The Teacher in Little Nightmares II Might Just Be the Scariest Thing Ever

We've all been scared of our teachers. 

The post The Teacher in Little Nightmares II Might Just Be the Scariest Thing Ever appeared first on GameSpew.

Cooking From Video Games: Stardew Valley Pepper Poppers

These Pepper Popper are a super simple and delicious appetizer to serve on game days or other such gatherings.

The post Cooking From Video Games: Stardew Valley Pepper Poppers appeared first on GameSpew.

Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy Review

Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy continues the adventure of alchemist Ryza, making for a delightful RPG adventure.

The post Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy Review appeared first on GameSpew.

The Best Platform Games on Xbox One

From Super Lucky's Tale to Yooka-Laylee and everything in between, we round up the best platform games on Xbox One.

The post The Best Platform Games on Xbox One appeared first on GameSpew.

Die Young Review

Survival horror game Die Young presents an interesting open world to explore, but as combat becomes more prominent, so does frustration.

The post Die Young Review appeared first on GameSpew.

There's a Playstation 1 Demake of the Witcher 3's Bathtub Scene

There's now a Playstation 1 demake of The Witcher 3's infamous bathub scene.

The post There's a Playstation 1 Demake of the Witcher 3's Bathtub Scene appeared first on GameSpew.

The Division 2 Has New Content on the Way

Ubisoft have announced that, in a significant change of plans, The Division 2 will be getting new content this year.

The post The Division 2 Has New Content on the Way appeared first on GameSpew.

Project CARS 3 Won't Be Getting a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S Upgrade

Project CARS 3, the latest entry in Codemasters' racing series, won't be getting a next-gen upgrade.

The post Project CARS 3 Won't Be Getting a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S Upgrade appeared first on GameSpew.

Google Says More Than 100 Games Are Coming to Stadia

Google has announced nine new Stadia games and promise to release more than a 100 Stadia titles this year.

The post Google Says More Than 100 Games Are Coming to Stadia appeared first on GameSpew.

This New Video Reveals Nine Minutes of NieR Replicant Gameplay

So NieR yet so far.

The post This New Video Reveals Nine Minutes of NieR Replicant Gameplay appeared first on GameSpew.

Numskull Presents Reveals RICO London and More

Numskull Games has revealed a slew of games launching in 2021 during its second Numskull Presents virtual event.

The post Numskull Presents Reveals RICO London and More appeared first on GameSpew.

Heads Up: Little Nightmares II is Free on Stadia Pro

Though it only released yesterday, Stadia Pro members can play Little Nightmares II completely free.

The post Heads Up: Little Nightmares II is Free on Stadia Pro appeared first on GameSpew.

Donkey Kong Country is Still Barrels of Fun, Over 25 Years On

Monkey see, monkey Ninten-do.

The post Donkey Kong Country is Still Barrels of Fun, Over 25 Years On appeared first on GameSpew.

Glyph Review

Available now on Nintendo Switch, Glyph isn't your typical platformer.

The post Glyph Review appeared first on GameSpew.

SOLAS 128 Review

If a game like this is to be judged on its puzzles alone, then SOLAS 128 is a superb entry into the puzzler genre.

The post SOLAS 128 Review appeared first on GameSpew.

Four More Games to Play if You Like Hades

If you've finished Hades and want something new that might scratch a similar itch, look no further.

The post Four More Games to Play if You Like Hades appeared first on GameSpew.

This Horrifying Cyberpunk 2077 Glitch Redefines Neck Stretches

This Cyberpunk 2077 glitch sees Judy getting her head stuck between some bars, and it just goes downhill from there.

The post This Horrifying Cyberpunk 2077 Glitch Redefines Neck Stretches appeared first on GameSpew.

Kingdom Hearts Is Coming To PC via the Epic Games Store

After a long, long, wait, Kingdom Hearts is finally coming to the PC, courtesy of the Epic Games Store.

The post Kingdom Hearts Is Coming To PC via the Epic Games Store appeared first on GameSpew.

Godfall's Primal Update Is Out Now

Godfall has a new Primal Update which introduces new content and new fixes to Gearbox's action RPG hack-em-up.

The post Godfall's Primal Update Is Out Now appeared first on GameSpew.

King of Seas Will Be Published by Team 17

Pirate-em-up King of Seas will now be published by Team 17 but it'll arrive later than originally planned.

The post King of Seas Will Be Published by Team 17 appeared first on GameSpew.

Microsoft start testing xCloud game streaming to regular web browsers on PC

Microsoft has started testing their Xbox Game Pass Cloud Gaming (formerly Project xCloud) service through a plain old web browser, The Verge reports. The closed beta is currently limited to Microsoft employees ahead of a public preview, but lays the foundations for an expansion fo Xbox Game Pass to support streaming to PC, Mac and Linux, as well as iPhones and iPads.

Functionally similar to xCloud for Android tablet and phone, the web version lets you browse a library of games with the ability to resume recently played games. You'll have access to all the games enabled for Cloud Gaming via Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. The two requirements are a Chromium-based web browser – Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome are compatible – and a controller in order to play.

Xbox Game Pass Cloud Gaming via a web browser – Credit: The Verge

While reaching PCs is great, and will allow Microsoft to try and draw owners of lower-powered PCs to the subscription service, letting them play Xbox games that would otherwise require a high-powered gaming PC, the real target in the crosshairs is iOS. Through 2019 and 2020, Apple rebuffed Microsoft's plans to add Cloud Gaming to their Xbox Game Pass app on iOS, refusing to accommodate game streaming services like Google Stadia, Project xCloud and Amazon Luna in the app store. Apple said Microsoft would need to submit individual games for review, a process that Microsoft labeled a "bad experience for customers."

This left Microsoft to focus first on Android, where a dedicated app is allowed, but they have now followed in Amazon Luna's footsteps and will offer the service as a web app. The move was announced last September, with Microsoft promising Cloud Gaming will come to PC and iOS in Spring 2021. If testing has just started, it's a sign that the company is on track to meet that target.

Microsoft have steadily broadened the reach of their game streaming service over the last two years, bringing it to more countries, testing on various platforms, and eventually bundling Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming in September for all Game Pass Ultimate subscribers.

One potential area that will hold the service back in the long run is the quality of the streaming itself. The server blades powering the service are all based on Xbox One S hardware, limiting the game streams to 720p and 30 frames per second. While Stadia and Luna both tout more powerful servers with 1080p and 4K streaming, Microsoft will have to start rolling out Xbox Series X-based servers before they can compete in terms of visual fidelity and performance. That won't happen any time soon when they need every chip they can get to shove into consoles!

Microsoft will have been buoyed with the announcement from Google that they are closing Stadia's internal game development studios, and will instead simply offer games from third parties. This has cemented the feeling that Stadia cannot and will not compete directly with PlayStation and Xbox, and also that Microsoft can grab a commanding lead in the realms of game streaming, especially when they also have ambitions to expand to smart TVs and streaming sticks.

Source: The Verge

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Update 1.1.2 adds River Raids game mode, new abilities and skills, and more

Ubisoft will be releasing Title Update 1.1.2 for Assassin's Creed Valhalla tomorrow, adding a new replayable River Raids game mode, new abilities and skills, and making gameplay improvements and bug fixes throughout the game.

Update 1.1.2 will be going live at 12PM GMT tomorrow (1PM CET, 7AM EST, 4AM PST, and 11PM AEDT), with a hefty download size on all platforms, but Xbox Series X|S and PC in particular:

  • Xbox Series X|S: ~19.53 GB
  • Xbox One: ~15.27 GB
  • PlayStation®5: ~11.18 GB
  • PlayStation®4: ~10.23 GB
  • PC: ~18.04 GB

What are River Raids?

River Raids are coming to the game as part of the Yule Season, adding a new and replayable game mode that is free for all players. Embarking on a River Raid will take your Jomsviking crew to a new region of England with new loot, rewards and challenges to face off

What are the new abilities and skills?

Title Update 1.1.2 also adds some new abilities and skills to the game, as follows

New Abilities

  • Berserker Trap:  This attaches a trap to your arrow, spreading hallucinatory powder. Any nearby movement causes the trap to trigger. Surprise clueless passersby!
  • Battle Cry:  In a fit of rage, Eivor lets out a blood curdling scream, gaining strength and causing nearby enemies to stumble backwards in fear, interrupting their attacks.
  • Shoulder Bash:  Eivor performs a shoulder bash that pushes back enemies and destroys objects.

New Skills

  • Assassin Carry:  Automatically carry a body after a successful assassination.
  • Assassin Slide:  Slide into enemies and knock them off balance while sprinting.
  • Power Stroke:  Trigger a speed boost on the long ship at the cost of stamina.
  • Arrow Looter:  Eivor has a greater chance of looting arrows from archers.
  • Fight Ready:  Always start a fight with an adrenaline-filled slot.
  • Long Ship Brace:  When you are in command of the long ship, the crew will raise their shield with you.

What else does it do?

There's tons of other bug fixes, changes and improvements to the game, ranging from improved vibration feedback when fishing – "Fishing goes BRRRR." – to cutting out a crackling audio issue on PS4, and a bunch of quest fixes.

Here's the full patch notes:

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Title Update 1.1.2



  • Runes and used resources to upgrade Berserker gear will be returned to the player inventory when an item is lost.
  • Improved vibration feedback during fishing. Fishing goes BRRRR.
  • Addressed an issue that caused players to leave disguise mode if players perform any attack while riding.
  • Addressed an issue that prevented players from catching fish in the sea or on coastlines.
  • Addressed an issue that caused school of fish to take a long time to respawn after one was caught.
  • Items purchased at the Animus Store will only be given to players after returning to England from Vinland.
  • Changed predator charge attack animations to give players a little more time to react.
  • Addressed an issue that prevented fabric from being available. Everyone liked that.
  • Added date of purchase to items listed in the owned section of the store.


  • Removed diamond rune slots from gear set pieces other than torsos. Runes that were slotted into these will be returned to the player inventory.


  • Addressed various graphics or lighting issues.
  • Addressed various texture issues.
  • Addressed an issue that caused explosion VFX to be missing when oil jars explode. Oil jars will now go BOOM.
  • (PS4™/PS5™) The Muspell Warg mount will now burn with the fires of Hel!
  • The blood of your enemies will now soil all clothing.
  • Addressed various character or NPC animation issues.
  • Addressed various clipping issues.
  • Addressed an issue that prevented visual effects of the Draugr set to be displayed.
  • Addressed an issue that caused arrows to disappear from the quiver after reequipping the bow from the inventory.


  • Addressed an issue in Storming the Walls, preventing players from completing the quest. Gunnar has decided to join the festivities in The First Night of Samhain, allowing players to complete the quest. Party Time!
  • Addressed an issue that allowed NPC in The Good Men of Sherwood world event to be killed. Oo-de-lally, oo-de-lally, golly, what a day.
  • Jomsviking gear will now display their quality properly in the customization page.
  • Addressed an issue that could cause Jomsviking to change shapes and sizes in the menu when being recruited.
  • Randvi is ready to hear the news after completing the Sciropescire Arc, allowing completion of the alliance.
  • Addressed an issue that prevented players from interacting with Tove after having completed Carrying the Torch.
  • Addressed an issue that caused some dice to be reused when both players used the God Favor giving 3 additional dice. Nothing up your sleeve anymore.
  • Addressed an issue with the Fishmonger encounter that prevented the quest from being marked as complete after confirming the kill.
  • Players will no longer be ashen if escaping before fighting the Bard in The Devil Has All the Best Tunes.
  • Players loading a save created after knocking in Clues and Riddles, will now be able to complete the objective.
  • Addressed an issue in Extended Family that caused the boss not to deal any damage during underground attacks.
  • Addressed an issue in Extended Family that caused the boss to get stuck near walls, stay underground, or not engage in combat altogether.
  • Addressed an issue that prevented the final order member to be revealed. No more Revealio!
  • Addressed an issue in Binding Fate that prevented players from completing the boss encounter, as the boss may get stuck underground.
  • Addressed an issue in Binding Fate that prevented players from completing the quest after talking to Tyr.
  • Addressed an issue in War Weary that prevented players from completing the quest after having defeated all NPCs outside.
  • Addressed an issue that caused all Order members to be killed after killing a Zealot. This may just be the wildest issue ever seen.
  • Addressed an issue in The Big Finish that prevented players from completing the quest when the hideout was visited before starting the quest.
  • Addressed an issue in Blood from a Stone that prevented players from moving a stack of cargo.
  • Addressed an issue in The Prodigal Prince that caused the objective to remain stuck if Eivor assassinates the first training dummy before reaching the checkpoint.
  • Addressed an issue that prevented players from interacting with Gotafrid Fair-Robes post fight, if the players threw them in the river. Yeeeeeet!
  • Addressed an issue in The Twit Saga Part I, where the house would sometimes not catch fire preventing players from completing the world event.
  • Addressed an issue in Degolas the Beautiful that caused the kid to grow in size. HOLD UP.
  • Addressed an issue in Degolas the Beautiful that prevented Degolas from leaving the water.
  • Addressed an issue that prevented players from interacting with Settlement NPCs.
  • Addressed an issue in Crushed Dreams that prevented players from completing the world event as the wife is in a dead state. Quest name checks out.
  • Addressed an issue that caused the world map to become unavailable after speaking to Ceolwulf.


  • Addressed several NPC behavior issues.
  • Mounts will heed Eivor's call from the Quick Actions Wheel.
  • Addressed an issue that caused NPC to die before they're being hit. Calls an emergency meeting.
  • Addressed an issue that caused Eivor to end up standing on their toes after being idle for a while. Eivor en pointe.
  • Addressed an issue that caused decorative elements to spawn in miniature form.
  • Addressed an issue that allowed players to obtain Nodens' Arc using save/load actions. It had to be done.


  • (PS4™) Addressed an issue that caused crackling sounds to be heard.
  • Addressed an issue that caused dead swarm animals to make idle sounds. I know an Animus glitch when I see one.


  • Addressed an issue that caused Photo Mode frames not to scale to game window size.
  • Addressed an issue that caused terrain rendering issues when moving the camera.


  • Addressed various UI/HUD issues.
  • Addressed an issue that caused Premium Start Pack items to appear in Fine instead of Mythic quality.
  • After encountering Cola, their appropriate icon will be shown on the Order tab.
  • Addressed an issue that caused acquired Reda contracts to appear under the Cent quest log section.
  • Addressed an issue that caused contracts not to count towards the Viking for Hire progression.
  • Addressed an issue that prevented players from interacting with any items in Reda's shop when Focused Navigation is enabled.
  • Players will be able to switch targets with the mouse wheel by using M and K.
  • Addressed an issue that was causing stick input to stick after enabling Swap Sticks option during Cairns.
  • Addressed an issue that caused the Call Mount prompt to appear every time when whistle is used to attract enemies.
  • Addressed an issue when pressing D-Pad down causing Daily Concept Art to remain.
  • Addressed an issue that caused several Daily Concept Art to be displayed on the world map.
  • Addressed an issue that caused the mouse curser not to be displayed when switching back to M&K after controller was used as single source.
  • Addressed an issue that prevented Order of Ancient icons not to change based on selected colorblind settings.
  • Addressed an issue that caused control conflicts in Photo Mode if Swap Sticks option is set to ON.
  • Addressed an issue that caused the slider value of subtitle backgrounds not to reset to the default value.
  • Addressed an issue that caused exploration difficulty to be reset to Adventurer instead of Explorer when resetting to default.
  • Addressed an issue that prevented the adrenaline bar from filling after the second assassination was performed using chain assassinations.
  • Added a quit fishing button during aiming state.
  • Addressed various instances where Odin's Sight highlighted props that it shouldn't.
  • Addressed an issue that caused "data corrupt" errors after entering the save menu.
  • Addressed an issue that prevented the ingot that was looted off the destroyer (Hamptun Blockade) not to be counted towards wealth completion.
  • Addressed an issue that caused Fly Agar mysteries not to be highlighted with the appropriate mystery icon.


  • (PC) Addressed issues with various Ubisoft Connect achievements that were not unlocking correctly when conditions were met.
    o Take My Hand
    o The Enemy of My Enemy
    o Disorder of the Ancients
    o Completionist All The Way
  • (PC) Addressed an issue with the unlock condition of the Equine Attack achievement.
  • Addressed an issue that caused online service errors to be displayed when creating or hovering over photos.
  • Addressed an issue causing the game to remain stuck during loading after entering the save/load menu.
  • Addressed an issue that caused the MSI voice command feature to stop working after save/load.


  • Improved performance and stability.

Source: Ubisoft

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla guides & more from TheSixthAxis

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles rated for Switch, PS4 & PC in Taiwan

Taiwan's Digital Game Rating Committee has let slip about an upcoming release of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles for PlayStation 4, Switch and PC. There's no word on when the game will be released, but this is potentially great news for western fans of the Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney series, who have been hoping to see more of the series' Japan exclusive games head overseas.

The Great Ace Attorney originally released for the Nintendo 3DS in July 2015, with the follow up The Great Ace Attorney 2 coming out in August 2017, both well into the twilight years of Nintendo's handheld. That's sure to be a big part of why the games only released in Japan up until this point, with the 3DS most popular in Japan. The two games are now set to be combined in The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles and released for more contemporary platforms, similar to the 2019 release of Phoneix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles has been rated for PS4, Switch & PC.

The Great Ace Attorney puts the series' original star to one side, and steps back to the end of the 19th century – the Meiji Period in Japan and Victorian era in Britain. The game stars one of Phoenix Wright's ancestors travelling to the UK alongside his student lawyer friend, hoping to become better acquainted with a more established judicial system, and finding himself getting wrapped up in the investigations of a somewhat hapless Sherlock Holmes.

The game follows on from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies in terms of visual style, with fully 3D environments and character models. There's a similar split between investigation and court room battles, but instead of having one judge presiding over the trial, there's a jury of six that deliberates, as previously seen in one case from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. You'll have to convince them of a client's innocence, but jurors can individually interrupt and declare a verdict throughout the case. Final closing arguments can be used to try and change their minds and try to get a majority in your favour.

It's an interesting sounding shake up on the traditional Ace Attorney courtroom shenanigans, and we look forward to (hopefully) giving it a try sometime soon.

Source; Gematsu

See 9 minutes of gameplay from NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…'s Barren Temple

Square Enix have released a hearty nine minutes of in-depth gameplay from the upcoming NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…. Showcasing the Barren Temple area from the game, we'll see parts of the desert kingdom of Façade, building up to a boss battle against a swarm of sentient cubes.

NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… will be coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on 23rd April 2021.


NieR Replicant is more than just a remaster of the game, featuring upgraded visuals, revised combat and re-arranged music for the soundtrack. Square Enix are dubbing is a "retelling", as opposed to remaster or remake. Developer ToyLogic are doing a great job updating the game visually and their decision to record dialogue with the original cast of voice actors to now make the game fully voiced.

The game revives the cult classic action RPG from a decade ago. NieR was originally developed by Cavia as a spin-off from the Drakengard series, but with the curious decision to have two version in Japan – NieR Gestalt for Xbox 360 and NieR Replicant for PS3. This took the setting of NieR and changes the main character to make him a brother for Yonah instead of her father.

NieR Replicant is the predecessor to the hit post-apocalyptic action-RPG NieR: Automata, which has sold over 5 million copies since its release in early 2017. In our glowing review of the Yoko Taro directed game, Dom said:

NieR: Automata is the epitome of a sequel you didn't know you needed. The original NieR was itself a spin-off to the Drakengard series, and one that, whilst gaining a cult following, certainly didn't achieve the kinds of sales that most risk-averse publishers would consider worthy of a sequel. Yet here we are, with a second Yoko Taro-helmed NieR game, this time boasting the action-gaming heft of PlatinumGames firmly behind his uniquely dark vision.

Yoko Taro's unique storytelling ability has matched perfectly with the committed development culture at PlatinumGames, making NieR: Automata a mature and thought-provoking action-JRPG. Its tight combat and compelling narrative sets it apart from both its predecessor and the Drakengard series, and it's utterly essential for fans of the genre.

See our full NieR: Automata review here.

Source: press release

Metro Exodus PS5 & Xbox Series X upgrade brings ray traced lighting at 4K and 60fps – PC Enhanced Edition revealed

4A Games have revealed details of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S free upgrade to Metro Exodus, promising ray traced lighting through the game without sacrificing 4K and 60fps gameplay. At the same time, a new Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition has been announced as a free upgrade, looking to take advantage of new and more advanced ray tracing features, including DLSS 2.0 support for Nvidia GPU owners.

There is no word on when these upgrades will be released, but they are expected to arrive in 2021.

Metro Exodus' next-gen ray tracing is coming…

Metro Exodus was one of the first games to make use of ray tracing upon its original release in early 2019, leveraging the new technology found in Nvidia GPUs on PC. Now, many of those enhancements are making the jump to console. There will be full ray traced lighting on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, and both the base game and DLC expansions will feature Ray Traced Global Illumination (RTGI) and the Ray Traced Emissive Lighting technique that first appeared on PC alongside the The Two Colonels expansion. Xbox Series S won't be able to shoot for 4K, but will still have 60fps with full ray traced lighting at 1080p.

All of the new generation of consoles will also benefit from reduced loading times from the SSD, 4K texture packs where necessary, and a bunch of platform specific features. That includes spatial audio and controller latency improvements on Xbox, and haptic feedback on the DualSense controller (strangely there's no mention of the Tempest 3DAudioTech on PS5).

All of that will be a free upgrade from the current generation, and it will take advantage of Smart Delivery on Xbox. That does, however, leave the possibility that you won't have save file transfers on PlayStation, but we'll watch out for there. Then again, Metro Exodus was a part of PlayStation Plus in June 2020, so that's an awful lot of people who will be getting a fresh dose of next-gen goodness for the price of their ongoing PS+ sub.

On PC, there is a similarly extensive upgrade being made for the Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition, to the extent that, while a freebie for all existing owners of the game across Epic Games Store, Steam and GoG, it will be treated as a separate game to install and not a simple patch.

The PC Enhanced Edition will use 4A's new fully ray traced lighting pipeline that will offer additional ray tracing features beyond what was found in the original release. This includes advanced ray traced reflections and DLSS 2.0 support for Nvidia GPUs. This version of the game will actually require a ray tracing capable GPU as part of the minimum specifications.

Nicole played Metro Exodus for our review and she wrote:

Metro Exodus provides an immersive FPS experience that marks a new milestone for the franchise. Its survival-horror, sandbox and shooter elements are remarkably well balanced, constituting an engaging and thrilling game that'll leave you no stranger to a good jump scare. The once linear horror franchise has been reformed, introducing expansive environments to indulge in without derailing the narrative. Metro Exodus is a must play.

You can read the Metro Exodus review right here.

Source: 4A Games

Graven Preview – An excellent homage to Hexen and grimy 90s first person shooters

You might notice that Graven sounds a lot like Hexen, and that's probably deliberate. Touted a spiritual successor to the 1995 dark fantasy FPS, I was tempted to just look up some details and run with it in a vaguely official sounding games writer tone for a bit, but truthfully, I never played Hexen. I jumped into Graven because it looked a bit like Monolith's 1997 game Blood and a bit like David Szymanski's 2018 game Dusk. It's not actually entirely like either of those games, but – if the hour long demo is representative – it is bloody excellent.

Since I went into Graven expecting something that riffs on classic boomer shooters, my first surprise was that I wasn't immediately dropped into a pit of speedy bastards with a shotgun, but instead embarked a lengthy ferry ride through accursed swamps while a wizened boatman spoke forbiddingly at me. I can't remember exactly what he said, but I think he mentioned a place called 'shit' and how everything around me had gone there.

I had a few out loud "damn" moments on that ferry ride, soaking up the artistry that has gone into creating the sense of place that really sets Graven apart. There's grimly funny gallows humour, and then there's something so utterly grim it goes right round the wheel and becomes funny again. After the boat ride, you end up in a village. Graven's peasantry are almost Monty Python-esque in the sheer scale of their evident suffering, and the town and surrounding swampland are deliciously moody, dripping with grime, grunge, and despair. Ten minutes into the game, I wanted a wash, but I couldn't find a source of water that wasn't clogged up with corpses.

Exploring Graven feels open, bordering on an RPG. In the demo, at least, there were no distinct and separate stages. A town, catacombs, and the surrounding outskirts all flowed into one another. I get the feeling this is some of that Hexen DNA, how Graven seems more an action adventure wearing a 90s shooter trench coat. Combat is fast, immediate, and brutal, but exploration and puzzles are more complex and expansive. And, once again, there's that sense of place tying everything together – a world to explore, rather than abstracted stages to beat.

You start off with a staff, which fills the time-honoured video game archetype of 'big stick to hit things with'. You can also kick, which adds extra timing and strat to melee. First person melee has a lot to measure up to in a post-Vermintide world, but there's something very satisfying about Graven's nippy swings and squishy skulls. Gold coins collected from pots and corpses can buy you additional gear, including swords, flails, and a wrist-mounted crossbow.

You've got a spellbook too, which plays into both exploration puzzles and combat. You start with a fire spell, the jets of flame you release from your palms able to ignite barrels, and you'll quickly find a lightning spell to stun enemies. You can electrocute water pools and work machinery with it, suggesting some tasty immersive sim reactivity later down the line. You get a nice pool of MP, too, so you don't have to be stingy about spellcasting. Burn everything. Go on, no-one's looking.

I am very, very curious to explore more Graven, and to see which parts of the formula it expands on. Will there be optional quests? How expansive will the spellbook and weapon inventory end up? What other ungodly monstrosities will emerge from its cursed swamps? Will I finally be tempted to give Hexen a go? Hopefully I'll get some answers when Graven releases later this year on pretty much all platforms.

Overcooked! All You Can Eat comes back to PS4, Xbox One, Switch & PC – cross-platform multiplayer update announced

Overcooked! All You Can Eat, the remastered compilation of Overcooked! and Overcooked 2!, is heading back to the platforms it originated on. Having been a launch game for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, the bundle is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam on 23rd March. Oh, and cross-platform multiplayer will also be coming after launch.

Overcooked! All You Can Eat brings together over 200 levels from the heavily expanded games. There's both of the main games, all of the DLC and free updates, and then there's seven new levels that were made as an added sprinkling of culinary goodness on top.

The game brings all of the previous content up to the same standard, so while the Overcooked! 2 levels will look relatively close to how they did at its 2018 launch, the content from the 2016 original looks prettier and has online multiplayer support. AYCE features resolutions up to 4K, depending on the platforms, and runs at 60fps on PS4, Xbox One and PC – Switch runs at 30fps. There's a new assist mode to try and make the game a mite more accessible, and the multiplayer will be expanded to work across platforms in a free post-launch update.

The assists include options to increase level times, boost scores for each meal served, lengthen recipe times and turn off order expiration. There's also colour-blind indicators, a scalable user interface and a dyslexia friendly font.

Overcooked! All You Can Eat will be releasing digitally on all platforms for £30/$40/€40, a £10 saving on the PS5 and XSX|S release from the end of 2020, and with a physical release for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. There won't be any upgrade pricing from the original game releases, but we've asked Team17 for clarity about any cross-generational upgrades for the All You Can Eat edition.

Source: press release

Get a month subscription to EA Play on PlayStation for just 79p, details here

If you have a hankering to play A Way Out, Burnout Paradise Remastered, or Battlefield V then good news, you can pick up a subscription to EA Play for PlayStation for just 79 pence via the PlayStation Store. You will be subscribed to the service and charged the regular price of £3.99 the next month but you can cancel at any time so this is a very cheap way of trying out the games on offer.

Unfortunately the PlayStation version of EA Play is rather limited compared to the Xbox service and only has PlayStation 4 games, if you want to play Dead Space 3 again you will have to subscribe to PlayStation Now instead. Here are the games available.

  • A Way Out
  • Battlefield 1
  • Battlefield 4
  • Battlefield Hardline
  • Battlefield V
  • Burnout Paradise Remastered
  • Fe
  • FIFA 17
  • FIFA 18
  • FIFA 19
  • FIFA 20
  • Madden NFL 18
  • Madden NFL 19
  • Madden NFL 20
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • Mirror's Edge Catalyst
  • NBA Live 18
  • NBA Live 19
  • Need for Speed
  • Need for Speed Heat
  • Need for Speed: Payback
  • Need for Speed Rivals
  • NHL 17
  • NHL 18
  • NHL 19
  • NHL 20
  • NHL 94 Rewind
  • Peggle 2
  • Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare
  • Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
  • Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville
  • Rocket Arena
  • Sea of Solitude
  • Star Wars: Battlefront
  • Star Wars: Battlefront 2
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  • Titanfall 2
  • The Sims 4
  • UFC
  • UFC 2
  • UFC 3
  • Unravel
  • Unravel Two

You also get ten hour trial versions of the following games, Star Wars: Squadrons is quite short so you might even be able to finish the campaign in the time available.

  • EA Sports UFC 4
  • FIFA 21
  • Madden NFL 21
  • NHL 21
  • Star Wars: Squadrons

EA Play's induction into the Xbox Game Pass for PC game library has been delayed until sometime in 2021.

Writing on the Xbox blog, they say:

When we originally set out to write this blog post, which would announce the availability of EA Play on PC with Xbox Game Pass, it looked a little bit different. Unfortunately, what had been a celebratory post is now one asking for a little more patience: We made the decision to delay until 2021 the release of EA Play on PC as part of the Xbox Game Pass for PC and Ultimate memberships.

We established this partnership with Electronic Arts because they are as passionate as we are about helping people and communities discover great games, and we knew we could provide a great experience for members by working together. In order to deliver on that, we need more time to provide the Xbox Game Pass experience.

Source: PS Store

Vivo X51 5G Mobile Phone Review

In a market dominated by a handful of mobile phone manufacturers, I've always been interested in seeing what relative outsiders can bring to the table. Before my current iPhone 11, I was always a Huawei fan because of their solid camera offerings compared to the competition. In 2021, the market is very different though, with plenty of mid-tier manufacturers offering great value phones with features that provide a premium feel.

Vivo, while not a giant in the mobile market, has slowly built a reputation in recent years for offering solid performing phones at a fraction of the price of the competition. The X51 is a bit of a venture outside of their typical production, proving a more premium feature set compared to the other models. With a Qualcomm SM7250 Snapdragon 765G, an Adreno 620 GPU and a 8GB of RAM, the X51 isn't at the bleeding edge, but is more than prepared for anything you throw at it.

Running Android 10, Funtouch 10.0, the Vivo X51 runs incredibly smooth. From gaming to camera use and even everyday browsing, the phone never skips a beat delivering excellent performance consistently. It's the smoothest I've personally seen Android running on a phone for some time and even comes close to the seamless feel of iOS.

Backing up that performance is a 4315 mAh battery that performs pretty solidly with moderate use. Typical use without any gaming usually lasted me anywhere between one to two days, while a game heavy session might bring that performance down to a day. Fortunately a fast-charging USB-C port – although the phone does not come with a fast charger – should have your battery back to full in no time.

The Vivo X51 really shines in two different ways. Firstly, it has a versatile set of camera features that gives some of the biggest phones in the market a run for their money. Featuring four cameras on its back panel, the X51 features a quad 48MP camera with an inbuilt gimbal for smooth video filming. The four cameras provide a dizzying array of photo options including a brilliant night mode, autofocus motion tracking, and a 60x zoom mode amongst other things.

I really have to talk about the night mode and how well the camera picks up light. I've always been a fan of astrophotography and having got a tripod early last year, I will occasionally go out and snap some images of the sky above if it was clear. I ventured out with the X51 at 1 AM on Christmas morning and snapped some of the clearest and most detailed night sky images I have taken to date. It far exceeds the capabilities of my iPhone 11 and my Huawei P20 Pro, and Vivo should be commended for that.

The gimbal feature is also a fantastic addition, creating smooth footage in a number of different scenarios. As someone who used to film wrestling shows from a mobile phone, I can't tell you how useful having a gimbal was in that situation. Rather than using a large physical gimbal, the X51 fits it within the camera system itself, giving users the ability to shoot high-production visuals without the extraneous budget that comes with it. It's a shame the gimbal feature is limited to 1080p footage, as it's pretty standard for phones to film in 4k these days.

The other area the X51 shines is in its gaming mode. Similar to the way many PC CPUs can overclock for extra performance in gaming, the X51 comes with a performance mode designed to get just a little more out of games. Titled 'Ultra Game Mode', the phone turns off all notifications, offers numerous optimisation modes and brings options like surround sound to the table. While I'm not sure there's much extra raw performance it adds to games, playing titles like Genshin Impact and PUBG felt incredibly smooth to me with no obvious performance issues or frame drops. Every little boost helps, of course.

I'm also a big fan of the X51's design. It's big, but not overly large, with a curved screen that looks smart and stylish as it wraps to the side sides of the phone, and the silver back providing the look and feel of a premium product. I never really understood the allure of curved screens until using the X51, but the 90hz display looks fantastic when watching YouTube or browsing Instagram, providing an endless feel to the corners of the screen.

On the audio front, the X51 is a little disappointing, lacking a dedicated headphone slot and packing a mono speaker. For a phone geared at mobile gaming, it's likely that people might want to have their phone plugged while gaming, so a dedicated audio jack would mean users don't have to choose between the two – Bluetooth headphones often have a little latency. A mono speaker also feels like another shortcoming in a phone that's designed for multimedia use, especially should users decide to play games through them.

Price-wise the X51 is one of the most expensive in the company's range, setting customers back around £750, although the phone has already come down in price since its release. You can currently grab one for below £700 at a number of websites. Even at that lower price, the cost is considerably expensive for the specs on offer, with the primary draw at that cost being both the camera and its gaming performance. Sitting in that pricing bracket pits the X51 against the likes of the Huawei P30 Pro, the Samsung Galaxy S20 and even the Apple iPhone 11 which are all premium handhelds and have better specs.

Eternal Hope Review

The gaming industry's ability to tell an emotional tale has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, with the likes of Limbo, Dear Esther and the Life is Strange series, amongst many others, leaving long-lasting impressions on those who play them. It's fair to say such games have grown so much in popularity now that it's common for many games to focus far more on the narrative exposition than the gameplay itself, offering fairly simple gaming experiences whilst telling hard-hitting, sad stories.

Eternal Hope, developed by Doublehit Games, is one such title, offering a relatively simple puzzle platforming experience soaked in emotional depth and offering an experience that hits a little different from the established triple A scene. 

You play as Ti'bi, a young boy tasked with finding his lover's soul after she is brutally taken away at the beginning of the game. What follows is an emotional journey ride with hardship, tribulations and also puzzles, because it's a video game, so of course, there are puzzles. Split across 11 chapters, Ti'bi travels across the world collecting the remnants of his lover's soul in order to bring her back. 

Working alongside an otherworldly god who promises to return your lover should you find her souls, Ti'bi uses a special power bestowed upon him to call on the beings of another dimension. Using the support of these beings, Ti'bi can make it across gaps, scale heights and generally make it past areas he couldn't normally. This skill has a stamina bar, so it's on players to use it sparingly and timely or Ti'bi can die. 

Eternal Hope isn't all that original in its gameplay or presentation, feeling very similar to the 2010 smash hit Limbo. The moment to moment gameplay feels almost identical, mirroring much of the structure, albeit with a different graphical style. I'm not completely against this though, as Limbo is an absolutely stellar game and I'm all up for other developers mimicking its core gameplay to create a fresh experience. 

Unfortunately, Eternal Hope never quite hits the same high. Its story plays on themes of love and loss, but the writing is never as powerful as the heights it aspires to. This isn't to say the story is unenjoyable, with a few twists and turns to keep you guessing throughout, but I felt the team could have done more with the premise. It's also incredibly short, clocking in at just short of two hours. I felt Eternal Hope ended before it really kicked into gear, which is a real shame as the world and the characters are excellent. There are a number of collectibles hidden throughout the world, so these do at least offer some form of replayability.

The world around the main narrative is absolutely stunning, with dense backgrounds almost acting like a tapestry against the action in the centre. Eternal Hope has a dreamy, surreal visual look to it, which perfectly fits the game's overall aesthetic. Unfortunately, the soundtrack doesn't quite match up to the visuals, with much of the score feeling overly simplistic and a touch repetitive at times. It's a real shame, because a top-notch score could have underpinned Eternal Hope's more emotive moments perfectly.

Glyph Review

It's easy to look at Glyph's levels and its mechanical ball and assume this is a Super Monkey Ball-alike. However, despite the fact you'll start out with a roll, you quickly discover how much time you're spending off the ground in this charming puzzle adventure, even if its presentation is a touch on the austere side.

Set in a barren desert, you play as mechanical scarab Glyph who awakens with the no-nonsense purpose of restoring an ancient temple city. This is done bit by bit as you venture through various levels and collect items that unlock and restore the hub-like city as you approach closer to the source of its corruption.

Before your adventure begins you're given a thorough crash course in the controls. Rolling around won't cut it since levels are largely surrounded by sand which is deadly to the touch (the floor is sand at first, though lava – or at least red hot fire – also factors in). So Glyph can also jump, bounce, climb and open its wings to glide around briefly, the latter a reminder that you are indeed a scarab and not just a budget Samus Morph Ball. Like many other 3D platformers tend to suffer from, Glyph's jump feels awfully floaty, which isn't totally mitigated by having a quick-drop option, though when you are short on safe surfaces, you might occasionally appreciate the extra air time.

Bouncing off surfaces is arguably one of the most crucial skills in the game as this is akin to landing on a new platform, at least for a character without legs. It still means you can jump again and continue moving along the environment without losing momentum, which is precisely how you're able to bounce your way up walls and pillars, though thin pillars are the ones to be weary of lest the controls or the positioning of the camera has you unwittingly slipping off. Even when there aren't any vertical surfaces nearby, you're able to reach new heights just by bouncing up off the ground and then opening your wings to propel you further to perhaps reach an otherwise out-of-reach item or another platform.

Experimenting and making the most of your bounce and platforming is crucial to exploring each of the 80+ levels in Glyph, which can be accessed in a non-linear fashion similar to Super Mario 64. Where it differs is in the type of collectibles that play an important part in how you progress. Each expansive level technically just asks you to collect a set number of keys to open a portal to finish. However, you don't want to rush to the exit as what you actually need to open this hub are the collectibles placed around each level.

The plentiful coins activate portals to new levels but in order to open up more of the hub you need to collect pink gems, which are a rarer sight. The one exception is in the time trial levels, which feel more like the linear, twitch-based Monkey Ball challenges, where your rewards are gems based on your time. The requirements for beating these on a gold ranking are fiendishly tough, while unlocking these levels also requires a golden scarab that only appears once you've collected all the coins in a level. Rather than collectibles for the sake of completionists, you can appreciate how each feeds back into each other.

The most challenging collectibles are actually reserved for cosmetics which are accessed with a hidden switch, and even then might be located right off the beaten path. Fortunately, your mentor, a larger scarab, is usually perched somewhere in the level happy to drop a few hints and lore. While these are totally optional, they're often rewarding to find and offer some much needed variety and colour to the game. By the end, I was quite pleased that I had turned Glyph into a turtle with wings.

Poking around for collectibles certainly makes each level last longer, though thankfully it's not a precarious process. The game may have a one-hit death system but the good news is that most of your collectibles are still banked. The keys for opening the exit portal need to be collected again – though sometimes a level has just one key anyway – but the frustration is reduced by not being forced to collect everything from scratch.

That's the benefit to this non-linear structure because if you do find a particular level tricky – and and I wouldn't blame you if it's one of the fiendish time trials or a level populated with enemies – then you'll likely have resources to open up another level or area in the hub and just go from there. It'll take plenty of hours to unlock, complete and collect everything but just a fraction of the resources will still be able to chart you on a path to reach the finale.

Overall, there's a relaxed and meditative vibe to Glyph, no doubt in part down to its soothing soundtrack, and that's important to keep you from raging when the difficulty does ramp up. Of all the hazards gradually introduced, we probably could have done without actual enemies to ruin our day – they may not hurt you per se, but bouncing or blowing you off into the deadly sand is bad enough. That said, the boss at the end is a decent multi-staged challenge that's pitched just right for the end of this delightful journey.

Rocket League Guide – what is the best car for new players?

Despite being over five years old, which is an eternity in the gaming sphere of time, Rocket League maintains its status as one of the most popular titles on the market, a position elevated by the fact that it's been free-to-play for a few months now.

With peaks at over 1,000,000 concurrent players, and averages well over 500,000, a good amount of those are bound to be new Rocket League players. Welcome to the world of high-Octane "soccar".

It can be hard to know where to start, with a seemingly infinite amount of car bodies and other customization options to choose from after just a few hours of playing. Not to worry – some of the best cars in the entire game are among the first you'll ever unlock.

Here are the best car bodies in Rocket League for new players. Legacy bodies, unfortunately, don't qualify for this list, as the only way to access these is to have an account that existed before the game went free-to-play. It will also be limited to cars that are easy to unlock, as this guide is aimed at those that joined the fun more recently.


Is one of the three starting cars really among the best in the game, regardless of rank? The short answer– absolutely.

There's a reason the Octane is the poster-child for Rocket League. If you tune into any professional match for a few minutes, you'll see a majority of the athletes using this body.

It's viewed as a jack of all trades. Need good control while dribbling? Check. Want to boom the ball away from your own goal? Also check. Want to wow your friends with some slick air-dribbling skills? Triple check.

While new players aren't keen on taking to the air, the Octane's versatility is still important for learning the basic mechanics of the game. Its hitbox, snuggly matching the car's shape, is forgiving and its turn radius is unmatched.


The Breakout may be past its heyday, with most professionals moving on from the once heavily used body, but the utility value is still there – plus it's the second of the three starting cars.

Its flat body makes it perfect for learning the ground aspects of the game. It has a better line of sight than the Octane when dribbling, with the ability to peek over the roof of the car unobscured.

An important part of the early-game is simply getting solid touches on the ball, and the Breakout is unmatched in that capacity. It's wide hitbox gives more leeway on approach, and it's plank-like shape means that the ball will be easier to control and dribble while grounded.


Okay, so this one is for slightly more seasoned players that have got a grip on most of the basics.

The Paladin is similar to the Breakout – flat body, low hitbox, booming touches – but it's more slender and narrow, and has a better turn radius, making it the more agile of the two. Though it isn't a starter car, it's pretty easy to attain by completing the New Driver Challenges.

Given its shape, the Paladin is perfect for defensive-minded players, and can pull off some of the most powerful pinches in Rocket League. It can also pound the ball, sending it flying with the lightest of touches.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the bodies above are just suggestions, three of the best cars for learning the game. But the most important aspect of Rocket League, and the best way to get better, is adapting a playstyle.

It's okay to use a car body that isn't one of the three listed, so long as you're comfortable with it, and it matches what you're trying to accomplish. Each of the over 65 variants are useful in their own right.

Except for the Scarab. Avoid that at all costs.

Something for the Weekend – 13/02/21

The opening round of the Six Nations certainly delivered last weekend, complete with red cards and that win from Scotland which went into the history books. As an England fan I'll be hoping today's game against Italy goes much more smoothly, and I'm sure everyone is excited to see which France shows up against Ireland later.

Anyway, enough rugby chit-chat, let's recap this past week of video gaming news on TSA!

In the News This Week

Games in Review

It was another strong week with some decent review scores:

And we had a couple of hardware reviews looking at HyperX's new products too:

Featured Articles

Swiftly moving onto the previews, Dom hit it off with the 'intoxicating and inviting' demo for Aerial_Knight's Never Yield. Emma, meanwhile, dove beneath the surface of Subnautica: Below Zeroas Reuben went hands on with Bravely Default II and shared his first thoughts, and Tef went hands on with the upcoming closed beta for Roller Champions.

Sticking with Reuben, he also examined the journey Street Fighter V has been on since its rocky release, and asks if it's worth playing in 2021.

Elsewhere, Alan spoke to Corina Boettger, the voice actor for Paimon in Genshin Impact, and Marcus ranked every Ratchet & Clank game from worst to best.

Wrapping up the week, What We Played featured Destruction AllStars, Bravely Default II & Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury.

Trailer Park

Check out this new trailer for Oddworld: Soulstorm

Paradise Lost trailer explores an alternate timeline where WWII went on for decades

Black Myth: Wukong trailer celebrates the Chinese New Year in stylish Kung Fu style

Your Achievements

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

  • willbuchanan grabbed the platinum for Phoenix Wright and now moves onto Far Cry New Dawn.
  • MrYd can't tear himself away from Hitman 3 in VR, but in between other games he finished off Control and got the platinum.
  • Even after his 4th play through, Crazy_Del enjoyed getting the platinum for Miles Morales, as well as adding Concrete Genie to his cabinet and making progress in GodFall.
  • TSBonyman has been continuing to plug away at the side missions in Cyberpunk 2077, even with a handful of unusual glitches.
  • hornet1990 sprinted through the Star Wars Battlefront II campaign before moving on to Dragon Age Inqusition.
  • Andrewww has discovered that he's a total noob at Call of Duty Warzone (unsurprisingly), but is still enjoying himself.
  • It's been a Ubisoft one-two for doomsday619, with both Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Immortals Fenyx Rising.
  • And Lt. Fatman has been enjoying Guacamelee 2 on PS4 and Iconoclasts on PS Vita.

Well there you have it. Enjoy your weekend and I'll catch you next time!

Halo: The Master Chief Collection is getting a new multiplayer map for Halo 3

If you thought Halo: The Master Chief Collection was a 100% complete compilation of the first person shooter series' Xbox and Xbox 360 titles, then 343 Industries have got news for you: it's not. The MCC team will be flighting (testing) a new update for the game that adds a new multiplayer map to the Halo 3 collection. The map actually comes from the short-lived Halo Online spinoff, which was cancelled before it could be released.

The map in question is Waterfall, which has never really been seen in public before now. It was never featured in any of the public beta testing builds of Halo Online, and so the only information for the game came from text strings found by data miners, and some concept art that described the map as being a hidden UNSC base.

Its addition to Halo: The Master Chief Collection's Halo 3 multiplayer queue technically makes it the first new developer-made map for Halo 3 since the Mythic Map Packs in 2009.

The test flight will be going live next week on 18th February with the following tweaks and features.

  • Custom Game Browser: a new way to play with each other in MCC
  • Season 6 content
  • A new map for Halo 3 from Halo Online
  • FOV slider support for all Xbox One consoles
  • FOV slider will no longer be locked when Xbox Series X|S devices are set to 120hz
  • Double Keybindings
  • Mouse & Keyboard support for consoles
  • Advanced Audio options
  • View Model Customization options

Last week, 343 Industries teased that Halo: The Master Chief Collection is getting "a new place and way to play" this month, leading to speculation that the collection could come to Epic Games Store, Nintendo Switch or (the most likely option in our opinion), to iOS via Xbox Game Pass Game Streaming with new touch controls.

This new map announcement blows a fascinating avenue wide open for more content to be added to MCC's multiplayer through 2021, while the majority of 343 Industries is hard at work on Halo: Infinite for a Fall 2021 release. Halo Online had six original maps in development for it: Diamondback (admittedly a desert-based remake of the Halo 3 map Avalanche), Reactor, Icebox (a remake of Halo 2 map Turf), Edge, and Sky Bridge.

Outside of the remakes, none of these have really been seen by Halo fans up until now. Halo Online was a multiplayer-only game in development by Saber Interactive and Innova Systems, built off the Halo 3 engine and intended to tap into emerging markets where lower-end PCs were dominant. The game was announced in 2015, with a Russia-exclusive closed alpha and closed beta testing. However, that testing led to the decision to first send the game back to an earlier development phase, and then shut down the project.

The game was brought back into the public eye when a group of modders revived the game in the fan project 'ElDewrito' in 2018. The intention was to take Halo Online, make it playable again, and then modify the game to play more like Halo 3. Stopping short of sending a cease and desist, 343 Industries asked the modders to cancel the project, but it's generally seen as being one of the catalysts for Halo: The Master Chief Collection being ported to PC in the first place.

In a nice and cyclical fashion, now that the main body of Halo: TMCC is out on PC as of the end of 2020, 343 Industries are going back to Halo Online for some inspiration over their long-term plans to support the game. With a seasonal form of multiplayer progression, Season 5: Anvil includes twelve armour permutations that have come across from Halo Online, and we're now seeing one of Halo Online's maps being revived for the game as well.

Source: Halo

Instinction announced by Hashbane Interactive, aiming to be Dino Crisis' spiritual successor

Hashbane Interactive, a studio based in New Zealand, has announced a semi open-world title called Instinction, and has essentially made its intention to make the game a spiritual successor to the long-dormant Dino Crisis franchise. According to Hashbane Interactive, Instinction will be coming to PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, and Xbox One in Q3 2022. Instinction will be a survival horror title where players will have to face off against deadly dinosaurs to survive.

In the press release, Hashbane Interactive wrote:

"We wanted what many gamers wanted, a modern take on an age old cult classic, a dinosaur survival game with modern mechanics and a compelling story, after 20 years waiting we had no choice but to make one ourselves, and it had to be amazing so as to pay homage to the original, with full mod support for the community!"

In Instinction players will be able to play in either first or third person mode, with co-op of up to three other players. According to the brief plot summary, each player is a member of a salvage crew who must venture around different environments, from open grassy plains to the ocean. Instinction will take advantage of available tech with ray tracing effects in place, and support for 8K resolution and 120fps.  All settings will be fully customisable allowing players to set the game for their own personal comfort.

What is Dino Crisis?

There has been a lot of talk and requests for Dino Crisis to make a return. The Dino Crisis series was a survival horror series in which players had to survive in different scenarios against dinosaurs and other creatures. The first game was set on an island in the year 2009, the second game dealt with time travel as a whole city was time displaced with a team being sent through a time gate to find survivors. The third game was set in the year 2548 where a colony ship, called Ozymandias, near Jupiter loses contact with Earth. A team is sent to investigate the ship where mutant dinosaurs have escaped.

The franchise is owned and published by Capcom with the first Dino Crisis releasing in 1999 for PS1, Dreamcast, and PC. It also released later on PS2 and Xbox. Dino Crisis 2 followed soon after in the year 2000 for PlayStation, with Dino Crisis 3 rounding off the trilogy of games in 2003. That final title released for exclusively for Xbox after the PS2 version was scrapped. There were also spin-offs including Dino Stalker, which was a light gun game that released in 2002, and Dino Crisis: Dungeon In Chaos, a first person shooter for mobile. Capcom has not confirmed if it is working on a Dino Crisis remake, ala Resident Evil, or if a Dino Crisis 4 is in development.

Source: Press Release

RICO London, Battle Axe gameplay and more revealed in Numskull Presents stream

Numskull Games's second indie gaming stream has been and gone, showcasing gameplay from a clutch of previously announced games, such as retro top-down hack & slash Battle Axe, and including some new game announcements, such as RICO London, a sequel to the 2019 shooter.

All five games are coming out in the first half of 2021, with Iris.Fall the first out the door. Out this month for PS4 and Nintendo Switch, the game features a black cat that you must navigate through a dilapidated theatre, solving puzzles between light and shadow along the way.

Also coming to Switch and PlayStation 4, but in March, Bladed Fury is a 2D action game based on Chinese history and mytholgy. As you travel the Warring States, exiled princess Ji is looking for revenge on the clan that stole her father's lands.

It's a two-fer in April, with 80s/90s retro-inspired Battle Axe coming to PC, Switch, PlayStation and Xbox. The game features classic hack & slash gameplay to go with pixel art from Henk Nieborg and music from Manami Matsumae.

That's alongside Brigadine – The Legend of Runersia, a sequel to the 1990s tactical RPG, where you'll be looking to conquer the continent in the name of your chosen country. The game will be out for PS4 and Switch.

And finally we come to RICO London. Coming to PC, Switch, PlayStation and Xbox, the game is a fast-paced FPS where you take on the violent gangs of London, battling through procedurally generated levels. Just like the original (but in London). RICO London will be out in June 2021.

That was all for this entry in Numskull's new publishing venture. Did anything tickle your fancy?

What We Played #485 – Destruction AllStars, Bravely Default II & Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury

While it might not seem like all that much has changed, some thing certainly have, including the fact that's it's now half term and parent's around the land will sigh with relief at a week off from home-schooling. It'll certainly mean for plenty multi-generational game playing anyway, and we've started it off this afternoon with some Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I'd forgotten just how good it was, and we've had a great time despatching Stormtroopers already. I've continued to have a whale of a time with Destruction AllStars, mostly placing in the top three for every match, and Lupita is my top tier choice every time. I've also continued with FFVII Remake, and am fairly certain I'm getting somewhere towards the end. It's sagged a little in the middle I think, but I'm hoping for a strong (kind of) finish.

Jason has been playing Nioh 2 and still hasn't had any tech issues (which you can read about), Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury (which you can also read about), Slay the Spire on mobile (which you will be able to read about sometime soon) and a little bit of Rocket League too.

Tuffcub has played Destiny 2, obviously because there's a new season, and The Elder Scrolls Online, saying "My friend can't play first person games so I've agreed to play that with him. It is janky as fuck and feels so dated on a PS5."

Nic B has played Persona 5 Strikers, "which is an excellent sequel to Persona 5. I've also been smashing it on Pokémon Go, having finally caught all 151 Kanto Pokémon. Only took 4 years, but we got there!"

Gareth has 100%ed Miles Morales and started New Game +, hoping to have the platinum by the end of the week. He continues, "I played some Control and can't bring myself to trade RTX 30fps for 60fps, so have been dying repeatedly. I've also played a decent amount of Destruction All Stars, which is a lot of fun although it is annoying that I'm better at crashing when I'm trying not to in a normal racing game. I also completed Injustice 2's story mode and I've resumed my now seemingly ancient Days Gone save thanks to that PS+ game collection thing. Elsewhere, I've completed yet another section of Assassin's Creed Valhalla, which seems reluctant to end and less likely by the minute to come to a satisfying conclusion. I also briefly considered trying Monster Hunter World Iceborne before changing my mind because I'd only be lost. It's a lot of stuff. All praise the PS5!"

Jim has also been dipping in and out of Destruction AllStars, "which has been fun in short bursts to fill some time". He continues, "I've mainly been focusing on the backlog and surprised myself by mainlining Ashen. It's what you might call of Dark Souls lite, hitting those similar Soulslike beats but slightly more linear and without some of that vague hidden depth. The final boss was a right pain but glad I managed to hit the end credits. I've also been playing Final Fantasy IV and Moonlighter."

Meanwhile, Reuben has spent most of the week playing Bravely Default II, and have been enjoying jumping into a classic-style JRPG again. "Also, I've dropped back into Street Fighter V to get hype for this week's livestream and to write up a feature on five years of the game.

Aran has been playing Mutropolis for review. More on that next week. "I have also been playing AC Valhalla and have now started the Essex arc. Still enjoying my time. Had levelled up quite a bit and went back to a very high level boss thinking I was ready. I was not ready. Soon I'll win that fight."

Steve has been playing a couple of games for review which he tells us about; "The first is Blue Fire which is a great mixture of Zelda, Hollow Knight and the Void levels from Super Mario Sunshine. Unfortunately the PC version has an issue with Unreal engine crashes which the devs are working on patching. I also have Early Access code for Rustler which is old school GTA in a medieval world. The rest of this week I spent playing 143 demos on Steam for some features. There were some real highlights here so keep an eye out for previews and articles around this. Despite having an unplayed copy of Super Mario 3D World in my wallet of Wii U games I'm severely tempted to pick up the Switch version as a treat for myself."

Going for total assassination, Nick P managed to get the Platinum on Assassin's Creed Valhalla, telling us that it was a "solid experience although a little too big. Definitely got me back into the series again. I started playing Hitman 3 properly and I'm loving how inventive you can be. Finally, I had a little go on Destruction AllStars which was a fun distraction."

Finally, Tef dove into an advance session for the Roller Champions closed beta, and came away fairly impressed. There's depth here, and it's great when the teamwork makes the dream work, but can it capture the hearts of millions like Rocket League managed? We'll see. Aside from that, he's been dialling up his more intellectually nefarious side for an upcoming preview. What could it be?

Now then, it's over to you. What have you played?

Roller Champions has the potential to be a wheely good game – hands on with next week's closed beta

In the realms of fictional sports games, Roller Champions is far from the most outlandish effort. There's nothing quite like it in reality, but with two small teams of three facing off in a large oval, scrapping over control of the ball and trying to score points, it's like a cross between roller derby and basketball.

We got to go hands on early with the Roller Champions closed beta that will be kicking off next week on 17th February – here's how to sign up for the Roller Champions closed beta.

The rules are relatively straightforward to pick up, and the basic controls just as easy to grasp. The aim of the game is to grab the ball, take it a full circuit around the oval counter-clockwise, and then chuck it through a hoop on mounted up on the wall. One lap nets you a single point, two laps gets you three, and three laps earns you a game-winning five points.

Skating is as simple as pointing in a direction, using the ramps and doing a quick pump to gain a little more momentum as you descend, or grabbing onto allies and slingshotting yourself forward at high speed. All the better to catch up to the opponents and tackle them, sending the both of you clattering to the ground, and dislodging any ball they might have in hand, breaking any progress through a lap if your team is able to pick the ball up again.

For gamers of a certain age, Rollerball was a game that was "played" on the playgrounds of secondary school. Inspired by the 1975 sci-fi sports film, it basically boiled down to kids kicking a football up in the air and whoever it landed next to would get a kicking. Rollerskates weren't required.

Such shenanigans were quite a way before my time – I heard about it from my dad, who was a teacher during the knee-scraping fad – but Roller Champions sometimes manages to conjure up the same mental imagery, just much more colourful and cartoonish. Specifically, I'm talking about the times where you take a flying, two-footed leap into your opponent's face. Don't worry, everyone quickly stands up again totally unharmed.

There's a lot of rough and tumble through the game, though it's generally more in line with that of a roller derby than just senseless violence. Making a tackle is all about position, direction, momentum and timing, whether you're catching up to another player to try and smack the ball from their hands with a shoulder charge to the back, acting as a blocker to protect your teammate, or yes, flying feet first into an oncoming opponent. It's definitely on the forgiving side for the would-be tackler, but that makes it easier to pick up and play.

The trouble is that there's the immediate feeling that this is a game that's going to really need to be mastered, and not just on an individual level. Playing for a few hours, I quickly grasped the basic controls, but then started to realise that any of the more advanced tricks on the road to victory are going to need team play and communication. You can quickly throw the ball between you to either evade a tackle or speed up a lap, but passes rely on timing and teammates getting open space to pull off cleanly. You can slingshot yourself forward off an ally, but that requires that they are in position ahead of you to do so. It ain't going to be easy for someone trying to lone-wolf in the matchmaking queue.

That's bound to be a big part of the appeal for those that choose to get invested in the game. There's an immense amount of satisfaction to figuring the kinds of tactics that can work in close teamwork, and figuring out when you need to be together and when you want to break off and head off an opponent's play. With a set team of three players, you can start to take on particular roles to shift in and out of.

However, one thing that was notable was the handful of players that hadn't paid attention during the introductory video and not realised the intended direction of play needed in order to score. You're meant to go one specific direction around the track in order to quickly pass through the four checkpoints in turn, because going the other direction takes three full circuits before the goal opens. Then again, this would be quite the power move for a superior team to pull off!

There's something to Roller Champions, but I think it will take more effort for players to find it than in, say, the inherent charms of Rocket League – and let's be honest here, Roller Champions is 100% trying to pinch some of Rocket League's lunch. It's well worth giving a try though, especially if you can grab some friends to join you, with the closed beta kicking off next week on 17th February for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Chivalry 2 release date set for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC, beta incoming

The long-awaited sequel to Chivalry: Medieval Warfare now have a release date and will be coming to PC and consoles later this year. Tripwire Interactive and developer Torn Banner Studios have confirmed that Chivalry 2 will launch on June 8 on PC (via the Epic Games Store) as well as PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Pre-orders for Chivalry 2 are now open, giving fans of the multiplayer melee series a chance to secure guaranteed access to the upcoming beta. The pre-release test will be taking place for a limited time between March 26 to March 29 and will be available on all of the aforementioned platforms. Not only that, it has been confirmed that full cross-play will be enabled, inviting PC, PlayStation, and Xbox gamers into the same bloody online crucible.

Here are more details on the upcoming Chivalry 2 closed beta:

●        Cross-Play Across All Platforms: Cross-Play smashes the boundaries between PC and console, allowing players to face-off on the battlefield together, regardless of platform.

●        Size Matters: Experience the chaos of epic medieval battlefields, charge forth to the frontlines of battle, and experience true mass-scale combat supporting up to 64-players designed to capture the intensity and scope of "The Battle of the Bastards" from Game of Thrones.

●        Master Blade, Bow, or… Chicken: Your arsenal expands with the new subclass system that provides more variety than ever before. Four base classes expand to 12 subclasses, including the Skirmisher, a melee/ranged hybrid – to the Poleman, a fighter who keeps foes at bay with long-distance melee.

●        The World is Your Weapon: Own the field with a variety of heavy siege engines including Ballistae, Catapults, Trebuchet, Battering Rams, Mantlets, Spike Traps, Ladders and more. Utilize traps to defend, including spikes, bear traps, and more. You can even deal damage with a smorgasbord of "found items" on the battlefield. Try downing a cup of mead and deal a killing blow with the empty chalice or finish off a foe by smashing him in the face with a flaming chicken!

●        New Map – The Siege of Rudhelm: In the first public hands-on of Chivalry 2 since PAX East 2020, experience the return of the fan-favorite Team Objective mode and join attacking or defending teams as 64-players vie for control of a well-fortified castle in a never-before-seen map.

●        Many Modes: In addition to Team Objective mode, closed beta participants can also sharpen their skills in a variety of other modes, including Team Deathmatch and Free-for-All.

The original Chivalry: Medieval turned out to be a massive hit, taking those familiar first person shooter tropes yet swapping guns for an arsenal of blunt and bladed weaponry. There aren't a great many games in this subgenre with Mordhau and Mount & Blade II, and War of the Vikings being the only real competition when Chivalry 2 takes to the battlefield later this year.

Source: Press Release

Every Ratchet & Clank game ranked from worst to best

The Ratchet & Clank series has been a mainstay of the PlayStation catalogue since the days of the PS2, instantly becoming one of my personal favourites with its 2002 debut. I have always looked forward to each new console generation's dip into the vibrant, wacky, and diverse galaxies of Ratchet & Clank, and the PS5 will be no different. With the release of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart scheduled for June this year, those early glimpses have teased us with seamless dimension-hopping antics and an incredibly polished looking platforming experience.

As we count down the days until the next Ratchet & Clank, I've embarked on a space-faring odyssey to rank every one of the duo's adventures thus far, from the series' original heyday to its remarkable 2016 reboot.

15 – Before The Nexus | 2013

Hardly deserving of its own place in this list (but I'm a completionist) Ratchet & Clank: Before The Nexus is an endless-runner style mobile game for iOS and Android. Little more than Temple Run with a coat of R&C paint, it's plagued with clunky controls and none of the tight, polished gameplay that has kept even the least imaginative entries in the mainline series engaging. I wouldn't bother, even if it still is available to download.

14 – Full Frontal Assault (Q-Force) | 2012

Essentially a Ratchet & Clank tower defence game with a few more bells and whistles, this disappointing title brings none of the sprawling, imaginative level design showcased by the best entries of the series, opting instead for self-contained, arena style levels. The tower defence twist is certainly intriguing though Q-Force ultimately makes for a stressful experience devoid of the same charm and exploration-driven gameplay R&C fans have come to love.

13 – Going Mobile | 2005

A surprisingly solid entry, Going Mobile is a 2D mobile platformer that predates smartphones. Back in the infancy of mobile gaming, Ratchet & Clank: Going Mobile boasted tight gameplay and impressive design for the basic hardware, and a decent amount of content, boasting R&C's trademark wacky humour. In spite of its limitations, it's still a fun distraction.

12 – All 4 One | 2010

Far from one of my favourites, but with plenty of fun to be had, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One is another deviation from R&C's tried and true formula. Designed primarily as a co-op experience, players take control of Ratchet, Clank, Captain Quark, and (strangely enough) Dr Nefarious to battle through linear, fixed-camera levels. Solidly made, and with all the heart of previous titles, but not quite what I come to R&C looking for.

11 – Ratchet: Deadlocked (Ratchet: Gladiator) | 2005

I know what you're thinking – Where's Clank? That's exactly what I thought too when I first picked up the fourth entry in the mainline series. While it has much of that delicious R&C gameplay that I love, it's missing one of the most important elements: Clank's backpack forms. Without Ratchet's trustiest of companions, you're instead accompanied by two characterless 'Combat Bots'. Deadlocked focuses on arena battles instead of galactic exploration. Ratchet's redesigned armour also gave him a weirdly broad-shouldered look, which never sat right with me.

10 – Secret Agent Clank | 2008

This PSP title has the player taking control of Clank who is, for the most part, getting stuck into some amusing spy antics with some reasonably well realised stealth elements, all while using some inventive gadgets. Sadly the experience becomes a little disjointed with some less imaginative and pace-breaking segments taking control of Ratchet and Quark. Even that doesn't keep this from being a fun little spy soiree.

9/8 – Into The Nexus/Quest For Booty | 2013, 2008

Alright, I'm cheating here a bit. I tend to think of these two Ratchet & Clank entries as DLC spin-offs, as short stories rather than full titles, so I'm happy lumping them together. Both are very solid, with gravity-manipulating and space-pirate flavouring respectively, and delivering exactly what the series does best. The only drawback, of course, is their length. Still, as stopgaps between bigger games in the series, they do an exemplary job.

7 – Size Matters | 2007

Another PSP title, Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters makes an admirable effort at transferring everything we know and love about the series to a portable console. This handheld adventure isn't higher on the list simply due to the inevitable limitations of the PSP console, a few unfortunate glitches and technical hiccups, but even so, a worthy addition to the series that still holds up remarkably well.

6 – Ratchet & Clank | 2016

I go back and forth on this one. Right now I'm in a generous mood, so I'll sing its praises. Released to coincide with the 2016 movie adaptation (remember that?) this reboot/reimagining was the only R&C title released for PS4 and is definitely up there as being the most polished in terms of graphics and gameplay. It bowled over some of the staff here at TSA with Tuffcub awarding the game an unbeatable 10/10 in his review.

However, what disappoints me about this otherwise great game is that it, like the movie it's based on, feels like the original game but with all the edges sanded off. A little too clean and shiny, a little bit Pixar, it's a matter of taste, but I prefer my R&C with a bit of grit, thank you very much.

5 – Ratchet & Clank | 2002

The one that started it all. It's easy to see why the franchise has had such longevity when you see where it came from, immediately throwing you into the imaginative and diverse Solana galaxy. Excellent level design, stellar voice acting, humorous writing, and a universe that seems dirty and lived-in. The only thing that brings the original down to this point in the list is the fact that the gameplay still had a few kinks that would only be figured out in later titles, most notably, the lack of a strafe function. Otherwise, it's a classic for a very good reason.

4 – Going Commando (Ratchet & Clank 2/Locked & Loaded) | 2003

As sequels go, this is one hell of an effort. Ratchet & Clank 2 builds on everything the original game served up, expanding the universe to greater and wilder depths, bringing in even more crazy gadgets, a more rewarding sense of progression, and of course, the all-important strafing controls which helped smooth out that frenzied combat gameplay.

3/2 – Tools of Destruction/A Crack in Time | 2007, 2009

Yes, yes, I'm cheating again, but with good reason. I find it impossibly hard to choose between these two superb Ratchet & Clank games, both of them being PS3 mainline entries in the series. Exceptionally well put together experiences, with little to choose between the two of them, they evolved the R&C formula and kept the PlayStation exclusive franchise firmly in the spotlight years after the original PS2 trilogy. Although separated by unique features such as Tools of Destruction's "Constructo" weapons and A Crack in Time's clever time-bending Clank sections, I just can't separate the two in my ranking. To me they represent both halves of a defining chapter in the Ratchet & Clank saga. A spectacular return to form after a couple of so-so experiments.

1 – Up Your Arsenal (Ratchet & Clank 3) | 2004

Here it is. The zenith of R&C. You know how we all hoped after Going Commando that the follow-up would continue to build on what had come before? Well, Ratchet & Clank 3 knocked it right out of the park.

More weapons, more gadgets, more vehicles, tightened gameplay, and a massive variety in mission type. It also had humour in spades, and introduced us to Dr Nefarious, probably the most over-the-top and compelling villain of the series. I've gone back to revisit this masterpiece many time, and it will always hold a place among my favourite games of all time.

We, like many PlayStation 5 owners, are waiting with bated breath to see more of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and get our hands on the game for its June release. Where will it slot into the rankings? Fingers crossed it's at the pointier end.

Steam Lunar New Year Sale & Epic Spring Showcase Sale are both now on

PC gamers are in discount heaven, as both Steam and Epic Games Store have kicked off big sales across their digital stores. On Steam, it's the Lunar New Year Sale, which is running from now until 15th February,  while on Epic, it's the Spring Showcase Sale, which follows on from a reveal stream last night and is running until 25th February.

Discounted games include modest savings on Cyberpunk 2077 (10% off) and Assassin's Creed Valhalla (17% off), a more meaningful saving on Marvel's Avengers (50% off), Immortals Fenyx Rising (33% off), Doom Eternal (67% off), and on and on and on.

There's really too many games to pick out, so we'd simply suggest heading over to the Steam Lunar Sale page, and the Epic Spring Showcase page to have a browse through what's on offer.

The Kingdom Hearts saga is coming to PC in March

The entire Kingdom Hearts saga is coming to PC via the Epic Games Store. Announced during the Epic Games Store Spring Showcase, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, Kingdom Hearts III and the Re Mind DLC, and Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory will be launching for PC on 30th March 2021.

"It is truly a great pleasure to bring so many Kingdom Hearts adventures to PC gamers around the world," said Producer Ichiro Hazama. "Our collaboration with Epic Games is one that stretches back to the development of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, and as part of this ongoing relationship, the team at Epic Games have been incredibly supportive in helping us make this a reality. I'm incredibly excited for so many new players to discover and enjoy the action, magic and friendship of Kingdom Hearts Hearts on PC."

The announcement comes a year after the saga was completed on Xbox One for the first time, with Kingdom Hearts 3 being the first cross-platform release in the series, and Square Enix going back to bring earlier games to Microsoft's console.

There's a vast amount of Kingdom Hearts to trawl through, especially as Square Enix released seemingly countless spin-offs through the mid-2000s, and then sought to bring them all together in remastered compilations, whether they were DS or PSP games, or main series entries.

Here's everything that will be sold on the Epic Games Store.

    • KINGDOM HEARTS Re:Chain of Memories
    • KINGDOM HEARTS 358/2 Days (HD Remastered cinematics)
    • KINGDOM HEARTS Re:coded (HD Remastered cinematics)
  • KINGDOM HEARTS HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
    • KINGDOM HEARTS Dream Drop Distance HD
    • KINGDOM HEARTS 0.2 Birth by Sleep –A fragmentary passage–
    • KINGDOM HEARTS χ Back Cover (movie)
  • KINGDOM HEARTS Melody of Memory

Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory is the most recent game released in the series, a rhythm action spin off that, once again, puts the series' narrative twists and turns in a new light. In our review, Miguel said:

"Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory could have easily been a simple rhythm game with nothing but a huge set of Kingdom Hearts songs going for it. The fact that it goes out of its way to emulate the visuals of the series and recaps major story moments elevates it to something more. It's a shame that the new story elements of the game are held off until the very end, and that Kairi isn't even a playable character despite being on the cover of the dang game."

However, it's really the main series that's most likely to appeal to gamers not yet versed in the convoluted plot of the series. The long-awaited Kingdom Hearts III released in 2019, our review saying:

"Kingdom Hearts III doesn't go in the direction some RPG fans will no doubt have been hoping for. It's unashamedly over the top in just about every way, from its barmy story and stunning presentation to its huge cinematic battles. There's plenty of depth here too, though you'll need to find your bearings first."

So, now PC gamers can go and try and keep track of all the barmy story beats and retcons through the series' long history.

Source: press release

Conspiracy! Review

Conspiracies and the theories that "explain" them have been an intrinsic part of humanities love for storytelling for millennia. We can't get enough of the things. Joining the dots between entirely random events and concocting an explanation (usually involving shadowy organisations responsible for everything bad that has ever happened) is something people seemingly love to do.

Some theories are so ridiculous as to be funny, but others are so insidious that they are responsible for some of the worst atrocities humankind has ever committed. A cursory glance at the key moments and trends of the last twelve months shows that conspiracy theories are still rife, increasingly newsworthy, and likely here to stay for the foreseeable. Which makes the recent release of Conspiracy! rather apt. The latest game from Brighton-based developer Tim Sheinman attempts to expose how the human brain is predisposed to seeing patterns and thus coming up with a doozy of a conspiracy theory.

Conspiracy! – I can only assume the startling exclamation mark is to avoid any comparison with the 2001 TV movie 'Conspiracy' – tasks the player in the role of an investigator attempting to unravel a Machiavellian plot that cuts right into the heart of the Presidential election. This is achieved through a minimalist set-up; the player is shown a screen of twenty blacked out polaroid photographs, each one labelled with a title that's either something sinister or just plain weird. On initial glance, headings of 'killing the pervert', 'two thousand dead geese' and '5G in rural areas' mean very little, though your investigation will ultimately reveal how all these events are linked.

To do this, you'll need to read through reams of emails, letters, newspaper articles and files to uncover further information. There are also cassette recordings to listen to, all in an attempt to uncover when the elusive events took place and in which order. Do this and you'll be able to choose a date from a limited selection and add it to the relevant polaroid; eventually revealing the hidden images and uncovering further clues to begin the process all over again.

There's a well structured plot to uncover here, one filled with misdirection and red herrings. There's also a healthy dose of satire to invoke a wry smile or occasional guffaw. The written sources are an interesting enough read in their own right and the vocal performances are a highlight throughout. Special mention must go to the distinctive tones of author Jon Ronson, whose excellent investigative work makes him an ideal fit for this game. Indeed, it was Ronson's involvement in the project that initially brought Conspiracy! to my attention.

Conspiracy! attempts to show how the online world has played a significant role in the construction and spreading of conspiracy theories in recent times. As such, the game has an intriguing mechanic that blurs the lines between the game and the real world. As well as scouring in-game resources, you're also able to go off-piste and give the events described a quick DuckDuckGo – other search engines are available. Scouring the internet is often the quickest, and sometimes the only way to gather the dates you need to unlock further clues.

Now, in theory this should all be very engaging, as the game bleeds into the online world and fiction becomes plausible reality. Conspiracy! seemed to want to cast me in the role of a bearded and over-caffeinated crackpot, frantically opening tabs and furiously double clicking in an attempt to join the dots, piece the puzzle together and finally blow it all wide open. I sense that my response to the game should be to emulate Mel Gibson in 'Conspiracy Theory'; that I'd feel wild, uncouth and handsome. Instead, the only parallel I can make is that the game made me feel like an office administrator. Not even an exciting office administrator with an automatic pencil sharpener and pocket calculator. Conspiracy! made me feel like an office worker with a clip on tie and a centre parting.

A big part of this is down to the gameplay being so very flat and boring. Going online to scroll through a website to find a reference to a month and year is frankly far too much like real work. Reading through an email several times to uncover its hidden meaning is, again, too much like real work. It all becomes so painfully unengaging – hampered even further by the fact that once you've done it once, you have to go through the process all over again.

This issue is likely exacerbated by there being too little visual feedback. Conspiracy! will only respond when you correctly input five dates, meaning that for the most part it was like playing the game in a vacuum. Curiously, despite the use of real events requiring real internet searching, nothing really seemed real. Maybe this is a statement on how disconnected online conspiracy theorists are from the real world? Either way though, it made for an uninspiring few hours sat in front of my PC.

Marvel's Avengers update 1.4.2 is out, here are the patch notes

Square Enix's Marvel's Avengers has been patched with update 1.4.2. tweaking matchmaking, the UI, combat, and a lot more. Sadly, after years in development at some of Square Enix's biggest Western studios, Marvel's Avengers has been a huge flop for the company costing them 11 billion yen in losses. We're not sure a patch will help with that, but at least they are supporting players who bought the game.

Here are the notes.

New Features

Due to continued exploration and defending of Earth, we have increased resource caps to the following:

  • Polychoron = 999
  • Upgrade Modules = 999
  • DNA Keys = 99
  • Fragments = 99,999
  • Units = 999,999
  • Taking AIM Operation
    • Kate's HARM Room is now replayable for everyone who has already completed it
    • Switching to the Taking AIM Operation and then returning to the Reassemble Campaign no longer results in players being unable to interact with the next campaign interaction prompt
    • Improved lighting on Getz during cinematic prior to fighting him in Masks
  • More than Inhuman
    • The More than Inhuman mission no longer disappears from the War Table
  • Reassemble Campaign
    • New Normal
      • Using grapple swing before it was unlocked in the tutorial no longer gets the camera stuck in a bad position on some occasions
    • The Road Back
      • Fixed an infinite black screen during transition to Kamala waking up after battle on the helicarrier deck
    • To Find Olympia
  • Fixed a rare issue where Kamala could not interact with the 3rd console when trying to power the doors to the Archive
  • To Stand Alone
    • Fixed occurrence where Black Widow couldn't interact with the first console
    • Fixed an issue where the control panel would not raise out of the ground following the Veil of Shadows tutorial
    • Fixed a rare issue where combat did not progress after fighting the first Adaptoid in the lobby
    • Fixed an area with missing collision and a hidden strongbox
  • Once an Avenger
    • Fixed a rare issue where enemies did not spawn after transition into the room after Kamala broke the door
  • By Force of Mind
    • Fixed a rare issue where the second combat encounter wouldn't progress after defeating the first wave
    • Fixed an infinite black screen if a player jumped off the platform of the first combat area just as the final enemy was killed
    • Fixed a rare issue where Hulk did not smash the door, preventing progression after the chase sequence
  • Fixed an issue where players could not complete the objective in the Rockets' Red Glare mission
  • The "Unable to Join Strike Team" message no longer displays incorrectly when trying to join a player that had been already matched
  • Fixed an issue where a player may be invisible to their Strike Team members
  • SPIN Exo suppression fields are now visible to all players
  • Various matchmaking optimizations and fixes
  • Fixed text/imagery and textures used on…And We're Back!, Mayhem Over Manhattan, and Rockets' Red Glare
  • Black Widow's hair now displays correctly on her Classic Stealth outfit
  • Iron Man's Low Battery emote now displays correctly
  • Players with Mobile or Dynamic controller layouts no longer need to double tap when attempting to ping for it to function
  • Tooltips now properly populate when hovering over minor/major Artifacts
  • Items marked for mass dismantle are now properly indicated by a red square preceding the dismantling
  • Fixed an issue where tracking an excursion on the War Table would highlight completed missions as well as missions that still needed to be completed
  • Fixed a rare issue that would cause unintended text to appear when selecting a challenge level via the War Table
  • Fixed an issue where players were unable to change heroes in the Quinjet for Hive missions
  • Various crash, black screen, and infinite loading screen fixes
  • Fixed an issue that could result in Iconic Missions not showing up correctly
  • Kate's Explosive Arrow landing indicator now displays correctly with its trajectory indicator
  • Kate's Quantum Field skill now correctly displays the Area of Effect indicator when used near walls
  • The War Ship's flamethrower turrets now properly target and engage players
  • Fixed a rare issue that caused Adaptoids to sometimes grab players, despite perfect dodging the attack
  • Improved the notification players receive when being targeted by Adaptoid beam attacks
  • Pressure plates now activate correctly after performing combat around them
    • Kate Bishop now consistently activates pressure plates correctly
  • Fixed an issue where one player's hero was immobilized at the start of an Elite Hive mission in multiplayer
  • Kate is no longer invulnerable during Quantum Surge with the Overcharge Regenerator perk equipped
  • The Quantum Regenerator perk now works as intended, granting additional health and energy
  • The Blink Shroud perk correctly activates Kate's Ultimate Heroic rather than Quantum Shroud
  • Kate Bishop can no longer "fly" when jumping after blink-dashing in mid-air
  • Kate can now be revived correctly as a companion after getting downed by an Adaptoid
  • Fixed an issue that would sometimes cause Hulkbuster to lose functionality when Thor uses his support heroic
  • Fixed various issues that allowed players to go out of bounds
  • Fixed multiple issues with enemies spawning out of bounds
  • Ms. Marvel's Iconic Outfit is no longer locked after finishing The Magnificent Ms. Marvel mission chain
  • Fixed an issue where tracking the Global Offensive mission chain would sometimes give improper objective direction
  • The description of Priority Missions now display the correct Legendary Gear rewards and not Exotic Hivemind Gear
  • Modules and resource rewards are now affected by the difficulty modifier
  • Vaults no longer drop Rare Gear if you're above Power Level 80 as mission completion rewards.  Instead, Epic Gear or Legendary Hero Set Gear will now be rewarded
  • Hivemind Gear:
    • Kate's Hivemind Gear will now use her set names
    • Melee and Ranged items will now have their third perk tied to what status effect rolls they have as their first and second perk. Example: If you got 2 plasma perks, the third will be plasma reinforcing or Jarvis-related
    • Cosmic damage perks can now appear on Hivemind Gear
  • Tachyon Surge Gear:
    • Defensive perks will now appear more often on Defensive Gear
    • Ranged-focused perks will now appear more often on Ranged Gear
  • Cosmic Gear:
    • Added more Cosmic arrow perks for Kate
  • Last Avenger Standing:
    • Gear dropped after the first overall completion will always be Legendary Jarvis Gear or Exotic Hero Gear with an equal chance at either
  • Fixed an issue where players could not obtain the required item to complete the Harvest: Wiring Bundles Assignment
  • Due to future refocusing efforts, players can no longer complete challenges in the HARM Room that require defeating a specific enemy or defeating enemies using a specific attack/damage type
  • Rescuing all hostages now properly counts towards challenges and faction assignments
  • SHIELD Daily Villain Sectors are erroneously showing as completed
  • Iron Man's regular missile attack does not trigger positive/negative status effect bonuses
  • AI companions have difficulty hacking doors unless they're standing right by it when the player Pings for action
  • More Than Inhuman is not showing up for those who were previously missing it
  • The cape of the Iron Knight Outfit is not present on the Main Menu or during Quinjet sequences

Check out this new trailer for Oddworld: Soulstorm

The Epic Games Store had a showcase last night and revealed a little more of Oddworld Soulstorm. Like, a tiny little bit more, the game still has no release date just a Spring release window on PlayStation and PC, exclusive to the Epic Games Store. Check out the trailer below.

Oddworld: Soulstorm was originally announced in 2016, so like all Oddworld games, is taken forever to be developed. In 2017 the title sequence was released for Oddworld: Soulstorm. However, it wasn't until  2019 that a cinematic teaser was released, followed by a gameplay teaser. The game itself is a reimagining of 1998's Oddworld: Abe's Exodus but is also a sequel to Oddworld New N Tasty, which itself was a remake of Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee. In the press release Oddworld Inhabitants announced that a playthrough of the Oddworld: Soulstorm would take around 15 hours, but if you want to discover all of the game's secrets then you can dozens of hours to get everything. The features of the game include:

  • Narrative: A dark storyline with a twisted sense of humor that shines a light on the ironies that exist in the human condition. 
  • 2.9D: Epic environments with massive scale to explore by going into the world, rather than being limited to the traditional side scrolling platformer sense. 
  • Quarma (think Karma): Quarma is a real time feedback feature that reflects your actions in the game and will influence Abe, his followers, his abilities, and your score throughout the game.
  • Scavenger's Economy: Pickpocket enemies, loot lockers, sift through trash cans to acquire resources. Exchange them at vending machines to get products that give you more agency in how you chose to conquer the game's many challenges. 
  • Crafting: Use scavenged resources and vending machine products to craft items to use as weapons or tools against characters and obstacles.
  • Strength in Numbers: The more followers you save, the stronger the uprising becomes. Gift crafted items to followers. It's up to you to decide whether they will be aggressive or passive. 
  • Leaderboards: All levels offer a tallying system, leaderboards, achievements, and badges.

Source: YouTube

Godfall free Primal update adds better loot, more endgame content

A new update for PS5 launch title, Godfall, is now available to download, promising challenging new endgame content and well as various quality of life improvements.

Dubbed the "Primal" update, this free content drop makes smart changes to some of Godfall's endgame activities while also giving players more to do once they reach the game's level cap. This update is available on both the PS5 and PC versions of the game that launched in November 2020.

Developer Counterplay Games have introduced a new Primal tier of Godfall loot that will heavily boost your raw stats while also offering the game's best modifiers.

The only way to get Primal loot in Godfall is to play the Ascended Tower of Trials. This is a event tougher version of Godfall's endgame survival gauntlet. In related news, Counterplay have expanded the existing Tower of Trials with new objectives, challenges, and rewards.

Godfall Primal Update - What's New?

Key Features

For both new and veteran players, the Primal Update brings big changes to Godfall to test your mettle. Here is a quick summary of key features coming with this patch; for a more in-depth breakdown please read our designer notes after the itemized list.

  • Ascension Levels – Now let you power up even after you've reached the level cap, granting you new Ascension Powers and Ascension Bonuses.
  • Primal Items – Add a compelling dimension to loot hunting, injecting a massive buff to the item's primary trait as a new loot modifier. You'll be able to view the impact of these effects with our new Detailed Player Stats Screen.

Tower of Trials – Both regular and Ascended versions of the tower received a substantial overhaul and expanded content including fresh new objectives, better rewards, greater challenges, and surprise events that will force you to adapt and test your builds. This increased difficulty will definitely make good use of your new Ascension Levels and Primal modifiers.

  • Ascended ToT & ToT now have you pick Banes, which are negative effects on the player. The harder the Bane, the better the loot bonus!
  • Ascended ToT is the only way to get Primal Items
  • Ascended ToT is now heavily condensed: 30 Trials instead of 100, and provides many more keys per Trial surpassed.
  • Dreamstones – Dreamstones have undergone extensive changes, including improved loot targeting and increased Electrum rewards. We've also added an entirely new class of items called Volatile Dreamstones that can further improve your rewards.
  • Zenun Shopkeeper – Zenun is now an in-game vendor that lets you buy weapons with your in-game resources to gear up for your challenge runs. Head to the Sanctum to see what Zenun has available for you today!
  • More QoL – This content update includes various bug fixes, player weapon refinements, co-op tech enhancements and other QoL improvements. The full list of updates can be found below.

The Primal update is free to download now on PS5 and PC. Godfall will be receiving a paid expansion in the near future.

Sadly, Godfall didn't do too much to impress us at launch. While it had some interesting ideas in its approach to combat, the dull structure and heavy recycling of content made it a tough game to slog through.

Source: Counterplay Games

Stardew Valley update 1.5 is out now for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 & Xbox One

The latest major update to Stardew Valley has arrived on consoles, developer Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone has announced. With new character creation options, local split-screen co-op, a new farm layout and so much more, this has been a long-awaited expansion to the game, getting the game on PlayStation, Xbox and Switch back up to speed with the PC version of Stardew Valley, which received the major version 1.5 content drop back on 21st December. As always, update 1.5 is a completely free addition.

First announced in February 2020, update 1.5 is described by Marone as being "Stardew Valley's biggest update yet", there's a ton of new content and features for new and returning players to enjoy. On a technical level, the most significant addition is local split-screen co-op, which follows on from network multiplayer which was added in 2018. To go with that, there's a new farm layout, and end-game features like being able to renovate your home.

There's also significant new quests to follow which will let you open up a whole new part of the world: Ginger Island. While many long-time players will likely want to start a brand new save file, you shouldn't need to in order to enjoy many of the new features now in the game.

Note, that there is a known issue where one part of the world might render with "blue ground". This will be fixed in a patch.

Marone handily posted a list of features you can now enjoy.

A list of some of the new features to expect:

  • New people to meet
  • New goals
  • Many new items
  • A new type of quest
  • A new farm layout
  • New character events
  • A new Community Upgrade
  • Home renovations (after you've fully upgraded your house)
  • Ducks can now swim
  • You can sit in chairs
  • You can move your bed
  • Fish Tanks
  • A bunch of new furniture items as well as new furniture types like wall sconces
  • New secrets
  • 9 new music tracks
  • And so much more… you'll just have to see, I can't bear to spoil it

Source: Twitter, Stardew Valley

How long is Bowser's Fury in Super Mario 3D World on Nintendo Switch?

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury is out now, and for fans of the original Wii U version of the game, the main question is likely going to be how long is Bowser's Fury? It's a fair question, because if you already know what's in store for you with the main game, then your interest in this package, and your decision to buy it or not, could well be based entirely on Bowser's Fury.

Bowser's Fury is effectively a brand-new Mario game that's bundled in alongside the Switch remaster. It's an open-world game that has you running around a beautiful world while collecting Cat Shines and fighting off the biggest, baddest Bowser we've ever seen. It's a blast, and the ability to play it in local two player co-op adds in a little bit more potential if you're looking for a new game to play with a friend.

How long is Bowser's Fury?

Bowser's Fury has you collecting Cat Shines and fighting off Fury Bowser a few times during your time with it. To beat the game, you need to have collected 50 of the 100 total Cat Shines, as well as fought off the big bad roughly five times along the way, though that will depend on how long it takes you to gather the Shines and also whether or not Fury Bowser absolutely trashes you or if you come out on top every time you get into a scrap with him.

This took me around four hours, so that's probably a good average for anybody else who's familiar with Mario games and also likes collecting stuff at a good pace. I only lost to Bowser once during that time too, and was pushing myself to get through it quite quickly while reviewing the game. If I were playing it through with my wife or little one, I'd probably take a bit more time over it.

Is there more to do after defeating Bowser?

The good news is that, despite this fairly short run time, you can continue playing this mode after you've beaten Bowser.

There are one hundred Cat Shines in the game, so it should be around the eight hour mark if you're planning on 100% completing the game. While you'll not have to contend with the same troubles you had before finishing the game, the ones left after you've beaten Bowser will likely be harder to get on average.

However, this is offset by the ability to teleport around the map at will. This makes hopping from island to island a breeze, and as you can see in the map above, it's a sizeable map predominately covered with water. While Plessie does offer really good mobility, the option to teleport will speed things up substantially.

Of course, once you're done with Bowser's Fury you still have Super Mario 3D World itself to play and enjoy, and thanks to the online co-op, there's a lot more hours in the game than there used to be. You'll be satisfied for a long time with the game as a package, but that should answer the question of how long is Bowser's Fury.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will be released this June

Sony have revealed that Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will be released on June 11th 2021. That's slightly later than some might have expected as Sony described it as a 'launch window' release.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will have an optional 60 frames per second (fps) mode, Insomniac Games has confirmed in an interview with Famitsu. However, the 60fps will not be playable in 4K resolution. If you want to play in 4K then you will have to settle for 30fps. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is taking advantage of the technology offered by the PS5. Loading times are all but gone allowing for rift jumping between stages to be very smooth. If you missed it earlier, you can catch the extended gameplay demo below.

Quite a lot of information has been released for Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and we have that list of information below.

  • The Rift Tether is the name for the ability for latch onto dimensional rifts and kind of pull them toward him.
  • There will be no load screens throughout the game.
  • You can feel the energy of a shatter bomb fade away through the haptic feedback of the DualSense
  • The adaptive trigger can be used to enable secondary fire with weapons. The Enforcer can fire one shot by half-pulling the trigger until you feel a bit of resistance, before then pulling it all the way to fire the second.
  • This is a canonical continuation of Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus, but can be treated as a standalone game.
  • There are more dimensional rift abilities that haven't been shown.
  • The fast-paced dimension hopping will be reserved for when you chase after Doctor Nefarious.
  • Though she will be playable, the mysterious female Lombax name was not revealed. It might not be Abby, though.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was one our most wanted games of this year, you can read more here. 

Source: YouTube

King Arthur: Knight's Tale early access roadmap revealed

Neocore Games have revealed a roadmap of upcoming updates for King Arthur: Knight's Tale, detailing updates for the next four months as the game goes through Steam Early Access. The first update will arrive this month, on 23rd February, bringing with it a new class, increased level cap, new buildings and more. Content for March, April and May has also been revealed.

The February update introduced the Vanguard character class, a scout-type who comes with a pair of one-handed melee weapons, and can hide and ambush enemies from cover. There will also be new side missions, new items and an expanded level cap.

March will be similarly beefy, with all side missions from Act 1 added, new events, hero traits and loyalty, consumable items and gamepad support. April will then introduce a new Sage class, update the Adventure Map and bring new items, and May will have extra side missions and an early loot and artifact system.

What is King Arthur: Knight's Tale?

Coming from Neocore Games, the developers of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing and Warhammer 40,000 Inquisitor – Martyr, King Arthur: Knight's Tale is a game that mixes a new twist on the legend of King Arthur with XCOM-like turn-based combat, RPG depth to the character growth through the campaign, and with permadeath and other roguelite elements thrown in for good measure.

The game is currently in Steam Early Access, with release for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S planned for when the game has been completed.

Nic Reuben played the initial Early Access release for us in January, finding a compelling set of gameplay ideas and thematic setting, but an experience marred by its pre-release nature. Most enjoyable for him was how reminiscent he found it of PS1 classic Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.

From our King Arthur: Knight's Tale preview, he wrote:

"King Arthur: Knight's Tale has more going for it than just appealing to own very specific personal nostalgia. The meat of the experience is turn-based combat which is more reminiscent of Divinity: Original Sin 2 to me. There's back stabs and opportunity attacks, armour points with squishy flesh health points underneath, and action points that can either be spent or converted for the next term. There's also a melee overwatch system which is, dare I say, neato."

Source: Neocore Games