Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Siege - Amethyst Weapon Skin

A third year of Rainbow Six Siege content has been announced, to run in four quarterly seasons beginning January 2018, as normal, and with two new operatives per drop and new maps along the way.

But there's going to be something unusual to kick it all off: a cooperative event called Outbreak. This sounds like it could be a kind of zombie mode, as it's tied to the biohazard and quarantine theme of Season 1, Operation Chimera, and the two new French and Russian biohazard specialist operators coming with it.

Ubisoft Montreal said during a panel at the weekend we'll be fighting "against something that you might not totally expect" in Outbreak.

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Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (Classic, 2005)

Star Wars Battlefront 2 launched with 60 per cent fewer physical sales than Star Wars Battlefront 1.

Battlefront 2's big budget release was ruined by, arguably, the biggest controversy in gaming this year. The game's in-game loot boxes and, to a lesser extent, the high requirements needed to unlock the game's roster of heroes sparked an eruption of anger from fans which EA has been unable to contain. The publisher has U-turned on both fronts - but many fans still consider the game to include pay-to-win mechanics.

In a dramatic and unprecedented move last Friday, EA temporarily switched off all in-game purchases just as Battlefront 2 went live - although it was too late to reverse fan feeling towards the game.

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ATOMEGA

Atomega has stuck with me. Ubisoft Reflections' brilliant follow-up to Grow Home and Grow Up is an ingenious multiplayer battler that's completely unlike any other multiplayer battler I have ever encountered. And it's all so simple: as you race around an arena, blasting away at your enemies, you're also collecting the mass you need in order to grow. The bigger you are, the more dangerous you are and the more points you can score - but you're also more exposed.

I've been at this since the start on and off, but over the last few weeks it's gotten really interesting. Atomega launched with a single map. Now there are a handful.

Brilliantly, they all retain elements of the original map. There are the same sorts of buildings around the outside of the arena, which tends towards the kind of chunky, numinous architecture that you get from ancient cultures. In the centre, though, the maps have their own gimmicks. Temple has a vast structure with cavernous interiors lurking beneath a sickly green sky. Nova reaches towards the heavens, one tower balanced magically upon another. My favourite, though, is Void. Void is completely brilliant. In Void, as you might imagine, the important feature turns out to be the thing that's gone missing.

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Eurogamer


The Minecon Earth show happened yesterday and a handful of Minecraft announcements were made. The biggest was the reveal of Update Aquatic, an entire overhaul to oceans coming spring 2018, and it has dolphins - dolphins that can lead you to treasure, which is Flippering marvellous.

But also of note were accompanying updates on the development of the Super Duper Graphics Pack and cross-platform multiplayer for Minecraft on Switch. And I'm afraid neither will make it out this year.

On the Super Duper Graphics Pack, a Minecraft statement read: "While originally set for release this year, there's a lot of work to be done still and we're not going to be ready to launch it in 2017. We'll be releasing Super Duper next year."

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Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (Classic, 2005)

There was one crucial aspect of the Xbox One X experience we could not cover in our hardware review: to what extent is this actually a 4K games machine and what is the difference in the experience up against Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro? Since then, the X upgrades have rolled in, giving us a better picture of how the machines compare, but what we've been lacking is an apples to apples stress test comparison based on EA's Frostbite technology - one of the most advanced rendering engines on the market. FIFA 18 is impressive but hardly a challenge for the hardware but Star Wars Battlefront is perhaps the game we've been looking for. The results are certainly illuminating.

In many respects, we're looking at a virtual re-run of what we saw recently with Bethesda's Wolfenstein 2. The id Tech 6 engine shares a clutch of technologies also found in Frostbite, designed to maximise the visual return on all systems while targeting 60 frames per second action. First amongst them is dynamic resolution scaling, where both Wolfenstein 2 and Battlefront 2 adjust pixel-counts on the fly in order to sustain performance. PS4 Pro tops out at 2560x1440 on both titles, while Xbox One X pushes further - much further - delivering a maximum of 3840x2160, or full-fat 4K. That's a 2.25x increase in pixel-count, a surprising uplift bearing in mind the respective specs of the two systems.

Of course, dynamic resolution scaling could conceivably close the gap, but the variance in resolution between Pro and X remains wide: based on several measurements we took, the range varies between 1296p and 1440p on the Sony console, rising to an 1800p-2160p window in the same scenes tested on Xbox One X. The numbers are stark then, but another technology shared with id Tech helps to mitigate matters to a certain extent - temporal anti-aliasing. The Frostbite implementation isn't quite as intensive as id's, but it does the job in smoothing off the jaggies and eliminating the most obvious, glaring signs of upscaling.

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Eurogamer

This piece contains major spoilers for Call of Duty: WW2's campaign.

Mitterrand's last meal sounds like a riot - an ugly, vengeful riot conducted, if riots are a class of thing that can be conducted, against life itself. There were oysters, then there was foie gras, and then there was capon. Michael Paterniti, restaging this grim feast several years after the president's death, while writing a gloriously dark and searching piece titled The Last Meal, reveals that it was the work of four hours just to get through all that - through the oysters, the foie gras, the capon, the wine.

But the best was still to come - and the worst. The final course of Mitterrand's final dinner was ortolan, a tiny songbird that it is intermittently illegal to eat in France where, according to Paterniti, it "supposedly represent[s] the French soul." In preparation for dinner, the ortolans are "drowned in Armagnac and then plucked of their feathers." They are peppered and roasted in their own fat. You eat them whole.

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Eurogamer

Developer Nerial's wonderfully weird monarch sim Reigns is getting a sequel, Reigns: Her Majesty, on PC and mobile this December.

The original Reigns cast you as a benevolent (or malevolent, depending on your particular whims) medieval monarch. Your kingdom and legacy were entirely shaped by the responses you gave to the constant stream of questions and requests from advisors, peasants, allies, and enemies. The whole thing played out using an incredibly simple, but strangely compelling, Tinder-style swipe-to-decide interface.

As far as the mechanically similar sequel goes, Nerial says of Reigns: Her Majesty, "A cultural renaissance has bestowed the world with a new era of knowledge and enlightenment but greed and jealousy still conspire against the benevolent queen.

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SOMA

Amnesia developer Frictional Games' superb existential sea horror SOMA is coming to Xbox One on December 1st, and it'll include a new monster-free 'Safe Mode'.

Safe Mode, in Frictional's words, will permit you to "explore the story without being eaten by monsters . Scrubbing out the bit of the game that presents the most traditional form of challenge might seem an odd decision to some, but its generally agreed that SOMA's stealth-based monster encounters are far from being its strongest element.

Personally, I found SOMA's hide-and-seek sequences more frustrating than frightening, really only serving to hinder the flow of its puzzles and darkly philosophical narrative - so a Safe Mode is certainly welcome. Your enjoyment of SOMA's nautical assailants may vary.

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Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (Classic, 2005)

Blimey, there is hope. Because of a rising tide of discontent surrounding pay-to-win content in loot crates in Star Wars Battlefront 2, the ability to spend real money on them has temporarily been removed. Loot crates can only be bought with credits earned by playing the game.

This is a stop-gap measure until EA studio DICE can come up with a permanent solution people will be happy with. "The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we've made changes to the game," DICE boss Oskar Gabrielson said last night. We don't know whether it will take days or weeks or months.

But what can DICE do to fix loot crates and progression in Star Wars Battlefront 2? I see no other way than to stop beating around the bush and completely separate progression from the contents of loot crates - rip it right out - because it's here the real problem lies.

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Shadowhand

How can you not be desperate to play this: a game which blends the casual satisfaction of clicking cards away in a game of solitaire with a tactical turn-based RPG and a story about an 18th-century highwaywoman. Oh, and it's by the developers of the wonderful Jane Austen-themed puzzle game, Regency Solitaire.

The game is Shadowhand, it finally has a release date, and it's blessedly soon: 7th December. It will launch on that date for Windows and Mac on Steam, GOG, the Humble Store and direct from the publisher Positech.

If you're wondering why I sound so excited: well, I'm a solitaire obsessive and collector of its weird video game variants, and this sounds like the spiciest solitaire mash-up since Pocket Card Jockey on 3DS blended the card game with a surprisingly high-energy take on horse-racing. As such, I've been following Shadowhand for a what feels like a long time. I saw a convincing demo early last year and at that point we were expecting it last summer. Earlier this week, I asked the designer and programmer Jake Birkett what had taken so long over email and he said, "I should have known that combining a turn-based RPG with solitaire would take ages!"

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