October 2023

Cocoon, Tomb Raider 2, and the pros and cons of being stuck in a game world

8 months 3 weeks ago

One of the many things I've heard said about games that is always bobbing around in my head is a line from Tim Schafer, of Monkey Island and Double Fine fame. He was talking at a Develop conference in Brighton about a decade ago most likely, and he was talking about the problem of the player getting stuck in video games. "Getting stuck," he said, or something along those lines. "We used to call that gameplay."

I can attest to this in a very personal way. Getting stuck - often getting stuck in games Schafer had helped create - was very much gameplay when I was at school in the 1990s. I remember sitting in maths class with my friend Gareth, passing notes back and forth about what to do with the key we'd found in the chandelier in Maniac Mansion. (I don't think that's one of Schafer's.) A year or so later we'd be talking about how to get through the maze in Monkey Island, or what to do with the Red Herring.

This came back to me this week because I've been playing Cocoon. Cocoon is brilliant. It's one of the best things I have encountered in an absolute age. I am in awe of how it is put together, and what I'm largely in awe of is this: Cocoon is a very intelligent puzzle game with brilliantly devious challenges, and yet I was never stuck for too long. Despite not being particularly brilliant myself, Cocoon found a way to arrange its puzzles in a way that encouraged me to solve them quickly, rather than become overwhelmed and give up.

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Author
Christian Donlan

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Gran Turismo Sport's online servers will go dark in early 2024

8 months 3 weeks ago

Gran Turismo Sport's online servers will go dark on 31st January 2024.

In a blog on the Gran Turismo site, the team confirmed "end of online service" will begin on 1st December, when DLC will be removed from the PlayStation Store, although all previously purchased DLC and "offline portions" of the game will remain accessible after shutdown.

The statement explained that after Gran Turismo Sport's online services are shuttered, the team will then "continue to further improve the online services" for Gran Turismo 7.

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Author
Vikki Blake

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What to Play This October

8 months 3 weeks ago

Hello! October is here, which means it's spooky/cosy season at last (delete as appropriate). It also means it's time for our new(ish) recurring series, What to Play This Month, to return again with a roundup of the best games from the month gone by, and the things we're most excited to play from the month ahead - plus, any other suggestions for what might complement it.

As a reminder, the goal for us with this series is simple enough: there are more games releasing than ever, so we're aiming to narrow things down and help you cut through the noise. Here's What To Play This October.

Availability: Out now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch.

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Author
Chris Tapsell

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Thirsty Suitors Hands-On Preview – It’s Jala vs. the World

8 months 3 weeks ago

Thirsty Suitors tells the story of Jala, a young adult with a love for skateboarding who is returning to her hometown to face the troubles of her past after suffering yet another breakup. However, the rocky relationship with her parents isn’t the only problem Jala will have to navigate. Her ex-partners seem to be popping up all over the place, challenging her to battle.

Sound familiar, anyone? On the surface, it carries a very similar approach to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Don’t let this deter you, though, as Thirsty Suitors puts a bit of a spin on things. More importantly, you get to play as the badass ‘Ramona’ character and fight off your exes instead of following the tale of yet another, well, you know, ‘thirsty suitor,’ as this game would label him. Sorry, Scott!

Author
Grace Black

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10 Games Like Cyberpunk 2077 If You’re Looking for Something Similar

8 months 3 weeks ago

Despite a rocky start, Cyberpunk 2077 has become one of the most impressive and engaging games ever. Its deep RPG systems, captivating storytelling, and iconic visual style make it a game worth sinking countless hours into, but there’s always a limit. Those who’ve finished the main game or the Phantom Liberty expansion and are looking for a kindred experience can rest assured, as there are plenty of games in the same vein. Here’s a list of games similar to Cyberpunk 2077.

Author
Alex Gibson

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Top 10 Vehicles in Cyberpunk 2077

8 months 3 weeks ago

Night City is known for its endless crime and wild nightlife, which is why owning a preem vehicle is so important. Want the security and peace of mind that comes with an armored car that can outrun the Tiger Claws or even Militech? Or, do you just want to show up to the party in the coolest ride this side of North Oak? We’re here to make Night City easier, cooler, and much more fun for you with this list of top 10 vehicles in Cyberpunk 2077.

Author
Matthew Carmosino

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Stop Sacrificing Old Games To Make Way For New Ones

8 months 3 weeks ago

This month two of the world’s biggest online FPS games were unceremoniously shut down. On Thursday, September 21, 2023, Call of Duty: Warzone Caldera was taken offline, and less than a week later, on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, the same thing happened to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

It wasn’t as if nobody was playing these games. And it isn’t as if nobody would ever want to play them again in the future. But now they never can. These games simply no longer exist outside of their once-players’ memories.

Author
James Crosby

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This fan-made VR Mod for Portal 2 is so good it'll make you wonder why we never saw an official version

8 months 3 weeks ago

It's another week, another VR Corner and another example of modders showing the rest of the world how VR should be done - this time with a flatscreen to VR mod for Portal 2 that brings 6DoF and motion controlled portal shooting to the game.

In the video below, you can watch me role-play my way through the first hour of the game as I wake up at the very start of Portal 2's excellently comical campaign and subsequently push my way through a plethora of head-scratching puzzles.

The main thing that struck me during my time playing the mod was just how 'right' it felt. If I'd have never played Portal 2 before and you'd have told me that it had been designed specifically for VR, I'd have believed you. It all works so well!

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Author
Ian Higton

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No One Does a Tournament Like Pokémon

8 months 3 weeks ago

You’re reading the fifth chapter of my eight-day travelog recounting my unbelievable trip to Japan to cover the 2023 Pokémon World Championships.

If you already haven't, be sure to check out the other chapters:

Day 5 - Starting Worlds Off With a Bang

6:00 am - It’s a good thing I got some extra sleep last night because my alarm was set extra early so we could get good seats for the opening ceremony.

7:00 am - Lasagna for breakfast.

[Editor’s Note: I’m as weirded out by this as you all are. A quick Google search has, frustratingly, given me no further insight as to why regular lasagna would be available at a breakfast buffet.]

Author
Joshua Yehl

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Dark and Darker sets Wardens running with this one-day-only anniversary event

8 months 3 weeks ago

It's been exactly a year since Dark and Darker ran its very first playtest, and to celebrate, developer Ironmace is running a special in-game community event today.

For one day only, Wardens will be "running around the dungeons full of treasure", so players – of which there are now 460,000, according to Ironmace – are invited to "try their luck and catch one".

"Time flies! It has been a year since QA Playtest 1," Dark and Darker Discord admin Graysun announced (thanks, PCGN).

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Author
Vikki Blake

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This rare N64 controller is set to sell for around £1000

8 months 3 weeks ago

A rare N64 controller is set to sell for around £1000 after its owner found the item in his attic after being gifted the now hard-to-find Foxdata N64 pad on their fourteenth birthday.

It's one of four designs issued by Foxdata in the late 1990s, which included controllers called Desert Storm, Red Rain, Purple Forest, and Chrome Leopard.

Liam Clousdale – who had the latter Leopard variant – said he'd asked for the distinctive controller so that when he went to his friends' homes to play, "everyone liked to have their own unique pad [...] to avoid confusion".

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Author
Vikki Blake

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Luocha Became One of Honkai: Star Rail’s Most Necessary Characters

8 months 3 weeks ago

Luocha Became One of Honkai: Star Rail’s Most Necessary Characters

It’s funny how we never realize how critical a character will become in a gacha game until some time’s past. We may have ideas about how they will affect the meta, what their role could be in a story, or how useful they could be in certain modes, but it won’t be clear until a few updates later. Case in point, Luocha turned out to be one of the best and most useful characters in Honkai: Star Rail, and now he’s someone who it feels like we “need” to have around to help make certain characters more viable, clear certain modes more easily, and even to understand what’s going on in the story.

I mean, it’s obvious even before we get into it that Luocha is important. He’s one of the best healers in the game. His Prayer of Abyss Flower Skill cleanses and heals at the same time. His Death Wish Ultimate debuffs while attacking every enemy. He deals Imaginary damage, and we see a lot of enemies in every available region who count that among their weaknesses. He can set up a regenerating Field in battle, and it is very easy to trigger it even without trying. He has fantastic Eidolons that make his Field more effective by applying additional buffs and debuffs when set up and makes him a better healer. He’s good. 

Author
Jenni Lada

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Texas Chain Saw Massacre Victim and Family mains finally agree on something - the DLC is very expensive

8 months 3 weeks ago

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre players have hit back at the game's monetisation strategy after Gun and Sumo outlined its plans for upcoming DLC.

"We've seen some discussion, and for transparency, we wanted to share pricing for any and all future content for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," the team stated via a statement posted to its social media channels, including Twitter/X.

The tweet went on to give prices for upcoming skins and characters, confirming "premium content" – such as a Leatherface skin designed by Greg Nicotero – will cost $16, new characters, both victim and family, will sell for $10, executions $7, and clothing and weapon cosmetics for $5. Other content, such as "maps, etc.", will be released for free.

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Author
Vikki Blake

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Starfield was made to be played "for a very long time"

8 months 3 weeks ago

Starfield was "made to played for a long time".

That's according to Bethesda boss Todd Howard himself, who said in a Game Maker’s Notebook interview with Insomniac CEO Ted Price that after watching how players interact with other Bethesda RPGs like Skyrim and Fallout, he believes "people want to play [games] for a very long time".

"This is a game that's intentionally made to be played for a long time. One of the things we’ve learned from our previous games, like Skyrim, like Fallout, is that people want to play them for a very long time," said Howard, as transcribed by VGC.

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Author
Vikki Blake

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Next Gintama Figures Will Be Nendoroids

8 months 3 weeks ago

Next Gintama Figures Will Be Nendoroids

Among the new Good Smile Company WonFes 2023 Shanghai figures announced were Gintama Nendoroids. It is preparing ones based on Gintoki Sakata, Shinpachi Shimura, and Kagura. However, they are still early in development. As such, they only appeared as concept art.

Here’s the official announcement with an initial look at the Gintama Nendoroids, highlighting the concept art for figures. Kagura will apparently come with her umbrella. Gintoki is shown with his sword over his shoulder. 

Author
Jenni Lada

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Like a Dragon Nendoroids Focus on Yakuza Characters Kazuma, Goro, and Ichiban

8 months 3 weeks ago

Like a Dragon Nendoroids Focus on Yakuza Characters Kazuma, Goro, and Ichiban

As part of the WonFes 2023 Shanghai reveals, Good Smile Company brought up Yakuza figures, namely Like a Dragon Nendoroids of characters Kazuma Kiryu, Goro Majima, and Ichiban Kasuga. Few details are available. The company really only just told us they are in development.

Here’s the official announcement. While it did show photos of each of the Yakuza characters, it didn’t show the concept art for the Like a Dragon Nendoroids.

Author
Jenni Lada

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See the Mai Shiranui KOF Pop Up Parade Figure

8 months 3 weeks ago

See the Mai Shiranui Pop Up Parade Figure

WonFes 2023 Shangai is on, and that means we got a first look at the Mai Shiranui Pop Up Parade figure based on her The King of Fighters ’97 appearance. Good Smile Company shared a photo of an unpainted prototype of her. It is still in-progress and may change, but offers an indication of what to expect.

Here’s the official announcement that showed how Mai might end up looking. She’ll be wearing her standard costume, while also wielding her Kacho Sen fan.

Author
Jenni Lada

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The Wings Of Sycamore captures the adventurous spirit of early aviation

8 months 3 weeks ago

Flight can be fascinating stuff in video games. Some games get bogged down in complicated simulation mechanics, others opt for aerial combat, while many limit your time in the air to quick transport. These are all valid uses of flight, yet there's something wonderfully adventurous about simply exploring virtual worlds from the skies, and perhaps mixing in some challenges to keep life interesting. Pilotwings 64 was my earliest experience of flight before I jumped towards Ultrawings in more recent years. Looking at The Wings of Sycamore, I believe it holds similar potential.

Shown at the WASD event this September, the game's booth had old-school aeronautical styling that quickly caught my eye. Featuring an anthropomorphic cast in a Victoriana inspired world, The Wings of Sycamore immediately appealed to that lovely sense of aerial adventure. Based on the early days of aviation, you play as the protege of a legendary pilot, the reclusive Captain Maurice Sycamore. Across three demo missions, what I saw hints at a lively cartoon tale.

Each mission is suitably varied, and the first involved flying toward different landmarks to snap photos with a Wright Flyer-esque machine, leading into a quick-paced camera mini-game that involved overlapping two circles. The closer these circles matched, the better the quality of your picture. Securing top marks for fine photography was encouraging, and flying around town offered a nice introduction to the game's world. It was all given a boost by the game's distinctive papercraft visuals that feel like someone could have built all this in real life.

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Author
Henry Stockdale

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Scalpers reselling exclusive Pokémon Van Gogh Pikachu trading card for hundreds of pounds

8 months 3 weeks ago

Scalpers have been spotted on sites such as Ebay reselling merchandise from the Pokémon Center Van Gogh Museum collaboration which began last week.

The exhibit at the museum in Amsterdam consists of six paintings of Pokémon in the style of Van Gogh, accompanied by a range of exclusive merchandise and a special Pikachu trading card. Sadly, footage of the exhibit's opening day, showed visitors hurriedly grabbing whatever merch they could to resell.

The merch was also available to buy on Pokémon Center webstores, though it quickly sold out. The items appear to have been prevented from appearing when searching on the UK Pokémon Center website, though the pages can still be found through search engines.

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Author
Liv Ngan

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Payday 3 matchmaking issues sorted and now "stable", developer says

8 months 3 weeks ago

PayDay 3's matchmaking issues have been fixed, developer Starbreeze has announced.

In a new release, the developer stated scheduled maintenance had successfully addressed the server issues that plagued Payday 3's launch and prevented players from actually being able to play the game. Starbreeze said matchmaking is now "stable" and has "good performance".

In addition, the developer has said it will now "intensify" Payday 3's commercial activities, having put these on pause as it tried to sort out those matchmaking issues. This will include an update, due early this month, that will see "200+" quality of life improvements added across platforms.

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Author
Victoria Kennedy

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Ion Fury: Aftershock launches today with bike combat, bouncier bullets and remixed enemies

8 months 3 weeks ago

Ion Fury: Aftershock, an expansion pack for Voidpoint's retro FPS featuring new weapons, enemies and game modes, launches today 2nd October 2023, and there's a trailer below awaiting your fervent appreciation.

Well, assuming you're not Matt Cox - in our review of the main game, he deemed it an experience in which "old-school decisions too often trump good ones" and "a blast from a past I never lived through", concluding that "Ion's tongue might be in its cheek, but I've got little interest in what it's saying." Ouch. Still, Steam user verdicts are markedly more enthusiastic, and what kind of jaded soul would turn his nose up at a Cluster Shot launcher with bouncing bullets? Bouncing bullets, Matt.

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Author
Edwin Evans-Thirlwell

EA Sports FC 24 second-biggest UK boxed game launch this year

8 months 3 weeks ago

EA Sports FC 24 is the second-biggest boxed game launch of 2023 here in the UK, though physical sales are down by 30 percent on last year's FIFA 23.

The rebranded FIFA bumped boxed game juggernaut Hogwarts Legacy into third place in terms of the biggest 2023 UK physical game launches. Only The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has sold more.

While boxed sales are declining across the board, annual mass market titans FIFA and Call of Duty have held onto a sizable - if shrinking - slice of physical sales. A further drop in boxed numbers this year was somewhat inevitable, though a 30 percent fall is something of a jump.

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Author
Tom Phillips

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Pokémon Scarlet and Violet bug crashes game during final battle

8 months 3 weeks ago

A new bug has been discovered in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet which causes the game to crash during the last battle of its main story questline.

The bug appears to have been introduced with patch 2.0.1, which rolled out alongside the DLC The Teal Mask on 13th September.

Players have identified what triggers the game to crash and work-arounds whilst the bug persists. Here's the short version - if you have already registered the Legendary Paradox Pokémon which is native to your version of the game, don't try to swap Pokémon in slots four to six of your party into battle. Light spoilers below for the long version.

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Author
Liv Ngan

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Significant job losses likely at Worms publisher Team17 - sources

8 months 3 weeks ago

UPDATE 3/10/23 11am UK: Team17's company restructure is expected to see layoffs across the business, Eurogamer now understands - on top of the deep cuts to the company's QA department reported yesterday.

The developer's usability team is another set to see job losses, sources close to the company say, with further cuts expected in the studio's programming and marketing departments.

Team17 has now confirmed the company's CEO has left and that the business is now in a consultation period with staff over major proposed changes to its teams, as first reported by Eurogamer yesterday.

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Author
Tom Phillips

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Final Fantasy 7 Ever Crisis update adds to backstory of Sephiroth

8 months 3 weeks ago

Mobile game Final Fantasy 7 Ever Crisis updated on Friday, adding a much-anticipated new chapter detailing the story of a young Sephiroth.

The new chapter is added to The First Soldier set of missions and reveals new layers to the villain's backstory.

Fans have been busy discussing the story on social media since the update's release - could there be implications for the forthcoming Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth?

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Author
Ed Nightingale

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Payday 3 Dev Declares Matchmaking Issues Over, 3.1 Million Players Since Launch

8 months 3 weeks ago

After a disastrous launch that saw Payday 3 unplayable for many, developer Starbreeze has declared the matchmaking issues over, opening the door to a big update for October.

Starbreeze said the scheduled maintenance carried out last week fixed the matchmaking issues that occurred during Payday 3’s first week after launch. Matchmaking is now stable, Starbreeze said, and has had “good performance”.

The developer bigged up the popularity of Payday 3 since it came out, saying over the past five days it had a peak concurrent players (CCU) of 124,254, and during September saw 3,167,938 unique players (MAU).

Starbreeze said it will now “intensify” commercial activities around Payday 3 after an initial pause. This starts early October with the game’s first update, which will focus on improving the game experience. Further updates will target quality of life improvements, bug fixes, and new functionality.

Here’s the roadmap for the rest of 2023:

Date

Content

October

200+ QoL-improvements for all platforms

Oct/Nov

QoL-improvements, new content and new functionality

November

QoL-improvements, new content and new functionality

Winter 2023

The DLC “Syntax Error” on sale (included in Silver and Gold Edition)

Author
Wesley Yin-Poole

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EA Sports FC 24 Players Say $30 Launch Week Loot Box Highlights Everything Wrong With Ultimate Team

8 months 3 weeks ago

Ultimate Team is EA’s controversial cash cow that brings in hundreds of millions of dollars to the publisher’s coffers every year. While FIFA players are well used to EA Sports adding expensive and powerful card packs later in the year-long life of the annualised football game, with the launch of FC 24, the community has reacted in shock to a $30 pack available to buy before the game even properly launched.

The Elite Season Opener Pack, currently available in the store, cost 285,000 Ultimate Team coins (the in-game currency), or 3,000 FC Points (the premium currency). 3,000 FC Points costs around $30. In true video game monetisation fashion, FC 24 does not let you buy 3,000 FC Points exactly in one bundle.

This Elite Season Opener Pack is so powerful it's causing some players to call FC 24 pay-to-win right out of the gate. It contains:

Author
Wesley Yin-Poole

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Payday 3: Starbreeze Says Matchmaking Issues Fixed, First Update Hits This Month

8 months 3 weeks ago

Payday 3 Matchmaking Multiplayer Always Online issues fixed launch update patch

Payday 3 finally launched last month, more than six years after its initial reveal in 2017. We quite enjoyed it, and you can find out why in Game Informer's Payday 3 review. Despite our enjoyment, many players encountered severe matchmaking issues that made it tough to play the game given its always-online nature. Now, just under two weeks after the game's launch, developer Starbeeze Studios says the matchmaking issues are fixed. 

The team has also revealed the game's first update will launch this month. Plus, Starbreeze says more than 3.1 million unique players played the game last month, with the peak concurrent player count hitting 124,254. Starbreeze "will now intensify the commercial activities around Payday 3, after partially pausing these during the previous week," it says, with plans for the first post-launch update to go live early this month. 

In the coming months, the studio has updates planned to address content, quality-of-life improvements, bug fixes, and new functionality. Here's a look at the planned updates timeline: 

Author
Wesley LeBlanc

GTA VI will be revealed this week, if you believe the fans

8 months 3 weeks ago

Rockstar are about to properly announce Grand Theft Auto VI, going by some hectic speculation surrounding a TwiX image for GTA Online's upcoming in-game Red Happy Moon Tee festival. A child in the ways of the internet might glance at said image and merely conclude that if you play GTA Online at any point this week, you can scoop up a seasonal cosmetic. But look again with unclouded eyes, young one. What does your heart say to you?

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Author
Edwin Evans-Thirlwell

October Is A Scary Good Time For Game Releases

8 months 3 weeks ago

October is here and it’s clear that 2023 is not done showering us with video games. This month sees the release of the long-, long-, long-awaited sequel to a classic Xbox 360 horror game, a sneaky new stab-stab simulator, a speedy hedgehog who definitely doesn’t need another cup of coffee, another chance to wear…

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Author
Claire Jackson

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Persona 5 Royal Knives Out Crossover Event Begins

8 months 3 weeks ago

Persona 5 Royal X Knives Out

NetEase announced a new collaboration event with Atlus’ Persona 5 Royal and its battle royale game Knives Out. The in-game event will begin on October 1, 2023 and run until October 15, 2023. The event will feature exclusive collaboration items and skins. The event was announced on the official social media account for the game.

You can see the announcement trailer below. It begins by starting with a look at Joker, before showing him in-game. After that, it shows Ann and Morgana's models and them in-game.

Author
Lauren Palmer

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Street Fighter 6 Spooky Party Fighting Pass Arrives for Halloween

8 months 3 weeks ago

Street Fighter 6 Halloween-themed Spooky Party Fighting Pass costume

October is commonly marked with Halloween celebrations, and Capcom is also joining the fray with Street Fighter 6. The company revealed new Halloween-themed content compiled inside the Spooky Party Fighting Pass, which is available immediately in the latest Street Fighter entry.

The main highlight of the Spooky Party Fighting Pass is a set of Avatar Gear which, if completed, will let the player's avatar wear a zombie cat costume. The lineup also includes a Jiangshi (Chinese vampire) emote, a Halloween-themed photo frame, a device wallpaper, three title backgrounds, and five stickers.

Legacy game content wraps up the Premium Rewards set. Players can obtain theme BGMs of Juri, C. Viper, and Abel from Street Fighter IV. They can also unlock the 1985 arcade shooter Savage Bees (also known as Exed Exes) as a playable classic game.

Author
Kite Stenbuck

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Weather is no longer the primary threat in Frostpunk 2 - people are

8 months 3 weeks ago

In a remarkable display of good timing, we are currently giving away Frostpunk 1 game keys to yearly supporters of Eurogamer.

At a glance, Frostpunk 2 looks quite a lot like Frostpunk 1, and I was actually relieved to see this because the silence has been such around the sequel I honestly wasn't sure what to expect. It could have been anything. But it's not; it's familiar. We're still building a Victorian-style city in the snow, and it still looks very cold out there. Look more closely, though, and there are some surprisingly profound differences underneath.

The biggest immediate change is that the weather - the extreme cold - is no longer your major concern in the game. It's still there, you're still in a frozen wilderness and it's still a contributing factor to the pressurised situation you're in - as is having enough food for your city and staving off disease - but you won't spend the game as preoccupied by it, or by an apocalyptic storm that's rolling in.

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Author
Robert Purchese

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We're giving Frostpunk keys to yearly supporters, and temporarily discounting the annual price

8 months 3 weeks ago

Good news! We have a pile of Frostpunk game keys to give away to you lovely yearly supporters of Eurogamer. Please note that if you're a monthly supporter, you won't be able to get one.

To coincide with the giveaway, though, we're discounting the annual Eurogamer subscription. We're knocking a fiver off - £5/€5/$5 off - to take the total price down to £25/€25/$25 for the year. Monthly, that works out at just over two pounds/euros/dollars. Remember, a regular monthly sub on Eurogamer costs £3/€3/$3.

To enable the discount, type in the code "Save5" when clicking through to purchase an annual subscription. You do this on the supporter part of the site. Keep an eye out for the "Add promotion code" field when you're on the payment page, because that's where you want to put the discount code.

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Author
Robert Purchese

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Sunless Sea studio Failbetter Games reaches "mutually agreeable settlement" with former creative director

8 months 3 weeks ago

Sunless Sea developer Failbetter Games has reached a "mutually agreeable settlement" with Alexis Kennedy, the company's founder and former creative director, following years of public feuding and legal threats.

There's little detail on what exactly has been agreed between the two parties - though the statement claims this settlement covers "all their disputes".

"Failbetter and Alexis Kennedy are pleased to have reached a mutually agreeable settlement of all their disputes, and by such settlement have drawn a line under their long-standing disagreements," reads a brief statement from Failbetter posted on X, formerly Twitter.

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Author
Tom Phillips

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The Triumph and Tragedy of Competing in the Pokémon World Championships

8 months 3 weeks ago

You’re reading the sixth chapter of my eight-day travelog recounting my unbelievable trip to Japan to cover the 2023 Pokémon World Championships.

Day 6 - The Competition (and the Weather) Heats Up

7:00 am - I have some hot tea with honey with my breakfast lasagna. My voice seems to be holding up alright.

7:20 am - I meet up with the media group and get ready to take a tour of the main stage.

7:30 am - We’re taken up on the Worlds main stage, pose for a group picture, and are told we have 30 minutes to explore. And boy is there a lot to see! The Worlds stages traditionally feature iconic elements of the hosting city and have grown in elaborateness over the years. I remember being blown away seeing the Washington, D.C. Worlds stage that had the giant skeletons of Fossil Pokémon.

The Yokohama stage is massive and features the main presentation area and four distinct zones to spotlight each game, each one styled after a different season. Signature Yokohama landmarks such as the Cosmo Clock 21 ferris wheel and the Yokohama Landmark Tower. The stage looks spectacular from the crowd but getting to see the craftsmanship up close makes me appreciate little details, like how different colored seasonal leaves from each of the four sections come together in the center where the presenter stands. Walking the stage from end to end feels like going to a Pokémon theme park, with standees of different Pokémon like Mew and Squirtle scattered about, and much like Disney World and Universal Studios, I feel a pang of sadness when we’re told we have to leave.

Author
Joshua Yehl

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Frostpunk 2 Preview: Less Frost and More Punks in This Daunting Society Simulator Sequel

8 months 3 weeks ago

If you’re a history and government nerd like me, you’d probably be hard pressed to find a franchise that better appeals to your love of society building and tough moral quandaries than Frostpunk. Thankfully, developer 11 Bit Studios is cooking up another depressing city management simulator with Frostpunk 2, and from the 30-minute demo I saw, they appear to be doubling down on gut-wrenching decisions and brutal difficulty, and it’s got me positively giddy to get my hands on it. The demo I saw was focused solely on the freeplay mode called “Utopia Builder,” so any details of the dedicated story mode remain a mystery, but after seeing the fascinating new direction they’re taking that focuses on politics, faction management, and greatly expanded building, I’m already extremely excited to don my winter jacket and dive back into a fresh new layer of apocalyptic snow.

While the excellent original game focused on surviving a second ice age for mankind that threatened us with extinction, that age has passed with its sequel, which takes place thirty years later. Instead of surviving the apocalypse, Frostpunk 2 focuses on rebuilding society after effectively besting the worst the frozen apocalypse had to offer, with new, more devious threats emerging from within the surviving population. The biggest change that jumped out at me immediately is that we’re no longer confined to a small mass of buildings huddled around an engine for warmth – we’ve now begun to expand outwards and grow the last city on Earth into a proper urban sprawl. Appropriately, time is now measured in months and years as humanity’s numbers are bolstered and new problems emerge, as opposed to the precious few days of time that passed in the first game.

Author
Travis Northup

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