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Monday, 28 September 2020

Load Times on the Xbox Series X Are a Fraction of the Xbox One X's

Xbox Series X

Unsurprisingly, the Xbox Series X, fitted with an SSD for internal storage, is crushing the Xbox One in terms of load times.

We already knew that games would be loading faster, mostly because SSDs outperform HDDs, but also because we've seen the Xbox Series S go up against its last-gen counterpart, the Xbox One S in a game load-off. However, the results coming from other outlets that have had the opportunity to toy with the new flagship Xbox are astonishing.

Over at The Verge, Tom Warren spent a week with the Xbox Series X, and as part of his hands-on, he measured the load times between some of this generation's most popular titles. The results show a decrease in load times across the board, some by expected, smaller margins and others by much more. Most notably, Sea of TheivesWarframe, and Destiny 2 were all able to shave over a minute off of their load time. The smallest change was for CoD: Warzone, which, at an already impressive 21 second load time on the Xbox One was brought down to 16 seconds.

The Dorito Pope himself, Geoff Keighley, has also spent some time with Microsoft's new flagship console. Besides his praise for quick resume, which he said was like "Alt-TABbing" between games, he noted the console's impressive load times.

It shouldn't be surprising either that older games you play on the Series X will also benefit from the switch to an SSD. It seems like no matter what game you play, as long as it's from the ongoing gen or prior, load times are going to be slashed. The real question left is what we'll be looking at in terms of load times for next-gen titles, especially for folks playing at 4K.

The Xbox Series X / S is set to come out on November 10. If you're looking to pre-order one of the upcoming consoles, we have a list of retailers that you can purchase one from right here.

The post Load Times on the Xbox Series X Are a Fraction of the Xbox One X's by Otto Kratky appeared first on DualShockers.

Phil Spencer Says Microsoft is Still Planning for Future Consoles After Xbox Series X/S

Xbox Series X Xbox Series S

There is no question whatsoever that Microsoft is the one console manufacturer that is starting to diversify where you can play its games. Not only do all first-party Xbox titles come to PC at this point, but Microsoft has also started to venture into cloud gaming with its xCloud service. Despite focusing on so many areas other than the Xbox console alone though, the company doesn't expect this coming generation to be the last one in which we'll see dedicated Xbox hardware.

In a discussion with Yahoo!, Xbox head Phil Spencer said that Microsoft is still planning internally for there to be a new generation of Xbox consoles after the Xbox Series X and S cycle has ended. "In terms of future hardware, absolutely I think we're going to see more console hardware down the road," Spencer said plainly. "Just like in video, just like in music, it's not that streaming has cut off device innovation. I think we'll continue to see that, and that's absolutely what we're planning for."

This news is surely comforting for those who are looking to continue purchasing new consoles in the future. While the gaming industry as a whole seems to be focusing more on game streaming (mega-corps in Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have all now committed in some way to that space), Xbox itself still sees dedicated hardware being relevant anywhere from five to ten years into the future.

It remains to be seen what the future will hold, but given the fact that consoles are developed so far in advance, it's safe to assume that there is an internal team within Xbox working on what the next hardware for the green brand will look like. Whether those devices are more iterative remains to be seen, but it sounds like November 10 won't be the final Xbox launch we'll ever see.

The post Phil Spencer Says Microsoft is Still Planning for Future Consoles After Xbox Series X/S by Logan Moore appeared first on DualShockers.

Minecraft Will Host a Fan Vote for Next Mob, Here Are Your Candidates

Minecraft, Minecraft Live

Minecraft Live kicks off this weekend and one of the many events virtual attendees can participate in is a vote for the latest mob. Last time fans had a vote like this, we got the Phantom. This go-around, the choices are a little less terrifying but still fun. Starting this weekend, you'll have a chance to vote between the Iceologer, Moobloom, or Glow Squid.

Minecraft's latest potential "illager" is the Iceologer. They hang out on icy mountains and will cause chaos when you stumble across them. Iecologers are hostile and throw flying ice clouds at you. Mojang describes fighting them as a "hardcore snowball fight", which I'm down for.

Mooblooms, on the other hand, are totally passive. The team isn't giving full details yet, but they mention that they'll interact with bees somehow. Maybe they'll serve as a mobile beehive? We'll know more at Minecraft Live.

The last potential addition is the Glow Squid. They're basically just normal squids that glow, which could make for an atmospheric addition to an underwater secret base.

Of course, all of this is just a short selection of what we'll see at Minecraft Live this weekend. Mojang has already announced that we should expect some massive updates, so tune in if you're looking to get your Minecraft fix. Of course, if anything major happens, check back with DualShockers for all the news.

Minecraft Live starts October 3 on the game's official Twitch. If you somehow have never played the game, it's available pretty much everywhere now.

The post Minecraft Will Host a Fan Vote for Next Mob, Here Are Your Candidates by Ricky Frech appeared first on DualShockers.

Xbox Series X Requires Nearly 200GB of Storage for Basic System Files

Xbox Series X controller Xbox Series S Story feature

Even though new consoles always say that they offer up a certain amount of storage, the number that is given always fails to account for the default space that is required when setting the system up. Next-gen hardware in the Xbox Series X and PS5 are no different, and in the case of the former, we now know how much storage space it will actually have in tow.

According to GameSpot, who already has an Xbox Series X in their possession, the 1TB drive that the console has installed needs nearly one-fifth of that space for the basic files attached to the console. In total, 198GB of the Xbox Series X are needed for the platform's operating system and other various files. This means that in reality, 802GB are then left open for you to install games and other applications that you might download. It's worth noting that the version of the console that GameSpot has in its hands might not be finalized just yet though, so these numbers could change by launch day.

In some ways, this is to be expected. With video games as a whole getting larger over time, it's not a shock that the general operating system of the Xbox Series X is going to be larger than what we're used to as well.

On the downside, it sure seems like the Series X could run out of space pretty darn quickly. 800GB isn't a lot by modern standards and, as mentioned, if game sizes keep getting larger, that storage is going to diminish very fast. Considering the expandable storage options for Xbox Series X and S also cost a staggering $220, it sure seems like we'll have to do more management than normal in this upcoming generation.

Both the Xbox Series X and S are due out in a little over a month on November 10. We'll surely be learning a lot more specific details of the platform leading up to launch, so stay tuned.

The post Xbox Series X Requires Nearly 200GB of Storage for Basic System Files by Logan Moore appeared first on DualShockers.

Ubisoft's Michel Ancel Accused of Toxic Management, Denies Allegations in Statement


For a large portion of 2020, Ubisoft has been under the spotlight for a series of allegations against employees and managers regarding toxic workplace culture, sexual harassment and abuse, and more. While the company has publicly taken steps to work towards addressing these allegations over the past several months, further accusations and details on troubles with the company's workplace culture have continued to emerge, with the latest focusing on longtime Ubisoft veteran Michel Ancel.

Last week, Michel Ancel–the creator of the Rayman series and Beyond Good & Evilannounced his departure from Ubisoft after 30 years, with Ancel detailing that he would be moving on from game development to pursue work at a wildlife sanctuary. However, following Ancel's announcement of retirement and leaving the company, a report emerged from the French newspaper Liberation that claimed Ancel was under investigation by Ubisoft for accusations of toxic behavior and management during the development of Beyond Good & Evil 2.

According to additional details from Kotaku, Ubisoft confirmed in a statement that Ancel was under investigation from accusations that arose of his management style and issues with the direction of the game. According to anonymous reports from employees to Liberation, this included "constant changes in scope and re-works" and "an unusual amount of exhaustion, depression, and burnout experienced by members of his team."


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Fake News Take few people with rage and jealousy and let them speak in the name of hundreds. Publish the news fast so that it combines with sexual harassment from other news at Ubi soft. I this serious? Is this what you expect from a national newspaper. I will fight for the truth because such accusations are a shame . I worked hard on every of my projects and always had respect for the teams. The accusations are wrong . 1- Toxic management : I am not managing the team. I bring a vision and producers and managers decide what to do , when and how. They are powerful people in the making of such a big projects. Why don't the journalist speaks about them? 2- I always change my mind : false. E.g. I've spent years explaining why the city should not be re done from scratch. Hours explaining that characters were good enough and did not need to be redone . Same for planets and all. But sometimes some people in the team changed things despite my advices. Managers are here to solve this. 3- the 2017 demo was fake and was a video: false . The 2017 demo was solid and made possible the 2018 demo. As opposed to what is in the news, the 2018 demo had the right details , was using real streaming, procedural generation and was playable online. This was a masterpiece of technology. The news from liberation contains fake Informations revealed by few people who wants to destroy me and the projects . This can't be done without me fighting every single lines of that news. I've offered the journalist the opportunity to take enough time to look at all the mistakes. Let's see what he will do .

A post shared by Michel Ancel (@michelancel) on

In response to the allegations, Michel Ancel posted a statement to his Instagram, calling the claims by Liberation "fake news" and denying the reports. Ancel mentioned in his statement that "I will fight for the truth because such accusations are a shame," adding that "I worked hard on every [one, sic] of my projects and always had respect for the teams." Ancel also seemingly pushed some of the accusations away from him and towards managers on the project, detailing that he brings "a vision" and that "producers and managers decide what to do, when and how."

Given the blowback from Ubisoft's prior investigations and accusations that emerged over the summer, the allegations against Ancel add more fuel to the calls from across the industry for Ubisoft to implement more systemic change to address these issues. While several of the managers and employees named in the initial allegations have either been terminated or left the company accordingly, it remains to be seen what firmer action Ubisoft will take heading into the future following its planned investigations.

The post Ubisoft's Michel Ancel Accused of Toxic Management, Denies Allegations in Statement by Ryan Meitzler appeared first on DualShockers.

Nope, Taco Bell Didn't Take A Jab At EA Microtransactions With Its Xbox Series X Giveaway

Taco Bell Xbox Series X

Taco Bell is giving away the Xbox Series X, This move started a rumor claiming how in the contest's FAQ, the fast food chain had taken a jab at EA. Over on Reddit, an image which seemed to be from the contest's FAQ was shared, claiming the FAQ had the text:

"What exactly do I win?

Besides a sense of pride and accomplishment? Each verified winner gets an Xbox Series X Prize bundle, which includes the Xbox Series X console, six (6) months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and the envy of your friends and family".

However, none of the above text can be found on the actual Taco Bell Xbox Series X giveaway FAQ page:

Taco Bell Xbox Series X

The actual text states: "Each winner will receive an Xbox Series X and 6 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate prize bundle. Each prize bundle is valued at approximately $599. For complete prize details, see the Official Rules."

It's unlikely Taco Bell initially included that message and edited it out either, as in the first place, the background colors don't match.

The fake answer is channeling EA's poor handling of how difficult and expensive it was to unlock beloved characters such as Darth Vader in Star Wars Battlefront 2. EA's response was so cringe worthy that it became Reddit's most downvoted comment ever.

Back then EA tried to defend Battlefront 2's micro-transactions through the EACommunityTeam account by stating that, "the intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes".  Of course, that not only angered fans, even more, it nearly ruined the game. It also provided the world with of some pretty great memes, and Taco Bell definitely could have borrowed it.

The Xbox Series X contest is underway and lasts until November 4, 2020. To participate, stop into your local Taco Bell and buy a large or medium drink. Each cup will have a code that you can text or enter online for your chance to win the console. I know what you are thinking, "no one ever wins these things". But I have been lucky enough to win more than once, including last year's special Eclipse Xbox One X and Elite 2 controller bundle. You might have a better chance of winning the Xbox Series X from Taco Bell than actually pre-ordering a PS5.

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will launch on November 10. We recently got to hear what the Xbox Series X sounds like when booting as well.

The post Nope, Taco Bell Didn't Take A Jab At EA Microtransactions With Its Xbox Series X Giveaway by Laddie Simco appeared first on DualShockers.

PlayStation Studios — Here Are Sony's 13 First-Party Studios to Date

PlayStation Studios

As the next-generation consoles near this fall, one of the biggest questions that has been on the hearts and minds of prospective console-owners has been the type of first-party experiences that we'll expect to see on both platforms. Last week we looked at Microsoft's first-party plans for Xbox, with the company aggressively pursuing new studios in the past few years, including its surprise acquisition of Bethesda Softworks and ZeniMax Media. With that in mind, we're taking a look at Sony's line of first-party studios and titles, which (as of this year) are now housed under "PlayStation Studios."

With the PS5 on the horizon for release in November, most of Sony's studios are likely gearing up (or already at work) on their next-gen debut projects. While several of Sony's studios have recently released projects within the past year or so, here is an overall look at Sony's first-party studios to date and what they have coming in the future.

Japan Studio (founded in 1993)

As one of the oldest of Sony's first-party studios, Japan Studio has been involved in the development of hundreds of titles across the entire line of PlayStation consoles. Even during the PS4 era alone, Japan Studio has worked on several of this generation's iconic first-party titles like Bloodborne and The Last Guardian, while assisting with a bevy of other titles like the Gravity Rush series, the Shadow of the Colossus remake, and the PS VR breakout hit Astro Bot Rescue Mission.

On the immediate horizon, Japan Studio is at work on two PS5 projects for the system's launch: Astro's Playroom (which will be pre-installed on every PS5) and the Demon's Souls remake being helmed by Bluepoint Games. Notably, Demon's Souls will be one of the first wholly-exclusive titles to the PS5, and was confirmed earlier this month to be arriving alongside the PS5 in November as a launch title.

Astro Bot, Astro Bot Rescue Mission, Gran Turismo Sport, Haptics Feedback, Japan Studio, PlayStation 5, PS5, Sony, gran turismo 7

Polyphony Digital (founded in 1998)

For over two decades, Polyphony Digital has mainly been at the helm of Sony's racing titles, most notably the Gran Turismo series. Much like Turn 10 with the Forza Motorsport series, Gran Turismo is at the forefront of the racing sim genre, with Polyphony continuing to hold the crown for developing pseudo-realistic racing titles at the top of their class.

The most recent release from Polyphony was Gran Turismo Sport in 2017 for the PS4, and given the studio's track record, it's not a surprise that they are at work on the next installment in the iconic racing series. Earlier this year, Sony confirmed that Gran Turismo 7 is in development for the PS5, with Polyphony racing into next-gen with their upcoming project.

San Mateo Studio (founded in 1998)

Since it was founded in 1998, Sony's San Mateo Studio has had its hands in a number of different projects across PlayStation properties going as far back as the original PlayStation. San Mateo Studio has primarily worked in collaboration with various other first-party studios at Sony, ranging from Syphon FilterJak & DaxterSly CooperRatchet & Clank, and many more.

Most recently, San Mateo Studio assisted with the development of Marvel's Spider-Man with Insomniac Games and also co-developed the PlayStation VR title Farpoint. At the moment, we don't know yet what San Mateo Studio's next project is, but presumably they'll provide some assistance on upcoming PS5 titles in collaboration with other Sony first-party teams.

Santa Monica Studio (founded in 1999)

As the home of the God of War franchise, Santa Monica Studio has delivered and iterated upon one of PlayStation's most well-known franchises for over 15 years. Having created the original trilogy of God of War titles across the PS2/PS3 and its prequel, Ascension, Santa Monica Studio took the franchise in an entirely different direction with 2018's reboot, which quickly became one of the PS4's most acclaimed and successful titles to date.

Following the release of 2018's God of War, it was confirmed at Sony's PS5 showcase earlier this month that Santa Monica Studio is at work on a sequel to Kratos and Atreus' journey, seemingly focused around the prophesied Ragnarok. The title was also confirmed to be coming next year, so we won't have to wait too much longer. Remember: Ragnarok is coming.

Days Gone

Bend Studio (acquired in 2000)

Named after its home in Oregon, Bend Studio has had a long and prolific history as the developers of the Syphon Filter franchise across numerous PlayStation consoles over the years. Alongside spin-off projects of other PlayStation franchises like Resistance and Uncharted, Bend Studio made their debut on PS4 with the long-in-development Days Gone, its open-world action-adventure game focused on bikers in the zombie apocalypse.

Following the release of Days Gone last year on PS4, it's unknown just yet what Bend Studio has in store for their next project. Recent rumors over the past year suggest that the studio is in pre-production on its next title, and Bend has expressed interest in exploring more of the Days Gone universe, leaving room for a sequel.

The Last of Us Part II

Naughty Dog (acquired in 2001)

Few studios have the kind of history and recognition that Naughty Dog has had with PlayStation over the years, and since the studio was acquired by Sony, they have been the driving force behind some of the most iconic PlayStation franchises ever. From its early years on the original PlayStation with Crash Bandicoot, to action-packed, story-driven titles like Uncharted and The Last of Us, Naughty Dog has continued to deliver the type of first-party experiences that PlayStation has made its signature.

Most recently, Naughty Dog completed and released The Last of Us Part II, its long anticipated sequel that met critical acclaim and major commercial success but a divisive audience reaction. At the moment it's unknown what Naughty Dog will be working on next, other than (most likely) its next title geared for the PS5. Other than that, the studio is seemingly working on the multiplayer component for The Last of Us Part II, with Neil Druckmann hinting to wait a little bit longer for it.

San Diego Studio (founded in 2001)

As one of several of PlayStation's California-based studios, San Diego Studio in recent years has found its place as the home for Sony's MLB The Show series, while also co-developing and working on a number of other projects in collaboration with other studios.

Most recently, San Diego Studio released MLB The Show 20 on PS4 this past spring, a welcome return to sports in the COVID-19 era. For the future, we can expect that the studio is working on next year's installment MLB The Show 21, which surprisingly will also be the series' first multi-platform entry aside from PlayStation.

Blood & Truth

London Studio (founded in 2002)

Formed from a merger between Camden Studio and Team Soho, Sony's London Studio has had a particularly diverse range of projects over nearly two decades since it was formed. Known primarily for their line of EyeToy games and the long-running SingStar series, London Studio has always had its eye on bringing innovative and unique player experiences to PlayStation consoles.

Along with the release of SingStar Celebration in 2017, London Studio has seemed to focus its attention on new titles for PS VR. For the VR headset's launch in 2016 the studio released PlayStation VR Worlds with a compilation of different VR experiences, and last year released its VR first-person shooter Blood & Truth. At the moment it's unknown what London Studio might be working on next, but it seems likely to involve looking ahead at PlayStation VR.

Horizon: Forbidden West, PS5

Guerrilla Games (acquired in 2005)

Based in the Netherlands, Guerrilla Games has had a long and storied history with PlayStation as the makers of the Killzone franchise, going as far back as the PS2. After developing several installments in the Killzone franchise (up to Killzone Shadow Fall for the PS4's launch), Guerrilla Games branched out to an entirely new genre with Horizon Zero Dawn, a brand new IP that was met with critical acclaim in the PS4 generation.

For what's in store for the studio's future, Guerrilla Games announced Horizon Forbidden West this past summer at Sony's PS5 reveal showcase, which will be the follow-up to Aloy's first adventure. Forbidden West has been confirmed to release sometime in 2021, and it was also announced earlier this month that the game will be a cross-gen release between PS4 and PS5.


Media Molecule (acquired in 2010)

Among all of the first-party PlayStation Studios, few have as distinct of a voice and roster of games as Media Molecule. As the minds behind LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway, Media Molecule is a force of innovation and for putting player creativity at the forefront of their games. Media Molecule's most recent PS4 title, Dreams, is probably the best example of this, with the game finally getting its official launch earlier this year.

At the moment, there's no clear sign yet what Media Molecule has in store for its next project, though Dreams is likely to be a focus for the studio given the time and resources that it has put into making it. Earlier in the year there were reports that Dreams was already working on PS5 hardware, so it's likely that Dreams will continue to be supported on Sony's next-gen console for some time.

Akira Kurosawa, Ghost of Tsushima, PlayStation 4, PS4, Sony, sucker punch, Sucker Punch Productions, cinematic mode

Sucker Punch Productions (acquired in 2011)

Like other Sony first-party studios such as Insomniac and Naughty Dog, Sucker Punch Productions has been known for its long-standing history with PlayStation for quite some time. Coming from the Sly Cooper and inFamous series, Sucker Punch has worked almost exclusively on creating first-party franchises for PlayStation, and it remains to be seen what the studio will have in store next with Sony heading into the next-generation.

Sucker Punch's most recent project was Ghost of Tsushima, which released this past summer as one of the PS4's final first-party exclusives before the arrival of the PS5 this fall. The studio recently announced that a multiplayer add-on for Ghost of Tsushima is currently in development, but beyond that we don't know just yet what the studio may have planned for the PS5.

Pixelopus (founded in 2014)

As one of the most recent studios under Sony's first-party belt, Pixelopus only has two titles under its belt, but already has made a big impression for being creative with their projects. The studio's first project was Entwined, its vivid rhythm game that was announced and released during Sony's E3 2014 press conference across PS4, PS3, and PS Vita. After that, Pixelopus released its acclaimed Concrete Genie last year as the studio's first PS4 exclusive, which was a colorful adventure game that gave players the powers of a magical paintbrush.

At the moment, it's unknown what Pixelopus will release to follow up Concrete Genie, but from what we've seen of the studio's two releases so far, we can probably expect big things from this small team.

Insomniac Games, Marvel's Spider-Man, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Miles Morales, PS4, PS5, Sony, Sony Interactive Entertainment, spider-man

Insomniac Games (acquired in 2019)

Sony's most recent acquisition of Insomniac Games last year was most likely a foregone conclusion, given that the companies have had an incredibly long-lasting and fruitful relationship for over two decades. From Spyro the Dragon, to Ratchet & Clank, to Resistance, Insomniac has been behind some of PlayStation's biggest franchises, while also branching out into its own projects over the past several years. Notably, Insomniac Games released its first exclusive title with Microsoft in 2014's Sunset Overdrive, before eventually being brought into Sony's fold in 2019.

Insomniac Games' most recent first-party project was Marvel's Spider-Man, which was one of PlayStation's biggest successes in 2018 alongside God of War and broke sales records as one of the fastest-selling PlayStation titles of all-time. Alongside other projects like Stormland for Oculus and a series of titles for Magic Leap, Insomniac is currently at work on Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales and a remastered version of the original Spider-Man for the launch of the PS5 this fall. Additionally, the studio is also developing Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart–a launch window title for the PS5–and presumably working on its anticipated sequel to Marvel's Spider-Man.

The post PlayStation Studios — Here Are Sony's 13 First-Party Studios to Date by Ryan Meitzler appeared first on DualShockers.

Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War Zombies Mode to be Unveiled on Wednesday

In typical Black Ops fashion, this year's release of Cold War will bring back the iconic Zombies game mode that Call of Duty has become known for over the years. While we haven't seen what this mode will be bringing to the table just yet, Activision has now announced when we'll learn more.

In a stream later this week, Treyarch will be showing off the first look at Zombies from Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War. The stream will take place on Wednesday, September 30 and will transpire on the official Call of Duty YouTube channel at 1:00pm EDT/10:00am PDT.

As of this moment, Treyarch and Activision haven't revealed too much when it comes to what this stream will show off in regards to Zombies. Notably, we should get a look at some gameplay footage of the mode, but beyond that, it remains to be seen what will be highlighted. Regardless, we'll be here to share all of the latest information about this game mode with you here on DualShockers once it is revealed on Wednesday.

Call of Duty: Black Ops- Cold War is set to release later this year on November 13 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC. Ahead of that time, the beta period for the game's multiplayer is set to transpire across all consoles in October.

The post Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War Zombies Mode to be Unveiled on Wednesday by Logan Moore appeared first on DualShockers.

WWE 2K Battlegrounds Review — Animate Me

WWE 2k Battlegrounds

It is no secret that the WWE 2K franchise is in a bit of a rut. I've played every WWE game since 2K took over, and for the most part, I've enjoyed my time. Obviously, they aren't perfect, but I have always dug its character creation suite and presentation. That is, until WWE 2K20 — that game was pretty awful. That unfortunate event has led 2K and Visual Concepts to postpone its annual franchise to next year, but that doesn't mean we've received a break WWE video games entirely.

Developed by Saber Interactive, WWE 2K Battlegrounds is the latest WWE branded wrestling game and is, in some ways, the wrestling game everyone has been asking for (sans a GM mode). Similar to 2011's WWE All-Stars, it takes a more "over-the-top" approach with arcade-style gameplay, fantastical venues, and cartoonish character models. It's actually somewhat of a breath of fresh air from the buggy mess that WWE 2K20 was. Despite that, it is maybe the most lifeless and uninspired wrestling game I have ever played.

That isn't to say Saber Interactive and 2K haven't created a solid foundation with WWE 2K Battlegrounds. That sentiment is mostly due to its gameplay. For the first time in years, I didn't have to learn to wrestle with an intense control scheme. I was able to simply pick up the game and play mostly without hesitation.

The basics of WWE 2K Battlegrounds' gameplay is the most approachable a wrestling game has been in a long time. Each wrestler has its own set of moves and finishers, as well as their own style and melee combinations. It sounds like a lot, but the gameplay loop of a match typically boils down to using your grapples when you have the stamina, then using melee combinations when your stamina starts to run low. Once you've built up your meter for your finisher, which is indicated by a blue circle under your wrestler, you just press in both triggers. Once a wrestler's health is low, go for the pin.

WWE 2K Battlegrounds

Your wrestler is also equipped with three special abilities you can choose before a match starts. These abilities are split into each tier and increase in power as you move up in tiers. However, it takes longer to build up enough meter to use the higher tiered power-ups. For example, tier 1 power-ups will give you buffs like increased damage, while a tier 3 power-up will allow your moves to be unblockable for a set period of time. These abilities add a bit more substance to a match, but they never felt too useful unless I was fighting higher-ranked wrestlers like Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, and The Rock.

The approachable gameplay and added abilities make for some engaging matches for a bit. The first few matches I had, I was actually quite impressed. But as I played a few more hours, it felt like every match was the same with minor difficulty spikes here and there depending on who I decided to wrestle.

WWE 2K Battlegrounds does attempt to mix things up with its different arenas. From the traditional WWE locales like Raw and WrestleMania-themed rings, to more wild areas like a swamp and a garage in Detroit, there is some variety. Also, each arena has its own gimmick attack. For example, the swamp-themed arena lets you throw your opponent into a crocodile (which is rad) and the boot camp arena had a helicopter you can jump off of (which isn't as rad as you'd think). The different arenas do help with giving a bit of variety to each match, but after the third match in the same arena, it becomes the same monotonous gameplay.

WWE 2K Battlegrounds

The WWE 2K games have always some problems, but I consistently loved the creative suite. I always felt like I could imagine something and create it. Unfortunately, that isn't the case with WWE 2K Battlegrounds. While the general art direction is more cartoonish making each character not look as generic, I never felt like I could create the wrestler I wanted. A lot of that comes down to the outfits you can give your wrestler.

When creating your own wrestler, you choose a fighting style that determines their moveset and skill tree. Since WWE 2K Battlegrounds is smaller in scale than previous WWE games, there are fewer options for your created character. In some ways, this is a bit of a welcome addition. The skill tree for your created wrestler in the WWE 2K games can be overwhelming. So, I do really like that the skill tree in this game isn't nearly as large. However, I would have liked more moveset customization. You can really only choose from a handful of finishers and signature moves, most of which are pre-existing moves from other wrestlers. Your basic moves seem to be determined by your fighting style, which is a bit of a letdown.

Even if you end up creating a wrestler you enjoy playing, you still need to earn credits from playing the game to get all the moves and attire you want to equip on your wrestler. This brings us to the unfortunate reality of microtransactions in WWE 2K Battlegrounds. Yes, you can totally purchase everything by just playing the game, but the amount of credits you earn per match is really minimal. And since wrestler creation and gameplay are just underwhelming, it is hard to get motivated to really flesh out your own wrestler.

WWE 2K Battlegrounds

WWE wrestling isn't all about the fighting. A large part of that "product" is how it is presented. The entrances, the storylines, and the commentary all play a big part in any given match, which makes it a huge bummer that WWE 2K Battlegrounds lacks in just about every area in its presentation. The entrances are essentially the wrestler's theme playing in the background as they get dropped in a pod and stand there for a little bit. The campaign mode does have a story, but it is all presented in a comic book-style; this isn't necessarily bad, but the story isn't all that great. And as much as I love Mauro Ranallo, the commentary felt more like a bad version of NBA Jam than good wrestling commentary. The presentation is just really dull, especially for how over-the-top the action is.

These flaws in its presentation extend to its art style. Overall, the art direction is great. I do like the exaggerated animations of the environments and wrestlers. But like every WWE 2K game, some wrestlers look astoundingly better than others. WWE Superstars like Asuka, Stone Cold, Roman Reigns, and The Undertaker all look like a caricature of that wrestler (and I mean that in a good way). However, someone like The Miz just looks like the default white dude you see when you create a wrestler. Or Alexa Bliss, who I legitimately thought was Toni Storm from the profile picture that is used. That is, until I asked myself, "Why doesn't Toni Storm have the makeup under her eye? Also, I didn't know Toni Storm was in this game?"

I am so mixed on WWE 2K Battlegrounds. In some ways, I really dig that 2K decided to create an arcade-style wrestling game. I do believe the basics of this game make a solid foundation for another entry. The "pick-up and play" direction is great if you want to play with a few friends. Still, a lot of its flaws make it hard to recommend to those who usually play these games alone. After a couple of hours, all of WWE 2K Battlegrounds' silly over-the-top gimmicks lose their luster.

The post WWE 2K Battlegrounds Review — Animate Me by Michael Ruiz appeared first on DualShockers.

The Jackbox Party Pack 7 is Bringing the Party to Consoles and PC in October

It wouldn't be a year of new game releases without a new collection of party games to look forward to from Jackbox Games, and luckily the developer is delivering once again with the upcoming The Jackbox Party Pack 7. The annual new round of party games has always been a hit with players both at home and online, and for the series' seventh installment we'll only have to wait a few more weeks until launch.

Developer Jackbox Games has announced that The Jackbox Party Pack 7 will be launching for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and various other digital platforms on October 15, 2020. For a closer look at what's in store for the latest Party Pack, you can check out the official trailer below:

For the seventh installment in the series, Jackbox Games is featuring a mix of mostly new games alongside the return of an old favorite with Quiplash 3, a new version of the popular Cards Against Humanity-esque game. In terms of the new games, Party Pack 7 is introducing fresh titles such as Blather 'Round, which is a guessing game centered around pop culture, and Champ'd Up, a drawing game where players' creations will have to fight each other to win.

You can check out a complete list of the games that will be featured in The Jackbox Party Pack 7 below:

  • Quiplash 3, a head-to-head battle of the wits as you write hilarious responses to quirky prompts while everyone else votes for their favorite! (3-8 players)
  • The Devils and the Details, the collaborative chaos game where you're a family of devils working together to survive in suburbia. Can you handle the daily torture of human life? (3-8 players)
  • Champ'd Up, the drawing fighting game where you get to create absurd characters that will battle each other over unusual titles. Can you take down the heavy favorite? (3-8 players)
  • Talking Points, the make-it-up-as-you-go public-speaking game. Give a speech responding to picture slides you've never seen before or be the Assistant and approve pictures as fast as you can. Just keep talking whether it makes sense or not! (3-8 players)
  • Blather 'Round, the pop culture guessing game. Describe your secret prompt with a very limited vocabulary and hope that someone can figure it out in time. (2-6 players)

The Jackbox Party Pack 7 will release for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and other digital platforms on October 15, 2020.

The post The Jackbox Party Pack 7 is Bringing the Party to Consoles and PC in October by Ryan Meitzler appeared first on DualShockers.

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