Saturday, July 24, 2021

IN THE EVENT YOU Play ” NEW WORLD “? Beta Impressions From The Frontier

Amazon Games’ upcoming MMORPG New World is in the spotlight as a lengthy closed beta session shows off the action ahead of an August 31st release. New World has changed its vision multiple times over the course of development, and now the question on everyone’s mind is – where is this going to land on release? What kind of player is it for? What kind of MMORPG is it? And perhaps the most important question, is it worth your time at all? Over the course of the beta (and a demo session that took me into an endgame slice with a fully-geared character), I’ve seen some areas with huge potential that are currently underserved in the MMORPG space – and some others that could be intense detriments for the title. Let’s talk about New World!It successfully lands a powerful frontier survival vibe If you’re familiar with survival games that have you punching wood to get a house going, New World delivers on this front initially by giving the player myriad survival pursuits. Hunting turkey on the borders of your established safe zones to raise your cooking skill and create rations is far more engaging than it has any right to be. Hunting down elusive saltpeter deposits in mines and crafting your own shells for your old-timey rifles feels fun. Being able to skill up in everything to your liking is a classic system à la Runescape, and its nice to know you can work up every single crafting and gathering skill if you wish, right down to doing some fishing. Banging together your first batch of gathering tools is actually freaking awesome. Digging up carrots and potatoes feels meaningful. Coming back to your town in the middle of the wilderness to trade feed and talk with your fellow explorers has all the allure of bustling about Disney’s Frontiertown, and I’ve rarely had so much investment into crafting and trading systems in MMOs. I can see potential problems with these aspects later down the line, i.e. do I really want to spend my time in the endgame gathering resources just so I can play the game, but for now, there’s plenty of magic in creating my own food, ammunition, and supplies before I trek out into the wild. It feels gritty, it feels raw, and it feels fresh. Faction PVP can be a lot of fun Territory control and faction-based opt-in PVP not only bring back a bit of realm-vs-realm feel from the glory days of Dark Age of Camelot, but they inject something that many online experiences have moved away from in the last decade – social interaction. That means yes, you are going to see a player named PoopyPants (Yes, this was a real player I saw) cutting down trees and screaming outside of town about the price of silver ore, and your chat feed is going to be inundated with comments that make the infamous Barrens chat look downright erudite. However, it also successfully adds shared social stakes to the experience, even if you choose not to interact at the verbal level with any other players. By funneling players into three different factions, you have an investment in your tribe regardless of how deep you want to take it. If you still just want to solo and bring back a load of furs to trade in town, you can – but the real fun is to be had by grouping up, interacting with others, and eventually taking over some territory as your chosen faction. At the solo, guild, and greater level, having game flow dictated by players instead of the “theme park” experience is a bold choice and more than a bit refreshing. The issue here is how interesting and meaningful are these faction wars going to be in the endgame? While I don’t have the answer to that yet, the prospect of really engaging with other players in a meaningful way in a MMORPG gives me a powerful nostalgia bump and some serious differentiation from many other genre offerings today. On the flip side, if you’re not really interested in territory wars or PvP, other existing MMORPGs might be a better choice. The combat is New World’s biggest weakness In almost every MMORPG, you’re going to be doing a ton of combat. It’s probably the biggest portion of the entire gameplay experience. With limited skill options, awkward animations, and very little excitement, New World’s combat is decidedly dull. Now, there’s something to be said about popping an opposing faction member from a great distance before you engage in a 3v3 skirmish that gets real greasy, but that’s more about the player-to-player interaction than the combat, which can often feel wooden and wonky. While I enjoy systems that attempt to break the genre out of the tab-targeting standard that’s been grandfathered into MMOs for ages, it misses the mark here.  I found it hard to determine if the other aspects of the game that seem enjoyable can carry this particular aspect either, as combat is the core of almost every other pursuit. Even if you’re just spelunking for saltpeter, you’re going to have to fight a ton of various zombie-like creatures, wolves, or bears, and it simply does not feel good. This problem is exacerbated in group experiences, both PvP and PvE, but more pronounced in the latter. Chewing into spongey opponents as a pack with the glaring lack of feedback from weaponry is almost comical, and your options in combat feel extremely limited and lacking. Everything can feel the same Enemies, locations, and activities can become a big bowl of mush without breaking it up with some PvP pursuits. You’ll see many of the same rickety little fishing villages, decrepit farms, and crumbling ruins as you traverse the giant world. Killing some undead buccaneers at level 5 feels the same as it does at level 15, and you’re going to be doing a ton of daily-quest/fetch style activities in order to grind out your faction reputation, like wandering around the aforementioned locations for boxes and killing X undead baddies. It feels intensely repetitive even after only twenty hours of gameplay, so I’m concerned about how that will translate to the endgame – will I still, as an elite member of the Syndicate, still be wandering farms killing undead and picking taters? I mean, I do like picking taters... Travel is rough When you’re just starting, it’s fine that you’re walking everywhere because you don’t have far to go. However, this takes a turn at around level 12, where you’ll find the autorun button and some movies on your favorite streaming platform to be your best friends. The world is large, and traveling it all on foot is a huge pain. Without mounts, and the fact that fast travel is limited by resources, moving around the map is an absolute bore and a chore. I realize there are other meaningful concerns that probably flow into this decision, like the implications of having everyone zoom around in a game that’s attempting to create stakes with territory control and PvP, but this becomes harder and harder to ignore the more you play and get quests on opposite ends of your map. Forging ahead Based on the beta, New World is going to be an interesting but potentially niche addition to the current crop of MMORPGs. However, it seems to really serve players that want to play with small groups of friends for faction skirmishes and that are interested in greater territory control wars with big guild politics and all that. If you’re not interested in that kind of greater pursuit with plenty of social interaction and PvP, the PvE elements by themselves do not seem compelling enough to keep things rolling.  While I love the feeling of crafting my own stuff, slowly increasing the areas that I’m strong enough to explore, and fastidiously upping all my gathering and crafting skills, I can see those charms fading rapidly as the activities become somewhat rote. The dynamics involved in faction wars and territory control seem to be the peppy antidote for the never-ending rock farm in various undead shacks and homesteads. As with other games that lean into this kind of emergent gameplay (RIP Shadowbane), some of New World will be what players shape it into.
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    New Dead Space Remake Details Revealed, Including Zero Loading Screens And Learning From Past Mistakes

    Earlier this week, Motive and EA revealed the Dead Space remake after numerous rumors that some sort of revival was on the way. While the teaser was just that — a teaser — we did get a few more details about what the remake will have in store. Get ready to dismember some limbs, folks, and let's dive into what we know so far. In an interview with IGN, senior producer Philippe Ducharme and creative director Roman Campos-Oriola revealed a little more about what the remake has in store. For those worried that the remake will remake a little too much: don't be. The pair assures fans of the iconic space franchise that the team has the original vision in mind when tackling this project. That being said, it's not just a tiny polish job either; there is a lot of work going into rebuilding this game utilizing EA's Frostbite engine.  “We started with the original level design of the original Dead Space," said Campos-Oriola when talking about referencing original assets, including those that never made launch. "What's funny is that you can see some of the iterations that were made prior to ship by the team. In the first chapter, you can see some corridors that they wanted to do first in a certain way, and then you can understand why they changed it for technical constraints or [some other reason]. “Then, in terms of visuals, sound, gameplay, everything, we are rebuilding all of these assets. We are not porting them; it's not uprezzing the texture or adding more polygons to the model. It's really rebuilding all these elements, shooting all the animations, et cetera.” Tech advancements The duo confirmed that the remake is still very early in development, which is giving the team more time to find creative ways to harness Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 technology in an effort to take the immersion of Dead Space "even deeper" and a more "fully interactive" experience. A good example of this is that there will not be any loading screens, that way "there's not going to be any m moment where w'ere going to cut your experience" or cut away from any scene players find themselves in.  According to Campos-Oriola, "What was really important was to be able to capture the unique look of Dead Space. That unique sci-fi look, but it's gritty and dirty and you feel that everything has been used for a long time. Capturing that dirty, industrial look, but with the level of detail that we can afford now, was something important during the production of that atmospheric benchmark.” With a full rebuilding of the game, the team is implementing changes inspired by unused concept art and character designs, environmental changes, and adding volumetric effects and more dynamic lighting to bring each scene to life in frightening detail. From the sounds of the game being far more immersive than the original by  using 3D audio, to the entire experience rooted in dark colors and threateningly lit corridors, everything about the changes are still very much "rooted in the DNA of what Dead Space is."  Filling in some plot holes The two devs also stated that while this is a remake of the first game, the studio did look at the franchise as a whole to get a better vision for how they want the remake to play out in an effort to "flesh out" concepts a little more thoroughly in the first adventure.  “For us, the foundation is the Dead Space 1 story. So, by default, that's what is canon. But then there are some improvements that we want to make to that story,” Campos-Oriola said. “And not necessarily improvements because those things were not really working in the original, more improvements because of what came after, and we're like, ‘Aw man, that's interesting if we could reference that, or if we could make a link to that." What about microtransactions? The pair confirmed that there will be no microtransactions for this game and that there were "never" any plans to add them into this single-pplayer experience. This concern doesn't come out of nowhere. EA decided to add microtransactions to Dead Space 3 and that inclusion wasn't met with the most positive reception. With microtransaction blunders that continued to follow after, most notoriously, Star Wars Battlefront II, Motive and EA agreed that this sort of additional pay model has no place in the Dead Space remake. Thankfully. “We want to make games that deliver the experiences our players are looking for. Sometimes that is a single-player story-focused experience, where players can immerse themselves in another world,” Miele said. “Other players want us to show up every day with new content and events in our live services like Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, The Sims, Apex, and FIFA to name a few. We want players to choose an EA game or experience, and that means we need to make the type of games they want to play. Focusing on just one genre or model limits the number of players we can reach. We want to meet the players where they play and commit ourselves to impressing our fans with games that continue to surprise or delight them.” We don't have a release date at this time, which is expected considering it is so early in its development, but at least we know we can experience the horrors of Dead Space once more sometime in the near future.  Thoughts on the Dead Space remake reveal? What sort of changes are you hoping to see? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 

    The very best Chromebooks you can purchase

    All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Chromebooks have earned a reputation for being cheap and limited, but that hasn’t been true for a while now. The combination of years worth of software updates and laptop manufacturers making more powerful and better-built Chromebooks means there are a ton of good Chrome OS machines that work well as everyday drivers. Of course, there are an unnecessary number of Chromebooks on the market, so choosing the right one is easier said than done. Fortunately, I’ve tried enough of them at this point to know what to look for and what to avoid. What is Chrome OS, and why would I use it over Windows? That’s probably the number one question about Chromebooks. There are plenty of inexpensive Windows laptops on the market, so why bother with Chrome OS? Glad you asked. For me, the simple and clean nature of Chrome OS is a big selling point. If you didn’t know, it’s based on Google’s Chrome browser, which means most of the programs you can run are web based. There’s no bloatware or unwanted apps to uninstall like you often get on Windows laptops, it boots up in seconds, and you can completely reset to factory settings almost as quickly. Of course, the simplicity is also a major drawback for some users. Not being able to install native software can be a dealbreaker if you’re, say, a video editor or software developer. But there are also plenty of people who do the vast majority of their work in a browser. Unless I need to edit photos for a review, I can do my entire job on a Chromebook. Nathan Ingraham / Engadget Google has also added support for Android apps on Chromebooks, which greatly expands the amount of software available. The quality varies widely, but it means you can do more with a Chromebook beyond just web-based apps. For example, you can install the Netflix app and save videos for offline watching; other Android apps like Microsoft’s Office suite and Adobe Lightroom are surprisingly capable. Between Android apps and a general improvement in web apps, Chromebooks are more than just a browser. What do Chromebooks do well, and when should you avoid them? Put simply, anything web based. Browsing, streaming music and video and using various social media sites are among the most common things people do on Chromebooks. As you might expect, they also work well with Google services like Photos, Docs, Gmail, Drive, Keep and so on. Yes, any computer that can run Chrome can do that too, but the lightweight nature of Chrome OS makes it a responsive and stable platform. As I mentioned before, Chrome OS can run Android apps, so if you’re an Android user you’ll find some nice ties between the platforms. You can get most of the same apps that are on your phone on a Chromebook and keep info in sync between them. You can also use some Android phones as a security key for your Chromebook or instantly tether your laptop to use mobile data. Nathan Ingraham / Engadget Google continues to tout security as a major differentiator for Chromebooks, and I think it’s definitely a factor worth considering. The first line of defense is auto-updates. Chrome OS updates download quickly in the background and a fast reboot is all it takes to install the latest version. Google says that each webpage and app on a Chromebook runs in its own sandbox, as well, so any security threats are contained to that individual app. Finally, Chrome OS has a self-check called Verified Boot that runs every time a device starts up. Beyond all this, the simple fact that you generally can’t install traditional apps on a Chromebook means there are a lot fewer ways for bad actors to access the system. As for when to avoid them, the answer is simple: If you rely heavily on a specific native application for Windows or a Mac, chances are good you won’t find the exact same option on a Chromebook. That’s most true in fields like photo and video editing, but it can also be the case in fields like law or finance. Plenty of businesses run on Google’s G suite software, but more still have specific requirements that a Chromebook might not match. If you’re an iPhone user, you’ll also miss out on the way the iPhone easily integrates with an iPad or Mac, as well. For me, the big downside is not being able to access iMessage on a Chromebook. Finally, gaming is almost entirely a non-starter, as there are no native Chrome OS games of note. You can install Android games from the Google Play Store, but that’s not what most people are thinking of when they want to game on a laptop. That said, Google’s game-streaming service Stadia has changed that long-standing problem. The service isn’t perfect, but it remains the only way to play recent, high-profile games on a Chromebook. It’s not as good as running local games on a Windows computer, but the lag issues that can crop up reflect mostly on Stadia itself and not Chrome OS. What are the most important specs for a Chromebook? Chrome OS is lightweight and usually runs well on fairly modest hardware, so the most important thing to look for might not be processor power or storage space. That said, I’d still recommend you get a Chromebook with a relatively recent Intel processor, ideally an eighth-generation or newer M3 or i3. Most non-Intel Chromebooks I’ve tried haven’t had terribly good performance, though Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet 2-in-1 runs surprisingly well on its MediaTek processor. As for RAM, 4GB is enough for most people, though 8GB is a better target if you have the cash, want to future-proof your investment or if you’re a serious tab junkie. Storage space is another place where you don’t need to spend too much; 64GB should be fine for almost anyone. If you plan on storing a lot of local files or loading up your Chromebook with Linux or Android apps, get 128GB. But for what it’s worth, I’ve never felt like I might run out of local storage when using Chrome OS. Things like the keyboard and display quality are arguably more important than sheer specs. The good news is that you can find less expensive Chromebooks that still have pretty good screens and keyboards that you won’t mind typing on all day. Many cheap Chromebooks still come with tiny, low-resolution displays, but at this point there’s no reason to settle for anything less than 1080p. (If you’re looking for an extremely portable, 11-inch Chromebook, though, you’ll probably have to settle for less.) Obviously, keyboard quality is a bit more subjective, but you shouldn’t settle for a mushy piece of garbage. Google has an Auto Update policy for Chromebooks, and while that’s not a spec, per se, it’s worth checking before you buy. Basically, Chromebooks get regular software updates automatically for about six years from their release date (though that can vary from device to device). This support page lists the Auto Update expiration date for virtually every Chromebook ever, but a good rule of thumb is to buy the newest machine you can to maximize your support. How much should I spend? Nathan Ingraham / Engadget Chromebooks started out notoriously cheap, with list prices often coming in under $300. But as they’ve gone more mainstream, they’ve transitioned from being essentially modern netbooks to the kind of laptop you’ll want to use all day. As such, prices have increased a bit over the last few years. At this point, you should expect to spend at least $400 if you want a solid daily driver. There are still many budget options out there that may be suitable as couch machines or secondary devices, but if you want a Chromebook that can be your all-day-every-day laptop, $400 is the least you can expect to spend. There are also plenty of premium Chromebooks that approach or even exceed $1,000, but I don’t recommend spending that much. Generally, that’ll get you better design quality with more premium materials, as well as more powerful internals and extra storage space. Of course, you also sometimes pay for the brand name. But, the specs I outlined earlier are usually enough. Right now, there actually aren’t too many Chromebooks that even cost that much. Google’s Pixelbook Go comes in $999 and $1,399 configurations, but the more affordable $650 and $850 options will be just as good for nearly everyone. Samsung released the $1,000 Galaxy Chromebook in 2020; this luxury device does almost everything right but has terrible battery life. Samsung quickly learned from that mistake and is now offering the Galaxy Chromebook 2 with more modest specs, but vastly better battery life at a much more affordable price (more on that laptop later). For the most part, you don’t need to spend more than $850 to get a premium Chromebook that’ll last you years. Engadget picks Best overall: Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Nathan Ingraham / Engadget Look beyond the awkward name and you’ll find a Chromebook that does just about everything right that’s also a tremendous value. It gets all the basics right: The 13-inch 1080p touchscreen is bright, though it’s a little hard to see because of reflections in direct sunlight. It runs on a 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, the eight-hour battery life is solid, and the backlit keyboard is one of the best I’ve used on any laptop lately, Chromebook or otherwise. The Flex 5 is now a little over a year old, but it still holds up well and is even cheaper than it was when it first launched. It can now regularly be found for well under $400 on Amazon. (As of this writing, it’s priced at $329.) That’s an outstanding value for a Chromebook this capable. Naturally, Lenovo cut a few corners to hit that price. Most significantly, it only has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Normally, I wouldn’t recommend anyone buy a computer with those specs — but Chrome OS is far less dependent on local storage. Unless you were planning to store a ton of movies or install a huge variety of Android apps, 64GB is enough for moderately advanced use. I was concerned about the non-upgradeable 4GB of RAM, but my testing showed that the IdeaPad Flex 5 can run plenty of tabs and other apps without many hiccups. If you push things hard, you’ll occasionally have to wait for tabs to refresh if you haven’t viewed them recently, but other than that this is a solid performer, particularly for the price. Other things in the IdeaPad Flex 5’s favor include that it has both USB-C and USB-A ports and a 360-degree convertible hinge. I personally don’t find myself flipping laptops around to tablet or stand mode very often, but it’s there if you like working in those formats. At three pounds and 0.66 inches thick, it’s not the lightest or slimmest option out there, but those specs are also totally reasonable considering the price. Ultimately, the Ideapad Flex 5 hits the sweet spot for a large majority of potential Chromebook buyers out there, providing a level of quality and performance that’s pretty rare to find at this price point. That said, given this laptop has been out for over a year now, we’re keeping an eye out for any potential replacements Lenovo offers, as well as comparable options other manufacturers release. Buy Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook on Amazon - $430 Upgrade picks: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, Acer Chromebook Spin 713 Engadget Premium Chromebooks with more power, better design and higher prices have become common in recent years. If you want to step up over the excellent but basic Lenovo Flex 5, there are two recent options worth considering: Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook 2 and Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 is infinitely more stylish than most other Chromebooks, with a bright metallic red finish and a design that looks far better than the utilitarian Flex 5 and Chromebook Spin 713. As I mentioned earlier, Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook 2 fixes some of the serious flaws we identified in the original. Specifically, the 2020 Galaxy Chromebook had terrible battery life and cost $999; this year’s model starts at $549 and can actually last seven hours off the charger. That’s not great, but it’s far better than the lousy four hours the original offered. Samsung cut a few corners to lower the Galaxy Chromebook 2’s price. Most noticeable is the 1080p 13.3-inch touchscreen, down from the 4K panel on the older model. The good news is that the display is among the best 1080p laptop screens I’ve seen in a long time, and the lower resolution helps the battery life, too. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 is also a bit thicker and heavier than its predecessor, but it’s still reasonably compact. Finally, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 has a 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor rather than the Core i5 Samsung included last year. All these changes add up to a laptop that isn’t as ambitious, but is ultimately much easier to recommend. Instead of pushing to have the best screen in the thinnest and lightest body with a faster processor, Samsung pulled everything back a bit to make a better-priced but still premium laptop. Nathan Ingraham / Engadget Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713, by comparison, doesn’t look like much from the outside — it’s a chunky gray slab with little to distinguish it from many other basic laptops. While it doesn’t seem exciting, the Spin 713 is just as well-made as the Galaxy Chromebook 2, with a sturdy hinge and body. But what’s most interesting is the display, a 13.5-inch touchscreen with a 3:2 aspect ratio. That makes it a much better option than 1080p displays when you’re scrolling vertically through documents and webpages. It has a somewhat unusual resolution of 2,256 x 1,504, thanks to the taller aspect ratio, but it makes for a more pixel-dense display than you’ll find on your standard 13.3-inch, 1080p laptop. Long story short: The screen is great. As for the rest of the hardware, the 11th-generation Intel Core i5 processor is more than enough power for most tasks, and the keyboard and trackpad are solid, if not the best I’ve used before. The same can be said for battery life: I got about the same six to seven hours using the Spin 713 as I did using the Galaxy Chromebook 2. I wish it were better in both cases, but it’s in line with other premium Chromebooks I’ve used lately. The Spin 713 configuration that I tested costs $699, the same as the Galaxy Chromebook 2. Because I’m such a fan of the 3:2 display, I prefer the Spin 713 (which also has a more powerful processor), but the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is worth a look if you want a laptop that has a little more style and a better keyboard. Last year, Google’s Pixelbook Go was our pick for the best premium model. It’s still an excellent choice and one of my favorite Chromebooks to use, but it’s almost two years old. Its age coupled with its aging 8th-generation Intel processor make it tougher to recommend. That said, it’s still one of the thinnest and lightest Chromebooks around, and it still handles everything I can throw at it. It also has the best keyboard I’ve used on any recent Chromebook. There’s still a lot to like, but it’s harder to justify spending $650 or more on it. Hopefully Google will release an updated version this fall. Buy Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 starting at $549 Buy Acer Chromebook Spin 713 at Best Buy - $629 A good option for kids: Acer Chromebook 512 Acer While Lenovo’s Flex 5 is inexpensive enough that you could get one for your kid, Acer’s Chromebook 512 might be a better option for young ones in your life. First off, it’s specifically built to take abuse. In addition to the military-rated (MIL-STD 810G) impact-resistant body, you can spill up to 330mL of liquid on the keyboard. A drainage system will flush it out and keep the insides working. (Note that I haven’t actually tried that.) The keyboard features “mechanically anchored” keys that should be harder for kids to pick off, too. Regardless of exactly how much water you can pour onto that keyboard, the Chromebook 512 should handle a child’s abuse better than your average laptop. This computer isn’t a speed demon, but the Intel Celeron N4000 chip coupled with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage should be fine for basic tasks. The 12-inch screen isn’t a standout either, but it has the same taller 3:2 aspect ratio as Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713. That means you’ll get more vertical screen real estate than you would on the 16:9, 11-inch panels typically found in laptops of this class. (The Chromebook 512’s screen resolution is 1,366 x 912, whereas most 11-inch Chromebooks use a 1,366 x 768 panel.) All in all, it’s a fairly modest computer, but grade-school kids, a computer that can take some abuse and runs an easy-to-use OS that’s well supported in education should fit the bill well. The Chromebook 512 is priced at $249.99 direct from Acer, but it's going for $219.99 as of this writing at other retailers. Buy Acer Chromebook 512 at Best Buy - $220

    THE VERY BEST 10 PlayStation 5 Games

    "What games should I get for my PlayStation 5?" This is the question we've been asked the most since Sony's new generation of gaming arrived last November. People want to see what games are the best showpieces of PlayStation 5's power, and also which ones take their beloved medium to new heights. Although the PlayStation 5 is still in its infancy, it has already amassed a nice library of games, including a few titles that you can't play anywhere else.The Game Informer staff has selected 10 games that we consider to be the PlayStation 5's absolute best. Over time, this article will be updated with the latest releases that we think crack the top 10. Please note that while the list below contains 10 entries, we aren’t ranking them. If a game has made it this far (and managed to stay here), it’s a must-play, period. As such, we’ll be listing entries in reverse chronological order. Also, with future updates, you’ll find a rundown of previous entries at the bottom of the list. While those titles have gotten bumped over time, they are still all great games in their own right and worth exploring if you’re already caught up on the latest hits. Here are Game Informer’s picks for the top 10 games on PlayStation 5:

    2021 GAMING Release Schedule

    If you're wondering what games are coming up in 2021, we've put them all in one convenient location. This list will be continually updated to act as a living, breathing schedule as new dates are announced, titles are delayed, and big reveals happen. This should help you plan out your next several months in gaming and beyond.As the gaming calendar is constantly changing, we highly recommend you bookmark this page. You'll likely find yourself coming back to this to find out the most recent release schedule for the most anticipated games across PC, consoles, handhelds, and mobile devices. If you notice that we've missed something, feel free to let us know! Please note that games will not get assigned to a month until they have confirmed release dates. January Hitman 3 January Hitman 3 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC) – January 20  – Read review Teratopia (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – January 20 Ride 4 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S) – January 21 Shing (Xbox One, Switch) – January 21 Nuts (Switch, PC, iOS) – January 22 Disjunction (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – January 28 TOHU (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC) – January 28 Bonkies (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – January 29 Gods Will Fall (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC) – January 29 February Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury February March Yakuza: Like A Dragon March Core (PC) – March 16 Mundaun (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – March 16  – Read review R.B.I. Baseball 21 (Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, iOS, Android) – March 16 Adios (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) – March 17 Can't Drive This (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – March 19 Root Film (PlayStation 4, Switch) – March 19 Black Legend (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – March 25 Balan Wonderworld (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – March 26 April Outriders April Outriders (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – April 1  – Read review Cozy Grove (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – April 8 Tribal Pass (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch) – April 16 R-Type Final 2 (Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – April 30 May Resident Evil Village May Skate City (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – May 6 King of Seas (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – May 25 June Mario Golf: Super Rush June Stonefly (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – June 1 Mighty Goose (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – June 5 Chivalry 2 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – June 8 Heliborne (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) – June 16 Wingspan (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) – June 18 Worms Rumble (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch) – June 23 Curved Space (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – June 29 July The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD July Lost At Sea (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC) – July 15 F1 2021 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – July 16 Cris Tales (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC) – July 20 Last Stop (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – July 22  – Read review The Forgotten City (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – July 28 Eldest Souls (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – July 29 The Ascent (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) – July 29 August New World August Lemnis Gate (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – August 3 The Falconeer (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Switch) – August 5 Foreclosed (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC) – August 12 SkateBIRD (Xbox One, Switch, PC, Linux) – August 12 Hades (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One) – August 13  – Read review 12 Minutes (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) – August 19 Recompile (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC) – August 19 RiMS Racing (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – August 19 Madden NFL 22 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC) – August 20 Hoa (Switch, PC) – August 24 KeyWe (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – August 31 Rustler (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – August 31 The Big Con (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) – August 31 September Deathloop September Lake (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) – September 1 WRC 10 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – September 2 NBA 2K22 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – September 10 Tales of Arise (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – September 10 Deathloop (PlayStation 5, PC) – September 14 Aragami 2 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – September 17 Sable (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) – September 23 Lost Judgment (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One) – September 24 Ghostrunner (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S) – September 28 In Sound Mind (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC) – September 28 Astria Ascending (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – September 30 Hot Wheels Unleashed (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – September 30 October Back 4 Blood October FIFA 22 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – October 1 Far Cry 6 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC, Mac) – October 7 Back 4 Blood (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – October 12 Battlefield 2042 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – October 22 Riders Republic (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC) – October 28 November Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker November Just Dance 2022 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia) – November 4 Farming Simulator 22 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia) – November 22 December Dying Light 2: Stay Human December To Be Announced Stray To Be Announced Backbone (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch) Baldo (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Chorus (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Stadia, PC) Dustborn (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC) Endling (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Evil West (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Humanity (PlayStation VR, PlayStation 4) Temtem (Xbox Series X/S, Switch) The Gunk (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) The Riftbreaker (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Tunche (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Tunic (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC)

    Alex Wolff Interview – Playing a young kid in Old, Getting to Use M. Night Shyamalan

    M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller Old releases in theaters this Friday, July 23. The film stars Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Alex Wolff, and Thomasin McKenzie as a family whose vacation goes deadly wrong after they wind up on an inescapable beach that causes rapid aging.“Visionary filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan unveils a chilling, mysterious new thriller about a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly … reducing their entire lives into a single day,” reads the official synopsis.RELATED: Alex Wolff Discusses Pig, Working With Nicolas CageComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to star Alex Wolff about his role, getting to work with M. Night, and his thoughts on the original graphic novel.Tyler Treese: Your character has this very childlike quality to him because mentally he’s younger than what you’re portraying him as. How did you make sure you had that childlike quality to them, you know, in your acting?Alex Wolff: I mean, I watched a lot of cartoons while I was making it and I read a bunch of child psychology books. I tried to just reconnect to that part of myself and then just let it rip.Getting to work with M. Night, how exciting was it for you? He’s somebody that’s made so many great films over the years.I feel lucky to even know him or meet him. He’s such a special guy, but I feel especially lucky to work with him on what feels to me as his most personal movie. I felt like I got to be a part of him exercising, some emotional demon in himself and I felt like I feel really lucky to be a part of that.There’s so many emotional scenes that come with the aging aspect. Your character is dealing with all these scenarios that no kid would be prepared for. Then the parents are also going through marital issues. Can you talk about showing all that emotion and also you throw in a bit of a child-like tantrum in some scenes that really helps bring home the emotion of these moments?Yeah. I think that being a kid we often think of as just this blissful magical all fairies and rainbows experience of just like, “Oh, I’m a kid,” but I think it’s a really emotional time. Or at least for me it was. It was a constant either elation or just in perpetual despair. That’s how it felt like it was like, “Oh my God, this is the worst moment of my life because it is, ’cause I’ve only been alive for six years.” So I feel like it was really just connecting back to those extremes and it wasn’t that hard. What I really had to do was just, I felt like I had to go under like construction of breaking down these walls. Like, oh, if I start feeling that anger, heat building up in my body, there’s this wall that comes like, it’s almost like a computer server being like, are you sure you want to get this enraged? And you have to be like, yes, and enter your password of yourself. That’s what I feel like getting older HAS done. I had to just get rid of those walls and it’s just, if you feel it, it comes out. I felt like I was the right guy for the job because I’m someone with less walls than maybe some other adults.I always love hearing about your prep. This is based on a graphic novel named Sandcastle. Did you wind up reading that or did you just stick to the script?Yeah, I read that before I even read the script. So I had auditioned and then I ordered the book just in case I had gotten a call back or something. So I read it and I fell in love with it and it was amazing. It was wild. I think the movie is more soulful than the book. I love the book, but the book is almost in some places like almost like a little pornographic and kind of weird and wild. And, and I think this movie still keeps those odd, titillating, unique qualities to it, but it, but it grounds in a little bit more of an emotional place.

    Lawsuit Document Against Activision Blizzard Details AN EXTENDED History Of Discrimination and Harassment

    The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard after years of investigation. The reason for the suit centers around "violations of the state's civil rights and equal pay laws," specifically regarding the treatment of women and other marginalized groups. Content warning for graphic conversations regarding sexual misconduct, abuse, and suicide.  The investigation has been going on for over two years, and as Bloomberg reports, the lawsuit charges that the environment within Activision Blizzard hosts a "frat boy" culture. The studio is also being called a "breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women." The report is graphic at times, recounting purported incidents that scale from more casual discrimination all the way up to sexual assault and harassment. The lawsuit goes so far as to state that certain actions led to the suicide of one developer following a trip with her supervisor. As detailed in the lawsuit documents found here, the report alleges that Activision Blizzard has many women fending off "unwanted sexual comments" and "being groped" during what is being called a cube crawl:  In the office, women are subjected to 'cube crawls' in which male employees drink copious amounts of alcohol as they 'crawl' their way through various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees. Male employees proudly come into work hungover, play video games for long periods of time during work while delegating their responsibilities to female employees, engage in banter about their sexual encounters, talk openly about female bodies, and joke about rape. According to the report, sexual harassment and misconduct even resulted in one woman committing suicide during a work trip with her supervisor, who reportedly brought "butt plugs and lubricant" in hopes of coercing her into unwanted relations. As is increasingly common with reports like these, the report claims that many attempts were made to talk to HR for any sort of resolution and go up the chain of command for assistance. "Employees were further discouraged from complaining as human resource personnel was known to be close to alleged harassers," reads the lawsuit documents. "As a result of these complaints, female employees were subjected to retaliation, including but not limited to being deprived of work on projects, unwillingly transferred to different units, and selected for layoffs." Also included in the lawsuit is the pay gap between male and female co-workers, which alleges that many women are offered a similar role as a male counterpart at a much lower compensation rate. The suit also details opportunities that were seen as primarily going to men first, stifling progressive growth within the company's infrastructure. The documents also report that many of the women under the Activision Blizzard umbrella felt they needed to work harder and longer than their male counterparts for a chance at the same opportunities. The lawsuit details specific examples of this, which can be found here.  Game Informer reached out to an Activision Blizzard spokesperson about the lawsuit, and they responded with the following statement:  We value diversity and strive to foster a workplace that offers inclusivity for everyone. There is no place in our company or industry, or any industry, for sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind. We take every allegation seriously and investigate all claims. In cases related to misconduct, action was taken to address the issue.  The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past. We have been extremely cooperative with the DFEH throughout their investigation, including providing them with extensive data and ample documentation, but they refused to inform us what issues they perceived.  They were required by law to adequately investigate and to have good faith discussions with us to better understand and to resolve any claims or concerns before going to litigation, but they failed to do so.  Instead, they rushed to file an inaccurate complaint, as we will demonstrate in court. We are sickened by the reprehensible conduct of the DFEH to drag into the complaint the tragic suicide of an employee whose passing has no bearing whatsoever on this case and with no regard for her grieving family.  While we find this behavior to be disgraceful and unprofessional, it is, unfortunately, an example of how they have conducted themselves throughout the course of their investigation. It is this type of irresponsible behavior from unaccountable State bureaucrats that are driving many of the State’s best businesses out of California.  The picture the DFEH paints is not the Blizzard workplace of today. Over the past several years and continuing since the initial investigation started, we’ve made significant changes to address company culture and reflect more diversity within our leadership teams. We’ve amplified internal programs and channels for employees to report violations, including the “ASK List” with a confidential integrity hotline, and introduced an Employee Relations team dedicated to investigating employee concerns. We have strengthened our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and combined our Employee Networks at a global level to provide additional support. Employees must also undergo regular anti-harassment training and have done so for many years.  We put tremendous effort into creating fair and rewarding compensation packages and policies that reflect our culture and business, and we strive to pay all employees fairly for equal or substantially similar work. We take a variety of proactive steps to ensure that pay is driven by non-discriminatory factors. For example, we reward and compensate employees based on their performance, and we conduct extensive anti-discrimination training, including for those who are part of the compensation process.  We are confident in our ability to demonstrate our practices as an equal opportunity employer that fosters a supportive, diverse, and inclusive workplace for our people, and we are committed to continuing this effort in the years to come. It is a shame that the DFEH did not want to engage with us on what they thought they were seeing in their investigation. To read the full report, you can learn more about the ongoing lawsuit from Bloomberg here, including personal retellings from numerous sources within the company. 

    Horizon’s Aloy Joins Genshin Impact, How exactly to Unlock Her here’s

    The world of Genshin Impact is getting a familiar face soon, as MiHoYo and Guerrilla Games announced on Thursday that Aloy, the machine dinosaur hunter and main character from Horizon Zero Dawn, would be joining the game as a free playable character. RELATED: Genshin Impact Rumors Point to Cross-Save FunctionalityThere’s no information on when Aloy will be joining the game, but she will be a five-star character, and will only be a limited-time offer, according to MiHoYo. As for how players can get her, the company has detailed how you can do that in an announcement with the news of Aloy arriving in the game: During Version 2.1, players who have reached Adventure Rank 20 or above can receive Aloy via in-game mail after logging in to the game on PS5 or PS4. Meanwhile, other players can receive Aloy via in-game mail after logging in to the game on any available platform during Version 2.2.A free four-star Bow that gives Aloy a special buff can also be obtained exclusively on PlayStation during Version 2.1 and Version 2.2 for players who reached Adventure Rank 20 or above.The studio also explained that the event will be split into two phases:〓Phase I〓After the Version 2.1 Update – Start of Version 2.2 Update Maintenance (October 13, 2021 05:59 UTC+8)During the event, all Travelers who log into Genshin Impact on the PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 system will be able to obtain Aloy directly through in-game mail.〓Phase II〓After the Version 2.2 Update – Start of Version 2.3 Update Maintenance (November 24, 2021, 05:59 UTC+8)During the event, Travelers who log into Genshin Impact on any available platform, and who have yet to obtain the character during Phase I will be able to obtain Aloy directly through in-game mail.RELATED: Knockout City Season 2 Goes to Hollywood, Releasing Next WeekExclusive early access to the character will be given to PlayStation players, with Aloy also getting an exclusive, four-star Bow that gives Aloy a special buff on the PlayStation version of the game.

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