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Joystiq Streams: See my KOR-FX vest, best for making games feel weird [UPDATE: Live!]


See my vest/see my vest/as we strap a KOR-FX Acousto-Haptic Video Gaming Vest to our chest/Feel this peripheral/it ain't medicinal/it just makes games less ephemeral/Oh please, won't you see my vest!

Ahem.

Today on Joystiq Streams, something different! Richard Mitchell (@TheRichardM) received a KOR-FX Acousto-Haptic Video Gaming Vest in the mail. Like having a sub-woofer strapped to your torso, the vest is intended to simulate the physicality of your character in a video game. This can range from the whimsical (feel the impact of landing a crazy jump in Sunset Overdrive) to the deeply macabre (feel yourself get shot in Call of Duty. Yeesh).

Starting at 4:00PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch, Richard is going to play a variety of PlayStation 4 games using the vest. What happens when you're caught in Alien: Isolation? How about when you interrogate an Uruk in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor? We'll find out live.

Joystiq.com/Twitch broadcasts every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00PM EST like clockwork, but if you want to catch every stream we do, vest or non-vest related, make sure to follow us on Twitch.
[Images: 20th Century Fox/KOR-FX]

Swifter, Not Safer: Bloodborne trades Dark Souls' creep for speed

Bloodborne bummed me right out when it was announced back in June. Gothic action RPG from From Software, Japan's premiere purveyors of supremely weird, deeply punishing action games? Should be awesome. Unlike many of the converted, though, I've never cottoned to the Dark Souls games that Bloodborne is a spiritual successor to.

Dark Souls' ethos is one I deeply respect. A game that thrusts you into a mysterious place that reveals its history through strange visuals, vicious combat, and patient explorations, the spirit of the series is deeply appealing. Feeling how that game plays, though, was an enormous turn off. The awkward, chunky pace of blocking, slowly attacking, meticulously dodging, then dying repeatedly only to try again just rubbed me wrong.

Bloodborne's promise of improved access to the series seemed like a pyrrhic victory. The emphasis on fast action rather than patient blocking and enemy study seemed great, but wouldn't that dilute the series' stern soul? Apparently not. Bloodborne is a much swifter game than Dark Souls, but it's no less dangerous. Death is still waiting behind the corners of From Software's latest dank world, but how you move around that doom is potentially more inviting to the unconverted that never quite got Dark Souls.

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GTA 5 'Festive Surprise' brings Christmas fear to Los Santas

As the snow drifted quietly this wintry morn, Rockstar Games offered a new "Festive Surprise" update for Grand Theft Auto 5. Players will now be able to use proximity mines and a homing missile launcher in the game, which will feature occasional snowy days. The update also adds holiday pajamas, Christmas sweaters, hats, scarves, masks and other festive gear for free, available through Monday, January 5. GTA 5's Festive Surprise update also features special gifts on Christmas Day (December 25) and a firework launcher and firework rocket ammo to celebrate New Year's. Lastly, players can pick up four new vehicles, such as the Hot Rod Christmas Ratloader and the Slam Van.

The open world game's update also tweaked a few of the game's mechanics, adding an on/off switch for the first-person mode's auto-level setting as well as deadzone and acceleration slider controls. Better yet, players are now able to own a third property in GTA Online, allowing them to own up to 30 cars and 9 bicycles. While the Festive Surprise update is available to all players, a recent developer Q&A addressed concerns over next-gen-exclusive updates, such as first-person mode. Rockstar stressed that "there may be some updates that are only technically possible on the new hardware," though it does "hope to continue delivering as many updates as we can for all four consoles for as long as possible." GTA Online's heist missions will be available for all players in early 2015.

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World of Warcraft proposes tradable subscription currency

wow
Six-point-one. That's all you World of Warcraft players need to hear to get psyched for the new year. The dev team took a brief pause in rolling in all of the money from Warlords of Draenor sales to talk about what's coming up with Patch 6.1 as well as a proposed new subscription currency.

The patch, which will go into testing soon, will contain improvements to garrisons, a legendary follower, the ability to send tweets from the game, the new Blood Elf models, shorter flight master routes, incentives for visiting friends' garrisons, and the new heirloom collection tab.

Even bigger than this news is word that Blizzard is "exploring" adding a subscription currency that sounds like EVE Online's PLEX. The proposed idea would allow players to buy and sell game-time tokens for in-game gold: "Our current thought on this is that it would give players a way to use their surplus gold to cover some of their subscription cost, while giving players who might have less play time an option for acquiring gold from other players through a legit and secure system."

New Nintendo eShop releases: Mega Man Zero, Meme Run

Mega Man X's often-dead pal Zero joins Nintendo's Virtual Console service today with the launch of Mega Man Zero, a 2002 Game Boy Advance spinoff known for its exemplary platforming and punishing difficulty. Power up Zero with new upgrades and abilities as you keep the peace between humans and Reploids in the century following the events of the Mega Man X series. If you're in the mood for more Mega Man, Capcom is currently hosting a themed eShop sale, dropping the prices of many of the Blue Bomber's games for the NES, SNES, and Game Boy.

SNES brawler Natsume Championship Wrestling also joins the Virtual Console catalog this week, accompanying Wii U eShop releases like EnjoyUp's minimalist arcade-style puzzler 99Moves, multiplayer eat-'em-up Plenty of Fishies, and Internet meme-infused infinite runner (yes, really) Meme Run.

3DS owners can expect to see a digital version of Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D this week, along with Asterix The Mansions of the Gods, Minecraft-like Cube Creator 3D, and Skipmore's action-RPG puzzler Fairune. If you have any French children hanging around, you'll also want to check out Mes Comptines, which might be the 3DS's first-ever French nursery rhyme compilation.

Hit the break below, s'il vous plait, to see this week's full release lineup.

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Doctor Who: Legacy War Doctor levels, unlock Cinder early

Doctor Who: Legacy will receive new levels based on Engines of War, the War Doctor novel series, with part one going live on Friday, December 19. Part two hits on Sunday, December 21. Play through part one to unlock Cinder, a lifelong Dalek-hunter and pivotal ally in the Last Great Time War – or, unlock Cinder right now with the following Joystiq-exclusive code (no time travel required):

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Reminder: Steam Holiday Sale starts today at 1 p.m. Eastern

Update: Valve themselves have officially announced the beginning of the Steam Holiday Sale, writing in a short press release that "The Steam Holiday Sale is on now thru January 2, 2015. Throughout the sale, Steam customers may take advantage of special deals running every 12 hours and new Featured Deals happening each day. In addition, holiday shoppers may vote in the Community Choice promotion to determine which games receive deeper discounts. And those who participate in the sale may also earn exclusive Holiday Sale Trading Cards."

Original: Valve has a very special gift for all you last-minute holiday shoppers out there: a Steam sale on PC video games! Yaaaaaaaay! Or at least, that's what we expect if recent reports from Reddit, which held up Japanese PayPal emails as evidence of a December 18 start date, turn out to be correct. (Eurogamer also reports to have verified the claim.)

Going by the Reddit thread and emails, the sale will begin today at 1 p.m. Eastern, and last until January 2. That should be plenty of time to not only snag some games before the holidays, but also put some gift cards to use if you should find one left in your house by a certain jolly, bearded man. By which of course we mean Valve boss Gabe Newell.

Valve attempted a special "holiday auction" earlier this month, but "issues with [auction-specific currency]" caused the event to be suspended. That suspension was quickly lifted however, as Valve fixed the irregularities and the auction continued as planned.
[Image: Valve]

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Simogo launches The Sensational December Machine on PC, Mac

Hot on the heels of launching its last narrative-driven game roughly one month ago, Simogo offered another game today for free, The Sensational December Machine. The Device 6 developer just teased the PC and Mac game on its Twitter account yesterday before offering it as a holiday gift to its fans today. Simogo's last game, The Sailor's Dream, was received rather well in our review and is available on iPad for $3.99.

The Sensational December Machine is a "short interactive story about an inventor and her unusual new creation." The brief interactive story took three weeks to create and includes hand-drawn art and text as well as "dynamic music" that evolves alongside the story provided by Daniel Olsén, the composer for Device 6 and Year Walk. "We hope you'll snuggle up with this little seasonal, and very three-dimensional, tale in fullscreen mode," the developer added. "Perhaps with some good headphones, and a warm drink by your side." The Sensational December Machine can be downloaded through Simogo's website.
[Image: Simogo]

Minecraft: Story Mode game series from Telltale, Mojang

Minecraft: Story Mode - A Telltale Game Series is an episodic, narrative-driven game series based in Minecraft's blocky world, coming in 2015 to PC, Mac, mobile devices and what Mojang calls "Xbox consoles" and "PlayStation consoles." We've reached out to Telltale for clarification on platforms.

The game has an original storyline that is influenced by the choices players make, similar to Telltale's other offerings, Tales from the Borderlands, Game of Thrones, The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead. "Telltale's game series will mix new characters with familiar themes, in an entirely original Minecraft experience, inspired by the Minecraft community and the game that continues to inspire a generation," Telltale writes.

Mojang offers a little more detail about its approach to story on its blog: "We're not intending on creating an 'official' story for Steve, or explaining the world of Minecraft in detail. It will be a cool game."

Mojang revealed the collaboration with a mini-game called Info Quest 2 (which is fairly adorable). Microsoft completed a $2.5 billion acquisition of Mojang in November.
[Image: Telltale]

Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes zips onto Steam today

"Steam, are you okay? Steam? Steaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam!"

Calm down, Colonel. Steam is still safe and secure ahead of Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes' arrival later today. The Windows PC port of the prologue to MGS 5: Phantom Pain is cleared for landing at 10AM PT/1PM ET, and with a price tag of $20.

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Danganronpa Unlimited Battle brings tap-heavy havoc to iOS

The latest game to join the violently dysfunctional Danganronpa family is Unlimited Battle, a co-op action affair coming to iOS next month in Japan. As Gematsu reports, it's a free-to-play game starring the protagonists of visual novel Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, and in it players slingshot the chibi cast across the screen to attack enemies. Unlike other Danganronpas, Unlimited Battle supports four-player co-op as well as single-player.

If you're aware of Trigger Happy Havoc's story of entrapment and murder mystery, you may share our confusion as to how Unlimited Battle fits within the series' narrative. Then again, maybe that's misplaced worry. After all, we are talking about games starring a sociopathic robotic bear who masquerades as the principal of a high school...

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Evolve's Wraith monster steals the show

Fear is meant to follow in the wake of most monsters, but I've never found Evolve to be scary. It's a hunting game that puts you on edge, though leaning forward – as if to stick your head through the foliage just to glimpse the cloaked creature – is an act of determination, not angst. When you're a glorified exterminator with a big gun, joined by three others playing to win, you get camaraderie, strategy and failure divided equally. The monster (and the fifth player) is nothing to be scared of.

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Evolve tests creature features in open beta on Jan. 15

Evolve is doing another round of online testing to ensure a roaring launch in February, with 2K Games announcing an open beta to run January 15-19. The beta will test Evolve's giant goals on Xbox One with a curtailed selection of monsters – the "Goliath" and "Kraken" – along with 8 hunters and 12 different maps. (And as with all monster products, there's a premium: you must be an Xbox Live Gold subscriber to gain access.)

Ferocious opposition and considered team play are both valued in Evolve, which pits one beastly player against 4 human-controlled hunters on a wild planet. Though the game hinges on the different permutations of Muldoons and monsters, it does have a campaign variant (playable offline and solo in the full game) called "Evacuation," which will enter the Xbox One beta test on January 17th. "Evacuation" offers a skeleton of a story, with sequential mission outcomes affecting the conditions of the next until the planet of Shear is evacuated. If you win consecutive rounds as the monster, for instance, few people escape and the hunters get thrashed. Unlocks in the Xbox One beta will carry over to the final game.

2K Games says "closed technical tests" for Evolve will also be conducted on other platforms, though not to the extent of the Xbox One beta (so, no "Evacuation" there). PC players can encroach upon the poaching as of January 16, provided they have invites to the "Big Alpha," or have Left 4 Dead or BioShock Infinite in their Steam libraries. PlayStation 4 owners, meanwhile, can start on January 17th with a Big Alpha invite and PS Plus subscription in hand.

Lords of the Fallen 'will be released' on iOS, Android

Action-RPG Lords of the Fallen is bringing its dark, fantastical challenges to iOS and Anfroid next year, CI Games announced. The publisher's wording in a tweet published last night would seem to indicate a port of the PS4, Xbox One and PC game, though that's not stated explicitly. We've reached out to CI Games for clarification.

The news arrives hot on the heels of confirmation that a Lords of the Fallen sequel is in the early stages of development. Executive Producer Tomasz Gop revealed conceptual work on what he dubbed "Lords of the Fallen 2" has already begun.

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Mega Man channels Cut Man to deal with Virtual Console prices

Capcom kicked off a sale on games in its Mega Man series through the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U eShops today. The sale coincides with the 27th anniversary of the iconic blue hero as well as the debut of another game on Nintendo's Virtual Console: Mega Man Zero. The Game Boy Advance classic is now available on the Wii U eShop for $7.99.

The "Mega Manniversary" sale hacks 50 percent off the price of six Mega Man games until Monday, December 22 at 11:59 a.m. ET (8:59 a.m. PT). On sale are the Game Boy versions of Mega Man 2, Mega Man 3 and Mega Man 4 for 3DS, each down to $1.49. As for Wii U, players can download NES games Mega Man 5 and Mega Man 6 for $2.49 each as well as Mega Man 7 for $3.99. Of course, kids these days may have troubles with these difficult retro platformers.
[Image: Capcom]

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Super Joystiq Podcast 125: The Crew, Dragon Age Inquisition, The Evil Within

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