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by (@NE_Brian) via Nintendo Everything

All indications thus far point to NBA 2K18 being very solid on Switch. Aside from some graphical differences, the Switch version matches up well to its counterparts on other platforms.

In an interview with Gamereactor, senior producer Rob Jones discussed the approach to creating NBA 2K18 for Switch in a bit more detail. From day one, Visual Concept’s president spoke about making it “the same exact game that was on PS4 and Xbox One”. It goes without saying that doing so was no easy task.

Jones’ full words:

“Well the main thing that our president said from day one is that the Switch had to be the same exact game that was on PS4 and Xbox One, so by starting there, you know, the bar was already set extremely high, because we were already working really, really hard just to get it on platforms we already knew, and then suddenly to take that and miniaturise it for the portable, you know, the portable Switch (obviously it also plays when it’s docked), but to get all those features working on there was kind of a gargantuan task.”

“We actually had a second team just dedicated only to doing the Switch version just because it would have been impossible within the confines of VC […] So obviously we delivered a good experience. It’s not the same exact graphics because the Switch can’t push them, you know, but the experience itself – you’re not missing out on anything from the Switch version [compared] to the main consoles version.”

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by Rob Thubron via TechSpot

It seems PC fans — myself included — agree with PC Gamer’s recent top 100 list: The Witcher 3 is the best game you can play right now. The publication asked its readers to vote for their favorite titles and added the results to its own list, which was put together by editors and contributors.

Participants picked two games from the Top 100 and recommended two others that didn’t appear. The list would then be reordered based on reader selections, and games with the fewest votes were replaced with the most popular new suggestions.

While there were some significant differences, the amazing Witcher 3: Wild Hunt retained its number one position, and while PC Gamer put the evergreen Half-Life 2 in the number 11 spot, readers boosted it up to second place. On the subject of CD Projekt Red’s classic, make sure to check out this heartfelt Witcher 3 10th anniversary video.

Another game that fans still love is the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The epic RPG was the magazine’s 26th best game, but the revamped list saw it move up to third.

Some titles appearing on the reader’s list that weren’t in the original included League of Legends at 18 (Dota 2 fell from 54 to 73), Fallout 2 at 11, and Borderlands 2 taking fifth place. Both Life is Strange and Rimworld also made the new version.

A notable name to drop off PC Gamer’s list was Spelunky. Its tenth-best game didn’t even make the readers’ top 100. You can check out a direct comparison of the lists on this spreadsheet. Also as a side note, here’s TechSpot’s shortlist of 10 PC games you should play — last updated in March it’s due for an update next month.

Meanwhile, here’s the readers’ top 20 (entries not on PC Gamer’s list are in bold):

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

2. Half-Life 2

3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

4. Dark Souls

5. Borderlands 2

6. Fallout: New Vegas

7. Mass Effect 2

8. Doom (2016)

9. BioShock

10. Doom 2

11. Fallout 2

12. Deus Ex

13. Portal 2

14. Life is Strange

15. Starcraft

16. Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn

17. Grand Theft Auto 5

18. League of Legends

19. Diablo 2

20. XCOM 2

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by Paul Tassi via Forbes

One question I get asked a lot is “If you weren’t reviewing video games for a living, would you still buy [X thing]?”

Most of the time, the answer is yes. Granted, while I don’t know what my schedule or income would be working some other job, most of the games I buy, the consoles I purchase, I would still be buying even if I wasn’t doing this for a living because well, I love video games. But after just shelling out $500 plus tax and delivery for an Xbox One X pre-order, this is one of the first times when I genuinely don’t think this is something I would have bought myself.

As Eurogamer noted in a great piece this weekend, Microsoft has not done a good job selling the Xbox One X from the start, and didn’t do so in what will probably be its final high profile sales pitch at Gamescom. With very few recent, exclusive games that can only be played on Xbox generally, the Xbox One X’s main selling point is that it will play multiplatform third party games better than everyone else as “the most powerful console ever made.”

I will say what Microsoft has done with the Xbox One X’s tech is impressive, extracting power from places no one’s even thought of before to really put a ton of horsepower into a home console. But that’s put the system in a weird position where even if $500 might actually be a logical, even great price for the capabilities of the system, it’s…still a $500 console in a market where its closest competition, PS4 Pro, is $100 less than that, and most consoles, including Microsoft’s own Xbox One S, are half the price instead.

This leaves me wondering who exactly this console is for, which is something I have not really understood from the start. There’s my crowd, game journalists, and there are Microsoft fans so devoted that they have already bought it blindly and will likely appear in the next few minutes in the comments of this article disparaging my character. But that is not a very large crowd. If Microsoft was putting out exclusive games on par with Horizon, Uncharted, Nier, etc. that would be one selling point, but just offering to be a “better” version of shared games is less convincing.

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Microsoft is also not being clear about what “better” means, in most circumstances. Some games like Forza 7 are designed to be native “true” 4K and 60 fps. If that was a metric that could be hit across the board for all titles, that would be gamechanging to be sure, but it’s unclear that even with all the tech Microsoft has jammed into the X1X, how often that will be possible. For all its talk of “true” 4K, there appear to be very few games that are actually capable of running at that native resolution, and these “enhanced” games will have improvements spanning from major to minor, but what specifically is improved will vary on a case by case basis.

If anything, PS4 Pro has made me more wary of “enhanced” games, which is making me cautious about the Xbox One X’s claim to do the same thing. While some games are clearly better with the Pro, namely Sony’s own in-house titles like Horizon Zero Dawn and Uncharted: Lost Legacy, with many “enhanced” titles, it’s hard to tell. Recently, I got through an entire playthrough of Prey not realizing it hadn’t been patched for Pro, and once it was, I logged back in to find…literally no noticeable difference whatsoever. Maybe the X1X with all its power will display this convincingly, but I have not seen enough specifics where I can believe that, and I’m still not sold on the concept of “incremental upgrade” consoles generally, especially after owning a Pro.

The other problem with the “best place to play” selling point of Xbox One X is that for these cross-platform games, ultimately my decision to play them on PS4 or Xbox may rest on a factor outside of Microsoft’s control, where my friends are playing. Maybe Destiny 2 will look and play better on Xbox One X, but almost everyone I know is going to be playing that game on PS4, meaning it would be incredibly hard to make that switch for that reason alone. Repeat that for essentially any multiplayer game you want to play with friends. But yeah sure, I guess I’ll pick up Assassin’s Creed Origins for X1X. Maybe. But is this really what I bought a $500 console for?

In short:

  • The Xbox One X does not seem like it will do enough to convince PS4 owners to make the switch, due to a lack of exclusives and a smaller playerbase.
  • It is clearly not the console for people who don’t own any new-gen systems yet, as it has the highest price on the market by a wide margin.
  • For those who desperately care about power and specs above all else, the term for that group is “PC gamers,” who will likely own machines that can outperform the X1X already. Not to mention all Xbox One exclusives going forward will be available on PC and can be played with an Xbox controller there.
  • That leaves die-hard Xbox fans, though many of them may still not be able to justify a $500 purchase even if they do want the console.
  • Pretty much anyone, in any category, who buys an Xbox One X must have a 4K HDR TV or they will not be utilizing the main selling point of the unit. While 4K is clearly where the market is moving, adoption rates are still low at this point.

Microsoft seems to realize all this, and is playing up expectations accordingly, positioning the X1X as something “for the fans,” and a “premium experience” that isn’t for everyone. But with the current state of the Xbox brand and its market position lightyears behind PS4, it seems like an odd decision to release such a niche console that’s a very, very tough purchase for almost the entirety of the gaming public.

Initial pre-orders have sold out, but we have no real context of what that means, and we won’t know more until the system is actually released this fall. But yep, I’m getting one, and I guess I’ll see if it’s worth it then. If you bought this system early, what was your rationale? I’m genuinely curious.

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From the PlayStation Europe Twitter account. Credit: Sony

by Dave Thier via Forbes

Because who doesn’t like a good teaser? PlayStation Europe has a perfectly cryptic message up on its Twitter account that appears to be teasing some sort of announcement ahead of Gamescom. It says only “we’re gearing up for the reveal of something new,” with a gif of red cloth sitting over some unnamed object. Sony didn’t announce a Gamescom press conference, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t bringing some kind of surprise, possibly to offer something to take attention away from Microsoft’s Xbox One X. The company’s North American accounts didn’t echo the tease, so whatever it is may only apply to Europe.

Beyond this, we have absolutely nothing to go on, but that’s never stopped us from wild speculation before. The red cloth could seem to indicate a physical object, and for some reason, the commentariat of the broader gaming community have jumped on the idea of a portable. This is almost certainly not going to happen: Sony hopefully learned its lesson with the Vita, and woe be to the company that challenges either the 3DS or the Switch. A much more reasonable assumption would be some kind of Knack-only console that promises to enshrine the wonder that is Knackfor future generations— a Knackstation if you will. Support for Knack 2 is unannounced at this time.

If I had to take an actual guess, I’d say this this is some sort of special edition PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 4 Pro, some of which have been region-specific before. Sony isn’t doing any sort of presentation at Gamescom, so it’d be a pretty unusual move to come out with some kind of large-scale reveal without any warning. Not impossible, mind you, just unusual. Sony is having a press conference at Paris Games Week in October, so if it has something bigger for the Holiday season that might be a more reasonable time to unveil it. But who knows? We’ll find out soon, it would seem.

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by Mark Austin via Digital Trends

In a post on its website, BioWare announced that there will be no Mass Effect: AndromedaDLC, and that support for the single-player campaign has come to an end: “There are no planned future patches for single-player or in-game story content.”

The game was put on “temporary hiatus” back in May 2017, with many team members relocated to EA Motive for the upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront II. Several game websites had speculated that there would be no more DLC for the game following a mixed reception, underwhelming sales, and middling reviews.

The announcement leaves the future of the franchise in doubt. Plagued by numerous delays, staff changes, and technological difficulties, the ambitious game didn’t seem to realiz its full potential from the beginning, and has relied on the multiplayer loot-box system for much of its revenue.

The other three Mass Effect games had major single-player DLC packs that complemented the main narrative, and this cancellation leaves much of the unfinished Andromeda story in limbo. Whatever happened to Ryder’s family, and who was the Benefactor behind the Andromeda initiative? What about the Quarians? We may never know.

However, BioWare promises that they “will continue to tell stories in the Andromeda Galaxy through our upcoming comics and novels, including the fate of the quarian ark.” More details about multiplayer enhancements and “N7 Day” (November 7th) will be revealed in the coming weeks.

EA and BioWare never seemed happy with the game. In an interview with Engadget, EA Executive Vice President Patrick Soderlund was quite candid about their disappointment with Andromeda. “A game that we launched in the market that doesn’t function and is full of bugs, that’s not who we are and that’s not who we should be,” he said. “With Mass Effect [Andromeda], the game wasn’t maybe as finished as people wanted it to be.”

BioWare is hoping to right the ship with a new franchise set to debut in 2018. Anthem is an open-world sci-fi RPG set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland featuring giant monsters and Iron Man-esque suits of armor.

Still, the announcement about Andromeda marks an inglorious and unfortunate end to an epic franchise that redefined the art of single-player narrative games.

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dims

It’s not just big-name titles, but you’ll have to wait for some.

by Edgar Alavrez via Engadget

Microsoft has dribbled out details of Xbox One X visual upgrades over the past couple of months, but now it’s laying all its cards on the table. The company’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb has posted a list of all the games currently slated to get some kind of Xbox One X enhancement. Some of them you’ll already know about or would expect, such as many recent Microsoft-published games (including Quantum Break), Assassin’s Creed Origins and Wolfenstein II. However, there are plenty of older and indie titles also in line, such as AstroneerFirewatchHitman and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

The list looks impressive at first blush, but it’s also important to remember that only some of the games will be Xbox One X-ready when the console launches on November 7th. Many of these titles, like Anthem, won’t ship until many months later. Microsoft also doesn’t explain just what the enhancements mean. You’ll have to dig deeper to find out whether or not a game runs natively in 4K or relies on upscaling tricks (such as checkerboard rendering), as well as whether or not there are any added visual effects. Think of this as a cheat sheet — it’ll give you a quick idea of which games will improve, but it’s up to you to decide whether or not those improvements justify a purchase.

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bioware-general-manager-casey-hudson-anthem

by Timothy J. Seppala via Engadget

Strange things are afoot at Mass Effect and Dragon Age studio BioWare. Mass Effect‘s former creative director, Casey Hudson, is leaving his spot at Microsoft and will return to Edmonton to lead the studio, as general manager Aaryn Flynnhas announced he’s stepping down. “I have been contemplating changes in my own life for some time, but when I heard that Casey had confirmed he was up for the task, I realized the opportunities before us,” Flynn writes. “I will be working with him over the next couple of weeks to catch him up and do my part to set him up for success to be the best GM he can be.”

Considering Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s tepid reception, critically, from fans and, surprisingly from with in publisher Electronic Arts, maybe this shouldn’t come as a surprise. When something like that happens it isn’t uncommon for the head of a studio to step down. After all, BioWare founders Drs. Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk retired from the game industry wholesale after fans’ vocal reaction Mass Effect 3‘s ending.

“With Mass Effect, the game wasn’t maybe as finished as people wanted it to be,” EA’s vice president Patrick Soderlund told Engadget ahead of E3 this year. “Of course, we take that seriously. What we do is we look at that toward the Mass Effect team themselves, but we also look at what learnings we can apply to the rest of the organization so that this doesn’t get replicated in another place around EA.”

The interesting part here is Hudson’s return. The Mass Effect lead parted ways with BioWare in 2015 to work on HoloLens projects at Microsoft. Now, he’s heading back to old stomping grounds. Maybe bringing him back is an attempt to find Mass Effect‘s magic once again.

There’s also the chance that he’ll be helping with EA’s Destiny-alike, Anthem, but given that that game has been in development for a few years at this point, maybe that isn’t the case. Regardless, perhaps this is the good news BioWare fans have been waiting for since March.

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