I just streamed Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify on a plane — all at once

Gogo, the company that’s become synonomous with in-flight Wi-Fi, is preparing to give flyers a huge speed boost. This week Gogo invited a crew of journalists out to its Chicago headquarters to get a close look at 2Ku satellite internet, which the company claims is the next generation of connectivity in the skies. For years, in-flight Wi-Fi has really only been good for web browsing and messaging. But now, as 2Ku moves toward commercial launch (big airlines like Delta have already signed on), Gogo is almost ready for you to stream Netflix, HBO, YouTube, and other services on a plane.

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Author: Chris Welch

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Surviving Zombies in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

Morg City is a weird place. There are tentacular monsters, bulbous glowing plants, and sacrificial altars. Also, Jeff Goldblum is a practicing magician.

Despite the oddities at play here, Call of Duty: Black Ops III continues Treyarch’s survival horror spin-offs with Shadows of Evil, the newest Zombies installment set in the 1940s on a sprawling map. There are myriad obstacles preventing you from progressing too far from the outset, and even Zombies veterans will need time to learn the ropes.

Figuring out the bizarre, mysterious objectives involving malignant artifacts and ancient curses is half the fun of Shadows of Evil, so we won’t spoil those. But we have compiled a list of tips that should get you past the early rounds in Treyarch’s odd new world. Check it out below.

Stick Together

This one may sound obvious. Zombies is built for cooperative play, after all. But nothing buries a team in an ocean of rotting limbs like its heroes going rogue. At times you may need to branch off from the group, or split up in the interest of time, but by and large, sticking with your teammates is the best way to ensure progression. Plus, Shadows of Evil has a huge map, with branching alleyways and hidden crannies. Covering every sight line is crucial when the waves of enemies become more challenging.

Make Money and Save It

The main focus in the early rounds is managing your money, and a few things can aid you in that pursuit. First, stick to your handgun as long as possible. It’s weak, but if you make the shots count, it will conserve ammo for the tougher fights ahead. Also, if you’re not a Zombies veteran, the next tip may sound counter intuitive, but: let the zombies through the boarded up windows. By killing them after they’ve broken through the barriers, you’ll get an extra 50-70 points more from replacing the defenses in the aftermath. By saving up enough money, you’ll have access to the more powerful weapons for sale in Morg City.

Use Power Ups Wisely

If you’re lucky, one of your kills will lead to a golden power-up drop. These items implement a handful of changes to your team or the environment, from offensive buffs to veritable Get Out of Jail Free cards. However, you shouldn’t always pick them up right away. Max Ammo power-ups, for example, are best grabbed at the end of a long round, when they’ll replenish all the bullets you spent. Nukes, on the other hand, are more of a judgment call. If your team is in a real bind, then go for it. But if you only have a few zombies left before the next round starts, save the bomb for when it will do the most damage. Lastly: always be smart with the Insta Kill buff. This power-up makes every weapon lethal, so switch to your pistol, or combat knife, or the worst weapon you have, when activating the buff.

Know When to Open Gates

Entering new areas can be both a blessing and a curse. You’ll have more possible routes as a result–but so will the zombies. So make sure you have ample money saved before you open the first gate, usually around wave three or four. Shadows of Evil’s second area is an open courtyard, with several new avenues and escape routes, but defending every vulnerable alleyway can be tough, even with teams of four. Try not to spend more than one wave in this zone. And when it doubt, rely on the next tip….

Leave a Crawler

Notice how new rounds only start once you’ve cleared every zombie from the previous one? You can use that to your advantage. Toward the end of a wave, when there’s one enemy left, throw a grenade at its feet. If you time it right, the explosion will take the monster’s legs off under the knees, but keep it alive. This creates a slow-moving failsafe where a runner used to be. While this creature slides across the map at a painstakingly slow pace, you’ll have time to plan your next move, content with the fact that a new round won’t start until you’ve returned to finish the job. Use this time to plan your next route, stock up on ammo, or purchase new weapons.

Use the Train

Morg City’s train is new to Zombies mode. Although Call of Duty: Black Ops II featured a bus that moved players from place to place, Black Ops III’s method of transportation isn’t essential to the mode. But it is useful. Once you’ve found one of three train stations, you can travel to the other two as a group of four. Not only is this a useful escape route when your team is surrounded or low on ammo, it grants access to areas otherwise gated by tolls, opening up more of the map in the process. There’s also a fair amount of room on Morg City’s locomotive, so feel free to lure the aforementioned crawler onboard with you, too. This will let you keep a better eye on it.

Gobblegum Abilities

Gobblegum perks are also new to Zombies mode this time around, and offer a wide array of helpful buffs. One masks you from the undead for ten seconds. Another multiplies your melee damage by five. A third incinerates nearby zombies when you take damage. In order to use these helpful buffs, just pay 500 points at one of the several Gobblegum machines scattered throughout Morg City and consume the random result. You can tweak your Gobblegum loadout in the pre-game menu, and swap new ones in as you rank up in Shadows of Evil’s progression system. The Gobblegum perks may seem negligible, but their cheap price and ease of use make them lifesavers in certain situations.

The Beast

This is where things get weird. In several of Morg City’s districts, you’ll find a small chalice bathed in purple light. Activate these. By doing so, you’ll transform into a writhing creature with branching tentacles and a cylindrical body. Gross as it may look, it’s actually useful. Not only does its melee attack can crush several zombies at once, but it revives your teammates faster, too. It also has an electrical charge that can activate perk machines in several areas. And in the interest of opening secret routes and mysterious containers, keep an eye out for glowing orange symbols–only the Beast can manipulate these. You won’t gain any money as the Beast, but it’s perfect for exploration and desperate situations.

So there you have it. These tips should get you through Shadows of Evil’s earlier rounds, giving you the opportunity to explore the deeper parts of Treyarch’s undead story. If you have any further insights or useful tips, be sure to leave them in the comments section below.

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Author: Mike Mahardy

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Google Play Books is getting new features for comic book fans

With apps like ComiXology and Marvel Unlimited, comic book readers already have a few ways to get their fix. But it looks like Google is trying to cater more closely to those customers, as Play Books will soon have new options to make reading and discovering comics easier.

First, the company will be offering a scrolling, landscape layout built to make reading less frustrating on mobile devices. To find something to read, Google’s also adding new curated pages and recommendations for comics, organizing options by issue and volume.

Google says this is the first time it’s made changes to Play Books aimed specifically at the comic-book-reading public. The options, especially the new reading format, should bring Play Books closer in line…

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Author: Colin Lecher

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Halo 5 Update Adds Big Team Battle, New Maps, Ninja-Themed Armor Next Week

Following an initial tease last week, 343 Industries has now provided full details on the free update coming to Halo 5: Guardians later this month. Arguably the biggest part of the update, called Battle of Shadow and Light, is the introduction of the Big Team Battle multiplayer mode and four new maps for it.

Big Team Battle is an 8v8 mode, and will become the largest non-Warzone mode in Halo 5. The new maps are Deadlock, Basin, Guillotine, and Recurve, all of which are inspired by maps seen in previous games.

Battle of Shadow Light also adds 48 new Reqs, including Shinobi armor, the Star Light Rifle, and the Tundra Mantris, which has extra armor compared to the regular version. There are also more vehicle skins and assassinations. Check out the image below to see all the new REQs.

Halo 5’s Big Team Battle playlist arrives sometime next week, though 343 did not announce a specific date. Presumably, the new Reqs will also be available at the same time, though this was not confirmed.

Halo 5 will continue to expand in December with the release of the game’s Forge tools. Overall, 343 will deliver 15 free maps by next summer.

Halo 5 launched on October 27 and generated a franchise-record $400 million. It was also the most-played game on Xbox Live during its launch week, a fact that Xbox boss is particularly proud of after Halo: The Master Chief Collection’s issues a year ago.

For more on Halo 5, check out GameSpot’s review and what other critics are saying.

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Author: Eddie Makuch

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Game of the Month – October 2015

We’re another month into the fall season of 2015, and the barrage of good games hasn’t slowed down. October housed a diverse array of stellar titles, from hand-drawn Norse adventures to unforgiving platformers.

It was also a great month for expansions. CD Projekt Red released the first major addition to its masterful RPG The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, giving us a variety of new quests to tackle in Hearts of Stone. Meanwhile, Firaxis Games completely reimagined several facets of its sci-fi strategy game with Civilization: Beyond Earth –– Rising Tide. In this expansion, you establish floating cities that can move, substantially changing the way you can play.

Downwell, on the other hand, exemplified focused design. There are only three buttons and one clear objective: get to the bottom of a randomly generated vertical drop. Despite its simplicity, we sank hours into this difficult scroller, acquiring new abilities and besting our old scores. Then there’s Jotun, a game with influences ranging from Shadow of the Colossus to Dark Souls, but its hand-sketched world makes ample use of Norse mythology, and its fantastic boss battles set it apart.

Later in October, Telltale Games completed the narrative arc of Tales from the Borderlands. Although the series’ episodes ranged from fantastic to just fine, the finale brought everything full circle, wrapping up characters’ journeys in satisfying ways, and making us care about a ragged group of misfits.

Speaking of misfits, the new Assassin’s Creed Syndicate centers on not one, but two assassins in the alleys of London during the Industrial Revolution. With a believable open world, a plethora of side missions to pursue, and two of our favorite protagonists in the perennial series, Syndicate more than made up for the lackluster Assassin’s Creed Unity. Jacob and Evie may be the newest in a long line of leading assassins, but their endearing relationship and dynamic personalities make for some of the better characters in the longrunning series.

But when all is said and done, it was Halo 5: Guardians that captivated us as October came to a close. 343 has fine-tuned player movement and level design with its newest entry, making Spartan abilities fluid and dynamic. The cooperative campaign is also compelling, with eight total super soldiers to choose from.

As for the multiplayer–this is Halo near its peak. Maps are balanced, and differing elevations make battles as vertical as they are expansive. Halo 5 also ditches the Call of Duty-inspired loadout system of Halo 4, opting instead to return to the classic Halo formula, weapon pickups and all.

But it’s the new Warzone multiplayer mode that truly sets Guardians apart. Drawing clear inspiration from MOBAs, Warzone pits two teams against each other on massive battlefields and a variety of mini-bosses to change up the player-vs.-player skirmishes. With each team racing to 1000 points and the new requisition system fueling weapon and vehicle possibilities, Warzone is the mode that kept us playing despite a slew of excellent fall releases. It not only makes Halo 5 worth returning to often, but clears a promising path for innovation in the shooter genre.

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Author: Mike Mahardy

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