Biomutant patch adds FoV type for PC, increases level cap, tweaks loot and more

Posted on June 18, 2021 by

A new patch is available for Biomutant, and it fixes all sorts of things.

Available for PC and PlayStation 4, Biomutant patch 1.5 is rather large and applies fixes for crashing, tweaks loot, adds a scrap action, and more.

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With the patch, the team at Experiment 101 improved the looting experience but tweaking how loot generation works. This has reduced duplicate items and improved variety. The studio has also added several new items which have higher stats than their lower rarity counterparts. This means that an item found with a certain rarity can also be found later with a higher rarity with substantially improved stats.

The developers also added a much-requested scrap action to the loot screen, which should reduce the time you spend cleaning up the inventory.

There is also a new PC-specific feature available in the form of a setting that allows you to select between horizontal and vertical Field of View. This new FoV type will be useful when using a wider monitor to get the correct aspect ratio.  By default, the FoV is set at horizontal, but you can change it to vertical.

On PS4, the menus will now work properly when Enter and Back buttons are swapped.

Oh, and the level cap has been increased from 50 to 100. That’s nice.

 

There’s more to it, so you should look over the patch notes for yourself below. The patch will be made available next week on Xbox One.

Biomutant patch 1.5

PC Specific 

  • Added “Field of View Type” setting for selecting between horizontal and vertical Field of View. Vertical Field of View is useful when using a wider monitor to get the correct aspect ratio. By default, the Field of View is set to be horizontal.
  • Fixed crash when temporarily losing contact with the GPU.

PlayStation 4 Specific 

  • Fixed some menus not working correctly when Enter and Back buttons are swapped.

Progression 

  • Increased level cap from 50 to 100.

Items & Loot 

  • Added more superb loot variations.
  • Added higher-tier relic and legendary weapon parts that will start dropping at level 50.
  • Updated loot generation to provide more variation and less duplicate items.
  • Added scrap action to loot screen.
  • Added settings for hiding or showing head items.
  • Increased damage of later tribe weapons to better fit player level and gear.
  • Removed addon slots from special gear that can’t be scrapped, lost or crafted with.
  • Fixed issue which allowed an unlimited material supply to be gained from crafting.
  • Fixed Missile Cloud to correctly fire on every fourth shot during Rapid Shot in Super Wushu.
  • Updated Saw Blades to have a lower spread, higher velocity and correct pierce through enemy behavior.
  • Fixed Pichu Nanchuk being hidden in inspect mode.
  • Fixed issue where it was possible to equip another one-handed weapon when the Pichu Nanchuk was already equipped.
  • Fixed issue which caused Valve addon to have higher stats than intended.
  • Reduced resistance values for Ancient Pants to make other gear more viable.
  • Fixed favorite consumables quick menu being scrambled when there are no free slots available.
  • Fixed Automaton Health Injector cooldown being reset when using Automaton Boost resulting in Automaton Health Injector only being refilled after resting.

Settings

  • Added “HUD > Mode” setting where it’s possible to select either “ALWAYS SHOW” or “DYNAMIC”. Selecting the “DYNAMIC” option hides the persistent UI elements after a while outside combat. When “DYNAMIC” is selected the player can open either menu or quick menu for the UI elements to show up temporarily. By default, the old “ALWAYS SHOW” behavior is selected.
  • Added “Quick Menu Toggle” accessibility setting. When enabled the player isn’t required to hold down the corresponding input to open the quick menus in order to e.g. use a consumable or swap weapons. Instead, the quick menus will open and close by tapping the corresponding button.

Dialogue & Narrator 

  • Changed so the “Just a few moves left… make them count.” narration is played with a chance after the first time.
  • Fixed issue where the Conscience voice-over was disabled when using the setting “DIALOGUES > Narrator”.
  • Fixed issue where Conscience characters would perform their animations in slow motion.
  • Fixed first narrator voice line after character presentation in child village not playing when gibberish was disabled.
  • Fixed dev-marker erroneously appearing in Popsi’s dialogue text.

Combat 

  • Added optional Lock-on targeting for melee combat.
  • Added attack animation-canceling to certain moves by using dodge.
  • Added ability for smaller enemies to throw rocks at the player when mounted.
  • Added chance for the player to be knocked off their mount when hit.
  • Added fleeing behavior to player mounts when in combat.
  • Tweaked the Porky Puff double-boulder throw attack. Now it’s possible to dodge the second rock after being hit by the first one.
  • Fixed issue where the player could get stuck in grab animations.
  • Fixed Invincibility perk damage multiplier.
  • Fixed Stimulus perk damage multiplier.
  • Fixed cases where Airstrike would sometimes miss when using Klonkfist.
  • Fixed jump attack preventing ranged attacks while airstriking.
  • Fixed Rad Wisps being spawned while in menus.
  • Fixed Lupa-Lupin camp intro cinematic being played when in combat
  • Fixed issue where escorted characters were attempting to target already defeated enemies.
  • Fixed issue which caused Pichu goons to only use kick attacks. Now they use their Pichu Nanchuks properly.
  • Fixed issue where rocks were thrown using Telekinesis would not deal damage.
  • Fixed critical hits from abilities not showing red damage numbers.

User Interface

  • Added indicators for completed area objectives on the Map.
  • Added pinned indicator to items used in outfits.
  • Fixed equipped indicator showing incorrect item after selling another item.
  • Added paused playtime when in the system menu or when the game is deactivated.
  • Added initial quest tab selection which opens either “Main” or “Side” quest tab based on the tracked quest.
  • Fixed overlapping UI when changing tab directly after fast travel.
  • Updated the transport menu with smoother transitions and removed the camera fades in-between selections.
  • Fixed issue where pressing the map button would not close the map and bring you back to the game.
  • Fixed percent stats not being capped at 100%.
  • Fixed XP bar not being hidden when at max level.

Quests 

  • Fixed MkTon sometimes not spawning when talking to Gizmo.
  • Fixed “Lupa-Lupin’s Lair” not being completable after loading a save.
  • Fixed issue where bandit camp quests sometimes would not be completed.
  • Fixed issue where bandit camp captains sometimes would not spawn.
  • Fixed issue where Lotus Captain quest could be given multiple times which prevented consecutive quest copies from being completed.
  • Fixed issue where defeating Bompa Bonker before starting the corresponding quest would prevent the player from completing the quest after saving and loading.
  • Fixed issue where some unique quest rewards did not get correct Material and Quality, resulting in them sometimes not having correct stats.
  • Fixed puzzles being usable through walls using Klonkfist.
  • Fixed issue where the player could change the allied tribe after meeting with either Gizmo, Goop, Whiz or Noko although the first outpost hadn’t been captured.
  • Fixed Batnam-nam being able to receive player damage.
  • Fixed “Eyes on the Prize” which couldn’t be completed after loading a save game.
  • Fixed issue where the player could get stuck during an outpost capture when using the Klonkfist on the oil tanks.
  • Fixed issue where the player was able to interact with a certain Lumen Shrine during combat.
  • Fixed issue where all rival tribe weapons were not claimable when using tribewar shortcut.

New Game+ 

  • Added modifiers which somewhat increase the difficulty after starting a NG+ game and also additionally for each new subsequent NG+ loop.
  • Fixed Aura score not being reset when starting a NG+ game.
  • Fixed Plank Resources being reset when starting a NG+ game.

World 

  • Added respawning enemies to some areas.
  • Increased spawn rate for random encounters.
  • Moved wrecked ship to the correct Map location.
  • Fixed Bio Nucleus 6D area objectives not being completable.
  • Removed locked door blocking access to area objectives in Bangshelter 9H.
  • Fixed a car that couldn’t be looted in Bangshelter 3J.
  • Fixed a door in Bangshelter 2G so the Anti-Radiation suit can be received.

Crash Fixes

  • Fixed crash when a character receives damage.
  • Fixed crash when the player is forced to exit the MkTon.
  • Fixed crash when player climbs on an enemy.
  • Fixed crash when launching towards an enemy.
  • Fixed crash with narrator commentary.

Miscellaneous 

  • Fixed appearance not being reset when reverting character mutation changes.
  • Fixed issue causing the player to take hazard damage while appearing to have maximum resistance.
  • Removed bright spots from the post process that were always visible.
  • Fixed missing “EXTREME” label on extreme difficulty save files.
  • Fixed issue where Brogg could choke on Gullblimp and cause the player to become stuck.
  • Fixed issue which allowed Fungi to be spawned on oil.
  • Fixed some attack sounds having incorrect volume.
  • Increased free-fall duration needed for mounts and the player to trigger a hard landing.
  • Fixed jitter during mounting animation.
  • Fixed issue where the MkTon door at gizmo sometimes would be incorrectly closed.
  • Fixed issue where reload animations would trigger and conflict during cinematics.
  • Fixed issue where an incorrect prompt was shown when using the Klonkfist on moth nests.

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The best Warzone sniper rifles for power, range, and speed

Posted on June 18, 2021 by

Call of Duty Warzone sniper rifles are some of the most-played weapons in the game, and for good reason. No other weapon guarantees the power and versatility sniper rifles do, though of course, not every rifle is worth playing.

Any rifle should offer good range and high power, but the best rifles give you speed as well. Our Warzone sniper rifles list breaks down the best ones to aim for based on power, speed, and how easy they are to obtain.

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For more on Warzone, check out our best Warzone loadouts page.

Best Warzone sniper rifle for power

The best Warzone sniper rifle purely from a power standpoint is still the Kar98k, unless you prefer picking opponents off from a distance. The Kar98k can down an opponent in one shot at close and mid range. It also has some of the fastest ADS speeds in its class, the closest you’ll get to accurate hip fire with a sniper rifle.

What the Kar98k can’t do is kill enemies at long range. Even if you augment its long-range accuracy, its effective damage range decreases dramatically the further out you aim.

How to get Kar98k in Warzone

You’ll need to be level 33 or higher in Warzone or Modern Warfare to unlock the Kar98k.

Best Kar98k Attachments

Our Kar98k loadout fixes the rifle’s range issue, and while it slows the ADS some, the stock rectifies that to an extent. Using a laser with the Monolithic Suppressor might seem counterintuitive, since you’ll give your position away. However, the extra accuracy can make all the difference in hitting your target quickly so you can move on.

Best Kar98k Attachments
Attachment type Name
Muzzle Monolithic Suppressor
Barrel Singuard Custom 27.6”
Laser Tac Laser
Optic Sniper Scope
Stock FTAC Sport Comb

Best Warzone sniper rifle that isn’t Kar98k

If you want a sniper rifle that isn’t the Kar98k, try the SP-R 208. It’s also deadly at close and mid-range, though has slower ADS speeds and worse flinch resistance thanks to the October 2020 nerf.

How to get SP-R 208 in Warzone

Getting the SP-R in Warzone requires you to land two long-distance headshots in five different matches. It might take a while to do that depending on your loadout, but the next sniper rifles on our list should be able to help.

Best SP-R 208 Attachments

You can technically use the .300 Norma Mag 5-R Mags for SP-R 208 ammunition, but the Lapua mag lets you deal heavier damage with torso shots, even after 2020’s nerf.

Best SP-R 208 Attachments
Attachment type Name
Muzzle Monolithic Suppressor
Barrel SP-R 26″
Laser Tac Laser
Optic Solozero SP-R 28mm
Stock No Stock
Ammunition .338 Lapua Mag 5-R Mag

Best Warzone long-range sniper rifle

Warzone’s best long-range sniper rifle is a toss-up between the ZRG 20mm and the HDR. The ZRG is Warzone’s gun with the highest bullet velocity, which means your bullets travel faster and hit harder. That’s exactly what you want from a sniper rifle, and it also makes the ZRG handy even for mid-range shots. Better still, the ZRG bullet drop is almost zero, making long-distance accuracy much easier.

How to get ZRG 20mm in Warzone

You’ll need to put in some work to get the ZRG in Warzone. Unlocking it requires you to get two longshot kills in 10 separate matches.

Best ZRG 20mm Attachments

The variable zoom scope slows your ADS a fair bit, but the added visibility and accuracy complements the ZRG’s main strengths perfectly.

Best ZRG 20mm Attachments
Attachment type Name
Muzzle Agency Moderator
Ammo 5 RND magazine
Optic Variable Zoom Scope
Barrel 43.9″ Combat Recon
Rear grip Serpent Wrap

Warzone HDR

The second best choice is the HDR, and it’s the one you’ll likely grab first if you’re new to Warzone. Its long-range damage and ADS speed are high and the HDR bullet drop is low. However, you’ll need a good loadout to increase its bullet velocity.

How to get HDR in Warzone

You’ll unlock the HDR at level 11, though, giving you plenty of time to work on loadouts and bag longshot kills for better weapons.

Best HDR Attachments

The HDR’s high ADS means it can withstand the zoom scope’s speed penalty, but the stock helps ameliorate the slowdown too.

Best HDR Attachments
Attachment type Name
Muzzle Monolithic Suppressor
Barrel 26.9″ HDR Pro
Optic Variable Zoom Scope
Stock FTAC Stalker-Scout
Ammo 9 Round Mags

Best Warzone sniper rifle for new players

If you’re just starting out and want a Warzone sniper rifle for new players, we recommend the Pelington. True, its base damage output is rather low compared to the other rifles on our list. However, you can make up for that with a good loadout, and the Pelington has fast reload speed and ADS speed to make up for low damage.

How to get Pelington in Warzone

The Pelington unlocks at level four, so it’s probably one of the first sniper rifles you’ll be using anyway.

Best Pelington Attachments

The Pelington is a flexible rifle, but this loadout maximizes your speed and fire capacity.

Best Pelington Attachments
Attachment type Name
Muzzle Wrapped Suppressor
Barrel 25″ Extended
Optic Royal & Kross 4x
Magazine Vandal Speed Loader
Stock Raider Pad

If you’re looking for the best Warzone loadouts, we’ve got the list for you. Meanwhile, check out our other Warzone coverage, including:

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Redfall: Everything we know about Arkane’s co-op vampire shooter Redfall key art

Posted on June 18, 2021 by


One of the bigger surprises of this year’s E3, Redfall is a new cooperative shooter from the Austin branch of Arkane—the studio behind games like Dishonored and Prey. It is not, I repeat not The Elder Scrolls 6. Much as Redfall might sound like an Elder Scrolls subtitle, that game isn’t coming out for years. Sorry!

As for what Redfall is, well, that’s an interesting question. The reveal trailer Bethesda showed off makes it look like Left 4 Dead with vampires, but a closer look at the available information reveals an intriguing hybrid of Valve’s cooperative masterpiece and the design ethos that made Arkane such a highly regarded developer.

What is the Redfall release date?

Arkane hasn’t given us an exact day to expect Redfall. But there is a rough launch window: summer 2022, which is specific enough, this far out. That said, given the ongoing pandemic and its various side effects, alongside the generally tricky nature of game development, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Redfall slip into late next year.

Here is the Redfall E3 Trailer

Above you can sink your teeth into Redfall’s E3 announcement trailer. It shows the game’s four playable characters hanging around an abandoned convenience store, before flashing back to an intense battle the group experienced on the same street. Using guns and various powers and abilities they fight a group of masked humans, followed by an encounter with Redfall’s primary adversaries: a swarm of powerful vampires.

Is Redfall coming to Xbox Game Pass?

You betcha. Redfall is coming to Game Pass on day one.

What is the story of Redfall?

While the specifics of Redfall’s story are unknown, Bethesda has sketched out the basic plot. According to a reveal page for the game, Redfall is an island town that "used to be known for its quaint streets, breezy boardwalks and charming neighbourhoods. Then the vampires moved in and ruined everything." (Sure sounds a lot like The Lost Boys' Santa Cruz.

Redfall’s vampires are not typical undead bloodsuckers. Instead, they’re the product of a scientific experiment gone wrong. I assume that experiment wasn’t "Can we make vampires?" because that would be astonishingly stupid. The page also mentions that these vampires have managed to "eclipse the sun," which gives us some insight into their power (and Redfall’s wilfully schlocky tone). Bethesda has yet to confirm whether Redfall is a tie-in with the classic Simpsons episode "Who shot Mr Burns?"

(Image credit: Arkane Austin)

Who do you play as in Redfall?

Redfall lets you play as one of four characters, each with a different backstory and particular set of skills. Here’s a quick rundown of the motley crew:

Layla Ellison

With a degree in biomedical engineering from Redfall Technical University, Layla worked at a local research organisation named Aevum Theraputics before the vampire attack. Her last memory prior to the takeover is of some terrible occurrence at the facility, before she woke up with powerful (and extremely purple) telekinetic abilities. In short, Layla is the mage of the group, able to push and pull objects in the world.

Devinder Crousley

Dev is a professional influencer specialising in cryptozoology and investigating the paranormal. He ventured into Redfall specifically to document the events happening there, and probably to sell branded trainers to his audience in the process. But he isn’t there exclusively to take selfies and flog crummy merch, he’s also an inventor, fighting with weapons of his own creation. This likely means there’ll be some kind of crafting or weapon-modding element to Redfall, centering around the Devmeister (which is probably how he refers to himself).

Remi de la Rosa

Remi de la Rosa is a combat engineer and a special rescue operative in the US Navy. She’s also a genius, apparently, exemplified by how she’s built herself a robot companion to fight by her side. The robot’s name is Bribón, which translates from Spanish roughly as "rascal." It also sounds like a brand of probiotic. For a healthier gut, drink Bribón!

Jacob Boyer

There’s a little bit of Odin about Jacob. His experiences in Redfall have left him with a strange "Vampiric Eye" (might want to get some eyedrops for that), as well as a spectral raven companion who helps him out in battle (less certain eyedrops will help here). As you can probably guess, Jacob is the sharpshooter of the group, able to pop vampire heads better than anyone else in the team.

Is Redfall just Left 4 Dead with vampires?

Redfall certainly has a lot in common with Left 4 Dead. Cooperative play, intense action, an undead foe.

There are also more specific features Redfall shares with Valve’s shooter. For example, there are multiple types of vampire that attempt to hinder your group’s progress in different ways. One example seen in the trailer is the Angler, which according to the reveal page "uses a psychic harpoon to drag you away from your team." In other words, it’s a handsomer version of Left 4 Dead’s Smoker.

But there are some crucial differences, chief among which is Arkane’s immersive sim heritage. In an interview with Gamespot’s Tamoor Hussain, Bethesda’s Pete Hines cites an example from Dishonored where the player can use the "possession" ability to break their fall by possessing a fish before they hit the ground: "That’s not a gameplay intended feature, that was a tester, who figured out the systems in the game allowed them to do it."

Hines says that Redfall is "very similar" to this in terms of design ethos, ensuring that powers and abilities are consistent and logical in terms of how they can be used in the world. There’s an example of this in the trailer, where Layla uses her telekinetic abilities to lift Jacob onto a rooftop, giving him a better sniping position. These are the kinds of ability combinations and extrapolated systems that Arkane is known for, and it appears Redfall will continue to support them.

One other point worth mentioning is that, according to Bethesda’s announcement page, your vampire enemies are "continuing to evolve." What this means for the game is not specified. But it could mean that enemies become more powerful and adapt to your combat style as the game progresses.

Is Redfall an open world game?

On Redfall’s reveal page, Bethesda explicitly states the game is a "co-op, open world first-person shooter." That’s not all, either. In his interview with Gamespot, Hines states that the town will have a dynamic element to it. "Every time you play it, you’re getting something different," he says. "The world is changing from the last time you played it, in ways that are meaningful from a gameplay standpoint."

It’s possible the evolving vampires tie into this, with more challenging and resistant variants prowling areas you’ve explored before, like Metal Gear Solid 5’s adaptive guards. But that’s an educated guess.

Can Redfall be played solo?

Yes. In his interview with Gamespot, Pete Hines stated that "You can play [Redfall] essentially singleplayer, solo it, and play it by yourself. Or you can play it with other folks."

As for how solo play will work, that’s not yet clear. Considering the emphasis on working together as a team, one thing that would be cool is if the game let you switch between characters on the fly in solo play, enabling you to deploy their powers for different combinations and effects. That might sound complicated, but it’s not that far removed from Dishonored’s possession mechanic.

At the very least I’d expect the game to let you command AI bots so you can make use of their powers when going it alone.

Are you sure Redfall isn’t The Elder Scrolls 6?

Look, if you need an Elder Scrolls fix that badly, try Enderal: Forgotten Stories. For all intents and purposes it’s a new Elder Scrolls game, and it’s completely free. Now stop asking.

(Image credit: Bethesda, modded by SureAI)

Genshin Impact Harpastum Bombs | Where to find crafting ingredients

Posted on June 18, 2021 by

Harpastum Bombs Loaded… Blow ‘Em Away! is a somewhat cumbersomely titled challenge in Genshin Impact‘s Midsummer Island Adventure. You only have until June 28th to participate, and crafting Harpastum Bombs is surprisingly resource-intensive.

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You might find that you need to grind for resources if you want to have all the Harpastum Bombs you need for the event.

A single crafting action will generate 20 of the indicated bomb type, but you’ll still need to complete multiple rounds of resource gathering, crafting, and actually participating in the event to complete the challenge.

Where to find Flaming Flower Stamens in Genshin Impact

Flaming Flower Stamens are the staple resource when crafting Harpastum Bombs, and are a required ingredient for all three types. Therefore, you’ll probably need more of these than of any other single ingredient.

Flaming Flowers are commonly found in grassy areas, so this is where you need to head to begin harvesting this key ingredient. Note that Flaming Flowers need to be hit with Hydro or Cryo skills — extinguishing them and turning them into safely harvestable Flaming Flower Stamens.

Where to find Frogs in Genshin Impact

Frogs are a necessary ingredient for crafting Straight Shooter Harpastum Bombs, which deal pyro damage to a single enemy.

Frogs tend to hang out in wilderness areas, near or — more often — in bodies of fresh water. The upside is that they’re fairly common once you arrive at their preferred habitat.

When you spot a frog, quickly approach and interact to catch it. Unlike other resource types, frogs are ready-to-use in their “raw” form once caught.

Where to find Lizard Tails in Genshin Impact

Lizard Tails are a necessary ingredient for crafting Hot Pod Harpastum Bombs, which deal massive amounts of pyro damage in a small area of effect.

Where do you find Lizard Tails? On lizards, of course! It’s an older joke, but it checks out.

Lizards spawn in several regions of the map: primarily Mondstadt and Liyue, especially around Whispering Woods and Starfell Lake (in the former) and Jueyun Kast (in the latter).

Hunting lizards can be a tricky proposition, since actually killing them doesn’t cause them to drop their tails — the resource needs to be taken from a live specimen. (Presumably they’re those lizards that can grow their tails back? It’s definitely better, but somehow doesn’t feel much less gruesome.)

Anyway, when you spot a lizard you need to chase it down and interact with it while it’s on the move to grab its tail. Lizards usually only spawn in ones or twos, so some patience is needed.

Alternatively, hitting bushes with a melee weapon in the areas where lizards spawn will sometimes grant you a Lizard Tail without the mess and bother. In theory anyway; presumably there’s a lizard in that bush somewhere that disagrees!

Where to find Luminescent Spines in Genshin Impact

Luminescent Spines are a necessary ingredient for crafting Floaty Splody Harpastum Bombs, which deal pyro damage to any enemies caught in a large area of effect.

Luminescent Spines are derived from Fireflies, and therefore can only be caught at night. During nighttime they’ll spawn ambiently in the landscape, especially around Teyvat and particularly between the hours of 10pm and 2am. Check out the video below from YouTube channel GameMinutes, which shows some of the best firefly locations:

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Your instinct might be to dash towards the fireflies, but it’s actually better not to do this! Dashing can cause fireflies to “discombobulate” and eventually despawn, but they seem not to be nearly as threatened if you simply walk towards them. Don’t dawdle because they will eventually get away, but don’t run either.

Once you’re within reach of a firefly, quickly interact with it to nab its Luminescent Spine. This presumably isn’t very good for the poor firefly, but needs must.

Alternatively, hitting bushes with a melee weapon in firefly spawning areas at the appropriate time can grant you a Luminescent Spine without the bothersome business of chasing (on-screen) fireflies.

Harpastum Bombs shouldn’t be confused with the similarly-named Wind-Blessed Harpastum, a gadget used to interact with Hymnal Rings in Genshin Impact: Midsummer Island Adventure. For the solutions to all the Hymnal Ring Puzzles on Golden Apple Archipelago, see our guide.

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Best SSD for gaming in 2021 Best SSD for gaming

Posted on June 18, 2021 by


The best SSD for gaming will make your rig super responsive and give you enough speedy space to cope with the incessant demands of gaming's biggest storage hogs. We're looking at you, CoD: Modern Warfare. 

Your next upgrade

(Image credit: Future)

Best CPU for gaming: the top chips from Intel and AMD
Best graphics card: your perfect pixel-pusher awaits

The performance difference between an SSD and HDD is nearly night and day, and the same is almost true of the difference between SATA drives and the best NVMe SSDs too. Suddenly everything is right there at your fingertips—no frustrating waits as your data chugs around your rig like a rusty steam train. If you're not planning to invest in one soon, you seriously need to rethink your priorities.

At one point, having a small SSD as a boot drive was a luxury. Now, at the advent of 4K and next-gen gaming, if you want to play your games at the highest speeds possible, investing in a quality SSD is your best bet. It should help you to defend against the incoming storage space onslaught.

With prices significantly dropping, too, you can readily consider an SSD drive for even secondary or backup storage.

Our pick of the best SSDs includes both 1TB and 500GB drives because smaller SSDs, though cheaper, lose performance. And, with games such as Red Dead Redemption 2, Destiny 2, and Modern Warfare taking up well over 150GB each, you need a lot of storage space these days to avoid a whole lot of inventory management.

Best SSD for gaming

Addlink S70

(Image credit: Addlink)

The best SSD for gaming

Capacity: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB | Controller: Phison PS5012-E12 | Memory: Toshiba 3D TLC | Interface : M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 | Seq. read: 3,400 MB/s (512GB version) | Seq. write: 2,000 MB/s (512GB version)

Great value
Top-end PCIe 3.0 performance
Excellent endurance
Below average low queue depth performance

Add link came out of nowhere to drive down the prices of every competing NVMe-based SSD and seems to have been the catalyst for bringing nigh-on price parity across the PCIe and SATA SSD ecosystem. Addlink who? So yeah, it may not be a recognized name in storage. However, given that the S70 is still using a completely recognizable Phison E12 controller and Toshiba's 3D TLC memory, there's not much that can go wrong.

With the sticker off, the Addlink drive is almost identical to the pricier Seagate Firecuda. It performs practically the same as the WD Black SN750, which subsequently had to drop its price to compete. At the 512GB level, the Addlink S70 is arguably the best SSD to build your system around, and the 1TB version has even better writes… and we've seen that as low as $120 before too.

We've no concerns around reliability either, despite the relatively unknown name, having used both the 512GB and 1TB variants regularly as part of our test rigs without fault. When SATA drives are costing the same, and Samsung SSDs cost more but don't deliver much extra performance, then the Addlink S70 is our pick of the bunch.

WD Black SN750 1TB

(Image credit: WD)

2. WD Black SN750 1TB

The best 1TB SSD around

Capacity : 1TB | Controller: Western Digital | Memory: SanDisk/Toshiba 3D TLC | Interface: M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 | Seq. read: 3,470 MB/s | Seq. write: 3,000 MB/s

Competitive pricing
Serious SSD performance
In-house technology
High idle power consumption

Western Digital's entry into the SSD arena was a long while coming, especially at the speedier end of the market, but the WD Black SN750 was worth the wait. It nails solid-state performance on par with the best consumer Samsung EVO SSDs and severely undercuts them on price.

The combination of an in-house memory controller and Toshiba memory (also essentially in-house after the acquisition of the SanDisk/Toshiba memory division) means what we've got here is a drive that can match Samsung in its build methodology too. And that all means WD can be very aggressive on how much it charges people for the privilege of having a speedy PCIe SSD in their gaming PC.

There is a more expensive version on offer with a heatsink attached to it. Still, so long as you don't bury your drive in an M.2 slot beneath your GPU, you should be golden, and the SN750 will maintain peak performance without burning out and without any extra SSD cooling.

Samsung 970 EVO

(Image credit: Samsung)

3. Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500GB

The PCIe 3.0 performance option

Capacity: 500GB | Controller: Samsung Phoenix | Memory: Samsung 3-bit MLC | Interface: M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 | Seq. read: 3,500 MB/s | Seq. write: 3,200 MB/s

Samsung SSD technology
Outstanding real-world performance
Could be more optimised for efficiency

The Samsung 970 EVO Plus offers a slight bump in write performance over the 970 EVO, all for the same price. There was a time when you could pick up the non-Plus version for slightly less, but those drives seem to have disappeared now. If you can find a straight 970 EVO for less, then go for it.

Both drives still use the same Samsung Phoenix controller, which means they can outperform the competition in real-world usage. If you want peak PCIe 3.0 performance, then the Samsung drives are hard to beat, but you have to pay for that little speed hike. Compared with the 512GB Addlink, the Samsung is a little quicker in real-world testing but costs another $20.

That's not a huge issue at this half-terabyte level, but when the 1TB version comes in at close to $170, it does make the higher capacity 970 EVO drives a bit more of a difficult recommendation. The 500GB 970 EVO is still a great drive, smartly specced, well-made, and with a more competitive price.

WD Black SN850 1TB

(Image credit: Western Digital)

4. WD Black SN850 1TB NVMe SSD

The best PCIe 4.0 SSD right now

Capacity: 1TB | Controller: WD_Black G2 | Memory: BiCS4 96-layer TLC | Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 | Seq. read: 7,000 MB/s | Seq write: 5,300 MB/s

Blistering PCIe 4.0 throughput
Excellent real-world performance
Solid 5 year warranty
Runs hot
No AES 256-bit encryption

The Western Digital Black SN850 makes a fashionably late entrance to the PCIe 4.0 party. It's capable of hitting 7,000MB/s reads and 5,300MB/s writes in sequential transfers, which is well beyond the other drives' capabilities. That's because it uses the latest PCIe 4.0 interface, which has double the theoretical bandwidth limit of the other PCIe 3.0 drives.

Performance ultimately defines any SSD; the WD SN850 really stands out from the crowd. The synthetic benchmarks, spearheaded by ATTO and AS SSD, show that this is very much a second-generation PCIe 4.0 drive, with peak sequential read speeds knocking on 6,750MB/s and 5,920MB/s, respectively. Writes are lower than the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus, but still healthy, at either side of 5GB/s. The 4K write performance in AS SSD manages to flip this over, and the WD SN850 managing to outpace the Sabrent drive, hence why it replaced it on this list. 

Out of the new PCIe 4.0 drives on the market, the SN850 is hands down the most impressive out of the gate with its impressive real-world performance though it does run a little hot. If you want the fastest next-gen drive, this is it.

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5. Crucial MX500 1TB

A great secondary storage drive

Capacity: 1TB | Controller: Silicon Motion SM2258 | Memory: Micron TLC | Interface: SATA 6Gbps | Seq. read: 560 MB/s | Seq. write: 510 MB/s

One of the fastest SATA drives
Competitive price per GB
Low endurance rating for heavy data writes

It seems strange that the Crucial MX500 is the only SATA drive left on our list of the best SSDs for gaming, but when the price delta between PCIe and SATA is so small, it's difficult to make an argument for the far slower technology. But, as there is a hard limit on the number of M.2 slots on your motherboard, there is still a place for SATA SSDs as secondary storage.

And the Crucial MX500 is one of the best. With SATA's maximum theoretical bandwidth limit of 600MB/s, it's nearly as quick as you'll get, and Crucial's drives have long been among the best-value options available too. This is the most affordable 1TB SATA drive you can pick up and make a great second home for your Steam and Epic libraries.

It will happily function as a boot drive on systems with no M.2 sockets, or at least no bootable M.2 sockets anyway. You will still be missing out on the zippy response of your operating system running on the SSD-specific NVMe protocol, but if that's not an option, this will see you right. 

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Crucial P1 NVMe SSD

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Crucial P1 500GB and 1TB SSDs

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6. Crucial P1 1TB NVMe

QLC performance, low price, and high capacity

Capacity: 1TB | Controller: Silicon Motion SM2263 | Memory : Micron 3D QLC | Interface: M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 | Seq. read: 2,000 MB/s | Seq. write: 1,700 MB/s

Faster than SATA
High capacity
Solid power efficiency
Low endurance rating
No heat spreader

The Crucial P1 is the cheapest 1TB NVMe SSD you can squeeze into your PC, but that low cost comes at… a cost. Crucial has managed to get the price so low because it's using quad-level cell (QLC) memory, arguably the worst NAND available to SSDs. It allows for greater density at a lower price, but the trade-off is the overall performance and endurance. You'd still have to fill and refill the drive many, many times over to get close to hitting the lower endurance limits of the P1, but it doesn't inspire as much confidence as a TLC or MLC drive does.

The speed, however, is the sticking point. As the drive gets full, you will find it can drop dangerously close to the performance of a standard SATA-based SSD. Before that level, however, the Crucial P1 can comfortably outpace the older technology even if it can't match the speeds of either WD, Addlink, or Samsung's NVMe drives.

If you have a spare M.2 socket on your motherboard and already have your boot drive running at genuine NVMe speeds, then the capacity and the generally higher-than-SATA speeds make the P1 a tremendous second drive.

Best SSD for gaming FAQ

Q: What’s the difference between SATA and NVMe PCIe-based SSDs?

As the prices of NVMe SSDs fall every day, we don’t see much difference in cost between the best NVMe SSDs and their SATA-based equivalents. When the cheapest 2.5-inch 1TB SATA SSD is only $24 less than an equivalent capacity NVMe PCIe drive (and four times slower), why bother with older SATA technology when you can move into the future for so cheap?

Many of the best SSDs for gaming still use the PCIe 3.0 interface, but we’re starting to see more PCIe 4.0 drives sliding into the market. Corsair was an early pacesetter here, and the newly launched 500GB Samsung 980 Pro SSD did well in testing, but the value proposition isn’t the greatest, unfortunately.

Where SATA’s theoretical performance limit is 600MB/s, and PCIe 3.0’s is 4,000MB/s, the newer PCIe 4.0 SSDs can double that figure to a maximum of 8,000MB/s. The current top speed of available Gen4 drives is around 7,000MB/s, which is double that of the previous generation, top out at 3,500MB/s, in the real world.

Q: How do we test SSDs?

A: SSDs make your whole system faster and more pleasant to use. But they matter for gaming, too. A fast-loading SSD can cut dozens of seconds off the load times of big games like Red Dead Redemption 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, or MMOs like Final Fantasy XIV. An SSD won’t affect framerates like your GPU or CPU, but it will make installing, booting, dying, and reloading in games a faster, smoother process.

When shopping for a good SSD for gaming, one of the most important factors is the price per gigabyte. How much will you have to spend to keep a robust library of Steam games installed, ready to be played at a moment’s notice? With many new games surpassing the 50GB and even 150GB mark, this becomes even more critical.

To find the best gaming SSDs, we researched the SSD market, picked out the strongest contenders, and put them through their paces with various benchmarking tools. We also researched what makes a great SSD great, beyond the numbers—technical stuff like types of flash memory and controllers.

PCIe 4.0 SSDs are supported by 2nd and 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen CPUs and X570 and B550 motherboards as well as by Intel’s latest Rocket Lake platform. Sure, they’re mighty for bandwidth, but when it’s crunch-time in-game, there’s not a vast amount more it can deliver than a PCIe 3.0 drive, at least not until Microsoft delivers DirectStorage, which will be dropping later this year.

CDPR keeps fiddling at the edges of Cyberpunk’s doomed world Cyberpunk 2077

Posted on June 18, 2021 by


Cyberpunk 2077's latest patch, version 1.23, has arrived on PC, fixing an absolute boatload of bugs. The usual amusing patch notes are present-and-correct: "fixed an issue where Jackie could go through glass", "fixed an issue where after killing a NPC and stealing their car, their body could get stuck in the car", or the classic "fixed an issue where dropping a NPC's body caused too much destruction".

I for one will miss the grenade corpses.

The only change that feels like it might make a substantial difference to the moment-to-moment experience (unless you were hitting any of the fatal quest bugs, of course), is optimisation that should produce "fewer instances of NPCs with identical appearances spawning in the same area, and to improved streaming."

The patch arrives hot on the heels of the game switching director, while CDPR's president and joint CEO Adam Kiciński also recently re-iterated CDPR's commitment to Cyberpunk: "We intend to live up to what we promised our gamers in January. While we already see major improvements, a large part of the team continues to work on making sure that Cyberpunk provides even better entertainment to gamers."

Cyberpunk 2077

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Just how realistic it is to expect 'better entertainment' from Cyberpunk 2077 is the elephant in the room, however. Each patch comes with voluminous notes and fixes an absolute tonne of bugs and performance issues, but under each announcement and on the CDPR forums you'll see players asking in vain for more substantial changes: improved NPC AI across the many different varieties, more interactive elements in the world, the 'opening up' of closed stores and other buildings.

It's all stuff that, at this moment in time, seems like a bit of a pipe dream, and it's highly questionable whether Cyberpunk 2077 will ever be a fundamentally different experience from what it is now. While there have been plenty of issues on PC, it's nothing next to the absolute technical disaster perpetrated on our console cousins (and it doesn't help CDPR itself took the mick out of how buggy the game was pre-release).

It feels like there's still a problem of expectations with Cyberpunk 2077: that, somehow, CDPR can still 'fix' it, and maybe all that hope and hype over so long will eventually prove worth it. The studio certainly has the resource to pull a No Man's Sky. The question is whether it would be better for us all if CDPR just fixed all the bugs, and moved on.

Alan Wake Remastered leaks on the Epic Games Store

Posted on June 18, 2021 by

It looks like we’re getting an Alan Wake remaster.

Today seems to be a big one for Epic Games Store leaks. After references to Final Fantasy 7 Remake were spotted in the store’s database, another unannounced game has appeared: Alan Wake Remastered.

Watch on YouTube

EpicData, a website that tracks database updates for the Epic Games Store, has revealed the existence of the Alan Wake remaster. The unannounced project, developed by creator Remedy, looks to support cloud saves, judging by the strings of code discovered.

Unfortunately, we don’t actually know anything more besides. That said, the idea of an Alan Wake remaster on the Epic Games Store is very plausible. Not only is Alan Wake a beloved game that could use a visual upgrade, the existence of the remaster also lines up with recent reports that Remedy’s next game is Alan Wake 2.

The project is said to be Remedy’s mysterious major game being funded by Epic Games. It makes a lot of sense for Remedy to remaster Alan Wake to raise its profile, and as a way to build anticipation for the sequel.

That said, you should always take these sort of leaks with a grain of salt. Just because a name appears, doesn’t definitively mean the game in question is coming to the store.

The post Alan Wake Remastered leaks on the Epic Games Store appeared first on VG247.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake spotted in Epic Games Store database

Posted on June 18, 2021 by

final fantasy 7 remake delay

Final Fantasy 7 Remake may be on its way to PC.

Square Enix has been making an effort to bring more of its bigger Japanese games to PC in recent years, but Final Fantasy 7 Remake has yet to be made available on the platform. This looks to be changing soon, however.

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A entry for the JRPG was dug up from the Epic Games Store’s database on EpicData. As spotted by Resetera, the game is among several others scraped from the EGS’ database, some of which are unreleased, and others have yet to be even announced.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake shows up a couple of times on the list, with Square Enix Japan as its developer. This obviously does not confirm that the game is coming to PC, but it’s a pretty good indication.

Being on the Epic Games Store also doesn’t necessarily preclude the game from appearing on Steam at the same time; plenty of PC games launch on both storefronts simultaneously. Given Square Enix’s history, however – most recently demonstrated with Kingdom Hearts – Final Fantasy 7 Remake will likely be an Epic Store exclusive for a few months, if not more.

With the recent release of the Intergrade upgrade/expansion, Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s exclusivity period was further extended on PlayStation, and it should now end in December, which could be when a PC announcement is made.

Thanks, RPG Site.

The post Final Fantasy 7 Remake spotted in Epic Games Store database appeared first on VG247.

Demon’s Souls PS4 entry is probably not what we think it is [Update]

Posted on June 18, 2021 by

Demon’s Souls, one of the most impressive PS5 showcases, was spotted for PS4 in the store database.

Update: After an entry for Demon’s Souls for PS5 was discovered in the PlayStation Store’s database, leading us to believe a port of the game is coming to PS4, it has since been made clear that this likely isn’t the case.

Modder Lance McDonald said that the entry is actually over four years old, and is likely a port of the original PS3. McDonald suspects it was created for PS Now to allow developers to remotely debug and QA it while working on the PS5 remake from home.

“Sony often do this. These builds are never intended for release,” he added.

McDonald has a solid track record in uncovering development builds and cut features, so you shouldn’t get your hopes up about a PS4 port of Demon’s Souls.

You can read the original story below.

Original story: Bluepoint’s Demon’s Souls remake, which was the biggest and most technically impressive launch game for the PlayStation 5, may show up on PS4.

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That’s according to PlayStation Game Size, a Twitter account dedicated to cataloguing game updates and file sizes. PlayStation Game Size spotted an entry for Demon’s Souls on the PS4 store database.

Though there’s no direct link for it, the account said it could just be a test version, and may not end up being released. Nevertheless, the idea that Demon’s Souls could end up coming to PS4 is certainly interesting.

Even if it may be hard to imagine such a technical tour de force for PS5 working on PS4, it’s important to remember that this won’t be the first time a PS5 game made its way to PS4. Sony, of course, started this trend by initially announcing Horizon Forbidden West and Spider-Man: Miles Morales as PS5 exclusives, before later confirming that both games are also coming to PS4.

Indeed, other announced games we’ve yet to even see, such as the next God of War and Gran Turismo 7, are also coming to PS4. Even on the third-party end, action game Godfall, which was similarly pitched as a lavish only-possible-on-PS5 project, was just announced for PS4.

If I were to speculate, I’d say dropping the framerate to 30fps and the visual quality significantly could get Demon’s Souls to run on PS4. Of course, you shouldn’t get your hopes up until more concrete information emerges.

The post Demon’s Souls PS4 entry is probably not what we think it is [Update] appeared first on VG247.

Baldur’s Gate 3: Everything we know Shadowheart

Posted on June 18, 2021 by


One of PC's greatest RPGs is getting a sequel made by the creators of another one of the best RPGS of all time. It's been almost 20 years since Baldur's Gate concluded in Throne of Bhaal, but Larian Studios is finally taking us back to the Sword Coast. After a couple of delays, Baldur's Gate 3 now out in Early Access and receiving regular patches and updates, but there's still a long way to go before it's finished. 

Despite the name and embracing the rules of D&D, Baldur's Gate 3 is still a distinctly Larian game. Combat is turn-based, for instance, which makes it more like D&D but less like Baldur's Gate. And like Original Sin 2, It's a systemic RPG that compels you to experiment, trying to capture some of the freeform adventuring that you might get up to in a tabletop game. 

Thanks to the arrival of the Early Access version, we've got a much better idea of the kind of Baldur's Gate that Larian's trying to build. So read on for everything we know about Baldur's Gate 3. 

What's the Baldur's Gate 3 release date?

Baldur's Gate 3 definitely won't be ready in 2021, Swen Vincke has confirmed. "We are really trying to get the game done by next year," he said. "It's not gonna release this year for sure."

Baldur's Gate 3 had its Early Access launch on October 6, 2020. When announcing the Early Access date, Vincke said "we intend to stay there for awhile". In an April 2021 interview players were cautioned not to expect too much too soon. "I know that the community wants us to go faster than we can," Vincke said. "It does take time to implement things, especially for a game that's as vast as Baldur's Gate 3".

We do know that Baldur's Gate 3 will release on GOG and Steam, along with Stadia.

Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access review

(Image credit: Larian)

Baldur's Gate 3 is still in Early Access, but what we've played so far is very promising. It's a slightly anarchic sandbox at times, letting you sneak around pushing people off ledges, or dropping boulders on heads, like you're some fantasy hitman. It's great! The story doesn't really get going, as you'll finish just as clueless about what's going on with mind flayers and what you're going to do about this pesky tadpole that's been inserted into your head. 

It's all subject to change as well. According to Destructoid there are "significant changes in the main storyline that weren't ready or included yet, even in this first act area".

There are, of course, plenty of bugs, balance problems, missing dialogues and voice acting, and all sorts of other issues, and you'll never actually get to finish your character's adventure. Inevitable save wipes means all of your creations will be fleeting. Give our Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access review a read to help you make your mind up. We've also explored how Baldur's Gate 3 compares to the classic games

How much of Baldur's Gate 3 can you play in Early Access?

Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access contains the first act, which should take you around 25 hours to finish. But that really depends on how many fights you get into—there are plenty of ways to bypass them—and how much exploring you do. There are clear paths and a main quest that will take you all across the map, but there's plenty to find off the beaten track. If you're in a rush, it can be finished in seven minutes

It seems quite a bit denser than Original Sin 2's Early Access. Larian shared some stats, and Baldur's Gate 3 launched with considerably more combat encounters, characters, spells and lines of dialogue. 

  • Number of combat encounters: 22 in DOS2 EA vs. 80 in BG3 EA
  • Number of English dialogue lines: 17,600 in DOS2 EA vs. 45,980 in BG3 EA
  • Number of characters: 142 in DOS2 EA vs. 596 in BG3 EA
  • Number of spells/actions: 69 in DOS2 EA vs. 146 in BG3 EA

This doesn't necessarily mean you'll spend more time in your playthrough, however. You're not going to see all of these encounters and conversations all in a single run. Instead, they represent the much greater number of permutations—there's more potential, more paths.  

What classes and races are available?

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

When it comes to races, the usual humans, halflings, elves and the like are represented, of course, but you'll also be able to make tieflings, drow, githyanki and even a vampire spawn. Along with having an impact on dialogue, these choices also give you access to special abilities and story beats, like the vampire spawn drinking their companions' blood. Here's all the details about Baldur's Gate 3 races that are playable so far.

Classes are obviously important too. "The stories are very much tied to class at times," senior writer Adam Smith told us in our first look at Baldur's Gate 3. "Class is such a part of identity in D&D, in a way that it wasn't in DOS2." Larian says that in the full release of BG3 we'll be able to play as any class from the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition ruleset. 

  • Astarion – High Elf/Vampire Spawn Rogue
  • Gale – Human Wizard
  • Lae’zel – Githyanki Warrior
  • Shadowheart – Half-elf Cleric
  • Wyll – Human Warlock

At the moment, you can play as one of seven classes: Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, Warlock, Wizard, and the most recently added Druid. Druids can wildshape into various animals, including badgers. They were added before more popular options because they were tricky to implement, so expect the next class to be another complicated one. As Swen Vincke has said, "we're not going to necessarily put the classes that are easiest to make first into [Early Access], we're putting the ones that are interesting for us also, to see what the community does with it".

For full details on classes, subclasses on their bonuses in the Early Access version, read our dedicated guide to Baldur's Gate 3 classes.

You'll need to make a custom character during Early Access, as the bespoke origin characters are currently off-limits, but you can recruit five of them into your party. 

What's the story and setting for Baldur's Gate 3?

Baldur's Gate 3 mind flayers

(Image credit: Larian Studios)
Gather your party with these Baldur’s Gate 3 guides

(Image credit: Larian)

Baldur's Gate 3 tips: Start smart
Baldur's Gate 3 classes: Find your perfect profession
Baldur's Gate 3 races: Pick your favorite face
Baldur's Gate 3 companions: Learn who's who
Baldur's Gate 3 builds: Optimise your class

Baldur's Gate 3 tells a new story set in the current era of the Forgotten Realms. The mind flayers—psychic, squid-faced alien tyrants—have found a way to one again travel between worlds, and are invading. 

The player-character and main companions are all infected with a parasitic tadpole that should turn them into mind flayers, but for some reason the process isn't working like it normally does. One of the key quests is to find out more information about the tadpoles and get them removed. 

Though the party doesn't appear to be transforming into mind flayers right away, the tadpole still has an effect. You can link minds with other people with tadpoles and get some other benefits, but the more you use your power, the easier you'll be to control when you happen across another mind flayer. 

The mind flayers are an ancient and terrifying force in the Dungeons & Dragons universe. They have powerful psionic abilities, can mind control other sentient beings, and like to feed on their brains for sustenance. They frequently keep slaves to do their bidding and serve as a convenient snack should they feel a bit peckish.

Mind flayers have plenty of enemies though, and at the start of Baldur's Gate 3 we see a battle between mind flayers, demons, and githyanki, all taking place in and around a ship that's rapidly falling apart. The githyanki in particular feature prominently in Baldur's Gate 3, since one of your first companions is a githyanki fighter who was captured by mind flayers. 

The city of Baldur's Gate will feature of course, but the whole city won't be available to the player, only relevant sections. It's still a bit of a mystery, as we've only seen it briefly in trailers and cutscenes. In the Early Access version, you won't reach the city, though you will see it from a distance during a dream. 

Which Dungeons & Dragons edition is Baldur's Gate 3 based on?

Baldur's Gate 3 is based on Larian's interpretation of the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons ruleset. CEO Swen Vincke explained that some rules and systems don't translate well directly from tabletop to digital game, so Larian has worked to create an interpretation of 5th Edition rules that works well as a digital game but still feels true to D&D.

How do custom characters work in Baldur's Gate 3?

(Image credit: Larian)

Similarly to Divinity: Original Sin 2, Baldur's Gate 3 lets you choose to make an entirely custom character or one of its preset cast. It's a good option to have, but Divinity OS2's main characters were pretty widely considered the better option as they had more personalized dialogue and a connection to the story. 

Larian said in an AMA on Reddit that in BG3, "custom characters have a much stronger connection to the world and the main arc of the story. … We’re confident that you won’t feel short-changed in terms of narrative breadth and depth if you choose to play as a custom character."

"When we say there are serious consequences to your choices, we really mean it. As you move through your adventure, you’ll discover quest-lines and stories that relate directly to the character you’re roleplaying, and the things that you’ve done"

How does Baldur's Gate 3 play?

(Image credit: Larian)

For a longer read on gameplay, check out our Baldur's Gate 3 early access review.

True to the series, it's an RPG in which you control a party of heroes with their own backgrounds and motivations. Like Original Sin 2, you'll be able to pick an origin character, which have unique backgrounds and special hooks, as well as making one from scratch. This time origin characters are also tied to a class. 

Vincke says the game will be heavily systems-driven and Larian will be creating its own D&D-inspired ruleset. "We'll stay true to our roots, so we'll give players lots of systems and lots of agency to use these systems and try to accomplish what you need to on your personal adventure and your party's adventure."

We definitely found that to be the case in our Early Access review. "Almost every object can be turned into a weapon in a pinch—one of my first kills was with a skull that I picked up and tossed at a monster," Fraser says. "This is a side of D&D that was previously missing from Baldur's Gate—the creative, messy sandbox. Every confrontation is an opportunity to push your luck and stretch the game's systems like you're negotiating with a DM." 

"Along with the ability to shove people and throw objects, you can stealthily slink around, make superhuman leaps, dip your weapon in puddles of acid or ignite them using a torch. These abilities can all be used in turn-based battles at the cost of an action or bonus action, as well as freely when you're wandering around in real-time."

"Baldur's Gate 3 is always rolling dice and making passive skill checks to determine if you're going to notice that sliding bookcase right in front of you. These happen automatically, accompanied by the comforting rattle of dice, but dialogue and active skill checks actually replicate some of the tactile delight of real tabletop roleplaying by making you manually roll a digital D20."

Outside of combat, you can force turn-based mode on, which should come in handy when you're sneaking around and need to keep an eye on the movement of guards. You can also have somethings happening in real-time while other stuff is happening turn-by-turn. In multiplayer, your mate could be shopping while you're fighting. 

An option added in patch 4 allows you to turn on Loaded Dice, which Larian says, "helps smooth out the extremes of the bell curve [but] retains the core elements of RNG, ensuring a player can no longer be unlucky or super lucky with several dice rolls in a row." Hotfix 10 tweaked the math further in response to feedback so that strings of lucky rolls wouldn't be punished by increased odds of failure. 

Let's talk romance

Larian dished some details on Baldur's Gate 3 character relationships and let's just say the game is definitely rated "M" by the ESRB for a reason. Your party members will have opinions about all sort of decisions that you make as the player character, including which factions you choose to support and who you choose to kill. You can debrief about everything back at the party camp, which is also where you can engage in more intimate activities. If you've managed to find your way into a romantic relationship with one of your party members, you'll definitely be able to act on the physical side of it. Yup, you can have sex in Baldur's Gate 3.

"We are trying to make these relationships feel real and feel like the relationships you have in the real world," lead writer Sarah Baylus explained. "You will meet some people who you have nothing in common with, some will be useful to work together, but that is going to be the extent of it. But there could be situations where you get on really well, you share similar goals and you love travelling together."

Apparently so far in Early Access, the most romanced character is Gale the wizard but folks also aren't shy about being evil to get some action either. "They're all horny," says Swen Vinke about early players.

What trailers and gameplay for Baldur's Gate 3 are out there?

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

You can check out the original cinematic cinematic announcement trailer for Baldur's Gate 3 with all its body horror glory. 

For lots more, you can also watch over an hour of alpha gameplay , streamed during PAX East 2020. Vincke shows off a detailed look at combat, both when it goes right and when it goes wrong in proper Larian fashion. Some changes have been made to combat since this video, which we'll get into more below.

Here's even more Baldur's Gate 3 gameplay streamed live and played once again by Larian CEO Swen Vincke during summer 2020. During this stream, Vincke lets the Twitch chat choose several interactions for him as they explore. Combat has seen some changes since February as has the narration.

Baldur's Gate 3 system requirements

Baldur's Gate 3 system requirements are surprisingly gentle for such a pretty game. Be aware, though, that Larian has amended storage requirements slightly. The game used to require only 70GB, but has now more than doubled to 150GB.

The Act 1 content releasing in early access will only take up 80GB, so the rest of that space is reserved for updates down the line.

Minimum:

  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel i5-4690 / AMD FX 4350
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GTX 780 / AMD Radeon R9 280X
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 150 GB available space

Recommended:

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel i7 4770k / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB / AMD RX580
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 150 GB available space

Cross-saves will be supported

Fans of Divinity: OS2 will remember that Larian added a neat feature that allows saves to transfer from the Steam version to the Switch release. Larian is pulling a similar trick in Baldur's Gate 3, but this time more expansive. Instead of running cross-saves through Steam's propriety system, player saves will be tied to a dedicated Larian account. That account will be accessible on every platform that Baldur's Gate 3 eventually releases on.

Don't expect cross-saves to be working anytime soon. They might not even be live by the time the game leaves early access sometime in 2021 or beyond.

Where are Minsc and Boo?

Baldur's Gate - Minsc and Boo

They might just show up in Baldur's Gate 3! Larian CEO Swen Vincke told VG247 that it's a real possibility, saying: "If you look at what the Fifth Edition has done, characters like Boo and Minsc are still alive," Vincke said. "Bhaal and maybe a couple of other guys are still around. What’s gonna happen with that? You’re gonna discover when you play BG3."

Vincke wouldn't drop that kind of hint without following through, right? Surely there will be some "Butt-kicking! For goodness!"

Other D&D celebs may show up, too. We've already seen famed scholar and exaggerator Volo, who crops up more than once during the demo. 

Look at this baby owlbear

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

During the early access announcement date stream, Larian showed off a super short snippet in which the player encounters a frightfully large and angry owlbear. Turns out it's protecting this adorable owlbear cub. Larian CEO Swen Vincke says that this is one of a few possible encounters with the cub and "if you really, really play your cards well and your dice roll well you can actually recruit the owlbear cub into your camp." He does warn that it might not play nicely with other animal friends though so be wary.

How is Wizards of the Coast involved?

As custodians of Dungeons & Dragons Wizards of the Coast are involved in clearing storylines and keeping the D&D lore consistent. The quality of Divinity: Original Sin 2 convinced Wizards of the Coast to greenlight Baldur's Gate 3. 

"I went to them [Wizards of the Coast] after Divinity: Original Sin and I tried to convince them back then," says Vincke. "But they said we were a bit too green. They got back in touch during Divinity: Original Sin 2—they saw what we were doing and asked if we were still interested. That got the ball rolling. During DOS2 we had to submit the design for it, but it was annoying because we were about to release DOS2. So we sat in a hotel for a weekend the month before release, me and a couple of writers and designers, and we made the initial design document. It wasn't very good, but it had the core ideas and they did like it, so they asked us to make another version, and we did that and they loved it."