Blog Archive

Friday, 9 October 2020

How Mundaun brings hand-drawn terror to its Alpine setting

The onset of a new console generation always brings with it an increasing push towards ever-more impressive graphical fidelity so it is refreshing to still see some genuinely original stylised aesthetics appearing on the indie scene. I'm not against photo realistic images of slathering jaws or dismemberment, but sometimes the focus on graphics can overshadow the importance of good design.

Mundaun certainly has bags of style thanks to the striking pencil-drawn art style. Game designer and illustrator Michel Ziegler has spent 6 years creating these and the love put in is clear to see.

Unlike most hand-drawn games, the world of Mundaun is still a fully 3D experience. Ziegler's illustrations have been texture mapped over the environment objects and the end result is an uncanny environment that feels like a folk horror take on the classic A-ha music video for 'Take On Me'. The claustrophobic atmosphere is juxtaposed with the rolling vistas of the Alps and makes for a hugely effective location. The sense of place is supported by a moving and atmospheric soundtrack that makes use of items from the mountains. Together, the whole game had a vivid feel reminiscent of the German expressionist horror films of the early 20th century.

The story for Mundaun has all the ingredients for a spooky folk horror time. Your character is returning to the Alps to discover more about the circumstances of their grandfather's death. I had the opportunity to watch a playthrough of a section from the middle of the game. This extract took place in the second of three large areas spread across the Alpine environment. The sense of place was enhanced by the signposts that both guide the player and mimic the trails and paths around the real life mountains. A handy goat can also occasionally help to show you alternative routes through dangerous areas.

The game itself is a mixture of exploration, survival horror, and puzzle solving. While there is a central narrative to work through, taking time to carry out mundane tasks such as making coffee will have direct benefits, with a light RPG system in place. The focus is clearly on atmosphere and story-telling however, as you work your way deeper into the mysteries of the region. While the Alps are predominantly quite a lonely environment, the developers promise pockets of life and a varied cast of characters. These will be brought to life through the use of voice acting in the local language, Romansh. It's an exceptionally specific focus that's characteristic of the personal nature of Ziegler's approach to the game's creation.

Exploration takes place in traditional first person style, but it's given an entirely new feel thanks to the unique graphical style. The open spaces promise alternative routes whilst puzzles seem self-contained and environmental. One eerie example in the demo involved swinging hanging hams in the correct order to release a key from a corpse's mouth – the corpse also hanging in the same curing room.

Mundaun is due out for PC and consoles sometime in Spring 2021 and looks set to be a distinctive and unique experience. Alongside the beautiful hand-drawn aesthetic and moving score, I am especially excited to find out more about the local folklores and traditions, immersing myself in the geography and language of the Alps to get a privileged glimpse of a little represented culture. Of course, I'll hopefully to scare myself silly in the process.


No Man's Sky Origins hotfix 3.03 is out now – here's the patch notes

Hello Games have been hard at work since the release of No Man's Sky Origins, the latest major update for the popular space exploration game. Hotfix 3.03 is out now across all platforms and fixes dozens of issues that were reported by the community.

No Man's Sky Origins brought sweeping changes and new features to the game, adding more planets to the procedurally generated galaxy, filling them with new flora and fauna, dramatic new weather effects, and more NPCs. The biggest addition (obviously) were the big Dune-like sandworms.

Here's the substantial patch notes.

No Man's Sky update 3.03

  • Fixed an issue that caused vegetation and other planetary items to be spread too thin when viewed at a distance.
  • Fixed an issue that caused a different mission to be selected when moving from one step of the Artemis story to another.
  • Fixed an issue that caused an occasional checkerboard pattern to appear on the terrain on frozen and volcanic worlds.
  • Fixed an occasional visual glitch that caused stretched polygons in the grass.
  • Improved the displacement effect on vegetation when it is pushed by the player or creatures.
  • Fixed an issue that caused items awarded by the Planetary Archive vaults to change rarity after save/load.
  • Players may now use the back-out button to select the 'Leave' option in an interaction.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented players from using the Multi-Tool upgrade terminal in VR.
  • When using the Analysis Visor, more distant markers are now shown slightly faded out.
  • Fixed an issue that made it difficult to summon the starship on some planets.
  • Fixed an issue that allowed the personal forcefield to activate while using the Analysis Visor.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented teleporter destinations from other galaxies from being visible on the teleport page.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented Xbox players from setting Waypoints from the Discovery Page.
  • Fixed an issue on PC that prevented base thumbnails from showing in the teleporter.
  • Virtual keyboard is now supported in Steam VR.
  • Fixed an issue where using the Steam VR desktop overlay would spin the game camera.
  • Fixed an issue that caused incorrect discovery counts to appear on planets where nothing had been discovered.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause the Local Information Register to display the system name as the planet name and vice versa.
  • Fixed an issue that caused incorrect thumbnails to display on the Discovery Page.
  • Opening the Discovery Page immediately after discovering something now correctly takes you straight to the details of that discovery.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the discovery thumbnail in the Analysis Visor to occasionally appear corrupted.
  • Fixed an issue that caused some creatures to appear at an incorrect position or scale when viewed on the Discovery page.
  • Fixed an issue that caused some flying creatures to be classified as 'Ground' by the Discovery Page.
  • Fixed an issue that caused jellyfish to face the wrong way while swimming.
  • Fixed an issue that caused frozen dead worlds to report overly warm temperatures.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause your ship to teleport inside buildings when visiting bases.
  • Trader ships that land on the planet's surface will now crush any objects they land on.
  • Fixed an issue that caused oxygen plants and carbon crystals to award too much of their substance on some planets.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause players to very occasionally warp into a system inside a planet.
  • Fix an issue that caused the Vy'keen smuggler to only say 'Grah!'
  • Fixed a number of audio and rumble issues with the Sandworm in multiplayer.
  • Fixed an issue that caused distant thunder audio to only play occasionally.
  • Fixed a number of audio issues with creatures.
  • Improved the icon for the Data Packet.
  • Exchanging an artefact at a Planetary Archive vault now correctly awards standing with the relevant faction.
  • Fixed an issue that blocked other players from using the vaults at the Planetary Archives in multiplayer.
  • Increased the likelihood of meteor showers on dead planets.
  • Fixed a number of clipping issues in the UI.
  • Fixed a number of text issues.
  • Fixed a number of minor errors in interactions.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Photo Mode cloud coverage option to be unavailable on some planets.
  • Improved the controls in Photo Mode, adding acceleration to the camera movement to allow more fine-tuned adjustments.
  • Added the ability to tilt the camera in Photo Mode.
  • Fixed an issue that caused screenshots taken in Photo Mode to be cropped to the wrong FOV.
  • Weather warning decals are no longer visible in Photo Mode.
  • Fixed a number of flickering issues present when using DoF controls in Photo Mode.
  • In Photo Mode, props will now be shown at the highest possible detail setting.
  • Fixed a number of memory-related crashes on console.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause poor framerate on PC VR.
  • Fixed an issue that caused some PC users with Windows hardware acceleration enabled to only see a white screen on boot.
  • Fixed a rare softlock that could occur when entering the ship at the moment you die.

Source: NMS


Kingdom Come: Deliverance live action adaptation has been commissioned

Warhorse Studios has partnered with Eric Barmack, former Netflix executive, to create a live action adaptation of its medieval game Kingdom Come: Deliverance. The deal is in its early stages and it has not yet been confirmed whether this adaptation will be a series or a movie. In fact, it is so early in its stages of development that Warhorse and Eric Barmack have put out a call to writers and directors to work on whatever path they choose to take for Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

Eric Barmack has already got a deal under his belt for another video game adaptation, and that is for the Yakuza series. He spoke of the deals and said:

"[There are] amazing, non-U.S. worlds that are locally relevant, but with a regional and global popularity that streamers are looking for as they become more and more global. It's especially interesting that video games with heavy narrative, like 'The Witcher' and 'Kingdom Come: Deliverance,' are uniquely adaptable, and local but global all at once."

In our review for Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Dave wrote:

If Kingdom Come: Deliverance has a ton of bug fixing to improve the performance drastically, it could be a hidden gem. It's clear that the game, despite its grand ambitions, was simply not ready for public consumption. Shimmers of brilliance are there and had it seen more time in the oven, or set its ambitions at a more reasonable level, it could have been brilliant and scored significantly higher as a result. Alas, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is another cautionary tale rather than a trend setter.

Since then, the game has seen some improvements and has gone on to sell over 3 million copies worldwide, showing there is an audience for a more grounded Medieval experience that does not have magic as part of its setting.

Source: Variety


Little Orpheus: The Lost Recordings update out now on Apple Arcade

The Chinese Room has released the first major update for its Apple Arcade title Little Orpheus, and the update is called The Lost Recordings. Within this update players will find the addition of new game plus, new costumes, and more than 100 collectibles. The new game plus mode is implemented a bit differently here as this unlocks after each level, so you can go back and replay a level to get anything you missed instead of having to complete the full game.

Ed Daly, studio director at The Chinese Room, said:

"With our first major update we want to give players even more reasons to play and revisit Ivan's adventure. We've added a host of unlockable treats for fans of the game and, well this is probably top secret information, but there might even be a little tease for what's still to come!"

The collectibles include new concept art, lines of dialogue, and new music giving some more depth to Little Orpheus. There is also a special collectible somewhere in Little Orpheus: The Lost Recordings that teases the next update that The Chinese Room is working on. However, the studio is not giving away what that unlockable is or any details of what to expect in the second major update. In our review for Little Orpheus, Thomas wrote:

Little Orpheus sets a new bar in mobile gaming experiences. Its rich, lush world is only surpassed by the fantastic narrative and voice acting and the stellar soundtrack composed by Jessica Curry and Jim Fowler. It does become a little repetitive by the end, but chances are you will already be gripped and engaged with the story, wanting to see how Ivanovich survives the fantastical dangers of this subterranean world.
You can read the full Little Orpheus review here. And, if you want more details you can check out our interview with The Chinese Room here. 
Source: Press Release

The Survivalists Review

Spinning off the pixel art prison escape game The Escapists, The Survivalists is another almost self-explanatory game from Team17. You awaken stranded on the beach of a large island and must survive long enough to find some means of escape. Naturally, this is easier said than done, as in addition to the risk of starving to death, getting killed by a huge bat, or paddling too far into the sea and being eaten by a shark, there's all kinds of actual monsters to fight off as well.

Much like any other survival game, you start off gathering basic materials from trees, rocks, and bushes. You are able to craft a limited number of useable items with just your hands and these materials, but that only really includes the basics, such as a simple axe, rope, or some makeshift bedsheets. Really, you'll need a crafting bench to get yourself some proper tools.

Using the blueprints menu to place it, dropping the necessary ingredients and then assembling it with the multi-tool you (hopefully) already crafted, it's the first meaningful step on the chain of blueprint unlocks. It's a slightly awkward system though, as you can't see what you can unlock until you've crafted or built all its prerequisites. This means you occasionally end up wasting resources on an item you don't really want in the vain hope it will make the item you actually need available afterwards. It isn't a huge issue, but it adds a little more uncertainty regarding what you're supposed to be doing early on and, in a survival game where you're expected to discover everything, that's not ideal.

It's also around this time that you'll realise that the bar of items across the bottom of the screen isn't just an action bar, it's your character's entire inventory. Inventory swapping quickly becomes an annoyance that will stick with you for the entire game. As you get more tools and weapons that you want to keep on you because they're indispensable, but that leaves you with less space to carry the stuff you are using them to collect. I found myself constantly dropping and picking up items and it started to feel needlessly fiddly pretty quickly. Thankfully there are ways around this, such as keeping your stuff in a chest and then carrying that chest around with you or, and I'm being completely serious here, you can use monkeys.

Monkeys are found all over the islands and they can be trained to do basically anything you can, outside of expressing any form of free will. They're very easy to train; you just throw a banana at them to get them to pay attention, and then do whatever it is you want them to do. For example, if you give a monkey a multi-tool and then show it how to finish crafting an item, that monkey will then craft any nearby item that is waiting to be made.

Eventually you'll have a small tribe of monkeys who automate most of your island life. I trained one monkey to supply nearby crafting projects with items from chests, then another monkey to take over and actually craft the item, and one final monkey to then pick it up and deposit it back in the chest. It's simple to set up and really quite satisfying, even if you just like giving monkeys orders and sitting back to watch them do your bidding. They'll even follow you around with a chest for some portable storage, if you like.

More important than a squad of monkey butlers, however, is having a small army of monkey soldiers. Give them weapons and fight something for them to see and they'll happily follow you around the island and beat anything that doesn't look too friendly into a pulp. This is helpful as the island is host to some hostile wildlife and fantasy creatures.

It took a little while to get the hang of the combat system, but it boils down to an attack and a dodge roll which, if timed correctly, allows you to counter enemy attacks. I had a little trouble with orcs early on, but it wasn't long before I got used to the combat and had trained an army of club-swinging monkeys. They come in particularly handy when you delve below the island's surface. You can find dungeons dotted about the map where treasures can be found, provided you can fight off any unpleasant beasties you find.

Building on the pixel art aesthetic of The Escapists, this game has clearly had a lot of care put into it. Everything is bright, colourful, and animated – long grass sways as you run through fields, waves roll onto the beach from water that gets darker as it gets deeper, edges all look sharp, and animations are detailed and smooth. The music is similarly fantastic, providing a serene ambience whilst you're building a house, but turning to some exciting battle music whilst you're suddenly under attack because you lost track of time.

My favourite moment came after I built a raft to travel to another island and travelled for a few minutes there to a new music track that was filled to the brim with excitement and adventure, only to immediately have to get right back on my raft once I'd reached the island because I'd been attacked by three wild boars. I wasted about five minutes, but I laughed all the way back to my home island.

The one drawback to the visuals is that the isometric view can lead to things being obscured behind trees or mountain sides. At one point I had to cut down a few trees so I could get through the undergrowth to a floating speech bubble that turned out to be coming from a friendly orc that wanted to trade. The procedural map generation sometimes creates narrow valleys where you just can't see the ground. Similarly, there are gaps between rocks, trees, and other parts of the environment that seem to be large enough to travel through, but annoyingly aren't, leaving you to walk into objects repeatedly as you try and make your way through like Sideshow Bob trying to escape a garden of rakes.


Xbox Series X consoles reported to be "emitting heat like crazy"

Good news if you have a small flat and plan to buy an Xbox Series X, you won't need to have your central heating on this winter if a couple of reports are to be believed. Jeux Video's Ken Bogard posted a Twitch stream looking at the new console and said:

The Series X is hot, like really hot! It doesn't make any noise, but damn it's hot! The console is emitting heat like crazy. It's almost like a fireplace shaft. You can heat up your flat with it.

Ken was playing backwards compatible games rather than Xbox Series X games so the console should have not been working too hard, heavens knows what the heat is like when it's running something at 4K and 60fps. The video has been mysteriously removed from the internet.

Giant Bomb's Jeff Bakalar has also commented on the heat output of the console, saying the even in standby mode "the entire thing is a little toasty." Both Ken and Jeff had pre-release consoles but it is unlikely the final hardware design will have changed by November, no doubt there are millions of consoles already stacked up in warehouses.

UPDATE: Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg has tweeted this response.

Recently it was revealed that the Xbox Series X will reserve around 20% of its 1TB SSD for system functions, presenting users with 802GB for installing games. Adding a 1TB SSD Expansion Card to the system will grant an additional 920GB storage in real terms.

Comparing this to an Xbox One X with a 1TB and this is actually quite a small, but not insignificant space saving. The current gen system provides 781GB of space from its 1TB hard drive to users..

What does this mean for the Xbox Series S and its 512GB SSD? Well, we don't know for certain, but it will obviously be more limited by whatever requirement the system has. One thing that will definitely be smaller is the SSD space needed to support Quick Resume. The Series S has less RAM allocated to developers (believed to be 7.5GB for next-gen games), and so each game's cache will be reduced. Microsoft could also limit the system to allowing for fewer games to be kept in Quick Resume. Not only that, but game sizes should be reduced further on Series S by the system targeting 1440p instead of 4K.

Source: Jeux Video via VGC


Song of Horror PS4 and Xbox One release has been delayed to 2021

Protocol Games and Raiser Games have announced that the PS4 and Xbox One release of the horror title Song of Horror has been delayed, and is now expected to be released in Q1 2021. The game was meant to be coming to these platforms just in time for Halloween with an original release date of October 29th. In a statement on Twitter, Raiser Games wrote:

Hi #SongofHorror fans, We had to make a hard decision that we hope all of you understand. After discussing a lot internally and due to multiple factors, we decided to move the release date of Song Of Horror to Q1 2021. We want to deliver the best possible quality for the console version, delivering the vision of the original PC release for all our community. It became evident we were not there yet and we do not want to deliver something that risks disappointing you. So, here we are. 
We know this is not good news for many of you, but we believe that the delay will help deliver a better experience, the same experience we think all of you deserve. Thank you very much in advance for your understanding and support.

In our review for Song of Horror, Steve wrote:

Song of Horror is one of the best indie horror games out there. Taking the key aspects of genre classics like Silent Hill and Resident Evil, and combining these with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the genre in other media, Song of Horror really gets under your skin and, just like The Presence, will haunt the dark corners of your mind. But don't worry, that noise was just the wind. Or was it…
You can read the full  Song of Horror review here.

Western Digital have announced a PS5 compatible SSD (probably)

Now that we know how to install an expansion SSD into the PlayStation 5, we just need to know what NVMe SSDs we can put there. Following on from the Samsung 980 Pro, Western Digital have announced the WD Black SN850, a second drive that could be PS5 compatible.

In fact, they're pretty confident of this fact, labelling it as being PS5 compatible… with an asterisk to give them a bit of a get out.

The SN850 is WD's first PCIe 4 drive, delivering read speed up to 7000 MB/s, which more than surpasses the raw 5500 MB/s of the PS5's built in SSD. It goes up to 2TB in size, but that comes at a steep costs. The smallest 500GB has an MSRP of $149.99, 1TB is $229.99 and 2TB is $449.99.

They're prices that match those of the Samsung 980 Pro, and means that you can expect a 1TB expansion of the PS5 storage to cost around £220.

That is, of course, if Sony approve the drives for use with the PS5. Sony showed us where you can install an SSD in the PS5 as part of their console teardown video earlier this week, however the company have said that any SSD has to meet their exacting standards. Expansion SSDs must be able to surpass the raw speed of the built in drive to allow for the different processing structure of their own custom SSD design. That means they must have at least 5500 MB/s in raw throughtput, which only the emerging generation of PCIe 4 drives.

This will obviously make expanding the internal storage of the PS5 an extremely expensive proposition, though it's expected and hoped competitive pressures will see the prices come down over the next couple of years. Considering the size of games through the PlayStation 4 generation, many gamers have expanded their storage to let them install more games at once. Where PS4 games could be run from an external drive, that's not possible for PS5 games, where they must be installed to an internal SSD. With rumours suggesting that the internal 825GB drive presents just 664GB to users after formatting and the system functions take their slice.

It's also very pricey to expand the Xbox Series X|S storage, which features a custom designed expansion slot and SSD form factor. At launch, Microsoft have partnered with Seagate to create an SSD expansion card, costing £220 for a 1TB expansion, despite only being a match for the Xbox Series X|S slower SSD. Though a custom design, Microsoft have said that this is a partnership for launch and they intend to have other companies producing SSDs for their consoles in future.

via Anandtech


Kirby Fighters 2 Review

When Kirby Fighters Deluxe released on 3DS in mid-2014, it was already overshadowed by the impending launch of Super Smash Bros. for 3DS that released only a few short months later. In 2020, Kirby Fighters 2 is in a similar predicament, coming out a couple years after the exceptional Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The question is, can this offshoot of a beloved Nintendo character and prominent Smash Bros regular do enough to distance itself from arguably one of the best Smash Bros games of all time?

Honestly, no. But Kirby Fighters 2 does succeed in other ways. Firstly, if you're a Kirby main in Smash Bros, you are absolutely going to love Kirby Fighters 2. 90% of the roster are the various forms of Kirby along with some series mainstays like Meta-Knight. You've got Sword Kirby, Hammer Kirby, Yo-yo Kirby and plenty of others to unlock.

The entire cast of Kirby's can be used across the game's four different gameplay modes: Battle mode, online and offline multiplayer, a story mode and a single-controller mode. Of the four, the story mode is the most comprehensive, tasking players with climbing a tower of increasingly difficult battles.The player has access to one upgrade between each fight which can be used to restore your health, increase attack power or even increase the effectiveness of specific items.

I actually quite enjoyed this system, it reminded me of the way roguelites empower players to create their own build based on an upgrade system within the game. You can adapt your Kirby towards having more health, better defence or more attack power, all based on how you like to play the game.

The fighting itself feels quite basic compared to Smash Bros. Each character has a number attacks mapped to the B button which are accessed through different combinations of the analogue stick. A lets your Kirby jump and gloat, while Y lets you grab enemies. You can use ZL or ZR to block, but this has a stamina bar so you aren't able to block permanently. There are also items and buffs to be found during each level that give player's access to more powerful attacks, although the item selection isn't quite as expansive as Super Smash Bros.

The combat system is okay, but it never really exceeded my expectations. It feels similar to Smash in some ways, but like a far more simplified version that lacks the depth that makes Smash so fun. Everything from the items through to the stages the action takes place on just falls short of what I'd come to expect from it's bigger, more ambitious cousin. At a fraction of what Super Smash Bros. Ultimate costs though, it does offer a watered down experience at a much more convenient price.

Once players are finished with the story mode, there is an online battle area for players to fight in although at the time of writing this review, it took me around twenty minutes to find a game with enough people. This doesn't bode too well for the game going forward as there isn't a whole lot of content once the story is done.

Visually, Kirby Fighters 2 follows its lineage producing bright, colourful and cute characters fighting against dynamic, varied backgrounds. It looks great on the Switch's smaller screen, but there were some noticeable jagged edges while playing on my 1080p monitor. I'm not sure if anti-aliasing might have helped, but it was quite distracting when playing on a bigger screen.


Avicii Invector Encore Edition is a perfect portable album, and the perfect way to say farewell

The rhythm-action game remains one of gaming's purest pleasures. Whether you're tapping coloured keys on a plastic instrument or hitting the right buttons to make a 2D dog-rapper hit the beats, it's a genre that plugs your brain, ears and digits into the same free-flowing source and attempts to bring them all together in a cohesive, point-earning way.

Avicii Invector appeared in late 2019 in the wake of Tim Berling's untimely death, giving the rhythm-action genre a rare glimpse of pathos, grief and regret. It was far from melancholy though, celebrating the life of one of dance music's brightest stars. Twelve months later and the Switch is getting the ultimate edition of Avicii Invector, but can Nintendo's handheld play host to a perfect portable album?

Avicii Invector remains a modern classic of the rhythm-action genre, even when it's been shrunk down to Nintendo's diminutive console and its even more diminutive screen. A lot of that comes down to the fact that it pays homage to the rhythm-action greats of the past; your Frequencies, your Amplitudes, while updating their gameplay systems with a couple of fresh ideas to keep it firmly in the present.

You're a spaceship pilot, flying along a track that's beset by rhythmically placed barriers and beats, and you simply have to press the corresponding button at the right time to see them off. At a base level, that's all there is to it, but Invector throws in a few new elements to the rhythm-action melting pot to keep you on your toes.

The most impactful one is that there isn't a single plain. There's not a sole track for you to fly along, instead the route is triangular in shape, with three plains for you to hop between when the game is starting to feel particularly cruel. It means that you're never a passive participant; Invector's going to keep throwing things your way, and you have to be ready, and on time, when it does.

The second advancement isn't completely unique to Invector, sharing some common DNA with Aaero, but at points in your flight/track you lift off and fly free, unencumbered by button presses or pesky timing, merely tasked with flying your relatively small ship through a fairly large hole. It's a welcome moment of respite when it comes, often just as the vocals soar, and you can take in the track in the way it was intended.

There's a crazy cavalcade of tracks to be found in the Encore Edition, and while bigger doesn't always mean better, here it certainly does. It brings the track list to a robust 35, with additions like Addicted to You and Bad Reputation adding to the impressive discography that … have put together.

There's still no 10 More Days, which is something I might never truly forgive them for, but the blow has been softened. PS4 or Xbox One owners don't have to worry about missing out either, as all ten tracks are available across two new DLC packs so you can embed into Tim's musical output no matter what console you're playing on.

The Switch does of course have the added benefit of being portable, and Avicii Invector Encore Edition is a perfect musical companion no matter where you are. It's a playable album, and it really sold me on the idea of the format being spread across different tracks and bands, much like Rock Band Blitz, or Rock Band Unplugged on the PSP. Of course, it's a wonderful retrospective of Tim Berling's life and work, but it's been put together so successful that it lays the groundwork for a rhythm-action monster if the desire was there. Who can say what the future might hold?

The only downside I found to the smaller console was that when your ship enters hyperspeed, the Joy-Con rumble constantly, and it makes one hell of a noise. If you've got headphones on it won't be annoying to you, but you might want to switch it off if you value your friends, family, or your place on the train.


Abuse and harassment allegations emerge surrounding Twitch workplace culture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Here's more on the game.

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

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

Source: Press Release


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update: It's live!

Here are the patch notes:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: press release


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Akira's 2019 has its own problems…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Dave wrote in our Worms WMD review:

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

Source: press release


Tonor TC-777 USB Mic Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Resident Evil 3 Remake/Resistance October update patch notes

New features:

Cosmetics

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

Survivor Weapons

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

Creatures

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

Skill Cards

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

System Changes

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

Annette

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

Daniel

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

Alex

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

Spencer

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

Nicholai

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

Adjustments and Fixes:

Martin

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

Daniel

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

Spencer

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

Nicholai

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

Survivors

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

System Changes

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

Source: Capcom


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

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

Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris update 1.10:

Battle

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

UI

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

System

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

Button Input

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

Others

  • Fixed other minor bugs and issues
  • Fixed control stability

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

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

Star Wars Squadrons unlikely to get any new content

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

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

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

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

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

You can read the full Star Wars Squadrons review here.

Source: UploadVR


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

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

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

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

In our review for John Wick Hex, Miguel wrote:

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

Rainbow Six Siege Tachanka Rework goes live today on Test Servers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rainbow Six Siege Year 5 Season 3 summary

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

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


EPOS | Sennheiser GSP 602 Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

What is the Dauntless Hunt Pass?

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

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

When does the current Hunt Pass end?

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

How do I level up the Hunt Pass?

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

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

Is the Dauntless Elite Hunt Pass worth it?

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

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

Dauntless tips: 10 tips & tricks for newcomers

How do I claim Dauntless Hunt Pass rewards?

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

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

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


Dead By Daylight prepares for Tome V, coming soon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Twitter (@DeadByBHVR)


PlayStation Trophy levelling system to be overhauled from tonight

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

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

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

Source: PS Blog


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

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

FUT:

Addressed the following issue:

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

Pro Clubs:

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

VOLTA FOOTBALL:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Steam


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: PS Blog


No comments:

Post a comment