Video Games

Jelly Deals roundup: PSVR for £250, Wolfenstein 2, PS4 Pro bundles and more

Eurogamer - Sat, 18/11/2017 - 14:00

A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. Look out for the Jelly Deals roundup of reduced-price games and kit every Saturday on Eurogamer.

We now stand on the very edge of Black Friday 2017 week - not that it's stopped any retailers from pushing their respective deals live early. With more and more offers going live every day, this seems like a fairly good time to have a look at some of the best deals available.

If you'd like to keep up with all of our Black Friday coverage, we've got guides pages up and running which will be updated daily through the season of sales. Our pages for PS4 Black Friday, Xbox Black Friday, Nintendo Black Friday, PC gaming Black Friday, and more, are all yours to peruse and bookmark as you see fit.

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Categories: Video Games

Star Wars Battlefront 2: Frostbite stress-tested on Xbox One X

Eurogamer - Sat, 18/11/2017 - 14:00

There was one crucial aspect of the Xbox One X experience we could not cover in our hardware review: to what extent is this actually a 4K games machine and what is the difference in the experience up against Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro? Since then, the X upgrades have rolled in, giving us a better picture of how the machines compare, but what we've been lacking is an apples to apples stress test comparison based on EA's Frostbite technology - one of the most advanced rendering engines on the market. FIFA 18 is impressive but hardly a challenge for the hardware but Star Wars Battlefront is perhaps the game we've been looking for. The results are certainly illuminating.

In many respects, we're looking at a virtual re-run of what we saw recently with Bethesda's Wolfenstein 2. The id Tech 6 engine shares a clutch of technologies also found in Frostbite, designed to maximise the visual return on all systems while targeting 60 frames per second action. First amongst them is dynamic resolution scaling, where both Wolfenstein 2 and Battlefront 2 adjust pixel-counts on the fly in order to sustain performance. PS4 Pro tops out at 2560x1440 on both titles, while Xbox One X pushes further - much further - delivering a maximum of 3840x2160, or full-fat 4K. That's a 2.25x increase in pixel-count, a surprising uplift bearing in mind the respective specs of the two systems.

Of course, dynamic resolution scaling could conceivably close the gap, but the variance in resolution between Pro and X remains wide: based on several measurements we took, the range varies between 1296p and 1440p on the Sony console, rising to an 1800p-2160p window in the same scenes tested on Xbox One X. The numbers are stark then, but another technology shared with id Tech helps to mitigate matters to a certain extent - temporal anti-aliasing. The Frostbite implementation isn't quite as intensive as id's, but it does the job in smoothing off the jaggies and eliminating the most obvious, glaring signs of upscaling.

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Little things save Call of Duty: WW2 when the big things fail to make an impact

Eurogamer - Sat, 18/11/2017 - 10:00

This piece contains major spoilers for Call of Duty: WW2's campaign.

Mitterrand's last meal sounds like a riot - an ugly, vengeful riot conducted, if riots are a class of thing that can be conducted, against life itself. There were oysters, then there was foie gras, and then there was capon. Michael Paterniti, restaging this grim feast several years after the president's death, while writing a gloriously dark and searching piece titled The Last Meal, reveals that it was the work of four hours just to get through all that - through the oysters, the foie gras, the capon, the wine.

But the best was still to come - and the worst. The final course of Mitterrand's final dinner was ortolan, a tiny songbird that it is intermittently illegal to eat in France where, according to Paterniti, it "supposedly represent[s] the French soul." In preparation for dinner, the ortolans are "drowned in Armagnac and then plucked of their feathers." They are peppered and roasted in their own fat. You eat them whole.

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Swipe-to-rule monarch sim Reigns is getting a sequel this December

Eurogamer - Fri, 17/11/2017 - 22:28

Developer Nerial's wonderfully weird monarch sim Reigns is getting a sequel, Reigns: Her Majesty, on PC and mobile this December.

The original Reigns cast you as a benevolent (or malevolent, depending on your particular whims) medieval monarch. Your kingdom and legacy were entirely shaped by the responses you gave to the constant stream of questions and requests from advisors, peasants, allies, and enemies. The whole thing played out using an incredibly simple, but strangely compelling, Tinder-style swipe-to-decide interface.

As far as the mechanically similar sequel goes, Nerial says of Reigns: Her Majesty, "A cultural renaissance has bestowed the world with a new era of knowledge and enlightenment but greed and jealousy still conspire against the benevolent queen.

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Existential sea horror SOMA is coming to Xbox One, minus the monsters if you so choose

Eurogamer - Fri, 17/11/2017 - 20:00

Amnesia developer Frictional Games' superb existential sea horror SOMA is coming to Xbox One on December 1st, and it'll include a new monster-free 'Safe Mode'.

Safe Mode, in Frictional's words, will permit you to "explore the story without being eaten by monsters”. Scrubbing out the bit of the game that presents the most traditional form of challenge might seem an odd decision to some, but its generally agreed that SOMA's stealth-based monster encounters are far from being its strongest element.

Personally, I found SOMA's hide-and-seek sequences more frustrating than frightening, really only serving to hinder the flow of its puzzles and darkly philosophical narrative - so a Safe Mode is certainly welcome. Your enjoyment of SOMA's nautical assailants may vary.

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How to fix Star Wars Battlefront 2

Eurogamer - Fri, 17/11/2017 - 18:52

Blimey, there is hope. Because of a rising tide of discontent surrounding pay-to-win content in loot crates in Star Wars Battlefront 2, the ability to spend real money on them has temporarily been removed. Loot crates can only be bought with credits earned by playing the game.

This is a stop-gap measure until EA studio DICE can come up with a permanent solution people will be happy with. "The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we've made changes to the game," DICE boss Oskar Gabrielson said last night. We don't know whether it will take days or weeks or months.

But what can DICE do to fix loot crates and progression in Star Wars Battlefront 2? I see no other way than to stop beating around the bush and completely separate progression from the contents of loot crates - rip it right out - because it's here the real problem lies.

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Shadowhand, the solitaire RPG, finally has a release date

Eurogamer - Fri, 17/11/2017 - 17:58

How can you not be desperate to play this: a game which blends the casual satisfaction of clicking cards away in a game of solitaire with a tactical turn-based RPG and a story about an 18th-century highwaywoman. Oh, and it's by the developers of the wonderful Jane Austen-themed puzzle game, Regency Solitaire.

The game is Shadowhand, it finally has a release date, and it's blessedly soon: 7th December. It will launch on that date for Windows and Mac on Steam, GOG, the Humble Store and direct from the publisher Positech.

If you're wondering why I sound so excited: well, I'm a solitaire obsessive and collector of its weird video game variants, and this sounds like the spiciest solitaire mash-up since Pocket Card Jockey on 3DS blended the card game with a surprisingly high-energy take on horse-racing. As such, I've been following Shadowhand for a what feels like a long time. I saw a convincing demo early last year and at that point we were expecting it last summer. Earlier this week, I asked the designer and programmer Jake Birkett what had taken so long over email and he said, "I should have known that combining a turn-based RPG with solitaire would take ages!"

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Jelly Deals: LG's 4K OLED at its cheapest ever price

Eurogamer - Fri, 17/11/2017 - 17:50

A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. Look out for the Jelly Deals roundup of reduced-price games and kit every Saturday on Eurogamer.

As was probably inevitable around Black Friday time, the rather stunning LG OLED 4K set that Digital Foundry says is possibly the best TV you can buy right now has seen a slight reduction.

While still obviously an expensive luxury item, this marks the cheapest price yet for the 55-inch model of LG's pioneering OLED 4K set. In DF's article, this model was praised for its HDR tone-mapping, low input latency, and improved viewing angles, among other things. If you've ever seen one of these OLED sets in person, you'll instantly understand how remarkable they look.

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Categories: Video Games

Hitman has reactivated its first Elusive Target

Eurogamer - Fri, 17/11/2017 - 16:58

Elusive Targets have returned to Hitman following the launch of the title's Game of the Year edition earlier this month.

We knew this feature would be making a reappearance, however it has now been revealed the first target to be reactivated is the Forger (Sergei Larin), who will be in Paris for 10 days starting from today.

Elusive Targets are unique marks which players only have one chance to eliminate - you either succeed or fail. While playing the contract, players must use clues from the briefing video and photographs provided to track down the target, learn their patterns and come up with the best way to bump them off.

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Categories: Video Games

Live-action Pokémon movie casts human star

Eurogamer - Fri, 17/11/2017 - 16:58

Pokémon's upcoming live-action Detective Pikachu movie will star up-and-coming actor Justice Smith, Variety reports.

Smith can currently be seen in Baz Luhrmann's Netflix series The Get Down (which recently got overlooked for a second season). You may have also seen him in the big-screen adaptation of John Green novel Paper Towns.

He'll next star in the forthcoming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which will likely have served as good practice for acting alongside CGI characters, as is expected to be the case in Detective Pikachu.

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Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon review

Eurogamer - Fri, 17/11/2017 - 16:00

Are new games better than old games? If you somehow released a contemporary game in, say, 1988, with all its enormity and complexity and detailed, ultra HD nasal hair, it would be almost impossible to comprehend. But then that would never really happen - and would the uncanny nasal hair game even exist without the innovations and inspirations of games gone by?

Honestly, I hate this debate. It is unique to games, in their ever closening relationship with technology and engineering, and it is uniquely boring - but I have to mention it here because how you approach that argument directly impacts your approach to, you guessed it, Pokémon.

Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are what's known as "enhanced" versions. If you know the series you'll know there's precedent; Red and Blue had Yellow, Gold and Silver had Crystal, and so on until Pokémon X and Y, the last generation before last year's delightful Sun and Moon. They seemed to have done away with the tradition - we never had Z, even if all signs (namely a Pokémon called Zygarde and its conspicuous absence from the side of Xerneas and Yveltal in X and Y) seemed to point towards it. Ultra Sun and Moon were a surprise, and with this return to enhanced form we have a return to that horrible debate: the Ultra versions are undoubtedly better than regular Sun and Moon, if you equate "better" solely with size, scope, and technical achievement. The innovation, the surprise, the feeling remains the work of the originals.

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FIFA players react to EA's dramatic Star Wars Battlefront 2 microtransactions U-turn

Eurogamer - Fri, 17/11/2017 - 14:06

Last night, EA made one of the most dramatic U-turns in its history: temporarily turning off controversial microtransactions in Star Wars: Battlefront 2.

The decision came after a wave of negative publicity about the reaction to the game's loot crates from fans. In short, you can pay for a multiplayer advantage in the game. Not cool.

Now, the FIFA community, which has its own gripes about the way FIFA 18 works, is wondering what it would take for EA to turn off microtransactions in FIFA Ultimate Team, the most popular mode in the world's biggest sports video game.

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Final Fantasy 15 on Xbox One X: improved over Pro but issues persist

Eurogamer - Fri, 17/11/2017 - 14:00

Since its launch last year, Final Fantasy 15 has changed a lot and Square-Enix has continued to support the game with patches and changes designed to improve the experience for players while introducing features - but this hasn't always gone smoothly. The PS4 Pro has been supported since the game's release and its implementation has always been inconsistent at best. Features have come and gone but in the end, it never seemed to run as well as we would have hoped. Could the new Xbox One X upgrade finally deliver the Final Fantasy 15 experience we've been waiting for?

We were eager to check this one out because the base Xbox One version - as blurry as it is - has a crucial advantage over all PlayStation releases: correct frame-pacing at 30fps, each frame persisting for 33ms, giving a smooth, consistent, gameplay experience. The experience varies across each of the PS4 Pro's rendering modes, but to some extent, all of them deliver frames inconsistently, the impact at its worst in the high quality mode. In effect, bad frame-pacing introduces significant stutter into what is actually a locked 30fps experience.

Well, the results are in and while the upgrade lives up to expectations in many, many ways, there are a number of small issues that do need addressing. As expected, Xbox One X delivers the same three modes as the Pro. High centres on delivering the best quality visuals with a 30fps target, while steady drops back resolution to 1080p and targets the base consoles' visual feature set. Completing the line-up is 'lite', which unlocks the frame-rate. In terms of visual features, both steady and lite modes are much the same between Pro and X - it's the all-important high quality setting that truly sets them apart.

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Categories: Video Games

This celebration of Runic Games' greatest hits is late because I was playing Runic Games' greatest hits

Eurogamer - Fri, 17/11/2017 - 13:00

The Mapworks is the heart of Torchlight 2. In many ways it feels like the heart of so much that is great in video games in general. You spawn at the portal and then you walk out, along a narrow golden bridge, to a magical clockwork escapement suspended in the void. I can imagine what the floor feels like here: the glossiness of the crystal and polished metal, and that hum coming up through your feet that suggests vast energies twisting and churning beneath you. The Mapworks is where you get to once Torchlight 2 is all but done, but it's also where you realise that Torchlight 2 is just beginning, and that it never has to end if you don't want it to. The campaign is over, and here, in this stately firmament, you can buy an endless supply of procedurally-generated maps that will take you to an endless stretch of procedurally-generated dungeons.

I went to the Mapworks a few weeks back when I heard Runic Games, the developer that made the Torchlight series, alongside this year's wonderfully intricate Hob, was closing down. The idea was to slip back into Torchlight 2 for a few minutes to remind myself of this team's particular greatness, and then slip back out again to write a quick piece about how much I would miss them and their work. The problem, of course, is obvious. The idea was to slip back into Torchlight 2 for a few minutes... So yes, this farewell to Runic Games is so delayed because I was playing Runic games. I cannot think of a better tribute, to be honest.

Anyway, let's begin this sad task. Here is my second-favourite bit of writing in Torchlight 2: "Flame Hammer". Flame Hammer is the go-to skill I rely on when playing my Engineer, a sort of steampunk pet-class who dashes into battle alongside a clanking, wheezing, skittering collection of Roombas and rollerskates that spit gatling fire and poison at anyone stupid enough to cross their path. Flame Hammer is far more fun than a basic attack in an action RPG should be. Flame Hammer is seismic. I could describe it, but why not quote the flavour text, which does a far better job of it than I could ever hope to? "Your weapon crushes foes it strikes--" All good so far. "--Creating 4 flaming splinters that seek out enemies within 5 meters. If available a Charge is consumed to generate two additional--" Whoa whoa whoa. That's quite enough of that. 4 flaming splinters! That seek out enemies!Within 5 meters!

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Next week, Destiny 2 gets its first Iron Banner for PC

Eurogamer - Fri, 17/11/2017 - 12:13

Iron Banner, Destiny 2's monthly multiplayer event, returns next week on all platforms.

It's notable, however, for being the first Iron Banner - ever - which PC players can join in with as well.

From 21st - 28th November, Iron Banner will feature rounds of Clash (standard team deathmatch).

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Categories: Video Games

Jelly Deals: Humble Store's Fall Sale live now with free copy of Killer is Dead

Eurogamer - Fri, 17/11/2017 - 11:41

A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. Look out for the Jelly Deals roundup of reduced-price games and kit every Saturday on Eurogamer.

Just in time for Black Friday 2017, Humble has launched one of its biggest sales this year. The Fall sale is live now, finishing on November 28th at 10 am (Pacific), and features literally thousands of games with some nice savings.

As we've mentioned quite a few times now, we'll be keeping our eyes firmly locked onto Black Friday deals for the next week and a bit. Elsewhere on the site, you can find our guides to the best PS4 Black Friday deals, Xbox Blck Friday offers, Nintendo Black Friday bundles, PC gaming Black Friday discounts and a bunch of other useful stuff.

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Categories: Video Games

EA has switched off Star Wars Battlefront 2's microtransactions

Eurogamer - Fri, 17/11/2017 - 10:01

EA has switched off Star Wars Battlefront 2's microtransactions following the intense fan furore over their implementation into the game.

The ability to buy loot boxes with real-world money disappeared from the Origin, PlayStation and Microsoft stores in the early hours of this morning. Shortly thereafter, EA released this statement from DICE boss Oskar Gabrielson:

There's no word yet on when loot crates will return.

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Categories: Video Games

On the secret smallness of Skyrim

Eurogamer - Fri, 17/11/2017 - 10:00

Skyrim's dirty little secret is that it isn't that large. Oh, it remains fairly gigantic by the standards of other virtual landscapes, even next to its youthful imitator and usurper, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. But set against what it pretends to be - a kingdom stretching from arctic wastes to the temperate south, racked by dynastic squabbles and laced with the treasures and detritus of millennia - it's actually pretty dang tiddly, a little over 14 square miles in scope.

14 square miles? That's no bygone, mystery-shadowed dominion rearing its shrines and watchtowers amid sunflashed snow. That's a jumped-up theme park, a country music festival. More to the point, that's approximately the same size as The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, a game which has become something of a punching bag for Elder Scrolls aficionados in hindsight - neither as grand as its swaggering barbarian brother, nor as memorably odd as burned-out hippy uncle Morrowind. Steer clear of distractions like temperamental mammoth herds and you can walk from one side of Skyrim to the other in half an hour.

I'm being quite obtuse, of course. If open world games were required to be as large as their inspirations or narrative aspirations they'd never get finished, and in any case, who would have the time to play them? The fascinating thing about open world design is that it's not really about size at all. It's more the art of the deceptive miniature - of making the poky or digestible seem enormous to the point of exhausting, even as distant cities reveal themselves for neighbouring hamlets, fearsome mountains for mere well-appointed foothills. Skyrim is extremely good at this, to a degree I'm not sure any game environment can rival save the corkscrew terrain of the original Dark Souls. It launches on Switch this week, glory of glories, and I've spent a few hours with the remastered PC version to remind myself of its achievements.

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Categories: Video Games

PlayerUnknown starts filling in the desert map blanks with new Battlegrounds screens

Eurogamer - Fri, 17/11/2017 - 01:55

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds developer Bluehole is continuing to fill in the blanks of the game's long-awaited, and hugely anticipated, desert map.

The insatiable clamour for new details can largely be blamed on the tortuously slow drip-feed of information that followed the map's official unveiling earlier this year. And here we go again, with the release of five new desert map images.

These are a little different, and maybe a little more interesting than previous screens released by PlayerUnknown maestro Brendan Greene though. While earlier shots focussed on the map's busy urban areas and impeccably sandy atmospherics, the new shots go a little off the beaten path, showing some of the notable (and likely enormously useful when you're trying not to get your head blown off) features and landmarks away from civilisation.

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The Surge's big amusement park expansion now has a proper release date

Eurogamer - Thu, 16/11/2017 - 23:47

Developer Deck13 has released the first footage of A Walk in the Park, its upcoming, large-scale expansion for Dark-Souls-inspired sci-fi adventure The Surge - which, it's now revealed, will launch for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on December 5th.

A Walk in the Park was announced last month and is the first major expansion for The Surge. It promises to offer a bit of a structural departure from the base game, trading claustrophobic industrial corridors for the vibrant openness of the CREO World amusement park - which, as you'd expect from any theme park worth its salt, comes complete with rollercoasters, a ferris wheel, and murderous robot mascots. All of which looks a little something like this:

Deck13 described A Walk in the Park's new amusement-park-themed map as more "open" than anything previously seen in The Surge, "full of branching paths and secrets to discover". And if newfound traversal freedom isn't enough to be getting on with, the expansion also includes 16 new weapons, armour sets, and implants.

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