No room for Alonso at Red Bull ? Horner | F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Has Assassin?s Creed managed to find itself during its gap year?

sliding down a pyramid is probably a lot like falling down a hill

During the Assassin?s Creed: Origins [official site] demo I played at E3, I pressed the wrong button and thought I?d broken the game. I was trying to switch to my bow while sneaking and I accidentally meditated, causing time to fast forward. The sun wheeled around the sky, sank below the horizon, and night fell. The developer guiding me through the experience ? an environmental artist ? was slightly taken aback, but we rolled with my mistake and I got an accidental peek at the nightlife of Ptolemaic Egypt. Colour me intrigued.

It feels strange to refer to Origins as some kind of dramatic return, since Assassin?s Creed hasn?t been gone long enough for anyone to really miss it. In the grand scheme of things, taking a year off from the release churn was the equivalent of telling the family you?re nipping out for some cigarettes and a pint of milk, and then genuinely nipping to the corner shop and coming straight home.

We hadn?t been fretting or mourning or planning for a future without Assassin?s Creed; I dare say most of us weren?t even wondering when that pint of milk would be arriving. Ubisoft do tend to keep the fridge well-stocked with their particular brand. Whether it?s the full fat of Far Cry, some semi-skimmed Clancy or the Soybean variant of The Crew, there?s always something fresh on the shelf.

Assassin?s Creed was past its sell by date though, it seemed. I found Syndicate thoroughly enjoyable, mainly thanks to its wonderful city and the fun-loving characters who felt like the Spideys of the AssCreed world in among all the serious business. Even though I had a blast with it, I?d never argue that it wasn?t formulaic to a fault though, and I was keen to see how Origins would refresh the series.

In what is becoming a mantra as I write up my experiences with E3 demos, I can?t answer the big questions. The trailers and dev diaries will tell you that this is the biggest Assassin?s Creed game ever, that it introduces RPG aspects, that the world feels more alive than ever, and that the combat system is much-improved. Except they won?t say ?much-improved?, they?ll say ?dynamic? or ?visceral? or something like that.

I?ll say ?much-improved? though. There?s an arena mode, where you can test out combat while blood-thirsty crowds cheer you on. I played four rounds, culminating in a boss battle against a gigantic bundle of muscles in the shape of a man, who I killed by dodging around him until he stumbled or charged into five or six spinning blade traps. In the earlier rounds, I dodged and parried and clobbered in a way that felt pretty damn good, and made me realise something that I hadn?t really considered before?

I don?t know what kind of game Assassin?s Creed is supposed to be. The obvious answer, after all these years, is that an Assassin?s Creed game is simply supposed to be an Assassin?s Creed game, and perhaps that?s true; a little subgenre falling under the Ubi open world umbrella.

Assassin?s Creed games have never been stealth games, even though there are stealthy bits in some of the missions and there?s a whole set of ideas around hiding in crowds and jumping on targets from above. The sneaking has never been particularly satisfying or precise, and if I can hop, skip and jump across rooftops, and wristblade the heck out of anyone who sees me, why bother with fiddly shadow-hugging?

If I were going to guess what an Assassin?s Creed game might be without playing one, my mind would immediately jump to Historical Hitman, but that?s nowhere near the mark. Assassinations are a small part of the game rather than the entirety of it, as in IO?s series. And where Hitman is a sandbox killing simulator (a snuffbox, if you will), Assassin?s Creed is more an open world climbing and running and jumping and collecting simulator. It?s vague. Against other Ubisoft games, where Far Cry is very much an action game, Assassin?s Creed is a bit of everything, doing lots of things quite well, but no one thing exceptionally well.

Actually, I?ll make an exception for its environments, which are? exceptional. Syndicate?s London and Unity?s Paris in particular. Black Flag has some lovely coastlines too, but it?s notable for being the Assassin?s Creed game that people who don?t like Assassin?s Creed games can enjoy. I?m pretty sure that?s because the boats and piratical stuff give it a centre; that?s what the game is about. That?s its reason to exist, beyond the stealth and the collecting and the combat and the running and the jumping.

And now that I?ve taken a detour longer than a person trying to assassinate the head of a globe-threatening conspiracy who gets distracted by a feather on a distant rooftop, we?re back at Origins.

The combat is fun and far more skill-based than in previous games, there?s a proper RPG-like loot system for weapons and other bits and bobs, and I played an entire mission, and explored the surrounding area, and didn?t once run up the side of a building. In the tiny town I was exploring, there were no buildings tall enough to stretch my parkour muscles, so my attention turned to the people rather than the structures.

They?re good people, stopping to haggle and natter, and my guide told me they?ll follow basic routines, changing with the time of day.

I found that out for myself when I inadvertently meditated for half a day.

At night, the streets were empty, bar a couple of stragglers or ne?er do wells. I was swimming back to shore from a boat I?d just been investigating, in search of religious statues recovered from the water where they?d been lost. Job done and guards evaded, I dived into the water and headed back to town, where the information I?d uncovered could be used to convince a nasty priest to stop beating the bloke he?d accused of stealing the statues. The mission didn?t adjust to time of day, so when I reached the town square I saw the priest still whipping the poor guy. Eight to ten hours on the lash. Barbaric, and an unfortunate though understandable crack in the illusion of time passing.

Elsewhere, night time was very convincing, and no more so than in the fishing boat that nearly killed me. When I?d headed out to the ship, minutes ago in real-time but hours ago in the game world, the tiny dock had been fairly busy, with little one-person boats heading in and out. I stole one to make my way off-shore.

At night, everything was still. It probably goes without saying that Origins looks splendid, and I?m a sucker for day/night cycles, so seeing the occasional blaze of torchlight reflected in the water made me stop to admire the sight. I was treading water at the time and the sound of creaking wood was just loud enough to tip me off as one late-night fisherman returned home, almost punting his little vessel straight through my head.

I managed to paddle away, unseen, and watched as he parked his boat and started checking over the fish he?d caught. It was a lovely moment, near-death experience and all, that gave me hope that Origins? enormous world won?t skimp on the little details. Whether improved combat, horse-riding and character progression (through all of that stat-loaded loot) will be enough to make any one part of the game exceptional, I can?t say. But early impressions are of a game that might be shifting away from a focus on the mostly-automated parkour for more considered use of abilities, from combat to stealth, and a more studied observation of environments and NPC behaviours.

How that fits into such a sprawling world, I?m not entirely sure. In fact, after its gap year, I?m not sure if Assassin?s Creed has found itself or not. It?s found a new look, a new culture, a new set of stuff to collect. Hopefully the new stuff is actually meaningful, and I think it might be, even if it?s only giving ?+4 to accuracy?. That?s better than ?+1 to the number of these things you?ve picked up?.

It certainly seems to be a little bit better at all of the things that an Assassin?s Creed game does, and that?s probably enough. It?ll be enough for me, if this recreation of Egypt is as fascinating and beautiful as the little slice I saw, but in all of the sprawl, I can?t help but hope that the new RPG elements provide a clearer sense of identity.

Assassin?s Creed: Origins is out October 27th.

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Video Round-up: Your most viewed videos

Video Round-up

Photo credit: SpeedKingz, Shutterstock

Welcome back to the video round-up. This month I decided to do something completely different and ask people to submit their most viewed posts with a little blurb about why they thought it was so popular and why it was special to them. 

First up is a video from Kirsty Dee about a fitness bullet journal. Kirsty says she was really surprised that this was her most viewed as she wasn?t feeling that confident about the video. I love how this became a real reminder to have more confidence. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

Erin Ek brings us her most viewed video which is an unboxing of a bell tent. As Erin says, it?s great for people to see real people putting up such a tent and they certainly give confidence to people that it?s achievable! I can see why it got som any views and a perfect video for this time of year too! 

Next up is from Alina Davies with a Smiggles haul but filmed by her daughters. It?s also one of Alina?s favourite as the girls were just so excited to film. Vloggers in the making for sure, I say! Thank you for sharing this lovely video with us.

This video from Happy Mummy is wonderful as Maria is very new to vlogging but is thoroughly enjoying the process! Such a lovely video for Maria to share as shows such a great time they had on holiday. I loved watching this, Maria. Good luck with the vlogging venture!

I love this next video up from Lisa Robb as it shows her speed-cleaning her house. I love the fact that Lisa has no idea why it is her most viewed but we can only surmise that we all love any information we can get on how quickly we can do the housework. Just brilliant! Thank you for sharing!

Now for a whopping 92k view, I bring you this video from Katy Flint, a review of the Twirly Woos big red boat. As Katy says, the power of CBeebies right here for all to see. Well done with the views Katy, just incredible!

Laura Steer shares with us her most viewed video and I?m so pleased she did as it?s beautiful. It?s a video of the Lodge Hill Bluebell woods in Staffordshire. I can see why it is your most viewed, Laura. Thank you for sharing with us.

Chloe Bridge, with 262k views, brings us her 120 days of baby led weaning video. I love how it was such a surprise to Chloe to get so many views but seriously well done. That?s incredible. Such an important helpful subject though so I completely understand the high views!

And, finally, I?m delighted that Kerry Conway shared this post with us. Her birth story of her rainbow baby. Just beautiful and I can understand why it means just so much to you. Really kind of you to share such a special video with us, Kerry.

Thank you to everyone for sharing their most viewed videos. I?ve really enjoyed watching. If anyone has a theme they would like to see next month please let me know. I can be contacted at [email protected]

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About Helen Sandle

Hi, I?m Helen and mum to two teenage daughters and one teenage son and am married to a very handsome man! I blog at www.justsayingmum.com mainly about the musings of raising three teens which, as I?m sure you can imagine, comes with plenty of stories! I have also started vlogging about teens issues and all these vlogs are either with my children themselves chatting about various relevant issues to being a teen or with the fabulous Sarah and Jayne who are talking therapists who specialise in teens so we have lots of fun talking about very real parenting teen issues!

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Daily Death #4: Caveblazers daily and a bit more

Woah there! Sorry to interrupt you. We run a few bonus articles every week which ? for a little while at least ? are exclusive to the infinitely lovely people who?ve joined the RPS Supporter program. The piece you just clicked on is one of those. Have no fear though ? if you?re already part of the Supporter Program, all you need to do is login, and then you?ll be able to read the article you were after, plus browse the full archive of supporter posts here.

If you?re not a supporter but are interested in becoming one, details of that are below. In any case, selected highlights from our Supporter-only pieces will be made public to everyone a few weeks later on.

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Becoming an RPS Supporter means getting access to a whole new daily stream of writing from your favourite RPS scribes, appearing right in your main feed when you?re logged in, as well as helping us work on all-new reader-funded projects. The Supporter Program is additional to the existing site, so the current crop of news, reviews and features remains unchanged. The Supporter program simply gives you more, if you want it.

Not only that, becoming a Supporter means you?ll get regular free gifts, which are currently money off some games over at GOG.com, and a ludicrously gorgeous Horace hat for Team Fortress 2. IMPORTANT: gifts are supplied on a first-come, first-served basis, and are not guaranteed due to limited numbers. However, any new gifts ? which are set to appear regularly throughout the year ? will be added automatically to any active account.

If you want to become an RPS Supporter, just pick one of the two options below, and you?ll receive emails with all the instructions you need. When you?re logged in, you?ll see the exclusive Supporter only sections of RPS, and feel all lovely in your tummy.

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Steam Summer Sale begins 22 June (tomorrow!)

A timeless image for a timeless event. But in 2017.

With the kettle singing in the background to provide me with enough tea to enjoy the hot weather it seems appropriate to be writing about the incoming Steam Summer Sale. PayPal (who have a deal on with Steam to promote their payment method) confirmed the sale will kick off at 6pm BST on 22 June.

I remember back in the day when the exciting sales were just after Christmas and you could get slightly mangled white chocolate snowmen and Christmas ornaments for tuppence at Woolworths. I assume you young people will be dragging your camping stools to the Steam storefront from 21 June, nursing a thermos of something nutritious and exchanging stories about the time you queued for something else with your fellow queuers.

Perhaps you queued for a Zune. Perhaps it was the Kenzo x H&M collaboration. Maybe you went to the post office to collect a parcel once. It?s all grist for the queuing war story mill. Once I joined a queue in Malta just because the people in the queue seemed upbeat and the line was for a theatre. I ended up at a philharmonic orchestra concert of Beatles songs. Queuing is great.

If you?re interested in the PayPal promotion they?re banging on about it?s essentially about saving a bit of money if you spend more than £20 and use PayPal to make the purchases. Full details here. It?s regional so no idea whether there are similar haps in the rest of the world or whether it?s a UK reward for how much we love queuing. One thing to note if you tend to go all-in on Steam sales is in the small-print: ?The Offer shall not be available if the aggregate monetary amount credited to customers reaches GBP 24,000.00.? So, y?know. £23,999 or less if you want to save a fiver.

I?m going to go out and find a queue to join in the meantime. It?s going to be great. Don?t @ me with your ?blah blah blah that?s not how digital commerce works? because I?ll be reading a book and standing in line for something cool.

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Top 5 Collections from London Fashion Week Mens SS18


by Isaac Perry and Keanu Adorable

Last week was the 5th anniversary of London Fashion Week Men?s and the Brands, Good, Bad and Stylish came out in full, always pushing boundaries with their artisanal pieces. We here at Clothes Make The Man had the pleasure of attending various shows and presentations, and we have chosen our top 5 collections from the Spring/Summer 18 shows.

KTZ

KTZ were ready to go to war with military wear and street style being combined for this urban collection. No Surprises, key colours used were black and Khaki, this remaining consistent throughout. With many of the clothing items being be ones in which you would be able to wear day to day casually, excluding pieces including chainmail which was seen included within multiple outfits, however, despite not being everyday wear the chainmail added a really interesting feature to the show, presumably influenced from armour.

Blood Brothers

The streetwear influence on this collection was very apparent, with many of the key colours seen being popular in today?s street fashion times, red being a prime example. The garments that were paraded had a statement picture or piece of text on them, which grabbed your attention, the most eye-catching being the car on both the blue shirt and bomber. All garments shown in this collection are ready to wear and could be worn casually day to day.

Oliver Spencer

WHEN it comes to the catwalks, one thing that we can strongly agree on is that diversity is always great to see, and this sentiment was strongly expressed at the Oliver Spencer show. Men of all races and ages walked the runway were present, showcasing contemporary fashion from one of the most wearable brands showing at LFWM.  the show ?Love Town? sought to pay homage to the ?proud, tough and loving place? that is London. The clothes were sharp and sartorially aware, but still infused with a casual elegance perfect for summer. Warm pink and cool blue provided the palette of the collection, which are easy on the eyes.  At the end of the show, the models took one final walk, each wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the words ?Love Town?. It was a poignant moment as they collected at the entrance to clap the designer making his bow, and solidifies the spirit of London, and concludes that we are stronger together.

Kent and Curwen

This is Kent & Curwen?s second time showcasing at London Fashion Week Men?s and this time the inspiration is teams. The live presentation consisted of models walking on stage to form a sporting team photograph. The English rose motif was seen throughout the garments highlight the designer?s roots. ?50s style Derby day suit had a modern twist as it was assembled with white trainers, an untucked striped shirt and an army, over-sized trench coat. Loose cream tank-tops with stripes and tailored shorts gave an old school boxing attire feel as did a frayed cream knitted jumper which had a touch of cricket. Calf-length socks and thick, hefty scarfs were present. The Kent and Curwen collection gave a very classic, British sportswear aura while still being very contemporary. All very wearable pieces for SS18

A-COLD-WALL*

There are few brands currently generating the same buzz as London?s A-COLD-WALL*, and the brand?s show at its home city proved why many people are so excited by it. The designer?s latest assemblage blends utilitarian design cues with unconventional silhouettes. There were a variety of everyday staples such as jackets, hoodies and trousers receive a high-cut crop treatment. Head designer Samuel Ross ingeniously plays with traditional suiting and accessories. Standout pieces include elongated raincoats, down jackets, blazers with contrasted shoulder pads, patchwork trousers, and experimental bucket hats. Of course, we can?t forget the diverse range of bespoke NikeLab Air Force 1 Low sprinkled throughout the collection.

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2018 race schedule features F1?s first triple-header | 2018 F1 calendar

The French Grand Prix will return as part of an unprecedented triple-header of races on the 2018 F1 calendar.

The Paul Ricard circuit will hold the first French race since 2008. It will kick off races on three consecutive weekends, followed consecutively by the Austrian and British Grands Prix.

Next year?s calendar will feature 21 races, equalling the record for the longest ever schedule. The Malaysian Grand Prix will not be held after this year, but the German Grand Prix will return at the Hockenheimring.

Azerbaijan?s round of the world championship will move forward in the year, taking the place previously held by the Russian Grand Prix. The latter will move closer to its original calendar slot, taking the place held by the Malaysian round this year.

Two races remain subject to final confirmation. Commercial arrangements have not yet been finalised with the promoters of the races in China and Singapore.

Next year?s Le Mans 24 Hours is to be held on June 16th and 17th and therefore will not clash with any round of the 2018 world championship. However the Indianapolis 500 will again take place on the same day as the Monaco Grand Prix.

This article will be updated.

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PS2 action-RPG trilogy .hack//G.U. coming to PC

The PlayStation 2 action-RPG trilogy .hack//G.U. is coming remastered to PC, Bandai Namco have announced. Normally I strip goofy punctuation and capitalisation out of game names but the goofiness of .hack//G.U. is fitting. The story is centered on a fictional MMORPG, see, which players can actually log off from to poke around their in-game computer?s desktop. I do like a good in-world desktop. Coming later this year, .hack//G.U. Last Recode [official site] will contain all three volumes: Rebirth, Reminisce, and Redemption.

Bandai Namco say that these remasters boast ?updated 1080p, 16:9 widescreen picture, and 60 fps frame rate, gameplay balance changes and additional features to be announced in the upcoming months.? Expanding a little, they say Last Recode will have ?enhanced battle balance and game pacing to provide an optimal experience as well as a new Cheat Mode allowing players who want to just enjoy the story to start the game with full stats.?

I?ve not touched the transmedia world of .hack myself, so here?s over to Bamco for the official word:

?[. . .] the world of .hack focuses on the mysterious events surrounding a wildly popular in-universe massively multiplayer role-playing game called The World. .hack//G.U. begins after the events of the original .hack series with players assuming the role of Haseo as he tracks down a powerful Player Killer named Tri-Edge who killed his friend?s in-game avatar Shino, and put her in a coma in real life.

I?m a big fan of ?if you die in the game, you die in real life? premises but I suppose I could settle for comas.

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