The action-RPG genre is one that we're glad to see continue bringing new and genuinely interesting games in 2018 - and Shadows: Awakening although something that looks a little like Diablo, does its own thing. Thanks mainly to its story about a demon that can absorb souls. Translation - the ability to switch between classes on the fly.
Being in control of multiple classes (the game begins with just the one to ease you into switching between the real and the shadow world) is an interesting approach for an action-RPG to take. One that negates the importance of a balanced build. And so, you then deck out your magic dealer to be a glass cannon, and your melee dude to be able to straight up absorb massive amounts of damage. With each character you control having their own health and skill/mana resource, another strategic element along the lines of Marvel vs. Capcom is added – juggling between a team of fighters.
Was it a sequel to one of the most beloved open world games from the previous generation of hardware? Well, that's a somewhat cynical response. Based on the teaser trailers, screenshots, and other bits of information going into our lengthy hands-on preview with the game we expected something a bit more - greatness. But even that, would be selling it short.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is the real deal, a once in a generation experience - built from the ground up for modern current-gen hardware.
In many ways, the Van der Linde gang, as lead by Dutch, could be a VICE documentary more centred around cultism and cult leaders. As a servant of the cult, like Tom Cruise buying milk for David Miscavige, Arthur -- the player lead -- is at the beck and call of his transient boss. You gain new missions and relationships through the campsite, but it’s not a binary setting; it moves with the story and the characters within it shift based on your actions, interactions and choices. It’s unique in games, and stands tall as potentially the biggest shift from the first game. How deep it runs will remain to be seen, but as a hub away from the daily grind -- even though you’re kind of feeding it, it’s a breath of fresh air.
And we know the mixed bag that is live action Assassin's Creed media, but this one looks pretty damn good and continues to show the investment Ubi has in this new entry in the series, off the back of their extraordinary post-release content roadmap. Moreover, having played enough of the game over the past year, we can tell you this is pretty on-point. Also, it's hilarious.
Some official lines that accompany this new trailer:
Assassin’s Creed® Odyssey continually confronts players with story-altering choices, letting them pick what to say, who to trust, and what to do through a rich world that constantly evolves around them. Each choice they make has consequences. In this new live-action trailer, Alexios, descendant of the legendary Spartan general Leonidas, will have to make choices, if he wants to survive the violence, conspiracies and power struggles that are in full force 431 years BC.
The launch film of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is an homage to Trainspotting and its famous opening scene which takes apart the consumer society and the pressure it puts on the choices of individuals. The words of Irvine Welsh and the iconic “Lust for Life” song by Iggy Pop lose none of their impact as they are transposed to the heart of Ancient Greece. On the contrary, they create a spectacular and explosive contrast, while remaining as relevant as always.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will be released worldwide on October 5, 2018. Gold, Collectors and Ultimate Editions owners will have access to the game three days early, starting October 2.
Which is to be expected for a card that in addition to the new ray-tracing stuff has been designed for high-end 4K gaming on PC. With the NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti Founders Editions now out in the wild reviews have begun popping up across several trusted hardware sites. Which we've compiled for you here.
Tech Power Up
"NVIDIA has once more made significant improvements in power efficiency with their Turing architecture, which has roughly 10-15% better performance per Watt compared to Pascal. Compared to AMD, NVIDIA is now almost twice as power efficient, and twice as fast, at the same time."
Adding that the only bottleneck with the 2080 Ti is the power consumption, with card sitting at peak power for the duration of gaming. In terms of tests Assassin's Creed Odyssey at 4K saw a 37.2% increase in performance over the 1080 Ti, and Battlefield 1 a similar 35.7% increase in performance at 4K.
"The RTX 2080 Ti absolutely owns all resolutions and games, and is now the fastest graphics card you can buy. All the hype was worth it for a 30-50% increase in 4K performance over not just the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, but the TITAN Xp which was worth $1199 (USD) until the RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition arrived and took its price of $1199 (USD). It's a fairer comparison to not judge the RTX 2080 Ti against the GTX 1080 Ti, but more of 'how good is the card for $1199 that replaces the TITAN Xp'."
In terms of testing they found a 27.2% increase in 4K performance for Rise of the Tomb Raider and massive 71.8% increase in performance for Rainbow Six Siege in 4K - over the 1080 Ti.
"Face it, the RTX 2080 Ti is a beast. We're seeing some caps at lower resolution gaming, but for Ultra HD, the next step in performance has been made. Depending on title and workload you'll see 25% to maybe even 40% performance increases in this specific resolution. The RTX 2080 Ti really starts to flex muscle at 2560x1440, anything below is normalized due to driver and processor bottlenecks. We cannot think of a game that won't run really good combined with the best image quality settings."
In their testing Guru 3D found a 23% boost in performance for Grand Theft Auto V at 4K, pushing close to 100 fps. With Wolfenstein II pushing a 60% increase in 4K performance.
It's also worth mentioning that currently there aren't any specific ray-tracing titles available for full testing of the cards advanced features - but the general consensus is that once you hit 1440p and above, the difference over the 10 series becomes huge. Where gains are generally found in the 25-40% range.
Which is a big deal, as part of the closure has resulted in some USD$40 million worth in projects at the studio being cancelled. The publisher cited "reviewing the allocation of its development resources" as the defining factor in the closure, according to a report over at Gamesindustry.biz.
The same report also highlights that earlier this year the studio had 50 people laid off in an effort to restructure workload.
Capcom now intends to keep its game development stateside in Japan through its internal studios. Previously Capcom Vancouver was the publisher's only Western studio working almost exclusively on the Dead Rising series. The closure means 158 employees will be made redundant.
It's an interesting situation given the government incentives in Canada where game-development is concerned, and we hope those laid off can take advantage of that and bounce back either in the Indie scene, or find work at another studio in the bustling game development territory.
In addition to the benefit you get from G-Sync, which is hard to go back from, once you experience an UltraWide display for any extended period of time - the feeling is the same. When it comes to PC gaming, over the past year we've been doing the majority of our own playing on an UltraWide display. So when we had the chance to check out the Alienware 34 - we knew it would be impressive.
The Alienware 34 performs admirably in terms of offering all manner of adjustment options and game specific functions like displaying frame-rates and timing. In terms of any issues we noticed with the picture, well outside of the brilliant colour response and contrast there is the slightest hint of edge-light or corner-light bleeding when viewing 16:9 content. Which is to be expected with an IPS display. Ahead of the release of Nvidia’s RTX 2080 series of cards the 3440 x 1440-pixel resolution is perfect for the current 10-series, with games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider able to draw additional detail across the wider image – resulting in a noticeably more immersive experience than what we found on a standard QHD screen.
AusGamers contributor stalwart, Nathan "nachosjustice" Lawrence recently took to the Rainbow Six Siege Paris Majors Esport event, and came away with some thoughts on how Ubisoft is going about handling their seasonal competitive shooter. This is some pretty in-depth stuff for people who follow the game, and esports in general.
Here's an excerpt:
It was at the Six Invitational 2018 that Ubisoft announced some big changes to the competitive scene. The introduction of a five-round rotation on attack/defence. Transparency of operator selections between teams, albeit spliced with an optional secret sixth choice. Plus the addition of operator bans to complement the already existent map bans.
These new tournament features were in effect for the first time at the Paris Major and it was just another example of how Ubisoft Montreal actively upsets Siege’s meta multiple times a year to keep things fresh. This generally comes quarterly in the form of new operators and new maps, but unlike other competitive shooters, Ubisoft Montreal doesn’t take the approach of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Sometimes the tournament changes are concerning even on paper.
And by release date, we mean GWENT is leaving beta and Game Preview and launching proper, after what feels like an eternity in the nerf kingdom. Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales is a new single-player bite-sized RPG set in the world of The Witcher, and will also be launching this year on GOG.com and later on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Thronebraker is set to drop for PC via GOG.com this October 23 and then for Xbox One and PS4 on December 4th. You can watch a new developer video about Thronebreaker and GWENT, which is also breaking its beta shackles and launching proper on the same dates for the same platforms, respectively, after we share CDPR's official line on the project:
Thronebreaker is a single player role-playing game set in the world of The Witcher that combines narrative-driven exploration with unique puzzles and card battle mechanics. Crafted by the developers responsible for some of the most iconic moments in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the game spins a truly regal tale of Meve, a war-veteran queen of two Northern Realms — Lyria and Rivia. Facing an imminent Nilfgaardian invasion, Meve is forced to once again enter the warpath, and set out on a dark journey of destruction and revenge.
Throughout the adventure, players will explore new and never-before-seen parts of The Witcher world, embark on thought-provoking quests featuring rich, multidimensional characters. All while gathering resources to expand their army and engaging in epic story battles powered by the skill-based battle system known from GWENT: The Witcher Card Game.
Having now soaked up two very lengthy demos of Techland's Dying Light 2, while also speaking with Lead Game Designer Tymon Smektała, we've put together an incredibly in-depth and insightful interview feature surrounding the ambitious open-world game from a now premier Triple-A developer.
It also helps that we're massive fans of the original game and of how Techland went about supporting that game (and still continue to do so), and so went in with a wealth of questions Tymon was more than happy to answer in an in-depth and lengthy Q&A sessions. Here's a snippet:
Excitingly, alongside Chris are a group of writers from The Witcher series. Specifically, Tymon reveals, the writers who worked on The Bloody Baron questline as well as across the Blood and Wine expansion of The Witcher 3. There’s some serious narrative and quest-design royalty in this beefed up Techland team.
Tymon goes on to explain that they wanted to play with a different kind of sandbox to that of the first game -- a “narrative sandbox”, where choice and consequence, obviously, drives this but that it’s not specifically a story or character shift as a result of choice, rather the whole world “on many levels” changes. And while that can sound like a binary system, this is all done through the aforementioned non-linear narrative, so traditional story beats aren’t the ‘forks in the road’, so to speak, here. Moreover, Avellone has explained that choices affect the world on three levels: Narrative, Gameplay and Systems, and that the combinations of those through player-choice can either impact the world in a way you hoped, or in totally unpredictable ways that undermine your overall goals.
The Alienware name is one that shouldn't need an introduction, especially if you've ever laid eyes on a gaming rig in the past decade. As a part of Dell, Alienware is not only one of the premiere gaming brands in terms of hardware but one also associated with quality and its own distinct look and feel.
As we found out in our review of the Alienware Pro Gaming Keyboard.
As a gaming keyboard the Alienware AW768 pulls no punches in terms of the underlying hardware. The use of Brown switches hits that sweet spot of tactile feedback without an overly click-y response, suiting most applications from gaming to typing. Although only available in this style of mechanical key, it’s not a detriment to overall product. At 1.46 kg the AW768 is weighty too, more so than most keyboard alternatives - which place it firmly in the camp of a ‘park it once and watch it never move’ peripheral.
Yeah, so with its swappable side-panels and adjustable weight Alienware's Elite Gaming Mouse certainly lives up to its name when it comes to features and functionality. There's only one issue though.
At a glance the AW958 may not feature the most outlandish mouse design we’ve ever seen, and one could even easily compare its overall shape to other devices currently on the market. The only problem though is that no matter the weight distribution, or side-panel choice - it’s just not that comfortable to hold for any extended period. The thumb positioning always feels a little off and clicking itself feels a tad too loose an unimpressive.
And having played a round or two at Gamescom this year, I can tell you it's actually pretty damn good. And while you might already be baulking at "yet another Battle Royale" game, Bad Blood is more of an exception because it truly shakes things up and goes about it in its own way.
And by that I mean this is just 12 people in an open map who need to "get to da choppa!". The only problem is there's just one spot on the chopper, and the only way you take that last seat is through collecting enough blood samples either extracted from infected piles of flesh protected by zombies, or by stealing other players' samples. It's not imperative you actually kill each other at all, but given the nature and make-up of the game, it's highly likely you'll kill each other.
Different tactics, however, present themselves through player distraction, hide and seek, follow the leader and more. For example, while one player is taking on, say, a Demolisher and his enclave of common infected, you can sneak into the sample area and extract the sample right out from under his or her distracted nose. And good players can also track the movements of players pro-actively seeking samples, to simply lay in wait for those distractions to manifest. Or, if one player has gained enough samples for a seat on the chopper, you can ignore scavenging for your own and simply hide somewhere in the LZ and attack them as soon as they come for that precious seat. Smart players will even spend their time building the best weapons they can (lifted from the original game) and ignore the samples in an effort to simply ambush the other busy-bee sample collectors.
The game is out in Early Access today via a "Founders Pack" which will set you back USD$19.99 (currently AUD$27.76), however, the full release of the game will actually be Free to Play. The Founders Pack does offer up exclusive items and once the game is released proper, those items will never be available again. They're also planning on a late 2018 - early 2019 release, so forking over cash now will give you more than a few months' worth of exposure to what I can tell you is a very exciting and fun spin on Battle Royale.
The next instalment in the frustratingly awesome Trials series, Trials Rising, is now in beta and Ubisoft has been nice enough to give us a fairly hefty supply of them. No skill test or anything needed here, because your skills will be tested in the game, all you need to do is let us know you want a code and we'll PM you yours.
Then you just head over to this link here, enter the code we gave you, choose your platform (PC, PS4, Xbox One - sorry, no Nintendo Switch) and viola, you'll be pulling your hair out and throwing tantrums like everybody else in the beta.
Thanks to lovely people at Blizzard Entertainment we've got 10 Virtual Tickets for BlizzCon 2018 to give away! All you have to do is answer a pretty simple Blizzard-related question to go into the running.
Never Miss a Moment: The opening ceremony and esports are free, but the Virtual Ticket is the only way to watch the Mythic, Legendary, and Epic stages live from home, so you won’t miss any of the developer panels, Community Night contests, or epic closing festivities. Go even deeper with the BlizzCon All-Access Channel, complete with exclusive developer interviews, commentary, and more.
Explore Original BlizzCon Video Series: Unlock full access to unique BlizzCon programming that takes you behind the scenes at Blizzard and beyond the walls of the convention center. Discover Blizzard history inside The Vault, explore artists’ creative process in Drawn to Adventure, and much more. New episodes debut regularly in the weeks leading up to BlizzCon—some available free, and all unlocked via the Virtual Ticket.
Snag Epic In-Game Loot: Between now and the start of BlizzCon, unlock a treasure trove of commemorative in-game goodies for World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, StarCraft: Remastered, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, and Diablo III. Kick things off with a legendary Overwatch Demon Hunter skin for Sombra—available in-game starting today.
Help Shape the Show: Don’t just watch BlizzCon—participate in it, too! Build a BlizzCon panel alongside others from the Blizzard community, then watch what you help created come to life live during the main event. (Build-a-Panel voting will be available for a limited time—visit BlizzCon.com to learn more and keep up with the results.)
Watch On-Demand Replays: Miss a revelation during a World of Warcraft or Overwatch developer discussion? Does one of your must-see Hearthstone panels conflict with a can’t-miss StarCraft II match? Relive your favourite moments on demand with the Virtual Ticket at BlizzCon.com or in the BlizzCon Mobile App through 31 March, 2019 AEDT/NZDT. The Virtual Ticket also unlocks access to a wide variety of panels and original video series from the BlizzCon 2017 video archives.
Post-release content can be purchased early on with a Season Pass, or individually as they come in, while the publisher has also revealed on top of paid post-release content there will be free story-based content, as well as daily and weekly in-game events.
For our most recent thoughts on Assassin's Creed Odyssey, click here, otherwise here's a detailed breakdown of the planned post-release content ahead of a trailer embedded below, and can we just say it's about time publishers and developers looked at post-release support in this manner, especially where in-depth and large open-world games are concerned.
The Assassin’s Creed Odyssey post launch plan includes a Season Pass with two major, episodic pieces of narratively driven gameplay and Assassin’s Creed III Remastered. Additionally, all Assassin’s Creed Odyssey players will have access to free content including the story-focused and episodic Lost Tales of Greece as well as daily and weekly in-game events.
The Assassin’s Creed Odyssey live roadmap plan is the biggest and most ambitious in the franchise, giving players more story content than ever in a brand new, episodic format, for the two story arcs included in the Season Pass. Players will be able to dive into new episodes as they premiere, or experience the epic adventures in their entirety once all episodes are available. Keeping in tone with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, accessing this new content will be all about player choice.
The Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Season Pass includes:
Story Arc 1 - Legacy of the First Blade: This episodic adventure will introduce players to the first hero to wield the iconic hidden blade, changing the course of history. Players will learn more about the backstory of the Assassins and why they choose to fight from the shadows. Starting December 2018, episodes will be released approximately six weeks apart.
Story Arc II - The Fate of Atlantis: In the second story arc, players will confront godly creatures and uncover the secrets of the legendary sunken city. In a surprising saga filled with twists and turns, players will get even closer to Greek mythology and the First Civilization. Coming autumn 2019, episodes will be released approximately six weeks apart.
Assassin’s Creed III Remastered: Ignite the American Revolution as Connor, the master assassin born of the beauty and the brutality of 18th century America. As a bloody revolution draws ever nearer, your clan is threatened by a powerful group seeking to crush the American Revolution and control the thirteen colonies. Shocked into action by the devastation of your village, you pledge your life to the cause of freedom, and embark on a decades-long quest to achieve it. Assassin’s Creed III Remastered will be released in March 2019 and will include:
All the DLCs: Benedict Arnold Missions, Hidden Secrets Pack and Tyranny of King George.
Assassin’s Creed Liberation Remastered.
The Remastered editions will feature 4K and & HDR on PS4™ Pro, Xbox One X and PC, higher resolution textures, new graphics engine, and several more other graphical enhancements. Gameplay mechanics and ergonomics have also been improved. Assassin’s Creed III Remastered will be sold as a stand-alone title for players who do not own the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Season Pass.
In addition, an extensive line-up of free content including new narrative content and in-game events will be available for all players after launch, including:
The Lost Tales of Greece: Free episodic questlines will release regularly in-between episodes, providing a constant flow of new stories for players to discover. These quests will feature familiar faces and new characters from the world of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Recurring In-Game Events: Each week a new epic ship or mercenary will appear, presenting players with challenging battles as they hunt down these powerful enemies. Daily and weekly contracts will send players on new quests across Greece.
Discovery Tour: The educational tool that lets anyone explore the game in a conflict-free environment, will be available for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Players can traverse the entire interactive 3D recreation of Ancient Greece, free of conflict, time pressure or gameplay constraints, after launch.
Many more updates, including new monstrous and mythical creatures to defy and a New Game Plus mode presenting new challenges and the ability to see how different choices affect players’ stories.
Additionally, Ubisoft has said even more content will be revealed at a later date as they intend to support the game as much as possible, which makes sense given the publisher has also revealed there won't be another Assassin's Creed next year. Watch a trailer highlighting all of the above, below.
Well one look at the price tag and you'd probably agree, with Razer not taking any shortcuts to create what is no doubt a premium controller for the PlayStation 4 with a number of great features. And exceptional build quality.
Without an official Elite-style controller, where sturdy build quality and design touches like interchangeable thumb sticks and d-pads and panels factor into the premium pricing, something like the Razer Raiju Ultimate fits in nicely into the realm of the PlayStation 4 accessory. Well, perfectly actually. It ticks all the right boxes – from the exceptional build quality and hard rubber finish to the comfortable grips to the interchangeable thumb sticks. It even comes with high-quality carry case, and support for both USB play and PC compatibility through Bluetooth. Plus, a few handy shortcut buttons. And RGB Chroma lighting.
Ultimate in every way – there’s only one drawback.
We were recently given a chance to take on the first opening hours of Assassin's Creed Odyssey with no preview strings -- we could go anywhere and attempt to do anything. What we emerged with, from a content perspective is a game that is truly ever-reaching and player aware.
Which is to say this is shaping up to be the most complete Assassin's Creed yet where player choice and consequence aren't just a part of a larger narrative defining tilt, but also in the much smaller, more intimate parts of the game.
Here's a snippet:
Still, staples remain. You have a pet eagle you use to synchronise the map (ie, reveal points of interest) as well as to tactically scope out strongholds and find treasures. You have parkour skills, a bow, bladed weapons (as well as spears and other two-handed weapons), armour and more. You gain bounties this time around, too. Which is something you’ll encounter early. However, this isn’t nearly as binary as the Phylakes bounties of Origins, and the game even features a menu dedicated to “Mercenaries”. In here you can learn information about any bounties you have, and the mercenaries that have taken up the job. Some of these bounties can be paid off by you, which is another great use of in-game currency, however, some won’t be able to be paid leaving you with a choice to essentially avoid that mercenary as much as possible, or take them on. Some mercenaries will be a higher level than you, which is also another great way of promoting character growth, while also pulling the game-world in more closely around you.