Friday, 4 September 2020

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit will let you drive karts round your home with a Nintendo Switch

Nintendo have revealed Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, a hybrid video game and real world toy in which you race little Mario Karts around your home with your Nintendo Switch. Out on 16th October, it looks all set to terrorise parents' feet and unsuspecting pets this Christmas.

It all works thanks to the cameras built into the karts, allowing their video feed to be beamed to Nintendo Switch consoles, which can then overlay an augmented reality course onto your home, showing you the course, boosts, items and the Koopalings that you'll be racing against.

Two models will be out on 16th October – one for Mario and one for Luigi – with support for up to four players in local multiplayer.

The announcement came as part of a surprise Nintendo Direct, in which Nintendo unveiled a ton of Super Mario-related games and content to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Super Mario Bros. That saw the Super Mario 3D All-Stars remaster bundle, which remakes Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy into a single package for Nintendo Switch to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Super Mario Bros. There was also Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury, which is coming out in February. Oh, and Super Maro Bros. 35 is another Nintendo battle royale for Nintendo Switch Online.

Then there's Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros., a collectable Game & Watch system inspired by the original Game & Watch featuring Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (released in Japan as Super Mario Bros. 2) and a special version of Ballwith a Mario makeover.

Speaking of classics, Super Mario All-Stars will jumping into Nintendo Switch Online today, and there will be a Super Mario-themed Splatfest coming to Splatoon 2 in January. March 2021 will then see Animal Crossing: New Horizons play host to Super Mario-themed furniture.

Non-video games collaborations are also ramping up, with Monopoly Super Mario Celebration, Kinder Surprise Super Mario products, and the various LEGO Super Mario sets all out now.

Super Maro Bros. 35 is another Nintendo battle royale for Nintendo Switch Online

Following on from the success of Tetris 99, Nintendo have crafted another unique sounding battle royale twist on a gaming classic. Super Mario Bros. 35 will see 35 players compete online to be the last Mario standing.

The game will be a free digital exclusive for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, launching on 1st October and available until 31st March 2021.

Almost exactly like Tetris 99, you see all the screens of the other people playing the game alongside your own. You're playing independently, but can launch attacks at one another by sending the ghosts of defeated enemies to infest the courses that other people are playing. As with all battle royale games, the last player standing wins!

The announcement comes alongside the Super Mario 3D All-Stars remaster bundle, which remakes Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy into a single package for Nintendo Switch to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Super Mario Bros. There's also Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Wrath coming in February, and Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, a game that blends playing on Nintendo Switch with racing a physical kart in real life.

Then there's Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros., a collectable Game & Watch system inspired by the original Game & Watch featuring Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (released in Japan as Super Mario Bros. 2) and a special version of Ballwith a Mario makeover. That's coming in November.

Speaking of classics, Super Mario All-Stars will jumping into Nintendo Switch Online today, and there will be a Super Mario-themed Splatfest coming to Splatoon 2 in January. March 2021 will then see Animal Crossing: New Horizons play host to Super Mario-themed furniture.

Non-video games collaborations are also ramping up, with Monopoly Super Mario Celebration, Kinder Surprise Super Mario products, and the various LEGO Super Mario sets all out now.

In other words… there's a lot of Super Mario stuff happening over the next six months!

The Falconeer closed beta announced, here's how to sign up

Wired Productions and indie developer Tomas Sala have announced a beta for their new feathered combat game, The Falconeer, which is coming to PC and Xbox One later this year, and will be a day one launch title of Xbox Series X.

Here's more on the game

The Falconeer is a new take on air combat. A 3rd person game that puts you in control of a Falconeer, an airborne warrior.  Using ranged weapons the game still holds true to classic dog fighting mechanics but adds twists such as acrobatics and crazy line up of enemies to take on.   You'll fight other Falconeer's, but also large lumbering airships, flying beetles, manta rays and off course the dragon-like weavers.

The story revolves around a singular conflict, but as a player you'll get to play and experience it from as many angles as you want, offering you access to all the factions involved.

The Falconeer is an open-world game. Meaning that a reasonable chunk of the Ursee can be explored and engaged freely.  With different factions and their settlements and bases responding to your actions and faction allegiance.

You will need to survive and earn soulshards the currency of the Ursee,  to improve your gear and mount, but also to keep your faction on top in the struggle to control the Ursee.

In our hands on preview Tef wrote "The scope and scale of The Falconeer is stunning on several levels. Not only is it putting a fantasy spin on the untapped aerial dogfighting genre, but it's doing so in an open world filled with lore, clashing factions, and stunning visuals. To think all of this is the work of just one guy makes it all the more impressive." You can read the full preview here. 

For more info on the PC Beta, and to register your interest head to where players will be able to enlist in their first flight as a Falconeer.

Source: Press release

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury comes to Nintendo Switch in February 2021

Super Mario 3D World is finally coming to Nintendo Switch, with the Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury remaster jumping from Wii U to Nintendo's hybrid console on 12th February 2021.

The game will feature both online and local multiplayer on Nintendo Switch, with the Bowser's Fury content added to what was found in the fantastic Wii U original. New Cat Mario and Cat Peach amiibo will be released as a double pack alongside the game.

At the time of its release, Blair said in our Super Mario 3D World review:

"Super Mario 3D World is the game that the Wii U needs. It's a perfect co-operative experience, which is even at times like Mario 64 in its design. For families, the difficulty curve is perfect, and the amount of new features on show is just enough to keep everyone happy without the game ever becoming repetitive. This leads you from start to finish on an adventure which constantly ramps up the excitement until the very end."

The announcement comes alongside the Super Mario 3D All-Stars remaster bundle, which remakes Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy into a single package for Nintendo Switch to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Super Mario Bros.

It's just one part of a wide-ranging set of game releases and in-game events that the company have in store. There's also Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, a game that blends playing on Nintendo Switch with racing a physical kart in real life.

Then there's Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros., a collectable Game & Watch system inspired by the original Game & Watch featuring Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (released in Japan as Super Mario Bros. 2) and a special version of Ballwith a Mario makeover. That's coming in November.

Speaking of classics, Super Mario All-Stars will jumping into Nintendo Switch Online today, and there will be a Super Mario-themed Splatfest coming to Splatoon 2 in January. March 2021 will then see Animal Crossing: New Horizons play host to Super Mario-themed furniture.

Non-video games collaborations are also ramping up, with Monopoly Super Mario Celebration, Kinder Surprise Super Mario products, and the various LEGO Super Mario sets all out now.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars remaster bundle announced, and it's coming out this month

Nintendo have announced the long-expected Super Mario 3D All-Stars remaster bundle, bringing together Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy into a single package to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Super Mario Bros.

The Super Mario 3D All-Stars will be out for Nintendo Switch on 18th September, with the physical release a limited-time production and the digital version only on sale until the end of March 2021.

It's just one part of a wide-ranging set of game releases and in-game events that the company have in store. There's also Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Wrath coming in February, and Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, a game that blends playing on Nintendo Switch with racing a physical kart in real life.

Then there's Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros., a collectable Game & Watch system inspired by the original Game & Watch featuring Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (released in Japan as Super Mario Bros. 2) and a special version of Ballwith a Mario makeover. That's coming in November. Then there's Super Mario Bros. 35, a barmy Mario battle royale game. Of course!

Speaking of classics, Super Mario All-Stars will jumping into Nintendo Switch Online today, and there will be a Super Mario-themed Splatfest coming to Splatoon 2 in January. March 2021 will then see Animal Crossing: New Horizons play host to Super Mario-themed furniture.

Non-video games collaborations are also ramping up, with Monopoly Super Mario Celebration, Kinder Surprise Super Mario products, and the various LEGO Super Mario sets all out now.

There's an absolute ton of Super Mario stuff planned for the next six months, as you can see!

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 Review

The year is 1999. Minimum wage was introduced for the first time in the UK, Napster had just released to the world, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater launched on the PlayStation. Met with critical praise, THPS would go on to dominate playground and water cooler talk across the country and from 1999 through to the early 2000s it defined extreme sports through the games industry.

It's difficult to describe just how pivotal the Tony Hawk's series was. There were skateboarding games before its introduction, but none ever gained the same level of traction. For myself and many others Tony Hawk's Pro Skater drew the curtain back on an alternative world and lifestyle that anyone could be a part of. Heck, it's been 21 years and I've just recently got back into skateboarding again, a hobby I discovered because of this series. Now, I'm able to revisit the games that sparked this passion in the first place.

I felt it was important to mention how important the THPS series was to me – and many others – because it goes a long way to explaining why later games were met with such disdain. What started as a slick skateboarding series that challenged the player's ability to chain combos together ended up being consumed by gimmicks that failed to appeal to their intended audience. Add to this a lacklustre THPS HD remake in 2012, and it's not hard to see why the series ended being held in such disregard.

Fortunately, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 learns from those past mistakes, producing one of the best entries in the series to date. Stripping all the gimmicks, THPS 1 + 2 takes the series back to its roots, revamping those original iconic levels and bringing back the two-minute timer.

One of the most important features of any Tony Hawk's game is the physics. THPS 1 + 2 captures that original feeling while also adapting it for modern sensibilities. There is also an option to play with the controls from the first two game, should you really want that old school play style. It's a decision which will be welcomed by the hardcore members of the fan base.

As with the originals, you must collect, skate and combo your way through each level to a strict two-minute timer. For veterans of the series it will be a cakewalk, which is why Acitivison have also included an additional challenge mode. For those new to the series, there's a lot of fun to be found in exploring these levels. It's easy to see how much love was poured into them the first time round, as they are still as fun to skate now as they were back in the day.

There are also numerous collectibles to be found across the game, which includes stat increases for your character. These can be used to improve your skater's air, spin, speed, flip tricks and many other areas, all making your character more efficient on the board. The entire roster of pro skateboarders comes with their own pre-baked stats, but you can also upgrade these as you see fit.

Speaking of the pro roster, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 has one of the most diverse cast of athletes I've ever seen in a game. The original cast returns, although the character models have been updated to represent their real age, but a new generation of skateboarders also join the cast. The likes of Nyjah Houston, Leo Baker and Aori Nishimura amongst others join the cast and it's a visual reminder of how much skateboarding has progressed in the past twenty years. I would imagine quite a few of the new cast also grew up playing the THPS series; it's weirdly prophetic in a way.

Much like it's cast, the soundtrack in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 mixes the old and new to create a broad soundtrack that befits the Tony Hawk's of a new era. Classics such as Goldfinger's Superman and Guerilla Radio by Rage Against the Machine make a welcome return, but there are also some excellent new additions in the form of A Tribe Called Quest, FIDLAR and Skepta. You haven't lived until you've strung together a huge combo to the sounds of Shut Down by Skepta.

Every aspect of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 feels like it's been expertly crafted to not only meet the original, but exceed it. Visually, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is hands down one of the best remakes I've seen this generation. Each level has been rebuilt to match how you remember it, harnessing the power of the current generation of consoles. This is most noticeable in the stellar lighting system. You get a real sense of these environments being real places because of how fantastic the lighting looks – a special mention goes out to the sunset soaked Venice Beach which looks gorgeous.

The customisation options have also been ramped up in the remake, with players having the ability to dress and customise their skaters in any way they want. This is where the in-game shop comes into play, with and an almost endless number of items to buy. You can pick up new decks, wheels, trucks, clothes, logos and even additional pieces for the Create-A-Park mode. I do worry about Activision introducing microtransactions at a later date, as we've seen various publishers do in the past, and I feel it could be quite nefarious with the way the store works. For now it's all done through the in-game currency.

This is where the new challenge system comes into play, tasking players with completing challenges across all of its game modes. There are hundreds of challenges to complete, ranging from creating a skater to landing a specific type of combo. Each one unlocks cash and new items for your skater or the shop itself. It's a great system that adds replayability past simply completing the main levels.

Create-A-Park returns, bringing with it a whole host of improvements, the biggest of which is the ability to share your levels with people online. I had a quick go at building my local skatepark and it was pretty easy to use. The addition of smart rails and ramps enable players to mold and move the ramps however they please. Prerelease there was an active number of other reviewers building and uploading their parks to the system, but expect that to explode once the game comes out. The best one I've seen so far is a railway that takes you rocketing into the sky, as long as you hold down the grind button! Considering that creativity sits at the heart of skateboarding, I am genuinely looking forward to what the community builds in the coming months.

A number of online and offline multiplayer modes also make their way to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2. I sampled a few game modes that task players with achieving the highest score or combo within a certain time, as well as a tag mode that tasks you with scoring the highest score on items around the level. The multiplayer is a welcome addition for me, especially as you are able to play all of these games on the sofa with a friend.

Impressively, there are also a number of accessibility options for players who just want to enjoy the game without it being overly difficult. Right from the start, players can head into the options and turn no bail mode on, along with perfect grinds and manuals. These are the types of design decisions we need to see more of in video games, as it opens the door to people who perhaps don't have the ability to play it like the majority of the user base would.

In the spirit of the original games, there's plenty to unlock and see in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2, and returning players will certainly be happy with the unlockable stages in particular. There's also a great, but very low-key celebrity cameo in one of the earlier levels in THPS 2. You'll know it once you see it!

Resident Evil 3's September update adds skins, gestures, and skill variants

Resident Evil 3 has been updated, as the last patch was 1.09 I would assume this is 1.10 but Capcom have not numbered it. It brings skins, gestures, and skill variants, and a couple of bug fixes. Check out the notes below.


  • ・Added 14 new Survivor skins.
  • ・Added 5 new Survivor gestures.
  • ・Added 15 new sprays.
  • ・Added 4 new creature skins.
  • ・Added 2 new zombie gestures.


  • ・Added the new Limit Break skill variant to Samuel's Brawler passive skill.The lower Samuel's health, the more powerful his attacks will become.
  • ・Added the new Last Stand skill variant to Samuel's Adrenaline passive skill.The lower Samuel's health, the shorter his Fists of Iron cooldown will become.


  • ・Added the new Flashy Thing skill variant to Martin's Life Hacks passive skill.Cancels out 4 creature buffs when using Flash Grenades or the Flash Baton.
  • ・Added the new EOD Suit skill variant to Martin's Sapper passive skill.Greatly reduces damage taken when disarming traps and placing mines. Increases movement speed for a set duration afterwards.


  • ・Added the new Breach and Clear skill variant to Tyrone's Firefighter passive skill.Greatly lowers damage taken for a set duration after kicking open locked doors.
  • ・Added the new Defensive skill variant to Tyrone's Determination passive skill.Reduces damage received from creatures and bioweapons.


  • ・Added the new Pickpocket skill variant to January's Disruptor Rounds passive skill.Gain a small amount of Umbrella Credits when attacking active cameras.
  • ・Added the new Ransomware skill variant to January's Cyber Monday passive skill.Free items appear in the Armory every time EMP is used.


  • ・Added the new Vaccine skill variant to Valerie's Biochem Expertise passive skill.Makes Valerie and nearby teammates temporarily immune to infection when they are under Blue Herb or Infection Treatment Spray effects.
  • ・Added the new Black Taurus Bullets skill variant to Valerie's Explosive Knowledge passive skill.Increases damage-dealing, camera-disabling, knockback, and crippling power of the Matilda, MUP, and Quickdraw Army. However these handguns consume 1 more Ammo per reloaded shot.


  • ・Added the new Silver Bullet skill variant to Becca's Bullseye passive skill.The first bullet fired when Ammo is fully loaded will be a guaranteed critical hit. (Not effective on Special Weapons or during Bullet Storm.)
  • ・Added the new Conservation skill variant to Becca's Scavenger passive skill.Lowers Ammo consumed per reloaded shot by 1 for the Lightning Hawk and W-870, but defeated creatures no longer drop Ammo.


  • ・Added the new Medic skill variant to Jill's B&E Specialist passive skill.Greatly decreases time needed to save defeated teammates and restores a small amount of their health upon rescue when S.T.A.R.S. Armory is fully charged.
  • ・Added the new Target Acquired skill variant to Jill's Delta Force passive skill.Decreases S.T.A.R.S. Armory cooldown when Jill deals damage with the reticle of her firearm fully focused.


  • ・Added the new V-ACT skill variant to Annette's Genetic Mutation passive skill.Buffed creatures no longer pretend to be dead, get up quickly after falling to the ground, and become impossible to knock back before fully mobile.
  • ・Added the new Epsilon Strain skill variant to Annette's Zombie Apocalypse passive skill.Greatly increases Zombie Dog and Licker health and attack power.


  • ・Added the new Unnatural Selection skill variant to Daniel's Bloodlust passive skill.Increases the range of the Detonator's Self Destruct and the Jester's Screech, and makes the Dealer's Claw Slash steal more Umbrella Credits.
  • ・Added the new Mind over Matter skill variant to Daniel's Puppeteer passive skill.Greatly decreases creature skill cooldown when controlled.


  • ・Added the new T-Phobos Prototype skill variant to Alex's Biohazard passive skill.The more infected the Survivors are, the more damage they receive from all sources.
  • ・Added the new Synchronize skill variant to Alex's Residence of Evil passive skill.Traps no longer affect other traps or creatures. Triggers all traps in view when detonating traps through the E.I.S.


  • ・Added the new EM Pulse skill variant to Spencer's Umbrella Tech passive skill.Greatly decreases Disintegration Field cooldown when Electromagnetic Shield is active on any camera.
  • ・Added the new Paracelsus Generator skill variant to Spencer's Bioactivation passive skill.Lowers the cost of all held cards at set intervals.


  • ・Added the new U.B.C.S. Monitor skill variant to Nicholai's Predator passive skill.Tracks Survivors being attacked by creatures and lowers their attack power.
  • ・Added the new Watchdog skill variant to Nicholai's Firearms Specialist passive skill.Automatically spawns a random creature nearby when using firearm cards.

Adjustments and Fixes


  • ・Adjusted maximum ranks for all Survivor characters, and changed skill unlock requirements such that all skill variants are obtained by rank 20.


  • ・Adjusted maximum ranks for all Mastermind characters, and changed skill unlock requirements such that all skill variants are obtained by rank 19.

Source: Capcom

Root is a cute but deadly version of an incredible modern board game

Root, for those of you that may be unaware, is actually a digital port of the board game of the same name by Leder Games. If you haven't checked out a board game since Monopoly, Root is a fantastic example of why you definitely should.


If you'll indulge me for a moment while I clamber up onto my podium; the thought of Monopoly and Cluedo might well send shivers down your spine, but modern board games experienced a renaissance in the 2010s that is still going strong, with thousands of glittering releases every year and Kickstarter projects exceeding the $10million mark.

Root is an excellent example of this; released in 2018 and already sitting comfortably inside BoardGameGeek's illustrious top 50, Root is an asymmetrical war game that has a cute aesthetic but a cutthroat agenda. You take control of one of four woodland factions that each have different playstyles, rules, and ways of earning the coveted victory points that will win you the game.

There's the kniving cats who start out with a strong foothold in most of the forest, the birds that play 4D-chess with a string of combos that dictate their actions each round, and the guerilla warfare alliance of mice and foxes and that drum up sympathy as the forest fights back against its invaders. Finally, there's the lovable Vagabond, that roam about on their own, completing quests and providing aid or just generally interfering whenever it suits them.

2-4 of these factions will vie for control of the forest in each match of Root, with each war playing out uniquely across the leafy battlefield. While there are online multiplayer and pass-and-play options, the crown jewel of Root's digital version is the solo play.

Due to the asymmetry at Root's core, it can be a difficult game to play with friends; everyone needs to fully understand how each of the factions operates in order to have a clear understanding of what they should be doing on their turn. This can turn into a real brain-burner that turns away casual players, or even worse, results in their hands being held throughout the game as more experienced players explain the ideal move to them turn after turn – and no one wants that!

Thanks to the wonders of AI, however, playing a game against 1-3 computer-controlled enemies is speedy and simple, with different levels of difficulty and challenge scenarios to help you tailor the fun to you. It also serves as an excellent entry point to what is otherwise quite a tricky game to teach, as the tutorials are succinct and robust, while the available actions for each turn are highlighted for you.

Of course, if there's one thing we should highlight about Root, it's the gorgeous visuals. Building on the original artwork by Kyle Ferrin – who brought these adorable-yet-aggressive woodland creatures to life with his illustrations in the board game – the Steam version uses 3D cel-shaded models for the combat animations.

Though a part of me misses the lovable screen-printed wooden pieces, this is without a doubt an improvement that really cements Root as a solid Steam title as opposed to a lazy digital cash-grab. This is further complemented by the serene background music that fits the theme superbly, while the sound effects are all top-notch, too.

As it's only just hit Steam's Early Access, there are a few kinks that still need to be worked out; the animations can begin to drag, especially in a 4-player game, so an option to skip or speed them up would certainly be a welcome addition. There's also the occasional visual hitch or slight deviation from the official rulebook, but thankfully Dire Wolf Digital – developers of the digital version – are proactively looking for the community's feedback, so these mild niggles are sure to be smoothed out in the coming weeks.

For those that aren't quite sold on the idea of buying a digital port of a modern board game, Dire Wolf have said that the Early Access is only intended to last a few weeks, and the price won't increase after the full release, so there's no need to buy early for fear of missing out on a deal! Plus, there's even a mobile version of the app coming soon, which could prove dangerously addictive.

It might not have originally been on your radar if you're not a fan of the physical game, but Root is # with a cute-but-deadly theme. This may have even surpassed the original as my favourite way to play, which is no small feat!

Rocket League won't need PS+ or Switch Online once it goes free-to-play (but it will need Xbox Live)

Rocket League is going free-to-play in mid-September, and as Psyonix prepare the major update that will enable this, they've also confirmed that the game will no longer require a PlayStation Plus subscription on PlayStation or Nintendo Switch Online subscription in order to play online on those platforms. You will, however, still need Xbox Live Gold if you're on Xbox One.

This is, of course, entirely in keeping with each platform's policy on free-to-play games. Sony made and exception for free-to-play games at the start of the generation, ensuring that they don't require a PS+ sub to let people hop online and play, and Nintendo followed suit when they launched Nintendo Switch Online. Microsoft, however, has been consistent in requiring Xbox Live Gold subs for all online play. We still hope that's a policy the company reconsiders going into the next generation.

In addition to this, the update will merge the Rocket ID in-game friends list into the Epic Friends system, transferring them over to Epic's unified cross-platform multiplayer system.

All of this is happening because Epic Games bought Psyonix last year. Since then, Epic have shifted the game's monetisation model bit by bit to conform more closely with the one that they set out for Fortnite.

The update will also overhaul the tournaments and challenges in the game, unifying the schedule of Rocket Pass, Competitive Seasons and Tournaments throughout the game, and with Season 1 starting as the free-to-play update goes live. Existing players will have new ranks to aim for, the new highest competitive rank being Supersonic Legend, while newcomers will be greeted by a new tutorial that teaches the basic HUD, button layout and presents some New Driver Challenges to unlock items that were a part of the paid version of the game.

Speaking of which, let's look back at our original review for Rocket League, in which Jim was full of praise.

Bar this one niggling issue, everything else about Rocket League is superb. Sure, Psyonix could have perhaps been a bit more daring yet the safe route has certainly paid off. With the foundation now set, hopefully the developer will start to experiment as it begins rolling out the first of its free content updates.

You can read the full Rocket League review here, but a lot has changed since then.

Source: Psyonix

Star Horizon Review

Star Horizon is an on-rails space shooter that takes players through an intergalactic struggle for power. You take control of John, a simple private space pilot, and much like John, Star Horizon is a simple experience that never really tries anything overly original or Interesting.

Right from the off, Star Horizon tries to provide a winding narrative by giving the player choices during a mission. These choices are mostly quite superficial, changing the dialogue rather than having an overarching effect on the mission structure. I was hoping for something similar to the original Star Fox game, with a multitude of levels available depending on your gameplay choices and actions, but what Star Horizons provides falls short of that.

Each mission tasks you with battling through the numerous enemy combatants you encounter in space. Missiles, lasers and other various weapons fill your arsenal and you fire away at the enemies using an on-screen reticle . The only problem is that the reticle doesn't actually line up with where your ship is pointing, so I often felt there was a disconnect between where I was aiming and where the ship was aiming. It can be incredibly jarring in places.

This disconnect made it quite difficult to enjoy the combat, especially as it can be quite challenging in places. The balance between trying to attack and defend from incoming attacks is frustrated by the unusual reticule. Where I should have been blown away by these epic set-pieces in space, I was instead left feeling let down by awkward controls and overly difficult enemies.

Difficulty is somewhat mitigated by an upgrade system that enables players to increase the power and efficiency of their ship. You can also unlock new weapons through this system, letting you tailor your ship's loadout as you come up against particular challenges. In the later levels, Star Horizon expects you to grind some precious missions in order to power up enough, which does little to lengthen its short two-hour campaign.

Star Horizon's strongest assets are its visuals. Space fights are filled with explosions and colour, and performance mostly holds up pretty well. I'd have liked to have seen more effort put into the voice acting, which is delivered with very little effort and undermines the rest of the presentation.

At the end of the day, Star Horizon is a port of a mobile game and it shows. Everything from the way it looks to the way it plays feels subpar. Gameplay isn't much fun, the short story is very forgettable and it's just not up to the level of quality I would want from a game on the Nintendo Switch.

Astro detail Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 headset compatibility and updates

If there's one thing that really helps with gaming, it's having a good headset, and so it's always a source of worry when a new generation of console rolls around and you're faced with the possibility that your old headset might simply not be compatible with the new set up.

Thankfully, Astro have revealed just how their various headsets will be able to handle the jump to the next generation, with a mixture of new headset releases, firmware updates, accessories and workarounds. With neither PlayStation 5 nor Xbox Series X featuring a TOSLINK optical audio out, this has created a few conundrums to solve.

To solve this on PlayStation 5, Astro are releasing a $40 HDMI Adapter that will breakout optical audio from the PlayStation 5's HDMI output, enabling sound and voice chat to be mixed.

Meanwhile on Xbox Series X, there will be firmware updates released to add USB support for the headsets on Xbox Series X – the Xbox One is notorious for not having universal USB headset support.

You can also, as a general rule of thumb for all headsets, look to see if you can use an optical passthrough via your TV, or switch/continue to simply use the 3.5mm jack on your game controller.

Here's the lowdown for all the Astro headsets:

Xbox Series X

  • A10 Headset
    • Gen 1 – Supports game sound and voice chat via the 3.5mm port on the Xbox Controller.
  • A20 Wireless
    • Gen 1 – Requires a firmware update which enables game sound and voice chat over USB.
    • Gen 2 – Requires an included USB transmitter to transmit game audio and voice chat.
  • A40 and A40 TR Headsets
    • Gen 1-4 – Supports game sound and voice chat via the 3.5mm port on the Xbox Controller.
  • MixAmp Pro TR
    • Gen 3 & Gen 4 – Requires a MixAmp firmware update which enables game sound and voice chat over USB.
  • A50 Wireless + Base Station
    • Gen 3 & Gen 4 – Requires headset and base station firmware updates which enable game sound and voice chat over USB.
  • Other MixAmps
    • M60 – Supports game sound and voice chat via the 3.5mm port on the Xbox Controller.
    • M80 – Supports game sound and voice chat via the 3.5mm port on the Xbox Controller.

PlayStation 5

  • A10 Headset
    • Gen 1 – Supports game sound and voice chat via the 3.5mm port on the PS5 Controller.
  • A20 Wireless
    • Gen 1 – Supports game sound and voice chat via USB. Requires HDMI Adapter for mixing.
    • Gen 2 – Requires an included USB transmitter to transmit game audio and voice chat.
  • A40 and A40 TR Headsets
    • Gen 1-4 – Supports game sound and voice chat via the 3.5mm port on the PS5 Controller.
  • MixAmp Pro TR 
    • Gen 3 & Gen 4 – Supports game sound and voice chat via USB. Requires HDMI Adapter for mixing.
  • A50 Wireless + Base Station 
    • Gen 3 & Gen 4 – Supports game sound and voice chat via USB. Requires HDMI Adapter for mixing.

Source: Astro

Dead by Daylight will get free upgrades to PS5 and Xbox Series X

Dead By Daylight developer Behaviour Interactive is jumping on the next-gen bandwagon, announcing that the game will be coming to next-gen consoles PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X later this year and that players will be receiving free upgrades.


Dead by Daylight will get a bit of added spit and polish in the process, receiving improved graphics over the current gen versions and with the promise of regular updates continuing on next-gen. The game will run at 4K and 60fps, but this is part of a major graphical overhaul on all platforms. The aim is to improve the lighting and VFX as well as the modelling, textures and animations. In other words, pretty much everything! This is already underway as part of the team's development programme and Chapter and Archives roadmap.

Additionally, if you're already playing and upgrade, you'll be able to pick up exactly where you left off within a console family. This follows on from the Cross-Play and Cross-Friends work that was implemented earlier in the summer, and will also see Cross-Progression  letting you take your progress over to Stadia Switch and Steam with a BHVR Account.

It's the kind of no-nonsense upgrade that we love to see around here, with none of the hidden next-gen price hikes and cross-gen re-releases that publishers are getting up to, despite Microsoft's push for seamless cross-generational ownership. It's also quite necessary for a smaller company like Behaviour to do this kind of thing, helping to maintain a healthy player base and hopefully getting a bit of a buzz around the launch of the new generation in November that draws in more players.

It's also an opportunity to snatch up some more of the audience that has been lured in by competing asymmetrical horror games. The recently released Predator: Hunting Grounds (which scored a decent 6 out of 10 in our review) has been popular, while Friday the 13th: The Video Game went toe to toe with Dead by Daylight back in 2017. Here you can read our face off between Dead by Daylight and Friday the 13th here, though it's safe to say that Dead by Daylight in particular has continued to grow and evolve since then, while Friday the 13th was bogged down and ended with licensing issues back in 2018.

Source: press release

Fall Guys tease Big Yeetus to "shake things up"

Big Yeetus is not your friend, but it looks like it could be hilarious and do exactly what Mediatonic want it to do and spicy up the action of Fall Guys with a little bit of added randomness. Now that we're a month after the game's initial release (well, we will be on Friday), people should be quite intimately familiar with the various race levels, the intricacies of See-Saw, how to jump through hoops and grab tails. Adding a giant swingy hammer somewhere random could add just a little extra something.

Earlier this week, Mediatonic 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.

In our Fall Guys review we said:

Full of cute and cuddly jelly beans bumbling into each other in a race for the crown, Fall Guys is just about the most wholesome battle royale imaginable, and a whole lot of fun.

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

The PlayStation Store Essential Picks sale features The Last of Us Part II and up to 50% off

Sony have kicked off an Essential Picks promotion on the PlayStation Store, offering discounts on games both new and old. They promise discounts of up to 50% off, with the headline act being The Last of Us Part II (which obviously doesn't have 50% off but a more modest 15% discount).

The range of games is pretty broad, ranging from older hits like the Batman: Return to Arkham and BioShock: The Collection remasters and some moderate stinkers like NASCAR Heat 5 (is this really "essential", Sony? Really?), but does also include more recent bonafide hits like Borderlands 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled and Assassin's Creed Odyssey.

The sale is now on and running until 23:59PM local time on Wednesday 16th September. Below is the list of games included on both sides of the Atlantic, but there are also region specific discounts. To see the full range of games on offer, head here for the EU PlayStation Store, and head here for the North American PlayStation Store.

  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown – Deluxe Edition
  • Assassin's Creed Odyssey
  • Assassin's Creed Odyssey – Gold Edition
  • Assassin's Creed Odyssey – Season Pass
  • Assassin's Creed Origins – Deluxe Edition
  • Batman: Return to Arkham
  • Battlefield V
  • BioShock: The Collection
  • Borderlands 3 – Season Pass
  • Borderlands 3 – Super Deluxe Edition
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III – Zombies Chronicles Deluxe
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – Battle Pass Edition
  • Code Vein
  • Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
  • Days Gone
  • Days Gone – Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Death Stranding
  • Death Stranding: Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Digital Deluxe Edition
  • DOOM + Wolfenstein II Bundle
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ – FighterZ Edition
  • Dreams
  • For Honor – Marching Fire Edition
  • For Honor: Complete Edition
  • God of War
  • God of War – Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Gran Turismo Sport Spec II
  • Grand Theft Auto V and Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack Bundle
  • HITMAN – Game of the Year Edition
  • Hitman 2 – Gold Edition
  • Hitman HD Enhanced Collection
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds
  • Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
  • Journey: Collector's Edition
  • Jurassic World Evolution – Jurassic Park Edition
  • Just Cause 4: Complete Edition
  • Marvel's Spider-Man – The City That Never Sleeps
  • Marvel's Spider-Man: Game of the Year Edition
  • Marvel's Spider-Man: Silver Lining
  • Marvel's Spider-Man: The Heist
  • Marvel's Spider-Man: Turf Wars
  • Megalodon Shark Cash Card
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War
  • NASCAR Heat 5
  • NASCAR HEAT 5 – July Pack 2
  • NASCAR Heat 5: Gold Edition
  • Need for Speed Heat: Deluxe Edition
  • Nioh 2 Season Pass
  • Red Dead Redemption 2: Special Edition
  • Resident Evil Revelations 1 & 2 Bundle
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration
  • Skyforge – Firestarter Quickplay Pack
  • Skyforge: 105000 Argents
  • Skyforge: 11750 Argents
  • Skyforge: 24000 Argents
  • Skyforge: 50000 Argents
  • Skyforge: Archer Quickplay Pack
  • Skyforge: Kinetic Quickplay Pack
  • Skyforge: Starter Pack 3.0
  • Sleeping Dogs – Definitive Edition
  • Sniper Elite 4
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – Deluxe Upgrade
  • Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
  • The Last of Us Part II
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands – Ultimate Edition
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands – Year 2 Gold Edition
  • Tour de France 2020
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
  • Warface – Essential Pack
  • Watch Dogs 2
  • Watch Dogs 2 – Gold Edition
  • WipEout Omega Collection
  • XCOM 2 Collection
  • Zombie Army 4: Dead War

Source: PS Blog

Wasteland 3 Review

Wasteland 3 starts as it means to go on. This isometric post-apocalyptic RPG drops players right in the middle of a gunfight against a number of marauders. Before you can get into the thick of it though, you're tasked with creating a characters or simply choose one of the pre-baked character duos to take on your journey. It's a journey that I'm still fairly close to the start of, but given time, this review in progress will be followed by a full review.

Note: This review is an update to our Review in Progress posted last week.

In the early stages of Wasteland 3, the narrative and gameplay primarily focus the player's efforts on building the Ranger Base. This is your main hub in the world and it's your job to build it up by employing and acquiring the help of strangers throughout the wasteland. Sometimes it's quite obvious that someone will join you, but I've also found that you can be rewarded for going out of your way to help someone. It's an engaging plot device that weaves both gameplay and narrative together in a way that rewards your engagement.

The character customisation is deep in Wasteland 3, with each playable character having the ability to specialise across a number of different play styles. I went with the punk-rockers – cause why wouldn't you? – who come with a mix of close quarters melee combat and ranged attacks. That's just one of the character types though and there are plenty of ways to build a team to fit your style.

With my finalised characters, I was introduced to the heart of Wasteland 3's gameplay; the combat. If you've ever played the series' previous entries, you'll know what to expect, but for the uninitiated Wasteland 3 plays similarly to the XCOM series. Fights take place across a gridded map, with movement, actions and attacks using the limited amount of AP each character has. Each fight is a balance between aggression, defence and balancing those ability points so you don't end up leaving a character in a compromised position.

Truthfully, it's a whole lot of fun. It's not quite as hard as something like XCOM, but I like it a lot for that reason. I found that Wasteland 3 only typically punished me when I made silly mistakes, like running into a battle without considering positioning or standing a little too close to the explosive barrels that litter battlefields. With some clever thinking and a little foresight, you can really give yourself a tactical advantage on the battlefield. At one point I found myself defending a family from a murderous gang (who I'd angered by killing the leader's brother). By making the decision to gain higher ground with my sniper, I was able to effectively take their gang down with relative ease. It's in these moments that Wasteland 3 truly shines, providing some of the best turn-based combat I've seen so far this year.

The stellar combat is only narrowly outshone by the game's brilliant narrative system. Wasteland 3 uses your decisions to shape the wasteland around you, and this pays off in ways that are both big and small.. There are around ten different endings that you can reach, with some decisions having massive effects on certain portions of the game. Even after half a dozen hours you can already start to see the results of some of your decisions playing out, and you continue to see that impact throughout the game.

Dialogue and narrative have always been a core focus of the Wasteland series, but the introduction of voiced dialogue in Wasteland 3 is by far one of the best improvements the game could make. Voiced dialogue adds a new layer of believability, which in turn further immerses you in the world that inXile have created. The solid voice performance mixed with some great writing has made me laugh out loud on more than a few occasions through the game.

Moral choices are fairly common in gaming now, but Wasteland 3 distinguishes itself in how it uses them to great effect. It generally presents you with situations and choices that fall within a morally grey area. There are certainly times when it's obvious who the evil character is, but there are also moments in which you can empathise with all parties involved, ultimately making the decisions so much more difficult. There's a particularly tough one early on that resulted in me killing an entire group of people due to the actions of their leader, while a later decisions had me choosing between the lives of innocents and my mission to protect a special set of armour to curry favour with the local ruler. Not the greatest moral quandary, but a touch decision nonetheless.

I really enjoy the little touches in Wasteland 3. Whether it's a certain dialogue tree, a random encounter or one of the many side-quests, everything feels completely fleshed out. There's so much to do and see in this world, and the fact that your presence shapes as much as it does sets a new bar for RPG titles of this nature.

The world map is yet another aspect of Wasteland 3 that receives a huge overhaul. Gone is the static map and symbol of Wasteland 2, instead replacing it with an overworld hub and a vehicle that your gang of explorers can travel in. Making your way between the different areas is accompanied by a radio that plays both catchy tunes and distress calls from people around the world. You can also take your transport into battle, using its powerful gun to decimate enemies on the field, but should it take too much damage you'll then have to repair it.

Wasteland 3 isn't without its issues. Performance can suffer at times, where enemies can take quite a while to decide to attack in combat, leaving me not knowing what was going on, and The Bizarre area dropped my frame rat down into the teens. Considering I have a Ryzen 5 3600 and Nvidia RTX 2060 well in excess of the game's recommended specs, that shouldn't really be happening, though thankfully performance issues outside of The Bizarre are quite sporadic.

I've also found myself growing a little frustrated with traversing the world. It's quite easy to lose where your characters are while exploring an area, only to have to go back to them and point them towards the rest of your team. It's a small issue that becomes frustrating further into the game as you explore more complex areas. Navigation could do with a little bit of tweaking just to make it a little more user friendly.

Wasteland 3 also features co-op gameplay, letting two players team up to take on the story together, or branch off and forge your own paths through the world. However, only one of you can take part in a conversation at a given time, and there's no ability to listen in. As you can imagine, it's quite difficult to follow what's going on if you aren't privy to the conversations involving the story and missions, and I'd like to see that improved, especially since co-op combat is very enjoyable.

Pokémon Go drops support for older iPhones and Android devices in October update

The inexorable march of technology will come to bite fans of Pokémon Go that are playing on older devices, as Niantic have revealed that they will be dropping support for a range of older devices in an update this October.

The affected devices are those still running Android 5 (codenamed Lollipop), iOS 10 and iOS 11. However, that will also extend to the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6, both of which can be updated beyond iOS 11, but will do so with reduced functionality and support for system extensions.

In order to still be able to play Pokémon Go, you will need to have Android 6 "Marshmallow" or iOS 12 – so long as you have an iPhone 6S or newer. That effectively means that Niantic are still supporting devices from the last five years.

Android 6 was released in October 2015, and while Android phone manufacturers have a spotty track record of updating their phones to the latest OS, that's still a broad range of Android devices that will still have compatibility.

Similarly, the iPhone 6S came out in September 2015 and is still actively supported by Apple with iOS updates. It's able to update to iOS 13 and will be supported with iOS 14 when that arrives in the next couple of months. It's a bit of a shame that phones that can be updated to the new minimum iOS version are being left behind, but they aren't able to take advantage of Apple's emerging AR technology, for example, which has been folded into Pokémon Go over the last few years.

Source: Pokémon Go



Marvel's Avengers post-launch hero Kate Bishop's Hawkeye revealed

Marvel's Avengers is out this week – playable now if you've forked out for the Deluxe Edition or on Friday 4th September if you don't fancy that – but Square Enix have marched ahead with a fresh War Table stream to showcase more of what players can expect to come in the weeks and months after release for this live game.

The biggest news? Well that the regular old "Hawkguy" Hawkeye is going to be joined by the much cooler, much younger Kate Bishop Hawkeye character down the line.

Both Hawkeye characters and any additional areas and missions are coming as free post-launch updates to the game, but will be accompanied by a Battle Pass scheme for earning cosmetics. Head here for more details on Marvel's Avengers Challenge Cards.

Kate's character-specific Operation – Taking AIM – will arrive in late October, bringing a new villain and new mystery. Bishop took on the mantle of Hawkeye after being mentored by the original Hawkeye Clint Barton, but she comes with her own Heroic Skills and takedowns that lean on her background as an Olympic-caliber gymnast and master archer.

Beyond this, the hour-long War Table stream showcased a bunch of high-level mission types that you'll have to battle through in the game's endgame: Villain Sectors, SHIELD Vaults, AIM's Secret Lab, and Mega Hives.

Villain Sectors will have you battling powerful bosses, and will be a good way to grind your way up to the power-level cap of 150 at launch. SHIELD Vaults, meanwhile, will appeal to those looking for fancy resources and gear. Then there's AIM Secret Labs, which will be once-a-week raids into AIM's labs building up to massive boss fights. Finally, Mega Hives will see you test how far you can get through increasingly difficult levels, seeing how far you can get while going through your line up of available heroes.

We've been delving into the game since its early access release yesterday, and will surely have some thoughts to share with you all soon on how Square Enix's take on the Marvel universe has come together.

Marvel's Avengers is out for PS4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia on 4th September.

Source: press release

The Signifier investigates the subconscious in a tech-noir thriller

If you think modern-day technology is great for invading your privacy, as smartphones and computers act as a conduit into our minds and habits, just wait until the brain scanning technology of The Signifier is invented. Now your whole brain, your memories, your feelings, everything about you can just be dumped to a hard drive. Cool…

Thankfully, the governments of the world see fit to put some kinds of checks and balances in place here. The Technology Safeguard Bureau (TSB) is founded to try and protect democracy from the abuse of this technology – huh, haven't we heard that one before? – and international regulations are put in place to try and protect a semblance of data privacy… and yet the march of technology continues on, this brain scanning tech going hand in hand with the advancement of AI, new ventures into automated architecture and construction, and so much more, all trying to hide something from the prying eyes of the government.

So when a VP at Go-At, one of the biggest companies in the world, ends up dead of a suspected suicide, Tom the TSB agent turns to Frederick Russell – and his experimental deep brain scanner, the Dreamwalker – to seize on the opportunity to ferret out some clues as to what really happened and what Go-At have really been up to.

The Dreamwalker is a fascinating bit of technology. Dumping the hard drive into the computer for the AI Eevee then trying to process everything, it allows for Russell to step into snippets of her consciousness. Having visited her opulent apartment (some strings were pulled with the cops to allow for Russell to get a glimpse of her flat and an impression that something doesn't quite add up about the suicide story.

Asking Eevee to reconstruct the last memories that Johanna Kast (the Go-At VP) had drops Russell back into that same apartment. However, it looks very different. Instead of glitzy high-rise fanciness and modernity, it looks more like you've zoomed a bit too far into the 3D maps generated from satellite imagery and photogrammetry – something that has actually been done in some areas. Everything is low poly, lacking in detail, but giving the vague mottled impression of the apartment it represents. It's utterly in keeping with the technology though. Memories are often quite hazy, easy to manipulate, and it thematically fits that for Eevee to reconstruct an environment from a snapshot of memories, there would be a lot left to the imagination. Wandering around this environment, Russell quips that Eevee always struggles with glass, the view to the outside world just blurry white windows, the table a fuzzy grey shape.

Something's not quite off about this place though. There are some glitches, things that still don't quite add up – the time of day simply isn't consistent with the estimated time of death. Russell has to go deeper, to go beyond the objective reconstruction and into the subjective reconstruction that leaves nothing filtered out and can leave more perception errors.

It's darker; it's more twisted like a surrealist painting that takes the familiar form of a squared-off tablet and warps it. Here Russell can dig in and try to hunt down bits of corrupted data that Eevee simply couldn't figure out, like how current machine learning often struggles to figure what a dog is until it's been trained with enough dog images. Finding them in the world presents a trippy puzzle where you manipulate a shapeshifting representation of the data, spinning it around, winding time back and forth, trying to figure out what it is both from how it looks and how it sounds. The ticking, the shape, the memory not being at the right time; the data could only be a clock, and taking it over to where the clock is missing from the world allows Eevee to give it the context it deserves.

Of course, this being the subjective world, the clock leads to something utterly surreal: a ladder of time that allows Russell to climb up to reach the actual time of Joanna's death, finding a key clue that shows that she was not alone at the time of her death. Knocking at the door to her flat, a picture of a dog following you around (remember what I said about AI's struggling with dogs?) the symbolism of spiders webs ensnaring Joanna's bed, and another data fragment that reveals a hand floating by her bed.

It's a case that sees Russell drawn into a multi-layered conspiracy within this world. Murder investigations weren't the point of Russell's research – those are more academic, exploring a particular branch of brain scanning and AI technology – but he was forced into this situation by signing a collaborative agreement with the TSB to enable his research to continue.

What's intriguing is that you'll be afforded the opportunity to put yourself in Russell's situation. Where do you stand on the use of this new technology? Does the TSB's own manipulative use of it amount to the kinds of abuse that they are supposedly sworn to protect against? You can play this out through deciding how much information you give to Tom, how you'll navigate branching dialogue with other characters, how you'll navigate the deepening web of intrigue that Russell finds himself in, and ultimately how you try to disentangle it.

There's plenty of parallels to the real world coursing through The Signifier's veins, from the way it represents the strengths and weaknesses of the brain-scanning technology, to how it imagines the various ways this could be used and abused. Through it all, I'm looking forward to unpicking a conspiratorial thriller that could shape the world.

The Signifier is coming to PC on 15th October, with a planned jump to consoles in 2021.

Before Marvel's Avengers, there was Marvel Ultimate Alliance

Marvel Ultimate Alliance was by no means the first video game outing for The Avengers, yet with the release of the ambitious Marvel's Avengers from Square Enix, this classic comic-inspired dungeon crawler is still fondly remembered long after its release more than a decade ago.

Developed by Raven Software, Marvel Ultimate Alliance can be viewed as the third instalment of a Marvel roleplaying game series which started with the superb X-Men Legends and X-Men Legends 2: Rise of Apocalypse.

However, with the X-Men's popularity waning as we slipped into the late noughties, Activision and Raven broadened their scope for the follow-up. Marvel Ultimate Alliance would not only feature key X-Men characters such as Wolverine, Iceman, and Storm, but Spider-Man too as well as The Avengers and The Fantastic Four with plenty of other favourite cameos.

Although no longer available to purchase due to pesky licensing agreements, Marvel Ultimate Alliance and its direct sequel re-released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Despite some technical issues, the games themselves hold up just fine. The top-down dungeon crawling of the original relies more on persistent button bashing rather than superhero strategies depicted in comics, yet there's a certain fun to be had from running each gauntlet, battering a cavalcade of villains ripped from the pages of our favourite comics. Especially with a few friends in the same room.

2009's Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 then saw Vicarious Visions take the helm in a more polished and robust sequel centred around the Civil War storyline. Grittier than its predecessor, the action here was more deliberate and involved. One particularly great touch was the new fusion mechanic allowing two heroes to perform a special attack, unique to each pairing. For example, combining Captain America with Iron Man would trigger a set piece move in which the former uses his shield to reflect a concentrated beam, wiping the screen of all enemies.

Then there was the story, too. You could choose whether to be pro and anti registration which would lock out certain characters during a playthrough. In general, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 crammed in an impressive amount of contextual dialogue that would change depending on which hero you had control of in that particular scene.

While you can't pick them up on current systems anymore, you can still find second hand physical copies of both of these games on past generation hardware and they're definitely worth exploring if you don't mind their repetitive nature and some rough edges.

It would be rude of us not to mention Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, but there's good reason why we haven't thus far. It's a markedly different experience compared to these first two games. It's technically a sequel, sure, but it's one developed by Team Ninja and with a different design ethos. Still, the Nintendo Switch exclusive scored a mighty 8/10 in our review. Excelsior!

With Marvel's Avengers launching on September 4th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, have you been revisiting any superhero video games to get you in the mood?

Indie developer Vlambeer disbands on its 10th anniversary

Two-man indie developer Vlambeer have announced that they're shutting down after ten years of making games. The duo – Rami Ismail and Jan Willem Nijman – founded their game studio after dropping out of their game design course, and would go on to find great success with a string of popular indie hits, but on their 10th birthday, they're calling it a day and going their separate ways.

Valmbeer state, "It's not a sad day for us, but the happy conclusion to a whirlwind decade filled with screenshake. It feels like we've achieved what we set out to do – as a studio, as a voice, and as individuals, and we are extremely grateful for these past years."

A whirlwind first few years saw plenty of praise for games like Super Crate Box, Ridiculous Fishing and Luftrausers, but since Nuclear Throne in 2015, the duo's output has slowed to a crawl. In fact, I've seen a fair bit of criticism for not keeping the various versions and releases of their games up to date.

However, there's still some unfinished business in the form of ULTRABUGS, which will be their final project as a development pair.

Oh, and they've also kicked off a sale on Steam and released a prototype game called FFFLOOD, in which you rain down first form high orbit.

What's next for the two is likely a continuation of what they have been up to over the past five years. 2020's shutdown of international travel aside, Rami Ismail is best known for his ever-presence at video game events around the world and advocating for small independent developers and helping minorities and those in developing nations enter the games industry. Jan Willem Nijman, meanwhile, has already been collaborating outside of Vlambeer, teaming up on the popular mini-adventure game Minit, and currently working on Disc Room.

Source: Vlambeer

Elden: Path of the Forgotten Review

My first impression of Elden: Path of the Forgotten was one of confusion. After the initial cutscene (which doesn't give much context for the story) you are thrust into the gameplay and the unforgiving map. Despite this void of context, the eerie landscape invites you in and the satisfaction of progressing still spurs you on through the game.

Being dropped into the action is a pretty common way of opening a game, but a little world building can usually be found as you progress by talking to NPCs or written text. This is not the case in Elden. There are no NPC's apart from the ones you fight, and unfortunately they aren't up for much conversation, and any signs and texts you find through the game are written in Elden, a language that's illegible to both the character and the player. This indirect method of storytelling does everything to add to the confusion and mystery of the game; it creates a vacuum where the storyline would usually be and was frustrating in the lack of context for what I was doing.

That's the intent behind Elden: Path of The Forgotten, to explore non-traditional storytelling using a combination of technical combat skill and foreign languages to tell a story that you may never fully understand. Exploring a land that is foreign in both terrain, language and enemies creates a bubble of confusion surrounding the game, full of questions that may or may not ever be answered.

The 8-bit inspired landscape was dark and eerie, and while enticing you to go on and explore, it also felt like a warning not to continue. The shapes often merge together, making a wall seem like a path onward and vice versa. This maze-like effect adds wonderfully to the confusion of the world, creating multiple paths that could easily be missed and clearings that almost invite a wave of enemies that never come. This distortion within the map is complemented by the score. Equally eerie and ghostly, it creates a haunting atmosphere that is both beautiful and terrifying.

The controls are simple and accessible, with basic movement, attack and a dodge roll. You can change your weapons, allowing for a different style of attack, and eventually gain the ability to cast simple magic as well. Despite the upgrades, the controls are forgivingly straightforward. The enemies, however, are not.

Enemies have a range of attacks, from simple melee to unleashing earthquakes that target you specifically. The effects that these attacks have are more than a simple loss of HP, but can temporarily distort you vision in ways that feel almost psychedelic. Enemies come in fairly large groups, meaning that you can't button mash your way through battles. If that's your go to technique, you'll need to practice patience and observe the different monsters, and time your attacks.

There's definitely some strategy required, which may have you repeating certain areas a few times to get right. This can be frustrating, but is incredibly rewarding once you successfully complete a fight. A slight challenge is the scarcity of save points, which adds to the challenging nature of the game. While that can be a pain, it makes each save point you do come across give you a great sense of relief at finding a respite from the unforgiving landscape.

UFC 4 update 2.03 patch notes, read them here

Ah, nothing says Wednesday morning than coffee, a bacon roll, and some fresh patch notes straight out the oven. Full of vitamins and fibre these patch notes will keep you going until lunch time, and just 150 calories as well!

UFC 4 Patch Notes 2.03

  • Added ability for the Sub Fighter to trigger an immediate escape after denying the Backpack transition.
  • Added Stamina tax to attack for Low Single Takedown denial.
  • Fixed an issue with the Stamina drain on Headlock denials.
  • Removed Headlock stamina drain from the submissions entry animation.
  • Tuned stamina and damage on the Back Drop takedown.
  • Reduced rate of Stamina Recovery during Ground and Pound.
  • Fixed an issue where escaping choke submissions drained too much stamina.
  • Fixed various issues with Ground and Pound defense against flurries.
  • Fixing an issue with blocking after beeing hit, during Ground and Pound.
  • Fixed an issue with damage received after posting strikes in Ground and Pound.
  • Removed Haptic Feedback from Online modes
  • Fixed an issue causing takedown feints to count in stats
  • Greatly reduced the rate of the purple screen bug

The patch weighs in at around 500mb depending on your platform and is out now for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

The game scored an impressive 9/10 in our review, "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," said Aran.

If you are looking for the Trophy list from the game then we have you covered, you can find that here. At a glance, there seems to be a abundance of silvers up for grabs here mainly tied to the singleplayer Career mode. There are some gameplay specific bronze trophies in there as well as a couple of achievements tied to online play.

Source: Discord

Assetto Corsa Competizione's September console update patch notes are here

505 Games' Antonela Pounder has stopped by to drop off the patch notes for the September update to Assetto Corsa Competizione. "While we might have been a little quiet recently, that doesn't mean we've been standing still. Behind the scenes, our developers have been working hard to bring improvements and fixes to game," she comments.

PlayStation 4 and Xbox One players can expect this update to launch later this week, here are the patch notes.

Wheel profiles updated for all brands
Force feedback fine-tuned.
Max steer lock changes to Logitech G923.
Force feedback enabled for some additional Fanatec wheels.
Headlights at night have improvements to quality.
Memory crash fixed after returning to main menu from a race.
Crash fixed when selecting some cars within a race.
Memory crash fixed when going into a race.

Added driver/team customisation for use with custom created cars.

Real-time track overview while in the garage.
Text and localisation changes for all languages.

Client: server car groups displayed in server list.

Tweaked curbs and astroturf volume in onboard cameras.
Better organisation in sample reference structure.
Better audio feedback for brake temperature and wear level.
General fine-tuning.

We gave the game 6/10 in our review, "With a career mode lacking in substance, strange bugs and a limited set of content, Assetto Corsa Competizione is hard to recommend. Perhaps in 2021, with a slew of patches and DLC expansions it will be in a better place, but for now, Assetto Corsa Competizione is a superlative solo driving experience trapped in a flawed video game," said our racing games expert, Thomas.

The console version of the game suffered a number of concessions compared to the PC version, though thankfully the physics and the game audio remain untouched . Instead, it's the graphics that will suffer.

Assetto Corsa Competizione runs at 30fps on all PS4 and Xbox One consoles – a fate similar to the games coming out of Milestone after they also made a jump to Unreal Engine 4. Here's the run down of the resolutions and options.

  • Xbox One – 900p at 30fps
  • PS4 – 1080p at 30fps
  • PS4 Pro – 1800p upscaled at 30fps
  • Xbox One X – or 2160p at 30fps

Source: 505 Games

Microsoft leak the Xbox Series S again

Video gaming's worst kept secret, the Xbox Series S, has been confirmed once again by Microsoft themselves. Twitter user @BraviaryBrendan purchased a new Xbox controller and it included a Game Pass Ultimate trial code which states it can be used on Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, and Windows 10.

The long rumoured Xbox Series S, the cheaper "Lockheart" variant of Microsoft's next-gen console, has been leaked from numerous sources including others that have got their hands on the updated Xbox controller designed for the Xbox Series X.

Twitter user Zak S was able to purchase the controller, with its subtly modified form factor, redesigned D-pad and new Share button. The packaging for the controller reveals that is it compatible with "Xbox Series X | S".

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 "Lockheart" 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.

The availability of an Xbox Series S also helps to explain why Microsoft ceased production of their current most powerful console, the Xbox One X. While the Xbox One S remains in production, it will eventually be left behind by next gen game designs, the weakness of its CPU likely to be a key factor in this. That CPU weakness would have remained on Xbox One X.

Not only will this be a future proof option, it will also allow Microsoft to aim for a lower entry price to the next generation, potentially helping to bring more players into their next-gen plans by aiming $100 or more lower than what Sony can manage with the PlayStation 5.

AT&T scrap plans to sell Suicide Squad publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

After a few months of uncertainty it appears that Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment parent company, AT&T, has dropped plans to sell the video game publishing house with Bloomberg reporting the company felt it was "too valuable to unload".

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment had been valued at $4 billion and a number of big companies were rumoured to have shown interest including Activision, Take Two, and EA. It seems Covid may have just saved the company as video games sales have surged in the past few months and AT&T is said to have recognised the "business's growth potential" and took it off the table. A recent restructure of company may have also helped and there may have been complications in negotiations as many of the games from the studio are based on Warner Bros. properties such as the Lego movie or DC comics.

The news from Bloomberg confirms what we previously learned from a leaked internal email.On August 7th CEO Jason Kilar sent an email to all staff explaining how the company was to be restructured but specifically mentioned that the gaming arm was staying put.

The Warner Bros. Motion Pictures Group continues to be led by Chairman Toby Emmerich. Warner Bros. Television Studios group continues to be led by Chairman Peter Roth. Warner Bros. Interactive remains part of the Studios and Networks group, along with our Global Brands and Franchises team including DC led by Pam Lifford, and our Kids, Young Adults and Classics business led by Tom Ascheim, all focused on engaging fans with our brands and franchises through games and other interactive experiences.

AT&T have been looking at ways to cut costs and it seems rather than sell off a specific group they going to perform a major restructure and cut staff numbers instead. AT&T still need to raise a lot of cash to cover a $200 billion debt, but Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment always seemed an odd choice for sale.

Source: Bloomberg

Nvidia's next-gen RTX 3090, RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 GPUs revealed

Nvidia have pulled back the curtain to unveil their next generation of high-end GPUs, promising increased performance at the company's price levels improved ability to process taxing ray-tracing effect, and improved power efficiency. However, it will set you back a pretty penny.

Across the board, they're leaning on established Nvidia technologies like Deep Learning Super Sampling for resolution upscaling and enhancement, and the Tensor cores from the 20 series cards to assist in processing the complex ray traced lighting effects. They're combining these with new innovations, such as faster GDDR6X RAM and PCIe 4.0 connectivity, as well as having on-GPU decompression that collaborates with Microsoft on DirectStorage. As in PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, this will allow the GPU to directly communicate with ultra-fast SSDs to lessen the CPU load and speed up loading.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

The RTX 3080 is the company's new flagship GPU. Priced at $699, it's a replacement for the current RTX 2080 Super, sporting double the performance of the older RTX 2080 with ray tracing, and easily surpassing the RTX 2080 Ti, the current ultra high-end halo product from the current era of Nvidia cards, and boasting single precision performance over two times the Xbox Series X – this isn't actually a good measure of GPU power, it should be said. It's expected to handle 4K at 60FPS with ray tracing.

  • CUDA Cores – 8704
  • Boost Clock – 1.71Ghz
  • VRAM – 10GB
  • Single Precision Performance – 29.8 TFLOPs
  • Tensor Performance FP16 – 238 TFLOPs
  • Ray Tracing Performance – 58 TFLOPs
  • TFP – 320W
  • Release date – 17th September 2020
  • Price – $699

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090

Speaking of ultra high-end, that crown now goes to the RTX 3090. This could have fallen into the company's Titan range, which pushes their GPU chipsets to the limit, but is instead part of the GeForce line up. It features a huge 24GB of VRAM, and goes close to three times the TFLOPs of the Xbox Series X. It's got an eye-watering price point to match: $1499… more than double the RTX 3080.

  • CUDA Cores – 10496
  • Boost Clock – 1.7Ghz
  • VRAM – 24GB
  • Single Precision Performance – 35.7 TFLOPs
  • Tensor Performance FP16 – 285 TFLOPs
  • Ray Tracing Performance – 69 TFLOPs
  • TFP – 350W
  • Release date – 24th September 2020
  • Price – $1499

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

And finally, we come to what will actually be most likely to end up in a gaming PC. The RTX 3070 will launch in October with a $499 price, and it's impressively well specced for the price (in the context of recent Nvidia GPU prices, at least). It cuts things back significantly from the 3080, but is still pitched as being slightly more powerful than the RTX 2080 Ti, and having the greatest generational leap in performance at this price point.

  • CUDA Cores – 5888
  • Boost Clock – 1.73Ghz
  • VRAM – 8GB
  • Single Precision Performance – 20.4 TFLOPs
  • Tensor Performance FP16 – 163 TFLOPs
  • Ray Tracing Performance – 40 TFLOPs
  • TFP – 220W
  • Release date – October 2020
  • Price – $499

It's all impressive sounding, though we'll have to wait until reviews drop to see how they actually perform and how they can handle the ever-increasing demands that ray tracing will put on gaming machines. However, when the cheapest of the cards announced today is also at the price point many pundits expect Sony and Microsoft to pick for their new consoles, these are very much high-end luxury gaming items.

Nvidia have had great success at these price points over the last few years though, and these are huge steps forward in performance. The real question is if AMD can respond with their own next-generation of GPU. The company have struggled to compete with Nvidia's halo products for years, and it will take a lot for them to stack up against the 30 series in general with their upcoming RDNA 2 products.

via Anandtech

Bungie detail the new Warlock Shadebinder Stasis subclass

Bungie have revealed further details for one of the new Stasis subclasses for Warlock players in Destiny 2: Beyond Light.  "Each Stasis subclass in Beyond Light will give players the ability to customize abilities like grenades, movement modes, class abilities, and so on with. In addition, we've added new layers of customization with the addition of Aspects and Fragments," say Bungie.

Aspects are physical items from the 'real world' of Destiny 2 such as a crystallized Vex conflux or a robotic Fallen arm and when these are slotted in to your character you get new abilities. I'm not sure how you slot in a Fallen arm in to a Warlock and frankly I don't want to think about it too much.

Many of the Aspects have an extra slot to which Fragments can be added, again these are based on real world items found in the game and add passive perks to your character, but they may also come with penalties. "Aspect upgrades are unique to each Stasis subclass, while Fragment slots are class agnostic; how players combine these two different types of upgrades will lead to a range of customization options," say Bungie.

Here's more from Bungie.

For example, a Warlock finds a Frostpulse Aspect in the world and equips it. This Aspect augments their Rift ability, which now freezes any enemies caught in the field. The Frostpulse Aspect also has a Fragment slot available, allowing further customization. This Warlock decides to slot in the Whisper of Refraction Fragment that replenishes some of their class ability energy upon shattering enemies. They have now set themselves up with a nice 1-2 punch and, if played skillfully, can use this combo frequently.

With its focus on freezing and shattering, the Shadebinder subclass promises to give Guardians yet another reason to love their floaty, book-loving Warlocks. But no matter what class you like, all players will be able to take advantage of Aspects and Fragments that unlock even more ways to make your Guardian yours.

Destiny 2: Beyond Light launches later this year on 10th November.

Source: Bungie

Ubisoft Forward event announced for September

Troubled publisher Ubisoft have announced another Ubisoft Forward event for September 10th at 11:00 AM PDT / 9.00 PM CST / 8.00 PM BST.

"You can see what's in store for games like Watch Dogs: Legion, Hyper Scape, and Rainbow Six Siege, as well as a much-anticipated update on our new IP, Immortals Fenyx Rising, formerly known as Gods & Monsters, and more yet-to-be revealed surprises," say Ubisoft. "If you still can't get enough, stick around after the main show to see deep dives into two unreleased titles, exclusive to this edition of Ubisoft Forward."

There will also be updates from the teams working on Roller Champions, For Honor, The Division 2, and Ghost Recon Breakpoint

You will be able to watch the event at, or over on Twitch. If you di tune in you can grab some free goodies including XP boosts for For Honor, a charm for Rainbow SIx Siege, and a mask for Watch Dogs Legion. You will need to log in to to your Ubisoft account before you watch to claim the rewards.

The publisher has been rocked by multiple allegations of sexual harassment, racism, and homophobia. Things had quietened down but then at the end last week the publisher's mobile title Tom Clancy's Elite Squad was in the spotlight. In this game, there is an "evil" group opposing the government which the likes of Sam Fisher go up against. So far, standard fare seen in a lot of Ubisoft games. The issue stems from the logo choice for the organisation called Umbra whose mission is to change the system. The logo chosen to represent Umbra is a raised black fist. The same logo that is representative of the Black Lives Matter movement.  You can watch the opening below.

In a statement Ubisoft confirmed it would be removing the imagery from Tom Clancy's Elite Squad:

Imagery that appeared in the opening video sequence of Tom Clancy's Elite Squad featuring a 'raised fist' was insensitive and harmful in both its inclusion and how it was portrayed. We have listened to and appreciate the players and the broader community who have pointed it out and we apologize. This 'raised fist' imagery will be removed in the next title update this Tuesday, September 1 on Android and as soon as possible on iOS.

You may be wondering how that even got in the game, and Bloomberg News' Jason Schrieir has offered an explanation.

The director of this game and manager of the studio behind it is Charlie Guillemot. If that name sounds familiar, it's because his father is Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft's CEO. Charlie Guillemot graduated university in 2014 and became studio manager in… 2014

Charlie graduated from Uni and got a top job at daddies company with almost certainly zero experience on how to run a studio! How nice for him.

Source: Ubisoft

Joe Biden's presidential campaign puts politics into Animal Crossing: New Horizons

There's a certain (and very wrong) school of thinking that video games shouldn't be political, that they shouldn't have a stance on such matters, but what if it's the other way round? What if politics tries to be in video games? That's exactly what's happening with the Biden-Harris campaign creating a set of official campaign signs and logos for use in the cheery paradise of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

While we doubt that Joe kicks back and relaxes with some Animal Crossing, here he is in digital form alongside vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, showing off the four official sign designs that they've created. We'd bet this is more down to staffers seeing the popularity of AOC in her Animal Crossing sessions earlier in the global lockdown.

If you want to rep for the Democrats in the US presidential election, you can download these to the game using the Nintendo Switch Online app to scan a set of QR codes. Don't know how to do that? Well, we have a rather handy guide for that!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons – How to import custom clothes & art with NookLink QR Codes

OK, got all that figured out? Well here's the four QR codes to get the official Biden-Harris logo, the Team Joe logo, a Joe Pride logo and an image of some red, white and blue aviators.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has raced past 20 million game sales in just a few months, the game chasing after the current best-selling Switch game, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Will it catch and pass Mario Kart by Christmas? It seems pretty likely! It might even do it before the US presidential elections on 3rd November.

Don't forget to register to vote if you're in the US, by the way, and keep abreast of your state's postal voting/absentee ballot, the possibility of voting early, and all the other stuff you need to be aware of in the current climate.

Source: Joe Biden

Animal Crossing Guides from TheSixthAxis

Sable, Call of the Sea, GONNER2, and Per Aspera have new trailers

With so many announcements at virtual events like Gamescom a lot of the smaller titles get lost so top marks to Raw Fury who sent me a handy email with all the trailers for their games in one place.

First up is Per Aspera, a city building game with a difference: It's set on Mars and you're terraforming the entire planet, not just making one city.

Per Aspera is a planetary simulation experience that combines hard science fiction and base building. Take on the role of AMI and Artificial Consciousness with the prime directive of terraforming Mars for human colonization. With the nearest help being 140 million miles away, what risks are you willing to take to achieve the mission?

The game is coming to Steam at the end of this year.

Next up, Gonner 2, in which you are helping Death by controlling altruistic and unexpected hero Ikk. The game is a procedurally generated platformer with roguelike elements and boss fights, and is coming to PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch sometime before the end of the year.

The third game is the rather more gentle Call of the Sea, a a first-person adventure puzzle game set in the 1930s that tells the story of Norah, a woman on the trail of her missing husband's expedition. "It's an otherworldly tale of mystery, adventure, and self-discovery," say Raw Fury.

Finally, we have Sable which is launching on PC and Xbox One next year.

Sable is a coming-of-age tale of discovery through exploration across a strikingly rendered open world desert. Go on a deeply personal journey across an alien planet as the young Sable, exploring ancient monuments, ruined architecture, and ships fallen from the cosmos, all while learning the history of its inhabitants and discovering her place in the world.

What is the history behind these broken monuments scattered about the land? How did the nomadic clans come here, and what made them stay? What's the greater importance that Sable must come to understand as part of this rite of passage? Only the inquisitive mind will come to understand the lessons held within the sandy confines of the planet's secrets: lessons of life, family, and being a part of something greater than one's self.

Source: Press release

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