Categories
eSports

Uniliga: So funktioniert die größte Esport-Studentenliga Deutschlands – Uniliga

Die Uniliga ist eine Esport-Liga, die von Studierenden organisiert wird und richtet sich an alle eingeschriebenen Studierenden in Deutschland. Aus einem Start-Up im Jahr 2014 entstanden, verfügt die Uniliga heute über einen Ligabetrieb in fünf verschiedenen Esport-Titeln: League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rocket League, Overwatch und Hearthstone. 

In den unterschiedlichen Ligen spielen Studierende gemeinsam in Teams gegen andere studentische Teams. Meist treffen verschiedene Universitäten aus ganz Deutschland aufeinander. Ein Teil der Universitäten kann aber mittlerweile durch die hohe Spieleranzahl auch mehrere Teams stellen. Eine positive Entwicklung, die auch Uniliga-Gründer Martin Hoffmann so sieht: “Durch das Engagement aller Beteiligten ist die Uniliga zu der Anlaufstelle für den Hochschulesports in Deutschland geworden. Wir sind stolz darauf tausende von Esports-begeisterten Studenten in ihrem Hobby zusammenzubringen und ihren Lebensweg nachhaltig zu prägen.”

Zwei Seasons in jedem Jahr

Während eines Semesters, regulär von Oktober bis Januar und Mai bis Juli, finden dann wöchentlich Spiele in den einzelnen Kategorien statt. Dazu gibt es fünf Übertragungen auf Twitch, wo ausgewählte Match-Ups übertragen und von Uniliga Castern kommentiert werden. 

Hinzu kommen noch Artikel auf der Webseite und Highlight Videos auf Youtube. Je nach Klausurphase und Verfügbarkeit der Spieler können die Spieltage auch variieren. Trotz Studienstress bleibt der Spielbetrieb professionell, denn es gibt den sogenannten Default-Termin. Das ist meist der Streamtag, an dem die Spiele ausgetragen sein müssen. Um sich mit seinen Gegnern auf einen Termin zu einigen, stehen die unterschiedlichen Discord Channel zur Verfügung. 

Finals auf den großen Esports-Bühnen

Neben den Spieltagen werden die Finals in League of Legends und Rocket League auch in jeder Season bei einem offline Event ausgetragen. In der Winterseason spielen die Kontrahenten dann auf der DreamHack in Leipzig und in der Sommerseason treffen sie auf der Gamescom in Köln aufeinander. So können sich die Spieler untereinander persönlich kennen lernen, aber auch die Mitarbeiter der Uniliga lernen die Teams kennen. Auf einer großen Bühne werden die finalen Spiele ausgetragen, von Castern live vor Ort kommentiert. Der Gewinner darf sich über ein Preisgeld und Hardware-Preise freuen. 

Auch von der momentan schwierigen gesellschaftlichen Situation lassen sich die Verantwortlichen der Uniliga nicht entmutigen. “Unser Ziel ist weiterhin Esports als festen Bestandteil der Hochschulwelt zu etablieren und zur Selbstverständlichkeit zu entwickeln. Auch unter dem Eindruck der aktuellen Krisensituation sind wir optimistisch, dass uns das zusammen mit den Studierenden vor Ort, Teams und Clubs gelingen wird.”, stellt Uniliga-Gründer Martin Hoffmann klar.

Cups und internationale Events

Neben dem normalen Liga-Betrieb bietet die Uniliga noch zusätzliche Events und Cups an. Für Rainbow Six Siege wird nach jeder abgeschlossenen Season ein StudiCup veranstaltet. An einem Wochenende treten dort auch Universitäts-Teams gegeneinander an. 

Zusätzlich gibt es ein europäisches Rocket-League-Turnier, welches sich speziell an Studierende richtet und innerhalb der Offseason stattfindet. Dabei haben die besten Teams von Universitäten in ganz Europa einen direkten Platz, während die restlichen Plätze über ein Qualifier Turnier besetzt werden. 

In dieser Off-Season bieten wir auch das erste Mal die Uniliga Rivals an. Dazu wurden vier Spieler aus unterschiedlichen Teams der Uniliga ausgewählt. Diese erhielten einen Spieler-Pool aus dem sie sich ein Team zusammenstellen mussten. Dabei durften keine Spieler aus dem eigenen Standort gewählt werden. Somit spielen nun fünf Studierende von fünf unterschiedlichen Standorten gegeneinander. Das Event findet am 05.04.2020 ab 12.00 Uhr statt und wird live auf dem Twitch Kanal der Uniliga übertragen. 

So kannst du Teil der Uniliga werden

An der Uniliga kann jeder teilnehmen, der an einer Universität oder Fachhochschule eingeschrieben ist und Spaß am kompetitiven Spielen hat. Wenn ihr nicht wisst, ob es an eurem Standort schon ein Team gibt, könnt ihr gerne auf dem Discord  der Uniliga nachfragen. Dort werdet ihr an die entsprechende Person weitergeleitet. 

Mittlerweile kann die Uniliga mehr als 2.000 aktive Spieler in über 250 Teams von mehr als 80 Universitäten verzeichnen. Du spielst also nicht mehr alleine, sondern in einem Team. Wie ihr euch innerhalb eures Teams auf die Season vorbereitet, klärt ihr individuell ab. Jeder hat seinen eigenen Stundenplan, Nebenjobs und so müssen Trainingszeiten mit eurem Team individuell aufeinander abgestimmt werden. Egal ob Hobbyzocker oder ambitionierte Amateur-Gamer – innerhalb der Uniliga findet man Leute mit gleichen Ambitionen, mit welchen man das Hobby Gaming teilen kann.

Gründe ein Esports-Team an deinem Standort

Falls es an eurem Standort noch kein Team, keinen Club, Verein oder keine Hochschulgruppe gibt, könnt ihr auch das Pioneer-Projekt der Uniliga nutzen. Dabei stehen euch die Experten mit Rat und Tat zur Seite und unterstützen euch bei den ersten Schritten der Neugründung. 

Weitere Informationen zur Uniliga gibt es auf dem Discord oder der Webseite.

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Categories
VR

Half-Life: Alyx Update Improves Support for Left-handed Players

The Entire VR Industry in One Little Email

The Daily Roundup is our comprehensive coverage of the VR industry wrapped up into one daily email, delivered directly to your inbox. 

The latest Half-Life: Alyx patch, Update 1.2, brings a handful of adjustments and fixes, as well as improved support for left-handed players.

When you start a new game in Half-Life: Alyx, the game asks you to select your ‘Weapon Hand’ which becomes the hand to which weapons are attached. At launch, the implementation of the ‘Weapon Hand’ selection meant that if you picked the right hand then you’d wield your weapon with that hand and your movement controls would be on the left hand (as expected), but if you picked the left hand, the weapon would go in your left hand and the movement controls would go on your right hand.

This is odd compared to how most modern VR games handle locomotion, which is to always put the movement controls on the left hand and the rotation controls in the right hand, regardless of which hand the player wants to hold their gun with.

Valve apparently got the message that tying the movement and rotation controls together with weapon-handedness made things feel off for left-handed players, and the latest version of Half-Life: Alyx, Update 1.2, now makes these options independent from one another.

The update also added an option to display subtitles only on the spectator view, which will be helpful for streamers and local spectators who can’t hear the sound in the headset. Additionally, Valve changed the Height Adjust accessibility options to be clearer and improved the default Height Adjust button binding for some controllers.

The update also brought performance and UI adjustments, and a handful of crash fixes. See the Update 1.2 patch notes for full details.

With this update Valve also published a Half-Life: Alyx Performance Tips page to help players tune their computers and the game for the smoothest performance; it’s worth going over if you’ve been having performance issues with the game .

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Categories
eSports

Quincy Crew secure grand finals spot at ESL One LA Online, Business Associates eliminated

The last day of ESL One Los Angeles Online in the North America division group stage matches pitted Business Associates against Evil Geniuses for a best-of-three affair with survival on the line. Given the stakes, EG stopped fooling around and opened with a well-rounded draft that would allow them to feel safe in both early and late stages of the game.

A last pick Invoker for EG’s stand-in player Eric “Ryoya” Dong put BA in disadvantage right from the get-go as they lost all three lanes and got ran over courtesy of also perfect plays from Sam “BuLba” Sosale on Centaur Warrunner. The game was over in just 18 minutes with BA landing just three kills through the entire battle. Game two brought plenty of clutch plays from David “Moo” Hull on Weaver who was able to overpower Artour “Arteezy” Babaev’s Terrorblade who went for an unusual Ethereal Blade – Dagon item build. With BA able to punish RTZ for his item choices, the series was pushed to a decisive game and EG summoned the Terrorblade once again. This time, RTZ went for a more traditional build, Manta Style, Pike Butterfly and as the game was heading into a late stage, he kept the farm rolling to get six slotted and eventually able to outmanoeuvre BA to take their throne in a risky split push manoeuvre.

For Business Associates, the loss came with elimination, but
for EG, the ESL One Los Angeles Online adventure will resume today, April 2nd in
the playoffs semifinals against CR4Zy 

In a rather unexpected fashion, Quincy Crew, formerly known as Chaos Esports
took the first seed of the group with spotless performances over EG, BA and
CR4ZY and are now in the playoffs grand finals where thy going to play against
the winner of EG vs CR4Zy. The NA division will crown its champions today,
April 2nd

ESL One Los Angeles Online NA playoffs schedule:

April 2nd:

09:00 PDT/18:00 CEST/00:00 SGT – Evil Geniuses vs CR4ZY (semifinals, bo3)
11:00 PDT/20:00 CEST/02:00 SGT – Quincy Crew vs TBD (grand finals, bo5)

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Categories
PS4

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Developers Explain How And Why They Changed Combat In New Video

Final Fantasy VII Remake is nearly upon us, and the latest installment of the Inside Final Fantasy VII Remake video series is here to prime us for the game’s battles. While episode 1 was a general introduction and episode 2 focused on story, the third episode of this documentary series, embedded below, dives deep into the new combat system for the remake.

The reworked combat system came about because action is “the mainstream style right now,” according to director and concept designer Tetsuya Nomura. However, the numbers and stats that fly off enemies during combat were maintained because “they make Final Fantasy what it is.”

The battle system has been designed with the thought that this is how it would work if it was designed for the first time today, but the developers report that it was difficult to decide just how action-focused it would be, and whether things like reflexes would be important. Classic Mode, which automates a lot of the fighting and lets players focus on making choices through menus, was included because a lot of fans online were worried about not being able to play because they are not good at more action-heavy games.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/xupzVBja1sI

Materia will play a bigger part in this game compared to the original, and the developers are hoping that players who die in boss fights will change their Materia before trying again to see what will work. Speaking of bosses, they’ve been overhauled pretty substantially, as this video shows. They’re all phase based now, moving between different stages punctuated by cutscenes, and follow the principles of Jo-Ha-Kyu–that is, a slow start, a swift break, and then a rapid end.

There’s also a Chocobo stampede attack shown off, which is a real treat.

The story is discussed further in the video too, and it’s said that in the second half of the game the characters will experience a lot of growth. Subquests have been moved around to better suit the pace of the remake’s storytelling, and minigames are designed to fit in with the rest of the plot. The game is said to be “story-driven” moreso than “open world”.

Depending on where you live, you might already have your hands on Final Fantasy VII Remake–it has shipped early in some places. The game, which covers the Midgar portion of the original, will be greatly expanded compared to the PlayStation 1 classic.


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PC

Respawn Reveals Most Played Apex Legends Characters

In a recent interview with video game magazine Game Informer, Apex Legends general manager Dusty Welch and game director Chad Grenier touched on which Legends are played the most and how characters evolve over time.

Like most games with a hero or character pool, players drifted towards different Legends more in each season, but Wraith and Pathfinder were consistently high picks across the board. In the interview, Welch and Grenier spoke about which Legends were the most popular.

“Caustic has been from a pro player or tournament standpoint. He’s been an interesting player favorite, especially when they get into the final areas,” said Welch.

“We’ve seen in competitive play Wattson has been a popular pick. It also changes with the game. When we released the Winter Express game mode, Gibraltar was by far the favorite,” said Grenier.

Ever since the 4.1 update, Wattson has become less of a must-have pick thanks to Respawn nerfing some of her more unfair characteristics. Before the patch, Wattson was able to hold six grenades in only three inventory slots, allowing players who found big enough backpacks to stockpile grenades and bombard others with what seemed like a never ending supply of grenades.

Players used this method a lot, with interior spaces becoming a death sentence in most games. The only counter to this was to have a Wattson yourself, with her Interceptor Pylon destroying incoming ordinances, like grenades. Respawn responded to this infuriating meta by patching the character, limiting her to one grenade per inventory slot and bringing the bombardments to an end.

Legends character Bloodhound was changed in patch 4.1 as well, with his abilities being altered to reflect his original concept more. Bloodhound is a recon character, with the ability to track down or “hunt” down players with the Eye of the Allfather, which now has three times the range.

Before the update, this ability was only good for locating a player inside the same building or behind a rock, now Eye of the Allfather can be the hunter he was always meant to be. The only downside is the ability now takes twice as long to recharge.

Welch and Grenier also hinted at what else could be coming in Season 4: Assimilation, with Grenier being cautious to reveal too much.

“I don’t want to spoil too much. We will be having some stuff announced shortly that will be pretty exciting for everyone. I will tell you that we just locked in our plan for some major content coming in 2020 which has made the team very excited… We’re trying to tell more story and we’ll have more characters and depth there. We have more great animated content coming, It’s an exciting year for sure.” Said Grenier.

Apex Legends Season 4: Assimilation is currently running on PC, Xbox One, and PS4. Now is a great time to jump back into Apex, with Season 5 set to link the Apex canon with Respawn’s other popular title, Titanfall.

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Categories
Tech

Google’s WaveNetEQ fills in speech gaps during Duo calls

Google today detailed an AI system — WaveNetEQ — it recently deployed to Duo, its cross-platform voice and video chat app, that can realistically synthesize short snippets of speech to replace garbled audio caused by an unstable internet connection. It’s fast enough to run on a smartphone while delivering state-of-the-art, natural-sounding audio quality, laying the groundwork for future chat apps optimized for bandwidth-constrained environments.

Here’s how it sounds compared with Duo’s old solution (the first is WaveNetEQ):

As Google explains, to ensure reliable real-time communication, it’s necessary to deal with packets (i.e., formatted units of data) that are missing when the receiver needs them. (The company says that 99% of Duo calls need to deal with network issues, and that 10% of calls lose more than 8% of the total audio duration due to network issues.) If new audio isn’t delivered continuously, audible glitches and gaps will occur, but repeating the same audio isn’t ideal because it produces artifacts and reduces overall call quality.

Google’s solution — WaveNetEQ — is what’s called a packet loss containment module, which is responsible for creating data to fill in the gaps created by packet losses, excessive jitter, and other mishaps.

Architecturally, WaveNetEQ is a modified version of DeepMind’s WaveRNN, a machine learning model for speech synthesis consisting of autoregressive and conditioning networks. The autoregressive network provides short- and mid-term speech structure by having each generated sample depend on the network’s previous outputs, while the conditioning network influences the autoregressive network to produce audio consistent with the more slowly-moving input features.

Above: A schematic of WaveNetEQ.

WaveNetEQ uses the autoregressive network to provide the audio continuation and the conditioning network to model long-term features, like voice characteristics. The spectrogram  — i.e., the visual representation of the spectrum of frequencies — of the past audio signal is used as input for the conditioning network, which extracts information about the prosody and textual content. This condensed information is fed to the autoregressive network, which combines it with the audio of the recent past to predict the next sample in the waveform domain.

To train WaveNetEQ model, Google fed the autoregressive network samples from a training data set as input for the next step, rather than the last sample the model produced. This was to ensure WaveNetEQ learned valuable speech information even at an early stage of training, when its predictions were still low-quality. The aforementioned corpus contained voice recordings from 100 speakers in 48 different languages, as well as a wide variety of background noises to ensure that the model could deal with noisy environments.

Once WaveNetEQ was fully trained and put to use in Duo audio and video calls, the training was only used to “warm up” the model for the first sample; in production, WaveNetEQ’s output is passed back as input for the next step.

WaveNetEQ is applied to the audio data in Duo’s jitter buffer so that once the real audio continues after packet loss, it seamlessly merges the synthetic and real audio stream. To find the best alignment between the two signals, the model generates slightly more output than is required and then cross-fades from one to the other, avoiding noticeable noise.

Google says that in practice, WaveNetEQ can plausibly finish syllables up to 120 milliseconds in length.

WaveNetEQ is already available in Duo on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL — they arrived as a part of the feature drop in December — and Google says it’s in the process of rolling out the system to additional devices. It’s unclear which devices, however — we’ve reached out to Google for clarification and we’ll update this post once we hear back.

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Categories
eSports

Daily News Recap: Activision bans 50,000 cheaters in CoD:Warzone – Daily Esports

In today’s weekly recap, Activision bans 50,000 Call of Duty: Warzone cheaters. They plan to combat this issue with their 24/7 security teams, improved in-game system and more. Seoul Dynasty has canceled its Overwatch League May Homestand taking place in Seoul, South Korea, citing COVID-19 concerns. Re-scheduled dates are yet to be determined. A new CS:GO esports league is on the horizon, and there are already set dates for the first few matches. Parimatch League will feature 16 teams beginning from mid-April into mid-May.

Thanks for watching and tune in to Daily Esports for more esports and gaming news.

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Categories
PC

Apex Legends Season 5 Has A "Pleasant Surprise" For Titanfall Fans

According to Respawn, fans of Titanfall and Titanfall 2 may be excited to see what Respawn has in store for Apex Legends at the start of Season 5. Season 5 is scheduled to begin in late May or early June, as Season 4: Assimilation is halfway done, having gone through its ranked series split.

In an interview in Game Informer Issue 324, Apex Legends general manager Dusty Welch and game director Chad Grenier spoke about the future of Respawn’s battle royale game, with one of them saying, “We’re always bringing in stuff from the Titanfall universe. We built an awesome world in Titanfall 1 and 2 and want to make sure we’re bringing that forward. I will say this: There could potentially be a pleasant surprise for Titanfall fans in Season 5.”

Neither Welch nor Grenier provided further details beyond that, though Season 5’s tie to Titanfall could be hinted at with the arrival of Bloodhound’s town takeover. The arrival of the technological tracker’s town takeover was teased with a prowler, a vicious wolf-like creature native to the planet Leviathan (the setting of Titanfall 2’s incredible Effect and Cause level). Perhaps, just as Apex Legends left Kings Canyon after two seasons, the battle royale is getting another brand-new map after two seasons on World’s Edge–one that will be located on Leviathan.

Elsewhere in the interview, Welch and Grenier also talk about which of Apex Legends’ playable characters are most popular. Grenier says that the rankings change from season to season, though Pathfinder and Wraith are almost always among the top picks and that Wattson is popular on the competitive side. “Caustic has been [popular] from a pro player or tournament standpoint,” Welch added. “He’s been an interesting player favorite, especially when they get into the final areas.”

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Categories
News

Games Inbox: What’s the best video game of 2020 so far?

The Thursday Inbox is not happy with Platinum Games’ attempt at an April Fool, as one reader asks for PS4 Metroidvania recommendations.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

First quarter
So, I hate to say it but the years is now one quarter done. I know, right? I think it’s safe to say that at this point it’s probably not going to go down as a classic year for gaming, or anything probably. But we have had some good games in the last couple of weeks, so at the 25% mark I’ve got to ask what is the best game of 2020?

As far as I can see the main contenders are Persona 5 Royal (not really a new game, but I think it counts), Half-Life: Alyx, Doom Eternal, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Nioh 2, and Ori And The Will Of The Wisps. Now I haven’t played all of these (I’d be surprised if even 5% of readers had played Half-Life: Alyx) but for me it’s between Doom Eternal and Animal Crossing.

Of those two, personally I’ve only played Doom Eternal and I really enjoyed. But even I have to admit that Animal Crossing seems to be the bigger game, it really seems to have caught the imagination of people more than anything else I’ve seen for a long time. It obviously suits self-isolation, especially because it’s cheerful and non-violent, so plenty of non-gamers are playing it too.

Kudos to Nintendo, I say. I don’t understand why more companies don’t try to make non-violent games. It’s basically a thing only Nintendo do and from a basic business point of view that seems like a mistake. Personally I’d still rather play Doom but a good game is a good game, especially if it’s doing something differently.
Clambake

Double cancellation
So not only is E3 cancelled but the thing that was meant to replace it, at least from Bethesda, is also cancellation? What a classic this year is turning out to be! It felt like the games industry was trying to tear itself apart before the coronavirus ever started, now it feels like it’s just doing things at random. Final Fantasy 7 Remake coming out 10 days early, people leaking seemingly accurate Nintendo rumours, everybody saying as little as possible about what games they’re making… it’s cats and dogs living together all over again!

There’s a lot going wrong at once but I wonder whether the underlying problem is that companies aren’t ready for the next generation. It did really happen with the PlayStation 4 era but go back a generation from that and tons of developers, particularly in Japan, couldn’t handle the move to HD and a lot of games turned out bad or late and this smells to me like the same sort of thing.

So few games are coming out at the moment, or even getting announced, that it feels like the machinery is all jammed up. Companies don’t know when the next gen console are coming out and they’re not sure when to switch to supporting them. That’s my theory anyway. There’s too much going wrong at the same time and I can’t believe that it’s a coincidence that it’s happening during the build up to the new consoles.
Dalchon
PS: I admit that doesn’t explain Nintendo, but whatever can?

Platinum 1½
So let me get this straight, PlatinumGames went to all the trouble of setting up a website and doing press for the ‘Platinum 4’ and it turned out to be a remaster of one of their lesser games, a new studio for making mobile games, an April Fool’s joke, and one genuine new game? That is not what I was hoping for when they first started hyping all this up.

The new studio was disappointing enough but they said they were saving the best till last, which turned out to be a non-joke about an old arcade shooter that I bet 99% of people have never even heard of. They should hire me to be their marketing guy, I’d do it for free lunch and access to their games room and I wouldn’t come up with anything as pointless and annoying as that.

On top of all this they’re not involved in the NieR remake. Project G. G. looks good but otherwise I do not think this has been a good couple of months for Platinum.
Masteric

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Family games
Hi GC and my fellow readers. I hope you are all keeping safe and getting to enjoy some gaming time during a difficult time. Now that I’m home with the kids and trying to think of fun ways to kill time, I was hoping GC or any readers could advise on which is the best family friendly ten-pin bowling game on the Switch? Something akin to the old Wii Sports would be great.

Would there be any other fun party games/sports games for families to play that you can recommend (apart from Super Mario Party and Mario Kart 8, which we already own). My eldest is six, so would need to be something not too complex ideally.

Thanks in advance.
Dj Kj

GC: We don’t remember bowling in any Switch game, but perhaps there’s something we’ve forgotten that a reader can recommend. There seem to be various bowling games if you search in the eShop, but they all look pretty low budget and we’ve never heard of any of them before. As for other games, Just Dance is usually popular with kids and non-gamers, or there’s things like Bubble Bobble 4 Friends and Overcooked. Animal Crossing: New Horizons also allows multiple people to live on the same island, although all but the first has to take a very reduced role.

Metroidvania mania
VVVVLTRFTW. Isolation has given me an opportunity to actually get back into gaming after a long break. I have been using my housemate’s Xbox to play firstly Ori And The Blind Forest and currently playing Ori And The Will Of The Wisps. What brilliantly crafted games these are! I have mostly avoided this style of ‘Metroidvania’ game before.

My housemate is getting a little bit vexed at me using his Xbox, and I own a PlayStation 4 – can anyone give me any recommendations for Metroidvania games to help relieve isolation boredom?
Millero86 (gamertag)

GC: Most Metroidvanias are multiformat indie games, so there’s Hollow Knight, Dead Cells, Axiom Verge (the closest to the actual Metroid series), Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night (the closest to Castlevania), SteamWorld Dig 2, Guacamelee, and Owlboy. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the only recent big budget example of the genre.

Relatively difficulty
RE: drlowdon on game difficulty. Much as I adore the Dark Souls games, I do feel that when it comes to game difficulty there is one point that should be considered: difficulty is completely subjective.

The design decisions in the Souls games are in part what makes it difficult, but to take the example you made that, ‘The mechanic of having to collect your souls after dying also wouldn’t work if you didn’t ever actually die!’ How often each player dies is unique to that player. Some players can get through the game without ever actually dying, so don’t make use of that mechanic.

I also feel, especially in multiplayer games, the idea of rewarding good players with more powerful items and letting the worse players suffer is somewhat backwards (though directly inverting it would also be a terrible idea).

Though it would be difficult to do, dynamic difficulty would be the best option, like that seen in Resident Evil 4 (see Game Maker’s Toolkit), that way ‘lesser’ players and ‘good’ players would both have a challenge that they can overcome and enjoy.
Joseph Dowland

GC: Those stories of people beating Dark Souls without dying are only after a huge amount of practice. We don’t think anyone would describe the games as anything other than difficult.

Never surrender
I will say this for Ubisoft they don’t give up on a game and they almost always manage to turn them around. I would’ve said that Ghost Recon Breakpoint was unsalvageable and I’m certain no other company would’ve bothered to try and fix it but sounds like Ubi actually put in the effort.

I don’t know if they’re going to get much out of doing that, considering how cheap the game is now, but I’ll probably give it a go at £15. It also makes me more confident about buying their other games in the future.
Stuor

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Licence blindness
RE: Obakasama and his letter about bad games that you actually enjoyed. This is true of The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (which I think GC gave 2/10).

I’m not sure if I was blinded by complete faith to the TV show (back when it was still good and at the height of its popularity) but I actually really enjoyed the game. Putting you in the shoes of my favourite character, Daryl, using his infamous crossbow to kill walkers was perfect for placing you in the world and scoring headshots rarely left me without a smile on my face.

There was also a bit of depth to the game, where you could pick up survivors on your travels and recruit them to your group (they joined your RV). They then became available to send on scouting runs and, dependent on their skills and current inventory, had a chance of success for their missions. Whilst I never became attached to any of the characters, it did feel strange sending someone to their inevitable doom and helped build out the world.

Overall, the game was entirely forgettable, but at the time (probably due to the rose-tinted glasses) I remember being completely absorbed in its campaign.
CapoCurious (PSN ID)

Inbox also-rans
Gone Home and Hob are free on PC on Epic Games Store from today for the next week.
Andrew J.

Considering these fretful times, do you think that Pac-Man can get Pac-Man fever?
DMR

This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Onibee, who asks what do you think, and hope, Nintendo’s next games will be for the Switch?

It’s now six months since they had a general topic Nintendo Direct and there are currently no major new Switch games scheduled for the whole year, so what do you think is going on? Although the coronavirus is exacerbating the situation Nintendo’s secrecy started last year, so why do you think that is?

What new games do you expect to see come out next and what surprises are you hoping for once they are finally announced? What do you think the secrecy is in aid of and what do you think Nintendo should do in order to try and counter the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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Categories
News

Persona 5 Royal: Guide To Playing Darts

Part of Persona 5 Royal’s improvement on the Baton Pass system is the ability to level up the effectiveness of Baton Passes with your teammates by playing darts at Kichijoji.

Players are introduced to this mechanic on 6/5, when Ryuji takes them to the darts and billiards game bar play darts— during this trip, the game automatically brings Ryuji’s Baton Pass to rank 2, but it’s only when players return to play of their own volition that the game introduces the actual minigame.

How To Play Darts

The rules are identical to those of real-life darts: you score points based on where your dart lands, and you must score exactly the specified amount of points in five turns. The game is divided into three difficulty levels: 301, 501, and 701, each named after how many points must be scored.

Each turn is comprised of three dart throws. It’s best to aim for the highest score possible on your first turn, but beware: if your dart throw puts your remaining points in the negative, it will be a bust and any points you scored during that turn will be voided. You must reach 0 points exactly.

Playing the minigame is mostly a matter of reflexes. When you step up, there will be an oval on the screen that you can position by using your Dualshock’s motion controls. Once it’s over the area you’d like to score, hold R2 to lock it in place, at which point a dot will start bouncing about within the oval. This dot determines where your dart will actually land— the trick is to flick your controller or press X when it’s over the score field you want to hit.

How To Rank Up Baton Passes

This is fairly simple— succeeding at one round of 301 will increase that teammate’s Baton Pass to rank 2, while a round of 501 will max them out at rank 3. Teammates at rank 1 will automatically ask to play 301, but you can still skip to rank 3 in one round if you play your cards right.

There are five turns in a round, with the protagonist going first and the selected teammate going second. If you’re able to score enough points in your first and second turn that your teammate could feasibly finish the round on their second turn, you’ll be given an opportunity to encourage them.

Selecting the right option will boost their performance, increasing the chance that they’ll finish the round and rank up to 3 immediately. However, if the number of points you’ve left for them to top off is low enough, you don’t need to worry too much about boosting their performance. Aim to leave them with anywhere between 1 and 30 points.

The “Right” options are as follows:

  • Mona: C. “I’m counting on you.”
  • Skull: A. “Focus!”
  • Panther: C. “Just play like usual.”
  • Fox: A. “Think of it like painting.”
  • Queen: C. “Take deep breaths.”
  • Oracle: B. “This is the real thing.”
  • Noir: C. “Just enjoy yourself.”
  • Violet: C: “Trust yourself.”

*These are unofficial translations of the prompts, and will be updated soon.

The exception to this is Crow— he will always ask to play 701 with you, and only ever level up one rank at a time.

How To Boost Your Performance

As with the other minigames in Persona 5 Royal, you’re able to augment your skills by purchasing certain items. After playing darts for the first time (not including the first visit with Ryuji), two items will be available for sale: a book and a specialty dart.

The book can be bought in Shinjuku and upon reading, will allow you to use Third Eye during a round. This means that holding L2 after locking the aiming oval down will slow the dot down, making it easier for you to shoot for the field you want.

The specialty dart can be bought from the sports shop in Shibuya’s Underground Mall, where the record store used to be in the original P5. This makes your aiming oval thinner, allowing for greater precision.

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