#135: Digital Only or Super Charged?

TODAY: Darksiders turns diabolic with hack’n’slasher Genesis — EA finally lets you just buy Star Wars Battlefront II instead of unlocking it piece by piece — Bayonetta and Vanquish remastered for Xbox One

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Microsoft plans low-end, digital-onlymodel of Project Scarlett

Microsoft is planning to offer a ‘low budget friendly’ version of its next Xbox console, with lower-end hardware and no optical drive.

The low-end, digital-only model is codenamed Lockhart, while the beefier version is called Anaconda – which seems to be the model Microsoft has been referring when discussing Project Scarlett.

Nothing is certain about the price and power difference between the two models, but the gap is supposed to be similar to that between the Xbox One X and the Xbox One S. Developers will presumably be expected to support both models, much like the different current-gen console models.

Will the Lockhart hold back dev ambitions for the Anaconda?

According to Kotaku, one developer said Lockhart was comparable to the PlayStation 4 Pro in terms of power, and is supposedly targeting 1440p at 60FPS, while Anaconda is aiming for 4K at 60FPS. Like the PlayStation 5, Project Scarlett is expected to launch late next year.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

What year was the original Nintendo Entertainment System released in North America?

  • 1983
  • 1984
  • 1985
  • 1986

The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today’s issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be!

News Bits

Asobo Studio rumoured to be working on A Plague Tale 2

Rumours about A Plague Tale 2 are spreading like an epidemic, and apparently Asobo Studio will unveil their pestilent new horror title next year. A Plague Tale: Innocence turned out quite successful for Asobo and publisher Focus Home Interactive, and the sequel is expected to infect PC, consoles and the French countryside sometime in 2022.

Darksiders Genesis review round-up

The PC version of Airship Syndicate’s top-down hack’n’slash spin-off Darksiders Genesis is out, and every single one of the critics of the apocalypse have offered their judgement:

  • Shacknews (Score 9/10) – ”Darksiders Genesis feels a lot like some of our favorite parts of the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games mixed with Darksiders tone and puzzle-solving. It unfortunately brings some issues in those games along, such as enemy repetition and glitchy environments, but these are light problems among the genuinely enjoyable and accessible gameplay.”
  • God is a Geek (Score 9/10) – ”From the gorgeous visuals to the smooth, frenetic combat and environments that beg to be explored, the quality on display here is incredibly impressive. Despite a smattering of minor issues and a few iffy design choices, Darksiders Genesis is still a fantastic videogame, and might even be the best Darksiders game to date.”
  • IGN (Score 8.7/10) – ”Though it lacks polish, Darksiders Genesis is a rare spinoff that equals and sometimes surpasses its mainline brethren.”
  • PC Invasion (Score 8/10) – ”Darksiders Genesis may be a new look for the series, but it doesn’t sacrifice the glorious chaos fans have come to love. Gorgeous visuals, weighty combat, and a surprising amount of replayability make Darksiders Genesis something everyone can enjoy.”
  • Destructoid (Score 8/10) – ”Although the concept of a “Diablo spinoff for the Darksiders series” had the potential to just be a big bowl of wrong, the mad men and women at Airship Syndicate pulled it off.”
  • Game Rant (Score 3.5/5) – ”The challenging boss fights, engaging combat, and emphasis on co-op in Darksiders Genesis make it still worth checking out despite its technical hiccups. Fans of the Darksiders franchise worried that the game is too different from the others can rest easy knowing that Darksiders Genesis is a genuine Darksiders experience from start to finish.”
  • GamesRadar+ (Score 3.5/5) – ”Darksiders Genesis is a fun, but samey hack-and-slash romp. I’ve always admired the Darksiders franchise for jumping to different styles of play from game to game: Darksiders Genesis is its biggest jump yet, and one of its most successful. Though it feels understated, thanks to a pulled-out camera and a less flashy approach than the original three, it’s a well-designed gauntlet of quick, mashy fights and light brain teasers. It’s not going to set the world on fire, but it’s all good fun.”
  • Game Informer (Score 6.5/10) – ”Darksiders Genesis fails to take advantage of the series’ strengths. Since Darksiders’ inception, fans have imagined what it might be like to team up as the different horsemen. Darksiders Genesis finally offers a co-op experience, but its offbeat design and forgettable story don’t deliver on the fantasy.”

Daily Fact

Shaolin Monks was supposed to be a single-player romp starring Raiden

Co-op action-adventure brawler Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks hit the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in September 2005, and was originally supposed to be a single-player adventure following the exploits of thunder god Raiden. Fortunately, someone thought it would be more fun to team up as Shaolin bros Liu Kang and Kung Lao instead.

Poor Raiden was unceremoniously kicked off his podium, and wasn’t even playable in the final version of the game. Oh, and Midway managed to stay true to Mortal Kombat’s tradition of upsetting someone with its violence!

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority was distinctly unimpressed with the game’s TV ad, which showed boardroom executives duking it out with fatal results, resulting in a heart getting ripped out and someone getting decapitated. Bloody puritans, says we.

Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss today’s fact.

Daily News

Star Wars Battlefront II – Celebration Edition and Rise of Skywalker update

EA has announced the big, fat Star Wars Battlefront II Celebration Edition, which unlocks almost everything in the game without you needing to spend a single Credit, Crystal or what have you – which is pretty much how it should have been right from the start.

Now you can get that ‘sense of accomplishment’ you so desire by simply buying the whole game at once, and rest assured that you will receive both the base game and all future updates. The Celebration Edition includes over 150 Apperances, and 6 Legendary Appearances as well as over 100 emotes and more than 90 victory poses.

The Celebration Edition launches December 5

What are you missing out on? Star Card progression, Kylo Ren and Rey’s The Last Jedi appearances (they’re pre-order bonsues for the Elite Trooper Deluxe Edition), and some event-specific customization options like Leia’s Princess of Alderaan and Farmboy Luke appearances. At least you’ll get the Rise of Skywalker tie-in content when the movie hits theaters.

After all, Episode IX is right around the corner and you know what that means: a fully armed and operational marketing campaign! There will be a new jungle planet added to the Resistance vs. First Order and Heroes vs. Villains modes. New troppers like the Sith Trooper and First Order Jet Trooper will be added, alongside the Gunner and Spy on the Resistance side. All the details can be found on the official EA Battlefront blog.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics pushed back to February 2020

En Masse Entertainment’s tactical strategy take on The Dark Crystal universe has been delayed until early next year. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics is based on the Netflix show and developed by BonusXP, and features more than 15 unique characters you can build a party from. The goal is to give grizzled veterans something to sink their teeth into, without completely excluding newcomers.

Join the Gelfling’s Front of Thra today — or was that the Popular Gelfing’s Front?

There are more than 50 unique battles to wage in turn-based tactical RPG style. We recruit and customise new allies along the journey outfitting them with new gear and equipment, as well as modify their abilities to suit our needs.

Participate in over 50 different turn-based tactical RPG-style battles, recruit new allies and outfit them with new gear, as well as skills and abilities. En Masse just released a new trailer, and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics will be out for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Switch on February 4th.

Esports roundup

Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons expansion fully revealed

Blizzard has revealed the final 30 of the 140 new cards in the Descent of Dragons expansion – the biggest one yet. The new set looks like the most powerful one yet, and there’s no doubt it will have a serious impact on the meta when it launches on December 10th. Get ahead of the game and check out all the cards!

OG reveals first CS:GO roster

Pro esports organization OG – champions of The International in both 2018 and 2019 – has launched its first Counter-Strike team. The lineup consists of Nathan ‘NBK’ Schmitt, Valdemar ‘valde’ Bjørn, Aleksi ‘Aleksib’ Virolainen, Mateusz ‘mantuu’ Wilczewski and Issa ‘ISSAA’ Murad.

OG’s announcement stated that “CS:GO represents everything we cherish about Esports: it is spectacular and amazing to watch, the level of competition is unbelievable and increases every season, the depths of the game mechanics and tactics is unlimited, and most importantly its community and ecosystem has promised CS:GO to the brightest future.”

Overwatch Patch 1.43 is set to release next week, contrary to false reports

Blizzard has denied that the long-anticipated Overwatch balance patch has been delayed until mid-January. Game Director Jeff Kaplan posted that the December update is on schedule to launch next week: “We’ve been seeing quite a bit of misinformation being spread about our December patch (1.43). The patch is scheduled to go live next week. Short of some unforeseen circumstance causing a delay, we’re expecting to go live with the patch next week.” Looks like the Winter Wonderland update will arrive next Tuesday!

Saudi Arabian League of Legends event will have a $2 million prize pool

Riot Games is hosting its first League of Legends event in the Middle East and North Africa region. The three-day event is held in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, and will consist of six competitions between December 5th and 7th. The event will feature 5v5 and 1v1 tournaments, as well as a Teamfight Tactics competition with a total price pool of $2 million. Riot has also announced that they will release a fully localized version of League of Legends for the Middle East and North Africa next year.

News Bits

10th anniversary Bayonetta & Vanquish bundle for Xbox One

PlatinumGames’ “most celebrated titles” will be commemorated with a 10th anniversary bundle for Xbox One. No, not Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and NiER: Automata – we’re talking about Bayonetta and Vanquish, both of which will be remastered for the occasion and will appear in 4K at 60FPS on Xbox One X. Both a bundle and stand-alone versions will be launched on February 18th.

GWENT discontinued for console with PC and mobile versions offered instead

Bad news for those (apparently few) of you who enjoy Gwent on console: CD Projekt RED will discontinue its support. Gwent has expanded to Android and iOS and the developer wants to focus its attention on those versions. Console owners can “copy their account progress and purchases” from console to a PC or mobile GOG account for six months, starting on December 9th.

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Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

What year was the original Nintendo Entertainment System released in North America?

Answer: 1985!

34 years ago, a little-known company called Nintendo changed the videogames industry forever with a little grey box called the Nintendo Entertainment System, reviving the moribund American home console market after Atari crashed and burned a few years earlier.

While the console market looked pretty much dead and buried (much like Atari’s famous pile of unsold ET: The Extra Terrestrial cartridges), Nintendo managed to convince retailers to put their new console on shelves and the rest, as they say, is history.

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