Here are the upgrades for Valorant’s Elderflame skins

Like many of Valorant’s other skin lines, the new Elderflame skins have a variety of upgrades that players can choose to unlock. Since these skins are the most complicated and elaborate in the game, it’s not a surprise that the upgrades, which include things like new animations, sound effects, and finishers, are pretty intense as well.

Each of these upgrades will likely have to be purchased from the Valorant in-game store for Radianite Points. It’s not clear how much these upgrades will cost, but previous skin upgrades cost either 10 or 15 Radianite Points each. Each upgrade level for the individual skins is slightly different, but each of the weapons has at least one upgrade you can get.


In Valorant, making a gun into a dragon proved to be a real pain in the ass

Here all some of the upgrades available for Valorant’s Elderflame skins for the Vandal, Operator, Judge, Frenzy, and knife.

Valorant Elderflame skin upgrades

Vandal level 1

Vandal level 2

Vandal level 3

Vandal level 4

Knife level 2

Operator level 1

Operator level 2

Operator level 3

Operator level 4

Judge level 1

Judge level 2

Judge level 3

Judge level 4

Frenzy level 4

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Destiny 2 Trials of Osiris rewards and loot for this week as Bungie talk Store rewards

Bungie will be unlocking its prime PvP mode in the coming hours with the weekly return of Destiny 2 Trials of Osiris. As usual, there will be plenty of new loot to earn and a lot of competition to try and make it to The Lighthouse. Destiny 2 is currently in the middle of a busy time, with Season of Arrivals continuing to move forward the story. More Pyramid ships have arrived and gamers will soon be dealing with the new threat, while also gathering what exotic weapons they can get their hands on.

As usual, Bungie will be unlocking Trials of Osiris on a Friday, with the popular crucible playlist launching at the same time across PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Trials of Osiris will be launching at 6pm in the UK on July 10, and there will be no hints at what rewards will be available to those winning Fireteams.

The first information shared will be from Guardians, who will be able to confirm the first loot unlocks and the map selection almost straight away.

The rest might take a few hours longer to find out, but we’ll be sure to update this story as soon as we know more.

While Bungie won’t be giving much away about the returning weekly event, they have been talking about other ways they are tweaking the game.

Bungie Day was celebrated this week and the studio has announced a number of new items are available to purchase from the Store.

This includes the new Moments of Triumph T-Shirt, which is available for pre-order through Bungie Rewards, if you have completed the necessary Triumphs.

A message from Bungie adds: “If you are brave enough to complete all five of the featured raids during Season of Arrivals, we are also offering a new Raid Ring for purchase through Bungie Rewards.

“It goes great with one of your many raid jackets to further showcase your PvE prowess to jealous clan mates or certain community managers.

“For the truly committed, a new Seal and the “MMXX” title will be available for completing all 28 Triumphs, including some Triumphs that will go live during Solstice of Heroes in August.

“These must be completed during Season of Arrivals, but you can continue to show off your exclusive title in future Seasons as proof of your dedication.”

Back to what is happening today and the development team will be releasing the 3v3 Crucible playlist at around 6pm GMT on July 10, and returning players will want to visit Saint-14 soon after, who will be located in the Tower Hangar.

The Osiris reset offers a new inventory of Trials Passages, Bounties, and the option to turn in Trials Tokens.

A different map and a fresh set of rewards will be available to Guardians today if they meet the requirements of the 960 Power rating needed to buy Passages.

As ever, Trials fans will earn exclusive rewards by defeating other teams of three, while hoping to gain entry to the Lighthouse.

It should be noted that Mods now drop through a white item bauble instead of an erroneously assigned Exotic Engram bauble, and duplicate mods will no longer drop from the Flawless chest.

Additional Masterwork material rewards now drop at three, five, and seven Trials wins, and Trials Tokens distribution has been re-balanced to focus on wins three, five, and seven of a Trials Passage.

As always, there are five unique Passages that can be bought from Saint-14 which offer their own mechanics.

Each Passage will track wins and losses in a single Trials run. If three losses appear on a Passage, players will be restricted from the activity and have to either reset the Passage or purchase a new one.

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Sony invests £200 million in Fortnite and Unreal Engine creator Epic Games

The makers of PlayStation are now a minority stakeholder in the makers of Fortnite, as the two companies hint at future collaborations.

The surprise deal seems to have less to do with Fortnite, or other ventures such as the Epic Games Store, and more to do with Unreal Engine 5, which was used to provide the first look at PlayStation 5 graphics and a project on which the two companies worked together very closely.

According to Sony, the investment will allow them to increase their level of collaboration, ‘across Sony’s leading portfolio of entertainment assets and technology, and Epic’s social entertainment platform and digital ecosystem to create unique experiences for consumers and creators.’

For their part, Epic Games has now raised the equivalent of £1.26 billion in three separate funding rounds, starting with a £262 million investment from Chinese giant Tencent in 2012, which bought them a 40% ownership stake in the company.

Epic are a considerably different company than they were back in 2012 though and Sony’s money today has bought them a mere 1.4% stake in the company, which if you do the maths means that Epic Game are currently worth around £14 billion (Sony has a net worth of around £69 billion).

Such a small stake gives Sony no control over the company, so what exactly they’re getting out of the deal – apart from investing in a successful company – is unclear, as Unreal Engine has always been multiformat and that’s very unlikely to change.

Working closer with Epic for PlayStation exclusive features would still be a benefit though, especially after the revelation that Unreal Engine 5 was rewritten specifically to take advantage of the PlayStation 5’s faster SSD.

‘Epic’s powerful technology in areas such as graphics places them at the forefront of game engine development with Unreal Engine and other innovations’, said Sony president and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida.

‘Through our investment, we will explore opportunities for further collaboration with Epic to delight and bring value to consumers and the industry at large, not only in games, but also across the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape.’

For Epic’s part it’s not obvious if they have any specific plans for the money, as beyond Unreal Engine 5 they haven’t announced any major new projects lately. But clearly they’re now in an extremely privileged position, since they own both one of the most successful games on the market and one of the most successful software technologies.

According to Epic boss Tim Sweeney, the two companies, ‘share a vision of real-time 3D social experiences leading to a convergence of gaming, film, and music. Together we strive to build an even more open and accessible digital ecosystem for all consumers and content creators alike’.

The talk of social experiences and film and music seems like a reference to Fortnite’s Party Royale, which has been successful used for music performances and to show movies – which is likely to be of increasing interest to Sony’s own music and film divisions.

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Report: China Cancels International Sporting Events in 2020

The Chinese government has canceled all international sporting events in the country for the remainder of 2020, according to an Associated Press report as highlighted by esports journalist Rod Breslau. This announcement by the government could potentially cause TJ Sports (a joint venture of Riot Games and Tencent Esports) to make drastic changes to the League of Legends World Championship, which is set to take place in Shanghai later this year.

Trials for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games will still take place in Beijing and Zhangjiakou according to the AP report, but every other sporting event scheduled for 2020 has been canceled by China’s General Administration of Sports.

As pointed out by Niko Partners Senior Analyst Daniel Ahmad, earlier this week Tencent said (per a Forbes China report) that Worlds 2020 was still on track for Shanghai, but this was prior to this latest news coming out of China. 

Also per The Esports Observer’s reporting, both Tencent and TJ Sports have indicated multiple times in the months following the initial COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in Wuhan that Worlds 2020 was still on track to take place in Shanghai.

The Esports Observer has reached out to TJ Sports, Riot Games, and Tencent for further details.

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Best new mobile games on iOS and Android – July 2020 round-up

The reviews of the month’s best smartphone games includes Beyond A Steel Sky, Slay The Spire, and Yoko Taro’s SINoAlice.

Even though the country remains in the grip of a pandemic for which there’s no vaccine or effective treatment, the pubs are open and some of the children are back at school. Against this perplexing backdrop, it’s nice to have a clutch of mobile games that instantly reaffirm your faith in humankind. The tactical genius of Slay The Spire, the dreamlike If Found… and the nostalgic whimsy of Beneath A Steel Sky are all hugely welcome diversions to carry in your pocket.

Crying Suns

iOS & Android, £8.99 (Humble Games)

Set in the future on the galaxy’s outer rim, colonies are in trouble after all their AIs simultaneously stop working. Your job is to figure out what’s going on and you do that in the style of genre classic, FTL.

Crying Suns is a sci-fi roguelike specialising in ship-to-ship combat and random encounters, but this time it’s less interested in crew management, focusing instead on various squadrons of drones and use of your ship’s big guns.

It can’t match FTL’s perfection, and its assortment of 300 events start repeating much earlier than you’d imagine, a problem exacerbated by how story-focused it is, making the repetition particularly glaring. It’s still very good though, with a solid script and beautiful pixel art styling.

Score: 7/10

Beyond A Steel Sky

iOS and PC, included with Apple Arcade (Revolution Software)

It’s been 26 years since Beneath A Steel Sky was released, making this one of the longest awaited sequels in the history of games, but fans will be delighted to discover that not that much has changed.

It’s still a dialogue-heavy adventure set in a dystopian, cyberpunk future, and maintains its Broken Sword-esque sense of humour and charmingly British sensibilities. Sadly, it also suffers from the same peccadilloes as its ancient forebear.

Chief amongst those is the need to figure out sometimes non-intuitive sequences of actions to solve its puzzles, and sitting through reams of chat that sometimes isn’t quite as amusing as it imagines. It’s still worth it for the sweet pang of nostalgia though.

Score: 6/10

Slay The Spire

iOS, £9.99 (Humble Games)

With a PC incarnation that’s already very fairly hailed as a classic, Slay The Spire makes its way to touchscreen with this excellent port.

Mechanically, everything is as it was; a roguelike deck builder that relies on tactics that get increasingly deep as you unlock cards and reach a fuller understanding of their interactions and combat possibilities.

It’s exquisitely designed, both graphically and in terms of its ruleset, and gives the distinct impression of being a labour of love. It’s also monumentally addictive and despite its high – at least for mobile – price is an essential purchase. The Android version is due for release later this year.

Score: 9/10

Flick Solitaire

iOS & Android, free-to-play (Flick Games)

The world is in absolutely no danger of running out of solitaire games, whether on PC or mobile. However, it’s fair to say that some of those versions of the classic solo card game are far more playable than others.

Flick Solitaire is certainly extremely easy to enjoy. Its lean interface, pleasing sound effects, and the mellow formation ballet your cards perform when you complete a level are never less than winning. It also comes with basic solitaire, and its Pyramid and Elevens variants, both of which add new facets to the game.

You have to watch a short ad every few games, or you can spring for a subscription that removes advertising and lets you select the table surface you play on. It’s up to you whether that’s worth the frankly ludicrous £1.99 per week.

Score: 7/10


iOS, included with Apple Arcade (The Label)

The_Otherside is a board game-meets-role-playing game about clearing out monsters from a small town. You do that by finding and destroying ‘spirit anchors’, which rid a section of the board of its infection.

Each turn your heroes spend their three action points moving, searching rooms, looking for ammo, kicking down or erecting barricades and attacking monsters. Each turn fresh horrors teleport in from the Otherside, which seems to be a bit like the Upside Down in Stranger Things.

Earn XP to level up, unlocking new creatures, equipment, heroes, and bigger maps. While finding a decent weapon early on can make a big difference, the randomness isn’t too brutal, and the game gets more interesting as you progress, with more characters and larger levels forcing you to make judicious use of each hero’s skills to survive.

Score: 8/10

Oceanhorn 2: Knights Of The Lost Realm – Golden Edition

iOS, included with Apple Arcade (Cornfox)

Oceanhorn 2 has been out for a while, but the recent Golden Edition adds two expansions: The Shield Of Chronos and The Criminal Hunt. The first is a dungeon containing a shield that bounces projectiles back towards assailants, and the second casts you as a bounty hunter pursuing a series of miscreants.

If you have a fancier iPhone or iPad, this update will also allow you to lock the frame rate to 60fps, adding to the beauty of its colourful landscapes, azure sea, and Sega blue skies.

Although frequently compared to Zelda games, and indeed sharing a similar structure and pastoral charm, it unfortunately lacks Nintendo’s magic and feels plodding and workaday despite its undoubtedly lofty production values.

Score: 6/10

If Found…

iOS, £4.99 (Annapurna Interactive)

Like Annapurna stablemate, Florence, If Found… isn’t quite a game, more a work of elegiac interactive fiction. Set in a 1990s world without social media or mobile phones, you read the illustrated diary entries of an Irish teenager returning to her small hometown, having been at University in Dublin.

Your interaction with every single part of the story is to obliterate it, either using an eraser, or slowly spreading splodges of watercolour to rub out written memories, each of which is ironically framed as ‘Things to remember’.

The light touch of the writing offsets the slightly melancholy content, and its Emerald Isle setting makes for a welcome break from the usual Americana, fantasy violence, and crime fighting.

Score: 8/10


iOS & Android, £Free (Pokelabo)

Coming from the mind of NieR:Automata creative director, Yoko Taro, the much-anticipated SINoAlice was released in Japan in 2017 and now finally makes its way West.

Taking place in a mysterious library, it remixes the plots and protagonists of fairy tales from Snow White to Little Red Riding Hood, its battles taking place in semi-real-time, feeding the usual gacha loot box mechanics that let you claim random new kit for your heroines.

Despite its elegant art style and stirring musical score, it’s crushingly dull. The narratives don’t branch, and with auto-fight turned on, your role is reduced to that of spectator rather than player, and no amount of fourth wall-breaking humour or twisted fairy tale storylines make up for the boredom at its core.

Score: 4/10

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Ghost Of Tsushima Reviews Will Go Live Soon–Here's The Embargo Date And Time

Now that July is officially here, we’re inching ever closer to the release of Ghost of Tsushima on PS4. The highly anticipated exclusive launches on Friday, July 17, and now we know exactly when reviews for the game will go live.

The review embargo for Ghost of Tsushima is Tuesday, July 14 at 7 AM PT / 10 AM ET / 3 PM BST. That means that in less than one week you’ll begin seeing outlets–including GameSpot–publishing their reviews of the game ahead of its release.

Ghost of Tsushima is an open-world action game developed by Sucker Punch, the studio behind the Sly Cooper and Infamous franchises. The title features only one playable character, Jin Sakai, who is fighting to reclaim his home island from the invading Mongols. Throughout the story, players will have the choice to face their foes as an honorable samurai or become the “Ghost” and use stealth and other deceitful tactics.

In the lead up to its release, Sucker Punch has been sharing more details about Ghost of Tsushima. The studio gave us a much closer look at exploration and combat in May’s State of Play broadcast, and last week it detailed stances and the deadliness of Jin’s katana. Sony also recently shared a new trailer to get you ready for war.

While Ghost of Tsushima’s release date is quickly approaching, there’s still time to pre-order a copy of the game and snag some extra bonuses, including a mini soundtrack and dynamic PS4 theme. You can learn more in our Ghost of Tsushima pre-order guide.

Ghost Of Tsushima News

  • Ghost Of Tsushima's Long Journey To Release, Unlikely Inspiration, And Intricate Combat
  • Ghost Of Tsushima: Everything We Know So Far
  • Ghost Of Tsushima Pre-Order Bonuses, Collector's Edition Announced (PS4)

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The US Army Is Banning Twitch Users For Mentioning War Crimes In Chat

Recently, Twitter users raced to get banned from the US Army Esports official Discord server, with the influx of users causing the server to shut down completely to new users. Now, with the Discord server still unreachable, people have taken to the US Army’s Twitch chat instead, Vice reported.

During a stream on Wednesday night where Green Beret Joshua “Strotnium” David played Call of Duty: Warzone, esports personality Rod “Slasher” Breslau posted a video of him getting banned after asking about war crimes. Breslau discovered that the Army had automatically moderated the phrase “war crimes” after attempting to ask “whats your favorite us war crime?” After changing it to “whats your favorite u.s. w4r cr1me?” Breslau then linked the Wikipedia page for United States war crimes, a tactic also used by users speedrunning bans on the Army’s Discord, and was banned moments later.

After the video was posted to Twitter, other users decided to join in on speedrunning bans in the Twitch channel by mentioning US war crimes. Some cited grievances with the use of Twitch as an Army recruitment tool, while others protested the 2019 ruling that banned transgender people from serving in the military.

“I think every post that I do from now on is going to say UwU in it just to flex,” David said on the stream, referring to the US Army esports tweet that drew attention to the Army’s esports channels in the first place. “Ya’ll are gonna talk all that crap to my angels on the esports team, the nicest person in the entire world, you little internet keyboard monsters. No, I won’t stand for that. I’m bigger than you.”

The stream was soon stopped, coming back later with follower-only chat–where only users who had followed the Army’s account for over 24 hours could post in the chat. The channel gained over 660 new followers during the Strontium stream according to TwitchTracker, one of the highest seen on any US Army stream, suggesting a number of users were trying to circumvent the chat restrictions.

The US Army esports team later sent a statement to Vice about the bans.

“The U.S. Army eSports Team follows the guidelines and policies set by Twitch, and they did ban a user from their account,” the statement read. “Team members are very clear when talking with potential applicants that a game does not reflect a real Army experience. They discuss their career experiences in real terms with factual events. Team members ensure people understand what the Army offers through a realistic lens and not through the lens of a game meant for entertainment. This user’s question was an attempt to shift the conversation to imply that Soldiers commit war crimes based on an optional weapon in a game, and we felt that violated Twitch’s harassment policy. The U.S. Army offers youth more than 150 different careers, and ultimately the goal of the Army eSports Team is to accurately portray that range of opportunities to interested youth.”

The US Army, Navy, and Air Force all have their own esports teams, though the initiatives have come under fire for their use of videogames to recruit young people. The Twitch channel has been especially controversial as a site that’s popular with young people, with users as young as 13 able to sign up for the platform.

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Psychonauts 2 Brought Back Cut Content After Dev Was Acquired By Microsoft

Psychonauts 2 developer Double Fine was acquired by Microsoft in 2019, and it turns out that the buyout had a major impact on the company’s newest game. Double Fine founder Tim Schafer told that when his studio was acquired by Microsoft, it allowed the developers to bring back content for Psychonauts 2 that would have otherwise been left on the cutting room floor.

“With Psychonauts 2, we could see the end of our budget coming up, and so we had cut a lot of stuff,” Schafer said. “We had cut our boss fights. Now we are able to put those back in, and we’re like, ‘We think people would have noticed if we didn’t have those boss fights’. Being able to complete the game in the way that it was meant to be was very important.”

Psychonauts 2 was initially funded on Fig, where it raised more than $3.8 million USD, before the Microsoft acquisition. The game, which was announced all the way back in 2015, is now due to launch later in 2020 following a delay.

Now that Double Fine is owned by Microsoft, and has the backing of a trillion-dollar company, Double Fine is able to think about doing “what is right for the game” instead of focusing too much on time and budget issues.

“I’m looking forward to doing things for the right reasons,” Schafer said. “When you only have a certain amount of time and money, you might jump into a part of the game that you’re not ready to jump into, or start working on art before you’re ready with design. But now I look forward to this era where we are doing everything for what is right for the game.”

Also in the interview, Schafer spoke more about Double Fine’s decision to sell to Microsoft. He recalled that Double Fine was initially hesitant, and not interested in selling. However, Schafer became convinced after speaking with Xbox Game Studios boss Matt Booty and hearing about his vision for Xbox Game Pass in particular.

“I started to see two things that were important to me. One was that we could keep our culture. I was concerned, I was like: Will I need to put up a big Windows logo in our lobby, and change my email address to @ And he was like, ‘No, none of that, you stay your own company, you’re just part of our team’. Of course, everyone would say that, but I kind-of believed it because I started to understand their vision for Game Pass,” Schafer said.

For more on Xbox Game Pass, check out GameSpot’s opinion feature, Microsoft’s Secret Weapon For Next-Gen Is Xbox Game Pass.

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Games Inbox: When should Nintendo release the Switch 2?

The Friday Inbox tries to understand spending £150 on cosmetic DLC, as one reader looks forward to the Sega Astro City Mini.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

Unexpected sensibleness
Personally I think Nintendo would be crazy to make their next console anything more than just a more high-tech Switch. Which is why I assumed that would be the last thing they tried. But no, it seems like they are going to do the sensible thing. I don’t imagine it’ll arrive any time soon but they’ve definitely already got my attention.

What I would like to see is an approach similar to the Xbox Series X with everything on the Switch is guaranteed to be backwards compatible with the new machine, no questions asked. Let’s face it, no Nintendo console is going to be the powerful so they should go all out on the extra features, including… a version of Game Pass.

I’ve never really heard anyone suggest this before but considering so many people buy Nintendo consoles just for the first part games wouldn’t a Game Pass be incredibly popular. I’m sure Nintendo wouldn’t do it, because they’re Nintendo but I’d love to think they’re considering it at least. Beyond that, it’s just the games as usual and that’s why people are getting upset at the moment with no news on any of them.

Sudden death
The Xbox One has already been discounted. Seems unlikely but you can’t argue with the Amazon listings at least. Suddenly it all seems very reminiscent of the original Xbox, where they ditched that puppy the second they had a better alternative. I don’t blame them but it shows just what a colossal failure the Xbox One was.

As long as Microsoft keeps its promises about backwards compatibility it doesn’t matter but it does make the decision to have no exclusives seem even weirder. The assumption originally was that it was to not annoy Xbox One owners that they were being replaced (even though the Xbox One has had a perfectly long life at this point).

But now what’s the point of it? What would have bene lost if Halo Infinite was an exclusive that really pushed the new console? OK, they’ll get a few more sales from Xbox One owners (who have just been told their console is extinct) but the benefits seems much more important. Ah, well. Games companies, who can ever understand them?

Crazy Town
I will never in a million years explain anyone that spends money on microtransactions and loot boxes but this stuff about Valorant and Dota 2 and whatever. £90 to make your gun (not) look like a dragon? The animation for that was laughably bad! And £150 for a single character skin? £150! Who in their right mind would pay that. The characters are so tiny on screen in these MOBAs I don’t even see what difference it would make.

I guess this means I’m out of touch or something but it also means I’ve saved a heck of a lot of money to spend on actual games. £150? You could buy three full price games for that. Tell me that I’m not the only one that thinks all this belongs in Crazy Town?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Next gen gaming
I am extremely excited about the new Sega arcade home machine and can’t wait to find out about the other games. In fact, it’s strange in a way that my next home games machine will probably now be made by Sega!

I’m writing in as Inbox magic has a great track record, so fingers crossed for OutRun, After Burner and Virtua Fighter 2, to name just a few I’m hoping will be on there. Also, that this is released over here as there’s been no confirmation of that and also that the games are a good arcade port, not sure who is in charge of that but pleeeeaaase do this system justice! I know that’s quite a bit of Inbox magic to ask but this is such a good idea I can’t help but get my hopes up.

GC: M2 did the Game Gear Micro so there’s a good chance they’d be working on this, in which case there should be no concerns about the emulation.

Next gen sequels
My suggestion for a future weekend hot topic is the following: which video game franchises do you think should make a return and why? With PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X coming up would you like to see any specific video games franchise return and do you prefer newer titles or a remaster or reboot? It can be any games franchise providing that the developer of that franchise is still around and as long as it is recognised as a popular franchise.

Finally, what would you like to see be implemented if a franchise makes a comeback, for example VR and online gameplay? And would you welcome further titles to ensure that the video games franchises will continue to provide the great entertainment that they have done so in the past?
gaz be rotten (gamertag)

GC: We had pretty much exactly that just the other week.

Physical capability wall
Since accessibility in gaming seems to be a popular theme at the moment I thought I’d share some of my own frustrations:

I used to love playing Call Of Duty, but now I can’t since I have limited movement in my fingers on my right hand. I get frustrated that my hands can’t keep up with inputs as fast as I can think them up. I’ve always been mediocre at the game, but my disability just sucked out all of the enjoyment I was getting. I have a similar problem with racing sims. Where complete manual control used to be a must for me, I now feel cheap having to rely on automatic gears and such. I no longer enjoy what was once one of my favourite genres.

I get irrationally angry with games that insist on locking Trophies/Achievements behind what I call a ‘physical capability wall’. I’m the kind of person who enjoys mopping a game of all its Trophies/Achievements, but many games now have a high-level achievement specifically for beating it on an unlockable super hard difficulty setting. Many people with disabilities are just physically incapable of doing that and I find it hugely unfair. I’m not saying that all game achievements should be easy. I do though think it’s worth exploring to find the point at which these achievements start to exclude people with physical disabilities.

Button mapping absolutely has to be a must for all games going forward. I know that the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have the capability of remapping in the system settings, but as yet there is no option to save profiles for individual games. To many, it’s an inconsequential thing, but for some it’s the difference between being able to play and enjoy a game or not.

I find that with some games I have to turn down the difficulty setting to easy mode, which again feels cheap so I stop enjoying and subsequently stop playing those games. Some of the most critically acclaimed games of this generation sit unfinished on my shelf for this reason, and in most cases I feel the addition of a button mapping function would enable me to finish them, and more importantly, enjoy them.
Disadvantaged Gamer

Just wonderful
The Wonderful 101 is what I would describe as the sort of jaunty, inventive pure action game that PlatinumGames does best.

I’m around four or five hours in now and this Wii U cult classic is consistently starting to live up to its moniker at this point.

Even at this relatively early stage in the game it almost feels like it’s bursting at the seams with novel ideas, fun mechanics, and a colourful, charming cast of characters.
Galvanized Gamer

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

All Greek to me
Well, my mellowing out is over for now. I finished What Remains Of Edith Finch, what incredible storytelling, and done in such varied styles. I particularly liked the pulp horror Creepshow-like comic for scream queen Barbara. I also finished Firewatch, nice adult themes and conversations. Sadly, two short gems that the vast number of gamers will probably never play.

Back to the killing sprees. So I’ve been bashing away on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for a couple of weeks, or The Witcher 4 as it might as well be called. I’ve seen others comment on it, but was still shocked by how much it wants to be a Witcher game with message boards for quests, and even how you call your ever present just out of sight horse Greek Roach.

And the grinding, again commented upon, or moaned about to be more accurate. When I start up the game I sometimes feel like I’m going to work rather than settling in for some fun. Did they put any thought into the side quests? At least The Witcher 3 had some fun and interesting side quests, hallucinogens and ghost horses anyone?

For balance, it’s not all terrible of course. I love Ikaros, and what a fun way to tag people, and some of the scenery is breathtaking. I’ve spent a lot of time with Greek friends, even started learning Greek, and I love that we get lots of Malaka (look it up). I’m also avoiding killing any animals, it just makes me sad to do it. I didn’t clear a bandit camp because they had a dog. Stop laughing, I know they’re virtual.

The bottom line is that Odyssey being open world and dripping with Greekness should of been my perfect game to invest hundreds of hours in. I should love it, but it feels like a soulless experience, which is why I simply don’t care about Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. And I’m still not that happy if you play as a foreign invader with Brits as the killing spree bodies to rack up XP, but let’s actually wait for details on that.

I’ve started a wish list of indie mellowing out and weird games, grabbing them during sales just in case they turn out to be less than enjoyable (GC’s suggested Outer Wilds in the list), hoping to find another hidden gem, and most importantly keep me loving my gaming.
Spooky Dreamer (SpookyDreamBoo – gamertag)

Inbox also-rans
I always love the questions Nintendo gets asked at its AGMs. They’re always so weird and shows that the shareholders have no idea bout gaming whatsoever. I mean what was the question about doing without screens even getting at? Beaming it into your head?!

Can’t pretend I’m not a bit gutted to learn that the new Paper Mario isn’t a role-playing game. Glad it turned out well anyway but I wonder why Intelligent Systems are so opposed to making one? Did Final Fantasy steal their girlfriend or something?

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cranston who, inspired by the release of The Last Of Us Part 2, asks what is the best ever video game story?

No matter what kind of game it was, or when it was released, what do you feel has been the best story told in a video game, and why? Was the story the main element of the game or just part of the overall package? Did it work so well because of the script, the characters, the voiceovers, the integration with the gameplay, or something else?

How important is the story to you when playing a video game and how much do you care when it’s not very good? And how much do you put up with poor gameplay when it’s good?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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Naughty Dog Job Listings Mention Next-Gen And Single-Player

Less than a month after The Last of Us Part II’s launch, developer Naughty Dog is looking to fill multiple positions at its studio, with one role specifically scouting for a single-player Level/Environment Designer.

The job listings on Naughty Dog’s career site run the gamut from animators to programmers to lighting artists and everything in between. While it’s unclear if Naughty Dog is working on a new project, a job post for a Tools Programmer confirms the studio is looking for someone to “work on our next-generation graphics analysis, profiling and debugging tool in conjunction with our sister technology group.” If Naughty Dog is working on another game already, it seems likely it will arrive on PlayStation 5.

Another listing for a Melee/Gameplay Animator says this hire will “help us create compelling gameplay for our future project(s),” with work possibly including “helping shape the hand-to-hand combat system” and more. It suggests that whatever Naughty Dog is prototyping may be some sort of action-adventure experience.

While none of these listings make it explicitly clear what Naughty Dog’s intentions are or whether there is another game in development, the studio confirmed two years ago that The Last of Us Part II would have a multiplayer component with the return of The Last of Us’ Factions mode. This Factions mode, however, was scrapped in 2019, with the studio stating that its scope outgrew game and will become its own experience.

The job posts come not long after Naughty Dog said The Last of Us 3 is not out of the question. However, with the ending of The Last of Us Part II, the studio is undecided on what’s next for the series or ND.

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