Does Hellblade on Xbox One X deliver the definitive console experience?

about X hours ago from
Does Hellblade on Xbox One X deliver the definitive console experience?

Built on a relatively low budget compared to the triple-A heavyweights, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice still impresses as one of the generation's most striking games. Miraculously, a core team of 14 people at Ninja Theory created something greater than the sum of its parts - marrying beautiful art direction with Unreal Engine 4's cutting-edge feature-set. It certainly impressed on PS4 and PC when it debuted in late 2017, and with the recently released Xbox One X version, we have the best console version of the game bar none.

It's also a highly accomplished tech showcase across all platforms. With titles likes Heavenly Sword and Enslaved on the studio's CV, it's no surprise that motion capture plays a big part in Hellblade's storytelling. It quite literally screams at you from the start, though adds a crucial element of humanity to the script. Each grimace and cry of the lead actress is keyed in - synchronised with her body movements - using a camera as a reference point. It's one half of the process to bringing Senua to life, the other being the high level of detail applied to her character model.

Housemarque's new multiplayer game Stormdivers sounds like a battle royale

about X hours ago from
Housemarque's new multiplayer game Stormdivers sounds like a battle royale

The first game of Housemarque's post-arcade future will be Stormdivers, a multiplayer game.

A very brief video was shown during Housemarque's Reboot Develop 2018 talk today (embedded below - skip to 45 minutes). The trailer shows a moody forest with some basic structures in and a storm raging through it.

Housemarque said Stormdivers began as a concept three years ago and had been in production for two. It is multiplayer-focused and made in Unreal, but the studio gave no detail given beyond that. I found out more, however, speaking with head of publishing Mikael Haveri afterwards.

This week's best deals: Red Dead Redemption, Gaming Desktops, Xbox One X bundles and more

about X hours ago from
This week's best deals: Red Dead Redemption, Gaming Desktops, Xbox One X bundles and more

While I prepare to spend a worrying amount of time playing through the freshly released God of War, I've also been scouting around the various corners of the information superhighway in search of this week's set of the best gaming deals. Welcome back to another roundup of those very deals.

As usual, we've got deals that'll work in the UK, deals that'll work in the US and some deals that will work in both the UK and US, as well as presumably many other places. Let's get started.

The boys are back, this time in full-on personal computer style. Right now, you can buy yourself a ticket to the royal road trip that is Final Fantasy 15 on PC for £27.99 (around $33).

Can you discover games for yourself in the algorithmic age?

about X hours ago from
Can you discover games for yourself in the algorithmic age?

Back when I was 17, I took a chance on a CD single I found in a record shop where I'd wait for my bus home from sixth form. The song was called Birthday and it was by a band called The Julie Dolphin. No, you won't have heard of them.

I was an awful indie kid. The mid-90s was the golden age for kids like me. We were emboldened by the rise of grunge and Britpop was about to explode. I say 'we'. Truth is, I lived in the countryside outside Ipswich and few of my friends were into music, which meant that my music lived entirely between myself, what the NME told me to think, and the few CDs I could afford. But I was fiercely protective of a taste I'd cultivated for nearly a whole year. So, knowing The Julie Dolphin were extremely obscure and finding Birthday (an enthusiastic blend of My Bloody Valentine (who I'd yet to listen to) and Pixies (a friend wore their T-shirt)) pleasantly jangly, I ordered a copy of Lit, their first and as it turned out only album. I was so proud. I'd discovered a band. They got in the NME twice, enough to be affirmation of my discernment and not enough for them to be remotely popular. The Julie Dolphin were mine.

Hearthstone game director Ben Brode announces departure from Blizzard

about X hours ago from
Hearthstone game director Ben Brode announces departure from Blizzard

Hearthstone game director Ben Brode has announced his departure from Blizzard after 15 years with the company.

Brode made the announcement in a post on the official Blizzard forums earlier today, telling friends and fans that, "After 15 years at Blizzard and almost 10 years working on Hearthstone, I have made the incredibly difficult decision to embark on a new journey".

"I am very fortunate to be able to take a crazy risk right now in my life," Brode explained, "and I'm excited to be scrappy and a little scared."

Binding of Isaac prequel The Legend of Bum-bo gets its first gameplay trailer

about X hours ago from
Binding of Isaac prequel The Legend of Bum-bo gets its first gameplay trailer

Binding of Isaac creator Edmund McMillen has released the first gameplay trailer for his upcoming turn-based puzzle RPG (and Isaac prequel), The Legend of Bum-bo.

First announced back in 2016, The Legend of Bum-bo pits the titular lead character against "hordes of paper goons", according to McMillen's latest blog post. Victory means more coins, which can be gambled away at casinos.

Bum-bo's assailants can be found throughout the game's dungeons, which "much like Isaac", are randomly-generated to provide an always unpredictable mix of monsters, bosses, traps, puzzles, and spells. The latter can "range from jagging stuff with a fish hook to summoning mom's leg to crush all who stand in your path", says McMillen. 

Infamous 90s FMV horror Night Trap is on its way to Switch

about X hours ago from
Infamous 90s FMV horror Night Trap is on its way to Switch

Developer Screaming Villains has announced that infamous (and gloriously naff) 90s FMV horror Night Trap will be making its way to Switch this summer.

Night Trap originally released on the Sega CD back in 1992 (although it was originally planned to launch on Hasbro's ill-fated Control-Vision console in 1989), and tasks player, in the role of a special agent, with running surveillance on a teenage slumber party which quickly falls foul of vampiric intruders.

It's an FMV adventure (as was popular at the time, thanks to the dizzying storage possibilities afforded by the new CD-ROM format), which means that interaction is limited. You watch events unfold through "CCTV cameras", switching between rooms as you see fit. Your overall objective is to trigger traps at the appropriate moments, thwart the invaders, and protect the teens.

Morrowind on Xbox One X: the slowest Elder Scrolls console game is now the fastest

about X hours ago from
Morrowind on Xbox One X: the slowest Elder Scrolls console game is now the fastest

The Xbox One backwards compatibility programme has thrown up plenty of surprises so far, but this one really is quite remarkable - Microsoft's enhanced version of The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind is one of the best examples of the boost to image quality and performance that today's hardware delivers when running yesterday's games.

Helmed by the immortal Todd Howard, Morrowind is an important title in the history of The Elder Scrolls series. Beyond the quality of the game itself, this is the first time a large scale, PC-style RPG would be realised on console hardware. It's also is the game which helped pave the way for the likes of Skyrim and many other titles. With its built-in hard drive and PC-like hardware, the Xbox made a lot of sense as a target for a vast Elder Scrolls experience - at least on paper. You see, as ambitious as it was for the time, the problem is that Morrowind just doesn't run very well on the original Xbox. Out of the box, it's not great, but as the hours of play mount up, Morrowind's performance and loading times gradually degrade.

PUBG's new Metal Rain mode lets you summon armoured vehicles from the sky

about X hours ago from
PUBG's new Metal Rain mode lets you summon armoured vehicles from the sky

Metal Rain, developer Bluehole's latest limited-time event for PlayUnknown's Battlegrounds, is now underway on PC.

Metal Rain is a Battle Royale experience designed for multiple eight-man squads, and unfolds across PUBG's classic Erangel map. Differentiating it from the usual rules of engagement, combatants are able to summon huge, heavily-armoured UAZs by firing flare guns into the sky.

Flare guns spawn randomly in normal loot locations and will have different effects depending on where they're fired. Inside the white safe zone, flares will cause special care packages to fall to earth. It's only when flares are used outside the safe zone that the UAZs will plunge into the fray.

War for the Overworld gets final expansion and big new update

about X hours ago from
War for the Overworld gets final expansion and big new update

Dungeon Keeper-style game War for the Overworld gets its final expansion today alongside a big new update.

The expansion, called The Under Games, is a new seven-level campaign that revolves around skirmish-like matchups across new game modes. The AI has been overhauled, there are three new underlords and there are multiple difficulty settings that should go down well with veteran fans.

Meanwhile, patch 2.0 adds new scripting support for the map editor as well as a remastered main campaign, with new cutscenes and an extended ending sequence.