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Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age finally arrives on PC, bringing with it the ability to run at native 4K resolution at 60 frames per-second. With PS4 Pro operating at 1440p with a 30fps cap ( and base PS4 limited to 1080p30), this upgrade has the potential to deliver the best version of the game to date, completely fulfilling expectations of what a remaster should deliver.

The quest for Shadow of the Colossus' last big secret

From the archive: The group of secret seekers looking to unearth Team Ico's final mystery.

Editor's note: As if we'd let the PS4 outing for Shadow of the Colossus pass by without returning to this - an article that's been republished as many times as the game has been remastered, at least. Craig Owens' piece was first published back in 2013 (and if you wondered what Craig was up to himself, he's at Rocksteady working on whatever mystery the Arkham Knight developer is up to next).

Unlike most RPGs, while your party members' levels are determined in the traditional EXP fashion, in Final Fantasy 12 The Zodiac Age your level actually has no bearing on your skills or abilities, and just increases your base stats. Learning new things and gaining access to new equipment is done via your Zodiac License, and requires the spending of LP.

In praise of bad game design

Taking the rough with the smooth.

There is a certain language we too often use around video games, a particular body of criteria and expectations. You could call it the cult of smoothness. This is, I'll admit, more of a characterisation born of years spent trawling forums than it is some kind of scientific appraisal, but glance over the average review comments thread and you might know what I mean. It's the idea that an excellent game is, fundamentally, a game that knows how to get out of your way. This is the language of “polish” and “seamless” integration, of beautifully chiming ludic and narrative components, of vast realms in which you are never truly lost, and campaigns that "peak" and "trough" considerately, setting up a tempo of crises and revelations without ever seriously jolting you.

It's becoming increasingly hard to remember a time when we visualised our metropolitan future differently: no rain-polished streets reflecting the glare of neon signs, no fetid slums nestled snugly around imposing high-rises, no collective mass of humanity wearing the marks of economic oppression and state-sanctioned violence in their purposeless haste, their hunched postures, their fearful silence. In other words, it's becoming increasingly hard to remember how we imagined urban dystopias before the iconography of Blade Runner gatecrashed our collective consciousness and etched its initials on the concept.

The untold origin story of Creative Assembly

"I decided this kettle had to die."

A school gym in England, mid-'90s, and two local rugby players await orders. One is small and wide and called Adrian, and one is tall and weighs about 20 stone. He's Big Dave. Adrian has been getting flattened by Big Dave all day but he keeps getting back up. It's the rugby training in him: you bloody well get back up if you're knocked down. But this instinct is starting to annoy the people he's in the school gym for, the people making the sports game. They're trying to motion-capture for a rugby game and would rather Adrian lay still. They should be careful what they wish for.

Why are Sonic's eyes green in Sonic Adventure, the franchise's first serious crack at a fully 3D polygonal platformer? It turns out there's a lovely little story behind that. Ristar creator Yuji Uekawa was the man tasked with revamping Sega's mascot for his debut on Dreamcast. Some of his decisions were practical: shrinking Sonic's enormous, swept-back skull and elongating his limbs, for instance, so that he doesn't look like a fuzzy joystick when viewed from the rear. Others were a touch more poetic. "He is always seeing these green pastures around him, like in Green Hill Zone," Uekawa explains in an interview conducted for Sega's 25th anniversary artbook. "I thought it would be nice to reflect that in his eyes."

Rockstar is no stranger to frivolous lawsuits. Celebrities have over the years come out of the woodwork to sue the video game maker for its characters, which in some cases are parodies of real life celebrities. Who can forget the time Lindsey Lohan sued Rockstar for allegedly using her likeness in Grand Theft Auto 5? (That suit was dismissed by a judge, by the way.)

Treyarch's Spider-Man 2 was first released on 28 June 2004. More than 13 years later, it still holds up as a yardstick for both Spider-Man and superhero video games. But it's not the combat people remember. It's not the balloon kid or pizza delivery side missions. It's not the amazing cast of villains, either. It's the swinging, the sheer exhilaration of flying over, around, between and often smack into buildings. Spider-Man 2 is a tantalising playground of needles to thread, a true-to-life Spidey simulation - and we have a designer called Jamie Fristrom to thank for it.

It's been oppressively hot in the UK this week, with temperatures reaching the highest point in June for 40 years. Anyone who knows me will recall that I don't much enjoy being in direct sunlight, much less an oven, so much of the week was spent scrambling to cool off in any way I can. With that in mind, this seemed like the perfect time to make Sea Salt Ice Cream from Kingdom Hearts, as requested by so many viewers of our weekly cooking show, Chiodini's Kitchen.

Watching the new God of War trailer during E3 this week, I suddenly found myself very much looking foward to God of War. From the Norse mythology to the enemy design, there's a lot to like about Sony's upcoming slasher / dad sim.

I hate freedom

Sarah Ditum would ramen have fun.

I am not a real gamer. I'm just putting that out there now, in the spirit of Fat Amy, to spare anyone the trouble of investigating whether I am in fact a real gamer. I'm not. Not that I imagine those investigations would be especially time-consuming: as I understand it, the conjunction of controller and vagina is usually considered sufficient to make the diagnosis, leading to no end of false positives in the detection of not-real gamers. But in this case, it's true. I'm as not-real as they come.

All work and no play

In praise of video game rest.

Few video game protagonists keep to strict working hours, and how could they? When there's a war to win, a world to save, a lover's heart to ensnare and all the other grand and arduous problems that a game designer asks us to solve, it would be practically irresponsible to clock off a five for a pint of lager, a packet of crisps and a prestige TV box set. Even if they did have time to unwind then, just as we rarely see Tony Soprano bobbing away at the urinal, or Donald Draper questingly exploring a nostril, surely these parts of the game would be first for the editor's chop. What Lara Croft does to relax (eating caviar off her butler's extended arm while listening to Brahms, I like to imagine) is rarely relevant to the story at hand. Aside from the indulgently barmy Final Fantasy XV, what your character eats for dinner rarely has a place in the core gameplay loop.

Big changes are coming to The Division

Ubisoft wants to bring back "the shooter feeling".

The Division, Ubisoft's big online multiplayer-focused third-person shooter, burned brightly at launch but quickly faded as a myriad of gameplay, performance and technical issues left players feeling disillusioned.

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