Rainbow Six Siege Y5S4 new Operator and map rework confirmed, full details

Ubisoft have revealed their final Year 5 update for the hugely popular Tom Clancy shooter, Rainbow Six Siege.

Showcased during the November Six Major (which was originally meant to be hosted live in the Netherlands) Year 5 Season 4 (Y5S4) Operation: Neon Dawn is expected to launch this December with a new playable Operator, a new map rework, and other game-changing features.

A new teaser for this latest season update was made available ahead of the Y5S4 reveal and can be seen below.

New Operator: Aruni

Headlining Rainbow Six Siege Y5S4 is a new Thai Operator named Aruni. She's a defender with medium speed and medium armour, her playstyle defined by the new Surya Gate gadget. This device can be thrown, covering windows, doors, and hatches with a Tron-like laser wall that will destroy any projectiles and drones that pass through it. The lasers will also inflict third degree burns on attacking Operators, biting into their health – defenders will be able to safely pass through, however. When triggered the Surya Gate will need to recharge, though the device can't be shot to deactivate it completely.

A quick preview of Aruni's loadout includes the Mk14 EBR and P10 Roni submachine gun as her primary weapon choices, paired with the PRB92 sidearm. As for equipment, you can either take Barbed Wire or Proximity Alarms, dialling Aruni's defensive capabilities up that little bit higher. Another cool highlight with this new Operator is her bionic arm which can punch holes through breakable surfaces.

Map Rework: Skyscraper

Next up, we have the highly anticipated rework for Skyscraper. Instead of adding new maps to the current rotation, the team at Ubisoft have been going back to improve existing ones, making them more viable for competitive play while responding to community feedback. This updated version of Skyscraper offers a new angle of attack with players able to rappel up onto the roof. Entryways and balconies have been removed/repositioned to discourage camping too with the whole map receiving a visual upgrade.

Other Gameplay Features

That's not all Siege fans can expect from the Y5S4 update. Ubisoft have also tweaked several Operators, the first of which we'll look at is Hibana. Her X-KAIROS 40 mm calibre launcher has been adjusted, allowing players to shoot 2, 4, or 6 projectiles instead of the default 6, meaning you can manage Hibana's resources better.

Meanwhile, Echo's Yokai gadget will be much less ghostlier as we push into Y5S4, losing its invisibility to encourage better strategic, skill-based play. Another defender undergoing changes is Jäger whose ADS gadget will have infinite charges instead of 2, though has a 10-second cooldown between activations.

Other changes include a runout timer decrease to 1 second to prevent defenders from stalking map spawn points. Ubisoft have also looked into how gadgets interact, specifically mentioning how sticky gadgets will latch onto bulletproof defences more efficiently, Ash's Breaching Rounds vs. Melusi's Banshee being given as an example.

There's no elite skin this time around though Ubisoft have announced their Sixth Guardian initiative, selling charity cosmetic packs.

Rainbow Six Siege Y5S4 Summary

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

We don't have a confirmed release date for Rainbow Six Siege Y5S4 Operation: Neon Dawn though given the launch pattern of previous seasons, it should be going in December.

Astro's Playroom Review – The first game you should play on PlayStation 5

Plugging in a new games console for the first time, there's always a question over what you're going to play on it first. With PlayStation 5 you might be looking forward to a first party exclusive like Spider-Man: Miles Morales or Demon's Souls, or you might have been holding off for a few days to experience Watch Dogs Legion or Dirt 5 at its best, but let me tell you this: you should play Astro's Playroom. I mean… it's free and it comes preinstalled, so why wouldn't you?

Every era of PlayStation needs a characterful platforming star as its family-friendly mascot, and Astro has seemingly taken on that mantle from Sackboy – I'm sure Sackboy will have some expressive emote in response to this. Astro is simply charming, with his back-leaning running animation or as he spots your camera panning around him and waves, and all his animations have a hyperactivity to them – it barely takes a few seconds before he'll whip out a PSVR headset or drop to the floor to play PS Vita. That's really why he's the new mascot: he is PlayStation, he shares the two-tone design of the PS5 and PSVR before it, he lives in a world that is utterly obsessed with everything PlayStation – the game as a whole is celebration of everything to do with Sony's gaming brand.

The game is split up into four distinct areas, highlighting the PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 eras with all manner of collectable trinkets to find. There's the consoles themselves, of course, their iconic DualShock controllers, and even more obscure things like the PocketStation, the PS Move gun accessories, PS2 network adapter, and so much more. Each area also represents different parts of the PS5 architecture. Cooling Springs starts off on a beach with a giant fan overlooking before you head inside, while the SSD Speedway has plenty of wooshing flying vehicles and rocketry.

It's presented in a lovely visual style, running at 4K with a perfectly smooth 60fps while showing off many of the new visual techniques that the PS5 can offer. Astro's design has plenty of metallic elements, the back of his head reflecting the worlds he's exploring and making use of the PS5's ray tracing as it does so. There are limits to how far they can push the ray tracing though, as shown in the PlayStation Labo area where all your collectables are displayed. As you run around and slap things, you might notice how quickly the ray traced reflections on all the shiny surfaces drop off and make way for standard cube maps, and how they only seem to appear at certain angles even on perfectly shiny surfaces like the original PS3. As much as ray tracing is talked up for the next generation, this is another sign that it will have to be used in moderation.

When you get down to it, Astro's Playroom isn't really about graphics and collecting cute trinkets, it's about the DualSense controller. It opens with a tour of the controller's capabilities, from the haptic rumble to the adaptive triggers at their most violent excess, from the motion sensors to the touchpad, to how the loudspeaker is now paired with a microphone.

Astro's Playroom does not hold back in using all of these elements at every possible opportunity. Simply running around the world, his little footsteps are accompanied by little tip-taps from the haptic motors that change in strength and texture depending on the surface he's running on. That's augmented by having the sounds of his running fed through the little speaker on the controller.

It doesn't take long before you're zipping (with the touchpad) Astro into a springy frog suit, that you power up by pulling on the triggers that resist your pressure, before letting loose and directing his jump with the motion controls. Then there's the monkey suit, where you're tilting with the motion controls to reach before grabbing onto handholds with the triggers that offer an additional click as you depress them past the midpoint, or rattles your fingers as you swing and grab onto bouncy ropes. Or there's the ball which is a showcase for the way that the haptic motors can relay different feeling textures to you, from the different between road and sand, from juddering metallic rumble strips to bouncing over uneven rocks. It's truly impressive how effectively it conveys all these elements through the controller.

It's pretty clear that this game is intended as a showcase, as a tech demo not far removed in intent to PlayStation VR Worlds. It uses all the DualSense's capabilities to their gimmicky maximum, where most games will use these effects more sparingly as more of an additive instead of the main attraction. You might be finished with it after a couple of hours, but Astro's Playroom will feel special for quite some time to come.

Then again, it can also feel a bit much. Unless you've got your TV pumping out sound at its loudest, the default volume of the DualSense speaker becomes pretty obnoxious within minutes with so much audio piped through it – I turned it down to around 30-40% of its volume in the system settings.

Speaking of audio, the soundtrack is cheery and chirpy, but it's all endlessly looping eight bar refrains that goes beyond being a catchy earworm to the wrong kind of infectious by the time you reach the end of a level. Not only that, but you can't turn the music down or off, and it actively gets in the way of letting you appreciate some of the spatial audio effects that the game can produce. Pop a set of USB or DualSense-connected headphones on and you'll surely want to hear things wooshing past you clearly, but you'll get an earful of repetitive music that drowns it out.

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered Review

As the current generation starts to slow down and the new batch of consoles promise to essentially upgrade swathes of your old games, it's likely that we'll see fewer and fewer remasters, deluxe or definitive editions in the coming years. That could well mean that Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered is part of a dying breed. If that is the case, you'd have hoped that EA would make sure that this re-buffing, spit and polishing sub-genre went out on a high. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered is certainly welcome, but it's not the best example of a returning classic we've ever seen.

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit was a truly great Need for Speed game. Released in 2010, its iconic position in the franchise is due in part to the fact that it was developed by Criterion Games, the team behind the Burnout series. While it carries the Need of Speed name, Hot Pursuit melded the two franchises together, creating a fast and brash arcade racer that stood head and shoulders above the other racers of the time.

Set amongst the undulating hills of Seacrest County, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered's primary goal has been to buff the ten-year-old game back up to a top-end 4K shine. On PS4 Pro and Xbox One X you've got the option of Quality or Performance visuals, with Performance aiming for a 60fps refresh rate that it manages to hit most of the time, at least on Xbox One X.

Being honest, a Quality-style setting feels unnecessary for any racing game, and that's true here, with the few extra visual bells and whistles little reward when you're sacrificing the smoother frame rate. Sadly, the regular PS4 and Xbox One have to suffer along with 30fps, which is exactly the same as the original game. When we're on the cusp of another generation, 30fps racing games feel like a remnant of the past.

Hot Pursuit Remastered provides a clean and attractive image. The cars are suitably shiny, though they're never going to match up with a modern racer like Forza Horizon 4 or GT Sport for fidelity. Still, considering this is a ten-year-old game they look very good indeed. Seacrest County does show its age though, with simplistic textures and basic assets. Fortunately you're whizzing along at such a lick most of the time that you'll barely notice.

If we're being mildly unkind, Hot Pursuit Remastered's appearance this year is probably just to keep the franchise's name in the public consciousness. If we're being doubly unkind to the franchise, it's probably better than the last three mainline games. Despite the advancements that we've seen from the franchise in the last few years – and the soft spot I have for Payback – Hot Pursuit's focussed and fun series of events is the perfect antidote to open-world maps littered with more things to do than any human really needs.

The remaster includes every car from the original, plus all of the extra ones that were added via DLC, but it still feels like there's a restrictive list of cars to choose from. All 77 are performance-style vehicles, but when every second car is a Lambourghini or Porsche, it loses a lot of the impact. The game throws new cars at you like candy, but you soon discover that it's not as sweet as it seems.

Like a long-lost friend, Autolog is back. The once revolutionary social system pits you and your friends in a constant battle for car-based supremacy. As you hit the main menu you'll see your friend's achievements and progress, and if you head on over to Autolog Recommends it'll provide you with a curated list of events where a friend has posted a better time. You can then attempt, over and over again, to set things right and put them back in their place.

It's still a fantastic way to engender competition, but it feels as though you're going to need to commit as a collective if you're going to get the most of it. The TV advert makes a big deal of restarting conflicts that you were embroiled in ten years ago, but with a chunk of my friends about to stump up all of their cash for new consoles and next-gen games, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered would have been the perfect game to arrive six months ago. Not only that, but while the advert seems to imply otherwise, there's no sign of your times from last generation so you are starting from scratch. It's a shame, but it feels like a game that's truly out of time.

One thing that might help with that is the addition of cross-play. No matter what platform you're playing on, you can grab some friends from either the green, red, black or blue camp to tear up the road in Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered. It's truly universal.

Of course, if you don't want to play with anyone else, whether it's filthy Sony fanboys, PC master racers or those N00bs on Xbox, you can turn the whole internet connectivity thing off. When the social aspects are so important, and probably limited by player numbers, I don't think you can afford to be picky.

Tokyo in video games: a brief history

When do you recall first seeing Tokyo? For me, it might have been the same time as when Bill Murray opened his jetlagged eyes, peering out of his limousine and taking in the assault of neon signs around him at night in Lost in Translation. Nowadays however, it's not hard to instantly recognise Japan's capital city, which in itself has become synonymous with video games. We can't get enough of virtual recreations of real-life places, undoubtedly why playing Watch Dogs Legion in London is an exciting prospect for many, but I can't think of a city more represented in games than Tokyo.

It wasn't always like that however. Even as someone who grew up on Japanese games, I don't recall playing any that were explicitly Japanese, mostly because those were either only available as imports or localised in such a way to appeal to a Western market. Super Mario doesn't immediately cry out as a Japanese creation, Sonic the Hedgehog was designed to target an American audience, RPGs took inspiration from Western tropes, while Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid had American settings.

My first taste of Japan in games then didn't happen until the Dreamcast era, incidentally the first and only time I imported a console at launch. Due to its lacklustre launch line-up apart from Virtua Fighter 3tb, I also bought a copy of the Japan-exclusive Godzilla Generations. A truly god-awful game that basically lets you control a tanky version of the famous kaiji, and a few other unlockable variants, stomping around cities with nary a challenge.

And yet, I imagine the appeal for Japanese players was that it allowed you to wreak havoc on real Japanese cities, as the big lad made its way from the shores of Fukuoka to Osaka all the way to Tokyo. I'm pretty certain it's still one of the first games to realistically represent their cities – like not 1:1 accuracy but you can certainly spot famous landmarks like Osaka Castle or Tokyo Tower amidst other buildings that crumble like cardboard on a cheap tokusatsu set. No doubt this was the first time we were able to see these representations because of the Dreamcast's graphics and processing power.

This would also be the start of a distinct Japanese identity making itself visible in the mainstream, especially with the Dreamcast's big expensive killer app Shenmue that put players in the shoes of a Japanese high school martial artist on a quest for revenge. That was admittedly set in the small harbour town of Yokosuka, in real life about an hour's train ride away from Tokyo. But the capital plays a recurring role in other Dreamcast titles, including Jet Set Radio and Metropolis Street Racer, the latter which did model its setting on the real thing.

It's perhaps no surprise that Sega takes inspiration from Tokyo as it's after all its home, even though at the time its headquarters were in a rather bland corporate space nearby Haneda International Airport – that said, Tetsuya Mizuguchi opted to have his division United Artists – responsible for the rhythmic delights of Rez and Space Channel 5 – based in the cooler hub of Shibuya. Of course, they're far from the only developer in Tokyo, but the still prominent visibility of Sega from its arcade centres does make the place more like their backyard, and where annual Sega Fes celebrations also take place.

They would then take this even further on PlayStation 2 with the beginning of the Yakuza series. It's as close as a Japanese studio has done in creating a game set in an open world city in the vein of the Grand Theft Auto series, albeit in a more intimate scale, confined to the small but dense and seedy district of Kamurocho, based on the real-life Kabukicho in Shinjuku.

On PS2 tech, there were limitations to what could be done, with a camera often fixed and looking down from above, while the game would momentarily pause as you reached another street to load up the next section. But even as a fictionalised version of a real place, the developers put a lot of attention to detail in its realism, bolstered by licences such as the now iconic Don Qujiote bargain chain store on the street corner, which it continues iterating on with each subsequent entry.

Kiryu's saga might take him to new places as far as Osaka or Hiroshima, but you're always back in Kamurocho like a second home. The city as a character does get bandied around a lot these days, but I think it resonates most truly for Kamurocho, which you gradually become intimately acquainted with, eventually feeling like a local yourself, as you pop into Kyushu No. 1 Star for its house Char Siu Ramen or see what new games are in the Club Sega centres. With each iteration, it looks more visually impressive while buildings and businesses also change over time, much like Tokyo itself.

But it's one of those places that when you actually get to visit it for yourself that you realise just how remarkably recognisable Kamurocho is to Kabukicho, even after taking into account the embellishments such as the Millennium Tower or the way they've had to condense Golden Gai into the Champions District. It's that ability to capture an experience at ground level that really makes it more memorable than larger but ultimately empty open worlds.

It does make me wonder what it would be like if a big budget studio like Ubisoft were to ever incorporate the city into one of their own games like The Division or Watch Dogs. Imagine those resources going to recreate Tokyo in mouth-watering detail whereas a game like Persona 5 has to make do with trying to capture its many facets with postcard-like backdrops. Yet I'm not sure technological grunt, money and photogrammetry necessarily means a more realistic city.

In attempting to make up for my cancelled trip to Japan this year, I tried using Flight Simulator to fly over Tokyo. As others may have discovered with most non-US cities, including London, the tech has limitations, so while artists may have added a few proper landmarks, a lot more has been left out. Suffice to say, my attempts to fly over Shinjuku or Shibuya, or even the area of Asakusa where I previously stayed at, were somewhat disappointing.

In contrast, if I wanted to feel immersed in Tokyo, Atlus succeeds despite its limitations. Playing Persona 5, it captures the sense of confusion of trying to figure out how its subway system works, and the way new destinations pop up just a train ride away make sense of a huge bustling metropolis where you're gradually discovering new exciting places to hang out.

Ultimately, I think it comes down to them being Tokyo developers and knowing the city like the back of their hand. You don't need a 1:1 virtual map for the player to wander around so long as a few frames are able to evoke a sense of a place or reveal little details that an outsider wouldn't pick up on (this is done equally well in anime like Steins;Gate or Makoto Shinkai's films). Yes, you've got the touristy spots like the Scramble Crossing or Hachiko's statue in Persona 5, but then there's also the remote suburban backstreets of Yongenjaya, based on the real-life Sangenjaya, the same district where Atlus is based.

Yet what I find these games get most authentic about Tokyo (although it arguably applies to Japan in general) is on a more mundane level. It's the presence of those drink vending machines and hot fried snack counters at the front of a convenience store. Ridiculous or not, that's what I find myself missing the most about Tokyo: starting the morning with a can of hot coffee from a machine while by night I can wind down with the comfort of cheap and tasty karaage from the local Lawson. Seeing these presented in-game with such attention to detail then couldn't feel more authentically Japanese.

Tekken 7 Season 4 launch trailer drops ahead of this week's release

Bandai Namco has released the launch trailer for Tekken 7 Season 4, with the footage highlighting what will be coming in the first batch when the new season starts on November 10th. The character Kunimitsu is the obvious main attraction for the first part of the season. Her costume sets will include Regular set, Urban Ninja set, and Tenko set. The first batch of content also adds the Vermilion Gates stage. You can check out Kunimitsu in action in this new trailer.

That is not all that Season 4 of Tekken 7 is bringing. There is going to be a huge balance update with new moves being added for every character on the roster. The user interface is also being overhauled to make the main menu look cleaner, and the health bar will also be tweaked. The netcode has also been updated for Season 4 so responses are quicker when fighting online. A player's Tekken Prowess will be shown by a score system showing just how you and your opponents compare, with name colour changing as the score increases. The rank system will have a new rank added to it, and that rank is called Tekken God Omega. A Pacman 40th anniversary collaboration is taking place for a limited time with a new Pacman arena stage. The next new character and stage will arrive in Spring 2021.

If you're yet to play Tekken 7 here's what Dave wrote in his review:

Tekken 7 is a phenomenal fighting game experience and one I'd highly recommend. It's by no means perfect, as the game is not without a few technical issues online, some long loading times, and minor continuity errors, yet as far as most people will be concerned, it delivers a stunning, up-to-date fighting game experience from one of the masters of arcade fighting games. A solid return to form.

You can read the full Tekken 7 review here.

Source: YouTube

I Am Dead Review

There are a lot of tales about people hanging around after they have died as a ghost, usually due to a spot of unfinished business. A number of these stories are deeply macabre, with a lot of focus on things like murder and revenge. I Am Dead is different. This is a tale about a ghost called Morris Lupton who is reunited with his dog Sparky, and together they head out on a mission to save their home of Shelmerston island.

One of the best words to describe I Am Dead is quaint and charming. Morris is a kindly soul who spent his time on Earth creating a museum for Shelmerston to document the island's history, but even he doesn't know all the stories. In death, Morris learns that Shelmerston's volcano is ready to erupt because the island spirit, called the Custodian, is weakening after keeping the island calm for so long. Morris' job is to find a suitable replacement.

There are five candidates to choose from, all of whom are other ghosts, but they are not easy to track down. Instead, the way Morris has to track them down is to find objects that were important to these people in life and there are a couple of steps. First is finding people with memories of the deceased and then listening to those memories. There is some interactive element here as your move forward and back through a series of images that warp into one another, a bit like a kaleidoscope. You must get each image clear before being able to move onto the next part and hearing the next part of the memory. The memories show the object you need to find and the stories themselves hold some clues.

After finding out what the object is you have to find it. I Am Dead is a hidden object game with its own little twist. As a ghost Morris has the ability to slice through objects, which means his vision can pierce through different layers of items. This is undeniably helpful since he can't actually hold anything what with being a ghost. Each person you are searching for has a location that they were tied to and you will move around these places searching through objects. If you follow the clues most of the objects are quite easy to find but some can be head scratchers, and you have to think a little bit outside the box. The controls can be a little strange, with rotations feeling a bit sluggish, but overall the gameplay experience is smooth.

Outside of the objects are other hidden creatures called Gremkins who are connected to the island spirit. Sparky can sniff out their general location, but you have to rotate and slice through objects until they are in a specific state before the Gremkins show themselves. These are optional to find but do add to the puzzle nature of I Am Dead.

I Am Dead has a pleasing visual design to it with a simplicity that is eye catching. There's also a satisfying amount of lore to delve into, and you can spend quite a lot of time just reading the descriptions of objects across locations to learn more about Shelmerston and its people. The stories themselves touch upon everything from love, animal protection, and the island's mysteries.

Something for the Weekend – 07/11/20

It's been a hella busy week, as we've had not one, but two next-gen consoles to review. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are both exceptional new bits of gaming hardware with power to push stunning graphics and/or high frame rates, carefully considered designs and interesting new possibilities, especially with the DualSense controller.

So… let's break with the usual format and start this week's round up with our console reviews. I hope you like my dinosaur planter!

Next-Gen Consoles in Review

I have a feeling that many of you in the comments will be more interested in our PlayStation 5 review. We separately discuss the capabilities of the DualSense controller as well, and how it truly transforms the feel of games.

We also took a long hard look Microsoft's rival in our Xbox Series X review, describing it as "the continuity candidate" for next-gen gaming. It's still powerful, fast and nigh on silent, but as we look at the nigh on identical new Xbox controller, will that be enough?

The consoles done, let's check in on the news, and then visit some of the cross-gen and next-gen games we've been able to review.

In the News This Week

Games in Review

It was another strong week for the reviews, proving that this generation is ending on a high:

Featured Articles

Stepping away from the reviews, Francis Kenna blogged about Shadow of the Colossus and 15 years of storytelling mastery. Alan Wen also joined us to look back at the legacy of the Yakuza series, by ranking every Yakuza game from worst to best. Alan also interviewed Mizuki Hosoyamada on Puyo Puyo Tetris 2and some of its new ideas and inspirations.

Steve said that Twin Mirror looks set to be the culmination of Dontnod's work so far, and I went hands on with Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition on PlayStation 5, soaking in its super sexy frame rates with the 120fps mode, and its thoroughly next-gen ray tracing effects.

Finally, What We Played featured Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X as our gaming highlights.

Trailer Park

Demon's Souls State of Play released, watch 12 minutes of PS5 gameplay

Watch nine minutes of Assassin's Creed Valhalla gameplay captured on Xbox Series X

Godfall's launch trailer has landed, see some more gameplay here

Outriders post campaign content is called Expeditions, will feature the toughest challenges

Your Achievements

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

  • Crazy_Del got us going by completing the Star Wars Squadrons single player, started Watch Dogs Legion and is hoping to snatch his 499th platinum trophy with Diablo III this weekend.
  • Earning his 14th platinum trophy, hornet1990 has been playing Horizon Zero Dawn. He'll take a break before he returns for the Frozen Wilds DLC, but with what?
  • MrYd has spent a lot of time in VR with Star Wars Squadrons and No Man's Sky, while checking out Rage 2 and Warhammer: Vermintide 2 from PS Now.
  • It's been more Bloodborne for TSBonyman who has returned to an old save to see if he could get any further. (Spoiler: he couldn't!)
  • And to celebrate getting his internet access back, Andrewww has finally finished off The Last of Us Part II.

Well that's it for this week, I'll see you again soon!

Mass Effect Trilogy confirmed for 2021, new Mass Effect title in production

UDPATE: It has been official confirmed.

It's tough keeping a big secret (and we really struggled to keep this one a surprise) but now it's official: today we announced Mass Effect Legendary Edition! We've heard (for years!) your requests for a Mass Effect remaster, so we're super happy to finally reveal that we've been working on a remastered edition of the Mass Effect trilogy.

For many months now, our team at BioWare has been hard at work updating the textures, shaders, models, effects and technical features of three enormous games. Our goal was not to remake or reimagine the original games, but to modernize the experience so that fans and new players can experience the original work in its best possible form. It's been amazing to see the adventures of Commander Shepard take on new life in super-sharp resolution, faster framerates, and beautiful visual enhancements. As game developers, we always hope that our games will transcend their original platforms. Having the opportunity to remaster the trilogy means that the fruits of a decade of our work will live on, and will be experienced better and clearer than ever before.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition will include single-player base content and DLC from Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3, plus promo weapons, armors, and packs – all remastered and optimized for 4k Ultra HD. It will be available in Spring 2021 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, with forward compatibility and targeted enhancements on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. More information to come in the new year!

Meanwhile here at BioWare, a veteran team has been hard at work envisioning the next chapter of the Mass Effect universe. We are in early stages on the project and can't say any more just yet, but we're looking forward to sharing our vision for where we'll be going next.

For me personally, Mass Effect represents years of work and countless special memories, so every year I feel incredibly fortunate to celebrate N7 Day with players around the world. Thank you so much for supporting us over the years. I can't wait to continue our adventure together – revisiting our favorite memories in the Mass Effect universe, and creating brand new ones!


Original story below…

Gamespot have pressed a button a few minutes to early and have leaked the Mass Effect Trilogy remasters, which is to be called the Mass Effect: Legendary, for console on PC. These will not be full remakes but rather remasters with all the DLC included. We are promised better frame rates, improved resolutions and textures, and better shaders.

They have also confirmed they are working on the "next chapter of the Mass Effect universe" that is being developed by a "veteran team".

The Mass Effect Trilogy remasters have leaked many times of the past year. Czech retailer HerniSvet was the latest store to list the Mass Effect Trilogy remasters. Once again the game is listed for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch, with a release date in October, the same as the previous leaks, however that does not appear to be teh case anymore.

A user on Reddit translated the text and it seems to indicate that multiplayer will be included which is something new, but Bioware have not officially confirmed that either.  T

Previously Portuguese retailer GamingReplay also listed the game, although they had different box art.

In July we found out that "Art of the Mass Effect Trilogy: Expanded Edition" will be hitting store shelves next year on March 23rd and, like previous Mass Effect art books and graphic novels, will be published by Dark Horse Comics. It seems very odd that a book based on game that hasn't been on the shelves since 2017 is being published in 2021, that is unless there's a new/old game on the way.

Then, in August GamesBeat journalist Jeff Grub who claims the remastered games may be out this October.  "Up until like this last week, I know the plan for sure was to announce it in early October, release in later in October. So good news," he said on the Gamesbeat podcast. However, he then tempered expectations by adding "Maybe bad news, it's 2020, maybe that could start to slip, it sounds like maybe that's a possibility, nothing for sure yet. I know it's real. I've seen more than enough evidence to know it's real, but it's still 2020 and they haven't announced it yet."

EA have never officially announced the remastered trilogy but there have been many reports of the games existing. The last game in the series, Mass Effect: Andromeda, was a commercial flop and DLC that was planned for the game was scrapped. That said, the game got decent reviews including an 8/10 from ourselves.

I found it hard to be excited during the opening hours of Mass Effect: Andromeda. It feels too safe, too much like what's gone before, but then it clicks. There's a moment where the galaxy opens up and you find yourself embarking once more on a huge mission across compelling, beautifully constructed planets, surrounded by memorable characters. Sadly the glut of technical missteps serve to cheapen proceedings, but this is still an adventure you don't want to miss out on.

Source: ResterEra

Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered comes with two new suits

Insomniac Games has confirmed the additional content that PS5 players will get when Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered is released for the console. That new content is two new suits with those suits being the Arachnid Rider and Armored Advanced suits. It is likely these suits will also be added to the PS4 version of Marvel's Spider-Man at a later date. Of course the new suits are not the only differences PS5 players will experience differently to PS4 players.

Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered will run in dynamic 4K at 60 fps, and the adaptive triggers of the DualSense will give players the feeling of shooting webbing. The DualSense's haptic feedback will also be used to immerse you into the world with gadgets almost being felt in your own hand while using them. The sounds will be more improved than the PS4 version due to the PS5's Tempest 3D AudioTech which will allow players to pinpoint sounds, and hear things that would have been missed on the PS4. Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered launches alongside Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and in our review for that Jim wrote:

Spider-Man: Miles Morales feels like more of a sequel than it is a stopgap, entangling players within its web of cleverly refined mechanics while delivering some familiar web-slinging thrills. A heroic technical showcase for PS5 owners picking up their consoles on day one, this meaty side story in the Spider-Man saga has us even more excited than before to see what Insomniac Games have planned next.
You can read the full Spider-Man: Miles Morales review here. Both Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales will be launch day titles for the PS5, with Miles Morales also releasing on PS4. PS5 owners can get both games in the Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition.
Source: Twitter

Watch nine minutes of Assassin's Creed Valhalla gameplay captured on Xbox Series X

Ubisoft and Microsoft have partnered up to show off nine new gameplay minutes of Assassin's Creed: Valhalla captured off the Xbox Series X. The footage starts in the Viking settlement of Ravensthorpe which, as Eivor, you can renovate as you see fit with more buildings and items becoming available as you journey through the game. Within the settlement is the war table where all quest arcs are first detailed and give player choices such as military conquest or arranging marriages.

The footage then moves to river raids. Here players take a small band of warriors and sail in a boat along the rivers. From there you strike Saxon targets where you can find special resources to upgrade the settlement and unlock buildings. After the raiding comes the fighting and here the brutality is not held back. You see axes get thrown at enemies while others get beheaded. The fighting section also shows the variety of enemies you will face which includes the wildlife and a boss. Exploration is also highlighted in this footage and it shows off a variety of environments from settlements, forests, and mountainous areas. There is a bit of footage of the raven flying around and spotting opportunities for Eivor too.

Stealth is also shown in the footage and it will be a core part of the game considering Vikings were seen as invaders by the Saxons. The footage shows the return of social stealth where you can blend in with crowds or sitting on benches. Stealth is not just about blending in though but also a tactical choice when scouting out areas that will be dangerous to Eivor. Stealth skills can highlight nearby enemies and resources. The final area explored in the footage are myth worlds. These worlds are entered through speaking to Seer who gives you drinks to open your mind. This leads to vision quests with one of the places to explore being Asgard.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla is launching on the 10th of November, a week earlier than previously announced, to line up with the launch of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. The game will be be releasing for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia. For the home consoles, if you're not hitting the next-gen on day one there's free cross-gen upgrades, like using Smart Delivery on Xbox.

Source: YouTube

You can't backup PS5 games on an external HDD, but you can on Xbox Series X|S

We've known for a long time now that PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S games can only be played when they are installed to the SSD, leading to many being concerned about how many games they'd be able to install with the 825GB SSD in PS5 and the 512GB and 1TB SSDs in the two new Xbox boxes.

Many hoped that you could backup and store next-gen games on an external drive to save having to download things again. As the review embargoes have dropped over the last few days – we discuss this matter in both our PlayStation 5 review and Xbox Series X review – we can now share how these next-gen consoles allow you to manage game installs.

PlayStation 5 does not let you move a PS5 game from the internal SSD to an external drive in any way, meaning you cannot back them up or archive PS5 games and can only delete them if you need to clear SSD space for something else. The only other option you have is to perform a full system backup.

In essence, the PS5 sees an external expansion drive purely as a device for storing backward compatible PS4 games to be stored on. In the settings, you can toggle to have PS4 games installed automatically to an external drive. You will, however, only see meaningfully improved load times if you install PS4 games to the internal SSD.

Meanwhile, on Xbox Series X|S, you can happily copy or move Series X|S optimised games to an external drive. When you select to do so a warned appears in the bottom left hand corner to inform you that the game will not run from an external drive, and it is then marked with a twin arrow symbol in your game library. If you try to open an X|S optimised game while it is installed on an external drive, a pop up will appear asking you to copy it back to the SSD in order to play.

All the next-gen consoles offer ways to expand the SSD storage, with a semi-custom expansion drive slot on the back the Xbox consoles that accommodates the pricey 1TB Seagate SSDs. These are a match for the speed of the internal drive and will be available next week alongside the new consoles. For PlayStation 5, Sony have adopted the industry standard M.2 NVME SSD format, but will pre-approve certain SSD models that they deem to be fast enough to match the internal SSD. While there are several candidates that are now available, Sony have yet to announce any drives as being compatible. Hopefully that happens soon…

The Medium has been delayed until January 2021 for Xbox Series X|S and PC

Bloober Team has announced it is delaying the release of the PC and Xbox Series X|S title The Medium until January 28th 2021. This announcement comes approximately a month after the developer had confirmed that the release date would have been December 10th. The reason for this quick change decision regarding The Medium's release date has been made due to both the current state of COVID 19 in Poland, and the release of other games in that same window. While it is not specifically mentioned, one of those games is likely to be Cyberpunk 2077 which is now slated to be released on December 10th. Bloober Team's statement is below.

After much careful thought and consideration, today we have made the difficult decision to delay the launch of The Medium to January 28, 2021. It wasn't an easy choice to make, but one made due to the COVID-19 situation in Poland, as well as the current schedule of other games in the market. Bloober Team remains committed to delivering our biggest, most ambitious, fear inducing experience to date. The additional development time will allow us to add further polish, ensuring we deliver our innovative, genre pushing vision of interactive psychological horror. Rest assured, the delay will not stop us sharing information with you, and you can expect us to unravel a few more layers of The Medium's great mystery soon.

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

Source: Press Release

Demon's Souls State of Play released, watch 12 minutes of PS5 gameplay

Sony has surprise dropped a brand new State of Play and this one is for the PS5 exclusive Demon's Souls. This State of Play delves into how the remake of Demon's Souls differs from the original PS3 release, including a look at the character creation tool that was first detailed a couple of days ago. The footage is from the early part of the game as the player looks to enter through the Gates of Boletaria, as well as a few other places. The class at the start that is on show is that of the Knight, but the footage shows some other builds.

Demon's Souls was announced for PS5 back in June with Bluepoint Games and Japan Studio working on the remake, and it will feature all the content found in the original release. This version of Demon's Souls will be a PS5 exclusive.

Way back in 2010 when Demon's Souls released for PS3, DJ-Katy wrote the review and said:

Demon's Souls is a very good game. It's not a fabulous game. On the one hand, it's hard to recommend to anyone who isn't a hardcore RPG fan or who doesn't have a mountain of patience at their disposal. On the other hand, Demon's Souls rarely puts a foot wrong – the game mechanics are tough but fair. If you learn from your mistakes, you will progress. You don't die from random issues or problems with the game itself, only your own error as a rule. Really, all this means is that it's a return to the old days when dieing in a game meant losing all your stuff and having to start the level again. It's just that the levels are very, very long.

You can read the full classic Demon's Souls review here. Demon's Souls for PS5 will be out on 12th November in the US and select other regions, and 19th November in most other parts of the world, including the UK.

Source: YouTube

Shadow of the Colossus and 15 years of storytelling mastery

Over the past 15 years, more and more big-budget titles have been put on pedestals for supposedly pushing the boundaries of video game storytelling. The likes of The Last of Us, 2018's God of War, Red Dead Redemption, and others, have garnered a lot of praise from players and critics for their narrative delivery rivalling the likes of high-quality film and television. But very few games have been able to convey their stories with the same finesse that Shadow of the Colossus did all the way back in 2005. With director Fumito Ueda's signature minimalistic style, Shadow of the Colossus delivers an emotionally provocative and thoughtful story by utilising the strengths of its medium, with the visuals and gameplay communicating the same emotional breadth as any other critically lauded narrative in the medium, and then some. There are spoilers ahead, for those who've still yet to play this PlayStation classic.

Shadow of the Colossus opens with a rather lengthy cutscene, but this comes from a desire to set a mood and pace for the game as opposed to being used as a vehicle for large swaths of exposition. In fact, a lot of the finer details are left vague. This introduction follows the main character Wander as he ventures on horseback through various environments whilst carrying a body, before he comes across an enormous bridge leading to an equally oversized shrine. He descends down a long spiral staircase leading to the base of the shrine, where he finds an altar to place the body, revealing it to be a deceased girl, one who appears to be of a similar age to Wander. We find out that the girl – Mono – was murdered during a sacrifice, with Wander taking it upon himself to travel to The Forbidden Lands with a stolen sword in hand to seek out an entity who can revive her. Upon setting Mono down, Wander is met with the disembodied voice of Dormin, a spirit who promises to revive Mono as long as Wander can slay the 16 colossi that inhabit the land. It's a trade that Wander is willing to take, setting the events of the game in motion.

The biggest detail that the introduction omits is the relationship between Wander and Mono. Were they friends? Siblings? Lovers? Not having the correct context behind this relationship would make Wander's plight to save her feel emotionally hollow in most stories, but Shadow of the Colossus sets that framing aside to instead focus on Wander's actions. It doesn't matter what their exact relationship is; what matters is that Wander has taken it upon himself to travel a large distance to trespass into a dangerous territory, form a pact with a potentially malevolent spirit, and then slay 16 beasts of various sizes with nothing more than a bow, a sword, and his trustworthy horse Agro, all for the sake of restoring the life to a girl. Despite speaking no more than a handful of sentences throughout the course of the game, Wander's motivations and unwavering emotions aren't just understood, but they're felt. No sane person would put themselves in the position Wander does unless it was for the sake of unconditional love, a love that doesn't need to be specified as being either romantic or familial.

The ambiguity isn't just found in certain plot details, but the morality of Wander's actions. Many argue that Wander's actions are selfish; after all, he ignored the warnings of The Forbidden Lands' dangers and put his trust in an enigmatic deity for the sake of one person, decisions that feel naïve and short-sighted. The questionability of his actions is further punctuated in a less subtle way, with the death of each Colossi being met with a mournful tune, as life leaves their body and they collapse, only to end up decayed if you return to their location at a later point. Snuffing out some of The Forbidden Lands' only remaining life certainly paints Wander in a negative light, but what about his reasoning?

Judging by how she was killed as part of a sacrifice, it's likely that Mono died for reasons fuelled primarily by baseless superstitions, and if Wander was close to her this would have been a devastating event for the young man. Regardless of the exact circumstances surrounding Mono's death, Wander's actions don't seem to be entirely driven by selfishness, but instead partially by altruism. Whether the ends justify the means is up for personal interpretation, but the amount of discussion surrounding the game that paints Wander as an antagonist feels unfair. It's easy to fault Wander's logic from an outside perspective – especially after seeing how the events unfold – but anybody who has dealt with the loss of a loved one can at least partially empathise with him, even if they don't completely agree with his actions. This discussion of moral ambiguity wouldn't even arise if it weren't for the intentional omittance of specific details, yet Shadow of the Colossus shows the effectiveness of stripping away some of the unnecessary clutter, letting the imagination of the player fill in the blanks where necessary.

The other core relationship is the one that Wander shares with his horse Agro, and it's also a relationship that players can become involved in. Agro is inarguably essential for completing the game: not only does she ferry Wander through the vast open spaces of The Forbidden Land to each colossi encounter, but she's also needed during certain battles as well. As the player becomes more accustomed to Agro's slightly unorthodox and partially automated controls, she stops feeling like a tool to get from A to B, and instead becomes an admirable companion that can also be a great relief from the game's sometimes overbearing loneliness.

With that bond formed, it becomes all the more crushing when viewing Agro's supposed death before the final colossi, as she bucks Wander to safety from a collapsing bridge before falling into a ravine. It not only hurts Wander to see another loved one's life vanish before his eyes, but it acts as a surprisingly mortifying scene for the player as well. The reveal that she actually survives this fall diminishes a lot of the impact of the scene on subsequent playthroughs, but watching her helplessly fall after being a reliable partner throughout the game still imbues a sense of discomfort, even after knowing the outcome. Endangering animals in media can often be viewed as a cheap ploy to evoke an emotional response from the audience, but after spending an entire game with Agro, it sets the perfect tone leading into the finale.

While Agro survives until the end of the adventure, karmic justice is delivered unto Wander in the closing scenes of the game, as it's revealed that each of the Colossi actually held a piece of Dormin's soul, and in slaying them Dormin has regained their strength and is able to possess Wander. This twist not only feels dire conceptually, with any of Wander's good intentions being dashed as he's betrayed by his only hope, but it's in the cruel delivery where the true emotional infliction lies.

As Wander slowly becomes more corrupted, the soldiers and leading monk from his village finally catch up to him, deciding to slay him in an attempt to stop the full possession and escape of the demonic spirit. Wander is quickly dealt a fatal blow, but in his final moments he's still seen staring at the body of Mono, thinking only of her even as he faces his fatal end. Even those who fundamentally disagree with Wander's actions throughout the course of the game probably won't deny feeling mournful at the site of his body being defiled in such a callous way.

The emotional onslaught doesn't stop there, as players become tasked with controlling Dormin, as he finally regains his original physical form. This short Dormin section imbues a truly fitting sense of frustrating desperation: he's slow, clunky, and no matter what the player does, it ends in inevitable failure as the monk activates a seal for Dormin's powers. This transitions into one more short playable section, where the player is put in the shoes of Wander one final time as he makes a hopeless escape attempt from being trapped within the seal. The desperate attempts to avoid the worst outcome is the final knife twist in this excruciating turn of events, and it's made even more sorrowful when considering the imagery at play. As Wander tries to escape the seal, it can also be viewed as him hysterically striving to run towards Mono, with each advancement being halted by a tumble that sets him back further. The sheer panic and desperation invoked in this final plea is something that can only truly be captured through the power of interactivity, with giving the player the option to try everything they can think of, solidifying the notion that the end is inevitable.

If Shadow of the Colossus ended at Wander being sealed away with his entire journey being for nothing, it would be tempting to call it one of the most insidious and harsh endings ever featured in a game, but the blow is somewhat softened by the return of Agro (albeit, now with a slight limp), and the awakening of Mono. Dormin held up his side of the bargain in the end, he just failed to mention the one large caveat of possession. Upon returning to life, Mono walks towards the seal that trapped Wander. It's now mostly empty, but contains a new-born horned baby. Wander has been reborn, and this is likely the atonement that the Gods decided to punish him with, but it can also be viewed as a fresh start. Mono and Wander are now left abandoned in The Forbidden Land, but they've been reunited safe from danger.

The plot of Shadow of the Colossus is a simple one – it's a fantasy story of a hero saving a girl, but deconstructed and subverted. Yet, simply summarising it as such feels disingenuous. From the nuance of Wander's motivations, to Dormin's actions, to the unexplained history of The Forbidden Land, it's a game that leaves the player with plenty to ponder without feeling like it's missing a satisfactory core narrative. In its sparing use of cutscenes and dialogue, and reliance on other means of expression, Shadow of the Colossus has managed to capture the imagination of players in ways that very few other games can even dream of. It isn't a game that people simply think back on in passing, it's one that people have been ardently discussing over the past 15 years, and it's one that never seems to leave the public conscience, even when countless other highly received games with focusses on story have been released since. This power to command discussion is a true testament to the importance of capitalising on the medium's strengths to deliver an experience, and while it hasn't set any widespread industry trends, it's enough to make Shadow of the Colossus an irreplaceable example of distinguished game storytelling.

Artwork featured throughout this piece was created to by fans to celebrate the release Shadow of the Colossus last year. You can read more about them and their creators here.

DIRT 5 Review

Loud, brash and in yer face, DIRT 5 is the automotive gaming equivalent of a night out in Newcastle. Everything about it is attention-grabbing, from the magenta menus to the youthful soundtrack and explosive racing action. It's a melting pot of vehicular arcade fun, mixing elements from games such as DiRT 3, Motorstorm and GRID – yet somehow feels more than the sum of its parts.

Update 07/11: Having experienced the multiplayer offerings of Dirt 5, we've added our thoughts on these modes below and have now scored this review.

Before you get carried away with nostalgia for the aforementioned titles, let's quickly go through what Dirt 5 actually is. For the most part you race around circuits made from either dirt or ice, and you do so in multiple different classes of off-road racing vehicles.

These races will make up around 70 percent of your time in Dirt 5, but there are also Rally Raid events – these are point to point races as opposed to circuits –  Path Finder events where the aim is to traverse rocky terrain analogous to Overpass and there's also Gymkhana which sees you skidding around in a time limit like an episode of Netflix's Hyperdrive. Or a Tesco car park on a Friday night.

Event types with the names Stampeded, Land Rush, Ice Breaker and Ultra Cross are all variations on the same regular race. Some use longer tracks. Some tracks are on ice instead of gravel. But they are all races. I'm not really sure why they have different names, other than to create faux variety.

The career is where you'll spend the bulk of your time. A concoction of the aforementioned events, it taps into the wonderfully varied car list – including the Aston Martin DBX, an electric VW ID. Buggy, a Ford F-150 Raptor pick up truck and the classic 90s Subaru Impreza rally car. The aim is to finish first, earn cash, level up XP level, all helping to unlock more events.

While it's possible to blast your way to the end of the career mode in around four hours, completionists will want to finish every event and it's in doing this that the rebranding of races really starts to hit home. Some time trial events or rallycross with a joker lap wouldn't go amiss. Neither would be making use of Smash Attack events that can be found in the Playgrounds mode.

While you are progressing through each stage, the folks from the popular podcast and YouTube channel Donut Media talk you through a storyline filled with witticisms. While voice talent includes Nolan North, your rivals are too shallow and after a while, I found it difficult to care.

So the story is throwaway and some of the modes repetitive, but the venues themselves are detailed, varied and luscious. They are alive with dynamic weather, big jumps, tight hairpins, and yet there's also enough space to rub body panels without ending up in a pileup. Tie this together with the pumping tunes, fireworks and a day/night cycle, and you feel like you are racing around a music festival.

This leads us to how the cars behave. In a word, they're accessible. You can chuck a car in broadside on the handbrake into a tight corner and power around it with ease. The natural balance is on the safe side with mild understeer, but that's nothing a little provocation can't rectify.

You're never on the edge, everything is very predictable and using a controller the way forward. A steering wheel peripheral is superfluous for Dirt 5. Which is fine, because what this game is trying to be is very clear. It's bombastic fun on four wheels without the paraphernalia or egos required for esports.

In extreme moments, however, there is a strange sensation of the car trying to self correct a slide, like you have an elastic band in place of the steering wheel. In the Gymkhana events, where one way of scoring points is by driving quickly through tight gaps, there isn't enough precision in the handling model. Sometimes you find yourself weaving from one side to another.

Away from driving, you can now build your own arena-based levels in Playgrounds mode. At first, it can be a little tricky to get your head around the space limitations and slightly clunky creation tools (on a console at least). I created a couple of levels and was pretty happy with myself. Uploading your creations to the world feels great… until you download and play a level created by someone else and you realise your creativity has laughable limits! The trick seems to be build upwards, and then there are some incredible results.

I think it will remain a fun aside that you may try once or twice, but I'm simply not sure how much longevity there will really be on offer. There isn't enough incentive for you to continue playing the user-generated content after the initial experiment. It would be nice if playing these levels would help further towards some kind of goal.

What will help to elongate the experience is multiplayer. Offline, you have split-screen events making a return to the series, and there are also online races and party modes. You can 'squad-up' with other people to join public events, but a big omission is a lack of private lobbies at launch, something Codemasters seems to be making a habit of.

Online races are effective, but the whole system is held back by the lack of searchable lobbies. You cannot select what vehicles you want to race with or which tracks you want to hoon around, and you have to wait and find a new room after each and every online race. The same curse afflicts the party modes, but they are fun once you've found a game. For example, King sees you trying to keep hold of one of two crowns, earning points while trying avoid having it stolen away through your rivals making car bodily contact. Vampire and Transporter are variations on this theme. They're enjoyable, but the options need to be expanded for a sustained community to develop.

What We Played #474 – Spider-Man: Miles Morales, PlayStation 5 & Xbox Series X

It's hard to concentrate on the games machines of the here and now, when the Xbox Series X arrives next week and the PlayStation 5 not far behind, but for one more weekend I guess I can settle with the perfectly great consoles I have under the TV. I can't wait to dive into Dirt 5 and Yakuza Like a Dragon next week, but in the meantime, I'm just tootling about making awful mixes in Fuser and playing some more with my Oculus Quest 2.

Aran has been heading into the past by playing the brand new version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, telling us that it's a "Bang average experience". He's also played the campaign of MK11 "which was decent."

Getting a headstart on Dirt 5 has been Thomas Harrison-Lord, saying that it's "a fun arcade-style romp, filled with brash colours and phat tunes. With a bit of luck the online will start working soon and we can finish the review in progress."

Steve is working his way through FFVII Remake as he continues to catch up on the year's bigger releases. "It's gorgeous and captures the tone and feel of the original really well but the combat sometimes feels a bit too button mashy and the upgrades laborious. That being said, some of the Wall Market events are up there with the best of this year's moments." Aside from that, he's played through Battle Hunters for review, demos of Twin Mirror and Rune II Decapitation Edition for preview and enjoyed the lurid delights of the latest Lust From Beyond prologue, Scarlet, "even if the sex scene QTEs were beyond embarrassing".

Reuben has been putting some time into Tears of Avia for review, alongside more Hades and he's been replaying the original Hyrule Warriors for a feature and to get him in the mood for Age of Calamity this month. Tuffcub meanwhile has been wowing the fans with out-of-tune mixes in Fuser.

Ade polished off Asterix and Obelix Romastered and Cobra Kai for review and is currently back to playing through Shadow of the Tomb Raider. It's been a busy week for Nic B. He's been playing a lot of Bugsnax, which is about all it's OK to say under embargo. "If you're publishing this after embargo, you can say that the game is [redacted]." Otherwise, Magic and Genshin's daily quests are still chugging along; "It's good to have a lot of games to get me through Lockdown 2: Electric Boogaloo."

Meanwhile Jim has been lucky enough to get his hands on a PlayStation 5 ahead of its UK launch, so he's been in full next-gen mode this week. "There are some games I still can't talk about though I've been having a blast with Astro's Playroom, the free pack-in game every PS5 owner will have immediate access to. Not only is it a great demo of the DualSense's capabilities, it's also a solid if straightforward platformer that is crammed with nods to favourite PlayStation franchises. Of course, I've been playing Spider-Man: Miles Morales too. Sure, it's not as big or as chock full of content than the original Spidey game yet the gameplay refinements made here kept me coming back long after the final story mission."

Jason has been playing more Rocket League, Apex Legends, and Terraria. He's also done the unthinkable and downloaded Destiny 2 on PC, telling us "It's an astonishingly pretty game and playing it on PC is a much smoother experience."

Otherwise Nick P has been playing The Last of Us 2 still, saying "it's becoming a bit of a slog but at least the second half of the game's action sequences are decent. It goes without saying that I've also been playing Warzone and as per usual, racking up the wins." Miguel has been playing the wonderful-looking Sakuna Of Rice and Ruin, and a little No More Heroes on Switch. He did a night of Satisfactory with a few pals, a bunch of Fuser for review, aaaand a droplet of Trails of Cold Steel 4. Finally Gareth has been playing Watch Dogs Legion, "which is pretty cool but has some issues".

And finally, Tef has been bouncing around from game to game, console to console, doing video capture, getting his stopwatch out for load times and trying to see just how many times he can feature his dinosaur planter in the background of our PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X console reviews. Both of them are fantastic machines, but there's definitely more excitement to checking out Sony's new console..

What about you? What have you played?

PlayStation 5 Review – A sensory revolution for next-gen gaming

We've seen countless images and videos by now, but it's still surprising just how big the PlayStation 5 is. This is a monument to your hobby, the biggest games console ever made and one that might be a little difficult to fit into your TV cabinet. Sony don't even vaguely try to hide the PS5 with a striking two tone design that's meant to stand out, its central glossy black core sandwiched between two flowing, swooping sheets of white plastic. It's a look that you'll either love or be a bit baffled by, but it's also a statement of intent, that this console offers something new and different.

The design is more than just looks, though. The plastic side panels are removable, hiding things like dust holes you can use a vacuum cleaner on, the spot where you can put an SSD expansion, and allowing the myriad of vents to feel like a flourish of style as opposed to a mere consequence of cooling. However, with no flat surface to speak of, it also means you need a stand for the console, regardless of if you want to have it upright or lie it flat.

You do get one in the box, and it has its own unique design quirks, with a moulded form to match the side of your console that rotates depending on how you want to place your console and features a secret slot that either hides a mounting screw or a screw hole cap – there's some impressive attention to detail there. When vertical, it's secured to the base with a screw, but when horizontal it clips onto the lower white sheet of plastic at a point marked with a cute strip of PlayStation symbols. It can flap around a bit if you need to move the console. Also, while it's a broad disc, putting pressure on the corners of the machine will cause it to wobble and bonk the table,  something that's especially easy at the front left. Cue the wobbly PlayStation 5 memes.

Does all of this size pay off? Is it silent? Well, no. There's a tone to the fan that just stands out a little for me, not too dissimilar to an idling PS4 but quieter, and as you launch a game there's a noticeable step up in fan speed and sound, though it stays pretty constant and never comes anywhere near to the jet engine sounds of the PS4. Still, you might pick it out during a particularly quiet moment of a game or when returning to the PlayStation 5 home screen. Compared to the Xbox Series X? The Xbox has a more neutral fan sound that's less noticeable in my estimation.

The new PlayStation system software feels like a blend of the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 eras. The size of the icons is reminiscent of the XMB, shunted up to the top left hand corner of the screen, but the way it actually works is closer to the PS4, with a limited list of nine recent games before you have to delve into the full library – there's no folder support here. Select a game and you can scroll down to that game's area, looking up game streams, trophy progression and more.

Many of the system features that lived in the PS4's upper menu bar are now a part of the general quick menu, which overlays from the bottom of the screen when you tap the PS button. Your friends and all your communication with them live in the Game Base area, alongside other notifications, download progress, audio options and more. If you've spent years with the PS4, you'll have to adjust between pressing and holding the PS button to get to where you want.

Also in the quick menu are a set of cards, presenting you with a bunch of gaming opportunities. They could be news for the game you're playing, an open invitation to join friends in something else, your parties where you can chat, message and share clips. PS5 games are now much more linked to the system, and these cards can show you a Trophy you're about to reach, track collectible progression through a level, even offering up a mini walkthrough video to follow, or simply show the status of your most recent checkpoint. They also allow you to boot straight to that point in the game.

This is Sony's alternative to the Xbox Series X|S Quick Resume feature, but instead of suspending the game mid-race, mid-mission or whatever, it will load you in at a nearby checkpoint, level start, to the multiplayer menus, and so on. Of course, this will depend on the game developer for a robust implementation, and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales shows off its flexibility pretty nicely, with granular loading points based around mid-mission checkpoints. It has the potential to be a much more universal system than Quick Resume, not that that's a slight on what the Xbox can do.

Once you're actually in-game, you're beholden to the wonderful effects that the DualSense can pull off. Catch our separate DualSense review here, but in short, there's a huge amount of nuanced directionality given through the Haptic LRA motors, which can enhance the kinds of feedback you're getting. That's nothing compared to the Adaptive Triggers that add texture to each trigger pull, resist, and can even send a violent rumble effect of their own. It's a shame that you only get basic and sometimes incongruent buzzing in backward compatible games.

Backward compatibility is a big deal on PlayStation 5. Having been poo-pooed by Sony in the past, it's now a core feature of the system, and pulls off some familiar tricks. The added power of the PS5 allows it to steady frame rates and resolutions at their maximum settings in many games, and the SSD allows them to load faster. In addition to just performing so much better, Shenmue 3's load time drops from 37 seconds on PS4 Pro to 22 seconds from the PS5's SSD. Horizon Zero Dawn fast travel drops from 64 seconds to 28 seconds, Crysis Remastered plummets from 47 seconds to just 19 seconds, and then GT Sport cuts from 36 seconds to 20 seconds. Similar to the Xbox Series X, games will need to be designed to really take advantage of the SSD, but it can dramatically reduce the waiting in older games as well.

Backward compatibility can be held back by the games your playing. Titles from the start of the PS4 era will be limited to 1080p and often have frame rate caps of 30fps, and once developers started to target the PS4 Pro, they started to impose resolution caps like 1440p (Uncharted 4) or a dynamic checkerboarded 1800p at 30fps (Horizon Zero Dawn). It leads to a curious case where the PS5 will be stronger than the Xbox Series X for early generation, but then the Series X can push to the typically higher resolution targets of the One X, while the PS5 is stuck in the middle ground. However, just as Microsoft have made waves with their own game updates, Sony are also selectively going back and updating games as well. Days Gone now runs 60fps on PS5 vs. 30fps on PS4 and PS4 Pro, and we awaiting an update for Ghost of Tsushima to go live that does the same. Hopefully they'll make similar updates for other games, especially those found in the PS+ Collection.

The feedback of the DualSense combines with the new 3D audio system, the Tempest Engine. Sony have talked up the potential here, and it is truly fantastic. Put on some headphones connected via USB or 3.5mm jack, and you'll be surrounded by sounds in a wonderfully immersive fashion, whether it's the cacophony of sounds in Astro's Playroom or the differently cacophonous streets of New York, all coming from different directions. I can't truly say that it's better than Dolby Atmos, but it's certainly up there as a rival.

Unfortunately, I also can't say if I'm using the correct audio HRTF profile for my particular ears. You'll find the profile test nestled away in the system settings with the 3D audio options, but this boils down to giving you five presets of different sounding babbling brooks to choose between. You're meant to find the one that lets you pick out five distinct layers, but it's like walking into a DFS and only getting to look at the sofas. They certainly do seem different, but I don't know what qualifies as the right one for me. So, default it is.

There are other quirks and minor annoyances that carry over from the PS4 as well. Honestly, game install management just needs to be dramatically more flexible and easy to access. As on PS4 you can only have one external expansion drive active at any one time (which I've always found to be a pain in the bum), you can only move game data, not copy it (another pain in the bum), and if you want to clear space, you are not able to archive a PS5 game install on an external drive to avoid having to redownload it later. When you only have 667.2GB of storage, it's pretty galling to discover that another chunk of that is taken up by "Other". I've got a dozen games installed taking up 512GB, but then there's 94GB of this apparently performance enhancing "Other". Affordable ultra-speedy NVME expansions can't come soon enough.

Free to play multiplayer shooter Spacelords will be available for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S at launch

Mercurysteam has revealed that its free to player shooter Spacelords will be available day one for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, with this version of the game supporting native 4K and 60 fps. The cross compatibility system also means players that played the game on PS4 and Xbox One will be able to carry over their progress to the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S versions of the game. Spacelords was originally released in 2018 for PC and consoles.

Spacelords originally started life as Raiders of the Broken Planet, a game that received some average reviews. It was then transformed by Mercurysteam into the free to play title. At the time, Game Director Enric Álvarez said:

"When we launched Raiders September last year, we hoped its low price point of 9.99 per campaign- would open it up to a large number of users, but it didn't work as we planned. Our vision is to see our game enjoyed by millions of users for years to come and putting all of the game's rich content into their hands for free is the way to realize it. We've answered our community and hope this removal of any payment barriers will build our devoted community further."

The game has had a huge overhaul including a reworked progression system and four "lengthy" campaigns, giving players a flavour of the different characters.

Source: Press Release

Hellpoint is going to be released for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S in 2021

Cradle Games and tinybuild have confirmed that the sci-fi fantasy RPG Hellpoint will be released for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S in 2021, with the next gen release taking advantage of the power of the new consoles. The developers also confirmed that those who purchased the game for PS4 and Xbox One will get a free upgrade to the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S versions. The next gen version of Hellpoint will have two visual modes. The first is a performance mode with Dynamic 4K at 60FPS, and the second is called the quality which will be Native 4K at 30 FPS.

Hellpoint's blurb reads:

Hellpoint is a dark sci fi action RPG set in the aftermath of a massive quantum cataclysm. Every living being quickly lost their mind as their memories and bodies were merged with alternate versions of themselves from parallel universes. The accident also attracted entities of immense power that should have been left alone, in the depth of other dimensions.

You play as a mysterious nameless character whose intentions are entirely determined by your choices. You wake up in the derelict Irid Novo space station, in orbit around a super-massive black hole. In the game, the space station orbits in real time around the ominous black hole. Its position in the sky directly impacts the sanity of the inhabitants of the station. The singularity is doing more than simply distorting the fabric of space and time; based on the time of the orbit, enemies in the levels get crazier or struck by fear, unknown entities roam the corridors and dozens of other mysterious events can occur.

Hellpoint was first announced back in 2018 and was originally expected to release in 2019, but there were some delays.  Hellpoint was released on July 30th, 2020 for PS4, PC, Switch, and Xbox One.

Source: Press Release

Take-Two in talks to acquire Codemasters for almost $1 billion

Take-Two are in talks with Codemasters over a potential buy out, which would see the UK based developer and publisher that's best known for its Dirt and F1 racing games joining the likes of 2K Games, Private Division and Rockstar under its banner.

Codemasters have received a conditional offer for the company that, if it becomes formal, the board would unanimously recommend to its shareholders that they accept. Per the BBC, Take-Two have offered £739m ($973m), which equates to £1.20 in cash and £3.65 in Take-Two shares for every Codemasters share.

Take-Two confirmed the offer to VGC with a statement that said it "believes that the combination of Take-Two and Codemasters would bring together two world-class interactive entertainment portfolios, with a highly complementary fit between 2K and Codemasters in the racing genre."

"Take-Two believes that it can bring benefits to Codemasters performance by leveraging Take-Two global distribution and 2K's core operating expertise in publishing, including, live operations, analytics, product development, and brand and performance marketing."

It would be a sizeable acquisition for Take-Two's portfolio, with Codemasters having expanded significantly over the last decade. Codemasters has really doubled down on its heritage for racing games (after some unsuccessful shooters blighted the middle of the PS3 and Xbox 360 generation) expanding by acquiring Slightly Mad Studios and Evolution Studios (now branded Codemasters Cheshire and on the cusp of releasing Dirt 5).

There's been some definite ups and downs for the company over the last few years. The notable critical successes of Dirt Rally and its sequel, as well as the continued strength of the F1 games have been paired with confused indifference at Onrush and middling critical opinion for the revived Grid franchise.

Even so, there's a bright looking future. The company also recently acquired the exclusive license to the World Rally Championship series, which will see them take on the WRC branding with a five year deal starting in 2023, and will go very nicely with the long-running F1 license that they hold.

Source: VGC, BBC

Warframe is heading to PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, see the next gen trailer here

Digital Extremes has confirmed that its free to play third person shooter Warframe will be making the leap to the next generation, releasing on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. The PS5 release will happen soon while the Xbox Series X|S release will follow later this year. The earlier release news for PS5 has been coupled with a new trailer showing Warframe running on Sony's new console showing off graphical improvements and loading time reductions.

Both PS4 and PS5 players will be able to get an exclusive PlayStation Plus booster pack for no additional charge. This pack has been inspired by the DualSense containing a new Sedai Obsidian Syandana, an Experience Booster, in-game Currency Booster, Credits and Premium Credits. The PS5 version will also take advantage of the Activities tab showing how close players are to unlocking trophies and challenge activities, with the first challenge activity being a Sanctuary Onslaught Challenge. Warframe will feature cross generational play allowing PS4 and PS5 players to play together. Player progression will follow players from PS4 to PS5 so there is no worry of having to start over if you upgrade to the PS5 version of Warframe.

Warframe's last big update was the Heart of Deimos update. Heart of Deimos added a new way for Warframe players to explore with Deimos consisting of two major areas. The first is the surface of the smaller Martian moon. The surface has become an Infested hivemind landscape full of creatures that will pose a danger to anyone that ventures across it. The surface is littered with pods from which Infested infected Entrati NPCs emerge along with other Infested creatures. As players explore they will learn more about the Entrati family as well as how the Infested came to be, with the origin of the faction said to be pretty complex.  Players are now able to descend underground with these tunnels and spaces all being procedurally generated. The vast underground complexes of Deimos contain powerful Necramechs, some of which players can pilot themselves to help survive the terror underground. However, some of the Necramechs will pose a danger to players so be ready for a fight as you explore the places left behind the Entrati.

Source: Press Release

Outriders post campaign content is called Expeditions, will feature the toughest challenges

Square Enix has announced what players can expect when completing the campaign of Outriders, the co-op RPG shooter, and that post campaign content is called Expeditions. These Expeditions missions will be amongst the hardest missions that you will have the chance to conquer. You will need the best equipment available to you as well as some very good teamwork in order to take on the challenges that will be coming your way.

Bartek Kmita, Creative Director of Outriders at People Can Fly, said:

"Expeditions expand on the story of the Outriders campaign and features the toughest challenges in the game. They're meant to be played with a team of skilled and coordinated Outriders. Powerful equipment and efficient character builds, along with true skill and mastery over your class, are necessary to succeed and reach the highest levels of Expeditions."

Outriders will allow those who purchase the PS4 or Xbox One versions of the game to upgrade for free to the PS5 or Xbox Series X|S versions of the game. In addition, Square Enix also previously stated that there would be full cross platform play, including between generations, so players on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Stadia will all be able to play together. Stefan spoke to Bartek Kmita and Szymon Barchan earlier this year. From that interview, he wrote:

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

Outriders will not be releasing in 2020 now but will be available on February 2nd, 2021 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. The Stadia version will be released later in 2021.
Source: Press Release

Sackboy: A Big Adventure online multiplayer will not be available at launch

Sumo Digital has confirmed that when Sackboy: A Big Adventure launches next week in some territories for PS5 and PS4 it will do so without online multiplayer. The developers have confirmed that local multiplayer will be in place, but online will be added at a later date. Sumo Digital has stated that instead online will be added before the end of 2020 through a patch, with the delay required to make sure the function is working properly.

The patch will also add:

  • Cross-generation multiplayer where PS4 and PS5 users can play together
  • Game save transfers from PS4 to PS5

However, game save transfers will be available to those who upgrade to the digital version of Sackboy: A Big Adventure on PS5. This can be done digitally from the PS4 version or by using the a PS4 disc of the game. Local multiplayer will allow 2-4 players to enjoy Sackboy: A Big Adventure but if you were hoping to play with others elsewhere you will have to wait. The statement from Sumo can be read below:

We've made the difficult decision to delay the full online multiplayer functionality within Sackboy: A Big Adventure. The team have been working hard to ensure that online is the very best experience it can be for players and we just need a little more time to get it right so you can enjoy it to the fullest with your friends and family. 

On launch day you'll still be able to enjoy Sackboy with your household in offline couch co-op party play. 2-4 player parties can play through the whole game including unmissable co-op only levels. 

We understand this will be disappointing for those of you hoping to take advantage of the online multiplayer functionality at launch and appreciate the patience. 

Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to celebrating the launch of Sackboy: A Big Adventure with you all next week! 

You can check out the trophies for Sackboy: A Big Adventure here.

Source: PS Blog

Godfall's launch trailer has landed, see some more gameplay here

The launch trailer for the PS5 console exclusive Godfall, which is also coming to PC via Epic, has landed showing some of the cinematic elements from the game as well as a whole load of fast paced combat. The trailer gives a brief look at the story which sees players look to overthrow the mad god Macros who has split his society between those that support him, and those who oppose him after feeling Macros' wrath during his rise to power. The footage shows fights against both lower tier enemies as well as brief looks at some of the bosses.

Epic Games and Counterplay Games have also confirmed that Godfall is now available to digitally pre-order Godfall for PS5 on the PlayStation Store. These editions are the same as the ones that appeared earlier on the Epic Games Store. Those three editions are the Standard Edition, the Digital Deluxe Edition, and the Ascended Edition. The link to pre-order Godfall on the PS Store is here, while the Epic Games Store link is here. The content and prices of the editions can be found below.

  • Godfall Standard Edition £69.99 – includes base game
  • Godfall Digital Deluxe Edition £89.99 – includes base game and first expansion
  • Godfall Ascended Edition £99.99 – includes base game, access to first expansion, gold themed goods including Gold Valorplate skins for Silvermane, Phoenix, and Greyhawk, 5x Gold weapon skins, Gold Shield skin, Gold Royal Banner skin, unique multiplayer lobby title, and Orange Valorplate skin for Vertigo.

Set in an high fantasy world, there are five realms of Apeiron to venture through in Godfall and, which have been split between Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and Spirit. Through the game, there's definitely been some influence and crossover from looter shooters and action RPGs, with a main goal being to find loot and continually upgrade your character build. However, that will not be the only factor in how well you do in battle. There's also plenty of Dark Souls to see in the combat, with tense battles that require positioning and timing to succeed, though it emphasises offence over defence. If you dominate the combat space, you'll be much more likely to succeed.

Godfall will be available on November 19th for PC and PS5.

Source: YouTube

Destiny 2: Beyond Light: How to pre-load and when maintenance begins

Destiny 2 is about to evolve, the biggest change to the game since it launched will begin on November 9th with an extended period of downtime and a completely new version of the game which everyone will have to download.

Let's start with the downtime, remember UTC is now the same as GMT so this actually starts in the small hours of November 10th for those in the UK. [Update: apologies for the mix up over the date]

  • November 9, 3:30 PM PST (2330 UTC): Background maintenance for Update will begin.
  • November 9, 4:00 PM PST (0000 UTC): In preparation for downtime, players will be removed from activities and will be required to download a small update before logging in again.
  • November 9, 6:50 PM PST (0250 UTC): Sign-on for Destiny 2 will be disabled.
  • November 9, 7:00 PM PST (0300 UTC): Destiny 2 will be brought offline for expected maintenance. Players will be removed from activities and won't be able to log back into Destiny 2 until 9 AM PST on November 10.
  • November 10, 9:00 AM PST (1700 UTC): Destiny 2 Update will be available across all platforms and regions. Players will be able to log back into Destiny 2.
  • November 10 12:00 PM PDT (2000 UTC): Destiny 2 maintenance is expected to conclude.

Now to to preloads, including how much space you will need free on your hard drive. Please note Bungie's warning, do not delete your existing copy of Destiny 2 to make space for the new version!

Pre-load for Update will be available prior to the game's release. Below are pre-load timelines and instructions based on platform:
Beginning on November 8 after 8 PM PST (0400 UTC), users can start pre-downloading Update by:
  • Navigating to Destiny 2
  • Pressing the "Options" button
  • And selecting "Check for Updates"
In an effort to decrease server load, some PlayStation Plus users may be able to pre-download Update starting on November 7 after 8 PM PST (0400 UTC) if they have auto update/download enabled on their PlayStation 4. For instructions on how to setup auto update/download, please  click here.
Pre-load for Xbox will be available shortly after Destiny 2 is taken offline for expected maintenance at 7 PM PST (0300 UTC) on November 9. For instructions on how to setup auto update, please  click here.
Pre-load for PC will be available shortly after Destiny 2 is taken offline for expected maintenance at 7 PM PST (0300 UTC) on November 9. Update should automatically be put in the Steam download queue once it is available to pre-load. For more information on managing Steam downloads and updates, please  click here.
Below are the updated storage requirements for Beyond Light:
Platform Destiny 2 Install Size Storage Space Needed for Installation
Xbox Series X|S 65.7 GB 65.7GB
PlayStation 5 70.78 GB 70.78 GB
PlayStation 4 70.78 GB 171.68 GB*
Xbox One 65.7 GB 65.7 GB
PC 69.7 GB** 186.2 GB***

* PlayStation 4: Includes current installed version of Destiny 2 (100.9 GB) + Update pre-load (70.78 GB) = 171.68 GB
** PC: Destiny 2 Install Size may vary based on languages installed, size shown is maximum size possible 
 *** PC: Includes current installed version of Destiny 2 (up to 116.5 GB) + Update pre-load (up to 69.7 GB) = 186.2 GB

Source: Bungie

Rogue Legacy 2 Tips and Tricks

Rogue Legacy 2 is finally here. Well, sort of. It's out in Early Access and even in this primordial form still shines as a shamelessly brutal roguelike that'll have you dying every couple of minutes if you're not careful.

Actually, it'll fairly regularly kill you off even if you are being cautious, so there's very little wriggle room here. Thankfully for you, we've got some Rogue Legacy 2 tips and tricks for you to dive into.

Rogue Legacy 2 tips and tricks

Rogue Legacy 2 is already shaping up to be an excellent sequel to an already great game. However, even if you loved the original, the chances are that it's been a while since you dove into it properly. Well, that's where we come in, so strap in and prepare to learn some quickfire lessons.

You're going to die so much

Seriously, roguelikes are well-known for their desire to kill you off constantly, but Rogue Legacy 2 takes it to an entirely new level. The first dozen runs or so will likely last under a couple of minutes. It can be frustrating, but the best way to look at it is that each one should lead you to a few more upgrades, and that'll help later on.

Pay attention to your children

You'll get a choice of three characters whenever you die. Each of these will have an array of abilities, classes, and traits. Pay attention to all of these to make sure you pick the one that suits you best. Sometimes the difference between two warriors is that one has absurd strength, and the other one can't see very well.

Pick new traits

On the subject of traits, it's a good idea to just choose any you haven't seen yet. Knowledge is power, and while the vast majority of the characteristics will end up harming your runs, it's still a great idea to know what you're going to be dealing with. Plus, it lets you know how hard the next run will be, and thanks to the whole socialism thing the game has going on, can lead to the next of our Rogue Legacy 2 tips.

Sometimes hunting for gold is the best you can do

Gold is important in Rogue Legacy 2. You need it to upgrade your castle, you need it to create new equipment for yourself, and you could always do with more of it. The best way to get a lot of money fast is to pick a character with a lot of negative traits; these tend to give you a huge boost to your gold, which makes them perfect for a quick run to grab a lot of cash.

You don't always have to fight

Finally, apart from bosses and a couple of challenges, you can actually just run past most enemies. In fact, it'll fairly regularly keep you alive a lot longer. Sure, sometimes enemies drop gold when they die, but most don't. That means you're better off learning to dodge attacks to the best of your ability. Both the Wind Shield and the Barbarian's Shout can help with projectiles too, so they're great if you can't be bothered to fight anymore.

Mortal Shell Tips and Tricks you need to know

Mortal Shell is one of the harder Soulslike games around. Due to the mix large enemy hordes and the absence of decent healing items in the early game, you're likely to find yourself dying a lot.

Well, in order to help you survive those early days in this bleak but beautiful world, we thought we'd put together some Mortal Shell tips and tricks.

But first, see our Mortal Shell review in which we scored the sinister action RPG a valiant 8 out of 10, concluding: "Mortal Shell is just an incredibly satisfying experience. It'll punish you constantly, but if you can master the mechanics it lays out in front of you then you'll have an incredible time of things. The lore is a little more obvious that in other soulslikes, and the story it tells and the world it puts you in are both rather enthralling. This is definitely a game that fans of dying a lot will enjoy, but it's probably not for everyone."

Mortal Shell Tips and Tricks

There are no specific boss strategies here, nor any locations to the collectables dotted around the world. Instead, each of these is a bit of advice we wish we'd had upon starting the game. Thankfully for all involved, you're not us, and that means you get the benefit of the many, many deaths we've already endured.

Become a master hardener

The Harden mechanic is basically what makes Mortal Shell tick. It allows you to instantly become invulnerable to most forms of damage, and you can do it whether you're standing still, running at an enemy, or about to attack. There are two main things to keep in mind when hardening (keep it clean people):

First of all, you really can do it whenever you want, just remember to actually hold the button until it's safe to move away or attack. Secondly, you can only do it when the meter is full. If you want to play it really safe, back away once you've attacked, harden to block, and dodged aside. That way you can wait until you can harden again and continue the slow cycle of killing the bosses.

You can get new weapons by examining books next to statues

Mortal Shell doesn't have many weapons. Thankfully, the weapons it does have are really quite good fun. The game doesn't make it clear how you can unlock these though, so that's where we come in. You can find new weapons by reaching one of the three smaller hub areas outside of the main hub. Each of these will have an anvil, one of the creepy ladies who acts as a bonfire, and a statue next to a book. Interacting with the book will end with you fighting a familiar face, and if you can beat them, you can then take the weapon from the statue next to it.

Find a weapon you like

On the subject of weapons, it's well worth finding the one that really works for you. Each of them has a unique style of attack, some special moves, and a unique rhythm. It's worth unlocking them all as soon as you can, and you can do this by exploring a lot, and fighting the boss that lets you wield them whenever you find them. It might seem counterintuitive to do so much backtracking, but well, you're going to be backtracking anyway, so you may as well make it worthwhile.

You don't always have to fight things

Also on the subject of weapons, sometimes your best weapon is running. There are an awful lot of enemies in Mortal Shell. Every single area is absolutely lousy with them. While fighting them is a good idea when you're looking to level up a shell, it can be a massive time sink otherwise. So, sometimes you're better off just running through. Just don't stop or look back or you might get taken by surprise.

Remember the name

As you discover new shells for you to slip into, you'll probably find one that fits your playstyle. Each of them has a different balance of health, stamina, and special abilities. It's worth recalling the name of each of them to check out their skill trees, that way you can choose your favourite. If you can match your favourite shell with your favourite weapon, then you're going to have a much easier time of things. Also, and this is a juicy bit of info, maxing out a shell will really help you, and we recommend you do so ASAP.

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales Review

With Marvel's Spider-Man having just celebrated its second anniversary, a full-on sequel arriving in time for the PS5 launch was always out of the question for developer Insomniac Games. However, the recently-acquired Sony studio have still managed to create a worthy follow-up with Spider-Man: Miles Morales, feeling more like a standalone game in its own right rather than the expansion-sized release many were expecting. Sure, it reuses a lot of what made 2018's Spider-Man a power-selling juggernaut, yet it builds on that foundation with an advanced web of gameplay features and stunning visuals, veined with its own distinctive vibe.

Since his first appearance in the original game, we always knew that Miles Morales would one day be taking the reins from Peter Parker and that's exactly what happens here. As a snowy New York settles in for the holiday season, OG Spider-Man hopes on a plane to Europe, leaving the city in his protégé's capable hands. What could possibly go wrong?

What many loved about Marvel's Spider-Man was how it gave us a slightly older, more experienced version of the iconic character, completely skipping Peter's tragic origin story. Having been done to death so many times before, it let players hit the ground running while also leaving room for Miles to develop as a character. Finally allowed to take centre stage, there's something instantly likeable about Miles, too. He's younger and more naïve than his mentor while also flanked by a new, diverse cast of supporting characters. There's a refreshing change of pace to Spider-Man: Miles Morales and how it aims for a more intimate narrative instead of reaching for the usual supervillain crisis.

If you've only just watched the credits roll on Marvel's Spider-Man then, yeah, you may feel a sense of déjà vu as you come swinging into Miles Morales. Insomniac Games have repurposed their virtual rendition of New York City with new missions and side activities, but it's still the same urban playground we've already spent dozens of hours exploring. However, we'd be lying if we said this was a notable downside – during our time with Spider-Man: Miles Morales that familiarity was never an issue, perhaps thanks to Manhattan's wintery makeover.

Of course, Insomniac have reused more than just their open world from the original game. Spider-Man: Miles Morales is built around the same blend of fluid combat, stealth, and traversal gameplay, though they've layered Miles' own unique powers on top for some rewardingly in-depth new mechanics.

One thing you will have noticed from the box art and pre-release media is Miles's "Venom" bio-electric powers. They come in several supercharged flavours and help spice up combat encounters despite the limited variety of new enemies this game introduces. Pulling off those perfect cinematic combos feels endlessly rewarding with new skills keeping Spider-Man: Miles Morales feeling fresh throughout.

The main story should clock in at around 6 to 8 hours but that's only if you're deliberately ignoring most of the side content on offer. As in the original Spider-Man, you'll find yourself constantly distracted as you go between missions, exploring landmarks, responding to crimes, and helping civilians who reach out to Miles via the FNSM (Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man) app. Again, some of these side activities have been reskinned for this semi-sequel, though they never feel like needless filler. Completing them will grant useful resources while also unlocking new suits to try out, including one inspired by Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse as well as the Bodega Cat suit.

If you're looking for a game to show off what your PlayStation 5 can do, then Spider-Man: Miles Morales is certainly up to the task. Insomniac's festive themed New York looks fantastically frosty to the point where you can almost feel the chilly weather while perched in front of your television, and the accurate ray traced reflections add a huge amount to the believability of the mirror-like windows that cover many of New York's skyscrapers. The enhanced detail on characters – from clothing and skin textures to facial animations – has also been dialled up. While some players will prefer cinematic, high fidelity visuals there's also the option there to a performance focused mode for a consistently silky 60 frames per second, though you lose out on the ray tracing in particular.

The Falconeer Review

The Falconeer is set in a beautiful world called The Great Ursee. It is, as you'd expect from that name, predominantly covered in water. It's also filled with impossible geography, with archipelagos, mountains, and huge chasms parting the sea itself littered all over the place. I'm thankful that you can, if you want to, just soar through the sky of this beautiful world and take your time to simply drink it all in.

Of course, The Falconeer isn't just a game about flying high above the world and casting your eyes over it. At its core, The Falconeer is an aerial combat game, one where dogfights are carried out with riders atop massive warbirds. You need to take on a variety of different missions to advance the story and discover more about they factions and everything that's going on.

Most of your time in The Falconeer will be spent flying around and getting in fights. Your bird controls like a plane would, which means that in fights you basically shoot in front of you, barrel roll, and whizz around trying to avoid incoming attacks. I'm being a little reductive here, but honestly, I very rarely found myself needing to do anything else. Most of the dogfights ended up playing out like a dog chasing its tail, except I was always hoping to be the head of the dog and never the tail.

It's fine for what it is, but I don't think this is the game to go for if you're looking for a game to sell you on the idea of aerial combat. Instead, this game is much more about the story it's telling and the world it's set in.

It's also a world where, at first, glance, you'd think the bond between human and warbird was integral to both of their survival, but it's not that straight-forward. You can upgrade both your weapons and your warbird if you earn enough money to be able to do so. The weapon upgrades amount to different weapons or more powerful versions of the ones you know and love. They're reloaded by flying through thunderstorms and collecting the electrical energy within them – for the record, that's one of my favourites aspects of this game.

Things get a little uncomfortable when you're looking at upgrading your trusty warbird though. You can use mutagens to enhance your warbird, which give you passive effects that will improve your bird's ability to fly around and do its job. One of these is called Vein Rider, which is a mutagen that coats the cardiovascular system of your warbird in a self-repairing mucus. Lovely. Others are rather dark and more twisted, like Sark Blood, which stimulates a bird's adrenal gland in such a way that your bird is put into a permanent state of fear. Given how mystical the opening of the game is, and hows its touted as such throughout, there's something deeply disturbing about little details like this.

I think this tonal disconnect resonated with me because it felt indicative of how I felt about the game as a whole. I don't dislike The Falconeer, but I'm also not particularly enamoured with it.

At its best, The Falconeer is a beautiful world that allows you to explore the airways above a beautiful and mysterious sea. It's one where the people within it feel as though they've got a thousand stories to tell you, and as you play with each of the factions, you'll discover that the politics of each group are just as complex as those in the greatest fantasy worlds.

However, at its worst, The Falconeer feels like a boring game of tag rather than an intense aerial dogfight. There's a chance that I simply came into this expecting something different from the combat, but even as I grew to adjust to the way my bird moved and how I could attack, it never felt all that satisfying to down an enemy.

Dead By Daylight teases visual upgrade with new map designs

Dead By Daylight developers Behaviour Interactive are teasing two upcoming map reworks for their horror multiplayer hit.

With new content being added on a regular basis alongside regular updates and gameplay balance patches, the studio have promised that a long overdue visual upgrade is coming too.

They recently uploaded four new pieces of concept art via Twitter while giving fans a progress update on two maps that will be receiving makeovers. These include the Autohaven Wrecks junkyard as well as the Mount Ormond Resort (introduced in Chapter X: Darkness Among Us with the Legion Killer).

In other Dead By Daylight news, you can find the latest patch notes for update 4.3.2 here.

Will Dead By Daylight get bots on PC & consoles?

Dead By Daylight recently entered it latest chapter "Descend Beyond" which introduced The Blight as a new playable killer. Looking further into the future, Behaviour have confirmed that players will get a free next-gen upgrade on both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.

We recently re-reviewed the game for 2020, bumping up its original score:

Dead By Daylight has evolved into somewhat of a phenomenon, proving that the often maligned games-as-a-service model produces more than just cookie cutter loot shooters. It's still an acquired taste and a bit rough around the edges though stands out as one of the most unique ongoing multiplayer games of the generation.

Since launch the game has steadily risen in popularity with the constant rollout of new content as well as several notable cameos from various horror icons. These include Halloween's Michael Myers, Leatherface, Freddy Krueger, and Ghost Face. Characters from Stranger Things have also made an appearance with a surprise sighting of Pyramid Head earlier this year, reigniting rumours that Konami may be gearing up to announce a new Silent Hill game.

Source: Twitter (@DeadByBHVR)