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.

Activision will let you try Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare free for five days

A generous portion of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will be free to play this weekend and into next week.

You’ll be able to download the game without charge from 6pm UK time this Thursday, 15th December and try all three main modes until 6pm Tuesday, 20th December.

The announcement does not list available platforms, but Activision has told Eurogamer it will be available on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

What works and what doesn’t with PlayStation 4 Pro

Just over a month has passed since PlayStation 4 Pro arrived in the Digital Foundry office – and we’ve been gradually working our way through its . The quality of Pro support varies from title to title but at its best, the new console absolutely delivers in providing an enhanced PlayStation experience worthy of a 4K display. Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, Battlefield 1, FIFA 17, Ratchet and Clank, Hitman, inFamous, Robinson: The Journey, Titanfall 2 – and doubtless many more – all provide a palpable, compromise-free upgrade. However, it’s fair to say that it’s also been a rocky road for the Pro and with Project Scorpio on the way, we can sure that Microsoft is watching intently, tweaking and refining its own 4K proposition based on feedback to the new PlayStation.

So with the benefit of experience, what works and what doesn’t with Sony’s new console? At the most basic level, the platform holder has demonstrated that there is demand for a mid-generation PlayStation refresh, and the time is right for a machine that targets 4K displays. Ultra HD screens are shipping in volume, the prices on new panels are often irresistible and while there are still aspects of TV technology that require refinement – principally HDR support or the lack of it – we’re at the point now where even bargain-basement branded screens offer excellent value and performance.

Beyond the Pro’s spec, there are two major achievements to highlight that will change console gaming going forward: it has taken 4K gaming (or an approximation of it) to the mainstream and it has also prioritized and started to deliver on the promise of full high dynamic range rendering. And in both respects, it has managed to leapfrog PC – the usual pioneer in gaming innovation – in terms of wider-scale consumer adoption. Back in April, I saw some exceptional HDR software at the GTX 1080 launch – but it’s Sony hardware that is now delivering HDR games in reasonable volume. By the time Scorpio arrives, HDR support should be commonplace in new games and TV implementations to support it should be more robust. But let’s be clear – it’s Sony that has been the catalyst here.

Farming Simulator 17 ploughs through the competition

Titanfall 2, Dishonored 2, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Watch Dogs 2 – the list of big-budget games that have failed to live up to sales expectations this year is a surprisingly long one. Well, there’s one game that’s smashed sales expectation – and it did it without guns, hacking or wall running. It did it with…

Tractors.

Farming Simulator 17 has a whopping one million players, publisher Focus Home Interactive said. That’s a total achieved less than a month after the game went on sale.

Amazon slashes prices on Dishonored 2 and Watch Dogs 2 for Black Friday

It is still not Black Friday, quite, but Amazon has rolled out . The company has announced a raft of deals will be going live this evening from 8pm UK time, including significant price cuts on console bundles and very new game releases.

The eyebrow-raising entries are Dishonored 2 and Watch Dogs 2, which are both being cut down to £32.99 – the latter barely a week after launch. Watch Dogs 2’s launch sales fell far, far short of its predecessor, prompting Ubisoft to issue a statement saying it expected Cutting the price seems a good way to make that happen. Battlefield 1, FIFA 17 and Call of Duty Infinite Warfare have received the same discount.

Elsewhere a 500GB PS4 bundle with Uncharted 4 and FIFA 17 is now £199.99 – the cheapest Xbox One S pack is £229.99, with a controller and your choice of FIFA or Minecraft. Destiny: The Collection, which includes the base game and all expansions, has been reduced to £19.99, which is the cheapest we’ve seen it for. Here’s the full list:

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s 4K performance analysed on PS4 Pro

At its heart, it’s still Call of Duty – but both tonally and technologically, Infinite Warfare is quite a shift from CODs of years past. Sitting down to play the campaign on PlayStation 4 Pro, there’s still the sense that this is the videogames equivalent to a full-on Michael Bay-style Hollywood blockbuster, but now the core aesthetic of the game has evolved to match the franchise’s cinematic aspirations, requiring a significant shift in rendering technology. The question we had going in: what’s changed under the bonnet, and can the title sustain the series’ signature 60fps action?

We’ve already looked at the game late on production via – the PlayStation Meeting PS4 Pro reveal, based on a snippet of campaign action, and the EGX multiplayer version. Single-player performance in particular was a concern, varying between 40-60fps. Understandably, multiplayer looked more solid, but frame-rate still dropped around explosive moments, and actually looked more impacted than the standard PlayStation 4 release based on completely unscientific comparisons undertaken at the EGX showfloor.

The happy news is that the final release code represents a huge improvement. Multiplayer is rock-solid, while the campaign gets very, very close to it – as you can see for yourself in the video below. Similar to Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1, the implementation of dynamic resolution scaling makes a key difference here, reducing rendering load in problematic areas, keeping frame-rate high. The base PS4 and Xbox One versions use a horizontal upscaler ranging from 960×1080 to full HD, with additional super-sampling provided via a temporal component. PS4 Pro uses a different solution, ranging from checkerboarded 1560p all the way up to full 2160p 4K.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare review

Let’s pretend, for a moment, that the phrase ‘Infinite Warfare’ actually means something. Let’s pretend that it isn’t just the usual flavour text, tacked onto the title to mark a studio’s painful rebirth, while sparing older gamers the vertigo of actually reading the words ‘Call of Duty 13’. Let’s pretend that it is something tangible. Even navigable. The mathematical symbol for infinity is a figure of eight turned on its side. I gaze at that symbol and after a while, I begin to see something I recognise. A single, looping path, belted at the waist to create an intersection and thus, blind spots and flanking opportunities – a terrain for engagement which ensures a combatant can strike out at whim and find their way inexorably to a foe.

I see the bare vertebrae of an Infinite Warfare multiplayer map, a combat centrifuge in which every detail serves to situate and direct, propelling you onward and around as if by magnetism. I see Frost, with its alcoves occupied by worker droids (whose ceaseless plodding I still occasionally mistake for hostile activity) and its euphoric wall-running routes, whirling you down the flank like a pinball along a rail. I see Frontier, with its two main corridors arranged cross-wise atop each other, its low ceilings nudged by free-falling corpses. I see Breakout, a mountaintop lock-up whose transparent cells gaze out over miles of snow, scree and cloud – the designer’s joke perhaps being that a prison remains a prison, whether you’re scurrying along the outside of the cell with rifle in hand or staring glumly through the glass.

These are environments that instil a strange mixture of boldness and anxiety. Yes, there is no possibility of getting lost (should you ever lose your bearings, maps are now divided into zones that are named on the HUD), but by the same token there is nowhere to hide. Wherever you are in an Infinite Warfare map – save for when playing the surprisingly restful new mode Frontline, a TDM variant which gives each side a fixed spawning area in which your lifebar is dramatically extended – there is almost always somebody coming up behind you.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare launch sales down nearly 50% on Black Ops 3

Launch sales of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare were down 48.5 per cent compared to last year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.

Both Infinite Warfare and Blops 3 launched on a similar Friday in November. Both games had a huge marketing push. But, for a number of reasons, Infinite Warfare sold only half as well.

That’s not to say Infinite Warfare flopped – far from it. Infinity Ward’s sci-fi shooter was still 2016’s second-largest launch in the UK – behind FIFA 17 – despite losing half its sales year-on-year.