EGX 2017: Far Cry 5 Hands-On Preview – Another Step Forward

By now, most gamers at the very least vaguely common with the franchise should really know what to assume when they enter the Considerably Cry realm: a very first-particular person, action-experience shooter, finish with a psychotic villain and a wonderful open up world to take a look at. In this regard, Considerably Cry 5 doesn’t deviate way too much from the experimented with-and-examined components – but which is not to say it’s just additional of the similar.

Based on our minimal hands-on time with the game at EGX 2017, we can say that Considerably Cry 5 incredibly substantially feels like the fruits of anything that came before it. You can recruit allies to your cause by the Guns for Retain the services of procedure, related to the buddy procedure from Considerably Cry 2. There is also Fang for Retain the services of, which enables you to tame wild animals in a related way to Considerably Cry Primal.

Far Cry 5 1

Far Cry 5 1Far Cry 5 1

Considerably Cry 4 launched co-op participate in for the very first time even so, none of the primary missions have been obtainable. You could take a look at the title’s open up entire world and even do aspect missions, but have been pressured to participate in the campaign solo. In continuing the trend of getting bigger and better, anything in Considerably Cry 5 can be played two-participant – a vastly welcome addition for admirers, and their buddies.

Correct off the bat, the demo launched into a liberation aspect mission, which roughly translates as “kill anything in the village that moves”. Without furnishing way too substantially in the way of narrative exposition, the alpha led us to feel that the militaristic Eden’s Gate experienced forcibly taken in excess of a range of communities in the fictional Montana environment of Hope County. Gameplay-wise, this is nothing we have not noticed in previous online games, with the likes of Considerably Cry 4 requiring the participant to liberate outposts at several factors. The moment you have effectively pushed out the enemy, villagers will arise from the woodwork and start off having down barricades and rebuilding their homes. A find couple will even develop into your allies and sign up for you in the struggle. Luckily, these allies can be revived as they have a behavior of jumping out of doorways at you and having them selves pummeled with assault rifle rounds.

Your Gun for Retain the services of, picked before a mission (only just one, mind you) can aid you in a range of strategies. For instance, Boomer, the lovable however savage mutt, will keep shut to you and attack nearby foes, while Nick Rye favours a additional distant method from his plane, raining hell from higher than while screaming, “It’s a fantastic working day for strafing!” just about every couple minutes. Both equally can scout enemies for you and mark them on your map, as properly as get orders these types of as retrieving ammo or having up a tactical situation of your alternative.

Far Cry 5 2

Far Cry 5 2Far Cry 5 2

There are a great deal of weapons to uncover lying all-around and the plan is to consistently swap your more mature weapons for better and newer types. This is helpful, as the weapons we commenced with felt incredibly sluggish and the equipment guns experienced terrible recoil – significantly at prolonged variety, which we can only hope will be rectified when we development additional by the story. The flip to this uncomfortable shooting, even so, is that the enemies are not bullet sponges it didn’t get lots of hits, as you’d assume, to set them out for the depend. Dynamite also aids.

The moment we have been successful in our liberating it wasn’t all easy sailing. Just mainly because you have pressured out the terrible guys doesn’t indicate they’re absent for fantastic. As we explored the picturesque hillside village now beneath our regulate, a number of stragglers retained turning up in their trucks to destroy our peace and hold us on your toes.

The quick mission we bought to participate in, which was also showcased at E3 back in June, presents the perception that Considerably Cry 5 doesn’t reinvent the wheel but certainly seems as if it improves it. Even this early on, it’s harmless to say that admirers of the collection will not be dissatisfied and Ubisoft is aware what its prolonged-time gamers want from the franchise. You can get your hands on Considerably Cry 5 you when it hits outlets on February 27, 2018.

Minecraft: New Nintendo 3DS Edition Hands-on Preview – Hands-on Preview

A hands-on look at the blockiest version of the blockiest game on block street.

Among the surprises during yesterday’s Nintendo Direct was an announcement, and release, of Minecraft for New Nintendo 3DS. This is a big deal for a couple of reasons, and simultaneously not a big deal for a couple of reasons. Make sense? Let’s break it down.

Minecraft on New Nintendo 3DS (remember, this is exclusive to the “New” 3DS and 2DS systems) marks something of a world takeover for Minecraft in so much as this is the last platform the game needed to be on to be playable on basically any possible gaming device one could have. Never before, in my life, has a game permeated platforms like Minecraft has. This game is available on every console, handheld, and mobile device available. 3DS was the last holdout, and now here we are.

It’s hard to tell exactly what kind of gamer will be excited about this announcement. Most kids are already playing Minecraft on any other number of devices, including but not limited to Nintendo Switch and Wii U. However, there are almost certainly going to be kids who don’t have dedicated tablets or phones, and who don’t have most gaming consoles either. Getting a New Nintendo 2DS XL for $150 and a copy of Minecraft for $30 is probably the most economical way to get into the game.

The big question here is, how well does the game run? I’ve put a few hours into it so far, and honestly it’s not that bad. The footage shown off during the Nintendo Direct did not look particularly great, but when you see the game running on your handheld, despite the low resolution, it feels immediately like Minecraft. Personally, I’m kind of stunned at how well the game runs on the handheld, considering the low resolution of the screen and the limited horsepower of the gameplay.

Some digging by more ambitious folks than I have shown that the game runs at a mostly steady framerate of around 20 fps, with occasional drops. That’s not great, but once again; considering the hardware, it’s not bad. In addition, the game houses larger worlds than even the Wii U version of the game. Nintendo’s least loved system allows for worlds of up to 864×864, whereas the 3DS game supports up to 2016×2016. For comparison, the Switch version of the game goes as high as 3072×3072.

The game controls well on 3DS, although your mileage with the C-Stick nub may vary. I found it a bit difficult at first, but adjusted quickly to using dual analog controls on my New 2DS XL. One benefit of playing on the dual-screened handheld is that your map is on display at all times, making it easier to keep your bearings and explore with a bit lessened risk.

The touch screen works well for inventory management and crafting (which was more than you could say for the Wii U game) but there’s no drag-and-drop functionality. Instead, you select an item, and select another cell, and the items will swap locations. Using the D-Pad is the most comfortable way to use the inventory as a result.

There is no multiplayer support yet, although it is thought to be coming in a future update.

If you have any questions about the functionality of Minecraft on New Nintendo 3DS, leave a comment below, or hit me up on twitter at @NWR_DrewMG or @Nintendo_NWR.

FIFA 18 Preview – Preview

Back in July, I got my first glimpse of FIFA 18 for Nintendo Switch and I was quite hopeful after seeing the game running on the hardware. Sure, it wasn’t impressive on the television, but nothing beats the feeling of a true portable FIFA. Electronic Arts kindly invited me to their business area at Gamescom, where I got a full look at the game. The results are, no joke, even more impressive than I realized.

The first standout element that stood out to me was the controls, though histroically it is one of the things FIFA thrives on. Good physics and controls go hand in hand with great football video games. The team at EA Bucharest took the blueprint of FIFA on other systems and faithfully translated it to an engine suitable for Nintendo Switch. The advanced control scheme, which gives you access to fake passes among other moves, is fully intact on Switch. Even nicer is the fact that these controls have been adapted to the Switch’s multiple control schemes.

This can be felt when you play with the Joy-Con on their side. While you lose some functionality in the process, every button is used to perform an action and make the game competitive. You move yourself around with stick and the six buttons allow you to tackle the most important moves. This way of play is perfectly suited for an introduction to FIFA. The game is set up to make grasping the controls quick and easy. It is also possible to switch to a two button mode, allowing you to start a game that is instantly pick up and play. Of course, more hardcore players can use the Joy-Con Grip or Pro Controller for more competitive and in-depth options.

The demo also had most of the shipping game’s modes available. I spent an hour in the Career Mode and went through it as a player, bringing him up from the youth leagues to the starting eleven. Next to this, I went for Seasons, where I could play against the various club and national teams on offer. Finally, I did some tests in the Kick Off Mode and compared the various options on display. The Switch experience is just as you would see anywhere else, with all of the essentials included except the cinematic story mode.

Naturally, the key feature and a selling factor is FIFA Ultimate Team. Sadly, due to the way the test units were set up, a final verdict wasn’t available. I’ve seen the ways you can play with FUT teams and they seem functional, though we’ll need to see how grindy it will be in the end. I can’t wait to FIFA anywhere I go. The pure joy of playing it in the handheld mode makes me a believer and actually root for this version’s success. Some will dismiss it and recommend the games on the bigger systems, but none has this kind of potential.

FIFA 18 on Nintendo Switch has so much going for it. After spending time and tinkering around with its options, it seems clear that they want to give Switch owners as much of the experience as possible. The ability to play the sport everywhere is powerful and helps to digest a daily dose of football. We are only weeks away from its release and I couldn’t be more excited. Bring it on!

iPhone X preview – Macworld UK

It’s ten years since the iPhone was first unveiled and Apple has marked the occasion with a new iPhone that doesn’t just jump one generation, it jumps six generations! Yes, Apple has leaped straight from iPhone 7 (via the iPhone 8, previewed here) all the way to iPhone 10, bypassing the iPhone 7s and leapfrogging the iPhone 9 altogether.

To confuse everyone even more, iPhone 10 is written as iPhone X. Just like Mac OS X was Mac OS 10. The company likes Roman numerals. Unfortunately people tend to say what they see, so we expect there will be a lot of confusion about what this new iPhone is called.

Naming conventions aside, how does the new flagship iPhone shape up? Is it going to revolutionise the smartphone again like the iPhone did, or is Apple just playing catch up with the rest of the industry. Here are our first thoughts, plus the opinions of our US colleague Jason Snell who was at the launch event and was able to get his hands on the device.

Design & Build quality

The first thing that will strike you about the iPhone X is that this is the first iPhone without the trademark Home Button. Does that mean it looks less like an iPhone?

When you see the iOS home screen (which will be iOS 11 by the time the iPhone X ships) there will be no mistaking the fact that it’s an iPhone. On the side you’ll see the familiar volume control buttons and on/off switch, plus the Apple logo on the back of the device is another giveaway.

The phone is also still available in the very Apple Silver and Space Grey. No Gold or Rose Gold to be seen though. There’s no such frivolity, this is a serious phone.

The Home Button had to go because Apple has given us a display that stretches across the entire front of the phone. Apparently it has always been Apple’s vision to “create an iPhone that is entirely screen”, and it’s finally done so.

It’s not only the front of the device that’s glass. The iPhone X also has a glass back to enable it to be charged wirelessly. The iPhone X (and the iPhone 8 models) will offer wireless charging using the Qi standard. This doesn’t mean that they will magically charge over the air, you will need to buy a Qi compatible charging pad to lay them on. We’ll talk more about wireless charging later.

The screen

Back to that screen. There is one key benefits to having a screen that covers the face of the iPhone. It means Apple can pack a 5.8in display into an iPhone that is actually smaller than the iPhone Plus (which has a 5.5in screen).

The iPhone X measures 143.6mm by 70.9mm, while the iPhone Plus is 158.4mm by 78.1mm. We love the bigger screen of the iPhone Plus, but we do feel that the phone can be a little cumbersome to use, so this could be a real benefit.

If you fancied the bigger screen but were put off by the size of the iPhone Plus then the iPhone X may be the answer to your prayers. The bigger screen is much more suited to watching videos and reading books, we’re even written the odd article in Pages on our iPhone Plus. Beware though, there is no going back once you start using the bigger screen, the standard iPhone display will end up looking so cramped.

It’s not only the size of the screen that is a benefit here though. The iPhone X is the only iPhone to feature a OLED screen – and it’s a beauty. It has a million-to-one contrast ratio, is HDR, features True Tone – which means that it will adjust the white balance to match the surrounding light, and offers wide colour support.

Apple has called the display Super Retina. Marketing terms aside that means it offers 2,436-by-1,125-pixel resolution at 458 ppi. That compares to the Retina HD display on the iPhone 8 Plus that offers 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution at 401 ppi.

That’s not the highest pixel density smartphone you can get though. We’re not wanting to steal Apple’s thunder here, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 offers a 522 ppi screen.

If we were being really picky, our only real criticism of the screen would be the fact that there is a notch taken out of the top where the camera, speaker and microphone live. It’s a shame because the notch spoils full screen images, they are always going to have a chunk taken out of them. (It leaves less space for carrier branding too, but that will matter more to them than us).

The presence of the notch matters most when it comes to watching video. As our US colleague said after his hands-on time with the new device: “Apple has built the TV app to properly frame a video without the notch – when holding the phone in landscape orientation, the video is sized so that the side that’s on the same side as the notch ends right at the notch. If you want to make the video bigger, you can double tap as usual, and it will fill the screen – which means that part of the film’s image will be masked off by the sensor area. You get to choose if it bothers you.”

We imagine that if we were watching a movie on the iPhone X we’d be a little put off by the chunk of missing screen.

No Home Button

The other thing that we think we might struggle with is the fact that there is No Home Button on the iPhone X. Not only was the Home Button a trademark of the iPhone design, as we said above, it’s what we are used to.

To accommodate the lack of Home Button Apple has redesigned iOS in order to replace its functions. You will need to swipe down from the upper right corner of the screen to reveal Control Center, rather than swiping up from the bottom, for instance.

It means we are going to have to completely re-learn the iPhone interface after a decade with the Home Button. Perhaps we’ll be able to adapt to new ways of doing things but I predict that we will experience a lot of frustrations as we get use to the interface changes.

Maybe it won’t be as bad as we are anticipating though. Our colleague over at Macworld US said that while they kept reaching down instinctively with their thumb to click the home button, which wasn’t there, they found that on remembering they were using an iPhone X they quickly redirected their thumb to swipe up from the bottom of the screen, just as they would today to call up Control Centre.

Doing so would hide the current app and reveal the home screen. He said that the new gestures are intuitive, we’re not so sure but we are willing to be convinced once we get our hands on the new phone.

Face ID

It’s not just the interface that has to adapt to the removal of the Home Button. Touch ID, Apple’s fingerprint recognition system introduced with the iPhone 5s in 2013 as a way to secure your iPhone, and paving the way for Apple Pay, has vanished from the iPhone X too.

We think that this is a failing on the part of Apple and a real shame. Apple says that it’s replacement Face ID is more secure than a fingerprint but we just feel that it is sure to be prone to error. We just don’t feel confident about Face ID working right now, and the fact that when Apple’s Craig Federighi tried to perform his live demo on stage at the keynote he had to go to his backup iPhone X because the first one didn’t recognise his face properly.

We have so many questions about Face ID and how it will be implemented. For example, how util Face ID work when we are using Apple Pay at a payment terminal or on the tube? We’ll have to wait until we can test it in the real world to find out.

InN the mean time our US colleague has at least been able to see Face ID in action. He said that while he couldn’t set up Face ID to recognise his own face, he saw an Apple employee use Face ID to unlock the phone and it worked when she looked at the screen.

However, he said, she experienced some quirks. “Sometimes the screen would go to sleep before she unlocked the phone, and more than once she accidentally pressed the side button and triggered Siri,” he said.

Of course by the time the iPhone X launches in November this will most likely have been fixed as these would have been early models.

A few words on how Face ID works. It creates a precise depth map of your face, which means that it’s not just recognising a 2D image of you but a 3D image of you. This, we assume, is why Face ID doesn’t recognise photos or masks (so don’t bother printing out a photo of your other half to hack into their phone, it won’t work).

On the other hand, if you are an evil twin looking to get into your sibling’s new iPhone you’ll be laughing.

Wireless charging

The other feature we touched on earlier is wireless charging. This one isn’t unique to the iPhone X though – the iPhone 8 will get it too.

To charge your iPhone wirelessly you will need to buy a Qi compatible mat. Apple’s planning to release its own AirPower mat – but that won’t arrive until 2018.

It’s worth noting here that if you want to wirelessly charge your iPhone you can actually do so now. You just need to buy a specially designed iPhone case or a device that plugs into your iPhone and a pad or mat on which you place your iPhone to charge. We have an article on how to get wireless charging on your iPhone here with some recommended products.

We’re not that sure we care that much about being able to charge our iPhone wirelessly though. Sure it can be fiddly trying to plug in the lightening cable (and they are notorious for fraying around the plug which is a bit of a concern), but at least you can plug your iPhone in at your desk at work, or charge it in your car, and, crucially, plug your phone in and look at it while its charging. If you are wirelessly charging your iPhone it is actually tied down to one spot, rather than tethered by a cable. We can’t see how this is actually better.

Camera

The iPhone X camera, and for that matter the iPhone 8 camera, offers 12MP, just like the camera in the iPhone 7 generation did. However there are some improvements.

The 12MP camera in the iPhone X (and that in the iPhone 8 Plus) has a new Portrait Lighting feature, with five different lighting styles to enhance your photos taken in Portrait Mode.

Like the 7 Plus the portrait photo poker effect is made possible by the fact that there are two lenses, but the telephoto lens has a faster aperture in the newer models. With a ƒ/2.4 aperture joining the wide-angle ƒ/1.8 aperture, rather than the ƒ/2.8 aperture of the previous generation.

The main distinction between the cameras in the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus is the front facing camera in the X. Here we have a 7MP TrueDepth camera which offers it’s own Portrait Mode along with the Portrait Lighting feature. So you will be able to take spectacular selfies, as long as you are looking spectacular.

There’s also improved video stablisation, with the iPhone X and iPhone 8 cameras all offering 4K up to 60fps (rather than last generations 30fps). And there’s 1080p slo-mo up to 240fps.

Tech specs

In terms of processor, RAM, storage and battery the iPhone X will offer the following. We’ll list the specs here for now, but when we get our hands on the new phone we will be benchmarking it fully.

  • A11 Bionic chip
  • Six-core CPU (Apple says this is the smartest and most powerful ever seen in a smartphone)
  • An Apple-designed GPU (which has three cores and is capable of powering AR at 60fps, as well as enabling new machine learning and 3D games.)
  • Storage of 64GB or 256GB
  • Battery life that’s two hours more than the iPhone 7

Software

The new iPhone X will run iOS 11, which is due to launch on 19 September.

There are a few software features that will only be available on the iPhone X. These include the new Animoji. These are emoji that can mimic your own expressions. They are possible on the iPhone X because the TrueDepth camera on the front of the device (the one used for Face ID) can analyses more than 50 different muscle movements to mirror your expressions. There are 12 Animoji to choose from.

Animoji I a fun feature, but we’re suspicious that it will be one of those use it once for a laugh and never again types of things. Like the Apple Watch emoji. But maybe that’s just us.

You’ll also be able to enjoy some AR features thanks to the new gyroscopes and accelerometers that are incorporated for motion tracking. The TrueDepth camera in the iPhone X will enable some additional AR features.

Release date

You’ll be able to order the iPhone X from 27 October. The official release day is 3 November, although we are expecting supplies to be constrained initially.

Pricing

The iPhone X will cost $999 / £999 for the 64GB model. For the 256GB model you will be looking at paying $1,149 / £1,149.

Motorola Moto X4 Hands-on Preview

Motorola Moto X4

Lenovo arguably created one of the best Android OS smartphones of all time in the form of the Moto X, but the new Motorola Moto X4 might just take the crown. The main idea behind this product is to provide users with a “near-flagship experience” for a mid-range price of 400 euros (in Europe).

One of the first things you’ll notice about the 5.2-inch Moto X4 is the polished glass finish on the front and back wrapped with a black aluminum frame. Next, you’ll probably spot the dual rear-facing camera which has one lens with the normal angle and the other is a wide-angle lens. Once you get past the exterior, you’ll find advanced music playback options with the ability to wirelessly connect to as many as four speakers via Bluetooth at the same time. As if that wasn’t cool enough, you can adjust the sound output to each speaker separately through a type of software mixer app.

In a similar fashion, those markets where the smart voice assistant Amazon Alexa is available will find the Moto X4 even more interesting because of its added value.

When it comes to the internal hardware, the device is based on Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 630 platform and Adreno 508 graphics, while the previously mentioned price will secure you 32 GB of memory storage and 3 GB of RAM. A model with 64 GB of memory storage is also available with 4 GB of RAM. This might not deliver the most impressive results in synthetic benchmarks but the Moto X4 should deliver solid, reliable performance and good power management for most users.

The Full HD (1080p) IPS LCD display is well suited for the 5.2-inch diagonal screen size, given that it results in perfectly sharp 424 ppi. The color accuracy appears realistic and well saturated. The 3000 mAh battery is reasonably good for a 5.2-inch phone and should help with battery life.

As previously stated, the finish is one of the Moto X4’s most striking features. The phone has a glass unibody, covered with Gorilla Glass and an aluminum frame. Of course, fingerprints are impossible to miss when it comes to such a combination of materials and you will constantly be wiping your phone with whatever cloth is handy. If you can get over the need to keep your phone clean it does look exceptionally good. The odd and large circular frame of the rear-facing cameras is also eye-catching and hints that above average photographs can be taken with this phone.

Motorola is the only premium brand which offers different viewing angles with its dual cameras in the mid-range price point. This lens/camera combination allows you to use special effects like the much adored bokeh effect. The first camera has an f/2.2 aperture with auto focus and phase detection and a dual-LED flash. What is far more interesting is the option of recording 2160p videos with 60 fps, which is due in no small part to the processing performance of the Snapdragon 630. After testing the photographs and videos at Lenovo’s exhibition area, I concluded that they seem above average for this phone range.

On the other hand, party goers and music buffs are the kind of users Lenovo is counting on when it comes to the Moto X4. Connecting up to four external speakers with Bluetooth is a unique option no other phone supports at the time of this writing and the option of toying with sound settings of all four of these channels additionally contributes to creative possibilities for music ambience. Along with all of this, it should be pointed out that the Moto X4 comes with a fingerprint reader and the IP68 certificate (it is water-proof) and a dual-SIM slot, which are all praiseworthy and offer good value. Our only potential complaint is that the Moto X4 is not entirely up-to-date in terms of software, as it comes with Android OS 7.1 (Nougat).

 

 

 

MacOS High Sierra preview: The invisible update that you need to download

The High Sierra operating system update completes, we stare lovingly at our Mac desktop and, well, wonder what’s actually changed. It’s normal to want to see vast user interface changes when Apple releases a new operating system, but that’s not the case for the latest MacOS install.

The truth is we love and despise change in equal measures – happy to complain when our favourite things have all changed, and then moan just as much when they don’t.

At first glance High Sierra seemingly offers nothing over what you’ve already got running on your Mac. So is there a hidden point? We’ve been using the MacOS Public beta to get an idea of what to expect come official public download day.

  • New file system
  • Better graphics support for games and VR
  • Support for new HEVC film format

Those who have been using a Mac for a while will remember we’ve been here before: MacOS X Snow Leopard offered a similar upgrade experience over Leopard. It was an update all about creating a superior platform for the next couple of years rather than offering visual interface features for everyone to get excited about.

Applemacos high sierra what s in the new software for your mac  image 1

Fast-forward eight years to now and Apple appears to be adopting the same approach with High Sierra. The follow on from Sierra is more about what’s under the hood rather than offering you noticeable differences, and that brings both an air of familiarity and a whiff of disappointment that there doesn’t appear to be anything new.

Waves of enhancements are to be found, though. There is a new file system, a new way of treating image saves, support for VR, an update to the way graphics are handled with Metal 2, and a handful of small updates to apps like Safari and Photos.

Apple File System

A Public Beta is just that, thus it’s pointless at this time doing any meaningful testing on how the file system reacts or whether, in reality, general users will notice any difference anyway.

There are top line stats that Apple is keen to share, of course. The new Apple File System (AFS) has a new 64-bit architecture, has been designed to speed up common tasks like copying files, is more secure than ever before, and has been optimised for modern storage. Therefore it should be faster and more robust – that can only be a good thing.

When you move to the new OS, everything will be transferred over to the new system, so you don’t have to worry – although you should probably expect the move over to High Sierra to take a little longer than usual. It has to change all your files and encrypt them at the same time. Everything is still backwards compatible.

HEVC

Also new is the adoption of the HEVC video (what some PC users already refer to as H.265). Standing for High Efficiency Video Coding, this holder can compress video up to 40 percent more than the current and much-used H.264 standard.

The catch, however, is that it won’t be compatible with all programmes from the off. As VLC users may already know, there can be issues with the new format, especially when it comes to sound.

Pocket-lintMacOS High Sierra screenshots image 1

Furthermore, Apple’s adoption of HEVC will just be for new content that comes along, rather than content you’ve already recorded. So don’t expect that huge 4K library of footage you have to suddenly be reduced.

Like AFS this is about getting ready for the future, rather than necessarily fixing the storage issues of the past.

Metal 2

The words Mac and games haven’t traditionally gone together. Apple may be well adopted by creatives when it comes to high-intensity graphics for video and photo editing, but tell your buddies you’ve bought a Mac for gaming and they’re going to laugh you out the room.

Still, Apple is keen to change all that by adding support for not only VR apps like SteamVR and VR devices like the HTC Vive, but doubling down on its graphics engine.

Now dubbed Metal 2, the end result should mean better graphics for both games and photo/video editing apps. Of course this being a beta there aren’t any Metal 2 games out there to try yet, although we did enjoy a Darth Vader Star Wars VR demo on HTC Vive at WWDC in June, which was very impressive running on the new iMac.

What’s perhaps more exciting for those who like their graphics, is that Metal 2 will also work with external graphics, making it possible to have external GPU boxes for Mac OS computers. That means you’ll be able to increase the power of your iMac or MacBook Pro by bolting on another box to give you extra power. One solution for the desk, the other for when on the go. It’s an approach some gaming laptops already have available, such as some made by Alienware.

It’s not all behind the scenes, thouh. There are a few visual changes, although you’ll have to look hard to spot them in specific apps. The Photos app, Mail, Safari, and Notes all get small upgrades.

Photos

  • New editing options including Bounce and Loop
  • New adjustment features
  • Greater support for third-party apps

One of the biggest areas of change this year has been the Photos app. While many “serious” photographers will have invested in Adobe’s Lightroom or Photoshop apps, Apple is bringing a number of new photo editing and enhancing tools to Photos for MacOS High Sierra.

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It’s partly about bringing polarity with what iPhone and iPad users can/will be able to do in iOS 11, but also to make this a much more versatile app against competitors like Affinity Photo.

Key features we’ve enjoyed playing with so far are the ability to pick a specific frame within a Live Photo, to create a Loop or Bounce (a la Instagram/Boomerang) and the long exposure effect that will turn your still water shots all “dreamy” – as long as you’ve held your iPhone still enough when capturing.

Those looking for editing tools will get those too. Now instead of just basic “adjustments” like Shadows, Highlights, or Contrast, you can adjust a whole host of different elements, including adjusting the Levels and Curves. That might be gobbledegook to some, unless you’re a Photoshop fiend, but it’ll be very helpful to use once you get to grips with it.

If you really don’t care about using Photos for editing and want to keep with Photoshop then new third-party support means adjusted images are saved directly back to Photos.

Apple has also tried to improve the search and find functionality, including enhanced Faces support so it can easily spot who’s in a picture and show you other pictures of them. Spooky.

Safari

  • Greater granular control over website elements
  • Speedier for better surfing experience
  • Automatically stops cross-site tracking
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The emphasis in Apple’s browser is to give people greater control over the sites they visit and what those sites are able to do. That could be stopping autoplay videos from auto-playing, or setting the zoom level by default per site.

The most interesting one is to prevent cross-site tracking. This means that if you go to a specific shop online, said shops adverts won’t then follow you around the web.

Spotlight now has a flight status support. If you are tracking a flight, or regularly do so, you can now just type in the flight number and it will give you all the relevant stats like departure time, arrival time, even the gate it is leaving from.

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It’s a small detail, but if you need that kind of thing then it’s a great addition to Spotlight.

Check out Pocket-lint’s separate guide for more information on whether your Mac will run High Sierra.

In a nutshell: it’ll run on any Mac that currently runs Sierra, while any Mac made more than seven years ago won’t be supported.

First Impressions

This for many reasons is an important OS to update to, but for many they will wonder what’s different since pressing the update button. There are a few titbits here and there, but for those looking for a huge visual change, they’ll be disappointed.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t press the “Update” button, a lot of the changes here are in the background, to make the engine run a lot quicker and smoother without you realising, but this is a OS that’s all about foundations, one that follows in the footsteps of Snow Leopard, and one that while not hugely exciting, lays the ground work for more exciting things to come.

We look forward to playing with the final version when it comes out later in the year. 

When can you get MacOS High Sierra?

You can either download a beta of macOS High Sierra if you are a developer or download a public beta via Apple.com if you want something a little more stable. The finished, consumer version of MacOS High Sierra is due to roll out sometime this autumn. If you do opt to try the Public Beta, make sure you back up your data first, or try it on a spare, non mission-critical, machine in case something goes wrong with the install. 

Xbox One fall update preview hits Beta ring, adding Fluent Design, new Home, light theme and more

The upcoming Xbox One fall update is now rolling out in preview to Xbox Insiders enrolled in the Beta ring.

Microsoft has announced that the upcoming fall update for Xbox One, currently in preview, will soon be rolling out to those in the Beta ring of the Xbox Insider Program. While the update has been in testing for both the invite-only Alpha ring and select Delta ring members up until now, this latest expansion delivers its new feature set to a wider pool of testers.

We’ve previously covered what’s been confirmed for the next Xbox One update – many of these features already available in testing. Among the biggest changes is a refresh of the user interface influenced by the Fluent Design System, a redesigned Home menu layout and an all-new light theme. Other improvements include support for 1080p uploads through Microsoft’s Mixer live streaming service, a new Guide menu with further depth and other miscellaneous tweaks.

Beta ring users will be able to download the build from 6 p.m. PT/ 9 p.m. ET on September 6, or 2 a.m. on September 7 for those in the UK. For those who use the Xbox One’s Instant On mode, the update will begin automatically downloading to your console. If you choose to manually install the build, navigate to All Settings > System > Console Info & Updates and check for an update.

As we reach the end of the year, these builds continue to add new features and refinements, prior to the public release. While confirmed features, such as the new Xbox Avatars and original Xbox backward compatibility, are yet to hit Xbox Insiders, their arrival should be on the horizon. The Fall Creators Update, the equivalent update later this year for Windows 10 PCs, recently picked up a scheduled release date of October 18. Provided the roadmap for the Xbox One update is similar, we should see these new features rolling out in the weeks to come.

Are you getting your first hands-on with the next Xbox One update today? Or already spent some time with the new features through other rings? Let us know in the comments below or the new forum thread we’ve created!

What do you think of the new Xbox One update so far?

Latest Xbox One Preview Alpha build brings new light theme option

Last month, Xbox exec Mike Ybarra teased a new Light theme for the redesigned Xbox One dashboard that will ship on all consoles later this Fall. This new option is finally coming with the latest Xbox One Preview build for Preview Alpha Insiders, which the Xbox team released yesterday. If you already installed the new build, be aware that the option will go live today at 9AM PDT, and you’ll have to reboot your console to see it in the Settings app.

This latest build also brings notifications improvements, with Game invites moving from Action Center to the Multiplayer tab of the Xbox Guide, while Recent Achievements will now be found in the Achievements tab. You can read the full release notes below.

DETAILS

OS version released: rs3_release_xbox_dev_1710.170831-1900
Available: 6:00PM PDT 9/5 (1:00AM GMT 6/9)

NEW FEATURES:

Light and Dark Themes

  • We are adding new themes to the dashboard. In addition to the current theme, you’ll be able to select a new light theme. Please note that this setting will not be enabled till 9.00am PDT 9/6/17 as we need all Alpha users to be on this new build. After 9.00am on 9/6 simply reboot your console to see the setting. 1. Navigate to Settings > Personalization > System personalization > System theme. 2. Select Light.

Notifications enhancements

  • Game invites are moving from Action Center to the Multiplayer tab of Guide and Recent Achievements will now be in the Achievements tab. This makes it easy to see at a glance if you have new invites or Achievements when opening the Guide, and makes accessing those notifications faster, now that other system notifications aren’t in the way

FIXES:

  • Movies & TV and Misc Media Apps: Black screens during movie playback have been fixed as has Fast Forward.

KNOWN ISSUES:

  • Light Theme: There are some known visual contrast issues in messaging, the entertainment twist and the Mixer twist – you may see white one white. Fixes will be coming soon.
  • Sign-in When using Arabic or Hebrew language and signing in with a profile using the “Lock it down” security preference, the sign-in screen which requests Microsoft account e-mail address and password is distorted. This does not affect the profile if it is set to use the “Ask for my passkey” or “No barriers” security preferences. Workaround: Set the console to use another language, sign-in, and set the profile’s security preference to “Ask for my passkey” or “No barriers”. Alternatively, you can still type in your password as normal using the virtual keyboard though the screen is distorted.
  • Netflix: When using Hebrew language, Netflix fails to launch.
  • Minecraft Better Together Beta: Other games fail to launch after launching the Minecraft Beta. Workaround: This occurs if the Minecraft Beta is the first game launched after powering on the console; launch another game before Minecraft to avoid this issue. If you are stuck in this state, hard reset your console.
  • Blu-Ray Player: 3D Blu-Ray content plays in 2D.
  • Game Hub: Game Hub isn’t accurately tracking Gamerscore and achievement unlocks for certain games.

The redesigned Xbox Dashboard and the new Light Theme are just the first steps in Microsoft’s Fluent Design update for the Xbox One, and we expect much more in the near future. If you’re on the Preview Beta Ring, Xbox Preview Program manager Brad Rossetti also tweeted yesterday that you should get your first 1710 build in the next few days.


Further reading: ,

NeuroVoider Preview – Preview – Nintendo World Report

Offering twin-stick, roguelike shooting action for 1 – 4 players, NeuroVoider is set to make an impression on the Nintendo Switch.

For a fan of both twin-stick shooters and roguelikes NeroVoider is in a sort of sweet spot, as it provides a feast of arcade-like shooting mixed with tough choices and challenging enemies. Lacking a story, the experience is about digging into the action (with up to three of your friends), searching for loot (upgrades), deciding what weapon and gear loadouts suit you best, and then trying not to die.

Every game you’ll start out with two pretty substantial and crucial choices. First you’ll choose the “body” you’ll be starting with, essentially deciding to go light, middle of the road, or heavy. This gives you different gear and attribute potentials, but if you collect gear for different classes as you progress through the game (and don’t immediately sell them) you can actually change your class as you progress. The second choice is maybe the tougher one as it can’t be changed: your special ability. The options for this are a bit overwhelming at first, there’s quite a list. Depending on your play style there should be something to suit you, whether taking an active skill or even a passive one. Experimentation will likely be the name of the game when you play alone but in multiplayer perhaps you would be better off choosing skills that will benefit the group as a whole.

Once you’ve chosen your robot type and your core skill the next choice you’ll make, especially early on, could be the difference between life or death… generally the more dangerous decisions you make the greater the rewards. This is the level selection. You’ll have a choice of three and they’ll each have their own rating for size, elites, and loot. While many times you’ll want to go for the most loot an overly large area could wear your HP down and put you at risk (or get expensive to repair) but an area that is smaller with a lot of elites could just turn into a kill floor. To shake things up there will also, periodically, be special levels available that are generally high risk and high reward to select as an option. Typically I’d say they’re worth the trouble but with it being a roguelike you never will really know. Every few levels you’ll also face a boss and those battles range from challenging to downright unforgiving so to survive you’ll need to be prepared!

That brings us to probably the most critical part of the game and that’s your upgrade screen. Truly, what you find in random drops, what you choose to forge for yourself to try to fill gaps, and how you manage to balance you offensive, defensive, and mobility choices is the difference between success and failure. The tricky thing is there’s no set guide to success, you’ll need to check everything over very carefully, use your comparison screen to help you size things up, and simply get to know what works best for you to make the most of it. When it comes to your defensive equipment it is important not just to consider how much armor or power equipment give you but also their added stats. Sacrificing a few points to get a bonus could really help you out so don’t justlook at the base numbers in front of you. The same can certainly be said for mobility, where the choice between something that will keep you aloft versus on the ground can make a tremendous difference in the heat of battle where you may need to be worried about conveyor belts or other things slowing you down if you’re on wheels or legs.

The most critical choices, though, will be weaponry. There is a staggering level of diversity in weapons you’ll find. First, by class, you’ll have a wide array of armament options from straight-up machine guns, to melee blades, to missile launchers. You’ll then have variances in those weapons by spread or rate of fire or range or explosive damage… it’s crazy how many differences I’ve seen. The thing is, it can’t all be about power, you’ll need to keep in mind that the most powerful weapons also carry heavy energy costs and will make you overheat more rapidly. This takes you into the realm of risk/reward again. Can you wipe out the screen with this weapon, making it worth needing to pause before firing again, or do you go with steady and sustained damage where you won’t really need to let up? This is the type of decision that will help you or kill you very quickly and it pretty well defines how successful you’ll be. You’ll still need mad evasion and aiming skills, no doubt, but if you give yourself foolish gear you’re simply not going to last.

If you’re looking for something to engage your reflexes with intense action one moment, your mind as you meticulously plan the next, and then start the loop over again, NeuroVoider will likely be right up your alley. The more I’ve played it the more it has surprised me by demonstrating it still has plenty of tricks up its sleeve. Above all it can be a pretty meaty challenge and one where you’ll feel like you’re steamrolling your opposition and then you’ll die because you pushed too hard too fast. Your energy and health are precious resources and you’ll need to keep an eye on them if you want to survive. If you’re up to the challenge, NeroVoider should handily deliver.

This preview is based on the current PC version of the game but should be representative of both the core look and gameplay of the final game on the Switch.

Need a Fall TV Preview? Desus & Mero Are Here to Help

“Having a TV show gives you carte blanche to say whatever you want about any other TV show,” says The Kid Mero, one half of Viceland’s raucous late-night talkfest Desus & Mero. Co-host Desus Nice takes it a step further: “If you don’t have a TV show, you shouldn’t be allowed to comment on TV shows. This is my new, one percent way of living.” And when you’re that high up in the entertainment world, you’re free to pass judgment on the new crop of fall TV series even if you’ve only seen the trailers—which is all we could show the comedy duo anyway.


1. The Gifted (Fox)

An X-Men spinoff centering on a family with two mutant teenagers.

Mero: Shouts to Marvel for being so expansive that I have no idea what this is, but it’s probably been around for 35 years.

Desus: I think they’re new characters. What would be your mutant power?

Mero: Smoking weed at an alarming rate. I have that power right now.

Desus: Enemies coming up and you’re just [takes an imaginary hit, exhales] blowing weed on them.

Mero: “I just got this dry-cleaned! Why’d you do that?!”


2. Wisdom of the Crowd (CBS)

A Silicon Valley exec (Jeremy Piven) launches a crowdsourcing platform to solve his daughter’s murder.

Mero: This is Waze for snitching.

Desus: They’re jumping on the “new wave” of crowdsourcing that’s only been around for 10 years. But if you’re watching CBS, you don’t know what computers are. Get ready for letters from your Meemaw: “Turn off your phone, they’re crowdsourcing you!”

Mero: Jeremy Piven will always be Ari to me. And shout-out to him for getting a brand-new head of hair.


3. The Deuce (HBO)

The Wire creator David Simon returns with a new prestige series set in New York City in the grimy ’70s—starring multiple Wire alumni, plus Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco (as twins).

Mero: Is this about Times Square when it was shitty? Oh, I’m all in!

Desus: The prostitution, the drugs—you could get anything. Get ready, this is the new Hamilton. Every dinner party: “Did you watch The Deuce? Have you seen the Dickensian aspect of Times Square in the ’70s? It’s the most important thing right now! It’s what this generation needs!”


4. Star Trek: Discovery (CBS All Access)

Set a decade before the events of the original Trek, this streaming series stars The Walking Dead’s Sonequa Martin-Green as first officer of the USS Shenzhou.

Mero: Black woman saves the universe—very strong statement. I’m behind it.

Desus: I feel like it’s gonna be controversial on Reddit: “Are they doing this because of diversity?”

Mero: I’m like, bruh, there’s a guy on this who looks like your thumb when you take a shower for too long—

Desus: —so why can’t you have a black-person space captain?


5. Alex, Inc. (ABC)

Zach Braff stars in, directs, and executive-produces this sitcom—based on StartUp, the popular podcast about launching a podcast company.

Desus: As someone who has a podcast, I can tell you that the general American public are gonna be like, “What is a podcast?” You’re going to have to spend every episode describing to ­people what a podcast is.

Mero: I have disliked Zach Braff ever since I traveled very far to a girl’s house to have intercourse with her and instead we watched Garden State and she fell asleep and then I went home. That’s a very valid reason for not liking Zach Braff.


6. The Orville (Fox)

A live-action Star Trek spoof, created by and starring Family Guy mastermind Seth MacFarlane.

Desus: This is like a side joke from Family Guy, and they blew it up for a whole season.

Mero: Seth MacFarlane, you don’t have to star in everything you do.

Desus: We’re laughing that this is terrible, but in three years we’re gonna be doing this exact show.

Mero:Desus & Mero in Space? This is terrible!”

Desus: You’re gonna be interviewing someone else, and they’ll be like, “It’s the same thing as their Viceland show! Desus and Mero don’t even try anymore.”


This article appears in the September issue. Subscribe now.

Styling by Angela Kelley for Aubri Balk Inc.; grooming by Brynn Doering for Aubri Balk Inc.; prop styling by Brian Byrne