#47: Doom Eternal FPS of the Year?

TODAY: Sega might have the bluest skies, but they also have the worst save game solutions – We ripped and tore our way through the Doom Eternal demo – WarCraft III: Reforged is more than just a remaster

Top Story

‘Proven longer’ battery life on new Nintendo Switch model

You can’t always trust those damned weasels in the marketing department – but according to those lucky few who have gotten their hands on the new Nintendo Switch model it does feature longer battery life, judging by tests performed with the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Nintendo’s official comparison chart for the Nintendo Switch models – which also includes the Switch Lite – says Breath of the Wild should last around 5.5 hours on the new model (HAC-001(-01)) in handheld mode, improving on the original model (HAC-001), which lasts for 3 hours. Meanwhile the handheld-only Switch Lite should last 4 hours.

A few more hours of fun for new Switch owners

This YouTube video seems to prove that the battery life has increased, showing Breath of the Wild being played with a stopwatch running in the background. Nintendo cautions that battery life will “depend on the games you play,” and Breath of the Wild is quite a demanding title given its huge game world, combat and exploration. The video shows it lasting 5 hours and 36 minutes.

The new model of Nintendo Switch is currently available in Hong Kong and Australia, while the US should expect the new models in mid-August, and the UK in September. Unsurprisingly retailers will prefer to clear out the older models first but savvy customers should start checking product serial numbers. Older Switch models start with “XAW” whilst the new design begins “XKW”.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Including this yearís Modern Warfare, how many Call of Duty games have been made by series creator Infinity Ward?

  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

The answer will be revealed at the end of this issue!

News Bits

Riot Games spoiling for a new fighting game

There’s a new fighting game in the works from League of Legends creator Riot Games. Three years ago Riot acquired Radiant Entertainment who were making a fighting game called Rising Thunder. It never saw the light of day, but perhaps part of it lives on after all? Whatever they’re working on, it’ll probably be a while before we hear anything concrete – but at least it’s official now.

Roblox now over 100 million active users

The monthly active user count for Roblox now rivals the population of Egypt as it surpasses 100 million. By comparison, Minecraft has around 90 million active users per month. Roblox has the advantage of being free-to-play and is available on PC, Xbox One and mobile platforms. It lets users “build their own games” and is presented as an MMO where users can create stuff together.

Daily Fact

You’ve heard of PlayStation’s Memory Card, but what about SEGA Saturn’s save battery?

Anyone who’s used the original PlayStation or PlayStation 2 will remember the Memory Cards for keeping those precious save game files. SEGA took a slightly different approach with their ill-fated SEGA Saturn.

The SEGA Saturn featured internal memory for storing your save data, offering a meager 32 kilobytes of RAM (compared to the 1MB PlayStation memory cards). There was just one teeny tiny problem with this method – it had a lifespan issue. The RAM had to be powered by battery and if that died, so did your data. This led to the weird meta-experience of saving your save games using the Back-Up RAM Cartridge (known as Power Memory in Japan) that offered another 512K of memory.

In the end nothing could save the SEGA Saturn, which launched in 1995 and stopped production only three years later, in 1998. It was succeeded by the SEGA Dreamcast, which featured its own Visual Memory Unit (VMU), sporting 128KB of memory and had a built-in LCD screen, audio output and buttons. It plugged into the Dreamcast controller which served as its docking station. Dreamcast didn’t fare much better than Saturn, and would be SEGA’s last home console.

Early Look - Hands-on Preview

Doom Eternal is shaping up to be the best FPS of the year

(id Software/Bethesda – PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch – out November 22nd)

There are lots of promising games coming out in the near future: Pokémon Sword & Shield, Cyberpunk 2077, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and many more – but if there’s one thing we’re really looking forward to, it’s some good, old-fashioned demon-slaying. We have been lucky enough to play Doom Eternal!

Picking up where 2016’s Doom reboot left off, Doom Eternal puts you in the jolly boots of Doom Marine/Slayer/Guy once again. The demon invasion has spread throughout Mars and the bases on its moons, in spite of the Spider Mastermind’s defeat at the end of the last game – and we know it’ll eventually reach Earth too. The demo we played began on Marsí moon Phobos (the location of the first Doom), at the giant BFG 10K facility. And boy did we have fun there.

Rip and tear

The funniest moment in the demo came right at the start, when you get to interact with some proper, not-yet-possessed honest-to-god humans. This goes about as well as you might expect: Doom Guy is a man of few words, ignores his fellow humans except to grab someone’s keycard while it’s still attached to his neck by lanyard, and then steal someone’s gun. It’s a fun opening that sets the tone for the rest of the game – a fairly light-hearted and self-aware tone that puts the grim glory kills in their proper context.

The rest of the demo was all combat, and it’s even more intense and frantic than its predecessor. The demo was set in a single level of the game, but streamlined to present key moments – and the highlights were the arenas were enemies poured in, forcing us to navigate a distressingly small space in search of health, armor and ammo while dodging a Baron of Hell wielding a giant flaming sword.

True to the spirit of Doom, the key to winning these crazy high-speed battles is to keep moving and use portals, jump-pads and double-jumps to stay out of reach and keep blasting demons. You need to get tactical too: What demons should you prioritize? The strong and fast ones like the Hell Knights, or spawners like the new Pain Elementals? How should you dispatch your opponents? Glory kill, chainsaw, or perhaps the new shoulder-mounted flame-thrower? Depending on how you deal with your foes, you are rewarded health, ammo or armour, respectively.

Super Mario Od-Doom-sey

The most unexpected feature of Doom Eternal is the platforming, which has been drastically expanded – and we’re not entirely sure how to feel about that. While you get used to the constant hopping and clambering about in the combat arenas, the traversal between combat encounters is filled with platforming sections. You need to double-jump and mid-air dash to reach distant ledges, there are plenty of jump and boost pads, slightly awkward wall-climbing sections and even monkey bars you can swing around. I never really saw Doom Guy as a swinger.

In any case, the time spent with Doom Eternal was tons of fun. Each firefight feels like the most intense and overwhelming battles of any videogame ever, and each level is chock-full of them. There’s lots of stuff we want you to discover for yourself, like in-fighting among enemies, weird tentacles that grow out of the ground, all the fun alternate fire modes for the weapons, our intrepid hero loading himself into a giant gun and firing himself into space – the kind of things that makes us confident that Doom Eternal will be one of the most satisfying games of the year. But please, id Software – chill out with the platforming sections, please, we’re just game journalists, and we are famous for not getting past the jumping tutorials.

Daily News

Blizzard tease Warcraft III: Reforged character models at ChinaJoy 2019

Not content to just remaster real-time strategy classic WarCraft III for modern systems, Blizzard Entertainment is going the extra mile and recreating assets from scratch ñ and they showcased the new and improved character models at the ChinaJoy 2019 convention.

No release date has been announced for WarCraft III: Reforged, although the studio has hinted that it could be out by the end of the year. In addition to the visual upgrades, Blizzard is also rumoured to be overhauling the user interface and redesigning levels to better reflect the lore established by waning MMO juggernaut World of WarCraft over the course of more than a decade.

Teaching old orcs new tricks

Huntress, Acolyte, Red Dragon and the Kodo Beast Rider all sported a new look, updated to fit the series’ new art style. In terms of mechanics, the game should be just like the original and there shouldn’t be any big changes to mulitplayer: “One of the things reforging Warcraft III is giving us an opportunity to do is to look at how the world has evolved since World of Warcraft fleshed it and the characters out,” said Blizzard producer Tim Morten, explaining the changes.

World of Warcraft was a huge influence on the updated story and lore: “We’re being very careful not to change anything fundamental about the story,” he notes. “But perhaps we can add some more colour or depth where we know where things are headed in the World of Warcraft story.”

In short, it seems like it’s all about making WarCraft III a more cohesive part of the wider WarCraft universe.

Master of Magic franchise now in Slitherine’s hands

Publisher Slitherine has coiled itself around another old-school strategy IP, namely Master of Magic from Atari. They now own the rights to the franchise and plan on reviving it.

Master of Magic first charmed players in September 1994, when it was first published for MS-DOS by MicroProse. You played as a wizard seeking to dominate worlds, starting with a humble settlement. You’d strike out to secure resources, expand your holdings, raise armies and research new spells – the bedrock of future fantasy 4X strategy games.

Slitherine used IP Acquisition. It’s super effective!

“We are looking forward to working on this immensely popular franchise,” said Slitherine development director, Iain McNeil. “We know there is a high level of responsibility when we try and develop sequels or successors to popular IPs. We have proven it is possible to fulfil players expectations with the likes of Panzer Corps when it comes to work on these legendary products.”

“The foundations of what we play today are still traced back to that golden age of gaming. We cannot ignore that, like we cannot ignore that technology has moved on with player’s expectations in other areas such as social integration, multiplayer, narration, ease-of-access and more. It will be a challenge, but we are happy to accept it and try our best to make a game that does justice to the brand.”

Slitherine will also release sequels to Close Combat and Fantasy General later this year.

News Bits

Arc System Works’ new Guilty Gear for 2020

Arc System Works announced that a new Guilty Gear is in development during the EVO2019 tournament, which will be out sometime in 2020. A teaser trailer showed off the fluid art and action of the 2.5D fighter, which seems to build on the monumental environments and arenas from Dragon Ball FighterZ, and of course featuring ridiculously sized weapons, impractical hair styles and overly dramatic poses – it’s Guilty Gear alright.

This October London gets its own temporary Pokémon Centre

The UK capital will be getting its own Pokémon Centre this October, threatening to flood London with Pokémon merch – but only for a limited time. This Pokémon Centre will open between October 18 and November 15 at Westfield London, Shepherd’s Bush. It’ll have “exclusive products not found anywhere else in the world.” Pikachu wearing a Bowler hat? Blimey.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Including this year’s Modern Warfare, how many Call of Duty games have been made by series creator Infinity Ward?

Answer: 7 (or 8 if we’re being technical)!

Yes, for today’s quiz we’ve got one of our occasional wishy-washy answers, because we didn’t feel it was fair to anyone who answered one or the other. If we’re talking which Call of Duty games were made primarily by Infinity Ward, then the answer’s probably seven.

However, Modern Warfare 3 was developed in part by Infinity Ward, so they were involved – but Call of Duty: WWII developer Sledgehammer Games probably did most of the work. So 7’s the real answer, but 8 is kinda true too.

While Infinity Ward created the Call of Duty series, Treyarch established itself as a competent steward of the series with Call of Duty 3 – and took over as the series’ lead studio after the huge success of Black Ops 1.

Following Modern Warfare 2 in 2010, studio founders Vince Zampella and Jason West were fired by Activision – and took a large chunk out of Infinity Ward to create Titanfall and Apex Legends developer Respawn. That’s why Sledgehammer had to do most of the work on Modern Warfare 3 – what remained of Infinity Ward weren’t in any state to get the job done!

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