Blog archive

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

DayZ update 1.10 release date and next-gen upgrade confirmed

DayZ developer Bohemia Interactive have announced that update 1.10 will be released tomorrow across all versions of the game including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The studio also confirmed DayZ's next-gen improvements on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S via backwards compatibility.

Having been previously available via DayZ's Experimental Update program on PC and Xbox One, the fixes and gameplay changes made in 1.10 will go live in latest build tomorrow.

New items, mechanics, and crafting materials will be added to DayZ as part of the new update. Here's a quick rundown of what new content to expect in patch 1.10:

  • You can now break the players lower leg, damage is applied by falling or brute force (walking/fighting with a broken leg will result in shock damage)
  • Added the Signal Pistol and its ammunition (in various colors)
  • Added crafted Tanned Leather using Garden Lime
  • Added crafted Leather Backpack
  • Added crafted Improvised Shelter
  • Added localization for Brazilian-Portuguese
  • Added the crafted Splint
  • Added Tarp (material)
  • Added the ability to replace ruined parts of tents (entrance-/window-covers) with tarp
  • Added the Pipe Wrench
  • You can now repair a damaged car engine with the Pipe Wrench
  • You can now repair parts of the vehicle chassis with an Epoxy Putty
  • Clothing items now have an indicator for their insulation value
  • Exposure to wind will make your character freeze more (forests can provide cover)
  • Food decays over time
  • Items dry up over-time when put on the ground or in a cargo space on the ground (proximity to a fireplace is no longer required, but the area of a fireplace dries items faster)
  • Items cool down over-time in the player's inventory and on the ground
  • Added a heat buffer to supply an overtime heat bonus to the thermal comfort of the player character (you receive a temporary heat bonus after spending time near a fireplace)
  • Added a smoking slot to several types of fireplaces, used to dry meat
  • Added additional coastline details between Storozh (prison island) and Ostrog, making the sea traversal easier and more interesting (Chernarus)
  • Punching now deals damage to gloves and can cause bleeding to bare hands
  • Added a visual effect to increasing shock damage (both reflecting getting hit, and current state)
  • Added damage when jumping out of a running vehicle (also including a chance for broken legs and death)
  • New visual heat haze effect for the fireplace, flare, road flare and torch lights

For a more detailed log of changes, you can find them here. These will hopefully be condensed when Bohemia Interactive publish the official DayZ update 1.10 patch notes.

Consoles players will no doubt be wondering what the devs are planning for DayZ on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. Bohemia have confirmed that the popular sandbox survival game will be available via backwards compatible on both systems for those who already own a copy of DayZ. They haven't announced a specific update for these new consoles though according to Bohemia, there's a noticeable improvement in general performance including a more steady framerate.

Source: Twitter (@DayZ), DayZ Forums


Rainbow Six Siege Tachanka rework update is here with sexy new Elite Skin

Ubisoft have launched a new update for Rainbow Six Siege today, deploying their long-awaited operator rework for Tachanka.

Originally teased earlier this year, the Tachanka rework hit the Siege test server but is now ready for release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It's a significant update for the Spetsnaz juggernaut and one that sees his static turret removed from the game in favour of something a lot more dynamic.

Since Rainbow Six Siege launched back in December 2015, Tachanka has rolled into every online skirmish with his mounted RP-46 Degtyaryov Machine Gun. Although pretty powerful, using this turret would leave players standing still and exposed to incoming fire. Even after Ubisoft attached a ballistics shield to the RP-46, it didn't help Tachanka's competitive viability much.

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

To celebrate the Tachanka rework, there's a new elite skin available for this OG Rainbow Six Siege Operator. Siege players will be left lusting after the Russian beefcake once they get their hands on the topless Slava Korolyu" ("Glory to The King") skin.

In other Siege news, Ubisoft recently unveiled their next upcoming season. Year 5 Season 4 doesn't have a release date as of yet though it expected to launch some time in December. Thai Operator Aruni will be headlining Y5S4 along with her defensive Surya Gate gadget and the Skyscraper map rework. You can find more details in our preview but for now, here's a quick checklist of what's coming.

Rainbow Six Siege Y5S4 Summary

  • New Operator – Aruni
  • New Gadget – Surya Gate
  • Skyscraper map rework
  • Hibana X-KAIROS update
  • Echo Yokai drone update
  • Jäger Active Defense System update
  • Reduced runout timers
  • Improved Gadget on Gadget interactions
  • Sixth Guardian charity initiative
  • Vigil, Zofia, Dokka, Nomad, Kaid, Wamai and Kali Operator price reductions

Source: Press Release


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Review

Let's all be honest with ourselves, the most interesting part of the story of Breath of the Wild was the Calamity. This unavoidable disaster destroyed the kingdom 100 years ago and left Princess Zelda in a war of magical attrition to stop Calamity Ganon fully claiming the world. It was also an event that was only seen through flashbacks and fragmented information to the point of frustration.

As we patiently wait for the sequel to Breath of the Wild, Nintendo have decided to link us to the past, allowing the player to live through this era with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. In fact, it literally begins during the build up to the Calamity as Zelda and her chosen knight Link embark from Hyrule Castle to enlist the aid of the four Champions of the Hyrulian tribes, and their Divine Beasts, to defeat the encroaching evil.

You combat the Calamity by hacking your way through familiar enemies across battlefields set in and around recognisable scenes from the original title. All the trimmings from musou genre are here: hordes of foes; an excessive KO counter; long, devastating combos; challenging boss encounters; even a host of challenge missions to test your skills with the game.

Each character has their own play style within the musou framework, so can execute combos combining normal and strong attacks, with a devastating special available when you have the bar filled. The intrigue comes from each character's unique ability, all of which are pinned to one button, and can be interwoven into the combat or used to utterly change the flow of it.

These range from Impa's symbol ability, which creates clones to replicate Impa's attacks to devastating effect, to Revali's gale ability allowing him to remain in the air and granting the use of an entirely separate combo tree. These make all of the characters feel completely different, unlike the first Hyrule Warriors, but the standardised control set makes switching seamless.

Link is more unique still, with multiple movesets being linked to him depending on the weapon he has equipped. Harking to the source material, Link's resourcefulness knows no bounds with swords, clubs, spears and even soup ladles all at his disposal. Equipping different weapon types will dramatically change how to use him, and also give different unique abilities.

Returning from Breath of the Wild are the Sheikah runes, which also add an extra dimension to the combat. Unlike that game, where the tools were unwieldy to use, the runes fit into far more seamlessly. Whenever the slate is available, you can use any of the four to affect all enemies around you, or to exploit weaknesses of bosses and captains to make them vulnerable.

The interesting thing is, while the characters all have access to the Sheikah slate, each one will use the abilities in different ways. For instance Link will simply throw a few Remote Bombs, but Zelda will summon a little Remote Bomb tank that the player has skuttle around flinging bombs everywhere. There's a lot to learn about characters this time around.

Here lies one of the best improvements of Age of Calamity over both Hyrule Warriors and Breath of the Wild. Not only are the main enemies so enjoyable to dispatch, but variety of the combat mechanics makes the stronger foes challenging. It gives you a large amount of options, whether capitalising on their telegraphed weaknesses or simply using your skills strategically.

The flexibility in the combat this time around is astonishing, pulling in the ingenuity of combat in Breath of the Wild but structuring it just enough to not overwhelm the player during the frantic battles. This perfect blend of styles is a testament to how closely the Zelda team worked with the Warriors team on this title, and something that can be seen in every facet of the game.

However, hack and slash isn't your only option this time around, as the four Divine Beasts are at your disposal in their own encounters. These giant behemoths are exactly as fun to pilot as you could have imagined from their original appearances. Vah Ruta, for instance, can fire ice shards into the thousands of enemies or swing its trunk to destroy all obstacles and scenery around you.

Another improvement in the spin-off series is how you progress and enhance your characters. All of the excessive menus of the first Hyrule Warriors are gone, with everything taking place on the world map instead. Increasing combos, adding hearts, levelling characters and the like is all done through quests on the map and you can complete them simply by gathering resources during gameplay.

This includes cooking! Throughout the world map there will be little missions shaped like pots you need to gather resources to complete. Once completed, you unlock that recipe to whip up before missions, which can then give you such effects as additional damage or elemental resistance. Let me tell you, these are basically essential to success at times.

The map also has one more great little feature in the time-saving Sheikah Sensor. This allows the highlighting of particular missions you're trying to find the resources for, which will then point out precisely where to find them. Activating it will drop neon green circles around the location and if this is a shop, it even highlights the item in green in the shop menu.

Needless to say this is yet another improvement on the last title, when you had to somehow remember which resources you needed for each Badge or other character upgrade.

If you do fancy a couple of menus though, there's a few galleries for refreshing the player on practically everything in the game. From here you can rewatch all of the cutscenes again, find character bios, listen to music, or read descriptions of every completed quest. As the cutscenes in particular are breathtaking, this is a great feature.

All of this isn't to say that the game is flawless, and it does have a few minor issues blocking it from being perfect. The multiplayer is activated through a single button press on the map, but while it's incredibly easy to start, you might regret it. The otherwise smooth frame rate really tanks in multiplayer. It's better when your characters are separate but when together the action really slows down. Not ideal.

Then there's the camera, which falls prey to a lot of the problems that a lot of 3D games do, getting caught on scenery and not adequately locking on to powerful enemies, to give a couple of examples. These are very minor gripes in the grand scheme of things, but really do hamper the enjoyment of what is a frenetic and fun game.

One thing for certain is that Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is absolutely gorgeous. Taking heavy pointers from Breath of the Wild again, all of the flair of the art style has carried over with everything having the ancient stone and neon blue effects thrown in. The character and world design is superb, truly looking and feeling like part of the universe.

The sound design also brings across the quirks from its source material, with all the chimes and noises being reproduced, and the excellent voice acting for all the characters brings some levity to all of the story beats, with Link having his best vocal performance yet. Just kidding folks, it's just a bunch of "hyahs" again, as it always is.

Finally, the fantastic soundtrack has to be highlighted. Not only does this spin-off title actually have music, unlike large swathes of Breath of the Wild, but every track is absolutely superb. Aesthetically, this is an incredibly strong package, and one that it's hard to find fault with. All of the slight touches of the game combine to create something simultaneously familiar and refreshing.


Snowrunner update for Season 2 live with Patch 10

Saber Interactive have released their long-awaited Snowrunner Season 2 update for PC and consoles, adding a wealth of free and premium content to the terrain-traversing sim.

Headlining Patch 10 is the second phase of Snowrunner's season pass titled "Season 2: Explore & Expand". However, the developers have worked in a number of general fixes and improvements.

Those who own the season pass can expect new maps and vehicles – this content pack can also be purchased separately on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Here's what to expect from the new DLC:

Season 2 brings two new maps set in Canada's Yukon wilderness, filled with snow-blanketed valleys, treacherous rivers and dangerous mud banks, featuring missions that allow for more creative gameplay than ever. Expand your operations into this new frontier, gathering raw materials and using the brand new cargo crafting mechanic to build a huge processing plant from scratch. Three new vehicles join the vehicle roster, including the CAT 770G: the biggest truck in the franchise yet. Current vehicles can also be customised even further, with new exclusive skins, hood ornaments and exterior stickers.

Phase 3 of the Snowrunner season pass does not yet have a release date though we do have a title – "Locate & Deliver".


Snowrunner Season 2 Update Patch Notes

Patch Notes:

Major Content

  • [DLC] Brand new region Yukon with two maps
  • [DLC] New trucks
    • CAT TH357D
    • CAT 770G
    • KRS 58 "Bandit"
  • [DLC] Exclusive skin for International Scout 800
  • [DLC] Exclusive skin for International Loadstar 1700
  • New contracts in Alaska and Taymyr
  • New customization options
  • Two new trials

General changes

  • Added an option to secure trucks to trailers that are suitable for truck transportation
  • Added additional sounds for ramp activation
  • Fixed a bug where if after completing the "Working stiff" objective player sold a Caterpillar 745C it was no longer available in the store
  • Reworked honk sound for Ank MK 38
  • Fixed a bug where crane anchors were extended if the player tilted his truck while driving
  • Tweaked Azov 64131's center of mass
  • Fixed a bug where trigger zones of destination points that are placed on bridges were not displayed in-game
  • Fixed a bug where the player did not receive trial rewards if he completed trials before creating a new campaign

Maps

  • Added collision for Tuloma and Kandra Battery Canon on Imandra.
  • The fence around the aerodrome on Imandra is now displayed on the minimap
  • Fixed a bug where landmarks of buildings before and after construction were mixed up on the minimap on Drowned Lands and Zimnegorsk, Taymyr

Mods

  • Added an in-game mods browser from mod.io
  • Added regional modding plugin
  • Supported co-op on modded maps
  • Supported auto-refund for mod trucks that were purchased in-game player but were removed from mod.io afterward
  • Added indication of the intersection of objects in the editor
  • Supported localization for map mods
  • Fixed issues with sound packing for trucks
  • Fixed a bug when the dev menu was activated in custom scenarios on the second launch
  • Mod creators are now able to choose if they want or not to have a dev menu available on PC

UI

  • Fixed a bug where the mouse cursor was stuck on the top left of the screen when restarting an objective
  • Supported warning message if the player is going to fail one of the contest conditions
  • Moved Trials menu to the main menu
  • Fixed a bug where the cursor on a minimap was wobbling if there were several objects under it
  • Fixed a bug where markers of a quest item positions in "Star in the Sky" remained on screen after the player restarted the contract
  • Fixed a bug where the yellow cargo marker did not appear after using the metal detector during the 'The Star in the Sky' contract

Co-op

  • Supported sync of weather conditions in co-op
  • Fixed bug where after disconnecting from a co-op game the player was unable to create his own co-op game until the application was restarted

Options

  • Added an option to disable the truck driver model in cockpit view
  • Added an option to limit FPS in-game (30/60/unlimited)
  • Fixed bug where target display was not saved when leaving and relaunching the game (for players with two monitors)
  • Added option to enable/disable KSIVA
  • Added option to enable/disable motion blur

Render

  • Improved visual for waves, caused by a truck driving in the water
  • Improved terrain textures between mud and water in Zimnegorsk, Rift, White Valley
  • Improved wheel tracks on ice patches
  • Improved trees reflections in the water

Wheels

  • Further improvements for G923 True Force Feedback on PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4
  • Supported vibrotactile effects setting for G923
  • Added an option to calibrate brake pedal force
  • Supported Fanatec wheels on consoles

Consoles

  • Added additional video settings:
    • Motion blur
    • Sharpening
    • Film grain
    • FOV

Source: Focus Home Forums


Koch acquire Shadow Warrior developer Flying Wild Hog

Koch Media has announced their agreement to acquire Polish developer Flying Wild Hog, best known for their revived Shadow Warrior franchise. The studio will continue to act as an independent company within the Koch Media family, meaning that their existing deals for Shadow Warrior 3 to be published by Devolver Digital, and their action-RPG IP in development for Jagex, and a still unannounced title in partnership with Focus Home Interactive will continue

Michal Szustak, CEO Flying Wild Hog Studios said, "We are absolutely thrilled that Flying Wild Hog will be joining Koch Media and the Embracer family. […] We fell in love with Embracer's vision to build an alliance of diverse and talented studios who keep their independence and creative freedom. It's an incredibly compelling opportunity which is why we're delighted by this partnership and what it holds for our future."

It all sounds wonderful and rosy, when put like that, but it's another clutch of eggs being dropped into an ever-expanding basket. Here we see the sticky tendrils of Embracer Group extending once more, the holding company formerly known as THQ Nordic which fully owns… THQ Nordic the publisher and Koch Media, Saber Interactive, Coffee Stain, Amplifier Game Invest, and Quantic Lab.

It's a truly vast empire of game publishers and game developers. It means that Flying Wild Hog are now in the same game development and publishing web as Metro developer 4A Games (owned by Saber Interactive), Darksiders developer Gunfire Games (owned by THQ Nordic the publisher), Little Nightmares developer Tarsier Studios (part of Amplifier Game Invest), and on and on.

So it's yet another video game company acquisition, with seemingly anything and everything up for sale right now. A number of other already gigantic companies have recently announced or concluded other major acquisitions, including Microsoft acquiring Bethesda parent company Zenimax, and Codemasters agreeing to a buyout by Take-Two.

Source: press release


Marvel's Spider-Man has sold over 20m copies on PS4

Two years after the game's original release, Marvel's Spider-Man has passed another huge milestone for Sony and developer Insomniac Games. It has now been reported that the power-selling PlayStation 4 exclusive has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

This latest update comes via trusted source Timur222 on Twitter who can often be found digging up fascinating industry data. Their latest discovery is the LinkedIn profile of PlayStation Global Marketing Leader, David Bull, who worked on the campaign for Marvel's Spider-Man. Here, he stats that the superhero PS4 title has sold over 20 million units. It's worth mentioning that neither Sony or Insomniac Games have verified this figure.

Still, it's not impossible to imagine Spider-Man hitting that sales mark. As of August 2019, the game had already sold 13 million copies. Being such a huge financial success explains why Sony were keen to have Spider-Man: Miles Morales in the PS5 launch line-up, as well as justifying the decision for a full-on remaster of the original game.

We recently reviewed Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PS5, scoring the semi-sequel a spectacular 8 out of 10:

Spider-Man: Miles Morales feels like more of a sequel than it is a stopgap, entangling players within its web of cleverly refined mechanics while delivering some familiar web-slinging thrills. A heroic technical showcase for PS5 owners picking up their consoles on day one, this meaty side story in the Spider-Man saga has us even more excited than before to see what Insomniac Games have planned next.

Source: Twitter (@Timur222)


Spider-Man: Miles Morales Guides & more from TheSixthAxis


Logitech G733 Gaming Headset Review

The gaming headset market continues to be a battlefield for many manufacturers, with each year seeing a new fleet of offerings sent forth to scuffle with one another. Wireless or wired? Stereo or virtual surround? Black or the colour of a 5-year-old's shoes? These are the questions that trouble peripheral manufacturers every year, and we've got our first taste of Logitech's latest answer. Ultra-lightweight, wireless, LED, virtual surround and an oceanic blue, the Logitech G733 is one of the most striking headsets you'll see this year, and it sounds pretty good too.

Logitech have aimed to make comfort the defining feature of the G733. Weighing in at a crown-cradling 278g, it's light enough that you'll soon forget you're wearing it, and the other features Logitech have added ensure that this is a headset that's going to stay the course, whether you're spending the day ploughing through Destiny 2 raids or grinding your way through Final Fantasy XIV.

The memory foam earpads are covered with exceptionally soft and gentle blue fabric, and they feel like a real treat for your ears when you're putting them on. The central body of the headset meanwhile is a single piece of flexible molded plastic, and it's the elasticated internal headband that provides the correct fit.

There's two notches for you to attach the headband to, and how big your head is will dictate how much flex you're going to need. Just as with the earpads, the elasticated band has been made from a pleasingly soft piece of fabric, and as a man with a shaved head, I very much appreciate the comfortable fit across the top of my unprotected noggin.

The G733 has not got the strongest passive noise cancellation, which is likely due to the plastic build, relatively light clamp and the inclusion of open back-style holes hidden behind the plastic headband. That's worth considering, but when audio is being pumped through it I find the experience suitably enveloping.

The Logitech G733 comes in four different shades, from the expected black through to an Ikea furniture-friendly gloss white. Our review unit was royal blue, and it certainly turned heads upon arrival in the office… the home office, that is. The reversible purple and foam green elasticated headband somehow manages to stand out even further further from the crowd.

Adding to its unique look is the LED implementation. Each of the G733's earpieces feature a two-tone LED strip at the front that cycles through the colour spectrum as standard. You can turn them off it it's not your bag, but they're not overwhelming and being able to set two different colours to the strips further sets them apart.

Logitech have aimed for something that looks contemporary and cool, and it's almost a shame that there's no option to wire them up or use a Bluetooth connection, as they're as much a fashion accessory as they are a gaming headset. The fact you can remove the flexible mic arm – as you should be able to do with all mic arms – is another point in its favour. Sadly though you're tethered to somewhere in the 20 metre range of wherever its dongle is plugged in.

The mic arm is only slightly adjustable Its rubbery build letting you move the mic itself towards your mouth to some degree, but that's probably enough for most situations unless you're really having to whisper into it. Logitech have included Blue VO!CE technology in there too, so the output from it is pleasingly crisp and deeply adjustable, meaning your Warzone teammates aren't going to have any issues hearing you.

The G733 connects via a USB-A wireless dongle, and it's compatible with PS4, PC and Mac. As a wireless offering it needs a charge to work – it charges up with a USB-C port – but Logitech continue to do excellent work in this field, with 29 hours of battery life available without the LED, and 20 hours with it on. If you want to get the most out of its setup and 7.1 surround sound offering you're going to want to head on over to a PC, but once you're there you may find you're better off sticking with stereo.

This headset's predecessor, the Logitech G533, remains one of my all-time favourite wireless stereo headsets. Despite a distinct lack of on-board controls, its excellent comfort levels and stellar audio remain top-tier, even now. The G733 is similarly fitted with 40mm drivers – in this case PRO-G ones – and in stereo mode offers a clear and deeply listenable audio response that's a match for Logitech's previous output.

Audio sits at the brighter end of the spectrum, and the G733 is perfect for picking out the top end details, whether that's catching every lyric in Bring Me The Horizon's new album or distant gunfire in yet another round of PUBG. This is not the headset for you if you're after booming, overwhelming bass. There's a pleasing roundness to the bottom end, as it were, and it's well controlled, but if you want to watch a series of Michael Bay films or feel the explosions in Call of Duty Modern Warfare's campaign you might want to look elsewhere.

You might want to also look elsewhere beyond Logitech's surround sound options if you're wanting to indulge in a bit of virtual surround audio. The included DTS Headphone: X 2.0 surround sound option is amongst the weakest I've tested out recently, adding a ridiculous amount of reverb and spacing and robbing audio of much of its nuance. The positional placement of each virtual speaker definitely works, it just doesn't come together in a cohesive fashion. If you're playing on PC you're going to be better served by Dolby Atmos or Windows Sonic, while PS5 players will all be tapping into the Tempest Engine for their spatial audio, regardless.

Logitech's GHub meanwhile has evolved into a highly useful and efficient piece of software, and from here you can alter what the G733's single customisable button does and a whole lot more.You can tinker with the LED lighting, adjust the EQ settings and the virtual surround setup, but the most extensive feature is what you can do with the microphone. Using the Blue VO!CE setup you can squeeze, squish and de-ess your speech to within an inch of its life. High-pass filters, noise reduction, compressors: the G733 has them all. If you're serious about how your headset sounds to others, this is the headset for you.


Cyberpunk 2077 trophies leak ahead of release date

After years of hype-building followed by back to back delays, RPG fans will finally be getting their hands on Cyberpunk 2077 next month.

Cyberpunk 2077 should have been launching tomorrow on PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One (as well as next-gen systems, via backwards compatibility) but developer CD Projekt Red made the difficulty decision to push the release date back one again to December 10th. Yesterday the studio gave us a quick look at the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S versions (see the trailer below).

Naturally, there has been plenty of Cyberpunk 2077 data floating around including the game's full list of PlayStation 4 trophies. Discovered by PowerPyx ,the full list can be viewed below; there are 45 trophies to unlock in total including a platinum.

The trophy description don't give away much in terms of story spoilers so you're safe to give the list a quick scan. However, as always we recommend that you don't read the trophy descriptions and wait for your copy of Cyberpunk 2077 to turn up on launch day.

Cyberpunk 2077 PS4 Trophy List

Platinum
Earn all other trophies in Cyberpunk 2077

City Lights
Complete all gigs and NCPD Scanner Hustles in City Center.

Full Body Conversion
Install at least one implant in each system and body part.

Right Back At Ya
Kill or incapacitate an enemy who threw a grenade at you.

The Wandering Fool
Find all tarot graffiti.

Autojock
Buy all vehicles available for purchase.

Frequent Flyer
Find all fast travel dataterms.

Gun Fu
Kill or incapacitate 3 enemies in quick succession with a revolver or pistol in close combat.

Gunslinger
Shoot an enemy grenade in midair with a revolver.

Master Crafter
Craft 3 Legendary items.

I Am The Law
Complete all Cyberpsycho Sightings.

Mean Streets
Complete all gigs and NCPD Scanner Hustles in Heywood.

Little Tokyo
Complete all gigs and NCPD Scanner Hustles in Westbrook.

Christmas Tree Attack
Complete a Breach Protocol with a minimum of 3 daemons uploaded.

The Quick and the Dead
Kill or incapacitate 50 enemies while time is slowed.

Must Be Rats
Perform the Distract Enemies quickhack 30 times without drawing attention to yourself.

Breathtaking
Collect all items that once belonged to Johnny Silverhand.

The Wasteland
Complete all gigs and NCPD Scanner Hustles in the Badlands.

Daemon In The Shell
Kill or incapacitate 3 enemies with one "Detonate Grenade" quickhack.

Stanislavski's Method
Use a dialogue option related to V's life path 10 times.

Ten out of Ten
Reach the max level in any skill.

Rough Landing
While Berserk cyberware is active, perform a Superhero Landing to kill or incapacitate 2 enemies.

The World
Complete the main storyline.

Greetings from Pacifica!
Complete all gigs and NCPD Scanner Hustles in Pacifica.

The Jungle
Complete all gigs and NCPD Scanner Hustles in Santo Domingo.

True Soldier
Kill or incapacitate 300 enemies using ranged weapons.

True Warrior
Kill or incapacitate 100 enemies using melee weapons.

Two Heads, One Bullet
Kill or incapacitate 2 enemies with the same sniper rifle shot.

V for Vendetta
After reviving yourself with Second Heart, kill or incapacitate the enemy who killed you.

It's Elementary
Complete all gigs and NCPD Scanner Hustles in Watson.

Legend of the Afterlife
Reach max Street Cred.

14x Hidden Trophies (Story-Related)
There are 14x hidden trophies which seem to be tied to the story. Their descriptions will be added later.

Source: PowerPyx


Apple cuts iOS App Store fees to 15% for small developers (so not for Epic Games)

Apple have announced a major change for the iOS App Store that is intended to help the vast majority of developers on their platform. Starting on 1st January 2021, the tech giant will drop their fees from 30% to 15% for qualifying developers who make less than $1 million in annual sales.

This is a new initiative called the App Store Small Business Program.

Catchy…

To qualify for the program, developers will have to go through a process to apply where other eligibility requirements and deadlines will potentially come into effect. Devs will not be enrolled automatically, and this doesn't seem to be a tiered system, so if they go over $1 million in revenue in the calendar year, they'll then be subject for the full 30% rate.

It's clear that this is really targeted at the lower end of the App Store, but it's sure to apply to the vast majority of developers and apps on the platform. Hopefully this will help smaller developers during a tricky period of time for many, though it feels like PR outreach from Apple in some ways, who have had a number of awkward PR standoffs with developers and apps in the past year.

The App Store Small Business Program comes to the backdrop of antitrust investigations, blocking Google Stadia and Xbox Game Pass Streaming from the platform, and the court battle with Epic Games over Fortnite. They decided to shoot themselves in the foot in a glitzy PR stunt by breaking the terms of the developer agreement and circumventing the standard payment structure in Fortnite, so that they could claim Apple was being anticompetitive.

That lawsuit continues to rumble on, with various pre-trial arguments on both sides being thrown out by the courts. It's also not really clear if Epic would settle for a reduced 15% rate from Apple, or if they will see their attempt to set up a separate pay structure and mobile app store through to the bitter end. Epic have chosen to keep Fortnite locked from the iOS App Store during the trial by refusing to remove their custom pay options from the app.

via The Verge


Sniper Elite 4 Switch Review – Another impressive port that proves anything is possible

I don't think too many people will want to fight me if I say that Sniper Elite 4 is the best Sniper Elite. It was a game that saw Rebellion throw off the shackles of the PS3 and Xbox 360 for the first time, letting them take the stealth action and sniping of the previous games and drop it into the biggest, broadest levels yet, each a small sandbox where you can meticulously pick your own path between objectives, avoiding patrols or taking them out, getting up to the vantage point to land the perfect shot and then move onto the next.

Now, somehow, it's out on Nintendo Switch, continuing Rebellion's love-in with the handheld console. The port of Sniper Elite V2 Remastered made sense, as a game that was a good seven years old by that point, and even Sniper Elite 3's cross-gen origins allowed users to feel confident that it would run well, though would likely find itself caught between the generations in terms of visuals and performance. Even Zombie Army Trilogy, with its muted and moody graphics, felt like a bit of a shoe in. Sniper Elite 4, though? Surely that's a bridge too far.

Wait… it's set in Italy? Well, I don't have a good film reference for that…

If you've been paying attention to the plethora of "impossible" Nintendo Switch ports that we've seen over the years, you'll know that with enough care and attention, there's an awful lot that Nintendo's plucky little hybrid can do.

From the off, Sniper Elite 4 is quite staggering, thanks to one of the most emblematic opening levels I can think of in video game history. San Celini Island feels like the testbed for everything that Rebellion wanted to do with this game, with a sprawling map that will take minutes to cross (if you're taking care not to be caught by Nazis), and with five enemy officers as your prey, ambling about on patrol. It's also by far the most colourful the series has been; coming from the war torn and thoroughly grey Berlin of V2 and the desert setting of 3, the greens, yellows and autumnal reds of the grass, bushes and trees make a wonderful change of pace, as do the distinctive pastel colours of the villas and towns, with several of the levels basking in the warm Italian sun.

Of course, the Switch makes some very familiar tradeoffs in squeezing that down to size. You'll notice the shimmering visual noise of all the aliasing as you aim down your sniper scope, and feel a flatness to a lot of the foliage as you sneak around the world. It takes about 4 minutes before the opening level reveals how close to the camera shadow detail drops off, before ungraciously shifting from high detail shadows straight to something that could be dropped into a pixel art game. Still, there's effects like screen space reflections for the sea, and it will gleefully slather your screen with depth of field blur for X-Ray killcams. Counting pixels, and I think that the game even tops out at 1080p when docked, albeit with low detail assets making it feel like a clear step down from the other consoles.

It also all performs very well, feeling practically locked to 30fps for me in handheld, and it taking a frame rate analysis tool to spot the rather slight frame pacing hiccups, and dips to the mid-20s when it's all kicking off. It still feels absolutely responsive.

You lose none of the gameplay either. There's one initial hiccup if coming to the game from other consoles, as the control scheme will feel jumbled by Nintendo's chosen 'ABXY' button layout. The first time the game told me to press 'A' to jump across a gap, I instead pressed 'B' and dropped down to hang onto the ledge.

Get over that little hurdle though, and you can appreciate the game's major expansion of the series' gameplay. Sure, there's sniping and sneaking with a silenced Welrod pistol, but there's also using grenades, tripwire traps and mines, each of which now has additional alternate uses, like making sticky grenades. It really ties into the sandbox nature of the game's campaign, letting you set traps, bait enemies, and just generally indulge in the types of tomfoolery that the stealth action genre allows for. You can do the whole lot in two player co-op as well.

The game also supports motion controlled aiming, though this isn't particularly refined and hasn't really been furthered since the first Sniper Elite port to Switch. It's still off by default, and I found it to be rather sensitive even at the lowest settings. You might just want to be able to have a slight dash of after touch to go alongside your stick twiddling, but what's here is more intense than that.

Sniper Elite 4 also comes with the most comprehensive suite of multiplayer options found in the series to date. There's the aforementioned campaign co-op for two players, a wave-based Survival mode for up to four players, and then Competitive multiplayer for up to eight players – down from twelve on other platforms, which can make the maps feel even more open and empty. All of that supports quick play, or you can use a server browser to pick a particular match. On the day of launch, we've only seen one match on the go at any time, though this could pick up.

The multiplayer is a separate additional download from the Nintendo eShop, which lets the main install keep down to a fairly svelte 6.1GB. It's only an addition 1.3GB, but does add a hurdle to the hopes of building a strong online player base. It's also worth noting that, whereas Sniper Elite 3 Ultimate bundled in all of that game's DLC, Sniper Elite 4 is just the base game, with the Target Führer, three-part Deathstorm campaign and various weapon packs available separately or in a season pass.


The Immortals Fenyx Rising demo is back on Google Stadia until December – Here's how to try it out

Update: Ubisoft and Google have seen fit to let you lucky gamers head back to the world of Greek mythology a little sooner than expected, as the demo for Ubisoft's Immortals Fenyx Rising is live again on Google Stadia. It's available to play until the 21st of December, well past the actual game's launch.

There's virtually no reason not to check it out, but… how do you do that? It's as simple as opening up the following link in Chrome on your computer and then signing into the Google account you almost invariably have.

Original story: Coming in on day three of Google Stadia's announcement streams, gamers can now check out one of Ubisoft's big hitters for this Christmas; Immortals Fenyx Rising. If you're too worn out to play it yourself you can take a gander at our thoughts right here!

Formerly known as Gods and Monsters, Immortals Fenyx Rising is a third person action adventure set in Ancient Greece, with all of the Gods and Monsters still clearly intact. The elevator pitch for it was undoubtedly along the lines of "let's mix Assassin's Creed Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild together and see what happens" but we probably shouldn't sneer at picking two of the best games of the last couple of years as your direct inspiration. It feels like there's rather more going on than that, which you'll discover in the first few minutes of the demo, when you're presented with an uncharacteristically amusing take on Zeus.

You take control of Fenyx, a new winged demigod, who is on a quest to save the Greek gods and their home from a dark curse. You'll get to take on fantastical versions of mythological beasts, master the legendary powers of the gods, on the path to defeating Typhon, the deadliest Titan in Greek mythology. You get to put your own twist on Fenyx, as you can create their look before heading out on your quest, and the cartoonish stylings are as endearing as they were in Breath of the Wild and more recently in Genshin Impact.

The demo for Immortals Fenyx Rising will remain available until the 29th of October, but once it's gone you won't have to wait too long for the main game to arrive as it launches on the 3rd of December 2020. While it's obviously coming to Google Stadia, you'll also be able to pick the game up on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC and Nintendo Switch.

You can simply follow this link in a Chrome browser and you'll be playing the demo for Immortals Fenyx Rising quicker than you can sign up for a Stadia account (don't worry though, the demo, and signing into Stadia, are both completely free!)


Destiny 2 is about to go fully free-to-play on Google Stadia – no subscription, no… anything!

I know I'm always banging on about Google Stadia, and while there's a very good chance you're patiently waiting for the PS5 to launch tomorrow, some very big news for Google's platform has just dropped. Destiny 2 is about to become truly free-to-play on Stadia, meaning you can pick it up and play wherever you like without any additional gumph. Want to hop onto your phone for a lunchtime Strike? Now you can!

Destiny 2: New Light as it's now known, is the free-to-play version of the game, and gives you access to a large chunk of Destiny 2's stellar sci-fi gunplay. For the past year, Stadia Pro subscribers have been able to play Destiny 2: The Collection as part of their subscription, which included the Forsaken and Shadowkeep expansions (If you're a brand new subscriber this is the last month Destiny 2: The Collection is available to grab for free so be sure to pick it up if you're tempted to bite).

Destiny 2: New Light gives players access to all of the available worlds, the Crucible, Gambit and co-operative Strikes too, as well as the new opening quest line that now sets you up for the world of Destiny 2. If you're then sucked in, Beyond Light is the latest expansion, which is available to buy on Stadia, and everywhere else.

While there's no cross-play right now for Destiny 2 – though it's a feature rumoured to be appearing in 2021 – Bungie do allow for cross-save, so you can take Stadia out for a whirl with your character built on the PS4, Xbox One or PC (or XSX or PS5 if you've been particularly busy).

Destiny 2: New Light becomes available to play for free on Google Stadia from the 19th of November. New players should use this link to Click to Play Destiny 2: New Light on Stadia for free via a Chrome browser: https://stadia.com/link/XZE7ZdXjsB3BqvHS9


DIRT 5 update 1.04 out now to address gameplay issues, read the patch notes here

Codemasters has released update 1.04 for DIRT 5 on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC. This update has addressed issues such as a loss of controller vibration, improvement for the DualSense's adaptive triggers, the introduction of V-Sync for PS4 and PS5, and a number of other fixes. There are not that many notes to read but the items addressed should improve the quality of DIRT 5 no matter what platform you are playing on. Full notes below.

  • Multiple general performance improvements across the board, reducing instances of crashes, gameplay stuttering and FPS drops, further optimising general gameplay
  • Xbox: Resolved issue causing some players to lose controller vibration/rumble
  • PS4: Resolved issues caused by save data created before previous patch, such as progress disappearing upon game restart and crashes when using livery editor
  • PS5: Further refinements to the use of DualSense adaptive triggers
  • PS4/PS5: V-Sync added
  • Fix for crash caused by signing out during a Gymkhana event
  • Visual improvements to rain effects on windshield when using interior camera views
  • Display fix for rewards screen in post-race menu
  • Photo mode: minor fixes and optimisations
  • Multiplayer: improvements in kicking players in lobby who do not ready up for an event
  • Multiplayer: general improvements to online matchmaking and lobby searches
  • The Trophy/Achievement 'Spare Some Change for Gas?' will now require players to race for 1,000 miles, instead of 10,000

In our DIRT 5 review, Tom wrote:

DIRT 5 strips away the more serious elements of the franchise and puts all its eggs in one, arcade cabinet shaped, basket. At times a riot, in other areas a little repetitive and lacking in finesse, it nevertheless delivers on the concept of an adrenaline-fueled off-road racer. It's a game that makes you sit forward in your seat and savour the joys of jumping a Dakar Rally Peugeot 3008 over a ravine.
You can read the full review here. 
Source: Reddit

Call of the Sea launches next month for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC

Out of the Blue and Raw Fury have confirmed that the first person adventure title Call of the Sea will be released on December 8th for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC. The game was announced back in May. Call of the Sea follows the story of Norah who travels to an island located in the South Pacific as she searches for her husband. The game will also have some Lovecraftian elements to it, so this will not be a simple search mission.

Here are the main features:

●    Explore a lush, vibrant tropical island meticulously modelled in Unreal Engine 4, brimming with amazing sights, lost ruins and occult mysteries
●    Immerse yourself in a story-driven adventure full of suspense, emotion
and surreal occurrences
●    Investigate the clues left by a previous voyage and solve a variety of puzzles to unlock the mystery of what really happened
●    Experience an emotional character study of a woman on a journey of self-discovery, fully voiced by Cissy Jones (Firewatch, The Walking Dead: Season 1)

The husband's disappearance is not the only strange thing about this lost and nameless island Norah finds herself on. There are ruins dotted about the place from a long-gone civilisation, and it will be through exploring and interacting with these that Norah will likely find answers about her missing husband. While the ruins may come across as just that they will hold different secrets, and they will show that the island itself is not what Norah expects as it throws up its past. Raw Fury and Out of the Blue are yet to confirm exactly when Call of the Wild will be released for the named platforms as well as how much it will cost.

Source: Press Release


Immortals Fenyx Rising post launch content and season pass revealed

Ubisoft have released details of post launch DLC for Immortals Fenyx Rising which includes a Season Pass as well as free in-game events. The Seasons Pass includes three new story dlc packs which include new environments and new heroes, and if you buy the pass before the game launches you will get a bonus quest "When the Roads Get Rocky".

The season pass is included in the Immortals Fenyx Rising Gold Edition and is also available for purchase separately. Here are details of the three story packs.

  • A New God – Fenyx will embark on a new adventure set in Olympus Palace, home of the gods. This journey will require Fenyx to overcome the Trial of the Olympians, immersing players in beautifully crafted and challenging vaults built by the gods, in order to join the Inner Circle of the Pantheon.
  • Myths of the Eastern Realm – Set in Chinese Mythology, the game's second episode will introduce a new hero, Ku, who sets out on a journey to save mortals in a new mystical land at the frontier of the Sky and Earth. Players will need to master Ku's unique fighting style and abilities, inspired by Chinese martial arts, to defeat new enemies and monsters from Chinese mythology.
  • The Lost Gods  The third and final episode will feature top-down gameplay, all-new brawler combat and a new hero, Ash, chosen by Fenyx to bring back the lost gods. The episode will take place on a new mysterious island where players will explore regions inspired by these lost gods, to restore balance on Earth.

We previewed the game back in October and were very impressed. "Unexpectedly, Immortals Fenyx Rising has Trojan-horsed its way to the top of my winter wishlist," said Dom, "It's easy to dismiss the egregious mimicry of other game series, but tonally it is something else entirely. Cheeky, charming and characterful, this could be a Titan-sized success come December."

Source: Press Release


Here's Cyberpunk 2077 Xbox One X and Xbox Series X gameplay

Cyberpunk 2077 is still one of the most highly anticipated games of the year (thanks, in part to it being very delayed), but CD Projekt Red have been quite strict in only showing the game running on PC up until this point. That's finally changed with a new Night City Wire video demonstrating the game running on Xbox One X and Xbox Series X via backward compatibility.

The video switched back and forth between the two consoles. While CDPR do plan to have bespoke support for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, those game updates won't come until some point in 2021. Running in backward compatibility mode means that the absolute maximum fidelity ought to be identical to the lower powered console in terms of texture quality and asset detail, though developers can make their games aware of the newer consoles and pick different resolution and frame rate targets. Even without that, Series X will be able to stabilise dynamic resolutions and any frame rate hiccups.

Whatever they've done, the game looks great on both generations of console, with plenty of detail and atmosphere to be found while exploring Night City. It might not be as fancy as on an ultra high-spec PC, but it still looks grand.

We eagerly await similar footage of the game showing it running on PlayStation 4 Pro and PlayStation 5 via backward compatibility. I'm sure people with base PS4 and Xbox Ones will be wringing their hands wondering if the game will be a disaster on the lowest powered machines, though…

The game was delayed back at the end of October an additional three weeks, with company bosses Adam Badowski and Marcin Iwinski explaining, "The biggest challenge for us right now is shipping the game on current-gen, next-gen and PC at the same time, which requires us to prepare and test 9 versions of it (Xbox One/X, compatibility on Xbox Series S|X, PS4/Pro, compatibility on PS5, PC, Stadia)… while working from home."

So, Cyberpunk 2077 will be out for Xbox One, PS4 and PC on 10th Decmeber. It will be playable on Xbox Series X | S at that point – the consoles coming out on 10th November – and on PlayStation 5 on November 11th/19th, but again, full on next-gen enhancements will not be there on day one.


Animal Crossing: New Horizons Winter Update brings Thanksgiving & Christmas events, save transfer tools & more

Animal Crossing is getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas… I mean, "Turkey Day" and "Toy Day" with the new Winter Update coming out later this week on 19th November. That's far from all, though…

Turkey Day lands on 26th November this year, during which chef Franklin will appear in your plaza. Your job on the day will be to help Franklin collect ingredients for dishes that will then go on display. Obviously you'll receive a gift from him for your troubles.

Then, a month later, it's Toy Day. You'll all through the month to purchase toys and festive clothing from Nook's Cranny and Able Sisters, while shaking decorated trees will potentially drop ornaments for you to craft holiday furniture from. Jingle will pay a visit on Toy Day, which is on 24th December. What's bizarre is that the above trailer shows a character mentioning Santa, so clearly Christmas is actually a thing, right?

That comes alongside nine new Reactions and six new hairstyles which you can acquire using Nook Miles, and you'll want to visit Tom Nook if you're running out of storage in your home. He'll be able to expand your home storage to 2400 slots.

The island dreaming feature will be updated so that you can visit random islands, instead of needing a code, but perhaps the most fundamental upgrade to the game comes from Resident and Island Data Transfers. These twinned features allow you to transfer a player resident to another system, taking their name, appearance, equipment, inventory, home and storage with them. Separately, an Island Transfer Tool app will be available from the Nintendo eShop that will let you transfer an entire island from one system to another, which is something that should have been available from the start!

With rumours that a Switch Pro is on the way, that's great to have.

Finally, once Christmas Toy Day is done and dusted Nook Stop will have New Year's Eve themed items, so you can take part in a countdown event on 31st December, starting at 7PM local time.

What, were you planning on going out for New Year's or something? Really?

Source: press release


Gears 5: Operation 5 update "relaunches" multiplayer with 5 new maps, Horde & Escape overhaul

Gears 5 had a big technical overhaul for the launch of the Xbox Series X|S last week, but now The Coalition have dropped the other shoe and launched Operation 5: Hollow Storm to pack the game with more content and "relaunch" its suite of competitive and cooperative multiplayer options.

Operation 5: Hollow Storm brings with it five new maps, with two brand new ones in the form of Nexus and Regency, and three fan favourites from, as Gridlock and Clocktower reappear from the original game and River from Gears of War 2. That's a lot of new maps, and there will also be an associated stream of new rewards to chase after.

Horde and Escape have been modified so that any character can be any class, separating what was previously linked. Pick a character, choose your class, and then go and battle the Swarm in either of these co-op modes.

That's in addition to:

  • A suite of Ranked PvP updates to improve the overall player experience
  • PvE balance updates for decoupled classes
  • New Heroic cosmetic rarity to reward our most dedicated players
  • All-new daily and weekly PvE challenges and rewards

Scroll down for the full patch notes, but first, there's a fresh set of achievements to earn you 80 Gamerscore when playing.

Name Description Gamerscore
Class Act Reach level five on any one Assault, one Tank and one Support 5
The Centaur Set Max out each of the Anchor, Gunner, Pilot, Veteran, Brawler classes 10
A Gear of many Talents Complete a Versus match in each of Regency, River, Nexus, Clocktower, and Gridlock 5
Exterminating the Hollow Get 100 eliminations in Nexus 5
Places to go, monsters to kill Win a Ranked match in each of Regency, River, Nexus, Clocktower, and Gridlock 10
So there's the hero Collect one Heroic skin 5
Didn't want to look too civilized Collect 20 Epic character skins 5
Ben would have loved this thing Get an elimination with the Scorcher 5
Solid Gold Beat the Gold Time in a Featured Escape 5
Such carnage Get 400 GP in a Ranked match from eliminations 5
Break them. Brutalize them. Get 100 GP in a Ranked match from ring breaks 5
You've got character, kid Own 50 character skins 5
Gun Collector Own 360 weapon skins 10

The launch of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S has seen The Coalition lead the way for Microsoft with a major update to the game's engine to support these new consoles. Both are able to push for 120fps versus mode gameplay on supported screens, and both also play other modes at 60fps. The Series X, of course, targets native 4K resolutions with the new Ultra HD update and graphics enhancements that were previously only available on PC.

Here's the full patch notes.

Gears 5: Operation 5: Hollow Storm update notes

GENERAL

  • Updates to PvP including deploying 'Community Service' model for quitters and new bonuses for Ranked matches. Here are the full details.
  • Added a new rarity level added above Legendary called 'Heroic'
  • Major updates to PVE including decoupling Characters and Classes in for PvE. Here is a complete breakdown of all the changes.
  • Made various Store adjustments to improve navigation and more intuitive organization.
  • We know many of you are interested in hearing about our planned changes to re-ups. We will have more information to Re-up rewards in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

GAMEPLAY

  • Fixed issue with characters briefly disappearing after being counter yanked while having a pistol equipped.
  • Fixed visual feedback inconsistencies with EMBAR firing.
  • Fixed issue with My Tour Objectives not updating after a user runs multiple matches in a row.
  • Fixed issue with incorrect character skins loading in Arcade Blitz and Arcade Deathmatch modes.
  • Fixed issue with xCloud TAK controls for the right joystick being nonresponsive during gameplay.
  • Fixed occasional spawning issue for users playing rolling matches of Golden Gun.
  • Fixed issue with team now appearing online in My Squad.
  • Fixed performance issues with RTX 2080ti.
  • Fixed issue that allowed players to matchmake into "Recruit" playlists after level 30.
  • Fixed an issue so Bastions now shield an enemy target when spawning and no longer use their self-destruct against players.

CHARACTERS

  • Fixed universal lip flap animation issue when coughing audio plays.
  • Updated Clayton Carmine with new knife prop.
  • Fixed issues with the venom bomb placement in lobbies for Armored and V-Day Sam, UIR Officer Male and Female, UIR Cosmonaut, and UIR Soldier Female.
  • Fixed issue with UIR Soldier Male and Female arm guards missing from the back of the characters.
  • Fixed issue with Commando Dom's shoulder armor lighting.
  • Fixed issue with skin deformations on the Speaker's skin while vaulting.
  • Corrected colored armor emissive lights for Kilo Squad Baird.
  • Corrected issue with Void RAAM's head not turning while looking in cover.
  • Fixed secondary motion on the pouch and lower back for Armored and V-Day Sam.
  • Added light bleeding effect for Kilo Squad Baird's shoulder strap emissive lights.
  • Added gore texture to Locust Drone's holstered knife.
  • Updated Queen Myrrah's face model on the gore mesh.
  • Fixed LOD popping issues on Murder Pool Lizzie's severed hand and blood tubes.
  • Removed blood effect from Robot characters during execution.

MAPS AND TILES

  • Fixed bug allowing players to walk on air after switching weapons while sliding down ramps in Icebound.
  • Fixed issue with users getting stuck behind a wall after going DBNO near a wall in Reactor.
  • Fixed minor light volume issues on windows in Vasgar.
  • Fixed issue with missing grenade collision on a wall in Checkout.
  • Fixed issue with glass rendering in front of smoke grenade smoke in Checkout.
  • Fixed VFX/SFX issues on computer screens and the couch on the tracks in Asylum.

OTHER

  • Fixed issue with Social Manager giving "Social Manager is having issues getting updates at this time…" error message that occurred intermittently when accessing the Social Manager.

Source: Gears


Godfall Review

It's easy to see where that initial wave of excitement for Godfall came from. Being the first game announced for the PlayStation 5 (although later confirmed for PC, too) it dazzled with the opulent promise of what Sony's new hardware could deliver. On top of that, it would give RPG fans something to sink their teeth into on day one of the PS5's launch, juggling flashy cinematic combat with a rich hoard of loot.

There are certainly glimmers of something fun and special here, yet these are outshone by the blindingly bizarre way in which Counterplay have strung Godfall together. Overall, this makes for one of the most disappointing titles available among the PS5's launch line-up.

If you're looking for comparable games, then Godfall slots somewhere between 2018's God of War reboot/sequel/thing and Warframe. You play as Orin, the last of the Valorian knights who begins their journey at rock bottom, having been bested by their brother, the power-hungry Macros. You must now stop your brother from attempting the Rite of Ascension before it's too late.

Godfall's story is wafer thin, which is a design choice that can cut both ways. On one hand it serves as transparent filler between missions, spewing inconsequential dialogue in your direction as you prep your inventory and launch into the next quest. On the other, it doesn't bog the player down with exposition – it's a straightforward tale of well-intentioned revenge.

Those comparisons to God of War are mainly present in how Godfall plays. This is a combat heavy game and one that straddles the line between basic hack 'n' slash and something a little more refined. As you explore each of Godfall's three realms you'll encounter enemy patrols as well as bounty targets, and larger bosses. You have light and heavy attacks at your disposal with each of the five weapon classes given their own combos and movesets. Enemies bite back, however, and you'll soon find that evading and parrying their colour-coded blows is just as important as unleashing your own onslaught. There's a heft to each combat action which, when combined with Godfall's third person camera, creates a combat system that demands more than mindless button bashing.

The further you push into the game and fill out Godfall's skill tree, the more battle tactics become available. Although fairly basic at first, by the time you hit level 50 you'll have an arsenal of advanced moves you can unleash to dominate your foes.

You'll quickly realise that your ultimate goal isn't really to vanquish Macros, it's to sculpt the best Godfall loadout you can. This is done by unlocking new Valorplates – hulking suits of shiny armour – and slotting the best gear possible into your loadout. Between missions you'll sift through a ton of loot, salvaging waste while enhancing and upgrading those weapons and items that take your fancy at Zenun's Forge.

Each Valorplate design looks excellent, all of them lined in a circle around your base of operations like a fantasy Batcave. Sadly, they're not that much different in terms of gameplay, offering small passive perks and their own "Archon Fury" ability. The same can be said of Godfall's legendary tier loot. Although the stat numbers go up, you never truly get a sense of how powerful they are. Elemental damage and ailments such as shock, curse, or poison are hardly noticeable.

As previously alluded to, what really brings Godfall down is how this "looter slasher" RPG is structured. From the game's hubworld you will launch into smaller hunt-style missions as well as more story-focused quests. These all take place within the same three areas – the Earth, Water, and Air realms. Although fairly big, you'll feel yourself trudging through the same maze-like stretches over and over again.

Godfall doesn't just let you blitz through the game's main story to reach the endgame. A number of key quests will require you to gather Sigils, repeating older missions in what can only be described as lazy filler. Persevering through to the endgame gives you some more interesting options, though it's likely most players will succumb to fatigue long before they can get stuck into this content.

Although Godfall has the trappings of a live service game akin to Destiny or The Division, it's presented as a solo experience. Despite requiring an constant online connection, there's no matchmaking whatsoever with PS5-PC crossplay also being absent. It's a confounding design choice, because co-op adds something to the experience. Teaming up by inviting friends, Godfall definitely felt more alive but at the same time more chaotic.

To end on a high note, Godfall's future fantasy fusion looks spectacular. Raw visual fidelity and stable framerate aside, the intriguing design of Valorplates and the different enemy factions is worth noting, each realm having its own visual flare and elemental motifs. As for the PS5's DualSense controller, expect a heightened sense of immersion with subtle rumble effects such as the throttle-like shaking that comes from charging one of Godfall's Weapon Technique.


Does Godfall have online matchmaking?

Arriving alongside the PS5, Godfall is hoping to make its mark as one of the first great action roleplaying games. Developed by Counterplay Games and published by Gearbox Publishing, this next-gen launch title touts itself as a unique "looter slasher" that can be enjoyed without genre's growingly present live service trappings.

From start to finish, you can enjoy Godfall as a solo RPG experience but if you've seen any of the pre-release trailers and other media you will know that it can also facilitate up to three players, working together in online co-op.

This quick guide will provide some clarity surrounding Godfall's multiplayer matchmaking as well as how you can play the game online with friends.

Does Godfall have matchmaking?

Despite being a widely used feature in most multiplayer games, Godfall does not offer matchmaking at launch, whether you own a copy on PC or PS5. It's a strange omission and one that we noted in our final review as a negative given how well the game lends itself to online co-op.

Godfall's maze-like levels and combat arenas are seemingly built with multiplayer in mind. Then there is the endgame content, one activity being a challenge tower that tasks you with surviving wave after waves of enemies while also crossing off co-op focused objectives.

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When accessing the world map from your base of operations and accepting missions, you'll almost always have the option there to create a party with three available slots.

However, the only way to access Godfall's multiplayer is by inviting friends directly via the PlayStation Network or your Epic Games client. Right now, there is no other way to launch into a co-op quest. Again, it's a frustrating oversight by developer Counterplay Games. The missions in Godfall don't require the same level of co-ordination as, say, a raid in Destiny, so having no matchmaking option is a real shame.

In our review of Godfall, we awarded the looter slasher RPG a 5 out of 10:

It takes a while for Godfall's combat to truly open up and when it does, you'll revel in its beefy ballet of well-timed blows and counters. That said, it's hard to ignore the flimsy scaffold that keeps this PS5 launch title standing, the lack of matchmaking, and a loot system you'll quickly lose interest in. Although still great fun in short bursts, this isn't the rousing next-gen RPG experience you've been searching for.

For more on Godfall, you can read our 15 essential tips and tricks guide as well as how to use SHiFT codes for in-game rewards.


F1 2020 patch 1.13 is out, read the notes here

Codemasters have updated F1 2020 with patch 1.13 which should be live across all platforms. It fixes a number of issues as well as allowing you to choose a commentary language and have penalties show in your HUD. Here are the full patch notes:

New Features

  • Added an option to allow the player to choose their preferred commentary language.
  • Penalties are now shown on the HUD (both in-race and spectator mode).
  • The customisable car now has 11 slots for sponsor decals.

My Team

  • Fixed an issue that meant the player could not sign Lewis Hamilton despite meeting all the requirements.
  • Fixed an issue that caused Facilities to reset.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Facilities progress bar to disappear.

Driver Career

  • Fixed an issue that could cause teams to drop their number 1 driver if the player signs for them.
  • Fixed an issue that caused blue flags to disappear after using a Mid-Session Save.

Multiplayer

  • Changes have been made to reduce the chance of being disconnected from a game session.
  • Fixed an issue that caused a host with a slow connection to start the race before other players.
  • Fixed an issue in Weekly Events that caused all players to exit the session after a host migration.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur issue when skipping through cut scenes after retiring from a Weekly Event qualifying session.
  • Fixed an issue in Leagues that caused results to not submit following the completion of a session.
  • Fixed an issue where camera functionality would be restricted when re-joining an online session.
  • Added countdown lights when taking control of your car on track after re-joining a multiplayer session.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the AI to have unrealistic lap times following a host migration.
  • Fixed an issue in spectator mode that caused the lap counter to show the incorrect lap number after a formation lap.

General

  • The Race Director will now correctly show the tyre used to set a lap time in practice sessions.
  • Players will no longer receive a corner cutting warning when entering the pits at Circuit Zandvoort when using strict corner cutting rules.
  • Fixed an issue where users could get illegal overtake penalties under the safety car/VSC when giving a position back.
  • Fixed an issue that allowed the player to gain a time advantage at the end of a VSC period.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the lap counter to show the incorrect lap number after a formation lap.
  • Various other bug fixes and improvements.

Source: Codemasters


Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Review

I love role playing in video games. There's something about crafting your own character that adds to the immersion and makes the overall experience more fun, I find, and it's a nice feature to have added to Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. Like much of the game though, there's just that little something missing to make the idea truly standout.

Black Ops Cold War take us on a trip back and forth from the 60's to the 80's, getting us involved in all sorts of crazy terrorist plots, mind bending shennanigans and covert operations that would make James Bond's toes curl.

You play the mysterious 'Bell', a super slick MI6 type, recruited to take down big bad Perseus, who wants to do a lot of bad stuff with nukes. I say MI6, but you can actually choose your background, so if you fancy the CIA, then cool, you used to be part of the CIA. You also get to choose your gender (bonus points for adding a non-binary option), give yourself a full name and also choose a trait which gives you a gameplay perk. Going for the super spy aesthetic, I chose the 'Calm Under Pressure' trait which reduced flinching while being shot. The various options you select here also dictate how some of the characters relate to you during the story.

This is obviously brand new territory for CoD games and it shows in its execution. The various options you select here also dictate how some of the characters relate to you during the story, but aside from these few interactions, the rest of the campaign does little to actually give you the freedom of choice promised from the outset. There's optional dialog to be had throughout and choices that can be made to decide the fate of certain characters, but the payoff is lacklustre, boiling down to a few lines of dialog during the end sequence.

There are also side missions available that require tracking down evidence before you can proceed and get the best result. I thought this was a smart use of the collectibles hidden throughout, which I usually find to be bland filler, with this evidence giving you the tools to crack the puzzles attached to the missions on offer. They are not too hard, but they're a nice addition. It's just a shame that there are only two side missions.

The best parts of the campaign are when things are moving slowly. From the corny 80's dialogue, to oddly pleasing stealth sections – if you get caught, it just turns into a fire fight instead of a mission fail. The absolute highlight of the game is one mission where you get to play as a double agent and have to plant some evidence to get a Russian general into hot water. It felt like an odd departure to the series, but a welcome one.

Sadly, the rest of the campaign just felt a bit… meh. The typical run and gun missions do not carry as much weight as this game's predecessors, feeling too short and light on actual action. The final mission of the game also happens to be the worst. I shot a bunch of guys, got to the end of the street and it was done. I was so surprised. Where was the set piece that CoD games are so good at? Not here.

It's frustrating because there are quite a few things the campaign gets right. The NPCs are mostly likeable and it's cool to interact with them. Even Mason and Woods are here to provide some good banter and grade A shooting. There's a flashback level to Vietnam which is utterly brilliant. The game also has multiple endings, which is a great idea, but how you get there is a little deflating, considering your choices made during the campaign have no effect on it.

It's a damn shame.

The multiplayer, where most people will spend their days, is at least decent. It's a step back from the more realistic tone of Modern Warfare – you can't mount your guns in Cold War, which took some time to readjust to –  toward the more arcade gunplay of old with a significantly reduced time to kill. It's a big change, and I'm not sure it's all for the better. How it ties in with an update to Warzone will be very interesting.

The aim assist having reduced effectiveness is definitely going to affect the experience for casual players. That, coupled with maps being designed for aggressive engagements make it seem like this is definitely aimed at veteran players, which might leave casual players out in the cold. To add to this, if you are not levelling up fast, you run the risk of not only being outclassed, but also outgunned, as a lot of the better weaponry, perks and wildcards are available later up the chain. Newer players will spend a lot of time being battered.

Your core selection of multiplayer modes are ever present, with Team Deathmatch front and centre alongside Domination, Kill Confirmed, Hardpoint and many more on offer, but there's also new modes that take a leaf out of Modern Warfare's book. Combined Arms is basically Ground War from MW with all the Cold War bells and whistles, but a much lower soldier count. It's a cool mode which lets you ride snowmobiles and tanks around while your team tries to take several points around the map, just like Domination. Dirty Bomb also has that Warzone feel to it with ten teams dropping in to search for uranium to fill up bombs and detonate them. It's a nice fresh take on the large scale battle system that stands out against the other modes on offer.

Finally, there's the Black Ops mainstay, Zombies, which makes a slightly altered return. One of the best parts of the Zombies experience was playing through the insanely time twisted plot filled with various characters that you got to know over the course of time. To find it missing here was a little unsettling. Now, you choose an operator as you would when playing multiplayer or Warzone, and jump in with your own loadout. That's fine in theory, but it definitely takes away from the core appeal of Zombies, of having a cool character, going in with just a pistol and surviving wave after wave of enemies.

It still feels great, and there's a slightly faster pace to start. There's still plenty of depth and lots to unearth on the map with weird portals that transport you to a dark realm and huge zombies that spit acid clouds at you. I can only imagine this would be improved once you have a coordinated team beside you. And yes, there is an Easter Egg to complete so you can breathe a sigh of relief.

Playing on Series X, Cold War definitely feels like a step up in the performance department. Menus load quicker, the graphics are shiner and the frame rate is very good. I was greeted with a horrible bug, however, that saw my console just turn off mid level, which after doing some research, is a problem with Cold War. Hopefully this gets fixed soon.

We've also checked the game out on PS5 with the DualSense controller. Here, different weapon classes have their own rumble profile. Naturally, shotguns feel different to sidearms and the haptic feedback – from both the gamepad and adapative triggers – helps sell the immersion. There are some other nice touches too, such as the R2 button being harder to pull down when in no-fire zones (even though you can't shoot anyway). However, the ambient rumble you get can be inconsistent if you're paying particular attention. Firefights can have your palms shaking whereas getting your chopper blown out of the sky by an RPG is somehow less intense.


Super Mario 3D All-Stars update brings GameCube controller support & camera invert options

Nintendo have released an update for Super Mario 3D All-Stars, their remaster collection of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy for the Nintendo Switch.

The update brings the long-promised game option to let you inverse the camera controls, which in the case of Super Mario Sunshine actually lets you bring back the camera control behaviour from the original release on GameCube, but the option is available for all three games in the collection.

Additionally, and in a lovely surprise, there's now support for the GameCube controller in Super Mario Sunshine, which can be connected up using the GameCube Controller Adapter which many a Super Smash Bros. fan will have lying around.

Using the GameCube controller is only possible in TV mode and will give you the same control layout as found in the original release. Perfection.

Here's the full patch notes for Super Mario 3D All-Stars Ver. 1.1.0:

General
  • Players can now invert the camera controls within all three individual titles.
  • Super Mario Sunshine now supports the Nintendo GameCube controller (sold separately). Players can now play this title using the same controls as found in the original GameCube release.
    • The Nintendo GameCube controller for Super Mario Sunshine is supported only in TV mode.
    • You'll need the GameCube Controller Adapter (sold separately) to use this controller with your Nintendo Switch system. Information on connecting this adapter and controller can be found here.
    • The Nintendo Switch Lite system does not support this controller option.
    • All button displays within Super Mario Sunshine will not reflect the Nintendo GameCube controller.
  • Other general fixes have been applied to improve overall gameplay across all three titles.

In the grand scheme of things, they're relatively small changes to an otherwise quite disappointing remaster of these three classic platformers. In actual fact, they're being run under emulation, leaving us with Mario 64 and Sunshine running at 30fps when they should be clearly able to hit 60fps on Switch.

In our Super Mario 3D All-Stars review, I wrote:

It bundles together three great platformers, all of which benefit from the bump up to HD resolutions, and Nintendo have done well to adapt the varying controls to suit the Nintendo Switch, but there's a squandered opportunity to enhance and go beyond this in a meaningful way. Maybe Nintendo are saving themselves for the big five-oh in 2035?

Source: Nintendo


PlayStation 5 System Update 20.02-02.25.00 is out, details here

Sony have rolled out a new 866mb update for their new PlayStation 5 console and like many, many other updates to the PlayStation 4, this one just "improves system performance." Here's the patch notes captured for you in all their 4K glory and with a snazzy QR code, direct from a PS5!

Normally that would be nothing to write home about, but those who have already got their hands on the console in North America, Japan, Australia and some other territories have been reporting a number of problems.

There seems to be an issue with the PlayStation 5 rest mode. The mode allows you to put the console to sleep and instantly pick up where you left off, the same as it does on the PS4. Insomniac have confirmed that there is definitely an issue if you put the PS5 in to rest mode when playing Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales and the remastered original Spider-Man game. There are also multiple reports of Godfall suffering from the same problem.

Users who have been hit by the problem have been forced to rebuild their PS5 database and most find that has worked. However, a small number of gamers have found that the rebuild fails and bricks their console.

There are also reports of PS5's crashing at various points and throwing up the error code CE-108255-1, a rather generic "Something went wrong with this game or app." Sony have yet to make any official comment on this but @AskPlayStation on Twitter is DM'ing individuals with advice, so best to try there if you have the problem.

And then there's the issues with what versions of cross-gen games the console downloads, with games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War defaulting to download the PS4 version and then being unable to install the PS5 version. The only known fix there has been to, you guessed it, perform a full system reset.

Hopefully the new update will fix some of these problems so that when the console launches here in the UK on Thursday it's more stable and does what it should!

PlayStation 5 Guides and more from TheSixthAxis

Source: Twitter


University of Oxford study finds video games are 'good for well-being'

A new study by the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, has found that video games have beneficial effects and can help a person feel happier. This study used two games, EA's Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville and Nintendo's Animal Crossing, but unlike other studies the publishers supplied exact data on how long the participants had played for, previous studies used guestimates by the players themselves.

"If you play Animal Crossing for four hours a day, every single day, you're likely to say you feel significantly happier than someone who doesn't," said study leader Professor Andrew Przybylski, adding "That doesn't mean Animal Crossing by itself makes you happy."

However, many previous studies have found that extended play makes people unhappy, and those who were gaming to avoid something else stressful in their lives "had reported being less content."

Key findings form the study include:

  • Actual amount of time spent playing was a small but significant positive factor in people's wellbeing
  • A player's subjective experiences during play might be a bigger factor for wellbeing than mere play time.
  • Players experiencing genuine enjoyment from the games experience more positive well-being
  • Findings align with past research suggesting people whose psychological needs weren't being met in the 'real world' might report negative well-being from play.

So to summarise, doing something you enjoy makes you happy, but don't over do it. I know that sounds very glib, and we all could have stated that video games are beneficial to our mental health, but now we have an official study that backs this up and that's great news.

Source: BBC / OII

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Amazon UK will have PS5's for sale on launch day, details and links here

Digital Foundry have tweeted to say that Amazon UK will have a limited amount of PlayStation 5 consoles available on for sale on launch day. Both the digital and disc versions will be on sale and the should go live at 12pm GMT.

The links you need are:

At present both links say they are out of stock, so get hammering that F5 key at 11.59am on November 19th.

Those with a pre-order from Amazon UK are being emailed by the company to say their consoles are on track to arrive on November 19th so we're hoping everything goes smoothly, but in the past week we have seen that may not be the case. Those over in the US with an Xbox Series X|S preorder had the worst deal as Amazon are suggesting the console might not arrive until the start of 2021.

We're contacting you with an update regarding your order of Xbox Series X. We expect to ship your console in the coming weeks as we receive more inventory in November and December. At this time, we anticipate that you will receive your Xbox Series X by 12/31 or before. We are making every effort to get it to you as soon as possible and apologize for any inconvenience

Over here the UK the delays seem to be shorter but people are still miffed that Amazon have moved the delivery date at such short notice, with many having taking the day off to accept the delivery including industry professionals.

It's not just the consoles that were delayed, Amazon UK warned that Xbox launch day games such as The Falconeer are also suffering severe delays and may not arrive until 2021. This message has been sent to one of the TSA Staff.

PlayStation 5 customers in the UK have had the opposite experience as their games and controllers have already arrived but they have to wait for the console on Thursday.

PlayStation 5 Guides and more from TheSixthAxis

Source: Twitter 


The State of Stadia – where is Google's streaming platform as it hits its one year anniversary?

While November 19th 2020 is set to be a big day for gaming in the UK thanks to the release of the highly sought-after PlayStation 5, it also marks the one year anniversary for another gaming platform. Google's Stadia streaming service is set to complete its first circuit around the Sun on the same day, and it's fair to say that the overall feeling about it in the gaming community remains tepid at best. It's now under attack from all sides, with new home consoles to the left and upstart new game streaming rivals to the right, but with a still unique spread of features and a slowly growing library of games, can there still be a place for Stadia in the future of gaming?

Google Stadia didn't launch with very much in place. The past year though has seen the platform grow into its shoes, from the simple expectations of things like Achievements or Party Chat through to impressive Stadia-exclusive features like Stream Connect that lets you see streams of your teammate's screens in real-time. It is capable of doing things that no other platform can, and occasionally Google remembers to tell you.

As it stands today there are approximately 96 games available for Stadia, give or take an Ultimate Edition or two. That's a fairly disappointing figure for 12 months of work, particularly when you consider that the vast majority of those are ports of games that were already available elsewhere. This winter has seen an improved level of parity with other platforms, with Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Marvel's Avengers and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 all arriving alongside the other consoles, but next year's line-up is worryingly unclear for a platform that just gained another two competitors.

Without the extensive love that Ubisoft have heaped on the platform, things would be looking even more bleak. The French developer is always a sucker for an underdog – check out its library of Wii U games for proof – but in a lot of ways it's the perfect match.

Stadia is a gaming platform for people that don't like gaming. That might sound reductive – let's be fair, it is – but its main selling point is as a system that doesn't require much in the way of hardware and can slot seamlessly into any home setup. It's not fundamentally aimed at someone who's going to want to pick up a new game every week, and the inclusion of Ubisoft's immense open-world offerings are the perfect sort of thing for Stadia owners to dip in and out of across many months without ever wanting more.

While the numbers aren't that impressive, Google have been pretty canny in the types of game they've leveraged onto their platform. Destiny 2, Elder Scrolls Online, Red Dead Redemption 2 and of course Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Valhalla are the kind of games that suck up all your time in such a way that you might never look for anything else. With the incoming support of EA securing Madden and FIFA to go alongside 2K's NBA series, Google Stadia is equipped with nearly everything a casual gamer could want.

As I stepped away from my Xbox Series X on launch day, I realised that there wass very little I can do with it in that moment. I'd plugged it in, hooked it up to the TV, and then used the app on the phone to set it up. It's all seamless, welcoming and even manages to not be as big in the flesh as expected… but now I must wait. The games I've bought digitally have to download, and the ones I've bought physically need to download huge patches to make the most of the Series X's power. Even with super speedy broadband has to be one of the slowest starts to a new generation I've ever experienced – and it's excruciating.

As we enter this next generation of gaming, Google's Stadia still gives a glimpse of a gaming future that no one else does – the instant arrival of content and the complete lack of updates or patches. One of the most confounding elements of my recent gaming life has been turning on a console or logging into Steam to discover that the game I want to play needs a patch. It won't work online without it either, so in most cases you simply have to sit and wait.

You don't with Stadia, and it's my most-loved advancement in the last year of gaming. Yes, you're reliant on your internet connection – I obviously can't recommend Stadia if you don't have a decent speed on your internet, or any data caps either – but beyond that increasingly universal starting point you can get started straight away. No downloads, no patches, just playing the game. You can go from buying a game to playing it in seconds. Fancy picking up Assassin's Creed Valhalla on Stadia? You could be playing it in as much time as it takes just to fire up the Microsoft Store or PSN elsewhere.

Of course, it's now got an even greater fight to stay relevant. The Xbox Series X|S and the PlayStation 5 have just arrived, and despite Stadia's alleged power seemingly keeping step on paper, the performance on a game by game basis doesn't play that out. We've seen time and time again that even with the Stadia's top tier Pro subscription pumping out a 4K signal, the image and performance that makes it there struggles to match that seen on Xbox One X or PS4 Pro.

Looking at Assassin's Creed Valhalla on both Xbox Series X and Stadia, the version arriving through the streaming service is visually much softer than that seen on the new powerhouse, but the art direction still shines through in what is an attractive image and it loads slightly faster on Stadia from a standing start.

Then again, this isn't a fair comparison in a lot of ways. With Stadia I can play Assassin's Creed Valhalla on my mobile phone, my laptop, my desktop and my TV. Thanks to Ubisoft's new Connect service it even hoovers up the save game from my Xbox Series X and lets me carry on from where I was. This is the kind of thing I want from the new generation of gaming, and in this way Stadia's right in the mix.

It's also not alone though in the streaming space anymore. In the last 12 months we've seen NVIDIA's Geforce Now appear in full release, Xbox's Cloud Streaming make it to everyone with Game Pass Ultimate, and Amazon soft launch its own Luna service which straight out of the gate offers more games than Stadia has accrued in 12 months. Oh, and let's not forget PlayStation Now as well. Stadia is the only one sticking with a traditional business model as well, while most of the others embrace subscriptions to access their full libraries of games.

Stadia still has the edge on these other platforms thanks to its more universal availability. Load up Chrome on any old PC or Mac and you can play Stadia directly in your browser, it's got full Android and ChromeOS support and it uses an unassuming Chromecast dongle for TV play.

Xbox is only available on Android right now, Luna's only available in the US, and Geforce Now has lost the ability to stream a huge number of games thanks to licensing shenanigans. Stadia still gives the quickest, most universal, and most straightforward access to your games but if any of its new competitors ups their game things are going to become increasingly tough.

We don't really know how many users Stadia has right now, but we would imagine it's not a particularly impressive number or Google would have been flashing the figures in front of our eyes for months. Things also don't look all that amazing when they're currently sending out free Stadia Premium packs to Youtube Premium subscribers – most recently they were selling for £100 and include a Stadia controller and Chromecast Ultra.

It doesn't speak to a platform in the rudest health, and that's a worry when Google has a history of mothballing projects that aren't really working. You have to hope that they stick with Stadia, as there is something there. For me, someone who's ostensibly not Stadia's primary audience, I've still found myself turning to it for regular gaming fixes thanks to where I can play it. I'm regularly playing Assassin's Creed Valhalla on my phone, and that remains ridiculously cool, and undoubtedly useful.

In its current iteration, Stadia boasts 10.7 Teraflops of computing power, which on paper sits between the PS5's 10.3 and the Xbox Series X's, though Stadia's particular flops might not be as efficiently used through an older GPU architracture. Still, its spec should ensure it can happily hold its own amongst what's going on on Sony and Microsoft's consoles, and Google have spoken of being able to move up to 120fps and 8K support. Google could bump its performance whenever it wants to, modifying the hardware found in its many server farms without needing any new purchases from its users.

As a straight up value proposition, Stadia holds its own. You can simply buy one game and play it in a bunch of places you probably already own. If you want 4K and surround sound you'll need to grab the Stadia Pro subscription, but that in itself brings a relatively healthy 31 game library with it as well, with more added each month. It's not up there with Xbox GamePass, but then few things are.

You don't even really need to buy much else; you can use a bunch of controllers you might have hanging around or even play using touchscreen controls. Alternatively if you grab the proper Stadia controller – a comfortable option that has stood up to a year of consistent use – and a Chromecast Ultra you're still looking at an investment well below £100 (or free if you're a Youtube Premium subscriber). You'll likely already know if Stadia is going to be the right pick for you, but you won't necessarily have to pay much to find out.

Stadia remains full of potential, a small amount of which it's managed to fulfil in its first year. Its streaming technology works impressively well, its hardware is robust (though you don't need it), and it plays host to a batch of games that most people would want to play. Its second year though is going to be a battle for relevance, and the question remains whether Google has the necessary commitment for a war.


Payday 2 Update 200 out now with 4 new DLC packs

Great news for Payday 2 fans – the developers at Overkill have released Update 200 for their popular online heist sim alongside a new DLC expansion.

The landmark PC update is available to download now and includes a fresh wave of fixes as well as changes to the game's Infamy system which now offers hardcore players even more ranks to obtain.

This comes in hand with four new chunks of Payday 2 DLC, one of them being the Buluc's Mansion heist. Available as part of a bundle, this can also be purchased along with the Gunslinger Weapon Pack, Tailor Pack 3, and Weapon Color Pack 3, adding even more ways to customise your own heister.

Overkill recently reconfirmed to fans that Payday 3 is still coming though we'll have to wait a while for an update as its still in an early design phase.

Anyway, here are the latest patch notes for Payday 2. You can find the hotfix 200.1 changelog here.


Payday 2 Update 200 Patch Notes

Update size: 1.2GB

General

  • The crimespree catch up bonus will now only work for players at reputation level 100.
  • Fixed an issue with the "I Will Succeed With Dignity" achievement unlocking incorrectly when re-buying pre-planning assets.
  • Fixed an issue when starting a stealth level without casing mode, where Crew AI looked like they were holding invisible pistols.
  • Fixed an issue where an American dispatcher could be heard when Joy was used to answer guard pagers in non-American heists.
  • Added weapon color support to the anti-piracy system.
  • Fixed an issue where players would get stuck in a nearly infinite loading loop after switching between different profiles prior to readying up in the loadout screen.
  • Fixed an issue where some weapons were locked after going infamous without having a level lock.
  • Disabled Swedish as a language option in steam since the game is not translated to that language.

Levels

  • Fixed an issue on Boat Load Holdout where enemy AI would despawn within view of the player.
  • Fixed an issue on Big Bank Holdout where the player was able to access an out of bounds area through a window.
  • Fixed an issue on Big Bank where the AI would stutter while walking up the stairs near the entrance.
  • Fixed a Z-fighting issue on Border Crossing for the upstairs door frame in the overkill house.
  • Fixed an issue on Border Crossing where the glass of one of the trucks in the beginning was shown as blue and yellow on AMD graphics cards.
  • Fixed an issue on Border Crossing Day 2 where loot bags could be thrown into unreachable locations.
  • Fixed an issue in Breakfast in Tijuana where the police uniform could be picked up through the wall.
  • Fixed an issue in Breakfast in Tijuana where the car key tags would block the numbers on the wall.
  • Fixed an exploit on Counterfeit where the cops could be manipulated with loot bags.
  • Fixed a crash on Election Day Day 2 that could occur when lockpicking a door in the mall.
  • Fixed issue on First world Bank Holdout where players could use a bookshelf to avoid combat.
  • Fixed an issue on Framing Frame Day 3 where the ragdoll of a guard could fall down some stairs and make the pager unreachable.
  • Fixed an issue in the safehouse where the player could clip through the floor near the stairs.
  • Fixed an issue on San Martin Bank where an already opened gate would open a second time, when using the manager's key.
  • Fixed navigation issues on San Martin Bank in a security room.
  • Fixed navigation issues on San Martin inside the rooms on the roof.
  • Fixed an issue on San Martin Bank where some windows would not trigger the alarm when broken.
  • Fixed a graphical issue on San Martin Bank where the railing on the balcony just outside the cafeteria did not connect to the wall.
  • Fixed an issue on San Martin Bank Holdout where players were able to place sentry guns inside trash bins.
  • Fixed a navigation issue on Scarface Mansion where Crew AI could get temporarily stuck when the car drops through the roof.
  • Fixed a sound issue on Scarface Mansion where the same line of dialogue would trigger twice at the same time.
  • Fixed an art issue on Scarface Mansion where textures would display z-fighting issues with the carpets inside the mansion.
  • Fixed a collision on The Alesso Heist that could lead to the player being stuck behind a door on the upper floor.
  • Fixed a graphical issue on The Biker Heist with a ceiling decal.

Characters and Enemies

  • Fixed a texture issue on the helmet used by heavy SWATs.
  • Fixed an issue with Sangres' arms in first person with certain outfits.
  • Fixed clipping issues while wearing the "Scrub" Outfit.
  • Fixed clipping issues while wearing the "Tuxedo" Outfit.
  • Fixed clipping issues on "The Showman" suit on the arms for certain heisters.

Perk and Skills

  • Fixed an issue where the final perk for the Maniac deck would not work properly.
  • Fixed so that clients with the Sixth Sense skill can buy assets associated with the skill in pre-planning even if the host doesn't have the skill.

UI

  • Added a "NEW" indicator icon next to contractors with new available heists.
  • Fixed an issue where drop-in clients could "Buy All Assets" for a game already in progress.
  • Fixed an issue with misleading stats when equipping a speed pull magazine.
  • Fixed a rendering issue with the XL 5.56 Microgun when equipping a weapon color.
  • Fixed an issue where masks were not centered on the screen when previewing.
  • Fixed an issue where the client's UI would not update pager count correctly, when the host would dominate an NPC and answer the pager.

Weapons

  • Fixed a graphical issue on the Commando 101 Rocket Launcher when using weapon colors.
  • Fixed a missing animation with the Akimbo Judge Shotguns when aiming down sight immediately after firing.
  • Fixed an issue with automatic weapons where two bullet fire sounds would play while only one bullet was fired.
  • Fixed Z-fighting on certain patterns when using the tropical foregrip on the M60 Light Machine Gun.

Source: Steam


Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 brings the puzzle mash-up back for another zany adventure

Technically, Tetris Effect: Connected is already the definitive puzzle game of the year. But there's always room for more, especially if you've got a competitive streak, whereas Enhance have been more focused on a meditative or cooperative experience. The Puyo Puyo series has always been first and foremost about competitive play, as you stack complex and crazy chains together to send garbage over to your opponent's screen.

Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 essentially builds on the success of its predecessor's surprise crossover, which also helped introduce Puyo Puyo to a wider audience in the West. It doesn't look to disrupt that formula but instead adds a few pleasant extras that both newcomers and fans can get behind.

Unlike the cheaper no-frills multiplayer-specific Puyo Puyo Champions, a new Puyo Puyo Tetris title means a meaty single-player campaign, which is as silly and filled with all the high-pitched Saturday morning cartoon energy as you might expect (English and Japanese audio are both available this time too).

While it is a sequel, it also doesn't matter if you missed out on the first entry of the puzzle mash-up as it appears that the cast from across the worlds of Puyo Puyo and Tetris don't remember each other either. Nonetheless, a new ominous threat – albeit in the form of a cutesy anime girl called Marle – has their worlds colliding once again, which is a perfect excuse to run around the world, make new friends, and of course get into a lot of puzzle battles.

For newcomers, the Adventure mode is a great way to be introduced to the game styles and different modes, but fans will still get a kick out of progressing through it and getting all the star ratings for each stage. Better still, if you get three stars for all the stages in a chapter, you can even aim for a fourth star rating.

There's even more incentive to play Adventure mode this time round as it's how you'll progress through brand new Skill Battles. These introduce RPG battle mechanics as the goal is not to simply bury your opponent with garbage but deplete their HP bar down to 0. You'll also pick a party of three characters, each with their own unique skills – it also doesn't hurt that each character's battle animations during combo chains have also been given an extra spot of pizazz from before.

These character skills include recoveries and buffs like recovering HP or strengthening your defence, but there's also skills tied to Puyo Puyo or Tetris, such as changing all the Puyos to red, or auto-arranging Tetriminoes so you can go for an easy Tetris. Skills are activated with a simple button press. These consume MP, which you don't have a lot to begin with, so you can't spam skills though MP does slowly restore over time. Playing through each skill battle as well as the campaign can also level up your characters, unlock new characters, as well as reward you with item cards, which you can equip for passive buffs like improving your attack or defence.

For this preview, we're limited to only being able to discuss the first chapter of Adventure mode, and because this chapter only includes one skill battle, it's not really enough to gauge just how interesting this new mode might be. It probably doesn't help that, as a high-skill player, I can easily KO my opponent in about 30 seconds with a 4-chain combo without ever glancing at my skills. Naturally, I'll have to play more of the campaign, unlock more characters and level up before I get a clearer idea. However, I also imagine its depth and long-term appeal will reveal itself when playing against other higher-level opponents online. It probably goes without saying though that it's not a mode you want to jump straight into online right away.

Hopefully, this new mode will prove worthwhile to justify an upgrade for those who were already taken by Puyo Puyo Tetris the first time around. But with the return of previous modes, such as the excellent Swap Mode, as well as Fever, Party and Fusion, all available in solo, local and online multiplayer, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 looks set to be a colourful recipe for multiplayer mayhem on all consoles just in time for the holidays.


Capcom hack: Information on 350,000 people stolen along with sales and financial reports

Capcom have posted a press released stating that they were "the victim of a customized ransomware attack" and that corporate records have been stolen along with the names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, and email addresses of 350,000 people. No credit card or payment information was stolen.

Those affected include people who have contacted customer service in Japan, Capcom store members and Esports members in North America, their shareholders, former employees, and people who have applied to join the company. Capcom say they have "begun contacting individuals whose information it has verified to have been compromised to explain the background of this incident and current situation."

Along with this personal data the hackers are said to have taken sales reports, financial information, development documents, and information on business partners. The mind boggles at just how one hack managed to access so many different areas of the company, clearly their internal security needs looking at.

If you think you may be one of the individuals who's data has been compromised you can contact Capcom as below.

Japan: Capcom Data Security Incident Support Line (Japanese only)
Tel. (toll-free): Game customer inquiries 0120-400161
General inquiries 0120-896680
Hours: 10:00 AM – 08:00 PM
North America: Capcom USA Customer Support Page
www.capcom.com/support
EMEA: Capcom Europe Customer Support
feedback@capcom.com

 

Here is a full breakdown of what was stolen

1. Information verified to have been compromised

i. Personal information: 9 items

  • Personal information of former employees: 5 items
    (Name & signature: 2 items; name & address: 1 item; passport information: 2 items)
  • Personal information of employees: 4 items
    (Name and HR information: 3 items; name & signature: 1 item)

ii. Other information

  • Sales reports
  • Financial information

2. Potentially compromised data

i. Personal information (customers, business partners, etc.): maximum of approx. 350,000 items

  • Japan: Customer service video game support help desk information (approx.134,000 items)
    Names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses
  • North America: Capcom Store member information (approx. 14,000 items)
    Names, birthdates, email addresses
  • North America: Esports operations website members (approx. 4,000 items)
    Names, email addresses, gender information
  • List of shareholders (approx. 40,000 items)
    Names, addresses, shareholder numbers, amount of shareholdings
  • Former employees' (including family) information (approx. 28,000 people);
    applicants' information (approx. 125,000 people)
    Names, birthdates, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, photos, etc.

ii. Personal information (employees and related parties)

  • Human resources information (approx. 14,000 people)

iii. Confidential corporate information

  • Sales data, business partner information, sales documents, development documents, etc.

Capcom are implementing measures going forward and coordinating with law enforcement authorities in Japan and the U.S. " It is safe for Capcom customers or others to connect to play the company's games online and access its websites," they add.

Capcom would once again like to reiterate its deepest apologies for any complications or concerns caused by this incident. As a company that handles digital content, it is regarding this incident with the utmost seriousness. In order to prevent the reoccurrence of such an event, it will endeavor to further strengthen its management structure while pursing legal options regarding criminal acts such as unauthorized access of its networks.

Source: Capcom


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