And we're starting to see more and more interactive narrative-heavy games find their way onto our platforms of choice. In this instance, if said "platform of choice" is your PS4, you're in for what looks like a unique title where 100s of choices are yours to make, each of which will ultimately shape your 'life' in Where The Heart Is from Armature Studio (ReCore) which is made up of ex-Retro and Santa Monica Studios devs (among others).
And that all sounds lofty and ambiguous, but the trailer, which you can watch embedded below, gives us an Inside and Stela vibe, among other 'artsy' side-scrollers. But don't take our word for it, here's some official wordage:
On the kind of fateful stormy night that changes a man’s destiny, an enormous sinkhole opens in the middle of Whit Anderson’s farm. As thunder rumbles and rain lashes the Andersons, Casey—their curious Golden Retriever—ventures too close to the gaping maw and tumbles in. Desperate to save Casey, Whit descends into the darkness, but emerges in a realm beyond his imagining.
In this strange world, constantly shifting like the stops and starts of a dream, Whit bears witness to the story of his life and gains the power to change it.
Experience a lifetime in hazy, ethereal spaces made manifest by Whit’s memories. As they come into focus, explore his childhood, learn about his family, and uncover his greatest joys and regrets. Connect with others who’ve shared in Whit’s life, from his eccentric, misunderstood brother Sege and high school sweetheart Rene to the children they raise.
At pivotal moments in Whit’s dreamlike reflection, at the points in time and space where lives change forever, make new choices or stick with the decisions which helped form his family. Answer, for Whit, what life would have been like. If he’d stood with his brother. If he’d stayed behind. If he’d taken the leap. If he’d said ‘Yes.’
Behold surreal environments and structures that defy reality. Soak up an ambient soundscape befitting a dream. Discover what gets left behind, and what’s worth returning to, across a selection of intimate vignettes. Make hundreds of choices on the journey back home, where dozens of possible endings await.
The game is due out later this year on the PS4. Watch the full trailer embedded below.
Hideo Kojima's latest slice of digital cinematic cinematic-ness is coming to PC in the next couple of weeks and we had the chance to go hands-on with the near-final build of Death Stranding. Running on the same DECIMA engine that powered Horizon Zero Dawn (also PC-bound in 2020), this is the sort of PC-port that bodes well for the future. Translation, it looks and runs great.
Of course we were running the game on an RTX 2080 powered rig, but still.
Running on the DECIMA engine, the same toolset that powered the also coming-to-PC Horizon Zero Dawn, Death Stranding presents an interesting case study. That being, the curious case of how a AAA and previously PlayStation 4-only release will look on PC. The short answer is, stunning.
With the game’s post-apocalyptic vision of Earth having an almost photo-real quality to it. From lush grass to highly detailed rock formations, to mud and dirt, and a realistic looking Norman Reedus (as Sam Porter Bridge) riding a future bike, carrying future parcels.
Outside of the loading times that feel very much like something from the console realm, Death Stranding’s PC port is exceptional. Support for various resolutions, high frame-rates, ultra-wide monitors, and both NVIDIA’s DLSS 2.0 rendering and AMD’s Fidelity FX image sharpening is here. Plus, some tinkering of effects like shadows, depth-of-field, and motion blur. All of that and it runs smooth and feels as responsive as you’d hope.
The SteelSeries Stratus Duo is a Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless controller from SteelSeries that presents itself as a pad that works as a mobile controller and something to set loose on your Steam library. Naturally most of our testing took place in the latter scenario, and we were definitely impressed with the results.
On the way to controller land there’s a single fork in the road, where one path leads to the analogue stick sitting atop the d-pad (ala Xbox One and Nintendo Switch) and the other where the analogue stick sits underneath (ala PlayStation 4). The SteelSeries Stratus Duo takes the PlayStation path, and for those looking for a great PlayStation-style controller for Steam – you probably needn’t read any further. The SteelSeries Stratus Duo is the choice for you, great wireless response, great battery life (better than that of the official Dual Shock) and a lightweight comfortable feel that’s perfect for longer sessions.
For everyone else, yeah, it’s a configuration that might not appeal to one’s own personal taste and preference. But even if you’re strictly in the analogue-stick on top camp, having the d-pad in the prime position means that the Stratus Duo is one the best options out there for classic 2D gaming.
Forget The Shark, Cam Smith or Adam Scott, Australia's golf creds are going to be handled by humble-as-lamingtons local lad, Luke Elvy, who joins Yank, Rich Beem as the voice of your drive, your rough, your pitch, your wedge and your put in the upcoming PGA Tour 2K21.
Maybe it's my age, or maybe it's a legitimate thing, but golf seems to be singing to new audiences these days, and that's a big statement when you consider that seminal 'Young People Can Like Golf Too' jaunt, Happy Gilmore. Here's 2K Games' official strike
The dynamic duo headline a broadcast-style presentation with play-by-play commentary to celebrate – and skewer – your best and worst achievements.
2K has revealed the PGA TOUR® 2K21 commentary trailer starring in-game, play-by-play commentary team Luke Elvy and Rich Beem. A veteran broadcaster of almost 20 years, the Australian Elvy has mainly focused on golf in his stints with outlets including CBS Sports and FOX Sports. The American Beem is a three-time PGA TOUR winner, including a win in the 2002 PGA Championship, and currently serves as a Sky Sports television commentator and golf analyst.
In the game, Elvy and Beem provide analysis and insights to anchor a broadcast-style presentation with state-of-the-art graphics, dynamic cutscenes and a seamless replay system. But be warned: While they’ll celebrate your best shots, they’ll also flame you for your worst duffs. PGA TOUR 2K21 gives Elvy and Beem an opportunity to cut loose and improvise with some unorthodox calls they may not try out on TV. Be on the lookout for Beem’s signature “Super Chicken!”
But as with all things voice and acting, words don't do personality justice. Watch a trailer highlighting all of the above, embedded below.
VR has been that tech that hasn't quite hit the mainstream but has been improving steadily over the years. In 2020 we've had some important and notable VR titles crop up including Half-Life: Alyx, Phantom: Covert Ops, and the upcoming Iron Man VR for PSVR. And with 2020 being, well, 2020 the idea of being able to escape reality to a wondrous digital landscape of possibility -- VR might just be the ticket.
Which Nathan Lawrence found out with his review of the high-end HTC Vive Cosmos - which offers some notable innovations that help make VR gaming better than ever.
When I unboxed the HTC Vive Cosmos to take it for a spin, I was particularly impressed with how easy it was to set up. Despite a mess of cables, an easy-to-follow setup installer had me up and running in no time, holding my hand through all the relevant steps in a process that was less painful than going through the rigmarole of connecting a PlayStation VR headset. Mercifully, the headset connects to a small hub with a single lengthy cable, meaning the actual headset component can be easily detached and stored, with everything else essential for play tucked away behind a screen ready to use at a later date.
VR these days seems to be mostly held back by barriers of entry: not only the initial cost of a rig powerful enough to play, but setup considerations that include play-space and a tendency to need to place sensors for true virtual movement.
The Vive Cosmos does away with those latter barriers by way of inside-out tracking, which works with impressive accuracy, even when you’re sitting or standing in a confined space. Confined space, at least in VR terms, is exactly how I’d describe my desktop area, which is like the chode of setups: more generous in terms of longitude than latitude.
FUSER is the latest slice of digital ear candy for the makers of Rock Band and Dance Central. It put players in the role of a festival dJ and the name of the game is mixing and matching and mashing up any number of tunes across a wide range of genres. We went hands-on with it last week and spoke to the Harmonix about living that festival life.
Here's the debut gameplay trailer and a snippet from our preview.
Fuser, from Harmonix, is the veteran studio’s latest music game. With a long rhythm action history that began with Amplitude and Guitar Hero on the PS2, through to the release of Rock Band and Dance Central on the Xbox 360 – and countless other games in between, this is a studio that has always been steeped in music culture. Even in long and impressive discography, Fuser is somewhat of an anomaly.
In Fuser you take on the role of a DJ at a festival, an important setting that is then used as the launch pad to let creativity and choice drive the sort of performance you want to give. Blending elements and samples from a wide range of genres, a bass line from Coldplay, a beat from Armin van Buuren, the vocals from Warren G and Nate Dogg. The result is a festival performance where mash-up, DJ, and electronic music culture all blend into an intoxicating mix of groovy highs and booty shaking lows.
And if how the studio has handled The Witcher over the years is any indication of at least the level of care Cyberpunk 2077 is in store for, then we're going to be better for it. However, CDPR's relationship with Cyberpunk Pen & Paper RPG creator, Mike Pondsmith, versus how it ended up with The Witcher creator, Andrzej Sapkowski, should at this stage mean we're in for an even more expansive explosion of the larger Cyberpunk world.
Ahead of the recent revelation of the now hotly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 anime series, Edgerunners, it was revealed a Dark Horse-published comic book series, Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team, is also on the way, dropping into standing orders and digital collections this September. Here's the synopsis:
Nadia, an assistant EMT for a privately-owned business known as Trauma Team International, is the sole survivor of a failed rescue mission turned shootout. After she agrees to continue work for an upcoming extraction mission, Nadia and her new team find themselves in an even more dangerous and life-threatening situation.
On top of these two transmedia examples, toys from McFarlane Toys featuring V and Johnny Silverhand, which I'll be promptly buying (likely alongside anything else Cyberpunk moving forward.
Ahead of the Edgerunners reveal trailer, here's some official info on the show, but you'll be waiting until 2022 to watch it:
Acclaimed Japan-based animation company, Studio Trigger, will serve as the animation studio on the series and bring the world of Cyberpunk to life with their signature, vibrant style. Hiroyuki Imaishi (Gurren Lagann, Kill la Kill, Promare) will direct the series along with assistant director Masahiko Otsuka (Gurren Lagann, Promare), creative director Hiromi Wakabayashi (Kill la Kill), character designers Yoh Yoshinari (Little Witch Academia, BNA: Brand New Animal) and Yuto Kaneko (Little Witch Academia), and the adapted screenplay by Yoshiki Usa (SSSS.GRIDMAN, Promare) and Masahiko Otsuka (Gurren Lagann, Kill la Kill, Promare).
The original score will be composed by Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill series).
So consider this a clever way to both promote the future standalone release of Techland's Hellraid -- an open-world dark fantasy hack and slash affair, which has been on development hold for a little while now, as well as a means to remain in touch through one of the most supported games from a post-release content perspective of the past few years: Dying Light.
Here's the skinny ahead of the trailer official:
Dying Light, Techland’s open-world action adventure game is getting a new DLC this Summer. Dying Light - Hellraid is based on Techland’s currently-on-hold first-person dark fantasy slasher. The gameplay released today shows the descent into Hell where the players will be able to find all new weapons and slay new enemies.
Dying Light - Hellraid DLC adds another game mode with a progression system, and can be played in both single and co-op. It will be released on July 23 for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 at $9.99. Those who preorder the DLC on Steam today will receive beta access for the weekend (June 26 - June 29).
Diablo IV's latest quarterly update is here, and Game Director Luis Barriga had a lot to share. From the current state of the game to how progress in a region works, to real-time cinematic sequences, to multiplayer, and more -- it's so much we had to go through it all in a new feature just to process it all.
An Entire Region, the Dry Steppes, is Fully Playable
Diablo IV features a huge world where you can travel between with five connected regions at will. In fact, one of the most striking revelations from BlizzCon was that you could walk from one end of Sanctuary to the other without hitting a road-block in the form of a loading screen. The latest Diablo IV playtest at Blizzard – where the entire development team sat down to experience the game together - focused on the dry desert setting of the Dry Steppes. One of the huge regions in the game.
"The Diablo IV team is still hard at work on the game (naturally) and will continue to provide in-depth quarterly updates on its progress throughout 2020.”
What made this recent playtest an important milestone was that all campaign content and quests were there alongside open-world events, dungeons, a PvP area, and cinematics. From this revelation we learn that you can complete an entire zone or region before moving on, but that it isn’t necessary, and you can simply work through the story and come back later. Tackling side-activities at your own pace.
Having all elements ready and playable in a single region has allowed the team to “see how all the current features harmonise over a longer playtime” according to Game Director Luis Barriga. Plus, PvP is now confirmed as in-game and functioning. Very cool. Development on other regions, the campaign, dungeons, and activities are of course happening too -- but this focus on the Dry Steppes paints the picture of a game coming together.
If you're aware (or a proud owner) of an LG OLED then this might as well be us preaching to the choir. But, even choirs need a good sermon every now and then -- which is what our in-depth review of the latest LG CX 65-inch 4K OLED TV is. Praise be to the benefits of OLED, Dolby Vision, G-Sync, and 4K.
After seeing it action with Control at CES 2020 we couldn't wait to test it out.
You may know a little bit about OLED technology and how it differs from regular or Q-powered LED displays. You might know that the O weirdly stands for Organic, and that its sci-fi sounding ‘emissive electroluminescent layer’ emits light based on the response of an individual pixel. There are millions of pixels in a 4K display so the whole ‘self-lit’ effect is immediate and stunning. Or, you simply recall someone saying that the black-levels on an OLED TV are the best in the business. No matter your understanding, for those that have looked into picking up a 4K TV in recent years -- you’ll be aware that the LG OLED range has built up a reputation on picture quality alone.
But, with the release of the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and new PC graphics hardware from both NVIDIA and AMD on the horizon -- an entire generation of interactive entertainment is about to kick off in a matter of months. Great picture quality is merely the jumping off point. Choosing the right display in 2020 is a decision that carries a little more weight than simply pairing it with modern streaming services and current gaming consoles.
As the latest LG OLED, dubbed the X-series -- as in tenth generation -- the CX presents a high-end display that takes OLED technology forward in meaningful ways, with new underlying chipset technology and support for next-gen features like variable refresh rates (the CX is G-Sync Compatible) and Dolby Vision for pristine industry calibrated colour and HDR. All design decisions that feel tailor-made for 2020, 2021, and beyond.
Hey fam, how's things? You keeping well? Nope, too informal. Attention readers the president and ruler of all that is and will be has an announcement to make. Nope, too formal. And a little dictator-y. Ahem. Anyway, this little general housekeeping post is to make a few announcement regarding the file server and contact form systems on AusGamers.
In that the short version of the story is that they're now both working again after not working for quite a long time. In terms of the Files service everything is back and working as it should -- and on that note we're looking to add new stuff and features there some time in the future.
Speaking of which, the 20th anniversary of AusGamers is coming up and we have big plans for it.
But, as the saying goes -- when one thing goes so too goes, err, something else. This means that for the past couple of *gulp* years all message and feedback sent via the Contact Form has ended up somewhere in the void or a parallel universe. Meaning we haven't seen it and unless we magically begin Slidin' like Jerry O'Connell they're gone forever.
For that we apologise, humbly and on one digital knee. The team here are now actively looking at all contact requests and feedback and taking all your opinions and deals on prescription meds to heart.
END HOMEFIXV43>>CC.TRANSMISSION. Nope, too Hal 9000-y.
From lil' ol Kosta and the team, we hope you're all keeping safe.
Finally CD Projekt RED let go of the controller, went AFK and bit down hard on their collective developer lips, giving us a chance to play their upcoming retro-future opus, Cyberpunk 2077.
And boy, did we take it for a spin.
Before we direct your to the opening feature, we played a lot of a big game, so actually not much at all. But a lot for the timeframe we had available, and a lot because of what we could accomplish in such a small area of the game. So much so that we have other features planned, so please check back regularly, because we've got a lot more to spill here.
Now, from our initial thoughts:
Of all the new content I experienced in my hands-on, nothing really compared from a “jump out at me” perspective than in using the Braindance system. Contextually, within the world of Cyberpunk 2077, you can purchase time with a VR-like experience of someone else’s real-world ‘recording’. As you’d expect with recorded memories, feelings, emotions, visuals and auditory pickups, porn is the first order of business. But, there’s a bustling underground scene with Braindance tapes beyond porn, and it’s in these the game delivers its ‘detective mode’.
Most games that offer some sort of ability to scan for evidence, collect physical items in relation to a scene or mission, and then deduce from all of those in tandem with storytelling, keep it on a tight string. The Batman Arkham series almost gave us what we wanted, but at the end of the day, it was breadcrumbs. The Braindance content in Cyberpunk is a combination of Strange Days and the photo technology Deckard uses in Blade Runner...
And what's even more impressive than getting to see cinematic and stylish new Cyberpunk 2077 footage is that apparently everything we see here comes from the Prologue. Naturally, intros to RPG's are massive - and CD Projekt RED's own The Witcher 3 has a pretty big one. But this, this looks to be something else entirely.
Check it out.
The trailer features new footage showcasing the world, characters, story, and action of Cyberpunk 2077. It gives players a fresh look into the dark future setting that is Night City, and the beginnings of the mercenary career of V — the ambitious, cyber-enhanced outlaw players will be stepping into the shoes of later this year.
Cyberpunk 2077 is out November 19, 2020, for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
The elevator pitch is a simple but effective one -- you take on the role of badass space Dawarves working for the space man in a 1-4 player co-op experience that is one part Minecraft and one part Left 4 Dead. After two-years in Early Access, Deep Rock Galactic is finally out in the wild and the end result is not only one of the best co-op games in years, but a definite Game of the Year contender.
Execution, especially in the co-op space, accounts for quite a lot. And on that front what the team at Ghost Ship has managed to create with Deep Rock Galactic is perhaps the finest slice of immersive co-op action and exploration we’ve seen in years. There is of course complexity and depth to be found, Deep Rock Galactic is as far from Pong as any videogame of the past few decades. But the general flow of a mission beneath the surface follows a pattern of exploration, mining, and combat even if the goal is to source x amount of shiny green Morkite or find and destroy a pair of Dreadnoughts.
The mad dash to your team’s drop pod at the end of a run becomes an exercise in pure tension, where trying to get back to your orbiting ship relatively unscathed, ready to do it all again, recalls some of the more hectic moments from Left 4 Dead. On the account of the big-beards at corporate being more interested in your haul than your livelihood.
With this blend of exploration, mining, and combat no single aspect takes precedent over another – with various Hazard levels to choose from, a mission can be as intense and nerve racking as you want it to be. Calling Deep Rock Galactic immersive isn’t a simple descriptor, and sure that’s a word we’ve thrown around quite a bit, but a key part of Deep Rock’s appeal is its presentation. A look and feel that is intrinsically tied to the mechanics and the three pillars mentioned above.