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Gaming Roundup – Strands of News

Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!

This week, Blizzcon, Pokémon and Singstar, plus all the latest releases!

NEWS FROM BLIZZCON

Blizzard have made a number of new announcements at Blizzcon this past week, hoping to shake the China-shaped cloud hanging over them. There were a lot of standard Blizzard announcements, with a new World of Warcraft expansion and an autobattler mode is coming to Hearthstone (side note: I had to research what the hell an “autobattler mode” and I’m still not sure what that is, is so please hire me for your esports coverage).

There were also two big game announcements, although these had both been “leaked” prior to the show. Overwatch 2 is more Overwatch, but with more modes, new maps, new heroes and a more story-driven experience overall. Meanwhile, Diablo 4 feels like a deliberate response to last year’s Diablo Immortal announcement which upset people who didn’t have phones. It promises to be very, very dark, apparently.

But of course, it’s hard to get past the Blitzchung controversy. Protestors were a constant presence at the event, and an apology by CEO J. Allen Brack did nothing to calm the anger. While there seems to be some acknowledgement from Blizzard that they messed up, there’s little beyond that.

As Brack himself put it, actions speak louder than words, and Blizzard’s actions weren’t improved mere days later. Brack himself confirmed that there would be no policy change and Blitzchung’s ban wouldn’t be lifted. Elsewhere, an Overwatch coach was forced to delete a tweet condemning Blizzard’s censorship, proving his point about draconian censorship.

Despite the half-hearted PR move from their CEO, this is a controversy that still isn’t going away without significant change.

THE INTERNET USED LEAK! IT’S SUPER EFFECTIVE!

With mere weeks until the release of Pokémon Sword and Shield, the entire Pokedex has found its way onto the Internet, because of course it has.

I won’t spoil any of the content in the leak (feel free to click the link above at your own risk!), but it does appear to be a comprehensive rundown of everything you might want to know. It has also led to some upset due to the omitted Pokémon, with a few favourites being left out, and weirdly that one Pokémon that’s literal rubbish will be in. I mean, I know I’m getting my Meowth (now in longcat form), but I feel sorry for those whose favourites aren’t getting in.

Of course, we’ll see how accurate this leak is next week when we see Sword and Shield release.

SINGSTAR SILENCED

Sony’s karaoke juggernaut Singstar is reaching the end of its life, with January 2020 marking the official end for the series. The series that saw significant sales in the PS2 era is getting shut down for good early next year.

Now, some people (like me) will be asking, “wait, that was still going?” and apparently the answer is yes. It enjoyed some time as a free PS3 title, so free that every PS3 owner had access to it by default, as it occupied a space on the XMB. The PS3 title allowed users to download songs and curate their own karaoke library, although it also allowed other people to complain that it was stuck in their games menu. This wasn’t carried over to the PS4, although the standalone title Singstar Celebration was released two years ago.

And now it’s all over. It seems that the market for the series just dwindled and the interest is no longer there. But the icon on the PS3 probably will be.

NEW RELEASES

A bunch of new stuff out this week. First up, Red Dead Redemption 2 is out now on PC, with a few extra missions plus all the usual graphical enhancements being on PC brings. So if you didn’t play it on console, or want an excuse to play it again, there you go.

This week also saw the release of the newest Mario & Sonic Olympics title on Switch. Released well in advance of the actual 2020 Olympics, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is just more of what you might expect of this series, with a bunch of minigames featuring the beloved Mario cast and some Sonic characters. So if you want to pit Mario and Sonic against each other, then pick up Super Smash Bros Ultimate, but if you want an alternative, this is also out.

There’s also a new Need for Speed game for PC, PS4 and Xbox! Need for Speed Heat has more street racing action, blending sanctioned circuit races during the day with illegal street races at night. The game’s storyline pits the player against the city’s police and features a huge array of cars to blast around in, including the return of Ferrari. Standard Need for Speed then.

Finally, Planet Zoo is out on PC, following on the well-received Planet Coaster. It’s the Zoo Tycoon spiritual successor in much the same way Planet Coaster was the successor to Rollercoaster Tycoon, and really, that’s all you need to know. You run a zoo, fill it with cute animals and then try and ensure they don’t escape. Or let them cause havoc. I’m not here to tell you how to live your life.

GAME OF THE WEEK

Game of the Week is also the week’s biggest game. It is, of course, Death Stranding for PS4. Kojima’s first non-MGS title since Zone of the Enders in the early 2000s is shaping up to be weird, confusing and utterly unique. Norman Reedus and his funky foetus journey across America in the hopes of uniting an America wracked by division and ghostly figures known as BTs. Reviews are all over the shop with this one, but I think it looks just the right amount of weird to be an interesting journey at the very least.

And that’s it for now! Thanks for joining me and I’ll see you again next week!