Respawn's Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is upon us and the Force is... maybe a bit fence-sitting as to whether Light or Dark at this point. There's a lot to love here, but a lot of questionable stuff to unfurl as well.
Here's a snippet from our in-depth review:
This is sort of the first problematic part of the game, in that it’s one-note. One Kenny G-note at times, despite the influences injected from those aforementioned games. This isn’t a bad thing from a narrative perspective depending on your feelings across Anakin or Luke, but the singular path of the game’s story undermines the planet-hopping nature of what Respawn has tried to craft here. Is this Mass Effect, or is this The Force Unleashed? And that question begins to rear its head a lot in the nature of the game’s seemingly-ungated-but-very-gated worlds. I completely skipped Kashyyk -- technically the game’s third world because I’m an explorer in games, which means I’ll avoid progressing the story as much as possible. The problem is, I needed to go to Kashyyk to gain abilities from there to properly traverse the game-world. It’s very Metroidvania in this way, which is fine. But the gating needs to be handled better than “you just can’t go any further because you can’t jump more”.
If that headline doesn't make sense, well let me spell it out for you - cushions. Yeah, instead of the usual rubberised grips you find on the more premium wireless offerings the HyperX Pulsefire Dart has cushion-y side. For supreme comfort.
The second thing we noticed was that in lieu of rubberised grips for comfort the Pulsefire Dart includes – and this is genuinely exciting – cushion grips. As a lover of rubberised grips, we didn’t even know that you could put cushion-y sides onto a gaming mouse – let alone a wireless one. We’re glad HyperX did though because it adds a new layer of squeezable comfort that once we got used to was hard to let go of. Back to that first thing though, width. Even though the Dart is relatively lightweight at 110 grams, it’s wider than most wireless mice we’ve tested in recent months. It’s a feel that immediately sets it apart from similar efforts from companies like Razer, Logitech, and ASUS – and truth be told was a design choice that we’re still on the fence about.
As per the introduction the Dart does feature a high-end gaming grade Pixart 3389 sensor, which when coupled with 50-million click Omron switches give the overall click-feel and responsiveness an air of familiarity.
Truth be told we haven't been big fans of HyperX keyboards. Mice, headsets, memory products - yes. A big yes. Which is why it's great that the new HyperX Alloy Origins mechanical keyboard turned out to be, well, great.
With the arrival of the HyperX Alloy Origins mechanical gaming keyboard - this no-frills solid performer that also sits well within the mid-rage of the company’s past also doubles as a clear statement of intent. In that sense it comes as a bit of a surprise at just how great it is – with HyperX spending the time to create its own tactile mechanical switches that make sense, alongside a solid and robust aluminium frame to keep it all feeling sturdy, and a portable and compact design perfect for the competitive scene. Also, some of the most vibrant RGB lighting we’ve seen in a keyboard to date.
"18 years ago the clock stopped", yeah it's happening. And the launch trailer for Shenmue III will no doubt be one to savour for fans of the series - as it hits all the right notes. Martial arts, new friends and foes, rural environments to explore, strange mysteries. Lan Di! November 19 is right around the corner.
Journey deep into rural China as you take on the role of Ryo Hazuki, a Japanese teenager hellbent on finding his father’s killer—a story of adventure, mystery, friendship, martial arts, and ultimately, revenge!
After a somewhat rocky start, due to early footage that looked promising but not all that great - this final pre-release look at Shenmue III is impressive. It retains the look and feel of the original games whilst looking modern and detailed in a way that, yeah, 18 years of absence would bring.
We're now well and truly into the Lightweight phase of gaming mice. And with the new Razer Viper Ultimate the renown hardware maker is staking a claim for the creation of the world's most advanced lightweight wireless device. Or more specifically, featherweight gaming mouse that don't need no wires bro. As our esteemed hardware guru Nathan Lawrence might put it.
Not that he would, it's just that via this review we now know that he's a peripheral gym rat - one of those old timers that likes to get a pump in by adding weights to their mouse - as to flex whilst ripping and tearing through enemies.
Ahem. A snippet from his review.
What Logitech started with the Logitech G900 – where wireless play is comparable to wired performance – is continued with the Razer Viper Ultimate. Speaking of the G900, it’s long been my faithful fragging companion since release. And while it took me a while to divorce my mouse hand from the feel of the G900, I don’t think I’ll be going back after falling in love with the Viper Ultimate.
If you like your mice light, then the Razer Viper Ultimate should float to the very top of your wishlist. Compare an incredibly light 74g to the 107g weight of my G900 comparison mouse (the wired Razer Viper comes in lighter at 69g), it’s sturdy and responsive thanks to the comfortable textured grips. In fairness, I prefer the heft of my G900 – I’m one of those gamers who used to add the optional weights to my older Logitech mice like a gym rat setting up some dumbbells.
Announced at BlizzCon alongside a stunning cinematic trailer, Diablo IV was also playable at the show. With Blizzard on hand to talk about all aspects of the game with confidence and a willing ear to listen to feedback - it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. So much so we ended up playing the demo several times.
Emerging from a cavernous crypt to wander the grassy hills of an overcast and dreary Scosglen in Diablo IV, you see a small village in the distance. Between you and that peaceful respite – monsters, beasts, goat men, and other creatures to slay. The new real-time cinematics that feature heavily in Diablo’s return allow Blizzard to highlight and put a focus on character as well as the vast open world of the now seamless Sanctuary to explore.
From dynamic weather effects, art direction that highlights the stark contrast between light and shadow, seeing things like the grass sway according to the whims of the wind, the day-night system that can change the overall feel of the familiar in an instant, to the improved geometric detail in the environments – Diablo IV looks incredible. Like some of the most evocatively dark concept art for the series come to life.
And then, like clockwork, the camera settles into that familiar isometric position and you begin to fully grasp the tagline - ‘A Return to Darkness’.
Continuing to buck trends, Activision has given Infinity Ward the greenlight to drop all-new, free content for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's multiplayer, including new game modes, maps and more.
As a stripped-back entry in the series, Modern Warfare stands divisive among the CoD community, but at the very least, the way it has been handled post-release has been somewhat refreshing as far as the history of the series is concerned.
Experience “Shoot House”, an all-new Multiplayer map featuring exciting three-lane, close-quarter combat. Jump into the large-scale battle of “Krovnik Farmland”, a new map for Ground War. Plus, the classic game mode Hardpoint is now playable in public matches.
Okay, so both Aladdin and The Lion King - in 1990s platfomer, err, form - are stone cold classics. Wonderful animation that leveraged some of the best of Disney. Memorable characters and great music, with solid gameplay. So, with that you'd think this would be a no brainier for fans.
Except that this collection misses out on being the definite combo it could have easily been.
Which brings us to this package’s biggest omission as a historical compilation. 1994. The year that saw Disney’s Aladdin get ported over to the PC and Amiga, where it not only got improved visuals (the Mega Drive could only display 61-colours at a time) but, and this is a big one, a vastly improved MIDI soundtrack.
Yeah, the difference is huge. And if, like me, you played both Aladdin and The Lion King on PC in ‘90s then this release not including these versions of the game make it feel incomplete. And a bit of a slog to get through. The GameBoy versions are here, so what gives? Also, without any remastering or touching up done on the visuals, not including the best looking and best sounding versions of these games is baffling.
A new entry, even a remaster, in the Super Monkey Ball series from SEGA is definite cause for excitement. Except that Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz HD isn't quite the monkeys trapped in balls experience we were after. In that when it came to choosing which game to bring back, like that old knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the developers chose... poorly.
The original 2006 release of Banana Blitz meant that it was a game designed and built for the Nintendo Wii. Of wiggle, waggle, motion control fame. As the world was swept up in the Wii Sports craze of the mid-naughties, Nintendo fans who Monkey Balled on the Cube were genuinely excited at the prospect of getting to play Super Monkey Ball with full motion controls. Holding the Wii Remote in the palm of their hands as they tilted and turned and guided Aiai and co towards to the goal. On paper at least, it sounded like a natural evolution for the series. It wasn’t.
The result wasn’t terrible but like with all things motion control; moving the stuff on the screen was spotty at best. For a series that lived and breathed precision, this was not ideal. Also, as Super Monkey Ball had already seen its formula perfected in the excellent Super Monkey Ball 2 the development team at SEGA’s Amusement Vision also felt it was time to experiment and merge Super Monkey Ball with a traditional 2D or 3D platformer. Jungle worlds, ice worlds, lava lands, jumping, boss battles, and platforming.
Of course there's no single peripheral out there that can take a rather average player into the realm of esports competitive superstar, but they can still give you an edge in your everyday gaming. Case in point the low 1mm actuation point of the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition. Which had Nathan Lawrence go all Zen and unlearn and re-learn the learnings and ways of the FPS.
And actually improve his game. Of which, like a baggy pants wearing dancer from the '90s, he already had a considerable amount of. Game, that is.
The TE is a game-changer in this regard. More often than not, I was able to slide or dive to safety in both Battlefield V and Modern Warfare. It made me cockier with A-D-A-D dancing in gunfights, and even led to some heinously disrespectful plays where I closed the gap on firing enemies for front-on melee kills.
If you can adapt to it, the TE pays off dividends.
Another surprise packet that found its way into our inbox, Superliminal from Indie studio, Pillow Castle Games (great name, by the way), takes the first-person puzzle genre(?) by the balls, and then both shrinks and expands those balls, depending on your perspective.
Imagine Portal mixed with Escher-like game design and forced/warped-perspective art. That's kind of what you're going to get here.
SUPERLIMINAL is a single-player, first-person puzzle game that uses perception as a mechanic. You play as someone who wakes up in a surprisingly lucid dream. As you complete puzzles to get to the next exit, certain patterns and truths become more apparent. In this game, everything is exactly what it seems to be! Wait, no… that’s not right. Everything is the opposite of what you think it is? That’s not correct either. This is a game about breaking expectations and thinking outside the box. What you see is what you get. Literally.
Ready to join Dr. Glenn Pierce in his “SomnaSculpt Dream Therapy” program?
The game will be available through The Epic Games Store from November 12th. Watch the latest trailer embedded below.
Teaming up with BIGBEN, Australia's Big Ant Studios has been working on a follow-up to the divisive AO Tennis with the aptly-titled AO Tennis 2.
Here's the full publisher serve on the new game.
In AO Tennis 2, tennis fans can take themselves from the outside courts to centre-stage glory in the all-new narrative-driven career mode. For the first time in AO Tennis, success for a young talented player depends as much on external events as great play on the court, which provides deeper immersion into the world of professional tennis.
Players can once again use Big Ant's celebrated content editor, which was loved by the community in AO Tennis, to customise every element of their game. Furthermore, all content created and shared by users since the first game from 2018 will be available in AO Tennis 2. That's over 20,000 players and hundreds of courts that can be enjoyed by fans of the sport.
For fans that want to relive the glories of their favorite players, AO Tennis 2 includes a roster of some of the brightest talents across both the ATP and WTA, including Rafael Nadal, Ash Barty, Angélique Kerber and many others. All venues that will be used in the 2020 Australian Open will also be available in the game, so fans can enjoy maximum authenticity as they play along with the Australian summer of tennis.
Check out the reveal trailer embedded below.
Big Ant also listened to the community and has implemented many other improvements and new features requested by players. More details about content and the career mode will be shared soon.
Developed in close collaboration with the tournament's organizers, AO Tennis 2 will give fans a more intense experience of the Australia Open, the first of the year's four Grand Slam events, which begins on 20 January.
Under new regulation, China has announced it is implementing a gaming curfew for all minors in the country. That is, anyone under the age of 18 years, which intends to limit gaming time with a cutoff between 10pm and 8am, and access to online games for said minors during the week will only be 90-minutes per day, and just three hours each day of the weekend.
According to a report from CNN the new regulation will also limit the amount of money minors can spend on their online gaming account per month; eight to 16 year-olds will be able to top up at a maximum of 200 yuan (about $40 Australian dollars), and 16 to 18 year-olds double that.
The report says that these regulations will apply to all active online gaming platforms in the country. The guidelines were drafted in response to what the Chinese government has suggested is a problem in youth with "video game addiction", and is part of a sweeping campaign regulate gaming and the games industry within China.