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Tag: 2017 at 05:00PM


The 2017 Speakys: Readers’ Choice Awards

Well, would you look at the time. The Kotaku and TAY readers’ choice awards have returned! 2017 may have been a bit rough in many regards, but it was a phenomenal year for gaming as a whole. Which were your favorites?

For those who don’t know, The Speakys are reader-run awards I organize every year to poll the general reader base of Kotaku and Talk Amongst Yourselves on their favorite titles of the past 365 days. This will be the seventh year The Speakys have been featured, and it’s always interesting to see which games come out on top.


Last year we decided to streamline the whole voting process by just giving readers one long list of all the games from this past year. We’re going to keep that tradition going. To keep folks from having to decided between a handful of their favorite games I’ve given everyone the option of picking up to FIVE games. You can’t pick less than one (obviously) or more than five. Do I need to explain this further?

That’s all there is to it! So vote away, and if you have any questions check the FAQ or let me know in the comments below.


Why are the awards called “The Speakys”?

When these awards first began in 2011 I introduced them in the Kotaku forum known as “Speak Up.” The Speak Up forum was merged with Talk Amongst Yourselves in the spring of 2013 and no longer exists. But since the gamers who read Kotaku still have a tendency to “speak up” about their opinions when it comes to games they love I’ve kept the name.

I’m reading this in 2018, why are these “The 2017” Speakys?

Because all the games listed launched in 2017.

What games have won in the past?

2011 – GOTY: Skyrim (Runner-Up: Portal 2)

2012 – GOTY: Borderlands 2 (Runner-Up: The Walking Dead)

2013 – GOTY: The Last of Us (Runner-Up: Zelda: A Link Between Worlds)

2014 – GOTY: Dragon Age Inquisition (Runner-Up: Super Smash Bros for Wii U)

2015 – GOTY: The Witcher III: Wild Hunt (Runner-Up: Bloodborne)

2016 – GOTY: Overwatch (Runner-Up: DOOM)

When will you post the winners for this year?

Winners will be announced Sunday, Jan 7.

Why aren’t games like DOOM or Skyrim for Switch listed? They came out in 2017…

I decided to take all ports and remasters of current games off the list. A good number of past games made their way onto new consoles this year, but since they were likely featured in a previous poll it just didn’t seem fair. Feel free to write them in if you really want to give them a vote. If we left one or two on the list that should have been scrapped, we apologize.

You forgot to put my favorite game on the list. Why do you hate me?

We didn’t mean to forget your favorite game. Our crew scoured the internet for the best games of the year, but we may have missed a few. Also, you can just write in any game. So quit whining and do that.


Can I just write in a bunch of joke answers or games that didn’t come out in 2017?

Please don’t do that. You can, but you shouldn’t. Though I’m sure some people still will…

Who put this all together?

Aside from myself, this years list was curated by Zarnyx, AstronaughtE, and MegaChromatic.

You’re reading TAY, Kotaku’s community-run blog. TAY is written by and for Kotaku readers like you. We write about games, art, culture and everything in between. Want to write with us? Check out our tutorial here and join in.


For more gaming fun and insight you can follow GBD (aka Ben Bertoli) on Twitter @SuperBentendo

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Who’s Your Favorite Game Character Of 2017?

There were so many great games in 2017 with fantastic stories and equally great characters.

Persona 5’s entire ensemble added something to the gripping narrative and I found myself sympathizing with all of their plights. Nier: Automata had an amazing cast of robots who were memorable and fascinating, even if most of them ended up suffering miserably. There were really interesting NPCs in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that I really loved, from the flower guardian, Magda, to Kilton and his monster wares, and of course, our favorite child, Hunnie. Horizon Dawn’s Aloy, Wolfenstein II’s William “B.J.” Blazkowicz, and even The Last Guardian’s huge animal friend, Trico, are just some more great characters. And of course, it’s always a nostalgic reunion to hang with Mario and company in Super Mario Odyssey as well as Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.


That’s not to mention all the retrogames I revisited this past year. Getting to spend time with Chrono Trigger’s crew over a campfire was one of the most meditative and thoughtful experiences I’ve had. Phantasy Star IV had an amazing series of adventurers that was the perfect end to one of the most underrated series in gaming. It was also hilarious getting to replay Conker’s Bad Fur Day with the character’s ribald and vulgar humor all over again.

The question today, Kotaku readers: Who was your favorite game character of 2017?

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What Are You Playing This Weekend?

The weekend is for having just installed a new graphics card and being pretty pumped to cancel all your plans and see how great all your video games look now. Yay!

While looking back, I realized it’s been about a year since I was determined to finish The Witcher 3, and yet, readers, I have not. I am super close to the end of the story in Blood and Wine, but I keep getting distracted by the millions of other things to do. So this is it. This is the weekend I finish the story and stop tormenting (or delighting!) you with Geralt screenshots. Let’s open a new chapter of our lives. Persona 5, anyone?

What about you? What are you playing this weekend?

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How to Use Firefox’s Killer New Screenshot Tool

Image credit: othree/Flickr

If you’re not taking screenshots of your computer screen much, remembering which key combos to hit might be more confusing than convenient. If you hate keyboard shortcuts, Mozilla’s new Firefox Quantum browser makes it incredibly easy to capture what’s on your screen thanks to its built in Firefox Screenshots service. It syncs wherever you use the new browser, and is smart enough to help you figure out what you’re actually trying to capture.

The Firefox Screenshots service not only lets you capture what’s inside your browser’s window, but can also capture the entire web page from top to bottom, even if it isn’t visible on your monitor. You can also capture sections of the screen suggested by Firefox itself, saving you the need to spend time cropping an image.

How to Start Syncing Screenshots

To sync your screenshots wherever you use Firefox, you’ll need a Firefox account. You can make one after you download the browser. Just enter your email and a password and select the option to use Firefox’s simple import tool to bring in your personal and browsing information from the browser you were using previously.


Hit the Page actions icon (the three periods) in your address bar and click Take a Screenshot. Your browser window will dim and you’ll have the option to save the entire page, only the visible portion, or to visit your already captured shots. You can click and drag to select whatever portion of the web page you want, or click the outlines suggested by Firefox as you pass over different items on the page.

You can save those captured images either locally or to your Firefox Screenshots account. The screenshot tool currently doesn’t work when you’re using Firefox in Private Browsing mode, though Mozilla says it’s working on a fix.


In practice, Firefox Screenshots is a real time-saver. I’m partial to capturing amusing tweets and comments from friends, and have more than one folder for screenshots both humorous and utilitarian (there are quite a few recovery code images in there). Capturing them required third-party software, remapped key commands, and other methods that felt surprisingly complex for something so simple. The fact that Firefox Screenshots lets me choose to either share or store my images without needing some third-party app or keyboard shortcut is a plus.

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Gaming PC Names Are Truly Embarrassing

PLAY HARD!!! Image via

I am in the market for a brand new gaming PC—thank you Kirk Hamilton—so today I decided to start browsing a bit. And I discovered the glory of video game PC branding. It’s sort of like Taco Bell crossed with Hot Topic.

Here is a list of actual names of actual gaming PCs that you can buy right now:

  • CyberPower Gamer Master Ultra
  • Falcon Northwest Tiki
  • Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition
  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper Extreme
  • Cyberpower Gamer Infinity 8000
  • Lenovo IdeaCentre Y710 Cube
  • Velocity Micro Raptor Z95
  • SkyTech ArchAngel GTX 1050 Ti
  • iBUYPOWER Chimera 5 – Flame Edition
  • iBUYPOWER Chimera 5 – Snow Edition
  • StormForce Tornado
  • ABS Battlebox Essential Vortex Leo
  • Chillblast Fusion Adamantium 3
  • Wired2Fire Diablo Fury
  • Cyberpower Ultra 5 Dragon Edition
  • Pro Gamer FTW Xtreme 2000 (I swear to god I’m not making these up)

But wait—it doesn’t stop there! Here is a list of actual names of actual PC parts that you can buy right now:

  • be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 (CPU cooler)
  • Deepcool CAPTAIN 240EX WHITE (CPU cooler)
  • Asus MAXIMUS VIII HERO (motherboard)
  • ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 (motherboard)
  • MSI H270M BAZOOKA (motherboard)
  • Deepcool TESSERACT SW (case)
  • Raidmax Vortex (case)
  • Fractal Design Meshify C (case)
  • Cooler Master Storm Stryker (case)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be fueling on some Mountain Dew Code Red while getting in some serious play on my Pro Gamer FTW Xtreme 2000.

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Hori’s PS4 Fighting Edge Controller Is A Beauty

Back in 2012 we reviewed Hori’s Fighting Edge for the PlayStation 3, a mighty beast of an arcade fighting controller with a fancy programmable touch panel. The PS4 version of the Fighting Edge is still a beast, but it trades the gimmicky touchscreen for brushed aluminum. It looks good. It feels even better.

Being only a casually-competitive fighting game player, the feel of an arcade stick is just as important to me as how well it plays. I am a large man, and I am used to arcade fighting controllers of a certain size. That size is “not large enough to be comfortable resting in my lap.” At nearly 19 inches wide, the Fighting Edge covers my lap with room to spare. It also weighs nearly eight pounds, so once it’s on my lap, it’s staying there.

Compared to the Fighting Edge, the Real Arcade Pro 4 is a baby toy for babies. Unless you use one. Then it’s cool. Don’t hit me.

I would have gotten a Fighting Edge back during the PlayStation 3 age—god knows I have enough 2D fighters sitting on my PS3 hard drive—but I was turned off by that touchscreen. When Richard Eisenbeis reviewed it for us in 2012, he mentioned resting his hand near the touch-sensitive controls and accidentally switching on “Tournament Mode,” a special setting that keeps players from accidentally hitting home, start or select functions. With my huge hands, mis-touches were inevitable, so I passed.

The older model.

While a more playful part of me wouldn’t have minded the bright LED lines down the sides, overall I am much happier with the PS4 Fighting Edge’s streamlined design. The brushed aluminum panel makes the controller look elegant and slightly industrial, and when I rest my hands, they’re resting on cool metal. The only downside to the panel is that the bolts securing it are half-threaded (to prevent damage through over-tightening), which leaves it room to slide about slightly while playing. I’ll be looking into some rubber washers to fix the issue.


The touchscreen is gone, but the controls live on in a panel cleverly hidden under the right edge of the unit. Tournament mode, digital/analog switching and the assign function share the panel with the L3, R3 and share button. There’s a PS4 touch pad on the back, next to the covered cable slot, and a headphone jack on the bottom front edge.

Thanks to the controller’s design, all you can see while playing is the Hayabusa arcade stick, nine Hayabusa buttons (including the options button) and the PlayStation home button. It’s so lovely and clean.


Personally I like the Hayabusa stick and convex buttons. I’ve always preferred ball to bat, and my lazy fingers appreciate the slightly lower travel distance of the buttons. If I didn’t like them, I might still pick up the Fighting Edge, open up the bottom and swap them out. I really love the design. There a lot of personal preference that goes into choosing and judging a fight stick. I’m choosing this one.

The Fighting Edge for PlayStation 4 (and PC) is now available for $200 at Hori’s website.

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How To Fix Your Game’s Camera Without Really Trying 

Tokyo 42 came out earlier this year and while its cyberpunk ninja sprawl was both beautiful and exciting to navigate, the game’s camera didn’t always play nice. SMAC Games, the studio behind the game, recently published an update to address the issue and Paul Kilduff-Taylor, a developer on games like Frozen Synapse and Frozen Cortex, discussed the solution in a recent Medium post.

Instead of fundamentally redesigning how the camera works, something that no doubt would have been a pretty dramatic and time-intensive undertaking, the developers decided to make the camera itself less important. The game’s latest update, released last week, de-emphasizes the camera by making silhouettes of the player’s avatar and the surrounding characters so that even when the camera’s not in the ideal position, all of the relevant information needed to play is still easy to see.


As an isometric game, Tokyo 42's in-game camera can be changed between each of its four orientations by tracking right or left. Since the game is about taking down enemies stealthily and navigating futuristic skyscrapers like an parkour ninja, having the camera where it needs to be in any given situation is important.

While I didn’t have much trouble with the camera during my playthrough, Kilduff-Taylor quotes a number of reviews all complaining about it in their recent post. He additionally notes that it would be extremely easy to be defensive in the face of these reactions and goes on to hypothesize about how some designers might respond.


“The camera controls are demonstrably not ‘fiddly’ or ‘dumb’: I challenge anyone to come up with something more intuitive than the defaults,” he wrote, describing how they might have publicly responded at the time.

“I have seen, in person, players across a wide age range grasp the camera controls within a couple of minutes. For those who want (or need) to reconfigure those controls, we added key remapping. Camera rotation is also available as an option on the mousewheel on PC. You cannot complain about controls being fiddly when the defaults have been thoroughly worked through, and there is the potential for customisation, therefore there is no value in this opinion.”

But “being defensive is always the wrong approach to feedback of any kind” he added. He then goes on to outline the thought process behind deciding when something’s wroth iterating on vs. simply being endemic to the underlying design. Basically, what it comes down to is the Tokyo 42 team decided that even if the camera couldn’t be completely changed, they could “take the edge off” by addressing what was driving the issue in the first place, namely players needing access to awareness of a 3D space through a 2D plane.


While one way of doing this was to make building and other objects become transparent and fade into the background when the player was behind them, this ended up not being feasible due to resources constraints and new problems it created (namely confusion about where the player should aim). Instead, they settled on the silhouettes:

SEAN: Shaders are extremely powerful tools and from a performance perspective the use of more complicated shaders didn’t tighten the CPU bottleneck that the game is currently under. We elected to attach a slightly more complex shader to the important entities for this reason — not to mention that the workload overhead for this approach was much more within the bounds of what we as a studio could afford to do.

MACIEK: It’s a good change, you can now identify enemies much more easily and even continue to dodge incoming fire even when you are behind terrain. I don’t think it changes the game massively, it maybe puts a bit more focus on the bullet hell side of things as it is now a spot easier to manage where previously you needed to be very deliberate about your approach and hidden dangers.

Overall it’s an interesting insight into how designers try to solves problems brought up by the people who play their games once they’re out in the wild, especially for a studio that’s small and has lots of control but limited resources to implement fixes.


You can read more about the subject here and definitely pick up Tokyo 42 if you haven’t already (currently on Xbox One, PS4, and PC, and probably coming to Switch sooner or later). The game’s one of this year’s best and getting better all the time.

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Splatoon 2’s Lobby Ain’t What It Used To Be

Splatoon 2’s hub world of Inkopolis is a place to relax, try out new gear, and share awesome art. When the game launched in July, it was a metropolis brimming with positive illustrations. Five months later, it looks like a shitpost disaster town.

The quality of art in Splatoon 2 has long been dependent on the game’s players, because they’re the people Nintendo has empowered to fill it with art. The Nintendo Switch game lets users draw messages that other players can see if they encounter your character in the game’s hub world. Back in July, the messages often displayed amazing pieces of fan art. Dedicated fans would post new drawings of their favorite characters every day and nearly photo-realistic images.

At its height, Inkopolis featured art like this:

Now Inkopolis is full of stuff like this:

A literal shit post, if you will.

There have always been some shitposting and injokes in Inkopolis. It’s never just been a museum for great fan-art. Inkopolis was both a gallery and message board. Post were often positive and part of interesting ongoing discussions. It was common for the lobby to fill up with LGBTQ-positive posts as well as art-heavy discussions about furries. This melting pot of art and in-jokes kept things fresh but the scale never tipped towards one end of the other. After a small break from Splatoon 2, I’ve found that the dynamic has dramatically shifted. Outside of art related to the competitive “this versus that” Splatfests, Inkopolis teems with bizarre in-jokes and memes that drown out most art. One of the most perplexing examples was a recent obsession with toe sucking.

Toe Sucking was a heated topic for about two weeks.

Splatoon 2’s latest memes have devolved beyond art and into the realm of pure shitposting to rival the most cavalier message boards. It’s truly bizarre to watch daily Callie art and lingering Splatfest allegiance posts give way to an extended war about sexual fetishes. This is particularly strange within a Nintendo game aimed at all age groups. It’s largely harmless but Inkopolis’ tonal shift from celebratory art show to snickering in-jokes is one of the most bizarre transitions I’ve ever encountered in a gaming lobby.

Daily Callie, by Trevor, is one of the few art posts going strong.

Weekly memes reached their nadir recently as certain community members rallied around a player named Craig. Craig received a 14 day suspension from Nintendo for poor conduct during online play and and inappropriate nickname. At the time of his suspension, Craig was using the name “Bike Cuck.” The name meant to poke fun at an online comic about a stolen bike also incorporated a common insult of forum trolls and the alt-right. Craig told Kotaku that he deserved to be banned but his story nevertheless came to dominate Inkopolis. It only faded away with the arrival of the latest Splatfest: socks versus sweaters.


Perhaps I’m blinded by nostalgia for Splatoon 2’s launch or have missed some recent great art thanks to also taking time out to play other games. Nevertheless, returning to Inkopolis only to drown in the sea of memes takes some of the magic out of the Splatoon 2 experience. A few weeks ago, a gorgeous mural in my neighborhood was covered with a hasty piece of throw-up. Inkopolis evokes a similar feeling; something special feels like it’s been painted over and I’m not sure if I’ll ever get it back.

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The Switch’s Screen Is Great For Pinball

Zen Studios’ Pinball FX 3 might not look as good on the Switch as it does on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but neither of them play the long game like this.

Zen’s community-driven video game pinball platform made its Switch debut this week. The latest iteration of Pinball FX allows players to earn levels and unlock upgrades on their favorite tables, adding goals beyond simply getting the high score.


The downside to the Switch version is it’s only launching with around 30 or so tables—the numerous Marvel and Star Wars tables available on other platforms haven’t made it yet.

The upside is the ability to turn the Switch on its side and play a table full-screen. You can play vertically with the Joy-Cons attached, though activating flippers with two very close face buttons next to the tilt-inducing analog stick isn’t ideal. It works best with a stand, holding the Joy-Cons in either hand. Or just lay the Switch flat and pretend you’re playing a real miniature pinball table.


This is the first game I’ve seen that uses the Switch vertically, but hopefully not the last. Imagine all the arcade-style bullet-hell shooters we could play. Ikaruga, anyone?

The screenshot function on the Switch does not know how to handle this.

Pinball FX 3 is available now as a free download on the Switch, with the “Sorcerer’s Lair” table included. A “Carnivals and Legends” table two-pack is available as free DLC until December 19. I highly recommend grabbing the game and playing it sideways.

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Crytek Sues Star Citizen Makers For Breaching Contract

Star Citizen

German game publisher Crytek is suing Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) for breaching contract and infringing its copyright, asking for a jury trial to determine the value of damages.

The two companies had originally partnered on Star Citizen, which still has no release date but has raised nearly $200 million in crowdfunding since it first launched on Kickstarter in 2012. CIG had used Crytek’s CryEngine technology and collaborated with the publisher on marketing, among other things. But as the years went on, their relationship disintegrated. As Crytek struggled to pay its employees, a large number of staff left the company for positions at CIG’s neighboring office in Frankfurt, Germany. In December 2016, CIG announced that it had switched to Amazon’s Lumberyard engine, which is based on CryEngine—and which, ironically, may have saved Crytek from bankruptcy.


Now, in part because of that switch, Crytek is suing CIG. The lawsuit, filed in California, claims that CIG “promised, among other things, (i) to use the CryEngine game development platform exclusively and to promote that platform within the video game, (ii) to collaborate with Crytek on CryEngine development, and (iii) to take a number of steps to ensure that Crytek’s intellectual property was protected. [CIG] utterly failed to follow through on those promises, and their actions and omissions constitute breaches of contract and copyright infringement and have caused substantial harm to Crytek.”

The complaint alleges that CIG used Crytek’s engine for another game (the standalone module Squadron 42), failed to collaborate, and shared Crytek’s code with other parties, breaking confidentiality agreements. (Those other parties, according to the lawsuit, include a series of public videos called Bugsmashers and a third-party technology company called Faceware.)

When asked to comment by Kotaku, CIG sent over a statement: “We are aware of the Crytek complaint having been filed in the US District Court. CIG hasn’t used the CryEngine for quite some time since we switched to Amazon’s Lumberyard. This is a meritless lawsuit that we will defend vigorously against, including recovering from Crytek any costs incurred in this matter.” 


CIG declined to answer follow-up questions about specific complaints in the suit.

You can read the whole lawsuit here:

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Prometheus Lens Is Dead, Long Live Prometheus Lens

All good things must come to an end. Especially in Destiny.

Last Tuesday, Bungie accidentally put a hilariously powerful laser gun into Destiny 2. Called Prometheus Lens, it was capable of deleting other players in the competitive Crucible in around a second, comically faster than any other standard weapon in the game. Bungie quickly acknowledged the gun was bugged, but said the fix would take a few days to implement. In the meantime, it had the exotic vendor Xur sell the gun over the weekend so that everyone could have one. What followed were three days of glorious, laser-powered mayhem.


That’s all over now. Today’s game update gave Prometheus Lens a substantial nerf, overcorrecting and lowering its weapon damage well below where it probably should be. “Given the short window we had to make an emergency fix,” Bungie said yesterday on Twitter, “[Prometheus Lens] will be adjusted to be way too weak. In January, this new Exotic will receive a proper, play-tested design pass.”

Having played around with the gun post-patch, I can confirm that the Prometheus Lens as we briefly knew it is dead. In Crucible in particular, it is no longer the death-ray it once was. That’s doubtless for the best in terms of the overall game balance, but it’s hard not to feel a small pang that its brief reign has concluded.


The Prometheus Lens debacle was a rare passage of levity in an otherwise grim chapter for Destiny 2. Likewise, it was a rare bit of goofiness in a competitive meta-game that’s become much more grounded and balanced than in the first Destiny. In both respects, it was a reminder that Destiny can be ridiculous, unbalanced, and also fun, all at the same time. It made me long for the days of Destiny 1’s mayhem playlists, as well as the sorts of absurd custom matches my friends and I used to make in Halo and GoldenEye.


It was also, as adroitly observed by Eurogamer’s Wesley Yin-Poole, a reminder that Destiny tends to be at its best—or certainly its most interesting—when players are breaking it. Many of the first game’s most iconic moments involved bugs, glitches, or exploits: The brief but terrible reign of the Vex Mythoclast; the Crota LAN cheese; the hidden regions of Mercury; and of course, the Loot cave. Prometheus Lens is just another in a line of memorable Destiny fuckups, and Bungie was wise to embrace the moment and lean in.

Perhaps Prometheus Lens will go down as another isolated event, fondly remembered but over for good. Or perhaps it will serve as a gentle reminder to the people who make Destiny that, above all else, the people who play it want to have fun. Sometimes fun means a balanced, carefully tuned competitive game. But sometimes it means setting the rules aside, embracing absurdity, and seeing what happens. Nowhere is it written that Destiny 2 can’t make room for both.

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What Are You Playing This Weekend?

The weekend is for snow, one of the greatest things that exists. Also, video games.

I am making all sorts of Witcher 3 progress again, delightfully. I’m also going to check out Floor Kids on my Switch, as well as the host of super-exciting changes in The Long Dark’s latest patch. So much to do!

What about you? What are you playing?

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Rainbow Six Siege’s New Update Makes Up For A Rough Year

The last year hasn’t been great for Rainbow Six Siege, a game that has recently become notorious for game-breaking bugs and exploits. The latest update, which came out this week, adds powerful new operators that shake up the game in novel ways. Through these additions, Ubisoft has put Siege back into an upswing.

The  White Noise update, which landed earlier this week, adds three new operators and a new map to the popular shooter. These operators have powerful abilities that shake up the game in fantastic ways, and I had a good time trying them all out. As many of you know, operators all have specific roles to fulfill during multiplayer missions. Some are focused on speed and stealth, while others are heavy tanks or long-range snipers. As the cornerstone of the Rainbow Six Siege experience, the prospect of adding more operators to the game promises to greatly change the way the game works.

Let’s start with Zofia, a new character who is actually related to another Siege character, Ela. Zofia has a new grenade launcher that can fire either concussive or explosive shots. This is super useful if you are playing a mission involving hostages, which you don’t want to kill. Unlike other explosive attackers, like Ash or Fuze, Zofia is able to switch on the fly between explosives and stun grenades, giving her a lot of flexibility during missions.


She also has access to one of my new favorite weapons in the game, a mid-range assault rifle called the M762. Zofia can also get up after being injured, but I didn’t get much use out of this ability as Zofia only gets one health point after standing up. Still, you can catch some players off-guard with this ability. Zofia is particularly notable given that traditionally, Rainbow Six is all about teamwork—and Zofia can do a lot of damage on her own. It’s a good way to spice up the action.

Another great addition to Rainbow Six Siege is Vigil, who looks like he fell out of an Army of Two game. Vigil has one of my favorite new abilities: he can cloak himself on enemy cameras and drones. This is a powerful tool in Siege, as many players rely on marked enemies and drones. With Vigil, I got many kills just hiding in a room and watching drones roll by. Players would think the room was safe, only to get gunned down by me. Awesome. Playing against teams running a Vigil is nerve wracking as you can never be 100% sure a room is actually clear.


Vigil seems like a direct response to the popular strategy of using drones and cameras. Even when teams are communicating, Vigil throws a wrench into everything: a teammate might call a room clear based on the camera feed, only to lead their friends into a deadly ambush. Vigil also makes unpopular operators like Thatcher more worthwhile, as Thatcher’s EMP grenade can reveal a cloaked Vigil on camera.

Here’s a good tip for dealing with this new threat: Vigil’s abilities creates interference. This is seen as white static on your screen, so make sure to pay attention.

The final new character is my favorite new operator, Dokkaebi, a new attacker. Dokkaebi can actually hack the other team’s phones and cause them to vibrate loudly. This instantly gives away the enemy location, and can only be stopped by holding down a button to turn the phone off.

There are a few ways to counter this new ability. Echo, for example, is totally immune to the hack because in the Siege lore he and Dokkaebi are former partners. Still, being able to instantly screw with the entire team feels great. And if a player dies before turning off their phone, Dokkaebi can hack it to gain access to the defenders cameras, which is a nice bonus ability. Playing against Dokkaebi, you might have to shoot your own cameras to hide your position or shoot dead players’ phones so they can’t be hacked. These are both things I’ve never had to do before in Rainbow Six Siege.

Finally, the other big new addition is the map Tower, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. The map feels tighter and less chaotic than other Siege maps, mostly thanks to a vertical layout. You can rope down from fast windows, or get shot from people hiding above you. It’s also a map set almost entirely indoors, which means combat unfolds quickly here. Nearly every other map in Siege has outdoor sections where the attackers spawn. But Tower doesn’t, instead spawning attackers on the only section of the map set outdoors, a small roof area.


The update also fixed a huge number of bugs and glitches, like the one where players die after throwing an explosive.Ubisoft is currently trying out a solution to this deadly issue on test servers and will hopefully bring the fix to the main game in the near future.

Despite being released two years ago, Ubisoft continues to expand Rainbow Six Siege—and all for free. (Season passes unlock new characters instantly, but they can also be earned by playing the game.) Despite that, there’s been a growing concern within the community that Siege is not entirely the game it could be, and this train of thought wasn’t helped by the addition of loot boxes, lag issues, and bugs. In Ubisoft’s defense, they’ve been very active in the community, answering questions and taking feedback. White Noise seems like a step in the right direction: it mixes up the core gameplay while also fixing some glaring issues. All of this makes me more optimistic for Rainbow Six Siege’s upcoming third year.


Zach Zwiezen is a a writer living in Kansas City, Missouri. He has written for Gamecritics, Killscreen and Entertainment Fuse.

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Video Game Characters Who Should Go On Mute

While playing through a recently-released role-playing game for the Nintendo Switch, I got to thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of simply turning voice-over on or off, we could selectively mute individual characters? Who would you silence? Aside from Tidus.

Some characters are just too damn annoying to speak. Sometimes it’s about bad voice acting or direction. Other times it’s a creative choice. Even in a game filled with otherwise pleasant voices, that one high-pitched, uncomfortably wacky or cutesy word-skipping character sneaks in.


Case in point is Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I seem to be enjoying the game a bit more than Jason Schreier did, but on one point I wholeheartedly concur: Nopon engineer Tora is one of the most irritating characters ever. He skips words (his whole race does). He refers to himself in third person. He replaces normal words with his own cutesy versions, like “bum-bum” for ass. He is the worst (light spoiler in the clip below).

If only I could just turn off his voice. The rest of the cast is pretty great. Al Weaver voices main character Rex as a young, vibrant Scrooge McDuck. His companion Prya’s voice, played by Skye Bennett, has this amazing little crack to it that I could listen to for hours. Or I could if Tora would just be quiet. It’s not voice actor Rasmus Hardiker’s fault. It’s the character.


There seems to be one of these in every Japanese role-playing game. Oftentimes it’s a sidekick of some sort, or a pet, like Final Fantasy X’s Tidus. James Arnold Taylor did what he could with Tidus, but the end result made many fans wonder if Square should have held off on added voices to the series a bit longer. Here’s a clip of Tidus and Jecht having a conversation.

Now imagine if we had the ability to open a menu, select a character and uncheck their voice.

Ahhh, that’s so much better.

Now imagine every game you’ve ever played had such a feature. Whose voice would get the axe? The squeaky sidekick? The over-emotional hero? The crass stereotype? Go ahead and switch them off in the comments.

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What Are You Playing This Weekend?

The weekend is for regretting the fact that you made oatmeal raisin cookies the other night and instead making the superior cookie, chocolate chip. Also, video games.

I am, at long last, back on my bullshit with The Witcher 3. I meant to power through the plot over the holiday, but one thing led to another and now I’m halfway across the map and can’t even remember what I was doing in the first place. Will this game ever end? I certainly hope not.

What about you? What are you playing?

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Hi Super Nintendo Chalmers

A few years back, there was a funny Super Nintendo joke. In 2017 it has been brought back and perfected, thanks to a masterful console paintjob by zoki64.

The Slovenian artist was commissioned by SpicySNES to create this custom console design, which isn’t just painted exquisitely, but also has fantastic detail, like the re-coluring work extending beneath the cartridge flaps.

There have also been a couple of slight hardware modifications, with the SNES’ power light swapped out for a yellow bulb (to match the pads/skin), and the cartridge slot widened so it can fit both European/JP and US carts.

Oh, and look at the detail in that logo.

You can see more of zoki’s work at his YouTube channel.

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