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All The News From Today’s Series X Episode Of Inside Xbox

While Inside Xbox, Microsoft’s in-house streaming show hosted by some of Xbox’s most well-known developers and community-facing employees, always brings with it new looks at games coming to Xbox consoles, today’s was perhaps the biggest episode yet.

With Xbox Series X on the horizon and set to launch later this year, Microsoft gave Xbox fans their first look at several third-party games coming to Xbox Series X.

In addition to game announcements and new trailers, the Xbox team also announced more titles that will support the Smart Delivery initiative that lets players buy one game and have it follow them if they upgrade.

In addition, Xbox players can look forward to Xbox 20/20 throughout the rest of the year to give additional looks at Xbox Series X and its games in the lead up to launch.

Check out all the news and notes from this special episode of Inside Xbox.

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Academy Award-Winning Actress Cate Blanchett In Talks To Star In Borderlands Movie As Lilith

According to a new report from Variety, the upcoming Borderlands film might have its Lilith. Cate Blanchett is reportedly in talks with Lionsgate to play the fan-favorite, fiery Siren Lilith.

Prior to this role, Blanchett has been appearing in film and television since the 1990s. She is a seven-time Academy Award nominee and a two-time winner, including a win for “Best Actress” in 2014’s Blue Jasmine. Blanchett is also a three-time winner across three decades at the Golden Globe Awards, as well as a three-time award winner at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, including as part of the ensemble cast for The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. She also appeared as Hela in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok.

The official Borderlands Twitter account weighed in on the report:

The Borderlands film will be directed by Cabin Fever and Hostel director Eli Roth and produced by longtime Marvel producers Avi Arad and Ari Arad through Arad Prods, as well as Step Up and I, Know What You Did Last Summer producer Erik Feig through Picturestart, with the most recent script written by Emmy-winning Chernobyl writer Craig Mazin. Additionally, Gearbox President and CEO Randy Pitchford, and Strauss Zelnick, chairman, and CEO of Take-Two Interactive, are set to executive produce the project.

In a previous statement from Roth in February, the director praised Pitchford, Gearbox, and Lionsgate. “I’m so excited to dive into the world of Borderlands and I could not be doing it with a better script, producing team, and studio,” Roth said in a statement. “I have a long, successful history with Lionsgate — I feel like we have grown up together and that everything in my directing career has led to a project of this scale and ambition. I look forward to bringing my own energy, ideas, and vision to the wild, fun, and endlessly creative world of the game. Randy Pitchford and everyone at Gearbox has been incredibly supportive of my ideas — it really feels like a perfect storm of creators coming together. We are out to make a new classic, one which the fans of the game will love, but also one which will find new audiences globally.”

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The wait is over! Final Fantasy VII Remake is out

What a time for the long-awaited Final Fantasy VII Remake to come out. In a morbid way, it’s perfect. Quarantine has affected people in different ways; some people are losing their minds, other people are learning a new language. Gamers are having the time of their lives and it just got better.

Final Fantasy VII Remake has released and it’s about darn time. Radiant reviews for the game have kept fans on the edge of sanity as anticipation has slowly, painfully eaten away at the last, little bit of patience we have.

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Thrown once again into the city of Midgard where the corrupt Shinra company mercilessly drains the life-force of the planet, fans will have the opportunity to replay the story of Cloud in what is arguably the best graphics to date.

Cloud Strife once again enchants players with his stoic, sexy attitude while he explores the slums of Midgard, and tags along with AVALANCHE. Determined to bring down Shinra company, Cloud and his noble friends fight to save the planet–while doing some sidequests and dart-throwing competitions in the magical free time they have between acts of terrorism.

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The goal of the game is to be a reimagining of the original that, in its time, redefined RPGs and boldly crossed socially acceptable lines by throwing in some cross-dressing and cross-breeding. Don’t worry, if you haven’t heard or seen, the cross-dressing made it into the remake.

The battle system takes on a new mechanic that is reminiscent of Final Fantasy XV, though improved–thank god. The hybrid systems merge real-time action with strategy and command-based mechanics that are both engaging and challenging without being too confusing.

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Go deeper into the story while enjoying the realistic rendering of favorite characters and places. Final Fantasy VII Remake is now available for the PlayStation 4 and computer system.

Check out more on the game here. If you’re impoverished for loss of job thanks to this very serious virus, check out the free demo here, and keep dreaming. Or, watch other people play the game on Youtube.

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Weekend Whammy: PS5 News, Weird Game Logic & Extraction

Well, my week is going swimmingly. The madness of lockdown seems to have permeated my brain, hence this week I yelled at a tree, had a random fit of the giggles, and spent most of a day wrapped in a duvet eating crisps. But on the other side of the spectrum, my nieces have been writing letters to myself and my parents as a way of communicating. They wrote me a little short story, so I say down and jotted down a four-page tale of them and their parents fighting nasty goblins, including setting one goblin’s pants on fire. I know, healthy, wholesome stuff to be telling a 6-year-old about. Anyway, this week I’m chatting about some Playstation 5, the baffling weirdness of leveling up, and why Extraction was pretty good.

But first I need to do some of that self-advertising malarkey! The review I stuck up this week was for MotoGP ’20, which I thought was pretty solid, though I personally prefer TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2. Go give it a read!

My review of Fort Triumph is going to be coming soon, too, and then I’m moving onto Gears Tactics which I managed to snag thanks to a generous donator. But since my review won’t be up for a while you could always go check out the wonderful Skill Up and his thoughts on what looks to be a brilliant game. In fact, that same video made me start looking up Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle for the Switch which looks to be right up my alley.

I don’t know why exactly this happened with Fort Triumph and not any other game, but at one point my Paladin leveled up amidst a pillar of light and cacophony of horns and I began to wonder what the NPCs make of it. Can you imagine being them and suddenly this strange person in your world bursts into a pillar of light, some loud music comes from nowhere and the words “Level Up!” appear in the sky?

Mind you, NPCs must put up with so much other random shit, too. They’re just walking along, minding their own business, and suddenly this idiot goes hopping past then stops dead and stares vacantly into space because the player is busy on the map. And then he vanishes into the thin area, reappearing like half a continent away. Or, maybe you’re sitting at home when some numb-nuts with a sword waltzes through the front door, steals all your stuff, and breaks all your chests. Being a shop opened must be weird, too: this big adventurer comes into, doesn’t say a word then suddenly starts producing mountains of armor and weapons out of a non-existent infinite backpack.

And do you think the NPCs see the “game saved” sign? I wonder if they know that those two little worlds probably herald a gruesome death at the hands of a psycho player who wants to murder everyone for a laugh. That their families will be slaughtered before them? And then magically restored before their very eyes. Yup, NPCs must see a lot of very, very weird things.

So what weird videogame logic that we take for granted but is actually quite bonkers when you think about do you guys think about?

Anyway, I’ve been playing a lot of XCOM: Chimera, the new budget-price spin-off from the main series. I’m around 12-hours in with a lot of campaign yet to play, so considering I played £8 for it that’s amazing value for money. It actually tries a lot of things that are radically different to XCOM 2 like ditching perma-death, having a squad of pre-baked characters, and the fun new breach mechanics. So far I’m really enjoying, though it has a lot of glitches. And all of the aliens sound like they’ve lived on Earth their entire lives and speak “snark” and “quirky.”

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Moving on we’ve got some intriguing information about the PS5. I’ve said a few times now that I believe the next-gen consoles won’t make it to market this year, partially due to potential problems in sourcing parts and potentially because people just don’t have money to spare right now. But then Bloomberg just had to go and do some journalism and fancy-pants fact-checking and make me look like a complete berk. Cheers for that, Bloomberg.

According to Bloomberg’s sources, Sony is indeed committed to launching PS5 this year. And that will only change if Microsoft pushes their console back to 2021, although if that did happen I can imagine Sony would love to have the market to themselves for a while.

Apparently, Sony has told its assembly partners that it intends to produce 5-6 million PS5 consoles by the end of the fiscal year in March of 2021/ Previously the PS4 sold around 7.5 million units in the first couple of months, so based on that the PS5 could be hard to get hold of.

Of course, getting a PS5 depends on whether you can afford it. The price tag is rumored to sit anywhere between $450-550. That number seems to be getting backed up by developers predicting $500-550. That would make sense as prior estimates put the components at about $480. Meanwhile, the new DualSense controller has a lot of extra, pricey tech in it, raising the overall price closer to that $550 mark. Unless Sony is willing to take a loss on its consoles, which it has done before.

Bloomberg says its sources believe Sony intends on using the PS4 as a bridge while PS5 stock is limited. The hope is to draw people onto the Playstation network, and to that end, the same sources say Sony will consider cutting the price of the PS4 when the PS5 launches in order to tempt people to subscribe to Playstation Now and Playstation Plus. From there they will hopefully make the jump to next-gen at a later date.

And finally, there may not be any sort of conference to unveil the PS5 proper, which isn’t surprising. But I’m sure they’ll hold some sort of digital reveal. Regardless, Covid-19 has certainly mucked up Sony’s marketing plans. The DualSense controller reveal seemed sudden, and Bloomberg’s sources state that the controller was announced in a hurried fashion.

To me, this seems brave on Sony’s part. With all their big games, and indeed everyone else’s, probably facing delays that could leave their PS5 launch weak on games to buy. Couple that with the crippled economy and people having to be careful with their money, and they could be looking at a very difficult console launch.

This week I checked out Extraction on Netflix, the new action movie starring Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth. The plot (which is based on a graphic novel of the same name) follows a merc by the name of Tyler Rake (Hemsworth) as he is recruited to rescue the young son of a drug lord. It’s basically one long escort mission with the central theme being one of redemption as Rake reconnects with himself through the kid he’s rescuing. It’s a fine idea, except that I found massive chunks of the dialogue to be poorly written. In particular, an exchange between Rake and the kid about two thirds into the film was horribly bad.

BUT! And it’s a big, giant butt! The action in Extraction is simply outstanding in its execution. It feels raw and dangerous, and Hemsworth plays the role of a bad-arse perfectly while still feeling vulnerable. He’s not invincible, he’s just really bloody good at killing people. In particular, there’s a lengthy single-take (well, not actually, but the cuts are hidden well) action sequence that had me perched on the edge of my seat. Massive, massive kudos to the camera guys who did some insane stuff to get the shots, including jumping across a building and running down a set of stairs backward. And then another moment that me giddy with geeky excitement was a shot where the camera swooped down toward a moving car, went straight into the back seat, and continued to ride with Rake and the kid. Ugh, it was so smooth!

Check out the behind-the-scenes video, or better yet, just go watch the bloody film! Also, it was cool to hear Hemsworth rocking his natural Australian accent.

I’m still in the middle of reading The Burning White by Brent Weeks. But I did get involved in an argument I had never considering before: do you read with a hard back’s dust cover on or off? Up until last week, I’d always left it on because it was part of the book, and separating the two seemed like heresy. Now, though, I’m in the camp of taking the cover off when reading. It’s so much easier! There’s no risk of catching the edge of the cover on things and ruining it, and it just feels easier to hold. What’s the verdict, peeps: cover on or off?

Before we wrap up, here’s some potentially useful game information that might help make isolation more bearable. Sega has put upTotal War: Shogun 2 completely free on Steam which is just amazing. There’s an insane amount of content there for you to play through. If that’s not enough, Sony is giving away the Nathan Drake Collection (the first three Uncharted games) and Journey for free to everyone on PS4 right now.

Finally, if you can spare some cash at the moment please considering supporting the site below. Money is very tight at the moment and every bit does honestly help loads.

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Hasbro Unveils The Next Batch Of Star Wars Collectibles

May 4 is right around the corner, and that’s a big deal for Star Wars fans. May 4 is “May the 4th be with you,” and it usually means we get new Star Wars merchandise to buy and perhaps even a sneak peek at what is coming next for Star Wars movies and television series. Hasbro jumped the gun a little today with new Star Wars reveals falling into what it is calling “Fan First Friday.”

The reveals include new figures for the Black Series and Vintage Collection, along with a fantastic Boba Fett prototype helmet. If you are fan of Hasbro’s throwback design for the 40th anniversary Empire Strikes Back figures, many more are on the way. For the Black Series, Hasbro announced new 40th anniversary versions of 4-LOM, Zuckuss, and Han Solo in Carbonite. Hasbro is also releasing a Black Series two-pack of Luke and Yoda, a “carbonized” version of Darth Vader, a new Clone Trooper, and a Stormtrooper inspired by The Mandalorian.

If you like the smaller 3.75-inch line, Hasbro is issuing a new version of Luke Skywalker in Stormtrooper armor for its Vintage Collection. If you are looking for something a little different, yet another Star Wars version of Monopoly is on the way, this one is called “The Child Edition,” and yes, it’s all about Baby Yoda. Most of these toys will be hitting in the summer and fall. You can see all of them below:

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Best graphics card 2020: every major Nvidia and AMD GPU tested

Replacing your graphics card is the number one upgrade you can make for your PC and the most profound in terms of improving gaming performance, so it makes sense to spend some time researching your options. Choosing the right card depends on many factors, so we’ve streamlined that process for you. Right here, you’ll find strong graphics card recommendations for budget 1080p gaming PCs all the way up to 4K and high refresh rate beasts, based on our extensive testing of every graphics card on the market.

If you just want our direct, no-nonsense GPU upgrade recommendations, that’s not a problem.

  • Right now, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is our top pick for the best graphics card. If you want the highest possible frame-rates in games, plus support for hardware-accelerated ray tracing and other modern techs, then the RTX 2080 Ti stands head and shoulders above any other consumer card from Nvidia or AMD.
  • If you’re looking to maximise your performance per dollar, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 offers excellent 1080p and 1440p frame-rates and is the cheapest card with hardware-accelerated ray tracing. That makes it our pick for the best value graphics card.
  • In terms of our lower tier picks, we’ve targeted a degree of longevity and better-than-console throughput for our best budget graphics card – in this case, the old but still powerful AMD Radeon RX 570.

While these are our top picks, we’ve also highlighted a few alternatives for each category, so look out for those after each major recommendation.

Graphics card buyer’s guide

While gaming desktop PCs tend to be last longer than the average games console or gaming laptop, the graphics card is one component you’ll need to replace regularly if you want to keep getting good performance in the latest games. Where processors might get faster by only a few percentage points every few years, graphics cards can see gains of 25 per cent from one generation to the next – and sometimes, the increase in performance is even more substantial. For example, the Intel Core i7 2600K launched back in 2011 and still holds up pretty well in modern games, yet graphics cards of a similar vintage will struggle even at low quality settings.

Choosing the right graphics card is important because this is the component that does most of the heavy lifting that brings your games to life. Graphics hardware capable of easily running triple-A titles starts at around the £110/$110 mark, with Nvidia’s GTX 1050 and AMD’s RX 560 offering (on paper at least) significantly more graphics processing horsepower than the base PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. That means that every major multi-platform title should run at least with ballpark equivalent performance. From there, it’s all about paying more and scaling up, with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti sitting at the current top of the pile.

Of course, it’s also important to avoid building a bottle-necked system, so you should aim to pair your video card of choice with a suitably powerful CPU, RAM and other components. We generally recommend system builders plump for at least 8GB of system RAM, with 16GB being a worthwhile upgrade. If you’re using an AMD Ryzen or a mainstream Intel CPU, using two RAM modules in dual or even quad-channel mode ensures you’re not handicapping your performance. Your choice of processor is also crucial to building a balanced system. AMD’s Ryzen 5 and Intel’s Core i5 are the price/performance champions for 60fps gaming, but if you’re looking to run the latest games at the highest possible frame-rates, particularly on a high refresh rate display, we would recommend the Intel Core i7 8700K or its ninth-generation successors.

Thankfully, we’ve reached the point where even the cheaper end of the discrete GPU market offers some good results if you’re prepared to put just a little effort into tweaking your in-game graphical settings. Beyond that, there’s seemingly a graphics card for every kind of use-case – and that’s where this guide comes in. Every GPU worth considering is included in this exhaustive guide, and if you’re looking for more detailed performance metrics, we can link you through to the some of the most detailed gaming benchmarks around so you can see exactly what kind of performance you should expect.

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Nintendo confirms up to 160,000 accounts accessed in huge privacy breach

UPDATE 2PM UK: Nintendo has now published an English language statement on today’s announcement its account system has suffered a privacy breach affecting up to 160,000 people.

In the statement, Nintendo says that, at present, there was no evidence to suggest Nintendo’s own databases, servers or services have been accessed. This again suggests the log-in data used to access accounts was obtained elsewhere – a tactic known as credential stuffing.

To protect accounts going forward, Nintendo will not detail more of how the attack took place.

Finally, as we reported earlier, log-in via Nintendo Network ID has been disabled and all users are highly recommended to enable two-factor authentication immediately.

Nintendo’s statement follows in full:

Important Notice

We would like to provide an update on the recent incidents of unauthorised access to some Nintendo Accounts.

While we continue to investigate, we would like to reassure users that there is currently no evidence pointing towards a breach of Nintendo’s databases, servers or services. As one action in our ongoing investigation, we are discontinuing the ability to use a Nintendo Network ID to sign in to a Nintendo Account. All other options to sign-in to a Nintendo Account remain available.

As a further precaution, we will soon contact users about resetting passwords for Nintendo Network IDs and Nintendo Accounts that we have reason to believe were accessed without authorisation.

In addition, we also continue to strongly encourage users to enable two-step verification for their Nintendo Account as instructed here: How to set-up two-step verification for a Nintendo Account.

If any users become aware of unauthorised activity, we encourage them to take the steps outlined in the article about the Nintendo Account recovery process.

During the investigation, in order to deter further attempts of unauthorised sign-ins, we will not reveal more information about the methods employed to gain unauthorised access.

We apologise for the inconvenience and concerns caused to our customers, and we will continue working hard to safeguard the security of our users’ data.

ORIGINAL STORY 12PM UK: Nintendo has confirmed that up to 160,000 Nintendo Accounts have been accessed in an enormous privacy breach.

If you were affected, your private data such as your nickname, email, date of birth, gender and country/region were potentially viewable by a third party.

Credit card data was not accessed, though as Eurogamer reported earlier this week, linked payment methods were used in some cases to make unauthorised purchases.

In a statement on its Japanese support site, Nintendo confirmed the issue was related to the company’s own Nintendo Network ID (NNID) log-in system – one of several methods used to log into your Nintendo account.

NNID usernames and passwords were obtained illegally outside Nintendo’s service, the company said, and then used to access accounts and make purchases.

As a result, log-in to your Nintendo account via the NNID method has been disabled. All affected NNID passwords will be reset.

Three days ago, Nintendo told Eurogamer it was “investigating” a growing wave of reports we had heard from Switch owners saying their accounts had been accessed.

Some people whose accounts had been accessed had seen charges on their account via linked payment methods for up to £100 worth of digital items – most commonly, Fortnite’s VBuck currency.

Today, Nintendo said the hacking attempts had been ongoing since early April.

Nintendo Account users will now be contacted via e-mail to reset their passwords with a unique passcode not used elsewhere. Nintendo recommends you use a different password for your NNID and Nintendo account, and set up two-factor authentication.

News of the breach has so far only filtered through from that Japanese support page. Nintendo has yet to make an official English-language statement, though Nintendo UK has now tweeted to acknowledge NNID is no longer available as a sign-in method.

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PUBG adding bots to public matches on console

It’s almost inevitable: once a multiplayer game’s been out for some time, veteran players tend to pull ahead to a point where newer players just can’t keep up. The situation is the same for PUBG, which has now developed a player base so proficient that new joiners are simply being flattened before they can improve.

“We’ve seen the general skill level of our players grow significantly over the last three years”, PUBG Corp explained in a blog post today. “We’re seeing more often that many newer players are being eliminated early with no kills – and oftentimes with no damage dealt.”

It’s a serious problem for developers who want to keep their live service games populated, as a skill gap can alienate new players who are needed to refresh the pool. And so, to solve the skill gap issue, PUBG is adding bots to its public matches on console.

“You’ve been telling us for a while that the widening skill gap is creating a more and more challenging environment for some of our players and we’re now ready to talk about our plan to help this,” PUBG Corp explained. “In an effort to provide more ways for players to hone their skills and be able to fully enjoy what PUBG has to offer, we’ve decided to introduce bots with Update 7.1.”

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In order to reassure players that the bots will be properly programmed, PUBG explained a little about how the bots will be implemented. Navigation meshes will ensure that bots will detect environmental hazards instead of throwing themselves off cliffs like lemmings, while PUBG’s bots will also “consider bullet physics when shooting”.

“What this means is that players will be able to dodge the bots’ bullets if they use the same evasive maneuvers as they would in any other firefight. But of course, a computer would still be better at calculating bullet trajectory, so systems were put in to make sure that the bots’ accuracy differs based on range.”

And, finally, the quality of the loot dropped by bots will increase as the game progresses, meaning the loot pool should remain balanced, and none of the bots will come at you with an SKS as soon as your feet touch the ground.

PUBG hopes that introducing bots will help new players get “the full battle royale experience”, but there’s some good news for veteran players worried about encountering dozens of bots. According to the blog post, you are “less likely to engage bots the higher your MMR is”, while the Ranked system is due to get an upgrade next month, which will not have any bots.

Despite these attempts to reassure players, it seems many are already upset about the idea of introducing bots. One reason is that it’s seen to dilute the exhilarating battle royale experience of facing an island full of people you know are real. Another frequently-aired concern, which PUBG Corp tried to address in the blog post, is that bot behaviour can often be rather silly and somewhat immersion-breaking, so we’ll have to see if these ones will be well-implemented.

PUBG isn’t the first battle royale to introduce bots on console: Fortnite already made the leap last year, and according to our news editor Tom Phillips, these vary from a selection of player bots tuned to skill level which are “designed to be a relatively easy kill for those who would otherwise get none”, to NPC bots which “often attack en masse with pretty deadly results”.

PUBG Mobile has also had bots for a long time, and from my experience, they were unfortunately quite easy to spot: they would pace around up and down next to buildings, until you shot near them, at which point they would lie down on the ground. Let’s hope PUBG’s console bots are a bit smarter.

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Iratus: Lord of the Dead Leaves Early Access Today On PC

Unfrozen’s Iratus: Lord of the Dead leaves early access today on Steam. If you haven’t heard of it, it draws plenty of inspiration from Darkest Dungeon with one major catch – you’re the bad guy.

Instead of taking on misshapen dungeon denizens, you craft an undead army (quite literally, by assembling horrible creatures from parts) and take on those that would attempt to stop your necromantic rise to power.

Eliminate your enemies through traditional combat or by embracing fear mechanics to send your enemies fleeing in terror. Build up a base to keep your progress going, even when your minions end up being smashed into dust by the forces of good.

Check out the launch trailer below!

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Red Dead Redemption 2 Coming To Xbox Game Pass In May

Red Dead Redemption II is coming to the Xbox Game Pass subscription on May 7, replacing fellow Rockstar title Grand Theft Auto V.

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Red Dead II can be pre-downloaded now via the Xbox Game Pass mobile app, and before it leaves the service, subscribers can purchase GTA V for 20 percent off.

In case you’ve been mauled by a mountain lion, fallen down a canyon, and weren’t aware of how good a game Red Dead Redemption II is, here’s the review.