December 2020

Have you played… Assassin's Creed: Origins?

2 years ago

If there’s one thing you should know about my gaming habits it’s that I unironically bloody love me some Assassin’s Creed. That means the older sneaky-stabby AC and the more modern shouty-pillage fests like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Assassin’s Creed Origins is the awkward middle step between the two, acting as the series’ first go at a proper RPG.

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Author
Jake Green

Treyarch Boosts Weapon XP in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Following Player Complaints

2 years ago
The latest patch for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War has boosted Weapon XP earn rates across Multiplayer and Zombies, following player complaints about slow progression. The change was revealed as part of Treyarch's latest patch notes, which detail the changes to Weapon XP as well as a few other bug fixes across Zombies and the new Nuketown '84 map. "Coming out of last week’s 2XP + 2WXP event, we’ve made some additional tuning changes to global Weapon XP earn rates across the board," the notes read. "Starting today, you’ll now level up your weapons and unlock more attachments faster than the previous standard rate in both MP and Zombies." [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/11/17/call-of-duty-black-ops-cold-war-multiplayer-review"] The article notes that there was an issue, specifically in the Die Maschine Zombies mode, that was "causing lower-than-targeted Weapon XP earn rates in solo matches and in later rounds." Treyarch has a few "2WXP events" planned for December to make up for it. The patch has also fixed an "out-of-bounds gap" in the new Nuketown 84 map. Here's how to complete the Nuketown Easter Egg in Black Ops Cold War, if you're still searching for the solution. Previously, the pace at which your weapons would upgrade in Cold War was slow, especially by comparison to previous games. Last week, players took to Reddit to note the disappointing EXP Rates in-game, especially in Zombies.
Author
Jordan Oloman

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What makes a Chinese game?

2 years ago

After staying seemingly closed off for many years, 2020 is looking like the year Chinese games break out onto the global market. There's first-person shooter/slasher Bright Memory, which not only left early access earlier this year but is also being developed into a full-length game, while early footage of next-gen action game Black Myth: Wukong was enough to generate buzz around the world. The biggest success however belongs to Genshin Impact, already the biggest global launch for a Chinese game ever, with over $100 million revenue reported within two weeks of release. If these are signs of a trend, then Chinese developers are in for a bright new dawn of premium-quality games.

But when I think of Chinese games, I'm never just thinking of games made from China. As a Chinese person myself, I'm thinking of all the other cultural traditions and sensibilities that carry across a whole ethnic diaspora. For the longest time, Chinese characters or representations of Chinese culture have come from non-Chinese developers, Street Fighter's Chun Li or the Three Kingdoms-inspired Dynasty Warriors franchise arguably the longest running examples. That's not strictly a criticism, but after decades of seeing non-Chinese developers appropriating Chinese culture, I'm interested in seeing how Chinese developers handle their own representation. That is if they do at all.

For instance, China's biggest mobile game Honor of Kings is a MOBA whose roster comprises a who's who of Chinese folklore and mythology. Yet when the game received its international release, the majority of its Chinese elements were gutted and replaced with more western archetypes (and DC Comics), ending up with the generic-sounding Arena of Valor that did little to differentiate itself from DOTA or League of Legends.

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The Wonderful 101 now has a two-hour demo where you can play as Bayonetta

2 years ago

Characters from The Wonderful 101.

In my head, The Wonderful 101: Remastered has only been out for a month or so. In reality, it came out back in May, and I’m not quite sure how that happened. 2020 continues to amaze with its ability to warp all perception of time. Oh well. Platinum Games’ weird superhero-morphing adventure has a free two-hour demo out now on Steam, so perhaps that will distract from the fact we’re in the final month of this damned year. You can play Bayonetta in it as well, which is cool.

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Author
Imogen Beckhelling

Nintendo Switch update lets you transfer screenshots to your smartphone

2 years ago

Nintendo has today dropped a Switch system software update with a couple of nice features, and an ugly new home screen icon you can't get rid of.

First off, there's the ability to transfer captured screenshots and videos from your Switch to your smartphone. You'll need to scan a QR code using your phone when selecting this option, because Nintendo, but otherwise it's a painless process. You can transfer up to 10 images and one video at once.

Alternatively, you can also now connect a USB cable to copy screenshots and video to a PC. Handy!

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First major Xbox Series X/S update adds more dynamic backgrounds, Game Pass preloading

2 years ago

Xbox's November system update began to roll out last night, making it the first major update to include the new Xbox Series X/S consoles alongside Xbox One. It introduces a couple of nice additions to the UI and dashboard: including more dynamic backgrounds, useful library tags, and the option for players to preload Game Pass titles.

If you want to jazz up your Xbox X/S dashboard, the new update gives you a further six new options, "including homages to previous generations of Xbox consoles and others based on popular profile themes". It sounds like Xbox has plans to create even more dynamic backgrounds, so keep your eyes peeled for further designs in future updates.

Beyond just making the dashboard look pretty, the update adds some useful features such as Auto HDR tags, which can help players recognise when a game is running with Auto HDR enabled. For this, you'll simply need to open the guide menu when the game is running, and a tag should appear on the top-right corner.

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Spider-Man's Composer on Crafting Miles Morales' Melodic Identity

2 years ago

The creative team behind Insomniac’s latest video game, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, found a number of different ways to convey to players that Miles and Peter Parker are profoundly different kinds of Spider-Man, despite being driven by similar senses of justice. One of the biggest ways it achieves that is through its…

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Author
Charles Pulliam-Moore on io9, shared by Riley MacLeod to Kotaku

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Wizard of Legend is free with Prime Gaming this month

2 years ago

"Prime Gaming" is still chugging along, and I'm still struggling with not calling it "Twitch Prime." There's only so many years you can write that phrase out, and not have it stick in your mind permanently. "Prime" is even still in the name!

That's in part because not much has changed. The name is different, but the landing page and the concept is basically 99% the same. You're still getting access to free games and content drops each month, and all your old stuff is still there. They did a pretty great job with the transition, keeping everything intact in the backend. So anyway, on to the December offerings.

The new games are: Turmoil, Sigma Theory: Global Cold War, HyperDot, Close to the Sun, and Wizard of Legend. All you have to do today is go to that aforementioned landing page, and mass-click on them and you're good to go. From there, you could wait for some of the more enticing DLC to arrive.

Immortals Fenyx Rising content is pretty fresh given that it's not even out yet: that drop involves a "helmet, outfit, wings, and campaign horse." On December 9, a Star Wars: Squadrons drop will arrive, and award two helmets: Bold Approach and Vibrant Focus. All of the same promotions will be running from before too, like the Destiny 2 stuff.

It's not the most exciting December update, but given that most of you just happen to have this thing because you subscribe to Prime for two-day shipping, I'll take it. You can find a full rundown for December below.

Wizard of Legend is free with Prime Gaming this month screenshot

Author
Chris Carter

Square Enix updates NieR: Automata streaming guidelines three and a half years after release

2 years ago

NieR: Automata is pretty great. Great enough to still be relevant three and a half years after it came out? Absolutely. Great enough to be relevant...forever? Yes. Emphatically, yes. I hope Yoko Taro keeps making games for all time.

Naturally, I'll take any excuse to talk about Automata, especially given that NieR is about to go back in style soon with a new mobile game and a kinda-sorta-remake-kinda-not re-release of the original. The last we heard it was being called a "version up." You can keep that lingo in the vault along with transfarring, buddy!

Anyway, old Yoko Taro took to Twitter this week to update us on NieR: Automata, or rather, its streaming guidelines. As most folks know, certain publishers sometimes put heavy restrictions on what can be shown in certain games, even years down the line. Some of it is an ill-fated, PR-nightmare of an effort to restrict people from streaming in general; some of it is because of story spoilers.

Well, these guidelines are now updated, in English, for all to see, Taro says. It's pretty standard stuff, including the regular legal notices, and the ways in which you can use content from the game (Twitter and other microblogging platforms, sharing in-game audio and sharing gameplay videos). 

Author
Chris Carter

People are using the Xbox Series X to play PS2 games, which is hilarious since the PS5 can't, natively

2 years ago

In case you haven't heard, people have been stretching the "developer mode" of the Xbox Series X/S to its limit. And it's only been a few weeks.

Amazingly, intrepid and plucky users have managed to get tons of old games running on the systems, most notably PS2 games. The below clip from the Modern Vintage Gamer (using the S, which is capable of the same things as the X) shows off the power of its emulation capabilities just fine, using the "dev mode" option in the new Xbox consoles: a 2016 Xbox One feature. The new horizon of PS2 games is due to developments within RetroArch, which just recently added PS2 support and is still in active development.

Modern Vintage Gamer assesses that the level of emulation offered in the Series S, for the $299.99 base price, is "unrivaled." Given that you don't really need all of that SSD space for emulation, nor would you need to build a PC capable of running these games; I'd agree. Just know that, like Modern Vintage Gamer suggests, this isn't a "set it and forget it" process. You do need to do a bit of diligence (and legally, own the games) to get this up and running.

This whole process is in its infancy, and proponents suggest that nearly anything is possible with Series X/S emulation. The only limitations right now are a 2GB ROM size maximum, which could change down the line. As a proponent of (legal) game preservation, it's a big step forward to keeping the classics alive without digging out old hardware that's prone to malfunctioning mishaps.

Author
Chris Carter

Halo developer rubbishes "unfounded" Infinite rumour

2 years ago

Halo Infinite community director Brian Jarrard has spoken out about a certain rumour currently swirling around the game.

Yesterday, numerous websites and blogs widely spread the rumour that Halo Infinite would include a battle royale mode.

The original source of the rumour was a month-old reddit post from an anonymous user which picked up little attention at the time. The post made numerous claims about Halo Infinite's planned development throughout the next decade, including "a Battle Royal [sic] styled game mode for free set on Zeta Halo" apparently due in 2021.

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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti review: faster than 2080 Super, easily beats 1080 Ti

2 years ago

The rumours were true: the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is a real graphics card, and we've been testing it for the past week. Nvidia promises RTX 2080 Super level performance in a smaller, cheaper and more efficient Ampere design, and - spoiler alert - that's exactly what our testing shows they've delivered.

For £370 in the UK, $400 in the US and around €399 in Europe, the 3060 Ti isn't quite in mainstream territory, but it's significantly faster than the RTX 2060 Super it replaces at the same price-point and AMD's competitive Big Navi architecture has yet to debut at anything below the $580/£530 price point of the RX 6800. If the Green Team is able to actually produce these cards in volume - and sell them to actual customers rather than bot farms - they could be onto a winner.

In terms of the specs and underlying architecture, the RTX 3060 Ti uses the same GA104 GPU as the RTX 3070, but with fewer CUDA cores - 4864 versus 5888. The card also operates at slightly slower clock speeds (1665MHz boost versus 1725MHz) to fit into a 20W lower TDP (200W vs 220W). The memory subsystems are unchanged however, with both cards sporting the same 8GB GDDR6 operating at 448GB/s. It's good to see 8GB of VRAM becoming the new standard, with all next-gen cards from both teams providing at least that much thus far.

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There's 15% off Switch Lite bundles and more on eBay

2 years ago

eBay has introduced a new discount code that allows users to drop 15% off a lot of products' price, including tons of great options for video games such as Nintendo Switch Lite bundles and more!

The code itself is "PRESENTS15", entered at checkout, and there's a few restrictions on it, as there always are. First of all, you have to spend more than £15, and the code won't save you more than £60. So once you spend more than £400, it caps out and you'll stop saving money from that point.

Still, it's a great discount and can get even better for Nectar members. Those who've linked their Nectar Card to their eBay account can enter the code "NECTAR20" for a greater discount of 20%. For those who want to know how to do that, check this link. Keep in mind that you can't use both codes on the same purchase - one or the other, I'm afraid.

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PSN’s End of Year Sale Is Now Live

2 years ago

The end of 2020 is upon us (thank goodness) and PlayStation is celebrating by discounting tons of video games on the PSN store as part of the End of Year sale. The latest promotion isn’t the be-all and end-all of video game sales, but there are still some hidden gems here that are worth looking into.

I mean, if you missed out on the first entry of the Tomb Raider reboot for some reason, you can get it now for less than a cup of coffee, so that’s great.

If you’re still making your way through all of the PS5 and Xbox Series X launch titles and can’t possibly fit more games into your life at the moment, the sale doesn’t come to an end until Dec. 22, giving you plenty of time to consider your purchases.

You can see the full list of games on sale right here or you can look down below for some of the highlights, along with their respective links to the PSN store.

Author
Greysun Morales

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RTX 3060 Ti Release Date & Price Revealed by Nvidia

2 years ago

Earlier this morning in a press release from Nvidia, we got some enlightening details about the GPU manufacturer’s next offering in the RTX 30 series of cards. Very soon you’ll be able to get your hands on the RTX 3060 Ti.

First off, the RTX 3060 Ti will be launching tomorrow, Dec. 2 at the price of $399. That makes this the least expensive graphics card to ever feature real-time ray tracing. Even more surprising is that this card surpasses the power of the $699 RTX 2080 SUPER.

Just don’t expect to get stunning 4K visuals running at 60fps with the RTX 2060 Ti. Nvidia states that this card will deliver, “…blistering 1080p and 1440p gameplay.”

However, the RTX 3060 Ti will feature a whole host of Nvidia features that are found on their high-end cards as well such as Nvidia DLSS, Reflex, and Broadcast.

The first item on that list, DLSS, is an AI technology built into the RTX line of Nvidia cards. The short story on this tech is that developers have to choose to include the setting in their games to turn DLSS on, but it greatly increases the fidelity and crispness of the image while increasing the overall stability of the game in terms of frame rate.

Nvidia Reflex is a technology that aims to reduce input lag while gaming and Broadcast is a suite of audio and video enhancements for streaming and video calls.

It’s clear that even though this is a budget card, Nvidia packed as much as they could into this small package. If you’re interested in picking up an RTX 3060 Ti tomorrow you should be able to find it in major retailers as well as major online stores.

Author
Omar Banat

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Captain Tsubasa: Rise Of New Champions Reveals DLC & Free Otomo Campaign With Trailer & Screenshots

2 years ago

Today Bandai Namco released a brand new trailer of its anime soccer game Captain Tsubasa: Rise Of New Champions.

The trailer focuses on the first DLC that will feature Stevan Levin from Sweden, Singprasert Bunnaak from Thailand, and Ricardo Espadas from Mexico.

They all come with their own set of special epic anime soccer abilities as you would expect.

Perhaps even more interesting for old Captain Tsubasa fans is that a new patch numbered 1.10 will introduce a new episode for the New Hero campaign, letting players join Otomo as they finally take their revenge against Nankatsu on their path to pursue the dream that never was.

A new assist mode and balance adjustments especially in Versus and Online Versus mode will also be included.

You can check out a trailer and screenshots below.

Author
Giuseppe Nelva

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Atelier Ryza 2 Preview – Walking Together On The Path to Adulthood

2 years ago

Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy is just a couple of days away from its Japanese release, but western fans will have to wait a couple of months longer.

Yet, I was able to put my greedy paws upon a preview build of the PC version of the game, and I have to say that it was a pleasure to reconnect with Ryza and her friends.

This is the first time an Atelier game spawns a direct sequel that retains the same protagonist, so it’s a rare and rather relevant experiment for Gust.

That being said, considering Ryza’s popularity, it’s also pretty much a safe bet. She is by far my favorite Atelier heroine, and she has not lost any of her charms.

Author
Giuseppe Nelva

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Demon’s Souls’ World Tendency System Is Obtuse But Effective

2 years ago

Full disclosure: I know a lot about Demon’s Souls. I’ve dabbled with the PS3 release, I know all about its good and bad endings, and I’ve heard enough about the punishing grind that is the hunt for the elusive Pure Bladestone. That being said, I’ve never properly played it myself. As someone who quickly fell in love with Dark Souls and Bloodborne, though, it was exciting to dive into Bluepoint’s remake and see where it all began.

At once, the main difference between Demon’s Souls and all its successors became clear to me: the world tendency system was a mechanic that was put in place to make the game easier (only very slightly) or harder on you. In true FromSoftware fashion, the system is never explained to the player at all, and it’s only through experience and enough hours of playtime that you’ll slowly start to discern the effects of pure black and pure white world tendencies.

I’ll condense it for you: shifting towards pure black in an area makes the game harder. If you kill NPCs or die repeatedly in human form, your world tendency shifts towards black, and things start to change around you. The main difference in pure black tendency is that enemies deal more damage, black phantom versions of enemies show up, and they deal even more damage to you.

The plus side? You actually get more souls from killing them. Assuming you make it back to the Nexus, you can spend those souls on extra levels or items.

On the other hand, helping out NPCs and killing bosses will shift your world tendency towards pure white. The game doesn’t necessarily become easier here; the difficulty remains the same, but at least you won’t have to deal with the extra tougher enemies that pop up. However, the amount of souls you get from killing enemies actually decreases slightly.

Author
Zhiqing Wan

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Xbox Operating Sytem Update Lets Players Preload Game Pass Games

2 years ago
A substantial operating system update has landed on the Xbox Series X and S and the Xbox One family of systems, providing users with custom dynamic backgrounds and the ability to preload Xbox Game Pass games. You can see the full update notes on the Xbox Wire website, which digs into the ins and outs of the first major update for Xbox Series X|S. [caption id="attachment_244644" align="aligncenter" width="720"]Picker_UI The six new dynamic themes available with the new Xbox OS update.[/caption] Preloading for Game Pass means that if you're anticipating a game that is launching on Game Pass in the future, you can choose to download it ahead of time so there are no bumps in the road on launch day. In addition, akin to Netflix, the Xbox Game Pass app on console or mobile now has a 'Coming Soon' section that will tell you what games are arriving in the near future. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/11/05/xbox-series-x-review"] Alongside the Game Pass preloads are six new dynamic backgrounds, which each pay homage to previous Xbox consoles, including one with concentric circles that harkens back to the days of the Xbox 360. The update also adds special filters for your game library that allow you to sort by games optimised for the Xbox Series X and S. There is also now a new UI tag that lets you know when a game is utilising Auto HDR, which displays when you open the Guide menu. You'll also be able to check your achievements in the Game Activity tab, accessed by pressing the Xbox button.
Author
Jordan Oloman

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I Hate That Everybody In Assassin's Creed Valhalla Can Read

2 years ago

As granite-hewn Viking woman Eivor, I’ve done a lot of things in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: I’ve run across boundless landscapes. I’ve raided more churches than I can count. I’ve stabbed guys and thrown their bodies at other guys, who I’ve then proceeded to stab, thus beginning anew a process I like to call The Circle…

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Author
Nathan Grayson

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