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Young Sherlock Holmes to star in new PS5 and Xbox Series X game

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A new Sherlock Holmes game has been announced will see you play as slightly younger version of the character.

The next Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes film isn’t due until next year, but fans of the detective can now also look forward to a brand-new game.

Titled Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One, the game is being developed by Frogwares, which has been making video games based on the character since 2002, with its last one being 2016’s Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter.

This new title, which will release on both modern and next-gen systems, will star a much younger Holmes, and shows how he becomes the legendary detective we all know him as.

Details are relatively scarce, but the game’s PC listing reveals a number of key features.

The game will be set on an island in the Mediterranean rather than the usual city of London, which you can explore to uncover clues in order to solve the myriad of mysteries Holmes will no doubt be faced with.

The listing seems to suggest that there might be some elements of choice that can change the outcome of scenarios, as it reads ‘It’s up to you to decide whether uncovering the truth will do more harm than good—and how that will shape the man you’ll become.’

It also teases combat, saying that you’ll be able to use the environment itself to defeat enemies and you can ‘Spot enemy vulnerabilities with your brilliant observation skills.’

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Perhaps most interesting of all is the inclusion of a character named Jon. It’s explicitly stated that he’s not the John Watson usually associated with Holmes, and he’s described as Holmes’ ‘best and only friend.’

Given that he seems to suddenly disappear and reappear throughout the announcement trailer, we suspect that he might not be real at all and only exists in Holmes’ head.

Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One will launch in 2021 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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PS5 reveal event is next week claims insider

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DualSense – will we see what the console looks like next week? (pic: Sony)

We could be just seven days away from the long-awaited PlayStation 5 reveal, as Sony prepares another State Of Play tonight.

It’s been a week or so since we’ve heard anything new about Sony’s big reveal event for the PlayStation 5, when the date was last suggested as Friday, 5 June.

Even then it was admitted that Sony’s plans keep changing, and now a new Bloomberg report has claimed that Wednesday, 3 June is set to be the big day.

If that is true we’re certainly not getting much official warning about it, but the number of respected sources suggesting that the reveal is going to be early June does seem to be mounting.

The report is by former Kotaku journalist Jason Schreier, who notes that, ‘Other PlayStation 5 events may follow in the coming weeks and months and Sony is not expected to reveal every essential detail on the console during its first presentation’.

That’s not much to go on, but it’s certainly true that during the initial reveal of the PlayStation 4 the actual console wasn’t shown and the focus was purely on the games, which at this point we think most people would be perfectly happy with.

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Sony does have another State Of Play showcase planned for tonight at 9pm, but it’s going to focus purely on The Last of Us Part 2, to the point where Sony has already warned they won’t be saying anything about the PlayStation 5.

The release of The Last of Us Part 2 next month, and Ghost Of Tsushima in July, does make things slightly awkward for Sony, as both are major exclusives that they’ll want to devote all their energies to promoting.

There’s also the fact that both are extremely good-looking games and Sony will need to ensure there’s a clear improvement from them to whatever they show for the PlayStation 5.

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Formula One

Formula E driver Daniel Abt got gamer to cheat in esports race for him

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That is kind of suspicious… (pic: YouTube)

A prominent Formula E driver has been dropped by his team and forced to pay money to charity after he was caught cheating online.

There is no Formula 1 at the moment, or any of its related sports, but like many people drivers have found they can work from home, in this case by playing video games.

German Formula E (for electrically powered cars) driver Daniel Abt was supposed to be playing simulation rFactor 2 but fellow competitor, and former Formula 1 driver, Stoffel Vandoorne became suspicious when Abt turned off his camera.

As Vandoorne suspected, it turned out Abt wasn’t playing the game at all and instead it was a professional gamer named Lorenz Horzing who was doing it for him.

Abt has been disqualified from the competition and told to pay £8,900 to charity. He’s also been suspended by his team at Audi Sport, which according to website The Race will be permanent.

‘I did not take it as seriously as I should have,’ said Abt in a statement.

‘I am especially sorry about this because I know how much work has gone into this project on the part of the Formula E organisation. I am aware that my offence has a bitter aftertaste but it was never meant with any bad intention.’

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Up till now Abt has been a major figure in Formula E, winning two races in the 2018 season and enjoying a lucrative contract with Audi.

‘Integrity, transparency and consistent compliance with applicable rules are top priorities for Audi – this applies to all activities the brand is involved in without exception’, said the company in a statement.

‘For this reason, Audi Sport has decided to suspend Daniel Abt with immediate effect.’

The irony is that Horzing/Abt didn’t even win anyway, coming in third behind Vandoorne and Britain’s Oliver Rowland.

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Minecraft Dungeons review – running the Gauntlet

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Minecraft Dungeons – cheap and cheerful (pic: Microsoft)

Mojang’s new Minecraft spin-off is a co-op dungeon crawler in the style of Diablo, but will it be as successful as the original game?

Take-Two recently announced that Grand Theft Auto 5 has sold a staggering 130 million copies over the last two generations. That’s an astonishing amount but it’s still dwarfed by the 200 million copies sold by Minecraft, which boasts 126 million monthly active users. This, many would say, doesn’t count because Minecraft isn’t a ‘real’ game, despite it helping to invent modern survival gameplay and being so customisable that it can be almost anything you want it to be. But if you do wish it was something a little more traditional and structured then Minecraft Dungeons is intended to be the game for you.

Although it has the same art style, Minecraft Dungeons has relatively little to do with the original in terms of gameplay. There’s no mining, for a start, and no crafting or survival elements. Instead it’s a purposefully straightforward dungeon crawler, not unlike a simplified version of Diablo, where you’re exploring randomly-generated dungeons, looking for loot, and playing along with up to three other co-op partners.

Minecraft Dungeons does have a story to explain what’s going on, about an evil Arch-Illager and a magic MacGuffin, but despite a few nice cut scenes the game doesn’t seem any more interested in the storytelling than you will be. We can’t pretend to be experts on Minecraft lore but we do know there’s more to it than many people realise and, especially after Minecraft: Story Mode, this seems a bit of a missed opportunity not to expand on it further.

The intention here has clearly been to create something as streamlined and focused as possible, the opposite of normal Minecraft. As such, there’s a very tight gameplay loop of fighting monsters, collecting loot, and levelling up. There are no character classes or skill trees though, so anyone can use any item or weapon, which inspires a more arcade feel that begins to edge closer towards Gauntlet than Diablo.

There is such a huge variety of weapons, armour, and equipment though that the game still retains some depth, as you try to work out the optimal loadout and switch to specialised gear for more difficult encounters. Artefacts and enchantments offer up a huge range of different buffs and special abilities, even if the difference is often only discerned by how many numbers are flashed up on screen during an attack.

Minecraft Dungeons is filled with numbers wherever you look – on the main interface, in the inventory, and during combat – in a way that even vastly more complicated role-players would balk at. We think it’s meant to give the illusion of depth where there is none, but often it just looks like someone chewed up a maths textbook and threw up all over the screen.

All the number-crunching is partly functional though, as the ever-changing loadout of you and your friends, and the affect the monsters have on the environment – from poison bombs to fire attacks – means the amount of damage you give and receive is in constant flux.

Minecraft Dungeons – elf looks like he needs food (pic: Microsoft)

Randomness is a key theme in Minecraft Dungeons but the action itself is scrupulously fair, and very enjoyable despite being initially designed with a keyboard and mouse in mind. The controls feel crisp and precise and despite the complete lack of any realistic violence the weapons have a surprisingly enjoyable heft to them.

The level design and the appearance of monsters and puzzles is all procedurally-generated though, which inevitably means maps lack distinctive set pieces and landmarks – and have far more dead ends than a hand-crafted level would.

Although saying that, even the hub world is boring, with some disappointingly unhelpful shops and uninteresting characters. Mojang has promised the game will be constantly updated and this feels like one area ripe for expansion, but at the moment it’s just one more missed opportunity.

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Despite what you might imagine, given all the procedural generation, the game’s campaign can be beaten in little more than six hours, and although that’s not really the point – because who cares about the story – it’s a little deflating and only the very committed are going to be that invested in the New Game+ mode and customisation options.

It’s easy to accuse Minecraft Dungeons of being shallow and simplistic but it’s obviously got a very specific aim in mind, even if we’re not entirely convinced who the audience is meant to be. Given how complex Minecraft can get we’re not sure there was any need to keep things so purposefully streamlined for a younger audience and we can imagine their attention drifting from it fairly quickly.

The short campaign length and lack of depth would’ve been more problematic if it weren’t for the very reasonable price tag, which is below that of most indie games and takes a lot of the edge off most complaints. Minecraft Dungeons does what it sets out to with a certain amount of panache and some great presentation, but it’s set its sights surprisingly low and at this point it’s hard to imagine it having anything like the longevity of the parent game.

Formats: Xbox One (reviewed), PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC
Price: £16.74
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Developer: Mojang Studios and Double Eleven
Release Date: 26th May 2020
Age Rating: 7

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