Performance Analysis: The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

The new Toussaint region of The Witcher 3’s Blood and Wine expansion looks stunning on PC, but its delivery on console has – until now – been a mystery. To benefit the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One delivery of this new area, developer CD Projekt Red states a more to streaming in assets is in effect here – in theory helping to improve frame-rates over the base game. But how does either stack up to the PC release, and are there any lingering performance troubles?

The basic setup remains from the original The Witcher 3 content, in certain respects. We get a full native 1920×1080 on PS4, while Xbox One typically runs at 1600×900. For the most part this defines the rift in visual quality between the two; an upscaled image causing details to blur on Xbox One – while texture quality is identical when viewing the console outputs up-close. Each also matches PC’s best quality texture maps, and thankfully the layout of geometry across Toussaint is unchanged, meaning consoles get this beautiful new area in all its glory.

There is a visual advantage on PC, and the differences between the three versions of Blood and Wine largely come down to draw distances. For example, PC’s overview of Toussaint’s main city reveals a broader draw distance for shadow detail, while more trees also render in across its far hillsides. This only occurs at extreme range however, and PS4 and Xbox One tend to produce the same density of foliage and NPCs while in the city’s main plaza. Each is rife with detail, but it’s only in moving to PC that we realise what the ultra setting for terrain brings to the table.

SteamWorld Heist HD is coming to PS4 and Vita this month

UPDATE 02/06/2016 5pm: SteamWorld Heist has been pushed back a week on PS4 and Vita with a release date now set for 8th June in Europe (and 7th June in the Americas).

The good news is that the Steam version will launch alongside the PlayStation versions with a worldwide launch on 7th June.

The Outsider DLC – which adds new levels, hats, weapons and a playable character – will be available at launch on all platforms for €4.99 / $4.99.

Wonder Boy 3 is getting a modern remake

Sega’s 1989 classic Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon’s Trap is getting a fully-fledged remake for “consoles” and PC.

French developer Lizardcube is handling the remake – which eschews the number from the title – with DotEmu on publishing duties. Wonder Boy series creator Ryuichi Nishizawa will also be involved.

Lizardcube is a new studio, but it’s made up of old talent as it was founded by coder Omar Cornut (Tearaway, Dreams, Pixeljunk Shooter) and former Dreamworks animator Ben Fiquet (Soul Bubbles, Powa).

The Order: 1886 dev Ready at Dawn’s next game is a physics-based arena brawler

The Order: 1886 developer Ready at Dawn’s upcoming physics-based multiplayer arena brawler De-formers is a big departure from the studio’s steampunk flagship title. A multiplatform (PS4, Xbox One and PC) offering published as part of GameStop’s recently announced GameTrust initiative, De-formers, is a mix of lots of elements from beloved games cobbled together into something that looks familiar, yet strangely hard to pin down.

This third-person competitive game about a bunch of rolling round creatures trying to knock each other out mixes the bashing mechanics of Super Smash Bros. with the physics-based mayhem of Gang Beats, then combines it with the whacked out controls of Super Monkey Ball and the skill-based shooting of Twisted Metal. It’s bonafide bonkers and about as far away as you could get from the immaculately detailed but ultimately conventional The Order: 1886.

Gone are the finely groomed yet gritty action action heroes, the glistening rain-slicked cobblestone alleys, and the sputtering crackle of archaic 19th century firearms. Instead De-formers focuses on freakish, spherical amphibians trying to obliterate each other in brightly coloured play pens.

Here’s the trailer for GTA Online: Further Adventures in Finance and Felony

Rockstar’s released a trailer for Further Adventures in Finance and Felony, the next big update for GTA Online.

Further Adventures in Finance and Felony, due out on 7th June, lets you build a criminal empire as a CEO. You can traffic illicit cargo and contraband, disrupt rival supply chains and get new vehicles. You can also open new offices and hire an executive assistant.

The idea is you run the town through a series of hostile takeovers.

Watch: 6 Overwatch tips that will make you a better player, promise

Listen, but this is a bit different. Not only are these tips being represented in video form, but they’re also way better. Don’t tell Bertie I’ve said that.

Whether you’re a new player, terrified of Bastion (you don’t need to be, honestly), or you’re more experienced and want to know exactly how armour affects damage reduction, there should be something to take away from this. So join me below and let’s talk some Overwatch.

As promised, here’s a link to the and the mentioned in the video itself.

F2P MMO Neverwinter launches on PS4 this summer

Free massively-multiplayer online role-playing game Neverwinter is coming to PlayStation 4 this summer and does not require PlayStation Plus to play.

The game, naturally, has optional microtransactions, but you should be able to play from start to level-cap, as one of eight classes – and across nine expansions of content – for free.

Neverwinter has been around for a few years on PC. It’s made by Cryptic Studios, the studio that once made City of Heroes/Villains as well as Champions Online and Star Trek Online, so it knows what it’s doing.

Minecraft sales pass the astonishing 100m milestone

It is, simply, a phenomenon: Minecraft has now sold more than 100m copies worldwide across PC, console and mobile platforms.

The game is owned in every country and territory on the planet – even Antarctica (it’s probably David Attenborough) – and in 2016 more than 53,000 copies have been bought every day.

Creator Mojang released an infographic showcasing some statistics. In Europe, for example, the mobile version of Minecraft is most popular but only by the smallest of margins. The mobile version accounts for 36 per cent of sales whereas the console versions account for 35 per cent. The longer-serving PC version accounts for 29 per cent.

Watch: We cause mayhem in Marrakech with Hitman episode 3

If you’ve been following our thus far, you may have seen a pattern emerging among the video team. I’m perfectly awful and Ian’s a brave amateur, while Aoife is the peerless assassin.

With episode 3: Marrakech, however, I’m happy to say the tables have turned. Well, sort of. Click the video below for unconscious masseurs, shifty looking headmasters and a thrilling round of ‘how many unconscious naked men can we fit in a cupboard?’

Don’t forget to let us know who your favourite assassin is thus far.

AMD’s Polaris-powered RX 480 graphics card priced at $199

AMD has revealed the Radeon RX 480 graphics card – its debut GPU based on the new Polaris graphics technology. Set to go on sale on June 29th priced at $199, the RX 480 has been validated for premium VR PC gaming and should offer ballpark performance equivalent to GTX 970/980 and AMD’s own R9 390/390X.

The technical make-up of the card reveals 36 compute units with a total of 2306 shaders, paired with a 256-bit memory interface. According to AMD we should expect to see cards released with either 4GB or 8GB of GDDR5, and a theoretical maximum of 256GB/s of bandwidth. We should expect to see HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 support for high-end 4K functionality, and DisplayPort 1.3 and 1.4 is also confirmed, along with HDR. The card has a 150W TDP – a massive reduction from R9 390 and 390X.

Missing so far from AMD’s specs are the all-important clock speeds. This can usually be worked out via the TFLOPs figure, but here AMD is being quite vague, saying only that over five TFLOPs of computational power is on tap in RX 480. However, leaks are suggesting a 1266MHz boost clock, up significantly from the 1000-1050MHz found in the existing R9 390 and 390X. This, combined with architectural enhancements, may help to make up the computational deficit with AMD’s older equivalent products, which featured 40 and 44 compute units respectively.