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Updated: 46 min 39 sec ago

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 review - with medium power comes medium responsibility

5 hours 12 min ago

A decade after Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 came out, the series returns in curious circumstances. This isn't an Activision gig, published to all the platforms of the time. Nor is it a Raven Software or Vicarious Visions development, as the originals were respectively. Rather, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is developed by Team Ninja, the people behind Dead or Alive, Ninja Gaiden and Nioh, and published by Nintendo exclusively for the Switch. Such a change! Still, despite this publisher and developer shakeup, Nintendo has taken an old-school approach - for better and for worse.

The formula follows its predecessors closely: four Marvel characters on-screen, smashing scores of enemies to bits using a combination of light and heavy attacks, special attacks and screen-clearing ultimate attacks. With the camera in the classic view (there's a new "heroic" perspective that puts the camera closer to the character you control, but I didn't use it because I like to see as much of the arena as possible), MUA3 has a Diablo vibe to it, as its predecessors did. Combat is the focus. Tweaking the makeup of your team to trigger stat bonuses, such as "Heavy Hitters" and "Big Brains", is merely the preamble to the bashing of buttons.

Thankfully, the combat is as satisfying as it needs to be for this kind of game. Everything benefits from the new cel-shaded art style, which makes for a more colourful and vibrant look than the previous two games and puts Crystal Dynamics' laughable look for Marvel's The Avongers to shame. The black outlines make the action pop and help you keep track of your characters amid the fast-paced fighting. When you do area of effect attacks on lots of enemies, there's a nice audio ping and big damage numbers crash zoom into your face. We've seen this kind of thing done before and better, of course, and Blizzard remains the master of the crit, but MUA3 is not without a sense of impact.

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Categories: Video Games

Subnautica: Below Zero's Arctic Living early access update is all about home improvements

5 hours 38 min ago

Developer Unknown Worlds is still hard at work on Subnautica's frosty standalone expansion, Below Zero, nudging ever further through early access on PC - and its latest efforts are available now in the Arctic Living update, bringing all-new mod-cons to players' underwater abodes.

Note that those wanting to keep Below Zero's surprises at bay until its full, final release, should stop reading now.

Alongside a shiny new glass dome to place atop your habitation chambers, Arctic Living introduces the new, matter-of-factly titled Large Room. This highly modular living area is significantly bigger than previous offerings, providing ample space for budding homemakers to slot in new partition walls, partition doors, and furnishings.

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Categories: Video Games

Viking RTS Northgard gets September release date on consoles, board game adaptation

Thu, 18/07/2019 - 21:36

Developer Shiro Games is positively aquiver with news regarding its excellent Viking-themed real-time strategy game, Northgard. For starters, the previously announced Xbox One, PS4 and Switch editions now have a release date of 26th September, and there's a new board game adaptation on the way. Last but not least, there's a new co-op update heading to PC too.

Northgard, if it's so far managed to pass you by, plays a little like the classic Settlers series, tasking players with establishing and expanding a thriving Viking settlement - and the military might needed to protect it - through exploration, resource management, and land acquisition.

It's a brutal endeavour, however, defined by tough decisions. Land zones, for instance, which must be conquered prior to use, will only house a small number of workers and buildings. As such, you'll need to think carefully about utilising your limited workforce and restricted space if you're to assert your domination against other clans and mythological beasts. And that's before winter rolls around, decimating food supplies and, if you're not prepared, your population.

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Categories: Video Games

Drive a clapped out banger across Eastern Europe in Jalopy on Xbox One this September

Thu, 18/07/2019 - 19:00

Developer Minskworks' weird, wonderful Eastern European road trip adventure, Jalopy, is switching gears and accelerating onto Xbox One (almost certainly while desperately trying to stop its doors falling off) later this year, on 27th September.

Jalopy, if you've not yet been acquainted, initially released on PC last March, following a little under two years in early access development. It's a delightfully idiosyncratic thing, tasking players with hopping behind the wheel of their beloved (if barely still functional) Laika 601 Deluxe in order to transport their uncle across the former Eastern Bloc.

It would, in all honesty, be inaccurate to call Jalopy eventful in the traditional sense. By and large, the most exciting thing you're likely to see as you trundle through the wilfully drab, low-poly landscapes that make up Jalopy's interpretation of Germany, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Turkey, is a discarded cardboard box in the road.

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Categories: Video Games

Tim Willits will leave id Software this month after 24 years there

Thu, 18/07/2019 - 18:04

Charismatic id Software studio director Tim Willits has announced he will leave the company when QuakeCon ends, later this month (25th-28th July).

"After 24 years, I've decided to leave id Software after QuakeCon," Willits wrote on Twitter. "I've been extremely lucky to work with the best people in the industry on truly amazing games. QuakeCon has been an unbelievable part of my journey and I look forward to seeing everyone at the Gaylord Texan.

"All of the games currently in development are in very good hands," he added. "My departure will not affect any planned releases. id Software is packed full of amazing talent that will continue to develop (long into the future) some of the best shooters in the world.

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Categories: Video Games

GTA Online's casino has an opening date

Thu, 18/07/2019 - 18:00

Following Rockstar's announcement last month, GTA Online's casino finally opens for business on 23rd July.

The Diamond Casino & Resort will have its grand opening on Tuesday next week, allowing players to gamble against the house using chips in classic casino games such as Three Card Poker, Blackjack and Roulette. There'll also be Slot Machines with various prizes, and an Inside Track lounge to "watch and cheer along with friends as the drama of virtual horse racing unfolds".

In a post on Rockstar's website, the developer mentions the "massive construction project on the corner of Vinewood Park Drive and Mirror Park Boulevard" players have seen being built in game is "nearing completion".

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Categories: Video Games

New Pokémon Masters trailer shows off co-op gameplay

Thu, 18/07/2019 - 17:05

Pokémon Masters is The Pokémon Company's next foray into mobile gaming that it announced earlier this year, and it's all about the battling rather than the catching.

Today it revealed a few new features for the real-time strategy game, as well as some more gameplay footage to get fans hyped for the release - the most interesting of which being three player co-op with trainers from around the world.

Trainers, gym leaders and elite four members from all other regions of the Pokémon world can be found on the brand new setting of Pasio, travelling with a partner Pokémon to form a 'sync pair'. While not much is known about the artificial island of Pasio, we do know it's home to the Pokémon Masters League, where sync pairs battle 3-on-3 in order to win badges and become champions of the Pokémon Masters League.

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Categories: Video Games

Night Call review - Paris, crime and a cab driver

Thu, 18/07/2019 - 15:00

Look up at night, at the right moment, and you may see it: a jetliner burning silently across the sky, contrails clean and straight, tiny lights rippling across the fuselage and wingtips. The silence is the thing: the sense of human isolation, of urban, modern isolation. The plane burns on and is gone. Another will replace it.

Look down and Paris is all around you, Paris at night, sodium lights staining the limestone a sickly amber, those baroque avenues radiating out at diagonals and suggesting the whole thing is either cracked or a congregation of spiders' webs. These streets are where the potential passengers stand on curbs, where the metal of hot engines ticks at fuel pumps, where someone waits and waits and then strikes.

Night Call has turned me into a potboiler. It's hard to talk about it without slipping into the rutted poetry of noir novels, without lighting an imaginary Gaulois and staring out across the imaginary river before heading home alone to the studio apartment, the chess board. You're a cab driver and there's a killer loose in the city. You have a murky past and you're an outsider, so you're coerced into catching them, but you also have to make a living: fares, tips, fuel expenses, the endless sweeping hands of different clocks. The game plays out in conversations as you move around a map of the city picking up jobs and checking leads. Maybe you'll get one of your suspects in the back of the cab. Maybe a total random will have something interesting to say. The whole thing's procedural, so the story is always new, yet always familiar, a stream of half-remembered faces and fragments of half-remembered stories. It's probably a bit like being a cab driver for real.

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Categories: Video Games

Green Man Gaming Summer Sale gets underway with 55% off Monster Hunter World

Thu, 18/07/2019 - 14:27

It's looking a bit grey outside today, but that hasn't stopped the Green Man Gaming Summer Sale from getting underway with a range of savings across over 2000 titles big and small.

A quick search through some of the included games shows that there's a pretty good offering from Capcom in the Summer Sale. One of their best deals is on beast-slaying RPG Monster Hunter World for £22.50 - that's reduced even further from the original sale price to a whopping 55 per cent off. With the Iceborne expansion on the way later this winter (sadly a few months later on PC compared to the console release), now's a good time to get yourself all prepared for any new threats that await.

Meanwhile, you can also get both the stellar remake of Resident Evil 2 or the latest demon-slaying antics of Dante and company in Devil May Cry 5 for under £30 each. Seeing this trio of excellent games together just emphasises how Capcom is on such a roll lately, and each is well worth your time.

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Categories: Video Games

Overwatch is officially putting an end to the GOATS meta

Thu, 18/07/2019 - 11:50

If you watched any of the recent stage of Overwatch League, you'll know exactly what the GOATS meta is, and why it's about time that Blizzard did something about it.

For those a little shakey on their pro-level Overwatch, GOATS is (or was) a team composition which consisted of players picking three tank heroes and three healers - typically D.Va, Zarya, Reinhardt, Moira, Lúcio and Brigitte - and named for the Overwatch Contenders team that first used it to storm their way to victory.

It was a stupidly strong combination, so strong in fact that the best way to counter it was just to play GOATS against it. Unfortunately, this led to match after match after match of watching what was pretty much the same thing every time you tuned into an Overwatch League stream. However, thanks to a leak on the official Overwatch League website, the reign of GOATS and its stale gameplay is no more.

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Categories: Video Games

Minecraft Earth beta begins rolling out in London, Seattle

Thu, 18/07/2019 - 11:14

Microsoft Pokémon Go-alike Minecraft Earth has begun rolling out to its first group of beta testers - those who previously signed up and live in either London or Seattle.

Anyone with early access is free to post gameplay videos and impressions - and from these we have a good idea what's in the game currently.

The Map screen looks very familiar to Pokémon Go, with things ("Tappables") to click on in a radius around your avatar. It's here you'll find blocks, items and mobs.

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Categories: Video Games

I've tried Lust, now I'm doing War: exploring Godhood

Thu, 18/07/2019 - 09:00

Last week, I wrote about games dressing up their mechanisms to make them seem snazzier than they are, because really, underneath it all, they're often just numbers. I love how they do this. It's like draping a fancy cloth over an engine, obscuring the mucky oiled cogs with colour and character, and it works so well. It was Slay the Spire, a card game, which got me thinking about it, but no sooner had I written about it than another game came along I couldn't ignore.

Godhood, it's called, and it has the most appealing sales pitch I've ever come across: create and spread your own religion! What a remit - think of the things you could do...

It begins well. You name your god - you, in other words - and you name your religion, then you decide what your worshippers will be called. How cool is that? A few customisation tweaks later and you choose what you'll be about: peace, war, lust or chastity - there are a couple more options but they're greyed out. Then, you're in.

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Categories: Video Games

Sea of Thieves kicks off new monthly content schedule with explosive limited-time event

Thu, 18/07/2019 - 00:32

After something of an extended lull in regular updates, Sea of Thieves has launched a new limited-time event, Black Powder Stashes, marking the start of a new, and very welcome, monthly content delivery plan for developer Rare's multiplayer pirate adventure.

Black Powder Stashes - the first limited-time event to launch since Sea of Thieves' massive Anniversary Update in April - is available to play now and introduces new limited-time voyages, purchasable from Duke at any tavern using doubloons. There are six variants in total, each plotting a course for different locales, with two tougher challenges forcing multiple ships along the same routes. That could make for some particularly hairy encounters given that the goal of the event is to find, ferry around, and turn in, as many explosive barrels as possible.

Gunpowder and Stronghold Kegs can both be handed over to the Trading Companies of your choice to earn rewards in the form of their respective XP boosts - and Pirate Legends can even get Athena's Fortune reputation from the Mysterious Stranger.

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Categories: Video Games

Microsoft officially embraces popular community "lifehack" to save big on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Thu, 18/07/2019 - 00:20

A while back, Xbox fans discovered that it was possible, by making clever use of an official promotion, to significantly reduce the cost of Microsoft's new Xbox Game Pass Ultimate all-in-one subscription service. And now, rather than attempting to hobble the venture, Microsoft has embraced it, highlighting the steps required to make some juicy savings on its official blog.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate was announced ahead of this year's E3 and combines an Xbox Game Pass subscription with Xbox Live Gold - providing a cheaper option for those that had previously subscribed to both separately. And to get the ball rolling, Microsoft revealed that interested parties could get the first month of Ultimate for £1, rather than the usual £10.99.

Here's where it gets interesting though; those already subscribed to either Xbox Game Pass or Xbox Live Gold can also choose to upgrade to Ultimate for £1.

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Categories: Video Games

PUBG's fourth season bringing big changes to original Erangel map next week on PC

Wed, 17/07/2019 - 22:10

Player Unknown's Battlegrounds is preparing to launch its fourth content season next week on PC, starting on 24th July, and developer PUBG Corp has detailed all incoming new features, including a major overhaul of the game's ageing Erangel map.

Erangel is Battlegrounds' oldest map, having been part of the experience since the battle royale game's pre-alpha release in 2016. Since then Erangel has been joined by desert map Miramar, the tropical Sanhok map, and the snowy Vikendi.

Compared to those newer efforts, Erangel has started to look a little long in the tooth, and PUBG Corp says the upcoming overhaul aims to "bring our most classic map in line with our more recent offerings, all without losing the magic that made it a fan favourite in the first place".

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Categories: Video Games

Switch is getting a few new official Joy-Con colours, and one's a little bit Wario

Wed, 17/07/2019 - 20:08

Nintendo, clearly in the throes of hardware frenzy at present, has followed up its new Switch announcement with word that a couple more Joy-Con colours are on the way - and one of them has more than whiff of Wario about it. By which I don't mean farts.

According to Nintendo of America (so details may differ according to your territory of residence), two new Joy-Con variants are scheduled to arrive on 4th October. Joining the likes of Switch's Grey, Neon Red/Neon Blue, and Neon Green/Neon Pink controllers, are a new Blue/Neon Yellow offering, and the delicious Neon Purple/Neon Orange combo.

The latter's rich purple hue immediately, if not necessarily intentionally, calls to mind Wario's preferred shade of dungaree (even if he'd ordinarily pair it with yellow rather than exuberant orange), while the Blue/Neon Yellow bundle has, to my eyes at least, a touch of F-Zero's Captain Falcon about it. Which, at this point, just seems cruel. Oh, and if you're not picturing either, here're some comparison shots I whipped up for the occasion:

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Categories: Video Games

Microsoft outlines Xbox Gamescom plans, including playable Minecraft Dungeons

Wed, 17/07/2019 - 18:34

Microsoft is returning to Gamescom this August to flaunt its Xbox wares once more, and would like you to know what happening this time around - including a first public hands-on of the intriguing Minecraft Dungeons and Gears of War 5's Horde Mode.

This year's Gamescom, once again being held in Cologne, will run for four days from 20th August. Microsoft, however, will be kicking things off a day early, holding a special Gamescom-themed episode of its Inside Xbox show, live from Cologne's Gloria Theatre. The latest "news, games, accessories, and features" are promised, with proceedings scheduled to begin at 4pm BST on Monday, 19th August.

Should you be interested in tuning in, you're not exactly short of options; it'll be streamed via Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Mixer, and the official Xbox website.

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Categories: Video Games

Plants vs. Zombies 3 exists, but you probably can't play it yet

Wed, 17/07/2019 - 17:06

Out of nowhere, EA has confirmed the existence of Plants vs Zombies 3, playable to a select group of people via a pre-alpha build.

A Google Play store listing accessible in the US is currently advertising the game for certain Android users (as spotted by Android Police). The same link gives a 404 error here in the UK.

Screenshots show familiar plants and zombies from the series' roots - although one big change seems to be that sunflower energy comes not from actual sunflower plants placed on the game board, but from a meter.

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Categories: Video Games

Prison Architect, Nex Machina and Shantae: Half-Genie Hero headline the Humble Very Positive Bundle 3

Wed, 17/07/2019 - 16:47

A group of seven games highly praised by the Steam community are available for cheap as part of the Humble Very Positive Bundle 3.

Featuring a range of diverse and interesting titles worth over £100, you can be sure you'll find something of quality here based on the recommendations of other players. In fairness, if I only got the phenomenal Nex Machina for less than £10 I'd be more than thrilled!

Before I get too far ahead of myself, though, let's start at the first tier. The Humble Very Positive Bundle 3 starts at just 80p for psychological horror Distraint 2, tough roguelite Unexplored and atmospheric point-and-click adventure Rusty Lake Paradise. I've not seen much of these three games myself, but for less than a quid I'm willing to give them a go.

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Categories: Video Games

Luigi's Mansion 3 gets the spookiest release date possible

Wed, 17/07/2019 - 15:13

Switch exclusive Luigi's Mansion 3 will launch on 31st October, Nintendo has just confirmed. Hey, that's Halloween!

Luigi's third spooky adventure is looking very promising indeed - I went hands-on with Luigi's Mansion 3 at E3 this year and came away impressed with what I saw.

Its haunted hotel setting provides for a more varied range of environments than in earlier games without breaking the feeling you're still trapped in a confined, haunted space. And the new moves for your trusty ghost-hunting Poltergust vacuum feel natural enough to have been in the series all along.

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Categories: Video Games