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Grand Theft Auto V comes to Xbox Game Pass

Ah shit, here we go again – it’s time to go back to Los Santos (again) with Grand Theft Auto V.

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Grand Theft Auto V Xbox Game Pass
Rockstar / Thumbsticks

Ah shit, here we go again – it’s time to go back to Los Santos (again) with Grand Theft Auto V.

Somehow, five years after its original release, Grand Theft Auto V will not let go of its position in the video game sales charts. It’s rarely been at number one since its original release in 2013, re-release for the PS4 and Xbox One in 2014, or subsequent PC release in 2015, but it’s always there or thereabouts. Lingering. Doing numbers that shouldn’t be possible.

We don’t know how Rockstar has done it, but it took a Netflix TV series to have a similar effect for The Witcher 3. GTA V (and Mario Kart 8, to be fair to Nintendo) really are sales marvels, and if you could bottle that? Your game would be unstoppable.

But if there’s anything that could stop Grand Theft Auto V selling, it’s giving it away for free. Or rather, including it for next-to-nothing in the Xbox Game Pass subscription.

With that in mind, Grand Theft Auto V has today joined the Xbox Game Pass roster. It’s a console-only game at the moment – Xbox Game Pass for PC players don’t get the option – but it’s another massive boon for Xbox, following on from the recent addition of, you guessed it, The Witcher 3. In the wake of Stadia Pro’s weak launch, it cements the position of Xbox Game Pass as the premier video game subscription service.

And there’s still a bargain offer where you can get your first three months of Xbox Game Pass for Console for £1. Imagine getting Grand Theft Auto V for a quid, then chucking in classics like The Witcher 3 and new releases like Gears 5 and The Outer Worlds at no extra cost. It’s a brave new world.

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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

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‘Vicious RPG card battler’ Ancient Enemy launches today

Ancient Enemy, the latest computer card game from indie veteran Grey Alien Games, launches on Steam today.

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Ancient Enemy
Grey Alien Games

Ancient Enemy, the latest computer card game from indie veteran Grey Alien Games, launches on Steam today.

One of the most famous video games ever is Microsoft’s Solitaire. Bundled for free with versions of Windows since 1990 – that’s Windows 3.0, if anyone’s counting – it has to have clocked up some serious playtime over the years. With no sales figures to speak of it’s hard to quantify, but if we were counting Solitaire? It’d be enormous.

Some people turn their nose up at the idea of computer card games. They think they’ll be staid and boring. But like Solitaire, developed by then Microsoft intern Wes Cherry, there’s a way to spice them up: in Solitaire’s case, that was the “jumping” animation when you beat the game.

And if you’re Grey Alien Games, an indie developer that specialises in computer card games – including a natty line of historical solitaire games – you learn a few tricks to spice up your deck over the years.

It’s not unusual to see animated flourish in card battling games, but Grey Alien’s latest game, Ancient Enemy, does something rare: the cards physically interact with one another. Fireballs pop and lightning crackles at a distance, but if your card stabs an opponent’s? The two cards will meet in the middle, and one literally stabs the other.

Ancient Enemy attack counter

It’s a really simple thing, when you think about it, but it makes a massive difference to the action and impact of Ancient Enemy. It bridges the gap between computer card game and turn-based RPG, for a really pleasing mix of the two.

And with former video game journalist and exceptional wordsmith, Jim Rossignol, supplying the writing for Ancient Enemy? This one should be on your wishlist when it releases on Steam later today. (Usually somewhere between 4 and 6 pm in the UK, depending on where we stand with daylight savings time between here and Steam’s home in Washington on the Pacific Northwest.)


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Google Stadia Pro is now free for two months

Google is making the Pro tier of its Stadia game-streaming service free for the next two months.

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Google Stadia
Google

Google is making the Pro tier of its Stadia game-streaming service free for the next two months.

The decision comes in response to the ongoing global Covid-19 crisis. In a blog post announcing the move, Google Stadia’s Phil Harrison said:

“We’re facing some of the most challenging times in recent memory. Keeping social distance is vital, but staying home for long periods can be difficult and feel isolating. Video games can be a valuable way to socialize with friends and family when you’re stuck at home, so we’re giving gamers in 14 countries free access to Stadia for two months. ”

Players who sign up will get instant access to the following nine games:

  • Destiny 2: The Collection
  • Grid
  • Gylt
  • SteamWorld Dig 2
  • SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
  • Serious Sam Collection
  • Spitlings
  • Stacks on Stacks (on Stacks)
  • Thumper

Any other games purchased over the next two months will remain available to players even if they don’t continue their Stadia Pro subscription. And if you are an existing Stadia Pro subscriber – we’re sure you exist somewhere – you won’t be charged for the next two months.

Due to the global increase in internet usage, the service’s default screen resolution is also being changed from 4K to 1080p.

It will be interesting to see if the move claws back some goodwill for the platform and gives it the boost it so desperately needs. Head over to the Stadia website and download the Android or iOS app to get started.

Via: Google.


If you prefer to play games on console, check out the spring savings currently available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter for more video game news.

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PS Now gets three top PS4 games this month

PS Now is getting three great games this month, including PlayStation 4 superhero classic, Marvel’s Spider-Man.

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Spider-Man PS4, PS Now
Insomniac Games

PS Now is getting three great games this month, including PlayStation 4 superhero classic, Marvel’s Spider-Man.

One of the generation’s most acclaimed games comes to Sony’s PlayStation game streaming service this month. Marvel’s Spider-Man from Insomniac Games was a blockbuster hit on its release in 2018. In our review, Callum called it “a monumental achievement for Insomniac Games and Sony, but it’s also a landmark moment for the superhero genre in general.”

It’s joined by The Golf Club 2019, an involved and robust simulation that we enjoyed. In our review, Tom described it as “a polished and progressive iteration on a trusted formula.”

There’s also a chance to enjoy a game that was overlooked in 2018, in part, because of Spider-Man. Rico Rodriguez returns in Just Cause 4 to cause more chaos with his wingsuit and grappling hook. A huge open world, impressive extreme weather systems, and big explosions make this a game to check out.

Marvel’s Spider-Man is available to download and stream on PS Now until July 7, and Just Cause 4 is available until October 6. The Golf Club 2019 doesn’t have an expiry date.

PS Now is available with a seven-day free trial for new users and includes a library of over 700 PS2, PS3, and PS4  games. Games can be streamed to PC and console, and many PS4 titles can also be downloaded.


Visit the Thumbsticks new releases page for regular updates on the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 games. You can also follow us on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

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The new PlayStation 5 controller sounds great, looks ugly

Sony reveals the feature-packed new PlayStation 5 controller, and it’s interesting.

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PlayStation 5 DualSense Controller
Sony

Sony reveals the feature-packed new PlayStation 5 controller, and it’s interesting.

Sony has taken another step toward unveiling the PlayStation 5 with a first look at its new gamepad, the DualSense controller.

The DualSense controller retains the overall form factor and button layout of the PS4’s DualShock 4, but it looks slightly chunkier and, well, a little bit more toy-like. For those of us that have always preferred Microsoft’s Xbox One controller, it certainly looks more comfortable. The big changes are its striking, two-tone colour scheme, and gameplay feedback features.

In a post on the PlayStation blog, Sony’s Hideaki Nishino says the controller “will deliver a new feeling of immersion to players.”

The DualSense includes haptic feedback technology which promises “powerful sensations you’ll feel when you play, such as the slow grittiness of driving a car through mud.” The controller also incorporates adaptive triggers into the L2 and R2 buttons, enabling players to feel, for example, the tension of a bowstring being pulled. The angle of the triggers has also been changed as part of the ergonomic overhaul.

The Share button makes way for a Create button, the specifics of which are still unknown. The light bar is also less prominent and runs along the sides of the touch-bar, which now includes a built-in microphone array so players can voice chat without a headset. The DualSense is also wireless and charged using a USB C port. Hurrah!

Speaking about the DualSense controller, SIE President & CEO Jim Ryan, says:

“DualSense marks a radical departure from our previous controller offerings and captures just how strongly we feel about making a generational leap with PS5. The new controller, along with the many innovative features in PS5, will be transformative for games – continuing our mission at PlayStation to push the boundaries of play, now and in the future.”

It sounds fantastic, frankly. But we’re not as impressed by its design. It’s very sci-fi and recalls the aesthetics of Aperture Science, Star Wars, Mass Effect, P.N.03, and Marvin from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy movie. We’re not sure it looks very appealing or mass market. And if the PlayStation 5 console ends up looking like a stormtrooper helmet, we might have to hide it behind the perfectly-formed hole in the space-time continuum that is the Xbox Series X.

Via: PlayStation Blog


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No Man’s Sky adds summonable, jetpack-powered mechs

No Man’s Sky’s new mechs are a little bit Fallout Power Armour, little bit Iron Man suit. And they look brilliant.

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No Man's Sky mechs
Hello Games

No Man’s Sky’s new mechs are a little bit Fallout 4 Power Armour, little bit Iron Man suit. And they look brilliant.

We promised, the last time a big update was pushed for No Man’s Sky, that we’d stop repeating the narrative eventually. The underdog story, the unmentionable abuse, the rough launch turned good, the little engine that could. But the fact that Hello Games still releases massive content updates for the game, in spite of how horrible everyone was to the small team, is still just remarkable.

We’re going to keep telling this story while we’re still talking about No Man’s Sky, because Hello Games are too good, and we don’t deserve them. (And if you ever want to tell the story, Sean, we’d love to do an oral history of the game.)

The latest update to No Man’s Sky, available now, adds mechs. It’s technically a new form of planetary exocraft – the Minotaur Heavy Exocraft Hybrid, to use its Sunday name – and it looks ruddy brilliant.

Here are the important details of No Man’s Sky’s new mechs:

  • Environmental protection – the Minotaur affords protection against all planetary hazards (and you can collect materials without leaving the cockpit)
  • Jetpack – the Minotaur features a powerful jetpack, allowing you to bound across planets (like Fallout 4’s Power Armour)
  • Immersive cockpit – if you’re playing in VR, you’ll appreciate the 360° cockpit (complete with lights and sounds!)
  • Summonable – pretend you’re Tony Stark and summon your Minotaur from a nearby freighter (and look out for that badass landing)

But that’s not all. This is a Hello Games update, Of course, that’s not all.

The latest update to No Man’s Sky includes a number of tweaks and quality of life improvements, including solar technology, improved scanning, new decals, and the ability to hide exposed wiring.

But best of all, perhaps, is the resolution scaling mode. This will allow players the option to scale the screen resolution down for improved framerates. This will be particularly useful for players with 4K screens but less powerful graphics cards, or for players with lower-end systems generally, and will allow even more people to enjoy No Man’s Sky.


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