Checkpoint #17: Not Enough Chefs in the Kitchen
A clown chef is not a food safety issue. Right?
Welcome back to Checkpoint!
Borderlands 3 is here and it’s hot, Call of Duty players really love minimaps, Steam’s library overhaul beta is available, and Ring Fit Adventure is the spiritual successor to the Wii Fit.
Let's get into it.
A Fall Off the Map
PC gaming and cross-platform titles
Borderlands 3 released on Friday, and people I know have had a blast playing it with friends. Here’s the Ars Technica early impression. At launch, technical issues have been a problem for many, but none of that is reflected in the massive sales figures or the jubilation of my friends.
The lack of a minimap in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has been a source of controversy, and Infinity Ward is already testing a minimap in the beta after fan backlash. Getting used to the lack of a minimap in Overwatch was certainly an adjustment, but I can’t say I ever miss having one in the game now.
Speaking of Overwatch, the latest patch has brought a new mini-event with it: Bastion’s Brick Challenge. It’s a LEGO-themed event for which the top reward is a Brick Bastion skin, so you can giving attacking teams headaches in glossy plastic style. You’ve got until September 30 to earn the skin, two sprays, and two player icons.
There have also been some balance changes, notably to Symmetra’s beam width and damage output. May your barriers turn her into a slightly less terrifying monster from here on out.
Also, the widely-and-justifiably-reviled Paris map has been temporarily disabled. Don’t celebrate too hard — this is in response to a bug that let players shoot through one of the spawn doors, and not an acknowledgement by Blizzard that the map is a balance horror show.
If you need an escape plan when Paris returns, maybe you could run some old World of Warcraft content with a friend? We’re not talking about Classic. Battle for Azeroth patch 8.2.5 will include a new feature called Party Sync, which lets players temporarily scale their level down so that higher-level players can run through content with friends who are levelling.
Steam's library rework is now in public beta, including new game pages, events, and more. It’ll be interesting to see if this has any impact on indie game sales on the platform, which publisher estimates suggest are down 70% year-over-year.
Meanwhile, GOG announced a new client update for the Galaxy 2.0 beta that adds global search and library view customizations. Another underdog game library, Discord Nitro Games, is going away altogether due to lack of use. You can fill the void in your heart with the Rockstar Games launcher — you’ll get a free copy of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on PC if you do.
Not Enough Chefs in the Kitchen
Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch news
We know what Nintendo’s latest weird fitness gadget is for now: it’s an attempt to trick you into getting fit with an adventure RPG called Ring Fit Adventure. You can preorder it now if you need a little art-directed encouragement.
But perhaps you’re less interested in games that trick you into getting fit, and more interested in games that let you simulate sports while you sit completely still. You’re in luck, as the 1983 classic Track & Field has come to Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.
We’ve gotten to see more of the upcoming Link’s Awakening remake, and it’s a complete graphical overhaul.
Do you hate being happy? Do you hate having relationships with the people you care most about? Good! Overcooked 2 is about to worm its way back into your life with a new DLC, Carnival of Chaos, promising to destroy everything in your life that you held dear. You’ll angrily make donuts and hot dogs for carnival-goers. And there are clown chefs.
(Yes, I’ve had some traumatic experiences with Overcooked. Could you tell?)
Finally, get your head around the mysterious Death Strandingwith well over an hour of gameplay footage from the Tokyo Game Show.
Inside and Out
VR, AR, streaming, and other emerging tech
The HTC Vive Cosmos, the first Vive PC headset with inside-out tracking, will start selling on October 3 for US$699. Aside from the release details, Ars has some interesting first hands-on impressions at that link.
If you buy one, you can use it to play the official sequel to the movie Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son is a VR game in which you play the son of Bill Murray’s character from the original movie, relearning the same lessons his father did. It is indeed canonical. Sounds weird, but now you know.
A Living Soul
Mobile gaming news
Apple Arcade launches later this week and I’m sure there’ll be a barrage of news and reviews to cover in the next edition, so let’s enjoy the calm before the storm:
Love Gwent? It’s coming to iOS on October 29. You’ll share card purchases and progress between your PC and iOS copies of the game.
Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls, a mobile multiplayer Castlevania spin-off, has been off the radar since its mid-2018 announcement — but now we have game footage to prove that it is real.
New side-scrolling platformer Rayman Mini is coming to Apple Arcade soon, and people are getting pretty hyped about this trailer.
Take a Gamble
Gaming culture, industry, and miscellanea
The UK Parliament, unable to make any progress on real issues, is giving gaming a rubdown: it thinks the games industry should spend money on research into ‘problem gaming’ and wants loot boxes regulated under gambling law.
E3 could become more of a festival than a trade show and open itself up to the public for the first time, according to leaked plans.
It’s always nice to see more of this: Football Manager 2020will come in a recyclable, eco-friendly cardboard packaging instead of a plastic case.
Probably a very niche bit of news, but one I’ve hoped to see for a very long time: an official Twitch app is finally coming to the Apple TV. There’s an open beta going on at the moment.
Don’t lose a Hearthstone Grandmasters match because you’re playing Auto Chess at the same time… which is exactly what this guy did.
That’s it for this edition.
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