Bungie has added matchmaking assistance to Destiny 2's Trials of Osiris mode to make it more welcoming for a wider range of players, but it hasn't launched without its own fair share of controversy.
For those unaware, Trials of Osiris is a high-risk, high-reward competitive 3v3 PvP mode in Destiny 2 that has players attempting to go Flawless by winning seven matches in a row. By doing so, players gain access to exclusive rewards in the Lighthouse.
The first of these changes is the addition of a "flawless pool" that will put players who achieve the Flawless milestone by going 7-0 into a matchmaking pool with others who have done the same. Players will remain in this pool until the game's weekly reset.
For those who are having some troubles in Trials of Osiris, Bungie will also offer "matchmaking help" until they start winning again. Luckily, the temporary nature of this change will hopefully help with those looking to game the system.
"We are enabling some matchmaking help if someone runs into several blowout matches,” Bungie community manager Cozmo_BNG wrote. “This temporary help mechanic clears up once they start winning again, so don’t think someone will cheese a flawless by tanking for a few games and then have a weekend of smooth sailing.”
There are those, like @Benjjjyy on Twitter, who feel that this may "discourage players who have gone flawless from ever playing again." It could also encourage certain players to manipulate the system by resetting on six wins so they can avoid being placed in this Flawless pool.
This new system, according to Cozmo, is a work-in-progress and will be adjusted in the future if needed.
"We will be watching both analytics and feedback – and trying to balance fast matches with good matches across the playerbase," Cozmo said. "Definitely not set in stone forever."
We already knew that Steam Next Fest would be returning next month, now we know exactly when and what games will be highlighting Steam’s latest festival of timed demos – the most notable being the chance to try out the latest from the creators of No Man’s Sky, The Last Campfire, and a new Starship Troopers game.
If you don’t know Steam Next Fest, it’s Steam’s regular celebration of upcoming PC games that was previously known as the Steam Game Festival. The most recent event in June rebranded the festival into its current moniker, but it still remains a chance to try out demos for interesting new games on Steam – although only during the event itself.
The latest Steam Next Fest kicks off on October 1 and starts at 10 AM PDT / 1 PM EDT / 18:00 BST, then will run until October 7. Any Steam user can download preview versions and demos of any game that’s part of the event during this time and play them until the event’s up.
Cyberpunk is a relatively new genre. Most will refer to William Gibson’s 1984 novel, Neuromancer, as being a seminal work within cyberpunk, but its roots go back further to sci-fi authors of the ’60s and ’70s like Phillip K Dick, JG Ballard, and Alice B Sheldon (who wrote as James Tiptree Jr). Movie and videogame adaptations followed suit, cementing some of the key visual cues that we all recognise as cyberpunk today.
There are, of course, countless other cyberpunk games going all the way back to Konami’s Snatcher in 1988, and more still that are being made right now, like Citizen Sleeper. It’s a narrative RPG set on a lawless interstellar space station at the edge of society, where you play as an escaped corporate-owned consciousness. We spoke to Gareth Damian Martin, the solo developer behind Citizen Sleeper, about what cyberpunk means in contemporary gaming.
The Genshin Impact Kokomi banner release time is 18:00 server time, which works out as to 3 PM PST / 6 PM EST North American time, and 5 PM BST for UK and European players. The event starts on September 21 and finishes on October 12 at 14:59 server time / 11:59 AM PST / 14:59 EST / 13:59 BST – the usual three weeks to get the new five-star character, ‘Pearl of Wisdom’ Sangonomiya Kokomi – and as usual they won’t be available in the standard Wanderlust Invocation.
Kokomi’s abilities have already been previously revealed along with a brief character teaser that Mihoyo released to introduce Kokomi into the story. The banner also includes big drop-rate boosts for four-star characters Beidou (Electro), Rosaria (Cryo), and Xingqiu (Hydro). Kokomi and all the rest can be tried out with fixed line-ups in the new Character Trial Event.
During a livestream showcasing the Deadlands DLC zone coming to The Elder Scrolls Online, as well as changes being added in its next base-game patch, creative director Rich Lambert mentioned a new tech from Nvidia would debut in the MMO: Deep Learning Anti-Aliasing, or DLAA. It's like DLSS (which The Elder Scrolls Online is also getting), but instead of running at a lower resolution to get a framerate boost while using AI to upscale everything so it still looks shiny, DLAA runs at native resolution while using that same deep learning for extra edge-smoothing.
“It's the same kind of concept,” Lambert said, about 51 minutes into the livestream. “You won't get a performance boost out of this, but what you will get is absolutely incredible anti-aliasing.” If you want to try out DLAA it'll be coming to the public test server, after which it will become an option alongside DLSS whenever update 32 goes live. A decent Nvidia GPU will be necessary, of course. “You need the RTX 2000 or RTX 3000 series cards in order to take advantage of it,” Lambert said.
Lead graphics engineer Alex Tardif brought up the DLAA debut in a Twitter thread following the stream. “Huge thanks to the team at NVIDIA for humoring and then supporting us releasing this when we brought up and tested this hijacking of their DLSS tech into its own thing”, he wrote. “It's not something every game would need, but for ESO it just made sense.”
Update 32 will also bring changes to combat, which are intended to dial back some of the game's recent power creep, and especially the continued dominance of builds based around critical hits. As a post on the official forum put it, there's going to be “a hard cap to Critical Damage and Healing.” Other alterations will be about “improving proc set balance and continuing the hybridization improvements from previous updates”.
No one's favorite game mechanic, weapon degradation will make a comeback in Dying Light 2. As producer Szymon Strauss explained, in its setting—two decades after the previous game—things have continued to wear out, and “people start building stuff from scraps and other material on the fly.”
Durability systems are often controversial, usually thanks to games that lay them on thick and have gear that falls apart in minutes instead of months. (One of the only things I didn't like about System Shock 2 was the way guns broke after a handful of uses, though that was both re-tuned and made optional in a patch.) Most of the time weapon degradation just means more menu management as you juggle an inventory full of spares and repair kits.
On the other hand, it provides motivation for you to get out there and scavenge for parts and replacements, as it did in the original Dying Light, and to try weapons you might not otherwise. The Dead Rising games rely on weapons wearing out to make you try its kookier options, of which there are many. Hopefully Dying Light 2 gets the balance right. Strauss mentioned that if your weapon breaks you can try inventive solutions for dealing with packs of zombies, like finding higher ground, then luring a cluster together with firecrackers or meat bait before dropping a grenade into the pack.
Some weapons won't be appropriate for certain enemies, Strauss explained, like the quick-moving banshee. “I cannot imagine hitting her with a bow,” he said. Players will want to rotate gear to suit the situation, as well as when it falls apart. He also mentioned that one of the sound designers working on weapon sounds broke his machete while recording, and the authentic audio of that will be used in-game.
Dying Light 2 was scheduled to come out on December 7, but has now been delayed into 2022.
Despite Deltarune: Chapter 2 being released by itself, series creator Toby Fox has said that his goal is to have Chapters 3, 4, and 5 arrive at the same time.
Toby Fox shared the news on Deltarune.com following the release of Deltarune: Chapter 2 and said that, while he had originally planned on releasing new chapters only when all of them were finished, he realized that "it's hard both for creators and fans to go a long time without a release."
However, he is now focused on completing Chapters 3, 4, and 5 and will launch the complete game (Chapters 1-5) at a currently unknown price that will be more than Undertale, which currently costs $14.99.
Fox released both Deltarune Chapter 1 and 2 for free and has asked that players (who can afford it!) should buy another indie game to support smaller developers. Additionally, those who want to support Toby Fox can purchase the soundtracks to Undertale and both Deltarune chapters from Bandcamp.
"Just one request – please remember, games like this aren't normally free," Fox wrote. "If you can afford it, spend the money you saved from getting this game for free by supporting other indie devs. If you really want to give me money, buy the soundtrack from Bandcamp. Thank you."
Content warning: This article discusses Bloodwash's themes of gender-based violence.
The walk from my third floor apartment to the ground floor laundry room is one of my least favorite things. A narrow concrete passageway leads to a flimsy wooden door, rigged with three locks because you never know who might try to get in. My partner would rather jump from the roof than go down there alone. Who wants to get murdered next to a pile of your own underwear?
It's this mindset that Bloodwash, an indie horror game set primarily in a late-night laundromat, taps into to occasionally great effect. Taking major inspiration from Italian giallo films, a horror genre prevalent from the '60s to the '80s that commonly followed alienated women being violently hunted by slashers and plagued by psychological or sexual trauma, Bloodwash sets itself apart from the other indie frights—if you can stomach its often exploitative tropes. Wrapped in a visual style reminiscent of PS1-era graphics, plus a fuzzy VHS tape filter, it's a game that successfully pays homage to a bygone era.
You play a young woman named Sara with a lazy drunk for a boyfriend and a baby on the way. She needs clean clothes for a make-or-break job interview tomorrow, but someone didn't bother to do the laundry while she was at school. So it falls to her. Of course the way to the laundry is a dilapidated concrete tunnel, and it turns out the building's washing machine is busted anyway.
It's getting late. Your last bet, according to your only kind neighbor, is a 24/7 laundromat on the edge of town. So you pack up your things and try to catch the last bus, paying no real mind to the newspaper reports about the “Womb Ripper” serial killer who's been targeting pregnant women. Yeah, it's that kind of tale.
I love every inch of Bloodwash's laundromat and its surrounding strip mall, which houses a questionable pizza joint, an adult video store, and a failing appliance store run by a cigar-chomping brute. You can practically smell the wood panel wall and the sticky tile floor, and there's gentle fuzz from a CRT television in the corner running old horror flicks and frat house comedies. This is pre-cellphones, so we're left to kill time by wandering around. I find a few comic books to read, a full three-volume story about a pair of resurrected women fighting against demons with some sort of Pinhead-looking guy. It's exactly the kind of garbage I used to find in my mom's old salon.
I dig the first half of Bloodwash because it's content with setting a benign but unsettling mood. I have to literally wait 10 real-world minutes for my laundry to finish, so the mind is left to wander and wonder, “Oh shit, where did that one guy disappear to?” Did he go to the bathroom? For a smoke break? Or did he get strung up like fleshy confetti?
I particularly love the characters in Bloodwash, who feel one part giallo and another part Troma schlock. Friendliness and common decency are in short supply in this world, dominated by the types of men who will sniff your hair and call you a slur for telling them to mind their business. A man known only as “the creep” asks to sit next to you, and almost immediately proclaims that you're going to die tonight. That doesn't mean there aren't civil or even genuinely nice people to meet, like a fellow late night laundromat user, though he's too awkward to be someone you'd ever willingly hang out with.
I'll leave the bulk of Bloodwash's true horrors for you to discover on your own, but it's worth mentioning that the latter half of the game falls into both some film and videogame tropes that will likely polarize (and perhaps even repulse) casual and hardcore fans. Of course, the whereabouts of the mysterious “Womb Ripper” come back to play a role, and your trip to the laundromat becomes a nightmarish descent into hell. What sticks with me is how Bloodwash handles themes of gendered violence. Giallo is lousy with graphic violence and hyper-sexualization of femininity—yes, welcome to the horror genre, I know—but Bloodwash relies much more on themes of power and dominance, the madness of its antagonist, and body mutilation more than any of Dario Argento's color-soaked surrealism.
Bloodwash walks the line between stylish homage and cliché-ridden romp. The PS1-style graphics and VHS tape artifacting really do heighten the discomfort of simply turning a corner or witnessing a gruesome scene. It softens some of the blow of its gore and violence, but if you have trouble stomaching the sense of misery and doom that comes with these types of stories, you're better off looking elsewhere.
I wish Bloodwash's developer's had more to say about their giallo inspirations, as it's clear they genuinely admire what the films did for horror. Like the horror genre, though, as time goes on, we leave any meaningful cultural commentary behind for the same jump scares that plagued the inevitable parade of sequels and imitators.
Typically this is a function reserved for typos, but developer Mohawk Games gives us the power to turn back time across warfronts, city districts, and rural pastures. Did you send out a battalion of spearmen to the wrong sector and muck up your adjacency bonus? Undo. Did you misread the defense integers and accidentally sacrifice a settler in a profoundly stupid way? Undo. Did you decide your heir was going to study philosophy when, on second thought, maybe he'd be better as a mathematician? Undo. Literally every action in Old World can be immediately rolled back with no consequences. The game will not call you a nincompoop for your tactical blunders, nor will it dock your score of any points at the end of the era for the amassed Ctrl-Zs. In Old World, everybody makes mistakes.
I cannot tell you how revolutionary this feels. I'm a longtime Civilization player, and there have been so many incidents where I absent-mindedly dispatched a worker to an empty farm, only to be struck by the horrifying thought: No, no! I wanted him to build a mine instead! What am I doing! It's too late. That farmer is stuck plowing a field, reducing the overall efficiency of your game plan by a maddingly imperceptible degree.
We've all been there: disciples stuck between borders and barbarians with nowhere to go, naval offensives gone awry as it becomes clear that Augustus's walls are neutering your lowly triremes, Great Merchants idling in a Holy District because you mistook it for a Commercial District. The Sid Meier doctrine is punitive. Players are punished for their lack of attention; to be a good leader, one must always be focused on the details. But Old World makes that attitude look outdated. It's true that history can't be changed, but in the wondrous fantasy of 4X, shouldn't we be able to correct a couple of unsightly oversights in the margins?
Firaxis is most likely hard at work on Civilization 7, and I pray that we see the “undo” feature there so we may never misplace a trader ever again. Ideally, this new dawn will metastasize across countless other strategy games, too. Can I please reset my gunner's position in XCOM? I really thought that wall provided more cover than it did. (This would open up the problem of undoing after a sniper misses a 95% shot—one of the classic, agonizing frustrations in all turn-based games—though maybe it's high time that injustice was washed away in another fashion anyway.) Paradox should also be taking notes. Maybe I accidentally slotted some failson dunce into my spymaster slot and would prefer to swap them out with a much more competent vassal without provoking an insurrection in the kingdom?
Old World isn't the first strategy game to feature an undo button, though it's a rare recent example. The Panzer Corps series have them, and Panzer Corps 2 lets you customize how it works in the settings so you can alter whether you're allowed a takeback after discovering an enemy or not. Another example is Invisible, Inc. which is built around having a limited number of resets.
Maybe in some contexts this is sacrilege, and players should be forced to live with all of their mistakes forever. But seriously, what's more fun to play? A sickly empire, reeking of neglections and potholes, stumbling towards a pyrrhic triumph? Or a well-oiled juggernaut that has leaned upon countless undos on its path to glory? We both know the answer, deep down.
There are some obvious genre limits to this suggestion. Nobody can “undo” a headshot in Call of Duty or a dropped combo in Mortal Kombat. As hilarious as it is to imagine, nobody should be allowed to “undo” a really, really bad left turn in SnowRunner, because that is not in the spirit of those games. But turn-based strategy has increasingly started to present all of its tactical information on the surface. There are no dice rolls in, say, Into The Breach, or Endless Legend, or Old World. You know exactly what's going to happen from the second you press the button. Within that arena, the Ctrl-Z glory ought to stick around for good. Microsoft Word had it all figured out from the start.
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is a spin-off based on beloved DLC for Borderlands 2, which frankly seems like a safer option than following up on the underwhelming Borderlands 3. Likewise, the Zombie Army series spun off from some popular DLC from the Sniper Elite games. What expansions or add-ons do you like enough that you'd rather see them get a follow-up than the actual game they came from?
Evan Lahti: There are shockingly few games exploring climate change, the issue that will most shape the human experience for the foreseeable future. But an expansion that did is Civ 6's Gathering Storm, which “turns climate change into an end boss” and tracks CO2 emissions as a new system, and folds global cooperation against the crisis into the World Congress. With so many upsetting climate-related catastrophes in 2021, I'm hopeful that we'll see more games tackle this subject, and I don't think it strictly has to be the management/strategy genre that does it.
Natalie Clayton: This is mostly just because I want more people to play Absolver, but Absolver had this brilliant DLC pack called Downfall that added a simple procedural dungeon to its open-world punch clubs. Yes, I know Sloclap are doing Sifu now, but I still reckon Absolver's sheer fashion sense and delightfully arcane setting remain ripe for a more story-focussed adventure—one where you and your mates can dive into ancient temples and impossible folded dimensions to smack up masked men.
Robin Valentine: Hearts of Stone, The Witcher 3's first DLC, is probably my favourite expansion ever. A direct sequel to it would basically just be The Witcher 4, which I'd be into but isn't really what I'm imagining here. What I think would be really neat would be a sort of spiritual sequel to Hearts of Stone. I love the feel of its smaller, stranger story, and I think you could make a kind of anthology game of tales inspired by dark, Eastern European folklore in a similar vein. Did anyone ever watch Jim Henson's The Storyteller? Basically I want a videogame of the first season of that, please.
Jody Macgregor: I want an entire Elder Scrolls game set in The Shivering Isles from the Oblivion expansion, but I also really want a follow-up to Nightmare in North Point. It was DLC for the open-world crime game Sleeping Dogs that filled Hong Kong with jiangshi, the hopping vampires of folklore and cheesy kung fu horror movies. The tone of it was completely different from the rest of Sleeping Dogs, even though it followed directly on from the main storyline—resurrecting one of its villains to be the antagonist. Give me a whole game of that.
Graeme Meredith: The Sonic Mania DLC, Sonic Mania Plus, should get a sequel. And they should call it Sonic Mania 2.
Mazer: The Undead Nightmare DLC for the first RDR got me hankering for a full zombie game in Rockstar's style of painstakingly crafted open world adventures. The hunting and camp maintenance of RDR2 would be a great fit for a more survival based experience too.
The Far Cry games have a history of DLC's which shake up the genre and formula, from Valley of the Yetis for FC4 which had some of The Long Dark's DNA infused with Far Cry gunplay, to the tryptich of sci-fi, horror, and Vietnam war DLC for Far Cry 5. It would be great for Ubisoft to fill in their off years between major Far Cry releases with more risk-taking side entries to the series like Far Cry Primal, which repurposed the FC4 map to speed up development, or New Dawn which did the same by turning FC5's map into a colourful post-apocalypse. Why not shift the colour palette of the FC5 map and make it a wild west FPS? With zombies, because why not?
XoRn: This is a no brainer for me. Opposing Force for the original Half-Life ends with Adrian Shepard being voided by the G-Man, presumably stashed away to be unleashed on the Combine when it would most benefit G-Man and his mysterious overlords. Shepard has his own destiny of course, something supplemental to Gordon's. Perhaps he find the means to discover the Borealis, or maybe he ends up back at Black Mesa (which wasn't as nuked as we thought it was). Hell, maybe he's dropped on the combine home world where he wages an all out guerrilla campaign to cause as much havoc and destruction as possible.
Whatever the plot, it would be a welcome (long over due) addition to the Half-Life universe. I can already hear a friendly Vortigaunt companion. “The Shepard will lead us.”
mainer: There is the Kasumi: Stolen Memory DLC for Mass Effect 2, that introduced Kasumi Goto, voiced by Kym Hoy, that left me wanting more. The DLC itself was fairly short, but I felt she was such a strong character and I was somewhat disappointed that after her mission was over, she just sat in her cabin without much dialogue or interaction. True, you could take her as a companion on missions, but there was very little banter with crewmates or interaction with Shepard. I don't know if an entire game could be based around her, but there's a depth to her character and mysterious background that might warrant a spinoff game with her as the main character.
McStabStab: The Alien: Isolation DLC that had you play through the events of 1979's Alien by Ridley Scott. I'll take any excuse to have more content for that game.