying in on a AAA title making a battle royale game mode? Are you excited for a possibly new tactical game play with self healing? Or do you just want Call of Duty to die already?

-Brandon Maj

Two Cups of Expectations, a Dash of Nerves, a Sprinkle of Faith, and a Bucket of Excitement…

There are many of you out there who rememeber one of the most impactful days in our gaming lives… April 27th 2004. The day City of Heroes was released. This game has a very large cult following even after its death on November 30th 2012. I’m sure many of you have a very close connection with this game whether it was endless nights of grinding, new friendships, and maybe even relationships that sparked over this game… City of Heroes was so special to me because it created a very close bond between my dad and I. We would stay up late on school nights (maybe even be “sick” for a double exp weekend that started on a Friday)… After playing this game for years with my dad, and then dragging friends into it, it was absolutely heartbreaking when we found out the game would close at the end of the year in 2012. Maybe the Mayans were right about the world ending in 2012 because all of our favorite game was put to rest…

– City of Heroes (Digital Trends)

Many of us have tried to fill the void that was City of Heroes with other games such as Champions Online, DC Universe, or other similar game styles, but truly nothing has fulfilled this hole. Luckily there is a light at the end of the tunnel, a very faint light at the moment, but nonetheless a light. For the past five years or so there has been talks about spiritual successors of City of Heroes that have been in the works even since the announcement of NCSoft pulling the plug on City of Heroes. Since about 2014 there have been two heavy hitters in the spiritual successor creation, Valiance Online and City of Titans. An additional two successors that may be a little less known are Ship of Heroes and Heroes and Villains.

Out of all super hero based MMOs the one that seems to be the furthest along is Valliance Online. They are already at the stage of an investor alpha test (which I have gotten my hands on). I have only played it for a few hours, and I will say it felt great to put the spandex on, but it definitely felt like an alpha, No Duh. Obviously the basis of the game is there, but some combat mechanics are a little wonky. A few issues I was running into were: My Commander character’s pets will stop attacking a target after X amount of time, my brawler was having issues hitting targets when I entered combat even though the enemies could attack me. All in all it felt amazing to get back on the streets running some missions and fight some perps. Valiance Online has been taking strides to improve the alpha with constant updates through hearing back from the community feedback. The community is just like us, people who love City of Heroes. Therefore Valiance Online is trying to give us the game we deserve. The game will eventually get to the point of a full release we of course hope sooner then later!

-Valiance Online Steam Community

Out of the spiritual successors, City of Titans is the first one that I heard of and grasped onto very tightly at its announcement. That being said sadly City of Titans has been the one with the most setbacks (it seems). It may have been all speculation, it may have been things said from the company, or a mix of both, but the community has been expecting the game to be further along then it currently is. As of right now we are getting some very beautiful in game videos of combat techniques, movement, character design, and a view of the city we will get to play in. Out of all the projects City of Titans seems to be the most beautiful of the upcoming games, but at the same time this is the one people are starting to fear may end up in development hell forever. They have been making some progress after switching their engine over, which may have been the most brilliant move on the company. (Switching to a new engine gives them the possibility of making the game look like an upgrade from City of Heroes graphics to potentially being the most beautiful MMO to ever release). Which is very exciting, but fans speculate that this may have set them back further then we hoped. There is supposedly going to be some sort of content for us super hero fans to get our hands on by the end of 2018. We will just have to wait, wait, wait, and see if this will be worth it in the end.

-Missing Worlds Media Youtube

Of the four that I previously mentioned Heroes and Villains may be the one that has the least amount of exposure. Their first teaser was released over FIVE years ago which looked very pretty, but in the last year there hasn’t been a whole lot shown of the game other then some absolutely stunning concept art. They do keep up with a weekly update every Friday which does show some promise that the studio is still posting information towards their project while remaining very consistent. This game could have some serious potential with dedicated Plan Z developing the game, but as of right now they might be at the bottom of the totem pole with the spiritual successors .

-Heroes and Villains concept

Now it’s time for the true dark horse of the competition, Ship of Heroes. The unique aspect on this game is it’s going in a slightly different direction then all of the other super hero based MMOs. It’s going to be more of a cosmic based super hero game. By that I mean very heavily space oriented. You will get to have your own ship and travel the galaxy. This game is taking more of a Guardians of the Galaxy approach rather than an Avengers approach which could work out in their favor if City of Titans, Valiance Online, and Heroes and Villains come out around the same time Ship of Heroes will be the one outlier that will be different giving you a reason to play even if you fall in love with one of the other successors. This game only dropped its first video on YouTube ONE YEAR AGO. This game may be further along than a lot of these games that have been open for a few years now. Ship of Heroes has been keeping up with a pretty solid amount of video content on Youtube.

-Ship of Heroes Developer Stream

It will be a very exciting journey till the successors release. Which one are you most excited for? City of Titans? Valiance Online? Ship of Heroes? Or Heroes and Villains? Let us know in the comments! Thank you for your support and hopefully this pulled your hearts strings a little reminiscing about City of Heroes with us!

-Brandon Maj

Here are the links to check out these upcoming projects! Make sure to check them out and like their facebook pages!

https://cityoftitans.com/

https://valiance.shogn.net/home

http://www.heroes-and-villains.com/phpb/home.php

https://www.shipofheroes.com/

Nintendo Shares E3 Plans

Nintendo has had it’s fair share of the limelight through the first four months of the year with the official reveal of the Nintendo Switch, the launch of the Switch, and the latest installment of The Legend of Zelda being one of the greatest reviewed games of all-time. Nintendo has been enjoying a big year, and they have continued the momentum into E3 this year which is just a few weeks away. At the event, all those Switch owners eager to know what the future holds for their new console will get a chance to see some upcoming games and more during Nintendo’s E3 festivities. Nintendo laid out the major events that they will be holding on their website, which is sure to entice thousands to tune in on June 13th.

To kick off the event, Nintendo will be hosting it’s version of a press conference, Nintendo Spotlight, where they plan to show off more of Super Mario Odyssey as well as games to be announced. Following Nintendo Spotlight is Nintendo Treehouse Live, where viewers of the livestream will get insight from developers on upcoming games for both the Switch and 3DS family of systems, and to tease fans even more Nintendo states on their website they may, “share some surprises.” Two other major events set to take during their three day event is a Splatoon 2 tournament and the first ARMS tournament.

What do you guys think about Nintendo’s strong start to 2017? Do you think they will deliver on the promise that the Switch holds? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @TheNerdChambers. Also, don’t forget to like us on Facebook while you are at it!

C2E2 Hype!!!

This weekend is one of the most exciting events for all nerds in Illinois! It’s time for C2E2! This will be my fifth year in a row attending the event, and I am even more excited then ever. Marvel will finally be making a return to the event, so it will be great to possibly see any sort of teaers for upcoming projects of Marvel (please give a little preview of Defenders!) A couple years back when Gotham wqs coming out they aited the first episode for all attendees of the event to get an opportunity to watch. After the great success of the preview Supergirl did the same thing!

Other than any movie and TV excitement I am really hoping that their is a booth where I can get my hands on Injustice 2 somewhere at the con. It was really awesome that Mortal Kombat X was playable early at C2E2 they it dropped, so let’s hope that Injustice 2 gets the same love! I am also in a big debate on what to spend my money on this year… Filling in the holes of my amazing Spider-Man collection comics… Or some incredible art pieces in artist alley..??? The dicisions are so difficult! 

Make sure to keep checking in over the weekend for updated on how C2E2 is panning out for the cast at The Nerd Chambers! Also tweet us @TheNerdChambers or comment below , and let us know your best con experience! 

-ShadowGhoul (Brandon)

Borderlands 3 News…

Earlier in the week we covered Borderlands 3 and the Gear Box panel at PAX EAST. We were expecting to see some news the weekend of PAX, but we were graced with an early look of the Borderlands 3 tech demo! 

The tech demo showed some of what’s to come on the unreal engine 4. It shows how in depth they can work in their art style with heavy borders and outlines. The tech demo brings us some much needed visuals of our wonderful world of Pandora… Oh wait, something else was announced recently. As Dorothy might say, “We aren’t in Pandora anymore friends of the Nerdum.” (Click the text below to watch the Borderlands 3 Tech Demo)

Borderlands 3 Tech Demo

Where are we you might ask? Well thanks to Battleborn DLC that was just released we found out we are going to be  venturing in Promethea. Thanks to an article by Preston Lewis Jr from Twinfinite we have a little more information about the hidden easter egg,

“The first interesting piece of information in this coded message is the mention of a planet called Prometea. In the Borderlands universe, there is no planet by that name but there is a planet called Promethea which is likely where players will be heading in Borderlands 3. Promethea is where the weapons manufacturing company Atlas discovered alien technology which it then used to improve their own weapons and vehicles.”

Thanks to the developers showing us a little sneak peak of the Borderlands 3 world on Unreal Engine 4, and the BattleBorn Dlc we can begin to connect the dots of Borderlands 3! Make sure to check in during PAX EAST weekend at The Nerd Chambers to find out all about Borderlands 3! Tweet us @TheNerdChambers and tell us what you think about the news on Borderlands 3!

-ShadowGhoul (Brandon)