Sable Review

Posted on September 22, 2021 by

For an adventure game with no combat, no fail state, and not even much in the way of an objective, exploring Sable’s ruined desert of Midden was rarely ever dull. Driving a hoverbike through its stylish open world or climbing giant mountains and crumbling cities can be a lot of fun in a zen-like fashion. But for all the ways it manages to delight in its simplicity, dull puzzles, distracting bugs, and poor camera controls can also occasionally turn Sable’s peaceful world into a frustrating one.

Sable tells a unique coming of age story, giving you control of a silent, masked protagonist in a fascinating world full of other creepy masked people, ruined sci-fi technology, and very little background to explain any of it. As a child entering adulthood, you begin a solitary quest to figure out who you are by exploring the vast desert around you – a ritual that plays out a bit like a mix between Dune and my nephew’s bar mitzvah.

What makes this odyssey so special is that you truly get to make it your own. After a brief introduction to teach you the basics, the world completely opens up to you with no “main questline” and only a few suggestions of where to go. Completing quests given to you by its excellently written NPCs will earn you magical masks, and once you’ve obtained just one you could turn around, go home, and end your journey right away. I spent 12+ hours exploring all the nooks and crannies of Midden, completing every quest, and soaking in all Sable has to offer, but others could complete their pilgrimage in just a few hours if they’d prefer. Every player’s experience is likely to be different, and the structure of this world is incredibly well-designed to support the different ways you can approach it.

No matter what paths you choose, however, the things you do in Sable will be largely the same. That includes riding a hoverbike around its visually stunning (if mostly empty) desert areas, solving simple puzzles, and doing a ton of platforming. Platforming is somewhat bare bones in its design: you’ve got the ability to jump, glide slowly through the air, and climb any surface with a slowly-depleting stamina bar (because Breath of the Wild made it so that’s just in every open-world game now, I guess). But despite those basic building blocks, it manages to be pretty engaging throughout, due in no small part to the beautiful terrain you’ll be scrambling across. You aren’t doing exciting midair dashes or using a grappling hook to swing across gaps, but the slower pace pairs perfectly with Sable’s zen tone.

Platforming's slower pace pairs perfectly with Sable’s zen tone.

That is, of course, when the camera isn’t getting in the way of an otherwise good time. Like countless 3D platformers before it, Sable suffers quite a bit from a wonky camera that’s constantly having dust kicked up into it when riding your hoverbike or phasing through objects when you’re trying to get it into the right angle for a jump. Thankfully, Sable’s platforming is decidedly low stakes and not very challenging, so it never made me rage really. But it’s still an underlying annoyance that doesn’t go away, and one that eventually started to steam my broccoli after long periods.

Compared to its amusing, minimalist platforming, riding the hoverbike around and solving environmental puzzles holds up less well over the dozen hours I spent with Sable. Its puzzles never really present any kind of challenge or clever design that makes you feel accomplished for solving them, with most obstacles amounting to simply standing on a button or placing a battery inside a socket to power something up. It’s not actively bad by any means, but also not really anything exciting to write home about either – again, just like my nephew's bar mitzvah.

Similarly, riding your hoverbike around the barren deserts is a good way to see the gorgeous landscapes of Sable’s ruined world, but it eventually amounts to little more than holding down the accelerator and waiting until you get where you’re trying to go. You can upgrade your bike and customize its color, look, and performance, but there’s not a pressing need to do so since you won’t be taking it into races or battles like Mad Max or anything. That means there’s not much to it, but Sable’s stylish, cell-shaded environments are still so dang interesting to look at that sometimes I forgot I’d been riding in a straight line for five minutes and wasn’t even heading in the right direction.

Once you do arrive at your destination, though, there’s plenty to do, and meeting people and taking on quests are some of the best moments Sable has. The writing is excellent across the board and although you never hear anyone speak or even see their face, there’s lots of memorable characters. I seriously wanted to meet everyone I could and was almost never disappointed in the hijinks and banter that followed. Sable almost always rewarded me for butting into the lives of others with quests that played out in unpredictable ways. In one quest, I posed as a fearsome vigilante to save a child, and in another I stole some poop from some bugs for science. I also climbed some giant floating crystals and ripped pieces of lightning out of them with my bare hands. Seriously, the stuff they have you do is all over the place in the best possible way.

The bugs and glitches you encounter along the way, though, are less alluring, and Sable is just teeming with them, big and small. There’s everything from visual glitches like bushes that fly around and snap back in place like rubber bands or bushes that let you see through the world map when you point the camera at them (there are non-bush related bugs, too). Framerate issues and other visual blemishes like this aren’t game-breaking, but they do add up to noticeably hinder the experience. One time an emotional cutscene was completely ruined when my bike seemingly cloned itself and then rammed into its doppelganger during a serious moment. It was hilarious, obviously, but probably not what the developers were going for.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are also issues that actually do have more dire consequences. These ranged from getting locked out of a quest because a vendor’s goods weren’t showing up, to my bike becoming invisible for some reason for a few hours, to my character’s money not showing up correctly leaving me guessing if I could afford things or not. Most issues were resolved by resetting a few times, but not all of them, and the threat of bugs mucking something up was a constant fear throughout my otherwise enjoyably peaceful journey.

Discord is testing official YouTube integration Discord

Posted on September 22, 2021 by


Less than a month after YouTube sent two popular music bots to the big digital scrapheap in the sky, Discord has reportedly begun testing official YouTube integration. The Verge says that the new feature, called Watch Together, is now available on a small number of Discord servers, and enables users to—as you might have guessed—watch YouTube videos together.

The feature was apparently in testing almost a year ago, but has been resurrected and given a new priority by Discord because of the bot shutdowns. It's designed specifically for YouTube: Discord users can create playlists by searching for or pasting in links, and there's also an option to let other members control the video playback. And since there's plenty of music on YouTube, you can use it in a fashion similar to the Groovy and Rythm bots, although you may have to deal with ads blasting through the experience now and then.

Discord's YouTube integration is reportedly only available on a very limited number of servers, but the report says testing is expected to broaden over the next few weeks and Discord hopes to open it up to everyone by the end of October. Discord unfortunately isn't saying anything official about it at this point.

“As a company founded on innovation, we’re always experimenting and building things we believe our users will enjoy,” a Discord spokesperson said in an email to PC Gamer. “We don’t have anything more to share right now, but stay tuned.”

We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, we would once again urge you to please enjoy Discord while it's still good

Best Buy’s In-Store Event Celebrates Actually Having PS5s and Xbox Series X In Stock

Posted on September 22, 2021 by

It's been almost a year since Sony and Microsoft released their ninth-generation gaming consoles the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. Yet, buying either of the three new consoles has been difficult due to an ongoing chip shortage. If you are still looking to get your hands on one of the latest gaming consoles, Best Buy has announced that select locations will sell both PS5s and Xbox Series X consoles tomorrow.

Heading to Best Buy's website, the retail chain announced that select locations will have limited quantities available of the Xbox Series X in addition to the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition. More than 300 Best Buy locations across the United States (plus one location each in DC and Puerto Rico) will carry a limited number of ninth-generation consoles.

To make sure as many people as possible can purchase a console, Best Buy confirmed that each of the eligible retail stores would be enforcing a one-console-per-customer rule, with employees to begin handing out tickets at 7:30 am local time. Acquiring a ticket guarantees you the opportunity to purchase either a PS5 or Xbox Series X inside the store.

This is the first time Best Buy is selling these highly desirable gaming consoles since both were released last November, which the retailer pledged ahead of both console's release dates that it would not sell either in-stores until 2021.

Prior to this announcement, if you wanted to buy either console from Best Buy, you had to do so through its website or mobile app. Best Buy previously did in-store restocks at select locations. With the retail giant selling limited quantities of RTX 30 graphics cards at select locations in both June and July.

Taylor is the Associate Tech Editor at IGN. You can follow her on Twitter @TayNixster.

Call of Duty Vanguard May Already Be Facing Hacker Problems

Posted on September 22, 2021 by

Activision Blizzard is currently facing serious ongoing allegations of harassment and mistreatment of marginalized workers. To learn more, please visit our timeline as well as our in-depth report on the subject.

Call of Duty: Vanguard is already dealing with hacker problems in its beta, according to some players. Players are already posting evidence of hackers in the Vanguard beta on Twitter. Videos are circulating of players using aimbots, invincibility, and more. At the 19 second mark of the video below from CDL Intel on Twitter, you can see a killcam replay of a hacker using automatic aim, which locks on to enemies instantly around the map.

Another instance of auto aiming can be seen from Dabzsy's Twitter video. You can see the reticle bouncing around the map, locking on to different targets.

This video, from Wicked Good Gaming, shows both auto aim, and outlines of all players displayed through walls.

Call of Duty continues to crack down on cheaters in Call of Duty: Warzone. In August, Call of Duty banned over 100,000 accounts in a single day. The total number of accounts banned is now well over half a million. However, a problem arose that cheaters would simply create a new account, and start cheating again. So, Activision started banning hardware rather than specific accounts. However, some users are still able to work around this system.

Earlier this year, Activision stopped the release of an "undetectable" cheat system that could be used for aim assist and auto fire. It was shut down after footage circulated of it running in Warzone.

Last month, we learned Warzone will get a, "multi-faceted, new anti-cheat system" implemented throughout the game. We'll have to wait and see if the same anti-cheating measures get implemented into Vanguard. Right now, it also seems that players banned from Warzone also won't be able to play Vanguard.

We reached out to Activision Blizzard for comment and will update the article if we hear back. For more, check out our Call of Duty Vanguard beta impressions. Or, watch the latest episode of Podcast Unlocked, where we discuss Call of Duty Vanguard as a part of this Fall's, "FPS Heaven."

Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN. You can find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.

Titanfall 3 still doesn’t exist according to Respawn A pilot holds his helmet while a massive robot looms behind

Posted on September 22, 2021 by


Respawn's official stance on Titanfall 3 continues to be that it is absolutely not a thing. “There's nothing there,” said Respawn Entertainment community coordinator Jason Garza on a recent stream.

Garza was speaking in response to a community member's request for an update on the Titanfall series.

“Yeah, it's a game with a lot of mechs,” he said. “It's an old one, back when Xbox [One] first launched. Don't get your hopes up, man. I've said this before, we just don't have anything in the works. There's nothing there. We've got too many other games in the works right now.”

Garza's tone was one of somebody who's had to answer the same question for some time now, with Titanfall fans frequently asking what's next for the series since Apex Legends appears to have consumed much of Respawn's development resources. 

The last thing we heard comes from a 2020 interview in which Respawn boss Vince Zampella told IGN that the studio wasn't working on a new Titanfall game, but that he would like to see the franchise return in some form someday.

Since at least 2020, Zampella has also been helping out with EA's DICE LA studio (now called Ripple Effect) on a brand new project, but still remains head of Respawn. Ripple Effect is also working on Battlefield 2042's Portal mode, which lets players create custom matches mixing up different parts of Battlefield history.

In more recent weeks, Respawn has addressed server issues with Apex Legends. The original Titanfall has also been suffering from longstanding server issues. Respawn also released a patch that addressed a Titanfall 2 exploit that caused the game to crash.

As for what's filling Respawn's time, the studio is working on a brand new IP and another Star Wars single-player game, most likely Jedi: Fallen Order 2, which EA confirmed was the start of new franchise.

Thanks, PCGamesN

FIFA 22: Here’s What Comes in Each Edition and How to Get Into Early Access

Posted on September 22, 2021 by

FIFA 22 is set to release for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Stadia on October 1. As usual, it will be available in more than one edition, each offering its own benefits and collection of digital extras.

Below, you'll find the full rundown on what comes in each edition, where you can preorder it, how much it costs, and more.

FIFA 22 (Standard Edition)

PS5

PS4

Xbox Series X

Xbox One

Nintendo Switch (Legacy Edition)

PC

Preorder the standard edition, and you'll receive the following digital extras:

  • Team of the Week 1 Player
  • Kylian Mbappé Loan Item, for 5 FUT matches
  • FUT Ambassador Loan Player Pick, for 3 FUT matches
  • Career Mode Homegrown Talent, local youth prospect with world-class potential

FIFA 22 Ultimate Edition (Digital Only)

PS5 / PS4

Xbox Series X|S / Xbox One

PC

Unlike the standard edition, the ultimate edition includes both previous-gen and current-gen console versions of the game. Preorder the digital-only ultimate edition, and you'll receive the following digital extras:

  • Untradeable FUT Ones to Watch item
  • 4 Days Early Access (start playing September 27)
  • 4600 FIFA Points
  • FUT Team of the Week 1 Player
  • Kylian Mbappé Loan Item, for 5 FUT matches
  • FUT Ambassador Loan Player Pick, for 3 FUT matches
  • Career Mode Homegrown Talent, local youth prospect with world-class potential

Preorder Bonus

While there are no preorder bonuses beyond the digital items that come with each version of the game, one retailer is offering an exclusive bonus for buying there.

  • Best Buy – Christian Pulisic Funko Pop

How to Get Into FIFA 22 Early Access

If you have an EA Play subscription, you can play up to 10 hours of FIFA 22 right now. Here's where you can subscribe:

Other Preorder Guides

Chris Reed is a deals expert and commerce editor for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @_chrislreed.

FIFA 22: Here’s What Comes in Each Edition

Posted on September 22, 2021 by

FIFA 22 is set to release for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Stadia on October 1. As usual, it will be available in more than one edition, each offering its own benefits and collection of digital extras.

Below, you'll find the full rundown on what comes in each edition, where you can preorder it, how much it costs, and more.

FIFA 22 (Standard Edition)

PS5

PS4

Xbox Series X

Xbox One

Nintendo Switch (Legacy Edition)

PC

Preorder the standard edition, and you'll receive the following digital extras:

  • Team of the Week 1 Player
  • Kylian Mbappé Loan Item, for 5 FUT matches
  • FUT Ambassador Loan Player Pick, for 3 FUT matches
  • Career Mode Homegrown Talent, local youth prospect with world-class potential

FIFA 22 Ultimate Edition (Digital Only)

PS5 / PS4

Xbox Series X|S / Xbox One

PC

Unlike the standard edition, the ultimate edition includes both previous-gen and current-gen console versions of the game. Preorder the digital-only ultimate edition, and you'll receive the following digital extras:

  • Untradeable FUT Ones to Watch item
  • 4 Days Early Access (start playing September 27)
  • 4600 FIFA Points
  • FUT Team of the Week 1 Player
  • Kylian Mbappé Loan Item, for 5 FUT matches
  • FUT Ambassador Loan Player Pick, for 3 FUT matches
  • Career Mode Homegrown Talent, local youth prospect with world-class potential

Preorder Bonus

While there are no preorder bonuses beyond the digital items that come with each version of the game, one retailer is offering an exclusive bonus for buying there.

  • Best Buy – Christian Pulisic Funko Pop

How to Get Into FIFA 22 Early Access

If you have an EA Play subscription, you can play up to 10 hours of FIFA 22 right now. Here's where you can subscribe:

Other Preorder Guides

Chris Reed is a deals expert and commerce editor for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @_chrislreed.

Guardians of Hyelore is a tug-of-war tactics game, and it’s out soon Guardians of Hyelore

Posted on September 22, 2021 by


Guardians of Hyelore is coming to Steam on September 29, ready to turn the age-old tower defence genre on its head. Yes, your band of bespoke heroes must prevent an enemy horde from reaching your base, but they push back and advance on the enemy too—ultimately pushing them back to their own base where a formidable boss awaits. Your army auto-marches, but as it does you’ll need to rely on all your military tactical nous if you want to reach the plunder that awaits at the end of each level.

But most journeys start from humble beginnings. You start with just four of the titular Guardians, but as you rack up the victories new warriors will join your cause, and you’ll be able to endow existing ones with powerful new abilities. Each Guardian has their own skill tree and unique tactical role; from Nomia the Lightbearer with her healing spells like Ceremony of Light to the archer Castien who can rain down arrows on an area or blast through a line of enemies with a single devastating strike.

Successfully complete a level, and you’ll get to bask in the spoils of war, upgrading your Guardians with new weapons, powerful potions and other consumables. You can evolve your army to your play style too, with a talent system that grants you unique permanent abilities after each successful battle that make units more affordable or increase the impact of your attacks.

All this is presented through a gloriously vibrant cartoon art style that makes you hyped to seeing the next battle arena, and braced to take on whichever of the 180 unique enemies comes stomping your way. We particularly love the look of the bosses that await you at the end of each level, which range from armoured skeleton warriors to gargantuan (and kind of cute) bats.

Guardians of Hyelore

(Image credit: Freedom Games)

While you may be allured by the cutesy aesthetic, once you start marching through Hyelore you’ll witness the deceptive amount of depth in its combat and progression systems. Throughout the course of a single battle, you’ll not only need to get the balance right between support, warrior, ranged and magic units, but you’ll also be summoning more troops in during a battle.

Do you throw everything at the enemy in a desperate final attempt to push them back from your keep, or do you exercise cautious economic management, hold back, then regroup so you can fight another day?

You’re the commander, and these huge strategic decisions are in your hands.

Guardians of Hyelore

(Image credit: Freedom Games)

If you’ve been following Guardians of Hyelore, you’ll see that it’s had a bit of a makeover, renaming itself from Tower Rush to its much catchier current name. Developer Megaglope Studios decided that the old title made the game sound a bit ‘Tower Defencey’, where in reality it’s more like a deadly reverse Tug of War, as two armies collide and try to push each other back to the other’s base.

The newly-named Guardians of Hyelore comes to Steam 29 September. You can head over to its Steam page to wishlist it, or follow its journey to launch on the official Megaglope (Facebook, Twitter) and Freedom Games (Facebook, Twitter) social channels. 

Kena Bridge of Spirits Fishing Shrine puzzle and solution

Posted on September 22, 2021 by

The Kena Bridge of Spirits fishing shrine puzzle is one of the trickier puzzles you’ll encounter early in the spirit guide’s adventure.

Read more

Hideo Kojima Originally Wanted Hans Zimmer to Compose Metal Gear Solid 2’s Music

Posted on September 22, 2021 by

In the early stages of creating Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Hideo Kojima and producer Rika Muranaka initially wanted to hire Hans Zimmer to compose the music for the game.

In an article with Game Developer, Muranaka discussed her time working on the game's largely synthetic soundtrack and how a larger budget for the sequel meant that they could strive further with the game's audio design.

"We went to Media Ventures (now known as Remote Control Productions), which is Hans Zimmer's studio," says Muranaka. "We originally wanted to get Hans Zimmer, but he was like 'No, I can't do it for that kind of money' – he's so expensive, it's ridiculous."

With Zimmer no longer a feasible option at this point, it was then that Kojima asked Muranaka to reach out to English composer Harry Gregson-Williams, who was working for Zimmer in the studio at that time. "He was still an upcoming composer," says Muranaka. "But he had done Enemy of the State, so a lot of people had started to notice him."

Gregson-Williams, whose career working with video games also includes work on a number of Call of Duty titles, accepted the position to work alongside Kojima on Metal Gear Solid 2 – a choice which the composer didn't know at the time would begin a longstanding relationship between the pair, spanning multiple future Metal Gear titles. Prior to working together on Sons of Liberty, however, Gregson-Williams admits that he hadn't really thought about venturing into the world of video games.

"I hadn't considered doing video games at all," Gregson-Williams tells Game Developer. "I don't think at that time, many filmmakers had, so I didn't really have a precedent for it. I wouldn't have had a desire for it necessarily, had Hideo not himself approached me. […] At the time, I was under the care of Hans Zimmer. He wasn't dismissive about it – but he did say, 'Watch out, you're here to try and build a path to being a film composer.'"

For Gregson-Williams, the move across to composing music for games would present itself with some new challenges. For one, he wouldn't be able to rely on using already shot footage to direct the music he was creating.

"I would start the week with an email from him saying, 'Do you think you could send me 30 seconds of 'sneaky?'" says Gregson-Williams. "And I would send back – and this had to be done through a translator – 'Sneaky? What kind of sneaky?'

"He'd say, 'In this instance, imagine you're being watched, but you don't know that.' So I'd say, 'So very down-tempo and tense and spare' and he'd be like 'Yep.' We'd build a picture ourselves of what I was doing. He obviously knew how he was going to deploy this music in the game. But I didn't."

The music for Metal Gear Solid 2 came as a joint effort between Gregson-Williams, Muranaka, and Konami's in-house sound team (most notably composer Norihiko Hibino). While certainly far from a solo effort, it's interesting to consider how different the game's tone might have been had Zimmer been at the helm.

In other Hans Zimmer news, the composer recently created a soundtrack for Dune's upcoming companion book. Named the Art and Soul of Dune, the accompanying art book for Denis Villeneuve's upcoming sci-fi blockbuster is apparently so immense that Zimmer actually recorded an entirely new soundtrack for it. Launching with two different variations, fans can pick up the regular edition of The Art and Soul of Dune for $50 MSRP or the significantly more expensive deluxe edition for $595.

Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.