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Updated: 4 min 57 sec ago

Xbox One X Killer Instinct delivers the first 4K console fighting game

Sun, 24/09/2017 - 13:00

Cast your mind back to Xbox One's launch in 2013 and a few big games stand out, with Killer Instinct one of them. As Microsoft's flagship fighting game, it offered a long overdue revival of Rare's classic franchise, enhanced with the latest 3D console technology. Every impact forced an explosion of alpha and lit particle effects - an obvious upgrade on Xbox One over what was ever possible on Xbox 360 - and it all ran at 60 frames per second. It was a sample of what the machine could bring to the table graphically this generation. But there was a downside: Killer Instinct - at launch - ran at just 720p on Xbox One.

Of course, the game was later patched to run at 900p. But even early on, it highlighted a limit to the original Xbox One's handling of higher resolutions, a point reinforced by other 720p games at launch, like Battlefield 4. For those wanting to see Killer Instinct at the best image quality possible, you had to wait for PC - unlocking resolutions up to 4K. That is, until the Xbox One X patch that lands with the hardware's launch, on November 7th.

And this is a highly welcome upgrade. Killer Instinct will be the first console fighter to ever run at a native 4K. With that, Microsoft can well and truly put any criticism of image quality in Killer Instinct to rest - the game looks amazing. Compared to the 900p image on a standard Xbox One, the vault in quality is highly impressive. Fixed at 3840x2160 all the way through, it sets a precedent on console, in a world where PS4 Pro's best efforts seem to top out at 1440p with titles such as Injustice 2 and King of Fighters 14.

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Categories: Video Games

Rebellion's Strange Brigade is a jolly refreshing romp

Sun, 24/09/2017 - 12:08

Strange Brigade, the new game by Sniper Elite studio Rebellion, is a charming beast, a breathless romp right out of the pages of a hammy British adventure mag. It's Brendan Fraser's rolled up shirt sleeves in the sandy archaeological action film The Mummy, his beefy fists thumping mummified monsters because they jolly well deserved it! It's all "Treacherous Tombs!" and "Chaps!" and smoking card character portraits. It's fairly irresistible.

And Strange Brigade barely pauses for breath. The level I play at EGX 2017 (the level demoed in the video below) throws me and one other person - you can play with up to four, or alone - into a baked and crumbling North African temple overgrown with vines, and immediately we're set upon, undead around us, behind us, everywhere.

They're not deadly but they're no pushovers, and they're enough to be a very real problem when Strange Brigade starts mixing cocktails of enemies for you, slinging in armoured kinds of mummies and mini-bosses like a hulking minotaur. Focus for too long on the big danger and a pack of smaller dangers shambles up behind. It's a bit like Serious Sam in some ways, enemies constantly appearing from all quarters, and it keeps your heart pumping like a good Sunday afternoon action film should.

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Categories: Video Games

EGX 2017: Ten of the best games from the show floor

Sun, 24/09/2017 - 10:00

We've been having a lovely old time here at EGX. Andy Serkis turned up, Doug Cockle came and did the Geralt voice for Bertie (whether he liked it or not), Chris Bratt had some very Chris Bratt conversations with X-COM and XCOM maestros Julian Gollop and Jake Solomon, and then as well as all that other stuff going on, there are the games.

It's been a genuinely strong year, with some fascinating games in the Rezzed indies area, the Leftfield Collection, and the Transfuser area of astonishingly well put together student projects plus, of course, the big hitters of the major publishers. While by all means not a definitive list, here's a personal selection of games to look out for on your final day at the show - some we've played before, but most that we haven't - which really stood out to us.

There is an extended moment, when you start playing No Truce With The Furies, in which you can't help but wonder if the game is too smart for its own good.

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Categories: Video Games

How Dishonored: Death of the Outsider makes rats of us all

Sun, 24/09/2017 - 09:00

Editor's note: Once a month we invite the wonderful Gareth Damian Martin, editor of Heterotopias, to show us what proper writing about games looks like before we shoo him away for making the rest of us look bad. You can read Gareth's pieces on Dark Souls and Resident Evil - and you really should! - before settling into this month's piece about Dishonored and its rats.

It was a rat that told me what was in the basement of the Taxidermist. It and it's beady-eyed allies were milling around the backstreet outside, the smell of blood presumably having brought them to this particular doorstep. In a surprisingly soft voice, the rodent whispered poetry in my ear, a song of gnawing teeth and matted fur. The rats, it seemed, were the ones who knew this city best of all, and as I listened they told me of its secrets. I won't go into specifics-I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise of that basement or the other hidden places I've visited-but as you might imagine, what I found down there wasn't something particularly pleasant.

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, a standalone addition to Dishonored 2 and the conclusion to the series' loose trilogy, is filled with these unpleasant discoveries. Seen through the deeply pessimistic eyes of assassin Billie Lurk, it often feels as if under every flagstone of Karnaca is some concealed atrocity. Gone is the southern light that gave Dishonored 2's depiction of the coastal city an edge of glimmering luxury, replaced instead by a flat grey glow that emanates from a veiled, milky sun, like the cataract of some dead god. Perhaps it's the removal of the so-called "chaos system" from the game-a kind of moral compass that the series carried, rewarding less murderous players with better outcomes-or the mutterings of the sardonic Billie-"the rich pay to poison themselves with this shit" she observes while skulking around an exclusive spa. "Wish they'd just finish the job"-but either way Death of the Outsider feels like it embraces corruption and inhumanity in a way the series has never quite managed before.

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Categories: Video Games

Purrfect Date is a cat lover's dream dating simulator

Sat, 23/09/2017 - 17:27

Move over Dream Daddy, there's a new dating simulator in town and it's considerably... furrier.

Purrfect Date is the adorable new six-chapter title from Bossa Studios' Bae Team encompassing a visual novel, dating simulator and dark British comedy all in one meow-nificent game.

You play as a human who has been hired to conduct research on the mysterious Cat Island, alongside the eccentric Profession Pawpur. It's not long before you realise there is much more to the island, and its feline residents, than meets the eye. You can check out the trailer, and it's insanely catchy theme song, below:

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Categories: Video Games

Jelly Deals roundup: Wireless SNES pads, Phantom Halls, Insert Coin gear and more

Sat, 23/09/2017 - 13:00

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.

This week's rendition of the best gaming deals of the week is quite literally brought to you from the EGX show floor, as I am currently writing this from one of the rare isolated areas, somewhere behind the giant Rabbid Kong statue that will someday come to life and hunt us down like the end of Ghostbusters. With our fleeting time in mind, let's get on with this week's best deals.

As usual, we've got deals that'll work in the UK, deals that'll work in the US and some deals that will work in both the UK and US, as well as presumably many other places. Let's get started.

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Categories: Video Games

How does Forza 7 improve on Xbox One X over base hardware?

Sat, 23/09/2017 - 13:00

Built to run existing game engines at native 4K, our first taste of what the new Xbox One X hardware could deliver came in the form of a Forza Motorsport tech demo, built to base Xbox One spec, but offering ultra HD resolution, a locked 60 frames per second - and with processing headroom to spare. So just what has developer Turn 10 done with this extra power and how does Xbox One X stack up against PC and standard Xbox hardware? With the release of a Forza Motorsport 7 demo this week, we could finally find out.

First things first: while our Xbox One and PC assets are derived from this week's demo release, our fresh new X assets hail from a preview build of the entire Forza game we saw during Microsoft's press showcase a couple of weeks back, and there are some differences - the circuits you've played in the demo constitute the first three races of the single-player career mode in the final game, for example, and this build shows a variance in lighting.

Whether this is down to a factor of the dynamic lighting and weather system or simply a peculiarity of the preview build or settings in the capture equipment Microsoft had at the event remains to be seen, but the differences between the two consoles - and indeed the commonality with PC - are fascinating. Remember that Turn 10 had access to Project Scorpio hardware as soon as it was available in its earliest prototype form, so it stands to reason that this team would be able to get the best out of the new console.

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Categories: Video Games

Playdead's revered Inside heading to Nintendo Switch

Sat, 23/09/2017 - 12:01

The meticulous, mysterious and award-winning Inside appears to be heading to Nintendo Switch and iOS.

Japanese publication Famitsu heard the news from Inside creator Arnt Jensen while he was on a tour of Japan, dinnering with The Last Guardian maker Fumito Ueda and team, and Metal Gear Solid maker Hideo Kojima and team. They all seem to be having a lovely time in the pictures on Twitter.

There are no dates or details for the Switch or iOS versions of Switch.

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Categories: Video Games

Super Mario Run's biggest update yet adds new levels, a new mode and Daisy

Sat, 23/09/2017 - 11:02

Super Mario Run is getting its biggest update yet, with fresh levels, a new quickfire mode and the addition of a new playable character: Princess Daisy.

You can unlock Daisy by playing through Remix 10, a "frenetic" mode which will feature 10 level snippets from across the game. Each time you play you'll get a different selection of sections. Collect enough Rainbow Medals by playing and you'll... rescue Princess Daisy.

The other big addition is a whole new world of levels - World Star. Nine new levels will be available once you have completed the game's existing stages across the first six worlds. New enemies and gameplay mechanics are promised.

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Categories: Video Games

Can a 4X title hold insights into how games could handle storytelling?

Sat, 23/09/2017 - 09:00

The best - or at least the most famous - stories in video games are rarely the best video game stories. Yes, you can argue that the morally grimy ending of The Last of Us is up there with darker blockbuster movies, that the BioShock series' philoso-scientific musings are at least at the Christopher Nolan level. But none of these games utilise the storytelling tools specific to the medium. Their narratives are simply well-presented, well-written slices of steady exposition interposed between segments of competent, if often generic, mechanics.

The best video game stories, on the other hand, take advantage of those gamey idiosyncrasies you won't find in other media - mechanics, player agency, non-linearity - to play as big a part in the narrative as the writing. Plenty has been said about how walking simulators and the Souls series achieve this, but much less documented is the peculiar delights of storytelling in strategy games. And there's one strategy series in particular that stands out.

Amplitude Studios' Endless saga! If you ask me, Endless Legend and Endless Space 1 and 2 (as well as oddball tower defence title, Dungeons of the Endless) represent an interconnected masterclass in video game storytelling, working within the strict rulesets of 4X strategy to intertwine narrative and mechanics until they both hum with potential.

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Categories: Video Games

Oddworld: Soulstorm looks like it will rewrite series' rule book

Fri, 22/09/2017 - 19:49

It's been 20 years since the release of Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee and the game, as well as it's peculiar protagonist, still holds a special place in the hearts of many. So it was music to fans' ears when developer Oddworld Inhabitants revealed it was working on a new entry in the Oddworld quintology - Oddworld: Soulstorm.

Until now we hadn't heard much about the mysterious new title, apart from sneak peeks and teaser trailers, but Lorne Lanning revealed a heap of new details and even showed a full-length trailer for the game today at an EGX 2017 developer's session (which you can watch below).

Oddworld: Soulstorm sounds like an overhaul of the Oddworld games we know - but in the best possible way.

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Categories: Video Games

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds developer slams Fornite for "replicating" gameplay

Fri, 22/09/2017 - 17:31

The developer of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has hit out at Epic's Fortnite for "replicating" its game.

In an eyebrow-raising press release, Bluehole exec Chang Han Kim slammed Fortnite's new Battle Royale mode for its similarities to PUBG. Kim said his studio was "concerned" and - ominously - stated it would "contemplate further action".

It's a surprising position to take; despite Battlegrounds' huge popularity, it is far from the first game to offer Battle Royale-inspired gameplay. It's not even the first competitor from a major publisher - GTA Online recently launched its own take, for example.

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Categories: Video Games

Surreal musical treat Figment is out today on PC

Fri, 22/09/2017 - 17:00

Lovely looking musical action-adventure game Figment has just been released on PC. It's the latest title by Bedtime Digital Games, who you might know from Back to Bed which was also surreal and filled with charm.

Hand-drawn and set within the recesses of someone's mind, Figment will also be coming to Switch, PS4 and Xbox One in the winter.

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Categories: Video Games

Watch: It's another Chris Bratt/Jake Solomon XCOM love-in

Fri, 22/09/2017 - 13:14

You're probably aware by now, but Eurogamer's Chris Bratt really loves XCOM and consequently has a bit of a man-crush on Jake Solomon, the designer who masterminded its rebirth at Firaxis with XCOM: Enemy Unknown and the recent XCOM 2.

Chris has spoken to Jake quite a few times now, most recently to provide some very candid background for a warts-and-all reveal of how Firaxis saved XCOM from complete disaster for Chris' video series Here's A Thing.

Chris asked Jake if he would mind reprising this topic live on stage at EGX this year, and to our surprise he didn't respond with a restraining order but said yes. It covers much the same ground as the episode of Here's A Thing, but there's some new, never before seen footage of early builds and concept videos for Enemy Unknown, plus you get to hear Solomon's self-effacing remarks straight from the horse's mouth. And there's a side order of awkward hero worship, if that's your thing. The cameras don't pick up the part where Chris almost fell over, sadly.

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Categories: Video Games

Tengami dev's next game is 'astrological comedy' Astrologaster

Fri, 22/09/2017 - 12:44

Nyamyam - the team behind 2014's pop-up book puzzle game Tengami - has debuted its next project at EGX.

Astrologaster is a narrative adventure featuring real historical figure Simon Forman, a 'doctor' in the 16th century who solved people's problems and medical ills - from love triangles to syphilis - by reading the stars.

Based on real cases in consultation with historians from the University of Cambridge, the game asks players to use astrological charts to respond to patients.

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Categories: Video Games

Watch: Digital Foundry's Rich and John on Xbox One X and the future of consoles

Fri, 22/09/2017 - 12:36

Yesterday at EGX in Birmingham, I took to the stage with Rich Leadbetter and John Linneman from Digital Foundry to chat about Xbox One X and the future of console technology. We'd held a similar discussion at EGX Rezzed in London back in April, but back then we couldn't reveal that Rich was just back from Microsoft's HQ in Redmond for our exclusive specs reveal of the new console.

Since then the DF boys have had several more opportunities to get hands on with the X and see what it can do. Does it live up to expectations? How will Sony respond? Is the rate of console development slowing down, and what does this mean for gamers? Are we moving to a new iterative model for hardware or will generational leaps survive? And where do Switch and PC fit in?

Watch the discussion below for Rich and John's very well educated thoughts. And me pretending I know what I'm talking about.

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Categories: Video Games

Destiny 2's factions arrive next week for a new in-game event

Fri, 22/09/2017 - 12:25

Destiny's three factions arrive in Destiny 2 next week, on 26th September.

Factions are like teams, you pick a favourite and support them by earning XP and in-game items for their vendors. In return you earn reputation with them and unlock their stores of exclusive gear and weapons.

Destiny 2 welcomes the three factions seen in the first game - New Monarchy, Dead Orbit and Future War Cult - to its Tower with a new in-game event, Faction Rally.

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Categories: Video Games

It sure is grand to have Virtual On back

Fri, 22/09/2017 - 12:10

Has it really been fourteen years? True, the wait for an all-new Virtual On has been softened by home ports of Marz and Force, but even then we've been holding our breath for a while for the true return of Sega's mech-battling series. Well, it's here, I've played it and I know one thing for certain.

This new Virtual On is a bit odd.

That's odd in a good way, I must emphasise. I'd almost forgotten that Sega had announced a return for the series a short while back, a curious tie-in with A Certain Magical Index, a series of Japanese light novels that focus on a group of young students who possess magical powers and that has led to an even more curious name. A Certain Magical Virtual On.

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Categories: Video Games

Gran Turismo Sport acquits itself well in VR

Fri, 22/09/2017 - 11:00

Is there a better fit for virtual reality than the humble racing game? Ever since sampling iRacing with an Oculus Rift I've sworn by the pairing, and now have a dedicated set-up at home. There's something sublime about how the technology fits the genre - how a fixed cockpit works so well within the limitations of contemporary VR, and how a decent steering wheel solves in an instant the sometimes fuzzy control problem that people are still trying to solve elsewhere.

So it's no surprise, then, to discover that Gran Turismo Sport acquits itself beautifully in VR. Polyphony Digital's inbound PlayStation 4 driving game is making the most of PlayStation VR - though it's worth noting there are some caveats to be made. PlayStation VR events are restricted to one-on-one races, doubtless due to hardware limitations, and understandably there's no way that Gran Turismo Sport played with a headset is going to rival the likes of Project Cars 2 played on an Oculus Rift and a powerful PC rig.

That said, though, Polyphony has put some thought into how it goes about employing virtual reality, making for one of the better VR racing experiences - and quite easily the best on console. There's a neat dashboard overlay discreetly placed within the car, meaning there's no messy HUD obscuring your view out of the windscreen, and the mirrors work perfectly, the rear view adapting beautifully to your head movement. It's a small thing, of course, and nothing you won't have seen before in other VR racing games, but still no mean feat given what Polyphony is playing with here.

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Categories: Video Games

Divinity: Original Sin 2 review

Fri, 22/09/2017 - 09:00

About halfway through Original Sin 2's campaign, you acquire the ability to talk to ghosts. Cast "Spirit Vision" in any given area of its massive, detailed world, and any nearby souls waiting in the queue to the afterlife will be revealed to you, their transparent outline glowing with a greenish hue.

In other games, this would be a neat gimmick useful in a few specific circumstances. In Original Sin 2, it's like putting on the glasses in John Carpenter's They Live. It changes everything. Suddenly, the world becomes alive with the dead. They wander through the streets, linger amongst revelling tavern patrons, hover over battlefields staring at their own corpses.

You've been given the keys to a whole new reality, and it's going to unlock a lot of doors. Remember that murder you were investigating? Never mind finding the murder weapon or an incriminating letter, just ask the victim whodunit. Looking for a secret passage in a dungeon? Maybe there's another, less fortunate adventurer floating around you can glean some advice from.

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Categories: Video Games