Plugged In

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has unleashed a new video for “Middle-earth: Shadow of War,” this one highlighting the Terror tribe of orcs you’ll encounter during your adventures in Mordor.

Here’s a quick description of what to expect from the tribal system, courtesy of the news release:

“In ‘Shadow of War,’ orcs now belong to tribes, which extend their influence stemming from the Overlords ruling the mighty fortresses throughout the open world, providing a rich ecosystem of missions, exploration and a dynamic Orc society with diverse Orc cultures, all brought to life through the expanded Nemesis System. As master tormentors, the Terror tribe rely on their infamous reputations to inspire fear among their enemies.”

‘Middle-earth: Shadow of War’ launches Oct. 10 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been legitimately excited for a new “Call of Duty” game, but I am downright giddy with anticipation over “Call of Duty: WWII.”

Thankfully we won’t have to wait much longer to get our hands on the multiplayer portion of Activision’s FPS as the private beta — available to players who pre-order the game — is slated to run Aug. 25 -28 for PlayStation 4 users. A second beta, for both PS4 and Xbox One gamers, will begin Sept. 1 .

For more information about what to expect in the beta, click here and be sure to check out the trailer above.

 

Review: ‘Batman: The Enemy Within’ Episode 1

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The announcement last month of a second season for Telltale’s Batman series was certainly a welcome one. The first five-episode arc of “Batman: A Telltale Series” was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I was hopeful Telltale would give us another opportunity to don the cowl and become the Caped Crusader once more.

And if the first episode of “Batman: The Enemy Within” is any indication, this season appears poised to surpass the original both in terms of quality and surprises.

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‘NBA Live 18’ demo arrives Friday

nba18Players looking to get their first glimpse at EA Sports’ resurrected basketball franchise can take the court Friday with a free demo of “NBA Live 18” on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

The demo, available to all players with an Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus account, will allow players to carry over all progress and unlocked content coming out of the experience into the full game when it launches on Sept. 15.

The demo will give players access to The Rise, the prologue section of The One game mode, as well as a Play Now game featuring an NBA Finals rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors.

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Players can return to the Wasteland — or visit for the first time — this Sept. 26 when the “Fallout 4: Game of the Year Edition” releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

The “Game of the Year Edition” features all six DLC add-ons, as well as all of the post-launch updates that helped improve graphics and gameplay. And for those of you who may have missed out on getting your very own Pip-Boy during the launch of “Fallout 4,” fear not as Bethesda has also announced a special limited-edition Pip-Boy Collector’s Edition for the “Fallout 4: G.O.T.Y. Edition” that includes, you guessed it, a Pip-Boy.

The standard “Fallout 4: Game of the Year Edition” will retail for $59.99, while the Pip-Boy Collector’s Edition will cost $99.99 and will only be available at select retailers.

Here is the official gameplay trailer for “Dishonored: Death of the Outsider,” which publisher Bethesda released today. The game is set to launch Sept. 15 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

New ‘Wolfenstein’ video released

Here’s the latest promotional video for Bethesda Softworks’ “Wolfenstein: The New Colossus.” This one features a episode of “Trust in Brother,” one of the propaganda TV shows that appear in the Nazi-run game world. It’s like a twisted version of “The Andy Griffith Show.”

“Wolfenstein: The New Colossus” launches Oct. 27 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

Game over? Not just yet

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When I started writing about video games here at the Gazette-Mail more than a decade ago, I told myself that if the process of playing and talking about games — two things that I have genuinely loved doing since I first picked up an Atari 2600 paddle as a kid — ever came to feel like work, I would stop.

And late last year, as I found myself struggling to manage my time amidst the added responsibilities and new hours of my new role in the office, playing and talking about video games started to feel like work. I know it sounds silly, the very notion that playing video games of all things could become overwhelming. But that’s exactly how I felt. I was no longer playing games for the enjoyment of it, I was playing because I had to. No sooner than I finished one game, it was on to the next. I began to resent what had, to that point, been one of my favorite pastimes.

I was drowning in a pool of pixels.

So I did what I promised myself I would do if that situation ever happened. I quit.

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Review: ‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’

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At a glance, “Horizon: Zero Dawn” bears a striking resemblance to any number of open-world action games on the market.

The influences are hard to miss, whether it’s the post-apocalyptic world reclaimed by nature (“Fallout”), the protagonist’s ability to see things in the world undetectable to the naked eye thanks to the aid of technology (Rocksteady’s “Batman” series), or how large sections of the game map are revealed by platforming to the top of a tall structure (“Far Cry”).

But look closer and you’ll find a game that, while familiar, succeeds in forging its own path. “Horizon: Zero Dawn” isn’t just another open-world game, it’s one of the best games of any genre I’ve had the pleasure of playing.

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Review: ‘Battlefield 1’

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While other first-person shooters continue to push into the near-future and beyond, developer DICE has taken a step back with its “Battlefield” franchise. Back in time, that is.

Set during the first World War, “Battlefield 1” stands out from the crowd by offering a more grounded shooting experience that draws heavily from the source material with era-specific weapons, vehicles and settings. Indeed, playing “Battlefield 1” is an adrenaline-fueled history lesson that manages to pay reverence to the tens of thousands who fought and died during that brutal conflict while still providing an intense gaming experience.

This is especially true during the campaign, which plays out in a series of stand-alone missions centered around specific characters and their respective stories. Each of these bite-sized adventures also help serve as an introduction to the skills you’ll need to be successful in the game’s multiplayer modes. Whether you’re taking on the role of a hotshot fighter pilot, driving a tank through the German lines or facing insurmountable odds as a member of the Harlem Hellfighters, the single-player portion of “Battlefield 1” is both a learning tool and a painful reminder of the horrors of war.

While the campaign certainly deserves your attention, the real star here is the vast multiplayer suite.

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