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  • A screenshot of Ys IX: Monstrum Nox in which a hooded woman, rendered in an anime art style, is frowning and holding up a glowing object.

    Ys IX: Monstrum Nox adds cooperative multiplayer

    It's for local co-op, but you can work around that to play online

    The PC version of Ys IX: Monstrum Nox now supports cooperative multiplayer, a tidy little post-launch bonus for Nihon Falcom's action-RPG. Nadia Oxford told us last year that for fans of the genre, "the Ys series is a must-play, and Ys IX is as good a place to start as any." Co-op makes it an even nicer place to start because friends are nice, aren't they?

  • Image for Expeditions: Rome review: a gripping, ambitious historical CRPG

    I used to think that big, intricate character customisation systems were pretty much mandatory for decent CRPGs. As I saw it, the ability to conjure up a hideous goblin man with a chin curving back up into his face, if you wanted to, was a sign that you were playing something in the big leagues. Now, however, I am not so sure.

    Expeditions: Rome, a historical CRPG blending turn-based combat, strategic army management, and lots of dialogue, has a pretty rubbish character creation system. There’s bugger all you can really do to customise your Roman. and after the mammoth character forge of Pathfinder: Wrath Of The Righteous, for example, it all just feels very sparse and shoestringy. And that is a damned shame, because when it gets down to business, this is a seriously good - and lovingly detailed - romp through centurion times.

  • A squad pose for a Call of Duty: Warzone screenshot.

    In the wake of scandal and lawsuits alleging a culture of discrimination and harrassment at Activision Blizzard, Microsoft today announced they're buying the company. Wait, hang on. What. That's not what I expected when Xbox head Phil Spencer told staff he was "evaluating all aspects of [Xbox's] relationship" with Activision Blizzard. Microsoft plan to pay $68.7 billion (£50 billion) for the company, which will nab them games including Warcraft, Call Of Duty, and Overwatch. Jesus.

  • Image for OlliOlli World is a good-spirited renovation of punishing skateventures

    To perform an ollie is to commune with gods. Or maybe just look cool. OlliOlli World is shaping up to be a good-spirited renovation of the 2D skateboarding series that has traditionally been quite punishing. This one's got a flashy third dimension, moon-faced cartoon characters, and a plucky story to match. We're told of Skate Godz who once appointed a human representative on earth. But she's about to retire and needs a prodigy to step forward to fill her Vans. The player is that potential new conduit between holy half-pipers and humanity. In other words, this is a quest to become Skate Pope. Caliph of kickflips. Dalai Slama. Having both popped and shoved-it through a heap of levels in preview, I'm happy to report you can all sit down. I'm the chosen one. It's me.

  • Assorted wizards in Dota: Dragon's Blood season 2 artwork.

    The edgy animated adaptation of Valve's silly wizard war MOBA Dota 2 has returned, with the full second season of Dota: Dragon's Blood now live on Netflix. Dragon Knight, Mirana, and their friends return to fight Terrorblade, having committed the classic Dota mistake of letting a late-game carry farm uninterrupted until they're stacked. Should've kept ganking him before he ate all those dragons, nerks.

  • Troops in a Foxhole screenshot.

    A group of Foxhole players are going on strike to pressure the developers into address issues they feel ruin their chosen role in the war, logistics. The World War 2 sandbox MMO is a persistent battle where weapons, vehicle, and building rely on resources gathered, processed, and delivered by other players, without whom the war machine slows down. Our boy Brendy called logistics "the real heroes" when he rode with them a few years back. But many are unhappy with the current state of their role, so they've formed a union.

  • Image for Nobody Saves The World review: a charming action RPG plagued by repetition

    Something is missing from Nobody Saves The World, a new action RPG from Guacamelee devs DrinkBox Studios. This is a dungeon-crawler that lets you shapeshift into horses, bodybuilders, and ghosts in your bid to save the world, but it's a quest blighted not only by a Calamity, but by repetition too. Charming characters and clever mighty-morphin' combat succumb to numbers, which reduces what could've been a rich world to a rather hollow dash between dungeons.

  • Two armies fight in a desert canyon while dodging helicopter fire in Crossfire: Legion

    Feature: Crossfire: Legion is the future of the RTS as it was in 1999

    There’s pedigree and resources behind this offshoot from the world’s biggest FPS

    Can I get a ‘woop woop’, or at least a ‘wololo’, for the spin-off strategy game? The Ensemble Studios swansong that was Halo Wars, an RTS so streamlined it was aerodynamic. The ballistic ballet of Gears Tactics, which piled extra biceps atop XCOM’s shoulders. Even when money has moved through the membrane in the opposite direction, it has resulted in projects that were - let’s not overstate this - endearingly experimental. Can I get an understanding nod for Command & Conquer: Renegade?

    The strangeness of Crossfire: Legion’s situation is that you might not recognise it as a spin-off at all. That’s because the series is a big old blind spot for the Western world. Crossfire is an enormously successful Korean FPS that bears more than a passing resemblance to Counter-Strike - all right angles, assault weapons, and de_dust2 - but dwarfs even Steam’s most popular game for player numbers. With 690 million participants across 80 countries, it’s the biggest online FPS in the world. In China, where the game is a major cultural force, a coming-of-age television drama about two young Crossfire players has been watched 1.8 billion times. Bridger-what? Geralt of Where? The upshot of all that success is that Crossfire radiates money, and some of it is now funding new games from prestigious Western developers. Remedy is working on a campaign FPS in the classic COD style. And Blackbird Interactive is building an RTS named Legion.

  • A screenshot from Wordle where the entered words read "Story Algid Makes Chang." What might it mean, and what might the winning word be given the green and yellow letters?

    Wordle's app store namesake is donating its proceeds to charity

    Older game called Wordle has benefitted from new viral hit

    When I first heard about Wordle, I assumed it was an app, and went looking for it on various app stores. I didn't find it - Wordle is instead a website, and completely free.

    It turns out I'm not alone. App developer Steven Cravotta explained on Twitter that a completely unrelated game he released five years ago, also called Wordle, has had a major increase in downloads over the past few weeks. And now he's donating the money he's made to charity.

  • Hordes of soldiers fight in a giant battle in Diplomacy Is Not An Option

    Diplomacy Is Not An Option looks pleasant and lovely, a bucolic town builder of the sort that would enrapture me for a lost weekend. There's a little combat, but not mu-- Oh, wow. Waitaminute. There's a moment in this trailer where it suddenly looks like one of those adverts for fake mobile games. The hordes. Seemingly thousands of enemies on screen, and the physics to simulate them being hurled about.

    You can watch said trailer below, released alongside the news that the game has slipped into next month.

  • A screenshot of Tumbledown Drive showing a 2D car leaping in the air, smoke trailing behind, between grassy platforms suspended high in the sky.

    I stumbled across a stream of Jump King last week, a platformer that passed me by when released a couple of years ago. "Yes, I want to ruin my life," I thought, and instantly bought it.

    Now just a few days later, my life ruined, I see jumps and punishing falls everywhere. Is indie developer Daniel Linssen's new free game Tumbledown Drive a Jump King and Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy-inspired platformer in which you are a car hopping up a mountain, or is this another hallucination?

  • A screenshot of a Townscaper building in the shape of a Wordle result.

    Even if you're not playing smash-hit word puzzle game Worldle, you'll likely have seen grids of green and yellow squares in your social media feeds from people sharing their solutions to the day's puzzle. A good way to share info in an abstract, but not the prettiest. So after some Wordle players started recreating their solutions inside the pretty town-building toy Townscaper, someone went ahead and made a tool which automatically does the work for you. The result, your solution built as a colourful building, for you to view in your browser.

  • The World Serpent speaks to Kratos and Atreus in a scene from God of War.

    Nvidia’s Deep Learning Dynamic Super Resolution tech is out now – here’s how to enable it

    Sharpness-boosting feature piggybacks on God of War optimisation driver

    Earlier this week, Nvidia quietly announced a kind of DLSS-adjacent downsampling tech: Deep Learning Dynamic Super Resolution (DLDSR). It aims to improve image sharpness and quality on GeForce RTX graphics cards, using AI to reduce the performance loss of Nvidia’s existing DSR feature, and it’s now available to install and enable through GeForce Game Ready Driver 511.23.

  • Image for Kick Blue Monday up the bum with the games that make you smile

    Apparently today is Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. I'm not sure what that means. Surely the first Monday we're all back at work would be the worst? Or is this the one where we've had a while to realise that the promise of hope in the new year is, once again, a terrible lie? Perhaps. Either way, I refuse to submit. Enjoy the heck out of this Monday. Have your favourite thing for dinner. Watch your favourite movie. Have a bath and put on a cool playlist of songs and sing really loud to annoy your neighbour.

    Alternatively, play some cool video games! Here are the ones that make me smile when I'm feeling blue.

  • An Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition, installed in a PC.

    Feature: Nvidia DLDSR tested: better visuals and better performance than DSR

    How Deep Learning Dynamic Super Resolution looks and runs on RTX graphics cards

    As if ray tracing and DLSS weren’t big enough bonuses to owning a GeForce RTX graphics card, Nvidia has just dropped another toy in the chest: Deep Learning Dynamic Super Resolution, or DLDSR. It’s essentially an AI-fuelled upgrade to Nvidia’s DSR downsampling tool, aiming to more intelligently render the frames of your games so that they appear more detailed – without the same performance loss that comes with standard DSR. It’s an intriguing new feature that could make some of the best graphics cards even better, and I’ve been trying it out to see if it performs as effectively as Nvidia claims.

  • A vampiric vision of Castlevania: Shadow Of The Moon's key art.

    Konami's Castlevania NFT collection sold for £119,000

    That's a lot of money to get basically nothing

    Konami's first auction of NFTs concluded over the weekend, with idiots collectively spending the equivalent of £119,000 ($162k) in cryptocurrency to buy 14 database entries pointing to Castlevania artwork, music, and videos that anyone online can see for free. On one hand, thank god it was only £119,000 because if it was the millions that some ugly Twitter avatars have sold for, every other mercenary games company would ramp up their own NFT initiatives. On the other, oh god £119,000 is still so much money for basically nothing.

  • Supporter post game Sekiro

    A blindfolded speedrunner beat Sekiro in two hours on AGDQ

    The speedrunning week has raised £2.5 million for a cancer charity

    The speedrunning fundraiser festival Awesome Games Done Quick ended in the wee hours on Sunday, with one of its most spectacular runs coming in the final stretch. A speedrunner beat Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice in just over two hours, which frankly is impressive enough to me. More than that, the runner known as "Mitchriz" was blindfolded from start to finish, guided by a combination of memory and feeling-out environments. In two hours! Ludicrious.

  • Kratos holds his son's arm in a screenshot from God of War's PC edition.

    I enjoy the sub-genre of meme about Sad Murder Dads as much as the next gal. Heck, I enjoy those lads themselves. From Kratos in God Of War, to Joel in The Last Of Us, and even less story-focused murder dads like Soldier 76, dudes rock. Successfully rehabilitated and reimagined as father figures struggling to inhabit that role and accept their emotions, in some very good games to boot. Developers who were hot young guns in the 00s are now tired middle-aged dads themselves, and as a result the art they consume and, more to the point, the art they want to make looks radically different. I'm not having a go at that; that's just life, is what that is.

    But what I'm asking is, what's the mum equivalent? Because I really want to see someone give a mum story the same big budget, fun epic treatment that Kratos got in God Of War. At the same time, I also dread this coming to pass.

  • Kratos holds his wife's ashes in a screenshot from God of War's PC edition.

    God Of War offers test fix for "out of memory" errors

    Available through a beta branch on Steam

    Friday's long-awaited PC launch of God Of War was mostly received by people nodding their heads and muttering "Boy"—the highest praise a heavy heart can offer. A few would-be players, however, found themselves unable to play, with the game throwing up "out of memory" error messages when they really shouldn't be out of memory. The devs have been looking into the issue, and released a potential fix on an opt-in experimental branch on Steam. It sounds like it fixes the problem for some people, but not all.

  • Image for The Sunday Papers

    Sundays are for buying a Werther's Original from your local petrol station. Before you treat yourself, let's read this week's best writing about games (and game related things).

  • Image for Sega register trademark for Sega NFTs

    Sega has registered a trademark for the term "Sega NFT" with the Japan patent office. Sega indicated in an early 2021 Twitter post that they intended to sell NFTs last summer, although the company's president later said that if the move was seen as "simple money-making, I would like to make a decision not to proceed."

  • The face of SHODAN in System Shock 2 artwork.

    GOG, the digital game store, has updated their homepage to provide new ways to search and filter available games. That includes sorting games by price, filtering by genre, and a brand new tags system.

  • Image for How are you finding God Of War on PC so far?

    God Of War is out now, as of Friday at 5pm. This gives PC gamers their first chance to experience 2018's hottest memes, yelling "Boy!" at one another, and writing thinkpieces about videogame dads. It also gives them the chance to satisfyingly throw an axe through a lot of skeletons.

  • A fancy man removing his tuxedo jacket in an illustration from 'Paris herself again in 1878-9'.

    Following a wee technical hiccup on my part, ladies and gentlemen, The Weeknd. I'm already thinking ahead to E3 2022 because a friend's planning part of their wedding celebrations for mid-June and I don't know if... how strange to be missing the steadfast, certain, reliability of E3. Anyway. What are you playing this weekend? Here's what we're clicking on.

  • Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker

    Square Enix will start selling Final Fantasy XIV again this month

    They've detailed plans to expand servers this year and next

    Popularity, I have learned from American teen television shows, isn't all it's cracked up to be. While Square Enix haven't been bombed by the local mafioso, joined a murderous D&D cult, or discovered their dad is a serial killer and they too have the serial killer genes (thanks, Riverdale!), they did find such overwhelming success with Final Fantasy XIV that they temporarily stopped selling the MMORPG. They couldn't expand servers quickly enough to meet demand, see, leading to login queues and frustration. But now things are settling enough to to start selling it again, and they have big plans to expand servers.

  • Image for Why all the best game developers play Tarot

    I'm not sure I trust the Page of Cups. As imagined by Pamela Colman Smith and A.E. Waite in the 1909 Rider-Waite Tarot, he's a cocky young man in a floral tunic, standing by the seashore hefting a goblet. There's a fish peeking out of the goblet and the Page appears to be gossiping with it, perhaps sharing a joke about the artist, because honestly, what kind of artist paints a guy talking to fish. Or is he thinking about offering us the cup? The set of his jaw is ambiguous.

    When drawn in an upright position, the Page suggests a flash of inspiration reeled from the mind's ocean, or a dazzling opportunity. In this guise, he's been a good friend to Ami Y. Cai, a game creator and illustrator from Kentucky - though in her first Tarot deck, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law's Shadowscapes Tarot, the symbolism has been flipped around a little, the Page depicted as a mermaid peering into a steaming bowl. “Sometimes sparks come to me through conversations, or while I'm doing something else,” Cai tells me over Zoom. “So when I see the Page of Cups, I know that a creative opportunity is coming my way.”

  • Image for Blink Planets is secretly an excellent urban planning game

    Puzzle games don't need a plot, or even a theme or setting. When very abstracted ones throw one in it's often an indulgence, or just an excuse to hang the aesthetics around something the devs happen to like. Blink Planets seemed like this at first, and that was fine! A little sexy hexy is all you really need if it's done right, after all. I cannot believe I just said that.

    Partway through though, I realised Blink Planets isn't just about connecting things with lines of tiles. It really is about the urban planning its setting suggests.

  • Cloud and Sephiroth clash swords in a Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade screenshot.

    Over the holidays, I decided to treat myself to the gift of funk, and bought myself a neat little acoustic bass. The guitar arrived as promised; I am still waiting on the funk. Any day now. In the meantime, I’ve taught myself the riff for Valley Of The Fallen Star, better known as the Cosmo Canyon theme from Final Fantasy VII. I’m not sure if I can adequately put into words how the original composition of the track makes me feel, but I am certain I’m not the only one.It is sonic nostalgia for a simpler time, where following a talking dog’s weeble uncle to the projection of the cosmos he kept in his loft did nothing to shatter my emotional investment in a story.