Tuesday, April 5, 2016

'Uncharted 4' shows what its devs learned from 'The Last of Us'

Refined gameplay, expanded stealth and a focus on family are just a few things to expect.

Nathan Drake thought he was out of the treasure hunting business, but the return of his long-lost brother pulls him back in. That's the basic setup for Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, developer Naughty Dog's final entry in its long-running adventure franchise. After several delays, the game is finally hitting shelves on May 10th. Family isn't a new thing for Uncharted -- we've spent the last few games with Drake's self-made family of close friends. But that dynamic is about to change in a big way.

Gallery: Uncharted 4 screenshots | 10 Photos

The increased focus on family — rather than just making the series' bombastic action set pieces even bigger — is one of many things the developers are bringing along from their last big title, the post-apocalyptic masterpiece The Last of Us. And of course, the game is also a chance for Naughty Dog to distill everything its learned from the entire Uncharted series.
When last we left Nathan Drake, he was hanging up his holster and settling down for married life with his longtime love interest Elena Fisher. The decision to aim for a safe and normal situation, rather than the life of a globe-trotting, reckless adventurer, was the emotional crux of Uncharted 3. Whatever gets him back into action would have to be something truly special, and the reappearance of his brother Samuel, once thought dead, certainly fits the bill. Sam drags Nate to Madagascar in the search of -- what else? -- buried treasure. This time it's a quest to find the lost spoils of British pirate Henry Every.
For those not up to speed with their naval history, Every was one of the most notorious pirates to sail the seas. His exploits, including one raid on a Mughal Empire ship that netted jewels and valuables worth around £600,000 at the time, made Every the subject of the first worldwide manhunt. He supposedly escaped capture with most of his treasure, which would have been a tempting target for experienced thieves like the Drakes.
"Everything we do is based on history," said co-writer Josh Scherr. "But we veer away from it when it suits our needs, or makes certain aspects of the story cooler." Supernatural elements aren't unusual for an the Uncharted series, so you can expect the developers to take plenty of liberties with Every's story. This time around, Scherr says, they're also focusing more heavily on the idea that every treasure has its cost.
The first thing you'll notice about Uncharted 4? It's simply gorgeous -- it's a significant leap beyond the last game, with huge vistas and seemingly endless draw distances. There's more detail in character models and environments than ever before (pay close attention how light passes through transparent surfaces). It's also pretty clear that the developers spent plenty of time refining its physics engine. Just about everything in the game reacts to other objects (smash a baddie into a table, and expect everything on top to fall realistically).
The single player campaign runs at 30 frames per second, which will probably let down gamers expecting the silkiness of 60FPS visuals, but wasn't much of an issue while I was playing. Thanks to the vastly improved graphics, Uncharted 4 also handles its cinematic scenes with its in-game engine, which makes the transition to those scenes from gameplay much smoother. There's an overall polish to the game that many other PlayStation 4 titles don't have. The developers had a bit of a leg up with the PS4's hardware after porting The Last of Us Remastered a few years ago, Scherr says.
The game's environments are significantly larger than previous entries, though they're certainly not big enough to qualify it as an "open world" title. You're still typically headed to a single destination, but this time around there are usually several ways to get there.
You'll also get a 4X4 truck (Naughty Dog can't legally call it a Jeep) to traverse the larger stages. It didn't take long to get the hang of driving it, but I quickly learned to hate trudging through wet mud (though the liquid effects on the truck look great). There's also a winch located on the front of the truck, which you'll use to bring it up rough terrain (or in some cases, even take down large objects).
Unfortunately, I didn't get to explore much of the story in my brief hands-on time with the game. But I was glad to see that Naughty Dog revamped some of the clunkier elements of Uncharted's mechanics. Stealth isn't something the series handled very well in the past -- Drake has always been about about going in guns blazing -- but now you can hide in some areas of the environment, like tall grass, and an indicator tracks if enemies are aware of your presence.
You're also no longer out of luck if you mistakenly start a firefight, since you can hide and return to stealth mode if you need a breather. You can even mark enemies after spotting them, which allows you to keep track of them when they're out of sight.
It would be hard to mistake Uncharted 4 for the methodical, stealthier gameplay from The Last of Us, but Naughty Dog clearly brought over some of that game's ideas. No, you can't brutally shiv anyone, but you can still sneak up on enemies and take them down silently. In some cases, you can also avoid confronting enemies entirely.
Although the Uncharted series has always emphasized gunplay, it's also been criticized for feeling a bit too loose when it comes to shooting. Nathan Drake isn't a highly trained killer like Metal Gear Solid's Snake, so perhaps that makes sense. Uncharted 4 doesn't change up the series' formula much, but aiming at enemies feels a bit more precise now. Popping out of cover to take down a slew of bloodthirsty baddies was also far more fluid, partially due to the improved character animation.
Even the mere act of climbing got a revamp. Instead of recklessly jumping across handholds and ledges, Drake now moves more intelligently. He looks like someone who actually knows how to scale a wall, and the entire process of moving him around simply felt smoother and less video gamey.
Amid the shootouts, explosions and car chases, we can also expect a surprising new addition to Uncharted 4: quiet moments. Scherr says the Naughty Dog team has learned a lot about the ebb and flow of narrative over the years. The Last of Us, in particular, taught them the importance of slowing things down for smaller character moments. Perhaps this time, someone will have a chance to stop, take a breather and show Drake how to properly tuck in his shirt.

Mortal Kombat eSports tournament has a $500,000 prize pool

It's never too late to memorize those combo moves.

If you need any more proof that eSports is getting bigger, here it is. Warner Bros. is launching a huge Mortal Kombat X eSports program in April, and the prize pot is just as big: $500,000. The project includes the third season of ESL Mortal Kombat X Pro League, which will pit the best players around the world against each other starting on April 3rd. The top sixteen players will then compete in front of a live audience on June 12, and the final eight finalists will play for a chunk ($200,000) of the prize pot.
They only get 200 grand, because Warner Bros. is also holding tournaments across North America, Europe, the Russian Commonwealth and Latin America. Plus, those who aren't exactly ready to play against pros can still win money from the Challenger Cup's online matches for PS4 and Xbox One gamers, which will begin on April 2nd. Bet you wish you took learning those crazy combos seriously now.

Uncovering the glory and gore of a 1970s South American cult

'You don't join a cult because you're a weak person. You join it because you want to change the world.'

It's 1970 and you've abandoned the cruel machinery of modern society and started fresh in a South American jungle. You're surrounded by like-minded folks -- people fed up with wars, poverty, segregation and corruption -- and you all contribute in some way to the fledgling commune. It's led by two charismatic leaders with grand ideas about the future of humanity. Outsiders call it a cult.
Everything goes well, until one of your comrades is repeatedly caught stealing food from the storage unit -- a heinous crime in such a small, tightly knit community. If the commune were still a part of larger society, its leaders would throw the thief in jail. But there is no jail in the jungle, and your leaders have no plans to implement a costly prison system. What do you do with the rule-breaker? How do you make him fall in line so the entire commune doesn't come apart at the seams?
A fellow member suggests an option that would not only teach the thief a lesson, but send a message to the entire community: Chain him up and publicly beat him until the dirt runs red.
"It's not that I condone that behavior, but you could see how, in that sort of environment, there would be an ethical debate about, should we torture people? How much should we torture them?" asks Richard Rouse III, a veteran game developer who's spent a lot of time pondering questions about commune life.
Rouse isn't a fledgling cult leader, but he is intrigued by the mechanisms of alternative societies. His latest game, The Church in the Darkness, is set in a fictional South American commune called Freedom Town in the 1970s. Its leaders, Isaac and Rebecca Walker of the Collective Justice Mission, preach socialism and sustainable agricultural living in a Christian society.
On the surface, the Walkers' commune doesn't sound like a terrible place to live. It's on the fringe and extreme, to be sure, but its systems aren't inherently evil, exploitative or dangerous. At least, not at first.
Playing as Vic, a former law enforcement officer, you sneak around Freedom Town in a top-down perspective, attempting to locate your nephew, Alex, who voluntarily left the United States to join the commune. Freedom Town isn't particularly friendly to visitors, so Vic treads lightly, sticking to the shadows behind dusty, tin-roof huts and steering clear of any red-adorned elite guards. Players get to choose their play style: conduct a nonlethal, stealthy invasion or go in guns blazing.
The commune is different in every play-through. Sometimes Isaac and Rebecca are harsh, authoritarian rulers inflicting punishment on their followers for the slightest of missteps, and other times they're fun-loving, understanding leaders. Half the game is figuring out which kind of commune you're sneaking around.
Each story unfolds mainly through Isaac and Rebecca's regular updates over the camp's PA system -- and these should be infinitely entertaining, considering the couple is voiced by celebrated husband-and-wife voice actors Ellen McLain (GLaDOS in Portal) and John Patrick Lowrie (The Sniper in Team Fortress 2).
Rouse met Lowrie back when he was building the 2004 horror game, The Suffering, and Rouse thought he'd be a great fit for The Church in the Darkness -- after all, Lowrie was once a "traveling hippie musician" with friends who once belonged to communes. Though they've lent their skills to numerous titles, this is Lowrie and McLain's first gig in which they're portraying a married couple in a game, and they've been providing input from the beginning of development.
"That's the cool thing I find about being indie like this, is you can just go try to get this creative person and this creative person, and [collaborate]," Rouse says. "That's not always as possible when you're working on the bigger projects."
On top of the announcements, the game's scenery is packed with clues about each commune's systems. Documents, sounds and landmarks shed light on Freedom Town's true purpose every time you load a new game. In one play-through, Isaac may thank his followers for constructing a basketball court (he's a huge hoops fan), and in others, he might growl through the PA system, demanding to know who destroyed his court. You may spot a wooden pole surrounded by chains and blood, or see "HELP US" spelled out with tree branches in a secret clearing -- signs that your nephew, Alex, could be in trouble.
"The game has a lot of immersive SIM-type of qualities you might find in Dishonored or something like that, but it's trying to be grounded in reality as much as possible," Rouse says.
Freedom Town takes inspiration from real-life cults, communes and fringe groups. Rouse is particularly intrigued by the Source Family, a spiritual commune that took root in the Hollywood Hills in the late 1960s. Led by James Edward Baker, known as Father Yod, the Source Family attracted more than 100 followers and valued nature, organic vegetarian diets and communal living (and copious amounts of sex, as it happens). Eventually, the group moved to Hawaii -- and that's when Baker realized how difficult it was to run a utopian society, Rouse says.
In 1975, Baker, by then a self-declared god, attempted to hang-glide with no previous experience. He crash-landed and died that day. After mourning his death, some of his commune members remained in Hawaii, while some joined other fringe groups and still more reverted to traditional lives, working at places like Goldman Sachs, Rouse says.
The Source Family was passionate, innovative and wild, but it wasn't evil.
"You hear less about those types of groups, where it's like they tried to do something just as progressive and radical, but then they pulled back before oblivion," Rouse says. "That was what interested me: How do you know which type of group and how do you interpret it?"
Another community that inspired Rouse was Rajneeshpuram, a mystical, sex-focused community that attempted to settle in Oregon in the 1980s. After arguing with locals over land, Rajneeshpuram followers ended up carrying out the largest biological warfare attack in US history: They sprayed the salad bars of local restaurants with salmonella, poisoning 750 people.
Rouse recognizes the strangeness and corruption that often seeps into communities like the Source Family and Rajneeshpuram, but he also sees their ingrained humanity. In researching communes and cults, he discovered a common thread among many former followers: They repeatedly claimed they weren't brainwashed or crazy, and they looked back fondly at their time in the communes. Their intentions were noble, even if ego and power eventually won out.
"You don't join a cult because you're a weak person," Rouse says. "You join it because you want to change the world or you have a really strong viewpoint or you can imagine the world could be better. So, you're going to join this group and see if you can make a go of it."
That's something Rouse wants to inject into The Church in the Darkness when it launches on SteamPlayStation 4 and Xbox One early next year: humanity. Isaac and Rebecca are extreme, but they can also be compassionate and caring. Or they can be power-hungry monsters. It all depends on which story you see.

Eerie adventure 'Everybody's Gone to the Rapture' heads to PC

It's no longer a PS4 exclusive.

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture was one of my favorite games that came out in 2015. Yes, it's one of those divisive "walking simulators," but the intriguing narrative and stunning depiction of rural England had me hooked. The developer, The Chinese Room has confirmed what's been rumored for almost three months now -- that the game is coming to PC. There's no release date just yet, but when it does arrive it's safe to assumeit'll be available on Steam. If you've opted for a PC gaming rig over a PlayStation 4, this is your chance to see what the fuss is all about.



'Don't Starve: Shipwrecked' washes ashore on Steam

The adorable survival game is on sale during its launch period, too.

Don't Starve: Shipwrecked, the nautical themed expansion for one of our favorite survival games is finally out of Early Access on Steam and ready for your consumption. If you'll remember, this add-on is the result of a partnership between original developer Klei Entertainment and the folks behind Below and Super Time Force, Capybara Games. The single-player expansion (the co-op focused Don't Starve Together released last year) introduces plenty of new deadly goodies like sailing, seasons and crafting recipes -- all incredibly likely to put your ability to follow the game's name to the test. As an incentive to give it the old college try, Steam has the game on sale for $4.50 during its launch period.

Panasonic's Lumix GX85 is a compact camera that packs a punch

And it only costs $800.

The Lumix series is expanding with the GX85, an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera featuring a compact body and impressive specs. Panasonic says this shooter combines the best of its GX8 and GX7, but with some improvements over both. For starters, the Lumix GX85 sports a 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor and a new Venus Engine processor, along with a max ISO of 25,600, WiFi, up to 8-fps continuos shooting and in-camera image stabilization. Panasonic's also eliminated the low-pass filter, which should help you capture sharp and color-accurate pictures.
Not surprisingly, given how Panasonic has been a big proponent of 4K, the GX85 also records Ultra HD (3,849 x 2,160) videos at 24 and 30 fps, as well as 1080p at 60 fps. And if you're familiar with the Lytro camera, you'll probably like playing around with Panasonic's Post Focus function. So how does that work? The GX85 uses 49 areas from its autofocus system, near or far, to record every single focal point and, after you take a shot, you tap anywhere on the 3-inch screen to choose your preferred focus area. That means you could end up having 49 different pictures.
Panasonic's Lumix GX85 is coming to the US in mid-May for $800, which includes a 12-32mm kit lens and your choice of a black or silver model

Panasonic unveils 16MP Lumix GX7 Micro Four Thirds camera, 42.5mm f/1.2 lens

There's not much to reveal about Panasonic's Lumix DMC-GX7 since itleaked (nearly) in full just days ago, but now it's official. This 16-megapixel Live MOS shooter is Panny's latest Micro Four Thirds offering aimed squarely at prosumers. This retro-styled camera is a much svelter option than the video-focused GH-3 ($1,500) thanks to its magnesium alloy casing. Along with in-body image stabilization and a swift shutter that tops out at 1/8000th of a second, the ISO tops out at 25,600. If video is your concern, it'll capture 1080p footage at 60 fps (24 Mbps) in AVCHD.
While the GX7 will burst shoot with autofocus tracking at 4.3 fps, its electronic shutter lets it hit 40 fps if pure speed is what you're after -- while we're on it, the shutter will also operate in a silent mode. Notably, avertically-tiltable 16:9 Live View Finder is onboard, packing a resolution of 2.76 million dots and the ability to fire off the autofocus once it detects an eye. Two control dials aid in manual settings along with a rear-facing LCD touchscreen, which tilts up to 80-degrees. If all that wasn't enough, built-in WiFi and NFC allow for the likes of remote viewfinder apps and sharing media.

Gallery: Panasonic Lumix GX7 press images | 4 Photos

The GX7 will hit the US this November in a silver and black colorway priced at $1,100 with a 14-42mm kit lens, and $1,000 for just the body itself. A sleathier all-black variant will also be available, though only in Japan. Aside from the camera, a new Lumix lens with Leica tech will also hit shelves, offering a 45mm 42.5mm focal length with a speedy f/1.2 aperture -- the fastest in the lineup to date. Hit the press releases after the break for more details.
Update: We've corrected the focal length of the fast prime lens, which is 42.5mm rather than the 45mm we originally reported.
Panasonic unveils 16MP Lumix GX7 Micro Four Thirds camera, 45mm f12 Leica Nocticron lens
Show full PR text
Change your Perspective with the New LUMIX DMC-GX7 DSLM (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless)
A Premium Flat Body Camera with a Host of Creative Functions for Photo Enthusiasts and Artisans
NEWARK, NJ (August 1, 2013) - Panasonic is pleased to announce a new addition of LUMIX G Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM) Camera, the DMC-GX7, featuring high photographic performance and a sleek design which incorporates a tiltable LVF (Live View Finder).
Dressed in magnesium alloy full diecast frame in black and silver the new LUMIX GX7 allows photographers to change their viewing perspective with a newly integrated 90-degree tiltable LVF. The new LVF features 2764K-dot high resolution and 100% color reproduction based on a Field Sequential Color Accuracy method**. This 16:9 Wide Screen LVF boasts approx.1.39x / 0.7x (35mm camera equiv.) magnification and 100% field of view. The tiltable LVF offers extraordinary angle of view with unique shooting style – looking down into the viewfinder to level the camera straight on the subject. It comes with an Eye Sensor that automatically turns ON/OFF according to the photographer's action. The Eye Sensor AF (Auto Focus) automatically begins to focus when a user looks into the LVF, so no shooting opportunity is missed. An Eye Cup, DMW-EC1GU, made of elastic material is sold separately to enhance comfort in viewing either with the naked eye or glasses.
The LUMIX GX7 is a new breed of digital camera suitable for the Hybrid Photographer. It's capable of recording full HD 1920 x 1080 60p smooth, high quality video recording in AVCHD Progressive and MP4 with stereo sound. The practical full-time AF and tracking AF is also available in video recording mode. The cinema-like 24p video with the bit rate of max. 24Mbps or P/A/S/M mode provides richly expressive afterimage with exquisite image quality. The Digital Live MOS Sensor greatly improves motion picture quality.
The LUMIX GX7 incorporates Creative Panorama, Time Lapse Shot, Stop Motion Animation or Clear Retouch in addition to the popular Creative Control mode with a total of 22 fascinating filter effects
A new in-body Image Stabilizer is nearly as effective as the MEGA O.I.S. found in Panasonic's conventional DSLM lenses, which makes it easier to take clear photos with mounted non-stabilized and classic lenses. The LUMIX GX7 is also compatible with Focus Peaking for more precise control of focusing. In Silent Mode, the camera switches the shutter from mechanical to electronic and turns all sound (AF operation) off while suppressing emission of AF assist lamp and flash with just a single setting for special shooting occasions. Furthermore, the LUMIX GX7 allows photographers to use a max. 1/8000 shutter speed for more impressive expression with high speed lens options.
Panasonic developed a new 16.00-megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor for LUMIX GX7 that achieves both high resolution and high sensitivity image recording with minimum noise by utilizing cutting-edge Semiconductor Fine Technology to improve color saturation by approx. 10% and a redesigned on-chip lens that enhances light condensation to achieve approx.10% higher sensitivity. Noise generation is minimized in both pixel circuit and digital signal readout circuit for better S/N ratio by approx.
25% and detail reproduction by approx.10% compared to the LUMIX DMC-GX1, making it possible to capture clear images even in low lit situations. The image processor Venus Engine features advanced noise reduction systems, including Multi-process NR (Noise Reduction) and Detail Reproduction Filter Process, which enhances the limit resolution. The combination of the digital Live MOS Sensor and the Venus Engine achieves max. ISO 25,600.
The Contrast AF System of the LUMIX GX7 excels in both speed and accuracy by exchanging digital signals between the camera and the lens at max. 240 fps. A variety of extensive AF functions including Low Light AF (-4EV), Pin-point AF and One-shot AF enhances usability to comply with a wide-range of shooting situations. In Pinpoint AF, picture-in-picture display is available and the magnification ratio of in-frame picture is selectable from 3x to 6x. The One Shot AF function can be allocated to the AF/AE Lock Button (AF/MF Switch Lever) for more flexible control over focusing.
The LUMIX GX7 incorporates high speed response desired for the digital single lens mirrorless camera, taking only approx. 0.5 sec* to get ready to shoot after startup. The LUMIX GX7 also realizes the high speed burst shooting at 5 fps and max. 40 fps using an electronic shutter. Also, AF Tracking enables consecutive shooting to capture moving subject in sharp focus at 4.3 fps.
At the same time, Panasonic designed ease of operation into the LUMIX GX7. Two separate dials on front and back offer direct control over aperture, shutter speed or exposure, which achieves smooth manual shooting. The Live View function is also digitally advanced, making it possible to adjust highlight / shadow separately with the front/rear dial. Three patterns of settings can be customized in addition to three patterns of presets. In addition, the Fn (Function) tab is newly integrated into the menu, which means a total of nine functions can be assigned (five in tab and four with the button).

The LUMIX GX7 integrates Wi-Fi® connectivity (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n) with NFC (Near Field Communication) technology to offer a more flexible shooting experience and seamless instant image sharing. All of these flexible shooting, browsing, and sharing styles are made possible with the LUMIX GX7 and Panasonic's dedicated application software and the Panasonic Image App for iOS / Android smartphones/tablets.
DMC-GX7KS (with lens) = http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/DMC-GX7KS
DMC-GX7SBODY (no lens) = http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/DMC-GX7SBODY
* With H-FS1442A, based on the CIPA standard.
**Based on Adobe RGB color space, Panasonic in-house comparison based on the CIE 1931 x, y color space.
Panasonic today announced the LEICA DG NOCTICRON 42.5mm/F1.2 lens, the fastest1 interchangeable lens in the Micro Four Thirds standard for the LUMIX G Series cameras.
Previously, Panasonic has marketed interchangeable lenses meeting LEICA specifications, including the LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm/F1.4 ASPH. and the LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm/F2.8 ASPH./MEGA O.I.S. The name "NOCTICRON" was defined by Leica Camera AG for this lens type continuing LEICA's legendary elements of large diameter, high quality lenses. The LEICA DG NOCTICRON 42.5mm/F1.2 achieves the fastest1 F1.2 for a Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens, becoming the first large diameter, high performance NOCTICRON lens.Panasonic will continue to further advance its product development to meet the diverse needs of customers in the globally expanding Micro Four Thirds market.

Panasonic's Lumix GX8 is a sleek and compact flagship camera

Only two months after introducing the G7 Micro Four Thirds camera, Panasonic is now expanding its compact line with the Lumix GX8. The new shooter, which is dustproof and splashproof, features a 20.3-megapixel Digital Live MOS sensor, Venus Engine imaging processor, an ISO range of up to 25,600, high-speed burst shooting modes of either 8 or 6 fps, NFC, WiFi and a 3-inch LCD. Panasonic's also going after the video-making crowd with this flagship camera, since it can shoot 4K (3,840 x 2,160) at both 24 and 30 fps -- similar to other members of the Lumix series. Most notably, the mirrorless GX8 packs a dual image stabilizer, an attribute that should push out clearer shots across the board, especially in handheld, low-lit scenarios. If it grabs your interest, Panasonic's Lumix GX8 will be available in mid-August for a cool $1,200 -- although that won't include any lenses.

Gallery: Panasonic Lumix GX8 press images | 8 Photos

Android Auto reaches cars in 18 more countries

Your car is now that much smarter in Europe, Latin America, India and Russia.

Android Auto isn't just available in a handful of countries anymore. Google has expanded its phone-as-infotainment integration to 18 more countries, as well as Puerto Rico. Most of the coverage revolves around Europe and Latin American nations (including Austria, Brazil, Colombia and Switzerland), but there are big exceptions like India and Russia. Your car or head-end unit will need to support Android Auto as well, of course, but this may hit the spot if you're hoping to stream music while you're stuck in Mumbai traffic.

'Aliens: Colonial Marines' mod may actually make the game fun

The mod tweaks Xenomorph behavior, overhauls the graphics and looks pretty impressive.

When it released in early 2013, Aliens: Colonial Marines was an absolute garbage fire of a video game. There was a lawsuit regarding the wide gulf in quality between what developer Gearbox Software (of Borderlands and upcoming Battleborn fame) and publisher Sega showed prior to release and what customers actually got, and Gearbox's CEO Randy Pitchford remains ambivalent about Colonial Marines' quality and development process. Gearbox was eventually dropped from the suit, but it was a wholething. The modding community sounds like it might've fixed some of the most egregious sins on the PC version, though.
In addition to a bunch of much needed graphical fixes (including better shadows and textures), the release notes mention that dead bodies, body parts, acid splashes and blood splashes will remain in the game world "indefinitely." Awesome. But this is more than just a surface-level overhaul -- TemplarGFX's mod addresses the severe issues ACM's gameplay faced, too.
Specifically, reworking the artificial intelligence for the Xenomorph soldiers by increasing alien decision-making speed by 1,000 percent which "greatly increases their ability to adapt to changing situations and react to new threats." That's saying nothing of the massive changes to other Xeno enemy types to make them as terrifying as their silver screen counterparts.
Honestly? It looks like a more action-oriented version of Creative Assembly's deliberately-paced Alien: Isolation from 2014. You know, the one with the ultra-smart alien terrorizing Lieutenant Ellen Ripley's daughter, Amanda, on the Sevestopol space station. In case the embedded videos are enough to pique your interest, the game is currently $15 on Steam.