8 things to watch out for this week

1. Resident Evil 2 Remake brings a horror classic back from the dead

It’s hard to overstate the importance of the Resident Evil series. It’s not the only horror game around but it was one of the first to see a breakthrough success, coining the term ‘survival horror’, as well as many of the tropes and ideas that shaped the genre. And Resident Evil 2 Remake (opens in new tab) brings all that horror flooding back in a beautifully crafted recreation of the original. It’s a completely updated game bringing back the classic zombies, puzzles and locations but all in a modern game. What’s amazing is how well it all stands up. While the visuals and controls have been brought up to today’s standards, the basic set up is the same – escape a zombie filled Raccoon City, balancing scant resources and solving preposterous puzzles. It’s brilliantly gruesome, entertaining and proof that the classics never go out of style. Leon Hurley

What: Resident Evil 2 Remake
Where: PS4, Xbox One, PC
When: January 25

2. After 13 years, was Kingdom Hearts 3 worth the wait? 

There’s nothing quite like the sugary, colorful cocktail of Square Enix and Disney that is Kingdom Hearts, and it’s been a long time since the last big release for fans. There have been remixes, remasters and spin-offs since Kingdom Hearts 2 (opens in new tab) in 2005, but fans have been calling for the big blockbuster follow up regardless. Kingdom Hearts 3 (opens in new tab) is finally here. Luckily creator Tetsuya Nomura isn’t messing around, summoning Disney’s most recent megastars – Elsa of Frozen, Buzz and Woody of Toy Story, Mike, Sully and Boo of Monsters Inc – to add to the beautiful and baffling story of Heartless and the shady Organization and a boy with a Keyblade. And after playing through the entire story, I can say that there’s nothing quite like Kingdom Hearts 3: it’s a wild, wonderful ride that’s unlike any other. After all, where else can you hammer monsters to death with a giant key while Elsa belts out Let it Go. Rachel Weber

What: Kingdom Hearts 3
Where: PS4, Xbox One
When: January 29

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3.  Watch out for the next big indie offerings at Sundance Film Festival 

Chances are Sundance Film Festival isn’t high up on your event calendar this year, but it should be because it’s the movie festival for indie films. Of all the film festivals (Cannes, TIFF, SXSW), Sundance is perhaps one of the lesser-known, but it plays host to various unique movies every year while it runs from January 24 to February 3 in Utah. “It’s a real champion for independent film,” say Matt Maytum, Deputy Editor of our sister publication Total Film magazine (opens in new tab). “So you get a lot of offbeat stuff there rather than blockbusters”. That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing for casual moviegoers at Sundance though as a lot of its movies go on to break into the mainstream, such as Reservoir Dogs, Napoleon Dynamite (opens in new tab), and Whiplash. 

This year’s offerings include Netflix Original Velvet Buzzsaw – a thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal about killer paintings – The Report, which is packed to the brim with stars (Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm, Tim Blake Nelson, and Michael C. Hall to name a few), which deals with a real life investigation into the CIA’s interrogation techniques post-9/11, and Relive, which stars Selma (opens in new tab)’s David Oyelowo as a LAPD detective who receives a phone call from his supposedly dead niece after she, and her whole family, are murdered. That enough to get your excited? Lauren O’Callaghan

What: Sundance Film Festival 2019
When: January 24, 2019 – February 3, 2019
Where: Utah, US

4. Get involved with the Anthem VIP demo this weekend, and see what Bioware’s been up to

Starting from right now, anyone who’s pre-ordered Anthem, or subscribes to EA Access on Xbox One or Origin Access on PC, can get access to the brand VIP Anthem demo (opens in new tab) that’ll give you early hands-on time with Bioware’s upcoming multiplayer, exosuit-wielding, shooter. You’ll get a good ‘vertical slice’ of gameplay to mess around with, with your character booting up at level 10 (about midway through the game). You’ll get to experience a story mission, a Stronghold activity, which is basically a Destiny Strike, and you’ll be able to roam around your home base, Fort Tarsis. Part of the game’s open world will be available through the Freeplay mode too, and the levelling curve has been adjusted so that you’ll rank up faster and earn in-game currency faster, which means you’ll get to understand more of what the game has to offer. From what I’ve played of Bioware’s new title so far, Anthem has echoes of Mass Effect and Destiny, but seems to lack its own identity (opens in new tab), so it’ll be interesting to see what you all make of it. Let’s chat on Twitter, yeah? Sam Loveridge

5. A movie with knights, magic, school bullies and Mario Kart jokes should be on your must see list

Attack of the Block won over audiences in 2011 with its mix of science fiction, horror and London tower blocks, turning a bunch teenage gangsters into heroes and making a star of John Boyega. The Kid Who Would Be King – director Joe Cornish’s latest project – has a similar sort of vibe, centering on an average kid who ends up yanking the sword Excalibur from the infamous stone. This summons Merlin, mega bitch Morgan le Fay, for a fantasy battle. All the signs point to the same smart sense of humor and fearless flaunting of genre conventions, including jokes about Mario Kart, round tables and Patrick bloody Stewart. Rachel Weber

What: The Kid Who Would Be King
Where: Movie theaters
When: January 25

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6. 20 Years ago Silent Hill unleashed a very personal hell on a small town

Both a rival and counterpoint to Resident Evil, Silent Hill was a very different horror game when it first arrived 20 years ago. Building on a far more psychological horror, it tiptoed around reality and sanity as it tortured its unfortunate protagonists. Its story is well known now but unravelling the threads to reveal the fever dream of a tortured child burned alive to birth a god was quite the trip back in 1999. It may have fallen by the wayside in recent years (Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro’s failed reboot is a particularly sour sticking point) but its legacy lives on through its macabre reality perverting ideas and instantly recognisable monsters – nurses anyone? Leon Hurley

What: Silent Hill’s 20th anniversary
Where: Everywhere
When: January 31

7. Overwatch celebrates its third Lunar New Year event, and this time, it’s pig themed

Ring in the Year of the Pig!Overwatch’s Lunar New Year festivities start now.🎆 🏮 https://t.co/8dHWTDqH6N pic.twitter.com/Y0FUPCBqM9January 24, 2019

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Roadhog mains, unite. Blizzard’s next seasonal event for Overwatch (opens in new tab) is all about that porker life, as the Year of the Pig kicks off 2019 on the Chinese calendar. For its third in-game Lunar New Year event, the multiplayer hero shooter will be rolling out fresh batches of new Epic and Legendary cosmetics across its roster of 29 characters, and quite possibly a new Capture the Flag map to round out the celebration. Not only that, but all the cosmetics from previous Lunar New Year events will be unlocked and available to purchase or earn through loot boxes again while the event lasts, which gives you another chance to grab that amazing Wukong skin for Wintston (opens in new tab) before it gets locked up for another 12 months. So forget dry January, pick up that controller, and party like it’s New Year’s Eve all over again in the best multiplayer shooter around. Alex Avard

What: Overwatch Lunar New Year event
When: January 24 – February 18
Where: PC, PS4, Xbox One

8. Is Mads Mikkelsen doing a John Wick in Polar going to be a success?

As soon as I saw the trailer for Polar, I was so in. Mads Mikkelsen with a dodgy ‘moustasche killing a load of people who are trying to kill him? Yes please. Mads plays a character called Duncan, aka the Black Kaiser, who just happens to be the world’s greatest hitman who’s trying to go into retirement. But of course, no-one actually wants to lose him or pay the retirement settlement fee, so the world and his dog turn up to try and take him out. Cue the kind of gore and action that may well do to your eyeballs what Marie Kondo is trying to do to your home, and Mads generally being a bit of a badass. I’m not entirely sure reading some reviews that the film is a great hit, but if you’re a Mads fan (and why wouldn’t you be) I think it’s worth a popcorn session. Sam Loveridge

What: Polar
When: Right now
Where: Netflix

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.

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8 things to watch out for this week

1. Black Ops 4 is here, but will its multiplayer-only approach feel comparable to a traditional Call of Duty experience?

This year’s Call of Duty is an unusual one. If you haven’t heard the news, for the first time ever, it’s come out without a single-player campaign. That means no dramatic, cutscene intensive, emotional heartstring-tugging story to play through, and for some that’s a big deal. I for one, love a Call of Duty campaign, particularly one along the lines of Modern Warfare, or even the *whisper it* Kevin Spacey one, Advanced Warfare. But this year, you’re getting a multiplayer-focused experience, with what developer Treyarch is calling a “narrative wrapper”, where you get to discover the (often gory and rather twisted) backstories to all 12 Specialists that you can play as in the game. From what I’ve played so far, I think the entire package might come as a welcome surprise to people. Blackout is the first AAA battle royale offering and it’s seriously impressive, while the multiplayer is robust and fun enough to challenge the core players. Then there’s Zombies, of course, which I’m only just dipping my toes into – not literally thank goodness – which seems to offer customisation options that will keep you coming back for more for months, and months to come. I think you might need to check this one out for yourselves. Sam Loveridge

What: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Where: PS4, Xbox One, PC
When: Out now

2. Can a new Netflix series beat Hereditary for “family horror” when it starts this weekend?

Cancel your weekend plans, because Netflix has a new horror series and it looks like a belter. The Haunting of Hill House is a reboot of the Shirley Jackson haunted house classic, swapping a group of strangers for a modern family facing a trauma. The showrunner is Mike Flanagan, who made quality creepfests Oculus, Hush, and Gerald’s Game, which has made me hate the word “degloving” more than any other in the English language. In a recent interview Flanagan spoke about making a “family horror” story, making it a rival of the best horror movie of the year so far, Hereditary. Can it freak me out as much as Toni Collette ona  ceiling? I hope so. Rachel Weber

What: The Haunting of Hill House
Where: Netflix
When: October 12

3. Will the Jump Force beta reveal it to be a competitive game, or a just-for-fun fighter?

Bandai Namco’s next big anime fighter is Jump Force, the Shonen Jump mega-crossover featuring characters from Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, Yu-Gi-Oh, Hunter X Hunter, and the recently revealed inclusion of Saint Seiya. And though we’ll have to wait until February of next year for the full launch, there’s a closed beta test going down this weekend for select registrants (signups already ended, but there should be more tests before long). I’m curious to see how people take to the frantic 3v3 action of Jump Force; personally, I’ve never been too keen on fighting games with behind-the-back cameras and massive arenas. Will players uncover high-level mind games and concoct some sick combos, or will the online matches devolve into a button-masher’s paradise? Either way, anime and manga fans should be happy – but I don’t know if Jump Force will have the kind of competitive, spectator-esport appeal as Dragon Ball FighterZ (opens in new tab). Lucas Sullivan

What: Jump Force closed beta
Where: PS4 or Xbox One
When: October 12 – 14

4. Netflix’s Apostle sets Resident Evil 4’s Spanish village in 1905 England 

There’s a lot going for Apostle’s gristly looking horror. And I mean gristle, with hooked stretching racks, spike-toothed mangles and other horrible looking ways of painfully killing people. There’s a fanatical cult, creepy masks, some sort of huge blood covered guy dragging bodies around, and a lot of clotted, human tissue clumped torture devices lying around. Into all that comes Legion’s Dan Stevens as a 1905 version of Leon S Kennedy looking for his kidnapped sister, trying to survive, and dealing with a maniacal Michael Sheen as the cult leader. Raid director Gareth Evans is behind all the madness and while it’s a change from his usual high action fights there’s a tense, gory pressure to the trailer that suggests this could be a stern test for even the biggest horror fan. Leon Hurley

What: Apostle
Where: Netflix
When: Out now

5. For Honor’s biggest update is now here, and if you don’t do anything else you still need to check out Breach mode

It’s been a while since I thought about For Honor, but since I played the new 4v4 Breach Mode at Gamescom back in August, I’ve been desperate to play it again. It’s utterly brilliant – but also rather stressful – fun, where a team of four must work together to storm a caste, working their way through the different walls and keeps, to reach the Lord within, and kill him. Meanwhile, another team of four is trying to work against you, attempting to take out your battering ram, kill you all and generally do anything to protect their Lord. It’s strategic, mildly panic-inducing and overall a really, really great addition to a game that might just have fallen off your radar. The Marching Fire update also brings a wealth of other new features though, like new fighters, unlimited PvE content, and a massive graphics overhaul that will make this Viking vs Knight vs Samurai game look even better. Sam Loveridge

What: For Honor Marching Fire
Where: PS4, Xbox One, PC
When: October 16

6. Ryan Gosling-led biopic First Man aims to put some heart behind the iconic Moon landing

Think of the Moon landing and you probably think about that grainy black and white footage which has become synonymous with the landmark event. Maybe you also think about the controversy surrounding it and the persistent conspiracy theories that it was faked by a US government who needed to win the space race. Chances are, you don’t think about the human story behind the world-changing moment which saw us reach the Moon. That’s maybe all about to change with upcoming biopic First Man from Whiplash director Damien Chazelle. Teaming up with his La La Land star Ryan Gosling, Chazelle aims to show everyone the man behind the Moon landing with an intense and emotional portary of Neil Armstrong’s life leading up to the launch. Dealing with the pressure from the government and the public, as well as the concerns of his family, it’s no doubt a story rife for retelling, but First Man will be one of the first to focus on this aspect of the famous event. Will it be able to put a personal spin on one of mankind’s most well-known achievements? We’ll find out when it hits cinemas this week. Lauren O’Callaghan

What: First Man
Where: Cinemas
When: October 12, 2018

7. Lego DC Super-Villains wants to indulge your inner joker with an anarchic open world of bricks and debauchery

Traveller’s Tales Lego games are about as pervasive as the red and blue bricks strewn across the carpeted floor of a day care centre these days but, just like the workmanlike toys themselves, each new release is as delightful as the last.  For 2018, the developer is taking an interesting turn with its current fascination for comic book characters, as Lego DC Super-Villains puts the spotlight firmly on the bad guys of the Detective Comics universe. Everyone’s here, including Joker, Lex Luthor, and all the DC mainstays, along with some of the more obscure fiends of comic book past, such as Mister Mxyzptlk and, yes, the condiment king. There’s another bustling open world to explore, too, with local and online drop-in/drop-out co-op available in classic Lego fashion, perfect for keeping any little ones occupied over Halloween. Just don’t let them get any ideas about Joker’s habit for pranks.  Alex Avard

What: Lego DC Super-Villains
Where: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
When: October 16

8. Starlink: Battle for Atlas is out on October 16, but could it go the way of Amiibos?

If you’re feeling a distinct lack of space-age adventure in your life, you’ll be glad to know that Starlink, Ubisoft’s toys-to-life game is going to be flying onto your Nintendo Switch screen on October 16. Just like Skylanders and Lego dimensions, in order to fly around its virtual world you’ll need to use real-life toys, mixing and matching the modular components of spaceship models together to create Frankenstein ships. So you can change the pilot, hull, wings, and weapons whenever you want, with the changes appearing instantly in-game. But the history of toys-to-life is a bumpy one. Although Disney Infinity, Disney’s foray into the world of videogames, was discontinued in 2016, Amiibos tell a different story. Their success has proved that as long as you find the right audience for your figurines, they can become a source of delight for years and the rarest of them can even verge into collectible territory (Mega Yarn Yoshis sell for as high as $100 on eBay…gulp). We’ll just have to wait and see whether Starlink’s toy-to-live component is out of this world or is going to crash and burn. Zoe Delahunty-Light

What: Starlink: Battle for Atlas
Where: Nintendo Switch
When: October 16

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.

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8 things to watch out for this week

1) The UKs biggest horror movie festival has started. But what will its films have to say about 2018?

Fright Fest 2018

FrightFest 2018 has kicked off in London. That means that dozens upon dozens of the hottest, freshest, and zestiest new horror films from around the world are now parading through the UK’s capital like so many delicious lemon drizzle cakes made of absolute murder. I’m there, right in the middle of it, gorging on luxuriant, sticky terror for a full four days (and reporting back my experiences in my FrightFest live blog), but what, pray tell, might I find? It’s a potentially very interesting time for horror. Genre cinema, and the more unsettling ends of it in particular, are always a social barometer, providing myriad metaphorical outlets for contemporary cultural fears and societal hang-ups. And oh boy, do we have a lot of those to deal with at the moment. This year’s FrightFest line-up is an eclectic programme of exciting-sounding films, but a few already stand-out as potential touchstones to the last couple of years’ ‘Holy shit no cancel it all and start again’ nature. White Chamber, from first-time director Paul Raschid, is a tale of post-Brexit civil war and sci-fi torture with potentially a lot to say. And although a brighter, brasher, and more openly fun affair, Jenn Wexler’s The Ranger conspicuously hints at a tale of winsome punk teens vs. unswerving, old-school authority figure. The rest shall be revealed as the weekend goes on. David Houghton

What: FrightFest 2018
Where: London
When: August 23 – 27

2) PES 2019 is looking to bounce back from some off-the-pitch disappointments

It’s that time of year again – perennial football contenders PES and FIFA go head-to-head to see who’s got the most to give on the (virtual) pitch. As ever, PES – typically the purist’s choice – gets a first crack at winning the hearts and minds of fans everywhere. It needs to as well, having lost a bunch of exclusive licenses, including the Holy Grail of the UEFA Champions League, to EA’s FIFA franchise. Thankfully, there’s plenty to make up for it: there’s seven new officially-licensed leagues from Russia, to Portugal, and even Scotland. The former has even been snatched away from FIFA and is PES 2019’s one exclusive league this year. So, fans of the likes of Zenit St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow will have something to think about when deciding on which football game to buy this year. It’s a real looker this year, too. Konami has brought in global illumination technology to make everything appear just as it would if you were watching a TV broadcast. Combine that with Pro Evo’s normal penchant for slick, sublime football then you’ll find, come next week, the beautiful game has never looked more, well, beautiful. See you on the pitch. Bradley Russell

What: Pro Evolution Soccer 2019
Where: Xbox One, PS4, PC
When: August 30

3) Yakuza Kiwami 2 is more than just a remake of a 12 year old game, it’s an extreme makeover

It’s been quite the year for Kazuma Kiryu. After saying his bittersweet goodbyes in Yakuza 6 (opens in new tab) earlier this year, and finally debuting on PC with Yakuza 0 (opens in new tab) just a few weeks ago, the longtime protagonist of Sega’s distinctly Japanese crime series is back with Yakuza Kiwami 2, a remake of the original PS2 title of 2006. This is no simple remaster, though. “Kiwami” is Japanese for “Extreme”, an apt reflection of the lengths Sega has taken to turn this remake into the best looking Yakuza game to date. But does it play as good as it looks? The critical reception out of Japan, where it released late last year, seems to suggest so, but you’ll be able to find out for sure once Kiwami 2 launches westward next week. Alex Avard

What: Yakuza Kiwami 2
Where: PS4
When: August 28

4) Can a ‘90s medical management classic be resuscitated for 2018?

Check your attic for any dusty laptops or old PC desktops, and along with some shareware and your old history essays, you’ll probably find Theme Hospital installed. Back in the 90s it was the classic simulation game that everyone owned, and got in the way of more than one A grade on a college essay. Putting you in charge of running a hospital and packed with puns, it could eat hours of your life like a chronic time-eating virus. Now those symptoms are recurring, with the upcoming release of Two Point Hospital (opens in new tab). It’s got the same premise -running hospitals and dealing with everything from the staff to the toilets -and some of the same development team, and I’ve had to be forcibly ejected from two gameplay demos so far. Can it capture the magic of the original? Our diagnosis is yes. Rachel Weber

What: Two Point Hospital
Where: PC
When: August 30, 2018

5) Netflix’s The Innocents mixes shapeshifting and young-adult romance, but how potent is the final show?

Netflix certainly thinks that The Innocents, its new supernatural drama, is going to be the next big thing in the young-adult space. The show follows the story of two lovestruck teens, June and Harry, who run away from their homes in the North of England to forge a fresh life together. Making things a little trickier is the fact that June discovers she has the ability to shapeshift into anyone she touches. And so begins a heart-felt story dealing with issues of teen identity, the misuse of ‘power’, and tolerance of The Other. It’s a slow burn drama, but one that ultimately rewards the viewer with some lovely scenes shared between the pair, and a fair amount of plot-twists and intrigue. While it’s a far cry from the melodrama of the likes of Twilight, or the camp supernatural excess of True Blood, The Innocents is well worth a binge, especially if you want to see something thoughtful and life-affirming over the coming week. The script is tight, the performances from the leads (Percelle Ascott and Sorcha Groundsell) are superb, and Guy Pearce plays an excellent ‘mysterious scientist’ role to keep things interesting. Give it a try. Andy Hartup

What: The Innocents
Where: Netflix
When: Now

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6) The Muppets go R-rated in The Happytime Murders, but can Melissa McCarthy’s new crime-comedy pull it off?

Muppets go together with bloody violence and explicit sex like… well, they don’t. But that’s kind of the point on the new crime-comedy from The Muppet Christmas Carol director Brian Henson. Starring comedy Queen Melissa McCarthy, The Happytime Murders is looking to put a new spin on The Muppets and it involves death, mayhem, and some pretty raunchy sex scenes. Don’t believe me? Just watch the red band trailer! While puppets and what is essentially a whodunnit murder investigation might sound like odd bedfellows, I’m quietly hopeful that this upcoming comedy will offer the perfect mix of ridiculous plot points and childish jokes that I need after a hard day’s work. It’s true that the early reviews have been less that glowing, but if you’re looking for something incredibly easy to watch this weekend, it might be worth take a chance on The Happytime Murders. You never know, the Muppets might have more to offer than just the Alphabet Song. Lauren O’Callaghan

What: The Happytime Murders
Where: Theatres
When: Now (in the US and August 27, 2018 in the UK)

7) Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate puts the series back where it belongs with Switch: on a handheld

While Monster Hunter World opened up the series for a whole new audience, it was a little tied to the ground on console. This is a series that earned its fanbase through portable slaughter. So remastering the 3DS classic for Nintendo’s latest is perfect. If you played the old version you can even transfer your save using the snappily named “Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate Save Transfer App” on the 3DS eShop. If you’ve not played it before and are interested after Monster Hunter World then prepare for a challenge – while the core loop of hunting creatures to forge new gear to hunt bigger things is there, this is old school monster hunting. It’s slower, with heavily feeling weapons and far less handholding (you can’t track creatures for example, you just have to hope you see one). But in return you’ll get a far more rewarding experience, with over 90 creatures to take down and four player co-op to help you do it. Leon Hurley

What: Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate release
Where: Switch
When: August 28

8) Can Strange Brigade fill that Left 4 Dead-shaped hole in your heart?

Isn’t it about time you and some pals jumped back into some four-player co-op shooting? Strange Brigade could very well be that unifying game, the latest third-person shooter from the folks behind the cult-hit Zombie Army Trilogy, and from what I’ve played so far, it could be a great way to see out the summer. It follows four intrepid, 1930s-era adventurers as they battle mummies and minotaurs in gorgeous-looking ancient ruins, with a lively narrator with a peppy, old-timey radio voice, who banters as you battle and even has amusing callouts when you’re poking around the menus. I’m a sucker for any game that pits you against supernatural baddies amid trap-filled ruins – Serious Sam, Spelunky, Immortal Redneck, and so on – so Strange Brigade is already a hit in my book. It also has an ingenious feature I wish more games used: captivating, cooperative puzzles hidden all over the picturesque locales to give you a break between intense firefights. If you and your online buddies are looking for a mindless co-op romp full of derring-do, spiked floors, and sentient statues, Strange Brigade’s got you covered. Lucas Sullivan

What: Strange Brigade
Where: PS4, Xbox One, PC
When: August 28

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.

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8 things to watch out for this week

1. With season 4, Better Call Saul is on track to becoming as perfect a TV show as Breaking Bad

When Better Call Saul was first announced as the unexpected dram-com spinoff to Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan’s dark, neo-Western masterpiece of a TV show, I had nightmare flashbacks to equally ill-advised ventures like Joey, The Cleveland Show, and *shudders* Rugrats: All Grown Up. But, ever the master of the form, Gilligan’s prequel (showing how slippery lawyer Jimmy McGill became the Saul Goodman that Breaking Bad viewers know and love) is almost just as faultless as its predecessor. Part legal drama, part black comedy, with a sprinkling of crime thriller violence to garnish, it’s captivating stuff, all directed with that inimitable Gilligan-esque panache. Given its less racy subject matter, Better Call Saul is more slow burn than Breaking Bad’s edge-of-your-seat melodrama, but season four could finally be the the turning point where things get real dangerous, real fast for poor old Jimmy. Bad news for him, maybe, but great news for the dedicated viewer. Alex Avard

What: Better Call Saul season 4
Where: Netflix
When: August 7 

2. Okami HD is out on the Switch, and it’s hard to imagine a more perfect pairing

Usually the sound of a wolf howling in the distance means you should start running very, very fast in the opposite direction. But this time it means that Okami (opens in new tab) is finally out on Nintendo Switch, which pretty much seemed like destiny to fanatics like yours truly as soon as the Switch was revealed. You play Amaterasu, a sun goddess in the form of a white wolf who must release all 12 Celestial Brush gods from confinement and save Nippon (otherwise known as Japan) from darkness through a various puzzles, fights, and platforming. With the console’s absurdly precise motion controls, it’s hard to overstate how perfect Okami is for the Switch. The Joy-cons are practically begging you to use them to paint with the Celestial Paintbrush to conjure up bombs, sword slashes, and blooming lilypads, or you can paint with a single finger using the touchscreen when playing in handheld mode. Seriously, whether you’ve already saved the world from the eight-headed demon Orochi, haven’t even heard of Okami, or just have an adoration for anything canine, you won’t regret buying it on the Switch. Zoe Delahunty-Light

What: Okami HD
When: August 9
Where: Nintendo Switch

3. Realm Royale is a potential remedy to early onset Fortnite fatigue, and not just because you can play as a chicken

It’s considered hearsay to shout it from the rooftops right now, but pay attention, and you can already detect the whispers and murmurations of those who are (Shock! Horror!) bored of Fortnite. Yes, believe it or not, but diving into Tilted Towers, day after day, just isn’t scratching that same satisfying itch like it used to, and I say this as one of the afflicted. For those who’ve had enough Victory Royales to last a lifetime, but still want those addictive helpings of island-based fights to the death, the closed beta for Hi-Rez Studio’s Realm Royale has landed on PS4 and Xbox One this week, after a successful few months on PC. The free-to-play battle royale game has got class-based warfare, rideable mounts, and a novel approach to being downed in which you turn into a helpless chicken for a few seconds, so there’s no excuse not to sign up for a chance to enter the beta on the game’s website here (opens in new tab). Alex Avard

What: Realm Royale Closed Beta
Where: PS4 and Xbox One
When: Now

4. The brilliant Monster Hunter World finally lands on PC (and is likely to hit even harder than it did on console)

The success of Monster Hunter World (opens in new tab) is staggering. Not that it isn’t a brilliant game mind. It is. It’s easily on track to be one of the finest of this year, in fact. It’s just that… well, it’s Monster Hunter. Monster Hunter is hard, and complicated, and demanding, and obtuse, and involved, and all the other things that have traditionally kept it such a niche favourite over the years. Regardless, the circumstances aligned earlier this year to finally make it a bona fide console hit. Releasing during just the right quiet part of the year, with just enough concessions to accessibility, and exactly the right, confident push from Capcom, this least mainstream of games pushed through to sell – so far – eight million copies. And on PC, it’s likely to blow up just as hard. At least as hard. Because the PC audience traditionally doesn’t come with the same hang-ups as the stereotypical console crowd. The kind of hurdles and complications of complexity, accessibility, and brow-furrowing obliqueness that made Monster Hunter World’s console success so surprising are perceived as far more acceptable in the far more esoteric world of PC gaming. So Monster Hunter’s future continues to look bright. If a game as weird, leftfield, and demanding as this can make it in the streamlined, mass-market world of PS4 and Xbox One, it’s surely going to flourish when it hits Steam. David Houghton

What: Monster Hunter World
When: August 9
Where: PC 

5. Overcooked 2 is the kind of game that can make or break relationships, and that’s exactly why I love gaming

Gaming divides people. It always has, it probably – unfortunately – always will do. Stereotypes and preconceptions exist that stop people from realising that gaming isn’t all about guns and gore, it’s also about friendship and making memories. And it’s co-op that tend to bring (often unwilling) gamers together like no other platform can do. Games like 1-2 Switch racing to milk cows with my mother on Christmas Eve, playing four-player Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (opens in new tab) over pizza and beers, settling down for a Sunday afternoon session of A Way Out (opens in new tab), working out all the puzzles in Unravel 2 with my bestie… They’re all gaming memories I’ll fondly treasure because I got to share them with my friends. Yes, I play Fortnite and babble away to my friends over headsets every night, but there’s something about the companionship in couch co-op gaming. Overcooked 2 is another one of those amazing co-op games, where unless you talk – read scream – to each other as to what needs doing and when, your dishes are never going to come together. It might be the one game that I know causes more relationship rows than anything else, but it’s another of the Switch brilliant line-up that proves that gaming is regularly better together. Ever with the arguments. Sam Loveridge

What: Overcooked 2
When: August 7
Where: Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

6. When The Boomsday Project hits Hearthstone, will Warrior finally make a comeback?

Of the nine playable classes you can choose from in Hearthstone, Warrior’s been having a pretty tough time. Before The Witchwood expansion, both Warrior and Shaman were greatly underrepresented in the ever-growing pool of competitive decks – but Shudderwock and Genn Greymane quickly vaulted Thrall and Morgl to the upper echelons. Meanwhile, Warrior’s arsenal of Rush minions just weren’t the ideal way to beat down your opponent, and all Garrosh and Magni had to go with were Dead Man’s Hand Fatigue decks that many players found too complex and drawn out, or Quest decks that were often too slow to get started. But Warrior might once again rise to relevance thanks to all the glorious toys in The Boomsday Project expansion, most notably its new Hero card Dr. Boom (opens in new tab), Mad Genius (opens in new tab). It’ll be fascinating to see what Warriors can do with Magnetic minions and the stellar value of Omega Assembly (opens in new tab), while Big Warrior decks should have a field day with The Boomship (opens in new tab). Lucas Sullivan

What: Hearthstone
Where: PC, mobile
When: August 7

7. Can the PES 2019 demo attract new fans after the loss of the Champions League license?

Konami has been curiously bullish about the absence of the Champions League license from PES 2019 after the end of their 10-year UEFA deal. Key rival Electronic Arts wasted no time announcing that the world’s leading club tournament will now appear in FIFA 19, providing another key licensing advantage. PES 2019’s vow to focus in ‘other areas’ has manifested in patchwork club-by-club licensing deals (like FC Schalke) and seven new leagues, including the Ladbroke’s Scottish Premiership, Russian Premier League and Portugal’s Liga Nos – while FIFA 19’s exclusive deals include the English Premier League, MLS and German Bundesliga. PES 2019 seems to be doubling down on classic players, including an eerily accurate David Beckham, in a nostalgic appeal to fans of PES’s PS2 heyday, circa 2003 – 2006. The demo offers 12 playable teams, two stadiums and – for the first time – an online Quick Match, plus offline Co-Op and Exhibition modes. Based on our handful of games so far, PES 2019 feels more skilful, unpredictable and fluid than ever; with 4K HDR support and notable player individuality. As ever, PES 2019 stands a great chance of out-performing FIFA on the pitch, but needs to work hard to lure new fans, and delight its existing fanbase. Give the demo a shot and judge for yourself. Dan Dawkins

What: PES 2019 demo
When: August 8
Where: PS4, Xbox One, Steam

8. Black Ops 4 PS4 multiplayer beta is live, but is online only enough to keep COD alive this year? 

With no single player, multiplayer has a lot of work to do to support Call of Duty this year. There’s no Blackout Battle Royale in this private beta before you ask (accessed via pre-order codes), that’s getting a separate one later in September. No, this Black Ops 4 (opens in new tab) beta is all about the basic multiplayer mode now arguably the meat of the game this year. There’s quite a lot here to play with including six maps, six modes and 10 Specialists – BLOPs playable characters with a range of special abilities. Think Overwatch but grumpier, or Rainbow Six but more hipster. Crash can heal, Seraph has a portable spawn beacon, Torque can drop razor wire and so on. The modes are all familiar Call of Duty staples like Team Deathmatch, Hardpoint or Kill Confirmed so it’s really all down to new multiplayer characters and mechanics (manual healing, for example) to prove a stripped back Call of Duty still has what it takes, and this beta is the perfect opportunity to test that for yourself. Leon Hurley

What: Call of Duty Black Ops 4 PS4 Private beta
When: August 3 to August 6
Where: PS4

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.

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8 things to watch out for this week

So long January. You were… actually, pretty OK. Capcom’s fabulous Monster Hunter World (opens in new tab) took the edge off winter’s longest month, and the next wave of big games, movies and TV releases are already upon us. In the week ahead, you can look forward to Mission: Impossible – Fallout, and (maybe) Cloverfield 3 in a deluge of Super Bowl 2018 trailers (opens in new tab), a new PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds rival hitting Steam (that’s basically The Hunger Games), and the much anticipated Altered Carbon finally dropping on Netflix. Here’s our pick of the games, movies and TV shows to watch out for this week.

SOS: The Ultimate Escape’s PUBG-meets-Uncharted reality TV show flavoured battle royale is your new obsession 

SOS: The Ultimate Escape is one of those games that’s weird to describe but instantly clicks when you see it in action. 16 people are dropped on an island and can fight or team up to take on monsters, and each other, to recover relics. The twist is that the rescue chopper at the end will only take people who have a relic, meaning that alliances are fragile and betrayals common. What makes this really stand out, though, is its flawless reality TV show presentation. Each match starts with Love Island style character intros where you get to shout a soundbite at the camera as your character gets their moment of fame. While people who’ve previously met online appear together, to create a ‘previously on…’ moment. And it doesn’t stop there: if you die in the game you can spectate and vote on what happens – both to influence equipment drops, and with emoticons to show how you feel about what’s going on. It’s currently on Steam Early Access but expect to see it everywhere soon. Leon Hurley

What: SOS: The Ultimate Escape
Where: Steam Early Access
When: Now

Can Altered Carbon successfully blend Blade Runner and Westworld to cement the burgeoning cyberpunk renaissance?

It’s a shame that cyberpunk ceased influencing mainstream fiction around the end of the ‘90s. Product of its time it might have been (full of existential fears about then-new digital technology and rising corporate control, populated by edgy, coolguy, counterculture heroes in perpetual shades), but the genre’s ideas and concerns have never been more relevant. In fact maybe that’s why it dropped out of favour in the first place. The idea of dehumanising, online infiltration of everyday life in a world controlled by clandestine corporate machinations no longer feels fantastical. In fact it might be a bit too late for it to be a cautionary tale. Either way, between the bleak beauty of Blade Runner 2049, the existential cyberstress of Westworld, the (admittedly crap) live-action Ghost In The Shell, and the upcoming video game adaptation of the classic Cyberpunk 2077 tabletop game from the studio behind The Witcher, the genre is trying to restate its relevance with some stubbornness. It hasn’t quite reached the momentum for a full-scale comeback yet, but if Netflix’s amazing-looking Altered Carbon is as good (and successful) as we hope it will be, things could change very quickly. Because what more effective medium to influence tastes than binge-watched, streaming TV? And in fact, what cosier realisation of Cyberpunk concerns themselves? David Houghton 

What: Altered Carbon
Where: Netflix
When: February 2

Monster Hunter World’s Horizon Zero Dawn Palico armor is the kind of cooperation we need right now

Stalking your quarry through thick, lush vegetation; priming a balanced mixture of weapons to take it down swiftly; studying its attack pattern to time your strike just right…am I describing Monster Hunter World (opens in new tab) or Horizon: Zero Dawn (opens in new tab)? The two RPGs are similarly matched in their love of turning the tables on dangerous predators, so perhaps it’s no surprise that a Watcher doesn’t look out of place in Monster Hunter World. Now you can make your Palico look just like the Watchers hunted by Aloy herself thanks to The Lessons of the Wild quest. But this cooperation boils down to much more than just a nifty set of clothes. Having two massive games work together on a single quest that celebrates the RPGs’ common ground is an antidote to the toxicity that’s all too familiar in gaming. It reminds us it’s possible to celebrate all the franchises we love, rather than defining ourselves by taking a side. Hopefully we’ll see more of this in the future. Because the All-Mother knows that the gaming world could do with a little bit of love every now and again. Zoe Delahunty-Light

What: The Lessons of the Wild Horizon Zero Dawn Palico armor quest
Where: Monster Hunter World
When: Until February 8

Shadow of the Colossus’ stomps back better than ever on PS4

It’s one of PlayStation’s most beloved classics, and back for a third return, this time on PS4. Unlike the previous PS3 HD remaster however, this version of Fumito Ueda’s atmospheric monster battler has been completely pulled apart and rebuilt. It’s created in part from the original Shadow of the Colossus (opens in new tab)’ code and assets but has had a modern refit, creating something that feels utterly modern to play. That’s in part thanks to the reconfigured controls (which hadn’t aged well from the original PS2 days). There’s also a 4K or 60FPS option to choose from on PS4 Pro, letting you choose between resolution and smoothness when you play. And there’s also a brilliant photo mode to capture the moment in all it’s updated beauty. It feels like a new game; perfect to revisit old memories, or to experience its ethereal and mysterious quest to kill 16 giant beasts for the first time. Leon Hurley

What: Shadow of the Colossus
Where: PS4
When: February 6

The Super Bowl is about to deliver a whole buffet of amazing new trailers

Even if you have no interest whatsoever in the Super Bowl itself – more excited about Superb Owls instead? – you’ll care about what happens when the battle between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles cuts to the ad breaks on Sunday. The Super Bowl is the most expensive advertising opportunity of all time that now sees studios throw out millions of dollars for mere seconds of advertising. This year is no different and rumoured to have trailers for the next Cloverfield movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Incredibles 2 and, oh yes, the small matter of new footage from Avengers: Infinity War. Ooft. Whatever is revealed, you won’t want to miss it, and don’t worry if you’re in the UK and planning to be asleep, we’ll have all the Super Bowl trailers (opens in new tab) right here for when you wake up.  Louise Blain 

What: Super Bowl trailers
Where: The Super Bowl will air on NBC in the US and BBC and Sky Sports Main Event in the UK
When: 4 February at 6:30pm EST/11:30pm GMT

Catch up with one of 2017’s best indie games as it lands on Switch. Just don’t forget your rebellious streak. 

With Night in the Woods finally arriving on Switch, it’s a great time to catch up on one of 2017’s best indie games. On the surface it’s a point-and-click adventure where cute, humanoid, animals exist in a colourful world, with some rhythm action moments, platforming and other gameplay tropes thrown in for good measure. But underneath there’s a story where said cute animals – especially protagonist cat Mae – talk as freely and easily about committing crimes, burning down houses and discovering body parts on the street as they do about a new movie. There’s a sub-current of mental health issues, about identity and about failure too, and it’s all incredibly brilliant – whatever level you view it on. If you’ve missed out on Night in the Woods so far, grab it now on Switch (complete with the brand new Weird Autumn DLC and Solstice content too). Just be prepared, the scariest monster in the dark woods is you.

What: Night in the Woods
Where: Nintendo Switch eShop (also on PC, Mac, PS4)
When: Now

Helen Mirren and a real life mystery house share the spotlight in this week’s hot new horror movie

Haunted houses might have been overshadowed by torture porn and killer clowns lately, but this latest risky real estate story is based on a very real mansion in San Jose, California. The home of the inventor of the Winchester rifle, it was built with decoy doors and strange architecture to confuse angry ghosts. Boss bitch Mirren stars as the widow Sarah Winchester, with Everest star Jason Clarke as psychiatrist sent to evaluate her. Could this mark a renaissance for the haunted house movie? If any pile of bricks can make it happen, it’s the Winchester Mystery House.

What: Winchester
Where: Movie Theaters
When: February 2

Will Battalion 1944 help rekindle a love of old-school WW2 shooters?

If you missed it the first time around, Battalion 1944 was another Kickstarter success story that garnered triple its funding target back in 2016. And as of February 1st, it’s finally launched in Steam Early Access, delivering multiplayer with the kind of ultra-fast pace and straightforward gunplay typical of classic World War 2 shooters. If some of your fondest FPS memories trace back to the tight arenas of Call of Duty 2 and the historically accurate weapons in Medal of Honor, Battalion 1944 should be a treat. But I’m very curious to see if it can find a mainstream audience with players who’ve only known FPSes in a post-Modern Warfare world. For me, Battalion’s simplistic graphics have a lot of nostalgic charm, but even with the Unreal Engine 4 backing them, they’re a bit homely by modern standards. Still yet, gameplay is king, and what I’ve played of Battalion 1944 so far already shows a lot of promise. Between this and Call of Duty: WW2, it just feels right to be back in the Allies vs. Axis trenches again. Lucas Sullivan

What: Battalion 1944
Where: Steam Early Access
When: Now

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