With E3 behind us we are now firmly into patch and DLC territory with many games getting big updates this week including Breath of the Wild, Titanfall 2, and (bizarrely) Machinarium. There is also a new player in the VR scene, a new console from Atari, and a Steam sale to spend all of your money on!
The Steam Summer Sale has begun and will run until the 5th July. There are plenty of great offers including Abzu (78% off - £4.26), Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (80% off - £3.19), South Park: The Stick of Truth (75% off - £6.24), and Torment: Tides of Numenera (50% off - £17.49). I've already picked up a number of bargains and I expect they'll get more money out of me yet! In addition to lovely discounts, there is also a slightly peculiar sticker book mechanic to unlock trading cards...
A new VR company, Varjo has "emerged from stealth" and is touting the first human eye-resolution VR/AR/XR display with a resolution of 70MP, a crazy 70x higher than that of any competitor. Products won't be shipping until Q4 of 2017 and it is unlikely we'll see anything to do with gaming at this stage (as you'd need a crazy amount of power to drive it) but it is an interesting pointer of where the industry is headed. I've put off jumping into VR myself until the resolution improves - I was thinking 3-4MP but I'll take 70MP!
Atari is going to make its first new console in over 20 years complete with wood panelling. It will be based on PC technology and I'd be 99% certain that it is going to be an emulator box in the same vein as the NES Classic Mini or the Sega Genesis Flashback.
The Nintendo Switch received a v3.0.0 system update which finally fixes the horrendous HDMI-CEC bug that was causing TVs to switch inputs constantly whilst it was plugged in. It also added the ability to find your controllers by making them vibrate, add friends from the Wii U and 3DS, subscribe to specific channels for game news, and added some Splatoon 2 avatars.
The first move that the newly independent IO-Interactive have made is to make the first location in HITMAN playable for free. This is a smart move and incorporates both missions, some escalation contracts, over 40 different challenges, and 17 achievements plus access to all player-created contracts for that mission. If you haven't picked it up yet, this will be an excellent way to find out if the game is for you.
Darkest Dungeon released its first DLC last week, The Crimson Court, and have already released several hotfixes to improve balance and fix minor issues. The developers have also done a Reddit AMA in which they said the chance of an iOS release was "extremely high" and appeared on a Gamasutra Twitch stream to talk about the highs and lows of indie life.
The developers of TumbleSeed have announced that they might never recoup their costs. They discuss the "post-release depression, poor reviews, and bad sales" in a fairly brutal postmortem. I definitely experienced the steep difficulty curve but whilst this has been patched slightly on the PC version it hasn't yet for the Switch version (although it is coming "ASAP") - once it does, I'll be willing to give it another try.
According to a new study, mobile gamers are playing longer in fewer sessions whilst also spending more money. I rarely play anything on iOS anymore, especially with the release of the Switch. I'll be interested to see if this changes with the upcoming improvements to the App Store though.
A wooden toy train simulator named Tracks - The Train Set Game is going to debut on Steam Early Access from 28th September. I used to love playing with Brio so I am definitely interested in picking this up. It helps that it has a beautiful design so long as the game lives up to the trailer.
Amanita Design made a surprise announcement that Machinarium has been given hi-res support by rebuilding it with DirectX (the original was built in Adobe Flash). The update also adds improved controller support, Steam achievements, leaderboards, and Steam Cloud saves with Steam trading cards on the way later in the summer. This "Definitive Version" is available on Steam now and is free for existing owners (or just £2 in the Steam Summer Sale).
Titanfall 2 is getting a sizeable update this week which adds two new maps, a remake of War Games from the original game and a new map named Traffic useable in Live Fire mode. The update also changes how weapon carrying works to more closely match the original Titanfall; players will now be able to carry both a secondary weapon and an anti-Titan weapon rather than having to choose between the two. There are several other changes including balance fixes, a new Pilot Execution, and Titan Brawl is being made a permanent mode. The update lands on 27th June.
Thimbleweed Park received a patch to add an old-school hint line along with new conversations between the five playable characters. The lack of interaction between characters was one of my bugbears with the game so I'm glad to see it has been addressed.
The launch of Friday The 13th was mired with server issues and poor performance on consoles. To try and make things right, the developers have made the first piece of DLC free which includes a retro Jason skin and some new chiptune music. Unfortunately the update was delayed for Xbox One users due to a memory leak bug which caused it to fail certification but it is all resolved now.
- Point-and-Wick: A puzzling adventure with Candle — "At its heart, Candle is a hybrid of a point-and-click and a platforming game, think something like Abe's Odyssey meets Machinarium" [link]
- Connecting to Host #20: E3 2017 - Co-op Gaming Highlights [link]
- PC Gamer UK #47: Welcome to our Content Cave [link]
Upcoming Game Releases
- The Golf Club 2 (27th Jun - PC, Xbox One, PS4) [link]
- Arizona Sunshine (27th Jun - PSVR) [link] (already available on PC)
- GoNNER (29th Jun - Switch) [link] (already available on PC)
- Micro Machines World Series (30th Jun - PC, Xbox One, PS4) [link]
- Valkyria Revolution (30th Jun - Xbox One, PS4) [link]
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - The Master Trials (30th Jun - Switch) [link]
This week I spent 14.8 hours playing five different games:
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (0.5hrs): A little bit of online racing but I'm planning on doing some more this week.
- Darkest Dungeon (1hr): I made a start on the Crimson Court DLC but I'm letting it settle for a bit whilst they are still pushing out a number of rebalancing patches.
- Candle (2hrs): Finishing off this charming puzzler (read my review)
- Planet Coaster (2hrs): I had a real urge to jump back into this theme park simulator after the announcements last week about their upcoming summer update. The go kart stuff they added in v1.2 is particularly fun but I can't wait for the fireworks next month!
- Rocket League (9.3hrs): Down by around 6 matches in total. Going to give this a little break this week and hope we can turn it around before the end of the season.
Last week I added 8 new games to my library thanks to the Steam Summer Sale: Anna's Quest, Monkey Island 2: Special Edition, Moon Hunters, Shadow Warrior 2, Silence, The Night of the Rabbit, The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, and The Whispered World Special Edition.
This week I'm planning on playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and getting stuck into the expansion for Breath of the Wild. I'll also likely play some more Darkest Dungeon and may start one of the many games on my growing 'to play' list.
Until next time, have a great week!