Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Sony denies cutting PlayStation 5 production numbers [Updated]

Update: Sony provided a simple statement on Bloomberg's report to GamesIndustry.biz.

The statement reads, "While we do not release details related to manufacturing, the information provided by Bloomberg is false."

"We have not changed the production number for PlayStation 5 since the start of mass production."

The original post is below:


Bloomberg are reporting that "people familiar with the matter" have suggested that Sony are facing production problems with the PlayStation 5. The problem appears to be with custom built SoC which has production yields of just 50%, or in other words, half of the chips don't work. It is reported that Sony have been forced to cut the predicted number of consoles available down by 4 million units, dropping from 15 million to 11 million for the fiscal year.

The news has "spooked" investors who fear a re-run of the problems that the PlayStation 3 faced – in that case Sony couldn't get enough Blu-ray drives so production was slow and the console release was staggered. However, it's worth remembering that 11 million is still a big step up from the 7 million PS4s that were sold in its own launch window.

The problems with the chips also leave Sony with another problem, with only half of the chips working, production costs are also higher than anticipated. That's not good news ahead of the PlayStation 5 Showcase tomorrow where we expect a price, release date and more game announcements.

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Masahiro Wakasugi suggests that the full fat PlayStation 5 could be priced as low as $449, which would undercut the price of the Xbox Series X by $50, and the discless all digital version would be slightly below $400. Take that with a pinch of salt since this is in the exact same report that production costs are higher, meaning that Sony would be taking a big, big hit per console sold until yields improve.

It's not all bad news for Sony; the Covid-19 pandemic has lead to a huge surge in PlayStation Plus subscriptions.

The PlayStation 5 Showcase will be taking place on Wednesday September 16th, with the timings being 1pm PDT/9pm BST/10pm CEST. The PlayStation 5 Showcase will last for approximately 40 minutes and will include updates on the games and input from some of the development partners. Many of the developers and artists working on Horizon Zero Dawn Forbidden West have been tweeting about the showcase so expect to see more from that game, and unconfirmed rumours suggest Final Fantasy XVI may also make an appearance.

Here are the hardware specifications for the new console.

CPU 8 Zen 2 Cores @ 3.5Ghz w/ SMT (variable)
GPU 10.28 TFLOPS – 36 CUs @ 2.26Ghz (variable)
Memory 16 GB GDDR6 (448GB/s)
Internal Storage 825 GB Custom NVME SSD
I/O Throughput 5.5 GB/s (Raw), 8-9 GB/s (Compressed)
Expandable Storage Approved M.2 third party SSDs in dedicated expansion bay
External Storage USB External HDD Support for PS4 games
Optical Dirve Ultra HD Blu-ray, up to 100GB/disc
Video Output HDMI 2.1 – Up to 4K at 120Hz, 8K, VRR
Audio Tempest Engine 3D audio

Source: Bloomberg

 


Sci-fi thriller The Invincible announced for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S

Starward Industries has announced its first title and it is a sci-fi thriller called The Invincible. The Invincible has been confirmed for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S with a release expected in 2021. Starward Industries has developers who have worked on games such as Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher 3, Dead Island, Dying Light, and Call of Juarez. The Invincible is set in a retro futuristic setting upon a hostile planet, and the artwork is very evocative of that atmosphere.

Here is the full synopsis for The Invincible:

You are a scientist onboard an interstellar scientific expedition, suddenly thrown into a life-or-death rescue mission. Landing on a planet Regis III you have to find the missing crew members using some advanced space equipment, whilst relying on your brains and instincts to survive on the planet which quickly occurs to be unwelcoming. Soon you'll discover that Regis III holds terrifying secrets which are uncovered while you're piecing together the fate of your crew. And as you delve deeper into the mystery, you realise that perhaps you are not alone, and that some places like this planet are better left untouched. But it's too late to turn back.

Features

  • Retro-future atompunk setting reminiscent of the era of space race
  • Analogue yet very advanced technology allowing for drones and autonomous robots to support or spoil your mission
  • Immersive gameplay with a non-linear story shaped by your relationships, choices and persuasive skills
  • Beautiful, state of the art graphics powered by Unreal Engine
  • Intriguing story inspired by Stanislaw Lem's seminal sci-fi cult classic of the same name

Source: Twitter/Steam


Twin Mirror will be releasing this December, confirms Dontnod

Dontnod Entertainment has confirmed that its next title Twin Mirror will be released on December 1st for PS4, Xbox One, and PC via the Epic Games Store. The studio has also stated that Twin Mirror is available for pre-order via the Epic Games Store for £27.99. The soundtrack for Twin Mirror will be available as a pre-order bonus. Twin Mirror will be an Epic Games Store exclusive on PC for 12 months. The game was originally set to be released in 2019 but was delayed as more time was needed.

What we know so far of the game is that the main character Sam has woken up the day after a friend's funeral with no recollection of what happened the night before, and a blood stained shirt. Sam needs to piece together the events and uses his Mind Palace to do so which appears to mean he travels through his memories and attempts to piece them together. It's all a bit supernatural really.

In our preview for Twin Mirror, Stefan wrote:

There's much more to reveal about Twin Mirror, but signs are certainly much more encouraging from this demo compared to the last. The production values and sense of coherence to the experience have definitely improved, and the teasers of the mystery and story much more intriguing. Given their record of delivering compelling, well-written narrative adventures, Twin Mirror should be one for fans of Life Is Strange and its sequel to keep an eye on when it arrives on PS4, Xbox One and PC later this year.

You can read the full Twin Mirror preview here.
Source: Press Release

Dead By Daylight update 2.02 lands – here's what it fixed

Behaviour Interactive have risen from the crypt with yet another patch for their popular multiplayer hit, Dead By Daylight.

Dead By Daylight 2.02 dropped earlier today and is now available on consoles. For the PC crowd out there, this will be marked as version 4.2.1.

So what can horror fans expect from this fresh patch? Well, nothing in terms of new game content. Last week's 2.01 update came tagged with a new Killer – The Blight – as well as Survivor Max Richter. Instead, Dead By Daylight 2.02 makes some quick fixes since the roll out of the new chapter, Descend Below.

You can read the full patch notes below. First, here's a quick reminder that everyone who owns Dead By Daylight on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One will be entitled to a free next-gen upgrade on PS5 and/or Xbox Series X. Behaviour Interactive recently patched the game with cross-play and cross-progression on selected platforms.

Dead By Daylight Update 2.02 (PC 4.2.1) Patch Notes

  • Fixed an issue that caused the "heartbeat" sound played for Survivors in the Terror Raius to be much quieter than intended.
  • Fixed a number of issues that caused the Huntress' hatchets to have incorrect behavioir when server-side hit validation is enabled.
  • Fixed an issue that caused Survivors hooked in the basement to appear floating in the air in the floor above the basement.
  • Fixed na issue that allowed PC/console players to add mobile players as friends.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Survivor screams trigged by the perk Dragon's Grip not being properly audible to the Killer.
  • Fixed an issue that caused an FPS drop when looking at an activated generator.
  • Fixed a post-process effect bug that was causing an FPS drop for some users.

Dead By Daylight originally launched back in 2017. Although a lot has changed here's our original 6/10 review of the ambitious asymmetrical horror title.


Cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is now available on Android

After a long, long build up and extensive beta phase, cloud gaming (formerly known as Project xCloud) is now officially a part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Over 150 games can now be played by streaming them to the Xbox Game Pass app on Android smartphones and tablets.

Here's a terrible song:

Reminds me of Chewits.

The Xbox Game Pass app is now available via the Google Play Store and Samsung App Store, and if you've been using the beta apps over the last few months, you'll likely need to switch to this newer app in order to continue using the streaming service.

Of course, all of this is only available on Android smartphones right now, with Apple blocking game streaming apps from the iOS App Store. The company released new rules over the weekend mandating that all streamed games would have to go through Apple's own certification process and have individual entries on the App Store. Microsoft said that's complete and utter bobbins, and I'm inclined to agree!

Cloud gaming has launched with Microsoft promoting all sorts of grips and custom controllers that snap onto the ends of phones, like the Razer Kishi, but some games will be optimised to work with touch controls as well. Minecraft Dungeons is leading the way here, with a redesigned UI for gaming and inventory management on a phone, touch overlays and custom layouts so you can really tailor the experience to suit your thumbs.

Here's the 22 available countries:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Czechia
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Korea
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

And here's the 150 games you can stream:

  • A Plague Tale: Innocence
  • Absolver
  • Afterparty
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • ARK: Survival Evolved
  • ASTRONEER
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Battletoads
  • Battle Chasers: Nightwar
  • Black Desert 
  • Blair Witch
  • Bleeding Edge
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
  • Bridge Constructor Portal
  • Carrion
  • Children of Morta
  • ClusterTruck
  • Crackdown 3: Campaign
  • Crosscode
  • Darksiders Genesis
  • Darksiders III
  • DayZ
  • de Blob
  • Dead by Daylight
  • Dead Cells
  • Dead Island Definitive Edition
  • Death Squared
  • Deliver us the moon
  • Demon's Tilt
  • Descenders
  • Destiny 2: Shadowkeep & Forsaken expansion (September 22)
  • DiRT 4
  • Don't Starve
  • Double Kick Heroes
  • Drake Hollow
  • Dungeon of the Endless
  • Enter The Gungeon
  • F1 2019
  • Fallout 76
  • Farming Simulator 17
  • Felix the Reaper
  • Fishing Sim World: Pro Tour
  • For the King
  • Forager
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Fractured Minds
  • Frostpunk: Console Edition
  • Gato Roboto
  • Gears of War 1: Ultimate Edition
  • Gears of War 4
  • Gears of War 5
  • Goat Simulator
  • Golf with Your Friends
  • Grounded
  • Guacamelee! 2
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • Halo Wars 1: Definitive Edition
  • Halo Wars 2
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection
  • Halo: Spartan Assault
  • Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
  • Hello Neighbor
  • Hollow Knight (Renewal)
  • Hot Shot Racing
  • Human Fall Flat
  • Hyperdot
  • Hypnospace Outlaw
  • Indivisible
  • Journey to the Savage Planet
  • Katana ZERO (Coming soon)
  • Killer Instinct DE
  • Kona
  • Levelhead
  • Lonely Mountains: Downhill
  • MARVEL VS. CAPCOM: INFINITE
  • Metro 2033 Redux
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War
  • Minecraft: Dungeons
  • MINIT
  • Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
  • Moonlighter
  • Mortal Kombat X (Not available in Korea)
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Moving Out
  • Mudrunner
  • Munchkin: Quacked Quest
  • Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
  • My Time At Portia
  • Neon Abyss
  • New Super Lucky's Tale
  • NieR:Automata
  • Night Call
  • Night in the Woods (Coming soon)
  • No Man's Sky
  • Nowhere Prophet
  • Observation
  • Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Overcooked! 2
  • Oxenfree
  • Pathologic 2
  • Pikuniku
  • Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition
  • Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
  • ReCore: Definitive Edition
  • Remnant: From the Ashes
  • Resident Evil 7 Biohazard
  • Rise & Shine
  • River City Girls (Coming soon)
  • Sea of Thieves: Anniversary Edition
  • Sea Salt
  • Secret Neighbor
  • Shadow Warrior 2
  • Slay the Spire
  • Sniper Elite 4
  • Spiritfarer
  • State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Stranger Things 3: The Game
  • Streets of Rage 4
  • Streets of Rogue
  • Subnautica
  • Surviving Mars
  • Tacoma
  • Tell Me Why Episode 1 – 3
  • Terraria
  • The Bard's Tale IV: Directors Cut
  • The Bard's Tale Remastered and Resnarkled
  • The Bard's Tale Trilogy
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics
  • The Elder Scrolls Online
  • The Gardens Between
  • The Jackbox Party Pack 4
  • The Long Dark
  • The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game
  • The Messenger
  • The Outer Worlds
  • The Surge 2
  • The Touryst
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • The Escapists 2
  • The Talos Principle
  • The Turing Test
  • The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – Episode 1 through 5
  • The Walking Dead: Michonne – Episode 1 – 3
  • The Walking Dead: Season Two
  • theHunter: Call of the Wild
  • Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales
  • Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
  • Totally Reliable Delivery Service 
  • Touhou Luna Nights
  • Tracks – The Train Set Game
  • Trailmakers
  • Train Sim World 2020
  • Two Point Hospital
  • Undermine
  • Untitled Goose Game
  • Void Bastards
  • Wandersong
  • Warhammer Vermintide 2 (Coming soon)
  • Wasteland Remastered
  • Wasteland 2: Director's Cut
  • Wasteland 3
  • We Happy Few
  • West of Dead
  • Wizard of Legend
  • World War Z
  • Worms W.M.D
  • Xeno Crisis
  • Yakuza 0
  • Yakuza Kiwami
  • Yakuza Kiwami 2

Source: press release


Amnesia Rebirth will be releasing this October

Frictional Games has confirmed that Amnesia Rebirth will be released on October 20th for PC and PS4. A new trailer has been released for Amnesia: Rebirth which shows main protagonist Tasi wandering the Algerian desert as she looks for answers. The desert is far from empty with Tasi delving deeper and deeper into structures hidden amongst the sand. These are not the kind of places you want to holiday in either.

Thomas Grip, creative director at Frictional Games, said:

"Amnesia is not just another haunted house spook-fest, but an emotionally harrowing journey. We aim to go beyond simple jump-scares and to affect players on a deeper level. While Rebirth will contain the terrifying encounters and sights you expect from an Amnesia game, it has a lot more focus on narrative than previous entries in the series. We want the player to form a strong bond with Tasi and intimately share her tribulations. This will not be your run-of-the-mill horror experience."

Amnesia: Rebirth was announced in March. Here's the official synopsis:

Amnesia: Rebirth is a new descent into darkness in the iconic Amnesia series. Set in the desolate landscape of the Algerian desert, the game will focus on new character Tasi Trianon as she sets out on a harrowing journey through devastation and despair, personal terror and pain, while exploring the limits of human resilience. 

You can't let out a breath. The creature is only inches away. Its sole purpose – to feed off your terror. And so you crouch in the dark, trying to stop the fear rising, trying to silence what lies within you.

Retracing Tasi's journey and pulling together the fragments of a shattered past will be the only chance to survive the pitiless horror that threatens to devour you. Time is against you. Still, you must continue, step by step, knowing that if you fail you will lose everything.

The last big game from Frictional Games was SOMA, and you can read the SOMA review here.

Source: Press Release


Watch Dogs: Legion PC specs have been confirmed by Ubisoft

Ubisoft has confirmed the PC specs required to run Watch Dogs: Legion from low 1080p all the way to 4K with ray tracing. The specs also confirm the file size of Watch Dogs: Legion on PC, and it will require 45GB of storage space. As you can imagine you'll need a powerful set up to run the game at its highest settings. You can check out the full specs below.

1080p / Low Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 / AMD Ryzen 5 1400
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 or AMD Radeon R9 290X
  • VRAM: 4 GB
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage Space: 45 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

1080p / High Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 / AMD Ryzen 5 1600
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480
  • VRAM: 6 GB
  • RAM: 8 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage Space: 45 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

1440p / High Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-7700K / AMD Ryzen 5 2600
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060S or AMD Radeon RX 5700
  • VRAM: 8GB
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage Space: 45 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

4K / Ultra Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9700K / AMD Ryzen 7 3700K
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti or AMD Radeon VII
  • VRAM: 11 GB
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage Space: 45 GB (+ 20 GB HD Textures Pack)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

Ray Tracing On – 1080p / High Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-9600K / AMD Ryzen 5 3600
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
  • VRAM: 8 GB
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage Space: 45 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

Ray Tracing On – 4K / Ultra Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9700K / AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
  • VRAM: 11 GB
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage Space: 45GB (+20 GB HD Textures Pack)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

Watch Dogs: Legion will be released on October 29th for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. The game will be released for Xbox Series X/S on November 10th, the same day Microsoft's console launches. The PS5 version of Watch Dogs: Legion will be released on launch day of the PS5, which Sony is likely to confirm in its showcase on Wednesday 16th September.

Source: Ubisoft


Rocket League will go free to play next week

Earlier this year, Psyonix announced that Rocket League would be going free to play this summer. Well, as summer technically ends next week the studio has just barely squeaked in the date for when Rocket League goes to free to play, and that will be on September 23rd. To mark this occasion Psyonix will be hosting an event called Llama-Rama though what kind of event that will be remains to be seen. More details will be given soon after the transition to free to play.

From tomorrow there will be an update to cross platform progression so players can link their Epic Games accounts to other platform accounts. Tomorrow's update will also add Heatseeker in private matches, a new bot difficulty, new quick chats, a higher number of items for Trade Up, new Merc hitbox, achievement changes, the removal of solo standard, and achievement changes.

From September 23rd, Rocket League will be available on the Epic Games Store. In addition, Season One for the free to play launch will start, competitive tournaments will begin, and new game wide challenges will be added as well. There will be two starter packs to purchase as well which are listed below.

Endo Starter Pack

  • Endo

  • Gaiden Wheels (Grey)

  • Neo-Thermal Boost

  • Friction Trail

  • 500 Credits

Jäger Pack

  • Jäger 619 (Titanium White)

  • Apparatus Wheels (Titanium White)

  • Toon Goal Explosion (Titanium White)

  • 1000 Credits

Rocket League 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.

Source: Psyonix


13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim Review

I've been following the development of Vanillaware's 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim for what feels like years. The latest game from the powerhouse Japanese developers of gorgeous action games like Muramasa: The Demon Blade and Dragon's Crown, 13 Sentinels was announced all the way back in 2015. Five years on and the lengthy delays and shift away from fluid sidescrolling combat had me doubting if Vanillaware could live up to my expectations. Thankfully it's one of the most satisfying sci-fi adventure I've ever played, blasting  away my doubts at point-blank range

So what exactly is this mysterious new Vanillaware game that's been cooking for nearly an entire console generation? Well, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is a lot like other Vanillaware titles in a few ways. Much like Odin Sphere, it's a story-heavy game following multiple protagonists and has you play through each of their separate campaigns. While Odin Sphere focused on five characters, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, as the title implies, has a whopping thirteen different protagonists. It might seem like an impossible task to juggle so many different stories successfully, but the game nails it with flying colours.

While the entire game is a wide-sweeping and gargantuan time-travel giant-robot sci-fi end of the world mystery, every playable protagonist has their own sort of unique sci-fi adventure to go on that stands out on its own while also feeding into the overarching narrative really well. One character's story mirrors that of E.T., while another is an army soldier from the past stuck in the present, and yet another is a love-struck heroine trying to restore her amnesiac lover's memories.

Despite all this, the stories remain connected. Everything is focused on a small Japanese town in the 1980s, and every character finds themselves naturally weaving in and out of the local school, surrounding areas, and alternate time periods throughout their adventures. While you're running around as Natsuno Minami trying to help a mysterious robot get back to the year 2024, you might run into your amnesiac robot-piloting classmate Juro Kurabe and overhear him engaging in a conversation that you'll later see play out in his own story chapter. It adds so much immersion to the game when you happen upon other characters like this in small ways, but it helps make the bigger collisions even more impactful when seemingly unrelated character narratives start to clash.

Much like every other Vanillaware game, all of these intersecting stories are told within side-scrolling 2D environments featuring gorgeous character artwork and rich environment designs. As the story jumps between the 40s, 80s, and the 2020s, the environment artwork keeps up the pace and solidifies these varying worlds and environments incredibly well. Despite the game being rendered almost entirely with hand-drawn art, the detail in how it all comes together and the sparingly used 3D assets like giant robots and particle effects add so much depth to the world.

That presentation is matched by a killer voice cast, and a huge amount of music that mixes traditional instruments with electronic sounds and catchy melodies that are right at home in an ambitious sci-fi story game like this.

Don't get it twisted, though, because this isn't just another visual novel or an anime point-and-click adventure. Minor design elements unique to the game help to not only make it stand out from other narrative titles, but also get the dialogue-heavy experience flowing a lot smoother. Conversations take place with short chunks of dialogue appearing over characters heads, and you'll often need to press on with these interactions by either manually moving through the environment and engaging with characters to continue talking, or opening up your Thought Cloud to ponder or present key phrases and items that crop up during the game.

I'm also a sucker for flow-charts in timeline-hopping story games like this, so the included Flow Chart system in this game makes it even easier to hop around the story and dig into every last scene and interaction available.

The game isn't all story, though. Like some of the best story-driven Japanese games, the constant flow of dialogue is often broken up by action-packed gameplay. In order to progress through some character stories, you'll need to back out of the adventuring Remembrance mode and dive into battles in Destruction mode. Here, you're whisked into the final days of Japan in 2024, as your thirteen protagonists pilot giant robots to prevent an overwhelming alien force from taking over a giant spire that acts as mankind's last hope for survival.

These missions play out as an interesting fusion of real-time strategy and tower defense that is a massive far cry from the button-mashing action of the last few Vanillaware titles. As polygonal representations of aliens swarm across a wireframe top-down view of the city, you'll select your crew members and have them perform numerous attack or defence actions to destroy the threats and hold them off until the tower can activate and signal the end of the mission.

These moments are honestly a lot more fun than I figured they would be, and with three different difficulty modes, you're able to either dig into challenging tactical gameplay or breeze through them depending on your skill level or patience. My only disappointment is the way the visuals are presented in these battles. The game will flash contextless illustrations of the robots and aliens involved in these battles, but the fact that the actual fights are all rendered in simplistic glowing polygons instead of the crisp art the rest of the game presents was definitely a bummer.


Marvel's Avengers missing Pattern reward bug – is there a fix?

When playing Marvel's Avengers, you will come across bonus items and rewards alongside the loot you earn by pummeling enemies or completing specific missions.

One type of item that is highly sought after by players are Patterns. You may have some of these sitting in your inventory, wondering what they're actually used for.

For now, it's probably best to leave these Patterns where they are. Since Marvel's Avengers launched, players have reported that they aren't receiving rewards when cashing in their Patterns. More on that further.

Those who have played through most of the Avengers story campaign will know what Patterns are used for as part of a mid-game tutorial.

Patterns are similar to Destiny's Engrams. Think of them as a different kind of loot box or reward chest, though one that only contains a single cosmetic item. Patterns come in three different flavours including blue, purple, and gold, indicating rare, epic, legendary rarity levels.

You can cash in or decrypt these Patterns by visiting the Technology Lab within the Chimera Helicarrier social space. You can find this area of the ship as you head to the hangar from the War Table – it's the first room on your left. If lost, hit up on your controller's d-pad to reveal the location of the Fabrication Machine.

Marvel's Avengers – 7 tips & tricks to become Earth's mightiest hero

Cosmetic items will only change the appearance of your Avengers as well as your in-game profile. This includes costumes, some of which require hours of grinding or a hefty sum of real money to acquire. It's no wonder why players are frustrated at the current Pattern bug.

At present there is no fix or workaround for this issue. At the time of writing, we used both a rare and epic Pattern at the Fabrication Machine, neither of them being exchanged for rewards. Developers Crystal Dynamics have advised players not to use Patterns at this time at the risk of losing out on potential rewards.

According to the studio, they are still looking into the matter. It's unclear whether missing rewards will be restored retroactively but here's hoping.

For more on Marvel's Avengers, you can read our Day One review.


Marvel's Avengers – 7 tips & tricks to become Earth's mightiest hero

With Marvel's Avengers finally here, many of you will no doubt be hammering away at the super powered RPG. Whether using Mjolnir, a vibranium shield, or a pair of giant green fists, we've got some quick tips and tricks to share.

Marvel's Avengers isn't the easiest game to wrap your head around. Although suitable for casual comic book fans and core gamers alike, there's a dense web of systems – as well as some hidden nuances – you might want to take note of.

Here we'll be sharing 7 key tips to help kickstart your superhero career. In our Marvel's Avengers day one review we praised the game's technical prowess and fun combat but marked the game down for its repetitive mission design and grindy live service hooks.


1. Firstly, head into the settings menu. We found Marvel's Avengers better to play by switching the graphics mode to "performance" notably boosting the framerate for smoother gameplay. We'd also recommend switching the combat camera to "wide" as this gives you a clearer view of enemies and hazards around you. Finally, there's an option to adjust the shake sensitivity. Although we've kept this setting at its default value to add some cinematic flair to battles, other players report that reducing it to 0 helps when reading dodge/parry prompts.

2. Don't be afraid to dive straight into the online multiplayer. You can access this mode without beating the campaign, joining up to three friends or randoms in a series of missions. Simply hit the "Avengers Initiative" icon on the main menu. It's worth noting that these multiplayer missions pick up after the main story so you might want to hold off if you don't want to snag on any potential spoilers. Your progress in multiplayer will transfer into the campaign and vice versa so don't worry about losing gear or skill points.

3. Honestly, it's best to focus on one of the six Avengers first and stick with them. The more you play with one character the more familiar you'll become with the game's advanced web of combat and loot mechanics. Once you're at a decent power level then it's time to start juggling one or two more Avengers, especially if you're looking to enter the online quick match queue. Unsure which Avenger is for you? Try completing the campaign or booting up the HARM room practice missions for each one.

4. Learn to dodge. While it's true that you can get through Marvel's Avengers easiest difficulty tier by button bashing, being able to dodge, block, and counter will make you a much bigger threat to AIM. Each character has their own dodge mechanic though there is some overlap. Remember to evade attacks with a red indicator and dodge/parry those in white or yellow.
Use Tactical Awareness. You may have missed the tutorial tip informing you about this handy little feature. By pressing up on the d-pad (consoles) you can trigger a x-ray kind of visual effect. Not only will this show you where your teammates are in multiplayer missions, it will also identify points of interest as well as your next main objective.

5. Use Tactical Awareness. You may have missed the tutorial tip informing you about this handy little feature. By pressing up on the d-pad (consoles) you can trigger a x-ray kind of visual effect. Not only will this show you where your teammates are in multiplayer missions, it will also identify points of interest as well as your next main objective.

6. Like it or not, loot is the driving force behind Marvel's Avengers. Once you've wrapped up the campaign, your overarching objective will be to increase the power level of each hero and in order to do this you'll need to grind away, gathering and upgrading loot. Let's quickly touch on some loot basics to help you get started. Each piece of gear you find has a colour-coded rarity as well as a power level and assigned stats. These stats determine bonuses such as melee/ranged damage, defence, and your chance to land a critical hit. It won't matter too much at first but you should focus on raising a handful of these specific stats to match your specific playstyle per hero. As you progress through your Avengers career you'll notice that more gear will come tagged with perks as well as one of the six elements. Perks offer a range of buffs and bonuses, often requiring you to upgrade loot to unlock them. Meanwhile, elements such as cosmic and gamma will occasionally trigger effects to disrupt enemies.

7. Which missions should you play? Stroll over to the War Table and you'll be presented with a map covered in icons, each one representing a mission. Firstly, you'll see a red or green number next to them, indicating the suggested power level. Missions come in several different flavours, ranging from smaller skirmishes to larger story-driven episodes. There's no wrong answer when it comes to selecting a mission to play though you should try and prioritise those that belong to objective chains (see the objectives menu) while also hovering over them to get a better idea or the rewards on offer.


Hunt Showdown update 1.12 brings console improvements and bug fixes

Crytek have released their September 15 patch for their bayou-stalking battle royale hit, Hunt: Showdown.

Version 1.12 is now available to those who own Hunt: Showdown on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This update includes changes made to the game as part of the recent 1.4.3 patch.

Crytek have making improvements across the board with Hunt: Showdown update 1.12. For the full patch notes, see the list below.


Hunt: Showdown Update 1.12 Patch Notes

New Weapon Variants
  • Winfield M1873C Vandal

  • Winfield M1873C Vandal Deadeye

The Vandals are shortened Winfield M1873 C variants with 1 less bullet and only medium size. They can still be used for levering.

Developer Notes:
Why Vandal and not Mare's Leg? Mare's Leg is an anachronistic name for 1895, a name which came into use in 1958. So while we took inspiration from the more modern weapon, we created our universe's own version – one that would be right at home in 1895.

Aim Assist
  • Removed aim assist "snap" from all weapons

    • Snap only took effect during the short transition from "Shoulder Aim" into "Aim Down Sights"

    • Gravitational aim assist during both aim stages remains unchanged

Developer Notes:

We received a lot of productive feedback from our community and partners on what place aim assist should have in Hunt:Showdown. The notions and expectations generally vary a lot between new players and veterans but also between those who use it and those who don't. The "Snap" however was the one aspect that was deemed problematic by everybody – not only the players who put time and effort into exposing potential exploits. We decided that tweaking values would not yield the same benefits as removing it. Please continue voicing your opinions about how we can improve certain aspects of the game, we appreciate it.

New Legendary Content

"Winfield Vandal Gold Rush"

  • Winfield M1873 C Vandal

  • Description: "When the law caught up with felon-turned-prospector John Wright, he fled his Oregon hide out with nothing more than this gold-veined Winfield Vandal – made to celebrate his very first lucky strike. Wielding it, he fought his way south, lured by more glory and gold."

"Nagant Silencer Mosquito"

  • Nagant M1895 Silencer

  • Description: "Silence is golden – a truism for any Hunters whose wealth was earned through stealth – and the silent sting of this brass-inlaid Nagant 1895 Silencer strikes like a swarm of deadly insects, especially when dual wielded by Hunter duos and trios."

"Mosin Nagant Obrez Sinners Jezail"

  • Mosin-Nagant M1891 Obrez

  • Description: "The Sinners' brought far-flung customs to the bayou, and this Mosin-Nagant Obrez (not a typical rifle of the Afghan foothills) bears refined witness to that union of martial cultures."

"Lemat Mark II Last Resort"

  • Lemat Mark II

  • Description: "Adorned with a symbol of its carrier's uncanny ability to survive the most bleak landscapes and apocalyptic situations, this resilient LeMat can transform a last stand into a ghastly victory. "

New Trials (PvE)

Lawson DeltaParkour

  • Out of Their Misery – Godard Docks – Watch your steps and do not make too much noise dealing with the Hives.

  • Finish the Farce – C&A Lumber – Try not to burn down all of C&A Lumber as you clear your path through the Armoreds against the clock.

Sniper

  • Lightning Does the Work – Arden Parish – Prioritize the closer targets for maximum efficiency. The further away ones might take more than one shot to die.

  • No Vice, No Virtue – Lawson Station – Make sure to use your time-window to take out targets as they move between obstacles.

Waves

  • Flesh of My Flesh – Salters Pork – Plan your traversal wisely as you chase down targets to not attract too many Hives at once.

  • Truth Doesn't Stick to Possibilities – Windy Run – Be sure to use the Immolators to your advantage by igniting oil and Hellhounds to earn your stars.

  • Never Walk Back – Hemlock and Hide – Don't let the Armoreds overwhelm you as you force your way through and take them out one by one.

  • We Do Not Need Light, But Fire – Nicholls Prison – Use Immolators and Barrels to keep the grunts from reaching you.

Major Bug Fixes

One of the main focus of Update 1.4.3 was fixing many of the bigger reoccurring issues players have been facing.

"Ghost bug"
Description of the bug symptoms: Sometimes players would be connected to the game server but in reality their character would float above ground. Your partner would not see you move and you would be in certain cases unable to open doors, vault fences, or pick up items. Sometimes interacting with a ladder or your partner leaving/extracting would re-sync your character to a playable state.

What we have done: We have reviewed logging information you sent us and compared it with what the state of the game server. From this investigation we have concluded and implemented some tentative fixes that should prevent such situation from happening. However, it is a bug that we are not able to reproduce in-house and therefore will not be able to confirm working until the update is Live.

Game client could get stuck after vaulting.
Description of the bug symptoms: After vaulting you would not be allowed to move your character anymore.

What we have done: We have found two cases when the bug could manifest.

  • In some cases after vaulting, the game did not return the player's controls.

  • In other cases your character would vault inside an element of the map (even slightly) which would make you physically stuck.

We have looked into fixing these two occurrences by having the player controls correctly updated after the vaulting and – to fix the second case – by snapping the player to a valid position after vaulting.
The snap should be minimal and in most cases not noticeable.

Aim Down Sight weapon state could be cancelled sometimes without user input

Description of the bug symptoms: When in the aim-down-sight state the weapon would randomly switch back to hip aim mode requiring the user to re-trigger ADS action.

What we have done: In this bug and some other similar ones (I.E. Weapon was wrongfully re-selected when using a consumable and switching to another consumable) the problem was that the game client and the game server had conflicting information about which item the user selected, or in which state this item was.
We implemented a tolerance for item transition between the client and the server which should resolve this issue.

For the full list of fixes please read our Bug Fixes section.

General Updates
Audio
  • Bleeding and Burning Stop interaction now plays the recover voice sfx.

GunplayChoke Bombs

  • Occupies one tool slot instead of a consumables slot now.

  • Comes in packs of two.

HunterSerpent

  • Can now be used to start banishing.

  • Works identically to picking up bounty.

WorldGolden Cash Register

  • Players now have a small chance of finding a Golden Cash Register instead of a regular Cash Register, which will grant you 50 Blood Bonds instead of giving you Hunt Dollars.

Other

  • Smaller tweaks and updates made to various parts of Stillwater Bayou and Lawson Delta maps to improve navigation and fix clipping issues.

Store

New Weapons

  • Added the Winfield Vandals for 35 Hunt Dollars.

  • Added the Winfield Vandal Deadeye for 45 Hunt Dollars.

Spectator Mode

  • Enabled the option to spectate other teams in Bounty Hunt missions, after Player's own team had been completely wiped.

New Legendary Weapons

  • Added Winfield Vandal "Gold Rush" for 500 Blood Bonds.

  • Added Mosin-Nagant M1891 Obrez "Sinners Jezail" for 600 Blood Bonds.

  • Added Nagant M1895 "Mosquito" for 400 Blood Bonds.

Exclusive Legendary Rewards:

  • Added LeMat Mark II "Last Resort" for 90 Stars.

UI
  • Re-ordered the trials in the trial selection screen to better fit their relative positions on the map and in the selector.

Miscellaneous
  • Slightly reordered the unlock order of the Nagant M1895 Family.

  • Slightly reordered the unlock order of the Springfield 1866 Family.

  • Reduced the cost to unlock some low rank weapons.

Bug Fixes

General

  • Fixed an issue where the game client got stuck after vaulting.

  • Fixed an issue where after the start of a mission player got stuck on server side, but was still able to move and interact with items on client side. (Aka "Ghost Bug")

  • Fixed an issue where killing a burning player made him/her not lootable.

  • Fixed a bug where player completely desynced from the game until his/her partner(s) left.

  • Fixed an issue that caused the Aim Down Sight weapon state to be cancelled sometimes without user input.

  • Fixed an issue where decoys would not cause bells to ring.

  • Fixed more issues where dead hunters would not start burning on uneven terrain or stairs.

  • Fixed an issue where the Hornskin trait would not give a consistent 25% damage reduction from other players' melee attacks.

  • Fixed an issue where the bullets in the chamber of a Winfield C was misaligned and clipped through the weapon.

  • Fixed an issue where hunters could survive with all health chunks scorched.

  • Fixed an issue where hunters caught on fire too easily after they had recovered from fire damage already.

  • Fixed an issue where third person animations for the Bornheim Match were incorrect.

  • Fixed an issue where reloading occasionally lead to an infinite reload cycle.

Audio

  • Tweaked the levering sound of the Winfield animations to be better in sync with its visuals.

  • Fixed an issue where player's could hear team pings when on Death Screen.

  • Fixed an issue where incorrect audio played while healing with a med-kit and bleeding.

AI

  • Fixed an issue where some enemies could cause barrels to prematurely explode.

  • Fixed an issue where dying Horses took no damage from sticky bombs.

Trials

  • Fixed an issue where not enough Hellhounds were available at some point to finish challenges in hard difficulty.

  • Fixed an issue where not enough Armoreds were available at some point to finish challenges in hard difficulty.

UI

  • Fixed an issue where player's weapon was wrongfully re-selected when using a consumable and switching to another consumable.

  • Fixed an issue where the range of the Quad Derringer was shown as 68 meters where it always should have been 60 meters.

  • Fixed an issue where the Item wheel shows wrong info on challenge leave.

  • Fixed an issue where the sledgehammer was wrongly displayed in the store.

  • Fixed an issue where tools or consumables selection jumps in arsenal list when buying and equipping an item.

  • Added a missing shortcut in the Store to get back to the first sub tab and back to lobby.

  • Fixed an issue where the Heavy Attacks for weapons with a Bayonet displayed an outdated (and too low) number for the damage.

WORLD

  • Fixed an issue where Concertina Trip Mines would not break Hive barrels.

  • Fixed an issue where Concertina wires would not block most bullets, and instead would allow all bullets to penetrate.

  • Fixed an issue where shooting the bell in Lawson Delta would not make a sound.

  • Fixed an issue where destroyed lanterns above cages would respawn when you re-enter the area.

  • Fixed an issue where animals (such as the dying horse and ravens) would not be damaged by explosions.

  • Fixed an issue where shooting the lantern above the caged dogs will not kill all of them immediately

Known Issues
  • 'Hide statistics' can change to a broken status after an update.

  • Choke bomb may appear unusual when looked at through fog.

  • Slower texture streaming than in previous updates.

  • Rasterized lighting effect after other teams extracted from the map.

  • Hit registration of server and client might differ slightly.

  • Game may crash without a crash reporter tool.

  • Poison effect from a hive or spider can be stuck on player.

  • Players are sometimes experiencing high ping / high latency (continuous increase, ping spikes).

  • Clients might stutter during gameplay

  • Player got too many chokebombs available

  • HUD elements for swapping weapons or looting items are increasing if players recieves bleeding while looking at them.

  • Leaderboard might take very long to update when switching from 'World' to 'Friends'.

  • Player is able to lose control over character tabbing out and in again.

  • Stall may happen when starting banishment.

  • Meatheads with anchors don't spawn outside of the tutorial.

  • Sometimes not all UI elements can stream in when loading into a match.

  • Bornheim extended sometimes doesn't reload fully (one bullet doesn't get reloaded).

  • AI is able to attack players during "waiting for players" popup.

  • The Spider may attack a player more than three times in frenzy if no other player is in the arena.

  • Player can keep and win soul survivor even though he died in Quickplay (trading kills with wellspring carrier).

  • Used up tools get replaced when the player picks up a new tool.

  • Butcher can sometimes be observed walking sideways or backwards.

  • Player melees when right and left clicking during the revolver spin animation.

  • Player can sometimes still get revived if teammate dies during revive process.

  • Players sometimes experience rubberbanding during gameplay.

  • Having toggle for aim and sprint in gunslinger scheme delays the start of sprinting.

  • Using dark sight results in shadows quality worsen a lot.

  • Sometimes a hand (or both) cannot stream in and be invisible.

  • Second equipped dual wield weapon cannot be cleaned.

  • Player unable to loot weapons, 'Ammo Full' displayed on pressing F.

  • Player can get stuck while picking up clue and climbing ladder at the same time.

  • Sometimes when canceling a reload the player melees instead of shooting (while RMB is held down).

  • Weapon parts might not get rendered.

Source: Reddit


Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is fastest selling game in the series

Activision Blizzard have announced that Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is the fastest selling game in the THPS series.

The recently released remake, which crams in both Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and its sequel, has already heelflipped its way past the one million copies milestone.

Once again Activision have been rewarded for dipping into their back catalogue and reanimating older games. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy was a huge success for the publisher, selling 2.5 million copies in three months, more than tripling that just seven months later.

Following 2015's much maligned Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (which scored a dismal 3/10 in Aran's review) there was an understandable air of scepticism surrounds the 1 + 2 remakes. However, developer Vicarious Visions have pulled it out of the bag, the game sitting on a triumphant OpenCritic average of 90 – making it one of the best rated video game launches of 2020.

Thomas was overjoyed to revisit both games in his review of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2, awarding it a 10/10. Here's what he had to say:

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+ 2 is a labour of love and an ode to the series' glory days. Every inch of the game has been perfectly restored and updated for modern consoles and it's an absolute delight to play from start to finish. This is a must-buy for skateboarders, gamers and everyone else in between.

For years skateboarding fans have been clamouring for new video games in the popular sporting sub-genre. After a disappointing dry patch, it seems that multiple studios are now closing in with the intention of bringing skateboarding back into the mainstream.

Those searching for a more serious skateboarding experience may want to try their hand at Session which Thomas previewed last year. In a similar vein, we also have this year's Skater XL from Easy Day Studios. Once again, Thomas was waiting to pounce on this new contender, coming away mostly impressed with its trick system yet noting a lack of content.

Of course, there's Skate 4 too. It will likely be a long, long time before we see the sequel in action but at least EA have finally confirmed its existence!

Source: Twitter


BPM: Bullets Per Minute Review

Gaming theorists and high-level players aren't always closely aligned, but when it comes to the concept of 'flow' they are speaking from the same page. Whilst not always easy to define, and often incredibly subjective, the idea of moments in gaming where everything just fits together to produce an enjoyable and successful performance is very much the holy grail of the medium.

BPM: Bullets Per Minute takes the ideas of flow and the often rhythmic nature of gaming and combines them into a fascinating take on the FPS – one where every shot, reload and dodge needs to match the beat of the thumping electronic metal soundtrack.

BPM has a distinctive look and makes effective use of some eye-catching post-processing effects. The result is a deliberately over-saturated assault on the retina that draws you into the hectic adrenaline rush of gunplay and fits brilliantly with the soundtrack. This saturation is configurable in the settings and turning it off results in an uncannily understated monochrome that gives everything a really different feel – the developer's coining #HaveSomeGray on social media for a reason. Other than that, everything is clear and stark, with the obvious focus being on speed rather than detail. Later levels offer up alternative colour palettes, but I was left seeing red for the entirety of my time with the game.

The audio in BPM is perhaps more important than the graphics given the rhythmic gameplay. Levels are played out to the screeching guitar of some really catchy tunes, but there is a relative lack of variety in the soundtrack as it tries to keep the game's tempo up. That being said, the marriage of game and music is really skilfully handled and the tunes fit the gunplay incredibly well. Sound effects are meaty, with an assortment of guns blasting at appropriately high decibels.

The core gameplay loop of BPM sees you working through procedurally generated levels, gathering coins and keys to unlock abilities before facing a boss and moving forwards. While individual progress is lost upon death, stores open up more options as you progress through a loyalty system, and banks allow you to save coins for a future run. This is standard roguelite stuff, and that is usually fine, but here meant that there was a major dependence on RNG. Power-ups like regenerating health or infinite ammo are so useful that they can make an overpowering difference to your run, whilst fighting through to the boss only to discover that they are a tiny version that is extremely difficult to aim at can wreck your attempt all too easily.

You begin with only one choice of character and their starting weapon – an 8-shot pistol – with other characters unlocked as you finish each set of levels. The second is equipped with a revolver that's more powerful but requires individual reloads for each bullet. With reloading and shooting both being linked to matching the beat, there is a real risk and reward approach to the different weapons. Regardless of your character choice, there are sometimes blacksmith rooms that offer up different guns in exchange for coins. My most successful run came with the revolver and an infinite ammo power-up that meant I could rip through enemies with little downside.

So far, so good, as everything works technically and conceptually with BPM but there is one huge caveat to bear in mind: This game is hard. I don't just mean hard as in challenging and rewarding, but hard on a level that I have rarely encountered in many years of gaming. I don't consider myself an elite gamer or anything like that, but I struggled with BPM to the point of frustration. Part of this may be down to not gelling with the rhythmic gameplay but even with that side of the game turned off (the options allow you to play the game as a straight FPS roguelite) I never got beyond the third stage. This meant that I didn't really experience much of what the game has to offer, and was restricted to the searing red saturation and first two tunes in the soundtrack until I lost count of the number of runs.

Part of the difficulty comes in part from needing to adjust to the rhythm, as it is easy to find yourself missing the beat and so not being able to shoot or being stuck mid-reload due to not nailing the timing, but the real issue is the ridiculous damage levels of enemies. The first level features a mixture of bats, spiders, worms, and more humanoid enemies. The standard enemies take 25 of your 100 hit points off with each hit, so it is easy to have a run ruined before you even get started. Oddly some more powerful looking enemies seemed to do less damage, so I'm not sure if something went wrong there.

I'm not calling for the game to be a walkover, but a more lenient opening would enable players to get the feel of things and work through the levels in a more satisfying manner. As things stand, there is just too much of a reliance on RNG to even put together a mediocre run, let alone make substantial progress.


Fall Guys 1.07 'Big Yeetus and Anti-Cheetus' update now live – here's the patch notes!

Fall Guys update 1.07 is out… now! The mid-season update has been dubbed 'Big Yeetus and Anti-Cheetus', bringing some level randomisation with the introduction of the Big Yeetus hammer, and incorporating Epic's Easy Anti-Cheat to help stamp out the plague of cheaters in the game, but that's not all.

Weighing in at 863MB, the update is out now on PlayStation 4. Big Yeetus is not the only swinging hammer to mix things up, but many of the existing levels are being remixed to throw in addition al variety before Season 2 arrives in October.

Fall Guys: BIG YEETUS & ANTI-CHEATUS patch notes:

  • [PC] Our new anti-cheating system for PC is now in!
  • [PC] Added ability to bind game actions to mouse buttons
  • [PS4] Improved stability when creating parties on PS4
  • Objects in certain rounds will now have dynamic variations from one playthrough to the next, including new objects entirely. We plan to expand this system in the future to more rounds.
  • [B I G Y E E T U S]
  • Improved stability when progressing from one round to another, there should be less disconnections in the qualification screen and round loading now.
  • Bug fixes in levels, spectator mode and improved resilience when network errors occur.
  • Fall Ball timer down to 120 seconds from 150
  • Lowered Min Player Counts for some levels to increase round variety

There could be the addition of new obstacles, randomised rotations, and more tumbling fruits like watermelons. Here's how Mediatonic describe it:

"Reliable door patterns on Gate Crash may end up all kinds of wavey. Turntables could turn the tide in an unpredictable take on Fall Ball. And just when you thought you'd got a handle on the topsy-turvy See-Saw? We'll just say that your approach may need to be tweaked! Remember the turnstiles you had to jostle and bump your way through in Hit Parade. Well, things may take a turn for the precarious with a nest chock-full of mini Whirlygig spinning clubs. You'll be playing with some real Frankenstein monster mash-ups and we can't wait to hear what players think!"

Sounds like it's going to throw a real hammer among the beans, as the saying goes.

Source: Fall Guys, PS Blog


Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 lets you hit targets from almost a mile away

CI Games have released off an in-engine teaser for Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2, showing off the ability to take on extreme long-range sniping with precise shooting that's almost 1 mile away from your target. The game is out this winter for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

This is one of the key gameplay changes coming to Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2, giving the potential for a more realistic of sniping in the modern day. The first game leant heavily on stealth with open-world sandboxes described as "sniper's paradises", and the sequel pushes that further with much larger maps to allow you to take on targets from really, really far away. The campaign missions are all hand-crafted to ensure that the long-distance sniping works well, but you'll still have to employ stealth and subterfuge in order to reach the ideal sniping spot.

The game was announced back in June, revealing the new modern day Middle Eastern setting, dropping Reaper into the world to take on a variety of missions.

Source: press release


Here Be Dragons Review

Through much of human history, our world was imagined with all manner of mythical creatures, making every trek to foreign lands, every time you step in a boat fraught with danger. Here Be Dragons steps back to those times, making those imagined monsters real. You play as a fleet of captains sailing the Atlantic Ocean ahead of Christopher Columbus, clearing the path to The New World from whales, krakens and even Neptune, the God of the Seas.

You journey across a living map made to look like ancient scrolls from the time, tackling these monsters in turn-based battles. You need both luck and strategy to progress through the game. A set of dice is rolled for both you and your enemy to share, with one die per ship in play. The first to claim their dice is the player that used the lowest cumulative total from their previous turn, which in game is called 'initiative'.

Turns begin with the Salvo, which can be best described as a melee attack, before moving on to special attacks. This is where you strategically use the die to perform actions on a ship-by-ship basis. Each ship will have two options for actions; either an attack or healing. Some will require two dice to take effect, and thus two turns, while others will only need one, allowing them to be more instantaneous. Furthermore, most actions require specific rolls, either a range such as 4-6, or even limited to one specific number. The attack format is fairly intricate, and took me a few battles to understand the mechanics, but once I did, the game became much less frustrating and far more enjoyable.

As the game progressed, more attacks had special effects such as causing the enemy to bleed, be poisoned, causing additional damage in subsequent turns, or be pinned, which blocked their attack for a turn. If you can't use a die or chose not to, you can sacrifice them and take one damage point to all of your ships for each one you give up.

You can also find and pick up 'bottles of grog', two per turn and one per enemy killed, which can be used to pay for extras. These included affecting the die, giving you the ability to re-roll or increasing and decreasing the value of a die, or affecting the gameplay. This could include healing, or towards the end of the game, the ability a sunken ship, which made the game remarkably easier – it's much more difficult to win the battle with only one ship, after all.

As if this wasn't detailed enough, certain battles have landscape affects. Rolling Fog or a Sea of Acid can inflict damage or potentially render your attacks useless. All of these elements combined created a challenging and genuinely enjoyable game to play.

As you clear the path for Christopher Columbus, Here Be Dragons tries to take on a satirical tone, but widely misses the mark. In fact, I couldn't find any real satire through the game, which instead uses basic caricatures that rely on the same singular joke for each captain. Columbus' depiction was especially disappointing, making him nothing more than a complete moron, as if he were a child exploring in a park and not traversing dangerous oceans. The rest of the playable captains followed suit, each having a single character trait they follow so closely that the spoken text end up being difficult to read.

The plot is lost in this this tight characterisation and is barely apparent in between the awful jokes. I didn't even realise that I'd reached the final battle until the credits started to roll. While this isn't exactly the end of the world, it left a feeling of incompletion to the ending of the game and was more disappointing than aggravating.

The monsters are one of my favourite elements of this game, each well thought out and beautifully depicted (in stark contrast to the captains). Each has their own special abilities that works with the mythical aspects of their being. Mermaids can seduce you, blocking attacks until you pay to remove it, while a Hydra will regrow its head after being killed. While nothing with mythological origins can be truly realistic, they were at least true to the legends surrounding them.

That is nothing on the artwork of the rest of the game, though. Clearly inspired by cartography, the sepia toned world inspires exploration and travel. The splashes of colour are far and few between, using what looks like black ink to show the world you inhabit, as if you've fallen directly into the map. It's gorgeous.


Spellbreak update adds new Duos Mode

If you've been dying to drop into a game of Spellbreak with your sorcerer sidekick then you're in luck – developer Proletariat Inc have introduced a new duos mode to their arcane spin on the battle royale genre.

Previously spell slingers could either queue in squads of three or alone via the recently added solos mode. As of now you'll have the option to pair up with another player, though Spellbreak matches are still capped at a max lobby count of 42.

Nic reviewed Spellbreak earlier this week and while he was positive about its magical spin on a saturated genre, he wasn't particularly keen on the overly chaotic climax of matches though sees plenty of room for the game to become a battle royale mainstay:

Spellbreak holds vast potential and is full of depths to explore, but it's not quite there yet, despite the 1.0 release. Sure, it's fun enough to play if you can sit down with two of your friends and bash out a couple hours' madness, but I forgot what the game was called once I stopped playing. With next to no lore within the game, and with every win or loss feeling the same, there's just not quite enough to make a lasting impression.

Proletariat Inc have promised "big things" for Spellbreak in the near future. With PAX having been cancelled this year due to COVID-19, the studio have uploaded their PAX Online panel which gives fans and fellow devs a look behind the curtain while also teasing what could be coming to Spellbreak next.

Alongside duos mode, Spellbreak will be getting new outfits with which to spice up your avatar's in-game appearance. As is common in a lot of battle royale games, we will see Spellbreak's map gradually morph during future updates – there will also be a 9 versus 9 Clash team battle mode.


Ary and the Secret of Seasons Review

At first glance you'd be forgiven for thinking that Ary and the Secret of Seasons is a tie-in for a new animated movie on Netflix. You'd be mistaken. This in fact a standalone title that takes clear influences from third person adventures like Zelda and wraps everything up in a family friendly package. There are few open world or adventure titles aimed at younger players so I was really interested to see whether Ary could be a gateway game. As things turned out, the answer was less clear-cut than I expected.

The story of Ary and the Secret of Seasons is original, but not particularly new (if that doesn't sound like a contradiction). There are clear story influences from classic tales like Mulan as well as gaming stories like the aforementioned Zelda series. Ary is the younger daughter of the Guardian of Winter, one of the four elemental sages who protect the world. We join her just after her elder brother, Flynn, has gone missing (presumed dead), leaving her father paralysed by grief. When Ary finds Flynn's sword after fighting off some troublesome hyenas, she sets out to take her father's place as the season Guardian in hopes of finding her brother and putting the world to rights. It's a fairly fundamental coming-of-age tale, but the Mulan spin is novel enough to keep your interest.

While Ary's father mourns, the world order has been overturned by mysterious red crystals that mess with the seasons. Ary's homeland of Yule is no longer the wintry wonderland it should be and the other three lands are similarly mixed up. It is clear here how closely the idea of the seasons informs the whole design of the game from powers to level design, and this notion works well, but the implementation can be lacking. The most glaring example of this was children still happily playing in a lake that has been frozen over, eerily continuing their summer behaviour even when winter is restored and their bodies trapped. This kind of oversight is characteristic of a game that lacks polish.

In traditional Zelda fashion, you travel the overworld to seek out dungeons/temples and apply newly obtained abilities to overcome their obstacles and unlock further parts of the game. These abilities take the form of items that enable you to doublejump and climb, as well as season orbs that give you mastery of a season's magic. This sounds more exciting than it is in practice, as the magic is pretty simplistic. Winter freezes, Summer melts, Spring encourages growth, and Autumn brings watery downpours. There are a few moments when Ary offers up interesting puzzles that require a clever use of these, but on the whole things are rather one-dimensional.

Alongside her seasonal powers, Ary is pretty nifty with a melee weapon too. While various alternatives are available they all work identically and there is little need to spend hard-earned coins on the ones for sale in the shop. This is especially the case as money is in short supply and it is entirely possible to run out with many things left to buy. I would certainly recommend that you save your funds for upgrading Ary's combat abilities rather than spending on any aesthetic options. The developers are intending to patch in coin drops for fighting enemies so hopefully this aspect will be more balanced.

I did like the distinct look of each area and the dungeons are all clear and easy to navigate, but there was a definite lack of things to do in each overland section, with only a few fights and chests spread across minutes of aimless walking. Fortunately you unlock a fast travel ability mid way through the game which alleviates this somewhat.

While the game's visual style feels more functional than outright impressive, but that doesn't stop the PS4 version from stuttering and having some of the worst screen-tearing I've seen in a long while. Graphical glitches were common place with Ary's hair continually switching between her girlish locks and her newly shorn style out of context, and there were frequent examples of the camera getting stuck in the scenery. These technical aspects are unfortunate as the overall design is quite pleasant, but the glitches were too frequent and glaring to overlook.

Worse were the issues that affected game progression. In addition to NPCs getting stuck repeating a line of dialogue over and over until I restarted the game, I encountered one quest that simply didn't resolve and meant I couldn't access a later part of the story. Thankfully I could go back through and replay to reach the end of the game (ensuring I had multiple save files), so it's not completely broken, but I could never trust its stability. It is difficult to recommend Ary until these are patched and they really soured my experience.


Brawl Stars Season 3 Brawl Pass – all tiers & rewards

In case you missed it, Brawl Stars has opened the gates to Starr Park in its latest season 3 update. Headlining this latest season is a new gift shop themed environment, as well as skins, and Colette who joins the current cast of Brawlers.

Brawl Stars season 3 also comes with its own fresh Brawl Pass, loaded with rewards spread across 100 tiers. For those completely new to the Brawl Pass, it works similarly to the kind of battle pass featured in games like Fortnite and PUBG. Think of it as an extra XP bar that fills as you play – each time it does, you'll reach a new tier.

Each tier comes tagged with its own reward, such as Gems, Boxes, and Power Points. However, those Brawl Stars fans who pay for the premium Brawl Pass will also get bigger bonus prizes. For the full list of season 3 check the table below. This data comes from the Brawl Stars Fandom Wiki.

Tier No. of Tokens
to unlock
Reward (Free) Reward (Brawl Pass)
0 0 Big Box Poco Starr
1 75 Brawl Box
2 75 10 Gems Mega Box
3 100 Big Box
4 150 Brawl Box 100 Coins
5 200 Big Box
6 300 50 Coins Big Box
7 400 Big Box
8 400 Brawl Box 100 Coins
9 400 Big Box
10 400 Mega Box Pin Pack
11 400 Big Box
12 400 Brawl Box 50 Power Points
13 400 Big Box
14 400 10 Gems Big Box
15 400 Big Box
16 400 Brawl Box 100 Coins
17 400 Big Box
18 400 50 Coins Mega Box
19 400 Big Box
20 400 Mega Box 100 Coins
21 500 Brawl Box
22 500 20 Gems Big Box
23 500 Big Box
24 500 Brawl Box 100 Power Points
25 500 Big Box
26 500 50 Power Points Big Box
27 500 Big Box
28 500 Brawl Box 200 Coins
29 500 Big Box
30 500 Mega Box Colette
31 500 Big Box Colette Pin (Angry)
32 500 100 Coins Big Box
33 500 Brawl Box Colette Pin (Sad)
34 500 50 Power Points Mega Box
35 500 Big Box
36 500 10 Gems Big Box
37 500 Big Box Colette Pin (Happy)
38 500 Brawl Box 100 Power Points
39 500 Big Box
40 500 Mega Box 200 Coins
41 600 Brawl Box Colette Pin (Thanks)
42 600 75 Power Points Big Box
43 600 Brawl Box
44 600 10 Gems Big Box
45 600 Mega Box Colette Pin (GG)
46 600 Brawl Box 200 Power Points
47 600 Big Box
48 600 200 Coins Mega Box
49 600 Big Box Colette Pin (Phew)
50 600 100 Power Points Big Box
51 600 Mega Box
52 600 10 Gems Big Box
53 600 Big Box Trixie Colette Pin (Neutral)
54 600 Brawl Box 200 Coins
55 600 Mega Box
56 600 200 Coins Big Box
57 600 Big Box Trixie Colette Pin (Angry)
58 600 Brawl Box 200 Power Points
59 600 Big Box Trixie Colette Pin (Sad)
60 600 Mega Box Big Box
61 600 Big Box Trixie Colette Pin (Happy)
62 600 20 Gems Mega Box
63 600 Brawl Box Trixie Colette Pin (Thanks)
64 600 100 Power Points Big Box
65 600 Mega Box Trixie Colette Pin (GG)
66 600 Big Box 300 Coins
67 600 500 Coins Trixie Colette Pin (Phew)
68 600 Mega Box 500 Power Points
69 600 500 Power Points Trixie Colette Pin (Special)
70 600 Pin Pack Trixie Colette
Total 34500 16 Brawl Boxes
25 Big Boxes
10 Mega Boxes
1100 Coins
875 Power Points
Pin pack
90 Gems
13 Big Boxes
5 Mega Boxes
1300 Coins
1150 Power Points
Pin Pack
6 Colette Pins
8 Trixie Colette Pins
Colette
Trixie Colette Skin
Poco Starr Skin

Compared to the game's first Brawl Pass, season 3 definitely has more rewards on offer though you'll need to earn more Brawl Pass tokens to hit the max tier of 100.

How do you think the rewards stack up compared to previous seasons? Do you think you'll be on track to get the items you want from Starr Park?


Halo 3: ODST is out on PC and Game Pass next week

Halo 3: ODST will be out next week on 22nd September for PC, checking off the penultimate game in the Halo: The Master Chief Collection's long journey from console to computer.

The game will also, of course, be a part of Xbox Game Pass, which is bringing full xCloud streaming to Android smartphones from tomorrow on 15th September. So you'll be able to play Halo 3: ODST and (almost all of) the rest of Halo: The Master Chief Collection across Xbox One consoles, PC and mobile.

ODST was a curious spin-off after the conclusion of the original Halo trilogy by Bungie, stepping away from the character of Master Chief and putting you in the shoes of an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, an ODST. Nowhere near as heavily armoured as John-117, you'd have to adjust your tactics in order to overcome the Covenant forces.

The game took place in an open world with missions coming as flashbacks as you pieced together just what happened to you and your squad. It was somewhat divisive, with some loving the new structure, but others not being so hot on the change of pace and storytelling.

Our own Halo 3: ODST review was a little down on Bungie's effort:

ODST is very much still Halo, but overall it's only a passable experience. Whilst I had a lot of fun in the missions during the campaign, the open world parts completely spoil the pacing. At the end of an epic tank battle or sniper dual the game should continue to build and flow from it. Instead you're slammed back into the open world, with very little going on. The story feels lazy, and the ending is – frankly – bizare given the rest of the Halo mythos. However the individual missions, along with Firefight, saved me from being completely underwhelmed and boost it up enough that I can call it "OK".

What was more universally praised, though, was the ODST Firefight horde mode. This has been revived for The Master Chief Collection for the first time, and comes with online matchmaking, dedicated servers and even som enew custom game modes. 10 legacy maps are included to battle waves of Covenant on.

Even with Halo 4 the final piece of the MCC puzzle on PC and 343 Industries and their partners having full steam ahead on the delayed Halo: Infinite, this isn't the end for MCC on PC and console. The small team working on MCC have stated that the following features are still planned for the game over the next few months before the end of the year:

  • Crossplay
  • Input Based MM
  • Sever Region Selection
  • Custom Game Browser
  • Per Game Graphics Options
  • Per Game Audio Options
  • M&K Support for Xbox
  • PC Fileshare
  • Double Keybinds for all games
  • Viewmodel adjustments for all games
  • In game FPS Cap/Adjustments
  • Steam Account Linking

Crossplay is by far the most exciting element here, letting people team up for co-op or competitive, regardless of their platform. It'll be great for catching up on the series before Infinite finally releases in 2021.

Source: Xbox


This is the story of Fall Guys: Cheater Island – 'Big Yeetus and Anti-Cheetus' update coming soon

After a week away, during which time they were replaced by BeanBot, the social media for Fall Guys is now manned once more by a living, breathing human being, and they come bearing tales of Mediatonic's fight with cheating in Fall Guys.

An update called 'Big Yeetus and Anti-Cheetus' is on the way, with the game set to incorporate a randomised big spinny hammer and Epic Games' Easy Anti-Cheat sometime soon. Before then, Mediatonic shared the long journey of how they got here and the tentative measures that they initially took to combat cheating in their game.

Here's the full story, ripped from Twitter and reformatted a bit:

I've got lots of spicy content for you this week – The Dev team have been super busy on the new update. For now… BUCKLE UP. Let me tell you a wild story. It's called: 'The RISE and FALL of Cheater Island'. (Tagging @Netflix incase they want to make a film or series out of it)

At launch, we had some of our own cheat detection built into the game. We weren't banning anyone at this point, just gathering data carefully. We wanted to be 100% sure that our cheat detection would only catch people who were legitimately cheating. No false flags!

After we confirmed that it was working – We secretly launched Fall Guys Cheater Island™. It was a magical place where cheaters could happily compete against themselves for the Cheater's Crown – Literally just a normal crown but tainted with a hollow feeling of guilt and regret.

Remember, at this point, we had data on who was cheating, but we weren't acting on it. Fall Guys Cheater Island™ had a population of 0. So, very carefully, over time, we started to lower the threshold on the cheat detection. If you passed the threshold… you were tagged as a cheater.

It's worth pointing out at this stage – Cheaters are very smart. If they know they've been tagged as a cheater, they'll work out what caused them to be tagged and they'll tell other cheaters. Our threshold was originally really tolerant
Cheaters would get caught… but not be insta-banished. We hoped that they might realise cheating kills the fun. Most continued 😫

We want people to have fun, but not at the expense of others. So we kept lowering the threshold. If you were tagged as a cheater you'd be able to finish the game you were in then, the next time you tried to matchmake, you would ONLY be able to matchmake with other Cheaters (without realising).

You were there…
You'd made it…
Queuing for Cheater Island™

Now, if you can imagine:

  • You need 40+ players to actually populate a game.
  • Cheater Island isn't a location in the real world…
  • Cheater Island had it's own set of global servers
  • You'd need enough cheaters in your region in order to start a Cheater Island game
  • If there weren't enough cheaters… you'd all just be falling forever…

There were a few genuine bugs that would cause similar things to happen, but mostly, when people said they were "falling forever" they were cheaters and we didn't want to give them extra info.

I'm sure you've noticed we try to be super open and upfront with you in all of our communications. It's been very difficult to talk about cheaters though, because everything we say gives the cheaters more ammo. They were using any info to improve their cheating.

For a long time, there weren't enough cheaters to actually start these matches up. As we lowered the threshold on our detection, more and more cheaters were getting caught, but still… no Cheater Island matches. Cheaters were all falling forever and saying the game was broken…

At this point cheaters started to realise that they could team up with friends who weren't cheaters and they could matchmake with them… They were escaping Cheater Island. 👀

🚨 Oh no 🚨

We raced to patch this out before they all realised.

Cheaters also realised that they could use family-sharing to share their game to another account and then use the other account to bypass Cheater Island. We disabled Family Sharing to fix this problem. Dealing with cheaters is difficult… they're honestly very crafty.

During all of this time we kept increasing the thresholds on our cheat detection. We were 100% confident that anyone being flagged as a cheater was DEFINITELY cheating. This was super important to us. We didn't want to falsely ban anyone.

Last week something exciting happened! There were finally enough cheaters to actually matchmake and create Cheater Island matches!

Here's a new problem though: people were uploading videos that we think are Cheater Island… Somebody actually uploaded this video to Reddit with the title: "Ever played a round of Fall Mountain where all the players are cheating?" The problem is… this LOOKS like Cheater Island but we can't be 100% sure.

The person recording isn't cheating. Either they didn't cheat, just for the video, or it's a genuine server and a legit player. Either way, it makes the game look bad.

We DO know that Cheater Island matches were happening, we just DON'T know if that's what those videos show. For that reason, we have closed down Cheater Island. Instead, cheaters are now unable to login.

We are continuously improving the threshold on our cheat detection too. Our cheat detection system was good, but we hadn't expected so many players and we had no idea the lengths that some players would go to cheat.

We tried to create a system around "Honesty", but as soon as we realised we were in an arms race we called up the experts at Epic.

Now… Our next update is called: BIG YEETUS AND ANTI-CHEATUS

I'll tell you more about the Yeetus part later, but the Anti-Cheatus part… We're actually adding Epic's Anti-Cheat which will be a huge step forward as we continue to improve things!

I realise this has been an insanely long thread, but that's the story of Cheater Island and the reasoning behind why we've been so cryptic and vague!

Damn those pesky cheaters!

Source: Fall Guys


The new PlayStation advert will take you to the edge, and then sail right off it

Sony are famous for make adverts for consoles without actually showing consoles, or indeed gameplay, and the latest advert for PlayStation follows that trend. It starts with a man in a small fishing boat but he is quickly joined by all sorts of fantastical sea craft and spaceships, all of which sail off the edge of the world and in to space.

I've had a look and can't really see any nods to any specific games, there are Viking sail boats which could be a hat tip to Assassin's Creed Valhalla, and a Chinook which could be Call of Duty I guess, but there doesn't appear to be anything specific. There are a few quick shots of other humans but again they don't appear to be from any specific game.

One thing the advert does have is amazing sound, very few things set off my ASMR at full power but the audio in the advert did, it's very tingly!

Play Has No Limits is Sony's new tag line, replacing For The Players, but there's no mention of the PlayStation 5 console which was tagged on at the end of the last Play Has No Limits advert.

Sony has announced that a PlayStation 5 Showcase will be taking place on Wednesday September 16th, with the timings being 1pm PDT/9pm BST/10pm CEST. The PlayStation 5 Showcase will last for approximately 40 minutes and will include updates on the games and input from some of the development partners. We are also expecting the showcase to finalise the release date and price of the PlayStation 5, following the confirmation of release and prices from Microsoft for the Xbox Series X/S.

Last week GAME had teased that PS5 announcements were to take place and pre-orders were to open but that information was incorrect. Residents in the United States can begin a new quest to secure a PlayStation 5 by registering for a pre-order direct from Sony. You will need to give them your PSN ID to sign up, but this does not mean you're guaranteed a console.

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

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

Source: YouTube

UPDATE: There's a very subtle triangle, circle, cross, square in the background when the ships break through. Some people are also suggesting one of the airships is from Final Fantasy but it could equally by Jak and Daxter or just a generic airship design.


Watch the Star Wars: Squadrons "Hunted" CGI short here!

EA's Star Wars: Squadrons now has a new tie in short film created in collaboration by EA Motive Studios, Lucasfilm, and Industrial Light and Magic. It introduces one of the pilots you will find in the game and, because the world is hell, also uses some of the cosmetic DLC that you get for free if you pre-order the game.

Here's the official blurb:

The Empire's retreat after a surprise attack marks yet another stumble in the wake of the second Death Star's destruction. But for one member of Titan Squadron, the battle is far from over. Squadron Leader Varko Grey finds himself as the last TIE pilot on the battlefield, hunted relentlessly by a determined New Republic X-wing in this standalone Star Wars: Squadrons story.

A fresh slice of Star Wars: Squadrons gameplay was revealed Gamescom Opening Night Live, time diving into the single player with snippets of gameplay and narration from the team at EA Motive.

This mission shown comes from early in the Imperial side of the campaign, as you go behind enemy lines in an attempt to extract Agent Thorn. There's blowing up defence turrets, escorting transports, and all the kinds of things you might expect from a Star Wars space dogfighter.

There's a lot in common with the classic X-Wing and Tie Fighter games, between missions as well, with classically styled briefings and interactions with others in your squad. Of course, all of that is now rendered in modern graphics and looks fantastic.

There's eight ships in the game – a fighter, interceptor, support and bomber for both sides – each having a specific role in battle. You can unlock and customise them  with over 50 components to alter your ship's loadout, and just having a cute bobble head in the cockpit.

Previously revealed about the 5v5 multiplayer, there's a few different modes. Dogfight is your traditional deathmatch mode, but Fleet Battles are the signature mode. These are multi-stage battles, playable in both PvP and PvE, where you first fight to win the dogfight in the centre of the map before attacking or defending the capital ships, and finally taking it to the flagship to destroy or defend key components and win the battle. You'll be battling around a mixture of familiar and new locations as well, with battles around the gas giant Yavin Prime and the shattered moon of Galitan.

Star Wars: Squadrons is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on 2nd October 2020, with full support for PSVR, Steam VR and Oculus Rift VR through the entire game.


Oculus Quest 2 revealed with 'almost 4K' screen and doubled performance

Facebook have accidentally released some trailers and informational videos for a follow up to their standalone Oculus Quest VR headset. A pair of videos were published on Facebook Blueprint today, confirming the headset ahead of a presumed announcement as Facebook Connect on Wednesday 16th September.

While taken down soon after, the videos naturally made their way to YouTube soon after:

It promises to be a major step forward for the platform, with a reduced weight and size and new soft touch strap to make it easier to wear and use for extended periods of time. There will be over 50% more pixels in the screens than the Quest 1, at 'almost 4K' or nearly 2K per eye. That will be powered by a new Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 with 6GB RAM to double the performance over the original Quest. There's also an optional 256GB of built-in storage.

We'll have to wait until Wednesday for further details (unless more information leaks) about the pricing and release date.

As enticing as all of that is, for the industry leading standalone VR platform, Facebook and Oculus have recently drawn flak for an upcoming service change that will require users to login with a Facebook account in order to use their headsets. That will initially be for new devices registered from this October, and will eventually be rolled back to all existing headsets by 2023, locking off devices from the Oculus ecosystem after that point if they are not attached.

This has drawn the attention of German regulators, who believe it falls foul of GDPR's ban on "coupling" which prevents a contract, such as an EULA, from being tied to the sharing of personal data. Even if not against the privacy law, it's still a way that Facebook is folding Oculus into the greater whole of the company and letting it connect the dots on even more user data.

Source: Facebook Blueprint via Eurogamer, Ars Technica


IKEA will sell gaming furniture in 2021, created in partnerships with ASUS ROG

With the size of the video games industry these days, it's no surprise than anyone and everyone is looking to get a slice of that pie, however they can. IKEA are taking a big step up from merely having faux video game boxes in their showrooms to actually catering directly to gamers with new gaming furniture designed in collaboration with ASUS's Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand.

There's no word on what kinds of furniture and accessories they're working on, but one emphasis will be on affordability. They've also consulted with pro gamers and enthusiasts in Shanghai to discover what kinds of needs gamers have.

We're pretty sure they'll come out with some gaming oriented desks and chairs, but depending on how far they take their study, we could see them head down the dark, dark path of incorporating features based for the one in seven British gamers who pee in bottles instead of going a few steps to the loo. We also expect lots of RGB lighting.

The range of 30 products will first be rolled out in China in February 2021, before coming to IKEA's other stores in 2021.

Source: IKEA


Spellbreak Review

Spellbreak chronicles the arcane struggle between the Vowbreakers and the Vowkeepers. An epic war between two different schools of thought — one which believes that magic should be used freely and another which believes magic users should be subjugated. You, of course, are an exile, an outlaw… a Vowbreaker.

Spellbreak also chronicles the arcane struggle of wanting to be Fortnite without actually being Fortnite. It asks the age-old question of how you can take the world's most popular battle royale and make it your own. In this case, you strip away the guns, replace it with magic weapons and hope for the best.

So far, it seems to be working. The colourful chaos of this multiplayer action spellcasting game holds a lot of potential. Once you get past the tutorial, you can play as one of six different classes, and it's this which determines your main attack. You can be, for example, a pyromancer or a toxicologist — wielding flame or poison magic using a magic gauntlet on your right hand.

As you run around the map — the inexplicably named Hollow Lands — you pick up gauntlets that allow you to cast other spells with your left hand, or upgrade the main spell of your chosen class. This means you can be a pyrotoxicoloist if you want, or a cryolithomancer, a pyrolithomancer or even an electrotoxicologist, if you want to go for something genuinely difficult to say. Some of these pairings are more effective than others, with the fire spells igniting the toxic clouds you can summon, whereas others don't really do much — pairing wind and rocks, or fire and ice, for example.

This is all great if you're right-handed, but lefties will find that their primary weapon is in their offhand, with their secondary weapon — the only one that can change – locked to your main hand. You can go into the settings and change this manually, but unless you're accustomed to digging around the settings, you wouldn't know the option is there.

The class system is just first layer of depth that Spellbreak offers. Digging a little deeper, you find that each class levels up independently, unlocking perks you can then use across all classes. When you become a Level 3 toxicologist, you unlock a passive skill that gives you (and your teammates) the ability to drink potions faster, regardless of whether you want to play as a pyromancer or anything else. This adds a nice layer of strategy for those who want to play co-op.

The team modes are pretty engaging, working with friends to take down other players, whether in trios or duos (which has just been unlocked today). Playing solo is, as with most battle royales, often a game of running around for 10 minutes, looking for someone to fight, before being almost instakilled by a shot to the back. That's partly thanks to the rune system.

Scattered around the Hollow Lands, you'll find runes which grant powerful abilities, like invisibility or the ability to scan for enemies, Predator style; equipment that allows you to run faster, wear more armour or wield more mana; and scrolls that level-up your passives.

The equipment and scrolls are much of a muchness — you either find them or you don't — but the runes are actually interesting. Since you can only equip one at a time, choosing the right rune, and choosing between your current rune an upgraded version of a less powerful one, adds another layer of customisation and character building to a game which is already building a fair amount of depth.

The problem is the other side of that coin. This is a game with so much potential thanks to the depth of its gameplay, but it just doesn't feel particularly satisfying.

Everyone likes winning. Everyone loves the fanfare that comes with besting their opponents. I won my first game, systematically murdering my rivals and eventually wound up looking at a screen of my avatar milling around saying I came first. I looked at the screen and thought to myself, is this it? It was only after the next match that I realised the victory screen looks identical whether you come first or fourteenth. A game which feels equally rewarding whether you come first and last isn't going to get many endorphins a pass to exit your pituitary gland.

Is this winning?

Then there's the game's dynamic and evolving story. Sure, a battle royale doesn't really need a story, let alone a coherent one that makes any sense, but Proletariat promises an MMORPG-style evolving narrative that will induct fans into the fantasy world of Spellbreak. After the first 10 minute tutorial swings and miss, you'll be left wondering where to find it. The answer, as explained in a Reddit post from March, is that this will come in the form of seasonal 'Chapters' that will also provide additional weapon classes beyond the original six, runes and more. As someone who loves throwing themselves into a world's lore, I'm currently quite disappointed.

So, for the foreseeable future, we're all left wondering who is a Vowbreaker, who is a… the other one… and why do they all look like Magic's Jace Beleren, hoodie, face tats and all?


Nvidia will acquire mobile chip designer Arm for $40 billion

Nviai have confirmed that they will acquire UK-based chip designer Arm for $40 billion from current owner Softbank. It will dramatically expand Nvidia's portfolio to allow them to develop their GPUs, AI compute platforms and more independently from other companies.

Arm is best known for designing the low-powered CPU architecture that have come to power the vast majority of smartphones, tablets, Internet of Things devices and consoles such as the Nintendo Switch. While Arm has designed and sold their own CPU designs, they've also licensed the architecture to other companies such as Apple, Samsung and Qualcomm.

With Nvidia's purchase, Arm's open-licensing business model will continue, and various long-term licensing agreements would have precluded the company from really interfering in how current devices are created using the Arm instruction sets.

One of the original question marks over Arm's purchase by Softbank in 2016 was the company's future in the UK, the Japanese company having to commit to keeping Arm in the UK for at least five years. Nvidia have stated that beyond this they intend to expand Arm's R&D base in the UK, while also establishing a new centre of AI research in the Cambridge campus.

For Nvidia, the big advantage is the ability to more closely integrate with Arm's designs. The company has already leant on Arm CPUs for their own mobile chips, such as the Tegra X1 which is featured in the Nintendo Switch, but Nvidia has expanded beyond their original domain as a GPU designer to focus on general compute that enables the creation of AI supercomputers. Arm's low-powered CPU designs are well suited to being paired with Nvidia's technology in this setting, and positions Nvidia well for continued growth across healthcare, robotics, self-driving cars and other emerging industries.

However, they could also challenge on other fronts. Integrated SoCs with Arm CPUs and Nvidia GPUs could challenge for a place in many an Android device, while Microsoft have brought Windows 10 to Arm systems once more. This would put Nvidia in direct competition with AMD and Intel's x86 CPUs, while also being able to partner with them on pure GPUs.

It will take time for all of this to come to fruition, but in one purchase like this, it's turned Nvidia into an all-round monster of a company that could have an even bigger impact on the future of technology.

Source: Nivida


Madden 21 Review

Where can you go when you're at the top of your game? It's a question that challenges the best sports athletes in the world, but once you've been the best, for any period of time, there will invariably be a time where either your own abilities begin to dull, or someone new comes along to set new standards. The Madden franchise is having to once again answer at least a portion of that question this year.

2K's more arcade-orientated foray back into American Football might still be a year or two away, but EA's rendition of gridiron arguably reached a pinnacle three years ago, and after last year's more pedestrian outing, fans were hoping for a return to MVP status. What we've got instead is a game that looks like it should succeed, but in the end won't even make the playoffs. So, this year's Buccaneers then.

Madden 21 unsurprisingly builds on Madden 20, so many of last year's gameplay features return like Superstar X-Factors, as do the key modes of Ultimate Team, Face of the Franchise and Franchise. This year's headline new addition is The Yard; an attempt by EA to return us to those days of arcade style American Football, evoking memories of NFL Blitz and NFL Street while you slam the pigskin into the endzone with impunity. The problem is, it's not all that fun.

The immediate issue that you'll face coming into The Yard, is that it doesn't do an incredibly good job of explaining itself to you. As a mode that's sat within Madden 21, built in the same engine, and with largely the same controls, you'd think it should all come fairly easily, but it just doesn't. It's seemingly more interested in letting you wear a fluorescent jersey rather than playing the mode itself.

Its 6v6 action streamlines the heart of American Football to its base elements, while bringing a few different gameplay elements (and customisation) in to liven things up. Primary to the way you play is your selection of Prototypes, which dictates your player's skill tree and abilities. Fancy playing as a scrambling QB like Lamar Jackson? You get to pump your speed and finesse running to the max, while a Pure Passer like Aaron Johnson has the potential of utterly destroying an opponent with the passing game when fully upgraded.

Each setting has House Rules, so maybe you'll score 10 points for a 40 yard or more pass, or perhaps the passing clock will be shorter. Games are generally limited to three drives each, so they're a swift and light diversion, but ultimately, it all feels so inconsequential. It's not wild enough to be what you'd consider a true arcade experience, nor does it have enough weight to have you coming back over and over again. The mild draw is that abilities you earn here can be used in the largely unchanged Franchise mode, and vice-versa. I know which of the two I'd rather be playing.

Face of the Franchise bring another dose of narrative-driven football, but it feels like a long time since the original Longshot episode brought some heart and compassion to Madden. What you are getting is the opportunity to play two seasons of NCAA College Football, which many fans have been crying out for in the absence of a dedicated game, but that's tacked onto a linear path that you have to take with one of the most limited player creation tools in sports games. I guess it's because they're going to be wearing helmets most of the time? At least the performances are enjoyable enough and include a star turn from Snoop Dogg.

Ultimate Team is largely unchanged from last year's outing, and while it's still a compelling game of fantasy football card collecting, this year's other problems have made it the first Madden game where I haven't dropped any extra money into the mode. This is possibly one of the few things that might actually make EA think again when it comes to Madden 22 – but probably not.

When you're actually in a game, Madden 21 plays as well as last year's outing, adding in some further tweaks to make playing defence more involving. When you get it right, you can't help but smile, dialling the satisfaction of a good tackle or a great running play up to 21 with excellent replay angles and audio feedback.

Presentation remains a strong-suit for the franchise, and Madden 21's TV-style setup brings you closer than ever to a real game-watching experience. Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis simply sound like the voices of Madden at this point, and largely their play calling matches up well with the on-screen action.

Regardless of what the game gets right, Madden 21 is creakier than a log cabin in a hurricane. On Xbox One the most anxiety-inducing of these is that full, paid versions of the game keep telling players they're playing the trial version. This happened to our review copy and based on similar reports on the Madden Reddit page, it's not a localised issue.

Add in an array of gameplay issues, including players glitching through each other, invisible tackles that fell your runner when no one is near them, broken animations, and a number of weird QA failures that show the wrong team logo, or wrong team initials when you're setting up and heading into a game, and the overall impression you're left with is that Madden 21 simply wasn't ready for release. Whether it's the result of this year's Covid lockdown hampering development, or that more time had to be spent prepping for the game's cross-generation release, EA need to respond with some serious patches.


Nexomon: Extinction Review

Nexomon: Extinction is the latest monster training game trying to take on the Pokémon throne. You'll be collecting monsters – over 300 of them with nine different elemental types – and training them up to do battle with other trainers throughout the world, but there's a deeper narrative here, with a fantastical story about tyrant Nexomon which threaten to destroy the world.

If you've ever played a Pokémon game, you're going to feel right at home in Nexomon. Fights, capturing, training and healing centres all appear and work in the exact way you would expect. It's a solid take on the genre, though it doesn't have quite the same polish that you'd expect from the history of the Nintendo and Game Freak series.

Even though Nexomon is very obvious about it's inspirations, it does attempt to change the formula around slightly. Where Pokémon limits the amount of times a Pokémon can use a move, Nexomon have a single stamina bar that powers all their moves. The more powerful the move is, the more stamina it takes. It's an interesting remedy to the issue of being overly reliant on a single move – I'm looking at you Fire Spin.

Nexomon also changes the elements around slightly, keeping the likes of fire and electric, while adding wind and mineral. I felt the additional elements made its system a little unclear, where in Pokémon it's easier to pick up on the system and find the strengths and weaknesses. The difficulty in grasping the element system made Nexomon more difficult than it should have been, although even without that issue it is far more challenging than Pokémon.

Most of the trainer battles are pretty unforgiving and you'll find yourself regularly heading back to the closest healing point. It happens so often that it starts to disrupt the flow of the game, making progress feel a bit sluggish due to the constant need for healing. What made the original Pokémon games so enjoyable was the ability to go on adventures without constantly relying on Pokémon centres, and while long-time players now complain about a lack of difficulty in those games, that adventuring feel is something that is lost in Nexomon.

One thing that Nexomon really gets right are the monsters. The larger than life narrative paves the way for some dynamic and unique monsters that are as fascinating to discover as they are to catch and eventually train. It's a shame that the starter Nexomon are a little forgettable. The game provides nine options to begin with, which is a little overwhelming for new players who don't yet know the world. Fortunately, the option to capture monsters opens up pretty quickly, meaning you can build from the starter Nexomon right off the bat.

Nexomon: Extinction's visual DNA lies in its mobile predecessor, producing simple and colourful graphics with an art style that isn't particularly exciting. I'd like to have seen a little more distinction from the previous title, as they look pretty much exactly the same, which is a real shame. The presentation isn't bad at all, it just never does anything particularly exciting and fails to really distinguish itself from other titles in the genre.


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