Plenty of games have explored the ins and outs of ruling countries, and the likes of Age of Empires, Civilization and Crusader Kings remain fan-favorites as complex empire creation simulators. The 2016 mobile game Reigns took a very different angle: Condense kingdom management into short dialogues with influential people, where the wrong choice -- symbolized by a Tinder-style swiping to agree or disagree -- often means instant death. But through the king's (or in the 2017 expansion Her Majesty, queen's) heirs, the country takes shape. If that sounds a lot like Game of Thrones, well, I've got news for you: A new version of the game comes out today for iOS, Android and PC that's set in the bloody, scheming world of Westeros. It's up to you to decide who sits on the Iron Throne -- one conversation / card swipe at a time.
Blade's Shadow game streaming service is still young, but it's already getting a hardware upgrade. The company has unveiled a Shadow Ghost device that promises to deliver more flexibility and power than the Shadow Box. The curvy new design is slicker-looking, but also smaller, lighter and quieter -- Blade envisions taking it with you to a friend's place. It also includes Bluetooth and WiFi, so you don't have to string Ethernet cables or plug in wired peripherals. And if performance matters, HDMI 2.0 both enables 144Hz refresh rates and opens the door to gameplay on more screens.
Rocket League is practically tailor-made for team play, but actually organizing a team within the game? Not so simple. Psyonix is about to make it considerably easier, thankfully. As part of an upcoming Progression Update, it's introducing a Clubs feature that lets up to 20 players unite and compete as a team. You can create custom team colors and tags, too. Some details will remain under wraps until closer to release, but this could be helpful for esports and anyone who wants to play with a close-knit group.
It's clear that NVIDIA's newly announced 20-series GPUs are incredibly powerful, but so far, it's been tough to tell how much faster they are than the previous generation. Today during a press briefing at Gamescom, the company gave us a bit more insight: The new RTX 2080 is up to twice as fast as the GTX 1080 when using the new DLSS (Deep Learning Super-Sampling) feature. That relies on the Turing GPU's Tensor Cores for AI-powered rendering. Basically, it's a less GPU intensive way of getting smoother edges on 3D objects.
Halo's armored hero, Master Chief, has fought the Covenant on a raft of planets throughout the galaxy. One place the super-soldier hasn't visited, though, is a village called Bamburgh on the northeast coast of England. That is, until now. At Gamescom 2018, I was shown a special Halo event that will appear in Forza Horizon 4 later this year. The course, presented as a virtual "training exercise," lets you drive the rugged Warthog through dense forests and sandy beaches. It looked like terrific fun and will, if nothing else, be a nice distraction while fans wait for Halo Infinite.
No one in gaming does CGI cinematics quite like Blizzard. The latest Overwatch short focuses on D.Va and the weight of her feeling like she's the only person who can fight against Omnic. Without giving too much away, the results are heartwarming and a little bit explosive. More than that, there are some overt themes about it being okay to ask for help (like when you're moving the payload) present as well. There might even be a few teases about what's next for the Korean esports star if you look close enough.
Ten years after the debut of Devil May Cry 4, Nero is back in the driver's seat and he's never looked better. It's not just the haircut, either -- Devil May Cry 5 runs on the RE Engine built for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, and Capcom's goal is to build a photorealistic game filled with gooey demons, witty one-liners and flashy combos. The title's first hands-on demo at Gamescom 2018 highlights these exact elements and wraps all of it up in an ichor-crusted, gorgeous package.