Call of Duty: WWII will run at 4K with HDR on Xbox One X

Details on Call of Duty: WWII’s Xbox One X enhancements have quietly emerged, promising both 4K and HDR on the console.

Call of Duty, one of the largest shooter franchises of today, is returning to its roots later this year with a new World War 2 themed title. Unsurprisingly named “Call of Duty: WW2,” the game moves away from recent trends in the series, by abandoning near-future warfare in favor of a historical setting.

As a part of a marketing deal with Sony, the game’s publisher, Activision, has been keen to promote PlayStation 4 (PS4) versions of the game. This has left few details on what to expect from the rival release on Xbox One – let alone the enhancements in store for the upcoming Xbox One X. However, following a recently updated listing from UK retailer GAME (via charlieINTEL), specific details on Xbox One X enhancements have surfaced.

For many titles launching with visual upgrades on Xbox One X, box art designs are being reworked to highlight these features. Icons for both 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR) have been spotted on the latest retail packaging, indicating these upgrades will be available at launch on the console. Amidst a close marketing deal with Sony is comes as no surprise Activision has remained quiet leading up to the Xbox One X launch, however, this should be a welcome sight for those picking up the device this November.

In the months since its unveiling Activision has highlighted a slew of changes in the pipeline for Call of Duty: WWII – most notably a shift toward “boots on the ground” combat. When paired with new single player mechanics, multiplayer tweaks and the return of Nazi Zombies, the game is making one of the most inventive games (at least for Call of Duty) in some time.

Are you looking forward to these Xbox One X enhancements? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

A complete list of ‘Xbox One X Enhanced’ games (up to 4K, HDR)

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PlayStation 4 Pro Could Become Sony’s Standard System, With PS5 To Follow

PlayStation

If there’s someone that’s not a stranger to posting his analysis on the video games industry, it’s Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter. He’s made a number of predictions in the past, with some that ended up being right, like Nintendo announcing a Metroid game at E3 (in fact, they announced two, including this past week’s release of Metroid: Samus Returns). He’s also gotten a few wrong, though, but he continues to try and keep a bead on the industry.

This time around, he’s focused on Sony, and looking at their business model regarding both the PlayStation 4 and its 4K-friendly counterpart, the PlayStation 4 Pro. Pachter recently stopped by the 1099 Podcast to talk about what he feels is next for Sony, and while he still thinks the PlayStation 5 will come sooner rather than later, he did have some thoughts on the direction of the Pro.

It turns out that he feels that the Pro will become Sony’s standard business model of the PlayStation, though he didn’t quite give an exact time frame. “If I had to bet I’d say 2020. Sony is making so much money on PS4 that I think that they’ll continue to make as long as they can milk it. I think that the natural extension of that is that the PS4 Pro just becomes the default PS4 and they just knock that price down to $250 if they can.”

He continued, this time talking a bit about whatever Sony’s next hardware will be. “PS5 is probably going to be their real 4K device, it feels to me like they are not going to launch the PS5 until sales momentum for the PS4 slows and it just hasn’t yet. Certainly get through 2017 and 2018, I just don’t see it slowing in 2018 which would prompt them to release something in 2019. If it slows in 2019 then they will probably launch it in 2020.

“You can very safely trade in your Xbox One and buy and Xbox One X and start saving $10 a month, you’ll have some time before you need to trade it in for a PS5.”

Whether Pachter is accurate or not is hard to tell. Again, he’s been wrong in the past, previously noting that the PlayStation 5 could arrive in 2019. But you never know…

Sony has yet to announce its holiday plans, but we could know more soon enough, between the company’s forthcoming Paris Week event in October, and PlayStation Experience in December.

Rainbow 6 Siege update rendering PlayStation 4 consoles inoperable

Following an update that arrived yesterday to the PlayStation 4 version of Ubisoft’s tactical shooter, Rainbow Six Siege, it seems that anyone accessing the social features of the game such as opening the friend list or sending a party invite can cause the console to crash.

Once the crash occurs, players are reporting that the console becomes unusable, with repeated crashes afterward, despite not launching the game again. The issue seems to be quite far-reaching, with numerous PlayStation 4 owners claiming to now have “bricked” consoles on both the PlayStation 4 and Rainbow Six Reddit communities. While there are fears of hard drives being corrupted due to the crashes, there is no solid confirmation of this happening yet.

Ubisoft has put out a notice on its support website stating the following regarding the issue:

Players have reported a crashing issue regarding the party invitation. We are cooperating with Sony on this issue and would advise you to not use this feature until a resolution is found.

In the meantime, you can keep yourself updated on our official Twitter channel.

We apologise for any inconvenience.

According to the Ubisoft Support Twitter account, while the game itself is still fully playable, PlayStation 4 players are now barred from sending invites to other players. If the party invites are indeed the root cause of the problem, this temporary solution should stop further PlayStation 4 players from being affected.

Hopefully, Sony and Ubisoft will be able to track down the fault quickly and mend the affected consoles. It’s a wonder how an issue like this passed through Sony’s certification process, considering updates go through a significant testing period to avoid complications just like this one.

Note that the issue in question only seems to have hit the PlayStation 4, with the PC and Xbox One versions of Rainbow Six Siege being unaffected.

Don’t forget to follow us @NeowinGaming on Twitter to keep up to date with our gaming coverage!

Microsoft and Sony are collaborating to make the PS4 and Xbox One compatible for ‘Minecraft’

If you own a PlayStation 4 game that’s also on the Xbox One, like
“Overwatch” for instance, there’s no way to play it with your
friends across platforms. The game is more or less identical on
each console, and it’s an online multiplayer game.
You should be able to play it with whoever, on
whatever platform they’re playing it on, but you can’t.

You might be thinking to yourself, “Yes, and it’s always been
that way.” And you’d be right! But just because it’s always been
that way doesn’t make it logical. Microsoft is
attempting to change that standard by making the massively
popular “Minecraft” playable with friends across platforms.


minecraft nintendo switch
“Minecraft” got a major update on Wednesday known as
the “Better Together” update. It unifies all platforms of
“Minecraft,” with the exception of Nintendo Switch (coming this
winter) and PlayStation 4.

Nintendo

And Microsoft is succeeding, sort of. With its “Better Together”
update,
announced earlier this year
and now live, “Minecraft” can be
played with friends who are on mobile devices, Xbox One, PC, and
even VR headsets like Samsung’s Gear VR and Facebook’s Oculus
Rift. 

Notably, two major platforms are missing from that list: Nintendo
Switch and PlayStation 4. 

Incredibly, “Minecraft” on Nintendo Switch will actually be added
to this list “by the end of the year,” Microsoft’s “Minecraft”
lead Matt Booty told us in an interview this week. PlayStation 4
is less certain, but Microsoft is actually working with Sony on
making it happen.

“Sony is a good partner, and they are working with us on this,”
Booty said.

That’s a pretty major change from what we heard earlier this
year.

“You should probably ask them,” Xbox leader Phil Spencer
said in an interview with Business Insider in June
, when
asked about why the PlayStation 4 version doesn’t work with other
platforms. He added, “I don’t mean that to be snippy. We’ve shown
our intent on what we want to go do. And I’d love for ‘Minecraft’
players to get to play ‘Minecraft.'” 


MinecraftMicrosoft

It sounds like, since June, Microsoft and Sony are discussing
making that happen.

“I know that Sony has taken some heat in the press, and they are
working with us on this,” Booty said. “I feel good that we’re
gonna work this out. If we all take the angle that we should do
what’s best for players, that guiding principle will lead us
to the right decision and we’ll work it out.”

Of course, just because “Minecraft” is able to play nice across
platforms doesn’t mean that, say, “Overwatch” is going to
suddenly work across platforms. Booty sees “Minecraft” as helping
to build a foundation for future collaboration.

“The way these things work is that somebody always has to go
first,” he said. “It helps to work out the specifics with a
particular game and figure that out.”

In this case, “Minecraft” is being used as the first attempt to
bridge Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players. In a few years, you
could be playing games like “Call of Duty” or “Battlefield” with
your friends on whatever platform they’re playing the game
on. 

In the meantime, Microsoft and Sony are at least working on that
functionality. The major hurdle of two competing companies simply
getting together and discussing how to make such a thing work has
already been overcome. Now, it’s just a measure of working out
logistics.


Xbox vs PlaystationChristian Petersen/Getty
Images

“Those consoles need to understand how to respect each other’s
settings,” Booty said. “It’s just a matter of figuring out
how to make that work. We want to be really careful that we don’t
just open this and get into a situation, particularly with
‘Minecraft,’ where we’re not respecting all the parental
controls.”

There’s no word on when cross-play between Xbox One and
PlayStation 4 is coming to “Minecraft” — there isn’t even a
guarantee that it’s going to happen — but Booty’s openness about
the process and his passion for making it happen provide some
hope:

“We think that ‘Minecraft’ — given its deeply cross-platform
nature and the wide range of devices where it’s played
— is a great opportunity to figure this out. We’re probably gonna
hit some roadblocks along the way, but if we stick to what’s good
for the player, hopefully we can fix the platform challenges.”

“Hopefully” is right.

Minecraft’s cross-platform update is now available on Xbox, PC, and mobile

Minecraft has been available on tons of different devices in the past. Now, Microsoft is finally bringing all those platforms together with the “Better Together” update, which is rolling out today for Xbox One, mobile devices, and Windows 10 PCs. The Nintendo Switch is still set to get the Better Together update, too, although that’s been delayed until later in the winter.

The update essentially takes the different versions of Minecraft that have been available on PC, Xbox, iOS, and Android, and consolidates them into one master version, with the same features, functionality, and content no matter where you play. That means that the console versions of Minecraft on Xbox One (and eventually, the Nintendo Switch) will now run the same version of Minecraft as PCs, mobile, and VR, built on what Microsoft calls the Bedrock Engine.

But the biggest advantage to creating a single version of Minecraft across all these platforms is that cross-play will be possible between Minecraft games. This means that you’ll be able to play Minecraft on your PC with a friend playing on an Xbox, while your buddy joins in from their Android phone. Microsoft is calling this the first time a game has offered cross-play across all these platforms, and with the addition of the Nintendo Switch to the mix, Minecraft could be one of the first true platform-agnostic titles, which is an incredible thing.


You may notice that the PlayStation 4 is glaringly absent from that list. That’s because Sony has — once again — decided to sit out on cross-platform play, an unfortunately familiar refrain from the company this console generation. Similar issues have come up with Rocket League, and most recently Fortnight, which accidentally enabled Xbox One and PlayStation 4 cross-play before pulling the feature. Sony has offered numerous explanations for avoiding cross-play in the past, including citing concerns of protecting children online, but given that the console still has a considerable competitive lead when it comes to users and sales, it’s unlikely that it will be budging on that issue anytime soon.

In an interview with Engadget, Microsoft Studios CVP Matt Booty commented, “We just flat-out couldn’t get those two completely in sync,” in regard to getting Minecraft cross-play with the PlayStation 4. Although, he noted that Microsoft is continuing to talk with Sony on the issue.

Also missing are the Mac and Linux versions of Minecraft, which will continue to exist alongside the original PC version as the renamed Java Edition for now. It’s supposed to continue to receive updates and get them along a similar time frame as the Bedrock Engine version.

That said, the unified Bedrock Engine version will be the canonical Minecraft title moving forward, with the original PC title and older console-specific versions getting appended “Edition” names like Minecraft: Wii U Edition and Minecraft: Java Edition to tell them apart from the core Minecraft title.

New Tomb Raider trailer includes a throwback to classic PlayStation era

The first trailer for Warner Bros.’ live-action Tomb Raider trailer reset the era of Lara Croft on the big screen, but not entirely.

The last scene of the trailer has Alicia Vikander’s Croft holding up dual pistols and rocking braided hair, a throwback to Angelina Jolie’s version of the character that she portrayed in 2001’s Lara Croft Tomb Raider and 2003’s Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life. Jolie’s character was based on the original Croft designed by Square Enix for PlayStation in 1996.


Lara Croft Tomb Raider 2017

Warner Bros.

Although Warner Bros.’ new Tomb Raider is based on Square Enix’s 2013 and 2015 games, Croft never returns to the braid or the skintight suit in either of Square’s games, making the call to throwback to the original era a little disorienting.

While Croft never returns to the braided hair, she does get her own set of dual pistols. In a very short cinematic sequence at the end of the game, while fighting Roth, Croft gets her hands on a pair of pistols that she uses to defeat her adversary.


Square Enix

The guns in the game are different from the two-tone compensated HK pistols Jolie uses in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. That said, the pistols Alicia Vikander’s Lara Croft are holding are remarkably similar to Jolie’s pistols, seen in the photo below.

The scene in question has people asking when it occurs in the movie. For the majority of the trailer, Croft is in the white tank and pants based on her costume in the game. Is her new look part of a scene that will occur at the end, signaling a sequel? Or is it part of an earlier scene where Croft tries on a variety of outfits before settling on the 2013 version of the costume, including the throwback as a winking joke for fans of the franchise?

It’s impossible to tell for certain, but it certainly appears to fit all the requirements for an end-of-movie sequence that could lead to a sequel if Warner Bros. wants to turn this into a franchise.

Tomb Raider will be released on March 16, 2018.

PlayStation at TGS 2017: survival shooter Left Alive, cute kitty care Neko Atsume VR – Games

A raft of upcoming releases were announced during PlayStation’s presentation at the 2017 Tokyo Game Show, including Left Alive, a futuristic shooter from a trio of veteran developers, and Neko Atsume, a virtual reality experience based on a popular app about caring for friendly neighbourhood cats.

Since iconic Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima left long-term publisher Konami in 2015, fans have been looking forward to discovering what’s next from the franchise director.

His next project, the enigmatic Death Stranding, sees him reunite with actor Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) and film producer Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim) from cancelled horror project Silent Hills but, though it is a high-profile PlayStation 4 exclusive, the new title did not surface during Sony’s Sept 19 PlayStation media briefing at the 2017 Tokyo Game Show.

Instead, it was another Metal Gear Solid luminary whose name was dropped during the presentation: famed illustrator and art director Yoki Shinkawa, whose style has been associated with the series since its 1998 debut, and whose pen has been behind its cover art more often than not.

He’s in as character designer on Left Alive, a sci-fi shooter that can also boast Xenoblade Chronicles X mechanical designer Takayuki Yanase and Armored Core franchise producer Toshifumi Nabeshima.

Given the career histories of its leads, the teaser trailer’s closing shot of military transport helicopters hovering over a ravaged metropolis seems indicative of what’s to come.

By contrast, Neko Atsume offers the prospect of a welcoming backyard for adorable neighborhood fluffballs to play, eat, and sleep in.

The cat sim became something of a sensation when it released as a free-to-play Android and iOS game in 2014, enthusiastic fans supplying download and translation guides for those too eager to wait a year for the Japanese game’s English language edition.

Such was its popularity that a live-action film was even released in April 2017.

And while glossy action games have tended to be at the forefront of Sony’s push for more widespread adoption of its PlayStation VR kit – Gran Turismo Sport, Rez: Infinite, Farpoint – there’s plenty of room for more sedate, strangely enthralling fare.

Neko Atsume VR has been announced for a 2018 release in Japan.

Among other highlights from the TGS showcase, timeless PlayStation 2 classic Shadow Of The Colossus is moving closer to a 2018 PlayStation 4 re-release, as demonstrated by a new trailerMonster Hunter: World is destined for a Jan 26 launch on PS4 (as well as Xbox One) and the year 2000’s treasured Final Fantasy IX was announced for immediate launch on PS4 and the handheld PlayStation Vita. — AFP Relaxnews

Nintendo Switch games news – SHOCK new Xbox One crossover, as Halo comes to Switch | Gaming | Entertainment

Microsoft has managed to get the Halo franchise on Nintendo Switch… but there’s a catch.

Master Chief will be appearing as part of the Halo Mash Up Pack in the Nintendo Switch version of Minecraft.

It’s all thanks to the Better Together Update, which enables cross-platform play between Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows 10, Android, iOS and more.

As Eurogamer points out, this will include DLC like the Halo Mash Up Pack, which is currently available on Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Microsoft addressed cross-platform DLC in a recent Better Together blog post, admitting that while it is open to the idea, some content packs would require permission from different platform holders.

Presumably this means there’s still a question mark over the Mario Mash Up Pack appearing on other consoles.

“Custom skins are awesome, and we know you love them!” reads a Microsoft post.

“Getting them to work on consoles requires some work on the platform holders’ side to enable things like this. We’re working with them to get everything in place to enable this in a future update.”

The Better Together update is the biggest Minecraft update ever.

Currently in the beta phase, it will launch with 34 new features, and is getting close to a final release.

Sony is the only major platform holder that hasn’t signed up to the Better Together update.

Sony’s Jim Ryan recently defended the decision for PS4, PS4 Pro and PS Vita not being part of the cross-play.

Speaking to Eurogamer, he said: “We’ve got to be mindful of our responsibility to our install base. Minecraft – the demographic playing that, you know as well as I do, it’s all ages but it’s also very young.

“We have a contract with the people who go online with us, that we look after them and they are within the PlayStation curated universe.

“Exposing what in many cases are children to external influences we have no ability to manage or look after, it’s something we have to think about very carefully.”

Phil Spencer Expects PUBG To Be Very Big on Xbox for Many Years; Says He’s Incredibly Happy for Bluehole

PUBG (PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Battlegrounds) is without a doubt the hottest game on the market, setting sales records almost every week since its launch on Steam Early Access.

Just this weekend, PUBG became the top game ever on Steam when it comes to concurrent users with over 1.3 million players logging online at the same time.

With this kind of numbers being pulled off, Microsoft’s agreement with Bluehole to bring the game to Xbox One first this Holiday season definitely feels more important and everyone is starting to wonder whether PUBG can enjoy the same level of success on Microsoft’s console.

Earlier today, Head of Xbox division Phil Spencer said on Twitter that he expects a similar success to bringing Minecraft to console and that PUBG will be “very big” on Xbox for many years to come. He also added in a subsequent tweet that having gotten to know the folks at Bluehole, he’s incredibly happy for them to have this success.

Spencer also chimed in on other Xbox related topics. For example, he commented on Black Desert Online, another Korean made game (by Pearl Abyss) that’s coming to Xbox One later this year, with no official word on a PlayStation 4 port as of yet.

On the topic of upcoming backward compatibility additions, Fable Anniversary should be available soon, according to Spencer, who also regrets that the wishlist feature isn’t available yet in their store and would like to see something like 1v100 again.

He has apparently played a lot of Destiny 2 lately, which prompted a user to ask whether the game will have 4K and/or HDR support on the Xbox One X after all, as nothing has been announced yet. Spencer couldn’t really answer that question but he did say that Microsoft has a great working relationship with Bungie, which sounds promising.



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Project Cars 2 runs best on PlayStation 4 Pro • Eurogamer.net

Project Cars 2 reviews have dropped, the Forza Motorsport 7 demo arrives today and Gran Turismo Sport is en route. It’s a huge couple of months for racing sim fans, and we’re off to a good start with Slightly Mad’s sequel, packed with a raft of new technological features. The question is, in light of the sometimes shaky frame-rate found in its predecessor, how well does the sequel match up – and what are the advantages of running on PlayStation 4 Pro?

At its core, Project Cars is designed around creating a dynamic racing environment, where shifting weather conditions regularly change how each race plays out. Handling is altered with the transition from dry to wet surfaces, changing how much grip and control is present, while splashes of water partially obscure the upcoming track. It’s an aspect of the game further expanded upon in this sequel.

A new snow season covers the trackside in icy details, while wintery conditions ranging from light snowfall to a full-on blizzard round off the extra dynamic weather effects. Existing wet weather conditions are also enhanced via the use of fluid dynamics – a feature that sees pools of water build up on the track when it’s raining heavily, later receding as the weather changes and the track begins to dry out. Other elements such as changes in ambient and track temperature along with atmospheric shifts all impact on car performance too, with tyres, braking, and aerodynamics all factored into the calculations.

Some of these features are reserved for 30fps racing games like Forza Horizon and DriveClub, but Slightly Mad Studios implements these aspects into Project Cars 2 while still targeting 60fps across all platforms. It’s certainly an ambitious task given the limits of the PS4 and Xbox One hardware, so how has the developer managed this? Pixel-counting suggests that dynamic resolution scaling is in effect across all consoles. Instead of the fixed 1080p/900p resolutions found on the original PS4 and Xbox One versions, pixel counts now adjust according to rendering load.

We take a look at image quality and performance across PS4 Pro, PS4 and Xbox One in Project Cars 2. Note: an incorrect fps graph is rendered at 4:47 – the frame-rate counter is correct here though, Pro is rendering at 58-59fps in this stress test area.

Based on initial measurements, we’re looking at between 1080p to 864p on PlayStation 4, while on Xbox One resolution tops out at 972p (a little increase over the 900p in the first Project Cars), and falls to 864p when the engine is under intense load. As a result, image quality isn’t quite as consistent as the first Project Cars, with some roughness creeping into the presentation in demanding scenes where resolution drops, but in less stressful races with 16 cars and clear conditions, the game appears crisp across both consoles. PlayStation 4 features a little more refinement here, but the gap is quite subtle at regular viewing distances.

The same dynamic set-up is also present on PS4 Pro, which is given full support for this sequel, with both resolution and performance boosts over base hardware. Our measurements suggest that the game features a target resolution of 1440p, but this drops to 1360p during demanding moments, such as racing under stormy conditions with the full quota of 32 cars in play. It’s an improvement over base hardware when viewed on a UHD TV, but it isn’t enough to pass as native 4K, and the scaled image can look quite rough at times. Opinion on this will vary according to taste, but Project Cars 2 on Pro does support downsampling, so 1080p display users may get the better deal here.

When it comes to delivering a nigh-on solid 60fps gameplay experience, PlayStation 4 Pro mostly delivers, regardless of whether you’re playing on a 4K or 1080p display. Frame-rates rarely waver from the desired target, and outside of stormy stress tests with upwards of 16 cars in play, the game holds firm at 60fps, providing a smooth and responsive racing experience. Even demanding wet weather conditions rarely impact performance heavily. There’s a fair amount of tearing on display as cars are bunched up at the start of a race, but frame-rates only incur a minor drop, and these issues clear up once the cars spread out during the race.  While momentarily distracting, the relatively constant frame-times and high frame-rate ensure that the game feels good to play and moves at a smooth pace. It’s not a perfect 60fps run, but the game isn’t too far off the pace, and delivers a significantly superior experience over the standard PS4 and Xbox One consoles.

As you may expect, neither base PS4 or Xbox One are able to provide consistent gameplay at a smooth 60 frames per second. Performance is variable depending on race conditions, with the number of cars, weather, and camera viewpoint having an impact on how well the game runs and plays. This means that although much of the gameplay hits the target, both consoles fall short of hitting 60fps under demanding conditions, with plenty of tearing and drops into 40-50fps range – and sometimes below that on Xbox One. Heavy rainfall has the most impact on performance, with the abundance of alpha effects for rain drops and water splashes pushing bandwidth to the limit on both machines. Neither looks or feels great here, with distracting judder caused by dropped and torn frames.

Pared back to 16 cars with racing conditions limited to cloudy or clear skies and things improve considerably – particularly on PS4, where it’s possible to hit a stable 60fps for lengthy portions of a race. Performance only drops when cars group around corners, resulting in some tearing and short but noticeable dips in smoothness. Otherwise things hold up pretty well with the absence of snow and rain, and we generally get a decent 60fps experience that works quite well, though the experience can fall a little short on Xbox One.



Night and the City
Chris Donlan plays through L.A. Noire with his dad, who grew up in the city in the 1940s.


Night and the City

Overall, there’s clear progress in this sequel. The underlying simulation behind the game is more complex than the first Project Cars, yet performance is generally very similar on base hardware. We get an impact to image quality consistency compared to the first game owing to the dynamic framebuffer, but we gain additional upgrades in the form of improved weather and more complex atmospheric elements, which enhance the driving experience nicely. But otherwise, if you’ve played the first Project Cars, you know what you’re getting here in terms of general performance.

It’s difficult to avoid the feeling that any limitations are simply down to the current consoles being held back by the ageing hardware, but the good news is that there is an option that delivers a more consistent, visually more impressive solution – PlayStation 4 Pro. What you’re not getting is a great 4K presentation, but the trade of pixels for a more fluid gameplay experience is the right one – and it’s the best way to play Project Cars 2 right now on consoles.