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Thrustmaster T-GT II is for serious races run by serious racers

by: Eric -

Thrustmaster today unveiled the T-GT-II, the first Thrustmaster racing wheel licensed for the PlayStation 5 console. Coming four years to the day after the original Thrustmaster T-GT, this wheel will work on almost any racing game, but is specifically tuned for play with Gran Turismo Sport. Thrustmaster has put over 23,000 man hours into the refinement of the T-GT-II, and the results are apparent in the T-GT-II's new features.

The press release we received left me with the impression that the T-GT-II is a piece of gaming equipment to be respected. This is not a peripheral, or a toy. This is a serious too that is built to withstand long-term use. Every component in the wheel and pedals is engineered to last. "T-GT II is to meet the needs of the world’s most competitive expert racers who use their racing simulation gear as real work tools — throughout extremely long training sessions, and incredibly intense competitions."

So what are all of the new features? Well, there's a new technology to assist in drifting called real-time drift curve calculation (T-DCC). A built-in processor to handle force feedback, independent of the game. Real world automotive circuit boards and pedal components. It's all very impressive, to the point of being a little bit intimidating. 

The complete T-GT II set (servo base, wheel, and pedals) will be available in the US and Canada on October 5, 2021 for a whistle-inducing $799.99. You had better believe this is one solid piece of tech if that's what they are charging for it, and having become newly interested in driving wheels, I can fully believe that people will pony up the cash.

For more information (and a ton of technical specs), check out the T-GT Thrustmaster site

Games N Moorer vs Phantom Abyss

by: Eric -

Games N Moorer's Joseph Moorer had a busy night last night. After recording a somewhat rambling episode of The Gaming Nexus Show, he dove into the Twitch streams to play some Phantom Abyss

Phantom Abyss is the latest masterpiece published by Devolver Digital. As usual for a Devolver Game, Phantom Abyss pushes gaming in a new direction with a completely unique gameloop. Players enter a forbidden temple, and they get one shot at finding the treasure. If they fail or die, the will never be able to enter that same temple again. Everybody gets one shot, and once someone beats a temple, it's gone forever. Here's how Devolver explains it in a recent press release:

"Phantom Abyss casts players into trap-laden, procedurally-generated temples, and tasks them with retrieving the sacred relics hidden within their walls. Dodge scores of hidden traps, leap treacherous chasms and flee relentless guardians through branching paths until one of the relics are claimed or the devices of death overwhelm them. The most cunning explorers will use the phantom runs of failed attempts from other players to their advantage and avoid the missteps and mistakes that led to their doom, but be warned - you only get one attempt at each temple, and failure or settling for a lesser relic means you will never see that temple again..."

Joseph is just about the perfect player for Phantom Abyss, as he loves a challenge. Watching him methodically attempt to run the temple (while constantly complain about not having enough in-game money) is an absolute hoot. It's all fun and games for about 15 minutes, but then things get real real, real fast. At around the 22:00 mark, Joe gets "cratered on floor 3", which pretty much stuns him into silence. The next time he goes into a temple, there are some phantoms of previous players for him to follow around. It's a fascinating new game loop, and its a ton of fun watching Joseph cuss and scream while he figures out how it all works.

Joseph's second run is far more successful. I'll not spoil how it ends, but it is well worth the watch just to see Joseph's reaction. There are...emotions.

Follow us on Twitter for announcements about when Games N Moorer is going live at @GamingNexus and @GamesNMoorer. Joseph streams on Facebook at http://facebook.com/gamesnmoorer/ and on Twitch at https://twitch.tv/gamesnmoorer .

The Gaming Nexus Show talks Back 4 Blood, Kojima, GTA, Cyberpunk 2077

by: Elliot -

The Gaming Nexus Show is a weekly podcast hosted by staff writers Eric Hauter and Elliot Hilderbrand, along with game designer Max Mraz (Ocean's Heart) and streaming partner Joseph M. Moorer to talk about video games, movies, and video game movies this week. Some of the topics this week include Cyberpunk 2077 gets back onto the PlayStation Store, Rockstar is ending support for GTA Online, and we discuss if Hideo Kojima really is making a new Silent Hill game or if it’s all just a big misunderstanding.

(For the record, the amount of actual editing this week was minimal, due to the complaining of the other three members, listen to find out more)

You can watch the podcast here on the site, feel free subscribe to the show on iTunes, Spotify and Google Podcasts, as well as on our YouTube page.

HexGaming releases fully modular eSports controller for PS5

by: Rob -

"Only the bad carpenter blames his tools." Or at least that was the saying I heard growing up. What does it mean? Well, it doesn't mean that tools don't matter they do. It does mean that a good carpenter will either also know how to select good tools, or at least overcome the limitations of the bad ones. 

When it comes to eSports, a god-tier controller isn't going to make you a great player, but maybe it could give you that edge over the opponent with similar skill and lesser tools? The latest entry into the top tier market, the Hex Rival for PS5 by HexGaming. What difference might this controller make in the real world? I haven't a clue because I don't have one in my hands and dropping over $250 on a controller is not in my budget (Amazon actually listing it higher, at $290 at time of publishing this post). But if you want to give this puppy a try, it seems to offer a ton of marketing bullet points that are most straightforwardly summarized as:

  • A 6-in-1 interchangeable thumb stick design of 3 different height sticks and 2 different ergonomic thumb grip designs - domed or concave.
  • Re-mappable rear paddles that can be mapped to 15 different face buttons.
  • Decreased movement on L1/R1 and L2/R2 buttons to create hair triggers. Travel distance reduced from 1.2 and 7mm down to 0.5 and 2mm. 

So it's a PS5 controller, with thumb sticks that can be adjusted on the fly and rear paddles. The neat thing to me is that they claim to be "made using authentic PS5 controllers." So the guts at the center would be an official product with some customized face plating and a bit of software to map to the underside paddles. Neat. The Hex Rival comes with the Controller, 6-in-1 interchangeable thumbsticks, and a manual. Full press release is after the read more link below. 

[Read More]

Daedalic Entertainment and Skirmish Mode Games announce first major content update for Warpips

by: Carter -

Publisher Daedalic Entertainment and developer Skirmish Mode Games have announced that their tug-of-war strategy game, Warpips, is receiving its first major content update. In addition, they also released a roadmap detailing additional, upcoming content. The pixelated warfare title launched into Steam Early Access on April 29, 2021. 

In Warpips, players assemble an army of vehicles and infantry and send them into explosive, physics-based battles. The new update adds three new maps to the game, giving players the opportunity to fight in a gas station, a canyon, and a fortress. To ensure even more strategic options, the new update also adds a variety of new units with new skills and armament. You can now field the Gas Pip, Howitzers, the Super Rocket, and TOW missile emplacements into battle. The update also enables players to personalize armies -- both friendlies and enemies -- with more color options. 

Why we are delaying our Dark Alliance review

by: Eric -

I spent a good chunk of the past weekend playing Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance on PlayStation 5. I played about half of the game as dark elf Drizzt Do'urden, and then started over again and played through the game almost to the end with archer Catti-brie. I played solo for the most part, but my son did drop in for several missions, playing as the barbarian Wulfgar. I've played many of the game's missions three to four times. 

So right now, I've got the scoop on the pre-release version of Dark Alliance, and as it stands, the scoop isn't so great. Dark Alliance - while still fun because Dungeons & Dragons always is - has quite a few problems on the technical side of the equation. I'm playing Dark Alliance on PS5, and the multiplayer servers were only turned on a few days ago, partway into the pre-release review period. So things are fairly new, but it must be noted that server performance is extremely rough. While playing with just two players, my son and I experienced a lot of jittery combat, with both of us dropping frames and teleporting across the battlefield in a herky-jerky manner that almost made us lose track of where we were. There's no telling what will happen when you add two more warriors to the mix.

Of course, those server problems will likely be settled with time and patches. Far more concerning is the enemy UI. Enemies are dumber than a sack of rocks that's been sent to the back of the classroom. You can absolutely cheese the game during just about every battle, particularly when playing with Catti-brie, due to her ranged abilities

There is an invisible line that characters cross, which will activate enemies and make them "notice" you. They start moving forward to attack you. Take a step backwards across that line, and they instantly turn around and go back to their starting positions, as though you weren't just pumping them full of arrows. The real issue, though, lies in the fact that Catti-brie can attack enemies from behind that line. That means that you can stand there and clear an entire room of enemies, and they don't react until they are in the midst of their death animations.

I found myself running into rooms to draw the dudes close to me, then stepping back across the safety line and blasting them. And I'm not talking chip damage here - I have tooled my Cati-brie to maximize her crits, so I can do some pretty serious damage from afar. Her fully charged arrow attacks have a knock-back effect too, so you can walk right up to the bigger, slower guys and get higher damage without every worrying about them attacking back. I took down entire end-level bosses on the mid-tier difficulty by just standing there and blasting them with arrows until they fell over dead. It ain't great, folks.

There are a bevy of other problems. Hit detection is so poor that most of Cati-brie's special moves don't land at all. When the animation clearly shows the arrows hitting the target, hits fail to register damage about 90% of the time - more often than could be explained by critical fails on dice roles. And level design specifically creates situations where the player can retreat to higher ground, and just rain down hell on the dummies standing below. 

But - and this is a huge but - I've yet to play Dark Alliance the way it is intended to be played. I haven't had the opportunity to swing into battle with a full party of adventurers, which can change up the dynamic completely. There is also the matter of day-one patches, which could alter the experience of playing Dark Alliance considerably. 

So I've decided to wait and review Dark Alliance after it has been out in the wild for a few days. I want to drop into groups of new players with my baller high-level Catti-brie and superhero around for a while. I want to test the server performance after the game is being pounded on by the masses. And most importantly, I want to run a few missions on the higher difficulties, which have been impossible to run solo.

I've actually enjoyed much of Dark Alliance, despite its un-ignorable pre-release flaws. I want to be as fair as possible to the game, so I am waiting to review it in its intended release state. And that means giving the team working on Dark Alliance the opportunity to release any pending code that might improve the gameplay. But at this point, I would warn prospective players to approach Dark Alliance with care - this might not be the D&D adventure you are looking for.

The following video shows me running through a mid-level mission with Catti-Brie. I was somewhat overpowered for the difficultly level I chose, but you can see the enemies not responding when I kill them. You can also see a few instances where the game allows me to kill entire rooms from above, and about a million times that my special moves don't connect with enemies. Unfortunately, my audio crapped out, so you have to make do without my witty banter.

Cyberpunk 2077 returns to PlayStation; but acknowledges that the PS4 version still isn't ideal

by: Eric -

After a somewhat, um, non-triumphant debut on PlayStation consoles, Cyberpunk 2077 was unceremoniously booted from the PlayStation Store in an unprecedented act of "fix your stuff" by Sony. Well, CD Projekt Red and Sony now seem to agree that the game is in better working order, because Cyberpunk 2077 is back in the PlayStation Store, effective immediately.

PlayStation 5 owners can still play Cyberpunk 2077 via backwards compatibility, and  a free PS5 update will be available for all users in the second half of 2021.

It would be cool if we could actually get some insight into the process that CD Projekt Red went through to get Cyberpunk 2077 into a more acceptable state. To be clear, it's still not all smooth sailing on PlayStation 4. The press release announcing Cyberpunk's return to the platform was accompanied by this disclaimer:

* Users may continue to experience some performance issues with the PS4 edition while CD PROJEKT RED further works to improve stability across all platforms. Playing on PS4 Pro and PS5 will provide the best Cyberpunk 2077 experience on PlayStation.

But at least PlayStation 4 users can get their hands on the game now. We can now all look forward to basking in the glory of another wave of endless hot takes.

Cris Tales full opening cinematic revealed ahead of July 20 release

by: Elliot -

Cris Tales puts you in the role of Crisbell, as she attempts to stop the Time Empress as she rewrites the future. Seen as a love letter to RPGs like Chrono Trigger and Persona 5, Cris Tales puts you in control of Cris Bell, using her powers of time manipulation to send people forward, or backward in time to help defeat them. The hand drawn opening cinematic recently appeared before the July 20 release. Cris Tales will be available on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch, and Stadia. You can preorder the game or ad it to your wishlist in Steam right now.

E3 2021: What we liked from this year's E3

by: Randy -
 
An all-digital edition of E3 2021 just happened. While it officially ended Tuesday, June 15, several companies returned for an encore throughout the week. Some of us are chalking up victory points for nailing Our Safe, Risky, and Way Out There E3 Predictions, while others are quietly eating crow as was intended by the aptly named "Way Out There" category.
 
So, here's what we liked at this year's E3.
 
Eric Hauter
I had a pretty good time with the Ubisoft presentation, even though they didn't have a ton of new stuff to show. I figure that I'll probably be playing a lot of the games they did show, and I'm one of the folks that is actually very interested in the Avatar game. I enjoyed the Xbox/Bethesda showcase as well, which will likely result in me joining the desperate hunt for an Xbox Series X. Gotta have Starfield, no matter the cost.

Elliot Hilderbrand
This was the first E3 that I've given more than a passing glance at in quiet a while, and overall I had fun with it. I thought Microsoft and Bethesda took the cake this year. Before last week I was waiting till I could find a PS4 without putting too much work into the process. Now I'm actively searching for an Xbox. I enjoyed What Nintendo had to show as well, a new Metroid out later this year is bonkers to me—very excited. I also am looking forward to picking up Advanced Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp; they were very big staples on any long car rides I took with my brothers and I'm hoping to relive that feeling this December.
 
Randy Kalista
The Starfield trailer got my attention in a big way. Typically a cinematic trailer doesn't do much for me, in-engine or otherwise. But I don't think they're making up a lot of stuff here. I think it's probably pretty close to WYSIWYG, and what I see are AAA shooter graphics applied to a big huge Bethesda open world RPG. Todd Howard said it himself, it'll be Skyrim in space. He's creating a sci-fi forever-game—a game you can theoretically play forever. Ten years ago when he'd said Skyrim would be a forever game? I laughed. How cute is that, that Todd Howard thinks people are going to be playing Skyrim five years down the road, 10 years down the road? Well, here I am, having rolled up my umpteenth character, walking those same old roads, looking up at those same old peaks, and accepting that same old challenge he threw at us a decade ago: See that mountain? You can climb it.
 
Joseph Moorer
Hmm...(takes a breath). Kazuya for Smash, WarioWare, New Metroid, BOTW 2 release year, the entire Nintendo direct,  the 30 games announced for Xbethesda, 27 for Game Pass. Ubisoft was good too. I just downloaded Far Cry 3, 4, and 5, to get ready for 6, because I'm crazy. And Forza Freakin' Horizons 5. My goodness.
 
John Yan
For this year, I was actually impressed with some of the things I got a little weary of. Battlefield 2042 looked way intense and is something that's now on my playlist for this fall. I never got into Battlefield 1 or Battlefield V, but Battlefield 2042 with its potential of 128 players in an online war speaks loud to me. It just looks really fun with its dynamic weather system and massive maps.

Roll into some 3D platforming with Bang-On Balls: Chronicles

by: Eric -

Exit Plan Games, a studio made up of ex-CD Projekt Red developers, have been working on Bang-On Balls: Chronicles, a 3D platformer that is currently sitting on an Overwhelmingly Positive rating on Steam. B.O.B., as it is known, released into early access a few months back, and has been gaining in popularity as the team adds more content. 

Today, Exit Plan Games released a new trailer, revealing an upcoming Xbox release for Bang-On Balls. Check it out:

The team at Exit Plan also revealed a development roadmap, including a few mini-challenges that are being added to B.O.B. this month. 

  • Ultimate Bang-On Mega Bricks: Stuck inside a tetroid brick world, you must survive the 99 challenges in order to receive the ultimate reward. 
  • Super Car Banger Turbo: A banging tribute to one of the most famous bonus stages in videogame history, mixed with our own flavor of ball-banging mayhem!

There's no release date for the Xbox version of Bang-On Balls: Chronicles, but we'll keep you posted as we get more info.