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Monday, 5 October 2020

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered confirmed, out this November

EA have finally confirmed that Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is getting a remaster and it will be available on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on November 6th.

The game has enhanced visuals,  the SCPD Rebel Racer Pack, Super Sports Pack, Armed & Dangerous Pack, Lamborghini Untamed Pack, and Porsche Unleashed Pack, all of which add an extra six hours of gameplay and thirty challenges, and will also include cross-play so you can play with your chums no matter what platform they are on.

Here's more on those remastered graphics:

The Nintendo Switch version runs at 1080p/30 FPS in docked mode (720p/30 FPS undocked) and includes higher-resolution models, more objects and props, longer draw distance, higher resolution shadows, and improved videos.

Depending on your specifications, 4K/60 FPS is supported on PC, and players can choose between 4K/30 FPS or 1080p/60 FPS on PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. Base versions of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will run the game at 1080p/30 FPS. In addition to the listed improvements for the Nintendo Switch version, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC versions are also updated with upressed UI, higher resolution reflections, boosted textures, more particles, and improved AA/SSAO.

"We've added brand new achievements, car colors, wraps, reduced hard stops, an updated photo mode and gallery, and multiple quality of life updates, too, to create an even more well-rounded gameplay experience this time around," adds EA.

Here's the list of cars you will be able to drive:

  • Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Spider
  • Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
  • Aston Martin DBS Volante
  • Aston Martin DBS
  • Aston Martin V12 Vantage
  • Aston Martin One-77
  • Audi TT RS
  • Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro
  • Audi R8 Coupe 5.2 FSI quattro
  • Bentley Continental Supersports Coupe
  • Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible
  • BMW Z4 sDrive35is
  • BMW M3 E92
  • BMW M6 Convertible
  • Bugatti Veyron 16.4
  • Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport
  • Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport
  • Chevrolet Camaro SS
  • Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
  • Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
  • Chevrolet Corvette Z06
  • Dodge Charger SRT8
  • Dodge Challenger SRT8
  • Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR
  • Dodge Viper SRT10
  • Dodge Viper SRT10 Final Edition
  • Ford Crown Victoria Interceptor
  • Ford GT
  • Ford GT500 Super Snake
  • Ford GT500 Shelby
  • Ford Police Interceptor Concept
  • Gumpert Apollo S
  • Jaguar XKR
  • Koenigsegg CCX
  • Koenigsegg CCXR Edition
  • Koenigsegg Agera
  • Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV
  • Lamborghini Diablo SV
  • Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni
  • Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder LP 560-4
  • Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4
  • Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera
  • Lamborghini Sesto Elemento
  • Lamborghini Murciélago LP 640
  • Lamborghini Murciélago LP 650-4 Roadster
  • Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce
  • Lamborghini Reventón Roadster
  • Lamborghini Reventón
  • Maserati GranCabrio
  • Maserati GranTurismo S
  • Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S
  • Mazda RX-8
  • McLaren MP4-12C
  • McLaren F1
  • Mercedes SL 65 AMG Black Series
  • Mercedes SLS AMG
  • Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
  • Nissan 370Z Roadster
  • Nissan 370Z
  • Nissan GT-R SpecV
  • Pagani Zonda Cinque (NFS Edition)
  • Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster
  • Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster (NFS Edition)
  • Pagani Zonda Cinque
  • Porsche 911 GT2 RS
  • Porsche 911 GT3 RS
  • Porsche 911 Speedster
  • Porsche 911 Targa 4S
  • Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet
  • Porsche 911 Turbo 1982
  • Porsche 918 Spyder
  • Porsche Boxster Spyder
  • Porsche Carrera GT
  • Porsche Cayman S
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo
  • Porsche 959
  • Subaru Impreza WRX STI

The game has leaked numerous times, most recently the Korean Games Rating and Administration Committee listed the title and  back in August Amazon listed and just as quickly deleted a listing for Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered for Xbox One.

The game was also been listed by  Australian retailer Mighty Ape. Back in June Venturebeat reported that, following the success of Burnout Paradise Remastered, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit was coming to Switch and other consoles.

Hot Pursuit launched way back in 2010 on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii and scored 8/10 in our review. 

Hot Pursuit is a refreshing reboot for a series that's become tired and disjointed, with Criterion's grip tightly controlling the direction of the game as much as the publisher.  As a result, this latest Need for Speed is the best it's been for years, and although it's naturally not going to be a game for everyone, anyone looking for a solid racing game this Christmas with a significant emphasis on online competition should find this is well worth investigating, especially if you liked the demo.

The Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remaster isn't the only EA game that has been leaked multiple times but remains unconfirmed by the publisher. The Mass Effect Trilogy Remaster has also popped up on various retailers, perhaps the Korean Games Rating and Administration Committee could confirm that one as well?

Source:


Ghost of Tsushima: Legends co-op and New Game+ update comes out later this month

A major update for Ghost of Tsushima will be released later this month on 16th October, bringing a full-fledged co-op mode as well as a New Game+ mode for those looking to run through the main story for the second time. Check out the trailer for the version 1.1 update:

Legends is a separate mode from the main game that features four new warriors rather than focusing on Jin and characters you have already met. It also adds a supernatural element with locations and enemies inspired by Japanese folk tales and mythology. The four warriors each have a class, Samurai, Hunter, Ronin, or Assassin, each with their own abilities.

You can team up with up to four friends via party or grab some randoms via matchmaking and play Survival, a wave based mission with groups of enemies which have supernatural abilities. Also included is a series of two player co-op story missions that will require you to work closely with your partner, using techniques you mastered in the single player game but with new magical twists.

Also announced are Raids, which will be coming in the weeks after the release of Ghost of Tsushima: Legends. This three-part adventure will need you to have skill, top-tier gear and a great four-player team that communicates well in order to survive.

To access the mode, you'll need to find Gyozen the Storyteller, who will appear in towns and locations around Tsushima. He's the keeper of the stories that you'll be playing in Legends and will give you access to the multiplayer lobby. Alternatively, you can be super boring and jump to Legends via the title menu, pause menu, or by accepting an invitation. Much less immersive.

Speaking of immersion, the photo mode is being enhanced to work in multiplayer, and will allow you and your friends to pose together to show off your new cosmetics (all of which are earnt through gameplay).

Ghost of Tsushima: Legends will also have its own trophies, which will appear in a separate section of your Trophy list and do not count toward Ghost of Tsushima's Platinum.

For solo riders, there's always New Game+, letting you take all of your existing Techniques, Gear, and Vanity and pit yourself against a higher difficulty. You'll be dropped into the world after Jin's first confrontation with the Khan, just as the open world, well, opens up.

You will then be able to earn a new type of flower: the Ghost Flower, which you can trade with a new merchant that you'll find in Ariake.

Source: PS Blog


Nuts, buttons, and lights: Further PlayStation 5 details revealed

Over the weekend a couple of Japanese sites got their hands on the PlayStation 5 and a few new details have emerged. The first applies to consoles in Japan only where historically the X button has been used for cancel and the O button has been used for accept, or "OK".

Sony have aligned the Japanese console with the Western version, where the buttons have always been the other way round. This means our Japanese friends are going to have to learn to use the opposite buttons to what they would naturally use, but confusing this only applies to PlayStation 5 games, PS4 games running in backwards compatibility will continue to use the old button functions.

Famitsu editor Kenji Iguchi has this to say on Twitter. 

Wow, this is big news for UI/UX. PlayStation 5 will use the X button to confirm by default for ALL REGIONS including Japan, who previously used O to confirm for the past 26 years. Muscle memory frustration for the nearly 10M PS users in Japan coming up.

In Japan, the "Circle = Good, OK, Correct" symbolism has been common knowledge for many decades. When designing the original PlayStation controller, it was likely that the placement of the O/X were hence made to match the Super Famicom's A/B, and were utilized similarly.

I expect this will go down VERY badly with Japanese players. Unlearning muscle memory acquired through years of repetition is extremely tough. For the short term, I think JP developers are actually going to face MORE dev burden instead of less due to this…

We have also discovered that the DualSense controller has subtle lighting options. Up until now we had only seen the controller with a blue glow but 4Gamer.net have photos showing it with red, purple, and green glows. It is thought these will be used to identify controllers when you are playing local multiplayer games.

Finally, a mysterious nut or latch has been spotted on the PlayStation 5 case. Once again 4Gamer.net are the source but The Verge spotted the metal nugget and many are suggesting this could mean that Sony will be selling alternate shells to the console, great news for those who do not like the white casing. Others are suggesting this is how you access the insides of the PlayStation 5 as Sony have said you can upgrade the SSD drive with a compatible model.

Over the weekend a Russian leak has seemingly revealed that the PlayStation 5 has 664GB of usable storage space for installing games and media from its marketed 825GB SSD.

This would logically make sense, with the marketed size of hard drives and SSDs calculated differently to how computers then view the same storage. 825GB actually equates to 768GB of space when formatted, and it then seems that around 100GB is taken up by the OS and reserved for system features.

Source: Famitsu / Twitter / 4Gamer.net / The Verge


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

It's been just over a month since the launch of Marvel's Avengers, and as players wait for new content to be added to the game we thought we'd dive into some game statistics.

These numbers are plucked straight from the PlayStation 4 trophy data for Marvel's Avengers. Of course, it's not 100% representative of the game's total player base (which is spread across Xbox One, PC, and Stadia too) though it gives a good indication of their behaviour.

At the time of writing, less than half of Avengers players have completed the game's solo campaign with 40.9% having unlocked the "New Girl Makes Good" gold trophy. It may not sound like much though there's a chance that many players have dipped straight into the online co-op instead of pursuing the story, wanting to unlock all six playable Avengers as quickly as possible.

In terms of player progression, here are some relevant stats:

  • 1.6% have reached the current 150 maximum Power Level with one hero. This score is determined by your gear and not earned experience points.
  • By extension, 3.5% of players have earned a total of 250 Power Level ranks across their full hero roster.
  • 11.8% have earned enough experience points to reach Hero Level 50 with one character, unlocking all their skills (Time to Shine – Bronze)
  • 14.4% have equipped a hero with Legendary or better gear in each slot (Become Legend)
  • 36.1% have reached Hero Level 5 with 5 different playable characters

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

Marvel's Avengers current sits on "Fair" OpenCritic rating of 68 which no doubt falls short of what Square Enix had been expecting from its bid budget superhero title. Common criticisms include repetitive combat gameplay, not enough enemy variety, and a lack of stand-out Marvel characters to fight against. Of course, this is on top of complaints surrounding the live service structure of Marvel's Avengers and its reliance on co-op multiplayer content. Here are some of our early thoughts about the game:

Marvel's Avengers offers a new approach for a superhero video game, yet one that still feels all too familiar for anyone who's played Destiny, The Division, or Anthem. It's eye-popping in its technical prowess as well as how much it leans on live service hooks, anticipating players will come back day after day. And a lot of players definitely will, especially if they can squad up with friends. Past its flaws and behind the grind, Marvel's Avengers is still a fun superhero brawler that has plenty of room to grow in the coming months.

Several weeks after its launch, our thoughts still reflect how we felt on day one. There's an interesting, if short, string of singleplayer missions to blitz through, giving us fresh yet predictable perspective on Earth's Mightiest Heroes. While we've enjoyed levelling up characters it's hard to ignore the built-in grind, Marvel's Avengers encouraging you to run the same missions over and over just to earn experience points and grab gear with potentially better stats.

Before Marvel's Avengers, there was Marvel Ultimate Alliance

It's easy to see how this could grate on some players, especially those expecting a meaty campaign mode to sink their comic fan fangs into. However, one of the boons of being a live service game is the steady roll out of new features and improvements. Developer Crystal Dynamics have already confirmed that Hawkeye (and Kate Bishop) will be joining the game with Spider-Man swinging into action early next year. Well, on PlayStation 4 at least.


Genshin Impact Review

I still refuse to believe Genshin Impact is real. Sure, I've played the game numerous times in 2020, from a hands-on event at PAX East in February to a closed beta in July and now hours of time spent with the full release. Despite all that time playing this very much real video game, I just can't wrap my head around how something this polished, gorgeous, ambitious, addictive… and free! It's free on PC, free on PlayStation 4, and free on your phone, yet no matter what device you choose to play on, you're still diving into one of the most impressive and unobtrusive free-to-play games I've ever experienced.

When you see the label free-to-play tossed around, it implies one of two sorts of gaming experiences. You're either looking at some sort of competitive, seasonal multiplayer video game or a flashy phone game full of menus and sub-menus and side-quests and event challenges that whisk you into an endless hole of contextless turn-based battles or tower defence missions. Genshin Impact is neither of these. Despite Chinese developer miHoYo gaining their fame from years of developing mobile grindfest gacha game Honkai Impact 3rd, Genshin Impact is a massive, open-world adventure with real-time action combat, recruitable characters, and a hefty amount of story.

At a glance, you're likely to draw comparisons between this game and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. That's certainly fair, as this game openly draws plenty of inspiration from the Nintendo Switch classic. Mechanics like a stamina-fueled climbing system, chests guarded by enemy encampments, a glider to let you serenely float down from clifftops, and cooking at campsites certainly weren't invented by the latest entry in the iconic Nintendo franchise, but the way they're implemented in Genshin Impact will definitely feel familiar to anyone who's played Breath of the Wild. Having that same sort of naturally engrossing itch for exploration applied to a gorgeous, anime-as-hell action game like this is a delight, though.

The world and characters of Genshin Impact are jaw-dropping, no matter what device you play on, and it legitimately blows me away that this free game from a Chinese mobile developer manages to look better than almost every other anime stylised JRPG or action game I've seen this generation.

There's a major focus on the interaction between elements in Genshin Impact, but unlike Breath of the Wild, this system is far more important to the flow of combat than the emergent action of exploring the open world. Sure, you can use ice characters to create walkable paths on bodies of water or use a fire character to burn thorns blocking off a chest, but the real fun comes in battle, thanks to your ability to instantly switch between anyone in your party of four as you fight. You can use a water-elemental to drench your enemies, then swap to a lightning character and conduct massive bolts of damage through them all. A wind-based archer might have trouble with shielded enemies, but if those shields are made of wood, switch to a fire ally like Amber and you can turn those defences to ash. The abilities of an individual character may be limited to a single standard combo, an elemental skill, and an ultimate ability, but the depth of the combat system is revealed once you start using all your characters in tandem.

Now remember, Genshin Impact is a free-to-play game. Surely, the character system is where they start digging into your pockets, right? Nope. Not at all. While there is a gacha system that lets you spend premium currency for a random shot at new weapons or characters, unlike every other game with a gacha system I've ever played, you never need to engage with this. The game never strong-arms you into going for a new character or blocks your progress until you get someone with a certain element. Most games give you a "tutorial" gacha roll to give you a taste of the gambling, but Genshin Impact simply tells you the system is there and moves on, dolling out new and powerful characters for free as you progress through the story.

If you do see someone you like in the Wish menu and decide to go for them, be warned that the odds of getting rare characters are pretty rough as of now. With a 0.6% chance of getting the highest rarity 5-star character on top of less exciting weapons being mixed in with your roll results, you'll likely either spend no money or a whole dang lot of money on Genshin Impact depending on the kind of person you are.

Beyond the character and weapon gacha, there are other elements to Genshin Impact that will feel familiar to fans of mobile RPGs, but none of them encourage or entice spending in the slightest. You level up characters and weapons with unique materials that are earned through combat, and you have an overall Adventurer Rank that increases as you take on any number of activities and quests in the world. Whether you decide to tackle mini-boss hunt missions, collect rare items, take on enemy camps or more, you'll slowly fill this rank up and gain access to new types of activities like big dungeons and impressive story missions.

The main quest of Genshin Impact isn't just same-y combat scenarios strung together by fantasy mumbo-jumbo. As a mysterious dimension-traveling warrior who finds themselves stuck in a new land, you'll engage in boss battles, stealth missions, mid-air Panzer Dragoon shooting sequences, and more. Like the rest of the game, the amount of variety in the main scenario is truly impressive.

I don't really have any major qualms with Genshin Impact (despite the slightly stingy gacha rates), but one significant issue I do have with the PC version is its awkward controller support. If you choose to play with a gamepad, you'll need to first navigate the menus with your mouse and keyboard and re-enable 'controller' mode every time you launch the game. Once that's done, you'll notice that the game swaps your confirm and cancel buttons like a Japanese console would. This is usually pretty manageable to get used to on a PlayStation controller, but having A be "Back" and B be "Accept" on an Xbox controller is utterly baffling at all times. Worse still is that you need to press X to talk to characters, and then swap to B to progress through the text, leading to pretty constant button confusion. You also can't navigate menus with the D-pad, which just seems like a wild oversight.


Cyberpunk 2077 has officially gone gold ahead of release

It's a big day for Cyberpunk 2077 and Polish developer CD Projekt Red. The hotly anticipated roleplaying game has finally gone gold after multiple delays, it's official release date just several weeks away.

For those stuck on the terminology, "going gold" basically means that a complete, shippable version of a game is ready for production. We can feel the fuzz of neon lights and smell the fumes of Night City already!

Originally, Cyberpunk 2077 was planned for an April 2020 launch before being pushed back to September and now November. For those keeping track, the game was formerly announced way back in 2012 before the first cinematic teaser was shown in January 2013.

In case you missed it there's also a new TV spot for Cyberpunk 2077 which aired during the recent NBA finals, starring Keanu Reeves who makes an appearance in-game as the character Johnny Silverhand. Here's the live action trailer in full:

Here's a little more information about the game's release date and how Cyberpunk 2077 is making its next-gen transition:

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.

In the run up to launch, CD Projekt Red have been hosting Night City Wire livestreams, revealing new gameplay footage and features. One of these gave us an in-depth look at the arsenal of weapons available to players as well as the various Lifepaths you can pursue which will influence your origin and starting area in Cyberpunk 2077. For those who want even more, there's an Edgerunners anime series due in 2022.

Source: Twitter (@CyberpunkGame)


Star Wars Squadrons Review

There are few fictional worlds as compelling as the one George Lucas created in the mid-70s, and over the following 43 years, Star Wars has become as much a religion and way of life as it is an entertainment behemoth. Despite that, its digital forays have often been met with criticism. EA's tenure as keeper of the license might have been sparse, but it's been more hit than miss, and after the enjoyable Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, fans will be hoping that Star Wars Squadrons can keep that (Kessel) run going.

Note: This review is an updated and scored version of our Review in Progress originally posted 1st October.

This fighter pilot sim set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, will have you flying some of the most iconic fictional craft of the modern era. Forget the Delorean from Back to the Future or the light-cycles from Tron, the idea that you could be flying an X-Wing or TIE Fighter from the comfort of your own home would make five-year-old me's head spin.

The prologue to the game's single player campaign takes place just after the destruction Alderaan is destroyed, introducing you to Imperial pilot Lindon Javes who, in somewhat expected fashion, doesn't stay with the Empire for long, what with them being, you know, the bad guys. The main body of the story skips ahead four years to after the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, giving you dual perspectives from the eyes of your customisable characters, each from a different side of the conflict, set amongst the Republic's first steps from beyond the Imperial cosh.

It certainly looks, feels and sounds like Star Wars, with some excellent voice-acting from the cast, even if there are a few sound-a-like moments that grate ever so slightly. There are points here that will have you punching the air in delight and it's a genuine joy to be part of it, fulfilling all sorts of wish fulfilment. The only downside is that it runs a little on the short side, but it's better to have kept up the quality rather than stretched things out with diminishing returns.

The game's true longevity comes from its two multiplayer modes that you can take your X-Wings or TIE Fighters into. Dogfights are your standard, team-deathmatch-in-space type affair, placing two teams of five into a zero-gravity arena to duke it out. It takes some getting used to, as it's not just about simply pointing an aiming reticule at a speck that's zipping by. You also have to regulate your ship's systems in the midst of combat if you're going to have any chance of surviving.

Alongside all the lasering and missile firing, you can alter your craft's power settings to help fit that moment's needs. A simple tap of the different directions on the D-pad will shift the power to your shields, your lasers or your thrusters, giving you protection when you're under fire or helping you to get out of trouble if you've strayed too close to something big and dangerous. Fans of the classic Star Wars flight combat games like TIE Fighter and X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter featured a similar dynamic with altering your shield deflectors and it's as integral here as it was then, adding a tactical layer beyond your pure dogfighting reactions.

Fleet Battles expand the scope from the standard Dogfights, touted as a game of tug of war with capital ships. Built on the fundamentals from Dogfights, Fleet Battles is a multi-stage, objective based mode, with the aim being to ultimately take down the opposition's flagship. They pull in a variety of objectives that ramp up as you head towards victory, starting with the enemy's fighters, before moving onto their frigates and finally their capital ship. It's similar to Star Wars Battlefront II's Starfighter Assault mode, but with a push and pull between sides instead of one side always being on the attack or defence.

Destroying enemy ships increases your fleet's morale, with that sliding scale sitting at the top of the screen, indicating whether the battle is swinging in your favour or not. With Morale completely behind you you're able to confidently go on the offensive, blasting their flagship out of the sky. If you're on the back foot you'll spend your time frantically trying to stop fighters from getting to your larger vessels. The mode is fleshed out by AI fighters so they do still feel like large scale encounters, though it's a shame it couldn't all be populated with huge numbers of players instead – Battlefront II's Starfighter Assault featured 12v12 battles alongside AI ships, for comparison.

Star Wars Squadron releases with full cross-play across every platform and control setup. So you can play on PSVR with a HOTAS against a PC player with a keyboard and mouse, or fully engage in the battle against the dark side by playing Xbox vs PS4 – which side is which is up to you. I personally found the standard controller play to be engaging and accurate, while utilising Thrustmaster's epic Warthog upped the immersion immensely to the point where I felt like I was one with the Force.

In a game all about starfighter combat, it's reassuring that it's fast, fun and empowering. When you're nipping through the debris of a rotting space hulk, or narrowly avoiding meteors with an opponent on your tail, Star Wars Squadrons makes you feel like the most incredible pilot that ever lived. Forget Wedge Antilles, Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, you are the best starfighter in outer space… until someone blows you up, of course. Each faction has a choice of four different craft, from the speedier A-Wing to the slower TIE Bomber, and you can customise their performance to find something truly unique to you.

There's two earned currencies that you receive from taking part in multiplayer battles, though you don't necessarily need to be playing against other human beings. As long as you're online you can continue to earn experience from playing against the AI, though there's a daily limit to how much currency you can acquire in this way.

Requisitions are used to unlock starfighter components, letting you alter the way your craft handles or performs in battle, while Glory lets you customise the look of your starfighter, cockpit and pilot. You can earn extra glory as well for completing daily challenges, giving you a reason to hop back in every day, though it has to be said that the cosmetic differences here feel a little inconsequential when only you can see them.

There's also a good range of unlockable components so you can find a setup that works for you. Each has a benefit and a downside to balance against it, and while it's too early to identify a setup that trounces all the others, it feels like the options give you a decent chance of competing, and of finding something that suits your playstyle.

You can tinker with the hull, the shields, your engine and your weaponry loadout, and once you've unlocked a component for a faction you can use it across all of your ships. I opted to greatly up my acceleration and manoeuvrability, add in an emergency shield, and swap my lasers out for something with more power but a slower rate of fire. There's plenty of alternative's if you fancy being a slower tank, or making it virtually impossible to track you.

Star Wars Squadrons' greatest success is that its multiplayer modes are competitive and often heart-pounding fun. There's plenty of opportunity for last minute comebacks or for miraculously evading death by swooping through a space station or past debris. To do that while fulfilling every Star Wars fan's greatest non-lightsabre desires is a remarkable feat.

The only niggling problem is that there can be times, especially after a death, where you're thrust out of the action and it takes a little too long to get back into it. It's not too far removed from Battlefront in that way, but when the dogfighting action is so good, these moments of downtime feel even more pronounced.


Ride 4 Review

I often forget that my eyes are bigger than my stomach. I'll order a delicious starter, like a bowl of French onion soup, devour it with all the complimentary bread and then struggle to finish the main course. Forget dessert, I'm having a nap while others are chomping down on cheesecake. Strangely, Ride 4 makes me feel the same way.

The fourth instalment of the Ride franchise doesn't rip up the rule book, change the structure or invent an innovative new way to play a motorcycle racing game. Instead it aims to refine and improve upon a well-trodden formula. That is to say, it's filled to the brim with real-life bikes, and you get to race them around track after track.

One area that I didn't think the Ride games needed to focus was on refining the look of the bikes. No matter, developer Milestone has started from scratch and the result is akin to an Uffizi Gallery for motorbikes. You can, and probably will, spend hours scrolling through the vehicular equivalents of Da Vinci's finest works, your jaw hanging at the sheer visual fidelity.

The visuals must be some sort of illusion. It feels as though David Blaine has somehow managed to get a next-gen game working on your current-gen hardware. Those who know their Panigales from their Ninjas will be beside themselves.

Not to be outdone by the bike-design team, the racetrack department has also excelled. Not only are there plenty of circuits to try your dream ride on, but the choices are superb.

Alongside series stalwarts such as Magny-Cours, Laguna Seca, Nürburgring and Macau sit new additions like Virginia International Raceway, Tsukuba (with the chicane), Interlagos and Snetterton. Twelve are new to the series, and while there are some fictional tracks in the mix, the heavy reliance on real-life recreations adds to the game's authenticity.

Each track can now be raced with a full day-night cycle, not to mention dynamic weather. A crisp sunrise can (eventually) be followed by a dark and brooding evening until nighttime falls. Through the main career mode, however, you won't see much in the way of weather or lighting changes. Night races, day races and wet races, sure, but changeable conditions only happen during long endurance events or if you set-up your own single race event and play with the settings.

Speaking of which, Ride 4 adds accurate tyre wear and fuel usage, mainly for said endurance races. These can last from an enjoyable 20-minute blast with one pitstop, to a painful real-time 24 hours. During these events, you switch between engine modes to save fuel, select from differing tyre compounds to balance speed with durability and utilise fully-animated pit stops.

This adds a new edge to the gameplay, but it's also where things start to take a turn for the mediocre. Think Valentino Rossi in 2020 compared with Valentino Rossi in 2001; it's living in the shadow of former glories.

A big deal has been made about Ride 4's machine learning neural AI system entitled ANNA – as detailed in our preview. In reality, the on-track rivals are fine. Nothing more, nothing less. They can defend their line should you try to attack, but they also have little ability to avoid a collision, which turns one slight mistake into a multi-bike pileup.

That's compounded during endurance races, where AI competitors will sometimes run out of fuel and instead of pitting, just ride around slowly until the race ends. These events also start with your rider running to the bike. A nice touch, but once on the bike, it's automated until the first corner, meaning you can't even try and gain an advantage during the opening phase of the race.

The main career mode sees you start out in either an American, Asian or European league, consisting of multiple events that include races, time attacks and overtaking challenges. You then unlock the 'World League' which is the bulk of the game. Unfortunately, the time attacks, which make up a decent percentage of events, have track limit regulations that are ridiculously strict.

I understand that running wide or cutting a corner will be an unfair advantage and thus need to be penalised, but it's far too restrictive. During a race event, you are given a time penalty for doing so, while a single transgression will fail your time attack attempt. Instantly.

You can't continue to do another lap, even though there's a rolling start, you must wait for the menu to load and then select restart each and every time. Worse, using an exit kerb or getting half a wheel near grass on a straight line is an instant fail. Frustrating at Cadwell Park, the Nordschleife causes aneurysms. On the flip side, all it takes to win a career race is the addition of some new bike parts and you'll easily top the podium.

The main sticking point for me is Ride 4's handling. Even with the race-spec superbikes, corner turn-in just isn't sharp enough. You never feel like you can attack an apex. Even with the assists all the way off, the rear will never slide progressively on corner exit either. Understeer, understeer and more understeer. This is safe and predictable, but also a bit bland.

I feel as if the brief was to keep it approachable, as if the game were a moving motorcycle museum instead of wanting to be a simulator. This clashes slightly with the rage-inducing rule stringency and lengthy braking zones which take considerable acclimatisation.

Online, the game doesn't push any boundaries either. A lobby list is all you get, with some form of esports planned for an update. Internet-enabled leagues, championships and driver ratings are all notable by their absence. There isn't enough incentive to invest time playing via the network, though it is at least backed by dedicated servers.


Leak suggests the PS5 has 664GB of usable storage space from its 825GB SSD

A Russian leak has seemingly revealed that the PlayStation 5 has 664GB of usable storage space for installing games and media from its marketed 825GB SSD.

This would logically make sense, with the marketed size of hard drives and SSDs calculated differently to how computers then view the same storage. 825GB actually equates to 768GB of space when formatted, and it then seems that around 100GB is taken up by the OS and reserved for system features.

Obviously, it's a terribly blurry photo and there is a mouse cursor shown on screen, so if it's to be believed then our theory would be that it's running through a PC capture card of some sort. Either way, the figure it suggests is still relatively believable.

Comparing it to the PlayStation 4, Sony's current gen console shipped with a 500GB HDD (465GB once formatted), but then presents 408GB to users for around 60GB of system and reserved space. Much more comparable is the Xbox Series X, which  was revealed earlier this week to have 802GB available to users from its 1TB SSD (920GB when formatted as per the 1TB expansion card).

If this all pans out, then it indicates that Sony are increasing the amount of space reserved for system functions. The operating system itself obviously won't be 100GB in size, and it could be that Sony are keeping space behind to act as a fast write buffer, for a system feature similar to Xbox Series X|S Quick Resume, and as a storage pool for the higher quality Create button gameplay captures that runs in the background.

Whatever its use, it means that PS5 buyers will find themselves struggling for storage space sooner than they might have expected, especially with the prospect that game install sizes will continue to balloon over the next generation, even as storage space is saved from the shift to SSDs. You won't be able to simply plug in an external drive either, as PS5 games can only be run from the built in SSD or a pre-approved SSD from third parties that meet Sony's exacting SSD speed requirements – there's currently only one SSD on the market that would theoretically be fast enough.

This does at least answer one of the big questions we still have about the PlayStation 5 in the run up to launch, with Sony being particularly tight-lipped about the system and its new functions. We also still have no official word on what PlayStation Activities are, if there's a Quick Resume feature, whether or not there's Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support for films and TV, and there's the emerging story about how several games with free PS5 upgrades will not be able to transfer single player saves from PS4 to PS5 versions of the game.

Source: Resetera


FIFA 21 title update 1 has been released, read the notes here

FIFA 21 officially launches in less than a week but the fixes are already flying in for EA's next iteration of the football game. That means Title Update 1 has already landed on PC and PS4, and EA has given the notes of what fixes have be brought into FIFA 21. You can read the patch notes below. Believe me, it will not take you long.

FIFA 21 title update 1:

Online:
Addressed the following issue:

  • In some instances, an online match would continue between a player and the CPU AI after the player's initial opponent left the match.
    • This issue could potentially occur in all types of online matches.

So, a fix for a rather strange bug. This will come under either update 1.01 or update 1.01, but the notes on PS4 for that just say various fixes have been implemented. In other FIFA 21 news, here we have the game's full PlayStation 4 trophy list. EA Sports issued the following statement, confirming that there will be no FIFA 21 demo:

We aren't releasing a demo for FIFA 21. Instead we've made the decision to focus our development team's time on delivering the best full game experience for current & next-gen consoles. We look forward to EA PLAY members jumping in 10 days from now and launching the game Oct 9.

FIFA 21 will be out for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 9th, with free upgrades to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X via EA's homegrown Dual Entitlement scheme. This will allow free upgrades to take place from the launch of the next-gen consoles up until the release of FIFA 22 next year.

 


Something for the Weekend – 03/10/20

Storm Alex has brought a lot of wind and rain to most of the UK this week, making venturing outside a perilous and unappealing prospect. It's probably best to put your outdoor weekend plans on hold and stay inside and play video games, unless your area is already under local lockdown, in which case it's your civic duty!

In the News This Week

And here's what free games we're getting this month:

Games in Review

'Consistent' is the word that springs to mind looking at the review scores from this week, does anything take your fancy?

Dom shared his initial thoughts on the new Star Wars game, but is waiting until the multiplayer is running at full capacity before passing judgement:

Star Wars Squadrons – PS4, XBO, PC, PSVR, SteamVR, Rift

Featured Articles

There was just a lone preview this week, with Nic going hands on with Roboquest, a game that looks like Borderlands meets Doom. It's currently in Early Access and he's excited to see how it evolves.

Elsewhere, I had a look at some essential free addons for Microsoft Flight Simulator, as Stefan looked at the PS5 and 15 key details we are still none-the-wiser about despite launch being just over a month away.

Last up, What We Played featured Genshin Impact, Among Us & Star Wars Squadrons

Trailer Park

This new video shows Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered running at 60fps on PlayStation 5

Dirt 5's latest gameplay shows a race taking place in South Africa's Cape Town Stadium

Assassin's Creed Valhalla's new story trailer shows the start of Eivor's journey

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne title update 5 trailer shows off the content

Your Achievements

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

  • It was another busy week for Crazy_Del, who platinum'ed Marvel's Avengers and Lara Croft Go. THPS 1+2, Hitman Go, and Star Wars Squadrons will be taking up his time this weekend.
  • ron_mcphatty has also been enjoying Squadrons.
  • hornet1990 has dabbled in a bit of HZD and Flight Sim, although was disappointed by the scenery in his local area.
  • No Man's Sky, Bloodborne and Dreams occupied TSBonyman this week.
  • Aside from the usual games, MrYd has really got into Genshin Impact, calling it 'one of the best F2P games' thanks to the massive world and content.
  • It was all mario this week for tactical20 thanks to Mario 64 and Mario Galaxy.
  • And last up, Andrewww didn't quite get to finish The Last of Us Part 2 before heading off on holiday, but at least he has it to look forward to when he's back!

That's it for this weekend, have a great week and I'll be back before you know it!


Epic free games continue with two more announced for next week

We're checking in with Epic Games for their latest gaming giveaway. Next week there will be two titles up for grabs including one of the best indie hits of this gen and a celebrated World War II shooter.

From October 8th til the 15th you can download and keep both ABZU and Rising Storm 2: Vietnam. Often compared to the excellent Journey, ABZU is like going on an adventure through your very own virtual aquarium.

Rising Storm 2 isn't quite as tranquil or teeming with sea life – here you'll be waging all-out war over huge maps in this gritty FPS. Hopefully, by joining Epic's catalogue of free games, those servers will be plenty full enough when Vietnam hits the EGS client next week.

In the meantime, those who fire up the Epic Games Store client or log in via browser will be able to claim a free copy of Pikuniku, the bonkers Devolver Digital adventure which Miguel couldn't recommend enough in his review:

With Pikuniku, I was smiling and laughing throughout the entire thing, and too few games get that kind of response out of me. Pikuniku is a treasure of a game, and I can't wait to see more from this team.

You can find the full list of free Epic games here, as well as some of our reviews plucked from the TSA archives:

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

 

Source: Epic Games


What We Played #469 – Genshin Impact, Among Us & Star Wars Squadrons

A busy week in the bag, and we're seven days closer to the arrival of the Xbox Series X|S and the PS5. It's hard to ignore the next generation on the horizon, but there's still a bevy of games to come for those consoles we've come to love in the past few years. I got to play Star Wars Squadrons this week, and it sets out its stall as a Star Wars simulator in emphatic style. I'll be popping a score on it after a weekend of blowing the Empire (or the Rebellion) right out of the sky. I've also made another start on Genshin Impact, and think it's one of the best free-to-play games I've encountered.

Aran finished Final Fantasy VII Remake this week and has really enjoyed it, telling us he can't wait for the next parts. He's also played Genshin Impact :"which has really dug its claws in. It looks great and it's mad that it is free". He finally played some Among Us too, saying "I really need to work on my persuasion skills…"

Gareth has been playing Port Royale 4 and Going Under for review. Outside of those, he's played some Minecraft VR, saying "it's pretty great." He also tried the "promising" Genshin Impact out and said that Beat Saber, Pistol Whip, and Iron Man VR are all awesome.

Nic B is yet to play anything that isn't MTG Arena this week, but he's looking forward to playing some Genshin Impact this weekend though having heard good things. Reuben meanwhile has continued his playthrough of Spider-Man, saying that he's "reaching the end of it now and really kicking myself I didn't get on this sooner. Otherwise I've been grabbing more Stars in Super Mario Galaxy (best thing on the 3D Stars collection, don't @ me) and dipping my toes into Genshin Impact, which I'm yet to make up my mind on."

Steve has had a throwback week as he got Serious with Sam 4 and then was back with the marsupial behaviour with Crash 4: it's About Time. "In between, I was disappointed with The Walking Dead Onslaught and baffled by Commander '85. Only managed another hour or so on Last of Us 2 in amongst that and finding it slow going. Oh, and after half an hour on PS4 I decided to download Genshin Impact on PC and that took a whole day…

Thomas Harrison-Lord has been playing Ride 4 and Monster Truck Championship for review, both of which we can talk more about soon. Nick P has been mostly playing Avengers and Call of Duty: Warzone, as per usual. On the side he's been playing WWE Battlegrounds which is "an utterly terrible, poor excuse for a game. Rush job if I ever saw one!"

Jason Coles has been playing more Hades "because it's really good and also Dark Souls 3 because it soothes my soul, and Rocket League, where people are either the best or the worst." Miguel meanwhile has spent this week playing 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim, Genshin Impact, a little Apex Legends and a splash of Street Fighter V.

And finally, Tef has been playing the new Super Mario Bros. 35 battle royale and realising that he's kind of rubbish at classic Mario, he's been sleuthing it up in some Among Us sessions, found himself somewhat disappointed by Crysis Remastered on PS4, and dabbling with Microsoft Flight Simulator some more to check out the quirkiest mods and addons that we've found.

Now then, what have you been playing this week?


Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access will launch with 16 photorealistic races & 6 classes to choose from

Sure, it might be an "Early Access" release, but when Baldur's Gate 3 goes on sale 6th October for PC and Stadia, it will be bigger and stuffed with more content than many other big budget games. Larian Studio have revealed that the game will launch with a whopping sixteen races and six classes to choose from when creating your character.

Those are all detailed below, but what's interesting is that Larian describe them as being photorealistic. All of the character models are based on 3D scans of actors and models, all of whom have been chosen for their resemblance to the fantasy races, and then to add diversity within each one. There's a total of 150 heads to pick from across all the different races and sub-races.

Creating your character will have a meaningful impact on the game that follows. Some races are more uncommon, so if you choose to play as a Drow or Githyanki, most NPCs will react to you as someone that is particularly alien to them. In a game world that's designed to be as reactive to your choices as possible, this can have major changes for what you get to experience.

Baldur's Gate 3 will launch into Early Access with the first act of the game, coming to around 25 hours of content, all of which is designed to cater to multiple playthroughs.

But let's be honest, you really just want the list of races, don't you? Well here they are:

Human

The most common face to see in Faerûn, humans are known for their tenacity, creativity, and endless capacity for growth. They live fully in the present – making them well suited to the adventuring life – but also plan for the future, striving to leave a lasting legacy.

Githyanki

Githyanki are peerless warriors from the Astral Plane, known for their legendary silver blades and red dragon mounts. They seek the total destruction of mind flayers, whose ancient empire enslaved the githyanki for millennia.

Elf

High Elf
Heirs of the mystical Feywild, high elves value magic in all its forms, and even those who do not study spellcraft can manipulate the Weave.

Wood Elf
Wood elves spend their reclusive lives in Faerûn's forests. Decades of training in archery and camouflage are enhanced by an otherworldly swiftness.

Drow

Seldarine Drow
Drow are the result of an ancient schism between the elven deities Corellon Larethian and Lolth. The latters' treachery drove the drow into the Underdark, where they splintered into warring factions. Seldarine drow can be found seeking allies from all over Faerûn, aiming to settle their conflict with Lolth – and each other – by any means necessary.

Lolth-Sworn Drow
Raised by Lolth's cult in the city of Menzoberranzan, these drow extol the virtues of their corrupt and merciless goddess. Lolth marks her followers with bright red eyes so the Underdark will learn to fear drow on sight.

Half-Elf

High Half-Elf
A touch of the Feywild remains in half-elves with this bloodline, and even those untrained in magic possess a hint of wild power.

Wood Half-Elf
Like their wood elf parent, these half-elves have a quickened stride and eye for stealth. Yet many break away from isolation in Faerûn's forests to explore the rest of the Realms.

Drow Half-Elf
Most half-drow result from liaisons between Seldarine drow and surfacers. While half-drow inherit a few magical gifts, they aren't usually raised in the Underdark.

Dwarf

Gold
Gold dwarves are known for their confidence and keen intuition. The culture of their Deep Kingdom values family, ritual, and fine craftsmanship.

Shield
Shield dwarves survived a long fall from grace, surrendering many of their ancient kingdoms in wars with goblins and orcs. These losses have lead to a cynical mindset, yet shield dwarves will endure anything to restore their ancestral homelands.

Hafling

Lightfoot Halfling
Lightfoot halflings are stealthy but social, travelling all over Faeûn to make names for themselves.

Strongheart Halfling
Legends say dwarven blood gave stronghearts their hardiness. Resistant to poison and wellsprings of endurance, these halflings easily hold their own.

Tiefling

Asmodeus Tiefling
Bound to Nessus, the deepest layer of the Hells, these tieflings inherit the ability to wield fire and darkness from the archdevil Asmodeus' infernal bloodline.

Mephistopheles Tiefling
Descended from the archdevil Mephistopheles, these tieflings are gifted with a particular affinity for arcane magic.

Zariel Tiefling
Tieflings from Zariel's bloodline are empowered with martial strength, and can channel searing flame to punish their enemies.

Source: press release


Fall Guys Season 2 launches next week, get double Fame points to finish off Season 1

Fall Guys fans can mark Thursday 8th October in their calendars as the start of the game's medieval themed Season 2. Will the season running through what's officially the spookiest month of the year, and with witches and wizards in the new season's theme, will there be any special Halloween events coming up as well? We can only speculate…

With Season 1 about to make way for the big new update, Mediatonic are also going to give players a bit of a helping hand to finish off its particular reward path. Season 1 is being extended right the way up to the start of Season 2, and the game will award double fame points.

Here's a teaser of what's in store next week:

  • New Rounds – featuring our wildest obstacles yet and new mechanics to test your beans' mettle and dexterity!
  • New customization options – Nameplates and Banners arrive to help show off your undoubtedly wonderful personality.
  • All the costumes – expect the latest in bean fashion, including exciting collaborations and limited edition swag to keep you in the hottest Fall looks.
  • Party falling – never tumble alone! Queue with pals, fall with your pals.
  • And more – more, more, more.

And that cute trailer they released for the new content at the end of August.

Who's looking forward to a couple months of knights, wizards, dragons and more?

Fall Guys has been an absolute sensation for the team at developer Mediatonic and publisher Devolver Digital. Releasing in early August for PS4 and PC, it rocketed to success with the companies revealing that they sold over 2 million copies on Steam in the game's first week. That's before you take into account however many people have been playing via PlayStation 4, where it was free on PlayStation Plus in August. That led to quite a bit of server trouble and a certain allure for cheaters, but with some gruelling server maintenance early on, performance was shored up, and Mediatonic recently added East Anti-Cheat (and randomised big swingy hammers) to help defuse the latter.

Source: Fall Guys, Mediatonic


Paradise Killer Review

Have you ever played a video game that felt like it was made by an actual space alien? Because after my time with Paradise Killer, I feel like I've done just that. On paper, Paradise Killer is an open-ended detective game about tracking down evidence and clues that point toward the culprit of a mysterious locked-room murder. It's a pretty safe description that evokes feelings of games like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney or Danganronpa, and this indie detective delight definitely shares some DNA with those games.

Unlike either of those games, Paradise Killer happens to take place in a cosmically horrifying pocket dimension where secret syndicates build giant brutalist islands occupied by whiskey-serving skeletons and horny Scottish doctors in an attempt to gather enough spiritual energy to resurrect the Old Gods. Standard.

Plenty of people compare the aesthetic and style of Paradise Killer to that of legendary Japanese video game designer Suda 51 and the iconic worlds of No More Heroes and Killer 7. Within just a few minutes, it's easy to see why that comparison crops up. Lo-fi sound effects and old-school computer visuals are sprinkled throughout a world where a protagonist named something as nuts as "Lady Love Dies" exists. It's the kind of game world where a character can say, "A Nightmare Computer from the depths of space that uses a language born on a long dead world," with an utterly serious tone and absolutely get away with it.

There's a mountain of initially indecipherable lore and culture to the world of Paradise Killer, and part of the game is simply learning what makes this chaotic world tick and seeing the seemingly random aesthetic of the universe come together in a shockingly cohesive and well-written way. Lurking beneath the veneer of a surreal, brutalist, vaporwave island full of misfits and madness is an incredibly sophisticated story that is brought to light by one central mystery – a locked room murder.

Paradise Killer takes place on Paradise 24, the 24th iteration of the Syndicate designed island oasis. Like every iteration before it, this idyllic and timeless society eventually began to crumble and collapse. As the Syndicate gathered and put the finishing touches on Paradise 25 to move on over there and start the cycle again, however, someone mysteriously murdered the entire group. Now, Lady Love Dies, the only known Investigator around, has been brought out of her 3 million day exile to crack the case and figure out who pulled off the crime of the millennium.

In almost any other investigation-heavy murder mystery game, there would be one set culprit for you to catch, with the game gently or hamfistedly guiding you through a set path of investigations and interrogations. Paradise Killer does no such thing and instead drops you smack dab in the middle of Paradise 24 and gives you free rein to explore the entire island, interrogate every inhabitant, and piece together any amount of clues and evidence you deem necessary to come to what feels like a conclusion. It could be a natural one, a forced one, or an instinctive one. You're allowed to begin the trial and choose your suspect at any point in time, leaving the final say on who goes down for the murder to you and you alone.

It's a daunting task, especially in the very beginning of Paradise Killer. It can be overwhelming to have the whole confusingly mapped island to pan for clues, not to mention the entire cast of characters at your fingertips to converse with and investigate. As you start to land on a bread crumb trail of clues or information, though, you'll soon find yourself naturally scouring the island for that next piece of info that you need to piece together your theory. Perhaps your theory is different than mine, or perhaps you come to a grim conclusion and decide to pin the blame on someone else in order to protect your favorite character.

Despite the weird and wild aura of the world, every character still talks and behaves like a real person. That leads to plenty of instances of doubt, deceit, and insecurity, but it also leads to you naturally growing to get attached to or despite certain cast members. The burden of the investigation is entirely on your shoulders, and it's up to you to decide if you pursue to cold hard truth or protect the people you've grown fond of.

Alongside collecting evidence, testimonies, and records of the world of Paradise Killer, there are also an abundance of other collectibles strewn about the world. Most of these are a currency called Blood Crystals that you can use to activate fast travel points, unlock upgrades for your evidence-gathering laptop, or even bribe characters with. A lot of these items are hidden in awkward nooks and crannies of the 3D world, and you'll often be forced to jump around and navigate precarious platforms to obtain them.

Despite being a game that surprisingly relies a lot on platforming, though, the jumping in Paradise Killer can often feel pretty clunky. Worse yet, as you get hours into the game, the items and clues available to you start to dwindle, and it can lead to a lot of aggrivating down-time as you fruitlessly teleport around the island in search of just one more hint. Whether you start the final trial out of frustration with your dead ends or a real sense of conviction in your answers, it's the highlight of the entire experience by far as all of your hard work and investigation comes together stylishly.


Microsoft Flight Simulator guide – how to install community mods & addons

Microsoft Flight Simulator has been out a little while now, and while Asobo are focussing on patching the game and making some great looking World Updates, the community have been hard at work making their own aircraft and updates to the world.

Thankfully, installing mods and addons for Microsoft Flight Simulator is pretty simple.

Want to find some fun and cool mods to install in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020? Well check out our selection of must-have mods and addons for the game, from authentic community scenery projects to futuristic prototype planes and even Sci-Fi spacecraft!


How to install mods and addons in Microsoft Flight Simulator

If you're new to installing addons, then the first thing you'll need to do is find your Community folder. It's location will depend on how you bought the game.

If you're using the Windows Store (or Game Pass for PC), then head here:

C:\Users\[YOUR USERNAME]\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.FlightSimulator_[RANDOM LETTERS]\LocalCache\Packages\Community

Or if you're on Steam, try here:

C:\Users\[YOUR USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft Flight Simulator\Packages\Community

or

C:\Users\[YOUR USERNAME]\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.FlightDashboard_[RANDOM LETTERS]\LocalCache\Packages\Community

Once you've found the right folder, unzip the mod's folder to that location and they should be available in your game. Make sure that there's not nested folders within folders as well. It should be:

\Community\[MOD FOLDER]\[MOD FILES]

What about a Mod Manager?

If you really want to get into modding Flight Simulator, then you might be better off using a mod manager. ModManFX has been updated to support Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, able to handle extracting mods from archives, somewhat automating the process of finding your Community folder, and so on. The one caveat is that you will need to remove all mods you have manually installed and reinstall them using ModManFX.


That's pretty much all there is to it! We've been digging into some of the best community creations out there and have put together a list of our favourites here.


Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 – The must-have mods & free addons

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has been out for around a month and a half now, and there's already a vibrant scene of mod makers for the game, from aircraft developers to scenery and building creators.

We've been trawling through the internet to find the best of the bunch. Obviously we're not going to be able to cover every mod here, but we're going to feature a selection of our favourites in the hope you find something that interests you!

But first, if you're new to this, you probably want to know how to install mods? Well, it's pretty straightforward and we've got a dedicated guide for you here.

Microsoft Flight Simulator must have aircraft mods

First up, anyone who has even the slightest interest in the airliners has to take a look at FlyByWire's A32NX Project – a community focused on upgrading the default Airbus A320neo, intent on "improving the systems depth and functionality to bring it up to payware-level, all for free". A huge group of programmers, modellers, and real-life pilots are collaborating for this open-source project.

So far, they've managed to add additional functionality to the ECAM monitors; allowing you to view information such as which doors are open, a better overview of the APU, as well as adding various aircraft memo's and messages – but best of all, they've added a working seat belt switch, complete with an authentic "bong!" sound.

Even if you're a casual flyer who's not interested in simulating everything to the smallest detail, you'll still find the finished aircraft checklists or lighting improvements useful. There's still a long way to go before it could be considered 'study level', but it's amazing to see what the community has accomplished within a relatively short amount of time, and perhaps the most impressive thing is that it's free!

In a similar vein, there are other communities dedicated to improving other default aircraft. The Salty Simulations community seeks to improve the default Boeing 747, while Hanger9 Systems are focusing on the Boeing 787 (just remember that you need the Premium Duplex version to access this aircraft). Although these projects haven't made quite as much progress, there's no harm in giving them a go, or at least bookmarking and waiting for some more progress to be made. I'm sure that as their communities grow, their development pace will similarly accelerate.

With your improved aircraft, you'll probably want some nicer looking liveries to go with it, right? Over at the Official Forums, users have created a mini-database of nearly 200 liveries, while Clink's Megapack V8 currently contains over 300 liveries across 15 aircraft. There's a good mix here too, from real-world airlines in different variants, to fictional airlines, so you're bound to find something you prefer to the default paint jobs.

If you're looking for an aircraft that is purely for fun, while also allowing you to fulfil your sci-fi dreams, then look no further than Eggman28's creations. His add-on pack includes 'aircraft' such as the Millenium Falcon, an X-Wing fighter and the USS Enterprise. Some of these are just random 3D models, or are old versions ported across from Flight Simulator X, and as such have limited animations, sounds and interior cockpits. The controls and flight models can also be a bit wonky at times, but then again, when else are you going to get to fly an Imperial Shuttle out of a floating Star Destroyer "airport"?

To get these vehicles up in the air after spawning, you'll generally have to enter Slew Mode (default key is Y), and then manually increase your altitude (hit F4 a few times). While in Slew Mode, you can also adjust your position using the number pad keys, after which you can press Y again to resume normal flight.

Another fun aircraft to try is the Boeing 797. This fictional aircraft, based on Boeing's X-48 prototype can be enjoyable to fly with its 'blended wing' body. Again, it's a fairly basic model without cockpit functions and temperamental sounds, but at the very least you can take some futuristic screenshots with it, like the one above!

Microsoft Flight Simulator must have scenery mods

Moving on to the freeware scenery creations now, when you take into account the sheer size of the 'game world' it's no surprise that Asobo hasn't been able to get every square inch perfect. In fact, the 1:1 representation of the Earth gives you a surface area of almost 197 million square miles – to put that in perspective, the map in GTA V is 'only' about 49 square miles. Asobo are working on regular updates, this week's Japan World Update a sign of things to come, but others are working on the game world as well. Here's a few of my favourite scenery packs that improve either the terrain, buildings or just add a bit of fun to the world.

The Yosemite Valley pack improves the terrain within the National Park, with notable features such as El Capitan and the Half Dome looking much more accurate. There's a few rough spots where the original and improved terrain meet, but flying through the valley in a GA aircraft at sunset is truly wonderful.

Those that have flown around Washington DC will probably be disappointed by the quality of the local landmarks – for example, the Washington Monument appears as a skyscraper rather than an obelisk! Srinivasman's pack fixes this issue and adds more accurate models for the White House, Capitol Building and more.

Aquila Simulation's Kennedy Space Centre pack adds more detail to the area, from a Falcon Heavy on the launchpad to the mighty Vehicle Assembly Building that was used in the Apollo programme – it's still one of the largest buildings in the world by volume, even after all these years.

Last up, and just for a bit of fun, you could get Godzilla terrorising San Francisco, or a model of the Loch Ness Monster for some creative screenshots!

There's a bunch of more scenery addons I've enjoyed, and far too many to list here. If there's a particular place you're interested in flying in, it's well worth taking a bit of time before your flight to see if there's any available freeware that could improve your experience.


Well, there you have it. If you've found any good addons that I haven't mentioned here, please drop a comment below as I'd love to try them out!


World of Warcraft: Shadowlands release has been delayed

Blizzard has announced it is delaying World of Warcraft's next expansion Shadowlands, pushing the release from October 27th to a date that is yet to be confirmed. The delay comes as Blizzard has stated more time is need to polish the Shadowlands experience so it lands in a state that will be acceptable for both players and the development team. John Hight, executive producer of World of Warcraft, released the following statement explaining the delay situation.

I wanted to let you know that we're delaying the release of Shadowlands to later this year—and while we're still in the process of determining the right new date to launch, we felt it was important to let you know about this change in plans as soon as we could. This was an incredibly difficult decision for the team, as we're as eager to get the expansion into your hands as you are to play it—but ultimately, we feel it's the right decision for the game—and for our players. Over the past several months of testing, we've made significant progress iterating on and polishing the core features and gameplay of Shadowlands. We're at a point where the zones, the campaign, the level-up questing experience. and the story we have to tell are essentially ready to share. We're excited by the Covenants at the heart of the expansion, and it's been a thrill to see Torghast take shape into a fun new kind of WoW experience, thanks in no small part to your input.

However, as everything started coming together and we've been listening to and building upon your feedback. It's become clear we need a little more time for additional polish, and to balance and iterate on some interlocking pieces—particularly those related to the endgame. Shadowlands is one of the most intricate expansions we've yet created, and while we've made great progress, the challenge of tuning the endgame was compounded the team having to work from home.

Blizzard has a commitment to quality. We believe Shadowlands will be something special, and heard from many of you who feel the same. We need this extra time to ensure that Shadowlands lives up to its full potential. In the meantime, we're excited to announce that beginning October 13 we will be releasing the Shadowlands pre-patch, which lays a lot of the groundwork for the expansion and includes our revamped character leveling, new-player experience on Exile's Reach, and a host of new character customization options. And once we get closer to Shadowlands' release, you'll be called upon to defend Azeroth against a resurgence of the Scourge during our prelaunch event.

Thanks for your support and passion, and for your continued help and feedback as we head toward the finish line We'll see you In the Shadowlands soon.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands was announced last year at Blizzcon. The Shadowlands will play host to familiar fallen characters you've encountered in the past. Never meant for mortal eyes, this entirely new area sports a diverse array of environments from floating islands of Bastion and the mystic forests of Ardenweald, as well as the blighted lands of Revendreth and Maldraxxus. In this new realm, players will need to choose a Covenant to align with in their quest to restore balance between the forces of life and death.

Source: Twitter


[UPDATE] The Epic Games Store Star Wars Squadrons launch issue is fixed

UPDATE: The problem has now been resolved!

Original story below…

Something seems to have gone wrong with the Epic Games Store version Star Wars Squadrons as those who are trying to install it are being shown a pop-up with the Origin store logo and a request for an activation key. This is a bug and should not be happening.

Many users on Twitter are reporting the issue.

Unfortunately this seems to be an issue with how the installation package has been assembled and there is no way to fix it yourself, you will have to wait until EA fix it.

Star Wars: Squadrons is out today, October 2nd, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC with full support for PSVR, Steam VR and Oculus Rift VR through the entire game. Our 'in-progress' review should be posted very shortly, so keep an eye out for that.

The story is set after the Battle of Endor and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. You'll jump back and forth between the the two sides as the New Republic rises and the Empire fights for survival, able to create and customise your own character on both sides. You'll join the New Republic's Vanguard Squadron and the Empire's Titan Squadron, made up of original characters, though there will be some cameos from familiar faces as well.

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

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

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

Source: Twitter

 


Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time Review

After decades of neglect and some pretty naff spin-offs, Crash Bandicoot is back for a brand new adventure. The huge success of the remastered trilogy and Crash Team Racing may have been a surprise to some, but it was clearly enough to get Activision interested in putting their marsupial back in action.

Those coming from the N.Sane Trilogy will feel right at home. The game features the same bright and colourful cartoon style that the series is known for, and cutscenes are nice and polished. That said, compared to rival platformers like Ratchet & Clank on PS4, I feel Crash 4's style can look a little long in the tooth. Obviously part of this is a matter of style but, given some of the ways this new game takes influences from Insomniac's platformer, the contrast was pretty clear.

One of the new additions here is a myriad of character skins, so that Crash and Coco can be dressed up how you wish. These skins aren't just given away, though; instead being unlocked through some of the most demanding challenges the game has to offer – there's no sign of microtransactions here. I spent much of my playthrough with Crash dressed up as a chicken (the punnily named mother-clucker skin) and with Coco in a futuristic Tron-style outfit.

Regardless of how you look, Crash 4 is classic Crash through and through. While most levels are fiendishly well-designed, some feel like I've played them before. Regular series diversions and annoyances like the jetbike, polar bear racing levels, and into the screen chases are all present and correct. This is obviously a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation for Toys for Bob. They're giving fans exactly what they want, but it does have the unfortunate effect of making Crash 4 feel more like a lost PS1 title at times, rather than a current gen game.

This isn't to say that Crash 4 is without new ideas, though. The addition of more player characters with distinct skillsets and storylines is hugely welcome, even if they are set in their own levels rather than being available in the main path. The new characters are all iconic series favourites, with Dr Cortex, Crash's absent girlfriend Tawna, and er… Dingodile all featuring. Once you meet these characters in the story you unlock their own timelines, a series of specific levels that fill in their backstory and show where they interact with Crash and Coco. This is a lovely touch and gives an extra perspective on the story.

The only drawback is that I was thrown by the game mechanics of all of these. Cortex is hugely frustrating as he has a short and single jump rather than the one that you'll have spent hours training your muscle memory to pull off with Crash. The compulsory levels featuring him were a real headache as I had to retrain my reactions. Tawna's hookshot is more successfully integrated, and Dingodile's vacuum cannon is a very different beast to master.

They add a great deal of variety, but their contrasting skillsets also mean that their levels have been built to specifically cater to each one's style of play. Levels start to feel like a platforming puzzle that can only be completed in one optimum way, as opposed to a more organic environment were they able to share levels. The corridor-like structure is in clear use throughout, the game with levels feeling as if they are on rails – sometimes literally. The multiple characters and introduction of rail-grinding feel like this is Crash updated via Sonic Adventure.

The epic storyline takes in almost all of Crash's big bosses, from Cortex to N-Tropy, although clearing each set of levels is pretty quick. This is misleading, as there are massive skill roadblocks in stages which will take patience and dexterity to overcome. Toys for Bob have certainly kept the trademark difficulty of earlier games here – this isn't a dumbed down version by any means. The one concession to modern tastes is the option to remove limited lives, instead letting you respawn from the last checkpoint indefinitely. This was hugely welcome in a couple of levels, with the penultimate one in particular seeing me rack up a whopping 106 deaths! Is Crash 4 a masocore platformer?

Alongside the usual jumping and spinning, you are helped out by a new set of masks that provide special abilities. As you work through the game, you'll unlock a dimensional mask that reveals (and conceals) hidden platforms and objects, one that enables you to travel great distances, one that slows down time, and one that inverts gravity. These are used at specific points through the game and manage to add some much needed innovation to the level design – although that penultimate level is an absolutely nightmarish combination of all of them.

The powers also come in handy for the bonus levels in each stage, which follow the pattern of earlier titles by being puzzles where you have to smash every crate and make your way out. Grander versions of these levels are unlocked through collecting the videotapes scattered through the levels too, although you'll have to reach them without dying to be able to pick them up. When you add the usual gems for successfully smashing all crates, dying no more than 3 times, and hidden gems in many stages, you can see that you'll be replaying these levels until they haunt your dreams.

I haven't even mentioned the terrifying inverted versions of every level that you unlock where the colour pallete is replaced with dark blue, red, and yellow whilst a freaky reversed version of the music plays. Each of these also has the same number of gems to unlock. Oh, and finally, you have the super secret hidden colour gems that unlock the game's true ending. Phew – I'm knackered just typing that all out!


Apex Legends cross-play update arrives next week

Apex Legends' cross-platform multiplayer is arriving next week on 6th October, letting PS4, Xbox One and PC player team up and/or battle it out for supremacy, albeit with some common sense restrictions by default.

Cross-play will be enabled by default, uniting the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One player bases, but keeping PC players and keyboard and mouse separate, unless you party up with them. If there's a PC player in a party, you will then enter the PC matchmaking queue.

If you wish, you can disable cross-play altogether, forcing the game only to matchmake with those on the same platform who have also disabled cross-play. This could lead to longer matchmaking because of this, and honestly shouldn't be necessary, unless you're a PS4 player who really, really dislikes Xbox.

To let people party up, the game will now have a built-in cross-network friends system, where you can search for people within the Apex Legends playerbase. You'll need to use this for cross-network parties, but if you're just playing with your regular chums on the same platform you can obviously use your console's friends system instead.

This isn't cross-progression, but Respawn seem to be working on that…

It's all coming alongside the Aftermarket in-game event, a Collection Event that's all about snagging limited time cosmetics.

Not only that, but Respawn have cooked up a new Flash Point limited time mode. Flash Points are dotted around the arena and regenerate your health and shields over time, which sounds great until you realise that they're going to be prime targets for ambushes and third partying.

The mode will have the circle in Always Be Closing mode, closing and never stopping with one of the Flash points at the centre. The final fight is bound to be pretty tense.

Source: Respawn


Spellbreak update 1.1 is out now, read the patch notes here

The free to play battle royale Spellbreak has proven quite popular since its release, which was at the beginning of this month. Spellbreak has already hit over five million players. A patch has been released for Spellbreak now and it is quite extensive. The changes include allowing the lightning bolt recovery animation to be interrupted, making aim assist more uniform between the various framerates, and there have been additions of anti cheat methods. You can read the patch notes below.

Spellbreak update 1.1 patch notes

Gameplay

  • The Lighting Bolts spell's recovery animation can now be interrupted by casting a sorcery.
  • Fix edge case where reviving or exiling someone could be canceled in order to get faster spell firing.
  • Fixed an issue that caused projectiles to sometimes not register damage even though they hit.

Aim Assist

  • Smoothed out difference in aim assist strength between different framerates.
    • This results in more consistent behavior for all players and eliminates advantages that came from very high framerate.
  • Fixed an exploit where aim assist could be much stronger than intended under certain combinations of distance to target and input sensitivity.
    • This meant it was possible for players under certain circumstances to make their spells incredibly easy to hit. This was mostly clearly seen with the Lightning Gauntlet on PC.
  • Adjusted aim assist values for various console platforms.
  • Aim assist now decreases over distance.
  • Default Look Deadzone setting on Switch is now 0%.
    • This is generally what you want, because deadzones are handled by the OS itself.

Miscellaneous

  • Enabled some extra anti-cheat mechanisms.
  • Game mode now automatically swaps to squad after completing the tutorial.
  • When a player accepts a party invitation while already in a match, they'll get a UI notification and they can choose to immediately join the lobby.

Windows fixes

  • Fixed a bug that would cause some players to hang on the initial title screen.
  • Fixed graphics settings getting reset to Ultra in some cases, despite the game reporting other values.
  • Fixed a bug that would occasionally cause very long loading times when entering a match.
  • Fixed an issue where the mouse would not come back into focus if the player was using both a controller and mouse to navigate menus.

Switch

  • Fixed cases where players would sometimes get stuck with a black screen during a match.
  • Addressed an issue where players couldn't load into a lobby with enough time to properly select their drop portal.
  • Switch Pro and third-party controllers no longer send multiple inputs for a single button press.
  • Fixed a bug causing players to sometimes be unable to see disrupted player's orbs.

Playstation 4

  • Fixed issue where lowest-ping matchmaking region was sometimes not correctly identified.
  • Fixed a crash due to changing languages in the pre-match lobby.
  • Fixed a black screen caused by waking the console up after idling for an hour in rest mode.

Xbox One

  • If an Xbox One player has crossplay disabled in their system settings, Spellbreak will now properly block all interaction with players on other platforms.
  • Recent players in Spellbreak now populate the recent players list tied to your Xbox Live account.
  • Players set to "Friendly only" in their communication settings will no longer have voice chat blocked for their Spellbreak friends.
  • "Ready" button no longer greys out when joining a party through the Xbox shell.
  • Fixed a crash caused by returning to the game after pressing the Home button mid-match.

All Platforms

  • Fixed a netcode issue that resulted in other characters appearing to stutter/jitter or otherwise not to update at full framerate.
    • Note this also caused "weird" aiming offsets that were reported where it felt like your aim was off. Due to this, your muscle memory with different spells may be affected!
  • Players should be able to interact with things after being interrupted while aiming a rune or sorcery.
  • Players should no longer get stuck indefinitely on the reconnect screen after internet connectivity had been lost and restored.
  • Fixed the infinite loading screen when entering invalid account credentials on login.
  • Fixed missing hit sound effect when your damage is buffed.
  • If the same Spellbreak account is used to log in to two machines at the same time, the most recent login will cause the early session to abort to prevent data corruption.
  • Controller vibration settings now correctly apply in game.
  • Fixed issues where item ping indicators would not draw/update correctly.
  • Added in translations for some previously untranslated text.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause quests to disappear from the main menu when restarting the game.
  • Corrected adjective/noun order indicating rarity for latin-based languages on the collection screen.
  • Fixed Mana Vault animations getting out of sync with sound and timer.
  • Fixed issue with Mana Vaults where its pieces would sometimes flicker as the player walked it.
  • Cleaned up some low-resolution textures that could sometimes appear.
  • Menu / UI sound effect volume is now properly controlled the associated volume slider.
  • Fixed a crash caused by repeatedly pressing the confirm button on the squad loading screen.
  • Fixed instances of shadow popping around the map.
  • Fixed a crash caused by viewing an item in the store while the rollover takes effect.
  • Ice Lance should no longer randomly generate a MASSIVE ice bow.
  • Fixed a bug causing 2 players with random outfits equipped to mirror one another's outfits.
    • Spidermantwinsmeme.png
  • Fixed a crash caused by repeatedly exiling yourself in the tutorial.
    • Why do you keep hitting yourself?!
  • Fixed some chests not being visible on the player's client.
  • And last but not least, a whole bunch of more rare crashes have been fixed.

In our review for Spellbreak, Jason wrote:

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

Hyper Scape Season 2 is called The Aftermath, starts next week

The second season of the battle royale Hyper Scape will be starting on October 6th and it is called The Aftermath, Ubisoft has announced. Season 2 will add a brand new district to Hyper Scape, a gun called The Astrex that fires sticky bombs, and a limited time hack called Platform which lets players create platforms. A nice and simple name there. Two new modes will also be added including Crown Rush Duo and the Floor is Lava. With the first mode it is Crown Rush but in pairs, while in Floor is Lava the ground is made of deadly magma. Crown Rush, Faction War and Turbo Mode will also return.

A ranking system will be added to Hyper Scape with the start of Season 2 with ranks divided by Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond or Champion. However, rankings will only be impacted by playing Crown Rush Squad. Crown Rush Solo will return as a limited time event and will add a modifier called Second Chance, allowing players to jump back into the action after being killed. From the start of Season 2 players will also be getting a daily gift. A brand new battle pass will also be launched.

Oh, and there is a story, which is described as follows:

Season One kick-starts the overarching Hyper Scape narrative: There is a mystery in the Hyper Scape created by Prisma Dimensions that players will have to solve. Season One introduces Memory Shards that players can collect to discover more about certain characters and events. Every week, a new Memory Shard will be hidden in the game world, for players to find and collect. In addition to Memory Shards, comics will be released during Season One and following Seasons, building Hyper Scape's story.

Source: Press Release


Rogue Company is now in a free to play open beta on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC

Hi-Rez Studios has announced that it has released its multiplayer shooter Rogue Company into open beta on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. That means you can grab the game for free for your chosen platform. There is cross play and cross progression between all four platforms so you can move from sitting at home to playing wherever on the Switch without losing progress. Rogue Company was released back in July on the platforms as an early access title.

If you want to grab Rogue Company you can do so by following the links below:

Here is the full description of Rogue Company:

Rogue Company is a top-secret syndicate of elite Rogues around the globe. To most of the world, the elusive Rogues are a rumor at best. However, to those in the know, Rogue Company operatives are indispensable to solving the world's deadliest and most challenging missions. As a Rogue, players will grab their weapon of choice and dive into iconic locations to compete online in various PVP game modes.

Jim had a look at Rogue Company when it went into early access, calling it a worth rival to Counter-Strike and Valorant. Here is what he wrote in his impressions:

In short, Rogue Company should definitely be on your radar. It offers a slightly more accessible gateway into this brutal shooter subgenre, but manages to do so without losing any of its strategic depth. Early access is now available when purchasing one of the three founder's packs though Hi-Rez have confirmed that Rogue Company will be free-to-play at launch.

You can read the full article here.

Source: Press Release

Surgeon Simulator 2 is available for free for all NHS staff

Bossa Studios has announced it is giving away Surgeon Simulator 2 to all NHS staff for free, and the promotion will be available until October 22nd. Now, I think this is a thank you from Bossa but Bossa says it is giving away Surgeon Simulator 2 because it would be a great training tool for NHS staff. The studio is calling this initiative NHS: National Handout of Surgeon Simulator initiative – or NHSNHSS for short. To claim a copy of Surgeon Simulator 2 for PC NHS staff need to go to the official site, and put in an official NHS email.

Henrique Olifiers, Bossa Studios' Gamer-in-Chief and CEO, said:

"At Bossa, we've always envisioned Surgeon Simulator 2 as a valuable training tool for NHS workers to hone their healthcare skills! The Surgeon Simulator 2 community is frankly rubbish at saving Bob, so we think our players need to be shown how it's really done."

While this is a nice gesture from Bossa, actual doctor Dr. Idris Morgan weighed in and said:

"Surgeon Simulator 2 is absolutely NOT a viable medical training tool Professionals around the world will find Bossa's interpretation of medicine, and the possibility of five-second heart-transplants, very amusing."

Surgeon Simulator 2 is a vastly expanded game on the wacky surgeon-ish action of the original game. While there's still plenty of accident prone digging around in various surgical scenarios, you can now step away from the surgeon's table and get up to all manner of other things. There's 12 operations in the game, and you can wander to go and pick up tools in other rooms, share the space with full four player co-op to the game. There can even be some Dr. Frankenstein-esque person creation! There's also the Bossa Labs Creation Workshop built into the game, letting you create in the game. You can simply customise your character, create scenarios, build new levels and more. In fact, players have already been creating all manner of things in the game.

Source: Press Release


Steve is the next Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC fighter

The next character coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is Minecraft's Steve, with all his building, bashing and crafting abilities represented in the game. He's not alone though, as Alex, Zombie and Enderman also join the fight.

Steve and his chums might initially seem to be an incredibly jarring inclusion, but it's hardly the first time that Super Smash Bros. has included characters from quite a few steps outside Nintendo's pantheon of characters. Sonic was one of the highest profile crossover characters, busting down the traditional walls of the Sega-Nintendo rivalry, but there's also been Snake from Metal Gear Solid, and the thoroughly saucy Bayonetta (partly because Nintendo now funds and publishes the series). Still, Minecraft characters just stand out from the crowd.

There's few other details, such as when Steve and co. will actually arrive for the game, but there will be a gameplay video released at 3:30pm UK time on Saturday 3rd October showing off Steve and Alex in battle.

These are the second fighter pack from the second Fighter Pass for the wildly successful Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Nintendo Switch. The Minecraft gang follow on from Min Min from ARMS, with four more on the way over the course of the next year to look forward to.


15 things we still don't know about the PS5

It's October, and that means we can finally say the PlayStation 5 is out next month. In just six or seven short weeks, the console will be in excited early adopters' hands, and a sign of the anticipation is just how rapidly pre-orders have sold out… twice!

Sony are sure to keep ramping up the excitement and anticipation for their next-gen console between now and its 12th / 19th November launch date, but it's not just hype. There's also an awful lot that we still simply don't know about the next-gen console.

Compared to Microsoft, who have emphasised continuity of features and a cross-generational UI update, Sony have kept very quiet until now, leaving it very late in the day to really discuss many key details. We know the fundamental specifications, we know some of the advantages and limitations that could give us, but it's really been the games and the experiential changes that Sony have emphasised. Even then, we've really only seen a handful of snippets of some key launch titles.

So here's 15 things we want to know about the PlayStation 5:

How much actual space for games is there on the 825GB SSD?

Sure, it's a universal flaw in how tech companies market their products, but that doesn't stop the fact that you never actually get the full space that's marketed on the front of the box. Between the marketing fib of storage capacities and the need to cordon off space for system files and functionality, users will not have 825GB of space to install games to.

We now know that the Xbox Series X will give users 802GB of usable space, but what about the PlayStation 5?

Can you backup PS5 games to an external HDD?

We've known ever since March that the PlayStation 5 cannot play PlayStation 5 games from an external HDD, but can play PlayStation 4 games from one, letting you reserve the precious internal storage for the games that need the ultra-fast SSD's bandwidth.

One thing we don't know for certain is whether or not you'll be able to store those PS5 games on an external HDD as a backup. With many gamers still struggling with internet speeds and even download caps, it would be good to confirm that users can transfer PS5 games to an external drive to make space. Better yet, could the system still keep them updated?


Speaking of storage… where does the NVME drive actually go? 

Can you use the same external HDD on both PS4 and PS5?

On PlayStation 4, you can use external HDDs to take your games between systems, but with the PlayStation 5 having all-new system software, will this allow for external HDDs to be used between generations?

Also, can we get rid of the dumb behaviour of the PS4, where you can't have a duplicate of a game on two drives and are forced to delete a copy? Please and thank you.

Will it have a Quick Resume feature?

One of most heavily marketed features of the Xbox Series X|S so far is Quick Resume, where the console can save the mid-game state of several titles at once, allowing you to hop between games and resume exactly where you were in just 5-10 seconds.

This obviously has an impact on the storage available for installing games, so depending on some of the answers to the above, could limit things even further.

What is the DualSense expected battery life?

Sony have now confirmed that the DualSense will feature a 1,560mAh rechargeable battery, making for a significant step up over the 1,000mAh battery found in the DualShock 4, but how does this translate to battery life during gameplay? The DualShock 4 is widely criticised for having mediocre battery life, thanks to its always-on LED lid bar and new touchpad, but the DualSense makes significant changes to the rumble motors and to the adaptive triggers that can actively change their tension and bite points.

So, how does all of that factor into the controller's battery life? Will we still be reaching for a charge cable every 8 hours, or will you go 20 hours or more without needing to plug in?

What does the Create button do?

One of the key functions of the PlayStation 4 was the Share button allowing you to quickly capture, edit and share game clips to social media, but for the PlayStation 5, this button has been renamed to Create. To make such a distinction of this early on clearly means that Sony have big plans, and it quickly got us thinking about what it could mean, but not a sausage has been said ever since the DualSense was revealed way back in February.

Can you disable the DualSense adaptive triggers and haptics?

Both in the name of accessibility and player choice, can you disable the adaptive triggers and haptic feedback of the DualSense? Many pro gamers will turn off the rumble of their controller, so it would be strange not to allow this.

Side note: This would also make you question the decision to limit the DualShock 4 to backward compatible titles if you can

Will there be Custom Button Assignments, as on PS4?

The current generation of consoles have made some of the biggest strides toward being more accessible and open to players of all ability levels, thanks to some system-wide accessibility features. One of the biggest here is the ability to customise the button layout on a system level, but the PS4 also supports Zoom, inverted colours, high-contrast, system-wide closed captioning, text options and more. It would be very disappointing for the PS5 to take a step backward in this regard.


PlayStation Activities as depicted in a patent filed by Sony.

What are PlayStation Activities?

We all want to know what the PS5 system software will look like and how it will work, but a specific next-gen feature has already been discussed. We have to go all the way back to 2019 to discover something about this feature, the name for which was leaked the team behind WRC 9 back in July. As Mark Cerny was teasing some of the intent behind the PS5's system redesign, he said:

"We don't want the player to have to boot the game, see what's up, boot the game, see what's up. Multiplayer game servers will provide the console with the set of joinable activities in real time. Single player games will provide information like what missions you could do and what rewards you might receive for completing them – and all of those choices will be visible in the UI."

Will the PS5 have Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu etc. apps? Whether BC or native?

Even with the rise of Chromecast and Smart TVs, a lot of people still use their games consoles as media hubs for streaming TV and movies.

Going off the updated imagery of the PlayStation 5 Media Remote that they will have support for Netflix, Disney+, Spotify and YouTube, but what about BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and other more regional options? In theory all of the apps available on PS4 should work via backward compatibility at the very least, but it would be great to have native apps that can make use of the PS5's enhanced functionality.

Will the system software have folders on day one?

Speaking of returning features and functionality, there's fears that the PS5 could lose some of the core features built up over years of updates on PS4. Will the PlayStation 5 support organising games via folders on day one?

Sony's Matt Maclaurin, VP of UX Design at PlayStation, previously said that the UI overhaul includes "cleaning up core functionality" alongside a new "visual language", so keep your fingers crossed.

What sound setups will the Tempest 3D AudioTech engine support at launch?

Sony has lofty goals for its custom designed Tempest 3D AudioTech engine to make spatial audio possible across all possible devices, but they were also clear that it would be a technology that evolves over time. In particular, its HRTF sound profiles that tune the game audio to your ears will initially be limited to a handful of presets, while support for spatial audio will first support headsets and then other devices such as TVs and surround sound systems.

A long overdue update is needed to state definitively what parts of this will be available at launch, and what will be coming in 2021 and beyond.

Will PS5 support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for multimedia?

While Sony talked up the Tempest engine's advantages over other spatial audio solutions for video games, the film industry and other tech companies are fully on board with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for object-based surround sound audio mixing. There's plenty of options out there for home theatre systems that support these, and both Dolby and DTS have headphone-oriented solutions as well.

Sony will obviously prioritise the Tempest engine for games, but will the PS5 support these formats for UHD Blu-ray and streaming services like Netflix that feature them? You'd have to hope so when Sony's film studios are pushing out PS5-branded collections of films that have Dolby Atmos…


Ghost of Tsushima will surely be compatible with PS5.

Which games will be backward compatible? And how will they be enhanced?

While limited to the PS4, backward compatibility is a great thing to have in the PlayStation 5, and after initially fumbling the message back in March, Sony have stated "We believe that the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5."

We also expect backward compatibility to largely be a smooth experience on PS5 – you just download it or put the disc in and play – but the question still hangs over Sony, and it's high time that they definitively state which games have been successfully tested on PlayStation 5 and declared as compatible.

Not only that, but let's confirm some games that can be tangibly enhanced on PS5. Sony said, "We're expecting backward compatible titles will run at a boosted frequency on PS5 so that they can benefit from higher or more stable frame rates and potentially higher resolutions." Compared with Auto HDR on Xbox Series X|S, is this the limit of Sony's backward compatibility efforts? Will developers be able to tweak their games with "three lines of code" as on Xbox?

What's going on with cross-gen saves?

Spider-Man: Miles Morales will have cross-gen saves in some capacity, but as of today Spider-Man Remastered, Dirt 5, Maneater and Yakuza Like a Dragon have all been confirmed not to let you take your progress from PS4 to PS5. So, what's the dish with that?

We know that Smart Delivery games on Xbox will have cross-gen save files automatically handled by the Xbox Live cloud, and we also know that online games like Destiny 2, Marvel's Avengers and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War can store player progression and unlocks through their servers. So what's the issue for single player games?

We've reached out to a bunch of developer and publishers to find out what's happening with their games, because players considering cross-gen releases and games with free upgrades to PS5 really deserve to know if they'll have to start from scratch on next-gen.


That's our list of 15 questions, and I'm sure many will be answered in due course, but what burning questions do you have about the PS5?


Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War – Zombies mode revealed

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War – Zombies mode has been revealed in a new trailer for the game, demoing the game while running on PlayStation 5.

Yup! It sure looks like zombies, but with some fun gameplay elements on show, like sentry guns, barmy BFG-esque weapons, and more.

Treyarch have also released a longer video digging into how the game mode has evolved since previous Black Ops games.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War – Zombies kicks off a new narrative within the series, but there's sure to be some hooks back to the old one, whether in easter eggs or cameos. The first level, Die Maschine, is a nod back to Nacht der Untoten, the map that started it all, but it's now set in the early '80s.

There's two competing sets of protagonists, with Requiem the CIA-backed team headed up by Grigori Weaver, and Omega Group the Soviet counterparts.

The mode will feature cross-play with cross-gen alongside, and there's now a new Battle Pass progression system. Pack-a-Punch machines return to transform your weapons, all of which now have an associated rarity to them that affects their damage output. New Field Upgrades can buff your squad in a tight situation, while you can now craft and find equipment that ranges from Grenade Launchers to Sentry Turrets, Explosive Bows and even Chopper Gunners.

When you feel like you've had enough, there's a new way to get out of dodge, which is to try and exfiltrate from the fight via helicopter. This amps up the zombie spawns, but can earn you some rewards if you're able to survive.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will be out for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC on 13th November. Be careful which version of the game you buy though, because it can get a bit convoluted… Here's all the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War paid next-gen upgrades & cross-gen bundles explained.

Source: Call of Duty


Keanu tells you to "seize the day" (and buy Cyberpunk 2077)

I don't know if he's biased, what with playing a major character in the game's story, but Keanu Reeves seems pretty stoked (in his own subdued way) for the release of Cyberpunk 2077. Here's the big, splashy TV commercial the game that aired overnight during the NBA finals, starring a live action version of Keanu.

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.

CD Projekt Red have been holding semi-regular Night City Wire streams in the run up to launch. During these they've done things like reveal the Braindance gameplay, and the development of a Cyberpunk 2077 – Edgerunners anime series coming in 2022. The second stream then dove into the various Lifepaths you can choose for V, some of the weaponry that you'll be able to wield, and spoke to Swedish hardcore punk band Refused about how they're channeling their inner cyberpunk personas to embody the in-game band Samurai.

The new advert comes a day after it was revealed the developer CD Projekt Red would be implementing mandatory "crunch" overtime for the final month and a half of development before release. CD Projekt Red's Adam Badowski wrote that studio staff would be required to work "your typical amount of work and one day on the weekend". He continues, "I know this is in direct opposition to what we've said about crunch. It's also in direct opposition to what I personally grew to believe a while back — that crunch should never be the answer. But we've extended all other possible means of navigating the situation."

This seems to break previous promises not to have mandatory crunch, after bad press and internal relations following crunch at the end of The Witcher 3's development. Following criticism of this and with Cyberpunk 2077 looming, co-founder Marcin Iwiński told Kotaku in May 2019 that the company would be "more humane" in its approach to crunch time and that while the studio might ask employees to work overtime, it would not be mandatory. "If they need to take time off, they can take time off," he said. "Nobody will be frowned upon if this will be requested." That's obviously no longer the case.

Source: press release


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