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psychonauts 2

Xbox Game Studios announced during their E3 2019 media briefing that they had added the whimsical and downright weird Double Fine Studios under the Xbox Game Studios banner. They capped that announcement off with a gameplay trailer for the long awaited Psychonauts 2, which has big shoes to fill from its ancestor.

The original Psychonauts was a PS2 era cult classic which turned the story and game design of Banjoo-Kazooie, Super Mario 64, and Donkey Kong 64 on their head. With the retro homages to these games making their debut now with Yooka-Laylee and A Hat in Time, the market is primed for this one.

They didn’t give us a release date as part of the announcement, but we look forward to more information from this off beat, but family friendly title.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Family Gaming For Less Part 2 – Hardware Options

We’re sharing tips for saving money as a gaming family in our newest guide! We will help you choose a gaming console, where and how to buy games, and we’ll even talk about accessories. Last time we talked about where to buy your games and how to save money buying them. 

This time it’s all about the hardware!

Windows PC

Maintaining multiple gaming PCs can be time consuming and expensive. This may work for families with a Windows computer technician in house. When planning your gaming budget keep in mind the cost of hardware upgrades.

There are solutions to play your office computer in the family room. The Steam Link and Nvidia Shield both support this feature. There are limitations and network requirements however so investigate further if this sounds useful.

Mac

Both Steam and GOG support Mac computers. Maintaining multiple Mac computers is easier than Windows PCs for most people. Many games are not available on Mac though. Available games often run slower or with fewer graphical features.

Nintendo Switch

The Switch costs US$300 and has a strong selection of games. Many games on the Switch allow you to share its standard “Joy-Con” controllers for couch co-op multiplayer sessions. This can be awkward for large hands because the Joy-Con is physically small. The Switch Joy-Con controllers are the most expensive at US$80 MSRP. Nintendo also offers a “Pro” controller similar in design to the Xbox and PlayStation controllers. The Pro controller retails for US$70.

The Switch uses microSD cards for data storage. Smaller size microSD cards are inexpensive at 64GB for less than US$20. Prices rise significantly for the cards with the most storage. Switch physical cartridges also require microSD storage for patches. Families planning large Switch game libraries should consider the cost of digital game storage versus the convenience.

PlayStation 4

The PlayStation 4 costs US$300 and has the biggest installed base of modern consoles. It is often the best choice for multiplayer gaming outside the family. There is a limited selection of couch multiplayer games and each player must have their own US$60 MSRP controller. PlayStation 4 owners cannot play online games with players on Xbox One or Switch.

The PlayStation allows you to use a single external USB 3 hard drive to expand the internal storage. This drive can be up to 8TB in size. You cannot use a USB hub to connect the external drive. Once formatted it is only readable by the PlayStation. Moving the drive requires ejecting it from the PlayStation settings menu first. PlayStation supports copying games between the internal console and external hard drive storage.

PlayStation uploads saved games only from the primary console. This is a problem for families using multiple consoles! Accessing saved games requires multiple steps on both consoles. PlayStation limits online storage to 10GB of saved data per user.

The PlayStation 4 supports “remote play” – where a PC, Mac, Vita, or PlayStation TV can access the PlayStation in the same house or over the Internet. The feature requires a PlayStation 4 controller and free software download for PC and Mac. Local and remote players can only play the same game together. Remote Play prevents the PlayStation from playing another game.

Microsoft Xbox

Xbox One S consoles are US$300. There are limited couch multiplayer games on Xbox – similar in quantity to the PlayStation 4. The Xbox One is less popular than the PlayStation 4. This can be a problem when trying to play older multiplayer games online since there are fewer potential players. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gamers cannot play online games together. Some specific titles do support playing with Switch, Windows PC, and mobile.

Controllers are US$60 MSRP. Microsoft offers a custom controller design option as well for US$70 where you can choose various color options to create a unique controller. This can make a fantastic gift!

Xbox also supports two unique controller options. Copilot allows two controllers to both fully control a single game. This is a great option for a younger player who needs a little help. It is also popular with gamers with disabilities. Even more exciting is the Xbox Adaptive Controller. This uses industry standard assistive devices to connect to a controller base, enabling a range of new options for gamers with disabilities.

Xbox supports attaching two external USB 3 hard drives. Each drive can be up to 8TB in size. Attaching two smaller drives is a cost effective choice as well since they are often inexpensive. Once formatted a drive is only readable by Xboxes. You can move the drive between Xboxes by unplugging the drive.

The Xbox supports moving games between drives on the same system and between Xboxes on the same network. This can save money on metered Internet connections. One Xbox can copy games to other consoles.

The Xbox synchronizes saved games to the cloud so switching between Xbox consoles is painless. Launching a game first time on a new console and it downloads the saved game. Updating saved games occurs in the background while playing. Storage for this saved game syncing is unlimited.

A free Windows 10 Xbox app allows remote play with an Xbox console at home. The Xbox can only play one game at a time however.

Mixed Platforms and Cross Play

Playing together using multiple video game platforms has limitations. Most games rely on the video game console or Steam multiplayer services. Only games with “cross play” features can play together across different systems. A “party” – a group of people like a family – playing together is often a separate consideration; not all cross play games support cross parties.

Fortnite, Rocket League, and Minecraft are the most popular games with crossplay. Rocket League plans to add cross-party play in late 2018. These games support Xbox, Switch, PC, and – excepting Rocket League – even mobile devices. Absent from any cross play is PlayStation. Sony has so far not made cross play possible according to developers.

A more limited version of cross play is Microsoft’s “Xbox Play Anywhere” and “cross platform” programs. Xbox Play Anywhere provides a license for both the Xbox and Windows 10 version of the game with a digital purchase. A single account shares the game with all users on the computer. With an Xbox and Windows 10 PC this can save money! However, the small game selection limits the usefulness of Xbox Play Anywhere.

Not all Xbox Play Anywhere titles support cross platform multiplayer. Look for these features on the game’s store page. Some examples of games with Xbox Play Anywhere and cross-play are: Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizons 3, and Ark: Survival Evolved.


That was a whole lot of info right? And we aren’t even close to done! Come check back for part three soon!!


About the Author

Adrian Luff is a lifelong video gamer with three video game obsessed boys and a very understanding wife. He is fortunate enough to have worked in the video game industry for over 20 years building online services for multiplayer gaming. He worked on servers for Battle.net used by the Starcraft, Diablo, and Warcraft games. He also designed the launch infrastructure for World of Warcraft. Adrian leads a team of engineers building robust systems, infrastructure, and developer tools for Twitch.tv (a division of Amazon).

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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Family Gaming For Less!  Part 1 – Where to Buy Games!

We’re sharing tips for saving money as a gaming family in our newest guide! We will help you choose a gaming console, where and how to buy games, and we’ll even talk about accessories. 

We’ll be paying special attention to saving money when playing on multiple systems in the same house.

That’s because finding enjoyable couch co-op games is challenging. Finding couch co-op games suitable for the entire family is an epic quest! Many games now support multiplayer exclusively online with only one player per system. Families are increasingly purchasing one console per family member. It isn’t uncommon to have a house with several Xboxes anymore.

Video game system prices have dropped in recent years but multiple gaming consoles is still an expensive proposition! Picking the right gaming platform can save thousands over the lifetime of that system.

The Game Stores

The first, and probably most important decision, is where you will by your games. There are several online platforms or “digital stores” selling games online. The games they sell don’t have discs or cartridges. They exist only as files on your computer or console. The online stores use Digital Rights Management (DRM) to control how you can use their downloaded games.

These are small details that might not seem important, but you need to know and understand them in order to stretch your budget.

Windows – Steam

Steam is an online store that sells digital games for PC, Mac, and Linux. Steam provides a guide to enable Family Sharing. This feature enables sharing your game library with up to five family members. Only one person at a time can use the library however.

Logging in to Steam kicks other users out after a few minutes. Multiplayer requires purchasing a copy of each game for each player.

Steam games are often on sale. Many games are 20% off at launch, which is appealing on its own.. There are also several Steam sales throughout the year (a Summer sale in May and a Winter Sale in January for example).

You can also buy digital games for use on the Steam platform on other sites. Websites like Humble Store and GreenManGaming sell “game keys” composed of strings of number and letters. You can use these keys to add the game to your Steam library.

The competitive marketplace keeps prices low, but purchasing 4 copies, even at 20% off, is not the most cost effective option.

Windows – GOG

An alternative to Steam is GOG. This is a service that offers DRM-free PC games. GOG games are downloaded as ZIP files or using an optional client named GOG Galaxy. The client downloads, installs, and updates games. It is possible to purchase games from GOG once and copy them to multiple computers since they are DRM free. This isn’t a perfect solution because some games require GOG Galaxy for multiplayer. If that is the case, then each player must have their own copy of the game.

Games using the Steam multiplayer system can only be sold through the Steam store. GOG has made it easy for game developers to use the GOG multiplayer system instead. Usually playing the GOG version of a game means playing with only other GOG customers. That’s fine – maybe even preferable – for family gaming. It will, however, cause frustration if you try to play with friends who own the Steam version of a game. You won’t be able to see those Steam friends!

Editor’s note: GOG used to be called Good Old Games because they focused on keeping older games playable on modern PC operating systems. They recently changed their name to GOG and I had no idea until Adrian corrected me. Just goes to show… I don’t know EVERYTHING. 😉

Nintendo eShop

The Switch is an appealing platform. The same games can be played on the TV at home or on the go. And Switch has a great library of family friendly couch co-op games. But multiple Switch consoles is a budget buster for many families. Nintendo’s DRM restricts digital games to a single console, even when online. Playing together requires that each family member own a copy of the game.

PlayStation Store and Xbox Store

Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One consoles have similar DRM policies. They allow an account to play a purchased digital game on the “primary” or “home” console. Each account picks a single, specific console as home. This can be the same console for multiple accounts. Sony and Microsoft permit the home console to change only a few times however.

Each account can simultaneously play a purchased game on the home console and any other console while online. Buying two copies of a game allows four family members to play – including multiplayer! This is known as “Game Sharing”. This works with two consoles and even four – with two copies of games. 

Buying Multiple Copies of Games

Rewards

There are easy ways to save money on games for any platform. There are free rewards programs available: Nintendo Gold Points, Sony Rewards, and Microsoft Rewards. Each offers about 1% of purchases back as points. You can then redeem points for gift cards or other rewards. Make sure to check the program details as they each have their own quirks.

For example, you earn points using Bing web search and by completing surveys in the Microsoft program. There are many rewards available, including Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass memberships at discounted prices. Many people find they can pay for a year of both Xbox Live and Game Pass membership just by using Bing search daily.

Sales and Wishlists

Look for the weekly digital game sales on your platform of choice. Savings range from 25% to 75% off. Subscribers to PlayStation Plus often save an additional 10% on sale items. Xbox Live Gold members have a special weekly sale. Patience pays off as most games will go on sale at least once a year.

If you don’t have time to track the weekly sales you can still save. Steam, PlayStation Store, and Nintendo’s eShop for Switch all have wishlist features in their digital game stores. Steam will even email you when something on your wishlist is on sale! There are also many third party sites which offer price tracking like IsThereAnyDeal for Steam, TrueAchievements for Xbox One, and TrueTrophies for PlayStation. Each sites offers multiple notification options. These sites require an account to track your wishlist.

Saving on Digital Games

Using specific payment options can also save money.

Sony offers the Sony Card with 5X points (~5%) on entertainment purchases, including those from the PlayStation Store. The credit card company deposits points in the linked Sony Rewards account each month. This discount stacks with the rewards points earned from purchases via Sony’s digital game store. Redeem points for PlayStation gift cards.

Families may already have a Target Red credit or debit card, offering 5% off purchases at Target. This discount applies to gift cards. Target charges an additional 5% on digital gift cards delivered by email however. Saving requires a trip to the store.

Amazon offers the Amazon Prime Store credit card with 5% back on purchases at Amazon. You must be a paying Amazon Prime member to qualify. Amazon offers Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox digital gift cards delivered by email.

Remember gift cards are not subject to sales tax. And the discounted gift cards “stack” with any game sales for more savings!

Gifting Games

Gifting digital games is available on Steam and the Xbox Store. This is helpful as it allows you to maintain a single account with funds. Use this “primary” account to purchase games for the whole family and gift them to your children’s accounts. This also serves as an anti-fraud measure, because you won’t have to add a payment method to your children’s accounts.

Microsoft rewards points are also in a single account when using this approach with Xbox for faster accumulation. Microsoft parental controls also support “request to purchase” on child accounts. However, you can only gift DLC as “request to purchase” does not work. In-game currency such as Fortnite V-bucks require purchasing from the child account. In this situation you can apply a gift card to your child’s account only for the needed amount. Microsoft has said they are working to improve the process.

PlayStation and Xbox Online Services

PlayStation and Xbox require a paid membership subscription to play games online named Sony PlayStation Plus and Microsoft Xbox Live Gold. Each costs US$60 per year. Alternate subscription lengths are also available. Buying a membership for one account will enable online play for anyone logged into that player’s primary or home console. The paying account can also play online from any console while logged into the Internet.

Subscription Services

Microsoft Xbox Game Pass

Microsoft has a Netflix-style service dubbed Xbox Game Pass for US$10 per month. This offers a library of “over 100” games available for download. Game Pass games are available to anyone on the purchaser’s home console. The paying account can also play these games from any console while logged into the Internet.

With Game Pass for the family you have games everyone can play together. Microsoft has stated games they publish will remain in the library. Microsoft adds or removes other games periodically. Game Pass offers a sliding discount up to 20% to buy games in the library based on the game’s age. Game Pass games don’t include DLC but there is a 10% discount to buy it. The Game Pass discount only applies to full price games and DLC.

It is worth mentioning that not all games in Game Pass are family friendly, nor are they all multiplayer titles. Some are older Xbox 360 games that play on Xbox One but lack the high resolution and performance of newer games. There are multiple games from many genres including multiplayer family favorites Zoo Tycoon, Rocket League, and Lego Star Wars. The complete list is available here.

EA Access for Xbox

EA Access is a subscription specific to game publisher EA. It is available for US$30 per year on Xbox One only. Sports gamers can enjoy last year’s version of EA’s Madden, FIFA, hockey, and basketball games. EA also makes Battlefield, Need for Speed, and Plants vs. Zombies series which all have games included. Overall EA Access offers a smaller and older selection of games compared to Xbox Game Pass. Game Pass includes none of EA’s games.

EA Origin Access Basic and Premiere for PC

EA Origin is the PC counterpart to EA Access on Xbox. There are two levels available: Basic and Premiere. Basic is a separate PC-only subscription also for US$30 per year. The game selection is similar to EA Access on Xbox One but includes games from other publishers.

EA Origin Access Premiere is US$15 per month and adds newly EA published games immediately. This can be appealing for gamers who buy several EA titles for PC each year.

Sony PlayStation Now

PlayStation has the PlayStation Now service for US$30 for three months. This offers a library of games for PlayStation 3 plus a few for PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 4. The service streams gameplay across the Internet rather than downloading games to the console. For any multiplayer games you will need a great Internet connection to support four or even two players. Instead of streaming games over the Internet it is rumored Sony will add support for downloading Playstation 4 games to a Playstation 4 console. PlayStation families should check back in the coming months for updates.

Xbox Backward Compatibility

One budget-friendly option for families is backward compatibility on Xbox One. Simply insert a supported original Xbox or Xbox 360 game disc into the Xbox One. The console downloads a small update and the games are ready to play. The list of Backward Compatible games is available from Xbox Community Manager Major Nelson’s site.

There are several sources for inexpensive used Xbox 360 game discs. eBay, Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon all sell used Xbox 360 games. This can be a cost effective way to expand your family game library. Also, digital copies of almost all backward compatible games are available in the Xbox store.

Game Sharing and Always Online

Game sharing lets you use digital game licenses on two consoles simultaneously. This is key to economical family gaming on both Microsoft and Sony’s consoles. Xbox accounts have a home console. Similarly for PlayStation accounts there is a primary console. Changing the home console is possible only a few times.

The home or primary console can always play games. The second console must be always online and connected to the Internet. If the Internet is not available then the console will not be able to play purchased digital games. If PlayStation Network or Xbox Live are down the second console will also be unable to play. This has ruined Christmas for some people.


That was a whole lot of info right? And we aren’t even close to done! Come check back for part two tomorrow!


About the Author

Adrian Luff is a lifelong video gamer with three video game obsessed boys and a very understanding wife. He is fortunate enough to have worked in the video game industry for over 20 years building online services for multiplayer gaming. He worked on servers for Battle.net used by the Starcraft, Diablo, and Warcraft games. He also designed the launch infrastructure for World of Warcraft. Adrian leads a team of engineers building robust systems, infrastructure, and developer tools for Twitch.tv (a division of Amazon).

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

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Kids React: E3 2018 LEGO DC Supervillains Trailer

E3 2018 is over and the EFG Staff has gone out of our way to share OUR thoughts. But, we wanted to reach out to some kids and see their thoughts!

 

 

Evan – 12 years old

Most of the time I don’t like LEGO games because I don’t like the way they do puzzles. This one looks cool, because I know that LEGO games have gotten better and this one looks awesome.

 

Jacob – 9 years old

It looks really cool, but I don’t usually like LEGO games that much.

 

Jeremiah – 9 years old

YES! YES! A MILLION TIMES YES!! Best idea ever! I’ve always wanted to take superhero games and play them as the villain

 

Brynne – 8 years old

It looks really awesome. You get to be a villain and you get to destroy stuff and have fun. And it looks really funny. One minute you are one person, and the second minute WHAM you’re a different character. It looks really cool.

 

Claire – 9 years old (From The Family Gamers!)

I want to get that. It was really really cool because.. Are you playing as the villians?

 

Asher – 7 years old (From The Family Gamers!)

It’s really cool and to me it feels like the Joker dressed up, is trying to take over Metropolis, and get a bunch of villains to join him on his team. It’s really cool.

 

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Fortnite Beginner's guide

by: Jonathan Goosetree of InkedGaming.com

Fortnite has taken the gaming world by storm.  Gamers of all types are joining the craze as it is playable on PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS. With often 300,00 viewers or more on Twitch, Fortnite is currently the most popular title in gaming. If you’re looking to jump into the action, our beginner’s guide to Fortnite will make sure you hit the ground running.

There are a few aspects of Fortnite which set it apart from any other game. In almost all other Battle Royale, FPS, and Third Person shooter games, players only need to work on their skills with weapons. In Fortnite however, building and gathering resources are just as important as weapon skills. You may be thinking this sounds intimidating and that Fortnite might be too complex for your family. Fortunately, we are here to help.

Our Fortnite Beginner’s Guide will be broken down into two main sections: The first focuses on farming materials and building beginner level structures, with the second part focusing on the early, mid, and late stages of the game.

Use that Pick Axe!

Fortnite

 

Fortnite has three types of materials: wood, stone, and metal. Each has a different purpose and different in-game statistics. Wood has a five-second build time per panel, with 200 health, stone has a 12-second build time, with 300 health, and metal has a 20-second build time, with 400 health. Wood is the most commonly used resource, as it is used for exploring and fast cover. Stone is better used for when you have time to build a fortification in the mid-game, and metal should be used exclusively in the late game, as it is the only material that can withstand a blow from an RPG (Rocket Powered Grenade).

Materials are gained by swinging your pickaxe at various targets. One thing many new players miss, in spite of its importance, is the blue circle that appears on screen when you are attacking a resource. Swinging your pickaxe where this circle appears acts as a critical spot and striking near it will yield more materials per swing. The easiest way to strike the circle is to start in the middle of the tree or structure, then moving straight down with your mouse or thumbstick. Using this tactic, you will hit the blue circle almost every time.

It is always important to have enough materials to build when the situation calls for it, whether exploring or when being fired on by an enemy and protection is needed. Being caught out in the open without enough materials to build cover is often a deadly mistake. This is why farming materials efficiently is a crucial skill for any new Fortnite player. When moving from one area to another, always be aware of your surroundings and plan your route accordingly. You should not stray too far out of your way to farm a single tree or area. Instead, try to choose the path with as many trees along the way as possible. Knowing what to farm is also important, as larger trees and wood pallets provide the most materials per swing for wood, and vehicles are most efficient for farming metal. One important tip is that you should never finish chopping a tree completely, as a disappearing tree is a dead give away of your position to potential enemies!

You, the Builder

Now that we know the different types of materials and how to farm efficiently, let’s go over what those materials are used for. Materials are used to build four different shapes or panels: walls, floors, ramps, and roofs. Knowing when and where to use each shape and for what purpose is key to becoming a skilled builder in Fortnite. Your first few games of Fortnite should be focused on farming materials in a remote part of the map and practicing building. With three different types of materials and four panels, you will need enough practice to where you can switch between all 12 options in a split second.

Now that selecting the desired materials and panels is second nature, it’s time to learn what to do with them. Building is used for three main purposes: exploring, fast cover, and building forts in the mid to late game. Exploring in Fortnite means building ramps or floors to reach places that would otherwise be inaccessible. Common examples of these would be building a ramp to reach a loot chest in an attic or building a bridge to move between two buildings. Wood should always be used for exploring because it does not need to withstand enemy fire.

Building fast cover, which is one of the most important skills in Fortnite, can be used defensively and offensively. If you are out in the open and an enemy begins firing at you, quickly build walls and ramps for cover (Wood should also always be used for this). Something important to note is that although wood panels have a 5 second build time, during the build time there is a blue indicator for the panel that will immediately obstruct your enemy’s vision. This obstruction of vision is often more important than the finished panel itself, as you will have moved to a new location before the five second build time is over.

Ramps can be used either offensively or defensively. Building a ramp to run into the second floor of a building can often save your life as well as preserve precious materials because you will not have to build more panels to use for cover. Ramps are often used as an offensive tool as well. If you are moving out in the open and encounter an enemy, quickly build a ramp. Moving to the top of the ramp allows you to peek over with your medium to long range weapons and take cover when needed.

A slightly more advanced form of building is combining multiple panels to form structures. There are many different sizes of structures players use. The most basic structure is known as a 1×1 structure. This is made by building 4 walls with a roof or ramp panel in the center. Most often used when out in the open, this structure provides 360-degree protection, with the roof or ramp panel allowing the player to peek over the sides. The 1×1 structure is the most basic of examples and there are many more advanced patterns that can be found online. These more advanced structures are primarily used in the mid and late game, where players build extremely high towers in the ever-important battle for high ground.

The Fortnite Beginner’s Guide to The Early Game

Fortnite glider

Fortnite has three different phases, early, mid, and late game. The early game is generally viewed as the time from when you first drop into the map until after the first storm circle closes. Knowing where to drop is the most important part of the early game. The named areas of the map have better loot and thus attract more players. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to avoid these areas and drop on a hilltop somewhere in a remote area that is away from the path of the bus. This way you can avoid firefights and practice building until you have a few games under your belt.

When you are ready to land in the more populated areas and go for better loot, it is important to start memorizing where the loot chests are. Chests are often in the attics of buildings, which can be found by listening for their shimmering sound effect. If you drop into an area with buildings at the start of the game, you should always land on the roof and break through with your pickaxe in hopes of finding a chest. If you are lucky, you may get a good weapon at the start and get an easy kill on another player who has not yet had a chance to loot anything. You can also reach attics in other houses by destroying ceilings and building a ramp. However, you must be careful to not destroy the ceiling the crate is resting on, or the crate will be destroyed as well. If you loot a chest with a shield potion right after landing and hear another player, consume the shield potion as fast as possible before engaging. The extra health will give you a considerable advantage. Most important in the early game, but important throughout all stages, is to always be active. You should always be looking for loot, planning your most efficient path, and checking around for enemies, never move around without purpose or using materials when unnecessary.

The Fortnite Beginner’s Guide to The Mid Game

 

After the first circle closes, we head into the mid-game. In the mid-game any remaining players will probably have a decent inventory of weapons and shields, so be ready for a fight. It’s important to have a balanced inventory at this point. A balanced inventory consists of a shotgun for short range, an assault rifle for medium range, and a sniper rifle or assault rifle with a scope for long range, as well as some consumables.

It is also important for the mid and late game to play around the enclosing storm properly. If you are in between the safe zone (The safe zone being the center circle) and the enclosing storm, you can use the storm as protection from behind. Try to move towards the safe zone as the storm closes in. However, it is possible that some players in the storm will fire upon you, so don’t treat the storm as complete protection. If you are already in the safe zone as the circle starts to close, take or build some cover and try to pick off any players moving in. These players will be caught between having to stop and return fire, risking damage from the storm, or continuing to run and being unable to fight back. This advantage should most often net you an easy kill. Also, be sure to farm some stone and metal when the coast is clear, as you will need these materials for your fort in the late game.

The Fortnite Beginner’s Guide to The Late Game

Fortnite female character

If you have made it to this point, then congratulations! Late game is the most adrenaline pumping phase of the game and begins when there are roughly 10-15 players remaining. If you are outside the safe zone, you should focus on getting as close to the center as possible. This is important because in the late game you will need to build your final fort, and you do not want to construct it somewhere that will end up in the storm before the game ends. Constructed with stone or better yet, metal, your fort should be three to five stories high. Three stories are the minimum and should be made if you are low on materials (Be sure to keep some materials in reserve so that you can rebuild destroyed panels). If you have a healthy amount of materials, then a five-story fort is ideal. A five-story fort will usually give you the high ground advantage while allowing you to hear the footsteps of enemy players on the ground. Since every player should have a sniper rifle or long-range weapon at this point, whoever controls the high ground has the advantage.

Once you have your final fort constructed, try to get a feel for where the remaining players are. As a new player going for the win, it’s best to let other players fight it out and eliminate each other. If you see two other players in a firefight, wait for one to take out the other before engaging. The winning player will most likely be low on health and an easier target. Keep moving and avoid peeking from the same spot or moving in patterns, keep your movements random to avoid becoming predictable. The late game is especially nerve-racking so keep your cool, focus, and wait for your opponent to make a mistake and you will be in a good position to take home the win.

Fortnite Victory Royale!

On the surface, Fortnite looks like a simple game but as you can see, there is more than meets the eye. Fortnite has many other features and advanced strategies not mentioned in this guide. Gaining confidence as you progress and learning more about the game is half the fun. As you play, try to remember in each game what worked and what didn’t. Learn from your mistakes, follow our guide, and with some beginner’s luck, you will surely be on your way to your first Fortnite Victory Royale.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Illusive Age is Coming and it is Gorgeous!

Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Illusive Age has been available since last year. It is, thankfully, making its way to North America on PS4 and PC this September. I had an opportunity to play it while I was at E3 this year and it was fantastic. I know that people tend to give me crap for being an everflowing fountain of hype, but I am very excited to play this game. I love JRPGs to begin with and Dragon Quest 11 delivers in every way I want it to.

I cannot understate how pretty it is Square Enix did an amazing job of melding hand-drawn characters and animations with computer-generated environments. I thought it would be jarring and pull me out of the experience, but it actually made the characters look even better!

The cast of characters is also a high point. The characters were drawn by the renowned Akira Toriyama. His distinctive style has been one of the most recognizable features of the Dragon Quest series for decades. He’s not just a Dragon Quest guy though. You’ll also recognize his work in the Dragonball anime series!

My demo was short, a scant 15 minutes, but I love everything I did. In short, Dragon Quest 11 continues the franchises great legacy while applying a beautiful coat of digital paint. We live in a world where even the greatest franchises find ways to reinvent themselves. It is very refreshing to see one of the greats stick to their guns.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!


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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

I thought toys to life games were dead. Disney Infinite was … finite. Skylanders has run aground. LEGO Dimensions fell flat. Even the copy-cats have faded into obscurity. But, it looks like Ubisoft is trying to resurrect the oft-maligned genre with Starlink: Battle for Atlas.

I approached Starlink with apprehension. I’ve been burned before and I didn’t want to fall for it again. But, I couldn’t help myself. It was just too good. Put simply, Starlink: Battle for Atlas is the best Star Fox game I have ever played. The E3 2018 demo that I played took me down to a desolate planet and gave me the freedom to fly all over the place to complete challenges and fight massive bosses. The last boss I fought was a giant rock spider monster that had multiple phases and required some tricky flying to defeat. It took a few attempts, but I was really into it.

The toys to life mechanic is pretty straightforward. You select a pilot, a ship, a pair of wings, and a pair of weapons. Each of those components has an impact on the final ship and how you play. Each pilot has a different special ability. The ships have different armor components. The wings help with speed. The weapons all function differently, but many of them interact with each other. During my demo I used a Vortex Cannon (which just sounds awesome all on its own) and a flamethrower. The Vortex Cannon created these awesome looking vortexes wherever they struck a target (or the ground) and if I hit them with the flamethrower they turned into flame vortexes!

Even more interesting, the toys to life features are largely optional. If you aren’t interested in buying the physical toys the pilots, ships, and components can be purchased digitally. I feel like this is a pretty reasonable compromise for people who were burned by having to find a way to store all of their toys to life figures during the initial craze.

Starlink: Battle for Altas will be released October 16, 2018  on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to check out all of our other E3 2018 coverage here!

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E3 2018 Impressions: Mega Man 11

Mega Man has evolved a bunch of times since he first debuted in 1987. Each evolution has caused widespread panic amongst diehard Mega Man fans. Some of those concerns have been more justified than others, but I am happy to report that Mega Man 11 is amazing and fans of the series should start counting down the seconds until it launches on October 2nd.

I knew that playing Mega Man 11 while I was at E3 was going to be one of my highest priorities and I reached out to several Mega Man fans for the inside scoop on what they were worried about. The common theme was that the new anime-inspired art style would change the way that Mega Man runs and jumps. They depend a lot on muscle memory that has been built up over the last 30 years to pull off all of their tricks and strategies. Fortunately, all is well in the year 20xx. Mega Man moves and jumps just like he always has. He is also the same relative size compared to most of the enemies and obstacles that he normally is. Everyone will have to adjust to the new game, but I doubt it will take true Mega Man experts long to get there.

Don’t expect a carbon copy of a 30-year-old game formula though. Mega Man 11 celebrates what made the original games great while making some welcome changes.

The first, and most striking, change is the aesthetic. Mega Man has come crashing into the modern era with an anime-inspired, 2.5D art style that looks hand drawn. It looks gorgeous in motion and is a welcome change from the 8-bit pixel art used in previous games in the series. I loved every frame of animation during my demo and it was just Stone Man. His level was visually simple and didn’t have a lot of color to it. The other levels will likely be wonders to behold.

The second big change is the gear system. Mega Man has the ability to literally shift gears. Pressing either the left or right bumper will either increase your attack power or slow down time. Both gears can run out of power though, so you have to carefully balance those powers while traversing the levels and fighting bosses.

There are so many reasons to be excited, but I am over the moon because it sounds like Capcom is finally paying attention to Mega Man again. This is a big deal because previously they had ignored the franchise for so long that the original creator had to make Mighty No. 9 (and that didn’t go very well).

Mega Man 11 will release on October 2, 2018 for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam.


Pre-order the Gamestop Exclusive Switch Amiibo Edition here!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Check out the rest of our E3  coverage here!

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Top 10 Grownup Games of E3 2018

E3 is full of game announcements every year. E3 2018 was no different. We saw some awesome family games like Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, Jump Force, and Kingdom Hearts 3, but the grown-ups got some great looking games too. Below is a list of some of the biggest grown-up games we saw during the show.

Editor’s Note: The trailers below are not appropriate for children. This is for the grown-ups after all!

Fallout 76

Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

It is always an event when Todd Howard, the head of Bethesda Game Studios and bonafide gaming legend, takes the stage to announce a new Fallout game. Fallout 76 is no exception.

Fallout 76 is a prequel that takes place a mere 20 years after the bombs fall in the Fallout timeline. Players will play survivors who leave Vault 76 to attempt to rebuild civilization in the devastated West Virginian countryside. The biggest difference, though, between 76 and previous games in the series is that it is an entirely multiplayer experience. Players will be competing for resources and control of nuclear silos over the course of the game.

There are some longtime fans who have concerns, but I think everyone needs to wait for more details.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

The newest game in the rebooted Tomb Raider series is going to be available this fall. Square Enix showed off a lengthy gameplay trailer during their press conference that showed some of the story details and greatly improved stealth mechanics.

It looks like Shadows will be exploring the way Lara’s mind has evolved since she was thrust into the tomb raiding lifestyle.  I, for one, and interested in seeing that because She has to travel a long way mentally to get from the innocent college student she started out as to the tomb raider that we all remember.

The Division 2

Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

Fans of the massively popular original, rejoice! The Division 2 is set to launch in 2019 and this sequel comes with an avalanche of game-expanding improvements and changes including spectacular upgraded visuals, a compelling new story set 6 months after the original.  Other improvements and changes include new character specializations (essentially interchangeable classes) and the absolutely astounding prospect of eight [8] person raids (Yes, EIGHT).

Destiny 2: Forsaken

Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

The hotly anticipated massive Destiny 2 expansion “Forsaken” is being released this fall. The beleaguered title has struggled since its release last fall, failing to live up to the depth and scope of the first game. Bungie has acknowledged this shortcoming several times and is leveraging this release to win players back.

“Forsaken” comes with a slew of radical changes to the current game; random weapon rolls, exotic armor reworks, hidden quests, weapon slot changes, an entirely new PVE/PVP mode called Gambit, and a brand new raid with more bosses than any previous raid in Destiny history. This is to say nothing of the new story which the game trailer unambiguously includes the death of Cayde-6 – arguably the most popular NPC in the game.  It remains to be seen how these gambles will pay off, but reception thus far has been exceedingly positive.

Necromunda: Underhive Wars

Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

Last year, I heard murmurs and whispers about Rogue Factor developing a game called Necromunda: Underhive Wars game.  Having played Mordheim: City of the Damned, and absolutely loving it, this excited me. But there was little to no information available until very recently.

When I saw it on display at the show, (albeit, an early alpha build) I was immediately excited when I saw the attention to detail they were giving to the lore, and how obvious it was that they were working hand in hand with Games Workshop to give turn-based strategy fans, and fans of the tabletop game, the faithful representation we have been waiting for.

There will be far more customization options than were included in Mordheim: City of the Damned, as well as a focus on verticality in the maps, which will afford a very true representation of the apocalyptic/industrial setting of the Underhive.  They’re looking to release in 2019, and I already can’t stop imagining the long nights of strategizing in this dark and mysterious world.

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey was the 10th Assassin’s Creed game to be leaked prior to the Ubisoft Press briefing in a row. It takes place in Ancient Greece and is the first game in the series that gives players the choice to play either a male or female character. It also includes dialogue choices for the first time as well.

Ubisoft reinvigorated the Assassin’s Creed franchise last year with Origins. It feels like Odyssey will continue that trend.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Release date: 10/12/18

Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

Black Ops 4 is the latest edition in the wildly successful Call of Duty franchise by Activision and is actually the fifth installment of the Black Ops series.  The combat system remains largely unchanged from other Call of Duty but allows greater customization to gear and characters alike. Unlike previous Black Ops games, this installment will not contain a single-player campaign and contains only a Multiplayer, Zombies and battle royal mode called Blackout.  If you like franchise you absolutely will like picking up this game and playing it.

Anthem

Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

Anthem is Bioware’s upcoming open-world online shooter and it looks absolutely exquisite. Players familiar with “looter-shooters” like Destiny and The Division will find themselves on familiar ground here.

While Anthem shares similarities with its genre cousins, it stands apart in several significant ways, not the least of which are the “iron man” mech suits called “Javelins” that function as interchangeable player classes. Add to that the explicit and intentional exclusion of PVP, and Anthem seems to be gunning for the top spot for games of its kind.

Anthem releases on February 22, 2019, for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

The Last of Us: Part II

Platform: PS4

This is a follow up to the wildly successful horror story “The Last of Us”.  We finally now have a look at where Ellie is and what she is going through as an adult in a world where most of the population has been wiped out.  While the preview was short the gameplay was smooth and visuals amazing, and it is very clear that Ellie is very angry. We as a team anxiously await this games release.

The Walking Dead

Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

The Walking Dead is an officially licensed, first-person shooter by Overkill, set in a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. The game revolves around four characters that run co-op missions to progress through the game. Each character has different skills and weapons that you can develop over the course of the game. Scavenging and crafting are at play in the game as well, though we did not get any real feel for that in the demo.

Overall my impression of this game is that it is Left 4 Dead, with some additional features added in. The missions really require that you work together with your team and utilize your various abilities. While the game mechanics, graphics, and gunplay all need work, it was still fun to play. I feel like they missed a huge opportunity to really make you feel like more a part of The Walking Dead as a whole. If Overkill can bring the lacking areas up to snuff, this will be a fun zombie shooter, that has a little more depth than just mowing down hordes with machine guns and machetes.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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General Grievous

EA doubled down on the beleaguered Star Wars: Battlefront II today during their EA Play live event. Battlefront was released last year amidst controversy over its aggressive loot box system. It fell short of sales projections, angered fans, and (worse) reportedly brought the wrath of Disney themselves down upon them.

They could have left Battlefront hanging and dedicated resources elsewhere, but they appear to be dedicated to writing the ship. They specifically mentioned the rough start that the game had during their portion of the event! They announced additional content for their game, but not before issuing a long apology in response to the backlash over the highly publicised “loot box” controversy. They didn’t directly apologize, but they acknowledged player feedback and confirmed their commitment to fixing their monetization system.

They are making significant additions to the game over the remainder of the year include a new Season of content built around Solo and the addition of characters from the Clone Wars era.

Solo: A Star Wars Story Season Out Now

Solo may not have been the box office success that Disney wanted it to be, but it is still a Star Wars movie. That all but requires an season of content for Star Wars Battlefront II.

A new update will go live on June 12th that will include that season’s content.

 

Clone Wars Heroes and Villains

They also announced future content that features planets and heroes from the Clone Wars era. The Clone Wars took place between the Attack of The Clones and Revenge of the Sith movies.

The heroes and villains include General Grievous, the leader of the droid army, Commander Obi Wan Kenobi, and Anakin Skywalker (before his turn to the dark side of the Force). They teased maps and game content on planet Geonosis, but they didn’t give any hard details.

The Loot Box Issue


Both EA and DICE have a long way to go redeem themselves in the eyes of the gamer public. EA has had a history of using microtransactions in many of its popular games, as well as what feels like shoe-horning them into titles where none would really be appropriate. What made Star Wars Battlefront’s microtransactions so grating is that player progression was otherwise limited by requiring long hours of gameplay, and even then its microtransactions were randomized, encouraging large quantity purchases in order to get the character that the player was set on acquiring. This lessons learned from Battlefront 2 have the gamer community in a wiser place. It does appear though that EA has cut or dramatically reduced microtransactions in many of its future titles in other series, but only time will tell if EA keeps to what was learned the hard way with its future games.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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