Blog archive

Friday, 25 September 2020

The Last of Us Part II free PS4 dynamic theme released by Naughty Dog

To mark this year's The Last of Us Day (formerly known as Outbreak Day) Naughty Dog has released a free The Last of Us Part II theme to download on PS4. The theme shows a beach with the waves breaking onto the sand with a rowboat in the foreground. There are some hills and the sun is shining behind them. You can check out how the free The Last of Us Part II theme looks in the tweet that Naughty Dog put out earlier today.

You can grab the free dynamic theme by clicking on this link. Outbreak Day has been held for the last seven years on 26th September because of the canonical day on with the Cordyceps infection reached the tipping point and led to the downfall of modern civilisation. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic continuing the spread throughout the world, and seemingly making a comeback in Europe as we head into autumn, Naughty Dog have decided that continuing to call it Outbreak Day doesn't really sit right.

You can read what Jim thought in our The Last of Us Part II review below:

The Last of Us Part II is a remorseless epic delivering in its masterful storytelling, nail-biting gameplay and unrivalled production values. Naughty Dog have truly surpassed themselves yet again, crafting a heartfelt sequel that will leave you gasping as they continue to raise the bar for the video game industry. It's yet another must-buy for PlayStation 4 owners, supercharging Sony's unstoppable stable of exclusives.
You can read the full The Last of Us Part II review here.
Source: Twitter

UFC 4 update 3.0 adds Calvin Kattar and Pedro Munhoz, brings simplified controls

EA has released update 3.0 for UFC 4 which brings with it the fighters Calvin Kattar and Pedro Munhoz. In addition, there have been some additions to some weight classes with Jon Jones now available in Heavyweight and Omari Akhmedov to Middleweight. The others are noted in the patch notes. Players will now be able to stop spear takedowns, and added moves that can be executed from different positions. You can read all of the patch notes for update 3.0 below.

UFC 4 3.0 update patch notes

Major Updates:

  • Added 2 new fighters Calvin Kattar and Pedro Munhoz
  • Added following fighters to new weight classes:
    • Jon Jones to Heavyweight
    • Omari Akhmedov to Middleweight
    • Frankie Edgar to Bantamweight
    • Alexander Gustafsson to Heavyweight
  • Added new items to Create A Fighter which include new hair styles, clothing items, and emotes to choose from
  • Added Venue select to Invite A Friend
  • Updated Main Menu and created a new category, Learn, which includes Practice, Tutorials and Training Manual
    • Accessibility still remains under Settings
  • Added Simplified Controls option to Custom Fight Now Settings. This control scheme simplifies the striking controls to basic inputs and the game chooses what strike to throw next based on the situation.
    • Simplified Controls is a new option inside Custom Fight Now that lets you put up a fight without having to know all striking inputs.
    • You can turn it on individually for each corner. When turned on, use the face buttons to attack and the right trigger to defend. The AI will then choose what moves or actions to perform based on the timing of the button presses and the situation.
    • Each face button corresponds to a type of attack:
      • X (Xbox) – Square (PS) correspond to punches
      • A (Xbox) – X (PS) correspond to kicks
      • Y (Xbox) – Triangle (PS) correspond to clinch
      • B (Xbox) – Circle (PS) correspond to takedown
      • RT (Xbox) – R2 (PS) is used for both blocking high and low and sways, depending on timing

Gameplay Updates

  • Added the ability to deny Spear Takedowns
  • Persistent Drive added to a few positions
    • The Back Clinch Drives from Back Clinch and Cage Back Clinch.
    • Persistent drives are when the attacker has a chance to make a quick turn, even after a fast denial, before the drive ends in a break.
  • Added D'arce Choke to Back Side Postured up position
  • Added transition to Side Control from Back Side Postured up
  • Added Get Up transition to Back Side Postured Up
  • Added dynamic denial windows to flying submissions
  • Added additional information to Practice Mode HUD
    • Damage Blocked – Amount of blocked damage
    • Damage Range – % mod due to range landed at
    • Damage Vulnerability – % mod caused by vulnerability
    • Current Stamina Damage – %mod caused by current stamina
    • Max Stamina Damage – % mod caused by max stamina
    • Opponent Stamina Damage – % mod caused by opponent's stamina
  • Fixed issue where consecutive knees from Muay Thai clinch would prevent transition to cage clinch.
    • Bug when backing up in thai, the Dom could spam knees to prevent entering the cage position.
  • Fixed issue where some GnP Hooks appeared to land through successful posts.
  • Fixed issue where Stacked Guard Heel Hook and Kneebar were on the same input only allowing one to execute.
  • Fixed an issue with players escaping Takedowns immediately in certain BackClinch scenarios
  • Fixed an issue with potential accidental sway inputs after posting
  • Fixed an issue where ground strikes were not causing visual damage to fighters
  • Fixed an issue where players could instantly get up from Tower takedowns
  • Fixed issue with roles being swapped after cage get up from Sprawl
  • Fixed issue with bicep control "spam" cancelling opponent's knees
  • Fixed instances of improper defenses being successful against clinch takedowns
  • Fixed instances of improper defenses being successful against takedown turns
  • Fixed issue with undue priority given to some ground transitions
  • Fixed issues with sways during Ground and Pound
  • Back Side Dom punches interrupted Sub transitions. These are now disabled during the transition
  • Body Side Kick and Spinning Side kick now target opponent's head if they're slipping forward
  • Head damage now causes a small stamina drain
  • Slightly increased damage from Knee on Belly
  • Slightly increased permanent damage caused by ground and pound
  • Increased the effect of damage attributes
  • Removed option to block while leaning back
  • Tuned striking during clinch escapes
  • Reduced duration of the Half guard posture state
  • Removed evasion stamina penalty from attacks evaded by blocking sways
  • Slip Counters have been tuned
  • Tuned clinch entry and escape stamina
  • Tuned the takedown finish and denial stamina costs
  • Tuned submissions
  • Tuned Stamina cost of Ground and Pound Strikes
  • Tuned Pro and Legendary AI choke submission movement speeds to ensure the Legendary AI does not get punished for moving too quickly.

Misc. Updates

  • Miscellaneous updates to some UFC fighter appearances/likenesses
    • Cody Garbrandt – Tattoo Update
    • Kevin Lee – Tattoo Update
    • Tim Elliot – Tattoo Update
    • Makwan Amirkhani – Tattoo Update
    • Fabricio Werdum – Tattoo Update
    • Eddie Wineland – Tattoo and Mustache update
    • Jimmie Rivera tattoo update
    • Anthony Smith – Tattoo update
  • Fixed various UI issues
  • Fixed issues with progression for some of the challenges
  • Updated OWC Fighter Select to hide opponent's name and division
  • Disabled Ground Defence arrows on Legendary difficulty
  • Stamina HUD has been updated visually
  • Fixed general stability issues

In our review for UFC 4, I wrote:

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

Football Manager 21 is on Xbox and not PlayStation 5, because Sony didn't give Sports Interactive dev kits

The popular Football Manager series is coming to home console for the first time in over a decade, with Football manager 2021 announced for Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S. The game will be "specifically tailored" to the console, customising the Touch version of the series to work with the Xbox controller.

But, if it's on PC, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch and now Xbox, why not PlayStation? Well, according to Sports Interactive boss Miles Jacobson, it's quite simply that Microsoft persistently asked for the game to be on their consoles, and "Sony didn't."

It goes further than that though, thanks to each console platform being a closed garden.

This extends across the board and for whatever reason, while Sports Interactive have spoken to Sony, the PlayStation manufacturer did not choose to provide them with either PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 dev kits. Obviously PS5 dev kits would be rather limited in supply, which could be a reason, but there was a working relationship from bringing Football Manager to PSP and PS Vita in the past. Meanwhile, Nintendo and Microsoft were keen to see Football Manager on their platforms and going back several years, provided them with the dev kits and support they needed to get the job done.

It's great to see a game developer able to discuss about a situation so candidly, when so much of the games industry is kept behind closed doors. We see it time and time again with timed exclusives, where there's a reluctance to even really acknowledge that they're timed, let alone how long for. Of course, with FM21, it's a different situation where there will be a game in a year's time from now, and Sony might now have a change of heart in time for FM22.

Jacobson issued a follow up statement to Eurogamer, saying:

"I pride myself on being very open with our community via social media and try to answer as many questions as I can, however controversial they may be. I also try to explain to people why decisions that they don't like are made, because whilst I've been working in the industry for more than 25 years, the people I talk to online don't always know exactly how the system works. I am the same person on social media that I am in real life – upfront, honest and passionate.[…]

"What I learnt last night is that many of the most ardent console fans don't actually know that there are processes in place with all of the hardware manufacturers that mean they have a great deal of control over which games come to their consoles – and that there is bespoke hardware required to being able to make games for those platforms."

Hopefully more people now understand a little bit more about what's needed to get a game made.

Source: Eurogamer


Giveaway: Win a signed copy of From Bedrooms to Billions: The PlayStation Revolution

It's giveaway time again here at TheSixthAxis, and we've got a bit of a treat for PlayStation fans and just gaming fans in general. We're giving away five copies of the documentary From Bedrooms to Billions: The PlayStation Revolution, but one of these copies has been signed by acclaimed video-game champion Mark Cerny!

Originally a kickstarter project, this is the third of the Bedrooms to Billions films, with the first focusing on the UK games industry, while the second one was entitled The Amiga Years which looked at Commodore's era-defining home computer. The filmmakers decided to focus on the PlayStation for their third film as so many of their previous interviewees had cited it as a game changer for the games industry. The PlayStation was of course Sony's first attempt at entering the home console gaming market, and despite being the newcomers managed to dominate the 32-bit era with a combination of canny marketing and iconic games like Wipeout, Crash Bandicoot and Final Fantasy 7, 8 and 9.

As always, entering our competitions is simple – just complete the form below to enter in a variety of different ways, including via Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

We'll be running the competition for one week with entries closing at 11.59PM UK time on Tuesday 29th September. The giveaway is open to residents of the UK and Europe. Winners must respond within three working days of being contacted, and if they do not another winner will be drawn. Our usual terms and conditions apply, and decisions are final.

Win a copy of From Bedrooms to Billions: The PlayStation Revolution

We recently got to review From Bedrooms to Billions, with our very own Thomas Hughes greatly enjoying the look at the history of the PlayStation brand:

"The PlayStation Revolution is an enjoyable recap of the PlayStation journey, from its humble beginnings as the underdog through the overwhelming success of the PlayStation 4. If you're a gaming fan who wants to learn a little more about the behind-the-scenes of console development and launches, The PlayStation Revolution is absolutely for you."

You can check out the From Bedrooms to Billions: The PlayStation Revolution review here.


What We Played #468 – Untitled Goose Game, Marvel's Avengers & Serious Sam 4

It's been another week of next-gen consoles pre-orders, with the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S on Tuesday, and then a fresh wave of (barely sign-posted) pre-orders this morning for the PlayStation 5, but we already asked the question last week as to what you were all going to buy, so it's back to business as usual for this week's What We Played.

For me, it's been a week of dabbling. A little bit of Ring Fit Adventure as the weather has turned and kept me from wanting to go out walking, some Serious Sam 4, and more Surgeon Simulator 2 for a long overdue review. Perhaps it'll be a weekend special!

But what about the rest of the team?

"I'm still grabbing Mjölnir every now and then" Jim said, and before you read too much into that, it was "to play some Avengers." He's been levelling up Thor so that he's ready for the endgame content, but has also found time to go back to Dead By Daylight, gearing up for a 2020 review to catch up on the game's years of updates.

It's been Tennis World Tour 2 for Aran, who's been slapping away balls left, right and centre to get you our review, while Tuffcub's got out something big floppy and purple to batter his way through Saints Row The Third Remastered. He's also got in his usual Destiny 2 and been playing with Cubase for a new rave anthem, 'Hands Face Space Bass'. Look out for that one to top the charts!

Jason's been playing Rocket League and Dark Souls 3, while it was a Switch-heavy week for Reuben, playing the excellent Hades and Super Mario 3D All Stars, which saw him "reminding myself that Mario 64 is not without its problems."

Steve got going with the "utterly brutal and bleak" The Last of Us Part 2, but hasn't made much progress as the kids are already off school with persistent coughs – hurrah for 2020! Needing something a bit more… immediate, he reviewed Serious Sam 4, which is the game's polar opposite, as well as playing Darksiders: Genesis, reviewing The Girl of Glass, and testing his new GPU to see how shiny things can now be made.

It's been Monster Hunter World for Nic, but he complimented that with Spinch, Magic The Gathering: Arena's new expansion and Untitled Goose Game, now with added co-op.

Meanwhile, the other Nick (the one with a 'k') turned up with a big list of games. "Firstly, I've playing Worm Jazz and RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 for review. You'll have to read those to find out what I thought. I've also been playing a ton of Avengers which I'm quite enjoying despite being a little buggy, Disco Elysium, Captain Tsubasa, WWE Battleground, Tony Hawks, CoD and I started TLOU2. Too many games, not enough time!"

Ade kept it simple, by comparison. He grabbed Shadow of the Tomb Raider and said, "It's brutal. Lara murders so many people. She's an absolute stone cold killer!" Dom meanwhile has had a great week of Oculus Quest-ing, putting FitXR through its paces while getting distracted by Beat Saber and the Linkin Park update. He also loved playing some more Ori and the Will of the Wisps on Switch and snuck in a spot of Hyrule Warriors too.

And finally, Gamoc has been playing Port Royale 4 for review, checkout Minecraft VR, and played some Pistol Whip, "which is an dubstep filled combination of Beat Saber, Superhot, and John Wick."


Now then, what have you been playing?


Dead By Daylight update 2.03 improves new Blight killer

Behaviour Interactive have fired up the generators for yet another Dead By Daylight update. Whether you fancy stalking Survivors or working together to thwart a terrifying Killer, you'll need to download this latest version of the hit horror game.

Dead By Daylight 4.2.2 – which will show up as 2.03 for console players – is a quick bugfix patch that doesn't add any new content to the game but makes some minor improvements.

Aside from fixing a small list of issues, this new patch has improved the viability of Dead By Daylight's newest Killer, The Blight. They can now break pallets and other barricades during their Lethal Dash.

All Killers in Dead By Daylight have the same primary actions but are made unique through their combination of powers and other traits, such as passive bonuses. The Blight can store up to 5 tokens allowing them to rush small distances to close the gap with escaping Survivors. However, if you finish this rush by slamming into a wall, you can immediately combo it into another rush, allowing you to cover more ground without pausing. This supercharged rush can also lead into an attack animation (the Lethal Dash).

The Blight and Survivor Felix Richter were both added to the game recently for its newest chapter "Descend Below". Anyway, here are those patch notes:

Dead By Daylight Update 2.03 Patch Notes

Features & Content

The Blight

  • The Blight can now break pallets and breakable walls by attacking during a Lethal Dash
  • The Blight add-on "Compound 21" has been adjusted, changing the reveal range from 16 meters to 8 meters and the duration of the effect is reduced from 6 seconds to 3 seconds

Bug Fixes

System

  • Add an Auric Cell expiration message for Japanese promo code users
  • Fix a crash on PS4 that sometimes occurred after loading into a trial

Gameplay

  • Fixed an issue that may cause hooking survivors, breaking pallets and damaging generators to stop shortly after pressing the input
  • Fixed an issue that may cause movement stutters due to network latency
  • Fixed an issue that caused stun durations to be inconsistent across killers
  • Fixed an issue where some instances of the Blight's injection sequence would allow players to control the pitch of the camera
  • Fixed an issue that caused grabbing survivors out of lockers to be accelerated when using the perk Iron Maiden
  • Fixed an issue that may cause a survivor to be stuck on the hook without being able to do anything

Source: Dead By Daylight


Crash Bandicoot 4 will have competitive and co-op multiplayer

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is attempting to do more than simply emulate those classic PlayStation platformers. While carrying the recently reignited torch, this sequel is making some bold design choices in order to keep the series feeling fresh and relevant in 2020.

If you've read our Crash Bandicoot 4 preview you'll know that some of these additions include the introduction of multiple playable characters, as well as the four Quantum Masks which can drastically spice up sections of a level.

It appears that Toys for Bob are also adding multiplayer modes, both competitive and co-op. IGN have revealed a suite of unannounced multiplayer features made for you and your friends locally – note that Crash Bandicoot 4 will not have online play.

Let's start with the co-operative mode first. In Crash 4 you can activate the Pass N. Play mode which does what it says on the tin, allowing you complete stages from the main game by swapping between four players. So, if one of you has mastered a particular platforming section, you can assume control and help collaboratively push forward.

The competitive modes are admittedly more dynamic. There are two of them available at launch, titled Checkpoint Race and Crate Combo. Again, they're pretty self-explanatory, enabling you and up to three friends to go head to head locally, playing as Crash, Fake Crash, Coco, and Fake Coco.

Checkpoint Race will have you clearing sections of a level as quick as you can while racing against the ghosts of your opponents. Meanwhile, Crate Combo is all about smashing boxes, making sure you move quickly as your combo meter depletes.

Here are our thoughts on the sequel following some early hands-on time:

Needless to say, the Crash 4 demo has left us wanting to play more. We're curious to see what Toys for Bob have planned for Crash Bandicoot and his companions in terms of the game's story and where it will take us as they embark on their time-hopping adventure to thwart Cortex once again. We can't wait to see what kind of boss battles, spin-off stages, and Quantum Mask madness the full game will throw at us.

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time will launch next month on October 2nd for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Source: ResetEra


Marvel's Avengers update 1.08 live with free bonus for players

If you're looking to gear up and take on AIM in Marvel's Avengers this weekend, you'll need to download the game's newest update.

Crystal Dynamics have launched patch 1.08 (officially dubbed version 1.3.1) which packs in a variety of fixes and improvements, squashing progress bugs and making hero's attacks more responsive when in combat.

It's fair to say that the studio still has a fair way to go in terms of addressing issues raised by the player community. A recent bug prevented Avengers players from accepting Faction and Villain Sector missions – this has now been fixed and everyone who logs in before October 1st can bag themselves 250 Polycron and 500 Uru by viewing their Challenge Card.

For a future update, the developers have teased features including a multiplayer ping system which will hopefully help teams of randoms co-ordinate as they drop into one of the game's larger battlefields.

Check below for the full patch notes and head over to the official Marvel's Avengers blog for a list of known issues.

Marvel's Avengers Update 1.08 (V1.3.1) Patch Notes

REASSEMBLE CAMPAIGN & AVENGERS INITIATIVE

Various Reassemble Campaign & Avengers Initiative fixes, including:

  • Various Crash & Stability fixes
  • Fixed a rare issue when selecting "Once an Avenger" inadvertently sent the player to the wrong mission.
  • Fixed an issue keeping some mission chains from completing properly when all requirements are met. (Example: Reigning Supreme)

COMBAT

Various combat fixes/tuning, including:

  • Captain America can now smash through doors.*
  • Fixed an issue where overcharge meters were inappropriately decreasing during a team finisher.

Tuning:

  • Improved responsiveness when entering sprint flight from jumping as Iron Man.
  • Improved responsiveness for light air hammer attacks as Thor.
  • Improved reliability of Iron Man's Thruster Uppercut.
  • Improved presentation of Captain America's sprinting block.*
  • Tuned the SPIN Keeper's standard attack, reduced heroic drain, and added an offscreen attack indicator.*

Tuning to Adept Drone, Synthoid, and Keeper:

  • Added new standard attack to Drone and Keeper.
  • Adjusted homing attack to happen less frequently.*
  • Adjusted homing projectile to be more balanced.*
  • Increased global cooldown for all quantum homing projectile attacks.*
  • Adjusted quantum shard projectiles so they are no longer unblockable.*

GEAR, CHALLENGES, & REWARDS

Various Gear, Challenges, & Reward fixes/tuning including:

  • Addressed an issue where refreshing a missing weekly mission would result in a crash. Weekly missions should now appear as intended. We've temporarily disabled refreshing incomplete challenges; full functionality will be restored in the next update.
  • Addressed an issue where Villain Sectors would not properly refresh, which caused players to miss out on weekly rewards.
  • Fixed additional issues that prevented daily requisitions from clearing as intended.
  • Granted players the Iconic Iron Man outfit if they lost it due to an outfit bug.
  • Fixed a broken Legendary reward that was incorrectly set to Power Level 1.
  • Addressed issues with how the Insurmountable perk was being applied to gear drops.
  • Fixed an issue where some users would not be granted any rewards upon completing an Elite Heroic Hive run.
  • Guarded against a specific scenario that caused Kamala to lose a skill point. We are still investigating retroactive fixes.
  • Adjusted loot tables in Mega Hives to increase the chances additional loot will be awarded.*

PC Specific Fixes:

  • Addressed a rare bug that results in a player's Hero Level being reset, usually following a multiplayer connection issue.

Source: Marvel's Avengers


Animal Crossing: New Horizons autumn update will add pumpkin growing and Halloween prep next week

If you haven't been paying attention to the date and the weather outside, then I've got news for you: it's autumn! And that obviously means that it's high time for Nintendo to reveal a new autumn update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which will go live next week on 20th September.

From new reactions, to spooky new skin tones and eye colours, you'll have everything you need to scare up a fright on Halloween. Speaking of which, you'll probably want to deck your island out to match the holiday, growing pumpkins with which you can then craft all manner of jack-o-lantern themed things.

Here's what's in store:

  • Growing Pumpkins – Pumpkin starts are available in-game from Leif year-round or from Nook's Cranny during October. Once pumpkins are grown, they can be harvested and put to use in pumpkin-based DIY projects.
  • Halloween Preparations – Pumpkins are just the beginning of the Halloween-themed festivities coming up. With the big day just around the corner, players can start stocking up on candy early. It is possible to purchase costumes, such as a mage dress or a mummy outfit, at Able Sisters' shop during the month of October. Body paint and coloured eye contacts are available by exchanging Nook Miles. Fellow residents will also give out Halloween-themed DIY recipes.
  • Halloween Night Celebrations – When Halloween night arrives on 31st October, after 5 p.m., neighbours will gather in the plaza which will be adorned with an array of Halloween decorations.  Players will also receive a visit from a mysterious guest: Jack, the "czar of Halloween." By giving Jack lollipops and candy, players earn spooky in-game rewards. Saving some candy for neighbours helps players to avoid getting pranked by them. Luckily, they can learn a couple of new Reactions to properly express their feelings of fear.
  • Dreaming Favorite List – The ability to take a nap and visit other islands within dreams was introduced this summer. Now, players will be able to curate a list of their favourite islands to visit in dreams, making it easier to revisit them anytime.
  • NookLink Update – The NookLink Service in the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app is also receiving an update in early October With the update, players will be able to use their smart device to perform reactions in the game. How about using it for this occasion?

A second free update for autumn will be coming toward the end of November, with Nintendo teasing some Thanksgiving costumes and the build up to Christmas.

Source: press release


Animal Crossing Guides from TheSixthAxis


Konami release classic Metal Gear, Castlevania and Contra ports on PC

Konami have released a set of their classic games for PC with a trio of titles from the Metal Gear series, as well as Konami Collector's Series: Castlevania and Contra now available on GOG.com.

This was teased just prior to the official announcement by the Konami twitter account;

Before springing out of the box just 15 minutes later:

The ports were uncovered by Gematsu on Wednesday, who spotted them appearing on the taiwanese ratings board. Overall, the Taiwan Digital Game Rating Committee has handed out ratings for Metal Gear, Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, and Konami Collector's Series: Castlevania and Contra (featuring Castlevania, Castlevania II Simon's Quest, Castlevania III Dracula's Curse, Contra and Super C) all for PC.

All of these games have actually previously been released for PC. The original Metal Gear was brought to MS-DOS back in the day, Metal Gear Solid's 1998 PlayStation release was followed by a PC port in 2000, while Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance was an enhanced version of the 2001 PlayStation 2 game that was released for Xbox, PS2 and PC through late 2002 and early 2003. As for the classic Castlevania and Contra collection? Well, that was first released for PC in 2002.

GOG.com specialises in reviving classic games and sprucing them up to run on modern hardware. That doesn't typically mean they're enhanced in the manner of a console remaster or remake, but rather that they're modified enough to help them work on Windows 7 and newer.


PS5 pre-orders UK – Game, Very, Argos, Amazon & Smyths all out of stock

PlayStation 5 pre-orders are back today and we now believe this is the promised restock from Sony. Amazon has already gone, Game is expected this morning, and Currys has established a queuing system. All with just as little advance warning as the first time round. Cool.

We will do our best to keep tabs on things, but expect this to be relatively low in numbers and disappear very quickly. We also have very little information over who will have a fresh supply of pre-orders, so we've collected links to as many product pages as possible and we'll add notes and check periodically.

Update 1:30PM – Game stock looks to now be depleted. Smyths Toys, Currys, Very, Amazon and Argos are also confirmed OOS. It's looking unlikely that further retailers will have any stock today, but we'll see.

PS5 Pre-Orders UK – Out Of Stock

Retailers without restock

Other potential retailers

* Payment taken at time of order

It comes after the somewhat chaotic state of PS5 pre-orders last week, with Sony's announcement stream promising that pre-orders would get started the following day, only for retailers to jump the gun and all going at various times with little to no warning. Not quite what Sony had previously promised.

Game was one of the guilty parties, and their website struggled under the pressure – guest checkouts were available, but signing in was broken as anything. They fared little better with the Xbox Series X|S pre-orders on Tuesday, with a queue established for people to sign in, but others able to simply checkout as a guest once more. Then there were troubles with the Klarna financing for Xbox All Access purchases, and they took the site down for half the day to fix their stuff. Oh, and to cap it all off, the company has now decided that all pre-orders will have a £10 delivery fee.

Sony promised that more stock would be forthcoming in the weeks leading up to the 19th November launch in the UK, but a highly anticipated bit of tech like PS5 is going to get more than a few people jumping on a pre-order and then cancelling when they've changed their minds, perhaps even getting multiple orders in.

The PlayStation 5 is coming out in November, heading first to the US, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea on 12th November, before arriving in the UK and Europe on 19th November. It costs £449.99 for the version with a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive and £359.99 for the digital edition, though Sony have been producing far fewer digital consoles than full fat ones, it seems.

More PlayStation 5 News:


Untitled Goose Game's multiplayer is a welcome addition to an excellent game

Untitled Goose Game — one of 2019's most popular and meme-able indie games — has had a major update, and it's enough to give any fan goosebumps.

You may remember that we gave Untitled Goose Game a honking great 9/10 last September, saying we had found "something truly unique and special". We also said that there's a good chance that you'll be passing the controller to your partner, and letting them experience life through the beady eyes of a naughty goose.

Well, pass the controller no more. Untitled Goose Game's latest update lets you pass a Joy-Con or your second controller to your partner in crime so that you can terrorise this quaint little town as a duo.

So, although we're about to look at the good and bad of what this mode brings, take it with a pinch of salt. This update is entirely free, so it's literally all upside. The question is whether it's worth reinstalling and updating just so you can mash that honk button some more.

First things first, you can pick up where you left off, taking your progress with you whether you play single player or multiplayer. The only difference is that now there are two geese who can let slip the honks of war. This is cool, but it will mean nothing to your second player — if you don't know where you left your save file, imagine how they feel. Still, there's no reason why you can't start a new file and go looking for trouble.

Sadly, we have already covered all of the differences that the update has to offer. For those of you looking for a hot new adventure, you're going to be disappointed. As much as it feels like looking a gift goose in the beak, there are no new missions or tasks on your to-do list. You just get to work through the same list of things, but with a friend. It's still great fun, but if you and your second player have both played the game to death, there won't be a huge amount for you here.

It's also worth noting that although the geese look different — one has a basal knob — they don't look different enough. Playing with my partner (a dedicated waterfowl enthusiast), we kept losing track of who was who, looking to the slight difference in the colour of the feet to differentiate the two.

It feels that this would be a simple fix to make the second player a Canada goose. Sure, it would take a little artistic license to make it work with the way the game looks, but that would have been a cost worth paying if it made the game easier to play. Given that a lot of people will be wanting to play with their kids, having more distinct skins would really help with younger players.

Last, but not least, it's worth noting that geese mate for life. Presumably, this is shown in the game by the geese being so down when they are apart that they refuse to go any farther. If you try to go your separate ways, tackling different tasks, you'll quickly find that the screen can only zoom out so far, and you both start bumping up against invisible walls. Obviously adding co-op to a game designed for single player is a major challenge, but it's a shame not to have an adaptive split-screen as found in the LEGO games.

When you're being batted away by an annoyed shopkeeper, while also trying not to get stuck behind a wall/hedge, you're quickly going to find yourself stuck and one of you having to give up on your task. This is fine, but it means that the game will take a little more coordination, doing a single task at a time.

So, is it worth playing? Absolutely! Especially if you haven't plucked up the courage to pick it up just yet. Even if you've played it to completion, a cool new way to play such a good game — and for free — is definitely welcome. You probably won't find yourself spending hours with it, but it's a great excuse to dust off your second controller of Switch and introduce the game to a friend in a new, more companionable way.


Nioh 2 Darkness in the Capital coming October, patch 1.15 out now

Team Ninja has confirmed that the next DLC expansion for Nioh 2 is coming on October 15th, and it is titled Darkness in the Capital. This second expansion will take players to Kyoto City with a bit of time travel involved taking them to the Heian Period, where Yokai are tormenting the ancient city. In this time period the player will team up with legendary heroes to turn the tide in the war against the Yokai. This new expansion will add new bosses, new Yokai, new Guardian spirits, new skills, and new cores. In addition, to the reveal of Darkness in the Capital, Team Ninja released update 1.15 and you can see the patch notes below.

  • Fixed an issue where a particular procedure caused the screen to freeze and become unresponsive when 10 different set bonuses were equipped.
  • Fixed an issue Where the "Filter" function sometimes caused an application error.
  • Fixed an issue in Dream of the Strong, where equipment with a particular special effect would appear in the
    "Kexiama's Bazar' at a higher than intended rate.
  • Fixed an issue in the Picture Scroll missions Where the Nue Sometimes fell off the Stage.
  • Fixed an issue which prevented some equipment from being restored in the 1.14 fix which addressed the loss
    of information from Smithing Texts handed to the Blacksmith.

In our review for Nioh 2, Jason wrote:

Nioh 2 builds on the excellence of the original with a fistful of new twists and ideas, from new Yokai abilities to full-on co-op through the entire game. Nioh 2 might well be the best Soulslike that isn't a FromSoftware game, and it's easily one of my personal contenders for Game of the Year.
You can read the full Nioh 2 review here.
Source: PS Blog/Twitter

Among Us 2 cancelled as devs choose to focus on improving Among Us

The game Among Us has suddenly exploded in popularity for PC and mobile players. It is a simple premise where one or a few players are made Imposters and have to kill other players without getting caught, while innocent Crewmates have to work out who the Imposters are as well as complete tasks. It can be tense at times but Among Us is very easy to play which could account for why it has drawn such an audience. Among Us has become so popular in fact that the developers have decided to cancel Among Us 2 so they can focus on making the original game better. In a statement, Innersloth wrote:

It's been a very exciting time for us the past few months! We've absolutely loved seeing everyone enjoying Among Us! Forte has been working hard to get the servers adjusted to deal with the huge influx of players. Thank you so much for bearing with us through these growing pains. Hopefully we can get started on new content soon! Speaking of new content…

Us devs have had several long discussions about what we want to do with the game. When do we stop working on Among Us 1? What content goes into Among Us 2? The main reason we are shooting for a sequel is because the codebase of Among Us 1 is so outdated and not built to support adding so much new content. However, seeing how many people are enjoying Among Us 1 really makes us want to be able to support the game and take it to the next level. We have decided to cancel Among Us 2 and instead put all our focus into improving Among Us 1. All of the content we had planned for Among Us 2 will instead go into Among Us 1. This is probably the more difficult choice because it means going deep into the core code of the game and reworking several parts of it. We have lots of things planned and we're excited to bring new content to everyone as you continue to enjoy playing!

Innersloth also confirmed the new features and improvements that are coming. First and foremost are  improved servers to handle the influx of players, support for colour blind players and the addition of more colours, an account and friends system so it is easier to group up though do not expect this any time soon, and finally a new map though that is also in early design stages. You can download Among Us from Itch.io for PC, from Steam for PC, on the Google Play Store for Android, and the App Store for Apple devices.

Source: Itch.io

 


DOOM Eternal will join Xbox Game Pass next week

Microsoft has confirmed that DOOM Eternal will be one of the next big hitters to be available on Xbox Game Pass, and the game will be available from October 1st. DOOM Eternal will first be available on Xbox One consoles and will then come to PC later in 2020. While this may have been planned for a while, it now comes with the added bonus for Microsoft that DOOM is now part of its first party studio game portfolio, after acquiring ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion.

The deal means that all games created Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog and Roundhouse Studios will all be available day one on Xbox Game Pass. There were questions about games from those studios that were multiplatform or exclusives elsewhere. Microsoft has already confirmed that this deal does not impact the exclusivity of Deathloop or Ghostwire: Tokyo as PS5 timed exclusives, and The Elder Scrolls Online will still be running for all platforms.

In our review for DOOM Eternal, Miguel wrote:

Doom Eternal doesn't just set the bar, it breaks it. Many of the best games of the FPS genre do what has already been done, and can do it really, really well, but Doom Eternal does what no other game has done before, crafting a fast-paced power fantasy that sets your brain cells on fire. It's an addictive exploration of the mythic Doomslayer character that delivers hours of blood-drenched fun, dozens of memorable collectibles, and a fan-pleasing story book-ended with gorgeous worlds and unforgettable music. Doom Eternal is a ripping, tearing masterpiece.
You can read the full DOOM Eternal review here.
Source: Microsoft

Football Manager 21 releasing in November, will be available for Xbox consoles

SEGA and Sports Interactive have confirmed the release date for Football Manager 21, with the management sim set to be available from November 24th. Alongside the release date announcement the developers also revealed that Football Manager 21 will be available on a lot more devices than before. For the first time since 2007 Football Manager will be available on Xbox consoles including the Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series X. That is in addition to the release on PC through Steam, Epic Games Store, and Microsoft Store. Football Manager Touch 21 will be available on PC as well as mobile devices and Nintendo Switch as well.

Football Manager 21 Xbox Edition will be similar to the Touch version of the game but will have been changed to run on Microsoft's family of consoles so it is easy to play using the controller. Sports Interactive's studio director, Miles Jacobson, said:

"Football Manager 2021 is a historic release for us as a studio. We're bringing FM to more platforms than ever before and giving more people the chance to manage their favourite club – whether that's on their PC, from the comfort of their sofa or on their phone or tablet."

Anyone who pre-purchases Football Manager 21 on PC will get a 10% discount, and early access to the game as well. Early Access will likely be available in early November approximately two weeks before Football Manager 21 releases on November 24th, and will be for those who purchase through Steam or Epic Games Store. SEGA and Sports Interactive have not yet gone into details of the changes players can expect to see in Football Manager 21, but will be disclosing those throughout the month of October.

Source: Press Release


Samurai Shodown is getting a next-gen upgrade for Xbox Series X|S

Revealed during yesterday's Tokyo Game Show Xbox event, SNK have announced a new next-gen release of their fighting game Samurai Shodown – known as Samurai Spirits in Japan. The twist is that it's coming exclusively to Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S this winter.

Samurai Shodown revived the classic fighting game series in 2019, coming out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia and PC. To be getting an upgrade for the game on next-gen isn't too surprising, but what's interesting is that it will, at least initially, be exclusively on Xbox.

We've asked for more details on whether this is a timed exclusive – we'd assume so – if it's a new paid version of the game, and if it bundles in post-release content. We'll update this post once we find out!

Samurai Shodown Producer, Yasuyuki Oda, said, "The Xbox Series X|S is Microsoft's most innovative and cutting-edge next-gen console which is ramping up to hit the market soon, and I couldn't be more excited to be a part of its massive presence in the gaming community."

We rather enjoyed the game upon its current gen release last year. Nick said in our Samurai Shodown review:

"Samurai Shodown is a strong entry into the sea of fighters, showing a lot of love for the original series, while also being able to appeal to newcomers. A few niggles aside, people are going to be playing Sam Show for a long time. EVO just got more exciting to watch!"

Source: press release


The Elder Scrolls: Call To Arms is a dynamic Skyrim tabletop experience

Over the years we've seen plenty of hot video game licenses spill over onto the tabletop and vice versa. The latest gaming icon to undergo this transformation is The Elder Scrolls, Bethesda's landmark RPG series that became a frontrunner for the genre with the back to back success of Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim.

You'd think that the obvious route for an Elder Scrolls adaptation would be a pen and paper roleplaying game, a thick tome covering the lore and core rules, married to a series of adventure modules exploring the four corners of Tamriel. Chances are we'll one day see such a thing, but British game makers, Modiphius, chose a different path.

The Elder Scrolls: Call To Arms is a rich, inventive tabletop miniatures game designed by Mark Latham that launched earlier this year. Instead of pitching huge armies, you'll engage in lethal skirmishes, similar to Fallout: Wasteland Warfare – another Modiphius joint. What's particularly interesting about Call To Arms is that it goes beyond the standard player versus player format. You can also throw non-player "AI" foes into the mix, adding an unpredictable layer to competitive battles, or you can face them alone in solo play.

So, what do you need in order to kickstart your Call To Arms adventures in Tamriel? The core rules box set crams in just about everything you'll require, including the game's unique set of dice, token sheets, cards, scenarios, and a copy of the rule book. There's a condensed version of the rules as well, handy for those who want a quick taster session before absorbing the game's dense web of mechanics.

You'll also need some miniatures too, of course. Admittedly, right out of the gate there hasn't been much choice for early adopters of The Elder Scrolls: Call To Arms. With only three box sets available, you can either align with the Imperials or Stormcloaks, Skyrim's two warring factions. There's a Bleak Falls box set as well, containing several Draugr as well as a Dragonborn hero, though this set is more geared towards the adventure style of play.

The range is fairly limited though there are new miniatures on the way with reinforcements for both Imperial and Stormcloak to expand their armies, as well as various supporting heroes with familiar faces such as Lydia, General Tullius, and Ulfric Stormcloak. To round out the year, December will also introduce a Dragon which is sure to heat up those tabletop encounters.

The flow of the game doesn't feel all that different from other miniature wargames as players take turns activating models, performing actions, and resolving the effects. However, Call To Arms weaves in more interactivity than most of its tabletop counterparts, unafraid to flex those video game influences. Instead of following the basic move, shoot, melee template, you have more options and more freedom to play, making this a faithful Elder Scrolls adaptation.

Whether slinging spells, turtling behind a shield, or pickpocketing oblivious foes, there's plenty of depth here elevated by advanced mechanics. Most actions are attempted by taking the relevant skill checks. Swinging an axe, for example, is governed by a model's strength with players having to roll a score equal to or lower than the stat shown on their card.

Depending on character traits as well as those baked into weapons, armour, and other equipment, you'll often roll effect dice at the same time which can help the outcome. On top of that, you can boost certain actions to sprint or deliver precision strikes in the hope of a heroic set piece. Then there's party management with items, inventories, and even the chance to level up characters.

There's a steep learning curve (especially when factoring in non-player characters and their response matrix) though the trade-off is a higher sense of immersion that's typically absent from a lot of tabletop games.

Modiphius certainly win points for the quality of their components. From the expertly detailed miniatures themselves (available in plastic or resin) to the tokens and cards, every part of their Call To Arms range has that distinct Elder Scrolls look to it, sometimes using icons and imagery ripped from the video games.

Again, it's a shame there hasn't been much variety in terms of the miniatures and factions available though this is due to the change in the coming months with several new sets rolling out before 2021. That said, we'd like to see a more comprehensive starter box, bundling in the essential rules, miniatures, and some terrain/mats. Right now, to create and populate your own Tamriel dioramas, there's a considerable buy-in price.

The Elder Scrolls: Call To Arms succeeds in being an enjoyable tabletop game while also authentic. You'll have fun running short yet dynamic skirmishes and outfitting your own party of adventurers, ready to take on other players or perhaps delve into Skyrim's AI-driven encounters. We're keen to see how Modiphius continue to expand the core experience in the months and years following launch – hopefully we'll start to see shades of Oblivion and Morrowind in future, too!


Amazon announce Luna, a new cloud gaming service to take on Stadia and Xbox Game Pass

Amazon Luna is a new cloud gaming service from the tech giant, coming soon to PC, Mac, Fire TV and iPhone and iPad (via web apps), with an Android release planned for later on. To start with it will only be available in the US and by invitation only, but expect it to branch out to the rest of the world as soon as Amazon can.

More in line with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, it's based of a subscription model, instead of Google Stadia's model where you buy each game. However, what's interesting is that they are angling to have gaming "channels". The main one will be Amazon's own, Luna+, which offers over 100 games for an introductory monthly price of $5.99. They also mention a Ubisoft channel coming in the future, allowing for other companies to come in and set up shop as well.

Games will be streamed at 1080p as standard, with 4K60fps coming soon for select titles – initially it'll target Control, Panzer Dragoon, A Plague Tale: Innocence, The Surge 2, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Layer, GRID, Resident Evil 7, Abzu, and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Interestingly Luna+ will let you stream at 1080p to two devices at once, while Ubisoft's channel will only allow one stream at a time.

Following in Google's footsteps is the Luna Controller, which connects directly to Amazon's cloud, shaving the input lag from 57ms to 30 ms. However, you can play with an Xbox One Controller, DualShock 4 or just use mouse and keyboard.

Honestly it was only a matter of time before Amazon turned its eyes to cloud gaming. Microsoft and Google have both entered the arena with their sprawling cloud computing set ups, leveraging their network server farms around the world, but while Amazon is most famous for being a global online retailer, their subsidiary Amazon Web Services (AWS) is actually the dominant cloud computing platform. Oh, and a big part of their network is dedicated to game streaming platform Twitch, with Luna poised to tap into this connection and lure stream watchers to play games via Amazon's service.

Will they be successful? Well, they certainly have a cannier business model compared to Google Stadia, which hasn't captured imaginations with its business model, and Luna is also able to reach iOS and iPad where Google and Microsoft have both stuttered. They're doing this by way of a web app that run in a basic web browser, skirting past the restrictions that the iOS App Store places on streaming services. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft and Google follow suit in the next few months, as both have been angling to get dedicated apps and the home screen presence they have through Apple's stubborn rules.


Xbox Series X|S 1TB SSD expansion card priced at £220 / $220 – now available for pre-order [Updated]

Update: The UK pricing for the 1TB expansion card for Xbox Series X|S has now been confirmed at £220, per the Microsoft Store where it's also now available for pre-order. That's a chunk higher than we were expecting, considering the $220 US pricing.

The original article is below.

While we're waiting for a price in the UK and Europe, US retailer Best Buy has revealed the price of the 1TB SSD expansion cards for Xbox Series X|S. It will set US customers back a stinging $220 to double the effective internal storage of the Xbox Series X.

Australian retailers EB Games, JB Hi-Fi and Mighty Ape have also listed the SSD, with their prices in the $360–388 AUD range. In both cases, once we account for sales tax or lack thereof, this would roughly convert to £200 including VAT in the UK. This is, unfortunately, much higher than the £159 listing that was briefly spotted on Smyths Toys.

That's a pretty steep price for a 1TB expansion of the Xbox Series' internal memory, but comes from a combination of factors. Firstly, the SSD needs to match the ultra-high speed specs of the internal SSD, with a raw throughput of 2.4GB/s and a matching SSD controller to work with the Velocity Architecture. However, you can find similarly specced 1TB SSDs for PC that cost around £120-140. So there is clearly a bit of a markup. This can be attributed to a proprietary form factor which allows the SSD to be a plug and play memory card that slots into a dedicated port on the back of the console, and a partnership with Seagate, whose gaming branded storage is always pricier than identical general purpose options.

Thankfully the Xbox Series X|S will both be able to use basic USB 3.0 external hard drives in some ways. You will only be able to play Xbox Series X|S games from the internal SSD or these SSD expansions, but Xbox One games can be run from a standard hard drive, and these drives will also let you backup next-gen games to clear space. We'd expect and hope that the system software has robust tools for transferring games, much like the current Xbox One does.

Just because Microsoft have gone proprietary with their SSD expansion cards doesn't mean things will be much better or cheaper over on PlayStation. Sony have pushed the PlayStation 5's internal SSD to be more than twice as fast as that of the Xbox Series X|S, with 5.5GB/s in raw throughput. You will be able to use a standard PC NVME SSD to expand the internal storage of the PS5, but because of the custom design of Sony's SSD, these will need to be at least as fast as the one in the PS5.

For that reason, Sony will be certifying third party drives for use with the PS5. The one problem? They don't exist yet, and it's only yesterday that Samsung revealed the 980 Pro SSD range that can potentially meet those lofty standards. For a 1TB drive, it has a similar price to the Xbox Series X|S expansion cards.

In other words, unless you've got a lot of cash to spare, you'll be frugally managing your game installs for quite some time to come.


RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition for Switch

After being pulled from digital stores only a few years back, the 2004 classic RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 is making a comeback with a fresh release on PC… and Nintendo Switch. Dubbed as the 'Complete Edition,' it comes with both the Soaked! and Wild! Expansions, which is bloody brilliant.

Unlike the disappointing RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures (which was developed by a totally different company), RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 offers Switch owners what they should have had in the first place – a fully fledged coaster sim in the palm of your hands.

For those unfamiliar with the original, what you get here are a set of 18 scenarios where you must take a failing park and build it back up again, utilising the 300 rides on offer to tempt punters (known as peeps) to your park. Everything can be customised, named and micromanaged to the point where you can really call the park your own.

You can fiddle with how much you charge for drinks and how many pickles you put in burgers. Place a coaster and you can tweak all manners of things, from how fast the chain link pulls the cars up the track to the colours of the fences surrounding the ride. Of course, the real joy is in customising the actual tracks, and the classic track placement style is easy to pick up. Sadly, I'm not a very good (or patient) builder. It's very expansive and you can literally spend hours laying down tracks to get the perfect ride.

Management is as in depth as you remember with every penny counted (yes you can change from dollars to pounds). Track your income, play with graphs and change charges accordingly to make the most out of attractions and make the big bucks. Janitors not doing enough? Just grab them and make them clean up the puke.

The controls for the Switch version are decent, but not always great. There's a handy tutorial from the start that also will get you up to speed in about ten minutes, and you'll be diving into the menus on the ZL and ZR buttons and getting around quite easily. The placing of objects can be a little tricky, though. Initially I found myself placing objects and deleting by accident almost immediately, the difference between a tap and a long press the quirk I had to get used to. There's other quirks to get used to as well, and it just gets a touch frustrating at times. Especially when you place something, find you can adjust it and must demolish to start over.

Thankfully, building custom coasters isn't such a hardship. Placing them a piece down at a time, constructing the coaster of your dreams is more than achievable. I ended up building something similar to Alton Tower's Oblivion, a humongous vertical drop designed to make wearing white trousers very risky. Hey, nightmares are dreams too!

RCT3 looks as polished as it can be for a 16 year old game. Some graphical improvements have been made, but nothing feels that noticeable. It's certainly sharper, but that's about it. Just try not to look at the peeps up close. At least the framerate is solid. I jam packed my park and never had an issue. In that respect, it's been well optimised for the Switch, working just as well off the dock as on it.

There are only two modes available: Campaign and Sandbox. The tutorial mode has been neatly folded into the regular game for first time players, but can be switched off through the menu. One thing that's absent is the scenario creator, although I personally didn't miss it. There's enough in the 39 campaign scenarios on offer to keep you busy across the main game, Soaked! and Wild!, and once you have exhausted all of that, the freedom of unlimited cash in a sandbox is where you will probably spend most of your time.

The elephant in the room to address is 'why should I get this when Planet Coaster exists?' Well, aside from the fact that Planet Coaster isn't coming to Nintendo Switch, RCT3 is just good value for money on the handheld. If you want a park management game in the palm of you hand, there's no real competition on Switch, but if you want to play on a big screen? Well, it's hard to recommend it over Planet Coaster on PC or the upcoming console release. Planet Coast is this game's spiritual successor, as Frontier brought their park management sim right up to date and filled it with even more customisation.

Still, RCT3 is a nostalgia-filled package with the great selling points of being able to play it on the go and pause and instantly resume. Compared to its namesake RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures, there's just no competition. This makes for a perfect lounge game to sit back, grab a coffee and chill for an hour or two while you build your masterpiece.


NieR Replicant remaster release date set for April 2021

The release date for the NieR Replicant has been announced at Tokyo Games Show, revealing that the game will be out for PS4, Xbox One and PC on 23rd April 2021.

NieR Replicant – or to give the remake its full title NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… – revives the cult classic action RPG from a decade ago. NieR was originally developed by Cavia as a spin-off from the Drakengard series, but with the curious decision to have two version in Japan – NieR Gestalt for Xbox 360 and NieR Replicant for PS3. This took the setting of NieR and changes the main character to make him a brother for Yonah instead of her father.

The remaster is an extensive one with developer ToyLogic doing a great job updating the game visually and their decision to record dialogue with the original cast of voice actors to now make the game fully voiced.

Following on the Black Box edition for NieR Automata, NieR Replicant will have a White Snow Edition for collectors to gush over. It will include:

  • "Lunar Tear" Collector's Box
  • Steelbook® Case – A metal case featuring stunning artwork by Illustrator Koda Kazuma.
  • Pin Badge Set – Grimoire Weiss, Grimoire Noir, and Grimoire Rubrum pins presented in a specialized display case. Exclusive to the White Snow Edition.
  • Script Set – A set of seven books including the content of the spoken script of the game, exclusive to the White Snow Edition. Packaged in a special hard case, featuring unique cover art by character designer Akihiko Yoshida. Available in English only.
  • Soundtrack CD Set – A two-disc collection – one disc featuring tracks from NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… specifically edited for this set, and a second disc featuring special arrangements, overseen by Keiichi Okabe, of select tracks that are exclusive to the White Snow Edition. The set is presented in a premium Grimoire Weiss-inspired package.

There's also some platform specific pre-order bonuses to look out for:

  • PlayStation®4 system – All editions will include an exclusive PlayStation®4 system dynamic theme and avatar set. Pre-orders will also include a digital copy of the mini soundtrack featuring a sampling of songs from the White Snow Edition soundtrack CDs.
  • Xbox One – Pre-orders will also include a digital copy of the mini soundtrack featuring a sampling of songs from the White Snow Edition soundtrack CDs.
  • Steam – All editions will include a special digital wallpaper collection. Pre-orders will also include a digital copy of the mini soundtrack featuring a sampling of songs from the White Snow Edition soundtrack CDs.

If you haven't played a Nier game before here is what Dom wrote in his review for NieR Automata.

NieR: Automata is the epitome of a sequel you didn't know you needed. The original NieR was itself a spin-off to the Drakengard series, and one that, whilst gaining a cult following, certainly didn't achieve the kinds of sales that most risk-averse publishers would consider worthy of a sequel. Yet here we are, with a second Yoko Taro-helmed NieR game, this time boasting the action-gaming heft of PlatinumGames firmly behind his uniquely dark vision.

Yoko Taro's unique storytelling ability has matched perfectly with the committed development culture at PlatinumGames, making NieR: Automata a mature and thought-provoking action-JRPG. Its tight combat and compelling narrative sets it apart from both its predecessor and the Drakengard series, and it's utterly essential for fans of the genre.

You can read the full review here.


Serious Sam 4 Review

Some game series continually reinvent themselves, adapting and changing to bring new perspectives and new mechanics in each subsequent iteration. Think of the shift to 3D in Mario or Zelda, or even the different playing styles introduced in the later Spyro titles. Such devotion to innovation and progression is a noble aim, but sometimes this leads us to overlook the games that resolutely stay true to their nature, come hell or high water. All of which brings us nicely to the adventures of Sam Stone, long-time fighter against the alien hordes threatening the Earth.

Since his debut in 2001, Sam has taken on hundreds of thousands of baddies, with the series' trademark tongue-in-cheek presentation and parade of cheesy one-liners. Without wanting to render the following review redundant, it's safe to say that Serious Sam 4 is definitely a Serious Sam game, and you'll be more than satisfied if that's what you want.

Unusually for a Serious Sam game, there is a focus on narrative and character to provide a bit of context for your shooting. This isn't Croteam's attempt to produce a cinematic affair to rival The Last of Us, but instead shows a desire to add some more motivation and development than the usual arbitrary sequence of arenas.

The tone here is wonderfully silly. Set as a prequel to the rest of the series, an early conversation outlines that the AAA (Sam's squad of alien artefact hunters) are in Italy to look for a Russian bishop who knows the location of the Ark of the Covenant, which contains the Holy Grail, which is actually an alien artefact. This exchange is immediately followed by a comparison to Dan Brown that is swiftly dismissed by Sam who reveals that he is more of a Philip K. Dick fan. This unexpected reveal of Sam as a literary connoisseur is less than subtle, but indicates that the Sam Stone in this game is more evolved than the original Duke Nukem tribute act character.

The end result of this backstory still amounts to 'shoot thousands of enemies in series of arenas' but rather than historical ruins and open spaces, Sam 4 drops you into guerrilla warfare across the streets of Rome and Paris. Whilst looking like a military shooter such as Battlefield, the game is still very much old-school Sam, with over the top gibbage and ludicrous weaponry. Unlike the recent Doom games which emphasised getting up close and personal, most battles in Sam 4 will see you running backwards and employing plenty of circle strafing. The game's open areas are perfectly suited to this and it really comes into its own when it reverts to this kind of environment.

Though not giving Unreal Engine 5 a run for its money, the visual design of Sam 4 is wonderful, and there are some genuinely gorgeous vistas and cityscapes to take in if you get a moment's respite. Character models are less impressive, although the familiar enemies have clearly had a lick of HD paint applied.

The emphasis is on smooth gameplay. I initially started playing on a GeForce 1050ti that hovers just above the game's minimum specs, and while it wasn't particularly good looking, I was really impressed with how smoothly the game ran. The epic battles were totally playable at a consistent 60fps. An upgrade to a GeForce 2060 and a quick test on a Vega56 let us ramp up the graphics to Ultra and still easily reach 60fps. If you've got the hardware you can easily shoot for higher resolutions and frame rates for even slicker performance.

The aforementioned enemies and weapons are the real focus of Sam 4 though. There was a terrific sense of nostalgia continually invoked by the screams of the headless kamikaze bombers and the hiss of the scorpion's miniguns warming up. The sound design as a whole is surprisingly effective (with some pretty decent music too) and really goes to ensuring that trademark Serious Sam feel. Add in some truly enormous boss fights and the usual ludicrous hordes and you have the perfect antidote to the cinematic, sneaky-stealth shooters that Sam has always been set against. I came to the game fresh from The Last of Us Part 2 and, despite the undoubted brilliance of Naughty Dog's game, I found Sam to be a refreshing experience.

Variety is added through a number of vehicles to help you traverse some of the more open areas. These range from the functional to the ridiculous. One of the highlights is a level that includes a jolly trawl across the French countryside on a combine harvester, with predictably gory results. This may or may not be a nod to the deliciously trashy UK horror film Evil Aliens –a highly recommended good-bad film – but was a perfect fit for Sam. Early trailers also revealed the game's Popemobile – a 50 foot mech armed to the gills, and the setpiece boss fight involving this holy steed is another memorable moment.

Sam doesn't have to work alone, either. Many levels see him accompanied by fellow AAA fighters who can help thin the herds, but as well as these AI companions, the entire campaign can be played through online co-op. This adds a surprising layer of strategy to arena combat as you can work with your partner to either divide your attack or focus on larger threats. There were some memorable moments in our quick blast in this mode as one of us could pick off the smaller enemies flanked and focussed on the biggest. Both of you play as Sam, which feels a little strange, but there's no arguing over pick ups and collectables. The old Gauntlet player in me missed the squabbles over who needed that health pickup more, but it makes the co-op easy to play with anyone.


Microsoft Flight Simulator major Japan World Update is coming for free next week

The first World Update for Microsoft Flight Simulator was announced at TGS, with Microsoft playing directly to the Japanese audience watching with a comprehensive overhaul of how Japan is depicted in the game.

The free content update is coming on 29th September, bringing with it more accurate representations of six Japanese cities based off high resolution photogrammetry, six hand-modelled airports as well as a range of iconic historical and modern landmarks and a new digital elevation map.

New landing challenges and a new discovery flight will also be coming to the game.

All the locations and icons featured in the trailer are:

Cities

  • Yokohama
  • Tokyo
  • Takamatsu
  • Tokushima
  • Sendai
  • Utsunomiya

Hand-modelled Airports

  • Nagasaki Airport
  • Suwanosejima Airport
  • Shimokishima Airport
  • Kushiro Airport
  • Kerama Airport
  • Hachijo-Jima

Landmarks & Locations

  • Itsukushima Shrine
  • Mount Aso
  • Ikitshui Bridge
  • Hashima
  • Horyu-Ji
  • Tower of Wind
  • Mount Fuji
  • Kobe Port Tower
  • Shirakawa-Go
  • Himeji Castle
  • Amanohashidate
  • Great Seto Bridge
  • Matsushima Bay
  • Hakone

Unfortunately there's still no word on when and how Microsoft Flight Simulator will be making the jump to console, but this major update is great to see and a good sign of things to come for the returning flight sim giant.


This is what's inside a Fall Guy and it's… Oh dear…

Fall Guys has been the cute and cuddly hit of the summer, but now that summer is behind us and the spectre of Halloween looms in autumn, Mediatonic have revealed the true horrors of what lies beneath that Mr. Blobby-esque exterior.

Surely just a joke, right? Right? Well, those canny social media types running the Fall Guys account have decided to put it in the hands of the public which, as we all know, is how totally brilliant things like Brexit and Donald Trump's presidency happen. While the poll is ongoing, can you guess which of the three options given to you is currently winning?

Yeah, it's totally number 3. This also officially means that an un-costumed Fall Guy is actually naked.

Anyway, Season 2 is expected to start sometime in October with Mediatonic revealing at Gamescom 2020 a set of new levels and a cutesy medieval theme. Before we got to that, though, the team brought a major mid-season update last week that they dubbed Big Yeetus and Anti-Cheetus. That added Easy Anti-Cheat software to try and crack down on cheaters in the game, while also spicing up the action with the randomly spawning Big Yeetus spinny hammer and some light remixes to existing stages.

Following on from Big Yeetus is going to be a big task, but they've already teased his "new friend". Some community suggestions for this include Thicc Bonkus and Mince Meetus

Source: Twitter


Rainbow Six Siege update 1.94 removes vote to kick feature

Ubisoft have released their first mid-season Y5S3 update for Rainbow Six Siege. Available now on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, this latest patch ushers in some late fixes the developers had originally intended to include before the launch of Operation Shadow Legacy.

Rainbow Six Siege update 1.94 (officially referred to as Y5S3.1) rolls out a host of minor fixes which can be found in the full patch notes further below. One interesting highlight worth mentioning is the removal of the vote-to-kick feature from Quick Match games. According to Ubisoft this tool was being abused, leading to its removal.

Earlier this month Splinter Cell's Sam Fisher joined the Rainbow Six Siege roster as part of Year 5 Season 3 Operation Shadow Legacy. Headlining this latest season of content is Fisher himself – codenamed "Zero" – as well as a rework of fan favourite map, Chalet. Ping 2.0, map bans, and match replays have also been crammed in as Ubisoft shifts away from its usual template of adding two Operators each season to just one, focused on refining the core game.

Rainbow Six Siege Update 1.94 Patch Notes

BUG FIXES

GAMEPLAY

  • FIXED – Mismatched SFX when picking up a hard breach charge gadget.
  • FIXED – Operator shields will flip in first person POV after swapping out the shield and performing a melee attack.

LEVEL DESIGN

  • FIXED – Various clipping/dynamic clipping issues.
  • FIXED – Various issues with assets/props on maps.
  • FIXED – Various LOD issues on maps.
  • FIXED – Various minor caster mode details.
  • FIXED – Various vault issues.

CHALET

  • FIXED – Various vault issues on Chalet.
  • FIXED – Jukebox in 1F Bar on Chalet can be vaulted onto.
  • FIXED – Various drone collision issues on Chalet allowing drones to go OOB/OOW, or blocking drones.
  • FIXED – Defuser can't be picked up if dropped behind the boiler in B Main Garage on Chalet.
  • FIXED – Defuser can't be picked up if dropped in certain spots on Chalet after forcing collision.
  • FIXED – Defuser can't be picked up if dropped in a specific spot on EXT Helipad Trail of Chalet.
  • FIXED – Drones are not destroyed when thrown OOB on Chalet.
  • FIXED – Issues with Secure Area mode in 1F Fireplace on Chalet.
  • FIXED – Operator can go OOB by forcing collision in EXT Helipad Trail of Chalet.
  • FIXED – Players can't vault down to B Backyard stairs on Chalet.
  • FIXED – Potentially exploitable position on Chalet.
  • FIXED – Some gadgets float when attached to solarium windows on Chalet.
  • FIXED – The table in B Wine Cellar of Chalet can't be damaged by explosives.

OPERATORS

ZERO

  • FIXED – Sensitivity for Zero's Argus Camera on controllers is higher than intended.
  • FIXED – Inconsistent replication for Zero's Piercing Camera for players who have reconnected to the game
  • FIXED – Multiple damage decals from Zero's camera when deployed on certain surfaces.
  • FIXED – Visual issues with Zero's Argus Launcher reticule and crosshair while hipfiring and ADS, respectively.
  • FIXED – Zero's Argus Launcher crosshairs are not being affected by the disable state when inside Mute's jammer AOE.
  • FIXED – Zero's Piercing Camera can be deployed multiple times in the same spot.
  • FIXED – Zero's Piercing Camera floats if deployed on a barricade that later has its perimeter destroyed.

CLASH

  • FIXED – Clash's shield animation can be stopped by pressing any spring/shoot buttons.

IANA

  • FIXED – When using Iana's Gemini, her 1.5x and 2.0x scopes will change to a different scope on the Gemini.

NOKK

  • FIXED – Scopes are held closer to Nokk's face when prone when her HEL is active.

USER EXPERIENCE

  • FIXED – ADS Sensitivity settings are not being saved after restarting on console.
  • FIXED – In custom matches, duplicate pings can occur when switching sides.
  • FIXED – Missing SFX while in support mode after dying.
  • FIXED – Various issues lost in-game voice chat functionality.
  • FIXED – Various issues with in-game voice chat.
  • FIXED – Various minor bugs in PvE.
  • FIXED – Various UI/HUD issues.
  • FIXED – Various visual cosmetic/shop issues.

Source: Ubisoft


Kirby Fighters 2 is out now on Nintendo Switch for all you Smash Bros. Kirby players

Nintendo have announced and released Kirby Fighter 2 for Nintendo Switch, a full sequel for one third of Kirby: Triple Deluxe on Nintendo 3DS. The game is available now for £17.99.

The game is, to be as reductive as possible, Super Smash Bros. but everyone is Kirby all the time. It's all about 4 player battles, putting Kirby's main power to absorb and copy abilities to the fore. The main difference to Smash is that you don't have knock people out of the area, just reduce their health to zero.

There's seventeen abilities, from Sword, Ninja and Beam, through to Bell, Yo-Yo, Artist and more. The newest copy ability is Wrestler. Other characters like Gooey, Bandana Waddle Dee, Magolor, Meta Knight and King Dedede also make their appearance.

The main game is battle mode, where you can fight solo or as a team, across a wide range of stages new and old. There will be environmental effects as well as items to pick up. Up to four players can play with split Joy-Con, there's also local multiplayer and online play.

There's also a Story Mode, where you can team up through a series of battles to reach and defeat King Dedede and Meta Knight at the top of the tower, picking up boosters between floors. Single-Handed mode is a solo battle mode to take on 9 increasingly difficult battles.

We reviewed the original Kirby Fighters as part of Kirby Triple Deluxe, back in 2014. As part of that bundle, Dan said at the time that "It's a fun distraction but its longevity is questionable. I played through it once and have no desire to play it again." Though this was likely hampered by being on 3DS and alongside other game modes.

Hopefully a standalone release and the way that the Switch engenders multiplayer and co-op can make it a bit more engaging this time around?


Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Gaming Headset Review

The end of the year is always a big deal for console accessory manufacturers, but it's even bigger when there's a new generation of consoles galloping toward you from the horizon. So it's no surprise that Turtle Beach, creators of many, many headsets, have returned to their line up and given it a fresh spit and polish. Here we're looking at the Stealth 600 Gen 2, a revamped version of their entry-level wireless model.

The Stealth 600 was a solidly built bit of kit, and the 600 Gen 2 continues in a very similar vein. It's heavy on the black matte plastic – Turtle Beach's cheaper headsets always are – but it still feels solid and well put together. There's actually a surprising amount of heft to them in your hand, but they're not unwieldy or overly heavy once they're on your head.

In the name of comfort there's a thick, PU-covered piece of memory foam beneath the headband, and each of the memory foam earpieces is covered in soft black fabric. The texture of the fabric actually looks like it could be scratchy, but they're gentle and comfortable against your skin and feature Turtle Beach's excellent glasses 'notch' that means those spectacle wearers amongst us won't be dying from temple pain after fifteen minutes.

The adjustment sliders are constructed from the same black plastic as the rest of the headset, but they have sturdy incremental notches for staying in the place once you've got them set to the right size. Both earcups will also rotate flat so you can comfortably wear them around your neck, and largely the whole headset simply does a good job of being comfortable.

You'll find all of your controls along the rear of the left earcup, bringing together the Power and Mode buttons, as well as dials for volume and chat and the USB-C socket for charging. There's two versions of the headset, the one we're reviewing compatible with PS4, Switch and PC via its USB Type-A dongle, and the Xbox counterpart connecting to current and next-gen machines directly via Xbox Wireless. Either way the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 is a purely wireless offering, and thankfully its battery is capable of up to 15 hours of use before needing another charge. In testing it was certainly within that ballpark.

The audio performance of the Stealth 600 is, much like the rest of the headset, reliably solid. There's four different EQ settings, from the catch-all standard setting that offers a pleasantly well-balanced soundstage, through a bass-boosted offering that suits music and explosive gameplay to a tee, and a footstep-focussed EQ for those serious FPS aficionados.

There's some real thump to action games using the bass-boost setting. Playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare sounded brilliant, bringing the explosive action to life in impressive fashion, while the treble-heavy footstep mode is perfect for catching out brash Warzone players. The standard setting is a great catch-all option though, and there's an excellent level of detail to everything you can hear.

The downside to the solely wireless setup is that interference can occasionally enter the mix. I could detect a minute amount of distortion on PC, but it was completely covered by any level of audio. However, at times when playing on PS4, sat some five or six metres away from my console, I felt there was some unwanted noise entering the mix. It's disappointing that it's not a completely pure wireless signal, but I do have to wonder whether I'm just particularly sensitive to it. Your mileage may vary.

When you're not listening, you'll be talking and the Stealth 600 has a handy flip-down microphone arm that folds away in the left earpiece when not in use. It's a perfectly acceptable mic, but there's no way to angle it any closer to your face – and therefore your mouth. You can tell thanks to the audio sounding thin and distant. You'll be fine, particularly if you're naturally the loudest person in your chat party, but there are better mic set-ups out there.

With an RRP of £89.99, there's some serious competition in this price category, and few are as serious as the Corsair HS70, which boast better signal quality and a more grown-up design. Alternatively there's the Razer Nari Essential, which misses out on the full-fat Nari's bells and whistles but will happily cushion your head in their voluminous ear cushions.


Squad 1.0 release brings 50v50 battles to the tactical FPS

After five long years in early access, the tactical first person shooter Squad has reached a 1.0 release today, bringing with it an expanded 50v50 game mode.

The game was built as a spiritual successor to the Project Reality mod for the classic PC shooter Battlefield 2, but expanding the experience to encompass teams of 50 players apiece. As in the mod, communication and teamwork is pushed to the fore, with each player choosing particular roles.

The large battle maps are based around locations in Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe, which is pretty de rigeur for the modern day shooter, and within that teams will have to build and fortify bases, set up and protect supplies while battling the enemy. You also have access to armored cars, tanks, personnel carriers, and helicopters.

Squad 1.0 features a new map set in the city of Fallujah and a new Middle-Eastern Alliance faction. There's also the expanded 50v50 mode, which has been in testing over the last few months. A step up over the 40v40 servers, there will now be 50v50 servers to play from.

Oh, and the game also now has mod support, so if people want to take Squad and turn it back into a more arcade experience like Battlefield, they can!

Source: press release


Baldur's Gate 3 early access delayed by one week, but here's a trailer about romance

Baldur's Gate 3 has been delayed once again, but not by much. The new release date for the game's early access is 6th October, just a week after the previously announced date. The early access release will be available for Windows PC and Google Stadia.

To help soothe fans through the trying times, the latest community update video has shifted to give players a glimpse of what they can expect from the game's romance and companionship features. In other words, Larian have finally talking about sexy times with elves and stuff.

More seriously, they talk about party dynamics and how they react to your choices. The game hopes to capture the breadth of D&D by adapting to the dialogue options you pick, how you engage in combat, and just how you explore the world. For your party, your united by having an Illithid tadpole in your noggin, but you'll have to overcome your differences in order to survive.

There are hundreds of permutations that determine how your relationships grow, with Larian aiming to create something intimate, authentic and reactive. Much of that will come at the end of a day of adventuring when you set up camp. Here, the party puts down its weapons and talks in cinematic dialogue.

Lead writer Sarah Baylus said, "We are trying to make these relationships feel real and feel like the relationships you have in the real world. You will meet some people who you have nothing in common with, some will be useful to work together but that is going to be the extent of it. But there could be situations where you get on really well, you share similar goals and you love travelling together."

"We want these relationships to feel like they would in the real world, like you are falling in love with someone or you are falling in like with someone, or you just feel attracted to someone. That should all feel real and authentic."

Sounds fascinating, and we can't wait… OK, we can wait to see how it comes together.

Source: press release


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