Xbox Series X Archives – Destructoid Probably About Video Games Fri, 11 Nov 2022 12:49:18 +0000 en-CA hourly 1 211000526 Delve into Cagliostro’s Secrets in new Steelrising DLC Fri, 11 Nov 2022 20:00:08 +0000 steelrising dlc cagliostro's secrets nacon

But where's Lupin III?

Nacon has announced the arrival of a new DLC expansion for its robo-revolutionary RPG Steelrising — T Cagliostro's Secrets story expansion is available to purchase now on PS5, PC, and Xbox Series X, priced at $14.99. The new gameplay can be accessed once the player has completed the "Bastille" mission.

Cagliostro's Secrets throws a little more heavy metal action in the divine Aegis' path. The DLC includes a new area, Hôpital Saint Louis, which features a new questline and several brand new enemies, along with variants on some of Steelrising's already established mechanical nightmares. In addition, the DLC drop adds five new weapons to our girl's arsenal of death, and includes several brand new side-quests that can be found and completed in Steelrising's other districts.

While Steelrising was not quite the gemstone it might have been, I still found it a gorgeous-looking and very challenging adventure, that rose above its budgetary shortcomings thanks to its classy visuals and in-depth combat mechanics. While certainly not for everyone, the ambitious adventure is a sign that, as a developer, Spiders is growing with each successive release, and I hope that a future sequel could really deliver upon the game's compelling premise.

Steelrising is available now on PS5, PC, and Xbox Series X.

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Control 2 officially announced by Remedy and 505 Games Fri, 11 Nov 2022 12:30:48 +0000 control 2 ps5 pc xbox series x

Regaining Control

In something of a subdued revelation, Remedy Entertainment has announced that it is to begin work on a sequel to its mind-warping 2019 action-adventure, Control Control 2 will be developed as a joint project between Remedy and developer/publisher 505 Games.

"With Control, we leaped into the unknown. We wanted to create something new. Something different and unexpected. A world like no other. Thank you, the audience, for making Control such a success for us," writes game director Mikael Kasurinen on the Remedy Entertainment website.

"With Control 2, we’ll take another leap into the unknown. It’ll be an unexpected journey. It’ll take a while, but to put it mildly, this is the most exciting project I’ve ever worked on. It’s still early days, but it will be worth the wait."

control 2 concept art

505 Games also spoke of its excitement to work on the reality-breaking new project.

"We are excited to deepen our cooperation with Remedy and continue the success story of Control together. Since its launch in 2019, Control has sold over three million copies," said 505 Games co-CEOs Rami and Raffi Galante. "Control is the biggest investment 505 Games has ever made, so it has a special place in our hearts. We are grateful to the whole player community that has made Control such a long-lasting and loved game, and are even more excited to bring out Control 2."

While details are non-existent regarding the sequel's narrative, the companies announced that the sequel would be developed for PS5, PC, and Xbox Series X, utilizing Remedy’s "Northlight" engine to create its dimension-splitting worlds. Remedy will be charged with publishing duties on console platforms, while 505 Games will handle marketing/release on PC. Control 2 is clearly in its very early concept stages, so it is unlikely that we'll be seeing anything of the project within the coming year.

Control 2 is currently in development at Remedy Entertainment and 505 Games.

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Massive Halo Infinite update adds more achievements and much-delayed modes Thu, 10 Nov 2022 17:00:53 +0000 Massive Halo Infinite update

Network campaign co-op and campaign mission replays are among what's added

I enjoyed Halo Infinite at launch, but there was a lot that was promised that needed to eventually make it in. It seems as if this November update is going to make due on a lot of prior delays.

Here are the main sticking points of the Halo Infinite 2022 November Patch:

  • Network campaign co-op (four player co-op in the campaign)
  • Campaign mission replay (this seems like a launch type feature, but it's here now)
  • More campaign achievements (420 additional Gamerscore)
  • Forge mode (in beta form)
  • Season pass progression updates (more of a focus on match XP)
  • A 30-tier winter battle pass is live

Studio 343 explains that you can play the "entire Halo Infinite campaign together" with up to four players in total, so it doesn't seem like a half-measure. As for the Forge, 343 stresses that it's in beta form: "Halo Infinite Forge mode is currently in a beta state, meaning that additional improvements are planned. The Forge Beta will support canvas maps and not developer-made maps (such as Live Fire, Recharge, Fragmentation, etc.). Support for developer-made maps will be implemented in a future update."

Weirdly, 343 still hasn't figured out battle pass progression yet, and will be implementing a "match XP beta" (what?) on top of the challenge system.

Here's a brief look at the changes to Halo Infinite's XP progression system:

  • Arena Match Complete: 150 XP
  • Big Team Battle (BTB) Match Complete: 250 XP
  • Featured Match Complete: 200 XP
  • Winning Team: 50 XP
  • Match MVP: 50 XP
  • Top 50% of Team: 50 XP
  • Free-For-All placement
    • 1st: 150 XP
    • 2nd: 100 XP
    • 3rd: 50 XP
    • 4th: 50 XP
    • 5th: 50 XP

If you can believe it, progression systems in live service games that have been in operation for nearly a year need betas.

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Review: Sonic Frontiers Wed, 09 Nov 2022 20:00:02 +0000 Review: Sonic Frontiers 0

An uneven surprise

Look, any given Sonic Team production can go wrong: it's just a fact of life. Even if something seems like a sure thing, the "Sonic Cycle" is jokingly shared for a reason.

An open world Sonic game that draws upon well-liked inspirations like Zelda: Breath of the Wild seemed like something that wouldn't be disastrous at the very least. Thankfully, it isn't. But some of it is definitely an acquired taste.

Review: Sonic Frontiers 1

Sonic Frontiers (PC, PS4, PS5 [reviewed], Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S)
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
Released: November 8, 2022
MSRP: $59.99

I don't think any franchise has as many people rooting for it through thick and thin like Sonic. Every single update that Sega provided in the marketing campaign leading up to launch had something off about it, and at every turn, people found something positive to talk about. You know what? Sonic Frontiers' whole vibe is something is off, but there's so much good stuff in here that I slowly started to get sucked in and enjoy the ride.

One of Frontiers' wonky details involves its dramatic and somber tone. Unlike Forces (and all the torture that entailed), it actually does work though. Because of a failed Eggman experiment, Sonic and his friends are thrust into Cyber Space: a mysterious and deadly world. There they encounter Sage, and a bunch of other AI monsters bent on killing them. It's a very simple Saturday morning cartoon/Sonic X fish out of water setup.

The crew is still super cute, and bringing back most of the current voice cast (as well as providing an option for Japanese audio) helps a lot. While not everyone connects with Roger Craig Smith as Sonic, I've been a fan for a while now, especially after his turn in Sonic Boom (which generally has more clever writing than the entire game series). Scenes between Eggman and Sage, occasionally sprinkled into the story, are fun to watch too.

Smartly, Sonic Frontiers also capitalizes on nostalgia. One of the first things you see is the level-based format, complete with a Green Hill Zone motif. These are the traditional "few minutes or less" stages that you'll be doing in tandem with the open world, and while many of them don't aim super high, they're consistent in quality and aligned with the layouts of a lot of the more well-liked 3D Sonic games (including the 2D viewpoint, utilized heavily in Sonic Colors). A light ranking system encourages repeat (quick) playthroughs, asking players to find all of the red ring collectibles, get a specific clear/par time, finish the stage with a certain amount of rings, and so on.

The open world shtick is the delivery system for these stages and big boss encounters. Here is where Sonic Frontiers starts to get jankier, for better or worse. The best phrase that describes the open world portion is "over-engineered." Sonic has so many skills (and a one-page skill tree), many combat combos, and stat upgrade paths: but you really don't need almost any of them, even on hard mode. Sonic's core still involves going really fast, and the tools the game provides you at the very start can do just that, and get 90% of the job done in any given situation.

Those core abilities include the light speed dash (clicking the analog stick to dash into rings) and the "Cyloop," which lets Sonic create a ring where he dashes (connecting it will either stun enemies or solve a puzzle). That's pretty much all you need, which does work in the game's favor. When exploring, you generally aren't "locked out" of going places. Sure there is some gating (especially in regards to the requirement to take down minibosses or find gears to unlock the aforementioned traditional Cyber Space levels, which in turn unlock keys to unlock Chaos Emeralds): and as you can tell, the unlocking/sequential collectible schema is out of control.

The key thing I need to communicate is that running through the open world sandboxes is fun. No, not every puzzle lands, and there should have been more ingenuity and variety on that front. But by and large, you can roam around, collect pickups through exploration, and still progress through the core game. It's a really smart move that even feels like a pivot mid-development, because requiring players to do only rote puzzles to move on would have been a huge mistake.

You can find gears and keys out in the open world to keep the story going, which cut down on my annoyance with the framework. There were many times in any given map (including the three main ones) where I didn't clear entire stages: either because I earned a ton of keys from 100%ing one of them, or found enough gears/keys on my own through random map-based treasure drops.

Review: Sonic Frontiers 2

The 60 FPS mode on current-gen consoles/PC (I played on PS5, where it has 4K visual or performance 60 FPS options) does limit the jank where it matters (though bosses are generally janky all the way through). The amount of control we have over Sonic in Frontiers is wonderful, lending some credence to the age-old marketing adage of "if you can see it, you can go there." Of course that's not completely true, as some sections in Frontiers are gated off, but you do have the freedom to devise alternate means of travel, and zoom about to locate random secrets and pickups.

After dealing with mixed bouts of quality on the first island, by the time I got to the second, things started to come together. The designs got more interesting, the enemies started using different tactics, and I even got lost a few times: in a Sonic game. That's a cool feeling, especially when you have so much control over Sonic, and stumble across some secrets along the way (including the soothing and simplistic fishing minigame).

There's a fair bit of discovery at the core of Sonic Frontiers, and the more organic experiences are the ones that made the game click. At one point I was dashing around like an idiot, and a random event happened that spawned hundreds of glowing meteor pieces on the map. After collecting them, a slot machine appeared and granting me fishing tokens. That's one of the most insane-sounding sentences I've ever typed for a review, but here we are. You're also asked to play a crane game, do a light/pillar puzzle, and weed a garden. It's unpredictable to the point of being charming, as all of these things take a few minutes to finish at best, then you're on to the next oddity.

There's a lot I'd like to see improved upon in a Sonic Frontiers sequel (which they should absolutely do), but I had fun playing around with the open world format, and just skipping some of the more boring stuff that I didn't want to do. If you haven't given up on Sonic yet, you'll find a lot to love as you wade through some of the muck.

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Bring back the Chao Garden for games like Sonic Frontiers Wed, 09 Nov 2022 15:00:15 +0000 Bring back the Chao Garden for games like Sonic Frontiers

Just do it in an app

Back in my day, our 3D Sonic games had Chao Gardens. OK, so maybe it was only really for Sonic Adventure 2, and anyone who was caught in that web at the time just eternally associates Chaos with Sonic (ha). To be fair, they have appeared in various games as mascots of sorts, and as several higher-ups in Sega have pointed out: they are present in spinoffs like Team Sonic Racing. Sadly, Sonic Frontiers continues the trend of not having an in-game Chao Garden. But I think it's time to change that.

I know some of you are probably sighing at the idea of digging up an old 3D Sonic trend, but there's so much potential here. Most people liked the Chao Adventure gimmick with the VMU, right? While not quite a "garden" per se, the idea of getting a whole extra game within a game was mind blowing at the time. I mean, the VMU was way ahead of its time too, but learning that you just bought Sonic Adventure and got a free digital Tamagotchi pet was insane: and part of the reason why the Dreamcast earned its reputation as a quirky and enduring console. All of that can be done within an app now, which can interact with any given future Sonic entry.

Funnily enough, producer for Sonic Frontiers, Takashi Iizuka, laughed when asked about Chaos earlier this year. Game Informer spoke to him with a "rapid fire" question format, and asked "is there a Chao Garden in the game," he replied firmly with a "no." The next rapid fire question was "are Chaos just extinct at this point?" which he also replied with "no," while laughing. You can find that segment here at this timestamp (4:50).

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Sonic Frontiers has free shoe DLC for newsletter subscribers Tue, 08 Nov 2022 12:45:11 +0000 Sonic Frontiers DLC

How to Get the SA2 Shoes DLC

Sonic Frontiers DLC is already available in some form before its November 8 release date: by way of a Soap shoes-esque cosmetic add-on through the game's official site. You might recognize them from Sonic Adventures 2!

Here's the full details from Sega:

"Sign up by January 31, 2023 and get in-game content exclusively available to our newsletter subscribers*! Simply enter your details and we'll email a code straight to your inbox after Sonic Frontiers has been released on November 8, 2022. We’ll send more details about the in-game content and how to redeem your code to download the in-game content at a later date.* Available in selected regions for a limited time only. Sonic Frontiers game (sold separately) necessary to access in-game content. Gaming device must be connected to the internet to download in-game content."

If you want the SA2 shoes, you can go to the bottom of the official site here, and click "subscribe to the newsletter." From there it'll ask you to enter your email, date of birth, country, and what platform you'd like to get the in-game DLC on (which includes Switch, PC [Epic/Steam], PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S).

While we still don't have any major details on how equipment will work (or the "Blue Seeds of Defense/Red Seeds of Power" bonuses from the pre-order incentive), it seems like it'll be a self-explanatory transmog system. The same goes for the Blue Seeds of Defense and Red Seeds of Power, which will likely boost Sonic's resilience and attack damage respectively.

[Update: With the game launching this week, we figured it was good to get a reminder up! You can still sign up for the shoe DLC, it'll just roll out "24-48 hours" after signing up, according to the site.]

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Overwatch 2 roadmap updates & information post launch Sun, 06 Nov 2022 19:03:40 +0000 Overwatch 2 Junker Queen

Seasonal updates every nine weeks

[Update: This article has been updated with new information revealed in the time since launch.]

During the Overwatch 2 Reveal Event this morning, Blizzard elaborated (somewhat!) on its free-to-play launch and what's in the content pipeline for this live-service sequel.

If you've been waiting to hear more about PvE, welp, that wasn't the focus of today's stream — and the new story missions won't be playable until 2023 — but we've got a roadmap for PvP and confirmation that loot boxes are out and a battle pass format is in.

Coming off of Overwatch 1, the team's main goal is to try and deliver content on a "frequent and consistent basis," according to game director Aaron Keller.

Currently, they're committing to major updates every nine weeks, starting with the launch on October 4. "Players can expect to see a new hero every other season, with elements like new maps and game modes in the seasons between," Blizzard said in a blog post.

The 2022 roadmap and a tease for 2023

[caption id="attachment_330516" align="alignnone" width="1920"]Overwatch 2 seasonal roadmap Season 1 starts on October 4, followed by Season 2 on December 6.[/caption]

As you can see from this roadmap, Season 1 of Overwatch 2 will be out on October 4 with three new heroes — Sojourn, Junker Queen, and a new support hero, who Blizzard teased with a snippet of footage featuring a spirit fox (that we've come to k now as Kiriko). It'll also be the debut of Push mode, six new maps, and more than 30 character skins, including a new Mythic tier of skins.

The first example of a Mythic skin was a cool Cyber Demon skin for Genji with customization elements like tattoos, masks, and colors. I'm... intrigued! And also worried about how much Mythic skins will cost (whether that's actual money or time invested).

The Season 1 Overwatch 2 hero: Kiriko

Kiriko is a support hero hailing from Japan.

The Season 2 Overwatch 2 hero: Ramattra

Ramattra is a tank hero, and is an Omnic that hails from Null Sector.

[caption id="attachment_330523" align="alignnone" width="1920"]Cyber Demon Mythic Genji skin Our first look at a customizable Mythic-tier skin for Genji.[/caption]

Other new cosmetics, like banners and weapon charms, will help pad out the battle pass; one example was a little frosted donut keychain. There will be a shop with virtual currency.


Crucially, with all of this new Stuff for players to stockpile, Blizzard said that if you earn something on console, PC, or in Overwatch 1, you can use it in Overwatch 2. In other words, there's cross-platform progression, which is definitely something they had to deliver. That said, the first Overwatch 2 battle pass won't be ready until Season 2 starts on December 6. After all this time, the launch — well, the "rollout," really — sure seems gradual.

[caption id="attachment_330543" align="alignnone" width="1920"]Overwatch 2 battle pass An early look at the Season 1 battle pass.[/caption]


Starting with Season 1 on October 4, Overwatch 2 will have "a reimagined competitive experience that was created to give players more tools to improve gameplay and feel a sense of progression in competitive play," according to Blizzard. "Players will have more of an impact on individual matches with the shift to 5v5, and there will be additional systems in place to help you discern your contributions per match."

Overwatch 2 PvE and story mode release date

As for Overwatch 2 PvE, we got a few gameplay glimpses of Null Sector's return and some fairly open-ended developer quotes about the team's ambitions.

"With PvE, we have an opportunity to go a step further, to go deeper into diverse storytelling in ways that we really just haven't been able to before," said Keller. It'll be delivered starting in 2023 "through live service," just like the PvP content. The team plans to show off (more of) where the characters are from in these PvE "experiences."

Beta sign-ups

A new map, Rio, and Junker Queen, will be playable in the Overwatch 2 closed beta starting on June 28. Beta sign-ups are now available for PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.

Notably, "Beta access does not roll over from the previous Overwatch 2 PvP Beta."

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Ramattra will be your next Overwatch 2 hero Sat, 05 Nov 2022 02:26:49 +0000 Overwatch 2 Season 2

Rumors did not have it

Signs pointed to a big reveal of Mauga as the next hero to join the Overwatch 2 cast at tonight's Overwatch League Grand Finals. But, signs are often wrong, and during the event, a different character was revealed to be joining the fight next. An omnic and the leader of Null Sector, Ramattra will be the next tank to join the roster in Overwatch 2 season 2. Ramattra is on a mission to make the world a better place for the omnics by any means necessary. This will be the second tank added to the Overwatch cast since the game was relaunched as Overwatch 2.

Ramattra will join the hero shooter on December 6. As somebody who played the original Overwatch for many months after Blizzard stopped adding new characters, it's great to finally see a steady flow of new faces for the game. Now if only I could get teamed up with people who know what the hell they're doing.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Overwatch 2 season 2 has in store. I just hope I actually have the time to play it. Sadly, Marvel Snap is currently eating up all my free time alongside the four different farming games I'm playing at the moment. In what time I have been able to spend with the game, I've mostly stuck with the healers I've been using for years while trying to relearn all the different damage characters that I haven't messed with since 2020. However, I have been looking for a new tank since the game completely reworked Orisa. Maybe Ramattra will become my next go-to hero on that front. And if not, I can always fall back on boring ol' Reinhardt.

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Atomic Heart locks in an official release date for February 2023 Wed, 02 Nov 2022 16:30:12 +0000 Atomic Heart release date

The unreal shooter arrives early next year

Atomic Heart is locking in a date, after years of development and trailers. Mundfish's surreal shooter Atomic Heart will launch on February 21, 2023.

The first-person shooter has been in development for a few years, blending its BioShock influence with Soviet imagery and surreal surroundings. Every trailer for it has looked pretty fascinating though, as the magic and machinery mix to make something that looks unique, at the very least.

Mundfish dropped a new trailer today alongside the date. You can find that below:

The new FPS is slated to hit PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. It's also headed to Xbox Game Pass.

Right to the heart of it

Atomic Heart is about a society where humans live in peace with their robot companions and servants. Well, at least until something goes wrong and the robots, well, turn on them.

Now, mutated robots are turning on their creators, and your protagonist Major P-3 is sent in to "minimize consequences" and secure classified info.

It looks like this plays out in a very frenetic manner, as your newfound robotic foes are pretty lethal. So Major P-3 gets some tools of their own, wielding powers through a special glove to wreak havoc.

Atomic Heart has had my eye for a while, both for the influences its drawing on and the incredible art style Mundfish is crafting. I dig the surreal, dystopian retro-future the team has imagined. Although I could do with fewer clowns.

We'll see what the retro-future holds when Atomic Heart hits its launch date on February 21, 2023 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

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Return to Monkey Island hits PS5 and Xbox Series X/S next week Tue, 01 Nov 2022 20:45:04 +0000 Return to Monkey Island

PlayStation and Xbox owners can return to this classic series

The return of a classic adventure series is sailing for new ports next week. Return to Monkey Island arrives on Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 on November 8.

While it originally launched for just PC and Switch, owners of newer consoles will also be able to finally return to the Monkey Island series. Additionally, Return to Monkey Island will be on Xbox Game Pass, for console alongside PC and cloud.

You can see the trailer for the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S versions here:

Return to Monkey Island first released in September for PC and Switch, and it seemed like it turned out pretty good. The story continues the journey of Guybrush Threepwood, as a new and dramatic series of events takes place on Mêlée Island.

Heading home

As Zoey wrote for us in the initial review, Return to Monkey Island is a follow-up to the series that's got a good amount of callbacks and references. For Monkey Island fans who haven't got around to it yet though, the new platforms provide a chance to finally check it out. And hey, Game Pass makes it easy to see if this kind of adventure is your cup of tea.

Return to Monkey Island joins a pretty stellar lineup of Game Pass games this month, too. Obisidian's historical murder-mystery Pentiment is also due up on the Pass. As is Somerville, the extraterrestrial thriller. And if you really just need to lose hours watching bats and skeletons explode, Vampire Survivors is on-deck too.

Return to Monkey Island hits PS5 and Xbox Series X|S on November 8.


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Mei getting disabled in Overwatch 2 continues a trend of bugged heroes Tue, 01 Nov 2022 16:30:38 +0000 Overwatch 2 Mei

She's out until November 15

There's a massive Overwatch 2 Mei bug afoot, and it's going to take some time to fix. How long? Well try November 15.

Here's everything Blizzard has shared on the matter, via their official forums:

"We are temporarily disabling Mei to address a bug with her Ice Wall ability that allowed heroes to reach unintended locations when used with their abilities. We are working to address these issues as quickly as possible and aim to bring Mei back in our next upcoming patch which is set for November 15. Thank you for your understanding and patience."

Mei is the third character that's had critical issues in Overwatch 2

Sadly for players who call any number of Overwatch heroes mains: Mei is the third hero since the launch of Overwatch 2 that's been taken out of the rotation and put on ice. Previously, Bastion and Torbjorn were removed from play, and now it's Mei's turn.

I'm mostly thinking about all of the brand new players who are dealing with the revised system, which requires you to unlock everyone manually like a fighting game. It would be a huge annoyance to finally pick up a character you've been working toward, only to see it disabled because of a bug.

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Blizzard sends out surveys asking how to improve Overwatch 2 Tue, 01 Nov 2022 14:00:34 +0000 Overwatch 2 survey

"Add PVE now, and delete the battle pass system"

An Overwatch 2 survey is rolling out for a number of users, and so far, it's a chance for active players to voice their ire for the new systems put in place in the "sequel."

Shared on the game's subreddit, scores of users are reporting that they've obtained an email from Blizzard, asking for feedback for the battle pass and Overwatch Store (read: the cyclical direct payment cosmetic store). As Eurogamer points out, some users are getting different "triggers" for the emails, that range from purchasing content, to not purchasing content. So it seems as if they're trying to get an array of feedback from pretty much everyone. As of publication, I personally have not gotten an email yet.

We're gonna need a bigger survey

As we've pointed out (particularly in the past week), Overwatch 2 is not running very smoothly post-launch. Some of the microtransactions feel particularly predatory, and one of the first major seasonal events isn't up to par.

While the game itself does still mostly feel like Overwatch, the main thing I noticed when first booting it up (and still deal with now) is how busy the game is. The season pass system isn't an upgrade, and I'm particularly worried about future seasons, especially ones that add characters into the mix.

One of the chief issues is that Blizzard, when erasing the original Overwatch and adding this free-to-play scheme, didn't really add much value: even for premium season pass owners. Maybe the PVE update will change that, but most of us are wondering when that will even happen (and some of you will be long gone, and won't wait that long to find out how it impacts Overwatch 2).

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Hilariously, someone pointed out that it’s cheaper to buy this Overwatch 2 charm in real life compared to the game Mon, 31 Oct 2022 16:30:33 +0000 Overwatch 2 charm

$5 straight cash compared to 700 Overwatch bux

Yikes! That's just about the only thing that can sum up a lot of Overwatch 2 news post-launch, but this Overwatch 2 charm situation is so funny it has to be shared.

Over on the Overwatch Reddit, user hi_im_redbeard shared an anecdote that showcased how out of control the monetization scheme is in Overwatch 2. In short, they purchased real life Pachimari keychain/charm that they can hold in their hand for cheaper than it costs to buy the same Overwatch 2 charm in-game. Showing their work, the Pachimari charm (literally just an in-game side item, almost NFT-like in nature) is 700 Overwatch Coins, which is more than $5 (which converts to 500 Coins). Yep, you have to do the standard scummy "buy more than you need" conversion here, so it's even more expensive than roughly $7 if you need to top up.

There are plenty of economic nuances afoot, and this wouldn't be the first time something like this happened; as some games (Pokemon Unite included) can put out insanely high-priced limited-run skins that are more expensive than an action figure of the character in question. But this particular incident showcases how Overwatch 2, in its move to "free-to-play" (and erasing the original premium game) has shoved in even more ways to monetize its audience with new cosmetics.

When some fans are asking to bring loot boxes back, you know you have a monetization problem. It'll be interesting to see just how much content Overwatch 2 gets over time, how it's even further monetized, and what the PVE element brings to the table (more monetization?).

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Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life will be multi-platform on day one Sat, 29 Oct 2022 20:00:21 +0000 A Wonderful Life remake

No need to wait for a port

It's a pretty good time to be a fan of farm sims right now. We're just days away from the launches of Square-Enix's Harvestella and Doraemon Story of Seasons: Friends of the Great Kingdom, while Disney Dreamlight Valley is proving popular enough for people looking to get their farming fix with a heaping dose of Disney magic. Plenty of stuff to enjoy right now, but it's a game that's launching next year that has me more excited than anything else. Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life remake heads our way in a matter of months. Initially revealed for the Nintendo Switch, Xseed Games confirmed this week the A Wonderful Life remake will launch on all modern platforms simultaneously in North America.

Set in the tranquil Forgotten Valley, A Wonderful Life tasks players with building up a farm and seeing it through to the end of their character's life. Life with other games in the series, players can get married and start a family, but your decisions will determine if your kid carries on the family tradition of running the farm or setting off to discover their own path in life. As has already been confirmed, all marriage candidates can be romanced no matter your farmer's chosen gender, and players can make their farmer non-binary.

The Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life remake will release on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S next summer. As a reminder, Xseed Games is also releasing a remastered edition of Rune Factory 3, titled Rune Factory 3 Special, in 2023. That game is currently only on tap for the Switch.

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Stranger of Paradise continues to add quality of life features, like transmog Fri, 28 Oct 2022 14:00:08 +0000 Stranger of Paradise transmog

It's live now, following the Gilgamesh DLC

Stranger of Paradise transmog is now a thing, thanks to a new update for the game, which also ushers in the second DLC: Gilgamesh.

Titled The Wanderer of The Rift, the DLC launched on October 26, and beyond the actual content it comes with, we got a new title update. One of the big features includes transmog, or as the official Twitter account calls it, "cosmetic changes."

In short, like many modern games (especially MMOs, but also titles like Assassin's Creed: Odyssey or Monster Hunter Rise), you can customize your look to your liking, without missing out on stat bonuses from individual pieces of armor. The DLC itself adds Gilgamesh, the blue mage job, rift labyrinths (randomly generated dungeons), the dimension bringer ability, Gilgamesh difficulty, summon blessings (which are acquired through the Tonberry blacksmith), monster bells (call monsters into battle), and chaotic monsters (super-powerful versions of enemies). So, a lot!

I already dug the game at launch, but Team Ninja and Square Enix have added quite a bit of support over the past few months: addressing fan complaints while adding new content in the form of DLC. Overall, a "Complete Edition" should age very well for hardcore action fans, especially given the "challenge" aspect of the DLCs.

If you want to read more about how the team incorporated feedback into their post-launch design perspective, we have a full interview with key members of the team here.

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Sci-fi thriller Somerville arrives in November Thu, 27 Oct 2022 21:30:03 +0000 Somerville E3

This narrative adventure arrives before the year's out

Somerville has locked in a launch date, and it's surprisingly soon. The sci-fi adventure is set to hit on November 15, for Xbox consoles and PC.

Developer Jumpship dropped the release date in a new trailer today, confirming its November launch. Somerville is set to arrive on both Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, and is also coming to Xbox Game Pass.

This narrative thriller follows a family caught up in the immediate repercussions of an extraterrestrial conflict. As explosions and mysterious visitors descend, it looks like the player will be trying to keep their family whole as they escape.

We've been seeing teasers for Somerville for quite a while now. The IP is created by Chris Olsen and built in collaboration with former Playdead CEO and co-founder Dino Patti.

So yes, it has some of that Inside energy. Both side-scrolling action and tense sequences look to be in store here.

Out of this world

It's a bit of a surprise, to suddenly see a date on Somerville. But it's a very welcome one. Somerville has looked pretty striking in its appearances over the years at various showcases.

This also bolsters out the Game Pass library, which is pretty nice. While I like being able to access just about every Halo and Fallout under the sun, the bonus of Game Pass has been seeing projects like these get a solid bump. Immortality and Signalis both hit the service at launch, and Obsidian's upcoming historical RPG adventure Pentiment is also currently set for November.

November is looking like a good time to settle it for a weekend in Somerville.

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The Midnight Suns season pass will have a few heavy-hitting characters Thu, 27 Oct 2022 18:30:59 +0000 Midnight Suns season pass

Deadpool and Venom are among them

It's a 2K game, so of course the Midnight Suns season pass is a thing. Announced this week via the below trailer (presented by Deadpool), it'll bring more characters into the fray.

Here's what we have so far for the Midnight Suns season pass:

  • DLC Content Pack 1 - Deadpool - A foulmouthed mercenary with a heart of gold, Deadpool has a penchant for grisly violence and lighthearted, fourth-wall breaking wisecracks.
  • DLC Content Pack 2 - Venom - Spider-Man’s nemesis and one of the main game’s bosses, Venom turns playable hero in DLC #2, armed with all of the same symbiote attacks that once threatened the lives of the Midnight Suns.
  • DLC Content Pack 3 - Morbius - One of the original comic book Midnight Sons, Morbius is an accomplished biochemist who, in an attempt to cure his own rare blood disease, turned himself into a living vampire.
  • DLC Content Pack 4 - Storm - A powerful member of the X-Men, Storm has the ability to generate and manipulate wind, lightning, rain, and other types of weather to her will.

Yes, Deadpool makes a "Morbin' Time" joke in the video.

According to 2K, the pass will also be sprinkled with additional content beyond the characters; like more levels and items. Midnight Suns is still slated for a December 2 release on PC, PS4, PS5, and Series X/S. The Switch version and prior generations are allegedly coming later, though there's no date in sight, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were canceled.

As one of the last big games of 2022 , I think I speak for strategy and Marvel enthusiasts alike when I say that I hope this one is worth it. With Firaxis at the helm it's really hard to go wrong, but putting big characters like this behind a season pass doesn't inspire confidence.

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Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition and IV are coming to Xbox consoles Tue, 25 Oct 2022 20:00:42 +0000 Age of Empires II DE Xbox

Plus, Age of Mythology is getting "retold"

Xbox owners are getting some historical strategy in 2023. Microsoft and World's Edge announced today that Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition and Age of Empires IV are both making their way to Xbox consoles.

The two strategy games are expected to hit Xbox in 2023. For Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, World's Edge has a date set for January 31, 2023. Age of Empires IV, meanwhile, will aim for Xbox consoles later in 2023.

In an Xbox Wire post, World's Edge confirms that the team has been specifically working on the controller experience. The team is specifically crafting a tutorial for controller input, paired with a new user experience.

A new game AI is also included, which the team says helps make resource management "efficient and intuitive."

If controller isn't your thing though, keyboard and mouse inputs will be supported in the Xbox versions.

Keep it on the down-wololo

The Age of Empires II Xbox release will include all the Definitive Edition content since 2019. Alongside the DLC that adds new campaigns and civilizations, there have also been tons of updates over the years.

According to World's Edge, the versions will also have optional cross-play. This will let PC and Xbox players raise armies against each other, and the team is also aiming to bring AOE to Xbox cloud gaming. So yes, you will be able to lead a war elephant charge on the go at some point in the future.

More is on the way too, as Age of Mythology Retold is in production. From the sounds of it, it's an updated version of the original with updated graphics and features. Old-school RTS fans seem to have a good deal to look forward to in the future.

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Redfall is a town full of blood and fangs in latest trailer Tue, 25 Oct 2022 18:00:04 +0000 Redfall

The stakes are high

It's that spooky, scary time of year, and Arkane is ringing in the season with a new look at its own scary project. Bethesda and Arkane dropped a new trailer for upcoming co-op shooter Redfall today, spotlighting the bloodsuckers terrorizing the town.

Today's official "Into the Night" trailer takes us into the heart of Redfall, which is having a bit of a vampire problem. We see firsthand how the invasion has torn apart the city, and see some in-first-person gameplay of dealing with one of the creatures.

While it's definitely got some Left 4 Dead vibes, I like the use of vampires here. These enemies grabbing and biting allies could make for some good panic moments. And the mix of genuine horror and retro-throwback atmosphere goes well with the "Visit Redfall" set-up of the whole showcase.

Bite back

Redfall is the newest game from Arkane, with the Austin studio leading up development on the project. It was originally set for a 2022 release, until it got pushed back alongside another Bethesda project, Starfield.

We've still seen some glimpses and heard from the developers about what, exactly, Redfall is shaping up to be. It looks to be a first-person, co-op experience where four different characters have to take on the vampiric infestation of Redfall.

Each character brings their own special weapons to the party. And what vampire fight would be complete without stakes? In today's trailer, we get to see a stake bayonet in action, even.

Redfall is currently set for a 2023 launch on PC and Xbox Series X|S.

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One Piece Odyssey highlights its battles and overworld actions in new gameplay Mon, 24 Oct 2022 23:00:32 +0000 One Piece Odyssey

A battle for every area

Bandai Namco Entertainment has put out a new gameplay showcase for One Piece Odyssey, where we get a good glimpse of how the Straw Hat Pirates fight their turn-based RPG battles.

Before the fighting starts, we do get a look at the locale for the new adventure. One Piece Odyssey follows Monkey D. Luffy and the crew in a journey after they're shipwrecked at sea.

In the trailer today, we see the city of Alabasta and some of the locales the pirates will run through. Each character has an overworld ability, allowing them to access certain areas or take advantage of certain resources. From being stretchy or handy with a slingshot to just being small, everyone has their own talent for navigating the island.

All's fair in turn-based battles

Once the fighting starts, the crew dukes it out in a traditional RPG style. It's got a traditional vibe to it, with a little bit of One Piece style.

It looks like one of Odyssey's battle mechanics is the scramble area battle, where characters are placed in different zones to duke it out. Some characters are able to attack other areas from long-range, and it looks like fighters can also move from one area to another one their own is clear.

Basically, an all-out brawl. But with type effectiveness and other factors in play, it seems like an interesting battle system that could make for fun combat encounters. I dig the idea of the crew getting split and having to fight their way back together. Plus, there are some conditions called Dramatic Scenes that give extra rewards for clearing them.

I'm not a huge One Piece fan, but this look at the battle set-up has me intrigued. We'll see how Luffy and the crew's battles turn out in this new RPG when One Piece Odyssey launches for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on January 13, 2023.

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Overwatch 2 kicks off new Halloween Terror event this week Mon, 24 Oct 2022 22:00:05 +0000 Overwatch 2 Halloween Terror

A new PvE co-op mission and a stockpile of skins

Overwatch 2 is ringing in the season of scares with a return to Halloween Terror, its annual Halloween event. The festivities kick off tomorrow, October 25, and run through November 9.

A new limited time co-op mission is in store for this year, dubbed Junkenstein's Revenge: Wrath of the Bride. The bride, as you can tell from the images, is a special Sombra skin.

With every new event comes a bevy of cosmetics, to both unlock and purchase in Overwatch 2. Special challenges will unlock rewards like a name card, weapon charm, and some Battle Pass XP if you're still working on it.

As for purchasable cosmetics, the Witch Kiriko bundle is a notable new one arriving in the shop. The newcomer just arrived as the newest hero in Overwatch 2, and now has her own Halloween skin too.

It looks like other sets from previous events will be dropping into the shop as well. So if you've been waiting to get that Witch Mercy skin, here's your shot.

If passively watching Overwatch 2 for freebies is more your style, Blizzard is also giving away a free Legendary Werewolf Winston skin to those who watch six hours of Overwatch 2 on Twitch. Make sure to link your account so those hours don't go to waste.

Ghosts on the payload

One of the promised Double XP weekends is coming up, too. After the launch server woes Overwatch 2 experienced, Blizzard is hosting a Double Match XP weekends on October 28 through 31.

Logging in will also net you the Cursed Captain Reaper skin and Health Pack weapon charm. Basically, there are a lot of reasons Blizzard is putting out there for players to log back on to Overwatch 2.

And while Overwatch 2 has had trouble getting off the ground, with both long queue times and a shadow cast by broader issues at Activision Blizzard, there are some nice tidbits here for those who still want to check it out. At the very least, I'm interested to see what their new mission looks like, as the PvE side of Overwatch 2 is still a ways away.

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Fallout 4 is getting a next-gen update in 2023 Mon, 24 Oct 2022 18:00:39 +0000 Fallout 4

The Commonwealth, on new hardware

Bethesda is working on a next-gen update for Fallout 4, bringing the open-world post-apocalyptic RPG to newer console hardware.

Announced today as part of the Fallout 25th series anniversary celebration, Fallout 4 will get a next-gen upgrade. This will be for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and Windows PC too.

The upgrade for newer generation hardware will include a performance mode for high frame rate options, extra quality features for 4K resolution, some bug fixes, and Creation Club content.

No exact date or more specifics on the Fallout 4 next-gen update were given. But Bethesda notes that it will be a free update, so no need to buy a second copy.

With the update currently set for 2023, we'll likely hear more about it as we get closer and into the new year.

Irradiated future

Fallout 4 was first released in November 2015, as Bethesda's newest entry since Fallout 3. It took an interesting approach to its story, which involved an early segment set before the bombs dropped.

Ultimately, Fallout 4 proved to be divisive. And as is the case with many other Bethesda open-world RPGs like Skyrim, the mod community set about doing a great deal of work building on what they'd been given.

The results have been pretty impressive, though. With that comparison point in mind, it will be interesting to see what kind of step-up this will be, especially on the PC side.

But considering we've seen a veritable legion of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim releases over the years, it's nice to see Fallout getting some love too. Once the next-gen update for Fallout 4 rolls around, I might just check it out, and maybe see what that Far Harbor DLC is like for myself.

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Cult of the Lamb gets festive and ghastly with the Blood Moon Festival Mon, 24 Oct 2022 16:30:55 +0000 cult of the lamb australian awards goty

A new ritual to partake in

This year's adorable little cult simulator Cult of the Lamb is getting a festive update for the haunted holidays.  The Blood Moon Festival update is available now through November 10 in Cult of the Lamb.

The update adds several new items to acquire for those looking to expand their cult, as well as some new activities for the season. A Blood Moon Ritual, for example, will be available to light up the sky with a crimson lunar presence that illuminates the dead.

Players can also capture ghosts of dead followers. And there are some nice, fun new decorations to sprinkle around the base. Ring in the season by decking out your humble abode with haunted trees and floral skulls.

Add in a new music track and some new follower forms to unlock, and the Blood Moon update for Cult of the Lamb seems like a good time. Well, maybe better if you're the lamb protagonist running the place.

Best to get the rituals and upgrades underway sooner rather than later, though. The Blood Moon runs through November 10, so you've got until then to get all your unlocks. The team also says it plans on adding more seasonal events throughout the year, each with their own special content.

Cult of personality

Cult of the Lamb is the adorable action RPG-meets-city builder mash-up from the team at Massive Monster, published by Devolver Digital.

Its eye-catching style and intriguing management mechanics looked solid in previews, and seems to have held up in the final game. In our review, Jordan wrote:

"I’m a big fan of roguelite action games and city builders, but even if you’re on the mild side, Cult of the Lamb is a winning combo. It draws many of the best aspects of those genres, places them in a one-of-a-kind world, and charts its own condensed course. The result is hard to put down."

It seems like a good time to head back in and get some fresh followers if you've been meaning to boot this back up. Cult of the Lamb is available now on PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC, and Nintendo Switch.

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Review: Resident Evil Village: Winters’ Expansion Mon, 24 Oct 2022 15:00:09 +0000 Review: Resident Evil Village: Winters' Expansion

Kate, we have to go back

After we had both closed the curtain on Resident Evil Village, myself and our own Jordan Devore said the same thing: this game could have some rockin' DLC. While the core story mode of the newly minted Winters' Expansion is short, the rest augments the game in a way that will ultimately help its legacy, and future playthroughs.

Review: Resident Evil Village: Winters' Expansion 4

Resident Evil Village: Winters' Expansion (PC, PS4, PS5 [reviewed], Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S)
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Released: October 28, 2022
MSRP: $19.99

While this review will mainly be focused on "Shadows of Rose," the additional storyline featuring Ethan's daughter, there are two more features of the Winters' Expansion: third person mode for the core story, and some extra mercenaries content.

Third person mode plays out exactly how you'd expect: it adds a third person toggle for all of Resident Evil Village. Depending on how you connect with the concept, it could either be a wash of a feature, or something revolutionary. The fact that you can choose at all is fantastic (though whether or not it should have been a regular update and not DLC is debatable), and I'm somewhere in the middle.

You'll swap these viewpoints from a menu option, and for me, it spurred on a whole new playthrough. Describing the difference between first and third person gameplay would be a pointless exercise; but as it pertains to Village in particular, it does provide a fresh new perspective to many of the locales.

The Mercs stuff is called "The Mercenaries Additional Orders," and is folded into the core Mercenaries mode as an expansion of sorts. Heisenberg and Lady Dimitrescu are playable characters, as well as Chris Redfield and more stages. Chris is unlocked immediately, and the other two are available after you A rank all stages, and another arrives after completing the Bloody River stage with an S rank.

Additional Orders' big debuts include the aforementioned two big baddies, who are supposed to be over-the-top boss characters: even more so than say, Wesker was in past Mercs modes. It's not something I'm going to be playing often, but it is good for a few hours of silly fun. Ultimately, the formula for this iteration of Mercs wasn't upended, so my playtime is going to be limited anyway. That said, the three characters that aren't Ethan have loadouts (which streamlines things), and enemies chase you down/are more aggressive, which leads to more interactive minute-to-minute action and less tedium.

Of course, the big thing you probably want to know is whether or not Shadows of Rose is good. Well, it's short! But mostly good. Clocking in at a few hours total, this new storyline finds a semi-clever way to get Rose back into the nightmare that took place in Village, through connecting to a network of consciousness of sorts with her powers (inherited from her family). Much of the setup asks you to just roll with it, but once you're in, you're in.

Review: Resident Evil Village: Winters' Expansion 3

Without spoiling anything, this approach does tie into the narrative of Village nicely, and wraps some storylines up: mainly on an emotional level. Rose feeling like an outcast due to her powers is a big throughline with the DLC, and the actress for Rose (Jeannie Tirado) does a pretty fantastic job performing some of the more intense scenes.

I should point out that Shadows of Rose largely re-uses areas from the main game, which takes some getting used to. Due to the nature of the DLC some paths are different (either open or blocked off), and there's a lot of reworked puzzles incorporated into said areas, but it is going to be familiar to folks who played through the main game, and have it stored freshly in their memory banks.

The way Rose interacts with some of these new wrinkles is sort of like a modified traditional Resident Evil experience. You do get the handgun/shotgun/pipe bomb loadout, but Rose also slowly gains access to her abilities, which are like psychic blasts that can eliminate hazards, put enemies into stasis mode temporarily, or even counter grabs.

Once you start really getting into the groove of using Rose's powers, the DLC clicks. You'll run into situations where you need to focus a bit to take out a deathly floor trap while enemies are staggering after you and making creepy noises all the while. There's also a bit of stealth involved in one segment, and a few traditional RE puzzles.

The DLC story does a good job of balancing the addition of Rose's powers on top of the typical Village gunplay, while maintaining an atmospheric and generally creepy vibe. You can tell the team had the restraint to not make Rose feel like a superhero, while allowing her to diverge quite a bit from Ethan's playstyle. The short length both gives and takes away from the allure of the DLC. All of the above gimmicks are generally used sparingly, then the DLC moves on. But it also is frustratingly short, as it'll leave you wanting more.

Shadows of Rose was surprisingly tense, and lifts up the Winters' Expansion DLC as a whole. That said, I would have liked to have seen a lot more of it, as it felt like the narrative was just getting started with Rose's powers before it ends. If you haven't played Village at all yet, the Gold Edition (which includes everything) is a great way to experience it: otherwise, you may want to wait for a sale on the DLC depending on where your priorities lie.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Developers express frustration with mandatory Xbox Series S compatibility Fri, 21 Oct 2022 16:00:00 +0000 xbox series s mandatory compatibitily frustration

Hindrance to game production, claim devs

A game developer has expressed their frustration with Xbox's mandatory declaration that all Xbox Series X games must also run on its lesser-powered pal, Xbox Series S — Noting that the requirement can be, and frequently is, a hindrance to the forward progression of next-gen gaming.

As reported by VGC, these comments were made by Bossa Studios' VFX developer Ian McClure, speaking in a conversation on Twitter with Giant Bomb founder Jeff Gerstmann. Gerstmann had previously commented that the Xbox Series X/S "forced compatibility" was unlikely to be preventing forward momentum of development within the industry — the latter being a commonly referenced talking point by many gaming communities, regardless of their platform of choice.

However, McClure then offered up an alternate viewpoint, suggesting that the cheap Xbox Series model has been forcing awkward limitations on multiple studios and their respective game developers.

"It might sound broken, but the reason you are hearing it a lot right now is because MANY developers have been sitting in meetings for the past year desperately trying to get Series S launch requirements dropped," opined McClure in since-locked tweets. "Studios have been through one development cycle where Series S turned out to be an albatross around the neck of production, and now that games are firmly being developed with new consoles in mind, teams do not want to repeat the process."

While McClure might be the most recent developer to make these candid comments, they are most certainly not the first. Speaking with Gamerant, Rocksteady artist Lee Devonald pointed to the "lowest platform compatibility" dictum as a frequent thorn in the side of developers, suggesting that an "entire generation of games [are being] hamstrung by that potato." (It should be noted that Devonald was likely referring to the ruling as a potato, and not the Xbox Series S itself.)

And, in other testimony, Alexander Battaglia of the technically-focused Digital Foundry has noted that they frequently hear of studio frustrations, hindered by the Xbox Series S' reduced memory limitations and facilitating the need to adapt design plans specifically to fit a "next-gen" game's design onto the cheaper model. Xbox itself has recently updated its Xbox Series S dev kit model, freeing up additional memory space in order to allow developers to "stretch their wings" a little further.

Developer claims ‘many’ studios are asking Xbox to drop mandatory Series S compatibility [VGC]

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Resident Evil 4 remake shows off the village, combat, merchant, and more Thu, 20 Oct 2022 22:55:12 +0000 Resident Evil 4 Remake

Yes, the merchant's still here

The latest Resident Evil Showcase spotlighted what's to come for the series. And the Resident Evil 4 remake is looking especially good in the extended gameplay shown off today.

Capcom showed a good chunk of the early portions of Resident Evil 4. It's moody and dark at times, but still has that bit of action hero charm to it.

We get a look at one of the game's more memorable early sections: the village, where Leon and the player end up scrambling through houses, fleeing villagers and a chainsaw-wielding foe.

Alongside all the action, there are some familiar faces that pop up too. Ada, Ashley, Luis, and Salazar all look great in their new, remade versions. The Merchant is still around to sell some wares, too.

It's not all just the classics, though. While the team is trying to maintain the feeling of the original, there are some new updates. The Ganados will have new attacks, and Leon can parry attacks.

Don't worry about the attache case, though. The classic game of inventory Tetris is still here in the Resident Evil 4 remake. It's a lengthy spotlight of gameplay, and you can find all of it here in the showcase stream.

More Resident Evil in store

The remake is still set for March 24, 2023 for Xbox Series X|S, PC, and both PlayStation 4 and PS5. Capcom showed off the special editions for the remake today, including a pretty cool-looking statue for Leon himself in the collector's edition.

Other Resident Evil remakes are also making their way to new platforms, too. RE Village heads to Switch via cloud on October 28, same day as the launch of the Winters Expansion. Resident Evil 2 hits Switch on November 11, followed by Resident Evil 3 on November 18 and Resident Evil VII on December 16, all via cloud.

And if that wasn't enough, the multiplayer Re:Verse hits early access with cross-play starting October 24. A whole lot of Resident Evil is on the way.

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Need for Speed Unbound dazzles with ‘Risk & Reward’ trailer Wed, 19 Oct 2022 18:00:50 +0000 need for speed unbound trailer cops

Mee-Maw, Mee-Maw...

While I will be the first to admit I'm totally garbo at racing games, I can't help but be bewitched at the rollout of trailers for upcoming Electronic Arts release Need for Speed Unbound — Case in point: This dazzling new preview, which spotlights our street racers in the midst of a little tête-à-tête with The Law.

The "Risk & Reward" trailer spotlights the dangerous with highly effective driving abilities that will help our night riders outrun Five-Oh, out in force and ready to put an end to their nefarious nocturnal activities. Hazardous high-speed drifts, bone-rattling handbrake turns, and a dose of the old nitrous oxide are all tools that will help the savvy racer put distance between themselves and a jail cell — at the ultimate risk of a brutal, wall-shattering smash and the loss of more than just First Place.

And in the midst of this Most Wanted-style chicanery, Criterion Games' latest road-ripper absolute stuns with its beautiful visuals, impactful colors, unique marriage of typical CG visuals and traditional animation, and immersive lighting, shadow, and weather effects, all gunning at silky smooth frame rates. By choosing to gun for current-gen platforms only, Need for Speed Unbound is clearly aiming to wow its fanbase with its speed, polish, and bespoke visual style... Goddamn, this is a good-looking video game.

Need for Speed Unbound launches on PS5, PC, and Xbox Series X on December 2.

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The Callisto Protocol will ship with a 60 FPS performance mode Wed, 19 Oct 2022 16:30:55 +0000 The Callisto Protocol

And no, it hasn't been delayed

Striking Distance Studios is confirming that yes, it still plans to release The Callisto Protocol on December 2. And when The Callisto Protocol arrives, it will have a 60 FPS performance mode option.

The survival-horror game was recently displayed with a February 12 date on the Epic Games Store, as reported by TheGamer. However, in a new tweet, Striking Distance confirms it's still on track for December 2.

In the same tweet, the dev confirms that The Callisto Protocol will ship with a 60 FPS performance mode.

For the release date mix-up, my unfounded, speculative guess is there was a 12/2 - 2/12 mix-up. Dates are silly.

However, the performance mode note is an interesting addition.

Surviving at 60 frames per second

WB Games Montreal made some news when a developer confirmed on Discord that Gotham Knights' console iterations would not have a performance mode. There will only be 30 FPS options for the new Bat-family beat 'em up.

Gotham Knights moved from being a cross-gen launch to only releasing on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. PC players, meanwhile, will be able to get 60 FPS out of the brawler if their rig can handle it.

Whether this was an intentional jab or just a confirmation, it's still at least good news for folks who like lots of frames in their horror games.

The Callisto Protocol is the debut game from Striking Distance Studios, founded by Dead Space co-creator Glen Schofield. While once set within the PUBG universe, the world is now its own and its looking to tell a pretty scary, visceral survival horror story.

I'd have to imagine those brutal fights with space terrors will probably look nice running at 60 FPS. The Callisto Protocol is set for December 2, 2022.

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Xbox Game Pass gets Persona, frights, and a frog in October Tue, 18 Oct 2022 16:00:32 +0000 SOMA

Celebrate the scary season

Xbox is lining up its later Game Pass additions for October, and it's an interesting mix. There are some scares, some mysteries, and one big RPG that can easily take your time.

Persona 5 Royal is one of the big additions for this month on Xbox Game Pass. It hits cloud, console, and PC on October 21, bringing the previously PlayStation-exclusive RPG to new platforms.

Worth noting that Royal also hits PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch, as well as Steam, on October 21.

If you're looking for frights though, might I suggest the Amnesia games and, especially, Soma? All arrive on Game Pass this month, and SOMA is one story I don't think I'll be able to dislodge from my head anytime soon.

While the Amnesia series focuses on a lot of medieval and traditional horror, SOMA goes sci-fi and absolutely nails it. Even if you're not a fan of the horror aspects, for gameplay or for scares, there is an option to turn that all down.

Other additions this month include Signalis, a sci-fi horror game with Resident Evil vibes that I've been looking forward to for a while. You could also flee hordes of rats in the new Plague Tale game.

And if you'd rather just vibe and solve some mysteries, there's also Frog Detective: The Entire Mystery. Here is the full end-of-October lineup for Xbox Game Pass.

Xbox Game Pass late October additions

  • A Plague Tale: Requiem (Cloud, PC, Xbox Series X|S) - Out today
  • Amnesia: Collection (Cloud, console, PC) - October 20
  • Amnesia: Rebirth (Cloud, console, PC) - October 20
  • Phantom Abyss (Game Preview on cloud, PC, Xbox Series X|S) - October 20
  • Soma (Cloud, console, PC) - October 20
  • Persona 5 Royal (Cloud, console, PC) - October 21
  • Frog Detective: The Entire Mystery (PC) - October 27
  • Gunfire Reborn (Cloud, console, PC) - October 27
  • Signalis (Cloud, console, PC) - October 27

Leaving Xbox Game Pass on October 31

  • Alan Wake: American Nightmare (Console, PC)
  • Backbone (Cloud, console, PC)
  • Bassmaster Fishing 2022 (Cloud, console, PC)
  • Nongunz: Doppelganger Edition (Cloud, console, PC)
  • Project Wingman (Cloud, console, PC)
  • Second Extinction (Cloud, console, PC)
  • Sniper Elite 4 (Cloud, console)
  • The Forgotten City (Cloud, console, PC)

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Review: A Plague Tale: Requiem Mon, 17 Oct 2022 18:00:43 +0000 a plague tale requiem review destructoid ps5 pc xbox

Of Rats and Resilience

Asked about "horror games", a genre that has come into its own over the past two decades, many players will distinctly think of the visceral, the grotesque, and the physically unfathomable.  These terrors can arrive in the form of mushroom-headed mutants, giant, overhead spiders, or hideous, skinless, black-eyed zombies, ready to pop up directly into your PoV with a ghastly scream in what we have coined the "jump scare".


But, even within scenarios set outside of our own sphere of time or reality, horror can strike much closer to home.  It can be presented in its purest form, via themes of grief, regret, responsibility, and, scariest of all, the loss of one's own capabilities, focus, and mind.  I've never encountered a mushroom-headed mutant, but I've been completely terrified at the thought of a loved one in peril, or concerned that I won't deliver in a desperate hour of need.  More candidly, I frequently feel abject fear about my own ability to be who I want to be, or even the person that I need to be.

A Plague Tale: Requiem is a horror game, no doubt.  But its teeming, skin-crawling swarm of black rats only represents its horror in a physical and fantastical form.  Who we are, our inescapable fates, the fragility of our lives, the untold damage we can do to ourselves and others, and the irreversibility of said damage — this is also horror.  And it is the horror that faces Amicia and Hugo de Rune.  A horror so relatable, so tangible, so real, that it can reach out through the screen and grab hold of us, cutting deeper than any sackcloth-wearing, chainsaw-wielding madman.

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A Plague Tale: Requiem (PS5 [reviewed], PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox Game Pass)
Developer: Asobo Studio
Publisher: Focus Entertainment
Released: October 18, 2022
MSRP: $59.99

A Plague Tale: Requiem is the sequel to the cult 2019 sleeper hit A Plague Tale: Innocence, produced by French developer Asobo Studio.  As an untested IP, not boosted by the billion-dollar cogs of the marketing machine, Innocence had to fight to make something of a name for itself, despite being well-regarded by critics and beloved by an ardent fanbase.  As a stealth title with a heavy emphasis on narrative progression, patient gameplay, and extensive dialogue, Innocence struggled to find its audience against similar cinematic adventures.  Sat against the Molotov cocktails and box-cutter zombie stabbings of its brethren, Innocence's flower-collecting side-quest wasn't really pulling in the masses.

And it's a damn shame, because it was a pretty special release.

In creating the sequel — a sequel that was never guaranteed to get the go ahead — Asobo Studio has chosen to stick to what originally brought it to the dance.  For better and for worse. A Plague Tale: Requiem chooses not to stray far from what made its predecessor a low-key classic. Instead, the studio has merely tweaked some of the gameplay elements, while focusing on boosting the scope, scale, and narrative power of its world and story — also harnessing modern-day tech to further polish the franchise's celebrated, stunning environments.

And thus, rather than attempting to win over everybody, A Plague Tale: Requiem instead has chosen to double down for somebody.  In doing so, Asobo Studio has created what can be considered a flawed but very enthralling mini-masterpiece.

Light their way, When the darkness surrounds them,

Following on from the events of Innocence, Requiem sees Amicia and Hugo de Rune attempt to rebuild happier lives in the aftermath of their tragic odyssey through the province of Guyenne.  With life looking up for the first time in months, the de Rune offspring are moving into a beautiful new province, away from the oppression of The Inquisition and the terrifying black rat plague known as "The Bite". Unfortunately, these youngsters soon discover that, no matter how far they travel, their fate is inescapable.  A chance encounter with ultraviolence reawakens Hugo's dormant bloodline, "La Prima Macula", bringing with it a million piercing eyes and a billion razor-sharp teeth.

Their new life in ruins, and riddled with guilt and despair, Amicia is convinced that the answer to stopping this endless nightmare lies in a mythical island, envisioned by her brother in a series of strange dreams. With death nipping at their heels, thousands of innocent bodies behind them, and myriad armies, doomsday cults, and vengeful victims out for their blood, the duo is forced back onto the road — searching for a place, a cure, or simply an answer that may not even exist.

Requiem is a story about duty, family, friendship, and destiny. Its sharply written and utterly compelling chronicle is set against the backdrop of the encroaching rat army, but places its focus squarely on our heroes, their allies, and their enemies. From young Hugo's despair at a world that forever disappoints him, to Amicia's increasingly declining mental and physical health, Requiem is about the frayed bonds of hope, as two broken youngsters search for stitches to repair seemingly irreparable lives.

a plague tale: requiem review destructoid

Give them love, Let it shine around them,

It behooves me to speak at great length about the narrative because, as previously mentioned, A Plague Tale: Requiem does not do a whole lot to reinvent its gameplay. Still a stealth adventure at heart, Requiem consists of lengthy, (but arresting), walk-and-talk sequences, perforated with frequent forays into crawling through long grasses, throwing pots, starting fires, and, when the best-laid plans of... rats and... women... come crashing down, fighting for your life with the aid of a slingshot and a selection of alchemic ammunition.

While some new elements are introduced, little has advanced in Requiem's gameplay from its predecessor. A veritable feast of cart pushing, lever-pulling, and stick-burning lies ahead. Hell, even Amicia's hilarious habit of bolting every door behind her is still present and correct.  There are some new abilities, alchemic items, and weapons introduced, while a new counter-attack feature always offers our girl a "second chance" upon discovery.  This helps a little with the frustration of getting caught in the act.

The clunky "Stay and Come" Hugo mechanic is gone entirely, with the young lad developing some... worrying abilities himself as the story progresses. In addition, the stealth sections are a little more open-ended than they once were, typically offering more than one route to the objective. A neat feature sees Amicia's skill tree auto-fill based upon playstyle, with respective rewards for going in quiet as mice or all crossbows blazing. Still, for the most part, anyone who has played Innocence knows what to expect here: walk and talk, stealth, action setpiece, and plenty of hidden flowers (and feathers) to collect.

While this sounds like very "safe" design, (and it is), Requiem's calling lies in its surrounding elements. Literally.

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Keep them safe, keep them warm

A Plague Tale: Requiem is a gorgeous game. While Innocence already pushed console limits in regard to environment and visual effects, Asobo Studio has harnessed modern tech to produce some of the most beautiful and absorbing towns, meadows, beaches, and vistas experienced in gaming. The flora and fauna of Requiem's world, along with its bustling town fairs, ramshackle villages, and ornate monasteries are dazzling, equally juxtaposed by the skin-itching misery of its sewers, slums, swamps, and endless mounds of viscera that our protagonists will be forced to wade through.

Adding further to its world are some fantastic weather effects and a highly realistic audio package that certainly deserves to win awards. From the dynamically adaptive and deeply affecting score of returning composer Olivier Deriviere, to a smorgasbord of authentic and seamlessly integrated sound effects, Requiem sounds every bit as good as it looks.  Its paradise islands, cheerful marketplaces, storm-ridden seas, and bleak, war-torn fields balance its majestic audio/visuals to create a "lived-in" world — as warm and attractive as it can be completely cold and repellent.

Give them shelter from the storm

Clearly aware that its stealth-based gameplay is somewhat on the rote, even repetitive side, Requiem goes all-out to present a story, world, and cast of characters that truly embrace the players and their emotional resonance. Requiem's tale runs a gamut of themes focusing on unspeakable tragedy and how it affects the individual, the family, the fanatical, the religious, and all those who fall in the cracks between. As one might expect, it's a rough ride, with events getting almost unbearably oppressive as the second act progresses, (though the arrival of some likable new characters brings relief).

Amicia de Rune still holds fort as one of the great unsung heroes of gaming's modern age. The elder de Rune's struggle is depicted at great cost to the player's heartstrings.  Amicia's declining mental health, loss of self-identity, and abandonment of her stolen teenage years form a core theme of Requiem's underlying narrative. In the (highly recommended) French voice track, Amicia is once again brought to life by actor Charlotte McBurney, who gives a stunning, nigh-on flawless performance as the young woman forced to abandon all that she is, and to take up arms, to endure, and even to kill, by the terrible hand dealt her bloodline. True character strength. Depicted and performed with passion and conviction.

A Plague Tale: Requiem is a legitimate cinematic epic — a deliberately paced odyssey that expresses its heavy emotional arc at its own speed.  Several hours longer than its predecessor, Requiem is confident in its story and asks that the player allow themselves to sink into the adventure without paying too much attention to their watch. In Requiem, we are not here to run (at least not always) and the game will reward the patient with engaging conversation and resonant dialogue.

Bless the beasts and children

It's difficult to score a game that does little in the advancement of gameplay, instead choosing to put all of its chips in its visuals, sound design, world layout, characters, and narrative. Ultimately, Asobo Studio has created a fantastic, rewarding sequel for fans of A Plague Tale: Innocence that will, just like that release, likely turn off those who prefer their third-person adventures with a little more machine gun.

A Plague Tale: Requiem is a stealth game through and through, and the gameplay carries with it all of the exact same perils and pitfalls of repetition that come with the now-aging genre.  This element, much like Innocence, may dissuade fence-sitters from parting with their hard-earned $60 (though Requiem is available on Xbox Game Pass). However, as an example of video games as a cinematic storytelling medium, it is fair to call Requiem a bar setter, capably delivering a solid and emotive journey.  A Plague Tale fans — their passion and loyalty rewarded — will be captivated.

Choosing not to reinvent the wheel in regards to its by-the-numbers stealth gameplay, A Plague Tale: Requiem instead goes above and beyond to present greatness in its overall package, delivering an enthralling story, magnetic characters, tense action setpieces, and stunning visuals that rank among the generation's finest. It won't bewitch everyone, but for devoted fans of rats and resilience, A Plague Tale: Requiem absolutely delivers.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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