Month: June 2021


Scarlet Nexus review


Need to know

What is it? An action RPG featuring psionic powers and a whole lot of dating sim trappings.
Expect to pay: $60/£40
Developer: Bandai Namco
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Reviewed on: Windows 10, GeForce GTX 1070, Intel Core i7-9700 CPU, 16GB RAM
Multiplayer? No
Link: Official site

Scarlet Nexus is a little too big for its britches. Bandai Namco's latest original game aims high—this is an action RPG hybrid festooned with Devil May Cry-like swordplay and Monster Hunter weak spot targeting, bottled up in an epic narrative that seems to explore a new high-concept sci-fi theme with every chapter. (There's time travel, neural implants, totalitarian governments, the basic question of consciousness.) In the margins you'll find a Persona-ish relationship system, an interlocking network of psionic powers, and a boatload of frilly, cosmetic customization options. It's a wonder how close it comes to pulling all of that off at once.

You take control of either Yuito Sumeragi or Kasane Randall, two young members of a paramilitary fighting force called the OSF. They're tasked with exterminating these horrific, eldritch beings known only as "The Others" who are laying siege to our futuristic, mysterious, and slightly uncanny society. Both characters have their own full campaigns that crisscross at certain junkets, giving players a lot to chew through once they finish their initial trip through the plot. (Like many other games that have used this trick, such as Nier:Automata and, um, Sonic Adventure 2, there are plenty of lore-bombs hiding out in each of those crusades independently.) Regardless of what perspective you choose, you'll start out by following orders and clearing out teeming pods of Others on the outskirts of human civilization, before the story takes a darker, increasingly cryptic turn. Who exactly are these creatures we're killing? What's in those shipments that keep leaving the metropolis?

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

You will complete this investigation on a level-by-level basis. Yes, Yuito and Kasane can traipse around the map to loot overlooked corridors and uncover a few sidequests, but for the most part, your time in Scarlet Nexus will be spent zoning into an area, killing a ton of bad guys, and enjoying the grave cutscenes that split up the setpieces. This isn't a problem, because Namco has generated an excellent combat system here. Both protagonists are psychokinetic, and by holding the right trigger you'll send whatever piece of debris is nearby hurling towards an enemy's face. Mix that in with your melee strikes, and you have an elementally satisfying mixture of acrobatics and violence that rivals Ninja Gaiden, God of War, or any other mid-2000s button-mash classic. Scarlet Nexus never approaches the level of technique displayed by true Bayonetta lifers—there are hardly any combos to memorize or weapons to master—but it was flashy enough to sustain me till the final chapters. 

Along the way, Yuiko and Kasane have access to their small travelling band of other psionic teens. Those accomplices aren't controlled directly, and honestly I found them to do pretty negligible damage overall, but they do play a vital role. The party has a diverse suite of supernatural expertise. Some are sclerokinetic, which grants invulnerability, or electrokinetic, or clairvoyant, and the player can tap into those skills at any time—which is kinda like popping a cooldown in an MMO. All of these effects can have a drastic impact on the combat; an Other in the distance shields its weak spot whenever I draw close, so I borrow my friend's teleportation ability to blink up into striking distance without the beast noticing. I fling a drum full of oil onto a vagrant in the corner, and tap into an ally's pyrokinesis to set them on fire and score some lingering bonus damage. (Yes, there's a whole interlocking chain of status effects in Scarlet Nexus, yet another bit of circuity that the game flirts with.)

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

By the end game I was firing off several psi blasts at once, before overloading Yuiko's own brain in order to shell my opponents with massive chunks of dark shrapnel. One of my favorite ideas that Scarlet Nexus eventually weaves in is a "brain crush" bar that appears below the health meters of The Others. It works similar to Sekiro's posture system; wear down the enemy with a combination of psychic and physical strikes, and the protagonist can unleash a devastating coup d'etat that renders their remaining HP completely obsolete. Those animations are brutal and pure anime, the sort of stuff that could be edited together in a single blood-soaked YouTube video like Mortal Kombat fatalities. An action game ought to let the player feel like a god once they've traversed down the talent trees, and Bandai Namco passes that test with flying colors.

Brain overdrive

In the interim moments, where you're not decapitating Others and experimenting with all your spooky, death-dealing powers, Yuiko and Kasane spend a lot of time consoling the damaged souls in their platoon. Scarlet Nexus doesn't move in quasi-real time like Persona, but the game does pause at certain junctures in the narrative for a brief cooldown period. There, you can give gifts to your crewmates and embark on brief "bond episodes'' where you learn a little bit more about them. Those episodes usually reward the player with a boost in their relationship with that NPC, which allows them to be a little more savvy in your party. (At one friendship tier, I could summon a chummy teammate into an encounter for a brief onslaught, almost like tagging in a Marvel vs Capcom character.) These subplots are generally pretty good, and they help fill out the extremely dense fiction that Scarlet Nexus wants to establish. In particular, I was taken by Tsugumi, a young clairvoyant who confided some deep trauma with me on one of the first times we hung out. After all, if you've been able to see the future since you were a baby, there's no telling what horrors you might accidentally witness.

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Generally though, I wish Scarlet Nexus diversified some of those outings a little better. You're almost always hanging out with your comrades at the exact same restaurant, and the plot beats are uniformly focused on a slow interrogation of the manifold injustices that comes with being a high school-aged supersoldier. What makes Persona great is how weird and apocryphal those journeys can be. One day you might be tending to a drunk journalist in the bar, the next you're campaigning for a Bernie Sanders stand-in outside of Shibuya Crossing. Scarlet Nexus, on the other hand, uses most of these engagements to lay on an extra veneer of exposition that the developers couldn't fit in the primary storyline, which is certainly valuable, but I didn't feel like I got to know my battalion as well as I would've liked.

Honestly, that same issue pervades through the rest of Scarlet Nexus' trimmings. This is a very big game that's been forced into a small box. The setting is indelible: An uneasy, Shadowrun-ish realm, defended by a military who are augmented with cybernetic tech that lets them leverage their brains as ammunition, holding the line against these grotesque, Escherian demons who are desperate to purge humanity from the streets. If Scarlet Nexus only wanted to tell that story, it would probably be much more successful. Instead, we quickly deviate to body horror, to government censorship, to the enigma of pink matter, to standard-issue, Looper-style time travel paradoxes. By the time the fifth or sixth monkey wrench was thrown into Namco's story, and it became clear that they weren't going to follow any one of those fascinating hooks to a gratifying conclusion, I started to check out. Honestly, it feels like every 30 minutes of gameplay is broken up by a lengthy lecture peeling back yet another layer of what's really going on here. But those reveals never hit me emotionally, perhaps because I knew that in the next chapter, a brand new monologue would overwrite everything I just heard.

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

The same goes for Scarlet Nexus' overworld, which is beautifully rendered in fineline anime cartooning, and is equipped with a sublime J-Pop jingle. (The music, across the board, is fantastic.) Unfortunately, the downtown hub is a couple of blocks, and the game has a frustrating desire to reuse old level layouts for new missions. A cardinal sin! The sidequests are also laughable; you basically talk to a random bystander on the street and they ask you to go kill an Other archetype in a specific way. Your reward is rarely anything more than a health potion. Scarlet Nexus creative team were clearly out to establish a bold new franchise, but the scale they were working with let them down.

But frankly, that gives me hope for the future. If Scarlet Nexus earns a sequel—if the next time I traipse down a Comic-Con hall I see dozens of teens dressed for cybernetic warfare—then I think the team at Namco will really iron out the kinks in the second go around. A larger, more interactive universe, some juicer off-the-main-path content, maybe a few new environments for our languid, afternoon friendship outings. It's all so easy to imagine. For now, Scarlet Nexus is a great promise and a good game.

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Best Wi-Fi range extenders in 2021 The best WiFi range extenders


The best Wi-Fi range extender could be the fix for any inexplicable lag or latency problems you could be encountering during your day-to-day gaming. There’s nothing worse than installing a brand new PC upstairs only to find that its passage so weakens the Wi-Fi signal you get through walls and floors that you might as well be using dial-up. This will not do, so add one of the best Wi-Fi range extenders to your network and enjoy better connections and more responsive gaming.

Many people still swear by the old ways, connecting their PC directly to one of the best gaming routers, using an ethernet cable, and annoying their partner by running it up the stairs and under the carpet. But the latest iterations of Wi-Fi offer speed to rival that of ethernet, along with the stability that, while not as good as ethernet, betters that of previous Wi-Fi revisions. 

Adding a Wi-Fi extender can improve this, especially if you’re using the faster 5GHz network, which doesn’t penetrate walls as readily as 2.4GHz signals. Because of this extra speed, it’s worth keeping devices such as gaming PCs on 5GHz, leaving the congested 2.4GHz band for smart home kits such as digital assistants, smart lightbulbs, and the like—many of these can only be connected on 2.4GHz.

(Image credit: TP-Link)

The best Wi-Fi extender for speed and range

Wi-Fi performance: Wi-Fi 5 | Coverage: Up to 14,000 Sq ft | 2.4GHz speed: 800 Mbps | 5GHz speed: 1,733 Mbps | Antennas: 4

High speed
Good coverage
Slower startup
Rather large

A large and heavy Wi-Fi extender with a vent at the top to let the heat out, the RE650 has four antennas and the second-fastest speeds of all the extenders on test here. You get 1733Mbps on the 5GHz band and 800Mbps on 2.4Ghz, enough to have several people streaming and gaming simultaneously, as long as your internet speeds are up to it. 

It’s a Wi-Fi 5 extender and makes use of MU-MIMO to ensure multiple users get a good signal; plus, there’s a gigabit ethernet port for plugging in a whole network’s worth of wired devices. 

Sadly, we couldn’t get it to stand up on its antennas as much as we tried. It takes longer to start working after being switched on than others on the test, but this didn’t stop us from ranking it as the best Wi-Fi extender for most people because it combined coverage, speed, and affordability.

Asus AC750 Wi-Fi range extender

(Image credit: Asus)

2. Asus RP-AC51 Dual-band

A good choice if you don’t need extreme speed

Wi-Fi performance: Wi-Fi 5 | Coverage: N/A | 2.4GHz speed: 300 Mbps | 5GHz speed: 433 Mbps | Antennas: 2

Good combined speed
Easy setup
Wired devices limited to 100Mbps
Disappointing 5GHz performance

To our delight, it’s possible to stand the Asus Wi-Fi AC Repeater upside down on its antennas as if it were a diminutive Scoutwalker. Admittedly, this has nothing to do with its wireless boosting capabilities, which are excellent as long as you’re not looking for Wi-Fi 6. 

Along with the 433MBps Wi-Fi—you’ll need to amalgamate the channels to get the advertised 750Mbps—you get an ethernet port (only 10/100 rather than gigabit) so that the extender can be wired into your existing network and operate in access point mode. There’s an on/off switch, a WPS button for easy pairing with a router, and a reset button. LEDs on the front indicate power and network status. Inside the box, you get not one but two quick start guides to talk you through setup in various languages. 

The extender merged seamlessly into our network, is reasonably priced, and provides good speeds, making it ideal for those places where your router’s Wi-Fi can’t reach.

TP Link RE220 Wi-Fi range extender

(Image credit: TP Link)

A good performer at a low price

Wi-Fi performance: Wi-Fi 5 | Coverage: Up to 3,200 Sq ft | 2.4GHz speed: 300 Mbps | 5GHz speed: 433 Mbps | Antennas: Internal

Small
Fast enough
No plug passthrough
Only just fast enough

How much network speed do you really need? If you’re using your Wi-Fi extender to pass through internet access and don’t need fast file transfer, 433Mbps on the 5GHz channel is enough for most broadband providers. 

There are always overheads, of course, but with something like 4K streaming taking perhaps 15Mbps of bandwidth, you’re still not going to struggle too much, and its ability to eliminate dead spots is as good as all the rest. Its Ethernet port is a 10/100 model, so you’re not going to get the full benefit of the Wi-Fi 5 speed there either. A clever feature to maximize the speed you get is Full Speed Mode, which connects to the router exclusively using the 5GHz network, then uses the 2.4GHz channel to connect to laptops, phones, lightbulbs, etc. 

With no external antennas, the range is limited, and therefore positioning is vital. There’s no power passthrough, so that you will lose a plug socket, but it’s not using Powerline, so anywhere on an extension strip will do. Indicator lights on the front of the extender tell you if you’re getting a good wireless connection, so it’s simple enough to try a few sockets and see which is best.

Best mesh router kit | Best gaming laptops | Best gaming motherboards

Netgear AC750 Wi-Fi range extender

(Image credit: Netgear)

4. Netgear AC750 Wi-Fi Range Extender

Decent speeds for 5GHz devices

Wi-Fi performance: Wi-Fi 5 (5GHz band only) | Coverage: N/A | 2.4GHz speed: 300 Mbps | 5GHz speed: 750 Mbps | Antennas: 2

Small
Inexpensive
Best speeds 5GHz only
Wired devices limited to 100Mbps

This 750Mbps Wi-Fi 5 extender will not stand upside down on its antennas due to them having rounded ends, but otherwise is a close cousin of the Asus model. 

You get an on/off switch, WPS, and reset buttons, plus a 10/100 ethernet port that can put the extender into access point mode or allow an ethernet-only device to access a wireless network. The device connected immediately to our network over WPS and delivered fast stable internet access. 

Wi-Fi 5 is only available on the 5GHz network, with the 2.4GHz connection using Wi-Fi 4. Netgear’s Fastlane system combines both channels into one for a higher speed connection if you’re having trouble streaming 4K or online gaming. The settings can be accessed through the web interface or Netgear’s app.

If you’ve got many older devices that can’t use the newer Wi-Fi standards, this extender will take care of them while leaving the faster bands available for gaming or streaming.

5. Netgear Nighthawk X6S

Extreme performance at a price

Wi-Fi performance: Wi-Fi 5 | Coverage: N/A | 2.4GHz speed: 300 Mbps | 5GHz speed: 1,733 Mbps | Antennas: Internal

Powerful
Fast
Large
Expensive

This is a beast. A black slab of plastic that’s effectively a router in its own right and moves us from Wi-Fi extender to mesh router territory. It’s the only unit on the test to have its own power supply, the only one to have four-gigabit ethernet ports and a USB 2 port, and the only one to address three wireless bands (one is kept as a dedicated link to your router).

It’s expensive, but if you’re in a particularly wide or tall house, or maybe a castle, and desire a solid wireless signal in every room, then this is the way to go. And if you’re feeling really flush, there’s an AX6000 version that costs twice as much.

Setup is as simple as pressing the WPS buttons on both the extender and your router and letting them sort themselves out, with the Nighthawk app available if you want to delve into the settings. The quad-core processor keeps things speeding along nicely, and the rarely-seen 802.11k protocol is supported to handle traffic management. All this means is that one of these, properly placed, should iron out any wrinkles in your home network.

TP link TL-WA860RE Wi-Fi range extender

(Image credit: TP Link)

For those still running an older router

Wi-Fi performance: Wi-Fi 4 | Coverage: N/A | 2.4GHz speed: 300 Mbps | 5GHz speed: N/A | Antennas: 2

Power pass-through
MIMO
Slow
Wi-Fi 4

Not the smallest extender on the test but the slowest, this unit from TP-Link makes up for being only Wi-Fi 4 and 2.4GHz with some additional features. For a start, it’s the only one here with a power socket pass-through, which means you won’t have to sacrifice a socket to use it.

There’s 2×2 MIMO, which is unusual for a Wi-Fi 4 extender and should help keep the 300Mbps of bandwidth going where it needs to be. There are two antennas, too narrow to allow balancing upside down, and a 10/100Mbps ethernet port. Setup through WPS is a breeze, and if you need to delve into settings, you can either use the TP-Link Tether app on your phone or do it through a web browser. 

It’s hard to recommend this, despite it being cheap, as Wi-Fi 4 is outdated, and Wi-Fi 5 and 6 extenders will be backward compatible during the time it takes you to upgrade to one of the best gaming routers.

Best Wi-Fi range extenders Q&A

What’s the most important spec?

Extenders come in all shapes and sizes, but what really matters is which version of Wi-Fi they support and how fast they’re able to transfer data. Wi-Fi 6 is the latest version of the Wi-Fi spec, and along with more speed, it brings some interesting things to the table, such as increased throughput and enhances beamforming over Wi-Fi 5. To use it, every link in the chain must support the new standard, from the router, through any extenders, to the client PC. None of the extenders we’ve tested here support the latest standard, which has yet to make its way into many homes. The next time you upgrade your router, however, it’s worth looking out for.

Where should I place my Wi-Fi extender?

If you have a Wi-Fi dead spot in your home, then the positioning of a Wi-Fi extender is crucial. The extender needs to be in good contact with the router, so don’t place it in the dead spot itself but on the edge of your router’s current coverage. As these extenders plug into a socket, you may be limited by their placement, but you can always put one on the end of an extension cord if need be.

What’s all this Mesh Wi-Fi stuff then?

If you know there will be problems with Wi-Fi in your home—perhaps it’s particularly large or was built on top of a crashed UFO—then it’s worth looking at a mesh system before you buy a router and a load of extenders. Mesh systems place small stations all over your house to really saturate it with signal and aren’t as expensive as you might think.

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Roccat Kone Pro Air wireless gaming mouse review The Roccat Kone Pro Air wireless gaming mouse


Roccat's Kone Pro Air is maybe not the most wholly remarkable mouse, but there are some strong features that manage to make it just about worth the $130 (£120) price tag. It's not the lightest, nor is it the swiftest, nor does it have quite the number of easily accessible buttons we'd have liked, but it makes up for its downfalls with fantastic ergonomics, battery life, and more. It also lends itself to a certain breed of gamer, which we'll get to in a moment. 

The Kone Pro Air weighs in at around 2.6oz (75g), which is a commendable effort when it comes to trimming down a gaming mouse. That lighter weight is helped along greatly by it's hollow, aluminium Titan frame, and Bionic shell. 

Being the absolute lightest isn't the be all and end all, matching balance and strength is also important. And Roccat has managed to build a supremely well balanced gaming mouse, and one you'd have to put some seriously significant weight into breaking, too.

Roccat Kone Pro Air Spec

DPI: 19,000
Sensor: Roccat Owl Eye
Battery: 137 hrs
Interface: USB-C, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Buttons: 6
Ergonomic: Right-handed
Weight: 2.6oz (75g)
Price: $129.99 (£119.99)

With the RGB zones placed beneath the translucent left and right buttons' honeycomb substructure, Roccat has managed to give the Kone Pro Air—along with the rest of the Kone Pro series—a twist on the ever popular honeycomb design so many lightweight mice have adopted. But it's done so without tastelessly poking holes in the shell. 

And, while that does mean there's a touch more plastic weighing it down, it's a refreshing aesthetic choice. Besides there's something about having that RGB glow at my fingertips that makes me feel a little bit like a Jedi.

That positive design appraisal extends across the mouse as a whole, too. It doesn't come across clunky looking, but is instead quite alluring in its soft curvature. The almost matte finish, and light scoring along the shallow thumb rest make it a pleasure to handle. That also means its lack of rubber grips isn't an issue. The Kone Pro Air always feels high quality despite the evident thinness of the material—nothing rattles and the buttons are reliable and sturdy.

My main gripe with the design, however, is the aluminium Titan scroll wheel. It does its job, sure—relieving some of the weight gamers have grown to detest, and looks kinda funky, too—but there's something about a totally flat and metallic scroll wheel that feels odd to the touch.

On the underside, you've got some nice slippy PTFE feet that are honestly a bit of a dream to sweep around the mousepad. The one issue with the underside is that's also where Roccat has decided to plonk the profile switch, which also allows you to change DPI by holding and scrolling the mouse wheel. Not the most logical place to put it, but the multifunctionality surely helps save a bit of weight. 

In attempting to change the DPI with the scrolling feature, however, it proceeded to buffer and flash for about 20 seconds before it realised what it was supposed to be doing. A testament to the Roccat Swarm software needing a bit of TLC perhaps.

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The Roccat Kone Pro Air wireless gaming mouse

(Image credit: Future)
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The Roccat Kone Pro Air wireless gaming mouse

(Image credit: Future)
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The Roccat Kone Pro Air wireless gaming mouse

(Image credit: Future)
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The Roccat Kone Pro Air wireless gaming mouse

(Image credit: Future)

There is a groove on the underside, in which to keep the mouse's wireless dongle when not in use, which is always appreciated. And the dongle itself—providing a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection—is just one of three connection options. The second is bluetooth (always a nice, though laggy fallback), and the third is via a light and braided Phantomflex USB Type-C cable. 

Although that means if you lose or forget your cable a replacement is less commonly found lying around, there's none of that 'right side up' faffing when plugging in. That also means the charging process is a lot faster than your standard USB Type-A, and that swift charge is also bound to last a while, too.

A battery life of around 137 hours, RGB turned on and in battery saver mode, is not to be sniffed at. That puts it just behind the Logitech G903 Lightspeed's fantastic 140 hours (which was actually measured with the RGB turned off). Bottom line, the Kone Pro Air doesn't disappoint when it comes to its battery. And that's not the only internal feature that deserves some recognition.

When it comes to the Owl Eye sensor, it may not have the highest DPI out there at 19,000, but accuracy is what we crave and those tests came back close enough to the line that I have no complaints. Pixel skipping and input lag are super minimal, and the 1,000Hz polling rate is consistent. 

So, while other mice around this price point may come with higher DPI, Roccat has indeed come a long way from the Kova AIMO's 7000dpi Pro-Optic Sensor R6.

There are enough great features about the Roccat Kone Pro Air that make it an entirely admirable mouse, but still for me not quite enough to make it stand out from other wireless mice of the same price point. For an RRP of $129.99 (£119.99), you could potentially walk away with a better sensor, with a greater DPI range, and more than just the 5 buttons to play with. 

Still, the Kone Pro Air's  battery life, fast charging, and sleek sturdy design manage to make up for where it's a little lacking. 

With a quick charge lasting a good week of gaming, at something like 19 hours of full use per day, it's definitely one for gamers on the go. Moreover, it's for the rough and ready among us, too: those who fling their mouse around a lot, or leave it rattling around in their bag all day—it sure feels like it could take a battering.

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The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles has exciting mysteries, but I want more courtroom shenanigans The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles


It's almost here, the moment international Ace Attorney fans have waited years for: The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures and The Great Ace Attorney Adventures 2: Resolve are finally releasing in English. It's been a long time coming, and no one even knew if an international release was on the cards until Capcom revealed the good news in April. Conveniently, the pair are being neatly bundled together in one package for PC on July 27. The release day is so close it's time to start warming up those vocal cords for the courtroom.

The story of the two prequels follows Phoenix Wright's 19th-century ancestor, Ryūnosuke Naruhodō, who has travelled from Meiji Period Japan to Victorian England, solving mysteries and defending those in need of legal assistance. Both games have a bustle of new cases to solve and I got the chance to delve into the courtroom antics of three cases from the first game, The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures. I'm happy to say the years of waiting have, so far, been worth it. 

Over the twenty years the series has been around, the Ace Attorney games have always tried to unravel the idea of what 'justice' really is. In previous games, Phoenix Wright has had to pull some major courtroom stunts, grappling with guilty defendants and forged evidence. From the preview build, it looks like The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures will be no different. Naruhodō and his legal assistant Susato Mikotoba have travelled to London to learn about Britain's legal system which has been self-described as one of the "greatest judicial systems in the world."

(Image credit: Capcom)

In a completely different country with its own culture and legal system, Naruhodō grapples with Victorian Britain's ideas of truth and justice, while something sinister hides beneath London's seemingly pristine underbelly. It's an interesting tension that carries throughout the three cases I played, and something the series is better able to explore thanks to the new setting.

Joining Naruhodō and Susato on their courtroom escapades is a cast of new characters. The series is known for its kooky cohort, and The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles does not miss that mark. I'm completely smitten with Susato, whose knowledge and insight into the British court system has saved our leading lawyer's ass more times than I can count.

There's also Tobias Gregson, a grumpy Scotland Yard detective who, even in the courtroom, is constantly munching on fish and chips wrapped in newspaper. As a Brit, it's a stereotype I am more than happy about. Of course, there's also your opposition, the elusive Barok van Zieks, a cutthroat prosecutor known as "Grim Reaper of the Old Bailey", but really he's just a drama queen. Van Zieks has that classic Ace Attorney prosecutor flair: he drinks out of a golden chalice, casually throws bottles of wine around the courtroom, and occasionally slams his boot down on the prosecution table when he gets annoyed.

(Image credit: Capcom)
Law and Order

The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures and The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve originally came out on 3DS in Japan in 2015 and 2017 respectively, then were ported to mobile. Hopefully Capcom will consider porting the series' other spin-offs. Pretty please, Capcom?

The only character I'm having trouble connecting with is Naruhodō himself, who feels a little wooden. You can see the family ties with Phoenix—Naruhodō is a young lawyer way out of his depth but whose heart is in the right place—but there was something sincere with Ace Attorney's previous lawyers that Naruhodō is missing.

Then, of course, there's Sherlock Holmes—oops I mean 'Herlock Sholmes'—the famous detective who helps out with investigations. Capcom has definitely leaned into the 'eccentric genius' with Herlock, with the character serving as a comical caricature rather than a keen-eyed intellectual. Alongside his eccentric personality, many of his deductions are completely inaccurate, leaving Naruhodō with the job of fixing his mistakes in a mini-game that takes place in the investigation sections. 

(Image credit: Capcom)

That's not the only new feature in The Great Ace Attorney. The courtroom adventure has inherited the juror system seen in the Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright crossover, where lawyers must convince a six-member jury instead of just persuading the judge. Instead of trials being a head-to-head scuffle with prosecutors, you need to keep the jury's favour and can now cross-examine the jurors, pointing out contradictions between them. It's a great way of breaking the repetition trials can fall into, which is normally a loop of finding contradictions in testimony and backing it up with evidence until the trial is over.

The three trials in the preview have all been intriguing mysteries, but I'm still waiting for the game to really crank things up to 11. The courtroom in the Ace Attorney series is more like a theatre stage. There's melodrama, high stakes, and tense exchanges where your weapons are reasoning and words. It can get ridiculous, sure, but there's often an edge to it. I've yet to really see The Great Ace Attorney pull out all the stops, but the series does have a habit of leaving the biggest twists and turns to the finale, every interconnected case neatly falling into place for an epic conclusion. It will be interesting to see if The Great Ace Attorney can pull off the same feat.

(Image credit: Capcom)

I've enjoyed much of what The Great Ace Attorney Adventures has to offer, but there's an aspect to the games that is difficult to overlook. Because the game follows the adventures of a young Japanese law student in late 19th century Victorian England, there's a lot of racial discrimination toward Naruhodō and other Japanese characters.

Casual racism is prominent in conversations. Comments thrown around include describing Japanese characters as 'sneaky' and 'shady', and there's just a general distrust of anyone who isn't constantly shovelling fish and chips into their mouth. The Great Ace Attorney is obviously a Japanese game made by Japanese creators who want to comment on the social, racial, and class discriminations of the era, but the way that the British main characters treat the Japanese characters is beyond uncomfortable and makes things incredibly awkward for characters you're supposed to like.

From what I've played so far, The Great Ace Attorney feels like a great extension of the series. With colourful 3D models and a full orchestra to work with, the game looks and sounds fantastic, and the new juror and deduction mini-games mix up the older games' structure in a good way. I enjoyed the three cases I played, but with two more to go, I'm hoping for some more punchy moments. I've yet to get caught up in the rush of explosive rebuttals and the courtroom shenanigans have been pretty tame. I'm not expecting the absurd heights of making a parrot testify in court, but I'm hungry for more twists and turns. I want more drama. There are hints of a story thread that ties the cases together which I've yet to discover, but it's a great teaser for what's yet to come.

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EVGA is making its first motherboard for AMD Ryzen CPUs and it’s about time EVGA Dark and Ryzen Logo


Barring it being a cruel joke on enthusiasts, a short 9-second video clip uploaded by EVGA to YouTube pretty much confirms the company is getting ready to announce a motherboard for AMD's Ryzen processors. There's really nothing else it could be, and it's about time EVGA embraced AMD's moment of Zen.

AMD introduced its AM4 socket in September 2016, and not long after, the Ryzen 1000 series arrived. Now almost five years later, AMD has hit its stride with Zen 3, the latest generation of the architecture that changed the landscape, and which underpins some of the best CPUs for gaming.

Curiously enough, EVGA has avoided making a motherboard for Ryzen processors all this time, though that's about to change.

The teaser video is titled "A new Darkness is coming…" and through a plume of smoke, a Ryzen logo appears, encircling EVGA's "Dark" branding. While no product name is mentioned, I'd wager EVGA is getting ready to announce an X570 Dark motherboard.

It wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to go with anything other than AMD's top chipset for Ryzen (X570). EVGA goes all-out on its Dark lineup. The Z590 Dark for Intel processors, for example, features a 10-layer printed circuit board (PCB) and a 22-phase voltage regulator module (VRM), and is built for overclockers and "everyone else demanding the ultimate in performance."

"As a wise overclocker once said, 'Once you start down the Dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny', and with the EVGA Z590 Dark, that destiny is sure to be filled with shattered records and countless victories on the battlefield," EVGA says.

Board walk

(Image credit: MSI)

Best gaming motherboard: the best boards around
Best AMD motherboard: your new Ryzen's new home

That kind of over-the-top hyperbole would be a bit much for the B550 chipset, and we can safely assume EVGA won't build a board around the previous generation X470 chipset. The timing is just too odd for something like that.

As our friends at Tom's Hardware point out, this won't actually be the first motherboard to support an AMD processor, just the first one for Ryzen. Some of you may recall the EVGA nForce 730a, back in the Athlon 64 era. That board was built for AMD hardware as well, though was based on an Nvidia chipset.

To my knowledge, the upcoming Dark SKU will be the first to feature an actual AMD chipset. I expect EVGA to give AMD the proper Dark treatment with a robust VRM, oodles of connectivity options (including USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, 2.5GbE LAN ports, and Wi-Fi 6), onboard diagnostic LEDs, and addressable RGB lighting. But, we'll have to wait and see.

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Which Mass Effect DLC is best, and how to play them in order A dance party in Mass Effect 3's Citadel DLC


In the dark old days you had to buy 'BioWare Points' to exchange for Mass Effect DLC, sold in bundles of 800 so that if an expansion cost 1,200 points you'd have to pay for 1,600 of them and then just have 400 left over forever. To get some of the promotional items you'd either have to own other games—Dragon Age: Origins to score the blood dragon armor, for instance—or go hunting for codes on bottles of fizzy drink. If you wanted that umbra visor you went to 7-11 and bought Dr. Pepper until you found a code for it on the lid. Kids today have it easy.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition includes most of the series' DLC and nobody has to suffer through a drink that tastes like fizzy medicine to get it. Thought's been put into how the promotional gear is available, and now Shepard has to buy or research it. But not quite so much thought has gone into placing the story expansions in each game. Jump in as soon as they unlock and you'll have some odd moments—facing enemies who will then be introduced in later missions as if you've never seen them before, dealing with mechanics before they're tutorialized, wondering why your squadmates suddenly have no dialogue, and even rendering other side missions unfinishable. 

Mass Effect's DLC includes some of the best parts of the series, but the way it's incorporated in the Legendary Edition is a bit of a mess. Here's how to untangle it, and which ones you should bother with.

Mass Effect 1 DLC

(Image credit: EA)

Bring Down the Sky 

There's a huge gulf in quality between the original Mass Effect's mainline missions, sci-fi short stories you muscle through like Captain Kirk only cooler, and its side content, where you drive over mountains to find warehouses. Bring Down the Sky is an expansion created to fill that gulf, sending you on an exciting mission to stop an asteroid weaponized by batarian terrorists from colliding with a colony world. To prevent that you drive over mountains and fight through buildings that, to be fair, have more interesting layouts than the usual warehouses. Also, the story happens in actual dialogue scenes rather than those boxes of text. 

When you should play it: The reward for finishing Bring Down the Sky is leveled, so if you want the best gear you should save it for late in your playthrough. There's basically no time when it makes narrative sense to bunk off the hunt for Saren to visit a random asteroid, but that's Mass Effect for you.

Mass Effect 2 DLC

(Image credit: EA)

Zaeed – The Price of Revenge 

As if the 10 squadmates of the base game weren't enough, Mass Effect 2 threw in two extras as DLC. They're noticeably different from the others, with no recruitment missions—in veteran mercenary Zaeed's case, you have a quick chat on Omega and he immediately joins the squad. It makes having to fight through an entire office tower to recruit Thane seem a hassle by comparison, though Thane does have much more kissable lips. The other difference with the DLC squaddies is that they don't have back-and-forth dialogues when hanging out on the Normandy. They just tell stories based on which items you look at in their rooms. 

On the plus side, their loyalty missions unlock straight away. Zaeed's involves liberating a refinery from his old mercenary company, and confronting the fact that he's kind of an amoral bastard. The main thing it has going for it is that voice actor Robin Sachs (who played Ethan Rayne in Buffy) does a great grizzled badass.

When you should play it: When you're on Omega to recruit Mordin and Archangel, recruit Zaeed in passing. Either do his loyalty mission as soon as you're finished on Omega to get it out of the way and unlock his inferno grenade bonus power, or save it for after Horizon when you're securing the loyalty of the rest of the crew. 

(Image credit: EA)

Kasumi – Stolen Memory 

The other DLC squadmate in Mass Effect 2 is master thief Kasumi Goto, recruited on the Citadel. Her loyalty mission involves infiltrating a party being thrown by an arms dealer she wants to steal something from, which makes for a nifty change of pace. Villain Donovan Hock's got a powerful combination of bad facial hair and a South African accent that make him seem like a 1980s action movie bad guy, which fits the vibe of Mass Effect 2 to a tee, though the mission itself is more like an Ocean's Eleven heist.

When you should play it: Talk Kasumi into joining the crew on your first visit to the Citadel. Though her loyalty mission unlocks straight away, put it off as long as you can. NPCs at the party gossip about recent events, all of which relate to other missions you've done, so wait until you've nearly finished to make the most of that. Take it on shortly before you do the Reaper IFF and trigger the endgame.

(Image credit: EA)

Firewalker 

As a kind of double-pronged apology to everyone who missed the first game's Mako, and to everyone who hated driving the Mako up mountains, the Firewalker Pack gives you a replacement called the Hammerhead that controls quite differently. It's a zippy hovertank, incapable of flipping over, and the five missions in Project Firewalker are bespoke vehicle challenges. Unfortunately, you're not allowed to save progress in the Hammerhead for some reason and have to complete each mission in one go. Also it doesn't have a health bar—instead it lets you know it's been damaged by catching fire and making annoying beeping noises.

When you should play it: Give the first Firewalker assignment, Rosalie Lost, a try early on. If you enjoy flying the combustible beepmobile, that mission unlocks a whole sequence of them. If you don't enjoy it, skip the rest. At least you'll understand what all the jokes about it in Mass Effect 3 are referring to.

(Image credit: EA)

Project Overlord 

You'll be shocked to learn that a Cerberus scientific experiment has gone wrong in Project Overlord. The virtual intelligence codenamed Overlord has gone rampant on a research base, and it's up to you and two companions who are eerily quiet because none of the voice actors came back for this DLC to stop it. (Project Overlord gives the squadmates things to do in the background during cutscenes at least, and plays it for laughs.)

When you should play it: Project Overlord assumes you're still helping Cerberus take down the Collectors, so definitely start it before the Reaper IFF. It's also got sections where you fly the Hammerhead, which are going to be real weird if you haven't done the Firewalker mission that gives you the Hammerhead and teaches you how to fly it, so do Rosalie Lost first.

(Image credit: EA)

Normandy Crash Site 

Originally this was one of the freebies included when you downloaded the Cerberus Network, a DLC authenticator and shop that could not have been given a more ominous name (Zaeed and Firewalker were free too). Normandy Crash Site is a chance to say goodbye to the original Normandy by exploring its ruins, a collectible hunt that sets off some flashbacks of the original ship and her crew. The Legendary Edition leaves these still images as they originally were, meaning they show the first game's pre-remaster graphics for an additional layer of nostalgia.

When you should play it: This one fits anywhere. Whenever you feel like finding out what happened to Navigator Pressley, or looking at the Mako one last time.

(Image credit: EA)

Lair of the Shadow Broker 

The most substantial Mass Effect 2 expansion reunites you with Liara, now an information broker, as she tries to rescue one of her agents from the Shadow Broker. If you romanced Liara in the first Mass Effect this is your opportunity to pick up where you left off, but even if you didn't Lair of the Shadow Broker is still a blast—an opportunity to play Gal Friday while your former sidekick has a turn at being protagonist. It's got a diverse collection of fun setpieces too. There's a crime scene investigation, a fight up the side of a big space thing, and a car chase where you finally get to pilot one of those skycars.

When you should play it: When you talk to Liara on Ilium there's a dialogue option that says, "Let's get the Shadow Broker." Choosing that will start the DLC but also end Liara's chain of sidequests from the base game. Instead, complete the missions where she sends you off to hack terminals (Systems Hacking and The Observer), which are designed to give you something to do while you're exploring the hub to recruit Thane and Samara and do Miranda's loyalty mission. Wait until after you've done all that to return to Liara and start Lair of the Shadow Broker.

(Image credit: EA)

Arrival 

A bridging DLC intended to set up Mass Effect 3, this one has Shepard infiltrate a batarian base to rescue an Alliance agent, and ends with a tease of what's coming in Mass Effect 3. There's a lot of combat, some light puzzle-solving, and several moments where it frustratingly takes away your agency. You get captured whether you defeat an ambush or not, you fail to save people whether you try to warn them or not, and then the big moral choice Arrival ends on is taken out of your hands.

When you should play it: Don't bother. Nothing Arrival does turns out to be necessary to set up Mass Effect 3. If you're a completionist who wants every single possible war asset though, save Arrival until after the suicide mission. Just ignore that email Admiral Hackett sends about an urgent solo mission.

The best Mass Effect 2 DLC 

Lair of the Shadow Broker isn't just the best DLC for Mass Effect 2, it's the best part of the whole game—even counting the suicide mission. Of the others, Kasumi's Stolen Memory mission is a highlight, and it's worth doing Zaeed's Price of Revenge mainly to guarantee he returns in Mass Effect 3. Project Overlord is solid too, taking some cliched elements but using them to build to a powerful climax. 

Mass Effect 3 DLC

(Image credit: EA)

From Ashes 

There's only one DLC squadmate in Mass Effect 3, but wow is he an important one. Not having access to Javik, or the recruitment mission where you revisit Eden Prime where it all started back in the first game, makes Mass Effect 3 feel incomplete. Heck, it's almost like From Ashes was always intended to be a part of the finished product but was held back so it could be sold for a few extra dollars—sorry, BioWare Points. Who could imagine such a thing?

When you should play it: As soon as you can. It'll be ready and waiting when you gain control of the Normandy after leaving the Citadel, though if you want to go to Palaven and find Garrus as quickly as possible I wouldn't blame you. That charming turian does have a lovely voice.

(Image credit: EA)

Leviathan

If you like deep dives into galactic history as well as deep dives into literal water then Leviathan is for you. It's a multi-part jaunt around space in search of the origins of the Reapers that climaxes on an ocean planet, and should satisfy both people who read every single codex entry and people who like seeing Shepard survive against the odds and shoot a heck of a lot of bad, bad people. Because it has both.

When you should play it: Since Leviathan has banshees in it, save it until after Kallini: Ardat-Yakshi Monastery, the mission that introduces them. To start Leviathan, when you dock at the Citadel choose Dr. Bryden's Lab instead of Alliance Docks.

(Image credit: EA)

Omega 

Omega brings back Aria T'Loak, the asari pirate queen voiced by Carrie-Anne Moss with her own asteroid-based hive of scum and villainy. This DLC was what the B-team at BioWare Montreal worked on after finishing the multiplayer mode and before being handed Mass Effect Andromeda, and looking back it was a sign of things to come: a whole lot of thoroughly decent combat and almost none of the character-writing people play BioWare RPGs for. You help Aria take back that asteroid from the Cerberus officer who stole it from her, a villain so cliche he's got a Russian name and a thing for chess, and Aria suddenly becomes inept and kind of contemptible. It's bad, hey.

When you should play it: Omega's the one Mass Effect 3 DLC worth skipping unless you're real hard up for war assets, or you want the overpowered flare ability you earn at the end. It's a long slog you can't take a break from to do other missions, however. If you bother with Omega, wait until you've finished Aria's assignment to put together a mercenary fleet, then select Dock 42 instead of Alliance Docks next time you land on the Citadel. 

(Image credit: EA)

Citadel 

The Extended Cut DLC was BioWare's official apology for Mass Effect 3's ending, and is included in the Legendary Edition. But the Citadel expansion really made up for it by returning to what the series was best at, and what Mass Effect 2 especially delivered on. It's half buddy-movie setpieces, including a fight through a French sushi restaurant and an undercover casino heist, and half fanservice. 

The Normandy's crew are given shore leave and you're given an apartment on the Citadel, and after you survive yet another attack you get to explore a new hub where all the best NPCs hang out. You find out what they do with their downtime, which is mainly "get into quirky Yakuza sidequests". It ends with an indulgent party sequence where you invite your favorite characters and spend a night seeing them interact with each other as they trash your apartment.

When you should play it: There are two schools of thought about this. One says to play Citadel where it makes the most sense—right before Priority: Thessia, which is before the plot ramps up and a holiday stops feeling appropriate, and after you've done the missions that complete former companions' arcs so you can invite them to the party. The other says to save Citadel until after finishing Mass Effect 3, going back to the point-of-no-return autosave and treating it as a flashback so you can wash out the taste of the finale with this better ending.

The best Mass Effect 3 DLC 

It's Citadel, a lavish demonstration of everything that's great about Mass Effect. Citadel isn't just the best DLC BioWare has made, it's probably the best thing the studio's name has ever been on and a reason to play the series by itself. Leviathan and From Ashes are quality too, and the story does make a bit more sense with them included.

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3 years after The Elder Scrolls 6 was announced, Todd Howard is thinking about making it Todd Howard


In 2016, before The Elder Scrolls 6 was formally announced at E3 2018, Todd Howard confirmed that Bethesda was working on a new Elder Scrolls (because of course it was), but warned that it was an extremely long ways away: So far off, in fact, that he implied the technology required to make it happen didn't actually exist.

"I have to be careful what I say—it's a very long way off," Howard said at the time. "I could sit here and explain the game to you, and you would say, 'That sounds like you don't even have the technology—how long is that going to take?' And so it's something that's going to take a lot of time, what we have in mind for that game."

Five years down the road and three years after the announcement teaser at E3 2018, it appears that the situation may not have changed as much as you might have expected, or hoped. In a new interview with The Telegraph, Howard said Bethesda is still working on the technology that The Elder Scrolls 6 will demand.

"It’s good to think of The Elder Scrolls 6 as still being in a design [phase]," Howard said. "But we’re checking the tech: 'Is this going to handle the things we want to do in that game?' Every game will have some new suites of technology so Elder Scrolls 6 will have some additions on to Creation Engine 2 that that game is going to require."

The Creation Engine 2 will first be seen in Bethesda's upcoming sci-fi RPG Starfield, and Howard warned—again—that Bethesda is all-in on that game right now. The development projects "kind of intertwine," he said, but "the vast majority of our development development work is on Starfield right now."

Starfield is currently expected to be out in November 2022, and The Elder Scrolls 6 will come sometime after that. At least a couple of years after, would be my guess: Bethesda's Pete Hines said in May 2020 that it would be "years" from that date before details of the new Elder Scrolls will be revealed.

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Half-Life 2’s Citadel is 3 times taller than everyone thought, says guy who spent 9 years thinking about it Half-Life 2


When visiting City 17, don't forget to check out the Citadel. You can't miss it: it's a massive black alien structure in the center of the city, looming over the remnants of the human race with Dr. Breen's cozy office occupying the top floor. Half-Life 2 begins at the foot of the Citadel and ends on its roof, with a slight detour to everywhere else in between.

The Citadel is a tall building. It's so tall you can see it pointing to the heavens with its tip buried in the clouds even hours after you've left the city itself.  But how tall is it, exactly? Half-Life fans wanted to know.

In 2009 someone emailed Half-Life 2 writer Marc Laidlaw to ask how tall the Citadel was.

Laidlaw, apparently, didn't know either. According to the person who emailed him, Laidlaw asked a Half-Life 2 artist, and that artist said it was 'at least a mile' high, adding: "If you can find someone with a HL2 tree, they could load it up in model viewer and multiply the size by 16 (because this is a skybox version) you’ll get an exact height."

Various calculations ensued, and in 2012 it was ultimately determined that the Citadel is 2,569 meters (8,430 feet) high. That's a little over a mile-and-a-half. Extremely tall! (Note: initial calculations showed it being even taller, nearly 3,000 meters, but those calculations were revised to account for part of the structure being underground.) Here's an image created for scale alongside other buildings on Earth. And these days, even the Combine Overwiki accepts this height as correct.

(Image credit: Valve)

But a redditor named Rscreamroad didn't quite buy it, and it's apparently bothered him for the past 9 years or so, ever since the Citadel's height was calculated. He decided to do some re-calculating, and posted an extensive account of his findings on Reddit. 

"Over the course of these 9 years, I had a lot of objections that destroyed my immersion in the game," Rscreamroad says in the post. "I want to at least try to deliver my ideas to the community and resume this discussion."

Part of Rscreamroad's issue is that if the height of 2,569 meters is correct, that would mean the Citadel is only about 250 meters wide, which doesn't make a lot of sense for those who have been inside the Citadel. We've seen not just how tall the building is but how thicc it is, having taken an extensive Combine pod ride through its interior near the end of Half-Life 2. 250 meters (820 feet) doesn't seem quite big enough to hold everything we've seen in there, from fleets of gunships to striders stomping angrily around inside. The track the pod rides on is quite long and implies an interior width considerably bigger than 250 meters.

So, Rscreamroad did some investigating. He loaded the level that takes place at the top of the Citadel and looked down at the texture of the city below, which he eventually assumed was based on a real satellite image. In the game files, that cityscape was actually four different images, and after pasting the images together, Rscreamroad compared it to real cities, eventually discovering that the view of City 17 from the top of the Citadel was actually created from a picture looking down on New York City. And the camera position for that picture is a height of 8,773 meters. When you're at the top of the Citadel looking down, the city is nearly 9,000 meters below you.

Basing the height of the Citadel on an image of the ground below might not be the most scientific conclusion, considering the artists probably just picked an image that looked good and would give the players an impression of being very high in the air. But when Rscreamroad loaded the Citadel model from Half-Life 2 into Blender, he found that it wasn't really that far off. His measurements in Blender concluded that the Citadel is "27,580 feet or 8,406 meters. It was also 860 meters wide and went 230 meters underground."

Rscreamroad’s image of the Citadel’s height, posted on Reddit (Image credit: Rscreamroad on Reddit)

If Rscreamroad is correct, that's considerably taller than the height of 2,569 meters. It's over five miles high. It makes the Citadel about three times as tall as everyone has assumed for the past decade. And being that tall makes the interior wide enough that the long Combine pod ride makes much more sense.

Rscreamroad isn't entirely sold on this new measurement himself, however. He says: "The truth is that the Source engine has a bunch of different versions [of the Citadel model]. On the developer resources I found information that they began to use the 1/12 scale for the skybox unit in the latest versions of the engine. And in some cases, 1 unit is not equal to 1 inch, but 2/3 inches. And the Blender itself, depending on versions 2.79 and 2.8+, slightly changed the mechanism for converting model sizes relative to loaded models."

I'd say a five-mile-tall Citadel seems… a bit too high, to me anyway. At the very least, it looks like the Half-Life community has something new to argue over. If you'd rather watch a video than read the entire Reddit post , Rscreamroad made a video too and you can watch it here on YouTube.

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World of Warcraft’s long-awaited 9.1 update, Chains of Domination, is now live A World of Warcraft: Shadowlands render.


After waiting a staggeringly long time, World of Warcraft: Shadowlands' first major update is now live. Yup, after 218 days (the longest stretch between an expansion launch and its x.1 patch in WoW history), Chains of Domination is finally here.

That means there's actually a whole new swathe of things to do in the Shadowlands again—including a whole new zone to explore, more Covenant levels to grind, and (starting next week) a new raid, mega-dungeon, and seasonal update for Mythic+ dungeons and PvP. 

I've been hesitant to get my hopes up over update 9.1, but I'm actually pretty excited to jump back into the Shadowlands again. There's dozens of significant changes that address a lot of the complaints players had with Shadowlands' endgame, including a sizable overhaul of Torghast, the new roguelike dungeon that was added back in November. Torghast no longer imposes a limit on how many times you can die before failing a run but instead awards a score based on how efficient your run is, and it also has all new wings and secret levels that can lead to some nifty cosmetic rewards.

In addition to that, players can now fly in the Shadowlands' four main leveling areas and use their non-flying mounts in The Maw, which also has had a facelift and is now much less imposing and threatening.

There's still a lot to talk about—especially as the weeks go by and new features are rolled out including the Sanctum of Domination 10-boss raid and Tazavesh megadungeon. For more info about Chains of Domination, check out our comprehensive overview.

Or you can just log in and start playing it.

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Battlefield 2042 keeps Nvidia partnership, will support DLSS and Reflex latency optimization Battlefield 2042


Battlefield 2042's "official graphics platform" is Nvidia, and the upcoming 128-player shooter will support "next-gen GeForce RTX gaming technologies" (also known as cool reflections), Nvidia DLSS, and Nvidia Reflex latency optimization.

Battlefield 5 was one of the RTX showcase games that spawned the "RTX on" meme, so a repeat partnership between EA and Nvidia is no big surprise. AMD cards performed well in our BF5 performance testing, though, so owners shouldn't be concerned.

GeForce card owners do get some Nvidia-specific feature support. DLSS is Nvidia's much-used deep learning tech, which in my experience (in Control, mostly) does a pretty good job of improving performance without sacrificing quality. 

Nvidia Reflex is newer. Introduced last year, it's a toolkit used by Valorant, Fortnite, Apex Legends, and other multiplayer shooters to reduce render latency by "keeping the GPU perfectly in sync with the CPU" so that frames don't sit in the render queue. (In other words, when you move your mouse to aim, the new image generated should hit your display a few milliseconds sooner than it otherwise would.) It also has some fancy latency measuring capabilities if you've got the monitor and mouse for it. We tested Reflex in a few games, and did record a small input latency reduction, so, hey, that's nice. You can also read more about the tech on Nvidia's site.

EA announced some other Battlefield 2042 partners today, too. The Xbox Series X and S are its official consoles. EA has yet to announce any exclusive DLC or bonuses for Xbox players, so this appears to be purely for marketing at the moment. Its official PC peripherals partner is Logitech, so it'll support Logitech's Lightsync LED control tech and include "in-game audio presets with optimized EQ for Logitech headsets." And you can't launch a big budget game without a storage partner, right? Western Digital's WD_Black brand has that honor. (They do make good SSDs, though.)

Finally and most importantly, Battlefield 2042's off-road vehicle partner is Polaris, and an "authentic" Polaris Sportsman ATV will be one of the vehicles available to players in BF2042's near-future war. It sounds like other Polaris models will appear, too. Exciting stuff!

Alright, not really, unless perhaps you're an ATV enthusiast, but we'll get some proper BF2042 info pretty soon. EA Play Live is happening on July 22, and EA has said it's going to reveal DICE LA's secret mode at the event. Rumor has it that it's a sandbox that pulls vehicles and weapons from previous Battlefields, but we don't know anything for sure. The other mystery mode, Hazard Zone, is going to be shown closer to Battlefield 2042's release on October 22.

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