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Steam 2021 Summer Sale is now upon us featuring thousands of deals
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Another Steam Summer Sale has opened its doors, giving PC gamers two weeks of massive discounts to hopefully make their wishlists a little smaller. The annual sale is once again offering deals across almost the entire Steam library, though as usual, the servers are having a little trouble dealing with the initial rush of gamers trying to see the latest discounts.
The front page currently has highlights centered on Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Red Dead Redemption 2, Battlefield V, Monster Hunter World, Valheim, Crusader Kings III, and many other games. Although the discounts won't be changing as the sale goes on like in the old days, the front page's promoted titles – from indies to AAA hits – will still rotate every day to get more eyes on them.
As for the special event accompanying this sale, Valve has a "Forge Your Fate" section that gives out chat stickers for completing a choose your adventure-style storyline. Essentially, it is prompting Steam users to check out dedicated genre pages of the sale that they may not usually browse. For those looking for more profile customizations, the Steam Points Shop has been augmented with a score of novel items including profile bundles, while card collectors can grab one a day by perusing their Discovery Queue.
The Steam Summer Sale 2021 will continue from now until 10AM PT on July 8, giving everyone two whole weeks to look over the behemoth promotion's wares.
Sonic Mania and Horizon Chase Turbo are free on the Epic Games Store
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Epic Games is finishing off its packed June giveaways schedule today, and the store has now brought in copies of Sonic Mania and Horizon Chase Turbo to claim for free. With this, the freebie duo from last week, Overcooked 2 and Hell is Other Demons, have now gone back to their original prices.
The Sonic Mania giveaway lands just as everyone's favorite blue hedgehog celebrates his 30th anniversary. Released in 2017, the side-scrolling platformer has Sonic, Tails and Knuckles speeding through fresh landscapes and remade zones from classic titles in a mission to take down Dr. Robotnik and his henchmen.
Meanwhile, Horizon Chase Turbo comes in as an arcade racing game inspired by classic racers from the 80s and 90s. Other than a competitive ghost mode and leaderboards, any other online multiplayer functionality is not featured here, though there is local four-player split-screen multiplayer support just like in the retro ventures.
Epic Games is offering the Windows versions of both titles. Here are the minimum requirements:
Sonic Mania Horizon Chase Turbo OS: Windows 8/10 CPU: Core 2 Duo GPU: DirectX 9.0c compliant video card 256MB Memory: 2 GB RAM Storage: 400 MB available space DirectX: 9.0c OS: Windows 7 or newer CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz or better GPU: Intel HD Graphics 4000 or better Memory: 2 GB RAM Storage: 500 MB available space DirectX: 9.0c The Sonic Mania and Horizon Chase Turbo giveaways will be available through next Thursday, July 1, and claiming a copy means owning it forever via the Epic Games Store. The Spectrum Retreat will be the next giveaway.
AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution is now available in Dota 2
by Sayan Sen
With its display driver version 21.6.1, AMD introduced support for its long-awaited image upscaler dubbed FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR). At its launch, FSR was already present in a few titles like Anno 1800, Godfall, The Riftbreaker, Terminator: Resistance, among others, and AMD also promised that more games (image below) with the technology baked-in will follow soon. This announcement also confirmed the previously rumored game support list.
In its latest update, Valve has announced that its massively-popular online battle arena multiplayer Dota 2 is incorporating AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution. This is good news for AMD and its fans as the game becomes the most popular title to receive support for the tech and it has happened within just days of the initial announcement. Close to half a million gamers have played the game in the last 30 days according to Steam. And FSR will also help those Dota players get some extra frames without losing too much in the way of image crispness.
You can run Dota 2 using either DirectX 11 or the Vulkan API and AMD FSR will work with both. In order to enable the setting, head over to the Video options and turn the "Game Screen Render Quality" to less than 100%, and then toggle the "FidelityFX Super Resolution" checkbox on.
The update also brings the new Nemestice Storm event mode and the Nemestice Battle Pass. You can find more details about the new additions here.
Aliens: Fireteam Elite release date and price revealed in latest trailer
by Chandrakant Isi
Aliens: Fireteam Elite is finally set for release, as developer Cold Iron Studios and 20th Century Games have revealed the game's price and pre-order details. The information comes from the latest trailer that also showcases gameplay mechanics, eery environment, and several types of Xenomorphs.
The co-operative shooter, which plays like Left 4 Dead, has been under development for around six years. While the critically acclaimed game Alien Isolation embraced the survival horror elements from Ridley Scott's Alien (1979), the Aliens: Fireteam Elite takes inspiration from James Cameron's action-packed sequel Aliens (1986).
The game will put you in the shoes of a Colonial Marine. Players will get to choose from multiple soldier classes with different skills and load-outs. For instance, you can choose to be a heavy gunner, demolisher, or technician. The loadout selection includes over 30 weapons. On each mission, you will be accompanied by two other soldiers, these can be your online friends or bots. As you can guess, a balanced squad and some serious teamwork will be essential to beat this game.
As per the developer, the game is set 23 years after the original Alien trilogy. Players will face a variety of enemies including Facehuggers, Praetorians, and 11 different Xenomorphs. It will be interesting to see if these new ones manage to hold a candle to Swiss artist H.R. Giger's original creature design.
The Aliens: Fireteam Elite is up for pre-orders On Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, and Steam. Priced at $39.99, the game will release on August 24. Pre-orders will provide you access to Hardened Marine Pack that includes red camo, decals, and a bandana accessory. Cold Iron Studios has also announced a $69.99 Deluxe Edition of the game that comes with Endeavor Veteran Pack and Endeavor Pass.
Halo: MCC Season 7 brings Combat Evolved modding tools, a server browser, and more
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Today, 343 Industries launched the seventh season of content for Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Dubbed Elite, Season 7 has visual improvements and modding tools for Halo: Combat Evolved, the long-awaited custom game browser, another Halo Online map, and new customization content as its highlights.
Starting with the big items, the classic graphics of Halo: Combat Evolved should now be much improved and authentic to the original Xbox release, with 343 tweaking fog and shader effects, original character models, active camo quality, and many other visual aspects.
Meanwhile, the improved modding support for the game arrives in the form of four programs containing powerful tools, as well as zip files containing level scripts and tag files that built the campaign and multiplayer levels. More information on these tools and how to download them via Steam can be found on a separate blog post here.
The new custom game browser is available for Halo: Reach, and 343 has made quite a few improvements to the experience since its original testing sessions. These include a higher character limit for session names, full sessions being moved to the bottom of the list, notifications for missing content, and voice and text chat improvements, among others.
Aside from the Season 7 cosmetic content such as Combat Evolved vehicle skins, Halo 3 Elite armors, energy sword colors, and more, the update also carries the Halo Online map Edge for matchmaking, a move to the Firefight modes that now appear in the Social Matchmaking section for better visibility, and a whole load of bug fixes.
The update weighs the smallest on Steam, coming in at around 13GB, while Xbox console and Microsoft Store users will find themselves downloading over 30GB. The complete patch notes can be read by heading here.
It has been quite a month for the next entry in the saga Halo Infinite as well. During E3, 343 Industries detailed a lot of information regarding the free-to-play multiplayer portion that will launch alongside the campaign, including the new personal AIs, Academy training system, customization, and more.