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Friday, 9 October 2020

Xbox Game Pass Will Get Browser-Based App To Avoid iOS Block, Alleges New Report

xbox game pass

The Game Pass service has quickly evolved to be Microsoft's key strategy moving forward. While they are still producing hardware, of course, it's clear Game Pass is where their future is head. Case in point, the recent launch of Game Pass in Xbox Cloud Gaming via mobile to extend their reach as far as possible. But there has been a major snag, as issues with Apple's iOS policies have stopped the service from ending up there. But there could be a solution soon.

In a new report by Business Insider, it's alleged that Microsoft is working on a browser-based version of the app. The app would come at some point next year, and would be key in bypassing Apple's policies that essentially block Game Pass. While Apple has changed its rules slightly, it still is set up in a way where each individual Game Pass title would have to have its own dedicated app as opposed to a single unified app, making it infeasible and impractical. This information allegedly came from a meeting that Phil Spencer headed in which he pledged to employees Game Pass would be coming to iOS hell or high water.

It's rumor for now, but Spencer has said Microsoft is committed to getting on iOS devices in the past, so it's not far-fetched. Considering the end goal of Game Pass is to get the service on as many things as possible, it all makes sense, too. So, don't be too surprised when Game Pass ends up on iOS one way or another.


Godfall Promises Challenging Endgame Content, Including Rogue-like Tower Of Trials Mode

godfall

If there's one game that has been shown off significantly for next generation consoles, it's been Godfall. The title was one of the first to be revealed for the new systems, and Gearbox and Counterplay Games have done everything to make their case. Now, they've also detailed what you can do after you beat the main story.

Once again speaking with Gamebyte, Technical Producer Dick Heyne spoke about Godfall's endgame. As you may know, the game can be played solo (despite still needing an internet connection) as well as co-op, and you'll probably want something to do after the main story is finished. Heyne promises there's a lot of endgame things to partake in here, and one thing he highlights is the Tower of Trials. Much like side missions in the game, it is very combat-focused and rogue-like as you travel each level to battle increasingly difficult enemies.

"Our aim is to create engaging end game loops that will continue to challenge and reward players. The battle isn't over once you defeat Macros.

"One example of this is Tower of Trials. Tower of Trials (ToT) is a rogue-like end-game challenge mode accessed within The Monolith. It can be played solo or co-op. As players complete the combat trials and progress up the elevator in the center of The Monolith, the enemies will get stronger. Luckily, the players can earn Boons and Item Rewards on their way up.

"Players first complete the Elevator Encounter Trial by defeating waves of enemies to be rewarded with Keys, a currency specific to ToT, and will get reset to 0 when the player exits ToT.

"Players then choose the type of reward they'd like to earn next by picking a doorway with the corresponding Reward Type's icon on it. There are several types of Reward Types that the player can earn, but only if they walk through the doorway and defeat the Room Encounter Trial."

Godfall is set to launch on November 12th for PlayStation 5 and PC.


Final Fantasy 16 Gets Some New Details On Story And Combat

Final Fantasy 16

It feels like it's been forever since we got the last mainline Final Fantasy, but the upcoming new generation of consoles will bring us Final Fantasy 16, recently announced at the last major Sony event. The game looks to have something of a darker feel than what we've become accustomed to with the legendary series, though we haven't seen a whole lot since then. Now we got a few more details about its story as well as how it plays.

In the latest issues of Famitsu, Producer Yoshi-P and Director Takai Hiroshi dropped some new details for us. They confirmed that the main protagonist of the game is a knight, the one who yells, "Stop, stop it! He's my brother," in the trailer. He's protecting Joshua, a young boy who uses fire spells and is the one called the "Phoenix,", though it's unclear if he is actually the main protagonist's brother being referred to. In the world of 16, humans must use crystals to survive and the primary conflict is about something called the Mother Crystal.

In regards to the combat, they confirmed it was an action RPG. You'll be able to shift warp and incorporate summons into your attacks. Besides Phoenix and Ifirit, who make up the logo of the game, they also confirm other summons such as Shiva and Titan. Other familiar FF elements will be in the game, many of which were seen in the reveal trailer such as the Chocobo and Malboro. Thanks to Twitter user Audrey for transcribing and translating the article.

Final Fantasy 16 is currently announced for PlayStation 5. Recent entries at Square's career pages indicate basic development on the game has finished, so hopefully it won't be too far off.


Abzu And Rising Storm 2: Vietnam Are Free This Week On Epic Games Store

Epic-Games-Store-

It's hard to believe it's almost been 2 years now since the launch of the Epic Games Store. The storefront was something of a whirlwind of controversy in the beginning due to some of the business practices of its parent company. It also began with giving out free games, and who would think after almost 2 full years they'd still be doing that, but here we are, another week and 2 games for free.

This week we have Abzu, an underwater exploration title that's all about finding new things under the sea in a calming and bright environment. On the flipside, the second title is Rising Storm 2: Vietnam. The multiplayer shooter is anything but calm as you must navigate the Vietnam War in a variety of different multiplayer modes with up to 64 player matches across 20 maps.

Abzu and Rising Storm 2: Vietnam will be free on the store until October 15th. At that point, they will be replaced by Kingdom New Lands and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.


Wasteland 3 Patch 1.1.2 Now Live on PC, Reduces Loading Times by 60 Percent

wasteland 3

InXile Entertainment's latest patch for the critically acclaimed Wasteland 3 is an important one. Along with fixing various bugs and blocks to progression, it also massively improves load times. And when we say "massively", we mean by a whopping 60 percent on PC.

This means, according to the developer at least, that a section which would take 38 seconds to load now only requires 13 seconds. It did note that the level, save data and one's hardware would still affect load times. Also, auto-saves will happen concurrently instead of during the loading so you should wait for auto-saving to finish when entering a new scene.

Patch 1.1.2 is currently live on PC via Steam and GOG with PS4 and Xbox One getting it next week. Other issues, like combat becoming unresponsive when using the Chain Ambush perk on sniper rifles, and enemies becoming invisible after using Precision Strike, have also been fixed. Check out the full patch notes here.

Highlights

  • Do you hate long load times? We hate long load times. Our engineers changed how the game loads levels, reducing load times by up to 60% on PC and 25% on console.
  • As one example, on our PC test hardware a 38 second load time was reduced to 13 seconds.
  • Fixed an issue where combat could become unresponsive with use of the Chain Ambush Perk for sniper rifles.
  • Resolved several progression blocking issues in Yuma County Speedway.
  • Enemies are now much less invisible after use of Precision Strike.

Haven Receives New PS5 Gameplay

haven

The Game Bakers has released a new trailer for Haven, its gorgeous-looking adventure RPG, running on the PS5. Some new combat gameplay along with a seemingly new feature are included along with more traversal footage. Check it out below.

The new feature in question seems to relate to the dialogue choices. A dialogue that Kay chooses could make her more "confident" though how this affects the overall narrative remains to be seen. It could also have an effect on the relationship, causing it to change and evolve based on one's choices. Once again, however, we need more information on this.

Haven is currently slated to release later this year. It's coming to PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and PS5. For even more gameplay footage but on Xbox Series X, head here. Stay tuned for more details in the meantime especially regarding a more concrete release date.


PS5 – 10 More Details We've Learned About It

Sony are kicking the marketing for the PS5 into gear, as they should, with the console's launch just around the corner now. Recently, they released a detailed teardown video, in which they offered an extended look at the PS5's hardware, its insides, and how various functions works.

In this feature, we're going to talk about ten of the biggest details we learned from the teardown video. Let's start with the external elements first.

THE STAND

ps5

We've known for a while that the PS5 will come with a stand that will allow users to place the console both vertically and horizontally, but we now know how the stand will work as well. When holding the console vertically, it will keep it in place with a screw at the bottom. To place it horizontally, you can store the screw in the base itself, then align the stand with the marks on the back of the console and clip it on. Based on the video, it seems like a rather simple process. Hopefully, the stand will be sturdy regardless of how it is used.

SIDE PLATES

ps5

This is something that we've more or less known about for a while, thanks to a couple of leaks in recent weeks, but now Sony have officially confirmed it. The PS5's side plates will be detachable, and if what was shown in the teardown video was anything to go by, it'll be pretty easy to do. Now, Sony haven't really said anything else about this topic, but there's some very clear and exciting potential here for custom or themed side plates that you could purchase the customize your console down the line. Hopefully, Sony will agree with that notion, because the idea of decking out your PS5 with custom side plates is an exciting one.

DUST CATCHERS

ps5

One interesting detail that was shown in the beginning of the teardown video was that the PS5 has two dust catchers on its side. Any dust that is collected in these dust catchers can also be vacuumed out through two other holes. A disclaimer toward the end of the video does say that the dust catchers won't guarantee that your console will remain clean- but it'll certainly help keep it clean a little longer than usual.

COOLING

ps5

There have been quite a few eyes on Sony and how they will tackle the cooling solution for the PS5. That's not only because of the extremely loud PS4 and PS4 Pro, but also the fact that reports had been suggesting that Sony had invested quite a bit of money in a cooling solution for their next-gen console. Based on recent impressions, it's looking like that's paid off, and in the teardown video, we got a look at how it will work as well. The PS5 has a double-sided air intake fan that's 45 mm thick and has a 120 mm diameter. To say that the fan is large would be an understatement, but hey- as long as it works.

AIR VENTS AND EXHAUST

ps5

There's a few other things to the PS5's cooling system beyond the fan. Such as its ventilation, for instance. And we now know exactly how that works as well. The entire front of the PS5 along the side plates has air vents. Meanwhile, the entire rear side of the console has an exhaust port. As mentioned earlier, recent impressions have suggested that the PS5's cooling is pretty quiet, so it's good to know that the fan and the vents and exhaust seem to be working well together.

HEATSINK

ps5

One look at the PS5's heatsink immediately tells you why the console is as large as it is. Combined with the cooling fan, it pretty much defines the console's shape and size. The PS5 has a heat pipe-based heatsink, though Sony have made to its shape and airflow to achieve the same performance as a vapor chamber. It's another piece in Sony's elaborate cooling puzzle for the PS5, and based on early impressions, it seems equipped for the task.

SOC DETAILS

ps5

Additional details on the PS5's AMD Zen 2 processor chip were also revealed in the recent teardown video. As Sony's engineering vice president Yasuhiro Ootori explained in the video, the PS5's SoC is a small die that runs at a very high clock rate, which produces plenty of heat, as you'd expect. To improve the performance of the thermal conductor and deal with that heat, Sony have gone with an interesting solution. Let's talk about that for a little bit…

LIQUID METAL

ps5

Instead off a paste-style thermal interface material (or TIM), which sits between the SoC and the heatsink, Sony have opted to use liquid metal for the cooling in the PS5. As Ootori explained in the video, the liquid metal TIM will "ensure long-term, stable, high-cooling performance." Sony also explains that it has been conducting tests and R&D work on a liquid cooling solution for two years, which means they should (hopefully) be well-positioned to avoid the sort of issues that usually come with liquid metal cooling. If nothing else, it's indicative of the unusual cost that Sony seem to be putting into the console's cooling system, which is certainly encouraging to see.

SSD EXPANSION

ps5

We have now also had our first look at the PS5's expandable storage. The console has a slot on its side once you remove the panels, and shows an NVMe M2 SSD expansion slot. Sony have previously said that the PS5 will feature support for off-the-shelf SSDs– though there's not a lot of SSDs on the market just now that match up to the PS5's speed requirements. Hopefully, it won't take too long for more options to become available.

BLU-RAY DRIVE

ps5

This, of course, is not applicable to the PS5 Digital Edition. The ultra HD blu-ray drive that will come in the other PS5 model was shown off in the teardown video as well. The drive has been designed to reduce noice and vibration when a disc is spinning inside thanks to two layers of insulators and a sheet metal case. The drive is also quite thick, which, of course, explains why the PS5 Digital Edition is noticeably slimmer than the PS5 console with a disc drive.


Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time – 15 Hardest Levels

Like its predecessors, Crash Bandicoot 4 is a pretty hard game. It employs a very old-school approach to challenge in a platforming game, putting the focus squarely on tests of skill through levels that grow increasingly complex. As such, there's quite a few levels in this game that will put up a formidable fight against you- here, we're going to talk about the fifteen that we felt were the hardest of them all.

NOTE: There are spoilers ahead for Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time.

#15. OFF BEAT

As the level that introduces players to the Mosquito Marsh mansion, it's one that stands out in memory (thanks in large part to its carnival feel), but it also stands out because of how challenging it can be. True to its name, it uses music in some interesting ways for platforming, and is almost entirely focused on putting your platforming skills to the test. Towards the end, there's also a rail-grinding section that requires some quick reaction time, so make sure you stay on your toes.


RIDE 4 Review – Spinning Out In The Turn

RIDE 4 has some decent ideas, but stiff controls and unwelcoming design sap any fun that may have been had. Right out of the gate, RIDE 4 makes a underwhelming first impression. After a text-based introduction, which explains to you the general structure of the game's career, you're thrust into the tutorial mode. If this game is going to lose you, it will do so here. The tutorial is brutal, unclear, and punishing for newcomers. After an all too brief rundown of the controls, you're thrust into a practice lap where you must meet a minimum time to proceed. Right away, problems surface. The game offers no explanation of its mechanics or underlying systems, which only serves to exacerbate some fundamental control problems.

Turning feels slow and sluggish. It felt at times like my PS4 controller was lagging. I would input a turn on my controller, but my bike would have a noticeable delay before it actually turned. This, coupled with the game's staunch refusal to actually teach beginners anything in the tutorial, leaves yoi baffled, unsure if the problem is with the control scheme or the beginner's lack of understanding of the gameplay mechanic. Either way, it quickly saps any enthusiasm you may have had for the game. This is only made even worse by the fact that the tutorial is completely mandatory. You quite literally cannot leave or skip the tutorial, and the game denies you access to any of its main content until you complete it.

Depending on how quickly you figure out the game's obtuse design, you could waste several minutes or even an hour or more beating yourself against the tutorial. The game offers no actual help, no tooltips, explanations, or prompts to help you learn from your mistakes. This means that, unless you're already a seasoned veteran of the franchise, you're very likely to hit a wall, literally and figuratively, before you even get the chance to play the actual game.

"Right out of the gate, RIDE 4 makes a underwhelming first impression."

However, this doesn't mean RIDE 4 is a poor game. Particularly with regards to the visuals, the game actually stands out well. The bikes are gorgeous, the rider animations are fluid and believable, and even the character models look pretty decent. There's a lot of different kinds of make and model of bikes, and the game does a good job of simulating the differences in their weight, steering, and other characteristics. Weather effects, too, are pretty well modeled. Different terrains and weathers affect traction, steering, and acceleration in different ways. From a physics perspective, the game actually offers a strong simulation. But unfortunately, the controls' lag follows you throughout the experience, hampering an otherwise solid representation of the sport.

As someone who has reviewed a fair number of racers in the past, I was able to get the hang of the game, but for newcomers, the game fails to explain different event types, or what the changes you make to your bikes actually do. Just about everything in the game is left to you to figure out on your own. Simulation-wise, RIDE 4 is a deep game, and there is a lot to learn here. But the issues I mentioned previously make the game feel confusing, and unwelcoming.

RIDE 4 also lacks content. It offers a decent enough career mode, and a wide variety of tracks and bikes, but outside of the career mode, there's precious little to do. A quick race mode offers you, well, races. That's it. There are no challenge modes, none of the exciting content that games like this usually offer to keep you entertained. There's no legacy option, no challenges, nothing. If you aren't totally sold by the game's core racing, there's just not much to hold your attention. The career mode, meanwhile, is lengthy enough, taking you through several different circuits and tournaments on your way to the championship. The game also features an editor, where you can make custom decals, skins, and other content for your bikes and racers. It's not terribly deep, but it can be fun to mess around in.

ride 4

"Visually, RIDE 4 looks like a spectacular modern racing game, but the controls and content scream of a game ten years older."

To it's credit, RIDE 4 does offer a decent multiplayer offering. It's the same core race types as the rest of the game, but racing with other people feels a lot more fun. Playing on my review build, there were some issues with the servers. I got disconnected from matches a few times, and there were some latency issues. But when it worked, it was probably the most fun part of the game.

Visually, RIDE 4 looks like a spectacular modern racing game, but the controls and content scream of a game ten years older. The whole time, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was playing something very dated. The game does have some good elements to it. As I said, RIDE 4 is a pretty game, if nothing else. The bikes are gorgeous, bordering on phenomenal for those truly enthusiastic about the sport, and environments are clear and pretty.

The real shame of RIDE 4 is that there's the bones of a decent racing game here. It looks and sounds the part, and you can tell that there was passion put into it. There's plenty of bikes and tracks, and they're all lovingly rendered and animated in beautiful detail. The physics simulation is detailed and accurate, doing a great job of differentiating the various bikes and weather conditions. And when the game isn't fighting you, it's possible to have some fun. But the lack of content and leggy controls hold back this game from truly shining. RIDE 4 can be really hard on newcomers, and if that is the case then the game seems utterly uninterested in helping you progress or improve. It simply presents itself to you, demanding perfection at all times and promising little in return.

This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.


Xbox Series X Heat Output Isn't Much Different From The Xbox One X, Greenberg Reassures

Xbox Series X

Both next generation systems have been out and about now, going out to various press outlets as well as influencers and YouTubers to try out. Both the PS5 and Series X have gotten praise, both with their sleek looks as well as their speedy boot up abilities. They are also apparently as quiet can be, which is music to many ears I imagine. But there has been some reports out there of the Series X running surprisingly hot. Well, Xbox's Aaron Greenberg is here to reassure it's not a big deal.

On his official Twitter, Greenberg responded to a question about the heat. He said that the engineering team working on the machine did their best testing and they determined that the heat coming from the Xbox Series X is not much more significant than that coming from the current Xbox One X models. He also said that matches his experience at home.

Of course, Aaron Greenberg is the marketing head of Xbox, so you know, you have to keep it in mind. We didn't receive a unit on our end, so we also weren't able to test that out ourselves, unfortunately. A system heating up is not necessarily a bad thing, of course, but we'll just have to see what that heat is really like when the Series X launches alongside the Series S on November 10th.


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