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  • Review: The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II

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Crytek logo header

Crytek, it appears, is falling apart. Less than a week out from the studio announcing that things were now fine and dandy and extra funding had been acquired to pay their staff and continue development there have been layoffs en masse from the Crytek Austin offices and the studio has additionally sold off the Homefront IP, which they had previously acquired from the now-defunct THQ back in 2012. What a mess this has been…

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Season 2 of the Living World in Guild Wars 2 continues with Episode 3: The Dragon’s Reach. While Taimi is working on safeguarding the Waypoint network from Mordremoth’s tendrils, Braham must visit his mother and convince her to meet with the Pale Tree to discuss the upcoming threat. Rox must confront Rytlock Brimstone (something she’s been avoiding for over a year now), and Marjory is still taking some personal time off after what happened in Episode 2.

Once you’ve played through the episode, there is new content added to Dry Top, and a strange new back piece to craft using items given as rewards during the story steps of Episode 3. This back piece will continue to change and grow during the next episode. Be sure to log in during the next two weeks to unlock this episode for free, making it playable (and replayable) at any time.

You can read the full patchnotes here.

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Editor’s note: That headline. O_O

Now this is interesting. A wild, indie horror/survival project has appeared in the form of The Hum, which was recently given the go-ahead on Steam Greenlight.

Instead of the usual “zombie apocalypse” setting that dominates the survival genre, The Hum features a world devastated by a recent alien invasion. It promises to be a first-person endeavour with the requisite stealthy bits and a consistent, unsettling sound droning on in the background. What sets it apart is that it seems players will have to face an unreliable narration, as possible alien abductions, memory loss and other strange events will take place. Players may also find themselves with new abilities, hinting at possible RPG elements.

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This morning, news hit of Electronic Arts’ new plan to offer a subscription service called EA Access. It’s pretty much like Sony’s PlayStation Plus offering, with a continually rotating collection of EA games for subscribers to play each month. If you need to catch up, then head over to Wesley’s article on the new service.

When EA Access was announced, it was said to be coming to Xbox One to begin with. Naturally, people began asking whether or not we’d see the service introduced to Sony’s consoles. Sony has since answered that question with a resounding: nope.

Their reasoning is pretty blunt: it doesn’t offer value for money.

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In a post on the game’s official website the developers of the new Unreal Tournament have released some of the first deathmatch footage from the game. In case you’ve forgotten, the game will be entirely free to play, with no microtransactions (including where future content updates are concerned), and is being worked on by a number of UT veterans in conjunction with members of the evergreen UT community. At this stage the game has only the most basic of functionality, with some simple levels and most weapons available, but there is still enough action on show for fans of arena shooters to be excited about. Hit the jump to check on the game’s progress.

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Traditionally, the Collector’s Editions for previous Call of Duty titles have packed in some insane additional goodies. We’ve had proper night vision goggles, radio-controlled camera cars, radio-controlled “Dragonfire Drones”, and high-definition “Tactical Cameras”. When Sledgehammer Games releases their take on the Call of Duty franchise, it won’t be hitting with anything quite as extravagant.

The Call of Duty: Advance Warfare Collector’s Edition is dubbed the “Atlas Limited Edition”. There’s a beefier option called the “Atlas Pro Edition”. Both editions include a suite of digital add-ons ranging from the game’s soundtrack to weapons upgrades, an exclusive multiplayer map, guns and special Atlas branded exo-skeletons. Aside from an “Advanced Soldier Manual” and a Steelbook case, the collector’s editions are entirely digital. The “Atlas Digital Edition” costs $79.99 (just over R800), and the “Atlas Pro Edition” costs $119.99 (just over R1,200.00) – the latter packs in the game’s Season Pass, which nets you four unannounced pieces of DLC.

Activision has also released a new story trailer for the game; you can find it after the jump. It’s looking pretty good I must admit. Insofar as the game’s multiplayer is concerned, that’s scheduled to be unveiled on 11 August.

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Microphone

In case you haven’t heard the news yet, a bunch of the NAG Online writers have started up a podcast in which we’re gathering together online to talk crap about a lot of things and to perhaps muse wisely on Delano’s words. We’ll be recording the show live using Mumble and you can find the details of how to listen in right here. When the show is over, I’ll be uploading it to Youtube and we’ll have a direct download for the MP3 file which you can listen to as well. This is only the second cast so we’ve taken some of your feedback and implemented it in the hopes that we can make it better for you, the NAG Online reader.

We’ll be starting tonight’s cast at roughly 7:30PM and we’re hoping to be no longer than an hour and fifteen minutes. Join us and remember to mute yourself before we start recording!

FULL SADFACE.

Due to terrible circumstance and international espionage and Joffrey Baratheon and probably a pack of angry camels, the August issue of NAG will be arriving later than expected. There’s some Strange Stuff going on with the DVD, and we’re officially placing all the blame on a single entity: “the overseas”.

By later than usual, we mean it won’t be coming out tomorrow as planned, but will instead be arriving next week Thursday, the 7th of August. We’re mighty apologetic for the delay, but better late than never, right?

Also, apparently a group of camels is known as a caravan of camels. You learn something new every day.

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Every week here on NAG Online I write a This Week In Gaming round-up of news from throughout the week.

Every week I have to sift through a crapton of news that I couldn’t care less about. Sometimes, I have to report on news that I don’t really care about either – because apparently a lot of other people do.

So then, to blow off some of this pent-up frustration, this week I’m going to tell you about all the things that happened that I couldn’t give a toss about.

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But before you get ahead of yourselves: she isn’t a playable character. Instead, Elise is being positioned as a companion character or possible love interest for protagonist Arno. Interestingly, she’s also a Templar, but that doesn’t seem to stop Arno from rescuing her before she gets her head removed from her body via a grim-looking guillotine.

It’s likely that Elise will be a pretty major character in the game considering Ubisoft has created a figurine of her that’s available to purchase via the Uplay Shop. What’s more, author Oliver Bowden (no stranger to penning Assassin’s Creed novels) is writing a spin-off novel starring Elise. That book is yet to be named but we’re sure details will follow shortly; likely during Gamescom in two weeks.

During E3, Ubisoft was on the receiving end of a lot criticism thanks to the fact that Assassin’s Creed: Unity doesn’t include playable female assassins. You can get a first look at Elise in a new cinematic trailer after the jump.

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EA Access Xbox One

Imagine you’re Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson and you’re grappling with a couple of franchises that seem to not only be making less money and sales year-on-year, but getting increasingly delayed to improve the quality of the product to make sure that you get your day-one sales and meet the requirements of your investors. The answer to this small problem is a subscription model for your games, just like Netflix.

EA today announced EA Access for the Xbox One, a service that’ll cost you $4.99 per month and will give you access to a range of games published by EA.

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ASRock X99 Killer

Intel’s Haswell-E platform is almost ready to launch and a lot of manufacturers and component producers are gearing up for the biggest switch in the PC landscape since the launch of DDR3 back in 2007. Haswell-E will launch with the brand new X99 chipset and the reworked LGA2011-3 socket, designed to house the massive six, eight and eventually twelve-core chips that Intel will be peddling to enthusiasts, gamers and professionals looking for the ultimate in speed and power. Although most board manufacturers have managed to now have their final designs leak, ASRock forgot all about their need to keep secrets and revealed their boards a little early during a special conference in Taiwan.

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It’s safe to say that Crytek has been in a spot of bother throughout the last couple of weeks. We’ve had reports of UK-based staff members not being paid, developers walking out, and their Shanghai offices also taking strain. Throughout all of this, however, there’s been a wall of silence from Crytek itself. As with most things in the gaming industry, where there’s smoke there’s fire, and in the case of Crytek, there was most definitely fire.

The company has finally broken its silence and has provided a statement on the financial and staffing issues that have been experienced of late. Crytek has indeed been sourcing additional funds to aid them as they transition from “a development studio to an Online-Publisher”. That funding has been secured, but during the interim, many of the staff members throughout Crytek’s global company have been the ones who have suffered the most.

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Welcome to the last episode of this week’s Laptop Buyer’s guide. We’re into the part where most people would consider this price category to be ludicrously insane. You can buy a decent, mid 1990′s second-hand car for this kind of money and that would arguably enable you to do more than just play games. You can drift with a rear-wheel drive Ford Escort, you can’t do the same on a laptop. But still, a lot of people do buy laptops in this price range and for the most part, they’re worth the extra expense because the build quality is generally better than average and the hardware lasts you a lot longer. Most of the time it’ll take a bit more punishment as well. So without further ado, commence the drooling!

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While we were all sleeping, some very fortunate people in Santa Monica got to attend a live performance of scenes from Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. With The Last of us: Remastered Edition releasing on PlayStation 4 this Friday, the game is once again at the forefront of the industry’s hype machines. This live performance, entitled The Las of Us: One Night Live, couldn’t have happened at a better time.

The gist of the show is this: writers and directors Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley rounded up the game’s musicians and voice actors to perform iconic scenes from the game live on stage. The evening was billed as an experiment, which turned out to be a huge success.

You can find a recording of the show after the jump; it starts around 30 minutes in. If you haven’t played The Last of Us (perhaps you’re picking up the Remastered Edition on Friday) then I strongly recommend you DON’T watch this until you’ve played through at least once. Spoilers ahead.

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shadow of mordor

Monolith Games has a tough crowd to please when it comes to storyline. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is bravely forging a new narrative path in Tolkien’s much-loved universe. That gives it the either the honour of adding to a rich legacy (albeit in a non-canonical way) or the potential to crash and burn among of long-time Tolkien fans. It’s a risky concept, but the potential is definitely there.

If you’ve been feeling a little sceptical about what’s in store for us as we carve our way through Shadow of Mordor, then perhaps this latest story trailer is what you need to alleviate some of your misgivings? In it we learn that the wraith aiding player character Talion is none other than Celebrimbor: the elf who appears in the book The Silmarillion and the one who forges the rings of power that were gifted to the races of Middle-earth.

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