Read: Because it's awesome. The trailer, that is. But ultimately that feeds into the point because Zombies as a game mode in the Call of Duty series, barring *maybe* the Advance Warfare entry, has always remained not just a fan-favourite, but arguably the most polished and unique of all. And today's Vangauard Zombies trailer is a basic highlight of the need for this mode to simplay stand on its own two rotting feet.
Taking nothing away from its inclusion in the overall Vanguard Call of Duty offering though, which we're yet to play in final form, today's trailer is also just a massive tease for wanting to jump into it in ASAP form. But here's an official debrief:
Stalingrad, 1944. The mass graves of fallen soldiers stir as Dark Aether magic animates the dead’s limbs. This is Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies.
Developed by Treyarch Studios in a franchise-first crossover, new characters and new horrors will await your arrival when Vanguard launches on 5 November AEDT/NZDT.
The four-person co-op mode continues and expands on the Dark Aether story first experienced in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. Set in World War II in the ruins of Stalingrad, this new incarnation of Zombies takes players to the darkest corners of the occult, where mortals bond with Dark Aether entities to gain immeasurable power… but at what cost?
Our contact for the undead also pointed us in the direction of Zombies blog as well as a dev Q&A. But naturally you're mostly here for the trailer, which you can watch embedded below.
You know why I referenced an old song from so long ago in the headline there? Because this review's timing is equally old, but like that song, it's a fun and ceilin' rump-shaking romp of a read. And if I still haven't caught your attention, then I'll just say that there's so much to Tales of Arise that it took a bit longer to produce, in the best way possible.
Here's a snippet from our belated review:
We’re a bit late on this review because, well, Tales of games aren’t small. And Tales of Arise might very well be one of the longest in the series yet. I made a joke in requesting code early for review that the series’ tutorials tend to be in the 10+ hour play-time camp, and in games past, that’s not an exaggerated number. Tales of Arise, however, shortens (and loosens) the learning shackles quite a bit and has you playing the game proper, after its clunky narrative and systems introduction, inside the first few hours. You’ll continue to learn more as you progress and level up, as is the nature of most JRPGs, but where Tales of instantly stands tallest over its many previous incarnations is in its early game accessibility and in setting things up for you as simply as it can. This is done so movement through the game-world quickly becomes a natural reflex, and not a constant fight with restriction (as is the case in many JRPGs) -- a welcome and somewhat new shift in delivery of proceedings.
The lite-on story setup in Arise has you playing as “Iron Mask” -- a Dahnan slave who inexplicably wears an iron mask he can somehow navigate food through and is, naturally, an amnesiac. Iron Mask also can’t feel pain and is *painfully* naive and caring; a truly tropeable piece of Japanese main lead writing when it comes to stories of this nature, yet he and the game are all the more endearing for it.
With new consoles from Sony and Microsoft alongside new displays supporting cutting edge 4K and 8K resolutions from LG and Samsung, we break down the important role of HDMI 2.1. And why you need the right cable to make the most of the games you play.
What is HDMI 2.1?
When we think of HDMI it’s best to look at the video image being sent from a console, PC, or Bluray player as raw data. Where the higher the resolution the source is, the more data required. And with each frame taking up bandwidth this means that a 4K video signal with HDR requires a lot more data than an old-timey 1080p signal. The additional information required to create those stunning ultra-HD images in games like Ratchet & Clank present an exponential challenge. A challenge that’s met and dealt with thanks to HDMI 2.1
Even though HDMI 2.0 was named so because it supported 4K for the very first time, it needed a boost in order to deal with performance-focused consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X. So then, what’s HDMI 2.1 all about? On paper it’s the latest version of HDMI, and it increases the bandwidth to allow for more image data to be sent from one end to the other.
Although the .1 makes it sound like an incremental update, HDMI 2.1 features an exponential increase in bandwidth -- going from the 18 Gbps (gigabits per second) of HDMI 2.0 up to a massive 48 Gbps. This means HDMI 2.1 can easily support 4K at 120Hz with HDR in addition to 8K at 60Hz. Something that wasn’t possible until now. And it’s set to be the new gaming standard for years to come. HDMI 2.1 is an across the board upgrade, Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) technology sees better soundbar and audio hardware compatibility that ever before and the HDR benefits from the latest standard and dynamic advancements made in that space.
And it has the most confusing trailer, to boot. That is, it's a trailer that sort of starts out trying to be funny, then loses its direction, then can't really pick itself back up again and, most importantly, doesn't really convey anything about what it's selling. Thanksfully its accompanying press release fills in the blanks.
At first this looks like it's maybe the desert version of the brilliant Frostpunk. And then maybe more like a strategy version of RAGE 2, or Mad Max, but then it just peters out to the promise of 'something'. It's just a bit of an odd trailer, is all.
Here's the promised info though:
Punk Wars tells the story of four new powers emerging from the ashes of a global cataclysm and fighting for domination of the ruins of a once magnificent megacity. Become the powerful leader of the messianic steampunk, tenebrous dieselpunk, militaristic steelpunk, or technocratic atompunk, with each faction holding the key to a different branch of industrial science, with a different set of unique skills. Explore the ruins of a bygone civilization, where resources are scarce and the dangers way too common. Develop your infrastructure and technology that will secure your triumph. Create a winning strategy and a playstyle for each faction, utilising their distinctive skills and units. Become the messiah of the new age and lead humanity towards the era of prosperity and happiness… as you see it.
In Punk Wars you will:
Take control of one of the four powerful corporations - Steampunk, Dieselpunk, Atompunk or Steelpunk - and use its unique skillset to lead it to glory. - Explore the mysteries of a ruined, post-apocalyptic megacity.
Level up your units and engage in battles that will challenge your tactical sense. - Grow your scientific, industrial and military infrastructure, creating advanced supply chains.
Seek, garner and wisely use scarce resources.
Unite humanity and lead it to the new era of peace and prosperity!
Which is a fancy way of saying Ubisoft is looking to stress test the PC build of the game and so decided to let it loose to the PC masses free for a day through Ubisoft Connect. But you need to get in quick, as this is just a one day affair, and it kicks off from tomorrow, October 12.
You'll be able to conquer mountains in Red Bull Rampage style and fashion kicking off from 6pm, October 12 AEDT, with tracks closing the same time the following day, October 13. Here's what Ubi told us you can expect:
The Riders Republic PC Play Day will give players access to all 5 career progressions, playable either in solo or PvP. Players will also be able to compete in all multiplayer modes:
Mass Race: The crazier the better in these epic, multisport races with more than 50 players*. New races appear randomly on the map every 30 minutes, so players will need to get ready to watch their blind spots, protect their position and remain agile with their skills as they fight their way to the finish line. PC Play Day will feature up to 3 different Mass Races.
Versus Mode: Players can join up with 5 friends in any career event and see who’s the very best.
Tricks Battle: Players will compete in 6v6 matchups and try to land as many tricks as possible on the various modules to capture them and earn points. The team with the highest score wins.
Free for All: In this mode, players can challenge up to 11 opponents and show them how it’s done through a select playlist of events.
The game isn't too far from release, and we've gone hands-on already with the console build, and walked away excited if Ubi can iron out all the performance kinks. But from a pure content perspective, what's here is very tantalising and fun.
It's important to get viewing experiences right, but you also want to look good while doing it. Samsung's new Neo range of panels definitely fit the "sexy and sleek" requirement of the modern technophile, but with the best blacks and brightest colours ever on a Samsung TV, the Neo QLED QN90A might just be the best overall package from the tech giant yet.
And, naturally, if you're about to step into the market for a new screen, and gaming is your jam, well this screen should definitely be of interest, too.
Here's a snippet from our review:
Quantum Dot technology makes a return as per the stretching of technology, and in the Neo, it’s as bright as I’ve experienced. This is amplified by those blacks mentioned earlier, powered through Mini LED backlighting, which makes most UHD content just pop. Now that most content streams with at least a UHD tag, it’s super noticeable in a TV like this. But the whole thing truly gets to work when you’re viewing 4K-specific content. Part of the reason we’ve taken a bit longer to post this review was to experience the whole setup across a range of purpose-made items. Most recently we’ve jumped into Apple TV+’s Foundation which, it must be said, on the Neo looks absolutely stunning as a hyper-colourful sci-fi with state-of-the-art effects.
The screen does its best to have you minimally playing with features, and to my surprise was not Auto Motion Plus-enabled once I flicked it on (it’s my most hated feature of modern smart TVs). Intelligent mode wasn’t set to default either, but the option is there for the TV to make your viewing decisions for you. I barely made any changes, which was surprising as I’m meticulous about my visual setup, and simply found the Neo to be default ready to go.
When you wait more than a decade to step out again as intergalactic bounty hunter, Samus Aran, you don't tread lightly. You goddamned run. At full tilt. Thankfully the way Nintendo treated the design of Samus' triumphant 2D side-scrolling return in Metroid Dread is more than accommodating of this style of play. In fact, The Big N insists upon it.
This review should have been up 12 hours ago, but the universe hates me and so it's fashionably late, as the kids say, but worth it I think.
Here's a snippet:
Metroid Dread makes you feel cool. Like, everything Samus does; how she stands, how she aims, how she spider magnets, how she slides, how she now melee attacks, how she combines slide and the new melee attack -- all of it. Every little thing, including dying, look fucking cool in Metroid Dread. It’s fast and furiously fumbly to control at first. There’s no hand-holding in this outing, and its pacing is a fundamentally different affair to the Primes of the gaming world. You can’t scan in Dread, which is a significant disadvantage as often things are simply marked on your map as “???” leaving you no real understanding of what they are, and often how to get by them. But this is glorious design, because you don’t have all the answers, and side-scrolling right be damned; look up, down, left, right and then beyond every one of those angles. Movement and navigation of this world, particularly when you’re stuck is the absolute key to both progression and survival.
If you're looking for a game that serves you up a heady amount of content to really bite into, Far Cry 6 is it. But is it the best game this year? We've taken it through its review paces to answer this question and more as true revolutionaries.
Here's a snippet from our review:
It’s full of secrets and things to do that, while a bit checklist-y here and there, are all varied and interesting. There’s less “rinse, repeat” in Far Cry 6 and the various tools you have at your disposal feel genuine and useful. It can be pretty annoying when you’re caught out on foot because of the sheer size of the game, but it’s been designed in such a way that a new mode of transport is never far away, nor are the options to steal and add to your livery -- be it quads, cars, trucks, planes, choppers or horses.
Structurally, in the vanilla experience I mentioned earlier, you’ve played this before if you’re at all familiar with this franchise. And like so many other Far Cry outings, the game’s knife’s edge approach to gritty and grounded storytelling is consistently out performed by its over-the-top ridiculousness. There’s a sense, sometimes, that this is deliberate. But there’s a larger issue with going all in on the dread of a big-bad like Castillo and the oppression he creates, where revolution no longer feels like a justifiable cause, nor a sharp enough hook.