The PlayStation 5 hasn't been completely smooth sailing in the days since it launched. There are plenty of reports of crashes, flickering, and corrupted database problems stemming from external HDDs. It's not a deal-breaker by any means, but people have had problems.
Maybe the first PS5 system update will help change some of that. Sony pushed a firmware update this morning. It's over 800MB in size and Sony's description is one we've heard before: "This system software update improves system performance."
That has everyone wondering what exactly the update does. It's surely geared toward stability, but which specific issues are addressed? It's impossible to know. Players want detailed patch notes because it'll dictate whether they think it's safe to put the console in rest mode or whether they can use external USB storage. But that's not really Sony's style when it comes to stuff like this.
So, PS5 owners are left to guess and, if they're feeling risky, test for themselves where the update may have fixed things. It'll all just end up as experimentation and semi-informed conjecture though. The official word will simply remain that the update improves system performance.
PlayStation 5 system software update [PlayStation]
Maybe you remember Call of the Sea. Maybe you don't. Well, I'm still keeping tabs on the first Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 games we saw in Microsoft and Sony's respective streams this year.
Raw Fury's mystery adventure game showed up during that Inside Xbox event with Scorn, The Medium, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon – you know the one. Doesn't that feel like it happened years ago?
Call of the Sea might've slipped through the cracks then (even though I liked its 1934 island expedition premise), but it stands out a bit more with an imminent release date. It's launching December 8 on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S, and that also goes for Steam, GOG, and Xbox Game Pass.
"Games like Firewatch, Subnautica, Red Matter, Myst, Soma, and Obduction were definitely sources of inspiration for us," said director Tatiana Delgado. "You might say that Call of the Sea is our love letter to the genre and a way of deepening our own experience and adding new dimensions to it." The team at Out of the Blue has a "passion for the supernatural and the occult," but this is "not a horror game."
Few games let us swim with webbed hands as we search for our long-lost husband. Let's savor this.
Google has made plenty of questionable decisions with Stadia, but this one checks out.
Starting November 19 at 9:00 a.m. Pacific, everyone with a free Stadia account will be able to stream Destiny 2 (minus the premium expansions) to their heart's content. The free-to-play base game will, in fact, be free-to-play on Google's streaming service – no $10 Stadia Pro subscription needed. As a free user, you can simply play the game via Google Chrome or Android with a 1080p cap instead of 4K.
This might not be the most enticing game right now or even the best way to play it, but as a chance to test out Stadia and see how it fares with your connection and setup, I can see the appeal. One caveat: the Stadia version of Destiny 2 does not have cross-play, so you can't mingle with other platforms.
It's pretty painless to make a Stadia account – you can just leverage a Gmail or Google Account. Convincing your ISP to let you have unlimited data without paying an exorbitant fee is another matter.
Google has also warned Stadia Pro players that if they haven't already claimed Destiny 2: The Collection (the package with Forsaken and Shadowkeep) then they'll have until November 19 to do so. There are a few other tidbits this week, including the return of the (supposedly fun) Immortals Fenyx Rising demo.
Gears 5 got a lot more technically-impressive with the launch of Xbox Series X. Versus mode runs at 120fps now, input latency has been reduced upward of 57 percent. The Coalition has managed to squeeze a lot more performance out of this old dog.
The Coalition has also managed to squeeze a lot more content into it. Today's Operation 5 update is the largest in Gears 5 history, and it brings 5 new maps into the fold. Two of them, Nexus and Regency, are brand new. Three of them are retreads from Gears and Gears 2 as Gridlock, Clocktower, and River join the rotation. I've sunk a lot of hours into Gridlock over the years.
There are also seven new characters debuting on the multiplayer roster. Dizzy and his iconic cowboy hat, Tai Kaliso, Anya Stroud, Skorge, Lambent Drone, Lambent Grenadier, and Lambent Theron Guard. Anyone who played classic Gears of War during the original trilogy will recognize everyone here.
Accompanying the content additions is a handful of quality of life improvements. In Horde and Escape mode, characters have been separated from class so you can mix and match to your delight. Other features are: "A suite of Ranked PvP updates, PvE balance updates for decoupled classes, new heroic cosmetic rarity, all-new daily and weekly PvE challenges and rewards, 13 new achievements."
There's one more exciting inclusion. The WWE's New Day will be introduced as playable characters in Versus mode. Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods will be bouncing off walls with their Gnashers blasting away. Following Batista's lead, Gears 5 is now a place where wrestlers go to become immortalized in non-wrestling games. At least they already have the body types as the meaty, muscular COGs.
I feel like every time I revisit Demon's Souls, something different trips me up. That goes double for New Game+ runs, and it definitely still applies to Bluepoint's just-released PlayStation 5 remake. As the Souls community comes together to share different discoveries, we all stand to benefit.
On my first PS5 run, nothing stole more of my souls than the dark, vile, occasionally cheap-as-hell Valley of Defilement. As it turns out, I could've saved myself a lot of trouble, at least for part of the stage. There are several new rings in the Demon's Souls remake, and one of them, the Sodden Ring, can make the trek through the swamp leading up to the Dirty Colossus much less of a meandering slog.
The Sodden Ring "allows freedom of movement in the murkiest of waters, but does not remove other dangers." In other words, it's like the Rusted Iron Ring in Dark Souls, and it's ideal for level 5-2.
Where do you find it? It's easily missed – you'll need to have Pure Black World Tendency and head to the bottom of level 3-2 (in Upper Latria) where all of those creepy Man Centipedes are roaming free.
This video walkthrough from chan4est shows the long-winded path down to the Sodden Ring.
As someone who hasn't started messing with Pure Black tendency yet (that'll come with time as I run through the trophy list), I probably wouldn't have found this ring until way later than I would have liked. Without this guide, the Sodden Ring would be another eventual "Gee, that woulda been nice" moments.
As for the rest of Bluepoint's new rings in Demon's Souls, Powerpyx has some pointers for how to find them. There's the Providential Ring (raises item discovery), the Ring of Longevity (increases max HP), and the Ring of Uneven Scales (raises maximum item burden, but lowers maximum equip burden).
Yesterday, Chris said he plays like "there's only one ring slot" because of the Cling Ring. Same!
If you were unsure about how Ubisoft views Immortals Fenyx Rising, look no further than its post-launch DLC plans. Even though it's aesthetically different from most of Ubisoft's biggest sellers, it's being supported nearly identically to those flagship games. Immortals Fenyx Rising has a spot in the pantheon among the titles Ubisoft has the most faith in.
Immortals Fenyx Rising will get an all-out assault of post-launch support that will feature both free and paid-for DLC. It's the exact same approach that Ubisoft is taking with the likes of Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion. A constant onslaught of free updates that's bolstered by three expansions and a $40 season pass.
Here's what's planned. In terms of free stuff, Immortals Fenyx Rising is getting "free in-game events, weekly dungeon challenges, and daily quests." Things, predictably, get a lot more enticing when you drop some cash. Here are the descriptions of the three story-driven DLCs:
We're smack dab in the middle of the gulf between last-gen and new-gen consoles, as we have to account for what games look like on both sets of machines. Obviously, things look best on PS5 and Xbox Series X right now, but how much better? Is the upgrade really worth the immediate investment?
CD Projekt Red tries to answer that question with the game that's probably making most folks consider buying new hardware. This morning, we got a Cyberpunk 2077 comparison video that shows how the game looks on both Xbox One X and Xbox Series X. It's nearly 10 minutes of gameplay footage, chopped and screwed so as to not spoil any plot beats. Xbox Series X is running the game via backward compatibility because it's technically the Xbox One version.
The takeaway? You could probably live with either version. The Xbox Series X has more impressive lighting and whatnot, but last-gen isn't so gimped that it seems unplayable. It looks perfectly adequate. (Although, you might beg to differ when we know load times across the Xbox One's HDD and the Xbox Series X's SSD.)
It's also worth pointing out that this is a highly manicured showcase that wouldn't exhibit any real flaws in either version. It's tough to get a feel for the performance, but we wouldn't be privy to any big framerate dips if either console -- likely the Xbox One -- has problems with that.
However, this isn't as good as it's going to get on Xbox Series X. CD Projekt Red notes that it still has a free update next year that will bring true next-gen enhancements to Cyberpunk 2077 on PS5 and Xbox Series S/X.
As for anyone left wondering how Cyberpunk 2077 will differ between PS4 and PS5, you can probably expect it to be highly similar to this Xbox breakdown. You don't have to take my word for it. CD Projekt Red is releasing a PlayStation video in the coming weeks that will offer the same kind of comparison. Presumably, it'll be different scenes, so at least we'll get another hit of Cyberpunk gameplay before the December 10 launch.
Oh yeah, and the next episode of Night City Wire is on Thursday. That one's All Keanu. Lotta Cyberpunk in the pipeline before the actual game launches in a little under a month.
For weeks now I've been waiting for the 35th anniversary auto-Mario Ninji speedrun event to actually hit, and today, the day has come.
As a reminder, Ninji speedrun is a mode in Mario Maker 2 that periodically drops first-party levels into the game that players can literally speedrun. Completing a stage will then plop little Ninjis into subsequent runs, which are basically "ghosts" of other competitors, similar to classic time trials in other games. It creates an intense atmosphere where you're racing the clock.
There's a bunch already available that you can run for fun, but tonight at 6PM PT, Nintendo is dropping a special map with a real-life reward. If you place in the top 35 (a feat!), you can net an actual Mario commemorative coin. The front showcases the 35th anniversary of Mario, while the back shows off Mario Maker 2's logo, as well as Mario and Luigi in color.
You have until November 24 at 6PM PT to get your score in. Now this is important: make sure you specifically sign up for the challenge on Nintendo's site. You can play Super Mario Maker 2 separately if you want, but registering for the event will ensure that you're good to go.
Double-check your mission list to ensure you entered here. Oh, and don't forget to click a button and enter the "My Nintendo Super Mario Sweepstakes" too while you're there!
Nintendo of America [Twitter]
When I was younger, I wasted so much money on merch and memorabilia. I used to go to comic and film fairs quarterly, with pockets full of hard-earned income, then traipse home loaded down with plastic junk I absolutely did not need and ultimately failed to validate my life. Since those heady, carefree days, I rarely purchase figures, models, and statues with the same reckless abandon...
...Then Good Smile revealed their Splatoon 2 Pearl & Marina Figmas and ruined everything.
Originally teased back in July, the Off the Hook duo will soon join Good Smile's huge range of colorful, nicely detailed, and highly poseable figurines - all of whom are based on a catalogue of heroes and villains from video game franchises such as Overwatch, Persona, Metroid, Silent Hill, Sword Art Online, and Fire Emblem, among others.
[Update: Bluepoint Games seems to be having a little fun with us. On Twitter they posted a "wish you were here" message, complete with the secret area in question. Take a look below! The phrase in the tweet, "A symphony of rumors" could be a clue as to the answer.
At the time of publication, a solution has not been found for the secret door, but the community is on it.]
Folks are tearing through the Demon's Souls remake and lo and behold, just like Bluepoint's Shadow of the Colossus re-release, there's an added secret.
Read on for very vague minor spoilers on the whole debacle.
Still play Overwatch? I do!
It's still a great way for me to unwind (ha, for many it's the opposite) on both PC and Switch; trying to steal away a few games here and there in bed in portable mode on the latter platform. For all of you who are logging in like me, a few new Symmetra-related happenings are entering the fray.
First up is the short story Stone by Stone, written by the staple Blizzard author Christie Golden, who has worked on many Warcraft and Starcraft related tales. At 25 digital pages it's a quick read, also featuring art from Nesskain, who revealed a new Symmetra skin with their illustrations. This is accompanied by "Symmetra's Restoration Challenge," a mini-event that's live today and allows players to unlock Symmetra skins.
In addition to all the Symmetra stuff, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan created a video log to explain a rather large change to how queuing will work for Overwatch: priority passes. In short, you can now flex queue for all roles in a bid to earn and bank "priority passes." If you win, you get more passes (likely a way to prevent throwing games), and you can bank 40. Players can then cash these in for faster queues, which will more proportionally impact damage (DPS) heroes, who generally find themselves tethered to longer queues.
Like many things Overwatch-related, it's experimental. We'll likely get an update on how things are going in a few weeks.
Stone by Stone [Blizzard]
Despite having only been toiling in the fields for a scant week, publisher Marvelous has already released the first update for the Nintendo Switch edition of the delightful and totes adorbs RPG farming sim Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin.
Available to download now, Version 1.02 cleans up a few of Switch Sakuna's frayed ends. Certain locations have received a visual overall, while some missing voice files have been restored. In addition, various balance tweaks and bug fixes have been applied to ensure a tighter and generally more stable gameplay experience on the Nintendo platform.
Also added to Sakuna is "expanded endgame content," although specific details were not forthcoming.
I'm finishing up another Master Quest run of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, noticing all sorts of new things along the way. But this time, I don't think I would have ever discovered that you can feed the squirrels.
Captured by Twitter user caoki8, you can use acorns to feed the little critters. Coaki8 can be seen spying on them from afar with the Sheika slate's zoom functionality to avoid spooking them. Given that you can feed horses and dogs, this makes a lot of sense, but it would have never crossed my mind in the three years I've been playing it.
As Nintendo Life points out, someone on Reddit posted this a few years back, but it didn't hit the viral numbers that a bunch of other Breath of the Wild posts have: so I totally missed it. There's still a lot of uncovered knowledge on this game, resting on someone's Twitter feed somewhere.
This reminds me of several instances like the foot race, which I never discovered in my first few playthroughs of the game. In the aforementioned recent Master Quest run, without even thinking about it or seeking it out, I ran across it. Incredible. Even crazier, my wife, who was playing the game for the first time with me side-by-side, also stumbled across it randomly.
I'm looking forward to 2021 for multiple reasons: one of which is another Breath of the Wild run where I'll probably find some other thing to write about.
I've played a lot of insane action games in my time.
No, not "whoa that backflip into a shotgun blast was wild!" kind of insane. Like, "how was this even made?" insane. Godfall doesn't quite fit under that latter umbrella as there's a clear vision here, but I can heartily say that the amount of people I can recommend it to is a niche at best.
I also really enjoyed my time with it when it wasn't actively fighting me.
Once again, the spoileriffic Game Rating and Administration Committee of Korea has spilled the beans on some rad retro titles headed to modern platforms. According to the new site listings, SNK is currently in the process of bringing the excellent King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match to PS4, a port of Code Mystics' PC re-release.
The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match gathers together an amazing 65 characters - all pulled from the classic Neo Geo fighting franchise - for an almighty three-on-three throwdown to establish who truly is the greatest scrapper on the planet (spoilers: Leona Heidern). With the PC edition having recently received a very welcome rollback netcode update, this PS4 port will hopefully further secure the community for this amazing title for years to come.
And speaking of SNK classics, the ratings board has also revealed the next title coming to the Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection on Nintendo Switch. Originally released in 1999 for the nifty handheld console, Fatal Fury: First Contact is a cute adaptation of SNK classic Real Bout Fatal Fury 2, and sees Terry, Andy, Mai, Geesem and chums duking it out in pint-sized pugilistic action.
Neither title has been dated, but these ratings all but guarantee their launch in the near future.
As Microsoft continues to tout its "Smart Delivery" cross-gen program that "just works" (for me, it does!), the PS5 seems to have some growing pains with the piecemeal PSN upgrade system.
As a recap, Activision "allows" folks to pay $10 for the privilege of a "digital upgrade," which provides "higher framerate, hardware-based ray-tracing, shorter load times, and more" according to the publisher. If you have the Ultimate Edition, you already own the upgrade by default.
This past week, users have been reporting that Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War download issues on PS5. Specifically, not being able to download the enhanced PS5 edition of the game: as the PSN forces you to adapt the PS4 edition that doesn't take advantage of the new hardware. That's a problem!
The issue has become widespread enough for Activision support to issue an official tweet on the matter, noting a workaround that should ensure that you're good to go. Basically, go to the game button on your PS5, then scroll down and "highlight play." After that, "select the three dots" to open up the menu, then install the "PS5 | Full" version. Taken from my own library, this is what it looks like.
I actually had issues with this myself as an Ultimate Edition owner. When installing the game from my library, I just selected it, then hit "install." Unbeknownst to me, it was actually installing and running the PS4 edition. It wasn't until I saw the Activision support message that I thought to check if anything was amiss. On my Series X, Microsoft has made it so the most optimal version automatically works.
As many "next-gen upgrades" have yet to roll out, this system seems poised to create more headaches for publishers, as the onus to provide PS5 fixes seems to lie at their feet.
Activision Support [Twitter]
Last fortnight's launch of Microsoft's Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S hardware left many customers with bated breath, eager to see whether the frenzied pre-order period had resulted in them receiving their shiny new console come launch day. Since then, many hoping to get their hands on the next-gen platform have been left wanting, a want that will seemingly continue throughout the winter.
Speaking at the Jefferies Interactive Entertainment Virtual Conference last week, Xbox Chief Financial Officer Tim Stuart openly admitted that the sought-after hardware was in short supply, and that this is likely to be the case pushing into 2021, with supply only meeting demand around April, pushing into early summer.
"I think we'll continue to see supply shortages as we head into the post-holiday quarter," said Stuart in a statement transcribed by Seeking Alpha. "And then we get to (April-June 2021), all of our supply chain continuing to go full speed heading into kind of the pre-summer months [...] We'll have supply cranking over the next, what, four, five, six months? And that's when I expect to see really that demand profile start to be met, which will be really, really great."
Xbox Series X/S is already the green-and-black brand's best console launch to date, a much-needed positive given the stumbling start and general bad vibes that surrounded the launch of Xbox One. While it is unfortunate for fans who will still have to wait several months to get their mitts on a console, this strong start should provide a sense of security to those who rolled the dice on the new Xbox hardware.
I was able to finish Spider-Man: Miles Morales without so much as a single meaningful glitch, but now that it's available at mass market, a few players have been uncovering some fairly esoteric and frankly Rockstar-esque bugs.
Over on The Twitter-Verse, folks have figured out a way to turn the titular Miles Morales into common household objects, like bricks or trash cans. By colliding with the wall, you can potentially turn into one of those things and swing around as the object. He's a menace, I tell you! JJJ can't even see him coming now: this is stealthier than Miles' actual stealth powers. This is galaxy brain level Metal Gear Solid cardboard box sneaking.
Like Microsoft embraced Craig, so too could Sony and Insomniac embrace this glitch. Making a "brick" outfit as free DLC would be a pretty great move and an easy way to poke fun at the situation. It's already in the game!
Praise the sun...shine!
Nintendo said that it was working on an update that would add extra control options into Super Mario 3D All-Stars on Switch, and they made good on it with a new patch (1.1.0) this week. If you boot up your copy, you should see an update waiting for you, and it's a doozy if you have certain hardware available.
That hardware is none other than the GameCube controller, which now works with Mario Sunshine just like it did back in 2002. There's a caveat of course: you do need the GameCube controller adapter hardware, as well as a GameCube controller.
The latter shouldn't be too hard to scrounge up though, as there are plenty of used remotes out in the wild (Wavebirds too!), and Nintendo even re-released a ton for the recent string of Smash Bros. games. The adapter has also been knocked off several times over, and generally goes for $15 for third-party hardware.
Even if you don't have a GameCube remote and the adapter (Reggie voice: "what's wrong with you!"), camera inversion has been added to the options menu for everyone. All three games now supported inverted controls. Beyond that, "other general fixes" have smoothed over the trio of titles.
All good news! Now we just need Nintendo to announce that the "limited run" was a sham.
Ver. 1.1.0 [Nintendo]
Today is a big day for fans of Mortal Kombat 11, for today sees the launch of Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, the latest iteration of NetherRealm's grisly fighting title. The new update brings with it a slew of balance changes, and transitions the 2019 fighter onto next-gen platforms PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
Perhaps the most exciting addition - especially for a particularly frenzied portion of the MK fanbase - is the arrival of Kombat Pack 2, bringing with it returning kombatants Rain and Mileena, alongside the M-60-toting soldier of fortune himself, John J. Rambo. The three new kharacters are now available for purchase, bolstering MK 11's roster to an impressive 37 fighters... Interesting overkill given only one warrior actually matters.
Players who have purchased MK 11 on PS4 or Xbox One will find that they are already able to download MK 11 Ultimate - alongside any previously purchased DLC - on the respective next-gen platform. The PS5 and Xbox Series X editions promise faster load times and slicker visuals, though there's zero promise that you'll actually be any better at the game itself. This is purely an upgrade from a video game standpoint. You need to get back in the lab... And by "you," I mean "me."
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is available now on PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, and Stadia. This release includes the base game, the Aftermath expansion, and Kombat Pack 1 & 2.
Having always lived in areas of the United States that didn't see a traditional fall or winter, right now is the time I most enjoy getting into Animal Crossing. Seeing the autumn colors of the trees slowly transform to the marshmallow world of winter never ceases to bring me joy. I remember in New Leaf, I'd make it a point to go get a warm beverage from Brewster before just walking around my island and taking it all in.
With the holiday season upon us, Nintendo is ready to release a new update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons that'll bring the festivities to your island paradise. Included in the update will be Franklin to prepare your Turkey Day meal and Jingle, who needs your help handing out presents for Toy Day.
But that's not all. This update is also bringing with it some new hairstyles and new reactions, including the ability to sit on the ground. From the mightiest pharaoh to the lowliest peasant, who doesn't enjoy a good sit? You'll also be able to expand your in-house storage and, in perhaps the biggest addition, save data transfers are coming to the game. Players will be able to transfer non-island-representative residents individually to a new Switch console with most of their belongings intact, or they can transfer the entire island to a new Switch in a one-way transfer.
Now that My Nintendo has physical rewards, I've been combing it every day to look for updates or new stuff. It paid off!
To be clear, no new merch has been added thus far this week, but the headline took care of that. Rather, several instantly-sold-out items have been restocked on the store, giving folks a second chance to nab them.
Specifically, the Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition Phone Ring Holder (500 Platinum Points) and the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Dodo Airlines Shopping Bag (800 Platinum Points) are back in stock. Those two came in different waves (respectively), but sold out very quickly.
The Xenoblade sticker sheets (300), Tom Nook Shopping Bag (800), and New Horizons Leaf Bandana (600) are also in again. Sadly, the Mario 3D All-Stars Poster Set (800) and the Animal Crossing Took Nook keychain (1000) are still sold out. Rewards have been coming in at a decent cadence, so maybe we can expect some Age of Calamity merch soon.
As a reminder, you can instantly earn some free points through the Pikmin 3 challenges, as well as logging into the eShop with your 3DS or Wii U weekly.
Nintendo Store Rewards [My Nintendo]
Back in September, in one of the year's most industry-shaking announcements, Microsoft confirmed that it had acquired ZeniMax Media, bringing a host of studios including Bethesda, MachineGames, id Software, Arkane, and others under the Xbox banner. The staggering bill for this acquisition was a cool $7.5 billion USD and, understandably, Microsoft is hoping to reap the reward from this wallet-busting layout.
Speaking at the Jefferies Interactive Entertainment Virtual Conference last week, Xbox Chief Financial Officer Tim Stuart laid out the studio's desire to offer preferential treatment to Xbox and PC when it comes to its new partner studios wares. While there are no specific plans to simply make future games from Bethesda and co. platform exclusives, Stuart noted that there was a distinct motion to make said games "first, better, or best" on Xbox and PC hardware.
"Microsoft is a platform," said Stuart, in a statement transcribed by Seeking Alpha. "We're one of the first to really support Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite across platforms. So we highly encourage cross-platform play, simply from this landscape of, 'if it's good for the gaming ecosystem, it's good for us,' classic rising tide lifts all boats."
"What we'll do in the long run is, we don't have intentions of just pulling all of Bethesda content out of Sony or Nintendo or otherwise. But what we want is, we want that content, in the long run, to be either first or better or best or pick your differentiated experience, on our platforms. We will want Bethesda content to show up the best (on) our platforms."
The announcement should come as zero surprise to most video game fans. This is a billion-dollar business after all, but Stuart's comments align with various earlier statements made by Xbox VP of Gaming Phil Spencer, who has also suggested that while Microsoft has a vested interest in prioritizing the studios' games for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC, and Game Pass service, the primary goal of the ZeniMax purchase was not to specifically exclude other platforms and communities from playing said studios' releases.
The ZeniMax sale is expected to be finalized in the second half of 2021's fiscal year.
In today's contest you can win a Steam copy of Knight Club +!
Let's hop straight into this one: Knight Club + hit Steam a few weeks ago, improving upon the original game with new mechanics, levels, characters, and balance changes. With great power comes great giveaways! Grab your Members Only jacket and join the competitive multiplayer title Knight Club!
Of all the upcoming games showcased at The Game Awards -- and there's always a whole bunch -- Halo Infinite won't be one of them. 343 community director Brian Jarrard confirmed that the delayed and possibly-troubled Halo game is skipping the last big end-of-year show.
Responding to a user on reddit, Jarrard said "Full disclosure we don't have anything planned for [The Game Awards]," while noting that putting together a demo build or presentation takes "an enormous amount of work." Jarrard added that having a presence at The Game Awards would "cause challenges with current milestones of the holidays."
It might be tough to hear for Halo fans, but 343's time is probably best spent just working on the actual game at this point. After the July gameplay showing that went poorly (and the subsequent shuffling of major leadership roles), it became pretty clear that Halo Infinite is in a troubled state. The Game Awards will come and go, and Halo will only be missed for one night. Using resources on fixing development instead of creating a new marketing beat could be tremendously more beneficial.
That's not to say 343 is keeping us in the dark through the end of 2020. Jarrard says the studio "[hopes] to offer at least a high-level update within the next few weeks so we can kind of restart this journey together after the holidays." It seems as though 343 and Xbox want to wipe the slate clean and start over with new expectations.
Weekly Discussion Thread [reddit]
ESPN's professional yeller Stephen A. Smith has been paid to calmly narrate a Spider-Man: Miles Morales ad. He's on his best behavior, possibly because the video seems to have been shot in a church.
Is the ad particularly good or interesting? Nope! See for yourself:
That's a big Jake. That's a mean Jake. That's a three-headed Jake.
That's not Jake at all! That's Cerberus and, thanks to an Adventure Time crossover, he's trying to make mince meat of both Finn and Jake. Thankfully, Fenyx swoops in to play mediator.
Ubisoft has released this trailer for an Immortals Fenyx Rising meets Adventure Time collaborative effort. However, it's unclear if this is the beginning of a larger crossover or just an isolated advertisement. The game could very well have some side quest content based on Finn and Jake.
Although Adventure Time wrapped up in 2018, it lives on through a limited-run series of specials that was greenlit by HBO. Later this week, the second one, Obsidian, premieres. There's still Adventure Time content out there, but it isn't exactly plentiful. If there's some more in Immortals Fenyx Rising, it might make the game a can't-miss for fans of the show.
Thus far, Immortals Fenyx Rising is shaping up like a messy love letter to Breath of the Wild. In his preview, Chris noted that the action is coming along nicely but the humor is looking a little rough. It probably wouldn't affect the main story, but Adventure Time could certainly bring something to the table as far as ha-has go.
With game prices going up in the new generation of consoles, it makes more sense than ever before to check out the various gaming subscription services available. Both Sony and Microsoft have their own, and no matter which one you choose, you're bound to find some games you'll love.
That's one of the topics on this episode of Podtoid. CJ, Charlotte, Dan, and Occams come together to talk game subscriptions, Microsoft studio acquisitions, Streets of Rage 4, renting movies on demand, and the Xbox Series S. All that, plus fast food isn't worth going to jail for, on Podtoid Episode 467.
It's hard for me to imagine a better introduction to the PS5 than Demon's Souls – or a more unlikely one. As I said in my review-in-progress, Bluepoint's remake of a once-cult classic feels like a gift.
Tracing back the history of Demon's Souls and thinking about the way From Software has snowballed over the past decade, it's wild to think that a firing-on-all-cylinders remake from Bluepoint was greenlit and given the resources it needed to succeed as an early defining game for a new PlayStation console.
There are plenty of other worthy things calling my name – Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Astro's Playroom, Bugsnax, and a few PS4 games I either want to revisit (like Sekiro) or start for the first time (like Days Gone) now that they're better on PS5 – but every one of them will have to wait. At most, I'll only dabble.
I'm calling it now: for the rest of the year, I'm going to be obsessed with Demon's Souls. That seems like a safe bet. Once is never enough with this series, and the only reason I'm pumping the breaks on my New Game+ run is so that I can get this review written before I tumble further down the rabbit hole.
People are still playing Ghost Recon Breakpoint. These games have a tradition of launching in offensively bad states before gradually morphing into something passable. It's not something that should be celebrated, but I guess it's something we've come to accept. All the while, they maintain surprisingly healthy player bases.
That active player base means Breakpoint is moving forward into the PS5 and Xbox Series X generation. Ubisoft outlined what that means in terms of performance bumps, and it's more or less the minimum we expect from next-gen enhancements. On PS5 and Xbox Series X, you'll get a choice between 4K at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps. The Xbox Series S doesn't have any options, running the game at 1440p at 30fps at all times.
At least there's no funny business accessing the upgrades. Everyone who owns the game on PS4 or Xbox One will be able to immediately access their Breakpoint profile (including purchases and inventory items) on new consoles. Ubisoft has the good sense not to try paywalling this.
Although Ubisoft just detailed these enhancements, it seems as though they were implemented as part of the Breakpoint 3.03 title update on November 9. That means they're available now. Whoever's still playing can now experience Breakpoint looking a little better or running a little better.
Things are about to get weird. Dontnod's Twin Mirror launches in two weeks (it's somehow nearly December already), and that means there's a murder mystery to solve. First, we'll have to figure out how to unlock this dang cell phone. Baby steps.
Dontnod's running an ARG-type thing to promote Twin Mirror. Called "Lost on Arrival," it's a browser-based puzzle game where you have to return a phone to its rightful owner. Sifting through all the apps should give you a decent foundation of information about Twin Mirror's world. Sifting through my preview will do that too.
It's a neat little thing, an experience that took me five-or-so minutes to solve. There's incentive to play it beyond simple background details. Everyone who completes Lost on Arrival will be entered into a drawing to win a Twin Mirror PC made by Gigabyte. There are also 20 copies of the game being given away as second-place prizes. There were no stock photos or specs of this custom PC, but I guess this is kind of what it looks like:
Compile Heart has released an extended gameplay video for Go! Go! 5 Jigen Game Neptune reVerse - the incoming PS5 remake of... erm... another remake, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 Plus, which first launched on PC and PS Vita in 2018.
Go! Go! 5 Jigen will offer a remade re-tread of the original fun-packed adventure, that went on to spawn the cult Hyperdimension Neptunia franchise and its many spin-offs. Players guide a party of characters including Noire, IF, Vert, Blanc and Nep-Nep herself as the battle to save the realm of Gameindustri from the impending "Console War."
The remake will feature a revised and re-balanced battle system, new mini-games, an expanded party, and the opportunity to play the entire cast from the get-go. While Go! Go! 5 Jigen Game Neptune reVerse looks to be a good jumping off point for those new to the franchise, it's undeniably disappointing to see Nep-Nep's first next-gen release is merely a remake of a remake.
Go! Go! 5 Jigen Game Neptune reVerse launches in Japan on PS5 December 17. Compile Heart is yet to announce a western localization.
Fall Guys was extremely en vogue for a month or so, a tour de force that knocked out all other competitors for Video Game Everyone's Talking About. That's bound to happen when you're a high-profile PlayStation Plus freebie. We saw it with Rocket League back in 2015, and Fall Guys perfectly replicated that formula in 2020.
As it turns out, giving your game away on one platform can be a boon to sales on other platforms. In Unity's third-quarter financial report, the game engine company revealed that Fall Guys netted 10 million sales on PC. Assuming a price of $20, that's a maximum revenue of $200 million. That's a monumental achievement for a new property from a small team.
It was similarly popular on PS4, but we have no specifics in terms of paid or free downloads. However, Unity said that Fall Guys went on to become PS Plus' most-downloaded game ever. No one denied that Fall Guys was a smash hit, but now we have a little more context for its success.
In the months since its August release, developer Mediatonic has been grappling with how it can maintain momentum. Fall Guys was shot out of a cannon, white hot at launch and absurdly popular. Its Season 2 update was underwhelming, but a mid-season 2.5 update reworked certain levels to make them way more chaotic. Everyone knows Fall Guys is at its best when it's high chaos and comedy. That's what made Fall Guys the success it is; that's what'll keep Fall Guys from being more than a flash in the pan.
In the first major shakeup in months, the UK Charts welcomed a fistful of brand new releases into its ranks, all vying for the coveted number one spot. When the dust had settled, in what could be seen as something of an upset, Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Valhalla beat out Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War to become the best-selling physical launch of the week.
Ubisoft's head-cleaving open-world adventure debuted at number one, with the rockin '80s Cold War settling for number two. In third place was Sony's pseudo-sequel Spider-Man: Miles Morales. PS5 releases Demon's Souls, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, and Godfall also debuted at numbers six, 13, and 16 respectively. Quite a feat considering the new hardware hasn't even launched on these shores yet!
Once we are past the typically lucrative holiday period, things may start to get a little tougher for the physical sales charts. With a year-on-year shift toward online sales; cheaper, disc-less hardware, and the ongoing string of high-street lockdowns, 2021 and the ninth console generation are set to very much be the era of the digital download.
Nintendo is going hard on Mario's 35th anniversary. We've already gotten Super Mario Bros. 35, Mario 3D All-Stars, and Mario Kart Live, but there's more to come.
This past weekend Nintendo just released the Game & Watch Super Mario Bros. handheld, in fact, and we put it through the paces for a bit. $50 is a lot to spend on two NES Mario titles, a classic Game & Watch minigame, and a clock: but collectors will likely cherish it.
About 35 hours into Assassin's Creed Valhalla, I unlocked the "Silent Viking" achievement for killing 10 consecutive enemies without alerting anyone. It really drove home how different this Assassin's Creed is from all the other Assassin's Creeds. In previous games, maybe Origins or Odyssey, I would've methodically dismantled entire fortresses and earned that same achievement within the first few hours.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla is indiscreet and inelegant. It's a brash spectacle that's more interested in glorifying the toils of war than with quietly subduing and destabilizing the enemy. It's more Viking than assassin, so much that Valhalla feels out of place in the Assassin's Creed lineage. It's a wayward-growing branch on the family tree.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey was the Least Assassin's Creed Game Ever two years ago to great effect. Valhalla strayed too far to its own detriment.
All fans of the gory grid iron have reasons to celebrate, as Cyanide's violent sports title Blood Bowl will be returning in 2021, once again bringing all of the violent action of Games Workshop's classic tabletop title to both PC and current and next-gen platforms.
While there is no official launch date for Blood Bowl 3 as of yet, publisher Nacon has announced that anyone pre-ordering Blood Bowl: Second Season Edition on PC will bag themselves access to a Blood Bowl 3 closed beta, expected to launch in the early months of 2021. The publisher teases that there will be other ways of gaining access, but is yet to reveal them.
Demon's Souls was always the best Souls game. I'm tempted to turn off the comments so you can't "at" me! I mean, I'm not going to do that, but I'm tempted.
Whether you started up this weekend and threw your case across the room in frustration, or you're aiming to go for your second playthrough this week, here are a few tips. These are battle-tested with the remake in mind from a clear this past weekend.
It must have been at least 15 minutes since a new set of warriors joined the mammoth roster of mobile battler Fire Emblem Heroes. Fortunately for all you orb-hoarders, Nintendo has dropped a new trailer, announcing four more characters just dying to fill out your mammoth list of allies.
All hailing from 2002 Game Boy Advance release Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, the Princess of Bern update sees the coming of Captain of the Guard, Melady; muscle-bound mercenary, Dieck; traveling merchant, Merlinus; and finally - the Princess of Bern herself - Guinivere.
THQ Nordic set tongues wagging this weekend, after an Easter egg in RPG SpellForce 3: Fallen God appeared to hint at an incoming Timesplitters 2 remake. The publisher has since peed on the parade, however, confirming that the reference was just a cheeky joke.
Players journeying through the continent of Urgath came across a particularly shady merchant who, among their wares, is willing to sell you the highly wish-listed remake of the classic 2002 shooter sequel. The same merchant also sells you "canceled" games such as Gothic and BioMutant - both of which have had lengthy development periods at THQ Nordic.
This didn't stop fans on the internet from proclaiming the appearance of the hypothetical remake as an official confirmation, which is apparently not the case at all. Speaking to Eurogamer, THQ Nordic has confirmed that the Timesplitters 2 reference is "just an innocent Easter egg" notably available from "a character known especially for not telling the truth."
Of course, this doesn't mean a Timesplitters 2 remake sometime down the line is impossible. Just that fans shouldn't read too deeply into this particular hope-hyping appearance. The dream continues...
Yakuza: Like a Dragon just arrived, and naturally, series producer Daisuke Sato worked on it.
He's a busy man, having worked on the series as a designer from the very start (2005!), and is still with Sega to this day. To that end, Sega recently interviewed him in video form, which led to all sorts of interesting discussions regarding the Yakuza series, as well as...Sonic?
In the video below, Sato notes that he'd love the chance to work on a Sonic game, but would want it to be "completely different" compared to what has been released so far. He says he'd like to "try it" because the brand is so synonymous with Sega as a whole, but wants to put his own spin on it. So, a Sonic Adventure 3 with an open world and Yakuza-like minigames?
Here's the full statement, which starts at roughly 5:45 into the interview:
"It's an IP that I haven't come to before. In the sense that I want to try it...well, Sonic. After all, when you hear Sega you think Sonic. I'd like to get involved once at least. But for me, the so-called Sonic is, well, if I were to do it, I wouldn't do Sonic as it was. I would like to make a completely different Sonic."
Yeah, I can see it. Not only can I see it, I want to see it. Sega doesn't really know what to do with the Sonic series as a whole, yo-yo-ing between really great experiences like Sonic Generations and Sonic Mania, to subpar adventures such as Sonic Forces and Sonic Boom. Sato could be part of the team that gives Sonic a fresh new start.
If you're remotely interested in Sega as a company, or the Yakuza series (probably both?), the whole 25-minute video is worth a watch. Although it's a fairly soft Sega-produced interview, we get some insight into Daisuke Sato's history with the company, as well as some interesting design philosophies.
Activision has launched its newest entry in the billion-dollar Call of Duty series. Black Ops Cold War is, unsurprisingly, a high-gloss, expensive-looking, and punchy action-adventure but its PS4 edition is causing chagrin for a battalion of wannabe war criminals.
In what we'll dub the "Fractured Jaw" glitch, Cold War's PS4 players are finding that the console will randomly de-sync the controller and kill the in-game sound entirely. The game continues to play, but players cannot re-sync their controller, and must force a reset in order to continue playing.
The game-breaking bug seems to be most prevalent in the single-player campaign's third mission (the titular "Fractured Jaw"), although some players have experienced the issue during Multiplayer, Zombies, and even the previously held beta. Personally, I have experienced the issue every single time I've played Fractured Jaw, but not once in any other mode. It's hugely frustrating, and here's hoping Activision will release a fix very soon.
In the meantime, some players are suggesting that going into the PS4's device manager and switching the "Communication" option from Bluetooth to USB in the controller sub menu offers a workaround, though some players have still commented that this did not eliminate the issue for them.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is available now on PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. Look out for our full review coming later this week.
Publisher Microids and developer PlayMagic have issued an apology for the launch state of first-person adventure XIII. The remake of the classic PS2, Xbox, and GameCube release arrived on PS4, PC and Xbox One last week, only to disappoint fans with a myriad of technical issues, a drastic visual redesign, and sub-par gameplay.
In a joint statement, the developer and publisher offered an apology to fans for the final product, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as having impacted the game's development in numerous ways, while promising multiple fixes and free in-game content to arrive down the line.
"We hear loud and clear the legitimate criticism and disappointment," begins the statement. "First and foremost, we would like to offer our most sincere apologies for the game's technical issues. In its present state, XIII does not meet our quality standards and we fully understand players' frustrations."
"The pandemic has impacted the game's production on many levels. Pivoting to home working for the teams has added unexpected delays in the development schedule and the QA process. We hoped we would be able to provide a Day One patch fixing all the issues but the development of this update is taking more time than expected [...] We are aiming to please all the XIII fans and we'll work relentlessly to achieve our goal."
Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin has been a long time coming, and even though it's dropping in a super crowded release week, I'm thrilled to see this spunky rice-growing action-RPG platformer finally come out.
As a laid-back agricultural sim with monster-whacking side-scrolling action bits, it's a pretty chill game, one you can throw yourself into for 20 hours or slowly but surely complete over a few months.
I had high hopes coming in – maybe too high? – but there's still a lot to like here. Especially the rice.
Playing Bugsnax while starting a diet is probably not the ideal way to enjoy the game. I'm sitting here doing my best to not think about food and the Grumpuses of this island keep asking me to chase down grinders with googly eyes or cinnamon roll snails. Or fiery bowls of ramen. Or Bungers.
God I could go for a Bunger right now.
[Destructoid user Ninjaspeed is here to remind you just how fantastic some of the soundtracks for Sega games are and make a case for a rhythm-based Sega All-Stars revival. They definitely sold me on the concept.
I hate karaoke in real life, but if you don't absolutely adore Yakuza 0's wonderfully over-the-top karaoke minigame, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you will probably never truly be capable of experiencing love. It's amazing, and the absurdity of seeing a dangerous killing machine let loose and bust out the trusty old air guitar after a few drinks is something legitimately special.
If Sega could tighten up the actual gameplay into a full-fledged rhythm game starring Sonic and the cast from the many other delightful games published under its name, while still opting for the fun visual delivery in Yakuza, we could absolutely be looking at a total banger. - Kevin]
In 2012, I was beyond hyped for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. The tracks, characters, and game mechanics looked amazing. I had a blast playing it, and I wasn't sure how the developers at Sumo Digital could surpass the quality of this game in a future installment. I suppose Sega felt the same way, since the Sega All-Stars series has been on hiatus ever since.
We're on the cusp of a new generation of consoles, and Ubisoft has three(!) massive open-world games coming over the span of just a few weeks. And while the environments the developers there create just keep getting better, the same can't be said about the faces of the people who populate these places.
That's just one of the topics on this episode of Podtoid. CJ, Chris, Dan, and Charlotte come together to talk Watch Dogs: Legion, Bugsnax, The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope, PS5 storage space, and Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. All that, plus adorable White House dogs, on Podtoid Episode 466.
If you haven't noticed...we've been busy!
These past few weeks we've all been working on various projects, from (now) current-to-previous-gen, and it's time to celebrate the fruits of our labor...with a big list! Below, you'll find all of our coverage so far, including hardware rundowns and individual reviews or impressions pieces. As more games are covered in the coming weeks, we'll add them to this list.
I know the world is crazy right now, but I hope that through the comments section and our quickposts/community blogs, we can continue to connect and make sense of it all, together. Whether you've picked up a console already...or you're waiting for yours to ship...or you aren't getting one until 2021...or you're waiting for me to stop talking about new consoles...be safe out there!
[The platforms in parenthesis in the below lists denote the platform we tested/covered.]
Cblogs Recap: Week 46
Hamster Corp. continues in its ongoing efforts to deliver a weekly string of classic arcade titles to modern platforms. This week's release is one of the coolest shmup titles from Konami's golden era, Gradius II, now available to download on Nintendo Switch.
Hitting arcades in 1988, Gradius II (or "Vulcan Vulture") is the sequel to one of the most iconic and influential space shmups of all-time. Once again, the swift and super-powered fighter, Vic Viper, takes to the skies to battle the remnants of the once-defeated Bacterion Empire. Combining elements of the original Gradius and its 1986 spin-off Life Force, Gradius is another slick, action-packed shmup, still holding its own decades later.