The Xbox One has enjoyed a pretty decent year so far with the release of Quantum Break, ReCore, and Forza Horizon 3. While only the latter of those has met with critical and commercial success, the company is today releasing a title that is sure to be a hit and may even help push some consoles out of the door. What game is that? It’s Gears of War 4, of course.It has been a few years since we’ve gotten a new, main-line Gears game (sorry, Judgement) and the excitement for this title is understandably high. Pure cover-based shooters are a rare thing these days so it is refreshing to have a game that goes back to basics. Even though Gears of War 4 will deliver the sort of experience that fans of the franchise expect, it will also have a good amount of new features which should keep it from being another stale retread (again, I’m looking at you, Judgement).Gears of War 4 has a lot going on for it, but here are the top five reasons why Xbox One and PC gamers should be excited for the game.1. New friends, new enemiesPrevious Gears games focused on Marcus Fenix and his allies but now that 25 years have passed since the world-shattering events of Gears of War 3, a new generation has arisen to replace the old guard. Even though we will see some familiar faces, most of the characters in the game will be brand-new to the series. These include the game’s protagonist, JD Fenix, his best friend, Delmont “Del” Walker, and their ally, Kait Diaz.On top of new human characters, we’ll be introduced to a new batch of enemy creatures. In place of The Locust, we have The Swarm. Though these monsters are very similar to The Locust, they will have some new and terrifying tricks up their collective sleeve. It remains to be seen how or if these foes are related to The Locust, but we should expect that they’ll have their own interesting origin story.Most surprising of all is that your enemies won’t all be monsters or mutated humans. JD and friends aren’t exactly on good terms with the world government so there will be portions of the game where they have to face off again military robots. This will add an all-new dimension to combat that will help the game stand out from previous titles.2. Return of Horde ModeEvery modern day multiplayer mode that has players facing off against waves of enemies owes its existence to Gears of Wars’ Horde Mode. Gears of War 4’s Horde 3.0 will have everything players love about Horde Mode but with new mission parameters, weapons, barriers, and more. This won’t be your dad’s old Horde mode that’s for sure.This time, Horde will have character classes to choose from and each of the five (Engineer, Scout, Sniper, Soldier, and Heavy) have a specific role to play. Each class will be upgradeable so it is best to level them up by playing a few games on Easy and Normal before tackling the harder difficulties.Like the previous Horde Mode, you will be able to create defenses to hold back enemies. These come via the Fabricator which can not only create things like barriers, decoys, and turrets, but also store your weapons and let you purchase new items. With 50 waves to survive against, you’ll need to utilize the Fabricator to its fullest.3. The best looking GearsThe first Gears of War was a technical powerhouse which made the Unreal Engine the go-to engine for many developers last generation. Gears of War 4 will be the very first AAA exclusive game to utilize the latest version of Unreal Engine 4. Like with the original Gears, Gears 4 will be a wonder on both Xbox One and PC.The Xbox One may not be as powerful as the PS4, but it does a great job of providing its users with great looking exclusive games. Rise of the Tomb Raider and the recently released Forza Horizon 3 are a testament to this. Gears of War 4, however, will truly reveal what Microsoft’s console is capable of, graphics-wise.Then of course there is the PC version which is being released on the same day as the console edition. Unlike previous Play Anywhere titles, Gears of War 4 has been fully optimized for the PC. This means that PC users will get a ridiculous amount of optimization options to play around with. As impressive as this game will look and run on Xbox One, the definitive version of Gears of War 4 will be on PC.4. New WeaponsGears of War 4 will see the return of classic weapons like the Longshot, Snub Pistol, and of course the chainsaw equipped Lancer. Along with these, there will be a couple of new weapons to help fight off the game’s evil forces. Gears of War 4 takes place during a time where humans are restoring their world, so the new weapons are modified construction equipment.The Dropshot lets you shoot an aerial mine that hovers over the battlefield in a straight line. When you let go of it, the mine will drill down into the ground before exploding. You can also use it to drill into an enemy’s head which will result in them exploding into glorious chunks of meat. This weapon, like the Digger from Gears of War 3, takes some practice to fully master.The Buzzkill fires chainsaws in rapid succession. The blades can be shot at walls where they will ricochet at various angles. This is a great weapon to use if you want to kill many enemies at once, however, the blades can come back and hurt you so you’ll have to make sure not to fire it all willy-nilly lest you cut your own head off.Finally, there is a combat knife which can be used to perform brutal melee finishers. In multiplayer, knives take on different appearances depending on which faction you play as.5. Play AnywhereLike ReCore, Quantum Break and Forza Horizon 3, Gears of War 4 is an Xbox Play Anywhere title. Those who buy the game on Xbox One will be able to play it on Windows 10, and vice versa at no additional cost. There will also be crossplay support between Xbox One and PC, meaning that the same game save can be used across both systems. You’ll be able to start the campaign on Xbox One, continue playing it on a Windows 10 PC or laptop, and then return to Xbox One without any progress being lost.Because of the crossplay functionality, players on PC and Xbox One will be able to face each other in the game’s various multiplayer modes. How this is being regulated is unknown, as PC players have a distinct advantage over their console counterparts thanks to mouse and keyboard controls. In some ways, Gears of War 4 could prove once and for all which platform has the most skilled players: PC or console.There are several other reasons to be excited about for Gears of War 4 such as: the start of a new trilogy from The Coalition, a bigger focus on eSports, dynamic weather, and split screen co-op. We’ll have to see how folks end up reacting to the game during the upcoming weeks, but from everything we’ve seen so far (not to mention the positive feedback from those who got the game early), it appears that Microsoft will be delivering one of the strongest titles of 2016.
Stay on target AlphaGo, you’ve just been crowned world Go champion. What are you going to do next?The research team behind Google’s elite algorithm is moving on to “the next set of grand challenges: developing advanced general algorithms that could one day help scientists tackle some of our most complex problems.”According to DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis and lead researcher Dave Silver, that including curing diseases, reducing energy consumption, and inventing new materials.“We’ve been humbled by the Go community’s reaction to AlphaGo, and the way professional and amateur players have embraced its insights about this ancient game,” a company blog post said. “We plan to bring that same excitement and insight to a range of new fields and try to address some of the most important and urgent scientific challenges of our time. We hope that the story of AlphaGo is just the beginning.”In early 2016, the pair introduced AlphaGo, which handily won all but one of its 500 games against top artificial intelligence Go programs and beat three-time European champ Fan Hui five games to zero.The system made headlines last year when it won four of five matches against world champion Lee Sedol, then again last week after defeating reigning No. 1 player 19-year-old Ke Jie.“While AlphaGo is stepping back from competitive play, it’s certainly not the end of our work with the Go community, to which we owe a huge debt of gratitude for their encouragement and motivation over the past few years,” Hassabis and Silver said, tipping a final academic paper and new teaching tool.“Just like our first AlphaGo paper, we hope that other developers will pick up the baton, and use these new advances to build their own set of strong Go programs,” the DeepMind team said.Players and fans, meanwhile, can keep an eye out for a new tool, developed in collaboration with Jie, which gives unprecedented insight into how AlphaGo thinks.Invented in China more than 2,500 years ago and played by more than 40 million people worldwide, Go requires players to place black or white stones on a board and capture the opponent’s pieces or surround empty spaces to build territories.Despite its apparent simplicity, the game features more possible moves than there are atoms in the universe, eliminating traditional “brute force” AI methods, which simply search for all conceivable sequences of moves.“We wanted to give a special gift to fans of Go around the world,” Silver and Hassabis said, unveiling a “special set of 50 AlphaGo vs AlphaGo games, played at full length time controls, which we believe contain many new and interesting ideas and strategies.” 50 Attorneys General Launch Bipartisan Probe Into GoogleYouTube Fined $170M For Alleged Child Privacy Law Violation