June 2021

Have You Played.... Sonic Heroes?

1 year ago

In the late 90s and early 2000s one of my gaming heroes was an oddly proportioned anthropomorphic royal blue erinaceinae. Sonic the Hedgehog, as he’s known to you and me, was largely popular in this time period, with a string of successful Sonic Adventure games being accompanied by a non-canon animated TV series Sonic Underground. 2003 saw the brand spanking new anime Sonic X (the opening episode’s Sonic vs Formula 1 car high speed chase is delightful) and later the platformer Sonic Heroes – one of my favourite games of all time.

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Author
Yaseen Ahmad

Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown review - imperfect version of an all-time great

1 year ago

Given that it's been nine years since we last saw the series - and some 15 whole years since the last mainline release in arcades - you might well be wondering why there's so much excitement surrounding this week's release of Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown, a remaster that brings Sega's fighting series to modern platforms (or just one of them for now, at least). What is it exactly about Virtua Fighter that makes it so beloved?

Allow me, a fairly serious fan who's been pining for a return for some time, to try to explain. Virtua Fighter is to fighting games what OutRun is to driving games: accessible, slick and dynamic, just as OutRun sold the teenage dream of getting behind the wheel for a Ferrari so Virtua Fighter is all about pitting poster star martial artists against each other, in both cases something complex distilled down to something intoxicatingly direct. They are both peak Sega.

So it's a delight to see the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio - undoubtedly Sega's premier studio, and in whose games you'll find so much of that old style and swagger - turn its hand to Virtua Fighter's return, even if the project they've been handed isn't quite as grand as some might have hoped. This is a pared-back port of Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, released in arcades in 2010 before making it to console in 2012, albeit gently renovated for more modern hardware.

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Two Point Hospital's follow-up is Two Point Campus

1 year ago

Two Point Campus, a comedic university sim, is the next project from Two Point Hospital developer Two Point Studios.

That's according to a Microsoft Store listing for the game which popped up online yesterday (thanks, VG247), and which has now been taken offline.

Screenshots show normal university activities such as jousting and giant pizza cooking, as well as university buildings themed around Hogwarts-style castles and European city squares.

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Necromunda: Hired Gun is out now

1 year ago

Yesterday, the developers of Space Hulk: Deathwing released their new first-person shooter set in the world of Warhammer 40k. Necromunda: Hired Gun has you running around as a mercenary in the grim dystopia of Necromunda, killing outlaws and mutants with lotsa guns. The most important bit to note, however, is that there's wallrunning, a grappling hook, and a cyber-dog - three things that should be in every game, if you ask me.

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Author
Imogen Beckhelling

Deep Rock Galactic's mods will be tiered to protect player progression

1 year ago

Like the moons and worlds you have to drill down into to get to Deep Rock Galactic’s alien goodies, its modding system will have multiple levels. Developers Ghost Ship Games have spent a while pondering how to best create a modding setup that won’t mess up progression for players joining hosted games, and have come up with a tiered system of mods that’ll let players know what they’re getting into.

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Author
Craig Pearson

Here's where you can buy an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti today

1 year ago

There are two more Nvidia RTX 30 graphics cards on the way this month, the RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 3070 Ti. Announced earlier this week as part of Nvidia's Computex 2021 keynote (which is a bit like E3 for hardware nerds), the RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 3070 Ti take their place as Nvidia's new flagship gaming GPUs for 2021. Here's everything you need to know, including where you can buy one, what time they go on sale, their prices, specs and respective release dates.

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Author
Katharine Castle

PS Plus and PS Now subscriptions are up to a third off

1 year ago

As the PlayStation Days of Play sale enters its second week, the advertised deal on PS Plus and PS Now memberships is finally available at several stores.

Of the lot, ShopTo or Amazon is the place you should go if you need to top up your subscription time as that's where you'll find the best PS Plus deal - there's 34% off the normal price. Others, meanwhile, are sticking to a 25% price cut. Not great, not terrible.

Either way, I've dropped all the retailers below so you can pick your favourite:

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Far Cry 6 narrative director issues statement after politics backlash

1 year ago

Far Cry 6 narrative director Navid Khavari has issued a lengthy statement on the politics of the game, following a backlash to a quote of his last week.

In a post on the Ubisoft blog, Khavari sought to reassure fans that Far Cry 6 would include "hard, relevant discussions" about "the rise of fascism in a nation, the costs of imperialism, forced labour, the need for free-and-fair elections, LGBTQ+ rights, and more within the context of Yara", the game's fictional Caribbean island setting.

"Our story is political," Khavari commented. "A story about a modern revolution must be."

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Pokémon Products Don't Get Much Better Than This

1 year ago

Over the years, there have been oodles of Pokémon branded products. For example, I bought Pikachu toothpaste earlier today in Japan for my youngest son. But if you really think about it, that doesn’t have much to do with Pocket Monsters. This product, though, definitely does.

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Author
Brian Ashcraft

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Need For Speed Shift 2, The Run, and more ending multiplayer this year

1 year ago

If you've got that need, that need for Need For Speed, you might be out of luck. EA are pulling several older games in their racing series from sale, and plan to shut down online services and end multiplayer for them too. These include NFS The Run and NFS Shift 2: Unleashed - games certainly more interesting than dross like 2017's NFS Payback. They're supposed to be gone from sale already but I still see 'em, so get in now if you hanker for momentum.

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Author
Alice O'Connor

AMD's DLSS rival is coming to way more graphics cards than I was expecting

1 year ago

AMD's answer to Nvidia's performance-boosting DLSS tech is arriving much sooner than expected, and it's going to be supported by an incredible range of graphics cards. Announced earlier today during AMD's Computex keynote presentation, their FidelityFX Super Resolution tech (also known as FSR) will be launching in just a couple of weeks time on June 22nd.

Even better, you won't even need a ray tracing capable graphics card to use it. In addition to AMD's new Radeon RX 6000 desktop GPUs (and their freshly announced Radeon RX 6000M laptop GPUs), FSR will also be available on all RX 5000 GPUs, RX 500 GPUs, RX Vega GPUs, and every AMD Ryzen processor with integrated Radeon graphics. Heck, even Nvidia GTX 10-series card owners will be able to take advantage of FSR, as AMD also showed a demo of it running on a GTX 1060. Excuse me a sec while I sit down and take that all in.

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Author
Katharine Castle

Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance will add local co-op after launch

1 year ago

When developers Tuque Games first announced Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance, they said it wouldn't have local co-op. Imagine! No local co-op in a spiritual successor to the Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance series, which, honestly, didn't have much beyond excellent local co-op. It seems the devs have listened to us fans of the old hack and slash RPGs however, as they now plan on adding two-player split-screen in a free content update this summer, after the game has launched.

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Author
Imogen Beckhelling

Xbox Game Pass Adding Even More Games, Including For Honor And Darkest Dungeon

1 year ago

Last month, Microsoft revealed quite a few new games joining the Xbox Game Pass's evolving library. Now that it's June, the company has revealed even more titles that members can play at no additional cost. 

Like every month, Team Green shares new games that will be a part of the ever-growing library while also showing off what is on its way out to make more room. In addition to the 15 previous titles confirmed, here are what's on the horizon for Xbox Game Pass subscribers. That includes the previously revealed The Wild at Heart addition, which is a part of Xbox Game Pass starting today. 

Author
Liana Ruppert

Zombies Invade London With Watch Dogs: Legion Of The Dead Game Mode, Starting Today

1 year ago

Zombies have officially invaded London with the latest update for Watch Dogs: Legion. The new mode goes live today with update 4.5, and it's called Legion of the Dead. As the name implies, hackers from around the world must not just deal with the dangers of billion-dollar corporations but also shambling dead people that have no objective other than to simply kill. Sounds fun, right? 

We knew something new was on the way when Ubisoft first revealed the Watch Dogs: Legion roadmap that teased future expansions, new characters, and more. It looks like the studio was one of many to also have the undead on the brain because that's exactly what the latest hacking game has to offer. 

Click here to watch embedded media

IGN shared a first look at the new mode with over 21 minutes of gameplay footage to enjoy, as seen above. The PvE mode offers a rogue-lite experience for Legion players looking for something a little fresher to enjoy. Ironic that fresh means dead, but hey, it's a popular genre for a reason. 

Author
Liana Ruppert

Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier Beta Starts Today

1 year ago

Back in March, Square Enix revealed the first Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier beta details and when registration would go live. Now that interested fans have registered for a chance to get their hands on the upcoming mobile adventure early, the First Soldier beta is ready to officially kick off. 

A lot of gamers still groan in disinterest when mobile games come into the conversation, regardless of the IP. That being said, director Tetsuya Nomura has previously revealed why Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier's battle royale prequel experience is important to the larger remake picture.

When the battle royale take was first announced, Nomura told fans that First Soldier is an attempt to widen the gaming audience beyond just dedicated players of the Final Fantasy franchise. "The First Soldier isn't limited to FFVII, but the long-lasting IP fanbase has been [fixed]. To be able to appeal to other fanbases has become an issue for us. I have a strong feeling that I can't get fid of the big sign 'FFVII' and I am developing Final Fantasy VII: The First Solider with the spirit of participating in the hottest genre as a full challenger." 

Click here to watch embedded media

Author
Liana Ruppert

Borderlands Movie Reveals First Look At Cate Blanchett As Lilith

1 year ago

Eli Roth's Borderlands movie has certainly built up an eclectic cast to bring some of Gearbox's most iconic characters to life. While we are likely still a ways off from an actual trailer showing off what's to come, we do have our first look at Cate Blancett as Lilith from the upcoming Borderlands movie, thanks to fellow cast member Jamie Lee Curtis.

Curtis took to Twitter to share a shadowed look at Lilith, saying, "Welcome to Borderlands and a secret BTS shot I took of Lilith, our legendary heroine, psycho blasting, vault hunting vixen with attitude." 

Author
Liana Ruppert

Minecraft's Caves and Cliffs: Part 1 update arrives next week

1 year ago

The first half of Minecraft's big Caves and Cliffs update arrives next Tuesday, 8th June.

That's for both Bedrock and Java editions of the game, Microsoft said, meaning (deep breath) PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android, Mac and Linux.

This is the first portion of the long-awaited and recently split Caves and Cliffs update, which includes various creatures and some new blocks.

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Doom Eternal is finally getting its ray tracing update

1 year ago

Doom Eternal is finally getting its long-awaited ray tracing and DLSS update, Nvidia announced today, and they even released some lovely new ray traced footage of the game running in 4K. The shiny, realistic lighting tech has been teased and hinted at for absolutely ages, but in the run-up to the game's launch last March, it quickly became apparent that its ray tracing support would arrive much later than planned. Happily, the new footage looks lovely, what with all those plasma beam reflections bouncing off the glass walls and polished metal floors, but honestly, when you're ripping and tearing at such high speeds, is anyone going to have the time to stop and smell the ray traced space roses?

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Author
Katharine Castle

Grindstone on PC is going to be the end of me

1 year ago

Last Christmas, I spent hours and hours playing Capybara Games' grid-based puzzler Grindstone on my Switch, gobbling up level after level of this joyful monster masher like an unattended tub of Cadbury's Heroes. I'd played a teensy bit of it when it first came out on Apple Arcade in 2019, but it quickly became apparent that this was exactly the type of game I'd rather play on a handheld. It was a gamble - back then, Capy hadn't announced if it was ever going to come to other platforms - but luckily my patience paid off. When it arrived on Switch last December, I secretly hoped it would eventually come to PC, too (if only so I could have an excuse to play it for work), and last week my wish came true, with Grindstone arriving on the Epic Games Store alongside its new Fortune Grind update.

When I heard the news, I felt a quiet sense of elation. I was happy that more people would now finally be able to experience Grindstone's delicious delights of slicing through its hordes of cute creep monsters in ever-increasing chains of fleshy meat chunks, but part of me's still very much wedded to the progress I've made over on my Switch save. Then I learned that Grindstone's PC release would have, and I quote, a "super innovative and groundbreaking windowed mode", and man alive, I think I've become addicted to it all over again.

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Author
Katharine Castle

Civ 4 designer's Old World launches in a month

1 year ago

After a year in early access, the new turn-based civilisation-building strategy game designed by Soren Johnson (lead designer of Civilization 4) is about done. Mohawk Games today announced that Old World will launch in full on the 1st of July, which somehow is only one month away? Mohawk also announced that Old World will have tunes from Christopher Tin, the composer behind Civ 4's award-winning theme, Baba Yetu.

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Author
Alice O'Connor

This book's interactive Itch teaser made me rethink what I'd already read

1 year ago

As you may know, I am often intrigued by the potential intersection of books and games. There are visual novels, of course, which are sort-of-but-not-really a game version of a book, and then there is the litRPG genre of books, which is an attempt to write playing a game as a book and I do not understand it. But just over a month ago a book called Sixteen Horses came out, and it was teased with an Itch game.

The teaser is an interactive adaptation of the first chapter of the book, co-developed by the author Greg Buchanan and game dev G.C. Baccaris, and featuring the work of artist Trevor Henderson. Here's the thing: I had already bought and finished the book before I knew the teaser existed, or that Buchanan was a game writer who has worked on No Man's Sky and Metro Exodus.

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Author
Alice Bell

Humankind's million potential civs make for some great strategy moments -and some seriously busted synergies

1 year ago

The mayor steps to the podium, resplendent in silk pantaloons and a turquoise-embellished cuirass, and clears his throat. In the strip of face visible between his fancy Mesopotamian beard and his tricorner hat, the ancient dignitary’s eyes flicker over to a commotion in the East. the Huns are assaulting the city wall. Again. The Huns are always assaulting the city wall, so the mayor ignores the screams, and returns his attention to the mass of humankind gathered in the square before him.

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Author
Nate Crowley