Midnight Suns, Need for Speed, and The Callisto Protocol All Released Today


  • Midnight Suns, Need for Speed, and The Callisto Protocol All Released Today

    It's another big release day. What are you picking up?
    Game screenshot of a racecar power sliding through an industrial building with cartoon style tire smoke and other effects

    Tis still the season for major game releases! December 2, that being the day in which this article is being written, is certainly no exception. There are at least three major game releases that dropped today across all sorts of platforms.

    There is Marvel's Midnight Suns for strategy fans. Then there is Need for Speed Unbound for racing fans. Finally, action fans may be considering picking up The Callisto Protocol. We'll briefly cover all three of these new releases here. Maybe you're interested in picking up one or more of them, maybe not. You do you.

    Marvel's Midnight Suns came out today for PC, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5. The Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Switch versions are coming "at a later date." This is a tactical RPG in the same way that the XCOM games are tactical RPGs. In fact, it's created by Firaxis Games, the studio that makes the XCOM and Civilization games. Midnight Suns is sitting at an 83% on OpenCritic, with most reviewers recommending it.

    This one starts at $59.99 (USD), at least on PC ($69.99 on next-gen consoles) but also includes more expensive versions with some bonus cosmetics and even access to the Season Pass at the most expensive version.

    Marvel's Midnight Suns features a compelling story and revolutionary card-based tactical strategy gameplay including:
    • Your Marvel Adventure. You are the Hunter, the first customizable original hero in the Marvel Universe. Lead a legendary collection of heroes that span across the Avengers, X-Men, Runaways, and more as you customize your team, tailor your selection of abilities to suit your playstyle and unlock iconic outfits that will delight any Marvel fan.
    • Explore the Darker Side of Marvel. Rise up against the demonic forces of Lilith and experience an immersive personal story that brings familiar heroes to an unfamiliar world, filled with the supernatural and the mystical. The stakes are higher than ever as you face-off against fallen versions of iconic Marvel characters and attempt to stop Lilith from reviving her evil master, Chthon.
    • Live Among the Legends. See heroes in a new light and unlock additional abilities as you develop relationships and strengthen personal bonds outside the field of battle with some of your favorite Marvel Super Heroes such as Iron Man, Wolverine and Captain Marvel. Dive deep and explore the Abbey - your very own mystical secret base - as you explore the grounds and uncover its hidden mysteries.
    • Fight and Think like a Super Hero. From the creators of the critically-acclaimed tactical XCOM series comes a new engaging and deeply customizable card-based battle system that rewards clever thinking with Super Hero flair. Team up with your fellow heroes, assess the battlefield and launch devastating iconic attacks against the forces of darkness.

    Next up is Need for Speed Unbound from EA and Criterion Games. This one is for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S. This brings the classic street racing action that the franchise is known for but infuses it with some anime/graffiti style visual flair.

    Need for Speed Unbounddisrupts the racing genre and ups the ante with:
    • The World is Each Player's Canvas: Like street artists who creatively subvert the cityscapes around them, players can bring graffiti to life in a new art style as they ride through the city equipped with a brand-new toolkit of high-energy visual and sound effects - like Tags and Burst Nitrous, which reward players with style-based boost, reflecting how they drive.
    • Run the Streets: In Need for Speed Unbound, players have to take risks to get to the top. The more players race, the more heat they build. Players will have to choose how and when to put it all on the line, pulling huge drifts on the street, outdriving the cops, or placing side bets with their own earnings against rival racers. Time is money, so players must find the fastest way to earn enough cash to enter the weekly qualifiers and make it to Lakeshore’s ultimate race, The Grand.
    • Express Yourself: Pioneering brands like Palace Skateboards, AWGE, Versace, Namilia, PUMA, Balmain, Danielle Guizio, ALPHA Industries, Born x Raised, Brain Dead, Champion, EDWIN, FILA, GCDS, KHRISJOY, MKI MIYUKI ZOKU, NAPAPIJRI, Vans and many more bring their stylistic vision to life for fans to discover through an assortment of cosmetic items, including exclusive licensed gear to not only kit out their car, but to also show off their personal style in game. Players can expand their fashion beyond the garage, and into their real-world closet, with the special Need for Speed Unbound capsule collection, featuring real-world footwear and apparel from Balmain and PUMA. Additional information on the collaborations can be found via the Need for Speed Unbound newsroom here.
    • Find Freedom in the Flow: Bump the music loud at any street race witha one-of-a-kind soundtrack led by multi-hyphenated artist, actor and fashion icon A$AP Rocky and his creative agency AWGE, who also functioned as the game’s creative collaborators. Featuring more than 70 songs from genre-defying, trailblazing global artists from the world of hip-hop, Need for Speed Unbound’ssoundtrack includes A$AP Rocky’s new track “Sh*ttin’ Me,” as well as global talents like Brodinski, Lous and the Yakuza, SCH, Alina Pash, Slikback, Villano Antillano, COUCOU CHLOE, Balming Tiger, Shirin David and many more. The extensive track list offers discovery of new artists as players ride through the streets of Lakeshore. Players can also immerse themselves in the original genre-blending score composed by Brodinski, the French electronic and hip-hop producer and founder of the French electro label Bromance Records. Listen to the original score on Spotify and stream the soundtrack on Spotify and Apple Music.
    • Takeover Scene featuring A$AP Rocky: A$AP Rocky appears in-game as the leader of the Takeover Scene, a new replayable precision-driving mode that brings together the community to take over parts of the city and celebrate driving with style over pure speed. Upon encountering A$AP Rocky at the event, players must beat him at his own game to win his custom-designed Mercedes 190 E and drive it back to their own safehouse.​
    Those who want more can look forward to post-launch content updates and experience packs. There will be free access to new modes, social features, and new progression routes for Lakeshore Online. The first update after today's launch will add new social play features. Future updates are set to add in new modes, cars, customization, and more.

    Need for Speed Unbound starts at $69.99 regardless of which platform you purchase it on. A "Palace Edition" of the game includes some Palace Skateboards exclusive content like cars, unique driving effects, clothing pack, and more. The Palace Edition is going for $79.99.

    Finally, we have The Callisto Protocol. What is there to really say about The Callisto Protocol that we haven't already talked about before?

    In this narrative-driven, third-person survival horror game set 300 years in the future, the player will take on the role of Jacob Lee – a victim of fate thrown into Black Iron Prison, a maximum-security penitentiary located on Jupiter's moon, Callisto. When inmates begin to transform into monstrous creatures, the prison is thrown into chaos. To survive, Jacob must battle his way to safety to escape Black Iron Prison, while uncovering the dark and disturbing secrets buried beneath the surface of Callisto. Using a unique blend of shooting and close-quarters combat, Jacob will need to adapt his tactics to combat the rapidly evolving creatures while scavenging to unlock new weapons, gear, and abilities to outrun the growing threat and escape the horrors of Jupiter's Dead Moon.
    If you plan on playing The Callisto Protocol on PC, you need to be aware that the game's performance is what I will very politely call hot fucking garbage. Not only are there issues with constant stutter due to shader compilation, but there are also extreme framerate dips. Some dips are seemingly random, while others are more repeatable like when you aim your weapon at an enemy. I'm still encountering stutters after two hours of gameplay, which is just inexcusable.

    And then there was this full on game pause. I talked to others that said they encountered this exact same pause on their systems at the exact same point.

    Checking out user reviews on Steam paint a very similar picture of poor performance and stutter. I've seen a few posts by people with RTX 4090 GPUs and current-gen CPUs having the same stutter and performance issues.

    Other media outlets have also expressed similar complaints about the PC version's performance. Rock, Paper, Shotgun's "review" headline reads "The Callisto Protocol review: could be silly, bloody space fun if it ran on PC." Their article goes into detail about many of the same complaints basically everyone else on PC has been experiencing since last night's release.

    Developer Striking Distance Studios says that they are planning to roll out the first patch that will supposedly improve the poor performance that "some users" are experiencing. They announced this about three hours ago and so far the update still isn't out.

    I would honestly wait for a few patches and see what the new consensus seems to be about performance before even considering picking this one up on PC. Given a few of the other non-performance issues I have with the game, I'd honestly just wait for a big discount as well.

    Oh, and for you Nintendo Switch owners, you can now play the Winters' Expansion for Resident Evil Village today.
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