Watch: Nioh lets you dress up like a Beefeater

Team Ninja’s action RPG Nioh is very nearly upon us – our went live earlier today, in fact. I played Nioh in preview and quite enjoyed myself, so I was keen to get stuck into the full game and further put my samurai skills to the test.

What I didn’t expect was that Nioh starts out in the Tower of London, with protagonist (and prisoner) William attempting to break out of his cell, gradually dressing himself up as a Beefeater as he goes.

After getting so used to seeing William dressed in Samurai armour it’s pretty strange to see him clad as a Yeoman Warder, but it’s pretty fun nonetheless. I captured the opening segment of Nioh to show off the Tower of London – traitor’s gate and all – and to give you an idea of what to expect from the game’s first twenty minutes or so.

Watch: We played Resident Evil 7 in real life

I’ve completed and, I have to say, I really enjoyed it. However, I stayed as far away as I could from the game’s widely touted VR mode because honestly, nope to every part of that. For some bizarre reason though, I said yes to undertaking the Resident Evil 7 Experience, a real-life escape-the-room in London that sets you against the twisted Baker family as you attempt to rescue the camera crew featured in one of the game’s playable VHS found footage segments. It was all rather stressful, but thankfully I had Luke from our lovely sister channel Outside Xtra to keep me company. I imagine if we’d sent Ian or Bratt they’d have gotten as far as the kitchen before curling themselves into a ball in the cupboard.

See how Luke and I got on in the video. If nothing else, I can now say I’ve actually crawled inside one of those morgue refrigerators in the dark and suffered a major fashion malfunction (blood on a white shirt, what was I thinking?) in the name of entertainment. A true hero of our age. If you’re interested in playing the game for yourself, you can have a look at a video I made that attempts to fill you in on beforehand, or, if you’re too chicken (and hey, no judgement here) you can watch as instead.

When Assassin’s Creed does modern day London slang

On Wednesday, 1st February, Titan Comics will release Assassin’s Creed: Uprising issue number one – the start of a brand new comic series.

I’m not particularly interested in Assassin’s Creed lore, nor the comics. But when it was brought to my attention that one of the comic book’s pages depicts a few modern day Londoners, I was interested to see how the writers played it, being a born and bred Londoner myself.

It turns out, the dialect is… interesting to say the least.

Watch us play Torment: Tides of Numenera on PS4

Funny to think a brand new Torment game is nearly here. Four and a half years ago it was a dream, an exciting idea, but on 28th February, Torment: Tides of Numenera lands.

I went to London last week to play the finished game but on PlayStation 4 rather than PC. I wanted to see how the simultaneously released console versions (PS4 and Xbox One) held up. They weren’t always part of the plan you see; they’re a happy consequence of Techland signing as publisher last summer.

The good news is, the PS4 version works perfectly well, a bespoke radial menu mapping controls comfortably to the controller. It can feel odd directly controlling characters in what is a click-to-move game on PC though, especially when you snag on bits of environment or struggle to interact with things because you’re standing in the wrong place. Pathfinding would normally sort that out for you.

Switch clicks in the hands, but on paper, it’s in trouble

You shouldn’t judge Nintendo hardware until you’ve held it in your hands. The Kyoto company, with its dedication to the synthesis of software and hardware, has always revelled in the physicality of video games. It has habitually excelled at creating innovative, ergonomic and tactile kit that can surprise and delight, just through its design.

Nintendo Switch lives up to that heritage. On arrival at this morning’s hands-on preview in London, I made a beeline for the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild demo. It wasn’t the game itself that interested me – it seems magnificent, but the demo contents were the same as the Wii U build shown at last year’s E3 – it was the chance to experience Switch’s party piece. I began playing on a TV, using a familiar Pro controller. Then, halfway through my time, I plucked the Switch from its cradle and, after a button press, instantly resumed the epic open-world game in handheld mode.

It is an effortless, magical moment – a great piece of technological theatre. Unlike its bizarre predecessor, the Wii U, the appeal of this feature isn’t hard to understand or to communicate. And it’s a very desirable gadget, too. The console itself, when removed from its plain-to-the-point-of-ugly dock, is beautiful. It’s very slim but luxuriously large, and the screen is intensely bright and sharp; its 1280×720 resolution is more than adequate for its size. The image is vibrant and clear – if anything, Zelda displays more crisply here than on the TV. The console is light but not too light, having a pleasing heft. The materials feel high-quality, the sticks and buttons are perfectly placed, the tactile feedback is just so. It is very much a Nintendo console, but with its austere lines and glossy finish, it’s clearly a Nintendo console that’s been designed to compete with sleek tablets like the iPad Mini. On that level, it can hold its own.

A glimpse of VR’s infinite canvas

I’ve become obsessed with paintings recently. Not art in general: paintings. I’ve been going to galleries in London and leaning in close to see the brush strokes on the canvas or the wood. I’ve been learning about glazes, tints, and something called scumbling, which, it transpires, is almost as good as its name. It’s been…amazing.

This started off because of my recent crush on Velazquez, an artist who applies paint so thinly that you can sometimes see the weave of the canvas peering through. He gets this incredible depth of feeling – integrity, the sense of a private moment captured and explored – and he does it with the lightest of materials, applied with a long-handled brush. You get a sense of speed. He’s a genius, but the thinness of his paint really takes him to another level. Everybody who loves Velazquez mentions it: so little paint, and he does so much with it.

In a book by Matthew Collings I got a glimpse of what I’ve truly become obsessed with. Matthew Collings is an art writer of imagination and playfulness – he reminds me a bit of our own Bertie – and he’s a painter, too. In Matt’s Old Masters, he writes about the appeal of paint: “…the idea that the handling of it has an expressive, rich, luxurious life of its own.”

Time to kill genre?

This piece contains spoilers for a mission in Titanfall 2 that you really don’t want spoiled.

I wish I could have visited the old library in the Warburg Institute. The Warburg is an establishment in London committed to exploring iconography, or the study of meaning in art, and its library, as I discovered in Everything is Happening, a book by the late Michael Jacobs that I was reading on the bus in today, was arranged accordingly.

It sounds fairly disorientating:

Win tickets to Nintendo’s Pokémon Sun and Moon launch event

Nintendo is holding a special launch event for Pokémon Sun and Moon in London later this month, and we have 30 pairs of tickets to give away.

The Pokémon Festival will be held on 22nd November 2016 at The Old Truman Brewery from 5pm to 10pm.

You’ll be able to compete in Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon’s new Battle Royal mode, and Pokémon battle designer Shigeki Morimoto will be on hand to offer tips and to take on challengers.

Gran Turismo may have fixed its long-standing sound problem

For a long time, Gran Turismo has had a problem with sound. Namely, its cars instead of roaring and barking and popping and wheezing whined like sickly hoovers, while everything was drowned out by tyres that squealed like a boiling bag of kittens.

That was supposed to change for Gran Turismo Sport, and developer Polyphony, if you’ll excuse the turn of phrase, was making all the right noises. It had hired a sound designer from Forza Motorsport’s Turn 10, and it put out a blog detailing how it was going about improving its audio design. And then, at the Gran Turismo Sport launch event, the cars all had engine notes that sounded like long, limp farts. It wasn’t too promising.

Gran Turismo Sport has come on a long way since then, though, its visuals polishing up nicely (especially on the PlayStation 4 Pro version that’s being shown off right now at an event in London) while its audio has come a long way too. It’s still a work in progress, but what’s on show here is a big improvement over what’s gone before in the series.