November Highlights 2020


Well, I was going to talk a lot about Cyberpunk 2077 this month. Guess you know what December’s highlight is now!

Yes, Cyberpunk 2077 got delayed. CD Projekt Red has taken a lot of backlash for it. I am a little disappointed that I won’t be spending my holiday’s neck-deep in Night City this November. So, my November Highlights are down one guaranteed entry.

For the portion of the internet that though responding by sending death threats to developers was justifiable – stop. Just stop. Yes, we have been waiting for Cyberpunk for ages. But I don’t want Cyberpunk to be remembered as a high profile bug-riddled flop, and neither does the team.

Soon enough. It's not like there aren't other great things coming in the meantime!

Games like Fallout: New Vegas and Mass Effect: Andromeda are remembered as better than the release press would have you believe. But day one, the damage was done. The outcry was “Why wasn’t this just delayed?”. You can’t have your cake and eat it too people!

Anyway, there are so many other things happening in November to keep me busy! Let’s get onto the good news list!.

Next-gen Consoles Released (Personal preference – PS5)

Next week, if you were lucky enough to get your preorder in for the launch batches, we will finally have the new consoles in our hot little hands.

If you prefer Xbox or PlayStation, the one thing we can all expect is a new gaming experience. Two things have me incredibly excited about this generation.

It doesn't matter which way you go, these new consoles are an amazing leap

The first is that for the first time, consoles have access to tech that PC players don’t have. I don’t mean the high-speed SSDs on their own. What both consoles have is tech that will let the video cards effectively load assets directly from the drive.

Now, this is an incredibly gross over-simplification of the tech. But for a general concept, it’s close enough to use as a quick bite. With the 30 series of cards, Nvidia announced RTX IO. This will allow PCs access to similar tech, but only if developers use it.

RTX IO has to deal with dealing with a lot of hardware configurations, something instantly making its job harder

It’s great the option is there, but developers and hardware manufacturers have ignored Nvidia tech before. Just look at the VirtualLink for VR which was pretty much only supported by Nvidia. The idea was sound – a high-standard spec USB port that everyone could expect set levels of performance from. But if no one uses it, the standard dies. Hopefully, RTX IO doesn’t follow this fate.

The other aspect I am keen on is consoles are no longer the lowest hardware spec for developers to code too – PCs are. I probably just started a massive internet fight, but it’s true. Games can now be pushed further and harder than they have before.

The restraints haven’t been removed, but they have been relaxed a lot. Games in the next few years will be bigger and better in so many ways – I can’t wait to see what developers come up with!

My most anticipated Next-Gen Exclusive Title – Astro’s Playroom

Yep. The number one next-gen exclusive title I am looking for comes pre-installed on every PlayStation 5.

Eye rolls over? Sweet. Now let me explain. Astro’s Playroom is a cute tech demo designed to show off the new features of the PS5 and the DualSense controller in particular. JapanStudio has an impressive history of pulling this off generation after generation.

Will Astro's Playroom redefine gaming? Nope. But it should be a fun tour of the new system abilities!

Astro Bot Rescue Mission introduced the ‘Nintendo like’ Astro gameplay with the PSVR, and it is a game I still need to go back and Complete. In fact, if you read Last Weeks Gaming, you would have seen I am thinking of Completing Man of Medan. I am flipping between Completing Astro Bot Rescue Mission and Man of Medan to finish my Video Game Challenges for 2020.

There are plenty of other great games coming out for Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5. The catch is, a lot of them are cross-platform, and I think that DualSense additions will be more of an afterthought. When the platform exclusives start appearing, this will definitely change. But for November, I think Astro’s Playroom will be the best way to experience the PlayStation’s upgrades without feeling tacked on.

The potential trainwreck that I am keeping an eye on – Godfall

OK, so apparently I am all in for making inflammatory comments today. Let me make my stance clear – Godfall looks visually fantastic, and I really like the sales pitch. But gamers have been bitten a lot by as a service IPs recently, as well as gear focused games.

One thing I haven’t seen less than two weeks from the release is a full-blown review. No extended gameplay, and most importantly no real easily accessible information.

Visually, Godfall looks amazing. Does the play live up to this standard though?

There has been plenty of talk about the game, but no actual gameplay hands-on. Is this going to be a Destiny/Anthem type affair with a handful of missions, where you grind to collect arbitrary resources? Does Godfall have fleshed-out lore? Is the ‘story’ random for the action? I need to know!

I want to give Godfall a chance. One thing I am actively trying not to do is judge Godfall on other games sins. Two things have me nervous, hence the ‘trainwreck’ crack.

The first – it’s one of the precious few PlayStation 5 launch items, meaning people are going to buy it pretty much no matter what. This ties into the second – it is being backed to be a launch title. Sony and Gearbox have held up a small independent studio to develop a flagship game.

It's hard to make a unique equipment screen, but those Destiny and Anthem vibes are coming from scenes like this

Sales wise, I am cynical enough to believe Sony and Gearbox know that sales will be proportionally high as people buy console launch titles. They can also potentially leave developers Counterplay out in the cold. Or the ‘big boys’ could have used their pre-launch support to force dubious loot tactics onto the studio.

In no way am I saying this has happened – I am just airing concerns. This is why I haven’t preordered Godfall. I will wait until reviewers I trust have a copy in their hands, and see what they say. My wariness of Godfall is very much “The thirtieth time bitten, infinitely shy”.

If I buy Godfall, it will probably be a month after launch at least to give people time with it and see what the general feeling on it is.

AMD Ryzen 5000 launch

It looks like it is finally time for me to seriously look at moving to Team Red. Zen 3 on paper looks drool-worthy, and the new CPUs will be hitting the market this week.

2021 was the year for me to upgrade my desktop. When I bought my current system, I took advantage of price drops (well, to a degree – Intel is always expensive) for my i9-9900k. I was looking at the rumours and news of the 3900 – 3950 processors, but at the time I was thinking more the devil I know.

To say that AMD has proven that their new philosophy is more than marketing talk is common knowledge. The year on year improvements on Ryzen and even Radeon with the new 6000 series GPUs (marketing-wise, anyway) is now a proven fact.

The CPUs I am looking at aren't for everyone, but AMD is truly pushing what is useful for 'mainstream' PCs!

As always, there is no such thing as the ‘best’ CPU. There is only the best CPU for you. And for work and personal projects, I can use those 12-16 cores nicely, and the pricing seems reasonable. If the performance returns are truly there, I think the higher pricing will be justified.

That said though, I am even considering nabbing a cheaper 3950x now rather than wait for the 5000 series. The ‘lower’ performance seems to be in line with a lower price, and the trade-offs are ones I can happily live with.

I regularly have tech reviews on for equipment that I will never buy. Mostly for self-education – just because I won’t use item X, doesn’t mean that I don’t know someone that would benefit from the tech. But when that CPU review embargo lifts soon, those performance graphs will fill my screen.

Why am I so keen on this generation? Next year, the new platforms such as DDR5 and PCIe 5 are rumoured to appear on mainstream devices. Unless you are a technically-minded early adopter, my general advice is to skip this upcoming first generation! People always forget the breaking in and learning experience with new tech standards, and I don’t want to be in that group of people.

And finally, at long last, streaming is starting this week!

That’s right – the streaming is about to begin! At the moment, I will be streaming on Wednesday nights at 8 pm AEST (7 pm AEDT). We don’t have daylight savings in Queensland, so this could get confusing!

Tomorrow night over on my Twitch channel, I will be finishing the build for my NESPi4 and playing a couple of Nintendo and Master System games as a live test.

It will be a little bit of tech as I install my controller and some scripts for the power buttons, then building the case and running it ‘complete’. I am really looking forward to finally having this running!

I will finally be putting my Raspberry Pi in this case and making my own little retro console!

Going forward, Wednesday night streams will be ‘Witcher Wednesdays’. To get into The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt properly, I need to replace my previous save games. I could just jump in, but I have always enjoyed seeing past actions impact the next version of the game.

So, starting from the beginning, I going to replay the whole series. These are just a chance for people to join in for a communal play session, and see where the series started.

The second board gaming/Print and Play streams are still happening, but I haven’t had a chance to start filming anything. I do have some holidays coming up though, so it won’t be too long before these streams start!

I hope you will start popping in and having a chat as the streaming schedule settles in. It will be great to chat with you!

As much as I love the series, it's hard for me to recommend to everyone to play from the start. Now you won't have to!

What about you? What are you keen on seeing/playing with this month? Shout out on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and let me know!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD