Cops nab man for crashing a drone into the Empire State building

imageA New Jersey native's drone has recently crashed into the Empire State building, and unlike the person whose machine hit Seattle's Great Wheel, he didn't get away with it. Authorities have arrested the man an NBC affiliate identified as Sean Nivin Ri…

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How to share and import custom XCOM 2 soldiers

XCOM 2, the character creation game with a small strategy component, is finally out (and it’s amazing). This time around, XCOM 2 has a significantly more robust character creation kit that allows you to export your soldiers to a file, which you can then share and throw at unwary internet passersby. The problem is, the game doesn’t exactly tell you how to go about it.

Here’s how you can create, export, and propagate your creations with the rest of the world.

Step one: create some characters

Kylo Ren

From the main menu, click Character Pool, and then Create Character. Think about who will break your heart the most when an alien eats theirs, and do your magic. Dwell on what you’ve created. Is it right for man to play God? Yes? Good. Moving on.

Step two: export the characters to a pool

Next, we need to create a new character pool, which is simply a bin file the game exports the characters of your choosing to—the shareable bit. Head back to the main Character Pool screen and you’ll see a list of every character you’ve created so far. Check the boxes next to the characters you want to share and click Export Selection.

Character Pool Export Xcom 2

First, we need to create a new Character Pool where our grumpy little Jedi will live. Click Create New Pool and a prompt will come up asking you to name it. Type in something recognizable and hit Confirm to get dumped back to the character pool list. Now, this is important and easy to miss: your characters have not been exported yet. Click on your newly created character pool to get a prompt that asks if you really want to copy your character into the selected pool. Hit Yes.

Your custom soldiers are sent to the titular pool where they’ll chill in some temperate, sterile waters sipping on a fruity cocktai—er, wrong pool. They’ll actually be chilling in a bin file located by default in your documents folder.

Step three: share

Find the Importable folder and look for your character pool bin file.This is what my file path looks like on Windows 10:

C:\Users\[username]\Documents\My Games\XCOM2\XComGame\CharacterPool\Importable

File Location Xcom 2

Copy and distribute the file using whatever method suits the sharing: flash drives, cloud storage, a few floppy disks, or dog courier.

Importing characters

To import custom soldiers from other sources, copy the provided bin file to the Importable character pool folder—the same place your character pools export to—and boot up XCOM 2. Head to the Character Pool from the main menu again, but this time, click on Import Character. Find the name of the bin file you’d like to import from and give it a click.

Import Xcom 2

Finally, select the characters you’d like to import and, boom, they’re in your active character pool, ready to assist with the alien murder whenever necessary.

Want some practice? We’ll have some soldiers to show off soon. In the meantime, share yours in the comments.

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The Wirecutter’s best deals: A Vizio smart TV and more!

imageThis post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer's guide to the best technology. Read their continuously updated list of deals at TheWirecutter.com.

You may have already seen Engadget posting reviews from our friends at The Wirecutter….

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Registration opens for the ‘Mirror’s Edge Catalyst’ test run

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PayPal has a Super Bowl ad, too

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Lego Marvel’s Avengers review

Need to know

What is it? A tired Lego game version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.
Expect to pay: $ 40/ £25
Developer: TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros
Reviewed on: AMD FX-6200 CPU, 16GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 7870
Multiplayer:
Local co-op
Link: Official site

All Lego games are the same, except for when they’re not. Lego Batman 2, with its open world Gotham City and brilliant videogame interpretation of Superman was far more interesting to play than its 2014 sequel, for example, which mainly focused on some boring Green Lantern space adventures—and I love me some Green Lantern, even after the much-derided 2011 movie. The light puzzles and collectable-heavy platforming remains the same in each Lego game, but for each worthwhile entry, there’s a bunch of duff ones that are worth skipping. Lego Avengers is somehow both at the same time.

Avengers offers a similar deal of stud collecting and switch-hitting, this time based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, with some other bits and pieces stuck on. The basic Lego formula by itself is not too bad, but when a lot of attention has been paid to the accompanying fan service or the environments look like they’ve had a ton of work put into them, the Lego games can end up being fantastic fun, both for irritating children and hungover adults. This is TT Games on autopilot, though, and there’s not a lot of passion in the results.

Some of the movie fights are turned into QTE sequences that even lazy children will have no trouble with.
Some of the movie fights are turned into QTE sequences that even lazy children will have no trouble with.

I’ve rarely been this bored playing through the story mode of a Lego game. The meat of the content is based on The Avengers, with other levels covering Marvel’s superior phase two films, like Age of Ultron, The Winter Soldier and Iron Man 3, sequels that all benefitted from having the bar significantly raised by Joss Whedon’s 2012 team-up flick. There’s even a (not very good) flashback level based on the first Captain America featuring Cap and Bucky. The level design for the story stuff is just uninspired, though, and the attempt to make the character dialogue feel authentic by using recordings straight from the movies ends up backfiring in an almost Return of Chef-style fashion.

Problem is, they sound like they’ve been grabbed straight off the DVDs using Final Cut Pro, and have been awkwardly cut into the Lego cutscenes, with the series’ arbitrary slapstick bolted on for good measure (Thor twats a guy with a hammer, but there’s a pig there now, etc). It’s unconvincing and cheapens the game more than if they’d just kept the characters silent, like the Star Wars games did. Worse still is when the game plays quips mid-game, so you have Cap using his ‘if you get killed…walk it off’ line from Age of Ultron but with the movie’s background noise seemingly still audible—it sounds like something I knocked together in Garageband with a deadline of about ten minutes.

There’s not one visually interesting or inventive puzzle in the entire Avengers section of the game, and it falls short of 2013’s colourful, location-filled Lego Marvel Super Heroes. TT Games barely conjures an illusion of this feeling like the films. This is a game for young, noisy children, sure, but even they deserve a little better than this. I yawned my way to the closing credits, which is such a shame when the source material the devs are working with is a bunch of the most fun blockbusters of the last decade.

Still, there’s more to the game than that, if you know where to find it. Exit a couple of menus, and you’ll find the Manhattan open world from Lego Marvel returns with new sidequests to do, as well as a near full-size replica of Asgard, and several other locations linked to the movies. These hubs are pretty much buried by the story mode, but wandering around them (some are better than others) with your changeable roster of characters is way more enjoyable than the main game. It’s sandbox-y and less rigidly connected to the movies.

I nerdily flew Captain Universe through Times Square. I had Bruce Banner changing into Hulk and running down Asgard’s rainbow bridge (which, to be fair, may happen in a movie next year). Luke Cage sent me on a sidequest around Manhattan then berated me when I got beat up by Hydra agents (“If I’d wanted to spend the day babysitting I’d have stayed at home. With my actual baby.”) It’s entertaining fan service, as usual, and the characters are wonderfully animated, but the presence of the movie stuff sadly brings nothing to it.

Iron Fist, here, being a goof in his awesome costume.
Iron Fist, here, being a goof in his awesome costume.

Missing, presumably due to movie studio politics (or because I couldn’t find them on the map), are Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and X-Men, which were all present in the last game. There’s some neat, nerdy choices to compensate for that like Squirrel Girl or Jessica Jones, but they might only appeal to comic book dweebs like me rather than the children that are supposed to play this stuff. I’m reliably informed that children, when they’re not being annoying, love Spider-Man. 

Collectively, then, there’s not enough for me to recommend this over Lego Marvel Super Heroes, which is usually $ 5/£4 in Steam sales and has the edge with level design and fan service. Being a fan of the Marvel movies isn’t enough to justify buying this as well—there’s no passion in the translation from screen to game.

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Christian college says mandatory Fitbits won’t track sex

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VAIO’s debut Windows 10 phone is a lot prettier than its name

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Batman: Arkham Knight is no longer coming to Linux or OSX

Batman Arkham Knight

Batman: Arkham Knight was a decent game, but on PC it was an abominable port. It was so bad that publisher Warner Bros. was compelled to remove it from sale weeks after its release, offering refunds to anyone unfortunate enough to buy in early. Nowadays it runs a lot better, but it’s fair to say the whole situation was quite traumatic. As of December it was still being patched up, following its October re-release.

Whether that trauma has anything to do with the Mac and Linux versions of Arkham Knight being canceled, I don’t know. The cancellation was announced on Steam today in as blunt a manner as possible.

“We are very sorry to confirm that Batman: Arkham Knight will no longer be coming to Mac and Linux,” the post reads. ”If you have pre-ordered Batman: Arkham Knight for Mac or Linux, please apply for a refund via Steam.”

Despite the game still being a bit rough around the edges on PC, Warner Bros. started selling DLC for it back in December. It’s a shame the launch was so poor, because beneath the technical shortcomings there’s an okay game, hampered somewhat by annoying Batmobile sequences. In his review, Andy Kelly wrote that it’s ”an entertaining superhero power fantasy, let down by awful Batmobile combat, a laughable villain, and serious performance issues.”

On the topic of bad ports, this recent Durante rundown of the disastrous Tales of Symphonia release is well worth ten minutes.

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If you love adult coloring books, you’ll enjoy ‘Hidden Folks’

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