“Bringing together Tenno from across the globe”.
Remember last July when Digital Extremes announced it would be adding cross-play and cross-save support to its hit free-to-play title, Warframe? Well, cross platform play is now officially available.
In a new update, the company announced cross platform play was finally supported for PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch.
Read the full article on nintendolife.com
Splatting, catching and slashing.
“How many different franchise can we feasibly hear news about this week?” We might have asked on Monday here at Nintendo life. The answer: all of them.
The past seven days have seen us reporting on the new Mario movie trailer, breaking down the intricacies of Splatoon 3‘s new update, reporting on Nintendo Switch Sports‘ golf addition, putting a positive spin on Pokémon Scarlet and Violet with 14 things the games get right, and, as always, diving into some Zelda theories.
Read the full article on nintendolife.com
Fixes bug that prevented 100% completion & more.
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope was an amazing game, but as many players progressed in the game they discovered they were unable to 100% the title. Fortunately, the team at Ubisoft has now addressed this in a patch update.
This update is roughly a 176MB update and comes with a number of fixes and plenty of quality-of-life updates. Here’s exactly what’s included, courtesy of the Ubisoft discussion boards:
Read the full article on nintendolife.com
Mario Kart 8 DLC Wave 3, Crisis Core & more.
We’ve made it to the final month of 2022, everyone! It’s been another action-packed year of gaming, and while we didn’t get everything we necessarily wanted, it was still a pretty good year on the Nintendo Switch front.
So, what’s there to look forward to in December? Well, apart from Inscryption, which is already out, some games to be on the lookout for include the retro throwback Super Kiwi 64 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe‘s third booster wave (yes, we’re counting it as its own thing). Then, later on in the month, we’ve got titles like Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion and Lil Gator Game to look forward to.
Read the full article on nintendolife.com
The Callisto Protocol is a game with a myriad of inspirations and references within its design, but on the technical front it is most certainly a leader. Striking Distance is a relatively small, and certainly new studio, filled with a mix of veterans and new members who have collaborated to create one of the most forward-looking games of this generation. But before I get into that, I need to note that while the game is cross-generation, our review code only had access to the new-gen consoles and later the PC version.
The PS5 and Xbox Series X both have two modes: one is the default, which you could call a Quality mode or Ray Tracing mode, which runs at 30fps and has a dynamic scaling resolution with counts ranging from 3456×1944 to 2304×1296, effectively 90% to 60% of 4K. This is then improved, I suspect, by Unreal Engine’s TAAU to up-sample that back to 4K as often as possible. The image treatment here from that lower base is staggering, and I would not be shocked to learn that the team that has built or enhanced this with their own custom resolve and AA pass, as it can easily pass as 4K aside from some high-contrast areas that can be slightly unstable from the jittered rendering resolve it uses to up-sample. The game also supports FSR 2.1, with the caveat that this could be what the consoles are using, and the dynamic scaling could be higher or lower. Due to its dark look, gritty world, gore, and violence, this is a game that benefits greatly both from the Film Grain, which can improve perceived sharpness of the image, and the superb Per Pixel Motion Blur that assists greatly in the fully real-time cinematics, often convincing you they are genuine offline renders from only last generation.
The Quality mode is where all the new features stand out, being a great example of how the team has integrated elements of the later Unreal Engine 5 into this Unreal Engine 4.2 game. It supports both DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 to enable older GPUs to run the game, but without DX12 you will miss out on the ray-traced reflections, shadows, and translucent surface refractions. In isolation they may seem like only a small boost, but due to the core cinematic and atmospheric design the game has, they are the biggest reason the game pulls off possibly the most impressive real-time character models in games thus far.
This mode has two main boosts, Ray Traced Shadows and Reflections, with the shadows running on both Series X and PS5. They not only dramatically increase the amount of shadow casting light sources within a scene, they also allow smaller objects to now cast shadows. The accuracy here is incredible as light and shadow now react more realistically, and less light bleeds through geometry. Darker areas now contrast better with the light, and shadows cast right off into the distance, whereas in Performance mode, they can pop in close to the camera and cast no shadows off into the middle and far distance. The way light casts across faces is so good, making it one of the main reasons that the game has such a high-quality CGI look and feel. The other big boosts are in the gameplay, as the lighting design works much better with the sheer wealth of shadows, particularly since some jump scares and tells in the game are designed with Ray Traced shadows in mind. This means in Performance mode you will simply not see a shadow of a monster in the distance, whereas in the Quality mode it is like Michael Myers popping up from behind the sofa.
Currently only the PlayStation 5 supports ray-traced reflections, even as of launch patch 1.3, with the Series X version limited to screen space reflections. I would assume that a patch will come soon to add them to the Series X, but until then it does leave the Xbox console missing out on a big visual boost of the new-gen version. The only saving grace is the Quality mode on Series X does run with a higher resolution most of the time due to this. The loss is noticable, as reflections are another key ingredient to the horror cake. Screen space reflections are still used as a boost to the local screen data on pools of water, blood and such, but they draw off as SSR no longer has that information on screen, but they blend here with those ray-traced reflections, and those are always present. From giant security robots to head-munching beasts, everything reflects in these surfaces. But the game goes even further by using them in planar surfaces and transparent reflections, which are expensive, meaning that both you and dynamic enemies all appear far more grounded and present in the game world. These reflections are also used on sub surface light refraction on enemy skin, with the blood- and pus-filled growths refracting light through in real-time.
The second mode is Performance, which makes some visual cutbacks to the graphical force this game is. Ray-traced effects are all off the table now along with reduced post effects, lighting model, ambient occlusion, shadows and resolution, which now changes the dynamic range from a 2560×1440 maximum down to a low of approximately 2112×1188 – 55% of 4K – in some heavier sections. Again, with many of these techniques it may be a base resolution AA up sampling that now targets 1440p rather than 4K. The result is that any deficit can be hard to notice in many sections, but the biggest tell is on texture details within high frequency areas, increased dithering on shadows and a great deal less of them, and worse and nosier lighting passes. The payback is the game now runs at a 60fps target, which helps improve the temporal stability and the controller response. This helps most in the dodge-and-evade combat mechanic which requires you to move the left stick in opposite directions to the attack.
That said, this game is not a fast-paced shooter by any means, although it does have many other Doom-like qualities. In fact one of the games it reminded me of was Doom 3, a game that pioneered stencil shadows, so it’s fitting for the ray-traced ones here to really deliver on those same aims of accurate light and dark. It has the same sense of atmospheric tension, just delivered on a whole new scale.
The Series S cuts back some more effects, but resolution is the same as the Performance mode on the higher-end consoles, with a 1440p high and dynamically scaling down to 1080p as needed, although all my counts came out at 1440p. However, this is a single mode on the console and targets the same 30fps as the higher-quality mode of the other consoles, but it misses out on many of the graphical treats that mode offers, and instead resembles the Performance mode more, just with some extra cutbacks to aid the performance targets and relatively high pixel count it offers. The differences are not stark to most I am sure, but it did stand out to me jumping from the ray-traced mode on the other two. The cutbacks are intelligent, which can start to highlight some of the cross-generation roots of the game, as the extra fidelity, post effects, lighting and essential post processed film like rendering techniques are cut back heavily in places and far more frugal in others. This leaves materials often looking flat, with far fewer light sources, shadows, and more obvious light bleed and incorrect lighting on faces. These can still happen on the Performance mode on the other consoles, it just appears more frequent here due to reduced shadows over those modes.
Starting with the Performance mode, pitting the PS5 against the Xbox Series X, the first big difference is the resolution is often higher on the PS5 than the Series X, with the PS5 sometimes having a 19% higher pixel count. In addition, the performance is slightly more stable on the PS5, but these tend to be memory or CPU-like stutters that crop up on Series X on occasion when entering a new area, or mid-battle as it appears to be calculating the impact of the dynamic dismemberment and deformation system in real time. That said, most of these are almost invisible with an fps graph, and they both perform brilliantly in all the sections I tested with that 60fps rate never being an issue. Considering the game’s delivery time and some of the bugs that did crop up, performance is largely a standout achievement. Additionally, the patches that have come since review code dropped have improved all formats, and the 60fps mode is very close now between the two consoles.
Ray Traced Mode
The extra graphical enhancements and increased resolution cost halve the framerate in this mode, which is actually more than a fair trade off as the increased per object motion blur and 3rd person action are not significantly hampered by the reduced input latency. And from the sections I tested, it really only skips a single frame here and there which would never be noticed without a frame-time graph. The review code was very stable on PS5 and slightly less so on Series S, but the Series X had more dips and judders that would have caused an issue. But applying the patch 1.2 and then 1.3 it now performs much better and is close to a locked 30fps to now be in the same range as the PS5. In this mode though the Series X has the resolution advantage now, with it often hitting 2880×1620 versus the PS5 often being at 2688×1512, giving a 14% resolution increase in this mode. The visual reductions do explain some of this, but like the small performance dips, the gap is not really apparent as the relatively high resolutions they all run at.
Xbox Series S
The Xbox Series S also runs very close to a locked 30fps, and I noted no big issues both with and without Motion Blur. It can dip more than the Quality mode on the other two consoles, but this has been improved with the pre-launch patch and now is as close to locked 30fps as you would hope for. I played some sections I thought would present some dips, but it was all very solid in general with only a handful of dips on the odd occasion, so this presents an excellent version of the game that manages to achieve the core aims of the team. The biggest standout is the much lower RAM pool does cause lower material quality and slow mip loading in gameplay and more so in cinematics, which is where they stand out the most.
The final piece of the jump scare jigsaw is the sound design, mixing and execution. The electric fizzle of an earthing cable. The hydraulic pressure of an opening door. Fans that create a Doppler effect as you walk closer, accompanied by screen shake and controller vibrations. The meaty squelch as heads pop, limbs break and much much more. The use of sound and silence is incredible as you can hear the screech of enemies in the distance, but sometimes the sound of silence scares you the most. Music is blended in at times, with a clear John Carpenter-like synth mix that has more than a nod to the Thing. Voice acting from all is top notch and although it can be cheesy and cliche at times, it often takes twists and turns you do not expect and is never holding your hand or running on too long. I often say that sound is 50 percent of the experience in games and films, and here that may be understating its impact. It is an impeccable piece of work from the sound team that complements the game’s art, technical, animation and storytelling.
Striking Distance has managed to achieve a feat we have not seen in a very long time, blending many mediums and archetypes into a seminal survival horror game. From a visual and audio perspective it is a leader for the current generation. Taking the UE4 engine and, in my opinion, improving on what we saw from the Matrix Awakens UE5 demo. The character models are now at the point of being photorealistic both in gameplay and cutscenes that you would struggle to tell a video from the game apart. Some bugs with death animations, clipping through scenery, and bad animation cycles aside, the team has managed to deliver one of the most visually striking, stable, impressive games this generation. As linear and within the lines of its own genre it may be, The Callisto Protocol still offers a visual tour de force and enough surprises to be worth your time across all formats. I just hope that the final Christmas present is that Series X gets its Ray Traced reflections added before the year is out.
It’s Geoffmas once more!
The Game Awards 2022 is just around the corner, and we’re ready to settle down with a warm glass of Mountain Dew and put out milk and cookies for Santa Geoff as he gets ready to drop a bag of trailers down our chimneys. It may seem like slim pickings for Nintendo this year, but the Switch isn’t doing too badly — and Nintendo is still the second-most-nominated publisher, behind Sony Interactive Entertainment and tied with Annapurna Interactive.
But if you’re wondering how to watch The Game Awards, exactly when it is, or how long it’ll run for, we’ve got you covered.
Read the full article on nintendolife.com
- 16 of this year’s Game Awards nominees can be played right now with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass.
- A Plague Tale: Requiem, Dune: Spice Wars, No Man’s Sky, Return to Monkey Island, and more are available now. Starfield, nominated for Most Anticipated Game, will arrive next year.
- Play hundreds of high-quality games and join Game Pass now to get your first month for just $1. Details here.
Good news! It’s Game Awards season. Even better news! Game Pass members can play 16 of the nominees right now, with a 17th — Bethesda Game Studios’ Starfield — still to come next year. Taking place on Thursday, December 8, the Game Awards celebrate the very best of gaming in the last year, and there have been some incredible nominees included as part of Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass in 2022.
From beautiful experiments in interactive storytelling, to soundtracks perfect for emptying the ranks of Hell, and much, much more, make sure to check out our list of every single Game Awards nominee included in Game Pass:
As Dusk Falls
Nominated: Games for Impact, Innovation in Accessibility
While As Dusk Falls is nominated for its extensive accessibility features (full details here), few titles go to go so far to reach people who don’t normally play games at all. In our experience, agonizing over decisions with a friend or loved one who doesn’t identify as a gamer is a unique and memorable experience, made easier by the fact that players can bypass the controller in favor of an app on their phone. Going further, seamless Twitch integration allows a huge group of viewers to influence decisions in-game, an endlessly entertaining metagame. But even if your preferred way to play is solo, controller in hand, As Dusk Falls’ frequent, meaningful decision making elevates the narrative genre in thrilling, edge-of-your-seat fashion.
Nominated: Games for Impact
Citizen Sleeper gives you a lot to unpack during its narrative RPG journey, living out a life on the run as a digital consciousness in an imperfect artificial body. At its core, you’re trying to break free from your corporate owners who want their investment back – but you’re not the only one hiding out on remote space station, The Eye, from those eking out a living, to bounty hunters, to fellow refugees. Citizen Sleeper weaves a tale that’s both an allegory for capitalism gone awry and the persecution of the weak by those in power. Holding this game steady is an exceptionally told, deeply human core story, with a tangible world and compelling characters to befriend, betray, or simply exist beside. That story isn’t done being told just yet. Following the free DLC Flux and Refuge, the next piece of Citizen Sleeper’s story is set to arrive next year.
Dune: Spice Wars
Nominated: Best Sim/Strategy
It has been many years since we last set our real-time strategy feet on the planet of Arrakis in the classic Dune: 2000 (featuring the legendary John Rhys-Davies as the Atreides Mentat). The wait was worth it. Dune: Spice Wars is a true return to RTS form featuring a world full of giant sand worms, political intrigue, ruthless warlords, and the all-powerful spice that flows through everything — including your keyboard and mouse. It’s still in Game Preview, set for a full release in 2023, but what we’ve played so far has us excited for what’s to come from developer Shiro Games.
Nominated: Best Game Direction, Best Narrative, Best Performance (Manon Gage)
Nominated for three awards, it’s safe to say Immortality has been a winning experiment into how to use good ol’ fashioned Full Motion Video to create a thoroughly modern game. A story earned by you, not told to you, Immortality plays out across three time periods, and three different films, with startling performances from its actors, none more so than its lead, Manon Gage. The deeper you dig (using frames of the films themselves to discover new clips), the darker things become — until eventually you realize that this is by no means the mystery you went in assuming it was. Immortality earns its Mature rating and strays from the typical “choose your own adventure” style, becoming something you’ll never quite have played before, both in style and substance.
A Memoir Blue
Nominated: Games for Impact
A Memoir Blue tells the story of a star athlete and the bonds shared between a mother and daughter and is a tranquil option to some of the more tense, skill-based games you may have been playing — perfect for when you just want to relax and unwind. The game is an interactive narrative, steeped in symbolism, beautifully rendered with a variety of art styles, and featuring a splash of puzzle and point-and-click adventure elements. Its story of familial love, childhood reminiscence and musings on the nature of success have earned it a deserved spot in the Games for Impact category.
Nominated: Best Score and Music
When you have a game featuring the vocal talents of Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Randy Blythe (Lamb of God), and Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), it’s easy to see how this excellent rhythm action game secured a nomination for Best Score and Music. While yes, the soundtrack does indeed kick ass, it’s when you’ve started to fire your rhythm-based attacks to the double-bass beat that the harmonious — and very metal — destruction takes shape, sending you tearing your way through hordes of demonic creatures, and seeking vengeance through the domain of Hell.
No Man’s Sky
Nominated: Best Community Support
No Man’s Sky served up yet another incredible year of content for its players, who have been able to experience four massive (and free) updates in the form of Sentinel, Outlaws, Endurance, and Waypoint. With that level of support, it’s easy to understand how it’s been nominated in this category. Hello Games’ galaxy-sized sci-fi sim remains one of the most unique and expansive gaming worlds that you can play in today, and only continues to grow, with community features to try out, tons of quality-of-life improvements, and even space whales. It’s been said so often that it’s becoming a little clichéd, but there honestly hasn’t been a better time than now to play No Man’s Sky.
Nominated: Best Debut Indie
By turns maudlin and almost hilariously bizarre, Norco wears the skin of a ‘90s point-and-click adventure but implants a novelistic tale of the near future. The story of Kay, who returns home to her industry-ravaged hometown after the death of her mother, Norco weaves together climate change, the proliferation of AI, late-stage capitalism, and even folk-horror into the most singular gaming story of the year. Even among those heady concepts, it’s a deeply personal game, both for its characters and, you sense, its small team of first-time developers.
A Plague Tale: Requiem
Nominated: Game of the Year, Best Performance (Charlotte McBurney), Best Action/Adventure
Anything you’ve heard about A Plague Tale: Requiem likely started with the rats. While a playthrough of the story will have you encountering literally millions of the filthy little rascals, it’s the human cast of Amicia, Hugo, and some surprising new faces that truly stands out. The evolution of the main characters after the first game (brought to bear by some wonderful acting performances), and the towering scale of what they explore and endure has stayed with us weeks after completing the journey. A must play.
Return to Monkey Island
Nominated: Innovation in Accessibility
The unexpected and thrilling return of Guybrush Threepwood and the zombie pirate LeChuck was perhaps gaming’s most nostalgic new game this year. Fittingly, the newest installment of the iconic point ‘n’ click adventure series also saw the return of the iconic series’ creator Ron Gilbert, joined by co-writer Dave Grossman, bringing their sense of humor and singularly hilarious puzzles to a technicolor Caribbean that has seen considerably better days since we last saw it. Daring pirates will swash and, indeed, buckle with an evolution of classic adventure game controls, adding context-sensitive interactions, reactive dialog trees, and an easy-to-use inventory system to help make pirating a breeze. These features and more helped secure this nomination for Innovation in Accessibility.
Nominated: Best Art Direction
Leading up to its release, we were looking to answer the question of what Scorn is. First-person adventure game? Shooter? A little of both? We explored that question with the game’s developer at launch, but it wasn’t until we started playing and diving into world that we understood quite how that the game wanted us to feel something more than fit neatly into a specific genre. A lot of that emotion while playing can be drawn from its outstanding visuals, pulling you into its nightmarish, bio-technological world almost immediately, and pitting you against bizarre creations and one (literally) puzzling encounter after another.
Nominated: Most Anticipated Game
Saying that Starfield is a “Most Anticipated Game” is just scratching the surface of how excited we are to jump into this massive open-world universe. Most of us have spent a considerable amount of time in Bethesda’s other iconic open-world RPGs (looking at you Skyrim), so the chance at being able to explore a slew of worlds makes us incredibly excited about the experiences that are in store. We’ll have more to share in the coming months about Starfield – which will be available on day one with Game Pass — here on Xbox Wire.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
Nominated: Best Action Game, Best Multiplayer
Grab your nearest controller and jump into this retro-inspired beat ‘em up that brings back memories of token-filled arcade machines, greasy pizza, and bizarre, oversized mouse mascots. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is some of the most fun we’ve had this year either online or via couch co-op, battling back Shredder’s goons and shouting “Cowabunga!” at the television. It’s arcade nostalgia at its finest, with an awesome soundtrack, beautiful pixel art, and tons of unlockables that round out a complete arcade experience in your home. It shouldn’t be missed.
Total War: Warhammer III
Nominated: Best Sim/Strategy
With a mix of both real-time and turn-based elements, along with the epic Warhammer Fantasy license on full display, Creative Assembly’s third and most accessible entry in its unique Total War series allows you to take control of a massive army of Chaos Gods, humans, Daemons, or other outlandish legions as you attempt to conquer the Realm of Chaos. Sure, there are diplomacy options should you wish to talk your way to victory, but we prefer negotiating with a massive army, one that can vanquish even the most powerful of gods and lay waste to the mightiest of militias [lets out guttural roar]. It’s a truly titanic end to a trilogy that’s helped redefine the grand strategy genre.
Two Point Campus
Nominated: Best Sim/Strategy
The follow-up to the warmly received Two Point Hospital has us looking back on our university experience thinking: did we have enough fun? Guiding college students to success in courses such as Gastronomy and “Funny Business” while ensuring they have facilities to eat, sleep, play, and poop may sound like a lot. Thankfully, the way Two Point Campus chunks objectives into bite-sized steps means it feels less like a weed-out course and more like a chill elective. Plus, you can plop a Crazy Taxi arcade machine right in your student’s dorm… why didn’t our school’s dean think of that?
Nominated: Best Indie, Best Action/Adventure, Best Debut Indie
Don’t be fooled by Tunic’s cute little fox hero character and whimsical art style; this game’s soul-crushing difficulty may lead to controller-throwing fits of rage. Thankfully, the game has a few tricks to aid in your journey. If you manage to survive the first hour or so, you’ll be treated to an amazing experience, especially if you enjoy a challenge and figuring things out on your own. Its brilliant level design is sure to make you smile as you discover hidden paths and shortcuts, but the game’s real treasure is the creative in-game guide you compile along the way, simultaneously offering a never-before-seen approach to puzzle design and a gorgeously nostalgic look back to game manuals of yore.
Nominated: Best Debut Indie
Sink your teeth into one of the year’s biggest surprises and a legit game of the year contender. This instantly gratifying, gothic rogue-lite (survivor-like?) will have you weaving through hundreds… nay… thousands of pixel skeletons, mummies, zombies, werewolves, and more as you strive to survive as long as you can. The unlockable levels, awesome power-ups, and unique heroes add to an already very strong replay dynamic that will keep you coming back for more – you haven’t seen anything until you get to the last couple of minutes of run, trust us.
Gundam Evolution Launches Today on Xbox
Free Play Days – Battlefield 2042, Batora: Lost Haven, and Rainbow Six Siege
UPDATED: Coming to Xbox Game Pass: LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, High on Life, Hello Neighbor 2, and More