New games Of All The PC Games We Are Looking Forward To

New games Of All The PC Games We Are Looking Forward To

All the new games coming to PC in 2022, broken down month-by-month.

We are in the middle of the year and are looking forward to the rest of the new games that 2022 will offer. The start of the year is full of massive new computer games like Total War: Warhammer 3 and the long-awaited, long-remembered Elden Ring. But big games aren’t the only reason to get excited as a PC player in 2022. We also welcome the presentation of Valve’s own game console, Steam Deck!

When you look at our list of the biggest games in 2022, you might feel a sense of déjà vu. It’s true: some of the biggest games launching this year are ones we were expecting to play last year. The downstream effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and major developers working from home for most of 2020 and 2021 mean that last year was absolutely stacked with delays on games big and small.

This coming year may shake out in a similar fashion, now that big game delays have become so much more commonplace. To help you keep track of what you’ll actually be playing this year, we’ll keep this list up to date when release dates move to later points in the year or, inevitably, into 2023. 

Don’t despair, though. There are a lot of games launching in 2022. Not all of them have dates yet, so our TBA section is stuffed with fantastic games that haven’t quite nailed down a precise release date for this year. Keep checking back to make sure you don’t miss out on some of the smaller gems of the year in between all the big hitters.

GOD OF WAR PC REVIEW

The best version of a fantastic game.

GOD OF WAR PC REVIEW
GOD OF WAR PC REVIEW

God of War | January 14
Kratos and son are finally making their way to PC in a port of the much-loved action hack-and-slash. You’ll be able to take on the Norse realms in all the gorgeous 4K, with all the power inside your PC. See how he handles in our God of War review.

God of War is a PC game. That still felt weird to say as I wrapped up my second playthrough over the holidays. Not far above it on my Steam library sits another game that is “of War” for a different master Gears 5. Just a few years ago, these two tentpole series existing on the same device was impossible. Now they share a virtual shelf.

Sony’s latest angry dad game is evidence that the PC is the ultimate videogame unifier, and a great reminder of how the platform can bring out the best in games. I’ve killed my way across Midgard at 30 fps on a PS4 and 4K on PS5, but I don’t think I can go back to either after 24 hours of buttery smooth monster chopping at 90+ fps. This is a damn good port, at least on my higher-end PC.

If you skipped God of War 2018 or haven’t touched the series at all, this is the God of War to play. All you need to know going in is that Kratos was Athena’s best murder man until he was betrayed and decided to kill all of the gods (including his daddy, Zeus). This soft reboot picks up years later. In that time, Kratos left a now-godless Greece and wandered into the Norse lands, where he gained a wife (who has just passed away at the start of the game), a son named Atreus, and a glorious beard.

Family matters

God of War is its restraint. It’s a small story in a world of gigantic characters. Kratos and Atreus aren’t out to save the world .they just want to spread their wife/mother’s ashes on a big mountain. They’re not looking for a fight, but end up walking into a bunch of them because, apparently, Midgard has been a nightmare land of evil trolls, poison witches, and zombies for the last century or so. Much of the game is basically carving a path through this broken world, unraveling the petty god drama that led to its ruin.

There’s a lot of The Last of Us and Uncharted in its puzzly moments. hoisting young Atreus up a ledge to kick down a rope and jostling dilapidated supports to make a bridge are pages straight out of the Naughty Dog playbook but these familiar puzzles get to have a lot of fun with Kratos’ superhuman strength.

It’s both cool and funny how often Atreus ponders how they’re going to cross a gap just as Kratos lifts a beam the size of six cars or spins an entire building like it’s a windup toy. Where Nathan Drake looks for a chain to lift an ancient pulley, Kratos simply throws his axe at the gears so hard that they spin. For a character that used to mostly show his toughness by killing every living thing in the room, it’s nice to see Kratos throw his weight around the world itself. 

Lifting big rocks wouldn’t be near as fun without the back and forth banter with Atreus (or as he’s often called, “boy”). It’s not exactly a new narrative trick to pair a strong silent type with an inquisitive youngster, but unlike the developing relationship of Joel and Ellie, Atreus and Kratos already have a layered rapport that’s steadily peeled back over time. It’s obvious from the jump that the two aren’t close. Atreus is determined to prove he’s ready to make the journey and pressured to live up to Kratos’ high standards (“Do not be sorry. Be better,” Kratos tells him after taking a careless shot at a deer). Kratos, meanwhile, is an emotionally distant father who projects his own issues on other people.

Their relationship evolves organically as they take on the world together, but Sony Santa Monica was smart to let side characters do some heavy lifting as well. One character introduced halfway through is easily the best part of the game, a wise old grandpa figure brimming with useful advice and stories to fill the dead air while the trio boat around Midgard.

God brawls

For as good as God of War’s characters and stories are, my strongest memories all revolve around one of the greatest weapons in videogames: the Leviathan Axe. The axe is your primary weapon and do-it-all multitool throughout the entire game. It can pry open doors, destroy obstacles, freeze machinery in place, or be thrown the length of a football field to nab hard-to-reach loot. In combat, the Leviathan is a gratifying balance of heft and speed that hits a lot harder than Kratos’ old Blades of Chaos. Here, again, Sony Santa Monica leverages Kratos’ supernatural might to let you do impossible things with an axe, like cleave three enemies in half with a single move.

Then there’s the Leviathan’s other perk. You’ve probably seen cool gifs of Kratos throwing the axe at a draugr and recalling it back to his hand like Thor’s Mjölnir hammer. It feels just as cool as it looks and doesn’t stop being cool for dozens of hours. Axe combat translates surprisingly well to keyboard and mouse, too: left and right mouse are standard attacks and you have to hold Ctrl to ready a throw. It was a good sign for God of War’s default keybindings when I instinctually called back the axe by pressing the standard R reload key and it totally worked. That said, reaching for Ctrl might become a nuisance after a while if you don’t have pinkies of steel. 

You can chuck the axe like a boomerang for a quick attack that bounces off enemies or throw it overhead for a harder hit that sticks and freezes them in place. It often made sense for me to leave that pinned enemy in place, because axe-less Kratos can still fight with his two meaty fists.

Because nothing in God of War goes to waste, unarmed combat is an entirely different beast with its own skill tree and advantages. Blunt blows don’t deal as much damage as the axe, but they do fill enemy stagger meters super fast. Once fully staggered, Kratos can seal the deal with an instant execution straight out of Doomguy’s library of glory kills. These spectacle kills are so satisfying that I was constantly looking for an excuse to lose the axe and go full boxer. Backing up Kratos at all times is Atreus, who has a dedicated button to command him to shoot arrows at whoever you’re targeting. 

This on-the-fly weapon swapping creates fun improvisational brawls that compliment every fighting style. I can keep spamming light attack, or I could go full galaxy brain by pinning the biggest guy in place with the axe, beating fodder zombies to a pulp, and recalling the axe at just the right angle to slice through an enemy on the way back. When the stars align, I’m chaining moves in a literal combat loop. Everything matters at the same time, even if I could one-trick with the axe through most of the game.

You get more cool stuff as the story progresses that you’re best off seeing yourself, so much that I was a little overwhelmed by choice in the back half of the game. I tried hard to make the most out of every awesome way I have to kill stuff and yet Atreus would still berate me for not asking him to shoot arrows enough. I’m sorry kid, I just get carried away with axe headshots and forget about your wimpy arrows sometimes.

Performance

My second God of War playthrough was my best playthrough, and it had everything to do with the higher framerate I enjoyed with this PC port. Like Days Gone and Horizon: Zero Dawn before it, God of War flies on a good PC. On an RTX 3060 at 1920×1080, I was able to crank up the target fps to 90 and mostly stay there with Nvidia DLSS set to Quality. I noticed things got a little choppier during doorway transitions to the open-world lake area, but the frames would steady after a while. 

God of War also runs fine without DLSS, though at this point, Nvidia’s upscaling tech has gotten so good I’m not sure why you’d ever flip it off when it’s available. Little issues that plagued earlier versions of DLSS (like that weird ghosting effect you’d see on the small floating particles) are cleaned up nowadays, and what’s left is an AI-assisted upscaled image that I can hardly discern from a native 1080p image. The magic trick may be a little less convincing if you scale it down to Balanced or Ultra Performance, but Quality is a safe bet for 1080p gaming. As for 1440p or 4K, I’m unfortunately ill-equipped to give it a go.

DLSS isn’t the only flavor or upscaling supported by God of War, either. You can alternatively flip on AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution. I don’t have as much experience with this one, but I noticed a bit more blurriness when set to quality. It’s still good, and as a frame-hungry PC gamer, I’d keep it on if it was my only choice.

I also fiddled with individual graphics options here and there, of which God of War has several but not everything you could ask for, though I was satisfied with the game’s simple presets. The game defaults to the curiously named “Original” preset (which I assume means the original PS4 look). I played mostly on Original and it looked great throughout, but I did notice sharper textures and post-processing on High and Ultra. My Kratos looks so good I can just about reach out and touch his wrinkly face.

It’s exciting to think about what God of War’s landing on PC could mean for the console exclusive status quo. Sony has a dedicated PC publishing label now. As the company gets more serious about PC ports, will we ever get to the point where its games release on PC months after launch instead of years? Could it even pull a Microsoft and drop everything on PC at the same time as console?

That’s probably a stretch, but God of War is a positive sign. The best game on the PS4 is now one of the best games on PC.

I was one of those people that scoffed at Dad of War when it was announced. I thought we were getting The Last of Us with an axe, but instead, we got a fully-fledged RPG with tiered loot and skill trees expertly weaved into a story about power, violence, and bad parents. It’s an impressive departure from the edgy slaughter fest that this series used to be and a necessary change if it was going to come back at all. The mountain of money, talent, and time it took to reboot this 2000s relic into something worth existing today is evident in every moment. Four years later, God of War is still a triumph. 

Dying Light 2 | February 4


The sequel to Techland’s zombies and parkour action game is finally arriving in 2022 after multiple delays. It’s bringing a bigger map, double the parkour, and the return of the dangerous nights that will have you steal thing along rooftops and through Infected nests. Catch up with the parkour in our Dying Light 2 review to see if it leaps ahead.

DYING LIGHT 2: STAY HUMAN REVIEW

I land a flying two-footed kick into a bandit and send him screaming off the edge of a roof and onto the zombie-filled streets below. Over the past 50 hours of Dying Light 2, this has become my singular goal: kick dudes off roofs. The city is in peril from far more than just zombies, I have a half-dozen unfinished side-quests in my journal, and my map is littered with icons imploring me to scavenge resources, discover new locations, and undertake parkour challenges. 

Sorry. Can’t do any of that right now. Somewhere in the city another bandit is standing too close to the edge of another rooftop.

And reaching that rooftop is just as much fun as kicking someone off it. To get there I slide down ziplines and bounce off jump-pads, swing like Spider-Man from the rope of my grappling hook, sail through the air with my fold-up paraglider—or I just climb, clamber, wall-run, and ledge-grab my way there. Dying Light 2 is a huge and exhilarating playground for crunchy, kinetic, two-footed combat and satisfying first-person parkour. It doesn’t start out like that—there’s a few long hours before the game really opens up and gets fun, and there’s a lot of not-so-great storytelling along the way. But it’s worth it.

Pilgrimage

Welcome to the European city of Villedor, a sprawling mess of decaying and crumbling buildings with scores of zombies shambling through the streets and pockets of survivors camped out in barricaded safe zones. As Aiden, a travelling do-gooder (called a pilgrim), I’ve arrived in search of my long-lost sister, Mia, following several convenient flashbacks that show we were the victims of medical experiments as children before being separated. After discovering a vaccine for the original zombie virus, scientists continued messing around until they goofed big-time and unleashed an even deadlier version of the disease upon the world. One particularly evil scientist, a man named Waltz, may hold the key to finding my long-lost sister and my long-delayed revenge.

To find Waltz, I need to ingratiate myself with the locals, who are distrustful of outsiders and only give out information in exchange for favors, though thankfully those favors often involve kicking jerks off rooftops. There are two main factions in Villedor the Survivors, a grubby yet hearty clan who build little farms and safe zones on the rooftops, and the Peacekeepers, who dress in blue combat gear and act like the cops of the apocalypse. When Aiden arrives the two groups are at odds owing to the recent unsolved murder of a Peacekeeper commander, and it’s not long before Aiden’s eager-to-help attitude gets him wrapped up in the drama between the factions.

I’m not yet a dynamo of flying kicks and fluid parkour when I arrive in Villedor. I’m a complete klutz, a disgrace to the art of climbing walls and running on rooftops. The first few hours of Dying Light 2’s feel shaky, slow, and clumsy—I miss my jumps frequently, hesitate at the ledge of every building before leaping, frequently run out of stamina while climbing, and hammer away at zombies with ineffectual weapons like table legs and baseball bats. Progression is slow: every enemy I kill and wall I climb sends a trickle of combat and parkour XP into my bank, and only once I’ve leveled up those talents am I given a single point to unlock a new move from the two skill trees.

Whereas a game like Far Cry 6 would have thrown loads of exciting weapons and skills at me immediately, in my first 10 hours of Dying Light 2 I’d only added a couple of extra moves to my arsenal. But I’m kind of into that. It makes progress feel earned, something I really have to struggle to accomplish, and it makes deliberating over which skill to pick feel important. Each time I had a point to spend, I really had to consider what would have helped the most while I was getting my ass kicked for the past few hours. And most skills are distinct and useful enough to change the way I approach both fights and parkour.

Feet first

Along with my beloved flying two-footed kick, there’s more fun foot-related skills: a vault kick, which lets me use a stunned foe as a springboard to launch myself, boots-first, into his comrade (and if my kick stuns him I can simply turn around and springboard back to deliver another kick to the first guy). An air kick lets me target a foe from above, leap down, and drive my foot into his face in glorious slow motion. There’s a satisfying headstomp for mashing a fallen enemy’s brains into goo, and even a move that lets me run right into a dude, knock him off a roof, and ride his body all the way to the ground, smashing his skull into the pavement. I know, it’s not a kick, but it’s still an awesome (and hilarious) finisher and a stylish way to get down to street level.

You don’t have to kick everyone to death: there’s a steady supply of sharp, rusty, and spiky melee weapons to collect along with bows and throwing knives for ranged attacks, and explosives like mines and grenades. I grew pretty attached to my gleaming two-handed axe called the Heavy Duty, not just because it could hew off arms, legs, and heads while providing me with a stamina regeneration bonus and a damage bonus when I was at low health, but because it had three sockets I filled with craftable weapon mods that did electrical and toxic damage, turning critical hits into gloriously gory and effective strikes. I liked it so much I installed a third mod that increased its durability

You can’t repair weapons in Dying Light 2, but I never had one break—by the time my favorite weapons were degrading from use there were newer, deadlier ones to buy or find. I replaced the Heavy Duty in favor of the Bad Gal, a katana that did bonus damage at night and even more bonus damage during the day. I crafted another mod that meant crits would set an enemy on fire, which could spread to an entire mob. Kicking bandits off a roof is even more fun when they’re bleeding and on fire.

There are also great single-use “opportunity weapons” scattered around enemy encounters, like spears that can be snatched from corpses and quickly flung into an enemy for a one-hit kill, or bottles and bricks that can be grabbed and thrown to stun or stagger someone, giving big brawls a fun, improvised feel. And weirdly, my favorite weapon turned out to be the only gun in the game, called the Boomstick. It’s only useful for a single shot and costs so much scrap metal to craft that I didn’t fire it for hours until a ridiculous bandit boss wearing a bird costume sucker punched me. It barely hurt him, but after hours spent hitting people with clubs and hatchets it felt great to blast him right in the beak.

Parkour progression doesn’t feel quite as great as adding new combat skills or weapons at first. It focuses on more practical needs like being able to roll after hitting the ground, or popping back up immediately after landing, or skills that let you leap a bit further or climb a bit quicker. But those skills add up and eventually make movement much more fluid, which gives me plenty of confidence. Being able to slide through a low gap instead of ducking and walking under it never saved my life, but it sure as hell feels good. The city eventually begins to feel less like a bunch of obstacles and more like a jungle gym, and a slick, unbroken run across a district’s rooftops makes me feel almost superhuman.

There are more tools to navigate the city that only arrive about halfway through the main story quests, like the paraglider I can use to sail over rooftops, steering into updrafts from air vents to extend my flight and open up an exciting new avenue of travel. It’s also the perfect way to escape clawing zombie mobs. Eventually I get a grappling hook, too, not a Just Cause-type for yanking myself through the air but one I can sink into an object above me and swing across gaps with like Indiana Jones. With all of these tools in play Villedor becomes a brilliant playground, a massive, zombie-filled puzzle I can solve by climbing, leaping, gliding, and swinging, whether I’m on a quest or just exploring.

Club zed

I haven’t really mentioned the zombies much because, well, they’re a bit boring and fighting them isn’t nearly as much fun as mixing it up with living humans. Some zombies shamble slowly, some swarm quickly, and there are zombie specials, like howlers who attract mobs, spitters who pelt with ranged attacks, lurching blobby ones who explode, and enormous, slow-moving tanks that ground-pound and windmill with giant fists. In the daytime they rarely feel like much of a threat once I’ve gotten good at parkour, but as in the original Dying Light, nighttime changes everything.

When night falls traversing the city becomes incredibly dangerous as all the zombies who avoid daylight head out onto the streets, much meaner and faster than their daytime counterparts. But night also means the interiors of buildings are easier to navigate since most of the hordes are outside. Nighttime activities reward you with more loot and increased XP, so it’s a real risk-vs-reward prospect. It’s also a fantastic way to add tension. Creeping past slumbering zombies who might wake up at any moment or scuttling across rooftops hoping I don’t do anything to make noise and alert the mob always has me holding my breath. And finishing up a long mission and realizing night has nearly fallen is a real oh-shit moment, followed by a mad dash to a safe zone as warning bells sound across the city and the howls of the undead begin rising in my ears. Parkour while panicking is the true test of your skills.

Control Points

Along with the tools to navigate the city, there’s a system to change it as well. Throughout Villedor’s many districts are buildings to conquer like water towers and electrical substations. These buildings form excellent parkour puzzles, especially in the electrical buildings, where you have to connect cables between a series of transformers. The cables have a fixed length, so simply winding them through corridors and up ladders won’t reach. Instead, you have to find the most efficient parkour route from the cable’s source to its correct transformer. Some of these puzzles are pretty intricate, and after vaulting and climbing and swinging around it’s a great feeling to finally plug in that final cable and complete the puzzle.

Then you’ll have to decide if you want to give control of the building to the Peacekeepers or the Survivors. Each building you turn over to the Peacekeepers will add something to turn the city streets into a playground of traps car bombs you can detonate, turrets that fling sawblades, exploding lanterns, electrical and pendulum traps all great if you love dramatically wiping out mobs of zombies on street level. If you’re more into parkouring far above the zeds, giving control to the Survivors means there will be more ziplines, jump pads you can bounce up to the roofs with, airbags you can grab and ride to the ground, extra air vents for your glider, and other parkour-related features which make navigating the city quicker and easier. This system completely undercuts any character drama you’ve been involved in if you hate the Peacekeepers it may feel strange to hand over control of a building to them. But these choices are about getting to shape the city into the type of playground you want, and that’s honestly more important (at least to me) than which side you align with.

Speaking of character drama, there’s a boatload of it. The story quests will take you back and forth through the city, bookended by lengthy cutscenes as you help out the Survivors and Peacekeepers and occasionally choose which side to favor. The writing isn’t the worst I’ve seen by a long shot, but it’s not particularly good, either. It’s about the quality of a typical zombie film, really, so maybe that’s fitting. On the plus side, Dying Light 2 is refreshingly okay with killing off its characters, even many of the main ones. There was a guy who was constantly an utter dick to me and I fully expected to have to win him over at some point, just because he was part of the faction I was helping. Nope! I got to kill him myself. Avoiding a redemptive story arc for this creep was an absolute treat.

There are a handful of characters I enjoyed. I met a big, bearded, hulking peacekeeper who looked like he’d be a mindless brute but was actually quite thoughtful and clever. There’s a lieutenant who seems like he’d be a real hardass but eventually shows a bit of humor and fondness for his troops. Rosario Dawson stands out as the character of Lawan, basically the Alyx Vance of Villedor in that she seems oddly untouched by the apocalypse, upbeat and charming, a nice change from the overly gruff soldiers and gloomy survivors. And there are a few surprises I didn’t see coming, both in side-quests and the main story.

Tech specs

I got a strong performance with my RTX 2080 and 16GB RAM, running Dying Light 2 with a solid 80-90 fps all over the city on high settings. Unfortunately I wasn’t playing the final version of the game: the build was patched twice during the week I played and I expect there will be a Day One patch as well. One story quest in particular was bugged for me: a character needed to complete an optional task was stuck in the wrong location and non-responsive, which meant having to advance a side-quest before he’d return to his correct position for the main quest. Instead of pop-in, I weirdly had some pop-out: sometimes zombies would simply disappear from exterior locations. At times icons for locations I’d discovered on the map would vanish, and one utility building I’d cleared wouldn’t register as completed, but overall there was little in the way of bugs that really disrupted my experience.

A few other issues: UI like menus and inventory are clearly built with consoles in mind and are weirdly laid out, and while many controls are remappable on the keyboard, a few important ones are not I can middle-mouse to use my grappling hook, but it’s also bound to Alt which there’s no option to change.

Before launch developer Techland said Dying Light 2 would take players 500 hours to fully complete, not just the main story quests but side quests, challenges, activities, secrets, etc. After playing I almost believe it. Dying Light 2 is a big game, y’all. The city is simply massive, filled with activities and random encounters and rooftop skirmishes, and even with a glider and other parkour toys just crossing a single district takes a good long time. Villedor is even bigger than a cursory glance of the map suggests because there are regions that sprawl well outside the borders. After finishing the story I ran along the edge of a district and discovered there’s a whole underwater portion of the city I didn’t even know existed. This game is huge.

After the 50 hours it took me to complete the main quest, about a dozen side quests, and a bunch of other activities, I still have plenty to do in Dying Light 2, and I’m keen to keep playing. Hell, even after wrapping up the story there are still a bunch of skills I haven’t unlocked, quests I haven’t begun, and large sections of the city I’ve barely set foot in not to mention plenty of bandits I’ve yet to set foot on.

Total War: Warhammer 3 | February 17

This is the final game in Creative Assembly’s trilogy, bringing the last of the tabletop wargame’s armies into digital form. At launch, four daemonic factions will be joined by the human nations of Kislev and Cathay, with the Ogre Kingdoms as DLC. In short: bears battling daemons, and you can see how the war rages in our Total War: Warhammer 3 review.

TOTAL WAR: WARHAMMER 3 REVIEW

It would have been very hard to predict the trajectory Total War has taken. It’s grown from feudal Japanese battles and a simple board game-style campaign to this, Warhammer 3, where armies can hop between realities, where daemons and ogres clash, and where troops are led by flying monstrosities including one that’s as customisable as an RPG protagonist. 

Creative Assembly has crammed plenty of surprises and oddities into this final act, clearly saving up its strangest experiments for the cataclysmic confrontation between mortals and Chaos. It goes in some strange directions, but always goes big, fully committing to Warhammer’s wonderfully over-the-top brand of fantasy. 

The impetus for the conflict is a bearnapping. Ursun, Kislev’s hairiest deity, has been imprisoned by the daemon Belabor To make matters worse for the furball, he’s also been shot with a cursed bullet by a corrupted Kislev prince. His roars of anguish open up rifts between realities, letting armies cross over to the Realm of Chaos, where they can fight to reach Ursun some to free him, some to request a boon and others to steal his power.

Hellbound

It’s a setup that leads to a very different style of Total War campaign, where conquering the map is still encouraged but isn’t quite as important as reaching Ursun’s prison. Every 30 or so turns, rifts open up all over the map, spewing out daemonic armies and inviting mortals to enter Total War’s weirdest locations, culminating in massive survival battles against a daemon prince. The reward? The prince’s soul. Collect four and you can unlock the way to the big bear. 

Each section of the Realm of Chaos reflects the personality of its patron god. Nurgle’s realm is a pestilent, toxic nightmare where armies suffer constant attrition. Slaanesh’s ream is a purple-tinged series of rings connected by portals, and every time you walk through one the dark deity will try to seduce you with incredible gifts but only if you leave without your prize. Tzeentch’s realm is a maze of floating islands connected by magic, where the route to the final battle is randomised. Khorne’s realm is the most straightforward: a hellscape where you simply beat up a lot of daemons and rogue armies until you’ve earned enough bloody glory. 

You’ll likely spend around 10 turns in each, but they loom over the whole campaign. You know you’re going to need to be ready to jump into the next one, so you need to prepare by rapidly expanding and building the toughest army that you can. But since your best army is going to be in a different reality once the rifts open, you need to make sure your territory is still protected from daemonic invasions and mortal enemies. 

Things can get extremely hairy, especially when the finish line is in sight. If it looks like another faction is going to get their fourth soul before you, you’ll need to act quickly, wiping them out before they get it. If that plan fails, though, you’ve still got a chance to claw back victory from the jaws of defeat. You need to immediately drop what you’re doing and wait for them outside Ursun’s prison. Defeat the army, and then you’ll have another 15 turns to catch up.

That was one of my biggest concerns before the review: how do you win if you’re behind? Beat up your opponents is a nice, straightforward answer, and very Total War. But doing this also creates new wrinkles. In my first campaign, I was good friends with Nurgle’s faction. I loved those stinky boys. But when we both entered Slaanesh’s realm, and it looked like Nurgle’s lot were going to beat me to the final battle, I had to make a difficult decision. This wasn’t the last soul either of us needed, so I could have let my pal win this round, but did I really treasure our friendship that much? It turns out I did not. I got the soul, but the war against Nurgle lasted for a long time.   

It’s by far the most unusual and involved campaign Creative Assembly has ever designed, and all this novelty made my first playthrough a treat. It has diminishing returns, however, and now that I’m more familiar with the Realm of Chaos, privy to its nasty bag of tricks, I sometimes resent dragging myself back there when I could be gobbling up settlements and wiping out other factions, putting it at odds with the sandbox.

The same goes for the survival battle at the end of each of them. The wave-based assaults and tower defence elements, which let you spend resources earned in battle on various walls and towers as well as reinforcements give these battles such a different feel that I immediately found them compelling, but by my second campaign I started to see past the novelty. 

Sure, the vast scale of them continues to impress me they throw weaker troops at you but in greater numbers to create the series’ largest battles but the tower defence elements are a bit on the thin side. You get access to four types of towers and walls, and a few specific locations where you’re allowed to build them. Think they’d be more effective elsewhere? Tough. And even with Creative Assembly trying to create lanes, everything is just too big, too wide, and you never get that sense that you’re manipulating the battlefield like you do in dedicated tower defence affairs.

While the survival battles start to lose their lustre after a campaign or two, new modes are very welcome, and the experiment does have a pay-off. Siege battles and the returning minor settlement fights also get these fortifications. These maps typically have a much more elaborate layout than the straight line of survival battles, with bridges and underpasses, plenty of elevation, and loads of places to create chokepoints. There are more ways for them to play out, and while you’re still limited to building on predetermined spots, the more dynamic nature of these fights means that the choice of where and what to build next feels tactical rather than arbitrary.

If you find that the survival battles aren’t to your taste, or if you’d rather skip them in later campaigns, you’re in luck. You can auto-resolve them like regular fights, and with generous odds to boot. Surprisingly, without the pressure to fight them myself, I actually find that I’m more open to taking control. It’s good enough to know that, if I don’t feel like it, I can leave it up to fate.

Wild Bunch

The bulk of the campaign still takes place on the more conventional sandbox map, some parts of which you’ll recognise from the first game but thanks to Warhammer 3’s unusual factions, overfamiliarity shouldn’t be a problem. The highlight is the Daemons of Chaos faction. Each of the Chaos gods have their own crews, but the Daemons of Chaos, led by the aforementioned corrupted Kislev prince now a daemon prince is a united front, letting you recruit units from the entire pantheon and use each army’s unique abilities. The prince’s new form is malleable, letting you replace his limbs with new ones earned by dedicating your achievements to specific gods, or to all Chaos. 

The bulk of the campaign still takes place on the more conventional sandbox map, some parts of which you’ll recognise from the first game but thanks to Warhammer 3’s unusual factions, overfamiliarity shouldn’t be a problem. The highlight is the Daemons of Chaos faction. Each of the Chaos gods have their own crews, but the Daemons of Chaos, led by the aforementioned corrupted Kislev prince now a daemon prince is a united front, letting you recruit units from the entire pantheon and use each army’s unique abilities. The prince’s new form is malleable, letting you replace his limbs with new ones earned by dedicating your achievements to specific gods, or to all Chaos. 

Over time, the presence of these factions, along with the daemonic incursions from the Realm of Chaos, warps the mortal world. Chaos corruption exists in the other games, too, but there’s a lot more Chaos in Warhammer 3, and specific flavours this time. These god-specific brands of corruption all have different effects, slowly choking the lands they spread through, and eventually they start to resemble the domain of the god corrupting them. One day you’re ruling over lovely green fields and snow-capped mountains, and the next you’ve got toxic lakes and hill-sized cysts appearing everywhere, or everything’s covered in ash and lava. It’s great if you’re filming a metal music video, but living there sucks. 

When you’re playing a Chaos faction, you feel like a force of nature—especially if you’re one of Nurgle’s lot, since you can spread a variety of very nasty plagues on top of Nurgle’s brand of Chaos corruption. And you’re an existential threat to the mortal factions, which is why—with the exception of Chaos-followers like the norscans and skaven—you’re in a perpetual state of war with them. There’s no rest for the wicked. 

Siding with Chaos is very tempting, then, but their opponents are also a fascinating and varied bunch. With Kislev and Grand Cathay you’ve got two armies that, at the moment, are unique to Total War. Both exist in the periphery and lore of the tabletop game, and until Games Workshop finishes its upcoming Kislev army, this is the only way to get your

Kislev is all about bears and ice magic. Grand Cathay has dragons and trade. I might be underselling them a little bit. I definitely should have mentioned that some of those bears are giant magic bears that tower over everything. And maybe that the aforementioned dragons are actually Grand Cathay’s leaders, who can shapeshift in the middle of battle. You’re meant to pick your moments and switch between your forms depending on the situation, but if you tell me I can shapeshift into a dragon, I’m going to shapeshift into a dragon and then stay that way. They are excellent dragons.  

It might not be as out-there as the Daemons of Chaos, but I’m pretty smitten with the Ogre Kingdoms. The big lads have been served up as pre-order DLC, but I expect we’ll see them sold separately later. I recommend picking them up when that happens, because these hungry boys have a lot going on, including rapidly expanding camps that can be deployed in enemy territory, the strongest economy in the game and a passion for meat that’s both a curse and a superpower. 

Rags to riches 

That brings us to the economy. I know, not quite as exciting as daemons fighting elemental bears. And that’s always been a problem for Total War: the economic side of things is typically an obligation rather than a system you want to engage with. Warhammer 3 doesn’t have a perfect solution to this, but it does improve things at a faction level. 

While it’s easy to get rich as the Ogre Kingdoms, meat is even more important than gold. Without a constant supply of it, ogre armies turn to cannibalism. Now this technically happens in a less flavourful way with gold: when you run out, your troops start leaving. But with meat, this all happens locally. Each army has its own supply of meat, and rather than getting meat from a large pool, it gets it from the local area, either from a settlement, a camp or through battle.

This pushes you to be extremely aggressive, constantly getting into fights and gobbling up new settlements to keep everyone’s belly full, but also tasks you with essentially creating a supply line to keep the troops fed. It’s not a complicated logistical challenge, but it is considerably more engaging than earning gold. And despite really just being another economic system, it reinforces who the ogres are, working in tandem with their larger-than-life personalities. 

Grand Cathay’s Ivory Road trading system is very different but similarly benefits from being designed with Cathay’s identity in mind. While most trading in Total War involves just chatting to other leaders and striking a deal, the Ivory Road lets Cathay dispatch caravans to distant lands, selecting the value of the cargo and the route. During the journey your caravan might be attacked or face other crises, matching the potentially huge rewards with some equally big risks. For Cathay, then, trade is an interactive adventure.

Diplomacy, like the economy, has moved closer to the heart of what Total War does, but can still feel like an ancillary feature that doesn’t get enough attention. Three Kingdom made some big leaps here, and while Warhammer 3 doesn’t include the personal diplomacy that Three Kingdoms introduced, it has borrowed the quick deal option, which makes figuring out what you can do and with whom so much easier.

The headline feature, though, is brand new: outposts. When you forge an alliance with another faction, you both get the option of constructing an outpost, which adds your troops to their garrison and, more importantly, lets you recruit troops from their roster. The most obvious benefit of this is being able to fill in gaps in your own roster, but arguably its true value is the third set of recruitment slots, letting you recruit units even if you’ve maxed out your global and local allotment. 

Diplomacy rewards you with incredible flexibility, which in turn encourages you to deal with your neighbours more often. Allied reinforcements cost Allegiance, which is mainly earned by completing quests for the faction you’re trying to sway, tasking you with defeating armies they have beef with, bringing the whole thing back to conflict. For a game like Total War, this is the kind of diplomacy system you want. 

After hundreds of hours of Warhammer 2, the little quality of life improvements feel just as impactful, particularly the inclusion of simultaneous turns in multiplayer and simultaneous movement in both modes. You already know where your army is going, so why should you have to wait around and watch them do it before commanding the next one? You shouldn’t, and now you don’t need to bother. 

I’ve already sunk nearly 100 hours into Warhammer 3, which should give you an inkling of how much I’m digging it. And while I’m no longer as eager to go through the Realm of Chaos campaign again, that’s only a slice of what Warhammer 3 is. There’s a whole other domination campaign after you defeat Be’lakor, where you get to swallow up the rest of the world, helped by some special post-campaign rewards. And though I might bristle at the idea of sending my leader off to his second job at inconvenient moments before that point, it’s honestly just so much fun to play with these factions and create dream armies that I can put up with the hurdle. 

While this would have been a fitting conclusion to what’s been a wildly ambitious trilogy, it’s not done yet. There will be more factions, expansions and another mega-campaign, combining the trilogy, nicknamed ‘Immortal Empires’. Total War: Warhammer 3 is already brilliant regardless of what comes next, but the prospect of six years worth of factions fighting over one map has me more excited than an ogre in an abattoir. The future looks bloody. 

Elden Ring | February 25

From Software is returning to the Dark Souls formula we’re still craving more of, now in an open world with a lore written in part by George R.R. Martin. According to our Elden Ring review, it’s basically Dark Souls but bigger, which is exactly what a lot of us were asking for.

ELDEN RING REVIEW

From Software’s open world action RPG is brilliant, but a little too familiar.

ELDEN RING REVIEW
ELDEN RING REVIEW

The Dark Souls series, including Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne, were open worlds before the term referred to the structure of games like Grand Theft Auto and Assassin’s Creed. Far off castles and swamps caught your eye, you puzzled out a linear path towards them, fell down a hole and went looking for a new destination. They didn’t need maps or icons, because their worlds were dense with clues and lures leading to new paths and back to old locations.

It worked, but spreading the mysteries and challenges of Dark Souls across an open world in the conventional sense castles to infiltrate from many angles, swamps to ride through on horse, and beasts to chase you down is the kind of thing you dream about.

Elden Ring, From Software’s successor to the Souls series, is huge in comparison to the previous games, and what’s in its open world is undeniably Dark Souls.

It was a little better as a dream, though. The real Elden Ring is so much like Dark Souls at times that it feels distracting: there’s a woman who levels you up, there’s a throne to usurp, and many of the same types of monsters you find in Souls games, including some that are almost entirely identical. Scattering those things around an open world, it turns out, doesn’t improve them, and robs them of the significance they had in the other games.

The Souls games are excellent, so despite reusing much of what we’ve seen before, it all works. Where Elden Ring retreads the past, it’s like playing a new, remixed and remastered version of a Souls game with some frustrating technical problems to really replicate those old times.  And when Elden Ring reaches for something more, it soars.

Solid footing

Elden Ring’s first few hours might remind you of gentler times in a game like Breath of the Wild, but no, From Software has not abandoned its traditional brutality. Because of the open world, there are opportunities to circumvent some of the third-person, hack-and-slash fights that would eviscerate you in another Souls game, but it’s still difficult for me, one of the most difficult From Software games.

Elden Ring features the same deliberate combat that’s now conventional for these types of games, except here it’s fully refined. You swing, the enemy swings, and both of you can interrupt each other’s attacks with acute timing. The best Elden Ring fights, like the best Souls fights, ask that you study the way an enemy lunges at you and look for openings to punish them when they miss. In action, it’s almost turn-based as you make your move and wait for the enemy to make theirs. These games are compelling because it rarely feels like the enemies use a different ruleset than you, so when you find a way to eke out a win, whether it’s through magic spells or explosive bombs, it’s like you outsmarted a dungeon master. Elden Ring echoes some of the best fights in the series with towering bosses and groups of enemies that force you to make snap judgments about which to prioritize, but it also echoes some of the worst, giving its late-game enemies and bosses so much health that beating them can be laborious instead of fun.

It’s the scale of it that tricks you into thinking it’s gentler at first. I spent hours prodding at the autumnal landscapes of Limgrave and Liurnia and didn’t meaningfully raise my stats enough to withstand more than a swing from one of the two early major bosses. I defeated creatures on the surface and underneath the Lands Between, picked up useful items and gear, and upgraded my kit with the blacksmith, but none of that prepared me for Elden Ring’s biggest threats. There are weapons and shields that confer unique powers, such as a shield that deflects magic back at enemies or a sword that flings out a blade projectile after a short charge up. They’re all fun to play with while fighting weaker enemies out in the open world, but when it comes time to fight inside one of the game’s “Legacy” dungeons, which are essentially Dark Souls levels set in castles and swamps, they don’t often make a clear difference.

This glacial progression makes some bosses, whether within one of Elden Ring’s tough “Legacy” dungeons or out in the world, seem insurmountable without another player splitting the attention of the boss so that, for at least a moment, you can squeeze a hit in. Elden Ring remained hostile for the 60 hours I’ve put into it, making the trek through it occasionally frustrating and directionless. 

One pocket of land might house undead soldiers who fall to pieces with a poof of magic, while another one might contain ruthless giants who can shrug off an axe cleaved into their side. I spent much of Elden Ring unsure of how strong my character was and where I could go. It makes sense from my character’s perspective she’s intruding on the land that exiled her but for me,  inscrutable encounters with high-health enemies felt like hitting an MMO level gate, except that because this is a Souls game, I couldn’t tell whether I was expected to spend hours mastering these fights or leave them until later. That’s one of the reasons Dark Souls worked better with carefully crafted boundaries.

Torrent, the horse you can summon almost any time while outside of Elden Ring’s delineated dungeons and caves, is part of the problem, too. There are worse horses to ride in games (you don’t have to feed this one and it rarely gets stuck on rocks or shrubs), but galloping past massive enemies or through camps to pluck an item up from the ground can be exhilarating, especially if you’re dodging enemy arrows and swipes.

Eventually (or early on if I was feeling more adventurous), I faced fortifications and enemy types that specifically punished my four-legged freedom with heat-seeking arrows and trebuchet barrages. In certain areas, this pushback prompts you to use Elden Ring’s surprisingly useful stealth mechanic to approach buildings, but other times it’s hard to read what it’s trying to convey. Torrent, while theoretically an empowering way to move through Elden Ring, led to confusion on how I should tackle certain battles or enemy camps.

A path new and old

Once you understand the language of Dark Souls, it’s clear where you should head next in its more contained world and where you shouldn’t. A poison-soaked area might drain your healing resources on an initial run, but a forest nearby is full of  herbs to stock up on. Elden Ring’s problems often have similar solutions, but because the map is so big and dense, it was hours before I understood where I was supposed to use items like anti-poison herbs and armor built to withstand magic attacks that I found.

Ruts like that are worth climbing out of to see Elden Ring’s most tremendous moments. In its early hours, Dark Souls appears to be a typical fantasy setting with skeletons and dragons, but it eventually unfolds into an hourglass world where golden cities gaze down upon flooded ruins. When Elden Ring isn’t recreating these locations, including that very same city down to the windows, or the poison swamp, or its own vacant version of the hub area, it’s magnetic.

Below the Lands Between lies one of the most beautiful areas in From Software’s oeuvre, rivaling the sakura-hues of Sekiro’s final act. That’s where I fought the Ancestor Spirit, a graceful, magical stag pulled from Norse mythology. In contrast to Elden Ring’s grotesque dragons and stoic knights, the Ancestor Spirit is otherworldly as it weightlessly glides through the air. The fight is backed by a sparse score that drives the slow pace of the fight to give you the space to soak it up. From Software games are known for difficulty, but one of the developer’s greatest tricks is turning the tension on its head with a fight that’s almost purely thematic, with just enough to do to keep you present. The Ancestor Spirit is like being deep into a rhythm game where the buttons melt away under your fingertips and the music alone carries you to the end. It’s nigh-transcendent, and an example of how hard Elden Ring’s best moments hit, when the iconography of the previous games disappears and From Software’s skill at orchestrating these types of battles shines through.

The reheated boss fights from the previous games undercut the impact. Although many of them are remixed and situated in different contexts, they are all blatant nods to what came before. I fought a spinning wolf with a sword in its mouth like Dark Souls’ Sif, I dueled a knight with the same gait as Artorias, and I barreled through a library of minions to disrupt a floating boss that resembles Fool’s Idol from Demon’s Souls. Dark Souls 2 and 3 were full of references to the previous games, but neither of them promised to be a whole new universe birthed in part from the mind of a famous fantasy author. Elden Ring could have been anything, and yet, for an absurd amount of its length, it’s disappointingly interested in reprising the Souls games, even if doing so puts it above so many other action RPGs. The infamous Basilisks that spew a lethal toxin at you are back again, except now those basketball eyes that weren’t actually eyes are actually eyes. From Software has seen the memes and the love for its games, and Elden Ring basks in it.

Wanting for more

Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls didn’t birth an entire genre and its voracious fans by being full of things the developer had already done. They created the trend, and Elden Ring simply continues it by using many of the same parts as the previous games. Its open world is bold, but Sekiro’s new enemy types, emphasis on one-on-one combat, and parrying diverge from the Souls trilogy. While Sekiro didn’t end up being one of my favorite of From Software’s games, I deeply respect it for the ways it asked for a very different approach.

Instead Elden Ring carries forward a lot of the things you’d expect, including rough performance on PC. Over time, it tends to intermittently stutter and slow down for brief moments, especially as you’re out in the open world. I never died to a hiccup in performance, but it made me pause and restart the game fairly often to fix the issue.  (Bandai Namco claims the day one patch will fix this.) There’s a 60 fps lock, high RAM requirement, and limited graphics settings (you won’t find DLSS or granular options for anti-aliasing). I hoped for better options and performance from a developer that’s released several games on PC at this point.

Like with Dark Souls, though, Elden Ring’s technical flaws are worth putting up with and will hopefully be fixed soon, either by modder or official patch. And when it stops clinging to the past so much and you plop off a cliff after being chased by wolves and find a swirling gate that takes you far outside the known map to meet a hunched over beast man, the idiomatic dream logic of Elden Ring reminds you that no other developer creates fantasy worlds this repeatedly transfixing.

Elden Ring is junk food for FromSoftware fans. It’s more of what I already adore, but family sized. It has everything that makes these games so intoxicating, and that lodges their intricate fiction into my brain. But its devotion to what came before is distracting. It dulls the impact of those moments where Elden Ring leaps beyond its past to demonstrate why From Software’s games are unparalleled by all who attempt to replicate them. As another Souls game, I love Elden Ring, but as the latest game from FromSoftware, I wanted it to dream a little bigger.

Final Fantasy Origin | March 18


This is the next Final Fantasy game we’re getting before FFXVI. It’s actually a pseudo-remake, “new story inspired by,” the original Final Fantasy game from 1987. This one follows Jack and the Warriors of Light, using a mashup of the Final Fantasy 7 remake’s team combat with Team Ninja’s action-oriented Nioh series fighting and you can see what we thought in our Final Fantasy Origin review.

STRANGER OF PARADISE: FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN REVIEW

STRANGER OF PARADISER
STRANGER OF PARADISE: FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN REVIEW

The mere existence of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is, well, strange. When Square Enix announced it was remaking the beloved Final Fantasy 7, it made sense. It was, after all, the game that put the world’s most ironically named series on the map one that many JRPG fans still hold dear. And with so many other adored games in the series to draw from, creating a spin-off inspired by the now 35-year-old and largely forgotten original is an odd choice. The game itself is stranger still.

Stranger of Paradise offers a new take on the bare-bones narrative of its pixelated predecessor, with developer Team Ninja injecting the series with a more edgy tone. At least that’s what it was going for, but cringe-worthy dialogue from over-the-top characters sees the game sail right by the realm of cool and land squarely in a field of cheese. The largely nonsensical plot sees our band of heroes, led by Jack Garland, setting out to restore crystals and kill the evil overlord known as Chaos, who may or may not even exist. Each of the game’s characters can be summed up with one adjective. There’s the spritely Jed, the stern Ash, the wistful Neon and Jack, who can only be described as driven, and driven by only one desire. To kill Chaos. For all its absurdity, the story is nonetheless entertaining, with each level bookended by short snappy cutscenes that never feel like they intrude upon the action.

While it’s more forgiving than Nioh, Stranger of Paradise does have more in common with the samurai-inspired Souls like than the Final Fantasy series. The many aspects of combat feel overwhelming at first, but the mechanics click surprisingly quickly. The Job system offers a wealth of different fighting options, catering for a variety of playstyles. Foes are thrown at you thick and fast, and being able to switch between classes and swap in and out abilities makes for encounters that are both robust and gratifying. In a nice nod to the series’ roots, you even go head-to-head with Final Fantasy favourites like Cactuars, Marlboros, and Ton berries.

Battles are given extra depth thanks to Soul Shield, an alternative method to regular blocking that reduces an enemy’s Break Gauge. Fully depleting this gauge allows you to swoop in with Soul Burst, a showy finisher that sees enemies turn crystal before spectacularly shattering into tiny pieces. It’s both slick and undeniably satisfying. You can also temporarily absorb certain skills with Soul Shield to use back against your enemies. Turning a Cactuar’s deadly 1,000 Needles attack against the bouncy menace elicits a feeling of sheer delight if you’re a Final Fantasy fan who’s long been on the receiving end of this spikey signature move.

As solid as Stranger of Paradise’s combat is, it’s not without its shortcomings. Magic doesn’t transition to the game’s fast-paced combat quite as well as melee. Casting spells was all well and good in the days of turn-based battles, where enemies would patiently stand and wait for an elemental-based pounding, but as you’re held in place for the considerably lengthy cast times, you’re effectively a sitting duck. And being stationary for any length of time is a sure way to have your Chaos killing quest come to an abrupt end. You also only have the option to switch between two job classes on the fly. Swapping up your style any further requires halting the action to go into the menu. It’s a curious limitation that’s at odds with the otherwise ample level of freedom the game offers.

Admittedly, one aspect that would benefit from dialling down the variety is the game’s loot system. Every encounter and chest offer new weapons and equipment. Drops are so frequent that they become meaningless, as you’re constantly rifling through menus to equip a slightly pointier sword or a marginally better bandana. Another case of too much comes from the constant chatter between teammates that isn’t as helpful as it is monotonous and unnecessary. Hearing your party question what could be in a chest or announce they’ve spotted a save point every time you come across them quickly leaves you wishing your next lofty treasure haul would include some silencing potions.

The choice of difficulty level adds to the game’s accessible nature. Story mode reduces the difficulty significantly, while a casual option lets you breeze through battles. There’s also a higher difficulty mode that offers an experience that’s best described as brutal. The standard ‘Action’ setting provides a considerable challenge that perfectly bridges the gap between mindless victories and frustrating repetition. Bosses will have you hot under the collar, but the threat is never insurmountable as you become familiar with their attack patterns, learning the best times to block, evade and retaliate with the vast array of abilities at your disposal. Levels are linear yet intricately detailed, with numerous light puzzling elements and sneaky shortcuts to unlock.

For the most part, these locations, lovingly inspired by previous Final Fantasy titles, look nice, at least in brightly lit areas, but it can be hard to see anything in the game’s more shadowy sections, even after toggling with the display settings. The game runs smoothly at 60 fps but grinds to a snail’s pace when cranked up to 120 fps, particularly when you’re performing an enemy shattering Soul Burst.

While it’s not without its issues, Stranger of Paradise is an undeniably stylish and charmingly ridiculous adventure. The solid and engaging combat, varied environments, and the way the game can be catered towards your preferred playstyle and difficulty level make for a Final Fantasy title that shines despite its considerably darker style. While it offers one of the most dynamic combat systems the series has seen, its sketchy story and half-baked cast also make it one of the shallowest additions. This trashy B-movie take on the series may be a little rough around the edges, but it’s nonetheless an enjoyable and fascinating reimagining of the aged escapade that started it all.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga | April 5

Another licensed LEGO game is breaking through the atmosphere. The Skywalker Saga is piecing together a huge cast of Star Wars characters for the sequel to the LEGO Force Awakens. You’ll fly and fight and platform through all nine main Star Wars plots.


Dune: Spice Wars| April 26

A sci-fi real-time strategy with 4X elements set in the universe of Frank Herbert’s Dune novels. Dune: Spice Wars sees you vie with other factions for control of the desert planet Arrakis, and is developed by the creators of Northgard.

Saints Row | August 23

Volition is rebooting its wacky action series with four new young and witty protagonists. As the new Boss, you and four friends launch a criminal empire in the American southwest-inspired Santo Ileso. The new Saints Row is aiming to be of its own time, a contemporary story about feisty young folks that leaves the old Boss in the past.

The Saints Row reboot won’t be as edgy as its predecessors

The Saints Row reboot won't be as edgy as its predecessors
The Saints Row reboot won’t be as edgy as its predecessors

Saints Row is getting a complete reboot, and it’s just called Saints Row. All those wacky antics from the four previous games, like diving into computers, killing zombies for Burt Reynolds, becoming president, and ruling the world with superpowers? None of that ever happened in Saints Row’s new American Southwest-inspired world, Santo Ileso. 

This time around, the Saints crew is a close-knit group of four young friends, each with their own expertise: planner and business mind Eli, expert driver Neenah, DJ and smoothtalker Kevin, and the slightly off-the-rails Boss (that’s you). As the Boss, you can still create a completely custom character (and choose one of eight voices) that’s big or small, young or old, and anywhere in between.

Interestingly, Saints Row won’t have an expanding cast of characters that join the core Saints crew over time. You will recruit additional nameless underlings as you expand your criminal empire with new businesses, but the story centers around the four Saints founders. Volition talks about the burgeoning crew a quartet that’s tired of working for big criminal organizations that decide to start their own thing more like a startup company than a gang. I guess that means your mission is to “disrupt” crime.

The new crew seems like a spirited bunch. Their appetite for chaos is reminiscent of the old gang in the best ways, but I detect less meanness and cynicism this time around. Speaking only from the few minutes of cutscenes and gameplay I saw, the four feel like a proper friend group that accepts and supports each other, similar to Watch Dogs 2. I want to learn more about them, but I’m more excited about Santo Ileso itself, which basically looks like a truncated version of Las Vegas’ desert region. Creative director Briant Traficante told press in a closed briefing that Santo Ileso is “one of the largest cities we’ve built for a Saints Row game.”

How big is “largest” exactly? Volition didn’t say, but it did talk about a few of the nine districts that make up the world. There’s the gritty casino district of El Dorado, the lofty mansions and manicured lawns of Monte Vista, and a financial district with all the skyscrapers that I’ll probably try to loop a jet around. A big chunk of the map is a wide-open desert that looks ripe for offroading hijinks. Car customization is back, of course, and now every vehicle can be outfitted with offroading tires.

As someone that spent over a hundred hours causing hijinks with friends in GTA Online’s varied Los Santos map, it’s great to see Saints Row expand out from a single city-sized sandbox. One of GTAV’s greatest strengths is its world that’s just as fun to drag race in as it is to jump motorcycles off huge dirt hills. I hope Santo Ileso can achieve similar highs, but don’t expect a similar player count. Like every Saints game before it, Saints Row caps out at 2-player co-op. The whole game can be played together and co-op partners can drop in and drop out at will. That may be bad news if you’re used to grouping up with a big crew in GTA Online.

As you grow the new Saints crew (company?), vacant lots across Santo Ileso can be purchased and turned into crooked businesses. Volition showed off a few examples, including a food truck dispatch that also peddles drugs, arms dealers, car repo shops, nightclubs, and laundromats. I got the sense that these optional businesses will rake in extra money automatically, but you can also help out by operating businesses yourself (like delivering drugs in a food truck). It sounds like players will be busy with all those minigames, but Volition confirmed that some popular side activities from past games will make a return through opening businesses, like the ragdoll punishment minigame Insurance Fraud.

What’s probably not returning is the exact tone of humor that players might remember from Saints Row 3 and 4. I remember laughing often at Saints Row The Third when I played it 10 years(!) ago, but it took some googling to remember just how embarrassingly edgy its writing was. Between memorable setpieces and lovable characters were moments of casual sexism and homophobia within its main cast and beyond the sort of stuff that I breezed by in all media when I was a dumb 15-year-old.

Without getting specific about the series’ past, studio development director Jim Boone said the Saints Row reboot will bring the series into the 2020’s. “We love [the old Saints Row games], but we also recognize those are games of a time,” he said. “They made sense within that era, and we were able to do things that felt good back then. But that tone is not something that we feel like we want to do today. We had a different kind of story that we wanted to tell.”

What I’ve seen so far more-or-less tracks with this. I get the sense that Volition wants to keep telling over-the-top, funny stories while leaving its mean streak behind. Hopefully that means the Saints can still pull off impossible stunts without making me wince or cringe every five minutes.

A new main cast and city certainly freshen things up a bit, but as a whole, Saints Row seems very similar to the games before it. Volition promises that the shooting is still arcady, driving is better than ever, and the weapon choice is vast.

We’ll check on those claims once we can actually play it, which is sooner than you might expect. Saints Row is launching February 25, 2022 on the Epic Games Store, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, and PS5.


Warhammer 40,000: Darktide | September 13

Fatshark is branching out with a new ‘-tide’ game set in the grim darkness of the Warhammer 40k world. The co-op fps formula looks to be firing on all cylinders, and with meaty melee combat returning chainswords in hand with a new cast of four, this may be the pinnacle of games to get your group into in 2022.

Fight together with your friends against hordes of enemies in this new Warhammer 40,000 experience. From the developers of the best-selling and award-winning co-op action franchise Vermintide, Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is a visceral 4-player co-op action game set in the hive city of Tertium.

In the depths of the hive, the seeds of corruption threaten an overwhelming tide of darkness. A heretical cult known as the Admonition seeks to seize control of the planet Atoma Prime and lay waste to its inhabitants. It is up to you and your allies in the Inquisition to root out the enemy before the city succumbs to Chaos.

Stem the overwhelming tides of enemies alongside up to 3 friends in this harrowing co-op experience. Team composition and collaboration are critical, and will determine whether or not you secure victory for the God-Emperor.


Gotham Knights | October 25

Four members of the Bat Family are watching over Gotham in Batman’s absence in this diversion from the Arkhamverse timeline. In solo or two-player co-op, you’ll tackle the big bads of the Court of Owls as Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, and Red Hood.

Gotham Knights: Everything we know about the co-op Bat Family game

Gotham Knights: Everything we know about the co-op Bat Family game
Gotham Knights: Everything we know about the co-op Bat Family game

The latest Batman universe game is Gotham Knights developed by WB Games Montreal and it doesn’t actually star Batman. While the bat himself is gone you’ll suit up as Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin. After Bruce Wayne supposedly died in a Batcave bat-explosion, it’s left to the extended Bat Family to cover his vigilante shifts in Gotham.

Developers WB Games Montreal were involved with Arkham Origins in 2013 and some parts of Arkham Knight in 2015. Though Gotham Knights is separate from the Arkham universe, it’s a good sign that the game has such a solid pedigree behind it. As with any DC game, you can expect to meet some familiar and ominous antagonists, such as Mr. Freeze and the organized crime group, the Court of Owls.

Here is everything we know about Gotham Knights, including its release date, the game’s story, and how to play co-op.

When is the Gotham Knights release date

The Gotham Knights release date is October 25, 2022. 

It was originally planned to launch in 2021, but in an update in March 2021, the developers announced Gotham Knights has been delayed from its original expected launch window.

“We are giving the game more time to deliver the best possible experience for players. Thank you to our amazing fans for your tremendous support of Gotham Knights. We look forward to showcasing more of the game in the coming months.

Here’s the Gotham Knights reveal trailer

The original reveal trailer for Gotham Knights sets up the backstory and the heroes you’ll be able to play as during the game. Batman has blown up the Batcave and has entrusted the safety of the city to four of the other Bat Family members.

What’s the Gotham Knights story?

Gotham Knights kicks off with Bruce Wayne dying in an explosion. Prior to his demise, Batman had planned to leave Gotham in the hands of some other Bat Family members. The Bat Cave has been destroyed, by Bruce himself no less, and he’s left the team the Belfry tower as a base of operations instead.

Robin, Red Hood, Batgirl, and Nightwing assemble to protect Gotham despite being on bad terms with the Gotham City Police Department after the death of former commissioner Jim Gordon.  

Gotham’s secret society, The Court of Owls, will play a role as well. By the looks of all those rows of frozen containers at the end of the reveal trailer, it seems there may be quite a number of their Talon assassins to contend with around the city.

Don’t be fooled—Arkham Knight ends with what could be a setup for a similar storyline, but WB has confirmed that Gotham Knights is set in a different continuity. The Arkham mantle is being picked up by Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League instead.

Is Batman really dead? Well, we’ll just see about that.

Here’s the Court of Owls story trailer

The second big story trailer for Gotham Knights is all about the big villain syndicate the Court of Owls. Despite what Nightwing initially says, they’re clearly not just a myth. 

Introduced in a popular 2011 comic book storyline, the Court of Owls are the secret rulers of Gotham City, wealthy elites in Venetian masks styled to resemble owls. As this trailer shows, they also have well-armed assassins at their disposal.

What’s the gameplay like

The gameplay walkthrough released alongside the reveal trailer shows a pretty good slice of Gotham Knights combat. You can spot a bit of stealth, some of Batgirl’s moves, traversal around the level, and a boss fight with Mr. Freeze.

WB refers to this fight as a Villain Encounter, which it says will change depending on what level you are. Boss fights won’t just have increased health totals and other stats. Apparently the kinds of moves they use during fights will change to match your character’s level as well.

There are definitely some RPG elements in Gotham Knights too. Throughout the gameplay walkthrough you can spot level indicators next to enemy health bars and damage numbers accompanying attacks. WB later said that you’ll manage your gear: a melee weapon, ranged weapon, and suit, which will affect how you play. That’s different from your suit’s style though, so you can look and play great without compromise.

There’s also a purple bar in the bottom right corner that looks like a powerup meter for special attacks. WB later confirmed to IGN that “you have special abilities in your ability tree that you’ll unlock, and you can choose to unlock it in different ways, as well as how you use your gear. And some of that will tie into that bar that we’ll be talking about in the future.”

You can take on Gotham Knights entirely as a singleplayer game or two player co-op. In the gameplay preview above, Robin drops in to help Batgirl put Mr. Freeze’s plan on ice er, on defrost. 

WB also says that Gotham is totally open world so you can do as you please without enemies of higher levels blocking your exploration. 

Which characters appear in Gotham Knights

Gotham Knights features four members of the Bat Family who’ve been tapped to keep Gotham safe without big guy Bruce himself. Gotham Knights definitely isn’t an origin story, featuring several of the vigilante crew pretty far into their character development after a couple name changes. 

One of the most interesting new details about the heroes is that they level up while you’re not playing them. During Games Radar’s interview with Gotham Knights’ creative director Patrick Redding and executive producer Fleur Marty, it was confirmed that all four characters share their story progression. This means that it should be easy to switch between characters without it feeling like you’re at a disadvantage when you don’t pick your favourite.

Robin – Tim Drake

The Robin of this Gotham story is Tim Drake, the third inheritor of the Robin moniker. Drake is the young one of the group, but also the smartest and a master sleuth. 

As of Gotham Knights, Tim is “an expert fighter armed with his collapsible quarterstaff and skilled in the art of stealth, Tim also possesses a background in combined psychological warfare and behavioral sciences, all of which sets the stage for him to accomplish any mission.”

The reveal trailer shows him in action with his preferred staff. You can also catch a couple possible costumes for Robin between the reveal trailer and gameplay breakdown below. 

Batgirl – Barbara Gordon

Batgirl aka Oracle aka Batgirl again, Barbara Gordon is another member of the Knights. She’s the daughter of deceased GCPD commissioner Jim Gordon and a tech wiz with martial arts chops. 

WB says that in Gotham Knights she’s “highly trained in a variety of fighting styles, such as kickboxing, capoeira, and jiu-jitsu. Her signature weapon is the tonfa. Barbara also displays great skill when it comes to hacking or coding in computers and technological systems to dig for information.”

You can spot a wheelchair in the foreground of Batgirl’s hideout in the reveal trailer, marking the game as taking place after her tenure as Oracle during which she was paralyzed. She’s now recovered and returned to her Batgirl name alongside the veritable flock of Robins.

Nightwing – Dick Grayson

Original Robin Dick Grayson, now Nightwing, is the acrobatics master of the group known for fighting with his two escrima sticks. 

Gotham Knights calls him “a natural leader, an optimist, and the most charismatic of the Batman Family. He grew up in an unorthodox but loving circus family, so he values close personal bonds.”

Dick and Barbara have a romantic history that would be neat for WB to tap into a bit while throwing them together on the Knights crew.

Red Hood – Jason Todd

Robin number two, Jason Todd, joins the group under his later name Red Hood. He’s got a pretty complicated relationship with the Batman Family, especially his Robin successor Tim. His death, resurrection, and a lot of resulting personality changes put him at odds with Bruce and co. for a time. By the time of this story, he’s fully reconciled with the Bat gang, WB sas, though that history could potentially be another source of conflict.

As for his other skills, Gotham Knights says “Jason has trained to reach the peak of human strength, and he’s proficient in multiple combat techniques with all manner of weapons—both traditional and high-tech. After reconciling with the Batman Family, he has embraced Batman’s non-lethal combat methods.” Nevermind those dual pistols. They’re definitely not deadly, we hope.

How does co-op work

It sounds like Gotham Knights will offer a decent amount of freedom in co-op. During the gameplay reveal, we spotted Robin dropping into Batgirl’s session seamlessly. In fact, Gotham has been specifically designed to accommodate a duo, so its likely best experienced with a buddy by your side.  That said, WB Games has said that you won’t be attached at the hip to your co-op partner either. You’re free to explore around a bit, even while in your friend’s session. 

You can also play as the same hero as a friend. WB say that you’re free to drop in as Batgirl while a friend is already playing her and that the skills available for each hero will let you both player her a bit differently. There’s no level-gating in Gotham Knights, so you should be able to play along with a pal without worrying about their level too much either.

So what’s the Belfry

According to the comics, The Belfry is a hideout built by the game’s current Robin, Tim Drake. It was built in the bones of the old Wayne Tower with a ton of law enforcement monitoring tech. 

In Batman’s farewell message during the Gotham Knights reveal trailer, he says “some of the technology is outdated but it has the gear you need and all of my files.”

Functionally speaking, WB Games said that this is where players will return during the day to manage gear and hang out costume-free. “The Belfry is super-central to our game because it’s your base of operations,” WB tells IGN. “You get to go back there, analyze all the clues that you’ve picked up during your previous night, have a little chat with Alfred, craft your gear, and really prepare yourself for the next night of crime fighting. So yeah, daytime is Belfry, and then at night you’re roaming the streets, fighting criminals and unraveling the mystery.”

Is Gotham Knights a live service game

Nope, sounds like Gotham Knights is focused on its campaign and co-op experience rather than endless content. “This is very much not designed as a game-as-service,” producer Fleur Marty told IGN. “There is an ability tree, which is different for each of the characters, and then there’s gear that you craft and so choices that you’re going to be making but that does not mean that this is a game-as-service.”

What does the Warner Media split mean for Gotham Knights?

The short answer is that we don’t know yet. In May 2021, AT&T announced that it will spin off Warner Media and merge it with Discovery in a $43 billion deal. From what we know so far, part of Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, but not all of it, will be sold off. Gotham Knights developers WB Games Montreal fall under that umbrella of course. Some studios under WBIE will stay with AT&T while others will head to the new company.

Can I also watch Gotham Knights?

Funny you should ask, because CW has a pilot spinning up for a Gotham Knights TV show. Though it’s not related to the game directly, it’s based on the same story and is in the middle of casting now. Between this coming up and The Batman recently released, there’s plenty of bat-goodness to tide you over for now.

Starfield | November 11

Bethesda Game Studios’ first new series in years is headed out into space. We’re expecting it to be more than “Skyrim in space” but Todd Howard has confirmed that it is, in some ways, Skyrim in space. We’re expecting tons of exploration in the Settled Systems with dangerous spaceflight and various factions.

Starfield Everything We know About Bethesda’s Next RPG

Starfield: Everything we know about Bethesda's next RPG
Starfield: Everything we know about Bethesda’s next RPG

Starfield is Bethesda’s first original RPG in 25 years, and it’s set in the grounded and realistic space of the 24th century. Almost three years after it was announced, we’re getting a slow trickle of details about the game and when you can expect to play it. We’ve gathered all of the information we could find about Starfield below, including trailers, video updates, interviews, and concept art. 

Now that we’ve officially entered Starfield’s launch year, we’re expecting to start hearing more from Bethesda about the big new space game. We’ll continue collecting information about Starfield’s factions, characters, and space flight right here. Here’s everything we know so far about Bethesda’s next RPG.

What is the Starfield release date?

The Starfield release date is November 11, 2022. It’ll be available on PC, Xbox, and as part of Game Pass on day one.

Starfield now has a Steam page

The upcoming interstellar RPG has a Steam page, and though it doesn’t exactly give a full description of gameplay or what we can expect, it does confirm release date, and show us that Bethesda are starting to kick-off marketing for the game. In coming months we can likely expect even more reveals and details to surface, as they finally start talking more concrete details about the game.

Here’s the official Starfield trailer from E3 2021

You can watch the Starfield E3 trailer above. It’s a cinematic showing an astronaut climbing into a spaceship while a robot tromps around on the surface. We get a nice look at the ship while a voice over says “What you’ve found is the key to unlocking… everything,” and “We’ve come to the beginning of humanity’s final journey.” The pilot sits at a console, flips a bunch of switches, and the trailer ends with rockets firing and the ship about to take off.

You can also watch the first episode of a new series on Starfield from Bethesda called Into the Starfield below, which breaks down their inspirations, shows off new concept art (including some gorgeous animated ones), and talks about the game. There’s also a second episode available, which talks about factions and shows off some dialogue.

There’s Starfield concept art aplenty

We’re still short on in-game screenshots and clips, but Bethesda has been including tons of concept art for Starfield in its videos to give us an idea what kinds of places we’ll be visiting.

Starfield has exploration at its heart

Bethesda showed a little bit more of its hand on Starfield with a recent extended video that had game director Todd Howard, studio director Angela Browder, and art director Matt Carofano chatting about inspirations for the upcoming space RPG. 

“A lot of our games are about exploration, and that’s the ultimate exploration, is what’s out there? What’s past Earth?” said Carofano. “Whereas Skyrim is sort of an epic fantasy, this is a more grounded game and a more grounded setting about exploration…

Howard had similar things to say when talking about the impact of exploration and the setting of Bethesda games of the past.

“We always have that ‘step out’ moment into the world, so to say,” Howard says. “The technology has changed. We’ve all changed. So our expectations when loading up a game, like, ‘Okay, I’m going to step out and there’s going to be this moment.’ Us being able to do that and have it feel new every generation, every game, is something that is really special about what we do.

“I like to say that Starfield has two ‘step out’ moments. That’s cryptic.”

What we know about the major Starfield locations

One of the recent trailers breaks down the region of space known as the ‘Settled Systems’, a 50 light year radius around our own solar system where humanity has spread out. It’s divided up between two major factions the United Colonies and the Freestar Collective who are at an uneasy peace after a recent war. It also touches on some of the other threats the player might face: “Ecliptic mercenaries, pirates of the Crimson Fleet, violent Spacers, or even the fanatical religious zealots of House Va’Ruun.

In the short videos called “Location Insights”, design director Emil Pagliarulo introduced some of the settlements you’ll be visiting in Starfield. Each video is less than a minute long and is just Pagliarulo giving a quick summary over some concept art, so they’re not much to go on. That said, one of them does seem interesting. Neon was originally built as a fishing platform on an aquatic world, but was retooled as a pleasure city by its owner, the Xenofresh corporation, when they discovered an alien fish with valuable psychotropic qualities. This literal dopefish is now only legal on Neon.

The other videos introduce New Atlantis, the capital of the United Colonies, and Akila City, the capital of the Freestar Collective, which is walled to keep out “alien predators that are a cross between a wolf and a velociraptor.”

Starfield also has factions

Space is a dangerous place, so it’s no surprise that the Settled Systems will have any number of groups angling to meet their own ends. We don’t know anything about Starfield’s main story yet, but there are definitely going to be factions at play in the world like other major Bethesda RPGs. We don’t know much yet, but we have heard the names and brief descriptions of a few groups that we may meet or hear about along the way:

  • United Colonies: “the future space republic, idealized.”
  • Freestar Collective: “space western fantasy, people out there on the frontier.”
  • Ryujin Industries: A mega-corp, one of the possible starting factions.
  • Crimson Fleet: A group of pirates that you can either join or betray.
  • House Va’Ruun: A group of fanatical religious zealots.

You have a robot companion called Vasco

In a recent video Bethesda showed off Vasco for the first time. This expeditionary robot for constellation will presumably be Starfield’s default companion, similar to Dogmeat in Fallout 4. Originally built by Lunar Robotics, Vasco was refurbished to handle the rigors of expeditionary space travel, and while he still has some weapons, it sounds like he’s more of a workhorse, with storage capacity and a variety of gear to aid you in exploration.

In the same video, lead artist Istvan Pely calls Vasco one of the team’s “favorite companions”. It seemed safe to assume there would be a handful of exploration partners to choose from in Starfield (like in Skyrim or Fallout 4) but now we can count on it for sure.

Something we really leaned into on this game is how those other characters felt about you,” Todd Howard said in one of Bethesda’s videos. Companion characters will also comment on your surroundings or things happening around you.

There’s a persuasion minigame, but not quite Oblivion’s

In its Into the Starfield episode 2, Bethesda gets to talking about a persuasion system in Starfield. That may bring to mind the funny dialogue pie system from Oblivion, which wasn’t originally intended as an evolution of Oblivion’s system “but there are a couple of beats there,” says lead quest designer Will Shen. “You have to think about ‘what’s my risk here?’ We didn’t want it to be a system where there’s definitely a right thing to say.” 

“It feels like you’re having a conversation where you’re actually trying to persuade somebody of something,” Todd Howard adds. “As far as new systems in dialogue, I think it’s definitely one of the most successful ones that we’ve had.

Starfield has more than double Skyrim’s dialog

During the Tokyo Game Show, Howard told the audience that Starfield will launch with a complete Japanese localization and that it has over 150,000 lines of dialog. As Nibellion pointed out on Twitter, that’s more than twice as many lines as Skyrim, which had 60,000 of them. It’s more than Fallout 4’s 111,000 lines of dialog as well. This is going to be one chatty RPG.

Bethesda is taking pages from older hardcore RPGs

In the second episode of the development diary ‘Into the Starfield’ that released recently, Todd Howard talked about Starfield. Covering a variety of subjects from different factions to Starfield’s dialogue system he also focused in on the depth of character backstory and creation .some things we didn’t do [in older games]: the backgrounds, the traits, defining your character, all of those stats. Starfield’s aiming for “a lot of the things that older hardcore RPGs, something we used to do, doing those again in a new way.

The art style was called “NASA-Punk” internally

“Early on in this project when we were trying to establish the overall aesthetic of this game, we sort of coined the term ‘NASA-Punk’ to describe a sci-fi universe that’s a little more grounded and relatable,” Starfield lead artist Istvan Pely told Xbox Wire. “We wanted a very realistic take. You can draw a line from current-day space technology and extrapolate from there into the future so it’s believable and relatable.”

It may sound like a silly name, but it caught on with the team as a useful shorthand for Starfield’s rough-hewn and gritty depiction of the future. “What’s really interesting is how much we all latched onto that concept,” said lead animator Rick Vicens. “When you said NASA-Punk, the Art team could instantly take those two words and make them work. It was just the perfect term for our art direction and keeping everyone in same flow and working with a consistent style.

Starfield is “like Skyrim in space, says Todd Howard

We don’t know a whole lot about Starfield’s story yet. Speaking to The Washington Post, Todd Howard said Starfield is “like Skyrim in space,” and will feature factions, with Constellation, a group of human explorers, being the main one.

“It’s like NASA meets Indiana Jones meets the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a group of people that are still searching for answers,” Howard said.

“There are a lot of factions in the game but [Constellation is] the main one that you’ll become a part of. It’s kind of like Skyrim in terms of the structure of the game, where you’re going to be who you want to be, and then there’s different factions that you can join, and really carve your own path.”

Also like Skyrim and Bethesda’s Fallout games, Starfield will be playable both in first and third-person perspectives.

Todd Howard traveled to SpaceX to bring ‘authenticity’ to Starfield

In the same E3 chat between Howard and Musk mentioned above, Howard said that he toured Musk’s company SpaceX for Starfield research and inspiration. It’s not clear how this inspiration will manifest, but Howard did mention that Helium 3 a speculative fuel for nuclear fusion could be the isotope used to fuel Starfield’s ships, or at least is something to be debated.

The look of the ship in the trailer shows futuristic yet still recognizable tech. Lots of buttons and switches like the cockpits we have today, as opposed to super-exotic technology we see in games like Mass Effect.

Starfield has been in development for years

Back in 2018 Todd Howard said that the project had moved out of pre-production and was currently in a playable state internally. The teaser shown at E3 2018 was mostly designed to give us a sense of the game’s atmosphere. In an interview with The Guardian, Howard says, “We’ve been talking about it for a decade, we started putting things on paper five, six years ago, and active development was from when we finished Fallout 4, so two and a half, three years.”

Spaceship combat may be on the menu

This is just speculation, but there may be spaceship combat in Starfield. The trailer shows the astronaut’s ship console, and on one of the readouts there’s a listing for WPNS: Weapons. There are three options beneath it (including MISS, which could be missiles) and the word HOT to indicate the weapons are ready to use. 

There’s also a readout for shields (SHLD) and on another monitor there’s a readout for power. If we have weapons on the ship, and a way to route power to the shields, that’s a pretty good indication there will be spaceship combat unless this is all just fancy cosmetic stuff.

Starfield is built in Creation Engine 2

The trailer begins with the words “Alpha in-game footage | Creation Engine 2” showing on the screen. Bethesda confirmed that Starfield is the first game to be built in the new engine.

We don’t know much about Creation Engine 2, or how much it differs from the engine Bethesda has been using and updating for years for everything from Skyrim to Fallout 76. Since Bethesda’s RPGs have been highly moddable, we sure hope Creation Engine 2 continues the tradition.

There’s a brief making-of feature you can watch below that shows lots of interesting concept art.


Company of Heroes 3 | 2022

A turn-based campaign has joined the arsenal of Relic’s latest entry in the World War 2 RTS series, which is set in Italy and North Africa. Other new features like a tactical pause system for single-player and dynamic covern where destruction just changes the type and location of cover are both exciting and welcome.

Company of Heroes 3

ABOUT THIS GAME

The legendary strategy franchise is back! Company of Heroes 3 is the ultimate package of action, tactics and strategy. Take charge in the heat of real-time battle, then command as a General guiding the overall campaign where every decision matters. ​

Overwhelm your opponents with new and familiar factions, units, and international Battlegroups. Command ground, air and naval forces and build supply lines to crush enemy advances on the new Dynamic Campaign Map – no two playthroughs are ever alike! Play at your own pace across campaign and skirmish modes before diving into blistering multiplayer action. Discover the untold stories of a stunning Mediterranean theatre, featuring next generation destructible environments, all powered by Relic’s proprietary Essence Engine. ​

ABOUT THIS GAME

The legendary strategy franchise is back! Company of Heroes 3 is the ultimate package of action, tactics and strategy. Take charge in the heat of real-time battle, then command as a General guiding the overall campaign where every decision matters. ​

Overwhelm your opponents with new and familiar factions, units, and international Battlegroups. Command ground, air and naval forces and build supply lines to crush enemy advances on the new Dynamic Campaign Map – no two playthroughs are ever alike! Play at your own pace across campaign and skirmish modes before diving into blistering multiplayer action. Discover the untold stories of a stunning Mediterranean theatre, featuring next generation destructible environments, all powered by Relic’s proprietary Essence Engine. ​

Award-winning Tactical Gameplay

Company of Heroes 3 delivers the next generation of acclaimed tactical gameplay. Beloved combat mechanics collide with authentic new gameplay features, making for the deepest tactical experience to date. ​

Make use of daring flanking moves to expose enemy side armor, experience all new infantry breaching mechanics allowing you to flush enemy units from their garrisons, and master elevation to enhance your line of sight and gain the upper hand.

A Stunning New Theatre

Welcome to the Mediterranean – a breathtaking new theatre filled with untold stories of war. Engage ferocious enemy forces across Italian mountain passes, breathtaking coastal vistas and the sweeping deserts of N Africa. Stunning visuals deliver authentic and highly diverse environments designed to keep you on your toes. ​

Mountainous maps will require uniquely different strategies from coastal towns, with verticality now greatly affecting units’ line of sight (True Sight). Desert plains will call for careful reconnaissance and daring armored maneuvers. On this new frontline, intelligence trumps speed and clever use of local terrain will let you bewilder your opponents and rout them from the field.

New Layers Of Strategy

Experience the biggest single player campaign in franchise history. The new Dynamic Campaign Map delivers full ‘sandbox-style’ gameplay, allowing players to command the overall war effort and experience an unprecedented level of strategic choice. ​

Establish vital supply lines before deploying rear guard defenses to secure your advance. Launch air and naval strikes to weaken and scatter enemy forces or liberate a nearby town to develop a Partisan spy network. Choose your forces and upgrade your veteran companies to match your playstyle. Meanwhile, the optional Full Tactical Pause feature allows players total control over the pacing of single-player action. Plan your attacks, then effortlessly queue up lethal precision plays that will give you the edge in battle.

Diverse Factions & Units

Company of Heroes 3 promises to delight even the most ardent WW2 enthusiasts thanks to the largest number of launch factions in the series to date. ​

New army customization mechanics will allow you to call in the help of a varied cast of specialist units. Take up the fight with new elite squads including the American-Canadian Special Service Forces, the revered Gurkhas from the Commonwealth and many more. ​

From devastating tank destroyers to clandestine recon vehicles, Company of Heroes 3 features the largest roster in the series to date. The super light Weasel, the armor sniping Nashorn, and the Chaffee Light Tank are just a few of the units making their debut. Also, let’s not forget revamped classics like the M3 Recovery Vehicle Halftrack, which can now be used to repair and steal abandoned enemy vehicles!

Cinematic Action

Feel the blistering impact of every mortar shell and naval bombardment with Relic’s state-of-the-art Essence Engine. In Company of Heroes 3, every location becomes a fully destructible sandbox, opening up limitless tactical gameplay options for you or your enemy to exploit. ​

Bring fortified buildings crashing down onto enemy squads, then witness enhanced destruction mechanics at play as soldiers exploit fresh ruins as dynamic cover. Stunning new rendering and particle FX technology depicts fire, sand and smoke like never before. Brilliant new soldier animations combine with enhanced A.I, delivering realistic squad reactions to the battlefield. Optimized for DirectX 12 and multi-core CPUs, Relic’s new engine technology will deliver cinematic action to rival any Hollywood blockbuster.

Kerbal Space Program 2 | 2022

The delightful misadventures of the Kerbonauts in building a space program will be continued in the second half of 2022. Now, you’ll be able to establish colonies, create interstellar travel, and continue to spectacularly explode innumerable spacecraft before the horrified and fascinated Kerbal people.

Kerbal Space Program 2

ABOUT THIS GAME

Kerbal Space Program 2 is the sequel to the acclaimed space flight simulation game Kerbal Space Program from Private Division.

With the original Kerbal Space Program having become one of the most beloved games of all time and now bigger than ever, Kerbal Space Program 2 has been fully redesigned from the ground up to meet the demands of modern and next-generation space exploration, all while maintaining the monumental foundations of the first game. Build a space program, construct powerful spacecraft, design resource-gathering colonies, and much more to uncover the secrets of the galaxy. A plethora of exciting new features will captivate veteran and returning players, as well as usher in a whole new wave of Kerbonauts to the ingenious and comedic world that has entertained millions of players.

System Shock | 2022

Shodan is coming back in a neon-drenched remake of the classic fps. You’ll wake up from a coma onboard the orbital research station and have to take on the hordes of mutants and cyborgs that the killer station-AI has created. System Shock’s cyberpunk pedigree is unmatched, and we’re hoping this will nail it.

Baldur’s Gate 3 | 2022

Baldur’s Gate is back and it’s now in the hands of Divinity: Original Sin’s developers. Larian has already launched the first section of the game in early access while adding new features and classes prior to the official launch. Like D:OS, Baldur’s Gate 3 is often a wacky, anything-goes take on digital D&D.

Baldur’s Gate 3 How far can you play in Early Access, when’s it likely to be done, and everything we know

Baldur's Gate 3: How far can you play in Early Access, when's it likely to be done, and everything we know
Baldur’s Gate 3: How far can you play in Early Access,

Baldur’s Gate 3 is a revival of the classic party-based RPG series set in the Forgotten Realms. It’s being modernised by Larian Studios previously responsible for the excellent Divinity: Original Sin 2 bringing it in line with the current Dungeons & Dragons rules. It’s also become turn-based, unlike the original games, which back in the day helped popularize realtime-with-pause combat as a compromise between Diablo-style action and squad-level tactics.

The Early Access version of Baldur’s Gate 3 was released in October of 2020. It lets you make a character and play through the first act as you escape from tentacle-faced mind flayers and try to find a cure for the parasite they’ve implanted in your brain. It can be enjoyed solo, or in online co-op with up to four players.

There are options for good and evil playthroughs as well as shades of gray in-between as you negotiate between druids and refugee tieflings with fiendish blood, make your way through a goblin camp, delve into the Underdark, deal with a devil, defuse inter-party conflict between your five recruitable companions, and more. 

Baldur’s Gate 3 Early Access review

A firm release date has yet to be announced, and we were hoping it would be this year. The latest word from Larian, however, is that 2023 is looking more likely: 

“Our internal goal post for release is a quality bar rather than a date. A ton of progress has been made towards that quality bar over the past year in Early Access, but we know many players are waiting for an actual date. That date will come when we’re even closer to meeting our goal, but right now our expectation is that Baldur’s Gate 3 will be released out of Early Access in 2023.

Baldur’s Gate 3 has been in Early Access since October 6, 2020, In an interview last year, players were cautioned not to expect too much too soon. “I know that the community wants us to go faster than we can,” Vincke said. “It does take time to implement things, especially for a game that’s as vast as Baldur’s Gate 3”.

The finished version of Baldur’s Gate 3 will be on GOG as well as Steam, along with Stadia.

What we’ve played so far is very promising. It’s a slightly anarchic sandbox at times, letting you sneak around pushing people off ledges, or dropping boulders on heads, like you’re some fantasy hitman. It’s great! The story doesn’t really get going, and you’ll finish just as clueless about what’s going on with mind flayers and what you’re going to do about this pesky tadpole that’s been inserted into your head. 

There are, of course, plenty of bugs. Characters jitter in dialogue, and sometimes their eyes glow. It’s being patched on the regular, though that means choosing between a new patch that wipes your saves or sticking with an older, buggier build. Give our Baldur’s Gate 3 Early Access review a read to help you make your mind up. We’ve also explored how Baldur’s Gate 3 compares to the classic games. 

How far can you play in Early Access?

The first act includes a chunk of the Forgotten Realms’ Sword Coast, the Underdark beneath it, an ancient fortress called Grymforge, and a brief jaunt through Hell. You won’t be able to make it to the city of Baldur’s Gate itself, but there’s still plenty to do. There’s well over 20 hours’ worth of adventuring in act one, which will take you to the current level cap of four.

How long it takes you personally depends on how many fights you get into there are plenty of ways to bypass them—and how much exploring you do. There are clear paths and a main quest that will take you all across the map, but there’s plenty to find off the beaten track. If you’re in a rush, a speedrunner has finished it in seven minutes because of course they have. 

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