Batman: Return to Arkham video compares PS3 and PS4, shows marginal improvement

Batman: Return to Arkham is starting to look more and more like one of the least necessary remasters this generation.


Batman: Return to Arkham comes out this week on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. After getting a sudden delay a few months back, the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City remasters are now ready for prime time.

In the video below, YouTube channel Candyland compares the original PlayStation 3 release of Arkahm Asylum with the PlayStation 4 version. Right off the bat, the bump in resolution is immediately noticeable. The remastered version renders at a 1080p resolution, as opposed to the sub-720p the PS3 version delivered.

Texture quality has improved, too, but that’s kind of about it. The image overall looks less grimy, for sure, but loosing this grain gives the game a different atmosphere. Yes, you can see rain drops on the cowl now, but it doesn’t look as good you’d expect. It’s a much busier image now, and not in a good way.

Of course, this can be subjective, but I feel like if you were to run the old game at a higher resolution, it would produce much better results. A lot of scenes now look much brighter, exposing flaws in the art direction I don’t think were meant to be exposed.

Minute 3:53 illustrates the lighting point perfectly. In the old version, Batman and Gordon may have had a low poly count, but their in-game models were designed with that limitation. They looked imposing. In the remaster, they look like they fell out of a fan-made Batman film.

You be the judge:

Return to Arkham is out now in North America, and on Friday in the UK.

All the things Red Dead Redemption 2 should steal from GTA 5 (and a few it shouldn't)


All the things Red Dead Redemption 2 should steal from GTA 5 (and a few it shouldn’t)

Well, shit. Red Dead Redemption 2 is real, and coming next year. We’ve waited long enough – at one point we thought Rockstar would just continue to update Grand Theft Auto Online forever and Red Dead would go the way of Midnight Club and Smuggler’s Run. But this week it finally confirmed Red Dead Redemption 2 and the internet had a meltdown. It went from jubilation at its existence to anger at its name in the space of 24 hours. A textbook reveal.

With a name like that it’s clearly going to feature some returning characters and most likely set before the first game, but beyond that, we can theorise all goddamn day (or at least until we get a glimpse of the first trailer). So what better way to fill the hours than by taking a look at what worked so well for Rockstar’s biggest hit, Grand Theft Auto 5, and figuring out the best features and ideas to carry over to Red Dead Redemption 2.


Multiple protagonists: the good, the bad and the ugly

Having three playable characters that you can switch to on the fly in GTA 5 keeps the game moving at a cracking pace. If you’re bored with Franklin, get some quality time with Michael, or go a little apeshit with Trevor. Switching between all three during a single mission wasn’t always as smooth as it could have been, but maybe now is the time to add a little co-op to a Rockstar campaign rather than leaving it all up to one player.

Hero of Red Dead Redemption James Marston was a well-rounded tough guy but the wronged outlaw tracking down former gang members has been done to death in westerns. Art for Red Dead Redemption 2 shows multiple characters but that could mean anything and I’m holding out for something more than cowpokes. The native american, the tough frontierswoman, the slave, the civil war soldier, the list is pretty endless, and there are more stories to tell than that of revenge and old west justice.

Red Dead Redemption proved a western can work beyond the basics of six-shooters, horse riding and saloon shoot-outs. Look at something like HBO’s Deadwood, which is set in the same wild west but is more about cruel characters and the emergence of civilisation (and a heroic level of swearing) than high noon showdowns, bank robbers and other cliches. Here’s hoping RDR2 can build on the original in a similar way.


Adopt the nu-western, from Justified to Preacher

Movies are central to Grand Theft Auto. At its peak Rockstar’s Houser brothers enticed proper movie actors and pretty much stole Scarface in its entirety for Vice City to get that cinematic feel. Things have calmed down with more recent releases as video games have become more comfortable in their own form, but movies are still central to GTA and in 5 gave Michael a lucrative line of work. Which is why it makes sense for Red Dead Revisited to reference and ride the recent resurgence of the western.

So Deadwood, Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight might be the obvious examples but the western influence has seeped into more modern TV shows and movies. Justified, Preacher, Breaking Bad, True Detective, No Country For Old Men, even Inglorious Basterds – all make good use of the wronged man, revenge, the desperate outlaw, the lone gunslinger and the Mexican standoff. There’s no shortage of influences to make a game set in the 1800s relevant to millennials brought up on HBO boxsets rather than a Sergio Leone trilogy.


Go first-person: let’s see Dead Eye Targeting up close

When GTA 5 popped up on PS4, Xbox One and PC, it also added a first person view for players to switch between. It didn’t change the gameplay significantly, but we all got a more detailed view of Los Santos and Blaine County.

But maybe first-person will work better for Red Dead Redemption 2 because of the Red Eye Targeting mode. Used in both previous games, it’s a way to slow down time and highlight multiple enemies before unleashing a full clip in a split second, putting your enemies on their backs before they hear the pistol crack. Let’s get a closer look at that, following the bullets and targeting specific body parts.


Wanted: A PC release complete with Rockstar Editor

Red Dead Redemption never got a release on PC but the dream still persists to this day. So far only PS4 and Xbox One are confirmed, which is is putting a lot of PC players’ noses out of joint. But there’s every reason to believe RDR2 will arrive on PC at some point, you’re just going to have to wait awhile.

GTA 5 and Rockstar’s sweet RAGE engine eventually made it to PC, it just arrived 19 months after the initial release on old-school consoles. It may have been late to the party, but it was magnificent. It was also at this point we got the the release of the Rockstar Editor, a tool for creating movies using the cast, crew, locations and everything else in GTA 5. And boy, that’s resulted in some stunning mini-movies. Now imagine what the community can do with that, building their own spaghetti, horror, acid, wuxia and traditional western movies. That might be worth the wait.


Turn heists into train and bank robberies

GTA Online has been going strong now for over three years and on five different systems. That’s a big achievement on its own, but it’s also been supported with free content on a near bi-monthly schedule as well as multiple weekly incentives. Maybe an online western world wouldn’t be as in demand, and maybe the whole persistent online world wouldn’t work so much as more competitive modes would. But regardless, Rockstar has already promised RDR2 will feature an online space to rumble in the dust.

GTA Heists would be perfect for a wild west game, just replace the bikes with horses and go blow a whole in Fort Knox. Rockstar also has a pretty good handle on competitive modes in GTA that can be transferred to another setting, with plenty of variations on defending, over-running and stealing from others. That’s the American Dream, right there. Add gold mines, plantation mansions, saloons and forts and you’ll have plenty of scope for Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid moments. And its more recent gang structures – CEO, VIP, Bikers – can easily be reimagined for a posse of cattle rustlers and train robbers.


Please fix the piss-poor online services

Oh, how we love GTA Online but, oh, how we hate GTA Online’s shonky services. It kicks players harder than an angry donkey. After three years it still takes forever to spawn into games, modes and menus. You can feel yourself physically aging, hair turning gray. You’ll hear a field mice scream as it’s plucked from the hedges by an owl, see tumbleweed drifting down Main Street – the very cycle of life and death itself unfolds before you. And then the message pops up: “Connection to the server lost due to unknown network error.”

Please fix that shit before Marston and his buddies kick open the saloon doors in 2017…


Brace yourself for the delays

Rockstar is notorious for delaying all of its games. GTA 5 was released over four months after its initial promised date with Rockstar even announcing a delay on the boxart for the game. As for the PC version, which came out much later, it was delayed, and then delayed again.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is promised “fall 2017” but if that turns out to be true I’ll be a suck-egg mule. I think we can all agree, especially when you factor in PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio versions of the game as well as regular PS4 and Xbox One releases, that “fall 2017” is more likely to turn into March 2018.


Give us a goddamn casino, for christsakes

GTA Online players are very demanding and Rockstar has been very accommodating – more than it should have when you consider some of the whiny piss-baby abuse it gets whenever it releases a new update. Lowriders, motorbikes, houses, military gear, gang leaders and the return of the Gusenberg Sweeper have all been delivered as requested by the online community.

The one thing missing? The casino at the heart of Los Santos has never opened. Rockstar never said it would, but that slight fact has been lost in the warped history of development. Players will swear blind it was “promised” and Rockstar is denying them a god-given right to pretend-gamble with imaginary currency. So, you know, open up gambling rooms in the local saloon and keep everyone happy.

  • Destiny: Rise of Iron raid guide – everything different in Wrath of the Machine Hard Mode

    Destiny: Rise of Iron’s ultimate PvE challenge is here. What do you need to know about Wrath of the Machine Hard Mode?

    Wrath of the Machine Hard Mode went live in Destiny: Rise of Iron overnight and many brave guardians have already put the newer, tougher version of Aksis in the dirt.

    As a result of their efforts, we know what to expect when venturing into Destiny: Rise of Iron’s toughest PvE challenge. Let’s talk what’s different in Wrath of the Machine Hard Mode: check out the video above from Arekkz, or read on below.

    Please note this guide is additive to our Wrath of the Machine raid guide pages, and intended for experienced raiders; it won’t make sense if you don’t already know Destiny: Rise of Iron’s raid pretty well.

    There are two SIVA Cache chests after each Hard Mode encounter

    If you want all the best Wrath of the Machine Hard Mode gear as quickly as possible, you will of course want to use your SIVA Cache Keys to open the SIVA Caches after each encounter.

    But you need to be careful here – there are now two SIVA Cache chests, and only one of them is holding that sweet Heroic loot. Unless you have heaps and heaps of SIVA Cache Keys and Key Fragments, make sure you’re opening the new, Heroic chest rather than the standard one, or you won’t be getting that 400 LL Hard Mode variant gear.

    Aside from an increase in health and damage for both Vosik and adds, there are no changes to the first Archpriest Vosik encounter.

    The second Archpriest Vosik encounter has all the same mechanics as the Wrath of the Machine normal mode version, but everything’s a little bit harder due to the following changes:

    • Six SIVA Charges (grenades) drop rather than three; all players must throw a SIVA Charge.
    • The large central monitors will activate after each SIVA Charge round instead of the smaller, outer ones.
    • The monitors have more health.
    • Players will need to crouch or slide to enter safe rooms after a damage phase.

    A Fallen Walker will drop in front of the ramp leading onto the Siege Engine during the carry phase. You don’t necessarily need to kill it, but you must at least break a leg to put it to sleep so you can run parts past it safely.

    Otherwise, the Death Zamboni encounter plays out very similarly to Normal Mode, although as you’d expect the adds hit harder and can take more of a beating.

    There’s only one significant change to the first Aksis encounter, which is the addition of three SIVA turrets – one at each of the three arenas. These low-health defences do a lot of damage and regenerate every 20 seconds or so, meaning players will have to keep putting them down. They do not return for the second encounter.

    In the second encounter, there will be nine Servitors in every SIVA Charge phase – just like the third round of the first Aksis encounter in normal mode. Your team will need to throw nine SIVA Charges at Aksis instead of three.

    When Aksis is at very low health and begins to initiate SIVA Density, he will fade in and out for the first few seconds; don’t use your cannon, heavy ammo and supers until you’re certain of a hit. Then go ham.

  • Batman: Return to Arkham launch trailer does that comparison screenshot slider thing for you

    Wednesday, 19 October 2016 02:07 GMT

    By Brenna Hillier

    “Batman, help me! I’m too tired to drag the slider across the screen.”

    Batman: Return to Arkham is now available on PS4 and Xbox One.

    From what I’ve read in reviews so far the remastered games in Batman: Return to Arkham aren’t horrifically broken or anything (something of a concern with Warner Bros. these days, unfortunately) and as you’ll see above, they’re certainly very pretty.

    But Batman: Return to Arkham doesn’t do any hugely remarkable things in the porting process. If you’ve played Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City you already know what you’re getting in slightly shinier format.

    And that’s two great games, obviously, conveniently packaged for the consoles you still switch on. Nice.

    Red Dead Redemption 2 officially revealed for PS4 and Xbox One, out 2017

    Rockstar has officially announced Red Dead Redemption 2.


    Rockstar has just dropped the one thing everyone was expecting: the name of the next Red Dead Redemption game. It’s simply called Red Dead Redemption 2, and it’s due for release fall 2017. Here’s the announcement poster:


    The press release only mentions PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and confirms that it’s going to include a “multiplayer world,” presumably a GTA Online-like experience.

    And yes, as rumoured this morning, the reveal trailer is coming Thursday at 11am EST, which translates to 8am PT, 11am ET, 4pm BST, 5pm CEST.

    In the close-up shot of the cowboys you can see above, they all appear to be men. The one on the far right looks to be a Native American.

    This comes after the developer released two images earlier this week. The first was just the company’s logo, a fading logo to be exact, on a red background. Shortly after, teases became more elaborate as Rockstar released a stylised image showing a sunset, with silhouettes for seven cowboys in the distance, which officially kick-started the hype train for a Red Dead Redemption sequel.

    Now that we now it’s coming, not mentioning a PC version will certainly be disappointing to many fans. Rockstar games are always very popular on Steam, but this isn’t the first a Rockstar game will be released on consoles first, before following later on PC – sometimes over a year later.

    These new Resident Evil 7 Biohazard teasers make it look a lot more like the original games than we expected

    Resident Evil 7 Biohazard may be played in first-person perspective, but Capcom seems to be messaging the return of familiar systems.

    Two new Resident Evil 7 Biohazard teasers have been discovered. Vol. 3 Recorder is embedded above, and its description reads “Take the time to save in RE7… You never know what will be lurking in the shadows”.

    Vol 4. Stock Up is further down the page, and its text reminds us that “your knife will come in handy in all kinds of situations” in Resident Evil 7 Biohazard.

    These two currently unlisted videos follow on from last week’s Resident Evil 7 Biohazard teasers, one of which showed a shotgun being taken from a chest and a grid inventory.

    Taken together, the second, third and fourth volumes may prove heartening to old school fans worried that Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was going all PT or Silent Hills, and chucking out the DNA of the earlier games. I’ve argued before that there isn’t really a Resident Evil formula, but the return of a limited grid-based inventory, location-specific saves and resource management certainly suggests there will be more survival systems than you’d expect in a purely atmospheric or stealth-based horror experience.

    Resident Evil 7: Biohazard releases in January for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, with PlayStation VR support.

    Indeed, you can play a Resident Evil 7 Biohazard demo on PS4, with PSVR support, right now.

    How many times can you watch this awesome Civilization 6 launch trailer while it pre-loads? Let’s find out

    Civilization 6 is nearly here. Prepare yourself by starting the download and weeping over the magnificence of human achievement.

    Civilization is a game about dropping nuclear bombs before anyone else can do it, and human beings are rubbish monstrosities destroying the planet’s capacity to sustain our form of life in a bid to hoard resources and luxuries with absolutely zero real meaning.

    The Civilization 6 launch trailer, on the other hand, is a tear-jerking, inspiring, heart-wrenching meditation on humanity at its best. It almost makes me keen to try for a cultural victo- oh, bloody hell: Ghandi has invented tanks. Never mind, back to spamming infantry.

    Civilization 6 releases on October 21 and if you have pre-ordered through Steam you can begin pre-loading now.

    By the way, if you’re looking for some Civ 6 action in the meantime 2K is hosting an AI battle on Twitch from 3:30pm ET Wednesday.

    Eight AI Civs will go at it for your entertainment: Aztecs, Brazil, England, Greece (Gorgo), Japan, Rome, Russia and Spain. Cheer for your favourite and make notes on the tactics and strategies of the more successful factions.

    You can tip anything in Farming Simulator 17 and somehow this is a selling point worthy of a trailer

    Tuesday, 18 October 2016 02:13 GMT

    By Brenna Hillier

    This is gaming in 2016.

    Farming Simulator 17 takes things to the next level by allowing you to transfer your crops between vehicles and storage using shovels, conveyer belts and “even the mighty HOLMER Terra Felis 2 eco sugar beet loader”.

    I honestly do appreciate that this is a rad development in terms of making the series more realistic, and just as worthy of a headline as a shooter adding in, oh, weapon maintenance or something. That said: I’m writing an article about a very jaunty trailer about tipping sugar beets into a pile, and that’s one of those things that gestalts me out of my usual comfort zone.

    Farming Simulator 17 launches October 25 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Did you know sugar beets were the primary source of sweetener before sugarcane cultivation really kicked off in the new world? Think about the next time some fantasy novel or historical drama makes mention of a spun sugar dessert or whatever.

    These are the sorts of things I think about when I discover a new Farming Simulator 17 trailer called “Tip Anything”, apparently.

    Destiny update 2.41: local release times, raid Hard Mode kick off, and when to do your weeklies for max Light gain

    Everything you need to know about Destiny update 2.41 this week.


    Destiny: Rise of Iron will update to version 2.41 this week, and if you want to get the most benefit out of the upcoming changes, it’s important that you know precisely when the patch hits.

    The thing is, Destiny update 2.41 will raise Light cap and adjust loot drops accordingly in various activities. Since the patch will release eight hours after the weekly Destiny update at 9:00am UTC Tuesday, players at or near the current 385 soft cap should wait until after the patch drops to complete the Nightfall, raid, decrypt engrams, use Skeleton Keys and accept faction packages.

    You may also want to consider what order you tackle activities in, bearing in mind the fact that artifacts and Ghost shells up to 400 Light will drop in Archon’s Forge once the patch hits. Also, Ghost shells will drop more frequently from faction packages, and Eris will offer more artifacts in her faction packages. Previously, strike hoards at the end of Heroic strikes were your best source of these items, but these require Skeleton Keys to open, making artifacts and Ghost shells a bit of a hurdle to levelling up.

    If you have a stack of extra materials on hand, check out what the various faction vendors are accepting this week; we’re all hoping someone wants all this Spinmetal. You might be able to grab a couple of faction packages after the patch hits by turning in your inventory clutter.

    There’s more to it than that; it’s best to read up on Light increases and loot changes in the Destiny 2.41 update.

    Destiny update 2.41 patch rollout time

    Destiny 2.41 will roll out at 10:00am PT Tuesday. Here are a few local timezones:

    • US West Coast – 10:00am Tuesday
    • US East Coast – 1:00pm Tuesday
    • UK – 6:00pm Tuesday
    • Europe – 7:00pm Tuesday
    • Australia (Sydney) – 4:00am Wednesday

    Hit the link above for more timezones, or consult the countdown below.

    On PS4, all players will be returned to the login screen as soon as the update rolls out. Xbox One players will be able to continue playing until 1:00pm PT before being returned to the login screen, but can grab the patch as soon as it is available by logging out and back in.

    Wrath of the Machine raid Hard Mode unlock time

    The new Hard Mode of Destiny: Rise of Iron’s raid, Wrath of the Machine, will not unlock at reset or when the patch rolls out, but 12 hours after reset and four hours after the patch hits. That gives you a little bit of time to up your Light level through non-raid means before you jump on into this new, tougher challenge.

    • US West Coast – 2:00pm Tuesday
    • US East Coast – 4:00pm Tuesday
    • UK – 10:00pm Tuesday
    • Europe – 11:00pm Tuesday
    • Australia (Sydney) – 8:00am Wednesday

    Rockstar releases a second Red Dead teaser, extending internet meltdown

    We’re going back to the West.


    Yesterday Rockstar Games shocked the world by suddenly releasing a teaser that looked decidedly Red Dead Redemption – their logo set against a dirtied red background. The internet went into meltdown. Inside 24 hours it saw 100,000 retweets.

    Things were quieting down… but now they’ve released another image. The internet shits a brick again. Here it is:

    Fans are currently in meltdown, obviously, and we’re pretty bloody excited too. That’s why we’re already talking about what we want from the game.

    One thing that’s notable about this little teaser is that there are 7 characters. Rockstar Games do love their film nods – Scarface to Vice City, Heat to GTA’s bank heist missions – are we about to get a Red Dead take on The Magnificent Seven?

    The teaser isn’t familiar to the original game, so this at least confirms we’re on: This is a new game, not just some remaster. Bring it.

    The biggest rumour in recent months has been that Rockstar was due to reveal Red Dead 3 at E3 but pulled the announcement at the last minute. Red Dead Redemption was recently made backwards compatible on Xbox One and the original game Red Dead Revolver has recently launched on the PlayStation Store.

    More as we get it.