Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Destiny 2 update 2.9.2 is now live, fixes Gambit spawn freeze, check out the patch notes here

The weekly Destiny 2 reset has occurred and brings the Iron Banner back to the game, plus a lovely new patch that fixes the annoying spawn freeze that has been plaguing Gambit.

However, the big news is that Resonate Stems / Override Frequency / Frequency node will no longer get reset so you won't get duplicates anymore! Hurrah!!!

There's also a bunch of other fixes, check out the notes below.

ACTIVITIES

Gambit
  • Fixed an issue that caused players to freeze when spawning into Gambit.
Prophecy Dungeon
  • Fixed an issue where enemies could stop spawning in Hexahedron area, blocking players from progressing.
Nightfall
  • Fixed an issue where enemies would stop responding to players if they carried motes from a Contact event into the Savathun's Song or Festering Core Nightfall.

GAMEPLAY AND INVESTMENT

Investment

  • Fixed an issue where players who completed Tommy's Matchbook catalyst pursuit were re-awarded it.
  • Fixed an issue where the Trials vendor engram advertised rewards at zero Power level.
      • Note: This was simply a display error; the actual Power you would receive was not affected.
  • Fixed an issue where the Cold Denial ornament ADS view looked very different from the base weapon.
  • Prestige Eater of Worlds and Spire of Stars ornaments can be viewed in collections.
  • The "Become Legend" step of the New Light quest incorrectly asked players to reach Power level 950.
      • It now correctly ask players to reach Power level 1000.
  • Redrix's Broadsword will now be available to reclaim from Collections.
      • Note: This will be locked to the first roll rewarded when completing the Broadsword quest.
  • Made improvements to Sleeper Node RNG on Mars.
      • When combining Resonate Stems, it is very unlikely that the resulting Override Frequency will unlock a node in your current area. For example, if you need to unlock a node in Heatsink, you should leave Heatsink before creating an Override Frequency.
      • Destiny 2 has an internal checklist of nodes you have unlocked. This checklist is separate from the count you see in game, and prior to this fix, the checklist would frequently be cleared. Clearing this checklist is the reason duplicates were so common. Going forward, the checklist will never be cleared.
      • Note: If you create an Override Frequency for a node that you have opened in the past, you should open the node again instead of deleting the Override Frequency. This will allow the internal checklist to be updated, and help prevent future duplicates.
  • Spider will begin offering three weekly Wanted bounties, up from one.
      • Note: These bounties will now award 10k Glimmer, down from 15k.
  • Fixed an issue where the Guardian Games quest was still present in some players' inventories.
      • Seriously, if this Quest isn't fully removed this time, we're going to need to talk to Zavala about how Titans are rubbing their win in everyone's faces.
          • It's not very nice of them to do that.
              • Please stop reminding me that Hunters lost.
  • Fixed an issue where players could block quest progress by acquiring Calcified Light without the quest active.
  • Reduced amount of Shader drops from Umbral Engrams.

Weapons

  • Exotics
      • Ruinous Effigy:
          • Transmutation Spheres can no longer be picked up by players with active Super abilities.
      • Perks that provide ability energy on Super activation (Apotheosis Veil, Radiant Largesse) now activate after Super energy is consumed.
          • These perks used to activate during the Super's warmup, but that allowed players to cancel their Super during warmup to gain ability energy without consuming their Super energy.
          • This change will prevent activating these perks for "free."
      • Fixed an issue affecting the perks on Jade Rabbit and Merciless.
          • Perks that activate "on hit" weren't triggering properly when projectiles over-penetrated their target

Armor

  • Solstice of Heroes:
      • When in first person view, most of the Gauntlets are invisible except for the gold trim and hands.
      • Fixed a misaligned solstice glow on Hunter Solstice leg arrangement.
      • Increased glow intensity.

General 

  • Fixed an issue on Steam where certain player persona names could cause Weasel errors.

Source: Bungie


Xbox Series S design, pricing and November release date confirmed by Microsoft [Updated]

Updates: Well, the cat is well and truly out of the bag. Microsoft have now confirmed almost everything you need to know about the Xbox Series S console, its design, price and availability.

The Xbox Series S will be out on 10th November – almost certainly alongside the Xbox Series X – and will be priced at $299 / £249.99 / €299. It's not sure if this is a fully global launch, but the date has been declared by US and UK Xbox accounts on Twitter and it's in the reveal trailer.

The launch trailer digs into the capabilities of the device, which targets a 1440p resolution with upscaling for 4K, but allows for up to 120 FPS with variable refresh rate support via HDMI 2.1, and also features DirectX Raytracing support. The console includes a custom 512GB SSD, which is half the size of the one found in Xbox Series X.

Some elements are still unconfirmed, such as how powerful the CPU and GPU is in relation to the Xbox Series X, though all reports up to now point to the CPU being an absolute match and the GPU being cut down to 1/3rd the power. This alongside the SSD should allow for all Xbox Series X games to run with not compromises outside of the resolution and visual fidelity.

Microsoft initially responded to the overnight imagery and pricing leaks this morning with the following tweet, but that then spurred the leakers on to release the full reveal trailer, almost identical to the one above. The difference? Well, their said "coming November 2020" and Microsoft's official one reveals the full release date for 10th November.

The original post follows:


The long rumoured, speculated and leaked Xbox Series S has seemingly been fully revealed over the weekend, with a number of sources popping up to reveal the console's design and its all-important price point. So, let's get that point out of the way. How much will it cost? $299.

The Xbox Series S is a more compact design that the Xbox Series X, somewhere between the the proportions of an Xbox One S, but with the depth of an Xbox Series X. The biggest space saving seems to come from the lack of an optical disk drive. The design is sure to be polarising, with a white body and a circular black vent on the larger face.

Brad Sams broke the story, and while he only had a single image as his proof, this was followed up by a snippet of video, potentially from a presentation or reveal of the console. He was further backed up by WindowsCentral.

Windows Central also claimed that the Xbox Series X price would be a rather competitive $499, alongside the Series S $299. In both cases, Microsoft will also offer an Xbox All Access financing option, set at $25 per month for the Xbox Series S and $35 per month for the Xbox Series X.

And while all of this is kicking off, what has Microsoft got to say for itself?

The Xbox Series S is expected to be a lower powered version of the Xbox Series X, keeping many of the same attributes, such as the ultra-fast SSD storage and Zen 2 CPU, but compromising on the GPU side of things, reportedly only around the 4 TFLOP mark compared to the Series X's 12 TFLOPs. Where the Xbox Series X is expected to deliver a native 4K resolution, higher frame rates and ray tracing, the cut back "Lockhart" could sacrifice these to reach a lower price point for those buyers without a 4K TV or without as exacting demands from their games graphics, while retaining the minimal loading times and enhanced game worlds that the CPU could provide.

Source: Brad Sams, WindowsCentral


Dead By Daylight update 2.01 adds Descend Below chapter

There's a new wad of spooky content in store for fans of Dead By Daylight, the popular asymmetrical horror game from developers Behaviour Interactive.

Upon booting up the game, you will be asked to download and install Dead By Daylight patch 4.2.0 (or 2.01 for those playing on consoles).

This update is oozing with game changes and bug fixes. More importantly, it kicks off the latest chapter for Dead By Daylight titled Descend Below.

Before we dive into the new update, here's a quick reminder that everyone who owns Dead By Daylight on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One will be entitled to a free next-gen upgrade on PS5 and/or Xbox Series X. Behaviour Interactive recently patched the game with cross-play and cross-progression on selected platforms.

So, what's new in update 2.01? Descend Below introduces a new killer, The Blight: an alchemist who becomes horribly mutated in his pursuit of knowledge. There's a new Survivor too, Felix Richter, and a glut of new Offerings.

See below for the full list of changes being made to Dead By Daylight as part of the Descend Below chapter.

Dead By Daylight Update 4.2.0 Patch Notes

  • Added a new Killer – The Blight.
  • Added a new Survivor – Felix Richter.
  • Added a new Rare Offering for Killers and Survivors – Sacrificial Ward – cancels other offerings that would send you to a specific realm.
  • Added a new Common Offering for Killers and Survivors – Bloodied Blueprint – reveals the aura of basement hooks to you for 20 seconds at the start of the trial. If the map has a Killer Shack, this offering increases the chance that the basement will spawn below it.
  • Added a new Common Offering for Killers and Survivors – Torn Blueprint – reveals the aura of basement hooks to you for 20 seconds at the start of the trial. If the map has a main building, this offering increases the chance that the basement will spawn below it.
  • Added a new Common Offering for Killers and Survivors – Annotated Blueprint – If the map has a Killer Shack, this offering increases the chance that the Hatch will spawn within it.
  • Added a new Common Offering for Killers and Survivors – Vigo's Blueprint – If the map has a main building, this offering increases the chance that the Hatch will spawn within it.

Features & Content

Many in-game objects in Dead By Daylight haven't been changed significantly since the game's launch. As part of our ongoing effort to enhance the game's visuals, many of these objects got visual updates in this patch to bring them closer to our long-term vision for the appearance of the game. Some realms also got visual updates, with more coming later in future patches.

  • Visual updates of several common in-game objects:
    • Visual update of the Generators, including changes to models, animations and VFX. The Survivor repairing animations and VFX were also updated.
    • Visual update of the Pallets, including models and VFX.
    • Visual update of the Lockers.
    • Visual update of the Chests, including the model and changes to the Survivor's interaction. This Survivor interaction has been updated
  • Visual updates to some maps, including additions of breakable walls:
    • Springwood – Updated Badham Preschool Maps I – V
    • Yamaoka Estate – Updated Family Residence and Sanctum of Wrath
  • Update aiming when using the flashlight. Up to 4.1.0, the flashlight would aim up and to the right of the center of the screen. In 4.1.0, the aiming animation was updated, which caused the flashlight to aim more towards right of center. Now, the aim should be squarely in the center.

Bug Fixes

Killer

  • Fixed an issue that caused survivors not to be stunned when shot by the Deathslinger.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Hillbilly's carry and lunge speed to be reduced when equipped with the Tuned Carburetor add on.
  • Fixed an issue that caused all Legion characters to use Julie's animation when the 'Empty Stare' mask was equipped.
  • Fixed an issue that may cause the Oni to lose the ability to enter Blood Fury.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Oni's blood orbs to sometimes flicker in and out of visibility.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Plague's Vile Purge to arc higher than previously.
  • Fixed an issue that cause the Shape not to change stances while in Tier 3 Evil Within.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Trapper's bear trap aura not to appear during the tutorial.

Survivor

  • Fixed an issue that caused survivors to be stuck at the bottom of the Hill on various maps.
  • Fixed several issues that may cause survivors to be misaligned during Moris.

Perk

  • Fixed an issue that caused a regressing generator not to turn red once reaching 0 progress when using the Surveillance perk.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the "Pull Down" prompt to be replaced for Survivors standing next to a pallet while injured and with the Self-Care perk equipped.
  • Fixed an issue that caused survivors to see the auras of breakable walls when equipped with the Windows of Opportunity perk and suffering from the Blind effect.

Other

  • Fixed a crash that would sometimes happen when selecting the Low or Medium Graphics Quality from Medium and above.
  • Reduced rank update errors.
  • HTML markup in player names during social notifications (toast invites) are now handled properly.

Source: Dead By Daylight Forums


Crash Bandicoot 4's alternate universe Tawna revealed as a playable character

Toys for Bob have revealed a new playable character for Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time. Returning from the first game in the long-running platforming series is Crash's one-time girlfriend Tawna. Kind of.

You see, this isn't the Tawna from that first game (where she was reduced to just being a damsel in distress) but rather a Tawna from her own universe where she went on to become the hero. Ripped out of this "Tawnaverse" in Crash Bandicoot 4, she gets to share some of the limelight with Crash, Coco and all the others.

Tawna's been reimagined as a full on action hero, with a spiked leather jacket, a punk hair style with blue stripes and pink leg warmers ripped straight out of the 80s. Playing as her, she has a hook-shot that can be used to grapple and move around quickly, attack enemies and break crates from a distance. She also has a ground-pound attack, spin kicks and an acrobatic wall jump. In other words… she's a badass.

Tawna joins Dingodile and Neo Cortex as the third new playable character, each of which has their own unique movement style and abilities. Crash has even picked up a few new tricks himself, with the four Quantum Masks giving him a number of new abilities.

The game is set after the events of Crash Bandicoot: Warped, deciding to ignore the continuity of everything that came after the PS1 trilogy. The year is 1998, and Crash is just happily maxing and relaxing on his island when he stumbles upon one of the Quantum Masks that seems to know Crash's mask friend Aku-Aku! With the four Quantum Masks returning and a bit Quantum Rift appearing, Crash and chums dive in to explore different times and dimensions to stop Neo Cortex, Dr. N. Tropy and Uka Uka, who've returned from exile.

While set after Warped, the game will also feature Flashback Tapes, puzzle set prior to the first game while Crash was still in captivity and subject to cruel experiments. You'll have to find these tapes through the game, being pitched as an extra challenge for players to overcome.

Crash Bandicoot 4 is out on 2nd October, and Activision have announced that digital pre-orders are now live for the game, which (just as with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2) are the only way that you'll get access to the Crash Bandicoot 4 demo when it's made available on 16th September. Cool.

Source: PS Blog


Pre-orders for the ridiculously expensive gold PlayStation 5 open on September 10th

Good news everyone, you will be able to pre-order your PlayStation 5 in just two days time! Woohoo! All you need to get the new console is an internet connection, a complete lack of taste, and eight grand in cash. That's because this is the very special Truly Exquisite 24 karat gold plated PlayStation 5.

If that's just a little to audacious for your tastes then you may prefer to buy the 18 karat Rose Gold (£8099) or the Platinum PlayStation 5 (£8199) instead, and they all will ship with a suitably covered PlayStation 5 camera, two Dualsense controllers, and a 3D Pulse Headset. Only 250 of each finish will be made and they will be delivered free of charge in a luxury wooden display box.

The question is, do Truly Exquisite know something we don't? Will the standard PlayStation 5 be available for pre-order on the same day?

The luxury gold PlayStation 5 will be the latest in a very long line of custom consoles. Microsoft recently announced the 'Wonder Woman Golden Armor Xbox One X Console' is covered with 24-carat gold leaves which will be will be auctioned off in aid of Together for Her, an initiative launched by the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, leading humanitarian organization CARE, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation to stand in solidarity with women and girls around the world deploying funds and supporting the global response against domestic violence during the time of COVID-19

Now you might be thinking a gold plated console, or indeed a furry console, might cause a few heat issues and you would be right. "Please note, that all the Xbox is for display ONLY, not gameplay. Prize and the successful bidder will also get a standard Xbox One X," say Microsoft.

They also revealed The 'Barbara Minerva Xbox One X Console' has been inspired by Wonder Woman's archenemy, and features "an intricate snakeskin pattern and faux leopard fur for a truly wild appearance" along with silver spikes on the top and front of the console and a gold "Wonder Woman 1984" logo.

They have also created the less impressive 'Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth Xbox One X Console' which is, well, and orange Xbox with a bit of rope stuck to it.

Source: TrulyExquisite


RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition is coming to Nintendo Switch and PC this month

Frontier have decided to let Switch players in on the console theme park management fun this year, announcing that RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition will be coming to Nintendo Switch and PC on 24th September. No, it's not as new and shiny as Planet Coaster will be on other consoles, but look… it's still a classic of the genre.

The game has been revived for the Nintendo Switch with completely new controls to work on the Joy-Con, enhanced visuals and both the Soaked! and Wild! expansion packs. As for why it's coming to PC, the game will also be in widescreen for the first time and improved compatibility for newer PC hardware.

The game will take you through dozens of scenarios as you kit out your parks with over 300 coasters and rides, 500 scenery pieces, 60 shops and services, and 20 animals to look after. There's also a Sandbox Mode, and through it all you'll be fiddling with park finances, shops and staffing to make sure the park and keep on growing and growing.

Over on other consoles, there's the upcoming release of Planet Coaster Console Edition. The game is coming out for PS4, Xbox One, PS5 and Xbox Series X and S later this year, with the much more up to date visuals and game design of the 2016 PC game being brought to gamepad with a few new tweaks and game mechanics thrown in for good measure. We got to go hands on with Planet Coaster a little while ago – read our preview here.

But with RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition, Frontier have decided to make sure you've got some coaster and theme park management that you can take with you.

Source: press release


Here's how Crysis Remastered ray tracing works on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X

Crysis Remastered is coming out a little later this month on 18th September, reviving the classic PC buster for more modern hardware and with Crytek throwing plenty of modern graphics techniques into the mix. For the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro, that will impressively include ray tracing.

Digital Foundry got to visit Crytek in Germany (not that big a deal in terms of international travel, since two(?) of the team live there) and go hands on with the game on all the various platforms it's coming to, diving into the technical nitty-gritty of how Crytek have pulled off ray tracing on the current gen, despite not having hardware support like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S and X will.

Ray tracing is restricted to these higher powered consoles for a very good reason. Without ray tracing enabled, the game runs at 2160p30 on Xbox One X and 1800p30 on PS4 Pro. With ray tracing enabled, that drops all the way down to a dynamic 1080p30 on One X and <1080p30 on PS4Pro. There's also a performance mode locked to 1080p without ray tracing and with an unlocked frame rate for those who want it.

The trick that Crytek have pulled is in being very frugal with what they ray trace. But first, what is ray tracing? Current games typically lean on screen-space reflection techniques that take whatever is on screen at that time and extrapolate and transform that onto a reflective surface to give the impression of realistic reflections, but if you look at a window at an angle and turn your point of view, you'll start to see things fade out as they're no longer on screen.

Ray tracing enhances graphical realism by reflecting things not on screen at that time, which is a big part of why it's such a burden on game performance. In addition, it's computationally expensive the trace how light travels and reflects off different surfaces. So game engines have to decide what to include and what not to include in the ray tracing side of the engine.

For Crysis Remastered, the game drawn an area around the player, rendering an additional low detail version of the game world and then processing reflections from that. However, this is only the scenery, and not characters, vehicles or other destructible elements. It's also rendered at 540p, and it's from this that the CPU then calculates the rays of light. We've already seen that there are similar compromises being made in games like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, where destruction is not shown, but various parts of the scenery are, but with hardware ray tracing, these effects can be done much more extensively.

Speaking of which, you'll get to see Crysis Remastered with full on ray tracing on the PC. There, with Nvidia's RTX 20 and 30 series cards, and the upcoming AMD RDNA2 cards, you can enable hardware ray tracing and have much more extensive ray tracing. In fact, there's a new "Can it Run Crysis?" graphics mode that ramps up every single setting possible on the game engine to show just how the game can punish modern hardware, just as the original game did.

Source: Digital Foundry

 


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild prequel musou, and it's out in November

Nintendo are full of surprises this month with announcements coming out of the blue. The latest is Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, a follow up to Hyrule Warriors, but set 100 years before the events of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It's coming out for Nintendo Switch on 20th November.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity builds on the hack and slash action of the first Hyrule Warriors game, but adopts some of the visual stylings of Breath of the Wild. You'll be able to play as many characters from that game, including Link and Zelda and likely also the four Champions as well. You battle swarms of enemies to defend Hyrule, while also solving environmental puzzles, unlocking weapons, crafting, and even using the Sheikah Slate.

The game will hopefully fill the void for those waiting patiently for the The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel that was announced back at E3 2019. That game will likely still be a little while away, with series producer Eiji Aonuma explaining in the video that the team are working hard to fill the world with even more detail than the last game. However, while that game will take the story forward, Age of Calamity can wind things back to the compelling backstory of Breath of the Wild to depict the epic battle that saw Hyrule fall and Link locked in stasis. A Warriors style game would be the perfect form for that to take with epic battles and bombastic heroes striding into the fray.

The first Hyrule Warriors came out for Wii U all the way back in 2014, then as a swansong release for the 3DS that also introduced Linkle, the first female Link. It was an unlikely marriage of genre and game series, but one that worked, with Koei Tecmo able to explore the breadth of the Zelda game series and incorporate numerous characters. By contrast, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity shifts from the broader franchise to tying in with one of the series' most successful games to date.

In our original Hyrule Warriors review for Wii U, we said:

"This might not be The Legend of Zelda we know, but it's a faithful marriage between the Zelda series and the incredibly fun gameplay of the Warriors series. It's not the next step in the Zelda timeline, but rather an off-kilter non-canon entry which effectively acts as a party with all of your favourite people present. It's a hell of a lot more niche – only really appealing to Zelda fans who don't mind a big change in the gameplay style – but Hyrule Warriors is to Zelda what Mario Kart is to the Super Mario series, and that's brilliant news for dedicated fans."

Hyrule Warriors was then one of the first Wii U games to be given a fresh release on Nintendo Switch, the newer console able to handle the big battles much better, combining the merits of the Wii U game with some of the additions made for the 3DS version. It's still a solid shout for fans of the Warriors style hack and slash, and fans of Zelda in general. Might help while away some of the time as we wait for Age of Calamity.

Source: press release


Second Extinction is a dino-blasting co-op shooter for fans of Left 4 Dead

Everyone, apart from perhaps Ian Malcom, loves dinosaurs. They provide a window to a past that's utterly alien to the world we know, requiring intense creative thought to picture their huge bodies actually roaming the Earth. They are exceedingly, unequivocally cool, but you might feel a bit differently once you've come into contact with the mutated dinosaurs of Second Extinction. No matter how cool they might be, they all want to turn you into dinner, or maybe second breakfast.

Having appeared amongst the titles shown off by Microsoft as part of the Xbox Series X software lineup – it's also coming to Xbox One and PC – Second Extinction immediately stood out thanks to its high-end visuals and the fact that you get to shoot bullets at dinosaurs. It's hardly high concept, but the game's near-future setting where mutated dinos have reclaimed the Earth basically gives the perfect excuse for a visceral co-op shooter. It takes cues from Left 4 Dead and Turok to bring us something that could already be a highlight of the next generation's lineup.

You're welcomed to this world by Director Pearce of the ERA, who tells us that together we're going to reclaim the Earth. What he really means is that you and two friends are going to have a go at reclaiming the Earth over and over again, as you fight against the increasingly agitated dinosaur hordes with some like-minded adventurers.

There'll be four Heroes available as the game enters Early Access this month, with each bringing a separate set of unique and powerful skills which will hopefully help you and your team on the way to assured dinosaur destruction.

Each character can take out a main weapon and a secondary one, with a host of different options available, and within that you can upgrade each of them to become even more powerful, with unique ammo types opening up as you move through each weapon's upgrade tree. There's also your character's Payload, which is a special ability that you can choose from a limited selection, giving you access to ammo or equipment drops or a barrage-style missile attack. As a team you can choose complimentary loadouts to give you the best chance of success.

First up I picked Rosy for my preview playthrough. A tank class character, she boasts tons of health and an insanely powerful minigun that chews through mutated dinosaurs faster than a hungry velociraptor. Alongside her is Amir, an Operative which is Second Extinction's support class, and then a pair of Trooper's in the shape of Ortega and Jürgen who fulfil the classic all-round soldier slots. More characters are going to be added in the course of the game's journey to full release, but straight off the bat these are a likeable bunch of characters and I'm sure at least one of them will be a welcome companion through Early Access.

Once you're locked in with your loadout, it's time to get locked into a drop pod and fired down to the surface of the Earth. The remains of humanity have had to evacuate the planet while those pesky dinosaurs have had their fun, and Second Extinction is nailing its sci-fi trappings with flair.

Your team of three can then set out to take on whatever mission or objective you have set up. Second Extinction is a live game, and the seven regions on the map face an ongoing push and pull between humanity and the dinosaurs. Different areas appear on the map showing the current level of threat, and how tough an encounter will be there, with players having to combat that on an ongoing basis, trying to bring an area back under control.

Within that there are Emergence events, where an area can fall completely under the control of the dinosaurs and players across the world will have to team up in a community effort to bring it back under control. These might happen every week, or more or less frequently, but whenever they do appear they're going to form a focal point for all Second Extinction players.

The dino-shooting action is of course the heart of the game, and Systemic Reaction has already crafted a system that feels fantastic, with movement and gunplay feeling fast and fulfilling. Those Left 4 Dead vibes are strong as you work together as a team to take on the increasingly aggressive, and increasingly large, toothy-types. From the fodder of mutated Velociraptors to huge, glowing Ankylosaurus, they all look exactly as you'd hope, bringing those classic dinosaurs to life in new and terrifying ways.

Systemic Reaction are clearly putting the plans in place for a live game that's going to continue to evolve, and pull players back week in, week out. Alongside the Emergence events, and growing characters, weapons and Contracts, The War Effort is a community-led meta game, and depending on how players play the game will influence various changes to the game world and Second Extinction's future.

If you're looking for a new, next-gen co-op shooter, Second Extinction should be heading straight to the top of your most wanted list. From the incredible mutated dinosaurs trying to tear you to pieces, to the weighty, team-centric gunplay, this is a game surely set for success in the future while pulling on the best parts of the past.


Elite Dangerous update 1.50 deploys bug fixes

Frontier Developments have released their newest update for giant space-faring sim, Elite Dangerous.

Patch 1.50 is now available on consoles as of September 8th, bringing with it a small clutch of changes outlined in PC version 3.7.05.

This latest Elite Dangerous patch offers nothing in terms of new content, instead ironing out a few known issues including one which reportedly led to game crashes in previous versions of the game.

You can read the full patch notes for Elite Dangerous update 1.50 below via the official Frontier forums:

Crashes & stability

  • Fixed an issue when reading inbox messages in Supercruise caused the game to crash

Fleet Carriers

  • Fixed a bug causing delays and disconnections when entering a location with Fleet Carriers present
  • Fixed a UI focus issue which allowed players to sell ships in the background while using Carrier Management

Mining

  • Stopped depleted motherlode asteroids from respawning when a player flies a Ship-Launched Fighter beyond its maximum limit

For those lapsed players whose ships are now collecting dust in the hangar bay, there's a new Elite Dangerous expansion that might rekindle your interest.

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey will be launching in 2021 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Here's what you need to know:

Odyssey will bring with it newly enhanced rock and ice planets. Rocky planets will now be covered in more realistic canyons, ridges and barren seas, while ice planets bring with them the risk of cryovulcanism. However, across the board, your interactions with planets will be transformed.

Planets will be able to have light atmospheres, tapping into data that Frontier already had for each planet and now presenting it to players. They will also be able to play host to buildings and settlements that are on a "human scale" compared to the scope and size of the planetary bodies that they're built upon.

But the real focus is in letting you truly appreciate the scale of the first time. They want to capture the "Neil Armstrong moment" of stepping outside of your space ship for the first time, beholding just how big your craft is, and feel the cold void of space through hearing the breathing of your character in their space suit.

Source: Frontier Forums (via MP1st)


OkunoKa Madness Review

Every death is meaningful, every life holds the spark of a new hope. This is the adage of the OkunoKa Madness player. A hardcore, vibrant platformer that's learnt from the best; there's a touch of Rayman here, a spot of Super Meat Boy there, but for all that it's learnt, its indelible, lasting effect is one of pure, undiluted brutality.

"If you know your enemy, and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles". So said ancient strategist Sun Tzu, and while he might not have immediately been thinking about OkunoKa Madness, he's still bang on the money. You will discover a hatred, a dark side, packed away inside your soul that OkunoKa Madness manages to unleash upon the world, but to beat it you must succumb to it. You must learn its ways and acknowledge the mirrored evil and anger in yourself. Only then, can you win.

This is a game set on grinding you down, chewing you up, hammering nails in you, catching you in a bear trap, throwing shards of glass at you, putting cigarettes out on you, and calling you mean names while they break all your toys. It's pretty great, actually.

So OkunoKa Madness is a hardcore platformer. The original OkunoKa was a Switch exclusive that caused Joy-Con all around the world to break out in a cold sweat, and Madness doubles down on the masochistic jumping, sliding and dying delights. OkunoKA Madness adds a whole extra world, taking the level count to over a 100, adds in a handful of playable characters and tidies up elements like the leaderboards and timer display, as well as introducing itself to PC, PS4 and Xbox One players. All manner of game controllers should begin trembling now.

There's a vague sense of narrative to the Story mode. Ka is an adorable blue thing who's set to save the Soul World and fell the evil Os, mostly by making your way through a set of fiendish platforming perils on your way to eating one of the Spirits. I'm not sure how much sense it makes, or needs to make, but it has given OkunoKa Madness' designers the opportunity to put lots of spiky, vicious, decidedly unfriendly metal things in our hero's way.

You will die. Every level gives you a grade that's related to how fast you complete a level, but up in the top right it'll always show you how many deaths it took to get there. It's often a decidedly sobering number, and if you weren't a committed player it might seem excessive. Insane, even.

Part of what makes OkunoKa Madness so hard is that it's not simply about jumping from platform to platform avoiding the bag guys. Ka ingests three different elemental spirits along the way, and a quick flick of the shoulder button will change Ka's elemental power.

What this boils down to is that Ka can make platforms, walls, or indeed random shapes, appear and disappear. Generally the game asks you to do perform this elemental magic while you're jumping in mid-air, avoiding a laser, narrowly avoiding something spiky, and then not quite avoiding some spiky vines, causing yet another of those myriad deaths.

There's a glorious rhythm to getting it right. A crescendo of button presses and finger movements feels like conducting an obscure but deadly dance, where only for the briefest moment do the two partners synchronise to pull off some incredible leap, twist or turn. It can be pure, unadulterated magic, and you will feel like the cleverest, most amazing, most talented video game player in the world, until the next ignominious death.

It's hard to say why you keep coming back for more, but that's the cleverest part about it. OkunoKa Madness is just surmountable enough that you know you can do it if you just give it another twenty-three more tries… -ish. Once you've beaten the level, you'll then imagine you can do it just a little bit faster and go back and start again. My family have watched with incredulity while I've played it, and their anger has surpassed my own. My son has literally just left the room because he can't watch it any more, spreading the madness further.

It all looks fantastic too. Weird painterly visual touches abound in the background, while grotesque boss fights are body-shock tour de forces, melding the ridiculous difficulty with off-brand Rayman-style visuals. It's possible you'll be too busy dying to notice.

There are a few rough edges here and there. Some of the more complicated levels can show the odd instance of slowdown, and that's running on an Xbox One X, and the level select screens can be a pain to navigate through if you're returning to improve your grades along the way, but they're mild grumbles in a game designed to upset you.


Inertial Drift Review

You know when people refer to something as a 'Whole Ass Mood'? Inertial Drift is that slang in video game form. Set in a 90s retro future featuring a host of performance drifting cars, Inertial Drift looks to change up the formula by introducing a twin-stick control system which empowers play to fine-tune their drifts. It's a novel approach to drifting in video games, and it's honestly one that pays off.

With over twenty tracks to choose from and sixteen cars, there's plenty to see and do in Inertial Drift. The main bulk of gameplay can be found in the story mode, which tasks players with choosing between four different characters, all of whom drive cars with handling that varies in difficulty. Outside of the story mode, there are your usual driving game options which include time trials, style runs, free runs, ghost races and both offline and online multiplayer modes.

If anything, the story mode feels like a prologue to the rest of the game. It provides the player with the perfect opportunity to race and study each track, learning the intricacies of how cars handle and getting to grips with the game's numerous race styles. There is dialogue between each of the races, but it largely served as a portal for tips on how to drift more efficiently. I did like that the cast was quite diverse, but the conversations between them are ultimately forgettable.

The driving more than makes it for the story's shortcomings. Inertial Drift kinda feels like a Ridge Racer game, but instead of steering with the left stick, you shift the weight of the car to drift around the corner with the right stick. I know that sounds a little strange, but you've just got to trust me when I say that it absolutely works. You only typically steer on straights or as a way of counterbalancing your drift by turning the wheel in the opposite direction of the way you're drifting.

Tracks start off wide and forgiving, providing players with plenty of space to drift, but by the end of the story, tracks are narrow and winding looking more like something out of a rally stage. What's magical about Inertial Drift though is that you'll have totally got to grips with the way game handles by that point. You can throw the cars around in a way you wouldn't have thought possible upon starting and that's what makes this game so fantastic.

I really enjoyed the way Inertial Drift tasks players with approaching tracks in the story mode. Rather than having a single race and moving on, each track has a number of warm-up races and events before the final one-on-one race. This system kinda reminds me of the way a lot of motorsports work with racers having warm-up days and practice laps in the run up to a race day. It's a fantastic system that enables players to get closely acquainted with each track before going into the final event. If you truly want to excel in Inertial Drift, you'll need to know the tracks inside and out.

The visual style takes a lot of queues from Initial D, with its cartoony sun-soaked city scapes and futuristic modded cars. The whole aesthetic is very retro future, which fits the premise of the game perfectly, giving it a very unique style. That simplicity means Inertial Drift also performs incredibly well. My PC averages 220-240 FPS without any hiccups or issues, running as smooth as butter on my 144hz monitor.

Inertial Drift accompanies all of the action with a funky electronic soundtrack, but it's the sound design that really stands out. Rather than going for ultra-realism, Inertial Drift's cars sound loud and powerful, playing into the fantasy of drifting these absolute beasts with some of the best car sounds I've heard in a long time. I especially enjoyed going through tunnels; it's one of the best noises you can hear in the real world and it is faithfully reproduced here. I also noticed that you can hear the wind bouncing off walls as you drive past them, with directional audio for added immersion. These little touches really shine in the moment to moment gameplay of Inertial Drift, elevating it beyond a simple driving game.


HyperX Alloy Elite 2 Keyboard Review

The HyperX Alloy Elite 2 Keyboard asks the question "What if we made mechanical keyboards… brighter?" and just runs with it. At first glance, it looks a little odd. The keys have a strange pearlescent bottom-half that looks almost accidental when the keyboard isn't plugged in. Naturally, upon plugging it in and turning everything on you're treated with an array of colours and patterns that make it far brighter than most RGB keyboard out there.

To get the best out of the fancy lights, you have to download a program called HyperX NGENUITY, which is where you canthe  set multiple different light profiles. You can even have a variety of effects active at the same time – at present I've got three contrasting effects set up – though not all of them are compatible.

My first is a fairly standard RGB wave effect, though I've got it coming in at a 30-degree angle instead of straight across the keyboard. I've also set it up to trigger black bursts above whichever key I press, which means the keyboard ends a little darker as I type – this might sound counter-productive, but then I was perfectly happy with a German QWERTZ keyboard, and I like it. The second effect is a right to left sweep of just blue and purple, except whenever I type on a key it glows cyan for a while. Finally, I have one that lights up random keys as I type, but then produces red explosions whenever I push a key.

Honestly, I know not everyone cares about lighting effects, but it keeps me happy as I tip-tap my way through different articles and games.

The keys feel really great to type on. Each one of the in-house HyperX Red switches clunks in with a slightly lower tone than most mechanical switches, and it makes it a less irritating device than some others if you're not the person doing the typing. The keys have a wonderful weight to them – they're thicc, if you will – though typing on them requires a little getting used to. Initially, I found my fingers tripping over each other like a spider wearing roller skates, but once I'd adjusted to the HyperX Alloy Elite 2, I found it to be incredibly easy to use, and very satisfying too.

This leads to a very satisfying experience when gaming too. Thanks to the comfortable feel of the keyboard you'll have a blast using it to play whatever you want to. It's always responsive, and the satisfying clunk of each keypress only helps to add to the experience when you're chucking sticky grenades at people in Halo 3.

Despite spending multiple hours at any given time using the keyboard, I never found myself getting tired of doing so. I do have to use a gel pad, because I'm old and my wrists are going, but that's not the keyboard's fault, that's God's fault.

The weight of the HyperX Alloy Elite 2 keyboard means that it'll never move. Not only that, but the heft of the thing also means that you've always got a weapon to hand in case something goes awry in your real life. You never have to be AFK if your K can be used as a weapon.

While the sheer volume of RGB lighting won't be to everyone's tastes, the design is actually quite nice. My main criticism that the light bar, which sits above the keys, is basically invisible unless you're typing in a top-down fashion for some reason. I can't envision a time in which I can actually see the bar, and it makes it a somewhat perplexing addition. Aside from that, there are media keys in the top-right and keys to change your profile on the top-left. There's also a USB port on the back of it, which is useful if you'd rather not spend your time ducking behind your desk just to change one of your devices. It does require another wire be plugged into your PC, but that makes sense to ensure it has enough power and whatnot as a passthrough to the computer.


DayZ update 1.09 is rolling out, read the patch notes here!

The next big update for DayZ should be rolling out around now across all formats, the servers are offline so you should be able to get the update soon. Rather amazingly, console Community server owners have to do part of the patch themselves.

Expand the sections below for the relevant patch notes.

DayZ Update 1.09 Console Patch Notes

GAME

ADDED

  • Added the Deagle pistol with its attachments
  • Added the Magnum revolver
  • Added the Flag Pole and Flags
  • Added the NBC Respirator
  • Added 7 new exterior and interior variants for rural houses
  • Added new medium and small power lines in Chernarus
  • Added police ADA 4×4 wrecks for Livonia (replacing Chernarus police Olga)
  • Added information to items as to how many you can stack

FIXED

  • Fixed various issues with object placement of both Chernarus and Livonia terrains
  • Fixed several exploits to glitch through collisions
  • Fixed an issue with the characters sliding on steep slopes
  • Fixed a bug that would spawn certain items slightly below the ground when swapped between the inventory and vicinity
  • Fixed a bug that caused ropes and sticks to be left behind after destroying the watchtower or fence kit
  • Fixed an issue that the player could hear themselves after using and leaving the PSA station behind
  • Fixed a minor misalignment of the mouse cursor texture
  • Fixed an issue that prevented full rounds from being displayed in 1st person view when ejected from the gun
  • Fixed a bug that displayed the Plate Carrier Holster upside-down in the inventory view
  • Fixed an issue that caused crafted items to float above the ground
  • Fixed an issue that caused fish caught via fishing to float above the ground
  • Fixed an issue that allowed the gas cooker to run even when stored inside the inventory
  • Fixed a bug that placed the rope on the ground, if you removed it from a Watchtower Kit or Fence Kit into your hands
  • Fixed an issue that prevented players from picking up certain items that were dropped on the Watchtower
  • Fixed a bug that would cause floating ammunition to appear next to the player while reloading
  • Fixed a bug that would cause dropped items to clip through the garden plot
  • Fixed a bug that caused wooden planks cut from a pile to be created wherever the first cut plank was moved
  • Fixed a bug blocking players from opening vehicles doors caused by nearby dead bodies
  • Jumping out of a car can no longer be used to glitch into objects or jump through fences (player will get teleported back)
  • Fixed an issue with items in nested containers disappearing or spawning on the ground as new
  • Fixed the damage calculation of the shotgun when using pellet ammunition
  • Fixed a bug that allowed to see through the Olga 24 without hood in 1st person view
  • Fixed a bug allowing infected to climb over closed party tent doors
  • Fixed an issue with picking up items through certain walls
  • Fixed a bug making it possible to place tents in the water
  • Fixed a bug making it possible to place tents into steep terrain
  • Fixed a bug that prevented foliage smoothing settings to be applied on game restart
  • Fixed an issue that caused bullets shot via the double-fire-mode (BK 43 and Blaze) to only be registered as one hit
  • Fixed a bug that allowed usage of a ruined lock pick
  • Fixed an issue preventing quantities of items spawned within cargo at random capacity
  • Fixed an issue blocking certain infected types from appearing within cities and industrial zones
  • Fixed an issue with executing emotes in limited spaces, causing the character to clip into objects
  • Fixed an issue causing vehicles with running engines to injure players close to it, even if the vehicle did not move

CHANGED

  • Updated the textures for several buildings and various props
  • You can now place up to 1
  • to 10 Wooden Sticks into a fireplace
  • Armbands are not stackable anymore and their inventory size are decreased to 1×2
  • The doors of vehicle wrecks now open wider
  • Locked doors only display their locked state after the player tried to open them once
  • Changed the attachment slot icon for Stones
  • Stacks of same items can also be combined on the ground (to the maximum of inventory stack)
  • Updated the model of Olga 24 police car for Chernarus
  • Balanced the dispersion values for all pistols
  • Balanced the weapon durability during firing
  • Increased the durability of suppressors (including improvised)
  • Duct tape can no longer be used to repair weapons and their attachments
  • Digging a garden plot now damages the tool used
  • Locking/unlocking doors now damages the Lockpick
  • New characters spawn with a T-Shirt and crop hiking pants
  • New characters have a chance to spawn with damaged gear
  • Reduced the penalty on heat isolation and absorbency from worn and damaged clothing
  • The watchtower kit can only be placed under a ceiling that fits at least the 1st floor of the watchtower
  • Items dropped from hands during a players death will share the lifetime of the dead body (1 hour by default)
  • Items de-equipped when skinning a dead player share the dead player body's lifetime (1 hour by default)
  • The radial menu for emotes now shows whether an emote can be executed in the current position
  • Adjusted the effective ranges of the Revolver and Deagle

CENTRAL ECONOMY

GENERAL

  • Added more loot points to the car wrecks
  • Lifetime values of all items have been greatly increased
  • Rare helicrash loot is now opted out from count in cargo of player-owned storage items (tents, crates,..)
  • The restart of server no longer spawns new loot (ignoring restock timers) and loot is only spawned after restock timers run out
  • Added new InitialSpawn parameter into globals.xml, allowing the definition of the % of items spawned into the world (only when there is no existing storage present)

DayZ Update 1.09 PC Patch Notes

NOTES

  • Consider using the Steam client option to verify the integrity of the local game cache to avoid corrupted data after downloading this update.
  • Consider de-fragmenting your HDD after downloading large updates.
  • In case of problems, please check the Bohemia Interactive support F.A.Q.DayZ F.A.Q., or BattlEye F.A.Q.
  • You can help us to further improve the game by posting your feedback on the Feedback Tracker.

GAME

ADDED

  • Added the Deagle pistol with its attachments
  • Added the Magnum revolver
  • Added the Flag Pole and Flags
  • Added the NBC Respirator
  • Added 7 new exterior and interior variants for rural houses
  • Added new medium and small power lines in Chernarus
  • Added police ADA 4×4 wrecks for Livonia (replacing Chernarus police Olga)
  • Added information to items as to how many you can stack

FIXED

  • Fixed various issues with object placement of both Chernarus and Livonia terrains
  • Fixed several exploits to glitch through collisions
  • Fixed an issue with the characters sliding on steep slopes
  • Fixed a bug that would spawn certain items slightly below the ground when swapped between the inventory and vicinity
  • Fixed a bug that caused ropes and sticks to be left behind after destroying the watchtower or fence kit
  • Fixed an issue that the player could hear themselves after using and leaving the PSA station behind
  • Fixed a minor misalignment of the mouse cursor texture
  • Fixed an issue that prevented full rounds from being displayed in 1st person view when ejected from the gun
  • Fixed a bug that displayed the Plate Carrier Holster upside-down in the inventory view
  • Fixed an issue that caused crafted items to float above the ground
  • Fixed an issue that caused fish caught via fishing to float above the ground
  • Fixed an issue that allowed the gas cooker to run even when stored inside the inventory
  • Fixed a bug that placed the rope on the ground, if you removed it from a Watchtower Kit or Fence Kit into your hands
  • Fixed an issue that prevented players from picking up certain items that were dropped on the Watchtower
  • Fixed a bug that would cause floating ammunition to appear next to the player while reloading
  • Fixed a bug that would cause dropped items to clip through the garden plot
  • Fixed a bug that caused wooden planks cut from a pile to be created wherever the first cut plank was moved
  • Fixed a bug blocking players from opening vehicles doors caused by nearby dead bodies
  • Jumping out of a car can no longer be used to glitch into objects or jump through fences (player will get teleported back)
  • Fixed an issue with items in nested containers disappearing or spawning on the ground as new
  • Fixed the damage calculation of the shotgun when using pellet ammunition
  • Fixed a bug that allowed to see through the Olga 24 without hood in 1st person view
  • Fixed a bug allowing infected to climb over closed party tent doors
  • Fixed an issue with picking up items through certain walls
  • Fixed a bug making it possible to place tents in the water
  • Fixed a bug making it possible to place tents into steep terrain
  • Fixed a bug that prevented foliage smoothing settings to be applied on game restart
  • Fixed an issue that caused bullets shot via the double-fire-mode (BK 43 and Blaze) to only be registered as one hit
  • Fixed a bug that allowed usage of a ruined lock pick
  • Fixed an issue preventing quantities of items spawned within cargo at random capacity
  • Fixed an issue blocking certain infected types from appearing within cities and industrial zones
  • Fixed an issue with executing emotes in limited spaces, causing the character to clip into objects
  • Fixed an issue causing vehicles with running engines to injure players close to it, even if the vehicle did not move

CHANGED

  • Updated the textures for several buildings and various props
  • You can now place up to 10 Wooden Sticks into a fireplace
  • Armbands are not stackable anymore and their inventory size are decreased to 1×2
  • The doors of vehicle wrecks now open wider
  • Locked doors only display their locked state after the player tried to open them once
  • Changed the attachment slot icon for Stones
  • Stacks of same items can also be combined on the ground (to the maximum of inventory stack)
  • Updated the model of Olga 24 police car for Chernarus
  • Balanced the dispersion values for all pistols
  • Balanced the weapon durability during firing
  • Increased the durability of suppressors (including improvised)
  • Duct tape can no longer be used to repair weapons and their attachments
  • Digging a garden plot now damages the tool used
  • Locking/unlocking doors now damages the Lockpick
  • New characters spawn with a T-Shirt and crop hiking pants
  • New characters have a chance to spawn with damaged gear
  • Reduced the penalty on heat isolation and absorbency from worn and damaged clothing
  • The watchtower kit can only be placed under a ceiling that fits at least the 1st floor of the watchtower
  • Items dropped from hands during a players death will share the lifetime of the dead body (1 hour by default)
  • Items de-equipped when skinning a dead player share the dead player body's lifetime (1 hour by default)
  • The radial menu for emotes now shows whether an emote can be executed in the current position
  • Adjusted the effective ranges of the Revolver and Deagle

CENTRAL ECONOMY

GENERAL

  • Added more loot points to the car wrecks
  • Lifetime values of all items have been greatly increased
  • Rare helicrash loot is now opted out from count in cargo of player-owned storage items (tents, crates,..)
  • The restart of server no longer spawns new loot (ignoring restock timers) and loot is only spawned after restock timers run out
  • Added new InitialSpawn parameter into globals.xml, allowing the definition of the % of items spawned into the world (only when there is no existing storage present)

MODDING

  • Added: Exposed AbstractWave::GetFrequency into scripts
  • Added: DayZPlayerUtils::PlayerCanChangeStance function
  • Added: Script define DAYZ_X_YY (DayZ version, X being the major, YY the minor version number)
  • Added: New no land-contact versions for castle models (it is recommended not to use the regular versions because of collision issues)
  • Added: IsPendingDeletion to easily check if a parent object is in the deletion process
  • Added: OnJumpOutVehicleFinish event when a player lands after jumping out of a car
  • Added: GetCEGlobal functions to get values defined in the globals.xml
  • Added: OnCEUpdate event on EntityAI (gets called with active CE each time it saves the state of the object)
  • Fixed: Entity::SetScale is now working in script
  • Changed: Bullet SphereCast & RayCast can ignore BulletSkeletonComponent
  • Changed: Passing the new ECE_NOLIFETIME flag to CreateObjectEx will skip the setting of lifetime for the created object
  • Changed: Renamed OnRadiusLifetime* methods to RadiusLifetime* methods
  • Changed: Commented out the legacy solution for damaging weapons through script, now replaced with damageBarrel and barrelArmor config parameters
  • Changed: m_ConditionTarget of targeted actions from 'CCTNone' to something, that can check first distance condition (usually 'CCTCursor').
  • Changed: Items created through script (CreateObject, CreateObjectEx) will get their lifetime assigned (when CE is running)
  • Changed: Debug shapes are now visible when DayZDiag_x64.exe is used

Source: DayZ.com


Xbox Series S trailer confirms resolution, SSD, ray tracing support and more specs [Update: Officially released]

Update: The below trailer has now been officially released by Microsoft as well, giving up on the whole secrecy side of things after the comprehensive leak of literally everything.


Following on from the overnight leak and subsequent confirmation of the Xbox Series S and its pricing, the full reveal trailer from which this information came from has also been leaked by those same people, detailing more specs of the lower powered next-gen console.

The Xbox Series S will be priced at $299 / €299 / £249, coming out in November alongside the Xbox Series X – separately, this is expected to be $499 from a parallel leak.

The console will be 60% smaller than the Xbox Series X, and all-digital with no disc drive, which we could already tell from the initial imagery. However, the trailer also tells us what the console can do.

Despite having a much lowered power compared to the Series X – reportedly 4 TFLOPs versus 12 TFLOPs – t will support a resolution of 1440p and 4K game upscaling. That will include ray-tracing support. There will also be support for up to 120FPS and variable refresh rates, as part of the HDMI 2.1 spec, and Microsoft's pushes for variable rate shading and ultra-low latency gaming.

The console's storage will be smaller than its bigger brother, at 512GB compared to 1TB, but it's expected that there will be support for the same plug-in SSDs of that machine, and also external HDD support for Xbox One games and older.

While this is another major PR blunder and leak from Microsoft, it's to their credit that they simply turned it around into an announcement. Of course, to then have even more details slip between their fingers is a further embarrassment, when the company has been in a tense (and frustratingly boring) standoff with Sony over announcing the release date and price of their respective consoles.

While long speculated, the two-pronged attack on the next generation is now confirmed, with Microsoft targeting both the high end and the lower end of the spectrum. It's a fascinating approach, with the Series S able to cater to people on a tighter budget, those without 4K TVs, or those thinking about picking up a secondary console to pair with a PS5, PC or something else. Let's see how it pays off.

Meanwhile, in the land of Sony, a regional GAME store claimed that there was a big PlayStation 5 announcement coming tomorrow

Source: WalkingCat


GAME claims "PS5 announcement tomorrow", hint that pre-orders are about to open

GAME Guildford has tweeted that customers who have registered their interest in a new PlayStation 5 console should get their credit card ready and "standbye for updates". They say that a PlayStation 5 announcement is scheduled for tomorrow and that "things are about to kick off this week."

Well they did, but they deleted the Tweet. Good thing I took a screen grab.

 

Presumably Sony had very shouty words with GAME head office.

Residents in the United States can begin a new quest to secure a PlayStation 5 by registering for a pre-order direct from Sony. You will need to give them your PSN ID to sign up, but this does not mean you're guaranteed a console.

There will be a limited quantity of PS5 consoles available for pre-order, so we will be inviting some of our existing consumers to be one of the first to pre-order one from PlayStation. Pre-order reservations will be taken on a first-come-first-serve basis, so once you get an invite via email, we encourage you to follow instructions and act fast.

If you do pre-register Sony will decide if you do get a pre-order invitation "based on previous interests and PlayStation activities."

The first TV spot for the PlayStation 5 has also arrived with Sony try to describe to people what it will feel like to play games on their next-gen console, wrapping together things like 3D audio, haptic feedback and adaptive triggers.

It's quite a high concept video, showing a woman adventuring in a weird and mysterious world. The opening line says, "Welcome to a world where you can feel more," and this is a key part of Sony's pitch for the next generation. The DualSense controller features adaptive triggers to relay different pressures to your fingers, while more advanced haptic feedback is to be incorporated to add more nuance compared to the rumble motors found in the DualShock 4. 3D audio with advanced HRTF processing to simulate different ear shapes will also aim to make audio more immersive and spatial, regardless of whether you're hearing sound from a TV, set of headphones or an existing surround sound set up.

All of this is completely intangible to end users at the moment. Literally the only person to have ever touched a DualSense up until this point is Geoff Keighley – I'm obviously being quite hyperbolic there – with the Covid-19 pandemic preventing the wider games press from going hands on at trade shows or smaller private events, and no possibility of public demo booths for fear of the DualSense becoming contaminated and helping to spread the virus.

Source: Twitter


The Dark Pictures: Little Hope offers up a bewitching atmosphere with terrifying consequences

Supermassive Games' ambitious multi-game Dark Pictures project may have been slowed for a while by the horrors of real life, but the delay doesn't seem to have had any lasting effect on Little Hope, the second entry in the anthology series. Continuing in the same gameplay vein as Man of Medan (and Until Dawn before that), the second game transports players into a different setting and subgenre of horror, presenting you with an entirely new cast of characters to save or condemn depending on your choices. Having now played a demo chapter of the game, I can reveal that this entry is shaping up to eclipse its predecessor.

Dropping right into the middle of the story of Little Hope makes for a slightly odd first impression, as I had no prior knowledge of the new characters or the situation. Somewhat unintentionally, this lack of context only served to add to the air of mystery I could savour. The demo begins as two characters, student Andrew (played by film actor Will Poulter) and Professor John, find themselves in a derelict police station that looks and feels like it would fit right into the town of Silent Hill.

The trademark dialogue options and exploration mechanics return as expected and previous players will be able to jump straight into familiar territory, but it takes a while before a sense of what is happening develops. A sinister phone call to a disconnected landline swiftly transitions into an immersive vision of a 17th century witch trial and the scene is set for a spooky tale of doubles separated by centuries and a town cursed by the trauma inflicted on innocent women accused of satanic liaisons.

I've studied and written on this area, albeit with an English rather than American historical focus, and am hugely excited to see how this setting develops. It is a far more interesting theme for me than the nautical hauntings of Man of Medan and is a good indication of the ways in which the Dark Pictures Anthology series will appeal to fans of many different genres of horror.

As is to be expected given Supermassive's pedigree, Little Hope looks and sounds fantastic. The dark and moody setting is perfect for developing a sense of dread and unease, whilst the motion capture and facial animations successfully maintain the cinematic feel of their games. The sound design is a real stand-out alongside the visuals, and this really is a game that should be experienced while wearing headphones – if you can bear the tension and potential scares.

The horror aspect is certainly present here, with several effective jump scares and a QTE climax involving a grotesque, waterlogged monster. I deliberately failed this final section on a second playthrough and was suitably grossed out by the graphic death scene that followed – the things I do in the name of games journalism.

All of this will, of course, sound familiar to players of Supermassive's previous games. The continuity in mechanics does have some more negative aspects, however, as there is still no dialogue skip function to relieve some of the tedium of replaying the game. The demo was short enough that this wasn't so bad, but attempting to uncover all of the endings in the full game will have the potential to get repetitive.

Little Hope is set to be released across PC, PS4 and Xbox One on October 30th, just in time for Halloween, and the demo was hugely effective in piquing my interest. I am now looking forward to finding out more about the traumatic history of the town of Little Hope and seeing who will survive… and what will be left of them.


Xbox Series X price leaks, will cost $499

It's all gone a bit mad this morning with the official announcement of the worst kept secret in gaming, the Xbox Series S, the cut down version of the Xbox Series X. However, you may have missed that price of the Xbox Series X has also leaked out.

Windows Central kicked things off by leaking that the Series S would be $299 and the Series X will be $499. Microsoft have now confirmed the Series S and the price so it seems reasonable the source for the leak also has the price of the Series X correct. Both consoles are set to launch on November 10th.

Previously it had been rumoured that Series X was going to be $599. Alanah Pearce spoke on the Kinda Funny Xcast and said she had been sent an image showing a retail terminal that listed the Xbox Series X for $599 with a November release date.

The Xbox Series S is expected to be a lower powered version of the Xbox Series X, keeping many of the same attributes, such as the ultra-fast SSD storage and Zen 2 CPU, but compromising on the GPU side of things. Where the Xbox Series X is expected to deliver a native 4K resolution, higher frame rates and ray tracing, the cut back Series S is expected to sacrifice these to reach the lower price point for those buyers without a 4K TV or without as exacting demands from their games graphics, while retaining the minimal loading times and enhanced game worlds that the CPU could provide. However, Microsoft have yet to reveal the official specs for the console.

The full specs of the Series X be seen in the table below and they will allow the developers to take advantage of DirectX raytracing so lighting and sound reacts much more naturally.

CPU 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
GPU 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
Die Size 360.45 mm2
Process 7nm Enhanced
Memory 16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320mb bus
Memory Bandwidth 10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s
Internal Storage 1 TB Custom NVME SSD
I/O Throughput 2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)
Expandable Storage 1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
External Storage USB 3.2 External HDD Support
Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
Performance Target 4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS

 

Writing on Xbox.com, Jason Ronald, Director of Program Management for Xbox Series X said, "Backwards compatible games run natively on the Xbox Series X hardware, running with the full power of the CPU, GPU and the SSD. No boost mode, no downclocking, the full power of the Xbox Series X for each and every backward compatible game."

Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg, GM Xbox Games Marketing, recently announced that the Xbox Series X will be released in November, narrowing the release window from "Holiday 2020" to a specific month.

Source: Windows Central


Fall Guys to start using the same anti-cheat measures as Fortnite

People are awful, give them a cute fluffy game full of beans stumbling over each other, a joyous riot of silliness and they still want to cheat. Mediatonic's Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout has a big problem with cheaters on PC and they have announced they are taking steps to tackle the problem, including the use of the same ant-cheat software used on Fortnite

This means they will be using Easy Anti-Cheat which is owned by Epic Games and used by around 200 other titles including Apex Legends, For Honor, and Hunt: Showdown.

Last week Mediatonic announced they want to spice up the action of Fall Guys with a little bit of added randomness. Now that the game has been out for a while people should be quite familiar with the various race levels, the intricacies of See-Saw, how to jump through hoops and grab tails. To combat this they have announced they are adding Big Yeetus, a giant swingy hammer, in random locations in levels.

Mediatonic have also wrapped up a campaign to raise money for Special Effect with an auction to create a branded in-game outfit for Fall Guys. In the end this saw a combined donation of $1 million by G2 Esports, Aim Lab, and streamers Mr Beast and Ninja. Special Effect works to enable those with physical disabilities to play a wider variety of games through custom game controllers and tools like EyeMine that allows for playing with eye-control. They also work with developers to build more accessible games in the first place.

Fall Guys has been an absolute sensation for the team at developer Mediatonic and publisher Devolver Digital, with the companies revealing that they've sold over 2 million copies on Steam in the game's first week. That's before you take into account however many people have been playing via PlayStation 4, where it was free on PlayStation Plus in August. That led to some major server issues around launch, as they shored up the servers and added capacity ahead of the weekend. Thankfully things have been fairly steady since then and the team are now focussed on creating content for the medieval-themed Season 2 and beyond.

Fall Guys is out now for PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam.

Source: Twitter


Minecraft PS4 will get PlayStation VR update this month

Mojang Studios have announced that the PlayStation 4 version of Minecraft will be getting PSVR support later this month.

Although they didn't specify a date, what we do know is that this PlayStation VR patch will be available to anyone who owns a copy of Minecraft on PS4.

Based on existing tech to adapt Minecraft for VR platforms, developer SkyBox Labs have been optimising the experience for PlayStation VR users and, despite the current pandemic, they say this transition has been relatively smooth.

So, what does Minecraft on PSVR do? Well, according to Mojang, it does exactly what you'd expect, making the "pure full-fat" Minecraft experience fully playable in virtual reality without removing any content or features.

The aim here to dial up that sense of immersion, allowing users to witness their creations as if they were standing there themselves in Minecraft's blocky sandbox world. Mojang have yet to confirm whether PlayStation Move will be supported though they have confirmed Minecraft VR will come tagged with various comfort settings and adjustments as well as two modes: Immersive and Living Room.

This news comes as part of Sony's spotlight week for the PlayStation VR. For the next few days, they are teasing new game updates and announcements as well as a sale on major PlayStation VR titles. The sale is due to kick off tomorrow, Wednesday September 9th and will include the following games among others:

Despite having an extensive library of excellent titles, PlayStation VR hasn't been as prominent in 2020 as Sony might have liked. However, with the upcoming PS5 being backwards compatible with PSVR, it makes sense for them to continue pushing the technology. We'll hopefully hear more about how the headset and accessories will work with Sony's next-gen console in the near future.

Source: Official PlayStation Blog


Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning Review

Back in 2012 a new fantasy RPG was released into the realms of gaming; Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. It had the feel of a single player game set in a fantasy MMO world with several different regions to explore, different ways to build your character, and a range of fantasy races depicted throughout, but it's also been defined by the financial troubles that eventually sank developer 38 Studios. Now, eight years later, THQ Nordic has brought the franchise back with a remaster called Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning, potentially laying the foundations for this fantasy world to be revived.

Players are cast as The Fateless One, a person who has no pre-determined fate unlike everyone else in Amalur. Not only does this work to paint a target on your back through the game's narrative, it also provides the thematic reasoning for your ability to customise your character build. There are three main class types which fall into the Might, Finesse, and Sorcerer categories. Might builds will favour heavy armour and weapons, Finesse relates to a more rogue/stealth build, while Sorcerers are all about the magic. Depending on the fates you unlock and abilities you choose to invest points in, you can mix these builds together. In my own playthrough I decided on a pure sorcerer build, because who wouldn't want to shoot fire and lightning at enemies?

As your character levels up, skill points can be assigned to abilities such as sagecraft, alchemy, blacksmithing, dispelling, and mercantile. You kind of have to decide early on which ones of these you want to focus on before investing points, so they complement your character build. Your character fate style can also be changed to give access to different perks such as increased mana or better melee weapon damage.

The draw of Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is playing a fantasy game that really leans into its setting where elves, gnomes, humans, trolls, and so many others live in a world filled with lore. Areas with ruins tell their story, quest lines can explore relationships between the different groups of the world as well as hunting for treasure, and lorestones discovered in the wild that tell tales of the world coming to life. It is a colourful and varied world found in this game, and you are constantly running into things to do and people to help.

At the same time, it can feel a bit overwhelming in Amalur. Quests stack up quite quickly as you are sent from one place to another while completing other quests, and some can feel a bit repetitive – having to just go and retrieve something from a cave, for example. There is variety with the different factions, though. Join the Warsworn and fight to protect the world or join the Travellers and learn the art of stealth and thievery. At the same time, there is a hint of negative representation here playing into a stereotype that all Irish travellers are thieves.

The biomes found in Amalur are incredibly varied as well. You will start in a forested area but eventually break out into magical areas that are home to the elves, or into great plains and deserts where different factions and creatures live. Throughout the game you will come across new discoveries, and the world itself is vast. Thankfully you can fast travel if you do not fancy trekking from one side of the world to the other.

Those of you expecting a ground up remake with majorly updated graphics need to temper your expectations. There have been some improvements with textures and models, but you can very much tell this is an eight year old game that has had some spit and polish, and not something like Spyro Reignited Trilogy. That said, it does still look good and the world retains that fantasy charm about it. There also haven't been major changes to the gameplay, but there have been some tweaks under the hood. For example, the randomised loot that you find will be more relevant to your character build.

There were some technical issues while playing Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning. The game crashed twice on my PS4, and hopefully this is addressed in a patch. The camera could be fiddly too and sometimes angle itself so you do not have a clear picture of the action, which is a pain when you are surrounded by enemies who are attacking quickly. In one dungeon I also noticed a group slain enemies T-posing above the ground briefly before all falling again. Well, it was either a bug or my PS4 is very, very haunted…


From Bedrooms to Billions: The PlayStation Revolution Review

Charting the development, release and marketing of Sony's earliest console, Bedrooms to Billions: The PlayStation Revolution explores this defining period of video game history, as told by the people involved in its meteoric rise.

The third in a series of video game documentaries by Nicola Caulfield and Anthony Caulfield, The PlayStation Revolution aims to "explore the influence of the Sony PlayStation and how it took video game development and the way we experienced games to a whole new level". Four years on from its original Kickstarter campaign, The PlayStation Revolution is now out and has a story to tell.

The PlayStation Revolution starts by painting a picture of pre-3D graphics, showing the original console war between Sega and Nintendo in the early 90s. While we've all heard the story of Nintendo and Sony's failed collaboration many times before, the documentary retreads this familiar ground same path here talking to those who worked at Sony and Nintendo. There's also some excellent insight from current and past Sony staff about the decision to go solo and create the PlayStation.

From there, it's a deep dive into the technical side of the console, discussing the various elements of its internal hardware. This insight is interesting as it shows how Sony positioned themselves against the competition, but I feel it spends a little too long on the nitty gritty for my liking. There are a few points where the pace slows right down, prolonging what is already a very long documentary.

A very young Phil Harrison showing off the PlayStation.

The range of appearances in Bedroom to Billions is probably one of its strongest points, with industry veterans like Mark Cerny, Hideo Kojima, Jim Ryan, Katsuhiro Harada and many, many others contributing to the documentary. Hearing from these industry veterans about their involvement in the PlayStation is great, and I especially enjoyed the involvement of past Sega employees discussing the head-to-head sales fight between the PlayStation and the Saturn, a fight the former would quickly win.

The PlayStation Revolution primarily paints Sony and the PlayStation in a positive light, but the directors weren't afraid to criticise. The second half of the documentary focuses on the PS3, a console that was hard to develop for and got off to a slow start against the Xbox 360. It's clear to see in the documentary how much the development cycle of the PS3 would influence its successor and the mistakes that Sony regretted during that period.

Finishing on the success of the PS4, The PlayStation Revolution ties everything together by focusing on what could be the future of gaming and Sony's first foray into virtual reality with the PSVR. It's an interesting dynamic as the documentary starts with developers talking about how the original PlayStation changed the way they approached things and finishes with developers talking about VR has changed the way we experience games.

In particular, seeing Hideo Kojima discuss the power of VR as a concept is especially intriguing. Obviously, there's not even a hint that he's working on a VR game, but we don't know what he's cooking up after Death Stranding, so you never know…

Hideo Kojima discusses VR gaming.

I would have liked there to be some content related to the PS5, maybe just showing some new games with developers discussing the process of developing for it – this would have made sense considering Mark Cerny's involvement in the documentary – but it's likely that the timing with production and Sony's gradual drip feed of next-gen information simply couldn't align.

That said, it's probably for the best. One of my biggest problems with The PlayStation Revolution is its run time. At just shy of two hours and forty minutes, this is a long, long documentary to sit through. If, like me, you have an inherent interest in the subject material, then I don't see it being an issue, but to anyone with a passing interest it is an enormous demand to sit and watch something like this for so long. Truthfully, I think a bit of pruning could bring that run time down a bit without harming the message of the documentary.


Super Bomberman R Online Review

Having not paid a huge amount of attention to the announcement of Super Bomberman R Online, it came as something of a surprise to discover exactly what it was. This wasn't, as I thought, some extension of Super Bomberman R that had launched with the Switch despite the hugely similar key visuals, but instead an all-new Bomberman battle royale.

Taking cues from Nintendo's Tetris-defining Tetris 99, this is how you keep a small scale game small, while also turning it into a large scale one. 64 player Bomberman sounds insane and unwieldy, but what we've got instead plays on the strengths of what the series has done before, while opening it up to a new generation of players. It's a blast.

So Bomberman is a man who likes bombs, and likes placing them down on the ground with a short fuse where they will then explode, taking out blocks, items and players that get in the way. The ultimate aim has always been to blow up everyone else, while not blowing yourself up, and that remains as true here as ever.

The interesting new aspect to Bomberman Online isn't simply that it's online, but that it can now play host to 64 players in one instance, increasing from the series regular 8, and shattering the previous maximum of 10 in the iconic (and arguably never bettered) Saturn Bomberman. 64 tiny Bombermen running around on one screen sounds horrendous, and I'm sure it would be, but here you begin with 16 stages hosting four players in each, and a two minute action round. At the close of this round, four of the stages disappear, funnelling more and more players together until there's only one left standing.

To the game's credit, it doesn't have to do much more than that in order to be the best Bomberman game we've had in a while. Every stage of the action feels like classic multiplayer Bomberman, and it only gets more and more frantic as you head towards the final stage, with some intense mind-games and fraught encounters as you try to make it to the end.

As ever, it can be frustrating and fun in the same measure. The action starts out fast – this is certainly greatly tuned up from the opening portions of previous games – and only gets faster as you collect more pick-ups, but it feels more like an inevitable step for the series rather than forcing a frantic pace upon you.

Those pickups will be the key to victory, and the classic triumvirate of bombs, firepower and speed remain at the heart of Super Bomberman R Online. However, there's now character-specific limits to how far your diminutive avatar can go, with some only able to gain two extra bombs, but max out their speed, or vice versa, further balanced out by all-new character-specific abilities.

Super Bomberman R Online doesn't do a particularly good job of explaining this to you, leaving you to dive into the meta of character set-ups and potential abilities for yourself. There's also the addition of special characters, all drawn from Konami's wealth of series. Fancy playing as Snake or Raider? You can. There's also Pyramid Head from Silent Hill, and a Belmont signing in from Castlevania, with swords and whips intact and usable, utterly shaking up the way the game plays. It opens things up in an utterly new way, and while this is still a real Bomberman game, it isn't one that's resting on the franchise's laurels.

Super Bomberman R Online is all tooled up to be a multiplayer game that you'll keep coming back to, and it's old-school charms work surprisingly well attached to some new-school thinking. There's a Bomber Pass, with unlockables available as you increase in rank, and a grading system that has you trying to move up to the top tier of competition during that season of play.

The game also has more conventional options available to you beyond the 64 player survival mode, and if you hop into a Private Match you can customise things to take you back to the way things were. Standard Mode allows for up to 16 players, and drops you into a conventional Bomberman setup, with Revenge Carts lining up along the walls for the downed players to seek some revenge by dropping in extra explosives to the mix.

Besides that you have the option of Grand Prix mode, where two teams of up to three players aim to score more points than the opposition. There's two different rulesets; Basic Bomber is essentially Bomberman deathmatch, with your team earning points for downing an opponent, while Crystal has the teams trying to collect the most gems by exploring the map.

They're decent enough diversions, but they require you to have a bunch of Stadia-playing friends as the rooms are all locked behind access codes. Sadly there's no searching for a particular game type and hopping in. On top of that, you can't create a room if you don't own the Platinum Pass, locking away a fairly integral feature of the private multiplayer options.

One of the downsides to Super Bomberman R Online is the whiff of current and future microtransactions. While the current Shop tab is knowingly empty of content, it surely won't be long before there's an array of cosmetics available. There's also the possibility of more characters, which will need to be judged they don't alter the game in any meaningful way.

The other major downside is waiting times, which can be pretty lengthy while the game tries to find enough players. Its position as a Stadia exclusive at the moment probably doesn't help in this regard, and despite all Stadia Pro players getting the Premium Edition for free, you'll often find that spaces in your game have been filled with woefully stupid bots. Much like PUBG's recent bot faux pas, these bots are so far removed from the way a real human being plays, you might imagine that their code was created by a stray dog meandering into the Konami offices and licking a keyboard.


DIRT 5 Playgrounds mode lets you build towering time trials and wild Gymkhana arenas

If there's one thing I doubt many people anticipated about the DIRT franchise, back when the initial trio of numbered games hit the PS3 and Xbox 360, it's just how wildly experimental it would become. DiRT Showdown then morphed things into a destruction derby-athon, the success (or lack of success) of that game causing a bit of an identity crisis leading to the hardcore rally sim of DiRT Rally, but then that was followed by DiRT 4's impressive procedurally generated rally stages, and now we have DIRT 5 (now with a capital 'i') and its Playgrounds mode.

Simply put, it's DIRT meets Play, Create, Share. You're given a blank canvas, a ton of building blocks and sent on your way to create whatever the hell you want. From the brief period that we and others have had playing a pre-release version of this, it can lead to some truly wild and impressive multi-layered creations.

Anything you create or play in Playgrounds will conform to one of three game modes. Gymkhana is full of jumps, drifting and spinning, where you earn points for chaining these together and keeping your speed up. Then there's Smash Attack, where you have to race around to find and collect objects in the quickest time, and Gate Crasher, which is a time-attack through a string of checkpoints.

Starting off with a blank canvas can be quite daunting, not least if you don't really know which of the three modes you really want to make. Even so, it's easy to bolt together a carcass of a level, with building blocks of different sizes and shapes. Ramps, humps, slopes, curves are available in both dirt and asphalt, with things bolting together nicely. By default they snap together and can only be placed on top of each other, and rotating blocks happens in set increments, but each of these hand-holding elements can be toggled on and off as you see fit.

It can still be quite fiddly at times – rotational snapping takes a few too many taps of the D-pad for my liking – and that's amplified once you start to try and decorate your created arena with barriers, signs, arrows and more. The most unnecessarily tedious of them all is placing each individual points block you can crash through in Gymkhana. I'd love to be able to draw a trail of these and have them dropped in by the game instead of doing so one at a time.

Of course, some of this could come from having played on a console. The gamepad controls work well testing this on Xbox One X, but I can't help but feel that it's all going to be more intuitive and slick when diving into Playgrounds with a keyboard and mouse.

Still, even if you don't really fancy creating something, you can always to just play the ones that others have created. As I already said, there were some great creations uploaded over the last week or two as press and influencers got to grips with the tools available to them.

My favourites by far were the Gate Crasher levels that build up and up and up into the sky, looping in and around themselves with inventive layouts that just left me dismayed at my own lack of patience and creativity. While I doubt I'll really spend hours and hours creating the perfect Gymkhana course – to be honest, Gymkhana is not my favourite event anyway – I can't wait to see what the community creates with the launch of DIRT 5 in November (now that it's been delayed).


Horizon Zero Dawn PC update 1.04 addresses performance issues, patch notes here

When the Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition launched on PC it had some troublesome performance issues. "Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition brings Guerrilla Games' fantastic sci-fi adventure to a whole new audience, but PC players used to ultra-high frame rates will have to accept a step down in performance as they enjoy Aloy's journey," we said in our review. 

A new patch has been released for the PC version and it tackles these issues – slightly. "General improvement to CPU performance (depending on CPU/GPU speeds, this can result in a 1-10% performance improvement)," read the patch notes. I'm not sure a 1% improvement is going to help much, but it is better than nothing. Here are the notes.

Crash fixes

  • Fixed a crash that could occur when users would create a new game and their save game slots were full.
  • Fixed a startup crash related to temp folder.
  • Fixed an AI crash that could occur during combat.
  • Fixed an AI crash in the EventMessageHandler.
  • Fixed a crash related to WorldData sampling (the callstack would end in WorldMapData::SampleAtPixel).
  • Fixed a crash when users would instantly back out when changing sliders in the Settings menu.
  • Fixed a crash that would occur when having the "Greetings" option open in photo mode and then exiting.
  • Potential fix for memory corruption in AI routines which could lead to crashes.
  • Potential fix for a GPU hang caused by a threading issue.
  • Fixed a mismatch that would occur on Shader Model 6.0 and 6.1 hardware which could lead to a crash.

Performance improvements

  • General improvement to CPU performance (depending on CPU/GPU speeds, this can result in a 1-10% performance improvement).
  • Improved performance of camera cuts in cinematics and conversations.

Other improvements

  • HDR – Fixed colour banding issues in HDR mode.
  • Mouse Controls – Fixed an issue where mouse sensitivity was incorrect when framerate wasn't constant.
  • Aiming – Fixed an issue where Aloy was unable to shoot while being able to do a critical attack near a machine.
  • Cutscenes – Fixed an issue where geometry and textures would pop in after camera cuts.
  • Adaptive Performance – Fixed an issue where lighting glitches would occur when turning on Adaptive Performance.
  • Volumetrics – Fixed an issue which could cause blinking artifacts in volumetric effects, like fog.
  • Reverb – Fixed several issues where excessive reverb was noticeable in specific quests.
  • Visibility – Fixed an issue which could sometimes cause geometry to briefly disappear after streaming

Known issues

  • Some players are experiencing an out of memory error during the game optimization process.
  • Some players are experiencing graphical settings issues, such as Anisotropic Filtering or HDR not working correctly.
  • Some players are experiencing performance issues on specific GPUs or hardware combinations.
  • Some players are experiencing issues with Aloy's hair when the game is running above 30 FPS.

Source: VG247

 


Streets of Rage 4 patch 1.03 / 1.04 is out, here are the patch notes

Streets of Rage 4 has been patched on PC and consoles, PC players get 1.04, console players get 1.03 but both contain the same fixes. Here are the rather long notes!

 

[GENERAL GAMEPLAY ENHANCEMENTS]
  • Specials and star move can interrupt all hitstun state including air
  • Specials can interrupt hit freeze
  • Faster jump start for SOR4 characters
[SOR4 CHARACTERS: FIXES AND ENHANCEMENTS]

AXEL SOR4:

  • Improved move speed
  • Added better recovery on-air special
  • Added additional invincibility frames on grand upper start-up
  • Added grand upper on the ground (OTG) property
  • Improved grand upper that now travels farther
  • Added neutral special OTG property
  • Neutral specials have now less hit freeze
  • Pipe swings have now less recovery
  • Improved air special: all hits connect when OTG + ignore weight class
  • Lowered defensive cost
  • Rescaled damage on grand upper
  • Fwp special better hitbox
  • Buff charge kick wall damage
  • Infinite stun-lock fix
  • Special pipe goes farther

CHERRY SOR4:

  • Cherry can now jump cancel after uppercut combo and grab uppercut
  • Added 2 frames stun on punches
  • Cherry's flying punch from combo is now fully invincible
  • Cherry's charged flying punch is invincible before hit
  • Full invulnerability during fall is removed
  • Special forward is faster
  • Damage Buff
  • Back throw works in corners
  • Pogo kick can hit OTG
  • Cherry damages are rescaled on normal combo

FLOYD SOR4:

  • Floyd's attack x3 infinite is fixed
  • Neutral special life costs adjustment
  • Floyd can no longer reset his grab move counter by jumping
  • Special take less HP

BLAZE:

  • Reduced vertical speed on juggle neutral special
  • Reduced vertical speed on juggle back attack
  • Blaze's back attack has a high bounce
  • Jump cancel on combo kick 1st hit

ADAM:

  • Fixed Infinite loop
  • Added neutral special OTG property
[RETRO CHARACTERS: FIXES AND GAMEPLAY ENHANCEMENTS] AXEL SOR1:
  • Added invincibility on headbutt

BLAZE SOR1:

  • Hitting behind with flip kick

ADAM SOR1:

  • Combo feels more like the original
  • Added body hit property to his last kick in combo as in original SOR1
  • Infinite fix

AXEL SOR2:

  • Fixed Star Move not recovering green health

MAX SOR2:

  • Atomic drop recovery is now shorter and bigger aoe

SKATE SOR3:

  • Damage nerf on blitz

AXEL SOR3:

  • Infinite fix
  • Increased run speed (+10%)
  • Fixed Star Move not recovering green health

SHIVA SOR3:

  • Nerfed Blitz damage
  • Fixed hitbox on Star Move
[BOSS: FIXES AND ENHANCEMENTS]


Diva:

  • Bug fix Diva never going in phase 2.
  • Diva charge is slower.
  • No armor on kicks.
  • Electric area disappears faster.
  • Diva has longer preparation for snake bite.
  • Diva snake bite has less depth.

Commissioner Stage 2:

  • Balancing.
  • Commissioner has longer charge punch time + lower dash grab hitbox.

Estel:

  • Police attacks are easier to dodge.

Barbon:

  • Barbon kicks can hit another player after impact.

Shiva:

  • Smaller hitbox on palm moves.
  • Shiva double has a chance to align with the player (instead of being full random).

Commissioner Stage 7:

  • Fewer armor moves.

Riha & Beyo:

  • Beyo is a little faster.
  • No more armor moves for Beyo.
  • Armor finishes sooner for Riha's moves.
  • Less fire pond (lesser time and bigger cooldown).
  • Riha fire aoe moves are slower.

Max:

  • Throw aoe damage nerf.
  • Some AI fixes.
  • Can't combo the player anymore with 3 shoulder tackles.

Ms.Y:

  • Mr.Y is now harder to defeat
  • Elite Shadow reinforcements during the fight.

Mr. Y:

  • MrY stage 11 harder.
  • MrY stage 12 evades more.

Robot:

  • Mr.Y and Ms.Y final fight lasts longer (before the robot appearance)
  • Some robot hitboxes are smaller.
  • Legs positions have changed.
  • Twin getting into the robot regains full life.
  • Additional damages on the robot.
  • Fixed a bug preventing Mr.Y from throwing grenades.
  • Spider robot now has the same attacks in phase 1 & 2.
  • Fix a bug with Ms.Y not grabbing in stage 12 last fight.

STAGES / ENEMIES:

  • Galsia weapon hitbox nerf.

Stage 9:

  • Apple added in the changing room.
  • 1 apple upgraded to chicken.

Stage 12:

  • Less green life at the beginning.
  • Fixed pheasant and sparrow rising move not triggering properly.
  • Shorter electric vial time.
  • Steam hazards hitbox reduced.
  • Lots of enemies rising armor moves removed/nerfed.

Karate:

  • Longer parry recovery time.
  • Easier massive punch dodge.

Caramel and Candy:

  • Headbutt nerf: hitbox + hitbox depth nerf.
  • Lower hp.

DIAMOND / palettes:

  • Jump kick track less.
  • Slap is slower.

Dylan:

  • No armor.

Raven / palettes:

  • Slower kicks.
  • Slower knee while rising.
  • Turn toward the target when rising.

Taser Cop:

  • Slower start up.
  • Smaller hitbox height.
  • Less HP.
  • Bronze enemy is not armor anymore during his attack.
  • Donovan and palettes have a slower jab punch.
  • Lower nb of hits to destroy bikes : 3.

Big Ben / Gourmand:

  • Gourmand jump attack tracks less.
  • Gourmand doesn't do 2 hits anymore with air attack.
  • Armor removed on Big Ben fire attack.

Elite Cop:

  • Slower shield regeneration.
  • Slower attack.

Boss Rush:

  • Barbon clone bug fixed.

Signal R & D:

  • Faster walk speed before grab.
VARIOUS
  • In Battle Mode, special burst would be very annoying, so it is deactivated.
  • Enemies hurtbox while jumping on screen is bigger.
  • You can pick up an item that is in the air if it is in your character height.
  • All characters can hit at point blank.
  • You cannot charge a move while doing a charged move.
  • Forward specials are not triggered when pressing up or down.
  • Wall bounces increments the combo counter.
  • A character that is in « Body Hit » mode will collide more easily with other characters.
  • Nora palettes aren't armor anymore.
  • Donovan can hold a hammer.
  • Gold reinforcements on stage 10 boss.
  • Stage 11 more score items on the plane.
  • Stage 12 ninja floor changed a little (removed spike ball, added Big Bens).
  • Faster transition on stage 1_2.
  • Donovan with a hammer on stage 3_1.
  • Boss Rush MrY & MsY robot trigger threshold as in Story Mode.
  • Bikes are now breakable in Stage 6.
  • Walking upward in front of Roo makes spawn 3 vials.
  • Score : combo bonuses don't have a point limit now.
  • Better reinforcements spawn code preventing some reinforcements from spawning out of bounds.
  • Combo counters stay alive when hitting shields or guards.
  • Falling into holes breaks the combo.
  • Lowered Koobo control weapons number (2 flying at the same time).
  • Fixing Grenade throwers on roff throwing their grenades out of bounds.
  • Damage reduced on players when comboed by enemies.
  • Fixed a bug where you could infinite combo an enemy and refill his life.
  • Fixing pickup bug when several items overlap.
  • Weapons start flashing in red at 1/3 life (instead of 1/2).
  • Sledgehammer freeze reduced a bit.
  • Fixed input bug when canceling blitz by fwd special near a wall.
  • Fixed some scripting issues in 5-2 bar fight.
  • Better reinforcements spawning.
  • Throwing knives does 36 damage instead of 35 preventing some weird 0hp enemy situations.
  • Some K-washi shield issues fixed.
  • Retro Shiva boss fight reworked.
  • Added 10 frames of stun after vault jump.
  • Pummel moves fix preventing some infinite.

Source: Steam


Ratings board reveals you can get off your t*ts and on someone else's in Assassin's Creed Valhalla

The Entertainment Software Rating Board, or the ESRB to you and me, has rated Ubisoft's forthcoming Assassin's Creed Valhalla and as you might expect from the series it is quite gory. Here is the text from the rating.

Players also use swords, axes, arrows, and siege weapons to kill multiple enemies (e.g., soldiers, mythic boss characters) in frenetic melee-style combat. Combat is highlighted by screams of pain and frequent blood-splatter effects. Some weapons allow players to decapitate enemies; zoomed-in sequences depict victims' bones, organs, and muscles getting damaged by players' blade.

There is also drug use, with "screen distortion/discoloration and impaired movements after players' character consumes mushrooms or inhales mushroom-based fumes." According to the ESRB one of the lines of dialogue is "I may still be buzzing from these mushrooms," which is a rather modern phrase, in fact it's first recorded use was in 1935 when it was used to describe a "pleasant sense of intoxication".

The game also includes sexy time albeit in a very prudish manner. A mission takes place in a brothel with topless women and you can "lay" with someone, but the screen fades to black before the characters get jiggy. Vikings were fond of a bit of man on man action so you can romance both male and female character, "A good plough-sword is a rare thing," apparently.

AC Valhalla follows Eivor as they leave Norway to seek a new home in England. Eivor can be either male or female and is heavily customisable. A returning element will be creating a village settlement that acts as the hub for Eivor and their fellow Vikings, which you'll be looking to grow through your time with the game, with the story centred around this element (and potential romances as well). A raven is to be Eivor's animal companion to help explore the world, replacing the eagles from previous Assassin's Creed games.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla should include these 5 fun Viking facts

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla will be out on 17th November for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia. It will also release on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. For the home consoles, there are free cross-gen upgrades, with one way using Smart Delivery on Xbox.

Source: ESRB


EA U-turns on UFC 4 in-game adverts after player backlash

Players of UFC 4 were greeted by the surprise introduction of advert overlays into the game over the weekend, sparking no small amount of backlash online and forcing EA to U-turn quicker than a UK Education Secretary dishing out dodgy A-level grades. EA have also promised not to reintroduce advertising into the game in future.

The weekend saw UFC 4 featuring adverts in and around replays in the game, an element which had not been present at the game's launch on 14th August, and coming several weeks after the typical review window for the game had closed. While advertising in games is hardly new – there's several technologies for  it is generally made more subtle in a full-priced release than in a free-to-play game.

However, where billboards in racing games and sidings in football games can be used as advertising space quite naturally, UFC 4's adverts cut across the actual game in a manner that was perhaps a little too close to broadcast realism for liking. It's quite excessive, especially when it's all for a single product.

EA decided to add full-on commercials in the middle of gameplay in a $60 game a month after it's release so it wasn't talked about in reviews from assholedesign

The Reddit threads garnered thousands of comments and tens of thousands of upvotes, forcing EA to respond and react.

EA's statement to the press reads:

Earlier this week, the team turned on ad placements in EA SPORTS UFC 4 that appeared during the 'Replay' moments in gameplay.

This type of advertising inventory is not new to the UFC franchise, though we have typically reserved displaying ads to specific main menu tiles or Octagon logo placement.

It is abundantly clear from your feedback that integrating ads into the Replay and overlay experience is not welcome. The advertisements have been disabled by the team and we apologize for any disruption to gameplay that players may have experienced.

We realize that this should have been communicated with players ahead of time and that's on us. We want to make sure our players have the best possible experience playing EA SPORTS UFC 4, so ad integration in the Replay and overlay experience will not be reappearing in the future.

Thank you for your continued feedback on EA SPORTS UFC 4.

Aside from this kerfuffle, the game has actually been a positive step forward for the franchise, incrementally building on the ideas of UFC 3 and removing strange game modes like Ultimate Team – for once there were fewer microtransactions in a sports game. In our UFC 4 review, Aran wrote:

"UFC 4 is an evolution over UFC 3. A much better and more cohesive online, a better system for advancing your created fighters, a career mode that has a bit more depth, and gameplay that opens up the series to more people, makes UFC 4 the game that UFC 3 should have been."

Source: Reddit, VGC


Dirt 5 release delayed to November, but PS5 & Xbox Series X versions still coming this year

The release of DIRT 5 has been pushed back from mid-October to the start of November, with the game now set to launch for Xbox One, PS4 and PC on 6th November. However, this will seemingly not affect the next-gen versions of the game, which are still planned to arrive on PS5 and Xbox Series X later this year.

The game was originally expected on 9th October, but this was nudged back by a week to 16th October before this latest delay. Unfortunately for Codemasters, they've had to push things back by another couple of weeks, which is putting them right in the mix with everything from Cyberpunk 2077 to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which are releasing in and around the next-gen console launches expected in November.

Of course, Dirt 5 was always a cross-gen game, with free upgrades and cross-gen ownership on both Xbox and PlayStation platforms but the hope would have been to get out ahead of the mad next-gen rush while still appealing to those who want to get an enhanced game on their shiny new console. The next-gen versions will both be enhanced with faster loading times and graphics modes to offer frame rates up to 120Hz on TVs and screens that support this.

There will be a sprawling career mode with 130 events, with nine race types and Throwdown challenges mixed in for good measure, but you can pick your own path through the career. As you race, you earn Stamps that can be spent to unlock the Main Event chapter ending showdown, but you won't have to take on every event in the career if you don't want to, meaning you can skip some modes you don't like so much. Alternatively, if you come up against an event you don't like the look of, you'll be able to enlist the help of some friends. The game will feature full on four player split-screen co-op throughout the career, with the best finisher in your group being used to set your progress.

It's all built with a story in mind, which will star Nolan North and Troy Baker (just like every other game in existence), but alongside them will be special guest appearances from W Series World Champion, Jamie Chadwick and YouTuber SLAPTrain in a Dirt Podcast by Donut Media that features throughout.

At the end of August, the company revealed the Playgrounds mode, allowing people to create an arena and share it online for others to take on.

You'll have bumps, kickers, ramps, loops, tunnels, rings of fire and so much more to play with as you construct arenas for three game modes:

  • Gate Crasher – A high-speed checkpoint dash through strategically placed gates. While it sounds simple, after adding loops and other obstacles, the challenge increases ten-fold.
  • Gymkhana – Create a high-skill, fast-thrills arena peppered with drifts, donuts, and trick objects placed with precision for the perfect challenge. Players are rewarded for speed and style.
  • Smash Attack – The ultimate four-wheeled hide and seek. Strategically position smashable objects and define a target score. Players must find and collect all objects in the fastest time possible.

Dirt 5 is being developed by Codemasters Chesire, the former Evolution team behind MotorStorm, DriveClub, and OnRush. Dirt 5 will be released on 6th November for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It will also release on PS5 and Xbox Series X later this year, with a Google Stadia release planned for 2021.

Source: Twitter


Something WipEout related is coming, but it's not a game

Nick Burcombe, co-creator of WipEout, has teased something to do with the franchise but has made it clear it's not a game.

He's also confirmed it's not the WipEout book that was mentioned a while back, adding that is "way cooler" than that. So, not a game, not a book, the complete selection of WipEout music tracks is already out on Spotify so it probably is not tune related, which leaves us wondering what it could be. Perhaps a documentary on the series, those sort of things pop up now and then so that's a possibility, or if we are really thinking big, what about an animated show on Netflix?

Although there's no plot as such to the game it does have plenty of elements that lend itself to storytelling, the WipEout competition would make a great hero journey. Set in the year 2052, the hero would compete in the F3600 anti-gravity racing league, signing up for the Feisar team and battling against Auricon, Qirex, and AG Systems. Sounds a great idea but sadly, no it's not that either, boo! In a later Tweet, responding to the idea of a Netflix show Nick tweeted "That's so wildly ambitious that I'm worried you'll be disappointed."

My money is on a documentary of some sort, of maybe an art print from the game. Nick does say the announcement is "Covid dependent" and will be revealed in 4-5 weeks.

The last time we saw WipEout on PlayStation was with the release of the Wipeout Omega Collection which remastered the old games for PS4 and PSVR. It scored 9/10 in our review.

Wipeout Omega Collection pulls together some of the series' most recent highlights and uses the power of the PlayStation 4 Pro to keep the franchise on the technological bleeding edge – and it does so in spectacular fashion. This feels like far more than a tentative step towards a fully-fledged new entry, proving that as long as there's PlayStation, there should be Wipeout.

Source: Twitter


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