Yep, we've reached that point. We have MASSIVE amounts of Triple-A content locked in and incoming, but in the meantime, we've also been playing Bus Simulator 18 on console, which is now a thing. And, oddly, it's one of the most fun things you can do to unwind.
Here's a snippet from our unstoppingly excellent review:
The oddity is that despite the ‘loose’ rules of the game, you kind of just want to play by the rules. When you get a green star for indicating left as you leave a bus bay, it’s like all your Christmases have come at once, and then the monetary and business growth rewards that follow that are beyond appetising. That said, I do challenge anyone over the age of 18 (or 21 in the US), to try and be as precise a driver as they can be while under the influence of numerous red cordials.
We reported this week about a controversial response by Blizzard towards the winner of a recent Hearthstone esports event, suspending Ng Wai ‘blitzchung’ Chung and stripping him of his prize money after he shouted support for the protests and protesters currently engaged in action in Hong Kong. Backlash for the move went, for lack of a better term "viral", and today Blizzard's president J. Allen Brack has responded to the publisher-developer's actions.
From a statement you can read in full here, Brack exclaimed that "blitzchung used his segment to make a statement about the situation in Hong Kong—in violation of rules he acknowledged and understood, and this is why we took action", however, goes on to suggest that [Blizzard] "reacted too quickly". He also reiterates emphatically in the post that their actions had nothing to do with any stakes Blizzard has in China (and by extension with Tencent Holdings Limited). Brack also confirmed that they've decided to award blitzchung his rightful winnings because "in the tournament itself blitzchung *played* fair". They've also reduced his tournament participation ban from 12 months, down to six months. The casters who were also reprimanded have equally had their bans reduced down to six months.
So what does all of this mean?
It sets a dangerous precedent to the fledgling world of esports, but also reflects poorly on a progressive platform in gaming in general. The NFL players who've been lambasted for taking a knee in silent protest during the American national anthem, in concert with -- and in support of -- Colin Kaepernick, who did so because of racial inequality are constantly berated for their actions. "Politics has no place in sports", is the usual line these things tend to filter out of the divide, but if we consider sports as an expression of skill, character and will, then surely there is a place for personal viewpoints and character stance in an ever-connected world.
If we move to punish people for having an opinion that is wholly against oppression and want to strive towards equality, then what are we actually punishing?
Which is a big stage for a couple of small teams based in Sydney, but we're definitely keen to see what they have up their sleeve. And based on the teaser trailer (after the jump), we can see why LA Comic-Con was their platform of choice.
Not much beyond the teaser and a basic breakdown of the game has been revealed as of yet, so we'll let that do the talking, but in screenshot form alone, this is looking pretty good:
Set in a Victorian-esque world, Winter Ember follows the story of Arthur Artorias, a faceless man in pursuit of answers and revenge. Returning after a near-decade of exile to the city of Anargal, where he was stripped of his family, fortune, and past, Artorias clashes with Greater Heaven, a tyrannical religious militant faction that has seized control of the town in his absence. To survive his homecoming, Artorias must rely on his wits and use the darkness to his advantage.
Infiltrate and explore vast Gothic sandboxes brimming with treasure and mysteries to uncover. Move quickly and quietly through the shadows while surveilling the environment, peering around corners and through keyholes in search of lurking enemies and hidden passageways. In Winter Ember, there are multiple paths forward and solutions to every problem. Stalkers are rewarded for studying their surroundings and identifying less obvious modes of entry or egress.
Even when backed into a corner and seemingly forced to use a weapon, Artorias can evade combat by crafting one of more than 30 specialty arrows to escape the situation. Water missiles, for example, can douse flames and create dark new hiding spots in which to disappear.
“Sky Machine has crafted an immersive stealth game that makes wonderful use of lighting, verticality, and a deep toolset to allow players to sneak around however they see fit,” said Ben Lee, co-founder, Blowfish Studios. “We look forward to showing more of Winter Ember soon.”
No details on platforms or release dates has yet been released, but there's a good chance we'll know more after this weekend.
Check out the teaser trailer embedded below, accompanied after with a handful of screens.
Parents might get that play on words in the headline, but for those it's lost on, schools and private institutions now offer "code-cademy" for kids. Basically a class designed to make the rest of us north of 40 redundant as human beings. And Ubisoft has now bought in to the switch, utilising those pesky Rabbids.
Essentially, the developer-publisher has declared its hand for the future of game development, by serving up its silly-yet-beloved Rabbids as coding hands paws for the future:
In Rabbids Coding, the mischievous Rabbids invade a spaceship and make a mess. Players have to clean it up by entering programming commands into the spaceship’s operating system. Players of all ages will learn the basics of programming and algorithmic logic, the building blocks of coding.
Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, Rabbids Coding aims to make programming fun and accessible so that coding training is available to everyone. Rabbids Coding is easy to use for first-time coders, and it is suitable for players age seven and up (reading skills required). Throughout the 32 levels of the game, players will learn how to use sequential programming, loops and conditions. All skills and concepts will help the player optimise their program by making their coding sequence as short and as efficient as possible.
“Ubisoft is committed to preparing the next generation of video game developers, and what better way to start teaching them the basics of coding than with a fun and interactive learning experience,” said Olivier Palmieri, Game Director. “We strongly believe that video games can play an important role in learning new technical skills, and we’re looking forward to sharing Rabbids Coding as a teaching tool for all ages.”
Plenty of people have an issue with Uplay, but if the cats at Ubi continue to iterate while also looking to the future, it can't be all bad, right?
As the unofficial third Ghostbusters film, from the same creative and writing team involved in the 1984 cinema classic - Ghostbusters: The Video Game from 2009 was one of those rare cases of being a movie-to-game tie-in that was actually good. So then, how does its proton pack stack up in this 2019 remaster?
Well, we go to our resident reviewer who has Ph.D.s in both parapsychology and psychology* Adam 'Griz' Mathew.
Forget the incredibly divisive Paul Feig reboot that Ghostbusters creator Dan Akroyd clearly wasn't ecstatic about. What we have here is a 1991 continuation of the old bustin’ universe, as lovingly penned by Akroyd and Harold Ramis. Furthermore, this game features basically every memorable character you knew from the 1984 original film, as voiced by the actors that made them famous. Hell, the mid-mission moments are filled with incidental secretary banter from Janine “we got onnnne” Melnitz. Not to mention an answering machine chock full of threats from Walter “this man has no dick” Peck.
And that's just the beginning really, as clearly Terminal Reality was a development studio packed full of fans. Take the plot: early into the game you'll revisit the infamous Sedgewick Hotel – the very first freelance job undertaken by the team. Of course, cool new “ghostworld” metamorphosis moments keep these old locales feeling fresh, but it's the same nostalgic deal when you take a trip to the New York Public library, and a host of other locales.
No matter if you're in the market for a wired headset, a wireless one, one for gaming on your PC or to plug into a PS4 or Xbox One controller - to quote the tagline for The X-Files - The Choice is Out There. Or something. Anyway, the new RIG 700 HD from Plantronics is definitely the work of sci-fi as it manages to be an ultra-lightweight headset that's both comfortable and features great sound.
Those familiar with the RIG sound will be pleased to learn that the RIG 700 HD features the same excellent audio response seen in other headsets like the RIG 500 or RIG 800. This being distortion free and without an overly prominent emphasis placed on low or high frequencies. This balance allows for a simple plug-and-play approach without the need to tweak or fine tune settings.
That said, Plantronics has targeted a sub-$200 AUD price for the RIG 700 line and this means that one of the brand’s more notable partnerships – that being Dolby Atmos surround – is now a separate purchase. This doesn’t mean that the RIG 700s don’t support surround sound out of the box, you’ll just have to make do with Windows Sonic surround. Which, in case you’re wondering, does a pretty good job of virtual headset surround.
With the sequel to the Banjo Kazooie spiritual successor Yooka-Laylee going back in time to the era of Donkey Kong Country - with some great 2.5D level design. This seemingly narrowed focus has resulted in a wonderful slice of classic platforming that's full of discovery, challenge, and that unmistakable Rare charm.
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair shifts the perspective, with levels and stages presented in a more traditional 2D fashion – ala Rare’s Donkey Kong Country. An apt comparison as Impossible Lair features a few design elements reminiscent of that series, like barrels that can shoot Yooka and Laylee into harder-to-reach areas. Plus the old tumble roll off a ledge and then jump. When paired with the wonderfully detailed 3D environments and characters, what you get is a mostly 2.5D platformer with a top-down 3D overworld featuring its own suite of challenges, hidden secrets, and puzzles to solve.
Although going mostly-2D might sound like a step back in terms of ambition, the result is a more polished and balanced platformer that is often a treasure trove of clever level design and systems.
Over a number of years we've explored -- in-depth -- where we think Ubisoft Montreal (and support studios) could take the Far Cry franchise to next. From Australia to space with other explorations and deep-dives on the series in between. This time around, we've honed our design exploration skills to another frontier, and it's a wild one, too.
Without remaining too coy, we've decided that with Far Cry 5's rich and creative fictional Hope County married against the true history of the state of Montana and taking into account Far Cry New Dawn's setting, that rounding out both games with a third act in prequel form, would be a fantastic idea with an aim to also test out new gameplay ideas against tried and tested Far Cry-isms.
Here's a snippet:
During my panel with Dan and James, I asked a question about how they felt seeing other studios and gaming ventures who had borrowed, lightly or heavily, from Far Cry. Was it pride or frustration? The initial response was that in their formative years it would have been along the lines of “you sons of bitches, you stole our ideas”, but contemporarily, they see it as a boon -- though they were quick to point out that it would be creatively frustrating (in a positive way) to see a studio do something “better than we did”.
To this point, I posit that the studio maintains this more contemporary disposition and equally borrows from elsewhere -- just foundationally, for at least the first part of what I propose for Far Cry: Hope County. And where I’d be looking is Metro Exodus… bear with me here.
The day has finally arrived, with Rockstar announcing overnight that the PC version of Red Dead Redemption 2 is coming November 5. Though its release will be a little staggered, with the game arriving on the newly launched Rockstar Games Launcher with a stack of bonuses in addition to the Epic Games Store first. The Steam release will arrive a month later in December.
As per our review of the game when it made its console debut last year, Red Dead 2 is a masterpiece. Which is why the PC version has been something people have been waiting quite some time to hear more about.
Although the announcement didn't come alongside a trailer, Rockstar has confirmed that the PC release will feature graphical and technical enhancements alongside new "Bounty Hunting Missions, Gang Hideouts, Weapons and more" at launch.
Without having to share revenue no doubt Take-Two and Rockstar want players to purchase the game via the Rockstar Games Launcer - with all pre-orders automatically upgraded to Premium Editions and the company offering the choice of two free Rockstar games from a selection of titles. These being: Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Bully: Scholarship Edition, L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition, Max Payne 3: The Complete Edition.
Red Dead Redemption 2 has also been confirmed as a launch title for Google Stadia.