Blog Archive

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Abuse and harassment allegations emerge surrounding Twitch workplace culture

Following on from the wave of abuse allegations made against a range of Twitch streamers in June, the company itself is now in the spotlight, with accusations of systemic sexism, racism and abuse.

An investigation by GamesIndustry.biz has found a number of former and current employees willing to share stories that go back over half a decade, from before the company's acquisition by Amazon in 2014. That was a turning point for the company's hiring practices, but not necessarily for the overall attitudes.

They write that a common point was one of deeply rooted misogyny within the company, where women were not given the same opportunities in the business, and on a different level objectified. One source said female employees were often referred to as "bitches", while women streamers were often called "boob streamers" and aspersions were cast about promiscuity.

Within the office, women that reported problems were the subject of victim blaming – when one woman was called a c*** and spat at, her manager asked what she did to deserve it. This extended to outright sexual assault with forced kisses, groping, and inappropriate massages. Again, when these incidents were reported to HR or senior staff, appropriate action was not seen to be taken. Naturally, this led to a number of employees choosing not to report incidents.

One woman said she was told to continue working with the man who sexually assaulted her and "show him respect." One person who raised a concern about the treatment of women at the company said they were told that, "if they don't feel safe here, they should just leave."

"It just didn't feel safe there ever," one woman said.

"Nobody ever really took responsibility for anything and there was nobody to go to if you were threatened, or felt threatened, or were harmed in some way. HR was not on the side of the employees, for sure. They were on the side of the executive team. That was the sense; if you went to HR, that would just ruin you even more."

In some cases, women said that men they reported were later promoted.

One famous incident in Twitch's seemingly reluctant attempts to add more serious moderation to the website was the 'Remove Horror' incident that eventually led to the departure of the company's first paid moderator, Russel "Horror" Laksh. While one series of events was given by Twitch, stating that Laksh had been too close to the situation as he banned users and that he was voluntarily stepping back from moderation, Laksh has refuted this, saying he was the fall guy for his boss.

In the follow up to this, an executive brought up Laksh homosexuality, with a series of uncomfortable questions that even resorted to a demeaning bestiality trope. You can guess what happened when he reported this to HR.

Less visible were the racial issues reported within the company, though still very much present.

"Historically, the decision makers have been predominantly white and male, so they have brushed off safety concerns of racial and ethnic minorities, women, and people from other under-represented groups," [one source] said. "They have brushed off those concerns and said, 'When we are prioritizing product road maps, this is where certain safety tools and safety interventions lie; we're going to put those at the bottom because they're not important to us.'

An issue was perhaps less of overt racism and one of tolerance of those who are racist. For example, a year-long fight to get the n-word put on the global ban list, with the onus being put on streamers to moderate their own chat.

"Hate speech was dismissed as teenagers being edgy and thus not as serious," [one employee] said. "It was almost like it was dismissed as not being real racism."

When Twitch has tried to be forward thinking with its message of inclusivity, it has backfired. Their Black Lives Matter video montage was predominantly white, they tried to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in the US with clichéd emotes modified with sombreros and maracas, and it took years for them to remove a raccoon emote that was twisted into a way to harass black people.

This is really just a cherry-picked summary of the litany of allegations made on almost every area of the company, from its inaction toward and tolerance of abuse, to its reluctance to instigate meaningful change that is eventually forced through in the name of business gains and keeping advertisers happy.

It's a long and potentially distressing read, but you can find the full article at GamesIndustry.biz.


Outriders will be released in February, will have free next gen upgrade and cross platform play

Square Enix has confirmed that its RPG shooter Outriders will be released on February 2nd. The publisher also confirmed that Outriders will allow those who purchase the PS4 or Xbox One versions of the game to upgrade for free to the PS5 or Xbox Series X|S versions of the game. In addition, Square Enix also stated that there would be full cross platform play, including between generations, so players on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Stadia will all be able to play together.

Stefan spoke to Bartek Kmita, Creative Director at People Can Fly, about Outriders, and in conclusion wrote:

It would be easy to dismiss Outriders out of hand, but to do so would be to overlook the ways it stands out from its fellow looter shooters. The greater emphasis on the RPG side of the game, with character builds that are more than just what you happen to be wearing and holding in your hands, and just having a self-contained story all sounds rather appealing to me. Throw in People Can Fly's game-making history, and Outriders is definitely a game to keep an eye on for later this year.

Here's more on the game.

OUTRIDERS is an RPG shooter set in an original, dark and desperate sci-fi universe. As mankind bleeds out in the trenches of Enoch, you'll create your own Outrider and embark on a journey across a hostile planet. With rich storytelling spanning a diverse world, you'll leave behind the slums and shanty towns of the First City and traverse forests, mountains and deserts in pursuit of a mysterious signal. Combining intense gunplay with violent powers, along with an arsenal of increasingly twisted weaponry and gear-sets, OUTRIDERS offers countless hours of gameplay from one of the finest shooter studios in the industry.

Outriders was originally set to release this past summer before being first pushed to the end of this year. The new date of February 2nd could still change but for now that is what Square Enix and People Can Fly are banking on.

Source: Press Release


Mortal Kombat 11 to have free PS5 & Xbox Series X|S upgrades, Mileena, Rain, and Rambo announced

NetherRealm Studios has confirmed that Mortal Kombat 11 will have a free upgrade path from current gen to next gen, so PS4 players can upgrade to the PS5 version and Xbox One players can upgrade to the Xbox Series X|S version. The studio also revealed Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate Edition which will contain the Aftermath Expansion, Kombat Pack 1, and the now confirmed Kombat 2 which will add an additional three fighters. Those fighters are Mileena, Rain, and Rambo. You can see them in the trailer below.

Anyone who purchases the Ultimate Edition or Kombat Pack 2 will get a Time Warriors skin pack. That pack will include "Dark Web" Noob Saibot, "HCF" (Halt and Catch Fire) Liu Kang and "Blood Moon" Skarlet. In our original review for Mortal Kombat 11, Miguel wrote:

This game is the pinnacle of Mortal Kombat action. Fights are fluid, weighty, and gorgeous to look at. Unfortunately, that tightly-designed gameplay is bogged down by a grindy system of loot and consumables that only serves to artificially extend your playtime in the most tedious ways imaginable. There is so much heart and care put into this game, from the combat to the gorgeous visuals and memorable story, but that effort feels nullified by the desperate attempt to twist an iconic video game franchise into just another endlessly online service game.
Meanwhile, in our review for Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath, Nick wrote:

Weighing in at a hefty £34.99, Aftermath feels a bit pricey, despite how good the content is. The Friendships, the new stages and the balance update are all free downloads, so what you're really paying for is a very short campaign and three extra characters. It's going to be a very hard sell to casual fans of the series. The package which includes the base game definitely feels like the better deal weighing in around £49.99, but those that own it already might feel a little hard done by.

Still, die hard fans of MK should definitely consider picking Aftermath up. The campaign is short but sweet and the new characters are fun to experiment with. It really just depends on your wallet.

Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate Edition will be released on November 17th for PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, Switch and Stadia.
Source: Press Release

Fall Guys Season 2 is live now! Get your update 1.09 patch notes here

Fall Guys has been updated to version 1.09 on PlayStation 4, the 3.11GB download is ready and waiting for you to download right now. Season 2 kicks off today and brings "feudal fortresses, knockout knights and pugilistic paladins" plus a full season of new costumes, emotes and more will reward players as they lay siege to the Middle Ages.

Season 2 has not started but it seems everything in the update is live, including the new levels!

Update: It's live!

Here are the patch notes:

  • New Feature –  The Show Selector: Time-Limited Shows give players new ways to enjoy their favourite rounds types by selecting which Show they want to play!
  • New Feature –  Nameplates: Mix and Match customisable Banners and Nameplates to compliment your Fall Guy's attire!
  • New Feature –  Random Outfit Generator: Press triangle on the customiser screen until you get a combination of items you like!
  • Improvement – See your party members fall alongside you while waiting for matchmaking to complete.
  • Improvement – Fall Guys now have more responsive mantling up ledges.
  • Improvement – Visual updates to many levels
  • New Level –  Knight Fever:  Our hardest gauntlet level yet.
  • New Level –  Wall Guys:  Cooperate with other players to traverse castle walls.
  • New Level –  Egg Siege: A brand new Egg Scramble map with moving drawbridges!
  • New Level –  Hoopsie Legends: A Solo Hoopsie Round with moveable blocks.
  • Plethora of new customisation options – costumes, faceplates, colour palettes, emotes, and celebrations.
  • Many bug fixes and optimisations.

I've also bribed my contact at Meditonic who has told me there's also new music and a new style for the main menu, a new Fame Path with new rewards, and of course a load of costumes.

7 Fall Guys tips & tricks to help you win more Crowns

Season 2 itself is not live yet so you still have a few hours to grab the items from the Season 1 pass. Some Fall Guys fans may be worrying that any locked rewards from Season 1 will be lost forever. Here's the dev's official response:


Bugsnax will be out on 12th November for PS5, PS4 and PC

Young Horses have confirmed that the quirky madness that is Bugsnax will be out of PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and PC via the Epic Games Store on 12th November. That's right, it's a PS5 launch title.

The team also revealed the pretty great cast of voice actors that will play the many Grumpuses and the Bugsnax themselves in the game. Here's hoping they don't change Chandlo's face between now and launch, or there will be uproar.

Full cast for the Grumpuses:
Wambus Troubleham – Fred Tatasciore (Overwatch)
Wiggle Bigglebottom – Kenna Ramsey (Background Vocals – David Foster's live band)
Chandlo Funkbun – Yuri Lowenthal (Spider-Man PS4)
Filbo Fiddlepie – Max Mittelman (Saitama in One-Punch man)
Gramble Gigglefunny – Sam Riegel (Critical Role)
Shelda Smellywag – Debra Wilson (Jedi: Fallen Order)
Floofty Fizzlebean – Casey Mongillo (Evangelion)
Eggabell Batternugget – Fryda Wolff (Loba in Apex Legends)
Beffica Winklesnoot – Cassandra Lee Morris (Persona 5)
Snorpy Fizzlebean – Roger Craig Smith (Sonic the Hedgehog)
Cromdo Face – Rick Zieff (Terminator 3)
Clumby Clumbernut – Barbara Goodson (Rita Repulsa)
Elizabert Megafig- Helen Sadler (Battlefront)
Triffany Lottablog- Haviland Stillwell (Devil May Cry 5)

AND the many Bugsnax voice actors:
Abby Trott (Hunnabee & more)
Michael Schwalbe (Scoopy Banoopy & more)
Cristina Vee (Cheezer & more)
Todd Haberkorn (Shishkabug & more)
Jeannie Tirado (Razzby & more)
Julie Nathanson (Banopper & more)
Robbie Daymond (Buffalocust & more)
Courtenay Taylor (Cheepoof & more)

Bugsnax was the real breakout surprise from the PlayStation 5 reveal event back in June, capturing the imaginations of many viewers with its maddeningly catchy music – provided by Kero Kero Bonito – not to mention its weird and wonderful world, in which you are what you eat, and what you eat are the living food items known as Bugsnax, which can only be found on Snacktooth Island.

We spoke to Young Horses shortly after the game's announcement, diving into the music partnership, the iterative process that led to the game's form, and more. Check out the full interview here.

Bugsnax will be priced at $24.99 USD, but is now available for pre-order on Epic Games Store with a 15% discount.

Source: press release


Akira 4K Film Review – A masterpiece returns to cinema, but should you?

Sitting in a half-empty cinema, in London's half-empty Leicester Square, there's a poetic, bittersweet feeling to watching Akira 4K in 2020. Although the movie is set in the post-apocalyptic dystopia of 2019, I look around and wonder how far off we are these days.

Akira is an old movie, but it's an all-time great. It's on Empire's list of the top 100 best non-English movies ever made, clocking in at number 51. That puts it one ahead of 15 places ahead of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; 18 places ahead of The Ring; and just 10 places behind My Neighbour Totoro. The film is so influential it inspired the likes of The Matrix and Metal Gear Solid, homage is paid to it in Stranger Things and Rick and Morty, and Kanye West even made a music video based on it – once you understand what Akira is about, you'll realise once again just how mind-blowingly arrogant that man is.

As I say though, it's an old movie and not everything ages as well as one might hope (I'm looking at you, Friends). So how well does Akira — the movie which broke anime onto the world stage as a medium that is explicitly not just for kids, while simultaneously paving the way for things like the Pokémon TV series to reach western audiences — hold up in 2020?

In short, it holds up extremely well. Particularly in 2020.

For those of you who missed the movie the first time around, its original release date, 16 July 1988, marks the start of World War 3. Some 31 years later in 2019, Tokyo has done its best to recover. Neo Tokyo, as the city is now known, is a vast megalopolis that makes the Los Angeles of Blade Runner look miniscule. It is home to corrupt politicians, anti-government terrorists and roaming delinquents.

The movie follows Kaneda and his friend Tetsuo, a pair of delinquent 15-year-olds who get separated during a routine fight with a rival bike gang. This is where it gets complicated: Tetsuo, a violent nihilist with an inferiority complex to die for, crashes into a psychic child who was rescued by a terrorist. Upon capturing the psychic, the government — just for the hell of it — experiments on Tetsuo and basically turns him into a god.

A pissed off, violent god with an inferiority complex and zero regard for the sanctity of life.

What ensues is a wild chase through the streets of Neo Tokyo as Tetsuo hunts out the legendary Akira — his only peer as the government's most powerful psychic — who is buried under the ruins of the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, depicted with a sign declaring the cancelation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Akira's 2019 has its own problems…

And this is when a huge wave of horror crashed over me. Along with the creeping chill of realisation that, just as the Simpsons predicted President Trump, the themes underpinning Akira may too come to pass.

Sure, the pandemic isn't what Akira is about, but when we get through this, we still have everything else to contend with. The only question really is whether our real world of corrupt, self-aggrandising politicians will drive us to the brink of extinction through war or if climate change will beat them to it.

There's nothing in Akira which feels out of place, even by today's lofty standards. The issues of a manufactured god are still here in the form of the future of AI, political unrest is as rampant as it has ever been, and just look at Westminster and Washington DC if you want to see hubristic politicians who put the state behind their own self-serving interests.

So yes, the themes of Akira hold up very well, the year after the fictional one it depicts. It is a complex, multi-layered story which you will get more out of every time you watch it. If you think Inception was complicated, it's not a patch on Akira.

If you haven't seen Akira, and you don't mind a bit of violence in your movies, Akira is certainly one to watch. Forget whatever you may think about cartoons: this is not a knee-slapping, popcorn-chomping summer flick. Akira is a high-minded masterpiece, now lovingly and faithfully remastered in 4K.

And if you have seen it, this recreation is stunning — I don't know how they could have done it any better. The only real issue is whether you can, or even should go to see it. We all know how 2020 has turned, and we're all well aware of the potential risks of going to the cinema and spending any real length of time in public places right now. If you feel comfortable going to see it in the cinema, this is a truly rare opportunity to see a legendary film on the big screen, however you have to weigh up that decision for yourself. We encourage you to be responsible and follow all the latest guidelines if you do so.

Alternatively, you can still enjoy Akira at home. It's available on streaming platforms and there's already a fantastic 1080p Blu-ray that's available. Of course, diehard fans will want it in 4K and with HDR. While there's no word on a UK release, a UHD 4K Blu-ray is out now in Japan and coming out later this year in the US. We obviously hope it'll arrive in Europe and the UK soon as well.


Akira 4K is out now in cinemas. For more information on how and where you can watch it, visit akira4k.co.uk


Worms Rumble release date set for December, cross-play open beta announced

Team17 have announced the release date for their real-time multiplayer spin-off to the venerable Worms franchise. Worms Rumble will be out for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and PC on 1st December.

But wait, there's more! They will also be holding a full cross-play open beta test starting on 6th November.

Worms Rumble sees the traditionally turn-based series going real time for the first time, with 32-player game modes including Deathmatch, Last Worm Standing, and Last Squad Standing. It will embrace a bunch of modern gaming conventions like a reward track for cosmetics, skins and emotes, but through it all you'll have access to a bunch of series staple weapons like the Baseball Bat, Hand Cannon, Bazooka, Assault Rifle, and Shotgun. There'll even be a Holy Hand Grenade, and the ability to use a grappling hook to swing through the levels.

The release date trailer also reveals the second map that the game will have at launch: Portal Park. This arena features a big sports venue, an underground train system and plenty more. It joins the previously revealed Missile Mall which ran through a sprawling shopping mall that (for some reason) comes with a great big ballistic missile!

Believe it or not, it's actually been four years since the last Worms game, with Worms WMD seen as the definitive Worms game after years of iteration and subtle changes in direction – well, there was also that whole Worms 3D thing in the mid-2000s…

Dave wrote in our Worms WMD review:

Worms WMD feels more like the classic Worms titles with its explosive mayhem and tongue-in-cheek humour. Vehicles, turrets, and crafting all freshen up the formula somewhat, while the new 2D art direction mixed with the classic simplistic structure of Worms campaigns make for a welcome and familiar experience. Still, there's not much out there quite like Worms and Worms WMD is a great rendition of that explosive madness.

Source: press release


Tonor TC-777 USB Mic Review

With lockdowns still kind of in full swing, more and more people are taking to the internet and streaming their gaming sessions. For most people, a headset mic does a good enough job of beaming their voice across the internet, but those looking for a more professional sound may well consider a standalone microphone.

Condenser mics are designed to pick up voices, making them the perfect choice for anyone who wants a more professional sounding set up. Looking to stream? Want to produce videos? A condenser mic is the perfect choice for your needs, but there are a lot to choose from. High-end condenser mics can cost up to £4,000 and beyond, which obviously isn't ideal for everyone. Fortunately, there are condenser mics that are designed to provide a boost in sound quality without breaking the bank.

The Tonor USB solves that problem, providing users with an affordable product that boosts sound quality in recordings. Costing around £34.99, the box comes with all the basics you need to get started including the mic itself, a tripod for it to stand on and a pop shield that doubles up as a shock mount. The stand is a little basic and is unlikely to suit most desk setups, but this is easily remedied by purchasing an additional boom stand that can let you move and position the microphone to meet your needs.

The addition of a pop shield is welcome as it gives your sound that extra little bit of smoothness that would likely be missed without it. Condenser mics are designed to pick up high-frequency noises, so without a pop shield you are more likely to pick up the natural noise of mouth movement which can reduce the quality of recordings. Bundling one in helps he Tonor USB Mic definitely scores a few extra points for that.

The mic itself is fairly sturdy, with a dark blue/grey coat of paint and a mic cover. Its fairly bare bones presentation matches up with its price, valuing customer value over shifting additional parts and items in the box. It comes with a USB input that takes seconds to plug in, and works without the need for any drivers.

The Tonor USB Microphone is a competent mic that accurately picks up speech at a decent quality. One of my main issues is that its sensitivity means it also manages to pick up a lot of background noise despite the cardioid pattern, so for anyone who wants to use this mic in a relatively normal area you might have to rethink how you intend to use it.

While reviewing the Tonor USB Mic, Nvidia also released their RTX Broadcast Software. Designed to bring the best out of streaming setups using AI, the RTX Broadcast software uses AI to filter out background noises. There's some pretty crazy videos of people using hoovers and automatic tools next to the mic and the software is able to block it out, and in my experience it vastly improves the quality of your voice over the internet. This is naturally dependent on having a modern Nvidia graphics card, but other programs like Discord and Audacity have less advanced noise-cancelling features built in, which makes background noise more manageable.


Resident Evil 3 Remake October update adds more cosmetics and skills for Resistance

Capcom has released a brand new update for Resident Evil 3 Remake, with the bulk of the content for the multiplayer Resistance mode. This new update adds a number of new cosmetics. some new weapons, a new creature, and a number of new skill cards including the Decoy trap, a Shock trap, and a Flashbang mine. Along with that each character has had new skills added for them to utilise in the Resistance mode. You can read the full update notes below.

Resident Evil 3 Remake/Resistance October update patch notes

New features:

Cosmetics

  • ・Added 5 new weapon skins.
  • ・Added 35 new Survivor skins.
  • ・Added 10 new Survivor gestures.
  • ・Added 30 new sprays.
  • ・Added 10 new creature skins.
  • ・Added 4 new zombie gestures.

Survivor Weapons

  • ・The new KASHIMA weapon can now be purchased from the Armory in all areas.
  • ・The new RAI-DEN weapon can now be purchased from the Armory in areas 2 and 3.

Creatures

  • ・A new creature, the Ne-α, has been added. It can be spawned by using the new Ne-α skill card.

Skill Cards

  • ・Added the Decoy skill card.Places a harmless trap to trick Survivors.
  • ・Added the Shock Trap skill card.Places a trap that shocks nearby Survivors when triggered. Causes temporary paralysis.
  • ・Added the Flashbang Mine skill card.Places a trap that emits a blinding flash when triggered. Temporarily blinds nearby Survivors and blurs their vision afterwards.
  • ・Added the Enhancer – Invincible skill card.Equips a launcher which fires darts that grant creatures temporary invincibility.
  • ・Added the V-ACT Zombie skill card.Spawns a zombie buffed with Berserker, Regen, Energy Leech, and Infection. Interrupts Bio Energy recharge for a short duration.
  • ・Added the Reclamation Anchor skill card.Deploys a device which projects energy tethers to nearby creatures, recharging Bio Energy if they are killed. Lasts until disabled.
  • ・Added the Energy Leech Rifle skill card.Equips a rifle that deals a small amount of damage and recharges Bio Energy.
  • ・Added the Remote Regen Mod skill card.While in hand, restores a small amount of health to creatures when they are controlled.
  • ・Added the Remove Limiter skill card.Immediately decrease Ultimate Skill cooldown by a certain amount. Interrupts Bio Energy recharge for a long duration.
  • ・Added the Ne-α skill card.Spawns a Ne-α that has an auto targeting ranged attack. (controllable)
  • ・Added the Ne-α – Infectious skill card.Spawns a Ne-α that has an auto targeting ranged attack and emits infectious gas. (controllable)
  • ・Added the Barrier skill card.Raises a protective barrier in place that blocks all Survivor projectiles and firearm attacks except for the flamethrower.
  • ・Added the Supply Zombie skill card.Spawns a Supply Zombie that is immediately marked on the Survivors' map. (controllable)
  • ・Added the Deception skill card.Makes all cameras look as if they are currently being used by the Mastermind.
  • ・Added the Umbrella Reserves skill card.When used, this card transforms into a random powerful skill card. Interrupts Bio Energy recharge for a short duration.

System Changes

  • ・Increased the Equipment Point limit for all characters (20→25)
  • ・Adjusted ranks at which additional skill cards are unlocked such that all skill cards are obtained by rank 20.

Annette

  • ・Added the new Ambush area 2 exclusive card for Annette.Spawns a zombie without expending any Bio Energy. (controllable)
  • ・Added the new Licker – Regen Aura area 3 exclusive card for Annette.Spawns a Licker with a regeneration aura that shares its buff effects.

Daniel

  • ・Added the new Synchronize Mod area 2 exclusive card for Daniel.While in hand, up to 4 creatures in view will move in sync with the creature being controlled.
  • ・Added the new Remote Shell area 3 exclusive card for Daniel.Spawns a zombie with all creature buff effects and greatly increased attack power and health. Does not act unless controlled. Cannot be killed while inactive.
  • ・The Unnatural Selection skill variant now also increases damage dealt by the Ne-α's Tentacle Spear.

Alex

  • ・Added the new Contagion area 2 exclusive card for Alex.Makes infected Survivors vomit. This deals damage, but also lowers their Infection Rate. Damage dealt scales with Infection Rate, but will not defeat Survivors.
  • ・Added the new Detonator Mod area 3 exclusive card for Alex.While in hand, all explosive traps detonate immediately after being spawned.

Spencer

  • ・Added the new Omniscience area 2 exclusive card for Spencer.When used, this card transforms into a random Exclusive Card that belongs to another Mastermind.
  • ・Added the new Reroute area 3 exclusive card for Spencer.Switches out the active Bio Core. The cost of this card decreases as fewer Bio Cores remain.

Nicholai

  • ・Added the new Auto Shield Mod area 2 exclusive card for Nicholai.While in hand, newly equipped on-camera weapons will gain an electromagnetic shield for a set duration.
  • ・Added the new Tactical Shields area 3 exclusive card for Nicholai.All cameras gain an electromagnetic shield. Interrupts Bio Energy recharge for a set duration.
  • ・The Watchdog skill variant now includes the Ne-α amongst the creatures it can randomly deploy.

Adjustments and Fixes:

Martin

  • ・Lengthened the cooldown of Flash Baton's "Shockwave" skill variant.
  • ・Resolved an issue where the damage reduction effects of Sapper's "EOD Suit" skill variant would remain applied indefinitely if Martin was in the process of disarming a trap when the Survivors advanced to the next area.

Daniel

  • ・Resolved an issue where the Tyrant would become unresponsive if attacked while performing certain actions.

Spencer

  • ・Increased the rate at which cards' Bio Energy cost decreases when using Bioactivation's "Paracelsus Generator" skill variant.

Nicholai

  • ・Adjusted the odds at which various creatures are randomly spawned when using Firearms Specialist's "Watchdog" skill variant.
  • ・Reduced the damage dealt by the Nemesis's Exterminate ability when using Bioweapon: Nemesis's "Extermination" skill variant.

Survivors

  • ・Increased the ammo consumed per reloaded shot for the W-870.

System Changes

  • ・Resolved an issue where it was not possible to disarm traps placed on inclines and multi-leveled surfaces.
  • ・Other minor changes and adjustments.

Source: Capcom


Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris update 1.10 fixes battle issues, read the patch notes here

Bandai Namco has released update 1.10 for Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris, and this update addresses some issues with the battle system. That includes certain skills not having an affect on enemies. When it comes the user interface the map icons should display properly instead of disappearing. Keyboard updates have also been added and there are general fixes. You can read the full patch notes for Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris update 1.10 below.

Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris update 1.10:

Battle

  • Fixed the battle skill "Flash Bind" not applying certain debug effects against the enemy.
  • Fixed the battle skill "Demonic Archer" not applying certain debug effects against the enemy.
  • Fixed certain attacks not hitting enemies for a certain amount of time if a cutscene of an enemy spawn plays while using the Sacred Arts.

UI

  • Fixed a bug where map icons showing item locations would not display on certain occasions.
  • Added a tutorial for the Temporary Storage.

System

  • Fixed the Arts Code not being uploaded properly on certain occasions.
  • Fixed the "sell" option not working properly in the item shop when a player owns a vast number of items.

Button Input

  • Keyboard layout has been updated to make it easier for users to know which settings are the old default settings and which are the new ones.

Others

  • Fixed other minor bugs and issues
  • Fixed control stability

In our review for Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris, Reuben wrote:

Ultimately SWORD ART ONLINE: Alicization Lycoris takes too long to get to the point both in its combat and story, leaving the player disinterested before it even really begins. There is a good game here if you do commit to it, with some great character and world design, enjoyable combat, and interesting game systems, but it's just not worth the slog to reach it.
You can read the full review here.
Source: Bandai Namco

Star Wars Squadrons unlikely to get any new content

Star Wars Squadrons released last week allowing players to pilot iconic Star Wars vehicles like the TIE Fighters and X-Wing, with a campaign told from both sides of the war and in multiplayer. Star Wars Squadrons launched with three modes in total including the single player campaign, and the multiplayer modes Dog Fight and Fleet Battles. There are also six maps to carry out battles in which are Yavin Prime, Esseles, Nadiri Dockyards, Sissubo, Galitan, and Zavian Abyss.

Players may be expecting more modes or maps to be added, but it seems EA will not be adding more content. In an interview with UploadVR, Ian Frazier, Creative Director on Star Wars: Squadrons, said:

"Never say never, so to speak, but as far as our philosophy goes we're not trying to treat the game as a live service. We don't want to say, 'It's almost done!' and then dribble out more of it over time, which to be honest is how most games work these days. So we've tried to treat it in kind of an old-school approach saying, 'You've paid the $40, this is the game and it's entirely self-contained. We're not planning to add more content, this is the game, and we hope you understand the value proposition.'"

It was also confirmed that there will not be an Oculus Quest port. So, the three total modes and six maps will have to do for those who are playing or planning to pick Star Wars: Squadrons up. In our review for Star Wars Squadrons, Dom wrote:

"Star Wars Squadrons has taken an impressive first step in revitalising the Star Wars fighter pilot game. With a tale that feels like a genuine part of the galaxy far, far away, and space combat that gives you the tools to be an X-Wing or TIE fighting ace. Whether you're on the light or the dark side of the Force, this is a game that Star Wars fans need to play."

You can read the full Star Wars Squadrons review here.

Source: UploadVR


John Wick Hex comes to Xbox consoles, Steam, and Switch in December

Bithell Games' tactical take on the John Wick franchise John Wick Hex will be coming to  Steam, Switch, and Xbox consoles on December 4th. For Xbox it is coming natively to Xbox One and should be playable on Xbox Series X|S via backwards compatibility. This release of John Wick Hex will be available both digitally and physically, so if you want to have this sitting on your shelf then you can.

John Wick Hex was first released for PC in October 2019 via the Epic Games Store, and then it came to PS4 in May this year. At the time of the original PC release we spoke to Mike Bithell about John Wick Hex. One of the highlights of that interview is when he stated how John Wick Hex fit into the John Wick universe. He said:

So, we're a prequel. We take place before and we're telling a story from before John left for the first time. We're telling a legend from the backstory, the main reason being that if you look at the three movies, there's not a gap to do a video game in. The first movie to the second movie is just him finding out where his car is, which isn't much of a video game, and obviously the second to third movie, it just immediately carries on.

In our review for John Wick Hex, Miguel wrote:

John Wick Hex is the last form you might expect a John Wick game to take, but this unique, inventive puzzler kept my mind racing from beginning to end. While the gameplay and interesting story shed light on some important aspects of the film franchise, the sometimes punishing difficulty and surprising lack of focus on John Wick himself left me a little disappointed. This isn't a perfect video game adaptation of a film, but it's certainly the most original one I've ever played.
You can read the full John Wick Hex review here.
Source: Twitter

Rainbow Six Siege Tachanka Rework goes live today on Test Servers

The day has finally come for the long-awaited Rainbow Six Siege Tachanka rework. Since Ubisoft's tense multiplayer shooter launched almost five years ago (wow, really?!) this OG operator has been severely underused while also being the subject of endless memes in the Siege community.

Well, that's all about to change – well, at least the underused part. Originally teased earlier this year, the Tachanka rework will finally be going live later today on Test Servers. It's a significant update for the Spetsnaz juggernaut and one that sees his static turret removed from the game in favour of something a lot more dynamic.

Previously, Tachanka's unique ability would allow players to deploy a mounted RP-46 Degtyaryov Machine Gun. While incredibly powerful, using this gadget left players exposed and even after Ubisoft attached a ballistics shields later on, Lord Chanka wasn't exactly a hot pick for competitive play in Rainbow Six Siege.

As of today, Tachanka will now carry the RP-46 LMG as his primary weapon (or the 9x19VSN sub). The most exciting part of this rework is his new gadget: the Shumikha incendiary grenade launcher which can launch fire-spewing projectiles, igniting small areas. You'll have ten grenades in total, split between two clips of five.

His other loadout options include the PMM or GSH-18 as his secondary weapon, with either barbed wire or the proximity sensor as his equipment. Another highlight is his passive "Withstand" perk which was introduced with Zofia. Tachanka can pick himself up after being downed after several seconds, though only with five hitpoints.

The Tachanka rework will be hitting Test Servers today, allowing the Siege community to submit feedback. Ubisoft have yet to confirm when the changes will be making their way into the full game.

Rainbow Six Siege recently launched its newest season, Year 5 Season 3. You can find all the details in our report – here's a brief summary:

Rainbow Six Siege Year 5 Season 3 summary

  • New Operator: Zero (Sam Fisher)
  • Map ban feature
  • Match replays
  • New weapons: SC-3000K and 5.7 USG
  • Contextual ping system
  • More scope attachment options
  • Improvement accessibility
  • Reinforcement pool
  • New equipment: Hard Breach Charge
  • Thatcher rework
  • Stats tracker
  • SquadFinder

Ubisoft recently confirmed that Rainbow Six Siege will be receiving a next-gen upgrade on PS5 and Xbox Series X.


EPOS | Sennheiser GSP 602 Review

In a bid to expand its range of premium quality gaming headsets, EPOS | Sennheiser have revamped their GSP 600 series with two new colour variants for 2020, introducing the GSP 601 and 602. Naturally, we were keen to grab a pair and test them out.

Identical in terms of specs and features, you're getting the same headset as the base 600 model which originally launched in 2018. Although stylish in its own respect – rocking a matte black with red and silver highlights – gamers now have more choice with these two new additions. Both have colour schemes that stand out with neat accents, such as 602's tan leatherette earmuffs or the copper plate on the 601's mic arm, bringing some added flare to the range.

As for the base design, EPOS | Sennheiser have once again opted for a chunkier, more industrial approach which carried forward to the GSP 670. These models wrap around your head nicely, cushioning those slightly more sensitive parts of your noggin to allow for those locked-in, multi-hour gaming sessions.

Not everyone will be on board with the design and its wider profile, the adjustable arch of the headband protrudes in a way that makes it appear much larger and less streamlined than conventional headsets. It almost looks like the kind of high grade military comms pieces you'd wear over a combat helmet. However, it's a design we're actually pretty fond of and one that speaks to the sturdy reliability of the EPOS | Sennheiser gaming range.

So, what do you get in the box? Aside from the GSP 602 we also have two braided 3.5mm cables: one split separately into headphone and mic connections for PC (2.5 metres) and another cable for consoles and portable devices (1.2 metres), making this model suitable for almost all gaming platforms. The connector for the 3.5mm cables is nicely socketed under the left ear cup to firmly hold it in place. Unless the headset is violently ripped from your head, there's no chance the cable will get brushed or pop out during play.

Setup takes just a few seconds, though as with the many of headsets there's a compromise in terms of customisation. PC gamers will have the luxury adjusting audio and mic levels, with extra layered effects and modifiers, but on consoles and other devices you won't get these same dynamic options and are relying on the system software. Using the GSP 602 is blissfully straightforward, though. There are no finicky buttons with a big dial on one ear to adjust volume while the mic arm can click upward to mute it.

Using the GSP 602 for long periods is fairly comfortable thanks to the padding and overall weight distribution. Depending on how you adjust the headset and the contact sliders in the headband the pressure placed on top and around your head can be tweaked and tailored to maximise your comfort. It's well worth experimenting to find a fit that suits you.

Overall, the sound quality this closed headset offers is more dynamic than the GSP 300, offering bass without the boom and clearer tones that enhance both cinematic set pieces as well as the nail baiting tension of competitive online skirmishes. As a result, it has become my go-to choice of headset for multiplayer games such as Rainbow Six Siege, Rogue Company, and Dead By Daylight.


Dauntless Strange Horizons Hunt Pass – Is the Elite Pass worth it?

There are no shortage of intriguing free-to-play video games, all vying for your precious times. Dauntless is by far one of the best out there and is currently available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch – all linked via crossplay.

Often likened to Capcom's Monster Hunter, Dauntless has team of up to 4 Slayers hunting deadly beasts known as Behemoths in fun boss battle-like fashion. The crux of the game is run these hunts over and over, farming resources to craft better weapons and gear while sharpening your skills.

After your first dozen or so Dauntless hunts you'll start to encounter new characters and activities, revealing a more advanced layer of features that include the Hunt Pass.

What is the Dauntless Hunt Pass?

The Dauntless Hunt Pass is similar the kinds of Battle Pass we've seen in other online games such as Fortnite, PUBG, and Call of Duty: Warzone. Dauntless developer, Phoenix Lab, runs live seasons that typically last several weeks and in this time players can unlock rewards via the Hunt Pass.

Think of it as a separate XP meter that gradually fills as you hunt, hand in quests, and complete bounties. Each Hunt Pass has 50 levels (or tiers) and is divided into two tracks – a free track available to all players, and a bonus Elite track along the top which can be purchased using 1000 Platinum.

When does the current Hunt Pass end?

The Daunltess Strange Horizons Hunt Pass initiated on September 17th and will end on October 22nd, 2020.

How do I level up the Hunt Pass?

Just about everything you do in Dauntless will level you towards a new Hunt Pass tier. Each time you earn 100 Hunt Pass XP this will unlock a new reward tier with 10XP given for each hunt, 100XP for each quest, and 20-100XP for completed bounties. You can also find 10 collectable pickups scattered around Ramgate that respawn every 24 hours, each one worth 5 Hunt Pass XP.

If you've already completed most of the main and side quests in Dauntless, you should focus on bounties. Choose bounties that align with your playstyle and goals such as completing X number of patrols, or hunting Behemoths of a certain element. You can only draft as many bounties as you have bounty tokens (don't worry, these recharge on a timer). If you don't like a particular bounty then you can expend a token to swap it for another.

Is the Dauntless Elite Hunt Pass worth it?

1000 Platinum will cost you around £7.99 which puts the Dauntless Elite Hunt Pass on par with most other passes in terms of pricing. If you manage to unlock all 50 reward tiers then you'll find your inventory stashed with loads of new items and cosmetics. The Elite Hunt Pass for Strange Horizons will also pay back 950 Platinum, almost covering the cost of the next season.

There are a couple of other worthwhile bonuses veteran Slayers will want to make use of. Being an Elite Pass holder gives you two extra loot rolls at the end of each hunt while offering 50% boost to all Mastery experience earned.

Dauntless tips: 10 tips & tricks for newcomers

How do I claim Dauntless Hunt Pass rewards?

Hunt Pass rewards aren't automatically added to your inventory. You'll need to enter the menu, then go to the Hunt Pass to see what you've unlock. You can also pay a visit to Ramsgate stylist, Gregario Flynt to claim your rewards.

You can see what rewards are on offer for the current season pass by going to the official Hunt Pass page which include images and videos of each unlock.

Dauntless is currently available to download and play for free on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch with a mobile version currently in the works.


Dead By Daylight prepares for Tome V, coming soon

Dead By Daylight developer Behaviour Interactive are teasing a new slab of content for their spooky multiplayer slasher. Today the studio revealed Tome V: Unleashed promising more updates soon.

If you've spent some time away from Dead By Daylight then you might not be aware of Tome, or The Rift, or The Archives. They're an added layer of player progression which was introduced last year.

Tome V: Unleashed will likely launch in the coming days and with it comes a series of in-game challenges for players to complete. These are presented in branch-like paths, dishing out rewards including Rift Fragment (we'll explain what these are in a bit). Each Tome is divided into multiple levels and it's only by completing several linked challenges that you can reach the epilogue and advance to the next tier. Still with us?

These challenges provide optional goals for players to aim for and will often encourage you to use a variety of characters and tactics. Doing so will shower you with Rift Fragments which help fill a progress bar in The Rift. This is basically Dead By Daylight's slightly more confusing take on the battle pass system we've seen in games like Fortnite, PUBG, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Play Dead By Daylight long enough for a live season and you'll get some neat rewards.

When Tome V: Unleashed goes live, we'll be sure to list the available tiers and rewards. Here's a little snippet of lore about The Archives:

The Observer has a unique power, with which he can probe the Entity's Fog and find memories and stories that are stored in her memories. All these memories are stored in the Fog once a Character is taken, with the Entity not making any use of it, thus getting forgotten.

At the core of The Archives is the Auris, a device capable of peering into the memories of those who've entered the Fog. Through this device, the players access a series of Challenges to help them piece together these memories and his overall role. ​

With Halloween fast approaching, Dead By Daylight is rumoured to be gearing up for a special event. Leaks suggest that a bevy of survivor and killer cosmetics are on the way including alternate outfits for horror icons Ghost Face and Leatherface.

Source: Twitter (@DeadByBHVR)


PlayStation Trophy levelling system to be overhauled from tonight

Sony has announced it is making some major changes to the PlayStation Trophy system, specifically the way levelling works and the number of ranks that will be shown. Currently, the trophy level range sits between 1-100 but with the new change that range will now become 1-999. This means the current trophy level you have will be reconfigured to match the new system. An example given by Sony states that a player with a Level 12 trophy score will be converted to a level in the low 200 range. This will be determined by your trophy level and quality of trophies you have unlocked in games.

Sony will also be introducing new Trophy Level Icons and these will come into effect on PS5 and the PlayStation companion app. At the moment the icon is the gold star but in the new system this will change to bronze, silver, gold, and platinum trophies. You can see what the icons will look like and the levels they apply to in the image below.

Other than these changes the trophy system will act as normal. Your trophy level will carry over to the PS5 just like it did between PS3, PS Vita and the PS4, so no need to worry about losing trophies you have unlocked already. The change with the system will begin tonight in North America and will roll out across the world over the next couple of days. The new system means players should be able to advance through levels at a faster pace, with earlier levels much easier to progress through.

Source: PS Blog


FIFA 21 title update 2 out now, read the 1.03 patch notes here

The second title update for FIFA 21 has now been released by EA along with a server update addressing issues across the game and the FIFA 21 companion apps. These changes come as part of update 1.03 which is being rolled out across various platforms. You can see what title update two brings with the more extensive list of all the changes enacted with the rollout of the new update below. You will notice changes to Ultimate Team, Pro Clubs, and Volta Football.

FUT:

Addressed the following issue:

  • A stability issue sometimes occurred when making bids on the FUT Transfer Market.
  • Some Gold Packs for returning players displayed a placeholder image.
  • The Netherlands Tifos previously displayed as Holland.
  • Updated names of several Tifos.
  • Corrected a typo on the New Items screen.
  • Addressed the message that would display when attempting to bid on a FUT Item with a full Transfer Targets list.
  • Addressed the Three Gold Loan Player Pick being incorrectly named.

Pro Clubs:

  • Addressed an issue with the Pro Clubs Leaderboards.
    • The Scout Pro screen was incorrectly displaying greyed out options.
  • In Pro Clubs, AI RM/RW teammates did not have the exact same Attributes as LM/LW teammates.
    • This only impacted Divisions 10 – 5.

VOLTA FOOTBALL:

  • The ball was sometimes difficult to see on the new VOLTA STADIUM.
  • The Import Face customization option incorrectly referred to VOLTA FOOTBALL as VOLTA WORLD.

Our review for FIFA 21 went live earlier this afternoon, and in it I wrote:

On the pitch, FIFA 21 is an incremental improvement over FIFA 20, but doesn't address some of the biggest issues with defending and the high-scoring matches this leads to. With Volta still missing a certain spark and Ultimate Team not really changing much, it's the Football Manager-inspired Career mode that takes the biggest step forward. It's still a good football game, but it feels like the real focus is on next-gen.
Source: EA

Steam gets new customisable Chat Filtering feature to block profanity and slurs

Valve have introduced a new Chat Filtering feature for their Steam platform as a whole with an emphasis on flexibility and customisation.

The new default setting is to block profanity and slurs from people you don't know in Steam Chat and through games that leverage Valve's new system, but you can also modify preferences to turn this filter off, enable it with Steam Friends, and also modify the list of terms that are filtered.

On the one hand, this is great. Chat Filtering is an important tool in blocking harassment and abuse in online social spaces, and multiplayer games are a space where that can really come to the fore. Commonly used profanity and slurs have been put on a default list and will be replaced by symbols, however, Valve rightly state the the use of language constantly evolves and depends a lot on context and who you are talking to. One reason for having a flexible system such as this is to allow marginalised groups  to reclaim terms.

It's for that reason that Chat Filtering is not enables between Steam Friends by default, and also why users can customise the list of terms that are blocked.

Regardless of what you type, you will be able to see it, and it will depend on the filters that the receiving party or parties have enabled as to whether or not they see it.

While this sounds great, it does also have the potential to simply allow abuse to fly under the radar. If a bunch of hypothetical KKK members hop onto Steam for a game of CS:GO, they could throw racist terms about their opponents back and forth, and since Steam's chat is showing these terms unfiltered to them, it adds an element of permissibility to their actions and terms.

That said, all users will still be beholden to Steam's terms and online conduct rules. This states that users must not "Defame, abuse, harass, stalk, threaten or otherwise violate the legal rights (such as rights of privacy and publicity) of others."

If users believe they are the target of abuse – and you'll be able to see this from the obscured words – they have the ability to block communication and report them with the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the user's Steam Community profile
  2. Click on the large "more" button in the upper-right corner of the page
  3. Select "Report Violation" from the dropdown
  4. Select a category of abuse and enter a brief description of the abuse

Additionally, if it's in-game, many titles have options and tools to block and report other players as well.

Source: Steam


The PlayStation 5 teardown video shows removable side panels, dust holes and how to install an SSD

It seems like Sony are really starting to open up about the nitty-gritty details of the PlayStation 5 hardware this week, with a detailed teardown of the console revealing that the console has much-rumoured removable side panels and showing how to access the slot to install an M.2 NVME SSD to expand the console's internal storage.

The teardown starts with the PS5 in its upright configuration, allowing Yasuhiro Ootori, VP Mechanical Design Dept. to demonstrate that the base is secured in this orientation with a screw. However, it also clips onto part of the back of the case, allowing for it to still be secure when the console is horizontal. Instead of leaving an unsightly screw hole (heaven forbid!), the base stores a little magnetic screwhole cover in its snazzy rotatable design.

To get at the console's innards, you remove the entirety of the console's side panels – we can surely expect these to come in different colours sometime soon, if you want an all black console to hide away in your TV cabinet. This reveals the large fan in the upper left corner of the console. The black plastic shroud to the console's innards feature some dust catcher holes where you should be able to vacuum out dust that has been caught up in the console to maintain its quiet cooling.

The SSD expansion slot is hidden behind the unit's shroud, with a removable panel revealing a standard M.2 SSD slot, capable of accommodating all standardised lengths of SSD.

The fan is a real chonker. It's 120mm in diameter, but her 45mm thickness and is a double-sided intake blower that should effectively push air through the rest of the console. It's a huge step up over the fans found in the current PlayStation 4 designs, that's for sure.

Removing more of the case, and the PS5's huge motherboard is revealed with all the components nicely spread out. It's confirmed that the PS5 uses liquid metal for the TIM to allow for long-term high cooling performance and transfer to the heatsink. Which is absolutely massive. Made up of several distinct units of aluminium fins and with copper heatpipes connecting them, it's a work of art. The size of it allows Sony to get the same level of performance as the vapour chamber heatsinks used in Xbox One X and Xbox Series X, though sacrifices size to get there.

Finally, the built in power supply is rated at 350W.

Source: PS Blog


FIFA 21 Review

What can you really say about FIFA 21? It's a football game similar in vein to last year's entry with a few changes both on and off the pitch. Those few changes may just be enough to be worth upgrading to the new game, with a better Career mode experience and the expected array of tweaks to the core footballing gameplay.

EA have taken some liberal inspiration from Football Manager for their overdue overhaul of the Career mode. Now you can keep an eye on matches via a simulation screen instead of loading into the pitch. From here you can make decisions based on how your team is doing, as if you were just managing from the sideline. If you want to focus purely on managing, then it is a great way to get through career without having to take control of the team and enter matches. You can also simulate each training day, though your squad is more likely to get better if you play the minigames yourself.

As always, you can choose whatever team you want from any of the leagues in the game to manage, with each one having its own objectives. Playing with Everton, their main aims include reaching the Europa League and getting youth players from the academy to the starting eleven. The squad had not been updated fully at the start with James Rodriguez still at Real Madrid as I started, so I mimicked reality and bought him in. Unfortunately, he, and another of my other signings, tore his ACL and is now out for seven months. Since Everton are currently topping the Premier League with Rodriguez in fine form, I wouldn't have minded something closer to reality, even if hot new signings getting immediately injured is believable. Less believable was my manager getting offered the Wales managerial job after just seven decent matches in charge.

When it comes to the on the pitch action there is some improvement to the way players move and dribble with the ball. Teammates are slightly smarter with their off the ball runs, and the action feels smoother and more natural. Passing generally feels much more direct and player animations come across as more realistic, though there are still occasions where things go a bit weird as players fall over.

There are areas of improvement still required. Defending still feels lacklustre, as almost any kind of contact tackle it almost ends up being a foul followed by a card. It means that defending basically turns into running at the opposing player and hoping you make contact with the ball to take it from them. It was an issue that was raised for FIFA 20 and it hasn't been resolved for FIFA 21, leading to high scoring matches where defending just doesn't feel great. Then again, you could argue EA have made the game ultra-realistic following some of the scores from the 2020/21 season so far.

With eyes turning to the next generation, FIFA 21 on current gen consoles looks nigh on identical to FIFA 20. Sure, the menus are revamped but the gameplay itself looks the same and you would be hard pressed to notice a difference if it weren't for the few technical changes, and the fact you have more customisation options for your stadium in Ultimate Team.

Of course, Ultimate Team is back – it's EA's biggest money spinner, after all. Generally, things are the same where players can build their teams by purchasing packs through FUT coins or the premium FIFA Points currency or engage in the transfer market to buy players directly. Last year, I mentioned that the amount of coins given away felt generous, and I could build a decent team. It's similar in FIFA 21, but don't expect to be able to afford the top tier players without grinding away or getting lucky with a pack opening. You can feel why it is tempting to plump for buying FIFA Points when other players seem to already have the best players in their squads.

There is some balancing when it comes to weekly point totals, with those being capped after 30 matches in Division Rivals. This goes some way to ensure players have a shot at performing better in the weekly competition rather than letting players with more time dominate. Another general improvement is that the player fitness has been ditched.

Volta Football also returns, and it still just feels like more of a diversion. The grounded style doesn't really fit with the street football vibe, and it still feels like a knock off imitation of FIFA Street. Again, I feel almost exactly the same about it now as when the mode was introduced in FIFA 20. There is a short narrative to get into Volta Football, but you can simply skip it and jump online with your Volta team or choose to join someone else's to play in matches alongside other players.


The Sims 4 update 1.32 out now for consoles and PC

EA has released the latest update for The Sims 4 on PC and consoles with a number of fixes. The update is 1.32 on consoles and update 1.67.45.1020 on PC. There are some base game additions to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month including new food dishes, and new clothing designs. The studio is still working on improving skin tone textures too. There are also a number of fixes across The Sims 4 and its expansions. You can read the full patch notes below.

The Sims 4 1.32 update notes

Sims 4

  • Fixed an issue in which external garbage cans were constantly being filled up when not having Eco Lifestyle installed. It is a good thing to be conscious of our overall everyday waste footprint but there is something to be said about too much trash that is… seemingly uninvited.
  • Sims will now use the dining table to eat again. Sometimes if I'm in a hurry, I grab a meal on the go and don't sit down to eat, but sometimes you need to sit down and enjoy a nice meal, you know?
  • You pay your new bills, all the new bills, keep track of all the bills. We think you can do it. So, hope you like this update too as we have adjusted Lot Taxes to be more appropriate per Lot.
  • Fixed an issue in which the message "Not Expanded to Ops" would appear while in Build Mode and would hinder gameplay. If this is the behavior with "Not Expanded to Ops" I don't want to see what "Expanded to Ops" looks like, unless it is a good thing, but let's not get carried away.
  • Had a good talk with Sims that had neglected their duties with their Toddlers. They can go back to Potty Training and Read to Sleep to their little angels.
  • Fixed an issue in which Favorited Items in inventory were being reset when editing Lots through Manage Worlds.
  • Sims that were transferred to other Households will no longer reset any Household settings like Bed Assignments. Reading about this issue and trying to imagine it, brought me to this:

 

<insert dramatic music>
"What do you want?"

"It's not that simple!"
"But… <sigh> What.Do.You.Want?!"
"Just because you moved out, and you are suddenly back in our lives doesn't mean you can disrupt everything ok? I had my bed, with MY NAME ON IT!"
"OK"
<end dramatic music>

 

  • A new foe has appeared! A challenger approaches! Error 124:2951a73 enters the fray… and is properly squashed. Good luck next time Error 124:2951a73… Well, don't come back so… farewell!
  • The Lin-Z Smart Speaker has been updated to now play the Focus and Metal stations.

Island Living

  • Fixed an issue in which all non-decorative rocks disappeared after traveling from different Lots. Was it the work of impostor rocks? Igneous looks especially shifty. Sus.

Discover University

  • Fixed an issue with the ICYA Chest in which it appeared locked after Sims moved from one Household to another. My precious! Mine!

Eco Lifestyle

  • Fixed an issue that reset Bits and Pieces when Sims moved to other Households. No uh, if you move, move but leave my Bits and Pieces within my Household thank you very much.
  • The Community Voting Board is no longer listed as a DEBUG item, no longer has a defective thumbnail, and can be placed within the Lot.
  • Civil Designer Sims can now complete Work from Home Assignments.
  • We have rebuilt the Store No More Home Fabricator so that it doesn't break at least once a day. All returns are subject to warranty inspection, no Simoleons were harmed in this endeavor.
  • We spent some time tasting… I mean… monitoring yes, Sims' behavior in regards to Cooking and Baking Cakes pretty much non stop. We managed to correct said behavior, but hopefully, we won't lose access to the delicious goods.

Outdoor Retreat

  • Fixed a routing issue that prevented Sims from extinguishing engulfed Sims that are sitting by the Campfire. Gives a whole new meaning to "Warming up by the fire."

Dine Out

  • Fixed an issue with Restaurant Menus that made them appear blank or corrupted. Blind tasting menus in real life are a thing, but I don't think that is what this issue wanted to convey.

Fitness Stuff

  • We have added the Focus and Metal station as an option for Earbuds. Have you claimed your free Earbuds yet?

Tiny Living

  • The Media Marathoner All-on-the-Wall, and the Media Marathoner now have the option so Sims can perform Air Guitar. Yearrrrgggg.

Moschino

  • Fixed an issue with keys [Q] and [E] when used with the Tripod, now those keys should move the camera up and down freely. Strike a pose!

Source: EA


Overwatch Switch trial will be available from next week for Switch Online members

Nintendo has announced that from October 13th until October 20th Nintendo Switch Online members will have full access to Overwatch: Legendary Edition. That means the full game will be playable allowing members to get a taste of what is on offer, be it for the first time or for players that may have stopped playing the game on other systems. The trial will be available worldwide and can already be preloaded from the Nintendo eShop.

It is a nice bonus to try the game, and may be Blizzard's way of getting people interested in the game again ahead of Overwatch 2's released. That was announced a year ago at BlizzCon 2019. Players of the original Overwatch won't be left behind, with all new maps being folded back to the original game, all of your cosmetics and progression carrying forward, and so on. In fact, Overwatch and Overwatch 2 will be able to play together. They share the same online servers, balance and gameplay, and will be updated in lockstep with maps and characters.

So what's new in Overwatch 2? Well, quite a lot. Blizzard are greatly expanding the story PvE side of the game, which was previously reserved for limited time events in the original game. There's a full story mode, the first episode of which takes players to Rio de Janiero, and something called Hero Missions, which are described as "highly replayable co-op", featuring meaningful character progression and customisable abilities. It was compared too Adventure Mode in Diablo.

All of the existing characters have had a visual overhauls, and there's a new one called Sojourn as well.

When Dom reviewed Overwatch for Switch, he wrote:

Overwatch on Switch offers the same, fantastically competitive experience that players have been enjoying on other formats for the past few years. While the necessary drop in frame rate is disappointing, it's clearly helped to maintain the quality elsewhere, and does nothing to diminish Overwatch's position as one of the best games of all time.
You can read the full review here.
Source: Twitter

Resident Evil reboot movie cast announced, will be based on first two games

Constantin Films has announced the cast for its reboot of the Resident Evil movie franchise with Kaya Scodelario taking the role of Claire Redfield while Hannah JohnKamen has been cast as Jill Valentine. Robbie Amell will be Chris Redfield, Tom Hopper is Albert Wesker, Avan Jogia  is Leon S. Kennedy, and Neal McDonough will be William Birkin. This movie will go back to 1998 and the origins of the Resident Evil series as the horror of Raccoon City is unleashed.

Kaya Scodelario has starred in the Maze Runner movies and Skins fans will recognise her as the character Effy Stonem. More recently, she was in Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge, and The Pale Horse. Hannah John-Kamen was Ghost in Ant-Man and The Wasp, and has also starred in Brave New World, Ready Player One, and The Stranger. Robbie Amell has been in the Flash TV show, Code 8, the recent X Files series, and Upload. Tom Hopper is in The Umbrella Academy, and also starred in Black Sails. Avan Jogia was in Zombieland: Double Tap, and also starred in The Stranger. Neal McDonough may be the big name having been in the likes of Legends of Tomorrow, Altered Carbon, Arrow, Band of Brothers, and Minority Report.

Johanne Roberts, director behind this Resident Evil movie, said:

"With this movie, I really wanted to go back to the original first two games and re-create the terrifying visceral experience I had when I first played them whilst at the same time telling a grounded human story about a small dying American town that feels both relatable and relevant to today's audiences."

A release window for the new Resident Evil movie is yet to be confirmed, but do not expect it to be released for a couple of years.

Source: Deadline


PS5's Tempest 3D AudioTech will only support headphones at launch

One of the cornerstone features of the PlayStation 5 is Sony's custom designed Tempest 3D AudioTech engine, allowing for hundreds or thousands of audio elements to be placed and processed in 3D space within the game. However, while Sony have bold plans to enable this to work and be simulated through everything from surround sound systems to the speakers built into your TV, the company have now stated that 3D audio will only work with a pair of headphones at the launch of the console.

3D audio will work with a very broad range of headphones and headsets, but there are some limitations: your headset will need to plug into the PS5 via USB or into your DualSense controller with a 3.5mm audio jack.

This does unfortunately seem to exclude some high-end wireless headphones that rely on optical audio. The PlayStation 5 does not have an optical audio output, but many TVs have an optical audio output built in which could be used with these headsets. However, this set up would seemingly not be supported by the Tempest engine at launch – there's no guarantees on how the TV will passthrough the audio, with different manufacturers and models having different audio throughput options.

It was back in March at the Road to PS5 tech reveal where Mark Cerny first discussed the Tempest 3D AudioTech engine and the company's ambitious goals for implementing 3D audio for all PS5 users, regardless of their audio set up. A key focus was on having virtual surround sound processed through speakers that are built into TVs, but it was made clear that this technology would evolve over time.

Sony writes, "Although TV speaker virtual surround sound won't be available on launch day for PS5, it's still a feature we are extremely excited about, and our engineers are hard at work on bringing it to PS5 in the future."

TV and soundbars were described as the second audio set up that Sony would focus on supporting, coming ahead of traditional 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound systems.

Tempest 3D AudioTech will also support head-related transfer function (HRTF) to process the audio in such a way that it matches how sound enters your ear canal, increasing the realism of the sounds and the way they are positioned in 3D around you.

Back in March, Sony stated that the PS5 would have five generic HRTF profiles that users can choose between, but that this could later evolve so that users submit photos of their ears to Sony for a bespoke HRTF profile to be created for them.

This led to Mark Cerny 'liking' photos of peoples ears that they sent to him on Twitter:

It's official: Mark Cerny likes ears.

This checks off another of the 15 big questions we had about the PS5 still remaining in the run up to its release on 12th and 19th November. Earlier this week, it leaked from Russian sources that the 825GB SSD will present 664GB of usable space for game installs, and while somewhat dubious, this figure is believable. However, we're still waiting on a UI reveal, details of major system features like PlayStation Activities, if there are any SSDs available that can be used to expand the internal storage, if games can be backed up to external drives, and so much more.

Source: PS Blog


Assassin's Creed: Valhalla tie in novel Geirmund's Saga announced, releases November

Ubisoft has confirmed that Assassin's Creed: Valhalla will have a tie in novel called Geirmund's Saga, and that it will be released on November 26th for £7.99. The book does not directly follow the story of Eivor but instead the tale of Geirmund Hel-hide. It is an adventure that will explore the raids on Britain with some mythical elements thrown in that tie up Geirmund's fate as he looks for glory and comes face to face with betrayal.

The full synopsis of Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Geirmund's Saga is as follows:

Mid-9th century. The Viking attacks and invasions are shattering England's kingdoms. Born into a royal lineage of Norwegian kings, Geirmund Hel-hide sets out for adventure to prove his worth as a Viking and a warrior. A perilous journey across the sea brings him into contact with a being out of myth and grants him a mysterious ring that promises both great power and bitter betrayal. As Geirmund rises in the ranks of King Guthrum's legendary army, he will have to use all his cunning to face the many dangers of a land ravaged by war . . .

Fighting alongside his band of loyal warriors, his path will soon lead him into a conflict as old as the gods themselves.

The book is being written by author Matthew J. Kirby whose own published works include the novels The Clockwork Three, Icefall, The Dark Gravity Sequence series, and the Assassin's Creed tie in books of The Last Descendants series.

Source: Penguin 


Watch Dogs: Legion post launch content revealed, online multiplayer coming December

Ubisoft has announced the post launch content that Watch Dogs: Legion players will be getting in both free updates, and as part of the game's season pass. One of the main free additions will be online multiplayer, and that will be added to Watch Dogs: Legion on December 3rd. The online portion of the game will allow players to explore London in co-op of up to four players where activities and missions can be completed. This includes four player Tactical Missions. On the player vs player side, players will be able to compete in the Spiderbot Arena through free for all deathmatches.

In 2021, there will be free content for the single player part of Watch Dogs: Legion, and that will include new characters with new abilities, new missions, and a new game plus mode. Season Pass holders will get extra content. It has already been confirmed that Aiden from the original Watch Dogs and Wrench from Watch Dogs 2 will be playable characters for Season Pass holders. In addition, these players will get Darcy from the Assassin's Order, giving a crossover to the Assassin's Creed games, and Mina who can use the mind control ability. The Season Pass also adds the Bloodline story missions and a copy of the original Watch Dogs.

If you are going to play Watch Dogs: Legion on PC then you may want to check out the specs here. Watch Dogs Legion will be out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on 29th October. The game will also be coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X at launch of the next gen consoles. The PS5 physical version will release on November 24th.

Ubisoft itself has been the centre of controversy in recent times with lots of allegations and instances of sexual assault as well as tone deaf marketing. It's true that the company has taken steps in the last few months, removing Tommy FrançoisMaxime Béland, Serge HascoëtAshraf Ismail and other Ubisoft executives for after allegations of varying severity were levied against them. However, further allegations were made in August which have not yet been publicly addressed, as Ubisoft deal with these matters internally with the help of third parties.

Ubisoft released Tom Clancy's Elite Squad on mobile and then removed imagery of a raised black fist, at a time where such imagery in combination with the actions within the game played too closely to the Black Lives Matter movement that rose to protest the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement. The studio behind it? The one run by Yves Guillemot's son Charlie Guillemot who was awarded a high ranking role right out of uni.

Source: Press Release


October's PlayStation Now update adds Days Gone, MediEvil, and Friday The 13th

Sony has taken to the spirit of October with this month's PlayStation Now roster update adding some suitably horror and Halloween based games. Leading the charge is Bend Studio's Days Gone where players can outrun hordes of Freakers while taking in the natural sights on a bike. Days Gone will be available on the service until January 5th 2021. Joining Days Gone are MediEvil, Friday The 13th, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince, and Rad.

In our review for Days Gone, Jim wrote:

There are glimmers of true excellence here; small stretches of Days Gone can be especially fun and polished. However, the assembly of these various parts suffers from the lack of an engaging story, compelling characters, or an open world that feels organic and worth exploring.
Jim weighed in again with his thoughts when reviewed MediEvil, and wrote:
MediEvil resurrects one of our all-time favourite PlayStation mascots for a new generation. This remake does exactly what it promises, revamping dated visuals while staying faithful to the 1998 original, even if that means digging up certain design choices that have remained buried with Sir Dan all these years.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is a lovely return for the series' 2.5D puzzle platforming. It tinkers with and broadens the gameplay options to be more welcoming, and levels can feel a little stretched out at times, but grab a couple of friends and stick it on Classic mode, and this will delight fans of those first two games.
And in our Rad review, Reuben wrote:
An enjoyable retro-style rogue-lite; in RAD you should expect brutal gameplay in a gaudy and synthesised world. The random nature of the world sometimes proves to be a problem, but not enough to diminish what is a fantastically loud take on the genre. If only for letting players smack about mutants with their engorged limbs and a baseball bat, RAD lives up to its name. Just try to stop playing it, you'll struggle.

We do not have a review for Friday The 13th but if you are looking for a multiplayer horror title, then that should scratch your itch. #

Source: PS Blog


Dreams' big The Music Update is out today – here's the patch notes

A big update for Dreams is out today, stuffing Media Molecule's creation-based game with tons of new musical-themed content for creators to play around with. This will bring the game's version number up to 2.18.

One of the most immediate improvements this brings is with hundreds of new orchestral instruments, new synths, drum kits, pianos, guitars and even church organs, so you can compose pretty much anything you can dream up. To handle all of this, the musical instrument collections have also been redesigned, nesting collections within one another to hopefully help you find what you want more easily. Oh, and all the recorded previews are better balanced, to sooth your tender ear holes instead of blasting them.

Actually putting these instruments into use is enhanced with a few new effects. Tempo sync allows you to sync up audio to the beat more easily, Bipolar LFO means effect fields will oscillate between two values – turning this off means the wobble only goes to a value and not to the polar opposite – and you can change the priority and influence of effects with Height, so they can target specific sounds.

If you're more into working with samples, then Clips are a library of pre-composed loops and phrases, all in the same key and tempo that you can mix, match, modulate and twist into whatever form you want. To help get your creative juices flowing, there's also some 'Starting Points' which are an experimental new idea to give you a basis from which you can develop your own creation, and there's also just a bunch of full new compositions that you can add to your projects.

It all sounds like a pretty great update for those who have enjoyed fiddling with the game's audio creation tools.

Update: Here's the full patch notes:

New Instruments

The Mm instruments library is fuller, more organised and just plain better than ever. Featuring a full suite of brand-new orchestral instruments, synths, drums and much, much (much!) more. Tuned and Non-Tuned Percussion have grown so much, they each have their own unique collection! Fan-favourite legacy instruments are still here – you'll find them in the 'More' sub-collections. Don't forget to listen to any updates on instruments after you accept them! Your existing music may be affected, because we've carefully balanced the mix of our older instruments, helping newly-created music in the Dreamiverse sound as awesome as possible.

Including:

  • New drum kits
  • New keyboards
  • New guitars
  • New percussion/tuned percussion – now in separate sub-collections
  • New synths (and a complete overhaul of the collection)
  • New bass
  • New strings (and a complete overhaul of the collection)
  • New wind and brass (and a complete overhaul of the collection)
  • New sampled phrases & effects
  • New vocals
  • Some legacy instruments are now in 'More' sub-collections of each category

New Music Clips

Clips are an easy, fun way to make music in Dreams – as simple as stamping on a timeline. And we've made it better, adding a whole load of new music clips, spanning multiple genres! There's more variety than ever before, it's all designed to work together, and it's carefully organised to help structure your tracks.

Including:

  • New clips covering more genres and moods, organised by Melodies, Beats, Textures, Harmonies, Chords, Bass.

New Music Tracks

We've added a whole range of new tracks to the collection, polished and ready to be stamped into your scene, and now organised by mood and style. There's also a brand-new remix-friendly 'starting points' collection, to help kick-start your own creativity. Finally, for advanced music dreamers, we've added more logic-based interactive music.

Including:

  • Sub-collections of tracks organised by mood and use, from Peaceful to Intense, and including new generative/interactive tracks.
  • New collection of musical starting points to kick-start the creative process.

New Effect Field Features

Including:

  • New effect field tweak menu page 'Movement' added to control LFO settings
  • New 'Beatsync LFO' button synchronises the LFO rate to the tempo
  • With beat sync on, LFO Rate slider now subdivides the tempo
  • 'Bipolar LFO' controls whether LFOs range from -1 to +1 or 0 to +1
  • 'Reverse LFO' reverses the LFO wave shape
  • New effect field 'Upper/Lower Height in Timelines' sliders added to the tweak menu's Options page
  • The above means that effect fields on timelines can now be used horizontally and vertically, to affect specific instruments
  • LFOs now work in microchips, timelines and in the world itself

What's New Elsewhere?

  • Controller Sensor Motion Controller Mappings: A new addition to the controller sensor tweak menu, displaying the button mapping for motion controllers (as applicable).
  • VR Subtitle Positioning: A new option in My Preferences to adjust the position of subtitles when in VR.
  • Disable Comfort Mode: Creators will now have the option to temporarily turn off a player's Comfort Mode setting if their creation is not compatible. Players will receive notice of this before continuing.
  • Basic AIM Controller Support: AIM controllers will now function when connected, interpreted as a wireless controller.
  • How to… Label: A new How To… video focused on labelling your VR creations correctly. Watch here
  • Controller Compatibility Labelling: A new option to specify the controller(s) your creation is intended for.

Updates & Improvements

  • Updated: Changes to VR labels, providing clearer information on ratings and compatibility (e.g. Non-VR has changed to TV Only). The changes are highlighted on an in-game screen (see screenshot).
  • Updated: You can now choose more gizmo types for the Hand/Imp Tracker (wireless controller, motion controllers, wireless controller – VR, motion controllers – VR). All these options show imps, sized and positioned appropriately for controller, but the VR options also show the controllers, positioned and sized for VR.
  • Updated: A reminder to new VR players that Reel operates differently in Play and Create modes.
  • Removed: The 'Welcome Dreamers' page when booting up Dreams.

Source: PS Blog


Monster Hunter Rise won't add a new weapon type to the series

This week a string of interviews with Capcom and Monster Hunter series producer Ryozo Tsujimoto have gone live, detailing a number of features and design influences that have made their way into the upcoming Monster Hunter Rise.

Announced in September alongside Monster Hunter Stories 2 during a Nintendo Direct Mini, Rise will be launching exclusively on the Nintendo Switch in March 2021 with Capcom having made some deliberate choices in setting it apart from the hugely successful Monster Hunter: World.

Before we round out some of the key information siphoned from these numerous interviews, it has been confirmed that Monster Hunter Rise will not be adding a new weapon type to the game. That said, it will include all fourteen weapon classes found in Monster Hunter: World, including the recently introduced Charge Blade. Here's what Tsujimito had to say about this in his interview with Eurogamer:

Adding an extra weapon type would really have to add something new, it would have to add something to the roster that isn't currently present in any of the quite large number of weapons already there. And we also have so many ways that we can increase the depth and breadth of the gameplay that aren't fixated on that idea of an extra weapon, for example, the wirebug mechanic—that adds something to each and every existing weapon, they all have ways you can combine the wirebug with. And that way of taking something which adds on to all 14 weapons adds a depth and breadth, that wouldn't be the same as just saying try different weapons. You know, we just don't think in those kind of terms. We always think, how do we add to the breadth and depth of the experience, and in this case we've chosen to add something to the hunter's toolset in general.

Development on Rise began shortly after Capcom wrapped Monster Hunter Generations. Much like this 3DS instalment, Monster Hunter Rise is aimed at being a handheld title and will reportedly be designed for short yet action-filled bursts of gameplay.

Monster Hunter Rise – 7 things you need to know

As for post-launch support, Capcom have already confirmed that it will continue to grow via title updates much like Monster Hunter: World. However, when asked by 4Gamer whether Rise will have a G Edition or an expansion, Tsujimoto said that the team have not yet considered this (via Siliconera).

There are some other tidbits too, which Gematsu have compiled in a handy list for fans. We found out that your Palamute companion in Monster Hunter Rise will attack in tandem with the hunter, becoming more aggressive as you dole out damage. As for the upcoming range of amiibo figures, they will unlock daily lottery prizes as well as layered armour sets. Finally, the Japanese theme or Rise is said to help separate it from Generations and World in visual design.

Source: Gematsu


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