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  1. Their plans seem absurdly ambitious (3 new Witcher games within 6 years, 2 new global studios, a brand new IP and a Cyberpunk sequel) and you can’t help but feel they’re setting themselves up for an almighty fall, especially considering the egregious hit their reputation took with their last release. But with all that said, I’m really glad they’re going to have another crack at Cyberpunk. 2077’s a deeply flawed game but there are moments under the seedy neon glow of Night City when it all coalesces into something truly extraordinary the likes of which has never really been done before, and you can see just what they were trying to pull off. With all the many lessons they’ll have learned from the first game, a more focused development schedule and no need to futilely attempt to shoehorn it onto severely underpowered ancient consoles they could potentially make an absolutely seminal fucking banger of a game. My overriding feeling when playing it for the 120 or so hours I put into it was that it was a real tragedy it stumbled so badly out of the gate in terms of public perception and that it would be a crying shame if it was destined to end up as an infamous footnote, its true potential never realised. CDPR taking a second bite of the cherry and the prospect of being able to return to Night City at some point in the future is very welcome news indeed. (Unless it’s just some multiplayer spinoff or something, which doesn’t really hold much interest for me personally.)
  2. After a post-season drought spanning 21 years (the longest of any team in all 4 major North American sports leagues) last night my Seattle Mariners found themselves in this position: They needed just 1 more win to finally end the drought after over two decades of long suffering. Game's tied 1-1. Bottom of the 9th. 2 outs. Full count. Cal Raleigh (affectionately known as 'Big Dumper') comes in to pinch hit and does this: Absolute fairytale stuff. I believe it's the first time in MLB history that a team has reached the playoffs with a walk-off pinch-hit homerun, which is extraordinary enough in itself, but for it to happen in those circumstances is a script worthy of the cheesiest Hollywood movie. Well worth staying up till 6am for
  3. I’ve been playing it since the full release a few days ago and it’s great. It’s a survival game, so your enjoyment of it will be somewhat dependant upon how much you like the genre and how much stomach you have for maintaining your thirst, hunger and stamina meters and building shelters as you venture out further into the world etc. But as survival games go it’s pretty straightforward and untaxing, very polished in its presentation, and the focus is on exploring the fantastically well-realised Lilliputian world of a back yard inhabited with giant insects and spiders (that are fucking terrifying). I’m having a lot of fun with it and would encourage people to check it out.
  4. You’re quite safe to leave a level the first time the game suggests it, as you’ll be returning to each of them multiple times and you can’t miss anything, as such. It’s best to just follow the objectives until you’ve completed one loop and obtained a certain slab/ability, and then you’re free to do as you please.
  5. I have played as Julianna yeah. Tended to do a few runs as her at the start of each session and had a lot of fun. It can be a bit of a lagfest and having only 1 life to Colt’s 3 can seem a little unfair at times, but if you get a good match with someone of similar skill there’s some brilliant cat and mouse mayhem to be had.
  6. Grounded is really great. I’ve been waiting until the full release to give it a try but it seems very polished, looks lovely and is absolutely fucking terrifying when it turns to nighttime.
  7. Hammered this over the past week and completed it last night. I think it's tremendous. Huge fan of everything Arkane do (easily one of my top 5 developers) and although it may not quite reach the heady heights of the Dishonored games at their very best, Deathloop's still a brilliantly designed and distinctively quirky take on their immersive sim formula. The superfly twist on a groovy alternative 60s setting, inhabited by grotesque hedonists and soundtracked with the swinging sounds of that era make for a uniquely stylish combination. I love the giant interconnected puzzle box concept of it all, and discovering and interlocking more and more of the cogs that with each turn of the loop will open up more and more opportunities with each run is very compelling. All the systems are quite overwhelming at first but once you get a grip on how it all works it's great fun choosing how to spec your Colt with slabs, trinkets and weapons before emerging from the subterranean tunnels and causing absolute mayhem across Blackreef. The combat is secondary to the exploration and puzzles but it's still wonderfully chaotic and punchy (if not a little too easy to just annihilate everything in your path) and led to some frantic cat and mouse scrambles on both sides of the multiplayer too. It's very clearly a response to the criticism of Dishonored's propensity to shuttle you down a stealth-only approach that punished you hard for cock-ups and prompted a lot of quick-saving and reloading whenever things went tits up. Here there's no real penalty for going loud when you feel like it and it's all the better for it, enabling you to be liberated and set free to enjoy the full gamut of the combat options at your disposal. I don't agree that it's just a case of following the objective markers in rote linear fashion at all. If you just want to 'beat' the game and declare it conquered then I guess you could do that, but it's very much a case of getting out of it what you choose to put in, and there's huge scope for experimentation with loadouts and approaches and a shit load of hidden puzzles and off the beaten track mysteries and things to find. Prodding and teasing out all the possibilities buried within each level has been a joy and when I finally closed the loop I had around 40 hours on the clock. In an age when many lament the formulaic, design-by-committee and risk-averse approach of the vast majority of big budget video games, I'll always be thankful for the likes of Arkane who are out there ploughing their own distinctive furrow and creating experiences that stand apart and dare to do something different. Long may they continue because there aren't nearly enough developers like them. For my money they're the crown jewel in Microsoft's first-party stable of recent acquisitions and if the financial security they're now afforded enables them to continue doing what they do better than anyone else then I'm all for it. Really looking forward to Redfall next year.
  8. I roleplayed my V as a Nomad who was the mechanic of her clan and scavenged, dismantled, crafted and upgraded whatever she could get her hands on, so those aspects of the game have been a significant aspect of my playthrough. In truth, as fun as it was hunting down crafting blueprints and making ever more powerful guns, it’s a very messy and unwieldy system with its only real benefits being virtually pointless bonuses like 5% damage to crafted weapons. I played the entire game on the highest difficulty setting and it still becomes an absolute cakewalk once you hit level 20 or so no matter what you do, so those supposed perks are negligible. The unique craftable clothing items you unlock if you level the relevant skills high enough are very underwhelming as well. Aside from upgrading iconic weapons and ensuring their damage output is commensurate with your character level, it can safely be ignored and you won’t be missing out on anything. Now that there’s a functioning transmog system in the game it makes the crafting even more redundant.
  9. They're overhauling the police and vehicle combat systems for the next big patch when the expansion drops next year, so I expect you'll see a lot more of that kind of stuff then.
  10. Wasn’t Turok 2 one of, if not the, first games to use the N64 RAM expansion ‘pak’? Can see that swaying some review scores because they were high on the fumes of misplaced hype.
  11. Rockstar North in Edinburgh are the lead studio for GTA but Rockstar's games are such enormous undertakings now that they need to devote the majority of their global development resources (studios in San Diego, Toronto, India, Leeds etc.) to one title at a time in order to get them out the door. I think Red Dead 2's 8 year gestation was a major factor in why GTA6 has taken so long to materialise, because a significant portion of Rockstar North were pitching in to help finish Red Dead 2 off before they could turn their full attention back to the next GTA.
  12. Clearly they wouldn’t rewrite the entire engine, but a substantial source code leak (above and beyond the seemingly fairly innocuous code that’s been leaked so far) would be catastrophic and 100% lead to a significant delay. The online aspect is guaranteed to be a huge part of the game (not to mention where the bulk of its money will be made) and the implications for the vulnerabilities that would potentially be exposed are absolutely enormous. I usually hate leaks of any sort and wish that relentlessly attention-seeking blabbermouth ‘insiders’ would all fuck off forever, but this one is so substantial and gives such an insightful peek behind the curtain of the biggest game there is that I can’t help but be utterly fascinated by it. Considering its pre-pre-alpha-alpha state and the purported age of some of the leaked footage I also think some of it looks stunning. The final game’s gonna be bananas if this is anything to go by. I can only imagine the frantic moving of heaven and earth that Rockstar/Take Two are engaged in today to prevent any more significant damage. The guy that leaked this is in some seriously deep legal hot water and is about to feel the full force of Take Two’s gleefully litigious army of lawyers come down upon him, yet seems naively blasé about the whole thing.
  13. Finished the demo and beat the boss (using dual swords his first phase can be pretty reliably stun-locked) and I’m kind of 50/50 on it. It’s halfway-house approach of the lightning fast combos and flashy special attacks from Nioh combined with the demanding parry-heavy timing of Sekiro kind of left me feeling that it falls between the two stools without really nailing either of them. Something about the rigidly back-and-forth rhythm of the combat is a little off for my tastes. It just doesn’t feel as smooth and engaging to play as Nioh and after the soaring glory of Elden Ring still lingering so fresh in the memory it was always going to suffer in the Japanese combat action game stakes a little. It’s still very good because Team Ninja are a very talented team, but I’m not sure I’d buy it at full price. It’s a tremendous get for Game Pass on day one though so I’ll check it out when it hits that for sure.
  14. Hard to judge entirely accurately from a demo but it feels closer to Nioh in terms of base combat difficulty to me. Those games could still be really challenging but weren’t as outright hard and mechanically demanding in a very binary way as Sekiro was (in my opinion). As has been mentioned the parry window in this seems really tight but you have a lot of tools and moves at your disposal and seem able to deal some pretty hefty burst damage. There’s a definite rhythm of opening encounters with standard attacks to build your spirit meter and then unleashing the big flashy moves to finish off enemies. Still had my ass unceremoniously handed to me several times mind, so maybe it’ll be a lot harder as you progress. There’s a hell of a lot to take in in terms of all the different gauges/spirit meters/Morale rating/Wizardy spells/Divine Beasts/weapon-swapping etc. The lazy potted initial impression is that it’s a brighter palette Nioh with some influences taken from Sekiro but it’s going to take a while to plumb its depths I think. Something feels a bit heavy and clunky with the controls though. Can’t quite put my finger on it but it feels slightly off somehow. Team Ninja have good form with taking feedback from pre-release demos though so I expect the final release to tighten up any niggles. Interested to see what fellow Nioh fans like @Curtis think. No crashes on Series X here so far. (edit: spoke too soon )
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