MMO Week in Review: Endwalker

It's not the end, but it is an end: Final Fantasy XIV announced its Endwalker expansion this past Friday during its showcase. Launch is fall 2021, and that's not all, as the game is also rolling out to PS5 this spring! Read on to catch up with the very best of this week's MMO news […]

Battle Bards Episode 186: Lineage

While Lineage II is one of the absolute favorite soundtracks of the Battle Bards, the first game in this series has been shamefully overlooked on the show. No longer! In today's episode, Syl, Steff, and Syp dig into this rather lovely and expressive score for an MMO that's been around longer than some of their […]

Make My MMO: Chronicles of Elyria backers lodge lawsuit, Wagadu snags more funding

This week in MMORPG crowdfunding, the backers of Chronicles of Elyria have officially lodged their class-action lawsuit against Soulbound Studios and Xsolla in a California district court. The suit alleges that Soulbound raised over $14M in crowdfunds and sales, almost half of which were conducted through Xsolla; that Soulbound misled backers about the state of […]

Jukebox Heroes: Secret World Legends' soundtrack

As a video game music collector and lover, I am frustrated by how very few MMO soundtracks ever make it to a proper release. Sure, I know it's a niche interest within a niche hobby, but it's still maddening to think of how many great games have no soundtracks out there whatsoever. Considering how going […]

First impressions of Skyforge on Nintendo Switch: A messy port of a solid MMORPG

I played Skyforge briefly when it first launched on PC in 2015, but only put a few hours into it. My short stay there was not because I found anything wrong with it, but it had the unfortunate timing of launching around the same time as new content in some of my other favorite MMOs, […]

OrbusVR celebrates three years of operation with a scavenger hunt

It's hard to believe that OrbusVR has been running for three years now, but the numbers don't lie and it's true. And it's been a busy third year, too, with players killing more monsters, making more characters, and collecting more loot than the first two years of operation combined. To celebrate, players can pick up a […]

One Shots: Giant envy

Last week's call for screenshots of MMO giants brought out some big responses. Hefty contributions, if you get my drift. And we'll kick off with Utakata's adventures in Blade and Soul where this bold warrior met a giant gorilla who can dress himself in armor, apparently. "The bigger they are…" Utakata said. …the larger their […]

The Daily Grind: How much effort do you want to put into MMO housing?

Housing! It's fashionable, it's fun, it's extensive, it gives your character in a given game a place to spend time other than milling around the auction house. Housing in MMOs is a fun thing, and the MOP writers and readers are generally pretty enthusiastically pro-housing. But there are still a lot of different tiers of […]

The MOP Up: Valentine spirit sweeps through MMOs

MMO Love Bear, shine! Warm fuzzies and romantical notions are washing through various online games this month in anticipation of Valentine's Day this month. Ultima Online is giving out gifts on the 12th — but it warns players that these presents will be allocated according to karma. Habbo is getting way into flowers, because why […]

Rockstar letter: GTA Online 'shattered records,' Red Dead Online 2's $5 sale is ending soon

Rockstar was crowing about its two online virtual worlds this past week in a new letter to the community. Because of the support fans showed for Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online in 2020, Rockstar said that both games saw spectacular numbers. "GTA Online shattered its own records once again, with more players […]

LOTRO's upcoming Wildwood content drop won't be a 'mini-expansion'

Last fall's move to start charging every Lord of the Rings Online player — including subscribers — for what was a glorified content update has the community watching SSG like a hawk to see how it's going to be handling similar patches in 2021. The good news is that the studio confirmed that the next […]

The Stream Team: A second Astroneer anniversary

The cutest space survival ever turns two years old today! And Massively OP's MJ is ready to wish Astroneer a very happy second anniversary. Folks who launch into the game starting February 1st also get a special party hat to wear as they explore, mine, and dodge deadly plants. Join us live at 2:00 p.m. […]

LOTRO Legendarium: Ranking Lord of the Rings Online's Eriador zones from worst to best

Probably like many of you, I have gone through the initial zones in Lord of the Rings Online more times than I can count (confession: I can only count to eight). And probably like you, I have formed very strong opinions on which of these older regions are better and which have aged like moldy […]

Star Trek Online's players and developers pay tribute to the late Christopher Plummer

The movie-watching world lost one of its greats when actor Christopher Plummer passed away on Friday, leaving behind a legacy of notable performances including Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, Sir Charles Litton in The Return of the Pink Panther, and General Chang in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. It's Plummer's portrayal […]

WRUP: Excerpt from my autobiography, 'The Sushi Bar Will Never Open,' available everywhere books aren't sold on February 30 edition

Chapter 3: "But I Never Asked About The Walrus" At this point, my options were basically limited to either buying my way into college, buying my way into the military, or covering myself in mayonnaise and establishing a kingdom within my kitchen in which I would be hailed as Lord Imperator by my cats. Naturally, […]

The Daily Grind: Do you hate going to MMO snowy zones in actual wintertime?

OK, today's topic is totally silly, but sometimes we ask these questions because we're curious if anyone is like us. At least near me right now, we've been sitting in a frozen wasteland of snow and ice for weeks with no immediate relief on the horizon. You'd think that I would find video game reminders […]

Final Fantasy XIV's fourth expansion, Endwalker, arrives this fall, with a PS5 launch set for April

The fourth expansion for Final Fantasy XIV has been officially announced during the evening's live announcement event as Endwalker, launching in fall of 2021. You can also catch up on our liveblog of the event or just skim the highlights below! The expansion is called Endwalker, and it's launching this fall. Expect two new jobs: a […]

Liveblogging the Final Fantasy XIV announcement showcase

Maybe you're excited about the Final Fantasy XIV announcement showcase, but you're currently at work and can't watch video. Or maybe you're on public transit and have to settle for text. Or you're watching but you want to share in the excitement of what's happening as it happens. Whatever the case may be, we've got you covered […]

The Stream Team: Bound for fishing and Warframe's Balor Fomorian event

Massively OP's MJ thought she had a break from events to wrap up some loose ends in Warframe, but it turns out the Balor Fomorian event has begun! Since it happens only a couple of times a year, she needs to take advantage of her chance to participate in this special archwing mission. However, the […]

Betawatch: Starbase plans to offer an easy build mode

The tricky thing about games that offer you a lot of freedom when it comes to building is that sometimes it's difficult to figure out where to start. That's the core idea behind the upcoming easy build mode in Starbase, which will hopefully make the art of putting together a ship feel less daunting and more […]

Mortal Online 2 adds the first taste of character customization and dungeons

Is there anything worse than not being able to customize your character in an MMO? Mortal Online 2 sure doesn't think there is, which is why the game's latest alpha patch adds in the earliest version of character customization for players to play around with. Sure, right now it's just skin, hair, and eye colors, but […]

Atlas Rogues brings back Blackburn and PuP in its latest update

At long last, the greatest Freelancer from the original game has returned to Atlas Rogues. The magnificent mechanical robo-doggo PuP has finally arrived to the rogue-lite PvE title in its latest update. Oh, also Blackburn has returned as well, which is cool I guess. Not only does this update bring the return of two characters […]

Pathfinder Online shares the final tally and rewards for its Pharasmin Sequences event

This past December, Pathfinder Online held a holiday event that involved… Escalation drops that ran in five sequences for materials. While the event had almost nothing related to holiday cheer considering its release timing, it does appear to have been pretty active according to a postmortem shared on the forums. In total, players completed 40 […]

Allods Online opened a new server, plus its winter events continue

It was a Christmas miracle, and it went almost entirely unnoticed by the MMO community: Allods Online opened a brand-new server on Christmas day. It's called New Dawn, and it's a free-to-play server (that's not always a given with Allods, as it does still have a sub server too) with some specialty bonuses. Specifically, there's […]

Champions Online brings the conclusion of its third serial story to PTS this week

The PTS of Champions Online will have a gift for players that have been working their way through the game's recent serial story. This week will bring the Midnight Depths, the final chapter in the MMO's current arc that promises a challenging new foe and a character from the game's lore that has yet to […]

The Stream Team: Come to the Carnaval in AdventureQuest 3D

If you have the urge to dress up in bright-colored costumes with feathers, come to AQ3D's Carnaval! This AQWorlds event (based on the real Carnival celebrated over 100 years in Brazil!) has finally made it into its 3D cousin, and Massively OP's MJ is so ready for this party. Join live at 2:00 p.m. in […]

OSRS expands the Isle of Souls and discusses equipment balance as Jagex's CEO talks about its new owner

We've got a tale from both sides from the same RuneScape coin — the gaming side and the business side — so let's get cracking. On the game side of things, Old School RuneScape has added more to the Isle of Souls with new areas, new monsters, a new dungeon, and new amenities, while a […]

Elite: Dangerous explains the details of the First Footfall system coming with Odyssey

With the upcoming Odyssey expansion, players in Elite: Dangerous will be able to take one small step for their characters and one giant leap for playerkind on a regular basis while disembarking on new planets. The first footfalls upon an available world will be recorded dutifully, and the latest preview from the team is all about how […]

See how Elder Scrolls Online's map has doubled since launch

While we are all aware that Elder Scrolls Online is one of the most consistently updated MMORPGs on the market, perhaps we don't realize just how far it's come since the game's 2014 launch. One enterprising Redditor helped us gain a new perspective on Tamriel's growth by contrasting the launch day map with the MMO's […]

Not So Massively: First impressions of Century Age of Ashes

Dragons are ubiquitous to the point of over-exposure in gaming these days. And yet for all that, there are still very few games that let us command the power of a dragon ourselves. I think we're all a bit sick of fighting dragons, but I know I for one am still hungry to play as […]

Crowfall discusses tutorial progression and campaign scoring changes in latest livestream

The devs of Crowfall — specifically J. Todd "Bono Glasses" Coleman and Thomas "Ultrabeard" Blair — had a lot to talk about in a recent Q&A livestream, discussing current and future plans for the throne war MMO's beta. One of the primary topics was onboarding new players, pointing out that the Infected worlds have been […]

WoW Factor: What I want to hear from World of Warcraft during BlizzConline

So hey, BlizzConline is coming up very soon, and that means more announcements about World of Warcraft! Within a fairly narrow lineup of possible bits of news, anyhow. Let's be honest, we all know at this point basically that we're going to be hearing about patch 9.1, which hasn't really been discussed thus far. We're not yet […]

Star Citizen breaks down the capital ships and shield tech of the Assault on Stanton dynamic event

Star Citizen continues to make a whole lot of noise about its first dynamic event, which sees players engaging with the Idris and Javelin capital ships, and this week's episode of Inside Star Citizen is further talking up the event as it discusses the creation of capital ships in battle and the shields that surround […]

Blizzard celebrates Lunar New Year in World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Hearthstone

Blizzard is no slouch when it comes to Lunar New Year celebrations: Its largest online titles have all gotten updates for the season. In World of Warcraft, the Lunar Festival has begun as of today, plus of course there's a cute flying bull mount, Lucky Yun, up for grabs if you jump into a six-month […]

Path of Exile rolls back Xbox One server to avoid 'significant economic damage'

Console players of Path of Exile were in for a nasty surprise last night following the launch of the 3.13.1, when Grinding Gear Games was forced to pull the server offline and roll it back to just before deployment. In its apology tweets, the studio said about an hour of progress had been lost. "Our […]

Here's how TERA Console's battle pass will work

The very first battle pass for TERA's console edition is coming out on February 18th, giving players a new way to spend money and chase rewards. YouTuber Sarumonin took an advance look at this system, finding it pretty typical compared to seasonal passes in other games. TERA Console's battle pass can be experienced in both […]

The Daily Grind: Which modern MMOs are the best at not exploiting your FOMO?

FOMO – the fear of missing out – has unfortunately become a foundational motivator in the MMORPG industry. I don't think it was always this way. Back in the early days of the MMO genre, my FOMO was self-generated, like feeling I needed to be in the game to accomplish my own goals: hanging out […]

The Stream Team: The Tide Turns is the real finale of DDO's pirate saga

Massively OP's MJ may have said that last time was the last time for DDO's pirate saga. However, today is the real last time! The finale quest, The Tides Turn, will wrap up the pirate adventure that MJ and the crew have been working through. And what a finale it will be! Just as House […]

Massively Overthinking: Do MMO players secretly just want 'another WoW'?

Last week, there was a provocative discussion on the MMORPG subreddit about the genre. I don't want to get tangled up in the whole argument about failed MMOs and why people play the successful MMOs that aren't World of Warcraft, but I do want to home in on the overall premise: "I've become thoroughly convinced […]

Trove introduces Deep Dragon mounts to console players in latest update

If you're the sort of Trove console player who likes to chase hard-to-find materials to put together an extremely shiny mount, then you're going to have an absolute blast with the game's latest update, which has introduced three Deep Dragon mounts to go after. And honestly, who doesn't want to ride around on a blocky […]

EverQuest launches Valentine's event, PlanetSide 2 begins Outfit Wars playtest, DCUO readies Update 110

It's the Daybreak Games News Bundle! Because it just makes sense to pool smaller stories together, we're going to outline several little updates made to EverQuest and EverQuest II, PlanetSide 2, and DC Universe Online. Which also means it's bullet list time! First, EQ has kicked off Erollisi Day 2021, which is all outlined in […]

Activision-Blizzard Q4 2020: Activision's revenues are up QoQ and YoY as Blizzard MAUs drop again

We've simply got to stop meeting like this exactly every three months. Yes, it's time for another round of Activision-Blizzard dissembling in the form of the company's investor report and conference call. Welcome to Q4 2020! It's been a weird couple of years for the company as 2019 saw mass layoffs, the Blitzchung boycott, a weak BlizzCon, […]

Multiplayer survival RPG Frozen Flame updates enemies, shares some music, and offers a demo on Steam

It's been a little while since we looked in on Frozen Flame, and lo and behold, there's been a couple of notable things going on with the in-development multiplayer survival RPG. One of the first major updates is… well, an update, which has tweaked the attack behavior of the Cursed to make them "more menacing […]

Skyforge launches on Nintendo Switch today with time-limited cosmetics

The time has finally arrived for Skyforge to venture onto a new console in the form of the Nintendo Switch. The game is live today on the platform, allowing everyone access to the game in semi-portable form as you take on the role of one of the game's many immortal deities fighting to defend your planet. […]

Magic Legends begins selling discounted cosmetics bundle ahead of open beta

If for some reason you're angling to buy cosmetics for a game that hasn't released yet – and let's be real, MMO players are known for doing just that – then you're going to want to peek at PWE's Magic Legends reveal today. The company is apparently selling a new Planeswalker Bundle for the game, […]

EVE Online commemorates the Massacre at M2-XFE with data and an in-game monument

We can now officially put a new marker on the annals of EVE Online history. The Massacre at M2-XFE, which was already shaping up to be a historic battle from initial reporting, has gotten a full and final report from CCP Games, outlining just how immense this fight ended up being with data and details. […]

Obituary: ZeniMax Media founder and CEO Robert A. Altman has died

I'm sorry to report that the founder and CEO of ZeniMax Media, Robert A. Altman, has apparently passed away. He was 74. The news came directly from Bethesda's Twitter account, where staff shared one of Altman's recent memos to the teams urging them to take time to care for themselves during the pandemic. We are […]

Preview: Dauntless' Frost Escalation will force you to fight frigid foes and frostbite

I've said before that I respect and love how Dauntless keeps trying to bring something new to the table with its major updates, and the Frost Escalation, which should be live as you're reading this, is most certainly no exception. I was granted the opportunity to preview this new content with PR manager Andy Burt […]

Enter to win a Star Trek Online PC Alliance Reborn bundle from PWE and MOP

Star Trek Online's House Reborn has been a huge hit for the game, as the 11-year-old MMORPG is seeing a boost in concurrency as players flock back to the game to celebrate its anniversary. If you're among them, you're definitely going to want to enter today's giveaway to get your captains properly outfitted! PWE has […]

Vague Patch Notes: If this MMO was so good, why didn't it succeed?

Your mission today, should you choose to accept it, is to participate in an experiment. I want you to write up a nice long piece about all the things WildStar did that were, in fact, really good. Suggested areas of focus include the housing mechanics of the game, the art style, and the uniqueness of its […]

The Best Games on Xbox Game Pass

Signed up to Xbox Game Pass? Wondering which games you should play first? We've got you covered.

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Forget Hades, Pyre is Supergiant Games' Most Inspired Work

There's something to be said for the often-overlooked outlier in Supergiant's gameography.

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Horror Game In Nightmare is Headed to PS4 This Year

What if you had to face the monsters in your nightmares? 

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Maskmaker Promises To Be a Magical VR Adventure

We got a look at Maskmaker, an an upcoming VR puzzle-adventure and came away wanting more.

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Overwatch's Lunar New Year 2021 Event is Now Live

Overwatch's Lunar New Year 2021 is in full swing! 

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15 of the Best Overwatch Skins Ever Released

Overwatch has been around for quite a long time now.

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The Mystery of Resident Evil Village's Tall Vampire Lady Has Been Solved

Resident Evil Village's Tall Vampire Lady is a mystery to many but one internet expert has revealed the truth about Lady Dimitrescu.

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Stubbs the Zombie Could Be Shambling Back Onto the Xbox

Is Stubbs the Zombie getting an Xbox re-release? All signs point to braaaaiiiiiiiiins.

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Derren Brown Invites You to Explore Little Nightmares II

Derren Brown trousers.

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The Best Couch Co-op Games on Xbox One

Prefer to play your games with a friend? We've got you covered.

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Does Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood Have Co-op or Multiplayer?

Wondering if Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood has any co-op or competitive multiplayer features before you buy it? We've got the answer.

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How to Save Your Game in Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood

Playing Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood and wondering how you save your game. We've got all the info you need right here.

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How Long Does it Take to Beat Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood?

Wondering how long it takes to beat Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood? We've got the answer you're looking for right here.

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Nioh 2 – The Complete Edition Review (PC)

Nioh 2 has finally made its way onto PC in the form of a complete edition. Has it been worth the wait for PC gamers? Find out in our review.

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Beautiful Platformer Eternal Hope Asks: How Far Will You Go For The One You Love?

Would you travel to the ends of the Earth if it meant you could save the one you love?

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A Sonic the Hedgehog LEGO Set is Coming Soon

Gotta build fast!

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Blue Fire Review

Out on Switch and PC, adventure game Blue Fire combines platforming with combat, but feels like it never truly decides its own identity.

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Zelda-Inspired Rack n Ruin is Available Now on Xbox One

Six years after its PS4 and PC release, Zelda-inspired adventure Rack n Ruin is finally available to play on Xbox One.

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Tadpole Treble Encore Review

Tadpole Treble Encore is so much more fun than shoving frogspawn into an old jar.

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Sega Has Announced Total Warhammer III

Total Warhammer III is on the way, bringing with it more fantasy strategy. Check out the announce trailer for a taste of things to come.

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GamesMaster reboot will be released this year as show confirmed to be coming to E4

Channel 4 has announced that it is going to reboot the classic video game show GamesMaster, with three episodes currently confirmed. The show originally aired from 1992 to 1998 with the focus of players competing against each other in challenges, though the show did do some reviews of games too. This reboot will have five celebrities go against each other in a number of challenges, with the winner of the series walking away with the Golden Joystick. In the description for GamesMaster, Channel 4 writes:

This year, five bold celebrities will embark on a gaming odyssey but only one can go on to become the GamesMaster champion and take home the Golden Joystick. They'll undergo challenges, races and fights in virtual battle across all genres of gaming under the watchful eye of the all-knowing GamesMaster. Each week at least one celeb will be eliminated…Over the three epsisodes, five will become one and the winner will be crowned. They'll play each other at everything from iconic classics to brand new releases. We'll also be serving tonnes of extra gaming-themed content to our audiences to keep them coming back for more.

The GamesMaster show also had the magazine of the same name come from it, and the magazine outlasted the show by 20 years. It was in 2018 when the final issue of GamesMaster magazine was published, alongside GamesTM. At the time of the closure of the magazines Future Publishing released a statement saying:

"Despite the company's strong performance overall, unfortunately Games™ and GamesMaster are no longer profitable parts of the business, which means that their next issues, on sale November 1st, will be the final editions. The decision was an extremely difficult one, but everyone here is enormously proud of what the magazines have achieved in their lifetimes – an incredible 25 years in GamesMaster's case – and we are currently redeploying affected staff within the company."

An exact date for the return of GamesMaster has not been confirmed but it is expected to begin again this year.

Source: Channel 4

Astro's Playroom update 1.500.000 rolls out, patch notes released

Sony loves its stability fixes and updates. Over the years a lot of the fixes the company pushes out contains the word stability, and not much more. The latest piece of software to be graced by such a fix is the PS5 exclusive Astro's Playroom. Every PS5 owner gets a copy of Astro's Playroom for free as a pre-installed title, with the game giving players a chance to test out all the fancy features of the DualSense controller. With update 1.500.000 there is not a massive amount of patch notes to go through. Instead, aside from stability fixes there are some performance improvements and loading issues have been addressed. The full set of notes are below.

Astro's Playroom update 1.500.000 patch notes

  • Added stability fixes
  • Performance improvements.
  • Addressed game loading issues.
  • Other minor bug fixes.

In our review for Astro's Playroom, Stefan wrote:

Astro cements himself as the PlayStation 5's mascot with a celebration of all things PlayStation that also showcases the full potential of the immersive new DualSense controller. Astro's Playroom is the first thing you should play on PlayStation 5.
The full review for Astro's Playroom can be read here. For you trophy hunters out there, Astro's Playroom has what is probably the easiest Platinum to get on PS5 taking around five to six hours to get all of them. According to PSN Profiles, 65% of players who have started Astro's Playroom have managed to get the Platinum trophy. It is well worth doing as Astro's Playroom does introduce all of the new features that Sony has added with the introduction of the DualSense controller, including the built in microphone and haptic feedback. The game also takes advantage of the console's 3D audio when using headsets, so you can hear the environment around you as you guide Astro through the different regions of the PS5.
Source: Update Crazy

Vigor Review

Vigor is a multiplayer looter-shooter from Bohemia Interactive. You may know Bohemia from the ultra-realistic ARMA series or, perhaps more relevantly, DayZ. Vigor is a bit like DayZ, except it doesn't feature zombies, walkers, or any other flavour of the undead. Instead, it's you versus other humans as you scavenge for resources in a post-apocalyptic Norway.

Rather than taking place on a giant map packed with a hundred or so players, Vigor has smaller maps with 8-16 players fighting amongst themselves for a share of a more limited loot pool. It's a less interesting loot pool, as where other, comparable games might have you picking up tricked out guns with all kinds of randomised attachments, you turn up to the area with your own weaponry and ammunition rather than scavenge for it when you arrive. When you do find a gun you'll likely need to swap it with one of the ones you brought with you, leaving it behind forever. The focus here is more on things like wood, glass, and nails so you can upgrade your base, then escaping before a radiation cloud blankets the area.

The base building aspect is easily the worst part of the game. After a brief tutorial at the very start of the game, you're taken to your base so you can have a look around. It's a dilapidated house on a mountain, curiously still decorated with Christmas lights at the end of January, and it seems to be there entirely to stretch as little content as possible over as much time as it can.

There's a host of upgrades to choose from, but they're only available once your shelter has reached the required level. You'll start out with a crafting table so you can craft guns and ammo, at which point your shelter will level up and allow you build the "wood log" upgrade, which passively generates 24 wood every hour. Then you can build the water distillation upgrade, which speeds up crafting time.


Yes, it takes time to craft and build things as well. On top of that wrinkle, all of the upgrades are absolute nonsense – I can't remember what I made the "wood log" upgrade out of originally, but the first upgrade allows me to raise how much wood it generates per hour to 30 for the cost of 348 nails. How, exactly? The third level of the crafting table requires 258 metal parts and nothing else. None of it makes any sense. On the subject of upgrading the features in your base, most of them have 13 levels to work your way through, each one giving a similarly marginal increase, taking time to be built, and demanding large amounts of nonsensical and dull loot.

Let's look at the rat trap – just humour me for a minute. The rat trap generates two food per hour by capturing delicious rats. It's built entirely out of wires somehow, despite the photo next to the upgrade having a tin in it, and it takes 10 minutes to build it once you reach shelter level four. There are 13 levels to upgrade it through and until it hits level 10 each level increases how much food you gain by either 0.3 or 0.4 food per hour. The last three levels increase it by one up to a maximum of eight food per hour. Then, there are three more identical rat traps unlocked at levels eight, 10, and 12. This is not fun. It's a treadmill set to the slowest setting to ensure you're using it for as long as possible. There are nineteen base upgrades not including the rat traps and they're all the same but for slightly different benefits.

It could be possible to enjoy playing in spite of this, but unfortunately, the rest of the game is a bit hit and miss to say the least. The maps, whilst much smaller than a Battle Royale, are still big enough that the relatively meagre amount of players in each game often results in encountering nobody for multiple games in a row, even when going for things like safes and the airdrop that shows up on the map. Then there's what happens when you do meet someone. Whether you're sniped before you even see anyone by someone who brought a gun that's just flat out better than anything you had available, or you bump into someone who doesn't actually have a gun with them, both situations are annoying for very different reasons.

On top of all this, while the game looks serviceable most of the time, it dips into ugliness with the overuse of bland textures, and even the snow-covered nordic mountains in the background manage to look blurry and washed out, further ruining any potential for an engrossing atmosphere.

In Nightmare is a horror platformer coming to PS4 later this year

Maximum Games and developer Magic Fish Studios have revealed a new horror game for PS4, and it is called In Nightmare. It does not have anything to with Little Nightmares. In Nightmare appears to be a top down horror platformer with players having to sneak around environments, and also solve puzzles while avoiding the various monsters that are hunting for them. You can watch the reveal trailer below which gives a view of some gameplay as well as enemy designs.

In Nightmare's story premise is as follows:

Experiencing effects of a broken family, and the heartache it brings, a young child will escape reality into a dark, whimsical world created from his own memories. This sets him on his journey to uncover what truly lies within. Having suffered in reality, his past trauma turns into terrifying monsters that want to keep him in an eternal nightmare. With the help of his dream spirit, the boy will find ways to sneak past enemies, overcome intricate puzzles, embrace his fear, and uncover the truth so that he may be able to purify the monsters he has created, and finally wake up.

A release date is yet to be confirmed for In Nightmare, but it is expected to be released this year.

Source: Press Release

Derren Brown explains nightmares in this Little Nightmares II trailer

Bandai Namco has released a new trailer for Little Nightmares II and enlisted the help of illusionist Derren Brown to give a crash course on nightmares. He talks of dream theories by Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud, but also gives a different take on nightmares. Instead of being dark dreams nightmares are a malevolent force that have been preying on humans for time immemorial. It is probably not a good idea to watch this trailer before you go to bed as it gets suitably creepy.

A demo for Little Nightmares II is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. The demo will let you play through the Wilderness level and encounter its bloodthirsty Resident, the Hunter, giving you a taste of what's ahead in the full game this time next month. It is a nice little primer before Little Nightmares II is released.

Stefan had some hands on time with a preview build of Little Nightmares II a few months ago, writing:

Little Nightmares II looks set to pick up right where the original game and its DLC left off, filled with a thick atmosphere and creepy new situations to find yourself in. Would that it could come out this month in time for Halloween, we'll have to wait a few months longer until 11th February 2021 to continue the horrible little adventure.

The original Little Nightmares released back in 2017. Tuffcub reviewed the game and he said:

Little Nightmares is something of a minor classic. Gorgeously gross and surprisingly inventive, it creates a genuine feeling of terror and tension. It's a bit odd to say a game that involves skipping over corpses is enjoyable, but it is, just don't blame Tarsier if you have nightmares.

You can read the full Little Nightmares review here.

Little Nightmares II will be available from February 11th on PS4, PC, Xbox One, and Switch. A PS5 and Xbox Series X|S version will be released at a later date.

Source: YouTube

Windfolk Review

I must confess that, when I came to review Windfolk, I misread the title. "Windy Folk?" I pondered, "That certainly sounds like an alternative concept for a video game". I initially conceived that this Windy Folk must be an interactive experience that offers some insightful hints and tips on how to avoid an intense bout of flatus. Then I reread that the title and deduced that it's actually called Windfolk and is a third-person shooter all about strapping on a jetpack and battling in the sky. Now though, having played this lacklustre game, I can see that my first assumption was correct. Windfolk should be called Windyfolk – as it absolutely stinks.

There's one thing that Windfolk almost gets right – flight. Protagonist Esen blasts around the handful of maps with smooth grace. Controls are clear and intuitive and the sense of speed palpable; Esen rockets into the horizon with satisfying velocity upon the squeeze of a trigger. The problem is that flight is pointless. The levels may be pretty but are devoid of fun; there's no reason to explore them and the game's design and structure discourages play.

Levels are closed off by 'strong winds' and the possibilities of a flying sandbox instead becomes nothing more than a long corridor. One in which you'll spend most of your time blasting from one end to the other. Usually towards a waypoint and maybe, occasionally, diverting to go and pick up an obviously hidden journal entry. Other than that the maps are vacant and empty – the limitless joys of flight curtailed as a means of getting from A to B.

And just what do you do when you reach B? Predominantly you engage in an air battle. At this point hordes of enemies appear until Esen blasts them all from the sky. You might think that this could well be brilliant – after all, surely epic dog fights in which each jet packed sky warrior darts around the environment is a recipe for sheer awesomeness?

You'd think that, only developer Gammera Nest took the odd decision of immediately curtailing the player's 'Rocketeer' fantasies by placing all combat in a giant energy bubble – one so small that it renders the whole flying thing pointless. Rather than taking part in energetic dog fights, the player simply strafes slowly whilst the overly generous auto-aim renders combat an uninspiring breeze.

Matters aren't helped any by the limited range of weapons, each lacking any sense of punch or impact. Firing off a massive heat-seeking rocket launcher should be cathartic – instead it's catatonic. There's so little audio and visual response that weapon use is a flat experience offering little excitement. Special abilities fare no better. Most weapons have a second function that can be activated after firing off a series of shots but they don't liven up the combat, they just add another ball of energy that can't miss its target. Meanwhile, enemy AI is a bore, the evil minions of The Coalition hovering around like dozy flies in the summer, seemingly waiting for you to swat them from the sky.

If all that sounds rather dreary, then it's only exacerbated by the developer's odd predilection to immediately destroy any and all momentum or pace the player happens to be building up. Tedious and long conversations between Esen and her mentor, Batrax, cannot be skipped. The two drone on whilst the player literally does nothing – there's no waypoint to fly to or enemy to blast. It's not even as if Esen and Batrax are saying anything of interest – just further bland exposition and another example of Batrax's bizarre fetish, one in which he insists on punishing Esen with a month of toilet cleaning every chance he gets. Oh, and the least threatening villain of all time, Russell (or is it Rusell? The game doesn't know), will pop up for a chin wag from time to time.

If all that wasn't enough to put anyone and everyone off Windfolk, how about these examples? One level demands that you repeatedly 'grab the cargo' from a transporter. Only, you can't grab the cargo, instead, you've just got to follow the transporter around for a bit until you can damage it. My molars took quite the frustrated grinding whilst Esen repeatedly bounced off the cargo, the game failing to explain why I was going wrong.

Then there's a random puzzle that blocks all progress and is so obscure that even after I solved it – I just had to try all the combinations until eventually finding the right one – I still have no idea what it was all about. How about the mission that sends you around a maze of identical cave tunnels to find a switch, only to then send you back through the maze – only this time with a countdown timer. Again and again, I tried to give Windfolk the benefit of the doubt, again and again it poked me in the eye for my naïve optimism.

If there's one positive aspect to my time with Windfolk it's that it was a short one. With only seven levels, and the same amount of arcade trials, the game can be easily completed in a matter of hours. But when the most positive aspect of a game is that it's all over quickly, what type of positive is that?

Valheim update 0.142.5 fixes logo screen freeze issue, enables continuous music

Developer Iron Gate has released a new update for Valheim, this being update 0.142.5, and it addresses some issues players have encountered with the early access title. These fixes include Valheim no longer freezing at the main logo screen, stamina not being used when dodging a lot, adding drowning effects, adding more cores in chambers, and making the music play continuously by default. The full list of fixes and changes for Valheim is below.

  • Fixed freeze at Valheim logo screen
  • Fixed Block-sfx
  • Fixed Spamming dodge consumed extra stamina
  • Server list tweaks (multi-line names, server count)
  • Continuous music enabled by default
  • Drowning effects added
  • Compendium icon updated
  • Made Hugin dialog slightly larger
  • More surtling cores in burial chambers
  • Serverlist fixes
  • Lowered enemy per-player damage scaling
  • Localization fixes
  • Server filter fix

In our preview for Valheim, Thomas wrote:

Valheim, while a bit rough around the edges, has a number of genuinely nice touches to its gameplay. When cooking food, you have to actually stand by it as it cooks and take it off when it's ready – leave it on for too long and you'll be left with a piece of coal – but stand by a fire in a cramped space and you'll start to die due to smoke inhalation. For a game that's just entered Early Access, Valheim already feels like a mostly complete game.

The future feels bright for Valheim. With a solid arrangement of survival systems already in place, an engaging array of boss battles and plenty of extra touches, I can't wait to see how the community shapes and guides this survival sim's future development. This is definitely one to watch out for.

You can read the full Valheim preview here.

Source: Steam

What a load of pussy! Two new cat based games are on the way

Feline fans are in for a treat with not one, not two, but three games starring cats on the way. Unfortunately one of them is embargoed till the 9th so I can't tell you about it but we can take a look at Puss! and Space Cats Tactics.

First up, Space Cats Tactics which has a free prologue which you can download now from Steam. The game has two main gameplay elements, managing the ship's crew and grid-based combat, "Think about it as if FTL: Faster Than Light and XCOM had a child. Except this 'child' is a fluffy, furry, meowy, and incredibly inquisitive kitten," say the developers, Mitzi games.

The game is set in the year 2635 when humans have started genetic trials on felines to turn them in to super soldiers to fight in wars. As you might expect the cats were not happy about this and rebelled, a revolution took place and catkind and humankind are now at peace. You play as Mitzi the cat who must smuggle the Curiosity, an advanced ship, to the far outer reaches of the galaxy.

You can wishlist Space Cats Tactics on Steam. 

The second game, Puss!, is.. er.. well, just watch the video.

Yes, that was Jesus and a cat riding a unicorn in the same trailer, your drink has not been spiked. Puss! is described as an "insane, absurd and intense avoid-'em up game about a cat!" and it's coming to Xbox One, PS4, and Switch on February 19th.

Here are some key features.

  •  Bossfights! The real Bullet Hell!
  • Free your future partners and they'll help you fight evil!
  • Compare the results of your run with the results of other players on the leaderboard
  • The levels are tougher than they look at first sight. They also appear in a random sequence!
  • Various skins for your cat

As mentioned there's another cat game coming out soon which is currently embargoed, and PS5 owners have Stray to look forward to as well so the future is looking remarkably furry.

Stray is a third-person cat adventure game set amidst the detailed neon-lit alleys of a decaying cybercity and the murky environments of its seedy underbelly. Set to launch in 2021, players will play as a stray cat, roaming surroundings high and low, defend against unforeseen threats and solve the mysteries of this unwelcoming place inhabited by nothing but unassuming droids and dangerous creatures. Lost, alone and separated from family, players must untangle an ancient mystery to escape a long-forgotten cybercity and find the way home. 

Stray will be released as a console exclusive on PS5 in 2021.

Source: Press releases

Maskmaker announced for VR formats

InnerspaceVR, the team behind the award winning A Fisherman's Tale have a new game on the horizon, it's called Maskmaker and it will arrive on 20th April for PSVR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift.

The game has you taking the role of a Maskmaker's apprentice in a mysterious universe where you can learn "the magic of crafting masks" which allows you to take over the bodies of other beings within the realm. You will meet Prospero, the powerful "leader" of the mask realm and then craft masks, leading to new areas where you can solve puzzles, develop new skills, and scavenge for new resources to help you build even more masks.

"Our team set out to create a non-linear adventure that gives players a strong sense of presence as they explore the mysterious universe of Maskmaker," said Balthazar Auxietre, creative director and co-founder, InnerspaceVR. "We carefully designed the game to help players feel like a real craftsman when creating these intricate masks, and experience the freedom and discovery as they traverse through unique worlds to uncover the secrets of the mask realm."

We gave A Fisherman's Tale an excellent 8/10 in our review back in January last year. This is what Jason had to say, will Maskmaker be just as good?

A Fisherman's Tale succeeds in being one of the most interesting games on VR. It is charming, magical, and awe-inspiring. It manages to do all of this with you playing as a puppet, and feeling a huge amount of warmth towards that little puppet. It is just a shame that the playtime is so short, even just an extra couple of hours would have made this impossible to miss. As it stands, it is a wonderful game that deserves playing, but the play time is such a drawback to an otherwise impeccable game.

Source: Press release

Destruction AllStars Guide – 11 essential tips & tricks

Having crashed its way onto PS5 earlier this week, there's a good chance many of you have snapped up Destruction AllStars for free via your PlayStation Plus subscriptions.

One part Destruction Derby, one part Overwatch, it's a bizarre combination of genres that has you switching between two feet and four wheels as larger-than-life characters compete for glory.

Destruction AllStars isn't quite on par with Sony's other PS5 exclusives, scoring a 6 out of 10 in our review at launch. While fun in short frenzied blasts, like most car combat games it can get repetitive and is let down by an overall lack of engaging content.

Anyhow, for those seeking Wreckognition, we've whipped up a handy guide full of tips and pointers to help you come out on top.

Destruction AllStars Guide – 11 essential tips & tricks

1. After the initial tutorial you are free to dive into some multiplayer but we'd strongly recommend hitting up the practice menu. Here you will find handy tutorials for each of the four primary game modes, against AI bots. This is an ideal way to acquaint yourself with the sixteen playable heroes too, learning their Breaker skills and Hero Vehicle powers.

2. Bumping into a teammate's vehicle won't cause any damage but can slow or even stop the pair of you, leaving you both exposed to an incoming slam.

3. Excluding the unique Hero Vehicles, there are three car classes in Destruction AllStars. Immediately identifiable, you have a light, medium, and heavy option, each with varying stats in terms of speed, control, and durability, though they all handle similarly.

4. Play as each hero at least once. There's a vibrant, diverse cast in Destruction AllStars and they own have their own unique on-foot Breaker ability as well as a signature Hero Vehicle. You'll naturally gravitate towards a handful of them, matching their special powers with your own playstyle, whether it's Shyft's invisibility or Harmony's devastating bass blasts.

5. Activating your Hero Vehicle should be your main objective in any game mode. In order to do this you'll need to score point but, more importantly, make sure you're dabbling in some out-of-car parkour to power up your Breaker and Hero Vehicle gauge.

6. Breakers are temporary on-foot abilities such as Ultimo's running charge or Lupita's flame trail. Don't be stingy and cling on to your Breaker as it can also be used to make your AllStar more mobile with faster movement and a double jump, ideal for snapping up hero energy.

7. In Mayhem your goal is to score points, earned every time you barge, hit, wreck, KO, evade, of Takeover. The tip here is make sure you're in the middle of the action at all times, occasionally breaking away to find a fresh vehicle.

8. In Gridfall, survival is key. Sections of the arena will start to fall away so keep note of what areas are marked red. You start out with one respawn though the game encourages you to earn more by actively hitting and wrecking your rivals instead of hiding away. Doing so will only leave you with fewer lives when down to the last two or three players. Remember to use your hero's barge attack when outside of your vehicle. This is easiest way of knocking another Star off the map and into the pit below.

9. In Carnado every action will earn you Gears that need to be cashed in to win points for your team. In order to do this you'll need to safely carry them to the Carnado to make a successful conversion. Getting wrecked or being taken over by an opponent will forfeit any Gears collected. To earn Gears, try patrolling the outer circle for attack opportunities. Some Hero Vehicle abilities are great for holding down the Carnado, wrecking opponents trying to cash in their Gears and denying them a huge point payout.

10. In Stockpile two teams of eight players go head to head. Like Carnado your objective is to collect and bank Gears though here it works a little differently. You'll only earn Gears for the successful KO or wreck of an opponent. On top of that, you can only grab the Gears left behind by leaving your vehicle and retrieving them when on foot. You'll then need to make your way to one of the three bank podiums, standing on top to deposit your Gears. Conquering all three can be a chore unless you're a well co-ordinated team so just make sure you're dominating two before the timer runs out.

11. If you're looking to go for the Destruction AllStars platinum trophy then prepare for some grinding. There's a mix of easily attainable progress-related trophies, then sixteen trophies linked to each Hero Vehicle ability. Most of these require you to wreck multiple opponents in a short amount of time, deal/absorb a set amount of damage etc. so jumping into Mayhem seems like a good spot to earn these. In each Mayhem match there should be a handful of opportunities to have your Hero Vehicle plough into a busy crowd of rivals.

That's all for now. Hopefully, we'll continue to see more game modes, events, and characters added to Destruction AllStars in the near future. Developer Lucid Games have promised that this is only just the start.

17 great multiplayer games to play with your family

Picking out the perfect family game for your home clan is a mighty challenging endeavour. There's just so many factors to consider. Is the game suitable for all ages? Will it be accessible to those who have never picked up a controller before? And, perhaps most importantly, is the game so crazily competitive that it will drive a wedge of seething resentment and bitterness so deep into the family unit that it will never be removed?

Well, worry no more, we have a guide to family games that is the perfect calming balm to soothe your stress filled game choosing woes. In our list you will find the top family games to buy right now. Plus, we'll even regale you with details on whether there's local or online play, whether you'll have to upgrade to a bigger telly just so you can see what's going on in split screen and whether or not any family members will have to be excluded due to a limited player count.

51 Worldwide Games

  • PEGI Rating: 12
  • Platforms: NSW
  • Online multiplayer
  • Local play: up to 4 players

A late contender for this list and a game that appears fairly conspicuous next to some of Nintendo's mascot-lead Switch exclusives. As the name suggests, 51 Worldwide Games packs in plenty of activities, from classics such as chess and draughts, to more exotic inclusions like Shogi, and more interactive favourites such as bowling and darts. Although designed primarily for two players, most games can enable up to 4 by connecting two Switch systems. Thankfully, you don't need two copies of the game either with a free guest edition demo allowing you to piggyback.

Cake Bash

  • PEGI Rating: 7
  • Platforms: PS4, XBO, NSW, PC
  • Online multiplayer
  • Local play: up to 4 players

Whoever came up with the idea of a party game pitting battling cakes in a showdown to become the tastiest treat of them all is a genius. Cake Bash is wonderful fun from beginning to end. It's also one of the more accessible game on this list, with simple controls that can be easily grasped by novice players. Even better, there's a wide range of challenges to put a smile on every face: from swatting pesky picnic ruining wasps, to toasting the perfect marshmallow and smashing fortune cookies to smithereens. We challenge even the grumpiest of teenagers not to love Cake Bash.

Rocket League

  • PEGI Rating: 3
  • Platforms: PS4, XBO, NSW, PC
  • Online multiplayer
  • Local play: up to 4 players

It's footie but instead of overpaid divas, you play as supersonic acrobatic rocket-powered battle cars. Rocket League is the sequel to one of the greatest multiplayer games of all time, albeit with a more marketable name, fuelled by a colossal fan base. Despite the sheer simplicity of gameplay (hit ball into goal) Rocket League provides endless hours of free without needing to pay a penny. It's accessible enough though it's easy to tell newbies and experienced players apart thanks to the nifty airborne/boosting tricks you can pull off.

Just Dance 2021

  • PEGI Rating: 3
  • Platforms: NSW, PS4, PS5, XBO, XBSX
  • Local play: up to 4 players

An evergreen family favourite, the Just Dance series is perfect for getting everyone up off the sofa as you attempt to copy on-screen choreography. There's a huge selection of songs to flail around to, from all-time classics to modern hits and a healthy serving of cheesy tracks that will have your body moving. As long as you can get your hands on one of the more recent entries in the Just Dance series you'll have all the modern features at your fingertips including the option to use smartphones as controllers, and Just Dance Unlimited – a subscription unlocking more than 500 songs.

Super Mario Party

  • PEGI Rating: 3
  • Platforms: NSW
  • Online multiplayer
  • Local play: up to 4 players

This eleventh main instalment in the long-running Mario Party series is a great way of getting the family together. At its core, Super Mario Party follows a familiar board game template as you roll dice and move from space to space, triggering various bonuses and events. The main head-to-head component here is the wide spread of mini-games. Sure, there's a knack to each one though they're never overly complex, giving all players a fighting chance.

Overcooked! 2

  • PEGI Rating: 3
  • Platforms: PS4, XBO, NSW, PC
  • Online multiplayer
  • Local play: up to 4 players

If you'd prefer your family game to be collaborative rather than competitive, then Overcooked! 2 is the connoisseur's choice. A puzzle game that tasks up to four players with the challenge of preparing a multitude of meals, Overcooked! 2 starts off easy but becomes a very challenging proposition by the end game. Brilliantly though, the game upskills the player as they play, making it entirely plausible that a novice team could become culinary master chefs before long. Controls are simple, and, even better, two players can use one controller: meaning you can have four player fun without having to spend a fortune on new controllers.

Knowledge Is Power

  • PEGI Rating: 3
  • Platforms: PS4
  • Local play: up to 6 players

It wasn't long ago that Sony took a punt on PlayLink – their attempt at creating more socially-focused games, using smartphones as the main control input. It's largely been forgotten though Knowledge Is Power is one game we like to keep installed: a trivia game in the same vein as Buzz! but without the same punch.

LittleBigPlanet 3

  • PEGI Rating: 7
  • Platforms: PS4, PS3
  • Online multiplayer
  • Local play: up to 4 players

While its creation tools now seem fairly limited compared to Media Molecule's Dreams, LittleBigPlanet 3 is still great for those wanting some co-op fun. It's a little more advanced than its predecessors and their simpler platforming gameplay but that shouldn't stop less experienced gamers getting involved. If LBP3 clicks then there's a near endless number of user-created levels to explore.

Sackboy: A Big Adventure

  • PEGI Rating: 7
  • Platforms: PS5
  • Online multiplayer
  • Local play: up to 4 players

Perhaps overshadowed by Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Demon's Souls, this PS5 launch title is certainly worth checking out if you want to wring some family friendly co-op fun from Sony's newest console. Sackboy: A Big Adventure can feel pretty empty when riding solo whereas playing with up to three others makes the game far more alive and involved with some creative co-op puzzle solving at work.

Rayman Legends

  • PEGI Rating: 7
  • Platforms: PS3, 360, Wii U, PS4, XBO, NSW, PC
  • Local play: up to 4 players

If platforming is your thing, then Rayman Legends is a standout choice. Up to four players can leap, swing, and punch their way through some wildly creative levels. The animation is silky smooth and the musical stages are a joy to behold. Word of warning; Rayman Legends gets pretty tricky pretty quickly, so best ensure you have an experienced gamer along for the ride to help everyone out. How can they help? If a player 'dies' then they inflate and lurch around the level like a balloon bouncing on a bubble bath, ready to be freed by the pro when the tricky bit has been bested.

Moving Out

  • PEGI Rating: 3
  • Platforms: PS4, XBO, NSW, PC
  • Local play: up to 4 players

Moving Out tasks up to four players with a wonderfully straightforward objective: work as a team to get all the furniture out of the building and into the back of a removal van. What brings the game to life are the hilarious physics. Players must work together to knock doors off their hinges, lob sofas through windows and drag uncooperative pigs through fields. It's a delightfully silly experience and, thanks to a comprehensive range of game settings, eminently accessible for all ages and skill levels.

Tools Up!

  • PEGI Rating: 3
  • Platforms: PS4, XBO, NSW, PC
  • Local play: up to 4 players

If DIY is more your thing than furniture removal, then Tools Up! is the game for you and your family. Up to four players must redecorate a flat, office or haunted castle before the time limit expires. Tools Up! is a far more chilled out experience than either Moving Out or Overcooked! 2, it's actually quite relaxing beautifying a home. That is until you discover that you've put the wrong type of carpet down or painted the walls the wrong colour. If that happens just head outside to release the expletives – don't what the kids repeating the swears to their teachers, do we?

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2

  • PEGI Rating: 3
  • Platforms: PS4, XBO, NSW, PC
  • Local play: up to 4 players

Let's face it, there are good dozen or so Lego games that could have filled out this list but Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 is one of the best, newest entries in this long-running series. A surprisingly gripping story, reliable if well worn gameplay mechanics and the inclusion of the most popular kid's movie franchise – sorry Star Wars – makes this follow up an easy choice. For those who haven't played a Lego game before then you'll find an extremely accessible experience brought to life with buckets of Lego charm. Only downside? Its campaign only supports two players even if there are modes that enable up to four.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

  • PEGI Rating: 3
  • Platforms: NSW
  • Online multiplayer
  • Local play: up to 4 players

An absolute essential for Nintendo Switch owners and, judging by the continued strength of its sales, a game most of them already own. Mario Kart 8 is kart racing perfection, the Deluxe edition stuffed with loads of goodies including extra tracks and more characters you can shake a Blue Shell at. Bonus points to Nintendo for adding accessibility features to help level the playing field between Mario Kart vets and younger/casual racers.

Horizon Chase Turbo

  • PEGI Rating: 3
  • Platforms: PS4, XBO, NSW, PC
  • Local co-op: up to 4 players

If you want to do some family racing but need the gameplay to be as accessible as possible, then Horizon Chase Turbo is a great option. This racer is as old school as they come, summoning memories from the arcade cabinets of yesteryear as player's speed around twisty turny tracks in pursuit of victory. Gameplay is simple, you only need to worry about moving left and right to dodge anything that gets in your way. The highlight though is the Rookie Series Mode that streamlines all the gameplay mechanics and is perfect for younger players.

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled

  • PEGI Rating: 3
  • Platforms: PS4, XBO, NSW
  • Online multiplayer
  • Local play: up to 4 players

Missing out on the kart racing crown by the narrowest of margins, Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled provides a solid alternative for those who don't own a Switch or gel with Mario Kart's gameplay. As well as a story mode (which allows for co-op), there's a huge selection of tracks and modes that developer Beenox expanded on with several modern additions. The amount of customisation and unlocks will keep you coming back race after race.

RingFit Adventure

  • PEGI Rating: 7
  • Platforms: NSW

Sadly, RingFit Adventure doesn't support multiplayer out of the box but that doesn't stop you from getting your friends and family up off the sofa and getting their sweat on. It requires a little preparation and a few props though you can easily create workout sessions for you and others with one player being the leader. Some exercises will require a yoga/Pilates ring for those not holding the RingFit peripheral but you can tailor custom workout regimes that don't need them.

Epic announce next week's free PC game, adds Metro Last Light Redux

Those PC gamers swinging by the Epic Games Store for their weekly freebie fix will have noticed not one, but two titles up for grabs.

Following on from Dandara, the Fortnite publisher revealed For the King as their next featured giveaway. This has now been joined by post-apocalyptic FPS sequel, Metro Last Light Redux. Both games are available from now until Thursday, February 11th.

Next week, this latest pair of games will be swapped out for Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander, the 2017 sci-fi roleplaying game from developer Massive Damage Inc.

You can view a full list of every free Epic games below, complete with dates of availability, and reviews plucked from our archive.

Epic Games store complete free games list

Game Name Dates Available
Metro Last Light Redux February 4-11,2021
For the King February 4-11,2021
Dandara: Trials of Fear Edition January 28, 2021-February 4, 2021
Galactic Civilizations III January 21-28, 2021
Star Wars Battlefront II January 14-21, 2021
Crying Suns January 7-14, 2021
Jurassic World: Evolution December 31, 2020-January 7, 2021
Torchlight II December 30
Solitairica December 29
Stranded Deep December 28
Night in the Woods December 27
My Time At Portia December 26
Darkest Dungeon December 25
Inside December 24
Tropico 5 December 23
Metro 2033 Redux December 22
Alien: Isolation December 21, 2020
Defense Grid: The Awakening December 20, 2020
The Long Dark December 19 , 2020
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty December 18, 2020
Cities Skylines December 17, 2020
Pillars of Eternity December 10-17, 2020
Tyranny December 10-17, 2020
Cave Story+ December 3-10, 2020
MudRunner November 26-December 3, 2020
Elite: Dangerous November 19-26, 2020
The World Next Door November 19-26, 2020
The Textorcist: The Story of Ray Bibbia November 12-19, 2020
Dungeons 3 November 12-19, 2020
Wargame: Red Dragon November 5-12, 2020
Ghostbusters The Video Game – Remastered October 29-November 5, 2020
Blair Witch October 29-November 5, 2020
Layers of Fear 2 October 22-29, 2020
Costume Quest 2 October 22-29, 2020
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs October 15-22, 2020
Kingdom New Lands October 15-22, 2020
Rising Storm 2: Vietnam October 8-15, 2020
ABZU October 8-15, 2020
Pikuniku October 1-8, 2020
Rollercoaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition September 24-October 1, 2020
Football Manager 2020 September 17-24, 2020
Watch Dogs 2 September 17-24, 2020
Stick It To The Man! September 17-24, 2020
Railway Empire September 10-17, 2020
Where The Water Tastes Like Wine September 10-17, 2020
Into The Breach September 3-10, 2020
Hitman August 27-September 3, 2020
Shadowrun Collection August 27-September 3, 2020
God's Trigger August 20-27, 2020
Enter the Gungeon August 20-27, 2020
The Alto Collection August 13-20, 2020
Remnant: From the Ashes August 13-20, 2020
A Total War Saga: Troy August 13-14, 2020
Wilmot's Warehouse August 6-13, 2020
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP July 30 – August 6, 2020
Barony July 30 – August 6, 2020
20XX July 30 – August 6, 2020
Next Up Hero July 23-30, 2020
Tacoma July 23-30, 2020
Torchlight II July 16-23, 2020
Lifeless Planet: Premier Edition July 9-16, 2020
The Escapists 2 July 9-16, 2020
Killing Floor 2 June 9-16, 2020
Hue July 2-9, 2020
Stranger Things 3 June 25-July 2, 2020
AER Memories of Old June 18-25, 2020
Ark: Survival Evolved June 11-18, 2020
Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection June 11-18, 2020
Overcooked June 4-11, 2020
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection May 28-June 4, 2020
Civilization VI May 21-28, 2020
Grand Theft Auto V May 14-21, 2020
Death Coming May 7-14, 2020
Crashlands April 30-May 7, 2020
Amnesia: The Dark Descent April 30-May 7, 2020
For the King April 23-30, 2020
Just Cause 4 April 16-23, 2020
Wheels of Aurelia April 16-23, 2020
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments April 9-16, 2020
Close to the Sun April 9-16, 2020
Gone Home April 2-9, 2020
Drawful 2 April 2-9, 2020
Hob April 2-9, 2020
Totally Reliable Delivery Service April 1-8, 2020
World War Z March 26-April 2, 2020
Torment x Punisher March 26-April 2, 2020
Figment March 26-April 2, 2020
Watch Dogs March 19-26, 2020
The Stanley Parable March 19-26, 2020
A Short Hike March 12-19, 2020
Mutazione March 12-19, 2020
Anodyne 2 March 12-19, 2020
Gonner March 5-12, 2020
Offworld Trading Company March 5-12, 2020
Inner Space February 27-March 5, 2020
Faeria February 20-27, 2020
Assassin's Creed Syndicate February 20-27, 2020
Aztez February 13-20, 2020
Kingdom Come: Deliverance February 13-20, 2020
Ticket to Ride February 6-13, 2020
Carcassonne February 6-13, 2020
Farming Simulator 19 January 30-February 6, 2020
The Bridge January 23-30, 2020
Horace January 16-23, 2020
Sundered: Eldritch Edition January 9-16, 2020
Darksiders Warmastered Edition January 1-9, 2020
Darksiders 2 Dethinitive Edition January 1-9, 2020
Steep January 1-9, 2020
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair December 31, 2019
Hello Neighbor December 30, 2019
The Talos Principle December 29, 2019
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun December 28, 2019
Hyper Light Drifter December 27, 2019
FTL: Faster Than Light December 26, 2019
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator December 25, 2019
Celeste December 24, 2019
Ape Out December 23, 2019
Little Inferno December 22, 2019
Superhot December 21, 2019
Towerfall Ascension December 20, 2019
Into the Breach December 19, 2019
The Wolf Among Us December 12-19, 2019
The Escapists December 12-19, 2019
Jotun: Valhalla Edition December 6-12, 2019
Rayman Legends November 29-December 6, 2019
Bad North November 21-29, 2019
The Messenger November 14-21, 2019
Ruiner November 7-14, 2019
Nuclear Throne November 7-14, 2019
Costume Quest October 31-November 7, 2019
Soma October 31-November 7, 2019
Layers of Fear October 24-October 31, 2019
Q.U.B.E.2 October 24-October 31, 2019
Alan Wake: American Nightmare October 17-24, 2019
Observer October 17-24, 2019
Surviving Mars October 10-17, 2019
Minit October 3-10, 2019
Metro 2033 Redux September 26-October 3, 2019
Everything September 26-October 3, 2019
Lego Batman Trilogy September 19-26, 2019
Batman: Arkham Collection September 19-26, 2019
Conarium September 12-19, 2019
ABZU September 5-12, 2019
The End is Nigh September 5-12, 2019
Celeste August 29-September 5, 2019
Inside August 29-September 5, 2019
Fez August 22-29, 2019
Hyper Light Drifter August 15-22, 2019
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden August 15-22, 2019
GNOG August 8-15, 2019
For Honor August 2-9, 2019
Alan Wake August 2-9, 2019
This War of Mine July 25-August 2, 2019
Moonlighter July 25-August 2, 2019
Limbo July 18-July 25, 2019
Torchlight July 11-18, 2019
Overcooked July 4-11, 2019
Last Day of June June 27-July 4, 2019
Rebel Galaxy June 20-27, 2019
Enter the Gungeon June 13-20, 2019
Kingdom: New Lands June 6-13, 2019
City of Brass May 30-6, 2019
Rime May 23-30, 2019
Stories Untold May 16-23, 2019
World of Goo May 2-16, 2019
Transistor April 18-May 2, 2019
The Witness April 4-18, 2019
Oxenfree March 21-April 4, 2019
Slime Rancher March 7-21, 2019
Thimbleweed Park February 21-March 7, 2019
Axiom Verge February 7-21, 2019
The Jackbox Party Pack January 24-February 7, 2019
What Remains of Edith Finch January 11-24, 2019
Super Meat Boy December 28, 2018-January 10, 2019
Subnautica December 12-27, 2018

Source: Epic Games

Something for the Weekend – 06/02/21

It's the biggest weekend of the year so far for sports fans, with the usual slate of football matches joined by the cricket test matches (aired on terrestrial for the first time in forever), the start of the rugby Six Nations, and the Super Bowl for people that can stay up late on Sunday night.

Let the 'Superb Owl' jokes commence!

In the News This Week

Games in Review

There was another healthy slate of reviews for this week, including the PS5 remaster and PC release of Nioh 2 and Destruction AllStars, which is making a splash on PlayStation Plus.

Featured Articles

Skimming through the rest of the features, and ahead of its release, we caught up with Lucid Games and XDEV to discuss Destruction AllStars' origins.

Nick had a look at the Resident Evil Re:Verse Beta, pondering if its monster mayhem can make an essential multiplayer mode instead of a short throwaway experience, while Tom went hands on with Valheim in Early Access, which he felt was a survival game with a rare sense of purpose.

I previewed Maskmaker, which is set to be another inventive VR puzzler from the maskers of A Fisherman's Tale, before pondering what is it Google and Amazon don't understand about gaming? 

While he was rather wrong in the end, Reuben took a stab at guessing what the next Final Fantasy XIV expansion would bring to the table. Turns out it's even wilder than he thought!

And rounding things out, What We Played featured Destruction AllStars, Control: Ultimate Edition & Persona 5 Strikers.

Trailer Park

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker revealed with PS5 open beta coming in April

Stellaris' next expansion is Nemesis and it give players the "most powerful tools" so far

Mass Effect Legendary Edition revealed

Destiny 2: Beyond Light – Season of the Chosen revealed, going live next week

Your Achievements

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

  • Would you believe that Crazy_Del has already bagged the Destruction AllStars platinum? Well he has!
  • doomsday619 completed the DLC Beowulf Mission in Assassin's Creed Valhalla, played some COD Zombies in splitscreen with his sons, has been working his way through Hitman 3 on PSVR, and ramming it up in Destruction AllStars as well. Busy week!
  • It was Concrete Genie and Control (on PS4) for MrYd, with some Darksiders Genesis from PS Now, "too much" Hitman 3 in VR, and a quick dash to grab the "5 level 50 characters" trophy in Hunt: Showdown.
  • After 55 hours spent in Night City, TSBonyman feels the game is "all going to be over too soon", so he's branching off to do a bunch of side missions to savour the rest of it.
  • Andrewww is on his second run of Resident Evil 2, finding its difficulty quite surprising!

That's all for this week's gaming round-up. As always, have fun at home, stay safe if and when you're out, and we'll see you next week.

Steelrising playtest session taking place in March, you can register interest now

Spiders has announced that it will be hosting an online playtest for its alternate history title Steelrising in March, and those who want to take part can register their interest now. An exact start date is to be confirmed but the playtest will last 7-10 days, and will be hosted through Steam. That means you will need a Steam account to take part. Anyone who is chosen to take part will have to agree to a non-disclosure agreement to stop the publication of anything experienced in this build of Steelrising. You can register interest here.

In Steelrising, you play as Aegis, the robotic bodyguard of Queen Marie-Antoinette, ordered to find your creator and put and end to the tyranny of King Louis XVI and the robot army he is using to crack down on the French Revolution. The Paris depicted in the game includes many monuments and famous locations, including those that no longer exist, including the Grand Chatelet and the Tour du Temple. Aegis has weapons built into her body, with items found while exploring letting you make her more powerful, more durable, or more mobile. There's seven families of weapons, which could be built into her arms, alchemical rifles for long range, or more powerful and forceful options as well.

Spiders' last big release was Greedfall and in our review for that, Gareth wrote:

"Greedfall has an ambitious story, but it's not backed up by the clearly repeated environments, simple combat and dull abilities that take ages to unlock. However, seasoned RPG players might well be able able to look past those flaws in favour of the interesting, well written stories about political manoeuvres and oppression that make up the bulk of the quests in this pretty dark, deep world."

You can read the full Greedfall review here.
Source: Twitter

Hitman 3 PC players will be able to import Hitman 2 locations from Steam by end of February

Just before the launch of Hitman 3 a rather big issue popped up for PC players who owned the previous two Hitman games on Steam. With Hitman 3 being an Epic Games Store exclusive there was no way for Steam owners of the previous games to import the locations present in them to Hitman 3, essentially rendering of the main features useless. However, at the time IO Interactive and Epic did say they were working on a solution, and now they have. IO Interactive has stated that the fix is being tested and will be live by the end of February.

An update for PC players on location importing

  • Whilst we've been busy launching HITMAN 3, we've also been working on the promised solution for allowing PC players to import locations that they already own into HITMAN 3 on Epic. We've got that solution worked out and it's currently being tested and verified from all angles to make it as robust as possible. In terms of timing, it's definitely a case of sooner rather than later. Even with the longest estimates we've looked at, the solution will be fully rolled out before the end of February. We'll keep you updated with the next steps.

On PlayStation and Xbox, the process is clearer. Any content you have from Hitman 2 is possible to be imported, with Hitman 1 having to first be redeemed for Hitman 2 (even if it's just the free Starter Pack) before it can make the jump to Hitman 3. See the full details here. In our review for Hitman 3, Jim wrote:

Charting the series' progress since that 2016 Paris debut has been a fascinating journey. IO have learned a lot over the past five years and that really shows in Hitman 3. It's a flashier, more fluid evolution of IO's original template – a rewarding conclusion to one of the most unique video game franchises around, and one we'll continue playing for many weeks and months to come.
The other day IO Interactive confirmed the February roadmap for Hitman 3, promising new content every week for the month.
Source: Hitman Forum

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker revealed – new Jobs, new features and a trip to the Moon coming in Fall 2021

Square Enix have revealed Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, the next major expansion to their long-running MMORPG. It will be coming to PlayStation 5 – with an early upgrade to the new gen console – PlayStation 4 and PC in Fall 2021.

Here's the first teaser trailer for the new narrative expansion:

Alisaie and Alphinaud take the spotlight here, while The Warrior of Light has seemingly returned from the darkness that consumed him in Shadowbringers… and ended up on the Moon in the process? I'm sure there's some reasonable explanation for that!

The expansion will take players back to Source after the adventures in the First, and there's a brand new threat to the world building that will keep you occupied. For long-term players, the expansion promises the conclusion to the Hydaelyn and Zodiark story arc.

Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida also reeled off a number new features coming to the game, including:

  • Journey to Thavnair, the imperial capital of Garlemald, and even the Moon!
  • New Jobs: Sage and more
  • Level Cap Increase from 80 to 90
  • Expansive new areas, including Garlemald, Thavnair, and the city of Radz-at-Han.
  • A New Tribe: the Arkasodara
  • New threats, including Anima.
  • New Dungeons
  • Secrets Revealed in a New Alliance Raid Series
  • New Small-scale PvP Mode
  • An Additional "Trust" ally: Estinien Wyrmblood
  • A New Residential District: Ishgard
  • Updates to the Gold Saucer
  • Relaxing Fun in Island Sanctuary
  • New Gear and Crafting Recipes
  • Expanded Horizons via the Data Center Travel System

But that's not all… because a PlayStation 5 upgrade is coming well before we get to play Endwalker. The upgrade for Final Fantasy XIV will be made available with a PS5 open beta on 13th April free for all PS4 subscribers, and also with an upgraded version of the free trial. The full PS5 upgrade will coming soon after.

The game will obviously be enhanced to take advantage of the new console's increased power, offering improved frame rates, faster loading times, 4K resolution support and more.

No news of the long-rumoured Xbox port, though…

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker will be out this autumn for PS5, PS4 and PC, but expect plenty more details to be revealed at the Final Fantasy XIV Digital Fan Festival 2021, which will be held 15-16th May. Will we see an Xbox announcement at that time? Who knows!

Source: PS Blog

Final Fantasy XIV PS5 open beta is coming in April

While the biggest event of the year for Final Fantasy XIV Online fans will surely be the launch of the newly announced Endwalker  expansion, PlayStation 5 owners have something else to look forward to before then. The PlayStation 5 upgrade for Final Fantasy XIV will be made available with an open beta on 13th April, with the full version coming soon after.

Get a glimpse at the upgrade in the new trailer:

The PS5 upgrade will obviously be enhanced to take advantage of the new console's increased power, offering improved frame rates, faster loading times, 4K resolution support and more.

Anyone and everyone with a PS5 can check the upgrade out. If your FF XIV account is tied to the PlayStation 4 version of the game, then you get the PS5 Upgrade at no extra cost, with the game obviously being bang up to date with all the content and features found from the current Shadowbringers version of the game.

That's not all though, because the Free Trial version of the game will also let you check out the PS5 upgrade, which features all the content from A Realm Reborn and Heavensward up through Patch 3.56. However the full version of the game on PS5 will only be available for purchase after the open beta is concluded.

The PS5 announcement came alongside the reveal of Endwalker, the fourth expansion for Final Fantasy XIV, with Alisaie and Alphinaud taking the spotlight. The Warrior of Light has seemingly returned from the darkness that consumed them in Shadowbringers… and ended up on the Moon in the process?

The expansion will take players back to Source, and there's a brand new danger building that will keep you occupied. For long-term players, the expansion promises the conclusion to the Hydaelyn and Zodiark story arc, and there's multiple new jobs, an increased level cap, new areas, tweaks to the battle system, and more.

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker will be out this autumn for PS5, PS4 and PC, but expect plenty more details to be revealed at the Final Fantasy XIV Digital Fan Festival 2021, which will be held 15-16th May. Could we get an Xbox announcement at that time?

Source: PS Blog

Final Fantasy XIV 6.0 and the next expansion – here's what to expect

Tomorrow morning at 1:30am (UK time anyway), we will very likely have the reveal of the next expansion for Final Fantasy XIV. Shadowbringers was, putting it lightly, an emotional rollercoaster and there's arguments for it being one of the greatest Final Fantasy tales of all time. So, with thoughts turning to the next expansion, we sat down to think about where the game could go from here.

Quick note: there will be Shadowbringers and Final Fantasy XIV spoilers ahead. Those players who don't follow the storyline can go ahead and skip the next paragraph.

We're going into Patch 5.5 and, of course, 6.0 with a lot up in the air as you would want from a new expansion. Fandaniel is aiding Zenos in causing devastation of the Source, heralded by the sudden appearance of towers throughout the realm. The Scions have managed to return to the Source from the First, and have awoken G'raha Tia from the Crystal Tower to join them. Also, the storyline of Eden has come to a close, bringing the Empty in the First back to life, and all of the above isn't even the half of it. Did you get all that?

So, despite barely recovering from the emotional gut punches that made up Patch 5.3 and 5.4, we thought we would look ahead with some speculation about the possible new locations and Jobs for Final Fantasy XIV in the next expansion before the livestream. We did consider guessing about the story too, but it has taken so many turns already, it would be honestly foolish to try.

Final Fantasy XIV new expansion locations

Where 6.0 is looking like it will go has altered considerably for us over the past few patches. Initially, the idea of taking to fight to the Garleans by invading Garlemald looked like a distinct possibility, but what with the civil war and disarray in the city state at the moment, it looks pretty unlikely now.  But then that leads to the question of where the next expansion could be set…

Bozja/Ivalice – What with the Relic Weapon quests of Shadowbringers being tied to the liberation of Bozja from imperial rule, this would be a pretty safe bet for the key location for 6.0. The only shortcoming with this would be how much of Bozja itself remains after the events that resulted in the Seventh Umbral Calamity. If not, we would most definitely settle for more trips to Ivalice.

Sharlayan – This would be my personal pick, and is the most realistic possibility. We currently have various scholars of Sharlayan origin as comrades, and we haven't heard anything of note from their place of origin since the Isle of Val was attacked. There's a lot that could be in the home of vaunted scholars such as Louisoix, maybe even the key to truly defeating Zenos.

The 13th Shard – This location wouldn't have been considered if it weren't for what happened with Eden, and the remaining plot threads around Unukalhai. The plucky fellow was saved from the Void by Elidibus, and the Warrior of Light has visited this shard on several occasions now. This is a less likely option, but given the Void Quests, it's not impossible.

Final Fantasy XIV new expansion jobs

But, honestly, who really cares about the story? That's the boring stuff! The key thing that we all want to know about going into a new expansion are the new player classes, or Jobs. Shadowbringers added both the Gunbreaker and Dancer to the table, bringing the number of tank classes up to four and adding a new DPS option with heavy party utility, but what is really missing from the Job list in FFXIV as it stands?

Chemist – Realistically, this or another Healer have a high chance of appearing in 6.0, especially as Healers now make up the smallest group in the roles. Chemist would be my pick simply because it would be great to have another Healer that can aid the party beyond healings, so closer to Astrologian. Also, you could mix spells in a method similar to Ninja.

Beastmaster – This has been teased for a while, and could make for an interesting addition to the game. The only concern here would be that it could result in another Limited Job like Blue Mage, which the player base didn't take particularly well. However, if this had content related to it that wasn't the abominable Masked Carnivale, a DPS with beasties could be a winner.

In fact, Dom also added that he agreed that "maybe we'll get the Beastmaster class as they've been ticking things off that list for years", also adding that they "think an all new area will be tied into the class like we got in Stormblood" perhaps hinting that a wilder setting might come with Beastmaster.

Catmancer – This is an outside chance to the point of being a farce, but it is possibly my favourite Job to ever appear in a JRPG. It appeared in Bravely Second and behaved similarly to Blue Mage in that they have a wide range of abilities based on the cat food the player put down. It would never work in Final Fantasy XIV, but I would never shut up about it if it were to happen.

This article is by no means exhaustive. We mean, we haven't even speculated on Job changes (honestly, Bard and Red Mage need improvements), the severe lack of Glamour Plates versus possible Jobs, or even on the possibility of what the future Raids will be after the phenomenal NieR crossover series. But what is for sure is Yoshi-P and the team will undoubtedly continue to surprise us. At the very least, we have one hell of a battle coming our way with Zenos and Fandaniel. 

What would you love to come with the next expansion? Let us know!

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake delayed again

Back in September, Ubisoft revealed the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake, with the claim it would launch in January 2021 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. However, following the reveal some criticisms were levelled at how the remake looked. So, three months later in December Ubisoft released some more news for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake, stating the game would be delayed until March 18th, 2021. However, that date is no longer relevant when it comes to the game's release date as Ubisoft has delayed the remake again, and given no date. A statement has been released about the delay.

"Since announcing Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake in September, we saw an outpouring of feedback from you on this beloved franchise. It is your passion and support that is driving our development teams to make the best game possible. With that said, we have made the decision to shift the release for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake to a later date. This extra development time will enable our teams to deliver a remake that feels fresh while remaining faithful to the original. We understand the update might come as a surprise and we will continue to keep you posted of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake. In the meantime, we want to thank you for all your ongoing support."

The last official console game was The Forgotten Sands which was based on Disney's film adaptation starring Jake Gyllenhaal. The new remake will also come with the original 1989 Mac version of the game

The Prince has popped up recently but not in his own game, he guest starred in a For Honor event. Other than that the Prince was also seen on mobile way back in 2013. The Shadow And The Flame was set after the events of the original game (which Ubisoft are now dubbing 'Classic') and boasted an "epic journey" with "visually-stunning 3D" and "intuitive controls" designed for touchscreens, which means gesture-based touch controls, or a virtual joystick.

Source: Twitter

Red Dead Redemption 2's next soundtrack EP features music to build houses to

If you're ever in need of some music to build a house to, then Rockstar have got you covered with the latest release from the Red Dead Redemption 2 soundtrack. The Housebuilding EP will be out on 12th February digitally or in a special edition 'blue sky splatter' vinyl.

The release follows on from The Music of Red Dead Redemption 2: Original Soundtrack, which featured the work of D'Angelo, Willie Nelson, Rhiannon Giddens, Josh Homme, and more, and the Original Score, which was composed by Woody Jackson. The Housebuilding EP includes five tracks that didn't make that cut. It's not just housebuilding, there's also some late night accompaniment for heading out to get smashed at a saloon.

The tracklist is as follows:

  1. The Housebuilding Song (David Ferguson)
  2. A Strange Kindness (David Ferguson and Matt Sweeney)
  3. A Quiet Time (Saloon Theme) (David Ferguson and Matt Sweeney)
  4. The Course of True Love (David Ferguson and Matt Sweeney)
  5. Do Not Seek Absolution (David Ferguson and Matt Sweeney)

The soundtrack EP will be available digitally via iTunes, or with the splashy blue vinyl available through the Rockstar Warehouse and Lakeshore Records for £15.99.

Red Dead Redemption 2 was the big budget hit that capped off 2017, launching for PS4 and Xbox One before a 2018 PC release. A prequel to Rockstar's celebrated 2011 game, it features a sweeping tale set at the end of the Wild West era as protagonist Arthur and the Van der Linde gang seek relevance. it received countless (actually, you can count them if you like) awards, accolades and nominations in that year's Game of the Year awards, including plenty of recognition for the game's soundtrack.

Since 2017, Rockstar's gaze has firmly turned to sustaining Red Dead Online. A steady stream of updates has built up to the point where they are now selling a standalone edition of Red Dead Online for $5 to get more players through the door without the potential burden and expectation of playing through the vast single player story first.

Source: press release

What We Played #484 – Destruction AllStars, Control & Persona 5 Strikers

The sun is shining! Which suddenly makes it feel as though everything is going to be better, and that spring is winding up to, you know… spring. Thank goodness for that! Still, one thing that isn't changing is that we should definitely still be staying inside and playing games for the majority of our days at the moment. That's what we're doing, anyway!

I have been playing Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate in preparation for Monster Hunter Rise, and because I think I might have finally wrung all of the goodness out of Monster Hunter World (that is of course impossible, but maybe just for this week). Besides that I've been quietly enjoying Destruction AllStars, and I really hope that they make some of the changes that fans are asking for, like opening all the modes for party play, sorting out the on-foot melee, and introducing some music during gameplay. I think it's a great freebie for Plus though, and hope that everyone is checking it out!

Aran played through Ryse: Son of Rome on Xbox and Yoshi's Crafted World on Switch, telling us that he needed a break from Valhalla for some shorter games; "I quite enjoyed Ryse, though the combat got very repetitive. I played it as I'm trying to catch up on the Xbox exclusives I missed last generation. Yoshi's Crafted World was decent, though I wasn't a big fan of the egg throwing. The music got repetitive too."

Nic B has been blasting his way through Persona 5 Strikers for next week's review,  and is loving the chance to bond with his Phantom Thieves once more. He continued, "Beyond that, I've been making the most of my daily walk by caching as many mons as possible in PoGo and kicking back with some bizarre squirrel stalking in Nuts (another review that's on its way)."

Destruction AllStars has shot to the top of Jim's playlist this week, with him saying, "It's basically a modernised, mainstream-friendly take on Twisted Metal that splices vibrant arcade visuals with vehicular mayhem."

You can find his Destruction AllStars review here, but spoiler alert, he's "having great fun with it despite butting against the same repetitive gameplay loop. A shame that there isn't a Sweet Tooth character skin in there somewhere… I'm also happy to report that I beat Final Fantasy VI! As someone who rarely plays turn-based JRPGs anymore, let alone on mobile, I'm glad I managed to finally cross it off the bucket list. That final dungeon, ascending Kefka's Tower, was a sweaty way to wrap things up, but I'd definitely put VI at the top of my list of favourite FF games."

Steve has played a bunch of Bezier, saying, "gotta chase those high scores". He's also spent some time with the "beautiful Blue Fire – combining Zelda, Dark Souls, and the Mario Sunshine void levels shouldn't work, but it does". He then got stranded in the jungle with Green Hell and finished his run on Black Mesa, telling us that the improvements to Xen really stood out.

When we talk about people not playing Destiny 2, that doesn't usually include Tuffcub but here we are in backwards land. "I have been playing Turrican Flashback for some retro goodness, Little Nightmares II for next week's review, and Persona 5. This is the first time I have played a Persona game and it seems to be 90% anime and 10% game at the moment. It's kind of what I expected – school kids, demons, blah blah blah – but it's quite baffling. I'm hoping the game will kick in at some point; at the moment it's challenging Metal Gear Solid 4 for the crown of most cut scenes ever before you get to actually play."

Reuben has mostly been playing FFXIV (again), tracking down the new spells that have been added to Blue Mage this week, along with mopping up ones he didn't have before. As well as this, he's been continuing his playthrough with friends of Borderlands 2 to "middling success", and finally getting around to God of War with its "GORGEOUS" PS5 update. His caps lock, not mine.

Gareth meanwhile finally got hold a PS5 last weekend! That's meant he's spent the week with Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, No Man's Sky (VR and non–VR), Destruction AllStars, Control Ultimate Edition, Call of Duty Warzone, and Injustice 2. He tells us that he's "played Miles Morales most, completed the story of it last night. Great game, too short, but I appreciate the performance RTX mode. Destruction AllStars is quite fun, and I was surprised/disappointed that Valhalla didn't have ray tracing."

Miguel has played a solid chunk of Apex Legends, noting that "the PSN 2020 wrapup told me I played 116 hours on PS4 and Steam says I've played 30, which can't be correct given how rubbish I am at that game! And a little Warzone, as well as some 30XX for review and a smidge of Fall Guys!"

Ade played quite a few games this week, telling us "I'm still on with Assassin's Creed Valhalla and, having just discovered all the mythological stuff, this game is even more vast than I though. Superb entry in the series though, only really let down by the awful and oh-so-cringeworthy romantic elements. I also had a dabble with the demo of Lunark, which is shaping up to be a terrific entry in the cinematic platformer genre, and Habroxia 2 for review – it turned out to be an awesome little retro shooter – as well as starting Trine 3 with my better half."

Also on the assassination train is Nick P, whose week has been dominated by AC Valhalla. "I'm about 92 hours in, having conquered most of England with only four areas left to go. I also started playing Monstrum 2 for preview which has been… interesting."

Finally Tef joined us for a smidgeon of Destruction AllStars, but found himself feeling pretty much the same about it as he does all car combat games, which is that he likes the idea, but he's not really good enough to do much actual crashing into people and taking them out. Besides that, he hopped into Nioh 2 Remastered on PlayStation 5 to back up Jason's coverage of the game's release on PC and PS5, getting his bum handed back to him despite dialling up the 120fps mode, and loaded up Halo: The Master Chief Collection for some multiplayer on Xbox to see if the PowerA Fusion Pro Controller and its flappy bum paddles would make him any better. The jury's still out on that…

What about you? What have you played?

Destruction AllStars Hotfix 1.2.2 fixes the multiplayer voice chat problem – long-term solution promised

Lucid Games have quickly pushed out a small update to PlayStation 5 exclusive Destruction AllStars, addressing one of the main complaints that players have had about the game. That's right, Hotfix 1.2.2's main change is that it mutes multiplayer lobby voice chat by default.

It's just a quick little tweak to change the base level behaviour, and not much more at this point, with Lucid Games drawing in a lot of feedback from the game's launch on Tuesday as one of three free games in February's PlayStation Plus update, alongside Control: Ultimate Edition and Concrete Genie.

Lucid Games' community manager has also taken to Reddit to acknowledge a bunch of other issues and how the team are going to advance the game going forward. This includes keeping an eye on balance, with Bluefang seemingly a standout character so far, monitoring server stability, which is likely to be tested as we head into the weekend, acknowledging that people would like to have the soundtrack playing while in a match, and more.

Once the dust has settled after launch, they have plans for game content updates to release through the year with new game modes, game mode remixes, new AllStars and more.

Here's the Hotfix 1.2.2 patch notes:

  • Disabled multiplayer lobby voice communications by default for all players.
    • We are actively working on longer-term enhancements to the voice communications system.
  • Fixed several client crashes relating to Multiplayer Lobbies and UI.

Our verdict on the game has dropped shortly after the game's release. In our Destruction AllStars review, Jim wrote:

"The car combat genre has long been out of fashion and still has a way to go if it wants to take us back to its glory days of the 1990s. Destruction AllStars is a mostly satisfying modernisation that has some neat ideas and looks fantastic, though ultimately spins its tyres on repetitive rival-wrecking gameplay and a lack of truly worthwhile content at launch."

Have you been enjoying the game? What would you like Lucid to change about it when they get to the first major update? Let us know.

Source; Twitter

LEGO confirms there will be an official Sonic The Hedgehog set

LEGO has had some big collaborations with the games industry with the most obvious being the LEGO titles by TT Games, including LEGO Star Wars, as well as the short lived toys to life LEGO Dimensions. There have also been sets based on franchises released including Mario. However, Mario will now not be the only classic gaming character that will get the colourful brick treatment. LEGO has confirmed that it will be producing a Sonic The Hedgehog set based on Green Hill Zone. The product was pitched through the LEGO Ideas initiative allowing people to submit ideas for future lines. LEGO will work with submitter Viv and SEGA.  Concept art can be found here.

According to the original project page this LEGO set would feature:

  • "Classic" Sonic the Hedgehog minifigure
  • "Classic" Dr Eggman, Motobug and three Flickies as brick-built figures
  • Heavy Gunner and Heavy Magician as brick-built figures (new!)
  • Green Hill Zone "Palm Tree", "Spring", "Bridge and "Loop" modules
  • Egg Robot mech
  • Phantom Ruby and Ring accessories
  • ~700 pieces, with 8 new prints (excluding minifigure parts) and a sticker sheet

This would be a modular set allowing builders to experiment with reconfiguring Green Hill Zone, allowing for different takes on the iconic Sonic level. As this has only just been confirmed do not expect the set to be out in the near future, but it could open the door to more collaborations between LEGO and SEGA.


Monster Train's The Last Divinity DLC will be released in March

Developer Shiny Shoe has confirmed that Monster Train's The Last Divinity DLC will release on March 25th, and it will be priced at $11.99. This DLC will allow players to play as the Wurmkin clan. The Last Divinity is the first major DLC released for the roguelike deckbuilding title, since the game released back in May 2020. The only other DLC that is currently available for Monster Train is the soundtrack which contains 27 tracks for £5.19. On the announcement of The Last Divinity's release date, Shiny Shoe said:

We would like to thank all who participated in the Public Test Train weekend in January. Thanks to your help we have killed many bugs and improved overall polish. The in-game feedback tool was extensively used, and that feedback helped us improve the DLC even more. The Wurmkin clan is feeling very balanced and the additions to the other clans and Concealed Caverns events add a lot of extra variety.

Jason spent some time with Monster Train last year, and had fun with it writing:

"Overall, Monster Train already feels like a fairly well-polished roguelike, and it's doing something a little bit different with the card-battling side of things too. It's exciting to see it playing so well and already feel perfect for the "one more run" mentality that lets a roguelike thrive. It's certainly one to watch, and hopefully, the arrival time of the game will be more reliable than the form of transport it's based on. Given that they're Hell trains, I assume it's Southwest Trains specifically."

You can read Jason's full thoughts here.

Source: Steam

Guilty Gear Strive PS4 and PS5 open beta will take place in two weeks

Bandai Namco has confirmed that an open beta for its upcoming fighting game Guilty Gear Strive will be available on PS4 and PS5. The open beta will begin on February 19th at 3PM GMT and run until February 21st at 2PM GMT. The beta itself will allow players to pick from 13 fighters from the roster and play single player against bots, or go online and face off against other players. There will be cross play between PS4 and PS5 players enabled.

To sign up for the beta players can go to the Guilty Gear Strive official beta site, and will need to log in to their Bandai Namco account or create one. Last year, Dom had some hands on time with the closed beta and wrote:

The moment that the cranked heavy metal riffs start spilling out of your TV's speakers, you know this is Guilty Gear. It's arguably my favourite fighting franchise – sorry Virtua Fighter – offering a level of extraordinarily in-your-face action, and enthralling world building that none of the others have ever quite grasped. The Guilty Gear series has always been built on the belief that being the loudest and the coolest will make you stand out from the pack, and after going hands on with the Guilty Gear Strive closed beta, I'd be hard-pressed to disagree with them.

My only real worry, if it is a worry, is that Strive could lose out on its impact if it strays too close to the launch of the next generation of console. Fighting game fans should keep their targets firmly set on this one though, new consoles be damned.

You can read the full Guilty Gear Strive preview here.

Source: Press Release

Maskmaker is another inventive VR puzzler from the makers of A Fisherman's Tale

One of the greatest things that video games are able to do is to break down the rules of reality, making the impossible feel possible as you interact with imaginative new worlds, and that's only amplified when you can truly inhabit a video game world through the power of VR.

The recursive puzzling of A Fisherman's Tale was already a wonderful example of this, with a world nested within itself, and Innerspace VR's next game, Maskmaker, promises to be just as imaginative when it releases on 20th April.

As if the game's name didn't give it away, Maskmaker is a game in which you make masks, putting you in the role of the Maskmaker Prospero's apprentice looking to learn their trade. However, these are no ordinary masks, and are instead embued with the magical ability to transport the wearer to different parts of this world, exploring different regions and biomes in the 'mask realm'.

Starting off in the Maskmaker's workshop, you have a variety of tools with which you can craft new masks of ever-increasing complexity. The game aims to make you truly engage with the creative process, making you actively craft them, albeit in an abstracted and simplified process.

It starts with taking a blueprint of the mask, pulling out a block of clay and grabbing a chisel and hammer to chip away at the block piece by piece to reveal the mask's form. From there you can then colour the mask, dipping it into a sink filled with coloured paint, and then adorning it with accessories to match the blueprint you have. It starts off in a simplistic fashion, starting off with a bare coloured mask that will take you to each location – a red mask whisks you off to the Farfeather Islands, a yellow mask to the swamps, and so on. However, it soon becomes much more complex as you add accessories that you must find in the worlds, mix different colours – Innerspace aim to have colourblind support via symbols on the blueprints –  and paint on the masks with a brush.

That's important because of how the magic behind the masks actually works. They aren't really teleporting you to each new biome, but are rather tunnelling you into the body of a Guardian that is wearing a mask that is its twin. InnerspaceVR's creative director, Balthazar Auxietre, explained that the game's main inspiration comes from the masks that were in his father's workshop, but I can't help but feel there's a bit of Being John Malkovich here as well (though not quite as perverse).

The driving force through each of the six biomes is the need to reach the tower or temple at the end, uncovering the mystery of who Prospero really was at as you do so, spurred on by a King who surely has an ulterior motive. Each biome has it's own particular style, its guardians wearing masks that represent each culture.

It's this simple conceit that will be the crux of many of the game's puzzles. You explore each biome not just by teleporting there and wandering around, but by finding other guardians in distant, impossible to reach places, and then scan their mask by peering at them through a spyglass, heading back to the workshop to craft a copy from a blueprint.

Just because you know what a mask looks like doesn't mean you'll have all of the elements you need in order to recreate it. You can wander around the biomes using a mixture of free locomotion and teleporting as you see fit – the game has both enabled together instead of making you choose – and explore to find other puzzles and try to pick up more accessories. An example mask shown to us required the addition of feathers, and it was through spotting birds flying up in the sky that led Auxietre to head up a small path up the side of a mountain to sneakily pick a feather from a nest, letting him then head back to the workshop and craft a mask for a guardian stood in a gondola lift.

It's quite impressive to see play out in the demo we were shown – alas, this was a remote preview at this time – as putting on one of these magical masks would instantly take you to this completely different place, and taking it off returns you to the maskmaker's workshop just as quickly. It needs to be for the game's environmental puzzles to work and feel fluid, especially if there are puzzles and masks that require you to go back and forth between multiple biomes.

Hopping to that guardian on the gondola makes it abundantly clear that they are actually completely stuck there without help. Returning to that first guardian, it's up to them to investigate and fix up the mechanism to get the gondola moving, so that you can switch back to the second guardian and carry on. While I don't expect the game to require you to switch back and forth between guardians rapidly, the option to do so and keep mechanisms moving will certainly be welcome for more advanced VR players.

While not as immediately cool and playful as the world-within-a-world nature of A Fisherman's Tale, Maskmaker promises to be a similarly inventive experience, and one that's much broader in the scale of the world that you will be able to immerse yourself in.

Maskmaker will be out for PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift S (and Quest when tethered to a PC) and PC VR via Steam VR on 20th April 2020.

Stellaris' next expansion is Nemesis and it give players the "most powerful tools" so far

Paradox Interactive has confirmed what the next expansion for the grand strategy game Stellaris will be, and that expansion is called Nemesis. According to Paradox, players will be given the most powerful tools and mechanics so far for the game, and there is a reason for that. With Nemesis there are two major paths players can seemingly take, and that is either bringing the galaxy back to glory and order. Or players can choose to destroy everything by pitting factions against each other and essentially triggering a galaxy wide apocalypse.

Here is a little description on what to expect:

"Players will also be encouraged to use lies and deceit in order to gather intel on opponents and turn allies against each other. All new gameplay mechanics will prove that sometimes, wars are won quietly, behind enemy lines. Knowledge is power – especially in times of conflict."

A release date for Nemesis is yet to be confirmed by Paradox Interactive, but the expansion is available to wishlist on Steam and GOG. You can see what Stefan thought of the console edition in our review:

Stellaris: Console Edition is a solid port of what is easily Paradox Interactive's most accessible grand strategy game. While Stellaris has evolved and grown over the past three years on PC, the base game is still a good solid grand strategy title with some intriguing ideas for storytelling and managing an endgame, though without some of the depth of their other titles. More importantly, wrapped a controller and TV friendly interface around the game that puts control over even the grandest of empires well within your grasp.
You can read the full  Stellaris review here.
Source: Press Release

Cyberpunk 2077 Hotfix 1.12 patches modding security flaw on PC

CD Projekt Red has released Hotfix 1.12 for Cyberpunk 2077 on PC, fixing a security flaw that was enabled through the modding tools recently made available for the game.

The company had earlier this week advised against using mods from "unknown sources" – AKA all mods – after the discovery of an issue that turned them into a security risk. The game would allow external DLL files to be used as a way to execute remote code and… well… do some sneaky hacking. Not the sexy Cyberpunk hacking that exists in the game and role-playing universe, but boring PC hacking where people can exploit your PC and get at your private details and stuff.

Hotfix 1.12 has now been released and fixes this in two key ways:

  • Fixed a buffer overrun issue
  • Removed/replaced non-ASLR DLLs.

CD Projekt Red simply cannot catch a break right now, with problem after problem following the release of Cyberpunk 2077 in early December – and all the crunch and workplace issues that led up to that, of course.

Cyberpunk 2077 Review – A different kind of cautionary tale

With lawsuits hanging over them for the shonky state of the game at release and lack of transparency, the company has committed to a string of updates in 2021. The first of these arrived in January, intended to stamp out crashes, bugs, glitches and issues, and to improve performance on base PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (so that they can get Cyberpunk 2077 back onto the PlayStation Store). This forced CDPR to delay the free DLC that was planned for the start of this year, as well as postpone the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S upgrades to later in 2021.

The last thing they really needed was to start introducing new issues, which is exactly what's happened with mods. It took just a matter of days after the Cyberpunk 2077 modding tools were released for this to be used for swapping character model so that you could have 'joytoy' sex with Keanu Reeve's  character Johnny Silverhands. That went a bit far for CDPR's liking (and probably Keanu's as well), with the company stepping in and saying that any such use of a real person's character model must first be authorised by them.

So, uncovering a major exploit through trying to do something nice for the community and then having to scramble to fix it is just another week in the life of CDPR right now…

Source: Twitter


Pricey Death Stranding Sam Porter figure goes up for pre-order

Death Stranding fans will soon have a chance to get their hands on some very pricey merch. Toy company GOOD SMILE are opening pre-orders for the latest product in their figma range: Death Stranding's Sam Porter Bridges.

Portrayed by Norman Reedus in the 2019 post-apocalyptic postman sim, we see him navigating a splintered United States while strapped to a baby and dodging nightmarish creatures known as BTs.

Now immortalised in stunningly detailed plastic, you'll be able to have your own fully posable Sam Porter Bridge complete with an assortment of attachable accessories. There are two different versions of the figma figure going up for sale today, the regular and DX.

For around thirty bucks more at $121.99, the DX edition comes tagged with extra headwear, Sam's bola gun, and additional storage containers (as shown in the image below).

Even if you have that kind of money to spend, you'll have to wait a while before this sweet piece of merch drops with an estimated shipping date of November 2021. Here are some more details on the gigma:

  • Using the smooth yet posable joints of figma, you can create a variety of action-packed poses from the game.
  • A flexible plastic is used for important areas, allowing proportions to be kept without compromising posability.
  • 3D paintwork has been utilized to realistically recreate his face.
  • The figma comes with a small cargo case, an assault rifle along with damage sensor tape & CARGO ID stickers.

Death Stranding was one of our top games of 2019, earning a coveted 10 out of 10 in our review at launch. Here's what Tuffcub had to say:

Embrace the madness, enjoy not having a bloody clue what is going on or why so many people have Bridge in their name. Get that pizza delivered while it is still hot and then abseil down a cliff with a corpse strapped to your back. Drink Monster Energy, repave roads, fight squid lions, 'like' postboxes, take a nap, crap grenades. Be baffled by how Mads Mikkelsen fits into the story, why only sea creatures go to the afterlife, and bathe in a colonic cleansing hot spa at the top of a mountain.

Death Stranding is like nothing I have ever played; beautiful, heart racing, heart breaking, frustrating, epic, stunning, and utterly nuts. I laughed, I cried, I cursed, and I went to the toilet an awful lot. Death Stranding isn't just my Game of the Year, it's a contender for Game of the Generation too.

Death Stranding is available on PlayStation 4. The game launched on PC last year, published by 505 Games with a PS5 enhanced version or upgrade rumoured to be in the pipeline yet there's no confirmation from developer Kojima Productions.


Sword of the Necromancer Review

It feels like every second game is a roguelike these days, and Sword of the Necromancer is the latest title to adopt the popular template. Coming hot off the back of the success of Hades, it's both a great and a tough time to release a roguelike title. More people than ever are turning to the genre, but the likes of Hades and other exceptional titles have set pretty high-standards. So the question is, does Sword of the Necromancer match up to its peers?

Containing an ever-changing selection of dungeons to explore, Sword of the Necromancer tasks players with reviving priestess Koko. Playing as ex-bandit Tama, it's up to you to power up a mystical sword which gives you the power to revive fallen enemies to fight for you. In order to revive the fallen priestess, you must fight your way through a set of procedurally generated levels and fight the monsters that lie within. It is not the most original concept, but it's one that fits the game's core mechanic of reviving and utlising enemies.

You'll fight your way through each level with an arsenal of randomly dropped weapons that appear throughout the world. There's a solid mix of ranged and close-quarter weapons, with plenty of variety across each weapon type as well. You can store these weapons in a chest at the end of each floor, should you want to save weapons for a future run. Combat is competent, but never exhilarating. When you consider the competition Sword of the Necromancer has, I was honestly expecting more from combat encounters. Even with a dodge mechanic, it still feels unusually sluggish at points.

The enemy revival concept is a unique one though, allowing you to trade one of your four equipment slots for a revived enemy. It forces players to choose between having means to direct damage in ranged and melee weapons, or an AI-controlled monster which attacks on your behalf. My biggest issue with this system is that most of the enemies you fight are weak, so I don't want to enlist them if I've already got an object in my arsenal, which is far more effective. Sword of the Necromancer does attempt to fix this by introducing a levelling system, meaning the monsters you enlist can level up as you use them. Using a weaker enemy until they level up just seems like the less optimal option when you can fill those slots with other weapons or stat buffs.

Weapons can also be improved back at base, meaning you can go into a fresh run with upgraded weapons. The upgrade system works off collectible items scattered around each level, collect enough of a specific item, and you can upgrade. The weapon and monster upgrade systems are welcome additions, although I feel both could have been fleshed out a little more and given a lot more depth.

Tama and Koko's stories are told through a number of vignettes between each level. The writing in these moments is pretty great, and the voice actors portray a genuine connection between the two characters. I think the story overall could have been more original, with it feeling a little too similar to Shadow of the Colossus at points, particularly in defeating big monsters in order to revive your travelling companion.

Sword of the Necromancer can be pretty challenging at times, although death doesn't completely wipe your progress. Tama will keep half of her level progress at the end of a run, meaning you won't be pushed back to square one at the start of each new run. Having said this, the bosses are pretty difficult and can take a few attempts to learn, so you can expect to die a handful of times before it feels like you are truly making any progress.