Hearthstone's latest expansion, Madness at the Darkmoon Faire, is set to drop next month and alongside a set of new cards it will also see the return of the Old Gods and a brand new game mode called Duels. Which blends Arena-style tournament play with single-player Dungeon Run-style treasure and progression.
Ahead of the expansion's big reveal overnight, and skinny on the new game mode, we had the chance to sit down with Blizzard to talk about closing out the Year of the Phoenix in style.
Hearthstone is on the cusp of closing out a stellar year, from the arrival of a new playable class in the form of the Demon Hunter earlier this year to the more recent jaunt through scholastic studies within the Warcraft universe as seen in Scholomance Academy. With the third and final expansion set for the Year of the Phoenix out soon, Madness at the Darkmoon Faire, it will arrive alongside a brand-new PvP mode called Duels which blends traditional competitive Hearthstone with the sort of single-player Dungeon Runs players have been enjoying for years.
Plus, there’s the long-awaited and impressive revamp to the progression system.
“We tend to be a little more adventurous with the last set of the year,” Chadd Nervig, Senior Game Designer tells me. “Because the sets are going to last a total of 16 months instead of 24 [before rotating out]. Okay, so maybe that’s not a huge margin but we tend to be a little bolder and do things that have a stronger effect on the game.”
In terms of bigger and bolder, no doubt a brand new game mode is exactly that. But Madness at Darkmoon Faire also sees the return of the Old Gods - C'thun, N'Zoth, Yogg-Saron, and Y'Shaarj. And before your brain implodes trying to wrap your head around those names, Blizzard jokingly adds that only around 30% of the team can pronounce them without blurting out a confusing mess of mouth-sounds.
Powerful entities and Legendary Cards, the Old Gods are also the source of the corruption found at Hearthstone’s version of Darkmoon Faire - alongside carnival games like Guess the Weight and Dunk Tank. Being Hearthstone those carnival activities are physically represented in the new expansion via quintessential Hearthstone cards and mechanics. The new Corrupt keyword, also has thematic ties to the tentacled beings of mysterious origin.
Among the likes of the T-800 and RoboCop, Mortal Kombat 11's guest cast is almost sitcom levels of laughter and "woooooo!"s, but hey, this is an action game that pretends to have a story, so in the end, it all makes awesome sense. Overnight, it was revealed the one man army, Rambo, would be the latest invitee to the battle for the Mortal Realms.
Here's the official readable tracks from NetherRealm:
John J. Rambo, the former Special Forces soldier, brings his unique fighting skills to the Mortal Kombat universe, equipped with his signature survival knife for up close encounters and compound bow for longer range targets. As an expert in hand-to-hand combat, Rambo attacks with vicious grapples and uses traps to keep his opponents guessing, combined with his brutal strength to take on any Kombatant who stands in his way.
Rambo, licensed by STUDIOCANAL, joins the roster as a new playable fighter on 18th Nov. as part of Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate and Kombat Pack 2 and will include character skin variants inspired by the “First Blood,” “Rambo: First Blood Part II” and “Rambo III” films.
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate pre-orders are available now providing immediate access to Mortal Kombat 11, Kombat Pack 1 and the Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Expansion upon purchase.
Players who already own Mortal Kombat 11 can upgrade their experience by pre-ordering Kombat Pack 2 now. Current Mortal Kombat 11 owners can also purchase Kombat Pack 1 or the Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Expansion for $59.95
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate and Kombat Pack 2 pre-orders will receive the Time Warriors Skin Pack at launch featuring three new character skin variants, including “Dark Web” Noob Saibot, “HCF” (Halt and Catch Fire) Liu Kang and “BloodKode ” Skarlet.
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate offers the definitive Mortal Kombat 11 experience with the addition of Kombat Pack 2 featuring new playable fighters Rain, Mileena and Rambo, along with the previously released Mortal Kombat 11 main game, Kombat Pack 1 and Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Expansion.
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is scheduled to release globally beginning 18th Nov. on PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, PlayStation®4 Pro, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles, Nintendo Switchä, PC and Stadia. Additionally, Mortal Kombat 11 and Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate owners and new buyers on PS4 or Xbox One can access free upgrades to the PS5 or Xbox Series X|S versions of their game at no additional cost, delivering 4K dynamic resolution, enhanced visuals, improved loading times and more, available in conjunction with the Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate launch.
Now that you've been given your orders, or simply gone AWOL, hiding in the shrubs, watch this childhood dream of a trailer where Arnie and Sly cross paths in one of the best OTT series of all time.
An impressive and more importantly - affordable - UltraWide from AOC. We've tested the AOC CU34G2X for several weeks and can safely say that if you're looking for that immersive cinematic feel that you get from a 21:9 aspect ratio display then there's a lot to like here.
From 144Hz to a 1ms response time to a variable refresh rate and WQHD 1440p.
There’s one key area where the PC has deviated from the traditional TV. 4K is rare on the account of low response times and refresh rates being key. QHD or 1440p is the norm, and the arrival of the UltraWide has led to impressive immersion thanks to cinematic aspect ratios. Going from 16:9 to 21:9 adds more than you’d think, and the QHD resolution of 3440x1440 offers up a broader support for GPUs to hit the all important 60fps and higher.
In the past we’ve made no secret our love for the UltraWide – the immersion it brings from seeing that much more of the world is undeniable. Until now though the barrier for entry was often the price-point. And it’s this aspect, alongside impressive performance, where the AOC CU34G2X stands out. A sub $1000 AUD UltraWide (you can pick one up for less than $800) that not only hits the preferred 1440p QHD resolution but does so at 144 Hz with FreeSync and HDR.
And to be clear "Ams", while short for amateurs", doesn't mean these players or the entry and skill level is low, rather, with established esports a thing now, there are going to be fringe players not in sponsored or owned teams who are as good, or even better, than the paid cats. Like most sports around the world.
Red Bull Flick is a new platform giving players "wings" to combat the world's best players, as amateurs. Here's the full Sugar Free can delivery:
Red Bull Flick is a new 2v2 CS:GO tournament giving amateur players from around the world the opportunity to face the best pro players in custom maps.
Red Bull Flick, a global format launched in 2019, brings a unique game mode and brand new maps to Australia for the very first time
Registrations open today for Red Bull Flick Qualifiers which kick off November 16 - 19 and 23 - 26
Influencers and Pro Players will showcase the new game mode and maps in an exhibition tournament ahead of the qualifiers on Tuesday, November 10
The online Grand Final will be broadcast live on Red Bull Twitch, November 29
Red Bull Flick introduces a unique game mode to CS:GO with Hold The Flag, where dynamic duos face off in a King-of-the-hill style match up. In the grassroots tournament setting, Red Bull offers the chance for amateur and pro players to level up with the aim to reach the live finals. To win each match, pairs will need to secure and defend the flag point for 45 seconds on maps especially designed for the new game mode. Hold the Flag comes with five new custom maps with unique settings and game mechanics to keep the competition varied; Castle, Garden, Speedway, Matrix and Himalaya are all available to play now on Steam.
Registered players will frag it out in a series of eight online qualifiers supported by ESL Australia, across November 16-19 and 23-26, where they’ll score the opportunity to play alongside professionals and amateurs alike. The Grand Final will take place on November 29, and will be live streamed for viewers from Red Bull’s Twitch Channel. The Red Bull Flick Grand Final Winning Duo will score a custom built PC each, valued at $3,000AUD.
In the lead up to the qualifiers, Red Bull will be showcasing the exclusive game mode and brand new maps live on the official Red Bull Twitch channel. Renowned gaming personalities and CS:GO pros alike, including TV alumni and gamer Stephanie ‘Hex’ Bendixsen, gaming streamers Paladin Amber, Iamfallfromgrace, Tom ‘Apocdud’ Henry and AFL Legend Mitch Robinson, will face off under the Hold the Flag conditions.
Players and fans can tune in at Red Bull Channel Two on Tuesday, November 10 at 7pm AEDT to learn the best ways to tackle the new maps and pick up some fresh strategies from potential competition.
“The introduction of a brand new game mode to CS:GO is an exciting challenge for the community. With new rules, new objectives and importantly new maps, it creates an even playing field for amateurs and pros. Definitely looking forward to seeing new and familiar strategies brought to the game.” said Apocdud, one of Australia’s most prolific CS:GO players for Chiefs Esports Club.
“We’re excited to be working with Red Bull on presenting a new and innovative game mode to our Australian esports fans. Hold the Flag offers a whole new experience for CS:GO veterans and amateurs looking to level up their game and get involved.” Said Josh Inman, Operations Manager at ESL Australia.
While esports is established, it's still growing. And games being as dynamic as they are, it's always going to change and challenge the landscape, but consider this a "pro-am" like they do in sports like golf and skateboarding; a chance to find that needle in the haystack, given wings to fly in a burgeoning world.
Microsoft's trump card beyond the awesome Game Pass subscription service is the word "family". The "Xbox family of devices" are all compatible with one another, and will be into the life cycle of Xbox Series X, meaning punters won't necessarily need to fork out overs for the new platform. And now Razer has revealed its Xbox peripherals will also follow suit.
Razer’s award-winning range of products designed for Xbox have become firm fan favourites. With each product designed to be outstanding within its category, gamers will be delighted to know that current and future Razer peripherals designed for Xbox will work seamlessly on Microsoft’s new console.
Razer Nari Ultimate Designed for Xbox The Nari Ultimate is the world’s first headset designed for Xbox with high-definition haptic feedback developed by Lofelt™. Ready for haptic feedback in the next generation with Xbox Series X, and powered by Razer HyperSense technology, the Nari Ultimate delivers a truly immersive gaming experience thanks to the high fidelity drivers providing crystal clear audio and vibration-based sensory feedback – users don’t just hear the game, they feel the game.
For more information, please see here.
Razer Wolverine Ultimate Winning multiple awards for its optimised ergonomics, interchangeable thumb sticks and d-pad adaptable for any playstyle, and lit by Razer’s Chroma Lighting, the Razer Wolverine Ultimate is the supreme controller designed for Xbox. For more information, please see here.
Razer Atrox Arcade Stick,/b>
The Razer Atrox Arcade Stick designed for Xbox is a tournament-grade fighting machine built to enhance your gaming prowess. Using premium quality Sanwa components, with 8 highly responsive, programmable buttons and a precision 8-way joystick, fighting game enthusiasts can dominate the game with the Atrox.
For more information, please see razer.com.
WHEN: Available immediately with Xbox Series X in November.
WHERE: Availability of Razer gaming peripherals devices and accessories are through Razer.com and authorised resellers.
The sooner hardware simply becomes cross-play and remains future-proofed, the better. And outside of the obvious console wars, it's looking closer and closer, but this is good news, because I love my Nari Ultimates. The haptic feedback while riding my horse across the plains in Red Dead Redemption 2 never gets old.
Funny story. Eons ago I asked a Call of Duty dev "why don't you release DLC that's story-based?". That was met with a firm no with the explanation being that the development costs around that versus interest in single-player post-release content meant it simply wasn't on their radar. Fast-forward to now, and as we've seen initially with Origins, but with Odyssey, Ubisoft has proven there's more than enough value in seasonal content, especially in open-world games. And now Valhalla is following suit.
Here's the official sagas vocal:
Today, Ubisoft announced the Assassin’s Creed® Valhalla post-launch plan, including a Season Pass with two major expansions of narratively driven gameplay and an exclusive quest. Additionally, all Assassin’s Creed Valhalla players will have access to free seasonal content including in-game events and festivals, new settlement buildings, services and games modes. Ubisoft also announced that Discovery Tour, the educational tool that lets anyone explore the game in a conflict-free environment, will be available for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla in 2021.
With the Season Pass, players will discover new territories and stories through two major expansions and an exclusive quest. Once available, expansions will be accessible early from within the structure of the main game, providing a meaningful story that adds to Valhalla’s rich open world. In addition, all players will enjoy new free content through Seasons, with each Season lasting three months – Season 1 will launch in December 2020, extending the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla experience post-launch.
The Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Season Pass is included in the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Gold, Ultimate and Collector Editions and is available for purchase separately for $59.95 AUD. The Season Pass includes:
The Legend of Beowulf quest: In this exclusive quest, players will uncover the monstrous truth behind the legend of Beowulf, available on the launch day of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
Expansion 1 - Wrath of the Druids: In this new adventure, players will journey to Ireland and unravel the mysteries of an ancient and mysterious druidic cult, tracking and discovering their members. Diving into Gaelic myths and folklores, they’ll need to fight their way through haunted forests and dazzling landscapes while gaining influence among Gaelic kings.
Expansion 2 - The Siege of Paris: In The Siege of Paris, players will have the chance to relive the most ambitious battle in Viking History with key historical figures of war-torn Frankia. During this key moment in history, players will infiltrate the fortified city of Paris and the River Seine under a prolonged siege, uncover enemy secrets, and form strategic alliances to safeguard their clan’s future.
In addition, all players will have access to an extensive line-up of free seasonal content including new narrative content and in-game events available after launch. Each season will last three months and will come with exciting content, accessible to all player types and levels of progression, focused on gameplay and world evolution.
Season 1 will launch in December 2020 with the following content planned:
A new settlement area, allowing players to continue to grow and evolve their settlement.
A traditional Viking Festival: the Yule Festival, for players to experience in their settlement.
A new game mode: the River Raids. Building on Valhalla’s core raiding mechanic the mode will deliver a dynamic, challenging and highly replayable raid experience.
The addition of the Ranks for Jomsviking: in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla players can not only create their lieutenant to be part of their raiding crew, but also recruit some from their friends and the community. In Season 1, players will see an update to the Jomsviking feature which will allow their Jomsviking to earn XP and rank up – the higher will be the rank of the lieutenant, the more silver players will earn when recruited by other players.
Finally, as for each season, Season 1 will also come with new player skills and abilities, weapons and gear, and cosmetic items for the settlement, longship, horse and raven.
Season 2 will launch in March 2021 with a new game mode that builds on Valhalla’s core combat experiences, a new Jomsviking update, festivals in the Settlement, new gear and cosmetic items, and more. More information about Season 3 and 4 will be come at a later time.
There will be more to come as the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla development team is committed to support the game and continued improvement of the core experience with additional content, yet to be revealed.
There's a lot to unpack there. But what all of this means is your life as a viking settler, raider, political manipulator and, of course, as an assassin, is going to be a journey worthy of its own songs and grand tales; a saga for the ages.
Watch a trailer highlighting all of the above, embedded below.
You gotta love videogames. I've learnt to make a pretty decent chicken ramen of late, and I'm proud of it and think it's awesome. But, you know, sometimes the simple things really are just that: too simple.
In celebration of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which we previewed in great detail, the game's local PR benefactors went on to cook up a unique competition where one lucky NSW resident could win a bowl of the $400 delicacy.
Here's the official recipe:
In celebration of Yakuza: Like a Dragon launching in the West on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One with Smart Delivery and PlayStation 4, Five Star Games has partnered with famed Sydney ramen purveyors Gumshara to create the world’s most expensive bowl of ramen. Valued at AU$400 per bowl, the broth of high-end lobster, pork and noodles will be up for grabs via the Xbox ANZ Twitter channel from midday today until the game’s launch day – 10 November.
With a regular bowl of ramen going for anywhere between $8 and $30, this “Rags to Riches” ramen flies in the face of the traditionally cheap dish to reflect Ichiban Kasuga’s story in Yakuza: Like a Dragon as he rises from rock bottom after being betrayed by the man he trusted most. Each bowl of the Rags to Riches ramen is made from over 15kg of lobster and pork bones, was created by Mori Higashida at Gumshara to reflect the sheer madness and over-the-top nature of the Yakuza series.
Mori Higashida, owner and head chef at Gumshara, says of the expensive ramen: “Being given a chance to imagine such an over-the-top ramen dish has been fantastic, and I’m proud of what we’ve created. My wife is actually a fan of the Yakuza series of videogames, so I’m familiar with the craziness of the game and hope to have captured its essence in our own way!”
Managing Director at Five Star Games and Yakuza and ramen enthusiast Darren MacBeth, says of the partnership: “The Yakuza series has always led the industry for detailed storytelling and zany gameplay in videogames, and being able to partner with an authentic tastemaker in Gumshara has been a pleasure. Fans of the series will truly enjoy Ichi’s exciting new story arc and the RPG insanity, while culinary fans will enjoy a new paradigm of rich taste in the Rags to Riches ramen.”
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the latest instalment in the Yakuza franchise and the eighth in the series to date. New protagonist Ichiban Kasuga brings with him a new style of dynamic RPG combat, whilst retaining the Yakuza series’ trademark style of spirit and wackiness as Ichi finds himself exploring Yokohama, Japan to uncover the truth behind his betrayal by his former yakuza clan.
The full list of ingredients in the Rags to Riches ramen are:
5kg high-end lobster heads
10kg quality pork bone
1x full lobster: Tempura lobster tail and golden head fashioned as a dragon head for garnish
Traditional ramen garnishes of soft-boiled seasoned egg, bamboo shoots, spring onions,
Partnering with Xbox ANZ to offer the dish as part of the major prize, the Rags to Riches ramen will go to one lucky resident of New South Wales along with a custom-made Yakuza: Like a Dragon noren (Japanese restaurant banner) and a copy of the game on the Xbox platform, while ten runners-up from around the nation will receive a noren and a copy of the game.
Wouldn't be a bad night out with all of that in your belly. Also, stay tuned for our upcoming in-depth review of the game, which is set to be one of the leading early visual benchmarks for the next-gen systems and high-end TVs.
Don't wanna keep reminding everyone, but you know, we've played this chrome puppy, so most of this isn't 'news' to us, but girl if it doesn't get us all revved for that November 19 release date... not much else can.
This game will be a defining moment in our industry. Mark our words.
So I've gone deep on this elsewhere before, but what you get from the video embedded below is a sense of just how culturally diverse this game-world really is, and from that the depth of what's in store. It's an honest game-changer, and given both links provided, you should be able to get as much as info about why this is, essentially, a must-purchase game.
Ahh Timezone, aka the Aussie version of the videogame arcade - the place to play Street Fighter II, Final Fight, Outrun, and the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game. Or, classics for-even-back-then like Pac-Man and Galaga. Partnering with a local distributor, retro cabinet company Arcade1Up is finally bringing its classic gaming to Australia.
It's worth noting that these aren't actual arcade cabinets that you'd find back in the day. For one they present emulated arcade titles on 17" LCD displays inside easy-to-assemble cabinets with arcade-style joysticks.
That said what you get is basically brand-new - and a bit of show-piece. Something that does a lot more than say a pot-plant or an armoire. Who wouldn't want a vibrant cabinet pre-loaded with '90s Capcom fighting games Marvel Super Heroes, X-Men Children of the Atom, and Punisher sitting there. Or some table-top Galaga.
Here's a breakdown of what's coming.
Marvel Arcade Machine
Games: Marvel Super Heroes, X-Men Children of the Atom, Punisher
Enter the world of Marvel with Arcade1Up’s Capcom’s Marvel Super Heroes Home Arcade Game, and collect the Infinity Gems! Battle your way through some of the most iconic Marvel characters of all time and defeat Thanos to save the universe! Players can battle as their favorite Marvel heroes and villains including, Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man and Magneto.
Classic upright "Cabinet" design. 17" full-color LCD display, full-size joystick and buttons, and built-in speaker.
Price: $999 AUD
Availability: Late December
Pac-Man 40th Edition 6-in-1
Games: Pac-Man, Pac-Man PLus, Pac N Pal, Pac Mania, Super Pac-Man, Pac Land, Galaga
Relive the glory days of arcades with this Arcade1Up Pacman 40th anniversary special edition arcade . A licensed Pacman cabinet riser lets you place this classic game anywhere in your home for hours of nostalgic fun. The game that defined an era of entertainment, this Arcade1Up Pacman 40th anniversary special edition arcade is enhanced with a light-up marquee.
Classic upright "Cabinet" design. 17" full-color LCD display, full-size joystick and buttons, and built-in speaker.
Price: $999 AUD
Availability: Late October
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (4 Players)
Games: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (1989), Turtles in Time (1991)
Cowabunga! Team up with the epic half-shell heroes in Konami’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Home Arcade Game from Arcade1Up! Fight your way through the Foot Clan, save April from Bebop and Rocksteady and defeat the all-time big baddie, Shredder! Play on your own or with up-to four friends as Arcade1Up has brought back the iconic 4 player game control deck.
Classic upright "Cabinet" design. 17" full-color LCD display, full-size joystick and buttons, and built-in speaker.
Price: $999 AUD
Availability: Late October
Pac-Man Head to Head - Black Series
Games: Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, Pac N Pal, Pac Mania, Super Pac-Man, Pac Land, Galaga, Dig Dug
Experience Pac-Man as you would have in an arcade with Arcade1Up's Head to Head Gaming Table featuring original gameplay with real feel controls. This head-to-head style cabinet is the perfect piece to finish your family or gaming room.
Price: $1199 AUD
Availability: Late November
A more affordable wall-mountable 8-in-1 NAMCO Pac-man Party-Cade will also be available for $499, and a Frogger Counter-Cade for $299. Arcade1Up games are being distributed in Australia by Powermove Distribution and will be available from the following retailers: Kogan.com, Gamesmen.com.au, Catch.com.au, Harvey Norman, TVSN, Openshop, Costco / Costco.com.au, Arcadegamer.com.au.
It's not. We're obviously talking about Assassin's Creed Valhalla, but what we want you to know is the Settlement side of the game -- where you build up your hub, community... comms (for lack of a more ninth-century-centric or apt word) -- is an incredible addition to the game. Here's why...
From our not so axe-heavy preview:
I’ve thrown two axes at once in the face of enemies in the game now. Videogame satisfying, yes, but more satisfying was upgrading all the parts of Ravensthorpe I could and seeing the real-time response to that character-to-character, and visually. This might read laboured, but that’s a little bit the point: this isn’t simply one of those games or gamified ideas you can buy your way through; it’s a labour of love. Which full-circles one of the key tenets Ubisoft itself has been labouring over in the description and direction of the game -- sure, Berserkers may or may not have existed, but they are the boogey man of tales surrounding the many clans. But no one ever talks about the explorers, farmers, party-goers or diplomats that also made up viking culture in fantastical fiction.
Ahh, the Razer BlackWidow - one of the best mechanical keyboards going around. And now, available in TKL or tenkeyless form - that is, sans number pad. Outside of stumbling when entering our Windows log-in PIN we were surprised by how little we actually needed the number pad. Plus, reminded by the great BlackWidow feel.
Ahead of opening the new Razer BlackWidow V3 Tenkeyless (TKL) mechanical gaming keyboard, I kind of knew what to expect. A great mechanical feel with a responsiveness that I’ve grown accustomed to over the past couple of years. And switches that will go the distance. Albeit, without the number pad and some of the more premium features that come from having more physical real-estate – like dedicated media keys. Or a wrist rest – which is a shame because a tenkeyless-sized version of the awesome Razer wrist-rest would have gone down a treat.
That’s another thing two-years with the Elite has done, it’s turned my wrists soft.
The Razer Ornata V2 is a premium membrane-style gaming keyboard, in that its switches aren't mechanical but a "mecha-membrane" hybrid. Clicky elements on top of the softer membrane feel. As an alternative to a straight up mechanical keyboard the Ornata V2 is somewhat of a weird proposition in that it's packed with premium features, and fairly high price-tag.
As per our review.
The gamer-focused Razer Ornata V2 presents an alternative, a hybrid of sorts that utilises a membrane switch with mechanical touches to offer-up the sort of tactile feel and feedback you normally associate with a mechanical keyboard. Except not quite. The “mecha-membrane” as it’s referred to here essentially utilises the normally less-expensive membrane style of switch (which is basically a rubber pad that triggers each key located on a single circuit) and it’s softer feel in a like-for-like version of a more premium Razer mechanical keyboard.
The only issue is that the Ornata V2 feels more like a premium membrane keyboard versus an affordable mechanical alternative.
The latest mechanical keyboard from HyperX sits atop the food-chain, with a sturdy all-steel body and per-key RGB amplified by the new "translucent HyperX Pudding Keycaps".
HyperX isn’t afraid to switch things up between product releases, often literally with new mechanical keyboards often using similar product names but featuring different overall shapes and styles of mechanical switches. That is, that thing that sits underneath each key offering up that crisp click-accuracy and feel that dates back to the era of the typewriter.
The mechanical keyboard has become something of a must for high-end gaming of late. Well, if not must then one of things where once you experience it – it’s hard to go back.
The new HyperX Alloy Elite 2 represents the very top of the HyperX keyboard food chain, where a sturdy and robust build meets advanced features like audio controls and a slick volume wheel thingy.
Having played through quite a large slice of the upcoming Yakuza: Like a Dragon on PC (it's also an Xbox Series X launch title) it's safe to say that the transition to turn-based RPG (ala Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest) is a decision that will go down in history. As one that added perhaps the secret ingredient needed to create one of the best Yakuza games to date.
Even though the turn-based nature of encounters are simple, to the point of repetition ala getting sucked into a fight every few steps as found in many a JRPG from the ‘90s - it serves as the glue to hold together.
Like a Dragon is a Yakuza experience and game that feels more cohesive and less disparate than ever before. Which is a weird thing to say, but the whole RPG angle makes every mini-game, each strange encounter, each “dungeon” of hallways and fights, feel like a piece of a larger videogame whole. Having a cool Jazz bar as a hub to unwind and get to know your party - whilst also partaking in a little karaoke - is a brilliant touch. And one that keeps with the series’ tradition of leaning into story at almost every turn. This is perhaps the game’s secret weapon, Yakuza: Like A Dragon isn’t over the top for the sake of being over the top - it’s all grounded by characters you can empathise with and stories that are, well, sweet. Even the tale about an S&M customer yearning for pain ends up being touching.
We sit down with Xbox Game Studios' World’s Edge and Melbourne developer Tantalus to discuss the creation of Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition and a classic series that has found renewed success. With Age of Empires IV currently in development over at Relic we take a deep dive into the process behind bringing back the 2005's Age of Empires III.
Age of Empires III presented a somewhat different challenge than what had come before. The original game’s 3D visuals, that is polygons and textures moving about the screen, were cutting-edge back in the day. That day though, was 2005. With the Definitive Edition the teams at Tantalus and World’s Edge had to rebuild every model, texture, and animation essentially from scratch.
“The original game still stands up despite his age,” Joss Ellis, Director of Development at Tantalus tells me. “But it's a DirectX 9 game that features pretty low poly models. When you zoom in on some of the things now, they're like cubes with blurry textures. When we started out, we were like, right, lets rev the engine.”
That revving of the engine can be seen in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition’s trailers, screenshots, and early preview builds seen to date. Where new physically-based rendering means modern, dynamic, and impressive lighting that sits alongside new higher detailed models and textures. With full DirectX 12 support, the team were also conscious of the fact that Age players also come in the form of players of a certain age - so it will scale well across everything from a modern PC beast to a somewhat older DirectX 11 rig.