Players all around the world are preparing to dive into a story set a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, but there are a few things you will want to do before you crack open Star Wars Battlefront 2. If you’re gaming setup is looking a bit dusty and rusty, perhaps it’s time for an upgrade?
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is looking to refine a lot of what the original game got right, and fix a lot of the things that missed the mark. As we mentioned in our beta breakdown, Star Wars Battlefront 2 looks absolutely incredible. At any given moment, there might be hundreds of effects happening on-screen – sparks from blasters showering the ground, leaves and debris swirling through the air, the game is gorgeous, which means you might need to consider upgrading your rigs.
PC gamers, is your build looking a bit dated? Perhaps now is the best time to look at upgrading to a new graphics card or even a new CPU. EA has revealed the minimum and recommended system requirements for PC, with the lower-end of the spectrum being fairly forgiving. Obviously, if you want the best experience, you’re going to need to aim for the recommended list of tech.
Online Connection Requirements: 512 KBPS or faster Internet connection
Hard-drive space: 60GB
AMD has released a new line of Ryzen CPUs, which are pretty astounding by anyone’s standards, and if you’re an Intel fan, their Core i7 chipsets are still has good as ever. In terms of graphics cards, you can’t really go past a GTX 1070 or even a 1080 if you’ve got the credits. Although, designing a new build is always a personal experience, so go with what you like.
So Many Pixels
Star Wars Battlefront 2 will be able to utilize HDR technology on the Xbox One X, so if you want to exploit all those rich colors and deep blacks, now might be the perfect time for a 4K TV or computer monitor. There are a lot of brands out there, and with Black Friday around the corner, retailers everywhere will be hocking them off at some outrageous prices. PC gamers, if you decide to upgrade that graphics card to one with a display port, you just have to get yourself a 4K monitor, it only makes sense.
Appreciate the Audio
When you think of Star Wars, what comes to mind? Maybe: the story and the characters. Perhaps: the dozens of movies and written work. Definitely: the incredible sound of lightsabers, blasters, ships, and other pieces of tech in the universe. In order to match these pieces of technology, you need equally high-tech audio equipment.
The Stealth 700 is one of the latest additions to the Turtle Beach line-up of headsets, with one designed for use with the Xbox One and another with the PlayStation 4. What makes this headset so phenomenal is that it can wirelessly connect to your Xbox One console – no base station, no wires, no adapters, just directly to the console.
Furthermore, on Xbox One, the Stealth 700 uses Microsoft’s Windows Sonic system to transform it into a virtual 7.1 surround sound device. Meanwhile, over with the Stealth 700 on the PlayStation 4, DTS Headphone:X surround sound technology is used to create realistic sound environments. Audio moves around your head as if it was actually happening to you first-hand.
Elite Pro with Tactical Audio Controller
If you’re serious about audio, and just as serious about winning, you need to add the Elite Pro and TAC to your gaming setup. This headset can function on your PC as well as your Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and when paired with the Tactical Audio Controller, becomes as much a tool for your victory as your controller or keyboard and mouse.
When using one of the best chat programs out there, the Elite Pro will have your voice coming through with precision while your allies’ communiqués will be crystal clear. Plus, the ear cushions use Aerofit technology, keeping your ears nice and frosty during long gaming sessions.
Console gamers know that there’s nothing worse than a controller that can’t keep up with your reaction speed. Are your thumbsticks sagging? Are the triggers not as tight as they used to be? Is the X Button a bit sticky? Time get your mitts on a new controller.
Xbox One players can upgrade their gaming setup for Star Wars Battlefront 2 by transitioning to an Xbox One Elite Controller. Thanks to the programmable paddles on the underside of the controller, you’ll never have to take your thumb off the right stick again. Each of the four paddles can be programmed to function in any way you please. Simply map a paddle for each of the face keys and use your middle and ring fingers to do all the work. People in Battlefront 2 will legit think you’re cheating.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 Release Times
All of these upgrades aren’t worth a damn if you don’t have the perfect game to play, so it’s a good thing Star Wars Battlefront 2 is right around the corner. Starting November 17, Star Wars Battlefront 2 will be open to the public, so mark your calendar and prepare to spend a lot of time buried deep within the Star Wars universe.
However, anyone who has pre-ordered the Star Wars Battlefront 2 Elite Trooper Edition will be able to play the game up to 3 days early! This means there are currently gamers out there with early access to the game. They’re already finishing the campaign, earning characters, and figuring out what class they like the best.
So the short of it is:
November 14th: Elite Trooper Edition owners begin playing Star Wars Battlefront 2
November 17th: Star Wars Battlefront 2 is available to all
There are only a couple of days before Star Wars Battlefront 2 is available to all players around the world. Once the floodgates open, there will be no turning back, so now is the time to strike. If you’ve been looking for a good reason to upgrade your gaming setup, this is the perfect opportunity, with DICE’s vision of Star Wars shaping up to be a truly gorgeous experience. Whether it’s a 4K TV, a new graphics card for your PC, a kick ass Turtle Beach headset, or a controller for your console, any upgrade to your gaming setup will take your Star Wars Battlefront 2 experience to the next level.
A new member has joined the Xbox Family! Offering true 4K gaming, 60fps, and a slimmer, sleeker design, the Xbox One X boasts better performance than any other console on the market. What makes its launch so damn good is that, unlike brand new console generations, the Xbox One X has an entire library of hundreds of games that can be played on it, what’s more, dozens of these games are playable in glorious 4K.
These games are elegantly labelled “Enhanced”, and the list of these gorgeous titles is continually growing. But right now, if we had to pick only a few, these are the best Enhanced games to play on your Xbox One X.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War
We absolutely loved Middle-earth: Shadow of War. From the grizzled action and ever-witty orcs to the fortress sieges and earth-shaking audio, Shadow of War had us riveted every step of the way. Now, with the arrival of Xbox One X, the game is looking absolutely stunning, even more so than it did before!
By taking advantage of the power of the Xbox One X, Monolith Productions has pushed Shadow of War to the limits. If you’ve got a 4K television or computer monitor, the visual fidelity of the environment and action around you is remarkable. Though the visuals and improved framerates are the main selling point of the Xbox One X, we can hardly pass up an opportunity to tout Shadow of War’s phenomenal audio.
As we mentioned in our breakdown, Shadow of War uses audio to make every attack and sword swing sound brutal, every battle is full of fear and rage, even the ebbing and pulsing musical score sets the scenes perfectly. If you’ve got an Xbox One X and want to test its power, pick Shadow of War.
Gears of War 4
It’s hard to believe that Gears of War 4 is already a year old, and yet the team over at The Coalition has done an incredible job at enhancing its visuals. Gears of War 4 is able to exploit the Xbox One X’s 4K capabilities as well as its HDR functionality in order to generate some truly unbelievable detail.
The series is known for its explosive set pieces and now thanks to the Xbox One X, these are some of the most visually stunning and jaw-dropping moments in gaming. On a more personal level, when you’re face-to-face with a Locust and you’re chainsawing it in half, the visceral carnage is immaculate, with the audio supplementing every action with booming sounds.
With Windows Sonic enabled on your Xbox One X, your XO THREE are transformed into a virtual 7.1 surround sound device. The allies fighting the Locusts on your back-right sound as if they’re really there, the commotion and dogfighting in the sky sounds as if it’s happening right above your head – every element comes together to create an adrenaline-filled experience.
Assassin’s Creed Origins
We’ve spent some time traveling around the sandy dunes of ancient Egypt in Assassin’s Creed Origins before upgrading to the Xbox One X and even more time slinking around after, and we can safely say that the Enhanced version is phenomenally more beautiful.
There are details in Assassin’s Creed Origins you won’t even know exist until you see it in glorious 4K. The subtle rippling of the oases, the fronds of palm trees, the bugs and cobwebs covering the inside of tombs, every pixel of Ubisoft’s latest entry in the series exploits the power of the Xbox One X.
Even the atmosphere of Assassin’s Creed Origins vies for your attention. As you walk around your hometown of Siwa you can hear people call out to you, welcoming you back. The markets buzz with life as the townsfolk barter over prices. The animals in the distance chirp, sing, and growl as they fight and live their own lives. We can’t wait to spend the holidays adventuring around Assassin’s Creed Origin on our Xbox One X.
Forza Motorsport 7
Fans of cars, racing, and tinkering under the hood of mechanical beasts were already in love with Forza Motorsport 7, and that’s before the series landed on the Xbox One X with 4K and HDR. There’s no way of accurately describing just how stunning the visuals are in Forza Motorsport 7 as you’re flying around Nurburgring or as the sand gusts across the road in Dubai, it’s something you just need to experience.
Sure, the visuals are impeccable, but just like a lot of games on this list, the audio quality is to be admired. The way every vehicle sounds unique, the tension you can feel as you hear the tyres gripping the surface of the track in different ways, or even the way you can hear a competitor catching up behind you – especially when using our Elite Pro gaming headset – makes Forza Motorsport 7’s audio a feather in Turn 10 Studio’s hat.
Call of Duty: WWII
Call of Duty: WWII has blasted its way onto our consoles and gaming PCs with a ferocity like that which hasn’t been seen in years, and now, thanks to the Xbox One X, it hasn’t looked better. We’ve already dived into the single-player and have been blown away by the incredible moments in the CoD: WWII campaign, and we’re ready to do it all again in eye-melting 4K.
The moment you land on the beaches of Normandy everything will make sense. Seeing and hearing the sights and sounds of that horrific day in 4K is equal parts awe-inspiring and horrifying. Never before has a game set in World War 2 so aptly captured the terror and chaos of that fabled assault.
If you’ve got a 4K TV or monitor – or plan on upgrading your gaming setup – you absolutely need to experience gaming on the Xbox One X. With titles being added to the Enhanced library every day, there will always be something new for you to experience in 4K, but for now, these are some of the best Enhanced games you need for your Xbox One X.
Call of Duty: World War II was always destined to be swept to commercial success by goodwill alone. Sledgehammer Games took the series back to the theater of war where it made its name just at the point fans realized that was what they really wanted. But while the circumstances set the developers up for an easy score, they still had to dunk the ball pretty spectacularly if COD WWII was going to live up to expectations and give Call of Duty a new lease on life. The signs are good for multiplayer and Nazi Zombies, but what about the campaign?
It’s not the longest single-player game ever, clocking in at 6-7 hours depending on how tough you want to make it for yourself, but we imagine that many of you won’t have finished it yet anyway, so we won’t go into anything that happens after the first few hours. But if you’re enjoying it as much as we are, then you won’t mind us gushing about a few of our favorite moments from the first handful of missions. Let’s take a look at some of the best moments in the COD WWII campaign.
We will fight them on the beaches
Sledgehammer’s decision to begin with June 6, 1944, when the Allies invaded France to begin retaking continental Europe, was simultaneously the only sensible choice and also a very brave one, because anything the devs concocted would inevitably be held up not just against the classic Normandy landings of the Medal of Honor and Call of Duty games nearly 20 years ago, but our nostalgia for them as well. This scene is also well-trodden in cinema thanks to Saving Private Ryan, in particular, which originally inspired this genre of game.
Sledgehammer’s tribute to that fateful day plays it pretty straight, and for a new generation of gamers who didn’t play those old classics or grow up with that movie seared into their imaginations, this is an incredible experience. Endless young men are ferried at breakneck pace through the surf onto the beaches, with just a thin layer of landing craft metal protecting them from machinegun pillboxes on the sandbank raining bullets into their path, and then have to fight through gloopy sand and acrid smoke for a chance to live or die in Europe. This is also an opportunity to see our new charges at work – buddies Daniels and Zussman, their tightass commander, Pierson, and the rest of the ensemble. It’s a harrowing experience, and also an audition passed for COD WWII.
The church tower
Having fought their way into France and recovered from injuries sustained in their earlier heroics, Daniels, Zussman and company begin retaking the countryside town by town, and COD WWII continues to channel Saving Private Ryan as it does so, most notably in some fantastically executed sniper sections. Fighting through the countryside in Operation Cobra gives us our first look down a scope, and there’s still something evocative about gulping a breath of air to steady the aim, then watching those familiar grey uniforms move across the crosshairs before they drop.
The tributes to Spielberg find their literal peak in a church tower in Marigny. Having taken over the church – including a tough moment dealing with our first flamethrower enemy – Daniels and Pierson make for the tower to provide overwatch for Zussman as he clears out nearby houses. This scene is right out of the movie, as the extreme elevation creates a unique angle on the Nazi forces, who seem to fall even before the sound of the bullets reach our ears. But the familiarity of the setup also plays with our expectations, because this didn’t work out so well for the Allied sniper on the silver screen. Will Daniels make it out once the Germans realize where he’s hiding?
COD WWII is already delivering on expectations by this stage, but having established its credentials as a credible World War II shooter, Sledgehammer decides to stretch its legs as a Call of Duty title over the next few missions as we meet up with British S.O.E. operations Vivian and Crowley, and eventually French resistance leader Rousseau. Our first introduction to Vivian and Crowley comes as we try to stop a Nazi train carrying V2 rockets that will be used against Paris. This is our first taste of stealth in COD WWII, and it fits the game like a glove. Daniels’ knife and suppressor routine, occasionally coordinating with the Brits, is very slick, and while the mechanics are simple and forgiving and the level design straightforward, it’s a nice palate-cleanser after a few tough shooting galleries, as well as a softer beat on which to foreground Vivian and Crowley.
Then we get to the train, which we imagined ourselves boarding, sleuthing our way along and disabling somehow. Nope. All hell breaks loose, whether you want it to or not, and suddenly the race is on. Daniels and Zussman take over a jeep and give chase as the armored train peppers the landscape around them with heavy ordnance. After a spell at the wheel, the player hops onto the mounted gun to deal with Nazis firing from the train cars, and for a truly spectacular denouement, Zussman decides to park his jeep under the wheels of the locomotive at the head of this rocket-carrying juggernaut. The resulting derailment is classic COD, a visual reward for successfully navigating a delightful mixture of gameplay ideas.
We’ll always have Paris
And it keeps on getting better. The next mission, Liberation, is probably our favorite in the whole game, although it has competition. Switching gears, we jump into the shoes of Rousseau, the French resistance leader who pulled us from the wreckage of the rocket train, as she and Crowley infiltrate a Nazi stronghold in Paris on the eve of the Allies’ attempt to retake the city. Rather than shooting or even sneaking, Rousseau has to walk around in plain sight keeping up a cover story about her orders, locate a resistance contact and swap briefcases with him. This, we learn, will furnish her with explosives to help blow open the Nazi garrison for the invading Allies to take advantage.
Except, not all goes to plan. Rousseau’s contact is compromised, and Rousseau herself runs into an old enemy – the Nazi commander who murdered her family. The scene in which he greets her in his office and discusses her orders never makes it clear whether he realizes who she is, and the tension is palpable. Sledgehammer cranks it up at every opportunity. Is the drink he gives you spiked? What’s he going to do with that red hot poker after he stokes the fire? Does he know or doesn’t he?
After that situation resolves itself, Liberation – fittingly – keeps on giving, through an excellent silenced-pistol sneaking section to plant the explosives, followed by a switch of perspectives back to Daniels’ assault on the garrison. By the time the French fireworks light up the sky with the Nazis in full retreat, Call of Duty: World War II is its own game completely, and if we weren’t prioritizing the campaign before this, we definitely were now.
Zombies has been part of Call of Duty for a number of years now, and on the surface of it Nazi Zombies doesn’t do all that much to change the formula, but Sledgehammer Games’ mashup of World War II and the undead has a lot of class and horror know-how – hardly surprising, given the developers who formed the studio came from the sadly departed Visceral Games, where they oversaw the creation of the amazing Dead Space series.
The first time you get baited into a jumpscare and start to get your head around the new lore, you’ll realize you’re in for a good time, but if you want to make progress in Nazi Zombies then you’ll need to think smart as well as holding your nerve. We’ve been playing Sledgehammer’s latest for a while now, so here are some things we suggest bearing in mind.
Play the map, don’t just shoot zombies
Every time you take out a zombie, you earn Jolts, which is the currency you use to buy weapons, collect upgrades and, crucially, unlock access to new areas of the map. Initially it’s tempting to just blast the zombies around you and grab more expensive guns that offer superior firepower, but if that’s all you do then you’ll never make it very far.
The trick is to focus on your surroundings at the start when the waves are thinner and less aggressive. Take a look around and figure out what it is you need to do to progress, because zombie-slaying alone won’t do that. Look for things you can interact with in the environment, as well as visual clues as to how the things you see might fit together. As you make it deeper into Nazi Zombies, you’ll find the waves stacking up and tougher and faster enemies thrown into the mix, so use downtime between waves wisely, and plan your actions.
Most importantly, remember what works and what doesn’t. There’s a leveling system in Nazi Zombies that unlocks perks and add-ons and all sorts, and of course you can buy new stuff within each session, but the most influential leveling up you do is in your head, where you start to figure out the most efficient way to do things to make the most progress before the waves become unmanageable.
On your first go, you’ll probably struggle to make it out of your immediate surroundings or get beyond wave 14, but before long you’ll be rooting through the bowels of the map, up to your frazzled eyeballs in the Tesla-infused lore, and the zombies will barely have shaken off their eternal slumber to start putting up a fight.
Communicate and co-operate
Whether or not you play with people you know, Nazi Zombies is a co-op mode, and you need to work together to make good progress. If you’re talking to each other on voice comms (we have a few recommendations if you’re in the market!), then report what you’re seeing and share ideas about how to move forward. Stick together so that if one of you gets into trouble, another player can bail you out. And if you do split up, keep tabs on each other’s location in case someone gets overwhelmed and starts bleeding out.
And if you possibly can, play Nazi Zombies with people who haven’t played it before either. A bit like Destiny Raids, this is an experience where half the fun is in learning how to succeed, so jumping into a random match and having some genius blurt out all the solutions will take a lot of the enjoyment out of it. If you can resist the temptation, then don’t watch it on Twitch or YouTube until you’ve done it yourself. Trust us, it’ll be worth it to experience a blind playthrough with like-minded folks.
Mix up the classes
Something new for Nazi Zombies is the ability to pick classes and muck around with loadouts and so on. Each class has its own special ability that can be charged up and used in a tight spot. Offense can use unlimited ammo for a short period of time, even for weapons that are out of ammo. Control can set off a burst of energy that immobilizes and damages zombies within range. Support’s ability attracts zombies to them and deals double damage while active. And the Medic can camouflage themselves to avoid zombie detection, which is handy for reviving team-mates who have gone down in the midst of the horde.
Skilled teams will be able to make any combination work, of course, but we’d definitely recommend finding a role you like and trying to enforce a mixture of classes in the games you play. Obviously having a Medic around is handy when the going gets really tough, but don’t underestimate the Control and Support abilities either. If someone needs to focus on an objective, being able to pull the horde away or briefly stun them can be incredibly useful.
COD WW2 also lets you choose different loadouts for the classes, so pay attention to the perks that come with each and choose carefully. In many ways, that’s the core of getting good at Nazi Zombies in a nutshell: pay attention to the detail. The deeper you invest yourself in the minutiae of Nazi Zombies, from class specifics to environmental design, the faster you’ll make progress and the more fun you’ll have.
Now, go forth and show those Nazi Zombies who’s boss.
With 10 main series entries alone in as many years, it’s crazy to think that the entire Assassin’s Creed series is barely a decade old, so it may have been a welcome relief Ubisoft decided to take a bit longer with Assassin’s Creed Origins, released this month. The latest installment in this time-travelling open-world opus has certainly benefitted from the extra time in development, because the ancient Egyptian landscape you explore with lead character Bayek is bursting with fun things to do and extraordinary sights to behold.
We don’t want to spoil anything significant for you, so we definitely won’t mention THAT brilliantly realized character or THAT incredible location, but we didn’t want to let the game pass without paying it a bit of a tribute, so we thought we’d share some of our favorite early locations and characters. Whether you’re playing through the game and starting to really dig it, or somebody curious about whether to take the plunge, think of this as a little taster of the good stuff to come.
Originally we were going to talk about the Lighthouse at Alexandria, because, like, it’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World so how can you not? But then we were torn, because it would be crazy not to talk about the Great Library with its exquisite architecture, works of art and shelves full of papyrus. And then again, just walking through Alexandria for the first time is something special. In the end we decided to just talk about the city.
After scrabbling around Siwa and a couple of smaller towns, and carving paths through dunes, absently noticing the pyramids on the horizon, we arrived in Alexandria without quite realizing it, chasing some icon across the minimap, but when the location starts to dawn on you it’s a watershed moment. This is old-school Assassin’s Creed: a near-mythical location from a legendary era, brought vividly to life by people who have studied and extrapolated every conceivable detail. You can feel the extra hours poured into places like Alexandria, and you’ll pour extra hours into soaking them up.
Klaudius and his hidden tax
There are plenty of interesting non-player characters in Assassin’s Creed Origins, but the first one who really sparked a grin was the centerpiece of a light-hearted side quest you encounter in the first few hours of play. A woman asks for your help locating her husband, who has disappeared to an island in the middle of a lake for no obvious reason. When you reach Klaudius, you get a sense of why he might have thought this a good idea – he’s steaming drunk, perched on a half-sunken pillar sticking out of the water, engaged in conversation with some hungry new animal friends who want to get better acquainted.
Ubisoft hasn’t really focused on the funny side of Assassin’s Creed since the Ezio Auditore years, , so Klaudius may be a return to form for the series. We haven’t explored the game thoroughly yet, so we wouldn’t want to say for certain. One thing’s for sure though: he’s fun, and Origins definitely has a sense of fun about it in the parts we’ve played.
The Gladiator Arena at Krokodiloplis
Gladiatorial combat and chariot racing were principally Roman activities, but by setting Origins during the reign of Ptolemy XIII, Ubisoft has smartly allowed for a nice intersection of Roman and Egyptian periods, so naturally they’ve pillaged the best bits of both. Origins actually has two Gladiator Arenas (and a Hippodrome) but the one at Krokodilopolis is the first one and inevitably makes a big impression. You can fight in the arena, which is good sport thanks to the game’s new and improved combat system, and having vanquished your foes you’re more than welcome to show how many of those Russell Crowe quotes you remember. “On my mark, unleash hell!” (Poor Mark.)
We have a confession to make. We weren’t paying a huge amount of attention in the lead-up to meeting Aya, and had gotten it into our head that she was Bayek’s sister. So when the two of them were reunited beneath the streets of Alexandria we were, uh, slightly confused. “Wow, these two seem really close,” we thought to ourselves. “Oh my.”
Anyway, Aya, who is Bayek’s WIFE, is one of the stars of Assassin’s Creed Origins. We’ve seen at least one critic remark that she should frankly be the protagonist of the entire game, and while we think Bayek has a lot going for him, we kind of agree. Aya is smart, funny, obsessed with revenge and enjoys killing people (for the right reasons). Surely that’s the Assassin’s Creed player character bingo card in full? Ah well. If Ubisoft is taking ideas for future Origins DLC, let them hear us loud and clear: more Aya.
Now *that’s* how you throw shade.
The Great Pyramid of Giza
Our first brush with the pyramids in Assassin’s Creed Origins was almost comically incidental. We were riding Gary (we named our camel) through the desert away from a bandit camp we’d just sacked with a bit of help from a rampaging lion, and were consulting our minimap to see where we were supposed to go next. As we came out of the menu we crested a dune and spun the camera around to get our bearings, and there they were: these big, familiar-looking prisms sitting some way off to our right, shimmering through the haze as they baked under a midday sun. The pyramids!
We consulted the map and, yes, Giza was in that direction, albeit a little beyond our level range for now. So we turned away and made for our destination. By the time we got to Giza, it was clear this wasn’t an Assassin’s Creed game about the pyramids – it’s set later, when they’re already a bit dusty and ornamental – and in many ways that’s even better. The Great Pyramid is much as you would imagine it, and retains its mysteries. Origins had to have it, and it is well done, but the fact that another one of the Seven Wonders of the World is just another fun afternoon riding around Ubisoft’s take on Egypt says much about the game. Egypt and the people in it make Assassin’s Creed Origins work, but Assassin’s Creed Origins is relentlessly smart about how it makes them work for you.