Overwatch has become my favourite tawdry soap opera

Overwatch is a game of Pixar movie sets, complex yet digestible hero classes and chirpy bastard robots who spew bullets into chokepoints till they’re eaten alive by Oriental dragons. But above all else, it’s a game about family – a family that lives at the intersection between official Blizzard canon and the crude, loopy or touching sitcom sketches, apocryphal romances and in-jokes thrown together by the most besotted Overwatch fans.

That’s a disgracefully syrupy angle, a really mushy take on a rigorously built game, but we can all be excused a bit of mushiness at the end of the year, when daylight is a distant memory in more ways than one. And besides, the brilliant thing about Overwatch’s family dynamics is that they’re also, to a degree, the dynamics of play.

Take Soldier 76, Overwatch’s founding member and its go-to Call of Duty guy. When I pick him I’m not just my team’s dependable all-rounder but its – the kind of dad who hides in the garden shed with his radio most weekends but can always be relied on to show up for every last after-school dance rehearsal or, as the case may be, help a wounded Lucio see off a rampaging Roadhog. This is the vision of Jack Morrison that has been handed down by artists like – equal parts official backstory and Tumblr gag – and you’ll always find him at the heart of the group, keeping everybody on target and intact. Conversely, when I play D.Va I’m Morrison’s tearaway brat, a belligerent gamer toddler after the example of who never lets a shot go unanswered and is partial to spamming the bunny emote on top of the payload.

Watch: We made Stephen’s Sausage Roll for real

Hopefully you’ve seen by now, but after months of (frankly delightful) pestering from Eurogamer user Neilka. It was a bittersweet moment, to be honest – the whole team has been excited about this plan after we hatched it a few weeks ago, but at the same time it’s hard not to be aware of the fact we’re killing the best running joke on the site in the process.

In recognition of this historic moment, I decided to mark December the 25th – henceforth to be known as Stephen’s Sausage Roll Review Day – by getting in the kitchen and making a Stephen’s Sausage Roll sausage roll. You can see how I got on in the video below, then find the recipe below that.

Stephen’s Sausage Roll sauage roll recipe

Stephen’s Sausage Roll review

Last night, I ducked out of the living room saying, “Off for a bit – I’m going to cook some sausages.” Three hours later, I was still at it. Sausages burned: too many to mention. Sausages cooked: zero. Stephen’s Sausage Roll is a wonderful puzzle game. It is very literal, too: you roll sausages around to play, rolling them over grills in order to cook them and finish each challenge. It is also so clearly the product of an alien intelligence. Stephen Lavelle is a genius and a monster. His genius is monstrous, and his sausages should not be approached lightly.

“The King of Sausage Rollers is definitely Stephen, as demonstrated in Stephen’s Sausage Roll, an excellent puzzle game that Eurogamer could review if they wanted.”

I now see that the simplicity of this game is what makes it so terrifying. Cook a few sausages. Cook a few more. Each sausage is essentially made of four blocks with two faces each, and each face be rolled over the grill just once to cook them. Miss one out and the sausage isn’t cooked. Let one touch the grill twice and it’s burnt and you’re screwed. You roll these sausages around little patches of land, a grid-based layout in which some squares are taken up with the grills, some can be rolled over as merrily as you like, and some are missing entirely.

2016 was all about the little details

2015 for me was dominated by a single game – The Witcher 3. Nothing came remotely close to CD Projekt’s dark fantasy masterpiece. It was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. This year, it’s been far harder for me to pick a favourite. I agonised over my best games list for a silly amount of time, and even now I’m not entirely happy with it.

Part of the problem is, when I look back upon 2016, I don’t really think about specific games at all. Instead, my mind conjures little moments and individual scenes from about half a dozen titles. I think about the mesmerising gears of Dishonored 2’s clockwork mansion. I think about wandering the detritus-strewn streets of Mankind Divided’s Golem City. I think about the little puff of confetti that accompanies the opening of any ride on Planet Coaster. I think about how I killed a man in Hitman by moving some pencils around on his desk. I think about Trico’s feathers.

2016 for me, was all about the little details. And I don’t think this is accidental. This year has seen a marked shift in the priorities of developers.

Jelly Deals: The Last Guardian is down to £25 right now

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.) Full disclosure: if you make a purchase from one of these links, we may receive a small commission from the retailer. Hopefully you’ll find it useful!

This year has been rife with games being discounted within weeks after their launch but today has shown us possibly the most drastic of price drops for a new release. At the time of writing, if you head over to ShopTo you’ll be able to pick up a copy of the latest game from the creators of Shadow of the Colossus and Ico, The Last Guardian on PS4 for only £24.85. That’s for the ‘Exclusive Launch Edition’ of the game too, which features an extra nice slipcase cover to go over the regular box art. The standard edition of the game is also on sale for £24.85, though the Collector’s Edition is maintaining its £105 price-point for the moment.

As of this moment Amazon, who are known to price-match discounts on newly released games quickly after they appear, is holding it’s standard pricing of £44 but you may want to keep an eye on the just in case. In any case, it’s one heck of a price drop this close to the game’s release and I would expect the stock to vanish quickly. If you’ve been holding out on picking up a copy of this one until now, you may want to act fast to grab one of these. Merry Christmas, PS4 owners, I guess!

Jelly Deals roundup: Final Fantasy 15, Gears of War 4, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare 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!

Time is seriously about to run out if you’re yet to finish all of your Christmas shopping. These are now the last desperate days of scrambling for deals before they go out of stock and the hurried purchases of a final few items. Then, you can relax: crash out in front of Wallace and Gromit with a drink in one hand and chocolates in the other, admiring all bargains you took advantage of over the last few weeks. Ready to do it all again next year? No? I don’t blame you.

Anyway, while we’re on the cusp on last shipping dates there are still deals to be found across the tech and gaming realm. Perhaps, instead of picking up something for someone else, you might want to reward yourself with an early Christmas treat. Come take a look at what’s on offer.

Super effective: The year of Pokémon Go

Forget Trump, Brexit or any of the other colossal events that have shaped 2016 in their own peculiar way; it’s telling that, after all that’s happened these last 12 months, it was Pokémon Go that was the most searched term of the year. This was a gaming phenomenon like no other – or, at the very least, the closest games have come to causing full-on hysteria since the boom days of the early 80s. Only a few short months on from the madness of the summer, it’s all too easy to forget the impact Pokémon Go had, so to remember we’ve pieced together a few personal anecdotes from the Eurogamer team.

Martin: The world changed in so many ways in 2016, and over the summer it underwent a gentle metamorphosis that was all too fleeting. On my cycle back home during the long July evenings, the car park by Halfords in Catford would thicken with mobs, while the park around the back of my house was patrolled by small pockets of families. It was a phenomenon unlike anything I’d ever seen in gaming before: Nintendo’s Wii was perhaps the last thing of compare, though that was a revolution that happened in people’s living rooms, but this was one that could be seen out on the streets.

For a short while it seemed that everyone was playing Pokémon Go, and it was delightful – strangers would work together. People who’d never spoken to each other before would share stories and point one another in the direction of a nearby Psyduck. I noticed landmarks on my doorstep that I’d overlooked in the past five years of living in this particular part of south east London – the knee-high monument that’s been overrun with weeds one the outskirts of Ladywell Fields, the home of King Kong screenwriter Edgar Wallace in the dark heart of Brockley. It’s rare that a video game opens up your eyes to the world around you. It’s even rarer to find one that makes that world seem like a happier, warmer place.

2016: The year that time remembered

Two of my favourite quotes about physics come from what you’d probably call unscientific sources. One is from Lauren Child’s scatterbrained hero Clarice Bean – “Sometimes I think gravity is a pity” – and the other is often attributed to Albert Einstein but is more likely from Ray Cummings’ 1921 short story, The Time Professor: “Time is what keeps everything from happening all at once.”

Games, I think, have long been inspired by the daydreaming sentiment behind Clarice Bean’s earnest musing. We are used to speeding, double-jumping and flying through space without the rigid pull of the Earth’s mass. And I think this year especially games have taken more notice of not-Albert Einstein, and given greater consideration to why things happen, when. What follows isn’t a grand theory of how time appears in games in 2016 – you’ve got the wrong guy for that, I’m the guy who just quoted a children’s book in an intro – but a survey of why, more than other years, 2016 had the tang of time about it.

One way time has imposed itself on 2016 is with the arrival of games previously caught in protracted development. I’m talking about the un-vapouring of The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy 15 in particular, though they both feel in some way related to our current wish-fulfillment crowdfunding culture, where sometimes just longing for something hard enough can make it real. Final Fantasy is, of course, a series locked into a constant process of self reinvention, its numbering sequence more like software versioning than a marker of continuation – it’s just that Final Fantasy 15 underwent this process on its own and unreleased. In the end, the finished game feels new, all traces of decade-old systems iterated away during production, even if screenshots and trailers of its evolution exist in the amber chambers of the internet.

Gravity Rush 2 demo out tonight

Sony’s releasing a Gravity Rush 2 demo tonight.

The PlayStation 4 demo goes live on the PlayStation Store at 6pm UK time. The game itself doesn’t come out until January.

Sony said there are two paths through the demo, one for newcomers to the gravity-defying adventure series, another for those familiar with protagonist Kat’s powers.

Watch: 23 minutes of Nier Automata gameplay

A pretty weighty demo for Nier: Automata is available to download now on the PlayStation store. It’s quite a generous chunk of the game to be honest, taking around half an hour to complete – or maybe a bit less if you’re super-skilled.

I’ll take this opportunity to stress that I am not super-skilled; truth be told I am neither very experienced nor especially competent with action RPGs. When we were given the chance to play the demo in advance, however, I was the only one who could make it, so you’ve got my gameplay. Sorry about that.

All in all though, I found Nier: Automata quite fun to play. It’s fairly easy to keep track of everything that’s happening on-screen, while the customisation options seem comprehensive enough to suit most players. You can watch 23 minutes of gameplay in the video below – I’ve snipped off the final minute or so in order to avoid spoiling the ending.