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The Week in Video Games – 29th October, 2017

This week in video games: Super Mario, Wolfenstein, and Assassin’s Creed return, Destiny 2 enhancements teased, Microsoft cans the Kinect, and a single-player campaign for PUBG? Here’s your round-up of the week’s big news from the mad, bad world of video games.

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Assassin's Creed Origins - Bayek on horseback

This week in video games: Mario, Wolfenstein, and Assassin’s Creed return, Destiny 2 enhancements teased, Microsoft cans the Kinect, and a single-player campaign for PUBG? Here’s your round-up of the week’s big news from the mad, bad world of video games.

This week in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

Two things that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds won’t be getting any time soon are a single-player mode, and a sequel.

Speaking at PAX Aus, Brendan Greene revealed that although campaign mode was once a possibility, it is now unlikely.

On the subject of a sequel, Greene confirmed to IGN that PUBG is a very much a game as a service and will continually receive new content and technical refinements. Just like, erm, Destiny then.

In other PUBG news, an update to the blue zone piles on the pain for the game’s braver players.

Destiny 2 endgame improvements on the way

Speaking of games as a service, Bungie have detailed a number of new Destiny 2 endgame improvements that will be rolled out in the coming months. Highlights include better incentives for players who complete Prestige activities, improvements to Exotics, and changes to the mod economy. Check out the full list on the Bungie Blog.

Super Mario Odyssey review round-up

Some have said that October 27, 2017 was the biggest ever day in gaming, with three AAA blockbusters released. None was more anticipated than Nintendo’s Super Mario Odyssey, which has been universally declared a triumphant return for the mustachioed (ex) plumber.

Oli Welsh, writing at Eurogamer, says:

“The happy revelry that has gone into the making of this nonsensical world is infectious, while the return to the open design of Super Mario 64 has freed all that gleeful energy in a sloppily explosive burst.”

Peter Brown, in GameSpot‘s 10 out of 10 review, says:

Super Mario Odyssey displays a clear understanding of what makes Mario tick, and is neck and neck for top billing among its esteemed predecessors. It surprises you with not just inventive mechanics, of which there are many, but with expertly tuned level design and moments of charismatic wit.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Ryan McCaffrey at IGN:

“It distills the venerable series’ joyful, irreverent world and characters and best-in-class platforming action, and introduces a steady stream of new and unexpected mechanics.”

RIP Kinect

Microsoft has finally pulled the plug on Kinect. Production of the much-maligned device has ended, and although it never lived up to its grand promises, its tech is now being used in a variety of other devices, including Microsoft’s HoloLens. It’s somewhat ironic that a new Kinect compatible game arrives on Xbox One this week.

First Original Xbox Back Compat games arrive

There was happier news on the Xbox front last week with the rollout of Original Xbox Backwards Compatibility. There are 13 titles in the first tranche, including classics like Star Wars: Knights of the Old RepublicNinja Gaiden Black, and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

Xbox One X stock shortages?

In unhappy news again, Harvey Eagle, Xbox’s UK head of marketing, has warned of Xbox One X stock shortages. Speaking to Christopher During at GamesIndustry.biz, he said:

“It was the fastest pre-order of an Xbox that we’ve ever had. I can’t guarantee that stock will be available in launch week for people to just walk into a store and pick up. Demand is really high. I’d just encourage people if they want one at launch, to get moving. What I can say is that we will have new stock deliveries into retail each week as we get through to Christmas.”

Nintendo announce Animal Crossing Pocket Camp

Nintendo has unveiled its latest mobile title, the surprisingly full-featured Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. The game will be released worldwide on iOS and Android in late November, and is already available in Australia and New Zealand.

The entire planet is one big city

During CitizenCon, Star Citizen creator Chris Roberts delivered a lengthy keynote focused on the next phase of the game’s development. Highlights included an impressive, planet-sized city, which Roberts described as being “pretty much Coruscant.” There was no news on a release date for version 3.0, which remains in testing. Check out Paul Younger’s PCInvasion report for all the details.

Assassin’s Creed Origins review round-up

The year off for Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise hasn’t resulted in the revamp many expected, but critical response to the game has been positive, with the usual caveats.

Daniel Starkey, writing at Ars Technica, says:

“A shining example of what exploration-based games can be, dropping many of its franchise’s worst traits even while being sometimes held back by the mundane.”

Polygon‘s Colin Campbell enjoyed the game’s characters, particularly protagonist Bayek and his wife, Aya.

“These two are deeply entwined and very sexy. They spend a lot of time making love in exotic locations. They’re the kind of couple you want to have as friends, but who only really have time for one another.”

And Kirk Hamilton, at Kotaku, enjoyed the game’s Ancient Egypt location:

Assassin’s Creed Origins’ greatest success is its setting. While obviously condensed when compared with its real-life counterpart, the game’s version of ancient Egypt is stunningly rendered and eminently explorable.”

Nintendo Switch gets Gamecube Controller support

In addition to its publicly confirmed features, Version 4.0 of the Nintendo Switch firmware also sneaked in GameCube controller support. Naturally, many people – us included – saw this as a sign that Super Smash Bros is Switch-bound. However, if we are to believe Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aimé, it was just an honest mistake.

Speaking to Kotaku’s Stephen Totillo, he said: “I think it’s fair to say, Stephen, that that peripheral working was as much a surprise to us as it was to consumers.” We believe you Reggie, sure we do.

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PlayStation set for Paris Games Week

Paris Games Week starts tomorrow, with all eyes on Sony. PlayStation’s Paris Games Week Media Showcase begins at 9:00am PT, and promises to pull back the curtain on the next wave of PS4 titles. You can follow the action via the PlayStation website, and here on Thumbsticks.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus review round-up

And finally, a quick look at the week’s other big release. The return of BJ Blazkowicz has been widely praised, with IGN‘s Dan Stapleton speaking for many in admiring the game’s story and performances, as well as its mechanics:

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is a fantastic single-player shooter, but what really got me invested was the brilliantly written characters and the performances of its cast.”

Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, writing at Eurogamer, found the game gave him as much to think about, as it did to shoot at.

“It is a well-wrought FPS caught on the rocks of some marvelous, horrendous discussions about race, gender, discrimination and complicity.”

Recommended Reads

This week’s recommendations shine a light on the difficulties of game development. First up is an honest account from Halo franchise director Frank O’Conner on the issues that have plagued Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

And if you were saddened by the recent closure of Visceral Games, do check out Jason Schreier’s terrific account of the troubled production of the studio’s now-cancelled Star Wars game. Games journalism at its finest.


Assassin’s Creed week on Thumbsticks

To mark the release of Assassin’s Creed Origins, we have been running a week of Assassin’s Creed features. Find out why the Animus is a brilliant – or terrible – concept, learn about the production of the series, and find out how the in-game world can shine a light on the real world.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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Thumbsticks editor and connoisseur of Belgian buns. Currently playing: Dragon Quest XI, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Transistor.

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New PlayStation 4 releases (August 17-21, 2020)

There’s an excellent lineup of new games released on Xbox One in the coming week.

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New PlayStation 4 game releases

Pathfinder: Kingmaker and Peaky Blinders: Mastermind are among next week’s new PlayStation 4 video game releases.

Back at E3 2018, the Thumbsticks team was literally locked in a room with the creative director of Owlcat Games. It was a hot day,. There were no windows. There was a lot of hair in the room. It was an intense experience (to say the least) but a pleasurable one. I don’t think we’ve ever met someone quite so smitten with a specific game genre. The result was Pathfinder: Kingmaker, a loving homage to the classic isometric CRPG’s of yore. The game did very well for itself on PC and now comes to PS4 with all previously released DLC.

Also coming to PS4 is Peaky Blinders: Mastermind, a promising puzzle adventure game from Futurlab which acts as a prequel to the hit BBC TV series. The timeline-based tactical gameplay involves choreographing the actions of the Shelby family to complete a blend action and stealth-based missions. Sounds bostin’.

Other new PS4 games on the way include New Super Lucky’s Tale, PGA Tour 2K21, and a brand new adventure for Samurai Jack.

Details of other new PS4 releases are sketchy, but we’ll update this post throughout the week as we get confirmation of any late additions.

New PlayStation 4 releases: August 17-21, 2020

Monday, August 17, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

  • Even the Ocean
  • Pathfinder: Kingmaker – Definitive Edition
  • Manifold Garden – TBC
  • Mortal Shell

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

  • Beyond Enemy Lines 2 – TBC
  • Norman’s Great Illusion

Thursday, August 20, 2020

  • Fuzzball
  • Gleamlight
  • Peaky Blinders: Mastermind
  • Remnant: From the Ashes – Subject 2923
  • Train World Sim 2

Friday, August 21, 2020

  • Aokana – Four Rhythms Across the Blue
  • Dungeon Scavenger – TBC
  • Party Panic
  • New Super Lucky’s Tale
  • PGA Tour 2K21
  • Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time

Playing on Xbox One? Here’s our round-up of next week’s new games.


Head over to the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest games. You can also follow the team via Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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Save up to 65% in the Xbox Ultimate Game Sale

The big Xbox summer sale kicks off with discounts of up to 65% available on hundreds of Xbox One and PC games.

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Xbox Ultimate Game Sale 2020
Microsoft / The Coalition / Thumbsticks

The big Xbox summer sale kicks off with savings of up to 65% available on hundreds of Xbox One.

Video game fans will not go wanting on Xbox One this month. In addition to this week’s impressive Deals with Gold and Spotlight savings, Microsoft has launched the Ultimate Game Sale. It discounts some of the biggest games on Xbox by up to 65%, with an additional 10% for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members.

It’s an excellent sale for exclusives, with Halo 5, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Ori and the Will of the Wisp, Forza Horizon 4, and Crackdown 4 all getting decent price cuts. Our first-party highlight is Gears 5, which honours the series’ past and points to its future with considerable style.

Elsewhere you’ll find discounts on a range of games from top IPs including Assassin’s Creed, Batman, Fallout, Call of Duty, Dark Souls, and Resident Evil, to name just a few. Our indie recommendations include the majestic Abzü, the rough and rustic American Fugitive and the sublime Sayonara Wild Hearts.

And if you would prefer something new to play, read our round-up of next week’s new Xbox One releases.

The Ultimate Game Sale runs until August 24 on the Xbox digital games store and Microsoft web store. Here are some more sale recommendations.

Xbox Ultimate Game Sale Highlights

  • ABZU – 60% / 70% off
  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown – 60% / 67% off
  • American Fugitive – 60% / 70% off
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – Deluxe Edition – 60% / 70% off
  • Assassin’s Creed Origins – Gold Edition – 65% / 75% off
  • Batman: Arkham Knight – 50% / 60% off
  • Battlefield V Standard Edition – 60% / 70% off
  • Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle – 30% / 40% off
  • BioShock: The Collection – 65% / 75% off
  • Borderlands 3 – 40% / 50% off
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – 60% / 67% off
  • Call of Duty: WWII – Digital Deluxe Edition – 50% / 60% off
  • Castlevania Anniversary Collection – 40% / 50% off
  • Conan Exiles – 50% / 60% off
  • Crackdown 3 – 50% / 50% off
  • Dark Souls III – 65% / 75% off
  • Darksiders III – Deluxe Edition – 50% / 60% off
  • Diablo III: Eternal Collection – 60% / 67% off
  • Dishonored The Complete Collection – 60% / 70% off
  • Doom Eternal Deluxe Edition – 30% / 40% off
  • Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot – 30% / 40% off
  • EA Sports FIFA 20 Champions Edition – 65% / 75% off
  • Elite Dangerous: Deluxe Edition – 60% / 70% off
  • Fallout 4 – 60% / 70% off
  • Fallout 76: Wastelanders Deluxe Edition – 30% / 40% off
  • Forza Horizon 4 Ultimate Edition – 50% / 50% off
  • Gears 5 – 50% / 50% off
  • Ghost Recon Breakpoint – Ultimate Edition – 60% / 67% off
  • Halo 5: Guardians – 30% / 40% off
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection – 20% / 30% off
  • Journey to the Savage Planet – 40% / 50% off
  • Life Is Strange 2 – Complete Season – 50% / 60% off
  • Maneater – 10% / 20% offtimate Game Sale
  • Monster Hunter World: Iceborne – 30% / 40% off
  • Need For Speed Heat – 50% / 60% off
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps – 20% / 20% off
  • Overcooked! 2 – Gourment Edition – 25% / 33% off
  • Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds – 65% / 75% off
  • Prey – 60% / 70% off
  • Quantum Break – 65% / 75% off
  • Rare Replay – 40% / 50% off
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 – 40% / 50% off
  • Resident Evil 7 Biohazard – 40% / 50% off
  • Saints Row IV: Re-Elected – 65% / 75% off
  • Sayonara Wild Hearts – 15% / 25% off
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization VI – 40% / 50% off
  • Sonic Mania – 40% / 50% off
  • Star Wars Battlefront II – 30% / 40% off
  • Team Sonic Racing – 40% / 50% off
  • The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man Of Medan – 40% / 50% off
  • The Jackbox Party Pack 6 – 25% / 35% off
  • The Outer Worlds – 40% / 50% off
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – 60% / 70% off
  • Tropico 6 – 40% / 50% off
  • Valkyria Chronicles 4 – 65% / 75% off
  • Watch Dogs 1 + Watch Dogs 2 Gold Editions Bundle – 65% / 75% off
  • World War Z – 60% / 70% off
  • Yakuza 0 – 25% / 35% off
  • Yooka-Laylee – 65% / 75% off

For even more video game savings, visit our dedicated sales page. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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New Xbox One releases (August 17-21, 2020)

There’s an excellent lineup of new games released on Xbox One in the coming week.

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New Xbox One game releases
Microsoft / Thumbsticks

There’s an excellent lineup of new games released on Xbox One next week.

Most notable is the return of two beloved franchises. First to launch is the new Microsoft Flight Simulator. Asobo Studio’s game features a staggering level of detail, including a full simulation of Earth generated with topographical data from Bing Maps. We’ve pulled together a handy guide of all the planes and airports available in the game.

Next up is the return of Rash, Zitz and Pimple in a brand new Battletoads. The game certainly looks the part and couch co-op fun is all but guaranteed. We’re not sure the humour quite hits the mark, but it’s a welcome revival nonetheless.

Other new Xbox One releases include William Chyr’s first-person puzzle game Manifold Garden and golfing simulation, PGA Tour 2K21. The console port of Pathfinder: Kingmaker is one for fans of old-school isometric RPGs, and we’re also curious to see if Peaky Blinders: Mastermind fulfils its promise.

Oh, and how could we forget New Super Lucky’s Tale?

Each new game can be purchased from the Xbox One digital games store and the Microsoft web store. We’ll update this post throughout the week with any late additions.

New Xbox One releases: August 17-21, 2020

Monday, August 17, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

  • Helheim Hassle
  • Pathfinder: Kingmaker – Definitive Edition
  • Manifold Garden
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • Mortal Shell

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

  • Beyond Enemy Lines 2
  • Even the Ocean
  • FuzzBall
  • Norman’s Great Illusion
  • She Sees Red
  • Stones of the Revenant

Thursday, August 20, 2020

  • Battletoads
  • Gleamlight
  • Gryphon Knight Epic: Definitive Edition
  • Peaky Blinders: Mastermind
  • Remnant: From the Ashes – Subject 2923

Friday, August 21, 2020

  • Dungeon Scavenger
  • Harvest Moon: Mad Dash
  • Party Panic
  • New Super Lucky’s Tale
  • PGA Tour 2K21
  • Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time
  • The Blobs Fight!

Head over to the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest games. You can also follow the team via Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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Injustice 2 (and one other game) is free to play on Xbox One

Injustice 2 and Nascar Heat 5 are this week’s Free Play Day games on Xbox One.

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Xbox One Free Play Days - Injustice 2
704 Games / NetherRealm Studios / Thumbsticks

Injustice 2 and NASCAR Heat 5 are this week’s Free Play Day games on Xbox One.

NetherRealm Studios’ excellent superhero fighting game and 704Games roundabout racer are free to download and play on Xbox One until 11:59 pm PT on August 16, 2020.

Injustice 2 pits Batman against Superman in a one-on-one combat jamboree. It’s a well-liked game that balances an engaging story with improved fighting mechanics. NASCAR Heat 5 is the official game of the 2020 season, but – other than a roster update – it offers few improvements over last year’s entry.

As ever, all save progress and unlocked achievements carry over to purchased copies of either game. As luck would have it, there’s a crop of new discounts to encourage such a purchase.

It’s also worth remembering that The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited remains free to play on Xbox until August 19, 2020.

Xbox One Free Play Day Deals

Injustice 2

  • Standard Edition – 75% off
  • Ultimate Pack – 80% off

NASCAR Heat 5

  • Standard Edition – 20% off
  • Gold Edition – 20% off

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited

  • Standard Edition – 50% off

For even more video game bargains, visit our dedicated sales and free games pages. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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A Total War Saga: Troy, and three other games, are free on the Epic Games Store

A Total War Saga: Troy just launched today, but it’s already free on the Epic Games Store.

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A Total War Saga: Troy - Epic Games

A Total War Saga: Troy just launched today, but it’s already free on the Epic Games Store.

Creative Assembly’s brand new strategy game will begin retailing at $49.99 tomorrow. But, for now, you can grab the latest entry in the long-running series for free.

Reviews for the new Total War are strong, too. Not quite as strong as the reviews for last year’s game-changing Total War: Three Kingdoms,but, IGN and Eurogamer both recommend it.

All that said, A Total War Saga: Troy isn’t even technically one of this week’s free games. Remnant: From the Ashes and The Alto Collection are the titles currently highlighted in the store’s Free Games section.

Remnant is a 2019 third-person co-op shooter. Its punishing difficulty and tough bosses earned it comparisons to Dark Souls. But, its game feel is more akin to Gears of War.

The Alto Collection is also up for grabs, assembling mobile sand/snowboarding games, Alto’s Adventure (2015) and Alto’s Odyssey (2018).

But, for me, the most interesting free game is 3 Out of 10 EP 2: “Foundation 101.” This is the second episode in Terrible Posture Games’ five-part series. Unlike most episodic games, this one is releasing on a weekly basis, with plans to conclude by early September. I thought, the first episode, Welcome to Shovelworks did a pretty good job blending the game’s animated sitcom storytelling with short and varied interactive sections. I haven’t been blown away by the writing so far, but, hey, you can’t judge a show by its pilot.

With all these games up for grabs, Epic has unveiled next week’s freebies. Expect to get Enter the Gungeon (a free game for the second time) and God’s Trigger next Thursday. Plus, 3 Out of 10 will be back with its third episode.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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