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    Through the Darkest of Times

    Can you survive and help take down the Nazis?
    through the darkest of times artwork

    Wander into Germany during the rise of the Nazi party in Through the Darkest of Times, brought to us by Paintbucket Games and Handygames. Lead a resistance group in Berlin to gather information, help free the people, and weaken the regime. And do it on any device you like!

    Art, history, & strategy

    The artwork for Through the Darkest of Times is a striking style that instantly captivated me and is the primary reason I sought out a key to review. I’ve been playing it on and off for a while now on my phone, which honestly has been really nice because I can do that anywhere. Every time I get to see a new scene I’m reminded just how gorgeous the game is and really lends itself to telling such a generally bleak story.

    Obviously, the game’s story is rooted in actual events that happened leading up to World War II and you play as the leader of a resistance group. Every day you choose new tasks for your team to do like gather supplies, convert new supporters, spread the truth, or even attack special points of interest to weaken supply lines or gather vital documents to use against the regime.

    Even on mobile, the controls are super easy to use and the game doesn’t take much time to understand how to play. It’s a well-built interface and I haven’t run into a single bug. But the real star of the show is the stories and how your choices affect outcomes.

    Throughout the game, you’ll have choices to make that will direct what happens to your character and how the story progresses. Personally I think I played a very linear character that had set ideals but I’d be curious to go back through the story again and choose other reactions to events and maybe build up a character who takes a more aggressive approach instead of the quieter more passive stealth game I played. It’s definitely worthy of replaying to find out what things change.

    Get your copy today!

    I’m excited to report that this game is now available on mobile, PC, PS4, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. While I enjoyed the freedom of playing it on my phone I think having it on a larger screen would be really nice and I’m looking forward to playing it on stream or YouTube some time in the near future.

    Grab yourself a copy in the Google Play Store, Apple Store, Steam, or included in the August Humble Bundle Choice!

    #Disclaimer: A product key was provided to me for review from Terminals. The review is 100% my unbiased opinion of the game and I played it only on mobile (Android).

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    Valorant’s New Skins

    Because using the regular guns is for scrubs
    Elderflame Dragon

    Riot is no stranger to monetizing their games by frequently adding in cosmetics for players to show off during games. So it’s no surprise that Valorant has already released it’s first set of high dollar skins. Last week, Valorant released an Ultra Edition set (more on that later) called Elderflame. Check out the release video below for all the awesome visuals.

    WTF is an Ultra Edition?

    Valorant has five tiers of skins at varying price points. Select, Deluxe, Premium, Ultra, and Exclusive. As you’d imagine, the lowest tier is just pretty pattern skins that aren’t too involved and as you get higher on the list the guns/knives get prettier and include animations. (see below for the general prices per gun per tier)

    As you can tell from the video, the Elderflame skins have a lot going on. Not only are their base models animated and have special sound effects, but you can use Radianite points to upgrade them to be more animated and change to different color dragons.

    So, how much does this fancy set cost?

    The Elderflame costs a whopping 9990 Valorant Points (VP), which translates into about $100. In the bundle you get the knife, card, spray, and title in addition to Frenzy, Judge, Vandal, and Operator gun skins. And spending money to buy VP to then buy Radianite Points to upgrade the skins with is just.. well it’s a lot. Probably another $100 if you wanted to upgrade them all, if not more.

    And I hear you out there, “who pays $100 for cosmetics in a game?!” Obviously many people because I have run into quite a few dragon guns this week and based on how much I’ve seen CS:GO skins go for, and how much I’ve personally spent in other Riot games… well there are a lot of us out there who love to buy cosmetics to support the games we love.

    And the skins keep coming!

    Hot on the heels of the Elderflame set comes Oni and Sakura. Leaked earlier this week but now showing in the game after this morning’s update, are some gorgeous skins with Japanese themes: demons and cherry blossoms! As someone who loves everything Japanese, you can bet I’m hyped about the arrival of these beauties.

    There’s no information yet about how they will be priced but I’m guessing they are the next set to be in the bundle shop when Elderflame leaves in a few hours. My guess is that they will be Premium Edition prices for the Oni items (due to the skin variants) and perhaps Deluxe Edition prices for the Sakura ones (as they are static).

    Going forward

    I’m curious to see what other designs Riot comes up with and extra curious to see what ends up being in that Exclusive Edition tier. I hope that those tie into fun events or eSports. Only time (and leaks) will tell! Time to get a side hustle cause these things are expensive and either my wallet or I am gonna cry!

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    June 2020 Twitch Clips

    We dare you not to laugh…

    The June Twitch clips are guaranteed to make you laugh until your sides hurt. Our community clipped epic moments from our 12 hour Sea of Thieves marathon, some Fortnite fun, and the time we all learned about the squat potty thanks to Animal Crossing.

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    Valorant is Live!

    A 5v5 tactical shooter from Riot Games
    Valorant artwork featuring agents Sova, Phoenix, Viper, Jett, and Cypher

    Load up, Let’s Become Valorant!

    It seems like only a few months ago that Riot teased us with an upcoming shooter, only referred to as “Project A“. Since then Riot has made it a solid entry into the FPS market and dubbed it Valorant. The game is a tactical 5v5 shooter flaunting a good array of playable characters, a variety of play styles, and, in true Riot fashion, a beautiful art style. After a hyped beta season the game is ready for an early launch, worldwide, starting today!

    How to Play the Game

    When you load into Valorant you’ll have a starting group of agents to choose from. Each agent has their own set of abilities that make them unique and provide different advantages in the field. There are 11 total agents currently: Sage, Phoenix, Sova, Jett, Viper, Raze, Brimstone, Breach, Omen, Cypher, and the new addition, Reyna.

    There are four maps: Bind, Split, Haven, and the new addition, Ascent. Each map is unique and gives different ways for the player to use their agents skills. There are a lot of interesting ways to do trick shots or really hinder enemy teams with certain skills in each map.

    Everyone has access to the same equipment: 1 pistol, 1 automatic firearm, and 2 levels of armor. You also begin with your special ability. Everyone starts round 1 with the same amount of credits to purchase abilities and gear. Each round you earn more credits based on performance.

    Each match of Valorant is up to 25 rounds long. You begin on either attackers (bomb planting) or defenders (defusing). The first half is 12 rounds, then you change sides. The first team to reach 13 wins is declared the winner of the match.

    Every round has a 100 second timer in which to plant the bomb. Once the bomb is planted you have 45 seconds to defuse. That means a drawn out match can last close to an hour.

    At the end of the match you’ll get to see a data rundown. Who got MVP, how your team did, and how well you did. You’ll also see what XP you earned and if you completed any daily objectives (extra XP tasks that change every 24 hours).

    New Mode: Spike Rush

    Don’t have time for an hour long game? The new Spike Rush mode speeds things up with added power ups, randomized weapon load-out, and a shorter duration. Be the first team to 4 wins!

    Might just be a great way to get your bearings if you’re new!

    Valorant Phoenix & Jett artwork

    Valorant’s Beta Period

    Instead of following the usual route of emailing players beta invites, Riot pulled a genius move. Valorant beta access was awarded by linking your Riot account to your Twitch account and then watching someone stream the game with drops enabled. This move brought thousands of viewers out to streams and put Valorant on the radar for pretty much everyone on Twitch (of which there are millions).

    I got my access a few days or so into the beta period after hardcore lurking in channels. I’ve been a “Riot Fangirl” since the beta of League of Legends, I’ve played every game they’ve made. So I wasn’t about to miss out on this one – which I’d been eagerly awaiting since “Project A” was revealed.

    I’ve played a fair bit of Counter Strike, beginning with Source and then Global Offensive. Though the past few years I’ve only hopped in to play Arms Race, I enjoy the premise of the bomb plant/defusal mode. I just found it was lacking something to keep my attention.

    Valorant filled the hole by making unique agents with abilities to use in the match. It brings added difficulty and raises the skill level in addition to making the game mode just more interesting. And I’m definitely not alone. Many others say they’ve fallen in love with Valorant way more than they ever liked CS:GO for this exact reason.

    The beta period had several patches as well as a test of the competitive scene. There have been a few small tournaments and Riot’s teaming up with Twitch for a big one after Launch. Riot’s done a good job of breaking ground to lay a solid foundation for years of esports for the game.

    While the game had bugs, like all games do, I had very little issues while playing Valorant. My machine is by no means top of the line (sorry grandpa but you’re 6 years old now), but it handled everything smoothly. I never had issues with lag and rarely any connection issues. Nothing that kept me from having fun with the game, technically at least – we’ll talk about the bad apples later on.

    All in all, I think Valorant had a successful beta. I think they got a lot of feedback, were able to squash a lot of issues and bugs, and built hype for their game. There will be a period where everyone gets to learn the game before competitive opens up, almost like a beta 2.0.

    I wish Riot a wonderful, smooth, server crash free launch!

    Valorant loading screen featuring Brimstone and Sage entering the portal

    Beginner Advice

    For those just learning to play Valorant, I recommend picking up Sage, Phoenix, or Jett. In comparison to other agents, these four are easier to learn and each has skills that can get you out of a bind. Sage is a healer with a wall that can use to block off corridors and save yourself if needed. Phoenix has a blind and if he stands in his fire skills he heals. Jett has a dash skill that can be used to get out of close quarter fights or zoom across a vulnerable opening to gain cover, she also has smoke spheres to take away vision.

    There are guide videos and articles you can use to get an idea of what each agent does but the best way to learn is by getting in a match and actually trying to use their skills. Take your time and stick with other teammates in the game when you’re new.

    You’ll want to learn the layout of each map as well as learn what certain chokepoints are called. You’ll hear a lot of different names for these places that are not what they’re called on the map. Things like “heaven”, “hookah”, “showers”, etc. Over time you’ll start understanding what each is and be able to call out better to your team as well. Communication is key to a game like this. If you aren’t comfortable using your mic in-game, use the chat, or learn the built-in ping commands.

    Another pointer is to pay attention to your econ, or economy – your credit spending on guns and abilities. Don’t just fling out and waste your abilities. And don’t just buy the most expensive gun you can every time or you’ll run out of money fast (unless you’re murdering everyone every round, in which case buy your favorite pew pew). Pay attention to what guns drop on the ground when someone dies. You can pick them up and use them!

    Lastly, find a buddy. It’s pretty obvious, but team games are easier and funner when you’ve got a good team with you. If you don’t have friends to play with, try adding friendly players after a match. You’d be surprised how many people will accept the request and queue up with you!

    See You in Game!

    Valorant is Free-to-Play so there’s no excuse not to try it out! Sign up and download the client at PlayValorant.com.

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