Blog archive

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

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

More from thesixthaxis


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


NBA 2K21 Next-Gen Review

Amongst the first raft of super shiny titles to become even more super and shiny, NBA 2K21 has been upgraded for the brand-new generation of console. Visual Concept's seminal basketball series has always pushed the boundaries for video-game sports: visually, dramatically and monetarily, and now they've got a huge amount of extra power at their fingertips to push ahead to even greater heights. Honestly, these players are going to be ten-feet high and glistening like a diamond by the time they're finished.

It's nice to see that Visual Concepts have put some effort into NBA 2K21's update as well, moving beyond a simple buff to the graphics and frame rate, and bringing in new features like the huge online hub of The City, and gameplay enhancements to make this feel like a worthy addition to the launch line-up for the Xbox Series X|S and the PlayStation 5.

I'm sure that those tuning in for this coverage don't need too much context as to what NBA 2K21 is about, but for those searching for something to play on their new consoles here's a brief overview. NBA 2K21 is the premier – read: only – basketball experience you'll find this year, and while NBA Live has definitely shown willing in the last couple of years, NBA 2K has proven time and again to present a better rendition of b-ball, even if the shadow of microtransactions is always looming large.

At the heart of the experience is MyCareer, a story-led mode where you take your created MyPlayer through from playing high-school basketball all the way up to the NBA. As is now expected, production values and performances rival those of a serious TV drama, with actors like Djimon Hounsou and Michael Kenneth Williams acting alongside cover star Damien Lillard to convincing effect.

The new-gen edition of NBA 2K21 brings a first for the series, as MyCareer – or more specifically The W – now allows you to create a female player to take on their own route to the WNBA. I'm not convinced that the power of the Series X or PS5 was needed to make this kind of equalising progress – it reminds me of Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Unity claim that women are more complicated to animate – but it's a welcome step on the path to inclusivity.

However, it's one step forward and one step back here, as The City, that big new social space that forms a major component of the next gen 2K21 online experience, is closed to female MyPlayers.

In terms of things that make very little sense, the online hub that allows for players to indulge in some street-style basketball action would have been the perfect place for male and female MyPlayers to interact, and yet that's not the case. Perhaps we'll have to wait for NBA 2K22 for this particular 'upgrade' to bring it in line with, you know, normal life, but this year's edition still makes great strides with The W, The W Online and MyWNBA.

It's more of a shame when The City is a huge and important leap forward for the franchise, and one of the key additions that makes this feel like more than a new-gen spruce up. Building on The Park and The Neighbourhood spaces of previous games, this online metropolis is filled to bursting with things to do, starting with your introduction via Rookieville before you head off into the sprawling city. This is where NBA 2K21 starts to feel like a basketball MMO; you can jump into action with other players you meet in the street at any hoop you care to find, while quest givers pop up around the city issuing you challenges to take part in, pushing you to make your way around all of the new facilities. You could easily spend months in here, and I fully expect plenty of new console NBA 2K21 players to do so.

If you're heading over from the PS4 or Xbox One editions, the first tangible improvement you're going to see is the huge reduction in loading times. The speed that everything moves along on Xbox Series X is hugely impressive; your phone is going to be grossly neglected in the coming years as we lose all of that Twitter-checking time as you head into a game. Out of everything else, this is fast becoming my most-loved feature of the new generation.

Of course, the game looks better too. NBA 2K has always pushed the boundaries, not just for sports games, but for video games in general, and once again they're at the forefront of what's possible in this opening salvo of the new generation. Character models have been given a clear upgrade, but the most impact can be seen in the game's improved ball handling and expanded animations.

More than ever, NBA 2K21 is pushing through the uncanny valley towards lifelike visuals. From the standard view, NBA 2K21 looks and sounds as though it could be a real-life broadcast, and it's an absolute pleasure to play. It all feels incredibly snappy in your hand too, and there's virtually no input lag. I've sometimes felt as though NBA 2K's timing doesn't match with what my brain is trying to do, and yet that sensation is entirely gone now.

2K21 saw Visual Concepts re-design the Pro-stick, though dedicated users will be glad to know you can choose whether to stick with the older style or the newer enhanced one. You can now influence aim with the Pro-stick, making it by far the most accurate way of playing, if you have the skill to make the most of it.

Amusingly, the latest 2KTV broadcast survey shows that over 75% of players still pick the good old shot button, so it's absolutely the top-end of the NBA 2K community that this is for. Still, if that's your bag it's there for you to use, and more control options are only to be welcomed, but it's going to take a lot of work before it's as consistent as a well-timed button press.

Besides all of the key additions you've still got all of the core modes that form the basis of NBA 2K, drawing in MyCareer, MyTeam and MyNBA to provide you with monstrous amounts of basketball action to take part in. Of course, VC – or Virtual Currency – is still hanging around here, but much like last year I didn't feel remotely compelled to drop any extra money into 2K's sizeable accounts. It's there if you want to speed things up, but I found the freely available ways to earn it did enough, whether that's playing the game well, or watching 2KTV broadcasts. There's no egregious in-game adverts at launch, but if you're wondering where 2K can insert ads in a few months time without loading screens to hang them off, it might be with the dangled carrot of some VC for sitting through an ad.


Godfall Guide – 15 essential tips and tricks

Godfall was the first game ever revealed for the PS5, luring RPG fans in with its blend of flashy melee combat and a promise of more loot than you'll know what to do with.

In Godfall, you'll don one of the game's many Valorplates – supercharged suits of armour imbued with powerful magic. Combining these with various weapons and upgrades, you can tailor both the style and combat capabilities of Orin in your quest to take down the all-powerful Macros.

If you're familiar with loot-driven roleplaying games then you shouldn't have too much trouble getting to grips with Godfall. However, there are some nuances at work here beneath the simple hacking and slashing. This Godfall guide will share some tips and tricks to help improve your overall experience with this PS5 launch title and power up your Valorian warrior.


Godfall Tips & Tricks

1. Godfall uses a close-up camera to emphasise its cinematic combat. The downside to this is that you'll often get slashed and shot at by enemies who are off-screen. Make sure you keep an eye on the arrow-shaped indicators around your character – these will flash red when an attack is incoming.

2. Parrying isn't your only defensive technique but it's one you should attempt to master as soon as you can. Pressing the block button as an enemy attack is about to land will trigger a parry, temporarily stunning your target and deflecting projectiles. You'll want to combine this technique with the Deathblow Skill. This will allow you to follow-up a parry with a brutal counterattack.

3. Prioritise targets when locked in combat. Enemy formations will typically include more fragile opponents such as spellcasters who can heal and buff their allies or even grant them invincibility. Focus on these foes first.

4. Remember to use every attack and special power when in combat. It's easy to get carried away simply using your light and heavy combos though you should be weaving between Weapon Techniques, Shield Throws, Polarity Charge strikes, and your Archon Fury ultimate to dominate battles.

5. Godfall's Takedowns are quick yet flashy finishers that will either kill an enemy outright or will at least drain most of their health. To trigger a Takedown you need to Breach an enemy first by dealing stun damage, increasing the yellow bar beneath their health counter. Takedowns can also occur after successful parries with some skills also making them appear more regularly.

6. The Soulshatter mechanic isn't explained very well when starting out in Godfall but it's pretty handy. In a nutshell, your light attacks will deplete an opponent's health bar while also isolating part of it in a light green colour. Follow up with a heavy attack and this green portion will shatter on top of your base weapon damage.

7. Use Orin's Spirit Vision to scout the area for points of interest. This will darken the screen while highlighting chests, hidden objectives, and collectables in a glowing light. Hidden objectives are displayed as red beacons and can often lead to some pretty sweet loot drops if you can decipher their simple puzzles.

8. Make sure you are visiting Zenun's Forge whenever you find a piece of loot that slots nicely into your loadout. Here you can increase an item's rarity as well as spending resources to boost its primary stats. Don't hoard your crafting materials – even the rarer ones become more abundant and easy to find towards the late game.

9. If you haven't done so already, sign up for a SHiFT account. This can be used across various Gearbox published games including the Borderlands series. It will take a few minutes to punch in your details and bind your SHiFT and console profiles but if you're serious about getting the most out of Godfall it's a step worth taking. SHiFT codes will be given out in future which can be redeemed for time-limited rewards and content.

10. One trait Godfall borrows from the latter genre is populating maps with crates and pots. You'll want to smash these whenever you get the chance – while a lot of them will be completely empty, others conceal health pick-ups and currency.

11. The Silvermane is just one of many Valorplates you can equip in Godfall. Each one has its own supercharged "Archon Fury" ability as well as passive perks and other bonuses. You can power through the entire game with only one Valorplate though they're easy to unlock and let you experiment with slightly different combat playstyles. Each of the game's three worlds offers a different type of base material (Infused Jasper, Crystalline Tear, or Aetheric Filament) which can be combined with Valorplate Cores to craft these Valorplates.

12. Don't ignore the Training Arena. While it's true that Godfall's combat is fairly straightforward, if you aren't paying attention to the skills you unlock you may be unaware of advanced attacks and combos. Visit the arena to test new weapon movesets and to give yourself a quick refresh of Godfall's combat controls if you've taken a break from the game.

13. Godfall is a loot-driven game at its core. Although skills will influence the battle tactics available to you, it's the weapons, charms, rings, and other equipment that will dictate your raw stats including health and damage. There are several things to consider when slotting new items into your Valorplate. First you want to check the rarity or colour of loot with purple or higher gear always warranting closer inspection. You should then compare its stats to optimise your equipped items (for example, choosing weapons with a higher DPS number). However, there's something else to consider here. Most loot will also have attached perks, such as a bonus chance to inflict Chill or Poison. If two pieces of loot have similar primary stats then always check what else they have to offer.

14. While loot is random, you have complete control over which skills to unlock in Godfall. Skill points will come by simply playing the game, levelling up, and completing certain missions or Merits. Godfall's skill grid is far from flashy though it gives you a preview of all the bonuses you can unlock, some of them adding moves to your arsenal with others amping your core stats. Some of our top picks include critical chance/damage boosts, wider parry windows, Deathblow, and Weapon Technique enhancements. It's possible to unlock every skill, though prioritising some over others is definitely worthwhile.

15. Godfall features a catalogue of tiered achievements called Merits. These track just about everything you do in game from killing specific enemy types to popping open chests. Merits can dish out some hefty rewards so make sure you're tracking them in the menu.


For more on Godfall, you can read our first impression via our review in progress. Full review to follow soon.


[UPDATE] THQ Nordic say the TimeSplitters 2 leak was a joke

UPDATE: "This is just an innocent Easter egg," a THQ Nordic spokesperson said. "The vendor in the game is a character known especially for not telling the truth."

"That's was a stupid thing to do and very annoying," a spokesperson for everyone else said, "Think very long and hard about what you did and never do it again."

Original story below…

Well this is a new way for a game to leak, usually it's the Korean Ratings Board or some voice actor spilling the beans, this time it is one of the publishers own games. A mysterious YouTube account called Beyond has posted a video showing some in-game items available in THQ Nordic's SpellForce 3: Fallen God, and alongside Biomutant and SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom items is one for the "TimeSplitters 2 Remake".

The text accompanying item (translated from French) reads: "It's finally coming! The iconic shooter, which has stood the test of time to join the era of modern games."

Back in 2019 it was revealed that one of the creators of the original TimeSplitters IP, Steve Ellis, has joined THQ Nordic to help them work on a new game. The news was revealed via they rather dry Interim Report Q1, April-June 2019 document published by THQ.

Last year Deep Silver acquired the much-loved TimeSplitters IP. We're delighted to announce that one of the series' creators, Steve Ellis, has joined us to help plot the future course for this franchise.

The original series kicked off way back on PlayStation 2 in the year 2000 and was followed by the numbered sequel and TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, all of which scored highly in reviews and became firm fan favourites. Sadly, after the third outing things got rather messy.

A fourth game was rumoured to be in production at Free Radical in 2007 but in 2009 Crytek snapped up the studio and put the game on hold, renaming the studio to Crytek UK. By 2011 the game was back in production but had moved to run on CryEngine, the following year it cancelled with Cevat Yerli from Crytek stating "Look, I wish we were working on it. The thing with TimeSplitters is, if we made a sequel to TimeSplitters, nobody would accept this apart from some fans, and we don't know how big the fan community is unfortunately."

By 2013 Steve Ellis, the chap who has rejoined THQ Nordic, had given up. "I don't think there's any chance that's [TimeSplitters 4] going to happen, you always got to the point where the marketing person in the room would say 'I don't know how to sell this' because they want a character that they can put on the front of the box. Every marketing person and every publisher we spoke to [said] 'You can't have that as your selling point' and maybe the sales figures of previous games backed that up."

In 2014 Crytek were in financial trouble and sold Homefront 2, which Crytek UK were working on, to Deep Silver, and shut down the studio, but most the staff immediately joined the new Dambuster Studios to continue to work on the game. Deep Silver's parent company, Koch Media, had then been bought by THQ Nordic.

In August 2018 Crytek were in financial trouble (again) and sold the TimeSplitters franchise to THQ Nordic along with Second Sight, meaning the TimeSplitters IP was once again, via a very convoluted path, reunited with the team who made it and it appears we're getting a remaster of the second game.

Source: YouTube via VGC


Godfall SHiFT Codes – where to find and redeem them in-game

One thing you may have noticed while playing Godfall is the option to redeem "SHiFT" codes via the in-game pause menu.

Available now on PlayStation 5 and PC, the newly launched looter-slasher is the latest game from Gearbox Publishing who have used SHiFT codes for games in the past, including the Borderlands series.

So what exactly are SHiFT codes? What do they do in Godfall and, more importantly, where do you find them? Here are some quick answers to those questions.

Godfall SHiFT – where to find and redeem them

SHiFT is a reward system Gearbox have been using since Borderlands 2. The way it works is as follows: by following Gearbox and SHiFT compatible games on social media and online video platforms, there will be occasional SHiFT code giveaways, each key being an alphanumeric code that is 25 characters long.

In order to redeem them you will first need a SHiFT account. This can be done in Godfall or by popping open a web browser. Punch in your details, link to your gaming platform ID, then verify your account to start redeeming SHiFT codes.

These codes will expire after a set time period, encouraging players to quickly dive in and reap any rewards. SHiFT codes have been used primarily with Borderlands 2, Borderland: The Pre-Sequel, and Borderlands 3. They often reward fans with Golden Keys to open special chests, as well as unlocking themed character skins as well as snazzy paint jobs for weapons.

So, what do SHiFT codes unlock in Godfall? Although the rewards system is clearly visible in-game we have yet to see any Godfall specific codes go live. However, it's safe to assume that SHiFT codes will be used primarily for cosmetic items such as Valorplate skins, as well as small bundles of crafting resources. Although these materials are pretty easy to farm, SHiFT rewards could definitely help speed up this process.

The easiest way to keep track of SHiFT codes as they go live is to hover around Godfall and Gearbox's social media. A more efficient method is to follow SHiFT code bots or visit message boards to get notified as soon as new rewards are available.


Tetris Effect: Connected Review

There's something primal, something insanely emotional and personal, about Tetris Effect. When I originally awarded Tetris Effect 10/10 on PSVR and called it a "game of the generation" many people sneered. The comments across each social media platform were the same; everybody laughed and said "it's just Tetris." Everybody, that is, except those that had actually played it. With the benefit of time and the ability to, you know, play the game, the world discovered just how powerful the Tetris Effect is. Now that it's arrived on Xbox with multiplayer in tow, the effect is only growing stronger.

There is a nugget of truth to it being "just Tetris", if only that it has to be Tetris in order for any of this to make sense. Designed by Alexey Pajitnov some thirty-six years ago, the fundamentals have not changed, and they do not need to, as Tetris is still one of the best games ever created.

Tetris Effect takes in elements of the previous years of Tetris development and wraps them in one of the most incredible audio-visual skins that gaming has ever served to us. If you want to see the evolutionary trail that leads to Tetris Effect you simply have to follow designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi's career path, taking in Space Channel 5, Rez, Child of Eden and Lumines. All roads lead to Tetris Effect, the culmination of two decades of mercurial game design. We shouldn't have expected anything less.

Tetris Effect: Connected finally brings the game to the Xbox platform, appearing for the launch of the Xbox Series X and coming with the gloriously sharp 4K Tetrominos that PS4 Pro owners have been cutting their eyeballs with for years. Of course, what the transition has lost is VR support, and it shouldn't be underestimated just how life-changing Tetris Effect is when you are ensconced within it.

The best I can recommend is sitting on the floor about two feet from the screen, cranking those headphones up and running the lights down real low. It will do, but I wonder how much of my own emotional response has been programmed in by playing in VR, and whether someone coming to the game on Xbox will have quite the same reaction. I hope they do.

Xbox players do get the first taste of Tetris Effect multiplayer though, and it's been worth the wait. Other platforms will have to hold out for another six months, so I guess that some balance has been brought to the Tetris Effect multiverse. That feels like a very Mizuguchi thing to do, even if it's more likely it was some suits in a boardroom.

Multiplayer has two distinct ranking systems. Your Tier is your overall ability and experience level, and that's based on your average Skill Rating across all of Tetris Effect's modes. As you'd hopefully expect, it goes up when you win Ranked Matches, and down when you lose. If you're more about the taking part than the winning,  then you will still increase your skill rating no matter what you're doing, but it's going to be much slower than being a winner.

At the centre of Tetris Effect's multiplayer modes is the Tetrimidion, and as you progress up the Tiers you'll come ever closer to what the game describes as "a wondrous sanctuary that only the most worthy may enter." Whatever that might mean.

As you'd hope you can choose between ultra-serious Ranked Matches, playful Friend Matches and even – whisper it – Local Matches that you can play with the real people in your home. Can you imagine?

As you'd expect from Tetris Effect, it's not simply a straightforward 'put the blocks in the slots' type affair here, or at least, not entirely. Connected is a unique take on the formula and sees you form a three-player team with other players who then have to work together to defeat AI-controlled bosses. At points your three screens join together to form an immense wall of Tetronimos that can cause equally massive damage.

You have to work together at these points, taking turns to fill in the gaps, and in local play especially it just works incredibly well. You shout at your partners "over here!" and point excitedly towards a little gap, or huff and puff when they fill in the spot you had your Tetronimos all set to drop into. Co-operative Tetris shouldn't work, but just like with VR, Mizuguchi has found a way.

Remember I said it wasn't all straightforward Tetris-ing? Well, the rest of the modes are far more traditional, including the central Zone Battle. This is a pure one-on-one competition played with the standard Tetris Effect rules that you've hopefully learned through the single player campaign. You drop Tetronimos on your opponent by making line attacks. Score Attack is very similar, though it's purely your score against theirs, and there's none of the horror of them dropping extra blocks on you at an inopportune moment.

If you're feeling nostalgic, the final multiplayer mode is Classic Score Attack, which removes all of the niceties that years of Tetris development have brought. There's no Hold Queue, no Hard Drop, no quick Lock Down, no… anything that wasn't in the Game Boy version. It's a short, sharp shock after you've been playing Tetris Effect for any length of time, but it's actuality quite freeing. This is Tetris at its most stripped back, and in a multiplayer setting there's nothing here to save you.


Destiny 2: Beyond Light – The Disgraced Strike Guide

Beyond Light is finally here for all to play, marking one of the biggest shifts in the series' history. As part of that, lots of content made its way into the Destiny Content Vault, including several weapons, strikes and locations, but fortunately Beyond Light brings new content to the table along with a completely new strike and one returning strike. Players are already making their way through the new content, which is why we thought now was the perfect time to put together a guide for both, helping you to get the most optical run.

Europa brings with it a new strike titled The Glassway, while the returning Cosmodrome has The Disgraced strike. The former is an all new strike, while the latter is a slightly remixed version of the original Destiny 1 strike. It's a slightly weak offering of new content considering just how much stuff went into the vault, but let's get stuck in.

Also, this will be a general guide for the strike, breaking down each encounter and discussing which weapons will be most effective.


Earth, Cosmodrome – The Disgraced – Recommended Power Level 1100

Enemy Types: Fallen, Hive

Those familiar with the original Destiny will recognise The Disgraced strike. Returning from the recently announced Destiny Content Vault, The Disgraced is the first strike to make its way into the game, and while it mostly retains the majority of the original, there is one subtle change to the last encounter.

The Disgraced starts at the Forgotten Shore. You and your fellow guardians will ride alongside the coast until you reach a carpark looking structure titled the Terrestrial Complex. Head to the back of the carpark and swing a right and a left and make your way up a few sets of stairs before arriving at your first combat encounter.

Terrestrial Complex: Encounter One

The first encounter here is nice and easy, with a big large room and lots of areas for cover amongst the many Fallen. There's a pretty balanced mix of vandals, shanks and captains throughout the room, although they shouldn't give you too much trouble provided you equip an appropriate load-out.

With lots of cover and tight angles, we would recommend using something with medium to short-range capabilities. The Gnawing Hunger assault rifle with a kinetic shotgun would provide the perfect mix of short and close range for this encounter, enabling you to mow down waves of Fallen with ease.

Other recommended weapons:
IKELOS_SMG_V1.0.2 – Energy SMG (Enemy Damage)
Cold Front – Kinetic SMG (Enemy Damage)
Hawthorne's Field-Forged – Kinetic Shotgun (Powerful Enemy Damage)
Blasphemer – Kinetic Shotgun (Powerful Enemy Damage)
One Small Step – Kinetic Shotgun (Powerful Enemy Damage)

With the Fallen vanquished, it's time to make your way upstairs, although you'll need to watch out for a small group of Fallen vanguards making their way down. Stick to your SMG or assault rifle to easily dispose of this group.


Terrestrial Complex: Encounter Two

Once you've made it up the stairs, you'll find yourself in a room that opens out into a loading bay with a small number of Fallen enemies. Once the Fallen are defeated, it's time to take on the Hive which fills the loading bay. You'll be coming up against witches, knights and shriekers here, so you'll want something that packs power and has decent ranged attack power. You'll also have to contend with several thrall and acolytes running at you, so make sure your fireteam is focusing on different enemies.

Fortunately the back of the loading bay entrance provides plenty of cover, giving you the opportunity to duck in and out between sniper or bow shots. Focus on the witches first as they are going to cause the most damage to your team, before moving your attention to the knights which spawn further down the loading bay. A mix of something like Riskrunner or Trinity Ghoul alongside a sniper rifle would provide the perfect duo for dealing with thrall waves and the much tougher enemies.

Around the third wave of Hive, the shriekers which sit at the back of the loading area will open up, battering your team with projectiles alongside thrall and acolytes. This is where your sniper rifle will prove handy, giving you the perfect amount of firepower to take out these hard-hitting ranged Hive enemies.

With the Hive defeated, it's time to move on. At the end of the loading area, swing left into a room with an orange light and make your way through the opening shutters. Fight your way through a number of rooms, which includes a servitor and a few vandals. Once you make it to the other side, you'll find yourself in the public Sky Watch area. You'll want to make your way down the path and into the Hive structure on your right.

If you're running low on special or kinetic ammo, consider taking out the few Hive enemies outside the structure, although you can skip them if you'd rather save some time.


The Jovian Complex: Encounter One

After making your way through the Hive structure, you'll come out at the entrance to the Jovian Complex. Things start to get a little tougher from here on out with several tough enemies to take down.

The first encounter here involves strike boss Navota, Eir Spawn, a high-level witch with a lot of health. The initial battle with Navota takes place in a narrow hall which swings left and opens up into a rocky area with lots of verticality. You will need to balance using what available cover there is through some scaffolding on the left and deal with the waves on weaker enemies approaching. Navota will also spend her time throwing some hard shots your way, and with what little space there is, it's easy to get caught out here. Navota has a solar shield, so any solar based weapons will work a treat here. One team member with a Sunshot should do the trick, meaning you can keep focusing on damage.

You ideally want something quite heavy hitting for damaging Navota, but you'll also need to deal with other enemies in the background. The Witherhoard is an excellent option here as you can place damaging mines under the boss and swap out to an energy assault rifle or machine gun in your power slot and deal with enemies while also damaging the boss.

Around half-way through their health meter, Navota will retreat, leaving you to deal with a room filled with enemies. This is a busy area, filled with knights, ogres and acolytes. Focus your fire on the ogre first as it will make the knights and acolytes a lot easier to deal with. Use your distance in this encounter as there's plenty of cover and a clear line of sight to the majority of enemies in the room. The key here is to be patient and deal damage where it counts – especially if you are under the light level or running a 100k.

Other recommended weapons:
Sunshot – Legendary Energy Hand Cannon (Navota's shield)
Xenophage – Exotic Heavy Machine Gun (Boss damage)
Thermal Erosion – Heavy Machine Gun (Boss/enemy damage)
Seventh Seraph Saw – Heavy Machine Gun (Boss/enemy damage)
Gnawing Hunger – Energy Assault Rifle (Enemy Damage)
Falling Guillotine – Power Sword (Boss Damage)
Trinity Ghoul – Exotic Energy Bow (Enemy Damage)


The Jovian Complex: Encounter Two

Navota, Eir Spawn is back and now you must fight her in the midst of a hive ritual. Unfortunately, all that damage you did before is gone and Navota now sits at full health. Just like before, Navota can deal some serious damage if you get caught in her line of sight and she's got a pretty big health pool as well. The room layout is also a little unusual, as Navota will flip between the room's two different levels, but enemies can spawn from all sides. Movement is key in this fight, as it will not only let you dodge attacks but also keep tabs on the many waves of enemies.

Just like before, a Sunshot hand cannon will help with her shield, while The Witherhoard can provide ongoing damage to both the boss and the waves of spawning enemies. Standing on the second level to the right of left of the platform Navota sits on will provide you with plenty of cover, but you will want to watch out for enemies spawning behind you.

This is a relatively simple boss encounter, with no additional mechanics. Just keep plugging away at the Navota's health and managing the enemies within the room. Keep at it and before you know it, the strike will be over. Enjoy your loot Guardians, you've earned it!

Other recommended weapons:
Sunshot – Legendary Energy Hand Cannon (Navota's shield)
Xenophage – Exotic Heavy Machine Gun (Boss damage)
Thermal Erosion – Heavy Machine Gun (Boss/enemy damage)
Seventh Seraph Saw – Heavy Machine Gun (Boss/enemy damage)
Gnawing Hunger – Energy Assault Rifle (Enemy Damage)
Falling Guillotine – Power Sword (Boss Damage)
Trinity Ghoul – Exotic Energy Bow (Enemy Damage)


UK Charts 14/11/20: For the first time in years, Call of Duty is not #1 at launch

We haven't been posting the charts for a while as, well, no one reads them, but we're making an exception this week as something monumental has happened. For the first time in a very, very long time, Call of Duty has not topped the charts in it's launch week and has been beaten by Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Valhalla.

We knew Valhalla had done well as Ubisoft's had reported the day one player count had smashed that of it's predecessor, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, with double the number of players. According Gamesindustry.biz Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War has sold 65% less boxed product than that of last years release, but Activision have countered this saying Cold War "set a new record as the highest first day digital sales worldwide in franchise history".

Call of Duty missing the top spot is not the only oddity this week as the sales include PlayStation 5 games, even though the console is not out, so Spider-Man: Miles Morales grabs third place with 71% of those being for the PlayStation 5 version of the game. Demon Souls, which is only on PlayStation 5, manages to chart in sixth place, and Sackboy: A Big Adventure just misses the top ten at number thirteen. Sales of PlayStation 5 games accounted for 19% of all sales.

Further down the chart, Godfall lands at No.16, Yakuza: Like A Dragon makes No.20, and sadly Codemaster's Dirt 5 has dropped out of the charts just one week after it was released, a surprise when it was pushed hard on Xbox Series X.

Here is the GfK Top Ten for the week ending November 14th:

Last Week This Week Title
New Entry 1 Assassin's Creed Valhalla
New Entry 2 Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
New Entry 3 Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
1 4 FIFA 21
2 5 Animal Crossing: New Horizons
New Entry 6 Demon's Souls
6 7 Super Mario 3D All-Stars
3 8 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe
5 9 Minecraft (Switch)
4 10 Watch Dogs: Legion

Source: GI.Biz


WRC 9 vs. DIRT 5 – Which racing game uses the DualSense best?

If there's a genre that should benefit particularly well from the PlayStation 5's DualSense controller, it's racing games. It's one of the many reasons why the prospect of Gran Turismo 7 has got so many series fans salivating – I mean, the stunning graphics from its reveal also helped – but there could be a little while to wait before we get to play Polyphony Digital's next sim racer.

In the meantime, and for the launch of the new generation, we have WRC 9 and DIRT 5, a pair of strongly contrasting racing games that show just how much DualSense haptic feedback and adaptive triggers can add to the racing genre. While both games focus on off-road and mixed terrain racing, one's aiming to be a rally racing sim, while the other is all about over the top arcade action, and that's led to two very different approaches.

WRC 9 lives up to its sim rallying aspirations, giving us a pretty straight forward interpretation. The right trigger, your accelerator, is kept loose, but as you pull it back and your rally car rockets forward, you'll immediately notice the little clicks and nudges it gives to your finger as gears shift up. The brakes, meanwhile, are kept almost as loose, but add tension and resistance as you reach the bottom of the left trigger's travel, mimicking some of the feel of a real brake pedal or a loadcell in a high-end racing wheel set up. Its one other bit of information to impart is when you're slipping to a halt, angrily clicking at your finger and making a bit of a racket as the game tells you off.

The rest of the feedback is reserved for a combination of the haptics rumble and the built-in speaker of the DualSense. You could immediately tell the difference between different surfaces if you needed to, but there's a great variation from the smooth asphalt's non-existent feedback, to light gravel giving a steady thrumming buzz as you drive over it, and then heavy gravel where there's jagged, violent and unpredictable rumble from the haptics. You can add to that the sound of stones kicking up and bouncing off the car's floor, the sounds conveniently coming from the controller held below your head.

Of course, that's if you're managing to stay on the incredibly twisty and narrow of the technical rally stages found throughout this game. Dip some tyres into the rough and you'll feel it fed through that side of the controller… most of the time. There's some inconsistency here, where I'd expect cutting a corner to rumble my controller harder and finding it remaining absolutely consistent with the rest of the road. Obviously, smashing into a wall or something similarly definitive never failed to get some angry buzzing, and I was delighted when my right trigger suddenly became heavy to indicate engine damage, but KT Racing could work to fine tune the feedback the game is outputting further. No mean feat for a cross-gen game that's building off a lot of iterative content, as WRC 9 is.

By contrast, Dirt 5's approach is more surprising. As soon as you start playing, you notice that Codemasters Chesire have ratcheted up the tension of the right trigger, your accelerator, while leaving the left trigger completely loose. It's surprising and initially jarring to say the least, and the polar opposite of realism, but it allows Codemasters to use the triggers for more feedback alongside the vibration of the controller's grips.

As you're racing, bouncing around on track, jostling for postition, there's obviously variation in the vibration you're getting through the haptic motors, but the triggers also shift and alter their tension. Braking heavily while turning will have the left trigger do its angry clicking wiggle back at you, but the same effect is also used for other big impacts, like landing from a jump. Both triggers are alive as they try to add to the immersion of the game's action.

Yet, that's not really what I'd want from a racing game in terms of actual feedback. Dirt 5's all about big arcade action, and that can be a lot of fun to have piped through the controller, but analyse it a little deeper and it feels like there's a lack of finesse here, on a similar level to the four point assault on your tactile senses that the Xbox controller offers in this game.

The DualSense can do more than this. The haptic motors in particular are merely on or off, failing to really communicate a difference between surfaces or an intense additional impact, when the DualSense can modulate the motor strength as shown in WRC 9. The best trick Dirt 5 pulls in terms of communicating what the car is doing is in releasing that accelerator tension when the rear steps out for a drift. It's a great effect and a kind of feedback that can really inform you about how to control the car.

For a long time now it's felt almost mandatory for those who want to step into the world of sim racing to pick up a decent racing wheel to enhance the force feedback and their understanding what their car is doing in-game, and that's certain to remain the case through the next generation. However, there's a chance that the DualSense can help narrow that gap, to give you a better understanding through the triggers of when your tyres have grip and when they don't, just as a racing wheel's force feedback can.

WRC 9's more realistic interpretation of what the DualSense as a whole can simulate feels the more essential experience of the two, but Dirt 5 still feels more vibrant and lively than on DualShock 4. They're fascinating first attempts though, and I can't wait for a racing game to fully realise the DualSense's potential.


Thrustmaster T.16000M Space Sim Duo Review

Everyone I knew growing up wanting to be in the emergency services, or perhaps an astronaut or footballer. I wanted to be Luke Skywalker. Smaller me couldn't quite grasp that wasn't exactly the job – obviously I know now that the job is being a Jedi, and is still absolutely a possibility – but I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life.

Besides being best friends with Harrison Ford and having a sword that made an incredible buzzing sound, Luke Skywalker got to fly the greatest spaceship ever created; the X-Wing. I made cardboard boxes and pieces of furniture into X-Wing configurations – though some days they were KITT from Knight Rider – and merrily barrel-rolled into battle against my sister's dolls and my Grandma's Airdale Terrier, Meggy. Meggy wasn't very good at being a rival TIE Fighter pilot, but she was a pretty decent AT-AT.

Imagine then, a world where slightly older me can become Luke Skywalker piloting an X-Wing. With the arrival of Star Wars Squadrons I've finally got the Star Wars dogfighting game I always dreamed of, but, if you're going to really fire up the old imagination – and don't have any cardboard boxes or oversized dogs to hand – you're going to need a flightstick. Thrustmaster are here to help, and with the Space Sim Duo you're not just getting one flightstick, you're getting two.

The Space Sim Duo comprises of two T16000 flightsticks. Readily considered one of the best mid-range sticks out there, if you're into regular, earth-bound flight-sims it's likely you only really need one, but once you're unleashed in a zero-gravity environment that dual set-up suddenly makes a whole lot of sense.

The T16000 mixes plastic and metal components and feels resolutely solid in-hand, while its black and orange colour scheme manages to give just the right weight to your futuristic fantasies without it looking like some alien horror that's bursting out of your desk. To top it all off, when you put your hand on each stick the base lights up with an orange glow, and despite being such a simple thing it genuinely adds to the experience. Not only do you feel like you're about to take a spaceship out for a jaunt, it looks like you are as well.

There's an embarrassing, and potentially mind-boggling array of control inputs on each T16000, and when you combine the two there's 42 buttons, sliders, triggers and directional inputs to make use of. While it's on a game by game basis, you'll almost certainly be able to customise your controls to fit in exactly with what you're doing, though you still might want some sticky labels if you're the forgetful sort. Star Wars Squadrons had no problem identifying both sticks, and you can set to customising your layout with no friction whatsoever.

Each stick control boasts a clear orange plastic trigger that produces a satisfying click with every press. While it's not as industrial feeling as the metal-built HOTAS Warthog, it's solid and feels as though it's going to cope with many hundreds of hours of digital laser cannon fire. You've also got three slightly clunky sounding input buttons that are easily accessible with your thumb, and a directional hat. These are primarily used for looking around your cockpit and out into the space beyond, but as you've got two you could use one for weapon selection or changing your ship's combat modes.

Moving down to the metal base, there are a further twelve input buttons and a thrust slider. I have to admit to not being a particularly huge fan of this style of slider; they'll do in a pinch, but they have a short range of movement and aren't in the most natural place even if you're only using one stick. I'd always opt for a full thrust unit as you'll find in a HOTAS set-up, but with the dual stick set-up you've got another option.

I added the thrust controls to my left stick in Star Wars Squadrons and had a riot using the pair of inputs simultaneously. You can add a dedicated thrust unit to this set-up as well if you're feeling particularly flush, but it becomes much less necessary, at least as far as something like Star Wars Squadrons is concerned. You might want something less strenuous if you're undertaking a long-haul flight in Elite: Dangerous for example, but for a space combat game I can't recommend it more.

Both T16000 sticks are fully customisable depending on which hand you're using, with replacement hand rests and a switch beneath the base for selecting which hand you're using. Though I can't see a necessity for it as part of the dual set-up, it does give you some flexibility if you were lending one to a potential pilot friend that you were trying to recruit to the Rebellion – or the stinking Empire.

As you'd expect from a Thrustmaster, the pair of T16000 sticks boast just the right level of tension. Thanks to the inclusion of their patented HEART sensors every movement is faithfully replicated on screen, and even small motions are picked up accurately. There's no option to alter the stick tension which is worth bearing in mind, but I honestly don't think you'd need to. I used the pair for hours before beginning to tire, and the base is weighted to just the right degree that they won't be going anywhere unless you truly want to re-enact your ship being blown up.


Spider-Man: Miles Morales update 1.002.001 is out, patch notes here

Insomniac have released the ridiculously numbered update 1.002.001 for Spider-Man: Miles Morales on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. It adds the much requested ability to transfer save games from PS4 to PS5, plus selfie poses and ray-tracing improvements on the PS5 version.  Here are the full notes.

Version 1.002.001 Release Notes

General Updates

  • Added option to change time of day during post-game
  • Added rewards for completing benchmarks (Photo Mode stickers)
  • Added supported localized VO
  • Added option to transfer save from PS4 to PS5
  • Added in-game option to upgrade to Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition (PS5 only)

Photo Mode Updates

  • Added selfie poses
  • Added depth of field slider
  • Added light distance

Accessibility Updates

  • Added customizable button remapping
  • Added mono audio selection

General Fixes & Polish

  • Improved stability
  • Performance improvements on PS4
  • Performance improvements on PS5
  • Ray-tracing improvements on PS5
  • HDR improvements
  • Subtitle and localization text fixes
  • Various additional fixes

We gave Spider-Man: Miles Morales 8/10 in our review. "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," said Jim. "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."

You can read the full review here.  

Spider-Man: Miles Morales Guides & more from TheSixthAxis

Source: Insomniac


Warning: It may be a good idea not to use the PS5 rest mode for the moment

With the PlayStation 5 now officially out in North America and other territories gamers have been getting their hands on the new console and unfortunately there seems to be a 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 also suffering the same problem.

Users who have been hit by the problem have 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.

To stop your PS5 going in to rest mode go to the Settings menu on the console, the navigate to Power Saving and then Set Time Until PS5 Enters Rest Mode. From here select "Don't Put in Rest Mode".

Just as an aside: Sony, what's with capitalising everything but 'in' on that menu option? Weird.

It appears the delayed release of the PlayStation 5 might just be to the advantage of us here in the U.K. as Sony have five more days to get to the bottom of the problems and get a firmware update out, no doubt the developers of the games are also looking at the problem.

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.

PlayStation 5 Guides and more from TheSixthAxis


Dirt 5 – how to upgrade from PS4 to PS5 for free

If you were unsure whether to pick up a copy of Dirt 5 on release day due to the impending launch of new consoles, Codemasters made it an easy decision for rally racing fans by announcing a free cross-gen upgrade.

In a nutshell, if you've already purchased Dirt 5 on PlayStation 4 and want to make the leap to PS5 without buying the game again, you can do totally do that. The same applies for those who own Dirt 5 on Xbox One wanting to switch to the newer Xbox Series X|S. Naturally, you won't be able to upgrade from one family of systems to the other, so don't go shoving your Xbox Dirt 5 disc in your PS5.

Dirt 5 isn't the only game offering a free upgrade. We've already seen others follow suit including Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, Dead By Daylight, Borderlands, FIFA 21, and many more. So, how do you get in on this free PS4 to PS5 upgrade?

We've been testing the PS5's games and features for the past couple of weeks now and while there's a lot to love, some features don't come tagged with explainers or are hidden away in submenus. This guide will quickly show you how to upgrade your existing copy of Dirt 5 from PS4 to PS5.

Of course, you will already need to have purchased a copy of Dirt 5on PlayStation 4, whether you purchased it as a direct download via the PlayStation Store or have a physical disc-based version.

Once you've set up your PlayStation 5 and signed into the PSN profile used to originally buy Dirt 5, go into the PlayStation Store and look for the game (use the search bar if you're having issues).

Even when you've found the Dirt 5 page, you may miss where to upgrade to PS5. If you press download then you'll likely end up installing the PS4 version instead. When on the store page, look to the right side and you'll see an icon for the PS5 upgrade (it's sitting just above the trophies tab). We've attached a screenshot (depicting the same screen, but with Assassin's Creed: Valhalla) below so you know where to look.

Our resident racing expert Thomas H-L left a glowing review of Codemasters latest entry in the long-running series, scoring Dirt 5 an 8 out of 10:

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.

PlayStation 5 Guides and more from TheSixthAxis


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