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Games Inbox: Will Cyberpunk 2077 be out in 2020?

The Monday Inbox is impressed by how early The Last Of Us Part 2 Amazon reviews are, as one reader gives up on Assassin’s Creed Unity.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

The end of summer
So things are getting serious now in terms of video game delays, what was previously down to incompetence is now down to the coronavirus and I’m beginning to worry that we may not see many more big releases this year. It’s becoming clear the problem is not just finishing the games but whether anyone has any money to spend on them.

My most anticipated game of this year is Cyberpunk 2077, which ironically would’ve been perfect if it had it its original release date this month as it’s the perfect thing to keep you occupied when everyone’s stuck in lockdown. But as many have pointed out, including games execs, the last thing most people are going to want to do as soon as the lockdown stops, hopefully mid to late summer, is stay indoors and play a video game.

And what is Cyberpunk 2077’s current release date? 17 September. That is prime ‘At last we can go out and it’s still reasonably warm out, we better take advantage of it before the second wave of the virus in the winter’. I don’t think anyone would want to work on a game for six years and then have it be a dud, that only becomes successful months later. Even if CD Projekt don’t think like that you can bet lots of publishers will, and I can’t say they’re wrong.
Pascal

Not-PlayStation exclusive
I’m responding to Paulson’s email about the Xbox Series X launch titles. I too find it odd that the console wouldn’t launch with anything besides Halo Infinite.

I really enjoy Halo but the series has definitely lost its edge with 4 and 5. It’s not the killer app that the series once was and Microsoft surely know that.

What does surprise me is that the console wouldn’t launch with Forza Horizon 5. That seems like a blindly obvious, crowd-pleasing (and Dom-pleasing) move. It doesn’t seem hard to argue that Horizon and Ori are the Xbox’s jewels in the crown these days.

But perhaps I’m not reading between the lines, and ‘Xbox-only launch title’ means Horizon 5 might also launch on PC at the same time.

So let’s hope Microsoft are being coy.
Dom

GC: Xbox, first and foremost, refers to the brand nowadays, rather than the console. Anything that comes out as an Xbox exclusive is automatically also released on PC. So strictly speaking it’s a console exclusive, or more specifically a not-PlayStation exclusive (considering Cuphead and the first Ori are on Switch).

Leap of faith
I’ve already made my mind up a long time ago, I’m getting PlayStation 5 and will pre-order for day one delivery. Why, you ask? Look at what’s came out for PlayStation 4 and Xbox. Xbox, you can count their games on one hand. I don’t care about theirs being more powerful, I don’t care if it has 99 teraflops, there is nothing to play on it. Really, in two years that console will be half price and that’s without release dates being changed, whereas PlayStation 5… yes, some games will change but some will not. Some will be a simple update for a game that came out on PlayStation 4 to play on PlayStation 5.

In all honesty I don’t get Xbox, they are bringing out a new console but hoping third party developers will prop it up till their games are ready. Why spend £500, at least, on their machine when I can buy a machine cheaper that will do round about the same, gave or take. for me Microsoft are going the wrong way about it, they should be saying we got these games coming out, that’s why you should buy it.

One of the biggest problem though is PC. They say it will come out on PC at the same time, so why would someone go out and buy Xbox Series X when their PC will play it? PC is killing the reason to go out and buy a console. That’s my view anyway, others will disagree and they’re entitled to the opinion.
David

GC: If you’d taken this attitude with the PlayStation 3 we can’t help but imagine you’d have been very disappointed. But neither company has announced the price of their consoles and the only ones that have revealed any games are Microsoft, with Halo Infinite and Hellblade 2. Also, Sony are rumoured to be releasing some, or maybe all, of their games on the PC.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Busywork: The Game
I hope everyone is all good considering a lot of us all have to stay in but on the plus side I have had a lot more gaming time than usual.

I recently started playing Assassin’s Creed Unity, the first one in this series that I’ve played for a long time, and it has brought back memories of why I didn’t really like them. There is a lot to do, which is great, but 80% of it is just collecting chests or whatever the little rosette things are.

I enjoyed the crime quests and the main story but I spent most of my time running around collecting chests just to satisfy the OCD in me. I’ve got Assassin’s Creed Origins to play through, but I think I may have reached my limit for the series if it’s along the same lines. Luckily Final Fantasy 7 Remake is just around the corner so I may just wait for that!
Chris

GC: Unity was always one of the worst one.


Decent foundation

Are you going to review the new Control DLC, The Foundation? I’m currently going through the base game and while it is very enjoyable, I do get your criticism about it not being weird enough.

So far, I have only been going through a concrete office building fighting human-like enemies with guns. The psychic powers though are lots of fun and the highlight of the game. Only wish they were put to better use than fighting waves of respawning enemies in an office building.
Ali K

GC: It does get weirder later, bit still not as odd as we were expecting form all their talk. We don’t generally review DLC unless it’s very long or very different to the parent game, which we don’t believe is the case for The Foundation.

Doomed to be expensive
I have been enjoying Doom 64 on the Switch and looked at downloading Doom 2016. It is available but for the eye watering price of £50! CeX has the Xbox version listed as £6 pre-owned while the Switch version is £42. It’s a similar story with Wolfenstein.

The so-called Switch tax is well known but this to me seems rather extreme. I know Nintendo games rarely come down in price, but I expected third party games to come down at least a little.
Barry

GC: We suspect the physical version for Switch is fairly rare. It’s on Amazon, for full price, but it’s not even listed on GAME or ShopTo.

WTH Moon Studios
I wrote in the other day saying how much I’m enjoying Ori And The Will Of The Wisps. I have now completed and collected everything and did all side quests. The game crashed on me completely six times, taking me out of the game. Even after I defeated Shriek the game crashed, so I had to fight her again. The game froze on me hundreds of times.

The icing on the cake is the game didn’t give me three Achievements for getting all the health, strength, and finishing the game. I read online that these Achievements are broken. Such a shame to leave a bad taste after with all the bugs is a fantastic game. Please try and fix it the developers Moon. Probably can’t now due to lockdown but soon Moon.
woz 007 (gamertag)

GC: Are you sure you have the patch, because it was largely fixed a few days after launch. Or did they release another patch that caused new problems? Either way, Moon don’t have any central offices and everyone already works from home, in lots of different countries, so they haven’t got that excuse.

Nostradamus reviews…
I am looking forward to when The Last Of Us Part 2 comes out and understand why they delayed it, I have it on Amazon wishlist and for a while I have noticed that it had 3 stars out of 5, even though it is not even out yet.

I clicked on it to see how possibly anybody can review it and some of the reviews and questions about the game are quite funny.
Andrew J.
PS: I don’t know if this is a good idea or not for a Hot Topic but what is your favourite DLC for a game?

Unique stats
You know how games companies often like to boast about their games, releasing tons of stats like numbers of concurrent players, hours played, etc…?

I like to think there’s some Nintendo execs looking at the Animal Crossing stats, thinking ‘How shall we obliterate all the gaming stats out there?’
ttfp saylow (gamertag)
Now playing: Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Batman: The Telltale Series

GC: It’s going to end up being number of coconuts collected or something like that.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Reverse psychology
Given Nintendo’s predilection for doing the opposite of what everyone expects, I’ve become increasingly concerned by the confidence with which people assume that Super Mario Galaxy 2 will be included in the mooted collection of remakes or remasters, which have so far only been rumoured to include Super Marios 64, Sunshine, and Galaxy 1.

Therefore, to redress the balance and remove the temptation for Nintendo to do the completely unexpected, I’ll go ahead and predict that Galaxy 2 will be omitted from said bundle. Perhaps they’ll see more profit to be made from a separate download once people have acquired a taste for the series, rather than wasting further resources on an inclusion that likely won’t increase sales of the original collection.

In any case, it gives me no pleasure to announce this prediction, but I do so in the hope that it somehow deters the Big N from its usual strategy of taking the road less imagined. Now it’s on record that someone’s thought of it, so just… don’t go there, Ninty. The gig’s up, so the bigger surprise would be to do what I’ve said you won’t.

That’s how it works! Probably?
Dynamite Headdy
Currently reading: Reverse Psychology For Dummies

GC: That prediction makes no sense, so given it’s Nintendo there’s a 50/50 chance it’ll happen. Although let’s see if the original rumour is true first.

Inbox also-rans
Been playing Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic on my Xbox 360. They look amazing. 1 and 2 are both on sale on the store, for just over £3 each. Highly recommended.
Gasget

Was wondering if we’ll be seeing a review of Good Job on Nintendo Switch from you guys. Seen good stuff on it in terms of reviews but, for games I’m not sure of, I trust your opinion most. Keep up the great work during these difficult times.
Lord Crump

GC: Thanks, we hope to but between it launching out of the blue and Final Fantasy 7’s embargo being earlier than expect our review schedules are a bit of a mess at the moment.

This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Tenhunter, who asks what retro video game would you most recommend to a modern gamer as something they’d enjoy today? Especially given so many people are currently stuck at home with nothing new to play.

Assuming retro means anything from the PlayStation 2 era backwards (including PC games up to 2006) what games do you think have held up the best, and why? What games have aged well and which ones, even if they’re considered classics, do you think are now hard to appreciate for someone that didn’t play them the first time round?

Have you been playing many retro games during lockdown and are there any you regularly getting out when stressed or bored?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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Categories
Nintendo

This Huge Sale On Steam Games Includes Resident Evil 3, Trials Of Mana Pre-Order Discounts

If you’ve been stuck at home and need some games to keep you occupied, then there have been a whole bunch of great offers over the past few weeks, including a lot of free games you can claim right now and keep forever. There have also been a lot of great sales, and the latest one at Fanatical is selling Steam games at excellent discounts.

You can currently pre-order Resident Evil 3 for $46.79, down from the original price of $60. It releases this Friday, April 3, and is a remake of the original RE3 from 1999.

Trials of Mana pre-orders are going for $42.49, down from the regular price of $50. It’s a remake of the game also known as Seiken Densetsu 3, which originally released on the Super Famicom (or SNES) in Japan. It didn’t make its way to North America until last year’s Collection of Mana hit the Switch, and now you’ll be able to play the 3D remake when it releases on April 24.

There are a number of Square Enix-published games discounted on Fanatical right now. Some of its best Western-developed series see great deals, including Deus Ex, Just Cause, and Tomb Raider. You can also grab Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition for $3, which comes with graphical enhancements over the original and all of its DLC. It’s a fantastic open-world game with exciting action and an awesome hand-to-hand fighting system–if you like the Batman: Arkham games, you’ll like what Sleeping Dogs does to expand on the punch-and-counter melee combat.

Fanatical always has a lot of deals on Steam games, and some interesting create-your-own bundles, so be sure to check out the full site for the entire slate of discounts.

Best Steam game deals on Fanatical

  • Trials of Mana — $42.49 ($50)
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut — $2.79 ($20)
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided — $4.19 ($30)
  • Just Cause 2 — $1.49 ($15)
  • Just Cause 3 — $2.79 ($20)
  • Just Cause 4 — $24 ($60)
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light — $1.39 ($10)
  • Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris — $4.59 ($20)
  • Life Is Strange: Complete Season — $4 ($20)
  • Life Is Strange: Before the Storm — $4.92 ($17)
  • Life Is Strange 2: Complete Season — $20 ($40)
  • Murdered: Soul Suspect — $6 ($20)
  • Resident Evil 3 — $46.79 ($60)
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Collection — $13.79 ($60)
  • Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition — $3 ($20)
  • Tomb Raider — $3 ($20)

Best Deals This Week

  • Free Games To Claim This Week: Rayman Legends, World War Z, And More
  • Amazon Just Launched A Big Sale On PS4, Switch, And Xbox One Games
  • PS Plus Drops To $40 In Limited-Time PS4 Deal
  • Where To Buy A Nintendo Switch Right Now
  • Fantastic Sale On Steam Games Includes Pre-Order Discounts On Resident Evil 3, Trials Of Mana

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Categories
News

USC Games and Jam City will host digital gaming showcase on May 12

The show is going on at the University of Southern California’s gaming showcase. Normally,  the USC Games Expo is a physical event where students show off their games around graduation time. But this year, it will be a digital-only event starting at 4 p.m. Pacific on May 12.

For the first time, the annual event for showcasing student games will take place online, starting with a preview show exclusively for prospective applicants still in junior high and high school the day prior on May 11th.

The May 12th event will stream on multiple platforms — including Twitch — and will be accessible via uscgamesexpo.com, where attendees can pre-reserve spots here beginning today.

Above: Danny Bilson is head of USC Games.

“In these unprecedented times, video and mobile games are at the forefront of social entertainment, so it makes sense to work with our partners at Jam City to bring the USC Games Expo online so that our talented Trojan family can showcase their diverse and groundbreaking work to as many people as possible,” said USC Games director Danny Bilson, in a statement. “Our students are the next generation of game design talent, and our virtual Expo is a chance for interested industry professionals, prospective students, scholars, faculty and the general public to experience their never-before-seen projects.”

Bilson, who is also the screenwriter for Spike Lee’s upcoming Da 5 Bloods film, will be a speaker at our GamesBeat Summit Digital event on April 28-29.

This is the third year that the program—a joint initiative between the Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC School of Cinematic Arts—has held the Expo, the largest university-sponsored gaming and esports event in the world, traditionally hosting over 2,000 live attendees.

The show has been sponsored by Jam City each year, and it provides a glimpse into the nation’s leading game design program and into the next generation of tabletop, mobile, AR, video games and other interactive projects from across the university’s diverse students, alumni and faculty.

As it has historically, the expo will also feature the first hands-on for the 12 projects being developed in its capstone course, the Advanced Games Program (AGP).

Jam City helps underwrite the event. Jam City CEO Chris DeWolfe said in a statement that USC Games has a unique approach to teaching that mimics real-world game creation, which includes prototyping, focusing on design, testing many iterations, and a commitment to improvements. Few educational institutions have been able to do that, he said, and it has numerous talented game makers who have gone on to work at some of the world’s biggest and best gaming companies, including Jam City.

Similar to last year’s Expo, there will be an esports component hosted and organized by the university’s esports Union (ESU) and will feature esports matches between two universities in the Southern California area as they compete in League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, and more, all streamed online with the competing schools’ respective athletes safely maintaining quarantine.

Among the 90-plus exhibits at this year’s event are these 12 featured AGP titles:

Above: USC Games logo

1. Beasts of Maravilla Island (PC, Coming Soon for Nintendo Switch)

Embark on your adventure as an aspiring wildlife photographer in the hidden, magic jungles of Maravilla Island! Explore a mysterious 3D island and solve puzzles in order to discover extraordinary creatures, learn their unique behaviors, and photograph them in their natural habitat.

2. Bottles (iOS)

Enter the lush, beautiful miniature world of Bottles: where anything is possible and magic is at your fingertips. Rotate space around your character to solve mind-bending puzzles as you play with a curious octopus, a glowing jellyfish and uncover the secrets of a deep-sea shipwreck.

3. Ginkgo (PC)

Explore a dark dreamworld of creepy yokai monsters and unsolved mysteries. Use a magic needle to solve puzzles and unlock memories of your estranged mother. Will your journey lead you to make amends or be forever lost in this dark fantasy?

4. Incursion (PC)

Real-time strategy (RTS) players go head-to-head with first-person shooter (FPS) gamers in a multiplayer co-op competition that pits the two play styles against each othes. Two forces collide in a battle where only one species will survive and claim a mysterious planet as their own.

5. KOA (iOS)

Meet Koa, a magical tree spirit with the ability to grow branches that allow him to go almost anywhere! On a mission to protect his home, Koa will need his powers and your imagination to solve mysteries, discover secrets, and succeed in challenges in order to save his world.

6. Our America (Oculus VR)

What starts as a simple commute for Malcolm and his Dad quickly escalates into a life-or-death encounter that both father and son will be lucky to survive. Put on your VR headset and see life through the eyes of a Black person in the US as you take a ride in Our America.

7. Project: Skyfarer (PC)

Physical therapy is necessary to prevent and treat pain or injury. Project: Skyfarer adds game elements to traditional physical therapy. In the game, you are a Mesoamerican shaman, able to commune with nature, cast spells and manipulate the natural world around you. Project: Skyfarer immerses the patient-player in this fantastical setting as they are guided to use their in-game abilities in ways that mirror and facilitate rehabilitation exercises for shoulder injuries.

8. Retronomicon (Android, PC)

Retronomicon is a 2.5D retro-inspired, synthwave arcade puzzle game where players gather energy in a level by placing obstacles that keep a ricocheting ball in motion for as long as possible before sending it into the goal. Play and Create in the Retronomicon Revolution.

9. Serpent Showdown (PC, Coming Soon for Nintendo Switch)

Two tails enter, one tail leaves. You and a friend go head-to-head. It is time to don your… cardboard armor and grab your trusty crayon? And guess what, it turns out you’re a snake. Strike, slither and slash your way to victory in this entertaining couch-competitive arena fighter.

10. Shortstacked (PC)

Team up with a friend in couch co-op to skip school and go on wild adventures! But be careful: to get past adults and the mean ole “Ocifer,” one of you will have to stand on the other’s shoulders to look like a trenchcoat-wearing adult. You’re short, but can you stack?

11. The Candle (PC)

After waking in a pitch-black room, you’re lucky to stumble across a single, lit candle…that talks? Using innovative eye-tracking technology, The Candle challenges you to discover the evil secrets of the house and escape. And your new friend, the talking candle, is helpful…isn’t it…?

12. The Witch List (iOS)

In this collectible digital card game, The Witch List offers you gesture-based spell summoning gameplay as you attend a school for witches where you can join a coven of friends to summon demons, learn powerful spells and work to become the most powerful sorcerer in the land.

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Categories
PS4

Top New Video Games Releasing On Switch, PS4, Xbox One, And PC This Month — April 2020

It’s crazy to think that we’re already a quarter of the way through 2020, and the new month has another batch of video games to feast on. April brings us some sizzling hot remakes: the survival horror outing Resident Evil 3, the sword-slashing tale of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and the reimagined retro RPG Trials of Mana. Movie fans can also get a taste of nostalgia with Predator: Hunting Grounds, and the Gears of War crowd gets a new strategy-heavy campaign with Gears Tactics.

Resident Evil 3 — April 3

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Resident Evil 3 is getting the same treatment as 2019’s Resident Evil 2 remake, which is appropriate since the two games overlap. RE 3 sees Jill Valentine exploring a zombie-filled Raccoon City, where she and other S.T.A.R.S. agents are being hunted down by the nasty Nemesis. That’s just the single-player component–this remake also includes Resident Evil Resistance, an asymmetrical multiplayer mode. Four players control survivors, while a fifth mastermind tries to take them out with zombies, Lickers, Tyrants, and all sorts of tricks and traps.

More Coverage:

  • Resident Evil 3 Remake Jill Valentine Trailer Shows How Teamwork Pays Off
  • Resident Evil 3 Remake Doesn’t Let Nemesis Break Into Safe Rooms After All

Final Fantasy VII Remake — April 10

Available on: PS4

Final Fantasy 7’s remake is also coming this month–well, part of it. This particular release only tells Cloud’s story through the Midgar story arc, but Square Enix says the side quests and other content still makes the game size comparable to that of other mainline Final Fantasy titles. Combat in the remake has also been reimagined. It plays out in real time, but when your ATB gauge fills, you can pause the action to select items, cast magic, and pull off special attacks.

More Coverage:

  • Final Fantasy 7 Remake Is A “Very Faithful” Recreation Of The Original Game
  • Final Fantasy 7 Remake–Developers Confirm Size, Endgame Content

Predator: Hunting Grounds — April 24

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Resident Evil 3 isn’t the only asymmetrical experience coming this month. Hunting Grounds pits four player-controlled soldiers against a lone Predator player. They can choose to hunt the fireteam as a Scout, Hunter, or Berserker Predator, each with their own abilities and alien weapons. The soldiers also have their own classes and loadouts, which they’ll need if they hope to complete their objectives and survive in the jungle.

More Coverage:

  • Predator: Hunting Grounds Is Most Fun When Playing As The Predator
  • Predator: Hunting Grounds – Ultimate Adversary Trailer

Trials of Mana — April 24

Available on: PS4, PC, Switch

The original Trials of Mana first launched in 1995, but it never came to the West until recently. While the action-RPG has been fully recreated in 3D, you’ll still carry out battles in real time in the field. Trials features six characters, each with their own stories that weave together. You form a party of three at the start, so you’ll have to replay the adventure to see all parts of the story.

More Coverage:

  • Trials Of Mana – 30 Mins Of Gameplay And Boss Fight
  • Trials Of Mana – Official Final Trailer

Gears Tactics — April 28

Available on: PC

Gears Tactics turns the Gears of War shooter formula into a tactics game, giving you a squad of customizable COGs who will carry out your orders against the Locust. It’s not just cannon fodder they’ll be facing, though: expect to encounter big Brumaks and Corpsers during the campaign too. Tactics is coming Game Pass for PC on launch day, but the Xbox One version will launch sometime later.

More Coverage:

  • What You Need To Know About Gears Tactics, The New PC Strategy Game
  • Gears Tactics Will Be Single-Player Only And Won’t Have Microtransactions

This episode of New Releases looks at April overall, but next time we’ll take a closer look at some weekly releases. The next episode will dive into some upcoming releases that shouldn’t slip under your radar, like Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories and the console release of Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike.

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Categories
News

Best TV, Games, And Movies For Social Distancing (April 2020)

The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has changed a lot in the past couple of months. In addition to the obvious impact it’s had on the general population, the numerous casualties, and the overwhelming pressure it’s placed on healthcare workers, the coronavirus has also hit the game industry and the entertainment industry in unprecedented ways.

Major conferences like E3 have been canceled or postponed, things are getting delayed, and offices worldwide are asking employees to work from home. Now with the rise in shelter-in-place orders and many parts of the United States closing down “non-essential” businesses like restaurants, clubs, and other social venues, there are even more people stuck at home without a clear indication of how long this will all last.

While those lucky enough to be able to telecommute might be able to keep busy most of the day, people currently out of work, stuck homeschooling or being homeschooled, or self-isolating for health reasons now suddenly have a lot of time to occupy. Escapism isn’t always the best medicine, but it can be a temporary relief from the uncertainty of our current situation.

Below we’ve rounded up some of our favorite movies, shows, and games to keep you entertained while practicing social distancing or self-quarantining. We hope they serve as a much-needed distraction and bring you some joy during all of this. Stay safe!

The Best New Game Releases To Play

A bunch of great new games have come out in the last few weeks, with more on the way. If you’re stuck at home, now is a good time to chip away at them. Be sure to check out our list of 2020’s most anticipated games for more to look forward to!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is out now on Switch! If you’re playing or planning to play soon, hit up some of our guides, including what to do on your first day, how to make money, and our fishing guide. The Nintendo Switch is actually sold out in a lot of places, but we’ve compiled a list of places to buy a Switch if you’re interested in hunkering down with Animal Crossing for the next few weeks.

Half-Life: Alyx

Half-Life: Alyx, the first new Half-Life game is nearly 13 years, is out now! If you have a VR headset, what are you waiting for? (And if you don’t, check out some deals on the best VR headsets to play Half-Life: Alyx.) Check out our accessibility options guide, essential tips for beginners, or enjoy some of the Easter eggs and details we’ve found in the game.

Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal is here and it had a pretty good launch. Check out some of our guides, including how to beat its toughest boss.

The Best Games To Play While You’re Stuck At Home

Sometimes the best thing to do when you’re stressed is unwind with a great game. Our best games to play while stuck inside list includes some of our favorite relaxing RPGs like Stardew Valley and Dragon Quest, meditative puzzlers like Tetris Effect, and more.

Best Cheap Games To Play This Month

If you need a good game to play but you’re a little strapped on cash, here are the best cheap PlayStation 4 games, best cheap Xbox One games, best cheap Nintendo Switch games, and best cheap PC games on Steam to keep you entertained without breaking the bank.

All The Free Games You Can Claim Right Now

Cheap is good, but free is even better. There are tons of great games available to claim for free right now across multiple platforms, including PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Mobile games are great for passing the time too. Here are all the games you can claim for free right now.

There are a lot of free mobile games out there worth playing too. Pokemon Go is actually adding the ability to do raids from home, so if you’ve been wanting to get back in on that, now is a good chance. Check out some of its upcoming April 2020 events for more.

The Best Games To Play With Friends Online

Sometimes the game matters less than the people you’re playing with. If you’re looking for a way to chill out with friends even while you’re stuck at home, check out one of our favorite games to play with friends online. If you and your friends don’t game on the same platforms, that doesn’t have to be a problem either. Head over to our list of the best cross-play games to play with friends across PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.

The Best Blu-Ray Deals

Delivery workers are still out there bringing the rest of us food, groceries, medicine, and (right or wrong) non-essential garbage to keep us busy. If you’re stocking up on important stuff (but a normal amount, please), why not throw something nice in to keep you busy? Amazon and Best Buy currently have a ton of really good deals on Blu-rays: movie collections for major franchises like Jurassic Park and Fast & Furious, popular TV shows like Chernobyl and Rick & Morty, and more.

Watch Netflix With Your Friends

Sometimes it isn’t about having a particular movie in mind, but just being able to spend time with your friends when many cities are ordering social distancing measures for public health reasons. A new Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party lets you sync movies up with your friends and adds a chat box on the side.

Catch A Movie In Theaters… At Home

Universal has been putting some of its theatrical releases up for on-demand viewing in the comfort of your home. That means you’ll be able to watch new theatrical releases at home.

Movies To Fight Cabin Fever

This assortment of cabin fever-fighting films are hand-picked by our editors and are sure to bring some much-needed lighthearted energy into your home. They include nostalgic classics and a more modern one, but all are perfect for a cozy rewatch.

New On Netflix This Month

Netflix is getting a ton of new movies and shows this month, so be sure to check them out.

New On Hulu This Month

A ton of new binge-worthy TV shows are coming to Hulu in April.

New On Amazon This Month

April sees the arrival of a bunch of new movies on Amazon Prime, including several James Bond films.

New On Disney Plus This Month

April has quite a few new movies and originals in store, including some National Geographic specials to celebrate Earth Month.

New On Crackle This Month

If you can’t afford another paid subscription to a streaming service, there are a lot of great free options like Crackle, which are ad-supported. Here’s everything Crackle is adding to its library in April–it includes some of the V/H/S horror film anthologies, a documentary about the movie Alien, and more.

Get Access To 25,000 Free Comics, Manga, And More With Free Comixology Trial

Comixology Unlimited is offering a free 60-day trial, which grants you access to a library of 25,000 comics, manga, and more. You can read these on your PC, phone, and tablet. There’s even an offline mode. If there’s nothing to watch or play, why not kick back with a good free ebook?

More Resources

CNET has put together a guide on how to stay safe, healthy, and entertained during a shelter-in-place. Another CBS sister site Chowhound has a guide to keeping your kitchen stocked and healthy while staying inside.

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Reviews

How Riot Games Avoided Backlash When Debuting Mobile Titles

2020 has been a great year for Riot Games so far and fans have been enjoying and looking forward to several mobile ports of their popular PC games. Interestingly, when Riot Games was first set to announce their mobile versions of Legends of Runeterra, TeamFight Tactics, and more in October of 2019, there was serious concern among the team that fans would react negatively, and there was good reason to consider this as a real possibility.

While the team was hard at work, it was difficult not to look at how people reacted when Blizzard decided to announce Diablo Immortal during BlizzCon 2018. While it was clear that Blizzard expected players to react in a positive way, the overwhelming rejection of a mobile game in place of a real PC sequel weighed heavily on the minds of those working at Riot Games. Speaking about the need to prepare for such a reaction, and how best to avoid it, was Ryan Rigney, the League of Legends Global Communications Lead.

This notion of surprising and delighting a core audience, along with showing love for the product, can also clearly be seen in the announcement of Path of Exile Mobile. Even more, developer Grinding Gear Games leaned into the memes in their trailer, at Blizzard’s expense of course.

The point here is that ultimately, consumers are often far smarter than business gives them credit for. The announcement of Diablo Immortal serves as a perfect case study for how not to treat a loyal consumer base, whereas both Riot Games and Grinding Gear Games fall on the opposite side of the spectrum. By making games with careful attention given to the core audience and not infantilizing their desires, mobile game announcements need never be a negative experience, if done correctly.

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PC

Xbox One Games With Gold For April 2020 Revealed

While April’s PlayStation Plus freebies for PS4 leaked early, Microsoft’s Games with Gold lineup announcement arrived at basically the latest possible moment. As always, the newest batch of four games will be staggered across the month, with the first two games unlocking tomorrow, April 1. Xbox One users get to keep Games with Gold free games in their library as long as they have an active Xbox Live Gold or Game Pass Ultimate subscription.

Slightly Mad Studio’s 2017 racing sim Project Cars 2 will be free throughout the whole month of April. Project Cars 2 features a staggering collection of more than 180 vehicles to choose from and 140 tracks across 60 locations. The realistic sim earned a 7/10 in GameSpot’s Project Cars 2 review for its fine-tuned physics, dynamic weather system, and sheer variety of racing formats, which includes off-road contests with rallycross cars.

Xbox 360 title Fable Anniversary is also up for grabs on April 1. A remastered version of the original entry in the Microsoft series, the action-RPG also earned a 7/10 in GameSpot’s Fable Anniversary review. While the original Fable never truly lived up to its pre-release hype, it’s still a fun game that’s worth checking out if you’ve never visited Albion. Fable Anniversary will be free for subscribers through April 15.

Come mid-month, members will be able to pick up Knights of Pen and Paper Bundle and Toybox Turbos. Knights of Pen and Paper bundle includes both of the well-received games in the series, which feature gorgeous pixel art and interesting turn-based combat. Meanwhile, Toybox Turbos is a top-down tabletop racing game with 35 customizable vehicles and 18 zany tracks.

Subscribers still have until April 15 to snag the excellent platformer Shante: Half-Genie Hero, one of March’s Games with Gold freebies.

Xbox Games with Gold for April 2020

Xbox One

  • Project Cars 2 (April 1-30)
  • Knights of Pen and Paper Bundle (April 16-May 15)

Xbox 360

  • Fable Anniversary (April 1-15)
  • Toybox Turbos (April 16-30)

Best Deals This Week

  • Play Lots Of Great Free Games While Staying Inside
  • Amazon Just Launched A Big Sale On PS4, Switch, And Xbox One Games
  • PS Plus Drops To $40 In Limited-Time PS4 Deal
  • Where To Buy A Nintendo Switch Right Now
  • Fantastic Sale On Steam Games Includes Pre-Order Discounts On Resident Evil 3, Trials Of Mana

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News

Games Inbox: Are you getting Final Fantasy 7 Remake next week?

The Tuesday Inbox is very suspicious about the number of Activision leaks, as one reader thinks Capcom should’ve skipped Resident Evil 3.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

Early risk
Considering how funny Square Enix can be about such things I was pleasantly surprised to find they are shipping out copies of Final Fantasy 7 Remake early in some countries, so they don’t end up getting it late because of the coronavirus. I’m hoping I’ll be amongst the lucky ones, although I must admit that after the less than spectacular reviews for Resident Evil 3 I’m now a bit worried that the month’s other ‘dead cert’ quality remake might disappoint.

I mean, it’s almost guaranteed to disappoint because fans have been looking forward to this for more than two decades and yet looking at the trailers and playing the demo it really does seem perfect. Well, maybe not perfect. The boss battle in the demo does go on for a bit and the one thing I’m worried about with the full game is padding.

We all know that keeping the first chapter based in Midgar is a bit weird, seeing as that was only a relatively small part of the original game, and yet as far as I understand this is a 30 to 60 hour game. So either there is a lot of padding or they have somehow found a way to slip almost an extra game’s worth of content in there. I’m betting it’s the first option. I’m still getting it though, risking not seeing the reviews first, and I’m curious as to who’s doing the same?
Arbor

Lovely answer
Those Super Mario remaster rumours almost sound too good to be true but has anyone noticed they still don’t explain any of the secrecy? There was only one new game mentioned in the new rumours, and that was Paper Mario which I don’t think anyone would regard as major release. Maybe a mid-level one like Luigi’s Mansion 3, if it’s really good, but the problem is that there hasn’t been a good Paper Mario game now for over a decade.

So what is Nintendo working on that’s actually a big, new project? I realise that’s the question of the Hot Topic this week, and I will give my opinion there, but even the leaks are being secretive as to what’s going on!

I think something must’ve got cancelled or restarted like Metroid Prime 4 again, I just don’t see any other answer. There’s no reason not to tell us what they’re working on even if it’s not out for ages unless the answer is they’re… not working on anything? Maybe they got back it in the love hotel business instead?
Bosco

Bad source
I’m not sure what I really expected from the Resident Evil 3 review but it sounds even worse than I assumed, and like they were almost embarrassed of the original game and just did Resident Evil 2.5. I know the original Resident Evil 3 wasn’t great, but so did Capcom going in – so if they knew it wasn’t worth updating then why bother? Just skip it.

All you need to know from the story, in terms of how it impacts the later games, is that Jill didn’t die and that’s it. I don’t think any of the other characters in the game ever came back or were referenced again. Unless I’m forgetting something.

I agree with the other reader who said wait for the next gen for a new remake of Resident Evil 1 and just do Resident Evil 0 and Code: Veronica in the meantime. Both have their problems but could be improved with the right work. I don’t know how you improve Resident Evil 3 without making it an almost totally different game. I’d be fine with that, but I don’t think it’s the sort of thing that’s going to be turned around in a year like this one was.
Panadol

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Accidentally on purpose
I can’t wait for Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered to come out, not because I’m going to buy it but because I’m sick of the ‘leaks’. I put them in inverted commas because I’m increasingly convinced Activision is leaking this news on purpose, something I believe they’ve been accused of doing before.

Think about it, rumours come and go with other games, sometimes they’re true and sometimes they’re not, but with Call Of Duty everything seems to be 100% accurate all the time, and with tons of detail and even artwork leaks. If it comes out on Tuesday that will be a bit weird as there’s been no advance hype, except there has been because everyone know about it because of the ‘leaks’.

I don’t know why Activision wants to do it this way, maybe it’s cheaper, but I’m very suspicious about all of this. Can’t wait for details of Call Of Duty 2020 to leak out next. Who needs a reveal event when you can just tell some guy on Twitter all about it and let him do the leg work!
Zebra

Any port in a storm
I’m definitely in the minority here, but actually was fairly pleased with the Nintendo Direct last week. I know it was all old ports that had been heavily rumoured, and the lack of Nintendo games is strange now (even if developments have been hit by Covid they could still announce them) but actually quite like having old ports on the go… playing BioShock in bed or XCOM 2 at the coffee shop (when it reopens) is really great, though I imagine Catherine on the bus might get some Bayonetta style weird looks.

The quality of recent Switch ports like The Witcher 3, Metro Exodus, GRID, and Alien Isolation has me confident they’ll be good versions of the games too… well maybe not XCOM 2 given the state it’s in on PlayStation 4 and Xbox, but it should still be better than the PS Vita version of the first XCOM right?

Anyway, talking of strategy on the go, I have been playing Fire Emblem: Three Houses, since it’s the kind of leisurely time sink that suits the current climate quite well. I’ve found the game strangely compelling thanks to its addictive battles, moreish gameplay reward loop, and weird ‘Game of Thrones but anime visual novel’ story (definitely one for odd looks on the bus).

Though it did get me thinking that, like Pokémon I don’t know why Nintendo don’t just chuck Zelda or Mario resources at the development of these games, they’re selling millions of copies and the backbone of the Switch’s line up, so why are they so far behind it’s other premier titles technologically?

If Fire Emblem was powered by the tech behind Zelda: Breath Of The Wild it would do wonders to elevate the game. The last Japanese role-playing game I completed on Switch before this was the Final Fantasy 12 rerelease and when a 15-year-old PlayStation 2 game looks more advanced than one of your new premier releases maybe it’s time to rethink the set-up.
Marc

GC: We agree entirely, Three Houses looks like a mid-budget indie game, which is inexcusable given how good some other Switch games look – and how rich Nintendo is.

Seconds chances on the cheap
The last four to five months I’ve been on a quest to wring out every bit of enjoyment from the Xbox 360 I can (I got a tiny tax rebate so got an Elite for 29 quid) and am making my way through games I was meh on at the time of release, with some I thought I’d never play in a million years.

This has been incredibly successful with titles like Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag and Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning completely blowing my wig back with how great they are. One of the most recent gems I picked up (for £1.50!) was Prince Of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. It’s by no means perfect, with the gameplay becoming a tad stale in the last few hours, but I thoroughly enjoyed my 10-or-so hours with it and highly recommend it. Hell, I highly recommend picking up an older console and trying out games that are way out of your comfort zone, as you may be surprised by what you find!
Uncle Blalpert
PS: I got Vanquish for a couple of quid and despite it not appealing to me in the slightest, I’ll absolutely be giving it a bash anyway and was wondering what GC thought/thinks of it?

GC: It’s one of the best third person shooters ever made.

Hot game
Maybe it’s been a while since I’ve had a Switch game that I would play for hours on end, but it seems like Animal Crossing: New Horizons makes the Switch very hot in docked mode.

I can’t think of any recent games I’ve played that did this, not Luigi’s Mansion 3. So perhaps under the cutesy exterior Animal Crossing is really making the Switch hardware work hard…
ttfp saylow (gamertag)
Now playing: Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Batman: The Telltale Series

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

The difficulties of creative freedom
Why are we so insistent that some games should be difficult?

If I see a TV series I want to watch, I can watch the trailer, I might check Rotten Tomatoes to see general review/consensus. But this is usually enough for me to watch it and know enough to get a pretty good idea if I’d enjoy it. I don’t delve further as I want to go in as blind as possible sometimes. And of, course, there’s many people out there who don’t really check reviews. They see a cool trailer and boom, they watch the show.

In gaming, this isn’t possible for a fair chunk of games. You can’t just try a game to see if it’s something you would enjoy. You need to read about the difficulty level. Otherwise you will be walking into something that may have everything else going for it, except this one feature which is often the difference between a game being fun or not. In gaming you can’t just watch a trailer and play the game. Not if you don’t know much about it, like many indie games or games in a genre you don’t really know about. Or heck, if you’re not a core gamer and you’re just browsing trailers. I think this system is holding gaming back for a pretty large audience out there.

If a dev is that insistent on making the game difficult, heck, just allow someone to play on an easy mode that doesn’t get you any achievements.
Jez

GC: Why are you so insistent that developers shouldn’t make games however they want?

Inbox also-rans
Just thought I’d say. I’m really enjoying Ori And The Will Of The Wisps. I’d have to reluctantly give it 8/10 as the game slows down and freezes so many times and even crashed once. It lets the game down. Apart from that it is an excellent game.
woz 007 (gamertag)

Here’s a code for a digital copy of Aquaman, for anyone who wants it. Maybe it will help pass some lockdown time.
silverfox-75

GC: That’s good of you, as you usual we’ll pass it on to whoever wants it in exchange for a useable Inbox letter.

This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Onibee, who asks what do you think, and hope, Nintendo’s next games will be for the Switch?

It’s now six months since they had a general topic Nintendo Direct and there are currently no major new Switch games scheduled for the whole year, so what do you think is going on? Although the coronavirus is exacerbating the situation Nintendo’s secrecy started last year, so why do you think that is?

What new games do you expect to see come out next and what surprises are you hoping for once they are finally announced? What do you think the secrecy is in aid of and what do you think Nintendo should do in order to try and counter the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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News

Sony Says PS5 Will Load Games "As Easy As Netflix"

According to Kotaku journalist, Jason Schreier, Sony is claiming that the PS5 will be able to load and play games as easily as you start up a TV show on Netflix. The publisher is supposedly including this information within pitches to developers, setting up further anticipation for the next-gen console’s performance.

Schreier went on to explain that Sony hopes to create a platform where players can begin a game immediately, encouraging the possibility for shorter gaming sessions where gamers know exactly what they want to do and how much time it will take them to do it.

Essentially, the company hopes to get rid of the notion that gaming should only be done when players have a few hours to spare, and can be just as enjoyable in shorter bursts. If the PS5 can give you a seamless transition from one game to another, it could certainly help to foster this concept.

This serves as another indication of where the industry is going, as the emphasis is once again being put on accessibility in gaming and not only on the content of the games themselves. It’s beginning to sound more and more like the winner of the next generation of consoles may not be the one with the best games, but rather the best experience.

Source: TechRadar

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News

Riot Games, Execs Donate $1.5 Million To Coronavirus Relief Efforts

Los Angeles-based video game company Riot Games and its two co-founders Marc Merrill and Brandon Beck have each donated $500,000 to various cornoavirus relief organizations. Thats’s a whopping $1.5 million in total.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made the announcement during a COVID-19 response press conference on Tuesday this week, during which he praised Riot Games and its founders for their generosity during this difficult time.

The money will be distributed across several relief channels in and around Los Angeles. $200,000 of the overall donation will be given to the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, $400,000 to the Los Angeles Food Bank, and the remaining funds to various local nonprofit organizations.

Garcetti also mentioned that “on top of that financial contribution, Riot Games is working to secure critical personal equipment for LA’s hospitals, like much-needed masks to protect our front-line doctors and nurses.”

This is just one of a bunch of moves made by Riot Games over the last few weeks in alignment with the global trends that have emerged in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Long-standing League of Legends live championship tournaments in North America and South Korea have been moved online. The Mid-Season Invitational event – which is the second biggest League of Legends esports tournament after the annual World Championship – has been postponed to July.

All public events relating to Valorant – their next game set for release in Summer 2020 – have been cancelled. There is, however, an online event scheduled for this weekend wherein some proper gameplay is set to be revealed for the first time. It certainly looks like Riot Games is doing a lot to pull their weight as the world scrambles to try and adapt to these unsettling changes.

Riot isn’t the only big-shot company to be helping out on a grand scale. Nintendo, Mojang, and Blizzard Entertainment have all done their bit to try and ease the burden on healthcare workers, their own employees, and any other people within their reach.

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