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Updated: 11 min 49 sec ago

Gloomy Dark-Souls-inspired action-RPG Mortal Shell gets August release date

Wed, 05/08/2020 - 21:11

Developer Cold Symmetry's unmistakably Dark-Souls-inspired action-RPG Mortal Shell will be making its way to PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on 18th August, and there's an appropriately moody new trailer to celebrate the news.

Mortal Shell unfolds in a striking, if somewhat familiar, shattered world, crammed with all the gorgeously forlorn medieval architecture and gothic fantasy sprawl Souls fans could possibly hope for in their search for a home away from home.

In amongst all that atmospheric dilapidation, a legion of festering adversaries await, with Cold Symmetry promising to deliver challenging melee-focussed combat encounters that demand "superior awareness, precision and instincts."

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August's Game Pass offerings include Final Fantasy 7 HD and Man of Medan

Wed, 05/08/2020 - 17:56

Another month means another selection of Game Pass additions for PC and Xbox One stampeding over the horizon, and August's newly revealed offerings include Final Fantasy 7 HD, The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan, and Darksiders: Genesis.

Starting with August's console-only additions, Darksiders: Genesis and Man of Medan both arrive tomorrow, 6th August. The former offers a top-down, dungeon-crawler-inspired spin on the long-running action-RPG franchise, this time featuring War and Strife as playable characters, and is supposedly pretty entertaining. Eurogamer's Christian Donlan reckoned it offered "the same old pleasures for this entirely pleasurable series," in his review, "albeit with the odd new trick and delivered from a new perspective."

The spookily enjoyable Man of Medan, meanwhile, is developer Supermassive Games' first entry in its Dark Pictures horror anthology series - a sort of smaller-scale extension of the team's Until Dawn. Like that game, it's a heavily cinematic narrative yarn, in which players are able to direct the action - and determine who lives or dies - to some degree, based on their choices. Man of Medan's nautical tale of teen horror doesn't quite stick the landing, but it's still a decent couple of hours entertainment, particularly with friends.

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Pikmin 3 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch includes extra Olimar missions

Wed, 05/08/2020 - 17:34

Five years after Nintendo confirmed the development of Pikmin 4, Nintendo has announced Pikmin 3 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch.

This expanded version of the Wii U original now features an additional set of missions starring Olimar and Louie as an introduction and epilogue to the main campaign. (Hopefully Pikmin 4 still survives somewhere, and didn't just get turned into these?)

There's also two-player local campaign co-op, various quality of life improvements and - my personal favourite - the return of the Piklopedia to track all of your creature findings.

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You can already save 10% off the Lego Super Mario sets

Wed, 05/08/2020 - 15:09

The somewhat bizarre yet unique Mario Lego launched just a few days ago - and Oli has found them to be a fun and fascinating hybrid after mucking about with them for a bit. If his appraisal has intrigued you enough to pick it up, here's a chance to save 10% off a number of the Lego Super Mario sets.

It's all thanks to the summer sale over at Hamleys, where you can enter the code 'SUMMER10' in the promotional code section of the basket to get 10 per cent off your order.

If you're looking for a place to begin, then the Lego Super Mario Starter Course for £45 is where you'll want to go. It's usually priced at £50.

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Family is a warm way to remember the 80s indie music scene

Wed, 05/08/2020 - 15:00

I'm always a bit embarrassed when people start talking about their favourite bands because they passionately start wheeling out names like The Smiths and how they love that rare b-side they found in a charity shop while dressed in their favourite cardigan, and I'm like, yeah I liked that song by Puff Daddy when I was 14, and they look at me like I've just thrown up. I'm just not that musically cool. When people start talking indie, I shut up, which is why I thought a game celebrating the 80s British indie scene would be lost on me. But I was surprised.

Family

I do very much like logic puzzles, you see, the ones where you fill in the blanks using a mind-squeezing process of elimination alongside the few clues you have. And that's what you do here, in Family: you fill out the names of band members on a rock family tree using a variety of clues.

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Assassin's Creed Valhalla narrative director responds to claim Eivor was originally intended to be "exclusively" a woman

Wed, 05/08/2020 - 14:08

Assassin's Creed scribe Derby McDevitt has responded to a claim the upcoming Assassin's Creed Valhalla was originally intended to feature a woman as its sole choice of main character for the first time.

The claim, posted on Twitter by Assassin's Creed fan Seiiki Dell'Aria, originates from discussions between the now-disgraced former Valhalla creative director Ashraf Ismail and an alleged victim of his (Ismail stepped down from the project in June after allegations concerning his private life and alleged contact with women who were fans).

"I was approached by one of Ash's victims who showed me bits of conversations and confirmed something that isn't quite out, but that won't surprise anyone," Dell'Aria wrote. "Just like for Syndicate, Origins and Odyssey, it was the devs wish that Valhalla featured a female protagonist. Exclusively.

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Chasing Storm Isaias in Microsoft Flight Simulator

Wed, 05/08/2020 - 13:00

Sometimes it's fine to just talk about the weather. The past couple of days a friend has been telling me, over one of the WhatsApp groups that's kept me sane the past few months, about the storm that's been hitting his part of the world. Storm Isaias hit the Carolinas earlier this week before tearing a path up through Virginia, New Jersey and the east coast of America. It's a ferocious thing, leaving millions without power - it left my friend in Connecticut in the dark - and sadly much worse, claiming lives on its way. I was curious to see it up close, from the safety of my own home, via the new Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Real-time weather - or as close to real-time as you can reasonably get - is a key feature here, with data being pulled in from Meteoblue, where observations are combined with complex predictions to get something approaching accuracy. I'm no meteorologist, so I can't speak precisely to its authenticity - and I'm afraid my own methodology when exploring how accurate it is isn't particularly scientific. All I know is that when I went to check the progress of Isaias on smart weather visualization site Windy and tabbed back into Microsoft Flight Sim, it was close enough to not be bothered by the difference.

So I set off at first from Richmond International Airport, heading north into the tail-end of Isaias. And it is, as you expect, absolutely miserable, with next-to-no visibility. I'm still a relative newcomer to this flight sim lark, so while I should be beholden to instrument flight rules and use the intricate array of dials and software to guide me I simply head straight into the murk to get a feel for what it's like flying in such extreme conditions.

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Fortnite adds vehicles, refuelling and radio stations

Wed, 05/08/2020 - 12:36

Fortnite's vehicle update is now live, and it weighs in at around 2.3GB on PC.

With it, the game's first four proper road vehicles are unlocked. The flat bed Bear truck shown in the video below has a beefy 1000 health and can speed along at 50mph.

On the downside, you'll need to stop off at one of the island's petrol stations to keep it topped up with fuel. There, players must grab a nozzle and waggle it at the car to fill up. There are four tanks within the car - so a full squad can refuel simultaneously to save time.

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As Call of Duty: Warzone popularity explodes, Activision prepares to reveal Black Ops Cold War within its battle royale

Wed, 05/08/2020 - 11:32

Activision has announced Call of Duty: Warzone now has over 75 million players - and signalled its intent to reveal this year's title in its battle royale.

Overnight, to coincide with its financial results, Activision confirmed both Treyarch and Raven Software are co-developing the next premium Call of Duty game, which Eurogamer has reported to be called Black Ops Cold War.

This much about the game - and its troubled development - was known. And while Activision has already teased Black Ops within Warzone with the odd Easter egg, executives last night gave the clearest indication yet that a big reveal of Black Ops Cold War is around the corner.

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Someone should make a game about: Muscle Men

Wed, 05/08/2020 - 09:00

Does anyone here remember Muscle Men? Not actual muscle men, they're still a thing, but those little pink rubber figures from the 80s that were about two inches tall. Remember them? I can still smell them, that rubbery waft, and I can still almost feel them, that slight give in an otherwise solid rubber skin.

I distinctly remember the moment they turned up in my life. I was in my pyjamas at the top of the stairs, watching people come into the house for a party. I had to go to bed and was throwing a bit of a wobbler about it. I was a child just in case that isn't clear. I might still be in my pyjamas now but I can go to bed when I like!

Anyway, one of the people coming into the house doesn't disappear below but comes upstairs bearing gifts. I honestly can't remember who they were but I remember what they brought: a strange tiny dustbin with see-through sides containing a load of little rubber men. Muscle Men, the label says.

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Crossy Road developer unveils top-down space Western shooter TombStar

Wed, 05/08/2020 - 00:24

Marcus Grambau and Andy Sum, the developer behind massive mobile hit Crossy Road, have unveiled TombStar - a rootin', tootin' top-down "space Western" shooter, which will be making its way to PC and consoles next year.

Unfolding at the outer reaches of the Frontier Galaxy, TombStar pits players against an assortment of gun-toting miscreants - "from pistol-wielding cowpokes to robots with death lasers", according to the official announcement - across four visually distinct planets.

What follows is a blend of "tough, bullet hell gunplay and winding procedural exploration" (with roguelike elements) inspired by 80s cartoons, all of which can be tackled using one of three playable renegades, each with their own special powers.

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Larian delays Baldur's Gate 3's August early access launch

Tue, 04/08/2020 - 21:05

If you've been struggling to suppress your understandable excitement as Baldur's Gate 3's previously announced August early access release approaches, you might want to take a seat - or, at the very least, prop yourself firmly against a wall; developer Larian Studios has revealed the enormously anticipated RPG won't be launching this month after all.

Larian initially announced an August early access launch for Baldur's Gate 3 back in June, noting that while the coronavirus pandemic had impacted development, it still believed August was a realistic release window. Unfortunately, the developer has now revised its schedule, confirming on Twitter that the game will no longer arrive this month as originally planned.

The good news is that Larian says Baldur's Gate 3 is still "just around the corner", and that a revised early access release date will be revealed - alongside other "big news" - during its Panel From Hell livestream event, set to be held on 18th August.

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Hitman 2, Greedfall lead August's PlayStation Now additions

Tue, 04/08/2020 - 19:27

Sony has detailed a bumper crop of on-demand additions heading to its PlayStation Now subscription service in August, including Hitman 2, Greedfall, and Dead Cells.

Developer IO Interactive's globe-hopping stealth sequel Hitman 2 is well worth a punt (Eurogamer called it a "one of the smartest stealth experiences out there" in its 2018 review), as is Motion Twin's critically acclaimed rogue-like platformer Dead Cells. This, if you're unfamiliar, pits players against the brutally tough denizens of an ever-shifting, labyrinthine castle in an endless orgy of crunchy combat and exploratory platform action.

There's also a lot to like about developer Spider's gorgeously wrought historical action-RPG Greedfall, which packs an enjoyable heap of characters, classes, and side-quests into an experience reminiscent of BioWare's much-loved genre efforts. It's a little rough-around-the-edges, and some of its systems undoubtedly feel underdeveloped, but its brave New World of island adventure is still an intriguing, engaging place to explore.

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Call of Duty: Warzone gets mini royale mode as the stadium and train station are revamped

Tue, 04/08/2020 - 19:00

Call of Duty: Warzone gets a mini royale mode tomorrow with the launch of Season 5.

Mini royale is described as short and sweet battle royale matches. The mode lowers the number of players sent into the map, but quickens the experience. So, only the first and last five minutes of a normal battle royale game exist. This means rapid deployment, constant movement and lots of kills.

Other new modes set to hit Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone include Bare Bones. This is a rotation of TDM, Domination, HQ, Hardpoint and Kill Confirmed with no killstreaks, no field upgrades and no perks. Elsewhere, SnD Double Down (12v12) is coming to Modern Warfare tomorrow.

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The Touryst arrives on Xbox One and PC - and it's an excellent port

Tue, 04/08/2020 - 18:35

Back in December 2019, Shin'en Multimedia wowed us with a unique Switch exclusive: The Touryst. Defined by a stunning voxelised engine with a beautiful post-process pipeline, The Touryst looked like nothing we'd really seen before and now it is available to play on Xbox One, Xbox One X and PC, arriving day one on Game Pass. I highly recommend that you check it out.

The idea behind The Touryst is extremely straightforward - it's an exploration-based adventure that has you travelling between various islands, solving mysteries that lie beneath the surface. What's wonderful about the game is the sense of discovery and exploration. At no point does The Touryst tell you what to do, or bring up a large pointer ordering you where to go. With that in mind, figuring out what the game expects from you is half the fun.

And it's all delivered with that remarkable engine. Yes, the aesthetic is 'voxelised' but everything is still built from triangles, though the game worlds themselves are built using a tool known as MagicaVoxel. This makes it very easy to craft environments, which are then given a visual boost via Maya and injected into the game. A voxel-like aesthetic typically brings Minecraft to mind, and while The Touryst has a similar simplicity, the islands can be rich and dense in detail. The deferred lighting system is simply sublime with a wonderful dynamic range.

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Categories: Video Games

FIFA 21 plays a better game of football that will keep fans on-side for now

Tue, 04/08/2020 - 17:00

FIFA 21 has a lot of welcome changes when it comes to the actual gameplay, but after playing the game for a weekend, it's hard to call this year's entry a game changer.

Perhaps this shouldn't come as much of a surprise. FIFA 21 launches as the next generation of consoles arrives, and traditionally our industry's great transition has always been low-key for FIFA. As the developers at EA Sports manage launching their great cash cow on new platforms for the first time, big-ticket new features are hard to come by. Instead we have hardcore-pleasing tweaks and a handful of cool new on-the-pitch features. You tend to get the truly eyebrow raising stuff once FIFA is bedded in to new consoles, not as it takes its first steps onto their virtual pitches.

So, what we have with FIFA 21 is a game that certainly plays better than its predecessor, but there's no real wow factor. FIFA 21 plays like a game with all the right changes in all the right places, but it will do nothing to convince those who accuse the series of selling little more than roster updates dressed in full-price clothes each year.

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EA tackles FIFA 21 toxicity by pulling one of the most annoying celebrations in the game

Tue, 04/08/2020 - 17:00

EA has launched a fresh bid to tackle toxicity in its FIFA games - and in doing so has pulled one its most annoying celebrations for FIFA 21.

EA Sports has confirmed it has pulled the Shush and A-OK celebrations from the game - and warned more changes are to come.

Celebrations are one of the chief ways of annoying your opponent in FIFA. Your opponent is forced to watch them - and they can be pretty grating after rage-inducing goals are scored. The Shush celebration in particular is infamous within the community, as it is done while the scoring player is running. Players sometimes use running celebrations to extend the celebration time as they jog up and down the pitch - a frustrating time-wasting tactic.

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FIFA 21's search for the most authentic football experience won't extend to empty stadiums

Tue, 04/08/2020 - 17:00

EA Sports pushes its FIFA series as the most authentic football simulation available, but this year's dramatic changes to the beautiful game won't be reflected in FIFA 21.

The coronavirus has forced football to change fundamentally. Stadiums that were once packed with fans are now empty, save for staff, press and of course the players themselves. Those off the pitch must wear face masks, while the players are encouraged to celebrate goals and victories with clenched fists and elbow touches.

If you watch football now in the UK, you may hear a crowd, despite there not being one in the stadium. That's because broadcasters are incorporating fake crowd noises imported from EA Sports' FIFA. But you can turn this audio off, which means you get to hear the managers and staff shouting during the game - in an eerie echoey stadium.

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Out now on PC and PS Plus, Fall Guys seems to be having a real moment

Tue, 04/08/2020 - 16:46

Fall Guys, the colourful battle royale version of It's a Knockout, has "skyrocketed past" the number of players developer Mediatonic expected to turn up on day one.

Looking like a cross between Minions and Fortnite, Fall Guys launched today on Steam and PlayStation 4, where it's available at no extra charge through PlayStation Plus.

Writing on Twitter, the official Fall Guys account recorded more than 120,000 people online at lunchtime today - and an hour later, that the developer would now need to switch off matchmaking for 30 minutes to "beef up servers".

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Frog Fractions 3 has been found

Tue, 04/08/2020 - 15:59

A fresh helping of the bizarre Flash game turned internet meme Frog Fractions is now available - and fans of the series will be unsurprised to hear this latest chapter has been released in a unconventional way.

After a labyrinthine ARG and stealth release for Frog Fractions 2, this new instalment is at least a little easier to track down. Download the Frog Fractions: Game of the Decade Edition (it's free) from Steam and you'll see an option to install a £5.75 DLC for a cosmetic item - a hat.

Of course, this DLC is not just a hat. Three years on from Frog Fractions 2, this is an entirely new dollop of Frog Fractions big enough to be a Frog Fractions 3 - although series creator Jim Crawford has since argued this is more like a Frog Fractions 4. Because he would say that.

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