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  1. Here's How Doom Eternal Handles Difficulty And Challenge

    Doom Eternal incorporates an impressive number of new mechanics and ways to rip and tear demons. We have a deep dive into all of this in our hands-on impressions of the first three hours of Doom Eternal. Another aspect id Software has changed is its approach to how it handles difficulty for Doom Eternal. In speaking with creative director Hugo Martin, he explained that it's a matter of scaling specific elements so that, regardless of difficulty, players still have to engage with all the systems and mechanics necessary to survive.

    In relation to how Doom 2016 difficulty settings worked, Martin said, "The way enemies behaved changed kind of dramatically from difficulty to difficulty. They actually got more accurate." He continued, "What was frustrating is that it was kind of like learning a new combat dance… the fireball distance and the way that I learned to dodge it… different rules." Now, the approach in Doom Eternal is to scale existing mechanics. Regardless of whether you play on easy, Hurt Me Plenty, Ultra-violence or Nightmare, what enemies are capable of doing remains consistent.

    Essentially, the harder the difficulty, the more frequently demons will come at you with their heavier attacks and the more damage they'll do to you. Martin used boxing as an analogy: "On easy, they're going to throw a lot of jabs and take turns like, 'throw your jab, then I'll throw mine. Now one of us gets to throw a haymaker. On Nightmare, everybody's throwing haymakers nonstop."

    It seems as though the main focus is to adjust the amount of room for error the player has. Martin explained, "The question is not knowing what to do, it's just mastering how to do it. As we scale down... the two guiding principles were the number of decisions we ask players to make per minute, and then the number of mistakes they're allowed to make per minute." Doom Eternal tunes its variables (ammo, weapon damage, number of enemies, etc) so that you're pushed toward the flow of managing your resources. He's confident in the approach, saying, "It's going to make all players, skilled and unskilled, play Doom the right way because we're betting that it's going to make for a more engaging experience."

    For more on Doom Eternal, be sure to check out our in-depth preview of the game's opening hours or our broader discussion about the overall experience. You can also read all our stories below for more on Doom Eternal before it launches on March 20 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

  2. Disco Elysium Update Adds Hardcore Difficulty

    Disco Elysium is riding high on critical acclaim, and developer ZA/UM have rolled out a new update that makes the game even tougher for you experienced gumshoes. The update is paired with a sizable discount on Steam as well, letting you jump in for cheaper if you missed it.

    The new Hardcore mode raises the threshold of every Check, reduces the amount of money to go around, raises pharmaceutical prices, and makes your few remaining possessions that much more important. You'll have to rely on booze and cigarettes to get you through, and the Thought Cabinet debuffs are more impactful. On the flip side, you'll level up a little faster. The update also includes ultrawide support.

    As part of the Steam Lunar New Year Sale, Disco Elysium and its associated DLC are 20% off. That brings the game to $32, down from the usual $40. The soundtrack and art booklet are $16, down from $20.

    Disco Elysium was a standout last year, earning a rare 10/10 in GameSpot's review and a spot as one of our best games of 2019. You can hear much more about how its design process came together in our recent Audio Logs feature, which focuses on the complex creation of the Thought Cabinet feature.

  3. Get Frostpunk And Its New Expansion At A Great Price In Steam's Latest Big Sale

    Steam's Lunar New Year sale kicked off today with deals on a massive selection of PC games. One of those games is popular survival city-builder Frostpunk, which just received its first major expansion, The Last Autumn, earlier this week.

    Frostpunk PC deals

    For those who haven't played Frostpunk yet, the base game is discounted from $30 to $12. Alternatively, you can grab the Game of the Year Edition for $32.81 (was $64.96). The GOTY Edition includes the base game plus the season pass, which comes with The Last Autumn, the upcoming "Project TVADGYCGJR" expansion, a mini-expansion that adds an endless mode, the official soundtrack, and a digital art book.

    If you already own Frostpunk but haven't picked up The Last Autumn yet, the season pass is also on sale separately for $24.47 (was $34.97). A prequel set before the cataclysm, The Last Autumn adds a fresh environment, a pair of new Books of Laws that influence the story and your progression, and additional buildings and technology.

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    In GameSpot's 2018 Frostpunk review, writer Daniel Starkey heaped tons of praise on the engrossing city-builder. "Frostpunk is among the best overall takes on the survival city builder to date," Starkey wrote. "Its theming and consistency create a powerful narrative through line that binds your actions around the struggle to hold onto humanity in uncertain times."

    Frostpunk and the rest of the games in Steam's Lunar New Year Sale are discounted until January 27 at 10 AM PT / 1 PM PT.

  4. Rocket League To Lose Online Features On Mac And Linux As Dev Ends Support

    Rocket League fans may be disappointed to know that Psyonix has confirmed plans to pull support for the competitive soccer-car game on macOS and Linux (SteamOS). This March marks the end of the game's updates on those platforms and some key features will cease to function.

    Psyonix published a brief post saying that new Rocket League technologies have made the macOS and Linux platforms "no longer viable for us to maintain support." As a result, the game's forthcoming March update will be the final patch for those platforms. This update will disable online functionality (such as in-game purchases and online matches), while offline features like local matches and splitscreen will remain accessible.

    Despite cutting support for macOS and Linux, Psyonix said Rocket League will "still work with full functionality" when played on a computer running Windows 7 or newer. Check below for a full list of features that will change when support for macOS and Linux ends in March.

    Online Features Losing Functionality

    • Online Matchmaking
    • Private Matches
    • Tournaments
    • Rocket Pass
    • Item Shop / Esports Shop
    • In-Game Events
    • Friends List
    • Clubs
    • News Panel
    • New Custom Training Packs
    • New Steam Workshop Maps
    • Leaderboards
    • League Rankings

    Offline Features That Will Still Work

    • Local Matches
    • Split-Screen Play
    • Garage/Inventory (Your existing items will not be removed from your inventory)
    • Career Stats
    • Replays
    • Steam Workshop Maps (Must be downloaded before the final patch)
    • Custom Training Packs (Must be downloaded before the final patch)

    Rocket League has undergone a myriad of changes over the last year. Psyonix announced plans to remove paid loot boxes by the end of 2019, replacing the in-game monetization system with the more transparent Blueprints. The change drew harsh criticism from the community, which prompted the studio to tinker with its new system to make Blueprints substantially easier to craft.

  5. The Boys Is Getting A Sequel With The Boys: Dear Becky

    Hot on the heels of the wildly successful TV show (which also just so happens to be gearing up for a return), the original comic book series The Boys is making a surprise come back with co-creators Garth Ennis, Russ Braun, and Darick Robertson. The Boys: Dear Becky will pick up where the comics left off while simultaneously fleshing out the pre-history of characters like Billy Butcher and Wee Hughie with thorough flashbacks and references to major events from the original run.

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    "Originally I never intended to do more with The Boys at all, but for obvious reasons I've found myself thinking about the story and characters again over the past couple of years," said Ennis, who wrote the comics, in a press release. "There was one aspect of the original story, and one character in particular, that I never felt got a fair shake--Becky Butcher, whose demise motivates her husband Billy to do the terrible things he does, but who only actually appears in two issues of the original book. I liked writing Becky very much, almost as much as Butcher himself, and I wanted to look in greater detail at how her relatively brief appearance cast such a long shadow."

    Set in a world where superheroes exist but are corrupted by celebrity status and corporate politics, The Boys is a hyper-violent satire of modern superhero culture focused on a dysfunctional group of antiheroes known, informally, as--you guessed it--The Boys. The Amazon Prime Video TV show brought the world of the comics into a brand new light, introducing hilariously messed up characters like The Deep, Homelander, and Billy Butcher to a new generation of fans.

    But don't panic if you're only coming to these stories from the show. Dear Becky will be aiming to bridge the gap between new readers and old fans, according to Robertson. "This comic has always been close to my heart," he said. "And seeing the response to the show and the new drove of readers discovering the original material makes the timing for this series a wonderful opportunity to bring fresh material to the new readers as well as a treat for the original fans"

    Dear Becky will continue the story 12 years after the finale of the original 90-issue run when Hughie and Starlight's marriage is unexpectedly derailed by "a mysterious document that threatens to rip open the scars of the past and reveal nightmarish truths about The Boys."

    The Boys: Dear Becky #1 hits shelves in April.

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