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.
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.
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.
There were also some interesting tidbits about games that have already released.
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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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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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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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.
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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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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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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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 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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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.
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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.”
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.
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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.
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 Vice City:
GTA San Andreas:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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
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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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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.
Red Dead Redemption 2 Special Edition
Red Dead Redemption 2 Ultimate Edition
Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 Ultimate Edition
PS4 Pro 1TB with RDR2
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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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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 23, completely covering the sales price. This practically-free Xbox 360 deal is only good while supplies last!
If you’re in the market for a new console and don’t feel that you need the added power of a PlayStation 4 Pro or an Xbox One X, GameStop has a good deal for interested PS4 Slim and Xbox One shoppers.
One of the best-received games this year was Marvel’s Spider-Man. It’s also exclusive to Sony’s console, and is part of GameStop’s $200 PlayStation 4 Slim bundle on Black Friday.
If you’re after an Xbox One, you can pick up the S model with a copy of Minecraft, also for $200.
Buy at GameStop: PS4, Xbox One
This deal is pretty straightforward, but be sure to read the fine print! For everyone who purchases an Xbox One, PS4, or Switch during Black Friday, except for the bundles on the previous slide, they will receive a $50 GameStop gift card that can be applied to future purchases.
Buy at GameStop: PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Virtual-reality gaming is still a budding market, but if you’re ready to take the plunge and are considering the PlayStation VR lineup, Black Friday may be the best time to pick up a PSVR headset. GameStop will be discounting $100 off of every new PSVR headset purchase, including the bundle with Superhot VR, Creed: Rise To Glory, and two PS Move controllers (down to $250).
Buy at GameStop: PSVR Headsets
Controllers are a fact of console-gaming life, and they just seem to get more and more expensive with each passing generation. So when you get the chance to pick up the DualShock 4 you’ve needed for a while for only $39, you get your butt out there and you buy that fancy controller!
Buy at GameStop: DualShock 4 Controllers
The discount on DualShock controllers is nice and easy–it applies to every DualShock 4–but if you need a new Xbox One controller, your color-scheme preference will determine how much of a discount you get. The basic black and white models are being sold for $40 (down from $60), while specialized versions can be had for $10-$15 off the standard asking price.
Buy at GameStop: Only available in-store
Call of Duty is a hot commodity every year. Some people come for the single-player campaign, but Black Ops 4 is a purely multiplayer experience. In place of the over-the-top story mode–and adjacent to the traditional PvP and Zombies multiplayer modes–a new battle royale competition has been introduced. It’s not surprising to see that happen, but it is reassuring to see how smoothly Call of Duty’s tried-and-true DNA translated to the new style of play. At $38, GameStop will be the cheapest place to buy the game when it goes on sale this Black Friday–you’ll just have to buy it at a physical retail location to get the discount.
Buy at GameStop: PS4, Xbox One
Well, at this point, it looks like GameStop will be the only store selling Fallout 76 at a discount–and a hefty one at that. The game just came out, but you can already buy it later this week for only $40–$20 off retail. And if you’re after the Tricentennial Edition, that is also discounted by $20, down to $60.
Buy at GameStop: Fallout 76
27 is an oddly specific number, but throw a dollar sign in front of it and that’s what you can expect to see on the price tag of some of this year’s biggest sports titles at GameStop during Black Friday. FIFA 19, Madden 19, NBA 2K19, and WWE 2K19 will all be on sale for $27 while supplies last.
Buy at GameStop: EA Sports games, 2K Sports games
There’s never been a game quite like Horizon Zero Dawn, and to be able to pick it up with all of its DLC for only $10 is an awesome opportunity. With robotic dinosaurs and other types of monstrous creatures roaming a world on the verge of post-apocalyptic recovery, you have little more than primitive weapons, quick wits, and modest acrobatics with which to fight back. The odds will feel stacked against you, but that only makes victory over the vicious alloy beasts all the sweeter. If you were swept up with anticipation for Breath of the Wild and somehow missed Horizon Zero Dawn back then, consider giving it a shot now that its being sold at such a ridiculously low price.
Buy at GameStop: Horizon: Zero Dawn
While we’re recommending PlayStation 4 exclusives on sale at GameStop this Black Friday, this year’s excellent God of War reboot will be marked down to $17–another doorbuster deal worth considering. Santa Monica Studios took an aging series and revitalized it with a fresh spin on the lead character Kratos, and a new setting and set of gods to contend with. Beyond being a solid reboot, however, it’s simply a remarkable game in general. The action is hard-hitting, sights from picturesque to grotesque are rendered in great detail, and the relationship between a father and son that forms the backbone of the moment-to-moment narrative successfully draws you into the plight that lies ahead of our heroes.
Buy at GameStop: Only available in stores
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Darlene and Stella got shifted into two different security lines on the way into the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival, prompting the fourteen-year-old Stella to call out “I’ll see you on the other side, mom!” to the parallel line. The two were excited to attend an annual meeting of Final Fantasy XIV players and fans in Las Vegas, but found themselves waylaid by security at the ten-yard line. Stella emptied her pockets into a bin while her mother patiently waited in front of the metal detector, chatting with me.
“She has a wallet chain,” Darlene told me in a noticeable Canadian accent. “I told her it would set off the alarm, but she didn’t listen.” Darlene was decked out in a black robe split with red splashes, which she informed me was the Diabolic Healing Set, the clothes her character wears in the game when she plays. Speaking with all the force of a proud parent, she described the Ninja set that her daughter wears when they go on quests together. “I tried to convince her to wear it here, but you know teenagers,” Darlene told me as Stella slowly approached behind her, mortified at the subject of conversation.
Darlene and Stella had been involved with Final Fantasy XIV since it originally launched in 2010, when the now-punk rock teen was still a small child. She sat on either her mother or stepfather’s lap as they played the game and watched them explore the vast Eorzean plains while they explained the intricacies of the game to her. Final Fantasy XIV was such a core part of their household that, when the game relaunched as A Realm Reborn in 2013 on a date happened to coincide with the same week as Darlene’s birthday, the family held a party celebrating both.
“Those were good…important, I guess, memories to me,” Stella said as her mother placed a hand on her shoulder and gripped it.
Soon after the game’s relaunch, Darlene’s husband passed away from a heart attack. It was sudden and Darlene described the feeling of returning home and seeing her husband’s computer still on as “watching someone pop out of existence and only his clothes are left.” They eventually shut the computer down and threw a blanket over the desk to stop thinking about it, presuming that out of sight meant out of mind. For her, it mostly worked, and she had much more on her mind than the computer desk sitting in the corner of the room.
“That’s why I was surprised when the little one over here crawled into my lap when I was watching TV and asked when we were going to play again,” Darlene says, fighting to get out the words. “She didn’t say ‘oh mom, let’s remember dad this way’ or anything like that. I think that’s what she meant, but she just said we should start playing again.”
While this was their first fan festival, the two have been playing the game almost nightly for nearly three years. Using the wall behind us, Stella described their setup as two monitors with two separate computers at a large table in the living room, so they could be next to each other as they played together.
“I asked her for a PlayStation 4 one year and she got really quiet,” Stella explains. “A few days later, she texts me saying she’ll buy one, but I can’t play [Final Fantasy] XIV on it in my room. I said okay, that’s fine, and didn’t think anything else about it. Then later I talk to my grandma who tells me mom called her crying that I might stop playing the game in the same room with her and she had to talk her down.”
Darlene smiled. “Yeah, that happened.”
For the most part, finding stories about Final Fantasy XIV at a fan festival is easy. It’s an already bought-in audience, people who came to Las Vegas to immerse themselves in the community they already enjoy and talk about why they enjoy it. While riding the elevator, I met a group of people all wearing the same custom-made powder blue t-shirt. The group, which was a diverse set of people in terms of ages, gender, and ethnicities, and all a part of the same static (a consistent group that plays together) and have known each other online for years. Fan Fests are their time to cut loose with people they have been talking to forever.
“I started playing the game with this guy around 2013,” streamer Michael ‘Ethys’ Asher said pointing to a friend next to him, “and it kind of changed the trajectory of our lives. Like a lot of MMORPGs out there but I think more so than most other MMORPGs on the market, Final Fantasy XIV facilitates the creation and consolidation of these fruitful relationships.”
The friend Ethys pointed to is another streamer that goes by the name Healme Harry, who pointed out to me that the community in the game is unique. “It’s an extremely diverse community,” Harry explained. “There’s a really, really strong LBGT community within Final Fantasy that most games don’t have. It creates a real space of safety for a lot of people. There’s so many communities in Final Fantasy XIV that create safe spaces for people – I believe there’s linkshells and free companies for women specifically, for LBGT people, for trans people specifically, as well. There’s a lot of really diverse communities within the game.”
It’s certainly no exaggeration to say the FFXIV community is inclusive. In a room marked for Gaming, dozens of PCs were lined up to play a new event ahead of time with a line stretching up and down the ballroom. Walking around the room were strangers who just had the good fortune of being next to each other happily discussing the game, gathering recommendations on where to eat, and enjoying each other’s company. As one person in the back of the line described it, “We’re all friends here, even if we haven’t met yet.”
At a table in the cafeteria, I asked a group why they played Final Fantasy XIV. One user, who goes by the in-game name Fieren, talked about how he got hooked during a trial and met so many wonderful people that he kept playing for the last two years. Another player going by Zash mentioned that he watched his friends play and joined in to spend quality time with his friends, who were also sitting at the table. As each person went around and listed their reasons, the last to speak up was a woman who goes by the name Serianna in the game.
“I started dating him,” she said, pointing to Zash. The two are now engaged to be married, though Zash admits he has had to make the hard sell for FFXIV over World of Warcraft. The table joked that, since Zash is paying for Serianna’s account, she has to play the way he tells her. After noting the awkwardness on my face, they quickly explained that this is a joke within the game and is not as weird as it sounds out of that context.
When I asked the group about the community’s relationship with Naoki Yoshida, the producer of Final Fantasy XIV affectionately known as Yoshi-P, everyone erupted in excitement. Yoshida was brought in when the original game failed at the market and he pioneered the entire A Realm Reborn relaunch. During the keynote address, Yoshida had the crowd eating out of his hand with jokes and news being delivered with a level of showmanship you usually don’t see. With that degree of push, however, also comes very important pull. When mentioning the server outages that the game suffered alongside the latest expansion, Yoshida bowed his head to the floor and sincerely apologized. The crowd was quick to forgive him.
“Yoshida’s very in touch with the fans,” a person with the in-game name of Drai explained. “The live letters, the letters from the producer, people tune into these streams, people send questions on the official forums; he’s very much a beloved, revered figure in the community and people trust him. He shows up in-game in a server and people flood to him so hard that they lag him down. All they’re doing is emoting toward him, they’re trying to trade him stuff so he can’t leave.”
I met Yoshida at a Blackjack table in the hotel’s casino. After days and days of fans approaching him, shaking his hand, telling him what they loved about the game, and a few definitely telling him what they didn’t love about it, he seemed more than happy to talk to a person he thought was another fan. Like me, Yoshida had been spending time during the convention listening to people’s stories, finding out how people play his game, and what he can do to make that experience a little bit better. It’s easy to believe the hype when the frontman is that personable.
I told Yoshida about some friends of mine that play the game named Kim and Gerry. As the dealer got impatient with our slowness, I explained to Yoshida in simple and slow English that these friends fell in love through the game and got engaged just down the street last year. Yoshida kind of laughed and I wasn’t entirely sure if he understood me, but I think he got the gist of it. “Stories are very powerful,” he replied before shaking my hand as I rushed to make my flight.
Toward the end of the festival, I sat down with a woman named Anya. A mother of two, Anya’s entire family plays the game together. She brought her kids with her so that they could celebrate the game together and was more than happy to explain how important Final Fantasy XIV was to them. Her youngest son, Collin, was happy to tell me about the friends he made playing the game and how he feels like he’s there with them when hearing the friends recount their tales. The daughter, Celes (who was named after the Final Fantasy VI heroine), was quick to answer “All the time!” when I asked them if the game ever comes up outside the context of actually playing it.
“Absolutely,” Anya said. “When new patches come out, I send them to bed early so we can get up early in the morning to check out the new stuff. When the last patch came out, my son and I were up early doing fights before he had to go to school. We were up at 4:00 in the morning running new content before he had to go to school for the day.”
The modern idea of a video game being a family endeavor rather than just a one-hour activity with a game like Mario Kart still feels like an alien concept to me, but Anya managed to break it down in simpler terms. Playing Final Fantasy XIV isn’t just about being in the same space for her and her family, it’s about raising her children to understand the world in a less abstract sense.
“It’s been good as far as dealing with drama and conflict, actually,” she said. “As with any kind of social interaction or family unit, and we kind of think of our free company as a family, and sometimes you do have conflict. When you have a group of people together, you also often have conflicting personality. There’s been times where you have people that don’t get along, so it’s important to have to deal with those situations. Or you get into a dungeon and you have someone that’s not being very nice or you’re dealing with toxic situations, learning how to manage is good to teach them.”
Her son nodded along while she talked. Whatever lesson it is she wanted to teach him, it most certainly got through.
As someone who does not play Final Fantasy XIV but owns an account I’ve been sitting on, I went into the Fan Fest trying to understand what it is that draws people to this game specifically over any of the other MMORPG, or even non-MMORPG, options out there. I’m still not sure, but that’s not for a lack of reasons given to me. I’m not sure because it sounds like it’s something you gain through the act of playing the game and meeting people and going on adventures yourself, or bringing the people important in your life into the fantasy world with you. It’s about the right community at the right time, which isn’t something you can put as a bullet point on the back of a box. Or, as someone once told me, it’s about stories being very powerful.
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Pokemon Go developer Niantic has shared the first details on the game’s next Community Day, but this one will be a little different from previous events. Rather than taking place on a single day, as most Community Days have, the next event will run for an entire weekend and give players another chance to capture all of the previously featured Pokemon.
The special Community Day weekend kicks off Friday, November 30, at 1 PM PT / 4 PM ET and runs until 11 PM PT on December 2 (2 AM ET on December 3). During this time, Pikachu, Eevee, Dratini, Beldum, and all of the other Pokemon that were featured during a previous Community Day will reappear in greater numbers. Likewise, you’ll have another opportunity to learn the special event-exclusive moves that were available during past Community Days.
On top of bringing back all of the previous featured Pokemon, Niantic is offering a handful of in-game bonuses during the Community Day weekend. As with a typical event, these will only be available during a three hour window of time, which will vary by region. This time, the bonuses include double the normal amount of XP and Stardust for capturing Pokemon, as well as double Incubator effectiveness. You can see when these will be live in each region below.
Niantic hosted the first Community Day back in January, and since then, the developer has held a new event for the game each month. Unlike other real-world Pokemon Go events, these typically only run for three hours, during which time you can find increased spawns of that month’s featured Pokemon. You can also learn a special event-exclusive move if you meet a certain criteria before the event ends. You can check out our guides for all of the previous Community Day events below for more details on how to get these moves.
In addition to the upcoming Community Day, a new Legendary Pokemon is now available in Go. Cresselia, the Legendary Psychic-type introduced in the Gen 4 games Diamond and Pearl, will appear in Raid Battles until December 18. Niantic also recently rolled out a Special Research questline that revolves around the new Mythical Pokemon Meltan.
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Valve’s new card game Artifact launches on November 28, just in time for you to soak in the complexity after a bout with some serious Thanksgiving feasting. We’ve taken a look at one of the best formats in the game – draft – and picked a few cards you won’t want to miss.
The drafting format is interesting – 2 cards at a time, 5 packs, limited to picking one hero per pack. While picking out the high power rare heroes from Dota 2 is often the easy part, there are a number of cards you may pass over on first glance. Here are some of my favorites from each of the four colors (and the item pool) that you don’t want to ignore.
Bronze Legionnaire – The reason this unit is great is because of the armor. Bronze Lego can slice down standard creeps, other units, and even heroes sometimes without even getting a scratch. Best utilizied as an early game drop that can keep hard harassment on the opponent until the bitter end. Even if your opponent does deal with it, you’ve probably gotten the better end of the trade in terms of resources.
Stonehall Elite – This is basically a bigger, meaner version of the Lego. Not only does it shred through enemy creeps, it grows with each kill, making it a huge threat to the enemy tower after the blockers run out. Also extremely dangerous next to enemy heroes should its eyes wander (via the arrow targeting system) when it lacks something to slaughter. You want as many of these as possible!
Keenfolk Golem – Yes, the other two big red creatures are awesome, the Ogre Conscript and Marrowfell Brawler, but this guy is the one to talk about because it can seem terrible at first glance – it costs you your hand! In practice, this can be quite negligible, but it may require a bit of finesse on your part. Whether it’s a desperation play to save a lane and win you the game or just a power toss into the third lane (dumping your hand in lanes one and two to ignore the disadvantage), or perhaps just well set up to take advantage of the huge freaking golem. Keenfolk Golem is also incredibly useful as a surprise finisher – tossing your hand won’t mean much if it’s the final play of the game.
Red has plenty of other major power cards like Time of Triumph, but they’re more obvious and easy to spot. Red sports a number of amazing heroes with Axe, Legion Commander, and one of the better “free” heroes that you can place into any deck if you don’t manage to draft any other red heroes, so going red is a very nice place to start, especially for beginners, as your heroes can outbrawl most opposition without too many tricks or spells.
Mist of Avernus – You can play this on the first turn and see immediate, powerful effects, and they keep happening for the entire game, unless your opponent has a way to remove improvements. Your opponent will have to either play into the lane hard or abandon it, either way you’re going to gain more control of the board. This is easily one of the strongest cards in the game and should push you into green early if you get one or even crazier, two or three.
Unearthed Secrets – Drawing more cards is great, and you can get this permanent effect going on the first turn of the game. While a couple cards may not make a big difference, this can draw you an absurd amount of cards of over the course of a game, for an incredibly minor investment.
Emissary of the Quorum – This is one of the few cards in Artifact that, if it goes unanswered, can just straight up win you the game. While Emissary comes with impressive stats, the ability is the real killer, as it can buff your lane every single turn with powerful permanent boosts. It won’t take long to destroy a lane’s tower (or even an ancient) with this thing on the board.
Green also boasts many other obvious cards that should catch your eye, like some of the biggest critters in the game with Thunderhide Pack and Thunderhide Alpha. There’s also Cheating Death which is silly and lets you break the rules, letting your heroes and creeps survive after death – sometimes. Green also has a lot of great heroes for draft like Lycan, Drow, Magnus, and more – even their subpar heroes are pretty good like Enchantress or Treant.
Iron Fog Goldmine – Get as many of these as possible and pick them early. Stack up gold, buy insane items from the secret shop, golden tickets, or stuff you can draft like Helm of the Dominator. This is a staple black card and the more you can get ticking on turn one the better.
Slay – If you’re just coming to the game, killing a creep may not seem that great. That may be true for the standard melee creeps that come trundling out each turn, but Thunderhides, Ogres, and giant golems all count as creeps too. If you hold on to your Slays to take out big 7+ mana targets, you will be gaining a nice advantage on those turns. Alternatively, you can use them at opportune moments to gain crucial tower hits or save your fragile heroes from death.
Steam Cannon – Possibly black’s best card, being able to shoot an armor-piercing ball into any lane every turn is an absurdly powerful effect. Put this puppy down in lane one and then use it to shoot down heroes in lanes two and three, killing them before their turns start and denying them the ability to play cards.
Black has tons of ways to make gold, move around the board, and do damage, making them one of my favorite colors to draft. Powerful heroes like Phantom Assassin, Tinker, and Bounty Hunter, maybe Necrophos get the job done – stay away from Bloodseeker and Lion, as they are both terrible. Black’s “free” hero is one of the better ones and is completely playable if you don’t get any of the good ones.
Dimensional Portal – One of blue’s best, you’ll immediately add three creeps to the lane. On turn 2, this is a huge lane presence, and is a great way to “sneak” in other creatures on the perimeter that you’ve created as well, like Red Mist Pillagers. You get a ton of bang for your buck with this one.
Thunderstorm – Sometimes, this can just kill an entire lane of both enemy heroes and creeps. Definitely worth the price.
Aghanim’s Sanctum – Recharging your mana may not seem that useful, but blue has plenty of ways to take advantage of doubling up on mana every turn, whether you’re making more spells with Ogre Magi (multiple magis in one lane in draft!), drawing cards with Foresight, and more. Just make sure you draft some things to take advantage of the extra mana.
Blue has fragile heroes that often come with powerful spells or abilities, including ways to spam lanes with swarms of additional creeps with Prellex or Venomancer. Be on the lookout for Kanna as one of your best hero options, with Ogre Magi and Zeus other great picks. Avoid Crystal Maiden and Outworld Devourer at all times. Blue can do all kinds of crazy combo stuff if it gets going, but features heroes that are very easy to kill – I advise trying other colors first unless you get handed some incredible stuff.
Stonehall Cloak – This thing is amazing. Attach it early and watch your hero HP soar. You’ll be able to brush off even the most incredible spells and attacks wearing this. You may be tempted to go with Stonehall plate instead for the armor, but armor can be pierced – try piercing 30 HP.
Helm of the Dominator – It’s expensive, but this can swing games easily, especially against big green decks. Taking control of the pick of the litter every 2 turns is very, very powerful.
Horn of the Alpha – 25 gold, but if you can stick this early (or even late) your opponent is going to have a lot of trouble dealing with a free giant creep every 2 turns.
Claszureme Hourglass – When the game goes late, those two cards you draw a turn are everything, and locking them out of play is very strong.
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For those who are Amazon Prime subscribers, they’ve got a slew of new movies and TV series coming to its video service for the month of December. There are plenty of films from the past few years you’ll want to watch, classic movies you need to see, and ones from your youth. Cowabunga.
Speaking of weird slang from the late-80s, early-90s, you can relive your childhood through the 1990 live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is a whole lot darker than you remember. TMNT comes to Amazon on December 1, the same day as the classic Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day and the Jim Henson classic The Dark Crystal.
December 1 is the main day to focus on for Amazon, with classic films A Clockwork Orange and A Fistful of Dollars coming as well. One day you’ll want to mark on your calendars is December 27 when one of the year’s best horror movies–Hereditary–comes to Amazon, and you’ll want to watch it.
On the side of Amazon originals, the second season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel arrives on December 5, while a new original called LOL: Last One Laughing hits the service on December 14. Finally, Niko and the Sword of Light: Season 2 comes to Amazon at the end of the month on December 28.
Check out the full list for everything coming to Amazon below and make sure to also check out what’s coming to Netflix in December.
LOL: Last One Laughing (Prime Original series), Season 1
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When the Spyro games first released on the PlayStation in the late 90s, they lacked subtitle options for the game’s cutscenes. This isn’t too shocking, as voice acting on console games was still fairly nascent, and disability options were not often talked about. When the Reignited Trilogy, remakes of the first three games in the series, released last week, the game’s 35 minutes of cutscenes also contained no subtitles despite 20 years of guidelines and best practices informing that decision.
While this in itself is an issue, and one that can be fixed with a patch or an update, Activision’s response to questions on the subject seems to indicate they made a decision not to focus on subtitles. In a statement to British video game outlet GamePitt, Activision provided the following explanation:
“When Toys For Bob set out to make an awesome game collection, there were certain decisions that needed to be made throughout the process,” Activision said. “The team remained committed to keep the integrity and legacy of Spyro that fans remembered intact. The game was built from the ground up using a new engine for the team (Unreal 4) and was localized in languages that had not previously been attempted by the studio. While there’s no industry standard for subtitles, the studio and Activision care about the fans’ experience especially with respect to accessibility for people with different abilities, and will evaluate going forward.”
The statement appears to say that Activision considered adding subtitles and decided it wasn’t a priority. While the company is correct that there is no legal standard forcing video games to have subtitles, as such a guideline would be impossible to enforce, subtitles by and large are expected within most publisher-backed games. The statement does not close the door on adding subtitles in an update, but also does not really suggest it as a possibility, either.
While Activision noted that they are evaluating the problem going forward, it is worth noting that similar complaints were made with 2017’s release of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, which Activision also published and was similar in concept to the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. None of the original games in either trilogy had subtitles, but it seems surprising to have considered it and decided not to bother this many decades later.
It is worth watching The Game Maker’s Toolkit video series by Mark Brown titled Designing For Disability, the episode about subtitles being specifically relevant.
We also spoke to Spyro Reignited Trilogy’s developers Toys for Bob on the GI Show last week, which you can watch below.
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Rainbow Six Siege will expand once again before the end of the year with the introduction of Operation Wind Bastion’s new map and two additional Operators. After playing around three hours of the new DLC season, I can confidently say Nomad and Kaid are both fun to play with, but one of them poses a big problem for developer Ubisoft.
Nomad, an attacker, is in a good place already. Her primary weapons come attached with a device that launches wind-powered proximity mines. When an opponent approaches, the mines blast all enemies back and off their feet. Opposing players are rendered unable to use their weapon for a short duration, and must get back up before they can attack or move again. The mines can be used defensively to protect your flanks or offensively to flush enemies out, and they’re effective at achieving both objectives. But, crucially, there are relatively specific circumstances that are required for her ability to be used to its maximum potential–utilize it at the wrong location and its power will make little difference. The balance, then, appears to have been expertly struck.
The new defender Kaid, on the other hand, has issues. His Electroclaws, stick-shaped devices that electrify an unlimited number of metallic objects within a small radius, feel massively overpowered, especially since they render an old Operator almost totally pointless. Why would anyone choose Bandit and his four shock wires–capable of electrifying a total of four reinforcements or deployments–when they can pick Kaid and his three Electroclaws, which if placed intelligently could conceivably electrify nine objects, including hatches? And because those Electroclaws are small and can be placed at any height, it makes locating and destroying them very difficult for attackers.
That’s before you even get to his strong loadout, which offers a rapid-fire AUG-based SMG or an extremely powerful suppressed shotgun in addition to a scoped, high-power pistol. That loadout compounds Kaid’s three armor, one speed setup to make him a formidable anchor. Ubisoft has attempted to balance his loadout by introducing a delay before his Electroclaws are active, meaning fast players can react and destroy Hibana’s slow-activating pellets before they detonate, but you can’t do the same to the quicker Thermite charges. However it’s a small drawback to an otherwise incredibly powerful Operator. Nerfs will need to arrive soon after launch–or even before if the test server community reports similar observations–or Kaid’s introduction risks harming any or all of Hibana, Thermite, Bandit, and Mute.
In Siege’s lore, Kaid is Nomad’s tutor in Morocco’s GIGR special forces. The game’s new map, Fortress, is also Moroccan, and I’m pleased to say it’s a–technical term here–banger. With a huge roof area offering attackers large scope for descent from above, it forces enemy teams to play defensively. Despite Fortress’s large size, then, it offers a welcome trip back to the confined, claustrophobic, close-quarters action Siege was best known for in its first year.
Wind Bastion is shaping up to be, as is usual with Siege’s DLC drops, a worthy expansion that carries welcome additions to its roster. Nomad should slot in nicely with the rest of the game’s now 46-strong lineup, and Fortress is an excellent new map that offers a nice taste of old Siege to accompany its north African aesthetic. However, Kaid will need to be nerfed hard in the coming weeks to avoid upsetting Siege’s delicate balance.
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Warframe has grown from a modest free-to-play experiment that was very much a work in progress to a remarkably impressive online game with an ever-growing fan-base. Since its launch in 2013, the action-RPG starring “Space Ninjas” slashing and shooting across the universe has evolved in a big way after its many expansions, giving players more ways to customize their characters and partner up in different scenarios–including open world settings–to take on the toughest challenges in the game. Out now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, developer Digital Extremes and along with Switch port veterans Panic Button Games, have now set their sights on their most ambitious project to date–a port of the massive game for Nintendo Switch.
Set for release on November 20, Warframe will bring its fast-paced and kinetic gameplay to Nintendo’s portable console, marking the first time the game will be playable on the go. To put into perspective how much of an undertaking it is to rework Warframe for Switch, the online game receives updates and content drops on a regular basis. Furthermore, the Switch release will launch with the game as it was prior to the Fortuna update–the largest expansion to date–offering 14 different planets to travel to, over 200 melee weapons and firearms to collect, more than 30 unique characters to level up and master, and an involved plot detailing the escalating war among different factions vying for control.
Diving into Warframe for the first time can be daunting, but once you get into the swing of it you’ll find a game that offers a lot of variety and involved systems–something akin to the power grind and gameplay found in Bungie’s Destiny. We recently tried out the Switch version of Warframe ahead of its launch and came away pleased with how faithful it was to the previous releases of the game, which was certainly a tall order in its own right.
As one of the console’s few online-only games (putting it in the same company as the immensely popular Fortnite), Warframe will find a new audience on the mobile console. Like Fortnite, Warframe is a games-as-a-service title with its own of set of unique features and in-game purchases and won’t require players to have access Nintendo Online.
One of the biggest challenges that Digital Extremes had to overcome was not only bringing the scale of Warframe to the Switch, but also figuring out how to translate its fast action and crisp graphical fidelity to a more modest platform. Digital Extremes teamed up with Panic Button Games, the same studio behind the solid Switch ports of Doom (2016) and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, and the two developers worked extensively over the last year to make sure the next port of the game could stand up alongside the versions. Speaking with GameSpot, Digital Extremes producer Mark Ollivierre and Panic Button Games’ Studio GM Adam Creighton described the process of porting the game.
“All the games we’ve worked on are a little different, so they come with different challenges. Whether it’s Doom or Wolfenstein 2 or even [Warframe],” said Creighton. “This is the first always-online game-as-a-service title that we’ve done for the platform, and it’s definitely something we wanted to do. That’s part of why there was a mutual interest on the Digital Extremes and the Panic Button side to do this. Because for me, I’m a portfolio person, this is very much where I see a big chunk of games going. Before we talked to Digital Extremes folks, this was a title that I enjoyed, wanted to be part of it, and I’d look at as kind of that epitome of a triple-A, free-to-play title.”
If you’re familiar with the feel and playstyle of the console editions of Warframe, you’ll be able to pick up the Switch version easily. However, some clear concessions were made to ensure the game was in stable shape for the portable hardware. While other versions run at a consistent 60 FPS, the Switch port performs at a mostly stable 30 FPS and at 720p. Swapping between docked and undocked modes is simple and painless, and there isn’t much difference in performance between the two–which is impressive. However, some occasional dips in frame-rate during the more intense encounters can occur, particularly when multiple players use their powers and weapons simultaneously.
With that said, the Switch version still does a solid job of keeping up with the action, while also highlighting the strengths of the console. There are surprisingly in-depth controller options that take advantage of the Switch’s myriad play styles with the JoyCons, along with controller sensitivity options to tune the feel of the game to your liking. The Switch version also features motion-control functionality for actions such as fishing, shooting your firearms, and using other tools in-game. Having said that, the Pro Controller still feels like the optimal way to play the game.
The Switch will also features integrated voice-chat, allowing party members to communicate with each other in-game without the need for the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app. If you’re a seasoned player, then you can import your account over to the Switch, which will be available to players during the launch window of the game. The Switch version will exist independently within its own ecosystem of players, though, and there are no plans for cross-play with other versions at this time.
During the development of the port, Digital Extreme and Panic Button got a chance to re-examine the internal workings of the game’s code. While they acknowledge the technical changes between the different releases, they stated that the primary focus of the Switch release was to ensure that it could run at a solid frame-rate and keep all the action fluid and fast. In an interesting turn of events, the collaboration between Digital Extremes and Panic Button Games on the Switch release also led to some unexpected improvements for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One versions of the game.
“Considering the pace that we developed Warframe, we kind of develop a new system, and almost immediately move onto the next update,” said Ollivierre. “So we don’t always have the luxury to kind of step back and re-examine through old code to see if we can rediscover something. So having Panic Button come in and kind of run a fine-toothed comb through everything, through all the systems in its entirety, definitely exposed a couple sore spots and helped us massage those out, and implement them and improve the overall game across all of our platforms.
At launch, the Switch version of Warframe will offer a lot of content for players to dive into. Unfortunately, it won’t have the recent Fortuna update, which added in the second open-world map and a new hoverboard traversal tool. Currently, the developers plan to release it on Switch sometime in January 2019. Still, the amount of content offered with Warframe on Switch is impressive, and the hardware manages to handle it well. Some of Warframe’s best moments occur when you come up with nuanced approaches to traversal and combat, chaining different jumps, glides, and wall-runs together to swoop in on enemies for a quick kill with your immense arsenal of weapons and skills–and that’s still true on Switch.
There’s really no other game on the Switch like Warframe. Though it’s often been seen as the “Destiny” before Destiny, it certainly goes out of its ways to offer up options and different adventures for players, all of which give off this unique flavor that makes it stand out online action games. It’s one of those games that’s gotten better with age, and with the amount of content that’s still on the way, Warframe on Switch will likely be a solid gateway for those craving an involved action-RPG to dive into.
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At the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival today, producer Naoki Yoshida (affectionately known by the community as Yoshi-P) got on stage to announce a new expansion to Final Fantasy XIV called Shadowbringers. The new expansion is scheduled to come in early summer 2019 and focuses on bringing together the six allied nations to fight the Garlean Empire once and for all. Yoshida emphasized that the Warrior of Light has to become the Warrior of Darkness in the new content.
You can find the teaser trailer for the expansion below.
Stormbringers, uh, brings with it multiple new jobs that Yoshida decided not to announce yet. A leak that came out before the conference rumored a Machinist job class, however, and Yoshida’s motorcycle t-shirt seemed to hint at that, as well. The shirt also pulled double duty by having a picture of Bugs Bunny, which Yoshida showed off when hinting at a new playable race, most likely the Viera, rabbit-people from Ivalice. He indicated this would be the last new playable race they are likely to add.
The team is using the expansion to make some other changes, like putting TP and MP together and just calling it MP now, and also adding several new environments. The Nu Mou, dog-like sages from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance’s Ivalice, are also coming as a beast tribe to the game.
Toward the end of the show, Square Enix’s president and CEO Yosuke Matsuda came out dressed like a blue mage, saying he was going over Yoshida’s head to announce a new job class. The new job takes enemy attacks after seeing them and will be arriving in patch 4.5. Yoshida described it as a “limited job,” but has not yet explained what that means. The crowd erupted in uproarious cheers when the Blue Mage was shown, with some people in the audience kissing each other in excitement like the New Year just rang in.
Final Fantasy XIV is also getting a new game+ mode, which is unusual for MMORPGs. It allows players to relive older content with their now far stronger characters.
Yoshida is expected to make even more announcements and further detail what he has announced today at tomorrow’s Letter from the Producer event at the fan festival.
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Black Friday, the biggest shopping event of the year, is almost here. But you don’t have to wait for November 23 to get big discounts on video games. Microsoft is dropping prices on hundreds of digital Xbox One and Xbox 360 titles starting on November 19. But if you have an Xbox Live Gold subscription (and if you don’t, see below), you can get the Black Friday prices right now. Let’s take a look at what’s on sale.
If you don’t have a current Xbox Live Gold subscription, you can get a one-month membership between now and November 30 for just $1 / £1. That grants you early access to the sale and also gets you this month’s free Games with Gold. Additionally, between now and January 3, 2019, you can get a month’s worth of Xbox Game Pass for $1 / £1. This subscription service lets you download and play a selection of over 100 games, including all recent first-party titles like Forza Horizon 4 and Sea of Thieves.
Now onto the game discounts. Some of the biggest heavy hitters include Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 for $48, Red Dead Redemption 2: Special Edition for $72, and Forza Horizon 4 for $39. And if those won’t do it for you, you can grab Destiny 2: Forsaken Legendary Collection for $36, or Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Far Cry 5 for $30 apiece. Those are excellent prices for some of the biggest recent releases.
Ubisoft has dropped prices on the many Assassin’s Creed games, with Odyssey down to $40 and Origins on sale for $20. A trio of Tom Clancy games is available for cheap as well; The Division is discounted to $10 and Ghost Recon Wildlands and Rainbow Six Siege are available for $15 each.
Not to be outdone, some of the best backward-compatible Xbox 360 games are also on sale. You can pick up Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for $5, Red Dead Redemption for $10, or a couple of Splinter Cell games for $10 or less. And if you’re into Metal Gear, you can nab some great discounts on the series, including Metal Gear Solid HD Edition, which contains remastered versions of games 2 and 3, for $10.
You’ll find well over a hundred other discounted games in the list below, or you can see the full sale here.
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Samwise Didier was working in a movie theater when he answered an ad in a paper to make video games. The first two games Didier worked on at Blizzard (then Silicon & Synapse) were Rock n’ Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings for the SNES.
Didier’s exaggerated physiques and vibrant color palette ultimately shaped the style of Warcraft III and eventually World of Warcraft. During our trip to Blizzard last month, the artist shared some background on this Warcraft III concept art, which was drawn by himself and Chris Metzen.
Before Warcraft III, Blizzard worked on a game called Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans, an unreleased point-and-click adventure starring a young orc named Thrall who was on a quest to reunite his race after their defeat by the human Alliance. Even though the project was canned, Blizzard was able to repurpose many of these concepts for Warcraft III.
“I remember, we made a couple of trips to Russia to work with an animation house,” Didier says. “It was cool, but one of the reasons we pulled back on doing it was because I don’t think we really found the fun. At that time, other games were coming out that were already doing that and then some. By the time we would be set to come out, it would have just seemed dated.”
Early in development, Blizzard experimented wildly with Warcraft III. Some early designs involved having a dragon race that featured only a single unit. Before the game was even called Warcraft III, Blizzard even experimented with moving the camera closer to the ground – creating a third-person perspective behind the player’s heroes. “We wanted to sell the world a bit more,” says Didier. “We wanted to have more RPG elements. We wanted to make something showing off a 3D engine. But, like with new tech, people tend to go overboard on that, so we kept slowly nudging the camera back up.”
“The first thing everyone wanted to do was make Warcraft III more realistic,” says Didier. “So everything was smaller. Then we saw it in game, and we were like ‘Everything looks dumb.’ So we started making the colors simpler, decreasing the shading, adding flat colors. We scaled the characters back up and made them bigger and bulkier so they read from that top-down camera. That’s one of the reasons we started doing that style, because it read better, but also because everything felt huge. Everything felt heroic and mightier.”
Warcraft III was the first game where Blizzard experimented with 3D, which forced the team to change its approach to art. “We were used to texturing things a certain way,” says Didier. “In 3D, you weren’t able to touch up each individual pixel like you were before. You had to make it look good on the 3D model, so we had to keep simplifying our style.”
“One of the great things about Warcraft III is that this is where everything comes from,” says Didier. “Jaina was born in Warcraft III, and Arthas, Uther, and Illidan. All these characters. There weren’t even Night Elves or Taurens before Warcraft III. We brought every character and race that we had sort of roughly talked about in the other games and fleshed them out.”
Over the years, Blizzard has taken a lot of risks, but the company spends time itterating on those ideas and rarely settles for second best. Warcraft III was technically the thrid game in the series, but it was a pivitol entry for the franchise and for Blizzard. The upcoming Reforged remaster will give fans – both new and old – a chance to experience what made Warcraft III so special.
Click on our banner below to enter our constantly updating hub of exclusive features on Warcraft III: Reforged.
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There are plenty of opportunities to save money on a new Xbox One console or game during Black Friday 2018. The deals extend from online stores to major retailers, such as Best Buy, Target, and Walmart.
In this gallery, we highlight the best deals for anything in regards to Xbox One. This includes the family of consoles, consisting of the Xbox One S and Xbox One X, as well games, both third-party and exclusives titles. For the most part, games are where you’re going to find the most sales, but the Xbox One S is also getting a major discount this Black Friday at plenty of locations too. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, read our list of every Xbox One deal being offered this Black Friday.
If you’ve been considering picking up an Xbox console to play some of the system’s console exclusives–like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds–then Black Friday 2018 presents the opportunity to snag a deal on a bundle. There are deals on third-party console bundles–tied to Minecraft and Battlefield V–as well.
Specific pricing on some of these consoles and games fluctuate depending on where you choose to buy them from. We’ve listed all the discounted prices for each product, so you can plan ahead and have a back-up plan if your chosen retailer runs out of stock. Not every retailer has listed ads for Black Friday yet, so we will update this gallery if better deals become available.
Both the Xbox One S and Xbox One X are on sale this Black Friday. On either console, you’ll be able to play all Xbox One games, as well as select Xbox 360 titles. Unlike the original Xbox One, both the One S and One X can be stored horizontally or vertically if you have the right accessory.
The major difference between the One S and One X is how much smoother games run on the latter. The One X is the first and only Xbox console to render games natively in 4K. It also offers faster load times and enhanced framerates despite being smaller than the One S. To take full advantage of a One X, you’ll want to invest in a 4K TV, which are also on sale this Black Friday.
Xbox One X — $70 off (unconfirmed)
Xbox Game Pass has proven to be an excellent subscription service for anyone looking to play a majority of new games on Xbox One. Subscribing to Xbox Game Pass opens up a vast library of over 100 free Xbox One and Xbox 360 titles that’s updated every month.
During Black Friday 2018, Best Buy is offering a fairly large discount on a 12-month subscription to Xbox Game Pass. At $70, that’s a year’s access to dozens of new games–such as Forza Horizon 4–as well as older classics like Mass Effect and Sunset Overdrive. For context, the 6-month Xbox Game Pass subscription is normally offered at $60, so if you take advantage of this Black Friday deal, you get twice as much time for only $10 more.
12-Month Subscription — $70
1-Month Subscription — $1
In our Assassin’s Creed Odyssey review, Alessandro Fillari gave the game an 8/10, writing, “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.”
Best Buy has the best deal on Ubisoft’s new action role-playing game, but both Target and Walmart offer fairly substantial discounts as well.
In our Borderlands: The Handsome Collection review, Cameron Woolsey gave the game an 8/10, writing, “Let’s be clear: You don’t have to be Handsome Jack’s number-one fan to appreciate Borderlands: The Handsome Collection. But even if you’re not, you will still find an impressive archive, chock full of dozens upon dozens of hours of laughter and exciting combat.”
The Handsome Collection combines both Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel into one bundle, and you can get it for just $12 at Walmart.
In our Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 review, Kallie Plagge gave the game an 8/10, writing, “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.”
Black Ops 4 hasn’t been out for very long, but it’s already making waves with its phenomenal Blackout battle royale mode. There’s a $20 discount on Black Ops 4 at Walmart this Black Friday, and the game is on sale at Best Buy and Target too.
In our Destiny 2: Forsaken review, Kallie Plagge gave the expansion an 8/10, writing, “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.”
Forsaken Legendary Collection includes Destiny 2, Expansion I: Curse of Osiris, Expansion II: Warmind, Forsaken, and a level 30 character boost. It’s pretty much everything you need to catch up with other players, and Target is offering the entire collection for half the cost of normal triple-A title.
In our Diablo 3: Eternal Collection review, Mike Mahardy gave the game a 9/10, writing, “Diablo 3 is a game about long term goals accomplished in short, thrilling bursts. It’s rewarding and subtle. It’s flashy and boisterous.”
Eternal Collection includes Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition and the Rise of the Necromancer expansion. That’s dozens of hours of looting, and both Walmart and Best Buy are offering the collection at a third of its normal cost.
In our Doom review, Peter Brown gave the game an 8/10, writing, “But without a doubt, the loud and chaotic campaign is Doom‘s strongest component. It’s straightforward and simple, but it serves its purpose: to thrust you into increasingly dire scenarios fueled by rage and the spirit of heavy metal. Many shooters chase the thrill Doom delivers, but few are as potent in their execution.”
Doom may have been overshadowed by Overwatch in 2016, but it’s still one of the best first-person shooters seen in recent years. With Doom’s sequel scheduled for 2019, it’s the perfect time to catch up with the first game. This Black Friday, Walmart is selling it for $12 and Target also has a discount that’s nearly as good.
In our Dragon Ball FighterZ review, Peter Brown gave the game a 9/10, writing, “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.”
One of the best fighter games of 2018 is being sold at a fraction of its original cost at Walmart, Best Buy, and Target.
In our For Honor review, Matt Espineli gave the game an 8/10, writing, “After slaying countless foes, it’s clear the impact For Honor‘s combat has had; its fundamental tenets of discipline and restraint are bestowed upon you permanently, forever changing the way you perceive a melee-combat encounter in a game.”
The Marching Fire expansion adds a Chinese faction to For Honor, a brand-new army to confront the vikings, knights, and samurai of the original game.
In our Forza Horizon 4 review, Edmond Tran gave the game a 9/10, writing, “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….”
Possibly the best racing game of 2018, Forza Horizon 4 is being offered half off this Black Friday at Best Buy.
In our Injustice 2 review, Peter Brown gave the game a 9/10, writing, “With AI battles, online and local versus matches, the diverse and ever-changing Multiverse, and an impressive story mode, Injustice 2 offers numerous ways of engaging with its characters and testing your abilities without feeling repetitive.”
The Legendary Edition of Injustice 2 includes every DLC fighter, which adds Power Girl, The Atom, Sub-Zero, John Stewart, Reverse Flash, Raiden, Black Lightning, Black Manta, Starfire, Hellboy, Red Hood, Darkseid, Enchantress, and all four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the game. It’s normally offered for $60.
In our Middle-earth: Shadow of War review, Justin Haywald gave the game a 7/10, writing, “[Shadow of War] tries to be larger than its predecessor, there are more abilities, more weapons, more Orcs, yet it leaves you wanting less. But at its core, it’s a fun experience with brilliant moments that provide fascinating insight into some of the untold stories of Middle-earth.”
The Definitive Edition of Shadow of War fixes almost every problem with the original game, removing a huge chunk of the game that promoted buying loot boxes and also streamlining parts of the story.
In our Resident Evil 7: Biohazard review, Scott Buttersworth gave the game an 8/10, writing, “The boss fights may be slightly inconsistent and certain sections might drag after a while, but RE7 is still a remarkable success. It has a clear vision and executes it with impressive patience and precision.”
At Walmart, you can buy the Gold Edition of Resident Evil 7–which includes all three of the game’s DLC packs–for $17, which is only $5 more than the store’s Black Friday deal of the standard edition of the game.
In our Rocket League review, Miguel Concepcion gave the game a 9/10, writing, “The joy of Rocket League rests on the countless plans that are conceived and discarded every other second in any given match. Trying to predict where and how the ball will bounce next is a game within the game.”
The Ultimate Edition of Rocket League includes four DLC packs, the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice bundle, and seven DLC battle-cars.
In our Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus review, Kallie Plagge gave the game a 9/10, writing, “You’re never given a chance between cutscenes, missions, and even downtime on the U-boat to lose sight of the Reich’s cruelty. Wolfenstein’s tense gameplay elevates this further by giving you the power to truly resist–and come out of each battle ready for another fight.”
Chances are, you missed out on The New Colossus, which released the same day as Assassin’s Creed Origins and Super Mario Odyssey. This Black Friday, Target is selling this hidden gem for a fourth of its original cost.
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The latest Super Smash Bros. Ultimate trailer has a strange lack of music in the background, and as a result, has now become a bonafide meme. Fans from all over Twittersphere have stepped up to give their own personal take on the trailer, syncing up their own music to the trailer’s action. Classics like Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now and The Turtles’ Happy Together provide a pleasant twist, but then again the theme from One Punch Man does sync surprisingly well with Mario’s grand entrance.
For reference sake, here’s the original trailer, but for your meme-filled entertainment for the day, here are our favorites handpicked from the Twitter meme tree. Also, just a warning, some of these songs are loud and contain explicit lyrics, so if you’re in a workplace setting you might want to pop in some headphones.
Head banger alert.
Mario’s not holding back in this one.
Yes, we’ll be very happy when we’re together.
Who did it better, Thor or Mario?
Is Thanos behind this?
Honestly, this one works on so many levels.
But, yeah, those are just some of the memes. If we missed out on your favorite, be sure to drop it in the comments section below. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate comes out December 7. If you have any lingering questions about the upcoming Nintendo brawler be sure to check out our news hub, where we’ll keep you constantly updated on all the latest Super Smash Bros.-related news.
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WWE’s next major PPV, Survivor Series, is right around the corner, coming to the WWE Network on Sunday, November 18. The event is one of the major PPVs for WWE, right alongside Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, and Summerslam, and it’s also one of the oldest.
Survivor Series began back on November 26, 1987 with a simple idea: have four tag team matches where contestants are eliminated until only one team is left standing. The 1987 Survivor Series came in at 2 hours and 44 minutes for the matches and a whole bunch of weird interviews and segments.
Considering GameSpot’s Mat Elfring and Chris E. Hayner review each current WWE PPV, we thought it would be a good idea to take a time machine 31 years in the past to watch this show on the WWE Network, and review it like it just recently aired. Because they were only four matches at this event, we decided to discuss some of the segments and interviews that took place because they are bonkers in their own right.
Here’s the card for Survivor Series 1987 before we kick things off:
Team 1: Brutus Beefcake, Jake Roberts, Jim Duggan, Randy Savage, and Ricky Steamboat
Team 2: Dangerous Danny Davis, Harley Race, Hercules, The Honky Tonk Man, and Ron Bass
Team 1: The Fabulous Moolah, Itsuki Yamazaki, Noriyo Tateno, Rockin’ Robin, and Velvet McIntyre
Team 2: Dawn Marie, Donna Christanello, Leilani Kai, Judy Martin, and Sensational Sherri
Team 1: The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid), The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair and Jim Brunzell), The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques Rougeau and Raymond Rougeau), Strike Force (Rick Martel and Tito Santana), and The Young Stallions (Jim Powers and Paul Roma)
Team 2: The Bolsheviks (Boris Zhukov and Nikolai Volkoff), Demolition (Ax and Smash), The Dream Team (Dino Bravo and Greg Valentine), The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart), and The Islanders (Haku and Tama)
Team 1: André the Giant, Butch Reed, King Kong Bundy, One Man Gang, and Rick Rude
Team 2: Bam Bam Bigelow, Don Muraco, Hulk Hogan, Ken Patera, and Paul Orndorff
Make sure to come back to GameSpot on Sunday, November 18 for live coverage of this year’s PPV and a review of that show as well.
Mat: What’s amazing about this is that Hercules is in the back mugging so hard for the camera. Everyone is having their own conversation, but only Honky Tonk has the mic. It’s pure chaos, and it’s wonderful. Unscripted promos are the best.
Chris: This is an example of something that would never EVER happen in 2018, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. It’s just manic, having these four essentially on their own planes of existence, with Honky Tonk Man–who I do not like one bit–screaming into a microphone. It’s wild how silly they make Harley Race seem here, and I kind of love it. My only wish if that it would’ve been Bobby Heenan with the mic.
Mat: The madness continues. Hacksaw Jim Duggan is using his 2X4 as a gun and Ricky Steamboat is doing Karate moves. The best part of the whole segment is Macho Man sliding in, with his back turned to the camera to tell us about the danger zone. He seems so confused yet confident in his confusion.
Chris: I… I don’t even know what to say about any of this. Ricky Steamboat is a New Yorker, billed from Hawaii, doing a karate gimmick. Jim Duggan’s character is “weirdo with a 2×4.” The ’80s were wild and, at times, way too much. While these are fun, for the most part, this is going to be a long show.
Mat: Dangerous Danny Davis sounds like one of my created wrestlers. He kinda looks like one too. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake’s outfit gives me no confidence that he’s actually a good barber. Why was I so into this guy as a kid? He’s like a poor man’s Zodiac. The audience at this event is the best. It’s just regular folk. There’s no wrestling smarks or dumb signs. It’s just average folk. I’m so happy I got into wrestling during this era.
Ricky Steamboat is so good. He’s such ahead of his time, and it really shows here. He’s so smooth in the ring. And it’s apparent, from the get-go that this match is really just to highlight team Macho Man. It gets pretty brutal towards the end when it’s Macho Man, Steamboat, and Jake Roberts all beating on Honky Tonk, to the point where Honky Tonk just leaves the ring and gets counted out. What a weird finish, but I’m totally down with that.
Chris: I can’t believe Jim Duggan did a corkscrew plancha to the outside. I’m kidding, of course that didn’t happen. There’s none of that on this show because it’s 1987. These characters, though, are fascinating to watch. It’s interesting to me that I watched this stuff in the 1980s and was so convinced it was real. As an adult, I’m watching a barber with a mullet fight an Elvis impersonator and… I’m kind of into it. These characters are so over-the-top but in a wildly entertaining way, even if the fighting looks even less impactful than anything you’ll see today. The star of the match, for my money, is Ricky Steamboat. He’s one of the best to ever step between the ropes and he’s in fine form here. The match itself, though, left a lot to be desired. This is the first Survivor Series match ever and it ended because Honky Tonk just walked away? Poor form.
Mat: You ever see a bad movie where all the extras in the background are talking, but it’s obvious no one is really having an actual conversation. That’s what’s happening here. One Man Gang (oh Akeem) is just talking to the backs of everyone’s head and nodding like a madman. I feel like Andre The Giant is mere seconds away from cracking up during that bit.
Chris: Wow. First of all, Slick and Bobby Heenan in a promo together is the stuff of dreams. The odd man out here is Rick Rude, the only person showing literally zero emotion. He’s just kind of standing there, showing off his amazing mustache. Sometimes, though, that’s enough.
Mat: I know who Fabulous Moolah, the Jumping Bomb Angels, and Sensational Sherri are, and that’s about it. Before the match starts, Jesse Ventura decides to promote The Running Man, shamelessly, and I love it. But man, Rockin’ Robin is pretty awful to watch, especially when she’s facing Sensational Sherri for a few minutes. They’re both in very separate leagues as Robin half-sells everything. Speaking of separate leagues, the Jumping Bomb Angels are a lot better than I remember. The pace is pretty high for a match during the late-80s. You can’t really take your eyes off the match as everything is happening to quickly.
There are so many crossbody blocks, double underhook suplexes, and women being pulled into the ring over the top rope though. Wash, rinse, and repeat. And toward the end of the match, when it’s just the Jumping Bomb Angels and the Glamour Girls, I just want the match to be over. The quick pace has worn a bit thin, and I just need it all to slow down a bit.
Chris: Do you remember the Glamour Girls? Yeah, neither do I. But they wear gold and Jimmy Hart is their manager, I guess. So many of the names in this match are forgotten, which is a bummer. But seeing the likes of Sensational Sherri, Rockin’ Robin, and Fabulous Moolah is interesting. Sherri doesn’t get enough credit for her role as a wrestler, due to her later time as one of the very best managers ever. She looks great in this match, though, and it the “Ladies World Champion,” which is somehow a worse title name than Divas Champion. Unfortunately, the action in this match just doesn’t have the same weight to it. This show, for the most part, isn’t about blood feuds or anything like that, so the characters are important. Sadly, the women’s characters just are defined well-enough–especially the final four of the Jumping Bomb Angels and the Glamour Girls. At least this match had a real ending, though.
Mat: This is the most madness. There are so many people yelling on screen, and I can’t understand one thing anyone is saying. Heenan is blocking everyone talking too, and his back is to the camera. It’s the best. I’m also glad to see Jimmy Hart does his jacket changes during interviews. It’s very important that your outfit represent the wrestlers you’re managing.
Chris: This is officially the best part of the show yet. Why? Because Demolition. I can watch Demolition stand in the background and be weird for hours. What a crazy pants team Heenan built. And shouts to Greg “The Hammer” Valentine for making it onto this show and yet another costume change for Jimmy Hart.
Mat: This looks like a bunch of dudes tailgating before a football team, but I’m very confused as to what football team these gentlemen are rooting for. Is it the Decatur Staleys? Now that was a great football team. Anyway, this is a good example of why some wrestlers should be a bit more scripted, as it’s impossible to make out what’s actually going on.
Chris: Team Strike Force looks like an early-80s TV movie adaptation of some comic book you’ve never read. They all look like low budget superheroes and their motto is “unity for victory.” Does that make Bret Hart their Joker?
Note from Mat: Strike Force was TOTALLY a comic book you’ve never read during the ’90s.
Mat: It’s really weird to see Rick Martel not using his “Model” gimmick. This is a really long match, running around 40 minutes. Sure, there are some fun moments, but this match is overstuffed, and it contains plenty of wrestlers I’m not interested in, including the Hart Foundation as heels, before they really hit their groove.This was the first time during this Survivor Series event that I simply didn’t care what was happening nor did I feel invested in the match in any way.
Chris: I’m having a hard time believing this match started with wrestlers demanding the audience rise for the Russian national anthem. Yeah, this was Nikolai Volkoff’s gimmick, but it’s so much more haunting in 2018. Regardless, why is this match so long? There’s nothing interesting happening in it at all. In fact, the part I was most entertained by was Jesse Ventura talking about the pilgrim hat he was wearing.
Mat: Ted DiBiase is the greatest thing, to me, about the late-80s and early-90s WWF. The Million Dollar Man is such a great gimmick. He’s just sitting in a nice car, counting money, and trash talking. The man is incredibly underrated when it comes to cutting promos. That laugh is the best.
Additionally, I could watch all these segments of Million Dollar Man challenging kids to do contests for money all day long. They are hilarious. There is nothing better than DiBiase kicking the ball out of the kid’s hand while he dribbling. NOTHING. None of this second part of the segment is new, but it’s a nice package to show off how amazing DiBiase is.
Chris: Ted Diabe is such an a**hole. He’s a perfect heel, just throwing money at anything standing in his way. He’s literally spending his Thanksgiving riding around in the back of a car, counting his money and remembering the times he humiliated children. What an amazing character that perfectly sums up the excess of the ’80s.
Mat: How do these interviews keep getting weirder? What is going on with Hogan’s bandanna? Why is Hogan blocking everyone who is talking into the mic? This seems like a bunch of men who have already lost their minds.
Chris: Leave it to Hulk Hogan to take this insanity to the extreme. Why does his headband have bangs? And, yeah, for some reason, Hulk is blocking everyone. Whoever produced this is just… bad. Also, I’m convinced this promo alone inspired the Oddities.
Mat: I forgot how big Hulk Hogan was, which is kind of a dumb statement, but the crowd is on fire from the moment Hogan enters the arena. It wasn’t like this at all during the rest of the PPV. The whole match is really just building towards a face-off between Hogan and Andre, and when it begins, it really pays off. I love how sad Hogan is after getting eliminated. He’s on the verge of crying. As soon as he’s gone though, the train loses steam, right up until Bam Bam does a bunch of somersaults to escape Andre, and I completely lose it.
The finish is nutso, as Andre wins by arm dragging Bam Bam. Today, you can’t win a major match without dropping like at least 14 F-5s on someone. Andre wins, but then Hogan comes out an mugs for the camera a bunch to his theme music. And there’s like 10 minutes of Hogan pointing and flexing because that’s a thing that happened a lot back then. Yeah, this feels a lot like the ’80s, which is good because it’s 1987.
Chris: Man, Hogan is so over. It might be the most over anyone’s ever been in wrestling, which is saying something. This is going down during peak-Hulkamania, and his popularity just dwarfs everyone else in the ring. Also, he still has a bit of a hairline, so there’s that too. Truthfully, this match is nothing more than means to an end. It’s all about getting Hogan and Andre face-to-face.
Everything outside of that good and this match serves as a decent reminder of how cool Bam Bam Bigelow was. It’s easily the best match on the card, but the magic comes when Andrew and Hulk are in the ring together, because that electricity shoots through the crowd. But Hogan losing the match via countout is a stroke of genius here. Hogan sells disappointment in himself, while they keep him from losing clean. From there, it’s just a matter of time until Andre the Giant wins the match.
Mat: While this interview is going on, Hogan is still doing his thing in the ring. His music is blaring and the crowd is cheering. Meanwhile, I can’t make out what Andre the Giant is saying. He pointed a lot, so I know Andre means business. I haven’t had this much fun watching mediocre matches in years. Can we cut back to Ted DiBiase picking on children, please?
Chris: The end of this show really makes Hogan look awful. He got counted out on his own accord then attacked Andre with the title? That’s your hero, America? That’s your Real American? For shame!
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Although we loved PUBG back when it officially launched, that praise was for the PC version. The Xbox One version, which left Microsoft’s Game Preview program back in September, is a different story; the controls are at times a little too complicated for a controller, but most importantly, it’s infamously unoptimized, meaning it runs at a poor framerate even on Xbox One X compared to its relatively well-done PC version. Although many figured this would be the case for the foreseeable future, PUBG Corp is still working on fixing that.
Community manager for PUBG Corp Lumos recently took to Reddit to address the concerns about the Xbox One version’s poor framerate in light of an community update promising more graphical options that would allow for players to set their visual quality and resolution to improve performance. “The ultimate goal is to achieve a stable 60fps, and we’ll continue to optimize to achieve that goal,” Lumos said. They also mentioned they’re looking into implementing an uncapped framerate once that goal is achieved, but wants to test out graphical options before promising that particular feature.
For now, however, they’re focusing on working on a more managable goal, as it mentioned it is first focusing on getting the game on a stable 30fps with the upcoming update, which will launch in either late November or early December. “We are trying to achieve one [goal] at a time!” Lumos said.
[Source: Reddit via Windows Central]
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What is there to say about Batman: The Animated Series that we haven’t been repeating to ourselves and our friends over the last two decades? It’s the cartoon that defined a generation of comic book fans and introduced us to the likes of Mark Hamill’s Joker, a brand new character in Harley Quinn, and an animation style that fit its subject so perfectly that no live-action version of the Dark Knight could possibly compete.
Every fan of Batman: The Animated Series knows all of this, though, and chances are they have the series on DVD–or have been binging it on the DC Universe streaming service. With that in mind, you might be wondering why Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is releasing the complete series on Blu-ray. Could it possibly be worth it to go out of your way to pick up this set yet again?
In a word: absolutely. The new Batman: The Complete Animated Series Deluxe Limited Edition Blu-ray set is something you’re going to want if you’re a fan of the classic cartoon. While this may be the show’s first time being released on Blu-ray, Warner Bros. didn’t simply dump the episodes onto a new format in hopes of getting Batfans to double dip.
Instead, all 109 episodes of the show (Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures) have been remastered in high definition and have never looked better. The colors in the episodes come to life like never before and are bound to look fantastic on your giant TVs. It’s not just the colors that pop, though. The picture has also been cleaned up, giving a much sharper and less grainy look at the Dark Knight’s animated adventures.
As you can see in the images above, the remastering of the series is no small feat. As great as Batman: TAS is, the previous DVD and digital releases have never looked very good. The picture has been blurry with dull colors for far too long. This is the treatment the show deserves.
It’s not just the remastered episodes you get, though. The set also comes with Blu-ray copies of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero, the two feature-length continuations of the show. As with the TV series, these movies look great, though they were never in as bad a shape as the show.
As great as all these high-definition transfers are, though, they’re not the main event of this particular set. Instead, it’s the brand new special features that are included. For your viewing pleasure are a handful of episode commentaries, several featurettes, and most important, a brand-new documentary.
The Heart of Batman runs over an hour in length and talks to dozens of those involved with the show, touching on just about every aspect of what made it so good. GameSpot previously debuted a clip that focused on the villains the series created and developed. If that clip is the kind of thing that interests you, you cannot miss the full documentary.
There’s also some collectibles included in the set, for those who like physical special features. Each copy comes with a series of lenticular cards, along with three exclusive mini Funko Pop vinyl figures–Batman, The Joker, and Harley Quinn. They’re by no means necessary and wouldn’t be enough to sell this set on their own. As an added bonus, though, it’s pretty nice.
So what’s not so good? The only real issue with the set comes in the digital copies. When I first redeemed the digital code, I was given the four standard definition volumes that have been previously released. They didn’t look great and Mask of the Phantasm and Sub-Zero weren’t included. That was a major disappointment. Thankfully, Vudu quickly rectified the problem a couple of days later, converting my copies to HDX and crediting the films to my account. Now I have access to wonderful-looking copies of the show and movies.
Still, the digital copies include none of the special features, as far as I can tell. That means The Heart of Batman, along with episode commentaries and featurettes, are disc-only. Given that most new releases include the special features with the digital copies, this is a letdown.
Honestly, though, that shouldn’t be enough to dissuade you from picking up this set. There’s so much to dig through and Batman: The Animated Series has truly never been more pleasing to the eye. If you’re a fan of the cartoon, or simply want to watch it for the first time, it’s worth it to make sure you lay your eyes on the best possible version of it.
Batman: The Complete Animated Series Deluxe Limited Edition is available now.
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Update: Our sincerest, and deepest thanks to everybody that tuned into the 25-hour stream and to those that donated generously to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. The community rallying together for Extra Life every year is awe-inspiring, you’re all the best. We’re currently in the process of shipping out auction bundles for winners, feel free to reach out to Ben Hanson ([email protected] or @yozetty) if you have any concerns. You can watch the full insanity of the stream below, and we’d always appreciate any help time-stamping your favorite moments in the comments on YouTube!
And you can watch the grand finale of the stream below!
It’s that time of year again! The entire Game Informer staff is coming together for a massive, 25-hour livestream of rare auctions, pie throwing, bug eating, and more. Click here to donate to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare right now!
This year we’re trying a few new things, including an action-packed D&D campaign and a dunk tank to torture editors! Also, you can get a sneak peek at some of the amazing gaming bundles we’ll be auctioning off for charity in the (rough) video below! We’ll be sharing the time for these auctions in a future update on this story.
Below is a rough outline of our schedule (in Central time) starting at 8am on Saturday morning. Let us know what you think of these options in the comments below!
|9:30 AM||Jackbox Party Pack 5|
|11:00 AM||The Sims|
|12:00 PM||Local Multiplayer – Donor’s Choice|
|1:00 PM||Super Mario Party|
|2:00 PM||PlayStation Classic Simulator|
|3:30 PM||PlayStation Classic Simulator|
|4:00 PM||Fallout 76|
|7:00 PM||Rocket League vs Leo|
|8:00 PM||The Last of Us Multiplayer|
|9:00 PM||Spin the Bottle (Bumpie’s Party)|
|10:00 PM||Super Smash Bros. Duel|
|11:00 PM||Jackbox Party Pack|
|12:00 AM||Jackbox Party Pack|
|1:00 AM||The Quiet Man (with Soundboard)|
|1:00 AM||The Quiet Man (with Soundboard)|
|2:00 AM||YouTube Karaoke|
|3:00 AM||Local Multiplayer – Donor’s Choice|
|4:00 AM||Kinect Nonsense|
|5:00 AM||Driver: San Francisco Duel|
|6:00 AM||YouTube Developer Showcase/T Rex Breakout|
If you want to get involved and raise some money for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, Minnesota, you can click here to join Game Informer’s Extra Life team or even start to donate early for a good cause. We need your support again this year, so get ready to bug all of your friends about our stream. Be sure to thank Game Informer’s Extra Life team captain Zachary Pligge and champion Jack Gardner for their help every single year!
Get a look at just a fraction of the amazing auctions we’ll have going live throughout the stream below…
At 8pm Central, we’re auctioning off this teaser poster for The Last of Us Part II signed by all of Naughty Dog.
At 11pm Central, you’ll have your chance to win this incredibly rare Cyberpunk 2077 statue given out to select journalists at E3 2018.
At 3pm Central, you can bid on this amazing bundle of games and a Scuf controller for PS4. This is one of only a handful of incredible game bundles.
Coming in at 11:30am, here a fun Mass Effect bundle that includes a copy of the trilogy signed by its creative director Casey Hudson!
If you loved God of War this year, don’t miss this auction for a gigantic poster signed by the development team in Santa Monica that will be happening at 2pm Central.
The auction above is one of several different Pokemon bundles we’ll be giving away to generous donors, the bundle above includes a Detective Pikachu Amiibo signed by the upcoming movie’s stars Justice Smith and Kathryn Newton. It’s happening at 11:30pm
With the first happening at noon Central, you can bid on amazing Game Informer bundles that include this mesmerizing poster! To see even more items available for donors, watch the video above to see what else we have to give away throughout the stream!
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Believe it or not, Black Friday 2018 is right around the corner–two weeks from this Friday, in fact. The end of the year is approaching, and the holiday season brings with it the biggest shopping day on the calendar in the United States, family time be damned.
Even with a couple weeks to go before Black Friday–it takes place on November 23–we’ve already begun to get a look at the deals that will be available. Most notably, we’ve gotten Target’s ad early, giving us a look at what will be on sale across games, tech, and entertainment. Sam’s Club is also have a pre-Black Friday sale that has some nice deals for game fans.
As always, tracking what’s on sale and where can be an overwhelming task, as can determining what the best deals are. We’ll be doing our best to help you stay on top of this so you can make the most of Black Friday (and Cyber Monday immediately after that) without having to drown in a sea of circulars and hastily scrawled post-it notes. Below, you’ll find our complete coverage of the event; be sure to check back as more ads are revealed in the lead up to the big day.
If you’re looking for all things related to PS4, we’ve collected every deal announced so far for the platform–including consoles, accessories, and games–in one story. Among the highlights is a $200 PS4 bundle that comes with Marvel’s Spider-Man at Target.
For a look at all things Xbox One, we’ve put together a roundup of every announced deal related to the system. That includes deals on consoles, games, and accessories. One of the best offers we’ve seen so far is a $400 Xbox One X bundle with a whopping $120 in Kohl’s Cash from (you guessed it) Kohl’s.
Nintendo Switch has had a big second year on the market, and whether you’re looking for discounted games or some kind of sale involving system itself, you’ll have at least a limited number of options to choose from. That includes a free copy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe when buying the console at Target.
Target was the first big store out of the gate to release its Black Friday ad early, and it included a ton of stuff of interest to game fans. You’ll find a PS4 with Spider-Man for $200, among other things.
If you’re interested in what Target will have to offer on the gaming front without wading through a long list, we’ve rounded up some recommendations on the best deals it has this year. This covers consoles (with deals on Switch, PS4, and Xbox One) and games for those systems.
Alongside its game offerings, Target’s early Black Friday ad gave us a look at its many movies and TV shows that will be on sale, and it includes some great sub-$10 4K movies.
Black Friday is always a great opportunity to pick up a new TV for relatively cheap, and 4K TVs are among the variety of tech items you’ll find discounted at Target.
Kohl’s doesn’t sell many games, but it oftentimes has some excellent deals come Black Friday. 2018 is no exception, as it might be the best place to buy an Xbox One X.
Kohl’s might primarily be a clothes retailer, but it does sell a limited number of electronics, like TVs. These are discounted in addition to netting you some Kohl’s Cash.
2018’s new entry in the Assassin’s Creed series will be discounted on Black Friday, despite the fact that it only released in late October.
Black Ops 4 represented a significant shift for the Call of Duty series, dumping a traditional single-player campaign and introducing a battle royale mode, Blackout. It’s another game that, despite having only just been released, will be on sale come Black Friday.
God of War has been one of the year’s standout games so far. It will be discounted this Black Friday, and thanks to the fact that it came out earlier in the year, the savings are even greater than with some of its fellow triple-A games that launched more recently.
We should have a firm idea of everything that will be on sale well in advance of Black Friday, but while we wait for all of the ads to come in, we’ve previewed what to expect from this year’s big day. That may help you determine if you should buy something now or wait for a possible deal later this month.
Anybody can walk into a story on Black Friday or browse to a retailer’s website, but there are tips and tricks to best approaching it. We’ve put together a guide to help you make the most of all the big sales.
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We often get asked about how the art on our covers come together. The truth is that it’s always a little different, but the creation of our Warcraft III: Reforged cover is a good example of how we collaborate with game studios to design a bold image for the front of the magazine. Here’s an inside look at the process behind how a cover comes together.
Most of the time, the art on Game Informer’s covers are created by the designers who work on the game. After we negotiated with Blizzard to put Warcraft III: Reforged on our December cover, the studio began dreaming about what it wanted to feature on the cover. Their first step was to go to our cover archive and look through all the art we’ve ever featured on the cover of the magazine. The team noted overall themes, compositions, and styles.
Blizzard really liked the covers for our Anthem cover story earlier this year, but for Warcraft III: Reforged, Blizzard is aiming for a more cinematic feel and plans to tone down some of the whimsy from the original game. Therefore, the team ultimately felt it wanted our cover to feature a big hero shot of an important character from the game. The original plan was to do a cover featuring Arthas, but Blizzard realized it already had a ton of art of Warcraft III’s central character and since Blizzard debuted the game with the level The Culling, the team determined that Mal’Ganis would be a good icon for our cover, since he is the primary antagonist for that chunk of the game.
Unfortunately, all of Blizzard’s internal artists were busy with other projects, so the team reached out to a Chinese contract artist named Bayard Wu, that they work with regularly. Wu previously worked on Hearthstone and a few Blizzard comic books, so the team felt he knew the company’s style. Within a few days, Wu had produced several concept sketches. Unlike some artists, Wu roughs out his ideas in digital paint, so they have a more finished feel, even from the start.
“We like the full body pose a little bit more; the other two were little more Drew Struzan [Star Wars poster artist],” says lead character artist Chris Amaral. “But then we didn’t know what was going to go on the other side of the cover, so that’s where we decided that we could take Stratholme and put it on the other side and have Arthas’ army fighting there.”
Wu didn’t realize he needed to draw a back cover for the magazine, so Blizzard experimented with our cover ratios and made sure that our logo would actually fit up top. The art directors also ensured we had space for UPC codes, splash text, and the magazine’s spine. Then Wu cleaned up the painting and added some finishing touches.
While at the studio, we pitched Blizzard on the idea of taking the Warcraft font and adapting it for our magazine. The result was striking, but in the end we decided to go with Game Informer’s logo that blended better with the teaser text in the lower left.
Once we get the final art from Blizzard, our production team adds our logo and teaser text. This is the final cover, but it’s just the beginning of our Warcraft III: Reforged coverage. Be sure to stick around this month, because we’ll be posting various video interviews with the teams and doing a deep dive into the lore of Warcraft III. Click on our banner hub for more on Warcraft III: Reforged.
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Superhero fatigue may or may not be finally setting in, but if there’s one genre that really has an overpopulation problem, it’s zombies. Think of the amount of zombie films that have come out since George Romero’s The Night of the Living Dead–and that’s not to mention the TV shows, books, comics, video games, and more.
Once you start looking at zombie films, you realize how similar most of them are–there’s an epidemic, people get infected, survivors try to survive–the end. And most stories about zombies have been contemporary (save the rare example like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). Sure, they change the formula a bit–a zombie comedy in Shaun of the Dead, a zombie Christmas musical in Anna and the Apocalypse–but there’s a whole lot of homogeny among the undead masses.
Overlord is doing something different: A mixture of Saving Private Ryan and Re-Animator set a day before D-Day in 1944. During a press day for the film after its world premiere at Fantastic Fest, GameSpot spoke with the cast and director of Overlord about where the zombie genre can go next: How do you possibly spice things up enough to beat the ultimate pairing of Nazi zombies?
Star Wyatt Russell was the first one to answer, and Hollywood would do well to listen up. “The Crusades, no question. Just think about it,” said Russell, who plays Ford, the leader of a group of soldiers who encounter an evil Nazi experiment.
“What about Noah’s Ark?” Iain de Caestecker, who plays Chase, chimed in.
“That’s actually a good idea,” responded Russell. “Noah’s Ark, but all the animals turn into zombies, so Noah has to fight them. I’m sure I just offended like half the country. Don’t make this movie, but if you do, I want in.”
“That’s the beauty about zombies,” said John Magaro, who plays comic relief character Tibbet. “You can put them pretty much everywhere. Like, I want to see what a Confucius movie would look like with zombies.”
We don’t know about you, but those are some solid ideas. However, a zombie film would be nothing without a group of survivors. For Overlord, in order to build camaraderie and a good dynamic between the actors, they had to go through boot camp.
“Right after we got out of the plane they put bags over our heads,” explained Russell. “Then they took us way out in the forest and left us for four days. The first thing they told us to do was build a tent, and none of us know each other. It felt like a reality show.”
“That really helped us bond,” said Magaro. “While the others built the tent I basically would stand right there and just pick up little twigs for the fire. We quickly found the natural rhythms with each other and our characters, and the natural banter we did during that camp translated into the screen.”
“They tried to make the experience similar to Band of Brothers, even though we only had about a third of the time to train,” said Jovan Adepo, who plays the film’s main character, the young and idealistic Private Boyce. “They had us train in navigation, we built fires, eat rations. By the end we could reload a weapon in our sleep.”
On his time period of choice for a zombie film? “I feel like any time period would be fun. Zombies just ramp up the stakes very quickly,” Adepo said. “But I would love to see a Shakespearean zombie film.”
Overlord hits theaters November 9.
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Following Diablo Immortal’s reveal at Blizzcon this weekend, many fans have reacted to the announcement negatively as most hoped for a next major installment to the franchise.
The upcoming mobile title, Diablo Immortal, has been called a “slap in the face” by fans. Some claim it looks like a reskin of an already existing mobile game, Crusaders of Light, which is also made by NetEase.
During an interview with Kotaku, Blizzard co-founder Allen Adham explains that the studio expected some backlash, but “not to this degree.”
Adham believes that the anger from fans comes from a place of passion, and he reiterates that the Diablo franchise remains a big focus for the company.
“We know our audience here is passionately PC- and console-focused,” he told Kotaku. “We’ve also seen this before. We saw a similar response when we announced that we were bringing Diablo to console, and we saw a similar response to the announcement of Hearthstone.”
“They love what they love and want what they want,” he continued. “That passion, it’s actually what drives us, and we feel it too. It’s why we make games and why we’ve made games for almost three decades now—and why our community is so passionate about our franchises. I understand their feeling and wish we could share more about all the amazing things we’re doing, not just with the Diablo franchise but across the company as a whole.”
Adham reassured fans that while the reveal wasn’t what fans expected, Blizzard is still working on multiple unannounced Diablo projects. “I know our community here, there’s a concern that we are focused on this instead of that,” he said. “The truth is that we have multiple Diablo teams working on multiple unannounced Diablo projects even after announcing [Immortal].”
As for the accusations about Diablo Immortal being a simple reskin of another game, Adham denied these claims. He explained that all assets and art are unique to Diablo Immortal, and that it was “purpose-built from the ground up.”
“In the East, that control method is becoming ubiquitous, and it’s becoming ubiquitous because it’s very natural, and it feels great,” he said. “Less so in the West, but we’re now starting to see some games that are bringing that mechanic to the West. So it’s us taking inspiration from some of the work they’ve done already.”
For more on Diablo Immortal, listen to our in-depth interview about its development.
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Square Enix has released a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts III, offering us another look at the Kingdom of Corona, a world based on Disney’s Tangled. In the video, which you can watch above, Sora, Donald, and Goofy stumble upon the tower where Rapunzel is being held and help set her free. But before long the newly liberated princess finds herself face to face with a monster.
Flynn Rider is also there, but quickly opts to take a backseat in battles, saying that he can get Rapunzel back to the kingdom but will need Sora and his companions to handle combat, which they have quite a bit of experience with at this point. The quick gameplay showcase also provides another look the traversal ability Rapunzel has, which involves swinging using her hair.
Much of the celebrity voice talent that was attached to the Disney universes featured in Kingdom Hearts III are reprising their roles, as are key performers from previous Kingdom Hearts titles. Haley Joel Osment returns to voice Sora, while Zachary Levi will return as Flynn Rider and Donna Murphy will once again be Mother Gothel. For Frozen, Idina Menzel is voicing Elsa, Kristen Bell is Anna, Josh Gad is Olaf, and Jonathan Groff is Kristoff.
John Ratzenberger and Wallace Shawn will feature as Hamm and Rex from Toy Story, while Tate Donovan is back as Hercules from Hercules, and Kevin R. McNally as Gibbs from The Pirates of the Caribbean. Tony Anselmo and Bill Farmer, who have served as the official voices of Donald Duck and Goofy for over than 30 years each, will also reprise their roles.
Utada Hikaru, who has provided the vocal theme for previous mainline Kingdom Hearts titles, will once again lend her voice for the third game. This time, however, the soundtrack will also feature a collaborative track made with Skrillex. Kingdom Hearts 3 is set to release on January 29, 2019 on Xbox One and PS4.
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Sandbox video games are one of the most popular styles of play for a good reason. By engendering player freedom, and encouraging a variety of activities, players feel tremendous agency over the unfolding story and action. That same sandbox approach has sometimes proven challenging to implement well in the tabletop gaming world, especially since board games almost always involve multiple players who must all be able to move through the same dynamic open world – a notoriously challenging problem to solve, in both tabletop and video game spheres. Luckily, there are more than a few standout successes in the board gaming world, and the recently released Western Legends stands tall among them. Tapping into the thrill of Old West shootouts, cattle wrangling, outlaw hunting, bank robberies, and more, Western Legends is as close as I’ve encountered to a definitive cowboy-themed board game. Whether you’re riding a high from the recent release of Red Dead Redemption 2, or you’re just a lifelong fan of the genre, Western Legends nails the fantasy.
In every game session, players control a familiar face from western mythology; figures like Billy the Kid, Annie Oakley, Wyatt Earp, and Bloody Knife fill the roster, and each has their own special abilities and equipment they bring to the start of the game. Your character sets out across a fictional stretch of mesas, creeks, and mining towns, filled with opportunities for adventure. Rather than a specific end game goal, each of the two to six players in the game is simply trying to garner “legendary points (LP),” acquired through a wide array of activities and exploits. Whether you commit a bank heist, prospect for gold, revel at the cabaret, or confront a bandit on the open range, everything feeds your goal of acquiring LP or the money that will help you along your path to legend.
At its core, Western Legends plays on the push and pull between law and outlaw that is at the heart of so many western stories. Are you working with the marshals to bring down bandits, save the innocent, and establish order? Or have you become a wanted man or woman through theft and murder? Both paths are viable, and are monitored on the board through dedicated tracks. The Wanted track offers a quick and dirty path to LP, with regularly accruing points for each new infamous action undertaken. The Marshal track is a slower path to fame, with many of the points for your good deeds not showing up right away, or even until the end of the game. However, the great thing about the process is how balanced and fun it is to take either path. Subsequent replays feel fresher and more exciting, since many of the choices you might make are different depending on your approach to the law. The game even supports dramatic flips partway through the game. Maybe you’re sick of being the buttoned-up marshal, and one day you decide to rob the bank. Welcome to the Wanted track!
The Wanted/Marshal tracks also set up a wonderful dynamic for player-versus-player competition. While there are plenty of non-player bandits to chase across the board, you can also hunt each other in pursuit of justice. In turn, that means every gaming group can customize the degree of direct competition and player conflict they prefer, simply through their choice of how to play.
Whether in a duel with another player or attempting to elude the NPC sheriff, Western Legends features a perfectly in-theme mechanic for conflict resolution. The game comes with a customized set of poker cards, with the general system in place that the highest card wins in a fight. But in addition to showing a numerical value or a face card, all the cards also feature bonus actions that can factor into an interaction. Sometimes, these are reactions to pull out in the midst of a fight, like the Bulletproof Jack card, that cancels any wounds you might otherwise have suffered in a shootout. At other points, the poker cards in your hand can be played to enhance actions on your turn, like the Saddle Up card that lets you move to any town space on the board. Regardless, the poker cards lend a fun flavor to the unfolding game, as you look around the table and everyone is carefully studying their cards, just as if you were all in a saloon at the card table. Get wounded, and the size of your card hand shrinks, reflecting the way your injuries limit your options. Incidentally, the game even features the option to head into town and actually play and bet in poker games to win more cash.
One of the reasons that Western Legends works so well is the wealth of options available on each turn. The board is scattered with icons depicting your activity choices. Heal up at the doctor’s office. Wrangle cattle to the rail station. Visit the general store to buy a new rifle. Rob another player you encounter on the road between towns. And on top of the turn-to-turn actions, at any time there are also story cards that come into play as designated events occur. For instance, after a certain number of Wanted or Marshal points are accrued by anyone, you might attract the attention of the Burrow Gang, who sweep down off the mesa, and must be fought off by outlaws and lawmen alike. Whether it’s a story card or a chosen activity, any given exchange is relatively straightforward; it’s the array of potential situations that keeps the game exciting from turn to turn.
That same advantage leads to about the only thing that can hold up the fun in Western Legends – keeping track of what to do in each situation. The game offers a handy player reference aid, but there’s a lot to keep track of. In some other games, players may be used to ignoring that kind of player aid card; that’s a bad idea in this case. Panning for gold requires that you roll a special set of dice, and then know or reference what each result means. Fighting a bank guard is just a little bit different from fighting the sheriff. And what exactly is the difference between robbing another player and dueling them? To counter this, make sure to spend a few minutes before the game having every player look at their player aid sheet, and knowing where to look for different pieces of info. The game will flow far better.
In addition, take advantage of the customizable game length option to cater to your group, which sets how many LP trigger the end game. I found that a short game for a mid-sized group could be completed in under two hours, an average-length (my preference) between two and three hours, and a long game could easily stretch past three. Choose wisely based on your group make-up, and how late in the evening you start your session.
Behind the clever mechanics and action interplay implemented by designer Hervé Lemaître, Western Legends also stands out for its evocative illustrations by Roland Macdonald. The earth-toned colors and figure art recalls Old West photography and catalog illustrations of the period, and helps the whole game feel cohesive and era-specific.
I’ve played several board games that focus on specific elements of the cowboy experience, from the train robberies of Colt Express and the cattle herding of Great Western Trail, to the dexterity-based shootouts of the raucous Flick ‘em Up. But no game I’ve encountered has taken such a broad and sweeping approach to the Old West fantasy as Western Legends. By letting players wander freely across the map in any direction, and take up any part of the cowboy experience they’re excited about, play feels remarkably open-ended and flexible. Add in the morality component, and Western Legends emerges as a gaming experience of dynamic choices and sudden reversals, in which emergent storytelling between players takes center stage. And beyond its engaging theme, Western Legends is a potent example of how open-world multiplayer sandboxes can not only work, but capitalize on the presence of other acting players.
2018 has been a standout year for great tabletop games. Click into the Top of the Table hub from the banner below, and check out some of the recent games we’ve featured. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, drop me a line, and I’ll be happy to help you find the right board, card, miniature, or role-playing game for your friends and family.
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Update: Since the launch of Fortnite‘s update 6.21 earlier today, there have been a number of developments involving the game. Most recently, it released an update on PC and Mac that it says should resolve crashes that have been affecting both platforms following the newest patch.
Prior to that, Epic notified users of a wide range of other issues involving the new update. On Twitter, it wrote, “We are investigating a few issues with the v6.21 patch, including problems with performance and matchmaking. We will post an update as soon as we have more information.”
Beyond this, Epic is also in the process of releasing a follow-up update to address issues with fall damage. Alongside balloons, it made changes to how fall damage is handled, but it says these changes are “a bit too aggressive.” It explained, “The new formula uses velocity (as opposed to fall height) … We’re currently working on a hotfix to reduce the damage amount in similar scenarios so it’s non-lethal.” It’s in the process of finding a way “to make it obvious that fall velocity will result in fall damage.” The original story follows.
The onslaught of new content for Fortnite continues, as developer Epic Games has released the game’s latest patch. Update 6.21 is now available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Android (iOS may have a short delay before an update hits the App store), and its headlining feature is a new type of item in Battle Royale: balloons. Here are the patch notes and everything that’s new.
Balloons may sound mundane, but they look as if they could introduce some wacky, tactical fun into the game. As you can see in the brief video below, holding onto balloons allows you to float or rise up into the air. They’re classified as Epic rarity, and when you pick them up, you’ll get a total of 20 that can be deployed. You can hold as many as six at once; you inflate balloons by hitting the primary fire button and let go of one by hitting secondary fire. Balloons are found in an assortment of places–chests, supply drops, supply llamas, vending machines, or as floor loot–but you’ll want to be careful when using them. The patch notes warn, “Don’t float too high for too long; balloons only last so long at max build height.”
Another significant change involves glider re-deploying, a feature that entered testing with the last patch. Epic won’t be removing this after all and has plans to continue monitoring feedback and testing the feature due to the “positive results” that it’s seen.
Update 6.21 vaults a number of weapons. In standard matches, you’ll no longer encounter the semi-auto sniper, guided missile, and dual pistols. These may return in the future, but for the time being, you’ll only be able to use them in Playground mode.
Regarding the grappler, Epic has tweaked it so that when it’s used by the passenger of a vehicle, the vehicle’s velocity plays a factor in increasing your grapple force. Also, grappling out of a vehicle will no longer cause it to move in an arc; the vehicle will instead continue straight forward.
On the Save the World side, you’ll find a new type of cache, a new hero, and an assortment of other fixes. As always, this co-op mode is only available to those who have purchased access; Epic recently revealed it won’t be available to everyone as a free-to-play mode (like Battle Royale) until sometime next year.
The release of update 6.21 comes just days before the Halloween event Fortnitemares is set to end in Battle Royale. Coming on Sunday, November 4, is some kind of one-time-only event to cap off the ongoing festivities. In the meantime, new Week 6 challenges will soon be available, and you can check out the full patch notes below.
We’ve finished our first week of Glider Re-deploy being available in all modes. During this time we’ve been collecting internal data and monitoring constructive feedback from all of you. We understand that not all players agree with this change, but we would like to continue with this functionality in the game based on the positive results we’ve been seeing.
As this feature remains available, we’ll begin making quality of life changes to its functionality. First of which will be prioritizing Glider audio over weapon audio within certain ranges, this will begin in v6.21. We also plan on adding additional changes in future updates.
Thanks for the discussion and feedback you’ve provided. Please continue letting us know how we can improve this feature, your thoughts on its effect in matches, and any other feedback you may have as we continue to work on Glider Re-deploy.
Additional Gameplay Changes
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Kids dressed up as various Fortnite characters are likely going to ring your doorbell and yell “trick or treat” tonight. After you hand them candy, and perhaps watch them perform one of Fortnite’s dance moves before vacating your property, we suggest diving into a horror game to end your Halloween night. We recommend playing one of the scariest games ever made – a game that may make you put the controller down and say “Nope. I can’t go on.” Which game could frighten you this much? I polled Game Informer’s staff to find out which game they would deem “the scariest of all time.” Along with some of the heavy hitters of video game horror, some staffers picked the game that defined this genre for them. One writer also picked a game that should scare no one.
We hope this list leads to a night of terrifying screeches and popcorn being thrown due to jump scares. Let us know in the comments section below which game you’d classify as the scariest ever made.
I’m a bit of a baby when it comes to horror – even the most telegraphed jump scare can send me rocketing out of my seat, to the point where my wife gets genuinely concerned about my well-being whenever it happens. Despite my skittishness, I still love horror films and games, including Visceral’s beloved sci-fi hit, Dead Space.
Despite being a decade old at this point, Dead Space still stands out in my mind as the scariest game ever made. And not because of the jump scares, which are abundant, or the necromorphs, which are appropriately grotesque. The real magic behind Dead Space’s cringe-inducing terror is the atmosphere; the unrelenting sense of dread that you are stuck on a dead spaceship overrun by horrific creatures. Granted, Dead Space’s setting and tone borrow liberally from Alien, but you couldn’t pick better source material to crib from, and Visceral did an exceptional job translating it into their own memorable and unique experience, through impeccable, claustrophobic level design, and unparalleled sound design that brought Isaac Clarke’s nightmare to life.
In fact, Visceral did such an amazing job on Dead Space that I never actually finished it – thanks to the oppressive, omnipresent sense of danger, most of my nightly play sessions only lasted about 30 minutes; I’d creep my way through the derelict halls of the Ishimura, complete an objective or two, and then say to myself, “You know what, I think I’m good for the night! Good progress!” After a few months of snail-like progress, I finally threw in the towel and moved on to other games – but not before being convinced that Dead Space is a true horror masterpiece. If EA ever releases a current-gen remaster (seriously, how has this not happened yet?!), I’m ready to give it another shot. – Jeff Marchiafava
My first true moment of video game terror occurred in 1996 when I was reviewing Resident Evil. At the time, horror games were creepy, unsettling, and sometimes dabbled in gore, but they didn’t deliver much in terms of suspense. That changed with Resident Evil. When a dog unexpectedly jumped through a window, I jumped out of my seat, screamed in a pitch I likely will never hit again, and my perception of what horror video games could offer completely changed in that moment.
The uncertainty of not knowing what could happen next stuck with me for the rest of the journey. It was the perfect scare delivered at a time where we didn’t expect that from games. Resident Evil is known for the rise of zombies in gaming, but should also be credited for its delivery of jump scares. It’s one of those rare games that challenged the norm and succeeded enough in doing so to redefine a genre. – Andrew Reiner
I first started at Game Informer in 2003, the same year that Fatal Frame II released. Several of my new co-workers had recently played the game, and they told me to check it out. I didn’t have much experience with scary games back then, but I assumed that my love of horror movies would inoculate me against the worst Fatal Frame II could offer. I was wrong.
The game follows two sisters who explore a creepy old house filled with ghosts, and your job as a player is to take pictures of those ghosts. That doesn’t sound too bad, but Fatal Frame II slowly establishes an atmosphere of dread and helplessness that distinguishes it as one of the scariest games ever made. In fact, I couldn’t finish it because it just freaked me out too much. I could handle the jump scares, but the combat was just too much; it combines creepy ghosts, wonky controls, and precise timing in a way that seemed tailor-made to fray my nerves. I’ve tried playing it twice, and both attempts ended after about 90 minutes. When people tell me it’s one of the best horror games ever made, I don’t doubt them – but I’m fine taking their word for it at this point. – Joe Juba
Let me just get this out of the way: Yes, I know that being scared of a game or movie or TV show is dumb, and you are very brave and strong for pointing that out. That said, I had to “NOPE” out almost immediately after the first time I tried playing the original Silent Hill. I was living alone at the time, and something about the opening moments got me right in the scaredy zone. I was fine right up until the part where all the little creepy ghost things with knives bumbled around Mason and the screen faded out. I don’t remember why, but something about that moment really creeped me out. I went back to the game a few years later and realized how utterly ridiculous the whole thing was, and I didn’t have any similarly embarrassing meltdowns. It’s still a really good game, but its low-poly horror didn’t withstand the test of time for me. Whew! – Jeff Cork
The scariest game moment I’ve ever had is from a game you’ve probably never heard of called 3D Hunting Shark, which features a gruesome death scene where your diver is ripped to shreds by a flurry of sharks. It looks dumb, but it scared the bejesus out of my 10-year-old self.
However, the scariest game I’ve ever played, as in the whole package being scary, is Frictional Games’ heartbreaking meditation on A.I., the meaning of life, and our worst fears: Soma. Soma’s terrors don’t arise from jump scares but instead from its claustrophobic atmosphere as you search your way through an underwater base in a ruined world, desperately searching for a way to save humanity from extinction. I won’t ruin the ending here but I will say it’s the most stomach-churning experience I’ve ever had in a video game, one that melds horror and tragedy in a sublime fashion, and has kept me up many a night thinking about it. – Javy Gwaltney
Playdead is one of my favorite developers and my appreciation for the studio stems from my first experience playing Limbo. It’s a creepy game that uses unsettling atmosphere instead of jump-scares to sell its fear, and there is one specific moment in the game that stands out to me, and it’s not the battle with the spider which is scary for different reasons. So much of Limbo is about figuring out how to make your way through its dark environment. It’s lonely, scary, mysterious, and just generally unsettling, but the thing that made me the most uncomfortable was the discovery that I was not the only child there. The first time another child appeared in the game I was shocked, and when they attacked me, as though I was the one who wasn’t supposed to be there, it cemented the idea that this world was wholly unwelcoming. Whatever limbo is, if that’s what that world is even called, it is never safe. Not alone, not it numbers – there is death around every corner. Your interaction with the other children in limbo is short, and fatal, but in a game full of strange terrifying moments, the simple appearance of another person is what has always stuck with me the most. – Kyle Hilliard
I’ve loved horror for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until I played P.T. that I felt so rattled I was unsure I could complete the game. P.T. was a playable teaser that was temporarily available on the PlayStation Store, directed by Hideo Kojima with the assistance of Guillermo del Toro. With Kojima’s love for the strange and del Toro’s devotion to horror, the combination felt like a perfect fit to make something spectacularly spooky. Although the full game was cancelled, what was available of P.T. was unlike anything I had played before. It had great tricks up its sleeve, by looping you through the same hallway of a suburban house repeatedly and having small changes, like blood dripping from the ceiling or a fetus wailing in a sink, appear as you solved puzzles. Relying less on jump scares and more on atmosphere, P.T.’s creepiness was unrivaled. Of course, despite its attention to atmosphere, there’s one jump scare I won’t forget for a long time coming, and her looming presence in the home left me on edge for the entirety of the experience. – Elise Favis
Video games commonly retread the well-worn ground of power fantasies, giving players a set of skills to master and dominate their rivals. Alien: Isolation flipped the script to great result and freaked me the f*** out in the process. Amanda Ripley may be Ellen’s daughter, but she isn’t packing the stopping power necessary to put down a xenomorph. Instead, when the nightmarish drone descends on her position, the best you can do is turn tail, run for the best hiding spot you can find, and pray that the undefeatable predator doesn’t find its prey. Making matters more complicated, the alien threat seemingly follows none of the discernible “search and stand down” enemy A.I. patterns we’ve studied in countless other games, making each encounter unpredictable. The unrelenting tension created by these cat and mouse sequences forced me to walk away from the controller more than once. For a horror game, that’s one of the highest accolades of all. – Matt Bertz
SadSquare Studio’s trek through a haunted house starts off slow, but quickly turns into a surreal mind-bending trek through terror. While only early access is currently available, the first journey through Lucy’s unfortunate tale begins with a camera. With only lighters, candles, and the camera flash, the trip through darkness ramps up steadily, relying on a strong combination of atmospheric horror and the occasional well-placed jump-scare.
I’ve played tons of horror games and Visage is among the best even in early access. While it’s easy for this genre to fall back on loud jump scares to make players surprised and uncomfortable, Visage uses them as exclamation points to long sentences instead of a constant barrage that can desensitize the player if overused. As I worked through the house’s basement using only my camera flash to reveal the path – and scares – in front of me, I’m continually impressed by the game’s ability to build up to a satisfying, scary payoff. There are no defenses, so much like Amnesia: The Dark Descent, you are at the utter mercy of anything that comes your way, and must keep your sanity high, stay out of the dark as much as you can, and escape from very real ghouls and ghosts that come your way. You are always utterly vulnerable, and the creaks, crawls, TVs turning on and radio blips ratchet up the tension at all times. Turn out the lights, turn the volume up, and see if you can make it through this house’s haunted halls. – Dan Tack
This may be a surprising pick, but the loudest I’ve ever screamed from a video-game scare has probably come from the Don’t Wake Wiggler minigame in Super Mario Party. Players take turns petting a sleeping Wiggler, with the person who logs the most pets earning the crown. However, with every pet, Wiggler comes closer to waking up. Since the competition is so tense, you find yourself leaning in and getting laser focused on the screen, hoping it sleeps through your turn. Even if you’re not the one who wakes the Wiggler, you’re still likely going to fall for the scare that comes when it notices your presence. Sheer horror that likely puts the other games on this list to shame. – Brian Shea
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As a wise man once said: “cash rules everything around me”, and if Arthur Morgan had lived to see 1994, he’d probably agree. As you might expect, the keys to progression in Red Dead Redemption 2 don’t lie in stockpiling experience or skill points, but cold hard cash. It’s a rich man’s world out in the old west, and if you have a good wad of money in your wallet, you can use it to buy better guns and equipment, feed yourself, groom your horse, buy new duds, customize the hell out of everything you own, and give you and your campmates a more comfortable way of living, among other things.
But like real life, it ain’t easy getting rich. The Van Der Linde gang begin the game in a poor financial position, and for a long time you’ll find yourself doing tasks for little to no reward, and feel like you’re getting nowhere. But don’t fret, there are plenty of avenues to make some bread in Red Dead 2. Here are all the ways we’ve discovered so far. It’s spoiler free, and you don’t even have to be a jerk all the time.
There are actually some money-related advantages to being a good guy, so you should carefully consider the approach you plan on taking with your version of the character. Diligence is one key aspect to making money, as you’ll want to loot corpses, but there’s more to it than ensuring you don’t leave cash lying around on the ground after a fight. Read on for a full list of ways too make money quickly and easily.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is out now for PS4 and Xbox One. If you want know exactly how Rockstar’s latest open-world adventure turned out, check out our Red Dead 2 review. For more guides, read our feature offering beginner’s tips you should know, as well as our money guide. We’ve also got articles detailing how long the game is and how gun customization works.
But do you have any money making tips? Let us know all about them in the comments below.
Have you played a video game in the past five years? Then this should be a no-brainer: loot everybody you see. You’ll find ammo and consumable items which are always helpful, but you’ll also often find a small amount of cash and valuable items which you can later sell.
The act of looting is a bit more labored in Red Dead Redemption 2, but don’t worry–after huge battles, Arthur will get the chance to comb the battlefield for spare change, and here’s a tip–keep holding down the loot button and Arthur will automatically move on to a nearby body as soon as he’s done.
Also be sure to loot interior locations with cabinets and drawers (you can use Arthur’s hunting sense with L3 + R3 to highlight lootable items), as well as the saddlebags of any remaining horses.
If you have no hesitations about being a badder-than-average cowboy, you can easily rob people on the street at gunpoint and ask them to hand over whatever they have. You can do the same to shopkeepers and get access to the cash register and any illicit business they may or may not be hiding in the building. Just be aware that these kinds of situations don’t always go down well, depending on who you deal with–you need to be prepared for the consequences if a job goes south.
If robbing a lot of people in a short amount of time is something that appeals to you, then keep an eye out for any trains that might be nearby. There’s some effort involved in actually getting on there and dispatching any guards, but after that, you basically have whole carriages full of people just handing things over. Just make sure to cover your face and know when to peace out.
Stagecoaches can also be pretty profitable, and they’re a little easier to get under control. There are a number of ways to get one to stop with either by using your moxie or your muscle and once you’ve got things under control you can break into the lockbox at the rear of the carriage by either using a lockpick or just shooting the lock.
Later in the game, you’ll get access to characters who can give you hot tips on where to intercept particularly lucrative stagecoaches.
Alright, so you know all those rings, jewelry bags, buckles, gems, and pocket watches you’ve picked up? That stuff is no good to you, so sell it! Well, maybe keep just one pocket watch. You can either donate these items via the donation box to have it go straight to the gang’s communal funds, or you can find a fence later in the game (there aren’t any near the starting towns) to have that money go straight into your pocket.
As you progress through the story, Arthur and friends will meet characters who will take any stolen stagecoaches or horses you’ve come into possession of and give you a bit of cash for them. This is a bit of a drag, since you have to physically bring them back and the take isn’t amazing, but worth considering if it’s only a short detour.
You can still sell horses at regular stables, but you won’t get as much from them. You can also break in wild horses and sell them to a stable–you’ll also get more for it depending on your bond with it.
When you’re living on the road and off the land, hunting and fishing is a part of life. Animals have a number of uses–you can skin them and use their pelts in crafting, cook their meat for sustenance, and donate their carcasses and meat to Pearson back at camp to keep the camps food supplies up. But if your own supplies are well-stocked, you can also sell all animals and fishes to the butchers you find in towns. The selling price is based on the hunt quality, and the return is not great, but if you’re already on your way into town a quick stop to hunt a boar is a good way to make few bucks for your next meal.
Alright, time to be a goody-goody. Optional wanted bounties will occasionally pop up during the game–you’ll typically find posters in a town’s Sherrif’s office. You’ll get a reasonable amount of money for hunting down these criminals and bringing them in, and it’s usually worth doing them to get those extra little bits of storytelling.
One of the first upgrades you can request for your camp is to improve Dutch’s tent. This will supposedly encourage gang members to be more proactive in contributing to camp funds, but honestly, the difference is almost negligible.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is full of little encounters to discover while exploring the open world. One of these encounters involves snakes, and the other involves bear traps. If you ever stumble across someone like this asking for help, do something! They won’t give you anything immediately, but some time later, you’ll run into them hanging out in front of a store. They’ll recognize you, and offer to let you buy almost any one item from the store they’re at and put it on their tab. This could mean anything from a free gun to a new hat, and potentially save you a couple hundred dollars.
Help people in other types of random encounters, and they’ll often give you tips on where to find more avenues for money, like homesteads ripe for robbery. So yeah, it pays not to be a jerk sometimes. Well, until you need to be a jerk and rob someone’s house. But they’re mostly bad people, honest.
I’m no good at poker. But if you are, then it can be a pleasant way to earn a bit of easy cash. Red Dead Redemption features games like poker, blackjack, dominos, and five-finger fillet, all of which can be played for money.
By far the most lucrative way to make money in Red Dead Redemption 2 is to just play the game–do the story missions, do the side missions, do the stranger quests. Some of them will only get you a small cash reward, some of them won’t reward you at all, sure. But some of them will involve the activities mentioned, like stagecoach holdups and home robberies, and are more lucrative. Some of the major story missions will see you walking away with thousands of dollars. On top of that, missions will occasionally give you new guns and items, saving you a bit of money if you can just hold out a little longer before buying that sweet bolt-action rifle.
So if you’re low on cash, don’t get too down in the dumps–there are a lot of avenues to make money no matter what kinds of activities you enjoy doing in Red Dead Redemption 2, so just follow your heart, and the rewards will come.
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At Paris Games Week, a gathering of Fortnite fans has set a world record, verified by and added to Guinness World Records’ listings. The fans all got together to perform Fortnite emotes, which sets the world record for the largest gathering of people performing video game emotes at once.
It took 393 people to perform the emote routine, all wearing various Fortnite outfits and Cuddle Team hoodies, running through Fortnite’s dance routines. You can check out a small snippet of it below.
What do you get when you bring together Fortnite fans at Paris Games Week? A Guinness World Record for the Most Participants in a Video Game Emote Routine!
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) October 28, 2018
According to Guinness, which is, by the way, the same Guinness that makes the Irish dry stout, setting a verifiable world record is not as easy as you’d think. You first have to apply at their website with the record you’re attempting to break or the first of its kind that you’re setting and both have to be manually looked at and judged. You might be the first person to smash ten paintings over $3,000 over your head, but that doesn’t mean Guinness will think that’s noteworthy. Similarly, you can apply to say you’ve bench pressed the most weight in the world, but if your previous record is 60 lbs, they might not believe you can do 885 lbs next.
Then evidence needs to be provided to Guinness, as well. This includes but is not limited to logbooks, photographic evidence, video evidence, and two witness statements.
On a fun note, six current and former Game Informer editors have set Guinness World Records multiple times. So, you know, maybe that painting thing is doable. You never know until you try.
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Rockstar Game’s latest release, Red Dead Redemption 2 on PS4 and Xbox One, is a game where you’ll want to spend a great deal of time uncovering all of its secrets and details. You can spend 50-plus hours just completing the main story, slowing accumulating wealth and honor. But if you’re someone looking for a shortcut–who wants to find a quick path to success while living the life of an outlaw in the last days of the wild west–we’ve got you covered. Much like the original game and GTA V, Red Dead 2 features an assortment of cheat codes that unlock additional resources, with some injecting odd gimmicks and quirks into your game.
To find the Cheats menu, press the pause button and select the Settings option. In this menu, press Triangle or Y (on PS4 and Xbox One, respectively) to pull up the Cheats menu. From here, you’ll find a long list of locked cheats. Initially, you won’t know what any of these do or how to unlock them. Many of these codes can be activated by putting in the correct phrase, but others will require some extra time and effort.
In addition to finding passwords while exploring the world, some of which are written into the ground, throughout the game you’ll find newspapers for sale in towns, and some of these offer clues as to how to unlock these extra fun options. More newspapers will become available after completing main missions, which you’ll see detailed in news articles. While many of these cheats introduce some mostly benign bits of fun–such as keeping your character, Arthur Morgan, perpetually drunk–activating these codes at any time will have some consequences for your save game. Once you activate these codes, all Trophies and Achievements will be deactivated on this particular file. As a result, before trying any of these codes, be sure to make a separate file for your main save.
With over 30 codes to unlock, some of which have some specific requirements, we’ve collected a list of cheats that we’ve uncovered thus far. We also have a separate feature discussing some of the most entertaining and best cheats in Red Dead Redemption 2. Be sure to check back with GameSpot as we update this page with new codes, and how to find them.
|Cheat Code||Name||Description||How To Unlock|
|A fool on command||Drunk||Always stay drunk (can be turned off in cheat menu)||No requirements|
|Abundance is the dullest desire||Infinite Ammo||Unlimited ammunition for all weapons.||Unlocked by purchasing the New Hanover Gazette No. 27 in Valentine or the Blackwater Ledger No. 62. Can be done after journeying to Horseshoe Overlook in Chapter 2.|
|Better than my dog||Increase Horse Whistle Range||Activating will allow your Horse to find you regardless of distance.||No requirements|
|Greed is American Virtue||Heavy Weapons||Grants you instant access to the Bold-action Rifle, Mauser Pistol, Pump Action Shotgun, and Semi-Automatic Pistol.||Unlocked by purchasing Saint Denis Times No. 46 or the Blackwater Ledger No. 65 after completing the mission Advertising, the New American Art in Chapter 3.|
|I shall be better||Set Dead Eye To Level 3||Activating this cheat will upgrade your Deadeye skill. Level 3 is the initial level, but more will be added as it is unlocked.||No requirements|
|I seek and I find||Set Dead Eye To Level 5||Activating this cheat will upgrade your Deadeye skill. Note this is tied to the “I shall be better” cheat.||No requirements|
|Keep your dreams simple||Create Wagon||Activating this cheat will spawn a wagon, and along with another horse.||No requirements|
|Run! Run! Run!||Create Race Horse||Activating this cheat will instantly spawn a Race Horse for use.||No requirements|
|The lucky be strong evermore||Increase Stamina||Activating this cheat will grant infinite stamina for you and your horse||Unlocked by purchasing the Blackwater Ledger No. 68 after the mission Dear Uncle Tacitus in Chapter 5.|
|Virtue unearned is not virtue||Increase Honor||Activating this cheat will increase your Honor to the maximum amount (good honor)||Unlocked by purchasing the Blackwater Ledger No. 67 after the mission Banking, The Old American Art in Chapter 4.|
|Would you be happier as a clown?||Create Circus Wagon||Activating this cheat will create a Circus Wagon for use.||Unlocked by purchasing the Blackwater Ledger No. 73 during Epilogue Part 2.|
|You flourish before you die||Set Health, Stamina, and Dead Eye Bars to Full||Restores all health, stamina, and Dead Eye energy to full.||No requirements|
|You are a beast built for war||Create War Horse||Activating this cheat will create a War Horse for use.||Unlocked by purchasing the Blackwater Ledger No. 72 during Epilogue Part 1.|
|You long for sight and see nothing||Fog Of War||Activating this cheat will reveal the full map before discovery.||Unlocked by purchasing the Blackwater Ledger No. 66 or New Hanover Gazette No.31 after the mission Blood Feuds, Ancient and Modern in Chapter 3.|
|You seek more than the world offers||Fortify Heath, Stamina, and Dead Eye Bars||Activating this cheat will refill and fortify Health, Stamina, and Dead Eye bars.||Unlocked by purchasing the New Hanover Gazette No.36 after completing The King’s Son mission in Chapter 6.|
Red Dead 2 is now available on PS4 and Xbox One. If you want to hear more of our thoughts on Rockstar’s expansive open-world western, check out our full Red Dead 2 review. We’ve got much more in store for the game in the coming weeks, which includes our new recurring series QuickDraw. For now, take a look at our round-up of fascinating and interesting facts the game doesn’t outright tell players, and along with other useful tips you should know.
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The next big Destiny 2: Forsaken update, 2.0.5, arrives next Tuesday, bringing with it some big quality-of-life improvements and a new questline for getting your friends to play the game.
The most important change the update makes is to how exotic weapons and armor will drop. Exotics are currently hyper-rare in Forsaken (far moreso than they were in vanilla Destiny 2), and players would often get the same exotics, often from year one, multiple times. This won’t be the case come October 30, when the update hits.
While Bungie had previously announced this change, it detailed how the change would work this week. “When you’re receiving an exotic, we will take into account all exotics you’ve found, and weight them against Exotics you have yet to acquire; this lowers the chances of receiving Exotics you already own,” Bungie says on its official blog. Armor pieces will be more much more common, too, since they have random rolls (making duplicates useful), and exotics received from quests are no longer in the pool of loot you can get from an exotic engram.
Additionally, Masterwork cores will be retitled Enhancement cores. These new cores, which are still used for infusing weaker items with stronger ones, will be easier to get; they’ll drop from the Spider’s weekly bounties, as well as Scrapper bounties that come from dismantling gear.
Finally, along with some buffs to Trace Rifles and quest exotics Wish-Ender and Malfeasance, The October 30 update will add a new refer-a-friend questline, which will offer bonuses to the both the veteran player who recruits a new player and the newbie. This includes a new shader for ships, sparrows, and an ornament for the exotic sniper rifle Borealis, as well as a new emblem, all of which have scaly glow that changes color over time.
Any player who currently owns Destiny 2 qualifies as a veteran, while only those who’ve owned Destiny 2: Forsaken for fewer than seven days qualify as a new player.
For the full breakdown of weapon changes and quality-of-life changes, check out the full blog post.
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Microsoft has plans to expand the Game Pass subscription service from Xbox One to PC. CEO Satya Nadella reportedly mentioned during an earnings call that bringing Game Pass to PC will help increase the strength of the Xbox brand.
Ars Technica reports that Nadella didn’t give any indication of when to expect the subscription to expand, or if it would be included within the same all-you-can-eat price as the Xbox version. It would make some sense for the service to be all-encompassing, given that its current “Play Anywhere” initiative has made PC and Xbox versions of games available across both platforms regardless of where you bought it.
On the Xbox One, though, Game Pass has an isolated marketplace for such a service, competing only somewhat with the more niche EA Access. A PC subscription service would face competition from other similar monthly services at various price tiers. An Xbox One Game Pass subscription currently costs $10 a month. Expanding that pass to include PC games could come through an optional extra fee without paying for an entirely separate subscription.
Microsoft made a bold play for Game Pass by announcing early this year that it would feature all first-party games, on the day of release. That has included big names like Sea of Thieves and Forza Horizon 4. The company also works with publishers to introduce a new slate of third-party Game Pass games every month, and the list is growing pretty large. It also made Game Pass part of its All Access plan, which bundles the console, Game Pass, and Xbox Live Gold together.
Meanwhile, Sony appears to be keen on competing with Microsoft, changing its PlayStation Now service to allow players to download games. PlayStation Now had been a strictly streaming service, which Microsoft will be exploring in more depth next year with Project xCloud.
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In May 2017, developers Remedy removed the PC version of Alan Wake for sale from digital distribution store Steam, citing the music licenses in the game as the reason. The music in the game was negotiated to only be allowed for so long while the game was on sale and Remedy had to eventually pull it, believing that changing it made for a worse product. Now, thanks to Microsoft, the game is back on sale on multiple digital distribution stores.
Big thanks to our partner and Alan Wake’s publishers @Microsoft who were able to renegotiate the rights to the licensed music in Alan Wake, so that the game can be sold again.
— Remedy Entertainment (@remedygames) October 25, 2018
Microsoft originally published Alan Wake on the Xbox 360 in May 2010, seemingly negotiating a seven-year deal for the licensed music in the game. Each chapter in the original release ended with music from Roy Orbison, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, David Bowie, and Harry Nilsson, which meant that removing them massively changed the tone and tenor of the game. Remedy removed the game from sale indefinitely, but has thanked Microsoft for renegotiating those deals to get Alan Wake back on PC.
It is important to note that Microsoft is not the publisher for Alan Wake on PC, so stepping in to do the contract renegotiation for these titles is rather unprecedented. Remedy both developed and published the PC port on their own. One reason for them intervening could be a desire to get Alan Wake onto Xbox One’s backwards compatibility, which would let them put the game for sale on Xbox Live once again. On the other hand, that has not always stopped them, as was the case for Forza Horizon.
Maybe this was simply a case where they could do something about it, so they did. Now if only we could get publishers to stop signing short-term music license deals.
Remedy’s next game, Control, was revealed this past E3 and you can read our impressions of it from the show right here.
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Bethesda held its first Fallout 76 beta session this week on Xbox One, but if you missed out, you’ll soon have another opportunity to try the online RPG ahead of its release. The publisher has announced the date and time of its second Fallout 76 beta test, and like the previous session, this one will only be available on Xbox One.
The second Fallout 76 beta test kicks off on Saturday, October 27, at 2 PM PT / 5 PM ET / 10 PM BST. Whereas the first session lasted for four hours, this weekend’s test is much briefer, only running for two. You can find the exact hours for each region below.
According to Bethesda, the purpose of the Fallout 76 beta is to “stress test and break the game,” so it will only be running during “targeted time frames.” To qualify for the beta, you’ll first need to pre-order Fallout 76 on your platform of choice, then follow the steps detailed on Bethesda’s FAQ page. You’ll also need to have an Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus subscription to participate.
Bethesda hasn’t announced any further Fallout 76 test sessions yet, but the beta is scheduled to expand to PS4 and PC players as well starting October 30. Those who participate in it will be able to carry their progress over to the game when it launches next month. You’ll also get 500 Atoms–Fallout 76’s in-game currency–as an added bonus for pre-ordering, which you can use to purchase cosmetic items in the shop.
Fallout 76 launches for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on November 14. You can watch us play the first beta session in the video above. For more on the upcoming RPG, be sure to check out our roundup of everything we know about Fallout 76.
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When Sega announced a few months ago that several Yakuza games were getting ported to the PlayStation 4, both longtime series fans and newcomers were excited to have the entire Yakuza series in one easily accessible place through a spate of new games, remakes, and remasters. As evidence that the inexorable march of time affects all things, however, Yakuza 4’s remaster is going to undergo some changes when it arrives on the console, including a complete recasting for Masayoshi Tanimura, one of the game’s four protagonists.
The setup to Yakuza 4 was the first inkling that Sega’s Yakuza studio was starting to move away from Kazuma Kiryu as the face of the series. The game split between four protagonists instead – the money-lender Shun Akiyama, the death-row inmate Taiga Saejima, the beat cop Masayoshi Tanimura, and Kazuma Kiryu. Akiyama and Saejima both played roles after Yakuza 4, but Tanimura mysteriously disappeared.
The actor that played Tanimura, Hiroki Narimiya, was both the voice for the character and the basis for his character model. Narimiya was face-scanned for Yakuza 4’s more dramatic cutscenes, as well. In 2016, amid accusations of cocaine use, Narimiya announced his retirement via fax and abruptly disappeared from public life. Since a few of Tanimura’s lines needed to be re-recorded, and likely to avoid any sort of public relations issue considering the circumstances surrounding Narimiya’s retirement, Sega opted to completely replace the actor with Toshiki Masuda. Masuda is best known for his voice acting roles, including the voice of Eijiro in My Hero Academia.
This means that the entire character model and voice work for Tanimura is being completely changed for the HD remaster, which is not unprecedented, but has never been done at this scale before. The HD remaster for Yakuza 4 is scheduled to come out in January in Japan, but no U.S. release for any of the remasters has been announced as of yet.
[Source: Famitsu via Gematsu]
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With Halloween fast approaching, your interest in scary movies may be rising faster than the gleaming knife of a masked killer. If you’re looking for some great deals on horror movies, you’ll want to check out Vudu, which is running a big sale on movies and TV shows that will keep you up half the night, peeking at shadows and wincing at every creak you hear.
The Paranormal Activity series has been summoning scares from viewers since the original found-footage film hit theaters in 2007. Vudu currently has the full set of six movies on sale for just $10. Or you can grab a collection of all four Insidious movies for $30. Like all of the videos listed here, they’re yours to keep and watch forever.
A Quiet Place stars John Krasinski and Emily Blunt as parents trying not to make a sound as they’re stalked by some unknown creatures; it’s down to $10. For the same price, you can also grab Split, which will help you get up to speed before M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming movie Glass releases next year.
A number of other movie collections are also on sale. You can get eight Friday the 13th films for $30 or eight Saw movies for $20. A bundle containing the new It and The Shining is on sale for $15. For the same price, you can grab all four Scream movies.
Maybe you’re not into really scary movies, or you have kids and want to watch something with them. You can get the campy classic Hocus Pocus for $10. Is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? Why not both? It’s on sale for $10. Coraline, another not-too-creepy stop-motion film, is on sale for $7. And let’s not leave out Frankenweenie, which is discounted to $13. Fans of TV horror can get seasons of True Blood and Penny Dreadful on sale.
All of these movies and shows can be watched on the Vudu app, which is available on most internet-connected gizmos, including PS4, Xbox One, Apple TV, and mobile devices.
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When Shadow of the Tomb Raider released last month, fans were fairly split on the game. Our own review felt like the game wasn’t entirely fulfilling its potential, but user reviews on digital distribution service Steam were in the “positive” range, which means that 70% of reviewers were high on the game. Now that positive has fallen after the Steam community has become upset that a sale price for the game that owners feel is premature.
The game released on September 14 and got a 34% discount on Steam on October 16. Since that date, 66% of the game’s reviews have been negative, most not mentioning anything actually good or bad about the game. The reviews mention that the game released a month prior and people who pre-ordered paid more than people who waited a month.
“one month -34%!!! OMG” read one review.
“just a month, and 50% off, what the hell?” reads another.
“Discount a month after the game, the normal course Square Enix :DDDDD Thank you, now your games will be bought only 99% discount,” says a review written on shortly after the sale went live. “As for the game itself, I can say that it is neither better nor worse than the previous parts. I liked it,” the reviewer writes before delving into spoiler territory.
Many of the negative reviews mention differing percentages for the price, though it is not clear why. Checking different regions does not appear to indicate that any SKU of the game exceeded the 34% discount advertised by Steam.
For its part, Steam filters reviews to designate between helpful and unhelpful, so clicking the actual text of a review is supposed to lead potential purchasers to conclude that the game is being reviewed en masse for reasons other than game quality. That said, it does not surface this until you click through to the reviews, so all most people will see is the brown-text “Mixed” reviews on the store page.
Of course, there are still people with legitimate complaints in the reviews, ranging from audio bugs to disagreement with where Eidos Montreal took the third game in the series after Crystal Dynamics worked on the previous two. These reviews are thrown in with the other negative reviews as Steam’s algorithm does not distinguish between the types of negative reviews.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s first DLC, the Forge, releases on November 13.
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Halloween fast approaches, which means you’re likely in the mood to play some spooky games. Luckily for you, there are a wealth of horror games to play that are well worth your time. The genre had humble beginnings in the late ’80s, with a wave of fantastic games coming out in the three subsequent decades. And thanks to the rise of indie games, there are more horror games out now than ever before.
To help you discover some of the most terrifying horror experiences available, we’ve compiled 13 games that we find to be the most frightening. Genre classics like Silent Hill 2, Resident Evil Remake, and Dead Space are represented here, but you’ll also find more surprising choices interspersed throughout. Regardless of their notoriety, the games we highlight are all ones we that left us with lasting memories.
There’s a lot of horror-related media out right now that isn’t just games. The latest entry of the cult favorite horror film franchise Halloween just released, and it’s quite good, so be sure to read our review. There are also some pretty cool Easter eggs in the film that are likely to please hardcore fans. In other news, the second season of Castlevania is set to premiere via Netflix on October 26, and we’ve got a review of the first six episodes.
Which horror games do you think are the scariest? Shout out your favorites in the comments below.
A lot has been said about Silent Hill 2, so I’ll spare you any overt critical analysis I have on this much beloved survival-horror sequel and instead share with you why this game still rocks. The premise alone should be enough to captivate you. As the widowed James Sutherland, you travel to the foggy town of Silent Hill in search of your dead wife, who has somehow managed to send you a letter. As a middle schooler (yes, I played this game in 8th grade), Silent Hill 2’s story was like nothing else I had encountered. There were no action heroes, explosions, or convoluted government conspiracies. Just a crippling sense of dread, an eerie atmosphere, and intriguing characters that kept my hands glued to my PS2 controller.
Silent Hill 2 expertly handles its myriad horrors, pulling you in with disturbing creatures, clever puzzles, and haunting sound design. I can’t help but be in awe of how well it stands up whenever I revisit the game every few years. Its Historical Society area remains one of its crowning achievements and one of horror gaming’s most expertly designed environments, brilliantly handling tense foreboding with unexpected pathways and puzzles. There are some slow moments interspersed between its most terrifying ones, but they’re never enough to detract from the chilling horror and thought-provoking storytelling on display.
If you haven’t played Silent Hill 2, you’re in for quite a spooky adventure. It’s one of the genre greats for a reason, and it only continues to stand the test of time. — Matt Espineli
Red Barrels’ Outlast has always stood out to me for how the game presents its world. Mount Massive Asylum is blanketed in absolute darkness, so the only way to see where you’re going most of the time is by using the night vision function on protagonist Miles Upshur’s video camera.
Because I’m terrified of the dark, I use the camera all the time, and this transforms everything I see into a murky green where faraway environmental details aren’t clear and enemies’ eyes shine with a ghoulish glow. Also, this mechanic forces me to explore–batteries need to be found to keep the night vision function on the camera working–and Outlast’s chilling soundtrack make those unscripted moments of searching very tense.
Looking for batteries isn’t even the scariest part of Outlast, though. It’s the inhuman Variants that create most of the game’s scares. Desperately running through an insane asylum while cannibalistic twins, a scissor-wielding mad scientist, and a seemingly unkillable monster chase after Upshur is terrifying. The worst of these Variants, Eddie Gluskin, appears in Outlast’s Whistleblower expansion. Gluskin, aka The Groom, is a deranged serial killer who mutilates his male victims’ genitalia in order to create the “perfect wife.” Watching what he does–in first-person I might add–to the DLC’s protagonist, Waylon Park, haunted me for days, and is still nauseating to even think about. — Jordan Ramee
Three years after Resident Evil 4 squeezed new scares from one of gaming’s best horror series, Visceral Games might have perfected the third-person survival horror formula with Dead Space. Players control engineer Isaac Clarke as he and a rescue team land on a city-sized spaceship to find out why it’s not responding to communications. They quickly discover the reason is that the ship has been overrun by monsters that used to be its crew, which are nearly impossible to kill unless players use various sci-fi mining tools to hack off the creatures’ limbs.
Dead Space is a perfect confluence of modern sensibility and old-school survival horror, pairing fantastic graphics and gameplay, specifically its limb-cutting mechanics, with slightly uncooperative controls and the desperate hunt for items to keep Isaac healthy. The game uses everything at its disposal to scare you. Its industrial setting pairs with sound design that makes you constantly feel like you’re not alone, and every surface is covered in air vents perfect for delivering popcorn-tossing moments as lethal mutated creatures come squirming out, straight at your face. Visceral tops it off with a spooky story that combines Alien, Children of the Corn, and Evil Dead. — Phil Hornshaw
Devil Daggers may not be a traditional horror game by any means, but that makes it no less scary every time I play it. It throws you into a dark arena and tasks you with eliminating waves of flying skulls, disgusting, multi-legged beasts, and other demonic monstrosities.
There is no winning in Devil Daggers; death is inevitable, whether that comes after 10 seconds or 100 (if you’re good). It’s minimal in terms of visuals and sound; there’s no music to accompany the onslaught of enemies. Instead, enemies produce terrifying but distinct noises. This serves to assist you by letting you know where enemies are, but it also creates an inescapable sense of dread as these horrifying monsters box you in. I find it hard not to jump out of my seat when I turn and see that I’m face to face with a flying horned monster.
It’s unusual that a game designed around high score runs is scary, and the threat of failure is undoubtedly part of what makes Devil Daggers so tense. But it’s the combination of this tension with the haunting imagery and sounds that create a legitimately terrifying experience. — Chris Pereira
I’ll admit to being the perfect mark for Slender: The Eight Pages when it was released for free in 2012. The tiny, minimalist Unity experiment by developer Mark Hadley capitalized on peak Slender Man interest, expounding on the Internet-born folklore creature that was already doing a phenomenal job of absolutely creeping me out. Hadley’s little game was a tightly made little nightmare: you’re exploring a small, darkened park from a first-person perspective, and you’re being hunted by a supernatural creature that you can’t even look at without dying. Players try to gather eight pages from around a park, which detail some other poor victim’s descent into madness, while the thing keeps appearing in front of you, ever closer. It was a perfect storm of jump scares, ambient dread, and a spooky creation of the zeitgeist at the height of its power.
Slender: The Arrival expanded the game with multiple levels, a full story and prettier graphics to fully realize Hadley’s original concept. It didn’t change the core principle of being hunted, with nothing to help you except fleeing in desperate terror, and hoping that looking away from what stalks you might be enough to save you a few moments more. — Phil Hornshaw
To play Resident Evil 7 is to willingly put yourself in an inhospitable environment. The decrepit mansion where the game begins is filthy, with peeling, yellowed wallpaper, broken drywall, and garbage littering the scarred wooden floor. Wind blows through the cracks in drafts, emitting a low, constant howl. The kitchen, scattered with moldy food and unidentifiable skeletal remains, is unspeakable. You can almost smell the rot.
This is not a place you want to be–and that’s before you meet the family that lives there. There’s the dad, who stalks after you even after you’ve killed him numerous times. Mom doesn’t bat an eye when he severs junior’s hand at the dinner table. Somehow even worse is grandma, a catatonic woman in a wheelchair who can appear and vanish any time and anywhere when you’re not looking.
The game improves on the best aspects of the series, while throwing out everything that had grown stale in recent installments. Playing Resident Evil 7 is a thrilling, crazy, scary-as-hell experience. And if you think it’s terrifying on a TV screen, you gotta try it in VR. — Chris Reed
The Xbox 360 had a generally strong launch lineup, despite lacking a killer app like Halo. There was a Majora’s Mask-lite in Kameo: Elements of Power; sports games like Amped 3 and Madden, and for those who passed on the heavily flawed, but creative Perfect Dark Zero, Call of Duty 2 was there to satisfy action fans when WWII shooters were in their prime. With other titles with mass appeal like Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland or Gun, who had time for a psychological horror game?
That juxtaposition between Condemned: Criminal Origins and the rest of the launch lineup was perfectly clear in the music of the title screen. Half Se7en, half Shutter Island, you played as detective Ethan Thomas, who has to track down a serial killer to prove his innocence after his partner is murdered. Along the way, you’re attacked by rattled-up drug addicts and hallucinations of demons who strategically flee, hide behind corners, and fight back in the game’s surprisingly effective first-person melee combat.
What made Condemned such a memorable horror experience was the feeling of being alone in the grittiest, most desolate parts of town, with intimate combat against people who hated you. You could hear them seething around corners, flanking you in the darkness, and that was all before the game throws demonic hallucinations at you. Sprinkle in a memorable final boss, a couple of solid jump-scares, one of the best uses of Xbox achievements in requiring you to forgo using guns, and a level set in a mall with walking mannequins that culminated in one of my favorite video game moments, and you’ve got a horror classic. Not bad for a launch-title. — Nick Sherman
Don’t judge a visual novel by its cover. Doki Doki Literature Club looks like a simple anime-inspired visual novel packed with tropes; you have a love triangle (or quadrilateral?), the tsundere, the shy one, and the childhood friend as a potential love interest all thrown into a high school club. While the game is front-loaded with your typical story progression, it’s expected that you make it past a certain point where things really pick up.
Take note of the content warning presented up front as Doki Doki Literature Club uses sensitive subjects and graphic visuals throughout its narrative. It’ll subvert expectations in clever and terrifying ways that can be either subtle and in-your-face. Since this is a PC game, it has the unique ability to be meta; breaking the fourth wall is used to great effect and a few secrets get tucked away within the game’s text files. There are a few moments that allow the player to impact progression, such as dialogue options or choosing which of the club members to interact with at certain moments. But that’s all in service of building you up for when the game reveals its true nature. Even the wonderfully catchy soundtrack gets twisted to create an unsettling atmosphere.
It’s hard to communicate exactly why Doki Doki Literature Club is one of the most horrifying games because it relies heavily on specific story beats and meta-narrative events, and we wouldn’t want to spoil the things that make it so special. You’ll just have to experience it for yourself. — Michael Higham
First revealed during Gamescom 2014, we struggled to make sense of the peculiar game known as P.T.. Presented as an indie horror game coming from an obscure developer, it stealth-launched onto the Playstation Store with little fanfare. But in the hours after its release, fans began to piece together what this horror title truly was. Coming from Hideo Kojima and a dream team of horror talent including the likes of Guillermo del Toro and Junji Ito, P.T. was actually a teaser for Silent Hills, the next planned entry in Konami’s revered horror series. The short demo made a lasting impression on those who dared to experience its simple, yet incredibly effective scares–myself included.
While the concept is simple–only asking you to make it to the end of the hallway and through a door–the execution was anything but, often presenting players some mind-bending puzzles and terrifying obstacles to overcome. Like many, I grossly underestimated just how overwhelmingly tense and off-putting P.T. can be. What it offered was a hellish descent into madness and dread, featuring fourth wall breaking scares, gore, and the relentless stalking from a ghostly figure known as Lisa. After its completion, I felt that I had a greater appreciation for what horror games are capable of, and P.T. showed immense potential. Unfortunately, we would never see it fully realized in a game. Silent Hills would eventually be cancelled after Kojima’s very public departure from Konami, and all we’re left with is a demo for game that will never exist, which adds a posthumous allure to P.T. While the game’s failure to launch is tragic, the sheer craft that P.T. showed in its short sampling is something that’s still powerful to this day.
But as it stands, the playable teaser is an eerie reminder of what could have been, which is ironically summed up with the demo’s ending. As the main character–played by Norman Reedus–finally makes his way out of the strange house into the streets of a deserted town, he then wanders off into the fog, disappearing from sight soon after. — Alessandro Fillari
2014’s Alien: Isolation was a bit of tough sell as a horror game. After spending many years as disposable cannon fodder in other Alien games, most notably in Aliens VS Predator and Aliens: Colonial Marines, the Xenomorph was elevated to boss status in Creative Assembly’s survival horror FPS. Serving as a sequel to the original film, it moved away from the shooting galleries and action-horror from previous games, and honed its focus on dread, anxiety, and fearing the lone alien creature that stalks the halls of Sevastopol Station.
As a deep admirer of the original Alien, more so than the sequel Aliens, I longed for the day where we could get a game more influenced by the first film–with its quiet moments of dread and low-fi sci-fi aesthetic in full swing. What I appreciated most about Alien: Isolation was that it not only respected the original film, but it also fully understood what it made it so scary. As you’re desperately scavenging for supplies throughout the corridors, those brief moments of calm would almost inevitably lead to situations where you’ll come face to face with the Alien, who is all-powerful and cunning in its approach to slay any human that comes across its path.
For more of my thoughts on Alien Isolation, check out my retrospective feature discussing why the game is still an unmatched horror experience. — Alessandro Fillari
When Resident Evil first hit the Playstation back in 1996, it revolutionized video game horror, and created a new sub-genre in the process–survival horror. Its GameCube remake in2002, and subsequent remaster for the PS4, XBox One, and PC, utilized improved graphics and lighting to greatly enhance the haunting atmosphere of the first game.
You have the option to play as one of two STARS members (elite police officers), who have come to a mansion investigating a number of strange murders. Unbeknownst to them, this mansion is home to a number of illegal experiments operated by the Umbrella Corporation, leading to zombified humans and creatures attacking the STARS.
The entire game takes place from fixed camera angles, and you never know what’s on the other side of the door, or around each corner, meaning you’re just moments away from walking into a scare. You’re given limited ammo and even a limited number of opportunities to save your progress, and this formula works perfectly in tandem with the foreboding atmosphere.
In one particular moment, I hadn’t saved in hours and was running through a room I’d revisited multiple times in the past with 0 health left–when suddenly zombie dogs decided to jump through the windows scaring the crap out of me. A room I thought was safe had betrayed me at the worst time.
This moment alone is easily one of the most impactful scares I’ve ever had playing a game, and cements Resident Evil as a mastercraft in horror video games. — Dave Klein
Eternal Darkness took the concept of Survival Horror–already well-established by games like Resident Evil, Clock Tower, and Silent Hill–and added a brand new element designed exclusively to screw with the player: the sanity meter.
Alexandra Roivas returns to her family’s estate after discovering her grandfather has been murdered. The police have found nothing, so she decides to look for herself, and finds a secret room with a book… the “Tome of Eternal Darkness.” The game then takes place in multiple timelines and locations, with players choosing who they want to follow as characters battle with, or are corrupted by, ancient artifacts and the Eternal Darkness.
This allows the game to utilize a vast array of settings for its horrors, as well having every character affected by a sanity meter, which slowly drains if players are spotted by enemies. Sanity effects range from statue heads following you, to weird noises and strange camera angles. In one particular instance, I went to save my game, only to find the game telling me it was deleting my save. I jumped off of my couch, ran over to my GameCube to turn off the game, only to realize the game was screwing with me, and my save wasn’t being deleted. You win that round, Eternal Darkness… you win that round. — Dave Klein
In the years since the release of the first game, the Five Nights At Freddy’s series has gone from popular YouTube let’s play game to massive phenomenon. As gaming’s Friday The 13th, the horror series manages to get another sequel, even when people are just experiencing the previous game. While the franchise has spiraled out in a big way, the original game still manages to turn a mundane job into nerve wracking nightmare scenario. As the late-night security guard for Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, your job is to make sure no one breaks into the place, and to ensure that the walking animatronic puppets don’t murder anyone–namely you. That second part is important.
With no means of self-defense, your only hope is to survive until early morning by blocking doors and obstructing the paths of the roaming animatronics puppets, who desperately seek any humans after hours. My expectations for the game were low, mostly due to how played-out it seemed in the months after its release. However, once I got to play it for myself, I was surprised at how quickly it ramped up in intensity, despite its ridiculous premise.
Even though it manages to revel in jump-scares, almost comically so, the tension and moments leading up to those genuinely chilling encounters make for some rather memorable frights. Just when you think you’re safe and only minutes away from sunrise, Freddy Fazbear waltzes into your safe room and gets the jump on you. I’ll never forget the moment that this game, which I grossly underestimated, got the best of me. — Alessandro Fillari
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On its surface, Soulcalibur VI is a reboot for the weapon-focused fighting series. It eschews the slew of new characters in Soulcalibur V for a retelling of the events of the original Soulcalibur, and brings back most of the iconic characters in classic attire. Within that nostalgic pitch, however, is a combat system that deftly builds on its predecessors, with several smart improvements that give players more ways to dig into a fighter that’s equal parts intricate and flashy.
Fighting is still rooted in simple 3D movements and vertical, horizontal, and kick attacks, which all feel intuitive. Although combos are more prominent than they have been in the past, most are simple; you benefit more from learning a wide array of attack strings to trick your opponent than optimizing how much damage you get when any of them land, which leads to diverse fights based on a great mix of reaction and memorization.
That said, a number of smart refinements make Soulcalibur VI’s combat more nuanced than its predecessors’. I was worried the new Reversal Edge attack would dumb down combat, but it actually adds an interesting new layer. Executing the move, which locks both players into a rock-paper-scissors showdown if landed, has some strategy behind it. You can charge it to parry attacks, or land it immediately if you catch someone off-guard.
A combination of new and refined defensive mechanics also make it easier to break out of an opponent’s pressure. Guard impacts now deflect any kind of attack and don’t use up your soul gauge, but still require clutch timing to pull off. The addition of the Soul Charge also gives you a way out of oppressive situations by knocking your opponent away and powering up your attacks for a short time.
With all these new options and the unique mechanics of individual characters, it helps that the onramp is smoother than ever. Not only does the tutorial get you up to speed on every universal mechanic, but the “combat lessons” tab in the pause menu gives you a brief rundown of each character’s gameplan, as well as a few suggestions about which moves to use at different ranges. This gives you a great starting point to work with as you find new options and introduce your own twists on your favorite character.
The single-player options include the standard arcade and training modes, but also two story modes. Libra of Soul is ambitious, but held back by an over-reliance on text and scattered pacing. It’s an RPG-lite experience in which you create a character based on another character’s fighting style then plot your course through a large map in search of opponents, quests, and weapons as you level up. You also do quite a bit of reading, however, which is frustrating since the narrative isn’t exactly compelling. The story takes place throughout the early years of the Soulcalibur series, as your character goes in search of both the Soul Edge and Soulcalibur while fending off mysterious “astral fissures” popping up around the world. Despite a few interesting questlines, most of the tales aren’t memorable.
Luckily, fights are frequent and varied enough that I was invested in the mode nonetheless. Matches might make the stage extra-slippery, certain attacks much stronger, or your opponent’s attacks poisonous. I liked that I needed to zero in on different aspects of combat, managing my movements carefully or learning what the best approach with a particular attack button is. The A.I. is surprisingly nuanced, too; I remember specific enemies that were overeager about reflecting my attacks or relentlessly tried to push me off the edge.
The other story mode, Soul Chronicle, takes a more traditional approach, consisting of visual-novel-style stills telling the story of individual characters in the early years of Soulcalibur’s timeline between fights. These storylines intersect with Libra of Soul and feel more coherent, but it’s only mildly interesting in the face of Libra of Soul’s grander scope.
The online suite is more standard, with the usual ranked matches, casual lobbies, replays, and leaderboards we’ve come to expect, though it’s a little unfortunate you can’t snag replays of highly-ranked players. The matches I’ve played online thus far have been stable and do a decent job of obscuring poor connections, though one and two-bar connections still have hitches and slowdown.
Soulcalibur VI takes the opportunity to re-introduce the series after a hiatus and runs with it, making the series feel fresh while offering a deep fighter with lots for lone players to dig into. The single-player offering suffers from some bloat, but weaves combat into its narrative better than most other fighting games, and the fighting at the center of it all is better than ever. Whether you’re a newcomer or a dedicated fan, the latest retelling of the story of souls and swords is a captivating one.
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There’s a good chance many Halo fans have skipped the series’ strategy game spin-offs Halo Wars and Halo Wars 2. After all, if hair-trigger shooters are your thing, it’s not a given that you’re also interested in real-time strategy games. But if you’ve wondered whether the Wars series might appeal to you, Xbox One and PC players will have a chance to find out this weekend, when the games will be available to try for free.
Specifically, as part of a Free Play Days event, Xbox One owners can download and play Halo Wars 2 between now and October 21. PC gamers can try out Halo Wars: Definitive Edition on Steam during the same window of availability. If you want to buy the games, they’re on sale for half off through the weekend as well. Both games are available through Xbox Game Pass as well.
Halo Wars first launched in 2009 on Xbox 360, pitting human UNSC forces against the alien Covenant army several decades prior to the events of Halo: Combat Evolved. It got an enhanced Definitive Edition for Xbox One and PC in 2016; that’s the version that will be free on Steam.
In GameSpot’s original Halo Wars review, Luke Anderson wrote, “It looks and sounds great, and it captures the essence of the series well, but there’s not much else to keep you coming back once you’ve finished the short campaign and grown tired of playing multiplayer skirmishes between the two sides. It’s good while it lasts, but it will appeal more to fans of Halo and casual RTS players than anyone looking for a deeply engrossing strategy game.”
The sequel, Halo Wars 2, came out in 2017 and takes place shortly after the events of the original and offers a similar RTS-lite experience. “Halo Wars 2 lies somewhere in between an RTS game for Halo fans and a Halo game for RTS fans,” Kallie Plagge wrote in our Halo Wars 2 review. “It adapts Halo’s FPS roots well, taking the series’ classic missions and reformatting them in ways that make sense for a strategy game without sacrificing accessibility. But ultimately, this is a very light RTS experience geared toward Halo veterans, not a robust strategy game, and it runs out of steam quickly.”
In any case, both games are worth trying for free if you’ve ever wondered about them and don’t have anything else to play next weekend.
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The temperature is dropping, pumpkin-carving pictures are everywhere, and there’s an entire aisle in the grocery store dedicated to candy; it must be time for Halloween! If you got caught up playing the multitude of incredible games that hit this month and forgot to shop for a costume, don’t worry! We’ve combed the Internet looking for the absolute coolest video game costumes available this year. The list has Zelda, it has Overwatch, and so much more in between. Be the coolest person at the party or find the best costumes for your child’s trick-or-treating adventures in the list below.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Ciri Cosplay Costume ($83.05)
Persona 5 Protagonist Phantom Thief Cosplay Costume ($81.86)
Bloodborne The Hunter Cosplay Costume ($182.99)
Breath of the Wild Zelda Adult Costume ($39.99)
Adult Jacob Frye Costume Assassin’s Creed ($79.99)
Mercy Costume Deluxe The Signature Collection – Overwatch ($199.99)
Reaper Costume – Overwatch ($69.99)
Brite Bomber Costume – Fortnite ($59.99)
Overwatch Genji Classic Boys Muscle Costume ($39.99)
Child Deluxe Zelda Costume ($29.99-$49.99)
Toddler Deluxe Pikachu Costume ($19.99-$24.99)
Interested in digital Halloween costumes? Game Informer just ranked the best spooky skins in Overwatch, covered the potential Fortnite seasonal leaks, and revealed how Splatoon 2 is getting into the spirit of the season.
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Barring a small handful of spin-offs, the Pokemon series is making its proper debut on Nintendo Switch next month with the release of Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee. Based largely on the classic Pokemon Yellow version, the Let’s Go games return the franchise to its roots in many ways. As in the original, the story is once again set in the Kanto region, and you’ll only encounter the first 151 Pokemon (plus the newly revealed Meltan) during your adventure.
The Let’s Go games also diverge from tradition in some dramatic ways, particularly in their connection with Pokemon Go. Not only are you able to transfer certain monsters you catch in the mobile game over to the Switch titles, they also employ Pokemon Go’s catching mechanics, meaning you’re no longer be able to battle wild Pokemon.
GameSpot recently had an opportunity to sit down with Pokemon: Let’s Go director Junichi Masuda and lead game environment designer Kensaku Nabana. Through an interpreter, we discussed what it was like reimagining the traditionally 8-bit world of Kanto in 3D, what changes the development team made in bringing the games to Switch, and how the new Mythical Pokemon Meltan came to be.
Despite being inspired by Pokemon Yellow, Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee seem to introduce a lot of new elements not found in previous Pokemon games. What new things should we expect?
Junichi Masuda: The main flow of the story plays out very much like Pokemon Yellow Version. One of the reasons we wanted to do this is that we imagined a lot of fans of the original game were going to be playing through it. There are different parts, but I think they’ll recognize the main beats of the story and feel some nostalgia there.
At the same time, we did add a decent amount of sub-events that weren’t in the originals. It kind of gives it a different feel because there’s a lot of trainers alongside their Pokemon in the actual world itself, so it would be a different impression than the original game, while also covering the same story.
Team Rocket seems to play a more prominent role in Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee. Does this mean we’ll see more of Jessie, James, and Meowth during the story?
Masuda: Yeah, they definitely appear more in the game than in the original Pokemon Yellow Version. With these two games, we really set out at the very beginning with a main target in mind, which was younger kids who maybe didn’t own their own smartphones and weren’t able to really participate in the Pokemon Go craze that happened. They weren’t able to go out and join in on that fun, so really providing them with a really fun experience that also had some of that Pokemon Go gameplay. But at the same time, we wanted to introduce these new players, for whom this might be their first Pokemon game, through the original story, kind of ease them into the Pokemon experience that way.
Also, I thought it would be fun if players who maybe enjoyed the original game–they’re now much older, probably in their 30s–they’d be able to interact with maybe their own kids or other kids that they know that are playing the game. They would actually know the general flow of the story, maybe able to give advice like where to go next and things like that. With Team Rocket, because the animated series is popular–it’s in like 85-plus countries–I imagine a lot of those younger kids will have seen the animated series, even if they haven’t played the game. So, we’re trying to add in the elements like that to make it easier for them to get into the world and recognize the setup.
In the original games, your rival was a huge jerk, but the one in Let’s Go seems much friendlier. Why the change?
Masuda: I think the biggest reason that rivals were more of a jerk in the early days is that we were just limited with what we could express with the pixel graphics. There’s not much you can do with that kind of little sprite on the screen, so we worked harder to characterize them through dialogue and give them certain personalities. Also, because it’s just dialogue and there’s not a whole lot going on on the screen, it doesn’t give as harsh of an impression even if they’re jerks, I think. Now we have HD graphics and the visuals are much more impressive. If you also made him a jerk, the impression would be a lot stronger on players. Another thing, just my own personal take, is that it feels that people with those kinds of personalities these days are not as accepted by players, I think, as they were back then.
In the original games, there was text or some sort of setting where “Pidgey eat Caterpie,” for example. That was fine back then, I think everybody liked it. But, I think, as Pokemon has gone on, the fans kind of have their idea of what Pokemon should be. If we did that now, I think a lot of people wouldn’t really like it, it would give them a bad reaction.
What about the old man standing outside Celadon Gym who says he loves looking at the pretty girls? Did you have to tone that down as well?
Masuda: Yeah, we definitely re-evaluated all those kinds of things. But at the same time, the fact that you remember that means that it was something memorable. We had to be very careful about which things to change and which things to keep as they were. Definitely check it out for yourself and see if he’s still around.
What was it like having to reimagine the Kanto region in 3D? How hard was it to recreate the world for an HD console?
Kensaku Nabana: I was in elementary school when Pokemon Yellow Version came out, and I remember playing those games as well as a fan myself. So, when we were first starting out in the development of this game, we all went back and played Pokemon Yellow Version again, and I just tried to remember the world of Pokemon that was in my imagination when I was playing those games, because you had to fill in the gaps a lot back then. Really try and take what was in my imagination then and redesign the areas to look like that image I had in my head.
Also, keeping in mind that we put the focus on having a lot of Pokemon in the environment, walking around in the overall world this time around, so [we focused on] making the visuals look like something where that wouldn’t seem strange. We initially explored a more photorealistic direction, but we settled on this more anime style approach, these cuter visuals.
It definitely leaves a strong impression, seeing how different some very famous scenes from the old game are in Let’s Go, such as the first time you come to the S.S. Anne and see how much more majestic it looks. For some areas like Lavender Town, which was very creepy in the original games, how did you go about expressing that in Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee?
Nabana: Lavender Town is definitely one that I don’t want to talk too much about and have you discover for yourself, but I definitely have the same impression as you. It’s kind of this creepy, unsettling place. So, I initially approached it with that in mind and designed it to make it look like it would give that impression. But that wasn’t enough for Mr. Masuda. He was like, “You’ve got to make it feel even creepier.” He gave me a lot of specific directions to do that. So, I think it will be fun to see what it looks like.
It doesn’t seem like held items and abilities are in these games. What is the reason for that?
Masuda: Yeah, that was actually a conscious decision. We don’t have held items or abilities or eggs, or a lot of features that weren’t in the original generation that got added later on. We had to be very careful in selecting which things we would update from the original games and which ones we would keep the same. I did like the appeal of the simplicity of the original Generation 1 games, as this being an entry title for new players joining the franchise to really experience something very similar to what kids did 20 years ago, but [we also wanted people to] enjoy some of these new gameplay gimmicks, like the Poke Ball Plus and the connectivity with Pokemon Go.
But, of course, we did have to update some other things. For example, we added more types later on and Pokemon got re-typed, so those exist in the game. And, obviously, you weren’t able to run in the original game. We were only able to create four-way movement, so we decided that we probably couldn’t do that today and it made it much easier to move around, I think.
Even though held items aren’t in it, we’ve seen that Mega Evolutions are. Can you tell us how that’s going to work? Traditionally, your Pokemon has to hold the right item to Mega Evolve.
Masuda: No real details, but I can guarantee it’s very simple. We didn’t really think too much about it and just kept it very simple to trigger Mega Evolutions.
Please tell us more about the new Pokemon, Meltan. Was it always planned to debut first in Pokemon Go? And was it designed in collaboration with Niantic, or internally at Game Freak?
Masuda: We definitely planned to debut it in Pokemon Go from the very beginning. We had talked about in the early stages of even Go’s development that we want to debut a Pokemon, and we worked with Niantic to kind of figure out that functionality. I’ve been working on the development of Go since the beginning as well, so I’ve always had it in mind. But the design, that was done internally at Game Freak. I gave some specific setting directions to one of our designers who was also a fan of the original games and played them as a kid, so he had a really good idea of what I was looking for, based on this kind of very simple metal nut design. He definitely probably had the original Kanto Pokemon designs in his mind and tried to keep it as simple as possible. You know, they were more kind of basic back then compared to some of the more modern designs. He worked on that, and then once it was finished, we gave all the assets and everything to Niantic, we planned the event and had them execute on that, and it worked out.
Following up on Meltan’s design, here in the States he’s been given a joking/affectionate nickname of “Nut Boy.” I’m curious how you feel about that nickname and if, perhaps, he has a similar nickname in Japan?
Nabana: I haven’t really seen a lot of nicknames in Japan yet, but for the design, we really tried to make it look like it was kind of a more realistic-looking object, like something that maybe you could see it in real life. It would look weird, but it wouldn’t stand out too much. Initially, I thought this would be a very divisive design, like some people might like it but some people won’t. It looks really strange, but if you look at it more closely, it’s kind of cute at the same time. But it seems like the reaction has been generally really positive, and that’s been a lot of fun. There’s been tons of fan art already and it was revealed just recently, so it’s been exciting for us.
In the DS and 3DS games, there were a lot of events at stores that gave out free Pokemon via download codes. Is anything similar planned for Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee?
Masuda: The functionality from the previous games is in there, it’s called Mystery Gift. It’s in the game and I’m sure there’ll probably be something, but I think with the limited selection of Pokemon, they’re all fairly easily catchable in other games. I’m not sure how often or how frequent it’s going to be with these particular games.
We’ve talked about transferring between Pokemon Go and Let’s Go. When the “core” Pokemon game planned for 2019 arrives, will there also be transfer possibilities between Let’s Go and that title?
Masuda: We’re definitely always thinking of that kind of forward-moving functionality, especially since we’ve introduced the Pokemon Bank. Now, up to Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, you’re able to store your Pokemon. We know they’re very important to everyone. I mean, obviously, people would be very sad if they couldn’t use their Pokemon in a future game. So, it does get complicated when you talk about the details and we’re still figuring it out, but we do have plans to find ways to let players use their Pokemon in the next game.
What are your favorite Pokemon games?
Masuda: Definitely Red and Green for me is the most memorable. It was a six year development with just nine of us, so we have a lot of memories from that time, both good and bad. One of the other things was that we didn’t have much expectation that the game would be played by millions of people at the time. We were just developing it. At any time the company could have gone under and it may not have been released. But yeah, a lot of memories from that time.
Nabana: Red and Green, that’s where I started as well. I played those games and I have great memories playing them, but over the 20 years as time went on, I think the memory got glamorized even more. It starts to just become this legend in my mind. Of course, we tried to make Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee, the re-imagining of that, to kind of live up to those. It gets more and more beautiful in your mind as time goes on, so that’s what we tried to do. So those are probably my favorite games, just in my memory.
But as a developer, I think being able to work on these games and try and update them for the modern time and work as a team lead on these games, that was probably my favorite experience so far.
Going back to Red and Green and how arduous the development process was. Is there anything from back then that you wanted to specifically address or implement when updating the adventure for Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee?
Masuda: With Red and Green and even games after that, at Game Freak we always wanted to have Pokemon appear in the overworld, in the field itself. But, specifically with the original games, there was no way of doing that with the Game Boy hardware. It just couldn’t handle it. We really wanted to make them feel like living creatures that are in the world with you, so you’ll see on Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee they’ll all have their own little unique movement characteristics. Some of them will run up and stop. They’re kind of curious. It’ll be fun to just discover how they all react to you.
One final question: any chance we see Pikachu’s scrapped evolution, Gorochu, someday?
Masuda: You’re probably not going to see it. None of the Pokemon that we worked on, got to a point, and then discarded them have actually ever re-appeared yet, so I would say the chances are low. One of the reasons for that is that we always have this base criteria at Game Freak of being able to explain why a certain Pokemon is in the world or why it exists in that world, trying to make it feel believable within the fantasy. And usually the ones that get rejected are Pokemon that we weren’t able to justify, I think. Usually there’s a reason for why they weren’t implemented, and as long as that reason still exists, they probably won’t be put in the game.
We always say Pokemon isn’t a “character game.” It’s not a game where it’s just the characters, but it’s a game that shows this world where these living creatures are existing in a space. That’s kind of a slight nuance, but that’s what we always try to go for at Game Freak. It’s not good enough that they’re just cute. (Laughs) They have to have something more to it.
Nabana: I’ve worked on Pokemon designs myself and it really is a very arduous, time consuming process. You’ve got to talk to a lot of people, a lot of back-and-forth and really be able to justify it before we get to a final design.
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After some teasing, OOTP Developments is set to release Out of the Park Baseball 19’s free fantasy card-collection mode – Perfect Team – in November. I recently got my hands on the team-building mode via a closed beta, and although not all the parts are in yet, it’s a promising addition built on the back of the game’s already extensive sim options.
Setting up your team through your initial six packs is pretty straightforward: You’ll get enough players to jump in and play no problem, and it’s up to you to determine your starting rotation and batting lineup, and tweak the strategic knobs as little or as much as you want to (more on this later).
What makes Perfect Team different and interesting is that all the games in the current league format are simmed. Games start every 30 minutes, giving you time in between to scout your opponent, buy packs of players if you want, and make adjustments to your team and strategy. The countdown aspect of the mode adds real-time drama to what can be a hands-off experience, and since it runs whether you’re actively playing the game/mode or not (there are many aspects that can be set to be automated), you’re not sweating the loss of a particular game but rather concentrating on the factors that can turn you into a winner in the long run as you try to get promoted all the way up to the majors (and avoid relegation from season to season).
Of course, adding new players to your team through packs of random players (current and historic) is the main way to do this, but I wasn’t as fixated on this initially as I was trying to decipher how to setup my players for success. I admit I’m not a big baseball fan or expert, but I was intrigued by the avenues available.
After consulting with my colleague and baseball fan Brian Shea about some of the basics, I made sure I was setting up my lineup versus right- and left-handed pitchers correctly as well as the general batting order (there are no injuries in the mode, but fatigue has to be watched). Doing this and setting my overall team strategy to “traditional” produced some instant wins, and the game has other strategy presets like “small ball” and “sabermetric” that set sliders like how often you sacrifice bunt or use infield shifts which you can also tweak yourself. Going a layer deeper, individual players can be put on a pitch count, have an aggressive attitude towards base stealing, and much more. While my lack of expertise restricts specific conclusions, I venture to guess that there’s a big enough sandbox for more savvy players than myself to make meticulous use of their rosters and to build a side capable of getting wins regularly.
I guess for me the next step would be to find a team strategy that fits my current roster better or dip into the marketplace and see what players I could buy to suit whatever strategy I choose. Unfortunately the marketplace was disabled in the beta, so I can’t comment on it, but it will be very interesting to see if gamers can identify and utilize specific types of players to suit their needs, hopefully opening up the viability of Moneyball situations and enabling different paths to winning rather than just owning the “best” cards.
Unwanted cards can be auctioned off and points to buy new packs or cards are awarded based on your achievements – whether you win or lose or if you’re present for the sim or not. My team didn’t win a ton, but I managed to get points for packs for achievements like a hot hitter, home runs, and milestones large and small.
Going forward, I’m curious how the marketplace settles and if selling unwanted cards or flipping in-demand cards is a viable strategy to make points in case you aren’t winning lots of games. Similarly, the question remains whether buying packs (you can see pack odds) is a worthwhile way to spend your points versus being savvy in picking up key individual players.
As many options as there are in the mode (including being able to watch replays or highlights of past games), since it sims games naturally you lose a measure of control such as being able to micromanage your bullpen during games. Out of the Park Developments is planning to add a live head-to-head component to the Perfect Team which will solve this, and looking further out, we’ll have to keep an eye on how the mode continues to grow and offer new experiences to players.
To close, here are some questions regarding the mode answered via email by OOTP creator Markus Heinsohn.
Will individual players or packs be given out as rewards, or just points?
You also sometimes get packs when you play OOTP in offline solo Challenge Mode and unlock achievements there… In the future we will add “Missions” related to collecting (e.g. have a rotation of ’90s Braves pitchers, collect all 2018 Yankees, etc.) whose completion will generate Perfect Points or exclusive cards or packs. We have not decided yet. Likely all of them.
Is there any farm system/minor leagues for players in your reserve roster?
No. This is not planned, and it would slow down simulations, and that’s crucial. We will have hundreds of leagues and they all will have to be simulated in 30 minutes.
Do you intend to release different versions of player cards already released? (i.e. Will there be bronze, silver, gold, etc. versions of the same player?)
Historical players sometimes do have various different cards, although those are most likely Silver or better. For example, we have four different Babe Ruth cards, all from our different historical card categories (One Hit Wonders, Rookie Sensations, Historical All-Stars, Record Breakers, Top WAR, Historical Legends and (still in development) Unsung Heroes). Live cards will only have one per player, plus special cards for special events, like All-Star Game, World Series, etc.”
How does the game handle players who enter a league mid-season?
Users who enter mid-season will enter the Entry Pool, where the record does not matter and they play random opponents from the Entry Pool each simulated day. Regular league play lasts seven days (we simulate 28 league days per day) and once a new cycle starts, users from the Entry Pool will be promoted to the Rookie Leagues.
Will you allow user-created leagues? Will you create more leagues than the ones at launch?
User-created leagues: No. We will however have a feature that lets you tag other users as friends, and when the new leagues are set up, the server tries to combine as many friends into leagues of the same level as possible.
More leagues? This is a dynamic system… Ex: Once we launch PT, we will wait 3-4 days while the Entry Pool fills up with new users/teams. Then we will start the regular League play, and all Entry Pool users get promoted to Rookie League. While the first season runs, new users enter the Entry Pool, and once the first season is over, the top four Teams from each Rookie League will get promoted to Single A and the Entry Pool team will go to the Rookie Leagues. After a few seasons ( = weeks) we’ll have a league structure that will resemble a pyramid with X Major Leagues at the top. The system will dynamically evolve over time.
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There’s much to experience in the massive open-world of Ancient Greece in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. But as is tradition, the Assassin’s Creed series has a very strange way of blending historical accuracy with bizarre supernatural elements–and Odyssey is no exception. While you’ll mostly take on pirates, foot soldiers, and the sinister members of the Cult of Kosmos throughout the various locales around the world, there are some encounters that will take some extra effort to find–leading to Odyssey’s most memorable fights against beasts of legend.
In this feature, we breakdown Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s most involved and unique quest-line, which pits you against some various mythological beasts that reference Greek mythology, including the deadly Medusa and the Cyclops. In addition to giving you all the details on how to find them, we also offer up some tips on how to overcome their unique challenges. Obviously, there are some spoilers in this article, which relates to the midpoint of the game. Proceed with caution.
To start your epic quest to vanquish the four mythological creatures hiding out within Ancient Greece, you’ll need to reach the midpoint in the main Odyssey quest, which takes you to island of Thera, just north of Messara. After solving the puzzles to gain entry into the ruins, you’ll meet a very important character inside, who will give you a new Odyssey quest-line called Between Two Worlds. This quest tasks you with finding four lost Isu artifacts that have been stolen, which are now hidden across the known world of Greece.
While you may get the urge to drop everything and set out to complete this quest after the cutscene’s finish, you’re much better off holding off until much later into the main story. Not only will you have the proper gear to take out some of the harder challenges, some of the legendary gear that drops from these quests will also become more powerful. We’d recommend you finish the main story, which will take you through many of the islands and locales that house these lost artifacts. What follows is the best order to take on these creatures, based on level.
Marked as level 35 quest, the Lord of the Sphinx mission tasks you with finding an artifact hidden in Boetia. Located on the southern coast of Lake Koapis, you’ll find ancient Isu ruins shrouded in fog. At these ruins you’ll find a discover a Sphinx statue and an NPC named Gorgias, who’s searching for a piece of a medallion to unlock the secrets of the temple. Tasking you to find his apprentice, you’ll start the next leg of the quest, which will have you travel to the Tomb of Menoikeus. Located in the northeastern part of the Scorched Rolling Plains region in Boetia, you’ll find the remains of the apprentice, killed by a nearby alpha lion–which has also eaten the other half of the medallion. After securing the piece, head back to the ruins to proceed with the next part of the quest.
Once you return, you’ll find that Gorgias and the statue are missing. Before proceeding further, be sure to save your progress. Taking the piece of the medallion that Gorgias left behind, you’ll be able to place the item on a pedestal in the ruins, which will summon the mythological Sphinx. Surprisingly, you won’t engage in an actual fight with the Sphinx, but rather a game of careful wits. After conversing with the beast, the challenge begins. You’ll only have one chance to clear this encounter, as offering an incorrect solution to the puzzles will result in instant death. Moreover, each subsequent reload of your save will see a different set of riddles offered up.
Think carefully before giving your responses to the Sphinx’s questions, as your answers also apply to several runes scattered around the ruins, which have to be activated after the riddles are complete. If you can’t find the rune assigned to your given answers, then you’ll meet certain doom. After making it through the riddles correctly, you’ll best the Sphinx at its own game and collect your first artifact, along with a legendary Sphinx Figurehead for your ship.
You’ll likely be aware of the location of this particular mythological beast early on into your adventure. Found on the Isle of Thisvi just south of Phokis (one of the first areas you go to after getting your ship), you’ll find the ancient Isu ruins after diving into the Forgotten Isle’s inner cove. However, the door leading to the mythical Cyclops is sealed, and will remain so until you take on the necessary quest. At a recommend level of 35, the quest that opens the chambers of the Cyclops is located on Kythera Island, towards the southernmost edge of the map. Head to the region known as Pilgrim Hill to find a quest giver near a statue, opening up the mission A God Among Men. By taking this mission, you’ll eventually Empedokles, who believes himself to be a god. After assisting him throughout the Island, he’ll venture off to the Isle of Thisvi to meet a fellow god.
Once you head back to the small island, head into the island’s underground to find Empedokles outside the door, who’s ready to reunite with his fellow god. Suffice it to say, things don’t work out for Empedokles, and you’re left to do battle against the mythological creature. As one of the largest enemies in the game, the Cyclops–also known as Brontes, The Thunderer–has an advantage when it comes to range and raw strength. However, the boss’ slow speed and lumbering movement can be taken advantage of. You can also aim the obvious weak spot of its glowing eye with your ranged attacks, dealing some solid damage. Halfway through the fight, the Cyclops will become more aggressive, resulting in some falling debris throughout the chamber. Keep chipping away while avoiding the falling the rocks to take him down. After the fight you’ll acquire the next artifact, and along with the Polyphemos Cyclops Bludgeon, a legendary heavy blade.
Located in Messara, on the island in the southeast section of the map, you’ll come across a small town in Minotaur Hills that worships the mighty beast. This area serves as a great place to learn more about the history of the region, level up, and gain some new gear–including a replica helmet of the Minotaur (which is just a bull’s head fashioned into a helm). Just west of town, you’ll find Knossos Palace ruins located in Mino’s Legacy. In this area you’ll find a child named Ardos, who’s trying to rescue his father lost in the chambers of the Minotaur below the palace. Starting the Myths and Minotaurs quest, you’ll learn more about the labyrinth and discover that you’ll need to find the medallion to open up access.
From here, you’ll begin the Of Minotaurs and Men questline, which includes sub-quests around the region including Blood in The Water, Recollections, and Full Circle. Along the way, you’ll interact with the allies of Ardos’ father, local merchants, and assist the boy’s current caretaker. The questline involving the caretaker will have you cross paths with the Swordfish, who just so happens to be a member of the Cult of Kosmos. After completing these tasks, you’ll acquire the key to the labyrinth of the Minotaur. While exploring the maze, you’ll find the body of Ardos’ father, and not long after, encounter the mythological beast.
The battle with the Minotaur can be quite challenging, which requires you to be at least level 40 to make a successful go of it. In this battle, you’ll have to dodge many of the Minotaur’s attacks and head in for an opening when its vulnerable. Its most powerful move is a ram attack, which you can fortunately see coming. The beast can also stun itself when it rams against an obstruction, allowing you to get some solid hits in. Staying and attacking at a distance is also an effective way of getting the upper hand against the beast. Once you defeat the minotaur, you’ll get the next artifact and a new legendary axe known as the Minotaur’s Labrys.
For the final mythological beast, you’ll need to travel to the island of Lesbos, located in the northeastern corner of the map. At this point in the game, you’ll likely have finished the main story before traveling to this island, which is one of Odyssey’s most difficult areas. To start the quest, head to the town of Eresos in the Petrified Valley, which is located on the southwestern coast of the island. In town, you’ll find a female NPC named Bryce. After conversing with her, you’ll start the quest Romancing the Stone Garden, which tasks you with finding her lover lost in the Petrified Temple. After learning more of the Temple and its mysteries, you’ll need to new quest called Shadows of Serpents, along with all of its sub-quests that to open the pathway to the Medusa.
These side-quests will take some time to finish, as they’ll have you travel across Lesbos and to the nearby island of Chios. One mission has you infiltrate a village full of female hunters, all of whom are lethal archers and agiles fighters. However, if you already completed the Artemis quest-line involving the hunt for legendary animals, your choices in that mission can allow you to become the leader of the village, letting you come and go without incident. The other quest has you track down an adventurer who’s made the dubious claim that he wields the spear that killed Medusa. After completing the necessary steps, head back to the temple to open up the way to Medusa’s lair.
The battle against Medusa is Odyssey’s most challenging and complex encounter. Choosing to fight at range with a squad of stone mercenaries at her side, the Medusa can petrify targets–namely you–while also calling in aerial attacks that deal heavy damage. In order to remove her protective shield, you’ll need eliminate her guards, all while avoiding her petrifying gaze and magic attacks. Throughout the room are several stone pillars, which can offer safe protection from her gaze. After taking out the minions, the beast will become vulnerable, allowing you to deal direct damage to her. During this state, the Medusa will teleport around the arena and immediately follow-up with a ranged energy attack. This will be a long fight, so be patient and stick with a certain rhythm of attacks, both ranged and close-range, and eventually you’ll take out Odyssey’s most difficult boss–earning you the final artifact and the legendary sword Harpe of Perseus.
If you want to know more about Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, check out our full-review, along with our breakdown of some useful tips to help you along your journey in the game.
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Wow! There’s so many major events this weekend I can’t even count them all (there’s eight)! Worlds continues, Gwent comes back into the spotlight, and Dota 2 has a new patch! What more could you want, besides more events and money and world peace or whatever?
Worlds continues as League of Legends fans watch the biggest event of their year unfold. This weekend we’re smack-dab in the middle of the group stages to determine who winds up where in the playoffs. (Stream / Schedule)
Card game fans! This is your weekend. First up, Hearthstone‘s big Fall Championship is here, offering the world’s best players the chance to take their share of the $250,000 prize pool, as well as a spot in the World Championship. (Stream and Schedule)
Second, if you want to watch some pro-level Gwent before the standalone Thronebreaker expansion releases later this month, now’s your chance! CD Projekt Red is having its seventh open tournament for the game, so expect major players from across europe to compete. The action starts at 9am central (that means it’s already underway as your read this!) both Saturday and Sunday. (Stream)
Rainbow Six Siege heads to Tokyo, Japan for the finale of its APAC tournament, which will lead into the Siege Pro League finals! (Stream)
Of course, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is having a premier tournament, as the handful of teams left in the bracket square off at the StarSeries i-League tournament for their share of the $300,000 prize pool. (Stream / Schedule)
Not to be left out of the competitive scene, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is in Bucharest for its PGL Invitational tournament, in which 16 teams including the likes of the well-named “Four Angry Men” And “Oh My God” face off for their share of $100,000. (Stream / Schedule)
The FGC is in Singapore this weekend and is bringing with its usual array of competitive games for the SouthEast Asia Major. Catch Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and more. (Streams and Schedule)
Patch 7.19d has hit some of Dota 2‘s competitive heavy-hitters with nerfs, and this weekend’s World Showdown of Esports tournament is the first time we’ll get to see those changes in action at a LAN event. Which heroes will take over the meta? I hope it’s Techies! (Stream)
That’s it for this weekend! Let us know if we missed an event, or if there’s a scene you’d like us to cover, in the comments!
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The Netflix Marvel superhero universe has had its ups and downs, and nothing can really make up for how bad Iron Fist Season 1 was, and what it did to The Defenders. But sometimes when you hit rock bottom, there’s a silver lining: There’s no direction to go but up. The Punisher was pretty good, Luke Cage Season 2 was a step in the right direction, and even Iron Fist Season 2 was watchable. Now that we’ve mostly forgotten about Jessica Jones Season 2, it’s time to return to where it all started: Daredevil. And you know what? It’s good to be back.
Daredevil Season 3 has a lot preceding it, but except where it’s relevant to Matt Murdock’s story, it mostly ignores what’s come before. In the first six episodes, which were sent to press ahead of time, there’s no mention of Jessica, Luke, Danny, or The Hand. Even Elektra is just a memory, albeit one that haunts Matt still.
Daredevil Season 3 is about rebuilding. Matt (Charlie Cox) suffered his most emotionally and physically devastating defeat yet when an entire building fell on him at the end of Defenders, and he’s forced to find the time and will to heal on multiple fronts. Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) has a scheme to get out of prison, but he puts himself at great risk to pull it off. Foggy (Elden Henson) and Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) are still dealing with the fact that Matt is gone, trying to put the pieces of their lives together without their best friend. Naturally, his eventual return in Season 3 will only complicate things further.
To fans, it’s no secret that Matt survived the events of Defenders. He spends much of Daredevil Season 3’s first half recuperating in the basement of the Catholic orphanage where he was raised, tended to by a nun who may or may not be his mother (in the comics she is; it hasn’t yet been made clear in the show). At the season’s start, his hearing has suffered, and without it his “sight” has also waned. An early season boxing match puts Daredevil’s brutality, the actors’ impressive physicality, and Matt’s threshold for punishment all on display. Daredevil spends plenty of time wallowing in Matt’s well earned nihilism, but even then it can be a joy to watch.
Fisk, meanwhile, proves to be the manipulative villain we remember him as from Daredevil Season 1. He flips and turns FBI informant, snitching on New York’s Albanian mob and almost getting himself offed in the process. That triggers a transfer out of prison and into a cushy high-rise, “for his own safety,” of course. He claims to be doing it all for Vanessa–played by Ayelet Zurer in Season 1, though she’s yet to reappear in Season 3–but with the Kingpin, there’s always the sense that there’s more going on than we’re ever made aware of. No doubt that shoe will drop before Season 3 is over.
Fisk’s recruitment of crack shot FBI agent Benjamin “Dex” Poindexter–who we know from the comics as Bullseye–only begins to see its full payoff by the time Season 3 is halfway through. But Dex gradually proves himself to be a dangerous presence, an obsessive sociopath with perfect aim who was taught as a child to blend in with society. When the cracks in his “normal” life start to shake his foundations, Fisk knows exactly how to dig his fingers in deep.
The news of Fisk’s “release” doesn’t go over well in Hell’s Kitchen, and protesters keep vigil outside his suite, adding to the feeling that this is all leading somewhere topical. Foggy and Karen fight back in their own ways–still working at the Bulletin, Karen starts investigating what Fisk is really up to, while Foggy attempts to get at him through legal means.
That’s all to say that Daredevil Season 3 puts the focus where it belongs: on Matt, Fisk, Foggy, and Karen, the core characters that we originally grew to love or hate back in Season 1. With that re-anchoring comes some really cool stylistic choices; there’s an entire sequence that plays out in black and white, half flashbacks, half imaginings, with one character walking back through another’s life as he strives to learn everything he might use to his advantage. And there’s a single-shot fight scene in these first half dozen episodes that’s unbelievably impressive, easily rivaling any action that’s come before in the whole Netflix Marvel universe.
So yeah, Daredevil is back. And thanks to its much needed laser focus on the characters and stories fans actually care about, you don’t even need to be caught up; If you watched Daredevil Season 1 and then stopped, you could pick up again right at the start of Season 3. That definitely says something about how forgettable much of what came in the interim was. But regardless of where you’ve been all this time, Daredevil Season 3 is worth returning for.
Daredevil Season 3 hits Netflix October 19.
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Assassin’s Creed Odyssey had a big launch week, so much so it set a new record for the franchise’s opening sales for this current console generation.
While Ubisoft didn’t provide specific numbers, the publisher did release a press release, confirming the new milestone. “We are incredibly proud of what the team accomplished with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and humbled by the amazing reception from critics and players,” says senior vice president of sales and marketing Geoffroy Sardin. “Based on the quality of the game and the very encouraging reactions from players, we expect Odyssey to be one of the top performing Assassin’s Creed games of all-time.”
This is extremely encouraging for the studio, as its last Assassin’s Creed efforts didn’t have as promising numbers. Ubisoft Quebec previously worked on Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, which was a solid entry, but suffered from following Assassin’s Creed Unity’s troubled launch. Syndicate’s sales didn’t hit the high bar expected, but picked up some pace in subsequent weeks. The following release, Assassin’s Creed Origins, introduced some much-needed changes for the juggernaut franchise, giving it new lifeblood with more RPG and story-focused elements. It doubled the sales of Syndicate. Odyssey is continuing to capitalize on that success alongside providing an enticing new setting with Ancient Greece.
Sardin also took the time to assure fans that more Odyssey is on the way with “robust content plans.” So far Ubisoft is using an episodic structure to deepen the storytelling. Season pass owners can access two major storylines, Legacy of the First Blade and The Fate of Atlantic. Each features three episodes and free story missions
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is now available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. For more, you can read our review here, or check out these tips for getting started.
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The online game seller Fanatical is having a sale right now on PC games for Steam. All you have to do is make your purchases from Fanatical, and you’ll receive a code you can redeem in your Steam account. It’s easy, and it can save you a lot of money compared to the standard price of these games on Steam. Let’s take a look at what kind of deals Fanatical is running this week.
With the announcement of Hitman 2, you might want to go back and play through some of the previous games starring the adaptive assassin. Every game in the series is on sale right now, including the most recent, Hitman: GotY Edition, which you can get for $25. Normally $60, it comes with all of the levels that originally came out episodically, plus a bunch of bonus missions, Escalation Contracts, Challenge Packs, and more.
Another upcoming title is Darksiders III, a sequel to a game that initially launched in 2012. If you’re wondering what this series is all about, you can check out remastered versions of the whole thing in the Darksiders: Franchise Pack for just $7.50. It comes with the Warmastered Edition of the original game and the Deathinitive Edition of the sequel. (The games are good, so don’t let the groan-inducing titles stop you from jumping on the deal).
Civilization VI is now out on iPhone and heading to Nintendo Switch next month, but the best deal on the game this week is right here, where it’s on sale for $17.40. Other notable deals include Quantum Break for $10, XCOM 2 Collection for $34, and Kerbal Space Program for $17.60.
You can find more of our picks below, or view the full slate of deals here.
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Get ready to explore that tall grass. Pokémon from Diamond and Pearl will soon be populating the world of Pokémon Go. Niantic recently announced that, in addition to the new critters from the Sinnoh Region, the developer will be adding a few added tweaks to the game, such as:
Niantic hasn’t provided an exact date for these updates, or if the Gen-4 Pokémon will be dished out in waves like Gen 3 was, but the developer said to expect these new Pokémon “soon.” In the meantime make sure you make the most of your time with Pokémon Go by reading our Summer Guide.
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Fans at New York Comic-Con were given their first official look at Archer: 1999, the 10th season of FX’s raunchy spy-turned-anthology cartoon–and it’s just as crazy as you’d expect.
The cast has been reimagined as the crew of an extremely 80s sci-fi flavored spaceship, complete with all the archetypal roles. Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) and Lana (Aisha Tyler) are the co-captains of the vessel, Malory Archer (Jessica Walters) is the ship’s computer who splits her time between being a holographic human and a glowing ball of light, Cyril (Chris Parnell) is a put-upon crew member, Krieger (Lucky Yates) is a humanoid robot, and Pam (Amber Nash) is a giant alien rock monster.
Executive producer Matt Thompson introduced the new cast of this season’s genre flip by showing a 10-minute, never-before-seen clip that featured Archer waking up from stasis, interacting with “Mother” (Malory as a computer) and eventually waking up the rest of the crew as he decided to try and scavenge supplies from the wreckage of a vessel that had been wrecked by space pirates.
By far the most jarring reinterpretation was Pam who has become, which Nash delighted in and described as “The Thing with eczema.” Having only just begun production, even she wasn’t entirely sure what Pam’s new story was. “I’d like to know where she’s from, what her deal is,” Nash said, before laughing, “in Episode 2, we learn that whatever kind of creature she is, when she gets aroused, she gets a boner you can ‘smell,’ which is really unsettling.”
Look, after 10 seasons, don’t pretend like you didn’t know what to expect from this show.
Krieger’s inspiration is clearly Ash, the android from the 1979 classic Alien–a homage Yates said would be emphasized by Krieger’s “milk blood.” Yates continued, “I don’t know if he’s going to end up good or evil, but I do know that he has that.” Fans also learned that Archer and Lana, while they are co-captains, are divorced in this season, so “they don’t have to pretend not to hate each other,” laughed Thompson.
The cast revealed some upcoming running gags, including “just putting the word ‘space’ in front of any random word,” Thompson said. Jon Benjamin chimed in that that included the show’s “phrasing” joke, which was now “space-phrasing” for 1999.
Though Thompson admitted that the plan for Archer was never to go the anthology route, 1999 represents the forth anthology-style season after Vice, Dreamland, and last year’s Danger Island. As for the future, and any potential returns to the show’s spy-thriller origin, Thompson couldn’t comment but said that he and the writers would definitely like to get back to basics at some point. Meanwhile Yates quickly chimed in that he’d like to see the anthology style take the Archer crew to a post apocalyptic “wasteland” style genre next, should the show continue for an 11th season.
Archer: 1999 debuts on FXX in 2019.
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Spider-Man is one of the year’s most popular games, having sold faster than any one Sony title to date. A game this wide-reaching usually has tons of players who pick the game up casually, then put it down after completing the main story, if they get that far. But as it turns out, the game seems to have its hooks (or web, or whatever) into players pretty thoroughly.
User Certinfry on message board Restera has pointed that Spider-Man is currently sitting at a 10 percent platinum trophy rate, which means that one out of ten players has gotten every trophy in the game. That might sound low, but digging through my personal trophy history and looking for similar completion rates for PlayStation 4 exclusives, it’s in the lead by a long shot. Here are the platinum trophy rates for some other recent and not-so-recent major PS4 games.
Of course, there are games with much more common platinum rates. Undertale, for example, sits at 21.4 percent. But for games of the size and scope of a game like Spider-Man, 10 percent is fairly impressive.
Of course, a few factors give Spider-Man a slight edge. For one, it’s a pretty easy platinum to get; most users on trophy-centric fansite Playstation Trophies rate the game between a 2 and 3 out of 10 in terms of platinum difficulty. It mostly involves circling around the city during and after completing the main story, clearing out the map of icons (most of which involve pretty quick activities), then hitting a couple of secret spots for some hidden trophies.
It can take some time, but it follows along well with what most players are likely to do anyway, whereas many platinum trophies tend to facilitate the use of guide to tell players how to “optimize” their playthrough, often playing in slightly unnatural ways and over multiple playthroughs, to get the trophy. Still, it’s fairly impressive that this many players have stuck the game out to full “completion.”
For more on Spider-Man check out our full review, as well as a number of sick stunts that should probably be trophies.
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After debuting in November 2017, the Hulu original series Future Man is ready to return and, somehow, get even weirder the second time around. The cast and creative crew of the series came to New York Comic Con 2018 to give fans the first look at the new season, including the world premiere of the first new episode of the show.
Rather quickly, it becomes apparent that the future Josh Futterman (Josh Hutcherson) thought he saved in Season 1 is somehow even worse off. Now he’s expected to once again save the world with little more skills than being good at video games. Now, though, Futterman has the experience to actually change the timeline… maybe. In the meantime, he will urinate on himself, be constantly humiliated, and simply attempt not to die in horrible ways.
After the Season 2 premiere episode was shown, the first trailer for the new episodes was revealed, giving even more of an idea of what’s to come. In the new and terrible future, Wolf (Derek Wilson) is married to five people as they raise a child together–which is played as being completely normal in whatever version of reality they’ve ended up in–while Tiger’s (Eliza Coupe) status as a biotic, which was revealed in the Season 1 finale, is going to cause quite a strain on the team. Fans will also be introduced to other Tiger biotics with a variety of personalities, which should prove very entertaining. Additionally, Coupe said in the panel that “my voice is different,” when it comes to the alternate Tigers, including one that is rather high-pitched.
The main drive of the new season sees the future divided between two groups, one of which wants to relocate half of the future’s population to Mars. The other group, meanwhile, simply wants to be left alone. As this is all happening, a group called the Pointed Circle is plotting some kind of attack, which uses Futterman in some kind of key way that will definitely kill him. Unsurprisingly, he’s on the run because of this.
As for the weird stuff that made Future Man Season 1 so interesting, there’s plenty of that to come. Futterman’s gigantic penis will make another appearance, while Coupe detailed one particularly bizarre scene she shot for the new episodes. “I have sex to completion with a brain, with my hands,” she said. “That was fun to do.”
There are also a number of new characters coming to the show, several of which have yet to be revealed. However, the trailer shows the arrival of someone named Susan, played by Future Man executive producer Seth Rogen.
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Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has officially hit wide release, which means gamers everywhere are just starting to explore Ancient Greece. Because Odyssey is a sprawling game with lots of different systems and mechanics, you may find yourself uncertain about how to approach various elements. I was in the same position when I played Odyssey for review, but after spending over 70 hours with the game, I’m here to share what I learned and give you some helpful advice as you begin your journey.
The first big choice you make in Odyssey is which character will be your protagonist. The content is basically the same whether you choose Alexios or Kassandra, so it doesn’t have major gameplay repercussions. However, it does determine which vocal performance you be listening to for the entire game. By that measure, Kassandra’s less cartoonish delivery has the edge.
Don’t Sweat Romance
You can flirt and have romantic encounters with various characters in Odyssey, but none of that is really built on the bonds you form with them. They’re just casual flings, not fully formed relationships, and they don’t hinder your love life with any other character in the future. In other words, don’t worry about being unfaithful or stirring up jealously. When it comes to the bedroom, nothing is true and everything is permitted.
What To Prioritize
As you explore the map, various locations icons show up – camps, forts, caves, shipwrecks, and more. While you get rewards for all of these activities, they aren’t equally worthwhile. All players should focus on tombs (for an ancient stele that gives you an ability point) and viewpoints (fast-travel points) whenever they appear, because those benefits are always useful. If you’re interested in the naval aspect of the game, you should also be on the lookout for ruins, because they give you the ancient tablets you need for ship upgrades – and it’s better to have a stockpile of those rather than go searching every time you want to make your ship better.
How To Get Resources
All of the resources used in upgrades and crafting are found naturally in the world. Harvest trees (or cleave ships) for wood, gather ancient tablets in ruins, and so forth. Just hover your cursor over the resources at the top of the inventory tab for a reminder on how to find what you need. But don’t forget that you can buy these items in limited quantities from blacksmiths. It’s not a long-term solution, but a great option if you’re just a little short of what you need.
Pick Poison or Fire
The skill tree has abilities that add poison or fire to your strikes and arrows. They both do damage over time, but since you cannot stack fire and poison simultaneously, you should focus on one or the other. Poison does less damage than fire, but adds a weakening effect that decreases armor and damage. I personally preferred the fire option, if only for the panicked screams from enemies as they are set alight.
The Best Abilities
You earn one new ability point per level, and since the pace for gaining those levels is a bit slow, you want to make sure you’re investing in good stuff. What qualifies as “good stuff” will be different based on your playstyle, but some are conspicuously more useful than others. You can’t go wrong with at least one rank in any of these, since they are helpful in so many situations: Revelation, Rush Assassination, Sparta Kick, Shield Breaker, Overpower Attacks, Ghost Arrows of Artemis, and Second Wind. And don’t forget you can pay a little money on the abilities menu to reassign points if you want to try something different.
Under the inventory tab, go to your item sack in the lower left. In that menu, look at the middle section called “documents.” This is a bit buried and not explained clearly, but each of those things (called Ainigmata Ostraka) are like mini treasure hunts. If you read the textual clue in the menu and find the locations, you can earn new enchantments for your weapons.
How To Hunt Cultists
Uncovering and taking down cultists requires you to follow clues and perform certain tasks. However, what you need to do isn’t always clear. Some clues give you explicit locations, but others have a vague hint like “help people nearby.” If the cultist you’re after has that clue, it usually means you need to complete a specific quest line in the region. Check out all of the nearby quests with gold exclamation marks and follow the one that seems most likely to be culty.
Your abilities expand in different ways at various points, but there are three key milestones to keep in mind. When your hero hits level 15, you unlock your second weapon slot, allowing you to switch between two equipped weapons on the fly (one of which can be bare fists, if you want to knock out and recruit foes more easily). At level 20, you stop taking fall damage entirely. Lastly, when your spear level (not player level) hits level 3, you get access to your second melee ability wheel.
Fight Better Mercenaries
Mercenaries hunt you when you do illegal stuff, and when you kill one who is ranked higher than you, you climb a rung on the mercenary ladder. But what about the ones below you? Don’t bother with them. Technically, you might benefit from their loot or racking up a certain number of total mercenary kills, but your time and effort is better spent focused up the ladder, not down.
Which Quests Are Important?
To some extent, it’s up to you as a player to decide which kinds of quests you want to finish. But some of them have definitely received more attention than others. The most important quests you can do are the Odyssey quests, which tell the game’s core story in three separate arcs. A step down from that, if a quest-giver has a gold exclamation point, that means the quest has some meat on its bones (from either a narrative or gameplay perspective). You don’t need to do them, but they often lead to neat stories, cool rewards, or additional quests. On the other hand, if the quest comes from the message board or from a quest-giver with an hourglass icon, those are usually more routine and less substantial. You can also do “impact quests,” which are short and simple tasks (represented by a forking path icon) that are important only in that they arise as a consequence of your previous actions.
Give In To Wanderlust
This seems obvious, but it’s worth emphasizing: You don’t need to do everything in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Don’t feel obligated to finish all objectives or quests in any area before moving on. If you want a change of scenery, go find it! Whatever you’re doing will be waiting for you later, and since all of your quests (and their rewards) scale with your level, they always pay off no matter when you complete them.
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One of the biggest changes added to Fortnite in Season 6 is the introduction of a new consumable called Shadow Stones. Using one allows you to transform into your Shadow Form, which gifts you with a couple of supernatural powers. [Update: Shadow Stones were absent for much of the first week, as Epic was forced to pull them due to an exploit. They’ve since returned, and just in time, as using them is one of the Week 2 challenges.]
In Shadow Form, you won’t be able to use weapons, but whenever you stand still, you’ll go completely invisible. You’ll still be slightly visible whenever you move in Shadow Form, and walking around leaves behind a Shadow Trail that people can easily follow. Running around isn’t all that bad though, as you’ll have increased movement speed and jump height, and you won’t take fall damage.
The true fun comes in your other supernatural ability, Phase. Using Phase propels in whichever direction you’re facing. If there’s something in your way, like a rock or a wall, you’ll pass right through it. With Phase, you’ll be able to easily escape anyone who discovers your Shadow Trail, or scare someone with your ghostly apparition in an ambush.
Shadow Form only lasts up to 45 seconds–and can be ended early by holding down the Alt Fire button–so you’ll have to figure out when’s the best time to use a Shadow Stone after you’ve found one. Shadow Stones randomly spawn around the map, but can usually be discovered in corrupted areas.
Fortnite Season 6 also puts Impulse Grenade, Suppressed Submachine Gun, Light Machine Gun, Bouncer, and Remote Explosives into the Vault. Grapplers have been updated so that connecting to a moving object incorporates its momentum into your launch force, and the charge for Grapplers has been reduced from 15 to 10.
Fortnite is available for Xbox One, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS.
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Coming off Dead or Alive 5 Last Round, the series is back with a brand-new numbered entry. Since the last game released in 2015, Koei Tecmo has been investigating what fans want, and have been trying to get the series to pick up steam on the competitive scene. With all that’s changed with fighting games over the years, we sat down with director Yohei Shimbori to see what’s new and what’s returning for the long-running series alongside his character picks for beginners and veterans.
For people who haven’t been in the know, what are some of the key differences in Dead or Alive 6 compared to 5?
There are a couple of differences… actually more than a couple. The first area would be the visuals aspect. We’ve changed the game engine, and the theme for this game is “intense fighting game entertainment.” With the new game engine, we’re able to show people getting bruised and the scratches on them. We also made improvements to the stages as well, so players can get that feeling of [immersion] and really get in there with the action. I think visually people will really be able to see the evolution of the game.
Then the next [difference] would be within the fighting system. Compared to Dead or Alive 5 Last Round, the game is much easier to get into for people who are completely new to fighting games. At the same time, for more experienced players we’ve added new moves that they’ll find interesting. There are two key points to this. The first is that there’s a special button, which is the shoulder button. Just by pressing it, even people new to the game will be able to perform really cool moves; you can do something called fatal rush. The second area is in the break gauge, and when it fills up you can do a special move called the great blow. Visually, I think people can see that if they fill up the gauge, it means they can probably do something cool.
Obviously, this [game] is a good entry point but also you probably don’t want to just press one button; your human [instinct] is to want to press more buttons. From that, people will think, “Okay, I’ll able to do this move with one button, but what if I press other buttons?’ I think through that people will be able to learn these other [more complex] moves and realize, “Hey, this really is a proper fighting game.”
Diego is the only new character revealed so far. What are your favorite things about him?
Diego’s backstory is that he’s a street fighter. He fights in the back alleyways of New York, and he does that to earn money. Even though he’s a really rough fighter, he is actually very kind. His mother is weak and in order to really help her out with money, he uses the strength that he’s been born with. He’s like a street champ. As you can see with his stats, his throws and his power are really strong. You can really push your opponent into the corner with him.
Back in August at Evo, where we revealed him, we had a lot of players try him out and out of all the characters people played he was one of the most popular ones.
You’ve made this entry a good starting point for newcomers, but what are you hoping to bring to the competitive fighting scene with it?
I think some people sort of look at Dead or Alive series and don’t think it’s much of a competitive fighting game. I think people misunderstand it; it really is a proper competitive fighting game. We’ve actually done tournaments for Dead or Alive 5 Last Round, so really we want to bring more of that forward. With the addition of the new systems for 6, I think it really allows players to do deeper combos and have more options to them. It gives you more freedom. With pro players, they can really find their own way to excel or style to fight. We also have the break gauge, which is something you can see and anticipate that something exciting is going to happen, whether you’re just someone who is watching the tournament or playing the tournament.
Which fighter would you recommend for a beginner and who would you recommend for more experienced players?
I’d probably recommend Kasumi for beginners. As the main character of the series, she has a lot of different moves. Even if you’re just button mashing, you can perform a lot of her moves. She’s also very fast so her hits are more likely to land. People will find her easy to use and that they’ll be able to do really cool things with her. Diego might be another one for beginners because his move sets are simple.
For experienced players, [I’d recommend] Bayman. He’s a hold specialist. He’s not very fast, but he can do a lot of damage. When using him, you have to be able to [predict] what your opponent will do. Actually, at Evo, we did a tournament for Dead or Alive 5 Last Round and the winner of it used Bayman.
The fighting game scene is certainly making a big comeback with tons of games on the horizon, such as Soulcalibur VI, Kill la Kill, and Jump Force. What makes Dead or Alive 6 stand out from the competition?
The other fighting games are definitely fun, but probably what sets us apart is in the visuals. Whether you’re good at it or not, you can just look at the game and enjoy it. Part of that also is the stages. We have a lot of stages that other fighting games don’t have with the various things happening on the screen, whether it’s pterodactyls coming over and picking you up, or a big giant croc then comes in. These are things the other fighting games don’t have and they’re really fun elements. Compared to other games, our stages are a little more about the entertainment factor.
In the past Dead or Alive has really focused on its female characters, but so far the roaster looks pretty even between men and women. I know in the past you had the age option that changed the breast jiggle. Is the series continuing to embrace that, or is it changing from that?
In terms of the number of male versus female characters, this is only what we’ve shown so far, but in the end there will probably be more female characters. This is because we’ve done some marketing research and we found that the series’ fans are really looking forward to female characters. Part of our job is to please the fans so it will be [tilted] toward women.
In terms of the chest movement, it’s something that’s been in the game since Dead or Alive 1, but there are some outfits in the game where there isn’t any movement. [Shimbori then shows us two different costumes for Kasumi, one made of tougher, leather-like material and her traditional costume, made of cloth, noting it wouldn’t be realistic for the former to have much movement.]
Depending on the outfit itself and the material, whether it’s solid material or soft cloth, it will be different. We look at the way the body moves, not just the breasts, but other elements, too. We are really looking to show more natural body movement. With this current build now, it’s probably only 70 percent implemented into the way it’s going to be in the end. It’s not something that we’re trying to put in people’s faces, ‘Oh, look at the breast movements!’ or anything. However, it is an element of the game that fans of the series do tend to be geared toward. We’re working within our fan expectations, and we do want to dispel any rumors that there is no movement whatsoever. That’s been a misunderstanding.
We also hope people don’t just focus on a specific body part because we are putting a lot of effort into the entire character, right down to facial animations, bruises, scratches, and sweat.
Dead or Alive 5: Last Round had a lot of DLC, sometimes becoming confusing on what you needed to purchase on the store. Can somebody buy this game off the shelf and be ready to play?
Basically, with Dead or Alive 6, you can just buy the game and play it straight out of the package, but we do have characters for the pre-order bonus (Nyotengu) and the digital deluxe edition (Phase 4) if you want these two extra characters.
Dead or Alive 6 launches on February 15 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
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In addition to the PlayStation Store’s standard weekly PS4 game sale, Electronic Arts is having a publisher sale on the digital store this week. That means you’ll find lots of PS4 games to pick up for cheap between now and October 9. And as usual, if you’re a PlayStation Plus member, you’ll get a bonus discount on some of the items. Let’s look at a few of the highlights.
If you like games from the ’90s–or good games in general–you can get a pre-order discount on Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood. This spooky bundle launches October 26, but you’ll save 15% if you lock down your copy right now (PS Plus members save 20%). Sports fans can also get a massive discount on NBA Live 19: The One Edition, which is 50% or 60% off, depending on your PS Plus status.
If you’re looking to spend as little as possible, you’ll find a number of games on sale for under $10 each this week. Racing fans can pick up Need for Speed and Need for Speed Rivals for $7 apiece. The gorgeous platformer Fe and the open-world parkour game Mirror’s Edge Catalyst are both on sale for the same price. Other cheap games include Peggle 2 Magical Masters Edition for $4.50 and Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 for $6.
The Sims 4 is down to $30, with many of its expansions seeing similar price cuts. RPG enthusiasts can grab Mass Effect: Andromeda for $10.50 and Dragon Age: Inquisition – GotY Edition for $13 this week. If you’ve missed out on the recent shooters from a galaxy far away, you can pick up Star Wars Battlefield Ultimate Edition for $9 and Star Wars Battlefront II for $14.
You’ll find more discounts below, and you can see the full list of sale items here.
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Fallout 76 is just beyond the crater, and with the latest round of updates showcasing a plethora of new weapons including a crossbow and a guitar sword, it seems like a good time to look back on some of the outrageous armaments that have defined this darkly humorous series. From pop-culture references to just plain strange, here’s a list of the 15 wildest weapons in Fallout.
This seems like your typical oakwood baseball bat, until you send a deathclaw soaring into the stratosphere. As the name suggests, this unique melee weapon is a souvenir baseball bat from the 2076 World Series and is a pre-war artifact untouched by the nuclear war. The bat features a “small chance to send targets flying,” and a unique sound effect that includes the crack of the bat and the raucous cheers of an excited crowd. Vault-dwellers can truly relive that great American pastime, as they send their enemies soaring into the distance.
If you selected the wild wasteland trait, this weapon is only discoverable through a unique interaction with your cyber-dog, Rex. Walking around the wasteland, Rex will engage you in dialogue with “aroo!” Then, if you ask him if someone fell down a well, Rex will bark in agreement, and the location of the weapon will be marked on your map. Apart from the hilarious interaction with your canine companion, this weapon is a typical BB gun – that is, unless you land a critical hit, then it becomes a devastating weapon capable of taking down even the most formidable wastelander.
This little ray gun looks like a prop out of a cheesy, ‘50s-era sci-fi flick, so you wouldn’t expect it to be quite so lethal. A staple appearing in every Fallout game to date, players can generally find the alien blaster near the corpse of a crash-landed extraterrestrial. If the aliens are still alive, however, your only hope in acquiring this pistol is to welcome them to Earth Will Smith-style, which is to say, you’ll have to blast them in the face.
As silly as it is intimidating, the broadsider is nothing to shake a hook at. A portable 18th-century naval cannon that players wield like a minigun, it shoots cannonballs made from solid, black iron and turns raiders into chum in a flash. A reward for aiding pirate robots who speak with serious salty dog accents, vault-dwellers can finally feel like Captain Ahab as they take down their white whale of a super mutant.
Okay, bad ice-themed Mr. Freeze puns aside (see Batman Forever), the cryolator is like a flamethrower in the sense that this prototype weapon freezes enemies solid with a cryogenic spray. With the bloody mess perk, players can watch their foes explode into a thousand bloody ice cubes. That’s one red slushy you might want to avoid.
Ten years ago, Todd Howard introduced this weapon for the first time at E3, quipping that, “Every kid wants one of these under the Christmas tree.” Since then, this “mini-nuclear bomb catapult” has become one of the most iconic weapons in the series. As OP as Fallout weapons get, the fat man matches the game’s dark humor perfectly by dropping nuclear bombs on an already bombed-out world. If you ever hear a whistling sound like that of an anvil falling out of the sky, run for cover, because a megaton’s worth of hell is about to rain down on your head… followed by instant death and a big mushroom cloud.
While the names and art styles slightly differ, both of these hand grenades derive from the quotable scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the Knights of the Round Table encounter a man-eating rabbit. Like the alien blaster, players in Fallout: New Vegas need to select the wild wasteland trait to discover this unique explosive. In Fallout 2, players discover the holy hand grenade through a random encounter that involves a bunch of Brotherhood of Steel knights dubbed “King Arthur’s knights” who get slaughtered by a small rat. If the player walks up and shoots the rat between the eyes, the holy hand grenade can be found in a dank cave, complete with a cross for a firing pin.
When you can kill a raider with a high-velocity teddy bear, or any piece of junk for that matter, you know you’ve stumbled onto something special. A vacuum-powered, detritus spewing rubbish cannon, the junk jet (or rock-it launcher, depending on your preference) can take any piece of junk you find and lob it at an enemy’s head with satisfyingly violent results. Made of jury-rigged scrap and oddments, this gun is the perfect weapon in a world littered with debris and populated by scavengers.
With “floppy metal ears” and a “nose sensor” this heavy machine gun houses a living dog’s brain because …. SCIENCE! It whines when you holster it and growls when it detects enemies, so the fact that it’s a weird, half-sentient, half-robotic abomination does make sense … plus you can pet it, and it won’t pee on the carpet, and it spits hot lead. So, good boy.
A lever-action rifle that belonged to Honest Abe himself, the Lincoln’s repeater is not only one of the most accurate and powerful rifles in Fallout 3, but it’s also based on a real-life firearm currently housed in the Smithsonian. As a big bonus, the pip-boy icon for this weapon shows a vault boy decked out in an Abe Lincoln top hat and beard. Clearly, vault boy is a student of history.
Brainwash your foes into giving you all their clothes. Or throw a bomb collar around their neck and sell them for caps. Either way this non-lethal brain scrambler hypnotizes nearly every person you meet, turning them into hyper-suggestible zombies. Go nuts.
The most powerful explosive in Fallout 3, and the second-most powerful in Fallout: New Vegas, the nuka-grenade harnesses a cocktail of chemicals with its most prominent ingredient being a glowing pre-war cola. In fact, the necessity of this ingredient really makes you wonder about the integrity of pre-war corporations in the Fallout universe. But then again, when have reputable companies like Vault-Tec or Robco ever done anything shady?
This high-powered rifle shoots railroad spike projectiles, lets off jets of steam, and emits a high-pitched train whistle, but that’s only part of the charm of this custom-made weapon. With elongated metal spikes for ammunition, the railway rifle severs enemy limbs and pins them to nearby walls. Sometimes it’s good to let off some steam.
A stick laced with mole rat repellent, this weapon comes from Moira Brown and is supposed to offer a non-violent solution to handling the critters. However, it doesn’t work as advertised, which becomes apparent after you test it out.
If you whack a mole rat with the stick once, nothing happens. If you whack it a second time, the creature’s head begins to smoke. And if you whack it a third time, the mole rat’s head explodes in a shower of bloody pulp. Whack-a-mole has never been so violent.
The modified version of a fat man, this unique heavy weapon fires bowling balls instead of mini-nukes and can leave more than a few raiders dead in the gutter. Whenever you reload, a strike sound effect plays like you knocked down a row of pins. And though it’s not quite as powerful as a normal fat man, the striker is still lethal enough to crush a mutant’s head like a grapefruit. After all, it is a bowling ball moving at the speed of a bullet.
Well, that concludes the list. Did we leave anything out? Be sure to sound off in the comments section below. Also, for the latest post-apocalyptic news, be sure to check out our Fallout 76 news hub, or this article where we sat down with the developers to discuss all the new things to expect in the irradiated hills of West Virginia.
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On platforms where the full experience exists, Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition is in a strange position. The version of Final Fantasy XV released two years ago is a sprawling behemoth of a game where it’s fully expected and encouraged for players to just meander around for the first three to five hours, getting to know Noctis and his friends, toying with the mechanics, and meeting the people of Eos. It’s one of the scant examples of a game where an extremely pared-down experience–which is, ultimately, what Pocket Edition is–remains as engrossing and immense an experience as the average 30 hour JRPG designed to be such.
The main story and the fundamentals of the game’s combat are reproduced here, save a few minor narrative beats and some of the fancier gameplay flourishes, like Link Attacks. But regardless, it’s still the story of the warring kingdoms of Insomnia, Niflheim, and Altissia. The three countries are on the verge of a peace that will only be solidified if Insomnia’s King Regis signs a treaty with Niflheim and if the prince of Insomnia, Noctis, enters an arranged marriage with Lunafreya of Altissia. Noctis, still immature and lackadaisical about his future, is fond of Lunafreya, but not necessarily ready for the responsibilities that come with marriage, and as such, decides to take one last road trip with his three best friends, Prompto, Ignis, and Gladiolus, toward the altar. When the signing of the peace treaty turns out to be a trap, leaving Insomnia devastated and the prince without a home to go back to, Noctis is forced to gain the divine blessings of his ancestors and claim his birthright ahead of schedule.
Like most demakes, a lot of Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition’s charm is largely in seeing how it compares to the original game. In this case, FFXV’s stunning locales and photoreal CG have been redone in a bright, abstract, cartoon aesthetic, akin to watching the game acted out by Funko Pop figures. There’s an element of warm, familiar nostalgia to it all. Having to fill in the visual blanks of a heavy scene being played out by these expressionless dolls gives you the feeling that you’re just playing a souped-up 32-bit Final Fantasy game. The visual dissonance of blocky, polygonal Cloud mourning an equally blocky Aeris can very easily vanish when you’re swept up in the moment. It’s much the same here, watching giant-head Noctis grieve his father and the fall of Insomnia. It only stands out as dissonant because unlike, say, Final Fantasy VII, you’ve likely seen what a photoreal version of these same scenes looks like.
Really, losing nuance from the world itself is more noticeable than losing out graphically. One of Final Fantasy XV’s greatest strengths was leaving a lot of narrative details about the world of Eos to the environment, hearing stories from the people you meet, overhearing gossip, and taking on sidequests. The vast majority of that has been stripped away. Also, the wide-open world has been pared down to an ongoing series of linear top-down maps. Pocket Edition’s quest is, quite literally, a critical path only that only communicates the essentials, with very little ability or reason to wander off. Yes, that means no fishing, no photography, no Hunts, no Justice Monsters Five, no Formouth Garrison, no Pitioss Ruins, no messing around. Ignis’ recipes are still part of the mix, but in a much more limited capacity. It says a lot about just how dense and layered Noctis’ journey was to begin with that even having so much of the original game and its narrative jettisoned off still leaves enough material for a very traditional, linear JRPG to take place.
With these limits in mind, it’s rather impressive how meticulously the most vital locations and story beats in the game had been reproduced. Having played the main game twice, it’s a delightfully surreal experience seeing how much of the world I was able to move through by sheer memory, knowing where traps, shop, and enemy ambush locations would be long before the game decided to point them out. A new player will likely have to refer to the map fairly often, but each area, even the more twisty dungeons in the game, is small enough where the potential to get lost is diminished relative to the original game.
Combat is similarly streamlined, though this is the one area where the main game’s depth is deeply missed. The fundamentals are, as mentioned, the same: hold the attack button and Noctis will spam attacks until you let go. You can dodge and roll out of the way, and you also have the Warp Strike, allowing you to close great distances and strike hard against a target clear across the screen. The arsenal is here, but there’s far less actual thought that needs to go into the majority of encounters in the game. Only one magic spell can be held at a time, and there’s a strange delay before Noctis can even cast it. Weapons like the Greatswords and polearms only vary in terms of striking speed, but generally do the same damage. And even when Noctis dies, with only a few exceptions later in the game, it’s so much easier to either throw yourself a potion or wait for an ally to revive you. For most of the fights in the game, you’re just holding attack and the left stick in the vague direction of the thing you want to kill. That likely made sense when Pocket Edition was solely a mobile title, but it’s a bit undercooked on consoles.
Thing is, though, as flashy as it could be, combat wasn’t exactly a shining example in the genre in the full game either. Final Fantasy XV’s brilliance shone forth in the interactions Noctis had with the people of Eos, friend and foe. Family friends reappear in Noctis’ life to offer guidance and comfort. Locals in every town have their own inner lives, surviving under the occupation of the Empire, and will gladly take Noctis on a tour of their town to see what life outside his kingdom is really like. The bounty hunter who tries to kill him while on a secret mission will later escort Noctis’ group through a dungeon and speak honestly about her own government job for the first time. The characters, their stories, and how they all contributed to Noctis growing into the man he needs to be to become king were the soul of Final Fantasy XV.
All these things have been admirably translated, in a way far less intimidating to newcomers and logistically fascinating to veterans. You get the parts of that experience that count the most towards the narrative from Pocket Edition, and the gameplay, rudimentary it may be, has been as elegantly streamlined as possible to obtain that experience. This is still, ultimately, Final Fantasy XV, and while there’s a lot of the game that you might want out of Pocket Edition, there’s an argument to be made that this version of FFXV will serve you just fine.
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Although we’re pretty happy with where the Forsaken expansion has taken Destiny 2, it’s not without its issues. Chief among them are the addition of masterwork cores as required materials for infusion as well as their rarity, as well as the paltry rate at which exotic gear drops. Bungie is hoping to address both of these issues in an upcoming update.
On the developer’s official blog, Bungie detailed how the increase in cost for infusing higher-level items into lower ones happened because it wanted to make that infusion a meaningful choice. However, since masterwork cores were added as a cost for infusion, players have found themselves scrapped for the rare material, discouraging them from infusing items at all. There weren’t that many ways to attain masterwork cores; you can currently buy them from the Spider vendor in the Tangled Shore, but they’re expensive. You can also get them from dismantling weapons, but that’s not a reliable source for them.
Bungie is doing two things to fix the issue. First, it’s renaming the item. “When they were created, the definition of a pinnacle item put the emphasis almost entirely on Masterworking,” Bungie says. “We expanded that definition in Forsaken, but didn’t update the currency.” The new name looks to be “uncommon cores.” Second, it’s looking to add new ways to get uncommon cores, so players have a steady stream of them. When this update will hit is still up in the air.
Moving on to exotics, Bungie isn’t changing too much, but what they are changing is fairly big. “We plan to increase the chance for Exotics to drop something you don’t already have,” Bungie says. This has been a fairly large sticking point for players who get that fun dopamine drip from seeing a gold engram drop, only to get a gun they already have for the umpteenth time.
As for the drop rate, that’s not changing. In Forsaken there are a dozen or so new exotics that can drop randomly, but the most prominent ones have come in the form of multi-step quests that eventually reward you with a powerful and unique weapon. Bungie has opted for this approach to make exotics “meaningful long-term chases.” As with the change to uncommon cores, when this change hits has not been detailed.
Finally, Iron Banner is getting some fairly large tweaks for the next time it rolls around. The biggest change is that the weekly bounties that accompany an Iron Banner event will now all offer powerful gear. The bounties themselves are also easier to accomplish. “One of the goals we have for Iron Banner is that it’s an opportunity for lower-Power players to catch up or reengage in their pursuit of Power,” said Bungie senior designer Jeremiah Pieschl. “Based on your feedback and our analytics, we’re not meeting that goal.”
Going forward, I’d also like to see the term “Powerful Gear” stratified to reflect what it can actually mean. Depending on the type of activity you do to get it, powerful gear can either drop one level above your current best power or several, and until you get enough drops or look up a guide, you’re not sure which activities will offer big boosts and which will offer minor ones.
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If you’re a Switch owner who enjoys multiplayer games, there’s a good chance you have your eye on Super Mario Party. The game is set to launch on October 5, but you can pre-order it now. Super Mario Party is a four-player digital board game that comes with 80 mini-games you’ll get to play as your characters advance across the onscreen game board. The mini-games have you use the Joy-Cons in creative ways, often involving motion controls.
The mini-games come in a number of varieties. Some are free-for-alls, in which all players compete against each other. Some are two-on-two, so you’ll have to team up with one opponent to clobber the others. Other mini-games pit three players against one for asymmetrical multiplayer madness. And for the first time in the series, some of the mini-games will let you go online to play against other players around the world.
Super Mario Party also comes with Toad’s Rec Room, a set of four mini-games designed to be played when you have two Switches on hand. You and your friends can remove the Joy-Cons from both Switches and put the two screens together to form one bigger play area. One of the Rec Room mini-games is a banana puzzle that times how quickly you can rotate the screens to create a single image. Another has each player control a tank in a level whose layout and shape is determined by how you decide to place the Switch screens side-by-side.
If you’re ready to pre-order Super Mario Party, here’s the information you’ll need to get the best deal.
The only pre-order bonus available for Super Mario Party on Nintendo Switch is that Amazon Prime members get a $10 reward certificate for placing their order before launch day.
Nintendo is doing a no-frills launch for Super Mario Party, so it only comes in a single editions, with no physical or digital extras to go with it. Unless you have an Amazon Prime membership, you’ll get the best deal at Newegg, where you can save $5 compared to other retailers.
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If you’ve ever toured Tokyo’s streets, you might have noticed people in Mario cosplay speeding past you on go-karts. Nintendo definitely noticed and in early 2017 filed a lawsuit against tourism company “MariCar” for copyright infringement. Today, a Tokyo court determined that MariCar was infringing on Nintendo’s copyrights and has forced the company to pay 10 million yen to the gaming giant.
MariCar’s business model was centered around giving people tours of Tokyo on go-karts while dressing them up in various outfits, not necessarily limited to but certainly focusing on Mario-themed outfits. Nintendo filed a complaint with the Japanese patent office in 2017, stating that MariCar as a name was deliberately meant to invoke Mario Kart. The patent office disagreed and dismissed the claim last year, stating that “MariCar” is not a widely recognized abbreviation of Mario Kart.
Where Nintendo did succeed, however, is in the claim that MariCar uses Mario characters to advertise their tourism and cosplay service to the point of essentially theming themselves around the popular game series. While the website today has hurriedly removed all pictures of patrons dressed as Yoshis, Luigis, Peaches, and more, the MariCar page had been almost completely comprised of the Mushroom Kingdom denizens as recently as last week. The site still mentions banana peels and turtle shells in its advertising, as well.
Nintendo has argued that the cosplay, even outside of explicit advertising, functions as advertising for MariCar when patrons drive around as their characters. In essence, Nintendo is saying that MariCar is advertising their go-kart business using Mario characters by just being on the road in the outfits.
MariCar has been asked to pay 10 million yen to Nintendo, which works out to about $89,000. While not a bankrupting sum for the company, it does force them to drop the Mario-themed advertising and, thus, stop using the costumes as a whole when out on the streets. In an official statement, Nintendo reiterated that it will take whatever necessary steps to protect its brand and property.
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American Horror Story Apocalypse may have only just begun but Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt herself, Leslie Grossman, is already looking forward to her return as an entirely different type of terrible person on the upcoming third season of The Good Place–Eleanor’s horrible semi-absentee mother, Donna Shellstrop.
In a recent conversation with GameSpot, Grossman confirmed she would be making her return to The Good Place next season for even more tackiness at young Eleanor’s expense.
“I come back as maybe the worst mother that’s ever existed. And I have to say, I love that show so much. I think Mike Schur is a genius. To work with Kristen Bell is such a dream, and I get to work with Ted Danson, which I haven’t had the chance to do before, and I have to say, I am such an unabashed just total fan of his and was so thrilled when he got nominated for the Emmy, because he is brilliant. He really is. He’s such a joy, and lovely, and funny, and fantastic, and it was so fun to get a chance to work with him.”
It isn’t hard to start drawing some connections between the archetypes found in both St. Pierre Vanderbilt and Shellstrop, despite the massive differences in genre and tone. St. Pierre Vanderbilt is as vapid as she is malicious, a direct shot taken at wealthy image-obsessed 1% culture that seems eerily, if not dangerously, timely. Donna Shellstrop may not be quite as inherently horrifying or as obviously based in real life, but she’s certainly not going to be winning any prizes for mother of the year. In flashbacks during Seasons 1 and 2, we’ve already seen her rant to Eleanor about her dead dog, show up drunk and late to her ex-husband’s funeral (while simultaneously hitting on Eleanor’s boyfriend) and only arrive at her own daughter’s emancipation announcement under the promise of “free Wrestlemania tickets.”
So, sure, The Good Place may not be designed to throw a critical dagger right into the heart of the current American political climate, but the similarities between Grossman’s characters are pretty hard to miss. You might even say she’s found herself a wheelhouse in over the top, deadbeat ladies–and that’s a wheelhouse she’s thankfully more than happy to exist in for a while.
“I love that show. I love it, I love it, I love it, and I hope they continue to bring me back, because it’s one of my most favorite jobs that I’ve ever had the good fortune to have in my entire career,” Grossman said. “So, yes. Keep your eyes out for me and my tacky, tacky wardrobe and extensions, which are hilarious.”
The Good Place Season 3 premieres tomorrow on NBC.
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Late last week, Telltale Games essentially shut down, laying off the vast majority of their employees with the intention of shutting down completely after fulfilling some contractual obligations. Yesterday afternoon, a former Telltale employee Vernie Roberts, Jr. filed a class-action suit on behalf of himself and fellow employees alleging that the San Rafael-based developer violated labor laws by not aligning to Federal and state laws outlined by the WARN Act, Polygon reports.
When Telltale laid off around 225 of their staff last week, the company did so abruptly, having not given much if any warning to its employees, with reports of some employees having just moved to the Bay Area developer to start work the previous week. Under WARN, Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, employers with over one hundred employees are required to give those employees 60 days notification before any mass layoffs or closures. In California, that number lessens to 75 employees, but still has the same 60-day requirement.
If a company fails to comply with the WARN Act, then they are financially liable to the employees to pay the salary they would have accrued in those 60 days, as well as benefits associated with their employment. In the suit, Roberts counts 275 employees affected by the mass layoff comprised of last week’s terminations and the remaining skeleton crew of 25 employees that will be let go when Telltale officially closes. That would put Telltale on the hook for 60 days’ pay, with interest, for all 275 employees should they be found liable in court.
Experts we spoke to speculated that Telltale may have deferred on providing notice to employees under the assumption that public notice would have made it less likely for the company to pursue financing, scaring off possible creditors. This is one exception to the WARN Act, but it only applies to plant closings, so the experts also note that Telltale would have little luck trying this.
One complication for Telltale is that the developer went to social media last night to suggest that The Walking Dead, their episodic game series based on the Robert Kirkman comic book, could receive a conclusion in the forms of episodes 3 and 4.
If the company is still operating and making revenue, even by selling off the license or completed assets to a third party, it will be extremely difficult for them to argue that they are unable to pay their employees in accordance with federal law.
The season pass for The Walking Dead: The Final Season is still available on console and PC digital distribution services, advertising four episodes with the purchase.
The employees let go from Telltale received no severance after being terminated.
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All this week, the Humble Store is running a sale on PC games from Aspyr. Aspyr specializes in Mac and Linux ports, which means you don’t even need a Windows machine to take advantage of the sale. The Windows versions are also discounted, because Humble distributes these games in the form of Steam codes, which are unlocked across all relevant PC operating systems. But enough preamble–here are some of the standout titles discounted between now and October 1 at the Humble Store.
The world-conquering sim Civilization VI is on sale for $24 this week. As with previous entries in the series (several of which are also on sale), it has you start a settlement and guide it over the centuries to become a major world power. You can do this in a variety of ways, including military dominance, cultural influence, and technological superiority. The sci-fi real-time strategy game Homeworld Remastered Collection is also on sale for $10.50.
Fans of loot shooters can pic up Borderlands 2 for $5 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel for $10. BioShock Infinite is down to $7.50, and Duke Nukem Forever is priced just right at $4. If you missed out on Mafia III when it launched two years ago, you can grab it this week for $10. And to help you get into the Halloween spirit, you might want to pick up Layers of Fear for just $5.
Many of these games have DLC, special editions, and season passes on sale as well. So if you’re interested in seeing what else is discounted this week, you can view the full sale here.
In other news, October’s Humble Monthly is a big one. When you buy in for just $12, you instantly get the early-unlock game Overwatch, which is regularly priced between $40 and $60. Then, on October 5, you’ll receive an additional bundle of games that includes Hidden Folks and Dungeons 3, along with other yet-to-be-revealed titles. Overall, it’s a good time to be a PC gamer who likes to save money.
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Just a couple days ago, word spread quickly online that Telltale was facing huge layoffs and closing down the majority of its studio. It came as a shock to most, since the developer had several projects in the works, from continuing The Walking Dead, creating its own take on Stranger Things, and had plans to rekindle The Wolf Among Us.
The news, especially for the majority of the studio that was laid off unexpectedly, is devastating. I’m devastated because Telltale helped inspire me to pursue video games as a career. Yes, the format of their games began to be a tired concept, but some of their storytelling was the best I’ve seen for the interactive medium.
I remember playing through The Walking Dead S1 several times with friends because I wanted them to see how brilliant it was too. I remember my jaw dropping at the end of The Wolf Among Us.
Telltale fans from around the globe have been sharing their favorite Telltale moments on Twitter, some of which you can view below:
— AVÉ MWA (@CSebGame) September 23, 2018
The whole season of Batman: The Enemy Within. Your approach on Joker was something totally new and I really enjoyed it. Especially his relationship with Bruce was just amazing & the end of both episodes made me cry. Thank you for this experience. #TelltaleMemories pic.twitter.com/ax74pQMRUo
— MsDarkShadow🌈 (@MsDarkShadow666) September 23, 2018
— — sam (@cohanspolaroid) September 23, 2018
With all that said, we want to know if you have a favorite Telltale game. Or maybe it’s a scene, or a character. Please share with us in the comments.
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FX’s It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia just entered its 13th season, and over the years, the gang has done some incredible and despicable things. From exploiting the gas crisis, to getting drunk on planes, to putting on a rock opera that’s just a marriage proposal ploy, the show contains some hilarious and truly memorable episodes.
The show follows the owners–and employee–of Paddy’s Pub in Philadelphia: Ronald “Mac” McDonald, Dee Reynolds, Dennis Reynolds, Frank Reynolds, and Charlie Kelly. Together, this group of friends is toxic and ruins the lives of everyone around them through malicious schemes and plots to try and make themselves seem like better people.
In honor of the show’s 13th season, the folks at GameSpot came together to debate which episodes are the best. Obviously, this is no easy task because so many of these episodes are amazing.
After plenty of debate, looking at every scheme, every violent encounter, and every hilarious moment, we figured out the best 13 episodes from the series. Let us know what your favorite episodes are in the comment section below.
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia currently airs Wednesdays at 10 PM on FXX.
Season 5, Episode 4
Frank has gone off the wagon with his drinking so Dee, Dennis, and Charlie want to give him an intervention. Meanwhile, Frank is trying to have sex with his sister-in-law, who Mac is pursuing as well. However, Frank settles for her daughter, Gail the Snail, who is simply the worst (and one of the show’s best side characters, despite being underused). This episode is the point where Frank really goes off the deep end–Season 2 Frank is very different from what the character eventually becomes–and once he starts plumbing the depths of his depravity here, he’ll never stop. This episode is a great example of the group dynamic, which involved getting as drunk as possible (this time with wine in soda cans) and berating each other.
Season 5, Episode 7
This episode has the first appearances of both Da Maniac and Ben the Soldier. Mac, Charlie, and Dennis decide nothing is more American than wrestling and decide to put on a wrestling show for the troops. They book Da Maniac, played by the late Roddy Piper, a deranged wrestler with a heart of gold who ends up getting arrested before the show. Meanwhile, Dee meets her online boyfriend Ben but passes him off to Artemis when Ben shows up in a wheelchair after spraining his ankle. One of the best moments of the episode is when Charlie, Mac, and Dennis come to the wrestling ring as “The Birds of War,” singing their entrance with drawn on abs. It’s one of the few times the majority of the gang actually tries to accomplish something where they aren’t benefiting from it in some way and gives the viewer some hope that these people aren’t all that bad.
Also check out Season 9, Episode 4: “Mac and Dennis Buy a Timeshare”
Season 8, Episode 3
This is the only episode on this list where it really helps to have watched previous episodes revolving around the relationship of Dennis and his ex-wife Maureen Ponderosa. The Wedding Massacre all takes place in flashback form as Frank, Dennis, Charlie, and Mac are telling the story of what happened at the Maureen Ponderosa/Liam McPoyle wedding, which ended like a zombie movie. It’s a combination of two major antagonists in the gang’s lives that haven’t crossed over before. It’s tonally a bit different than a traditional Always Sunny episode, as it’s darker and a tad creepy, but it works. This episode is a pivotal point in Maureen’s storyline, right before she begins transitioning into a cat. Plus it’s always fun to spend time with the whole McPoyle clan–not least the raving mad Pappy McPoyle, played for some reason by none other than Guillermo del Toro.
Also check out Season 6, Episodes 1 & 2: “Mac Fights Gay Marriage” and “Dennis Gets Divorced.”
Season 5, Episode 8
While the series had already been on the air for five years at the time, The original TV spot for the “Kitten Mittens” episode went viral, as a cat wearing socks tried to walk across a table as Charlie looked on. In the actual episode, everyone in the gang tries to develop products to market Paddy’s Pub, which leads them to The Lawyer (played again by Brian Unger). This episode sets up a couple recurring gags, like Charlie believing he’s a lawyer or “man of the law” and Frank trying to sell an egg dyed green as a stress ball and “jumping off point.” The episode also has one of the best sight gags in the series, with Mac’s “D**k towel,” a crudely drawn penis on a shower towel. It’s a stand-alone episode that’s just moment after moment of really solid comedy writing.
Season 9, Episode 1
For eight seasons, the gang has been brutal to Dee Reynolds, and at the start of Season 9, she cracks like the shell of an egg that she would lay (because she is a bird). Mac, Charlie, and Frank try to lift her spirits by encouraging her to try stand-up comedy again. She actually does well for herself. While this is happening, Dennis tries to hook her up with a “select,” a mediocre man Dee can settle down with. The turn at the end episode is outstanding and unbelievably mean. It’s so malicious toward Dee, and it ends up breaking Dennis, for very different reasons. While it’s an extremely cold-hearted episode, it’s amazing to see the depths these characters will go just to one-up each other.
Season 2, Episode 3
Right after Danny Devito joined the cast as Frank Reynolds, Always Sunny started finding its footing, as the series offered more of a variety in how the gang split up into different alliances and they began to get more depraved than ever. “Dennis and Dee Go on Welfare” is a great early example of this. As the title suggests, Dennis and Dee quit their jobs to milk the welfare system–which leads them to become crack addicts–while Charlie and Mac spend all of Frank’s money in his secret bank account. This episode sets up a few reoccuring things in always Sunny, like Dennis and Dee’s addiction problems and Frank’s casual racism. It’s actually a great starting point for the series, as it gives the audience a greater understanding of how far these characters are willing to go in order to please their own egos, even if it means turning to addiction so they don’t have to work anymore.
Season 6, Episode 13
Originally a straight-to-video release and added a year later to Season 6, this 43-minute episode gives the audience plenty of insight into the gang’s childhood and why they’re all such damaged people. As kids, Frank would buy himself what Dennis and Dee wanted for Christmas and rub it in their faces. Mac learns his family would steal gifts from other families. Charlie learns his mother was a prostitute that had sex with men dressed like Santa Claus. Also, there’s a claymation sequence that is bonkers, and one of the top Sunny gags ever, involving a stark naked, glistening Frank bursting from the bowels of a saggy leather couch in the middle of an office holiday party full of strangers. While this episode tends to be overlooked, it is crucial to understanding these characters, as nowhere else do we see a better blueprint for who these characters are and where they came from.
Season 4, Episode 2
The gang is always coming up with schemes, none of which are good on paper nor do they play out as planned. “The Gang Solves The Gas Crisis” sees Mac, Dennis, and Charlie selling barrels of gasoline to people door-to-door in order to profit from the high gas prices at the time. Meanwhile, Frank and Dee try to besmirch Bruce Mathis (Dee and Dennis’s real father) after he plans on donating the late Barbara Reynolds’ inheritance. This episode starts the trend of Charlie as the “wild card” of the group, as he dresses up like a Texas oil man, tries to seduce a banker, and throws a fireball at Mac’s head. “The Gang Solves The Gas Crisis” sets the trend for how the group’s schemes will turn out–poorly–but it delivers the idea that they can work together, despite being despicable people. Out of all of the schemes the gang has come up with throughout the series, this one tops the list.
Also check out Season 8, Episode 2: “The Gang Recycles Their Trash”
Season 10, Episode 1
Throughout its 13 seasons, Always Sunny had plenty of road trip episodes where the gang leaves the bar to go on adventures. The best of them all is “The Gang Beats Boggs.” With Mac acting as commissioner, the gang goes on a cross-country flight in order to try and beat Wade Boggs’ record of drinking 70 beers in one flight. Meanwhile, Frank wants to start “The Air Sex Society,” by getting it on with someone on the flight. Where the episode shines is in the group dynamic. The gang is reved up for their plan, but as the episode goes on, one by one, they give up or find something they deem more interesting to focus on. This is a repeating trend throughout the series, and an element we’ve seen before, but no other episode does it as well as “The Gang Beats Boggs,” as it contains this all within a tight location, weaving multiple storylines, and keeping the dialogue comedic.
Also check out Season 13, Episode 3: “The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot”
Season 10, Episode 4
Not only is “Charlie Work” a hilarious and chaotic mess (in the best way possible), but it is shot beautifully, with plenty of long, single-shot takes following Charlie throughout the bar. In the episode, Charlie learns that the health inspector is on her way to inspect Paddy’s Pub, so Charlie kicks into high gear to make sure the bar is up to code. However, while this is happening, the rest of the gang has a convoluted scheme involving live chickens, airline miles, and steaks. Charlie has to make sure the health inspector isn’t wise to the scheme, all while keeping her none-the-wiser. The episode shows that Charlie is actually incredibly competent as one of the owners, and one of the best gags of the episode is set up right under your nose the entire time. It gives the audience a whole new perspective on the character, and you’ll come to respect him more.
Season 5, Episode 10
It’s well-established now that Dennis Reynolds is a full-blown sociopath, but it was this 2009 episode that really defined how awful the character is. Dennis explains to the gang his technique for seducing women, which involves Demonstrating his value, Engaging her physically, Nurturing her dependence, Neglecting her emotionally, Inspiring hope, and Separating entirely. A good portion of this system relies on Dennis making threatening phone calls as a disgruntled neighbor. We also learn about the M.A.C. System, which is just Mac trying to swoop in after Dennis leaves these women. This episode is a big turn for the character. Instead of being a typical scumbag who uses women, we learn that he’s a straight-up monster who plays a game to inflate his own self-worth. You’ll never look at Dennis the same way again. Fun fact: The pharmacist Dennis dates in this episode is Glenn Howerton’s wife in real life.
Season 7, Episode 7
Without anything fun to do, the gang introduces Frank to a convoluted board/drinking game they created, Chardee MacDennis. Based on board games they loved as children–combined with their love of alcohol–the gang’s homebrew tabletop game is pure insanity and the whole goal of the game is to belittle the losers. It’s one of the more bizarre episodes and shows that this group thrives on being awful to other people, even if it’s to each other. The episode expands on the relationships between the characters and delivering a really fun plot, while never leaving the bar. More importantly, it’s one of the most light-hearted episodes in the series, with the endgame of the gang not being anything too crazy.
Also check out Chardee MacDennis 2: Electric Boogaloo (Season 11, Episode 1)
Season 4, Episode 13
In the Season 4 finale, Charlie and the gang decide to put on a rock opera based on Charlie’s song “Night Man” from Season 3. The opera’s story revolves around a young boy who must stop the Night Man in order to win the heart of a princess of a coffee shop. He does this by turning into the Day Man. There’s a huge turn at the end, as Charlie appears and asks the Waitress–who is in the audience–to marry him. While it’s undeniably one of the funniest episodes, especially when Frank–who plays the Troll–can’t get the lyrics right, it’s incredibly dark when you realize that this could be the story of Charlie, as a young boy, escaping the clutches of his Uncle Jack. It’s a prime example of taking a character who the audience tends to perceive as dumb and showing another side to him, as Charlie is–in many ways–a musical genius, even if the content of the music is disturbing.
Also check out “Sweet Dee’s Dating a R****ded Person” (Season 3, Episode 9)
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These days, box offices are dominated by comic-book and superhero movies from Marvel and DC. Unfortunately, while superhero movies have improved dramatically over the last decade, superheroes haven’t been as powerful in the realm of video games. In fact, nearly 40 years after the first superhero video game, many developers still struggle to create worthwhile experiences using some of the biggest names in entertainment today.
While not all superhero games are monumental duds like Superman on Nintendo 64, many tend to deliver middling, forgettable experiences. However, a select few that defy the stereotype to become superb titles we still look back on fondly as not only great superhero games, but terrific video games in their own rights.
While the superhero films of today are often critically acclaimed and feature a wide array of faces, our list of the best superhero games is substantially less diverse, with half of the list focused on two heroes. This speaks to the drastically different levels of quality these games have featured over the years.
Check out our list of the 10 best superhero games of all time and be sure to let us know your favorites in the comments below.
As the sole non-licensed entry on this list, Infamous delivers a compelling, original story starring Cole MacGrath, a bike messenger given the power of electrokinesis after being caught in an explosion. Cole must face off against other superhuman conduits and track down Kessler, a mysterious man with similar powers as him. Sucker Punch’s morality-based superhero debut was a terrific exclusive for the PlayStation 3 library and kicked off a great series for the studio.
Treyarch’s game loosely based on the second Tobey Maguire film was fun for its open world and its large stable of Spider-Man villains to fight. However, it was revolutionary for how it nailed the feeling of swinging through New York City. While Insomniac’s 2018 title finally surpassed Treyarch’s 2004 experience, Spider-Man 2 was the best game starring the wallcrawler for a long time.
Everyone knows that Hulk is at his best when he’s unleashed and smashing everything in his path, so it stands to reason that his best video game appearance would be the one that lets him do that nearly unimpeded. Hulk can run up walls, smash cars to use as weapons, and annihilate anything foolish enough to get in his way.
Marvel has an incredible lineup of heroes and villains, and Ultimate Alliance allows you to assemble a dream team and dungeon crawl through several well-known locations in the Marvel universe. Crafting your own custom superhero team made from the star-studded Marvel stable is beyond satisfying, and blasting through waves of enemies lives up to expectations.
The Marvel universe is no stranger to crossover events either, but Capcom took things to the next level. In 1994, Capcom released its first fighting game starring Marvel characters in X-Men: Children of Atom. In the 17 years following, Capcom expanded to feature characters from the entire Marvel universe, as well as its own. That crossover vision reached its pinnacle in 2011 with Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, and its Ultimate expansion improved the experience with a ton of new characters, as well as refined and reworked gameplay mechanics later that year.
Ed Boon and his Mortal Kombat team have a long history with DC Comics. After creating Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe at Midway in 2008, Boon founded NetherRealm Studios and successfully rebooted the Mortal Kombat universe in 2011. Following the well-received reinvention of that series, Boon’s team released DC Comics fighter Injustice: Gods Among Us in 2013 using similar mechanics. After making marked improvements to the formula with 2015’s Mortal Kombat X, NetherRealm created the ultimate DC Comics fighting game: Injustice 2. Not satisfied with simply continuing the robust story mode and adding new characters, NetherRealm added a gear-customization system, daily live events, and improved fighting mechanics.
With Rocksteady’s third (and to this point final) entry in its Arkham series, the studio weaves a fascinating story surrounding Batman, his fiercest rivals, and a mysterious new threat known as the Arkham Knight. Exploring an open Gotham City under attack from Scarecrow is thrilling, and while the Batmobile may be a sore spot for some, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the rest of Arkham Knight is Rocksteady at the top of its game.
Perhaps the most revolutionary superhero game of all time, Batman: Arkham Asylum didn’t just demonstrate how to make a great comic-book game, it influenced several games with its perfected rhythmic combat, as well as its approach to predatorial stealth gameplay. Before Arkham Asylum, no game ever made you truly embody a comic-book character like Rocksteady’s inaugural entry in the stellar series.
By bringing a studio known for its ability to craft imaginative gadgets and deliver supremely fun traversal to the Spider-Man franchise, Sony found a match made in heaven. Spider-Man excels in its web swinging and combat, but it truly sets itself apart in its storytelling. Insomniac delivers a narrative that’s as focused on Peter Parker and those around him as it is his alter ego, while also nailing the feel of those beloved characters. Not just that, but just like in the comics, Insomniac’s interpretation of Spider-Man is at its best when the life of Peter intersects with the duties of Spider-Man. Spider-Man is not only the best Marvel game ever released, but it’s an exciting jumping off point for what could become an enormous and promising universe.
It may be strange to see three of the top four entries on this list dominated by DC’s Dark Knight, but it’s hard to argue Rocksteady doesn’t deserve it. Following the runaway success of Batman: Arkham Asylum, many wondered if lightning could strike twice for Rocksteady. Thankfully, Rocksteady’s gamble to move the action from the compact hallways and confined courtyards of Arkham Asylum to a wide-open portion of Gotham City paid massive dividends. Not only did this allow greater player freedom in determining how to experience the story, but it truly let Rocksteady flex its muscles with regards to Batman’s various traversal options. Grappling through Arkham City is a pure delight, but the true thrill comes in perching high above a group of thugs, plotting how you’re going to take them down. In addition, the stellar combat of Arkham Asylum received some improvements, and the open nature of Arkham City allowed Rocksteady to cram loads of Easter eggs for comic fans to discover.
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The beloved Nickelodeon cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender is getting another reincarnation: this time as a live-action series at Netflix. The original creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko are attached as executive producers and showrunners, and are promising to do this one right–with some pointed commentary at the 2010 live-action film.
“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to helm this live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender,” DiMartino and Konietzko said in the announcement. “We can’t wait to realize Aang’s world as cinematically as we always imagined it to be, and with a culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build upon everyone’s great work on the original animated series and go even deeper into the characters, story, action, and world-building.”
That statement is a not-too-subtle jab at the M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender, which was criticized in part for a whitewashed cast. The movie was generally panned for more than just casting problems, though, and was widely criticized for an overstuffed story and stiff, languid action sequences–a far cry from the fluid martial artistry depicted in the animated series.
Avatar: The Last Airbender premiered on Nickelodeon in 2005 and ran for three seasons, gaining a passionate fanbase. It followed the adventures of Aang, the latest incarnation of the legendary Avatar–the one being on the planet who could master all four essential elements. He emerged to a world that had been ravaged by war, including a violent purge of his own people, the Airbenders. It was followed by a sequel series, The Legend of Korra, which featured a fiery young woman as the new Avatar reincarnation after Aang passed away. The series has also spawned a wide variety of graphic novels and an upcoming young-adult novel.
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A new Nintendo Switch update, timed to release alongside the paid online subscription plan, has been released and is available for download now. The update adds Nintendo Online features like cloud saving, which is not available for every game, and perhaps an ill-timed addition of six new Toad icons.
The far bigger and decidedly surprisingly addition, however, is that digital games can now be shared among different consoles. Perhaps as a consequence of Nintendo now preventing Nintendo Network IDs from being unlinked to system profiles, you can now designate a Switch as a “Primary” system. On non-primary systems with the Nintendo profile signed in, digital content can be accessed whether or not that console was the purchasing console or not.
To put it another way, it seems to be very close to how Sony designates primary and non-primary PS4 consoles for accounts.
Nintendo explains the differences here, which also outlines key restrictions. From the page:
This is, again, functionally fairly similar to the PlayStation 4 where the account that bought the software must be used to play it. Without an internet connection or if the account signs in elsewhere to play a digital game, it won’t work. The only major difference between the Switch’s version and the PS4 is that Nintendo doesn’t indicate what the amount of time is for the game to pause, while on the PS4 it is fifteen minutes. The Switch being portable may also add a wrinkle to that.
Still, it’s an extremely interesting thing they decided to sneak into this firmware update, regardless of whether or not there are restrictions.
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There’s always an abundance of new games that come out every month. Some are incredibly big-budget releases that we’ve been eagerly waiting years for while others are smaller, more surprising independent titles that no one sees coming. In addition, there’s plenty of other games found near and around those releases. You get games from mid-sized publishers and even the occasional remaster or re-release of gaming’s most definitive adventures.
There’s a lot of exciting games coming out in the future. We recently got to see debut gameplay of Cyberpunk 2077, and we already can’t wait for it. In addition, Nintendo did a Direct presentation and announced 22 upcoming Switch games. With so many games coming out year-round, it can be difficult keeping track of what’s worth playing. To help keep you in the know, we’ve compiled all the best new games you absolutely need to play right now. The point of this feature is to focus on the latest and greatest games, so the choices you’ll find here have been limited to the past couple months.
What you’ll find in the slides ahead are games rated 7 or higher by GameSpot. However, you’ll occasionally find some lower-rated ones that have been chosen to be included by an incredibly passionate member of our team. We won’t hesitate to highlight experiences some members of our staff absolutely love–even if there are others who may not agree. The games included in this feature are ones we personally believe you should check out in some capacity. Here’s a brief taste of what you’ll see.
Check out the slides ahead for all the games we’ve highlighted as the best out right now. And as the months go by, we’ll be continually cycling out the older games with the most cutting-edge experiences out now, so be sure to keep checking back as often as you can. Which new games have you been playing recently? Let us know in the comments below.
“Three years after its initial release on PC, Undertale has found its way to the Nintendo Switch–and of course, the game is every bit as charming, challenging, and harrowing as it was the first time around. Undertale may seem like a straightforward retro-style RPG, but it subverts player expectations every chance it gets, which never gets stale because of clever writing and an evocative chiptune soundtrack. Thankfully, it plays just as well as it does on other platforms without any performance hitches or bugs after putting about four hours into this version. Like its console counterparts, you can fill the screen with an adaptive border that thematically fits with the location you’re in (Undertale plays in a 4:3 aspect ratio). Dodging enemy attacks in the bullet hell-style defensive phase in combat works just as well with the Joy-Con analog sticks.
Undertale isn’t afraid to break convention, and because it does so in a way that’s thoughtful and humorous throughout, the result is an emotional rollercoaster that fills us with determination.” [Read the review]
— Michael Higham
“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. Valkyria Chronicles 4 doesn’t necessarily tell a new tale, but it doesn’t have to; for all of its clichés and expected twists, there’s a charm to the game’s unwillingness to let up as it drives you and your friends forward at a rapid clip towards its bittersweet end.” [Read the review]
— Edmond Tran
“Minor shortcomings don’t detract from Insomniac’s achievement in creating a game that feels like an authentic interpretation of a beloved creation. The feeling of embodying Spidey and using his abilities is astonishing, and the time spent on exploring its major characters help make its story feel heartfelt, despite superhero bombast. There have been open-world Spider-Man games before, but none so riveting and full of personality, none that explore and do justice to this many facets of the universe. Insomniac has created a superior Spider-Man experience that leaves a lasting impression, one that has you longing for just one more swing around New York City, even after the credits roll.” [Read the review]
— Edmond Tran, Senior Editor and Producer
“NBA Live 19 is a capable and competent basketball game that offers a multitude of different ways to play and numerous reasons to keep coming back. Its impressive attention to detail complements the strong foundation set by its presentation and gameplay. However, the AI logic and animation problems are impossible to ignore given they’re at the heart of the experience the entire game is based on. These issues, combined with a lackluster franchise mode and a push towards microtransactions, detract from what is an otherwise solid basketball game.” [Read the review]
— Eddie Makuch
“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.” [Read the review]
— Brett Todd
“While there are moments of frustration in its platforming, and the puzzles are relatively unsophisticated, the locations of Planet Alpha will most certainly stick with you. It doesn’t matter why you’re there, or what it is you’re looking for. There’s great pleasure in just existing on this planet, in navigating its harsh terrain and admiring its vistas, and the sheer beauty of it all makes the game’s shortcomings easy to bear.” [Read the review]
— James O’Connor
“The grand result is an amusing adventure that makes a powerful case for more creativity with level design, setting, and pacing in co-op shooters, without thoroughly capitalizing on all of its own best ideas. Traps and their extensive use within many of the levels are a joy, and the underpinning gunplay is strong enough to warrant a sturdy recommendation, but it all comes to a head well before it should.” [Read the review]
— Daniel Starkey
“It’s remarkable that it’s taken so long for a spiritual successor to Theme Hospital to show up, but now that it’s here, it feels like it’s been well worth the wait. The exaggerated, cartoon look and relaxed approach to management make it inviting enough for most players, while the deeper aspects of its economy are enough to keep seasoned players engaged. Two Point Hospital not only re-works an old formula into something modern and enjoyable, it also iterates on the classic brand of irresistible charm and wit, making something that’s truly wonderful.” [Read the review]
— James Swinbanks
“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.” [Read the review]
— Richard Wakeling
“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.” [Read the review]
— James Swinbanks
“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.” [Read the full review]
— Heidi Kemps
“The Messenger takes the best parts of the action-platformers it takes influence from and reinterprets them well. With clever writing, well-designed levels, and balanced difficulty curve, the game continuously hooks you with enticing skill-based challenges and satisfying payoffs. Your character might have an immediate imperative to delivering a world-saving scroll, but the journey there is definitely one to savor.” [Read the full review]
— Alexander Pan
“There is so much strategic joy in seeing the potential destruction a swarm of giant monsters is about to unleash on a city, then quickly staging and executing elaborate counter maneuvers to ruin the party. Into The Breach’s focus on foresight makes its turn-based encounters an action-packed, risk-free puzzle, and the remarkable diversity of playstyles afforded by unique units keeps each new run interesting. It’s a pleasure to see what kind of life-threatening predicaments await for you to creatively resolve in every new turn, every new battle, and every new campaign. Into The Breach is a pristine and pragmatic tactical gem with dynamic conflicts that will inspire you to jump back in again, and again, and again.” [Read the full review]
— Edmond Tran
“The tale of Tokyo and Osaka, Kiryu and Sayama’s partnership, and Kiryu and Goda’s rivalry remains one of the Yakuza’s best stories, and Kiwami 2’s minor missteps don’t affect the heart of that experience. The modernization of its presentation and its mechanics elevate it, making it absolutely worth revisiting or experiencing for the first time. Yakuza is an exemplary, if flawed series that does an incredible job of steeping you in contemporary Japanese-style crime drama, and establishing an evocative sense of place. Yakuza Kiwami 2 is an excellent example of the series at its best, coupling its most memorable stories and characters with its most sophisticated mechanics yet.” [Read the review]
— Edmond Tran, Editor and Senior Video Producer
“Everything about Guacamelee 2 comes off as smarter and more thoughtful than the first game, even while indulging in its self-aware shenanigans and Rick & Morty-esque dimensional hijinks. The game never stops finding new ways to hook you in, to the point that even the most painstaking and intensive playthroughs feel like they just fly by. Saving the numerous timelines in Guacamelee 2 is just as much about partaking in a marvel of devious, meticulous game design as it is about saving Juan and his family from peril.” [Read the review]
— Justin Clark
“The full scope and breadth of The Walking Dead: The Final Season has yet to be laid out, though perhaps the best hint can be found in the game’s fancy, HBO-esque title sequence, showing Clementine and A.J. walking into Ericson, but also showing a silhouetted dead walker rotting away in the front yard, being overtaken by ivy, and, eventually, sprouting a yellow flower. 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.” [Read the review]
— Justin Clark
“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.” [Read the review]
— Alexander Pan
“Flipping Death’s logic is sometimes too ridiculous for its own good, and frustrating platforming sections add some tarnish. But the game’s silly puzzles, self-aware humor, and crazy characters still make a wonderful experience filled with plenty of chuckles, which help to leave you satisfied as the credits roll.” [Read the review]
— Seamus Mullins
“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.” [Read the review]
— Eddie Makuch
“But Unavowed’s greatest strength is that it maintains an admirable focus on incredible characterization that feeds into every quest and conversation. Every question you ask, every decision you make, and every sacrifice you make carries you and your team members on an impassioned journey that epitomizes the best qualities of an adventure game. It never rests on tropes, a strong sense of empathy is present through its entirety, and not only do you come to wholly understand character motivations, the way these people deal with supernatural situations helps to build a bond between them and you as a player. From its wonderfully realized locations and its inviting, three-dimensional characters, Unavowed will have you eager to discover the captivating stories lurking in the demonic underworld of New York City.” [Read the review]
— David Rayfield
“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.” [Read the review]
— Ginny Woo
“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.” [Read the review]
— Kallie Plagge, Associate Editor
“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.” [Read the review]
— Daniel Starkey
“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.” [Read the review]
— Justin Clark
“WarioWare Gold might not be entirely new, but it’s the best representation available of what makes this series special. It’s a true greatest hits package that showcases Wario’s unique weirdo vibe, and this style of play remains inventive and thrilling 15 years after the original Game Boy Advance game. We’re still hoping for an entirely new title on Switch in the future, but for now Gold is a compelling, generous victory lap.” [Read the review]
— James O’Connor
“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.” [Read the review]
— Tom McShea
“As things come down to the wire the two separate groups become more and more interconnected, the consequences of one group’s choices directly affecting the potential of the other. This exemplifies the best part about The Banner Saga 3: the feeling that every action you’ve made in regards to your clan for three games–the friends you’ve kept and lost, the decisions you’ve made, and the battles you’ve picked–will likely influence how well this finale is going to fare. 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.” [Read the review]
— Edmond Tran, Senior Editor
“Because it’s so short, and the puzzles never get particularly fiendish, Semblance is an enjoyable but light experience. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing–it’s a relaxed game, a good one to clear over a few sessions in bed or on the train if you’re playing on Switch–but it also means that it doesn’t feel like the game realizes its full conceptual potential. But the fact that I desperately wanted more, and that I was disappointed when Semblance abruptly ended, says more about the game’s strengths than its weaknesses. This is a good idea realized and executed well, even though you’re likely to come away from it wishing for just a bit more.” [Read the review]
— James O’Connor
“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.” [Read the review]
— Alessandro Fillari, Editor
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The weather is getting colder, and our backlogs are getting bigger. That must mean it’s fall. With the changing of the seasons, we also have a new batch of Game Informer interns who will be helping us cover all the important video game news and gamer culture stories over the next three months. Come meet the new G.I. interns.
These young writers come from a variety of places across the country, but they all have one thing in common: a love of video games. Expect to see plenty of news, features, and more popping up on the website from Jill Grodt and John-Paul Gemborys. Below you’ll find a short bio of each intern, so you can get to know them better.
Jill Grodt – At the beginning of the year, I would have thought you were crazy if you said my name would be on a story on Game Informer. My love for video games started with a surprise Nintendo 64 at the ripe old age of six. Majora’s Mask and Super Mario 64 soon lead to Luigi’s Mansion and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 on the GameCube. When I got a PlayStation 2, I fell in love with God of War, Prince of Persia, Shadow of the Colossus, Suikoden III, Kingdom Hearts, and so many more. My parents unexpectedly gifted me a subscription to the Game Informer magazine when it became clear that this video game thing wasn’t going away. Somehow – even with my long exposure to the magazine – it never occurred to me that people make a living through video games. So, when I graduated from UC Santa Cruz with degrees in Art History and Visual Culture and Classical Studies, I got a relatively sensible job in the museum industry. After a decade working in museums and relegating video games to my limited free time, the idea began to gnaw at me: my life was passing by without following my passion. I decided to chase my dream. I am ecstatic to be a part of the GI team for the fall and could not be more thrilled to begin my game journalist career.
John-Paul Gemborys – As an avid gamer with stacks of Game Informer issues piling up in my living room, I have to say it’s both an honor and a bit of a trip to actually be here. Even after graduating from the UNC School of Media and Journalism this past December, it’s still surreal to have the curtain pulled back on what’s been an intimate part of my life for so many years, meeting all the individuals whose words have guided me through this industry.
My journey into gaming began at the tender age of seven when I first witnessed the greatness that is Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo 64 at a friend’s house. From there it was a steady climb, convincing parents who saw gaming as a pointless hobby to let my twin brother and I embrace what they thought was only a trend. After receiving a Game Boy Color and a copy of Pokémon Crystal from some generous uncles one Christmas, our lives were forever changed. A year later, I received my first console: a PlayStation 2, which my parents miraculously gifted my twin brother and I (more for its DVD functionality than anything). It was on the Xbox 360 with Fallout 3 that my video game addiction evolved into a passion. Today, you can find me playing any kind of open-world sandbox or RPG that includes a degree of customization. My proudest (and somehow most shameful) accomplishments include reaching 100 percent in GTA San Andreas and getting all the achievements for Assassin’s Creed II, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 and Fallout 3. My dad used to mock my twin brother and me for playing video games, so I looking forward to proving him wrong.
Are you considering a career in video games writing? If you’re looking to further your existing writing or journalism education through an internship at Game Informer, we’re currently accepting applications for the upcoming summer term. For more information, email me at the address below, or click here to learn more.
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As video games continue to mature as a narrative form, the medium has allowed a growing number of developers to explore issues that wouldn’t typically be confronted in a game, whether it be the plight of refugees trying to cross a border as in Papers, Please, or the pain of losing a loved one to an incurable illness as in That Dragon, Cancer. Jupiter & Mars, a new PSVR-compatible game coming to PS4 later this year, tackles the growing issues of climate change and mankind’s impact on the environment, and it wraps its message up in a beautiful and surreal undersea adventure that calls to mind Sega’s classic Ecco the Dolphin series.
Jupiter & Mars is the debut effort of Tigertron, an independent studio founded by former game journalists James Mielke and Sam Kennedy. According to Mielke, the idea for the game first began to germinate after the release of The Cove, a 2009 documentary about dolphin hunting. Mielke was working at Q Entertainment (Lumines, Child of Eden) at the time and was deeply affected by the film. “I started to think, could I be doing something better with my time rather than just making another game for another console cycle?” he said. Rather than embark on a new career path, he decided to use his years of experience developing games as a way to raise awareness of ecological issues, enlisting his longtime colleague to help bring his idea to life.
Much like Ecco the Dolphin, Jupiter & Mars is an underwater adventure game set in the distant future, after humanity has disappeared. The planet is slowly recuperating after being ravaged by the effects of climate change; major coastal cities have been submerged by the rising sea levels, and neon-colored fish and coral reefs have begun to gradually repopulate the sunken steel and cement ruins left in man’s wake. Despite the Earth’s steady recovery, mankind’s impact can still be felt in the traces of technology that linger on the ocean floor, particularly the “space stations”–mysterious bases that continue to disrupt the environment even in their semi-powered state.
While Tigertron’s message is clear even from this brief synopsis, Jupiter & Mars doesn’t lecture players; rather, the game conveys these issues subtly through its world and gameplay. “We’re not trying to preach, we’re not trying to be heavy-handed and tell you, ‘You’re such a bad person for using plastic and wearing leather Nikes,'” Mielke said. “What we want to do is, we want to present a really compelling world. Our goal is to get people to think, like, ‘Well, could this really happen?’ And if they become curious enough to investigate for themselves what the reality is, then for us that’s mission accomplished.”
The game casts players in the role of the eponymous Jupiter and Mars, two highly evolved dolphins with special abilities. The pair are entreated by an ancient race of whales known as the Elders to find and shut the remaining space stations down, and their ensuing journey takes them through five diverse and visually stunning biomes, from crystalline tropics to murky ocean depths and even the submerged remains of London. To shut the space stations down, however, the dolphins will first need to figure out how to slip past the AHDs–acoustic harassment devices–that surround each base and emit audio pulses that deter marine life.
Both Jupiter and Mars have their own innate abilities that players will need to utilize to navigate the ocean. Jupiter, who players control directly from a first-person perspective, is able to emit pulses of echolocation to illuminate her surroundings and interact with other marine life; Mars, your constant AI companion on the journey, can ram into objects on command to break through crumbling gates and open new passageways. In the same vein of a Metroid game, the dolphins will also need to acquire power-ups to gain access to new areas of the world; the Aqualung ability, for instance, allows Jupiter and Mars to dive much deeper below the surface than they typically could, while the Tail Kick power lets them swim against strong currents that would normally be impassable.
While the overarching goal of the adventure is to neutralize the space station located in each biome, Jupiter & Mars also features lots of light environmental puzzle solving and other kinds of moment-to-moment gameplay. Throughout the journey, you’ll encounter various sea life in need of assistance; early on in the game, a mother turtle asks you to rescue her babies, who are scattered about the area and tangled in plastic. You’ll need to use echolocation to track down the turtles and free them, thereby opening up a pathway to a new location. During the course of your adventure, you’ll also come across collectibles in the form of trinkets and other remnants of human society. These are hidden around the environment and tucked away in clam shells that Mars can crack open, encouraging you to poke around and explore each locale.
Jupiter & Mars doesn’t yet have a release date, but the game is slated to release for PS4 in late 2018. While the title is compatible with PSVR, the headset isn’t required to play it. For an even closer look at the game, you can watch us play 13 minutes of it in the video above. The footage is taken from an early build and may not necessarily be reflective of the final version.
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September 15 is Batman day, which is a great excuse to look at the Dark Knight’s mostly disappointing video game legacy.
With the impressive success of the Arkham series of Batman games, it’s easy to forget that before the release of Batman: Arkham Asylum in 2009, pretty much all Batman games were absolutely terrible. Some Batman games were awarded the lowest scores this publication has ever seen. We gave Batman: Dark Tomorrow, for example, a 0.75. Things are great for the world’s greatest detective today, but as the old idiom goes, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. With that in mind, let’s take a look at all the Batman games Game Informer has given reviews.
The Adventures of Batman & Robin – 1994/1995
SNES – 8.75, Genesis – 7.75, Game Gear – 8, Sega CD – 6.75
Batman Forever – 1995
SNES – 8, Genesis – 7.5
Batman and Robin – 1998
PlayStation – 5
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker – 2000
PlayStation – 0.5
Batman: The Rise of Sin Tzu – 2004
GBA – 7
Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu – 2003
PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube – 5
Batman: Dark Tomorrow – 2003
GameCube – 0.75
Batman: Vengeance – 2001
PlayStation 2, Xbox – 7, GameCube – 6.75
Batman: Chaos in Gotham – 2001
Game Boy Color – 6
Batman Begins – 2005
PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube – 7.25
“If Batman Begins were trying to be the pinnacle of stealth action, combat racing, and iconic hero adventure, it hasn’t reached any of those heights. Instead it apes some of the most accessible and memorable parts from these genre’s greatest games (like Splinter Cell’s lock picking and Burnout’s takedowns) and merges them with interesting, if somewhat underdeveloped, ideas like instilling fear in one’s enemies. This certainly isn’t the smart, wry Batman game that fans have always wanted, but it is a pretty decent base to build off of. I, for one, hope that EA takes the intelligence and skill of its audience to heart and really delivers a Batman classic the next time around.” – Lisa Mason
Lego Batman – 2008
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PlayStation 2 – 7.5
“The charm of Lego blocks is exploring your creativity and building new things, so Traveler’s Tales’ habit of sticking to one formula stands in stark contrast to the entire LEGO philosophy. We’ve had fun with this series, but it’s time to dump the franchise out on the floor and start piecing it back into something new.” – Ben Reeves
Batman: Arkham Asylum – 2009
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 – 9.5
“The story behind this amazing Batman experience doesn’t evolve much from Joker taking over the Asylum, but it dishes out water cooler moments like they are going out of style. Some play off Batman’s insensitive side, others highlight the rogues’ ability to manipulate him, and a few are sprinkled in as tips of the hat to long-time comic readers. […] Batman: Arkham Asylum is this year’s BioShock, not just from the connection established with the world, but from its ability to innovate where new ideas are needed, and moreover, deliver an adventure unlike any other.” – Andrew Reiner
Batman: The Brave And The Bold – 2010
Wii – 8.5
“Tight controls and cheeky humor make Brave and the Bold an easy recommendation for bat and brawler fans alike. Accessible and entertaining, it’s also a perfect fit for family play.” – Meagan Marie
Batman: Arkham City – 2011
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC – 10
“Arkham City not only lives up to the standards set by Arkham Asylum, it bests its predecessor in every way and stands tall as one of Batman’s greatest moments in gaming.” – Andrew Reiner
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes – 2012
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 – 8.25
“Traveller’s Tales took some chances with Lego Batman 2. The addition of spoken dialogue paid off well, and I hope it becomes a standard for all of this developer’s games moving forward. Transferring the classic Lego gameplay into a vast overworld is also a success, but the redundancy in secret solutions in this play space hurts the experience, almost turning it into a mundane collect-a-thon. Thankfully, the classic Lego gameplay dominates the main game, making Lego Batman 2 another goofy brick-building blast to play.” – Andrew Reiner
Batman: Arkham Origins – 2013
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 – 8.5
“Batman: Arkham Origins delivers more of what made Rocksteady’s games great, but doesn’t break new ground. Like a youthful Bruce Wayne, it isn’t as crafty, and it takes its dings during combat, but still puts on a hell of a show when it needs to. Once Joker steps into the spotlight, it becomes a hard game to put down.” – Andrew Reiner
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate – 2013
Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita – 6
“When Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate is at its best, exploration is slow-moving and tedious, yet you’re making progress. At its worst, trekking through Blackgate is a punishing process of backtracking to find a needle in a haystack. It can be oddly fulfilling in that “The trauma of being lost has finally ended!” kind of way, but outside of the boss battles, it rarely delivers moments that live up to the legacy of this franchise or the Metroidvania style of games. It’s one of those experiences that falls apart as it unfolds.” – Andrew Reiner
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham – 2015
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC – 7.5
“Although celebrities overstay their welcome, and some of the bonus content can be a hassle to track down, Traveller’s Tales crafted another solid super hero adventure in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. Next time, I’d like to see more screen time given to the heroes, and less to a talk show host who isn’t even good at video games.” – Andrew Reiner
Batman: Arkham Knight – 2015
PlayStation 4, Xbox One – 9.5
“At the end of it all, Batman: Arkham Knight delivers a great sense of closure for this series. Rocksteady leaves a few plot threads dangling to tease and taunt us, but the grim tale that started all the way back in Arkham Asylum is done. I walked away from Arkham Knight shocked, satisfied, and in dire need of someone to discuss the story with. Rocksteady built a special experience that dazzles with its cleverness, intelligence, and ability to shift from kick-ass Batman moments to emotional gut punches to scenes stripped straight from some of Batman’s greatest comic book stories. Lock yourself away, avoid social media and friends, and finish this game. You won’t want this one spoiled for you.” – Andrew Reiner
Batman: The Telltale Series – 2016
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Switch, PC, iOS
“Predictable, often boring, and finishing off with an abrupt ending – this episode disappointed me in many ways. However, I was also drawn in by the tragic relationships that arise out of Bruce’s dual lives as a billionaire and the Caped Crusader. Even though City of Light doesn’t make that the focal point of the episode (as the best episodes in the series have done), it still gives those elements enough time to make the experience entertaining. I won’t spoil anything, but the ending is strong enough that I hope Telltale takes another shot at the Bat and builds something off this sturdy foundation.” – Andrew Reiner
Batman: The Enemy Within – 2017
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android, Mac
“Despite a flawed start, The Enemy Within emerges as one of Telltale’s best series and one of my favorite narrative-focused games in years. It goes all-in on allowing players to shape the intricacies of Joker and Bruce’s relationship, and it pays off marvelously. As the game sped toward its memorable and beautiful conclusion(s), I couldn’t help but just think how smart the series was, manipulating my emotions much in the same way I had manipulated John. As the credits rolled on my second playthrough, I still felt a lingering desire to dive back in from the beginning, not to see if any of new choices would dramatically shift the story but instead to experience this powerfully told story one last time.” – Javy Gwaltney
Bonus: We don’t have a review of Batman Returns on SNES, but we did play it on an episode of Replay.
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We’re in the slow part of WWE’s calendar. Summerslam just passed. Survivor Series isn’t for another two months. And that makes it a good time to step back and take stock of things. Where are the storylines headed? Which champions are going to dominate as we head into 2019? And which new WWE and NXT Superstars are ready for their closeup?
There are 15 official championships in WWE, spread across the two main roster promotions, NXT, and NXT UK. And the current crop of WWE champions is unusually talented–each of them is a proven quantity with the charisma and talent to carry the company. Even so, someone will unseat each of them, eventually.
Here are our top picks to win every WWE Championship belt. It’s not who we want to win; it’s who will win, based on where the storyline is headed. If you liked this gallery, be sure to check out our write-up on the recent Shield reunion, and our criticism of the WWE Network. And be sure to check back in to Gamespot Universe on Sunday, September 17, for live coverage of the WWE Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.
Current Champion: Rhea Ripley
Future Champion: Toni Storm
This hasn’t aired on the WWE Network yet, but Rhea Ripley is the inaugural NXT UK Women’s champion. She won an eight-woman tournament, pinning Toni Storm in the finals. Ripley has a body that’s built to kill, and her presence and athleticism should give her a long run with the title, especially since she won’t be defending it every week.
The person most likely to take it from her is Toni Storm, the runner-up to the tournament, or some other wrestler who we haven’t met yet. The only other WWE-signed, UK-affiliated wrestler with a comparably high profile is Dakota Kai, and her recent losses to Lacey Evans, Shayna Baszler, and Toni Storm do not bode well for her.
Current Champion: Pete Dunne
Future Champion: Trent Seven
What makes the UK division so appealing, at least to older fans, is that’s it’s heavier on wrestling, and lighter on “sports entertainment” than most of WWE. The critically acclaimed WWE United Kingdom Championship tournament was proof of that appeal–a grueling battery of matches that was physically painful to watch.
Current Champion: The Undisputed Era
Future Champion: War Raiders
The Undisputed Era has a lot of individual charisma–too much, in fact, for them to stay together much longer. These four men–Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, and Roderick Strong– were built for singles success; they look like a collection of talented performers instead of a dedicated, specialized tag team. It’s only a matter of time before carrying the belts holds them back instead of advancing them forward.
War Raiders, on the other hand, are monsters with a unified, rugged look; WWE could put the belts on them indefinitely, and it wouldn’t compromise the title’s reputation. They’re not a long-term solution–it’s difficult to see how the War Raiders distinguish themselves from The Ascension, Authors of Pain, Bludgeon Brothers, or any of the other monster tag teams in WWE But they’ll certainly maintain the status quo until the right team comes along to topple them.
Current Champion: Ricochet
Future Champion: Velveteen Dream
The invention of a midcard in NXT was overdue and necessary. There was too much talent fighting for too few prizes. It’s given an incredible spotlight to Ricochet, who has shone since his WWE debut and is the current NXT North American champion.
And a contributing factor to Ricochet’s success is been Velveteen Dream, who has spent the better part of two years putting over his fellow competitors, including Aleister Black and Adam Cole. A championship win will allow Dream to move to the main roster with a lot more credibility, It would also be a nice payback after a series of high-profile losses.
Current Champion: Kairi Sane
Future Champion: Bianca Belair
Thanks to fantastic booking, the NXT Women’s Championship is actually one of the most prestigious titles in WWE. The current holder, Kairi Sane, won it in a bit of an upset. She previously beat Shayna Baszler in last year’s Mae Young Classic tournament, but was clearly outmatched by Baszler at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn IV before reversing the champion’s chokehold into a pinfall.
Baszler could win the title back, but it’s unlikely; she’ll probably be called up to the main roster as an opponent for Ronda Rousey. Io Shirai, who tangled with Sane in Japan, would be an ideal successor champion, but she just got to WWE; it’s way too soon. Bianca Belair, on the other hand, is ready. She was the breakout star at the 2018 Women’s Royal Rumble, and she’ll make a great NXT champion until Shirai obtains the necessary experience to win it from her.
Current Champion: Tommaso Ciampa
Future Champion: Johnny Gargano
We’ve seen the Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano fight multiple times, but it’s still not old. The chemistry between these two is that good. Ciampa isn’t the antihero who fans love to hate; he’s a villain who fans actually hate, and that gives this feud the heat that it needs.
But at some point, Gargano is going to win the title, and he’s going to win it from Ciampa. The WWE universe is, by and large, a just universe, where the heel will eventually get his or her comeuppance. It may not happen immediately; they could stretch this out to Wrestlemania season if they wanted to. But Gargano will finally triumph over his nemesis, and it will be an instant Match of the Year contender when it finally happens.
Current Champion: Cedric Alexander
Future Champion: Drew Gulak
For a few months, WWE pushed the Cruiserweight division as the newest addition to Raw. However, cruiserweight action turned out to be a niche interest, and its overall vibe, which was cultivated during the WWE Cruiserweight Classic tournament, was a poor match for Raw’s theatrics. Now that it’s scaled back to a more realistic size–a WWE Network exclusive show, 205 Live–it’s no longer burdened by unrealistic expectations.
Cedric Alexander is a great champion. And after Alexander, the next in line for the belt should be Drew Gulak. Yes, Gulak lost his match against Alexander at Summerslam. But they’ll definitely have another match, and no one else on the cruiserweight roster, besides Gulak, has the win/loss record to present a credible challenge.
Current Champion: The New Day
Future Champion: The Usos
The New Day defeated the Bludgeon Brothers to win the tag team titles for the fifth time in their careers. And although they’re currently embroiled in a feud with Rusev and Aiden English, there’s no way they’re going to lose the titles to them, as much as the fans might want that to happen.
Instead, the Usos are the most likely, and best possible successors. Their 2017 spat with the New Day led to one of the best feuds of the year, particularly their barnburner at last year’s Hell in a Cell. These two teams have the sort of in-ring chemistry that elevates both of them, and it’ll be a joy to see that again in the coming months.
Current Champion: Shinsuke Nakamura
Future Champion: Daniel Bryan
Finally, after much delay, Daniel Bryan has signed a new contract. And that means, with any luck, that he’ll begin chasing a title run once he’s finished with The Miz. AJ Styles and Samoa Joe will be going back and forth with the WWE Championship for the foreseeable future. And so, Bryan’s best chance at a title is fighting Shinsuke Nakamura for the United States Championship.
Ever since he turned heel, Nakamura has been doing some great character work; his twitchy, eccentric schtick much works better as a villain than as a hero. He should drop the title to someone who can benefit from it the most. And Bryan certainly can; he’s never fought Nakamura before, which adds an extra level of excitement to a potential feud.
Current Champion: Charlotte Flair
Future Champion: Asuka
Charlotte Flair is the new Smackdown Women’s champion. And try as she might, the newly villainous Becky Lynch will not take the title off her. It’s a fun change in character for Lynch; she seems relieved to do something new. But WWE has never given the Lasskicker her due, and they’re not going to start now; she will continue to occupy her dedicated niche. The hardcore fans will no doubt be upset with this decision, but it’s clear that WWE isn’t catering to them.
There’s only one woman on the WWE roster (aside from Ronda Rousey–more on her later) who’s been booked to hang tough with Flair, to and that’s Asuka. At some point, she will avenge her Wrestlemania loss and become the new Smackdown Women’s champion.
Current Champion: AJ Styles
Future Champion: Samoa Joe
It took the rebooting of an old rivalry, but Samoa Joe has been doing the best work of his WWE career in recent weeks. He’s been absolutely despicable, taunting AJ Styles, his wife, and his daughter. And the best thing about Joe’s heel act is the level of self-hatred and projection going on; everything that Joe is saying about Styles, he’s really saying about himself.
If Joe doesn’t take the belt off Styles, then no one on the current Smackdown roster will take the belt off Styles. We’ll have to wait until another Superstar Shakeup for something to finally happen.
Current Champion: Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler
Future Champion: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose
The main event Raw feud between Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, and Braun Strowman vs. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns doesn’t quite gel. With the exception of Ziggler and Ambrose, everyone involved would be better off as a solo act.
But since the roster is overcrowded, and WWE needs to give everyone something to do, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose should win the tag team titles. It’ll give Ambrose some extra time to shake off the ring rust after a long layover, and it’ll mean that every Shield member will simultaneously hold gold–an impressive visual for any video package or social media post.
Current Champion: Seth Rollins
Future Champion: Drew McIntyre
This becomes a matter of musical chairs. Around the same time that Ambrose and Rollins win the tag team titles from McIntyre and Ziggler, McIntyre will turn on Ziggler, win the Intercontinental Championship from Rollins, and begin the solo run we’ve been waiting for. He’s too big and intimidating to ignore for much longer.
The Intercontinental Championship is quietly regaining the prestige it once held in the late ’80s and early ’90s. A McIntyre run will help solidify the title’s reputation as a gateway to the main event rather than an upper-middle card dead end.
Current Champion: Ronda Rousey
Future Champion: Charlotte Flair
Rousey beat Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship. She’s not going to lose the title any time soon–at least not until Wrestlemania 35, and even that isn’t guaranteed. WWE is clearly committed to her stardom.
The most likely candidate to take the belt off Rousey is Charlotte Flair. She’s the most successful of the Four Horsewomen, she handed Asuka her first loss at Wrestlemania 34, and she furthers the Flair family legacy. If WWE wants to headlline and main event a WrestleMania show with a women’s match, 2019 might be the year to do it.
Current Champion: Roman Reigns
Future Champion: Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman has been mishandled for the past couple of weeks. WWE took an organic babyface push–one that made Strowman the most heavily cheered performer on the roster–and threw it in the garbage. He’s using lackeys–McIntyre and Ziggler–to do his dirty work against The Shield, when really, he should be taking on The Shield by himself, 3-on-1. This is the same guy who tipped over a truck–three guys should be a “fair fight.”
He might not win the Universal title at Hell in a Cell; Reigns will probably have a long run with it to give him some credibility. But at the Royal Rumble, or at Wrestlemania 35, there could be a crowning moment for the Monster Among Men. Reigns has had his best matches against Strowman, and there’s no reason why they wouldn’t revive that chemistry on the biggest possible stage.
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I became obsessed with my progress the more I played The Golf Club 2019, which is only natural with video games. How far am I? Am I getting better? Given that this year’s title contains the PGA Tour license for the first time, the game has its own built-in career ladder. Although the game quantified my success as I went from the Q-School to the Web.com Tour and finally to the PGA Tour, making it as a pro didn’t feel as powerful as I thought it should. But that doesn’t mean I was unfulfilled. On the contrary, the gameplay was a better chronicle of how far I’d come with the title than which tour I was on.
The Golf Club series has never been about upgrading your player like in traditional video games. This year has more visual customization aspects than ever (including clothing items from famous brands like Under Armour) that you can spend your earnings on as you level up, but you’re not going to improve your player in the traditional sense by adding points to a putting skill, for instance.
I am used to this aspect of the franchise, but even though skills don’t progress in a defined way, I could feel my golfing getting better as I spent more time on the courses. I became comfortable in my backswing and follow-through speed which in turn created consistency – something that’s just as important for your accuracy as keeping the actual movement of the analog stick on the straight and narrow.
The interesting thing is that in pressure situations when I needed to clear a bunker on the fairway or not stray from my intended course, the more I tried to consciously put some extra oomph in my shot or wanted to not veer to my right, for example, the worse the results. But the more I relaxed and trusted the game the more I was rewarded – a compliment to the gameplay. My confidence in bunker situations, picking the right clubs and shots, and even hitting straight tee shots (hard to do with the pro club set and beyond), grew over time. While I’m not sure the game always accurately measures the speed of the backswing on chip shots, overall when it comes to balancing out challenging gameplay with the reward of output, The Golf Club 2019 is more than fair.
I wanted my gameplay progress and satisfaction to be mirrored in my career as a golfer on the Tour, but I didn’t get the same feeling. The lack of a player upgrade system contributes to this, so despite the presence of the Tour license and six real-life courses, the game has failed to bridge this gap and find more ways to meaningfully demarcate your ascension apart from giving you new pieces of clothing for your avatar. The tour events come and go, but I didn’t feel invested in it (even with rivalries) like I did my actual skills out on the course. Building up your golf society, where you can inaugurate a golf club and recruit other players to post scores and join events apart from the PGA Tour is a way to measure yourself as a golfer in the game, but this is checked by the fact that this feature hasn’t grown since the last Golf Club.
Despite the inclusion of the PGA Tour license, the easy-to-use course creator remains a wellspring of content and a key component of the franchise. This feeds into the game’s expanded multiplayer options, including the ability to set up sessions easily with your friends on or offline. Still, the basic matchmaking doesn’t let you tweak parameters such as selecting a course or which tees to use, so similar options like the ones in the private matches would be nice.
It may be slightly odd to want more gamification in a series that has resisted it – to its benefit – in certain areas thus far, but The Golf Club 2019’s career mode in particular is more the start of something that could be good rather than its full realization. I certainly don’t want developer HB Studios to change its philosophy and implement a player upgrade system, but something in the mode needs to deliver that hard-to-define but satisfying feeling of progression better than what’s here. Until then the title’s gameplay is more than just a band-aid. It’s fulfilling in its own way – one which is as temperamental as the sport itself – and it’s the fundamental piece of a title whose benefits are more subtle than overt.
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When you first jump into Marvel’s Spider-Man, you’re likely going to be taken aback by the complexities of its combat and web-swinging. Developer Insomniac has done a great job at making each system an interesting one that allows you to be creative while also expressing yourself as a player. While web-swinging will undoubtedly be easier to pick up, you’re likely going to run into some issues properly executing the right combat moves during the right situations in a fight. There’s a lot to the mechanics at work and it might catch you off guard, especially if you’re more accustomed to the systems of other superhero games.
Spider-Man is a much more agile and acrobatic character to play as than, say, Batman from the Arkham games. So, if you’re thrown off by that, don’t worry: we were too. But with enough practice, you can embrace and learn all the skills and abilities that Spider-Man has to offer and more.
To help prepare you for the challenges ahead, we’ve compiled 11 tips you should know before starting Spider-Man. In this feature, we outline the best practices in combat, the types of skills you should prioritize unlocking in the game’s skill tree, and other habits you should follow in order to come out successful.
Spider-Man releases on September 7 on PS4. GameSpot reviewer Edmond Tran said the game is “a superior Spider-Man experience that leaves a lasting impression.” You can read more in our full review. As the day goes on, look out for our in-depth guide highlighting the best skills, as well as our feature about the coolest best mods and suits mods in the game. And if you’re loving what you’re playing, you’re in luck. The game’s first DLC expansion is set to launch on October 23.
In the meantime, were there any Spider-Man any tips you have that you don’t see here? Let us know about them in the comments below.
This might seem a given, but the sooner you can repair all of the Oscorp security towers, the better. Otherwise, you’re going to be staring at a completely fuzzed out map for a decent chunk of the game. An effective crimefighter needs to have full awareness of their environment, so make repairing the police towers the first thing you do.
While web-swinging is pretty easy to understand and execute, combat takes a while to wrap your head around. Spider-Man has a pretty wide range of attacks and dodges at the start of the game that require quick reflexes to properly execute. Some moves are situational, but others have to be linked together with another move to be effective. For example, the Air Launcher (Hold square) can be combined with Yank Down (Hold triangle) for a powerful slam attack to the ground that knocks back nearby enemies.
Take time to study the move list menu to watch footage of what each one does and the types of situations they’re most useful in. It’s best not to button mash, as later you’ll acquire upgrades that reward perfectly-timed hits and dodges. If you’re looking for a great venue to practice, then seek out Thug Crimes and Fisk Hideouts; there are plenty of enemies there you can test your skills against. Mastering the basics puts you in good shape for when you start unlocking gadgets and suit upgrades, which require intimate understanding of Spider-Man’s repertoire to find the most powerful combinations (More on that later).
Your early runnings as Spider-Man can be a bit tough when fighting against brutes and enemies equipped with shields or firearms, as they can easily fluster and overpower you if you’re not careful. To help shift the odds in your favor, it’s a good idea to unlock combat skills focused on hurting the different enemy types. Do you hate it when shielded enemies knock you back? Bunker Buster allows you to do the same to them and even launch them off buildings. Are you powerless to the Brute’s constant pummeling? Wrecking Ball allows you to grab these meatheads and spin throw them, hurting surrounding enemies in the process.
These enemy-focused skills tend to be a bit higher up on their respective skill trees, but they’re well worth getting. After all, nothing is more satisfying than dismantling the tactics of the bad guys and showing them what’s what.
While combat skills and defensive maneuvers are essential aspects of your repertoire, there really isn’t anything more essential to the Spider-Man Experience™ than web-slinging. So if you’re into that kind of thing, we would recommend diving straight into that particular skill tree first. You’ll earn some very useful abilities to help you traverse the city more efficiently and make the opening hours of the game much more invigorating. Aim to get the Point Launch, Quick Recovery, and Charge Jump as soon as possible, and you’ll be flying through the city in record time.
It can be easy to get lost in the action of Spider-Man’s exploits and the ensuing drama of his double life–so much so that you neglect to upgrade his suit’s capabilities. There’s a wealth of equippable suit mods that each grant you special combat capabilities, like slow down time after a perfect dodge, instantly shock enemies who hit you, or generate Gadget refills after performing Finishers. And suits are more than just cosmetic unlockables, they actually give you access to special suit powers that can you equip no matter which suit you wear. These powers give Spider-Man special attributes, like bulletproof armor or the ability to throw enemies without having to web them up.
All of these upgrades will be completely lost on you if you ignore them or simply stick to the ones assigned to you during the game’s tutorial. Take advantage of suit powers and mods to enhance your Spidey tactics and abilities, but just make sure to check in every once in a while to see what you’ve unlocked for upgrade.
As you complete side activities and nab more of the game’s myriad collectables, you’ll earn special tokens used to upgrade Spider-Man’s gadgets and craft new suit mods and powers. These upgrades require all manner of tokens to unlock, so when you’re out in the world, try to diversify the types of activities you do. This way you’ll always be racking in enough tokens to unlock the best Spider-Man’s arsenal has to offer.
When you hover over an activity on the map screen, it’ll tell you the type of tokens you’ll be rewarded, as well as how many you’ll get. Some activities can even be repeated for additional token rewards. As a crimefighter, you’ll want to keep yourself preoccupied, but try to avoid doing the same thing over and over.
As Uncle Ben once said, with new suits, comes new suit powers. Or something like that. Our memory is a bit hazy. But by combining Suit powers with your gadgets, along with the three Suit Mod slots, you’re able to create some spectacular combos. For example, if you’re fighting a bunch of goons, you could shoot a loaded-up Web Bomb, then let out an ear-splitting solo with the Rock Out power to send them all flying. Maybe you want to take to the skies and pair the suspension matrix with low gravity for some serious hangtime. Or you could just let your robots to do the dirty work for you: use the Spider Drone and Spider Bro for a tag team takedown.
Spider-Man’s combat is all about creatively combining the effects of your gadgets, suit powers, and suit mods together for disastrous results. Be a responsible crime fighter and take time to mix n’ match to see what works best. That’s how Uncle Ben would’ve wanted it. You don’t want to let him down, do you?
As much fun as it is to swing through the city, there’s still a whole world out there on the sidewalks to New York to explore, so take some time out of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Manning to appreciate the details on the ground floor. Give people high fives! Eavesdrop on the chatter! Check out the iconic New York City landmarks! Read the Daily Bugle! And sometimes, folks on the street might inform you about nearby crimes in the area.
If you’re a completionist and can’t possibly imagine yourself NOT getting all of Spider-Man’s spiffy new suits, then you’re going to want to listen up. In order to unlock the final outfit (which we won’t spoil here), you’ll need to complete each of Manhattan’s nine districts. That means finishing every single side quest, completing all the activities, and finding every collectible. This is why we cannot emphasize enough: do not skip crime activities. If you see a red exclamation icon pop up on your mini-map, make that your top priority. You’ll want to complete as many as you can over the course of the main story, otherwise you’re going to be spending a whole lot of time wandering the streets, searching for thugs to beat up. See a crime happening? Take ’em down. That’s the Spidey way.
Later on, you’ll come across stations that allow you to take on challenges. They might be combat or stealth focused or might have you chasing a drone across the city rooftops. Make sure not to skip these, as they’ll reward you valuable tokens needed to acquire high-level upgrades for your gadgets and suit powers, especially when you break the high score record.
Spider-Man is deeply entrenched in the character’s extensive lore. As you advance the game’s story, you’ll notice a variety of references to the comics and movies. But if you take time to explore and look more closely at Insomniac’s take on Spider-Man’s Manhattan, you’ll discover an abundance of Marvel references scattered all around. For example, there are several landmarks that are direct nods to famous Marvel characters and organizations. When you’re not out fighting crime, be sure to set aside time to search for these references. It may not benefit your progression directly, but it’s well worth doing–if only to be in awe of all the little details packed into the world.
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Nearly everyone who plays sports dreams of being a pro athlete, but the numbers of those who actually make it that far is extremely small. With each step up from high school to college to the pros, the number of athletes who continue their journey shrinks. For instance, according to NCAA research published in 2017, only 6.8 percent of high-school football players go on to play in one of the three divisions of college football. The number who then go on to the NFL shrinks again to 1.5 percent.
Clint Oldenburg beat the considerable odds to crack an NFL roster, carving out a five-year career after the New England Patriots picked him in the fifth round of the 2007 draft. Like many late-round picks, Oldenburg ended up being a journeyman: a perennial backup who showed enough value to be signed by teams but was never considered a starter except for in an emergency. It’s not a glamourous situation, but it still made Oldenburg special. He got to play pro football for six different teams, while many didn’t get to play at all. After his chances in the NFL dried up in 2011, he signed a contract with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League, but his heart wasn’t in it.
“I made that decision that I was tired of chasing, tired of moving around from team to team,” Oldenburg says. “I didn’t want to go to [the Canadian Football League]. I’d already lived in six different cities in the last five years, and it was, ‘How deep are you going to chase this with your prospects dwindling?’ I knew that I had skills that were valuable in other areas, but I just didn’t know if I had what it took to make that transition.”
Starting over after spending your life focused on being a professional athlete is difficult. For every star player like Kurt Warner, who steps off the playing field and seamlessly transitions to being an analyst or color commentator in the booth, there are many who struggle or can’t find a fulfilling role once they’re not encased in the athlete’s world.
A 2018 survey by the Professional Players Federation in the U.K. found that out of 800 former pros polled, half felt they didn’t have control of their lives within two years of retiring, and 54 percent had concerns about their emotional and mental well-being at some point after retiring. Depression, financial problems, and addiction can become deterrents as athletes attempt to find a new identity and a second career.
Fortunately, Oldenburg had an idea of what he wanted to do after football – video game development. He joined the NCAA Football development team at EA Tiburon as an associate design intern working with the team’s engineers in 2013, three months after he stopped playing. Former players like Oldenburg are taking the invaluable experiences they had on the playing field and turning them into something you can understand and enjoy in a video game, calling upon the qualities of inspiration, intelligence, dedication, and teamwork that sports and game development share.
EA Sports NHL series producer Sean Ramjagsingh followed a similar path. Ramjagsingh started playing hockey in his native Canada at a young age, switching to basketball after a number of broken bones. After playing a year of international basketball at Taranaki in New Zealand, where he got a taste of the pressure to perform and pro sports’ ruthless business side, Ramjagsingh’s prospects of continuing to play pro ball started to dim.
A contract to play in the U.K. had fallen through, so Ramjagsingh’s agent was looking into other basketball opportunities when Ramjagsingh met Sean O’Brien – a fellow alum from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada – who had left Radical Entertainment (Prototype) to work at Electronic Arts. O’Brien left Radical’s NBA Basektball series in the hands of Cam Weber, another Simon Fraser alum who is now an executive vice president at EA Sports.
At Radical, Ramjagsingh’s job was to watch games and make plays for each team. “I loved everything about it,” he says. “I talked to my agent about it because this experience had raised the bar in terms of what it would take for me to go back and play basketball.”
As enthusiastic as Ramjagsingh was to join the Radical team, with its laid-back atmosphere that took him by surprise, he quickly realized that even though he was in a position that catered to his basketball background, in some ways he was a rookie all over again. “It took me three months before I understood what a software engineer does because I was always looking for the programmers, and when people talk about software engineers, I thought that was a whole other group of people. I didn’t want to let my teammates down, so I learned as much as I could and spent time with the engineers to understand how they work,” he says.
Oldenburg recalls a similar culture shock when he started his internship. “The first six weeks was really just me trying to learn what people do here,” he says. “Everyone here speaks in acronyms all the time. I was sitting in meetings and I had no idea what anyone was talking about – I really wasn’t sure if I could cut it here.”
Meanwhile, Oldenburg and Ramjagsingh’s pursuit of new careers is mirrored across the industry. Competitors Visual Concepts hired former international basketball player Scott O’Gallagher as a producer for their lauded NBA 2K franchise as well as commentator for the series’ ambitious esports initiative. O’Gallagher had previously started a video game website (the now-defunct ogsports.com) as well as worked for the NBA Live series.
Despite the unsure start, Oldenburg was offered a full-time job as an associate designer 10 weeks into his internship, and started overhauling the blocking system for Madden 25. When Oldenburg was working on the offensive linemen, he had the team build him extension tools so he could tweak blocking and set the defensive gaps via selecting animations and assignments from drop-down menus for each player.
He also worked on linemen’s initial moves, which is still in the game, something he wanted to do without making it too confusing for gamers. To do this, he thought back to his fundamentals as a football player. “‘When we were installing pass protection with the Redskins, what did we do?’” he said to himself. “On the first day of practice the first thing we did was our first step. ‘What is your first step based on the depth of the QB’s drop, and which guy are you trying to block?’”
Making Madden starts with what he’s learned playing the game in real-life and goes through the translation process into a video game. “It pretty much starts with, ‘Here’s what I’d like to do,’ and [the engineers] come back with, ‘Here’s some of the things it can do and what it can’t do,” Oldenburg says. “We design something that meets in the middle of what we can actually support and what I need. The engineers are so good they give me about 80 percent of what I ask for.”
After years working on Madden’s blocking, Oldenburg’s responsibilities with the series’ gameplay grew, and have earned him the job as the creative leader of the entire gameplay team.
Oldenburg’s colleague, Madden game designer Larry Richart, is a former quarterback from the University of Florida who backed up Doug Johnson in the team’s win in the 1999 Orange Bowl versus a Donovan McNabb-led Syracuse. Richart started in testing working on the playbooks (“We had a lot of checklists.”), and went on to include new tools over time, creating features that allowed players to do things like add audibles corresponding to their current formation and personnel set.
Later on he would leverage his experience as a quarterback to help revamp the passing mechanics, giving players the ability to throw different types of passes as well as tune their trajectory and feel against various defensive coverages. He currently works on the series’ franchise mode, where he’s worked with the likes of Oldenburg on the mode’s game-planning feature. Between them, they’ve had a big influence on some of the game’s core components.
Along the way, Oldenburg, Richart, and Ramjagsingh all continued to hone integral sports skills like teamwork, leadership, the competitive spirit, and communication in their development careers. Oldenburg says as much as it is the gameplay engineers’ job to make his vision happen in the game, it’s on him to present it to them in the best way possible. “What we have to be really good at to work with engineers is take sometimes really complicated things – nothing in football is overly complicated – and find a way to break them down into simpler terms… I think that’s how [Richart and I] learned playbooks,” he says. “All the plays and formations in a playbook are just basically a coach trying to figure out what the simplest way is for us to remember what our jobs are. If I want to design a two jet protection, I’m not going to throw a bunch of verbiage around that an engineer’s never heard before. I’m going to try and explain it in a way that makes sense to him so that he can see what I’m trying to see.”
Legacy and mentorship are also integral to sports, whether it’s a successful coach teaching coordinators under him who then go on to put their own stamp on the game or a smart veteran showing a rookie how to be a pro. Both Oldenburg and Ramjagsingh have worked with current pros to show them what game development is like, creating a pathway should they be interested in also making the transition into the industry once their playing days are over.
Oldenburg invited some Raiders players out to the studio to attend design meetings and learn about all of the game’s different development disciplines. On the last day of the boot camp, he had them pitch a feature for Madden. “It was really cool for us because they started talking a very similar language,” he says. “They started to think about a lot of the things we were thinking about…” In the future Oldenburg says he would like to get together with the NFL Players Association and each team and make it a yearly occurrence.
Oldenburg says shortly after he retired from football he had some chances to get back into the game, including an open invitation for a spot on the now-defunct arena football team the Orlando Predators, but his retirement from the sport didn’t mean he had to leave the sport behind. It just meant he would influence it in a different way – as a game developer. “I don’t want to just be known as the football guy working on Madden. I want to be known as a Madden guy.”
This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Game Informer.
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While WWE’s sports entertainment programming is totally predetermined, mixing athletic feats with storylines and choreography, there’s just something interesting about hearing all the backstage rumors about each show. More often than not, these rumors are totally bunk, but most wrestling fans enjoy knowing more about what’s going on backstage, even if the info isn’t 100% accurate.
Things are sure to get chaotic when WWE’s PPV Hell in a Cell comes to the WWE Network and PPV on Sunday, September 16. This year’s event will be hosted by the AT&T Center in Dallas, Texas, and the show will begin at 7 PM ET / 4 PM PT with a Kickoff Show starting one hour prior. There will be multiple title matches and at least two confirmed Hell in a Cell matches at the show.
So far, there aren’t any huge rumors leading into Hell in a Cell yet, but WWE programming still has to get through this week’s episodes of Raw and Smackdown to push forward, which is usually when the rumor mill really starts moving. Below, you can see the latest rumors for the upcoming PPV. If you’d like to know more, check out the updated match card for the show.
As rumors get confirmed or debunked, we’ll keep you updated.
Make sure to come back to GameSpot on Sunday for live coverage of Hell in a Cell.
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There’s a good reason why – whether win or DNF – a driver is always quick to thank the people back at the shop; the people who work their tails off all week so the driver can climb behind the wheel and put it all on the line. Finally, NASCAR Heat 3 gives its earnest due to all those who make it happen via a career mode with more organizational options. The franchise has desperately needed this step forward since developer Monster Games brought the series back two years ago, but even with this new evolution the game doesn’t roll off the hauler a total winner.
The game’s career mode is expanded in two crucial ways: You start out in an abbreviated dirt racing tour, which offers a loose and local racing feel that other racing series can’t offer, and you can start your own racing organization. While you don’t have to do this and can simply race on contracts from other teams, managing your own racing team (you’re the only driver, however) creates a reason to spend all the money you’re making, which is otherwise a dead end.
There’s nothing complex in running your own team – it’s just a matter of hiring employees, training them up, and putting them to work on chassis setups catering to the specific types of track you race on. It’s not like F1 2018 where you’re making choices on a sprawling R&D tree.
Despite the simplicity of Heat 3’s franchise setup, one aspect particularly suited to NASCAR shines through: bringing the right car to the right track. Stock car racing may be predominately ovals, but if you don’t set up the car specifically for the track you’re racing you’ll never get to victory lane. Thus, you have to grow your organization to the point that you can work in advance to have the right machine when you need it.
The rub is that each chassis starts at a 70 rating each week and employees can raise that number by a maximum of 15 points per week. So, if you want to get that car to a 100 or make it competitive, you’re going to need at least two weeks. But you sometimes don’t have that luxury because the schedule may stack races that require the same type of chassis three weeks in a row, for instance. So you’re always eyeing the schedule and seeing what you can get away with. Can you meet the sponsor objective of a top-five finish with an 80-rated chassis? Do you take the 90-rated one that was originally planned for a super speedway instead and take a ratings penalty on top because it’s not actually designed for the track you’re racing this week? You’re constantly juggling present and future needs. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you have to bite the bullet and do the best with what you got.
While owning your own team and juggling its demands gives the game a needed NASCAR feel, it’s lacking in other areas. The rivalries, while letting you interface with drivers through a basic email system, don’t really manifest themselves on the track. Despite your organization’s chassis setup, you don’t have to deal with damage – which doesn’t even visually show up when you’re racing. It’s also disappointing that the paint schemes you can create for your team’s cars are very basic.
In terms of the game’s racing itself, much remains the same – in a good way. I love trying to hook up with partners in different lines to make my way through traffic – even if I know that staying in a line too long could mean three other cars team up and blow by using another part of the track. Going for the block isn’t always a sure thing, with getting punted into the outer wall the kind of track justice that makes you mutter, “fair ‘nuff.” Perhaps more than ever I spent a good amount of time racing just by looking in my side mirror, trying to guess which packs were forming up behind me to try and make a run.
In other areas, the gameplay has improved, such as A.I. cars pitting at different times, but other problems occasionally show up such as cars randomly stacking up or not taking good lines, and visually the whole package needs a new coat of paint.
Online is similarly much the same. The race countdown automatically starts once a second person joins the lobby, lag can infect races, and there aren’t options to turn off collision or turn on qualifying for races. The game has, however, added a weekly tournament structure that leads to a year-end shootout, creating needed, optional big-picture goals.
The NASCAR Heat series is three years in and is just now hitting its stride. This year’s addition to the career mode is a solid foundation that pays off in the present and sets it up for the future. I don’t think the game has necessarily locked down each of its main components – gameplay, online, and career mode – but it’s making its way through the pack.
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One of the most enjoyable aspects of controlling Spider-Man in the new PS4 game is the steady flow of new skills, upgrades, and gadgets to incorporate into your superhero repertoire. Peter Parker is a capable combatant from the start but he can move faster, hit harder, and protect himself from harm more easily if you take the time to dress him for success. Understanding when and how to use your gadgets is a great first step in the right direction.
Let’s breakdown each of Spider-Man’s gadgets, and look at some examples of when you should put them into action.
The Web Shooter is the most important tool in your kit, and one that you will use most-often throughout the game–unlike other gadgets, an empty Web Shooter only needs a few seconds to recharge. At its most basic, a single web shot is an effective means of momentarily staggering an enemy. A few consecutive shots can also be used to ensnare a target and make them available as a weight to swing around and knock over other enemies, or, if an enemy is close to a wall, a few shots will attach them to it. You’ll have fun if you tinker with Spider-Man’s more advanced gadgets, but if you’re alert enough, you could simply get by with the Web Shooters alone–they’re that effective.
The next step up f is the Impact Web gadget. Think of this as a weapon that fires a condensed blast from your standard shooters, one powerful enough to instantly knock back and web up a bad guy. You can only hold a couple of shots until you upgrade the gadget, but even with those added rounds it’s not something you can spam on a regular basis.
When fully upgraded, the Impact Web can deploy a blast that causes the initial target to spread Spidey’s web to any other enemy they come into contact with. Consider facing a crowd of enemies and treating them like bowling pins just waiting to be knocked down. Do this, and follow-up with a ground-pound attack (unlocked in the skill tree) to add insult to injury. You can also grab hold of the impacted enemies and use them as a projectile to harm or momentarily disable any other nearby enemies.
The Spider Drone is a handy little sidekick that can float nearby Spider-Man and stun enemies with a beam of electricity. It is a great tool to activate if you find yourself surrounded by enemies, either to open a window of time for an escape, or, to give you a fighting chance of taking on the entire group.
From a tactical standpoint, the Electric Web gadget is one of the most useful and simple-to-understand of the bunch, perhaps only second to the standard Web Shooters. Like the Spider Drone, the Electric Web can stun enemies, but you get to manually pick your target.
The best part? Any enemies standing nearby your initial target will become stunned as well. It’s not the only gadget for the job, but if you see a crowd of enemies running at you or simply standing by while you move about unnoticed, the Electric Web is a handy way of gaining the upper hand before entering the fray. After a few upgrades, you’ll be able to stock extra electric ammo and enjoy a shocking arc that jumps farther away from your initial target.
Just like the Electric Web, your Web Bomb gadget is great for crown control (it explodes webs that trap enemies within a small area) though it has a couple of distinct advantages to keep in mind. Unlike the Electric Web, you don’t need to fire a direct hit. Simply aim at the environment and the Web Bomb will detonate after a few seconds and entrap anyone that comes close.
More importantly, there are many skills that allow you to manipulate webbed enemies to your advantage, compared to enemies that are simply stunned. A well-placed Web Bomb gives you plenty of vulnerable bad guys to grab with your webbing and swing around to give yourself some breathing room.
Upgrades for the Web Bomb will grant you more ammo, and increase the size of the web explosion.
If you know an enemy is patrolling a specific route and want to catch them at just the right location, Spider-Man’s Trip Mine is the perfect solution. Essentially, when an enemy comes close enough, the mine will explode and ensnare them.
The logical place to put a mine is on the ground or a wall, but consider that they will also stick to enemies and your opportunities get a bit more interesting. An activated mine on an enemy will essentially grab the nearest person and slam them into the original target. It’s how you unlock the ‘Hug It Out’ trophy, and it’s worth a laugh the first few times you do it.
The Concussive Blast is a useful gadget that emits a powerful sonic wave, causing nearby enemies to tumble backwards. It’s useful in a lot of scenarios, but none more so than when fighting on a rooftop. A flick of your wrist is all it takes to send enemies flying over the edge, instantly knocking them out of combat.
One of the best parts of playing as Spider-Man is controlling his antics in mid-air, and that’s precisely why the Suspension Matrix is not just a useful gadget, but a fun one to boot. An enemy off the ground is also a vulnerable enemy, and with the quick press of a button you can not only zip up to your next target, but also set yourself up for a new set of combos, such as a series of melee attacks and a final web-grab-and-toss motion that sends them careening into their buddies.
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It seems likely that Nintendo was planning to detail their paid online plans, scheduled to go live this month, during their now-delayed Nintendo Direct. Much like the accidental misfire with Yoshi’s Crafting World, some things have gone live on the website ahead of announcement, including some small details on the cloud saving. While Nintendo had previously said that not all games would support it, we now know a few Switch games do not have cloud saves.
On the page for Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee & Pikachu, a message at the bottom indicates that cloud saves are a no-go for the two Nintendo-published games. The warning reads “Nintendo Switch Online membership (sold separately) and Nintendo Account required for online play. This game does not support Save Data Cloud backup. Not available in all countries. Internet access required for online features.” This warning is also on the page for Splatoon 2.
We have also discovered the warning on Dark Souls Remastered, Dead Cells, FIFA 19, and NBA 2K19. It is worth noting that all of these games support cloud saves on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.
While Pokémon Let’s Go can be explained away as The Pokémon Company’s often overbearing paranoia and a desire to drive business to the cloud-based Pokémon Bank subscription service, the other included examples do not make much sense.
We reached out to Nintendo for comment but have not heard back by the time of writing.
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Epic Games has released the Fortnite 5.40 patch notes, detailing all the changes, tweaks, and new additions it has made for the Battle Royale and Save the World modes on PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, iOS, and Android.
As previously confirmed, the headliner for this update is the High Stakes event, which lets players compete in a heist scenario. As part of this limited-time mode, a new traversal tool has also been introduced called the Grappler. This weapon lets players launch themselves around the map, which is useful in both jumping into combat or escaping quickly. There are also new High Stakes challenges.
High Stakes introduces a new LTM called The Getaway, in which Victory Royale is achieved by obtaining one of four Jewels that spawn on the map and safely escaping in a Getaway Van. Carrying a Jewel will grant you health and shields over time, but your movement will be slowed by 10%.
There have been a variety of balance changes implemented, while a number of weapons and items have had their rarity changed (though that doesn’t impact how effective they are). The previously announced storm changes are also now in place, dealing damage to some structures near the end of matches. Additionally, the revolver has been moved to the Vault, meaning you’ll no longer find it in-game (at least for the time being).
In Save the World, meanwhile, there’s a fresh set of Horde challenges to work on. “With increased health and the ability to bat players away with strong knockbacks, these Husks are no joke. Gather your team and take them on now,” Epic says. A new Harvester Ninja has also been added to this mode.
Take a look at the full Fortnite: Battle Royale update 5.4 patch notes below, courtesy of Epic. If you want to see the Save the World details, you can see them via Epic Games.
Jewels can be found in special supply drop safes, located along the edge of the first storm circle. The safes take a long time to open, so make sure the area is clear before attempting to claim a Jewel!
Four Jewels will be in play on the map AT ALL TIMES. If a player escapes with a Jewel or one is lost in the storm, a new supply drop will bring a replacement.
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During PAX West 2018, Anthem’s executive producer Mark Darrah and lead producer Mike Gamble presented a panel on the game focusing on how story works and then made themselves available for interviews afterward. We spoke with Darrah and Gamble about what makes Anthem a Bioware game, how story moments fit into a game all about shooting things with friends, if you can truly play alone, and whether or not Anthem technically exists in the Mass Effect universe.
Earlier today you said, “Single-player is kind of a bug, not a feature,” when you were talking about the unique way Anthem delivers story in a multiplayer environment. Can you tell me what you meant by that quote?
Darrah: If I want to play by myself I choose to play by myself. Not that I am forced to play by myself. In a perfect world, if all games could have all features, role-playing games would be able to be played multiplayer. You could bring your friend in and experience the story together, but if I wanted to play with myself I could do that. That’s what I mean. It feels like a restriction. I am stuck with it whether I want it or not in a single-player game. And multiplayer games are actually the same in the other direction. I am stuck with multiplayer whether I want it or not. In a perfect world you want that blended kind of experience.
And that’s what you want with Anthem? A blended experience?
Darrah: Yeah. I don’t know that we’re getting fully there from a single-player perspective. You can play it single-player, but I don’t think we get you all the way there, where you can play with the exact number of people you want, between zero and many. Definitely the game is best with three other people. You can play it by yourself, but I think there is more exploration to be done in that space.
Gamble: And that’s the meta within the game. Blending between Tarsis and the open world. That was important to us. We want you to be able to go into Tarsis and do a thing, have reactions and have story, and then blend that into cooperative gameplay should you choose to do it, or should you choose to do single-player. That actually was important.
With Tarsis, do you expect teams that want to stick together to be waiting on one another while they each separately go through their story moments?
Darrah: Really, a lot of the experience was designed around a more casual grouping experience. In that case, you’re coming together and breaking apart more and it’s a mixture. But if you’re going to form a group and you’re going to stick together for a long period of time, then when you’re in Tarsis, and everyone else is in Tarsis, and everyone is like, “Yeah, we’re ready to go!” and you’re like, “Buuuuuut, I just want to go do one more thing…” – one of the things we wanted to do was remove that social pressure of feeling like you’re being rushed all the time, and I think we do a pretty good job of that most of the time. But I think for that first party, long-form group? Yeah, that’s still there. There will still be someone on VoIP going, “Hurry, hurry, hurry!”
Gamble: And that is okay, because usually if you’re in that kind of party, you know the three other people.
Darrah: And you can say, “Shut up, Tim! I just want to talk to this person!” There are no randos in that case. The party will naturally disperse after a mission so that pressure goes away.
Let’s say that Tim that is bugging you and you say, “Screw it! I will back out of this story moment and start the mission!” Is there a potential to miss any narrative when you do that?
Darrah: You might miss a small part of a beat. Most likely what you’re doing is you’re choosing not to advance one story thing that you can do later. The one-off point would be if you’re in a really deep conversational moment, everything hinges in this one conversation and the radio comes on with someone screaming, “Hurry, hurry, hurry!” – you could miss that one specific conversation if they’re yelling on top of it.
But mission three won’t totally disappear because you’re friends are like, “We have to do mission four right now!”
Darrah: No, that’s not how it is going to happen.
Gamble: It will be pretty obvious. There will be different icons for different things that you can do. If there is a role-playing conversation, for example, it will have a different icon. When you’re all back at Tarsis you can say, “I am actually going to save that for later.”
Darrah: You’re not going to accidently fall into an RP conversation when you’re grouped up with your friends. Either you’re going to be in a group that is okay with that, or you’ve decided you don’t care anymore and you’re going to start that conversation chain despite the fact that they’re going to push on you.
So, just to be totally clear – and you’ve answered this a little bit already – if I want to play Anthem single-player, I can see the whole story and play every mission without ever talking to another human being, right?
Darrah: You can see the full story by yourself. In free play there will be other people in the world with you, but there is nothing holding you together, and you’re not going to hear them chatting over VoIP or anything. They’re essentially NPCs from your perspective and maybe they could help you out. There is not much they can do troll you in that situation.
You won’t be able to do strongholds or and of the elder game content because that will be forced four-player.
Gamble: Well, you can do some of the elder game content… you just can’t do strongholds. Strongholds are the one thing you cannot do because they are balanced for four.
But you’re not missing any major story by missing out on Strongholds?
Gamble: They are story-associated.
Darrah: You don’t need to do them to get through the main story.
Gamble: There is a reason a freelancer team would have to go into the field and shoot all these things in the face and be heroic, but it’s not critical to the main story.
You want decision-making to be more binary than compared to previous BioWare games. You said you were doing that to bring in a wider audience?
Darrah: It’s not so much to bring in a wider audience. My concern is… the game itself is bringing in different people and we don’t want to throw them into the deep end of BioWare conversation choices. We want to give a simple A/B choice to give them agency, but not give them a bunch of agonizing decision-making every time they talk to somebody.
Are you hoping to attract a non-RPG audience?
Darrah: It definitely is much more in the action space. It’s what the game lends itself more to. For that traditional RPG player, I think there is a lot here to like, but from a gameplay perspective it hits on different motivations and different experiences.
Gamble: It’s not supposed to exclude RPG players, but like I said earlier today, it is a very different game than Mass Effect or Dragon Age, purposefully. One of the innovations behind Anthem is the ability to talk to people and form relationships, and you can’t do that in other games like this, so we still wanted to double down on it, but we felt like we didn’t need the entire dialogue wheel with six different choices to give the player some agency.
But for those hardcore, long-time Bioware fans, are they going to get a Bioware game out of Anthem?
Gamble: How would you define a Bioware game?
Games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age with lots of decisions and character-building. Are they going to satisfied by Anthem?
Gamble: I feel like they will be, in terms of the character arcs and how they all kind of conclude. But again, you’re not going to get a crit path filled with life-or-death fate choices that you make on the crit path.
You’re building the game to not have a conclusive ending. Is that fair to say?
Darrah: There is a conclusion to one major part of what is going on.
Darrah: But you’re right…
The Death Star does get destroyed.
Darrah: Yes, the Death Star gets destroyed, but the Empire is still around. That’s a perfect metaphor.
Is it harder to tell a compelling story that doesn’t have a concrete finish line?
Darrah: You know, you would think it would be, but actually no, because you want world conflict to continue in any game – in Mass Effect, in Dragon Age – you want that world conflict to continue, otherwise if everything is perfect, that’s it. Series over. Never tell another game ever again.
Gamble: This was Mass Effect 1. Reapers are still coming, but you stopped Saren.
You made a joke about facial animations this morning. What is the approach to facial animation in Anthem and how has it been improved over Mass Effect Andromeda?
Darrah: We had used a specific piece of technology up to and including Andromeda that we’re not using anymore. Part of it is just paying more attention to it and making sure it’s tuned properly and giving it specific attention.
Gamble: Also, Andromeda has hundreds of characters. It’s a volume problem as well. Tarsis does not have hundreds of characters. The example I used in our panel is, it’s Downton Abbey, where you don’t have a massive number of characters. You have enough and those people are hopefully very interesting.
Darrah: They talk more, but each character has a certain amount of effort required to set them up to talk, to move their face properly at all, so we have much fewer characters that, on average, talk a lot more, where in a Dragon Age or Mass Effect you have tons of characters that say one or two lines. There basically is nobody in Anthem that only says one or two lines.
Gamble: There is also the technology thing, where we are reaping the seeds of technology decisions that were made five years ago at Bioware and within Frostbite and those kinds of things, and we’re starting to really get the rewards of that investment.
What is being worked on right now. Is the finish line right there? Are you just cleaning things up at this point?
Gamble: The best way to put it is, all the component pieces are starting to come together. Like into the holistic game experience. To give you an example, you’ve got the teams that are working on the missions; you’ve got the teams working on Tarsis; then you’ve got the writers who have written all the plots; then you have the character artists who have made all the characters; and now it’s all coming together where you can see that nice through-line so you we can play a full set of quests, get the reward, get the consequence, and come back to Tarsis, XP, new gear, new weapons – there are so many different systems and they are all coming together. And that’s what you want at this point in the game, because you are able to spend the rest of development going, “Oh, we can make this better, and this better, and de-emphasize this, and make this more important.” That’s exactly where you want to be as opposed to getting to the end and each area has finished their thing, but you don’t have a sense of how it all fits together.
So, there is a version of the game you can play from beginning to end?
Gamble: Oh, hell yeah. In fact, again we said this in the panel, every week we have Anthem Fridays where the whole team plays the game together, obviously in groups of four, and everyone goes through a new set of missions together and we all talk about it later at the water cooler.
What you showed this morning, in terms of conversations with people, was head-on characters standing still making eye contact with you. Are you going to have walking and talking conversations?
Darrah: Yeah, we do. What we showed this morning? That’s our worst-case conversation, but we do fully animated people moving around, three and four-person conversations where they are a lot more elaborately staged. In the first video you saw Faye moving around, stuff like that. We definitely do, do that.
Anthem does not take place on Earth.
Anthem is the planet?
Darrah: We have not named the planet.
Okay. The planet of Anthem…
Gamble: The planet on which Anthem takes place.
Is it within our universe? Could you jump on the Normandy, fly a billion light years, and reach that planet? Or is it an alternate universe?
Darrah: Well… that’s not really a question we have answered.
Gamble: We didn’t design Anthem to be part of a Bioware continuum universe.
Darrah: I would say that, the way the Anthem of Creation works means that connecting Anthem to other Bioware games is actually a lot easier than it was in the past.
Gamble: It is actually theoretically, in the I.P., possible to have the entire Mass Effect universe within a Shaper Storm.
I look at Dragon Age, and to me that’s clearly alternate universe. Magic exists there. Magic does not exist in Mass Effect. Mass Effect is sci-fi. But Anthem seems to float somewhere in the middle.
Darrah: That’s right. It definitely does. It’s science fantasy so it sort of exists more in that Star Wars-style where there is technology, but there is also some other crazy thing that maybe it is technology, maybe it’s magic, maybe it’s… whatever. It’s something beyond that.
Gamble: But the citizens within Fort Tarsis, Antium, and the larger planet – there are no space-faring folks on this planet.
You don’t ever leave the planet.
Gamble: Right. But what you do play in the game is just a small area of that planet. It’s not the whole thing.
Darrah: One thing as well, from an I.P. perspective, is that the way the way that people refer to things in the world is through much more of a fantasy lens. If you found a big mutant bear in the modern day or in Mass Effect, you would probably call it a big mutant bear, but here they call it an Ursix. Things are named as if they are part of the world from a fantasy perspective. You don’t have reality distortions. You have Shaper Storms. Everything is kind of looked at through a different lens. People have been experiencing this for hundreds of years. It has become the vernacular. There is not this sort of scientific attempt to explain things.
People are not casting spells, right?
Darrah: No, people are not casting spells.
But there is something that almost looks like magic that they can’t explain.
Gamble: That is very much the Anthem of Creation. There is a force that permeates through all things that can be channeled that you really can’t explain, but there are a few folks who try and study it – those are the Archanists. There are a few folks who try to harness it, capture it into weaponry. It’s a thing that people know exist, but they don’t understand how it works.
For more on Anthem, check out all of our features from July cover story on Anthem by clicking the banner below. You can also head here to see the latest trailer and learn about the upcoming demo. Anthem releases February 21 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
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A new DLC expansion for Destiny 2, Forsaken, has finally been released. It’s much larger than the last two, being positioned as the equivalent of the previous entry’s game-changing Taken King expansion. Whether it’ll add the long-term legs players crave remains to be see, but in the meantime, there is a lot of new stuff to take in–including Exotics for Hunters, Warlocks, and Titans to get their hands on.
Following the recent changes made as part of the 2.0 update, among the many additions and changes in Forsaken and the 22.214.171.124 update are a new Power level cap, Strikes, story missions, areas to explore, a Raid (launching September 14), Gambit mode, Crucible maps, and much more. But players take part in many of these activities with one goal: to secure new gear, and specifically Exotic weapons and armor.
No doubt there are many hidden Exotics to uncover, some of which may not be available right away. But already we’ve either gotten our hands on or been able to preview a ton of the Exotic weapons and armor included, and you can see them above, including one of the new weapon type, bows. We’ll continue to expand this as we come across more.
One thing to bear in mind is that there are a select number of items that you’ll only find on PS4. As with previous Destiny content releases, Sony has a timed exclusivity arrangement that sees certain things released first on PS4. With Forsaken, that includes a Strike called Broodhold, an Exotic weapon called Wavesplitter (pictured above), an Exotic ship (Great Beyond), and an armor set for each class: Thorium Holt (Warlock), Red Moon Phantom (Hunter), and Mimetic Savior (Titan). All of this will eventually release on Xbox One and PC, but not until at least Fall 2019.
Forsaken is now live on all platforms. We’ve got some early impressions, a guide to activating a new Heroic Public Event, and we’ll have a Gambit guide soon on how to compete effectively in the new PvE/PvP hybrid mode. Look for much more in the coming days.
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In Monster Hunter, you quickly learn to treat the quiet moments of preparation with the same seriousness as the hunt itself. Taking a trip to the market to buy potions or scarfing down a stat-boosting meal might be what separates a close-call victory from a brutal defeat. Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate offers more than enough thrilling challenges to test the skills of tactical-minded players. Generations Ultimate is a Switch remaster of the dense 3DS title from 2016, presenting players with systems that take hours to learn. For dedicated monster slayers, deep rewards await as you carve pieces from your fallen foes and craft the fantastic armor and weapons that fuel this engrossing adventure.
You play as a hunter, undertaking quests to slay monsters with the help of your Palico (a feline assistant) or other hunters. Generations is a remixed, greatest-hits version of previous Monster Hunter games, meaning it has a massive roster of beasts to hunt down and a sizable selection of ways to do so. The story is threadbare, but that isn’t the point; satisfying combat and the sense of power that comes from slaying (or capturing) monsters is what propels you forward.
You have an arsenal of sharp things to stab monsters with, including a sword/shield combo, a longblade, and dual swords. Weaponry that leans more toward the wacky and creative side includes cannon-like blowguns and insect glaives, which send out bugs to attack your targets. Each weapon is essentially a class, requiring hours to master. While that might sound frustrating, it is immensely gratifying to dance around monsters that once gave you trouble, killing them with ease and grace. For those who played the more recent Monster Hunter: World, the combat might feel clunky by comparison, but the battles still capture the thrill of taking down titanic beasts.
Preparation is the most important part of Generations’ loop, even more so than becoming competent with a weapon class. As you take on more difficult monsters, your inventory should be filled with portions and devices to give you the upper hand. You must also make sure your armor and weapons are constantly upgraded, which means scavenging zones for valuable resources when you’re not stalking beasties. Hunting for some of the larger game can take up to nearly an hour before the fight ends, and losing due to an expired time limit or dwindling supplies is crushing.
Battling with any of Generations’ beasts, whether it’s the armored crab Daimyo Hermitaur or the fanged Niblesnarf, is an exhilarating experience – especially when you’re dodging attacks and landing devastating blows. Taking on monsters is fun in multiplayer, with up to three other hunters joining the fray, but I found the challenge of fighting with only my Palicos at my side more enthralling and tense. Whenever I was frustrated in combat, it was usually because I made a mistake. However, a monster would sometimes throw me out of the zone and I’d have to sit through a brief loading screen to jump back into the fray. Occurrences like this, or the rare occasions my blade clipped through an enemy without causing damage, are frustrating – but they hardly ruin the entertainment.
Ultimate’s jump from 3DS to Switch results in a big improvement, especially when it comes to visuals. Gone are the cluttered UI and grainy graphics. The more generous real estate of the Switch’s screen and the visual fidelity are immediately noticeable. Colors pop brightly. Muddy textures are now as sharp as a rapier’s point; the draw distance clearly showcases pretty vistas of snowy mountains and forests. Despite being a 3DS rerelease, the Ultimate version of Generations looks good, and the new controller scheme is also a huge improvement over the cramp-inducing 3DS layout of the original version. Whether you play with joycons (separate or in handheld mode) or with a pro controller, Generations Ultimate controls fluidly and better than the original setup by miles.
The most disappointing aspect of Generations Ultimate is a lack of content incentives for players who already sunk a hundred hours into the original version. A carry-over save transfer option exists so you don’t have to restart from the beginning (as well as the DLC from the 3DS version) but there’s little actual new content beyond a few additional monsters and a new rank of beasts to hunt.
Outside of the lack of meaningful additions, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is still a massive and compelling timesink, offering over 90 beasts to pursue and defeat. Though this is fundamentally the same game that released two years ago, improvements to the playability and visuals keep the thrill of the hunt alive. The focus on preparation, as well the high cost for failing to do so, isn’t for players who want a straightforward hack-and-slash game. But if you embrace Monster Hunter’s demand for vigilance, this experience holds bountiful treasure.
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EA has released a new trailer for Anthem, the upcoming action game developed by Mass Effect and Dragon Age studio BioWare. The trailer is called “Our World, My Story” breaks down two of the central pillars of Anthem, providing an insight into how players will experience the universe the game is set in and the narrative it tells.
“At the heart of Anthem is the concept of Our World, My Story,” BioWare says. “The distinctive combination of a shared, dynamic world and a personal story. Discover how these two elements help create a connected world that remains unique to every player.
“The world narrative advances for your whole team,” it continues. “You’ll get further into our world by taking on explosive missions offered by agents who need your help. These missions take you deep into the heart of anthem, while also developing the personal stories of each agent. Outside of the battles there’s freeplay, a chance for you to explore solo or with friends, uncover answers your questions about Anthem, and find powerful artifacts that could lead you to victory down the road … This is real-time storytelling, a reinvention of personal narrative in a multiplayer game.”
People will get an opportunity to sample some of this when a demo for Anthem is released on February 1, 2019. Announced during the game’s PAX panel, the “VIP demo” will be available to EA/Origin Access subscribers on Xbox One and PC. Access to it will also be granted to those that pre-order on any platform, which means those with a PS4, where EA Access is not available, won’t be left out.
At PAX, Anthem lead producer Mike Gamble said the demo is not “a tech test or a beta looking for feedback” and is instead a “slice of our game.” EA has confirmed the Anthem release date as February 22, 2019, so the wait to play the full game after the demo won’t be too long. Since its showing at E3 2018 executive producer Mark Darrah has been answering questions about about the game on Twitter. You can read about all these Anthem gameplay details here.
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After a short hiatus, we’re back! This week, it’s a cavalcade of shootin’, fightin’, and cuttin’ the Gs off words to make room for apostrophes.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive visits the fine city of Stockholm this weekend for its Dreamhack Masters event, which is also part of the Intel Grand Slam, which offers a $1,000,000 prize to the first team to win four of the circuit’s events. (Stream / Schedule)
The League of Legends North American league is still at it, and this week, it’s the semifinals of the season! Watch Cloud9 go up against Team SoloMid, then watch Team Liquid take on 100 Thieves. To see who advances to the finals. (Stream / Schedule)
The Overwatch league may be over, but you can catch the All-Star Weekend instead! Geguri made it onto the Pacific Division team, so it’s absolutely worth watching. (Stream / Schedule)
If you got into some fighting games (as you should!) after watching Evo, you can catch two major events this week. First, Summer Jam brings some of America’s best players together for the first time since the landmark major to see how they’ve evolved in Street Fighter V and Tekken 7, and adapted to changes in Dragon Ball FighterZ. (Streams and Schedule)
You can also catch Super Smash Bros. For Wii U, Fortnite, and Overwatch at San Juan’s First Attack tournament, which features some stiff competition. (Stream)
The PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds StarSeries I-League tournament has a $100,000 prize, so if you wanted to see PUBG played by someone other than your friend who insists sitting in a bathtub for 20 minutes is “fun,” here’s your chance! (Stream / Schedule)
For the more card-oriented fan, Hearthstone is having a quick competitive tour, and this week, Europe’s best are up to bat. Season 2 of Europe’s HCT tour offers the chance to head to the Fall Championship. (Stream / Schedule)
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Last week’s PSN sale was massive, but now that it’s gone two new sales have taken its place. One is PS Plus Specials, which offers big discounts on games exclusively for PlayStation Plus members. The other is a publisher sale that temporarily brings down the prices of Rockstar’s games. Let’s dive in and see what games are discounted between now and September 4. [Update: If all of this isn’t enough, there’s also a PSN Flash Sale live right now.]
You don’t need a PS Plus membership to take advantage of this weeks’ Rockstar deals. Grand Theft Auto V, which is often on sale nowadays, is down to the particularly low price of $20. If you’re nostalgic for the PS2 days, you can pick up the Grand Theft Auto Trilogy for $18, or grab any of the games individually for $9 each. Also $9 are Bully and the decidedly more violent game Manhunt.
As for the PS Plus Specials, you’ll find plenty of recommendable games on the discounted list. Monster Hunter World is down to $36 this week, while Blizzard’s hero shooter Overwatch: Legendary Edition will only set you back $30. Prospective city planners can pick up Cities: Skylines for $20, and those interested in space exploration can grab Mass Effect: Andromeda for $7.50.
You can find more picks below, or head to Sony’s deals page to find more PS4 game discounts, along with a selection of PS3 and PS Vita deals as well.
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Patrick Stewart is reprising his iconic role of captain Picard in a new television series. Is there any chance William Shatner could come back as Captain Kirk? Maybe, but not as a series. In an interview with Toronto Star, Shatner says he’s focusing on other things in his life. “I’ve been offered many series over the years,” he says. “But I haven’t done them because of the commitment of time. And at this stage of my life that’s more valuable than anything else.” He added that he would maybe be open for a cameo, but admits it would be tough given the permission process at Paramount.
I don’t know how it would work out, but I would love to see a Q episode that unites as many of the captains as possible. At the very least, we need another clip of Kirk and Picard riding horses in a prairie. Shatner’s horse control is astounding.
Lucasfilm has revealed more of what people can expect from Star Wars: Resistance, a new ongoing show debuting on Disney’s channels on October 7. Although Poe Dameron and Captain Phasma are a part of this prequel story to The Force Awakens, the focus is on a new group of characters called Team Fireball. The odd name is tied to their profession – spaceship racing. They race to make money. The video below gives you a look at all of the central characters, and also introduces the voice cast, which includes the great Josh Brener, who is always one of the best parts of Silicon Valley. As some of the voice actors point out, this Star Wars show has a different vibe than fans are familiar with. Yes, that worries me, but I am intrigued by the racing angle. The pod races are one of the coolest ideas to come out of the prequel area, and I’d love to see something like that done right, and in a much bigger way.
If you’re a fan of Rick and Morty, you may want to get a Hulu subscription…in the year 2020. Justin Roiland, Rick and Morty‘s co-creator, writer, and voice actor, and Mike McMahan, the series’ executive producer and writer, are working on a new show about aliens living in America called Solar Opposites, which has been picked up by Hulu for a two-season debut. Roiland and McMahan will continue its work on Rick and Morty while putting Solar Opposites together. The voice cast includes Roiland, Mary Mack, and Sean Giambrone.
Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor – Martyr released on PC this summer, and is now available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. You suit up as the Imperium’s muscle, the Inquisitor, and are tasked to carry out the Emperor’s call for war in the Caligari Sector. This hack-and-slash experience can be played two-player via couch co-op and four-player online. As you use melee and ranged weapons to mow down Chaos God daemons, you’ll take on missions spread across randomly generated maps in what developer NoecoreGames calls a “persistent universe filled with mini-campaigns and storylines influenced by the community.” The world is also destructible, as are some of the larger enemies. You can target your attacks to their limbs to slow them or disable attacks.
I haven’t gotten my hands on this one yet, but the deluxe edition’s exclusive “personalized footprints” are like a siren’s call for me. What a dumb, fun thing to give to players, especially for a top-down game where they will always be visible.
If you are a PlayStation Plus subscriber, Sony just gifted you with a free copy of Destiny 2, just a few days before the release of the game’s big expansion, Forsaken. The PlayStation 4 version of Forsaken offers a number of things Xbox One and PC players won’t see. Bungie has once again created exclusive timed content for this version, including an Exotic Weapon, Strike, armor set, and ship called the Great Beyond.
The Strike is called Broodhold, which takes place in the Tangled Shore. Guardians will be tasked to explore a crashed Hive Tombship and defeat its queen. You can see the strike in the video below.
The Exotic weapon is called the Wavesplitter, which shoots out an energy beam with three oscillating power levels. The player can augment its power with an Orb of Light. If you are looking for details as to what you can expect from Destiny 2, we have a hub filled with stories and videos that answer just about everything. The game hits on September 4, just three days before Spider-Man.
If you’re looking for an episodic puzzler, Destination Primus Vita just released today on PC and Mac. This first-person adventure from Epsilon Games follows a group of scientists who are, get this, tasked to recover Earth’s water. There’s a sci-fi premise I bet you didn’t expect to hear. Where did the water go? An alien race called, get this, the Shatters, stole it and transported it halfway across the universe. As the crew rests in cryo-sleep, the ship’s A.I. fills their dreams with puzzles to keep their brains active. This game sounds absolutely bonkers. You can view the trailer below, and if you can’t get enough of this game’s lore, Epislon created a comic book that expands the story.
That’s it for this week, folks. I’ll be back next Tuesday with fresh info on Forsaken, Spider-Man, and more.
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Push Me Pull You developer House House has announced a release window for its latest project: Untitled Goose Game. The humorous puzzle game will launch for PC and Mac in early 2019, and now the developer has confirmed it will also arrive for Nintendo Switch during that same time frame.
Untitled Goose Game puts players in the roll of a mean goose that wreaks all manner of trouble on unsuspecting NPCs. The game gives you a “to-do” list of tasks to complete, and you’ll need to manipulate objects around the environment to figure out how to clear each objective. One, for instance, is to enter a garden, but the gate is closed. You need to pick up a nearby radio with your beak to get the groundskeeper’s attention, then slip in when he opens the gate to investigate.
Alongside the release window announcement, publisher Panic has shared a new trailer for Untitled Goose Game. The video, which you can watch above, showcases the kinds of mischief you’ll be able to cause in the game. A new website and Steam listing for Untitled Goose Game have also just launched following the game’s showing in the latest Nintendo Direct.
We got our first look at Untitled Goose Game back in 2017. The developer shared a three-minute clip of pre-alpha gameplay, showing the goose harassing the aforementioned groundskeeper, getting him wet, stealing his keys and carrots, and finally holding a little picnic for itself by the lake.
PAX West attendees will have a chance to go hands-on with Untitled Goose Game. Panic will have an “early version” of the game–along with the “near-final” Switch build of Firewatch–on display at its booth. Untitled Goose Game will also be playable at Nintendo’s booth. Additionally, Panic will have a variety of Untitled Goose Game t-shirts and socks for sale in limited quantities. You can take a look at the t-shirt designs above.
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The importance of a good leader for a kingdom can’t be understated, but fortunately your new kingdom has you to guide it.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker is an adaptation of the pen-and-paper RPG of the same name, putting players into the Pathfinder universe in the form of an isometric RPG. Kingmaker, of course, focuses on the Kingmaker campaign and puts building a kingdom at the center of a massive RPG story. The intention from developer Owlcat Games is to bring the table experience of the game, which they played themselves for hours on end, to a full 80-hour RPG.
Kingmaker was built around three core concepts: being true to Pathfinder, giving the player an interesting story, and letting them build their own kingdoms. The developers told us that it was extremely important to give players the chance to succeed and fail on their own merits while telling a compelling tale along the way. Players are going to understand how heavy the head that wears the crown really can be.
As the title says, the game centers around the trials and victories of running a kingdom. Kingmaker is unique in that how you run your kingdom comes down to your decisions. You can be as hands-on as you want to be as a leader, micromanaging the economy, taking on every problem that comes your way, expanding territory, run a 25-hour day being a leader. You can also just let a council take care of the minutiae of running a kingdom while you adventure out and slay monsters or kill bandits.
You can jump in and out of the decision-making as you see fit. Sometimes you just want to take a break from the sword of Damocles dangling above your head and go on some quests, sometimes you are tired of questing and want to take control back from your council.
As you continue your adventure, you gradually pick up the 11 companions that join you on your journey, who also join you in running the kingdom. Missions come in that are not necessarily for a king to handle and just require someone to go lay down the law, allowing you to send your companions to take care of things. Sending the right person for the right job is important, meaning a good leader has to delegate correctly.
It might not always be a good idea to pass off decisions, though. In one quest, you are given the option to increase your military spending in terms of research and development. Eventually, a potion is happened upon that vastly increases your military strength at the cost of making your soldiers mindless zombies filled with bloodlust temporarily. I wasn’t told what the consequences of this quest were, but I am going to guess that the zombie path isn’t going to end well.
Since the Kingmaker campaign was a pen & paper RPG, it had short descriptions for a lot of things that the developers including writer Chris Avellone expanded upon for the game. One example they gave was a tower along the path which had a single paragraph in the source material. When working up the documents for the game, Owlcat expanded that paragraph to several pages.
Your kingdom starts small, but you start expanding through quests, story progression, and military action. A larger kingdom means more responsibilities, but it also means more opportunities for quests and adventures, as well. While I didn’t get a chance to go hands-on with the game, the developers guided me though a number of quests and mechanics and I’m excited to see more.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker was Kickstarted just over a year ago and is releasing on September 25 on PC.
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