USB4

A week after USB 3.2 Gen 2.2, we get USB4. Intel had previously announced that its Ice Lake platform, due to ship later this year, will integrate both Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 Gen 2 (aka USB 3.2 Gen 2) controllers. Currently, offering Thunderbolt 3 requires the use of an additional chip, one of Intel’s Alpine Ridge or Titan Ridge Thunderbolt 3 controllers. Intel said that it would contribute the Thunderbolt specification to the USB Promoter Group, the same organization that announced the USB4 specification. Doing so will enable other chip makers in the USB-PG to build Thunderbolt 3 silicon royalty-free. As such, we’d expect to see it become nearly universal. Why is this such a big deal? Thunderbolt 3 on the 3.1 standard could bring 40Gbps data transfers, which is about double the speed of the preceding USB 3.2 specification. Its exciting times ahead as, universal standard with higher power delivery has endless possibilities.

9th Gen Intel Core and Intel Core X

Intel unveiled its 9th Gen Intel Core and Intel Core X Series processors early October with the notable omission of a key feature: Hyper-Threading, at least on all but the most exclusive Core i9-9900K for mainstream PCs. Hyperthreading has also been reserved for a new iteration of Intel’s X-series processors, which includes up to 18 cores and 36 threads.

 

“Our goal is to deliver leadership performance across all computing segments and product lines,” said Anand Srivatsa, vice president and general manager, Desktop, Systems and Channel, within the Client Computing Group at Intel. “Today’s announcements underscore our ability to do exactly that, including, hands-down, the world’s best processor for gaming. Whether a gamer, a creator or an expert using the most advanced workstation applications possible, Intel and our partners are focused on delivering balanced platforms with real-world leadership performance and robust capabilities that exceed their needs.” We have AMD to thank for Intel’s new focus on core count, but is it enough to pull back the considerable shift to Ryzen. 

 

The CORE (i5-9600K, i7-9700K and i9-9900K) 
The biggest upgrade to the 9th Gen Intel Core desktop processors come to the  unlocked “K” SKUs at each level with up to 40 platform PCIe 3.0 lanes for system expandability. Other improvements in this generation include:
•  Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 delivering up to 5.0 GHz single-core frequency.
• Video editing improved on Adobe Premiere – Up to 34 percent faster video editing compared with the previous generation.
• Overall system performance improved up to 15 percent better as compared with previous generation.
• Overclock these new processors with the Intel  Extreme Tuning Utility (Intel  XTU), a precision tool for advanced overclocking, and take advantage of the additional thermal headroom with solder thermal interface material (STIM).

 

Chipset
The 9th Gen Intel Core processors are compatible with all Intel® 300 Series chipset motherboards for more consumer options. However, to appreciate the full potentials of the new 9th gen intel core processors, intel is introducing the new intel Z390 Chipset which includes high-speed integrated USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Intel Wireless-AC with support for Gigabit Wi-Fi speed. Preorders for the 9th Gen Intel Core processors and Intel Z390 chipset motherboards began on 8th of October 2018 from a variety of global vendors and retailers.

 

X Series platform focused on creators.
9th Gen Intel Core x-series Processors are designed with high frequencies and various features for both single-threaded and multi-threaded heavy workloads. These processors can handle the most demanding task and applications. These processors are built on Mesh Architecture which increases the memory and I/O bandwidth while decreasing the latency. Intel announce the following seven SKUs:
• i7-9800X
• i9-9820X
• i9-9900X
• i9-9920X
• i9-9940X
• i9-9960X
• i9-9980XE
The new Intel Core X-series processors offers scalable options with up to 18 cores, 36 threads, 24.75 MB Intel Smart Cache, and up to 68 platform PCIe lanes. The intel core X-series processors enable the creators to perform effective and simultaneous heavy multi-tasks like encode, edit, render, transcode and more. With Intel Turbo Boost 3.0 technology, users do not have to cherry-pick processors for lightly threaded or heavily threaded workloads. The workloads can be directed to the processors two fastest cores, optimizing for light threaded performance when necessary. The new Intel Core X-series processors will be available in November.
Intel Core X-series processors will also enable software developers to write applications that take advantage of Intel® AVX-512 instructions to accelerate computing performance for parallel workloads.

 

The Xeon 
Intel has introduced new W-3175 Xeon Processor. The 28-core 56-thread processor's clock speed starts at 3.1GHz and goes up to 4.3GHz. It has a TDP of 255W and is based on Intel's Skylake-X architecture. The processor also supports six channels of memory with upto 512 GB at 2666Mhz. this chip also supports ECC and the Standard RAS. This is a server level chip that is targeted for compute-intensive applications and workloads like industrial design, animations and more. The Intel Xeon W-3175X processor will ship from Intel in December.To celebrate the launch of the new 9th Gen Intel Core processors, Intel is hosting the 9th Gen Intel Core i9 Processor Dreamstakes to give away nine unique, once-in-a-lifetime VIP trips to world-class esports and gaming events, including Intel Extreme Masters, the Overwatch League*, ESL One* and the NBA2K* League.  In addition, thousands of digital codes for some of the most popular games will be given away with this sweepstakes.  Visit corei9.intel.com to view official rules and enter for a chance to win starting on Nov. 5, 2018.

The last tale


Looks like the end for one of the best story tellers in the video games industry. Makers of The Walking Dead, Batman Tales, Tales From The Borderlands and our personal favorite The Wolf Among Us amongst others Telltale Games has laid of all but 25 employees as of September 21, 2018. Currently Telltale only hopes to “fulfill the company’s obligations to its board and partners.”

The company’s CEO, Pete Hawley, also issued the following statement:

“It’s been an incredibly difficult year for Telltale as we worked to set the company on a new course. Unfortunately, we ran out of time trying to get there. We released some of our best content this year and received a tremendous amount of positive feedback, but ultimately, that did not translate to sales. With a heavy heart, we watch our friends leave today to spread our brand of storytelling across the games industry.”

For those who follow the company, the news may not be as shocking as it is to others, the company had to let go of 90 of its employees in November, 2017. There have also been reports of the company’s resources being stretched, employees having to put more hours into productions, senior developers walking away and the law suit by former CEO Kevin Bruner. All things considered Walking Dead Season II may be left unfinished by the 15 year old company.

Telltale had created an iconic style with the first Walking Dead game, developing their own game engine and this opened doors to numerous licenses Minecraft, Guardians Of The Galaxy, The Game Of thrones, Batman, Jurassic Park, Back To The Future and many more. In June Telltale had discussed plans to stream its games to subscribers, they were also rumors of them working on a game based on Stranger Things and some of the best in the business were working on the sequel to Wolf Among Us. In the end corporate drama and the niche nature of the genre they mastered in games has taken its toll. But as they leave we have nothing but fond memories of their beautiful narrative and creative art style.

Torbjörn Rework

Our favorite dwarf, is getting a major update. Torbjörn is moving away from being a control point, defense only pick to a versatile and balanced hero.

Jeff Kaplan Developer Update.

For those who wish to skip the developer update, here are the essentials.

Armor Packs

A major part of Torbjörns skill set was the ability to generate armor packs, each armor pack gave him or an ally 75 armor. The catch being, the need to collect scrap (Auto generates one scrap every second, and could pick up scrap from dead enemies or turrets.) Which meant that killing an enemy long range wasn’t enough he had to get close or behind enemy lines to actually collect enough scrap to be of value to his team. Torbjörn could only carry 200 scrap at a time which let him create four armor packs at best.

Armor packs and the scrap system have been removed in their entirety. Instead he gets a new ability (Overload) which temporarily gives him 150 armor, increased movement speed and also increases the fire rate on his rivet gun. This does not replenish health if he had been damaged before the ability was used.

Molten Core

The demon turret from hell which never misses is being replaces with pools of molten lava. Torbjörn could single handedly contest a point even from spawn, if the enemy team ignored his level two turret. His ultimate would instantly upgrade the level two turret to an 800 health level three, with a fire rate that could rival Orissa and never miss. OPAF, but take out his level two and he wastes precious ultimate charge on building a turret or a basic buff to his fire rate and armor.

This heavy dependency on the damage potential of his ultimate on the location and level of his turret has been removed.

During molten core Torbjörn can now shoot ten balls of molten lava, quite similar to the .52 Gal from Splatoon. The lava stays on the floor and deals damage to any enemy crossing it and kills anyone who cannot disengage quickly enough. This also does additional damage to armor, including armor given by Brigitte.

Builder

Torbjörn , no longer has to build turrets up from level one to two. He can simply throw a turret which will allow some creative gameplay and they simply set up as level two turrets and start dishing out damage in under four seconds. He still has the ability to repair a turret if he feels the need to leave it at particular point and the turret build is on cool down. He also has the ability to destroy turrets similar to Sombra’s beacon.

This is the biggest buff, within the update. Torbjörn no longer has to stop firing and risk elimination during a build. He can simply chuck the turret and continue dealing damage or disengaging. The turret instantly starts dealing damage as soon as it sets up. It also prefers the target you pick instead of the one closest. ie. if you are engaged in a fight further away from the turret. The turret will continue to fire at the enemy you fire at using the rivet gun. This is amazing, it lets you prioritize and say pick off healers from the back line even if a tank is up front trying to shift focus to them.

Overview

Overall, this changes Torbjörn’s play style from being a bunker to a more active damage dealer. Molten core seems like a nerf in terms of potential damage dealt, but can now be used to punish enemy players coming through a choke, moving in groups and help control points. The new turret system and Overload are huge buffs for Torbjörn himself, but he can no longer beef up ally healers or save a critically wounded tank with his armor pack.

Closed Beta now that’s Injustice

Injustice

If you weren’t able to get an invite code for the closed Injustice 2 closed beta, here is what we’ve experienced so far. The gameplay is very similar to the first Injustice game, which isn’t a bad thing. The games pace, combat distance and combo mechanics are comparable to the prequel, especially for common characters like Batman and Superman, the key strokes themselves are  almost identical, which will give older players an initial advantage. Most of it is good, bouncing your enemies off intractable objects and through walls is strangely satisfying but you still have to key in your combinations before the animation kicks in, this makes the gameplay more repetitive than it needs to be. There is a significant upgrade to the visuals in Injustcie 2, which is why well be reviewing the full game on PC.

As teased in the trailer Injustice 2 brings armor customization to the franchise, there and hundreds of unlockable upgrades and skins within the game for each character, which will hopefully extend the life time of the game itself. In the current beta unlocks are very frequent and I doubt it’ll stay the same in the final release. I wish the armor was more varied, and similar to the characters back story itself. It makes sense to give Batman a mech suit but why do the same for Wonder Woman, she should be wearing armor that’s forged by Cyclopes. Unlocks are not just limited to HP and aesthetics either, you can unlock new moves and counters as well, making online casual play much more challenging. The gear can also be set to effect only visuals before a match begins if both players agree to the same.

The servers are stable but the quality of gameplay can vary a lot between games. This will most likely get patched out before the actual launch in May. The beta is pretty limited and only lets you play as Batman, Superman, Atrocitus and Supergirl.

  • Aquaman
  • Atrocitus
  • Bane
  • Batman
  • Brainiac
  • Black Adam
  • Black Canary
  • Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes)
  • Captain Cold
  • Catwoman
  • Cheetah
  • Cyborg
  • Darkseid
  • Deadshot
  • Doctor Fate
  • Firestorm
  • Flash (Barry Allen)
  • Green Lantern (John Stewart)
  • Green Arrow
  • Gorilla Grodd
  • Harley Quinn
  • Poison Ivy
  • Power Girl
  • Reverse-Flash
  • Robin (Damian Wayne)
  • Scarecrow
  • Superman
  • Supergirl (Power Girl Costume Included)
  • Swamp Thing
  • Wonder Woman

Here is the confirmed roster for Injustice 2 so far, stay tuned for more on Injustice 2.

Ryū ga waga teki wo kurau!

NOW

The FPS genre isn’t short of great games Counter Strike, Titanfall, Halo, Destiny, Doom, Rainbow Six, Battlefield, Call of Duty and the almighty Half Life 2 to name a few. FPS players are some of the most competitive and dedicated gamers on the planet. Countless hours perfecting head shots, Thousands of dollars invested on high refresh rate low lag panels, network equipment and bleeding edge hardware only to edge out the competition. Fans of a franchise are fanatical about their title, COD vs Battlefield is nerd El Clasico. Only the exceptionally inventive can hope to attain recognition in this saturated a market.

Overwatch isn’t all about vaporizing enemies to score points, stunning diversity is its greatest strength. 23 playable characters to date, each impeccably designed vary in skill sets, play style, personality, gorgeous art style and a backstory make Overwatch the best team based game of 2016. All characters are unlocked from the moment you sign in, 21 at launch (Sombra and Ana were added as free DLC). There is no pay to win system, the only items one can buy with actual currency are loot boxes which contain skins, voice lines, character animations all of which can be unlocked by leveling up in the game. Team building is essential in Overwatch, although characters are mostly divided into Attack, Defense, Tank and Healer each character plays very differently and it is up to the player to adapt. There can only be one of each character in a team making it crucial to familiarize oneself with the strengths and weakness of each character.

Quick play requires you to either move or stop a convoy, which moves along a fixed route. Learning the map gives you a better chance of setting up, a difficult to hit bastion or hidden widowmaker can prove devastating.

The game is usually well balanced although the recent buff to Symetra makes her rather OP at close range. Each character is has a counter and the ability to switch characters after each respawn, combined with intense overtimes make matches exiting to the end. It isn’t all about the character either, every map is unique and well executed. Blizzards continual updates bringing new and limited themed loot boxes throughout the year, brawls and varying arcade gameplay keep the game endlessly entertaining.

OW

The entry barrier to most online FPS games are very high and can be disheartening for new comers. As a 6v6 multiplayer, objective-based shooter, Yes, the character head shot damage modifier is much bigger than most ranked FPS games, but Overwatch finds accessibility not by lowering the skill ceiling, but by broadening the definition of skill. The person with deadshot aim is no more valuable than the person with the decision-making ability to know when a well-timed ability will turn an engagement, or the person with the map-sense to find the optimal locations to place sentry turrets.

Blizzard is legend in the realm of online gaming and with Overwatch as their new champion have affirmed their dominance over it. The pivotal marketing campaign pulling in 9 million users on beta out of which 7.6 million of them kept playing post launch. "Players have swapped heroes 326 million times and teamed up to deliver 11 million payloads to their destinations on the battlefields of tomorrow." Was their only press statement prior to launch. Currently there are 20 million Overwatch players all over the world and this figure is only growing.

Blizzard Beautiful, Diverse and immense tactical depth, Overwatch is a must play. If you don’t trust our review, Overwatch is free to play on the weekends on PSN, It will not disappoint.

Neural Link Established

If you are familiar with Titanfall, it quite possible you dint pay much attention to Titanfall 2 and initial sales figures did indicate the same. The lack of a single player campaign, ridiculous unlock system, Xbox exclusivity and the unbalanced Titan mechanics in multiplayer left a bitter taste if unmatched expectations especially considering the hype it generated post E3 2013.

Instead of teasing you till the end of the page, lets jump right into it, Titanfall 2 is absolutely stunning. It is better than the original in every way and could be our favorite game of 2016. It’s fast paced, visually stunning and incredibly entertaining. The game has a proper 6hr long story driven single player campaign, that’ll challenge fps player and platformer lover alike. COD may have created the whole wall run, double jump atmosphere but nothing comes close to the sheer momentum of Titanfall. The parkour style gameplay isn’t optional either, the levels are designed such that you either master traversal or quit. Luckily you have the Ghost mechanic to aid you if required, basically a hologram directing you on how to get from point A to B. Although you start as Rifleman Cooper, who aspires to be a pilot someday, A mortally-wounded mentor to transfer ownership of his Titan, BT, over to you in the first 10 minutes of the campaign. Although unusable until restored, BT’s voice and humor is a welcomed addition while you leap around looking for fuel cells. The unlikely friendship that grows between Jack and BT elevates the story mode into something that’s truly rewarding. You quickly believe that these characters really care for each other, which is repeatedly demonstrated by their actions throughout the campaign. BT is a devastating vanguard class Titan during firefights and a friendly giant at other times. Although game play is at its core fps, the game periodically separates both pilot and Titan which makes their relation almost symbiotic. You need BT to get through toxic sludge among other perils and often BT won’t be able progress without your aid. Titanfall’s boss battles have you facing other Titans which are interesting but not too challenging. Unlike previous titan fall games the Titan load out can be switched on the fly and picking the right mix of offensive and defensive abilities makes the boss battles much more satisfying.

TF

Multi player has been essential to the franchise and they have improved upon where the original left off. Attrition mode is back, player and Titan mobility has been increased, and Titan drops now happen quicker, thanks to a change which sees players receiving a small passive amount of Titan meter every few seconds. Meanwhile, the HUD has been improved, and bots are available in certain modes such as the new addition Bounty Hunt. Along the aforementioned modes, players can also compete in Mixtape, which constantly changes modes with each game; Amped Hardpoint, which has you stealing and protecting bases, Pilots vs. Pilots, 8v8 Mixtape, Last Titan Standing, Capture the Flag and Free for All. Coliseum allows users to have quake style 1v1 Titan battles but we won’t pay a lot of attention to something that requires you to but Doritos and Mountain Dew. Though some issues from the tech beta still remain, Titanfall 2’s multiplayer remains fun and addictive. There’s no season pass either, meaning every player is given access to any new map, weapon or mode for the life of the game.

A brilliant single player campaign married to inventive, skill-intensive multiplayer that takes fps to a whole new level. If you haven’t played it yet, try it and we are sure you’ll grab a copy immediately. Best played on the PC, Titanfall 2 is also available now on the PS4 along with the XBOX.

Hell on Mars

IDDQD if you are as old as I, you probably remember what that does. Doom has been around for over two decades and yet gameplay feels identical to the 1993 original, at least single player does. You charge into a room, shotgun demons in the face and repeat. There is little to no story, but looking for a plot in Doom feels dishonest. Doom excels are at what its supposed to be, great shooting and a variety of goring elite kills, which not lets you rip a demons arm off and beat it to death with it, but lets you regain health and ammo in the process. If you do get tired of the mindless violence, you have the opportunity to explore the rather large game environment and seek out hidden goodies all over including 26 Doom Guys. Doom is also one of the best looking games of 2016, the lighting and character models, explosions all look brilliant, especially on PC (Ultra Settings). The game is well optimized and transitions effortlessly between cut scenes, animations and gameplay. Fast, Frantic and absolutely Fantastic.

Doom Guy

Unfortunately, that’s just the single player campaign. Doom’s multi player is for the lack of a better word confused. It’s a bit of call of duty, some quake and melee cut scenes that teleport you with very little control.

Load outs give you two weapons each time you spawn and you pick up perk modules within the map. More experienced players will know where items are located and the shortcut system makes it exponentially challenging for the newer player. My biggest gripe about the multi player is the demon ruins, which let you transform into one of four demons. The system is critically imbalanced and lets you one shot enemies, it negates all player skill as you either run and hide from a demon or die. The snap map system works well and lets users create their own maps and share them online, users have already recreated classic levels among others which provides variety and adds to the overall experience. Doom isn’t a must buy, but for old fans this is a welcomed addition.