Blog Archive

Sunday, 18 October 2020

God of War update 1.34 makes minor fixes

Sony Santa Monica have quietly released a new update for their smash hit 2018 kind-of-a-reboot sequel, God of War. Those PlayStation fans currently tucking into the latest instalment will have noticed a prompt asking them to download and install God of War version 1.34 when trying to boot the game.

Don't get too excited, though. According to the patch notes for update 1.34 it only includes "various bug fixes" so yeah, false alarm. No new content or significant features so put those Leviathan Axes away.

With the next instalment in the PlayStation exclusive franchise having recently been announced during the PlayStation 5 showcase, it's easy to see why fans are so eager for news on Kratos, Atreus, and their odyssey across the nine realms. We know very little about God of War: Ragnarök, the teaser below only giving us a glimpse of the sequel's logo with an ominous bit of voiceover from Kratos, played by the sublime Christopher Judge.

If you're interested in learning more of God of War: Ragnarök then you can read Ade's theories on what will happen to Kratos and Atreus on their next journey as he probes into Norse mythology and what Ragnarök actually meant to the Vikings. Here's an excerpt:

Ragnarök means, when translated from Old Norse, "fate of the gods" or "twilight of the gods." It is both an apocalypse but also a rebirth, for, from the ashes of the old world, a new world is born. At the closing moments of the epic battle so long foretold, most of the Norse gods have ended up catching a severe case of premature death. Thor, Odin, Freya, Heimdall and many others will die in battle against the three children of Loki; Fenrir the giant wolf, Jörmungandr the Midgard serpent, and Hel, ruler of – unsurprisingly – Hel. Few will survive facing these formidable beings. In one of the original tellings, Thor's sons Modi and Magni do make it to the end of Ragnarök and beyond. Which would be a tricky feat to occur in God of War, on account of them being very dead. So straightaway, we know that God of War will vary significantly from the traditional myths.

One way it will likely run parallel to the original mythology however, is with the gathering of the children of Loki in order to strike against Asgard. All Loki's kiddie winks were either introduced or name-checked in God of War VIII – Jörmungandr played a significant role in the game, whilst Fenrir and Hel were alluded to – so it could be the case that the structure of Ragnarök will revolve around Kratos and Loki tracking down these 'children' and teaming up with them to prepare for the final assault.

In other God of War news, Sony Santa Monica have confirmed that both God of War (2018) and God of War III Remastered will be backwards compatible on PlayStation 5 when the console launches next month.


Ghost of Tsushima – how to play Legends co-op mode

If you're picking up a copy of Ghost of Tsushima, chances are you're diving into Sucker Punch's samurai sim for its gorgeous open world and a desperate tale of survival. However, since the game's launch there is now a free major new multiplayer expansion titled Ghost of Tsushima: Legends.

So, what exactly is this new multiplayer mode and how do you access it? Ghost of Tsushima: Legends allows you and up to three other allies to tackle a series of co-op gauntlets. These come in three different flavours including the story driven Legends missions, the round based Survival, and tougher Raids.

In order to access Ghost of Tsushima: Legends you need to make sure you've installed version 1.1 or later. This update introduced the new co-op mode as well as New Game+ and other features/improvements.

Naturally, you're going to need an internet connection as well as an active PlayStation Plus subscription in order to play, as well as a copy of the base game. While it's possible Sony will later release Legends as its own standalone title, for now it's an expansion for the core game.

You can dive into Ghost of Tsushima a numbers of ways, the easiest being via either the main menu (or the pause menu if you're already playing the story mode). Alternatively you can seek out a new character who appears in the campaign called Gyozen the Storyteller. He has his own map icon and when talking to him as Jin Sakai you can jump straight into a multiplayer mission. Finally, you can access Legends by receiving a party invite from friends.

We'll be explaining more about Ghost of Tsushima: Legends in our upcoming review and guides coverage but here's are some quickfire impressions. Ghost of Tsushima really doesn't feel like the kind of game that would lend itself to multiplayer but the result is both fun and challenging even if it doesn't elevate the core game's battle mechanics. Each of the four playable classes will feel familiar in terms of the base melee/ranged/stealth mix though they all come tagged with unique abilities to help set them apart. For instance, the Samurai is the most reliable for cutting down foes and holding his ground while the Ronin can summon a spirit dog and quick-revive fallen comrades.

Ghost of Tsushima: Legends has a rewarding gear system to keep players coming back as well as a ton of cosmetic items that can be unlocked by completing various challenges. Several hours into this surprise multiplayer mode and you'll have a formidable warrior who feels like you own. Although there's some grinding involved, at least Sucker Punch have confirmed Legends won't have microtransactions.


Ghost of Tsushima Guides & more from TheSixthAxis


Something for the Weekend – 17/10/20

The real world's not looking so hot right now. COVID cases are on the rise, and many parts of the UK are either already in, or heading towards, another lockdown. Good luck wherever you may be, and hopefully we'll get through this.

Thankfully it's much more exciting in the gaming world, we had our first glimpse at the new PS5 interface, plus loads of other news with the launch now only a few weeks away!

In the News This Week

Games in Review

Here's how this weeks games under the microscope did, will you be picking anything up?

And a variety of hardware reviews too:

Featured Articles

From the previews, Stefan launched into the week with a look at King Arthur: Knight's Tale, which he described as a "dark fantasy tactical RPG" with similar combat to XCOM but more RPG-like character development. Kicking it up a gear, he then went hands on with Planet Coaster: Console Edition to see how the next-gen launch title is shaping up as it prepares for a release as a next-gen launch title.

Meanwhile, Jim looked at Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory, a rhythm action adventure with 'plenty of fan service to go around' as Thomas looked at the peculiar Cloud Gardens. This game, if you can call it that, is best described as a "mix between gardening and creating a diorama with an added post-apocalyptic aesthetic".

Ade dug into more Norse mythology to theorise about what we might see in the next God of War game, which we all expect to be called God of War: Ragnarok.

Finally, What We Played featured Genshin Impact, Hades & a revisit of Forza Horizon 4.

Trailer Park

Get a first look at the PlayStation 5 user experience – Activities, Trophy tracking, Parties, Create & more revealed

The Monster Hunter movie trailer had landed

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope

Your Achievements

Here's what you in our community has been up to this week:

  • Ron_mcphatty plans to finish off the story to Star Wars Squadrons this weekend, and so far loves flying the TIE Bombers.
  • Bloodborne, No Man's Sky and Days Gone were what TSBonyman played this week, with the later likely being the focus for a potential lockdown.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn is feeling a bit overwhelming for hornet1990, who will be looking for a more a more linear experience for their next game!
  • MrYd's been busy as usual, grinding more of Genshin Impact and loving Squadrons in VR.

Have a good weekend and I'll see you again soon!


The next Epic free game duo will get you in the mood for Halloween

And the list just keeps on getting bigger. Epic Games have unveiled the next two free games entering their weekly giveaway, both of them horror themed sequels.

First up we have the delightful Costume Quest 2. Developed by Double Fine (Psychonauts, Brutal Legends, Broke Age) this charming turn-based roleplaying game has you and your companions don powerful costumes in a world where Halloween has been outlawed.

It's fair to say that Layers of Fear 2 isn't quite as cutesy, soaked in atmosphere as you traverse a haunted cruise ship lost at sea. For those keeping track, Epic gave away the original Layers of Fear around this time last year so it might be a good time to play them back to back this Halloween.

This week, there's another horror sequel up for grabs with Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs available until next Thursday alongside Kingdom New Lands. Here are all the previous Epic free games:

Layers of Fear 2 October 22-29, 2020
Costume Quest 2 October 22-29, 2020
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs October 15-22, 2020
Kingdom New Lands October 15-22, 2020
Rising Storm 2: Vietnam October 8-15, 2020
ABZU October 8-15, 2020
Pikuniku October 1-8, 2020
Rollercoaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition September 24-October 1, 2020
Football Manager 2020 September 17-24, 2020
Watch Dogs 2 September 17-24, 2020
Stick It To The Man! September 17-24, 2020
Railway Empire September 10-17, 2020
Where The Water Tastes Like Wine September 10-17, 2020
Into The Breach September 3-10, 2020
Hitman August 27-September 3, 2020
Shadowrun Collection August 27-September 3, 2020
God's Trigger August 20-27, 2020
Enter the Gungeon August 20-27, 2020
The Alto Collection August 13-20, 2020
Remnant: From the Ashes August 13-20, 2020
A Total War Saga: Troy August 13-14, 2020
Wilmot's Warehouse August 6-13, 2020
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP July 30 – August 6, 2020
Barony July 30 – August 6, 2020
20XX July 30 – August 6, 2020
Next Up Hero July 23-30, 2020
Tacoma July 23-30, 2020
Torchlight II July 16-23, 2020
Lifeless Planet: Premier Edition July 9-16, 2020
The Escapists 2 July 9-16, 2020
Killing Floor 2 June 9-16, 2020
Hue July 2-9, 2020
Stranger Things 3 June 25-July 2, 2020
AER Memories of Old June 18-25, 2020
Ark: Survival Evolved June 11-18, 2020
Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection June 11-18, 2020
Overcooked June 4-11, 2020
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection May 28-June 4, 2020
Civilization VI May 21-28, 2020
Grand Theft Auto V May 14-21, 2020
Death Coming May 7-14, 2020
Crashlands April 30-May 7, 2020
Amnesia: The Dark Descent April 30-May 7, 2020
For the King April 23-30, 2020
Just Cause 4 April 16-23, 2020
Wheels of Aurelia April 16-23, 2020
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments April 9-16, 2020
Close to the Sun April 9-16, 2020
Gone Home April 2-9, 2020
Drawful 2 April 2-9, 2020
Hob April 2-9, 2020
Totally Reliable Delivery Service April 1-8, 2020
World War Z March 26-April 2, 2020
Torment x Punisher March 26-April 2, 2020
Figment March 26-April 2, 2020
Watch Dogs March 19-26, 2020
The Stanley Parable March 19-26, 2020
A Short Hike March 12-19, 2020
Mutazione March 12-19, 2020
Anodyne 2 March 12-19, 2020
Gonner March 5-12, 2020
Offworld Trading Company March 5-12, 2020
Inner Space February 27-March 5, 2020
Faeria February 20-27, 2020
Assassin's Creed Syndicate February 20-27, 2020
Aztez February 13-20, 2020
Kingdom Come: Deliverance February 13-20, 2020
Ticket to Ride February 6-13, 2020
Carcassonne February 6-13, 2020
Farming Simulator 19 January 30-February 6, 2020
The Bridge January 23-30, 2020
Horace January 16-23, 2020
Sundered: Eldritch Edition January 9-16, 2020
Darksiders Warmastered Edition January 1-9, 2020
Darksiders 2 Dethinitive Edition January 1-9, 2020
Steep January 1-9, 2020
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair December 31, 2019
Hello Neighbor December 30, 2019
The Talos Principle December 29, 2019
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun December 28, 2019
Hyper Light Drifter December 27, 2019
FTL: Faster Than Light December 26, 2019
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator December 25, 2019
Celeste December 24, 2019
Ape Out December 23, 2019
Little Inferno December 22, 2019
Superhot December 21, 2019
Towerfall Ascension December 20, 2019
Into the Breach December 19, 2019
The Wolf Among Us December 12-19, 2019
The Escapists December 12-19, 2019
Jotun: Valhalla Edition December 6-12, 2019
Rayman Legends November 29-December 6, 2019
Bad North November 21-29, 2019
The Messenger November 14-21, 2019
Ruiner November 7-14, 2019
Nuclear Throne November 7-14, 2019
Costume Quest October 31-November 7, 2019
Soma October 31-November 7, 2019
Layers of Fear October 24-October 31, 2019
Q.U.B.E.2 October 24-October 31, 2019
Alan Wake: American Nightmare October 17-24, 2019
Observer October 17-24, 2019
Surviving Mars October 10-17, 2019
Minit October 3-10, 2019
Metro 2033 Redux September 26-October 3, 2019
Everything September 26-October 3, 2019
Lego Batman Trilogy September 19-26, 2019
Batman: Arkham Collection September 19-26, 2019
Conarium September 12-19, 2019
ABZU September 5-12, 2019
The End is Nigh September 5-12, 2019
Celeste August 29-September 5, 2019
Inside August 29-September 5, 2019
Fez August 22-29, 2019
Hyper Light Drifter August 15-22, 2019
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden August 15-22, 2019
GNOG August 8-15, 2019
For Honor August 2-9, 2019
Alan Wake August 2-9, 2019
This War of Mine July 25-August 2, 2019
Moonlighter July 25-August 2, 2019
Limbo July 18-July 25, 2019
Torchlight July 11-18, 2019
Overcooked July 4-11, 2019
Last Day of June June 27-July 4, 2019
Rebel Galaxy June 20-27, 2019
Enter the Gungeon June 13-20, 2019
Kingdom: New Lands June 6-13, 2019
City of Brass May 30-6, 2019
Rime May 23-30, 2019
Stories Untold May 16-23, 2019
World of Goo May 2-16, 2019
Transistor April 18-May 2, 2019
The Witness April 4-18, 2019
Oxenfree March 21-April 4, 2019
Slime Rancher March 7-21, 2019
Thimbleweed Park February 21-March 7, 2019
Axiom Verge February 7-21, 2019
The Jackbox Party Pack January 24-February 7, 2019
What Remains of Edith Finch January 11-24, 2019
Super Meat Boy December 28, 2018-January 10, 2019
Subnautica December 12-27, 2018

The Epic Games Store also hosts a growing number of online free-to-play hits including Fortnite, as well as Rocket League, Dauntless, Rogue Company, and more.

Source: Epic Games


God of War: Ragnarök – what can Norse mythology tell us about the PS5 sequel?

It's time to start getting excited, people. The eagerly anticipated follow-up to the critically acclaimed God of War VIII is heading our way in 2021, and it even has a title – God of War: Ragnarök.

The 'not quite a reboot but not exactly a straightforward continuation of the series' God of War VIII wowed audiences when it launched in 2018, combining the expected visceral combat and buckets of gore with the entirely unexpected delights of deeply satisfying character arcs and a compelling plot that kept players reeling from twists and turns until the very end.  But, with Sony keeping typically shtum about its future pipeline, it looks like we'll have to be satisfied with only knowing the sequel's title for the time being.

Or do we? I reckon we can glean a lot about the characters, plot, world building and general direction of the sequel simply by considering its title, Ragnarök, within the context of the previous game and actual Norse mythology. So, that's what I'm going to do. Be warned, I'll be dropping plenty of spoilers for God of War from this point on.

Before Ragnarök – a God of War recap

First, let's remind ourselves of where we left the story of Kratos and Atreus at the end of God of War VIII. Kratos began the game with an apparently simple task; return his beloved wife Faye's ashes to the highest peak of the nine realms. Of course, the task turned out to be anything but simple. On the way Kratos and 'BOY!' butted heads with the sons of Thor – the Norse God of Thunder – Modi and Magni. There's some back and forth god-battling shenanigans but ultimately both Modi and Magni are accidentally on purpose murdered by Kratos and an increasingly erratic Atreus. Not only that, but our protagonists have also experienced a series of violent encounters with Baldur, the almost invincible son of Odin and Freya.

Unfortunately for Baldur, he was actually prone to a severe case of mistletoe allergy, and he too was nobbled off by the dynamic father and son duo. Atreus experiences some hefty revelations on the journey too learning first that he, like his father, is a god. Then, both he and Kratos discover that dead wife Faye was actually a giant, called Laufey the Just. Oh, I should also mention that the giants and the Norse gods have been at war for many a century. In a flip of the original myths the gods are most definitely the baddies. Whilst the apparently wiped-out giants are the goodies and also the victims of the Norse god's violent ways and Odin's dictatorial tendencies.

So, just to confirm for those, like me, who aren't keeping track; that makes Atreus part god, part giant and all Loki. That's right, at the very end we discover that Atreus is actually the Norse Trickster god himself, Loki, having been named as such by his dearly departed mum.

Mimir… Oh, did I not mention him? He's the talking decapitated head that's been bouncing repeatedly against Kratos' toned buttocks for the entire adventure. Look, just go with it okay? Anyway, Mimir then informs our heroes and the audience at home that the mythical Fimbulwinter has begun, at the end of which Ragnarök, or Armageddon, is going to kick off.

So, exactly what is Ragnarök?

Ragnarök means, when translated from Old Norse, "fate of the gods" or "twilight of the gods." It is both an apocalypse but also a rebirth, for, from the ashes of the old world, a new world is born. At the closing moments of the epic battle so long foretold, most of the Norse gods have ended up catching a severe case of premature death. Thor, Odin, Freya, Heimdall and many others will die in battle against the three children of Loki; Fenrir the giant wolf, Jörmungandr the Midgard serpent, and Hel, ruler of – unsurprisingly – Hel. Few will survive facing these formidable beings. In one of the original tellings, Thor's sons Modi and Magni do make it to the end of Ragnarök and beyond. Which would be a tricky feat to occur in God of War, on account of them being very dead. So straightaway, we know that God of War will vary significantly from the traditional myths.

One way it will likely run parallel to the original mythology however, is with the gathering of the children of Loki in order to strike against Asgard. All Loki's kiddie winks were either introduced or name-checked in God of War VIII – Jörmungandr played a significant role in the game, whilst Fenrir and Hel were alluded to – so it could be the case that the structure of Ragnarök will revolve around Kratos and Loki tracking down these 'children' and teaming up with them to prepare for the final assault.

One aspect up for contention, are the children of Loki actually going to be his biological children? Loki is still a child himself at this point, so the likelihood of him fathering three children that just so happen to already exist in the three years that Fimbulwinter lasts is unlikely. Unless there's some time travel nonsense of course. That could be the case, the evidence for this can be seen in an exchange between our trio of intrepid heroes and Jörmungandr. Here's my theory from way back in September 2018 in the article Playing With History: What Next For God of War?:

When Kratos and Atreus first meet the giant snake, he states that Atreus is familiar to him. That makes sense as Atreus is – if we follow Norse Mythology –  Jörmungandr's father. Mimir (the talking head and the one who demanded Odin cut out one of his own eyes to receive great knowledge of the nine realms) later informs the duo that time is a bit wibbly-wobbly and events often loop around. Indeed, the very idea of Norse Mythology is that it is a circle – Ragnarök is not the end as Odin feared, rather it is a new beginning.

God of War: Ragnarök – part two of a trilogy

Here's my idea: in a leaf from the Avengers: Endgame playbook, God of War: Ragnarök will involve warping back through time. My completely insane guess is that this time travel device will have been built by Tyr (the Norse god who sided with the giants) to help bring about Ragnarök. Loki won't have to father these children… unless, please God no, we see the awful God of War QTE lovemaking mini-games return from the dustbin of bad ideas. Let's assume that's not going to happen. Also, I don't think a mainstream audience is ready to play an interactive segment that see's Loki's mate – the giantess Angrboða – give birth to a wolf, a serpent, and a zombie girl, so that's out too. Perhaps what will happen is that Loki will have to pluck the three children out of the time stream after a series of adventures – thus becoming their metaphorical father, if not their literal one. These time travelling escapades will also allow for the emotional culmination of the game, Kratos and Loki having the opportunity for a tear soaked reunion and final goodbye with Faye.

Then, finally, after a good twenty hours or so, Kratos and Loki will have united with Fenrir, Jörmungandr and Hel. Each of the children will have been released from the shackles of their imprisonment at the hands of the gods, their freedom marking the beginning of Ragnarök. We're also likely to see Surtr, the fire giant, make an appearance too, along with other denizens of Muspell. We'll need all the gang for the epic showdown that is Ragnarök. And then, here's the kicker, we'll have to wait for the next game before we get the actual final battle against the Norse Gods.

'Seriously?' I reckon you're thinking, 'You're actually saying that a game titled Ragnarök won't include the most important bit of the Viking Apocalypse?' That's exactly what I'm saying. This is a well thought out theory and nothing to do with the fact that I didn't get much sleep last night. Think of this as a part 1. Just as God of War II (2007) closed on a true cliff-hanger, with Kratos and the Titans launching their assault on Mount Olympus, so too will God of War: Ragnarök. Only this time it will be with Kratos, Loki and his children invading the halls of Asgard to take on Odin, Thor and friends. Just as Norse Mythology repeats, so too do video game storylines. Oh, and add to this the fact that video game publishers love their AAA titles to be trilogies, after all, they'll want as much of a financial return as possible from their heavily invested audience.

The real question is though, with Loki ultimately dying in the final battle with Heimdall in the original tales, will we see mythology repeating itself in the God of War narrative? Or perhaps this will be Kratos' last ride, as he sacrifices himself to protect his son? Whatever the conclusion, and however far off the mark I am with my predictions one thing is certain: God of War remains an immensely fascinating series, one that continues to surprise, shock and satisfy by both embracing and subverting traditional mythologies. I can't wait to see what tricks Ragnarök has in store for us.


Playing with History is our ongoing series spotlighting video games and the real-world people and events that inspire them. From walking with dinosaurs in Jurassic World Evolution and talking real-life zombies in Days Gone, to learning about the Peaky Blinders, and chatting Ghost of Tsushima with a samurai expert, there's plenty you may not have known about your favourite video games.


Sony apologise and clearly explain how voice chats can be recorded on PlayStation 5

Catherine Jensen, Vice President of Global Consumer Experience at Sony has taken to the PlayStation Blog to clear up the alarming message that popped up PlayStation 4 consoles after the recent firmware update.

The message stated that voice chats could by recorded and sent to Sony for moderation and many were worried this meant all voice chats were recorded. "We should have more clearly explained why this function was being rolled out," posted Catherine.

It does seem that all voice chats will be recorded but they will only be available on the local console, and they will only be sent to Sony if a player wishes to report inappropriate behaviour.

Here is the statement in full.

Hi everyone. I'm Catherine Jensen, and I head up the Global Consumer Experience division here at PlayStation. Our department works every day to create the best possible gaming experience for our community on PlayStation Network. We also manage the @AskPlayStation customer support channel and create troubleshooting guides to help gamers find solutions. Our goal is to help foster a fun and positive experience when you're playing online with friends and other gamers.

Managing online safety is an important part of ensuring that. We believe that it's critical that gamers be able to quickly and accurately report abuse or harassment if they experience it while on PlayStation Network. As part of this initiative, we've been preparing to roll out a new feature on the PS5 console that enables gamers to report verbal harassment through a new Voice Chat reporting function. Its sole purpose is to help in reporting of inappropriate behavior, including actions that violate our Community Code of Conduct. Please note that this feature will not actively monitor or listen in on your conversations – ever – and it's strictly reserved for reporting online abuse or harassment.

PlayStation gamers learned about this new function in an unexpected way following the recent PS4 8.00 system update. We didn't clearly communicate this feature or explain why we were introducing it, and we apologize for that. When the PS5 console launches in November, PS5 users will be able to chat with PS4 users — which is why we needed to include an advisory with the latest PS4 system update.

We should have more clearly explained why this function was being rolled out, along with details on how it will work on the PS5 console, so let me walk you through that now.

Once the PS5 console launches, if a PS5 player needs to file a harassment report, they will be able to include up to a 40 second-long Voice Chat clip in their report — 20 seconds of the main conversation with the other player, plus an additional 10 seconds before and after the conversation selection. Only the most recent five minutes of a Voice Chat will be available for a player to use for this reporting function.

These reports can be submitted directly through the PS5 console, and will be sent to our Consumer Experience team for moderation, who will then listen to the recording and take action, if needed. Some submitted reports won't be valid, and our team will take this as an opportunity to provide guidance and education. There won't be an option to opt-out of this Voice Chat recording function because we want all users to feel safe when playing with others online, not just those who choose to enable it.

Thanks for reading, and I'm hoping this gives you a better idea about our goals for this new function. We appreciate your support, and want you to know that our team will always work to create a positive experience on PlayStation so you can focus on playing great games and having fun with your friends.

Source: PS Blog


Amazon UK move the release date of the PS5 DualSense controller to November 12th

Good news if you live in the UK, you will get you PlayStation 5 camera, media remote, games and now DualSense controller a week early on November 12th, the same day as the they are released in North America. Amazon are sending out emails with the following message:

We have received new release date information related to the order you placed on September 17 2020

The items listed below will actually be dispatched sooner than we had originally expected based on the new release date:

"PlayStation 5 DualSense Wireless Controller"
Previous estimated arrival date: November 19 2020
New estimated arrival date: November 12 2020

The one thing you will not get is a console, but there's still time for that to change, no doubt the PS5 consoles will be in the Amazon warehouse a good while before they are shipped so you never know, Sony may change the release date of the console as well.

Earlier this week Sony finally unveiled the PlayStation UI and user experience, presenting an 11 minute video that dives into the various new features, the new visual design and other facets of the next-gen console's system software.

Sony recently updated the PlayStation 5 FAQ and revealed that if you have bought one of those snazzy new HD cameras for the PlayStation 5 you won't be able to use for your PlayStation 4 VR games.

The HD Camera is not compatible with PS4 games – please connect a PlayStation Camera via a PlayStation®Camera adaptor.

Sony state that the "overwhelming majority" of PS4 games will still work and many of them will benefit from the added power of the new console. The PS5's Game Boost feature will make select PS4 games run at higher or smoother frame rates, and seems to be applied across the board.

However, that comes with some caveats and advisories:

  • Some functionalities that were available on the PS4 console may not be available on PS5 consoles. In addition, some PS4 games may exhibit errors or unexpected behavior when played on PS5 consoles.
  • Before purchasing add-ons to play with your PS4 games on PS5 consoles, please try to boot and play your PS4 games on your PS5 console to see if you are happy with the play experience.
  • Please note, playing PS VR games on a PS5 console requires a PlayStation VR headset, a PS camera (sold separately from PS5 console) and a PS camera adaptor (no purchase required).
  • Always update your PS5 console to the latest version of the system software.

Source: An Email Amazon just sent me :) 


What We Played #471 – Genshin Impact, Hades & Forza Horizon 4

Another week in the bag, and another step closer to those next-gen consoles we've been banging on and on and on about for what feels like forever.

I've been whiling away some of that time by digging through my back catalogue a bit, as well as some games off Xbox Game Pass. I've got a few hours into Psychonauts for the first time, savoured the chill atmosphere of Lonely Mountains: Downhill, and had my eyes glaze over when looking at the map of stuff to do in Forza Horizon 4.

Aran has also been diving into some older games, checking out Yakuza 4, which he's immediately preferring to Yakuza 3. Tuffcub's been "trafficking hos" in Saints Row the Third Remastered, alongside his typical Destiny 2

It's been a mixed on for Reuben, who's mostly been playing (and failing) at Hades, but he's complimented that with Super Mario Galaxy and Genshin Impact. That's, obviously, alongside the 5.35 content for Final Fantasy XIV.

Steve snagged the platinum trophy in The Last of Us Part II, enjoying the encounters more thanks to skipping past all the cutscenes. Then again, he had turned infinite ammo on! Next on his list is Final Fantasy VII Remake, but keep an eye out for reviews of Pumpkin Jack, Remothered and Amnesia in his spooky review queue.

Gamoc and Nic, kept things a bit quiet, with No Man's Sky for the former and stolen moments with Genshin Impact, Spinch and Double Pug for the latter (and MTG Arena, of course). Nick P couldn't manage much better, with just two hours dedicated to Baldur's Gate 3 and a couple wins in Warzone.

Miguel has been playing more of 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim, some Genshin Impact, a little Fall Guys (got me first one!) and a bunch of Phasmophobia!

And finally, Jim played Moving Out: IRL edition. It went pretty well, aside from managing to put a foot through his TV, for an added… microtransaction? So his gaming has largely been restricted to Final Fantasy VI on mobile, enjoying its battle system so much that he thinks it might be his favourite in the series.

Now then, over to you. What have you been playing this past week?


Marvel's Avengers PS5 and Xbox Series X|S versions delayed into 2021

The PS5 and Xbox Series X versions of Marvel's Avengers have been delayed into 2021, Crystal Dynamics has confirmed. Of course, players can still play the current gen versions of Marvel's Avengers on the new consoles which will allow for better frame rates and faster loading times. The studio also announced that it is pushing the release of Kate Bishop, the first post launch hero, out of October but she should still be coming at some point this year. The news of the delay came in an update today, and the relevant passage is below.

We know fans are hungry for new content, but delivering a fun experience is our priority. With this in mind, we've decided to push Kate Bishop's Operation launch back a bit, out of October. We're sorry for this slight delay, but we are dedicated as a team to quality first. Kate's new Operation will be a must-play for fans wanting to know what's next in the story! In Marvel's Avengers: Kate Bishop — Taking AIM, Tachyon Rifts become a harbinger of a new threat. As players investigate the source of them, they will pick up on a story that begins shortly after the conclusion of the Reassemble campaign. Then comes Clint (we'll have more information on him later) and looking into 2021, our biggest Avengers Initiative addition yet will introduce a new Hero, region, and narrative arc.             

We've also made the decision to shift our PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S launch to next year to ensure that we give our team the time to deliver a next-gen experience showcasing all that this game is meant to be.  More details to come.      

Earlier today, details of the weekly reset were released and that brings about the Tachyon Rift missions. Tachyon Rift missions are classed as endgame content and as such you will need a Power Level of 140 to queue for them with a minimum of two players. For more on Marvel's Avengers read our day one review as well as our handy guide loaded with tips for beginners.

Source: Square Enix


Train Sim World 2: Isle of Wight DLC is out now

Rivet Games has announced that Train Sim World 2: Isle of Wight Ryde-Shanklin route is now available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. The DLC costs £19.99. Players will take control of the BR Class 483 train which has been running on the Isle of Wight since 1989, and was formerly part of the London Underground. Players can choose to drive the train themselves or enjoy the sites as passengers to see the sights of the Isle of Wight.

The key features list include:

  • Highly detailed and authentic recreation of the route between Ryde Pier Head and Shanklin
  • BR Class 483 EMU in Network South East livery
  • Highly detailed, feature-rich, driving cab with accurate true-to-life performance and handling
  • Authentic and detailed sound recordings, recorded from the real multiple units
  • Journey Mode featuring over 24 hours of activities for you to master
  • 5 detailed and engaging scenarios for the route
  • Accessible Training Modules to get you started quickly
  • Extensive 24-Hour Timetable featuring 68 services for you to take control of
  • Livery Designer compatible
  • Scenario Planner compatible
  • Powered by Dovetail Games' proprietary SimuGraph® vehicle dynamics engine and Unreal Engine 4® technology
  • Download Size: 605 MB

In our review for Train Sim World 2, Gazzagb wrote:

Going forward, I'm hoping that Train Sim World 2 can serve as a platform that Dovetail can continue to expand on, not just in terms of routes and trains, but features that fans have been looking forward to for years. If you're new to the series, or train simming in general, this really is the most accessible and best way to start.
You can read the full Train Sim World 2 review here.
Source: Press Release

Mørkredd is a physics puzzler coming to Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox Game Pass

Hyper Games and Aspyr Media have revealed the physics puzzler Mørkredd and announced that the game will be an Xbox console exclusive, coming to Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and to Xbox Game Pass in December. This will also be the first game from Hyper Games that will be released on Xbox consoles. Mørkredd is a Nordic word that means fear of the dark and that plays into the puzzles of the game with players having to use light and dark to find the solutions.

The full description for Mørkredd reads:

Morkredd is a tense, physics-based co-op puzzle game for one to two players combining skill-based puzzle-solving, a challenging balance of light and shadow, and a dark world full of secrets to unlock.

Mørkredd began life in 2017 as part of a game jam and originally had a concept centred around three players working together, until the decision was made to make the game a two player co-op experience. However, Mørkredd can also be played alone where both characters can be controlled by a single player.

Source: Microsoft


Assassin's Creed Valhalla has gone gold, Ubisoft announces

Ubisoft has confirmed that Assassin's Creed Valhalla has now gone gold, meaning it is now ready for launch day. That launch day is November 10th. The publisher confirmed the news via a Tweet on the official Assassin's Creed Twitter account, with the tweet stating the team was proud to share the news and could not wait to see how players would fare in the game, and what kind of things would happen. You can see the tweet below.

Yesterday, Ubisoft released a deep dive video into Assassin's Creed Valhalla but the real draw was over an hour's worth of gameplay in a stream that was also broadcast yesterday. The stream was hosted by game designer Jessica Maher who looked at elements like the village of Ravensthorpe, the return of social stealth, and the combat styles that players can use in Assassin's Creed Valhalla. The full stream can be watched below.

A couple of weeks ago, Ubisoft announced a tie in novel for Assassin's Creed Valhalla called Geirmund's Saga. The story does not follow main character Eivor but instead 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.  Geirmund's Saga will be released on November 26th for £7.99.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla is launching on the 10th of November, a week earlier than previously announced, to line up with the launch of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. The game will be be releasing for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia. For the home consoles, if you're not hitting the next-gen on day one there's free cross-gen upgrades, like using Smart Delivery on Xbox.

Source: Twitter


Digimon Survive has been pushed back into 2021

In 2018, Bandai Namco announced Digimon Survive and at the time stated the game would be released in 2019 for PC, PS4, Switch, and PC. Well, 2019 passed us by and now 2020 is close to coming to a close as well with no Digimon Survive release. Now, Toei Animation and Bandai Namco have confirmed that you should not expect Digimon Survive this year. Instead, the launch has been pushed back into 2021 though when in 2021 is anybody's guess. Digimon Survive's producer, Kazumasa Habu, released a short statement.

The Digimon Survive team would like to extend our thanks to fans from around the world for their support during development, especially in these difficult times. We had originally planned to launch Digimon Survive in  2020 but current world events have shifted our development timing and we have made the difficult decision to push Digimon Survive's launch to 2021.

We thank you all for your continued patience as we work to create a fun and engaging tactical RPG game along with a memorable story for Digimon fans! We will share some exciting updates for Digimon Survive in Spring 2021, so please stay tuned for more information.

Kazumasa Habu, Producer of Digimon Survive.

There are no clues as to what will be announced in Spring 2021 for Digimon Survive. It could be the new release date or confirmation that the game will have an upgraded version for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. At the same time as the announcement of Digimon Survive, Toei Animation also announced Gekijō-ban Digimon Adventure (Digimon Adventure The Movie), which would feature the original cast as adults. That appears to have been delayed as well since there is no news for it.

Source: Twitter


Cloud Gardens is growing into a beautiful post-apocalyptic allotment simulator

Cloud Gardens is a hard game to explain, not least because some people would say it isn't a game at all. You see, Cloud Gardens is like a mix between gardening and creating a diorama with an added post-apocalyptic aesthetic.

Currently in Steam Early Access, Cloud Gardens offers players two different modes. These are Scenes and a sandbox mode which lets players to craft their gardens from a library of assets. Scenes present players with several empty dioramas, all with an abandoned wasteland vibe, tasking you with planting and nurturing a flourishing garden of flowers and several items within this diorama of urban decay.

If you place the items incorrectly, you'll fail, though I don't think the fail state is clear enough. I've spent a lot of my time so far progressing through trial and error, which is time-consuming to say the least.

There are currently four overarching environments which include a highway, a junkyard, rooftops and a greenhouse. Players unlock additional items for the sandbox mode as they make their way through the levels, further bolstering the library of plants and objects to create with.

While progress can be hard going in the Scenes, it's the creativity of sandbox mode that shows what a great concept Cloud Gardens is. Take your pick of a small, medium or large space and you can get to work crafting an idyllic post-apocalyptic garden space that shows your creative prowess. I wonder what the shelf-life is of such a concept, as the team behind the game will need to add more variety to the gameplay in future updates to keep players engaged in the long-term, but it's a lovely idea.

Cloud Gardens is an exercise in minimalism. Everything from the menu design to the stripped back synth soundtrack follows this design ethos, and it's something I thoroughly enjoy. In an industry where video games overload us with information, it's refreshing to play a game that takes the opposite approach. As someone who briefly had an allotment, there's a real tranquillity to be found away from screens and notifications, and I feel Cloud Gardens captures that mood effortlessly.

If you've played Noio's previous title Kingdom, you'll know that the team can create stunning pixelated visuals. Cloud Gardens takes that style and transposes it into 3D. The colour and detail the team is known for remains, but now it's bulked up with both the depth of 3D and animations which really breathe life into each one of the game's scenes and custom creations.

I would also just like to mention the Discord community, which is already filled with passionate fans sharing tips and creations with one another. If you do decide to pick Cloud Gardens, I would definitely recommend checking it out as I believe it will help players get just a little bit more out of their experience. It's also here where you can get a glimpse at how the game will grow in the coming months and years. Fundamentally, Cloud Gardens is a rather basic and straightforward experience at the moment, though a quick glance at the Discord shows a stream of regular updates.

Cloud Gardens is an interesting concept that balances minimalist design and creative flair, creating the best – and likely only – post-apocalyptic allotment simulator. It's currently lacking in content as it starts its journey through Steam Early Access, but I think it can – and likely will – develop into something special further down the line.


The Xbox Series X|S SSD Expansion Card teardown reveals 4D NAND and Phison E19T chipset

Another Xbox Series X preview embargo has lifted yesterday, allowing journalists and influencers with access to go that bit further with their coverage of Microsoft's next-gen console. So far, in fact, that Venture Beat were allowed to rip apart the Seagate 1TB SSD Expansion Card and reveal its innards to the world.

What it reveals is interesting and shows a path forward for larger expansion cards and more third parties to produce them, and goes some of the way to justifying the SSD's £220 / $220 price tag, while not having the same raw speed of the SSDs required for the PlayStation 5.

Visit Venture Beat to see the images of a ripped open SSD.

The 1TB SSD Expansion Card combines a Phison E19T SSD controller with a single 1TB chip of SK Hynix's '4D NAND'. Essentially, these are relatively upper-end mainstream parts combined into a very compact form factor with a semi-custom connector, all of which adds up so something that's accessible for use by the most average of Joes.

The drive's housing is metal for the length that can be inserted into the console, which acts as a heatsink and can be cooled somewhat by the internal cooling system, leading up to the plastic end that should be easily touched no matter how hard the drive is working.

The Phison E19T is a PCIe Gen 4.0 SSD controller that's intended for mainstream products. It's capable of up to 3.75GB/s of throughput, and works as a DRAM-less controller – DRAM helps to level out loads for maintaining write speeds, in particular. In other words, it's capable of a lot more than the 2.4GB/s that the Xbox Series X|S SSD is specced at. It's also able to support up to 2TB of NAND memory, though this would require two NAND chips at 1TB each.

And so we come to the 1TB '4D NAND'. No, it's not working in four dimensions, but it's instead a catchy buzzphrase to describe how it's packaged, layering more components on top of one another to achieve higher data density and higher speeds. SK Hynix do not currently produce QLC memory, so this will be faster, more durable TLC instead, which helps compensate for being DRAM-less.

These chips are combined on a small PCB that seems to be around the size of an M.2 2242 board – that's 22mm wide and 42mm long – which is half the length of the more common M.2 2280 SSDs. As far as I'm able to see online, there's no readily available 1TB SSD in this form factor which only has chips on one side of the PCB, and certainly not at this speed.

The board then ends in a semi-custom CFexpress card connector, which Microsoft have seemingly modified to support PCIe 4.0, instead of the standard's PCIe 3.0.

All of that means that there's plenty of room for growth and competitive products to be offered. For one, the Phison E19T can handle larger pools of storage, and we could see drives with NAND chips on both sides of the PCB to double the storage, and Microsoft could open the platform to include newer or more feature-filled SSD controllers that can handle higher capacities. There's also no reason why we couldn't see physically larger drives that match M.2 2260 sizes, or (if they wanted to be really open (which they won't)) adapters to allow regular SSDs to be plugged in.

For now, of course, Seagate's SSD expansion is the only on the market, so if you'll have to stomach the associated costs if you simply must have a larger internal SSD capacity on Xbox Series X|S.

Source: Venture Beat


9 Monkeys Of Shaolin is finally out on PC and consoles

If the name 9 Monkeys Of Shaolin rings a bell then well done for having a good memory. We first heard about the game back in March 2018 with a release date of winter than year, but then in August 2018 it was delayed all the way until winter 2019. The more observant of you will have noticed that we are heading in to winter of 2020 right now but better late than never I guess.

9 Monkeys of Shaolin is an old-school beat 'em up from Buka Entertainment and Sobaka Studios with a single player story and local and online co-op. You play as  Wei Cheng, a Chinese fisherman who is on a mission to avenge the deaths of your friends and family who were all killed when your home village was attached in a pirate raid. In between catching fish Wei Cheng has also trained in ancient martial arts so you will be able to kick and punch people rather than slap them with a freshly caught salmon.

And now, those all important features:

Features:

  • 3 unique fighting styles: fight on earth, in the air or use mysterious magic seals. Combine these elements to defeat every enemy on your way.
  • Captivating narrative: discover the fascinating story of Wei Cheng and follow him as he rises from a simple fisherman to the master of Shaolin martial arts.
  • Stunning visual style: unlikely combination of historical and mystical elements gives you an exciting experience from every scene appears on screen.
  • Extensive character development system: you learn a great deal of ways to victory as you discover various unlockable perks, items and fighting styles.
  • More than 25 different levels: Chinese villages, pirate ship, Buddhist monasteries, Japanese mansions, ancient ruins and many more.
  • 10 types of Chinese and Japanese polearms, each with its unique traits. Discover the landscapes to find new items!
  • Co-op play: invite your friend to help you fight through growing waves of enemies and complete the game together.

The game is available now on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch from £24.99 / €29.99 / $29.99.

Source: Press release


Microsoft releases list of 30 games that will be optimised for Xbox Series X|S on launch day

Microsoft has released a list of the 30 games that will be fully optimised for the Xbox Series X|S on launch day, and there are not any major surprises to look out for. It already includes games such as Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Fortnite, Gears 5, Sea of Thieves and smaller titles like The Falconeer and Manifold Garden. You can check out the full list of day one games that will take advantage of the technology that the next generation of consoles will bring.

  • Assassin's Creed Valhalla (Smart Delivery)
  • Borderlands 3 (Smart Delivery)
  • Bright Memory 1.0
  • Cuisine Royale (Smart Delivery)
  • Dead by Daylight (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
  • DIRT 5 (Smart Delivery)
  • Enlisted
  • Evergate
  • The Falconeer (Smart Delivery)
  • Fortnite
  • Forza Horizon 4 (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • Gears 5 (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • Gears Tactics (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • Grounded (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • King Oddball (Smart Delivery)
  • Maneater (Smart Delivery)
  • Manifold Garden (Smart Delivery)
  • NBA 2K21
  • Observer: System Redux
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • Planet Coaster (Smart Delivery)
  • Sea of Thieves (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • Tetris Effect: Connected (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • The Touryst (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • War Thunder (Smart Delivery)
  • Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition
  • Watch Dogs: Legion (Smart Delivery)
  • WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship (Smart Delivery)
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Smart Delivery)
  • Yes, Your Grace (Smart Delivery)

In addition to these games you will have the likes of Cyberpunk 2077, The Medium, Destiny 2: Beyond Light, and a load more being optimised for the Xbox One Series X|S after launch. Below you can see the tech specs for both the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S.

Here's the full table:

Xbox Series X Xbox Series S
CPU 8-Core Zen 2 @ 3.8Ghz / 3.6Ghz w/ SMT 8–Core Zen 2 @ 3.6Ghz / 3.4Ghz w/ SMT
GPU RDNA 2 GPU – 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz RDNA 2 – 20 CUs @ 1.565 GHz
GPU Power 12.15 TFLOPS 4 TFLOPS
Memory 16 GB GDDR6 10 GB GDDR6
Memory Bandwidth 10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s 8GB @ 224 GB/s, 2GB @ 56 GB/s
Performance Target 4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS 1440p @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS
Internal Storage 1 TB PCIe Gen 4 NVME SSD 512 GB PCIe Gen 4 NVME SSD
I/O Throughput 2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed) 2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed)
Expandable Storage 1 TB NVME Expansion Card 1 TB NVME Expansion Card
Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive Digital Only
Video Output HDMI 2.1 – Up to 4K at 120Hz, 8K, VRR HDMI 2.1 – Up to 4K at 120Hz, 8K, VRR
Backward Compatibility Xbox One, Xbox 360, Xbox Xbox One, Xbox 360, Xbox
Availability 10th November 2020 10th November 2020
Price $499 / £449 / €499 $299 / £249 / €299

 

Source: Microsoft


Loads of free PSN avatars added ahead of PS5 launch

If you're looking to pimp your PlayStation Network profile ahead of the PS5's launch next month, Sony have given you plenty of more free options to do so.

A total of 71 PSN avatars have been added, featuring a mix of favourite exclusive franchises including God of War, Uncharted, The Last of Us: Part II, Bloodborne, Gravity Rush, Ape Escape, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian, Ratchet, and more. Oh, Knack's there too of course.

If you fancy changing your PlayStation Network profile image, you can head over to my.playstation.com to sign in and grab one of these new avatars. The full range can be viewed below, having been compiled by Resetera user scar654 – let's take a peek!

We're unsure whether or not this is a move by Sony to expand the number of PSN customisation options available to users before the PS5 launch on November 12th (19th if you're in the UK like us). Although a fairly small gesture, it helps to spotlight and celebrate the many franchises that make up the PlayStation's diverse library, both new and old.

While Sony are definitely looking ahead with the release of their new console, they won't be turning their backs on the PS4's library of back to back hits. An overwhelming majority of games will be backwards compatible with the PS5, some of which will receive next-gen upgrades as well as little shot in the arm via the system's boost mode feature.

This is underlined by Sony's recent announcement of the PlayStation Plus Collection. Everyone with an active PS+ subscription will be able to redeem a growing library of lest-gen games which already includes:

  • God of War
  • The Last of Us: Remastered
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
  • Battlefield 1
  • Monster Hunter World
  • Fallout 4
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • The Last Guardian
  • Ratchet and Clank
  • Infamous: Second Son
  • Days Gone
  • Bloodborne
  • Detroit: Become Human
  • Batman Arkham Night
  • Mortal Kombat X
  • Persona 5
  • Until Dawn
  • Resident Evil: Biohazard

The PlayStation 5 officially releases on November 12th in selected territories, then the following week on November 19th for other regions. Meanwhile, Microsoft's Xbox Series X|S will be first out of the gates on November 10th.

Source: Resetera


The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope's latest trailer is all about secrets and premonitions

Supermassive Games and Bandai Namco have released a brand new trailer for the upcoming The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope. This trailer is titled Secrets & Premonitions and it gives a glimpse at some gameplay as well as a few behind the scenes looks. There is even a little look at the multiplayer. Little Hope itself is due to be released on October 30th following a delay from earlier this year, and it is currently coming to PC, PS4, and Xbox One though with backwards compatibility will work on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S.

The follow up to last year's The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan, Little Hope is a thematically similar horror game, but its story is unrelated as part of an anthology style series. They're tied together by The Curator, voiced by Pip Torrens to introduce each story, witness the player's progress and maybe give a hint or two.

Little Hope takes you from the South Pacific to the titular abandoned town, trapping four college students and their professor amidst impenetrable fog and tormenting them with nightmarish visions. The game won't have you simply trying to escape, but understand the meaning of these events and try to connect them together, seemingly you'll be hopping back and forth between time periods to do so.

In our preview for Little Hope, Steve wrote:

the demo was hugely effective in piquing my interest. I am now looking forward to finding out more about the traumatic history of the town of Little Hope and seeing who will survive… and what will be left of them.

You can read the full preview for Little Hope here.

Source: YouTube


Ghost of Tsushima: Legends launches today, release times confirmed

It's the chunky update fans have been waiting for. Today, developer Sucker Punch will be releasing Ghost of Tsushima version 1.1 and with it comes a bevy of new content including a massive new co-op multiplayer mode.

We've known for a little while that the update will be arriving today on October 16th, but now we have confirmation as to when this Ghost of Tsushima patch will be arriving on PlayStation 4.

Sucker Punch have revealed that update 1.1 will begin rolling out at 8AM Pacific Time with a worldwide release by 9AM Pacific Time. That means 5PM UK time or 6PM for Europe.

In order to access Ghost of Tsushima: Legends, you will need to find the character Gyozen in the singleplayer campaign – or you can simply dive into the Legends mode via the main menu.

Co-op multiplayer comes in a number of flavours including a survival mode, as well as story missions crafted for two players and challenging Raids. Instead of donning the ghostly raiment of Jin Sakai you will adopt the role of your own hero choosing from one of four available classes, each with their own supernatural abilities.

There's far more of a fantasy vibe with demonic enemy to vanquish and plenty of cosmetic gear to outfit your avatar. It's been confirmed that Legends won't be adding microtransactions to Ghost of Tsushima.

That's not all you can expect in 1.1 – there's a New Game+ options too as well as powerful new charms, trophies, and appearance options.

Patch 1.05 added a new "lethal" difficulty option to Ghost of Tsushima, while 1.06 reworked the Traveler's Attire, helping players to better locate collectables using this armour set – pretty handy if you're looking to get that platinum trophy.

Source: Twitter


Ghost of Tsushima Guides & more from TheSixthAxis


The Jackbox Party Pack 7 Review

Having not seen any of my friends in real life for the vast majority of this intensely strange year, I'm thankful that I can play games with them online. Sure, none of them have the silky smooth dulcet tones that I might truly want to have trickling down my earholes – a few tinny microphones doesn't help – but honestly, any and all digital socialising is absolutely great right now. Anyway, the weird intro about my friend's voices aside, The Jackbox Party Pack 7 is fantastic.

If you're unfamiliar with the Jackbox brand and The Jackbox Party Packs, you're probably aware of some of the games and mini-games that the team have created. They're the people behind You Don't Know Jack, Fibbage, Drawful and, most famously, Quiplash, an intensely funny and often messed-up game about seeing who amongst your friends is the funniest/has the best words for turning their personal trauma into making jokes.

They've become a staple of many a friend and family gathering over the past decade, with people gathering around a TV as the main screen and then using their phones, tablets, or even computers as a personal screen. Or at least they used to. Alongside the already robust Audience player support for streamers, Jackbox now actively support and give instructions for playing their games remotely via Zoom, Discord, Hangouts, Whereby and you can probably fiddle it to work with other services that let you share a screen. My friends and I can't be in the same room right now, but we can share a screen via Discord and still have a great time playing a party game like this.

The Jackbox Party Pack 7 is another great collection of five irreverent games, including Quiplash 3, The Devils and the Details, Champ'd Up, Talking Points, and Blather 'Round.

Quiplash is just more Quiplash. You get prompts where you have to fill in a blank word with the funniest possible answer, everyone votes on the answers, and all of your friends beat you because it's clearly being rigged. The art style throughout the game is really nice though, with a beautiful Claymation aesthetic that I adore. The new prompts are also very good, especially the ones that drags the people playing, and it's sure to be the biggest draw to this pack for a lot of fans of the series.

The Devils and the Details is a co-op game with a competitive twist. Each of your plays as a member of a rehomed devil family, but while your aim is to complete tasks and try blend in, you also want to try and come out with the highest score. Most of the time you have to work together, but the highest scoring tasks will damage the family score overall. It's a lot better than I was expecting, and it turns out that one of my friends, in particular, is a selfish bumhole.

Champ'd Up has you drawing creatures based on a prompt and then voting on which one fits the prompt better. I'm in awe of just how funny that ends up being, and this one was my favourite until I tried Talking Points.

Talking Points has you giving a TED talk, of sorts. You start off by creating titles, then you're given a choice from a pool of three. From there, you each take it in turns to give a presentation based on the title. The thing is, you've got an assistant, which is one of the other players. Their role is to help you out by choosing the slides you'll be using to do your presentation. I can't tell you the last time I was literally in tears of laughter quite like when playing this. It's unrivalled in terms of pure absurdity, especially if you and your friends are drama or improv nerds.

Finally, we have Blather 'Round. In this game, you're given the task of describing something using a small pool of words given to you and pre-generated sentences. While I wouldn't say it's quite as outrageously funny as the others in this pack, it's still entertaining, and it's not a bad one if you feel like the energy level has gotten so high that none of you will ever sleep again.


Watch Rain bring the pain in his Mortal Kombat 11 gameplay video

Last week, Rain was confirmed as one of the characters that would be coming to Mortal Kombat 11 as part of the second Kombat character pack, alongside Mileena and Rambo. Now, NetherRealm Studios has released the first gameplay footage of the demigod in action as he uses his water based attacks to cause a lot of damage to his enemies. The footage shows his standard attacks, more powerful attacks, and of course the water based fatality.

The studio previously revealed Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate Edition which will contain the Aftermath Expansion, Kombat Pack 1, and the now Kombat 2 which contains the fighters are Mileena, Rain, and Rambo. 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. 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.

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: YouTube


Marvel's Avengers weekly reset introduces Tachyon Rift missions

Marvel's Avengers has new activities for players to take part in as the game undergoes its weekly reset. Every Thursday, developer Crystal Dynamics introduces new priority assignments for superheroes to tackle in exchange for rewards while also refreshing community challenges and the game's cosmetic marketplace.

In the latest edition of the Marvel's Avengers War Table blog, developer Crystal Dynamics gave us some more information about the newly added Tachyon Rift endgame missions. These were added as part of the recent 1.11 title update which is now available across all versions.

Instead of the regular Priority Missions we're used to, this week's missions have been swapped out for Tachyon Rift missions though will return very soon. To access this new type of mission via the War Table you will first need to complete the solo event missions "Breakout". Tachyon Rift missions are classed as endgame content and as such you will need a Power Level of 140 to queue for them with a minimum of two players.

Marvel's Avengers – 1.6% of players have reached max hero Power Level

This is the only activity in Marvel's Avengers in which players can earn Cosmic tier gear for their characters. Tachyon Rifts will sap away at your health for the duration of the mission though the trade-off is an increased rate of Heroic energy. By strategically modifying your hero loadouts you should be able to tackle these new Rifts.

Here's everything else you can expect from the latest Avengers weekly reset:

Priority Missions

We've removed Priority Missions from the WAR TABLE this week to keep the focus on new Tachyon Rift Missions! Don't worry – they'll be back!

Priority HARM Challenges

Priority HARM Room Challenges have additional modifiers and reward comics that increase your collection and boost your stats.

Weekly First Completion Reward: Avengers (1963) #4 (1% Armor)

Minimum Power Level 15 Challenge

Modifiers:

  • Cosmos: Cosmic damage from players is increased
  • Clash: Melee damage from any source is greatly increased.

Minimum Power Level 100 Challenge, +5 Power Level Offset

Modifiers:

  • Resurgence: Enemy health regenerates after a short delay.
  • Maelstrom: All heroics charge at a significantly increased rate. Entering critical health drains all Heroic energy.
  • Cosmos: Cosmic damage from players is increased

MEGA HIVE

The Mega Hive is a single-player chain of eight missions that tests your team's might. Each week, you'll have a shot at completing the Mega Hive mission chain. When you defeat all eight missions, the Mega Hive mission chain is removed from the War Table until the next weekly refresh, when you can run it again with new modifiers.

This week's modifiers include:

  • Resurgence: Enemy health regenerates after a short delay.
  • Torpedo: Projectile damage from any source is greatly increased.
  • Heavyweight: Enemy stun meters build at an increased rate.
  • Turmoil: Significantly increased presence of Riotbots.

Weekly Rewards: As you progress through the Mega Hive, rewards start as basic gear, resources, and small amounts of cosmetic currency. The more missions you survive, the resource drops increase. As you near the final mission, you'll see better gear and artifacts awarded more often, and increased chances for patterns/nameplates. When you complete all eight Mega Hive missions, you'll be rewarded with exclusive goodies reserved for this gauntlet, including a significant amount of high-quality resources.


For more on Marvel's Avengers read our day one review as well as our handy guide loaded with tips for beginners.

Source: Marvel's Avengers


FIFA 21 Ultimate Team Champions Weekend League delayed by 24 hours

EA has announced that it will be delaying the start of this weekend's FIFA 21 Ultimate Team Champions Weekend League by 24 hours due to unforeseen circumstances. The announcement was made on Twitter and within it EA did confirm that the league would still run for the same amount of time with the additional 24 hours being added on to the end of the weekend. Players will also be refunded their 2000 champions points for this week, so they can be used for next weekend's league instead. You can find the full statement by EA below.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the upcoming FUT Champions Weekend League has been delayed by 24 hours. Check in-game for the revised schedule. Furthermore, this Weekend League will be extended for 24 hours in order to accommodate the delayed start time. All players that redeem their FUT Champions Points for entry into this Weekend League will have their 2000 FUT Champions Points returned to them ahead of the next Weekend League due to this scheduling change. Thank you for your patience.

In our review for FIFA 21, 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.
You can read the full FIFA 21 review here. FIFA 21 has also had some updates released for it. You can find the patch notes for update notes for 1.01 and 1.02 here, while 1.03 can be found over here. The full trophy list for FIFA 21 is also available to look through by following this link here. 
Source: Twitter

Sony announce brand-new PlayStation Store for web and mobile – PS3, PSP, PS Vita & more content to be hidden

Having leaked last week, Sony have now confirmed that a new version of the PlayStation Store is set to launch for web browser and mobile in the latter half of October. It's another change being made to the PlayStation Network infrastructure as Sony gear up for the launch of the PlayStation 5 in November.

While we don't know what the new store will look like, Sony have emailed out a notice to users stating that after 21-26th October on computer and after 28th October on mobile, you will no longer be able to buy the following currently available content:

  • PlayStation®3 games and add-ons
  • PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) games and add-ons
  • PlayStation®Vita games and add-ons
  • Apps
  • Themes
  • Avatars

Additionally, the Wishlist feature is being discontinued.

This doesn't mean that this content is being delisted, though. You will still be able to buy PS3, PSP and PS Vita content directly from their respective stores, and PS4 apps, themes and avatars will be available via the PS4's built in PS Store. You'll also still be able to access all of the previous content you own on their respective consoles.

However, it's clear that Sony are keen to only really present the content that they need to for their current and upcoming platforms. The PlayStation 5 is almost universally compatible with PlayStation 4 games, so these two generations can happily coexist, but PS3, PSP and PS Vita will just be unneeded clutter for an awful lot of people.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of the PlayStation 5 UI reveal yesterday, which showcased the speed of the system, the Control Centre overlay that provides access to pretty much all system features while in game, the new PlayStation Activites and card-based interface, and more. A part of the change is that the PlayStation Store will be baked into the main system software and not be a separate app.

There have also been other foundational changes made over the last few weeks. The PlayStaiton 4 was updated to system software 8.00 making fundamental changes to how parties and messages work to tie into the new philosophy behind social interactions on PS5 – much to the chagrin of some users – and the standalone PS Messages mobile app is being discontinued as the feature will be integrated back into a new PlayStation App on smartphone.


Foregone Review

Isn't it wonderful when a game appears from completely off your radar and manages to blow your socks off? Foregone is one such game for me. I never saw it coming and yet it gave my socks so much rocket fuel that they were launched off my little piggies, punched through the atmosphere, and are now circling the Earth like some sort of polyester satellite.

The first thing that your eye will be drawn to is the gorgeously silky smooth 2D pixel art of this action platformer. The protagonist – a super-soldier referred to as the Arbiter – leaps, dives and unleashes bullet hell with a level of detail in her animation that would even impress Don Bluth. The same level of care has been lavished on the character design and animation for every single enemy in the game, and the environments are beautiful and varied until the conclusion, each screen crammed with multiple layers of detail. From the teeniest bug to the mightiest boss, Foregone is a party for your eyeballs from beginning to end.

Even so, I still had my reservations when going into Forgone. Here is, I thought, another game that will inevitably be so hard that it crushes my delicate ego into psyche paste. As I booted the game up, I resolved to accept that the next ten or so hours of gaming would be spent with my inner critic being very mean to me about my pathetic lack of hardcore gaming credentials. Then, something wonderful happened; I discovered that Foregone has an actual difficulty curve. I was flabbergasted.

This is a game that steadily grows in challenge as the player develops their skills. To my astonishment there wasn't a single brutal and unnecessary difficulty spike to ruin my fun. Instead, every time a new baddie or boss popped up I felt ready to take them on. I almost cried tears of joy when I realised I had a decently sized health bar and my character wouldn't flop over dead after one hit.  If you, like me, are fed up with unforgiving difficulty spikes of the stereotypical roguelite and soulslike, then Foregone is the game for you.

Foregone elegantly brings together aspects from a number of different genres and make them accessible to a more general audience. Upon her death, the Arbiter loses any experience points that she had gathered up until that point and had not invested into new skills or weapon upgrades. In familiar soulslike fashion, they aren't lost forever, but sit in a little Canopic jar can be retrieved on your next go by reaching the same spot. Alternatively, there's a nice chap called the Ferryman who lives in the Outpost you return to after death, who will retrieve the jar for you at the cost of half the experience it contains. Either way, you can just jump into your teleporter and get right back into the action.

That seems to be the modus operandi of developers Big Blue Bubble throughout, they want you to actually play and enjoy their game – rather than hiding it behind a near-insurmountable wall of insta-deaths and restarts. That's great, because there's a huge amount to enjoy here.

Combat is chunky and satisfying, with an impressively varied range of weapons on offer, the highlight of which are undoubtedly the Gunchucks. These nifty bad boys turn the Arbiter into a boni fide Bruce Lee, though one with nunchucks that explode with gunfire on every collision. Ranged weapons are on offer too, though in another nod to accessibility, these auto-aim, allowing for their swift inclusion into a combo.

There's a lovely pace and sense of agency to the combat. Sliding under a hail of bullets, dashing past some guards then turning and hacking apart a turret is a definite dopamine hit. Its fast, fluid, frantic and thanks to its diverse range of enemies, you're always kept on your toes. There's something new to see in every level, with multiple new enemy types being regularly dropped in to keep the combat fresh. Sure, the promised story of regret and conspiracy disappoints, being primarily delivered in a selection of data logs, but you'll be having far too much fun actually playing the game to care.

Foregone also considers itself to be a looter, so it's vital that the weapons, armour and items are worth collecting. Fortunately, that's definitely the case. Each newly upgraded item offering notable improvements to the Arbiter's abilities, making the return of a previously challenging area to uncover secrets an absolute cakewalk. It frees the player up to find the numerous ingenious secrets squirreled away in each level. Most are worth discovering too, as they'll provide power-ups that offer numerous manoeuvrability improvements.

Sadly, this isn't the case with the new skills that can be collected. Whilst fun to use – there's a floating barrier that absorbs damage and a short-lived god mode that can be activated – they are also oddly superfluous. Your initial skills, a swift dash and a healing factor, are soon so well upgraded and so useful that they render all other skills inconsequential.

There are also a few mildly annoying glitches to be found. For some strange reason, the Arbiter is frequently knocked back by an invisible wall whilst leaping over flames. Try to jump the flames on a few occasions and it's a no go, try again and curiously the Arbiter will be able to make the jump and clear the fire without so much as a toasted toe. Then there's the auto-aim, which mostly works well but will on occasion decide to send an arrow flying at absolutely nothing – a bit of a problem when ammo is precious.


Borderlands 3 DLC Season Pass 2 will include a Designer's Cut and Director's Cut

2K and Gearbox have announced Season Pass 2 for Borderlands 3, featuring two new "cuts" to shake up how you play the game and a bunch of cosmetics for you to dress up in. It's not your traditional season pass, that's for sure, but what does it really mean?

The Designer's Cut features content that includes an additional Skill Tree for each Vault Hunter, a new standalone mode called Arms Race and more. These will all be revealed over the rest of the month, with Amara and FL4K skill trees on 20th October, Moze and Zane's on 22nd October, the Arms Race mode on 29th October, and the first live play-through of the mode on 30th October.

The Designer's Cut DLC will be out on 10th November. Nothing's been confirmed for the contents of the Director's Cut, but its release is planned for spring 2021.

Quite conveniently, Season Pass 2 will also be available for purchase starting on 10th November, across PC, Stadia, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

It's quite a contrast to the first Season Pass, which waded in with a string of new campaigns to battle through, including Guns, Love, and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright and Hammerlock, Bounty of Blood: A Fistful of Redemption and Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck. Perhaps they simply ran out of wild and outlandish names? Either way, a new skill tree is a pretty big deal for a looter shooter such as this.

It's also a good way to lure fans back to the game at the dawn of the new generation of console. Borderlands 3 will have free next-gen upgrades from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5 and from Xbox One to Xbox Series X|S, and it's one of the few third party games that's able to bring your saves with you on PlayStation.

In our review for Borderlands 3, Jason wrote:

I've got very mixed feelings about Borderlands 3. Overall I like it and it's fun to play, but it could have been so much more and the writing feels like time traveling back to your high school days and being surprised and a little disappointed at how immature everyone is. Few things in life are as embarrassing as the person you were five years ago. If you're not embarrassed, then I'm sorry to say that you may well be the Borderlands 3 of your friend group; stuck in the past unable to grow or change in any meaningful way, relying on fart jokes as a stand-in for your personality.

You can read the full review here. 

Source:press release


Cyberpunk 2077 stream shows off fancy clothes, bikes and automobiles

The fourth Night City Wire stream aired today, and you can really sense that we're getting very close to the release of one of the most highly-anticipated games of the last few years. We've seen gameplay, we've seen the lifepaths you can choose, the weaponry you can wield, and so the latest stream really focussed on the smaller details of the world.

Namely, the cars, motorbikes and fashion of Night City that you can appreciate as you play. In fairness, a lot of time will go into these things, but it feels like CD Projekt Red are biding their time until launch. Scroll down for a nice CGI teaser, though.

But first, a reminder that Cyberpunk 2077 will be out for PS4, Xbox One, PC and Stadia on 19th November. Wait, Stadia? Oh yeah! It's confirmed to be out on Google's streaming platform on day one. The game will also be compatible with Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 on launch, but only via backward compatibility at this time.

So anyway, here's some nice cars:

And then the behind the scenes of their creation and audio capture.

Then Keanu and his motorcycle company partner Gard Hollinder talked about some motorbikes.

Cosplayers will be pouring over the look into the game's fashion and clothing to capture this in their creations.

And finally, the new CGI teaser – The Diner.

Cyberpunk 2077 is out for Xbox One, PS4 and PC on 19th November. It will be playable on Xbox Series X | S at that point – the consoles coming out on 10th November – and on PlayStation 5 on November 11th/19th, but next-gen enhancements will not be there on day one. The game could take some advantages next-gen beyond simple backward compatibility, but for ray tracing and other more integral enhancements, we'll have to wait.

Source: Night City Wire


Ring of Pain Review

Ring of Pain is a roguelite dungeon-crawler card game, and a surprisingly engaging one at that. The gameplay is fairly simple, but getting to the end is no mean feat. This game is very difficult.

Simply put, you wake up and see that you are part of a ring — think of this as your standard room in a dungeon crawler. Your exit is also a part of the ring, but between you and your goal lies a variety of different objects — treasures, potions, upgrades and enemies — each represented as a card. As you exit your first room, you realise that you are moving in a second, larger ring. The question is whether you are spiraling downwards or fighting your way up and into the light.

This is the crux of the story behind Ring of Pain. As far as I can tell, your character appears to be in a coma or dying of some unknown condition. This is all hinted at by a creepy bird thing called Owl and a mysterious shadow you sometimes happen upon when you leave a room. Both seem to be helping you, both speak in rhymes and riddles, and both seem to be at odds with one another. Neither wants you to work with the other.

What's really happening will only be revealed once you exit the ring of pain.

This is a great premise that allows for some interesting gameplay. Imagine this: to your immediate left and right stand creatures that want to kill you. Do you attack the smaller enemy on the left, or do you try to sneak past the one on the right? Sneaking may fail, which means that although you move past the enemy, you will take a beating in the process, but on the other hand, attacking and killing the enemy will remove it from the ring, grant you some souls and bring whatever was behind your fallen foe one step closer.

These decisions are made easier by the game telling you what will happen if you attack or fail to sneak past an enemy — if the enemy is stronger or quicker than you, you will see how much health you'll lose on the backswing. This, coupled with the turn-based design, turns the game into a deadly puzzle for you to solve.

What it doesn't tell you, at least not at a quick glance, is what the enemies around you are doing.

There are multiple types of enemies to contend with. Some move aggressively towards you, hell bent on attacking you or blowing themselves up in your face. Others shoot you from afar, with others still flee towards the nearest exit with potential treasure. You can either sneak your way towards the exit or you can trudge your way through the ring, desperately picking up whatever loot you find on the way.

This loot comes in the form of base stat upgrades, an ability or a piece of equipment. Treasure is your mainstay here, as you can buy it with souls or receive it as a gift from Owl or the shadow. As with any game in this genre, what you find is entirely based on luck. As you play more, and die more — and you will die a lot — you unlock more and rarer items to find you along the way. With 180 items to unlock, this game will keep you going for hours.

The diversity of equipment adds a whole extra layer of complexity. Some will raise your attack and speed, whereas others will make you slower but give you more clarity, unlocking bonus souls on each kill. Some are more of a drawback on stats but have powerful passives, whereas others are just rubbish. At best, they seem like red herrings.

All of this compounds to give each decision you make — from whether you attack, sneak or simply change your armour — real and often immediate consequences.

Even the choice of exit has consequences. As you get further into each run, you come across rooms with multiple exits, and as you die more and more, you learn which dangers lie beyond which door and learn which strategies will help you survive this horrid place. Some, for example, will drop rocks on you as you move around them; others have puppies and potions in them.

Weirdly, not every room is fraught with peril and terror. There is, on occasion, an oasis in the desert, such as the aforementioned Companion room where you can slaughter puppies for easy souls (if you're an absolute monster). There is also a room with Owl, who appears as an enemy card, and random shrines scattered about.

As with the equipment, none of your options are necessarily optimal, or even good. They're just options and, as in life, you just have to hold your breath and hope for the best.

Annoyingly, the shrines are utterly useless. There are no tips or rhyming riddles telling you what to do with these, which means you often sacrifice your entire build hoping for a perk and die needlessly in the process. Or you simply pass them by, as thankful that there are no enemies in the room.

This is one of two really poor design choices let the game down. Your character dropping all of their max health points into a wishing well for no reason is basically the same as you walking into a church and banging your head on the altar in return for a potential gift from God. It makes no sense.

The second issue is a major one: the difficulty spike in the end. The game is challenging throughout, but the penultimate room ramps things up significantly before you face the veritable brick wall of difficulty that is the final boss, which has 500 HP and also spawns enemies to hunt you down. It is five times the max health of the next strongest enemy and, for context, my max HP was 29 at that time.

It's extremely frustrating, because I genuinely want to know how it ends. Unless they reduce the spike to resemble something more feasible, I'll just wait for someone else to finish it so I can watch the ending on YouTube.

Last, but not least, there is a second game mode for those who want something more standardised than pure RNG. The Dungeon of the Day is a curated dungeon where the cards are in a set order. This means that there is an optimal route from start to finish — how you fared will be revealed upon your death in the form your position on the global scoreboard. It's a nice reprieve from the frustration, but there's no real reason to do it other than to take a break and test your skills against other players.


Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is a musical score-chasing spinoff

Just when we thought Kingdom Hearts was fresh out of surprises, Square Enix went and announced Melody of Memory, a rhythm action game. At first blush it seems like a bizarre melding of genres though it's one that absolutely fits, allowing Square to showcase one of the best collected soundtracks there is while retooling an archive of accompanying assets.

With the full game out on 13th November, a demo is available today, and we've been playing it a little early.

How exactly does Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory play? Well, like Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and many other rhythm action games, it essentially boils down to a series of well-timed button presses. Each song will have you journeying down a path and reacting as enemies and objects come into proximity, attacking, jumping, casting spells, and performing other actions as if you were brawling Heartless and Nobodies in a mainline Kingdom Hearts game.

The way developer indieszero has gone about translating the RPG series' gameplay into something which can be musically mapped is clever yet straightforward. As in earlier Kingdom Hearts games you'll control one of several protagonist characters accompanied by sidekicks such as Donald, Goofy, Terra, and Aqua among others.

When an enemy or object enters the target zone, you need to attack or interact with it in time, the on-screen visuals syncing up with the music playing in the background. By dialling up the difficulty you will introduce more varied enemy wave patterns as well as sequences which require quicker simultaneous button combinations. For example, you may need to glide with Sora by holding the jump button, while also swatting enemies in the left and right lanes with Donald and Goofy. Sloppy hits will result in lower scores while missing notes will gradually eat into your hit points and result in failure.

The four stages we played during the demo were short, but with more than 140 songs available in the full game, we wouldn't call Melody of Memory a meagre offering for the series. Those who stick with it will find that there's more to it than playing World Tour in single player. You can beat this mode in co-op and even compete in versus duels with friends and other fans online.

World Tour is where many are likely to spend most of their time though, surfing through yet another retelling of the Kingdom Hearts saga, this time from Kairi's perspective. Thankfully, this newest rendition doesn't seem to get as bogged down, streamlining the major plot points as you slide between stages on your musical score-chasing odyssey.

Of course, with this being Kingdom Hearts, you'll need to play (or at least watch) Melody of Memory to get the latest on what's happening in the series storyline. Square have stated that this won't be a major new chapter in the franchise though they have confirmed it picks up from Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind while also presenting clues as to where things will go next, presumably teasing Kingdom Hearts IV.

Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory isn't the carelessly cobbled together spinoff concerned fans may have been expecting. There's depth to this rhythm action adventure and plenty of fan service to go around, especially if you find yourself occasionally hunting for Kingdom Hearts playlists whenever working, studying, or looking to unwind.

Check out the demo on PlayStation 4, Xbox One or Nintendo Switch, ahead of its release on 13th November.


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