Greetings NAGinjas, and thanks for coming back for this special, ultra-delayed instalment of This Week In Gaming. I managed to crawl my way out of Dane’s sordid sex dungeon sometime around what I believe is Monday night, but it’s hard to be certain – time is a blur. And yet in spite of my bleeding nipples and the sticky tape residue all over my body, I deliver you last week’s relevant gaming news – such is the level of my commitment. It’s difficult to remember what exactly happened last week, so it’s probably best you just read it yourself.
Fresh PS4 Neo details appear in the wild
Details on the upcoming PS4 Neo are scant thus far, with E3 not being quite as illuminating as many were expecting.
A trickle of new information has come in by way of (allegedly) leaked developer documents, which reveal more information for the geeky hardware guys and give the rest of us some insight into the release window.
Apparently certain developers have had testkits since April this year, and globally they’ve been available since June. Those testkits will apparently be replaced in “early 2017” with “mass-produced units”, which we can safely assume means the final product.
One cool feature on the Neo is that it will auto-detect the resolution of your TV, and utilise the appropriate frame buffer – which includes support for 4K televisions. There’s also the possibility of 1080p recording.
The original link has been taken down, but some ventures into the dark recesses of the internet should find the finer details if you’re interested.
Overwatch to stop Competitive Play teams from picking multiples of the same hero
You know what this is about – Bastion and Torbjorn. We’ve all had the soul-crushing experience of facing off against two or three of these little assholes with a Reinhardt gleefully shielding them from damage, and it’s annoying.
Outside of the this though, this change really just makes sense from a balance perspective. It’s much easier to manage heroes in competitive play without having to worry about how powerful they are when you have three or four of them working together.
The change feels overdue, it’s in line with what one might expect from a game like this, and diversity in team composition just makes for more enjoyable matches overall.
This won’t be carrying over to Quick Play matches however, so your six-Winston hitsquad is free to roam free there. That feels fine to me, as people may often use Quick Play to practise a specific hero and don’t want to be blocked because someone else is using it.
Blizzard will also be dispensing with Sudden Death in Season 2 – if a game’s a tie, then it ends as a tie. Principal designer Scott Mercer talks more about this change:
We definitely want players to feel like if they had a tie, their time wasn’t completely wasted. So we’re trying to find the sweet spot of a lot of players feel like, ‘Oh, well, we got something out of it,’ but at the same time not create situations where players might collude and create some nasty situations there. We’re still discussing that.”
I’m not sure I had a problem with Sudden Death in particular, but I welcome changes to the game as Blizzard continues to aggressively tweak Competitive play to provide the best possible and most balanced experience.
Rocket League to get unlockable crates
Stop me when this sounds familiar. Rocket League developer Psyonix will be adding unlockable crates to the game, that will contain cosmetic content and will form part of an upcoming system to fund esports prize pools.
If you’re paying attention at home you’ll notice that this sounds exactly like the DotA 2 system, but there’s one key difference – there’ll be no integration with the Steam marketplace. Psyonix has acknowledged the recent gambling scandals and said they are “not interested in taking that approach”.
It’ll be interesting to see how much the lack of a third-party market affects the interest in this kind of system; the no-marketplace approach may need to be revised in the future.
I’m never opposed to purely cosmetic microtransactions (which these are), so I think this can only be good news for the future of the game.
NES Mini won’t go online, won’t be getting more games
The NES Mini was announced this week, a standalone tribute to the original NES that comes preloaded with 30 different games. Plus, it looks awesome – a cute diminutive version of the original with HDMI connectivity.
There was plenty of speculation that the game would be able to connect online and allow for future virtual console releases, but Nintendo have dreamcrushed all of that now by basically saying this is a completely closed system.
“The game lineup was chosen to provide a diverse mix of popular and recognisable NES games that appeal to a wide variety of players. Everyone should be able to find multiple games to enjoy,” said Nintendo of America in an interview.
For a price point of what will likely be R1000+ for us down here in South Africa, I have some doubts about this whole thing. I like the nostalgia factor and I think it looks really cool, but I’m a little nonplussed that it only comes with a single controller (charging extra for an additional one).
If I want to play some classic NES games right now I can head down to the local Chinese store and pick up a NES clone with two controllers and 100 games for less than 200 bucks. People have said this cuter version is a reasonable price point, but I’m not sure I’m convinced.
I think I’ll hold out for the SNES Mini.
Telltale Batman launches in August
Telltale games continue to (mostly) impress with their episodic, story-driven games and recently they’ve been focusing more and more on unique stories within existing franchises.
Batman is getting the treatment this year and the game will be available for download across the whole spectrum of consoles come August – PC, Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360 and PS3.
The game will also be getting a physical release on disc for every platform that isn’t PC. Why no love for the PC you ask? Well this is the first time Warner has dug their fingers into the Telltale pie, and they’re no doubt terrified of PC gamers after the last Batman debacle.
Interesting to note is this game is divided into nine episodes, which likely means smaller releases grouped closer together rather than longer ones spaced months apart. Telltale isn’t done with superheroes after this – there’s a Marvel series coming sometime next year as well.
Battlefield 1 open beta gets a start window
Battlefield 1 has been getting a ton of press since kicking Call of Duty in the teeth in the opening duel of reveal trailers, and DICE isn’t keen to let that momentum slow down.
There’s been a ton of proper gameplay footage since then, and this week the game’s German community manager came out and said that the open beta will be starting “shortly after Gamescom”, which runs from August 17 to August 21. This means you’ll likely be able to vie for zeppelin dominance near the end of August or early September at the latest.
Finally, what everyone has always wanted – a VR lightsaber battle game.
Good news – there’s a new Micro Machines game. Bad news – it’s mobile. See if it’s worth your time below.
Total War: Warhammer is getting a new playable race. If you haven’t played the game, this video might make you want to.
Doom has been touted as a technological marvel by many, achieving 60fps gameplay with stunning graphics. For the PC die-hards, the Vulkan patch made things even better – here’s a detailed explanation of how.
Best of NAG
Dane just can’t seem to give up his love of notebooks with long stupid names. Check out his review of the Asus ROG GL752VW.
After that, have a look at my column for the week – an introspective look at why games don’t suck as much you think.
It’s a Double Dose of Dane with this review of a budget smartphone – the Hisense Infinity KO.
Finally, Lego fanatic and Star Wars fanclub chairman Miklós Szecsei takes the new Lego Star Wars for a spin.