Jelly Deals roundup: Attack on Titan, Virginia, Shadow of Mordor, and more

A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a new deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. (It also has the best name.) We’ve invited the Jelly Deals team to share a weekly roundup of (mostly) gaming-related bargains with us, so we can pass their tips on to you. Full disclosure: if you make a purchase from one of these links, we will receive a small commission from the retailer. Hopefully you’ll find it useful!

Pinch, punch, first of the month and all that. At this point, we’re less than a week away from the launch of Mafia 3, about a week and a half away from Gears of War 4, and less than two weeks away from the arrival of PlayStation VR. Suddenly it seems like time is going by a little fast. Where is my flying car?

Before we dip into the biggest releases of October o, we’ve still got time to take a look at some of the best deals that showed up during the very last week of September. So let’s go ahead and do that right here, right now.

Quantum Break PC is better on DirectX 11

Quantum Break on Steam brings a much-needed performance boost to the game thanks to the use of DirectX 11 – an API the developer has stated it is much more using. This comes six months after the Windows Store version, a controversial DirectX 12 release that sadly shipped with a slew of bugs, optimisation quirks and stability issues. For the best experience at the time, Xbox One offered a better-optimised package with fewer grievances, while Windows Store customers were forced to wait some time for patches to rectify certain issues – but to this day, issues still remain.

The move back to DirectX 11 in this Steam release is great news for older Windows users of course, where previously it was exclusive to Windows 10’s online store. Curiously, it’s confirmed there’s no DirectX 12 executable included at all on Steam right now – a surprising move, but justified in part by Remedy’s confidence that DX11 is better optimised for most machines. We can confirm visuals are identical at the top ‘ultra’ settings on either API, but it’s Nvidia GPUs in particular that benefit from higher frame-rates on the Steam re-issue.

We look at the GTX 970 first, a card that had serious issues with stutters and freezing when we first tested the game on DX12. With the latest GeForce 372.90 drivers installed, we run both the Steam and Windows Store versions on a Windows 10 machine, paired with an i7 4790K and 16GB RAM. In terms of visuals settings to tax this hardware, we set it to 1080p, ultra settings, and use the game’s upscaling mode too. This constructs a full HD framebuffer using temporal supersampling from a base 720p image.

DF Retro: Daytona USA – why frame-rate has always mattered

Welcome to the world of Digital Foundry Retro. Every weekend, DF Retro brings us a new story based on a significant release in gaming history, backed by exemplary, clean capture taken using original console hardware. It’s a great way to revisit the classics while reflecting on what made each game so special in its day. Check back often for brand new episodes as we update this article with the latest videos.

This week, John Linneman revisits one of the most important arcade releases of the 90s – Sega’s epoch-making Daytona USA. Built on Model 2 hardware, Daytona is a shining example of an age where arcade gaming technology was generations beyond what the home consoles could offer.

Daytona also highlights that the importance of frame-rate isn’t necessarily an issue just for modern gaming – Sega’s iconic racer played host to a range of home conversions across the years that simply couldn’t match the original, and poor frame-rate was the key reason why the original Sega Saturn port just couldn’t capture the experience of the classic arcade title. John’s analysis doesn’t just cover the Saturn conversion though – every single port and sequel is covered.

Behind the Scenes on Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit

Hello there. As regular readers may know, I’m currently appearing in video games TV show Dara O’Briain’s Go 8 Bit, Monday nights on Dave. It’s the brainchild of comedians Steve McNeil and Sam Pamphilon, who are the team captains, while I play Richard Osman.

Every week, we invite funny people to compete at a selection of games from a range of different eras. The computer wizardry is provided by Rob Sedgebeer and his team of tech elves. There are no prizes, because it’s just for fun, and as everyone knows all comedians are millionaires anyway.

I’ll be honest – we were very nervous before the first show went out. There was a about whether video games can even work on TV. Would people watch it? Would they hate it? Would the energy in the studio translate on screen? Would anyone pick up on the blistering sexual tension between David James and, well, everyone else in the room? (He radiates a unique blend of warmth, sagacity, and magnetic charm. It is like being in the presence of Aslan.)

Watch: Hands on with Battlezone’s co-operative campaign

Back in the early 90s when I was blowing on cartridges and recording episodes of Captain N: The Game Master on VHS, the thought of being able to play video games with my friends in virtual reality was the sole preserve of science fiction. Twenty-five years later however, those childhood dreams look set to become a reality.

During a trip to Rebellion’s studios in Oxford I grabbed an extended hands-on with Battlezone’s 4-player cooperative multiplayer campaign on the PSVR. It’s drop-in, drop-out coop with a procedural campaign and it really opened my mind to the potential of multiplayer gaming with Sony’s VR kit.

Not only was this my first ever time playing a multiplayer VR game, but it was also the first time I’ve been able to capture straight from a PSVR itself – something which, thankfully, is very easy to do due to the plug and play nature of the device. That’s why, just below these words you’ll find a 22 minute long video of me having a lovely time in virtual reality with three of Battlezones developers.

XCOM 2: Yes, it’s harder, but you also care more

XCOM 2 has just landed on consoles with a decent port of the PC version – a bit stuttery when loading missions, but otherwise fine, as far as I can tell. Meanwhile, how bad am I at XCOM 2? By way of an answer, here are a few of my recent save file names: Everyone Dead. Big Error. Oops. These sound like cocktails served at the world’s worst theme party, but they also, to their credit, sound like the sort of thing an inexperienced soldier might radio back to base when things go horribly wrong. Okay, maybe not Oops, but when I’m the soldier in question nothing is ever entirely off the table.

So XCOM 2 is hard – although, now I’m playing on Xbox One, there’s at least the slight balm of being reunited with the first game’s really beautiful console control system. As I play, I’m starting to realise that it’s hard for a variety of interesting reasons, and not all of them are down to ingenious mechanical changes following on from Enemy Unknown.

I will come clean here. After a good few hours of play, I am still on the first mission, the one right after the tutorial, where you head out and capture an unstable alien energy source to power your base with. I have played this mission many, many times. I can complete it, but I can’t yet complete it in the manner I wish to, which is: everyone alive, a few bits of loot picked up, and nobody even remotely wounded. That last part is the current sticking point.

Sunless Sea director announces digital board game Cultist Simulator

Sunless Sea creative director and lead writer Alexis Kennedy has announced an upcoming single-player digital board game called Cultist Simulator.

Aiming for a tentative Halloween 2017 release on PC and tablets, Cultist Simulator will feature both sane and insane victory conditions as players “craft tools”, “summon spirits” and “indoctrinate innocents”.

“Cultist Simulator combines my usual pungent prose with crunchy crafting mechanics, and with parallel victory conditions,” Kennedy said in a . “It’s possible, though very difficult, to find success in career or romance. You can always turn back from the brink and try to make a life. But why would you do that?”

There’s a Skyrim concert coming to London, but…

Bethesda Softworks is putting on an orchestral concert dedicated to the tunes of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Coming to London Palladium on 16th November, tickets for the show, performed live by the Winterhold Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, will cost between £26.50 and £76.50 and can be obtained via beginning 4th October at 10am.

It’s worth noting, however, that Skyrim composer Jeremy Soule doesn’t condone this concert – or at least its marketing – as he claims the concert won’t be using the original scores and was put together without his knowledge or approval.

Face-Off: Forza Horizon 3

Could this be our first look at how Xbox One titles will look on next year’s Project Scorpio? Forza Horizon 3 represents a fascinating balance between looking good and running well on current generation console hardware while at the same time scaling up to provide an improved experience on high-end kit. Combined with the cross-platform nature of the new Play Anywhere system, what’s clear is that Microsoft is laying the foundations for Scorpio’s arrival right now – and it looks great.

It helps that the Forza Horizon engine is so solid to begin with, to the point where it looks so good at 1080p, you can’t help but wonder whether we actually need a new wave of consoles at all. If there was one takeaway from this year’s E3, it was that the first party wares from both Microsoft and Sony are punching seriously above their weight, compared to the outputs we’ve seen from equivalent PC kit.

Forza Horizon 3 builds upon the key technical successes of its predecessor and retains the superb image quality – 4x MSAA on a console title is virtually unheard of these days – while ramping up the environmental detail to new levels. It also goes without saying that the car modelling is exceptional, and though enhancements vary from vehicle to vehicle, the PC version does offer the ability to run more detailed in-game models, adding further to the spectacle.

Japan is getting its own Nintendo Classic Mini

Japan is getting its own Nintendo Classic Mini, with a palm-sized take on the Famicom coming out this November.

It follows , which is also due out in November for £49.99 and takes the form factor of Nintendo’s 80s console as it appeared in the west. I’ve always been more partial to Japan’s own Famicom, which makes it super tempting to import this particular Nintendo Mini Classic – and seeing as the unit can be powered by USB, that looks perfectly possible.

There’s also a slightly different list of games that come with the unit, with the likes of River City Ransom, Final Fantasy 3, Mario Club Golf and Yie Ar Kung Fu exclusive to the Nintendo Classic Mini: Famicom (the Nintendo Classic Mini: NES also has its own exclusives: Bubble Bobble, Castlevania 2, Donkey Kong Jr, Final Fantasy, Kid Icarus, Punch Out, Startropics, Tecmo Bowl are all absent on the Famicom). Looks like if you’re a completionist you’ll have to get both, which given how gorgeous both units are I think I’m okay with.