Category Archives: RTX Ray Tracing

The Persistence Enhanced out now for PC, PlayStation 5, XBOX Series X|S Coming Soon

The Enhanced edition of Firesprite’s critically acclaimed rogue-lite survival horror title, The Persistence is available now for PlayStation®5 and PC Platforms, with the XBOX Series X|S platform version delayed but coming soon.

The Persistence Enhanced dials up the atmosphere and tension further with improved lighting and particle effects and the addition of a Raytracing ‘Quality’ mode for XBOX Series X and PlayStation®5, which also includes immersive haptic feedback via DualSense™. These enhancements extend to PC also alongside Raytracing via DXR and NVIDIA® DLSS specifically implemented for supported RTX cards.

The Persistence has been on quite the journey, from PSVR back in 2018 to PS4, Xbox One, and Steam little over a year ago, finally coming to the latest console platforms and DXR hardware.” said Graeme Ankers, MD of Firesprite. “At each stage we’ve wanted to make sure we’ve stayed true to the original vision we had for the game, and we believe we’ve achieved that with the Enhanced Edition and the exciting new technologies on offer!”

The Persistence Enhanced will be available as a standalone paid digital download and also as a free upgrade for existing owners of The Persistence on PlayStation®4, Xbox and Steam platforms. Publishing partner, Perpetual Games will also release a PlayStation®5 boxed edition at retail stores in Europe only.

METRO EXODUS Enhanced Edition Out Now for PC

Deep Silver and 4A Games are pleased to announce the launch of the Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition – a radical update that harnesses the power of Ray Tracing-capable GPUs to deliver an incredible visual upgrade. The PC Enhanced Edition is available for FREE to all owners of the original release on Steam, the Epic Games Store, Good Old Games and the Microsoft Store.

Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition offers additional Ray Tracing features including Advanced Ray Traced Reflections and support for the much-requested DLSS 2.0 on NVIDIA hardware, which offers sharper image details and increased framerates and display resolutions. Further collaborating with NVIDIA, this update improves our existing Ray Traced Global Illumination tech innovated with the original release of Metro Exodus to make every light source fully Ray Traced and implements our RT Emissive tech from The Two Colonels throughout the game.

This upgrade is so extensive it will require a Ray Tracing capable GPU as the minimum spec and will be delivered as a separate product – it is not a simple ‘patch’ to the base game – instead it will be offered as an extra entitlement to all existing Metro Exodus PC players.

Deep Silver and 4A Games have also confirmed June 18th as the release date for the massive, FREE next-gen Metro Exodus upgrade for Xbox Series X|S and the PlayStation® 5, titled Metro Exodus Complete Edition.

Metro Exodus Complete Edition will run at 4K / 60FPS with full Ray Traced lighting throughout on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. The base game and DLC expansions will feature both our ground-breaking Ray Traced Global Illumination (RTGI) and the Ray Traced Emissive Lighting techniques pioneered in the original release of Metro Exodus and The Two Colonels expansion across all content.

The next gen consoles will benefit from dramatically reduced loading times thanks to the use of their SSD storage optimizations, 4K texture packs, and a range of platform specific features including spatial audio and controller latency improvements on Xbox, and support for the haptic features of the PlayStation 5 DualSense controller.

These enhancements will be made available as a free upgrade to all PS4 and Xbox One and One X Metro Exodus owners, or available to new players with the Metro Exodus Complete Edition – a newly announced high value physical edition for franchise newcomers. This Complete Edition includes the base game and both DLC expansions: The Two Colonels and Sam’s Story.

For an even more detailed breakdown of the new tech and features present in the Enhanced version of the game, please visit newly updated 4A games blog on the website: https://www.metrothegame.com/en-us

For more information on Metro follow us on Twitter and Instagram @MetroVideoGame and on Facebook at Facebook.com/MetroVideoGame.

The Fabled Woods Review – PC

I’m a sucker for next-gen graphics.  I spent nearly two months trying to procure an RTX3080 card, and now that I have one I pretty much jump on any game that supports it including The Fabled Woods, a new walking-adventure that turns out to be more of a tech demo than an actual game.  Making the most of  NVIDIA’s latest tech, The Fabled Woods supports ray-traced foliage, shadows and reflections, as well as RTX Global Illumination with full DLSS enabling smooth 60fps 4K gameplay.  I can confirm all this to be true, as I had the game cranked to highest settings and it was smooth as butter and one of the most surreal and gorgeous games I’ve played this year.

It’s really hard to explain this game without spoilers, but I’ll do my best.  You start the game at the beginning of a trail leading into an almost fairytale-like woods, alive with color and textures, gorgeous lighting, god rays streaming through the trees, rivers and lakes reflecting like mirrors, and this unique fog filter that keeps everything just slightly out of focus; like somebody breathed on the camera lens.  It gives the game a dreamlike quality that turns out to be fairly significant.

There is not a lot of actual gameplay in The Fabled Woods.  You walk around a lot and click on anything with a glowing outline.  90% of what you click on is superficial, despite being able to rotate and examine a wide assortment of objects, but then you will eventually come to an object that sparks some dialogue and advances the story.  Exploration periodically ends at a blocked path forcing you to use your “memory vision” to hunt for clues.  This usually transports you to a dreamlike world where you must navigate a narrow path over a bottomless void while listening to a lot of exposition.  Once you reach the end of that path you are back in the real world and whatever blockage is gone.

There are three short sections that make up the game, named after their narrators, Larry, Sara, and Todd.  Learning about these characters and how their stories all interconnect is the primary objective.  Aside from examining dozens if not hundreds of objects you will occasion need to use items; mostly keys in doors.  That is the extent of anything resembling puzzle-solving.  It’s very much like Gone Home, only not as long and sadly lacking a strong narrative, at least until the big reveal near the final chapter where everything starts to fall into place.  The game is fairly linear with no exploration off the main trail and blocked advancement until key story elements are revealed.

The Fabled Woods suffers from several issues, all of which seem to be getting address almost in real-time by the developer who has a strong and positive presence in the Steam forums.  These issues range from technical glitches to some poor game design decisions, including no onboarding sequence to let you know what you are supposed to do beyond simple button prompts.  Once you understand how the game works it gets easier in later sections, but it was a rough start for me and many other gamers who struggled to get past the first campsite.  I did have one game-breaking issue about 60 seconds from the end of the game where some sort of force field was preventing me from entering a door.  With no other way to continue I simply walked into the void in hopes the game would reset me.  No such luck.  I had to manually restart from checkpoint in the menu and play over 10-12 minutes of the game, listening to all the same narration required to trigger the sequence of doors to end the game.  If you want the achievement for both endings (yes, there are two) you will also need to replay from that same checkpoint.

Despite these issues I did enjoy my trip through The Fabled Woods.  There is a pretty awesome story of forgiveness and redemption being told to you with excellent voice acting from all the narrators.  Sara did seem to freak out a bit too much about her messy office, but it was all good.  The music and sound effects are awesome and really helped set the mood, especially in the dream world.  The outdoor graphics are breathtaking and nearly photorealistic in some situations while the interior locations are simply okay.  There is heavy recycling of textures – every campfire has the same pack of smokes and two lighters lying in the ashes, all of the computer screens have the Windows BSOD, and every desk in Sara’s office has the same set of four clickable file folders, one of them with MY name on it.  Kudos to the fantastic RTX implementation that makes this indie adventure look like a major studio release.

You can finish The Fabled Woods in about 90 minutes and spend another 10-15 picking up that alternate ending achievement.  Sadly, there just isn’t much of a game here beyond simply walking around and clicking discovery items.  Despite the engaging narrative, adventure gamers are likely to get bored with the lack of activity or frustrated by the awkward opening.  For non-RTX owners, this is a tough recommendation at $17, but worth checking out if it ever drops below $10.  For those with high-end video cards, definitely toss CyberPunch Studios some cash so they can keep polishing this gem and hopefully work on something more substantial and equally as beautiful down the road.

The Fabled Woods Out Now on Steam with DLSS and New Ray Tracing Features

Publisher Headup and developer CyberPunch Studios are thrilled to announce the PC release of The Fabled Woods, a dark and mysterious narrative short story played in the first person perspective.

The game is available now on Steam and on the Epic Games Store at a price of $14.44, €14.44 and £11.89, and includes the game’s art book (called “the Notebook”) as well as its atmospheric soundtrack.

In close cooperation with NVIDIA for support in technical regards, and by the help of Pumpkin Jack’s developer Nicolas Meyssonnier in terms of effects and lighting, The Fabled Woods features striking visuals and an intriguing story with many twists and turns. The use of DLSS provides for a significant performance boost enabled by NVIDIA’s recently-released Unreal Engine 4 DLSS plugin. In addition, the game features RTX Global Illumination as well as ray-traced foliage, shadows and reflections.

“Our goal was to launch the first game that can handle ray-tracing foliage with over 1 million instances and good performance.” explains the developer Joe Bauer. “All the trees cast ray-traced shadows and there are ray-traced reflections in all the water you can find in the woods.”

About The Fabled Woods

The Fabled Woods is a narrative adventure that puts the player at the center of nested mysteries within an expanse of beautiful woodland. Starting at a forsaken campsite, the player progresses through the story by exploring the forest and discovering clues, guided by unknown voices.

Despite the picturesque beauty, ugly and terrible secrets lurk among the shifting boughs, a darkness that no amount of dappled sunlight can erase. Get ready to take the first step, and experience an unforgettable journey!

Features include:

  • Three intertwining narratives to be uncovered, piece by piece, as you hunt for clues as to what happened
  • Explore at your own pace in an experience built from the ground up for fans of the puzzle free, death free storytelling in games such as Gone Home and Firewatch
  • Fully voiced, hear the characters as they impart their tales of strange going ons and mystery to you, the player, all set in a living world built in Unreal Engine technology

For even more info about the game, please check the game’s Community Hub on Steam, watch the new release trailer or follow The Fabled Woods on Twitter and Discord.

The Fabled Woods Launches on PC Soon with DLSS and Ray Tracing Features

In close cooperation with NVIDIA, Headup is pleased to announce significant tech enhancements for CyberPunch Studios’ upcoming adventure game The Fabled Woods for PC.

With implementing DLSS by using the Unreal Engine 4 plug ‘n’ play plugin, NVIDIA graphic cards such as the GeForce RTX 3070 and up will enable the narrative short story with maxed out settings and all ray tracing effects enabled at over 60 FPS at 3840×2160.

Adding NVIDIA DLSS to The Fabled Woods was easy thanks to the Unreal Engine 4 plugin, and the impact it makes on performance is substantial.” adds Joe Bauer, Founder CyberPunch Studios. “With the Unreal Engine 4 plugin, adding DLSS to The Fabled Woods was a no-brainer; it really opens DLSS up to a whole new world of developers.

Besides the performance boost in terms of FPS, The Fabled Woods also features enhanced ray-traced foliage, reflections, and shadows. Joe explains: “Our goal was to launch the first game that can handle Ray Tracing foliage with over 1 million instances and good performance. All the trees cast Ray Traced shadows and there are Ray Traced reflections in all the water you can find in the woods.” It is also the second game worldwide that uses RTX Global Illumination.

For even more info about the game’s tech, please check Joe’s detailed explanations on Steam.

Keep up to date by following The Fabled Woods on Twitter and joining the Discord.

The Medium, Gaming’s Highly Anticipated Next-Gen Horror Game Out Now on Xbox Series X|S and PC

Today, Bloober Team, the studio behind acclaimed horror games including Blair Witch, Observer: System Redux and Layers of Fear, are proud to release The Medium, the third-person psychological horror game featuring next-gen game mechanics exploring two worlds at the same time. The game is available today for $49.99/€49.99/£39.99 exclusively on Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam, Epic Games Store, GOG, and the Microsoft Store. To celebrate the global launch, Bloober Team is excited to announce that The Medium will be available for a 10% off launch discount on PC and Xbox Series X|S for the first week of release beginning today.

The Medium Deluxe Edition is also available for PC players on Steam for $54.99/€54.99/£43.99, which includes The Medium, The Medium Original Soundtrack (by Akira Yamaoka and Arkadiusz Reikowski) and The Art of The Medium (digital artbook). Players can also purchase these separately on Steam; the Original Soundtrack for $9.99/€8.19/£7.19, and The Art of The Medium for $5.99/€4.99/£4.79.

Watch the new official launch trailer for The Medium featuring the original song “Voices,” performed by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and composed by Akira Yamaoka & Arkadiusz Reikowski.

Everyone at Bloober Team is ecstatic to see The Medium release on Xbox Series X/S and PC as it has been a vision we’ve had for years,” said Piotr Babieno, CEO at Bloober Team. “Seeing first-hand how the game has changed from its original idea years ago to now how immersive it is with Bloober Team’s innovative dual-reality mechanics has been incredibly inspiring to our entire team. We can’t wait to showcase this as one of our most ambitious titles to date and deliver to players around the world one of the first next-gen horror games.”

While the launch trailer features the rekindled musical collaboration between Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and Akira Yamaoka, known for their work together on the Silent Hill series, Bloober Team also teases a second playable character in The Medium that was previously shown as the gloved man from The Medium The Threats Official Trailer, which can be seen via the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H99-zcnNl8s.

The Medium is a third-person psychological horror game that features an innovative dual-reality gameplay that has been patented by Bloober Team. Players will play as Marianne, a medium gifted with a number of psychic abilities, and explore the real and spirit world both alternatively and simultaneously to uncover a dark mystery masked by disturbing secrets, sinister spirits, and devious puzzles only a medium can solve.

Developed and published by Bloober Team, and rated “M for Mature” by the ESRB and PEGI 18, The Medium is Bloober Team’s largest and most ambitious project to date, with no loading screens and utilizing the full potential of the latest version of the Unreal Engine 4, alongside Microsoft DirectX Raytracing and NVIDIA DLSS technology with the newest GeForce Game Ready Drivers from NVIDIA for PC today and Raytracing support for Xbox Series X. Akira Yamaoka, known for his work on the Silent Hill series, and Bloober Team’s Arkadiusz Reikowski collaborated together on the game’s original ‘dual’ score, creating truly unique atmospheres across both worlds.

For more information on The Medium, please visit www.themediumgame.com; Follow us on Twitter @TheMediumGame; Like us on Facebook @MediumGame, or follow us on Instagram @the_medium_game.

New Videos Spotlight Ray Tracing and NVIDIA DLSS in ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’

NVIDIA has released a pair of videos that showcase Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and some of the next-gen technology the game supports. One video is showing on/off with ray tracing and the second a side by side of NVIDIA DLSS.

Ray Tracing – Realistic Shadows, Realistic Depth 

The first video features on/off swipes showcasing ray-traced shadows from the sun/local light sources and ambient occlusion. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War features DirectX 12 Ultimate ray-traced ambient occlusion, local shadows, and sun shadows that are RTX-accelerated for more immersive gameplay.

Notice how the shadows create contiguous silhouettes with contact hardening and high resolution details without any aliasing or self-shadowing. Ambient occlusion creates a sense of depth to the environment to appear more life-like. This shading technique determines how much light should fall onto objects in the scene.

The video was captured at 4K resolution, Ultra Settings, with DLSS on a GeForce RTX 3090.

DLSS – Beautiful, Crisp Images, Higher Frame Rates 

The second video is a split screen video with DLSS on and off. The interesting part is in the upper corner in the form of a frame counter. While it is hard to distinguish between the two for image quality, the frame counter with ‘DLSS on’ is usually about double the side with DLSS off.  NVIDIA DLSS boosts frame rates up to 85% at 4K on GeForce RTX GPUs, for the fastest, highest-fidelity Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War experience.

The video was captured at 4K resolution, Ultra Settings, with DLSS performance mode on a GeForce RTX 3080.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a Tech Showcase

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is absolutely loaded with NVIDIA tech, including:

  • RTX-accelerated ray-traced ambient occlusion, local shadows, and sun shadows effects for more immersive gameplay.
  • NVIDIA DLSS to boost frame rates while generating beautiful, crisp game images.
  • NVIDIA Reflex to reduce system latency.
  • NVIDIA Ansel in the campaign enables you to frame and snap unique hi-res screenshots.
  • NVIDIA Highlights in Multiplayer, ensuring your most entertaining in-game moments are automatically recorded and saved.

The game is also bundled with GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 GPUs.

NVIDIA Delivers Developer Driver and Nsight Graphics Support for Vulkan Ray Tracing

In case you missed it,  yesterday the official Khronos Vulkan Ray Tracing extensions were finalized, and NVIDIA released a new NVIDIA Developer Driver which offers support. Our goal is to include support for these extensions in an upcoming Game Ready Driver and Studio Driver, aligned with the support for ray tracing in the Vulkan SDK in mid-December. In addition, Nsight Graphics 2020.6 was released today with support for the Vulkan Ray Tracing extensions.

Bringing ray tracing into Vulkan has been a multi-year effort by many companies and NVIDIA has taken an active leadership position in each stage of its evolution. We were elected to chair the Vulkan ray tracing subgroup at Khronos, we contributed the design of our vendor extension to Khronos to help the Vulkan working group make rapid progress, and we shipped drivers for the provisional version of the Vulkan ray tracing extension to enable developer feedback for the subgroup.

Night City is Glorious with RTX ON! NVIDIA’s ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ Developer Interview Features Never-Before-Seen Gameplay Footage

Today, NVIDIA released a new game developer video interview with some of the crew at CD PROJEKT RED, who are working to bring Night City to life, complete with a brand new gameplay montage. Cyberpunk 2077 also got updated recommended system configurations which names the GeForce RTX 3070 the official recommended GPU for ray tracing.

A  Virtual Tour of Night City

The video features gameplay with DXR ray tracing and NVIDIA DLSS, and goes deep into the use of these technologies to make the environment more immersive. Of particular interest is the difference ray tracing makes in the day/night cycle in the game. The video serves as a stunning highlight reel of ‘a day in the life’ inside Night City by showcasing many previously unrevealed game scenes.

With RTX ON, Night City is transformed. Glorious ray-traced reflections are cast on every possible surface; substantially improved shadows naturally soften and sharpen; shops, streets and buildings are realistically illuminated with diffuse lighting; and in general the world is more immersive and detailed.

GeForce RTX 3070 for Cyberpunk 2077– Rec Spec Updated 

CD PROJEKT RED also updated their recommended system configurations for Cyberpunk 2077 to include the GPUs recommended to experience Night City in all its glory with RTX ON. The GeForce RTX 3070 is the official recommended GPU for ray tracing.

RTX ON! Bring Night City to Life 

Cyberpunk 2077, the year’s most anticipated game, launches on December 10th. On a GeForce RTX PC, this breathtaking game is enhanced with DXR ray-traced reflections, diffuse illumination, ambient occlusion and shadows, as well as NVIDIA DLSS, delivering the best possible Cyberpunk 2077 experience.

Play Cyberpunk 2077 on GeForce NOW  

If you lack a GeForce RTX PC or laptop, or are away from your gaming system, you can play RTX-enhanced Cyberpunk 2077 at release via GeForce NOW, our cloud gaming service. GeForce NOW gives your low-end rig the power to stream Cyberpunk 2077 with RTX ON. Explore the streets of Night City across all your devices, streaming from the cloud. And instantly play your existing PC library from stores like Steam, UPlay and the Epic Games Store.

NVIDIA and our army of GeForce Gamers cannot wait to visit Night City!

Pumpkin Jack Review – PC

If you love Halloween as much as you love action-platformers then Pumpkin Jack might just be the best themed game ever made.  From the opening menu to the closing credits this game just oozes Halloween style and flavor with so much varied content you might find it hard to stop.  I finished the 6-8 hour game in just two sittings…it’s THAT GOOD!  Perhaps even more remarkable is that this game is “mostly” the product of a single individual – yes there are a few dozen supporting names in the credits but in a day where AAA credits run 15-20 minutes or longer I was shocked when Pumpkin Jack’s credits were over in less than 2-3.  Despite the minimal dev staff, the resulting game easily stacks up with any similar game on the market, both in visuals and art as well as game design and even some impressive advanced features like RTX, DLSS, and HDR support.

But I get ahead of myself.  Pumpkin Jack is a cartoonish, charming, and devilish platformer that has you assuming the role of Jack, the Mythical Pumpkin Lord and right-hand to the Devil himself.  In a rare twist of events this game has you playing on the side of evil, as Jack is sent to Earth to stop a meddling wizard from interfering with the Devil’s plans to spread chaos on the planet by unleashing hordes of horrible monsters to torment the population.  Pretty dark stuff, but the vibrant colors and unique character designs combined with delightfully humorous dialogue and crazy action balances the content with a distinct Tim Burton vibe.

As Jack, you’ll find your soul has been stuff into a pumpkin and stuck on a scarecrow’s body.  You’ll get instructions and mission updates from a sassy owl and a slightly annoying crow will quickly become your faithful companion and useful weapon throughout most of the game.  Speaking of weapons, you have an impressive assortment of items to dispatch hordes of mindless monsters.  You’ll start with a shovel then earn others by defeating level bosses like a shotgun, sword, staff, and scythe.  There is also a creepy Skin Vendor hidden away in each level, and here you can buy costumes for Jack like The Lumberjack, Cowboy, Samurai, Inspector, Skeleton, and the Buzzard.  These skins are unlocked by spending Crow Skulls that you collect; 20 are hidden in each level.  Also hidden in each level is a Gramophone (record player) that you can find and watch Jack do an amusing Jack.  Naturally there are achievements for finding all this stuff, and there is a level select in the menu that lets you replay levels to find anything you missed.

Pumpkin Jack is a delight to play.  The gameplay unfolds with silky smooth framerates and fluid animations.  The camera is entirely manual with a few small exceptions for on-rail events.  Most of the game is exploration and combat…lots of combat with a fun variety of monsters that are fairly easy to dispatch.  The game isn’t that hard with the exception of the boss fights, and even those have patterns you can quickly figure out.  There is a bit of strategy in finding out which weapons work best and which enemies to target first and when to use your crow as a ranged weapon.  Some enemies like ghosts and rats spawn from environmental objects that need to be destroyed to stop their endless spawning – like the monster generators in Gauntlet.

There are only a five chapters, each with a very specific themed environment that heavily influences the level design, the monsters, and the activities within that level.  You’ll start the game in a field after crawling out of the crater you just created when you hit the ground like a comet.  After a quick briefing with the owl and hooking up with your crow-friend you set out exploring the countryside killing monsters and collecting skulls.  Lots of stuff like barrels and crates can be smashed for small bits of health, and strategically placed cauldrons serve as bubbling checkpoints and health potions.

Every level has some sort of crazy on-rails action sequence.  In the first level you are racing out of a burning barn and the next will have you on this wild mine cart ride.  Later you will ride a horse through a swamp, go on some dangerous ferry rides, and even dangle below a flying gargoyle as it flies through a creepy cemetery.  These are some of the most thrilling moments in the game and break up the slower combat/exploring sections.  You also have brilliant platforming stages where you jump across bouncy mushrooms or activate magic towers to create invisible bridges between floating islands.  At least once in each level you will also need to detach your head and engage in mini-games like musical Simon or a tombstone matching game of Concentration, or maybe push a bomb into a crate of fireworks.  Playing as just the pumpkin head is a pretty cool concept and adds variety to the gameplay – like playing as Clank in a Ratchet and Clank game.  The sheer amount and variety of content is quite amazing; you will never be bored.

The presentation is awesome with amazing CG cutscenes between chapters, all fully voice acted.  I really hope they do a special edition of the game with voice acting for the rest of the game.  The dialogue is so cheesy and hilarious I would love to hear it performed…especially the crow.  The surround sound audio is fantastic with insects and creaking wood, combined with all the sounds of monsters and combat totally immersing you in a 7.1 mix.  Every chapter has a theme and distinct color pallet and there are all sorts of crazy lighting and special effects going on.  Volumetric fog and mist along with weather effects totally immerse you in the creepy atmosphere. If you are fortunate to have an RTX card you can enjoy some killer lighting and shadows that make the game really shine.  Sometimes the pinkish glow of a crow skull behind a stack of crates was the only way I would have ever found one.  The detailed environments, characters, and fluid animation are easily AAA quality, making this a showcase title for RTX, and with the newly added HDR support the visuals totally pop on an HDR screen.  There are lots of scalable options to get this game to run smoothly on a wide range of systems.  With RTX on and everything set to max detail I had to render at 1440p to keep things smooth on my 2080ti card.

There were only a few oddities and glitches that come to mind.  The prompt to Talk/Interact doesn’t always appear.  There was one checkpoint in a forest maze that starts you off facing in the opposite direction you should be going.  Died 68 times figuring that one out; yes the game counts and comments on how many times you have died.  In one level where you are smashing statues of the Seven Deadly Sins one of the statues wouldn’t break.  I had to exit and reload the save game and it worked the second time.  Also, the vsync in the video options would randomly turn off (even though it said it was on), so I had to turn off then back on for it to re-engage, otherwise there is some crazy screen tearing.  My only other minor critique is that while vastly different in theme and design, the circular boss fights got stale about halfway through the game and some, like the one in Skele-Town, had foreground architecture that would obscure the camera during critical events.

I had a blast playing Pumpkin Jack and was genuinely sad when it was over because it looks like the story is just getting started.  I hope this game does well so we can get a sequel, but I also hope the dev team stays small and doesn’t go “corporate”.  It’s easy to see this was a 4+ year labor of love and I hope everyone who enjoys this kind of game gets to play Pumpkin Jack.  Maybe it will come to PS5 and Xbox Series X and take advantage of that tech.   For now, Pumpkin Jack is one of the best PC games you can play this year and easily one of the top five Halloween games ever made.

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