Distrust Review

Casper Jackson, one of the rescue members in the new isometric survival game Distrust, is having a hard time of it. He’s starving. He’s sleepy. His helicopter crashed. Along with a single survivor, he’s now stuck at a research base in the middle of nowhere in Antarctica outrunning aliens who’ve wiped out the local scientists, and at last the madness hits him.

“Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day and make me travel forth without my cloak,” he yells randomly to the uncaring elements.

Most people wouldn’t consider auto-recalling the specifics of Shakespeare’s 34th sonnet under extreme duress as insanity. But that’s how Distrust sees it, ranking it alongside violent outbursts and hearing voices as one of the conditions that haunt Casper and his fellow crew members. Your goal in Distrust is to keep all these conditions at bay while maintaining your satiety, stamina, and warmth across six randomized zones, all while digging through shelves, boxes, and piles of trash for clues and supplies. Fall asleep, and the aliens appear. And if you fail and let them catch you? If you starve, freeze, or just go bonkers? Game over. The aliens win. The randomization makes it maddeningly tough, even on the easier of its two modes, but it’s also entertaining once you slip into its rhythm.

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Antarctica is one of the few places left on earth where you know no one’s around to help you. H.P. Lovecraft understood its potential for horror, as did John Carpenter when making the 1982 film The Thing, from which Distrust draws heavily. But rather than body snatchers, aliens here are “anomalies,” which initially manifest themselves as glowy clouds akin to swarms of butterflies when you’re sleeping, or menacing black balls with a white corona, sort of like little solar eclipses on the run. They’re at their worst in their latter state, when they hunt you down and devour you by merely getting too close. More frightening incarnations eventually show themselves, but sadly, you’d be wrong to expect alien horrors of the sort that leaves you cranking up the lights to 150 watts.

The greatest horrors here are instead those that spring from the simple drive for survival, and usually to good effect. Even without aliens playing tag, your status bars for satiety, warmth, and stamina dwindle with every passing second, forcing quick lessons in multitasking and prioritization. Failure can be as simple as freezing to death, particularly if you stay outside too long without finding a well-insulated coat or run out of fuel for the facility’s furnaces. Even seemingly “safe” food can give you food poisoning if you lose one of Distrust’s many coin toss prompts, such as one that asks if you dare ignore a little mold on the edge of your noodle cup. Worse, your crew’s ridiculously accident-prone, as they cut themselves on all manner of crates and metal lockers, requiring precious bandages to patch up their carelessness.

Despite the repetitive sight of grey buildings and snowy backgrounds, repeat playthroughs of Distrust feel meaningfully different thanks to variety found elsewhere. There’s great variability in the crew itself. Your pick of two companions from a pool of three characters feels limited at the start, but quickly expands the offerings to 15 as you both tick off achievements and discover people lying unconscious within the facility. Some, like the Kurt-Russell-esque Olaf Haraldson, handle the cold better than their peers. Casper Jackson can outrun and outwalk everyone else. Some even come with helpful perks, like Irma Dillinger and her blessedly slow metabolism.

Pick the best two of the bunch, though, and you’ll likely still fail, and fail often. Like so many roguelikes, Distrust attempts to keep the inevitable repeated playthroughs interesting with randomized locations for assets like buildings, tools, and food. The catch? Distrust can feel unusually unbalanced in this regard. In some playthroughs, it practically shoves food and gear in your face, but you’re just as likely to wind up in an instance with little else besides spoiled food and a laughable absence of generator fuel.

Distrust complicates this already punishing setup further by insisting you manage other factors such as the the little madnesses mentioned above, as well as a strategy for killing anomalies by luring them into warm buildings (while they suck up your precious fuel at the same time). The madnesses and conditions themselves sometimes demand an excess of attention, particularly myopia, which prevents you from guiding the crew member to the other side of the map without steering him or her click by click. Match this with the mildly annoying camera, which doesn’t center on your heroes when you click their respective hotkeys, and you’ll find you’re losing too much time that would be much better spent guiding your other crew member to dig through safes and cabinets.

But if everything goes according to plan and you aren’t backed into an inescapable corner, you’re looking at a roughly six-hour playthrough. That may seems short, but chances are the vagaries of Distrust’s randomization will leaving you taking much longer to reach its end, and even after six hours you’ll feel as though you’ve survived a trial by fire. Victory is a warm feeling in this world of cold. As Casper might tell us in his Shakespeare-quoting reveries, the challenge makes crossing the finish line feel all the most rewarding, “lest light winning make the prize light.”

Guardians Of The Galaxy – Episode 3: More Than A Feeling Review

After two episodes raising interesting questions and establishing characters, Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy maintains the same momentum with Episode 3: More Than a Feeling. It starts out with flashback scenes that are well-suited to the Telltale style of storytelling, and the difficult decisions it asks you to make call back to previous episodes’ choices in engaging ways. However, it’s held back by inconsistent pacing and poorly executed exploration sections.

Thanks to the Eternity Forge, a relic with the ability to resurrect the dead, the Guardians have been experiencing visions and vivid memories of their pasts. The episode starts with a scene from Peter’s childhood, then shifts to one from Gamora’s life with her sister Nebula and Thanos. Seeing how Gamora and Nebula used to interact is intriguing, especially since you’re given a few choices in how to treat Nebula while in the memory. It’s also satisfying coming off of the previous episodes, where Gamora’s relationship with Nebula was positioned as conflict but lacked the context to be meaningful.

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Peter and Gamora then discover Mantis, a being connected to the Eternity Forge who has the ability to read people’s emotions. Mantis reveals that she has been using Peter’s memories of his mother to guide him to her–and that the Eternity Forge can either be given the power to resurrect anyone or destroyed forever. The choice lies in your hands: power up the Forge and resurrect Rocket’s lost love and Drax’s family, or destroy it at Gamora’s urging and prevent the revival of an evil army. This is the main conflict of the episode, and it’s not an easy choice to make.

Though there’s little action in Episode 3 whatsoever, the moral questions are enough to drive the story forward. Using Mantis’ power, Nebula shows you her side of the sisters’ troubled relationship through the same memory you saw from Gamora’s point of view. It’s one of the highlights of the episode; where I previously found it incredibly easy to side with Gamora in every situation, understanding her faults through Nebula’s eyes recentered me. That in turn made the choice to empower or destroy the Forge harder and far more weighty, since Gamora’s support wasn’t enough to make the decision for me.

Even with the right amount of intrigue, the pacing of the episode feels off. With one main conflict at its center, the episode feels empty in places, as if there should be more to do or more of Telltale’s characteristic choices to make. For an episode that deals with so much–and with such high stakes–it ends just as it’s ramping up in order to leave room for later episodes, which makes the two hours it takes to get there feel a bit slow and dull in retrospect.

That’s made more pronounced by a particularly aggravating exploration and investigation sequence that requires you to spam one command until you trigger the next scene–but this isn’t at all obvious just walking around and trying to figure out the solution. It takes way longer than it should, and it’s yet another instance in the series of the more “game”-like elements feeling out of place and intrusive.

Like the previous two episodes, Episode 3 of Guardians gains enough momentum with its most engaging relationships and story beats to carry itself forward. It continues to build upon its characters and gives meaning to its choices, but it also suffers from similar problems, including poor gamified sequences. A cliffhanger ending interrupts the excitement of the scene and ends up feeling forced, which is less intriguing after two prior episodes of manufactured suspense.

F1 2017 Review

In this year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel had a real brain snap on track, pulling up alongside rival Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes and steering into him during a safety car restart. During the Russian Grand Prix, in the first year of my F1 2017 career, he’s done something similar. He’s turned into Hamilton at race pace and managed to tangle himself, Lewis, and my F1 wunderkind Jackie Speedweasel together for a date with the wall. I manage to extract my driver from the mess, grazing the wall and losing part of the front wing in the process, but Hamilton and Vettel’s cars are toast; a snarl of carbon fibre shards and loose wheels. It’s still very early days but the championship has pivoted in an instant.

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Gigabyte Aorus GeForce GTX 1060 6G 9Gbs Mini-Review

When Nvidia launched the GTX 1080 Ti, one of its big features is that it had slightly faster DDR5X memory than the cards that came before it, namely the GTX 1080. Since Nvidia had figured out a method for making its current stock of memory operate at a higher frequency, it also announced it was going to upgrade the memory for the GTX 1060 as well, going from 8Gb/s to 9Gb/s across all models. This allows Nvidia partners like Gigabyte to sell both versions of the card, with nothing changed aside from the memory speed.

So we decided to do a quick review of this new card to see what the fuss is about, and to figure out if it’s really a significant boost over the vanilla version of the entry-level GPU. The card I’m looking at is Gigabyte’s midrange Aorus model, the 1060 6G 9Gbs (See it on Amazon). The card has an MSRP of $299, but can often be hard to find at that price. Nevertheless, I was curious to see how the upgraded card fares against the previous version of this GPU. Since nothing else has changed I won’t bother rehashing the GTX 1060 review we already published – be sure to take a look for an in-depth look at the card’s specs, design, overclocking capability, and more.

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Birth of the Dragon Review

Warning: there are minor spoilers ahead for Birth of the Dragon.

Birth of the Dragon is not the Bruce Lee biopic you’ve been waiting for, as strong performances and martial arts action by Philip Ng and Xia Yu are wasted on a movie that had too little faith in the real story.

In 1965, martial arts icons Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man had a private match away from the public that became legendary, even though neither man agreed upon the outcome. Director George Nolfi’s Birth of the Dragon is very loosely inspired by that chapter of their history. But the movie itself is being marketed in a way that misrepresents the finished film. If we were to judge by the posters of Philip Ng as Lee, it would be easy to believe that this is a Bruce Lee biopic. That’s not what this is, and the movie treats Lee as if he is only the third most important character in his own story.

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Boruto Episode 21 Review

Warning: The following review has full spoilers for the episode.

This week’s episode of Boruto brings us the long-awaited reunion of Sarada and Sasuke, though it doesn’t go quite as swimmingly as she had hoped. Their father-daughter story continues to move at a satisfying pace, featuring some superb characterization in the opening minutes. Pair that with a compelling ending battle, and Sasuke and Sarada quickly cements itself as one of Boruto’s best episodes.

Following a quick recap, the episode picks back up with Sasuke threatening the frightened Sarada. Upon realizing his mistake Sasuke’s demeanor doesn’t change, and instead he coldly rebuffs her questions. She angrily storms off, and before Sasuke can attempt to make things right, they are confronted by the mysterious Shin Uchiha. Keeping up with last week’s pace, this episode moves briskly between these key scenes with almost no downtime. The opening scene between Sasuke and Sarada is without a doubt one of the series best so far. The painful subject matter, Sasuke’s indifference, and Sarada’s tearful outburst feels more realistic than anything Boruto or even Sumire’s stories could muster.

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Kaspersky Anti-Virus Review

IGN is reviewing all the biggest antivirus programs all month long. They’re evaluated based on ease of use, price, features, and a variety of testing performed by our editor and IGN’s sister-site PCMag.com for scan times, false positives, and correct identification of threats.Note that if you click on one of these links to buy the product, IGN may get a share of the sale. For more, read ourTerms of Use.

Kaspersky offers a few different solutions for security depending on your needs (like all the other firms), and I tested its Anti-Virus suite to see how it compares to the competition. As its name implies it’s a full package of anti-virus that covers files, email, “web” and even IM. The basic package covers three PCs for one year for $49.99, and there’s a 30-day trial (See it at Kaspersky.com).

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XCOM 2: War of the Chosen Review

Even with its procedural maps, XCOM 2’s missions started feeling a little stale after a hundred hours or so. Enter War of The Chosen, a large-scale expansion which grafts on more than enough new variables to give that creeping sense of predictability a brutal beatdown.

Variety is War of the Chosen’s biggest strength, and its long list of changes was very successful at making me rethink my established tactics. There are several new mission types, including clever new spins on Alien Supply Raids and Retaliations (the latter finallyincludes armed resistance soldiers who help you fight off the attackers a little too effectively sometimes), extracting captured XCOM soldiers, assassinating Advent generals who’ll flee to extraction points when you break concealment, evading ambushes, saving VIPs from zombie hordes, and more. Few of them rely on do-or-die turn-timers, which was a good call on Firaxis’ part. I don’t mind the occasional timed mission, but we have enough of those already.

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #18 Review

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers presents a much more difficult challenge than your average licensed comic. It can be a real juggling act to capture that sense of childlike wonder that came with watching the original TV series back in the ’90s while also crafting a more complex and narrative-driven comic. It’s no longer enough to simply pit the Rangers against one Rita Repulsa-spawned monster after another and call it a day. Fortunately, writer Kyle Higgins and artist Hendry Prasetya have been up to the challenge, and that hasn’t changed as they move deeper into their next major conflict.

This new storyline is developing into a surprisingly dark affair, both in terms of tone and literally in terms of lighting. This issue drags the Rangers into a new mission in a remote village in Eastern Europe, one that holds a few fantastical secrets. The result is a nicely action-oriented counterpoint to issue #17, and one that gives pretty much every Ranger a brief moment or two to shine during the course of battle. You have to appreciate Zach’s sense of humor, even if none of his teammates do.

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Madden NFL 18: Final Review

Ask Tom Brady and Matt Ryan what they think about halftime adjustments. Those adjustments, major or minor, are the key to winning any football game the types of championship-caliber adjustments we hoped for from Madden’s move to the Frostbite Engine in Madden NFL 18. The engine has enhanced the graphics dramatically and added an immense amount of detail to the absolutely wonderful Longshot story mode, but EA Sports misses the opportunity to really make its mark by refreshing the gameplay in meaningful ways.

While playing a rematch of last season’s Patriots vs. Falcons Super Bowl, it was easy to get distracted by the lighting effects and the improved body types, which, to my eye, have both taken the largest leap of any of Madden 18’s graphical upgrades. While watching a replay I noticed details like how the glimmer of the sun flickered off of a receiver’s helmet, and even while referees are announcing penalties you can see that the glare in their faces is real.

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