Electronic Arts games will now be distributed by e-xpress Interactive in India

E-xpress Interactive just announced that it will be distributing Electronic Arts games in a new partnership. Until recently, Amazon India was the official distributor for EA games in India and it only covered online retail while offline channels had to resort to other means for EA games.

This partnership includes games from EA franchises like FIFA, Star Wars Battlefront, Need for Speed, and more and the titles will be made available both online and offline.

Hopefully this means games like FIFA 20 will be available here on time. This partnership will also allow e-xpress to sell FIFA physical games to go along with the FUT points they already have been selling for a while now. Details on pricing for upcoming titles will be announced at a later date.

Gallery: IVG Game Night featuring Mortal Kombat 11

Our new initiative IVG Game Night got off to a fantastic start on Monday as we celebrated the launch of Mortal Kombat 11 in association with WB Games, E-xpress Interactive and Sony PlayStation.

Gamers, IVG community members and select media gathered at Bonobo in Bandra to get a first taste of NetherRealm’s latest ahead of its April 23 launch, with eight PlayStation Pro consoles available for hands-on sessions.

IVG Game Night also gives visitors the opportunity for gamers and fans to meet each other over food, drink and conversation over their favourite games.

We look forward to making IVG Game Night a regular affair as a new way to bring the gaming community together. We’ll be announcing details of the next IVG Game Night very soon, but in the mean time, here are a few glimpses of our first IVG Game Night.

IVG Game Night: Celebrate the launch of Mortal Kombat 11

Over the past decade and more, the IVG community has come together across the country for community meet-ups. We’re about to take it to the next level with IVG Game Night.

For the inaugural IVG Game Night, we’ve partnered with E-xpress Interactive, Sony PlayStation, Games the Shop and Warner Bros. Entertainment to celebrate the launch of one of the year’s biggest games: Mortal Kombat 11.

We’re also partnering with Bonobo, one of Mumbai’s most popular night spots, where we invite fans of the game, IVG community members, and just about anyone, to come, play the game, meet fellow gamers, and even take home some merch.

IVG Game Night will take place at Bonobo on Monday, April 22, 2019 from 8 pm onwards. Entry is free but this event is restricted to visitors aged 18 and above.

If you do plan to attend, kindly fill out this short registration/RSVP form so we can ensure there’s enough merchandise for everyone.

Mumbai gamers, YOU’RE NEXT

IVG Podcast 44: Streaming, looter-shooters and the resurgence of Japanese games

The world’s most irregular gaming podcast is back. A decade since the first one and three years since the last one, we’re finally back with episode 44 of the IVG Podcast.

This time around, we’ve got on-board an IVG Podcast regular (Sam/HundredProofSam), one of its founding members who is back after several years (Avinash/Nash), and a debutant (Nikhil/Bullismasher).

In keeping with tradition, this episode is a mix of the biggest news dominating the gaming world, our views on the games we’re currently playing, as well as future releases we’re looking forward to. Here’s a breakdown of the topics we’ve covered this time:

  • What’s happening: Google Stadia and a future with game streaming; Borderlands 3: More of what we really don’t want
  • What we’re playing: The Division 2, Anthem, Apex Legends, DMC 5 and the resurgence of Japanese games, Sekiro
  • What’s coming out: Days Gone, Mortal Kombat 11, Dangerous Driving, World War Z

The podcast is currently available on our Soundcloud page, but we’ll soon be adding to our regular feed, so you’ll be able to access it via iTunes, your favourite podcast app, and now also on Spotify.

Do have a listen and let us know what you think on forums and on social media. We’re also open to suggestions and ideas for what you’d like for us to cover on future episodes.

We hope you enjoy!

Control’s editions and pricing have been revealed for India on all platforms

505 Games and Remedy’s Control was dated for a worldwide release on August 27th across PC, PS4, and Xbox One platforms a little while ago. Today, e-xpress Interactive has announced the editions and pricing for Control in India on PS4 and Xbox One. The PC release is digital only while consoles get more options across digital and physical platforms.

On the PC side of things, Control is available exclusively on the Epic Games Store for $48.99. Check it out here. On the digital side of things on consoles, only PS4 gets a deluxe edition that includes the expansions while Xbox gets a standard pre-order edition option. The PS4 pre-order edition costs Rs. 3499 on PSN while the Deluxe Edition costs Rs. 4799. PS+ subscribers get 10% off the Deluxe Edition on PSN. The Xbox One digital pre-order edition costs Rs. 2700 which is lower than the retail price.

For the physical release, PS4 and Xbox One have both a standard and a retail exclusive deluxe edition available. The Expansion Pass will be sold separately on PC and Xbox One platforms. The retail exclusive deluxe edition includes the following:

– Collectable Futurepak™ Metal Case
– Limited Edition Art Cards
– Tactical Response Gear (Pre-order bonus)
– Control Crafting Resources Pack (Pre-order bonus)
– Rare Service Weapon Mod (PS4 exclusive)
– Rare Player Mod (PS4 exclusive)
– Astral Dive Suit (PS4 exclusive)
– The Explorer Theme (PS4 exclusive)
– The Black Rock Quarry Theme (PS4 exclusive)

Control releases on August 27th for PS4, Xbox One, and PC platforms.

Review: Trials Rising

Trials has been one of those franchises recommended to me a few times but one I never really paid attention to. With the newest entry coming to Switch (which is great for the “one more try” style games), I decided to give it a shot. I’ve put in close to 50 hours across the Switch and Xbox One X versions of Trials rising since release so far and RedLynx’s physics racer experience is very good but has a few frustrations.

After an initial tutorial segment, you’re thrown into the world map where you get to access each level and also the University of Trials which is very useful. This map is sprinkled with various kinds of levels across different difficulties as you progress but it feels a little poorly thought out. Forza Horizon handles both this aspect and the customisation (which is another area Trials falters) a lot better. Level requirements range from finishing within a certain time to beating another racer and even finishing without too many faults. Thankfully, restarting a level is super fast and you will end up doing this often to improve your performance.

The customisation involves crates or loot boxes that you earn with each level. Some bikes are unlocked on reaching certain levels but the cosmetics are mostly not great. You’d think opening crates early on would get you more new stuff but across both Switch and Xbox, I ended up with duplicates as early as the second or third crate. The opening animation for crates is also very slow which made me not bother with them until I had about 8 or 10 to open one after the other.

Trials Rising’s visuals are a mixed bag. Even on Xbox One X, there is loads of popin and some low resolution textures. You’d think this stuff won’t matter much since you’re focussed on making sure you don’t crash and doing tricks but it is very noticeable in many of the levels. The levels themselves are mostly all very nicely designed and some of them look pretty gorgeous.

When it comes to the licensed music, there are loads of great tracks from Airbourne, Sum 41, and more. There are also some weak tracks that sort of dampen the experience. I wish there was a genre select for music. The sound effects are good overall but the mixing could use some work. Make sure you tweak the audio levels when you play to your liking.

Barring the customisation that feels like an afterthought in an otherwise great game, performance issues are annoying. The Xbox One X version has random frame drops or super short freezing in levels. This isn’t even consistent because some levels can go smooth for 2 or 3 attempts but the 4th one will have a freeze when you’re mid air doing a trick.

Barring the Xbox One X version, the Switch version is pretty competent. The biggest downgrade isn’t the framerate dropping to a target of 30fps versus 60fps on other consoles but the visuals. If you’ve not played Trials on any other console but the Switch, it might not seem like a big deal but in comparison to the Xbox One version, a lot of the environment is barren on Switch. Given the visual cutbacks, I was hoping the frame rate would be the same but that had to be cutback as well. I still enjoy playing Trials Rising on the Switch when portable but if you want to play it on TV, get it on another system for sure.

Overall, Trials Rising has nailed the core gameplay and even with the customisation feeling tacked on, it still is a fine experience overall. Hopefully Ubisoft can address the random stutter and freezing that happens on Xbox One X.

Rockstar Games Details New Modes Coming to Red Dead Online Beta and a New Major Update, Game Sees a 25% Discount for a Limited Time

Rockstar Games has been updating Red Dead Online Beta regularly since launch with new content. Today, they detail plans to bring new Showdown Modes and Racing Modes over the next month. A new Free Roam Event is also live in game now. Their aim is for players to have greater freedom to play and feel connected to the world. Red Dead Redemption 2 is currently discounted at 25% off both online and offline across most retailers and will be for a limited time on both PS4 and Xbox One systems.

Spring this year will see a big update arrive that includes the following new content and more as revealed by Rockstar Games:

The Hostility System

The Hostility system builds upon the anti-griefing measures added in February with smarter and responsive features that keep players immersed in the world through confrontations and PvP action. For example, players who have damage inflicted on them by attackers will be able to defend themselves without incurring Bounties or Hostility increases. Previously, the attacker and target would be marked as an enemy – now the attacker who inflicts damage will be immediately marked as an enemy to the attacked player; players will not accumulate Hostility increases for killing other players who are marked as an enemy. Hostility increases will not apply within structured events such as Free Roam Events, Free Roam Missions, Showdowns and Races. Engaging in player vs player behaviors related to Free Roam missions will not incur Hostility increases, however attacking other players not engaged in the activity will cause your Hostility level to rise. The Hostility System has many more functions and will help balance experiences for all play styles.

Offensive and Defensive Playing Style Options

Some players just want to immerse themselves in the world, riding, hunting and fishing in peace. We want to offer these options while allowing players to coexist comfortably alongside other players in the world. The Offensive Playing Style is much like the current Free Roam play as we know it while the Defensive Playing Style is a more evolved version of the Passive Mode concept, designed for Red Dead Online’s more grounded experience – giving players more flexibility in how they interact with the world and at the same time de-emphasizing hostile contact with other players. Choosing the Defensive option introduces balances that compliment a less confrontational approach: Defensive players cannot be lassoed by rival players – although if a Defensive player lassos another player, they’ll be removed from Defensive play and incur a significant Hostility level increase. Defensive players will trade the ability to lock on to other players for the benefit that other players will not be able to lock on to Defensive players. While Defensive players can target and be targeted in free aim, they cannot deliver or receive critical hits – if a Defensive player is attacked with a headshot, they’ll survive and be able to defend themselves via the Hostility system or escape all while remaining Defensive. There are several other adjustments that come with the Defensive Playing Style, all of which are built to work seamlessly with systems like Hostility and Bounties to keep all players rooted in the world.

Some other new additions include:

More A Land of Opportunities Missions: continue Jessica LeClerk’s search for revenge as you explore between the path of a Gunslinger or an Outlaw.

New Free Roam Mission givers and mission types: Red Dead Online is set in the years before the single player story so expect to encounter a range of new and familiar faces as you traverse the frontier.
The Introduction of dynamic events: fight off ambushes, initiate rescues, defend folks in need and more as you travel across the world.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is currently available for Rs. 2999 on PS4 and Xbox One through this offer which is Rs. 1000 less than the launch price. This discount is valid until April 1st.

PlayStation Plus 12-Month Subscription gets a limited time discount in India

The PlayStation Plus 12 month subscription is available at 25% off for a limited time with discounts available both online and offline. This brings the final price down to Rs. 3329 from Rs. 4439. The offer is valid until March 26th only before the price goes back up.

The offer is valid at select offline retailers and the Games The Shop website that now offers instant delivery. Earlier, the codes for any PlayStation Network currency topups or games were delivered later. They are now sent instantly to your email address. In case you missed the news earlier, PSN top up currency cards were finally made available for Indian PSN accounts on Games The Shop initially.

PS+ now offers 2 free games for PS4 only after the removal of PS3 and PS Vita games. Cloud storage recently got bumped up to 100GB. This month’s free PS4 games for active PS+ subscribers are Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered and The Witness.

Hearthstone: Rise of Shadows Announced for April 9th release on iOS, Android, and PC platforms

After revealing plans for how Hearthstone will evolve this year, Blizzard has detailed the first expansion that will bring change to the game. Rise of Shadows is a new expansion arriving next month with 135 new cards and new in game mechanics. Arch-Thief Rafaam has recruited the greatest villains in Hearthstone history for the League of E.V.I.L. including Dr. Boom, Hagatha the Witch, and more.

Rise of Shadows brings Lackeys to the fray. Lackeys are 1/1 minions with interesting battlecries. Schemes are spells that grow in power when they spend more turns in your hand. Twinspell is a new keyword that puts a copy of a spell in your hand when you cast it. When it comes to solo play, the single player adventure for this expansion arrives in May with the first chapter available for free to all. Each additional chapter will cost 700 gold or $19.99 for the whole set. This story will continue into the other expansions this year.

Rise of Shadows will be available for pre purchase in two bundles. The 50-pack bundle includes 50 packs, the Jewel of Lazul card back and a Legendary card. the 80-pack mega Bundle includes 80 packs, the Madame Lazul Priest Hero, the Jewel of Lazul card back, and a Golden Legendary card. The expansion releases on April 9th across iOS, Android, and PC platforms with pre release events beginning on April 5th.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is available for free on iOS, Android, and PC platforms right now.

Hearthstone Year of the Dragon announced with details on solo adventure changes, quality of life improvements, and more

Just like last year, Blizzard has announced its plans for Hearthstone this year in a new “Year”. For Hearthstone, each year is represented by expansions and changes. To keep things fresh, Blizzard retires older sets to Wild so that Standard mode can see more new cards and sets played. The older sets move to Wild where anything goes. In addition to that, some cards are moved into the Hall of Fame from the basic and classic sets to allow for the unique class identities to come into their own.

2019 will be the Year of the Dragon for Hearthstone and this year there will be loads of new content with improvements to solo adventures, quality of life enhancements, and a lot more. When it comes to the Hall of Fame inductees, Divine Favor, Doomguard, Naturalize, Baku the Mooneater, Genn Greymane, Black Cat, Gloom Stag, Glitter Moth, and Murkspark Eel will be joining the Hall of Fame.

For Solo Adventures, the Year of the Dragon will see more customisation as the team uses the Dungeon Run style as a framework. Solo adventures akin to the original ones (Naxx anyone?) will allow you to purchase new chapters with gold or as a bundle for real money. This year the story will span the three expansions and not be standalone per expansion. Another change when the Year of the Dragon begins will be the addition of Journey to Un’Goro, Knights of the Frozen Throne, and Kobolds & Catacombs cards to Wild.

Blizzard will finally implement a card back randomizer for people with multiple card backs so you don’t need to change after each game if you want something fresh each game. More details will be revealed in the future. The final portion of Blizzard’s announcement includes a login bonus for all players with one pack from each expansion from Year of the Mammoth for free. Watch the developer chat video for Year of the Dragon below:

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is available on iOS, Android, and PC platforms for free.

Review: Stellaris: Console Edition

This generation has been super interesting for games for a variety of reasons. I’ve noticed many games that are usually associated or exclusive with a single platform release on multiple soon after or at the same time. Console only franchises have started coming to PC and many PC only series are dipping their toes into consoles. Games like Divinity Original Sin and Pillars of Eternity coming to consoles would be unheard of but there are quite a few like those now. When Cities: Skylines was announced for Xbox One, I thought I had seen everything but Paradox Interactive took things even further with the announcement of Stellaris: Console Edition. Stellaris is literally one of the last things I ever expected to see on consoles but here we are and it is fantastic with a few caveats.

Stellaris is a 4X grand strategy game which is basically completely new to consoles. Your aim is to eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate (4X). Stellaris is all about exploring space and managing your empire while a ton of things are happening alongside other space faring civilizations. Beginning off by just exploring for planets with your science ships and then growing into a proper empire will never get old. If you’re completely new to the genre, you can even tweak a lot of the difficulty and game (while disabling achievements) just to play around a bit before starting out a proper game.

With Stellaris on console, my biggest concern was obviously the controls. All my fears were unfounded because it plays very well on a controller. The UI has been split up into four main sections that you can zip between on the d-pad. You can even keep all the tutorial tips enabled so you are reminded each time what a particular menu is for. I had this on for the first few hours. Zooming in and out using triggers is also pretty quick. You can also pause at anytime to take a breather or get your bearings.

One of the bigger changes outside the controls for console is the interface. A lot of the icons and elements have been redone or are new just for the console version. They look good. The game itself looks very good almost across the board. When I first discovered Stellaris on PC, the biggest draw wasn’t all the glowing praise for the game but the soundtrack. Stellaris has my favourite grand strategy game soundtrack ever. It fits the visuals perfectly and is great enough to listen to outside the game as well while working. Stellaris’ audio design doesn’t end with that. Everything from the tutorial tips to the actual sound effects are great and probably best in the genre.

The biggest flaw right now is that the game in its current state is more than a year outdated from the current PC release in terms of features. I don’t mean DLC because that will obviously be sold and added over time but in terms of core functionality. The team has done a great job with Cities: Skylines post launch support so hopefully things go smooth with Stellaris so it eventually reaches up to par with the PC release. One other thing to consider is that just like the PC version, there is quite the barrier of entry here. It isn’t really something you can pickup and learn to play in a few hours. The initial curve is something but paying attention and experimenting will be worth it. The team has done a great job with the tutorial even for complete newbies.

Overall, Stellaris on Xbox One X works brilliantly. Tantalus have done a superlative job with the controls and it feels very polished even in its current state. I look forward to the expansions and DLC. The soundtrack from Andreas Waldetoft deserves another mention because it is the perfect scifi soundtrack in my head.

Review: Steins;Gate Elite for Nintendo Switch

Many fans of the visual novel genre likely got into it through games that aren’t true visual novels but more adventure experiences that happen to have a big visual novel component. When it comes to pure visual novels, Steins;Gate is the most popular entry point to the genre and just like most popular games, it has seen various ports across different generations of consoles in Japan before seeing a release for English speaking regions.

While English speaking fans only got to officially play it with a PC release that was followed by PlayStation (3 and Vita) and iOS ports, a lot of people had only watched the anime. Visual novels often get anime releases and Steins;Gate has an amazing anime by White Fox and it has been used for Steins;Gate Elite. Steins;Gate Elite is a remake of the original visual novel using anime cutscenes from the White Fox anime instead of the static portraits and art the original visual novel release had. White Fox also got back and did some new scenes for some of the content that was in the visual novel that wasn’t adapted for the anime release. In a lot of ways, Steins;Gate Elite is a great compromise between playing a super long visual novel and watching an anime series.

Steins;Gate Elite is a story about time travel, betrayal, anime tropes, and a healthy dose of thrilling moments. You play as Okabe Rintaro who is a “mad scientist”. While Elite starts off very slowly just like the anime and original visual novel, it hooks you in deep and never lets go until the credits roll. The supporting cast is fantastic and unforgettable. Despite having played dozens of visual novels since, nothing has come close to the story in Steins;Gate.

If you’ve never played Steins;Gate or even watched the anime, you make decisions as Okabe that will decide what ending will get. There are multiple endings with some being a lot better than others but overall, the story and pacing after the opening that is slow, is pretty damn great. The game does a quicksave pretty often and you can save anytime across the multiple save slots. While many people just use a guide to get every ending in the least amount of time, you should play it once on your own without any guide to see what you end up with.

When Steins;Gate Elite was announced, I was pretty skeptical of the animation being used to replace the gorgeous art the original had and thankfully my fears on that front were unfounded because Elite looks and plays great. This doesn’t hold true all the way on Switch. The opening is noticeably lower quality than the PS4 version and there are some cutscene transitions that show signs of compression. The other issue with the Switch port is the lack of any touchscreen use. Visual Novels on the Vita were a joy to read since you could just tap the screen to progress dialogue. The Switch version has no touchscreen use at all. The text and visuals look great in handheld though. The updated interface is a welcome change and it is good to see the text wrap issues from the original visual novel’s release not present here. When it comes to the audio and music, the new opening and the ending song are great. Voice acting is as good as it has always been. While it probably wasn’t financially feasible, having the English dub as an option would’ve been a nice inclusion for fans of the show who watched the English dub.

Steins;Gate Elite includes a bonus game on each platform. The PS4 and PC releases include the massive Linear Bounded Phenogram which is definitely worth playing and quite a generous bonus. The Switch version includes 8-Bit Adventure Steins;Gate that is very short in comparison but great for fans of the show. In fact, you can’t even save while playing it implying it is a single sitting experience. While this is a nice touch given Elite being the franchise’s debut on a Nintendo platform, it is considerably less than the PS4 and PC bonus inclusion.

Overall, Steins;Gate Elite is a fantastic way to experience the story and a great entry point into pure visual novels. This is easily the best visual novel available on the Switch. Hopefully this does well so Spike Chunsoft can localise the upcoming Steins;Gate collection for switch so Switch owners can play Linear Bounded Phenogram, Zero, and more. I’m glad I was wrong about Steins;Gate Elite and I hope more visual novels attempt to do this and take the medium to a whole new audience.

Review: Crackdown 3

Saying Crackdown 3 has gone through a lot since it was revealed a long time ago is an understatement. After multiple delays, it is finally here on both Xbox One and Windows 10 platforms and the release is split up into 2 components. Sumo Digital handled the campaign which is what makes Crackdown 3 worth your time. Wrecking Zone is the multiplayer component of the game that is not good in its current state but more on that in a bit.

Crackdown 3 is set a decade after Crackdown 2. If you’ve never played a Crackdown game before, you can start with this one. Despite owning the original through Backward Compatibility and a physical copy of the second one (which isn’t backward compatible as of this writing), I didn’t really get into the series until this entry. Crackdown 3’s campaign is a lot of fun but it isn’t for everyone. The amount of enjoyment you will get out of it depends on a few things. When it comes to the plot, it is pretty bare bones but serviceable.

Crackdown 3’s campaign basically has you traversing through New Providence that has a ton of verticality. Your aim is to clear out as many of the various facilities for each boss of a particular area or field. The propaganda towers in particular are fun with the light puzzles and platforming thrown in. Collecting orbs is something you need to learn to love because it plays a huge part of the experience here. Agility Orbs help you level up agility that lets you run faster and even gain double jump or boosts later on. There are Hidden Orbs sprinkled across the map that let you earn a bit of all stats. The remaining stats are levelled up through driving, melee, explosives, and shooting. Each major increase in these stats gives you access to more items, weapons, or abilities. If you spend a lot of time shooting or partaking in melee combat, you will grow those abilities while things like the driving abilities will be left lacking.

Visually, Crackdown 3 can look stunning on the Xbox One X. While some things look and feel noticeably dated, there’s enough to make Crackdown 3 stand out visually. The aesthetic works well and when you combine it with the various particle effects, the final game is quite the spectacle in motion. Combat in crowded areas with loads of enemies and everyone shooting at you looks great and the framerate holds up for the most part. The only real performance issues that occured felt random with not much going on. The visual feedback when you

Crackdown 3’s audio design is good but it has quite a few annoyances. I ran into loads of audio glitches that last a second or two where the audio either cuts out or stutters. While these can be addressed in patches, the annoyance of being told there is an orb nearby after you’ve literally found it and collected is something that really needs to be fixed. The audio cues and hints for hidden orbs and agility orbs are nice but they often play out too late. The other audio issue is with the voices being a bit too low which is a problem for Terry Crews’ voice especially.

If you don’t enjoy games like Saints Row IV with super powers or even games that expect you to clean up a map that is littered with objectives like in earlier Ubisoft games, this likely isn’t for you. If you enjoyed spending hours cleaning up the map in Marvel’s Spider-Man and just want to feel like a badass with some kickass powers, this is worth checking out. The advantage of being on Xbox Game Pass is you can check out the campaign and not deal with the bad multiplayer right now which makes this an experience that definitely should’ve been priced lower than full price.

Wrecking Zone, the multiplayer, has potential but it has been a mess over the last few days with connection issues and no real progression. You can probably skip downloading this until they patch in the ability to play with friends. Crackdown 3’s campaign will keep you busy with loads to do and the steady drip feed of new mechanics, enemies, and powers makes the campaign fun. If you’re a completionist with your games where you enjoy exploring maps and collecting everything and taking on every enemy you see, you will love Crackdown 3’s campaign.

Review: Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!

I first discovered and played Cook, Serve, Delicious! on Steam a long time ago. While it hooked me pretty quickly for a bit, I only really got into it through the iPad version. I’ve always enjoyed these kinds of games where you need quick reflexes on touch screen devices. Even World of Goo plays best on touch. The original Cook, Serve, Delicious! is fantastic on iPad and when the sequel was announced for PC and eventually PS4, I was optimistic but a little concerned since the original is one of my most played indie games ever. Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! debuted on PC and saw loads of post launch support that fixed a lot of the issues people had. It finally arrived on PS4 with all PC updates included from the start and is a much better game in its current state right now.

When it comes to sequels for indie games like Risk of Rain, Spelunky, Overcooked, and even Cook, Serve, Delicious!, I’m always a bit skeptical because the originals felt so great and had so much great content and I always feel like sequels won’t live up to whatever I’d personally want. Thankfully, Overcooked 2 did that and Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! nearly nails it with some super smart additions that make up for the removal of something fans of the original will no doubt be annoyed by.

Having played the original PC release, the turnaround from Vertigo Gaming has been superb with new content constantly added and the big free “Barista Update”. Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! is more of almost everything from the original. There are loads more dishes and this is huge step up visually and performance wise. If you’ve never played a game in this franchise yet, these are restaurant simulation games with tons of minigames for various dishes and chores. Your aim as a chef is to serve as many dishes as you can correctly with tickets and chores piling up. The original was great for its campaign that had great progression and while that not being present here the same way is a big flaw, the sequel has enough to be an easy recommendation for a variety of reasons. There are various ways to approach the main “campaign” here. One thing that should’ve been handled better here is player direction. At some point, you might feel unsure on what to do next. The tips that show up on loading the game are useful here but Vertigo Gaming should’ve done a better job of prodding players into exploring more of the content.

Having only really gotten into the original on iPad with a touchscreen, I struggled a bit initially to get into this with a controller. Thankfully, it only took a few attempts and practice sessions with various dishes to feel comfortable. The interface is great with its cues like the colours and alphabets that let you know which trigger or section a specific chore or ingredient is located. These simulation and management style games are usually stressful and while that plays a huge part here, there’s an all new Zen Mode that lets you enjoy everything without any stress. Holding Stations are such a fantastic addition to the core gameplay adding even more depth.

Visually, the original had a lot going for it even with a relatively simple aesthetic. Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! looks gorgeous. This isn’t just the dishes that have been excellently recreated but the interface and all the menus. Even the restaurant backdrops look great on the big screen. Performance is also great outside of a few loading screen transitions that have a weird stutter. Thankfully, the gameplay itself is smooth. I like how Vertigo Gaming even let you choose your controller light bar colour for solo or co-op play.

Audio design played a very important role in making the original as beloved as it is today and the sequel pushes things further once again. The music for Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! has been done by Jonathan Geer once again and the sound effects you know and love are all here with many more. The sound effects for things like mashing potatoes or cutting are almost as satisfying as real life when paired with the subtle controller vibration feedback during the minigames.

The biggest negative here is the lack of the progression that felt perfect from the original. If you never experienced the original, this will likely not be an issue for you but as someone who loved that, it is disappointing seeing the follow up to one of my favourite games miss something like that and feel a bit soulless in comparison. The additions and enhancements almost make up for it though and this is still a fantastic experience. Cool Deli Meats, Pocket Full of Spice, and Bayou Gumbo are highlights from the soundtrack.

While I would’ve loved something like the original campaign in the sequel, Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! has so much good stuff across different game modes that allow for more ways than ever before to experience the superb core gameplay here. If you have a PS4 (or even Xbox and Switch soon), this is well worth getting if you want an amazing restaurant simulation game. Hopefully the follow up to this can have online multiplayer in some form.

Review: Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

Team Aces and Bandai Namco’s Ace Combat franchise has been around for a very long time. While the initial releases were on PS1 and then PSP and PS2, last generation saw them expand into not only a multi platform title for a spinoff (Assault Horizon) but also an Xbox 360 exclusive in the form of Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation. The franchise returns after a long break with Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown for PS4, Xbox One, and PC (at a later date). Having never played an Ace Combat game before outside of the 3DS port that arrived recently, I was looking forward to experiencing a proper numbered entry in the Ace Combat franchise and Ace Combat 7 delivers for the most part with only a few annoyances.

War has broken out between the Osean Federation and Erusea that are both in the world you will spend time in here and you get into the boots of a pilot just getting into grips with everything going on but thrust into the action headfirst. I was reminded of Earth Defense Force quite a bit but not because of how nonsensical that story is but how it shouldn’t work on paper but it managed to hook me nearly all the way. This game makes me wish Bandai Namco just did a collection of the earlier releases for consoles to experience more stories from Project Aces on modern systems.

Barring the main campaign mode that is quite expansive, there are multiplayer modes and a free mode that lets you replay any of the campaign maps without any story aspects just to explore. The multiplayer modes in my testing worked out mostly well. I expected a mess given 8 pilots flying in a single session but the game handles the battle royale mode (no not that one) very well and facing off against human controlled planes is a whole other experience.

Ace Combat 7 has multiple difficulty options and control schemes. One control scheme is meant for veterans of the franchise while the other is for newcomers and while the newcomer control scene is very easy to get into, I’d recommend spending some time in earlier missions through free mode with the expert scheme to see if it works for you because that gives you a ton of more control which helps in some later missions involving quick reflexes. The customisation tree for unlocks and your own loadout before you sortie is very well thought out.

On Xbox One X, performance has been mostly great. There are some hiccups in multiplayer but that is likely more network related. Visuals are a mixed bag with the planes and some key elements on the ground looking great but a lot of the other aspects looking dated. Some textures look pretty bad while others look very good. The most noticeable visual issue is pop in while flying close to land. In missions, it isn’t as noticeable because of all the action you are looking at but when you watch a replay after a mission, it is very evident. Hopefully we get proper Xbox One X support in the future because right now it doesn’t feel like it is there.

Despite having not played the previous games, I had heard a ton about the music being fantastic for earlier entries. Ace Combat 5’s music is phenomenal and thankfully Ace Combat 7’s soundtrack delivers in almost every aspect. It is full of memorable tunes and great atmospheric music for the more quiet moments. When it comes to in game audio, both the voice acting and sound effects in general are top notch. I’d recommend playing this with a good pair of headphones.

The major flaws with Ace Combat 7 in its current state have to do with some of the core missions. Some of them have instructions that are a bit too vague and this results in you ending up selecting the wrong equipment which can result in a waste of time. The checkpoint system is definitely the biggest problem here because it needs to be much more lenient. Having to replay 10 to 15 minute chunks after a mission fails towards the end of a single phase is annoying. This coupled with some difficulty spikes makes matters a bit worse. Hopefully Bandai Namco Entertainment and Team Aces can work on the checkpoint system at least for future updates. These things need to be sortied out.

Overall, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is an excellent game. If you’ve never played a game in the franchise before, this is a great starting point. It runs great on Xbox One X and is a joy to control across both control schemes. There has been a dearth of great flight simulation action games on consoles this generation and this is exactly what we all needed.

Review: Onimusha: Warlords

Originally released on PS2 and then the original Xbox, Capcom’s Onimusha: Warlords has been remastered for all current generation systems today. Nearly two decades after debuting on PS2, Capcom’s action adventure hack and slash series is back with a fresh coat of paint (for the most part) and various tweaks to make for a better gameplay experience by today’s standards. This review will focus on Onimusha: Warlords for both Xbox One X and Nintendo Switch. With many publishers getting into the Samurai mindset through releases like Nioh, Samurai Warriors, or even the upcoming Ghost of Tsushima, Capcom is likely gauging interest in the future of Onimusha through this release.

Set in the Sengoku period, Onimusha: Warlords has you play as Samanosuka Akechi slaying various monsters on his journey. Samanosuke gets a letter from Princess Yuki for help and when he eventually makes his way there, things have gotten pretty bad. Princess Yuki has been taken away and it is your aim to find her. Onimusha feels a lot like the older Resident Evil games with its puzzle design, fixed camera, and even aesthetic to some extent. The highlight here is definitely the combat which not only never gets old but it also has some nice feedback through HD Rumble on the Switch. If you enjoy the older Resident Evil games and are looking for a more action focus, this is likely right up your alley.

Onimusha: Warlords runs at a 1080p 60fps target on Xbox One with no Xbox One X enhancements. The Switch version targets the same resolution and framerate in docked mode while it targets a 720p in handheld mode. Given the pre rendered backgrounds, the Switch in handheld is is a great way to experience this classic. Thankfully the framerate holds up very well on both platforms with a few drops during camera changes in certain situations. Since the 16:9 widescreen option isn’t true widescreen as the game was designed for 4:3, I played Onimusha with the 4:3 aspect ratio. Some of the menus aren’t built for widescreen either understandably. The good thing is you can switch between both aspect ratios at any time from the options menu.

This release supports multiple languages for in game text and has dual audio. I played a good amount with both English and the Japanese voice track options. They are both very good but the Japanese voice track suits the setting a bit better. Thankfully both options are available right from the start. When it comes to the music, Onimusha’s score in this remaster is excellent. It fits the game very well.

The biggest improvement is in character models. Onimusha on Switch and Xbox One looks a lot better than the original PS2 release. Since this is a remaster and not a remake, the pre rendered backgrounds look low resolution compared to character models and even the interface. If you played Final Fantasy VII or IX on mobile or PS4, you will know what to expect here. Analog movement is a great addition and if you experience movement like the PS2 release, directional inputs are also supported. Easy mode is available here right from the get go. The final change of note is the soundtrack which is pretty great.

My only complaints with this release stem from the visuals and lack of new content. Old games brought to modern systems have a lot they can get right aside from gameplay improvements. Onimusha is a pretty short game. Capcom could’ve added extra content like promos for the game from the original launch, interviews, and more. This isn’t a collection but since they decided to bring Onimusha back after nearly 20 years, these additions would have been great.

Overall, the budget asking price and the modern conveniences added make this well worth playing across either system. It is disappointing to see no Xbox One X enhancements and no extra content though. Capcom will no doubt look at how this sells to decide on doing a remaster for Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny. While many publishers put out low effort remasters or ports from previous generation hardware, Capcom has done a good job here going even deeper into its back catalogue.

Review: Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition

The Tales franchise has had quite the history over multiple generations of consoles before finally mostly settling in on the PS3 that received multiple entries including some that never made it outside Japan. The most recent entry was released on both PS4 and PC in the form of Tales of Berseria that is a fantastic JRPG. Over the last few years, Bandai Namco Entertainment has been doing great stuff for many of their franchises but fans have never given up on the hope that the elusive Xbox 360 Exclusive Tales entry sees a release on newer platforms or that the Japan only PlayStation 3 version sees a localisation. At E3, they revealed Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition for all current platforms and this review will be focussing on the Xbox One X and Nintendo Switch versions of the game. Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is based on the PS3 version which has a lot more content than the 360 original.

Vesperia for current systems arrives a decade after the original bringing more voice acting, more party members, more skits, and basically more of everything that fans wanted in the original alongside the ability to play with either Japanese or English voice acting.

If you’ve never played a recent Tales game, they are basically JRPGs with action combat that takes place in a closed area. The draw of the games is usually in the great cast of characters and the interactions between the cast through the story and with skits that are optional interactions that occur during gameplay. While you will likely spend a ton of time in dungeons and in combat, exploration is quick and combat encounters end pretty fast unless it is a boss fight.

Vesperia is set in a world that uses Blastia to protect people in various locations from monsters. You play as Yuri Lowell who is a former soldier and end up in jail right in the beginning of the game. You soon escape and meet up with Estellise on your mission to recover your neighborhood’s Blastia core. While there is a lot of exploration in Vesperia, it is quite linear when it comes to the actual story and that is a good thing because unlike many JRPGs that have a ton of padding, Vesperia’s story and pacing only really suffers in the opening. These moments involve a few tutorials and have some poorly thought out dungeon design. After the initial barrier (gameplay wise) is broken, Tales of Vesperia comes into its own and the cast of characters is fantastic. Yuri is also a great protagonist with very well written dialogue which feels very natural. Rita and Raven are definitely standout characters here alongside Yuri.

Combat is fairly simple even though it feels involved at first. You have two kinds of main attacks you can chain together to form combos. The action combat takes place with free movement in a closed area and all party members and enemies can attack at the same time. The AI was fairly good in my experience but chaining different attacks together (and getting rumble feedback) never got old. The first battle theme could have been better given how often you hear it. Characters unlock more skills as they progress in battles and you can set which skills can be active for your AI companions from the menu. This is super useful in some fights where using a water skill could potentially heal a boss.

Vesperia was always a nice looking game on the 360 and it looks excellent on the Xbox One X. The aesthetic has aged very well. There are some instances of low resolution textures on both consoles. On Xbox One X, there are very few instances of minor stutter that occur in some areas in towns. Combat is great and the game runs very well overall. On the Switch however, things aren’t as great. Originally thought to target 1080p 30fps outside battles with 60fps during battles docked (and 720p in handheld for both), Vesperia plays out a bit differently. There are many non battle areas where it targets and even hits a consistent 60fps. Other areas see it drop below 30fps with stutter in the form of frame pacing. In portable mode, Vesperia doesn’t look as sharp as it should look and still has the same if not more erratic performance. If you want to play this on a portable, you have no other option. If you are going to play this docked, you should get it on PS4 Pro or Xbox One X over the Switch version. Hopefully the Switch version is patched to make it a more pleasant experience.

When it comes to music and voice acting, Tales games usually are above the rest of the JRPGs because Bandai Namco Entertainment usually nails it when it comes to who they get casted and the direction for voice acting. Tales of Berseria has some of the best English voice acting for a Japanese game ever. The great thing about playing Vesperia now as a new release has been hearing voices I know from many other JRPGs. For the fans who prefer playing with Japanese voices, those are an option as well and the opening song language changes with this as well which is a nice touch. While I didn’t much care for the first battle theme, the music overall is very well done and great both inside and outside the game.

The only big flaw in this “Definitive Edition” is how it should have had a bit more care put into it. Vesperia is one of the most wished for re releases and to see quite a few loading screens based on the old design is disappointing. They aren’t long but they are annoying. The opening moments of the game also might turn off some players but sticking through the first few hours is more than worth it.

The great thing about Vesperia is that even with the issues, it is a damn fine JRPG with a brilliant cast of characters. Tales of Vesperia was one of the Xbox 360 exclusives that happened to be a JRPG and it led to many fans of Japanese games picking up the console but it didn’t get the sales it deserved at the time. Hopefully the game being available on all current systems sees it finally get the recognition and success it deserves.

Ubisoft announces Far Cry New Dawn for February 15, 2019 release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC

Far Cry New Dawn takes players back to Hope County, Montana. It is set 17 years after Far Cry 5 and sees many familiar faces return. The survivors establish a home base led by Kim Rye. Watch the announcment trailer for it below:

Far Cry New Dawn is balanced for a co-op experience. Solo players can use the new Guns for Hire. Outposts in New Dawn are linked to a new Escalation mode here.

Far Cry New Dawn arrives on February 15, 2019 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It is likely going to be priced at either Rs. 2499 or Rs. 2999 given the pricing in Europe and North America.

Review: Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection

Atlus has gone through a lot since the release of Persona 4: Dancing All Night with multiple games across multiple system and a super successful Persona 5 release on PS4 and PS3. Persona 4: Dancing All Night was a fantastic release on the Vita for fans of Persona 4 and Persona 4: Golden and Atlus aims to cater to the same demands for Persona 3 and Persona 5 fans with a new collection of dancing games that arrive on both PS4 and PS Vita on December 4th. PS4 owners have the option of buying both Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight in a single package that also includes Persona 4: Dancing All Night called the Persona Endless Night Collection and this is a review of that package.

Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight are a bit different to Persona 4: Dancing All Night when it comes to structure. All three have mostly the same core gameplay where different kinds of notes fly out from the middle of the screen to targets on the left and right edges. Your aim is to input the correct buttons or combinations of buttons for the songs. The background features a character or set of characters dancing for most songs while others have cutscenes from the games or new cutscenes done specifically for the new rhythm game. P3D and P5D have a new note type called a double press note that feels pointless when you could just have two notes that do the same thing. P4D has a traditional story mode that is like the ones you have in a fighting game but instead of fights, you have dance segments. Both P3D and P5D have no traditional story mode but feature a Social mode that lets you view character interactions split up by each character and this is hit or miss in terms of quality.

Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight is definitely the highlight of this collection. Seeing ther Persona 3 cast on PS4 is fantastic and the music in the game just works in a rhythm setting. The remixes are also very nice. It is disappointing that the music from the movies and some new remixes are locked behind paid DLC when the base game has less songs than P4D. If you had to buy a single release here, P3D is most definitely the better of the two.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night in this collection is a download code included with the physical version or a digital exclusive to the digital release. It is the base game that released on Vita a few years ago but remastered for PS4 with crisp visuals and 60fps. It is funny that this bonus inclusion shows you how much better value Persona 4: Dancing All Night is compared to both the new releases in terms of modes and content. As a remaster, it is great. The only disappointing aspect is none of the DLC is included and you can’t transfer your progress.

Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight should’ve been the best of the three on paper with the superb acid jazz music but it ended up being the weakest of the lot for me. The music while great on its own, doesn’t all work well in a rhythm game setting. Some of the boss music and remixes feel out of place. Persona 5 is the most recent and most successful of the Persona games so it has had less time to get spinoffs, music arrangement albums, and anything extra to add on to the game music. This has resulted in a weak overall song selection. Atlus could have fixed this by including new music from the anime and Persona Q2 (Persona Q music is in P4D and P3D) which releases soon but the anime music is paid DLC and there’s no sign of new music from Persona Q2 being added yet.

While the biggest flaw for each individual new game is the lack of content and modes, even the PS4 port of P4D is a bit of a let down. As someone who got the platinum trophy on both the USA and Japan release on Vita, not being able to transfer progress is annoying because so much stuff is locked initially. There is no word on DLC for it as well. P3D and P5D on their own are pretty weak value propositions even for hardcore fans. This collection that includes all three is a much better set for fans.

Overall, Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection is most definitely the way to go for getting the dancing games on PS4. It is cheaper than buying both separately and it also includes a code for Persona 4: Dancing All Night on PS4 which is not available standalone. I can’t imagine a situation where this doesn’t end up selling more than the individual games because all Persona fans will likely want everything in a single package. It is disappointing that the remaster of Persona 4: Dancing All Night doesn’t include DLC and doesn’t let you sync your Vita progress to save you time.

Review: Fallout 76

Fallout 76 has had an interesting path from the original announcement to a proper reveal at E3 leading up to the pre-order only B.E.T.A. Fallout 76 was rumoured to have a focus on the base building aspects of Fallout 4 and there were also various rumours of it being a persistent multiplayer world and the end result is a bit of both. Given the pre-order only B.E.T.A. performance and impressions, I wasn’t expected something super polished here but the final game available right now has tons of things that need to be addressed very soon for it to be something I can recommend to even fans of Fallout. This review is based on the Xbox One X version of the game.

Fallout 76 is set as a prequel to the whole franchise. It is set in West Virginia (Just like the famous song that Bethesda had covered for trailers which is the best part about Fallout 76 as a whole). You begin in Vault 76 which is a shelter and emerge over 2 decades after the bombs were dropped. Your aim is to try and survive in the world which also happens to have lots of other players and various enemy types.

In a lot of ways, Fallout 76 feels like the worst of games like Sea of Thieves and No Man’s Sky. Both of those games launched with less content than expected and were dropped by many players until later on when content patches started bringing in more features and modes. Fallout 76 is one of the most unpolished games I’ve played this generation and the quest design is repetitive and bland to the point where it becomes beyond annoying when quests glitch. Many games are full of fetch quests but the way these games mask that with story and character development or even set pieces makes the quests bearable. The situation here feels like you’re just wasting time going from terminal to terminal or robot to listen to long audio logs and do the same thing over and over again while trying to survive in between locations.

Enemy variety is one of the redeeming factors here but combat is a bit iffy. VATS makes a return but it is in real time here. The team obviously didn’t implement a slowing down mechanic given the persistent multiplayer online world and this system lets you target parts but everything happens in real time. Melee combat is good but enemies glitching out or even appearing in your field of view from a few feet away is not good at all. I even had an enemy suddenly stop attacking as if I had disappeared when I was right in front of it.

Fallout 76 builds on Fallout 4’s visuals and has some great lighting outdoors. Things look very rough indoors though. Fallout 4 is just a lot more polished in every aspect. Foliage can range from looking beautiful to looking like something you’d see on a Vita game that has asset streaming issues. This is probably the most inconsistent release of 2018 in how varied the visuals are ranging from plain ugly to great looking.

While the visuals have a few redeeming factors, the performance is almost always bad. Even when it holds 30fps, there are random freezes or frame pacing issues that make it never feel good. The performance issues don’t even seem to occur only when there’s a ton going on because I ran into frame drops even in smaller rooms with nothing inside. The frame rate also seems to tank when there are multiple players in a smaller area with enemies attacking. Even with the patch that arrived earlier this week (that was 48GB), performance is bad. In fact after the patch, playing in third person resulted in my character’s head loading in without a body for about 15 seconds. This happened a few times.

Inon Zur’s soundtrack is the best part of Fallout 76. It makes a lot of the mundane quests bearable. The audio design in general is very good through the audio logs and combat but the music is exceptional. Even if you skip the game, make sure to check out the soundtrack.

Forza Horizon as a franchise does a fantastic job of letting players experience what feels like a living world but populated with AI controlled versions of people on the Xbox friends list. That lets people who want to play solo get a good experience instead of forcing them into a world with randoms who may or may not annoy them in game. Fallout 76 has a system that punishes players who constantly try and kill others who aren’t interested in PvP but that doesn’t fix the annoyance.

Overall, Bethesda has a base here they can build on (no pun intended) but the game needs a Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn level overhaul to be something that is worth buying. This should have launched in Game Preview / Early Access for a lower price instead of being a full priced release launching on all platforms. In its current state, Inon Zur’s score is the only redeeming factor here. I can’t believe Bethesda released Fallout 76 in a state that makes even launch versions of Destiny and No Man’s Sky feel like complete experiences.

Review: HITMAN 2

HITMAN (2016) is one of the more interesting AAA releases in recent times due to how it was released. Square Enix and IO interactive released the game over episodic locations spread out and then did a complete disc release for the season. While this led to quite the backlash in general, it ended up working brilliantly for Hitman. Having individual episodes released meant players could spend more time in a single location, discuss various things about said location online, and basically master each location before the next one released. It also led to the game having legs and mindshare longer than most releases. HITMAN 2 from WB and IO Interactive is all the locations available from the get go and the team has gone above and beyond for fans of HITMAN.

The original disc release of the first game in this new reboot was called “The Complete First Season” and that should give you an idea of what IO Interactive wanted to do. If things all went well, we’d be getting Season 2 as a continuation to that. Warner Brothers and IO Interactive have now brought the second season so to speak in HITMAN 2.

The highlight of HITMAN was definitely the Sapienza location which remains one of the best sandbox levels in a game. HITMAN 2 takes you to New Zealand initially which starts off strong and is basically a great taste of what’s to come in this set of locations. The Miami level that features a race track is probably the best level in this game with the sheer amount of options you have to accomplish your mission including a fish. Mumbai is something that has been advertised quite heavily here and it sadly isn’t an amazing level. The slum areas suffer from a lot of the performance issues when any action starts taking place in smaller areas and some of the accents for dialogue are pretty terrible. I’m not even going to get into the story here because it is an unnecessary and the next HITMAN release should just be sandbox locations available in a package without wasting any resources on a lacklustre narrative that feels tacked on told through still images with a few effects. The voice acting in these story scenes is very good though.

The best part of a new location in a post HITMAN world is being able to just explore and study the patterns and try and figure out your initial approach. There is even a new difficulty option for newer players to be able to explore and have fun in levels before trying them out to properly complete them. You could also do what I love to do, and just throw coins near people to see how they react because IO Interactive have thought almost everything through for responses. The locations are huge and varied but how people react to what you do is most definitely the highlight. The new picture in picture mode that shows you how things are discovered or captured on camera is a nice addition and these carry over to the updated levels from the first release as well.

A lot of this release feels like more of HITMAN and that most definitely isn’t a bad thing. While the levels are mostly all great, the gameplay and visual improvements are nice. The only visual downside is a bit too much bloom that can be distracting in some scenes. The user interface and even tutorial are basically the same. The improvements to terms used during the actual missions are welcome because HITMAN had some vague terms.

If you played and enjoyed HITMAN, HITMAN 2 has a nice addition for you. You can access the original game locations here for free with gameplay and visual upgrades. If you didn’t play the original, you can even buy a DLC pack offering the same deal at a much lower price than buying the original release. This is a brilliant addition and something most developers wouldn’t offer for free for previous owners. The one caveat here is that your progress doesn’t carry over to the updated levels in HITMAN 2 from the first game.

The Xbox One X version offers two visual modes just like the patch did for the original HITMAN or the PS4 Pro version. You can either play with 4K and a 30fps target or 1400p with a 60fps target. Both modes on the Xbox One X don’t really offer a super stable framerate. There are drops in certain locations if there’s a bit too much action going on. I would’ve preferred a slightly lower resolution in both modes that offered a consistent performance.

Overall, HITMAN 2 is an excellent sandbox experience. The story is absolutely unnecessary and I hope the next entry is just different locations without the team wasting resources on a tacked on narrative. IO Interactive have a Game of the Year contender here for sure. I can’t wait to keep revisiting this over time and for the expansions. Them letting owners of HITMAN (2016) access the older locations in the new game for free (and for new players to pay a little more than the asking price) with new improvements to gameplay and the engine shows that they value the fans more than most developers. My biggest concern with the release is IO Interactive not being able to keep many players coming back to replay levels because having access to all locations will no doubt see some people drop the game and move on to something else rather than keep coming back or discover new ways to complete missions.

BlizzCon 2018: World of Warcraft content updates, WoW Classic release date, and more

While attendees and Virtual Ticket holders can sample WoW Classic, Blizzard had a few World of Warcraft announcements during their opening ceremony for BlizzCon 2018 that also included Warcraft III: Reforged.

World of Warcraft got a new cinematic titled “Lost Honor” which you can watch below:

Tides of Vengeance is the first big content update for Battle for Azeroth that has new content includeing the Battle for Darkshore warfront, Battle of Dazar’alor raid, and more.

WoW Classic launches in Summer 2019 for PC platforms and it is included in the World of Warcraft subscription. The demo is playable until November 8th. Blizzard also announced a new in game pet and plushie for sale to support Code.org. The Whomper pet trailer is below:

World of Warcraft is available on PC platforms. As of now, Blizzard Battle.net credit and World of Warcraft subscription cards are not available at retail. Hopefully with PSN cards finally being made available here, Blizzard follows suite.

BlizzCon 2018: Destiny 2 available for free on Blizzard Battle.net for a limited time

This year’s BlizzCon had a rare non Blizzard announcement from Bungie. Destiny 2, which is available on PC exclusively from Blizzard Battle.net just like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, will be free to own for all new players until the middle of November. This is a limited time gift until November 18th.

If you already own Destiny 2, you can get a Year 1 Blizzard Battle.net Emblem for use in game. This will be available in December. All Destiny 2 players can try out Gambit which arrived in Forsaken. Gambit is a PvE and PvP 4v4 mode that will have a free weekend from November 9th until November 11th.

Destiny 2 is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The PS4 version was given away through PS+ recently.

BlizzCon 2018: Orphea is a new original hero joining Heroes of the Storm very soon

The Heroes of the Storm segment of BlizzCon’s opening ceremony revealed a new hero. Orphea is an originl hero born from the Nexus unlike the other heroes that are all from Blizzard’s other brands. Orphea is the daughter of the Raven Lord and is an assassin.

Watch the reveal for Orphea below in the new cinematic shown off at BlizzCon:

If you own a virtual ticket for BlizzCon 2018 or are attending the event in person, Orphea is free. Orphea will be added in the first major patch after BlizzCon. Watch the video below to see how she plays:

Heroes of the Storm will also see some changes to how experience is earned in a match and to stimpacks. More information will be available soon for these changes that will be implemented next year.

Heroes of the Storm is available for free on Windows and macOS.