8 things to watch out for this week

1.  Sign up for Dying Light: Bad Blood’s global playtest this weekend, which channels the spirit of battle royale for a unique PvP/PvE hybrid   

Dying Light 2 (opens in new tab), Techland’s sequel to its near perfect open world zombie game of 2015, isn’t out till sometime next year, but luckily the Polish studio has a platter of undead flavoured hors d’oeuvres to keep you busy in the meantime. Originally envisioned as a multiplayer spin-off mode to Dying Light (opens in new tab), Bad Blood is now a full game in its own right, set to release on PC and Xbox One later this year. Savvily describing itself as Brutal Royale, 12 players are chucked into zombie-infested Harran to gather blood samples and *ahem* [adopts Arnie voice] get to the chopper, before being murdered by either one of the infected or another human contestant fighting for that same one-way ticket out of zombieville. It’s intimate, scary, and seriously savage, expertly breathing new life into Dying Light’s memorable combat and parkour systems. You can sign up to Dying Light: Bad Blood’s Global Playtest on PC via the game’s website here (opens in new tab) – it only takes a few seconds, and requires an email / password – which gives you early access to two days of its Brutal Royale bedlam if your email address is selected. Alex Avard

What: Dying Light: Bad Blood Global Playtest
Where: PC
When: September 1 – 2

2.  It’s time to give Netflix Original crime drama Ozark a second chance as it returns for its new season – think Breaking Bad but for money laundering

You’d be forgiven for not being too excited about the return of Netflix Original Ozark. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if the fact that its second season is dropping on the streaming service this week hadn’t registered with you at all. Thanks to a lack of/misleading promotion by Netflix when the series debuted last year, the crime drama didn’t get the attention or the recognition it deserved, but with the second season hitting today, I’m here to tell you it’s time to give it another chance. Do you love Breaking Bad? Of course you do. Well, Ozark is basically Breaking Bad, but with money laundering instead of drugs and it stars the exceptional Jason Bateman in the main role. He plays financial advisor and family man Marty Byrde who unfortunately gets involved in a money laundering scheme, which goes wrong, and has to move his entire family to a summer resort community in the Missouri Ozarks in order to pay off a debt to a Mexican drug cartel. Paying the money back isn’t his only problem though as he quickly gets involved with some local criminals too… Like I said, very Breaking Bad. If you loved that TV show, Ozark could be your next obsession and the good news is, you have two seasons to binge right now. Lauren O’Callaghan

What: Ozark season 2
Where: Netflix
When: August 31, 2018 

3.  Metal Gear Solid’s 20th Anniversary is a sobering reminder that video-games could – and should – challenge players, not just pander to them

Where to begin? Hideo Kojima’s legendary Metal Gear Solid launched on PS One in Japan on September 3rd 1998, marking 20 years since the invention of modern stealth gaming, Solid Snake’s emergence as a gaming icon (if you ignore his 2D appearance in the MSX2 game Metal Gear in 1987) and fond recollections of resisting electrocution by tapping circle so fast on your PlayStation Controller that you feared your arm might melt from lactic acid overload – and, yes, the game even knew if you plugged in an auto-fire pad to stop you cheating. Everyone harps on about *that* Psycho Mantis boss battle and the concept of breaking the ‘fourth wall (opens in new tab)’, but these were baby steps for the series, leading to MGS2’s ‘inverted sequel’ which subjected unwitting players to a systemic control experiment, or MGS5’s rejection of series’ tropes, returning agency to the player. Yeah, we know. There’s no better time to revisit where it all began, especially since the upcoming Metal Gear Solid movie – helmed by Skull Island’s Jordan Vogt Roberts – will draw from the original MGS. “Even if I wasn’t involved in this movie I would read that script and say, ‘Holy shit’, Roberts recently told Collider (opens in new tab). Modern games might be more comfortable taking the L, but MGS took from Ernest Hemingway, Richard Dawkins and Jean Baudrillard to challenge its players with concepts of genetics, artificial intelligence and the military-industrial complex. Dan Dawkins

What: Metal Gear Solid 20th Anniversary
Where: PS Vita, PS3, PC Emulation
When: Sep 3, 2018

4. It’s Spyro’s 20th birthday, but will his remaster go the way of Crash Bandicoot? 

Please join me in wishing a very happy birthday to everyone’s favourite purple dragon (granted, he doesn’t have much competition for the title, but still). The scaled reptile is nearing his 20th birthday already, and in this era of remasters we have to ask: is he ready to return to consoles? So far the glimpses we’ve had of Spyro Reignited Trilogy look stunning, but before we get excited about his reappearance it’s worth remembering what it was like to play Crash Bandicoot after he was released back into the wild. The difficulty spike was widely reported on, with even the developers confirming that it was harder than the original (opens in new tab) as you fall quicker when you let go of the jump button, making it harder to calculate Crash’s trajectory. There were also differences in the collision boxes (opens in new tab) which made characters slide off the edge of surfaces. So just bear in mind that Spyro might look pretty as heck, but he might feel different when you step into his scaly shoes. Zoe Delahunty-Light

What: Spyro’s 20th anniversary
When: September 9

5. Bodyguard is a dark new thriller you owe it to yourself not to miss, from the writer of the thrilling Line of Duty series

Bodyguard could be a slice of the next Bond movie, if it wasn’t for the fact that David Budd (played excellently by Richard Madden aka Robb Stark from Game of Thrones) is more human, more nervous, more inwardly terrified than any Daniel Craig type would ever be. But that’s exactly what makes Bodyguard, the latest dark thriller from Jed Mercurio – of Line of Duty and Bodies fame – so utterly brilliant. It’s full of twists and turns, and kept me so firmly on the edge of my seat that I almost forgot the rest of my sofa existed. Budd is a former soldier recently returned from Afghanistan, and he’s suffering badly from PTSD. But, as the title suggests, quickly becomes security detail for the British Home Secretary, Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes), and even after the first episode I was utterly hooked.  Montague is deeply unpleasant ,and utterly ruthless as the Home Secretary, and ultimately incredibly watchable. The interplay between her own deep-seated hunger for power, and Budd’s resentment for anyone involved in sending troops to Afghanistan is an incredible dance. And, seeing as we’re only two episodes in of a six part series, you’ve got time to catch up and see exactly what I’m talking about. Sam Loveridge

What: Bodyguard TV series
Where: BBC
When: Every Sunday night at 9pm BST in the UK, or on BBC iPlayer

6.  PAX West draws gamers from around the world to Seattle from August 31 to September 3 

PAX West

PAX West has been one of the largest video game conventions open to the public for years, and 2018 looks to be no exception. With hundreds of exhibitors (many showing off fresh features and demos or surprising ticket-holders with entirely new games) and tens of thousands of attendees, it is a weekend full of eclectic talks and community events, with titles as diverse as ‘You paid too much!!! How to find the best video game deals’ and ‘The SSStylish gameplay of Devil May Cry 5’. Tickets sell out almost as fast as they go on sale so we’re sorry to say that if you didn’t get one already, odds are you won’t be going. But hey, there’s always PAX East, PAX South, PAX Australia, and PAX Unplugged – plus, you can still enjoy all the PAX West news, cosplay, and even a few livestreams (opens in new tab) of panels that give you a behind-the-scenes look at your favorite games and creators from the comfort of your own home. Be sure to tune in for this year’s keynote speaker, World of Warcraft game director Ion Hazzikostas. Sam Prell

What: PAX West gaming convention
Where: Washington State Convention Center, Seattle
When: August 31 – September 3

7. Can clowns, mimes and tiny Freddie Mercury lookalikes recapture the Theme Hospital magic? 

Two Point Hospital

Two Point Hospital (opens in new tab) isn’t a reboot of 1997 classic, it’s bigger, better, and packed with even more puns. It’s a medical management sim where you build a run a hospital, but one dealing with comedy illness like Jest Infection (hence the clowns), 8-bitten, where people are pixelated, and Saturday Night Fever. It seems simple at first, but soon you’re dealing with visiting celebrities, mad weather and pandemics that turn people into shuffling zombies. It’s as addictive as medical grade morphine and will probably wreak a similar amount of destruction on your social life. We gave it a five star review, no less, diagnosing the game with a ‘terminal case of total brilliance’ – you can book yourself an appointment right now, with no waiting times. Rachel Weber

What: Two Point Hospital
Where: PC
When: Out now

8. Destiny 2: Forsaken is finally launching, but will it do enough to satisfy the long-serving community?

It’s been almost a year since Destiny 2 launched, and we’re sitting on the precipice of the game’s second year, the year that’s supposed to fix the gripes and groans the community has had with the game since launch. Despite the fact we’re already two expansions down – Curse of Osiris and Warmind – nothing Bungie has done to date has managed to satiate the hunger of the community for moar Destiny 2, or at least, slightly different Destiny 2. But, Forsaken is coming, Cayde-6’s about to be on death’s door, and the big fix is coming. I can feel it. From everything I’ve played so far of Forsaken at Gamescom and E3, there’s plenty of great stuff en route, including new multiplayer mode Gambit, and a cracking storyline – even if we do have to lose good old Cayde. In a move sure to swell the potential user base, you can get the original Destiny 2 for free right now via PlayStation Plus, and you can play a whole day of Gambit for free on Saturday, September 1, to get a taste of what’s to come with Forsaken. After all, Forsaken is a premium piece of content, fetching $40/£40 for an access fee, so why not get a taster before launch if you don’t believe the hype yet? Sam Loveridge

What: Destiny 2: Forsaken
Where: PS4, Xbox One and PC
When: September 4

8 Things to Watch This Week picks the best games, movies and shows of the next seven days every Friday at 9am PDT / 5pm BST. 

About Fox

Check Also

Dive back into Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Put down most games and your character will stay frozen in time, just waiting for …

8 things to watch out for this week

With diets and new gym regimes taking over our everyday lives, you can stave off the January Blues with our round-up of the best games, movies and TV over the next seven days. From the irresistible charm of Paddington Bear, to escapist survivalism in Zombi on Games with Gold, or the unexpected delight of 76 year-old thespian Miriam Margolyes befriending Chicago gangsters, here’s our pick of the 8 things to watch out for this week.

Find out why the Versace estate are objecting to the new crime show from the creator of American Horror Story and The People v. O. J. Simpson

The Versace estate has already made their objections (opens in new tab) to the The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story known, but won’t make it any less of a must watch for true crime fans. Penelope Cruz serves us fashion royalty realness as Donatella Versace, while Glee star Darren Criss stars as the serial killer that stole the life of fashion designer Gianni. The fact the Ryan Murphy is exec producing means you can count on fabulous set design, coal black humor and one liners sharp enough to slice through silk. If you haven’t watched his previous take on the OJ court case – starring the incredible Sarah Paulson – now’s the time to binge it. Rachel Weber

What: The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Where: FX
When: Starts January 17

Start 2018 the right way with the quintessentially British and feel good Paddington 2 

After the blockbuster climax to last year’s movie releases, with Star Wars: The Last Jedi (opens in new tab) splitting fans and inflaming social media, you wouldn’t be blamed for embracing a gentler cinema experience to start 2018. Which is why I’m recommending Paddington 2 (opens in new tab). Those in the UK who have already seen the sequel (it came out in November 2017 tea-side) can attest to the sheer glorious feel goodness of this flick about a bear who loves marmalade sandwiches; a thrill for children and adults alike. With him dropping in cinemas today, it’s the perfect film to ease you into your 2018 viewing, and once you’re ready for something a little more meaty, check out all the best upcoming movies (opens in new tab) of 2018 coming your way soon. Lauren O’Callaghan

What: Paddington 2
Where: In theatres
When: Now

Use PS4’s Final Fantasy Dissidia NT open beta to settle which hero is best

You can make an argument for any of the heroes in the Final Fantasy games being ‘the best in the series’ (opens in new tab), but the only way to prove it is to make them fight. Well, that’s what Square Enix are hoping, at least. Final Fantasy Dissidia NT lets you pick characters (both heroes and villains) from the legendary RPG series and take them into a 3 vs 3 battle arena. Which means we can finally pit Noctis, Cloud, Zidane, Tidus, Firion and Lightning against each other. Or make them team up to fight the bad guys. If you can’t get a full team of three together online there’s the option to swap in computer controlled allies or opponents, so even if you’re playing alone you can still take Cloud to get his revenge on Sephiroth for killing Aerith. Oh. Spoilers. Sorry. 

Good news: if you like what you play, you don’t have long to wait for the full game. It’s already out in Japan but the rest of us can get our hands on it on January 30th. James Jarvis

What: Final Fantasy Dissidia NT open beta
Where: PSN Store (North America and Europe)
When: 12th – 21st January

The Dragon Ball FighterZ open beta calls all weekend Z Warriors, in the series’ most thrilling video game adaptation yet

Fighting game enthusiasts are already hyped for the upcoming debut of Dragon Ball FighterZ, so let me make the case for this weekend’s open beta to everyone else: if you ever watched Dragon Ball Z, this is almost all of that perfectly recreated in accessible anime fighter form. Take one look at a trailer and you’ll see the stunning degree of faithfulness Arc System Works’ visuals and overall aesthetics. Thankfully, FighterZ also knows where to diverge from the source material to make a better game; for instance ,you can put normal-human Yamcha and actual-god Beerus in the same arena without the former being instantly annihilated (again). There’s also slightly less extended shouting. The full game will be released on January 26, so make sure you give it a free try-out while you can. Connor Sheridan

What: Dragon Ball FighterZ open beta
Where: Download it on PS4 and Xbox One
When: Pre-order headstart begins Saturday at midnight PST / 8am BST, general access opens Sunday at midnight PST / 8am BST. Beta ends at 11:59pm PST on Jan. 15 / 7:59am BST on Jan 16.

Harry Potter’s Professor Sprout making friends with Chicago gangsters in Miriam’s Big American Adventure might be the best thing on TV

Miriam Margolyes’, the 76 year-old thespian and ex-Harry Potter star, is arguably the most watchable, human, presence on TV. Miriam’s Big American Adventure (opens in new tab) sees her touring the central states of Trump’s USA; a country where she used to live, but no longer understands. Miriam’s honesty and self-deprecation – I’m a ‘fat old jew’ who is ‘absolutely capable’ of shooting someone, she reveals – isn’t the show’s highlight, but rather how she disarms, confronts and empowers those around her, from republican sheriffs to convicted murderers. It’s an absurd joy to see Miriam greeted by a Chicago gangster with the words “I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter”’. It borders on the profound, too. Miriam meets two convicted drug addicts, who feel society never game them a chance. “There is light. I’m not going to say it’s Jesus. Because I don’t believe in Jesus. But I believe in you”, Miriam tells the women, barely in their 30s. Their tearful, joyous, reaction to such kindness is as raw as TV gets. “I’m sorry Louis Theroux, but Miriam Margolyes has just stolen your crown as the best British human interest documentary maker.” notes one Twitter user (opens in new tab). In moments like this, it’s hard to disagree. Dan Dawkins

What: Miriam’s Big Adventure
Where: Watch it on BBC iPlayer (opens in new tab) (UK). US viewers might want to investigate the Best VPN Deals (opens in new tab) to access iPlayer.
When: The first two episodes are available now, with the concluding episode due on 24th January on BBC One (UK) – time TBC.

Zombi on Games with Gold is your chance to discover one of Wii U’s forgotten cult classics

Some games just shouldn’t be missed when they’re free and the perma-death survival sim, Zombi (opens in new tab), is one. Set in a London ravaged by an undead apocalypse, this is a fun and scary first person horror. Obviously there’s a gimmick – when your character’s dead, they’re so dead. Well, undead. Leaving you with no option but to start again, making sure you visit your now rotting former self to put them out of their misery and nab all their stuff. It’s a super interesting idea to see the previous you as a walking corpse and then charge in swinging a pipe, but its how it transforms the game that makes this great. It’s already a scary, atmospheric experience built around scavenging and fighting, but that ‘one slip up and you’re dead’ element raises the tension to almost stressful levels. The very English backdrop of buses and Buckingham Palace also make a great change from the usual American zombie apocalypses. Leon Hurley

What: Zombi
Where: Xbox One Games with Gold
When: Jan 16 to Feb 15

Learn more about your favourite games and how to make them by going to PAX South (from the comfort of your sofa)

PAX South (opens in new tab) is happening this weekend, running from January 12 – 14, but not all of us can trundle on down to San Antonio, Texas to see all the excitement. Whether it’s checking out all the awesome cosplays to settling down to absorb the genius from the various talks throughout the show, there’s plenty to be sad about missing out on. But thankfully, there’s a PAX South Twitch channel (opens in new tab) that’ll bring you all the biggest news from the show live as it happens, including talks from Owlchemy Labs (of Job Simulator fame), chats about launching your own streaming channel, live feeds of the Omegathons and even a talk about how to become a Pokémon Master on the Sunday. We’ll be there, in our PJs with a cuppa watching on Twitch. Sam Loveridge.

What: PAX South
Where: San Antonio, TX (Via Twitch (opens in new tab))
When: January 12 – 14

Brave the horror of It in 4K and Dolby Vision in the safety of your own home

It’s ok, you’re allowed to admit it. You didn’t watch It in the cinema because you were too scared. The solution? Letting Pennywise right into your front room. Hey, at least there’s cushions there. Even if horror isn’t normally your (blood) bag, this Stephen King adaptation just demands to be seen. With some great performances from the central ‘Losers Club,’ there’s a Stand By Me quality to the movie as the children form close friendships amongst the terrifying scares. And yes, they are truly horrifying. It was one of 2017’s scariest movies and the bonus is that because It can be anything as it shapes specifically to your fears, everyone will find something to haunt their dreams. It’s nightmare time. In the best possible way. Louise Blain 

What: It
Where: Home release on VoD, Blu-ray and DVD
When: January 15

About Fox

Check Also

Dive back into Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Put down most games and your character will stay frozen in time, just waiting for …

Leave a Reply