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Review: Genesis Noir – This Indie Gem Deserves A Better Switch Port

Genesis Noir Review - Screenshot 1 of 3
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

The Switch is a truly marvellous machine. The first ever hybrid console, it’s the handheld capability of the system that makes it so irresistible. Its versatility and convenience are such that even when a game is technically better on the more powerful home consoles, we’ll often wait for the Switch version just to take it away with us. And so many games fit the Switch like a glove, thanks to smart, sensible adaptation to the system’s limitations, or cleverly altered mechanics in order to account for what the Switch does best. Genesis Noir, sadly, is not one of them.

When your interface is an analogue stick and face buttons, it feels extremely awkward to be asked – for example – to individually pull every petal out of a dandelion. This requires the cursor to be placed on each petal in turn, the A button to be pressed and held, and the analogue stick pulled away. Is this difficult? No. Is it intuitive? Absolutely not.

Ditto a section almost immediately afterwards in which the parallax-esque landscape must be “tuned in” by grabbing a dial at the bottom of the screen and dragging it left and right. It feels designed for a mouse, or for touch control – which the Switch can do – but there is no such touch support here. Bizarre clashes of interface, task and input crop out throughout Genesis Noir, enough to make us wonder why even port it to a system so clearly unsuited for the experience.
Genesis Noir Review - Screenshot 2 of 3
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

We know why, really. We all know why. Because the Switch is perpetually hot right now. But it doesn’t have a great time with this game at all. It chugs, it struggles. Your character routinely gets caught on geometry that doesn’t even seem to exist, with controls that sometimes simply stop responding for seconds at a time. Sound goes out of synch, or drops entirely. The camera will shudder and shake, breaking the game’s spell routinely. It’s deeply frustrating that the game’s flaws all seem to stem from its Switch port.

It’s a beautiful game, in theory. The art direction is often stunning, calling to mind old UPA cartoons and 1950s animated PSAs in its tale that cleverly welds the creation of the universe as we know it (hence “Genesis”) with a jazz-infused film noir style detective story (hence, er, “Noir”). What this amounts to in gameplay terms is… not a whole lot of consistency.

Essentially you’re following the game’s linear narrative, occasionally taking part in what are essentially a series of mini games. None of them are exactly awful, but they certainly don’t do much to stand out, with a few early ones including the planting of seeds (that, again, is unintuitive in its control scheme) which lead to a series of small and impossible-to-fail challenges seeing you encouraging said ovules to grow up and out. You’re mostly tinkering with things rather than engaging with any game-length systems, with nothing really given time to mature as a mechanic. Which is fine, because the gameplay isn’t the focus here.

Genesis Noir Review - Screenshot 3 of 3
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

An interactive movie, then, and just barely. It’s a pretty enjoyable movie, though, with a real flair to its direction. Sequences play out with impressively dynamic motion, framed brilliantly and drawn with enormous skill. The tremendous and memorable music adds a great deal to the experience and it’s difficult not to get swept up in the emotion and energy of the cutscenes.

However, it’s not ideal when gameplay feels like an obstacle between you and the next bit you’ll get to passively view. Particularly when the viewing is as compromised as it is here compared to the PC and Xbox versions. And no, it’s not usually a great idea to compare next-gen hardware to the Switch as it’s a bit of a waste of time – of course it won’t look or perform the same, how could it? – but we can’t shake the feeling that when visual fidelity is one of the core aspects of your game (as in Genesis Noir), it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to port it to a system that can’t really do it the justice it needs and deserves.

Conclusion

Here’s the thing, and it’s a bit of a kick in the pants. Genesis Noir is a very cool, very interesting and exceptionally well-presented game. It tells its esoteric story in an effective, exciting way with a litany of memorable visuals, fantastic artwork and a genuinely brilliant soundtrack. And, unfortunately, we simply can’t recommend playing this compromised, ill-fitting, arduous and glitchy Switch port in the slightest. Maybe it’s just us, but knowing we could be experiencing the spectacle of this clearly brilliant piece of art in a much higher resolution, at much greater fidelity, and with an order of magnitude less frantically wriggling the left analogue stick because we’re convinced the game has broken is just a sobering reason to ask why we would even bother if this version isn’t your only option. Even if you do only have a Switch, we’d recommend waiting until you have something else. This is a game that deserves better.

Property: First-time buyers now over £800 a year better off than UK renters as prices soar

New data from Halifax suggests the gap between buying and renting in the UK has stretched by eight percent over the last 12 months. Halifax’s Buying vs Renting Review looked at housing costs associated with a mortgage on a three-bedroom house compared to the average monthly rent of a similar property type. Average buying costs include mortgage payments, income lost by funding a deposit rather than saving, spending on household maintenance and repair and insurance costs.
Costs such as stamp duty, valuation fees and legal fees are not included.

In the past year, rental costs have increased by 10 percent while monthly buying costs have dropped by just one percent to £753 each month.

In 2019, the difference between buying and renting on a monthly basis was just one percent.

However, in 2018, there was a monthly cost gap of ten percent between buying and renting.

READ MORE: Easter Monday opening times: Lidl, Aldi and Sainsbury’s open tomorrow?

The average first-time buyer deposit has increased by £11,677 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic to £58,986.

Meanwhile, the average mortgage payment has increased.

Buyers in London are on average £4,606 a year better off than those renting in the capital.

In the South East, this drops to £2,578 a year, followed by East Anglia (£2,019) and Scotland (£1,848).

The smallest gap between buying and renting is in Northern Ireland where buyers are £539 a year better off.

In the East Midlands, homeowners save on average £897 a year.

Andrew Asaam, Mortgages Director, Halifax, said while the stamp duty holiday has helped “drive record levels of mortgage approvals”, the biggest savings each year are in London where house prices are the highest.

During the Covid era, the cost of renting has also increased.

The property expert also said homeowners are making some of the biggest savings in the South East, East Anglia and Scotland, around £2,000 on average, compared to people who are renting.

Mr Assam continued: “Raising a deposit is still the biggest challenge for those looking to get on to the property ladder, but the average first home deposit has gone up by another £11,000 since the start of the pandemic.

“We know that first-time buyers will benefit from steps that make finding a deposit more of a reality and the new Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme could be a gamechanger for those saving hard to take the first step and often paying rent at the same time.

“We have also committed to lending £10billion in 2021 to help people buy their first home this year.”

Read More

Scoring Opening Day Padres tickets is expensive, better deals to come

With the Padres expected to make another playoff run, more fans want to see games in person and the Padres are rewarding those willing to make a commitment.

SAN DIEGO — When you combine all the excitement surrounding the San Diego Padres this season with Petco Park’s limited red tier capacity of 20%, it’s no surprise to hear ticket agencies report our Opening Day prices are among the highest in all of baseball.

On Wednesday, News 8 spotted upper-level seats starting at $ 255 apiece on resale sights. That comes out to $ 656 for two tickets once you add the fees. 
“Average get-in price for an MLB game for Opening Day is around $ 200,” said Jeff Gurian with Gametime Tickets. “Padres are among the more expensive side.”
Jeff said it’s a bizarre year because teams are waiting as long as possible before releasing seats. They’re doing that with the hope the county they’re in drops into a less restrictive tier that will allow more fans inside. 
“If the tiers change, they can release more tickets and sell more and that might also change the seating configuration for how they socially distance fans,” he said. 
With the Padres expected to make another playoff run, more fans want to see games in person and the Padres are rewarding those willing to make a commitment.
“We’ve had a pretty significant increase in season ticket membership because it does get priority access as capacity increases,” said Padres CEO Erik Greupner. “So we’ve had a lot of new members who placed deposits to ensure that when we do increase capacity, they’re going to be able to come watch the Padres play.”
Because of that bump in season ticket sales, team officials doubt a significant amount of seats will be available to the general public until the county falls into the yellow tier. That will allow capacity to increase to 67%. But until then, prices are expected to be higher than normal and that leads to warning – with the Padres such a hot ticket, buyers need to be aware of scammers selling fake tickets. 
“Make sure you do your research,” Jeff said. “Buy from a trusted seller. I think the days of Craigslist and meeting someone on a street corner for tickets are over.”
And Jeff has another tip: Keep checking prices online, especially for games after Opening Day. News 8 found tickets on the resale market for games later in that same opening homestand have already dropped significantly including several for less than $ 40. 
“If you can wait, I would advise doing so. There are probably better deals to be had,” Jeff said.
And if you’re heading to a Padres game this season check out the tips below to make sure you know the latest rules at Petco Park:

Bag Policy

No bags will be permitted inside Petco Park except for medical and diaper bags that do not exceed 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches, such as small purses, clutches and fanny packs.

Outside Food/Drink

Outside Food and beverage is not permitted except for medical or infant needs. Guests are allowed to bring in one factory-sealed plastic bottled water that is clear and unflavored and does not exceed 32 ounces.

Tickets

No paper tickets will be issued this year. Fans will need to download the MLB Ballpark App. Tickets will be sent to the app and the barcode will be scanned as you enter. Under the red and orange tiers, the Padres say it is doubtful the team will be selling any single game tickets to the general public. Tickets will only go to season ticket holders. That should change in the yellow tier.

Concession Stands

Fans will no longer line-up at stands. Instead, ordering and paying for your food will be done through the MLB Ballpark App. You will receive a text when your order is ready for pickup. Currently, only beer can be delivered to your seat. This can be done through the app’s “beer me” tab.

Seating

Under the red tier, capacity inside the stadium is limited to 20%. Every other row has been blocked off and rows with seating have been sectioned off into pods of 2 to 6 seats.

Park at the Park

This area will be open, but socially distanced pods have been painted on the grass. Groups up to 6 people will be allowed in each pod.
WATCH: Tips so you don’t strike out when heading to Padres games this season 

Russian economy set to perform better than expected after Covid-19 crisis – World Bank

The World Bank has raised its outlook for the Russian economy. Despite existing sanctions and pandemic-linked risks, it expects the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by around 3%.

The bank expects that consumer and business confidence in Russia are set to improve, paving the way for a gradual economic rebound, if there is not a third wave of coronavirus infections in the country. If this is the case, Russia’s GDP is set to grow by to 2.9% and 3.2% in 2021 and 2022 respectively, the bank said, in its latest report. This is better than its December projections, which had put Russian economic growth at 2.6% for this year and 3.0% for 2022. 
Also on rt.com Russia’s Covid-19 pandemic recession is already over after two successive quarters of growth in GDP & investment, economists say
The forecast revision came due to a lower-than-expected GDP contraction in 2020, when the virus’ spread led to countrywide lockdowns, and to the quick easing of restrictions, the report said. 

However, the recovery of the Russian economy can still face several downside risks. The challenges could be linked to the possibility of new sanctions and a hesitancy to take vaccines, or to a possible lower-than-expected efficacy of vaccines. Another risk comes from the banking sector, which can be prone to deteriorating asset quality and profitability, partly due to an “overheated” domestic mortgage market.
Also on rt.com Russia becomes net exporter of food for first time in post-Soviet history
The World Bank estimates are lower than the projections of both the Russian government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to the latest outlook by Russia’s Economic Development Ministry, the economy is set to expand by 3.3% in 2021 and 3.4% in 2022. The IMF is even more optimistic, projecting Russia’s GDP to add 3% and 3.9% over the same period. 

Earlier this week, Saxo Bank said that the recent recovery of the energy market can boost the Russian economy in the next three months. According to its estimates, the growth of the country’s GDP in the second quarter will be driven by the commodity sector, with Brent oil expected to trade at $ 68 per barrel by the end of June and the gold price standing at $ 1,850 per troy ounce.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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RT’s Boom Bust looks at the battle between Amazon and its workers over better pay and benefits

The latest Amazon workers’ strike in Italy is a sign of the increasing pressure the e-commerce giant faces in Europe and the US over alleged labor law violations, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, filed with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a unionization vote back in November 2020. The company, owned by the world’s richest person, Jeff Bezos, has run a massive campaign to counter the efforts of its employees to unionize.

READ MORE: Thousands of Amazon workers in Italy go on strike in row over labor conditions

“We know that Amazon spent millions of dollars on union-busting tactics in Alabama,” former Amazon employee Christian Smalls told Boom Bust, adding that he talked to people employed by the mega-retailer in Bessemer just weeks ago.

“I can tell you now, the workers were receiving a lot of misinformation,” he said.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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Kate Garraway's husband's heartbreaking response as she promises things will get better

Kate Garraway: Finding Derek teaser released by ITV

Emotional Kate admits in a documentary: “Derek is the sickest person the team of doctors have treated this year.” The Good Morning Britain star also tells of her fears for her 53-year-old husband’s future as he fights long Covid from his ICU bed. Kate, also 53, said in a trailer for the programme: “Is he going to be able to come back or will he be alive but no longer the person he was?”

It shows photos from the couple’s wedding in 2005 before the screen goes blank and a message reads: “One year later, Derek is still in hospital.” Derek, who is the longest surviving Covid patient in the country and has lost 8st, no longer tests positive for the virus.

But it has “ravaged” his body, Kate said, and left him with multiple health conditions including diabetes and holes in his heart and lungs.

Kate has given updates on her husband’s Covid battle over the course of the last year, and has taken some time off work to go and visit him.

When she has returned to studios, she has had to fight emotionally to keep going. She admits she fears what her husband’s life will be like if he is able to leave hospital.

Doctors have told her he may be “locked in” – able to see and think but not move.

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Kate Garraway’s husband has been sick with Covid for a year (Image: ITV)

Kate said: “The very worst moment was when they said he could be locked in forever. And I just thought, this is a horror story.

“I don’t know if he’ll ever have any kind of life again. We just don’t know.”

Derek, a former adviser to the Labour Party, was admitted to hospital last March after contracting coronavirus. He was placed into a medically-induced coma a month later before he awoke in July.

But the virus had wreaked havoc throughout his body, resulting in kidney failure, liver and pancreatic damage.

On more than one occasion his heart stopped beating, he battled bacterial pneumonia and fought multiple infections, which punctured holes in his lungs. Kate, who shares children Darcey, 15, and William, 11, with her husband of 15 years, admitted it was shocking to see his current state, including his dramatic weight loss.

She revealed that on multiple occasions the hospital told her: “Prepare yourself, he’s going to die.”

Derek

Derek was admitted to hospital last March (Image: ITV)

During one incident, the TV presenter was told “he may have died” and that “somebody will call you back”. She then spent countless hours calling the hospital to get an answer, to no avail. When she did get through she discovered someone with a similar name had died.

But worse was to come as Kate had to learn to accept the possibility that Derek could be frozen indefinitely between life and death.

She revealed: “They said, ‘It’s highly unlikely he will make a good recovery’.”

When she asked what that would look like, she was told that being able to lift a hairbrush would be an example of a “reasonable recovery”.

Trying to make sense of her husband’s condition, the popular host said it appeared he was in an “ocean of unconsciousness”, and only rose to the top for air on rare occasions.

However she did note some tentative progress over Christmas.

kate garraway

Kate has released never before seen footage of Derek (Image: ITV)

As she pretended to forget her accountant’s name, Derek was able to fill in the blank and say it. He also heartbreakingly mouthed the word “pain” in October.

By the end of last year, he reportedly made some small steps towards recovery.

He was able to breathe naturally throughout the day and could swallow his own saliva, despite being fed by a tube through his stomach. He also no longer required kidney dialysis and had managed to increase his movement on one side, allowing him to move his glasses on his nose.

He was even able to recognise some faces and add snippets to conversations before sinking back into the deep waters of his unconscious mind.

Kate, who is video-calling him, is still not allowed to visit him in person due to coronavirus restrictions.

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Kate is not allowed to visit Derek in person (Image: ITV)

She said she tried to keep his hopes up by promising things would improve – but tragically his response was: “How?” The documentary, called Finding Derek, will show Kate giving an “unflinching account” of the past 12 months.

In the one-off film, she will talk about the impact of Covid-19 on her children, as well as meeting survivors of the disease.

Last night, an ITV spokesman said: “Kate offers an unflinching account of the profound effects on her family and on others as she opens up on camera.

“As Kate lays bare in the film, her family, along with many others who have suffered the effects of the virus, are now facing the reality of adjusting to a very different way of life to the one they lived before the pandemic hit.”

Finding Derek will be shown on ITV next Tuesday at 9pm.