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Layers of Fear 2 Review

One of the best things about survival horror is how the supernatural can alter your sense of perspective completely. Ground you once considered solid can be dissolved into nothing at a moment’s notice, while the arrangement of a room will alter the second you turn the camera.

Layers of Fear 2 transports you into a world where nothing feels real. Every second of this horrifying journey was spent doubting my own reality. Corridors would shift from pristine cleanliness into displays of unsettling spectres waiting around every corner.

Bloober Team has crafted a horror sequel that hides plenty of deep, dark secrets behind its assuming persona, yet it ultimately feels like a step backwards compared to Observer, its previous game. It’s a spooky adventure drenched in routine, but one still worth embarking on if you’re a hardcore fan of the genre. 

Related: Best Xbox One Games

The nautical setting never quite reaches its claustrophobic potential

Set aboard an ocean liner, you play as a nameless actor who finds himself landing the role of a lifetime. However, the acclaimed director you’re working alongside harbours a sinister reputation. He’ll do anything he can to make his pictures perfect, even if it means pushing people to breaking point in truly disturbing ways. You’ll delve into the psychological backstory of this twisted auteur throughout Layers of Fear 2, the finer moments of which I won’t spoil here.

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Corsair Glaive RGB Gaming Mouse

What is the Corsair Glaive RGB Gaming Mouse?

The Corsair Glaive RGB Gaming Mouse is as an affordable yet feature-filled wired peripheral that’s a joy to to use. Combine this with creatively implemented lighting and a small yet welcome array of customisation options and you’ve a recipe for success.

Related: Best gaming mouse 

Corsair Glaive RGB Gaming Mouse – Design, build and features

Having used the Corsair Glaive for a number of weeks, I have nothing but praise for its attractive and appropriately sized design. It fits wonderfully in my hand, striking an effective balance between size, weight and overall aesthetic. Coming with a trio of interchangeable thumb grips, you can spend time finding a design that best fits your comfort needs.

I had no issue with the default choice, although others offer a larger surface area upon which you can rest your weary thumbs. It’s worth noting travel speed is diminished slightly using the larger grips, but the difference is so minuscule most gamers won’t care too much. 

Regardless, having three distinct grips to fit different play-styles is welcome, and one of many versatile features the Corsair Glaive boasts. Above the magnetic thumb grip you’ll find a duo of buttons used for swiftly switching between web pages and other applications. If I’m honest, they’re a bit bulky – a rare unsightly blemish on an otherwise fantastic mouse design.

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Rage 2 Review

Rage 2 feels like two different games, grafted together and fighting for dominance.

On one hand, there’s a lightning fast shooter that’s up there with the best of them. On the other, there’s a sprawling open-world game that has no respect for your time or effort.

Rage 2 was the sequel no one was expecting. After all, Rage won 2010’s award for most forgettable game. Or at least it would have if anyone could remember the dull as dishwater open-world shooter.

Whatever else you want to say about Rage 2 — and I am full of opinions — you can’t say that it’s dull. The muddy palette of the original is gone, replaced instead with neon splashes of pink and blue, with explosions picked out in vivid hues and coloured smoke exploding outward as gunfire hits. There is mud. It is the apocalypse after all, but even the mud comes in a variety of colours.

Related: PS5 vs Xbox 2 

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Team Sonic Racing

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed was a phenomenal kart racer, expanding beyond the blue blur’s universe to embrace nearly every major property SEGA has worked on in recent years. Racing alongside Football Manager and Shenmue’s Ryo Hazuki was a surreal delight, enhanced by a range of tight, responsive mechanics that even gave Mario Kart a run for its money.

When Team Sonic Racing was unveiled, my interest was immediately piqued as a result. Could this be a worthy follow-up to Sonic’s previous racing endeavour, or will it prove to be another lacklustre entry in the hedgehog’s fractured legacy? I’m bummed to say it’s the latter, as a smattering of clever ideas can’t stop this racer from being anything more than passable.

Related: Best PS4 Games

As you might’ve already guessed from the name, Team Sonic Racing is all about teamwork. Unlike competing kart racers you compete in teams of three in most of the game’s modes. Each team consists of three members, with the vanilla selection being Sonic, Tails and Knuckles.

You can race solo, but the real fun comes from working alongside AI or real-life partners as you exchange items, take out enemies and slingshot each other across the track. Bathe in the trail of a team member’s vehicle for long enough and you’ll be thrust forward, gaining an extra burst of speed for your skilled driving.

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Life is Strange 2: Episode 3 – Wastelands

Spoiler warning: We’ll be spilling the beans on previous episodes throughout this review.

I have eight siblings, and I’m one of the youngest, so the familial struggle at the core of Life is Strange 2 hits very close to home. Sean and Daniel’s journey across America following the tragic death of their father has been a heartbreaking one as they seek to find a home in a country that simply doesn’t welcome them.

DONTNOD never shies away from this fact, either. Sean and Daniel’s Mexican heritage has already thrust them in the firing line by bigots in the shadow of Trump’s election. Now, the topic of weed legalisation, homelessness and sexuality come into fray, and many of them are handled with a deft that helps this third episode shine.

The dialogue still reeks of adults having no idea how young people communicate, but between the clumsiness sit quiet moments of contemplation that help the overall tale shine.  

Related: Everything we know about the PS5

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Total War: Three Kingdoms Review

In Total War: Three Kingdoms, the generals commanding your armies stand towering over the trees, titans of war slowly circling each other ready to batter anyone that stands in their way.

This is what I think of, again and again, when I think about Total War: Three Kingdoms. If you’re playing the game on Romance mode — and you really should be — each of these titans is given prenatural combat abilities, able to single handedly cleave up an infantry without breaking a sweat. The Total War series, for the uninitiated, is a strategy game that plays out at a tactical and campaign level. Players take the role of a character, letting you run an empire while also dipping in to control its battles, using cavalry, archers and other units to flank, demoralise and even just stab your enemies.

For many of the games in the series, battle has been strictly historical. In Total War: Medieval you’re charging forwards with knights and catapults, while Total War: Shogun 2 brings samurai to the fray. But, developers Creative Assembly recently mixed things up with a licensed crossover with Games Workshop’s Warhammer franchise, switching out the samurai and knights with trolls, vampires and… honestly whatever a Terrorgheist is.

Related: Best Strategy Games

Total War: Three Kingdoms is a weird breed, a mix of the historical realism the series is known for, and the superhuman combat and abilities of Warhammer. Back to those titans, towering over the campaign map ready to do your bidding.  

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Cyberpower Ultra 5 GTX Gaming PC

What is the Cyberpower Ultra 5 GTX Gaming PC?

The Cyberpower Ultra 5 GTX Gaming PC is a custom-built gaming PC configured specifically to get incredible value for HD gaming.

While you have the option of mixing and matching various other components and cases on offer, computer retailer Cyberpower has cherry picked what it believes to be the best components to perfectly balance performance and price.

Those components include the Gigabyte GTX 1660 graphics card, AMD Ryzen 5 2500X processor and Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR4 RAM for the best assemble since the Avengers.

There’s no question that the Cyberpower Ultra 5 GTX Gaming PC is a very capable gaming computer, but does it offer good value for the £725 price, or are you better off building a PC yourself?

Related: Best Gaming PC 2019

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A Plague Tale: Innocence Review

Death is so commonplace in videogames that you quickly become numb to it. Our brains are smart enough to separate what’s real from fiction, recognising a gory mess of pixels as a false illusion. I can watch people get torn apart by gunfire in games for hours, but put me in front of a real life UFC fight and I’ll quickly feel uncomfortable.

A Plague Tale: Innocence questions this tried-and-true notion, making me grimace at the acts I was responsible for, navigating mass graves amidst rotting fields as the Black Death ravages 14th century France. Its world is battered and broken, echoing the hopelessness many must have felt as disease obliterated the population.

Asobo Studio has crafted a startling narrative adventure that doesn’t hold back, showing what its young protagonists must do to survive and save the ones they love. It’s undeniably flawed, held back by clumsy acting and an inconsistent story. But despite all this, A Plague Tale manages to stand out.

Related: Upcoming Xbox One Games

Amicia’s life starts off all sunshine and rainbows, but very quickly turns upside down

You play as Amicia De Rune, a young girl who belongs to a wealthy family. So far, they’ve remained safe from the plague, inside a bustling estate. Peasants cater to their every whim, ensuring Amicia will never want for anything so long as her family remains in power. A Plague Tale’s opening is a solemn moment of beauty, grounding me in a setting I grew to love over the eight hour campaign.

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Turtle Beach Stealth 600

What is the Turtle Beach Stealth 600?

Turtle Beach has long been known for offering decent-quality devices at a price that rarely breaks the bank, and that trend continues with the Turtle Beach Stealth 600. Questionable build quality aside, this is a welcome headset for console gamers.

This polar white headset, designed specifically for the PS4, is a robust wireless beast, although it can sometimes feel a little too cheap in the aesthetic department to justify the £89.99 asking price. Sitting somewhere between the Stealth 300 and 700 in terms of price and quality, Turtle Beach has crafted a satisfactory follow-up that comes out swinging despite a few notable stumbles.

Related: Best gaming headset

Sporting a colourful design, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 is sadly let down by a cheap plastic shellTurtle Beach Stealth 600 – Design

The Stealth 600 are immediately striking, boasting a white design reminiscent of something you’d see pilots wearing in a mecha anime. From a visual perspective they look great, avoiding the descent into garish, over-produced gimmicks to which many gaming peripherals fall victim.

A domination of white is complemented by splashes of blue alongside the ear cups and headrest, deliberately playing into the PlayStation branding. If you pick up the Xbox Variant, it’s replaced with a bright, venom-esque green. It works a treat, and stands out amidst a gaming landscape where many headsets rely on a generic, black look that seldom leaves an impression.

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Turtle Beach Stealth 600

What is the Turtle Beach Stealth 600?

Turtle Beach has long been known for offering decent-quality devices at a price that rarely breaks the bank, and that trend continues with the Turtle Beach Stealth 600. Questionable build quality aside, this is a welcome headset for console gamers.

This polar white headset, designed specifically for the PS4, is a robust wireless beast, although it can sometimes feel a little too cheap in the aesthetic department to justify the £89.99 asking price. Sitting somewhere between the Stealth 300 and 700 in terms of price and quality, Turtle Beach has crafted a satisfactory follow-up that comes out swinging despite a few notable stumbles.

Related: Best gaming headset

Sporting a colourful design, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 is sadly let down by a cheap plastic shellTurtle Beach Stealth 600 – Design

The Stealth 600 are immediately striking, boasting a white design reminiscent of something you’d see pilots wearing in a mecha anime. From a visual perspective they look great, avoiding the descent into garish, over-produced gimmicks to which many gaming peripherals fall victim.

A domination of white is complemented by splashes of blue alongside the ear cups and headrest, deliberately playing into the PlayStation branding. If you pick up the Xbox Variant, it’s replaced with a bright, venom-esque green. It works a treat, and stands out amidst a gaming landscape where many headsets rely on a generic, black look that seldom leaves an impression.

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Code Vein

Co-operative play has always been at the bloody, beating heart of FromSoftware’s Dark Souls formula, a template that has gone on to define a generation of wildly different action RPG experiences. The act of summoning a friend to help you triumph over a seemingly impossible encounter will always feel amazing, even if you’re foregoing the sense of a solo victory to see the story to its conclusion.

Amidst a broken world filled with unspeakable horrors you were never truly alone, and that philosophy has persisted through dozens of experiences, whether its Deck 13’s The Surge or Team Ninja’s Nioh. Code Vein takes this long-lasting idea and hurls it out the window. No longer are your party members faceless heroes, but lively personalities core to the unfolding narrative.

Having disappeared for several months following a delay from its planned 2018 release, Bandai Namco’s upcoming RPG is back with a bang, improving upon things to create a grim adventure filled with potential. It stumbles, with some parts in desperate need of tightening, but that doesn’t distract from what could be.

Related: Best PS4 Games

At a recent event I spent a handful of hours with Code Vein, diving into the opening moments to create a character and take my hesitant first steps into a post-apocalyptic world. Before we get into the meat of mechanics, I need to mention the stellar avatar creator. It feels like The Sims fell into a cauldron of gothic anime archetypes and you’re free to toy with the results.

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Apple iMac 2019 review

Apple’s all-in-one desktops are already the best options for media-savvy professionals. However, a new processor and GPU refresh now puts the Apple iMac 2019 leagues ahead of the competition.

With the option of an 8-core 9th-Generation Intel Core processor, the Apple iMac 2019 is now one of the all-time fastest consumer-level desktops available. The GPU has also seen a sizeable boost with the addition of the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 48, allowing for greater graphical grunt for video editing and design work.

Outside the specs, things remain the same. The gorgeous Retina 5K display is in tact, boasting excellent colour accuracy and gamut coverage that will please even the most demanding professionals. Once again, you get to choose between 21.5-inch and 27-inch screen sizes.

The familiar  design returns, too – but that’s a good thing. The sleek metal frame should fit nicely in any office space, taking up minimal desk space. It’s an absolute marvel that Apple has been successful in cramming so many high-spec components into such a compact frame.

However, is the boost in specs alone enough to justify an iMac upgrade? If you’re looking for unrivalled power, then absolutely.

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Turtle Beach Stealth 700

What is the Turtle Beach Stealth 700?

Launched alongside its more affordable sibling, the Stealth 600, Turtle Beach has produced a new wireless gaming headset for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Despite its respectable feature set, it still comes in at under £130.

The biggest hook is the Stealth 700’s promise of surround sound, active noise cancellation and the inclusion of Turtle Beach’s own Superhuman Hearing technology. However, it also boasts a wealth of additional EQ presets with support for PC, mobile and VR systems alongside.

Related: Best gaming headset

Turtle Beach Stealth 700 – Design, build and features

The Stealth 700 offers a robust build that’s primarily hewn from durable, flexible black plastic. It features a mix of textures and finishes that can look a little messy in places. On the smooth, polished diagonal banding across the outer face of each ear cup, in particular, fingerprints adhere all too easily.

There’s a touch of colour at play on both the edges and insignias of each ear cup. Despite gaming hardware’s typical propensity for flare, the Stealth 700 demonstrates surprising restraint when it comes to aesthetics, ensuring you won’t be mistaken for an extra in a Shinjuku robot café.

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Days Gone

At its best, Days Gone is one of the most riveting and bombastic zombie shooters I’ve ever played. Fighting and fleeing hundreds – and I mean hundreds – of zombies at once is an unrivalled heart-stopping spectacle, as the monsters clamber over one another, pouring through windows and smashing through doors to engulf you like an unstoppable tsunami of decaying flesh.

Impossible it may seem, but killing an entire horde in one action-packed sitting is actually very much possible. Armed with an arsenal of bullet-spraying weapons, a bag full of Molotovs and the wits to weave through tight corners and narrow passageways, you can slowly but surely deplete the horde’s health bar until there isn’t a single bloodsucker left standing. It isn’t an easy job, that’s for sure, but surviving such a breathless encounter is deeply satisfying.

It’s a real shame, then, that despite very much being the focus in the trailers and demos leading up to launch, these epic horde battles are reserved for the final quarter of a 30-hour long campaign. It’s an even greater shame that the majority of the game is made up mostly by formulaic missions such as fetch quests, shoot-outs and stealth camp clearouts, which are very forgettable and offer few twists from those found in generic open-world shooters.

Related: Best PS4 Games 

Days Gone sees you take control of Deacon St. John, a jaded biker and former military man who takes on the role of a bounty hunter in post-apocalyptic Pacific Northwest USA. After being separated from his wife during the zombie – or “Freaker” as they’re known in Days Gone –  outbreak, Deacon settles for a life of isolation with his best bud Boozer. He only descends from his mountain hideout to do the odd job for the various camp settlements scattered throughout the region.

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Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain Review

I’m so glad I share Japan’s obsession with giant monsters. There’s nothing better than watching otherworldly kaiju tear through everything in their wake, whether it be citizens, buildings or the Earth Defense Force – an elite group of soldiers tasked with protecting our planet from alien threats.

For years, the EDF series has taken pride in one thing: obliterating alien bugs with an increasingly wacky array of weapons and mechs. It’s a grand old time, and Iron Rain evolves the formula in some unexpected ways, although sometimes falters under its own weight.

But that doesn’t stop Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain from being an enjoyable romp, using charm and cheese to trample through its inconsistency.

Related: Everything we know about PS5

This is the first Earth Defense Force title to be developed by Yuke’s, a Japanese studio otherwise known for 2K’s WWE series. Sandlot is normally responsible for the series, delivering tongue-in-cheek escapades across the world as alien invaders seek to destroy humanity. It’s a laughably simple premise, but what’s surprising is how much changes in Yuke’s iteration.

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This Week in Star Citizen

Hello everyone,

Last week, Star Citizen Alpha 3.5 hit the live servers! As always, thank you to everyone who helped test on the PTU in preparation for this release. You can find out more about what’s in 3.5 here.

Also last week, we kicked off a screenshot contest to celebrate Easter. We’re currently sifting through a mountain of epic submissions so look for an announcement coming to Spectrum Wednesday!

Finally, if you haven’t already, make sure to check your email inbox for the latest and greatest Squadron 42 information in our Monthly Report for March.

Now, let’s see what’s going on this week:

Tuesday, the Lore Team brings us the thrilling conclusion to Brothers in Arms.

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Mortal Kombat 11 Review

If Mortal Kombat has proven one thing throughout its 27 year history, it’s that gratuitous violence in videogames is a timeless joy. Only this iconic fighting series can get away with such gore pornography in the modern age, its brutal fatalities acting as a badge of honour that millions flock to watch unfold whenever a new entry rolls around.

Mortal Kombat 11 continues this legacy featuring an engaging story mode, tonnes of characters and some unusual new features that make a satisfactory impact. After eleven games you’d expect diminishing returns, but Scorpion and company are still immensely entertaining.

Related: Best Fighting Games

It’s amazing how willing fighters are to get back up after being stabbed

Mortal Kombat 11 is all about fan service. In fact, the entire story mode revolves around it. The timeline as we know it is thrown into disarray by Kronika, a villainous newcomer who wishes to restore the balance between realms by eliminating all events in Mortal Kombat history.

That means all the rivalries and relationships we’ve come to know and love are on the chopping block, but Kronika doesn’t realise that all this time meddling could result in her own downfall.

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Reverse the Verse LIVE

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April 19th 2019

Narrative Director Dave Haddock and Lead Writer Will Weissbaum take us inside their process as they develop story elements and lore aspects essential for the future of Stanton’s Rest Stops.To watch Reverse the Verse LIVE each and every week, tune into http://twitch.tv/starcitizen.
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StarWatch: Hidden Gems

Time to set your sights on the stars and let me, Callie C, shine a light on everything you need to know about today’s hottest socialites and celebrities. Turns out they’re just like the rest of us, only attired in more fetching threads. Welcome to StarWatch!

Let’s begin with the hot topic currently setting spectrum aflame. Boyce Baudin is back! But don’t you dare call him “Babyface” anymore. The beloved comedic actor with the cherubic visage disappeared from the public eye for months, canceling several spectrum appearances without warning. Rumors swirled that the notoriously hard partying prankster might’ve finally allowed his cravings to control him. Now we know, thankfully, that wasn’t the case. But many of Boyce’s longtime fans are less than pleased with the real reason for his self-imposed sabbatical…

Turns out that Baudin couldn’t deny the call of the Calliope. The actor felt his signature look was keeping him from landing the leading roles he truly desired, so he became the latest celeb to get the BiotiCorp reboot. Bye bye rosy red cheeks and round chin; hello chiseled cheekbones and devastating jawline. I believe the desired outcome was “ruggedly handsome,” but to my eyes it’s more “rough around the edges.”

Initial reactions to Baudin’s new appearance on spectrum were savage. Some of Baudin’s most dedicated devotees spun wild theories to explain the change, including one group convinced he’s going to yell “Triggerfish!” at any moment. From what I’m hearing, the star may be wishing that the new look had been a prank. Sources close to the bygone babyface claim he’s despondent about the public’s reaction and has been debating restoring his classic countenance. Let this be a lesson to all those stars considering similar procedures; sometimes perfection has a price.

Now, let’s go to a “say it ain’t so” scenario. There’s a new headline crashing its way out of Oso that kid-vid heartthrob Sindre Alby has been arrested for an unprovoked attack on a civilian ship. Representatives for the former star insist that Alby’s intentions were honorable and that the incident is nothing more than an unfortunate misunderstanding.

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This Week in Star Citizen

Hello everyone,

Last week, we published the Monthly Report for March, helping you stay up-to-date with what our teams around the globe have been working on over the past month.

Also last week, we had developers from our Frankfurt Studio attend the Asus ROG Convention in Germany. They had loads of fun on the live stream, talking to players and showing Star Citizen to the crowd.

Finally, Gamescom 2949 is right around the corner, and we’re looking forward to meeting all the Star Citizen fans making the trip to Cologne. Members of the community team will be on hand at Bar Citizen events in the evenings, with Friday’s meetup including special guests Erin Roberts and Brian Chambers. Find out more!

Now, let’s see what’s going on this week:

Keep a weather eye on your email inbox later today, as we’ll be sending out the latest covert Squadron 42 development intel, reporting details from the trenches in our latest Monthly Report Newsletter.

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Latest Article Comments

tynmanz Monthly Studio Report: May 2017
11 June 2017
I don't think they should continue to put features into it. They can add them later.

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