Checkpoint #16: Can We Switch Up This Comp?

Because the hitscan doesn’t seem to be working.

Welcome back to Checkpoint!

It’s a massive news week for gamers, and a good one too. Gears 5 has landed, Overwatch is the latest big hit to get a Switch port, and Apple Arcade promises to make your train commutes much less boring in the future.

Don’t presume it stops there — let's get into it.

Move It Up a Gear

PC gaming and cross-platform titles

Gears 5 has landed! I’ve never been a big Gears player, but the response to this launch has me thinking about diving in. VG247 says it’s the best the series has been in a long time, and Polygon reckons it’s the best PC port this year.

Valve has been working on a library user interface redesign for Steam for a while now, and we’ll be able to take the beta for a spin on September 17. There are plenty of interesting screenshots to check out over on the Steam blog post.

The Sims 4’s Realm of Magic game pack is out for PC and Mac now and reviewing well, allowing you to turn your Sims worlds into a vaguely Hogwarts-themed magicfest. It’s selling for the usual US$19.99, though there’s a lot more content here than in most game packs, including a world.

Filed under very unexpectedCivilization VI now has a battle royale mode. It’s called Red Death and is a custom multiplayer scenario with new factions, characters, and units to suit the format.

The previously-teased Project Resistance extension to the Resident Evil franchise has been revealed as a four-player coop game with online multiplayer. There’s a teaser available now, with more details to come during the Tokyo Game Show this week.

Another week of double freebies on the Epic Games Store — this time it’s Abzu and The End is Nigh. Grab them quickly, as they’ll require a purchase again after September 13. Horror fans should look out for the Lovecraftian Conarium next week.

Move over, daddy dating. KFC is working with Psyop to build I Love You, Colonel Sanders!, a dating sim where you get to date the Colonel himself — or, at least, a much more angular and svelte version of him. I’m not sure how best to move forward from here, but let’s try…

Can We Switch Up This Comp?

Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch news

Nintendo hosted a Direct around this time last week that contained a massive amount of news. The big one: Overwatch is the latest port to come to the Nintendo Switch. It’ll release on October 15, and even makes use of the Joy-Con’s motion controls for some abilities, like Rip-Tire.

Switch Online subscribers will also now get access to 20 classic SNES games, including Stunt Race FX, which has never been re-released on a newer platform before. These games are already available to play. Much like the NES controller that coincided with the NES-on-Switch re-releases, a wireless SNES-style controller is also coming soon.

A whole slew of other ports were announced, including some Assassin’s Creed games, Jedi Knight 2Divinity: Original Sin 2Doom 64, and a whole lot more.

They also teased an odd fitness peripheral and released a Switch firmware update with some quality-of-life changes. Nintendo is hitting the turbo hard without a sign of slowing down in sight.

Red Dead Online’s summer update has arrived, and it’s a big one that includes class-like roles, four new Free Roam events, new weapons and skill cards, as well as general improvements and bug fixes.

If that’s not enough to keep you busy, this month Xbox and PC gamers can fire up Game Pass and enjoyGears 5Dead CellsEnter the GungeonCreature in the WellBad North and more.

Finally, we’ve learned that Xbox Scarlett will feature dedicated ray-tracing cores.

A Display of Force

VR, AR, streaming, and other emerging tech

Is Nintendo planning to take Switch VR beyond the Labo kit and towards something more serious? Who knows — but it has received a patent for what looks like a longer-lasting VR headset made of plastic.

Nvidia recently started certifying some FreeSync monitors as G-Sync compatible, a welcome bit of news for gamers around the world who dislike wallet devastation. This news is potentially even cooler: some of LG’s recently released OLED TVs can now be updated to receive G-Sync support, perhaps making them the best gaming monitors on the market. I suddenly regret saving a few bucks with a Panasonic that is otherwise very good.

And Google says that Stadia users will be able to get a taste of how games perform when streamed with trials for both the service and some of its games.

Raid the Arcade

Mobile gaming news

The big mobile gaming news this week, of course, is all about Apple Arcade. We’ve known the broad strokes of what this service will entail since WWDC 2019, and all the details have been filled in this week.

Arcade for iOS launches on September 19 in 150 countries — including mine and, more likely than not, yours — and will cost $4.99 per month. That subscription will give you access to over 100 games at launch, a number that will presumably grow consistently. Not the worst pricing given the casual nature of mobile games, Apple’s reputation for having a cheeky gouge, and the smorgasbord you get out of it. Apple introduced three exclusives: Super Frogger, which likely needs no explanation, a twin-stick platformer called Shinsekai: Into the Depths, and a rhythm game called Sayonara Wild Hearts.

Exclusives aside, there’s a long list of of new mobile games that’ll be available with Arcade, including Rayman MiniPac-Man Party RoyaleExit the GungeonSkate City, and notably Various Daylife, a new Square Enix RPG.

Arcade will come to iPadOS and tvOS a day later on September 20.

Another Brick in Stormwind’s Wall

Gaming culture, industry, and miscellanea

I always love seeing realistic updates to game environments in Unreal Engine, and this one is particularly beautiful: a lifelike recreation of World of Warcraft’s Stormwind.

You probably joined in the schadenfreude last year when EA’s Reddit comment about Battlefront 2 lootboxes became the most-downvoted comment in the history of the site. Now you get to relive that special joy: this achievement has been forever enshrined as a Guinness World Record.

That’s it for this edition.

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- Flob

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