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Gaming Roundup – SimTV

Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!

This week, The Sims, expensive games, Ubisoft, plus all the latest releases!

The Sims Is A Reality Show

EA have announced a reality show based around The Sims. Entitled The Sims Spark’d, the show will see contestants issued challenges within the game to tell certain stories using certain characters.

Full disclosure, my first reaction to this news was to ready the maximum snark cannon directly at it, and then I watched the trailer and…I don’t…hate this? Sure, it’s got all the hallmarks of cringey American reality TV, and therefore it’s nothing I’d watch personally, but one thing stood out to me.

This is a show about gaming with a heavy emphasis on female players.

It’s the kind of thing we don’t see enough of in the gaming space. Most of the big-name gaming personalities are still very male and very young, despite the almost 50/50 gender split and average gaming age of 34, so to see a show that heavily skews away from that is hard to snark at. A big part of this female-centric nature is probably down to the heavily female Sims audience, but it still stands out in a sea of “bro” personalities.

So yeah, I don’t personally like this Sims show, but I also weirdly respect it for what it’s doing, intentionally or otherwise. It starts later this month on TBS over in the States.

NBA 2K Is Expensive

The first confirmation of more expensive games in the next console gen are emerging. NBA 2K21’s pricing has been announced, and the PS5/Xbox Series X versions are £10 more expensive than their PS4/Xbox One equivalents. What’s more, 2K have confirmed that the game will not be part of Microsoft’s Smart Delivery scheme, allowing players to upgrade their current gen versions to the next gen versions with ease. If you wish to do this, the Mambo Forever edition will cost you a cool £85.

2K have said the reason for this is to represent the value of the next-gen versions, but while costs may continue to increase, the additional cost on top of purchasing a new console may be off-putting to many. Especially if the series continues to march ahead with microtransactions and slot machines, contributing even more to the game’s cost to the consumer.

Hopefully this is just 2K trying it on and not a sign of things to come, as I’d prefer to see more refined experiences that stay within a reasonable budget rather than constantly bloated photorealistic games that cost the earth and continue to fleece the consumer for money.

Valhalla Leaks Ahead of Ubisoft Forward

As Ubisoft continue their investigation into sexual assault allegations directed at a lot of their employees (see two weeks ago), they’ve now found themselves facing another problem.

Over the past week or so, leaked gameplay of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla has found its way onto the internet. It’s confirmed what many have thought; that it’s more of the same after Origins and Odyssey, but with a lick of Viking paint on top. What disappointed many, however, was just how shoddy it looked. Limited graphical prowess on show, and a lot of visual bugs everywhere. However, it should be noted that the age of this gameplay footage is unknown, and it could very well be a much older build that has since been cleaned up and improved.

That said, the footage has led to them approaching the weekend’s Ubisoft Forward presentation on the back foot. There are people disappointed by the Valhalla footage, either for its heavy similarity to the past two games or for the graphical issues in the leak, and so Ubisoft have to work a lot harder to impress the audience this time around. The fact that the sexual misconduct stories are still unresolved at the time of writing is also a major elephant stomping around the room that also needs to be addressed. It’ll be interesting to see how Sunday’s presentation will be received as a result.

That said, the presentation does have a special bonus. Viewers can sign into Uplay during the presentation and net a free copy of Watch Dogs 2 for PC. Shame this offer isn’t available for console players too because I’d probably jump on that (my laptop is definitely not gonna run Watch Dogs 2!).

Additional News

  • The Xbox Games Showcase now has a time and date. Microsoft’s first party line-up for the Xbox Series X will make its debut on 23rd July at 5pm UK time. That’s yet another Thursday evening, which makes my job harder, so cheers Microsoft!
  • Horizon Zero Dawn has a confirmed PC release date, with Sony’s first-party robot-hunting open-world title becoming available on Steam and EGS on 7th August. I loved this game back in 2017 on the PS4, so I hope you enjoy yourselves too, PC players!
  • Little Hope, the second in Supermassive’s Dark Pictures Anthology horror series, finally has a release date, and it’s the appropriately spooky 30th October
  • The remaster of underappreciated cult classic Kingdoms of Amalur is coming on 8th September for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, and a new expansion will be coming next year. Fans of the original are reported to be ecstatic.
  • Blizzard have committed to an autumn release of the Shadowlands expansion for World of Warcraft, with a beta launching next week
  • The release of Mafia: Definitive Edition has been delayed a month due to ongoing issues with the coronavirus pandemic

New Releases

The first new release this week is a port of Catherine: Full Body for Switch. Atlus’ bizarre romance puzzle game comes to a Nintendo platform for the first time, and I admit I still don’t understand it (pretty sure I tried back in September for the PS4 release!). Something about climbing cubes and dream sheep while a man navigates a love triangle? I don’t know. It’s weird anime nonsense so if that’s your jam and you haven’t played Catherine already, then this is for you.

In indie releases, Elden: Path of the Forgotten got a launch on Steam. It’s a precise action game all about mastering parrying and striking in reaction to the various Eldritch enemies you encounter. It’s clearly inspired by Dark Souls, but presents a more retro visual style, and promises to use non-traditional storytelling methods as you progress. Looks fairly interesting.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night was one of my favourite games from last year, but it wasn’t the only game released from those devs. Curse of the Moon was a side game originally developed as a Kickstarter stretch goal, and drew heavily from classic NES Castlevania rather than the Symphony of the Night style employed by RotN. In a surprise announcement last month, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 was revealed and is now out for PC, PS4, Xbox and Switch. It’s more of the same as the original Curse of the Moon, but now there’s also a corgi in a mech suit. Yes, really.

The big release of the week is F1 2020 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, with a Stadia release if you really must (why?). It’s the latest annual F1 sim from Codemasters, and looks set to repeat the usual quality of that series. In a year where the actual F1 season seems to have been replaced with F1 2019 streams, this should keep F1 fans happy for now.

Game of the Week

You hear that, Zack? Deadly Premonition 2 is Game of the Week this week. The sequel to 2010’s beautiful disaster Deadly Premonition places us back in the shoes of Special Agent Francis York Morgan (please, call him York, it’s what everyone calls him) as he goes investigating a case in New Orleans.

Expect more janky b-movie goodness, now with added skateboarding and voodoo. The first Deadly Premonition was a polarising game because of its low budget nature but intriguing story filled with charm and delightful weirdness, and this long-awaited second game promises more of this. It’s exclusive to the Switch for now.

And that’s it for this week! See you again soon with more from the world of gaming!