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Man disguised bombs to look like teddy bears then left them in the road

The FBI has released a photo of a disturbing teddy bear bomb a man left on a road where children could find it. Wesley Dallas Ayers, 27, is currently serving 30 years in prison for planting three real bombs and three fakes ones across South Carolina. One of the bombs went off and injured a man in the leg when he went to investigate. The bombs were all left in Anderson County during January and February last year. Around the same time, he planted three hoax bombs along with threatening messages that more powerful devices were to come. The viable bombs were ‘dangerous and lethal’, a judge found, ‘weaponised with shrapnel, concealed in household items, and publicly placed in or near roadways,’ the Department of Justice said.

Judge Henry Herlong said it was only by the efforts of police and sheer good fortune that more people were not seriously harmed or killed. The man injured was driving with his daughter when he spotted glowing wicker basket in the middle of the road. The man stopped to examine the package and it exploded, causing minor burns to his leg. Police investigating found a piece of paper with Arabic writing referencing Osama bin Laden.

A week later on February 4, a bomb-like object was found, placed in a black box with a letter that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and said the community was no longer safe. On February 15, a bomb placed in a teddy was found.

Special Agent Christopher Derrickson, an FBI supervisor, said: ‘This was deliberately placed where a child or passerby could have found it.

Fortunately, someone saw it and knew to call us.’ Ayers was caught after a witness told police he had been talking about building bombs at home. A judge approved a search warrant and police found bomb components and copies of the writing found at the crime scenes. They also found two guns and a type of vest used by suicide bombers. Ayers’ search history showed he had viewed terrorist material from Anwar al-Awlaki, Osama bin Laden, and others. He was jailed on February 8.

https://metro.co.uk/2019/06/18/man-disguised-bombs-look-like-teddy-bears-left-road-9993069/

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Football in India: The Mumbai girls defying tradition to follow World Cup dreams

In the cramped and colourful streets of Colaba's Ambedkar Nagar, a slum community in the south of India's biggest city, the Women's World Cup seems a long way away.

This summer's tournament in France is likely to be watched by a global television audience of around 750 million but here - in the heart of the Mumbai's military and business districts - even being able to kick a ball around has been far from guaranteed. Especially if you're a girl.

Social conventions and tradition - "football's not for girls, you have to do housework" - are limiting. As are the practicalities, with drinking water and sanitation unreliable.

But despite this unlikely backdrop in a country which has yet to feature at a World Cup, there are signs of a footballing future.

'Don't play, don't go outside and don't wear shorts'

Mamta Prajapati, a 15-year-old defender, and Atisha Saini, an 18-year-old attacker, are two young women who are defying tradition to follow their football dreams.

Having grown up as neighbours, they now play side by side with other girls from their neighbourhood. Next season they will compete in the national and professional Women's I-League. It will be a landmark step for both, having faced years of opposition to the very idea of playing - from their families, classmates, teachers and communities.

"They used to tell me 'you're a girl - don't play, don't go outside and don't wear shorts,'" Saini says.

"And then they would say to my family 'don't allow your girl to go outside. We also have a girl, but she's at home doing housework, so don't go giving her ideas.'"

In a tight-knit community passionate about its traditions and family values, and in a city as competitive and cut-throat as Mumbai, a young girl pursuing a career as any professional athlete is rare, let alone training to become a footballer.

"When I started to play, my parents supported me for a year or two, but then after that they stopped," says Prajapati.

"They told me that because I'm a girl, and because I'm now growing, I couldn't continue to play football, and that I had to help with the housework.

"I would come home from school and then help my mother in the family shop for seven or eight hours most days, as well as finding time to study after. It was hard to find time to play."

'People park their bikes where we used to play football'

Space comes at a premium in Ambedkar Nagar, with 24,000 people living in a handful of tangled and intertwining streets. Thousands of tiny rooms and shelters house six or seven people each in a vibrant maze, with shared washrooms a fair walk away, and only a sporadic, unsanitary water supply in the communal taps.

Initially built as housing for the workers of a skyscraper construction site, and now home to the famous open-air Dhobi Ghat laundrette, the community has grown over the years to bursting point, presenting obvious problems for young footballers in search of a pitch.The open-air Dhobi Ghat laundrette

Even finding space for your clothes is difficult in Colaba's Ambedkar Nagar, let alone room to play football

"We don't have much space for playing outside," Saini says. "We used to play against the wall, in a spot around the corner from our house, but now people park their bikes there instead, so we have to go elsewhere.

"Often I juggle the ball in the house, and watch YouTube to try to learn new skills. But sometimes I break glasses or other things, so my mum is often shouting at me to stop."

It is not uncommon to hear a story of football being bumped down the priority list in India. Despite recent signs of a resurgence, for decades it has lived in the shadow of other sports (most notably cricket), not to mention a whole host of educational, familial and career priorities.

'Your girl is very good at football'

For young women here, opportunities for education, leisure and leadership are few and far between.

But Prajapati and Saini's footballing dreams live on thanks to the Oscar Foundation, an organisation founded in the same Ambedkar Nagar neighbourhood where the girls live.

Football is used to provide "education with a kick", and from humble beginnings 10 years ago (a makeshift pitch, outdoor classroom and not even a football), it has supported nearly 4,000 children across India.

One of Oscar's biggest successes is achieving (almost) a 50-50 split of boys and girls engaged in its initiatives. They have a "no school, no football" policy, giving the children extra incentive to engage with their studying.

"When I was told I couldn't play any more, I was crying," Prajapati recalls. "But all of my team-mates and Oscar family supported me, and they came and spoke with my parents.

"They were saying 'your girl is very good at football'; they talked about the coaching and education, and about how it's different now for girls in our community."

Saini's experiences were similar, with Oscar's work helping to change not just her family's view, but the perspective of the whole community.

"Oscar came and spoke to my mother and father, and helped them to realise what I could achieve and where football could take me," she says.Saini juggles a football on her back

India's women's team reached their highest world ranking of 49 in 2013

"Before Oscar I was not allowed out in my community, and they would demotivate us. But now we go outside and play matches, and go on tour, and the community is thinking, 'girls can do anything'."

On a recent tour to the UK (aptly named 'Kick Like a Girl'), the visitors won all but one of their games against school teams from across Britain.

Prajapati spoke of the inspirational effect the tour had on both the girls and their communities at home, with a stadium trip having a particularly inspirational impact on her.

"In London we got to visit the Queens Park Rangers ground, to see the pitch, the tunnel and the changing rooms," she says. "It made me feel like a professional player, and made me imagine what it could be like to play for a club or my country one day."

A bright future for India's next generation

Despite their successful defiance of social conventions so far, the promised land for young Indian footballers remains a long way off.

Having never qualified for a Women's World Cup, and with their world ranking slipping back to 62, there is still a lot of work to be done before they can claim their place as one of the 24 nations to make it to the biggest stage.

However, with the infrastructure and promotion of the women's game at an all-time high in India, and with the sport's profile rising around the country, things are looking up for the next generation.

As two women pursuing football careers despite coming from such a challenging background, Prajapati and Saini recognise their own place as role models within their community.

Their message is clear. "Sometimes it's OK not to listen to your communities or your families when they criticise," says Prajapati.

"If you want to achieve your dreams you have to learn to ignore it, and to do it for yourself."

Saini feels the same. "Girls also want to play, and also want to study, so support them. Don't torture and tease them - they want to do what they want to do, so trust in them - they can achieve anything."

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/46907915

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WWE SmackDown: Charlotte Flair fined £78,000 for referee attack

Charlotte Flair has been fined £78,000 by general manager Paige for her referee attacks after returning to SmackDown.

Flair was keen to toast her Survivor Series savaging of Ronda Rousey as the blue brand went back on the air on Tuesday night, in which she broke several kendo sticks on the Raw champion and stamped on a chair which was wrapped around her neck.

During the melee, she threw five match officials out of the ring and for that infraction has been fined $100,000 by Paige, who admitted she admired the fire Flair showed at the event.

The Queen did not seem concerned by the fine and was given another opportunity to again demonstrate the intensity she showed on Sunday night when Peyton Royce came out to challenge her to a match.

Royce and her friend Billie Kay then felt the Flair wrath, taking a double spear on the outside before being thrown over the commentary table.

The pair had earlier set about Flair in a two-on-one attack during which the crowd chanted for Becky Lynch. There was, however, no sign of her.

Huge loss for Miz and McMahon

Shane McMahon, fresh from his - and SmackDown's - annihilation at the hands of Team Raw at Survivor Series, was the guest on Miz TV where the host made clear his admiration for the commissioner.

Miz even went as far as convincing Shane to team up with him for an impromptu tag bout against a pair of 'local competitors', Dane and Wayne Bryant.

1:43

 

The Miz looks to impress Shane McMahon

The Miz tries to impress Shane McMahon in this impromptu tag team match against Wayne & Dane Bryant, but not all goes to plan!

The Miz tried to impress Shane McMahon in this impromptu tag team match against Wayne and Dane Bryant, but it didn't go to plan

The Miz dominated the match but offered to tag in McMahon, who never removed his leather jacket for the duration of the match, to record the pinfall.

That turned out to be a tactical error, as Dane Bryant rolled up Miz for a three-count and a huge upset victory.

Daniel Bryan has proclaimed the Yes movement dead

Bryan: The Yes movement is dead

WWE champion Daniel Bryan famously said "fight for your dreams and they will fight for you" several months ago when he emotionally announced that he had been cleared to return to in-ring competition.

However, that mantra has now been completely flipped on its head, with Bryan declaring that his shocking attitude change last week was due to his dreams.

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Daniel Bryan explains his actions

The new Daniel Bryan gives insight as to why he did what he did to capture the WWE Championship from AJ Styles.

The new Daniel Bryan gave insight as to why he did what he did to capture the WWE championship from AJ Styles

Bryan revealed that his dream to regain the WWE title compelled him to kick AJ Styles below the belt last week to secure his title victory.

He then said that the old Daniel Bryan and The "Yes!" Movement were dead and that we are now about to see a very different Bryan.https://www.skysports.com/wwe/news/14203/11559245/wwe-smackdown-charlotte-flair-fined-78000-for-referee-attack

https://www.skysports.com/wwe/news/14203/11559245/wwe-smackdown-charlotte-flair-fined-78000-for-referee-attack

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Eddie Hall weight loss: This is how the World’s Strongest Man champion shed 5st

EDDIE HALL weighed 30.9st before vowing to live a healthier life. Here is how the former World’s Strongest Man lost 5st. Eddie Hall, 30, walked away with the World’s Strongest Man title in 2017. However, after becoming a champion he vowed to go on a strict weight loss diet because he “wanted to live a healthier life” for his family. At his heaviest he tipped the scales at 30.9st, but described it as “torture”. To maintain his beefy physique Eddie had to eat 12,500 calories a day, which included two full English breakfasts with five sausages in the morning. But he recently revealed his dramatic weight loss on Instagram, comparing his 30.9st body to his 25.8st body.

So how did The Beast manage to trim down?

The strongman kept up with his traditional weight-lifting sessions.

However, he managed to shed 5st by following a strict weight-loss plan coupled with lots of cardio.

In September Eddie said: “Been training really hard recently and I’m mega fired and hungry for success.”

Eddie Hall shares incredible workout routine after weight loss

Eddie Hall weight loss

Eddie Hall weight loss: He has lost 5st in total (Pic: INSTAGRAM / Eddie Hall)

He is doing five cardio sessions a week including “boxing, cycling, swimming and HIIT training”. This is in addition to his four weight-training sessions. Speaking about his weight loss, he said: “I’m sitting around 26 stone and think this is my stable weight now, il carry on loosing fat and keep gaining muscle at this weight all being well. “ Eddie also credits his weight loss to a product called Oblivion, which he dubs “the best product I’ve ever come across in the industry thus far”. Oblivion is a protein product with zero carbs, sugar and fat.

In May, Eddie revealed he wouldn’t be competing in anymore World’s Strongest Man competitions, as he felt the “sun was setting” on his life.

He wrote on Instagram: “For the people that keep asking why I don’t compete at the World’s Strongest Man anymore… Simple: I choose to live a healthier life now and enjoy the fruits of my labour.

“I felt as though the sun was beginning to set on my life and I needed to start swimming back from dark waters to start to see sunlight again.”

Eddie Hall weight loss

Eddie Hall weight loss: At his heaviest he weighed 30.9st (Pic: INSTAGRAM / Eddie Hall)

Appearing on This Morning in 2017, he revealed the key to his weight loss. Eddie said: “Cardio training for big guys is unique, you have to adapt it so that you don’t lose muscle and you don’t tire out. “Using methods to not only improve your cardiovascular system but also help your body to recover after weight sessions by shifting lactic acid, helping the tendons, ligaments and muscles to repair.”

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Discord Store Is In Beta – Including Free Games for Nitro Subs

Discord's brand new look to their store is officially out - albeit still in beta form - in all regions beginning today.

The store is set to feature a more curated list of games that the Discord team pick - from recognizable titles like Dead Cells to more niche, exclusive titles that deserve more recognition.

Not only that, but the server will feature the "First on Discord" program which will showcase new games, exclusively on the Discord store for 90 days before they hit other platforms including Steam.

Unlike Steam though, Discord are not looking to expand to a near unending amount of games to rattle through and then ignore, but really planning to focus on quality over quantity.

Discord Game Store
Discord Game Store

Discord's subscription service, Nitro, is set to upgrade as a huge collection of games become totally free including some older AAA titles like Brutal Legend, Psychonauts, Metro: Last Light Redux and more along with some smaller and more recent games like This War of Mine.

A Nitro subscription costs $10 a month or an upfront cost at $100 for a year long membership, which unlocks access to a back catalogue.

This update adds a Discord Library, allowing players using the platform to launch all of their PC games from within one central hub, regardless of whether they were initially bought on the store.

The platform features social media features too, allowing users to see what their friends are playing and get up-to-date games recommendations based on their most played titles.

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The best PlayStation Plus game deals October's free games with PlayStation Plus include 'Friday the 13th'

PlayStation Plus is arguably the best console membership service you can sign up for. It often features incredible discounts on some of the best PS4 games and is a great tool for people who want to build up their game library in a hurry. Picking up physical copies of games at Target or GameStop is certainly an option, but if you want to save some cash, take advantage of the digital sales Sony runs on the PlayStation Store. Here are the best PS Plus game deals available right now.

Free PlayStation Plus games

‘Friday the 13th: The Game’ (Free, expires 11/6)

We’ve seen Jason Voorhees kill countless unsuspecting teenagers over the years in his films, but what if you could become the masked killer and become the villain of your very own slasher flick – in a game, of course. Friday the 13th: The Game uses asymmetric multiplayer, placing one lucky player in the role of Jason while the rest attempt to survive. Prove you’re the ultimate scream queen (or king) and take the baddie down for good!

‘Laser League’ (Free, expires 11/6)

Like your sports with a little science fiction and danger thrown in? Laser League has you covered. Hitting the colored lasers of the opposing team will result in a violent – albeit temporary – end, and you and your teammates have to keep a close eye on the changing arena in order to come out on top. Laser League is from the creators of OlliOlli, who know a little something about odd takes on sports.

‘2064: Read Only Memories’ (Free, expires 11/6)

Also free on PlayStation Vita in October, 2064: Read Only Memories is a complex and fascinating take on cyberpunk that uses a gorgeous pixel-art aesthetic, harkening back to the glory days of adventure games in the ‘90s. With brilliant voice acting and a cast of eccentric characters perfect for the setting, it proves that the genre doesn’t need enormous budgets to tell a deep and mysterious story.

‘Knowledge is Power’ (Free, expires 11/6)

You claim to be the smartest person in your squad, but can you back up all that talk? With the PlayLink game Knowledge is Power, you and your opponents answer trivia questions via your mobile devices, and only the most encyclopedic minds will come out on top.

PlayStation Plus deals (Expires 10/2)

In addition to your free games, PlayStation Plus subscribers also receive exclusive discounts on other PlayStation 4 games. Currently, these include Darksiders: Fury’s Collection for $20 and Brawlout: Deluxe Edition for $21. Below are great deals you can grab this week.

Other deals and sales (Expires 10/2)

THQ Nordic offers huge discounts

In addition to games like Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition and Battle Chasters: Nightwar being on sale, THQ Nordic is also offering a huge number of its other published games at deep discounts through October 2. These include Red Faction: Guerilla Re-Mars-Tered for $21, the bizarre role-playing game Elex for $30, and Destroy All Humans! and Destroy All Humans! 2 for $7 each. Several other smaller games and racing titles are also available. Discounts are even better for PlayStation Plus subscribers.

Play ‘The Last of Us’ with a wealth of DLC ($10)

It’s 2018, and you still haven’t played The Last of Us? We’re not sure how that’s possible, but you can currently get the full The Last of Us Remastered game for just $10 on PSN. A bunch of extra downloadable goodies are also available, including the excellent Left Behind standalone expansion for just $5. It’s definitely worth playing the expansion, which is a prequel to the main game, in preparation for the Ellie-focused The Last of Us: Part II currently in the works.

Skip the Switch port on ‘Sine Mora EX’ and save huge ($6)

The inventive shoot-’em-up game Sine Mora EX is available on a ton of different systems, and it recently received a Nintendo Switch port. That version, however, will cost you $30, while the current PlayStation Store sale lets you get the game for just $6. If you have PlayStation Plus, you’ll get it for just $2 — that’s more than 93 percent cheaper than the Switch version!

https://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/best-playstation-plus-game-deals/

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Ultimate 'FIFA 19' preview: Best players, fastest and slowest, strongest and more

It's the end of September and that means only one thing in video games: It's time for the latest version of the FIFA franchise to hit our consoles and keep us occupied through the grim, snowy misery of winter.

FIFA 19 hits the stores/internet/whatever this Friday, a run that began with the first pixels hitting our Segas in 16-bit glory back in 1993.

Like those versions that came before, FIFA 19 is great fun. It's enhanced in subtle ways that move the game ever closer to realism but with enough familiarity that you can pick up a controller and dive right in without feeling bewildered. The inclusion of the Chinese Super League means you're now able to control the litany of stars who went there for astronomical sums over the past season or two. (Here's lookin' at you, Ezequiel Lavezzi.) Yet the Russian Premier League has vanished, leaving behind just CSKA Moscow, Lokomotiv Moscow and Spartak Moscow. You can't have it all.

Popular story mode The Journey has been enhanced and expanded to give you more opportunities to impact the future of not just Alex Hunter, as he moves to Real Madrid, but his younger sister (a budding U.S. national team striker) and his best friend from the academy days as he tries to establish himself in the Premier League. The pathways are more complicated for all three interconnected leads, making it a more immersive way to play the game than just league or tournament modes.

Another big add was a reinvention of the passing, ball control and shooting mechanics to leave more room for mastery and improvement that might set a seasoned player apart from a novice.

Finally, the officially licensed presence of UEFA's flagship competitions, the Champions League and the Europa League, is a delight. Each tournament mode carries the branded style right down to the typeface, score chyrons, the match ball and, yes, the official chaaaaaampioooooooons pre-game theme song is in here too. (The first time you play a CL fixture, you can't seem to skip ahead beyond the song so I hope you like it as much as I do.)

Consider this your official guide to all the nuances, changes, highs and lows. Oh, and it's great fun: If you're a super-fan of the FIFA franchise, it will tick all the boxes in your heart and keep the controller in your hands until the FIFA 20 demo drops next September. There's just enough enhancement and refinement to give life to a very familiar and comforting series.

Cristiano Ronaldo again graces the cover as FIFA 19 pushes the game even further than past editions. EA Sports

The Top 10 in the game

10. Toni Kroos, CM, Real Madrid (last year: 9)
9. David De Gea, GK, Man United (11)
8. Luis Suarez, ST, Barcelona (4)
7. Sergio Ramos, CB, Real Madrid (7)
6. Eden Hazard, LW, Chelsea (8)
5. Kevin De Bruyne, CAM, Manchester City (15)
4. Luka Modric, CM, Real Madrid (12)
3. Neymar, LW, Paris Saint-Germain (3)
2. Lionel Messi, CF, Barcelona (2)
1. Cristiano Ronaldo, ST, Juventus (1)

Whether playing a franchise mode or starting a FIFA Ultimate Teams (FUT) dynasty worthy of winning real-life tournaments, you'll want to make sure you've got at least one or two of the above. The ranking has changed a lot in the past year, with two players in particular soaring up the charts: Luka Modric, who's currently winning all the individual awards following a spectacular 12 months for club and country, and Kevin De Bruyne, who grew into his fullest potential as the fulcrum for Pep Guardiola's all-conquering and record-smashing City side in the Premier League.

The top three remain the same, though one has to wonder: Didn't Kylian Mbappe or Mo Salah do enough to crack the top 10? (They're ranked 42nd and 27th, respectively.)

The pass masters

Best passers: Kevin De Bruyne, CAM, Manchester City (92). Luka Modric, CM, Real Madrid (90). Toni Kroos, CM, Real Madrid; Christian Eriksen, CAM, Tottenham (89). Six players, including Lionel Messi, on 88.

Worst passers: Wang Yaopeng, CB, Dalian Yifang; George Ray, CB, Crewe Alexandra; Yoshiaki Fujita, CB, Jubilo Iwata (24). Chen Weiming, CB, Guangzhou R&F (25). Four players tied on 26.

The biggest improvements to FIFA 19 come in the passing and ball movement department, making accuracy a must when kickstarting attacks. It's not like FIFA games of old where you can turn any team into a dangerous bunch of one-touch passers: 19 is the most realistic yet when it comes to how players perform on the ball.

If you're facing one direction but want to lay it off to someone behind your player, it's fair to assume the ball will no longer ping to them perfectly, in stride, as if controlled by magnets. The players at the top end of the passing scale will be able to play a full gamut of long- and short-range passes via air or ground with more confidence, but it still requires forethought as to how you manage possession against the CPU or a friend. Moving the ball within your player's field of vision is the best bet if you want to ensure the killer through-ball finds a winger tearing into space.

Despite being a veteran of the franchise all the way back to 1993 (Della Savia, anyone?), it took me a few games to get a handle on where I wanted the ball to go vs. where it actually ended up.

Changes to the touch and control mechanics means that your player is no longer assured of keeping possession. Unless it's Kevin De Bruyne, of course. EA Sports

Running at light speed vs. stuck in the mud

The fastest: Adama Traore, RW, Wolves; Kylian Mbappe, RW, Paris Saint-Germain (96). Gareth Bale, RW, Real Madrid; Douglas Costa, LM, Juventus; Leroy Sane, LW, Manchester City; Jurgen Damm, RM, Tigres UANL (95). 13 players tied on 94.

The slowest: Aaron Hughes, CB, Heart of Midlothian (24). Frode Kippe, CB, Lillestrom SK; Jamie McCombe, CB, Lincoln City (25). Damien Delaney, CB, Cork City; Matt Rhead, ST, Lincoln City (27). Five players tied on 29.

Speed is still killer in FIFA 19 if you're a fan of the sprint button, but thanks to some tweaks and refinements to game play, it's no longer enough to just mash the controller and watch your player zoom off toward goal. However, the initial burst can be enough to make a difference and you'll note that the wing is where such gifts of acceleration can be found.

Defenders are smarter in how they track your runs and pursue you around the field when trying to kickstart upfield moves. It's no longer enough to simply punt it into space and out-run your markers, though raw pace can help you gain separation. Tweaks to the crossing mechanism become most obvious when you're at full speed: If you're off balance, the variation in cross pace and accuracy is much sharper compared with previous FIFA iterations. A good run is for nothing if you belt the square pass into the stands.

The converse of relentless pace down the flanks is a gaggle of leaden-footed central defenders. Don't attempt to play a high line and offside trap if you have any of the above in your starting XI.

The Journey mode is back with Alex Hunter grappling with life at Real Madrid, though his sister and his best friend also have significant storylines to pursue as well. EA Sports

Separating the strong from the weak

The strongest: Adebayo Akinfenwa, ST, Wycombe Wanderers (97). Tomas Chory, ST, Sigma Olomouc; Kendall Waston, CB, Vancouver Whitecaps (95); Romelu Lukaku, ST, Manchester United; Felipe Carvalho, CB, Valerrenga; Anderson Esiti, CDM, KAA Gent; Kalidou Koulibaly, CB, Napoli; Niklas Sule, CB, Bayern Munich; Kara Mbodji, CB, FC Nantes; Sebastian Coates, CB, Sporting CP (94).

The weakest: Ryo Miyaichi, RM, FC St. Pauli (30). Cesar Valenzuela, CAM, Huachipato; Patrik Karlsson Lagemyr, RW, IFK Goteborg; Bryan Mbuemo, LW, ESTAC Troyes; Jordan Young, ST, Swindon Town (32). Four players tied on 33.

Power can often be important in soccer. Do you win every aerial challenge? Are you a menace in possession and impossible to tackle? Can you bully just about anyone off the ball?

It's no surprise that Akinfenwa, the man they call "The Beast," tops the strength charts again given his remarkable physique and downright intimidating style of play. Unsurprisingly, there's a mixture of players at both ends of the pitch who have the tools to dominate: Depending on how the Champions League group stage goes, we could even see a Sule vs. Lukaku match-up in the knockouts, the ultimate test of immovable object vs. unstoppable force.

Luckily, there's a new range of quick tactical options added to FIFA 19 in case you find yourself out-matched. Building off the "quick sub" menu added to FIFA 18, whereby you could pre-arrange set substitutions or have the option to make a spur-of-the-moment change without pulling out of the game, there's a new range of quick shifts in formation and lineup that you can access mid-game. If something's not working, you can pull up your pre-set tactics and adjust to what your opponent is doing.

Outmatched in midfield? Adjust to add an extra body as the game's happening. Need more support at the back? Tweak the number of players in your defense or push a striker into a more withdrawn centre-forward role to help with retaining possession. It's yet another enhancement adding a layer of realism to proceedings so you can indulge your inner Pep Guardiola when it comes to shuffling the pieces on the pitch.

FIFA 19 brings even more realism and polish to the visuals, which is remarkable given how last year's edition saw a significant increase in quality. EA Sports

The five-star skill club

There's a select list of players in the game who boast the full five-star rating when it comes to skill on the ball. Capable of pulling off just about every trick, flick and bicycle kick imaginable, you want to look to these guys if you're trying to improve your team's showmanship. It's especially useful when receiving the ball in crowded areas: Poor control is more pronounced in FIFA 19 and will be punished accordingly.

Of course, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Philippe Coutinho are present, as well as Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and the inimitable Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It's not just attack where the flair can be found: Real Madrid's Marcelo also has the full complement of magic when in possession and is the only defender with five-star powers.

There's a glut of up-and-coming talent to aim for when building a team: Federico Bernardeschi of Juventus is worth grabbing but Omar Abdulrahman (Al-Hilal), Quincy Promes of Sevilla and Martin Odegaard (remember him, Madridistas?) are more realistic still if you're in a franchise mode but lacking the funds of an oligarch to take your team forward. And for anyone saying you can't find wizardry in the English lower leagues, League One Sunderland are repped on the skill front via elder statesman Aiden McGeady.

play

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Red Bulls' Robles & Davis showcase FIFA 19 skills

New York Red Bulls' Luis Robles and Sean Davis stopped by ESPN to square off in FIFA 19 and see how accurate their player ratings are in the game.

The best of MLS

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, ST, LA Galaxy (85). David Villa, ST, New York City FC; Sebastian Giovinco, CF, Toronto FC (82). Carlos Vela, RW, Los Angeles FC; Josef Martinez, ST, Atlanta United FC (81). Bastian Schweinsteiger, CM, Chicago Fire; Ignacio Piatti, LW, Montreal Impact; Wayne Rooney, ST, DC United; Miguel Almiron, CAM, Atlanta United FC; Diego Valeri, CAM, Portland Timbers (80).

Major League Soccer has a handful of players above the 80 rating threshold, though all of them are imported from other leagues. Still, it's nice to see emerging talent like the record-breaking Josef Martinez make the grade as he looks to finish what he started in the goal-scoring stakes. He famously smashed the longstanding record for goals in a single season back in late-August and currently sits on 30 with four regular-season games remaining.

Relax, you're in safe hands

Best hands: Jan Oblak, GK, Atletico Madrid (92). Thibaut Courtois, GK, Real Madrid (91). Manuel Neuer, GK, Bayern Munich (88). Gianluigi Buffon, GK, Paris Saint-Germain (87). Samir Handanovic, GK, Inter Milan (86).

Worst hands: Tim Schneider, GK, KFC Uerdingen 05; Keegan Smith, GK, Wellington Phoenix (44). Eight players tied on 45.

The ratings differentiating goalkeepers arguably have the widest spread when it comes to players sharing a particular number, and nowhere is this more clear than in the Handling stat. Mighty Jan Oblak leads his peers when it comes to catching and holding the ball, whether from set pieces, shots on goal or defending crosses. In short, does he catch or parry balls into the box?

The 47 Club

 

David Norman Jr., CM, Vancouver Whitecaps; Alec Byrne, CM, Cork City; Lee Watkins, CM, Cambridge United; Kieron Olsen, RB, Carlisle United; Noah Christoffersson, ST, Trelleborgs FF; Ma Junliang, CM, Guangzhou R&F; Zhang Yufeng, CM, Beijing Renhe; Alexander Kaltner, ST, SpVgg Unterhaching; Christoph Ehlich, RB, SpVgg Unterhaching; Josh Lundstram, CM, Crewe Alexandra; Kotaro Fujikawa, CM, Jubilo Iwata; Shandon Baptiste, CM, Oxford United; Jordan Young, ST, Swindon Town; Pierce Phillips, CM, Cork City

Of course, there is fresh life beneath the rarified air of the top players. There are 14 players who qualify for the hallowed "47 Club," those unlucky enough to be bestowed with the lowest OVR rating in the game. Cork City, of the Rep. Ireland Airtricity League, and third-tier German side SpVgg Unterhaching have the dubious honor of having two players each in this hallowed club.

And finally, the Golden Hoof Award

Lincoln City center-back Jamie McCombe wins this prize for having the lowest dribble ability in the entire game. With a 24 rating, it's best just to ask him to punt it immediately upon receiving possession.http://kwese.espn.com/football/blog/espn-fc-united/68/post/3645558/ultimate-fifa-19-preview-best-playersfastest-and-sloweststrongest-and-more

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Kingdom Hearts 3 put me inside the Toy Story toy box - and it feels like home.

There’s a special place in our hearts for Disney. Whether it’s because Disney films remind us of family trips to the cinema and Happy Meal toys or provide a comforting blanket on days off sick, there’s something about the brand that has seeped into our subconscious as something heartwarming.

That’s perhaps why the Kingdom Hearts franchise has appealed to so many - providing an opportunity to interact with these characters we feel we know so well in the worlds we’ve seen a thousand times. It’s also why fans, such as myself, were so excited to see the upcoming Kingdom Hearts 3 will explore worlds the franchise hasn’t visited before including those of Toy Story, Big Hero 6 and Monsters Inc.

We got some hands on time with Kingdom Hearts 3’s Toy Box world at EGX 2018, here’s what we thought.

Playtime's over

Toy Story’s Toy Box world opens with Woody, Buzz and the gang fretting over the disappearance of Andy, his mom and their fellow toys by creatures we know to be the Heartless. Queue protagonist Sora and his sidekicks Donald Duck and Goofy to save the day, who have been transformed into toys and have been hunting down the evil Organization and the heartless minions across various worlds.

What’s immediately striking is the world and character’s resemblance to their film counterparts - it would be difficult to tell them apart. Similarly Andy’s room is an exact replica, right down to the watch clock and cowboy drawings on the wall and the rocket ship bed covers - it instantly feels as though you are somewhere familiar.

It probably helps that most of the voices are recognizable rather than clear knock offs (like when Kermit the Frog’s voice went rogue after the death of Jim Henson). While Tim Allen and Tom Hanks did not return to voice Buzz and Woody in Kingdom Hearts 3, John Ratzenberger continues to voice Hamm and Wallace Shawn is back as Rex. 

After a fairly long cutscene which sees the Toy Story crew meeting Sora and friends, we set off as Sora on a mission to find out where everyone went. 

Mecano(ics)

Mechanically the combat hasn’t changed hugely from the previous core games in the series, with Sora mixing strong or fast melee keyblade combat with magic abilities such as Blizzard.  There's also various keyblades to unlock which each possess their own benefits and/or drawbacks.

However, there is now the opportunity to use special moves which often integrate characters from that world or well-known Disneyland rides. For example, there’s a special rocket move which sees Sora, Buzz and Woody riding a rocket (like in the final exciting scene of the first Toy Story film) through Heartless. 

After jumping out of Andy’s window and trolling the neighborhood for signs of him and the toys, while battling through the various Heartless blocking your path, it’s decided that perhaps the Galaxy toy store is the best place to check. As per Kingdom Hearts, nothing is quite as simple as that.

After arriving at the toy store, the group of adventurers are greeted by a member of the Organization who unleashes a merry band of robots to stop you in your tracks. Luckily, there’s a spare robot mech lying around for Sora to jump into in order to fend off the unfriendly foes. 

After the battle, you continue to work your way through the three-story toy store in pursuit of the Organization - only to be met with a fairly dark and un-Pixar ending.

Practically perfect

As a diehard Kingdom Hearts fan, there were always going to be fears over whether the latest addition to the franchise would capture that same spark that made the others so special. 

The sheer excitement we experienced throughout the demo built as we played the Toy Box, and it only grew with each swipe of the keyblade and fantastical cutscene. Kingdom Hearts 3 is like coming home and it's a happy return.

Kingdom Hearts 3 will be released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 29 2019.

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16 best co-op games you can play on PS4, Xbox One and PC

Co-op gaming on the couch or over the coax

While gaming makes for a great solo hobby, there are some titles that are actually improved by playing with someone else. Not against them, with them. 

Whether you're teaming up to take down zombies, or solve puzzles or square up to another team of real-life gamers, co-op games are a great opportunity to create some lasting memories.

The best thing about co-op play these days is that more often than not you have the choice between local and co-op play. Getting all your friends gathered round the one TV is great, but if that's not possible you at least have the opportunity to round them up online.

It doesn't matter whether you're playing on a PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch or PC, there's something here for everyone. 

Here are 20 awesome co-op games that you should be playing now locally or online with your buddies at hand.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

https://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/the-best-co-op-games-you-can-play-on-pc-and-consoles-1319229

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider review: a fitting end to Lara Croft’s redemptive reboot

High emotions, high stakes, high ledges – Shadow of the Tomb Raider ties up a three-game story arc that looked to reinvent one of the most influential characters in video game history, without ditching everything that actually makes the Tomb Raider series fun.

Crystal Dynamics’ 2013 Tomb Raider reboot put Lara Croft back to square one, with none of the cool confidence we’d come to expect of the character. This was a capable, yet vulnerable explorer doing her best just to survive, let alone save the world from evil paramilitary organizations - though she naturally ended up doing both.

Three years after a follow-up sequel, Shadow of the the Tomb Raider (Xbox One, PS4, and PC) sends Lara to Latin America in pursuit of a Mayan artifact hunted by her late father. Cue plenty of tombs, some big realizations about her family’s past, and a genuine Mayan apocalypse to boot.

The end of the trilogy is as concerned about Lara’s personal growth as it is the natural disasters afflicting the places she visits – Mexico, Peru, and the lost Incan city of Paititi – but with some terrific platforming and a host of new traversal mechanics shaking things up. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was intended as the game where Lara ‘becomes the Tomb Raider she was meant to be’, and her skillset has been upgraded accordingly.

So how did it play? Having ploughed through the roughly 12-hour campaign, we can confirm this is an end deserving of its predecessors.

Lights, camera, action

From the outset of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, you’re attempting to evade and outwit the power-hungry Trinity organization and its charismatic leader Dominguez, chased through a number of Mayan and Incan ruins in classic Tomb Raider style.

Camilla Luddington is back as Lara, with stellar voice work from both her and returning co-star Earl Baylon, who plays her loyal companion Jonah. Their relationship is a real bedrock to the action, and provides plenty of emotional heft in the game’s recurring cutscenes. 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is explicitly ‘cinematic’, to the point where it doesn’t always tell you whether you should still be pressing buttons or just watching the action unfold. But the animation is winningly realistic, from the crumbling stone cliffs to the coiled muscles of the jaguars hunting you in the jungle, and you’ll be in awe of the endless vistas and set pieces tying the levels together.

There’s been a clearly huge amount of resources put into animating Lara’s hair and facial expressions, even if her commercial-ready ‘do stands out when she’s otherwise covered in dirt and blood. 

Climbing for dear life

Whether you’re playing primarily for the exploration, the puzzles, or the combat, Shadow of the Tomb Raider delivers on all fronts - with a new scalable difficulty setting for all three areas of gameplay.

If you want to rush through Trinity’s goons and spend your time mulling over physics-based puzzles in a lost peruvian city, or master your gunplay without having to figure out the route ahead, you’re in full control of how much assistance the game gives you, if any.

The puzzles in Shadow of the Tomb Raider are as smart as ever, and the interlocking parts of each mechanical chamber are satisfying to navigate even if you’re playing through with full ‘white ledge’ signposting showing you where to go. Lara will occasionally mutter the aim of each chamber if you’re having trouble figuring it out, while on the right difficulty her ‘survival instincts’ will highlight important objects for the task ahead. It means you’re never dumped in a chamber with no explanation or support, while never feeling like it’s spoonfeeding you, either.

Challenge Tombs return in style, with plenty of optional areas scattered throughout the game. You’ll often have to go out of your way to find them, but they offer some suitably challenging puzzles and breathtaking level design, all while expanding the mythology and scale of your world you’re in.

When it comes to exploration, there’s plenty of variety to keep you busy. The setting is somewhat… warmer than Rise of the Tomb Raider’s trek through Siberia. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is more concerned with volcanos and jungles than frozen wastes, and the result is a lush environment teeming with life, from birds and croaking frogs to the game’s populated city hubs, full of people going about their days. 

There are plenty of side missions and collection quests as usual, which – like the Challenge Tombs – remain optional, and can either flesh out the story as you go or add an incentive to retread old areas after you’ve finished the bulk of the game.

There are also two key dimensions added to traversal in the game. The first is underwater, with flooded passageways and caverns proving unexpectedly nail-biting – Lara can only hold her breath for so long, and attempting to dodge piranhas while occasionally popping up for air led to some of the game’s tensest moments.

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The second is your grappling rope. In addition to clambering over cliff faces with your trusty climbing axe, you can now rappel down into caverns and swing on ropes to get across platforms. It adds a whole new verticality to the platforming, and throwing your grappling hook mid-air in the Peruvian jungle feels thrilling, if a bit imprecise at times.

In true Mayan apocalypse style, you’ll be trying to find your feet against a backdrop of floods, earthquakes, and cataclysms, and the game’s real highlights are when the ground is literally breaking beneath you, forcing you into rapid jumps and movements without the luxury of forethought.

Prey and predators

One thing that really marked out the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot was seeing Lara Croft not as a badass action hero, but a resilient survivor in the face of both natural and supernatural danger. By the time you’ve got to Shadow of the Tomb Raider, you know your way around a weapon, but there’s still a terse sense of danger around what the jungle may hold. 

 

Whether you’re fighting off jaguars or giant eels – or other chilling enemies we won’t spoil for you – the game uses suspense masterfully, giving Lara a brief glimpse of her foes in the distance often long before you face them in combat, often with no indicator of when that will be.

Lara is clearly a survivor, but the game is careful never to let you feel too in control of any situation. Ledges are just at the limit of your reach, ladders break apart in your hands, and each combat encounter feels like a near brush with death. Lara is hanging on by her fingernails – often literally – and the game’s snake pits, spear traps, and flooded passageways are always eager to remind you of that.

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Developer duties for Shadow of the Tomb Raider were somewhat shared between Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal – the latter bringing their more stealth-focused experience from games like 2014’s Thief or the recent Deus Ex games to bear. And the new influences are clear, while still feeling like the same Lara from previous games. 

The slow-moving stealth sections offer a welcome break from more high-octane sequences, with more in common with Predator or Rambo than the Indiana Jones films that Tomb Raider is so clearly in debt to. You’ll be plastering yourself in mud to scurry around undetected, and only a certain amount of bloodletting is mandatory – though taking out every enemy one-by-one is still the simplest way to get through any level.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider really tries to interrogate the game’s violence, with Lara often reminded of her own rising bodycount even as she tries to save others from execution at the hands of Trinity’s cultists. As the game progresses, however, the disjunct between gunning down henchmen and softly weeping about it at your campsite gets more and more pronounced.

For all its interlocking puzzles and smart platforming, this is an action game, and it’s prone to leaning on generic gunplay for the story’s key pressure points and boss fights.

Worst tourist ever

Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal certainly haven’t been deaf to the usual criticisms of Tomb Raider’s tokenistic use of ‘exotic’ environments as a backdrop for white adventurers, traditionally left in even more ruins by players’ run-and-gun through centuries’ old tombs and crypts.

In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, characters openly criticize your disregard for sacred tombs and objects, while there are some unintended consequences to Lara’s dogged pursuit of one particular Mayan artifact early in the game. This is a Tomb Raider entry that looks critically at the tropes of its franchise, and there is a seed of something quite radical in it, even if it prefers to point out something problematic rather than actually fix it (one scene that literally sees Lara worshipped by 'savages' somehow managed to make the cut).

The rebooted trilogy has however clearly attempted to engage more with the cultures and people Lara visits, with a dedicated team of cultural consultants in development – even if the educational value of collectible artifacts and Mayan monoliths are geared towards completionists rather than budding historians. 

Alongside the usual language and subtitling options, players can also now switch in an ‘Immersion Mode’, where background characters speak in their native tongue instead of your own preset language. And the care put into the bustle of a small market town in Peru, or the wandering inhabitants of a lost Mayan city, ensures a more thoughtful awareness of the cultures you stumble upon, with missions that make you engage with the inhabitants instead of just running-and-gunning past them.

All the signs point to a franchise that is growing alongside its lead character – Shadow of the Tomb Raider is perhaps the most mature entry in the series, and one that doesn’t forget to make a thrilling and varied blockbuster game in the process.

Our verdict: Play It Now

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider marks the end of a worthy trilogy, one that put in the hard graft to develop Lara’s character and emotional journey, against the usual confines of an AAA action game. It interrogates the series’ legacy perhaps more than any other installment, even if it doesn’t have the resolve to answer all of the difficult questions it raises.

The main story can be bashed through in around 12 hours, if you’re not stopping to pick flowers or check out the challenge tombs and side missions along the way – but that’s only about half of the content on offer. There’s plenty of motivation for retreading previously explored areas with your late-game equipment and abilities, and the Challenge Tombs are satisfying additions to the main meat of the game (with another seven available for those who invest in the game’s Season Pass DLC).

The platforming and traversal mechanics here are really spectacular, while the customizable difficulty settings make this a truly accessible entry point for the series – even if we recommend playing through the whole trilogy to get the best sense of where Lara Croft has come from.

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Best PS4 games 2018: 31 essential PlayStation 4 releases

Best PS4 Games

The Sony PlayStation 4 really is one incredible console - and possible Sony’s greatest achievement to date. 

That’s because it’s got more apps and features than any other gaming console, it’s capable of showing you incredible gameplay and entertainment thanks to the visual prowess of both 4K UHD and HDR and it boasts some of the greatest games ever to have graced a Sony console. 

At the end of 2017, it was revealed that more than 73 million users worldwide had bought a PS4, and now we’re nearly 9 months on that figure will likely be significantly higher. 

In comparison, sales of the Xbox One were believed to be around the 30 million mark at the same time, though that hasn't been officially confirmed. 

Although there’s a lot to love about the PS4, a huge part of the console’s success has been due to the exclusive games that Sony has brought to it. 

For example, it’s the only console on the market with the likes of Spider-ManHorizon: Zero Dawn, Shadow of the Colossus and God of War, all of which are available right now, and games like The Last of Us Part 2Death Stranding andGhost of Tsushima that are all expected to be released over the next few years.

But although Sony has found continued success with its first-party franchises, let's not forget the fantastic games from the likes of EA, Ubisoft and Epic Games that are available to play on the console as well, all of which contribute to the PS4's monumental game catalogue.

With that said, whether you're lording it over your mates with the premium 4KPS4 Pro, or happily fragging away with an original PS4 until the PS5 launches, there really is something for everyone on Sony's system. 

So, to help you sort out which games are worth your while, we've compiled a list of the best and newest games on the PS4 – a round-up of the 31 best games on PS4. We've done our best to include something from every genre, from AAA down to indie gems and have posted our findings here for you to enjoy. 

Should you not find something to binge here today, check back in with us in a few weeks – with every new release we're updating and revising our choices! 

Trying to decide which PS4 set-up to get? Watch Jon and Gerald discuss the differences between the PS4, PS4 Pro and PS4 VR.

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Determination

Football keeps on trending each and everyday. Football raise good leaders and personality 

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This Spider-Man PS4 Freebie Is Available For A Very Limited Time (US Only)

To celebrate the launch of Insomniac's Spider-Man on September 7, Sony is offering a free Spider-Man theme for PlayStation 4. It's a static theme that features a Marko Djurdjevic-illustrated image of Spidey swinging into battle against Rhino and Scorpion. It's set against music from the game and gives all of the PS4 system icons a Spider-Man pattern. Make sure to claim the freebie soon, because the offer ends right when the game launches.

To get your free theme, visit the launch countdown page for Spider-Man, scroll down, and click "Claim Reward." A window will pop up with a code you can bring to the PlayStation Store to redeem. Once you do that, you can select it from the Themes section of the settings menu. Now Spider-Man is slinging webs on your PS4's home screen.

This Spider-Man PS4 Freebie Is Available For A Very Limited Time (US Only) Slinging webs and taking names. Last updated by Chris Reed on September 5, 2018 at 1:44PM Now Playing: Marvel's Spider-Man Review Marvel's Spider-Man Marvel's Spider-Man Follow To celebrate the launch of Insomniac's Spider-Man on September 7, Sony is offering a free Spider-Man theme for PlayStation 4. It's a static theme that features a Marko Djurdjevic-illustrated image of Spidey swinging into battle against Rhino and Scorpion. It's set against music from the game and gives all of the PS4 system icons a Spider-Man pattern. Make sure to claim the freebie soon, because the offer ends right when the game launches. To get your free theme, visit the launch countdown page for Spider-Man, scroll down, and click "Claim Reward." A window will pop up with a code you can bring to the PlayStation Store to redeem. Once you do that, you can select it from the Themes section of the settings menu. Now Spider-Man is slinging webs on your PS4's home screen. Sony is going all-out to market this PS4-exclusive game. You can also pick up a limited edition Spider-Man PS4 Pro bundle for $400--if you can find it in stock. Take a look at our Spider-Man pre-order guide for details.

And don't forget to check out our Spider-Man review. Critic Edmond Tran wrote, "The feeling of embodying Spidey and using his abilities is astonishing, and the time spent on exploring its major characters help make its story feel heartfelt, despite superhero bombast. There have been open-world Spider-Man games before, but none so riveting and full of personality, none that explore and do justice to this many facets of the universe."

 

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Anthem Demo Coming To PS4, Xbox One, And PC In February

EA has announced that it will make a "VIP demo" for BioWare's Anthem available to EA/Origin Access subscribers on Xbox One and PC, respectively on February 1, 2019. The demo also be available to pre-order customers, which opens the door for PS4 players to get in on the action.

The announcement was made during the studio's PAX West Panel. Anthem lead producer Mike Gamble said the demo is not "a tech test or a beta looking for feedback" and is instead a "slice of our game."

EA has confirmed the Anthem release date as February 22, 2019. The game is a sci-fi action RPG that casts players as Freelancers, who are soldiers that are equipped with Javelins. These super high-tech Iron Man-like suits allow players to fly around environments and engage with enemies while completing quests either alone or with others.

Anthem gameplay was last shown at E3 (watch video of that showing above). However, following the show executive producer Mark Darrah answered questions from fans about the game. During the Twitter Q&As Darrah discussed loadouts, customization of Javelins, weapons, equipment, and more. You can read about all these Anthem gameplay details in our previous coverage.

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Athletics

Ronnie Baker: American sprinter sets fastest 100m time of season

 

American sprinter Ronnie Baker set the fastest 100m time of the season by clocking 9.87 seconds to win at the Chorzow meeting in Poland.

It meant the 24-year-old lowered his personal best, as well as the season's best of 9.88 he shared with compatriot Noah Lyles.

His time also eclipsed Usain Bolt's previous meeting record of 9.98, which was set in 2014.

"I felt ready," said the world indoor 60m bronze medallist.

Baker will have the opportunity to win the Diamond League title in Brussels on 31 August.

He triumphed over 100m in the Rome, Paris and London legs to lead the standings going into the final.

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