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There’s a blacksmith, toiling away in the markets of the capital of Nava, who thinks making swords is boring. Why create something, she argues, when death is its only use? She’d rather make a kettle any day of the week. So I bought her kettle, and now I can brew all kinds of delicious, and at times mysterious, tea whenever I hole up and camp in the wilderness. And I still haven’t found a sword.

Eastshade is a non-violent, first-person adventure game set in a rolling open world full of quests. Imagine an Elder Scrolls game was an old boot, and you picked it up, turned it upside down and shook it until all the combat and magic and loot, every orc and dragon and bandit fell out. Then you took a shoehorn and eased a walking simulator inside the wrinkled leather before setting off on a delightful stroll across the countryside. Eastshade is just about the loveliest, prettiest, and just bloody nicest game I’ve played in years.

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You play an artist, recently shipwrecked in Eastshade near the small coastal village of Lyndor. After a kind chap finds you on the beach and lets you rest in his cozy cave until you recover, you resume your journey to visit and then paint your just-passed mother’s favorite places in Eastshade. It’s a simple setup, paying tribute to a lost loved one, and it’s indicative of the kind of sincere, touching gestures you’ll carry out over the course of the game.

The flow of Eastshade will be familiar to anyone who has played an open-world RPG in recent years. You speak to NPCs, at first enquiring about the local history and points of interest before delving into something more personal and finally unlocking a unique quest. A child and aspiring painter asks you to help her acquire some art supplies. A smitten merchant wants some advice on how she should pursue her romantic interest. A park ranger needs your assistance in catching and caring for an injured waterfox. Not everyone has a story to tell–there are plenty of mute, generic NPCs filling the streets–but the ones you do meet almost always open up to you in the sweetest of ways.

Most quests involve tracking down the next person in the quest chain or venturing afar to find a particular item. Some, however, require your talents as an artist. Indeed, it seems that once an Eastshadian discovers you can paint, they’re quick to realize how much they’d really like some oil on canvas hanging over the fireplace. One keen art-lover asked me to paint him a picture of a chicken, so I made my way over the markets where I’d earlier spied some chickens nestling among the hay, set down my easel and painted the perfect poultry portrait.

The act of painting itself isn’t simulated in any way. You simply use the mouse to drag a frame across the screen. Anything within that frame is then captured, rendered in a painterly style, and reproduced on the canvas. In essence, you’re taking screenshots. As such there’s much pleasure to be had in framing your subject, as anyone who has unearthed the joys of a game’s photo mode can attest. I was asked by a particularly pompous villager to paint his portrait, and fully capture all his self-described nobility and heroism. He was sitting in a tavern at the time, next to a huge fireplace whose chimney stretched to the double-story ceiling, so I framed him as this tiny figure dwarfed by the imposing stone furnace. He was grateful, of course–I’m sure the game logic merely checks if the required subject is in the frame–but I found it extremely satisfying.

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At a certain point you will also gain the ability to register with another local artist and begin taking commissions to earn glowstones, the local currency. It functions much like a job board: you check in, accept the gig, then return later with the finished painting and collect your cash. Each commission gives you a description of the type of painting desired and it’s up to you to figure out where you need to go and what you need to include in the frame. Some are easy to identify, like a specific request for a windmill, but you may have no idea where to find it. Others are more vague, like a “starry cavern” or a “natural arch.” Either way, it’s enjoyable to have your memory of the landscape tested as you struggle to recall elements of the terrain.

Sometimes you won’t have a spare canvas to paint on, meaning you’ll have to obtain the materials necessary to craft a new canvas. Fortunately, there are wooden boards and piles of cloth lying around the various towns and villages, and NPCs don’t seem to mind at all if you walk into their homes and grab some. It’s a good idea to thoroughly explore every area and collect any such craftable materials as there doesn’t seem to be any limit on how much you can carry. I found I typically had enough canvases to complete quest-critical paintings, but if I’d wanted to paint for fun, as it were, I would have had to tediously wait for previously collected materials to respawn or spend my hard-earned glowstones to buy them.

Money’s tight, you see, and there are other things worth purchasing. This isn’t an RPG, so you won’t be selling loot to finance your endeavors–though there is a sort of joke merchant who will buy anything off you for the princely sum of one glowstone. However, there are items you will need in order to access new areas of the world. A coat, for example, lets you continue to explore the countryside during the cold nights, while a tent lets you camp outdoors overnight or simply rest for a while if you need to meet someone at a certain time of day.

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You’ll find yourself walking a fine line between securing what you need to complete your current tasks and saving up to afford what you need to unlock new quest possibilities. I remember standing in the markets and agonizing over whether to spend what little money I had on a fishing rod (because one quest wanted me to catch a particular type of fish) or a kettle (because my pockets were already bursting with all different kinds of plants and herbs). It was a genuinely stressful moment in a game otherwise conducted entirely in serene contemplation.

Eastshade is a slow game. There’s an awful lot of walking, or running once you realize there’s the option, and you’ll spend almost all your time trekking back and forth between villages or strolling across town from one shop to the next, ferrying this item to that person and hoping to speak to so-and-so about this-and-that. It would quickly grow tiresome were it not for the dinky penny-farthing bicycle you can buy and the presence of craftable fast travel items, and more importantly, the immense natural beauty found in every corner, along every path, and over every crest of the world.

Indeed, Eastshade is a slow game that moves at just the right pace. From the warm, golden sunlight filtering through the dense canopy of the Great Tree to the pools of water on the terrace farms that skirt the city glittering in the morning light, you’ll constantly find yourself stopping to catch your breath. Even after treading the same cobbled road a dozen or more times, hours later I would still find myself admiring the scenery, expansive vistas and minute details alike.

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The pace perfectly complements your actions, too. This is a game about taking your time and paying attention to the environment through which you’re moving. You have a quest log and a map of the land, but there are no quest markers or waypoints telling you where to go. You have to read the lay of the land and remember details of where you’ve been. As you travel, the geographical contours of the world gradually become imprinted in your mind until you could paint them almost from memory alone. Almost.

By giving you a paintbrush (and a kettle) instead of a sword, Eastshade is a rare first-person open world game that’s not about killing but rather about doing good deeds, helping people see the error of their ways, and bringing communities together all through the power of art. It’s a breath of fresh Eastshadian air and a genuine, unironic feel-good game. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put the kettle on.

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Uploaded on: 15 Feb , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Far Cry New Dawn Review Screens

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release: February 15, 2019
Rating: Mature
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Also on:
Xbox One, PC

Far Cry fans are no strangers to visiting exotic locales, but New Dawn’s vibrant post-apocalyptic setting promised to introduce some drastic changes to the aging series. While the neon-hued flora and mutated fauna successfully shake up the landscape, the superficial progression changes and formulaic story do little to accentuate this new coat of paint.

If you’re a longtime fan who is simply looking for more Far Cry, let me save you some time: New Dawn delivers all of the enemy-laden outposts, gory stealth kills, manic co-op, and compulsive item collecting that you’re used to, and the gunplay is still rock-solid. This entry is still fun, but if you’re looking for a game that moves the formula forward in interesting ways, New Dawn’s changes rack up more misses than hits.

Far Cry New Dawn Review Screens

Set nearly two decades after the collapse of society that was prophesized by Far Cry 5 antagonist Joseph Seed, New Dawn focuses on a handful of survivors trying to rebuild a community in a makeshift base called Prosperity. Unfortunately, Prosperity’s success quickly garners the unwanted attention of twin sisters Mickey and Lou, who control Hope County with an army of appropriately post-apocalyptic misfits. Your job, as a good Samaritan with impeccable marksman skills, is a familiar one: wrestle control of the region back, one outpost and side activity at a time.

Far Cry narratives have had their ups and downs over the years, but New Dawn’s story just feels creatively bankrupt. Unlike previous Far Cry antagonists, Mickey and Lou are irredeemably one-dimensional, their Very Bad personalities hinging on a solitary anecdote from their childhoods. Their delivery is equally formulaic – you can expect the usual philosophical monologuing (though mercifully less frequent than Far Cry 5), the random displays of “shocking” violence in cutscenes, and the post-mission radio taunts that are never really explained how or why you’re hearing them. 

Far Cry New Dawn Review Screens

New Dawn’s story missions also feel overly familiar, and at times downright perfunctory. The gunner seat sequence, the hallucination sequence, the arena fight sequence – they are all here, and provoke little more than a sense of déjà vu. Thankfully, the majority of your time is still spent exploring the world and taking down outposts, which remains a challenging and satisfying hook that propels along the experience, as do some memorable side missions. It is a testament to the series’ strong backbone that even without a lot of new bells and whistles, I still enjoyed the majority of my time with New Dawn.

This was also true of one new addition to the familiar side activities, expeditions. These discrete side missions ferry you off to smaller locations to nab a bag of valuable resources. Functionally, expeditions begin like outpost takeovers but end with a mad dash to an extraction point with hordes of enemies on your tail. They are a solid addition to the Far Cry formula, and I appreciate the variety they offer. Both expeditions and outpost missions can now be reset at a higher difficulty level for more lucrative rewards. This introduces an intriguing push-your-luck element to replaying missions, but I wish the added challenge didn’t just boil down to enemies with bigger HP bars and more shields.

Far Cry New Dawn Review Screens

New Dawn completely rejiggers the series’ progression systems, but the changes end up being a wash. A new leveling system offers a few color-coded tiers of weapons and enemies, but the higher-level foes only sport more brawn, not brains – your best bet is still to pick them off with silenced shots or stealthy close-quarter takedowns. The new crafting system and base upgrades are a new way of serving up the same old unlocks: upgrade the garage to spawn new vehicles, upgrade the infirmary to increase your health, etc. The crafting system works fine, but the actual weapons and items you’re crafting aren’t particularly exciting.

This is doubly true for how New Dawn handles ability unlocks. Skill points are now doled out for specific challenges, like killing five enemies with a bow, distracting three guards with rocks, and hunting three deer. I enjoyed the open-ended nature that challenges provide, and they helped nudge me out of the usual gameplay rut by encouraging the use of different weapons. However, the actual abilities you can unlock are positively dismal, making you sink numerous points into mundane options like unlocking binoculars, increasing your breathing capacity, and the ability to repair vehicles. A few late-game perks offer some interesting twists, but are too little and come too late.

Far Cry New Dawn Review Screens

All of the progression changes in New Dawn feel like they serve a dark master: microtransactions, which are front and center in the crafting menu. Need more components to upgrade a weapon? Buy a components pack! Can’t wait to unlock that fancy new car? Buy it with Far Cry coins instead! You can even buy extra skill points with money. The in-game economy is more dystopian than anything you find in New Dawn’s irradiated landscape, and even though you can see and do everything the game has to offer with time and patience, the continual reminders that you can skip the grind for a few more bucks just feels gross.

The core formula of this series holds up, but New Dawn struggles to make worthwhile contributions to it. Beyond the expedition missions, little about New Dawn actually feels new, and the only interesting narrative threads are the tie-ins to Far Cry 5. When all the best parts of a new game are the old parts, it’s hard to be excited about what comes next.

Click here to watch embedded media

Score: 7

Summary: While the neon-hued flora and mutated fauna successfully shake up the landscape, the superficial progression changes and formulaic story do little to accentuate this new coat of paint.

Concept: Return to Far Cry 5’s Hope County decades after a nuclear holocaust has transformed the world

Graphics: New Dawn adds plenty of hot pink to the landscape, but the post-apocalyptic motif is still well-trodden territory

Sound: Save from your silent protagonist, New Dawn’s cast turns in solid voice performances

Playability: Far Cry’s core mix of stealthy takedowns and run-and-gun action hasn’t changed much over the years, for better and worse

Entertainment: Superficial shakeups leave New Dawn feeling familiar to a fault for longtime Far Cry fans, but the gunplay is still satisfying

Replay: Moderately Low

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Uploaded on: 14 Feb , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Rockstar Games is said to be working on next-generation projects, and the company will do so without veteran Jeronimo Barrera, who worked on almost every game the studio put out over the past 20 years. Barrera left Rockstar in mid-December, and he gave an exit interview of sorts to Variety. He said he left Rockstar after the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 because it felt like a “natural progression” to step away after the western came out.

“I looked at what I would be doing for the next few years if I stayed on and where I was in life with my family, my kids, my desire to make cool s**t. I felt like it was hitting all of the right points,” he explained.

In his role as vice president of product development at Rockstar, Barrera said he was in charge of “steering the ship in the right direction.” He also contributed to the effort that saw Rockstar’s studio around the world come together to work together on single games instead of their own projects.

“I thought it was the best decision ever to get everybody on board to centralize the technology and the pipelines,” he explained. “It was a natural move and we were making sure that we had all of our best efforts making the best game possible. Not needing to reinvent the wheel every time.”

As for what he’ll do next, Barrera wouldn’t say, but he spoke about how the video game industry is in the midst of a “new game” where technology is advancing at a rapid clip.

“If I had stayed at Rockstar it would have been more GTAs, more RDRs and less of this other stuff going on out there right now,” he said.

You can read the full interview here at Variety.

Barrera leaves Rockstar on a high note. Red Dead Redemption 2, which is Rockstar’s most recently release, was a critical darling and it’s shipped an astonishing 23 million copies so far.

Rockstar doesn’t have any future games announced, but the company is hiring for next-generation projects. Additionally, the company also has some ideas for GTA 6, but no announcements have been made yet.

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Uploaded on: 13 Feb , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

On a rainy late afternoon in San Mateo, CA,  Game Informer sat down with Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios chairman, Shawn Layden. Dressed sharply and with a charming grin, he made a telling observation just before our interview. The chairs were beautiful, but just didn’t quite fit his stature, and he opted for the conference table for us to chat. 

I thought the choice represented Sony Interactive Entertainment lately. Yes, there are plenty of things going on in games, from the success of Switch to the Battle Royale craze that brands have been chasing to compete in throughout the industry, but Sony has stuck to what it does best: Solid hardware coupled with the games that focus on single-player experiences or trying to push the boundaries on what games can be, from VR to Dreams.

Know yourself and know what you like – and after our talk, it was easy to tell that Shawn Layden’s long history with the company (he has been with the interactive group since 1996) has taught him to lean into what he knows. He also needs to make sure he is taking a few chances, even though he didn’t want to take a chance with the ill-fitting couch and chairs.

Game Informer: Games are always changing. You guys have done an amazing job of innovating, and there was even a time when people were saying single-player games are dead, and you said, “That’s cute…”

Shawn Layden: Hold my beer.

Do you see multiplayer, games-as-service – things you have not done historically – do you think you need to open up Worldwide Studios to these types of games?

I think we have to do both. That’s not a cop-out. I think we have set the high-water mark for being the best in long-form narrative gaming. We have some of the best storytellers in the business working on Worldwide Studios projects, whether that’s Sucker Punch or the team at Bend working on Days Gone, and of course Naughty Dog and Santa Monica Studios. I think that’s a super strength of ours. I was very happy to see that three of the five of the game of the year nominees are Worldwide Studios games.

Spider-Man is phenomenal, as well.

I was happy to see Detroit get some love because that’s a very complex game, certainly from the development side of things the team at Quantic put their heart and souls into that game. They’re the only team in the world that can do that branching narrative story design. To have their team recognized, as well, was pretty validating for us. To know that the choices we’re making to lean heavily into stories and narrative and to create worlds where people will lose themselves in the story of another person or culture or an environment? We’re very proud of that. We will continue to execute our franchises on that.

As far as games-as-service and esports, or recurring revenue models or whatever – if we can do something interesting and meaningful in those areas, we’ll do it. If we were going to partner with another team in some capacity to deliver, again, something interesting and meaningful, we’ll be there and we’ll do it. It’s not that we’re not interested in those areas, it’s just an area we haven’t historically performed very well. If I were Peter Guber, no sooner would I go to the Golden State Warriors and say, “So you guys have won a lot of world championships, but can you play baseball? Sport is sports, right!“ But if there are new teams that have something we can associate with, then certainly. We want to push the boundaries in all the different areas of gaming. It’s important for us to do that.

When you look at gaming and where games are going, there are a lot of versions of that. There are those saying I am going to give you a dongle on a controller and you’re going to stream all the greatest games in the world, and we’re going to engage the gamer with subscriptions moving forward. There are a lot of options. What do you think the future of gaming holds? How do we find ourselves engaged in gaming in the future? Is it a console? Is it apps on our phone or PC? It is all of those things?

It is all of the above. When I began my journey in gaming, even if we just limit it to the PlayStation experience, it was still pretty much, if not niche then, well… it was not a mainstream activity. It was something you associated with young children or teenagers doing, but certainly not by the time you go to college. “Dude, you’ve got a record player – why would you need the game console?” People would actually evaporate away from it. That has changed so much in our time in this space. You hear proper mainstream press talking about music, movies, games. We’ve gone from being the third cousin in entertainment to being one of the three bright stars. Arguably, depending on how you do the math, the largest one from impact on a financial basis. The fact of the matter is, it’s so changed that there used to be a time where we were recruiting people in gaming and by and large they all came from game companies, but now we’re looking for an executive in finance and you get applications from like, “Well, you were the executive CFO at Visa. Why do you want to come work for games?” Just the business overall has become a proper industry.

It is one of the stories we tell a lot when we go to universities and talk with students about careers in gaming and they say, “Well I don’t code and I don’t draw.” That’s okay. We have marketing departments and sales departments and human resources, and customer service – we’ve got the whole spectrum and you can be part of the gaming industry if you like, even if you don’t code or draw or make music.

It has changed so dramatically over the last 10, 15 years. The future, to me, is just a continuation of that trajectory. And what we’re bringing to the gaming experience through things like virtual reality, some people are leaning into augmented reality – it’s a fascinating business to be in. Certainly on the studio side of things, innovation and quality and being creative and bringing the story, and telling people who you can become and who you can be in this world… there’s a creative spin, but there’s also this huge technology train that runs right alongside it. Both of these have to move, and there aren’t other businesses that have the same storytelling power and impetus, again, tied to, what’s this technology locomotive going to provide and bring to me? It’s ever exciting because it’s ever changing. I think we’re just going to see more of that. The power in phones and tablets is already well beyond what a PlayStation One would give you. The power of my Fitbit is more than the Apollo 11.

I don’t want to put too fine a point on this because it might upset some of the people I work with, but I think effectively, we’re looking at kind of a post-console world where you can have quality gaming experiences across a variety of technologies. Sure, PS4 and PS4 Pro provide what, of course, we think is the best gaming experience, but the other consoles out there, be it Switch, Xbox One X, or tablets, or phones – there are great experiences across all these. What we need to do is recognize all that. We’re not little gaming ghettos that are not federated or aligned at all. We’re all part of the same gaming community, we just come at it through different doorways. I think the future will be an extension of that metaphor. Your platform is not your hideaway. It’s just your doorway to all these other gamer folk.

You care about the movie, not the projector it’s run on.

Precisely. I remember years ago you would see,  “This is in Cinemacolor! This is in technicolor! This is in Panavision!” and I just thought, “Okay. Get me to my movie.” I think we’re approaching that for the gaming community where we are just one gaming community.

You had the Vita in the past, PlayStation Now, PSVR. You have experience in those disparate realms.  Have you taken any lessons from those realms?

Yes, of course there are lessons. I think we have learned a lot of lessons about what, at our core, are we trying to convey or represent. And how do we take whatever that new technology is or service – and sometimes even new genres of game – how do we tell the story that gets you, the fan, excited or interested? We have to tell the story, not of why streaming is cool, but why you should care. What is it about having a streaming service like PlayStation Now that differentiates it from your other gaming experiences. Certainly I think one of the big benefits of PlayStation Now is its ability, on my PS4, to play the PS3 catalogue.

One of the terrible circumstances of our gaming industry is that every time we launch a new console technology, we sort of put the last generation to bed. That doesn’t occur in movies. That doesn’t occur in music, but it occurs all the time in games. But PS Now is a way where all of a sudden you can bring back to life an entire PS3 catalogue though your PS4, through the streaming technology. It’s kind of new, kind of different. You can see what that would suggest for the future, so I think that was a good experiment. Maybe we didn’t explain it enough to really illustrate why it should be important to you.

With some of our technology pieces, I think PSVR is a very exciting space for us to be. They talk about first mover advantage? I’m sure there is another word about first mover that doesn’t have the word advantage in it, but we are pioneers. We aren’t good followers. I think we’re better leaders. And with PSVR, what I like about it… there have been very few times in my career – and I have been working in technology since the late ’80s – when you get to be part of a truly 1.0 experience. The problem is nowadays, people’s expectations and spans are so short. Now it’s, “Oh! PSVR, that’s great! When is it going to be this size?” I try to put into context for people and I say, “Remember that funny Nokia phone that had that ringtone that we all had back in the day? You can’t look at that Nokia phone and look at your smartphone and see how you got to there.” By the same token, you look at PSVR right now, none of us are going to be able to imagine what it will look like 10 years from now, but the change will be that dramatic. You can’t get to 5.0 until you do 1.0. It’s just the nature of the thing.

We’re working with PSVR and trying to get people to understand that, we wanted to make the easiest-to-adopt VR kit. If you have a PS4, you’re in. You just need the headset. Super comfortable. Easy to put on, easy to take off. Maybe we could have reduced some of the wires a bit. I will say that.

Working through the software cycle that supports that, as with any new technology you have your first generation of games that look like just the last generation of games, but a little bit better. We talked about PS1 being 3D gaming, but there were a lot of 2D, or 2.5D games in the first generation of PlayStation because the whole idea of creating a 3D game back then was, how do I get my head around that? So for the first generation of PSVR content looks like it could have been up on that screen and we put it in a wrap-around headset. That’s the nature of it. The developers are getting their head around it. What does this mean? How does this work? Let’s get a game, as we understand it, running in this technology, and then let’s see where we go from there. I think the evolutionary cycle that I like to point to is Astro Bot. Astro Bot cannot really be played on a TV. It has to be played in VR, and that was one of our first steps. When we start getting content that can only be realized in VR, then we know we are on to something. I think we’re the biggest VR platform in the world. We’ve learned a lot from that experience.

Maybe one less wire.

I’ve had so many arguments about this. Even when we had VR on our cover, I said, “This shows it’s viable, and it’s something you can do, but there are literal technological things that need to happen to get it to be as comfortable as you want it to be.” You have to invest and take those first steps that are going to be a more rickety chair rather than an Aeron.

We have to work through that, and that’s a whole learning curve, and we’re getting there, but VR starts getting exciting as well. When we brought Hollywood showrunners up here to give them the first look and see what VR could mean for linear programmed TV and film, almost to a person, when they took the headset off… well, it began with an expletive, but then they said something to the equivalent of, “This blows up narrative. How am I as a director… if you have agency in this experience, how do I get you to look at the right things at the right time?” I joked with them and said, “You have enjoyed the tyranny of the camera. You have to look at this! Make sure to get that reaction.” They said, “How are we going to know how to make them look here or there?” I said, “Lucky for you, there is a whole group of people who have learned to solve that problem.” “Who are they?” Game designers.

Game designers have been putting that invisible hand into so many games for so many years. All that time when you thought you had free will? “I am making all the choices myself!” Sure you are. “I’m going to go over there because I want to.” Sure, because you want to.

I think there is an interesting confluence that is going to occur for even the film and television community coming to VR that I think games are going to be very helpful with. Right now we’re working on, with our cousins at Sony pictures, a Breaking Bad VR piece.

That will be intense.

Hopefully. You have no idea. I don’t think there is any throwing pizza on top of the garage, but other than that.

I think it is important, as a platform holder – and we discussed earlier how that term is changing a bit – that if you want to be a leader, you need to be out there trying new things and learning them, because you won’t make a great VR game on your first shot.

No, you won’t. And if you let the technology curve race too far ahead without getting in with your own, you will never catch up.

What lead you to the decision to back away from E3 in 2019?

We’ve been going to E3 since the beginning, which was… 1995, I believe was the first E3. Back in 1995, and PlayStation One was just out and there were Sega Saturns, there was some Nintendo stuff going on, I’m sure. It really was a trade show focusing on retailers and the media. No general admission, just people in the industry. Retailers would come up and say things like, “Hi, I’m from Sears and I’m the buyer. I’m in charge of Hot Wheels, Barbie, VHS, and video games. So what’s this PlayStation thing I am hearing about?” And there was a huge educational component, talking to retailers. Sharing what games were coming out and what products we had, all across the industry. Back then you had actual magazines that were printed on paper.

[Laughs] Oh, I know. Though, we definitely are the vinyl today.

There were longer lead times, obviously, you know your business.

I also remember standing in lines with that guy from Toys ‘R Us and he was like, “I do Barbie, and now we need to do video games.” That would be an interesting learning curve.

There was functionally no internet then. So, fast forward 22, 23 years. In our business, we conclude all of our major retail activities at an event we call Destination PlayStation which occurs in February. The media landscape has changed, which you know better than anybody, and with the internet being on 24-7, there is no silent periods where people aren’t getting game news.

There is not.

It’s happening all the time, so those constituencies have become sort of lesser impact at this event, and so you begin to wonder – and this is not necessarily new, this has been going on for some time – what is E3?

I would agree.

What does this show become? They’ve tried the last couple of years – ‘they’ being the ESA. I’m on the board so it’s me, too – brought in ‘prosumers’ or people who could get in on a very limited ticket program and you could see very quickly, there is no such thing as a hybrid trade show and consumer show. That’s just a car crash. Either your show is optimized around the consumer experience, à la Tokyo Game Show, à la Gamescom, or you’re a trade experience like CES or the Motor Show, or E3. The Motor Show I understand because cars are heavy and getting them all together in one place is a massive undertaking, but we’re gaming. We live in the ether. We’re digital. We’re everywhere at once. So what is the role of an event that occurs at, frankly, an arbitrary date in June? How does that work for all the stories you want to tell? This year, coming to 2019, I’ll be honest – we just didn’t have a new story to tell. And when Sony rings the bell for everyone to come ‘round, they have an expectation for something that is completely new and amazing. We looked at the lineup and we can probably only give fans a lot of updates on things they already know, so how does this work for us?

We’re doing fewer games at any given time than any time before in our history. Back in the day, when we were doing 15-20 games at a time; there was always a new game. Something was in a window that we could have that conversation about. But 2019, for us, that confluence just didn’t occur. So rather than raising fans’ expectations for them to think, “Oh what’s Sony going to be saying at E3?” We decided we would step away. To be fair, we weren’t the first company to do that. EA and Activision have stepped back, and Microsoft has scaled down. This has engendered a conversation in the halls of the ESA. What do we do? How do we transform E3 into a place of more relevance and now. You look at Comic Con crowds and you get desirous of that, or PAX East or PAX West, and the kind of energy that comes from those shows.

We can speak directly to our fans like never before, and they want to come and associate themselves with our activities as never before. We probably want to find a way to embrace that cohort because that’s what it’s all about. It’s all about direct to consumers. How am I telling my story? And what am I able to show them? So, I would like to see E3 turn into more of a festival of gaming. It’s not this company against that company and that company against this company. We’re not in our hideaways on our platforms, we’re just doorways into this room full of gamers. That’s my future hope for E3.

The Last of Us Part II

Why is the ESA reluctant to embrace the more fan-focused style of show?

It’s not really reluctant. As a collective, we don’t know what we don’t know and it is… is this Prince of Persia? If I jump, will the bridge be there? That’s what the ESA is right now. If we jump from the trade show thing to the consumer show… I do think the bridge will appear. We did PSX, we didn’t know what that was going to be like. We did it for the 25th anniversary of PlayStation, but we got lucky. If you build it, they will come. That’s the conversation we’re having in real time right now with the ESA. Just because PlayStation is not at E3 2019 doesn’t mean we won’t be there in 2020.

You guys definitely made a step forward. When I think of Sony, I think of like, we’re doing Beta no matter what. Betamax all the way!

Wow. You’re going there?

I’m going there, because I felt that that has been a cultural thing, and I think that having cross-play – I know it’s in its beta at the moment with Rocket League and Fortnite – but that’s a big change for Sony as far as an attitude toward that community you’ve been pointing to.

The whole concept of cross-play, or the movement behind it, whatever you want to call it, really got big in our rear-view mirror super-fast. There’s something back there, and things are closer than they appear, and there it was. We were looking at it, “Fortnite? Rocket League? The biggest communities for those games are here,” and there were discussions about what are the implications of that. We like to manage our online communities as curated as possible. How do we ensure the same quality of experience if we let everyone come into the sandbox at the same time. And, again, the PlayStation community is so large it’s not like you couldn’t fill up a lobby if you wanted to fire up a game.

But I think we learned, from the feedback from our fans, that it was important. And it wasn’t just important to a vocal minority. Though, if you look at any of the numbers of the actual cross-play population? That Venn diagram isn’t too big. Even the fans who weren’t personally going to participate in a cross-play activity across different hardware pieces, just felt that it was kind of tone-deaf of PlayStation. We’ve tried to be so good certainly over the last four or five years to be in tune with our fans and to listen to what they want and try to be a friends of the gamer. We looked at that approach. This… this is just not friendly.

We got to that determination a lot faster than you read about it on the internet or heard people talk about it. It’s just that, and I’ve used this phrase a couple times, it’s not just like flipping a switch. And then people online said, “Of course it is!” No, of course it isn’t. When we did turn it on, light it up, we wanted to make sure we had thought out all the different ramifications of cross-play, cross-purchase, cross-progress, Those are all three very discreet aspects of what cross-play is, and there are decisions you make in provisioning those different pieces of it that if you make it quick and hasty, and the wrong decision, you can put yourself in a corner really fast, and that prevents scalability over time and the ability to bring people in in a secure and safe way.

We got to that place in Fortnite and it seems to be going reasonably well, from what I can tell. The Rocket League light up will happen soon. People keep saying, “Why doesn’t Sony allow more people to have it?” We’re open for business on this one. All it takes is for publishers and developers who wish to permission it. As ever, just work with your PlayStation account manager, and they will walk you through the steps that we’ve learned through our partnership with Epic on how this works. I don’t believe right now there is any gating factor on that. I think they’re open to make proposals, because the Fortnite thing worked pretty well. 

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Uploaded on: 12 Feb , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Disney has released a new trailer for its upcoming live-action Aladdin. It’s a fine trailer, complete with colourful city shots and dark, ominous tones, but the real meat of the matter is at the end.

Will Smith’s CG version of the Genie is revealed, and, well, have a look for yourself in the video embed above.

I have questions. Why does Will Smith’s Genie look like a blue Shrek? Also why has the Genie been hitting the gym? Will Smith also plays a live-action version of the Genie, and you can see an image of him here.

Smith previously spoke to EW about the “terrifying” job of playing the Genie. As you may remember, the late Robin Williams portrayed the Genie in the animated classic, and he leaves very big shoes to fill.

“Robin didn’t leave a lot of meat on the bone with the character,” Smith said. “[But] I started to feel confident that I could deliver something that was an homage to Robin Williams but was musically different. Just the flavor of the character would be different enough and unique enough that it would be in a different lane, versus trying to compete.”

Disney describes the movie as a “thrilling and vibrant” take on Disney’s classic animated film. It’s directed by Guy Ritchie, and the Sherlock Holmes director’s trademark “fast-paced, visceral action” is said to infuse his take on Aladdin.

Mena Massoud plays Aladdin, while Naomi Scott portrays Jasmine. Marwan Kenzari plays Jafar and Navid Negahban plays the Sultan. Alan Menken, who worked on the music for the original Aladdin, is back again and contributing “recordings of the original songs” from the first film. In addition to new versions of the classics, Menken and award-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul wrote two new tunes for the film.

The new Aladdin hits theatres this May. The studio that made Sharknado, Transmorphers, and Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies is making its own Aladdin.

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Uploaded on: 11 Feb , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Blizzard has revealed what’s next for Heroes of the Storm after it announced it would be slowing down its efforts on the game.

Late last year, the company announced it was moving talent away from the HotS team and shuttering its esports circuits (both professional and collegiate) for the game. In that post, the company mentioned players could still expect new characters and events, “though the cadence will change.” Yesterday, production director Kaéo Milker laid out some specifics about what that means.

The big change that will affect most players next week with the arrival of the Resistance patch is a change that will allow players to more easily purchase skins directly, some of the changes to the game with the 2.0 update making players more engaged but preventing from just buying skins they wanted outright, pushing them instead towards leveling up and earning loot boxes instead. When the update hits, all skins in the store will purchasable with the earnable Gems currency. If you have Gold in your account, you’ll now be able to convert it to Gems in order to purchase the skins you want.

Along with reinforcing that more heroes were on the way (but not revealing anyone new), Milker announced that the yearly Lunar New Year seasonal event was being “re-imagined” as the Spring Event, which would see the return the of the time-limited Lunar New Year content, along with some a new skin theme. The team will continue hosting regular events. “Last year we had a ton of fun with our unique seasonal events like Nexomania in Summer, The Fall of King’s Crest in Fall, and Toys in Winter, and we’d like to continue exploring fun new universes and themes to coincide with each season moving forward,” Milker said.

As for balance updates, the teams behind the game’s matchmaking, the developers behind changes coming to quick and ranked matchmaking (including the soon-to-come change to how roles work) will be hosting Reddit “ask-me-anything” sessions later this month, detailing the changes and taking questions from the community.

“The past few months have been challenging for us, but the Heroes team is united with a passion for this game and all of you in our community,” Milker said in the post. “It’s been difficult to remain so silent while we unpacked all these changes, but we’re eager to get back to communicating regularly with you and talking about the game we all love. To that end, be on the lookout for our next few AMAs across February, March, and April and we’ll be striving to find more ways to get our developers involved in discussing the game with you.”

The post comes in the wake of not only Blizzard’s reduced resources on the game, but also layoffs across Activision and Blizzard as a whole, though it’s not yet clear if that will affect the HotS team.

I definitely had a feeling of “how long will this keep going?” as I read the post. Hopefully Blizzard is able to maintain HotS for as long as it has a passionate community, but this definitely sounds like we’re the early stages of its “sunsetting” stage.

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Uploaded on: 10 Feb , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Gigantic inhuman entities threatening mankind are something that we’re all familiar with in the year 2019. Monster Hunter, Attack on Titan, Godzilla–there’s something inherently compelling about the trope where desperate survivors pit themselves against incredible odds and incredibly large monsters at the end of the world. God Eater 3’s narrative, much like its predecessors, leans heavily into this conceit and tells an enjoyable (if light) tale as icing on its frenzied action-RPG cake.

Part of a series that has historically been for PlayStation portable devices, God Eater 3 is the first entry created with home consoles and PC as its primary platforms. Also significant is a new developer, Marvelous, a studio perhaps more well-known for its contribution to games with prodigious amounts of swimsuit DLC than the stuff of the monster-hunting variety. This tonal shift isn’t as evident as you might think, though, especially since the series was already awash with anime tropes and aesthetic choices. God Eater 3 doesn’t deliver any real twists and honestly, that’s fine. The real friends that you make along the way in God Eater games aren’t the ones with compelling backstories; they’re the ones that help you kill Aragami with the sort of precision reserved for surgical procedures.

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Aragami are representative of the evil threatening the world–they’re gigantic predators that devour everything in their wake as the world drowns under deadly ash storms. A nightmarish fusion of beast and mech, there’s something brutal about their designs, which hammers home the divide between the alien and the organic world that you have to protect. You’re the mostly-silent star in this particular story, doomed to take up the thankless job of Aragami eradication for people who have treated you like an expendable weapon since infancy. There’s a predictable follow-up series of events: You’re liberated, you recover from your trauma through the power of friendship, and then you meet a life-changing person who isn’t quite who they appear to be. There are plenty of similarities between the core story of God Eater 3, the previous entries in the franchise, and whichever monster-fighting anime is currently trending on Crunchyroll, so while it’s an entertaining tale, temper your expectations for crushing moral dilemmas.

What will likely exceed your expectations, whether you’re familiar with God Eater’s particular brand of slaughter or not, is the combat. While it’s easy to draw parallels with Monster Hunter, God Eater 3 is a fair bit closer to Devil May Cry’s style of action. It’s fast-paced and frenetic, reliant on chaining high-octane and high-mobility combos without getting hit in order to efficiently dissect Aragami. You have no shortage of movement options, including a specific command for Dash abilities, and you can effortlessly switch between melee and ranged combat. The feeling of stabbing an Aragami’s plated shins with your greatsword in close combat before flying away and firing a shotgun shell right into the exposed wound never really gets old.

Another mechanic, which is now a staple of the God Eater series, is the ability for your weapon to consume the essence of the beasts you kill. In doing so, you get to enter Burst Mode, giving you better damage output, flashier combo moves, and increased range on your basic attacks. The effects vary depending on your weapon loadout, which offers an interesting level of strategy for you to consider from mission to mission. The most difficult bosses in the game have a similar mechanic of their own, where attack patterns can grow a host of other deadly variables, making your defensive strategy just as important as your damage output.

Unfortunately, the game’s difficulty curve is fairly stagnant until about the halfway mark, when it suddenly ramps up by increasing the number of baddies you need to take down at the same time. This can lead to an initial feeling of being underpowered for these tense stand-offs, where you’ll have to rely on every ounce of your skills to not get nailed to the wall by twice as many deadly laser beams and teleporting death machines than what you’re used to.

It’s not all smooth sailing when it comes to the nuts and bolts of God Eater 3, either, with a number of small annoyances. One particular gripe here is that the game binds multiple options to the same input, and most frustratingly, the button to loot will also be bound to another action (whether it be dashing or blocking, depending on the control scheme) which makes looting a pain. Flitting around the maps as quick as you please is fine and dandy until you want to pick up something useful, like crafting materials; you have a higher chance of careening face-first into a nearby enemy.

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Another issue is the presence of the various customization systems that the series has accumulated over the years. There are crafting systems, ability systems, what seems like well over 100 possible skills to use, and upgrades on top of those too. Fiddling with a million and one variables to make your character perform better is neat at first, but a mastery of those systems isn’t at all necessary to do well in the game, meaning it’s easy to ignore them.

The rest of the time spent as a God-eating machine is an affair punctuated by expository cutscenes and managing your various AI companions on the fields of war. The AI perform well enough at their respective jobs of doing damage, chaining skills, and trying to keep you alive if necessary. If you’re craving a little more of a human feel to those connections, then there’s the option of taking on the fast and furious multiplayer Assault Missions where pile-driving Aragami into the ground with mates before the timer runs out is the name of the game. It’s a welcome reprieve from the grind of the single-player mode and its buffet of relatively run-of-the-mill missions, so having it as an option is a refreshing change of pace for the series.

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God Eater 3 is a solid entry in the franchise that doesn’t necessarily reinvent itself, but it doesn’t have to. All the core things that make God Eater so enjoyable, from the lightning-fast combat to the anime stylings, have been given a new lick of paint and propped up enticingly next to additions like the well-tuned Assault Missions and creative enemies to make one delicious package. Some aspects of the game–like its difficulty curve and multitude of superfluous customization systems–miss the mark, but it’s an enjoyable romp with plenty of raucous battles if you’re hungry for an action RPG.

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Uploaded on: 09 Feb , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Publisher: Resolution Games
Developer: Resolution Games
Release: February 7, 2019
Reviewed on: Rift
Also on:
Vive

Despite being a fun, simple puzzle game well suited for mobile play, many point to Angry Birds as a progenitor of the over-simplification of video games. With that public perception and all the random trajectories Angry Birds has explored with its myriad offshoots in the past, I wasn’t sure what to expect for its virtual-reality adaptation. I was happy to discover that Isle of Pigs is a relatively straightforward take on what made the original Angry Birds so enjoyable: Knocking stuff over is just plain fun.

In Isle of Pigs, you are presented with poorly constructed three-dimensional structures with an assortment of green pigs on them. You can zip to specific locations surrounding the structures to get a better look at them and when you find the spot you think will knock the whole thing over, you hold up your slingshot in one hand and pull back the rubber band with your right and let fly your bird. If your aim is true and the physics gods like you, everything falls over and you get stars – hopefully three.

Click here to watch embedded media

The mechanics are simple, and watching the physics take over to topple what you just shot a projectile at is a joy. Thanks to the motion controls, you also have much more control over your aim than in the original Angry Birds, which makes it easier (and more fun) to aim for specific load-bearing columns. Being in virtual reality also lets you look around the structures, lean in for a closer look, or position yourself at the perfect angle to see and hit that hard to reach area. I regularly fired birds between columns at specific locations with ease.

The gameplay is simple and rewarding, but it doesn’t reach beyond its initial, admittedly enjoyable hook. Only the four original bird types are available, and you have to use them in a pre-determined order for each puzzle. A handful of boss levels mix things up a little, but mechanically, those levels are the same as the others. They just feature a larger pig with a health meter. That simple style of play works well for Angry Birds on mobile when you can easily drop in for a quick level and duck out, but here you literally have to suit up in order to play which often leads to a feeling of, “Oh. That was it?”

Click image thumbnails to view larger version

 

                                                                                                            

Getting through the whole experience is pretty quick since there are only four worlds each with 13 levels. To its credit though, I beat the whole thing in one sitting because I was enjoying myself so much. Developer Resolution Games is promising additional levels and updates in the future, but for the moment, the whole experience feels small but fun.

Isle of Pigs does VR well in that it is not a demanding or strenuous experience. Looking at a teetering structure in a 3D space, moving around it to eyeball its weakest point, and then picking up a bird to fling at it is just fun. It sticks to what Angry Birds is good at – satisfying destruction – it just needs more content to become a VR game I would universally recommend.

Score: 7.25

Summary: Isle of Pigs is a relatively straightforward take on what made the original Angry Birds so enjoyable: Knocking stuff over is just plain fun.

Concept: Take the familiar Angry Birds structure-collapsing gameplay, make it 3D, and place a slingshot in players’ motion-controlled hands

Graphics: Isle of Pigs borrows its bird designs and general aesthetic from the 2016 movie based on Angry Birds. As a result, it doesn’t have a distinct identity, but it looks nice

Sound: The familiar (and catchy) Angry Birds theme makes an appearance, but it’ not as bubbly or fun as it has been in the past. The sound effects of the buildings falling apart are satisfying

Playability: Collapsing structures is as simple as pantomiming the act of firing a projectile from a slingshot, and it feels great

Entertainment: Knocking over buildings in a virtual 3D environment is surprisingly satisfying and moving around the structures in a 3D space to pinpoint the best spot for potential collapse is a fun, puzzle-solving exercise

Replay: Moderate

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Uploaded on: 08 Feb , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Lawmakers from Pennsylvania have put forth a bill that proposes a 10% excise tax on violent video games. House Bill 109 seeks to impose the so-called “sin tax” on games sold at retail that are rated by the ESRB as M for Mature or Adults-Only. The money would go into a fund called the “Digital Protection for School Safety Account” that aims to enhance security measures at schools in the wake of the school shootings in Parkland, Florida and Newtown, Connecticut.

State representative Chris Quinn, a republican, initially put forth the bill in 2018, but it never made it out of committee during the 2018 legislative session. The new version is similarly worded.

The 10 percent tax would be in addition to applicable state and local taxes. The sales tax rate in Pennsylvania is 6%, which means a standard $60 game costs around $64. With the extra 10 percent tax on violent games, the cost of an M-rated game like Red Dead Redemption 2 would make the game end up costing about $70.

Explaining the bill last year, Quinn said violent video games might be an element in the rise of school shootings in America. “One factor that may be contributing to the rise in, and intensity of, school violence is the material kids see, and act out, in video games,” he said.

Quinn cited the National Center for Health Research’s statement that studies demonstrate a link between violent video games and increases in aggressive thoughts and behaviors. Quinn’s comments conveniently leave out the same statement’s disclaimer that other factors like mental illness, access to weapons, and adverse environments should be considered as other risk factors. Not only that, but the National Center for Health Research’s own reporting states that studies have not shown that aggression leads to increased instances of deadly violence or criminal activity.

Expectedly, the Entertainment Software Association, which lobbies on behalf of the video game industry, is taking a hard line against this bill. In a statement to Variety, the ESA the bill is a violation of the US Constitution.

“Numerous authorities–including scientists, medical professionals, government agencies, and the US Supreme Court–found that video games do not cause violence,” it said. “We encourage Pennsylvania legislators to work with us to raise awareness about parental controls and the ESRB video game rating system, which are effective tools to ensure parents maintain control over the video games played in their home.”

After the Sandy Hook shooting, a lawmaker from Connecticut proposed a similar tax in 2013. Also that year, a state representative from Missouri proposed a sales tax on games rated M and above. In both cases, the funds would have gone towards mental health programs. However, the bills never became law.

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Uploaded on: 07 Feb , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Mortal Kombat 11

The Mortal Kombat 11 reveal event lived up to its name, laying bare a number of new details. The biggest remaining mystery is who’s filling out the character roster. NetherRealm has revealed a number of characters, old and new, that will be unleashing a bevy of punches, kicks, and gruesome finishers with. We imagine in the weeks to come we’ll find out more as well. We’ll update this list with every fighter revealed.

For now, here’s who we know will be in Mortal Kombat 11 (and some folks who are probably on the way).

Confirmed Fighters

Mortal Kombat 11

D’Vorah

Who needs D’va when you’ve got D’Vorah? Mortal Kombat X’s insect-like alien is back and freakier than ever. 

Mortal Kombat 11

Kabal

In a recent livestream, NetherRealm confirmed the return of Mortal Kombat 3’s on-again, off-again hero/villain, Kabal.

Mortal Kombat 11

Kano

NetherRealm also recently confirmed that big muscle-bound jerk Kano. As far as pleasant surprises go, his appearance is neither pleasant nor a surprise. 

Scorpion

Scorpion has been the most recognizable character in the series since its inception. Of course Scorpion’s in it.

Raiden

Raiden’s here, seemingly still corrupted by Jinsei following the events of Mortal Kombat X.

Sub-Zero

The other popular ninja is also here and it looks like he’s got a nice, nasty callback to his infamous spine-pulling fatality from MK II.

Geras

A new addition. We don’t know much about him, except he seems to like sand? Well, ok then.

Baraka

Folks were not happy you couldn’t play as Baraka in the last installment but have no fear: everybody’s favorite…ugh…sword arm ghoul thing is back. Yeah!

Liu Kang

Liu Kang sneakily makes a brief gameplay cameo in the gameplay trailer, getting beat down by Raiden.

Sonya Blade

Get ready to break some more necks. Sonya featured prominently in the gameplay trailer.

Skarlet

Skarlet’s back for the first time since Mortal Kombat 9 and unveiled a gruesome fatality centered around her blood magic specialties. 

Shao Kahn

Yep. One of the cheapest, most infuriating bosses of all time is back. This time as a preorder bonus.

Unconfirmed Fighters

NetherRealm has not confirmed these characters as playable fighters. However, they can be seen during trailers in non-gameplay cinematics.  So we’re listing them here with appropriate caveats.

Cassie Cage

We see a woman we’re 99 percent sure is Cassie Cage get what looks like a fighter intro. No confirmation yet from NetherRealm.

Kung Lao

Kung Lao is seen prominently in the gameplay reveal trailer but only in cinematics. It’s likely we’ll play as him but no confirmation from NetherRealm on that front.

Kronika

Kronika shows up as a menacing figure in the game’s story and gameplay trailers. She’s probably the antagonist and, given the series’ history with regard to big baddies, will likely be a playable roster character.

Check back for more roster additions as NetherRealm reveals them. For more on Mortal Kombat 11, read this interview we conducted with series co-creator Ed Boon.

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Uploaded on: 06 Feb , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

The Halo franchise has a deep and rich narrative canvas. It’s great that developer 343 can use this to dive deep into the lore and tell new and interesting stories, and give further flavour to scenes with callbacks and references. But many would probably agree that Halo’s overall story can be difficult to get your head around in some ways. For Halo Infinite, 343 is trying to strike the balance between providing enough depth story-wise for veteran fans, while also trying to be “approachable” for players coming to Halo for the first time or returning after some time away.

Justin Robey, who recently became the “Director of Player Voice” for Halo Infinite, talked about this on 343’s latest Social Stream.

“Halo is one of those franchises where we have a lot of players who are probably going to come back when we release Halo Infinite,” he said. “And we want to make sure as it gets in there that people aren’t lost, which is one of the things that people complain about with Halo 5.

[People said], ‘Ahh there’s so many elements, and I don’t really know what’s going on.’ Making sure there is enough meat and awesome for the fans and at the same time it’s approachable for people who are coming back in [for Halo Infinite].”

Basically nothing is known about Halo Infinite’s story, though 343 has confirmed that it’ll focus more on Master Chief. That’s good news, as Halo 5 strayed away from Master Chief in some ways.

Robey’s new role as Director of Player Voice sees him essentially representing the player’s voice during the ongoing development of Halo Infinite. A lot of this is staying under wraps for now, but we do know Halo Infinite will launch early through “flighting” programs through which people can play part of the game before launch and give 343 feedback to make the game better.

Halo Infinite is in development for Xbox One and PC, though no release date or other specifics have been announced yet. We do know it’ll run on a brand-new engine called Slipspace. You can watch a trailer for the Slipspace engine in the video embed above.

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Uploaded on: 05 Feb , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

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After a festive holiday season, Game Informer’s annual 12.31 Super Replay usually brings suffering. In years past, this day has kicked off complete playthroughs of stinkers like Overblood, Overblood 2, Blue Stinger, Illbleed, Raw Danger, Martian Gothic: Unification, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Vampire Hunter D.

Figuring out which game will be honored with this spot is a stressful decision that usually takes a full year to figure out. That wasn’t the case this year. The community figured it out for us. We had the somewhat official I Watched the Entire Overblood Super Replay group vote for a Super Replay earlier this year. With hundreds of votes cast, the poll ended in a tie between Killer 7 and God Hand. Rather than just flipping a coin to see which one we would do, I decided to record both of them. We knocked out Killer 7 earlier this year, and almost rolled right into God Hand, but couldn’t find a window to get it done in a productive way. I shelved the Super Replay until 12.31. It was one of the games I was considering years ago for this spot anyway.

Now it’s here, and I think the community made the right choice. This game is absolutely bonkers and is a sheer delight to take in. God Hand was created by Clover Studio for Capcom and released in America on October 10, 2006 exclusively for PlayStation 2. Enjoy the Super Replay. I know it was a long time coming. We haven’t produced as many as we have in the past, but it isn’t because we are slacking off. The recording of the Game Informer Show takes up considerable studio and editor time, and we just haven’t had the window to crank the out like we used to. I’d like to say we’ll try to do more in the future, but I’m always thinking that, and the stars just haven’t aligned.

You can watch the latest episode up above, or click the arrows along the side of the video to see the rest of the series!

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Uploaded on: 04 Feb , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

I’m always tired of people complaining about the zombie genre being overdone and unoriginal. Sure, there are many zombie movies and TV shows seemingly being all the time. The Walking Dead certainly made audiences very accustomed to its type of zombie drama, while Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland make every other zombie comedy, or “zom-com”, play catch-up. But every once in a while we get a zombie film that defies what we know of the genre and dares audiences to call the zombie movie dead. Last year we got Korean period piece Rampant, and Scottish Christmas musical comedy Anna and the Apocalypse. This year it is Australian filmmaker Abe Forsythe who shows us just how little we’ve actually done with the undead and injects the genre with his own mix of humor, heart, and Taylor Swift songs played on a ukulele.

Little Monsters begins by convincing us that its protagonist, Dave (Alexander England), is not a good person. After a brutal breakup, this Aussie slacker and former frontman for death metal band God’s Sledgehammer ends up crashing on the couch at his sister Sara’s (Nadia Townsend) place, where he spends most of his time playing Left 4 Dead II, masturbating to virtual reality, and being a terrible influence to his 5-year-old nephew Felix (Diesel La Torraca). Dave soon finds a reason to get off the couch after he meets Felix’s kindergarten teacher, the delightful, ukulele-playing, singing-voice-of-an-angel Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o). One look is enough to make Dave sign up to chaperone the kindergarten field trip to a petting zoo/mini-golf course called Pleasant Valley Farm, in an effort to appear as a nice guy–but mostly to try and get into Miss Caroline’s pants. While at the Farm, they also run across Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad), an alcoholic, egocentric, sex-addicted TV host for a children’s show who is just a few pitches higher than Krusty the Clown.

Little do they know that their fun day of animal petting, tractor riding and mini-golf is going to be interrupted by a literal zombie attack. You see, Pleasant Valley Farm is next to a facility run by the US Army, where they have apparently let loose a few zombies in the past. Forsythe, who wrote and directed the film, wastes no time in following a long tradition of using zombies as a metaphor for humanity’s foolishness, in this case, the US military interfering with other countries in one way or another. Unfortunately, the commentary doesn’t go deeper than “military grunts are bad,” and the zombie make-up stops at “let’s make them look pale white.”

As soon as the zombies start killing the employees and visitors of the petting zoo, Forsythe reveals his plan to make Little Monsters one of the most special zombie movies in years. In a move that is both a love letter to the kindergarten teachers who inspired and nurtured us, and also reminds of Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful, most of the film involves Miss Caroline’s efforts to keep the children free from trauma and the knowledge that those are real human intestines being eaten. Indeed, she will stop at nothing to shield her kids, and will use every children’s game and song available to do her job, from avoiding getting eaten (by playing tag), or avoid seeing something awful (“one, two, three, eyes on me!”), to distract them by doing a conga line so they don’t get lost in the middle of a zombie-infected zoo, or playing Taylor Swift on the ukulele (good luck getting “Shake it Off” out of your head).

Little Monsters would not work if it wasn’t for Forsythe’s tight script and an excellent eye for emotion. Whether it’s the fear in the adults as they run out of options, the moments of levity as Dave does something stupid or foul-mouthed, or just the adorable Max (Charlie Whitley) getting anxious and angry over the lack of putt-putt golf he was promised, the camera always captures the raw emotion to the point where you are constantly laughing before feeling warm in your heart.

The entire cast is game for whatever new silly thing the movie does. La Torraca will warm your heart as often as he breaks it, and he has the best homage to Darth Vader in decades. Josh Gad does a great job returning to his roots and playing the arrogant self-absorbing jerk who doesn’t care about anyone but himself, and also is hilarious at it. Gad also makes for a perfect contrast foil to England’s Dave, who convincingly sells his journey from mean-spirited jerk to selfless hero. Without a doubt, the standout performance of the film goes to Nyong’o as Miss Caroline. Not only does she excel at playing Caroline’s sweet nature and love for her class, but she also doesn’t hide the fact that she is a complete badass. She is not afraid to get bloody and mercilessly decapitate zombies left and right, even if she does it with the care of a kindergarten teacher.

Zombie-comedies are nothing new, but Little Monsters stands out by not only providing great laughs but being infectiously adorable. Its slapstick humor will be enough to lure audiences in, but its goodwill and heart of gold will leave you with a huge grin on your face hours after you leave the theater.

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Uploaded on: 03 Feb , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

As we all start to thaw out after the polar vortex made a long stop in Minneapolis, we have plenty to choose from this weekend. There are finally a good grouping of games out as we enter February, and we’ll be splitting our time between Resident Evil 2, Wargroove, Kingdom Hearts III, and… Contra 3.

That’s what we’re doing, but what will you be doing this weekend? Are you ignoring games this weekend to watch some football? Let us know in the comments.

Javy Gwaltney – I just can’t put down Resident Evil 2 despite playing both runs. I’ll probably make time for some more Wargroove as well.

Imran Khan (@imranzomg) – This weekend I’m going to mop up the post-game stuff in Kingdom Hearts III, which should be easy because there’s not a ton of it. There’s a couple of other games I have in my backlog, and I haven’t even touched Resident Evil 2 yet, so I’ll probably spend all weekend deciding what to play and then not play any of it. I also have a weird urge to play Contra 3? We’ll see where that goes.

Ben Hanson (@yozetty) – This weekend I’m planning on playing a fair amount of board games. My friends want to play more Splendor, and I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that one. I’ll also be watching the Super Bowl with some friends, and we’ve all agreed to soak one chicken wing in Last Dab hot sauce and then eat the spiciest wing of all time if the Patriots win. We have fun. Have a good weekend!

Jeff Marchiafava (@GIJeffM) – I have fully embraced my life as a virtual cowboy, and as such plan to continue plugging away at Red Dead II this weekend. However, everyone in the office seems to be losing their minds over Farm Together for some reason, so I may check that out as well. I’m pretty sure the blistering cold just broke their brains, but better safe than sorry?

Brian Shea (@BrianPShea) – This weekend, I’m hoping to finish Persona 4 Golden. I’ve been playing it the entire year to this point, and while I don’t love it quite as much as Persona 5, it’s not far behind it. In between clearing palaces and maxing out social links, I’ll play Overwatch, Wargroove, and Resident Evil 2.

Hunter Wolfe (@Hunter_Wolfe) – I’m determined to finish Kingdom Hearts III this weekend, even though I know I’m a solid 20+ hours from the credits (and secret epilogue!) I’m even further away if you account for the time I’ll spend snapping selfies with Sora and Co. and baking berries au fromage with “little chef” Remy. If I’m feeling really adventurous, I’ll dive back into my “second run” in Resident Evil 2 as Claire. But if I’m being honest, I probably won’t. I’m declaring a moratorium on all other games until I finish Kingdom Hearts III!

Leo Vader (@leovader) – I’ll be back playing the Road To SI event in Siege! I have been missing that mode all week. I’m also getting breakfast with my grandma. And I’m gonna talk her ear off about Siege!!! Woo!!!

Jay Guisao (@GuisaoJason) – This weekend I have a much-anticipated date with the wonderful worlds of Kingdom Hearts III. But, let’s be honest, I’ll probably be playing dozens of hours of Overwatch with my squad. And maybe if I can carve some time out of my busy gaming schedule, I’ll FaceTime my family and watch the Super Bowl. Here’s to seeing Belichick and Brady shed some salty tears on Sunday!

Suriel Vazquez (@SurielVazquez) – My plans include trying as hard as I can to resist playing more Wargroove, hopping into a Javelin with Leon Kennedy, and visiting Videl.

Nathan Anstadt (@NathanAnstadt) – With Red Dead completed, I now have my sights on unlocking the full roster in Smash Ultimate. That story mode sure does go on for a while. I’m also still slowly making my way through Final Fantasy Tactics. Also it’s time to see get some Minneapolis pre-requisites out of the way and see the Mall of America! 

Kyle Hilliard (@KyleMHilliard) – Resident Evil 2. Kingdom Hearts III. Gymnastics. How to Train Your Dragon 3. Museum? Melting snow.



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Uploaded on: 02 Feb , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Fortnite‘s Week 9 challenges have arrived, which means we’re nearing the end of the game’s seventh season. This week’s missions involve popping golden balloons and dancing on a sundial, oversized coffee cup, and metal dog head, among other tasks, which will net you Battle Stars and level your Battle Pass up once completed.

As usual, there’s an added benefit to completing as many challenges as possible. If you clear all of the ones from a given week, you’ll also complete a Snowfall challenge, which will unlock a special loading screen that contains a subtle clue pointing to a free Battle Star or Banner hidden somewhere around the island.

If you’ve finished all nine weeks’ worth of challenges thus far, you’ll receive the loading screen pictured below. This one features the Prisoner–the Legendary skin you’ll earn for completing 60 weekly challenges–emerging from its cell in Polar Peak’s dungeon. Look carefully at the ice wall on the left side of the image, however, and you’ll spot an etching of a Battle Star above what appears to be a giant sled.

No Caption Provided

The sled in question can be found in the area to the south of Shifty Shafts. Glide there at the beginning of a match, head under the sled, and the Battle Star will appear. Collect it and finish the match, and your Battle Star will be leveled up by one tier. If you need more help finding it, we’ve marked its exact location on the map below.

As is the case with other Snowfall challenges, this Battle Star won’t appear unless you’ve completed the required number of challenges. You won’t be able to just head to the right location and pick it up until you’ve completed nine weeks’ worth of challenges and unlocked the above loading screen. Fortunately, we have tips for this season’s trickier missions in our complete Season 7 challenges guide.

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There are only a few weeks remaining in Season 7, so you only have a little more time to complete any remaining challenges and unlock this season’s Battle Pass rewards. If you need help finding any of Season 7’s other free Battle Stars and Banners, we’ve put together guides leading you to their locations below.

Fortnite Season 7 Snowfall Challenge Guides

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Uploaded on: 01 Feb , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release: February 15, 2019
Rating: Rating Pending
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Far Cry: New Dawn introduces two new villains to the Far Cry universe, Lou and Mickey, to terrorize the player and the survivors of Hope county. The twin sisters have traveled across the country pirating resources for their own use, chewing up self-sustaining communities and spitting them out before traveling on to the next one. In a new video released by Ubisoft, the actresses behind the roles explain what it was like to take Far Cry: New Dawn’s villainous duo.

Click here to watch embedded media

Actresses Leslie Miller (Lou) and Cara Ricketts (Mickey) talk a bit about recording the dialogue for the game and getting lost in the psychopathic characters with a penchant for pink but a much stronger preference for red.

In addition, Greg Bryk resumes his role as Far Cry 5’s Father, though this time he has the experience of 17 years of nuclear holocaust weighing on his mind. Bryk explains what it’s like to play Far Cry 5’s villain in New Dawn in an age where the character is no longer the big bad.

Far Cry: New Dawn releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on February 15.

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Uploaded on: 31 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

E3 2019 is going to be a big year for Xbox at E3, it seems. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said on a recent podcast that Microsoft’s showing at E3 this year will be “as big” as it’s ever been for Xbox, and one reason why might be because Sony is dropping out of E3.

Speaking to Major Nelson, Spencer started off by saying, “This is going to be a fun E3 for us.” He recalled an internal Microsoft conversation about E3 after the “news” that dropped last year about E3, which is presumably a reference to Sony skipping the show.

“There was some news about E3 back in the fall. We had a discussion internally about, ‘Should we go big?’ ‘Should we save some money?’ ‘What does that mean?’ We decided, no [we’re not going to save money], we’re going to do our thing,” Spencer said. “We’re going to go and be as big at E3 as we’ve ever been. I love that opportunity.”

Right now, with about five months to go before E3 2019, Microsoft is in the midst of thinking about how and who the company can get to come on stage, Spencer said. The company is also talking about if the company wants to talk about titles and products coming in the short-term versus the long-term. Spencer said he personally likes to be transparent, but he’s also mindful of being careful not to announce something too early.

Spencer didn’t get into specifics, but he said the content lineup from Xbox for E3 2019 is already “great.” The company also plans to talk about the future of Xbox and more about what the Xbox brand means–beyond console. The Xbox is a console, but there are “millions” of people who spend time and money on Xbox outside of the console family through PC and mobile, Spencer pointed out. At E3, he wants to let people know that they don’t need to own an Xbox to be part of the Xbox community.

Also in the interview, Spencer talked about Xbox’s position in 2019, saying the groundwork that Microsoft put down in recent years will really begin to pay off this year. Quoting George W. Bush, Spencer said, “This is a year where it’s not strategery–we’re going to roll up our sleeves and we’re going to show. I love that. Now it’s go time.”

One of the new platforms Microsoft has in the works for gaming is Project xCloud, which is the working title for the company’s game-streaming service. It’s already up and running, and Spencer said he was using it during his travels at the end of 2018. It’ll probably be “years” before streaming becomes the primary way people play games, but the technology is coming together, Spencer said.

Additionally, Spencer discussed Microsoft’s recent spree of studio purchases. One of the reasons Microsoft bought and set up a total of seven studios in six months was to create a catalog of titles that “surprise and delight” fans, and release on a “regular cadence.” Microsoft has been criticised in recent years for not having enough compelling first-party content, and Spencer acknowledged that Microsoft’s first-party lineup is “so different” than what it’s been over the past five years. He also shared an anecdote from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who apparently said he’s eager and happy about Microsoft investing so heavily in teams that will make exclusive content for Xbox going forward.

One of Microsoft’s announcements at E3 2019 could be a new console. Spencer has already confirmed that Microsoft is working on multiple new consoles. According to Brad Sams, one is a disc-free streaming box and another is a console more powerful than the Xbox One X.

E3 2019 takes place June 11-13, 2019 in Los Angeles. While Sony is backing away, the show is expected to be a very big one full of surprises and reveals of all kinds.

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Uploaded on: 30 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Right now, you’re probably anxiously counting the seconds until you can launch Kingdom Hearts III. I don’t blame you; it’s been a long ride to reach the finale of the Xehanort arc. Of course, the best keyblade wielders come prepared, so while you wait, here are some quick tips to get you started on your journey to Disney worlds far and wide.  

Take Advantage of Cooking Perks

Early in the game, you’ll unlock Little Chef’s Bistro, where you’ll cook with none other than Remy from Ratatouille. Besides that honor, cooking is also extremely beneficial, providing boosts to all your stats, alongside other perks such as increasing your loot from battle. All you need to do is collect ingredients while traversing worlds and then bring them back to Remy. Next, you’ll play short, easy minigames to unlock new dishes. Once you make the delicacy of your choice, you can then build a meal by selecting cuisine in the main menu, set your appetizer, main course, dessert, and more. These bonuses can be pretty big, especially as you mix and match meals as the game goes on. It’s fun to see what you’ll create next, hang with Remy, and watch your bonuses multiply.

Swap Keyblades Depending On Enemy Type

You can now wield up to three keyblades and equip them on the fly, so it’s best to use them to your advantage. Keyblades all have their own special form changes, each of which is more beneficial in unique situations. Some will be great for enhancing magic or boosting defense, and some will be better to use on flying enemies or hulking baddies. My advice? Try to have a keyblade equipped that complements the three main areas: attack, defense, and magic. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but it does come in handy.

Build Up Your Gummi Ship

Look, you’ll love or hate the Gummi Ship, and how much time and effort you want to give it is entirely up to you. However, you will be required to take it for a spin between worlds and face-off against space enemies. To make this aspect go as smoothly as possible, upgrade your Gummi Ship as much as you can. The Gummi Shop allows you to purchase everything from higher-level blueprints to extra pieces (even a Chocobo) that can increase certain stats. You will also find numerous parts as you explore the universe. Visit the Gummi editor to install new blocks, such as weapon or movement gummies. Giving yourself some extra firepower or movement speed can make getting to the next world less of a hassle, plus it’s cool to see your ship grow and stand tall against everything and anything.

Pay Attention To Enemy Patterns

At its core, Kingdom Hearts is an action game and boss battles often come down to recognizing enemy patterns. Pay attention closely so you know if they’re about to fire off a powerful magic attack that you can avoid. Having the right timing can get you through the toughest situations. While this won’t be as important on lower difficulties, it’s still important to keep in mind, as true to the series, bosses have multiple health bars and different forms to withstand. Don’t forget you also have reprisals and the ability to launch baddies in your back pocket. 

Keep Upgrading Your Keyblades

When you’re at the workshop, you can synthesize items from parts you collect by defeating enemies and exploring each world. It also holds The Keyblade Forge, where you can upgrade your keyblade using materials you’ve collected. Not only will this increase the keyblade’s stats, but it also unlocks new abilities, such as stun protection or advanced magic. You get a lot of keyblades, so it’s best to find the ones you want to focus on and save up the crystals required to upgrade them. In the beginning, this won’t matter much, but as you advance, certain resources become more scarce, meaning you want to make the most of ones you do collect.

Use Your Shortcuts Wisely

In the customize menu, you can set up shortcuts, so you can instantly use an ability when you’re in a bind. This lets you tap a button and bypass navigating the battle menu to select it. Set the abilities you use the most to these. I recommend always having a form of cure on hand, and giving yourself a Link or two to access in case of emergency (more on that later). 

Search, Search, Search!

Notice a trend for collecting in these tips? I don’t have to tell you that it’s important to scour environments for treasure chests, but the worlds also house some fun bonuses, like minigames. If you want to max out your keyblade upgrades, synthesize powerful new accessories, or cook every meal possible, you’ll need to take the time to defeat baddies and search every area thoroughly. This tip really depends on how thorough of a player you want to be. By no means do you have to be a completionist to get through the game, but if you want to be, there’s plenty to suss out, especially when you add photo missions and lucky emblems into the equation. Either way, it never hurts to pick up some extra goodies along the way.

Don’t Forget About Donald and Goofy!

It’s great to have Sora back with his two buddies, but don’t forget to check in on their equipment and abilities every so often. Like Sora, you can put armor and accessories on them and choose their abilities. Invest wisely and let your buddies reach their full potential in battle. This also extends to the various other Disney characters that temporarily join you. It’s worth looking at their equipment and abilities and providing them with an edge. 

Low On Health? Remember These…

Similar to summons from previous entries, Links allow you to call on a special Disney character to help you in battle. Each is unique with their own cool attacks, but they all can be a godsend in a dire moment. They may drain all your MP, but they fully restore your team’s HP. You can also have one kupo coin in your inventory at a time, having this ensures that when Sora’ HP reaches 0, the moogles will rescue you from defeat. It only works once per battle and you have to purchase the coin, but it’s good to have a backup plan. 

Choosing A Difficulty

As far as gameplay is concerned, Kingdom Hearts III is pretty straightforward, even if you haven’t touched the series. For seasoned players, you may want to bump up the difficulty to proud to start, as this entry is on the easier side. Standard will suit the average player just fine, while beginner is best for those who want to focus on the story and get through the battles as quickly as possible. Look, I get it, you’ve waited a long time to see the fates of these characters. No shame! But also note, once you choose a difficulty, you are locked into it.

 

For more on Kingdom Hearts III, read about the story threads we hope it ties up in addition to our review


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Uploaded on: 29 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

It’s that time of year once again. The road to Wrestlemania has begun as the WWE’s first pay-per-view of the year, the Royal Rumble, has arrived. This is the show that sets the stage for WWE’s biggest show of them all, as contenders for world titles set decided. Who’s going to Wrestlemania?

It’s a question GameSpot’s resident wrestling nerds–Mat Elfring, Chris E. Hayner, and Kevin Wong–are here to answer. Of course, we also have many, many thoughts about this year’s Royal Rumble, for better or worse. Take a look at the match results, as well as our thoughts about every single match on the show. Yes, even that weird Raw Tag Team Championships bout that made no sense.

Royal Rumble 2019 match card:

  • Roode & Gable vs. Scott Dawson and Rezar (Raw Tag Team Championships: KICKOFF SHOW)
  • Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Kalisto vs. Hideo Itami (Cruiserweight Championship: KICKOFF SHOW)
  • Rusev (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (United States Championship: KICKOFF SHOW)
  • The Bar (c) vs. The Miz & Shane McMahon (Smackdown Tag Team Championship)
  • Asuka (c) vs. Becky Lynch (Smackdown Women’s Championship)
  • Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Sasha Banks (Raw Women’s Championship)
  • Women’s Royal Rumble
  • Men’s Royal Rumble
  • Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles (WWE Championship)
  • Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Finn Balor (Universal Championship)

Take a look at the full match card above, and don’t miss our detailed results from the Royal Rumble, plus the most shocking eliminations in Royal Rumble history.

Roode & Gable (c) vs. Rezar & Scott Dawson (Raw Tag Team Championships)

Winners: Roode & Gable

Well then, no one knew this match happening, and the teaming of Rezar and Scott Dawson is truly bizarre. From the moment the competitors came to the ring, this felt like filler, which is weird since it’s the first match on the Kickoff Show. Because there’s nothing behind the match, it has the excitement and storytelling of an undercard bout on Sunday Night Heat. If you wonder why Raw’s tag division is failing, it’s because of booking like this. This match was mediocre, predictable, and nothing more than a pee break.

3/10
— Mat Elfring

This is bad. And pointless. And why are Rezar and Dawson teaming? And why is this taking up airtime? I get wanting to have some kind of match happening as the arena fills up to keep people busy, but is this the first impression you want to make to a stadium filled with people? Is this Royal Rumble Kickoff or an episode of WWF Jakked from 1999? Literally everyone involved, and the tag partners left on the sideline, deserve better than this. Raw’s tag division is in bad shape.

1.5/10
— Chris E. Hayner

That was baffling. Why are Dawson and Rezar teaming, and why should we care? What makes The Revival and The Authors of Pain work is their teamwork; one guy distracts the ref, the other thumbs the opponent’s eye. They do power moves, side-by-side. This match had no coordinated spots because it was thrown together at the last minute (literally; this was unannounced prior to the Kickoff Show). This is a terrible way to “kick off” the show.

3/10
— Kevin Wong

Rusev (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (United States Championship)

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura

You know how to get me really excited about Nakamura/Rusev on the Kickoff Show? Have it follow a pointless Raw Tag Team Championship match. My only question is, “Who is the babyface here?” Is it Nakamura or Rusev? Actually, does that even matter, since their styles are so different in the ring? While the match itself is fun to watch, there are so many close call two counts. Everything is almost a three count. Very quickly, however, the match turned into a “powerhouse vs. technician” match, which worked extremely well for the storytelling here. Of course, nothing can really go to plan when you have Lana hanging on the outside of the ring, and it ends up costing Rusev his title. It was fine. This match was a little better than I expected it to be, considering the story behind these two fighting was non-existent. However, I feel much better living in United States of Nakamerica than having Rusev as champ right now.

5.5/10
— Mat Elfring

Rusev and Nakamura are two very interesting and very similar superstars. They both got over huge with audiences to the point where you might expect them to be in the world title picture–and at least one of them should be. However, they seem to be toiling in the midcard and now, one year after winning the Royal Rumble, Nakamura is on the kickoff show. Their feud has been pretty boring, with no real fire to keep it going other than Shinsuke wanting his title back. That said, even without an engaging feud driving this match, these two men delivered a pretty good match–certainly one that could have been great with a few more minutes to play out and a spot on the main show. Giving Nakamura back the title is fine, but doesn’t really do him any favors. He should be in the main event, tangling with Daniel Bryan over the WWE Championship.

5/10
— Chris E. Hayner

Considering that these two have no real, personal reason to fight beyond the title itself, this was a good match from both performers; it was well-paced with solid, “real”-looking moves. Nakamura is United States champion again, which is great. But damn, what a fall from grace to go from winning the Royal Rumble to fighting on the pre-show the following year. Also, I remember when Lana used to be an essential part of Rusev’s schtick. She was a sharp-tongued, cool strategist, the only one who could control Rusev and get him to release his Accolade finisher. Now, she serves little purpose other than to wince at the high spots and fall off the apron. She used to be more clever than this.

6/10
— Kevin Wong

Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Kalisto vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Hideo Itami (Cruiserweight Championship)

Winner: Buddy Murphy

Time for the cruiserweights, and if you’ve been paying attention to their matches in the past, then you know the potential is there this one to be a showstealer. These four competitors are delivering some fantastic high spots, and they know how to get the crowd riled up. The spot where everyone kept kicking Hideo in the face was awesome, and it got a good chuckle out of me. From start to finish, this was the perfect lead-in to the Royal Rumble to get the crowd going. While the final outcome wasn’t what I was hoping for, this was still an awesome match.

8/10
— Mat Elfring

This match was every bit as good as you would want it to be. The action was fast-paced, there were some nice high-flying moves tossed in, and all four men threw everything they had at each other. The pseudo superkick party at the end was very entertaining and a nice way to get the crowd pumped for the end of the match. Meanwhile, Kalisto’s vicious hurricanranas were terrifying and cool. It’s hard to argue against Buddy Murphy retaining, as he’s been a good cruiserweight champion. However, this would have been a great chance to spotlight Hideo Itami, who has yet to hold WWE gold even though he’s one of the most talented cruiserweights on the planet. However, commentators made a point of mentioning the conflict between Murphy and Itami, so here’s hoping for a one-on-one Wrestlemania match.

8/10
— Chris E. Hayner

Unbelievable athleticism for an unappreciative audience. There was a dangerous circus spot near the beginning of the match, where Kalisto dove between Itami’s legs, through the middle ropes, and took out Tozawa and Murphy at the same time. It put at least three of their lives at undue risk, and the audience barely responded. The same was true for a headfirst suicide dive by Tozawa. Thankfully, the audience woke up for the last three minutes gave the match (some) of its due. Every performer in this match shone brightly. It’s a crime that this was left off the main card.

8/10
— Kevin Wong

Asuka (c) vs. Becky Lynch (Smackdown Women’s Championship)

Winner: Asuka

Normally, I’d be furious that Becky is on early, but I want her to win the Royal Rumble, so this makes sense. Well, I want her to win the women’s and men’s Rumble matches, but I think only one of those will actually happen. When you see women’s matches on the card, you want them to be this good. This match made both of them look like fierce competitors, and most importantly, it kept Asuka as champion. Even though I love Lynch, she needed to lose this one–so she can win the Rumble. Regardless of booking, these two put on an amazing match, and we’ll be talking about this one the rest of the year.

9/10
— Mat Elfring

If Becky’s match is on first because she’s going to be in the Rumble later, she’s certainly not taking it easy and conserving her energy. One of the things I love about a Becky match is she can acclimate to her opponent’s style–something many in the women’s division can do. She can have a very serious technical match with Charlotte Flair, and an incredibly rough brawl with a striker like Asuka. These two are spending the match beating the hell out of each other and it shows just how competitive this division can be. This match was fantastic, aside from one scary looking spot that saw Asuka dumping Becky on the outside of the ring. Thankfully, neither seemed to be phased by it and continued to deliver on what’s already a contender for match of the night. Asuka won but both of these women just proved why they’re better than practically anyone else on the roster.

9.5/10
— Chris E. Hayner

What really stood out to me while watching this match was how “off-script” these two women were. They were way out of their comfort zone, performing moves that we don’t usually get to see. There was a Tarantula/Asuka lock in the ropes. There was a frightening suplex off the apron to the floor. The finish of the match, filled with reversals and reversals of the reversals, ended with an inverted, bridging Asuka Lock (at least, that’s what I’m going to call it). They knew this was a special important moment in the larger picture of the women’s division, and they absolutely delivered it.

9/10
— Kevin Wong

The Bar (c) vs. The Miz & Shane McMahon (Smackdown Tag Team Championship)

Winners: The Miz & Shane McMahon

I sure do love the Miz, but I am not a Shane McMahon fan. It’s a nostalgia act featuring “I’m about to die” spots, and that just doesn’t rev my engines. It’s one of the few times where I wanted a match to be over. I’m not a fan of the outcome either. I don’t like the two as champions. It further hurts the division. Anyway, as for the match itself, it was mediocre up until the shooting star press, which was a cool move to see again in the ring. Regardless of that, there was nothing here that really stood out in the match.

3.5/10
— Mat Elfring

I don’t hate the idea of this match, I just don’t understand it. After Shane McMahon won the WWE World Cup, it seemed like he was primed to go on a heel run. Instead, he’s wound up in this makeshift tag team with The Miz, who deserves so much more than he’s given by WWE. Yes, it keeps Miz with a storyline that includes a top talent–they definitely consider Shane a top talent–but it’s wasting him. This guy should be in the world title picture, not teaming with Shane O’Mac for some reason. As for the match, Miz bumped all over the place and Shane got in his typical offense, which isn’t any more intimidating now than it was in 1998. Meanwhile, The Bar’s run as champions is at a serious low point because there’s simply nobody else to have them face on Smackdown. Bonus points to Shane McMahon for looking even sillier during the Cesaro swing as he spent the entire time trying to keep hit shows from flying up. However, a billion points taken away for whoever thought Shane and Miz winning the tag titles was a good idea.

2/10
— Chris E. Hayner

I don’t buy this entire Shane/Miz premise. It feels like the entire storyline was reverse engineered to Give Something For Shane To Do as we head into Wrestlemania season. It doesn’t say much for the competitiveness of Smackdown’s tag division that this match is happening, nor does it look good that Shane is getting the hot tag, laying out both Sheamus and Cesaro with his cartoony Attitude Era punches. It was a decent match, with thrilling high spots, in a self-contained bubble. It’s an awful burial of the tag division in a bigger context. Poor Cesaro and Sheamus. These two lost to the formidable team of Braun Strowman and Nicholas at WrestleMania 34. What further indignities await them at WrestleMania 35?

5/10
— Kevin Wong

Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Sasha Banks (Raw Women’s Championship)

Winner: Ronda Rousey

There are two ways to play this match off. You can have Rousey dominate or put her in the hope spot by having Banks put up a really good fight. Creative chose the latter and it worked. Ignoring the green moments from Rousey, she continues to put on entertaining matches, although Banks pulled a good amount of weight during the match. While the outcome was extremely predictable, it raised Banks’ stock. She looks like she should be in the championship picture. Once again, Rousey has a great match with a great competitor to cement her legacy, up until she loses the title at Wrestlemania to Becky Lynch.

8/10
— Mat Elfring

Well, at least this wasn’t a Rousey squash. We, the fans, know Sasha Banks is one of the absolute best in-ring performers. Now Ronda’s character knows it too. It’s rare these days that Sasha gets to show just how good a professional wrestler she is, since she’s been largely removed from the Women’s Championship picture over the last year. However, this match may very well have been Rousey’s best yet and Banks is the biggest piece of that puzzle. Ronda won but both looked like stars in the end.

8/10
— Chris E. Hayner

One of the underrated parts of Rousey’s prodigal rise in WWE is her selling ability. Rousey is an Olympian; she’s in the 99.999 percentile of athletes in the world, and yet, she and Banks put on a competitive, believable match—not because Banks outmuscled Rousey, but because Banks worked smart, and because Rousey sold consistently. It all started when Rousey missed a punch on the outside and slammed her fist directly into the ring post. For the rest of the match, Sasha worked that hand, and made what seemed like a foregone conclusion into a potential upset. Kudos to both women.

8.5/10
— Kevin Wong

Women’s Royal Rumble

Winner: Becky Lynch

Excitement for this bout aside, this started off exceptionally slow with plenty of blunders. Now, no Royal Rumble match is supposed to move at breakneck speed but what happens in the ring should be smooth and there should always be action in the ring. This was not the case for roughly the first third of the event. There were sloppy spots and times where nothing was happening. As the event moved on, things got smoother and overall, the event was a lot more fun. Let’s say that started after the dumb “hat spot” between Maria and Alicia. As things progressed, the final five were exactly who we wanted to see, and even more so for the final two. Charlotte/Becky was the perfect way to close out their story together. The battle between the two was perfect.

Best Moments:

  • Becky getting injured and making it back into the ring
  • Nikki Cross adding some flavor to what had been a dull match to that point.
  • Billie Kay waiting for Peyton Royce to come into the ring.Zelina Vega’s entrance outfit.
  • No legends. As fun as they’re great to see, WWE focussed on the future of the company with NXT additions this year.

Worst Moments:

  • The Alicia/Maria hat bit
  • Numerous times where people were laying around and there was NO in-ring action.
  • No Chelsea “Hot Mess” Green.
  • The opening chunk of the match was not good and full of botches.

— Mat Elfring

7.5/10

The first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match was a cool and historic moment. It was filled with legends and plenty of feel-good moments. This one, though, blew it out of the water. In fact, I dare say it’s one of the best Royal Rumble matches, men or women, we’ve ever seen. There was plenty of drama, some really nice NXT introductions–the world deserves something as pure and good as Kacy Catanzaro, the wrestler–and plenty of drama that had my eyes blud to the screen the entire time. And in the end, Becky did it. Becky Lynch is going to Wrestlemania and nothing else matters.

Best moments:

  • Candice LeRae introducing Zelina Vega to her patented Violence Party, which she learned from Super Dragon.
  • Literally everything the Iiconics did.
  • Kacy Catanzaro and Naomi’s creative ways of staying in the match.
  • Nikki Cross coming to play.
  • Becky Lynch getting the spotlight she deserves.

Worst moments:

  • Maria Kanellis being in the match in general. She’s not particularly known for her wrestling ability and stuck out like a sore thumb
  • Maria and Alicia’s hat fight, which was an utterly pointless waste of time.
  • Some early parts of the match were a little sloppy.

— Chris E. Hayner

8.5/10

Sloppy at times, with too many mistimed spots. But here’s what counts; there was never a prolonged period where this match was not engaging or fun, in some way. And the finish, with Bayley finding her grit, Nia getting her comeuppance, Charlotte losing her cool, and Becky Balboa overcoming the odds, was WWE storytelling at its best.

Best moments:

  • Lacey Evans gave a great opening promo to kick things off. She’s a Southerner. She’s a snob. I’m here for it.
  • Ember Moon selling like Ric Flair. She was completely selfless tonight, and spent most of her time in the Rumble flopping around, making everyone else look like a million dollars.
  • Nikki Cross charging in like a bull and giving the Rumble a much-needed shot of adrenaline
  • Sonya Deville continues to look like a champion in the making.
  • Alexa Bliss returning to in-ring competition.
  • Mighty Kacy with the handstand hero save.
  • Becky with the 11th-hour entry into the Rumble, taking an injured Lana’s place.
  • The final two. Charlotte vs. Becky has been the best feud of the past 12 months. No contest.

Worst moments:

  • That extremely bizarre Alicia Fox comedy bit with the hat.
  • The botches that comprised the middle third of the match. One of the best things about this year’s Rumble is that instead of featuring veterans, they chose to highlight new talent. The drawback was that there were several performers who didn’t look ready for primetime.

— Kevin Wong

8/10

Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles (WWE Championship)

Winner: Daniel Bryan

I made sure to consume no animal products while watching this match, in honor of Daniel Bryan. Match placement is important, and a bout this important shouldn’t really follow a Rumble match. This would be a much better spot for a short and sweet Tag Team Championship match. Regardless, here we are, and although the crowd is dead, still riding the high from the Women’s Royal Rumble, this really is a great match. Wrestling fatigue aside–we have two matches left?!–Bryan is working his new gimmick as a heel perfectly. He’s slower moving and brutal when it comes to working Styles’ limbs. The ending was completely out of the ordinary, but I liked it and it’s only going to add to Bryan’s story. This is a match you’ll want to watch again, on its own, when it’s not following a Rumble match.

— Mat Elfring
8/10

This match was great, but the crowd was absolutely dead. After all, can you blame them with this following the women’s Royal Rumble? Still, we all know Bryan and Styles can have great matches and this was yet another one. Bryan is slow and maniacal about everything he does and his methodical dismantling of Styles was exciting to watch. Styles, for his part, gave just as good as he got and had the champion close to defeat multiple times. The real wild card was the addition of Erick Rowan as an ally of Bryans who also helped him secure the win. This new wrinkle to Bryan’s gimmick is intriguing but has me wondering if this means the Bludgeon Brothers are dead and buried.

— Chris E. Hayner
8/10

I don’t envy the wrestlers who have to immediately follow The Man’s Rumble win. Inexplicably, this dream WWE Championship match between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles served as the cooldown match to the women’s Rumble. The biggest pop was for the Yes Kicks, which, if we go by WWE logic, shouldn’t be cheered for in the first place. None of this, however, is the performers’ faults. At least Rowan came in at the end and spiced things up a bit. For years, that man’s mask has been more over than him. Maybe this can be the start of something better.

— Kevin Wong
7/10

Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Finn Balor (Universal Championship)

Winner: Brock Lesnar

There were a couple of moments where I almost thought, “Oh man. Balor is going to win this.” Almost. We all knew what was going to happen here. But just why is WWE waiting until Wrestlemania for Lesnar to lose the belt? Who the hell knows? This was boring, and there were no surprises. Somehow, Lesnar retains the title he defends like four times a year. I hate this.

— Mat Elfring

3/10 (All three points are awarded to Balor. None to Lesnar)

It’s been 17 years since the 2019 Royal Rumble began. We’ve all been through a lot together, for better or worse. By worse, I mean, of course, Brock Lesnar is still Universal Champion. See you again in April, Brock! Kudos to the champ for at least making Finn look good in grisly defeat. Balor for in a lot more offense than I expected. I’ll also say thanks to WWE for not having Balor go full-demon for this match, as watching Brock crush that piece of Finn’s personality would have been pointless and sad.

— Chris E. Hayner

4/10

Brock never really had a chance of losing this, ever. If Vince wants him in the title picture of Wrestlemania, then that’s where he’s going to be. It’s also become clear that Brock’s best matches are against people significantly smaller than him. His recent matches against Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman were dull plodding affairs with little chemistry. But these David vs. Goliath fights against AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, and now, Finn Balor, have been late-career highlights for The Beast. He also pulled out some early ’00s moves like that shoulder ram in the corner. Brock would be a lot less boring if he just mixed things up a little more. The “Suplex City” meme was the worst thing to happen to him.

— Kevin Wong

7/10

Men’s Royal Rumble

Winner: Seth Rollins

Eternity anywhere is hell, and as much as I love wrestling, I feel like I’m trapped in hell. This match happens to be my favorite one of the year, but this was a very long show, and I am very tired. Trying to stay awake and enjoy the show for what it was, the Royal Rumble match did have a lot of great moments, and overall, it was a lot of fun. Compared to the women’s match, this one felt a bit smoother and the one comedy spot the men had wasn’t weird and awkward. There weren’t as many botches spots either and there was a little more in-ring storytelling. Both Rumble matches were a ton of fun, but this one was just a tiny bit better. It was nice to see Rollins get the win as Strowman’s time has come and gone, and I’d personally rather see him against Lesnar at the big show.

Best Moments:

  • Curt Hawkins got an elimination.
  • Mustafa Ali eliminating Samoa Joe.
  • The surprise entrants were more NXT stars over Hall of Famers or Legends.
  • Nia Jax replacing R-Truth and causing trouble in the Men’s Royal Rumble match was a fun moment. I’m just happy to see a woman in the men’s Rumble match again.

Worst Moments:

  • Jeff Jarrett. I hate Jeff Jarrett and that segment went on forever.
  • I missed Johnny Gargano getting eliminated because I was updating the live results.

— Mat Elfring

7.75/10

I am so tired. This Rumble has been on my TV for 39 days and there hasn’t been a single break. Honestly, these marathon shows are too much. Wrestlemania runs 7 hours long, including the kickoff show. Royal Rumble doesn’t need that length. Especially with throwaway matches like whatever that Raw Tag Team Championships nonsense was. When the show runs this long, matches lat in the evening lose importance. This match was fine, though weak compared to the women’s Rumble. The Double J cameo would have been fun if the show weren’t so long.

Best Moments:

  • The NXT appearances were great.
  • Andrade’s impressive performance shows that WWE truly thinks he’s something special. And he is.
  • Dolph Ziggler got to play a meaningful role in something!
  • Seth deserved the win.

Worst Moments:

  • The Nia Jax appearance just added more time to a very long show.
  • Same goes with the Elias/Jeff Jarrett bit.

— Chris E. Hayner

7/10

It’s nearly midnight in New York. This was a very long show, and perhaps, the final men’s Rumble suffered for it. There were no real surprises this year, and like with the women’s Rumble, WWE focused on the NXT up-and-comers instead of the Legends. That’s probably a smart move in the long run. The WWE men’s division feels like it’s in a rebuilding phase; their top guy is out sick with leukemia. Some of their biggest stars, like AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan, aren’t getting any younger and need to pass the torch. Rollins and Braun are good representatives of the future, and appropriately, they were the final two.

Best Moments:

  • Double J cameo at the beginning of the Rumble. Ain’t he great?
  • Pete Dunne comes in, twists people’s fingers backwards, and cleans house
  • Aleister Black eliminates Dean Ambrose. Good sign of things to come
  • It’s great seeing Shelton Benjamin. One of the most singularly talented guys to come out of the OVW developmental class.
  • Mustafa Ali continues rising up the card, eliminates Samoa Joe.
  • Andrade lasts until late in the Rumble
  • The right person won. Rollins has had a phenomenal year, and this is a well-deserved addition to that.

Worst Moments:

  • Telegraphed ending. The minute Rollins took the table bump from Bobby Lashley on the outside, we knew who would be winning this.
  • Mustafa Ali gets eliminated by Nia Jax in a drawn-out gimmick spot.

— Kevin Wong

6.5/10

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Uploaded on: 28 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

When you think of game franchises with complex storylines, Kingdom Hearts quickly comes to mind. Its lore now spans nearly a dozen entries in the series – from mainline console titles to multiplayer mobile games – each adding new wrinkles to an overarching story that was totally mapped out from the beginning and not off-the-cuff. Totally.

Kingdom Hearts III looks to tie up all these narrative threads, so you’ll want to freshen up on the series’ lore before you dive in. If only there was a guide for that. Oh wait – there is!

Here are each of the Kingdom Hearts saga’s lingering plot threads that we expect will finally reach their resolutions when the game launches this week. Fair warning, we’re about to spoil every game in the Kingdom Hearts series to date.

Rescuing Aqua

Aqua sacrifices herself at the end of Kingdom Hearts 2.8: A Fragmentary Passage, trapping herself in the Realm of Darkness (and giving us another reason to agree that she’s the coolest character in the series). The E3 2018 trailer revealed Aqua is in a precarious situation at the start of Kingdom Hearts III, so we anticipate Sora and Co. will mount a mission to rescue her from Xehanort’s clutches.

Restoring Ventus

At the end of Birth by Sleep, Aqua hides a comatose Ventus inside Castle Oblivion, and Ventus’ heart takes shelter in Sora’s. (Man, explaining all this heart-hopping to friends is difficult!) If Aqua is coming back into the fray, it’s safe to say she’ll want to restore her friend’s heart. Hopefully Sora doesn’t have to create another Nobody in the process. This genealogy is already confusing as it is.

Terra’s Exorcism

We know Xehanort is back, so where is Terra? If you recall, Xehanort possessed Terra’s body in Birth by Sleep. “Terranort,” as fans call him, eventually expired, and Sora’s gang acted as the clean-up crew, defeating Terranort’s Heartless (Ansem) in Kingdom Hearts and his Nobody (Xemnas) in Kingdom Hearts 2.

Still following?

With the original Xehanort revived and up to his old world-ending tricks in Kingdom Hearts III, it’s likely we’ll find out where Terra is now. Or if he’s even around at all…

DiZ’s Data Revealed?

Riku explores Sora’s heart at the end of Dream Drop Distance and while doing so encounters a remnant of DiZ, the mysterious cloaked figure from Kingdom Hearts II, who’s later revealed to be Ansem the Wise. DiZ tells Riku he’s left digitized research within Sora (how invasive), that would help them find their lost friends “in their hour of need.”

Well, that hour is here. DiZ’s data sounds exactly like what our heroes need to rescue Terra, Aqua, and Ventus.

Kairi and Lea’s Training

Dream Drop Distance’s secret ending revealed Kairi would undergo Keyblade training alongside Lea. Their training even gets teased in the Final Battle trailer (below), where Kairi suggests the two will have to face off in “the ring.” Considering Kairi is one of the “pure lights” Xehanort is searching for, learning how to defend herself seems paramount in thwarting Xehanort’s plans.

Click here to watch embedded media

Sora Becomes A Keyblade Master

In Kingdom Hearts, the Mark of Mastery exam is a test that, when passed, grants you the title of Keyblade master. It served as the MacGuffin in both Birth by Sleep and Dream Drop Distance, but in the latter, Sora, sadly, failed. We expect Kingdom Hearts III to address Sora’s status as non-Keyblade master. I can’t think of a better way to end his hero’s journey than for him to finally earn his recognition.

Who Are The 7 And 13?

Dream Drop Distance alluded to a showdown in Kingdom Hearts III between 13 wielders of darkness and 7 guardians of light. With nearly a dozen Keyblade-wielding protagonists converging in the upcoming game, there’s cause for speculation as to who’s on the roster and who’s sitting this one out. We’ll find out which characters got drafted soon enough though!

What’s In The Box?!

Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover, the short film included in 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, introduced us to a mysterious black box adorned with 13 locks that has some great significance to the series’ overarching plot. Its role in Kingdom Hearts III was uncertain until Maleficent (yes, the devil lady is still around) referenced “a distinctive black box” to Hades in the E3 2017 trailer below. That’s reason enough to believe the box has a role to play in the upcoming game.

(That, and there’s an interesting parallel to Davy Jones’ special chest that’s sure to make an appearance in the game’s Pirates of the Caribbean world.)

Click here to watch embedded media

Sora Will Bring Back Roxas and Naminé

Players learn in Dream Drop Distance that Nobodies like Axel can form a new heart, so in a sense, Roxas and Naminé kind of got cheated when they merged with their original bodies in Kingdom Hearts II. Whether or not they formed their own hearts in their time as Nobodies is a big question mark lingering over the series, but it’s a loose end the game is likely to address.

Be sure to read our review, drop down to the comments and let us know what big plot holes you think Kingdom Hearts III will finally fill in, or share what worlds you’re excited to explore.

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Uploaded on: 27 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

We’re giving away free PUBG MOBILE swag packages to three (3) lucky fans. Entering into our Instagram giveaway below is easy — just like and follow for a chance to win!

PUBG MOBILE Swag Giveaway

Official Sweepstakes Rules

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12. Integrity of Sweepstakes. If, for any reason, the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of infection by computer virus, worms, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes which Administrator, in its sole opinion believes could corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Sweepstakes, Administrator reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend this Sweepstakes and select the Winners from entries received prior to the action taken or in such other manner as Administrator may deem fair and appropriate.

13. Lost or Corrupted Entries. The Sweepstakes Entities and their parents, affiliated and subsidiary companies and advertising and promotion agencies, assume no liability and are not responsible for, and you hereby forever waive any rights to any claim in connection with, lost, late, incomplete, corrupted, stolen, misdirected, illegible or postage-due entries or mail, if applicable; or for any computer, telephone, cable, network, satellite, electronic or Internet hardware or software malfunctions, unauthorized human intervention, or the incorrect or inaccurate capture of entry or other information, or the failure to capture any such information. The Sweepstakes Entities and their parents, affiliated and subsidiary companies and advertising and promotion agencies, are not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by registration information submitted by end users or tampering, hacking or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in this Sweepstakes, and assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to the Sweepstakes.

14. Damaged Property. The Sweepstakes Entities and their parents, affiliated and subsidiary companies and advertising and promotion agencies, assume no liability and are not responsible for, and you hereby forever waive any rights to any claim in connection with, injury or damage to any entrants or to any other person’s computer or property related to or resulting from participating in this Sweepstakes or downloading materials from this Sweepstakes.

15. Sweepstakes Errors. The Sweepstakes Entities and their parents, affiliated and subsidiary companies and advertising and promotion agencies, assume no liability and are not responsible for, and you hereby forever waive any rights to any claim in connection with errors and/or ambiguity: (a) in the Sweepstakes; (b) in any related advertising or promotions of this Sweepstakes; and/or (c) in these Official Rules. In the event of any ambiguity(s) or error(s) in these Official Rules, Administrator reserves the right to modify these Official Rules for clarification purposes or to correct any such ambiguity(s) or error(s) without materially affecting the terms and conditions of the Sweepstakes.

16. Prizes and Winners. The Sweepstakes Entities and their parents, affiliated and subsidiary companies and advertising and promotion agencies, assume no liability and are not responsible for, and you/entrant hereby forever waive any rights to any claim in connection with, the selection and announcement of the Winners, the distribution of the Prizes, the acceptance/possession and/or use/misuse of any part of a Prize and/or any injury or damage to any entrant’s or third person’s property related to or resulting from any part of a Prize or any part of this Sweepstakes.

17. Release and Indemnity. Each entrant in this Sweepstakes, including, without limitation, the Winners, hereby releases and agrees to hold harmless the Sweepstakes Entities and their parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies and their respective directors, officers, employees, representatives and agents from any and all liability for any injuries, loss or damage of any kind to person, including death, and property, arising in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from acceptance, possession, use or misuse of a Prize, participation in this Sweepstakes and participation in any activity related to this Sweepstakes.

18. Limitation of Liability. IN NO EVENT WILL THE SWEEPSTAKES ENTITIES, THEIR PARENTS, AFFILIATES, SUBSIDIARIES AND RELATED COMPANIES, THEIR ADVERTISING OR PROMOTION AGENCIES OR THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, REPRESENTATIVES AND AGENTS, BE RESPONSIBLE OR LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES OR LOSSES OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF YOUR ACCESS TO AND USE OF THE SWEEPSTAKES OR THE DOWNLOADING FROM AND/OR PRINTING MATERIAL DOWNLOADED FROM THE SWEEPSTAKES. SOME JURISDICTIONS MAY NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY FOR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR EXCLUSION OF IMPLIED WARRANTIES, SO SOME OF THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. CHECK YOUR LOCAL LAWS FOR ANY RESTRICTIONS OR LIMITATIONS REGARDING THESE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSIONS.

19. Disclaimer of Warranties. THE SWEEPSTAKES AND PRIZES ARE PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR NON-INFRINGEMENT.

20. Identity Disputes. In the event of a dispute as to the identity of the winner based on an email address, the winning entry will be declared made by the Authorized Account Holder of the email address and/or wireless phone number submitted at time of registration into Instagram and/or entry into the Sweepstakes. For purposes of these Official Rules, “Authorized Account Holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider or other organization (e.g., business, educational, institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address.

21. Binding Arbitration. The parties waive all rights to trial in any action or proceeding instituted in connection with these Official Rules and/or this Sweepstakes. Any controversy or claim, arising out of, or relating to, these Official Rules and/or this Sweepstakes shall be settled by binding arbitration in accordance with the commercial arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association. Any such controversy or claim shall be arbitrated on an individual basis and shall not be consolidated in any arbitration with any claim or controversy of any other party. The arbitration shall be conducted in the State of New York, in the City of New York and judgment on the arbitration award may be entered into any court having jurisdiction thereof.

22. Governing Law and Jurisdiction. This promotion is governed by U.S. law and is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited by law. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of entrant and Administrator in connection with this Sweepstakes, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of New York, U.S.A., without giving effect to the conflict of laws rules thereof, and any matters or proceedings which are not subject to arbitration, as set forth in Section 21 of these Official Rules and/or for entering any judgment on an arbitration award, shall take place in the State of New York, in the City of New York.

23. Winner’s List/Official Rules. For the name of the Winners, send a self-addressed stamped envelope for receipt by February 15, 2019 to “Winner List, PUBG MOBILE Swag Giveaway” 1401 W. Cypress Creek Road, Suite 200, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309. For Official Rules, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the above address marked “Official Rules: PUBG MOBILE Swag Giveaway” for receipt by February 15, 2019. Residents of VT may omit postage on the self-addressed envelope. The name of the Winners may be posted, and the Official Rules will be posted on the CBSI Service (i.e. GameSpot.com).



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Uploaded on: 26 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Digital Board Game Spotlight: Isle of Skye

Few board games are more popular or prolific than Carcassonne, the family-friendly tile-laying classic from 2000 that tasks players with building a communal countryside, one colorful square at a time. While not officially related, Isle of Skye feels like an evolution of Carcassonne’s theme and mechanics, giving players a meatier experience that’s loaded with replayability and perfectly suited for mobile gaming.

Digital Board Game Spotlight is an ongoing series that highlights my favorite digital translations of modern board games. Unlike most modern mobile games, these selections feature traditional up-front pricing, without any time-gates, premium currencies, or ads to ruin the fun. If you’re looking for your next mobile fix, look no further.

Digital Board Game Spotlight: Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye

Publisher: Asmodee Digital, Developer: Digidiced
Multiplayer: Online (Asynchronous and Real-time), Pass & Play
Available on: Android, iOS, PC

As with Carcassonne, your goal in Isle of Skye is to build a kingdom by laying down tiles comprised of different regions – in this case, the lakes, mountains, and grassy plains that make up the real Scottish island. Each tile you place must match up with the regions of its orthogonal neighbors, and may contain a variety of different livestock, buildings, and ships that factor into Isle of Skye’s unique scoring system. Barrel symbols are a notable exception, and will grant you more gold each turn – but only if they lead back to your city via an uninterrupted road. Unlike Carcassonne, each player is building their own kingdom in Isle of Skye, but there’s still plenty of interaction thanks to how tiles are chosen in the first place.

At the beginning of every round, each player receives three landscape tiles, and will secretly choose one to discard, and place bids on the other two. Those bids set the prices that other players can buy them for on their turn – you can purchase exactly one tile from another opponent. If no one wants to pay the prices you set, you’re on the hook for them yourself, and pay the money you set aside for the bid in the first place.

All of these discard and pricing decisions are made secretly and introduce a wealth of interesting choices. Do you set a high price on a valuable tile in hopes of retaining it for yourself? Or push your luck with a lower price and hope no one takes it? Do you discard a tile that would be beneficial to an opponent, or set a high price in hopes of scoring some extra money, which you can in turn use to buy more valuable tiles from your competitors? But what if that tile you’re eyeing is the one your opponent is planning to discard anyway?

Digital Board Game Spotlight: Isle of Skye

Ultimately, the value of any given tile comes down to its scoring potential, and that’s where Isle of Skye really gets interesting. At the beginning of the game, four scoring tiles are randomly chosen out of a pool of 16 options. These will award points for a variety of different criteria, like one VP for every sheep in your kingdom, or five VP for the person with the most ships, or two VP for every completed mountain area. Each score tile is triggered exactly three times during the game, but their timing is staggered throughout each of the six rounds; only tile A scores in the first round, but B and D score together in the fourth round, and A, C, and D all score in the fifth round, etc.

Besides adding a boatload of variety and replayability to Isle of Skye, this scoring format also introduces interesting pressures that twist your strategy from turn to turn – “If I get one more ship tile I’ll have the majority, but I need to get it NOW before it scores. Or maybe I’ll focus on those two cow tiles instead – I don’t have a road tile to connect them back to my kingdom, but I’ve got another round before their score tile comes up to figure that out…” Devising a way to capitalize on the natural ebb and flow of the score tiles and rake in a massive pile of points at the right time is supremely satisfying.

Digital Board Game Spotlight: Isle of Skye

Finally, some land tiles offer their own bonus scoring opportunities that only trigger at the end of the game. Not only do these tiles add one last dash of variability to every game, they also ensure an exciting finale as you tally up the endgame points. Whether Isle of Skye will have the lasting popularity of Carcassonne remains to be seen, but it certainly has enough depth and variety to keep matches feeling fresh for years to come.

Like all of the games highlighted in this series, Isle of Skye greatly benefits from its transition to the digital table. In addition to a shorter playing time, A.I. opponents, and automated scoring, the digital version also boasts a wonderful aesthetic improvement over the physical game; when you rotate a tile to fit into your kingdom, its symbols automatically realign themselves – no longer will your ships be sailing upside-down or your sheep be standing sideways like some strange M.C. Escher landscape. Like Digidiced’s other titles, a humorous tutorial explains the ins and outs of the rules, and detailed explanations of scoring tiles are always a tap away. The touch controls make moving and rotating tiles and setting your bids a cinch, and the end-turn prompt ensures you always have the opportunity to undo potential mistakes anyway.  

Digital Board Game Spotlight: Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye’s multiplayer offerings are also consistent with Digidiced’s other titles, in that they provide a wealth of options that are all underused by the community. The local pass-and-play option seems viable for two players as there’s not a ton of hidden information to worry about in the game, but any more human players would simply be cumbersome. You won’t find many opponents for the asynchronous or real-time multiplayer modes, so wrangling your own friends up for online play is still your best bet.

While, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed thinking my way through Isle of Skye’s strategic tile-laying action, if you’re looking for something easier and breezier, you may want to check out its spiritual predecessor. Asmodee Digital’s topnotch Android port of Carcassonne features exceptional visuals, streamlined play, and a number of extra expansions for purchase if you find yourself enamored with the base game. It’s also one of the few digital board games with an active player base on Android, if you’re hankering for some human competition. A word of warning that a different developer owns the rights to Carcassonne on iOS, however, so Apple owners are out of luck – but Switch and PC versions are also available.

For more digital board games that are worth your time, check out my write-up of the fast and fun card trading of Jaipur, and the streamlined but strategic auctions of Stockpile. For physical board game recommendations, check out Matt Miller’s bi-weekly column, Top of the Table.

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Uploaded on: 25 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

343 Studios has teased an upcoming announcement concerning Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The announcement will occur during the HCS Invitational at SXSW 2019.

In terms of what the announcement might entail, 343 was pretty vague. “Not only will you be treated to amazing matches and gameplay, but we’ve also got some exciting MCC news to reveal during the show,” 343 wrote in a blog post. The HCS Invitational takes place March 15-17 at SXSW, and begins each day at 10AM PT / 1PM ET / 6PM UK. If you’re not at the event, you can watch both it and 343’s Halo announcement on either Mixer or Twitch.

The HCS Invitational is a large-scale tournament-style event that 343 created to showcase competitions for both recognized esport players and Halo fans. In terms of professionals, the best six teams from the Halo Classic in St. Louis will battle it out onstage in a Halo 3 double elimination competition for a $100,000 prize pool. More casual competitive Halo players have also been invited to participate in a smaller, two-versus-two tournament for a $5,000 prize pool. Fans who attend HCS can also sign-up to join an open free-for-all tournament for a $5,000 prize pool.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection includes the anniversary editions of both Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, along with the standard versions of Halo 3 and Halo 4. Halo 3: ODST was added to the collection after release, and fans have long asked for Halo: Reach to get the same treatment. We’ll have to wait and see whether 343’s announcement is about that, the addition of Halo 5: Guardians to the collection, or something else entirely.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection is exclusive to Xbox One. Although the collection released almost five years ago, 343 is still implementing updates to this day. The game was added to Xbox Game Pass in September 2018, making it free for players who are subscribed to the service.

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Uploaded on: 24 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

The last three months of any given year are especially contentious, but the fourth quarter of 2018 might be one of the biggest all-out brawls the industry has seen in a number of years. The rising tide truly lifted all boats this year, as the game industry as a whole reported $43.4 billion in revenue in 2018, which is up nearly 20 percent from the previous year. Winter made no small contribution to that number with major software sales across the board.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is by far the biggest seller of the month, topping the chart. The Switch exclusive debuted as the highest-selling exclusive, a game only released on one console, in NPD history. This list includes every Halo, Pokémon, PlayStation 2 Grand Theft Auto games, and even the recent Spider-Man. While it’s hard to say whether the Nintendo fighting game will continue selling for the foreseeable future, the first month sales trajectory will likely make it the best selling game in the series, which is already the best selling fighting game series on the market. Between the physical sales and usual percentage of digital sales, which are not reported by the NPD, it’s likely Smash Bros. sold somewhere north of four million units in the U.S. in December.

In other Nintendo software news, Mario Kart 8/Deluxe (NPD groups the Switch and Wii U games together) has now achieved the record for the second best selling racing game of all time. It is second place to Mario Kart Wii.

While previous years have had Call of Duty ending the year as the best selling game of the calendar year, 2018 goes to Red Dead Redemption II. This is probably not a surprise to most, considering the game’s quality, advertising push, and the historical legacy of Grand Theft Auto V continuing to live on the charts for literal years (and is in the top 20 again for December).

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 did, however, land as the second best selling game of the year.

The third best selling game of the year was NBA 2K19, which also makes it the best selling sports game of 2018, a now-yearly accolade given to the NBA 2K series. It is followed by Madden NFL 19, the fourth best selling game of the year, and then Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. With the exception of Red Dead Redemption II, the entire top five best selling games of 2018 were either primarily or heavily emphasized multiplayer.

Here is the top 20 rankings for December software:

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 1
Red Dead Redemption II 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 3
Battlefield V 4
NBA 2K19 5
Mario Kart 8 6
Madden NFL 19 7
Super Mario Party 8
Pokemon: Lets Go Pikachu 9
Marvel’s Spider-Man 10
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey 11
Pokemon: Lets Go Eevee 12
Super Mario Odyssey 13
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 14
Just Cause 4 15
FIFA 19 16
Grand Theft Auto V 17
Minecraft 18
Spyro Reignited Trilogy 19
Fallout 76 20

In terms of hardware, Switch finishes the year as the best selling console of the year, finally beating out Sony’s PlayStation 4 yearly totals for the first time, though this is also the first year that both systems had full years on the market together. Switch also set a record for highest dollar amount in December sales for any console since the Wii in 2009, though the Switch also costs slightly more than the Wii but less than other contemporary platforms.

As an odd aside, the best selling accessories of 2018 were the black PlayStation 4 controller and the white Xbox One controller. The Switch Pro Controller is also there, but the type/color was not listed.

It should be interesting to see what 2019 holds for these three platforms. With a number of heavy hitters already out the door, all three platform holders have yet to really reveal their hands for this year. By this time next year, we could theoretically be discussing whether The Last of Us II outsold Halo Infinite or whether Animal Crossing quietly outsold everything else. For January at least, we should be seeing short pieces of sales data for Resident Evil 2 and Kingdom Hearts III, the month’s biggest anchor. It’d be wise to keep an eye on New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, as well. While it doesn’t seem to command a lot of excitement, the series has sold tens of millions of copies in aggregate.

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Uploaded on: 23 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Last week the surprise news emerged that there is a new Ghostbusters movie on the way, which will be released in 2020. The film will be directed by Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman, who helmed the 1984 original. The first teaser was also revealed. However, there’s one star connected with the Ghostbusters franchise who is not happy with this news.

Leslie Jones, who starred in the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, took to Twitter to express her displeasure over the new movie. Jones appeared alongside Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Kate McKinnon in the reboot, which was directed by Bridesmaid’s Paul Feig. However, it was a commercial disappointment and plans for a sequel were cancelled.

In her tweet, Jones made it quite clear that she was not happy with the decision not to continue with an all-female Ghostbusters crew. She also described it as “like something Trump would do.” Check it out below:

No official announcement has been made about the cast of the new movie. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Reitman is looking to cast four teens in the lead, specifically two boys and two girls. The site also states that the young stars will team up with the remaining members of the original cast–Dan Akyroyd, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson. All three actors also had cameos in the 2016 reboot.

There were initially plans to make a sequel to the reboot. However, the movie ultimately lost money, and within a few months of release Feig admitted that he would be “very surprised” if another movie with that cast happened.

Nevertheless, Reitman was supportive of the reboot when the new one was announced. He told Entertainment Weekly that he would “love to see more stories from [the 2016 cast],” even though his new film “will follow the trajectory of the original film.”



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Uploaded on: 22 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Click here to watch embedded video

After a festive holiday season, Game Informer’s annual 12.31 Super Replay usually brings suffering. In years past, this day has kicked off complete playthroughs of stinkers like Overblood, Overblood 2, Blue Stinger, Illbleed, Raw Danger, Martian Gothic: Unification, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Vampire Hunter D.

Figuring out which game will be honored with this spot is a stressful decision that usually takes a full year to figure out. That wasn’t the case this year. The community figured it out for us. We had the somewhat official I Watched the Entire Overblood Super Replay group vote for a Super Replay earlier this year. With hundreds of votes cast, the poll ended in a tie between Killer 7 and God Hand. Rather than just flipping a coin to see which one we would do, I decided to record both of them. We knocked out Killer 7 earlier this year, and almost rolled right into God Hand, but couldn’t find a window to get it done in a productive way. I shelved the Super Replay until 12.31. It was one of the games I was considering years ago for this spot anyway.

Now it’s here, and I think the community made the right choice. This game is absolutely bonkers and is a sheer delight to take in. God Hand was created by Clover Studio for Capcom and released in America on October 10, 2006 exclusively for PlayStation 2. Enjoy the Super Replay. I know it was a long time coming. We haven’t produced as many as we have in the past, but it isn’t because we are slacking off. The recording of the Game Informer Show takes up considerable studio and editor time, and we just haven’t had the window to crank the out like we used to. I’d like to say we’ll try to do more in the future, but I’m always thinking that, and the stars just haven’t aligned.

You can watch the latest episode up above, or click the arrows along the side of the video to see the rest of the series!

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Uploaded on: 21 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Shortly after the release of Fortnite‘s 7.20 update earlier this week, players noticed that a mysterious icy sphere had appeared in the game above Polar Peak, leading to speculation that it would somehow tie into the impending Season 8. As it would turn out, the sphere actually housed the Ice King, who has now emerged and blanketed the entire island with an ice storm, kicking off a new event.

During an in-game sequence that unfolded on Saturday, the mysterious sphere burst open, revealing the Ice King, who conjured up a blizzard that rolled over the island. Along with the storm arrived Ice Fiends, zombie-like monsters reminiscent of those that appeared during the Fortnitemares event back in October. You can watch a replay of the entire event below.

The Ice Storm event also brings a new set of challenges to complete. Over the course of the next several days, Epic will be rolling out new objectives. Clearing each will reward you with XP, and finishing six will unlock a black and ice blue wrap. Players who manage to finish all 13 of the Ice Storm challenges will also get a special reward: the Winter’s Thorn Glider.

We’ll be rounding up the full list of Ice Storm challenges as they’re unveiled, so be sure to check back throughout the event. If you need help completing some of Fortnite’s other challenges, we also have tips on those in our full Fortnite Season 7 challenge guide.

While the mystery of the ice sphere has seemingly been solved, a few other unusual objects were recently spotted in the game. The iceberg that was once near Happy Hamlet has been destroyed, revealing a mysterious bunker underneath. Players have also discovered strange, giant eggs within prison cells beneath Polar Peak’s castle. What these signify is anyone’s guess, but we likely won’t have to wait too long to find out.



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Uploaded on: 20 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

<p> <img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/body_default/s3/2019/01/18/56f7d779/header.jpg" width="800" height="368" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-body-default" />

</p>

Publisher: Friend & Foe
Developer: Friend & Foe
Release: January 15, 2019

Rating: Everyone 10+
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4

<p>As Vane opens, a powerful storm rips apart a mysterious landscape, and you control a child clutching something to their chest. As the storm breaks the ground below your feet, you sprint to safety and the dark, synthwave soundtrack kicks in, accompanying your journey to a building in the distance. When you arrive at the door, a mysterious cloaked creature wearing a plague mask blocks your path, pushes you to the ground, and you are lifted into the air by the storm you were trying to outrun. Everything fades to black. Vane establishes intrigue early and asks many compelling questions during these moments, but it is not equipped to answer them. Frustrating moments pepper the experience, but a few high points almost make the full journey worthwhile.</p>

<p></p><a target="_blank" allow="autoplay" allowfullscreen="true" href="https://players.brightcove.net/694940074001/rydylbNsz_default/index.html?videoId=5991059570001">Click here to watch embedded video</a>

<p>After the impressive opening, you are suddenly in a quiet, storm-free desert – and you are a bird. You make your way forward along a deceptively linear path. As a bird you can fly anywhere and land in certain places, but you can also transform into a child who explores on foot. Much of the gameplay and puzzle solving revolves around swapping between bird and child forms. Flight gives you the chance to explore large areas and plan out puzzle solutions without restriction, but the child can actually move objects and pull switches. Controlling the protagonist is harder than it should be in both forms. The camera is erratic, making it difficult to land when you are the bird, and the child often gets hung up on geometry while the camera clips through the environment. I also had to restart one puzzle multiple times as the A.I. put in place to assist me would inexplicably lose its motivation or get stuck in corners. The immersion was constantly being broken when I should have just been looking around in awe.</p>

<p><i>Click image thumbnails to view larger version</i></p><a target="_blank" href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/body_default/s3/2019/01/18/ba479a2e/vane_screen_07_1920.jpeg" ><img align="left" height="100" border="3" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/entity_browser_thumbnail/s3/2019/01/18/ba479a2e/vane_screen_07_1920.jpeg" /></a> <a target="_blank" href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/body_default/s3/2019/01/18/8d4f0a52/vane_screen_08_1920.jpeg" ><img align="left" height="100" border="3" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/entity_browser_thumbnail/s3/2019/01/18/8d4f0a52/vane_screen_08_1920.jpeg" /></a> <a target="_blank" href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/body_default/s3/2019/01/18/a7ed9ae9/vane_screen_09_1920.jpeg" ><img align="left" height="100" border="3" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/entity_browser_thumbnail/s3/2019/01/18/a7ed9ae9/vane_screen_09_1920.jpeg" /></a> <a target="_blank" href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/body_default/s3/2019/01/18/95673bcd/vane_screen_01.jpeg" ><img align="left" height="100" border="3" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/entity_browser_thumbnail/s3/2019/01/18/95673bcd/vane_screen_01.jpeg" /></a> <p>&nbsp;</p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;

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<p>As you’re solving puzzles, you journey deeper into a strange dilapidated world that shifts and rebuilds itself around you while freeing your captured bird brethren or delivering gigantic strange golden balls to the masked creatures seen in opening. You don’t know exactly why you’re making your way toward your destination or doing what you’re doing, but the landscape is beautiful, showcasing a place that was built up like a city, only to topple and fall apart before your eyes.</p>

<p>It all looks stunning, but the direction you need to go is often unclear. The atmosphere is impressive, but getting lost made me struggle to appreciate it. In one instance, while trying to figure out my next path, I accidentally sequence-broke the game. This placed me in the next location without the tools I needed to continue, forcing me to fall back on a previous checkpoint.</p>

<p><i>Click image thumbnails to view larger version</i></p><a target="_blank" href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/body_default/s3/2019/01/18/9b3bdfc5/vane_screen_02_1920.jpeg" ><img align="left" height="100" border="3" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/entity_browser_thumbnail/s3/2019/01/18/9b3bdfc5/vane_screen_02_1920.jpeg" /></a> <a target="_blank" href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/body_default/s3/2019/01/18/1fcd0ae7/vane_screen_002.jpeg" ><img align="left" height="100" border="3" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/entity_browser_thumbnail/s3/2019/01/18/1fcd0ae7/vane_screen_002.jpeg" /></a> <a target="_blank" href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/body_default/s3/2019/01/18/fe2d268c/vane_screen_03_1920.jpeg" ><img align="left" height="100" border="3" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/entity_browser_thumbnail/s3/2019/01/18/fe2d268c/vane_screen_03_1920.jpeg" /></a> <a target="_blank" href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/body_default/s3/2019/01/18/e6885436/vane_screen_003.jpeg" ><img align="left" height="100" border="3" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/prod-media.gameinformer.com/styles/entity_browser_thumbnail/s3/2019/01/18/e6885436/vane_screen_003.jpeg" /></a> <p>&nbsp;</p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;

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<p>So many little things cause frustration and create unnecessary hurdles, but when the game is functioning, and you are able to maintain a reasonable pace of discovery, Vane delivers strange and creepy moments that compelled me to see what was coming next. The climax leading up to the finale is so odd and interesting that I immediately restarted after finishing and played through the whole game again just to try and wrap my head around it. I didn’t walk away with an explicit understanding of what this world went through and how I was connected to it all, but I am still pondering specific imagery from the journey, like conveyor belts transporting cages through a series of caves or the strange masked creature looking down at me from above as a violent storm swirled around it.</p>

<p>Vane feels like an indescribable fever dream when it works, relaying a wordless story about a transforming creature trying to figure out its place in a world that appears to be falling apart. Too often though bugs and a lack of clear direction reminded me that Vane could have used a little bit of extra development time for polish.</p>

Score: 6.75

Summary: Vane establishes intrigue early and a few high points almost make the full journey worthwhile, but frustrating moments pepper the whole experience.

Concept: Explore a mysterious world and solve puzzles as a creature that can transform between child and bird forms

Graphics: The dark, atmospheric art style does a fantastic job selling a world that feels like it came out of a bizarre dream

Sound: The music is great, offering a moody, synthwave soundtrack that recalls the music of Blade Runner

Playability: Whether you’re controlling the child or the bird, movement is a struggle. The child gets caught up on the environment often, and directing the bird to specific landing spots is difficult

Entertainment: Vane’s atmosphere, music, world, and abstract story are affecting and strange, but the bugs and design lead to unnecessary frustration

Replay: Moderately low

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Uploaded on: 19 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

There’s more to war than just weapons and politics. Ace Combat is a series that showed us just that, hitting its stride in the early ’00s with an enchanting mix of jet fighting and human melodrama. But in the past decade, its entries suffered from putting less importance in its signature stories. It dropped four games’ worth of fictional lore in favor of real-world locations, traded pathos for machismo, and attempted to add cinematic blockbuster bombast to the clinical nature of flying jets, all at the cost of losing its identity. Thankfully, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown brings the series back on course and is a significant return to what it was in its prime: a thrilling interpretation of modern aerial combat that also tells a war story with heart, a conscience, and personal stakes.

The narrative of Skies Unknown dives back into the fictional series universe last seen in 2007 and deals with a conflict between the familiar powers of the Osean Federation and the Kingdom of Erusea. You play a silent, faceless Osean pilot who will go through some changing allegiances, but half of the plot actually occurs in cinematics that run parallel to and separate from your actual missions, and come from the perspective of seemingly minor players around the periphery. It’s a war story that pivots with the actions of its small cast of characters as much as it does military victories, and leans heavily into themes of the human condition–the greys of fabricated ideas like nationality, borders, and cultural identity as well as the ethics of advancements in technological warfare.

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To be clear, there aren’t many nuanced discussions to be had between the pronounced personalities of the cast; this is a drama first and foremost. Radio chatter is filled with bold statements of ideology (“As long as our nation stands the young will carry on!”), and sometimes it feels like there’s a naivety in the writing for entirely different, slightly juvenile reasons (“How penal is this penal colony?”). It’s regularly hammy and melodramatic, but the entire endeavor is so wide-eyed and earnest, so endearingly heartfelt and ultimately optimistic in nature, that it’s easy to let yourself be swept up and moved by it all.

Larger-than-life voices amp you up over the radio when you’re flying into a sortie, adding an infectious passion to the affairs. They remind you what you’re fighting for and sometimes make you feel bad and question your actions. The overlapping conversation can be a little distracting when you’re trying to dodge a missile, but it’s that vital human element that keeps you really invested in this game about shooting down planes.

But that’s not to say that aerial combat in Ace Combat 7 is anything but superb. The fundamental actions of chasing down enemies at high speeds, out-maneuvering them to line up a clear shot, or banking hard to avoid an incoming missile while your dashboard beeps and flashes wildly at you is enough to keep you on the edge of your seat constantly. Skies Unknown strips away recent mechanical additions to the series seemingly in service of returning to simplicity–gone are the wingman commands of Ace Combat 6: Fires Of Liberation and, thankfully, so are the in-your-face, on-rails close combat mechanics of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon.

Your focus lies solely on your plane and your surroundings. There’s a variety of familiar factors to take into consideration while flying–different air and ground-based threats, the topography of terrain when fighting at low altitudes–but a significant new element is clouds and the tangible risks and possibilities they invite. Juking into a bank of clouds can break missile locks and give you the element of surprise, but come at the cost of reduced visibility, the possibility of icing up your plane and hindering maneuverability, and even things like strong wind currents and lightning strikes messing with your ability to keep control of your jet. Clouds are legitimately useful strategic considerations, on top of just being a pretty thing to admire, and they make the skies of Ace Combat 7 a more interesting place to be.

There’s also an impressive variety of distinct scenarios across the game’s 20 campaign missions. Generally, the scope of most battles are quite large and require you to split your attention between different kinds of skirmishes across the map with a broader objective in mind. But many missions also come with unique challenges that make for some memorable moments–dogfighting in a thunderstorm at night, stealth canyon runs, and avoiding huge area-of-effect blasts in the midst of a busy battle are some enjoyable standouts. The game’s few boss-style encounters are a highlight too, as you go up against impossibly good ace fighters and the game’s white whale superweapon–which itself fills the map with a terrifying amount of hostile drones. There are a few scenarios that aren’t as exciting, however–hunting for trucks in a sandstorm and chasing ICBMs grew tiring pretty quickly, and the game’s final challenge was a tricky exercise in plane maneuvering that feels like it necessitates multiple retries by design, which puts a damper on an otherwise grand finale.

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The act of retrying will inevitably come with a pang of resentment, too, since checkpointing in Skies Unknown is sparse. Checkpoints typically only occur only at the halfway point of a mission, and it’s common to get 20 minutes into a battle before failing to hit an objective and having to start from the very beginning. This can get frustrating in the tail end of the campaign, where threats are more abundant and more relentless and the overall demands are higher. Granted, there is a light emphasis on score performance, and your mission score persists even if you need to retry from the halfway point, but a little more generosity wouldn’t have gone astray.

Ace Combat 7 features a straightforward, peer-to-peer online multiplayer component featuring 8-player Battle Royal (free-for-all deathmatch) and team deathmatch modes. Dogfighting with other human beings is certainly a lot more challenging and frenetic, and because matches are only five minutes in length, they consistently feel fast-paced and full of excitement. The planes and equipment you unlock as part of the campaign carry over to multiplayer and vice versa, but everything has an assigned value and you’re able to play matches that have a limit on how much you can bring, which helps keep a level playing field.

Online sorties also feature a weighted scoring system where leading players are clearly marked and have a higher score value attached to their destruction. In my experience, it’s an idea that works well in practice, stopping you from being a target if you’re doing poorly and keeping you on your toes if you’re doing well. It also allows for some great match dynamics too–there were plenty of times where I was falling behind in score, decided to zero in on the leading player, and made a spectacular comeback to take the lead in the last few seconds.

The PlayStation 4 version of Skies Unknown also features an exclusive VR mode consisting of an Ace Combat 4-inspired mini-campaign. There are only three missions, and their objectives are less complicated than those of the main campaign, but even so, the experience of flying from the cockpit of a plane is engrossing. The feeling of speed and height is literally dizzying, the ability to freely look around and track a target with your gaze is terrific, and the act of pitching and rolling your plane is so effective at eliciting a feeling of actual g-force that I personally had a hard time doing more than one mission at once without breaking out into a nauseous sweat. It’s a shame that there’s no option to play the main campaign in VR–the head tracking and freelook alone would be incredibly useful–but the mode is a great addition nonetheless.

Good aerial combat is important for a game involving jet fighters, but it’s a given quality for Ace Combat. Skies Unknown boasts a beautiful photorealistic world, entertaining mission variety, and a reason to get excited about clouds. But most importantly, it carries renewed devotion to the history and stories of its fictional universe, and with that, it brings back the human, emotional center that makes it remarkable. Ace Combat 7 is a fantastic return for a series that is at its best when it wears its heart on its wings.

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Uploaded on: 18 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

God of War is a really gigantic game. A really great, gigantic game that won our Game of the Year award, in fact. But even in the biggest games, some stuff has to get left on the cutting room floor and, in this case, boss fights were one of the the things that had to be pushed aside. While previous God of War games were known for their numerous and unique boss fights, the latest game leaned heavily on the same troll monsters to do the heavy lifting, leaving most of the spectacle to a few others scattered throughout the game.

In an interview for the NoClip documentary on the game, director Cory Barlog explained that it simply wasn’t feasible to add more.

Click here to watch embedded video

“We cut a lot of bosses – a lot,”  Barlog told NoClip’s Danny O’Dwyer. “Y’know, we had so many more, it was a much more ambitious, crazier game. As you go through development, you start realizing, no, it’s too big, we can’t do this. One boss takes like 30 developers a year and a half. It’s an absolutely massive scale when you really consider it.”

Barlog went on to describe that there was a “boss team” working on bosses for the game, but they had to work on other things as well, making it more difficult to simply add in bosses.

The director also described how the trolls, which were plentiful boss fights throughout the game, were never actually meant to be bosses. The team had trouble figuring out where to put the health bar on the massive creatures and eventually decided it made the most sense to give them a boss health bar that is always on screen. Barlog wanted to do more with the lore of their names, as well, but couldn’t fit it into the scope of the story. His explanation for how they fit into the game can be found in NoClip’s documentary above.

How do you feel? Was it the right call to release God of War with the number of bosses it had?

[Source: NoClip]

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Uploaded on: 17 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, The Elder Scrolls Online has steadily grown into an experience that many fans of Bethesda’s RPG franchise wanted back when it debuted back in 2014. As an open world MMO, players can freely explore the many regions of Tamriel embarking quests, exploring dungeons, and acquiring rare loot. With the releases of previous expansions set in familiar areas, including Morrowind and Summerset, the scale and content of the online world has steadily seen improvement. During a livestream hosted by Twitch, the developers of ESO revealed the next major expansion set in the land of Elsweyr, along with an ambitious set of DLCs and updates releasing this year.

Set for launch on June 4, the Elsweyr expansion takes place in the homeland of the Khajit. Not only will new quests and events open up for veteran players in the region, but it will also be a new starting point for newcomers. As a part of their annual event for the Season of the Dragon, the developers plan to launch four unique DLCs throughout 2019. In the reveal trailer for Elsweyr, dragons have once again found their way to Tamriel, prompting the many adventurers in the land to face off against the new threat. In addition to being tied into the all new story quests, these dragons will also be a part of major world events.

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Prior to the reveal, GameSpot spoke with ESO creative director Rich Lambert about their plans for the game in 2019, and how the community has expanded in big way in recent years.

“Elsweyr been one of the most requested places from our fans; it’s the homeland of the Khajit,” said the creative director. “There’s bits and pieces of the land in other DLCs, such as Reaper’s March and Khenarthi’s Roost, but those are really on the outer edges of the province. So we’re really going into the heartland, showing what Khajit culture is, and how they’ve evolved over the ages.”

With the Season of the Dragon annual event, the developers plan to update many of the core pillars of the MMO with four key updates. Beginning in Q1 with Wrathstone, the first DLC will add in new dungeon content for experienced players. In the second DLC–releasing on June 4–the region of Elsweyr will open up for all players, focusing on new quests and storylines within the desert land of the Khajit. The final two DLCs releasing in the back half of 2019 will also place a heavy emphasis on on additional story and dungeon content as well.

The highlight of Season of the Dragon will no doubt be Elsweyr, which adds in a massive new zone to explore. However, there will also be numerous other updates and quality-of-life additions that will switch things up. The year-long event will also see a new class thrown into the mix, which is the Necromancer. Using their dark magic, they’ll be able to summon spirits and manipulate the dead to fight in battle. However, their dark arts will arouse all kinds of attention from NPCs throughout the land. Using the Necromancer’s abilities in towns will prompt citizens and guards to confront the player–similarly to when players used shouts in the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. These interactions also tied into the game’s Justice system, which judges your character based on in-game choices.

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Furthermore, there will also be new world events. In addition to in-world battles against the massive dragons, some regions will also catch the attention of Daedric deities, who’ve become bored of the state of the world. In order to spice things up, they’ll introduce a little chaos by spawning powerful artifacts in the world. Those who can find them can wield the ancient weapons, transforming them into a demi-god. With drastically amplified stats and unique spells and skills, you’ll need to unleash carnage on other players, or else succumb to the artifact’s insatiable hunger for chaos.

The Elder Scrolls Online is in for a big year, and the new forms of content look to bring some interesting opportunities for players to explore more of the world. In the years since ESO’s debut, the developers spent a lot of time listening to what the fans wanted, which they they credit the game’s current success.

“We spent a lot of time reflecting on what the fans wanted, in trying to bring that Elder Scrolls feel into the game,” said Lambert. “That’s where One Tamriel came from, Thieves Guild, the Dark Brotherhood, and that’s where the Justice System came out as well. It really changed the feel of ESO, and players have enjoyed it since. The game has never been stronger, which is awesome.”

For more info on Elder Scrolls Online, including what’s to come with Elsweyr and the Season of the Dragon, be sure to check back with GameSpot.

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Uploaded on: 16 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Developer AlphaDream has made five original Mario & Luigi games and two remakes in 16 years. The remake of Superstar Saga released in 2017 and its remake of Bowser’s Inside Story released on Friday, January 11. In honor of the remake’s release, we spoke with members of AlphaDream and Akira Otani, a producer from Nintendo, about creating the remake and its new mode, the developer’s communication with Paper Mario developer Intelligent Systems, Shigeru Miyamoto’s early thoughts on the series, why its first game, Tomato Adventure, never made it North America and probably never will, and lots more.

Game Informer: Bowser’s Inside Story is generally the favorite among the Mario & Luigi games. Why do you think that is?

Yoshihiko Maekawa (producer, AlphaDream): As for why it is players’ favorite, this is a really simple reason, but we think it is because it’s the first time you are able to to control Bowser, who is obviously well-known as a rival, in addition to Mario & Luigi, and the gameplay is dynamic and realized very well, also.

Why isn’t this remake on Switch?

Maekawa: It has to with the timing for it releasing on 3DS as opposed to Switch.

Akira Otani (producer, Nintendo): We did think about Switch, but we wanted to maintain the gameplay using the dual screen of the original. That’s the main reason we decided to port to 3DS.

Is this AlphaDream’s last 3DS game?

Maekawa: We still don’t know that yet.

Regarding this remake and the Superstar Saga remake – why no stereoscopic 3D?

Maekawa: What we set out to do with this game was maintain the look and feel of the original and also update the visuals, as well. The 3D view of the 3DS didn’t really fit with doing those two things, so that’s why we decided to not use it.

The game has a great look, but did you ever consider a more drastic remake and using 3D models throughout?

Maekawa: What we set out to do was to update the 2D as well as introduce a very pretty way to convey the shadows, the lights and darks, in the game. That was our concept for this game. But as far as the future is concerned, we’re not completely sure what kinds of things we’ll do.

The proportions don’t really make sense in Bowser’s Inside Story. Mario and Luigi shouldn’t really fit inside of Bowser. Am I overthinking this?

Otani: [laughs] Bowser eats a mushroom given to him by Fawful and then he sucks everyone up and that’s how Mario and Luigi end up inside of him, but we didn’t really think of those details. We didn’t care too much.

One thing I can say though, is Mario is already the kind of character who can be big and small and people are used to the idea of that. We didn’t think it would be too much of a strange concept.

Note: We discuss the ending of Super Mario Odyssey here, so I have blacked out the question in case you have not seen the ending.

What did you think of the end of Super Mario Odyssey? Did you think, “Big deal. We made Bowser a playable character for pretty much the whole game back in 2009.”

Otani: [laughs] We didn’t think about that too much, but I guess it does make me a feel a little good that we were the first doing it.

One of things I liked about Odyssey is how Mario and Bowser ended up running together. That particular relationship – they are rivals… but are they friends? Showcasing that relationship made me smile.

I guess technically, much like Bowser’s Inside Story, Mario is inside of Bowser at the end, so you guys really did do it first.

Otani: [laughs]

Luigi is the perpetual loser, but he is never more of a loser than he is in the Mario & Luigi games. Is that something you take special care to try and showcase and emphasize?

Maekawa: Definitely looking at Luigi’s role in the Mario & Luigi series, you might get that sense, but it is more the sense of teasing Luigi as opposed to flat out bullying him. There are parts of him, like he might cowardly, or get the short end of the stick, but he is definitely not a loser from our point of view. When we went and looked at this game and looked at Superstar Saga, the original, we definitely thought that, “Yeah, he is getting perhaps teased a bit too much,” but we definitely don’t look at it like we’re bullying him or anything like that.

Otani: You should play the next game in the series, the fourth RPG, Dream Team, and you can see how much love we have for Luigi.

Why Skip Partners in Time as you remake the Mario & Luigi games?

Otani: The biggest point was that Mario & Luigi 3, Bowser’s Inside Story, was the best received title in the series, so we really wanted to do a remake of that. And we also really liked the idea of portraying Bowser and Bowser Jr. as a parent and child in the new mode, which is similar to the mode we added to the Superstar Saga remake. Also, the character Fawful was received very well overseas, so we wanted to bring him back and we wanted to show the continued saga with him that we started with Bowser’s Minions in the remake of Superstar Saga.

Is it exciting to remake a game you originally developed? Or does it feel like a retread of old work?

Maekawa: As far as remaking the original game is concerned, there are certainly good things and bad things about it. One of the things I believe has merit to it is brushing up the old visuals. One of the things we got to brush up was the backgrounds and improve the visuals, and that was good.

There is also the feature of the brawl system or mode of the game – the Minions/Bowser’s Jr. mode – and what this allowed us to do was, since it’s not an entirely new game, it allowed us to think of a new game system while not having to do the strenuous work of thinking of something as big as a new game. It was a bit of an effort thinking of the new game systems, but it still was something that was fun to add in as a new thing.

Within AlphaDream and working on the series for such a long time, we get the sense that there is a real legacy that is being communicated with remaking these games, especially for people who come to the company as new employees who haven’t worked on other games in the series. They get to work on this game and kind of take part in the legacy and know that AlphaDream works on these kinds of titles. In that sense, there is a sense of imparting the knowledge of the work on to those people, as well.

Was adding Bowser Jr.’s Journey a big incentive to remake the game?

Shunsuke Kobayashi (director, AlphaDream): Making the new Bowser Jr.’s Journey content was really fun for us and we put a lot of effort put into the scenario, like the comical movements of the characters. If you look at the way the characters move you can see there was a lot of effort put into those. We would really appreciate it if fans would take notice of those things and enjoy the game.

Otani: Coming up with the story for Bowser Jr. – it’s the story of a little kid growing up. In the story you fall down quite low and bad things are happening and he rises up from that bottom. We considered, “How low should we sink him?” Since it’s a child character we didn’t make it too extreme so that people would feel sorry for the character, but also we wanted to call out his brattiness, so it was difficult to find that middle ground.

Kobayashi: We discussed this a lot and think we came up with a very good balance.

What kind of direction or feedback did Miyamoto offer early in the development of the Mario & Luigi series?

Maekawa: As far as the scenario of Superstar Saga was concerned, Shigeru Miyamoto basically spoke with us and saw this as kind of a way to communicate a new adventure – to give people a sense of a new adventure for Mario and Luigi.

Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi are distinct games, but they are both turn-based RPGs starring Mario. Do you communicate with Paper Mario’s developer, Intelligent Systems, at all in order to make sure the two series don’t overlap?

Otani: Basically, they don’t. They are two completely separate series of games. We like to keep Mario & Luigi with AlphaDream and Paper Mario with Intelligent Systems to keep their originality, except for the case of Paper Jam. They did work together on that title.

Why haven’t we ever seen Tomato Adventure in the west?

Maekawa: [laughs] the reason why is the age group we were targeting was a bit too low and a bit too small. We also had some trouble with the battle system, and it wasn’t received well at the time of release.

Were there any areas that ended up being cut from the original game that were considered for inclusion in the remake?

Kobayashi: [laughs] No, there wasn’t anything like that.

No areas you considered having Mario & Luigi explored inside of Bowser that were too gross or inappropriate that you immediately said, “No we can’t go there!”

Kouichi Fukazawa (background graphics lead, AlphaDream): Thinking about the original layout for what we originally aimed to do on the DS was to allow the player to explore all the depths of Bowser’s body, and we think we were able to do that pretty well. In doing that we thought there would be some areas that would be gross, but we think we were able to convey it in cute and funny ways.

As far as the remake is concerned, obviously the graphical power of the system is better, there are probably more bumpy bits and detailed bits that you would normally expect to see and we made an effort to make them not as gross as you would normally expect them to be. Maybe you noticed that in playing the remade version of the game.

Mario & Luigi has quite a few original characters. Which among those would you like to see in Smash Bros. given the opportunity?

Otani: Starlow, for sure.

Maekawa: Either Fawful or Broque Madame.

 

You can read our original Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story review right here and our review of the remake here. You can also read our thoughts on the remake of Superstar Saga here.

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Uploaded on: 15 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

There are always more games on the horizon, and now Microsoft has teased what’s coming next for its portfolio. In a blog post, Microsoft offered what it called a “hot tease” of what fans can expect in the time ahead.

Starting with 2019 games, Xbox fans have titles like Crackdown 3, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Gears 5, and Minecraft: Dungeons to look forward to. Of note, all of these games–and all future first-party titles from Microsoft–are included with the price of an Xbox Game Pass membership.

“2019 is shaping up nicely for Xbox, PC and mobile gamers alike,” Microsoft said.

Also in 2019 Microsoft will release a significant new update for Sea of Thieves, called The Arena, which adds a competitive mode.

In addition to all of these games and the new Sea of Thieves expansion, Microsoft teased future releases from its studios around the world. Microsoft said delivering “new Microsoft technologies” is one part of the company’s ambition going forward.

“And we can’t wait to show you what all the Microsoft Studios development teams are working on. We’re focused on implementing new Microsoft technologies, delivering content for new platforms and services like Xbox Game Pass, and creating exclusive games that turn players into loyal Xbox fans,” Microsoft said. “We are committed to expanding the Microsoft Studios franchises players already love and investing in new, exclusive content for every type of gamer. We’re excited to see the teams maximize their potential at Microsoft and can’t wait for what the future has in store.”

Last year, Microsoft invested in its future by acquiring six studios and creating an all-new one. At E3, Microsoft announced that it acquired Playground Games (Forza Horizon), Compulsion Games (We Happy Few), Ninja Theory (Hellblade), and Undead Labs (State of Decay). At Microsoft’s X018 event in Mexico City, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout: New Vegas) and inXile Entertainment (Wasteland 3). As for new studio, The Initiative is based in the Los Angeles area, and it’s staffed by Red Dead Redemption’s writer/designer and many other big names.

Outside of games, Microsoft is working on a game-streaming service that will let you play console-level Halo on your phone, while the company is also making a Halo TV show and a Gears of War movie. Additionally, Microsoft is working on multiple new Xbox consoles.

What games and technologies are you hoping to see from Microsoft in 2019? Let us know in the comments below!

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Uploaded on: 14 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Sony has released their lists of the most downloaded games of 2018 across multiple categories, and while you can probably guess the winners in most fields (you’ve probably downloaded them!), there are few surprises here.

It should come as no surprise that Fortnite: Battle Royale is the most downloaded free-to-play game on the service, as it’s the video game of our time. And while Red Dead Redemption 2 seemed to have more excitement behind it leading up to launch, Black Ops 4 reigns supreme when it comes to sales, meaning the lack of a campaign didn’t deter as many people from buying it as a battle royale encouraged them. Meanwhile, the most popular VR game on the platform is Job Simulator, followed by Beat Saber. 

Sony also released a few less obvious categories. The most popular Vita game of 2018 is, say with me… God of War: Collection! Persona 4: Golden follows right behind it, showing why Atlus should probably port it to Switch at some point. Meanwhile, the most downloaded PlayStation Classic game is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (not surprising), followed by Bully (predictable), and Destroy All Humans! 2 (pretty surprising, honestly). The most downloaded theme was the one for Monster Hunter: World, though I’m happy to see the Tropical Skeleton hold it down in the #10 spot. You can find the full lists for each category below.

Most Downloaded PS4 Games

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  2. Red Dead Redemption 2
  3. Spider-Man
  4. God of War
  5. Grand Theft Auto V
  6. NBA 2K19
  7. FIFA 19
  8. Monster Hunter: World
  9. Far Cry 5
  10. Madden NFL 19

Most Downloaded Free-to-Play Games

  1. Fortnite Battle Royale
  2. H1Z1: Battle Royale
  3. Brawlhalla
  4. Warface
  5. Paladins
  6. Warframe
  7. Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 Lite
  8. Fallout Shelter
  9. DC Universe Online Free-to-Play
  10. America’s Army: Proving Grounds

Most Downloaded PlayStation VR Games

  1. Job Simulator
  2. Beat Saber
  3. Superhot VR
  4. PlayStation VR Worlds
  5. Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality
  6. Arizona Sunshine
  7. Moss
  8. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
  9. Driveclub VR
  10. Surgeon Simulator: Experience Reality

Most Downloaded PlayStation Vita Games

  1. God of War: Collection
  2. Persona 4 Golden
  3. Jak and Daxter Collection
  4. Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition
  5. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory
  6. Stardew Valley
  7. Adventures of Mana
  8. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon
  9. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater – HD Edition PS Vita
  10. Undertale

Most Downloaded PlayStation Classics

  1. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  2. Bully
  3. Destroy All Humans! 2
  4. Destroy All Humans!
  5. Metal Slug Anthology
  6. The Warriors
  7. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy
  8. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
  9. Psychonauts
  10. Twisted Metal: Black

Most Downloaded PlayStation 4 Themes

  1. Monster Hunter: World – Theme
  2. Legacy Dashboard Theme
  3. Friday the 13th: The Game Theme
  4. The Last of Us Outbreak Day Theme
  5. The Last of Us Part II Ellie Theme
  6. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – New Dynamic Theme
  7. Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Original Theme
  8. BioShock: The Collection Theme
  9. Undertale Dynamic Theme (Ruins)
  10. Tropical Skeleton Dance HiQ Dynamic Theme.

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Uploaded on: 13 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

While there have been many weird TV shows over the years, the shows that have the strangest episodes are often those that start relatively normal. It’s easy to be weird from the start, but these aren’t always the shows we remember. The weirdest episodes are those that seem at odds with the episodes around them, shows that seem to be regular dramas, comedies, and thrillers that suddenly throw crazy curveballs at their audience.

Weird episodes happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes, a show’s success means that showrunners and writers are granted more leeway to experiment with the format. Other times, the writers are running out of ideas and throw in some strange episodes to keep things interesting. And some episodes are simply weird by accident, often when an attempt to do something interesting goes hilariously wrong.

However, with the rise of streaming services and increased competition for audience attention, showrunners have more freedom than they used to. Many modern shows are ambitious in a way they weren’t two decades ago. A show like the original run of Twin Peaks, which seemed so radical at the time, no longer seems that strange. When something like the recent interactive Black Mirror movie Bandersnatch is seen as mainstream entertainment, it’s clear that the definition of what is considered “weird” has shifted. As the upcoming list shows, it still takes a groundbreaking maverick like David Lynch to truly push the boundaries of modern TV.

So here are 12 of the weirdest TV episodes ever screened. All of these seemed like complete oddities when first broadcast, and in many cases leave us wondering how they ever ended up on TV in the first place. And don’t forget to let us know your favourite weird TV episodes in the comments afterwards!

12. Boy Meets World, ‘Psychotic Episode’ (1999)

Dreams are a big part of many strange TV episodes, as they provide writers with an excuse to indulge in some pretty wild stuff without actually messing with a show’s overall plot or characters. ‘Psychotic Episode’ appeared in Season 6 of the long-running ’90s sitcom Boy Meets World. The episode is essentially a series of dream sequences, in which main character Cory (Ben Savage) murders his friends and family one-by-one in a variety of ways that involve lift shafts, strangulation, baseball bats, and so on. Boringly, it’s all explained at the end to be part of Cory’s worries about his impending wedding, but it does still add up to what must be the biggest body count in any mainstream ’90s sitcom.

11. Charmed, ‘She’s a Man, Baby, a Man!’ (1999)

As a show about three powerful witches, Charmed had plenty of weird moments over its eight-year run. But as entire episodes go, Season 2’s ‘She’s a Man, Baby, a Man!’ takes the prize. This is the one where Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) is consumed by erotic dreams and Prue (Shannen Doherty) is transformed into a man by a lusty, murderous sex demon. From Phoebe’s soft-porn visions to Prue’s spectacularly unconvincing male make-up, this is one strange episode. And the less said about its ham-fisted attempts to address issues of gender politics the better.

10. The X-Files, ‘First Person Shooter’ (2000)

Weird episodes of TV shows often occur towards the end of a show’s run, when writers are coming up short with new ideas. By 2000, the groundbreaking sci-fi mystery The X-Files was on its seventh season, and wheels were starting to come off. The most bizarre episode is ‘First Person Shooter,’ which was written by acclaimed cyberpunk novelist William Gibson. In this oddity, Mulder and Scully enter a horrendously dated virtual reality game, in which a Lara Croft-esque character has started killing anyone who plays it. The whole episode has a strange, cartoonish tone, marked by the return of comedy hackers The Lone Gunmen and the sight of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson running around in a series of ridiculous costumes as they make their way through the game. If you want to see Mulder as a sci-fi samurai or Scully as a gun-toting, armour-wearing warrior, this is your chance.

9. Battlestar Galactica, ‘Black Market’ (2006)

Roland D. Moore’s BSG reboot was one of the best sci-fi shows of the decade. For the most part it deftly juggled space action, political intrigue, and powerful character drama, but although it got plenty weird towards the end, the single strangest episode occurred earlier on. ‘Black Market,’ which was the 14th episode of Season 2, is not weird in the intriguing way that the more mystical later seasons were. It’s weird because it’s so at odds with what had become before. Why Moore and his writers thought an episode styled like a hardboiled detective story featuring intergalactic gangsters and prostitutes was a good idea we may never know, but that’s what we got. It’s an incomprehensible episode filled with plot holes, bizarre behaviour, some very creepy stuff involving kidnapped children, and an absolutely terrible performance from Jamie Bamber as Apollo, transformed (for one episode only) into a vengeful, gun-toting badass. There’s good weird and bad weird, and this is definitely the latter.

8. Community, ‘Remedial Chaos Theory’ (2011)

Community frequently played around with strange storytelling concepts, and Season 3’s ‘Remedial Chaos Theory’ is the show’s most ambitious episode. Much of the episode is split into alternate timelines, all of which are possible outcomes from a single dice roll that Jeff (Joel McHale) uses to decide who should collect pizza for the group. Across seven timelines, characters find themselves in increasingly bizarre variations of the same situation, with recurring jokes and dialogue. Each timeline is funnier than the last, as we start to anticipate certain things, which inevitably pay off in hilariously unexpected ways. Ironically the complexity of the episode meant that it wasn’t finished until after the episode intended to follow it, which actually affected the timeline of the whole season, with the episodes switching and jokes intended to follow it now occurring beforehand.

7. Star Trek: The Original Series, ‘The Way to Eden’ (1969)

Star Trek has long addressed topical issues and has frequently been a highly progressive show in terms of its portrayal of race, gender, and sexuality. But unfortunately it didn’t always get everything right, as this hilariously odd episode proved. It screened in 1969 and was an attempt to comment on the rise of the youth counterculture in the US by having the Enterprise taken over by–yes!–interstellar hippies, led by shirtless hunk Sevrin (played by B-movie veteran Charles Napier). These spaced-out humanoid aliens use the pretext of a musical concert to commandeer the Enterprise and use it to find the mythical planet Eden. Given much of Star Trek’s audience was presumably young people, it’s very strange to see the hippie movement portrayed in such a mocking, negative light. Even stranger are the musical sequences, as Sevrin twangs his space lute and dances around the Enterprise with his wacky followers.

6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ‘Once More With Feeling’ (2001)

The now-legendary musical episode of Buffy, ‘Once More With Feeling’ was the seventh episode of Season 6, and was written and directed by Buffy creator Joss Whedon. The episode’s mad concept revolves around a demon which compels the residents of Sunnydale to break into song at random moments, in order to reveal what they are thinking. Whedon spent many months writing the songs, and the result is a dazzling mix of styles–from classic showtunes to rock opera–entirely performed by the cast. Some are better singers and dancers than others, but like the hit Abba musical Mamma Mia, it doesn’t matter–the joy and energy of the episode is infectious. And Whedon’s masterstroke is making the musical concept much more than just a gimmick–it’s entirely in keeping with the plot and themes of the show, as the characters hear some hard truths about about themselves, and learn to move on in their relationships.

5. Breaking Bad, ‘Fly’ (2010)

Before he was dividing Star Wars fans with The Last Jedi, director Rian Johnson was doing much the same amongst fans of Breaking Bad. Johnson directed several key episodes of the show, but there are none as weird as ‘Fly.’ In this episode, Walter (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse (Aaron Paul) are tormented by a fly that has got into the supposedly ultra-hygienic environment of the super meth-lab in which they work for friendly restauranter/ruthless drug dealer Gus Fring. And that’s pretty much it. We never leave the confines of the lab, there are no other characters, and on the face of it, it doesn’t advance the plot much. But of course, there’s more to it than that. An hour spent with Walt and Jesse allows the writers (including Preacher showrunner Sam Catlin) to really dig deep into their relationship, and use the idea of insect contamination as a metaphor for the conflicted nature of Walt’s conscience. A brave and brilliant hour of TV.

4. The Sopranos, ‘The Test Dream’ (2004)

As previously mentioned, dreams are a good excuse for TV show writers to get weird–but let’s face it, few television dreams bear much resemblance to what most of us experience at night. One exception is ‘The Test Dream’, by the far the strangest episode of The Sopranos, which took place in Season 5. This episode dives deep into the tortured psyche of Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), and presents us with an extended dream sequence in which Tony wrestles with his demons. It’s a highly unusual episode, but while the dream itself is weird, it’s not self-consciously strange in that way that many TV and movie dreams are. Writer Matthew Weiner (who went on to create Mad Men) totally nails the way that dreams often feel, with false wake-ups, figures from the past, scenes merging into other scenes, and tons of symbolism that merits multiple viewings. Like many weird episodes, ‘The Test Dream’ divided fans, but the Sopranos was always an ambitious show, and it proved how far showrunner David Chase was willing to push things.

3. Twin Peaks, ‘Beyond Life and Death’ (1991)

If there’s any show that defines “weird,” it’s Twin Peaks. Let’s face it–every episode contains a ton of strangeness, and its influence across nearly three decades of TV storytelling is still being felt. But there were some episodes that were totally wild, even by the standards set by creators David Lynch and Mark Frost. Season 2 ended with one of the darkest, strangest, and most memorable hours of TV ever broadcast. Lynch had been absent from the production of much of Season 2, but returned for the final two episodes–and although this wasn’t intended to be the end of the entire show, it remained that way for 25 years. It’s pure Lynch–terrifying, disturbing, beautiful, and moving, as Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) enters the Black Lodge. In the unforgettable final scene, Cooper emerges as an evil doppelganger, the real Dale trapped with Laura, Leyland, and the Man from Another Place in the Lodge. This incredible episode laid the groundwork for the prequel movie Fire Walk With Me two years later, and finally, the third season in 2017.

2. BoJack Horseman, ‘Fish out of Water’ (2016)

The episode widely considered to be one of BoJack Horseman’s finest is also its weirdest. In this mad, sad masterpiece, BoJack attends an underwater film festival, for which he must wear a diving helmet. Unfortunately our poor horse hero can barely hear anything through the helmet, resulting in an episode almost entirely without dialogue, which for a show as rapid-fire and darkly funny as BoJack, was a radical storytelling decision. But it works brilliantly, as the writers find new ways to make us laugh and cry, while using the mute underwater concept to truly emphasis BoJack’s feelings of isolation.

1. Twin Peaks: The Return, ‘Part 8’ (2017)

The level of secrecy surrounding the long-awaited return of Twin Peaks meant that no one really knew what to expect. But not even the most devoted fans of the show anticipated something like the eighth episode. Almost certainly the most surreal hour of television ever broadcast on a major channel, this is a highly experimental, black-and-white mind-f*** that works as a weird origin story for both Laura Palmer and the evil Bob and contains some truly unforgettable imagery. From the thunderous shots of atomic testing and scenes in which Laura is dispatched to the Earth in a glowing golden ball, to the terrifying, skull-crushing Woodsman (“Got a light?”) and the final shot of a frog-bug creature crawling into a teenage girl’s mouth, it’s difficult to describe how utterly bizarre the whole thing is. It’s an incredible technical achievement too, with stunning photography and sound design. The whole episode could be Lynch and Frost’s comment on the nature of evil. Or it might simply be what happens when you let two creative geniuses loose with absolutely no restraints. Either way, it’s as weird and wonderful as TV gets.

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Uploaded on: 12 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: AlphaDream
Release: January 11, 2019
Rating: Everyone
Reviewed on: 3DS

The Mario & Luigi series, which is a spiritual successor of sorts to Mario RPG for Super Nintendo, has received five entries since the release of Superstar Saga in 2003. The series is well-liked, but generally speaking, Bowser’s Inside Story is the fan-favorite. It has the best writing, highlights the series’ best original villain, Fawful, and makes Bowser a playable character in a big, fun way. The original holds up as a fun RPG and is playable on 3DS thanks to backwards compatibility, so it wasn’t one fans were demanding receive a remake, but it’s here now and is worth a look, especially if you skipped the original.

As the title implies, much of adventure takes place inside of Bowser after he eats a magical mushroom that makes him inhale everything in his path. You switch back and forth between the Mario brothers walking around inside of Bowser, helping and hindering him as the situation demands, and playing as Bowser as he explores the overworld in an attempt to take back his castle. The story and dialogue is some of the best in the Mario & Luigi series, and all of that moves forward for the remake generally unchanged. The characterization of the cast, both the longtime Mario staples and the original characters, is enjoyable and often genuinely funny.

Click here to watch embedded video

The story is mostly unchanged, making the biggest update for this remake the visuals. It’s still a 2D game, just like its original 2009 release, but more detailed sprites and animation can be found in everything. Watching Mario and Luigi bounce in place as they wait for your inputs is a joy, and the improved lighting effects add a whole new layer of fantasy to the Mushroom Kingdom and Bowser’s innards. Everything, including the backgrounds, feels more expressive and colorful overall.

Other changes are harder to notice, but welcome. Some of the cutscenes and dialogue have been changed here and there, and the overall pace is better thanks to better checkpoints and the option to skip frustrating sections, which is great for young players who are potentially playing an RPG for the first time. A dedicated button has also been relegated to making Mario and Luigi jump simultaneously which makes controlling the pair much easier.

The other big addition is Bowser Jr.’s Journey, which is treated as a separate story/mode in the main menu. The mode is similar to Bowser’s Minions from the 2016 remake of Superstar Saga, but in that game the new mode was integrated into the main story and it took a long time to unlock. I prefer its integration here, letting those who played the original skip right to the new stuff.

Click image thumbnails to view larger version

 

                                                                       

Bowser Jr.’s Journey is a tactical strategy game where you set up rows of familiar Bowser minions to clash with opponents. The strategy lies in how you set up your rows; the actual combat is a passive experience. You cross your fingers and watch, hoping your setup leads to a win as you occasionally press a button to try and prevent an enemy’s attack or try to power up your own. The highlight of the mode is the story content it adds to Bowser’s Inside Story. You get to see a narrative that takes place alongside the main experience and read new, witty dialogue related to everything that’s going on. The main campaign is still the destination, but I appreciate this new, wholly different content.

The updated visuals are attractive and the new mode is interesting – especially if you want to spend more time in that world – but if you played the 2009 original and consider yourself satisfied with that experience, then the incentive to return is small. If you’ve never played Bowser’s Inside Story, this is a fantastic way to experience what is probably the best of the Mario & Luigi games. As a remake, it doesn’t drastically change the experience or improve on it in a big way, but that’s a testament to the original’s quality more than it is a knock against this version.

You can read our original Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story review right here. You can also read our thoughts on the remake of Superstar Saga here.

Score: 8.5

Summary: The remake doesn’t drastically change or improve Bowser’s Inside Story, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was always a great game.

Concept: Remake arguably the best Mario & Luigi game, improving the visuals and balance, while adding a new story with new mechanics

Graphics: Everything looks sharper and more expressive from the character faces and movement to the backgrounds. The lack of stereoscopic 3D is odd, but not missed

Sound: The soundtrack is fun and offers frequent callbacks to familiar Mario tunes, and the abstract mutterings of Mario and Luigi are consistently silly

Playability: Controlling Mario and Luigi simultaneously during the 2D segments inside Bowser’s body leads to the occasional annoyance, but combat is satisfying, and stomping around the overworld and setting things on fire as Bowser feels good

Entertainment: The excellent writing, silly premise, and fun combat all translate well to the updated visual style. The added Bowser Jr. mode is worth exploring, even if it’s not the main attraction

Replay: Low

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Uploaded on: 11 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

During AMD’s CES 2019 keynote, Xbox boss Phil Spencer went on stage to talk about the continued partnership between the two companies. Most notable is his mention of “future platforms” which teases AMD’s technology will be used in the CPU for Microsoft’s next console, much like Xbox One.

“As a company, we look at the opportunity in gaming and one of the things I want to say is when we think who our partners are, we think about great companies that do great work, but also do it in the right way,” Spencer said. “As we look forward to future platforms that we’re building and work that we’re doing, the partnership and the innovations that we’ve seen in the past have led to what we’ve been able to do today, I think they’re going to be critically important to our future endeavors. I’m really looking forward to showing those to people more in the future.”

In December 2018, Microsoft insider Brad Sams reported that the next Xbox would release in 2020 and use AMD’s next-generation GPU and a Zen 2 processor. Spencer’s speech at CES is the closest we’ve come to a confirmation that any of that information is true.

Spencer has been dropping hints about the next Xbox since E3 2018, which many have taken as a sign that an announcement is coming soon. The Xbox boss has already confirmed that multiple consoles are in development, but there hasn’t been an announcement detailing whether they’re all for next-generation or if one is a final upgrade for Xbox One–like the One S and One X consoles. Even when they weren’t expressly about new consoles, Xbox made moves in 2018 that hinted towards a promising future for the next generation, such as acquiring seven game developers.

Other announcements for AMD’s new technology came out during the CES keynote, which can be found in the coverage done by GameSpot’s sister site CNET. Most notable are AMD’s new Radeon VII, which is the world’s first 7nm gaming GPU and company’s most powerful one to date, and third generation Ryzen CPU, which can outperform an Intel i9-9900K on a Cinebench multicore test.

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Uploaded on: 10 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Release: January 11, 2019
Rating: Everyone
Reviewed on: Switch

As the most recent entry in the modernized 2D platforming series, New Super Mario Bros. U provided a wide array of fun, colorful stages for you to run, jump, and explore through. The post-release add-on New Super Luigi U added a second campaign featuring shorter levels and a light speed-running element. With New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, Nintendo bundles these two campaigns into one package and adds a new playable character to give Switch owners the best way to experience this fan-favorite platformer from the Wii U era.

With both the base and downloadable content in tow, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe delivers a substantial 164 levels to play through. Mario U’s story houses standard series fare, letting you take your time scouring for hidden locations, while New Super Luigi U gives you less time to run through levels designed for Luigi’s high jump and slippery controls. With each level holding myriad secrets to uncover, both stories give you reason to revisit ones you’ve already completed. Discovering every tucked-away area is exciting, but my favorite reason to keep playing is to collect the star coins hidden in each area, as they unlock bonus levels.

Click here to watch embedded video

The story modes start out simple, but up the ante as you approach the final showdown; simply jumping from ledge to ledge while stomping enemies in the early goings quickly escalates to dodging fireballs and invincible baddies while riding a snaking platform through a mid-game castle. Regardless of the difficulty, I had a blast platforming through the thoughtfully crafted challenges, never feeling overwhelmed by the task in front of me.

Playing using the original lineup of Mario, Luigi, and Toad offers a fun, satisfying challenge. When New Super Luigi U first released as DLC for Mario U, it added the pseudo-antagonist Nabbit as a playable character. While a new character is always a welcomed addition, Nabbit is impervious to any damage from enemies, so it felt more like a cheat code than a new way to experience the game. Nabbit is still available for the least experienced players, but Deluxe introduces Toadette, who controls and takes damage normally. She is also the only character who can pick up the Super Crown power-up, which transforms her into a Princess Peach-like character known as Peachette. As Peachette, you can float gently to the ground, covering large distances, and double jump, making sequences a bit easier. Toadette is a great in-between character for players who want to experience the stages with a bit less difficulty, but don’t want to breeze through as Nabbit.

Click image thumbnails to view larger version

 

Outside of the main stories, you can also complete challenges to earn medals. These act primarily as diversions to the main attraction, but trying to beat your time in a speedrun or topping your score of bouncing off of strategically placed enemies is addicting. You can also play Boost Rush, where you collect coins to increase the auto-scroll speed, and Coin Battle, which pits you against friends to see who can grab the most coins in an area.

One of the big draws for the New Super Mario Bros. series is its fun local cooperative play. Sitting next to friends and running through the stages is always fun, even if things get increasingly chaotic the more players you add; if you want to make real progress, you should probably steer clear of four-player mode, but inadvertently bouncing off each other’s heads and into enemies or lava pits always results in laughter. Each player uses a single Joy-Con, so you need to buy extra if you want a third or fourth person to your co-op chaos.

With so many stages to explore and master, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a terrific way to experience this game again or for the first time. Toadette is a good addition for less-experienced players, and she makes some of the star coins easier to reach. While I’m disappointed that this release doesn’t include more additions to the original package, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is still a great game at its core.

Score: 8.5

Summary: This port doesn’t add a ton of new content, but it’s still the best way to play an already fun platformer.

Concept: Bring a 2D Mario game from Wii U to Switch, along with all its DLC and a new playable character

Graphics: New Super Mario Bros. U’s modern take on classic characters still looks great on Switch

Sound: From reimagined classic tunes to original compositions, the music is catchy and upbeat in all the right ways

Playability: Well-designed stages provide just the right amount of challenge, but if you have trouble, the addition of Toadette alleviates some of the struggle without making it a walk in the park

Entertainment: This platformer was fun on Wii U, and the Deluxe version gives the game a well-earned extra life on Switch

Replay: Moderately high

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Uploaded on: 09 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

2018 might be over and done with, but we’re not done just yet celebrating the year’s games. The Writers Guild of America has announced the nominees for “Outstanding Achievement In Video Game Writing,” and titles like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, God of War, and Spider-Man made the cut.

The five nominees this year are:

To be eligible, a game must have been released between December 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018, and also feature on-screen writing credits. Additionally, the credited writers must have already been or applied for membership in the WGA Video Game Writers Caucus. This incurs a $100 fee. However, WGA said it also considered games that were not developed “under WGA jurisdiction.”

The winner will be decided by panels made up of Caucus members and others Writers Guild members who are “active in video game writing.” The announcement of the winning title will come during the 2019 Writers Guild Awards on February 17.

Horizon: Zero Dawn took home the award last year, beating out Madden 18, Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow, and Dishonored: Death of the Outsider.

What do you make of the nominees for 2018? Let us know in the comments below!

Outstanding Achievement In Video Game Writing

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey:

  • Associate Narrative Directors: Matthew Zagurak, Joel Janisse, James Richard Mittag
  • Narrative Director: Melissa MacCoubrey
  • Story by: Jonathan Dumont, Melissa MacCoubrey, Hugo Giard
  • Scriptwriters: Madeleine Hart, Betty Robertson, Jesse Scoble, Diana Sherman, Kelly Bender, Jojo Chia, Ian Fun, Zachary M. Parris, Ken Williamson, Daniel Bingham, Jordan Lemos, Simon Mackenzie, Katelyn MacMullin, Susan Patrick, Alissa Ralph, Stephen Rhodes
  • Team Lead Writer: Sam Gill
  • AI Writers: Jonathan Flieger, Kimberly Ann Sparks

Batman: Enemy Within, Episode 5 – Same Stitch

  • Lead Writer: James Windeler
  • Written by: Meghan Thornton, Ross Beeley, Lauren Mee
  • Story by: Meghan Thornton, Michael Kirkbride

God of War

  • Written by: Matt Sophos, Richard Zangrande Gaubert, Cory Barlog
  • Story and Narrative Design Lead: Matt Sophos
  • Story and Narrative Design: Richard Zangrande Gaubert
  • Narrative Design: Orion Walker, Adam Dolin

Spider-Man

  • Story Lead: Jon Paquette
  • Writers: Benjamin Arfmann, Kelsey Beachum
  • Co-Written by: Christos Gage
  • Additional Story Contributions by: Dan Slott

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

  • Narrative Designers: Alex Scokel, Eric Fenstermaker, Kate Dollarhyde, Megan Starks, Olivia Veras, Paul Kirsch
  • Additional Writing: Tony Evans, John Schmautz, Casey Hollingshead, Nitai Poddar
  • Narrative Design Leads: Carrie Patel, Josh Sawyer

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Uploaded on: 08 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

This story has been updated to reflect a statement from Blizzard confirming that they did receive a request from Second Wind that Ellie’s name not be published on the Contenders website.

Earlier this week news broke that one or more Overwatch players, one of which was known as “Punisher,” had allegedly created a fake pro player account, dubbed “Ellie,” in order to pose as a woman to register for the Overwatch Contenders league. Blizzard has issued a statement on the matter, confirming the player account is fake. The company did not state whether Punisher is actually behind the account, however.

“After investigating the matter, we found that ‘Ellie’ was a fabricated identity and is a smurf account – created by a veteran player to obfuscate their identity. The owner of Ellie’s account is a player with no current or prior involvement with any Overwatch Contenders or Overwatch League team. ‘Ellie’ was never formally submitted to the active roster of Second Wind and never played in a Contenders match.

As part of the process to officially add a player to a Contenders or Overwatch League roster, we do background checks to ensure that players are who they say they are as well as meet other eligibility requirements, and will take action against players if we discover any behavior that warrants it.”

Blizzard also confirmed to Game Informer that Second Wind did in fact reach out to them about not publishing Ellie’s name on the Overwatch Contenders league website. However, “Second Wind did not provide us with Ellie’s name – just the player’s Battletag.” Blizzard also stated that Ellie was never officially part of Second Wind’s roster, and never played in a Contenders match.

“Ellie” was allegedly part of a “social experiment” conducted by one or more players, the purpose of which (beyond infiltrating the Contenders league) is unknown at this point.

This situation continues to be a huge mess, and I don’t see a winning side here. Blizzard is likely none too happy with how this might damage the reputation of their Contenders league, Second Wind can’t be happy with having its legitimacy as a team thrown into question, and every woman who dreams of becoming a professional Overwatch player will now have more hurdles in their way whenever they decide to take their leap of faith in to a pro league. The people behind this “social experiment,” whatever its purpose might have been, should have known better, or were actively trying to impede any woman making their way into competitive play. Neither version of the story makes the situation any less frustrating.

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The annual Game Developers Choice Awards will be returning for another year this March. Ahead of the show, organizers have now revealed the list of this year’s nominees in each category, with Red Dead Redemption 2 leading the way in total nominations.

Rockstar’s critically acclaimed open-world western is up for seven awards, including Best Audio, Best Design, and Game of the Year. The title is certainly no stranger to accolades; it took home four awards during The Game Awards this past December, and it was selected as GameSpot’s overall Game of the Year for 2018.

Not far behind are two of PS4’s biggest exclusives of 2018: God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man, each of which has earned six nominations. Indie hits Celeste and Return of the Obra Dinn are also each up for multiple awards, including Game of the Year. You can take a look at the full list of nominees and honorable mentions in each category below.

In addition to the video game awards, this year’s show will present two developers with the Pioneer and Lifetime Achievement awards. The recipient of the former will be announced at a later date, while the latter will be awarded to industry veteran Amy Hennig, who has worked on Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series as a writer and director.

The Game Developers Choice Awards are scheduled to take place on Wednesday, March 20, at 6:30 PM PT. The event will be held at the San Francisco Moscone Center during this year’s Game Developers Conference, with Double Fine founder Tim Schafer set to return as the host. If you can’t attend in person, you’ll be able to watch the awards show on Twitch and other as-yet unannounced platforms.

In addition to the GDC Awards, the winners of the 2019 Independent Games Festival are slated to be announced on March 20. The nominees for this year’s awards were recently announced and include the aforementioned Return of the Obra Dinn, as well as the “voyeur simulator” Do Not Feed the Monkeys, the beautiful Alto’s Odyssey, and others.

Best Audio

  • Celeste (Matt Makes Games)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)
  • God of War (Sony Santa Monica / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Tetris Effect (Monstars and Resonair / Enhance)

Honorable Mentions

  • Beat Saber (Beat Games)
  • Wandersong (Greg Lobanov / Humble Bundle)
  • Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope / 3909)
  • Battlefield V (EA DICE / Electronic Arts)
  • Forza Horizon 4 (Playground Games and Turn 10 Studios / Microsoft Studios)

Best Debut

  • Polyarc (Moss)
  • Mountains (Florence)
  • Nomada Studio (Gris)
  • Villa Gorilla (Yoku’s Island Express)
  • Sabotage (The Messenger)

Honorable Mentions

  • Beat Games (Beat Saber)
  • Digital Sun (Moonlighter)
  • Two Point Studios (Two Point Hospital)
  • Okomotive (Far: Lone Sails)

Best Design

  • Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Celeste (Matt Makes Games)
  • Into the Breach (Subset Games)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)
  • God of War (Sony Santa Monica / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Honorable Mentions

  • Frostpunk (11 bit studios)
  • Minit (Kitty Calis, Jan Willem Nijman, Jukio Kallio & Dominik Johann / Devolver Digital)
  • Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope / 3909)
  • Astro Bot Rescue Mission (SIE Japan Studio / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Monster Hunter: World (Capcom)

Best Mobile Game

  • Alto’s Odyssey (Snowman)
  • Florence (Mountains / Annapurna Interactive)
  • Reigns: Game of Thrones (Nerial / Devolver Digital)
  • Holedown (Grapefrukt Games)
  • Donut County (Ben Esposito / Annapurna Interactive)

Honorable Mentions

  • Furistas Cat Cafe (Runaway)
  • The Room: Old Sins (Fireproof Studios)
  • Pocket Run Pool (Zach Gage)
  • Alphabear 2 (Spry Fox)
  • Twinfold (Kenny Sun)

Innovation Award

  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)
  • Florence (Mountains / Annapurna Interactive)
  • Nintendo Labo (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
  • Tetris Effect (Monstars and Resonair / Enhance)
  • Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope / 3909)

Honorable Mentions

  • Minit (Kitty Calis, Jan Willem Nijman, Jukio Kallio & Dominik Johann / Devolver Digital)
  • Celeste (Matt Makes Games)
  • God of War (Sony Santa Monica / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Astro Bot Rescue Mission (SIE Japan Studio / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Moss (Polyarc)
  • A Way Out (Hazelight Studios / Electronic Arts)

Best Narrative

  • Florence (Mountains/Annapurna Interactive)
  • God of War (Sony Santa Monica / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope / 3909)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

Honorable Mentions

  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft)
  • Detroit: Become Human (Quantic Dream / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Celeste (Matt Makes Games)
  • Life is Strange 2 (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)
  • Where the Water Tastes Like Wine (Dim Bulb Games and Serenity Forge / Good Shepherd Entertainment)

Best Technology

  • Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft)
  • Forza Horizon 4 (Playground Games and Turn 10 Studios / Microsoft Studios)
  • God of War (Sony Santa Monica / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

Honorable Mentions

  • Sea of Thieves (Rare / Microsoft Studios)
  • Far Cry 5 (Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Toronto / Ubisoft)
  • Battlefield V (EA DICE / Electronic Arts)
  • Detroit: Become Human (Quantic Dream / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope / 3909)

Best Visual Art

  • Gris (Nomada Studio / Devolver Digital)
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • God of War (Sony Santa Monica / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope / 3909)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

Honorable Mentions

  • Battlefield V (EA DICE / Electronic Arts)
  • Tetris Effect (Monstars and Resonair / Enhance)
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ (Arc System Works / Bandai Namco Entertainment)
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft)
  • Below (Capybara Games)

Best VR/AR Game

  • Budget Cuts (Neat Corporation)
  • Beat Saber (Beat Games)
  • Tetris Effect (Monstars and Resonair / Enhance)
  • Moss (Polyarc)
  • Astro Bot Rescue Mission (SIE Japan Studio / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Honorable Mentions

  • Jurassic World Alive (Ludia)
  • In Death (Sólfar Studios)
  • Tendar (Tender Claws)
  • Firewall Zero Hour (First Contact Entertainment / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Deracine (FromSoftware / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Game of the Year

  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)
  • Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope / 3909)
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Celeste (Matt Makes Games)
  • God of War (Sony Santa Monica / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Honorable Mentions

  • Tetris Effect (Monstars and Resonair / Enhance)
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Bandai Namco Studios & Sora / Nintendo)
  • Into the Breach (Subset Games)
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft)
  • Florence (Mountains / Annapurna Interactive)
  • Monster Hunter: World (Capcom)

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Uploaded on: 05 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

I take great pride in the number of games I play each year. I know that’s a silly thing to say, but the knowledge I gain from playing so many games is invaluable both for critiquing them and figuring out which ones we should cover here at Game Informer. In years past, after watching the credits roll on a game, I immediately moved on to the next one. I would rarely devote extra time to side content unless I absolutely wanted to see everything the game had to offer. I was more concerned with staying on top of all of the big releases. In the eight years I’ve chronicled what I’ve been playing, I’ve completed over 50 games each year as an average. The number of games I sample is well in the hundreds in each of those years as well. In each of these games I eventually reached a point where I felt like I should move on to something else. I’ve hit that point with every game I’ve put my hands on.

Well, almost all of them. In my 30-plus years of gaming, I have not been able to shake two titles in particular. I have played Overwatch and Clash Royale almost every day for the last two years. I’ve never stuck with any game that long, and yet I continue to play two releases from 2016. Their allure has nothing to do with making progress or unlocking new things – although getting new heroes to play does elevate the amount of time I spend in each game. Their staying power comes from the sheer enjoyment I get out of the base games. They are always fun to play.

In Overwatch, when a match begins, I’m fully engaged, and never once do I feel like I’m growing bored of the map of heroes. I find myself fascinated by the team dynamics (or lack thereof.) A team that is working together and communicating can put on a show that is as complex as it destructive. If the team isn’t working together, I then search for solutions, almost like a plumber trying to stop a pipe’s leak. Even after suiting up as Pharah (my main) for over 355 hours, I am still finding new strategies for her. Blizzard has done a fantastic job of keeping the content fresh with new modes, timely events, and seasons.

Clash Royale scratches a similar competitive itch, but is different in that it makes me feel like a skilled tactician or chess player. The timing and positioning of troop deployment is well designed and vital to success. You have to be on your game with every single move you make. One error could cost you the match. The matchmaking almost always pits me against a foe at the same skill level, and I rarely know how those matches will conclude until the clock reaches zero or the final tower crumbles. I’ve used the same deck for well over a year, and haven’t gotten sick of it. I get a huge kick out of seeing my strategies work.

Click here to watch embedded video

I’ve sunk 529 hours into Overwatch, which is roughly 22 days of my life, and netted 3,556 victories in Clash Royale, a feat that took a serious time commitment, although each match is roughly three to four minutes in length. I’ve tried to convince myself that I should move on from both games to use my time to play other things, but I keep coming back. Thoughts like “I’ll just play one Overwatch match” often leads to me playing late into the night, and getting my clan together to push higher in the Competitive ranks. When I’m not at home and find myself looking at my phone, a Clash Royale match is always in my mix between checking the news, Twitter, and Facebook. I’ve found a match is the perfect length for waiting for a coffee at Starbucks.

I’ve jokingly started calling Overwatch and Clash Royale “my forever games.” The idea of putting either one down for good seems unlikely at this point. There’s a chance I may drop Overwatch if the new consoles hit and Blizzard doesn’t allow my progress to carry over from Xbox One to whatever its successor is, but I doubt Blizzard will let a new machine affect its player base. Until the next great thing comes along and steals my attention, I’m going to continue playing and loving these games.

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Uploaded on: 04 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

We’re partway through Season 7 of Epic’s hit battle royale game, Fortnite, and there’s a new batch of challenges to complete on PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices. Clearing these missions earns you Battle Stars that, in turn, level up your Battle Pass and unlock the new Season 7 rewards. There’s an added incentive to complete all of the challenges from a given week, however: you’ll also clear a related Snowfall challenge, which will net you a special loading screen that features a clue to the whereabouts of a free item.

The item in question will either be a Battle Star–which levels your Battle Pass up by one tier–or a Banner–which can be used as a profile icon–depending on how many weekly sets of challenges you complete. If you finish five weeks’ worth of missions, you’ll be able to get the former. But first, you’ll need to find it.

Fortunately, the loading screen you receive for completing the Week 5 Snowfall challenge will point you in the right direction. As you can see below, the screen features Trog–one of the new skins introduced to Fortnite in Season 7–having a little tea party inside a snowy cave. If you look in the top left-hand corner of the image, however, you’ll be able to spot a Battle Star just above the wooden hut in the background.

No Caption Provided

The cave depicted in the loading screen is located in the southwestern portion of the map, in quadrant B9 between Frosty Flights and Happy Hamlet. Glide to the area at the start of a match and you’ll find a hole leading to the aforementioned cave. Enter it, and you’ll spot the Battle Star exactly where it was teased: atop the wooden hut. Use the stairs to reach the roof and collect the Battle Star to level your Battle Pass up by one tier.

As usual, this Battle Star won’t appear for all Fortnite players. You’ll first need to complete five weeks’ challenges and unlock the corresponding loading screen before the item will show up in the game, so you won’t be able to simply go to the right place and collect it if you haven’t put in the necessary work. If you need more help finding the Battle Star, you can watch us collect it in the video above to see exactly where it’s located.

No Caption Provided
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2

There are still a few weeks remaining in Season 7, which means you still have plenty of time to complete this season’s challenges and unlock its new rewards. You can find tips for all of this season’s trickier missions in our complete Season 7 challenge guide. You can also find the whereabouts of Season 7’s other free Battle Stars and Banners using the guides below.

Fortnite Season 7 Snowfall Challenge Guides

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Uploaded on: 03 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

The inclination to go back home is probably one of the biggest themes that permeates all of human art: literature, cinema, paintings. It’s an alluring concept because, as Thomas Wolfe once said, you can’t go home again. Because home isn’t a place, it’s a state of mind, a mental box containing your childhood obsessions, your fraught or precious moments with your family, the foolish ambitions of youth. You can go back to the location you grew up, sure, but most of the time that desire is rooted to return to a moment in your life, when you were a particular person, a person you can’t ever be again.

Except sometimes you can cheat.

There are secret ways to return. Little passageways that lead to places where you can feel those moments of who you were like vibrations. Sense memory, made famous by Proust’s madeline moment in Remembrance Of Things Past, is such a pathway, with a familiar smell returning you to your childhood home’s kitchen. Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy proposes that love, true adult love, is in itself a form of time travel, with couples able to return to the excitement of their early courtships upon occasion and remember the intimate sacredness at the foundation of their relationship during turbulent times. There’s also plain intellectual property-based nostalgia, which has become a billion dollar industry for the like of corporations like Disney.

I go home a lot. Whenever I see a clip of The Terminator, Dune, or Star Wars IV: A New Hope, I’m immediately back to those weekends when my dad showed my brother and I those movies on Laserdisc while we ate thin and crispy crust pepperoni pizzas. Songs from The Killers’ Hot Fuzz will make me briefly recall the sensation of walking around The Mall Of Georgia when I was a teenager. However, I think the most potent way to go back for me is replaying certain games.

Hitman Blood Money’s got this great level called “A New Life” that takes place in a suburban neighborhood. As assassin Agent 47, you’re tasked with taking out an FBI informant named Vinnie Sinistra and stealing a necklace containing microfilm from his wife.

I know the level by heart. Every square inch. I have its floorplan mapped out in my brain from the hours upon hours in high school I’d spend playing through it, planning every approach, knowing every valuable location. I know it as well as I know any place I’ve called home. I’ve killed poor Vinnie in every way imaginable. I’ve sniped him from his neighbor’s garage with a silenced scope. I’ve dropped a mine behind his living room chair. I’ve pushed him into the pool and drowned him. I’ve deliberately pulled an alarm and then waited for Vinnie in his safety closet, kitchen knife in hand. I’ve even disguised myself as a clown and strangled him for giggles.

It’s a perfect level. A neighborhood that’s spacious but not too big, with plenty of secret spots packed with opportunity. Want to sneak into Vinnie’s yard as a garbage man? Kill one of the unlucky fellows, throw them in the garbage truck to dispose of the body, and go on your way. There’s also a treehouse that gives you a clear shot of Vinnie’s path and is a useful sniper’s nest. A surveillance van is parked near the house. The quickest way to get through the level is to raid the FBI’s surveillance van, killed the men inside, steal one of their suits, stroll into the living room and pop Vinnie in the head — if you don’t mind a few more bodies besides your target.

I go back to” A New Life” every now and again not only because it gives me vaguely fuzzy feelings about being a high schooler and getting away with playing games on school time. It also reminds me of being a young person adoring games for reasons that were then hard to put into words, learning level design without realizing that’s what I was doing and coming to appreciate flexible game design that encourages the player to bend systems to their will. Even years later, I still get traces of the sensation that I felt playing “A New Life” for the first time,  wowed by the sheer amount of freedom Blood Money gave me. These little trips give me a brief but poignant appreciation for how far I’ve come as someone with a professional interest in the creation and artistry of games.

BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME. I wanna hear about you, reader. What are some of your most cherished video game levels that you’ve played over the years and continue to come back to? Why do you love them so much? Because they’re designed well or there’s some personal attachment to them? Let us know in the comments below.

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Uploaded on: 02 Jan , 2019 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

After over a year, it’s finally time to start getting ready for the next trip to the Upside Down. To celebrate the new year, Netflix released the first teaser trailer for Stranger Things 3 at midnight on December 31. While the quick clip didn’t contain any new footage–it did include some vintage Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve imagery–it revealed when the hit series would return.

The third season of Stranger Things will premiere on Netflix on July 4, because what better way is there to celebrate America’s independence than with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) using her mental powers to throw cars around and fight demodogs? Along with the teaser, Netflix also released the first poster which gives a hint at the theme for the new season.

In the poster, the show’s stars are watching 4th of July fireworks explode in 1985, leading us to believe that the series won’t just be released over Independence Day, but also be set around it. The tagline reads, “One summer can change everything,” which sounds like a totally cliche ’80s movie line–something that is very appropriate for the series. It would be hard enough for the show’s youngest characters to enter their teenage years just as normal kids. It’s an entirely different situation for them, though, given the awful hellscape of a dimension they just can’t seem to get away from.

In the image, only Eleven and Will (Noah Schnapp) are looking back as the Upside Down makes its way into their world. Mike (Finn Wolfhard), on the other hand, is looking at Eleven with concern, while their friends are too mesmerized by the fireworks to realize anything is wrong.

No Caption Provided

The new teaser and poster still manage to keep most of what Season 3 will be about under wraps. Thus far, Netflix has been revealing tiny pieces of information about Stranger Things 3–like the list of episode titles–while managing to leave us knowing very little. However, there are some things we’ve learned, like the arrival of some new faces that include Cary Elwes and Jake Busey, or that the new shopping mall in town will play a major role.

If you’re dying to find out all of the details about Stranger Things 3, make sure to take a look at everything we’ve learned so far. Otherwise, you’ve got seven months to get ready for the show’s return on Netflix on July 4.

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Each year, the Game Informer staff reviews a ton of games. Despite hundreds of games coming across our desks each year, only a select few are able to obtain special commendations reserved for the highest scoring titles. Games that earn an 8.5 or 8.75 obtain a Game Informer Silver award, while a score ranging from 9 to 9.5 earns that game a Game Informer Gold award. While most of the best games of the year fall into that range, the most elite titles ascend to the next level to earn a Game Informer Platinum award (9.75 or 10 score).

To help you keep track of the best of the best, we’ve compiled all of the top scoring games of 2018 here. Check out the games we’ve thought are the best of the year so far, and if you want to learn more, you can read the full review with a simple click-through.

    Silver

    Be sure to click on the blue game titles to jump to the full review text.

    Batman: The Enemy Within

    PS4, Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android
    March 27

    “The Enemy Within is uneven, but its highs make for a superb adventure where you are held accountable for your choices.” – Javy Gwaltney

     

    Yoku’s Island Express

    PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
    May 29

    “To think, Sonic Spinball was onto something all of those years ago. Yoku’s Island Express is delightful and fun from start to finish.” – Andrew Reiner

     

    Prey: Mooncrash

    PS4, Xbox One, PC
    June 10

    “Mooncrash is Prey at its best, featuring enough challenges and gadgets in a well-designed playground to keep you coming back for more.” – Javy Gwaltney

     

    Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion

    Switch
    June 13

    “Fans of Splatoon’s single-player content should look no further than the exceptional Octo Expansion.” – Brian Shea

     

    The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit

    PS4, Xbox One, PC
    June 26

    “This inventive tale can be uplifting one minute and disheartening the next, but it strikes a consistent and compelling tone.” – Joe Juba

     

    Pro Evolution Soccer 2019

    PS4, Xbox One, PC
    August 28

    “The gameplay is as engrossing as ever, but it and the marquee Master League mode are still looking for a few changes to take the series to the next level.” – Matthew Kato

     

    Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate

    Switch
    August 28

    “Hunting dangerous quarry is a thrill thanks to a preparation-focused loop and fun crafting, though the lack of substantial additional content makes the value of a return trip questionable.” – Javy Gwaltney

     

    NHL 19

    PS4, Xbox One
    September 14

    “Welcome improvements to the general gameplay and franchise mode make this the best NHL in years, but the team still has a lot of work to do with modernizing its career mode and cleaning up legacy issues.” – Matt Bertz

     

    Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk

    PS4, Switch, PC
    September 18

    “While the title can be grindy at times and includes some frustrating maps and encounters, the core systems underneath are a joy to tinker with for hours.” – Daniel Tack

     

    Lego DC Super-Villains

    PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
    October 16

    “If you hate Lego games, this isn’t going to change your mind. For everyone else, this is a delightful return to form which hopefully serves as a reference for TT Games’ future projects.” – Jeff Cork

     

    Gwent: The Witcher Card Game

    PS4, Xbox One, PC
    October 23

    “After years of iteration as a minigame and in beta, Gwent has come into its own as a great card game. It emphasizes keen decision-making over chance, and a great back-and-forth buildup ratchets up the tension across multiple rounds.” – Suriel Vazquez

     

    Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales

    PS4, Xbox One, PC
    October 23

    “Thronebreaker effortlessly infuses Gwent with the geopolitical underpinnings, fantasy tales, and difficult choices of The Witcher series.” – Suriel Vazquez

     

    Spyro Reignited Trilogy

    PS4, Xbox One
    November 13

    “If you’ve never played these games before, I can’t recommend them enough. From a historical standpoint, you can clearly see the foundation for Insomnaic’s Ratchet & Clank series in each level.” – Andrew Reiner

     

    Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu & Eevee

    Switch
    November 16

    “The feeling of amassing a giant collection of monsters and customizing your team never gets old, and the timeless turn-based combat is still fun to this day. Shoddy motion controls aside, Let’s Go is a great time whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer to the series.” – Brian Shea

     

    Artifact

    PC
    November 28

    “Artifact is absolutely not for everyone, but it excels at creating a crazy strategy cocktail pulling from every bottle on the shelf. For card game fans, Artifact is not to be missed.” – Daniel Tack

     

    Subnautica

    Xbox One, PC
    January 23

    ”With a robust crafting system and several amazing secrets to find, Subnautica never ceases to entertain.” – Elise Favis

     

    UFC 3

    PS4, Xbox One
    February 2

    “With an exceptional career mode and improved gameplay on top of its predecessor’s already-strong offerings, UFC 3 is the best MMA game ever released.” – Brian Shea

     

    Frostpunk

    PC
    April 24

    “Don’t come to Frostpunk if you want sunshine, unicorns, and happy outcomes. This is a bleak game about making difficult decisions to survive inhospitable conditions.” – Matt Bertz

     

    Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    PC
    May 8

    “A richly imagined seafaring setting lends novelty to what is ultimately an evolved iteration of very traditional isometric RPG fun.” – Matt Miller

     

    Laser League

    PS4, Xbox One, PC
    May 10

    “The arena and its deadly lasers may be hectic, but the rapid-fire fun is constant.” – Matthew Kato

     

    Dark Souls Remastered

    PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
    May 25

    “A rock-solid framerate makes this the definitive choice for playing Dark Souls on console today.” – Daniel Tack

     

    Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

    Switch
    June 29

    “Wolfenstein II on Switch is the real deal, offering an only slightly degraded version of the bloody and memorable adventure.” – Javy Gwaltney

     

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth

    PC
    August 14

    “It may not break new ground in comparison to the preceding expansion, but Battle for Azeroth provides a wealth of activities for players to enjoy and experience.” – Daniel Tack

     

    Guacamelee 2

    PS4, PC
    August 21

    “Guacamelee 2 nails the Metroid formula while including its own style of combat and a great sense of humor.” – Kyle Hilliard

     

    F1 2018

    PS4, Xbox One, PC
    August 24

    “Saying that you can have just as much fun in the shop as behind the wheel seems weird, but in the case of F1 2018’s career mode, it’s true.” – Matthew Kato

     

    Mega Man 11

    PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
    October 2

    “The new gear system is a cool mechanic, and Capcom’s level design feels classic in all the right ways. Mega Man 11 taps into the series’ past, but also serves as a solid foundation for the Blue Bomber’s next 30 years.” – Ben Reeves

     

    Return of the Obra Dinn

    PC
    October 18

    “Return Of Obra Dinn is a surprisingly hardcore detective title with a surreal bite, and one that shouldn’t be missed by anyone who loves a great challenge.” – Javy Gwaltney

     

    Soulcalibur VI

    PS4, Xbox One
    October 19

    “Whether you’re a newcomer or a dedicated fan, the latest retelling of the story of souls and swords is a captivating one.” – Suriel Vazquez

     

    Dusk

    Switch, PC
    December 10

    “Dusk might look and feel like a Quake mod, but it’s so polished it feels modern. Anyone with even a hint of nostalgia in their bones for classic shooters should dive headfirst into Dusk.” – Ben Reeves

    Gold

     

    Iconoclasts

    PS4, Switch, PC, Vita
    January 23

    “Iconoclasts plays well, looks great, and has some strong level design, but the unexpected highlight is a narrative that examines topics like religion and environmentalism in a well-realized world with real consequences.” – Kyle Hilliard

     

    Celeste

    PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
    January 25

    “A solid story and rewarding platforming sequences makes for a highly gratifying climb.” – Ben Reeves

     

    Shadow of the Colossus

    PS4
    February 6

    “Shadow of the Colossus is a masterpiece, and developer Bluepoint has done a fantastic job bringing it to a new generation.” – Kyle Hilliard

     

    Crossing Souls

    PS4, Switch, PC
    February 13

    “Thanks to its robust battle system, intriguing character-switching puzzles, and beautiful storytelling, Crossing Souls is a fantastic adventure that goes beyond its nostalgic trappings.” – Javy Gwaltney

     

    Where The Water Tastes Like Wine

    PC
    February 28

    “Where The Water Tastes Like Wine shines with its incredible voice work, well-told stories that take on lives of their own, and many profound moments.” – Elise Favis

     

    The Forest

    PC
    April 30

    “Whether you’re building a camp on the island or searching for clues to your son’s whereabouts in dark and dangerous caverns, The Forest is a fantastic horror thrill ride.” – Javy Gwaltney

     

    Dead Cells

    PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
    August 7

    “The reward loops are addictive and continually open up new things for the player to explore.” – Andrew Reiner

     

    Yakuza Kiwami 2

    PS4
    August 28

    “Kiwami 2 is more than a great remake: it’s the best this strange, wonderful series has to offer and it shouldn’t be missed by fans of action or RPG titles.” – Javy Gwaltney

     

    NBA 2K19

    PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
    September 7

    “The most well-rounded sports game on the market once again.” – Matt Bertz

     

    Valkyria Chronicles 4

    PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
    September 25

    “This is a fantastic return for a series that has been struggling with its identity. Large maps and interesting abilities give you the freedom to explore different strategic opportunities, and your ingenuity pays off with enticing rewards.” – Joe Juba

     

    Astro Bot Rescue Mission

    PSVR
    October 2

    “Astro Bot is an excellent platformer with great motion controls, and its execution in virtual reality creates something fresh in a well-worn genre.” – Kyle Hilliard

     

    Diablo III Eternal Collection

    Switch
    November 2

    “The long and short of it is that this is simply Diablo III on Switch. It’s the same great game, featuring frenzied action, alluring gameplay loops, and few technical compromises.” – Jeff Cork

     

    Tetris Effect

    PSVR, PS4
    November 9

    “The presentation is such a natural fit for the gameplay, and it adds an unexpected layer of emotion. Monstars Inc. and Resonair should be commended for taking a calculated risk and delivering its own unique take on a gaming standard.” – Jeff Cork

     

    Beat Saber

    PSVR, Rift, Vive
    November 20

    “Beat Saber is a must-play for anyone interested in virtual reality, but not for the reasons we typically associate with the platform. It won’t make you crane your neck to take in the majesty of your surroundings, but Beat Saber uses VR to place you into the music and taps into your carnal desire to hit things with swords.” – Kyle Hilliard

     

    Dragon Ball FighterZ

    PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
    January 26

    “Dragon Ball fans have plenty to enjoy in single-player, while fighting enthusiasts get a fast, dense game full of options.” – Suriel Vazquez

     

    Into the Breach

    Switch, PC
    February 27

    “The simple presentation belies a deep and engaging gameplay loop that unfolds over multiple playthroughs, as new unlocks completely change required tactics.” – Matt Miller

     

    Yakuza 6: The Song of Life

    PS4
    April 17

    “Yakuza 6 delivers both quality and quantity, so saying goodbye to Kiryu doesn’t feel rushed.” – Jeff Cork

     

    Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

    Switch
    May 4

    “Tropical Freeze stands among the best platformers of the last decade. Playing as Funky Kong is great for alleviating frustration or allowing skilled players to breeze through the game at high speed.” – Kyle Hilliard

     

    Hollow Knight

    PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
    June 12

    “Hollow Knight has some frustrations, but the urge to see what’s in the next room is a constantly compelling imperative moving you forward.” – Imran Khan

     

    Monster Hunter: World

    PC
    August 9

    “Monster Hunter’s attempt to reach the PC audience performs beautifully and plays well.” – Suriel Vazquez

     

    Destiny 2: Forsaken

    PS4, Xbox One, PC
    September 4

    “Forsaken is deep, mysterious, and vast, three words that echo what players most want from this growing universe.” – Matt Miller

     

    Forza Horizon 4

    Xbox One, PC
    October 2

    “Forza Horizon has long been my favorite racing series, and this installment shows that there’s plenty of gas left in the tank.” – Andrew Reiner

     

    Monster Hunter: World

    PS4, Xbox One
    January 26

    “Intense battles, rewarding progression loops, and excellent multiplayer experiences make this the best Monster Hunter game to date.” – Daniel Tack

     

    Fortnite

    PS4, Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android
    July 25, 2017 (Early Access)

    “Playable, watchable, understandable, and enjoyable by just about anyone with a pulse, Fortnite is an absolute blast.” – Daniel Tack

     

    Spider-Man

    PS4
    September 7

    “The story shines as brightly as the gameplay – both deliver heart-pounding excitement.” – Andrew Reiner

     

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

    PS4, Xbox One, PC
    October 12

    “Blackout is the best battle-royale experience available today, zombies offers crazy customizable co-op, and multiplayer keeps things grounded for those looking for the classic core.” – Daniel Tack

     

    Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

    Switch
    December 7

    “A wealth of tweaks and new additions like the World of Light campaign help to keep Ultimate from feeling like a greatest-hits retread.” – Jeff Cork

    Platinum

     

    God of War

    PS4
    April 20

    “An enthralling experience from beginning to end, with a mixture of great narrative moments and engaging encounters. God of War is a well-paced adventure that knows when to let the action simmer and when to make it boil over.” – Joe Juba

     

    Red Dead Redemption 2

    October 26
    PS4, Xbox One

    “Rockstar has once again created a game that redefines the open-world experience. Red Dead Redemption II is a triumph that every gamer should experience for themselves.” – Matt Bertz

     

    For more of our favorite games from recent years, head to the links below.

    Source by [author_name]

    Uploaded on: 31 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    X marks the box.

    2018 proved to be a very interesting year for Xbox. Though Microsoft didn’t have too many exclusives, it did introduce a lot of new opportunities for Xbox One owners. This includes the game subscription service, Xbox Game Pass, which opens up a bounty of new and legacy games for $10 a month. Microsoft is also the leading proponent of backwards compatibility at the moment, and will even occasionally go the extra mile to offer Xbox One X enhanced games from previous generations. Microsoft may not have been the strongest first-party publisher in 2018 but it still managed to make Xbox One stand out.

    Even though exclusives were few and far between, there were still a ton of highly-rated games released on Xbox One in 2018. We’ve rounded up every Xbox One game that scored at least an 8 on GameSpot in the past year, and organized them by score below. Scroll down to see where your favorite of the year landed. You might find also find something new to consider playing before games start rolling in.

    If you’re interested in other 2018 review roundups, or our bounty of features discussing and showcasing the year’s best games overall, jump over to GameSpot’s Best Games of 2018 hub. And while you’re there, keep your eyes peeled for our most anticipated games coming in 2019.

    Divinity Original Sin 2 – 10/10

    From lonely farmhouses through pitched battles with gods in far-flung dimensions, Divinity: Original Sin II is one of the most captivating role-playing games ever made in both its original and Definitive incarnations, with the latter proving that even the most complicated role-players can be ported successfully to gamepad-limited consoles. This immaculately conceived and emotion-wrought fantasy world, topped by brilliant tactical combat, make it one of the finest games of recent years, and it remains an instant classic in the pantheon of RPG greats. — Brett Todd [Full Review]

    Ashen – 9/10

    Ashen does more than enough to differentiate it from other Souls-like games. Although its combat utilizes the same stamina-focused mechanics, the inclusion of features that promote a sense of community with the game’s characters makes for a wholly different experience. It’s frustrating to spawn and see that your computer-controlled partner has a weapon that doesn’t complement the one you’re using. However, even when playing with NPCs, your allies’ efforts to assist you in battle cause you to care about the fates of the colorful cast of people you meet on your journey. The relationships you forge define your adventure through Ashen, and helping your new friends is a powerful motivator that drives you forward through the game’s beautiful world. — Jordan Ramee [Full Review]

    Batman: The Enemy Within – Episode 4 – 9/10

    Episode 4 of Telltale’s Batman: The Enemy Within has top-notch writing, thoughtful depictions, and impactful decision-making moments. It leaves Bruce, Batman, and you to grapple with questions and uncertainty. Between the future of Joker, the nature of Amanda Waller, and the potential fallout of Bruce’s mission on his allies, Telltale has set the stage for what could (better) be an explosive finale. — Tamoor Hussain [Full Review]

    Celeste – 9/10

    It’s a testament to convincing writing and ingenious design that after playing Celeste I felt like I’d been on the same journey as Madeline. Her struggle is one made easy to empathize with, her low points painful to watch, and her high notes exhilarating to experience. Her tale is delicately told and beautifully illustrated, confidently coalescing with the satisfying, empowering game it lies within. Not bad for a game about climbing a mountain. — Oscar Dayus [Full Review]

    Dead Cells – 9/10

    Even if you can’t make it all that far, Prisoner’s Quarters is simple enough that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to “bank” cells for the aforementioned upgrades. That gives you a sense of constant progress, even when you bomb a run. In fact, the only real issue with the adventure is that some of the better upgrades can take substantially longer than they should. It stalls progress in the mid-game a bit and can lead to a feeling of grinding your wheels. Besides that, though, Dead Cells is a phenomenal effort to blend together some very disparate genres into a tight, cohesive whole. It’s one of the better examples of how to remix ideas without losing their individual strengths. — Daniel Starkey [Full Review]

    Dragon Ball FighterZ – 9/10

    Dragon Ball FighterZ is complex and distinct enough to be enjoyed by fighting game competitors, but there’s no question that it’s been designed to tap into the hearts of Dragon Ball’s most dedicated fans, and no doubt those same qualities will win people over who’ve never given the series a chance. Where past games attempted to get there through huge character rosters and deliberately predictable trips down memory lane, FighterZ has bottled the essence of what makes the series’ characters, animation, and sense of humor so beloved and reconfigured it into something new: a Dragon Ball fighting game that can go toe-to-toe with the best of the genre. — Peter Brown [ Full Review]

    F1 2018 – 9/10

    F1 2018 is brilliant, and the most complete Formula One game to date. The changes to career mode make it the strongest and most appealing it’s ever been thanks to the revamped upgrade system, while the simulation-like additions to the driving model bring you closer than ever to the feeling of sitting on the grid with 1000+ horsepower at your feet, without overwhelming those who just want to jump in and drive. — James Swinbanks [Full Review]

    Far Cry 5 – 9/10

    Despite some brief irritations and missed opportunities with its narrative, spending time in the world of Hope County remains absolutely delightful. Far Cry 5 boasts a wonderfully harmonious flow to its adventure, with its smart changes to exploration, discovery, and progression distinctly bolstering the enjoyment of creatively engaging and experimenting with its spectacular open world. — Edmond Tran [Full Review]

    Forza Horizon 4 – 9/10

    There’s such a diverse range of activities stuffed into every corner of Horizon 4, and meaningful changes contribute to smart driving dynamics and a more consistent sense of achievement. Everything you do in Horizon feels valuable, no matter how big or small–from the basic thrills of speeding a fast car down a gorgeous mountain highway to spending time tinkering with your favorite ride to manage seasonal road conditions to just hanging out with friends and strangers online and goofing off in friendly games. The charm of the Horizon series is as palpable as ever, a winning, all-inclusive recipe that celebrates the joy of driving above all else. — Edmond Tran [Full Review]

    Iconoclasts – 9/10

    When Iconoclasts’ end credits begin to roll, it’s bittersweet to see the journey come to a close. After solving every puzzle and witnessing the finale of its poignant narrative, you can’t help but reflect on the growth of its characters and your impact onto the world. The game will shock and surprise you with how gripping its story is, and it’s likely to do so again in subsequent playthroughs of New Game+ with your expanded knowledge of character histories and events. Iconoclasts may be a callback to the style and mechanics of old-school games, but it’s also a sincere and compelling adventure that anyone with respect for fantastic storytelling and 2D-action can enjoy. — Matt Espineli [Full Review]

    Life Is Strange 2: Episode 1 – 9/10

    As the first episode of Life Is Strange 2 concludes, Sean finds himself driving south, away from Arcadia Bay, the setting of the first game. The references to that town and all that happened within it are few and far between in the sequel, but the excellence in character and worldbuilding remain. Dontnod retains its expertise in depicting a teenager’s unique struggles with their identity, relationships, and the way they fit into their world, while adding new gameplay mechanics that lend a stronger emotional investment to your decision-making. Life Is Strange 2: Episode 1 is a triumphant first chapter, featuring a narrative that fearlessly reflects the lives of two Latino brothers living in our politically-charged climate. — Jess McDonell [Full Review]

    Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden – 9/10

    It’s a shame, because the combat engine is so robust I would love to continue pitting myself against some sort of randomly generated map long after completing the main story. Mutant Year Zero’s clever focus on stealth and pre-combat preparation reward your diligence, its turn-based combat encounters are complex, and they help bolster its all-encompassing post-apocalyptic atmosphere. It is a superb tactical combat campaign that you shouldn’t let sneak past. — David Wildgoose [Full Review]

    Onrush

    When it comes to crumpling metal and high speed thrills, not all of Onrush’s game modes are on equal footing in terms of consistent excitement. Yet its foundations are so strong, and so unique, that it’s easy to lose hours upon hours barreling around these disparate tracks. The question of longevity will, of course, depend on post-release support, with new classes, game modes, and tracks potentially on the horizon. Considering you need 12 players to fill a full room, it would be a shame if Onrush doesn’t find the kind of audience that will give it the lifespan it deserves. Part of this will depend on how Codemasters iterates on the game from here on out, but they’ve shown a proficiency in knowing how arcade racing games click, and Onrush is such a bold, refreshing twist on the genre that there should be little hesitation in putting your faith in them to succeed. — Richard Wakeling [Full Review]

    Owlboy – 9/10

    Owlboy is consistently charming and surprising, and when its final act doubles down on every front, it’s bittersweet to see it end. As you relish the outcome of the final battle and watch the closing cutscene, you can’t help but reflect on the beginning of your adventure and how far the world and its inhabitants have come. You’ll never be able to play Owlboy for the first time again, but the memories of its magic moments stick with you. This is more than a treat for fans of old-school games; Owlboy is a heartfelt experience that will touch anyone with an affinity for great art and storytelling. — Peter Brown [Full Review]

    PES 2019 – 9/10

    For as long as EA continues to develop FIFA and hold a monopoly over official licences, PES will be the scrappy underdog just hoping for a surprise upset, even when it’s fielding the likes of London Blue and PV White Red. The lack of licences for top-tier leagues remains a disheartening sticking point, but PES continues to make brilliant strides on the pitch, building on what was already an incredibly satisfying game of football to produce one of the greatest playing football games of all time. It might be lacking off the pitch, but put it on the field against the competition and a famous giant killing wouldn’t be all that surprising. — Richard Wakeling [Full Review]

    Phantom Doctrine – 9/10

    In spite of the lackluster visuals, Phantom Doctrine succeeds in making an incredible impression with its intricate and engaging mechanics. There is a lot to admire, with a single-player campaign taking about 40 hours to complete, full of varied and interesting mainline missions and procedurally-generated side content. The ability to play as either a CIA, KGB, or Mossad agent (the latter unlocked after one complete playthrough) also offers the tantalizing prospect of different narrative perspectives. Phantom Doctrine takes the familiar framework of isometric turn-based strategy and confidently repurposes it into a unique and satisfying experience. It wholly embodies the paranoia and tension of the 1980’s Cold War setting in every aspect of its numerous gameplay systems, and completely immerses you in that all-encompassing state of mind. — Alexander Pan [Full Review]

    Red Dead Redemption 2 – 9/10

    While Red Dead Redemption was mostly focused on John Marston’s story, Red Dead 2 is about the entire Van der Linde gang–as a community, as an idea, and as the death rattle of the Wild West. It is about Arthur, too, but as the lens through which you view the gang, his very personal, very messy story supports a larger tale. Some frustrating systems and a predictable mission structure end up serving that story well, though it does take patience to get through them and understand why. Red Dead Redemption 2 is an excellent prequel, but it’s also an emotional, thought-provoking story in its own right, and it’s a world that is hard to leave when it’s done. — Kallie Plagge [Full Review]

    Subnautica – 9/10

    Subnautica’s story, scares, and beautifully rendered underwater setting make it one of the most fascinating survival games around. You will always have to grind away to a certain extent to gather necessary resources, but the overall experience is both accessible and refined. Subnautica may not make you eager to get back to the beach this summer, but right now there is no better virtual way to experience the beauty, and the terror, of the deep blue sea. — Brett Todd [Full Review]

    Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales – 9/10

    Don’t be tricked into thinking Thronebreaker is simply a lengthy tutorial for what is to come when Gwent opens its multiplayer. Its tale is mandatory if you’re looking for more Witcher lore to chew on and manages to engage you with a strong cast of well-written characters and a suitably dark plot that challenges your morals every chance it can. Thronebreaker interweaves Gwent into its story in smart ways that keep it from feeling like an intrusive method for resolving combat situations, helping you learn its intricate systems while engaging in unique quests and rulesets. Gwent was a side attraction in The Witcher 3, but through Thronebreaker, it’s blossomed into something new that stands on its own as a proud member of the Witcher family. — Alessandro Barbosa [Full Review]

    Yoku’s Island Express – 9/10

    Yoku’s Island Express takes two unlikely genres and combines them into one playful, natural experience. The game’s audio and visual design is simply joyous and the large game world seamlessly combines its pinball puzzles with some brilliant level designs. While traversing the large map does get frustrating at times, Yoku’s Island Express’ main quest never drags, and with its slate of fun abilities, quirky supporting characters and a generous amount of optional content, Yoku’s Island Express is a unique journey that’s refreshing and just straight up fun. – Alexander Pan [Full Review]

    Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – 8/10

    Despite this, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s ambition is admirable, which is reflected in its rich attention to detail for the era and its approach to handling the multi-faceted narrative with strong protagonists at the lead. While its large-scale campaign–clocking in at over 50 hours–can occasionally be tiresome, and some features don’t quite make the impact they should, Odyssey makes great strides in its massive and dynamic world, and it’s a joy to venture out and leave your mark on its ever-changing setting. — Alessandro Fillari [Full Review]

    Attack on Titan 2 – 8/10

    Despite its slow start, Attack on Titan 2 offers exciting gameplay along with a deep and intriguing plot that, melodrama aside, tugs on the heart strings. It’s well-paced and offers some impressive spaces to move through. The unique combination of the movement and combat mechanics combines with a gripping story to make Attack on Titan 2 one of the more surprising releases of the year. — James Swinbanks [Full Review]

    Battlefield V – 8/10

    The Battlefield series has a winning formula that Battlefield V doesn’t deviate far from, at least for now. Conquest and the map roster don’t mesh well together, however, Grand Operations–and the other modes within it–steal the show and foster some of the greatest moments the franchise has offered. You might be surprised by the impact of the slight changes made for this entry, especially when you’re deep into pushing or defending objectives in Frontlines alongside teammates fulfilling their roles. That’s when Battlefield V is at its best. — Michael Higham [Full Review]

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – 8/10

    Black Ops 4 isn’t short on content, and its three main modes are substantial. Multiplayer introduces more tactical mechanics without forcing you into them, and it largely strikes a good balance. Zombies has multiple deep, secret-filled maps to explore, though its returning characters don’t hold up and prove distracting. Finally, Blackout pushes Call of Duty in an entirely new direction, making use of aspects from both multiplayer and Zombies for a take on the battle royale genre that stands on its own. Sure, there isn’t a traditional single-player campaign, but with the depth and breadth of what is there, Black Ops 4 doesn’t need it. — Kallie Plagge [Full Review]

    Chasm – 8/10

    Even when its flaws are obvious, Chasm is a well-crafted adventure, and during the more than 12 hours I spent playing through my first time, I got lost only once. That’s a huge bonus in a genre where getting lost is often the most frustrating aspect. Even after I finished, I was eager to venture forth on a new adventure, to test my combat mettle against harder foes and find the one secret that eluded me the first time through. It’s a shame the randomization of the world isn’t that big of a deal and the challenge could be better balanced, but the superb combat and visual design ensure your time with Chasm will be well spent. — Tom Mc Shea [Full Review]

    Destiny 2: Forsaken – 8/10

    There is a lot to do in Forsaken, so much so that it can be difficult to see it all. That also means that, for the average player, this expansion has a much longer tail than previous iterations of Destiny 2. The variety and flexibility of activities established in the base game still work to make grinding a good time, and Gambit adds a consistently entertaining mode to the roster. The endgame, while difficult to reach, is also where the most satisfaction can be found. — Kallie Plagge [Full Review]

    Full Metal Furies – 8/10

    Full Metal Furies is primarily a brawler, and a good one that promotes teamwork instead of button-mashing. But it’s also a very hard puzzle game, one that challenges you to perceive each level, as well as the game’s mechanics and characters, in new ways. It’s a shame most of the Furies are so two-dimensional throughout the main campaign–especially Meg, who’s arguably the most lovable of the bunch–but the story is consistently witty with its humor and an absolute joy to watch unfold. And while coming up with strategies to handle new enemies and piecing together the clues for each puzzle is fairly difficult at times, it’s a rewarding and deeply satisfying challenge. — Jordan Ramee [Full Review]

    Gwent – 8/10

    Gwent clearly learns from other digital collectible card games that have carved their niche out of the market, but its play style offers up an entirely different type of challenge. It’s one that requires some investment, and hard decisions on which Faction you’d like to invest in, but Gwent also respects your time by rewarding you for nearly every action in a match, tempting you to play just one more. Its matches could use some fine-tuning in their pacing and presentation, but Gwent is otherwise a refreshingly new take on card games that establishes itself firmly outside of the simple side activity it was in The Witcher 3. — Alessandro Barbosa [Full Review]

    Hitman 2 – 8/10

    The addition of other minor mechanical changes–like concussive weapons, a picture-in-picture enemy activity alert, and visible security camera sightlines–help to improve Hitman 2 overall as a dense and accessible stealth assassination game. — Edmond Tran [Full Review]

    Kingdom Come: Deliverance – 8/10

    It’s an impressive and unflinching look at the medieval era that transports you inside the compelling story of a real person caught in the middle of a civil war. As such, this is one of those rare, memorable games that stays with you long after you stop playing. While quirks and bugs can certainly be frustrating, none of these issues interfere much with the unique and captivating nature of the overall experience. — Brett Todd [Full Review]

    Life Is Strange: Before The Storm – 8/10

    This, apparently, is the heartbreaking joy that is Life Is Strange: the inevitability that life will do terrible, unexpected things to people whose presence we love, and people who absolutely deserve better. Developer Deck Nine’s contribution through Before the Storm posits that the pain is still worth it; just to have the time at all is enough. A storm is still coming to Arcadia Bay, and Rachel will still disappear one day, and it doesn’t matter. Being able to spend time with Chloe when her heart is at its lightest, and putting in the work to keep it going, is powerful and worthwhile. — Justin Clark [Full Review]

    Lumines Remastered – 8/10

    Lumines is the kind of game that temporarily rewires your brain, splicing together its ability to recognize visual patterns and audible rhythms simultaneously and forcing you to do the hard but delightful work of putting that ability to use. Having that experience so lovingly presented–and on the Switch, having Lumines handheld again for the first time in six years–is an occasion worth celebrating. — Justin Clark [Full Review]

    Madden NFL 19 – 8/10

    Madden 19 is an excellent football game that improves on last year’s entry in almost every way. There are problems, but there has never been a football game that more authentically represents the NFL than this in terms of presentation, controls, and depth. — Eddie Makuch [Full Review]

    Mega Man Legacy X Collection 1 & 2 – 8/10

    In a way, the entire collection itself is the museum–an entire series, with all its beauty and its blemishes, on display for its audience to judge and assess years later. Parts of this legacy have aged horribly, but they’re still undeniably a piece of Mega Man X history. We’ve been told that the upcoming Mega Man 11 was greenlit thanks in part to fan interest in the original Mega Man Legacy Collection. If Capcom follows with a proper sequel to Mega Man X, this compilation provides valuable lessons on what the series is, what it isn’t, and what it can be when given the chance. — Steve Watts [Full Review]

    Minit – 8/10

    Minit’s lives might only last 60 seconds, but its extremely well-thought-out world design and engrossing loop of progress make it a curse-filled adventure that is worth dying the world over for. Its throwback to classic visuals aren’t done for aesthetic alone, as none of its gameplay systems scream antiquity. It’s a slickly presented adventure that continually manages to surprise you with every new area you uncover or item you procure, pushing you to pick away at its seams to uncover every drop of what it has to offer. With a delightful ending and more promised after its first run of credits, Minit is far more than just a collection of seconds. [Full Review]

    Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom – 8/10

    Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom not only pays faithful homage to Wonder Boy, particularly The Dragon’s Trap, but by refining the solid foundations of its spiritual predecessors with modern affordances, it becomes a rich platforming adventure in its own right. With a well-realized world filled to the brim with secrets and excellent platforming mechanics that always keeps things interesting, the Cursed Kingdom is a place you will want to discover every corner of. — Alexander Pan [Full Review]

    Monster Hunter: World – 8/10

    Ever since the title was first announced, it was clear that Capcom was gunning for something grander than Monster Hunter Generations. It has succeeded, and this is likely the biggest and best that the franchise has ever been. It’s not just the comparative depth of the narrative; it also boasts almost seamless integration between combat systems that were previously incomprehensible for amateurs. The Monster Hunter formula has definitely honed its claws, and all the above factors play their part in making Monster Hunter World a meaningful evolution for the series at large. — Ginny Woo [Full Review]

    Mothergunship – 8/10

    With the game’s clever gun crafting system added into the mix, familiar tropes and techniques from classic shooting galleries feel super-charged in the game’s randomized bullet-hell dungeons. When Mothergunship is firing on all cylinders, it’s a satisfying and thrilling shooter where it really counts. With an incredibly fun and never uninteresting gun-crafting mechanic, it certainly goes a long way with its clever hook and an endless flow of enemies to gun down. — Alessandro Fillari [Full Review]

    NHL 19 – 8/10

    NHL 19 succeeds mainly because of its best-in-class controls, authentic presentation, multitude of different ways to play, and its overall excellence in capturing the essence of hockey culture. The pond hockey mode is a fun new way to play with friends in beautiful outdoor environments, but it’s the only brand-new feature, and that may disappoint veteran fans. — Eddie Makuch [Full Review]

    No Man’s Sky NEXT – 8/10

    At its absolute best, No Man’s Sky is a measured, gentle experience where you are rarely the agent of change, but a perpetual visitor who’s constantly dwarfed by the magnitude of a universe neutral to your presence. It is not your job in these stories to colonize the universe. Your job is to comprehend it. Your job is to recognize the spirituality in it. The primary gimmick of No Man’s Sky, since day one, has been awe. The best things about the Next update feed that gimmick. While features like multiplayer and base-building certainly put more proverbial asses in seats, they’re also the least memorable additions to an otherwise thoughtful experience. — Justin Clark [Full Review]

    Overcooked 2 – 8/10

    Overcooked 2 undoubtedly shines in local co-op and the versus arcade modes. New recipes and obstacles provide a fresh challenge for veterans, but it remains approachable for new players with simple controls and short playtimes. The new throwing mechanic, too, adds a new dimension to both strategy and the inevitable chaos without overcomplicating things. It’s a strong foundation, and with the right friends, Overcooked 2 is one of the best couch co-op games around. — Kallie Plagge [Full Review]

    SoulCalibur 6 – 8/10

    SoulCalibur VI is a fighting game that’s easy to recommend. Like all the best titles in the genre, it has a low barrier to entry and high skill ceiling. For those looking to get in a few games with friends it’s welcoming and immediately enjoyable. For those committed to ploughing the depths of its systems to get tournament ready, it has plenty to unpack and understand. Better still, those that want to play alone will find SoulCalibur VI has some of the most substantial single-player content in any fighting game today. — Tamoor Hussain [Full Review]

    Spyro Reignited Trilogy – 8/10

    The Reignited Trilogy is the best kind of collection that not only brings a beloved series up to current visual standards but also proves just how well-built the original titles were. Granted, the originals were done by a little studio called Insomniac, and it’s not exactly surprising something that team did is a fine example of the genre. But the Reignited Trilogy’s developer, Toys for Bob, deserves major kudos for bringing Insomniac’s vision to life in the way we could’ve only dreamed in 1998. — Justin Clark [Full Review]

    Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection – 8/10

    That’s more or less the story of the 30th Anniversary Collection. It won’t satisfy every specific demand, but it’s still a big collection of awesome games and behind-the-scenes content that no Street Fighter fan should miss. Street Fighter is a series worth celebrating and Digital Eclipse has managed to do so in a manner that feels respectful to the series and to the people who keep the spirit of arcade battles alive. — Peter Brown [Full Review]

    Surviving Mars – 8/10

    Surviving Mars, above else, is about hope. So many strategy games hold to their gameplay, eschewing any overarching themes or messages. But, as corny as it sounds, for those who believe in the majesty of spaceflight, for those who are keen to marvel at how pernicious our plucky little species can be, Surviving Mars is SimCity with soul. It shows the challenges that come along with planetary migration, but it also shows that they are solvable. With the right planning, drive, and ingenuity, we can do great things together. — Daniel Starkey [Full Review]

    The Awesome Adventures Of Captain Spirit – 8/10

    Life is Strange gained a huge cult following, and whether you’re a veteran or a newcomer, Captain Spirit captures a lot of the original game’s appeal. Regardless of how you classify The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit–whether it’s a standalone adventure, a demo, or a prologue–it’s a beautiful game, and one that leaves you all the more excited about Life is Strange 2. — James O’Connor [Full Review]

    The Banner Saga 3 – 8/10

    The Banner Saga 3 won’t have the same kind of meaningful impact if you haven’t experienced the rest of the series. But if you’ve taken the time to journey with these characters from the very beginning, this finale is a worthwhile and cathartic end to your long journey. — Edmond Tran [Full Review]

    The Crew 2 – 8/10

    Despite its shortcomings, The Crew 2 still displays admirable strengths, which lie in its player-friendly features, freedom of movement, and its willingness to bend the rules in order to make things — Edmond Tran [Full Review]

    The Gardens Between – 8/10

    It may only take two to three hours to see everything The Gardens Between has to offer, but the warm and fuzzy feelings from start to finish ensure that your memories of playing it will live on. The expressive faces of the two teens and the relatable memories they share will speak to anyone who’s ever had a close childhood friend, and while the puzzles won’t go down as the most ingenious or demanding, they nevertheless give you more time to spend frolicking in a nostalgic and heartwarming world where friendship is all that matters. — Peter Brown [Full Review]

    The Golf Club 2019 – 8/10

    The Golf Club 2019 remains a challenging and ultimately rewarding golf sim with a solid swing system that puts a premium on skill and strategy. The addition of the PGA Tour license is a welcome but limited addition that gives the game a further level of realism and authenticity, while the course-creator again shines as one of the franchise’s standout features. Despite its issues, The Golf Club 2019 is the franchise’s most attractive package yet. — Eddie Makuch [Full Review]

    The Missing – 8/10

    The Missing is smaller and more mechanically conventional than Deadly Premonition or D4, but its components remain focused on distinctly a Swery game: a dark, idiosyncratic experience that tells a deeply personal story that’s as confronting as it is sincere. It is absolutely not for everyone, but as the game reminds us, there is nothing wrong with that. — David Wildgoose [Full Review]

    The Walking Dead – The Final Season Episode 1 – 8/10

    Beautiful things are possible in the new world and the new ways to play that Telltale has laid out in Done Running. But something ugly and horrifying is likely to happen first, and it is going to be captivating to watch. — Justin Clark [Full Review]

    The Walking Dead – The Final Season Episode 2 – 8/10

    We leave The Walking Dead on a Telltale firmly willing to make mechanical and tonal risks, nearly all of which pay off well in this episode, hinting towards a bright future we may never get to see. If this is the last time we see her, the fact that she, and this series, have become what they’ve become is maybe the closest thing to a Happily Ever After as can be expected from The Walking Dead. — Justin Clark [Full Review]

    UFC 3 – 8/10

    EA Sports UFC 3 is a tense, exciting, and dynamic recreation of the stand and bang aspect of mixed martial arts. There’s a fluidity to the way it moves, and a satisfying feel and unpredictability to the way fights can unfold that demands your engagement. — Richard Wakeling [Full Review]

    Unravel 2 – 8/10

    With only six chapters that run roughly 30 minutes apiece, Unravel Two doesn’t last long, but it’s a game where the time you have is meaningful, memorable, and downright pleasant from beginning to end. — Justin Clark [Full Review]

    Valkyria Chronicles 4 – 8/10

    Ultimately, this is a return to form for the Valkyria Chronicles series as a whole. It stays so true to the franchise’s first iteration that it’ll feel as if almost no time has passed in the decade or so since the original game first came out. In revisiting the concerns and the environments of the first, it makes the most of those parallels and invites comparison in a way that highlights its strengths. — Ginny Woo [Full Review]

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    Uploaded on: 30 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    When Overwatch launched in 2016, it immediately garnered acclaim for how well-balanced and endlessly replayable it is. However, Blizzard was not satisfied resting on its laurels. Over the course of Overwatch’s existence, Blizzard has continually tweaked, tuned, and reworked various aspects of its popular heroes.

    These are the 10 biggest changes Blizzard has made to how Overwatch’s characters play since launch.

    Overwatch

    10. Rest In Peace, Reaper Orbs
    One of the biggest perks to playing as Reaper was that every character that died left behind orbs that the ghastly shotgunner would absorb and convert into health. In June 2017, however, the orbs were killed off in favor of Reaper simply self-healing a percentage of damage dealt. The grave cannot hold Reaper, but his orbs seem to be gone for good.

    9. Junkrat Becomes Immune To His Own Bombs
    In March 2017, the explosive-loving nut was given the green light to get even more aggressive as his bombs could no longer hurt him. While he’d later receive the ability to throw additional mines, being able to blast explosives without fear of hurting yourself allowed Junkrat to truly get wild with his strategy.

    Overwatch

    8. D.Va Gets A Missile Barrage
    D.Va’s Meka received a big upgrade in August 2017 when Blizzard installed a new missile system. While the upgrade came alongside a decrease to her powerful defense matrix, many fans agree the new offensive option was a fair trade. While just a few months later the missiles were nerfed, they remain a viable option in nearly every combat scenario.

    7. Torbjörn Gets Nerfed On Consoles
    Shortly after Overwatch launched on consoles, it quickly became apparent that Torbjorn was a major problem for gamepad players. Those who weren’t playing on mouse and keyboard were being wiped out by well-placed turrets, so Blizzard evened the odds by reducing the damage of the auto-aim sentry.

    Overwatch

    6. Hanzo’s Scatter Gives Way To A Storm
    In April 2018, the arrow-based sniper was stripped of his most polarizing ability: the scatter arrow. In place of the geometry-based attack, Hanzo received storm arrow, an ability that lets him fire off arrows in rapid succession. The attack was so powerful that Blizzard announced that it was nerfing the ability just weeks after its implementation.

    5. Torbjörn’s Turret And Ultimate Get Reworked

    The Halloween Terror event in October 2018 also brought a complete rework of everyone’s favorite Swedish engineer. Torbjörn lost his ability to toss armor to teammates, but he gained more versatility with his turret. Instead of having to hammer the turret to level it up, it automatically reaches what was previously considered level 2. In addition, Torbjörn gained the ability to toss his turret short distances. His molten core was completely reworked. His previous ultimate, where he gained extra armor and a faster rate of fire, was renamed “Overload” and moved to a regular ability on a cooldown. However, it no longer affects his turret. Torbjörn’s new ultimate retains the Molten Core name, but the ability changed to feature him spraying lava all over the floor, burning any opponents that step in it.

    Overwatch

    4. Mega Bastion Buff
    February 2017 saw one of the biggest buffs any character has ever received, as Bastion received a boost for each of his modes (recon, sentry, and tank), as well as the ability to heal on the go. The changes were met with significant outcry from the community, to the point that Blizzard announced it was rolling back the changes within a week.

    Overwatch

    3. Symmetra’s Shields
    When Overwatch launched, Symmetra was a substantially different hero than she is today. Initially, she was able to give small shields to individual heroes, and only possessed one ultimate. Starting in November 2016, Blizzard changed her by giving her photon projector attack much more range and giving her the ability to bank all six sentry turret charges at once. Blizzard also reworked her by replacing her individual shield ability with a projected shield and granting her an additional ultimate option: a useful shield generator.

    Overwatch

    2. Symmetra’s Second Shift
    While Symmetra’s first rework made her substantially more viable, a second rework in June 2018 transformed her a into destination character for many players. Her photon projector no longer locked onto nearby targets, but it became much more powerful. With her second shuffle, Symmetra went from the provider of shields to the bane of those who would hope to accomplish that task. If Symmetra aims her photo projector at a shield, it does standard damage, but it also grants her ammo as she fires while ramping up the damage she gets from firing at opponents normally. This means that as soon as that shield falls, she has a super-powered laser with a full clip of ammo to obliterate whoever is behind it. In addition, Blizzard’s second reimagining of the character drops her number of sentry turrets down to three, but allows her to throw them across the map, introducing an element of surprise. Blizzard also got rid of her shield generator ultimate and her projected barrier ability, and moved her teleporter ultimate to a short-distance standard ability that works on a cooldown. Tie this version of Symmetra together with a new ultimate ability that places a massive shield wherever you want, and you have character that is more accessible and viable in a broader spectrum of scenarios.

    1. Mercy Takes Flight
    In 2017, the Overwatch team identified a fundamental problem with Mercy’s original ultimate: the fact that it revived every fallen hero within a certain range encouraged the healer to hide until her ultimate was ready rather than getting into the middle of the action. In fall 2017, Blizzard rolled out a rework that changed her ultimate to one that put her wings to good use, allowing her to fly around, healing or damage boosting everyone in proximity to her, while moving her revive a single-use ability on a cooldown. The initial changes were so drastic that Mercy became the only viable solo healer and completely turned the meta upside-down. Since its introduction, Blizzard has scaled back some of Mercy’s powers, increasing the cooldown time on her revive, reducing the speed of her Valkyrie ultimate, and eliminating instant resurrections. Mercy is still one of the best healers on the roster, but she’s much more balanced now.

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    The Steam Winter Sale rages on, with big discounts on hundreds of games. It runs through January 3, so time is running out for anyone who wants to save a bundle of cash on some of the best PC games of recent years. If you don’t want to put a dent in your cashflow in this post-holiday period, that’s wholly understandable. To help you find some of the best games available for an affordable price, we’ve scanned through the Steam Winter Sale and selected some of the top titles. Read on for the goods.

    If you don’t find something you want, plenty of other sales are live this week as well. GOG is having a winter sale of its own right now, and it’s giving away certain games for little or nothing. Also, if you’d like to spend even less, check out our picks for the best games in the Steam sale under $10. Now on with the show.

    1. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection

    Borderlands 3 is likely to come out eventually, and you’ll want to know what’s happening on the Wild West-like planet of Pandora. This collection of multiplayer loot shooters comes with Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, plus the copious amounts of DLC that came out for both games. All that for $15 is a fantastic deal.

    2. Celeste

    Death isn’t so much a setback in Celeste as it is a learning experience. With forgiving checkpoints, exquisite level design, and drum-tight controls, Celeste will keep you coming back for more, no matter how many times you let its lovable heroine die.

    3. Grand Theft Auto V

    Grand Theft Auto V is one of the best-selling games of all time. But if you don’t have it, now’s a great time to buy it. That’s because it’s available at a historically cheap price ($15) and it comes with a meaty campaign, plus a sprawling digital city that acts as your playground for criminal activity, motor races, and general mayhem.

    4. The Witcher 3: Game of the Year Edition

    The Witcher 3 is an astonishingly large, carefully constructed action-RPG that’s infused with Eastern European folklore. The only real problem is that you might not want to leave its gritty fantasy world once you enter it. But with the sheer amount of content in the core game and two expansions that come in this package, you won’t have to leave it for hundreds of hours.

    5. Dead Cells

    Great controls and an wide array of builds make every run through this Metroidvania-style game thrilling. It doesn’t hurt that each attempt is different, thanks to procedurally generated levels and randomized item distribution.

    6. Assassin’s Creed Origins

    Ancient Egypt is a living, breathing world in last year’s installment of this long-running series. Now go out into that flourishing civilization and kill some bad guys.

    7. Danganronpa 1 + 2

    A cackling animatronic bear traps a group of teens and makes them murder each other in hopes of getting out alive in this delightfully twisted game collection. It’s also filled with memorable characters and unforgettable plot twists that will all but guarantee you’ll want to pick up the third installment.

    8. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

    Senua is a Celtic warrior who’s haunted by the bloody battles she’s seen. Your job is to get her through a vision quest that involves fighting powerful enemies, solving puzzles, and confronting the demons in her head as she descends into Viking Hell.

    9. Overcooked 2

    Playing Overcooked 2 will show you who your friends really are. It might sound simple to work together to assemble meals as orders come in, but when the dirty dishes pile up and skillets start catching on fire, only the coolest heads will prevail.

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    Uploaded on: 28 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    Red Dead Redemption II is one of our favorite games of the year, and a big part of why is its memorable cast of characters. From the maddening leader Dutch to grifter Hosea, foul-mouthed Sean, lewd Karen, impertinent John Marston, and the loyal Arthur Morgan himself, there’s more than enough characters for you to love and hate in the Van der Linde gang. But really, who’s the best of the best of this gallery of rogues? Let’s saddle up and find out, partner. Here are all the members of Dutch’s gang ranked from worst to best.

    Be warned: MAJOR spoilers ahead for Red Dead Redemption II’s story. Do not read unless you’ve finished the game.

    24. Micah Bell
    Ugh. Do we even need to talk about this jerk? Loud, obnoxious, always picking a fight, thinks he’s more clever than he actually is. Stuck somewhere between being a vile, bigoted bully and the tag-a-long who’ll do anything to win validation, Micah sucks in every way possible. Trashboy supreme.

    23. Leopold Strauss
    It’s bad enough that Strauss is a loan shark. However, it’s his cruel business that results in Arthur getting infected with tuberculosis when our antihero goes to collect a debt from the Downes family.  It doesn’t help he’s downright sleazy and seems to derive pleasure from causing others misery. Yuck.

    22. Bill Williamson
    Bill Williamson has the distinction of being one of the characters who appears in the original Red Dead Redemption as one of John Marston’s targets. Like his appearance in the original game, Bill’s just kind of stupid. And a bully, always picking fights with someone, needing to have others praise him. You can always count on finding Bill sulking, whining, or getting ready to throw down with someone because they made him feel small. What a baby.

    21. Simon Pearson
    Unlike the last three, Pearson isn’t awful. He’s just kind of a dork, as Sadie reveals when she reads his letter to his aunt out loud featuring Pearson outright lying about his accomplishments in a bid to impress her. However, he’s not harmful to the group and fulfills an important role: feeding everyone, which goes unappreciated by the whole gang. Pearson’s biggest crime is how uninteresting he is. But hey, at least he gets out of this adventure alive!

    20. Kieran
    Poor Kieran. As a former O’ Driscoll wanting to find his place within the Van der Linde gang, there’s a lot of pathos in his struggle for acceptance. However, that journey is cut short just as everyone starts to warm up to him, raising the stakes to take down Colm O’Driscoll.

    19. Jack Marston
    From the outset, Jack’s an interesting character, but the vast majority of that interest comes from what you know about his role in the original game. In Red Dead II, Jack’s essentially a callback machine more than a character.

    18. Molly O’ Shea
    Molly doesn’t get much time as anything more than someone begging for Dutch’s approval and failing to find it. However, the stomach-churning scene where Miss O’ Shea drunkenly brags about a betrayal she likely didn’t commit and is gunned down by vengeful mama bear Susan Grimshaw is one of the game’s biggest moments.

    17. Reverend Swanson
    Swanson’s an interesting character in that he bounces back and forth between a wise man and fool, often doling out helpful advice to the gang members just as much as he needs to be rescued from his alcoholic adventures. He’s also responsible for that badass “You’ve got to love yourself a fire” speech, so full marks for that one, bud.

    16. Uncle
    If there’s one face of Red Dead Redemption II that’s launched a thousand memes, it’s Uncle and his tragic case of LUMBAGO. Picked on just as much as Pearson, everyone regards Uncle as a fool. However, he’s not actually that dumb, as revealed when he does an AMAZING roast of John Marston’s attempts to woo Abigail with a “dream home” that’s essentially an outhouse. “I’ve had better nightmares than this dream.” Sick.

    15. Javier Escuella
    For all his wacky shenanigans and boasting in Red Dead Redemption, Javier doesn’t get that much time front and center in the prequel. You usually see him sitting near a campfire silently or playing a few songs to woo the crowd. However, dude looks rad as hell. He’s easily the best dresser in the whole outfit (outside of Arthur, of course), and there’s one scene where beats the living daylights out of Micah, so, y’know, that shoots him up several spots alone.

    14. Karen Jones
    The lewdest, drunkest, most unapologetic member of the group, Karen is basically Red Dead Redemption II’s Pam Poovey, and we adore her. Whether she’s putting on a schoolgirl act to distract some tellers during a bank robbery or getting in drunken arguments with other members of the gang, Karen steals every scene she’s in. Now if only we could figure out where the hell she went.

    13. Mary-Beth Gaskill
    Though her quiet demeanor and absence during the story missions of Red Dead Redemption II might have you wondering why she’s this high on a list, players who have talked to Mary-Beth in their free time will know she’s secretly one of the most interesting characters for Arthur to interact with. A con woman who’s sweet on Arthur, their conversations have an honest, gentle quality to them. There’s also a lovely dance scene the two can have during a party sequence.

    However, Mary-Beth’s best moment comes in the epilogue when John runs into her outside of Valentine and learns that she’s become a successful novelist and seems genuinely happy. A necessary bright spot in this epic, dark tale.

    12. Sean MacGuire
    The life of the party. A proud Irish immigrant, Sean is one of the beloved younger members of the group, boasting and ridiculing his fellow gang members with colorful language. His sudden death is also the first truly shocking moment in the story, kicking the Van der Linde gang’s descent into overdrive and leading into one of the best missions, “Blood Feuds, Ancient And Modern.” Ah Sean, you were gone too soon.

    11. Susan Grimshaw
    The hawk of the camp, the stern Miss Grimshaw’s job is to keep everything up and running to make sure the camp’s inhabitants stay in line, which she does vigilantly. Grimshaw’s amusing scenes, including one where she forces Arthur to dunk his face in a barrel and bathe if he comes back to camp dirty, are undercut by her ruthless dedication to the Dutch’s rules. Her cold-blooded, vengeful killing of Molly O’ Shea is a testament to this. Even though there’s a poetic quality to her shocking death by gunfire, it didn’t make us miss her (or hate murderer Micah) any less.

    10. Abigail Marston
    The no-nonsense, constantly flustered Abigail Marston of the original Red Dead Redemption returns as…a no-nonsense and constantly flustered gang member. Sure, Abigail might not actually experience that much change between the two games, but Red Dead Redemption II helps us understand why she is the way she is. It’s because she’s a savvy woman on the fringes of the action forced to watch the idiots in her life make the same mistakes over and over again.

    However, Abigail just can’t help caring for people, even when they’re absolute morons. It’s her best and worst quality. Her genuine desire for her and her family to buy land and have an honest living is the series’ seed of hope.

    Also, she shoots John Milton in his big, dumb head so big ups to Mama Marston for that.

    9. Tilly Jackson
    Another of the younger member of the crew, Tilly’s sometimes supportive, sometimes raw conversations with Arthur about the cruelty of hunting animals and hurting people are among the best bits of writing in the game. John meeting up with her in the epilogue to find she’s happily married with a kid marks another one of Red Dead Redemption II’s rare happy moments.

    8. Josiah Trelawny
    Trelawny is one of the most interesting members of the gang. A smooth-talking trickster who comes and goes as he pleases, the gang often finds their need to save him a hassle. However, Trelawny is often paying back Dutch and the rest with helpful tips and distractions — even if he never gets his hands dirty. Curious players who discover Trelawny’s big secret, and the reason behind all his time away from the group, in Saint Denis are in for a big surprise that’s likely to leave a smile on their faces.

    7. Lenny Summers
    LEMNY. A drinking mission with Lenny proves to be the game’s comedic high point, guaranteeing Lenny a high ranking. However, even outside of that, Lenny has some of the best conversations in the game, whether he’s talking to Arthur about white privilege, teaching Sean to read, or just being his enthusiastic self. His shocking death during the Saint Denis bank robbery proves to be one of the cruelest gut punches in a game filled with them.

    6. John Marston
    The John Marston of Red Dead Redemption II is very different than the man we knew in the original game. He’s crabby, wild, unnecessarily vicious, and sometimes just plain stupid. However, like Arthur, John undergoes his own quiet change during the events of the story. He learns to care for his wife and son and grows wiser, coming up with some of the best plans for the gang’s heists. By the closing credits of Red Dead Redemption II, we’ve watched John become the man we knew him to be in the original game: loving, faithful, honorable, and tragically doomed.

    5. Charles Smith
    One of the best new additions to Red Dead’s world, by the time II starts, Charles has only been with the Van der Linde gang six months. However, he quickly proves himself to be one of the most dependable members, shining as a hunter and soldier. Smith’s wry sense of humor and inclination to ride up with his fellow outlaw no matter the danger makes him incredibly likable. Here’s hoping we get some DLC playing him.

    4. Hosea Matthews
    The Grifter Grandpa, Hosea is sweet and funny most of the time and is responsible for hatching most of the group’s scams. His venture into the Rhodes saloon with Arthur, disguised as his brother Fenton, is amusing as hell. For all his wisdom, Hosea is most interesting when the cracks in his sweet facade show, like when he fends off Bill’s bullying by pulling his pistol or mocks Catherine Braithwaite as her life burns down around her. Alongside Lenny, Hosea’s sudden demise is heart-wrenching and also the moment that signals without a doubt that the gang is doomed.

    3. Sadie Adler
    Full of hate and fire, Sadie Adler’s transformation from grieving widow to vengeful outlaw is fantastic. Over time Sadie eventually emerges as one of the gang’s best gunners and even turns into one of the best bounty hunters around by the time the credits roll. It’s a very satisfying arc to watch, filled with beats that are both horrifying but entertaining to watch — usually involving an O’ Driscoll biting the dust. The best thing that can be said about Sadie Adler is that she just doesn’t give a damn what you or anyone else thinks about her, and that’s probably why she’s so good at anything she puts her mind to.

    2. Dutch Van der Linde
    The leader himself. One could argue that the entire story is mostly concerned with Dutch’s breakdown, which is why Dutch gets all the big scenes as we watch him slowly unravel. The writing for his character and the work of voice actor Benjamin Byron Davis successfully leads you into believing in the man’s inherent charisma even when it’s clear that he has no plan or hope, and is just someone clinging for survival. However, it would be a disservice to call Van der Linde a coward or rat. His return in the epilogue to help John finish off Micah is a fantastic finale and one that indicates some vestige of the brave, honorable man that Dutch Van der Linde once was lay among all the wreckage he’s wrought on himself.

    1. Arthur Morgan
    When Arthur was revealed to be the protagonist of Red Dead Redemption II, people didn’t really know what to make of him or how he was going to compare to John Marston, one of the most beloved characters in video games. Morgan’s gradual transformation from unlikeable, gruff henchman works because it’s supported by a powerful underlying pathos that slowly unfolds throughout the course of the story. Whether it was the fact that Dutch and Hosea took in Arthur and groomed him to be a psychopath in order to earn their love, the failure of his relationship with Mary Linton, or the death of his son Issac, Arthur has lived a hard life.

    A key plot twist halfway through the game reveals that Arthur has been diagnosed with tuberculosis. There’s no plot fussing or hope-clinging, it is then and there Arthur (and us) know he’s going to die. That moment becomes a crossroads for our hero. How does he choose to live out his last days on earth? As someone fully embracing wanton nihilism and murdering, looting, and destroying their way through the world? Or someone ever so gradually trying to improve the lives of those around him? It’s ultimately a choice left up to the player. But regardless of the decision, Arthur Morgan emerges for the first time in his life a man free of the manipulations around him. He rebels against Dutch, advises (and possibly aids) brother-in-arms John Marston to leave the outlaw life, and goes out on his own terms.

    More than anything, Morgan reflects the difficulty of the word “redemption.” In the original Red Dead, John Marston’s redemption was clear, with him sacrificing himself up to save his family. However, Morgan’s a more complicated protagonist and his redemption is more of a question mark than an absolute. Does Morgan redeem himself? Does it matter? Even if he doesn’t, he’s still one of the most fascinating character arcs we’ve seen in games ever. Period.

    For more on Red Dead Redemption II, check out our list of 101 things you can do in the game as well as our Red Dead Online impressions.

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    What entertainment landed closest to your heart in 2018?

    2018 was filled to the brim with incredible movies, TV shows, comics, and even wrestling pay-per-views. We’ve covered the year extensively, from the best comedies, horror, sci-fi, and superhero movies and shows to the best Netflix exclusives, performances, and TV episodes. And don’t forget our definitive lists of the top 10 movies and the top 10 TV shows of 2018.

    But for as much as we’ve already covered 2018 in entertainment, there were still some things we didn’t quite get to spotlight the way we wanted to. For this list, each editor on GameSpot’s entertainment team chose something close to their heart that we didn’t otherwise get to cover extensively, and put their thoughts down here to explain why these movies, TV shows, and more were great.

    What entertainment meant the most to you in 2018? Let us know in the comments below, and check out the rest of our end-of-year 2018 coverage right here.

    Mike Rougeau: Blindspotting

    As much as we discussed Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You–a quirky sci-fi comedy that we named one of our top movies of 2018–it wasn’t the only movie set in Oakland that really captured the spirit of the greater San Francisco Bay Area this year. The other was Blindspotting, and it arguably did it just as well, if not better.

    After playing Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in the original cast of Hamilton, musician and actor Daveed Diggs turned his sights homeward, back to the Bay Area. He and longtime friend Rafael Casal wrote, produced, and star in Blindspotting. The movie follows Diggs’ character Collin, who’s just days away from the end of his parole and trying to stay out of trouble when he witnesses a messy police shooting in the streets of his hometown. The incident threatens to tear him apart from his best friend, Casal’s Miles, who has his own struggles with parenthood and identity in an increasingly gentrified city that he barely recognizes despite having grown up there.

    Wow, that sounds really grim when I type it out. But Blindspotting is as charming and funny as it is touching and serious. The creators’ and stars’ real world experiences come through in every heartfelt conversation, each stupid decision that leads to unintended violence, and every impromptu freestyle rap, from the funny ones to the climactic scene that’s so tense you’ll be sweating. Blindspotting was undoubtedly one of my favorite movies of 2018.

    Chris Hayner: Anna and the Apocalypse

    Who knew the thing we, as a society, needed for Christmas is a funny horror musical starring a bunch of Scottish kids? Anna and the Apocalypse is essentially Shaun of the Dead meets High School Musical, set at Christmas, and it’s fantastic. The cast is made up largely of unknown actors and singers who populate a strangely realistic world for a comedy musical about the zombie apocalypse, but that’s what helps make it click so well.

    As the titular Anna, Ella Hunt is downright delightful. She’s the picture perfect disgruntled teen who can’t wait to escape her dreary hometown. That is, until her hometown all but dies, leaving Anna and her friends to survive the apocalypse while singing a string of ridiculously catchy songs. Seriously, I dare you to not be tapping your feet and singing “Turning My Life Around” in the car on the way home from the theater.

    This is the kind of movie where I assumed I knew what was going to happen at practically every turn. After all, I’ve seen enough zombie movies and the Shaun of the Dead vibes are strong in this film. However, time and again I was proven wrong. Characters I thought would go the distance met their undead end halfway through the film, while others I expected to definitely be zombie chow, somehow went on to become heroes in their own right.

    Even with few survivors and heroes, Anna and the Apocalypse is an uplifting story. As an early song tells viewers outright, there no such thing as a “Hollywood ending” in this world. That’s a big piece of what makes Anna and the Apocalypse such an interesting tale to follow. Whether they survive the movie or not, these characters are ultimately doomed. And yet, they’re going out singing in a movie that’s having so much fun in the face of the horrible world on display that it’s as infectious as a zombie bite.

    Mat Elfring: The All In PPV

    I went to a few live wrestling events this year, and I watched a whole lot more from the comfort of my own home. Nothing this year from WWE, New Japan, Ring of Honor, etc, had the same effect on me that All In did. In case you’re unfamiliar, All In was the largest indie wrestling show of all time, taking place outside of Chicago on September 1. The show was run by The Elite, an off-shoot of the famous Bullet Club stable from New Japan, who have an incredible weekly travel vlog on YouTube–where they documented a lot of putting this show together. I understand we’re getting deep into non-WWE stuff, but bear with me, as the show was a tremendous success. The 10,000+ seat Sears Centre sold out in less than 30 minutes, and that’s saying something for a first-time go at promoting a wrestling show.

    The PPV itself was easily the most fun I’ve ever had attending a live wrestling event. Every single match on the card could have been the main event for a show, and never in my years of going to wrestling events have I been surrounded by so many other fans who were so welcoming and friendly with each other. People from all over the globe flew into Illinois to attend the event, and it was a show that embraced what people love about wrestling. It truly was a love letter to the sport, and from start to finish, it was a huge triumph. I finally got to see Joey Ryan, the Young Bucks, and Jay “Black Machismo” Lethal live, and there wasn’t a single moment during the evening that didn’t have me on my feet, chanting something silly, like “Rest in Penis.”

    That’s not a joke, that’s something 10,000+ people shouted, in unison, during the show. Nothing else in wrestling in 2018 could compare to how amazing All In was, and this is coming from someone who interviewed Daniel Bryan in his hometown and went to the WWE Performance Center this year, which are huge highlights of my year as well.

    Dan Auty: Widows

    Director Steve McQueen had already proved himself to be an impressive director of serious, acclaimed dramas (Shame, 12 Years A Slave), but Widows showed he was equally adept at making slick, commercial thrillers too. It’s an adaptation of the British ‘80s TV show and features an incredible cast that includes Viola Davis, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, Liam Neeson, and Daniel Kalua.

    Every element of Widows was thriller perfecton, from the powerhouse acting and McQueen’s stylish, inventive direction to Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn’s gripping screenplay. In fact, it’s all so good it seems almost effortless, but the way McQueen and Flynn slowly draw together a sprawling cast of characters and several seemingly unconnected plot-strands is masterful. The movie ticks all the boxes of an exciting heist thriller, but also includes an impressive social undercurrent too, as it explores the economic divide in modern Chicago and how political corruption and organised crime are inextricably linked. Widows was not the box office success that it should have been, but it’s unquestionably one of 2018’s finest movies.

    Meg Downey: Rise of the Black Panther

    2018 was a pretty ridiculous year for all things Black Panther, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better summation of just how and why that matters than the six issue mini series Rise of the Black Panther by Evan Narcisse, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Paul Renaud, and Javier Pina. It’s a thoughtful, concise, beautifully rendered look at the history of the Black Panther mantle as it dates back well before the reign of King T’Challa, exploring the ins and outs of the complicated family tree that makes up the Wakandan royal family. Better yet, it’s a perfect place for new fans–even people who have never picked up a Black Panther comic in their life–to jump on, laying out even the most complex of Wakanda’s major historical moments in easily accessible terms.

    Rise of the Black Panther tackles the mantle from all angles, picking apart the life and times of T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka, and mirroring him against other Marvel favorites like Namor, Captain America, and the Winter Soldier. It dives deep into the parts of T’Challa we’ll likely never see on the big screen–like his romance with X-Man Storm and his diplomatic contention with Latverian ruler Victor Von Doom. It fleshes out the life of T’Challa’s biological mother, his grandfather, and his friends. In just six issues, it makes a compelling argument for the history of Wakanda being one of Marvel’s crowing worldbuilding achievements, and an even better one for the role of Black Panther being one of the most critical heroic mantles of the modern age. Narcisse and Coates weave together a story with detail and care that Renaud and Pina render with stunning precision. If you only read one Marvel mini series from this year, this is the one to pick.

    Dave Klein: Overlord

    This movie was a bit of a surprise for me, as I went into it with absolutely no expectations. When I first heard the premise–pretty much Nazi Zombies from Call of Duty–I was honestly pretty skeptical. While it was a fun game mod, I didn’t think that would translate to a good movie. However, the trailer looked good, so I went in anyways hoping for the best. And I’m happy to say Overlord more than delivered.

    What I found was a legit World War II film that just happened to include zombies. The film made the smart choice of taking its premise entirely serious, which surprisingly works. We watch a gritty drop into France during D-Day, as the terrors of war obliterate a team trying to destroy a radio tower. The horror peaks when the surviving team discover the Nazis are experimenting on people, turning them into zombie-like super soldiers.

    And while it would have been so easy to overuse this and watch our protagonists fighting off hundreds of residents turned into zombies, the film keeps the zombie action at a minimum. Somehow, Overlord ended up being a great fictional World War II movie, that just happened to have zombies. It’s dark, it has great claustrophobic action, and is a ton of fun to watch. My expectations were exceeded, and Overlord became one of my favorite films of the year.

    Chastity Vicencio: Eighth Grade

    Eighth Grade is one of the most cringe-inducing movie experiences I’ve ever had, because it feels like a personal attack on my painfully awkward pre-teen experience. This comedy drama, written and directed by Bo Burnham, follows the life of introverted eighth grader Kayla Day (Elsie Fisher) as she is about to graduate middle school and move on to high school. Elsie Fisher gives an impressive, honest performance as young Kayla, and you can feel her anxiety and social awkwardness in your bones.

    Kayla makes videos that get no views on her own fledgling YouTube channel, where she gives advice on qualities in herself she doesn’t actually have–like how to be confident. She’s obsessed with social media and is always attached to her phone. She has a crush who she awkwardly lies to about her sexual experience in an attempt to impress him. She is forced by her parents to go to a party she’s not actually invited to and has an anxiety attack in the bathroom. Burnham perfectly captures the reality and struggles of adolescence in its truest form seen on film without much of the typical Hollywood coming of age story tropes.

    The film has garnered critical acclaim, earning a Metacritic score of 89, and Fisher has been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture. Eighth grade is a hellish time for anyone, and watching this film will definitely transport you back to painful memories. But there’s beauty in how honest and genuine Eighth Grade feels to watch.

    Greg Thomas: Pose

    It’s safe to say that Ryan Murphy is having a pretty great year. Murphy signed a multi-year mega deal with Netflix back in February, The Assassination of Gianni Versace is poised to snatch every trophy during awards season, and American Horror Story had a well-received return to glory with its eighth season, Apocalypse. With all that listed above, Murphy’s greatest accomplishment for 2018 is arguably his newest drama for FX: Pose.

    Created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals, Pose is a story about the ballroom rivalry between the House of Abundance and the House of Evangelista. The series focuses on an assortment of characters, including Blanca Rodriguez (by M.J. Rodriguez), who breaks away from the House of Abundance to establishing a house of her own and making a mark, much to her house-mother Elektra Abundance’s chagrin. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know much about the ballroom scene, as Canals and crew do a great job at explaining the setting and rules in the first few episodes.

    The largely unknown actors are exceptional. Pose features several trans women of color as its leads–No matter the order in the top billing promos, Rodriguez shines as the show’s star, chewing up screen time in the scenes that demand your attention. Rodriquez, just like the series, does not waste time or opportunity. With such a wonderful cast, we can’t forget about the incredible performance from Kinky Boots Tony winner Billy Porter as house emcee Pray Tell. Porter’s charisma and nurturing presence onscreen is something to behold.

    Pose is touching, funny, and a very accessible viewing experience, whether you’re well-versed in the ballroom community or your only point of reference is a few episodes of Rupaul’s Drag Race. Of all the shows on Ryan Murphy’s stacked 2018 plate, Pose may have snatched the crown as his best series on television.

    Ryan Peterson: Killing Eve

    There’s no shortage of cat-and-mouse thrillers in television and film, yet BBC America’s Killing Eve was a timely, unique, and welcome take on the genre. Both the hero and the sadistic, yet charming, villain were played by women.

    The show is based on Luke Jennings’s Codename Villanelle novella series and brought to life onscreen by Emmy nominated writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Killing Eve follows its titular character Eve Polastri, played by decorated actress Sandra Oh, an MI5 officer with an obsession for female killing machines. She spends Season 1 tracking down the extremely efficient Villanelle, and Jodie Comer’s work as the merciless psychopath with an insatiable taste for high end fashion solidifies the character as one of the best villains to ever grace a television screen.

    Aside from the excellent performances by these leading women, the story itself evolves into much more than your run-of-the-mill crime drama. While the hunt heats up, the show examines the human psyche, including the desires and curiosities of the fateful pair. Their respective jobs turn into a mutual and passionate obsession, as the role of cat and mouse swaps throughout its run.

    The chemistry between Oh and Comer is obvious even without them sharing the screen all that much. Thankfully though, we’re rewarded with an incredible face-to-face showdown by season’s end. It’s the Heat diner scene with shepherd’s pie. Once you finish the first season of Killing Eve, there’s no doubt that you too will join the ranks of the obsessed.

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    Uploaded on: 26 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year for gaming. Time off from work and bad weather outside means plenty of time to boot up and lose yourself in a digital wonderland. If that’s not enough motivation, games are released in droves around this time, packing your schedule with game time merriment. Though there is plenty to choose from, not all will fill you with holiday cheer. Don’t miss out this season – make the most of your precious vacation and revel in these merriest of video game holidays.

    The Dawning – Destiny 2

    The Dawning draws Guardians from across the universe to the Tower to soak in the holiday spirit, celebrate the winter season, and experience the joy of giving. This year, the air is filled with the smell of freshly baked cookies as players craft the perfect Gjallardoodles or Chocolate Ship Cookies for quest givers that eventually reward them with the greatest gift of all – an exotic Sleigh to ride around in.

    Feast of the Winter Star – Stardew Valley

    Every year on the 25th day of Winter, guide your hard-working farmer to Pelican Town to join in on the Feast of the Winter Star. The feast is set in the snow-covered town square, decked out with festive décor and filled to the brim with scrumptious food. The festival packs in even more digital delights with a secret gift exchange which can jump-start a relationship with that special someone.

    Feast of Winter Veil – World of Warcraft

    Greatfather Winter is coming to town, bringing the season with him in his great flowing cloak. Though it started as a Dwarven festival celebrating the snow-bringing figure; humans have been increasingly joining in the Feast of Winter Veil. Now all throughout Azeroth, people are enjoying traditional treats like Graccu’s mince meat fruitcake and hoping to earn the merrymaker title.

    Starlight Celebration – Final Fantasy XIV

    The true meaning of the Starlight Celebration is generosity and goodwill. It was established to remember the deeds of Ishgardian knights who sought to help the children orphaned in the land’s many wars. This year you can honor their compassionate deeds with some good old-fashioned choral music.

    The New Life Festival – Elder Scrolls Online

    On the 1st of Morning Star, Tamriel welcomes the new year with free-flowing ale and by watching the traditional Emperor’s New Life Address. When they’ve had enough of politics, the citizens flood their local taverns, and go on holiday-inspired quests. Just be sure to grab a New Life Festival scroll to if you want to join in the merriment.

    Wintersday – Guild Wars 2

    Hurry to the nearest portal, or make your way on foot, but don’t miss out on ringing in the Tyrian New Year in Guild Wars 2’s great city, Divinity’s Reach. Whether you’re into making sweet traditional music with fellow revelers or gifting that ugly sweater to orphans, there’s something for everyone to have a very merry Wintersday.

    Can’t get enough of seasonal events? Overwatch, Fortnite, Rocket League, Gears of War, and more all have limited-time events that exude holiday cheer and offer seasonal-themed skins, gear, and activities.

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    The Best Reviewed RPGs By Score – 2018

    Role-playing games have long since entered the mainstream and the influence of their popularity on other genres is undeniable. The most borrowed facet of the RPG experience is the idea of long-term character growth and customization, a concept now commonly found in fighting games, shooters, and sports sims. It’s a universally useful way to remain engaged with a game over time and uncover depth as your skills improve.

    RPG developers had an opportunity to pounce on the popularity of the genre and aim for more ambitious and unique projects in 2018, and the results are definitely impressive. Octopath Traveler and Dragon Quest XI are two exceptional RPGs that proudly iterate on their old-school, JRPG roots in their own way, while Ni No Kuni 2 delivered a more modern, quasi-Ghibli affair.

    Western developers didn’t shy away from tradition either. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire from Obsidian Entertainment is a deep RPG based (in part) on tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons, and its meticulously crafted script was the hook that bound you to a long and storied fantasy adventure. Kingdom Come: Deliverance tapped into the history books to give us a taste of medieval life, which is just as dangerous and filthy as you might imagine.

    We’ve rounded up these, and every other RPG that scored at least an 8 on GameSpot in 2018, and organized them by score below. If you’re interested in other 2018 review roundups, or our bounty of features discussing and showcasing the year’s best games overall, jump over to GameSpot’s Best Games of 2018 hub. And while you’re there, keep your eyes peeled for our most anticipated games coming in 2019.

    Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition – 10/10

    From lonely farmhouses through pitched battles with gods in far-flung dimensions, Divinity: Original Sin II is one of the most captivating role-playing games ever made in both its original and Definitive incarnations, with the latter proving that even the most complicated role-players can be ported successfully to gamepad-limited consoles. This immaculately conceived and emotion-wrought fantasy world, topped by brilliant tactical combat, make it one of the finest games of recent years, and it remains an instant classic in the pantheon of RPG greats. — Brett Todd [Full Review]

    Diablo III: Eternal Collection (Switch Port) – 9/10

    Diablo 3 is a game about long term goals accomplished in short, thrilling bursts. It’s rewarding and subtle. It’s flashy and boisterous. I have spent six years enjoying it, and will likely spend six years more. As far as video games go, that’s a long time–I came into the Eternal Collection expecting a eulogy for one of my favorite games. Instead, I stumbled upon a celebration. — Mike Mahardy [Full Review]

    Dragon Quest XI: Echoes Of An Elusive Age – 9/10

    Innovation in games is talked about a lot, but it’s also great to see traditional gameplay formulas that have been around for decades presented exceptionally well. Dragon Quest XI is one of the best modern examples of this; its beautiful presentation, both visual- and story-wise, combines with a tried-and-true gameplay formula for a journey that’s full of heart and soul. Once you find yourself sucked into the world of Dragon Quest XI, it’s going to be hard to put down until you reach the grand finale. — Heidi Kemps [Full Review]

    Battle Chasers: Nightwar (Switch Port) – 8/10

    Beyond the challenge of combat, Battle Chasers is sustained through the strength of its story, a rollicking tale that takes our heroes literally to hell and back. It’s bolstered by some sharp dialogue, gorgeous artwork, and an ensemble that plays extremely well off of each other. Lots of work has gone into Nightwar since its first release, and the balancing improvements make it an easy game to recommend on all platforms. — Justin Clark [Full Review]

    Child Of Light (Switch Port) – 8/10

    It has been more than four years since Child of Light first hit consoles. The somber tone that permeates the adventure still resonates deeply, using its delicate visuals and wistful music to capture a feeling of melancholy that still feels incredibly rare. The passage of time hasn’t undermined the sadness that makes this game so welcoming because there is still nothing quite like Child of Light. The transition to the Switch hasn’t hurt the experience in the slightest. Whether docked or in handheld mode, the beautiful artistic design shines through and the controls are smooth regardless of which controller you use. — Tom Mc Shea [Full review]

    Dark Souls Remastered (Switch Port) – 8/10

    While Dark Souls Remastered on Switch possesses some odd quirks and isn’t as technically impressive as its current-gen counterparts, it still retains the heart of what the original game is all about. To this day, Dark Souls remains a watershed moment for the action-RPG genre. Getting to re-experience many of the game’s most nerve-wracking and iconic moments can be satisfying in its own right, but coupled with the Switch’s flexible playstyle, this equally haunting and triumphant game becomes an even more involved journey. — Alessandro Fillari [Full Review]

    Kingdom Come: Deliverance – 8/10

    It’s an impressive and unflinching look at the medieval era that transports you inside the compelling story of a real person caught in the middle of a civil war. As such, this is one of those rare, memorable games that stays with you long after you stop playing. While quirks and bugs can certainly be frustrating, none of these issues interfere much with the unique and captivating nature of the overall experience. — Brett Todd [Full Review]

    Monster Hunter World – 8/10

    Ever since the title was first announced, it was clear that Capcom was gunning for something grander than Monster Hunter Generations. It has succeeded, and this is likely the biggest and best that the franchise has ever been. It’s not just the comparative depth of the narrative; it also boasts almost seamless integration between combat systems that were previously incomprehensible for amateurs. The Monster Hunter formula has definitely honed its claws, and all the above factors play their part in making Monster Hunter World a meaningful evolution for the series at large. — Ginny Woo [Full Review]

    Ni No Kuni II: The Revenant Kingdom – 8/10

    Ni No Kuni 2 is a robust game that offers ample ways to spend your time, and even if they aren’t all up to the same level of quality, it’s easy to appreciate how they collectively contribute to the bigger picture. It’s chock full of excellent battles and surprising moments that make for a far more memorable experience than you initially expect and leaves you impressed by your own accomplishments. If you didn’t play the first game, don’t let this one pass you by too. — Peter Brown [Full Review]

    Octopath Traveler – 8/10

    Despite the lackluster stories that pull you through the world, Octopath thrives on its character progression and the temptations of high-level challenges and rewards. The promise of new jobs, exciting boss fights, and powerful gear will inspire you to poke around every corner, and there are no shortage of discoveries to strive for. And all the while, you’re treated to one of the most interesting and effective re-imaginings of a retro aesthetic around. Octopath will likely be a divisive game due to its fractured storytelling, but it’s one worth playing despite its lesser qualities. Its high points are simply too good to ignore. — Peter Brown [Full Review]

    Pillars Of Eternity II: Deadfire – 8/10

    Deadfire is dense, and it isn’t a small game, easily dwarfing its predecessor in terms of scale. There’s a lot to do, and it’s easier than ever to get lost in the little stories you find, without following the arcs that the game has specially set out for you. Still, it’s worth taking your time. The richness of Deadfire takes a while to appreciate, and like the brined sailors that call it home, you’ll be left with an indelible attachment to these islands when you do finally step away. — Danial Starkey [Full Review]

    Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu & Evee – 8/10

    Despite these concessions, Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee are delightful reimaginings of the series’ origins and a deep RPG in their own right. It makes a lot of smart improvements on the original Red, Blue and Yellow while holding on to what made them so special in the first place. Fans of the series might be let down by the lack of features they’ve come to expect, but Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee take the Pokemon formula in some exciting new directions. — Jacob Dekker [Full Review]

    Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology – 8/10

    Had this been a straight port of the DS version, it would still warrant the attention of RPG enthusiasts who missed Radiant Historia the first time around. With its upgrades and considerable bonuses–particularly the Sub-History–even those who think they got their fill by beating the original game should check out this definitive edition. — Miguel Concepcion [Full Review]

    The Alliance Alive – 8/10

    There’s a lot to love about The Alliance Alive: a well-paced story in an interesting world, a meaty mashup of unique combat elements, and a fantastic soundtrack that keeps you pumped and eager to explore. If you can put up with a bit of a learning curve, you’ll find a great portable adventure well worth dusting off your 3DS for. — Heidi Kemps [Full Review]

    The Banner Saga 3 – 8/10

    The Banner Saga 3 won’t have the same kind of meaningful impact if you haven’t experienced the rest of the series. But if you’ve taken the time to journey with these characters from the very beginning, this finale is a worthwhile and cathartic end to your long journey. — Edmond Tran [Full Review]

    Transistor – 8/10

    Transistor remains an absolute joy to play on Nintendo Switch. The system’s screen has no issues with readability, though the game is best enjoyed in docked mode, where its visuals–which remain striking nearly five years after its original release–have room to flourish on a big screen. Its turn-based combat and relatively brief encounters are well-suited to short bursts of gameplay in handheld mode, though the strong writing and pacing are likely to pull you through extended sessions. — Chris Pereira & Carolyn Petit [Full Review]

    Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut – 8/10

    Wasteland 2 is still a very special outing. If you haven’t spent your time in this irradiated desert just yet, this is one of the best times to do so–especially since the portability of the Switch reissue lets you take the journey on long treks of your own, or as a dense RPG to curl and nestle in with, as you might with an excellent book. — Daniel Starkey [Full Review]

    West Of Loathing (Switch Port) – 8/10

    West of Loathing’s visuals are monochromatic, but there’s enjoyable comedy painted between every line, a pitch-perfect Spaghetti Western soundtrack, and a full spectrum of role-playing possibilities to choose from that make it a consistently enjoyable madcap cowboy jaunt. — Edmond Tran [Full Review]

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    Spoiler warning: Major spoilers for Red Dead Redemption II are in this article. If you haven’t completed the campaign, tread carefully.

    “You have no idea, Arthur,” Dutch says, his determined and defensive voice echoing off the cave walls in front of him. “I will do whatever it takes for us to survive.”

    The threads holding the gang together are loosening, as the once-strong Van der Linde gang finds themselves stranded on a Caribbean island after being stowaways on a ship. Arthur and Dutch scale a cliff and then head into an ominous cave to continue their unpredictable journey. With only the flicker of torchlights to guide them, the darkness feels appropriate; how could Arthur possibly know what lies ahead?

    Arthur shakes his head, but not in disbelief – he knows Dutch means every word. “I guess that’s what I’m afraid of,” he admits.

    This scene from Red Dead Redemption II speaks volumes about Rockstar’s approach to storytelling in its wildly successful open-world Western. With well-placed dialogue and subtlety, it shows even Dutch’s right-hand man casting doubt on the leader, and how Dutch is losing sight of what’s right. It foreshadows chaos without the need for unrealistic, jaw-dropping shock value – a cheap tactic that developer Rockstar has employed frequently in franchises like Bully and Grand Theft Auto.

    Red Dead Redemption II leaves Rockstar’s signature shock value behind, trading it for a fantastic slow-paced narrative and characters that appropriately reflect their grim world. It’s noticeable in Red Dead’s approach to humor, too. While Grand Theft Auto makes satire out of the outrageous, Red Dead Redemption II is sarcastic and cynical. It’s a welcome shift, showing that grounded humor and sophisticated storytelling in games doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it can make the experience all that more immersive when characters align believably with the setting.

    Red Dead Redemption II’s excellent narrative pacing is one of the best things about it.

    “As long as we get paid or you get shot, I’m happy,” Arthur retorts to fellow gang member Bill Williamson before they head out on another job. It’s a line that suggests resentment toward Bill, but more so, it’s reflective of how bleak the outlaw rut can be.

    And boy, it can be bleak – and not always as action-packed as you might think. Red Dead Redemption II is the slowest-paced Rockstar game out there, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The intro is quiet, gradually establishing relationships in the gang and displaying how beholden Arthur and the rest of the crew are to Dutch’s promises. Missions aren’t finished in quick succession, either – they’re sandwiched between long, contemplative rides on your horse. It’s a different approach to the bombastic action most Rockstar games are filled with, but I believe it serves the story well to have moments of respite. These elements show Rockstar’s true potential as a sophisticated storyteller without relying on juvenile themes.

    For example, “outrageous” and “chaotic” are synonymous with Grand Theft Auto V. While some plot points effectively make for interesting social commentary or entertaining gameplay, others feel egregious, such as the infamous scene of Trevor inflicting torture that does little to foster the story.

    The same can be said for moments in the original Red Dead Redemption. While it continued Rockstar’s tonal shift that mostly began with Grand Theft Auto IV, many missions were still riddled with juvenile humor. John Marston’s fight to abandon his criminal past while his family is in the grasp of the law is a beautifully-woven tale, though many elements distract from it. Characters like Seth, a grave robber and suspected necrophiliac, and Irish, whose jarring traits reflect some of the worst stereotypes of his nationality, bring little insight to themselves, others, or to their world. Their ridiculous quirks may bring laughs, but they aren’t what makes Red Dead Redemption memorable.

    Dutch’s spiral into lunacy is believable, with his persuasive speeches slowly transforming into what sounds more like drunken rambles.

    Red Dead Redemption II proves that Rockstar doesn’t need crude humor to make a worthwhile story. The moments that are less mature make sense in context, such as the women in camp singing profanity-filled songs around the fire while drunk. Red Dead Redemption II’s violence is similar, with the bloodshed always serving a bigger purpose. Leaving Valentine in ruin gives insight to Micah’s unpredictability and, later on, Dutch feeding crime boss Angelo Bortelli to bayou gators is one of the striking signs of his increased instability, moving the story forward to his failure as a leader.

    Certain violent scenes that you would expect to be glorified, like when Hosea and Lenny are shot dead, are portrayed as quick moments overshadowed by the surrounding turmoil instead of built into an emotional cutscene. Others that are glorified, like Kieran’s headless body riding into camp, are impactful and come at a precise moment: it signifies a dark turning point. Despite rescuing Jack and a recent successful ship heist, things unravel quickly after Kieran‘s death. Every narrative piece in Red Dead Redemption II feels carefully placed and thoughtful, instead of action or lewd jokes shoehorned in (like Seth commenting on a horse’s testicles in the first Red Dead).

    The first Red Dead Redemption already showcased Rockstar’s ability to weave a sophisticated narrative, but this second entry is miles ahead, with very little of those previous distractions. It’s not that satire or obscenity is unwarranted or completely removed – it’s the Wild West after all – but those moments are best suited with believable characters. With Red Dead Redemption II, Rockstar’s approach to realism and sophistication make its characters and world come to life in spectacular ways.

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    Few games wear their inspiration on their sleeve as proudly as Battle Princess Madelyn does. From the moment you lay eyes on its detailed pixel artwork and see the titular armor-clad Madelyn throwing lances at the creeping undead in a murky marsh, you’ll immediately have flashbacks to the classic Ghosts ‘n Goblins series. That’s not a knock against the game–if you’re going to take inspiration for your retro-styled platformer, you may as well take it from some time-tested classics. And when Battle Princess Madelyn is at its peak, it really feels like a worthy successor to those games.

    Unfortunately, that fiendishly fun and challenging action game is only half of Battle Princess Madelyn. The other half is a botched attempt to shoehorn large-scale levels filled with traps, tough enemies, and tricky platforming into a Metroidvania formula.

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    Battle Princess Madelyn finds our rough, tough royal recovering from her family being kidnapped by a wicked sorcerer. In the wake of such tragedy, she sets out to find and defeat the fiend… but she’s not alone, as the soul of her deceased dog Fritzy is there to fight alongside her and help revive her when she falls in combat. She’ll explore creepy crypts, sprawling caves, volcanic peaks, haunted fields, and dangerous waters in her quest to save her loved ones, and it certainly won’t be easy. It’s a simple premise, but an effective one, and the ghost dog gimmick adds a nice little dash of originality.

    There are two play modes in Battle Princess Madelyn: Arcade Mode and Story Mode. Both options follow the same story but present it in a different way. Arcade Mode is short on dialogue and cinematics and long on fierce action, while Story Mode goes far more in-depth, featuring a semi-open world, story beats to progress through, items and secrets to uncover, and NPCs to interact with. Movement and action in both modes are similar, though in Story Mode, Madelyn has to find items needed to progress and gain abilities; in arcade mode, she has the necessary abilities from the start (aside from optional weapon drops from enemies).

    Arcade mode is where you can most clearly see this game’s Ghouls ‘n Ghosts inspiration. The one-hit buffer of your breakable armor, the various weapons like lances and axes, the unending waves of creeping zombies that make it hard to stay in one place for too long–heck, even Madelyn’s running animation looks like they referenced several of Arthur’s frames. It does improve on the GnG formula in some key ways, though. Madelyn’s double-jump is much easier to control, and her life force–powered by Fritzy’s ghostly magic–can be replenished by slaying enough enemies. She can also spend a little bit of Fritzy’s magic to perform a homing attack on an enemy, which is a great aid in some of the trickier areas. While the game doesn’t really explain these controls to you, you should know well what to do, especially if you’ve experienced simple 2D platforming before.

    The Arcade Mode is easily the best part of Battle Princess Madelyn. It’s a tough action-platformer that rewards careful, thoughtful play and features memorable environments, tricky platforming, and some really cool encounters with gigantic bosses. Yes, you do have to restart the whole level if Fritzy’s life-giving magic power runs dry, but that’s part of the old-school experience. At least there aren’t limited continues! Rounding out the retro experience is a great chiptune soundtrack that really helps make the game feel like a forgotten relic. (You could change it to an orchestrated version, but why would you?)

    While Arcade Mode is a great experience for challenge-seeking action fans, Story Mode is a pretty heavy disappointment in comparison: a fumbled effort at trying to fit a patient, precise platformer into an exploration-based gameplay mold that often fails in incredibly frustrating ways. Unfortunately, Story Mode is also the default mode, meaning that most folks are going to play it first… and likely have a bad taste in their mouth from it.

    Story Mode tasks you with exploring several interconnected areas based on similar design concepts to the ones seen in arcade mode, but with very different layouts. Your abilities are extremely limited at the beginning, and in order to progress, you need to scour these sprawling areas to find routes, items, and NPCs that will help you on your quest.

    The problems with Story Mode become obvious from an early point, and only worsen as the game progresses. For starters, the extremely large, hazard-laden areas feature little in the way of checkpoints, meaning that losing all of Madelyn’s energy results in a complete restart from the area’s entrance–a tolerable setback in a linear arcade mode, but infuriating in an exploration-driven game. In addition, a lot of these areas tend to look very samey in terms of props and backgrounds, so unless the level you’re in features a very linear path, you may have some serious trouble figuring out how to get back to a specific location.

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    In addition, a lot of things just aren’t hinted at or explained well at all. One way the game tries to guide you is with a bony skeleton hand that will sometimes pop up to point in the general direction of important items, but it’s less useful and more frustrating when the means to get to said items are difficult to discern.

    Sticking points like this come up often, particularly when you have to start backtracking to reach previously inaccessible areas with new abilities and especially when you have to do quests for NPCs, some of which are necessary to proceed. It’s easy to forget what character needs which macguffin, or who needs to be rescued where, and there’s no quest log or intuitive way to remind you of what’s needed. Compared to the skill-testing action-game challenges of Arcade Mode, Story Mode’s challenges are frustrating in a far worse way: they often fail to tell you just what the heck you’re supposed to do, leaving you to wander aimlessly through huge, dangerous maps in hopes that you might find or trigger something.

    Battle Princess Madelyn looks and sounds fantastic, and half the game is a delightful spiritual throwback to a beloved action game series. It’s a shame that the other half drags down the whole package–and performance issues on Switch like slowdown and stalling when moving through menus don’t help, either. There’s at least one great game in the Battle Princess Madelyn package, but it’s hard to fully recommend it when the game mode that’s presented front and center drops the ball royally.

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    Uploaded on: 22 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    In 2018, at expos across the world – from San Francisco to Melbourne, Montreal to Seattle, London to Tokyo – the first overt signs of an organized game developer pushback emerged from the shadows.

    You could see it in the protest badges strewn across indie game booths at PAX. Developers handing out pamphlets in crowded hallways at GDC. Stickers with slogans like “Press X to form union” and “Fight bosses not devs” scattered across convention centers the world over. It’s small but growing, tentative but tangible, a whisper bursting to scream.

    At the heart of it all stands Game Workers Unite (GWU), a collective of largely anonymous activists that coordinate on platforms like Discord and Facebook. Comprised of both indie and triple-A developers, the GWU operates under a horizontal, democratic structure – everyone I speak to is reluctant to claim the mantle of “leader.”

    The time has come, they say, to form a trade union, to wrestle power back from exploitative bosses and owners and place it into the hands of the people who actually make the games we play: the developers.

    “Game developers have such poor working conditions and pay compared to the rest of the tech industry, we’re just here because we love it,” says Emma Kinema (not her real name – more on that later), a key organizer in the United States and co-founder of the GWU.

    “We’re passionate about games; we’re passionate about the things we make. And frankly, people shouldn’t have to go bankrupt or bust because of their passion. People should be able to have consistent stable employment, safe working conditions, and fair union representation. That’s why it’s so important. That’s why we’re doing the work we’re doing.”

    At this point it’s no great revelation that developers are made to suffer for their craft. In the lead up to Red Dead Redemption II’s launch, Rockstar Games vice president and lead writer Dan Houser boasted that employees had been working “100 hour weeks” to finish the game. Before going bankrupt, Telltale Games fired its entire staff without providing any form of severance support – all after months of making developers work extended hours without overtime pay.

    Although these high-profile examples make the headlines, the problem runs far deeper. It’s systemic. It’s cultural. The 2015 International Game Developers’ Association (IGDA) survey found that 62-percent of developers experience crunch at work, a figure likely on the conservative side. As I wrote in our lengthy investigation earlier this year: crunch is the rule, not the exception.

    Thus far attempts to improve working conditions and pay within the existing frameworks have yielded insignificant (and often temporary) results. Asking for change hasn’t worked – The GWU believes it’s time to start demanding it.

    A GWU pamphlet handed out to game developers at expos across the world

    Who Are They?

    I first spoke with Kinema after the Game Developers’ Conference (GDC) in March 2018. San Francisco’s annual gathering is usually a hub for discussions on development tools, design ideas, and monetizing games. The industry celebrates its successes and dissects its failures together. This year was different.

    Following a poorly received panel on the pros and cons of unionization – which the overwhelmingly pro-union crowd felt far too heavily stressed the cons – the development Twittershphere erupted with calls for a developers’ union. The backlash towards the panel, which was chaired by IGDA executive director Jen MacLean, raised the GWU’s profile dramatically.

    The GWU, essentially half-a-dozen people up to this point, morphed into something formidable. A few weeks after GDC Kinema tells me GWU membership had grown to around 300 people. In late November, when I ask for an update, she puts that figure closer to 600. The GWU’s Twitter account has ballooned as well, now with 13,400 followers.

    “Our membership is extremely diverse,” she says. “We have folks in triple-A and larger studio contacts, but we also have folks from smaller mid-size mobile game studios, people from indie studios, small five-people teams… all wanting to come together to form a proper coalition to actually get unionization underway in our industry.”

    The ultimate goal, she says, is one big union for every developer, large and small, uniting coders and artists, designers and producers: “One umbrella game or software worker union, and then, if necessary, caucuses or guilds that represent the different disciplines. One type of workforce, triple-A or indie or what have you, doesn’t exist independently of the others. And so we’re all very committed to working together, regardless of the size of your studio or project.”

    As the games industry is a global beast, so too is the GWU. Tim Colwill, a former games journalist and current union representative in an unrelated industry, is helping the GWU set up in Australia. Though the smaller size of the Australian industry will necessitate structural differences (for example GWU Australia is looking to include all workers in the sector, from esports pros to marketing staff, not just developers), the philosophy remains the same. Colwill believes history shows that studio managers and owners will never improve working conditions unless their hand is forced.

    “If your deadline is so unrealistic that you are destroying people’s careers to make it happen, you need to morally reconsider how you operate. Because you have done something wrong,” he says. “I know it sounds trite and everyone’s got bills to pay and they’ve got bosses they’ve got to answer to, but the reality is if you unionize all the way up the chain you get results.

    “We cannot wait for the boss to be better with hiring and firing. We cannot wait for the boss to make realistic deadlines. We cannot wait for the boss to come around, because if you wait for your employer to give you something, they will just take it away again when it’s convenient for them. They’ll always do that. You have to fight and win your own victories.”

    What’s Next?

    As the GWU attempts to evolve from an activist group into a legally recognized trade union, a considerable hurdle lies ahead: to be effective its members will need to step beyond the veil of anonymity.

    As mentioned earlier, Emma Kinema is not her real name. It’s an alias that allows her to continue advocating while being employed as a developer. In the United States, where she works, labor laws known as “at-will employment” mean that anyone can be fired for just about anything, as long as it’s not for legally discriminatory grounds like race or gender. Although unionizing is legally protected, at-will laws make it easy for employers to concoct other reasons to lay off rabble-rousers.

    “There’s no doubt in my mind that my employment is at risk because of the work I do,” she says. “I’ve taken pretty extreme lengths to separate all my engagement with the organization from any of my actual work, whether it’s through my accounts or my personal websites, or my Twitter.

    “In the United States, where I live, union organizing can be an extremely risky thing to be a part of. It’s incredibly common for people to have their employers make repercussions against them, depending on their organizing work. Often people get fired if they are caught talking about things like unionizing and improving working conditions.

    “We’re very keen on making sure people are aware of the risks involved with labor organizing and also encourage people to only involve themselves at an anonymous level, if they’re concerned about that stuff.”

    A handful of high-profile developers have publicly thrown their support behind the GWU, notably Night in the Woods co-creator Scott Benson, who designed the group’s logo. But nearly all of these people tend to be self-employed, and therefore not at great risk of retaliation.

    Colwill says that before going public it’s wise for a workplace to reach the point where enough members have agreed to join the union privately so that immediate action could be taken in the face of employer retribution.

    “You want to get to the point where if someone picks up the ring-leader, enough people are also ready and willing to quit on the spot to make picking off the ring-leader too costly,” he says.

    “And that’s hard, basically saying, ‘Are you committed enough to this that you will resign if this happens?’ And most people aren’t. And I respect that. I totally empathize with that. Of course they aren’t, they’ve got bills to pay, they’ve got kids, whatever, I respect it. But that’s how it’s done.

    “It is being willing to put everything on the line and say, ‘You sacked this person so all 20 of us in this team are going.’ And that makes the bosses reconsider. That works. And if you all go through with that, you usually get what you want. Because the boss can afford to sack one person. They can’t afford to lose 20 people in one go. That will stall the whole project. They have to just make nice with that.”

    In the UK, where labor protection laws are considerably stronger than in the US, the GWU has already made that transition into a legally recognized trade union. Game Workers Unite UK has become a branch of the Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB), a union that describes itself as “representing sections of the workforce which have traditionally been non-unionized and under-represented.”

    With that official recognition, unionized game developers in the UK now have the legal right to go on strike for the first time. 

    Karn Bianco, the recently elected chair of the GWU UK, says the new union is comprised of “members from a broad range of studios” and that “all of them are connected by the feeling that they need to stand together with each other, regardless of employer, to ensure better working conditions.”

    Their first priority, he says, will be campaigning on four key pillars: “Ending the institutionalised practice of excessive/unpaid overtime. Improving diversity and inclusion at all levels. Informing workers of their rights and supporting those who are abused, harassed, or in need of representation. And securing a steady and fair wage for all.”

     

    At What Cost?

    There are, of course, numerous people and organizations with concerns about what a unionized development sector could do to the games industry. At PAX Aus in late October, I asked Jen MacLean, the host of the aforementioned controversial panel, for further comment on her position on unionization. She maintains that the IGDA’s position is one of neutrality on the issue, but did outline some concerns.

    “To clarify, I didn’t run that panel as an IGDA panel. UBM [the GDC organizers – ed.] asked me to run it [as an individual], so it was not meant to be an IGDA panel. That said, I look at unionization from the perspective of someone who leads a global organization, and it’s a very complicated issue.”

    “If it’s an imperfect [union] model in that it means that you need to have a third-party sign off on any hours worked above 40 a week and you have to get it done in advance, that’s not how game development works.

    “I’m glad we’re having conversations about unionization because the more visibility we bring to the issues game developers face, the better. But I think that conversation also has to look at what unions can and can’t fix, how they would be fixed, and also the unintended consequences. If you were running a major publisher and the cost of labor suddenly goes up 25-percent outside of San Francisco, where are you going to invest your money?”

    Union members do typically get paid more than equivalent non-union counterparts. A 2018 report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that across all sectors, non-union workers earn on average 80-percent of what union workers earn – $829 per week versus $1,041.

    This means that a unionized workforce would cost game publishers more. However, Colwill disputes the notion that any cost increase needs to be passed on to consumers or offset by outsourcing to non-union labor elsewhere. This is, after all, one of the most profitable industries in the world. GamesIndustry.biz recently reported that global industry revenue was $134.9 billion in 2018. There’s enough money – the problem is how it is distributed.

    “I’ve seen gamers themselves say, ‘I don’t want developers to unionize because the price of my games will go up.’ That’s garbage,” Colwill says. “If developers’ wages go up that does not have to be passed on to the consumer – in fact it could very easily be absorbed by the profit of the company or by the CEO reducing their wages. Very easily.

    “Bobby Kotick [Activision Blizzard CEO] earns 300 times what the average Activision employee earns. That’s their actual data from their SCC filings. He made $28.69 million. So you cannot tell me that if we raise the wages of workers by a little bit that Bobby Kotick could not take that hit personally and still be okay. He makes 28 million a year. He’s going to be fine.”

    Hearts And Minds

    Kinema admits all the gains made this year are but the first small steps of thousands. For any of this to yield concrete results, ultimately, winning gamers over to the GWU’s cause is crucial. “I think we can win the support of the gamer community. And I think we absolutely have to,” she says.

    “We can get the support of consumers on our side because we’re not just against exploitative labor practices, but also exploitative business practices. A lot of things that gamers are currently concerned about, things like exploitative DLC, things like gambling mechanics being implemented into the industry on a wide scale – I think we can find common ground with people who play games, not just those who make games.”

    Common ground on its own might not be enough, though. Shortly after Telltale Games fired its workforce and prior to declaring bankruptcy, the company revealed it was speaking to external “development partners” to finish The Walking Dead. The reaction from fans was generally positive; the reaction from developers was overwhelmingly negative. How could this be considered a continuation of the same series when people, not logos, make games, after all?

    More than anything it served as a reminder that as gamers we tend to fall in love with characters, not their creators. As an audience we are loyal to products, not the people behind them. For Bianco, common ground isn’t enough – a common sense of humanity is what’s required.

    “We want to make sure that gamers understand the realities of how games are made and the fact that they’re made by real people, not faceless, amorphous corporate entities,” he says.

    “This misunderstanding is one of the things that allows companies to overwork or mistreat employees. If someone gets burnt out and leaves a company, they can often be replaced without gamers or the wider world even noticing, let alone caring. By showing gamers that developers are real people, with real lives inside and outside of our work, we hope to increase empathy and reduce toxicity aimed at them. That makes it harder for companies to mistreat them, too.”

    Colwill echoes this sentiment, and points out that the PR hype machine (and by extension the games press) has a role to play in this equation.

    “We need to start humanizing our devs,” he says. “And that means breaking out of the PR mold that they are forced to be in, because they’re not allowed to talk about this stuff when they’re going on interview tours. You could never, with a PR handler in the room, with all respect to PR handlers, have a dev go on record and say, ‘Yes, working conditions are terrible.’

    “Devs need to be humanizing themselves and saying, ‘Look, we deserve a fair pay for a fair day’s work.’ And that’s something everyone can get behind. Any gamer that has a job should be able to understand that they want to get paid fairly at that job, and it’s no different. It’s about bridging that gap. And it’s going to be hard because it is counter to what everyone who buys games has been taught for decades.

    “It is going to be a case of appealing to the human need for basic decency and putting a face on exploited workers rather than allowing publishers to dictate the terms… The reality is that organizing and unionizing is the only way. So the question is how long until we figure it out? It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when. There are no other options.”

    This is a fight that has just begun.

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    Uploaded on: 21 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    WWE’s programming has hit a slump. Viewership on its flagship show, Raw, is way down, and Seth Rollins even commented on the quality of the show recently. Although that was part of the storyline, Rollins was saying what fans of WWE programming have been saying for quite some time. WWE’s non-NXT content had become stagnant and boring.

    On the December 17 episode of Raw, the entire McMahon family–sans Linda–came out to announce that there will be changes in WWE, and much like the announcement in the ’90s that ushered in the Attitude Era, the landscape for the sports entertainment company will change.

    However, this change won’t happen overnight. The episode of Raw that followed was a bit more of the same, as expected, but we did get a fun gauntlet match for the number one contender for the Raw Women’s Championship. And Tyler Breeze returned to television and challenged Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship. On top of all that, six NXT superstars are getting called up. When? No clue, but probably in the new year.

    We got more of this “everything is changing” landscape on Smackdown the next night, but again, it’s going to take time to see how all of this plays out. The Roadie didn’t become the Road Dogg overnight.

    As we look at the current landscape with WWE’s primary programming–Raw, Smackdown, and the PPVs–we have a few ideas on how to return these shows to their glory days. Let us know what changes you want to see in the comments below.

    16. Stay the course with Smackdown

    When it comes to the Tuesday night series, Smackdown, WWE needs to stay the course. Sure, the tag division could be expanded a little bit, but overall, it’s a very solid show. Smackdown does a great job highlighting most of its roster and giving the spotlight to more than three or four performers, and does so with one hour less of programming each week. Keep doing what you’re doing, Smackdown.

    15. Cut ties with Saudi Arabia

    WWE’s deal with Saudi Arabia is a stain that could easily be cleaned up. The Greatest Royal Rumble was nothing more than a propaganda piece, where Michael Cole called the city of Jedha “progressive” and “beautiful” more times than they told us the price of the WWE Network. Then, there was Crown Jewel–the PPV that took place just days after the country’s leader ordered the assassination of a journalist.

    Look, I understand WWE is a global brand, but how about you stay away from countries that violate human rights on the regular. Doing so will make the company look better in the eyes of the public. Also, it’s very obvious even WWE fans want this to happen. Remember when everyone booed at The Undertaker before the event when he simply mentioned it by name?

    14. Put Paige back on TV

    In the wake of WWE trying to change what’s happening on television, Paige was pulled from her job as General Manager and now her future is in limbo. She’s a fan favorite and needs to be involved with the company in some way, and like many of you, I want her on TV. The general manager role was the perfect fit. She can’t compete anymore, so what she can and can’t do is limited. Personally, I don’t like the idea of her on commentary. She could work in some facet as a kayfabe mentor backstage, giving superstars advice, all for the viewers to see play out. This would be a new role we haven’t really seen before on television.

    13. Slow down on the NXT call ups

    With the announcement of big changes coming, six NXT superstars were announced they would be moving up to either Raw or Smackdown. As this happened, I could only worry about members of the current roster that were sure to be future endeavored. There’s only so much room on TV for the superstars, and many of them are already absent as is, like Ascension–the former, dominant NXT tag team champions. Or remember Zack Ryder? Adding six new superstars doesn’t fix the already over-bloated roster and poor stories that focus on very few wrestlers to begin with. WWE should slow down on these call ups until they can figure out how to get more stars onto each show.

    Side note: Nikki Cross appeared on Smackdown back in November, to challenge Becky Lynch. So why are they announcing she’s being called up with this new pack of NXT superstars?

    12. No more 30-minute-long opening segments

    It feels like every episode of Raw opens up with a superstar coming to the ring, and talking into a mic. Then someone else comes down to the ring, and says something mean, then they eventually have a match. Before that match even begins, sometimes, it’s been 30 minutes. How about Raw gets kicked off with a match with superstars we don’t always see on TV? Sure, long segments can be good, but that time could be used better.

    11. No more Brock Lesnar

    Brock Lesnar ruins a lot about Raw. He’s currently the Universal Champion, and for the most part, has been for the better part of two years. Also, he’s never around and barely defends his championship. Essentially, Raw doesn’t have a main championship title, and because of this, there is no real reason for superstars to rise to the occasion. It was on a recent episode of Raw that Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey said those with titles should be ready and willing to defend them the night after a PPV event. Brock doesn’t even show up for TV the night after a PPV. There’s a glass ceiling for everyone, and its name is Brock Lesnar. If you get rid of Lesnar and have a fighting champion, I can start caring about the show again. Also, this guy hasn’t been a “big money draw” in ages.

    10. Put the Universal Championship on Finn Balor

    Vince McMahon and the WWE have a love affair with giant, muscle-bound men as champion. However, that’s not how wrestling has evolved. Some of the best in the world, are smaller, more agile human beings with huge movesets. With the Universal Champion being harder to see than John Cena in camouflage, it’s time to hit the reset button, and that means Finn Balor should reclaim what he never lost, the Universal Championship. He has the in-ring ability, charisma, and mic skills to be the perfect champion for this new era.

    9. Or get rid of the Universal Championship and have the WWE Championship cross shows (Same goes for Women’s title)

    Much like the last time the brand split happened in WWE, maybe the company could benefit from the main championship being defended on both brands. They could get rid of the cursed Universal Championship and just have the WWE Championship crossover between the two shows.The mid-card belts would still be there, but it would help create the rivalry for between Smackdown and Raw that already exists in the fans’ minds.

    8. Introduce women’s tag titles

    I hate saying that WWE needs more titles–as there are way too many already– but this one makes sense. Moving forward with the women’s revolution, both teams of Sasha Banks and Bayley as well as Nia Jax and Tamina have shown that there should be a division for women. There’s also The Riott Squad and the IIconics. The seeds for this division are there.

    7. Cut down a few PPV, getting rid of the gimmicky ones

    Thankfully, in 2018, WWE made all PPVs dual-branded and the cut back a little on how many the company produced each year. In 2019, WWE could continue to highlight the importance of the PPV by cutting back a couple more. The easiest cuts WWE could make would be shows like Extreme Rules and TLC. Both extreme rules and TLC match types can be added to any PPV and don’t need a whole event based around them. The same could be said about Hell in a Cell and Elimination Chamber, but because of the sizes of the enclosures, they need their own shows.

    6. PPVs don’t need every championship defended

    Raw, Smackdown, and NXT have, in total, 15 championships between the shows. That’s a lot, and I know I just said WWE should add more titles earlier. When it comes to PPVs, though, not every title needs to be defended. Between Raw and Smackdown, there are eight titles–nine if you count the Cruiserweight Championship–and many times, the majority of them are defended on each PPV. Let’s give the defenses some breathing room so we can build on stories more, shall we?

    This also can help out when you don’t have a story for your current champions, like with what happened at Wrestlemania this year, when Braun Strowman and a child won the titles. However, part of the problem with that was because Raw’s tag team division is a joke.

    5. Raw’s tag division needs a complete revamp

    Raw’s tag division has been in a weird place. There’s nothing entirely compelling about what’s going on there. The teams are bland, for the most part, and why should anyone watching the show care?

    Current Raw tag teams:

    • Bobby Roode & Chad Gable
    • AOP
    • The Ascension
    • The Revival
    • The B-Team
    • Breezango (Fandango is injured)

    The Ascension needs a facelift, and for a way to forget how horribly booked they were when they came up from NXT. They could be a dominant force. Roode & Gable are fine, but not really my cup of tea. The Revival needs to be pushed harder, maybe have a feud with AOP, and B-Team needs to be broken up and replaced with something new. Sure, maybe Heavy Machinery could help build up this division. For me, the most exciting thing about Raw’s tag division this year was Breezango getting moved to Raw, only to get buried before Fandango’s injury.

    Look, Smackdown’s tag division also needs a bit of a facelift, but the feuding between The Bar, The Usos, and The New Day has been some of the most entertaining stuff of the year and coming out of it have been some incredible matches. So again, stay the course and maybe move forward with the Good Brothers angle.

    4. More segments outside of the arena

    Remember when Stone Cold beat Booker T up at a supermarket? Remember when DX invaded WCW? Remember when Brian Pillman defended his living room with a gun? Ok, maybe don’t remember that last one. One of the things the Attitude Era actually had going for it was that there were plenty of segments that took place outside of the arena, in the real world.

    It drew the viewers in and made them feel like anything could happen. It blurred the lines between wrestling and reality, even though–at that point–Vinnie Mac had already told us it wasn’t real, and that my childhood was a lie. If the McMahons want to take WWE into a new era, you may as well take some old ideas that created some memorable moments and explore new avenues.

    3. Less heavily scripted promos and commentary

    One of the things I loved about the golden era or as I call it the “your job is your gimmick” era of WWF was the segments and promos were brilliant. We had these awesome speeches by Macho Man about the tower of power–too sweet to be sour. Ultimate Warrior tried to convey an idea about warrior spirits or something. Ted DiBiase talked about being rich, and Ric Flair was just everything awesome about wrestling.

    Now, for every Ric Flair, there was a 20 other stars who couldn’t talk to save their lives, but I miss superstars being given that chance to really go for it on the mic, to show off how excited they were to fight in the ring, and to let their characters shine. The same goes for commentary. It’s too paint-by-numbers now. The more you can’t call the action in the ring–because you’re busy promoting Kay Jewelers or Mattel’s new toys–the less the viewers feel connected to you.

    2. Bring back stables

    WWE has a couple stables floating around like Undisputed Era, New Day, and Sanity, but only one of those groups has a stable feel, with New Day and Sanity being more tag teams than anything else. Stables should feel like a force that have the ability to shake the foundations of the company, all while building up underutilized talent. There are plenty of talent performers in WWE that could use this bump. I’m not saying there should be a ton of stables running around, but WWE could use a few strong ones.

    1. Don’t get rid of title rematches

    One of the changes WWE made right away was that there will be no automatic title rematches. I completely understand why this rule was made, as it creates a storyline loop that has two people fighting each other after the story has naturally come to a close. However, rematches are still needed to prove the new champion is superior that the former one. Sending the former champ to “the back of the line” doesn’t make sense in the grand scheme of things.

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    Uploaded on: 20 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    Update: In addition to the hotfix detailed below, Bethesda hinted at its early 2019 plans in a separate post.

    Highlights include a mid-January patch that will fix things like the Lever-Action Rifle reload animation, certain perk cards, and duplicating robots at the Whitespring. Beginning in 2019, Fallout 76’s patch notes will also include additional editorializing from developers to indicate why certain changes and balance updates are made.

    Bethesda is also currently working on a new mode that will allow players to work together without PVP restrictions. The developer plans on rolling out this new mode in the first quarter of 2019.

    Original Story:

    Bethesda has released notes detailing a new hotfix for Fallout 76. While the notes address a handful of smaller bugs like PC client stability and a fix for a bug that allowed users to duplicate items, the final note is slightly more consequential.

    According to the hotfix notes, this update, “Addressed an issue that could prevent high-damage and explosive weapons from dealing damage to enemies, or cause enemies to heal immediately after taking damage.” In our editor playthroughs of the game, we intermittently ran into this issue. While we don’t know the extent of incidence in the wider community, it’s great to hear this bug is being resolved. 

    Bethesda says that while PC players will have to complete a small download to receive these changes, console players should notice these fixes with no download required.

    Fallout 76 is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. You can read our review to learn why the launch experience was less than stellar.

    [Source: Bethesda]

     

    Our Take
    It’s been rough going for Bethesda and Fallout 76 to this point, and while that may be an amusing fix to read about, it’s probably a promising sign that these patch notes are getting smaller. Bethesda still has a long road ahead of it to rebuild player trust, so hopefully the team continues improving the experience through small and large updates. Also, as someone with a home-internet data cap, I very much appreciate not having to download another massive update to get these fixes into my console version.

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    Uploaded on: 19 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame aren’t the only major MCU releases slated for 2019–we’ve also got more Spider-Man well on the way with the sequel to Homecoming, Far From Home, swinging into theaters next July.

    Details on the movie are still pretty scarce, though last weekend’s ComicCon Experience in Brazil offered fans some details care of a panel with stars Tom Holland and Jake Gyllenhaal–so we do have some info to work with as we patiently wait for our first teasers, trailers, and posters.

    We’ve rounded up a list of everything we know about Spider-Man: Far From Home, including the returning cast, scheduled release, and mysterious plot details that have managed to make it out into the wild. If you want to learn more about 2019 movies that we’re excited to see, check out our everything we know galleries about Godzilla: King of Monsters, Captain Marvel, Shazam, Wonder Woman 84, Star Wars: Episode IX, Toy Story 4, and Game of Thrones Season 8.

    It’s coming out next year

    Maybe one of the only parts of Far From Home not completely shrouded in mystery and speculation is its release date: July 5, 2019.

    Virtually everyone is coming back

    If you’re a fan of Spider-Man: Homecoming, rest easy–virtually everyone you know and love from the MCU’s first official Spidey film is on their way back for the sequel. Here’s who we know will be around:

    • Tom Holland returns as Peter Parker
    • Zendaya is back as Michelle “MJ” Jones
    • Jacob Batalon is Ned Leeds
    • Marisa Tomei is Aunt May Parker
    • Jake Gyllenhaal is joining the cast as Quentin Beck aka Mysterio
    • Samuel L Jackson will reprise his role as Nick Fury
    • Cobie Smulders is Maria Hill
    • Jon Favreau is Happy Hogan
    • Tony Revolori is Eugene “Flash” Thompson

    So, Peter is okay?

    Obviously, it’s pretty much impossible for Tom Holland to film another Spider-Man movie after the events of Infinity War without becoming a sort of walking spoiler. Yes, something happens during Endgame to make sure Peter Parker is alive and kicking–we just don’t know what that something is yet, or what, if any, caveats are attached to the resurrection process. We know for certain, thanks to on set photos, that Tom Holland is suiting up, so feel free to put your “it’s not actually Peter behind the mask this time” theories to bed, but we don’t know anything else.

    With a comic book history full of magic and clones and rebooted timelines, we’d have to say that really anything is possible for Spider-Man at this point, and it’s best not to take anything for granted.

    Robert Downey Jr. isn’t confirmed

    We may have been able to glean Peter’s fate from the announcements and images we’ve had to work with, but Tony Stark is another story. So far, there has been no confirmation of Robert Downey Jr.’s involvement in the film, despite Tony and Peter’s very close almost paternal connection in both Homecoming and Infinity War. We’re not saying to start panicking but, well, maybe start at least being a little bit concerned.

    Mysterio is the villain, maybe

    Jake Gyllenhaal has officially confirmed he will be joining the cast as classic Spider-Man villain, Mysterio, but plot details have surfaced that may indicate a shift in the character’s alignment. According to Tom Holland at ComicCon Experience in Brazil, Mysterio and Spider-Man will be teaming up–at least initially–to a deeper cut piece of Marvel lore, the Elementals.

    Though, it’s worth noting that because Mysterio’s abilities revolve around mind control, hypnosis, and illusion, it’s probably best not to take anything about this at face value.

    Wait, the Elementals?

    Apparently, Far From Home will be introducing the Elementals to the MCU–four immortal beings with elemental powers who ruled the Earth back before ancient kingdoms like Atlantis rose to power. Their names are, traditionally, Hydron, Hellfire, Magnum and Zephyr, and they were predominantly used back in the early ’70s going up against the likes of heroes like Carol Danvers. What this could mean for not only Peter but for the MCU at large is a huge mystery–and one we probably shouldn’t take lightly. But, again, knowing a master of illusion like Mysterio is in the mix certainly complicates the speculation game a bit.

    Peter’s (probably) getting a new suit

    Fans at ComicCon Experience in Brazil were treated to images of a “stealth suit,” an all black, more tactical incarnation of the traditional Spider-Man costume that feels a little more akin to something out of Spider-Man Noir’s closet than our typical Peter. The actual purpose of this costume is totally unknown–in fact, we don’t actually know if this is the finished look, or a pre-digital enhancement version of the outfit, so there’s no shortage of questions to be asked. What happened to Peter’s Infinity War costume? What necessitated the change? Is that even Peter behind the mask?

    We also know that another new suit–one with a white Spider-icon–has been spotted on set, so cosplayers rejoice, your options are multiplying.

    Fury and Hill are swinging in

    Both Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders are reprising their roles as SHIELD agents Fury and Hill, which means they two have definitively survived their post-Infinity War dusting. However, we don’t know exactly what business they might have with Peter, or what role they’re going to play in the events of the movie. Though, it seems likely that if the Elementals really are in the mix, it’s probably a bit more than a high school student can take care of on his own, so if we had to guess, they’re probably working things out on that front.

    The “Far From Home” title is literal

    More than just a cute pun on the first movie’s “Homecoming” name, Far From Home is taking Peter Parker pretty far out of Queens and landing him in Europe. Obviously, it’s harder to get further from home than an alien planet like Titan, but we’ll let that slide this time. Why Peter has left the country remains a mystery, but speculation has lead fans to believe it’ll be a school trip. On set photos make it seem like MJ has tagged along so, as of right now, that seems pretty likely.

    Jon Watts is returning to direct

    Homecoming director Jon Watts has not given up the Spider-mantle just yet. He’s already wrapped filming for Far From Home along with two of Homecoming’s screenwriters, Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers. So while the landscape of the MCU might be changing drastically in the post-Thanos world, at least we have that to rely on. Expect a suitably John Hughes-flavored follow up.

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    Super Best Friends, a troupe of YouTube Let’s Players known primarily for mocking Quantic Dream games, officially ended their channel on Sunday morning with a video announcing their departure. Perhaps fitting for an account with a name extolling their friendship, the reason given was that two of the three participants were no longer actual friends and it put a strain on their ability to do the job.

    The channel began in 2011, when then-QA tester Matthew Kowalewski uploaded a video titled Street Fighter Stupidity, compiling out-of-context and generally bad scenes from the Street Fighter cartoon in the 1990s. From there, Kowalewski partnered with an associate named Patrick Boivin for the gimmick of one angry player and one naive innocent one to make highly edited videos of gameplay. The two chose the name “Two Best Friends Play” ironically, but became friends later down the line.

    The channel had been going strong for a number of years, adding their other friends Woolie Madden and Liam Allen-Miller to their Let’s Play stable, though the latter left a few years back to pursue his own streaming channel under the name Rising Superstream. The decision to call it quits this weekend came abruptly in the middle of a few different games and showed no indication of ending as the members had been talking about future plans for the channel earlier in the week.

    Super Best Friends commanded a relatively small but dedicated fanbase. The channel’s subscription numbers never broke a million, but the fan fervor over the group was often extensive. The Super Best Friends subreddit has been a massive outpouring of support for each other, fear for the community, and thanks to the LPers themselves for helping fans get out of dark places with their humor. They commanded a dedicated audience partly due to their chosen subject matter primarily focusing on Japanese games, which is rare within the YouTube Let’s Play space.

    The archive of their Let’s Plays will remain up, but the three YouTubers are now striking out on their own for future endeavors.

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    Uploaded on: 17 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    Marvel has announced that G. Willow Wilson, co-creator of Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel, is moving on and passing off the series to a new writer. A new comic for the shapeshifting superhero, titled The Magnificent Ms. Marvel, will begin in 2019 and be written by Saladin Ahmed.

    “In February, I will have written sixty issues of this book–five years of Kamala’s story,” Wilson told EW. “She is now something much bigger than the miniseries Sana and I planned years ago. She will, in all likelihood, outlive us all. I couldn’t be happier about it–and by that same token, it means that my part in Kamala’s adventures must eventually come to an end. Great superheroes stay fresh and relevant because they are the work of many storytellers, all of whom bring their unique perspectives and experiences to the character. Earlier this year, I began to have the persistent feeling that I was in danger of repeating myself every time I sat down to write a new script. It was a sign: time to start planning my exit.”

    Saladin Ahmed is no stranger to the comic book industry, being the author behind the popular run for Black Bolt–who, like Kamala, is an Inhuman–that started in 2017. “I was delighted when Saladin said yes to taking over writing duties on Ms. Marvel,” Wilson said. “His plans for Kamala are incredibly exciting, and it’s been a lot of fun getting an inside look at where the series is headed under his direction.”

    Kamala is the second person to hold the mantle of Ms. Marvel, taking inspiration for the name from her idol and the first Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers. Carol’s transformation into Captain Marvel left her previous title vacant, which the young Pakistani American was eager to fill after discovering she was an Inhuman with shapeshifting abilities. Much like Miles Morales, Kamala Khan has proven to be nearly as popular as the original hero she’s reimagined, and since her creation she’s gone on to briefly be a member of the Avengers, join the Champions, and found a new incarnation of the Secret Warriors. She was even a part of Marvel’s Civil War II storyline.

    Although Kamala has yet to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, her idol Carol Danvers is about to. Captain Marvel hits theaters on March 8, 2019–just ahead of Avengers: Endgame. Whether or not Carol’s movie paves the way for a Kamala appearance remains to be seen, although the Agents of Shield TV series did introduce Inhumans into the MCU.

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    Ashen has a distinct look and its landscapes are imaginative, but no level of creativity can hide the fact that it is a shameless Dark Souls clone. New Zealand-based developer A44 fully embraces this inspiration to deliver almost identical combat, exploration, and a risk-based currency of souls. While feeling overly similar to From Software’s body of work, Ashen pumps out excitement and fun, and manages to carve out a hint of something new with how it handles cooperative play.

    I died five times in a lengthy dungeon and began thinking I would never get through it. On my next life, I was joined by a player who complemented my style of play. We marched through this challenging gauntlet and made short work of its boss; I lucked out in finding a partner that could help me. This type of passive cooperative play is where Ashen establishes a somewhat unique and powerful pulse. If another player is at the same point in the story, you may be joined up together. As I illustrated, this can be a boon. Having someone draw the attention of enemies away from you completely changes the difficulty pendulum from an enemy’s advantage to yours.

    The cooperative play is designed similarly to Journey’s, in that you can’t communicate with the other player or try to become friends with them. They are with you for your current objective, and will vanish as soon as die or attempt fast travel. While there were players I wish I could have played the entire game with, the feeling of losing a helping hand is a part of what makes this experience tick. It’s a crushing loss, but at the same time, that person likely helped you reach a new milestone. You created that one awesome memory with them. Sure, there are players I played with that, well, sucked, and ended up wasting my time, but that’s all part of the luck of the draw. If another player isn’t around, you’ll be paired with an A.I.-driven teammate that can be reliable, but won’t go out of its way to truly up your chances.

    If you don’t trust random players or the computer, 4AA implemented an oddly complicated system that allows friends to journey together. I know this sounds like the preferred way to play, but it ends up being a pain given how many hoops you have to jump through to connect with a buddy. You are forced to change a couple of options, enter in a code that you must share with a friend, and stand in the same spot in the world. You then need to press up on the directional pad to summon your friend. In my play sessions, this technique sometimes would work without a hitch; other times we had to redo everything a few times before my friend would show up. We also ran into attempts where he wouldn’t show up at all. If you fast travel or die, you must repeat all of the steps. I had great fun playing with friends, but every session ended with us questioning why it was designed this way. We found we were better off playing with randoms for the sake of time than trying to enter each other’s worlds.

    No matter who you are paired with, you enter the world of Ashen at a point of unrest. For thousands of years these lands have been blanketed in darkness. The awakening of the Ashen god has brought a glimmer of light and the hope of peace. You are tasked to help the light expand, and must protect it from forces that want the world to remain blanketed in darkness. Yes, this story boils down to the overdone light-versus-dark motif, but has a nice mythological undercurrent to it, and introduces several interesting characters along the way. They end up having decent stories to tell. As you complete missions for each character, they offer you a wider assortment of items and remedies, and you watch their home grow. It feels good to help them out, even if most of their missions are of the fetch-quest variety.

    The journey embraces exploration and venturing off the beaten path to uncover secrets – even if it means risking all to leap across bottomless pits. The jumping mechanics are solid, and the environmental puzzles are designed nicely – offering a clear path to the loot once you discover it. The journey you are on is challenging, but fair. It pushes you to complete all the side content to stand a better chance as the difficulty escalates.

    While players have a variety of weapon, armor, and talisman types to choose from, combat is sadly the most derivative part of the experience. Alternating between light and heavy attacks, dodge-rolling, and keeping an eye on your stamina meter at all times are just some of the ways it feels familiar. You even heal up in the same way.

    Your journey will bring you to the chambers of five bosses, each is clever in design and can down you in seconds. None of the techniques you use to fell them rise above the standard hack-and-slash mix. The combat is functionally sound and reliable, but doesn’t stand out in any way.

    Ashen is at its best when you and a stranger are standing victorious over the corpse of a giant creature. You want to say “thank you,” or exchange a high five, but the only thing you can do is spin around in a circle or jump frantically to simulate a sense of glee. Even with so much of the experience feeling similar to something else you’ve played, Ashen delivers a great sense of wonder in its world, and ends up being a fun journey to undertake.

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    X-Men: Dark Phoenix

    The X-Men franchise moves forward, and in 2019, the 11th movie in said franchise–including the three Wolverine movies–will hit theaters. Ignoring the fact that the newest line of X-Men films completely messes with the franchise’s timeline, the new series of movies, which debut with First Class, has been a blast, filled with more highs than lows.

    The latest movie, titled Dark Phoenix, tries once again to tell the tale of Jean Grey turning into the Dark Phoenix. This is something 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand tried to do and failed at horribly. From the looks of the first trailer, the movie seems a bit more grounded and less focussed on how much they can cram into a single movie.

    While we’re still months away from its release, there is a fair amount we know about the next X-Men movie, probably because it was originally supposed to hit theaters during the winter, before it was pushed to late spring. So if you can’t wait for the next installment in the X-Men franchise and have to take in as much about the movie as possible, we got you covered.

    Here’s everything we know about Dark Phoenix, and if you want to learn more about 2019 movies that we’re excited to see, check out our everything we know galleries about Godzilla: King of Monsters, Captain Marvel, Shazam, Wonder Woman 84, Star Wars: Episode IX, Toy Story 4, and Game of Thrones Season 8.

    The tricky release date and its delays

    As it stands, Dark Phoenix will hit theaters on June 9, 2019, which has been pushed back a few times in the past year. The day after the first trailer’s release, the movie was pushed back from February 14 to its new June date. Originally, it was supposed to come out in early November, but Fox kept moving the dates back. However, with Marvel’s buyout of Fox coming to a close, movie dates were shifted around for many movies, so the studio wouldn’t be competing with itself.

    The cast

    The latest X-Men movie has all the cast of characters we’ve fallen in love with in previous movies with a few added extras. The biggest addition to this year’s installment is Jessica Chastain as Smith, a very mysterious role, which we’ll talk a bit more about in detail later. Here’s the cast for the movie.

    • Jennifer Lawrence is Raven/Mystique
    • Sophie Turner is Jean Grey/Phoenix
    • Nicholas Hoult is Hank McCoy/Beast
    • James McAvoy is Professor Charles Xavier
    • Michael Fassbender is Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto
    • Evan Peters is Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver
    • Kodi Smit-McPhee is Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler
    • Evan Jonigkeit is rumored to be Mortimer Toynbee/Toad
    • Tye Sheridan is Scott Summers/Cyclops
    • Alexandra Shipp is Ororo Munroe/Storm
    • Jessica Chastain is Smith

    Who is directing?

    Dark Phoenix will be directed by none other than Simon Kinberg, someone who has a long history with the X-Men franchise. While he was one of the writers of the aforementioned X-Men: The Last Stand–the movie that we all thought killed the franchise–Kinberg was also the screenwriter of Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse. Dark Phoenix will be his feature-length directorial debut.

    The plot

    Fans of the X-Men comic books have a good idea of what this movie will be about. Obviously, the film revolves around Jean Grey and her becoming the Dark Phoenix. As to whether or not its a cosmic entity is still unknown–we’ll get to that–but from what we know, this movie is also very much about rifts growing between the X-Men and all mutants. Obviously, the X-Men will have to face Jean Grey and stop Dark Phoenix from destroying the world, as this franchise loves villains who can destroy the world.

    The X-Men go to space, the final frontier… for X-Men movies

    While we don’t know the extent of how much the mutant team will spend in space, we do know for a fact they will be there. During New York Comic-Con, we got a look at roughly 10 minutes of the movie, where the team heads to space, and Jean Grey ends up becoming the Phoenix. We’ll leave out the specifics, but this is an important moment because so much of Phoenix’s origin is tied heavily to the cosmic part of the Marvel universe. Will the team head back space any time else during the movie, we’re unsure about that at this time.

    Rumors around the plot

    Obviously, not everything is laid out all nice and fresh for everyone when it comes to the story. There is also Jessica Chastain’s role of Smith, and it’s hard to tell how she fits into the grand scheme of things, from what we’ve seen in the trailer. There are a couple theories floating around. One of which is that she’s actually Lilandra or someone else involved with the Shi’ar Empire–some folks from space who want to put the Phoenix on trial. Or Smith is actually Mastermind, one of the members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, who manipulates Jean Grey in the comics. The latter seems more plausible. One thing is for sure though, Smith isn’t Smith.

    Lines drawn in the sand

    This movie seems like it’s going to drastically affect the X-Men team in future movies. Obviously, the timeline for the First Class run of movies is completely different than the original three X-Men movies from the early 2000s, so all bets are off. In the trailer, we see a greater rift between Magneto and Professor X, where Charles is running his X-Men school and Magneto has founded his all-mutant island/nation/piece of land called Genosha.

    It doesn’t stop there though, as there is a greater rift between Charles and Beast, who are supposed to be the closest characters in this series. This raises the question of what’s going to happen by the end of this movie? Will there be multiple X-Men teams, one led by Charles and the other led by Beast?

    Hans Zimmer comes out of retirement

    Legendary composer Hans Zimmer called it quits on superhero movies after composing Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. However, he will continue to score Dark Phoenix as he found Simon Kinberg came in very prepared and professional, which was a plus in his book.

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    With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s base roster cemented, players can now set their sights on the all-important question: Who’s being made available via DLC? Primary among the many completely justified complaints is the glaring omission of Waluigi and a surprising lack of Toad. Persona’s Joker was recently added to the list opening the floodgates for all sorts of third-party characters, so we must ask, why is Ronald McDonald still not on the roster?

    D.Va

    In Smash Bros. we all play to win. So does D.Va. The former gamer-turned-mech pilot would make a great addition to the brawler with her high-powered Tokki robo-suit. In fact, with her already-equipped booster ability, matrix shield (block), and self-destruct (which could be a final smash) the South Korean megastar is primed and ready to enter the fray.

    Fortnite Dude/Gal

    With a handy pickaxe, arsenal of guns, and umbrella, Fortnite characters already have much of what a Smash character needs in a recover move, ranged attack, and close-quarters combo. For an ultimate smash, what about a dance emote that sends players soaring off the map from its sheer brilliance? No? Moving on…

    Ronald McDonald (or at least the Hamburglar)

    Who says product placement in gaming is a bad thing? When we heard rumors that fast food’s clown prince was going to be playable, visions of him kicking Fox off the screen with his oversized red shoes danced through our heads like hamburgers on a hungry night. Speaking of hamburgers, why not throw in the Hamburglar for good measure as an assist trophy? He could run around stealing hamburgers from people… or something. 

    RoboCop

    Let’s just say what we’re all thinking: Smash Bros. is way too PG. Kids these days want dark and edgy. With RoboCop’s automatic pistol and monotone one-liners, we think he could be just what this franchise needs to go from snoresville to goresville.

    Doom Guy

    Speaking of badasses, what about Doom Guy? His no-nonsense attitude and savage glory kills could bring more maturity to Nintendo’s seminal brawler. And that retractable blade? Pikachu wouldn’t stand a chance.

    Leon Kennedy

    For our unironic choice, why not throw a bit of love to Resident Evil? With the Resident Evil 2 remaster just a few months away, series favorite Leon Kennedy would make a great addition to the roster. With his expansive arsenal of zombie-vaporizing hardware, the Raccoon City police officer could easily stand with some of the more realistic characters in the lineup.

    Eevee

    The age of Pikachu representing Pokémon has come to an end, and that end is called Eevee. The adorable normal-type is owed a spot on the roster, especially after the release of Pokémon: Let’s Go. With its myriad evolutions, maybe for a final smash, it could harness the power of all forms to fire off a hyper beam. Either way, Eevee could definitely put the yellow rat’s thunder to shame.

    Kratos

    Gore, loads and loads more gore is clearly a running theme here. That’s how you put butts in seats, after all. And who better than Sony poster-child Kratos to paint the roster of Nintendo peons in torrents of blood? Kratos is the man… er, god, for the job.   

    Who do you think is criminally absent from Nintendo’s star-studded brawler? Let us know about it in the comments section below and be sure to check out our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate review to see how the game stacks up to its giant predecessors. Also, for some picks that maybe aren’t as big of longshots to get in, check out our wishlist from before it was even called Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.     

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    The Game Developers Choice Awards organizers have announced that Amy Hennig will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. Hennig is best known for her work on the Uncharted series, but she has worked in the game industry since the days of the Atari 7800. She has experience as a digital artist, animator, game designer, writer, and director.

    Hennig was the writer and director of the Soul Reaver and Legacy of Kain series, and went on to become creative director and writer for the Uncharted series at Naughty Dog. She’s won multiple awards including the WGA Videogame Writing Award and the BAFTA.

    Previous recipients of the GDCA Lifetime Achievement Award have included Tim Schafer, Tim Sweeney, Shigeru Miyamoto, Warren Spector, John Carmack, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Hideo Kojima, Sid Meier, Ken Kutaragi, Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk, and Peter Molyneux. Hennig will be the first woman to receive the award.

    In a GameDaily interview accompanying the announcement, Hennig talked about the most recent news surrounding her work: the shake-up of her Star Wars game and her subsequent departure from EA.

    “It’s a very complicated situation,” she said. “I just think that what we’re seeing in general is an inflection point in the industry, where our business models are changing, paradigms are changing, what players want is changing. I mean, nobody saw things like PUBG coming out of the blue. Nobody saw Twitch streaming being the thing that’s it going to be. So, everybody’s in a really reactive wait-and-see mode right now. If you’re sensing that, it’s real.

    “I think people are realizing that there are different ways of doing things, and obviously they can fight for that different way internally, or they can go set up their own thing and do it externally. And I think whenever you see uncertainty, then that can create conflict, right? People disagree about the right direction to go, and people get more and more concerned and risk averse. So you’re probably seeing some of that.”

    The Game Developers Choice Awards will take place on March 20, 2019 at 6:30 PM PT, in San Francisco.

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    The deadline for Game Informer’s “best of the year” voting draws near, and I’m doing everything I can to play as many of 2018’s games as I can. I recently watched the credits roll for Darksiders III, which I adored way more than any other GI staffer, and I’m now working my way through Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden. While I don’t think it will make my personal top 10 list and may not get the votes to make it onto Game Informer’s big Top 50 list, this is one science-fiction game you don’t want to sleep on. You just have to ask yourself “Do you like XCOM?” If the answer is “yes,” drop everything and give it a whirl.

    Turn-based combat is the heart and soul of Mutant Year Zero. Most conflicts unfold with the a squad splitting up, and strategically hunkering down behind cover to pick away at enemies that are doing the same thing. It’s straight up XCOM, and developer The Bearded Ladies Consulting openly embraces the comparison, and even has “the turn-based combat of XCOM” bolded on its website. What makes Mutant Year Zero unique – other than playing as a talking duck, boar, and fox – is the calm before battle. Unlike most games of this ilk, you are not dropped immediately into a fight. You discover enemies as you explore small sections of the wilderness. As you sneak through the woods, you also find weapons, armors, crafting materials, and above all else, will be able to approach combat from a desired vector. This element of the game is nicely designed and worth investing time into, especially since supplies are hard to come by and end up being incredibly valuable.

    Again, I may like Mutant Year Zero more than any GI editor, but I think we all agree it’s a game worth looking at. Jeff Marchiafava has played way more of it than me, and gave it a respectable review of 7.5 of 10. He says it falls apart in the end. “From a gameplay perspective, Mutant Year Zero is a bold but brief experiment in the turn-based genre that largely pays off. Despite my complaints, I still enjoyed it, and I’d love to see more from the franchise. If you can stomach a huge letdown of an ending, the cleverly orchestrated combat and unique world are worth checking out.”

    If that isn’t your cup of tea, I’d like to point out that Subnautica’s big 1.0 update is finally live on Xbox One. Subnautica is a brilliantly designed underwater survival experience, set on an alien world with an ocean filled with exotic life. I urge you all to check this game out. It’s one of those games that you just can’t seem to put down once you get the hang of exploring the seas. Elise Favis gave it an 8.75 out of 10, and called it “gorgeous and enthralling.” You’ll definitely see this one on my top 10 list.

    The trailer above is for one of my most anticipated films of 2019. James Gunn’s name is all over it, but that’s a bit of false advertising. He’s producing the film. It’s actually directed by David Yarovesky, and written by Brian Gunn, and Mark Gunn. How many damn Gunns are there? As  long as they continue pumping out interesting films, the answer is “who cares?”

    In short, Brightburn looks to be a new take on Superman’s origin story, with horror and craziness leading the way. The trailer teases the child learning of his powers, and, well, using them to do harm. Brightburn releases on May 24.

    In other film news, if you were thinking 2019 would be the year of Thanos or the Avengers, you’re only slightly wrong. It will likely be the year of Nick Fury. At a comic convention in Brazil, Captain Marvel‘s Brie Larson revealed the movie isn’t just about her character. “It’s actually a Nick Fury origin story as well,” she said. “He doesn’t have the eye patch. That’s a very interesting element, isn’t it? [Fury and Marvel] become buddies, and I think seeing that dynamic, it’s a more playful side of Fury.”

    Fury is also front and center in the official synopsis for Spider-Man Far From Home, which is short and to the point: “Peter Parker and his friends go on summer holidays to Europe. However, the friends will hardly be able to rest – Peter will have to agree to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of creatures that cause natural disaster and destruction throughout the continent.”

    I’m a big fan of Samuel L. Jackson’s interpretation of Nick Fury, and can’t wait to see him get more time in the spotlight. I was hoping he would have a bigger role in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but this works too.

    And if you want to feel a little heartbreak, Marvel fans, Chris Hemsworth tweeted out the first image of Men In Black International. As you can see, he’s joined by Tessa Thompson, who absolutely killed it in Thor Ragnarok. I’m all for more Men in Black, but I don’t know if I’ll ever shake the thought of “it’s Thor and Valkyrie” when seeing them together.

    That’s it for this week, gang. As we wind down the year, our columns will likely disappear until 2019, but I’ll do my best to spit them out when I can. Cheers!



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    Uploaded on: 11 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    After several delays and a change in distribution company, Andy Serkis’s Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is now out on Netflix. And it’s now clear why it didn’t get a theatrical release: As stunning and well directed as this adaptation of The Jungle Book is, there is no way parents would have allowed their kids to see this. Andy Serkis was crazy to make a gritty and bloody adaptation, and it is insane that it was rated PG-13, but that’s exactly what makes this version entertaining. Prepare for a whole new generation to be traumatized by what looks like a children’s movie.

    From the opening scene, Mowgli wants us to know this will not be the sweet, funny, sing-along version of the tale you’re used to. We begin with the brutal murder of Mowgli’s parents at the claws of the man-eating tiger Shere Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch, playing an even more evil version of Smaug the dragon). You thought Khan throwing that wolf over a cliff in Jon Favreau’s version was unexpectedly dark? Well how about a tiger jumping at a frightened family and then mauling the mother to death? Worst yet, the murder occurs just barely off-screen to maintain a PG-13 rating, but then when the black panther Bagheera (Christian Bale) finds Mowgli, he’s bathed in the blood of his dead mother. This culminates in a brutal battle that challenges Mowgli’s moral compass, as the film skips the use of fire and goes straight to a ferocious showdown between a tiger and a knife-wielding child. Nothing says kid-friendly like a knife fight!

    From there, any similarity with the previous adaptations is just a bare necessity, as we still get to follow Mowgli’s struggle to fit in as a wolf, being bullied by his pack for being different and hanging out with the panther and the bear who talk. Oh, and the kidnapping monkeys are also here, but instead of a jazz number, they try to kill Bagheera and Baloo. Speaking of, this Baloo (voiced by Andy Serkis) has no intention of singing and relaxing by the river, as he is a horribly scarred and droopy-mouthed drill sergeant who mumbles every word like he’s drunk. Bale’s Bagheera also gets a new backstory that reflects Mowgli’s journey, but like everything else in the movie, it’s so grim that any children who witness it will likely never want to go to the zoo again.

    Where Disney’s live-action version emphasized Mowgli’s humanity and how it made him special, Andy Serkis and first-time screenwriter Callie Kloves make it a point to show you that Mowgli (wonderfully played by Rohan Chand) doesn’t belong with either man or wolf. For the first half-hour, he only walks on all fours, which makes him slower than all the other wolves in his class (Baloo is also a teacher for the cubs) and puts him at risk of expulsion from jungle school.

    Kloves not only shows the dark side of the characters, but most specifically the serial killer in everyone. In a disturbing scene, we see Bagheera training Mowgli to hunt, telling him to show respect to his victim by staring straight into its eyes as the soul departs the body. Oh, and the man-eating tiger? He’s not only obsessed with killing the man cub before he grows to be a fire-wielding man, but wants to straight up mutilate him. Shere Khan taunts Mowgli by repeatedly telling him how he wants to drink his blood–“The man cub’s blood will run down my chin!”–and how he loved the taste of his mother’s blood.

    Andy Serkis proves he’s not only adept at doing motion-capture, but he’s also determined to push the limits of technology to tell a story. He moves the camera in impossible angles, down cliffs and through caves. One highlight of the film involves Mowgli hiding in a lake, before looking up at the surface to find a blood-soaked Khan, as the water he drinks turns crimson red. Unfortunately, Serkis pushes too far into showing the performances from his cast of A-list actors. Not only does the CGI often dive into “uncanny valley” territory of real-but-not-quite with the facial animation, but the landscapes look rough at times.

    No Caption Provided

    The weakest part of Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is that it must follow the established plot points we already know by heart. While the tone and some of the characterizations are different enough to justify the retelling, it isn’t until the 1-hour mark (Mowgli going to the human village) that the film finally shines and proves that it has something new to say. After Mowgli gets to the village, he befriends a British hunter played by Matthew Rhys, who was hired to hunt down Shere Khan. While the rest of the village teaches him about local traditions, dance and food, the hunter teaches him how to throw a knife. While we have seen previous adaptations dealing with Mowgli being a bridge between two world, this film truly shows us both worlds colliding, and how exactly Mowgli connects and saves both. If only the script had dived into this earlier instead of waiting until the last 40 minutes.

    It is baffling that this version of Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle ever got made. It is insane that the film got a PG-13 rating. It is mind-blowing that this is actually getting released. But here we are. This film takes too long to get going, and has some uncanny CGI. But it’s also a brutal retelling of a classic story that shows just how dangerous the world is, and how you have to be the same if you want to survive.

    The GoodThe Bad
    Andy Serkis’s directing

    Takes a while to truly shine

    Strong performances by Rohan Chand and the A-list castPlot often feels familiar
    Insanely brutal and violent fight scenesUncanny CGI
    An elephant gets revenge against a poacher
    Best “Khaaaaan” cry since 1982

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    Uploaded on: 10 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    Today, Youtube Channel Kinda Funny Games unveiled its Games Showcase, in which it debuted trailers for nearly 70 games in a little over an hour. It was an interesting small-scale montage of new info. There’s a lot of neat info to sift through! But don’t worry: We watched the entire thing and have cherry-picked the bits of news you should pay attention to.

    News Game Trailers And Details

    Judgment Gets A Release Window, English Cast
    As with most “conferences” of this sort, the best news saved for last. Yakuza developer’s new game, Judgment, received a Western released date and trailer, including the first sampling of its English cast. You can learn more about it here.

    The Walking Dead: The Final Season’s Second Episode Has A Release Date 
    After a turbulent development cycle, the team now working The Walking Dead’s final season, now called “Still Not Bitten,” announced the release date for the next episode: January 17. You can learn more about that announcement here.

    There’s A New Conan The Barbarian Tower-Defense Game
    Former Command & Conquer devs are working with Funcom on Conan Unconquered, a new strategy game set in that game’s universe. Here’s the rundown.

    The Messenger Gets Free DLC Next Year
    Picnic Panic brings The Messenger to a more tropical setting next year with three (free!) new levels.

    Super Meat Boy Forever Comes Out In April
    Along with a new trailer, we got one of the most important details about Team Meat’s latest game: A release window.

    YIIK: A Post-Modern RPG Comes Out January 17
    Drawing from lots of interesting sources, the very weird YIIK is a little over a month away.

    Cute Puzzle Game A Fold Apart Gets A New Trailer
    A Fold Apart isn’t out yet but is already getting awards. If you haven’t seen this trippy, cute puzzle game in action before, here’s your chance.

    Moving Out Is Physics-Based Puzzler About Moving Out Of Your Apartment
    Sometimes you just gotta move a dead giraffe, you know what I mean?

    The Minds Behind The Pinball FX Series Are Making A Dungeon-Crawler
    Operencia: The Stolen Sun looks pretty neat.

    Long Gone Days Leaves Early Access Next April
    The promising military-tinged RPG is already available in early access, but the full release is just around the corner.

    https://twitter.com/PlaydiusGames/status/1071494627503394817

    Away: Journey To The Unexpected Gets A Trio Of Release Dates
    Away’s Art style is very intriguing, and nice match for its first-person RPG gameplay. It’s out February 5 on PS4, February 7 on Switch, February 8 on Xbox One, and “later” on PC.

    Fight Knight Brings The Action To PS4, Switch, And PC Next Year
    The violent first-person brawler looks like a nice way to take out your aggression in retro form.

    Other Noteworthy Headlines

    There were also some interesting tidbits about games that have already released.

    • Slay The Spire, The PC card game doing well on steam, is coming to Switch next year.
    • Bioware did an in-depth breakdown of the Anthem trailer they showed off at The Game Awards.
    • All three Danganronpa games will be available as one collection on PS4, with a new collector’s edition that includes an artbook.
    • Windjammers and Celeste are getting new physical version on December 21 and January 1, respectively, courtesy of Limited Run Games.
    • Mike Bithell’s Quarantine Circular is coming to Switch.

    There were, of course, more games than we could fit here. If you want to watch the entire showcase and see if anything else catches your fancy, you can watch the archive right here.



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    Uploaded on: 09 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    With the sudden closure of Telltale Games this past September, there were many doubts about the conclusion of the Final Season of the developer’s seminal adventure game series The Walking Dead. During the Kinda Funny Games Showcase, however, it was revealed that next episode of The Final Season will arrive on January 15, 2019, with many of the core developers returning to finish out the conclusion to Telltale Games’ seminal adventure game series.

    In the trailer for Episode 3: Broken Toys, we saw Clementine looking after another survivor during the zombie apocalypse, with a voiceover from the first season’s protagonist Lee reflecting on her growth. Over the course of the four seasons, Clementine has grown from a vulnerable character that needed guidance, to one of the series’ most hardened survivors. The trailer closed out with the twitter hashtag, #StillNotBitten, referencing a line said by Clementine during trailer.

    In the weeks after the closure of Telltale Games last September, Robert Kirkman–the creator of The Walking Dead– and his studio Skybound Entertainment announced at New York Comic Con 2018 that they were able to work out a deal to ensure that former developers could return to the same office to continue work on the closing season.

    “We’ve successfully negotiated with Telltale Games for our company Skybound to come in and see Season 4 of the Telltale game to completion,” said Kirkman during NYCC 2018. “We can’t lose Andrew Lincoln and Clementine in the same year.”

    Skybound Entertainment has brought on 40 of the original developers to ensure that the same creatives are involved in the finish of the season, which had already been written prior to the closure. In our review of Episode 2: Suffer the Children, Justin Clark gave the game an 8/10, praising the game’s story and events, while also lamenting on the game’s cliffhanger–which came close to never being resolved.

    “We leave The Walking Dead on a Telltale firmly willing to make mechanical and tonal risks, nearly all of which pay off well in this episode, hinting towards a bright future we may never get to see. If this is the last time we see her, the fact that she, and this series, have become what they’ve become is maybe the closest thing to a Happily Ever After as can be expected from The Walking Dead.”

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    Uploaded on: 08 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    A store page for Devil May Cry 5 listed “online multiplayer” a few months ago, leaving fans scratching their heads over what this could possibly mean. Capcom wasn’t keen to answer those questions before, but has now revealed how players can play together in Devil May Cry 5 in what they’re calling “The Cameo System.”

    The way the system works is that the three characters — Dante, Nero, and V — are occasionally in the same place in the story. To Capcom, that means it makes sense that the characters would be fighting alongside each other rather than just taking turns hidden away. In the Cameo System, a player playing as Nero in a city that Dante is also fighting in might see Dante fighting in the distance or possibly right up next to Nero. It turns out that Dante is another player.

    “The game is primarily a single player experience, but director Itsuno-san and the team really wanted to tell an epic story with three distinct perspectives and play-styles, where the main protagonists run into each other and collaborate from time to time,” writes Capcom’s Yuri Araujo on Capcom-Unity. “So to make that a reality, they’ve implemented a system where, while connected to the Internet, players will make guest cameo appearances in each other’s games in real time, or through ghost data gameplay recordings. Depending on the mission, you’ll see another player in the background, but in other cases, you’ll actually be slicing and dicing demons side-by-side with another players! Again, our focus is in providing a single player experience like no other, so this cameo system also ensures the experience is always smooth as possible with no downtime.”

    After a mission is finished, players can grade their anonymous compatriot on how stylish they were. So rest assured, everyone is judging how well you pulled off that combo or whether you just completely dropped your flow when you should have DTed. Players who get high rankings get rewards from it, so try not to be too critical.

    The cameo system only factors in on stages where the characters would be together. If Nero and V are hypothetically in different dimensions, they probably won’t be able to meet up in battle. Some levels are also going to be strictly alone, so no one will show up to fight alongside you.

    This is actually not the first time the series has seen multiplayer. An unadvertised feature of Devil May Cry 3 allowed a second player to take control of Dante’s Doppelganger skill and act independently. In Special Edition, they could also control Dante’s brother Vergil during the game’s penultimate boss fight.

    A demo for Devil May Cry 5 released today exclusively on Xbox One. Further demos will be available on other platforms, as well. You can check out the full version of last night’s trailer right here.

    Devil May Cry 5 releases on March 8 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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    Uploaded on: 07 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    Just like Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo is currently running a sale in honor of The Game Awards, which airs tonight, December 6. And like the sales on the other platforms, this one is filled with great deals on some of the best recent games to hit the Eshop. Let’s roll up our sleeves and dig into the discounts.

    It’s practically an old adage in the world of gaming deals that first-party Nintendo games rarely go on sale. Here’s an exception that proves the rule: Super Mario Odyssey is currently discounted to $42. If you’re a Switch owner who doesn’t have this epic platformer, now’s a good time to grab it.

    No Caption Provided
    Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9Gallery image 10

    It’s also a good time to pick up Diablo 3: Eternal Collection, which comes with everything Blizzard has released for the game to date, because it’s on sale for $40. If you’re into anime and fighting games, Dragon Ball FighterZ is a solid bet at $42. And for anyone who enjoys open-galaxy shooters but isn’t keen on the toys that come with the physical edition, you can grab Starlink: Battle for Atlas for $45.

    RPG fans can nab Xenoblade Chronicles 2 for $42. People who want to riddle Nazi scum with bullets can get Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus for $30. A number of notable indie games are on sale as well, including Celeste for $16, Dead Cells for $20, Into the Breach for $10, and The Messenger for $14. Phew.

    You’ll find more picks below, or you can see every digital Swtich game that’s currently on sale on Nintendo’s Eshop page.

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    Uploaded on: 06 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    Valve’s Artifact was announced to mixed reactions at the Dota 2 International tournament in 2017. Artifact apparently signaled Valve’s return to active game development, but it is different from the studio’s signature series like Half-Life and Portal. Instead, Artifact is a card game set in the world of Dota, and it is designed by Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering. While Artifact is different from Dota 2’s team-based gameplay, much of the flavor and mechanics translate well into the three-lane game. If there’s one big similarity between the two Valve titles, it’s that some time and dedication are required to learning, understanding, and enjoying the game.

     

    The easiest way to explain Artifact is that you’re playing three different games simultaneously with a single hand, and you need to use those cards to win two out of the three games (or win one of the games twice). Success is all about management and position; you need to make hundreds of decisions in a single game on both micro and macro levels. It’s overwhelming at first, but after many hours of play and mastery of the systems at work, the satisfaction of executing a perfectly timed game-winning move is immense. On the surface, Artifact appears to be a tangled web of randomness with so many aspects being left to chance, but corralling those variables and subtly working with the tide of each game creates an atmosphere unlike any other digital card game.

     

    Everything hinges on your heroes. Your deck must contain five heroes, and they come with associated cards (Dota fans will recognize flavorful skills and abilities, but no previous Dota experience is required). These cards play well with the hero’s stats and passive or active skill. For instance, one of the most powerful heroes in the game, Axe, doesn’t even have a passive. Axe is just a big pile of stats. As a red hero, Axe loves to fight and is more than a match for other heroes and creeps, so this is exactly where you want him, pummeling enemies into submission in direct combat with superior size. The other three colors all have their own specialties as well. Black focuses on gold acquisition, mobility, and assassination. Green has huge monster creeps available, huge health pools, and helpful buffs. Blue has frail heroes, but extremely impactful magic spells. You’re free to mix and match heroes and colors, but you can only play cards of a color in a lane with a corresponding color hero, so getting too bold could result in difficulty playing cards where you want.

     

     

    Not only are you laying down creatures to attack your opponent and heroes and push the lanes, but you also gather gold from killing enemies. You spend this gold in the shop at the end of each round to buy various equipment that roughly falls into three categories: weapons, armor, and consumables. Just like in Dota, you want to have plenty of potions and town portal scrolls to keep your heroes healthy and moving to where they need to be. Big items can change the course of the game, but saving enough money to get them can be a losing strategy, as your opponent can dominate the board while you save.

     

    Once you’re past the basics, higher levels of play open games within games, where bluffing and taking full advantage of initiative (who plays first in a lane) create game-defining big plays that can feel as epic as an Earthshaker Echoslam in Dota 2. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you’re rewarded with tons of satisfying gameplay. When is the right time to abandon a lane? Should you go all in on one lane or try to win two lanes? Should you commit heroes to defending a dead lane, and if so how many? Should you pass your turn to attempt to grab initiative back so you can make sure you have the first action during the next round? You’re going to be making an absurd number of choices, and they won’t always be right. As a longtime card game enthusiast, being faced with situations where there isn’t a definitive correct play is highly entertaining.

     

    Constructed play takes a backseat to draft with the initial launch set. The metagame is already well established, and while things could change, powerful “best in every deck” heroes offer little flexibility in deckbuilding or room for creativity. Draft is another story, and is the best format available, allowing players to pick two cards out of packs until they create a full deck and take it into a string of battles. I hope the constructed format becomes more interesting as new heroes come into the game, but for now draft absolutely puts it to shame.

     

    Players can play in free events with preconstructed Valve decks, free constructed/drafts with friends or random global players, and paid tournaments. Unlike many other digital card games, currently there are no progression systems or ways to earn cards outside of purchase.  All trades are made on the Steam market via buying and selling, so you can pick up exactly what you’re looking for, but you won’t be getting any free cards if you’re looking to build a collection. In this way Artifact feels like it’s hampered by an archaic physical card game model in the digital realm. While it’s not explicitly pay-to-win, it’s absolutely pay-to-compete and collect, and this feels restrictive – especially since you’re already paying a fee to purchase the game initially. Much can be said about psychological hooks that other digital card games employ to keep people playing and “grinding” but at least there’s an option to acquire cards slowly in those models. Here, you’re paying to engage in anything meaningful. Period. And it doesn’t feel good.

     

    Artifact pulls a ton of flavor from Dota 2, but it’s not necessarily a game for Dota 2 players. Artifact is instead a highly cerebral card game of push and pull, with intense resource allocation and randomization management. Artifact is absolutely not for everyone, but it excels at creating a crazy strategy cocktail pulling from every bottle on the shelf. For card game fans, Artifact is not to be missed.

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    Uploaded on: 05 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    So much can change in a year. This time last year, it was PUBG, dominating on Steam and sporting an exclusive deal with Microsoft for the Xbox One version, which was driving the most discussion and helping propel the battle royale phenomenon even further. Today, Fortnite is a veritable juggernaut on the level that few could have expected or even imagined. It is a bona fide hit that has been so unbelievably successful it’s spurred changes to long-standing policies within the industry and impacted wider entertainment culture.

    Developer Epic Games started out the year by announcing it was effectively shutting down its previous game, Paragon, and offering refunds to everyone. The studio apologised for failing the game’s audience and not being able to deliver them the game they might have wanted. While this is sad for those playing the game and wanting to see it further developed, it appeared to have been a sensible business decision given Fortnite’s popularity. Epic (seemingly) narrowing its focus to cut loose non-Fortnite projects speaks to the popularity of the game, the scale it has reached, and the work necessary to deliver on that vision.

    No Caption Provided

    Another major early 2018 development for Fortnite was when the game launched for mobile devices. Fortnite’s mobile version has been a revenue juggernaut, reportedly making $2 million/day for a period of time, and a total of more than $300 million as of October–on iOS alone. Not bad for a game that is technically free. The Android edition of Fortnite, meanwhile, made headlines for how developer Epic released it. Instead of launching through Google’s own store, Epic decided to release it via its own website.

    Most games need the visibility of the Google Play store to find an audience, but Fortnite is an exception, and in bypassing the store, Epic avoided paying Google its store fee. One estimate said Google missed out on $50 million or more because of this. The closed nature of Apple’s ecosystem relative to Google’s meant that Epic was forced to launch Fortnite through the App Store. This move was the first major example in 2018 of Epic flexing its muscles and leveraging the popularity of Fortnite to blaze its own trail. What’s more, the way in which in-game items and progress move between the mobile, console, and PC editions of Fortnite is relatively uncommon in the gaming world. It reflects Epic’s wider ambition to break down the barriers between platforms–and that’s something people seem to generally enjoy.

    Another way that Fortnite impacted the gaming world in 2018 was related to policy changes among the established platform-holders. After holding out for more than two years, Sony finally allowed the PS4 to connect with outside networks for cross-play–but only with Fortnite for the time being. Fortnite being so popular that it pushed an established giant like Sony–in the midst of a hugely successful generation of hardware–to change its policies is truly a testament to how powerful Fortnite is. Epic also used its weight and clout to convince Nintendo to drop its weird requirement to use a phone for voice chat; with Fortnite, voice chat works natively. What’s more, all three major consoles–Xbox One, PS4, and Switch–have Fortnite-themed hardware bundles, which is the first time that’s ever happened in the world of gaming.

    Companies like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo recognise how all-powerful Fortnite has become, and they’re bending to the will of a developer in a way this industry has basically never seen before. They say a rising tide lifts all boats, and the platform-holders surely see Fortnite as a means to help their own brands fly higher.

    Fortnite also further demonstrated to the industry this that narrative can have a place in multiplayer-only games. Fortnite cleverly wove some amount of narrative into the experience through numerous in-game events and stories throughout the year. Take, for example, the time the sky began to rip apart. What did it all mean? Fans searched the world for clues, eventually culminating in Epic revealing a new item, the Rift, that allows players to teleport to a new location on the map.

    Then there was impending comet–players saw it in the sky for weeks before it crashed onto the map, destroying Dusty Depot and leaving a massive crater with alternate gravity properties. There was also mysterious purple cube that one day simply appeared on the map, causing all kinds of wacky and weird things to happen. The cube, who was affectionally known as Kevin, eventually exploded, and sent players into an endless void. Epic’s genius is getting people to care about the Fortnite world outside of the moment-to-moment gameplay. It might not have been the first multiplayer game to feature compelling story elements, but the loose, ongoing narrative surely helped it to keep bringing players back.

    In addition to expanding to mobile, Fortnite launched for Nintendo Switch this year, bringing the battle royale game’s presence to yet another major platform. Fortnite has been hugely successful on Switch. As part of an earnings report, Nintendo revealed that half of every Switch sold worldwide had Fortnite installed, which is a very impressive feat. Effectively, this seems to suggest that Fortnite may represent the kind of “killer app” that every platform needs to attract an audience. It further speaks to the power of Fortnite and the brand overall in that it can perform well no matter what platform it is on. The implication here is that, should Fortnite be able to remain popular, platform-holders like Nintendo (as well as Sony and Microsoft) may need to factor it in–in some capacity–for their future platforms.

    Another way Fortnite impacted the larger gaming world this year was through its demonstration that delivering compelling new content on a regular basis can pay huge dividends. Epic releases new updates about once per week, introducing new modes, cosmetics, weapons, balance changes, and more. This helps make Fortnite feel fresh all the time–and it gives wavering players FOMO. This has surely contributed to the wider culture around Fortnite, especially among younger audiences who may feel compelled to keep coming back to see what’s new. There are countless challenges to complete, skins to unlock, and modes to play, and this heavy pull to come back to the game is surely beneficial to Epic in a business sense.

    Some soury news around Fortnite came in May when PUBG Corp., the developer of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, filed a lawsuit in Korea against Epic. PUBG Corp. claimed copyright infringement due to the similarities between PUBG and Fortnite. However, PUBG Corp. later dropped the lawsuit, though it remains to be seen if there was a settlement and what the terms might have been. Epic was involved in a number of other lawsuits throughout 2018, some against it, and others it filed against players for cheating and other reasons. Given the size and stature of Fortnite, it’s no surprise that Fortnite has found itself embroiled in legal matters, but as of yet, the litigation does not seem to have had much of a public-facing impact on the game.

    In better news for Fortnite, the game’s success and prominence entered another stratosphere in April when Fortnite announced a gigantic partnership with Disney and Marvel for an Avengers: Infinity War promo that saw Thanos come to the battle royale game. As further evidence of Fortnite permeating wider pop culture, Fortnite also partnered with Epic to bring jersey skins for all 32 NFL teams to the game for a limited time. More recently, players discovered Ralph from the Wreck-It Ralph film series in the game as part of what appeared to be a stealth-marketing campaign for the new film, Ralph Breaks the Internet.

    These examples clearly demonstrate that major global brands recognise the value and power of being even tangentially associated with Fortnite–even if it’s just a marketing tool. In that way, Fortnite has became a platform of sorts through which massive, established brands want to be involved with. What Epic will need to be mindful of is ensuring the partnerships make sense and don’t come across as overly cash-grabby (though indeed Epic is surely profiting from these deals).

    The mainstream attention on Fortnite also made the game a target. Fortnite caught some heat in November when Scrubs star Donald Faison called out the game for ripping off his “Poison” dance for an emote. Show creator Bill Lawrence acknowledged that someone from the Fortnite side reached out about using Faison’s dance, but in the end, Faison isn’t getting any royalties. Before that, rapper 2 Milly accused Epic of stealing his dance for a Fortnite emote. And before that, Chance the Rapper said he takes issue with Fortnite’s use of the dances in the battle royale game. “Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them. Imagine the money people are spending on these emotes being shared with the artists that made them,” he said back in July.

    Fortnite’s dances are based on or inspired by the performances of real artists, and it would be good to see Epic take further steps to publicly and in a front-facing way acknowledge and respect the origins of the dance moves. Fortnite is making an unthinkable amount of money from microtransactions, so it is nice to see Epic pour some of it back into the game’s community. In June this year, Epic announced a massive investment for Fortnite esports competitions both big and small. Epic said it would put in a staggering $100 million into global Fortnite competitions. The gargantuan figure towers above what other games pay for their tournaments, but importantly, the $100 million covers every Fortnite competitive event in the 2017/2018 season, not just one. For example, Dota 2‘s The International 2018 event had a total prize pool of almost $25 million.

    Epic’s massive investment was a smart move for the developer, too, as it pretty much guaranteed that top-level players would continue to play to earn a slice of that money, which in turn keeps people on their couches at home watching and supporting the base game overall.

    Fortnite is a free game but it makes money from the cosmetics it sells through its in-game store. When something is successful, other studios take notice. Activision’s Call of Duty series added a battle royale mode of its own this year with Black Ops 4‘s Blackout. The mode features a progression system that seemingly borrows heavily from Fortnite’s battle pass and seasonal system. EA’s Battlefield V is also going to have a battle royale mode; it’s called Firestorm, and it launches in March 2019. Even Rockstar Games is taking notice; the studio released battle royale mode for Red Dead Redemption 2‘s online mode (though GTA V launched a battle royale mode for GTA Online all the way back in August 2017, so it’s not new for Rockstar). The point is that Fortnite, building off the success of PUBG before it, has impacted the larger gaming community right up to the top players. It’s an incredibly impressive feat, and it further demonstrates that oftentimes some of the most innovative ideas originate at small studios before catching on in a more mainstream way.

    Fortnite’s insane success has also led to improvements in developer relations–at least for those who use Epic’s Unreal Engine. Thanks to the extra money Fortnite has brought in, Epic was able to shift its own revenue-sharing arrangement in a move that further benefits developers, and potentially in the end, consumers as well. Epic formerly used the industry-wide 70/30 percent revenue-sharing agreement with developers who used its Unreal Engine, but after Fortnite’s success, Epic changed the agreement to 88/12 with developers making more and Epic taking less. The 70/30 revenue split goes back more than a decade, and it’s implemented across digital stores for not only games, but other forms of media as well. Epic shifting the split so significantly could spur further change across media, or at the least encourage more developers to use Unreal Engine (which in turn benefits Epic in the longer run).

    But just how popular is Fortnite? In June this year, Fortnite reached 125 million players, a figure that grew to 200 million as of November, an increase of 60 percent. This represents strong growth and even more evidence that Fortnite is no fad. There is no word on how the player population breaks down between platforms, but it’s easy to find matches everywhere, so you can imagine player figures are high across all systems.

    Some of Fortnite’s other major achievements in 2018 included the game reaching an unthinkable and unprecedented 8.3 million concurrent players, Epic picking up a further $1.25 billion in venture capital funding, and celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, Ellen, and the Saturday Night Live crew riffing on Fortnite during episodes of their shows. Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox played the game so much this season that they had to remind themselves to eat. Some of the other notable stories around Fortnite this year include how Fortnite was cited in hundreds of divorce filings and how the mainstream media labeled the game addictive, violence-promoting, and damaging to young people. One story in particular said Fortnite was addictive in the same way that heroin is. It’s sad but not surprising.

    2018 was Fortnite’s biggest and best year yet, but no game lasts forever. It will be intriguing to see how Epic plans to continue to shake things up and make the experience feel new and exciting in 2019 and beyond. Outside of its work on the Unreal Engine, will Epic become a one-game studio, pouring its resources into supporting and expanding Fortnite to make hay while the sun shines?

    That would seemingly make sense for the time being, but I’d be surprised if the studio wasn’t at least in the planning stages on other new projects. After all, while Fortnite might be riding high today, no one expects it to stay on top forever.

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    Uploaded on: 04 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    EA’s Madden franchise isn’t the only (American) football game in town, so this week I’m taking a look at some of the other football titles that had new installments this year.

    Draft Day Sports Pro Football 2019

    Platform: PC
    Developer: Wolverine Studios

    The DDS series is simulation based, meaning it’s about putting the right team together and not about breaking ankles on the field with your stick skills. As such you draft, sign players in free agency, and build your playbook to create a dynasty.

    On the field, you call plays and watch them unfold in a top-down perspective. You can also watch replays and whole games (from the same perspective) if you want to study further.

    Still, I’d like to see the playbooks expanded to include more formations, and on defense in particular, it would be nice to get more information about each play (including which formation your opponent takes the field with per play) so you have a better understanding of the coverages and concepts involved.

    While the game doesn’t stack up to the complexity of the genre-standard Football Manager series (different sport, I know, but still) and the front office features could use more depth like better contract negotiations/options and player morale/personalities, it fits a simulation bill not served by other football titles out there.

    Pro Football 2019 also has customization features allowing you to create custom players, set league structure options like the salary cap, and play with others online.

    Mutant Football League Dynasty Edition

    Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
    Developer: Digital Dreams Entertainment

    Although the original version of this game came out back in 2017, this fall the Dynasty Edition released adding much-needed depth with more franchise options to go along with the over-the-top on-the-field action. This includes custom playbooks (which shrink if your QB dies!), an XP system, free agency, and even player arrests. If you’re looking for an arcade-gameplay title that doesn’t take itself too seriously but has some management options, check this one out.

    Maximum Football 2018

    Platform: PS4, Xbox One
    Developer: Canuck Play

    Maximum Football 2018 boasts a unique feature – it’s the only title that lets you play football with either pro, college, or Canadian rulesets. While I don’t know a lot about Canadian football, playing the American version quickly shows that this title lacks polish or depth in every department. From animations to A.I., from presentation to management options, the game doesn’t have a lot to offer. Regardless, developer Canuck Play has signed up Boston College legend, Heisman Trophy winner, and Little Big Man Doug Flutie for next year’s fall title, which will be called Doug Flutie’s Maximum Football.

    Axis Football 2018

    Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
    Developer: Axis Games

    Axis Football 2018 is an interesting title that it doesn’t have a lot of franchise features (no scouting, for instance). The gameplay lacks A.I. and animation polish, but there are some complex options from play to play. Each defender can be set into a hot route to change their individual assignment, and an overarching focus for the play (like boosting your route running or blocking) – can be determined apart from which play you call.

    Gameplay wise, precision passing lets you control an on-the-field reticle with the right analog stick for aiming your throw, and it’s easy to use. In general, the game runs at a decent clip and running with the ball feels smooth.

    Axis Football 2018 also lets you use mods and customize teams, players (including their attributes), and uniforms.



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    Uploaded on: 03 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    The Switch may appear to live in the same family as tablets and smartphones at first glance, but Nintendo, perhaps wisely, has kept those comparisons at arm’s length. The Switch OS doesn’t react when you pivot the system from landscape to portrait orientation, and the vast majority of Switch games feature only minimal support for touchscreen interaction. These limitations aren’t generally an issue, but there is a subset of Switch games that may cause you to question Nintendo’s apparent rigid view of the system’s identity.

    Thanks to the efforts of developers such as Hamster Corp. and Digital Eclipse, the Switch plays host to numerous arcade ports, a large number of which were designed to be played with the screen rotated 90 degrees. Playing them that way, of course, requires you to disconnect the Switch’s Joycons so you can prop up the system. That’s all well and good if you’re in a suitable environment, but the process is easier said than done on the go. Thankfully, the $12 Flip Grip has arrived to pick up where Nintendo’s design team left off.

    No Caption Provided

    Inexpensive, straightforward, and hugely impactful in the right situation, the Flip Grip quickly feels like a must-own accessory once you start using it. Simply disconnect the Joycons, rotate and insert your Switch into the Flip Grip, put your Joycons into the tracks on both sides of the bracket, and you’re basically ready to go.

    One caveat of an attachment like Flip Grip in a world where Nintendo isn’t concerned with portrait mode is that navigating the system requires a bit of roundabout thinking on your part. Because the Flip Grip will obstruct access to the power button and the volume toggle, you will have to resort to pressing the Home button and using menus as an alternative means of powering off the system and adjusting your audio. Once in a game, you will also have to enter a menu to rotate the image into portrait mode. There is a bit of an adjustment period while you get these habits down, but once you’re used to the process it’s hard to imagine playing certain games on Switch without Flip Grip.

    No Caption Provided

    Arcade ports like Punch-Out and Donkey Kong go from using a small portion of the Switch’s display to filling up the entire screen, and rather than sitting away from your Switch with a controller in hand, you get to be up close and personal with it while you play–the way Nintendo originally intended. It’s not only a more enjoyable experience, but when playing vertical shooters like Ikaruga or Gunbird 2, the larger viewable area makes it easier to navigate complex bullet patterns and live to fight in another level.

    While you’re enjoying your newfound appreciation for Switch, it’s easy to take the Flip Grip’s finer details for granted, but they are worth noting both for piece of mind and for the added appreciation of the accessory’s thoughtful nature.

    The Flip Grip is a simple yet versatile Switch accessory that, for the right person, is worth far more than the modest asking price.
    The Flip Grip is a simple yet versatile Switch accessory that, for the right person, is worth far more than the modest asking price.

    The inside of the bracket’s support wall features four felt pads that prevent scratches and smooth out the insertion process. Nearby is a flexible plastic tab with a rubber stopper that helps secure your Switch in place by slotting into one of the two speaker grooves on the back of the system. Releasing it requires just a little tug from the backside of the Flip Grip, but not so little that you’d disengage the stopper by accident.

    Most important of all, long gaps along the inside edge of the Flip Grip allow for sound and air to move relatively unimpeded. And while you may not realize it at first, you can also slot a plastic card into one side for a makeshift vertical stand.

    With adequate safety measures, thoughtful design considerations, and a very modest asking price, there’s almost no reason to think twice about Flip Grip if you have interest in the Switch’s current and upcoming vertically oriented games. The only other minor considerations to keep in mind are that the Joycons won’t be able to charge while you play and that the OS isn’t built to support the Flip Grip the way some games are. These grievances aside, 12 bucks is a trivial cost for an improved gameplay experience. The Flip Grip will make you think twice about what the Switch is capable of–and perhaps wonder why Nintendo hasn’t capitalized on an obvious opportunity.

    Click here for an updated list of supported games, and check out Fangamer’s trailer on the Flip Grip’s pre-order page.

    Editor’s note: An early production model of the Flip Grip was provided to GameSpot courtesy of Fangamer.

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    Uploaded on: 02 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    There’s been a lot of news surrounding Bethesda’s new multiplayer Fallout game lately, most of it bad. Between rumors of a class-action lawsuit and accusations of false advertising, the publisher has had its hands full dealing with fan response. A new story about the people in the game, however, is one of the more disturbing things to come out from the game.

    (Warning: The following story does its best to avoid using strong language, but it is unavoidable in some instances. Content warning for homophobic slurs.)

    A Fallout 76 player named AJ tweeted out a video last night tagging Bethesda support showing harassment they received by players. In the video, AJ is confronted by a group of other players lead by a user named NathanTheHicc. Nathan’s beef, judging from his voice chat comments, is that he was there to kill AJ because he’s gay.

    The voice chat in Fallout 76 is meant to work via proximity. That is, voice chat is always on if someone is talking, and you hear it if you’re close enough to them. When NathanTheHicc met with AJ and his friends earlier to ask for a Disease Cure item, one of AJ’s friends commented that Nathan’s outfit or character was cute. After an aggressively homophobic remark, Nathan disappeared. He reappeared later with friends, calling themselves “The Gay Eliminators,” to kill AJ.

    Player Vs. Player, or PVP, in the game is also a little strange compared to most games of its ilk. After a certain level, players can opt into PVP using a toggle in the options, but the screen warns that players who opt out can still be killed by other players. If you opt out of PVP, it simply means that an attacker does minimal damage to you, meaning anyone intentionally trying to kill you would have to sit there and try for a while. Presumably, this method is to discourage grouping in big area-of-effect attacks while not letting players be killed if they don’t want to be.

    This did not seem to deter NathanTheHicc, who encircled AJ with his group and proceeded to yell homophobic slurs and insults over the voice chat while doing infinitesimal damage. AJ figured they would eventually just get bored and leave, but they stuck around until AJ’s character was killed, prompting him to change servers.

    Because there is no in-game report function, AJ took to Twitter with a recording of the incident. Bethesda’s Twitter account replied, sending him to a web-based report site, but the site didn’t work. In order to file a report, you need to upload video evidence, which AJ had. The problem is the site didn’t accept any video files.

    “The tweet was forwarded to some community managers for the game and they were very kind and helpful,” AJ told Eurogamer. “We were given a link to report the players but had issues with it. The site asked for a video file of the incident but the accepted file types weren’t video files. So we couldn’t send one. For me, the page would not even load. It seems very difficult to report players.”

    NathanTheHicc also uploaded video of the interaction to his YouTube channel and titled the video “Cleansing of the queers.”

    When Eurogamer contacted Nathan, the apparent high school senior was more or less unrepentant. “My version of the incident is more or less the same as the public has taken it, the only differences being the fact that I don’t hate gay people. It was just a late night of having fun and after the first encounter (seen on my channel) we felt it would be fun to offend them somehow. You can call that evil but I think it’s just playful immaturity. I do not regret the incident. I will not apologize given the opportunity. I don’t plan on doing anything like this in the future but to be fair I didn’t plan the initial incident, I just found them and decided to go through with it.”

    Bethesda initially banned him for three days while they investigated, but decided to up the punishment to a lifetime ban soon after, as well as the other players identified in the video.

    [Source: Eurogamer]

     

    I have a number of thoughts about this but it’s not easy to articulate them. If there are indeed people who think like NathanTheHicc does, that there’s not actually anything wrong with this, then I’m pretty much wordless at the thought of it existing in normal society. A high school senior should know better, yeah, but a person should be able to show more empathy than this. I’m also kind of aghast at how hard it seems to be to report a player in the game. Bethesda did not think a game where voice chat could not be turned off would warrant an in-game reporting system? They didn’t think having the web page tested beforehand would be important? It kind of makes me remember why I play my games without voice chat.

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    Uploaded on: 01 Dec , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    Anyone with an active PlayStation Plus subscription who hasn’t yet downloaded November’s free games is running out of time to get them. All six games for PS4, PS3, and PS Vita will go back to regular price on Tuesday, December 4, when December’s PS Plus games go free.

    On PS4, you can grab Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, a remaster of the PS3-ear shooter from Epic Games. It’s an over-the-top action game that incorporates a deceptively clever skillshot system. In our Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition review, Scott Butterworth wrote, “the experience absolutely holds up: the skillshot system remains wildly fun and inventive, the weapons are still a gruesome joy, and the writing… well, it’s as distinctive as ever.”

    Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9Gallery image 10

    The other PS4 game is Yakuza Kiwami, a remake of the first game in a series that’s been making waves lately with Western audiences. It tells an intriguing story about Japanese gangsters, while also offering a buffet of side missions that range from delightful to absurd. Read our Yakuza Kiwami review for more information.

    The PS3 games on offer in November are the multiplayer game Jackbox Party Pack 2 and the retro arcade-style collection Arkedo Series. And finally, PS Vita owners can pick up the adventure game Burly Men at Sea and a game styled after a B-movie from the ’70s called Roundabout. Both Vita games are playable on PS4.

    Come December 4, these games will go back to regular price and be replace by December’s PS Plus games: Soma and Onrush for PS4, Steredenn and SteinsGate for PS, and Paper’s Please and Iconoclasts for PS Vita.

    Free PS Plus Games For November 2018

    PS4

    PS3

    PS Vita

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    Uploaded on: 30 Nov , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    Before you punch in that code to make yourself instantly drunk in Red Dead Redemption 2, how about taking a moment to reflect on all the other weird, wonderful cheats Rockstar has blessed us with over the years. From flying cars to instant death there have been many. And who can forget the gimps with purple dildos? To honor the developer who’s keeping the old-school tradition alive, here are some of the most outlandish cheat codes we’ve discovered in Rockstar games. 

    Flying Cars – (GTA III, GTA Vice City, GTA San Andreas)

    This one is a classic for a good reason. Like something out of Harry Potter, it enables you to fly… in your car! Apart from being a gas, the flying cars code is extremely useful for getting across the sprawling maps of San Andreas and Liberty City in a hurry. It’s been over a decade since we last saw this cheat, so Rockstar, if you’re listening, we could always use flying horses.   

    GTA III:

    • PlayStation 2: Right, R2, Circle, R1, L2, Down, L1, R1
    • Xbox: Right, Black, B, RT, White, Down, LT, RT
    • PC: CHITTYCHITTYBB (Just type in on keyboard)

    GTA Vice City:

    • PlayStation 2: Right, R2, Circle, R1, L2, Down, L1, R1
    • Xbox: Right, Black, B, RT, White, Down, LT, RT
    • PC: COMEFLYWITHME

    GTA San Andreas:

    • PS2/PS3/PS4: Square, Down, L2, Up, L1, Circle, Up, X, Left
    • Xbox/Xbox 360/Xbox One: X, Down, LB(White), Up, LT, B, Up, A, Left
    • PC: CHITTYCHITTYBANGBANG

    Moon Car Gravity/Moon Gravity – (GTA San Andreas, GTA V)

    In GTA San Andreas if you punch in this cheat, every time you collide with another car that car will float away as if it were as light as a feather. In GTA V this cheat puts everything in a state of perpetual low gravity, meaning even your car will glide frictionless into the ether if you drive up an incline. Either way, both cheats are hilarious and worth checking out, especially if you’re tired of all the neat and orderly driving that characterizes GTA games.

    GTA San Andreas:

    • PS2/PS3/PS4: Square, R2, Down, Down, Left, Down, Left, Left, L2, X
    • Xbox/Xbox 360/Xbox One: X, RB(Black), Down, Down, Left, Down, Left, Left, LB(White), X
    • PC: BUBBLECARS

    GTA V:

    • PS3/PS4: Left, Left, L1, R1, L1, Right, Left, L1, Left
    • Xbox 360/Xbox One: Left, Left, LB, RB, LB, Right, Left, LB, Left
    • PC: FLOATER (For GTA V, cheats must be entered in the game’s console window by first pressing tilde “~” key then entering the code.)

    Always Drunk/Drunk Mode – (RDR/GTA V)

    If you want to see the world go slantways and stumble your way across the Western frontier in Red Dead Redemption, then this is the cheat code for you. Seriously, though, this one isn’t all that fun, considering John Marston can barely make it any direction without tripping like his bootlaces were tied together. The drunk mode in GTA V is a bit more manageable, if you don’t mind hearing sirens every time you drive past a police car.

    RDR:

    • All platforms: I’m drunk as a skunk and twice as smelly (Enter the code into the ‘Cheats’ section in the pause menu.)

    GTA V:

    • PS3/PS4: Triangle, Right, Right, Left, Right, Square, Circle, Left
    • Xbox 360/Xbox One: Y, Right, Right, Left, Right, X, B, Left
    • PC: LIQUOR

    Skyfall – (GTA V)

    Instead of flying cars, in GTA V we were introduced to this little gem. The skyfall code teleports you into the sky, where you then fall to Earth like a shooting star. If you don’t have a parachute, you’re pretty much screwed, though players can survive the impact if they hit the side of a building or a hill first, or just aim for a body of water.

    • PS3/PS4: L1, L2, R1, R2, Left, Right, Left, Right, L1, L2, R1, R2, Left, Right, Left, Right
    • Xbox 360/Xbox One: LB, LT, RB, RT, Left, Right, Left, Right, LB, LT, RB, RT, Left, Right, Left, Right
    • PC: SKYFALL

    Suicide – (GTA Vice City, GTA San Andreas)

    When all hope is lost, or you just want to see what will happen, this cheat code does it exactly what it says it will. Push the buttons in the correct sequence, and Tommy or CJ are spontaneously “wasted.”

    GTA Vice City:

    • PlayStation 2: Right, L2, Down, R1, Left, Left, R1, L1, L2, L1
    • Xbox: White, Down, RT, Left, Left, RT, LT, White, LT
    • PC: CANTTAKEITANYMORE

    GTA San Andreas:

    • PS2/PS3/PS4: Right, L2, Down, R1, Left, Left, R1, L1, L2, L1
    • Xbox/Xbox 360/Xbox One: Right, LB(White), Down, RT, Left, Left, RT, LT, LB(White), LT
    • PC: GOODBYECRUELWORLD

    All Pedestrians Are Elvis – (GTA San Andreas)

    People love the King. If you love the King a whole lot, you can turn every pedestrian in San Andreas into an Elvis impersonator. Why not, right? Long live the King.

    • PS2/PS3/PS4: L1, Circle, Triangle, L1, L1, Square, L2, Up, Down, Left
    • Xbox/Xbox 360/Xbox One: LT, B, Y, LT, LT, X, LB(White), Up, Down, Left
    • PC: BLUESUEDESHOES

    Sex Party Mode – (GTA San Andreas)

    This cheat automatically puts CJ in a gimp suit, and puts a giant, purple dildo in your weapon slot. Plus, a bunch of prostitutes and pimps also wielding dildos will now chase you. Sounds like a good time.

    • PS2/PS3/PS4: Square, Right, Square, Square, L2, X, Triangle, X, Triangle
    • Xbox/Xbox 360/Xbox One: X, Right, X, X, LB(White), A, Y, A, Y
    • PC: BEKKNQV

    Helium Hunters – (Manhunt)

    With this cheat, enemies gain high-pitched voices like they sucked in a mouthful of helium. They also explode like gas-filled zeppelins with one punch. It makes the dark game decidedly more light-hearted. In order to unlock this cheat, like every bonus cheat in Manhunt, you must earn a five-star rating on two consecutive levels, then punch the sequence in at the title screen. To unlock helium hunters, you must earn a five-star rating on scenes seven and eight.

    • PS2/PS3/PS4: R1, R1, Triangle, Circle, Square, L2, L1, Down
    • Xbox: RT, RT, Y, B, X, Black, LT, Down
    • PC: THEYBOOM

    Big Bunny Hop – (GTA San Andreas)

    If you want to leap around Los Santos like you have the explosive jumping ability of the Incredible Hulk, then punch in this cheat and hop on any bicycle in the game. You’ll now be able to bunny hop your way to the tallest skyscrapers in all of San Andreas. There’s also an Easter egg in the game where if you shoot some sniper rounds at the moon, the moon becomes gigantic. Do that and hop your way across the sky to live out your childhood memories of one beloved, little extraterrestrial.   

    • PS2/PS3/PS4: Triangle, Square, Circle, Circle, Square, Circle, Circle, L1, L2, L2, R1, R2
    • Xbox/Xbox 360/Xbox One: Y, X, B, B, X, B, B, LT, LB(White), LB(White), RT, RB(Black)
    • PC: CJPHONEHOME

    Super Punch/Explosive Punch – (GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony/GTA V)

    Punch in the code and watch as your character knocks around cars with ease and sends pedestrians flying with explosive elbows and haymakers. With this cheat every fist packs a potent explosion. In GTA V, every melee weapon also comes with the volatile effect, enabling you to knock pedestrians back 10 feet with the swing of a golf club. Fistfights have never been so unfair.

    GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony:

    • All Platforms: 276-555-2666 (Punch the number into your in-game cellphone to unlock this cheat.)

    GTA V:

    • PS3/PS4: Right, Left, X, Triangle, R1, Circle, Circle, Circle, L2
    • Xbox 360/Xbox One: Right, Left, A, Y, RB, B, B, B, LT
    • PC: HOTHANDS

    Ninja Theme – (GTA San Andreas)

    Want to have a fight to the death with sword-wielding Yakuza thugs? Activate this cheat code and you’ll be given a katana sword and every pedestrian will be turned into a black-shirted gangster who’s armed with a lethal blade. Also, make sure CJ’s been trained in the martial arts move set for a real kung-fu film experience.

    • PS2/PS3/PS4: X, X, Down, R2, L2, Circle, R1, Circle, Square
    • Xbox/Xbox 360/Xbox One: A, A, Down, RB(Black), LB(White), B, RT, B, X
    • PC: NINJATOWN

    Taxis With Nitrous – (GTA San Andreas)

    For players who want to run the fastest taxi service in all of San Andreas, this cheat equips every taxi you step into with a nitrous boost. Activate it and you’ll be dropping off passengers like something out of 2 Fast 2 Furious.  

    • PS2/PS3/PS4: Up, X, Triangle, X, Triangle, X, Square, R2, Right
    • Xbox/Xbox 360/Xbox One: Up, A, Y, A, Y, A, X, RB(Black), Right
    • PC: VKYPQCF

    So, ends our list of wild and wacky cheats. Let us know your favorite in the comments section. And for more from us on your favorite button-mashing exploits, check out this article for some of Red Dead Redemption 2’s codes, or this opinion piece on why cheat codes should be brought back to the industry.

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    Uploaded on: 29 Nov , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    Niantic kicked off the first-ever Pokemon Go Community Day this past January, and since then, the developer has hosted a new one every month in 2018. These special events give players a chance to head outdoors and earn bonuses, capture rare Pokemon, and even learn event-exclusive moves that they wouldn’t typically be able to get. For the final Community Day of the year, however, the developer is doing something a little different.

    Rather than holding December’s Community Day on a single day, as it has for most previous events, Niantic is closing out the year with a big Community Day weekend celebration. The event kicks off this Friday, November 30, and runs through Sunday, December 2, during which time you’ll have another chance to get some previously featured Pokemon and special attacks. To help you prepare, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about December 2018’s Community Day below.

    What Is The Featured Pokemon?

    Every Community Day, Niantic designates one particular Pokemon as that month’s featured monster, which means that for the duration of the event it will appear in the wild much more frequently than it normally does. While each previous Community Day has only starred one featured Pokemon, Niantic is bringing all of them back at the same time for December’s. Throughout the entire weekend, you’ll be able to find increased spawns of Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Dratini, Beldum, and all of the other featured Pokemon from previous Community Days.

    Moreover, this weekend’s event will give you another opportunity to learn all of the special moves that were available during previous Community Days. These attacks normally cannot be learned in Pokemon Go any other way, making them particularly desirable; for instance, during January’s Community Day, players could get a Pikachu that knows Surf. In order to learn these special attacks, you typically need to evolve a featured Pokemon into its final form before the Community Day ends. You can read more about all of the previous Community Day moves and how to get them in the guides below.

    What Time Does It Start?

    While Community Days typically only run for three hours and have varying schedules depending on your region, December’s event will be available throughout the entire weekend. The festivities begin at 1 PM PT / 4 PM ET on November 30 and conclude at 11 PM PT on December 2 (2 AM ET on December 3). You’ll have that entire window of time to catch the aforementioned featured Pokemon and obtain their event-exclusive moves.

    What Other Bonuses Are There?

    On top of increased Pokemon spawns, Niantic also offers other in-game bonuses during every Community Day. December’s event is no exception. However, unlike the featured Pokemon spawns, which will be available throughout the entire weekend, you’ll only be able to take advantage of the other Community Day bonuses during a specific three-hour window of time.

    The date and time these bonuses will be available will vary depending on what part of the world you live in; you can find the schedule for each region below. However, the bonuses themselves will be consistent across regions. This time, you’ll be able to earn double the normal amount of XP and Stardust for capturing Pokemon. Niantic is also doubling Incubator effectiveness during the designated times, allowing you to hatch Pokemon Eggs more easily.

    Europe, Middle East, Africa, India

    • Saturday, December 1
    • 10 AM – 1 PM UTC

    Americas, Greenland

    • Saturday, December 1
    • 11 AM – 2 PM PST

    Asia-Pacific

    • Sunday, December 2
    • 12 PM – 3 PM JST

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    Uploaded on: 28 Nov , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    Minecraft: Story Mode is available now on Netflix. The episodic adventure game from Telltale Games originally released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android in 2015, with later releases on Switch, Wii U, and Apple TV.

    Despite Netflix being a service dedicated to streaming video, the title still retains choice-driven elements. Depending on which device you’re playing it on, the controls for the Netflix version change slightly. If you’re on a computer, you use the mouse cursor to select an option when choices pop up, while devices with touchscreens have you tap on your choice. Meanwhile, if you play on consoles, you use the d-pad to highlight an option and a face button to select it. You can still select if you want the main character, Jesse, to be male or female, though it appears that you no longer choose skin tone.

    Minecraft: Story Mode features a high-profile voice cast including Patton Oswalt, Catherine Taber, Ashley Johnson, Brian Posehn, Dee Bradley Baker, Matthew Mercer, Paul Reubens, Scott Porter, and Corey Feldman. In addition, veteran voice actor Billy West narrates much of the adventure. The first season was originally planned to run for five episodes before it was announced that the season was being expanded to eight episodes. Interestingly, it appears as though Netflix is only including the first five episodes of the original eight-episode run in its version of the season.

    Earlier this year, the developer of Minecraft: Story Mode laid off the vast majority of its staff, leaving the future of all its licensed series in doubt. The news came in the middle of its final season of its popular franchise based on The Walking Dead IP. The development of The Walking Dead’s final season will be finished by Skybound Games. In addition to The Walking Dead and Minecraft, Telltale developed narrative-driven episodic titles using licenses like Batman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Borderlands, and more. There’s no word on if Minecraft: Story Mode is the first of many previously released Telltale series to make their way to Netflix, or if this will be a one-off experiment for the now-defunct developer.

    Despite the fact the series concluded in 2016, the episodes are still seeing a staggered release on Netflix, but not nearly as spaced out as the original release. The first three episodes are available now, with the “final” two arriving on December 5. To learn more about what to expect, check out my review of the first episode here.

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    Uploaded on: 27 Nov , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    Those hunting for a cheap copy of Red Dead Redemption 2 are possibly in luck, now that Cyber Monday 2018 is here. We’ve gathered all the most rootin’, tootin’ deals available today (November 26) on the biggest cowboy game available now on PS4 and Xbox One. Read on for all the sales, but don’t expect much in the way of discounts on the base game ahead of Red Dead Online’s release.

    While we saw some RDR 2 deals pop up here and there on Black Friday, things have calmed down considerably by Cyber Monday. Most retailers have gone back to selling the standard edition of Red Dead Redemption 2 for its regular retail price of $60. But that doesn’t mean there are no discounts to be had on the game.

    In terms of the standard edition, Xbox One owners can pick it up for $54.56 from Amazon. That’s not a big discount, but it’s the only one there is at the moment and it is slightly cheaper than it was earlier today. If you’re interested in the Special or Ultimate editions of the game, you can save some additional cash. The Special edition comes with a physical world map, plus a bonus bank robbery mission and some in-game items like weapons and outfits; you can get a digital PS4 version for $72 (regularly $80).

    The Ultimate edition comes with all of that, plus access to the Red Dead Online beta tomorrow (November 27), as well as additional content usable in Red Dead Online. It normally costs $100, but you can get it for $90 on PS4 and Xbox One.

    And anyone looking to upgrade to a PS4 Pro can get a bundle containing Red Dead Redemption 2 for its usual price of $400. However, if you buy it at GameStop today, they’ll throw in a $50 GameStop gift card.

    While none of those deals really blows the roof off, they’re all the Red Dead Redemption 2 discounts you’ll find on Cyber Monday 2018. We’ll add any new deals to the list below if and when they appear. In the meantime, you can read or watch our Red Dead Redemption 2 review and check out these RDR2 tips you need to know.

    PS4

    Red Dead Redemption 2 Special Edition

    Red Dead Redemption 2 Ultimate Edition

    Xbox One

    Red Dead Redemption 2

    Red Dead Redemption 2 Ultimate Edition

    Console Bundles

    PS4 Pro 1TB with RDR2

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    Uploaded on: 26 Nov , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    Fans’ insatiable appetite for news on their favorite games has created a market that Photoshop-skilled fakers are exploiting. For every verifiable leak, there are dozens of hoaxes spreading false information. Sometimes they are revealed quickly by their creators and their motivations are relatively benign. There are others who want their constructions to fool viewers, and they bask in the glory of tricking the unsuspecting. While most are easy to spot, these are the leaks that went the extra mile to try to fool us.

    The Grinch Leak (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate)

    The recently discredited “Grinch Leak” made its first appearance in a Snapchat video on October 24. It appeared to reveal artwork with the entire roster of fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Seven characters were supposedly unveiled, including Shadow the Hedgehog, Banjo-Kazooie, and Ken from Street Fighter.

    The characters where just believable enough that the debate quickly split viewers into two opposing teams: those who trusted the rumor, and those who denounced it. “Team real” pointed to a promotional image of The Grinch movie in the background, which gave the rumor its name as proof of the leak’s veracity. The image seemed to corroborate the leaker worked in advertising, and so would have access to privileged information. The skeptics were ultimately victorious when, during the Nintendo Direct on November 1, Incineroar was revealed as the last unique character in the base game, with Ken from Street Fighter introduced as an echo fighter.

    Spring Man (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate)

    Super Smash Bros. attracts a dedicated fake leak crowd. It is a long-running series that reuses a lot of stages and characters – making it easy to get a hold of plausible artwork – and fans spend years speculating wildly about the game’s characters. Which is why an anonymous post got so much attention on 4Chan back in April. It had several screen shots and a short video that allegedly exposed unannounced characters coming to Nintendo’s fighting game.

    Unlike many easy-to-dismiss fakes, these pictures were presented in resolution and included mundane unconfirmed – but anticipated – elements. The leak played on people’s expectations that the Ice Climbers, who haven’t been in Smash Bros. since Brawl, might return; that this generation Mario would have Cappy from Super Mario Odyssey; and that Nintendo would introduce a character from their new IP, Arms. Even though wary fans seemed to take these images with a grain of salt, they were so well done, few were willing to confidently denounce them.

    Nintendo E3 2018 Schedule

    E3 is like Christmas for gamers and leakers alike. The frenzy of excitement surrounding the tightly guarded presentations creates a perfect environment for leaks to go viral. This year, it was especially easy to pass off fake information due to the unusually high number of real leaks. For instance, Walmart Canada’s online store accidentally went live too soon and, though it was hurriedly taken down, screenshots made the rounds. Though it was riddled with questionable content, the online inventory nonetheless garnered intense attention because it appeared to show games from almost every major E3 presenter. When, in the aftermath, Bethesda hurriedly announced Rage 2 – one of the most out of the blue games on Walmart’s list – they inadvertently confirmed legitimacy on the entire leak.  

    Taking advantage of the hectic atmosphere, a list popped up that purported to detail Nintendo’s full presentation and Treehouse schedule. The list went viral and got plastered in every corner of the internet. It promised gameplay footage of several anticipated titles like the new Metroid and the rumored Star Fox racing game. The schedule, however, didn’t stand up to scrutiny. The formatting was inconsistent throughout the document, some of the game titles – like Yoshi’s Flipping Island – were too bizarre, even for Nintendo, and the page was peppered with typos. But again, because the Walmart list had many of the same problems, this leak couldn’t be entirely debunked until after Nintendo’s E3 video presentation.

    Multiple Sony E3 Presentation Schedules Leak

    At the same time the fake Nintendo itinerary was making the rounds, several people wanted us to believe they had gotten their hands on the Sony conference schedule. It is surprising how many people believed the information despite there being two dissimilar Sony documents, but the E3 hype was at a crescendo.

    Like many other rumors on this list, these leaks were able to gain momentum because they played on fans’ wishes and built a valid foundation with already confirmed information. The documents promised long desired announcements from PS4 backward compatibility to Bloodborne 2. Sony quashed the rumors quickly when they broke from tradition and openly announced they would only be focusing on four Sony exclusives during the conference: Death Stranding, The Last of Us: Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, and Spider-Man.

    Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch

    Fans have been desperately waiting for a new Animal Crossing, so leaks regarding the game were popular this year. Once again, the hoax debuted on 4Chan and it showed a title screen of Animal Crossing: Globetrotter alongside a second image of a character.

    This leak and others like it prompted an unusual PSA from Tristan Cooper, editing manager at Dorkly. He presented his own fake leak that began believably, and then over a series of screenshot unmasked itself as a Photoshopped fiction. He made it as a humorous warning urging people not believe unverified internet leaks. One fake screenshot even points out that an earlier picture had inserted pictures of Shrek in the background. The responses to his piece demonstrate how easily some had been fooled. While some appreciated the joke, others vehemently resented being tricked.

    Borderlands 3 Footage

    A post on reddit from ShineRise1 back in March claimed that, after six years of waiting, the next Borderlands was coming out within the year. A slew of speculation followed in the announcement’s wake. True to form for a fake leak, the camera work and resolution left a lot to be desired. A shaky video of planets ended in a single screenshot that showcased a completely made-up logo and protagonist standing in the rain. In the post, ShineRise1 describes the game’s progression from linear to open world gameplay and also indicated the game had a September release date.

    It wasn’t a secret that Borderlands 3 was in development at the time, a developer’s recent Twitter post that he was working on the “next Borderlands” supported the leak’s plausibility. The hoax unraveled when someone superimposed the image of the “new protagonist” on top of an image of a character in a Dark Soul II’s trailer. The mask and rain in the background matched exactly, proving that the leaker had simply cropped an image.

    The Survivor 2299 Website

    When a much-loved franchise is left alone for too long, fans begin to get antsy and leakers smell opportunity. This was the case back in 2013 when an enigmatic website with the URL thesurvivor2299.com, seemed to promise the official reveal of Fallout 4.

    This leaker went all-out in the attempt, as he later explained, to force Bethesda into sharing real details about their plans for the game. The website hosted a countdown clock that ended on December 11, the same day as the VGX awards, which could have made a great venue for a big announcement. That ZeniMax Media, Bethesda’s parent company, owned the domain, added fuel to the fire. The site had secret messages that referenced game characters, it had cryptic codes that sent fans on wild goose chases – it even featured some Morse code for good measure. To everyone’s chagrin, the hoaxer came clean and Fallout 4 wouldn’t come out for another 2 years.

    Nintendo Switch 5.0 Update

    In January, a video emerged claiming to demonstrate firmware update 5.0 for the Nintendo Switch. The video presented a YouTube app coming to the Switch which excited many people because fans’ have been asking for YouTube on their Switch since the console launched. A few short days later, the leaker proudly took credit for his handiwork with a brief apology and a hope that Nintendo would take notice.

    The power of this leak is that, even after being revealed as a hoax, everyone still wanted it to be true. Many outlets covering the story touched on this sentiment and suggested that Nintendo might be wise to consider the fan reaction. It may have taken the better half of a year, but Nintendo did introduce the long-awaited YouTube app earlier this month.

    Game Informer Superman Cover

    Many of the leaks on this list pretend their fake information came from an official source to seem more legitimate. Back in the end of May, that’s just what happened when Game Informer got dragged into a hoax. A 4Chan poster falsely insisted that they had early access to our cover, which would break the news of Rocksteady’s upcoming Superman title.

    The claim wasn’t outrageous, because Rocksteady was already closely tied to the superhero genre. The studio made the Batman: Arkham games into one of the most successful superhero video game franchises of all time. Though the claim might have seemed plausible at face value, anyone would have been able to see that almost the exact same debunked story made the rounds back in November 2017. The whispers became more frenzied after Twitter post from Andrew Reiner didn’t deny the rumor. Game informer’s real July cover released soon after – with Anthem on the on the cover rather than the man of steel – and the jig was up.

    NX controller

    Nothing gets fans’ imaginations going like the announcement of a new game system followed by years of silence. Back when the Nintendo Switch was still cloaked under working title project NX, people couldn’t keep from speculating about the impending Nintendo console. Enter the two-part hoax of the NX controller.

    Multiple pictures from different leakers surfaced of an unusual looking controller with two joysticks on opposing ends of an elongated disk that seemed to replicate an earlier hardware patent. One poster, Idriss2Dev on Reddit, even showed the supposed controller alongside a sticky note that referenced a quote from the Wii’s reveal.  The internet tore the images apart looking for clues and under the pressure, David Louis-Marie revealed his hoax that he put together with a 3D printer and Photoshop. Soon after, the second poster, Frank Sandqvist, stepped forward and explained his motivation for carrying on the hoax. He was interested to see how easily he could recreate the leak just for laughs but then regretted getting peoples’ hopes up. 

    Rayman (Super Smash Bros. for Wii U)

    This is the example par excellence of a fake leak that had everyone going. The video showed a Super Smash Bros. menu depicting Rayman as one of the fighters. The internet went crazy with the footage, and Omni Jacala came forward himself after only a few days.

    We spoke with him back when the story first broke to understand what motivated him and other leakers to do what they did. In an interview with Kyle Hilliard, Omni explained that he was just a fan that wanted to display his artistic skills and love of the game. He said that he didn’t mean any harm and didn’t really think of the consequences. He created a video educating people on how he made the fake, and he now uses his YouTube Channel to analyze other questionable leak videos, many of which have appeared on this list.

    As technology gets better, fake leaks will become harder to spot. So, no matter how much you want to believe that screenshot of your favorite character in Super Smash Bros. or that footage claiming the game you’ve been waiting for forever is just around the corner, take every leak with a grain of salt. Or don’t. We can make another list next year. 

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    Uploaded on: 25 Nov , 2018 Uploader: koragame Comments: 0

    Your one-stop game shop this Black Friday?

    We’re now past Black Friday 2018 but deals on video games can still be had just about everywhere, including Target, Walmart, and Best Buy, as well as digital stores like PSN, Xbox Live, and the Switch Eshop. Alongside what you’ll find them, specialized games retailer GameStop has some terrific sales to consider as you do your shopping. And if you looked at its ad when it first launched, you may not be aware more games have been added, both on the digital side and at least one big-name physical one: Fallout 76.

    The deals on the slides ahead are all for new products, but we’re talking about GameStop here, so let’s quickly see what deals it has in store for its pre-owned inventory. There are plenty of great games in used condition for under $10, including: Batman: Arkham Knight ($7), Fallout 4 on Xbox One ($9), Final Fantasy XV on PS4 ($8), Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain on PS4 ($7), Titanfall 2 ($7), and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End ($7).

    Members of GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards program that purchase any item between Nov. 22 and Nov. 25 will also be treated to a buy-two-get-one-free coupon that goes live on Dec. 3. If you get one, act fast: it only lasts until Dec. 9.

    If, however, you are looking for slightly older used games, you can take advantage of a similar deal between Nov. 22 and Nov. 25. During that time, all pre-owned Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, DS, Wii U, and Vita games will qualify for a buy-two-get-one deal.

    And lastly, a deal that no other retailer is close to matching: GameStop will mail a rebate in the form of a $70 pre-paid Visa card to anyone who purchases a used 4GB Xbox 360 Slim console from a retail GameStop location on Nov. 22 or