June 2019

Server "congestion" remains after Final Fantasy 14 DDoS attacks

Early access to Final Fantasy XIV's latest expansion, Shadowbringers, went live earlier this week, but a significant DDoS attack on North American servers caused "extended waiting times" for players trying to get an early peek at the new content.

The attack caused a number of access issues, including disconnections from the North America data center Worlds, difficulty logging in, and difficulty accessing, sending, and receiving data from NA data centers.

"During the time below, we experienced network technical difficulties caused by DDoS attacks," an update on the official Final Fantasy XIV website said (thanks, PC Gamer). "Players may have experienced the listed issues as a result, but we are happy to inform that the game can now be played as normal."

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Respawn promises Apex Legends' Season 2 will feel "way more rewarding"

Apex Legends developer Respawn has detailed what's coming in the battle royale's second season.

In a lengthy post on the official EA website, Apex's lead product manager, Lee Horn, said the team has revised the Battle Pass progression structure for Season 2 so it will feel "way more rewarding" than its lacklustre predecessor.

"We heard your feedback on the Season 1 grind and created a system which should allow for significantly greater Battle Pass progress with less grind over less time for players who return on a regular basis and maximize their Challenge resets," Horn wrote.

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Sairento VR on PSVR is an action-packed assault on the senses

You know that bit in The Matrix when Keanu Reeves goes, "I know Kung Fu!"? Well I had a few moments of realisation just like that during my first hands-on session with the PSVR port of Sairento VR.

In this week's episode of Ian's VR Corner, you can watch me go from complete beginner to something resembling a Cyber-Ninja and best of all, you'll be able to hear my uncontrollable giggles of excitement when I do!

Sairento VR released on PC platforms in January last year to rave reviews and I've been looking forward to its PSVR release ever since I watched a launch trailer for it way back when.

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Flappy Royale is the battle royale/Flappy Bird mashup you didn't know you wanted

Not to be outdone by Mario Royale - wait, I mean Infringio Royale - another unlikely gaming icon has jumped onto the battle royale bandwagon: Flappy Bird.

No, Flappy hasn't suddenly strapped on a bullet-proof vest and picked up a Spitfire - Flappy Royale is the original Flappy Bird game, only instead of desperately trying to beat your own BP, instead you're pitting yourself against 99 other players. As you might expect, the bird that survives the longest wins the game.

Designed by programmer Orta Therox and Em Lazer Walker (thanks, PCGN), Flappy Royale also boasts additional customisation choices, such as hats and outfits.

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PUBG is "actively working" on a fix for Xbox One's Lost Connection error

Xbox One players getting stuck into PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds over the weekend are reportedly having issues staying online since the battle royale's Update 8 went live earlier in the week.

The official Twitter support account for PUBG acknowledged the issue via a brief tweet on Friday, but there's been no update since then and players across the developer's social media channels are still reporting difficulties.

"Xbox Players: We are investigating an issue which is causing some players to receive a "Lost Connection to Host" error," says the latest tweet on the developer's Twitter account at the time of writing. "We're actively working towards a hotfix and will provide an update once the details have been finalized."

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Crash Team Racing: Switch gets another classy kart racer

The best thing about the Switch port of Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled on Switch is that it's often easy to forget you're even playing on a handheld. Switch delivers a genuine contender in the search for a definitive release of this remake: you get a 30fps kart racer with every track included - just like PS4 and Xbox One - along with the option to play on the go. Of course, there are cutbacks in current-gen comparisons - most noticeable when playing docked - but this is an accomplished port nonetheless.

First, off cramming the entire game into a 6GB install is no small feat. Next to the 16GB used on PlayStation 4, it's not the most extreme case of downsizing we've seen, but it's worth touching on why there's a difference at all. As always, movie files within the install are a prime area of compromise. To trim the install size down, the quality of pre-encoded videos are dropped on Switch, mainly affecting the campaign mode with more obvious compression artefacts. Generally speaking, the port gets away with it - if partly due to the fact that the mobile screen hides most of the compromise. It's a different ballgame on the big screen of course, but these scenes are rare enough it doesn't hamper the experience too greatly.

First impressions are great otherwise and feature-wise everything's included from PS4 and Xbox One. Every track is accounted for, including the remakes of the PS2-era Crash tracks. The menus are slick and everything flows beautifully, plus you get a choice between the original and remastered soundtrack in the options, with similar quality to the other console builds. Certainly, the music doesn't show heavy signs of low bitrate encoding, unlike recent Switch ports like Assassin's Creed 3. The only weak point that sticks out is the sound effects quality on selecting an option, but elsewhere Switch delivers the goods.

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Halo fans caught "illegally" playing the Halo Reach PC test will be banned

Halo: Reach PC players found "illegally distributing" the first PC test for the sci-fi shooter will be banned, says developer 343 industries.

An exclusive test featuring the Halo: Reach level Tip of the Spear went live on Friday. Though it's only running until tomorrow, less than 1,000 fans were invited to play via the new Halo Insider program. Consequently, some fans are now attempting to illegally access the game.

"It has come to our attention that the Halo Insider flight has been illegally distributed online," said a brief update on the official Halo forums (thanks, PC Gamer).

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Bandai Namco announces new PC RPG Blue Protocol

Bandai Namco has revealed Blue Protocol, a new action-RPG coming to PC.

Developed by Project Sky Blue - a team that comprises of both Bandai Namco Online and Bandai Namco Studios developers - the game is reportedly set in a world with "overwhelming graphics along the lines of anime movies". It will include multiplayer, "the qualities of an online game", and uses Unreal Engine 4.

"The world is on the brink of devastation, now is the time to unite," the rhyming game description says (thanks, Gematsu). "March on with friends and strangers, and defeat foes beyond your might. Travel through space and time, to change the future beyond this fight!"

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How We Happy Few explores the injustice of motherhood

Be warned: the following article contains major spoilers for the first and second acts of We Happy Few.

The first time you encounter Sally Boyle, We Happy Few's second playable character, it's through the eyes of a man. She strikes a dainty figure at the end of an alleyway, slick and trim in black latex and white felt, a jockey's helmet puckishly screwed down over thickly made-up elvish features. Within the game's 1960s British dystopia, Sally has become a sex and fashion icon, cast in the image of starlets like Edie Sedgwick, her apartment decorated with Pop Art prints of her own face. She's like something out of a fever dream, delightful yet abrasive and you sense, as reliable as the wind, hanging off your arm as she teases you about your clothes.

Sally's ditziness isn't entirely her own doing, however: the scene is as much a commentary on Arthur, the hapless dork doing the looking, as it is Sally. One of We Happy Few's more inspired tricks is that its protagonists perceive conversations with each other differently, the pulse of their emotions altering what is said and how. In the course of three parallel stories, played one after the other, you witness the same cutscenes from each perspective, with altered wording, performances and animations. It's tempting to say that there's no definitive account, but the steady unfurling of the theme of censorship in Arthur's story (he once worked for the state's Department of Archives, Printing, & Recycling) makes his the least trustworthy. His impressions of Sally, specifically, are soured by resentment: the pair grew up together as foster siblings and were almost sweethearts, but fell apart when Arthur's dad coerced Sally into sleeping with him.

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