Age of Empires IV has been in development for sometime now, with Xbox studio World's Edge and RTS veteran Relic Entertainment bringing the franchise back with a brand new entry. With a special fan preview event streaming late into Saturday night (at least here in ANZ) we got our first proper look at Age 4 gameplay. Oh, and we got to interview the team too.
But first, Age of Empires 4 gameplay.
With the new campaign being presented like a high-end documentary series, athe new civs, and expanded multiplayer options, ahead of the reveal we got to sit down with Relic and World's Edge to talk about all things Age of Empires IV.
We shared with you earlier in the week we'd have a Lust from Beyond review up post its latest update, which fixes a number of issues punters were having with the game not long after its launch, and we've delivered on that promise with a spoiler-free look at a game that definitely challenges videogame norms and pushes pretty high boundaries.
We've said it twice as part of the review, but we'll triple down: the score was incidental and not meant in any way to be reflective of the content of the game, it's just where we landed when weighing it all up. But we'll understand if people give us a sideways glance.
Here's a snippet of what you could be lusting after:
As mentioned above, and befitting any homage to H.P. Lovecraft, Lust from Beyond challenges mortal perception through horror and notional ‘taboo’ concepts on planes of existence difficult to understand, yet tangibly baited through understood abstraction. In this case, lust. And it draws on art and perceived history to paint a comfortable appreciation of the importance of sex, eroticism, masochism and devotion where lust over the ages, and within myriad cultures, is concerned. It’s also how we, as mere mortals, can reach places like Lusst’ghaa and encounter otherworldly creatures, because we all share the same desires. It also helps that Victor is a so-called “Seeing” which gives him powers and makes him something of a beacon among otherwise inconsequential humanity, as far as trans-cosmic entities and their interests go.
Thanks to the lovely people at Blizzard we've got five codes for the upcoming Diablo II: Resurrected Single-player Technical Alpha on PC kicking off this weekend -- running from Saturday, April 10 at 12:01 a.m. AEST until Tuesday, April 13 at 3:00am AEST.
Specifically the Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S -- which is where the new official Xbox Wireless Headset comes into its own. It may not be as versatile as we hoped or offer up the sort of sound quality that you'd consider truly impressive -- it's hard to look past the value you get here for $150 AUD.
In terms of hardware the out-of-the-box sound is the sort of bass-heavy response you find in the more affordable side of the gaming audio spectrum, which does impact the clarity and the impact of the rest of the frequency range. It’s here, even after messing about with equalisers and profiles, where the Xbox Wireless Headset features sound best described as good for the price point -- if a little flat. And in some cases, which we’ll dive into a bit later on, impressive.
Outside of the core audio response the Xbox Wireless Headset is again, all Xbox. Which, sounds a little redundant but it highlights the lack of true versatility - device wise - with Microsoft’s offering. Not that the intended use is to connect this up to a competing console, but the lack of a 3.5mm option or a dedicated PC-dongle paired with the not that great Bluetooth performance keep this as something you’d only really use with an actual Xbox console out of the box. Again, redundant -- but when connected to an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, the Xbox Wireless Headset begins to shine.
It's here -- for the lucky few that is. The Diablo II: Resurrected Single-player Technical Alpha on PC is set to kick off this weekend beginning on Saturday, April 10 at 12:01 a.m. AEST. Where players will be able to experience the impressive remaster until Tuesday, April 13 at 3:00am AEST.
How do you know if you made it in? Well, Blizzard will be sending out notifications to a "limited selection" of players in the coming days detailing how they can jump in.
The Technical Alpha is going to be chunky too with three of the seven playable classes on offer -- Barbarian, Sorceress, and Amazon -- and the first two Acts of the game. This means you'll be battling Andariel and then traveling East to the deserts to face off against Duriel. Also, Blizzard has confirmed that there wont be a level cap either.
Diablo II: Resurrected is shaping up to be something truly special, as it retains the core experience with the addition of some breathtaking 4K 3D visuals. The team behind the remaster will also be using the Technical Alpha test on PC to get feedback from players relating to how it all feels and even what they think about some of the new quality of life changes like auto gold pickup. Plus, the new controller support too.
In terms of system requirements the game looks to be fairly modest too -- with a Nvidia GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT listed as the recommended GPU for smooth 1080p performance.
I've been following the development of Narita Boy fore some time now, on the account of its blend of '80s nostalgia, vintage synths, and classic computing has always looked nothing short of incredible. An aesthetic or style that grabbed me from day one of its original crowdfunding campaign back in 2017. Fast forward to 2021 (VHS-remote style) and the full game is now available.
And playable on PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. Where, it's also available to play on Xbox Game Pass.
A snippet from our review.
The Tron-like ‘going inside the computer’ descriptor is probably the best way to sum up Narita Boy’s premise, a character-driven tale about the Creator of a new computer and console system called the Narita One that has been lost or consumed by its bits and bytes. As Narita Boy, a human who takes on the mantle of mythical hero inside the computer, you’re tasked with stopping the menacing HIM and all manner of rogue bits of code upsetting the balance.
For those well versed in all things ‘80s computing then it’s the sort of premise that will in some way feel familiar. And with fictional characters, fictional hardware, and an entirely fictional game and hero in the form of Narita Boy, there’s as much of an ‘80s movie vibe here as there is one all about vintage computing.
Okay, okay. Maybe monsters and insanity manifest aren't so sexy in a grander scheme of all *things* cosmic; nebulous observers from unimaginable realms eyeing us with indifferent curiosity being what they are, or aren't, to our tiny grasp on the seemingly tangible, yet fragile, existence upon which we lay...
Huh? Oh, yeah right... Lust From Beyond from Movie Games Lunarium has a new update that deals with the game's sanity, and more.
Don't know what Lust From beyond is? Well, here's our full review written after application of the below updates. By the way, here's a note we found in our antique shop detailing those changes:
A Victorian mansion. A cult worshipping an otherworldly erotic deity. Among all that - you. Explore a world inspired by the works of Lovecraft, Giger, and Beksiński. See for yourself that there are no limits to dark ecstasy.
For those of you already in the sheets with this unique game, here's a list of the most recent changes in the long weekend's update:
NEW INSANITY SYSTEM
Controls DO NOT get reverted when your sanity drops to zero.
Huh? What was that?! Low sanity makes you hear creeeepy noises.
Is this real life? Or is this a fantasy? Zero sanity makes you see the
Changed spectres even in the real world!
Zero sanity spawns Insanity Clusters. Better avoid looking at them, or you could do something you’d regret.
Fix: changing key bindings now unbinds previously used keys.
Fix: equipment, end slates and character stats now display correctly on widescreen monitors.
Fix: stuck points don’t make you stuck anymore.
Fix: you can’t get two ritual knives anymore. Sorry!
Fix: jumping on concrete floor barefoot not makes a proper *plaf* noise. We also fixed it for jumping on steel bars.
Music mix was improved.
Corrupted Enthralled now sport a brand new skin.
Victor’s mutations now have new textures.
AI now acts smarter in the hotel, Bleakmoor, on the roofs, in the theatre, and in the theatre underground.
Portal tentacles are now much more wiggly-waggly.
Unmasked Amanda’s hair now looks better.
Payphone textures in Bleakmoor and the hotel have been improved.
There’s a new drawing in the drawer in the mansion attic.
Collision problems, disappearing and overlapping objects are no more.
Jonathan’s eyes are now more organic.
The Chamber of Change textures are now prettier.
Improved and added a bunch of sound effects.
Best Streamer Parrot will brighten your day in the antique shop.
Chapter One Amanda’s scar is now more... scarry.
New textures on bathroom models in Chapter Two.
Added bloodstains on the cross in the theater.
Loading a save in Chapter Five no longer spawns the enemies from the previous run.
You can hear Vorh’ns behind the wall in Chapter Six.
What’s this? Bandages on the scene in the theatre, in Chapter Six?
Fix: the Shackleys’ body in Chapter Seven now displays properly.
Bobby’s medicine from Chapter Seven now has a brand new texture.
Fix: Chapter Eight now doesn’t have strange time travel issues with recurring events from previous playthroughs.
Fix: the Russian version now has the translated version of the note in the Shackley twins’ room in Chapter Nine.
Fix: translation fix for the Amanda dialogue in Chapter Nine.
Fix: Amanda’s face doesn’t act weird anymore in Chapter Nine.
Added sound for Shackley twins reaching for the key in Chapter Nine.
Added a chess trophy in the Hall of Whispers.
Added guts on the table as well as boards in the theatre underground.
Fixed the model of the thing that Danny takes care of in Chapter Ten.
Fix: Danny climbing the table in Chapter Ten.
Removed the sanity and life depletion at the end of Chapter Ten.
Added Tim’s special something for the moment when he’s not present in the cell in Chapter Ten.
We added a new VO for when the surprise cultist from Chapter Ten is taking damage and dying.
New texture for the blood-covered cultist in Chapter Eleven.
Victor now has a new voice-over for when he does what he does with Rhea in
Fix: when Tim is kneeling in Chapter Eleven, he’s no longer spinning, even if this is a good trick.
Fix: Austerlitz’s hat in Chapter Eleven doesn’t disappear anymore.
Fix: fixed Austerlitz’s speech after Big Tim’s you-know-what after you load a checkpoint.
Added a healing platform in Lusst’ghaa in Chapter Eleven.
Fix: the possibility to leave the dining room naked in Chapter Twelve.
Removed the renewal of sanity and health before you speak with a certain character in Lusst’ghaa in Chapter Thirteen.
Added new Lusst’ghaa environmental sounds in Chapter Fourteen.
You are now able to pick up a medkit before reaching the mission goal in Chapter Fourteen.
Added blood to the dress of certain someone when he or she is wounded, and reduced the amount of blood on the bandage.
Added Lusst’ghaa environmental sounds before you start Chapter Fifteen.
Added sounds to the animation of Victor attacking a certain person after exiting the portal.
Added body collision to a certain person in Chapter Fifteen.
Added blood in the bathtub with a dead cultist in Chapter Fifteen.
In Chapter Fifteen, additional sounds during the death scene of… we won’t tell you who dies, obviously!
Added portal opening sounds for when _someone_ opens it in Chapter Fifteen.
Added a fittingly discouraging sound of a broken healing point in Chapter Fifteen.
Fixed the Japanese translation of one of the dialogues in Chapter Fifteen.
Fix: the teeth of the dead body from the epilogue don’t hover in the air anymore, for better or worse.
If you're of the mature age type and not so easily flinched, this is definitely a title to try, at least once. It might not be your bag but at least you can say you didn't coast gamer-life as a prude.
Having had the opportunity to go hands-on with the ASUS ROG Swift 360Hz PG259QNR it's safe to say that its one of the most impressive esports or competitive oriented displays you're likely to find. From its impressive panel to the somewhat insane 360Hz refresh rate to the full integration of NVIDIA Reflex.
The ASUS ROG Swift 360Hz PG259QNR is best described as a display for the competitive scene -- professional or amateur across titles like League of Legends, Dota 2, Valorant, Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, Overwatch, Rainbow Six Siege or any other title where regional tournaments occur frequently. In other words this effort from ASUS (with a panel co-developed by NVIDIA and AU Optronics) could be summed up as “for esports”.
But even that doesn’t quite tell the full picture, where in addition to the crisp and impressive 360Hz 1080p IPS panel, that also supports HDR-10, you also get access to NVIDIA Reflex via the included NVIDIA Reflex Latency Analyzer tool to both monitor and help reduce input latency in supported titles.
Yeah, you read that right. The announcement trailer for what is fast becoming my most wanted game in 2021 features a severed head being loaded onto a catapult and fired at an enemy stronghold. If you need to know more than that, I pity your idea of enthusiasm. Still, devil's in the details, and as the game's name suggests, this is a title that let's you build medieval war machines.
It's not full known if the footage here is manufactured as 'proof of concept', or if it's actually in-game, but if what's being shown is the end goal, we're all in. Here's what developer Detalion Games had to offer:
You're probably thinking to yourself: "Why a game set in the Middle Ages?" Well, we've always been interested in stories from that period. But more than knights and great battles, we were intrigued by the constructors. Those who invented all war machines and remained in the shadow of historical intrigues and victorious wars. And yet it was largely thanks to their inventions that events unfolded in such a way.
Medieval Machines Builder will allow players to begin the career of a young budding inventor who will gain more and more fame in the kingdom. The gameplay will begin with creating smaller machines, but over time players will build increasingly amazing war machines. The gameplay progresses through the entire creative process - from acquiring or creating a blueprint, to collecting and processing resources and finally constructing, testing and eventually selling your creation.
The game is up on Steam to Wishlist, however, there's no release date, or even a window yet other than "coming soon". So for now, the game's impressive announcement trailer will have to suffice. Check it out embedded below.
From Devolver Digital and Acid Nerve (the studio behind the cult hit Titan's Souls), Death's Door is a new action-adventure set to hit PC and Xbox this year. Featuring a dark yet vibrant art style, with fast and fluid action, it presents a stylish take on the age-old isometric perspective.
AusGamers: Titan Souls featured a 2D presentation, with Death's Door what were some of the challenges in moving to an isometric 3D perspective?
Acid Derve: Moving to 3D was definitely one of the biggest challenges for us, as there was a lot to figure out, but definitely worth it for the opportunities and increased potential it provides. Infact, we had already used 3D for some of Titan Souls’ bosses, in order to have smoother movement when rotating and so forth, so being able to bring this to every character was a natural step.
One of the main challenges was figuring out a workflow when it came to animation. In early prototypes, we found the process to be slower than what we were used to, as being able to rapidly prototype and iterate is very important to our development process. Mark, the programmer and combat designer, actually learnt to rig and animate from scratch at the start of this project in order to be able to keep that rapid turnaround we’re used to. Out of necessity he got good at it pretty quickly!
AusGamers: The story, art direction, and look are wonderful – what was some of the inspiration behind Death’s Door?
Acid Derve: It’s honestly hard to say at this point since it’s been brewing in our heads for so long. The Legend of Zelda is a key influence and we don’t think there can ever be too many of this kind of game. We also brought a bit of British humour to the story. Mark, who wrote the script, was probably more inspired by TV than games. Frits, the art director, was inspired by games with a heavy focus on attention to detail that makes the world cohesive and believable, like Final Fantasy IX.
Using a heavy fist attack to move forward, Dragon Shouts to dash, Netch Jelly glitches to send yourself flying, using a bucket to climb stairs -- Skyrim without walking or using the left stick. Which is what YouTube creator ymfah has managed in this endlessly inventive and entertaining video.
It's Skyrim like you've never seen it. Unlimited werewolves and becoming a god without putting one foot in front of the other.
All footage was captured using the latest version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, and yeah, without walking or using the left stick. A journey as epic as the game itself -- legendary stuff. And well worth the 50 minute runtime.