Blog Archive

Monday, 12 October 2020

See the Overcooked! All You Can Eat next-gen overhaul compared to the original

Team17 have released a video comparison for Overcooked! All You Can Eat, their upcoming next-gen remaster of the hugely successful culinary co-op series. The remaster bundle will be out for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S later this year.

The side-by-side video shows off a slew of levels and how they've been packed with more detail, enhanced lighting, graphical effect and more.

Underneath it all, there's over 200 levels, as the bundle gathers together Overcooked!, Overcooked! 2 and all their DLC, but while it's the first game's content that will benefit the most here, there's a big step forward for the second game as well, thanks to the new lighting and shadow detail. The whole game runs in 4K and 60FPS on PS5 and Xbox Series X, as well.

Beyond that, loading times will be lightning fast, there's a new set of trophies and achievements to earn, and there's now cross-platform multiplayer across the whole game – online multiplayer was only introduced for Overcooked! 2.

Helping newcomers to the game with be the new assist mode that will let you slow the timeouts on recipes, lengthen rounds, and just skip levels outright. To be more inclusive, new accessibility options add a scalable UI, dyslexic-friendly text, and colour blindness options. All of these things are great to see, when other titles like Moving Out have helped reduce the bar for entry quite significantly from the game that inspired them.

Team17 have decided to sidestep the arguments over free and paid cross-gen releases with this remastered bundle, which is a paid, standalone release. It's worth remembering that the first game released way back in 2016, while its sequel came out in August 2018 and has been supported and expanded with free content since.

Overcooked! All You Can Eat will be out both physically and digitally for PS5 and Xbox Series X later this year.

Source: YouTube


Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix Review

I honestly wasn't expecting much when I fired up Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix for the first time. After all, its 2018 predecessor was widely panned as a game with not much going for it. So, it is a pleasant surprise to say that Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix is a decent kart racer that has some depth to it, though it is missing some character.

The game follows the traditional form of the kart racer, giving you series of eight cups to take on, each with four races and tracks inspired by Nickelodeon shows. They range from Avatar's Ba Sing Se through to the Rugrats inspired Reptar Ruins. Outside of the Grand Prix you can take on 42 challenges that are divided between hitting targets, beating times, avoiding obstacles, and boss races. There is also the time trial mode to set new records on tracks by beating ghost racers, and an Arena mode which features a free for all deathmatch inspired mode as well as a capture the spatula mode.

Whatever you decide to do, there's a wide range of 30 racers for you to choose from, though some can only be unlocked by completing game modes. They're joined by 70 support characters, and it's these that add a real tactical element to Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix.

First you will choose a Chief character who has a slime ability that can be activated in races, be it Plankton's rain of chum to slow your rivals or Zuko's fire boost that shoots out flames to attack with. Then you have the Crew Engineer and Crew Mechanic. These support characters have abilities that work passively or activate automatically, including Spongebob's Gary giving you more slime, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Splinter granting invisibility after you attack an opponent. Bundle all of that with picking different engines, exhausts, and tyres, and you've actually got to put a little thought into choosing your loadout before you go racing.

There's three difficulty settings, but you'll want to go for the highest difficulty if you want a meaningful challenge. The Slow difficulty will have you outpacing opponents with ease, and this is only slightly upped at the Middle tier. The challenge events have their own difficulty settings with some being very easy, while a few will take quite a few attempts to beat. Some of them focus on drifting, specifically getting your drift up to the blue sparks level. They are the highest spark level with yellow and purple preceding them, similar to the drift progression found in Mario Kart 8. While there are crew members who can mitigate these challenges a little, like Mrs Puff and her instant purple sparks ability, it feels like it takes ages to get to blue sparks with some drift areas feeling like they are a bit too short to manage it in time.

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix is also just lacking a certain charm. While it looks good and the tracks are entertaining, it feels a bit flat. You have all of these characters from Nickelodeon shows, but outside of some character specific animations there is no real soul to them. The game features no voice acting whatsoever, so all you hear in races is the music and the drone of the karts. Weapons definitely take inspiration from Mario Kart with a Purple Squid filling in for the Blue Shell, rocket footballs in for red shells, a hand mimicking the inkspots to reduce visibility, and so on.

Unfortunately, at time of writing I was unable to try out the online portion of Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix as there seemed to be no one playing in either the Grand Prix mode or Free Race mode in the first five days after released. There is promise of a decent experience here, but the community will need to really pick up if there's going to be much longevity for online play.


Report: PlayStation 5 accessories and games have their launch date moved forward by a week in the UK

Good news everyone, Sony have moved forward the launch date of the PlayStation 5… media remote!  According to Simply Games, Sony have pushed forward the release date for all the PlayStation 5 accessories apart from the DualSense controller.

This means the PlayStation 5 camera, media remote, and headphones will launch on November 12th, the same day the PlayStation 5 launches in the United States, but you will have to wait for a week until the 19th before the console is released in the UK.

I quick check on Amazon reveals that PlayStation 5 games have also been brought forward, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales now has a release date of the 12th as does Sackboy: A Big Adventure. 

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

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

The old PS4 camera runs at 720p, the new one is 1080p and and includes new feature such as background removal. PlayStation VR owners are going to have swap the cameras out, the old PS4 camera to play any existing PSVR games, and then back to the PS5 camera if they want to broadcast or play any future PSVR games that, presumably, will work with the new camera and take advantage of the higher definition.

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

However, that comes with some caveats and advisories:

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

There are ten titles that Sony have noted will not work on PlayStation 5, for whatever reason. These games will be labelled in the PlayStation Store as only being compatible with PS4, and are as follows:

  • DWVR
  • Afro Samurai 2 Revenge of Kuma Volume One
  • TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2
  • Just Deal With It!
  • Shadow Complex Remastered
  • Robinson: The Journey
  • We Sing
  • Hitman Go: Definitive Edition
  • Shadwen
  • Joe's Diner

Source: Twitter


MX vs ATV All Out Switch Review

MX vs ATV All Out is an extreme-sports race that mixes a number of different vehicle classes into one hectic mess of tricks, mud, races and crashes. The title originally released in 2018 to mostly mixed and negative reviews, but has Rainbow Studios turned the title around in it's Nintendo Switch port?

First things first, this is definitely a game for those people who consider themselves Motocross fans. The game features numerous professional riders, official brands, recognisable tracks and just about everything else a fan of the sport would need, all in one package. The bikes and riders are incredibly detailed with lots of customisation options and upgrades to boot, giving fans plenty of options to get stuck into.

All Out lets players control both the bike and the weight of the rider through the left and right analog sticks. Shift the right the stick left and the rider will lean to the left, and vice versa. It's a neat system which enables players to shift their weight when going around contenders, helping to maintain both speed and control.

There are several different types of race disciplines in the game, ranging from closed circuits through to large open areas that involve driving across rough terrain. The former are often the most fun, featuring numerous vehicle types and some really varied terrain to battle with. Tussling with other drivers for first, second and third can be a lot of fun, although it can feel a little unfair when a car launches you off your bike.

There are also trick events, in which players can manipulate their bike and body in order to pull off flashy tricks to score points. This was probably the most enjoyable mode for me as there's a real joy to be found in linking tricks together and building a solid run across many of the ramps.

Between races, players can explore a large hub area filled with collectibles and jumps to play around with. It's a great way for players to get to grips with the games controls and physics without the pressure of being in a race. The collectibles also provide an added element of challenge as they can be quite difficult to reach.

Unfortunately, MX vs ATV All Out is not a good looking game. It sports visuals that sit somewhere between the resolution of this genre and the texture quality of last gen and the one before that. Grass, trees and mud all look washed out with a dynamic resolution that looks like it drops quite a bit below 720p at points.

Even when the original was released on PS4 and Xbox One in 2018. Many of the reviews complained about how washed out and drab the visuals look, and while a port to Switch was unlikely to dramatically overhaul the graphics, it's a shame that no effort has been made here to try to rectify those complaints. It's one of the poorest examples of what the Nintendo Switch is capable of.

I'm also not a fan of the game showing all of the DLC races in the event selection screen. You actually have to scroll past them to get to the playable races and that just sits wrong with me. That's before you consider that there has been an Anniversary Edition release on PS4 and Xbox One that bundled some of the DLC expansions in, which are kept separate for the Switch version of the game. At £34.99, it's relatively budget pricing, but this still feels pretty cheeky.


David Tennant and Jodie Whittaker to star in Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality for PC and consoles

The BBC and Maze Theory have announced Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality, a new game coming to consoles and PC with both David Tennant and Jodie Whittaker taking the part of the Doctor. It's not a completely new game but rather a reimagining and expansion of the 2019 game Doctor Who: The Edge of Time which was for VR only. The new(ish) game will launch in Spring 2021 for PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC, with next-gen versions also confirmed but undated.

Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality features:

  • A Console and PC adventure across Space and Time – built with current and next-generation consoles in mind, Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality features new worlds to explore, new puzzles, new challenges and new gameplay.
  • An Original Doctor Who story – uncover a universe-spanning threat as you seek to save reality from a series of time-breaking glitches. Continue the story that began in The Edge of Time and partner with the Doctor to unearth a greater mystery.
  • New Enemies and AI – come face-to-face with classic Doctor Who monsters including the Daleks and Weeping Angels. Experience the metal-clad terror of the Cybermen and more foes yet to be revealed…

Unfortunately Doctor Who: The Edge of Time was a bit of a dud and scored just 4/10 in our review. "I like Doctor Who a lot. As a TV show it's got all the best things about good entertainment and genuinely has some incredible storylines and messages. Doctor Who: The Edge of Time is not one of them though," ," said Jason in his review. "Between sluggish movement and dull puzzles, I think it's enough to say that even Jodie Whittaker can't save this game."

Also revealed was Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins, a new game for mobile and Switch. For this game you will be heading back to Wester Drumlins, the spooky house from the classic Who episode "Blink". You get to team up with a familiar face, Petronella Osgood!

Source: Press release

 

 


Guilty Gear Strive launches in April for PS4, PS5, and PC, new character announced

Arc System Works has confirmed that Guilty Gear Strive will be released on April 9th for PS4, PS5, and PC via Steam. The studio also announced the game's Deluxe and Ultimate Edition. The Deluxe Edition will come with the Season Pass, while the Ultimate Edition will have the Season Pass plus the soundtrack and special character colours. The Season Pass itself will contain five fighters, two stages, and new story content. Speaking of fighters, new fighter Giovanna was also announced and you can see her in action below.

Giovanna rounds out the base roster of 15 characters. Add the five DLC characters and there will be a total of 20 fighters to choose from. Guilty Gear -Strive- has been in development since 2018, with the full announcement coming in the middle of last year. The start of 2020 then saw Arc System Software hold a closed beta well in advance of the game's planned release, originally planned for 2020, to give the team enough time to digest the feedback and data and adjust the game.

We went hands on with the beta, with Dom sharing his thoughts on how it sought to shake up the series:

"While the franchise may have fallen from some player's memories, visually Strive looks to be making an emphatic play for their hearts, and I've every confidence that this Closed Beta, and future open ones, will help the team hone the action to within an inch of its life. Change isn't always a bad thing, but it'd be a shame to lose part of Guilty Gear's own DNA by chasing the pack."

You can read the full preview of Guilty Gear Strive here.

Source: YouTube/ResetEra


Something for the Weekend – 10/10/20

We're exactly one month away from the start of the next generation, with the release of the Xbox Series X coming on 10th November, but all the chatter over the last few days has been about the PlayStation 5, with Sony finally answering some of the burning questions about their soon-to-be-released console. Backward compatibility, how to install an SSD expansion, PSVR support and more have all been revealed now, making up the bulk of the headlines in our round-up.

Let's dive in!

In the News This Week

Games in Review

Things are starting to ramp up toward the end of the year, and we've got reviews to help you decide what's worth picking up:

And we had a couple hardware review, with a focus on soothing or vibrating your ears with high-end sound, and making sure you sound as good as you can.

Featured Articles

Away from the review queue, Nick played an awful lot of Baldur's Gate 3's Early Access release, finding an enthralling world, albeit one that's a touch mean.

Dom revisited Avicii Invector with the Nintendo Switch Encore Edition release, calling it the "perfect portable album", and he put a few questions to Synthesis, a go-to voice acting and localisation studio based in Germany. Steve then got a bit creepy, exploring the Alpine setting and hand-drawn visuals of Mundaun.

Nic braved the outside world to visit a cinema and watch Akira in 4K. Was it a worthwhile endeavour? Can you still visit a cinema in a responsible socially distanced manner? We discuss exactly that.

Finally, What We Played featured Star Wars Squadrons, Baldur's Gate 3 and The Survivalists

Trailer Park

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

NBA 2K21 next-gen gameplay revealed running on PlayStation 5

Rainbow Six Siege Tachanka Rework goes live today on Test Servers

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

Monster Hunter Rise shows off new combat gameplay

Your Achievements

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

  • MrYd played "too much" Genshin Impact, as well as checking out Trine 4 from PS Now and Rogue Company.
  • It was a bit of Horizon Zero Dawn and Flight Simulator for hornet1990.
  • A different kind of flight was on ron_mcphatty's menu, as he played and loved Star Wars Squadrons
  • Lieutenant Fatman is finding Death Stranding "surprisingly fun" right now.
  • And Crazy_Del has been racking up more platinums. Sound Shapes on PS4 and PS3, Hitman Go on Vita, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, and Beyond: Two Souls have been knocked off, and with more planned for the weekend.

Have a good weekend (and wrap up warm if you're going out) and we'll see you on the other side!


Reports suggest PS3, Vita, and PSP games will no longer be purchasable from PlayStation web store

There are reports suggesting that Sony will no longer allow people to purchase PS3, PSP, or PS Vita games from the PlayStore Store through its website or the PlayStation App. Instead, the only way players will be able to purchase any games for these systems will be through the PlayStation Store on those devices directly. For example, digital PS3 games will only be purchasable through the PlayStation Store app on the a PS3 system. This moves does not just affect games though with apps, avatars, and themes all apparently being removed as well. Eurogamer reported on the exact list which can be seen below.

SIE will no longer offer the ability for consumers to purchase:

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

The report, which references an email sent to PlayStation development partners, also appears to confirm that the wishlist will be removed, and any current wishlists maintained by players will be wiped. Apparently these changes will first hit the web store on October 19th and then the mobile app on October 28th. Sony has yet to clarify why it will be removing games from previous systems from its web or mobile stores. Of course, the company will want to make way for PS5 games. This comes hot on the heels of confirmation that the PS5 camera will not be compatible with PS4 PSVR titles. Sony also stated game save transfers between the PS4 and PS5 will be dependant on developers. Sony also confirmed 10 games that will not be playable on PS5 through backwards compatibility.

Source: Eurogamer

 


Risk of Rain 2's 1.0 update will be released on consoles this month

Hopoo Games has announced that update 1.0 for Risk of Rain 2 will be released for consoles on October 20th. This update was released for the PC version of Risk of Rain 2 back in August, when it left Early Access. The main features of update 1.0 include the actual ending of the game, the new Captain survivor, new challenges, monsters, and stages to complete. There were also a lot of gameplay changes and you can check out the original patch notes below.

Risk of Rain 2 update 1.0 patch notes

Major Content

    • Added System: Game Ending
      • The game now includes a proper ending, with credits and cutscene.
    • Added System: Server Browser
      • Quickplay served an important function at launch – but the QP featureset is barebones. Not only that, but the game has evolved past needing to just find a match – you need to find the right match. We think a built-in Server Browser (and hosting) will still allow you to connect and find other players easily while also providing a lot of the features and choices you want to make before connecting to a game.
    • Added System: Intro Cutscene
      • The game now includes an intro cutscene!
    • Added New Survivor
      • New Survivor: Captain
    • Added New Stage
      • New Final Stage: ???

 

  • Added 4 New Music Tracks
      • New Track: Through a Cloud, Darkly
      • New Track: …con lentitud poderosa
      • New Track: You're Gonna Need a Bigger Ukulele
      • New Track: Lacrimosum

 

  • Added New Survivor Skin
      • New Survivor Skin: Captain Skin

 

  • Added 2 New Monsters
      • New Monster: ???
      • New Monster: ???

 

  • Added New Boss
      • New Final Boss: ???

 

  • Added New Interactable
      • New Interactable: Scrapper

 

  • Added 7 Items and 3 Equipment to the game
      • New Item: Item Scrap (White, Green, Red, Yellow)
      • New Boss Item: Molten Perforator
      • New Boss Item: Shatterspleen
      • New Boss Item: Mired Urn
      • New Lunar Item: Defiant Gouge
      • New Lunar Item: Mercurial Rachis
      • New Lunar Item: Purity
      • New Equipment: Super Massive Leech
      • New Equipment: Gorag's Opus
      • New Equipment: Forgive Me Please

 

  • Added 3 Character Challenges to the game
      • New Captain Challenge: Captain Mastery
      • New Captain Challenge: Wanderlust
      • New Captain Challenge: Worth Every Penny

 

  • Added 3 Challenges to the game
      • New Challenge: I Love Dying!
      • New Challenge: Washed Away
      • New Challenge: The Calm

 

  • Added 36 Lore Entries to the game
    • New Item Lore Entry: Molten Perforator
    • New Item Lore Entry: Shatterspleen
    • New Item Lore Entry: Mired Urn
    • New Item Lore Entry: Super Massive Leech
    • New Item Lore Entry: Gorag's Opus
    • New Item Lore Entry: Forgive Me Please
    • New Item Lore Entry: Soulbound Catalyst
    • New Item Lore Entry: Bandolier
    • New Item Lore Entry: The Crowdfunder
    • New Item Lore Entry: Old Guillotine
    • New Item Lore Entry: Jade Elephant
    • New Item Lore Entry: Blast Shower
    • New Item Lore Entry: Lepton Daisy
    • New Item Lore Entry: Shattering Justice
    • New Item Lore Entry: Topaz Brooch
    • New Item Lore Entry: Ocular HUD
    • New Item Lore Entry: Unstable Tesla Coil
    • New Item Lore Entry: Milky Chrysalis
    • New Item Lore Entry: Will-o'-the-wisp
    • New Item Lore Entry: Gnarled Woodsprite
    • New Item Lore Entry: Halcyon Seed
    • New Item Lore Entry: Purity
    • New Item Lore Entry: Glowing Meteorite
    • New Item Lore Entry: Preon Accumulator
    • New Item Lore Entry: Aegis
    • New Monster Lore Entry: Clay Dunestrider
    • New Monster Lore Entry: Alloy Vulture
    • New Monster Lore Entry: Imp
    • New Monster Lore Entry: Void Reaver
    • New Monster Lore Entry: ???
    • New Monster Lore Entry: ???
    • New Monster Lore Entry: ???
    • New Stage Lore Entry: ???
    • New Character Lore Entry: Huntress
    • New Character Lore Entry: Captain
    • New Character Lore Entry: MUL-T

Gameplay Changes

  • General
      • Bleeds now refresh all existing bleed durations on that target. This affects both enemies and players, and is a huge change for how bleeds will work.
      • Increase difficulty rate over time for all difficulties by +10%.
        Developer Notes: In this update, we've buffed a ton of items – and also given players way more agency over the way a run progresses. Our goal is for players to be more engaged with the game – what we don't want is for the game to be suddenly much easier. This is a bit of a sanity check, and shouldn't dramatically change the difficulty.
      • Slightly reworked OSP. The goal is to fix inconsistencies and make it actually protect you from one-shots – while also fixing some abuse cases with curse.
        • The threshold for OSP is now displayed on the healthbar with a faint graphic.
        • Now has a lingering 0.1s duration when activated.
        • 🌧 Now is subtracted via Curse (Shaped Glass, Artifact of Glass, etc), i.e a curse of 10% will remove OSP entirely.
        • 🌧 Update OSP logic so it still triggers if you receive multiple sources of damage in the same frame that go past OSP values, i.e Malachite Lesser Wisps

 

  • Elites
      • Blazing, Overloading, Glacial
        • 🌧Health Bonus: 470% ⇒ 400%
      • Malachite, Celestine
        • 🌧Health Bonus: 2350% ⇒ 1800%
          Developer Notes: We've had a lot of feedback that elite health has always felt a bit bloated – and that subsequently, it makes the Old Guillotine feel required. Our intent is to make characters less reliant on the Old Guillotine, and to make it feel more like an elite hate item – and less of an overall DPS item.

 

  • Survivors
        • 🌧🌧🌧 Mobility skills are now considered 'sprinting', scaling with sprint speed multipliers and also sprinting after use.
        • Melee Survivors
          • 🌧 Melee skills will now perform more consistently at high attack speeds.
          • Melee skills will now scale hitpause duration with attack speed – since the pause when hitting enemies were static, melee characters actually scaled poorly with attack speed.
          • Melee skills will now 'hold' you in the air better at high attack speeds.
        • Added a 'Keyword' system. Keywords are just words to describe common repeated behavior without explaining it every time. Added the following keywords:
          • Freezing
          • Stunning
          • Shocking
          • Poisonous
          • Regenerative
          • Agile
          • Percent HP
          • Sonic Boom
          • Weaken
          • Expose
          • Heavy

 

      • MUL-T
        Developer Notes: MUL-T has gotten some love from this patch to really push forward the idea that his weapons are strong in specific roles. Faster swap time and more responsive actions for the weapons will (hopefully) make weapon swapping feel better. We've also admittedly creeped cooldowns down over time, and MUL-T felt a bit left behind.

        • Base Acceleration: 25 ⇒ 30
        • Rebar Puncher
          • Now charges after firing, rather than before.
        • Scrap Launcher
          • Now behaves like a rocket instead of a grenade
          • Lifetime: 3s ⇒ 4s
          • Explosion Radius: 5m ⇒ 7m
          • Velocity: 70 m/s ⇒ 100 m/s
        • Nail Gun
          • No longer has an initial shotgun of 6 nails.
          • Now has a final shotgun of 12 nails.
          • Now fires in a consistent corkscrew pattern
          • Proc Coefficient: 0.4 ⇒ 0.6
          • Damage: 60% ⇒ 70%
          • Wind-down duration: 0s ⇒ 1.152s
        • Retool
          • Swap duration: 0.7s ⇒ 0.4s
        • Transport Mode
          • Cooldown: 8s ⇒ 6s
      • Mercenary
        Developer Notes: The Mercenary was always supposed to be the highest skill-cap survivor. However, in actual gameplay he became very flow-charty, using abilities directly off cooldown while holding down M1. The intent for all these changes is to allow skill expression, dynamic cooldowns, and higher risk vs reward in fight with the new 'Exposed' debuff. The hope is that the character will be stronger for advanced players, but weaker for new players.

        • Base Health: 140 (+42 per level) ⇒ 110 (+33 per level)
        • Base Regeneration: 2.5 health / second ⇒ 1 health / second
        • NEW Debuff: Exposed
          • Striking an Exposed target reduces all cooldowns by 1 second and deals an additional +350% base damage
        • Laser Sword
          • Third Strike Damage: 300% ⇒ 130%
          • Third hit now applies 'Exposed' debuff
          • The second and third hit of the combo can no longer be started in the middle of other attacks
        • Whirlwind
          • Ground Speed Multiplier: 6 ⇒ 8
        • Blinding Assault
          • Cooldown: 7s ⇒ 8s
          • Can now be canceled mid-attack by both Whirlwind and Rising Thunder
        • Slicing Winds
          • Last hit now applies 'Exposed' debuff
      • Acrid
        Developer Notes: Acrid has always been a melee-ranged hybrid. We want greater rewards for engaging in melee and completing your M1 combo for players who enjoy a more aggressive playstyle.

        • NEW Buff: Regenerate
          • Regenerate for 10% health over 0.5 seconds.
        • Vicious Wounds
          • Third hit of the combo now grants 'Regenerate' buff
        • Ravenous Bite
          • Now grants 'Regenerate' buff
        • Frenzied Leap
          • 🌧Now (properly) stuns
      • Artificer
        Developer Notes: We want to enforce the Artificer's role as a high-damage, high AoE character. Nano-Bomb in general was core to the fantasy, but was pretty much inferior to Nano-Spear in every way.

        • Plasma Bolt
          • Blast Radius: 4m ⇒ 6m
        • Charged Nano-Bomb
          • Now has slight gravity
          • Blast Radius: 10m ⇒ 14m
          • Blast Damage, Max Charge: 1200% ⇒ 2000%
          • Blast Force: 1300 ⇒ 3000
          • Lifetime: 5s ⇒ 10s
          • Improved FX for clarity
        • Ion Surge
          • No longer has -75% damage falloff at the edge of the blast

 

  • Items
      • Monster Tooth
        • Healing: 8 (+8 per stack) ⇒ 8
        • 🌧Now also heals for 2% (+2% per stack) of maximum health
      • Medkit
        • Healing: 24 (+24 per stack) ⇒ 20
        • 🌧Now also heals for 5% (+5% per stack) of maximum health
      • Repulsion Armor Plate
        • Now properly reduces damage from environmental effects
      • Warbanner
        • 🌧 Now also places a Warbanner when activating the Teleporter
        • Improve VFX to be less opaque, since it will always be near the Teleporter
      • Death Mark
        • Debuff Duration: 7s ⇒ 7s (+7s per stack)
        • 🌧Remove text stating that the damage bonus scaled with stacks
      • Old Guillotine
        • Execute Threshold: ~20% (+20% per stack) ⇒ 13% (+13% per stack)
          Developer Notes: Since we've re-tuned the health of elites across the board, the Guillotine should be appropriately re-tuned as well.
      • Runald's/Kjaro's Band
        Developer Notes: The two rings have undergone a bit of a rework, working off of an internal cooldown rather than a chance on-hit. We're hoping that this can help diversify one of our "on-hit" items to be more than just attacking enemies and hoping things activate. We've also changed the behavior of Kjaro's to be more of the AoE option, while Runald's is the single target option.

        • Proc Chance: 8% ⇒ 100%
        • Now has an internal cooldown of 10 seconds
        • Now has a minimum threshold of only triggering on attacks that deal 400% or greater damage
        • Runald's Band
          • Ice Blast Damage: 250% (+125% per stack) ⇒ 250% (+250% per stack)
          • Ice Debuff Duration: 3s ⇒ 3s (+3s per stack)
        • Kjaro's Band
          • Fire Tornado Damage: 500% (+250% per stack) ⇒ 300% (+300% per stack)
          • Fire Tornado Hitbox Width: 4.8m ⇒ 13m
          • No longer moves
      • H3AD-5T v2
        • Reworked logic for calculating fall speed so it scales better while falling farther. Now has the following behavior:
          • Damage Coefficient: 1000% – 10,000% at maximum speed
          • Explosion Radius: 5m – 100m at maximum speed
          • Improved FX
      • Interstellar Desk Plant
        • Healing Radius: 3m (+1.5m per stack) ⇒ 5m (+5m per stack)
        • Healing: 5% max health every 1 second ⇒ 5% max health every 0.5 second
      • Milky Chrysalis
        • Now grants true flight and antigravity instead of jump-to-hover.
        • Pressing jump now performs a short dash in the direction of movement with a 0.5s cooldown.
      • Strides of Heresy
        • No longer puts you in combat
      • Helfire Tincture
        • Helfire Radius: 10m ⇒ 15m
        • Helfire Duration: 8s ⇒ 12s
        • Improve VFX and SFX
      • Effigy of Grief
        • Now placed at where you're aiming, rather than at your feet
        • No longer is consumed on use.
        • Now limited to 5 per map per character.
      • Little Disciple
        • Fire Rate: 0.5s ⇒ 1.6s
        • Damage Coefficient: 100% (+100% per stack) ⇒ 300% (+300% per stack)
        • 🌧Fire Rate now scales with movement speed

 

  • Stages
      • 3D Printers will appear more often on all stages, ~50% more
      • 3D Printers will cost less to spawn on all stages, ~50% less
      • The new interactable, the Scrapper, can now appear on all stages
      • Titanic Plains
        • 🌧 Update with new visuals to make it depressing
      • Sky Meadow
        • Update with new visuals and functionality that leads to the final stage
      • Bazaar Between Time
        • Base Portal Chance: 25% for the first portal ⇒ 37.5% for the first portal
        • Lunar Buds: 4 ⇒ 5

 

  • Monsters & Bosses
    • Mini Mushrum
      • 🌧 Base Health: 360 (+108 per level) ⇒ 290 (+87 per level)
    • Parent
      • 🌧 Base Health: 1200 (+360 per level) ⇒ 900 (+270 per level)
    • Lesser Wisp
      • Now properly stops charging attack sound when interrupted
    • Imp Overlord
      • 🌧Maximum Blink Distance: 600m ⇒ 300m
      • Now throws Void Spikes in a staggered fashion, rather than all at once
    • Magma Worm
      • 🌧Maximum "Blink" Distance: 600m ⇒ 300m
      • Now considerably more aggressive and better able to hit targets
        Developer Notes: The blink behavior of both the Imp Overlord and the Magma Worm allows it to follow players between platforms, but it leads a lot of the times to the bosses blinking across the map to attack drones and turrets. While they may still do that, it'll be a bit less pronounced.
    • Void Reaver
      • Now attempts to lead its Void Bombs in a straight line against its target
      • Updated AI to fire more aggressively and backpedal when its target is too close
      • AI now has 360° vision
    • Bison
      • 🌧 Add spawn effect and animation (finally!)

Quality of Life

  • 🌧 Added a language dropdown menu to the Main Menu
  • Audio has received an overall mix pass
  • Reduced the audio levels of the Magma Worm, Imp Overlord, and Clay Dunestrider
  • Updated the Teleporter model
  • Updated the Ukulele model
  • Improved Infusion VFX to be more noticeable
  • Reduced brightness of some Mercenary effects to they are less white and have more color
  • Fixed dithering for several on-character item displays
  • Updated the kick system to be able to supply detailed messages and enforce version matching when connecting to a server
  • Added functionality for servers and lobbies to provide mod info and reject players for mismatches
  • Servers can now define behavior to run upon entering character select by supplying a "server_pregame.cfg" config file
  • Updated "MUL-T: Gotcha!" challenge to allow Preon tendrils to count toward completion
  • A bunch of other stuff we probably forgot!

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed an issue with spread from bloom being applied to both minimum and maximum spread (ie you could never have a bullet travel dead-center when your spread bloom is at maximum) for Commando's Phase Blast, Huntress' Ballista, and MUL-T's Rebar Puncher
  • Fixed potential physics crash that could occur if a character attempts to use a melee attack after crossfading into a new animation from a paused animation
  • Fixed immobilization from Void Reavers and REX's Tangling Growth becoming permanent if using Wax Quail while affected, which would also sometimes lead to a crash upon getting killed
  • Fixed Repulsion Armor Plate not applying against posthumously dealt damage
  • Fixed Visions of Heresy allowing Huntress' Ballista to exceed three shots
  • All gameplay stats are now forced to update before generating the final run report to make sure all values are up-to-date at the end screen
  • Fixed MUL-T's Nailgun not properly animating over the network
  • Fixed some projectiles not playing their pre-expiration sounds over the network
  • Fixed several sounds not being played over the network
  • Fixed a timing issue in which lobby player count would not update immediately after a player leaves the lobby
  • Fixed a variety of other bugs we also probably forgot!

Source: Steam


Epic free games giveaway gets a horror favourite next week

It may not feel like it but we're just a few weeks away from Halloween. While it's unlikely we'll see as many trick or treaters looting their neighbours this year, it hasn't stopped video games from celebrating this macabre annual tradition.

Next week, Epic Games will be adding a horror favourite to their thick catalogue of free games. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs will be available from October 15th through to the 22nd, bringing some seriously spooky vibes to the Epic Games Store. As long as you sign into your Epic account and add it to your collection, it's yours to keep forever.

You'll also be able to get a copy of Kingdom New Lands, completely on the house. This edition of the stylise 2D strategy game includes the post-launch expansion.

As for this week's picks, you can now get your hands on both ABZU and Rising Storm 2: Vietnam. Check the full list of Epic free games below:

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

 

Source: Epic Games


The Medium will released in December for Xbox Series X|S and PC

Bloober Team has confirmed that its psychological horror title The Medium will be released on December 10th for Xbox Series X|S and PC, coming a month after the release of Microsoft's next console generation. Pre-orders have gone live for The Medium and it is priced at priced £41.74 / €49.99 / $49.99, though those who order before the release date will get a 10% discount. Anyone who orders through Steam will get The Medium Original Soundtrack featuring a 'dual' score soundtrack by  Akira Yamaoka, of Silent Hill fame, and Bloober Team's Arkadiusz Reikowski, plus The Art of The Medium digital artbook.

When The Medium was originally announced Piotr Babieno, CEO at Bloober Team, said:

"Every one of our games has a central theme that drives its creative and technological design. In The Medium, we focus on perspective and perception. When you change your point of view, you discover that things are more complicated and nuanced than you initially thought. The Medium is our most ambitious game ever and we can't wait to show you how we're translating this vision into a psychological horror."

The game follows Marianne, a medium who's haunted by visions forced to live between both the real world and the spirit world. At times you'll be able to explore both worlds simultaneously, controlling both versions of Marianne with a single analogue stick, investigating different elements found in each world. Marianne has varying abilities as well, able to tap into supernatural powers like Out of Body in the spirit world.

Source: Press Release


All Indivisible production will be halted confirms 505 Games

There have been some major changes at Lab Zero Games, developers of Indivisible, over the past few months. It all really began when studio head Mike Zaimont was accused of making sexist and racist comments, as well as creating an unsafe work environment. Originally, Mike said he would step down as the studio head but eventually decided against that. That led to a lot of people quitting Lab Zero Games in protest. Then, last month it appeared Mike fired everyone else at Lab Zero effectively making him the only employee of the company. This in turn has affected development of Indivisible, and now publisher 505 Games has weighed in saying there will be no further work don on the game.

In light of the recent restructuring and dissolution of Lab Zero, 505 Games would like to clarify what this means for the future of Indivisible.
At this stage, apart from content that is already in submission, there will unfortunately be no more production on the game. We understand that longtime players have been waiting for Guest Characters as well as some Backer created characters. Regretfully, this additional content will not be added to the game. There is an update for Nintendo Switch that is already in submission. It will add Razmi's Challenges, New Game+ and Couch Co-Op to the Nintendo Switch. That update will bring all platforms to the same level of development and offer a complete game experience to all current and future players. This is expected to release later this month starting on October 13th and rolling out to other regions afterwards.

Indivisible is a game of diversity, inclusion, friendship and evolution. 505 Games worked with the talented and creative people at Lab Zero for many years to bring Indivisible to life. We are proud of the game that was created and are happy that it has received the positive response that it deserves. We are sorry the journey has ended this way. We wish to thank all the Indivisible players, new and old, who have supported the game. From the bottom of our hearts, we appreciate you

505 Games

In a further FAQ, 505 stated that backers who paid for the Ajna statue will still get them. These statues will enter production soon and 505 Games will provide information on when they will go out. Indivisible will not be removed from any storefronts so will be available both digitally and physically. The North American Switch physical release will happen in November but those who have pre-ordered should double check if the stores will be able to fulfil those orders. Any digital backer codes from IndieGoGo are the responsibility of Lab Zero Games, and it is very unlikely players will receive those due to the studio's situation.

Source: 505 Games


Crucible will be shut down by Amazon in November

Amazon Game Studios' hero shooter Crucible will be shut down on 9th November, the development team at Relentless Studios has confirmed. This ends what has been a poor cycle for Amazon's first major attempt in the games industry. Crucible was originally launched back in May as a free to play title. However, early issues meant a month later in June two of Crucible's modes, Harvester Command and Alpha Hunters, were retired so all the focus could be on the Hearts of the Hives mode. Then in July, Crucible was moved back to closed beta so it could be reworked. That hasn't helped leading to the closure announcement. The full statement is below.

Essence hunters,

In July we moved Crucible into closed beta. We made a list of features we felt would enhance the player experience, which we shared publicly on our roadmap, and with the exception of custom games (which we expect to ship in the coming days), we completed them all. With those features shipped, our next step was to evaluate the feedback we've heard from you, paired with the data we've collected, to determine our path forward.

That evaluation led us to a difficult decision: we'll be discontinuing development on Crucible. We very much appreciate the way that our fans have rallied around our efforts, and we've loved seeing your responses to the changes we've made over the last few months, but ultimately we didn't see a healthy, sustainable future ahead of Crucible. We'll be transitioning our team to focus on New World and other upcoming projects from Amazon Games.

We're offering a full refund for any purchases made. You can find more information on our support page. We will also be disabling credit purchases within Crucible.

In the next few weeks we'll be hosting a final playtest and community celebration, both in-game and in our official Discord. After that point we'll be disabling matchmaking, although you'll still be able to play Crucible through the custom games feature. Stay tuned for more information on that event. Servers will stay up for custom games until noon PST on Monday, November 9, 2020.

Thank you, as always, for being part of our community. This has been a labor of love, and we're grateful for the time we got to spend on planet Crucible with you.

Signing off once more,  -the Crucible team

As the statement says, players are entitled to full refunds on all the things they may have bought in the short time Crucible was running. Amazon Games' next big project is the MMO New World which was delayed to Spring 2021.

Source: Official Crucible site


Ghost of Tsushima can run at 60fps with PS5's Game Boost mode

Sony have detailed the extent of the PS5's backward compatibility today, revealing which games won't work from the 4,000+ titles available on PS4, delving into peripheral support, PSVR and more.

One of the "overwhelming majority" of PS4 games that will be supported via PlayStation 5's backward compatibility is the recently released exclusive Ghost of Tsushima. While the PS5's Game Boost mode can help across the board to improve game frame rates and bump dynamic resolutions up to their maximum, Ghost of Tsushima will be able to recognise that it's running on PlayStation 5 and offer a special Game Boost mode to run at 60fps.

 

Sony explained in the blog post that "Select PS4 titles will see increased loading speeds on the PS5 console, and will also leverage Game Boost, offering improved or more stable frame rates. Some titles with unlocked frame rates or dynamic resolution up to 4K may see higher fidelity."

What's fascinating about this is that it's being done within the limitations of backward compatibility and could be applied to other PlayStation 4 games, though the implication is that it's something coded into the game to tap into the extra power that's available. Could we see something similar for The Last of Us Part II?

This seems be akin to the "three lines of code" needed for Xbox One games to unlock frame rates and resolutions for Xbox Series X|S backward compatibility.

This isn't the only exciting thing happening in Ghost of Tsushima over the next few weeks. On 16th October, Sucker Punch will be releasing the Legends update, throwing a full on co-op mode into their historical Japanese action game. This will see players team up for wave-based Survival missions, tackle Raids, or switch from four players to two for some story missions.

Oh, and in news for all the dog lovers out there, you'll be able to unlock a charm that lets you pet the damn dogs. Even the spirit dogs!

Source: Sucker Punch


Sony confirms PS5 cross-gen save transfers are "a developer decision"

A growing story over the last couple of weeks has been that, where many cross-generational releases on Xbox will support cross-gen saves via the Smart Delivery scheme, those same games with free upgrades from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5 will not do so on Sony's platforms.

Sony have now confirmed that this is "a developer decision" and one that will vary on a title-by-title basis.

The company also state that two of their key cross-gen launch titles, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Sackboy: A Big Adventure will support game save transfers. For Miles Morales, "when players decide to upgrade from PS4 to PS5 their game saves will transfer," while the function will require an update after release for Sackboy: A Big Adventure. Sony will provide additional details closer to launch, but the wording implies that this is a one way street from current to next generation.

Games such as Dirt 5, Yakuza: Like A Dragon, Maneater and Planet Coaster: Console Edition have all been confirmed to not allow you to transfer your single player save files and progression from PS4 to PS5, but let you take saves and progression back and forth between generations on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. That said, Dirt 5's Playgrounds uploads and Planet Coaster's Frontier Workshop does allow for some online elements to be transferred between generations.

Games where player progression is stored online are also relatively safe bets. Destiny 2, Fortnite, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and others that already have cross-platform progression will all allow you to take your multiplayer progression back and forth.

And on the other hand, it's not all smelling of roses on the Xbox side. Developers that do not adopt Smart Delivery also do not necessarily support cross-generational saves. The implication through all of this, however, is that Microsoft have created a system to handle the process, but Sony have not.

This seems to be down to a fundamental difference between how the two ecosystems will work, as explained by Tripwire Interactive for Maneater:

  • This is not a different application/game on XBox Series S & X and saves and trophies/achievements will carry forward.
  • This IS a separate application/game on PlayStation 5 and trophies, stats and saves will not transfer

Of course, there's no such concerns for backward compatible games. For PS4 titles, your saves can be transferred to PS5 in a number of ways, whether via LAN or WiFi, using an external USB drive, or cloud saves as part of a PlayStation Plus subscription.

Sony have today detailed a lot about the state of backward compatibility on PlayStation 5, revealing the 10 games that absolutely will not work on PS5, as well as revealing the slightly baffling fact that to use PSVR on PS5, you have to use the PS4 camera and not the new PS5 one…

Source: PS Blog


You cannot use the new PlayStation 5 camera to play existing PlayStation 4 PSVR games

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

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

The old PS4 camera runs at 720p, the new one is 1080p and and includes new feature such as background removal. PlayStation VR owners are going to have swap the cameras out, the old PS4 camera to play any existing PSVR games, and then back to the PS5 camera if they want to broadcast or play any future PSVR games that, presumably, will work with the new camera and take advantage of the higher definition.

The FAQ also reveals the Share menu won't work if you are playing a PlayStation 4 game but you can map some buttons to take videos and screens.

The SHARE menu cannot be displayed during PS4 gameplay on PS5 consoles. You can take screenshots and images by pressing the create button on your DualSense wireless controller to show the create menu. Additionally, you can use the button shortcuts to start/stop video recording or to save screenshots as follows:

  • Single press the create (DualSense) or SHARE button (DUALSHOCK4) to show the create menu
  • Press and hold the create (DualSense) or SHARE button (DUALSHOCK4)  to take a screenshot
  • Double press the create (DualSense) or SHARE button (DUALSHOCK4) to start and stop video recording manually. 

Sony also state Tournaments, In-Game Live, and the PS4 Second Screen app will not work on PlayStation 5 so it seems they have been consigned to history.

Sony have posted a teardown video of the PlayStation 5 console showing how you can install a second drive to increase storage space, you can find more details on that here. They have also listed a few PlayStation 4 games that will not run on PlayStation 5.

Source: Sony


What We Played #470 – Star Wars Squadrons, Baldur's Gate 3 & The Survivalists

We do love to play some games here at TheSixthAxis, and we certainly have been doing that as the autumn game releases rain down on us like tiny plastic boxes of joy falling from the sky. I've spent a load of time with Star Wars Squadrons and I've really enjoyed it, though it's a shame to hear that we might not get any extra DLC or updates in the future.

Besides that I've started to play Ring Fit Adventures, and Baldur's Gate 3, all the while waiting for access to the Oculus Quest 2 we've been sent. I just put it on my head for ten minutes a day to listen to the tranquil 3D audio of the start-up screen at the moment. But that's all I can do.

Jason started us off with a string of expletives since he didn't believe it was the end of the week. In amidst that he also forgot to tell me what he was playing, but I can tell you now he probably enjoyed a Rogue-Souls-CCG-like which was both very tough and very pretty.

Nic B also swore at me, but he did at least remember the question, telling us "I've played a lot of Ring of Pain. Review embargo is the 15th, but first impressions embargo was yesterday so I can say it's a cool card-based roguelite dungeon crawler which is a fascinating idea. I also went to see Akira 4K in a cinema."

Jim spent most of his gaming time racking up a few wins in Fall Guys, making the most of the double Fame event before the Season 2 launch. He's also managed to hit a milestone in Final Fantasy VI, having progressed further than his original corrupted PS1 save from many years ago, saying "I can definitely see why it's a fan favourite with some interesting battle mechanics and characters."

Tuffcub tried to play Destiny 2 for about half an hour, but he's been too busy for games, which is a bit of a shame. Come on world, this man just wants to play Destiny 2! Aran did find time for games though, and spent it reviewing FIFA 21, saying "it has some improved parts over FIFA 20 but it isn't that much different". Alongside that he's playing through the campaign of Modern Warfare.

Also on the review path was Tom Lord, who has been playing a lot of Ride 4 for review. He's been browsing through the dealerships and ogling at motorcycles which is super satisfying, but the on-track action less so. Ade meanwhile has been playing the strategy game Warsaw for a console review, saying "It's a pretty unique game, but as the player is doomed to lose, there's no way you can win! Whilst this is fitting considering the history of the Warsaw uprising, it's also a bit… unsatisfactory. Anyway, more of all that in the review. I've also been playing Cake Bash for review which is pretty much Fight Club for sweet treats. Finally I've been playing some more Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which is probably Lara's best game yet."

Nick P has been playing Baldur's Gate III this week which has been "bloody marvelous". And of course he's played a bit of Warzone on the side, for a change. Gareth has been mostly playing the amazing-sounding One Finger Death Punch 2 and The Survivalists for review, though he's managed to squeeze in an hour or two of Minecraft VR alongside them.

Miguel has been playing a lovely mix of things, spending time with Genshin Impact, 13 Sentinels, Animal Crossing and Apex Legends. Steve was the last of the latecomers and told us "this week I finished TLOU2 which is a landmark in terms of cinematic gaming and technical achievements but is still rooted in the past in  so many ways. Could have been a few hours shorter and been just as effective. That being said it is one of the most important games of the generation. Other than that I've played a bunch of PC titles for review and tinkered with Oculus Link for lots of SteamVR fun."

Finally, Tef dove into the weird and slightly unsatisfying Super Mario Bros. 35. It's Super Mario smushed into the Tetris 99 formula for battle royale and doesn't quite pull it off, but is sure to get better and more varied as the players get better at it.

Now then, what have you played?


PlayStation 5 backward compatibility FAQ reveals 10 PS4 games that will not work

Sony have posted a support article detailing backward compatibility on the PlayStation 5 and the handful of PlayStation 4 games that will not work on the next-gen console. Of the over 4,000 games released for PlayStation 4, there are just 10 that do not work.

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

However, that comes with some caveats and advisories:

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

There are ten titles that Sony have noted will not work on PlayStation 5, for whatever reason. These games will be labelled in the PlayStation Store as only being compatible with PS4, and are as follows:

  • DWVR
  • Afro Samurai 2 Revenge of Kuma Volume One
  • TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2
  • Just Deal With It!
  • Shadow Complex Remastered
  • Robinson: The Journey
  • We Sing
  • Hitman Go: Definitive Edition
  • Shadwen
  • Joe's Diner

So basically, almost everything will work, but there's 10 games that definitely won't and there's bound to be some titles that have some funky behaviours. Some of this will surely be down to dependencies on PlayStation 4 system software and specific oddities with the game code that will now likely go unaddressed.

Additionally, the Share button functionality will be replaced by the Create button feature, while PS4 tournaments, In-Game Live and the PS4's Second Screen and game companion apps will not work.

If you've got a library of games installed on your PS4, you'll be able to transfer and play them on your PS5 using the WiFi transfer function. The FAQ states that "You can access PS4 games on a PS5 console directly from a PS5 extended storage drive," however we're not certain if this means that a hard drive formatted for use on PS4 cannot be then used for PS5.

Update: In a follow up post on the PlayStation Blog, Sony say "If you've already stored PS4 games and game data in the external USB storage device connected to your PS4, you can bring them over to PS5 with that external USB storage device."

Between the two statements, it seems as though the PS5 will be able to read data from a PS4 formatted external HDD, but will not be able to play games from one. That would seemingly require a HDD that has been formatted by the PS5.

Source: PlayStation


How Mundaun brings hand-drawn terror to its Alpine setting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Here's the substantial patch notes.

No Man's Sky update 3.03

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

Source: NMS


Kingdom Come: Deliverance live action adaptation has been commissioned

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Variety


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Survivalists Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Jeux Video via VGC


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

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

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

In our review for Song of Horror, Steve wrote:

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

Western Digital have announced a PS5 compatible SSD (probably)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Anandtech


Kirby Fighters 2 Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Abuse and harassment allegations emerge surrounding Twitch workplace culture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Here's more on the game.

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

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

Source: Press Release


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