#158: Gaming Deals for the Weekend

TODAY: The Joker finally makes his appearance in the Netherrealm — Microsoft seems to be trying a new tactic with Xbox Series X — The Christmas sale may be over, but there are always great deals

Top Story

CD Projekt RED confirms ‘AAA parallel project’ is Cyberpunk multiplayer

The last few days have been a wild ride for CD Projekt RED fans, as the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt developer first announced that Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed until September, and then confirmed that they are working on a multiplayer mode for the eagerly anticipated open-world sci-fi RPG.

“The AAA release we’re working on in parallel with CP2077 is Cyberpunk multiplayer,” said Michal Nowakowski, a CD Projekt RED board member – but there’s no way it will launch alongside the single-player campaign. Most likely it won’t appear until 2022.

Cyberpunk 2077 was delayed to mid-April, and now to mid-September

While they were open about playing with multiplayer modes for Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt RED were adamant that the multiplayer mode would not just be a tacked-on box-ticking effort and that they needed a solid concept for it.

“…given the expected release of Cyberpunk 2077 in September and the series of events which we expect to occur after that date, 2021 appears unlikely as the release date for Cyberpunk multiplayer,” said Nowakowski. The new release date for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is September 17th. Fingers crossed!

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which secret Mortal Kombat II character appared in the 2011 reboot?

  • Tremor
  • Skarlet
  • Ermac
  • Sheeva

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

The Joker appears in Mortal Kombat 11

Batman’s nemesis The Joker will be bringing his violent brand of lunacy to the Netherrealm on January 28th. There’s a new trailer showing off his wacky antics, including his ludicrous friendship fatality.

New Baldur’s Gate 3 teaser

It has been a while since Larian announced Baldur’s Gate 3, and the studio has remained quiet since then. Now things seem to be heating up again, with a teaser saying “something’s brewing” and showing some behind-the-scenes footage of motion capture, orchestral recording and … beach photography. Maybe they’ve been on vacation all this time?

Daily Fact

Shenmue II had accurate moon phases, weather-sensitive minigames and Coke

Shenmue 2 was nothing if not ambitious, featuring admirably bonkers details like accurate lunar phases, thanks to a model based on the relative positions of the sun and the moon. Because why not, right?

The Lucky Hit minigame would even be affected by the weather and temperature in the game, altering the ball’s physical properties and thus its behaviour. While it might be more a question of product placement than a relentless pursuit of realism, the Japanese version of the game even featured Coka-Cola vending machines. The European and North American versions only featured Jet Cola.

Oh, and Shenmue 2 is one of those rare cases where the European version came out long before the North American one! Shenmue 2 launched for Dreamcast in Europe, while Americans had to wait for the Xbox version – and couldn’t transfer their savegames from the Dreamcast version. Sad!

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

Daily News

Xbox Series X might be Microsoft’s first ‘evergreen platform’

While Microsoft has made a big song and dance about how powerful their upcoming Xbox Series X console is, they haven’t talked much about exclusives for their next-gen effort – which makes us wonder, why should we buy it?

While it might seem like a baffling marketing strategy, it makes a certain amount of sense in light of Microsoft’s goal of making the Xbox an ‘evergreen platform’: New hardware generations are simply upgrades to the previous one, so there will be no next-gen games, just Xbox games. At least in theory.

Xbox Series X goes head-to-head with PlayStation 5

Since beating Sony with the Xbox 360 – and arguably becoming a footnote to the Wii – Microsoft has struggled to differentiate their platform, and appears to have been outsold by both PlayStation 4 and Switch, although Microsoft has not revealed sales figures.

Perhaps Microsoft is looking to back out of the race, and simply consider the Xbox a low-cost, entertainment-centric computer with a regular upgrade cycle, much like a mobile phone? Each revision simply represents a gradual upgrade rather than a big generational shift and will play the same games as the previous model, but they will look and run better.

This would be dramatically different from Sony and Nintendo’s approach, with monolithic consoles and heavy emphasis on first-party exclusives. But maybe that’s exactly what will make Microsoft’s offering different? Changing the game, making Xbox into more of a service than a platform, one that doesn’t care about hardware but just makes games available anytime and anywhere? Project xCloud certainly makes it look that way. Maybe Microsoft is not so much abandoning the console war as reinventing it.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot round-up

Bandai Namco never gets tired of retelling Dragon Ball Z, and we never get tired of kamehamehaing our enemies to smithereens. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is all about Goku, this time the star of an open-world-ish action RPG from CyberConnect2. How strong is the criticism?

  • GAMINGbible (Score 9/10) – ”While some of it feels a little dated and the side missions don’t diverge as much as they could, the overall package is a deeply engrossing fresh way to experience an old staple for any Dragon Ball Z fan.”
  • Stevivor (Score 8/10) – ”I had high hopes for Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, and it delivers across the board. Its frantic retelling of a well-worn story enables it to dig deeper into the world and characters of Dragon Ball Z beyond the iconic battles, and it’s all the better for it. It blends a collection of RPG tropes into the Dragon Ball Z universe, intent on keeping its humour, and while some of it feels a little dated and the side missions don’t diverge as much as they could, the overall package is a deeply engrossing fresh way to experience an old staple for any Dragon Ball Z fan.”
  • Trusted Reviews (Score 3.5/5) – ”For diehard fans of the series, Dragonball Z: Kakarot is a fanservice-littered romp, full of your favourite characters. It has the most well-realised Dragonball world there has ever been. Be warned however, as side content in this game is a pure afterthought, and there is often little payoff for doing so outside of nostalgia-related reasons.”
  • TheSixthAxis (Score 7/10) – ”Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot displays unparalleled care and respect for the iconic story arcs it adapts. The original music is there, original Dragon Ball characters return, and pivotal moments are gorgeously animated. If these were stories being presented in video game format for the first time, it would be a mind-blowing experience. Unfortunately, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot doesn’t push the envelope enough to warrant sitting through the Cell Saga for the umpteenth time and seeing Frieza get obliterated yet again. If you’ve played a Dragon Ball Z game before, you’ve basically played this one.”
  • Windows Central (Score 3.5/5) – ”Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is a good fighting game that needs more polish.”
  • Jeuxvideo.com (Score 6.5/10) – ”In itself, nothing is really bad and if we do even find some excellent things, many elements are unfortunately average. However, we will experience a lot of pleasure in reliving all of the iconic face-to-face saga especially as the clashes are dynamic and based on an instinctive playability.”

Unscored / Pending

  • GamesRadar+ (Score Pending) – ”As it stands, around 12 hours in, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is a fun game, but one that hasn’t quite lived up to its potential in any section. The fights can often feel unbalanced, the adventuring lacks the carrots and sticks needed to pull you through, and a lot of the activities feel like little more than a distraction. It does, however, look like the anime has come to life, and sound spectacular. It’s just a shame it’s not a little bit deeper, but hey, at least it’s flashy. [12 Hour Impressions]”
  • Destructoid (Score Pending) – ”Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot might be an all too familiar trip down memory lane, but so far it’s fun enough and much more pointed than some of the aimless DBZ games of old.”
  • IGN (Score Pending) – ”Characters like Nam, Launch, Tao, and Eighter appear as characters that you can get sidequests from, and there are also collectible cards that you can find out in the world which unlock a screenshot from the original Dragon Ball anime along with a little bit of text contextualizing it. It’s pretty neat! I always loved stumbling upon one.”
  • Push Square (Score Pending) – ”Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot can be good fun, especially if you’re a big Dragon Ball nerd like this particular author, but it’s hamstrung by so many problems — problems that, at least on a surface level, could have been corrected had the game been given more time in the oven. As it stands, Kakarot is a relatively unique and in-depth Dragon Ball adaptation, but it’s not a great video game.”

Weekly Deals Roundup

What are ya buyin’?

Just because Christmas is over doesn’t mean it’s too late to treat yourself. 2020 is shaping up to be one of the best-ever years in gaming, and looks to end the current console generation with an explosion of quality games.

If you were one of the many fans upset about the exorbitant pricing of the Pokémon Sword & Shield Expansion Pass, you’ll be happy to find ShopTo offering a nice discount.

UK & Europe

Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass (Nintendo Switch) £21.85 @ ShopTo

Fallout 4 (Xbox One) £3.99 @ Argos

Sniper Elite 3 Ultimate Edition (Nintendo Switch) £14.99 @ Nintendo Store

PlayStation Plus 12 Month Membership (PS4) £31.85 @ ShopTo

Rage 2 (Xbox One) £7.49 @ Amazon UK

Got 20 bucks to spare? Then you should definitely bag yourself Cuphead and Persona 5! Cuphead is an unmissable run-and-gunner, while Persona 5 is one of the best JRPGs of the generation. Unbelievable value for money!

US

Risk of Rain 2 (PC) $13.25 @ WinGameStore

Titanfall 2 (PC) $4.99 @ Amazon US

Cuphead (Nintendo Switch) $9.00 @ Target

Persona 5 (PS4) $9.99 @ PlayStation Store US

You know what’s better than a discount? A give-away! Sony and Microsoft are locked in a war to see who can give you the best bundle of goodies this month, while Epic keeps up its tradition of gaming away a free game once a week.

Rest of the World

Sundered: Eldritch Edition & Horace (PC) Free @ Epic Games Store

Headsnatchers (PC) Free @ Humble Bundle

Grand Theft Auto 5, Tekken 7, Frostpunk & Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet (Xbox One/PC) £1/$1 for one month on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate/PC @ Microsoft Store

Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection & Goat Simulator (PS4) Free* for PS Plus members throughout January@ PlayStation Plus

Arma 3 (PC) Free @ Steam

News Bits

La-Mulana 1 & 2 arrives on Xbox One, PlayStation and Switch in March

NIS America is bringing classic masocore adventures La-Mulana 1 & 2 to consoles in March. Get ready to explore ancient ruins teeming with traps, puzzles and monsters. Archaeology proves history can be fun – and dangerous. Excavate some fresh gameplay footage here.

Shemue III’s first DLC on January 21st

Step aside, Ryo Hazuki! The first DLC for Shenmue III is called Battle Rally, and adds new activities as well as a racing mode. You can also play as Wuying Ren and Wei Zhen when Shenmue III: Battle Rally arrives on PC and PlayStation 4 on January 21st.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which secret Mortal Kombat II character appared in the 2011 reboot?

Answer: Skarlet!

Mortal Kombat has always been packed full of Easter eggs and secret characters. Skarlett started out as an urban legend about a secret character in Mortal Kombat II, and remained little more than a rumour and a few doctored screenshots until finally appearing in the 9th game in the series, the 2011 reboot Mortal Kombat.

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