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News and Features

Blizzcon 2021: Overwatch 2 News

One of the surprising areas of Blizzards yearly conference/festival/gamingcon extravaganza, Blizzcon 2021 was the lack of info regarding Overwatch 2.

The sequel title was originally confirmed back in 2019 and is set to “replace” the current 2016 title, introducing PvE modes, character progression and new maps.

We were expecting to see a little more justification around having those additions make up an entire sequel title rather than simply releasing them as patches and updates, as most other games in the shooter/competitive multiplayer genre do.

Sadly Blizzcon 2021 proved that Blizzard seem to be scrambling for any real justification as to why Overwatch 2 needs to be an entirely new title in the franchise.

You can watch the core show info below but if you’re just looking for the headlines and a little expert opinion you can find that below.

So here’s all new information the devs, voice actors and one terrifyingly intense panel host (seriously it was a lot) had to share.

New Locations

Overwatch’s futuristic Big Hero Six/Pixar view of the future is one of the titles major selling points. Its world-building is impressive for a multiplayer title which fleshes out most of its characters and locations in stunning high-quality shorts released separately from the game via social media.

So it’s nice to see that Blizzard understand that and open with doubling down on it with a glimpse of some of the new locations we’ll be visiting when the new title finally releases. The two new locations, Rome and New York can be seen in the video above but here are the screenshots if you want to get a decent idea. They’re perhaps a little too similar to Kings Row and Temple of Anubis, but it’s difficult to get a good idea without having a hands-on experience of them.

New Hero Sojourn First Look

The new character we’ve had confirmed to join the Overwatch 2 roster Sojourn finally gets some gameplay, focusing on her railgun focused gameplay. She seems to be a bit of a combination of Ashe, Soldier 76 and Mcree which doesn’t sound bad at all, although that mix of playstyles might make her a jack of all trades, master of none.

Backstory wise we weren’t given too much on the character, although I wouldn’t be surprised if we got a new hero short closer to the Overwatch 2 release date (whenever that might be).

More Details on Hero Missions

This area of the game was a little more fleshed out but still seems concerning surface level from a gameplay point of view. Hero missions will be replayable content that allows you to level up whichever hero you use for them, selecting skills from a skill tree with 3 distinct paths.

It’s been done before, but certainly not in Overwatch.

It’s a natural area for the team to want to break into, the problem for me seems to be the lack of engaging gameplay involved in the PvE gameplay we’ve seen so far, even in this year’s latest footage. When fans were given a hands-on it was one of the main areas of criticism so it’s definitely still worrying that there seems to be so little depth to the moment to moment gameplay.

They listed off a number of positive features including maps that will update between runs to minimise monotony, as well as additional enemy types and objectives to help keep things fresh but if the actual run and gun shooting doesn’t work, it’s always going to be a losing battle for them.

New(ish) Looks for Existing Characters

Probably the most underwhelming part of the reveal was the new looks for the characters. Now I can’t say I’ve been a day to day Overwatch player for a little while, but seeing the “new” looks for the characters, I was immediately hit with some deja vu. Does everyone else not think they look exactly the same as they did in the base title? Let me know in the comments so I know whether I’m going crazy or not…

Gameplay, Graphics and Sound Improvements

There were a number of in-depth examples of gameplay improvements given from tweaks to the mobility of Reinhardts charge skill, to adding new environmentally interactive sounds e.g. your gun sounds different fired in a canyon to a corridor, and improved weapon feel. My issue is that these are the kind of things we’re seeing developers add to current titles for free when they’re moving from the last gen to current gen consoles, certainly not using them as a selling point for a new $60+ title.

“There are just some things we can’t do without a sequel” commented Game Director Jeff Kaplan – the problem is I’m struggling to see exactly what they are yet!

What did you think of Overwatch 2’s coverage at this year’s Blizzcon? Where you expecting more or are you happy with what you’ve seen so far and don’t need anything else adding.

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News and Features

Destiny Season of the Chosen Roadmap

It’s that time again Destiny fans, the latest season is kicking off with Season of the Chosen. Following the largely “meh” Season of the Hunt that kicked off the latest expansion ‘Beyond Light’, Season of the Chosen is expected to really show off what Bungie have in store for their looter shooter addicts in 2021.

Here’s it all in a fancy image but we’ll dig a little deeper below:

destiny_2_season_of_the_chosen_roadmap

At launch (February 9th):

  • New social space H.E.L.M., where you can use the Prismatic Recaster (used to decrypt Umbral Engrams, which are returning) and upgrade your Hammer of Proving (to unlock different pursuits and rewards at the Battlegrounds) at the War Table vendor. Plus it’s taking us back to the Destiny 1 tower and that’s just nice.
  • Debut of the Battlegrounds activity (Behemoth and Hailstone maps available) for Season pass holders
  • Two new Strikes (Devil’s Lair and Fallen Saber from Destiny 1)
  • Stasis Aspect quests begin
  • The debut of Seasonal Challenges, replacing Weekly Bounties and will offer new ways to earn XP and other rewards week-by-week:
  • New Pursuit weapon, the Breech Loaded Grenade Launcher ‘Salvager’s Salvo’, rewarded from a Strike, Gambit or Crucible quest of your choice:
  • The usual Seasonal content – including a battle pass with 100 tiers of rewards, seasonal artifact, new Power level cap, and new exotics to earn.
  • A third landing zone in Europa.

February 12th

  • Return of Trials, with new gear drops (oh boy I wish I was good enough to get this stuff…)

February 16th

  • New Battleground map (Cleansing) for Season Pass holders

February 23rd

  • New Battleground map (Oracle) for Season Pass holders
  • Iron Banner

March 23rd

  • New Strike (Proving Grounds) early access for Season pass holders
  • Iron Banner

March 30th

  • New Strike (Proving Grounds) available for all players, debuts in Nightfall activity

April 13th

  • Iron Banner

April 20th

  • Guardian Games event begins

May 7th to May 9th

  • Guardian Games event closing ceremony

May 11th

  • Season of the Chosen concludes

There’s also a rumoured Pulse Rifle exotic quest due to release at some point during the season, with some spooky and cryptic teasers being pushed by Destiny since the seasons release. More on that as it’s confirmed!

Also the usual Valentine’s Day event Crimson Days will be skipping 2021 (personally I couldn’t care less but less us know below if you’re livid) and the long-awaited updates to crossplay, transmog and the return of the Vault of Glass will be coming later in the year.

What’s got you most hyped and what do you think of the season so far? We’re feeling a little underwhelmed but we think it’s more because we don’t have all the juicy Beyond Light content to be getting stuck into for the first time as well as the seasonal content.

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News and Features

Mass Effect Legendary Edition Release Date

Well, it’s been the worst kept secret in the gaming industry for almost two years now but the remaster of Bioware’s classic Mass Effect trilogy finally has a release date – May 14th 2021.

Surprisingly the studio didn’t confirm this back on N7 day (November 7th) as is typical of the studio to do when it comes to Mass Effect news but considering it’s been almost a decade since Mass Effect 3’s release, perhaps Bioware are looking to mix things up. Anyone who played the spin-off Andromeda will certainly have no complaints in that regard!

You can take a look at the new trailer below.

https://youtu.be/T7K7gMYLp2E

Here are some highlights for the new release:

  • The Mass Effect Legendary Edition will feature all three single-player story campaigns plus 40 other pieces of DLC, weapon and armour packs.
  • The trilogy will now run in 4K Ultra HD with HDR.
  • The Legendary Edition overhauls the original trilogy’s graphics with remastered character models, tens of thousands of up-ressed textures, improvements to shaders and VFX, updated lighting and shadows, volumetrics and depth-of-field.
  • Character creation will be unified across all three games, including the ability to make your OG Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 character look like Fem-Shep from the third game.
  • Interfaces and UI have been updated and modernized.
  • Various quality-of-life improvements and gameplay improvements including better-aiming mechanics.

Nothing too surprising, other than the lack of a native next-gen version of the titles although there’s potential for one down the line. So what’s your verdict, will you be stepping back onto the Normandy this year? If so which companion are you most excited to team up with?

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System Requirements

Among Us

Before you buy it’s time to answer the biggest question any PC gamer ever has – what settings can I run that title on?

Today we’re taking a look at the hit indie title Among Us and if you have a PC built-in pretty much the last decade, the answer is yes, you can run it. However if you want to be super 100% absolutely sure, here at the minimum system specs:

  • CPU: SSE2 instruction set support
  • CPU SPEED: Info
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1+
  • VIDEO CARD: Info
  • FREE DISK SPACE: 250 MBWe told you it wasn’t particularly demanding didn’t we? Will you be opting to play Among Us or one of the newer titles with similar gameplay but utilising more advanced graphics?
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System Requirements

Bioshock Collection

One of the greatest shooter trilogies ever released, now remastered on PC. Plus PC players can finally get their hands on the divide finale Bioshock Infinite, released for the first time on PC.

If you’ve never played the titles before we certainly don’t want to spoil it for you past them being an amazing mash up of shooter, with a healthy dose of horror and rpg elements thrown in for good measure. Here’s exactly what your PC will need to run them at it’s best:

System Requirements (Minimum)

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 DUO E6750 2.66 GHz / AMD Athlon X2 2.7 GHz
  • CPU SPEED: Info
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • OS: Windows 7 Service Pack 1 64-bit. Platform Update for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
  • VIDEO CARD: DirectX11 Compatible, AMD Radeon HD 7770 / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560
  • PIXEL SHADER: 5.0
  • VERTEX SHADER: 5.0
  • SOUND CARD: Yes
  • FREE DISK SPACE: BioShock 25GB; BioShock 2 25GB; BioShock Infinite 20GB; Total for all three games 70GB
  • DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 1024 MB

Recommended Requirements

  • CPU: Info
  • CPU SPEED: 3GHz Quad-Core Processor
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • OS: Windows 7 Service Pack 1 64-bit. Platform Update for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
  • VIDEO CARD: 2GB ATI Radeon HD 7970, 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 or better
  • PIXEL SHADER: 5.0
  • VERTEX SHADER: 5.0
  • SOUND CARD: Yes
  • FREE DISK SPACE: BioShock 25GB; BioShock 2 25GB; BioShock Infinite 30GB; Total for all three games 80GB
  • DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 2048 MB

So will you be taking a trip down to Rapture on your current build or putting some time into upgrading first? Either way, ‘would you kindly’ hurry up and get playing through these classics sooner rather than later!

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System Requirements

Assassins Creed Odyssey

Before you buy it’s time to answer the biggest question any PC gamer ever has – what settings can I run that title on?

Today we’re looking at Ubisoft’s Assassins Creed Odyssey, one of, if not the best title in the franchise, certainly since Black Flag right?

System Requirements (Minimum)

  • CPU: AMD FX 6300 @ 3.8 GHz, Ryzen 3 – 1200, Intel Core i5 2400 @ 3.1 GHz
  • CPU SPEED: Info
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (64-bit versions only)
  • VIDEO CARD: AMD Radeon R9 285 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 (2GB VRAM with Shader Model 5.0)
  • PIXEL SHADER: 5.0
  • VERTEX SHADER: 5.0
  • SOUND CARD: Yes
  • FREE DISK SPACE: 46GB available hard drive space
  • DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 2048 MB

Recommended Requirements

  • CPU: AMD FX-8350 @ 4.0 GHz, Ryzen 5 – 1400, Intel Core i7-3770 @ 3.5 GHz
  • CPU SPEED: Info
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (64-bit versions only)
  • VIDEO CARD: AMD Radeon R9 290 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 (4GB VRAM or more with Shader Model 5.0) or better
  • PIXEL SHADER: 5.0
  • VERTEX SHADER: 5.0
  • SOUND CARD: Yes
  • FREE DISK SPACE: 46 GB available hard drive space
  • DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 4096 MB

What do you think? Can your current PC build handle it? Plus how do you think it stacks up to the latest Assassins Creed Valhalla in terms of graphical performance?

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System Requirements

The Binding of Isaac: Reborn

Before you buy it’s time to answer the biggest question any PC gamer ever has – what settings can I run that title on?

Although it’s a tiny indie title, The Binding of Isaac: Reborn is one game where a missed frame can result in death so it’s worth making extra sure you can run it without a hitch. That being said, it’s unlikely you’re PC is going to be so out of date it has any trouble. Here’s the system requirements:

System Requirements (Minimum)

  • CPU: Core 2 Duo
  • CPU SPEED: Info
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • OS: Windows XP
  • VIDEO CARD: Discreet video card
  • FREE DISK SPACE: 449 MB available space

Recommended Requirements

  • CPU: Info
  • CPU SPEED: 2.4 GHz Quad Core 2.0 (or higher)
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • OS: Windows 8 / 7 / Vista / XP
  • VIDEO CARD: Intel HD Graphics 4000 and higher, ATI Radeon HD Series 4650 and higher, Nvidia GeForce 2xx Series and up
  • PIXEL SHADER: 4.0
  • VERTEX SHADER: 4.0
  • FREE DISK SPACE: 449 MB available spaceSo there you have it, nice and easy to run, the real frustration comes in when you’re actually playing the title. Keep strafing folks!
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Reviews

Final Fantasy: The Zodiac Age

More than eleven years after its initial release on the PlayStation 2, where it sold almost six million copies, Final Fantasy: The Zodiac Age is a re-release of the classic Final Fantasy 12 for the PlayStation 4. With the title having never been brought to PlayStation Now and with no PlayStation Classic version or backwards compatibility. This is both an opportunity for gamers who grew up with the title to return to the world of Ivalice, as well as for new fans to be introduced to the fast-paced combat of the first in the modern iteration of FF games; complete with a gripping storyline filled with military occupations, rebel resistances, and superpowers poised for worldwide conflict. Final Fantasy 12 has always stood apart from the other entries in the 30 years since the series was first released, focusing on these larger political issues rather than the more character, and often primarily romantic, storylines of the other titles in the FF series, particularly the instalments released before 12.

Final Fantasy: The Zodiac Age, game review, review

The Zodiac Age is more of a re-release than a re-master, although the graphics have been touched up to bring them closer to modern video game standards. It would be unfair to claim they’ve undergone a full re-master of the visuals. However, the title was one of the most stunning to be released on the PlayStation 2 and little work was needed to smooth off the rough edges, bringing the title to life with a kind of living painting style of graphics.

There’s also a host of new additions to the game play, including most significantly, the Zodiac System. The original title allowed players to give any character any ability and the means to use any weapon, magic, or armour type the player decided. This gave players a great sense of freedom working their way through the game’s huge story, yet towards the endgame, you would often find yourself with a party of increasing similar characters behaving in very similar ways. The Zodiac Age puts a stop to this by forcing players to set each character a maximum of two ‘jobs’, classes which define the abilities and equipment available for that character. At first, it may seem like a real removal of player choice for fans of the original title. But players will quickly grow used to the system and the added focus on big decisions when choosing which skills and abilities to acquire adds a sense of weight to player decisions, particularly in the latter stages of the game.

There’s also the addition of new bosses, weapons and armour, a fresh recording of the soundtrack, faster load times (a huge blessing) and a trial mode, which functions as a kind of survival mode with 100 rounds of increasingly difficult enemies for your main game party to face. The longer you survive, the better the rewards you’ll receive when you’re finally wiped out.

Final Fantasy: The Zodiac Age, game review, review

More controversial additions include the ability to bring up a full map of the area you’re currently in, yet without removing the mini map from the top right-hand corner of the screen. That’s a lot of map for one screen. The game would also have benefited from a faster way to sell the wealth of loot accumulated from enemies, rather than selecting the type and number of each item you wish to sell. This last point is made more important by the addition of a ‘speed mode’ which increases game play by 2x or 4x regular play speed. This drastically speeds up levelling in a particular area, or ‘grinding’ as the term has become commonly known, although arguably removes the sense of accomplishment that the original title offered when crossing the huge open world Square Enix has created.

These huge journeys across the world are linked well with The Zodiac Age‘s storyline, which is particularly Westernised and arguably the least ‘Japanese’ of the iconic series released to date. It’s focus on warring superpowers is a perfect platform for discussions of revenge, military occupation and invasion and, in some stages, even straying into the ideas of war crimes. Beneath FF: The Zodiac Age‘s captivating shiny visuals, is a story that addresses some of the largest darkest issues that are more relevant today than they were when the title was originally released.

Final Fantasy: The Zodiac Age, game review, review

Final Fantasy: The Zodiac Age is a reminder of just why the creative, original and intelligent title has stayed with so many video game fans since its release over a decade ago. The new version has added some useful elements, but at the core of the game is the same sense of scale that converted a generation to RPG titles. Whether you’re new to the world or revisiting your youth, The Zodiac Age is the perfect title to take over your gaming schedule.

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System Requirements

Grand Theft Auto 5

 

One of Rockstars greatest accomplishments, even more than five years after it’s initial release. Whether you’re playing for the gameplay, realism, huge modding community, multiplayer or core storyline, GTA5 is one of the true 5 star titles of the last decade.

We’re likely to be waiting a fair bit longer until GTA6 so if you’re interested in playing the title on your current build, here’s exactly what power you’ll need to get the most out of the huge open world.

Minimum Requirements

  • AMD Phenom 9850 Quad-Core Processor (4 CPUs) @ 2.5GHz
  • CPU SPEED: Info
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • OS: Windows 10 64 Bit, Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1, Windows Vista 64 Bit Service Pack 2*
  • VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA 9800 GT 1GB / AMD HD 4870 1GB (DX 10, 10.1, 11)
  • PIXEL SHADER: 4.0
  • VERTEX SHADER: 4.0
  • SOUND CARD: 100% DirectX 10 compatible
  • FREE DISK SPACE: 72 GB
  • DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 1 GB

Recommended Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 3470 @ 3.2GHz (4 CPUs) / AMD X8 FX-8350 @ 4GHz (8 CPUs)
  • CPU SPEED: Info
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • OS: Windows 10 64 Bit, Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1
  • VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB / AMD HD 7870 2GB
  • PIXEL SHADER: 5.0
  • VERTEX SHADER: 5.0
  • SOUND CARD: 100% DirectX 10 compatible
  • FREE DISK SPACE: 72 GB
  • DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 2 GB

Do you agree with the thousands of gamers that have updated their builds specifically for GTA5 or will you be happy running it at minimum settings? Let us know and your predictions for GTA6.

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System Requirements

Call of Duty: Warzone

Activision’s flagship brand Call of Duty takes a shot at the battle royale formula and actually manages to keep it fresh! Yep even with dozens of different versions of the game type incorporating everything from building traps and defensive positions to incorporating marine life and zombies, CoD: Warzone proves that solid gameplay is all the battle royale games need to keep an audience glued.

With it’s free to play setup there’s no excuse for not giving it a chance, so long as your PC setup can handle it that is. Check out the minimum and recommended requirements below.

System Requirements (Minimum)

  • CPU: Intel Core i3-4340 or AMD FX-6300
  • CPU SPEED: Info
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • OS: Windows 7 64-Bit (SP1) or Windows 10 64-Bit (1709 or later)
  • VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 or AMD Radeon HD 7950
  • PIXEL SHADER: 5.0
  • VERTEX SHADER: 5.0
  • SOUND CARD: Yes
  • FREE DISK SPACE: 175 GB
  • DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 2048 MB

Recommended Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K or AMD Ryzen R5 1600X Processor
  • CPU SPEED: Info
  • RAM: 12 GB
  • OS: Windows 10 64 Bit (latest Service Pack)
  • VIDEO CARD: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 4GB / GTX 1660 6GB or AMD Radeon R9 390 / AMD RX 580
  • PIXEL SHADER: 5.1
  • VERTEX SHADER: 5.1
  • SOUND CARD: Yes
  • FREE DISK SPACE: 175 GB
  • DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 4096 MB

What would you recommend for a CoD: Warzone build? Let us know!