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Updated: 55 min 43 sec ago

Samsung is including a free Game Pass bundle with the new Galaxy Note 20

Fri, 07/08/2020 - 13:48

The new Galaxy Note 20 range launches later this month - and Samsung has buddied up with Microsoft to offer a free Xbox Game Pass bundle with the phone.

The bundle itself includes a 3 month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership and Moga XP5-X+ Game Controller with wireless charging stand.

This freebie comes hot off the heels of Microsoft's big push for xCloud over the last few weeks. It was recently announced that the streaming service will be included as part of an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription from 15th September, with over 100 games set to be available to play on Android phones and tablets. Apple did just put a small dent in their ambitions, though, by blocking the service on iOS.

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Final Fantasy 7 Remake hits 5m sold

Fri, 07/08/2020 - 12:33

Final Fantasy 7 Remake has sold over five million copies, Square Enix has announced.

That's shipped physical and digitally, the company said. The PlayStation 4 exclusive is the highest-selling digital release on the PlayStation platform in Square Enix history.

By way of comparison, Final Fantasy 15, which launched on both the PS4 and the Xbox One simultaneously back in November 2016, sold five million copies within the first 24 hours of sale, giving it the biggest launch of the franchise to date.

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Spelunky 2 has a cloning gun, flamethrower and turkeys

Fri, 07/08/2020 - 12:27

During last night's State of Play event, Derek Yu revealed a 15th September release date for Spelunky 2, the long-awaited sequel for the game that killed a billion pugs and launched a million roguelites.

Spelunky is a procedural dungeon-running platformer absolutely stuffed with secrets. Part of its appeal is that its clockwork world is made from simple pieces but can go wrong very explosively in ways that always make sense in retrospect. Thomasina was wrong: you can stir things apart. You just can't do anything about them. Actually, maybe Thomasina was right.

Anyway, isn't it lovely to have a release date? More importantly, though, Derek Yu's fantastic trailer - truly one of the best I have ever seen for a forthcoming game - chose to foreground what he thinks was special about the first Spelunky and what has been done to deepen those things this time around.

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Apex Legends teases crafting system and new legend Rampart

Fri, 07/08/2020 - 12:04

The teaser trailer for Apex Legends Season 6 is here, and among the goodies arriving later this month is a brand new legend, new weapons - and a mysterious crafting system.

Gun-slinging new legend Rampart (and her trusty weapon Sheila) have been introduced in a colourful new trailer. Described as an "expert modder", Rampart's abilities are unknown, but it's possible they could have something to do with a new crafting system. The blog post for the new season says players will soon be able to "collect materials around the map" to build better gear, although that's as far as the description goes.

The trailer also suggests some map changes will be arriving in Season 6, as a rocket inscribed with the Hammond logo is seen launching at the start of the video.

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Apple blocks Project xCloud on iOS

Fri, 07/08/2020 - 11:11

Apple has blocked Project xCloud on iOS.

Microsoft has abandoned testing the streaming service on Apple devices, and issued a strongly-worded statement criticising Apple's decision.

In a statement to Business Insider, Apple said it blocked Project xCloud because it can't review each game on Game Pass, which Project xCloud joins in September.

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We should talk about Pokémon Go's loot boxes

Fri, 07/08/2020 - 11:00

Pokémon has always been a game of chance: the chance you'll find a particular creature, the chance that creature might be strong in a particular attribute, the chance it might be an alternate ("Shiny") colour. These systems of chance have existed in every Pokémon game. The trouble comes when you start being able to pay for them.

As a free-to-play game, Pokémon Go is largely funded by paying for Pokémon, and over the past four years it has gotten particularly good at enticing fans to spend. It is now the model of a successful live-service game, accruing billions of dollars from its millions of daily players. Last month, several million people bought a £15 ticket to the virtual Go Fest event, raising $10m for charity in the process. Pokémon Go profits for the first half of 2020 were the highest of any year so far.

Day to day, Pokémon Go's two biggest money earners are raid passes (tokens to battle a specific creature you then have an oppurtunity to catch) and egg incubators (a way to hatch or unlock a random creature from a pool of possible candidates). Both items offer chances at strong or Shiny versions of specific creatures. Some creatures are only available from these methods. And both raid passes and incubators are offered freely in small quantities, but can also be bought to receive more goes, more chances.

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Everything revealed in Sony's State of Play showcase

Thu, 06/08/2020 - 23:52

Sony just wrapped up its early August 2020 State of Play showcase. Here's everything the company revealed.

The show kicked off with a decent look at Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, Toys for Bob's lovely-looking platformer. The headline announcement is Dingodile is a playable character - a first for the series. The new N. Verted mode looks cool, too.

Then came the news the entire Hitman trilogy will gain PlayStation VR support, including the upcoming Hitman 3. Our Ian Higton is very excited indeed.

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Dingodile is a playable character in Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time

Thu, 06/08/2020 - 23:17

Dingodile is a playable character in Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, Activision has announced.

The half dingo, half crocodile joins Crash and Coco as a new playable character in the upcoming Toys for Bob platformer. It's the first time he's playable in Crash. Here's the official blurb:

"After Crash Bandicoot: Warped, Dingodile hung up his old flamethrower-rocket launcher combo and retired from a life of villainy. But now he's back with unfinished business, falling through space and time into another dimension where his adventure to return home begins."

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3 out of 10 is a free "playable sitcom" about life at the world's worst game development studio

Thu, 06/08/2020 - 23:13

Terrible Posture Games, the developer behind Mothergunship and Tower of Guns, has revealed 3 out of 10, a free episodic "playable sitcom" which is out today on the Epic Games Store.

3 out of 10 is described as "part animated show, part game" and follows the tribulations of the luckless employees of Shovelworks, the "world's worst game development studio" - a team that, as you might have guessed, is yet to see one of its games score above 3 out of 10.

Each fully voiced and animated episode combines story sequences and genre-spanning mini-games into a single, overarching narrative, and episode one sets the scene as Shovelworks' new animator Midge Potters attempts to adjust to life with her new colleagues as they toil away on Surfing with Sharks, an endless runner whose unique gimmick is that it has an end. "Conspiracy, absurdity, and game development gone catastrophically awry" ensues.

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Hood: Outlaws & Legends revealed for PS5 and PS4, coming 2021

Thu, 06/08/2020 - 22:55

Hood: Outlaws & Legends is a new PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One and PC multiplayer PvPvE heist game due out in 2021.

It's in the works at Sumo Newcastle, the team behind Eve: Valkyrie that Sumo Digital picked up from Eve Online maker CCP back in 2018. The publisher is Focus Home Interactive (Farming Simulator, Snowrunner, A Plague Tale, Greedfall).

Hood: Outlaws & Legends is a multiplayer action game described as being "as dark as it is violent". The debut trailer was revealed during Sony's State of Play video. There's a glimpse of gameplay in there towards the end:

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Control's Alan Wake DLC is out in a couple of weeks

Thu, 06/08/2020 - 22:40

Control's second expansion AWE - the one which includes Alan Wake - will launch on 27th August.

It's been far too long since we last saw Alan, though Control was peppered with references to the writer and set up his reappearance at some point.

Today's teaser trailer shown during PlayStation's State of Play broadcast included a brief glimpse of the long-lost writer looking like he'd just stepped out of Jumanji (or just 2020).

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Braid is getting an Anniversary Edition with redrawn art and a developer commentary

Thu, 06/08/2020 - 22:36

Classic time-manipulating indie adventure Braid is getting an anniversary edition, with re-drawn art, a developer commentary and more, and it's heading to PC and consoles early next year.

Revealing the project on the official Braid website, designer Jonathan Blow explained, "Back when I was originally working on Braid, even when it was a simple project with ugly programmer art and looked nothing like a respectable game, I knew that one of the primary goals of the project was to treat video games as a medium with serious artistic potential.

"That potential involves longevity: many great works of painting, sculpture, and architecture have lasted for centuries and inspired generations of people. Video games weren't like that back then (and still mostly aren't today), and I knew I couldn't predict what would be necessary to keep the game alive and available many decades into the future; but I knew it was part of the project, and that I would try my best."

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Hitman 3 will have PlayStation VR support

Thu, 06/08/2020 - 22:17

The entire Hitman trilogy will gain PlayStation VR support, including the upcoming Hitman 3.

Fresh footage of the third instalment was shown this evening as part of PlayStation's latest State of Play broadcast. We saw our bald headed hero sneak his way through a party into a nearby toilet, ready to see off a target with piano wire, all in first-person.

At the end of the trailer, there was confirmation that all three games will get PlayStation VR support. Here's how it looks:

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Tetris 99 gives second chance to unlock three limited-time Nintendo themes from next week

Thu, 06/08/2020 - 19:57

If you've managed to miss any of Tetris 99's sporadic limited-time Grand Prix events since its launch last year - meaning you'll have missed out on some of the game's event-exclusive theme unlocks - Nintendo has some good news; it'll be offering a second chance to score three previous limited-time themes as part of a special week-long event.

Nintendo has given its latest event the entirely appropriate name of Tetris 99 Grand Prix Throwback Themes (or the Maximus Cup Second Chance Edition if you're not in Europe), and proceedings get underway next Friday.

From 14th August at 8am until 7.59am on 17th August, there's a chance to secure the Animal Crossing: New Horizons theme, and it's possible to snag a Luigi's Mansion 3 theme from 8am on Monday, 17th August, until 7.59am on Wednesday, 20th August.

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Horizon Zero Dawn's PC port is deeply disappointing

Thu, 06/08/2020 - 19:19

Horizon Zero Dawn has its own particular place of honour in a phenomenal line-up of PlayStation 4 first-party exclusives - an open world delivered with some of the best technology in the business, combined with the gameplay finesse and polish of a more linear experience, humanised with some of the most impressive character rendering of the generation. When Hideo Kojima went shopping for a game engine to deliver his vision for Death Stranding, it was Guerrilla Games' Decima technology he settled upon - and can there be any higher praise than that? In the wake of Kojima Productions' generally excellent Death Stranding PC port, expectations were sky-high for Horizon's PC conversion. With that in mind, it's both baffling and extremely disappointing to see the port fall so far short of expectations.

Make no mistake, the core game is all there. It is indeed the Complete Edition. It's still a unique experience for PC users, simply because multi-platform projects and even the odd PC exclusive aren't built quite like this. Horizon Zero Dawn looks and feels a class apart in many ways - and yes, you can increase graphics settings and improve resolutions and frame-rate compared to the PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro originals. However, where the game falls short is in its many technical failings.

When a game is content-complete but requires polish and bug-testing, it's considered beta code - and that's the impression we got from this conversion when we tested it, to the point where much of the reviewing process has been a case of testing and re-testing the game on multiple pieces of hardware to answer a simple question - is there something wrong with our kit or is the game at fault? It's a little bit of one and a lot of the other, but the bottom line is that there are many technical issues that need addressing to the point where not all of them can be included in this article. A 35GB day one patch arrived on the same day as the embargo lift - hence the delay in publishing our review - but the many and varied problems are still in effect in the code that makes its way to players.

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Serious Sam 4 is now launching in September

Thu, 06/08/2020 - 18:34

Following Croteam's previous assertions that Serious Sam 4 would be making its way to Steam and Stadia this August, there's been some shuffling of papers and release date revisions, with the developer now announcing a new launch date of 24th September.

If you're looking for some vestiges of plot to hang your breathless FPS action onto in the name of context, here's Croteam now: "Humanity is under siege as the full force of Mental's hordes spreads across the world, ravaging what remains of a broken and beaten civilisation." Luckily, help is at hand courtesy of the Earth Defense Force, led by, would you believe it, Sam "Serious" Stone and his commando chums.

As for what this fourth mainline outing will bring, Croteam hasn't shared a massive amounts of information (although you can peruse a bunch of gameplay videos on Serious Sam 4's Steam landing page), so it seems very much as if it'll be business as usual for Sam and pals.

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Get a 27-inch 1440p 144Hz gaming monitor for £240 today

Thu, 06/08/2020 - 13:21

A trio of gaming monitors are part of a massive Samsung sale on Amazon UK today, including a 27-inch 2560x1440 144Hz model for only £240. That's the same price that we saw during last Black Friday, and it's a heck of a deal. Here's what you need to know.

The first monitor in question is the Samsung LC27JG50, a model built around a curved 27-inch VA panel. That provides excellent contrast - at the expense of viewing angles - and reasonable pixel response times. The 1440p resolution and 144Hz refresh rate mean that this monitor sits right in the current sweet spot for PC gaming, with more pixels delivered to your eyeballs more quickly than on a standard 1080p 60Hz display. If you've not tried a high refresh rate display yet, this is an excellent introduction at its reduced price of £240, down from £300.

There's also a 32-inch model of the same monitor, the Samsung LC32JG50, which costs only a touch more. It's £270 in today's sale, down from £335. You'd normally expect to pay a lot more for upgrading from 27 to 32 inches, so it's well worth the extra money if you prefer larger displays.

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Final Fantasy 7 Remake gets its biggest discount since launch

Thu, 06/08/2020 - 12:05

You can now save a third off the price of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake at practically anywhere that sells video games.

The discount brings the reworked JPRG down to the cheapest price it's been since launch - that's £33 in the UK and $40 in the US. This offer also extends to both the standard and deluxe digital versions on the PSN Store, though they aren't as cheap as a physical copy. One to go for if you don't mind paying the extra and you think your download speeds will beat the postie.

Personally, I'm still in awe that this game even came to exist in the first place. Originally announced back at E3 2015, as the years went on it seemed destined to be another piece of vapourware that would never see the light of day. Final Fantasy 7 Remake did eventually launch back in April of this year, though, to some seriously good reviews.

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The latest Animal Crossing: New Horizons sales are just astonishing

Thu, 06/08/2020 - 11:30

Animal Crossing has now sold a staggering 22.4m units in less than four months. It's an eye-opening number - nearly double the lifetime sales of the last game in the series - in a stunning set of financial results for Nintendo.

61.4m Nintendo Switch consoles have now been sold, with a further 5.68m shifted during this financial year's first quarter (April until June) - a 166 per cent increase year-on-year.

More than 50m Switch games were sold over the same period, a 123 per cent incease on last year. Revenue from digital software and Nintendo Switch Online soared - up 230 per cent year-on-year.

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Dan, Rose, Oro, and Akira Kazama heading to Street Fighter 5 before the end of next year

Wed, 05/08/2020 - 23:03

Capcom has detailed the year ahead for Street Fighter 5 Championship Edition in a new livestream, revealing the identities of four of the five new characters - Dan, Rose, Oro, and Akira - heading to the game as part of its fifth and final season of content.

Characters will arrive across four major updates scheduled to release between the winter of 2020 and autumn 2021, with Capcom's initial update ushering in Street Fighter Alpha martial artist Dan Hibiki. He'll have four different costumes, and be accompanied by a new Capcom Pro Tour stage, and new costumes for other characters. Capcom is also promising new battle mechanics and balance changes in its winter update.

Then, in spring next year, it's the turn of Italian fortune teller Rose, who gets five costumes and her own stage, arriving alongside three new Professional Costumes.

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