Culture Category RSS Feed | Culture RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network GameSkinny Weekend Download: E3 Previews + Roundups, Bloodstained, Harry Potter, More Sat, 22 Jun 2019 09:00:01 -0400 GS_Staff

This week, we've got a ton of E3 coverage, ranging from hands-on previews of games like Final Fantasy VII Remake, Doom Eternal, and Wolfenstein: Youngblood, to roundups of every conference just in case you missed something. 

We've also got news on Gears 5 and FFVII Remake, as well as tons of guides on Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and Hell Let Loose

Finally, we've got a handful of reviews for some of the latest games and gear. 

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy. It's the weekend. What else are you gonna' do? Play video games? 


  • Tetsuya Nomura Says FFVII Includes Modernized Honeybee Inn and Tifa
    Square Enix has an ethics department, Cloud will cross dress, and your dialogue choices matter. Nomura discusses these things and more in a new interview. Read more

  • The Art of Amy Brown Set to Enchant the Tabletop World With Fickle
    Compete for fairy favor and be crowned ruler in Fickle, the tabletop game featuring the art of Amy Brown. Read more

  • Dr. Mario World Pre-Registration Open Now for iOS and Android
    The mobile Dr. Mario game gets a new trailer as well, showing off its many features and, of course, its microtransactions. Read more

  • Monster Hunter: World Iceborne Beta Soon, Here Are the Dates
    The Monster Hunter: World Iceborne beta will be running before the end of June. Read more

  • Grim Dawn Getting Epic Fantasy Makeover With Loyalist Pack DLC, New Patch
    A full retinue of vanity items and spell effects is coming to the popular ARPG. Read more

  • New Retro Console Evercade Goes Old School with Cartridge Compilations
    The Evercade looks to fill the retro handheld console niche with unique cartridge compilations and the promise of more games to come. Read more

  • Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories Making Its Way to PS4, Switch, and PC
    NISA is bringing the niche survival series back to the West, with plenty of branching story paths and natural disasters to test your mettle. Read more.

  • Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Out Now, But Leaves Some Players in the Lurch
    Wizards Unite includes more content than Pokemon GO did at launch, but not all players get to enjoy it. Read more

  • EA Defends Lootboxes As "Quite Ethical" In Statements to U.K. Parliament
    Kerry Hopkins, vice president of legal and government affairs at EA compared said lootboxes are nothing more than "surprise mechanics." Read more

  • Gears 5 Drops Gear Packs, Season Pass But Adds Pay-to-Win Feature
    Gears 5 is dropping all random paid elements in favor of greater transparency, but seems to be slipping in a pay-to-win mechanic to make up for it. Read more


  • Cadence of Hyrule Review — Rhythm and Roguelike Combine in a Title That Hy-Rules
    Cadence of Hyrule is a fresh approach to the classic 2D Legend titles that looks and sounds amazing, but it doesn't last long. Read more

  • Dragon Star Varnir Review: Dark Magic
    Dragon Star Varnir could use some polishing in a few areas, but the combat, setting, and story make for a dark and compelling RPG nonetheless. Read more

  • HyperX Cloud Stinger Wireless Review: A Solid Wireless Offering
    The Cloud Stinger Wireless might be twice as much as the wired model, but it's one of the best wireless gaming headsets under $100. Read more

  • GameSir GM300 Mouse Review: Surprisingly Good & Customizable
    The GM300 is a customizable ambidextrous mouse that might be budget, but it sure as hell isn't cheap. Read more

  • Hell Let Loose Early Access Impressions
    If you're tired of the same old shooters that have no connection to reality, then Hell Let Loose will satisfy your need for complex and accurate war simulators. Read more

  • My Friend Pedro Switch Review — Action-packed, Bananas, but Cumbersome
    My Friend Pedro is a wild ride full of high-octane action, but the game's balletic bullet catharsis is marred by the cumbersome controls and lack of clear direction. Read more

  • Hands-On with the Children of Morta Demo: Compelling High-Fantasy
    Dead Mage Studios' Children of Morta demo shows off a polished early build of the action RPG that leaves me looking forward to the final product later this year. Read more.
  • Judgment Review: Ace Attorney
    Though there are some hiccups along the way, Judgment proves without a doubt that Ryu Ga Gotoku studio doesn't need Kazuma Kiryu to sell a great game. Read more


  • Mark Your Calendars: Every Release Date Announced at E3 2019
    E3 2019 brought a ton of new games to our lives, and many of them came with release date announcements, too. Here is every date you need to mark on your calendar. Read more

  • The Outer Worlds E3 2019 Preview: Strange Worlds in Strange Times
    Live E3 gameplay from Obsidian's upcoming quirky sci-fi RPG, The Outer Worlds, showed us what we can expect from the Fallout developer. Read more

  • Contra: Rogue Corps E3 2019 Preview — An Altered Take on the Contra Experience
    Konami's newest entry in the shoot em' up series captures the Contra spirit even if some aren't yet convinced. Read more

  • Luigi's Mansion 3 E3 Preview: Boo, Goo, and Improved
    The third installment of the spooktacular spin-off series looks to conjure the most fun yet. Read more

  • Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 E3 2019 Preview
    Our E3 impressions of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games left us wanting more challenging gameplay. Read more

  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order E3 2019 Preview
    Marvel Ultimate Alliance: The Black Order is a chaotic romp that might be hard for newcomers to get into. Read more

  • Pokemon Sword & Shield E3 2019 Preview: The Biggest Gym Battles Ever Deserve Bigger Features
    Our demo with the upcoming eighth generation of the main Pokemon series had us wanting more. Read more

  • The Legend of Zelda Link's Awakening E3 2019 Preview: Gameplay You Remember, New Visuals You Already Love
    At E3 2019, we got some hands-on time with the remake of the beloved Game Boy classic. Read more

  • Eldest Souls E3 2019 Preview: Praise the Boss Rush
    Fallen Flag Studios' upcoming boss-centric adventure, Eldest Souls, shone brightly at E3 2019. Read more

  • Doom Eternal E3 2019 Preview: Better And Bloodier Than Ever
    We played Doom Eternal at the Bethesda booth this year at E3 2019 and came away excited to spill more demon blood than ever before. Read more

  • Wolfenstein: Youngblood E3 2019 Preview — Co-Op Nazi Killing
    We played a co-op demo for Wolfenstein: Youngblood at E3 2019 and came away impressed with the speed of its cooperative gameplay. Read more

  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution Interview with Producer Charles Murakami
    At E3 2019, we got to talk to the producer of the upcoming Nintendo Switch exclusive Yu-Gi-Oh! game. Read more

  • New Horizons is The Best — and Only — Direction for Animal Crossing
    With its exotic new setting and deeper customization, Animal Crossing: New Horizons looks to be the big step forward the series needs to remain relevant. Read more

  • All Aboard the Death Boat in Phantom: Covert Ops, a Stealth-Action Kayaking Game in VR
    Some people aren't quite ready for the Cold War to be over yet. Convince them otherwise with your sniper rifle and trusty kayak in Phantom: Covert Ops, a VR action game for the Oculus platform. Read more

  • Cyberpunk 2077 E3 2019 Preview: The Future is Completely Customizable
    We saw Cyberpunk 2077 behind closed doors at E3 2019. Here's what we know. Read more

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake Hands-On Preview: Breaking Limits All Over Again
    We went hands-on with the Final Fantasy VII Remake at E3 2019 and can confirm that not only is it real, but it was a ton of fun. Read more

  • Zombie Army 4: Dead War E3 2019 Preview — More Zombies Than You Can Snipe At
    At E3 2019, we got some hands-on time with Rebellion's upcoming undead infested third-person shooter. Read more

  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Gameplay Shown, Story Confirmed Canon
    The first Jedi: Fallen Order gameplay shows off Kal's Jedi Powers, introduces skill points, and plenty of combat. And it's canon? What? Read more

  • Wave Break Preview: Move over Tony Hawk, It's Time For Bears & Boats
    At E3 2019 we got some hands-on time with Funkotronic Lab's quirky upcoming arcade skateboarding inspired title. Read more

  • Nintendo E3 2019 Recap: Surprises, Sequels, and Remakes
    From a Breath of the Wild sequel and Animal Crossing Switch delays to Bango-Kazooie in Smash Ultimate, Nintendo's brief E3 Direct was stuffed full of big announcements. Read more

  • Square Enix E3 2019 Recap: FFVII Remake, Marvel's Avengers Just the Beginning
    From FFVII Remake to Marvel's Avengers — with SaGa, SE Collective, FFXIV, Dragon Quest, and more in between — Square Enix's E3 2019 presentation was packed full of what fans wanted to see. Read more

  • E3 2019: Highlights From the PC Gaming Show
    Highlights from E3 2019's PC Gaming Show, including Vampire the Masquerade - Bloodlines 2, Terraria, Shenmue 3, Autochess, and much more. Read more

  • E3 2019 Bethesda Showcase Recap: Fallout 76, Elder Scrolls, Doom: Eternal Take Center Stage
    The most requested Fallout 76 feature is coming, and we also saw major news on Doom Eternal and Elder Scrolls Blades, in addition to brand-new titles. Read more

  • E3 2019 Microsoft Press Conference Recap: Team Xbox Unveils Project Scarlett and a Whole Lot of Game Pass
    Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference is over, but if you missed it, don't worry! We've compiled a useful roundup of every moment you need to see. Read more

  • The Best and the Worst of the Fire Emblem Series Examined
    Fire Emblem: Three Houses is just over the horizon, so we're taking the time to break down what makes the best Fire Emblem games so good. Read more


  • How to Get Spell Energy in Harry Potter Wizards Unite
    Without spell energy, you can't do much in Wizards Unite, but recharging your energy can be done in several different ways without spending any actual muggle money. Read more

  • How to Use the Artillery Calculator in Hell Let Loose
    Learn how to properly operate Artillery with the help of a calculator in this step-by-step guide to Hell Let Loose. Read more

  • How to Change FOV in Hell Let Loose
    Here is a workaround that will allow you to change FOV in Hell Let Loose. Read more

  • How to Increase FPS in Hell Let Loose
    Increase your FPS count and save up every possible frame with the help of this quick guide to Hell Let Loose. Read more

  • How to Unlock All Difficulties in Bloodstained Ritual of the Night
    Don't want to fully beat the game on normal and hard to unlock nightmare mode? A simple save file cheat code offers up all three difficulties straight from the start! Read more

  • How to Get Bovine Plume in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
    Finding bovine plumes for the jump shard is easy if you know which enemy offers up the random drop! Read more.

  • How to Beat Zangetsu in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
    Learn how to take on one of the early bosses — Zangetsu — in this guide for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Read more

  • How To Upgrade Shards (Abilities) In Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
    Here's how to upgrade shards (abilities) in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night and be the most powerful alchemist that you can be. Read more

  • Where To Find The Warhorse Door & Key in Bloodstained Ritual of the Night
    How to find the Warhorse's Key and unlock the Warhorse Door in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Read more

  • How to Find Silver Bromide Location in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
    Although a patch may make the chest impossible to open, finding the silver bromide is easy once you know where to look. Read more

  • Bloodstained Ritual of the Night Millionaire Key Guide
    Want to get through that troublesome Millionaire Door in the Hall Of Termination? You'll have to find a secret ceiling spot much later on in the game to get the key! Read more

  • How To Unlock All The QR Code Skills In Judgment
    Still searching for the QR codes to unlock some of Takayuki's most potent moves? We've got you. Read more

  • The Best Way To Farm Money And SP In Judgment
    Hurting for cash and SP in Judgment? Following these simple steps will have you rolling in both in no time. Read more

  • Steel Division 2 Guide: Best Units for Deck Building
    Looking for the best units in Steel Division 2? Then, take a look at this list of the best units for your battlegroups. Read more

  • How to Play the Dota Underlords Private Beta
    Here is a simple way to get access to the newest Dota Underlords mod for Dota 2 while it's still in the closed beta stage. Read more

  • Fallout 76 Nuclear Winter: How to Invite Friends
    Haven't figured out how the friend invite system works in Nuclear Winter? It's easier than you think to play a battle royale match with your buddies! Read more

  • Where to Farm Screws in Fallout 76 (Best Locations)
    Whether buying, scavenging, or looting, we show you three easy ways to acquire large numbers of screws in a short time in Fallout 76! Read more

Check back next weekend for another roundup of news, reviews, guides, and features. 

Hands-On with the Children of Morta Demo: Compelling High-Fantasy Fri, 21 Jun 2019 09:36:55 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Dead Mage Studios has been working on a new title for a few years now, called Children of Morta. It's set for a September release date, but for a short time, Dead Mage has made a beta version demo available on Steam.

The game's story centers around the Bergson family: Grandma Margaret the seer, her two sons, Ben the blacksmith and John the warrior, and John's wife and their children Mark, Linda, Kevin, Mark, and Lucy.

The Bergsons are tasked with defending the land of Rea from the lurking Corruption, a task given them by the goddess Rea herself. However, their story is told by a narrator, punctuated with snippets of dialogue here and there — also voiced by the narrator — to give each character some personality. It's an interesting choice that gives the impression you're experiencing a book that happens to let you control its characters.

That impression is only furthered by Children of Morta's overall design. The plot and setting are something straight out of a fantasy story, and while the Bergsons themselves might not be brimming with personality, it's their roles in the story that make them stand out.

Like many good fantasies, this one drops you straight into the world with only the bare necessities as far as background and how the world works. It makes for a compelling reason to continue uncovering the plot and lends an air of mystery to the entire game.

The art design deserves a mention as well. It's a delicious mix of basic sprite art for characters and streamlined, modern animations for the rest of the environment. The Bergsons' home, which doubles as the game's hub, is a good example, especially the dollhouse-opening-up effect that takes place each time you return to it.

It's a bit disappointing that design doesn't apply to the dungeons, though, which are fairly bland affairs compared to the darkly beautiful overworld.

Children of Morta's gameplay is a mix of ARPG, dungeon crawler, and roguelite. John Bergson and his kin are tasked with recovering three spirits connected to Rea in separate parts of Mount Morta to combat the plague consuming their world.

Each area is composed of several smaller dungeons, which themselves are made up of multiple floors and a final boss encounter, and the layouts are completely random; every time you die (which will happen often), you start back at the beginning of that sub-area and try again.

Like all good roguelikes/lites, though, there's a tangible sense of progression. The Bergsons gain Morv, the game's currency, for defeating enemies, and they can use the Morv to purchase attribute upgrades like improved health and defense from Uncle Ben back at their home. Yes, Uncle Ben makes you pay to get a better chance at staying alive.

Each playable family member also has a unique and upgradable skillset. Skill points are earned by gaining experience from combat, and they can then be spent on improving specific skills or unlocking new ones.

These skills, plus the different artifacts you can collect in each stage, go a long way in keeping what might seem like basic combat from being stale. There's always something new to try, some other strategy to adopt, or, of course, a different character to attempt a challenge as.

I played as John primarily, because the demo's opening segment gave me enough skill points to start making him stronger, and new or improved skills make a huge difference in how you can approach enemy mobs and strong single foes.

Getting swamped by hordes of spiders can be frustrating, but it's incredibly satisfying when you can use that loss to improve your chosen Bergson and jump back into the game, ready — and able — to push further ahead.

Despite the variety of skills and attribute upgrades at your disposal, Children of Morta is still a challenge. At times, it seems like playing solo isn't really what the game wants you to do, especially if you go for the faster, but more fragile Linda.

Where her father can cut through swathes of enemies, Linda is initially limited to targeting one foe at a time with her bow and arrow. Single player mode isn't impossible by any means, but even with John the warrior, there are plenty of places where solo players have their work cut out for them.


Children of Morta has a lot to offer already, and it's worth noting that while this is only a beta build, it's a very polished beta build with only a few minor problems noted.

If you're a fan of action RPGs, gorgeous and unique visuals, and compelling high-fantasy stories, the Children of Morta demo is well worth checking out before it's gone for good on June 22.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood E3 2019 Preview — Co-Op Nazi Killing Thu, 20 Jun 2019 08:16:46 -0400 David Jagneaux

Wolfenstein: Youngblood seemed like a weird direction for the series when it was first announced at E3 2018. A few decades ago, the series was hailed as one of the original FPS games alongside DOOM and Quake, but it has now shifted to being a more story-driven experience with lengthy single-player campaigns that make you feel the grit and gore first-hand. 

The game takes place 19 years after the events of the previous game, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, in which you play as one of BJ Blazkowicz's two daughters: Jess and Soph. Things kick off shortly after BJ disappears, prompting a good old-fashioned rescue mission.

Wolfenstein Evolved

Surprisingly, the first 10 minutes or so of my roughly 45-minute long preview session was all a cutscene. While technically not entirely required, you're really gonna' want to have played the last two games to follow what's going on here.

You're introduced to the characters as they're training with their father, learning how to hunt, fight, and shoot for survival. This is a very dark and dangerous world, and it's the only life these young women have ever known, so seeing some real humanity behind the characters before it turns into a Nazi murdering simulator was nice to see.

I'm still not sure I like either daughter very much, though. I can't remember which one is which since they're twins with different hair colors and frankly sound almost identical. The blonde is first seen hitting a punching bag to train while the dark-haired one is hunting with BJ. They bicker and tease each other like siblings, fostering a real sense of camaraderie, but at times, the tongue-in-cheek humor felt a bit over-the-top. 

Since I'm not sure exactly how the story picks up from the last one just yet, it's hard to nail down the setting exactly, but it seems like some areas of the world are still under Nazi control while others have been liberated. The sisters are being trained as Nazi-killing machines, which does imply at least a large faction of Nazis are still out there doing Nazi things.

The Blazkowicz Sisters

In the last two Wolfenstein games, BJ was a mostly silent and extremely stoic, serious hero that clashed directly with the game's often bombastic tone. It resulted in some almost accidental comedy through pure contrast, but now that the main characters share that same attitude and literally giggle about things going on, I found it a bit distracting. That being said, had I been playing with a friend I knew rather than another random journalist, I may have had more fun with it.

Luckily, the gameplay more than makes up for it. It's much faster than I expected with liberal sprint uses, a double jump, wall jumps, and a really nifty slide that made zipping under cover extremely fluid.

Since I only played as one of the sisters, I could be wrong here, but I didn't really notice a big difference between the two. I'm also not sure how it will play as a single-player game, but I'd imagine your sister will just be an AI-controlled companion in that case since the entire game and story are heavily focused on the duo traveling together.

There was a great variety of weapons on display from shotguns and pistols to SMGs and assault rifles. They all felt great and had different recoil patterns to get used to. 

Nazi Killing

One thing I really appreciated is that Wolfenstein: Youngblood seems to be a good bit more challenging than the previous two games. Rather than just mowing through enemies as you run from the start of a mission to the end, we actually had to strategize about how to approach areas that were full of enemies. Lots of armored goons showed up as road blocks, and we often needed to split up to divide and conquer. 

There was a lot of variety in the types of weapons that enemies used, such as the massive flame attacks from the big guys and the medium-sized shotgun guards. The boss fight at the end of the first mission we tried required a few tries before we were actually able to take him down. Mobility was key since he could easily take one of us out in a matter of seconds.

The freedom of movement was a huge part of the gameplay, and it makes for quite the spectacle. Double-jumping through the air, climbing up onto platforms, sliding across the floor, and switching weapons on the fly was really intense and felt almost like a Respawn shooter moreso than it did a Wolfenstein game. 

I'm still not sure how Wolfenstein: Youngblood will translate for single-player gamers, but it was a blast in co-op. If you've got a buddy to play it with, this looks like a great option for Nazi killing fun.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood releases very soon, next month, on July 26 for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. 


For more E3 coverage, check the links below: 

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution Interview with Producer Charles Murakami Tue, 18 Jun 2019 10:42:11 -0400 Erroll Maas

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is an upcoming Nintendo Switch exclusive based on the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game and franchise.

Link Evolution also serves as an updated version of Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist, which originally released digitally for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on July 30, 2015, and on PC via Steam on December 7, 2016.

At E3 2019, we had a chance to check out the new game as well as interview producer Charles Murakami about new summoning methods, worldwide releases, other Yu-Gi- Oh! games, and more.

GameSkinny: Link Evolution features over 9,000 cards, so is it based more on the TCG (Trading Card Game, which it's called in North America, Europe, and other territories) or the OCG (Original Card Game, as it's called in Japan)?

Charles Murakami: It's actually not based on the TCG nor OCG. If  a card is released in both territories, this game is likely to have it. There might be a few that aren't in the game like some promo cards, but for the most part, if the physical card was released worldwide, then it's in the game. This is the first time in a while that we have a game released worldwide. With each territory having the same set of cards, you can play U.S. versus Japan online. Online play is also ranked. So, if you're ranked number one online, you’ll be number one in the world.

GS: With that many cards featured in the game, how do you work with the balancing for all of it?

CM: Well, the TCG side has handled a lot of the actual card balancing, but putting all the card assets into the game, getting the cards to play correctly, and having the AI be able to play those cards has been quite a challenge, definitely. But we're diligent enough to try to make it happen.

GS: Something a lot of players noticed when Link Evolution first launched in Japan is that it already had full English language support. What was the reasoning for this?

CM: Yes, it has English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese, and it has all those languages because we wanted to make sure that the game is compatible worldwide. We didn't do an exclusive Japanese version where only players in Japan can play with each other, and having multiple languages ensures that every release is the same version. This way, there won't be any problems with players competing against each other.

GS: This will be a first time in eight years a physical version of a Yu-Gi-Oh! game will release in North America and Europe. What is the reasoning behind that?

CM: It's been so long that we wanted to do that again, and the thing about physical copies is you can also lend it to a friend. Link Evolution has tutorials throughout, so if you're new to Yu-Gi-Oh! it's a good way to start. So if you're a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan and you have a friend who's interested, you can then lend a physical copy to them.

GS: Some of the cards from the OCG are censored in the TCG for a variety of reasons, but some players noticed the Japanese version still had these censorship changes. Why was that?

CM: If you play the game in English, we want to display the card art you’re used to, so the game will show the TCG card art. If you change the language to Japanese, it will show you the Japanese art for most of the cards. There's some Japanese art that we couldn’t use for different reasons, but for the most part if you play in Japanese it will actually show you the Japanese card. The game's rating is also T instead of E10+ this time.

GS: Recently, the new Master Rules, including new Monster Zones, have been introduced. Are these the only rules in the game or are the old rules in as well?

CM: It's only the new rules throughout, since we didn't want to confuse new players with lots of different types of rules. To make sure everything works with the new rules, we've tweaked many of the AI opponents’ older decks from the original Legacy of the Duelist as well.

GS: So for older players who aren't as open to newer features like Pendulum and Link summoning. What would you say to help them get interested and what did you do in this game to help do so?

CM: So the game starts all the way back from the original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series. The first series has a little bit of Fusion summoning but the rules are fairly basic. Then, the next show, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX introduces a lot more Fusion summoning (with each following campaign introducing a new summoning method such as Synchro, Xyz, Pendulum, and Link).

Each one of these has a tutorial explaining how to use the new cards and a sequence of additional duels that slowly increase in difficulty. By the end, you'll be and expert at everything Yu-Gi-Oh!. So no matter where you may have started or stopped, this game will get you back up to speed. 

GS: So one game Link Evolution is likely to be compared to is Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links; why was the decision to make an updated version of Legacy of the Duelist for Nintendo Switch rather than a Nintendo Switch version Duel Links with an offline mode?

CM: We noticed that although there is crossover with people playing both Duel Links and the physical card game, players dedicated to Duel Links like the fast format, while others likes the longer, combo driven play of the traditional Yu-Gi-Oh! card game. We like allowing players to choose between the two.

GS: So in another comparison to Duel Links, it features some voice acting here and there but Legacy of the Duelist does not. What is the reasoning behind that?

CM: We don't have voice acting mostly because we have over 130 characters with dialogue covering multiple TV shows. That is a lot. We were actually making the game as Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS started airing, so we were literally watching the TV show during development.

It would be hard trying to get voices on top of that when we weren't even sure what the dialogue would be yet. We wanted to make sure to try and get as much of all these shows into the game as possible.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is currently available on the Japanese eShop with English language support. It will launch for Nintendo Switch both digitally and physically in North America and Europe on August 20. The physical version will include three exclusive promo cards.

For more E3 2019 coverage, but sure to head over the conference hub page. Here are a few articles to get you started: 

Doom Eternal E3 2019 Preview: Better And Bloodier Than Ever Tue, 18 Jun 2019 10:22:45 -0400 David Jagneaux

Out of all the hands-on demos I had at E3 2019, I think Doom Eternal is what I enjoyed the most. This isn't to say that once all the cards are down and every game shown off releases it will be my favorite, but in terms of the demo experience, it doesn't get a whole lot better than a game that drops you into a bloodbath of demon guts and gore.

Playing Doom Eternal is simply exquisite.

Guns and Gore

Let me preface all of this by saying that I didn't finish Doom's 2016 reboot. I enjoyed it and thought the gameplay was amazing, but it just didn't pull me all the way through. After about four hours, I just got bored with the repetitive clear room, interact with thing, go to next room format. I barely made it through Bioshock Infinite for the same reason, but the story kept me going in that one. Not so much in Doom.

It remains to be seen if that same issue will apply to Doom Eternal, but after spending over half an hour with it at E3 2019, I've got hope. While the signature "move fast and shoot things" gameplay is all here in its excellent, bloody glory, there seemed to be a lot more variety this time around.

Granted, the demo took place partially through the game  so this wasn't a new player experience  but I was very much not bored throughout the entire demo. Not only did all of the guns feel incredibly different (rocket launchers, grenade launchers, a shotgun with a grappling hook, giant rail gun-style laser cannons, and more) but the environmental variety was great, too.

I was double jumping and air-dashing to boost spots across floating platforms in such a way that it almost fooled me into thinking I was playing a heavy metal platformer for a few minutes. Subverting expectations is a great way to keep my interest.

Shotgun + Grappling Hook = Perfection

But let's go back to the aforementioned shotgun with a grappling hook attached. Shotguns are my favorite type of weapon in a video game. They combine the one-shot power of a sniper rifle with up-close and personal danger, resulting in a downpour of blood that feels like the most satisfying reward imaginable for any budding demon slayer.

Doom more or less invented the Amazing Video Game Shotgun in the 90s, and Doom Eternal is here to make it even better.

It sounds simple at first, but hear me out: you can shoot a grappling hook out of your shotgun, like a hookshot from The Legend of Zelda series, attach to an enemy, and zoom through the air toward it. Upon arrival, just blow them to smithereens. It's simple and effective. 

The speed and intensity of rushing toward an enemy that's probably still shooting at you in the process is exhilarating in its own right, but when you use the shotgun's grappling hook as a new traversal mechanic, it really starts to open things up.

During one section, I landed like a meteor in the middle of a group of enemies and instead of back-pedaling to kite them while shooting like any skilled Doom players knows how to do, I instead bounced between them like a pinball zipping from one soon-to-be pile of mush to the other. It was a complete change in gameplay style that really felt good.

Doom Eternal threw another curveball at me in a later section when it put the next tiny floating island I needed to reach just far enough outside my reach that a double jump + air dash combo wasn't enough to get there. But at the end of my air dash, as I was falling, I was just in range enough to grapple onto the enemy at the edge of the platform and zip to it as my shotgun blew its head off. They've turned the shotgun into a platforming tool, and I'm in love.

This might be a bit premature, but the new shotgun + grappling hook combo might be my new favorite weapon in any FPS game I've ever played.

Complete Chaos

Worth noting is that I died more in my Doom Eternal preview than any other hands-on session I had at E3 this year, and that feels extremely appropriate. These weren't frustrating, "That was cheap!" deaths, but were instead errors in my movement, poor planning, or me not switching to the right weapon in time. 

I had a lot of fun, and I can't wait to see more of Doom Eternal. It's really hard to overstate how much I enjoyed this demo. I'm not the biggest of fan of "pure" shooters as they are usually a bit too simplistic for me I'd usually prefer something with a more complex narrative or more thoughtful gameplay but Doom Eternal sidesteps my usual complains with the genre by just throwing even more chaos at me without giving me a chance to breathe.

It was suffocating and incredibly anxiety-inducing, but I loved it. Get ready to rip and tear through Doom Eternal later this year when it releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia on November 22.


For more E3 coverage, check the links below: 

Final Fantasy VII Remake Hands-On Preview: Breaking Limits All Over Again Fri, 14 Jun 2019 08:51:41 -0400 David Jagneaux

My very first E3 was all the way back in 2015. At that event, Sony's press conference had a new trailer for The Last Guardian, announced Shenmue 3, and finally confirmed the existent of the Final Fantasy VII Remake. Now, four years later at my fifth E3, I actually got to play it.

And despite all that, I'm still not 100% sure I believe it's real.

Long Time Coming

Final Fantasy VII is often regarded as the best Final Fantasy game and even the best RPG of all-time. I'd take Final Fantasy IV over VII any day, but I know I'm in the minority with that opinion.

That being said, I can understand the excitement. It's rare that a game with such a storied history and massive following gets the chance at a revival. If you go back and play most PlayStation 1 games, such as Final Fantasy VII, they just don't hold up well at all. This remake is a chance for Square Enix to make it look like we remember it looking with our rose colored nostalgia glasses.

My demo for Final Fantasy VII was split into two parts inside the massive Square Enix booth in the South Hall at E3 2019. The first half took place in a waiting room, a bit like the kind you find for rides at Disneyland. We all gathered on benches and watched a video of Jessie explaining our mission and the game's controls. It's got a very different flow from the original's turn-based combat.

Gameplay in Final Fantasy VII Remake has a lot more in common with Kingdom Hearts than it does the first 10 mainline, turn-based Final Fantasy games. You freely move around the environment and can clearly see enemies in the world outside of combat. When combat starts, it seamlessly shifts to display prompts on-screen as your characters automatically face enemies. You're also free to move around the battle wherever you want.

Pressing "square" uses normal attacks, which build up the ATB gauge, and you can press "X"to enter a slow-motion mode where you can select either an Ability, Spell, or Item to use that will spend some of your built up ATB gauges. Cloud was all about up-close melee with his massive buster sword, obviously, while Barret could do sustained ranged damage with his gun arm. Switching between characters and issuing commands to keep their gauges full was a crucial part of every battle.

The Flow Of Combat

The E3 2019 demo was heavily focused on combat. It featured an early section of the game in which Cloud and Barret are dispatched to place a bomb inside a Shinra facility. I ran around on some metal platforms, opened up treasure chests by hitting "triangle" just like Sora would, and made my way down into the heart of the facility. 

Since you need to pause the action to issue any command other than dodge rolling or doing a normal attack, the fluidity of combat is interrupted a lot. It's a bit jarring since you're encouraged to use abilities often those ATB gauges don't carry over between battles. It would be nice if there was a way to map a go-to ability for quick access or something like that instead of needing to pause battles every single time. 

I also found it a bit annoying that the camera didn't automatically lock onto enemies, unless I was missing a control option. I found that Cloud and Barret would target enemies with attacks no problem, but the camera didn't always face enemies and there was no option to automatically re-center it other than just using the right stick. Trying to move with the left stick, attack and dodge with the face buttons, and move the camera all at the same time was a bit cumbersome. 

Scorpion Boss Fight

This brief Final Fantasy VII Remake demo ended with the iconic Shinra scorpion boss right. I (thankfully) didn't have much trouble here, but the battle took much longer than any of the non-boss encounters from before. Not only did I need to ensure I kept dealing damage to build up my ATB gauges, but I also needed to build up the boss' stagger meter as well, similar to in Final Fantasy XIII.

Switching between characters was quick and easy, just tapping up or down on the d-pad. The boss was a straightforward fight consisting of just brute force until it raised a shield, then targeting the shield, and dodging its big attacks. Nothing too complicated, but certainly some extra layers as compared to the original turn-based version of the game.

It should be interesting to see how different more advanced enemies, such as Sephiroth, will be on the battlefield when they're not forced to take turns while attacking.

Once I staggered a boss I could do even more damage, which was always a great time to use powerful abilities. And as you take damage in combat you'll build up your Limit meter, which lets you use an extremely powerful Limit Break attack once full. Finishing off the boss with a massive blast from Barret's arm canon was the highlight of the demo for me.


Final Fantasy VII Remake

I had a blast playing Final Fantasy VII Remake at E3 2019. Visually, it's a staggering technical achievement and despite my initial concerns, the gameplay translates to a more action-focused format extremely well.

During its E3 2019 press conference, Square Enix announced that the Final Fantasy VII Remake will hit PlayStation 4 on March 3, 2020. This release is expected to only contain the first part of the Remake since it will be an episodic series this time.

For more E3 coverage, check the links below: 

Steel Division 2 Will Be One of the Best Strategy Games of 2019 Wed, 12 Jun 2019 11:14:20 -0400 Sergey_3847

The newest installment in the series of military strategies from Eugen Systems, Steel Division 2, is nearing release and there is a big chance it's going to be one of the best tactical strategies of the year.

Eugen Systems is a very experienced developer specializing in strategy games, mostly known for such games like R.U.S.E. and the Wargame series, which has put the French company on the map of success.

Then came Steel Division: Normandy 44, which was followed by Steel Division 2, a modified and improved version of the first game. The players who had the chance to play Normandy 44 will immediately notice not only the changes in the graphics department, but also gameplay mechanics and scope.

These are not the only merits of the new Steel Division game, and here are some real reasons why this game should be on your checklist of strategies for 2019.

New Map and Massive Scale

While the first Steel Division game took place in France, which was limited by the borders of one country, the new installment features battles which took place during Operation Bagration that covered Bielorussia, Lithuania, and Poland.

Thus the scale of Steel Division 2 is much larger and offers more complex strategical and tactical challanges than the previous game. You can now deploy huge amounts of units of all kinds and really experience how massive battles took place during the World War 2.

The Eastern Front in Steel Division 2 features 25 tactical maps that have been painstakingly scanned and rebuilt from original archived maps. The entire campaign is divided into two parts: the global map and local campaigns.

Players will control several divisions, which historically differ in structure according to their country of origin. There's an asymmetrical balance, which means that on the global level the number of troops is the same, but the number of units and equipment in each division will vary.

Players will take on the role of the general of the army, who tries to capture important spots on the global map within a certain number of days. If they fail to complete the challenge for the given time period, then it will result in the failure of the entire campaign.

By the way, a lot of attention has been devoted to the roads in the game. The quality of the roads affects the speed and range of movement. But no one forces you to drive strictly along the roadway, as there is also an option of driving on the rough terrain.

Improved Combat Mechanics

4-Phase Combat System

The combat system has been significantly restructured in Steel Division 2 and now consists of several phases that add a sense of order to the entire campaign:

  • Placing units in the dedicated areas
  • Distributing orders
  • Assigning deployment points
  • Starting combat

In the last phase during the combat players will have access to the active pause system, which allows them to adjust positions and ordering of the units.

Three Game Modes

There are two Conquest modes for a global map and close combat, and one Breakthrough mode, which is the latest and most exciting addition to the game.

In the Breakthrough mode one player needs to defend the objectives from the attacking player residing on the other edge of the map. The best part about this new mode is the ability to build defense structures, such as:

  • Barbed wire
  • Trenches
  • Gun pits
  • Bunkers

This makes the mode extremely challenging and can really push players to the limits of their creativity.

Victory Conditions

Another unusual addition to the Steel Division 2 gameplay is the distribution of the victory conditions, which means that individual games will not always end up in a clean victory for one side or the other.

Here are all possible outcomes of the games:

  • Draw: If the team possesses the same number of objectives.
  • Minor Victory: If one team possesses +50% of the objectives.
  • Major Victory: If one team possesses +75% of the objectives.
  • Total Victory: If one team possesses +85% of the objectives.

Battlegroups and Deck Building

The deck builder in Steel Division 2 has also been upgraded in order to reflect the overall massive character of the new game.

The deck builder allows you to create battlegroups that may consist of nine different types of units:

  • Recon
  • Infantry
  • Tank
  • Support
  • Anti-Tank
  • Anti-Air
  • Artillery
  • Air
  • Defense (only in Breakthrough mode)

The composition of your battlegroup depends on the number of available activation points. The more units of a certain type you decide to deploy the more points it will cost.

Different game modes will require players to build different decks, and thus deploy different battlegroups to the battlefields. Not to mention the local co-op games of 2v2 or 3v3, where each player needs to think in terms of supporting other players and their units with the help of their properly-built decks.


Steel Division 2 is definitely a very complex game, which offers a lot and will mostly interest long-time fans of military tactical strategies and other games by Eugen Systems. New players, on the other hand, will have a hard time getting into all the mechanics and intricacies of the combat.

All the new changes and additions look really interesting. The graphics have definitely become better, and since there will be a full-fledged level editor available after the release, it looks like Steel Division 2 will attract a much larger audience than the first game.

If you enjoy elaborate strategies that focus entirely on how well you can build and command your units, then Steel Division 2 should be right up your alley when it releases on June 20, 2019.

Final Fantasy VII Remake: Modernizing a Cast of Classic Characters Tue, 11 Jun 2019 10:07:19 -0400 John Schutt

The Final Fantasy VII Remake is officially on the calendar, and Square Enix has a huge task ahead of it: build and improve upon what many people consider to be the greatest game ever made.

It’s a herculean task, and there may not be any real right answer to everything everyone wants. That said, I’d like to talk about three areas where the Remake can and should take Final Fantasy VII: character, world, and story.

And because there’s a lot of ground to cover, this article is all about the characters we’ve seen so far, including those we saw at Square's E3 conference

Following articles will cover world and story separately.

Character: The Heart of Any RPG

So far, we’ve met some of the core members of the cast: Cloud, Barret, Aerith, and finally Tifa. The relationship between Cloud and the two other women is in many ways the heart and soul of the game, counterpointed somewhat by his growing friendship with the big guy with the gun arm.

The most important task for the writers of Final Fantasy VII Remake is to not only build on these characters but still stay true to their roots. Let’s look at each in turn, starting with Cloud.

Cloud Strife: SOLDIER, Leader, Damaged

Cloud is one of the most complex characters in classic JRPG history. He is a walking mass of conflictions, discordant memories, and competing desires. He wants to love and he wants revenge. He seeks a future without regard to the past, while at the same time being defined by it. If I contradict myself it is only because Cloud contradicts himself constantly.

For those of you who never played Final Fantasy VII, I won’t spoil some of the most poignant and powerful moments from the original game, but I will explain some of the building blocks Square Enix will have to use as a foundation for this first foray into Midgar.

The Cloud we meet at the beginning of Final Fantasy VII is sure of himself, somewhat distant, and generally apathetic of the plights of people around him. To those people who matter to him, he can be caring, understanding, and even warm. Still, there are pieces of himself he cannot properly categorize, and in attempting to save others from worry, hides these pieces deep in his heart.

To stave off any concern, he puts on a brave face, wrapping himself in the guise of a warrior willing to take almost any job for the right price.

As the story unfolds, we get to also see the more playful side of this young man as the women in his life work to open him up — either romantically or otherwise. When he’s free to be himself, Cloud can be silly and dopey, with a dry but ready wit and a kind heart. He’s good at many things but great at very few, and though aware of his shortcomings is loathe to let others see them.

The Remake needs to capture this Cloud, and there are two core tenants of his character they must maintain. They are:

1. He Finds his Own Purpose 

Or at least thinks he does.

Cloud, in the Remake, must remain a driven individual who’s willing to chart his own path without hesitation. He must be willing to entertain other people’s points of view and experiment with new things, but ultimately, he must believe his will to be his own. More than that, we need to come to understand that, even before he leaves Midgar at the end of this first game, that he carries a much greater weight on his shoulders than he lets anyone else know about.

Whether it’s through interactions with Sephiroth like we see in the trailer or through various glitches in memory that seem out of place to us but normal for Cloud, the Remake has to give us the impression that even after 30 hours, we only know a little bit of his story.

2. He is Capable of Great Things

Though not chosen by destiny, per se, the Remake needs to make clear that there is some greater purpose to everything Cloud does. He isn’t in the mercenary business to save the world, but we need to see events swirl around him in such a way that his natural instincts push him in that direction.

Primarily, we need to see his caring and selfless nature, but also his stubbornness and uncertainty in the face of things he doesn’t quite understand. Ultimately, we need to see that the Cloud of the Remake is sure and unsure of himself in equal measure, but that the former wins out more often than not.

Tifa Lockhart — Old Friend, Powerful Ally, Heart

No less conflicted than her childhood friend, Tifa is nonetheless the emotional center of Final Fantasy VII.

Before anyone else comes along, she shows that Cloud’s tough-guy routine isn’t fooling anyone, and that she remembers the warm, hopeful boy of their shared past. She understands the sacrifices she’s had to make, and the blood on her hands. However, she also wants to rediscover the person she’s not seen in five years, a boy turned young man she’s wondered about as she built a life in the slums of an enormous city.

The Remake trailer shows us this exact young woman, who’s shy, uncertain of the path forward but willing to see it through. We also see someone with real power who’s willing to let her fists do the talking when the moment calls for it. We also see a little bit of how she and Cloud interact, how they share their worries and their cares, if only because they come from the same place but have taken different journeys to get there.

In the original game, we learn how Tifa’s road to her Seventh Heaven bar is fraught with many dangers, but that she faced them eagerly for the chance to make the kind of difference she couldn’t years before. We learn that somewhere in her is the kind of strength found in the greatest heroes, but that it’s so tightly bound in doubt and anxiety she finds it difficult to call upon in dire moments.

And while I was impressed with how true Tifa’s character seemed in what little we saw of her in the Remake trailer, I think there are a couple of incredibly important points that Square Enix needs to hit if Tifa is to have the emotional resonance she deserves. They are:

1. Strength of More than Just a Fist

Though she’s shy and has difficulty expressing her true feelings, Tifa is an incredibly strong person, with the intent and will to accomplish almost anything. She can channel this power through her fists, of course, but her real potential is in the comfort and strength she can provide to the people around her.

Even if she isn’t feeling particularly together herself, Tifa in the Remake needs to go out of her way to ensure that those around her are ready and able to get their own jobs done and come home happy at the end of the day.

2. A Willingness to Sacrifice

In the Remake, Tifa should be willing to lay down everything for what she believes in, especially as it involves the people she cares about most. She is a loving person by nature, but she needs to have the will and the strength to put her foot down — especially to Cloud — so their mission ends in success.

Tifa also needs to sometimes wear her burdens visibly on her shoulders but be unwilling or unable to fully voice them, primarily so other people can understand that they are not the only ones with baggage  and that she’s there for them even under that immense emotional weight.

Aerith Gainsborough — Slum Girl, Savior, Mischief Maker

The Remake trailer doesn't paint Aerith in the same light we see her in for most of the original game. In Final Fantasy VII, Aerith is strong-willed, stubborn, sometimes fearless, sometimes frail, and somewhat mischevious. What she believes is, for her at least, what is. She’s able to read someone in just a few moments.

She’s also caring, kind-hearted, and generally open-minded about most things.

Buried beneath all that, however, is a deep-seated reservation about who and what she is. Hounded by ShinRa for her bloodline and its abilities, and accosted on all sides by the voices of the Planet and of the dead, Aerith understands that fate probably has something great in store for her, and that she is to play a vital role in some calamitous event.

In some ways, her burden is greater than almost any other character, and the flirting, snarking, and general forwardness are as much a cover for her own insecurities as they are a natural part of her personality.

The Remake needs to not abandon any of these important aspects of Aerith’s character. She get in the way, be nosy, accept everyone for who they are, and still be competent enough to feel like she can finish the jobs put before her.

If I could boil down Square’s tasks for Aerith in the Remake, they would be as follows:

1. A Plucky Girl From Far Beyond the Slums

Growing up in the slums of Sector 6, Aerith is no stranger to conflict, poverty, or hardship. Though her mother’s home is something of a secluded paradise in a grimy group of huts, she nonetheless lived a life filled with difficulties. ShinRa and her abilities notwithstanding.

We need to see how her experiences have both hardened her to the difficulties Cloud and co. face, but also how those made her empathetic to their struggles. More than that, we need to see even more about how her knowledge of her true nature plays into her interactions with those she’s closest to.

Does she confide more in Cloud than in the original game, and what would that knowledge spark in him if he discovers it, burdened as he is by Sephiroth?

2. Making Some Mischief

Aerith is incredibly perceptive, and no doubt sees the attraction Tifa feels for Cloud, regardless of the circumstances of their first meeting. Trouble is, she doesn't really care and goes a little out of her way to flirt and tempt Cloud when the chances arise.

It’s something Tifa — shy and uncertain as she is — finds incredibly vexing, and in the Remake, there’s plenty of additional space to explore the love triangle.

Of course, I would be remiss not to mention the cross-dressing scene and the pivotal role Aerith plays there. I mean, it was her idea for Cloud to dress up, and she takes no small delight in making sure everything goes perfectly.

If we don’t see that side of Aerith, I think Square’s done her a great disservice.

Barret Wallace — Terrorist, Hero, Father

One of the first things we learn about Barret, both in the original Final Fantasy VII and the trailer we recently watched, is that he believes in what he does, even as it costs thousands of people their lives.

As the leader of the AVALANCHE guerilla group — really a small band of ecoterrorists at this point — he will go to any lengths to see both ShinRa removed from power and the threat they pose to the planet eliminated.

He is also a caring father and someone who carries the weight of those deaths on his shoulders. Not proudly, per se, but as a burden he’s more than willing to bear for future generations. We get a glimpse of his relationship with his daughter Marlene in the trailer, and it’s clear that she means the world to him. The feeling is mutual, as it was in the first game.

From what we saw of Barret in the Remake trailer, there are a few things Square must continue to push forward on if they want to recreate Barret as both true to himself and true to what modern gamers expect out of a character.

1. Tough Guy with a Gooey Center

Barret’s character arc in the original Final Fantasy VII, boiled down to its essentials, is his coming to terms with the fact that what he wants and what he can do are two separate things. He must realize that he is ultimately too small, too vulnerable — even beneath his tough guy veneer — to make the kind of change he truly desires.

More than that, he has to discover that what really matters to him and what he thought mattered to him are also completely separate things. At the end of the day, we as players need to see Barret’s softer side come out, even as he puts on a brave face for everyone around him.

2. He’s Conflicted

Early in Final Fantasy VII, Barret and Cloud argue about the cause the former SOLDIER is being paid to fight for: saving the Planet. At some point in the conversation, Barret exclaims, “The Planet’s dyin’, Cloud!” The line, though only text, betrays something key about Barret’s character: he too sometimes doubts the inspirational speeches he tells his people about their mission.

In the Remake, we need to see Barret’s veneer crack, probably from some snappy wit or apathetic aside from Cloud. As the party grows in size and new people shine new perspectives on Barret’s worldview, it’s my hope that his Remake incarnation has moments of deeper reflection that we get to be a part of and that we can use to learn alongside him.


While I hope these beloved characters grow, and Square explores them deeper in the Remake, we still have time to analyze, ponder, and find out. The Final Fantasy VII Remake is set to launch March 3, 2020. 

Be sure to check out our other Remake articles as well:

Ubisoft E3 2019 Presentation Roudup Mon, 10 Jun 2019 20:49:45 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Ubisoft was reportedly going to bring the heat to this year's E3, and the company's presentation turned out to be one of the most eventful so far.

Opening with a performance by the Assassin's Creed Symphony and their live dates was a pretty strong start, but the Watch Dogs: Legion gameplay trailer right after? Yeah, that really drove it home.

Watch Dogs: Legion

The Watch Dogs: Legion footage started off calm, but it didn't take long for Ian to get into some trouble during his walk around London, which eventually turns into choosing an entirely different character.

As previously mentioned by Ubisoft, Watch Dogs: Legion will allow players to take control of a vast amount of NPC characters to perform their nasty DedSec operations. Based on the gameplay trailer, the sequel looks to be vastly more dynamic than the previous two games. You can recruit and play as anyone in Watch Dogs: Legion. Spicy!

Ubisoft claims each character has its own story, profile, recruitment mission, and more. If it's done right, this could pale the previous two Watch Dog titles completely.

We don't have to wait too long for this bad boy; Watch Dogs: Legion will be released March 6, 2020.

It's Always Sunny in.. Ubidelphia?

Rob Elmchenny from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia fame came on stage after the Watch Dogs: Legion presentation to announce his upcoming new show, Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet.

McElhenny himself plays series lead Ian (that's pronounced "eye-an," you jabroni) Grimm, Creative Director for the biggest MMORPG in the series's universe with an ego that seems to be as big as the game's massive population.

Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet will be an Apple TV exclusive with no air date just yet.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege DLC

Yes, the new DLC for Rainbow Six Siege! Check the trailer below. This one takes the smoother route, as you might expect from a DLC titled Operation Phantom Sight.

Brawhalla + Adventure Time

As of today, Adventure Time characters will be coming to Ubisoft's Smash-like Brawlhalla.

Finn, Jake, and Princess Bubblegum are all available to play for free in Brawlhalla right now during a limited time event. Once the event is over, the character can be purchased from the in-game shop for 300 Mammoth coins.

The Adventure Time event will be lasting until June 25 and bring with it a new map, mode, and special KO effects that will still be usable in-game once the event has ended.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint

Cole D. Walker, a special forces officer with his own moral code and does what he has to in order to complete his mission against the Wolves. This is Ghost Recon Breakpoint.

You don't have to sit on your hands and wait for Breakpoint to come out; you can hop on over to the official site right now and register for the September 5 beta. Release isn't far off, with release waiting just around the corner on October 4. What's keeping you waiting?

Ghost Recon Delta Company was also announced during the presentation, which will allow fans to share anything they want related to the Ghost Recon series.

Going Mobile

They've got to squeeze one mobile game in there, and they did just that here with Tom Clancy's Elite Squad.

Featuring characters from other Tom Clancy and Ubisoft titles, squads of five players will be able to duke it out with other squads of five. There has been a story mode announced as well as PvP.  You can pre-register for the game now on the official website.

Just Dance 2020? Of Course...

There's really not much to say here but Just Dance 2020 is releasing later this year in November on basically every platform available (including the Wii, wow) with 40 new songs.

Limited Event For Honor Event: Shadows of the Hitokiri

In a surprise announcement comes a new warrior to For Honor: the Hitokiri, a mask-wearing axe-wielding warrior with a thirst for souls. The new warrior comes with a brand new event for For Honor players looking for something a little different.

The event hosts the Soul Rush special game mode, which tasks players to collect souls during combat.

You can read more about the Shadows of Hitokiri event on the official site. It will be running on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One until June 27.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Quarantine

Now for something just a little different (just a tiny bit): Rainbow Six Quarantine.

Details on this title are currently scarce, but it's slated to release on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. You can sign up for "a chance to play early" on the official website.

Tom Clancy's The Division 2 Episode 3

Don't think just The Division 2's all done with all these other Tom Clancy announcements from Ubisoft this year. The third episode of The Division 2 will be taking players back to Washington D.C., the setting of the first game.

The Division 2
will also be receiving a new raid out this fall, showing the game's not close to done yet.

The Division Netflix Adaptation

The Division is getting a film adaptation on Netflix. The release date may still be a mystery, but we do know Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain will be in the production.

The plot for the upcoming movie is:

In the near future, a pandemic virus is spread via paper money on Black Friday, decimating the city of New York and killing millions. By Christmas, what’s left of society has descended into chaos. A group of civilians, trained to operate in catastrophic times, are activated in an attempt to save who and what remains.

Uplay Plus

Even Ubisoft is getting on the subscription service bandwagon, with Uplay Plus rolling out later this year and being compatible with Google Stadia.

If you sign up between now and August 15, you will have free access to Uplay Plus between September 3 and 30 later this year.

Roller Champions

Roller Champions
is definitely out of left field, which seems to be preferable with free to play titles here in 2019.

Roller Champions is a PvP sports title hoping to find some competitive footing. Though its release date hasn't been announced, you can play the E3 demo right now until June 14 to see if this one's up your alley.

Gods & Monsters

The final announcement of the Ubisoft conference was a surprise entry: Gods & Monsters, a Greek mythology-focused title coming to PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Google Stadia with a notable lighter tone than most of the rest of the presentation.

Details on Gods & Monsters are presently scarce. It appears to be an open world title, with loads of challenges both combat and puzzle-oriented present. We'll surely see more of this title before its release on February 25, 2020.


Whew, that was a lot of Tom Clancy from Ubisoft this year. E3's not over just yet, though! Let us know in the comments below which announced titles you're looking most forward to from E3.

Be sure to check out our other E3 2019 coverage below: 

E3 2019 Bethesda Showcase Recap: Fallout 76, Elder Scrolls, Doom: Eternal Take Center Stage Sun, 09 Jun 2019 22:06:43 -0400 Ty Arthur

This year's #BE3 showcase revolved heavily around the highly anticipated FPS entry Doom Eternal, but Bethesda had a number of surprises in store for players willing to check out the full live stream.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to see much about Elder Scrolls VI, which is likely delayed to take advantage of the next console generation. That noticeably missing title aside, everything from Rage 2 to Wolfenstein received major announcements, along with a slew of news arriving for mobile titles and free updates like the Moons Of Elsweyr expansion coming June 27 to Elder Scrolls Legends.

If you missed it, we've got the full rundown on everything you need to know about the Bethesda 2019 E3 showcase below. 

Also, don't forget to log into your Bethesda account this week! In celebration of the E3 event, you can get five Ouroboros Crown Crates and a Clouded-Senche Leopard mount for Elder Scrolls Online, a Twitch Assault Rifle skin for Rage 2, and an Ancestor Moth card back for The Elder Scrolls: Legends


We all know streaming is the future and tech companies are banking on streaming overtaking physical media in the very near future. We already buy most of our games from digital stores anyway, so why not just move the whole thing into the cloud?

Bethesda is working on the new Orion technology now, which is meant to optimize any game engine with absolutely any game for playing in the cloud on platforms like the upcoming Google Stadia.

A software solution rather than a hardware option, the purpose of Orion is to reduce latency and stream using lower bandwidth, which means you can stream at max settings for no reduction in graphics quality.

We'll have to wait and see if it lives up to the promise, but that tech could be huge in seeing streaming services become more widely adopted worldwide.

Fallout 76

Oof, Todd Howard and the Bethesda Game Studios team got a very tepid cheering response at first, which got noticeably louder when they admitted the criticism the game has received was deserved.

That lackluster response turned to wild cheering when it was revealed that human NPCs are arriving with the Wastelanders update including full dialog trees — to make this more of a full scale Fallout game.

To lure people in ahead of that update, the game will include a free trial mode coming tomorrow (perhaps precipitating the game going free-to-play...?).

Last up, in a move we should have all seen coming, Fallout 76 is getting battle royale mode with a shrinking ring of fire titled Nuclear Winter. Will the wasteland pull you away from Fortnite?

Doom Eternal

We already knew this would feature the super fast, super powerful Doom Marine slaughtering demons by the thousands, but there were some reveals tonight to get fans even more excited.

This time around we're also going to heaven, and it seems like the celestial denizens will be even more awful (and fun to kill!) than the demons in hell.

The biggest surprise was those in attendance at the Bethesda showcase got to actually play the game after the show. Lucky bastards!

The rest of us only have a few months to wait though, as Doom Eternal now has an official release date of November 22, 2019. We also got a quick glimpse of the comprehensive collector's edition, which comes with its own wearable Doom Guy helmet.

Finally, Bethesda decided to show off a bit of the new multiplayer mode, which lets you frag away as either the Slayer or a demon in a 2 vs 1 asymmetric mode.

Elder Scrolls Blades

If you've been religiously opening your chests every day, you'll be excited to know a major update launches tonight in celebration of E3. That patch features new jobs, solo arena battles, custom jewelry system, and an extra dragon quest line.

While not many details were revealed, we also found out an arena mode coming later this year for PvP content and visiting the towns of other players.

Hands down, the biggest news is that Blades is coming to Switch where it will still be free and will feature cross progression with mobile, so you can take your mobile account to the Switch version when it arrives this fall.

Ghostwire Tokyo

There weren't a ton of details beyond a cinematic trailer, but this new title from Tango Gameworks looks very promising and seems to indicate an open world nature with a mix of investigative and combat mechanics.

All we really know for sure is that its a "spooky" action adventure title that takes place within a supernatural haunted Tokyo, although they specified its not a survival horror game.

Elder Scrolls Online

The Season of the Dragon for Elder Scrolls Online will cap with the upcoming DLC Dragonhold, featuring the return of the iconic Dragonguard. In addition to an epic story trailer, we're told more info is coming at Quake Con this summer, but they did reveal the dungeon DLC Scalebreaker is set to arrive in August.

Commander Keen

I don't think anyone saw this coming... we're about to see a return of the old school Id Software '90s side-scrolling game Commander Keen, reimagined as a free to play Saturday morning cartoon homage on iOS and Android where you build wacky gadgets.

There's a fun tongue-in-cheek tone here, although I kind of wanted to go find Arnie so we can get our memories wiped at Rekall after hearing lines like "get your anus to mars" and "kick some asteroid."

This new version of Commander Keen will soft launch this summer on mobile devices.


Finally, a new title from Arkane was just made official, so if you've missed games in the style of Prey or Dishonored, get ready for a whole new iteration of the stealth assassination genre. 

This noir sci-fi shooter puts you in an endless loop where two assassins relive the same day over and over trying to kill each other. The typical Arkane style of offering multiple options to tackle levels will be available, but we're also getting a bit of a Tarantino vibe in the font and style on display.

Rage 2

Need ever more insanity? It's on the way with the Rise Of The Ghosts expansion, including impending features like low gravity, additional enemies, a new pilotable mech, extra areas, and a new enemy faction, as well as weekly content additions.

Two New Wolfenstein Games

Yep, we're getting two new games this summer, starting with the Cyber Pilot VR title coming next month. That's not the big news though, as we already knew about that. 

The more exciting announcement is Wolfenstein: Young Blood, set 20 years after The New Colossus and very clearly embracing the 80's aesthetic with wild abandon. Aside from the time shift, this time around we'll get to kill Nazis with a friend in co-op mode!

It's a pretty good bet that BJ Blazkowicz's twin daughters are going to collect a whole lot more than 100 Nazi scalps, that's for sure!


What upcoming expansion or brand new franchise are you most looking forward to checking out this year? Sound off in the comments below!

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on all of these games as they develop. Check out more of our E3 2019 coverage below: 

GameSkinny Weekend Download: Diablo DLC, Call of Duty, PS5 Details, Dauntless, More Sat, 08 Jun 2019 09:00:01 -0400 GS_Staff

This week, GoG released some old, but new Diablo DLC, Sony unveiled some new details on the PlayStation 5, we learned that the new Call of Duty would have crossplay, and the hammer is bad-ass in Dauntless

We also took a look at Stadia, including its release date, price, and games. Netflix is making a show based on Magic: The Gathering. Shenmue 3 got delayed again, and there's a lot more. 

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy. It's the weekend. What else are you gonna' do? Play video games? 


  • GOG Adds Hellfire Expansion To Original Diablo
    The unofficial Hellfire expansion is now available for the base Diablo game for GOG users. Read more

  • Call of Duty Modern Warfare Crossplay Clarified, Will Be Similar to Fortnite
    Call of Duty Modern Warfare crossplay will, indeed, see PC, PS4, and Xbox One take aim at one another. But players won't have to worry about mouse and keyboard being better than a controller. Read more

  • PlayStation CEO Talks Cross-Generational Play, More PS5 Details
    Jim Ryan shares several new details about the next-gen PlayStation, including crossplay and a few tech specs. Read more

  • Shenmue 3 Delayed Three Months for "Refinement"
    The long-awaited RPG now has a new release date to make room for what the creator and developer are calling refinements. Read more

  • Netflix Developing Magic: The Gathering Series
    Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo are overseeing the upcoming animated series. Read more

  • Google Stadia Presentation Reveals Stadia Pro, Dozens of Games
    Google Stadia's looking to launch with a healthy library and a subscription service. Read more

  • Listen to Almost Every Final Fantasy Soundtrack On Spotify and Apple Music
    Pining for almost every single FF soundtrack in one place? Apple and Spotify heard your cries and now host more than 100 hours worth of Final Fantasy music. Read more

  • Dragon Quest Walk Coming to Android and iOS
    Dragon Quest Walk implements Pokemon GO style gameplay with more traditional RPG elements for an experience that it seems only Japanese players will get to enjoy. Read more

  • Dragon Quest XII in Development, But Still a Ways Off
    Dragon Quest Walk looks great, but Dragon Quest XII being confirmed is pretty exciting. Read more

  • Malkavian Clan Steps Out of the Coffin in Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2
    The final clan included in the launch version of Vampire: Masquerade — Bloodlines 2 has been released. Read more

  • Microsoft Reveals Deals Unlocked for E3 Week, New XB1S Fortnite Bundle
    Microsoft enters the E3 sale fray with a brand-new special edition Xbox One S bundle and plenty of deals on games, gaming rigs, and more. Read more

  • Sony Opens Early Access for New PS4 Party Features
    Your PS4 Party is about to get a whole lot bigger (eventually), plus Sony's bringing some new accessibility features to its Party Chat system. Read more

  • June's Pokemon Direct Introduces Gen VIII Pokemon, Wild Area, Dynamaxing
    From new legendaries Zathian and Zamazenta, to the huge, open Wild Area, Raid Battles, the return of Gym battles, and more, today's Pokemon Direct was packed full of info. Read more

  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Creator Still Interested in Castlevania
    Koji Igarashi told Gematsu that he would be open to more Castlevania games in the future. Read more

  • New Darksiders Entry To Go Top Down, ARPG Route
    Focusing on Strife, the side entry Darksiders: Genesis moves away from the franchise's previous style to offer up a classic Diablo style. Read more

  • Set Sail On Your Table With Sea of Thieves Roleplaying Game
    Sea of Thieves is receiving a tabletop RPG version with a box set, or a PDF rules set for those who want to play now. Read more

  • ARK: Survival Evolved Mod Contest Roars to Life With $35,000 Prize Pool
    The fourth ARK Modding Contest has started with $35,000 in prizes up for grabs. Read more

  • Cuphead Coming to Tesla Vehicles After Deal Between Automaker and Studio MDHR
    The acclaimed cartoon run-and-gun game Cuphead will be coming to select Tesla vehicle models in the future through a partnership with Studio MDHR. Read more

  • Report Projects Video Games Industry to Hit $179 Billion By 2024
    The Global Video Game Market is forecasted to grow through 2024 with advancements in technology and product development. Read more

  • Intellivision Amico To Debut Behind Closed Doors at E3 2019
    Intellivision CEO Tommy Tallarico has announced in a newsletter that their upcoming Micro-console the Amico will debut behind closed doors at E3 2019. Read more

  • Latest Vambrace: Cold Soul Update Gives Players New Game+, More
    Update 1.06 brings character buffs and New Game+ to Vambrace: Cold Soul. Read more

  • Slime Rancher to Get Glitches — On Purpose
    Slime Rancher's next update introduces new slimes to catch, new gadgets, and first paid DLC. Read more

  • Long Lost Press Kit for Vib Ribbon Discovered by Online Artist "Ribbon Black"
    Online artist "Ribbon Black" has discovered a long-lost press kit release of the PS1 classic Vib Ribbon, unearthing a trove of previously unreleased information. Read more

  • THQ Nordic Announces SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated
    THQ Nordic has made real its promises to remake the licensed Nickelodeon game classic. Read more

  • Grandia HD Collection and Remaster Finally Coming Soon to Switch and PC
    The Grandia and Grandia II remakes are getting a release date in the near future, giving a new generation the chance to play these cult classic RPGs. Read more

  • Subnautica Below Zero Update Adds Double-O Spy Penglings, New Biomes, Teleportation
    Subnautica Below Zero's Spy Pengling Update expands the world of Planet 4546B. Read more

  • Playtonic Announces Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
    Playtonic's dynamic duo is coming back for more in a brand-new Yooka-Laylee sequel that isn't afraid to shake the formula up a bit. Read more

  • Pathologic 2's Difficulty Sliders Arrive — And They Work Both Ways
    Don't want to constantly manage your hunger and thirst, or prefer an even more unforgiving experience? Thanks to the difficulty sliders, you can now play this game any way you please! Read more

  • Vambrace: Cold Soul Original Soundtrack Now Available
    Jam out to the tunes of Delearch and Icenaire while on the go. Read more

  • Fallout 76 To See Major Combat Changes Later This Month
    Major overhauls are due later this month to drastically change the speed and flow of combat in Fallout 76. Read more

  • Atlus Repeats Persona 5: Royal Isn't Coming to the Switch — Yet
    Persona 5: Royal isn't coming to the Switch, says Atlus one more time. Only this time, it's in an official FAQ — an FAQ that also continues to offer hope it might come to the Switch after all. Read more


  • Cooking Simulator Review: Good Eats
    The simple fact that Cooking Simulator does what it says on the label makes it a must-have for anyone who loves cooking as much as they love gaming. Read more

  • GameSir GM300 Mouse Review: Surprisingly Good & Customizable
    The GM300 is a customizable ambidextrous mouse that might be budget, but it sure as hell isn't cheap. Read more

  • HyperX Cloud Stinger Wireless Review: A Solid Wireless Offering
    The Cloud Stinger Wireless might be twice as much as the wired model, but it's one of the best wireless gaming headsets under $100. Read more

  • Trover Saves the Universe PC Review: A Veritable Riot in VR
    A surprisingly entertaining platformer smothered in Roiland-brand humor. Trover Save the Universe is a title well worth playing whether you have a VR headset or not. Read more

  • Hyperkin Looks to Fill the N64 Mini Void with New Retron Console
    It's looking like the N64 mini won't be a thing after all, but Hyperkin is stepping up to fill that gap with a new N64 emulator console. Read more.


  • Barotrauma Impressions: Unique Roleplaying in An Unforgiving Ocean
    Barotrauma has its issues, but you'll be hard-pressed to find another multiplayer roleplaying game as tense and engaging. Read more

  • MtG: 15 Best Modern Horizons Cards for Limited
    Get your drafting to the next level during the Modern Horizons limited events with the help of these 15 best cards from the newest MtG set. Read more

  • MtG: 15 Most Expensive Modern Horizons Cards
    Feel the need to invest into Modern Horizons singles? Here is a list of the 15 most promising MtG cards from the newest Modern set. Read more

  • Code Vein Network Test Impressions: Does It Suck?
    The Network Test for Code Vein has revealed a bit more about the game. Is it worth staking your life on, or is it like getting blood from a stone? Read more.  

  • 5 Things Shantae 5 Needs to Push the Series Forward
    With Shantae 5 officially on the horizon, and hype for the series gradually growing, let's list off a few things that fans may want to see in the newest installment. Read more


  • Dauntless Guide: How to Get Light's Virtue
    Learn how to obtain Light's Virtue by hunting Rezakiri in Dauntless, as well as which utility cells to use with it. Read more

  • How to Get the Godhand Exotic War Pike in Dauntless
    Looking for a way to craft the Godhand? Here is a complete list of all reagents required for the Rezakiri weapon in Dauntless. Read more

  • How to Stagger Behemoths in Dauntless
    While other weapons in Dauntless can inflict stagger damage, the hammer is your best friend. Read more

  • Warhammer Chaosbane Blessing Guide: How Gem Combinations Work
    Not quite sure what all those different colored gems do or how to link them together? We walk you through every stop of the Chaosbane blessing mechanic! Read more

  • Warhammer Chaosbane Build Guide — Konrad Vollen Chaos 5 Viable Build
    Not quite sure how to build the imperial soldier to take on bosses in the hardest difficulty levels? We show you two Chaos 5 viable builds focused on area fire attacks or ranged damage! Read more

  • How to Make Smooth Stone in Minecraft
    How to get Smooth Stone to get your Blast Furnace up and running! Read more

  • How to Tame and Breed Cats in Minecraft
    How to tame and breed cats in Minecraft. Fill those villages, adventurers! Read more

  • How to Find Treasure Chests in Minecraft
    Here are all possible locations in Minecraft that generate treasure chests with loot. Read more

  • How to Tame Gargoyle in PixARK
    Having trouble taming Gargoyle in PixARK? Here's a simple step-by-step guide to help you out. Read more

Check back next weekend for another roundup of news, reviews, guides, and features. 

June's Pokemon Direct Introduces Gen VIII Pokemon, Wild Area, Dynamaxing Wed, 05 Jun 2019 10:14:28 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Today's Pokemon Direct revealed a lot of new information about the upcoming Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, from new areas of the Galar region to completely new battle mechanics.

While we previously looked at the six reasons you should be excited for the games, these new revelations double down on that sentiment. 

Along with the information below, one major piece was revealed by the Direct: Sword and Shield will release worldwide on November 15. Currently, a double pack is up for pre-order as well.

Native Galar Pokemon and Legendaries

The new trailer revealed a host of new Pokemon, which then received a short introduction from the games' creative designer.

The first is Wooloo, a sheep Pokemon prized for its wool by weavers in certain areas of the Galar region. Its wool is used to create popular goods in the region, and it's a normal type.

Next is Gossifleur, a grass type flower Pokemon. Its pollen is said to have healing properties, and it evolves into Eldegoss, another grass type whose seeds promote growth and revitalization.

Dreadnaw is the giant blue 'mon shown off, the water-rock "bite Pokemon." It's supposed to be vicious and difficult to train. In keeping with that theme, its favorite habits are apparently gnawing off chunks of rock and iron.

Finally is the taxi Pokemon Corviknight. It's a giant corvid-type bird (flying and steel type) that takes the place of Fly in Sword and Shield. Corviknight ferries the player back and forth to any town they've already visited in the game, which suggests Gen VIII will continue the tradition of having no HMs.

There are many more new Galar-specific Pokemon that have yet to be revealed, though players can look forward to returning 'mon from previous generations as well, including Growlithe, Axew, and Inkay.

There was a special video at the end of the presentation introducing the Galar region's legendary Pokemon as well: Zathian and Zamazenta. These are the creatures featured on the mock-up box art and the official box art.

Both resemble wolves, and the titular sword and shield seem to be built into them. The teaser shows the two about to fight before another power distracts them, so it's possible Gen VIII will feature a special third legendary Pokemon a well, like Necrozma and Rayquaza in previous generations.


Gen VIII is doing away with Mega Evolutions in favor of Dynamaxing. This new feature is a phenomenon unique to the Galar region, where affected Pokemon become massive, gaining increases in their stats and seeing their entire move set change to Max Moves as well. Dynamaxing can take place once per battle, but it only lasts for three turns.

The Wild Area

The Pokemon Company showed off a major new feature in the form of a special area in the game: The Wild Area. This is a huge environment stretching between major cities in the region and is essentially Pokemon's first open world-styled area. It features a freely movable camera, which can add an even greater sense of depth and scale, along with plenty of secrets to uncover, including hidden items.

The Wild Area is home to a wide range of wild Pokemon as well, but which Pokemon players encounter depends on where they are in the Area and what the weather is like.

It's worth noting the trailer shows wild roaming Pokemon in a variety of locations, and it isn't restricted to the Wild Area. The Pokemon Company confirmed players will see the Pokemon walking, swimming, and even hiding on the overworld map.

The Wild Area is also home to yet another new feature: Max Raid Battles. These battles borrow from Pokemon GO and pit up four trainers against a Dynamaxed version of a specific Pokemon. One of the trainers can Dynamax their own Pokemon to make the fight easier, though the opponent remains in Dynamaxed form for the entire encounter.

Max Raid Battles can take place over local wireless or a global wireless connection, meaning players can hook up with friends and trainers from around the world. However, multiplayer isn't required to participate in Max Raid Battles. If three other trainers aren't around, the game provides three support trainers to fill those spots.

Who's Who: The Galar Edition

We've got a better idea about some of the region's important characters, too. The usual plot setup makes its return: the player is off on a journey to become the best trainer in the region. That means they'll have to challenge the reigning Champion, Leon.

Leon is basically the equivalent to a mega-popular footballer (soccer player), sporting a football uniform and inspiring a huge following throughout the region. The one Pokemon shown off from his team is Charizard, which will presumably get the Dynamax treatment as well.

Leon's younger brother Hop serves as the player's rival, and like Hau before him, he chooses the Pokemon the player's starter is strong against (Sobble to the player's Grookey, for example).

Milo is the grass type Gym Leader, and it appears he'll come into battle with at least five Pokemon if the Pokeballs on his pants are anything to go by.

Details remain scarce about how many Gym Leaders there are, but the Pokemon Company did say all Gym Leaders will have at least one Dynamax Pokemon on their team. Which Pokemon can get the Dynamax treatment still isn't certain, though it does seem like quite a few are eligible, including starters, Raichu, Clefable, and Gyrados.

Big fights like the battle against Leon and the Gym Leaders take place in stadiums and are a key part of Galar culture; basically, they're like major football games.

One feature mentioned is that Dynamaxing increases the audience's energy level. Whether that has any bearing on the match's outcome isn't clear, though.

Finally, on the character front, we were introduced to Professor Magnolia and her granddaughter Sonia. Professor Magnolia as the Galar region's professor, studying the Dynamax phenomenon alongside Sonia, who acts as her research assistant.

Well, almost finally. Rotom makes its return as a major character in the form of the Rotom Phone. The Pokedex is included in the Rotom Phone, but the phone can also be used for various other things, like making a bike go faster or helping it travel over water.

While we wait for even more information to be released, be sure to head over to our Sword and Shield pages for more on the upcoming Pokemon games. 

Long Lost Press Kit for Vib Ribbon Discovered by Online Artist "Ribbon Black" Wed, 05 Jun 2019 09:47:57 -0400 Greyson Ditzler

Online artist "Ribbon Black" has released to the public a fascinating find for any fans of the PS1 rhythm game classic Vib Ribbon; a press release copy of the game filled with previously unreleased information and data on the game.

Some of the more interesting information discovered in the press kit is an interview with and photos of the game's director Masaya Matsura, several unused key art images (one shown below), and even unused music found on a disc titled, DJ Cam Loa Project Meets Vib Ribbon

The disc mainly consists of a variety of different music by artist DJ Cam spanning multiple genres, but the standout is a track that seems to be an unused level track from Vib Ribbon itself.

Ribbon Black was unable to find the track anywhere else on the internet and has uploaded the track to Soundcloud for all to hear. The track is six minutes long and spans multiple genres, fitting in well with the rest of bizarre yet catchy soundtrack of Vib Ribbon. 

One of the previously unused key art images found in the press kit.

Ribbon Black has been kind enough to not only summarize a great deal of the more interesting information from the discovery in a blog post that you can read here to see everything else, and has also released the full contents of the press kit for others to play around with via dropbox.

Vib Ribbon is available now for PS3 and PlayStation Vita, and you can follow Ribbon Black on Twitter.

GameSkinny Weekend Download: New Call of Duty, Death Stranding, Dauntless, and More Sat, 01 Jun 2019 11:07:17 -0400 GS_Staff

Weekend Download is back, and this week we have a ton of reviews, some brand-new guides, and a lot of news. 

From the next Call of Duty to PSVR, Dauntless and Pokemon, Death Stranding, Super Smash, PixARK, and more, we've rounded up everything we've published in the past week. 

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy. It's the weekend. What else are you gonna' do? Play video games? 


  • Call of Duty Modern Warfare Revealed, Releases in October
    This year's Call of Duty will be a soft reboot of the series, and it will feature crossplay at launch. Read more

  • Call of Duty Modern Warfare Won't Have Zombies, Will Have "Realistic Feeling World"
    Leaning more on realism, Activision confirms that Modern Warfare won't have Zombies Mode. Read more

  • Death Stranding Releasing November 8, Pre-order and Edition Bonuses Revealed
    The more we see of Death Stranding, the more intriguing it gets. Release date, pre-order bonuses, and editions announced. Read more

  • Cadence of Hyrule Might Launch on the Switch Very Soon
    Cadence of Hyrule doesn't have much time left in May if it's going to stick to its rumored May release date. Could this week be the one? Read more

  • Dauntless Surges Past 6 Million Players In Less Than A Week
    The new co-op RPG passed a significant milestone and more than doubled its player base, thanks in large part to cross-platform play. Read more

  • Pokemon Press Conference and Pokemon Direct Announced
    Pokemon Press Conference announces for tomorrow, and Pokemon Sword and Shield Direct scheduled for June 5. Read more

  • Pokemon Press Conference Reveals New Games, Hardware, and More On The Way
    From a Detective Pikachu sequel to a new line of professional clothing and more, there's a lot of Pokemon on the way in the coming year. Read more

  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Might Get the Labo VR Treatment Soon
    The same source suggests new Amiibo functionality could be coming to the game as well, giving the pint-sized fighters something to do other than sitting on your shelf. Read more

  • Labo VR Support Added to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate — But It's Limited
    Smash Bros. Ultimate does, indeed, have VR, added with its latest update. Here's how it works and what stages are compatible with it. Read more

  • Days of Play Returns in June With Special Edition PS4, Discounted Games
    2019's Days of Play offers a limited edition PS4 system and plenty of discounts to jazz up the month of June. Read more

  • Xbox Game Pass Coming to PC, Separate from XB1 Version
    Xbox's Phil Spencer also shared some details about working to bring Xbox Game Studio titles to other storefronts in the future. Read more

  • Mordhau Sells 60,000 Copies In One Day
    Mordhau quickly smashes into the top-selling games on Steam just one day after launch. Read more

  • New PSVR to Launch After PlayStation 5
    The PS5 won't launch directly with a new VR headset, but the second gen of PSVR is currently well into development. Read more

  • Overwatch Anniversary Brings Skins, New Features to the Arena
    Overwatch's third anniversary brings a plethora of new content to the game. Read more

  • Pathologic 2 To Add Difficulty Slider In New Update
    A difficulty slider is slated to arrive in an impending Pathologic 2 patch to broaden the appeal toward a larger player base. Read more

  • Roguelike Vambrace: Cold Soul Available Now
    Rougelike game Vambrace: Cold Soul launches on Steam and Goof Old Games. Read more

  • The Elder Scrolls Heads to Tables Everywhere with Call to Arms
    The Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms brings the franchise to the table. Read more

  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses Preview Covers Plot, Provides New Details
    From a corrupt church to a casual meal between friends, Fire Emblem: Three Houses will provide a boatload of content while still remaining true to its FE roots. Read more

  • Vambrace: Cold Soul's First Update Reduces Difficulty
    The first update for Vambrace: Cold Soul is live, bringing various changes to the game. Read more

  • Rocket League and Mortal Kombat 11 Join the Summer Arena Clash
    Rocket League and Mortal Kombat 11 are added into the lineup for Arena Clash Summer 2019 by Belong Gaming Arenas. Read more

  • At Last, Digimon Survive Gets New Info in Game Dev Diary
    Digimon Survive's producers open up about the game's place in the franchise and some key features player can expect when it launches...whenever that may be. Read more


  • American Fugitive Review: Life on the Lam
    American Fugitive is a love letter to the original Grand Theft Auto games. Can this throwback steal our hearts? Find out here. Read more

  • Vambrace Cold Soul Review: What If Darkest Dungeon Was Harder And A JRPG?
    If you don't mind being actively abused and tortured for hours on end, Vambrace can become extremely addicting for fans of either Darkest Dungeon or classic SNES RPGs. Read more

  • Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland Review — Cozy Crafting
    It's more of the same Atelier, but it also takes the best from its predecessors to synthesize a fun and customizable adventure. Read more

  • Draugen Review: Draggin' Through a Beautiful World
    Draugen begins as a fascinating narrative-adventure game set in a gorgeous world. It's a shame that it struggles to maintain its momentum. Read more

  • Pixark Guide: Leveling Tips and Tricks
    Here are all the tips and tricks that you will ever need to level up really fast from Level 1 to 80 in PixARK. Read more

  • Blood & Truth Review — Live An Action Crime Drama In VR
    Blood & Truth is the full action blockbuster experience, with a few limitations to keep in mind. Read more

  • Lapis X Labyrinth Review: Fevered Tedium
    Lapis X Labyrinth has a lot of flash that just gobbles away any substance it might have had. Read more

  • Team Sonic Racing Review: Really, You Gotta Go Fast
    Team Sonic Racing is closer to a 3D Sonic game to a kart racer, and I love it. Sonic Heroes Racing, anyone? Read more

  • PixARK Review: What if Minecraft and ARK Had a Baby
    PixARK is a gorgeous-looking game that mainly caters to casual players that are already familiar with Minecraft and ARK: Survival Evolved. Read more

  • Void Bastards Review: Rewarding Wit and Experimentation
    Void Bastards is a roguelite shooter that encourages experimentation and smart thinking in outer space, and it mostly works to great effect. Read more

  • Five Nights at Freddy's VR: Help Wanted — FNAF Meets Playroom VR
    The jump scares are more visceral in VR, and you get some nifty new mini games, although all the same weaknesses from the main series are still here with Help Wanted. Read more

  • Warhammer Chaosbane Review - Slaughtering Chaos Cults For Fun And Profit
    While there are some noticeable limitations compared to other games in the genre, Chaosbane is a worthy addition to the ARPG realm for Warhammer fans. Read more

  • SpellForce 3: Soul Harvest Review — Galaxy Brain
    Packed with content, SpellForce 3: Soul Harvest is a must-play RPG-RTS hybrid... if you don't mind multitasking. Read more

  • GameSir GK300 Keyboard Review: Solid Choice That's Missing a Few Parts
    While it might not have everything we'd expect in a modern gaming-first keyboard, GameSir's GK300 is a surprisingly worthwhile choice, especially at the price. Read more


  • Let The ARPG Wars Begin: Warhammer Chaosbane vs. Other ARPGs
    While the broad strokes are familiar, Chaosbane diverges sharply from the standard ARPG in several ways, from skill choices to character customization. Read more

  • The Top 20 Minecraft 1.14.2 Seeds for June 2019
    In this month's selection of top Minecraft seeds, you'll be dealing with some unusual settlements and well-hidden pillager posts. Read more

  • Free RPG Day 2019 Guide: What to Get and Where to Get It
    New products will up for grabs totally free this June for Pathfinder, the Witcher RPG, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Modern Age, Kids On Bikes, and many more! Read more

  • Why Stardew Valley is King of the Farming Games
    If you're looking for the best farming game out there right now, there are certainly a lot to choose from and several top contenders. The one that stands above them all, though, is Stardew Valley, and here's why. Read more


  • Dauntless Orb Farming Guide
    In this guide you will learn how to farm orbs from the perspectives of both beginner and advanced players in Dauntless. Read more

  • Dauntless All Scales Farming Guide
    Here is a complete list of all behemoth scales in Dauntless, and methods describing on how to farm them effectively. Read more

  • Dauntless Ostian Repeaters Build Guide
    You've crafted the Ostian Repeaters, but what's next? Here's a quick look at some builds to aim for. Read more

  • Dauntless Guide: How to Use Ostian Repeaters for Maximum Damage
    The Ostian Repeaters get a lot of unfair criticism because they aren't as simple as they seem. Make sure you're dealing maximum damage and helping your team with this handy guide. Read more

  • Vambrace: Cold Soul Guide To Not Dying
    Can't seem to make it past the first few maps of this devastatingly hard RPG? We show you the best way to put together a part, navigate rooms, and use healing skills to survive! Read more

  • PixARK Farming Guide: Growing, Irrigating, and Harvesting
    Can't figure out how farming works in PixARK? Here's a simple step-by-step guide that will show you how to grow, irrigate, and harvest your crops. Read more

  • Splitgate: Advanced Warfare Weapons Tier List
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Check back next weekend for another roundup of news, reviews, guides, and features. 

Free RPG Day 2019 Guide: What to Get and Where to Get It Fri, 31 May 2019 14:00:02 -0400 Ty Arthur

Want to see what's new in the world of tabletop gaming without spend and arm and a leg on a bunch of hard cover books? Free RPG Day is coming soon, and it can serve as a springboard to radically expand your gaming group's normal lineup of systems.

While it won't affect the lineup for this year, there are changes coming to the annual gaming celebration as Free RPG Day was officially acquired by Gaming Days LLC recently.

While we wait on what news that acquisition brings, for now we can ooh and aah at all the free gaming goodies that have been announced for the 2019 iteration, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 15th at your local game shop.

Can't make it to a local store to pick these up, or not interested in the lineup included below? There are plenty of epic free modules for D&D, Pathfinder, and every other pen and paper RPG system out there available for download any day of the year. Check out our best roundups here:

Free RPG Day 2019 Publishers

Not sure where to go to grab these books and dice? Find your closest Free RPG Day participating retailer by heading over here.

Make sure you know what you want to grab ahead of time, as each store gets a limited number of copies of each product, so its best to have a plan of attack before you enter the doors!

All the other names you'd expect from previous years make an appearance here in 2019, sans Lamentations Of The Flame Princess, which some may find understandable.

Don't forget that while these products are free for you, each store has to pay for the Free RPG Day box, so make sure to show some support and consider picking up something else from your local game store!



We'll start off with the big dog in the race. While Pathfinder 2nd edition has divided the fan base, its safe to say Paizo is still among the top tier of RPG publishers at this point.

Of course Paizo has another We Be Goblins entry this year, and if I'm going to be honest, its starting to feel like this series has run its course. Those first couple of modules were a breath of fresh air that allowed roleplaying groups to let loose and play insane singing goblins for one-off sessions, but it seems like the quality of the series has gone downhill with subsequent iterations and the joke has pretty well played out at this point. Maybe We Be Heroes will revive the franchise?

In addition to the adventure module, Paizo is dropping an 8 page storybook with goblin characters for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game this year. 

If you aren't keen on making yet another goblin song and getting messily devoured by anything bigger than you, there will also be a new Starfinder entry for Paizo's sci-fi spin off.

R. Talsorian Games

After Paizo, this is probably what RPG fans are most looking forward to checking out for Free RPG Day 2019 -- quick start rules for a Witcher RPG!

If you want to jump into the Interlock system used to power The Witcher in tabletop mode, this 24 page book gives you a simplified version of the rules to get start.

This is from the same company making the Cyberpunk Red tabletop RPG (and yes, its connected to the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 that will be released at some point between now and the year the earth plunges into the sun).

Green Ronin

If you haven't tried out the Adventure Game Engine (AGE) rules yet, Green Ronin is offering up a quick start guide for the Modern Age system, which as the name implies is the modern day offshoot of the fantasy version.

Since there aren't that  many publishers focusing on modern day games lately, this is a great one to pick up if you want to expand your gaming group's horizons past the typical fantasy, sci-fi, and horror.

Goodman Games


That Dungeon Crawl Classics cover on the left may look awfully familiar, and that's because this two-sided product contains the quick start rules from last year (although with an updated spell list) on the front.

If you flip it over, the opposite side is a brand new adventure for level 1 characters titled Geas of the Star-ChonsIf you've already got the quick start rules, that's really the only reason to grab this one, since the half the book will be nearly identical to what Goodman Games released in 2018.

Renegade Game Studios


Following last year's look at the groundbreaking and non-traditional Overlight, for 2019 Renegade is radically shifting gears with two entries.

Want to roleplay in the grim future where the undead have overrun humanity? The quick start intro rules for survival horror game Outbreak Undead will help you decide if you want to pick up the full rule books.

On the total opposite end of the gaming spectrum, there's also a new free adventure for Kids On Bikes, which is exactly what it sounds like as kids from small towns go on big adventures.

Khepera Publishing

Not a fan of the normal D20-based systems? Khepera has a D6 rule set that serves as spiritual successor to those iconic West End Game titles from decades past. There will only be 5 of these quick start rule books sent to each store however, so grab it quick if you see one still out on the table!

Pelgrane Press

Pelgrane has a double product this year, but sadly there will only be 3 per box sent to stores, so its unlikely you'll be able to grab one unless you are the first person in the store.

The first half is a tale for the 13th Age fantasy system, while the second will appeal to the horror fans.

That half includes a story for the company's newer King In Yellow RPG based on the famous Robert Chambers mythos character (who hit the public consciousness pretty widely back in 2014 with that first season of True Detective). 

King In Yellow uses an updated version of the GUMSHOE rules, so if you played Trail Of Cthulhu, you already know the basics.

Seven Thebes

Prefer historical settings over high fantasy universes? Land Of Myth features only human characters in ancient Greece, and while it does include a host of gods and magic abilities, it tends to focus more on characters than fantasy powers. Best of all? It's meant to be fifth edition compatible, so your group can jump right in.

Slugfest Games

While I haven't kept up with the latest expansions, Red Dragon Inn remains one of my favorite board games, and its a hell of a good time even when drinking with a group of people who don't normally play RPGs.

Slugfest is offering up a new card to add to the pile this year, but unfortunately there will only be ONE of these cards sent per store, so don't expect to be able to grab it.


The ever-reliable Q-Workshop is including 15 sets of these black and silver Starfinder themed dice per store. I'd expect them to get snatched up quick, so you'll want to show up early if you plan on getting your own set!

Aside from what was covered above, there will of course also be the annual t-shirt and Chessex Free RPG Day branded dice, but the quantities are extremely limited and will probably be taken by the store owners (and hey, they earned 'em by buying the box).

What are you most excited about grabbing this year, and which products are you going to avoid? Sound off in the comments below, and see you at the game store on June 15th!

Rocket League and Mortal Kombat 11 Join the Summer Arena Clash Fri, 31 May 2019 10:22:28 -0400 Glitchieetv

Sign-ups are now open for Belong Gaming Arena's Summer Arena Clash. Qualifiers started earlier this week.

Belong Gaming Arena's tri-annual tournament allows players to experience the world of eSports as casuals or pros. Added to the fray of competitive games for this summer's lineup are Rocket League and Mortal Kombat 11. Staple games still being featured are League of Legends, Overwatch, and FIFA 19.

Each of the games has its own qualifier dates, so check out Belong Gaming Arena's site for specific dates and times.

Taking place over several weeks, teams comprised of players from specific regions, known as tribes, will compete throughout the U.K.

Those interested can search for their local tribe to find like-minded teammates or other groups to join. Those who make it to the finals will play on stage in front of a live audience for the 2019 Championship Title. Not only that, hardware, peripherals, reward points, and merchandise are all on the line.

The competition culminates with the finals being played at Insomnia65, the U.K.'s biggest gaming festival. This year, Insomnia65 will be held during the August Bank Holiday at NEC Birmingham in Birmingham, England. With the U.K. Masters tournament, tabletop gaming, and cosplay masquerade, Insomnia65 has a little bit of everything for those in the gaming community.

For those that are interested in casting games, Belong Gaming Arena is looking for a color caster for League of Legends and Rocket League matches. Those looking to cast League of Legends should mark off Thursday's as their studio day and prepare to head to Insomnia65 to cast the finals live on stage. Hopeful Rocket League casters will be in the studio for the Rocket League Arena games.

Whether competing, casting, or enjoying the show, the inclusion of Mortal Kombat 11 and Rocket League brings new action to the Arena Clash. 

Let The ARPG Wars Begin: Warhammer Chaosbane vs. Other ARPGs Mon, 27 May 2019 07:00:01 -0400 Ty Arthur

2019 is a very odd year for the ARPG fan base, with one major franchise apparently wrapping up and several huge name titles set to arrive to something significantly less than triumphant fanfare.

Grim Dawn just released what may be the game's final DLC (I'm not crying -- you're crying!) while Diablo Immortal is going mobile and Torchlight Frontiers looks like it may be a free to play MMO.

Amid those... questionable... design decisions, hardcore ARPG fans are probably wondering where to get their fix of new content coming soon, and the answer is very likely in the chaos of the Old World. 

  All I can think whenever I hear the words "Diablo" and "mobile" together 

An Unlikely Hero... Games Workshop?!?

Only a few weeks from launch, Warhammer: Chaosbane had the distinct possibility of ending up an absolute disaster, like many Games Workshop titles to come before.

You don't have to reach far back into history to see where the Warhammer license has gone wrong. Previous ARPG Inquisitor Martyr was an absolute flop, Wrath & Glory just got yanked from Ulisses and handed off to Cubicle 7, while Space Hulk: Deathwing had to come out with a fully revamped enhanced edition... which still sits at "mixed" reviews.

Just by looking at the previous release history, Chaosbane seems like a notable departure for Eko Software, which is an established developer with a long track record, but the company isn't exactly known for big AAA titles. Eko was responsible for How To Survive: Storm Warning and a whole bunch of French PS2 and 3DS titles from Woody Woodpecker to Best Of Board Games.

In other words, this isn't a developer with a history involving anything remotely like a Diablo style action RPG, and Chaosbane easily could have been another in a long line of Warhammer game corpses left on the wayside. 

How Chaosbane Stacks Up Against The Competition

Thankfully, that hasn't turned out to be the case for a multitude of reasons, but we'll start with a big one that will have console players leaping off the La-Z-Boy for joy. There is in fact local 4 player couch co-op available on the console versions!

Yep, you get to team up with your buddies directly next to each other and slaughter hordes of nurglings, beast men, and all manner of foul chaos beasts by the thousands.

That's fabulous news for those who don't like the impersonal nature (and constant abuse from 12 year olds) inherent to online matches, but there are other ways Chaosbane breaks from the ARPG pack, and some of them are less welcome.

Chaosbane Class Options

 Classes cover the classic wizard, archer, tank, and frenzied barbarian.

Here's the big one: there are only four classes, which obviously is a major limitation compared either to the seven classes from Path Of Exile and Diablo III or the 36 possible combinations with the dual mastery symbol of Grim Dawn.

Those four classes -- the classic dwarf slayer, wood elf archer, high elf mage, and empire soldier -- are incredibly distinct from one another however, both in overall direction but also in special ability.

Everyone has a role to play. Whether manually moving a protective dome spell to cover a friend as the mage, using the grappling hook to re-position yourself as the dwarf, dodge rolling as the elf, or using a shield bash for stunning with the soldier.

How you use skills and the means to regenerate energy as any of those four classes are where Chaosbane diverges strongly from most other ARPGs. Instead of mana potions, you need to be constantly attacking to recover to energy, which leads to some truly frenzied combat (particularly for the dwarf slayer, who is stronger the longer he fights and more injured he becomes).

Aside from the typical click spamming to cleave through enemies, you'll need to make effective use of area effect banners and magic domes for maximizing your combat bonuses or damage prevention against overwhelming numbers.

Skill Options: There Are More Than You Think

Aside from the main class ability differences and energy regeneration mechanics, the one huge element you'll immediately notice is how you can respec your character on the fly at any time, and I have to wonder if that's going to be the future of the genre.

At first the skill tree seems overly simplistic and straightforward. You don't choose most of the skills to take as you level -- with only a few exceptions, they just automatically unlock in a specific order. However, you can only have a limited number active at any one time, with more powerful skills costing more points to utilize. 

Since you can change what skills are equipped at any point -- even in the middle of battle -- that effectively means you get to try any build anytime you want without having to start over and make a new character. 

The customization options don't end there, however, as near the end of the first Act you unlock the extra God skill tree, which is separate from class skills and basically functions like the constellation devotion path from Grim Dawn. That's where you really tweak your character and make your own choices so your dwarf slayer will be different from your friend's dwarf slayer.

Finding a skill combination and God tree path that works for your build is crucial, because the game's higher difficulties aren't messing around. Even if you think you can clear Ultimate in Grim Dawn without any problem, you'll get annihilated by the higher difficulty tiers in Chaosbane without a whole lot of grind for leveling and better equipment.

All Aboard The Loot Train

If there's one element tying all the various ARPGs together, its the endless stream of loot as you try to find the best equipment combos. That's another area where Chaosbane is noticeably different from the competition, in both good ways and bad ways.

Thankfully, the very clunky equipment UI we saw from the first beta got a major overhaul in the second beta, so now its more inline with what ARPG players would expect. In an interesting twist, you don't really sell unnecessary equipment for money, but rather for influence to unlock extra skills.

So what about the equipment that you do keep? This is the less than ideal part. Much of the gear looks the same and has similar naming schemes, so there's less visual customization than other games in this same style.

That's bad news for co-op when two players are using the same class, and its particularly noticeable on the dwarf slayer, who has to stick to the lore of going into combat unarmored while seeking death.

 These are the exact same Grim Dawn character with different equipment -- you can't get close to this level of customization in Chaosbane.

Sadly, that problem is exacerbated by the lack of gender diversity, as you can't pick whether the character model is male or female. That may be fitting with the themes of Warhammer, but it sill feels lacking in a modern title where people are used to picking those sort of options.

The Future Road Map For Chaosbane Content

One way we can't compare Chaosbane to other entries yet is on how much new content is coming down the pipe and how frequently it will arrive. Those questions will directly determine if the community stays alive, or if this is something that people will re-install from time to time to play single player when the urge strikes.

At the moment, we know there's at least one DLC that will add a new zone and alternate God skill trees for each character, but its very up in the air as to whether we'll see constant ongoing development like with Grim Dawn or Titan Quest that are still getting updates years later. 

The interesting part about that planned DLC is that the new zone isn't about fighting chaos at all (despite the game's name), which means we're probably going to see skaven, green skins, or vampire counts.

Aside from the big question mark of the DLC, we do know the game will get Expedition Mode after launch as part of a series of end game updates.

Expedition mode will let you play randomly generated maps to earn fragments for upgrading equipment, and that will significantly increase the longevity, calling to mind the Shattered Realms or Crucible sections of Grim Dawn.

Whether it dethrones Path Of Exile and Grim Dawn to become the king of the current ARPGs or ends up just another blip on the genre's radar, Warhammer: Chaosbane is due to drop June 4th, 2019 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Will you be picking it up, and what class are you planning on playing?

Shadow of the Colossus Receives Heavy Metal Tribute Wed, 22 May 2019 10:13:46 -0400 Glitchieetv

Shadow of the Colossus was first released in North America in 2006. The game was touted as an important example of video games as art. Cited as one of the greatest video games of all time, it is often brought up in discussions concerning emotional perspectives and artistic elements in video games.

With a sprawling original soundtrack composed by Kow Otani, the player only hears the sweet orchestral melodies when fighting colossi or during cut scenes. The rest of the time is spent listening to the main character's movements, his horse's hooves, and the ambiance of the world around him, which is all part of the pressing solitude. 

During battles with the Colossi is where the game's music really delights. Heavy beats harken the battle when first seeing the towering creatures players set out to battle. The score changes to one of triumph as players climb up their bodies, finding their weak points to exploit. The music is as much a part of the game as the Colossi themselves.

Feeling the notes deep in his soul, Ferdk, a musician from Buenos Aires, Argentina, has given Otani's original soundtrack a heavy metal makeover titled Battle with the Colossus. Ferdk composes symphonic metal, where he combines gritty guitar work with heavy orchestration, often gaining inspiration from video game soundtracks. A Youtube Creator, he has amassed over a million views for his takes on Persona 5, Final Fantasy X, and more.

Ferdk delighted in an opportunity to pay homage to one of his all-time favorite games, saying in a press release:

The soundtrack to this game is almost like a character of its own. It defines the experience just as much as the art direction and gameplay. It's truly a masterpiece of a game and one of my all-time favorites, so I'm pleased to be able to release my tribute to the game and its soundtrack.

Battle with the Colossus features 11 tracks reimagining the game's adventure through the Forbidden Lands. It has been released on all platforms through Materia Collective, a video game music publisher based out of Seattle. 

Charge Over to Kickstarter to Help Rescue Unicorns Tue, 21 May 2019 11:49:39 -0400 Glitchieetv

Adam Gidwitz and Jesse Casey, the co-creators of the Unicorn Rescue Society comedy action-adventure books, currently have a Kickstarter project going for his upcoming game: Unicorn Rescue Society: The Card Game. As of this writing, over halfway to its $10,000-goal has been reached. The game is being developed by Gidwitz and his longtime friend Jesse Casey.

For ages 5+ and 2-8 players, the objective is to return as many mythical creatures back to their homes as players can. Players earn the most points for finding the rarest of creatures and bringing them back to their habitat.

Games typically run for about 10 minutes, making it perfect for family game night or a quick time killer.

There are three main card types used to play. Creature cards, Habitate cards, and Secret Mission cards. 

Creature cards depict where each creature comes from and some of their other characteristics. Habitat cards depict where the creatures live, including some special habitat's which are a combo of two types. Secret mission cards are accepted at the beginning of the game and help pinpoint which creatures are in need of aid.

If players complete a secret mission before the end of the game, they can earn bonus points. It's game over when a player runs out of cards. 

If that sounds interesting, head on over to the game's Kickstarter page to learn more. The Kickstarter is live until June 6; it is an all or nothing campaign. As a bonus, some tiers include the Unicorn Rescue Society books. According to the Kickstarter's current plan, pledge rewards would ship sometime this October. 

A Newbery Honoree, Gidwitz wanted to develop a game for kids to enjoy based on his experiences as a teacher in a 2nd-grade classroom. Children would gather around, excitement buzzing in the air as Uno cards were slapped on a table. Drawing from his books, Gidwitz and Casey created The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Card Game

GameSkinny Weekend Download: Sony Partners With Microsoft, Plus Rage 2, Super Mario Maker, More Sat, 18 May 2019 09:00:01 -0400 GS_Staff

We skipped last week, but GameSkinny's Weekend Download is back.

This week we have Sony partnering with Microsoft, PUBG getting slapped with restrictive modes, and Nintendo dropping way too much news on Super Mario Maker 2.

Outside of that, World of Warcraft Classic finally got a release date, news games were announced for the Genesis Mini, three big digital storefronts have three big sales going on. We also spoke to Asobo Studios about A Plague Tale: Innocence, reviewed Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, and wrote way too many guides on new and old games alike. 

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy. It's the weekend. What else are you gonna' do? Play video games? 


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    Not sure which mastery combo to pick or how to navigate the devotion system? We can show you exactly how to get into this grimdark fantasy ARPG and annihilate your enemies! Read more

  • Another Eden Black Pearl Farming Guide
    Can't seem to find any of the new black pearls? You'll need to look in out of the way places in the Dragon Palace to start farming them and earn your rewards! Read more

Check back next weekend for another roundup of news, reviews, guides, and features. 

Super Mario Maker 2 Direct Reveals New Modes, New Parts, and So Much More Wed, 15 May 2019 20:28:56 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Today's Super Mario Maker 2 Direct revealed a truckload of new information about the upcoming game. Let's dive right into it, starting with the game's style, marked by a new twist. 

SMM2 will have the same styles as the other two games: Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U.

However, it also introduces the Super Mario 3D World style, including Cat Mario and Cat Bowser, which opens up a ton of new options for stage design.

These range from creating platforms Cat Mario can climb up to the clear pipes we've already seen in previous ads, setting tracks for Piranha Plants, bosses, and more:

  • Floating crates
  • Boxes that phase in and out
  • Warp boxes
  • Customizable track blocks
  • Mushroom trampolines
  • Skipsqueak enemies
  • Koopa Troopa cars
  • Pom Pom
  • Charvaargh

The Direct only showed a bit of what fans can expect from the new style, with the promise of even more to come.

It's important to note that unlike the other styles in Super Mario Maker 2, which players can swap freely between as they create their stages, the Super Mario 3D World style cannot be swapped in and out. It's built on a completely separate engine thanks to the unique physics required for the stage mechanics.

New Themes, Items, and Bosses...Oh My!

SMM2 is introducing new themes as well: desert, forest, sky, and snow. Each has new music created by famous Mario composer Koji Kondo as well.

There are plenty of new items that will be available for all styles:

  • on and off switches
  • crane claws
  • twisters
  • fire-breathing red Yoshis
  • parachutes
  • icicles
  • Dry Bones shell (for extra protection)
  • Big Coins
  • Angry Sun
  • Boom Boom

And a lot more to come.

Slopes can now be customized into different gradients, and the water and lava levels can be adjusted, too. There's a new scrolling feature that gives players the ability to turn any stage into a side-scrolling stage, and the speed and direction of the scroll can be adjusted at will.

That opens the door to new vertical scrolling sub-areas, just like in the mainline Super Mario games.

The Angry Sun gets a counterpart this time as well, with the Moon item. It turns any stage to night and, unlike the Angry Sun, it doesn't hurt Mario. In fact, it's rather helpful. If Mario jumps and touches the moon, the moon then destroys all the enemies on screen at the time.

Different themes react in different ways to night mode. For instance, gravity is reduced in the sky theme, water turns to poison in the forest, and the slopes become dangerously slippery in the ice theme. Items will change somehow as well, though nothing specific was shown other than a rather frightening looking mushroom.

After unlocking night mode for each theme, the moon item doesn't have to be placed; players can just choose to include night mode from then on.

Finally, two players can work together to build their stages as well by sharing Joy-Con.

Story Mode comes to Super Mario Maker 2

Super Mario Maker 2 will build on the inclusion of 100+ pre-designed stages in Super Mario Maker 3D and expands on it in a big way. That's because SMM2 will include Story Mode for the first time in the series.

Story Mode sees Mario work to rebuild Princess Peach's castle from the ground up. To do this, he'll need to take on various missions for the constructors and other randos that happen to be around the castle as it redevelops.

Each request revolves around completing a specific course or clearing a set of conditions, and they reward Mario with a set number of coins; these coins are then used to build the castle.

A firm number of courses wasn't mentioned, but like its 3DS predecessor, SMM2 will have more than 100 courses to play through, along with the side quest courses.

Stage Share Mode Returns

Super Mario Maker 2 marks the return of the much-loved stage sharing mode from the original game.

Naturally, since it's an online mode, it will require a Nintendo Switch online membership.

Stage sharing is largely the same as before, though it does include some important new additions. One of them involves challenges. Players can create stages with challenges built in, such as clearing x number of enemies or gathering a set number of coins.

All players will have a Maker Profile, which lets them customize their Maker (think Mii 2.0) and earn Maker Coins for popular stages; these can be spent on outfits and the like for their Maker.

Players can search for courses using various tags, such as themes or features, or even multiplayer.

That's right, Super Mario Maker 2 will include multiplayer modes for stages: versus and co-op modes. Versus modes pits up to 4 players against each other in a race to finish the course first, while co-op mode has up to 4 player work together to finish a course.

If players are nearby and each has a copy of the game and a Nintendo Switch, then one player can host an online room for their play sessions, and the online element will be based on the host's connection.

Some Bundles

Nintendo is offering a few special deals for Super Mario Maker 2. One is a physical or digital bundle featuring the game and a 12-month subscription for Nintendo Switch Online for $69.99. If the purchaser already has a subscription, then the new 12 months will stack onto their existing subscription.

The other promotion is for existing NSO members. 2 game vouchers can be purchased for a total of $99.99 and then redeemed for 2 Nintendo Switch games, including pre-purchasing Super Mario Maker 2.

A list of eligible titles can be found here.

Asobo Studio's Kevin Choteau Discusses the History and Brutality of A Plague Tale: Innocence Mon, 13 May 2019 09:49:05 -0400 Thomas Wilde

We've been tracking A Plague Tale: Innocence for most of the last year now. Even if it wasn't set in an underrepresented historical era  at the start of the Hundred Years' War in medieval France  it's a game in which you feed a couple of dozen English soldiers to an army of supernatural demon rats. That gets your attention.

Plague Tale is coming out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on Tuesday. In advance of its release, we sent a few questions over to the game's developers at Asobo Studio in Bordeaux, France. Plague Tale is the company's first original IP in 14 years, since the 2005 console game Nemesis Strike.

We got a chance to talk to game designer Kevin Choteau, who has a long history in the industry, about the game's inspirations and background.

Thomas Wilde: What was the start of the Plague Tale project? What did you want to do, and how did you end up doing this in particular?

Kevin Choteau: It's been a long time since the team wanted to make something a little more personal. We wanted to speak about family bonds. As the studio has evolved, some of us have gotten kids, built a home, grown older, things like that. We also had an idea for a tale, something with realistic roots but also through the eyes of a kid discovering the world and understanding it with his own references and beliefs.

Remember all the engravings about Grimm's or [Charles] Perrault's tales? It was something like a starting point: our first vision was to feature children facing the brutality of the world alone and finding the means to fight this adversity, gain experiences, grow stronger, and become adults. I think (I hope) we've managed to stay true to this original vision.

Kevin Choteau, of Asobo Studio.

TW: Can you walk me through your research process? Some of you were at E3 last year and told me you did a lot of historical research in France.

KC: Yes, we did read a lot of books, studied a lot of documentaries, movies, TV series, and paintings. We have this big database file where everyone was sharing ideas and resources.

We also explored our region to find architectural references. We are very lucky because here in the south-west of France, we have many remains from the medieval era like St. Emilion, the Dordogne and Périgord area, Carcassonne, many monuments in Bordeaux, etc.

TW: Paint a historical picture for me of the period of time in which Plague Tale takes place.

KC: The 14th century is a turning point of European medieval history.

It's a setting for major unexpected changes. At that time, the Guyenne province, in the south-west of France (where the story takes place), was ruled by England. The Hundred Years' War began when the Plantagenets' influence was disputed by the Valois family. It was the beginning of many very violent battles.

When the soldiers had nothing to do, they turned to banditry, sacking villages and terrorizing the people. At that time, the Inquisition was losing some of its influence and some very radical leaders emerged with extreme doctrines.

1347 was also the beginning of the Black Death, which arrived by ship in Marseilles. Something like 25 million people died from the Plague. That's half the population of Europe. The population went mad, seeking something to blame. Sometimes it was their own neighbors, sometimes strangers just trying to survive. As you can imagine, it was not a peaceful and easy period to grow up in.

TW: What were some of your influences going into this? Movies, shows, music, other games, etc.

KC: We were informed by a lot of different sources, from music to TV series, books or even paintings. For the medieval setting movies like Macbeth or Black Death were inspiring references but, as I said previously, we also have the chance to live in a region where medieval times are still visible in villages, monuments, etc.

For the kids, we were inspired both by the folktales of Grimm or Perrault and the Studio Ghibli movies. The way they develop stories, the way they present characters, the philosophy... they are definitely gems of our times.

TW: How would you describe Plague Tale in terms of genre? I spoke to some of you at E3 last year and it struck me as a horror game at heart, but having played the demo, it's perhaps more of an adventure game with some horror-themed areas and encounters.

KC: Yes, it's an adventure above all, a coming-of-age journey that uses gameplay to convey the story and make it move forward.

We did not create our game to fit a specific genre. We created it more like an emotional experience served by interactivity, as well as the relationship between the players and two kids brutally thrown into the fury of a collapsing world.


For more on A Plague Tale: Innocence, be sure to head over to our review when it goes live tomorrow. 

Monster Hunter World — Iceborne DLC Release Date, New Monsters, More Announced Thu, 09 May 2019 20:45:49 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Capcom's Monster Hunter: World Spring Update aired today, bringing with it a Nergigante-sized batch of information about the new Monster Hunter: World — Iceborne DLC.

Iceborne, described as a massive expansion DLC, was developed parallel to the updates and additions for the base game. As such, its release date is fairly soon. Iceborne will launch September 6 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with a Steam release set for sometime this winter.

Welcome to Hoarfrost Reach

Iceborne features a brand-new region to explore, Hoarfrost Reach. The expansion's plot takes place after the events of the main Monster Hunter: World game. It also brings back something similar to G-Rank monsters and missions from earlier MH games. In Iceborne, it's called Master Rank, and it's the next step up from High Rank.

Hoarfrost Reach is the largest region in MH:W. Unsurprisingly, it's almost completely covered with snow and frost, with a few exceptions in areas that feature natural hot springs  — complete with monkeys.

The region's natural life is billed as some of the most in-depth as well. For example, Popos are normally fodder for other monsters elsewhere.However, in Hoarfrost Reach, players can see them wandering peacefully in the snow. Even the deadlier creatures have their own normal habits, from sunbathing to getting a drink from the hot springs.

The development team said they spent a lot of time creating realistic and layered visual effects for the region, including snow trails and special shadowing effects. Apart from looking good, these features have an important role in gameplay as well.

New Monsters

There will be several new monsters added to Hoarfrost Reach, and the development team debuted two of them, promising more to follow in future updates.

One of them is Beotodus, the first large monster players will encounter. This carnivorous monster takes advantage of Hoarfrost Reach's deep snow by hiding in it as it waits for prey.

Much like the Molduga from Breath of the Wild, Beotodus moves swiftly under the surface to grab its prey, and hunters must find a way to get it out of the snow before they can even begin their fight.

The other new monster is Banbaro, the giant horned brute wyvern from the new Iceborne trailer. Banbaro will also be encountered early in the game, and its attacks are fairly straightforward — literally, actually, since it charges in straight lines after its prey.

The beast's horns gather anything in its path along the way, though, so even if hunters are slightly to the side of Banbaro as it charges, they could still be hit by boulders or even entire trees caught up in the monster's path.

Iceborne's flagship monster also debuted during the presentation: a new elder dragon called Velkhana. Like all elder dragons, Velkhana is immensely powerful. It uses ice attacks, but also has special powers the team is holding back on for now; based on the trailer, though, it would seem Velkhana must have a tendency to sing as well.

Finally, the update teased the return of Nargacuga in Iceborne. Despite having many of the same patterns and features as the Nargacuga players may already be familiar with, the Iceborne version has many new tricks up its pelt to make for an entirely new experience. Players can expect to encounter it around the campaign's halfway point.

More Hunter Actions and QoL Changes

Iceborne will introduce a wealth of new Hunter Actions and weapon updates as well. There will be a new presentation focused specifically on these in the future, but for now, the Capcom team gave viewers a look at a few standout examples.

The first is the Slinger. It's a weapon introduced in MH:W, but like most non-primary weapons in the series, it couldn't be used while the main weapon is drawn.

That's changed for Iceborne. Not only can hunters draw and use the Slonger while their weapon is drawn as well, but items can be used at the same time too.

The Clutch Claw, a sort of grappling hook, gets some expanded functionality as well. The team said the goal in MH:W was to let players control the monsters somehow, and the Clutch Claw makes that happen in Iceborne. Hunters can fire the Claw while readying the Slinger and can use the Claw to influence their quarry's movements.

The Slinger will be used in multiple ways this go around and in conjunction with the Claw Clutch. New weapon mods like the Flinch Shot will allow Hunters to grapple onto monsters with the Clutch, then unload all their Slinger's ammo at once onto the monster.

The benefit of this particular action is how it affects the monster's movements. The power of the Slinger attacks will forcefully propel the monster in whatever direction the Slinger was pointing. It can be used to shove monsters into traps, into walls, or however the Hunter sees fit to help in the fight.

Each weapon will get new mods and abilities as well. For example, the Great Sword can fire powerful, short-range Slinger shots, while the Light Bowgun gets a new evasion reload mod, and the Dual Blades can fire power shots and use the Clutch Claw in combos.

Different Formats

Players who already own the digital or physical version of Monster Hunter: World will only need to purchase the Iceborne DLC, which will cost $39.99.

There will be a Master Edition available, which features the base MH: World game plus Iceborne for $59.99, and a Master Edition Deluxe for $79.99 that comes in a steelbook case depicting Velkhana and Nergigante locked in combat. It will also contain a bundle of cosmetic items, including stickers and gestures.

Finally, there will be a Digital Deluxe version for $49.99 that has Iceborne and the bundled extras from the Master Edition Deluxe.

Monster Hunter: World New Event

As part of the ongoing spring festival in Monster Hunter: World, players can encounter Arch-tempered Nergigante beginning Saturday, May 11. This souped up version of the beastie carries a new moveset and patterns, designed to make this feel like the first time hunters have encountered the game's central monster.

Defeating it earns hunters the Nergiganta Gamma Armor, one of the game's most powerful armor sets.

A new dynamic theme featuring Nergigante is also available now for the PlayStation 4. It has unique icons that look as if Nergigante has torn into them and is meant to let players appreciate the monster's design, since it's actually sitting still and not trying to kill them.


That's it for the big Monster Hunter: World Spring Update reveal. More will be revealed in the coming months. 

GameSkinny Weekend Download: Days Gone, Sea of Thieves, Borderlands 3, More Sat, 04 May 2019 09:48:22 -0400 GS_Staff

GameSkinny's Weekend Download is back to bring you the week that was here on the site.  

Here's most of everything we published this week in one easy to digest roundup. While we didn't cover everything, we did report on Borderlands 3 microtransactions; we reviewed Days Gone, even if it isn't exactly what we thought it might be; and we talked about why Sea of Thieves is still relevant a year later. 

We also wrote guides on Mortal Kombat 11, Minecraft, Sea of Thieves, Days Gone, and Katana ZERO. That's not to mention a handful of reviews and features. 

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy. It's the weekend. What else are you gonna' do? Play video games? 


  • Borderlands 3 Gameplay Streams to Show ECHOcast, Give Viewers In-Game Rewards
    A special Borderlands 3 gameplay reveal stream will allow viewers to experience ECHOcast as well as enter for the chance to win in-game items. Read more

  • Borderlands 3 Gameplay Stream Reveals Co-Op Features, Plot, and More
    The Borderlands 3 gameplay stream showed off a number of features, from skill trees to alternate gun modes. And there might not be microtransactions? Read more

  • Borderlands 3 Will Have Cosmetic Microtransactions, Not Pay-to-Win
    2K releases statement clarifying microtransactions in Borderlands 3. Read more

  • Mortal Kombat 11 Getting Multiple Patches Across All Platforms
    New Mortal Kombat 11 patches will tweak Towers of Time difficulty, address some bugs, and offer a special gift to players. Read more.
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Gets Release Date, New Trailer
    The newest IGA-vania game is set for a launch date that's a lot sooner than many might have expected, though the Switch version's release date is a bit later. Read more

  • Valve Opens Pre-Orders for Next-Gen VR Headset
    Steam is jumping back into VR hardware with the updated Index system, available to pre-order for a cool grand. Read more

  • The Sinking City Shows Off Investigative Mechanics In New Gameplay Video
    Watch 12 minutes of non-linear investigative gameplay in this new clip featuring developer commentary from Frogwares. Read more.

  • Figment, Musical Indie Adventure of the Mind, Comes to PS4 Soon
    Bedtime Digital Games' acclaimed musical indie adventure is launching in May on its most requested platform. Read more

  • Sea of Thieves Anniversary Update Adds New Story, PvP, and More
    The new Sea of Thieves update adds a variety of gameplay elements and hopes to give players reason to keep exploring the high seas for a long time to come. Read more

  • Star Citizen Goes Temporarily Free to Play Following 3.5 Update
    Play Star Citizen for free until May 8 and test out everything released in the recent 3.5 update. Read more

  • Download The Pokemon Pass And Get Cool Digital Content
    The Pokemon Company is offering fans a chance to get special goodies using the Pokemon Pass app. Read more

  • Razer Announces Dual Driver In-Ear Hedset For Mobile Entertainment
    Razer adds headset perfect for games on the go to its lineup, the Hammerhead Duo. Read more

  • Activision to Announce New Call of Duty, Hopes to Retain More Players
    Activision Blizzard's financial report provides a few teases about the newest Call of Duty game, including how the company plans to support it more than other CoD games. Read more

  • Respawn Outlines Anti-Cheater Plans, Bans 770K+ Players
    Respawn's project lead gave an update on Apex Legends' anti-cheater war, with some big numbers to show how their efforts have paid off. Read more

  • Risk of Rain 2 Floods Early Access With More Than 1 Million Units Sold
    Shortly after its launch on Steam's Early Access, roguelike shooter Risk of Rain 2 sells a whopping 33% of its predecessor's total sales. Read more


  • Mortal Kombat 11 Review: (Nearly) Flawless Victory
    Almost three decades since the original, Mortal Kombat 11 proves the fighter's might is still strong. Read more

  • VA-11 HALL-A Review: A Stylish Visual Novel That Feels at Home on Nintendo Switch
    The visual novel VA-11 HALL-A arrived on Nintendo Switch, mixing drinks and changing lives with great characters and tons of style. Read more

  • Turtle Beach Recon 70 Headset Review: A Thrifty Option for PS4 Owners
    Turtle Beach's Recon 70 gaming headset is cheap but effective — a headset for somebody who wants a bargain and has nothing to prove. Read more

  • Days Gone Review: Gone Killin'
    Days Gone may not be game-changing like other PlayStation exclusives, but it's still a well put together title. Read more


  • ALpixel Games Discusses Open-World Narrative Game A Place For The Unwilling
    Spanish development team ALpixel games gives us an up close and personal look at the creation of an inspired 2D indie title. Read more

  • Pandemic Express: Currently (Train)Wrecking Through Early Access
    Pandemic Express's decent gameplay hooks aren't enough to salvage what is a broken, unfinished, and above all, unfun game. Read more

  • Why Sea of Thieves is More Relevant Than Ever
    Despite the odds, Sea of Thieves is still one of the most relevant, enjoyable live games out there. Here's why. Read more

  • How Long is Borderlands 3's Campaign? We Now Have a Better Idea
    How long is Borderlands 3? Gearbox Creative Director, Paul Sage, reveals that the looter-shooter's as big as you'd expect — and then some. Read more

  • What's Does the Future Have in Store for PSVR? 6 Changes We Need to See
    From less clutter to better camera tracking and the ability to see your surroundings, we look at the must-have features that Sony needs to implement with the next PSVR. Read more

  • Lust From Beyond Beta Impressions: Bigger, Squishier, Sexier
    Nearly everything about the first game has been drastically improved and taken to a new level of sexy horror in this brief demo for Lust From Beyond. Read more


  • How to Make a Blast Furnace in Minecraft
    The blast furnace is finally in Minecraft Java, here's the recipe and how you get the components. Read more

  • Minecraft: How to Remove Bad Omen
    Learn about the bad omen status effect and how you can get rid of it. Read more

  • The Top 20 Minecraft 1.14 Seeds for May 2019
    Minecraft 1.14 is officially here! Now you can explore all of the latest features in the fullest with the help of our monthly selection of top Minecraft seeds. Read more

  • Survive in Days Gone With Our Beginner Tips
    Days Gone can be deadly for newcomers, so here are our best survival tips. Read more

  • Days Gone Collectibles Part One: Characters, NERO Intel, and Lab Notes
    Days Gone features hours of gameplay, thousands of angry running zombies, and a couple of hundred collectible items crammed into every corner of the map. Here are a bunch of them. Read more

  • Days Gone Collectibles Part Two: Radio Free Copeland, RIP Sermons, and Tourism
    Next up in our search for Days Gone's collectibles is a bunch of paranoid ranting as we talk about Radio Free Copeland, RIP Sermons, and the tourist attractions of post-apocalyptic Oregon. Read more

  • Days Gone Collectibles Part Three: Historical Markers, Herbology, and Camp Guitarist
    Music, plants, and local stories: our big guide to all 240 collectibles in 'Days Gone' wraps up with its historical markers, herbology, and music. Read more

  • How to Find All Krypt Key Items in Mortal Kombat 11
    Discover the locations of the key items you'll need to fully unlock the Krypt in Mortal Kombat 11. Read more

  • Sea of Thieves The Arena: A Tips and Tricks Beginner's Guide
    Sea of Thieves' new PVP mode, The Arena, is 24 minutes of sheer pirate chaos. Use our guide to get the pegleg up on your rivals. Read more

  • Sea of Thieves The Hunter's Call Guide: Fishing, Hunting, and Cooking
    If Sea of Thieves' new trading company, The Hunter's Call, has you stumped, follow our guide on all things fishing, cooking, and using that awesome new harpoon gun. Read more

  • Where to Find Merrick of the Hunter's Call in Sea of Thieves
    Learn how to find Merrick, Master of the Hunter's Call, in this guide to the new Sea of Thieves Anniversary Update. Read more

  • Katana ZERO: Where to Find All Keys
    These are all the secret key locations to unlock new weapons in Katana ZERO. Read more

  • Borderlands 3 Complete Siren & Operative Skill Tree Lists
    Amara and Zane each get three distinct skill trees to choose from based on whether you want to focus on melee, ranged, elemental, or drone-based combat. Read more

Check back next weekend for another roundup of news, reviews, guides, and features. 

Lust From Beyond Beta Impressions: Bigger, Squishier, Sexier Fri, 03 May 2019 12:54:06 -0400 Ty Arthur

Erotic horror as its own legitimate sub-genre was just clearing its throat last year through a handful of releases from brand new developers, and now its getting ready for a full-blast operatic encore with Lust From Beyond.

Production is now well underway for the sequel to Lust For Darkness, which came out around the same time as alternate sexy horror game Agony (and in fact can be bought together in the Lust For Agony combo at Steam).

With the successful funding of a Kickstarter campaign to fund the title, Movie Games Lunarium just dropped a 40 minute demo of what to expect when the full game arrives down the line. Long story short, I'm both pleased and horrified at what's in store for the series, and I expect that's exactly what the developer had in mind!

Ramping Up The Sex... Or Toning It Down

 ...Wait, what?

I have to admit I let out an involuntary laugh when first loading up the demo at the absurd hilarity of the censorship option screen. In what universe would I ever buy a game called Lust For Beyond and then choose to turn off the naughty jibbly bits with pixelation? It seems completely at odds with the entire point of the game.

If you're here for the naughty stuff, you won't be disappointed. That infamous dildo pumping machine makes a return, but there's a variety of whole new objects and creatures to take the sexual element of the game to the next level.

In fact the (potential) reason for the censorship option becomes apparent very quickly. I'm betting that's there specifically to skirt Steam's puritanical views on sexual content in games, because this one has full on vaginal penetration from a variety of organs and devices.

Hopefully that will be enough to avoid getting yanked off Steam, because many of the things you'll see here go way, way beyond what was in the first game.

 I think I know what the tissues are for!

While we didn't get to see it in action in the demo, a crowd funding stretch goal for interactive sex scenes has been unlocked, which could significantly change up how the game plays.

Depending on how far Movie Games Lunarium goes with the interactive concept, we could get something that's half 3D hentai game and half psychological survival horror entry.

Improvements To The Formula

 Yeah, that's exactly what it looks like.

The demo features a short, self-contained story in the overall Lust universe letting you play as a newer initiate in the cult who has abandoned his family for the lure of a life of ecstasy. 

It isn't entirely clear if this opening sequence will be in the full game or if it was exclusively made for the demo, but either way there are some very clear improvements to the first game that become immediately apparent.

Notably, it seems clear we are going to get updated sanity and health mechanics based on some of the items you find laying around the mansion. In the previous game you could go stark raving mad if you wore a spider mask for peering into the unseen for too long, but that was the extent of the going-crazy mechanic.

This time around being in contact with any sanity-blasting creatures, locations, or concepts makes your brain take a hit, but you can temporarily get yourself back into working order by popping some sedatives.

Extra quality of life improvements see the game going from the "walking simulator" type of horror to a more full investigative game experience with better puzzles.

Thankfully, we get an actual item inventory system this time around for using and cataloging bizarre items you find, in addition to significantly enhanced sound, music, and voice acting for a more immersive experience.

Those wonderfully gross squishy sound effects when traversing the flesh tunnels give off exactly the disturbing sort of vibe you want while playing the game in the dark with headphones turned up to max volume. At one point, I actually felt *moist* while exploring one particular area of Lusst'ghaa. The sound design is very effective.

Even the Lust Plane's pulsating lights manage to have an erotic vibe, while also bringing to mind the aesthetic from Hellraiser whenever the cenobites made an appearance mashed up with the ship design from Aliens.

The end result of this updated aesthetic is a very unsettling sensation wherever you look when exploring the plane of erotic horrors (and trying not to get messily devoured or horribly penetrated).

Expansions And Upgrades

 Is it still flora if its made of muscle and tongue?

Aside from the updated sanity, health, and inventory UI, the one element that struck me as most improved here is how Lust From Beyond integrates the truly weird shit from the environments into the gameplay more effectively.

In the demo, Lusst'ghaa channels some serious Inner Chains vibe with a more Geiger heavy influence and lethal flora hampering your journey. 

Those pulsating pelvic walls, giant vaginal statues, and insane flora and fauna all serve more of a purpose than just to be gawked at while you wander around. Simply put, the setting is less window dressing and more gameplay-focused this time.

One segment of the demo that's particularly effective in evoking the weirdness of the setting is when your initiate cultist has to set a bizarre flying and glowing centipede creature out of its flesh prison. From there, you've got to follow close behind it as the insane thing's glow makes the tongue flowers shrink away so they no longer lash you to death.

What we're seeing here is clearly just a small taste of what's to come as well, with the developers announcing we'll be leaving the mansion and the alternative plane segments behind and heading into a nearby town at some point during the game.

Two Heads Are Better Than One

Let's just say this is a "three" player activity.

Having only played a 40 minute teaser, its hard to say what the full game will be like after development is complete, but this advanced look is already significantly improved from its predecessor. 

Its clear that the ending from the first game (which I wasn't particularly impressed with) will now be expanded out significantly with the return of Amanda and some possibly world-changing consequences.

Currently at more than its double its funding goal, the Kickstarter is still live and has some exciting stretch goals to hit, like the ability to interact with a rival cult. While it hasn't been officially announced yet, VR support is rumored to be one of the unlisted stretch goals to appear after the $50,000 mark.

Sadly it seems unlikely that a game with this amount of sexual content will ever hit the PSVR, but having a VR option for PC would hugely open up the opportunities for this series in the future.

Kickstarter currently lists an estimated digital key delivery of March 2020 for backers. Of course all know those crowd funding release projections are almost always wrong, but with how polished the demo is already looking, I wouldn't be surprised if this one hits that window.

Whenever it arrives, Lust From Beyond is certain to take the gameplay mechanics, psychological horror style, and disturbing visuals from the first game and catapult them to a whole new level of sexed up terror that will set the standard for this fledgling genre just hitting the mainstream consciousness through Steam.

Pandemic Express: Currently (Train)Wrecking Through Early Access Thu, 02 May 2019 14:41:01 -0400 RobotsFightingDinosaurs

Let's get something out of the way first: Pandemic Express has absolutely nothing to do with the hyper-popular Pandemic series of games.

If this game caught your eye because you hoped it'd be a spinoff of the series, created with the same love and care that went into, say, Pandemic: Legacy, you will be sorely, completely disappointed.

Instead, Pandemic Express is a game that seems to have been made in 2016. You remember that, right? Back when the success of games like DayZ and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds meant that any developer could release an unfinished game into Steam Early Access, charge $15 for it, and never complete it? 

Yeah. That's what we're talking about here. 


To be fair to tinyBuild Games, the gameplay loop in Pandemic Express isn't a bad one, at least in theory. Every game session begins with 30 players, of which one is a zombie. The goal is for human players to make it to a train and ride it to the end of the game's map (there's only one available as of now).

On the other hand, the zombie has to kill and infect other players to add them to a growing swarm; the goal from this perspective is to infect everyone. While it might seem "innovative" at first, you'll realize after a few matches that the general gameplay loop isn't much different from playing a payload map in Team Fortress 2 or Overwatch.

Again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing! Not all new games need to innovate in crazy ways to be successful or fun. In fact, structuring a game around a tried and true concept like a payload run while adding new twists to the formula could (and should!) result in an engaging experience.

It's really too bad there's none of that to be found here.

Aiming guns or performing melee attacks is largely a chore because the game doesn't give you a crosshair (or if it does, it's too small to see and there's no option to make it larger). In addition, tinyBuild's servers don't seem equipped to handle the load of 30 people in a game at once, causing crippling amounts of lag even on a super-high-speed wired connection.

As a zombie, the lag issue is even more pronounced because the melee attack  the one players use to infect humans  has a not-insignificant-amount of startup frames. This necessitates players predict where their target is going and be a half-second ahead at close range, which is pretty challenging to do when you're lagging.

That said, it is kind of fun to use your zombie launch ability to hurl teammates across the map, especially given the insane knockback that guns have in this game. The little bit of fun I had during my time with Pandemic Express was in pinballing around the train as a zombie, getting knocked around by teammates and opponents' guns, and trying to pick folks off.

Oh, and you also get an ultimate ability based on how many times you respawn; you can pick from either exploding when you die, knocking folks off the train as you do, or becoming an invisible zombie, picking folks off from the shadows. Because of all this, I generally had a lot more fun as a zombie than I did as a human (but that's not saying much).

Bugging Out

All of these issues are damning, for sure. And if that were all that was wrong with the game, I'd still feel confident telling you to stay away. Unfortunately, there's more to say, largely because the game is still full of bugs.

In my time as a human player, I ran into a persistent bug where I was not able to pick up guns unless another player had dropped them or been killed. The game also crashed multiple times on my computer (once forcing a hard reset of my entire rig).

The game also hasn't been optimized graphically, causing choppiness and framerate dips on my computer. This is surprising because the graphics aren't particularly intensive even on high settings. I was worried that this was a problem with my rig at first before I confirmed that I could run Overwatch butter-smooth on high settings. There's something else going on here.

That's not even mentioning the insanely long startup, load, and matchmaking times. While these aren't bugs, they're annoyances that, when paired with all the other issues, leads to a game that succeeds in frustrating you before you've even started playing.

Now, as the game will no doubt repeat to you endlessly, Pandemic Express is still in its alpha stages. But if that's true, then tinyBuild is going to have a lot of work to do to squash these bugs during Early Access. The FAQ for Pandemic Express says that tinyBuild doesn't expect the full game to be out before the end of 2019, and given what's here so far, it seems like that's a bit optimistic.

So here's the big issue with looking at a game before it fully launches on Steam: Most, if-not-all, of the problems I have with this game could be ironed out if the devs really bust ass during the Early Access period to polish what is here. You could be reading this in July of 2020 and laughing at this idiot reviewer who completely wrote the next Fortnite off.

That's a real possibility! And despite the blow to my pride, I hope that it happens.

That said, it seems unlikely, since the developers don't seem to know what this game actually is. The one map featured in the game seems large-ish at first, but that's only because 90% of the actual gameplay takes place along the tracks of the train, rendering the vast majority of the map unusable since it's not along the path of the train.

If you watch the trailer for the game, it becomes clear that the devs think that Pandemic Express is some sort of hide-and-seek meets FPS hybrid, and that's just not true. This doesn't bode well for the future of the game. If the developers don't understand the way folks play the game and the most optimal ways to play, what hope is there for them to pivot the game's focus in a way that is actually engaging?

Because as it stands now, the best way to play the game, whether you're a human or a zombie, is to rush the train and just mash the attack button, whether you're trying to bite folks or trying to shoot zombies. It's not engaging, and it's not fun.

Again, I hope that the folks at tinyBuild can pivot and turn this game into something special, but at this point, I'm not holding my breath.

UPDATE: Day One Patch

Between the time of this review and the game's fully-fledged Early Access release, a patch was released that purported to squash a few bugs and really enhance the general experience of playing the game. In my time with the patched version of the game, that's only partly true.

The game's UI got a much-needed overhaul. Traversing the menus is less tedious, and it's clear that the devs plan to update the game later with more game modes, which is a great sign. In addition, I didn't run into any major bugs, though I did fall victim to a few smaller ones, including some widespread despawning of ammo from my personal inventory, and despawning of drops on the map.

Gameplay is also a lot smoother, with a lot less lag; the servers must have gotten an update along with the visual optimization. The big problem, however, is that the core gameplay still needs to be fixed. You still just have to run towards the train and mash the attack button. At a current price point of $10, rising to $15 when the game launches, the game is still very, very hard to recommend for anybody.

[Note: A copy of Pandemic Express was provided by tinyBuild Games for the purpose of this Early Access preview.]

ALpixel Games Discusses Open-World Narrative Game A Place For The Unwilling Mon, 29 Apr 2019 15:19:16 -0400 Ty Arthur

Since first hitting Kickstarter back in 2016, we've been carefully watching the development of the eye-catching title A Place For The Unwilling, both for its incredibly distinctive art style and the mashup of gameplay styles that presents an unexpected cosmic horror adventure. 

While it did get funded, ALpixel's original Kickstarter campaign (thankfully) didn't hit its final stretch goal, which was to actually summon Cthulhu and annihilate humanity. We can all breathe a sigh of relief as that inevitable messy end to humanity is delayed once more.

Now that the game now is in private Beta, where the developers hope to get feedback from players, we had the opportunity to chat with members of the team during this stretch of the development process.

We sat down with game designer Luis Díaz, artist Rubén Calles, progammer Miguel López-Bachiller, narrative developer Ángel Luis Sucasas, and sound designer Celer Gutiérrez. 

Below, we get a ground-level view of the life of an indie games studio working on a unique title that is set to make waves when it finally launches on PC in the unspecified future. We even get a prediction on how Game Of Thrones ends!

Two characters talk in A Place for the Unwilling

Ty Arthur: Are you remote workers or do you go into the office together, and what's the typical workday like for ALpixel Games while you develop A Place For The Unwilling?

Luis: There are five people working on the project right now (that's for development; we also work with third parties for tasks like localization) and three of us meet in a coworking [office] every day. While we all live in Madrid, Ángel (writing) and Celer (audio) work from home because it's easier for them; we still meet face to face for most meetings that involve all disciplines.

As for our work day, it's probably way less glamorous than what people who aren't in the industry might think. We get to the office and start working on whatever there is in our task list. When you need to talk to anybody, you just wave your hand so they know they should remove their headset.

We do a lunch break, try to talk about anything not related to the game (with the upcoming elections there’s been a lot of discussion about politics), and then go back to our table. Sometimes we'll spend hours or days doing paperwork or taking care of "the things nobody wants to do." We do enjoy working on our games and sharing them with the community, but 99% of the time it looks like any other regular job.

TA: I remember following the project back in the 2016 Kickstarter, then it seemed like things went quiet for a while. How has the project changed since the Kickstarter and where are you guys in terms of overall completion at this point?

Luis: After the campaign, we realized we'd need some extra help for such an ambitious project. Ángel, the game writer, joined the team during the campaign and, about a month later, we started working with Martin to have the game running in Unity, which would allow us to target more platforms and use Ink (inkle's powerful narrative tool).

Needless to say, once we started showing the game at shows, we kept on making changes to things that weren't quite working. When you're not following a fully established template, there's a lot of trial and error involved. The core principles and aesthetics haven't changed since the day we started working on the project  we've just learned how to refine everything around that.

All the major content is already implemented in the game. We still need to tweak a thousand things, and those small details do make a huge difference. You know what they say, the last 10% of the project feels even bigger than the 90% that you already took care of.

TA: If there's one thing that really grabs attention with A Place For The Unwilling, it's the offbeat colored pencil art style. How did you land on that style for the game, and are there any particular challenges to implementing the sort of squiggly/jittery style in a game like this?

Rubén: Our main references to define the visual style of the game were classic cartoon shows and line engravings from the 19th Century. I like how those classic cartoon vibes make the whole world feel so alive; every part of the background is moving as if they were breathing in and out.

The cartoon style gives that feeling of movement and the engraving provides the perfect historical context. This combination worked great from the very beginning because my color skills were not that strong when we first started the development of the game. The engraving style made a lot of sense; it was the best-looking option for the visuals, and it also gave reminiscences of our main artistic references.

The main challenge was time. Every single asset in the game took a lot of time and patience to make. Each character, building, and little object in our city is composed of five different layers: line, flat colour, painting, and crosshatching. That amount of work multiplies when you realize all the animations in the game are drawn frame-by-frame. But I still think having those chalk (and charcoal) lines all over is a great decision. They almost seem like the footprints of the factory workers coming and going all around the city.

TA: One thing that has struck me playing the beta is the importance of the music and sound effects to set the mood. What is your team's philosophy toward putting music in the game are you going for “less is more,” and what role do you see the music playing in the overall game experience?

Celer: We think the music has to, just as you said, set the mood. From the interactions with the characters to the different parts of the city. We don’t want to overstimulate players since they should be focusing on the story, but we do want to help them with the tone.

In order to do so, we don’t have a continuous music layer playing  music comes and goes during your walks through the city and also tries to represent the different characters and places you stumble upon. Sound design is quite similar: it should help players get immersed in the city and support the story so it can shine.

TA: As a small development crew, what hurdles have you had to overcome working on this game?

Luis: It's a big project, and there's only one of us for each discipline. We need to find production hacks that allow us to do more in less time, and even then, it still is a huge challenge. And the team still has to do "the other tasks." Like most small studios, we don't have people dedicated to production, bizdev, office management or communication; we all need to chip in some time in order to get those done.

TA: There are quite a few Lovecraftian games that have either just launched (like Call Of Cthulhu) or are about to release (like Stygian: Reign Of The Old Ones and The Sinking City). A Place For The Unwilling seems to go a radically different direction with the material than those games. Where do you see A Place For The Unwilling sitting in the overall Cthulhu mythos and how strong a connection to Lovecraft will the final game have?

Ángel: It’s fully integrated. Our game exists within the universe of the Cthulhu mythos, but only those written by H.P. Lovecraft  not the tales published by August Derleth.

We’d rather not reveal the details of how our lore is connected to them. I’ll just say that it’s a sequel, a prequel, and a spin-off (all that at the same time) of one of his most relevant stories.

TA: A Place For The Unwilling is kind of a hard game to peg down into a specific genre. It's not quite an investigative adventure game or a business tycoon game or a traditional horror game but rather has elements of all three how would you classify this game to someone unfamiliar with the project?

Luis: We must have used a dozen different definitions during development. When you say it's an adventure, people think it's a point and click, but we don't even have that kind of puzzles or an old-fashioned linear progression. Business tycoon falls short as well; the trading options in the game are limited when you compare them to a managing game (and it's not even mandatory).

And yes, the game does have eldritch things going on, but you could complete a whole playthrough without scratching the surface of that. As Rubén said earlier, depending on your actions, your playthrough could end up being a sweet walk through the city or a messed up story that will haunt you for a while.

Lately, we just call it an open-world narrative game. The story is always the focus,  and you get pretty much complete freedom when it comes to choosing how to spend your time — even if you decide to stay in your room for days.

TA: Playing the beta, I've noticed there are very strong themes of rich vs poor, with noticeably different appearances in different portions of the city. Is that the central struggle of the game, and what sort of overall theme do you want a player to take away from the game?

Ángel: Well, we mostly want players to draw their own conclusions instead of telling them what’s right and what’s wrong. There are some strong social, economic, and political themes, but players should feel free to choose if they even want to explore those concepts.

If there’s any central theme in the game I believe that would be the breaking of the hero's journey. Neither the characters nor the story are marked by players. You take part in the events, and your input produces different outcomes, but you aren’t fully in control of what happens. If you get that feeling when playing the game, then I’ll be happy with the result.

TA: With the beta going on, how has the feedback been from players so far, and what has the team learned about what's working well and what needs to be changed?

Luis: The feedback from the beta has been pretty useful so far. It’s helping us spot a few areas that need to be improved and being able to talk with players allows us to get a better understanding of why certain things aren’t fully working.

The world we crafted works well: it’s interesting and deep. We still need to tweak how players are introduced to it. Thanks to player’s feedback, we’re thinking a lot about how you find your way across to the city and how to make it easier to navigate. These are tricky questions and some design solutions that seem natural would clash with other elements of the game, but we are working on it.

GS: What has been the most difficult bug to squash or problem to overcome so far, and are there any major elements to the game you see changing after the beta feedback?

Miguel: Most bugs are not "that difficult” to fix, as long as you are patient. We do have some complex systems that, even after months of work, aren’t still fully bulletproof. One example would be the pathfinding logic. We want the city in A Place for the Unwilling to feel truly alive, so we need people going around and carrying out their usual routines.

The hard part is doing all that in 2D while minding a player’s behavior. It’s easy to get stuck between two non playable characters and those characters can even get trapped on their own turning doors and halls into bottlenecks.

In the end, all we can do is keep polishing the code and test everything until it’s good enough. I think we’re at that point where everything looks solid, but you never know if somebody will find some weird situation that you completely missed.

We’re using player’s feedback to correct some of these odd small interactions, but it’s not like we’re doing huge changes. It’s mostly dozens of tiny things that need to be patched here and there.

TA: What's next for AlPixel Games after A Place For The Unwilling is finished and launched?

Luis: Haha, nowadays, work doesn’t end when the game is released. There’s bugs to fix, forums to read, and new languages/platforms to consider. Can we answer this once we have survived that process?

TA: On a more personal note, what upcoming games outside of your own projects are the AlPixel Games team looking forward to playing, and what sort of gameplay mechanics get you excited to try out new titles?

Rubén: I’ve always been a huge fan of the SteamWorld series. While the new one doesn’t fully click with my style, I’ve enjoyed all of them so much that I’ll probably end up loving this one as well.

Luis: Just give me Animal Crossing.

Miguel: Does the new Zelda count as upcoming? I mean the next installment, which will probably take a few years. If we’re talking about games that will get released soon, my list would Include Tactical Breach Wizards (huge fan of Tom Francis’ work), Industries of Titan (which looks pretty cool) and, last but not least, Spire of Sorcery (roguelike and wizards with some management elements sounds like my jam).

GS: One final question: Who do you think is going to sit on the Iron Throne at the end of the final Game Of Thrones season?

Miguel: Full disclosure, and at the risk of sounding like a hipster, I started reading the books before they became popular. I have only watched the first season of the TV show, but my guess is that nobody will sit on the Iron Throne. It’ll be destroyed along with the rest of King’s Landing. So there’s that.

Want to follow the development of the game or apply to join the Beta? Be sure to wishlist A Place For The Unwilling over on Steam and join the discussion over on Discord here.

GameSkinny Weekend Download: More PS5 News, MK11, World War Z, and Minecraft Sat, 27 Apr 2019 10:50:56 -0400 GS_Staff

GameSkinny's Weekend Download is back to bring you the week that was here on the site.  

Here's most of everything we published this week in one easy to digest roundup. While we didn't cover everything, we did report on when the PlayStation 5 won't be releasing, all (new) things Persona 5S, more Magic: The Gathering, Mortal Kombat 11 (although our review is still pending), Dark Devotion, World War Z, and, of all things, Minecraft

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy. It's the weekend. What else are you gonna' do? Play video games? 


  • Sony Talks PlayStation 5 Launch Date and More in Financial Report
    There's a while to wait yet for the PlayStation 5, but Sony suggests there will still be third party software in 2019 to keep the PS4 alive. Read more.
  • Apex Legends Twitch Viewership Dwindles, Top Streamer May Leave Game
    Apex Legends' falls to the number 10 spot on Twitch, and some point to Respawn's lack of attention to new content as the primary reason. Read more

  • Mortal Kombat 11 Krypt and Tower Fixes Coming Soon
    NetherRealm Studios have confirmed that hotfixes are inbound for two of Mortal Kombat 11's game modes: Towers of Time and the Krypt. Read more

  • New Minecraft Update Introduces Village Changes, New Mob, and More
    The new Minecraft Village and Pillage update introduces a wide range of new features, quality of life improvements, and more cats, among other things. Read more

  • New Persona 5 The Royal Details, Screenshots, Western Release Date, and More
    Persona 5's new female character, Confidant, mechanics, human Morgana, and more came during the Persona Super Live concert. Read more

  • Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers Announced for Switch and PS4
    Persona 5 S is a musou game pitting the Phantom Thieves against hordes of enemies to uncover the truth behind a series of mysterious events. Read more

  • Critical Mode to Finally Arrive In Free Kingdom Hearts 3 Update
    Kingdom Hearts 3 players will be able to start playing the game's most difficult mode after a new content update. Read more

  • Sony Hosts Big PlayStation Plus Sale — Over 200 Games Discounted
    Some of the best games on PlayStation are currently on sale for PlayStation Plus subscribers. Read more

  • Doraemon Story of Seasons Coming West to Switch and PC
    The Story of Seasons crossover with the classic manga series gets an official announcement trailer, along with some background information about plot and gameplay. Read more.
  • World War Z Swarms to 1 Million Units Sold in First Week, Updates on Horizon
    Despite average critical reviews, World War Z has infected 1 million players since launch. Read more.

  • BioWare Focused on Fixing Anthem Bugs, Delaying Roadmap Content
    Anthem's endgame content gets pushed back to an unspecified date, as BioWare outlines the dev team's focus for the next few months. Read more.  

  • Surviving Mars: Green Planet and Animal DLC Launching May 16
    Surviving Mars is getting a huge upgrade in Green Planet and Project Laika come May 16. Read more

  • SteelSeries Arctis Headset Line Comes to the Xbox with 9X
    SteelSeries announced the first Xbox One-specific headset to join its Arctis lineup. Read more

  • New RAD Biome and Starting Town Details Showcased
    The new images detail the action game's hub town and some of its more dangerous locations full of deadly mutant toxins. Read more

  • Snail Games' PixARK To Release This May
    Get your voxel-based survival gaming on when PixARK releases on all platforms in May. Read more

  • Action RPG Warlander Slashes Its Way to PS4 and XB1 This Year
    The upcoming ARPG for PS4 and XB1 will feature deep combat and customization, along with a dark storyline and sentient sword. Read more

  • Blizzard Announces BlizzCon 2019 Dates, New Ticket Option
    BlizzCon 2019 dates have been announced and ticket purchase days are close. Read more

  • WoW Classic Blog Post Details What Players Should Expect From Rewards
    When Blizzard releases new items in WoW Classic, they'll be the best possible versions of those items. Read more

  • Mario Kart Tour Beta Coming to Android Phones In May
    A Mario Kart Tour beta is coming to Android in May, ahead of a full release for Android and iOS later in the summer. Read more


  • World War Z Review: Left 4 Dead Formula is Alive But Shambling
    Although zombie swarms are impressive in World War Z, and combat is fun at first, things quickly get a tad bit boring. Read more

  • Pathway Review — A Pulp Adventure Without The Feeling
    While Pathway has a lot of interesting ideas, none of them are executed in a way that makes them compelling. Chucklefish nails the setting of the pulp era but not the feeling. Read more

  • Dark Devotion Review: Death Lurks Within Every Pitch Black Pixel
    Get ready to die with another killer 2D souls-like that flips the script in several ways for a refreshing take on the genre. Read more


  • Artist Reimagines Demon's Souls as Game Boy Classic
    If Demon's Souls had released on the Game Boy decades ago, this is what it would have looked like. Read more

  • 10 Best Custom Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Stage Builder Stages So Far
    Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's stage builder mode opens the doors to many varied designs. We've sorted through and picked out 10 of the best. Read more

  • Last Chance: Green Man Gaming's Spring Sale Enters Final Weekend
    Green Man Gaming's Spring Sale is entering its final weekend, and we've put together a list of some of the better games available for PC gamers. Read more


  • How to Get the Infinity Gauntlet in Roblox Egg Hunt 2019
    Assembling an infinity gauntlet always requires finding all the components first, so of course, you'll need to find five other Avengers eggs before completing the Scrambled In Time Roblox egg event! Read more

  • Days Gone Best Skills to Survive and Thrive
    There are 45 skills in Days Gone, and some of them are mandatory for the best experience. These are the ones you should get first. Read more

  • How to Unlock Characters in Pathway
    Want to get all of the characters in Pathway but not sure how? This guide will show you how to unlock them. Read more

  • Grim Dawn Best Builds Of 2019
    Not sure which mastery combo to pick for your next Grim Dawn playthrough? We show you three of the absolute best builds in the latest patch for tackling the Shattered Realm or the story campaign! Read more

  • Grim Dawn Ultimate Tainted Brain Matter Farming Guide
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  • What Is Illusion-Be-Gone in Grim Dawn?
    Several new items have been added to Grim Dawn with recent updates, including the Illusion-Be-Gone, which lets you change the appearance of weapons and armor. Read more

  • MtG: 11 Best War of the Spark Cards for Standard
    A new Liliana and Nicol Bolas are the two big stars of the War of the Spark set, but here are more solid choices for Standard in MtG. Read more

  • MtG: 11 Best War of the Spark Cards for Modern
    Looking to replace a few Modern staple cards in MtG? Then, check out this list of 11 most powerful cards from War of the Spark. Read more

  • Magic the Gathering: 11 Most Expensive War of the Spark Cards
    War of the Spark is the most valuable Standard MtG set, and here are 11 cards that have the highest price points on the market. Read more

  • How to Tame Foxes in Minecraft 1.14
    How to tame a fox and make it your best friend in Minecraft 1.14. Read more

  • Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen Stat Growth Guide
    A lovely little table to show you how your stats will grow as you level up. It even has some information on why you would want to know this. Read more

Check back next weekend for another roundup of news, reviews, guides, and features. 

GameSkinny Weekend Download: PUBG Banned Again (Again), PS5 News, New Star Wars, More Sat, 20 Apr 2019 10:19:40 -0400 GS_Staff

It's the weekend again, and GameSkinny's Weekend Download is back. 

Here's most of everything we published this week in one easy to digest roundup, including news about Iraq banning PUBG and Fortnite, Sony unveiling PS5 info, the next Star Wars game from Respawn, and Assassin's Creed Unity being free until April 25. 

We also take a look at a new GameStop promotion that may make trade-ins finally worthwhile; how to be a badass in World War Z with a handful of nifty guides; and spend some time talking about new games, like Dragon Ball, Outward, God's Trigger, Katana Zero, and One Finger Death Punch 2

As usual, we've added links in case you find a headline that tickles your fancy and want to read more. We've also broken things down by category to make it easy to find what you're looking for. And finally, we've left out posts that are now meaningless because the event or sale has already ended. 

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy.  


  • Sony Details Next-Gen Hardware, Doesn't Call It PS5 (Yet)
    Sony's new system wasn't given a new name and isn't guaranteed to be the PS5 at launch, but it will have a solid state drive and backwards compatibility, among other things. Read more

  • Microsoft Announces Xbox One S All Digital Console
    The new digital-only Xbox One S comes with 3 pre-installed games and foregoes console saves in favor of cloud saves. Read more

  • Assassin's Creed Unity Free on PC to Raise Awareness for Notre Dame Fire
    PC players can download Assassin's Creed Unity for free from the Ubisoft store until April 25. Read more

  • New GameStop Promotion Allows Players to Return Games For Full Store Credit
    GameStop's new "Guaranteed to Love it" program offers players a 48-hour return window on new games — starting with Days Gone. Read more

  • Iraq Latest Country to Ban PUBG, Adds Fortnite
    The move comes shortly after Nepal banned PUBG, but despite a different governing body and country instituting the ban, the reasons remain ultimately the same. Read more

  • Tencent Will Distribute Nintendo Switch in China
    Nintendo is poised to break into the Chinese console market thanks in part to a partnership with Tencent. Read more

  • Sega Genesis Mini's Second List of Announced Games Is Fantastic
    The Sega Genesis Mini's got some Disney games announced, plus more surprises in it's 40-game total library. Read more

  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Launches on November 15 for PS4, XB1, and PC
    Jedi: Fallen Order is a narrative based game set in the Dark Times, and today's trailer and panel revealed a host of new deils about the story, characters, and gameplay. Read more

  • Star Wars Jedi: Fatallen Order Official Art Book Available for Pre-Order
    The Art of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is companion art book for the upcoming game from Respawn Entertainment. It is currently available for pre-order. Read more

  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order Release Date Announced
    The Ultimate Alliance 3 release date is almost exactly a decade since the last game in the series and is the latest offering in a year full of Marvel media.
    Read more

  • Is Capcom Hinting at a Resident Evil 3: Nemesis Remake?
    A series of tweets has fans wondering whether Capcom might be leading up to a RE3 Remake announcement soon.
    Read more

  • New Details, Screenshots of Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey VR Emerge
    Breath of the Wild's technical director opens up about the inspiration behind VR support, and the Mario Odyssey Twitter page tells how you can enjoy SMO's VR mini-games.
    Read more

  • Capcom Brings The Classic Arcade Experience Home With New Arcade Stick
    Play all your favorite old-school Capcom arcade games the right way in the comfort of your own home.
    Read more

  • Conan Exiles Gets Treasures of Turan DLC and New Season Pass
    Treasures of Turan brings a multitude of new items and gear to Conan Exiles, while the season pass gives players access to the three additional DLC packs expected to release this year.
    Read more

  • Population Zero Void, Technocrat, and Xenobiote Factions Detailed
    Enplex outlines Population Zero's character progression routes and what players can expect from the game's three initial factions.
    Read more

  • Kitana Busts Out The Blade Fans In The Latest Mortal Kombat 11 Trailer
    Kitana joins the ranks of Mortal Kombat 11 characters, and she is mad.
    Read more

  • Reggie Fils-Aime Steps Down Today as Doug Bowser Steps In as NOA President
    Doug Bowser steps in as Nintendop of America's new President today, with Reggie Fils-Aime starting his hard-earned retirement.
    Read more

  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 3.0 Incoming With Stage Builder, Joker Details Revealed
    A surprise info dump from Nintendo unveiled Joker's fighting style and a range of other new tidbits for SSBM Ultimate's 3.0 update.
    Read more

  • Jump Force DLC's Final Lineup Announced, Includes All Might
    The My Hero Academia character will join others from Naruto, Bleach, and more when the DLC fighters make their way to Jump Force soon.
    Read more

  • Sanrio X Tetris Collaboration Announced, Games and Merchandise Planned
    The partnership will produce a new online game coming soon, along with the potential for a wide range of other licensed goods based on both brands. Read more

  • Mojang's Minecraft Movie Is Just A Few Years Away
    The Minecraft movie has a fixed release date. But fans are going to have to be patient.
    Read more

  • Changes Inbound for Elder Scrolls Online, Including Game World, PvP
    Elder Scrolls Online PVP updates and Cyrodil updates detailed in PTS notes for Elsweyr.
    Read more


  • Outward Review: Slow and Steady Wins the Race
    Outward isn't revolutionary, but there's a lot to be said for the sense of achievement the game grants in both single and multiplayer. Read more

  • One Finger Death Punch 2 Review — Laser Focused Kung Fu
    One Finger Death Punch 2 is a deep, rhythmic fighting game that attempts to replicate the feel of classic kung fu movies. Read more

  • God's Trigger Review: Earn Your Way into Heaven with Ultraviolence
    Heaven's under new management. It takes a little while to come into its own, but 'God’s Trigger' is a decent weekend’s worth of splatterpunk entertainment. Read more

  • Super Dragon Ball Heroes World Mission Review: Its Own Anomaly
    Super Dragon Ball Heroes World Mission is split between a great card-based combat system and not-so-great everything else, but it's still fun for series fans. Read more

  • Katana ZERO Review: Modern Beauty
    If I have one complaint about Katana ZERO, it's that there's not already a sequel. Read more


  • Tales of an Interview with Unbound's Alien Pixel Studios
    We got the chance to speak with Unbound's designer, Sergiu Craitoiu, about the game's origins, inspiration, and the struggles and joys of being an indie developer. Read more

  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Will Be The Best Star Wars Game In The EA Era
    Our Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order reactions? All early signs, including Cal Kestis himself and the strong attention to detail, point to Respawn and EA finally giving Star Wars fans the game they want. Read more

  • Hands-On: Feeling the Burn With the Indie Roguelike Card Game ‘Deck of Ashes’
    Some people may write off Deck of Ashes as a quick cash grab, but as it turns out, it's got some tricks all its own. This new roguelike card game just hit Steam Early Access. Read more

  • Hades Brings a Narrative Change to a Monotonous Genre
    Roguelites are everywhere, but Supergiant Games' take on the genre is influenced by their narrative traditions, giving purpose to the endless loop that they tend to offer. Read more

  • The Nintendo Switch eShop Needs Some Sort of Review System
    There's no consumer-friendly reason for the Nintendo Switch eShop not to have some sort of review system. Read more

  • Etherborn Early Impressions: The Meditative Puzzle Game
    Altered Matter's Etherborn is a beautiful puzzle game that will make you work to solve it. Read more

  • Classic Galactic Conquest Could Revitalize EA's Modern Battlefront Series
    DICE's modern Battlefront series forewent the original titles' galactic conquest mode, a mistake that may have cost the modern titles their full potential. Read more


  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Pre-Order Guide
    Looking to snag your copy of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order? Look no further, because we've rounded up all the Jedi: Fallen Order pre-order and pre-order bonus information you need. Read more

  • World War Z Class Tier List PvE: Characters From Best to Worst
    Can't decide which PvE class to choose in World War Z? This class tier list will quickly outline the best possible character in the game and which players they're best suited for.
    Read more.

  • World War Z Class Tier List PvEvP: Characters From Best to Worst
    World War Z's PvEvP multiplayer mode has a total of 10 classes, but not all of them are equal. This list ranks the available classes from best to worst.
    Read more

  • Best Weapons for PvE and PvEvP in World War Z
    Be prepared for all types of combat in any mode with the help of this guide to World War Z's best weapons. 
    Read more

  • Best Character Builds for World War Z's Campaign Mode
    Character builds can greatly impact your time in World War Z. This guide shows you a few optimal builds and what skills you need.
    Read more

  • How to Make Gold in Elder Scrolls Online
    Gold is essential in the Elder Scrolls Online. This guide has a few tips to get you started quickly.
    Read more

  • How To Find Sea Urchins in My Time at Portia
    If you need a steady supply of spines for crafting and completing commissions, this guide shows you exactly where to go to harvest large numbers of sea urchins quickly.
    Read more

  • My Time at Portia: Helping the Color Blind Sanwa
    Not sure how to get the color blindness correcting glasses or who to give them to? We walk you through this quest from beginning to end to increase your relationship with the barber Sanwa! Read more

  • Kenshi's Best Base Locations Detailed
    Not sure where to start building your base so you are immediately killed by bandits or run out of resources? We show all the best starter locations!
    Read more

  • How to Find Your Risk of Rain 2 Save Location and Behold Loads of Stats
    RoR2's save location is pretty easy to find, and worth it for the look at your sweet stats.
    Read more. 

Check back next weekend for another roundup of news, reviews, guides, and features. 

Tales of an Interview with Unbound's Alien Pixel Studios Thu, 18 Apr 2019 15:17:36 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

There are a lot of indie games out there. A lot. Sometimes, it's hard to find the one that really grabs you, a problem not helped by difficult to navigate platforms like the Nintendo eShop (but the eShop's problems are another story).

Other times, that one just happens to fall right in front of you.

That's what happened to me a few weeks ago. I was doing a write-up based on a press release for an upcoming indie game by Romanian developers Alien Pixel Studios called Unbound: Worlds Apart, set to release later this year. The trailer, premise, and inspiration behind the game really stood out as something unique to me.

So I reached out and asked if the devs would be willing to speak further about the game, its origins, and its evolution over time, and happily, Sergiu Craitoiu, Unbound's designer, responded with a wealth of detail.

From Humble Beginnings

Unbound: Worlds Apart has been in development for several years. In that time, a lot has changed.

Originally, the devs were inspired by a few particular things: the idea of the main character using a sphere to manipulate the world and the desire to create a dark tale around that character.

Craitoiu said the goal was creating a 3D game — but 3D requires a lot more in the way of resources, which the team couldn't spare at the time. Instead, they worked on creating a prototype in 2D, and it stuck from there.

Like all creations, there are some specific inspirations behind Unbound. Craitoiu said Olga, the team's artist, was particularly influenced by games like Ori and the Blind Forest, Hollow Knight, and Limbo, while Craitoiu himself was inspired by the likes of Portal, Braid, Diablo II, and The Swapper.

However, Craitoiu provided some interesting information about how the core mechanic, the dimension-altering sphere, came from outside the world of gaming:

At that time I was listening to a UK metal band called Architects, and they have a video clip on Youtube, where they have a huge bubble behind them making a contrast between black and white, and from that moment I knew that we could apply some sphere or portals like that in the game.

The early prototype had the sphere extend to the entire screen, which completely altered the environment, but also had the potential to make things pretty confusing for players. Thus, the limited sphere extending out from main character Soli was born.

From there, Craitoiu said every aspect of the game continued to evolve. The first prototype was linear, and he likened progression to Limbo in how straightforward it was. Additionally, the story itself — one of the game's key features and an important part of its conception — was practically nonexistent.

When the team realized that the core mechanic of switching portals on and off wasn't satisfying enough, even if it was visually appealing, Craitoiu said they knew it was time for a change.

They thought about how they could revise the portal system and settled on the idea of adding magical qualities to them. Now, they could...

[...] change physical aspects of to the character and monsters or making environment elements behave differently. So instead of one portal, now we have different portals that can surprise the player while they are playing.

A good bit of that comes across in the trailer, which sees Soli altering enemies, or making them disappear completely, and apparently imbuing platforms and items with something that allows them to be moved.

The progression system got an overhaul too. Craitoiu said he wouldn't consider Unbound a Metroidvania game, but it does require players to unlock certain abilities or solve specific quests in order to advance further.

Apart from that, though, players are free to move through worlds and complete quests and puzzles as they see fit. Some puzzles are completely optional as well, and you can still finish the game without doing absolutely everything there is to do.

Not Your Usual Fairytale

The story itself grew as a result of everything else; Craitoiu commented that "as the game grew, we felt the need for a richer and more engaging story as well."

That story is based on the concept of a dark fairytale. Rather than modeling Unbound's story on a certain kind of fairytale, like the Brothers' Grimm stories, the team works with a fairly loose definition of the term: a story where the forces of good face off against the forces of evil.

In Unbound's case, the evil has completely invaded the world and threatens to envelop it totally.

That's a good part of where darkness aspect of the dark fairytale comes from as well. It influences everything else: the characters Soli encounters, Soli himself and his tale, and the tarnished environments he'll traverse.

There've been a few games in recent years with a dark storybook tone to them, like this year's The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince and 2017's A Rose in the Twilight.

However, Craitoiu said the team didn't really have any precedents in mind when they chose the feel and tone of their tale, nor were they intentionally trying to advance it as a vehicle for telling game stories: "For us, really it was just about trying to find the right story and tone for our game, and we're really pleased with the results so far."

Taking the Plunge

It helps that Unbound has, thus far, met with very positive reception at conferences where the dev team showed it off. That reception also led to a big change in how they approached the game and development in general.

Like with most indie devs, the Alien Pixel team has to juggle real life responsibilities and jobs with their creative endeavors.

But they recently decided to switch to development full time based on the reception the game has received and how much they believe in its potential, even turning down job offers from overseas so they could stick with development. "It was quite stressful to do that," Craitoiu says.

Part of the stress came from the hopes and expectations of those around them:

You always have that pressure from people close to you to have a 'proper' job. Nevertheless...working for your own projects is so much more satisfying and challenging than working for any other job, where you do the pretty much same stuff every day.

That Alien Pixel is a team of two adds to the challenge and variety, and Craitoiu describes the setup as offering a refreshing sense of freedom.

Each day presents new opportunities and things to learn, and the two can choose whether they want to tackle the story one day and marketing the next or spend some time tackling the development itself.

Still, many indie games with great potential never make it to the market or suffer from lack of resources. To that end, Alien Pixel is launching a Kickstarter campaign on May 7to help ensure Unbound is in the best form possible when it releases.

Nearing the End

The campaign will have two primary goals. The one is development-oriented, as you would expect. Craitoiu said the team hopes the campaign can raise enough so Unbound's development doesn't have to be rushed. They really want the ability to focus on sound design, music, and video production, along with bringing on some additional team members.

Crowdfunding does more than just raise money, though. It also builds communities of people interested in a specific product, which is exactly what Craitoiu hopes happens with Unbound's campaign:

We also want to increase our community of the game, which is really important to us, because they can help us with feedback and raise morale through the production. We are really happy to already have such a nice supportive community on Discord and on other social media like Twitter and Facebook, but we still want to grow it even more.

For much the same reason, Alien Pixel is planning to release a demo of Unbound: Worlds Apart April 24, and it's set to be a meaty demo as well.

Craitoiu said the goal is for the demo to introduce players to several dangerous environments, where they uncover a portion of the story by solving some puzzles. It'll also get players familiar with the portal system through using it to solve puzzles with a range of difficulties.

And, of course, it'll show off the platforming features and art style.


Alien Pixel Studio's three-year long journey is nearing its end. Unbound is expected to launch on PC sometime in 2020. But in the meantime, if you want to keep up with developments and news, you can follow the dev team on Discord and Twitter.

A huge thanks to Sergiu Craitoiu for taking the time to answer all my questions and to Lewis Denby of Game if You Are for facilitating the interview!

Sega Genesis Mini's Second List of Announced Games Is Fantastic Thu, 18 Apr 2019 13:30:46 -0400 Ashley Shankle

The previously announced lineup for the Sega Genesis Mini was decent before, but as of today, it's starting to look like a must-buy. If you're a player that either lost your Genesis sometime in the past near-30 years or simply did not experience that generation, the Genesis mini just got more enticing.

There are some good games on this thing!

Sega announced 10 more titles to be packed into the upcoming throwback console. For fans of the Sega Genesis, it's close to impossible to say no to the list:

  • Earthworm Jim
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
  • World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
  • Contra: Hard Corps
  • Streets of Rage 2
  • Thunder Force III
  • Super Fantasy Zone
  • Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
  • Landstalker

Castle of Illusion? World of Illusion? Landstalker? Shinobi 3?! Okay okay, I'm sold. Everything on here is great.

These aren't the only titles announced for the Sega Genesis Mini so far, though, and they do not appear to be the last. Twenty games have been announced for the miniature console so far, and 20 more should be announced over the coming months.

The other games already announced for the Genesis Mini are:

  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Ecco the Dolphin
  • Castlevania: Bloodlines
  • Space Harrier 2
  • Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
  • ToeJam & Earl
  • Comix Zone
  • Altered Beast
  • Gunstar Heroes

This is also a pretty great list. Between these 20 titles, there is an amazing lineup and array of games packed into the Mini as it stands.

Who knows what's going to be announced next maybe some Phantasy Star, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, or Jungle Strike or Desert Strike.

It's literally impossible to tell, but with the star-studded line up the Sega Genesis Mini has announced so far, anything is possible here. Nobody expected any of the Disney games to make it, but we've got two announced already.

It seems the sky is the limit for the Genesis Mini lineup and my $79.99 is ready for launch on September 19 of this year.

Reggie Fils-Aime Steps Down Today as Doug Bowser Steps In as NOA President Mon, 15 Apr 2019 15:34:27 -0400 Ashley Shankle

We had fair warning, but the day has finally come for Reggie Fils-Aime to step down as President of Nintendo of America and enter retirement.

The gaming community at large knows Fils-Aime for his iconic presentations for Nintendo over the years, and for his friendly and welcoming demeanor.

Reggie's going to be leaving some big shoes to fill, but who better to step into them but Nintendo's own, aptly-named, Doug Bowser?

Bowser worked at Nintendo of America as its Senior President of Sales and Marketing since May of 2015, a year before the Nintendo Switch was revealed and a year before Nintendo made some big changes to its image.

If anyone were to take the over for Fils-Aims, it'd be Doug Bowser. Not just because of the bizarrely appropriate name.

Though he may be leaving Nintendo of America, Fils-Aime will probably continue to be known throughout the gaming community for years to come. His audacious E3 introduction all those years ago set the tone for his public persona. The rest, as they say, is history.

Reggie Fils-Aime has been synonymous with Nintendo of America for over a decade. In a way, it feels like another sign of an end of an era at Nintendo.

Surely fans and Nintendo of America themselves can feel confident with Doug Bowser at the head. This is not a day too be sad, but one to usher in a new era of Nintendo. I'm eager to see where the company will go under Doug Bowser. You should be, too.

Hands-On: Feeling the Burn With the Indie Roguelike Card Game Deck of Ashes Mon, 15 Apr 2019 10:17:04 -0400 Thomas Wilde

I described Deck of Ashes to a friend of mine the other day as “Slay the Spire if it was Russian and jankier.”

Usually, I hate doing that — it does most things a disservice if you talk about them strictly in terms of what they resemble, since it sounds like you're warming up for a dismissal — but here, it’s difficult not to.

Deck of Ashes is very much playing in Slay the Spire’s basic genre pool: it’s a dark fantasy game set after an unthinkable disaster. The characters travel through a blighted land to set things right. The maps are random, even simple monsters can be tricky, and everything’s represented by playing cards.

In the world of Deck of Ashes, a group of adventurers, the Outcasts, destroyed an artifact during a fight among themselves. The result is the Ash Curse, which has swept the world with a magical storm of drifting cinders. Humans go mad or get possessed, animals mutate, new monsters appear, and the land itself becomes twisted.

One of the adventurers is subsequently approached by a man who calls himself the Ash Master, and they are fast-talked into going on an expedition to end the Ash Curse. Naturally, this means going straight to the last places you’d ever want to be, fighting demons, undead, and possessed humans.

At the start of a level in Deck of Ashes, you’re set down at the center of a map and sent out to gather resources. You only have so much time before the local map’s central antagonist finds you, which is represented by a set number of moves leading to an unavoidable boss fight.

In the meantime, you collect gold, Ash, and other items to buy upgrades, create new cards, and bribe the Ash Master’s fellow vendors for healing, recipes, and deck construction. The map is full of combat encounters, treasure chests, random events, and nodes that can be mined, none of which is predictable.

What separates Deck of Ashes from a lot of the similar card-game roguelikes out there is that most of your cards are expended on use. Playing a typical card burns it and places it in the Deck of Ashes, where it’ll stay until you somehow get it back.

You can get the Ash Master to bring your whole deck back at once every 24 moves. If you get to a point where there aren’t enough cards left in your primary deck to draw a full hand at the start of a turn, you automatically receive a zero-cost card, Ash Pact, which lets you sacrifice health to bring back six random cards.

However, as you go, you also collect cards that only have an effect if they’re in the Deck of Ashes, typically some kind of passive buff, as well as Renew effects that can recover a random burned card.

After a fight, you get a handful of Rest Points that let you bring spent cards back, but the same points also let you restore health, so it’s a careful balancing act. You can try to arrange it so you get an Ash Pact on your last turn, exchanging health for random cards, but that runs the risk of bringing back cards that only work if they’re Ash.

On top of that, a typical combat encounter usually has some kind of gimmick. At the start of a turn, you’re given 5 Mana to spend on six cards. It's typical stuff — spend Mana to deal damage, etc. — but even early in the game, you run into monsters that have some passive ability or interesting rotation that force you to change up your plan.

One enemy lowers your Mana pool for a turn, then hits you with an effect that does damage based on how much Mana you were able to spend; another shoves unusable or detrimental Ailment cards into your deck if anything else dies while it’s on the field, which stick around after combat like a cigarette in your drink.

There’s also an interesting flow to the game as it stands right now. With something like Slay the Spire, the game is built mostly around decision-making. You’re trying to get a deck built in Act One based on what it hands you, then reinforce that archetype as you go until it’s hopefully equal to the challenges in Acts Two and Three.

In Deck of Ashes, there’s a similar challenge at work. Right now, the only character I’ve been able to unlock is Lucia the Eternal Flame, a fire mage who you’d think would be all about direct nukes, but I’ve had the most success so far with a build that’s all about stacking multiple damage-over-time effects.

Maybe I build them up on a target to bust out Piercing Fire for a strong single-target nuke, or stack a bunch at once with Pure Fire, then hit Ignition to spread them to every other enemy on the field. Ideally, I do it with a particular Scroll card in my Deck of Ashes, so I regenerate slightly for every burn effect that’s active at once, which turns Lucia from the “squishy wizard” archetype to a pyromaniacal Wolverine. The more stuff is on fire at once, the harder I heal.

However, that build was more or less done by the end of the first level. Since then, I haven’t found much I’d want to take that would complement it. Most of the extra recipes I’ve taken have been for quality-of-life increases, like Healing Balm (four turns of regeneration) or Scroll of Resurrection (25% chance when one card’s burned, another one reenters play).

The deck is pretty much built, and now the challenge — assuming I don’t wade into a fight with no good cards like an idiot — is coming almost entirely from weird and sadistic enemy builds.

There’s one monster in the third level that’s got me stuck right now. It's all about throwing junk cards into my deck via Ailments, then leaving me with a deck that’s just "full enough of crap I can’t get rid of" that my active cards never drop low enough to trigger an Ash Pact. Either I kill this thing in eight turns or so, or I’m not going to kill it at all.

Other enemies simply rock up to the plate and hit me with a single big nuke every turn, or play weird games where their attacks hit harder based on how much Mana I’ve got left  then raise my Mana pool on my next turn, which means it might not be possible to spend all of it.

Another one, the Cannibal, looks frightening until you notice that all his big hits are going straight at the other enemies he’s with because if he scores a kill, he instantly summons a second Cannibal. There’s some admirably twisted encounter design at work here, and I have to salute it even as I hate it.

There are a few incidental bits of weirdness scattered throughout Deck of Ashes, of course, as you might expect from any Early Access game.

The upgrade systems from your camp screen require you to gather hard-to-find items to purchase bonuses that really ought to be free, like getting the Herbalist to remove Ailments from your deck. There are a lot of cards that don’t appear to have any actual use, or which might be great in a theoretical endgame but appear too early to be worth taking.

Also, dying in this game sucks. If you buy a Resurrection Rite and then die, you respawn with half your resources and none of your accumulated recipes, which effectively means you’ll want to start over anyway.

Deck of Ashes plays more slowly than other card games do, so maybe the Rite’s worth it once you’ve gotten into the later levels just so you don’t have to repeat a couple of hours of gameplay, but the death penalty still seems remarkably overtuned.

It’s also got a few of the usual problems you get with a beta. The cutscenes stutter a lot, the animation is so weird and minimal that I wonder if it’s a deliberate artistic choice, and the dialogue rarely matches the subtitles. Deck of Ashes is playable and stable, but it’s still rough around the edges.

There’s a real game here, though, with some smart thinking behind it, and it's in with a chance. I’d be really surprised to find out that the elevator pitch for Deck of Ashes didn’t involve Slay the Spire in some way, but by focusing on your cards’ constant burn cycle, it manages to differentiate itself almost immediately.

This is one to watch as it moves through Early Access, especially if you’re looking for a new card game with which to use up all your free time.

GameSkinny Weekend Download: PUBG is a Crime, Weedcraft Lights Up, PSN IDs Change, and More Sat, 13 Apr 2019 09:30:01 -0400 GS_Staff

It's the weekend again, and GameSkinny's Weekend Download is back. 

Here's most of everything we published this week in one easy to digest roundup, including news regarding Nepal's criminalization of PUBG; the release of Weedcraft Inc; Nintendo teasing new Smash stuffs, PSN IDs finally changing, and much, much more. 

As usual, we've added links in case you find a headline that tickles your fancy and want to read more. We've also broken things down by category to make it easy to find what you're looking for. And finally, we've left out posts that are now meaningless because the event or sale has already ended. 

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy.  


  • Nepal Makes Playing PUBG a Crime, But Is It Just a Scapegoat for a Larger Problem?
    PUBG might be a crime in Kathmandu now, but the ruling masks other, fundamental issues in Nepalese society. Read more

  • Nintendo Quietly Teases Stage Builder for Smash Bros. Ultimate
    A new Nintendo Switch commercial casually shows Stage Builder mode for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in a way that suggests it might not have been an accident. Read more

  • PSN Online ID Change Rolls Out for All PS4 Owners Today
    PlayStation 4 owners can change their PSN Online IDs starting today, though a range of potential issues remains from the test period. Read more. Read more

  • Inside Xbox Coming April 16, Promises Rage 2, Pre-E3 News, and More
    The hour-long Inside Xbox presentation will also have information about new backwards compatibility games, Game Pass additions, and the Sea of Thieves' anniversary update. Read more

  • CD Projekt Red Hiring Release Manager for GWENT, Cyberpunk 2077
    While a job opening for Cyberpunk 2077 has the internet ablaze with speculation, it's not clear the highly-anticipated RPG is closer to getting a release date. Read more

  • Sniper Elite V2 Remastered Shoots For May Release
    The release of Sniper Elite V2 isn't far off. Here's what we know about the release date, price, extras, and multiplayer for the upgraded version. Read more

  • Resident Evil 2 All Rewards Unlock DLC Now Available
    Unlocking all of RE2 Remake's special extras just got a lot easier thanks to a new and inexpensive bit of DLC. Read more

  • Fallout 76 Patch 8 to Add Non-Cosmetic Premium Item
    Patch 8 lets players spend money to buy Repair Kits in a marked departure from the game's previous stance on premium item microtransactions. Read more

  • Lucky Friends and Avatar Poses Making Their Way to Pokemon GO
    Pokemon GO is getting a new update bringing avatar poses for multiple situations and a streamlined method for getting Lucky Pokemon. Read more

  • Pokemon GO Eggstravaganza Introduces Shiny Buneary, Candy Bonuses, More
    The 2019 Eggstravaganza Event will make Egg hatching faster, increase chances of finding certain Baby Pokemon, and extend the effects of certain items, among other things. Read more

  • Overwatch's Storm Rising Event Will Run April 16 to May 6
    Overwatch's newest event picks up the fight against Doomfist, and it may be time for a new character to join the ranks. Read more

  • Surviving Mars: Green Planet Expansion Announced, Brings Terraforming
    Surviving Mars is finally getting its first expansion in Green Planet. Finally, the game will be getting a much-requested terraforming feature. Read more

  • NISA Bringing Utawarerumono: Zan to PlayStation 4 Fall 2019
    Zan is an action RPG re-imagining of Mask of Deception and will feature 12 playable heroes from the Utawarerumono universe, along with multiplayer and fully animated cutscenes. Read more

  • PlayStation 4 to Support Disney+ Streaming Service Starting November 12
    The Disney investors' livestream provided information about new Disney+ exclusives, offline viewing, and game consoles that could support Disney+ in the future. Read more

  • New Video Game Streaming Platform Hopes to Make Retro Accessible
    Antstream will offer a subscription-based service with a curated selection of several hundred games and is expected to launch this summer. Read more

  • Lightstream Expands Streaming Services, Acquires GameWisp Monetization Platform
    Lightstream continues to expand its services with the acquisition of GameWisp, offering streamers new ways to monetize their streams and reward viewers. Read more


  • Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain Review — Polishing Out the Absurdity
    Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain is an interesting side entry with new mechanics and a new look. It's just too bad there's something missing from the formula to make it truly great. Read more

  • Weedcraft Inc Review: Familiar But Robust Foray into the Weed Business Sim Genre
    Weedcraft Inc doesn't do anything amazing, but it's your best bet if you want to grow and sell weed in a video game. Read more

  • CryoFall Early Access Impressions: We've Played This Game Before, Many Times
    You've already played this survival sim about a hundred times before, but hey, now it's in 2D with a slightly revamped skill system, so that makes it different...right? Read more

  • Vaporum Review: Not Quite BioShock or Grimrock
    Vaporum is a throwback to an old-school genre, but it doesn't bring about a renaissance for the grid-based dungeon crawler on console. Read more


  • Why the School Setting is Perfect for Trails of Cold Steel
    School settings aren't regarded as ingredients for the best RPGs in most cases, but Trails of Cold Steel uses it in a unique way to turn tropes and expectations on their head. Read more

  • Football Fantasy Interview: Turning Football Into A Tabletop RPG
    We interview Football Fantasy creator Samuel Ashton Roberts about his successful Kickstarter campaign, and what inspired him to mash up football with tabletop RPG gaming! Read more

  • What's Happening with Local Multiplayer?
    Here is what is going on with local co-op multiplayer gaming and its development. Read more


  • How to Beat the Guardian Ape in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
    Looking for ways to beat the Guardian Ape boss in Sekiro? This guide is all about how to do just that with ease and efficiency. Read more

  • Best Armor in Outward and Where to Find It
    Here are five of the best armor sets in Outward and short instructions on how to get them all. Read more

  • Outward Complete Skill Locations Guide
    Whether you want to become a rune sage, master the path of the wild hunter, or learn the ways of the shaman, we can show you every skill trainer you need to find in Outward! Read more

  • How to Cook Meat with a Campfire in Conan Exiles
    Can't figure out how to start the campfire and actually get meat to cook? We show one simple trick to light the fire and avoid starvation in Conan Exiles. Read more

  • How to Get Thick Leather in Conan Exiles: Creature Locations and Item Drops
    Thick hide can be found by hunting certain animals in Conan Exiles. This guide provides a list of animals, their locations, and the crafting items they drop. Read more

  • How to Clear the Long Road as Fast as Possible in Risk of Rain 2
    The Long Road doesn't have to be so long. Check this out to see how to clear this arduous task a bit faster. Read more

  • How to Get All Apparel Items in The Division 2's Apparel Event #1: Invasion
    The Division 2's first Invasion Apparel Event is here. This guide tells you what the event is, what new cosmetic items are up for grabs, and how to get Invasion Apparel Cache Keys. Read more

  • The Division 2: Hidden (Hydden) Hotel Locations
    Having trouble finding the hidden hotels scattered across The Division 2? Check out this guide and discover them all. Read more

  • The Division 2 Demolitionist Specialization Guide: Best Skills and Talents
    These are the best skills and talents for the Demolitionist specialization in The Division 2., helping you max the critical chance for the specialization and more. Read more

  • The Division 2 Survivalist Specialization Guide: Best Skills and Talents
    Survivalist specialization can get extremely dangerous with this special build of skills and talents in The Division 2. Read more

  • How to Find Printer Filament in The Division 2
    What's printer filament? Why's it important? We're here to explain that with this guide to The Division 2. Read more

  • Elder Scrolls Blades Chests Guide — How To Farm Gold Chests Effectively
    Tired of waiting three hours for useless silver chests? Our guide shows you how to game the system and discard them at will to only open gold chests! Read more

  • Mortal Kombat 11 Fatality Guide
    Finish your fights in style with our guide to every Mortal Kombat 11 fatality. Read more

  • Best Standard Hearthstone Decks for Rise of Shadows Meta
    The Rise of Shadows meta will be tough to beat, but here are nine best decks that will help you get to the legendary rank in Hearthstone faster this season. Read more

Check back next weekend for another roundup of news, reviews, guides, and features. 

Football Fantasy Interview: Turning Football Into A Tabletop RPG Mon, 08 Apr 2019 16:11:27 -0400 RobotsFightingDinosaurs

Gaming and nerd culture has come a long way since the 1980s. Hobbies like video games, cosplay, and tabletop RPGs are now mainstream parts of modern life, almost completely accepted into the larger tapestry of pop culture as a whole. That said, there's still a little bit of culture shock when the less nerdy reveal a secret love for Dungeons & Dragons.

So it might surprise you to know that a Kickstarter campaign that sought to combine gridiron football with Dungeons & Dragons in a single ruleset zine met its funding goal and is now moving forward. For fans of both, the appeal is obvious.

There's a wealth of created sports in fictional worlds where magic is woven into normal society, from Harry Potter's quidditch to Final Fantasy's blitzball to The Legend of Korra's pro-bending, each capturing folks' imagination by introducing magical elements to sport. So why not do the same with football?

Read on for our interview with Football Fantasy creator Samuel Ashton Roberts!

GS: What inspired the RPG in the first place? How did you get the idea to mash up football and tabletop RPG gaming?

Samuel Ashton Roberts: As a longtime fan of both football and Dungeons & Dragons, I have experimented with mixing the two for a long time. I've run football themed combats, puzzles that required football moves to complete, and integrated other elements in campaigns I have run over the years. I also played a fair amount of Blood Bowl as a young man, and like the general idea of exploring a game like football with the speculative fiction of fantasy and science fiction worlds.

In my 20's my Sundays were watching NFL games all day and playing D&D all night, so it seemed an appropriate thing to explore. I am particularly interested in rule sets that inspire creative and amazing play from humans, and both D&D and football do that.

Without getting in the weeds too much, what was it like to adapt these rules so that they fit well? Football is one of the most complicated sports out there, and Dungeons & Dragons is one of the most complicated tabletop games out there. Was it as much of a hassle as it seems like it'd be to make the two dovetail?

It was about figuring out what parts of each experience I was interested in - there are parts of both that are very tactical and about moment to moment decision making.

For the core of the zine, I focus on those, and that adaptation took some tinkering with, but I was able to find what I believe to be a satisfying place where they combine and feed each other. I focused around the choices of play calling and route running as seen through the turn-based D&D tactical combat, as there is a satisfying core of D&D that can create the sort of field leverage choices that we are regularly confronted with in football.

The rest of the zine is sort of how the rest of both games (outside moment to moment conflict between players on the field for football / outside of combat situations for D&D) can inform one another and be used together - i.e. what does a football themed campaign look like for D&D, what is a player class for a football player, what do football stats look like, who could be a football encounter or NPC, etc..

Since the Kickstarter was successful, it seems like you found an audience, even for a product like this, that could seem niche from the outside. What did you do to find your audience, and who do you think your audience is?

I think my audience is fans of Bloodbowl, and old school D&D fans who also like football. Mostly I tweeted promotionally about the zine, and I tried to recruit or reach influencers with a known interest in both. A few retweets from them, plus regular, steady promotion on my side and the reach of Kickstarter as a platform helped me find that fairly niche audience.

What was development like in terms of balancing everything in a way where the entire play group can have fun? Football is a sport that's defined usually by individual play, spurred on by a supporting cast that doesn't get much credit. How has that translated into an RPG where the spotlight is shared?

This is a fabulous question. The balancing came into making sure that non-QB players have a significant effect on the 'field.' The rules are structured so that when the throw happens, every player's position is a factor in determining the success or failure of the throw and the end result. Making sure each position had an effect that felt equal was the most difficult balancing act, as well as making sure that players who acted 'after' the throw had meaningful choices to make.

How has the game changed over its development?

Not a ton - the original rules had deep rulings and structures for magic on the field, but I decided to let a 'league' determine what was legal and not, and then simply adjudicate the physical effects of magic spells under the same rules. Also, as the content is being finalized, I'm finding that there is a depth to league creating and NPC creating that I am finding engaging, and I have built the zine to include more of that (without abandoning the system core.)

What is your dream scenario, in terms of people playing your game, or integrating it into an already-existing campaign? What do you want to see people doing with the rules you have created?

I would love to see someone start a football themed D&D campaign, where the players all work for a team or league. I expect more one-offs where an adventure is football themed, or DMs leverage the rules to have an encounter that is a football game in their current campaigns.


Popular shows, streams, and podcasts like Critical Role, The Adventure Zone, and Stranger Things have brought the world of tabletop gaming to a constantly growing, diverse audience.

It bodes well for the future that endlessly creative and enterprising folks like Samuel Ashton Roberts (and countless others!) are creating rulesets that riff on and augment the standard D&D rules to cater to fans of different genres (Check out the one-pager subreddit, you won't be disappointed).

At the end of the day, Football Fantasy isn't the biggest or most ambitious project on Kickstarter, but it's a unique collaboration of two things most would think is impossible -- and its success is a very good sign for dungeon masters and adventurers alike.

Many thanks to Samuel Ashton Roberts for the interview, and best of luck to Football Fantasy when it releases into the wild!

CryoFall Early Access Impressions: We've Played This Game Before, Many Times Mon, 08 Apr 2019 15:57:10 -0400 Ty Arthur

Good lord, yet another indie early access survival game you say? Yep, CryoFall is now throwing its hat into this very, very crowded ring and hoping to come out a champion.

Conan Exiles, Ark, Outlaws of the Old WestOutward, Don't Starve Together,  **deep breath**  Rust, The Forest, Terraria, Project Winter, Rimworld, Neo Scavenger... the survival genre is rapidly becoming over saturated and there's not enough unique content to differentiate each title.

I'm gonna have to get to the point pretty quick with this one -- while there are a few changes to the skill system that might pique your interest, on the whole CryoFall doesn't do anything different from any other survival title.

Survival Game Iteration 27,396

 Punching a starfish to death for a bit of raw meat

While the recently released Outward at least gave us something slightly outside the norm with a fantasy storyline and co-op gameplay, here the only thing that's really "different" with CryoFall is the 2D presentation and cartoon-style character models.

Nearly every aspect of this game is so familiar at this point it just all feels unnecessary. Grab plants, rocks, and fallen branches. Craft an axe to get more rocks and wood. Make a torch, put together a campfire, start building walls... we've done all this so, so, so many times before and CryoFall doesn't particularly do it better or in a more interesting way than any other survival game.

But hey, this time you'll be vexed by crabs, snakes, and armadillos in an indie 2D world of instead of dinosaurs and zombies in a 3D one. *Yawn*

In typical survival style, you unlock recipes via a research tree using points gained by crafting, fighting, and so on. The tree evolves from basic stuff like wood doors and lamps all the way up to energy weapons and advanced mining equipment.

 Random color shirt guy #45277

There are also some serious limitations in this early access release that are worth mentioning. For instance, there's only a male character model, and when you join a server you just get a random configuration of colors on your clothes.

Considering how simple it would be to tweak the colors on this pixel art and make additional models to select at startup, I don't see why that would be the case, even with an early access launch.

The only significant changes CryoFall presents by going 2D are in limiting the field of vision with the top-down viewpoint, and allowing larger numbers of players on the same server.

While any server can host up to 200 players at a time, that number doesn't particularly matter right now due to the low player count. I've never actually seen more than 80 on at a single time, with the North American server often at 30 or fewer players.

Minor Shakeups To The Survival Style

So for survival veterans, what are the positive aspects of this game aside from the 2D visuals? There are three elements in particular that CryoFall has going for it at the moment.

First and foremost, this is a remarkably stable experience for an online early access game. That very well may be due to the reduced resources of a 2D game that only has to render a small portion of the map at a time. Whatever the reason, CryoFall runs significantly smoother than big dogs like Ark or a horde of other early access survival titles that are drastically in need of more polish.

Second, CryoFall offers up a map editor through Steam, so you can basically run your own client / server combo to play around in the world and figure everything out before going live with other players. 

That's a very wise course of action, for one simple reason...

 Dunno why this guy is shooting at me, but he is

There is an immediately aggressive (I'd probably go so far as to say homicidal) player base. You were walking near an area where I'd built something? Don't care that you clearly are weaponless and have just started exploring, I'm gonna kill ya!

I don't know what it is about the low player count, but right now everyone is basically an aggro troll playing a battle royale game instead of a survival sim (you guys know Rapture Rejects exists, right?). The developers have stated PvE servers are in the works to deal with that issue, but they aren't available yet.

Aside from the aggressive player base, the 2D take on survival leads to some player conflict you might not expect. It's not all that difficult to construct really big, map-consuming towns by using simple wood walls that effectively block other players out of a segment of the world.

People are already building all over on top of each other in a race to take over the map, which makes to shudder to think of what sort of chaotic free for all will be occurring when there are actually 200 people playing. That will not be a newbie friendly situation at all.

So what about that third thing that is different with CryoFall?

That's the skill system, which I have to admit is fairly rewarding, with skills unlocked as you gain experience by completing tasks like mining, wood cutting, building, and so on.

The truly interesting part here is that the developers announced mod support for the skill framework, so (if the player base ever gets large enough to attract talented modders), this means eventually we'll see custom skills to change the game in unexpected ways.

The Bottom Line In Early Access

If you're a survival fanatic and have to play every iteration of this genre, CryoFall might be worth it for you to try out. Likewise if you prefer the top-down 2D style over the often messy 3D visuals of bigger games like Ark, then give it a shot.

Otherwise, just simply steer clear. There are dozens of other survival games out there, and this one doesn't dethrone any of them.

If CryoFall ever catches on and gets some serious mod support, it could be more worthwhile to a bigger section of gamers. Unfortunately at the moment this is just another indie early access entry that isn't really worth the investment.

GameSkinny Weekend Download: More Borderlands 3, Risk of Rain 2, Outward, and More Sat, 06 Apr 2019 09:50:39 -0400 GS_Staff

It's Saturday morning, and GameSkinny's Weekend Download is back again. 

Here's most of everything we published this week in one easy to digest roundup, including the official Borderlands 3 release date, that Borderlands: The Handsom Collection is F2P this weekend, tons of Outward and Risk of Rain 2 coverage, Nintendo Labo, and a lot more reviews than we've done in a while.  

As usual, we've added links in case you find a headline that tickles your fancy and want to read more. We've also broken things down by category to make it easy to find what you're looking for. And finally, we've left out posts that are now meaningless because the event or sale has already ended. 

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy.  


  • Borderlands 3 Launches September 13, Will Be Epic Store Exclusive on PC
    2K games officially announced Borderlands 3's release date and editions today, confirming it will be a timed exclusive on the Epic Games Store. Read more

  • Play Borderlands: The Handsome Collection for Free This Weekend on Xbox, PC
    The bundle, which includes Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, is also on sale on PC, PS4, and Xbox One from multiple storefronts. Read more

  • Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild Will Support Labo VR
    Hot on the heels of Labo VR's initial announcement comes news that Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild will support the Toy-Con VR Goggles in different ways starting April 25. Read more

  • 20 Minutes of New The Outer Worlds Footage from PAX East
    Obsidian Entertainment's latest RPG gets a lengthy new gameplay video from PAX East, showcasing branching dialogue, varied action, and some gorgeous graphics. Read more

  • Dataminers Uncover New Gameplay Mechanics in The Division 2's Dark Hours Raid
    New details emerge about The Division 2's Raids, including a new signature weapon. Read more

  • Gameloft Partners With CARE For Special Dragon Mania Legends Charity Event
    Help fight poverty during a special charity event in Dragon Mania Legends. Read more

  • The Elder Scrolls Legends: Alliance War Gets New Details, Content Roadmap
    Alliance War is out April 15 and offers new cards, mechanics, and factions, and the game is set to receive multiple new rounds of content throughout the year. Read more

  • CD Projekt Red Announces New (Non-Digital) Store
    Soon, CDPR fans will be able to get all kind of sweet merch for their favorite games directly from the source. Read more

  • Unbound: Worlds Apart Announced, Kickstarter Campaign Begins in May
    Alien Pixel Studios' new indie platformer features reality warping as its main mechanic, a unique art style, and plenty of atmospheric environments. Read more

  • Civilization 6 Update Brings Cross-Platform Cloud Saves for PC and Switch
    The update implements seamless cloud saves for Switch and PC, although there is no word about iOS support yet. Read more

  • Nintendo Switch Online’s April NES Games Announced
    Nintendo Switch Online gets three new NES games on April 10 as part of its monthly update. Read more

  • Risk of Rain 2 Nears 650,000 Players in First Week After Release
    Hopoo Games said the numbers smashed all expectations and provided an outline of how it will support the game in the coming months. Read more

  • League of Legends Champions Korea Spring Playoffs 2019: What to Know
    Everything you need to know about LCK Spring Playoffs 2019. Read more

  • International Rating Suggests Octopath Traveler Could Get a PC Port Soon
    Octopath Traveler received a rating for release in Korea — on PC. Could that mean it will no longer be Switch exclusive, or is there something else in store for the fledgling franchise? Read more


  • Yoshi's Crafted World Review: Crafting a New Classic
    Don't let the green dino's mid-tier status fool you. With fluid platforming, incredible attention to detail, and a huge variety of content, Yoshi's Crafted World is a must-have Switch game. Read more

  • ATOM RPG Review: A Fallout Clone That Never Takes Itself Too Seriously
    ATOM RPG is trashy, yet hilarious; clunky, yet addictive. It's a fun Fallout clone that at times makes you laugh, and at others yell at your screen. Read more

  • Risk of Rain 2 Early Access Impressions: Simply a Huge Amount of Fun
    So far, Risk of Rain 2 is a worthy successor to the original, with its fully 3D design opening up new avenues of play. Read more

  • SteelSeries Stratus Duo Controller Review: Hard to Put Down
    The Stratus Duo stands tall alongside other mobile controllers and rivals the best that are currently available for PC. Read more

  • Logitech MX518 Review: The Greatest Gaming Mouse is Still Pretty Fab
    The MX518 might be a throwback, but it has plenty of modern bells and whistles to make its legend relevant today. Read more

  • We. The Revolution Review: Social Strategy on a Guillotine's Edge
    All told, We. The Revolution comes together to make a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Read more

  • Mechstermination Force Review: Fun, but Flawed
    When it works, Mechstermination Force is an enjoyable experience, but those moments are marred by some faulty design and monotonous grinding. Read more

  • MLB The Show 19 Review: Another Season of Your Favorite Show
    The Show is back with the latest, but just barely the greatest, addition to the world of baseball video games. Read more


  • Mystery Dungeon is a Criminally Underrated Series — And That's a Shame
    With Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy releasing recently, we take a look at why Mystery Dungeon games are worth your time (and sanity). Read more

  • Outward's Biggest Problem on Console Is Load Times
    Of all the challenges found in Outward, the load screens may be console players' biggest hurdle. Read more

  • The Top 20 Minecraft 1.14 Seeds for April 2019
    Prepare for the official release of a new Village and Pillage update for Minecraft 1.14 with this month's best selection of seeds. Read more

  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Conquest Battles Were a Missed Opportunity
    Assassin's Creed Odyssey is a fantastic game that didn't quite manage to live up to its lofty potential, and conquest battles were a primary victim of this. Read more

  • To Leave Shines an Unabashed Light on Mental Health
    To Leave may be a hard experience for some, but it's another title that helps us understand that living with mental health issues is not easy. Read more

  • Niantic Announces Dates for Pokemon GO's 2019 Summer Tour
    The first leg of the tour kicks off in Chicago's Grant Park from June 13-16 and will feature local and global challenges to connect players around the world. Read more

  • Trailer Details The Division 2's World Tier 5, Reveals Raid Release Date
    The Division 2's latest trailer provides more information on the impending World Tier 5, as well as a release date for the game's first raid. Read more. 


  • Borderlands 3 Pre-Order Guide: What's In Every Edition
    Borderlands 3 finally has a release date, and pre-orders are open now for all four editions. We've rounded up where you can find each, including the diamond loot chest edition. Read more

  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Headless Boss Guide
    Having trouble taking down the Headless minibosses in Sekiro? This guide shows you all headless locations, as well as the best tactics for beating them and the items they drop. Read more

  • Trails of Cold Steel Romance and Bonding Guide
    If you're wondering about Trails of Cold Steel's characters, romance, and bonding, who you can romance, and how your romantic and bonding choices carry over into Trails of Cold Steel II, you're in the right place. Read more

  • Outward: How to get The Discipline Boon (Brace or Focus)
    Only two skills grant the Discipline boon, luckily they're both in the same place. Read more

  • Outward: How to Get to Levant (and Berg) from Chersonese
    The less stressful route from Chersonese to Levant in Outward, through Berg. Read more.

  • Best Weapons in Outward and How to Get Them
    Here are some of the most powerful weapons in Outward, and short instructions on how to find them all. Read more

  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Get The Most Out of The 2019 Jubilee Event
    How to roll in Jubilee Gift Boxes during ESO's 2019 Jubilee Event starting this week. Read more

  • Elder Scrolls Blades Not Letting Me Play, Device Not Supported Help
    The Elder Scrolls finally has a proper mobile entry, but most players can't login quite yet. These tips will try to help you fix the issue until more info becomes available. Read more

  • Generation Zero Guide: All Weapons Locations
    Here are the exact locations of all weapon types in Generation Zero, including their coordinates. Read more

  • Yoshi’s Crafted World: All Poochy Pup Locations In the First Dream Gem Path
    Need help getting all the Poochy Pups in the first path of Yoshi's Crafted World? This guide has all their locations! Read more

  • How to Unlock All of the Characters in Risk of Rain 2
    A quick guide to unlocking the characters of Risk of Rain 2. We chucked in some tips for using each of them, too. We are just nice like that. Read more

  • Risk of Rain 2 Lunar Coins: Where to Use, What Items to Buy
    A guide to Risk of Rain 2's rarest currency, what to spend it on first, and why you should do so. Read more

  • Teleporters and You: A Risk of Rain 2 Guide
    RoR2's teleporters aren't that hard to find if you know what you're looking for. Read more

  • Dota Auto Chess Gods Strategy Guide: Mars and Zeus
    Learn about the two new gods Mars and Zeus, their abilities, synergies, and combos with the help of this guide to Dota Auto Chess. Read more

  • 15 Best Hearthstone Cards from Rise of Shadows
    The Year of the Dragon has begun with the new Hearthstone expansion Rise of Shadows. Here are the 15 best cards of the new set. Read more

Check back next Saturday morning for more. 

Risk of Rain 2 Early Access Impressions: Simply a Huge Amount of Fun Tue, 02 Apr 2019 10:47:03 -0400 Jason Coles

Risk of Rain 2 stealth released via the Gearbox PAX East panel last week. It was a little shocking to see a sequel to a little indie gem being shown off on such a public stage, but also immensely refreshing.

Risk of Rain was made in GameMaker Studio and published by Chucklefish. It was also a fully 2D game with a lovely pixel art aesthetic and some astoundingly good music. The sequel is different, but not in any way that detracts from it. 

This time, it is a fully 3D game developed in Unity. Having seen some footage of it a year or so ago, I was a little worried. After all, seeing a game you love taken in a bold new direction is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. What if in the process the heart of the game is lost, what if it loses that special something that made it so enjoyable?

Sunny All Day

Well, it turns out that adding that extra dimension has turned Risk of Rain 2 into an outstandingly good experience, and it is still only in Early Access. The sense of scale in the levels is truly vast. There are still secrets tucked away at the end of hidden paths, it's just that this time, you need to be willing to try and scale the side of a mountain to get to them. 

It is still the roguelike game it has always been, too. Your aim is still to shoot, hit, or use special abilities to defeat enemies as they try to overwhelm you; most of the time, you're doing this from a third-person perspective.

At lower difficulties, the combat is enjoyable; it's a matter of just trying to collect the items you need to be overpowered and lay waste. At higher difficulties, it becomes a bullet hell that requires every iota of focus you can muster just to survive.

Although, if you stay on easy long enough, you will eventually reach the dizzying heights of the "Hahahahahahahaha..." difficulty.  

That's because the difficulty in Risk of Rain 2 is fluid. The difficulty you choose at the beginning of your run merely dictates the speed at which you will progress through the actual difficulty. For example, if you choose Monsoon difficulty at the beginning, you can expect to reach the final difficulty setting far quicker than is comfortable.

It is a system that inherently asks you to weigh which is more important; is it better to grind out money to open chests for the chance to get better items, or is it better to simply rush through to keep the combat manageable?

Each run is likely to end with you dying and having to start again, but that is all part of the fun in a roguelike, after all. 

Cloudy With a Chance of Spaceballs

At present, there are six characters to choose from, though only one is available initially. You unlock the others as you go.

While other games may have characters with slightly different stats, Risk of Rain 2 has entirely different playstyles built into each of your choices. 

Take Mul-T for example, a building site robot who has two weapons instead of one, and who can hold two usable items at once, instead of the usual one. Instead of relying on one playstyle and being exceptional at it, they are better suited to adapting to the current situation.

Long-range fights can be fought with your slow-firing but very powerful sniper weapon. Close-range battles call for your inaccurate machine gun. No other character is this adaptable.

This type of adaptability makes your choice important, but it also makes the game feel fresh when playing as another character. 

Raining Cats and Dogs 

Risk of Rain 2 is already a truly stellar sequel to an already outstanding first attempt. It feels polished, the gameplay is potentially unending, and the co-op gameplay is flawless, the latter of which is perhaps the thing that elevates the game to such heights.

Simply join a friend's lobby before starting a game and off you go. You can even play with a team of four for a more chaotic experience. Unfortunately, co-op is online only at present. 

The fact that all of this exists within an Early Access game speaks volumes about what to expect going forward. It is quite simply a huge amount of fun, and when you consider the stream of content that is no doubt rushing toward us, it is well worth getting into Risk of Rain 2 now. 

[Note: A copy of Risk of Rain 2 was provided by the developer for this article.]

GameSkinny Weekend Download: Borderlands 3, Mortal Kombat 11, Sekiro, and More Sat, 30 Mar 2019 06:26:52 -0400 GS_Staff

It's Saturday morning, and GameSkinny's Weekend Download is back again. 

Here's most of everything we published this week in one easy to digest roundup, including Borderlands 3 news, our Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice review and guides, and our impressions from the Mortal Kombat 11 beta

As usual, we've added links in case you find a headline that tickles your fancy and want to read more. We've also broken things down by category to make it easy to find what you're looking for. And finally, we've left out posts that are now meaningless because the event or sale has already ended. 

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy.  


  • Atlus Unveils Persona 5: The Royal, With More Info Teased for April 24
    Persona 5: The Royal will be a brand-new Persona 5 RPG, featuring at least one important new character. Read more

  • Blizzard Restricts WoW Classic Loot Trading Of Soulbound Items To Raids
    In response to player concern over Soulbound loot trading in WoW Classic, Blizzard is limiting it to items acquired in raids. Read more

  • Details Surface on Two Rumored Nintendo Switch Models
    Reports claim Nintendo will release a budget Switch and an improved Switch as early as summer to help drive sales and diversify the consumer base. Read more

  • No Man's Sky VR Announced, Part of Beyond Expansion
    The entirety of No Man's Sky is getting a VR experience built from the ground up as part of this summer's Beyond expansion. Read more

  • Ready, Set, Heroes Announced During Sony's State of Play Livestream
    Sony Worldwide Studios and Robot Entertainment are teaming up to bring a new multiplayer, dungeon-crawling adventure sometime this fall. Read more

  • Apple Announces Apple Arcade Subscription Service For All Its Devices
    During today's Apple Event, the company announced a new video game subscription services available on all of its devices. Read more

  • PlayStation State of Play Rundown: Everything That Was Announced
    Sony held its first 'State of Play' streaming event, revealing new information on upcoming games for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR. Here's what was shown. Read more

  • Control Gets Release Date and Gameplay Trailer, Pre-Orders Open Now
    Remedy's latest game is out this August and offers a host of pre-order bonuses and multiple editions for players to choose from. Read more

  • Dystopian Cyberpunk Adventure Beyond A Steel Sky Announced At Apple Event
    The sequel Revolution Software's dystopian adventure game Beneath a Steel Sky has been announced and will release later this year. Read more

  • Secret World Developer Announces Lovecraftian Horror Game On Mars
    Get ready for some Halloween fun with Funcom's upcoming space horror game Moons of Madness. Read more.
  • Sony Will No Longer Sell Digital Games at Retail Locations Starting April 1
    Consumers must purchase digital games directly through the PSN starting April 1, though Sony will increase the variety of PSN card values to compensate. Read more

  • Metro: Exodus Ranger Update Brings New Game+ and Other Updates
    Metro Exodus gets an expansive New Game+ mode with new achievements, customizable experiences, commentary, and a host of bug fixes. Read more

  • Gearbox Releases New Teaser Trailer for Next Borderlands Game
    Gearbox teases the return of beloved characters and some new, intriguing mysteries for fans in the next Borderlands game, with more details to come at PAX East. Read more

  • GWENT: The Witcher Card Game Coming to Mobile Later This Year
    CD Projekt Red said the mobile version will include high-quality visuals and multiplayer support, along with all existing content and expansions. Read more

  • Niantic Offers Rewards To Pokemon GO Players Participating In Earth Day Events
    Celebrate Earth Day and get special rewards in Pokemon GO during Niantic's Earth Day Cleanup Event. Read more

  • Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Jax Revealed in Growing Mortal Kombat 11 Roster
    Three more characters join the Mortal Kombat 11 lineup: Liu Kang, Kung Lao, and Jax. Read more

  • Mortal Kombat 11 Beta Currently Live, Features 5 Kombatants, Two Modes
    The Mortal Kombat 11 beta is currently live for those who pre-ordered the game. The beta features two modes and a handful of playable characters. Read more

  • Dead Cells: Rise of the Giant Out Today, 20% Off on Steam
    Alongside going on sale via Steam, Dead Cells' first big DLC expansion arrives today and includes a vast array of updates and balancing. Read more

  • Borderlands 3 Announced At PAX East, Gets Official Developer's Trailer
    Gearbox lifts the lid on Borderlands 3 at last with a new trailer showcasing plenty of action and characters, though with no anticipated release date. Read more

  • Borderlands Remasters, Board Game, and Borderlands 2 VR DLC Announced
    The Borderlands series saw multiple new announcements at PAX East, including remasters, updated visuals, DLC, and a new tabletop game. Read more

  • Gearbox Publishing Announces New Games, Partnerships at PAX East
    Gearbox Publishing is bringing a mix of new games, DLC, and physical editions to fans throughout 2019, including We Happy Few DLC and Bulletstorm for Nintendo Switch. Read more

  • Warcraft and Warcraft 2 Now Available on Good Old Games
    Warcraft I and II join the GoG store lineup, offering new players a chance to experience the story for the first time. Read more

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  • Rape Day Proves Steam Needs to Rethink Its Regulation Policies
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Mortal Kombat 11 Beta Impressions: Shaping Up to be Another Win Fri, 29 Mar 2019 16:42:07 -0400 Jordan Baranowski

Get over here!

Recently, we got our hands on the Mortal Kombat 11 beta, and this is what we learned about NetherRealm's upcoming fighter. 

MK11 is shaping up to be a pretty good one. The closed beta is only available to those who have already pre-ordered the game, and it will run through the end of this weekend: March 31 at 11:59 PDT.

It has two modes: a very simple single-player mode that is essentially there to let you learn your moves, and a regular old versus mode. It contains five of the characters that will be in the final build of the game as well: Baraka, Jade, Kabal, Skarlet, and Scorpion.

How Does Mortal Kombat 11 Play?

For those of you still on the fence about Mortal Kombat 11, the good news is that it is coming together very nicely. Its animations look good, and its presentation is pretty impressive, especially considering how little is included in the beta.

If you've been keeping up with the direction of the series over the last few iterations, there are some definite changes that affect how it plays.

The biggest noticeable difference is that the drawn-out juggle combo style seems to have taken a bit of a backseat in MK11. It may just be because it's still too early to discover optimal combos, but it seems like NetherRealm has made efforts to cut back on the length and damage of those extended combos.

For many, this should be good news. It means the daunting task of memorizing frame data and attack strings in order to have a shot in online matches or tournaments will be downplayed. It means spectators won't have to sit through boring juggle combos that seem to never end.

For competitive fighters, it means the system will focus more on understanding matchups, spacing, and capabilities of the entire roster in order to be successful.

Obviously, we won't be able to truly break down the fighting system in Mortal Kombat 11 until the entire roster is released; it does seem like there is a bit more of a deliberate pace in MK11 than in the last few entries of the series. Rushing opponents down is going to set you up for brutal combo punishments if you don't know what you're doing  the system rewards you for feeling your opponent out, learning their tendencies, and exploiting them.

Mortal Kombat 11 Still Has a Lot of Style

That isn't to say that MK11 is slow  it still pops along nicely, and plenty of moves feature big impacts and the cringe-worthy animations the series is known for.

There is also a level of customization involved: each fighter features three different styles and, although there isn't much available in the beta, customization options. Different gear can be equipped to fighters, changing their looks and stats. This feature will surely make for all sorts of broken combinations; expect it to sit on the sidelines for competitive matches.

As far as any new systems in place, there are a few alterations to the standard formula. Each fighter has two different meters that gradually refill throughout the match — offensive one and defensive one. The offensive meter is used to amplify special moves, and the defensive one is used to activate a variety of helpful abilities to counter your opponent's attacks. They both add significant new abilities to your arsenal, but neither one are necessary to win, especially in casual matches.

X-Rays and "Fatal Blows"

X-Ray Attacks, the single button, massive-damage combo moves, have seen a bit of a revamp. They have been replaced by the extremely similar "Fatal Blow" command, which can only be used when you are very low on health.

These still unleash a huge, brutal combo with plenty of bone-crunching closeups. These Fatal Blows can be activated again after a short cooldown if they don't land the first time, but each fighter's can only hit once in an entire match. 

X-Ray Attacks also make somewhat of a cameo with the new counter system, which is another element that rewards players for spacing and strategizing rather than blindly rushing down. If you land certain attacks at just the right time  such as ducking beneath a punch and clocking your opponent with an uppercut it will do extra damage, occasionally add a bonus effect (like putting them into a juggle or daze state), and zoom in for a gruesome visual cue.

It's a bonus little hint at how the system works, and provides plenty of good opportunities if you notice certain patterns or flaws in your opponent's offense.

What's the Verdict So Far?

Obviously, Mortal Kombat 11 is still Mortal Kombat. It's over the top, violent, and self aware, but the fighting system does seem like it has gone through quite an overhaul. If you come in expecting the long juggle strings of the last few games in the series, MK11 may leave you hanging. The new system is equal parts simpler and more complex; there's not as much muscle memorization, but there are plenty of rewards for those who want to study the game and maximize their abilities.

For those who like the style of the series, you'll find it back in full force. Attacks are brutal and classic characters abound. Fatalities are the perfect mixture of "Oh my God, did you see that? Gross!" and "Oh my God, did you see that? Ridiculous!"

The full release also promises the return of Mortal Kombat's excellent cinematic story mode, the massive "Krypt" full of unlockables, and many more features.

Essentially, Mortal Kombat 11 is shaping up to be another win for NetherRealm Studios. Pre-order at your own risk but, barring any slip ups on the backend (online fighters can be absolutely killed if there are any connection hiccups, as PC versions of Mortal Kombat have seen in the past), this one seems like a pretty safe bet. 

Mortal Kombat 11 releases on April 23 for Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. We will have a full review and plenty of other information once the full version hits retail.

Artist Spotlight: Travis "Sketch Junky" Elliot Catches the Essence of Pokemon Thu, 28 Mar 2019 12:47:52 -0400 QuintLyn

One of the greatest things about gaming or any geek activity is how it can inspire fans to creativity. All over the world, fans of video games, anime, comic books, sci-fi, and more are creating beautiful and amazing things around the properties they're most passionate about.

Recently, we came across one such creative on Reddit, where he'd posted several of his drawings under the name Sketch Junky. Most were Pokemon related, which is always going to catch our attention.

But there were also Legend of Zelda and Dragon Ball Z pieces as well, and all were done using markers and pens  nothing digital.

They were so well done that our editor, who first saw them, messaged me with the link just so I could see how fantastic they were. It only took us a few minutes of conversation to know we'd like to talk to the artist about highlighting his work on the site.

Who is Sketch Junky?

As it turned out, the artist going by Sketch Junky was a 30-year-old in Kentucky by the name of Travis Elliot. When I spoke to him, he told me he'd been drawing since he was a kid, having started by replicating Nintendo covers, such as the Ninja Turtles, as well as various comics. Both Marvel and DC were represented as he noted he'd replicate Spider-Man, Venom, and Batman, among others.

I spoke with Travis for a while about his art and inspirations and learned quite a bit. Of course, the interview was pretty free-form so this won't be a dry, word-for-word recount. That said, I hope you find it as interesting as I found speaking with him to be.

Getting Started and Inspiration

Just about every interview with a creative starts out with the interviewer asking them how they got started, who and what their inspirations were, and what kinds of things they hope to achieve. It's rote, but you have to start somewhere. 

As a kid, I drew mostly for fun. I drew what I enjoyed. I wanted to be an artist, but I decided not to attend art school.

This decision wasn't made lightly. There are some definite benefits to obtaining formal schooling when it comes to art, but there are also some serious downsides, such as the cost, which in addition to what students pay just to attend college, is compounded by the number of materials and lab fees art students are required to dish out.

That isn't to say Travis thinks formal training is a bad idea for everyone, just that it wasn't for him.

One of the things Travis noted that influenced his decision was discovering art forums when he was about 19 or 20. There, budding artists shared their progress, showing that those who are willing to put in the work can do amazing things, even without formal education.

This thought process was solidified when he had a chance to peek at one of the sketchbooks owned by Dave Rapoza, an artist that Travis considers to be a major influence on his own work. Just seeing the book inspired him to apply himself, knowing that if he did, he'd do well.

Other Influences

You may notice, scrolling through this piece, that Travis really seems to like drawing Pokemon. Of course, he's also shared pieces inspired by other games and anime, such as The Legend of Zelda and Dragon Ball Z.

Since most of these properties have both video game and anime ties, I asked him which was his bigger influence.

As it turns out, while he does love video games, the anime aesthetic was the bigger influence here. But he didn't just want to copy what the artists were already doing. He wanted to re-imagine them in a more realistic illustration style.

We discussed the fact that this isn't the first time artists have made a run at designing "realistic" Pokemon or other anime characters. He agreed, he wasn't the first but noted that the others just didn't feel right to him.

The realistic versions I've seen neever really struck a cord. They were too literal like Venosaur being an actual dinosaur.

This same thought process is applied to Dragon Ball characters. Even in his own work, Dragon Ball characters have been a challenge when it comes to the balance between achieving a realistic look and keeping the overall essence of the characters.

In the case of Dragon Ball, Travis notes that he's done over 20 different characters and only a few of them have come out the way he wants. One thing that he's learned with these attempts is that the hair is a big factor.

You can't be literal with the hair. You have to make concessions. Translating anime is a delicate balance.

The Joys and Pitfalls of 2D Animation

A lot of my conversation with Travis revolved around the art style in anime and animation styles that really struck a cord with him. As hit turns out, he has a lot of love for some of the older stuff; old 2D Disney movies are a huge influence. On the other hand, the newer 3D stuff doesn't work as well for him visually.

He says a similar thing about the Dragon Ball franchise when comparing the latest series to the older ones.

Dragon Ball Super feels flat. The original Dragon Ball and DBZ are more alive and energetic.

He added that in general, he wishes animators would mix it up more and offer more variety.

Of course, he doesn't dislike everything new. He has high praise for Your Name, an anime movie that came out two years ago. He felt the movie which is the highest-grossing anime film of all time worldwide demonstrated that a lot can be done with 2D that just hasn't been yet.

All Those Games

Of course, not all of his influences are anime or games that happen to tie into anime. Travis actually has a short list of games that have had some influence on his work, including what he considers the "Golden Age" of Final Fantasy games — specifically Final Fantasy VII through Final Fantasy X. He noted that he really latched onto the visual art style of that period, noting that you just don't see as much of it now thanks to developers looking to make everything as realistic as possible.

Another Square Enix series he notes a fondness for is the Kingdom Hearts series. This is also because it's artistically unique among video games.

The Kingdom Hearts story doesn't hurt either. And it kept him coming back time an again to play Kingdom Hearts II, Chain of Memories, and Birth by Sleep. And of course, he even picked up Kingdom Hearts III. Like a true fan, the game was in his hands at midnight when it released.

He did note a few concerns he had with KHIII, though, pointing to a lack of Final Fantasy characters and minimal post-game content. He also feels it lost some of its flair.

Square Enix doesn't have the same spark it used to.

And then there's his first love, old-school Nintendo games. Aside from featuring the covers he used to spend his time re-imagining, these games also taught him a very important lesson when it comes to gaming.

Video games don't have to be difficult to be fun.

East Meets West

When talking about Travis' influences, we did end up meandering a bit.

While anime and Eastern art styles are a major influence, he also looks to a few Western influences as well, particularly comic books artists and older Disney movies. He points to The Lion King as his first influential film, partially because of how the storytelling captured his imagination.

Then, of course, there are the comic books which he discussed in relation to Japanese manga. He didn't list any big ones but did note that he kept some around.

However, when it came to art, he still prefers the Japanese styles, noting their more fantastic nature.

Western style comics and animation involve making tropes more realistic, while the Eastern style is about having more fun and not taking itself too seriously. It's like they're saying 'How can we make cool interesting?'

Supporting Himself While He Learns

To achieve his goal of becoming an artist, Travis obviously had to have some way to support himself. Eventually, he took on working in security, which allows him to put time into his art.

Of course, as he's grown as an artist, he also takes on the occasional commission and freelance work. Eventually, he does hope to make a living based on his art alone.

Thinking About the Future

Travis goes on to talk about what he'd like to do with his art in the future, discussing the struggle many artists have with deciding whether they want to be employed by companies, doing what they're told, or if they'd rather just do what they want to do and risk a less steady income.

While he's thinking about that, he is using his time to learn what of his work really resonates with people. He feels that his use of traditional media, particularly markers and ink, are why people gravitate to what he does.

It offers them more variety from all the digital and CGI works we've seen over the last several years.

That said, he is capable of working in more modern mediums, he just prefers not to. Additionally, Travis did add that he has plans to try his hand at some other franchises in the future, including Full Metal Alchemist, Deathnote, and Samurai X.

Pokemon: Sword and Shield, Pokemon: Detective Pikachu

Since a lot of Travis' pieces are Pokemon oriented, I asked his opinion on both the upcoming Detective Pikachu and Pokemon: Sword and Shield.

Pokemon: Sword and Shield

When asked about the new game, he said that he likes that the environments seem more immersive, but that he's concerned by the title. He feels the battle theme seems to indicate the developers plan on taking the game in directions that could alienate older players.

When asked which of the three starters he had his eye on, the answer was quick and to the point:

Grass money.

Detective Pikachu

One of the fun reactions Travis has gotten to his Pokemon art is that some people have actually asked him if he worked on the designs in the upcoming Pokemon movie. While he hasn't, he is pretty happy with the comparison.

He also noted that he's generally pleased with the direction the artists did take when creating the "real world" version of the Pokemon. He's happy you can tell who each of the characters are and adds that there would have been a real downside to making them too realistic.

If you're making Pokemon real, there's gonna be nightmare fuel. Also, if Pokemon were real, we'd live in a very dangerous world.

He added that he really wants to see how they handle Gengar. In fact, that's why he did his own version.

Where to Find Sketch Junky

If you're interested in checking out more of Travis' work or perhaps asking him about a commission or two, here's what you need to know:

We want to thanks Travis for taking the time to speak with us. If you know of other great artists that should be highlighted, let us know in the comments below. 


Hands-On With Google Stadia: First Impressions From GDC 2019 Mon, 25 Mar 2019 09:26:43 -0400 Benjamin Kratsch

Google owns the internet, and now the company wants to dominate the gaming space, reaching 2 Billion gamers with a console that is not a console.

Google's mission, according to the company's CEO, Sundar Pichai, is to build "a game platform for everyone." To Pichai, and others working on Stadia, "The future of gaming is not a box, but a place." In so many ways, Google wants to reduce all of the pain points in every gamer's life.

Instead of a box, then, Stadia is a streaming service based in the cloud, one capable of pushing 4K/HDR/Surround-Sound data to almost every device in your home. Since Stadia is, surprisingly platform agnostic, games can be streamed to any device capable of running Chrome without losing graphical fidelity. TVs via Chromecast, iPads and MacBooks via the Chrome browser, Android devices via Chrome, and your PC via the same browser.

The amazing thing is that Stadia is powerful, putting, roughly, the power of an Xbox One X in the cloud. All games will run in any of Google’s 7,500 data centers all around the globe, outfitted with custom 2.7GHz x86 processors, 16 GB of RAM, and a custom GPU from AMD capable of 10.7 teraflops.

Which is enormous. The Xbox One X rocks 6 Teraflops of GPU power, 10.7 very close to AMD's high-end card Vega that rocks 12 and above Nvidia's GTX 1070. So we are talking about a ton of power available via Chrome.

The new fancy Nvidia GTX graphics card is too expensive? You don’t need one, Google Stadia is a high-end gaming PC in the cloud. You want to become internet famous as a gamer but have no idea how to operate OBS and all of this streaming software? Google offers to stream in 4K to Youtube while you are playing. Updates? A thing of the past.

No More Updates Needed: Every Game is Ready to Play Within Seconds


Stadia games will run directly from Google servers and virtual PCs, which means all games will be kept up to date. If you are an Xbox One or PS4 owner, you know the pain of “I just wanted to play 30 minutes, but the update took 10“. No more with Stadia.

Even wilder, no more downloading. Google promises that players be able to launch any game from its servers within seconds. You want to play with your friends? Just send an invite link.

As Pichai frames it, “You can send a link within a split of a second to anyone via email. Why doesn’t that work yet with games? We want to change that.“

State Share uses microstate saving technology, tech that’s completely different from that classic save states we are used to. With State Share, players can share specific moments and exact locations across the cloud, letting other players pick up right where the first player left off. While it’s a lofty goal and we weren’t able to test it out for ourselves, the possibilities are endless.

This might be Google's first rodeo in the gaming space and its first multi-billion dollar investment, but the company is clearly committed. This is made clear by Phil Harrison’s involvement; Harrison, who launched the Xbox for Microsoft, and later was responsible for research and development on the PlayStation 4 and later president for Sony, will run Stadia for Google.

Of the service he says that “The future of gaming is not a console or a box. It’s a data center that delivers your premium gaming experience with zero waiting time and zero friction“

On top of that, Harrison is joined by one of the most creative and influential women in the industry: Jade Raymond. Raymond, who serves as Vice President Worldwide Studios and Head of Games and Entertainment for Stadia, is mostly known for Assassin’s Creed. However, since then, she built Ubisoft Toronto and EA Motive, the new lead Star Wars studio that was responsible for the single player portion of Battlefront 2.

Jade Raymond, Vice President Worldwide Studios Google Stadia

When I was 12 I saw the holodeck in Star Trek. And even though, at this time, most games I’ve played were side-scrolled experiences like Mega Man, it was obvious to me that one day, games will take place in fully immersive worlds. And now we are on the brink of a huge revolution in gaming. There are no limits to the human imagination and now that the data center is your platform, the processing power is limitless as well.

With Stadia, Raymond will do what she does best: Build a new world-class studio. And that's what Google is going to need. Aside from making its own games, the studio will spearhead supporting studios all around the world in optimizing games for Google’s giant initiative.

In no short order, cash is not an issue for Google, and Stadia is clearly not a side project for for the company. Just as Google treats YouTube as a fully operational company under the Google umbrella, so will the company treat Stadia.

Is Google Stadia a Ready To Go Product or One For The Self-driving Car Future?

This is the biggest question: Is there enough infrastructure for Stadia?

There are parts in the United States with access to excellent internet connections and high bandwidth speeds. If you live in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York, you might be able to stream games in 4K.

“According to our tests in multiple cities, you will need 30Mbps to run games in beautiful 4K,“ says Majd Bakar, Google’s Vice President of Engineering, who is the head of Google’s new game engineering department, and the lead of last year’s Project Stream initiative. “We are the only company in the world right now that has this amount of CPU and GPU power available very close to you.“

However, many areas, including those in Wyoming, Vermont, Montana, Maine, or even Georgia, for example, still have problems with internet speed because those states have many areas of low population densities, which make broadband investments there less cost-effective.

It’s also essential to know that comparing 4K streams on Netflix or Amazon Prime with 4K gaming is an apples to oranges comparison. If you stream a TV show, it’s a set pack of data that can be pre-buffered or pre-loaded. It’s much like a single-player game in that respect.

However, in multiplayer, for example, data packs need to be exchanged consistently. If that’s not possible, you’ll get a laggy experience.

So is this going to work?

Bakar said that Google is well-prepared: 

“We don’t talk about this very often, but Google is a huge hardware company with massive data centers. We operate 7,500 across the globe at the moment; they are all connected via 450,000 kilometers (~279,000 miles) of Fibre.” 

What does that mean for players? Simply put, data doesn’t have to flow from home to home via servers. Instead, it flows between data centers, making streaming more … streamlined.

According to some developers that we spoke with on the showfloor, there is technically the possibility of 1,000-player battle royales with Stadia. While these sources asked not to be named because they are not an official spokesperson for their company, one told us they work on Google Stadia games and that the service would provide such functionality “with no option to cheat or hack“.

While that would be a boon for both competitive players and esports professionals, Stadia would also allow developers to finally realize fully destructible open worlds in multiplayer games.

Says Erin Hoffmen-John, Senior Manager R&D division at Google Stadia, “We offer developers to access multiple GPUs at once to build fully destructible open-worlds for hundreds of players on multiplayer.“

Of course, Google will have to prove that capability. While Microsoft said the same thing about Crackdown 3 a couple of years ago, the final product is not even close to the first E3 demo when it comes down to destructibility.

The performance: Can It play Crysis? Or Doom Eternal?

‘Can it run Crysis” has been a running meme for years. With every new generation or technological development, we use the question to wryly express our cautious optimism.

But developers are fairly candid when talking about Stadia, saying it can run high-fidelity AAA games over the cloud.

“When Google approached us, we were quite skeptical“, recalls id Software’s Marty Stratton. “Can a server really pull off a high-speed, technically demanding game like Doom?”

In our time with the Stadia at GDC, we can answer that question with an unequivocal, “Yes?”While the game’s not perfect on Stadia just yet, it’s close. There seem to be some micro stutters here and there, making the gameplay feel a bit imperfect. And while the game is gorgeous in 4K HDR and there are no artifacts impacting visual quality, input lag is noticeable, especially when a lot of enemies are on screen at one time.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, on the other hand, ran smooth as butter, and if no one told us that the game was being streamed from a Stadia server instead of being rendered from a PC or console under the TV, we wouldn’t have noticed.

The Stadia Controller Feels Very Good But is Not Required to Use the Service

There should be no worries about the Stadia controller.

While it might look a bit odd in official pictures, our hands-on preview proved it’s very solid and has excellent built quality. In most ways, it’s comparable to the Xbox One S controller, specifically in terms of handling and material quality.

What’s of most interest, though, is that aside from the controller being able to quickly detect the closest playable platform and connect via Wi-Fi, it also has two unique features: the aforementioned State Share and Google Assistant. Use the controller’s built-in microphone to not only connect with friends but to get past hard-to-beat areas.

Asking Google Assistant, “How do I beat this tomb?“ while solving a puzzle in the GDC demo of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the technology automatically transfers your micro save to Youtube and finds the right video detailing a walkthrough of the level you are in at that exact moment.

However, as long as you have a reliable, connectable controller, you can access Stadia from almost anywhere. At GDC demo stations, Google proved this by having Razer Raiju controllers and SteelSeries Stratus Duo controllers available for testing.

According to Bakar, Google is “super open-minded about this. We want to offer the Google Stadia controller to provide really cool features like clip sharing, the simple invitation system, Google Assistant and the complete Youtube integration. But if you don’t need certain features, you’ll be fine with whatever controller you already own.“

If you want to just play on your PC or laptop, you can use any hard-wired controller lying around. 


There’s a lot to be excited about with Stadia. There are other similar services on the market, such as Shadow cloud gaming that uses virtual PCs powered by GTX 1070s and Intel Xeon processors, but players still have to download games.

If everything works with Stadia, players can start games in a heartbeat without limitations or owning multiple pieces of expensive hardware. That’s not to mention making co-op gameplay nearly hassle-free.

Sure, there are a lot of “ifs”, “buts”, and “whens”, but if Google is capable of providing a lag-free experience at a minimum of 1080p@60 FPS, Stadia has the potential to take off. Sony and Microsoft don’t have to be worried for now since we still don’t know Stadia’s pricepoint, lineup of games, or all of the studios that will be on board.

However, each company should be prepared for the future. Because Google is ready to enter the console war.

GameSkinny Weekend Download: Stadia, The Division 2, Vampire The Masquerade, and More Sat, 23 Mar 2019 09:45:58 -0400 GS_Staff

We know you're busy AF and don't have time to read everything we publish. We also know that like most of us, you probably like having things delivered straight to your digital doorstep. 

Here's most of everything we published this week in one easy to digest roundup, including all things Stadia, The Division 2, and Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2.

We've added links in case you find a headline that tickles your fancy and want to read more. We've also broken things down by category to make it as easy  to find what you're looking for. And finally, we've left out posts that are now meaningless because the event or sale has already ended. 

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy.  


  • Devil May Cry 5 is Getting a Brand-New (Free) Survival Mode on April 1
    Capcom said the new mode, dubbed Bloody Palace, is not an April Fool's joke, and players can look forward to timed arena battles facing off against hordes of enemies and bosses. Read more

  • The Division 2 Tops UK Charts, But Sells Just 20% of Division 1's Initial Figures
    Ubisoft's latest game gets off to a rocky start, with some strong figures in the sales charts that fall far short of expectations. Read more

  • Ubisoft Fixes The Division 2 Skill Bug, But Problems Remain
    The Division 2's skill-busting bug gets a fix, but Ubisoft says it's still investigating the cause of the problem and why Extra and Overlap talents seem to be creating glitches. Read more

  • Division 2 World Tier Glitch Still Affecting Players After Patch
    The Division 2's World Tier bug keeps players from progressing through the endgame content, and has defied Ubisoft's attempts to fix the problem. Read more

  • The New 8-Bit Heroes Introduces NESmaker, Software That Lets You Create NES Games
    NESmaker requires no programming knowledge and lets you make NES games from scratch for emulation or on physical cartridges. Read more

  • Microsoft's "Halo Insider Program" Gives Fans A New Way To Offer Input On Games
    Halo fans can now sign up for the Halo insider Program and participate in special early testing for upcoming games, products, and services. Read more

  • Generation Zero Takes Players To Alternate 1980s Sweden Filled With Hostile Robots
    THQ Nordic's Generation Zero is set to release later this month. Here's a look at what players can expect from the open-world co-op FPS. Read more

  • Splatoon 2 Getting Special Demo, Free Trial, and Digital Discount
    One of Nintendo's hottest evergreen titles is getting a special timed demo that lets you experience some of the game's most popular modes and offers a 20% discount on the game's digital version as well. Read more

  • Roguelite Sparklite Gets Shiny New Teaser Trailer
    A brand-new indie roguelite adventure is making its way to consoles and PC this fall, with action, exploration, retro graphics, and plenty of gadgets. Read more

  • Get Your First Look At SHODAN In The New System Shock 3 Teaser
    Get your first look at the upcoming installment of the System Shock series in the teaser trailer dropped at GDC. Read more

  • Google Announces Cross-Platform Gaming Service Stadia at GDC 2019
    At its GDC 2019 keynote, Google announced Stadia, a game streaming service set to release later this year. Here's what we know about it so far. Read more

  • Stadia's Wi-Fi Controller Looks Familiar, But Features Google Assistant
    In addition to its cloud gaming service Stadia, Google also announced a controller for the platform, with features created around YouTube and the Google search engine. Read more

  • Former Ubisoft And EA Exec To Head Up Google's Stadia Games Division
    Former EA and Ubisoft exec joins Google to head up the Stadia Games and Entertainment Division. Read more

  • Just Like We All Thought, Stadia Will Require High Speed Internet
    As expected, you can't run Stadia well on just any old internet connection. Here's what Google said you'll need for 1080p and 4K. Read more

  • Google Stadia Will Support the Xbox Adaptive Controller
    There's some good news for players looking for accessibility options when using Google's Stadia. The Xbox Adaptive Controller is compatible with the service, at least on PC. Read more

  • Xaviant's The Culling Closing Online Components
    The early battle royale/survival mashup had a history of stops and starts, but lack of interest and funding means it's finally time to say goodbye. But is it? Read more

  • Konami Whips Up Hardcore Classic Collections for 50th Anniversary
    Including some of the company's most iconic games and franchises, three new collections from Konami will bring the nostalgia in 2019. Read more.
  • Apex Legends Season 1 Introduces Battle Pass, New Legend, More
    The long-awaited Wild Frontier update is here at last. We detail all the Apex Legends Season 1 rewards, battle pass pricing, new Legends, and more. Read more

  • Anthem Ranks as February's Best Selling Game
    It comes in as BioWare's second biggest-selling game in its first month sales, despite encountering a range of problems and poor reviews in that month. Read more

  • Indie Studio Brace Yourself Games Making Legend of Zelda Title, Cadence of Hyrule
    Cadence of Hyrule — Crypt of the Necrodancer featuring The Legend of Zelda combines Zelda tunes with Crypt of the Necrodancer gameplay. Read more

  • Epic Steals More Titles Out From Under Steam in The Outer Worlds, More
    Epic Games has a few more notches to add to its, "we got this game before Steam," belt, snagging The Outer Worlds and two other games. Read more

  • Tripwire Announces Killing Floor Double Feature For PlayStation 4
    A special Killing Floor bundle is coming to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR in May. Read more

  • Cuphead is Coming to the Nintendo Switch This Spring
    Cuphead and Mugman are bringing the Dark Souls of Platformers to the Switch very soon. Read more

  • Oddworld Soulstorm, a Brand-New Oddworld Game, Gets Cinematic Teaser
    The long-awaited Oddworld Soulstorm finally gets a new teaser trailer, complete with an accompanying graphics breakdown video. Read more

  • Playcrafting Announces Speakers For 3rd Annual Women In Games Night
    Playcrafting will end its celebration of women in gaming with a special panel at the Microsoft Flagship Store on March 28. Read more

  • Metro: Exodus Outsells Its Predecessor on the Epic Store
    Deep Silver's Metro: Exodus saw a strong first month in sales, despite the controversy surrounding its change to the Epic Games Store. Read more

  • Check Out The Latest Mortal Kombat 11 Trailer Before Closed Beta Starts
    Mortal Kombat 11 enters closed beta in less than a week. Before that, check out the latest character reveal trailer. Read more

  • Paradox Announces Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2
    The wait is over. Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines fans are finally getting the sequel they've been waiting for. Read more

  • Georgia Esports League PantherLAN Event Hosts 11-College Tournament
    Watch college teams from all over the South compete in the Georgia Esports League PantherLAN event at Georgia State University on April 6. Read more

  • PlayStation Hosting State of Play Livestream Presentation on March 25
    It's Sony's first Nintendo Direct-style presentation, and it promises to deliver information about upcoming PlayStation 4 and PSVR software. Read more

  • Cyberpunk 2077 On Track To Release By 2021
    Cyberpunk 2077 fans will get their hands on the game by 2021, according to information released by CD Projekt Red. Read more


  • The Division 2 Review: The Best Looter Shooter in Years
    The Division 2 is an improvement on the first game in almost every way, and it's both a fun game and a satisfying investment. Read more

  • Ape Out Review: Crushing Guns Set to Crashing Drums
    An Ape on the run looking for a way out is fierce to face, and fun to play as. Guide your ape to freedom, smashing any gun-wielding captors who get in your way! Read more


  • Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 is Already a Steam Top-Seller
    The ascension of Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 to the top of Steam's top-sellers list further proves the community is thirsty for a new bloodsucking RPG. Read more

  • Epic Games Wants to Police Its Content Better Than Steam
    The Epic Games Store won't feature as many games as Steam, partially because it refuses to allow any game that doesn't meet its quality standards. Read more

  • Olympus Has Fallen: How Ubisoft Made The Division 2’s Washington Siege, Weapon Sounds Realistic
    Game Director Mathias Karlson talks about the lengths to which Ubisoft went to make The Division 2 as realistic as possible. Read more. 

  • Early Impressions: Outlaws of the Old West Brings Survival (And Bugs Galore) To The American Plains
    If you ever wished Ark was set in the wild west, you've found your perfect survival game as long as you can look past a laundry list of bugs in early access. Read more

  • The Gaming Community Is Pensive About Google Stadia for Good Reason
    People are unsure about Google Stadia's capabilities, but does it even matter to core gamers anyway? Read more

  • Final Fantasy XV Proves Even Flawed Games Can Be a Great Time
    FFXV isn't the game the community wanted, but in its current state, it's still a greatly enjoyable experience. Read more

  • 8 Games and Franchises with the Biggest Translation Gaffes
    Video games are made or broken by the text that tells their stories. This is the story of 8 different games and franchises with some serious translation problems and how those errors came to be. Read more

  • 11 Best Weapons in The Division 2
    Not every gun in The Division 2 is created equal. This list shows you the best of the best, sans exotics. Read more


  • The Division 2 Guide: How to Upgrade the Crafting Bench
    Need to know how to bring your crafting in The Division 2 to the highest level? Then check out this full guide on how to upgrade the crafting bench. Learn more

  • The Division 2 Guide: Leveling and End Game Preparation
    Check this guide out for everything you need to know about leveling and getting ready for end game in The Division 2. Learn more.

  • How to Share Items, Gear, Loot in The Division 2
    Learn how to share items, gear, and loot with your teammates in this guide for The Division 2. Learn more

  • How to Get WW2 Uniform in The Division 2
    Follow this step-by-step guide to complete the Navy Hill mission and unlock a secret WW2 uniform in The Division 2. Learn more

  • How to Get the Chatterbox SMG in The Division 2
    The Chatterbox SMG is one of the most powerful exotic weapons players can get in The Division 2, but it involves some cache raiding in specific places. Learn more

  • The Division 2 Hyena Key and Chest Locations
    Faction keys are your ticket to rare and powerful loot, and this guide tells where to find Hyena keys, while also touching on Hyena chest locations. Learn more

  • Guide To Winning Every Match
    This guide shows you exactly how to use the map to your advantage in, as well as how to get the killshot as the hunter, and how to unlock skins. Learn more.

Check back next Saturday morning for more. 

Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 is Already a Steam Top-Seller Fri, 22 Mar 2019 15:00:29 -0400 Jonathan Moore

In other unsurprising news, the just-announced Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 is already a top-seller on Steam, coming in just behind Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Out of the Park Baseball 20

While it's true that Steam's top-sellers often fluctuate as often as the wind changes direction, Vampire ascending so quickly is news indeed. A game that won't launch before March 2020 pushing its way above recent releases such as Far Cry New Dawn and Devil May Cry 5 on the digital platform is evidence that series fans are thirsty for a new installment, and the Vampire's power still endures all these years later. 

First unveiled at GDC 2019 just last night, Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 is a direct sequel to the 2004 darling, Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines. From what we know so far, the game will take place in Seattle during what developer's have said is the "Mass Embrace", a time when "countless fledgling vampires were created."

Pre-orders for the game are currently live on a handful of digital storefronts. 

Although the original game received mixed reviews when it released because of its seemingly unfinished state and technical issues, it has gone on to become an enduring classic within the horror genre. Because of its writing, exploration elements, and role-playing elements, Vampire continues to make "Best of" horror lists year after year. 

According to SteamCharts, Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines still has a following on the platform, if small, bringing in around 62 players a month on average. Not too bad for a 15-year-old vampire RPG. 

In 2015, Paradox Interactive purchased White Wolf Publishing, the company responsible for creating the Vampire tabletop games, as well as other horror-centric analog RPGs, from CCP Games.

Following news of the acquisition, many thought a new Bloodlines announcement was imminent. However, Paradox remained mum on the subject until recently. 

Epic Games Wants to Police Its Content Better Than Steam Thu, 21 Mar 2019 12:19:22 -0400 QuintLyn

As the Epic Games Store continues to grow, picking up exclusive after exclusive and announcing a long list of features that players will see over the next year, it continues to be compared to Steam. There's no doubt that Valve's long-running digital store is a behemoth in the PC game market, and has had a long time to develop many of the features players take for granted as part of the experience.

But there's something else Steam users have come to take for part and parcel as part of their gaming experience  dealing with an unwieldy store that often buries gems under a pile of garbage.

While Valve used to vet the games that release on its store, it has long since quit, even allowing games that draw outrage from its own community to appear on the store only to be removed after backlash.

But those games aren't the only problem. Players also have to dig through games that are just poor in quality, scams that ride off the popularity of other games hoping players aren't smart enough to realize they've spent $30 on the wrong thing.

Epic has no intention of dealing with these kinds of issues. In fact, when Epic's CEO Tim Sweeny spoke with PCGamer earlier this week, he made it very clear that Epic intends to police the games that appear on its store, making sure they meet a specific "quality standard."

We'll have a quality standard that doesn't accept crappy games. We'll accept reasonably good quality games, of any scale, whether small indie games to huge triple-A games, and we'll take everything up to, like, an R-rated movie or an M-rated game.

Sweeny went on to add that the store won't be distributing porn games, either something that does appear on Steam, mostly in the form of Hentai games. Nor will the store allow "bloatware or asset flips, or any sort of thing that's meant to shock players."

For those that might be upset by this fact, he noted that since the PC is an open platform, developers of any game that don't meet Epic's standards can still find other ways to reach players.

As for how Epic plans to assure games meet their quality standards, Sweeny didn't have a clear answer for that. He simply noted that the company will "be aware of the quality of what's submitted prior to making a decision to list it in the store somehow."

He also noted that humans will most likely be making the call. As the store grows this is going to become a rather large endeavor, but it will be interesting to see how it works out.

Outlaws of the Old West Brings Survival (And Bugs Galore) To The American Plains Mon, 18 Mar 2019 16:42:23 -0400 Ty Arthur

Bleary from a night of hard drinking and trying to outrun the law, a truly unruly feller's eyes crack open slowly. As the fog fades, he realizes with a sudden onrush of dread that he's lying in a coffin and a raven is trying to peck through to get to his eyes.

Breaking free of the plywood prison, he stumbles out into the wide open plains of the great American West, having been left for dead by whatever two-bit posse thought they'd done him in. Bastards hadn't even bothered to bury him correctly.

With only his long underwear and a strong will to live, Gangrene McFiddlesticks begins searching for wood and stone to try to craft a shelter or some kind of hunting tool.

Sadly, his escape from the grave will be short lived as he immediately stumbles upon a rabid badger. With no weapons or proper clothing of any kind, our doomed outlaw McFiddlesticks decides to turn yellow and high tail it in the other direction... directly into the waiting maw of an angry black bear.

The bear and badger feast on Gangrene's corpse. It's for the best -- he was never cut out for life on the frontier as a rancher or farmer.

My opening moments in this horse and lasso-rendition of the survival genre were baffling and hilarious, but before long I'd have Gangrene 2.0 up and running to build a sprawling ranch estate and conquer the west. 

 Behold... the harbinger of my demise

Survival In The Wild West

Given the popularity of recent titles like Far Cry 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2 it was only a matter of time before we saw the wild plains and mountains of the west turned into a survival game.

Here's the one main thing you need to know before trying out the early access Outlaws Of The Old West -- if you've played Ark, you already know the ins and outs of nearly everything this game has to offer.

The harvesting items and crafting recipes are astonishingly similar, which shouldn't be surprising because the same developer is behind both titles. The laser rifles and dinosaurs are just replaced with lassos and horses to tame.

Now, that being said, there are some key differences worth noting. Outlaws features noticeably better animations when harvesting crafting sources like trees and rocks, which become broken up and collapse.

The survival aspects are (at the moment anyway) also much, much more forgiving than other games of this style. In all my time playing in either a single player or PvE server, I never once felt like there was a chance I would die of thirst or dehydration.

Crafting has seen a bit of an overhaul, as you can now queue up crafting projects and they keep running even when the menu isn't open. Individual crafting recipes don't have any animations, but this does free you up to fight, run around, or do other things while objects and resources are crafted.

 Getting started putting together my own homestead

Its A Buggy Ride To Reeksburg

There's still quite a bit missing from the full experience since this is an early access launch, but a tutorial really would have been nice, even for people who are coming over straight from Ark.

Some items are crafted straight from the inventory menu for instance, some can only be crafted at specific types of benches, and others are crafted by holding right-click to bring up a separate crafting wheel while holding specific objects like a log mallet.

That segmented, non-streamlined system could be extremely frustrating for new players to figure that out through trial and error if they haven't played all the other survival games before.

After a week of playing I still don't know how the shovel is supposed to work, which is annoying, because sometimes foundation objects don't line up properly on the rolling landscape when you're trying to build a house or a wall around your property.

Mechanics and UI aside, Outlaws is plagued by an absolute horde of bugs that need to be worked out in the coming months, from animals flickering in and out of existence to truly bizarre AI behavior.

At one point before finding a spot by a water source to start building a town, our friend McFiddlesticks found himself cornered by two wolves while armed only with a makeshift spear. Death number 2 seemed imminent... but after being whacked once with a spear, they both just stood there and let me stab them to death without ever attacking.

That bug worked out in my favor, but others are far more infuriating. The worse was logging in one afternoon in to discover my inventory was completely empty. The 5 hours of crafting and harvesting I'd engaged in the night before were all wiped out in an instant, for no apparent reason. If I hadn't been working on this article, I would have rage quit and never picked Outlaws back up.

Inventory item bugs are plentiful beyond that instance, as sometimes crafted items stay in your inventory after placing them, so you can just set down an infinite supply of whatever object you just made. You'll find yourself falling through floors and getting stuck in walls if you build multi-story buildings as well.

After learning the ropes on a single player server I went into the actual online games to find a mostly empty wasteland. Despite the currently low player count, griefing is still a problem, but not in quite the way you might expect.

Rather than having a menu option to dismantle your crafted objects, cowpokes are supposed to craft a sledgehammer to destroy building segments in a single hit.  The problem is that sledgehammers aren't keyed to your structures -- they work just as well on other player's buildings as on your own, and are incredibly simple to craft. 

You just need a metal work bench and a handful of wood and iron ore to make one of these wrecking balls of destruction. One guy who has a sledgehammer equipped can swiftly take out an entire town in minutes that took days for a team of people to build. 

 The budding hamlet of Reeksburg is starting to come together

Outlaws Of The Old West's Current Status In Early Access

The game has only been in available early access a week and there have already been four big patches released, which is both good and bad. Obviously, the developers are committed to making this a game that works while quickly respond to fan feedback for fixes.

On the other hand, the fact that it needed so many patches in such a small amount of time -- and there are still so many major bugs -- makes it clear most players should steer clear for awhile until the game is more stable and closer to ready.

When you look past the bugs, you get a big satisfying map, with lots of different biomes that will frequently make you think of Red Dead 2. That's easily the biggest selling point, in fact. If you wanted more control over how to build your ranch in the epilogue of Red Dead 2, or if you just weren't keen on how Red Dead Online played out, then there's plenty of reason to try Outlaws... in a few weeks when more patches have arrived.

Unfortunately, the setting and a few crafting tweaks are the only elements really different here overall. Everything else is exactly what you could get from Ark, Dark & Light, or Atlas. If you like that style of game where you have to figure out how to build up an encampment while surviving the wilderness, there's no reason not to try out the wild west version.

If you frequently find yourself wondering exactly why you are chopping down a billionth tree to craft a bigger component in these types of games, nothing about Outlaws Of The Old West will make you re-think your stance, however.

Olympus Has Fallen: How Ubisoft Made The Division 2’s Washington Siege, Weapon Sounds Realistic Fri, 15 Mar 2019 12:14:17 -0400 Benjamin Kratsch

The White House is on fire. Rockets hit the East Wing as black smoke clouds the sky over Washington D.C. Bullets fly and explosions rock the ground. 

The core story idea of The Division 2, Ubisoft's recently-released third-person shooter, is basically Olympus Has Fallen: you are Gerard Butler, you kill everyone, and, hopefully, as the last line of defense after the Secret Service has been wiped out, you save the day.

In fact, in a recent trailer, you can even see Air Force One getting hit by multiple rockets and going down. So yes, Massive Entertainment and its partner studios, such as the inventor of the squad-based tactical shooter genre Red Storm Entertainment (Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon), is playing with pure Hollywood fantasy in The Division 2.

From a story perspective, they have no problems admitting that. Game Director Mathias Karlson explains: 

It’s been seven months since the virus outbreak. Large parts of the military have been killed, there [is] chaos and anarchy all over the country, and The White House, Capitol, and other important government buildings in Washington D.C. get hit by wave after wave of attacks.

The attack forces are mostly using ground troops, remote controlled C4 drones, and helicopters get added later into the mix.

Ubisoft knows that taking The White House would be a mission impossible, but in the storyline of The Division 2, the President, Vice President, and Secretary of Defense are dead or missing, and as Division agents, players take control over all units protecting D.C.

You might be surprised that despite the pseudo Olympus Has Fallen scenario, Ubisoft is taking authenticity very seriously.

"We Want Washington to Feel as Realistic as Possible" 

At an event in Berlin, Karlson explains that Ubisoft's teams used GIS data to rebuild the government district of Washington D.C. almost 1:1.

"It’s GPS data used by Google Maps for example," he says. "It allows us to know exactly how long and wide streets are in DC, how large every building is, the length of The White House complex with its multiple gates."

And he is right: If you’ve ever been to Washington D.C., you can even find pizza parlors and coffee shops at the exact same positions, just with different names on Pennsylvania Avenue. Ubisoft has also gone through a great deal of painstaking research with its TD2 advisors, some of whom are ex-military or former government agents from organizations they won't disclose.

Using experts plays into the game's environmental storytelling, such as coming across a stranded Marine One near Andrews Airforce Base, just a dozen miles southeast of The White House. 

Knowing that Marine One always travels in a group of three Sea Kings or White Hawks that regularly change positions midair to confuse potential attackers and protect the President, Ubisoft created a realistic scenario in The Division 2: Division agents in charge of D.C. can't locate the President, something real agents train for. 

We don’t tell you the entire story, what exactly happened. A lot of it is going to play out in your own mind. You can retrace information via recordings and conversations, but it’s mostly based on environmental storytelling.

This interesting creative choice plays into Ubisoft's goal to imbue The Division 2 with a sense of chaos and realism. 

Ubisoft also used the knowledge provided by its advisors to build the fortress seen around The White House used as a base of operation by JTF (Joint Task Force) units, CERA (The Ubisoft version of FEMA), and Division agents.

In the game, these forces have built a massive security wall surrounding the compound, and all entry points are protected with a steel cage. Players must pass one gate and another to access White House ground.

This is how Ubisoft's consultants think the military would secure the most prestigious building in a siege situation. They’ve even taken into consideration from where military units would arrive, from where they would fly in, and from where enemies would intercept them.

However, since Ubisoft wants to focus on ground-combat and not tread the same ground as the Battlefield franchise, Ubisoft is taking a ton of creative freedom here, too. 

Despite all of the realism Ubisoft has created in The Division 2, a real-world defense of the White House would also include M1 Abrams and Bradley tanks as the first line of defense.

An army consisting of mostly ground forces, helicopters, and drones would have a tough time laying siege on The White House for multiple days considering, too, that F16 and F35 fighter jets would reach the location within minutes. And there are more than a couple of thousand soldiers stationed as Andrews, not to mention the Pentagon and Secret Service. 

Military Logistics Might Be Fantasy, But The Atmosphere is Stunning

The atmosphere of The Division 2 still works great because Ubisoft managed to capture D.C. in a way that feels real. So many buildings are correct, their sizes are right, the way parks are structured is realistic, and even streets are accurate and wide.

You walk through the Lincoln Memorial and it feels real; the same can be said of the Capitol. Karlson says, "We’ve used all of this GPS data to rebuild an exact footprint of Washington D.C. Every park bench, every light pole sits where it is is in reality." 

Additionally, D.C. feels much more like a war zone than the New York of The Division 1. While that city was captured with great detail, Ubisoft had forgotten to lay over the city a real war scenario. Looking back, it was almost baffling that only a couple of hundred soldiers were left to defend New York City; there wasn't even an entire platoon had to secure key positions against waves and waves of enemies.

That’s different in D.C. Now, you will see burned out Humvees and MRAPs literally everywhere. If you take a closer look, you can even find destroyed armored SUV convoys in the government district.

Taking things further, there are dozens of downed helicopters of all sorts everywhere: Black Hawks, Apaches, Chinooks. Some of them lay crumpled in the streets, some of them can still be entered and hold powerful and useful weapons.

Where, for example, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 shows how an invasion looks in real time, The Division 2 is all about the aftermath. Every street is littered with ambulances and police cars, Capitol, Park, and Metropolitan. A lot of them are empty, but in some, there are dead bodies. 

While the first game was all about snow, The Division 2 plays in summer. There is rain, but mostly it’s hot. Parts of the city have been flooded and there is a lot of greenery everywhere, taking over the city. 

"When I’ve traveled to Washington the first time in August, I was surprised,“ recalls Karlson. "It’s super hot and humid. If no one takes care of the city, nature will take over fairly quickly."

Shots Fired: Why Guns Sound Far More Realistic in Games Now

Weapons used to sound weird in games. Sometimes they were not punchy enough, and when used with suppressors, they were often too silent. To fix that in their games, Ubisoft acquired Red Storm Entertainment, a studio built by Doug Littlejohns, a former captain of the SAS (Special Air Service), the most elite military unit in the United Kingdom.

Littlejohns moved to Cary, North Carolina, to build a studio dedicated to developing more accurate tactical shooters like the old Rainbow Six games, ones where players could pre-plan every step — and hear what weapons of war really sounded like. 

So, for The Division 2, Massive Entertainment and Red Storm decided to team up with the legendary Pinewood Studios, who are responsible for the epic sound design found in all of the Stars Wars and Mission Impossible movies.

So while Ubisoft could have simple hired ex-special forces to understand how they would operate in D.C., they went the extra mile to also let them fire guns on specific studio sets at Pinewood to get an accurate representation of how the reverberation and echo changes from a narrow street to a major one.

Audio Director Simon Koudriavstev explains in a video shown at the event  how they've achieved that:

They’ve used a total of 65 microphones located in all locations possible to record gunshots of long caliber sniper rifles, assault rifles, LMGs, Shotguns, MPs and their exact reverberation. Every gun has a very iconic, unique sound that we want to portray in the game.

To get an even more authentic sound, crucial parts of government buildings were rebuilt and shot at. For example, the marble used in the U.S. Capitol building has a particular reverberation that other buildings do not. So when you shoot the walls of that particular building in The Division 2, you'll hear a very specific sound depending on which of the more than 50 weapons you're using. And this even includes the specific attachments for each gun. 

"This [part] was important to us because suppressors simply aren’t as quiet [as] most games made them be."

Aside from bullets bouncing off objects and lodging into walls, players will hear helicopters approaching, footsteps clattering over wooden panels, and the reverberation of voices in long halls and buildings just as they would in real life. 

"When you walk through the streets of Washington, it gives you a sense of power. We strip that away with The Division 2. The country feels very vulnerable and we want you to feel that. All those bullet holes in SUVs, that maybe belong to the government, maybe even The White House. The trash on the streets, burned out military convoys.

This is a game, it clearly is. The shooting part is supposed to be tactical and fun. But we want Washington DC to feel as real as possible" concludes the Game Director.


The Division 2 is out now. Considering the studio's attention to detail, a 40-hour campaign, and a robust post-launch plan, The Division 2 looks to take what made the original game to the next level. 

Our review of the game is currently in progress. Until then, be sure to head over to our closed beta impressions to see what we think about Ubisoft's latest third-person shooter so far. 

How Does Blockchain Currently Work in Video Games? Wed, 13 Mar 2019 09:53:15 -0400 DGaming

Note: This post is sponsored and written by DGaming. 

Just a few years ago, the growing popularity of blockchain technology was only associated with the rapid growth of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. The hype was for a serious reason: in just five years, the Bitcoin market increased almost 6000 times — from approximately $0.04 billion in the first quarter of 2012 to $237.62 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Now, after the initial buzz around digital currencies has waned mostly due to the cryptocurrency market decrease starting around the beginning of 2018 more and more people in various industries see the technology not as a sure way to make more money by investing in cryptocurrencies, but as an alternative tool to improve their business processes.

Similar to markets in retail, healthcare, financial services, and the public sector, the gaming industry has experienced some influence also.

But before we explore how blockchain works in gaming, what is blockchain in a nutshell?

Behind the Blocks

The blockchain is simply a data structure where each block is linked to another block in a time-stamped chronological order. Every new record should be validated across the distributed network before it can be stored in a block.

Once the record is stored in a block, it can’t be erased or edited, but it can also be easily verified and traced. In short, the technology was a fertile ground for creating Bitcoin as the first cryptocurrency and influencing the entire field of banking and finance in terms of decentralization.

The idea of placing trust not in a single centralized entity like a bank or a multinational company but in the network itself has become a feature, which is considered by technology supporters as revolutionary.

For example, the main advantages of decentralization in the finance sector include empowering users with more control over their information and transactions, enabling them to make an exchange without the intermediation of a third party. This speeds up some processes and removes additional costs, making the whole ecosystem more transparent and less corrupt with publicly viewable and inflexible transaction histories.

Today, examples of blockchain technology applications go far beyond the finance industry. In the healthcare area, as another example, a blockchain system can allow doctors and healthcare providers to access a patient’s health records securely and easily. Voting systems secured with blockchain technology would be resistant to hacking activities. And, in general, the peer-to-peer nature of the technology would allow users to eliminate the need for middle-men companies in many other industries as well.

But how exactly can blockchain technology benefit the gaming industry?
Money flow and security issues.

With the growth of cryptocurrency market capitalization, more and more developers began considering the implementation of cryptos for the sake of in-game monetization.

Exchanging Goods In Games

The peak of that market has brought to bear some big DGames titles (decentralized game titles) like Cryptokitties, which went viral with more than 14,000 daily users just a month after its launch in November 2017; more than $25 million was exchanged on the platform for a period of 10 months after the start of the project.

The main task of gamers in this situation is to collect unique digital items known as “cryptocollectibles” or “non-fungible tokens,” which cannot be copied. That is where blockchain technology comes into action. Since there are many rare “kitties” in the game, and players are bidding for them, some of these cryptocollectibles can reach the mark of hundreds of thousands.

In fact, there were more than 10 kitties that sold for more than $100,000 during that time frame, with the most expensive one going for $172,625.

Another decentralized game, called Decentraland, has seen another major deal worth $215,204, when a player bought a virtual piece of land.

With such significant amounts of money circulated between players, the security of these transactions and purchased assets is a crucial concern for those involved.

Since blockchain technology doesn't have a single point-of-failure, a decentralized game is not a subject to DDoS attacks, for example. And this fact especially makes sense for gaming, considering that 50-99 percent of all virtual good purchases in the traditional gaming industry were found illegitimate due to fraud.

A Game as a Marketplace

Another distinctive feature of blockchain-based games is greater control of characters and in-game items.

Anyone who plays games knows that most of the time, a game's characters and in-game items don't technically belong to the player. The Ancient Legendary Katana in Diablo 3 and the Primal Fire Sword in World of Warcraft are the legal property of Blizzard, something that’s explicitly stated in their End User License Agreement (point 2A).

In the case with DGames (decentralized games), however, the player has full ownership over every item they buy.

This means that players can sell any purchased game item whenever they want without any limitations from the developer. What's more, every blockchain-based virtual asset in the game is assigned with a proprietary hashtag, which tracks the item's history; this prevents scams from taking place by making the history of in-game assets fully visible and open to the public.


Another feature of decentralized games is that they allow gamers to play with each other and use their characters and items across several decentralized games. Called a gaming multiverse, it’s possible due to blockchain’s distributed ledger, which verifies all data through smart contracts.

Some blockchain industry experts state that a multiverse controlled and governed by a single entity would always be bound by restrictions, so the decentralization provided by blockchain is a must.

The makers of Enjin Coin have already implemented a multiverse principle in six blockchain games: Age of Rust, 9Lives Arena, CryptoFights, War of Crypto, Bitcoin Hodler, and Forest Knight. All games use Enjin Coin’s blockchain development platform to integrate gaming assets stored on the Ethereum blockchain to maintain their gaming multiverse.

That means their worlds, characters, and items will be tied together. So players who own assets in these games can use them across the “multiverse.” Such innovation has some benefits for both parties: it enables developers to cross-promote their titles while offering players a unique inter-universe experience.

What is Next?

Blockchain represents a fundamental shift from value extraction in closed ecosystems to value capture in open ecosystems. And even though many blockchain-based gaming projects are still experimenting with their mechanics and gaming features, the technology, in general, has a lot to offer.

The fact that some big industry names are entering the world of blockchain gaming only confirms that statement. Square Enix, for instance, has announced that it considers blockchain a big part of its strategy in 2019.

In the meantime, DGames allow players to:

  • Make and spend money while playing video games
  • Complete transactions in a decentralized secure network
  • Have full control over their in-game assets 
  • Use these assets between different games 
  • Trade and exchange the assets at any moment without any restrictions

For more news and in-depth analyses of the most exciting blockchain projects and DGames, check out

Monster Super League's New Event Charges $700 For One Character Mon, 11 Mar 2019 13:00:09 -0400 Adamo Umbra

As many will know, free-to-play mobile games are often under fire for being loaded with microtransactions — real money expenditures that players are frequently encouraged to engage with if they want to continue playing these titles. Monster Super League is one such mobile game, and while I have never had an issue with its microtransactions before, the game's latest event has changed that for me.

This new event, called Monster Super Mileage, features one particularly egregious offering. That is its Merlin character, which is available for $700. Yes, you're reading that right — if you spend $700 you will receive one single character in Monster Super League.

To make matters worse, there is no detail provided on the character, which may mean purchases will receive an Evolution 1 Merlin. To briefly explain, there are three evolution levels in the game, with Evolution 1 being the weakest, and players need characters in multiples to evolve them further. 

If players that buy the character through this new event due indeed receive an Evolution 1 Merlin, that means that they will need 14 more of them to get to Evolution 3. As such, I think it's safe to say that an Evolution 1 character is simply not worth $700.

For that matter, nothing in this event is worth the amount of money being asked, but there's also something else going on here: Monster Super Mileage only lasts eight days. This means that you can't just put some small amount of money in every month and build up to what you want — instead, you'll have to pay the entire amount now if you want to get the reward.

With all of this said, it's understandable that the community's response to the event has been mostly negative. Personally, I haven't a clue why 4:33 Creative Labs, the developer behind the title, is even trying to pull something like this off.

While it may have little impact on the average player, the fact that the company is trying to charge $700 for a digital character, in its weakest form, is absolutely ludicrous. Only time will tell how far 4:33 attempts to push these ridiculous microtransactions, but this behavior needs to be called out now before it becomes an even bigger issue.

10 Dormant Resident Evil Plots Waiting to Rise From The Dead Fri, 08 Mar 2019 15:58:30 -0500 Thomas Wilde

On March 22, we’ll be celebrating the 23rd anniversary of the original Resident Evil. That game’s release began an unexpected franchise for Capcom, which went on to span seven direct sequels, 14 spin-offs, and three computer-animated films set in the same universe as the games.

Over the course of those two decades, Resident Evil has become justly infamous for its story. Even the simpler games in the series tend to be a hodgepodge of betrayals, conspiracies, secret government organizations, evil corporations, surreal architecture, mad scientists, and, of course, exploding helicopters.

Explaining the overarching plotline of Resident Evil often sounds like you’re talking about a lost season of 24 that involves a zombie outbreak. It's all further complicated by Capcom's history of, let's say, interesting storytelling decisions.

Surprisingly important background details are often thrown in a file that’s deliberately hard to find, locked behind collectibles, or stuck in Japan-only supplemental materials that don't get officially translated for years afterward, if at all. It’s a degree of deliberate, unnecessary complexity that you usually don’t see outside of American superhero comics.

Much of the time, this goes back to several behind-the-scenes issues at Capcom, particularly early on:

  • many core games go through multiple wildly different versions of themselves during development
  • RE’s head writer, Noboru Sugimura, passed away in 2005
  • the somewhat acrimonious departure of series creator, Shinji Mikami, in 2006
  • multiple creative teams and writers, many of whom don't last for more than one game

Because of the chaos around the series, Resident Evil is littered with abandoned plot arcs, forgotten characters, canceled projects, and untold stories.

However, in the last few years, Capcom has made a distinct effort to mine that history through the newer games in the franchise. Resident Evil 7, in its final couple of hours, connects its storyline to a mysterious organization that was last mentioned in 2000’s Resident Evil: Code Veronica. 

2015’s Resident Evil: Revelations 2 features Moira Burton, who first appeared as a child in an obscure file in the original 1996 Resident Evil, and while 2012’s Resident Evil 6 was a mess, it brought back Sherry Birkin after 13 years.

It’s been a little over a month out from Capcom’s successful remake of Resident Evil 2, and the rumor mill has begun to churn regarding what’s next for the series.

With that in mind, here are 10 of the most potentially interesting plot hooks that could appear in future RE titles, including Resident Evil 8. These are plot points that Capcom has introduced, then proceeded to leave alone for at least a couple of years, if not a decade or more.

Naturally, this article involves major spoilers for many of the games in the Resident Evil series. 

10. “Jenny K”

The first four games in the Resident Evil series are all about dealing with the underground activities of the megacorporation Umbrella, which was a billion-dollar drug company by day, weapons manufacturer by night.

After all four of those games ended with characters walking off into the sunset, promising to bring down Umbrella, it was eventually taken out by a government lawsuit, rather than one last heroic adventure, according to the opening text crawl of Resident Evil 4.

Of course, it wasn’t quite that simple, and several later games dealt with the events that surrounded Umbrella’s closure.

Near the end of Resident Evil 5, you can find Spencer’s Notebook, a file that discusses the measures Spencer took to protect his interests after Umbrella was shut down, which included having the rest of Umbrella’s executives quietly assassinated.

There was one exception: “Jenny K,” who disappeared without a trace.

Every high-ranking Umbrella executive we’ve seen in the series so far has been a billionaire psychopath with a plan for world conquest. Jenny K, whoever and wherever she is, is the last survivor of Umbrella’s original upper echelon, and she could show up again at any time as a new, major player.

9. The Raccoon City Testing Ground

2003’s Resident Evil: Outbreak was at least a few years ahead of its time. It was a four-player cooperative survival horror game, which was mostly held back by the PlayStation 2's technology barrier and janky matchmaking.

Outbreak wasn’t confirmed as part of Resident Evil canon until relatively recently, when a few references to it appeared in RE7, the RE6 prequel manga Marhawa Desire, and the 2019 RE2 remake. Now that we know it definitely is canon, it means that one strange scene in Outbreak is suddenly relevant.

After you complete "Decisions, Decisions," there's a bonus scene after the closing credits. It shows that, a month after the bomb dropped at the end of Resident Evil 3, an unspecified agency has set up a laboratory in the ruins of Raccoon City.

Whoever the organization is, it's conducting tests and has gone to the trouble of making sure its lab doesn’t show up in aerial photographs of the area. As the setting for a back-to-the-beginning plot, this has a lot of promise, particularly since we don’t know who or what was running the lab.

8. Steve Burnside

2000’s Resident Evil: Code Veronica is an interesting sort of mess. It came out on the Dreamcast after a troubled development history, and has a lot of weird quirks that are particular to that period of game design.

Among all of its other missteps, like that glass cannonball "puzzle" near the end, its biggest is arguably Claire’s NPC sidekick, Steve Burnside. A trembling ball of Matrix shout-outs and adolescent angst, with the most Canadian accent this side of Bob & Doug McKenzie, Steve creates almost exactly as many problems as he helps the player solve.

In the end, he’s infected by the ant-derived T-Veronica virus, mutates into a lizard monster, and dies in Claire’s arms.

That’d be it for Steve, except his body is subsequently stolen by Albert Wesker, who tells Claire that there’s a chance Steve might come back from the dead someday, just as Wesker himself had.

That was 19 years ago. Since then, Steve’s name hasn’t come up outside of a flashback level, set during the events of Code Veronica, during 2009’s Darkside Chronicles.

It’s probably safe to assume that Steve got thrown into a meat locker somewhere and forgotten. That being said, HCF, Wesker’s mercenary squad from the same game, was mentioned in Resident Evil 7, and that's far more obscure than Steve was.

It’s also worth mentioning that Steve was infected in late 1998 with a virus that, according to the main plot of Code Veronica, takes a full 15 years to mature, and it’s been longer than that in-universe. Not only could Steve still come back at some point, but he could have bizarre new powers and abilities when he does.

Steve Burnside riding back into the series on top of his giant ant steed, firing a submachinegun into the air with either hand, might be the kind of crazy nonsense he needs to overcome nearly 20 years of fan jokes about how awful he is.

7. Corporate Masterminds

It’s been a plot point in the series for a long time that Umbrella was the leader in the bioweapons industry, but wasn't the only company in the business. There are multiple other companies working with the T-Virus, and their version of corporate warfare usually involved mercenary squads and quiet assassinations.

A lot of these companies have popped up in the series over the years, and they usually end up somehow dismantled by the end of their first appearance.

Resident Evil 5's Tricell is officially dead by the time of Revelations 2, which is set two years later, and the vaccine manufacturer Wilpharma goes out of business after the events of the 2008 film Resident Evil: Degeneration.

Currently, the last identified corporation in the bioweapons black market is a Chinese company called Shen Ya, which was introduced in the 2015 Heavenly Island manga. It had a well-funded paramilitary force working for it, as well as a particularly dangerous undercover agent, although none of them survived the events of the manga.

With mainland China in bad shape following the events of Resident Evil 6, the time may soon come for Shen Ya to consider expansion. There's also the Connections, the criminal syndicate responsible for creating Eveline in Resident Evil 7; "Blue Umbrella," the original Umbrella reincarnated as a black-market weapons dealer, as seen in the notoriously poor Umbrella Corps; and whatever other companies might still be waiting in the wings.

6. The Remnants of the FBC

The Federal Bioterror Commission was the American organization that predated the BSAA, Chris Redfield’s anti-bioweapon task force that first appeared in Resident Evil 5.

In 2011’s Resident Evil: Revelations, it's revealed that the original version of the FBC was basically one step up from park rangers, and was virtually powerless. To fix that, the FBC’s commissioner, Morgan Lansdale, purchased a handful of bioweapons on the black market and duped a small-time terrorist group into using them to take out an entire city in 2004. A year later, and thanks to the ensuing panic, the FBC is a well-funded and respected international task force, with Lansdale as its dictatorial leader.

Thanks to Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, this is eventually brought to light and Lansdale is sent to jail. The FBC’s assets and personnel get folded into the BSAA, which turns it into the international organization it's become by the start of RE5.

However, in 2015’s Revelations 2, one of the major twists is that Claire’s friend and boss, Neil Fisher, is still loyal to Lansdale. Fisher has a plan to set off another large bioterror event in order to bring back the FBC, and it fails spectacularly.

There’s every chance that Lansdale, wherever he wound up, has a few more obsessed underlings out there, and any one of them might be willing to start another serious outbreak in order to prove that Lansdale was right, bringing about another interwoven plot for a future Resident Evil installment. 

5. The Other Wesker Children

2009’s Resident Evil 5 told the origin story of the series’ primary antagonist, Albert Wesker. It turned out that he was one of 13 children who were products of Umbrella’s secret “Wesker Project,” which was named after its chief researcher. Its goal was to create a more advanced breed of human through a winning combination of brainwashing, child endangerment, and genetic engineering.

The other 12 Weskers were named in RE5’s Lost in Nightmares DLC, including Albert’s “sister” Alex, who would go on to be the villain of 2015’s Resident Evil: Revelations 2.

Since both of the Weskers shown in the series so far are brilliant mad scientists with personal body counts like a natural disaster, it could be inferred that the other Wesker kids would be similarly gifted and/or damaged.

According to Revelations 2, however, the other 11 Wesker kids are all dead. Although that information comes from Alex, a somewhat unreliable narrator, one of the primary characteristics of Weskers is that they don’t stay dead.

After all, Albert famously got his spine clawed out by an angry Tyrant in the very first Resident Evil, and Alex dies twice in Revelations 2.

Therefore, any time Capcom feels like it, they’ve potentially got another 11 backup Weskers on deck, ready to continue their family legacy of smugness and murder for another console generation.

4. The Family

One of the more infamous details of 2012’s Resident Evil 6 is the existence of “The Family,” an international conspiracy that draws its influence and power from financial manipulation. Its primary goal is maintaining the global status quo for the sake of continued profit.

Derek Simmons, one of the major antagonists of RE6, is a member of The Family, and considering the organization’s stated goals, he couldn’t have failed harder on a bet. Not only does he have the U.S. president assassinated as part of a major bioterror attack, but Simmons' girlfriend Carla Radames nearly ends the world just to spit in his face.

The Family is barely a presence in RE6 outside of Simmons, Carla, and a couple of stereotypical Men in Black (the conspiracy-theory version, not the ones from the Will Smith movies), one of whom shoots Carla dead near the end of Chris' game.

As a theoretical “final boss” for the Resident Evil series, however, you couldn’t do much better than The Family. The series has run heavily off of conspiracies and underground organizations since nearly the beginning, and The Family, which is basically the Illuminati with its serial numbers filed off, is depicted as the ultimate conspiracy.

3. The Biosphere

The setting of Resident Evil is an Earth a lot like our own, with much of the same history and culture, a few different nations, a couple of extra cities, and a biosphere that is intensely warped.

From the very first game in the series, the T-Virus has been capable of infecting just about anything organic. We’ve seen it turn humans, crows, dogs, crocodiles, sharks, spiders, insects, bats, elephants, lions, tropical birds, and even plants into zombies, mutants, and monsters.

In1998's Resident Evil 2, there are several files explaining that the mansion from the first game was located in the middle of a national forest. As far as the T-Virus is concerned, that’s one big infection vector, conveniently located somewhere in the American Midwest.

In subsequent games, there have been biohazard incidents involving the T-Virus or one of its derivatives all over the world. Here are just a few instances: 

  • Resident Evil 6 ends with a massive bioterror attack with the C-Virus on the Chinese mainland
  • An ocean liner full of infected humans goes down in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in 2002’s Resident Evil: Dead Aim
  • The wreckage of Terragrigia in the Mediterranean Sea is still heavily contaminated at the start of 2011's Resident Evil: Revelations 
  • the T-Veronica virus is let loose in the South American rainforest during the main story levels in Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles

There’s even a handy map at the start of the Degeneration movie (see above) that highlights 27 separate bioterror attacks spread out across six continents, all before 2005, when the movie takes place.

What this means is that in the Resident Evil universe, the T-Virus and a couple of its later derivatives have been loose in its biosphere for years. Capcom’s already laid the groundwork for monsters or outbreaks to show up virtually anywhere on Earth at any time, without any need for a villain to set them loose.

2. The Umbrella Archives

Several of the scenarios in 2007’s Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles are about Albert Wesker, as he tries, initially fails, and eventually succeeds at stealing the only remaining backup of Umbrella’s cumulative research data.

The next time we see him in series continuity, Wesker is incredibly rich — he has his own personal stealth bomber in Resident Evil 5 — and has been quietly selling bioweaponry to dictators and lunatics around the world.

After his death, however, it’s never been established what happened to Wesker’s archives. This includes the single most valuable thing in Wesker’s arsenal, the P30 drug, which is about as close to an actual super-soldier serum as the series has ever had. It’s why Jill is a mind-controlled superhuman assassin on Wesker’s team in RE5 and Marvel vs. Capcom 3. P30 in particular would be the most valuable bioweapon in the Resident Evil franchise, and it isn’t even close.

The hunt for where Wesker stashed his personal research archives could be fuel for a world-spanning adventure, trying to keep his most dangerous secrets out of the hands of the last people who should have them.

1. Natalia Wesker

Even in the “good ending” of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Alex Wesker has technically won. Her plan throughout the game is to "test" various survivors to see who would make a good host for a copy of her memories and personality, allowing the terminally ill Alex to cheat death.

While it doesn't quite go according to plan for the original Alex, she does manage to capture 10-year-old Natalia Korda and imprint her personality on Natalia's brain. Six months later, Natalia already has abilities and memories she can't explain, and two years after that, in Revelations 2's epilogue, it seems as if Alex has begun assuming full control.

This plotline would provide the series with a new primary antagonist in the wake of Albert Wesker’s death, and one who’s been growing up in Barry Burton’s household for the last few years. Not only does that imply she'd have a lot of weapons training now, but it means that she's already undercover.

"Natalex" prepared for all of this six months beforehand. She also has substantial financial resources, a brilliant mind, and no scruples whatsoever. Forget all of the conspiracies and monsters: the scariest thing in the Resident Evil franchise as of right now could conceivably be a teenage girl.

Of course, Capcom might decide to ignore any or all of these for another decade or come up with something entirely new. What's impressive, however, is the sheer amount of potential that's still left in the series after all these years.

Warhammer Chaosbane Beta Impressions: Action Comes To The Old World Thu, 07 Mar 2019 16:15:02 -0500 Ty Arthur

Woah, wait, another Warhammer game?

Yep, they just keep coming, and I think we all know that many of the Games Workshop licensed titles flat out aren't that great.

However, we were able to try out the Warhammer: Chaosbane beta over the past several days and can confidently say it doesn't fall prey to that unfortunate trend, even if it does have a few rough spots to iron out. 

Based off of forum chatter, many players seem to be under the impression that Chaosbane will offer the same basic four-player co-op hack 'n slash action as the recent Vermintide 2, but that's not actually the case.

While online co-op is available, Chaosbane is very much a single-player ARPG more in the vein of Diablo.

Games Workshop's tendency to throw out as many titles as possible to see what sticks may not always work out, but it is a boon for fans of the franchise to see all of these different takes on the Warhammer universe between various game genres.

If you don't want the complexity of huge-scale battles from Total War, or the high difficulty of the online-co-op-only Vermintide, or the slow turn-based play of Mordenheim, this iteration gives you some of the same aesthetics and familiar lore but in a more fast-paced, action-oriented version.

Chaosbane Class And Skill Options

The full game will start with four main classes to choose from, but unfortunately, Wood Elf Scout and Dwarf Slayer were unavailable in the beta. That second one, in particular, was a disappointment, because playing a mohawked suicidal dwarf seemed like the most fun in an ARPG. 

Despite that, I played both of the other two classes extensively and came away with a clear favorite: Imperial Soldier.

This class is basically the Guardian from Hellgate: London. Here, you want to be surrounded by enemies while swinging wildly as often as possible. The more monsters in your immediate vicinity, the less damage you take and the more damage you dish out.

Aside from the frenzied nature of the Imperial Soldier's skills, the developers really nailed the look and feel of Old-World combatants with this class.

High Elf Mage, on the other hand, offers a somewhat unique play style because its special class skill lets you control the direction of your spells. Essentially, this turns every spell into a guided missile, although you have to stay stationary while controlling where the spells zip around the area.

That's a cool idea, but overall, Mage feels the most like the typical ARPG character and the least like a unique Warhammer avatar.


Rather than a skill tree where you pick your new skills at each level like in typical ARPGs, all classes automatically unlock skills at predefined levels. There's a twist though: you can only have a limited number of skills active at once, and each skill costs a different number of points to equip.

That's where customization comes in.

You could use the basic, non-upgraded version of your normal attack for instance, but then beef up several high damage-dealing secondary skills, or do the exact opposite. You could equip a ton of lower ranked skills for more versatility, or just use one or two more powerful versions of skills that fit your play style better.

I can see a lot of players hating this system at first because in the beginning, it feels limited. That is until you realize this is basically culling out the middle man and letting you respec your character on the fly.

Anyone who plays ARPGs knows they typically limit respec opportunities, requiring you to start a new character, use a rare item, or pay a fee at a specific NPC to swap out skills. In Chaosbane, you can instead change your abilities at absolutely any time during any dungeon by simply opening up the skill screen.

It's kind of a genius change, actually, and plays really smoothly.

The system is like combining the best features of the sorcerer and wizard D&D classes at once: you have a limited number of points to utilize, but a vast array of abilities to choose from to spend on those points.

Aside from the abilities that unlock as you level, some skills can only be learned by donating items rather than selling them, which adds another layer of management besides just hoarding equipment and gold.

Finally, the Blessings of the Gods skill tree is where you have more control over how your character develops. Multiple paths are available along the tree, with each node either giving a flat bonus or opening up a new power.

This tree opens up at Level 15, after completing a certain quest, and is essentially the equivalent of the devotion constellation from Grim Dawn, except you get shards to spend on advancement as random drops rather than by finding hidden shrines.

(War)Hammering Down The ARPG Formula

Changes to the skill system aside, Chaosbane, for the most part, sticks to the standard ARPG formula of exploring dungeons and wiping out hordes of enemies.

There are a few twists here and there, like limited-time quests (save all the kidnapped soldiers before they can be sacrificed to Nurgle) or tracking down specific locations to unlock inaccessible areas (activate shrines to get past the magic barrier), and so on.

Of course, there are epic boss fights scattered throughout the game, and in the beta, we squared off against a Great Unclean One in the sewers.

One major change from the basic ARPG style is the lack of mana potions. Instead of quaffing blue vials to use your skills, each class instead gains energy by landing basic attacks or utilizing specific energy recharge skills.

You'll notice a few other differences from your typical Diablo clones while exploring the bowels of Nuln as well, like enemy bodies remaining on the ground in ever-increasing quantities, which is a nice touch in this bloody, grim world.

Speaking of enemies, some of the monster animations are simply outstanding. The nurglings, for instance, occasionally gather together into a giant nurgling swarm (think the of the ball of mouths from Critter, but significantly grosser) before they fly apart across the screen in a green chunky spray when you destroy the swarm.

Vermintide 2 players will also likely delight in seeing larger beasts like the Chaos Spawn interpreted as a different style of mini-boss.

Areas For Improvement

There are plenty of elements to love about Chaosbane for ARPG fans, in its current state, some areas still need polish. In particular, the game re-uses the exact same sewer layout far too often in the quests from levels 1-16.

Apart from location repetition, the game could desperately use more variation in items. Loot a-plenty is to be found, but most of that loot is similar in both name and look, but features different stats. 

Armor or weaponry with killer aesthetics and legendary properties are a staple of this genre, but that seems to be lacking so far in Chaosbane.

In the beta, I never came across any distinctive items that would warrant me placing them in the personal stash while trying to build up a themed set across multiple dungeon runs.

Some of the beta's other problems are basic, obvious things that will clearly get patched. For instance, in my first dungeon, the shield and boots section of the character doll were swapped, showing the opposite item. In some cases, item comparison numbers also seemed to be wrong, but those are both relatively easy fixes.

The map and UI could also use a general overhaul. Clicking the light under a door doesn't always work well when trying to switch between rooms on the main hub area, for instance. While it's not a game breaker by any means, there's no ability to zoom in or rotate the camera, which makes some areas difficult to see. 

While many of the enemy animations are top-notch, I often felt like the High Elf Mage animations still needed work. Most of the spells don't quite match the background color scheme and don't really feel like they solidly connect with anything when they hit an enemy. 

Warhammer: Chaosbane As It Stands in Beta

There's plenty of good and some bad in Chaosbane, but the bottom line is this do you dig the idea of mowing through hordes of chaos daemons, deranged cultists, and beastmen?

If so, checking out Chaosbane is a no brainer. Chaosbane is only going to improve before full release, and fans of Grim Dawn or Torchlight 2 will love nearly everything about this new Warhammer outing.

Until a proper text-heavy, character-focused, real-deal RPG is set in the Warhammer universe, I'll be content slaughtering hordes of poor fools who gave their souls to the ruinous powers in Chaosbane.

Hands-On Preview: A Plague Tale is a Historical Adventure With Some Horrifying Twists Thu, 28 Feb 2019 08:32:21 -0500 Thomas Wilde

When I spoke to the developers of A Plague Tale: Innocence at last year's E3 in Los Angeles, they were hesitant to call it a horror game.

To be fair, they aren't exactly wrong. For a lot of its initial running time, A Plague Tale is more like a historical drama. Set during the Hundred Years' War in 14th-century France, you play as Amicia de Rune, the daughter of a minor nobleman whose family suddenly ends up on the Inquisition's hit list.

Shortly thereafter, Amicia and her little brother Hugo are forced to flee across the countryside toward safety, at a time when hostile priests, invading Englishmen, maddened villagers, and the Black Death are all competing to get the chance to kill them.

It's a slow burn of a game with real human stakes, and it takes the time to build up its world and its characters. There's real thought behind the portrayal of Amicia and Hugo's family, the life they've built, and the time they're in. There's a touch of Hollywood cleanliness to the proceedings, of course, but the opening hours of A Plague Tale feel like a careful period piece, even once the action begins.

That being said, our hands-on preview proved one thing: this is also a game about being chased at every turn by demon rats.

The rats first show up right at the title screen, but take their time in making their onscreen debut. Once they do, however, they're almost inescapable, boiling up from every unattended crack and shadow; they act like little black land piranha with eerily glowing eyes. Anything that gets caught by them is reduced to a wet red skeleton in seconds.

Every time the rats appear, A Plague Tale jumps into an entirely different genre-pool. The Black Death is ravaging the area, the Inquisition is breathing down your neck, the English are about 10 minutes away from yet another full-scale invasion, and somehow, thanks to the rats, things are about to get even worse.

Early on, the rats are an obstacle. They're easily distracted by simple meals, so you can get a bunch of them off your case at once by throwing them meat, and they won't get anywhere near bright light. Getting through an infested area is mostly about finding ways to illuminate your path with lit torches, burning sticks, or unlit braziers.

Later on, the rats also become a weapon, which was a big part of the level that the developers, Asobo Studio, were showing off back at E3. If there's a hostile soldier in your way and you can figure out a way to put out his torch, then you've just rung the rats' dinner bell and solved two problems at once. It's clever, sure, but the game's also not at all shy about letting you know that you just did something terrible to a guy.

I've played through the first couple of hours of A Plague Tale, and the easiest point of comparison is probably The Last of Us. Like that game, this a linear story about the relationship between its two leads as they navigate an exquisitely terrible situation, all with a special focus placed on the consequences and aftereffects of violence.

It also emphasizes stealth as a way to survive against overwhelming odds, although here, it's usually your first and best option.

A Plague Tale is much more of an adventure game, however. The go-to obstacles in your way require a bit of creative thinking and some exploration of your environment before you can proceed. There is some combat, although it's clunky by design.

Amicia begins the game equipped with a sling, which can break distant objects and stun people if you get a clean shot on their heads, and it turns into an okay weapon after a few crafted upgrades. The sling takes time to spin up, however, and is nearly useless against somebody who's already close enough to take a swing at you.

Most of the time, if there's going to be a fight at all, you'll win it with a surprise attack or a clever environmental kill. You eventually learn how to create alchemical ammunition for your sling, which you can use to set distant targets on fire. That, in turn, widens your options for both basic combat and problem-solving.

I do think that this game's likely to turn some people off right from the jump, though. It's a full-length escort mission where you're stuck babysitting for a relatively realistically-depicted young boy. If you get too far away from Hugo, he'll pitch a fit that alerts nearby enemies, so you can't just stick him in a bucket and come back for him later Resident Evil 4-style.

A lot of the time, you can hold his hand and he'll obediently follow you wherever you go, but I can't say that it wasn't occasionally obnoxious, especially when he constantly argues with Amicia about what their next move should be.

I get the feeling that the design intent here is to try to invoke the unique blend of protectiveness and sheer teeth-grinding rage that only an annoying little brother can provide, and in that, it's reasonably successful. In practice, however, story-appropriate player aggravation is still player aggravation.

A Plague Tale was developed by the French studio Asobo, which has made its bones for the last 15 years or so contributing to other companies' projects, or making licensed games like Monopoly Plus and Disneyland Adventures. A Plague Tale marks the company's first foray into original IP since the obscure 2005 PC/Xbox shooter Nemesis Strike.

With that in mind, I'm genuinely impressed that Asobo chose to make something like A Plague Tale. It doesn't have that mass-market feel where it exists to chase a market trend, but instead, it feels like a passion project, set in a period that few other games ever explore, with some risky creative decisions involved.

I'd like to see this succeed, if only because it's a novel experience. We'll just have to wait until later this year to see if its uniqueness can achieve that. 

Early Access Impressions: Subnautica Below Zero Lists in Tepid Waters Tue, 26 Feb 2019 14:53:51 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Although it's still early days for the Early Access expandalone, Subnautica Below Zero's ultimate place in the survival subgenre is currently murky. Much like an estuary, where the river meets the ocean to form a convoluted brine, Below Zero works and it also doesn't. 

Combining both old elements and new, Below Zero simultaneously clings to heritage while attempting to expand the boundaries of its predecessor. From the surface, such a description seems obvious for what Unknown Worlds calls a sequel to 2018's Subnautica. Often, sequels occupy the muddy waters between what came before and what's to come. 

But being in Early Access, Below Zero isn't finished, so that mixture is currently imperfect. Many of its new features work, but choppily, and those that remain from Subnautica are incomplete, even considering the game is still in early development. 

Coming off of the success that was Subnautica, where Unknown Worlds leveraged the power of the survival-game community to create an indie classic, Below Zero feels very much like the expansion many thought it would be, not the full-fledged game it will (hopefully) become. 

Let Me Tell You a Story

Whereas a large portion of Subnautica's narrative was conveyed through in-game lore and radio transmissions, Below Zero takes a different approach by putting players in the boots of Robin Goodall, a researcher who's come to Planet 4546B a year after the events of the first game.

Like Subnautica, players are once again alone on the planet's surface. The wrinkle this time is that they have the support of their sister orbiting 4546B in the space station above. In some ways, having someone to talk to is a welcomed change to the isolation of Subnautica; exploring Below Zero's icy depths is now part of a larger, seemingly more cohesive narrative. 

However, the greater emphasis on story comes at a price. In Subnautica, story progression was tranquil, often unhurried; there was wreckage to explore and there were milestones to meet, but very few narrative beats were pressing. For the most part, progression was carried out at the player's pace, and the moments that triggered narrative progression were often subtle.  

I don't want to imply that Below Zero is all talk and all story; it does have its quiet moments, ones that harken back to the placid exploration of Subnautica. Instead, I mean to convey that Below Zero's quiet moments are more infrequent, with fewer beats triggered by the player interacting with elements in the game world.

To say it's immersion breaking would be pedantic and overdramatic, but to not acknowledge the impact of uncontrolled triggered events in a world built around such expansive freedom would be disingenuous. 

A Large World Made Small, But Not Less Interesting

As it stands, Below Zero has only a few areas to explore. Thankfully, the game's unique topography once again makes exploration a delight.

Icebergs sink into glacial waters for fathoms; winding rock bridges clamber over underwater canyons; phosphorescent florae ignite the depths with wondrous light; and new variants of towering creepvine emit haunting shades of red from their bulbous clusters. 

Among the familiar fauna, such as bladderfish and eyeye, there are new species to find. Some are dangerous, some are benign, but all are intriguing and unique. New plant species sprout from the sea floor and run across megalithic cliffs; some provide oxygen at greater depths and some provide new crafting materials for old items and gear.

Outside of exploration, most of Below Zero's gameplay revolves around harvesting plants or mining various metals such as titanium, copper, silver, and lead. 

While crafting supplies are plentiful, Below Zero's craftable tools and items are not. In a groan-worthy early-game development, your PDA is wiped of all blueprints. Starting with only the most basic of items, you're forced to rediscover key items as part of the exploration loop. 

Although such a mechanic is a survival game staple, starting the game destitute feels like nothing more than an obtuse MacGuffin, something lumpishly reinforced as the space station above slowly delivers tools and supplies piecemeal. 

The logical disconnect between the survival loop and such a narrative contrivance can be jarring and nonsensical. Having access to all of Subnautica's base blueprints needn't compromise Below Zero's exploration elements; instead, if added to a stock of new blueprints and craftable items, those elements would logically build upon what came before.  

Where Below Zero Stands Right Now

Despite what I've said above, I want to make something abundantly clear: I very much like Subnautica Below Zero because it's more Subnautica. Knowing what Unknown Worlds has accomplished with its original survival darling makes me hopeful for Below Zero's future. 

Looking back to Subnautica's early days, Below Zero casts an eerily similar reflection. Unknown Worlds has navigated these brackish waters before, molding an Early Access title into a finished game that currently has over 88,000 positive reviews on Steam. 

With its narrative clocking in at around six hours, Below Zero already has enough content to warrant an early look. Outside of that, there are still hours to be had exploring the game's depths and, if you dare, unfinished areas of the map.

The lack of tools and nagging bugs are worth noting, but certainly not damning. Although I can't shake the feeling Below Zero should have been a Subnautica expansion instead of a sequel, Unknown Worlds can count on me jumping back in throughout its development. 

Subnautica Below Zero is available now on Steam for $19.99. There is currently no word on when or if the game will be released on console.  

The Division 2 Closed Beta Impressions: Endless Loot, Endless Fun Tue, 12 Feb 2019 13:57:03 -0500 John Schutt

This past weekend saw the private PC beta of Tom Clancy's The Division 2, and there was a fair bit of content on offer. Between two main campaign missions, the Dark Zone, a handful of side missions, side activities, and random world events, we got a good taste of what gameplay in the full release could have in store.

In something of a counter to the Anthem beta, and Anthem's marketing in general, the look we got at The Division 2 even gave us some of the end game.

With all of the latest details under our belts, let's take a look back on what we saw and what it could mean for the future.

Loot, and Lots of It

Like any member of the looter-shooter genre, The Division 2 will live and die by how fun it is to gather new items and grind for the best overall loadouts. I can say with certainty that there is plenty to see and do when it comes to loot in this new title from Ubisoft. 

The short version is this: new gear is plentiful and rarely useful, but even garbage-tier items can teach you a lot. Early leveling is also fairly fast-paced, making what you do find obsolete very quickly. For players that love seeing a shiny new thing drop from a foe when it dies, this game delivers.

Concept art of two fighters walking through a derelict building

You'll Never Be Want for Gear

Unlike games such as Destiny 2The Division 2 showers its players in gear from the very start. If I were to put an unofficial number on loot drops, I would say you'll get something — probably something terrible — about 20% of the time when you kill an enemy anywhere in the world.

The saving grace here is that there are so many opportunities for lootThere are numerous gear cases littered across the map; every mission gives you a number of items, every world event has a drop, you get a loot crate for actual in-game, usable gear just for leveling up. And that's just the beginning of things. 

Most importantly, as with the first Division, are the named enemies. These are your bread and butter, as they drop the good stuff, or at least they have a higher chance to drop some.

There are always downsides to an abundance of items, of course. The UI makes it a little cumbersome to sort through everything, and with so many different gear types even within the nine main subcategories, things quickly get overwhelming if you don't know what you're looking at.

 And even if you do, there's a lot to unpack.

Three fighters holding guns while looking at the Washington monument

The Loot is Complex

Also unlike Destiny 2, there was a ton of build variety on offer in the Division 2 beta. Every item had more than just a couple of unique stats or effects, and synergy went deep depending on what loadout you wanted to run. 

What impressed me most was the detail on each weapon type, and how much information the game gives you in plain words and numbers. I mean, there's even a damage falloff graph for every weapon, not to mention various armor effects and how they stack.

The gun variety, for a beta, was a little staggering. There were a lot of the weapons we'd seen in the first game, but there were also some notable additions, from the MP7 to several new bolt action rifles, a couple of new shotgun types, and some new pistols that might be usable in a pinch. 

From an armor standpoint, the gear sets available in The Division 2 beta came from the same basic formula: backpack, mask, gloves, holster, kneepads, armor.

The differentiating factor this time around was the inclusion of synergies even at trash-tier loot (uncommons and rares). The top tier equipment, of course, had a lot to say for itself, but there were plenty of chances to make something interesting even in the early game.

In a strange twist, weapon mods are no longer drops. Rather, they are static rolls earned through play that apply a fixed bonus, and accompanying detriment, to whichever weapon it's equipped to.

From what I could tell, most attachments worked for most primary weapons, within reason. If you were a fan of the extended magazines in Division 1, I don't think they'll be making a triumphant return, but that might be a good thing, if only for the sake of balance, primarily in PvP. 

Three soldiers in the division 2 looking out over a Washington on fire.

Progression is Quick... get used to scrapping or selling your old gear for parts or credits; you'll be doing it a lot. Every level you gain increases everything about the loot that drops, from its overall score to its effectiveness and its rarity. 

The biggest boon The Division series gives its players in this arena is a mass deletion feature that games like Anthem and Destiny desperately need. Just mark an item as trash, then press one button to sell it or dismantle it all.

Now, levels don't increase so fast that you won't get to use what you find for more than a minute. There's probably about a 30 to 45-minute gap between each level, so you'll have time to collect new gear, give it a whirl, and decide what you want to get next level.

Some weapons and gear are even good enough to keep around for a few extra levels. Or, at least, they are if the game doesn't give you something better, like, ever.

Which is the nature of a loot game. You could be stuck with the same two pieces of armor for hours upon hours, even if you have the crafting materials to make something better or the credits to buy something more your speed. Without a blueprint or worthwhile vendor stock to fill a void, that green-level loot might muddy your selection of blues and purples for a good while.

Two soldiers ducking behind cover while in a firefight.

The Division 2 is Fun to Play

You won't be waiting very long to have a good time in The Division 2. There are a few things you'll have to get through first, though.

  • The storytelling won't win any awards, but it's serviceable.
  • The gunplay isn't on the level of your DestinysTitanfalls, or even Battlefields, but it does the job.
  • I think the abilities lack a certain punch (not a new problem).
  • Explosions are somewhat muted.

What saves this game, at least from the beta, is how all of its features come together at the end. The storytelling in what will be a 40-hour campaign is just campy enough to be enjoyable, and because it takes itself so seriously, it has the kind of charm a classic '80s style action film carries. 

Sure, the guns aren't the most responsive things on the planet, but combine them with plenty of tactical movement options and enemy AI that makes you think before you shoot, and there's something to be said for the moment-to-moment gunplay.

And while the abilities on their own don't push the same kind of bombast we might expect from such an '80s film, they aren't meant to. Rather, they're supportive options that add variety when a fight is becoming a little to cover-shooty. 

Most of all, though, I think my favorite new thing is the armor system. Both players and NPCs now have an armor value that must be chewed through if you want to deal damage. Because armor has weaknesses and can be destroyed, focus fire or flanking to get to the chinks isn't just an option: it's a necessity. 

Yes, you can still shoot enemies in the head with a .50 caliber bullet and not kill them, so the bullet-sponge problem isn't exactly fixed, but there's at least some reasoning behind it all now.

Concept art from the diivision 2.

Verdict on the Beta

The Division 2 beta experience bodes well for a solid looter-shooter experience that will give the likes of Anthem and Destiny 2 something to think about. However, I don't think it will kill either of them.

Instead, the three (or four if Borderlands 3 suddenly appears) should all scratch the same gameplay itches in different ways.

If it really wants to stand out in a crowd of other highly anticipated titlesThe Division 2 needs to hit the ground running with an end game worth grinding, have a massively expanded gear set compared to the first game (which it looks like it does), and not stray too far from what made the first title a success.

From the info I could gather, Ubisoft Massive took most of the feedback they got and incorporated it already, plus some improvements people didn't ask for but that will be appreciated nonetheless.

In other words, I'm hopeful. I think you should be too.


Last month, Ubisoft unveiled that The Division 2 would be skipping Steam for the Epic Games Store. However, it will still be available through Ubisoft's Uplay when its March 15 release date finally arrives. 

The Division 2 will cost $59.99; it will be available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. 

Project Winter Early Access Impressions: There's No Reviving This Dead Survival Sim Tue, 12 Feb 2019 12:27:34 -0500 Ty Arthur

With the Polar Vortex busy wreaking havoc in North America, it might seem like the opportune time to simulate a survival experience in the frozen wasteland of Project Winter

But in this instance, "might" is the operative word. 

This 8-player, subzero excursion mixes cooperative action with secret subterfuge; a traitor infiltrates a team of survivors forced to work together (or sow distrust amongst the group) while surviving with no supplies in a harsh wilderness. 

The abstract polygonal aesthetic of Project Winter will quickly bring to mind Necropolis, and that's perhaps not a bad place to start, as that was another high concept niche indie game that died pretty quickly.

This Project Is DOA

It might seem too early to make such a definitive call, considering Project Winter only had a brief alpha test and has only been in early access for a handful of days. But this game is dead on arrival for the vast majority of players.

That isn't because of the concept, however, which isn't bad at all. There's a reason games like Betrayal At House On The Hill are so popular. Mixing co-op and PvP with a randomized element that obfuscates friend from foe makes for compelling gameplay when done right.

If you dig co-op survival games with an asymmetric element, there may be reasons to lay down the cash on Project Winter, but only if you've got seven friends who are willing to also buy it and agree on a time to play. 

Don't even bother if you plan on going into public quick matches; matchmaking is pretty much dead right now.

If you can get into a match (good luck!), you'll be greeted with constant crashing and disconnecting, with groups trying to troubleshoot issues in chat because there doesn't seem to be much official help right now.

When you do finally start a game, there are two other big hurdles:

First, because of low player counts and poor matchmaking, it's unlikely you will find a team who all speak your language. North American players are frequently put in predominately Russian speaking groups, for instance. Regional matchmaking could help fix this issue, but then we're still left with the issue of "few players."

Second, some players are reporting (and I had this issue myself) that even if you disconnect from a lobby and come back repeatedly, you will frequently end up with the same group of seven people  which is a problem for myriad reasons.

For a game like Project Winter, those are bigger issues than you might think. That's because players have to repair items and complete objectives as a group; if your team isn't communicating and working together, the game falls apart.

Collecting food, resources, and parts can be daunting alone, and repairing anything by yourself to escape the game's frigid maps is nearly impossible. 

The game is inexorably built around multiplayer, with many necessary areas cut off by computers and panels that can only be accessed by multiple players in concert. 

Team Work Makes The Dream Work... Sometimes

That problem is made even worse by poor voice chat sound quality, with all sound coming through on a delay, distorted by an echo, or falling victim to constant stutters.

During one game, my entire team was screaming at me to not abandon the group while rushing for the escape hatch, and I had absolutely no clue until someone started typing the message manually.

Part of that is by design, as communication is meant to be spotty at long range unless players craft specific, color-matched radios, which allow for communication at distance. In many ways, though, it's a prime example of a cool idea that doesn't translate well to execution, as it makes the game less accessible to new players and constantly causes frustration.

Which leads me to my next point. 

Project Winter's learning curve is another major stumbling block impacted by team and chat issues: new players have no clue what they are supposed to be harvesting or crafting. The overly lengthy tutorial doesn't translate well to Winter's chaotic gameplay, either. 

That makes your first few matches actively un-fun, as players who have figured it all out will get impatient and leave you behind. Inherently, this gameplay loop screws over the team as a whole worse than if they'd just be patient and help out the newbies.

Despite all those problems, sometimes you can get really exciting matches where all players gel together. This is where the game works as it's intended to. In one particular match, my team figured out who the traitor was, but he was already armed to the teeth while most of us just had axes and bear traps.

We basically had a low-tech survival version of the insane, up-close shootout scene at the end of Wind River... and then things got really bizarre when two bears and a herd of moose decided to get into the mix at the same time, forcing everyone to disengage and seek safety.

That was one of the crazier moments in my various matches, as absolutely no one died in that nutso battle of man versus man versus nature (well, except a bear).

Apart from those randomized scenes that can't be relied on, there is some reason to keep playing with a progression system to work through. By completing various tasks you can unlock cosmetic items for different character types (personally, I'm partial to the arctic Santa body style myself).

The Bottom Line

Taking into account that this is early access and may go through major changes by its official launch, and after weighing all the pros and cons above, there's one big issue that Project Winter likely can't overcome.

Frankly, it just isn't particularly fun to high tail it back to the cabin and wait out a mega blizzard with your group, then rush out and try to complete an objective before it happens again.

Over and over and over again. 

In theory, it seems like the developers are trying to create a sense of claustrophobia and paranoia with Project Winter, forcing players to interact with each other and try to puzzle out the identity of the traitor. In practice, it just never happens that way.

In every match (if you are lucky enough to get into a match), you essentially end up with this gameplay loop:

  • two or three people who know what they are doing are pissed that everyone else isn't cooperating
  • a random, awful griefer bugs everyone for no reason
  • a handful of people are useless, simply running around
  • a traitor either gathers weapons to annihilate everyone or gets hopelessly lost, becoming a boring non-factor

Maybe this more a social construct sim aiming to teach us the cold, harsh nature of reality while showing that gamers can't be trusted to construct workable societies? Maybe? 

In the end, I think my experience in Project Winter is best summed up with a single screenshot. There goes an uncaring moose, sauntering by at a leisurely pace while I'm bleeding out and freezing to death after being mauled by a homicidal bear.

I'm about 20 yards from escaping after my team radioed for rescue. None of them are going to come revive me.

Volcanoids First Impressions: Great Game That Needs Content Thu, 07 Feb 2019 22:44:53 -0500 Sergey_3847

Volcanoids is a new steampunk-themed survival game available through Steam Early Access. It introduces a cool type of vehicle called the drillship — your own private subterranean vessel that can dig through the crust of the earth and take you basically anywhere.

There is no time to waste, however, as your character has a very important mission: to uncover a mystery surrounding an erupting volcano. It is a dangerous task, and you must prepare well before getting into it.

If this little synopsis grabbed your interest, then you can find out more about Volcanoids by reading our early impressions on the game below.

Story and Setting

Imagine an island populated with an idyllic society and everything a human soul needs. However, out of nowhere, strange tracks appear on the ground. Nobody knows where they have come from or what their discovery might lead to.

Shortly after finding the mysterious tracks, a volcano that was lying dormant in the center of the island starts erupting like it's the end of the world. Everything that people built gets destroyed in the blink of an eye, and living on the island becomes impossible.

But somebody has to find out why these eruptions started in the first place, and if there is a way to stop them. This is where the game starts, and you, as the main protagonist, must go out there into the danger zone, collect resources, and build your own drillship to help you investigate.

Once constructed, you can use your weird new machine to traverse the island's underground world, entering caves under the mountains that serve as lava sources for the volcano. In the process, you'll begin to unravel the mysteries of the tracks and the volcanic eruptions.

As you progress through Volcanoids' missions, which are carefully laid out on the screen, you'll get to see the entire island of Adranos. While the world does look quite good for an Early Access game, one thing really sticks out as reminder that the title is not finished: the lack of content populating it.

Specifically, if you follow the main storyline, and don't spend too much time on exploration, the whole campaign will take only four to five hours to finish.

Gameplay Mechanics

Most of your time in Volcanoids is spent gathering resources for your drillship. Fortunately, the game kindly shows you the direction and the distance to the closest source of coal, copper, iron, and the other materials that are used to craft all the necessary modules.

On your way to these resources, you will face opponents that have their own drillships. These enemy crafts can be raided for resources, and, at times, you can find entire modules that can be used in your drillship.

Unfortunately, the weapons available for combat are lacking, as you have only a shotgun for dealing with adversaries. At least that's something though.

The journey for resources is made additionally challenging by the volcano, as eruptions happen every 20 minutes or so. You really need to find cover inside a ship before an eruption occurs, or a massive heatwave will kill you in an instant, forcing you to load your save game. The good news is that there is a timer on top of the screen showing you the countdown towards the next eruption.

In time, your drillship will grow to significant sizes, which will require more and more resources. This is where the game stumbles, and you start to feel the limits of the design. That said, it's, of course, understandable that the Early Access game is only the preliminary version of the game; an introduction before the actual release.

The crafting system is also a bit clunky. For example, in order to craft anything, a player is required to switch between different modules. This means that you will spend time and energy changing from your storage module, where you keep all of your resources, to your refinery module, which processes all the raw materials, to your production module, which is responsible for the actual crafting.

Furthermore, you need to carefully balance all the modules and maintain energy at a high level. This involves frequently switching off modules after certain operations have been executed, and, if you forget to do it, then it will keep draining your ship.

Simply, there's a lot to keep in mind when dealing with all of these gameplay mechanics. In the end, you may be left with doubts if all of them are really necessary.

The Verdict

  • Drillship is an exciting new concept vehicle
  • Managing ship's modules can be a lot of fun
  • Gorgeous environments
  • Main campaign is too short
  • Resource gathering and crafting can get annoying
  • Lack of weapons

It would be wise to wait on purchasing this game until the developer adds more engaging content and significantly expand the story mode.

The latest reports indicate that Volcanoids will have a multiplayer component in the future, which is really exciting. Also, it would be a great idea to let players drill freely under the ground, which is currently not possible. You can only travel towards given coordinates.

This wishlist can go on for a long time, but it simply shows that the game has a lot of potential. Volcanoids has many great ideas, but it is just too short on content at this stage.

[Disclosure: Writer was granted a copy of the game for the purpose of this article.]

Getting High With Weedcraft Inc Mon, 04 Feb 2019 13:16:51 -0500 Joey Marrazzo

In a world where several states have legalized marijuana, and many others are on the verge of doing so, some people may be curious about what happens behind-the-scenes in the industry of cannabis production and distribution. This is where Weedcraft Inc steps in.

Weedcraft Inc is a tycoon-style game developed by Polish studio Vile Monarch and published by Devolver Digital. In this title, you create your own weed empire, starting from your basement and growing over time.

While you might be thinking that Weedcraft Inc is just another point and click game that will get boring after a little while, that is not the case. This tycoon game is a totally different experience. 

In preface of the title's release, I sat down with Lead Writer Scott Alexander to play some Weedcraft Inc and learn more about the story behind the game itself. 

The Story

Weedcraft Inc. features a 25-30 hour story centered around two brothers, one who has an MBA degree and the other who grows and smokes weed in the basement. Their ill father is depending on medical marijuana to help with his cancer treatment, and the two brothers decide to partner up and sell weed to help.

Together, you start small, selling your weed in Flint, Michigan. However, over the course of the game, you can expand and ultimately become the biggest weed dealer in all of New York City.

Additionally, one aspect of the game that I was really interested in was the ability to go to certain states, like New Jersey, to advocate for the legalization of marijuana. While I didn't get to demo that part of the game, I am eager to check it out once the full game releases in April.

The Gameplay

The gameplay is as you would expect from a tycoon game. You click to plant, water, and trim your crops, and you must maintain your planting location by making sure that grow lights are working. Once a plant is ready, you click to cut it.

From there, you can sell your harvest at a marketplace. A lot of different characters will show up at the marketplace, and they are willing to buy your goods.

As is common in most tycoon games, Weedcraft Inc allows you to speed up time. I did use this feature in my time with the game, but I was still required to continually check on my plants, ensuring that they were all sufficiently watered.

As you progress in the game, you can hire employees to take care of the growing and selling for you. You can even hire characters that will dig up dirt on your competition, assisting you in running these adversaries out of town. Furthermore, each employee has different perks, and you will need to give them tasks based on their strengths.

While you begin Weedcraft Inc with only one type of seed, you will also get new types as time goes on. With these seeds, you can alter the chemical balance to make your harvest stronger, but it may take you a few tries to find the perfect formula.

This task becomes easier once you are able to open a lab, as you will be able to spend research points in order to discover these potent combinations. You will also be able to unlock traits on the Project Tree, which will improve your cultivating, selling, and growing abilities.


As your weed empire grows, problems will arise. For example, you will be introduced to competition several times, and you will have to decide how you want to respond. Perhaps you will choose to take them down by lowering your prices or blackmailing them, or you may decide to just let them be — a decision that could mean the end of your business.

Another problem that will arise is the police. As you grow weed in your basement, the police will sense heat coming from your building, and they will begin to suspect your activities. This will force you to change up how you grow your weed, requiring you to install fans or change lightbulbs so the temperature goes down. 

Alternatively, you can also make a generous donation to the Retired Police Officers Fund to get them off your back. Alexander told me this isn't really a bribe, but just a really nice gesture (wink).  

Play Your Way

One part of Weedcraft Inc that really interests me is its shady/decent mechanic. While growing your weed empire, you can dictate how you want to handle certain situations. You can either be shady about it, or you can be decent about it, and you will receive different rewards based on your decisions.

This system ties into how you can introduce legislation in the game. Perhaps you choose the shady route and fight for states to keep marijuana illegal, thus making your stock more desirable. Or you can be decent and lobby for legalization so that you can bring your business to states like New Jersey.

There are also other choices to make in Weedcraft Inc. Maybe you decide to setup your business in a state that allows medical marijuana, reducing your competition but requiring that you pay more taxes on your stock. Or you can go to a state that allows recreational marijuana, where you will have more customers, and can make more money, but you will have more competition as well. 

There are a lot of different scenarios that can happen in Weedcraft Inc, and you have control over many of them. 

Final Thoughts

When I first sat down to play Weedcraft Inc, I figured it would be a regular tycoon game that doesn't have much depth to it. Boy, was I wrong. This is a game that is simple to understand at first, but, as you play, it gets so much deeper and features gameplay that is distinct from other titles in the genre.

The amount of gameplay aspects that you can customize, and the ability to create your own path to greatness, is amazing, and it will definitely have you playing for hours on end without even looking at a clock. 

As mentioned, Weedcraft Inc. features a 25-30 hour story, and there will also be two expansion packs coming out this year. It is currently scheduled to be released in early April, and maybe Alexander will take my suggestion and release the title on 4/20.

WeedCraft Inc will release on PC and Mac. When asked about a Switch release, Alexander said that he could see the game on mobile platforms, due to its simple controls, but there is no concrete information on that at this time.

Thank you to Scott Alexander and Devolver Digital for allowing me to check out Weedcraft Inc. 

Rage 2: Hands-On First Impressions Wed, 30 Jan 2019 10:00:01 -0500 Joey Marrazzo

In 2011, Bethesda came out with a brand new IP titled Rage, which was developed by id Software. It was an open-world adventure game set in the post-apocalypse, and it received decent critical response.

However, at first glance, many players may have thought it looked bland and not that exciting. I for one passed on the game due to it seeming pretty boring.

Fast forward to 2019 where id Software has partnered with Avalanche to develop a sequel to the game in Rage 2. I was able to get hands-on with the new title last week to see if it feels more interesting than the original from eight years ago.

The Story

You play as a character named Walker (who is a lefty by the way), and you can decide whether you want Walker to be a male or female at the very beginning of the game. You are now in the post-post-apocalyptic world where you have the basic necessities to survive and go on with your day.

The Authority from the first Rage entry is back and taking on your home town. You and three other secondary characters work together in order to bring down the Authority with something called the Dagger Project.

Despite the return of the Authority and the Wasteland itself, you won’t feel lost in the new game even if you didn’t play the first Rage, as Rage 2 is set up to be a stand-alone title.

The Missions

While there is a lot of story you can play through, there are a lot of side missions available as well. The two optional mission types that I was able to play were a bounty mission and a car race.

To find a mission, you can pause the game, look at your map, and see a bunch of different icons appear on what seems to be a pretty big area of land. When I asked id Software Studio Director Tim Willits about the size of the map, he mentioned that it wasn’t the company's goal to create a big map, but instead it focused on making the world dense with a lot of activities and side missions to play.

Whether you are taking down enemy camps or just driving around in the Wasteland, you will always find something to do in Rage 2.

The Combat

Killing enemies, whether they are weird looking creatures or just ravagers in camps, was a lot of fun. Using a combo of weapons and abilities, taking down opponents never got old in my time with the game.

Furthermore, there are a vast array of weapons available in the game that you can access through your weapon wheel (think Doom). Each weapon has an iron sight equipped and an alternative fire option. 

My favorite weapon was the Firestorm Revolver, which allows you to shoot charges at enemies, and then you get to watch the enemies blow up. It was always a satisfying view.

There is also something called a Wingstick. It basically acts like a badass boomerang that can do serious damage and sometimes kill the enemy. 

Then there are the abilities that I mentioned — freaking awesome. These abilities are called Nanotrites, and they are the core of the progression system in Rage 2.

Throughout the map, you will see Arc Centers, which can be a bit difficult to complete, but they reward loot and Project Points. Those Project Points allow you to upgrade your group's stats on the Project Tree and unlocking abilities — Willits mentioned that you will be able to deal serious damage once your abilities are fully unlocked.

There are a few abilities that stood out to me. One of those abilities is called Slam, which allows you to rise above the ground and then slam down, killing or injuring the surrounding enemies. Another one is called Shatter, where you basically use the Force to kill any enemies that are right in front of you.

You are allowed to continually use these abilities, but there is around a 20 second refresh time. You can’t just spam the same ability over and over again.

A refresh timer is in place for the dash mechanic as well, but it is only around five seconds here. Dash allows you to quickly move forward, backward, or side to side with a press of a button, and you will definitely want to use it in combat when a giant monster is running towards you.

Furthermore, after using your guns, grenades, and abilities to go on a nice killing spree, your Overdrive meter will fill up. When filled, you can unleash your Overdrive to get full health and make your weapons do extra damage. You should definitely save this for when you are surrounded by a good amount of enemies, or a single enormous one, because it helps out a lot.

The Gameplay

This game is a lot of fun to play, and while I didn’t get to choose a difficulty, the game had challenging moments. For example, enemies don’t just stand there and wait for you to move, they rush you and will deal damage.

The part of the game I played was about 25% into the story, and I had to get into a club owned by Klegg Clayton, a rich, celebrity loving egomaniac. Why does that sound so familiar?

In order to get into his club, I had to be famous, and, in order to become famous, I had to go on two television shows. The first TV show turned out to be test to see how good I was at killing enemies, and, using a combination of the rifle, shotgun, and abilities, I was able to take down most of the enemies.

The next TV show I had to appear put me in a car race. Casually driving around the Wasteland was a lot of fun and felt pretty good — it wasn’t wonky to me like the driving in Just Cause 4 — but, when I was racing, the controls did feel a little weird.

To be fair, I was boosting to gain extra speed for most of the race, so that could be the reason for the strange handling. Or I may just be a terrible driver in video games. In either case, I was able to win the race, despite being in last place and getting derailed for the majority of it.

The World

The world in Rage 2 is something that you want to take in. There are different biomes throughout the map, and you will see many items that can assist you as you explore. 

That might be giant barrels that you can shoot to blow up near an enemy or ammo and health crates that always come in handy. There is also some humor here, and I found a box that was labeled "Just a Box." Of course, I had to pick that up.

This humor extends to talking with NPC’s and reading signs that say things like “Don’t clap back. If you basic, you basic.” You can immediately tell that this game is a lot of fun from its world.

Additionally, the characters that populate the world have a cartoony look to them and varied personalities. The graphics are not in the style of The Last of Us, but they are good and fit with the tone of the game.


In a Q&A, Willits basically said that there is going to be DLC for Rage 2. He couldn’t say what the DLC will be because even the developers don’t know at this time, but they are going to create the post-launch content based on what the players seem to be enjoying. So if players say they are enjoying going to enemy camps and causing chaos, then that may be the focus in future DLC.

It was also stated that there will be free and paid DLC. This was not elaborated on since the developers are still finalizing details. It is also being decided if microtransactions are going to be included in the finished product.

The Specs

If you are an owner of the Xbox One X or PlayStation 4 Pro, you will be playing Rage 2 at 60 FPS. It will not be in 4K because they wanted to focus on making the game super smooth to play.

Before I even asked if the game was coming to Nintendo Switch, Willits led off the Q&A session by saying that they are investigating it. While they were able to put Doom and the upcoming Doom Eternal on Switch, I really hope that they find a way to bring this open-world craziness to Nintendo's console as well. 

Final Thoughts

Rage 2 is Sunset Overdrive if it had a crazier and edgier cousin that loved the color pink. The open-world of the Wasteland is full of entertaining people and a lot of missions to complete besides the main story. This is a fun game. 

Rage 2 releases for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on May 14.

I definitely had a great time playing Rage 2, and thank you to id Software and Bethesda for letting me check out the game.

Fans Petition for Shaggy to be in Mortal Kombat 11 Tue, 29 Jan 2019 15:57:48 -0500 Joseph Ocasio

The internet is an odd place. One minute, we'll be talking about how a reviewer didn't mention a single feature in a game, and they're no longer "credible," and the next we'll be talking about why a child-friendly character from a '60s cartoon should be in a video game that's all about dismembering each other into chunky, gory giblets.

Now, thousands of fans want to see Scooby-Doo's Shaggy appear in the newest installment of Mortal Kombat. And the simple reason is: memes.

In 2017, a video was released that showed Shaggy from the most recent Scooby-Doo film kicking biker ass. Someone had edited the scene and set it to "The Ultimate Battle" from Dragon Ball Super, the same battle where Goku becomes Ultra Instinct Goku.

The video currently has over 5 million views.

Over the weekend, the meme took off, and fans have been demanding Ultra Instinct Shaggy make it to MK 11.

Mortal Kombat is no stranger to including third-party characters. Kratos from God of War and Freddy Kruger were featured in the 2010 reboot, while Leatherface, Jason, and The Predator are in MK X.

As of this writing, the Change.Org petition has currently over 100,000 signatures.

7 Healthy Snacks for Gamers — And an Entire Category to Avoid Thu, 24 Jan 2019 17:49:08 -0500 Chris Gronkowski

Video games and unhealthy snacks, like chips and cookies, are easily associated with each other. That is particularly because of the evidence that watching TV or playing video games can lead to binge eating and consuming too much of these types of foods, which, in turn, can negatively impact your physical health.

Most commonly, gamers who find themselves eating an abundance of unhealthy snacks while gaming will notice an increase in weight, especially if they’re not engaging in exercise.

Weight gain can open the door to a plethora of more dangerous health conditions, including increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and serious cardiovascular issues. In order to stay in top physical condition while still enjoying long gaming sessions, it is wise to practice a regular workout routine and swap out your unhealthy snacks for some of these nutritious foods instead.

Why Should You Avoid Unhealthy Snacks While Gaming?

Aside from the obvious health risks associated with unhealthy foods, these snacks are often full of empty calories, which means you’ll quickly become hungry again, causing you to overconsume. Plus, snacks like chips have little to no nutritional value, meaning that you’re intaking a high number of calories that aren’t actually providing your body with useful minerals, vitamins, or other nutrients.

While it’s okay to indulge in your favorite unhealthy snack from time to time, you should make a conscious effort to replace these nutrient-free munchies with more beneficial, and filling, snacks.

Types of Foods to Avoid

When determining which types of snacks to eliminate or reduce from your diet, you should try to avoid any overly processed items. Most processed foods contain a dangerous level of unhealthy fats, especially when consumed in large amounts. These fats, particularly trans-fat, are closely linked to increased chance of heart disease and can cause inflammation.

Added sugars are another feature of processed foods that are also known to cause heart disease, and many times these sugars can be found in products you may not expect to be sweetened, such as bread.

Whenever you’re trying to select healthy snacks to munch on during your gaming sessions, be sure to review the product’s ingredients and look for natural components.

Healthy Snacks for Gamers


Almost every type of nut can offer some nutritional benefit to your body. Some nuts are known to be high in protein, which will help fuel your body and satiate hunger. Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, and hazelnuts are among the nuts with the highest protein content.

Many gamers also enjoy snacking on seeds while playing — sunflower and pumpkin seeds being two of the more popular choices. Not only are nuts a great source of protein, but they are also high in fiber, which many processed snacks lack, and they are also associated with lower cholesterol levels.

Protein Shakes

Another excellent source of nutrition, protein shakes can be a filling and healthy snack for any gamer. With a protein shaker bottle, you can mix up shakes in seconds and easily sip on one without needing to pause your game.

Because protein shakes pack in tons of nutrients and minerals without many added calories, they can help manage your weight and encourage healthy eating habits.

In order to keep your body in top physical condition, you should be taking even a small amount of time each day to exercise, and protein shakes contain everything you need to power through a workout before returning to your console.


Pita Bread and Hummus

If you find yourself drawn to potato chips when seeking out your favorite gaming snack, then indulging in pita bread and hummus may just satisfy your craving.

Warm pita bread dipped in hummus, which is available with an assortment of toppings including red pepper, jalapeno, and caramelized onion, is an enjoyable snack. Derived from chickpeas, hummus is packed with protein and fiber as well as a list of vitamins your body needs to function.

Veggies with Different Dips

Though pita and hummus is a delicious combination for a quick, easy snack, some potato chip lovers may not be satisfied as pita bread tends to lack the gratifying crunch of a chip. Instead, replace the pita (or your chips) with veggies that can have that same crunchiness without the unhealthy ingredients.

Carrots and hummus are a popular combination or fill a plate with carrots and celery to dip into tangy ranch. Vitamin A, biotin, and potassium are among the many nutritious vitamins found in carrots, and the veggie’s antioxidant properties are said to help prevent cancer and other serious health conditions.

Frozen Grapes

For those with a sweet tooth, frozen grapes are the perfect alternative to sour candies, eliminating unnecessary sugar and artificial ingredients. If you’re prone to binge eating while gaming, you should try adding frozen grapes to your nightly snack regimen.

Low in calories, frozen grapes can be consumed by the handful and still provide your body with important nutrients. Grapes are said to help prevent a number of health conditions, including cancer, eye diseases, and cardiovascular problems.


Fresh or Dried Fruits

Though fruits are high in sugar, they contain natural sugars that can be good for your body and that provide healthy nutrients.

Fresh and dried fruits are another great replacement for sugary snacks like candy. Some dried fruits are made with added sugar — you want to avoid these types if you’re looking to lead a healthier lifestyle — but many dried fruits become naturally sweeter in the process.

Bananas are easy to eat while gaming and contain high levels of potassium, which promotes bone strength. Citrus fruits can provide you with vitamin C and apples are a crunchy snack high in antioxidants and fiber.


Gamers who crave a sweet snack while they play should consider digging into a bowl of oatmeal when it’s game time. Though there is some added sugar to certain oatmeal packets, you can find brands offering less sugar that still provide a plethora of health benefits. Plus, you can easily eat your oatmeal while still maintaining your place in the game.

Oats are high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, which help to lower your blood pressure and lose weight. Select a tasty flavor like apples and cinnamon for a sweet snack that satisfies your hunger and benefits your health.


Editor's Note: Chris Gronkowski is contributing to GameSkinny through our guest writer series, where we provide a platform for thought leaders to share great ideas with you, the reader. 

About the author: A former 3-year starter in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, and Denver Broncos, Chris Gronkowski is now the CEO of Ice Shaker. Ice Shaker has been featured on ABC's Shark Tank, Good Morning America, HLN morning express, Forbes, and others. Chris is the middle of the five Gronkowski brothers and has started writing about his athletic and entrepreneurial experiences.

Healthy Gaming: 6 Tips for Getting Fit Without Compromising a Gamer Lifestyle Thu, 24 Jan 2019 16:34:43 -0500 Chris Gronkowski

Gaming is truly a way of life for many people, but leading a too sedentary lifestyle can be detrimental to your physical wellbeing. Integrating healthy habits into your daily life doesn’t mean you need to compromise your gaming routine.

Here, we'll talk about how to plan breaks from gaming to stretch, exercise, and practice healthy eating. We'll also look at certain stretches that can target issues that arise from repetitive gaming, such as carpal tunnel. 

Negative Impacts of a Sedentary Lifestyle

The human body was designed to be active. While video games are an entertaining hobby, they require sitting for extended periods of time. If you’re a serious gamer, you probably spend a significant chunk of time each day playing on your console or PC.

You don’t need to sacrifice your gaming habits, but you need to be aware of the side effects of a sedentary lifestyle to understand the importance of incorporating active tasks in between gaming sessions. 

One of the most common side effects of being inactive is weight gain. Without physical activity, your body has no way to burn off excess fat and keep you slim and lean. Gaining weight can itself lead to more health complications, including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

The lack of exercise is the main cause of weight gain, but extended periods of immobility can also lower your metabolism, which makes it more difficult for you to lose weight. A slower metabolism makes it more difficult for your body to burn calories and may even cause your body to be unable to break down fat. 

The longer you sit in one position, the less flexible you become. Your muscles in your back, glutes, and abs will become tightened and inflamed — an uncomfortable and unhealthy situation.

This tightness also leads to a loss of flexibility, one of the reasons that stretching breaks are so vital during long gaming sessions. Inactivity not only leads to a decrease in flexibility, but it can also diminish muscle strength and endurance.

Including healthy exercise and eating habits throughout your day can aid in maintaining your strength and flexibility, keeping your body healthy and in shape.

Swap Unhealthy Snacks for Nutritious Ones

Gaming is sometimes associated with binge eating and unhealthy snacks like potato chips, cookies, candy, and soda. Some research suggests that playing video games, or even watching TV, can have an effect on how people eat. It’s easier to eat more than you need to while focused on gaming or watching a show.

If you’re consuming unhealthy snacks and not integrating physical activity into your everyday life, you’re more likely to suffer from some of the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle. To avoid this, try replacing these unhealthy snacks with nutritious ones like

  • Edamame
  • Frozen grapes
  • Pita bread and hummus
  • Fruits and veggies
  • Various types of nuts
    • almonds, pistachios, and walnuts

Shakes made with protein powder are another way to keep your energy up without adding unhealthy, processed ingredients or ingesting a high number of calories.

Stretch While Gaming

To avoid inflammation, joint pain, and muscle stiffness, stretching breaks during video gaming sessions are essential. Spend at least three to five minutes every hour stretching your legs, back, arms, and chest.

Your wrists are another area that experiences a lot of stress from video gaming, but you may want to develop a specific hand and wrist routine to avoid further health issues. Toe touches are a creative way to release tension in your back and can also help stretch your hamstrings.

Any variety of arm exercises will get your blood flowing again and encourage muscle stimulation. 

Exercise Your Hands and Wrists

If you consider yourself a serious and frequent gamer, your wrists and hands may be particularly susceptible to developing issues in the future. Carpal tunnel is one of the most common effects of repetitive motions like using a controller. Try some of these wrist stretches for gamers to prevent problems in the future.

Try Exercising While Playing

Exercise is vital to optimal health because it keeps your metabolism in check, builds muscle, and burns off fat. Believe it or not, there are actually dozens of exercises you can perform while you’re gaming.

Many of these workouts are performed in a seated position to allow you to still focus on your game, but even if you do these exercises while playing, you still need to integrate other stretches and exercises that involve standing to make sure that your legs are engaged.

Practice workouts like ab squeezes and stationary biking along with these other gaming exercises to improve your physical health.

Drink Protein Shakes to Ensure You’re Consuming Enough Protein

As mentioned, dietary habits are important to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise plus a nutritious diet are mandatory to reach your highest level of fitness.

One concern gamers may have is in regard to their protein intake. Though snacking is typically associated with gaming, these unhealthy, processed foods often lead people to feel full when in fact they are not receiving enough protein.

Invest in some quality protein powder and a protein shaker and then try to integrate shakes into your daily diet. This will ensure that you’re receiving the proper amount of protein and provide you with the energy to complete your workouts. 

Invest in Interactive Exercise Video Games

Another great way to get your body engaged while playing video games is by purchasing one of the many interactive gaming systems or VR devices, which allow you to move around while playing.

The Nintendo Wii was the first gaming system that really let you move around while playing video games, but now other major console producers have created similar products to get gamers moving. Xbox offers a wide variety of active video games, including Xbox Fitness, Kinect Sport, and a number of dance games, among others. If you’re a PlayStation user, you can also take advantage of similar interactive games and help maintain your body’s fitness without sacrificing your gamer lifestyle.

If you can afford a VR headset, such as the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, games like Beat Saber are also great ways to get in shape. 


Editor's Note: Chris Gronkowski is contributing to GameSkinny through our guest writer series, where we provide a platform for thought leaders to share great ideas with you, the reader. 

About the author: A former 3-year starter in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, and Denver Broncos, Chris Gronkowski is now the CEO of Ice Shaker. Ice Shaker has been featured on ABC's Shark Tank, Good Morning America, HLN morning express, Forbes, and others. Chris is the middle of the five Gronkowski brothers and has started writing about his athletic and entrepreneurial experiences.

John Wick Inspired Katana Zero Poised to Slash Onto PC, Consoles Fri, 18 Jan 2019 15:16:06 -0500 Jonathan Moore

According to numerous reports, Akiisoft's upcoming side-scrolling action title, Katana Zero, might be the John Wick-inspired video game we've all been waiting for. Set to release for PC and consoles this March, Katana Zero is heavily influenced by the revenge film, even if its protagonist is a sword-wielding ninja named "The Dragon." 

While the game does not tie into the John Wick franchise in any tangible way, one look at the demo footage coming from publications like Polygon and Destructoid shows that the game's developer, Tadakuni Amano, is a big fan of twitchy side-scrollers, gratuitous gore, and vengeful assassins. 

In a 2017 interview with TechRaptor, Amano confirmed that was the case; Katana Zero is heavily influenced by revenge films such as Drive, Sin City, and John Wick. Although we've yet to dive into the game ourselves, Katana Zero looks to be a worthy representation of those movies, albeit in a 2D, pixelated format.

Unsurprisingly, the game has also drawn comparisons to the criminally-good Mark of the Ninja and the carnage-heavy Hotline Miami.

Like those titles, Katana Zero's gameplay centers around a mixture of visceral hack and slash action and platforming. The protagonist can also use time-manipulation, which allows the game's them to slow down time and set up attacks as an integral part of the gameplay. Amano has said that this specific mechanic, called Chronos, is both a gameplay and narrative device.

"It gets around the narrative problem of meaningless death in video games, where you die, but you can just come back to life magically," he told TechRaptor. 

Although Askiisoft is not a household name, the company has been developing hard-as-nails platformers for the better part of 10 years. Its first title, Tower of Heaven, was released for web-based PC platforms in 2009, generating buzz from fans and critics alike.

In a 2012 feature, we named Tower of Heaven one of the best flash games ever made, noting its difficulty and score as primary strengths. Since then, Askiisoft has released two more unforgiving platformers, Pause Ahead and OverPowered, both of which are free-to-play flash titles and available on the developer's website. 

For Askiisoft, the neon-tinged tumult of Katana Zero has been a long time coming. While it's hard to pin down exactly when the game began development, we do know that it was first shown at PAX Prime 2015.

In the past three-and-a-half years, the game has been shown off numerous times, gaining the attention of a growing number of fans as well as publishers like Devolver Digital, which on January 16 said it would be working with Askiisoft to bring the game to Steam and currently unnamed consoles in March. 

More information is available on Gamasutra and the Askiisoft website

Upcoming 2019 Games Release Date List Wed, 09 Jan 2019 16:48:43 -0500 Ashley Shankle

What games are releasing in 2019? Look no further. 

We've compiled a list of all the known game release dates for 2019, at least to the best of our knowledge. The listing will be updated as more games are announced and as release dates shuffle around and are revealed.

The release dates here are the standard dates. Ports are also listed, for those of you anticipating ports to your preferred platforms, as are notable expansions. The first few months already have several known release dates, the rest will be fleshed out as more are announced.


January 2019 is starting out slowly, but the releases are coming in hard and fast starting in the middle of the month.

Some of the more notable releases for this month are Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition -- which will finally bring the extra content the game got on PS3 in Japan but we never saw on the Xbox 360 -- Travis Strikes Again: No More HeroesAce Combat 7 on consoles, Life Is Strange 2: Episode 2, the Resident Evil 2 remake, and the eternally-awaited Kingdom Hearts 3.

1/10 Sega Ages: Outrun (Switch)
1/10 Bury me, my Love (Switch, PC, iOS)
1/10 BlockQuest Maker (Switch)
1/11 Hitman HD Enhanced Collection (PS4, Xbox One)
1/11 Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
1/11 New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (Switch)
1/15 The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - The Final Season Episode 3: Broken Toys (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
1/15 Vane (PS4)
1/15 Onimusha: Warlords (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
1/15 Smoke and Sacrifice (PS4, Xbox One)
1/17 YIIK: A Postmodern RPG (PS4, PC, Switch)
1/17 Hell Warders (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
1/18 Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes (Switch)
1/18 Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (PS4, Xbox One)
1/22 Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal (PS4, PC)
1/22 Kingdom Hearts: VR Experience (PS4)
1/22 Realm Royale (Switch, Xbox One)
1/24 Life Is Strange 2: Episode 2 - Rules (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
1/24 SMITE (Switch)
1/24 Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 (PC)
1/24 Doodle God: Evolution (Switch)
1/25 Resident Evil 2 (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
1/29 Kingdom Hearts: All-in-One Package (PS4)
1/29 Kingdom Hearts 3 (PS4, Xbox One)
1/29 Genesis Alpha One (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
1/29 Mages of Mystralla (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
1/30 Dragon Marked for Death (Switch)
1/31 Robotics: Notes DaSH (Switch)


February's not holding back the punches. Winter won't be over yet, but it might feel like it. Some notably hot releases in February are Ace Combat 7 on PC, Etrian Odyssey Nexus, God Eater 3, Civilization 6's Gathering Storm expansion, Metro Exodus, and Anthem.

2/1 Song of Memories (PS4, Switch)
2/1 Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (PC)
2/5 V-Rally 4 (Switch)
2/5 Etrian Odyssey Nexus (3DS)
2/5 The Occupation (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
2/5 Riot: Civil Unrest (Switch)
2/5 The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 (Switch)
2/5 Train Station Renovation (PC)
2/6 ASTRONEER (Xbox One)
2/6 Overkill's The Walking Dead (Xbox One)
2/7 BlazBlue: Central Fiction (Switch)
2/7 Defense Grid 2 (Switch)
2/8 Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 2 (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
2/8 God Eater 3 (PS4, PC)
2/12 Jump Force (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
2/12 The Liar and the Blind Prince (PS4, Switch)
2/12 Descent (PS4, Xbox One)
2/13 Away: Journey to the Unexpected (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
2/13 Prison Simulator (PC)
2/14 Code: Realize - Wintertide Miracles (PS4, Vita)
2/14 Degrees of Separation (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
2/14 Sid Meier's Civilization 6: Gathering Storm (PC)
2/15 Crackdown 3 (PC, Xbox One)
2/15 Metro Exodus (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
2/15 Dreamworks Dragons Dawn of New Riders (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
2/15 Far Cry: New Dawn (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
2/19 Steins: Gate Elite (PS4, PC, Switch)
2/19 Death end re:Quest (PS4)
2/19 Fate/Extella Link (Switch)
2/21 Yume Nikki: Dream Diary (Switch)
2/21 Hell Warders (Switch)
2/21 Devil Engine (PC, Switch)
2/21 NieR: Automata - Game of the YoRHa Edition (PS4, PC)
2/22 Aragami: Shadow Edition (Switch)
2/22 Anthem (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
2/26 Child of Light: Ultimate Edition / Valiant Hearts: The Gear War Double Pack (Switch)
2/26 Trials Rising (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
2/26 The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
2/26 RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore (PS4, PC, Switch)
2/26 RPG Maker MV (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
2/26 OPUS Collection (Switch)
2/26 Dirt Rally 2.0 (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
2/27 Deponia Doomsday (PS4)
2/28 Ape Out (PC, Switch)
2/28 Deltarune: Chapter 1 (Switch)
2/28 Constructor Plus (Switch)


The release onslaught continues into March, with games like ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove, Dead or Alive 6, Total War: Three Kingdoms, Devil May Cry 5, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Tropico 6. Black Desert Online will also be making its way to the Xbox One in the start of this month.

3/1 ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
3/1 Dead or Alive 6 (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
3/4 Black Desert (Xbox One)
3/5 Left Alive (PS4, PC)
3/5 Move or Die (PS4)
3/7 Total War: Three Kingdoms (PC)
3/8 Path of Exile: Synthesis (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
3/8 Devil May Cry 5 (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
3/12 The Caligula Effect: Overdose (PS4, PC, Switch)
3/12 The Wizards: Enhanced Edition (PS4)
3/14 Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker - Special Episode (Switch)
3/15 One Piece: World Seeker (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
3/15 Tom Clancy's The Division 2 (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
3/19 SNK 40th Anniversary Collection (PS4, Switch)
3/19 Zanki Zero: Last Beginning (PS4, PC)
3/20 Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! (Switch)
3/21 The Sinking City (PS4, Xbox One)
3/22 Unravel Two (Switch)
3/22 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
3/26 The Princess Guide (Switch)
3/26 Outward (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
3/26 Danganronpa Trilogy (PS4)
3/26 Generation Zero (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
3/26 Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ardyn (PS4, Xbox One)
3/26 The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame (Switch)
3/26 MLB The Show 19 (PS4)
3/26 Final Fantasy VII (Switch)
3/26 Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World (PS4, PC, Switch)
3/26 The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - The Final Season Episode 4: Take Us Back (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
3/28 Gwent: The Witcher Card Game - Crimson Curse (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
3/29 Tropico 6 (PC)
3/29 Yoshi's Crafted World (Switch)
3/31 Car Mechanic Simulator (PS4, Xbox One)


4/2 Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (Switch)
Sword & Fairy 6 (PS4)
Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission (PC, Switch)
Shovel Knight: King of Cards (3DS, Vita, Switch)
Zanki Zero: Last Beginning (PS4, PC)
Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain (PS4)
Reigns: Game of Thrones (Switch)
Nintendo Labo: Toycon 04 VR Kit (Switch)
Final Fantasy X/X-2 Remaster (Switch)
My Time at Portia (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions (Switch)
World War Z (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
Truberbrook (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
Cuphead (Switch)
Overcooked! 2: Campfire Cook Off (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
God's Trigger (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
Katana ZERO (PS4, PC, Switch)
Our World Is Ended (PS4, Switch)
Crystal Crisis (PS4, Switch)
4/23 Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen (Switch)
4/23 Mortal Kombat 11 (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
4/26 Days Gone (PS4)
4/30 Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (Switch, Xbox One)


5/2 VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunch Bartender Action (PS4, Switch)
Puyo Puyo Champions (PC)
Puyo Puyo Champions (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 2 (PS4)
Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package (Switch)
Rage 2 (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
5/14 Sniper Elite V2 Remastered (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
5/14 A Plague Tale: Innocence (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
5/15 Iron Marines (PC)
5/15 Druidstone: The Secret of Menhir Forest (PC)
5/16 Guilty Gear 20th Anniversary Edition (Switch)
5/16 Guilty Gear (PS4)
5/20 Resident Evil 0: HD Remaster (Switch)
5/20 Resident Evil HD Remaster (Switch)
5/20 Resident Evil 4 HD (Switch)
5/21 Observation (PS4, PC)
5/21 Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland (PS4, PC, Switch)
5/21 Slay the Spire (PS4)
5/21 Team Sonic Racing (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
5/21 Assassin's Creed 3 Remastered (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
5/21 Killing Floor: Double Feature (PS4)
5/21 Resident Evil: Origins Collection (Switch)
5/23 Wonder Boy Returns Remix (Switch)
5/23 Total War: Three Kingdoms (PC)
5/23 Pathologic 2 (PC)
5/27 Railroad Corporation (PC)
5/27 Little Friends: Dogs & Cats (Switch)
5/28 Blood & Truth (PS4)
5/28 Rescue HQ - The Tycoon (PC)
5/28 Lapis X Labyrinth (PS4, Switch)
5/28 Vambrace: Cold Soul (PC)
5/28 Layers of Fear 2 (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
5/28 Among the Sleep: Enhanced Edition (Switch)
5/28 Kingdom Come: Deliverance - Royal Edition (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
5/28 Guacamelee! One-Two Punch Collection (PS4, Switch)
5/29 Among the Sleep: Enhanced Edition (PS4)
5/28 Draugen (PC)
5/30 Conan Unconquered (PC)
5/30 ShockRods (PC)
5/31 Warhammer: Chaosbane Early Access (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
5/31 Among the Sleep: Enhanced Edition (Xbox One)
5/31 PixARK (PS4, Switch)
5/31 Trover Saves the Universe (PS4)


6/4 The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
Warhammer: Chaosbane (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 2 (PS4)
Trover Saves the Universe (PC)
Barotrauma (PC)
MotoGP 19 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Slay the Spire (Switch)
Cooking Simulator (PC)
Refunct (Switch)
Octopath Traveler (PC)
Dragon Star Varnir (PS4)
Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry (PS4, Switch)
Vacation Simulator (PS4)
Neverwinter: Undermountain (PS4, Xbox One)
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
Date-A-Live: Rio Reincarnation (PS4)
Catan Universe (PC, Switch)
Esports Life Tycoon (PC)
Steel Division 2 (PC)
198X (PC, PS4)
Super Neptunia RPG (PC)
Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
6/21 The Sims 4: Island Living (PC, PS4)
6/25 The Sinking City (PS4, Xbox One)
6/25 Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Switch)
6/25 Samurai Shodown (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
6/25 We. The Revolution (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
6/25 Super Neptunia RPG (PS4, Switch)
6/25 Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden (Switch)
6/25 Car Mechanic Simulator (PS4, Xbox One)
6/25 Judgment (PS4)
6/25 Redeemer: Enhanced Edition (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
6/27 War Tech Fighters (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
6/27 Furwind (Switch)
6/27 Graveyard Keeper (Switch)
6/27 MotoGP 19 (Switch)
6/27 Dandy Dungeon: Legend of Brave Yamada (Switch)
6/28 Super Mario Maker 2 (Switch)
6/28 Hollow Knight (PS4)



7/2 Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers (PS4, PC)
Psyviar Delta (PS4, Switch)
Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-mars-tered (Switch)
Just Cause 4: Los Demonios (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Stranger Things 3: The Game (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One, iOS)
Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
Sea of Solitude (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Umihara Kawase Fresh! (Switch)
Senran Kagura: Peach Ball (Switch)
Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4, Switch)
7/12 God Eater 3 (Switch)
7/19 Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (Switch)
7/23 Caravan Stories (PS4)
7/23 Date-A-Live: Rio Reincarnation (PC, PS4)
7/26 Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Switch)
7/26 Wolfenstein: Youngblood (PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One)
7/26 Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot (PS4, PC)
7/26 Kill La Kill The Game: If (PS4, Switch)
7/30 Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden - Seed of Evil (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)


8/2 Madden NFL 20 (PS4, Xbox One)
Age of Wonders: Planetfall (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition (Switch)
The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
Stellaris: Console Edition - Utopia (PS4, Xbox One)
Bus Simulator (PS4)
Remnant: From the Ashes (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
RAD (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
Killer Queen Black (Switch)
Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution (Switch)
Oninaki (PC, PS4, Switch)
Life is Strange 2: Episode 4 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
8/27 Crystar (PC, PS4)
8/27 Control (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
8/27 MXGP 2019 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
8/30 Astral Chain (Switch)


9/3 Catherine: Full Body (PS4)
9/3 Torchlight 2 (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
9/3 Spyro Reignited Trilogy (PC, Switch)
9/6 Monster Hunter World - Iceborne (PS4)
9/10 Utawarerumono Zan (PS4)
9/10 Indivisible (PS4, Xbox One)
9/10 GRID (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
9/13 Conan Chop Chop (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
Daemon X Machina (Switch)
9/13 Borderlands 3 (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
9/17 AI: The Somnium Files (PC, PS4, Switch)
9/17 Destiny 2: Shadowkeep (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
9/19 Police Stories (Switch)
9/20 The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)
9/20 Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered (PC, PS4, Switch)
9/24 The Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition Pack (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
9/24 Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition/Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
9/24 The Surge 2 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
9/24 Contra: Rogue Corps (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
9/27 Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age S - Definitive Edition (Switch)
9/27 FIFA 20: Legacy Edition (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
9/27 Tropico 6 (PS4, Xbox One)


10/1 Yu-No: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of This World (PC, PS4, Switch)
10/22 Destiny Connect: Tick-tock Travelers (PS4, Switch)
10/25 MediEvil (PS4)
10/25 The Outer Worlds (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
10/25 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (PC, PS4, Xbox One)


11/8 Death Stranding (PS4)
11/13 XIII (Remake) (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
11/15 Star Wars - Jedi: Fallen Order (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
11/15 Pokemon Sword and Shield (Switch)
11/19 Shenmue 3 (PS4, PC)
11/22 DOOM Eternal (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)


12/3 Life Is Strange 2: Episode 5 (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
12/5 Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)

Why Some Folks Just Can't Let Melee Go Tue, 01 Jan 2019 06:00:01 -0500 RobotsFightingDinosaurs

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is out, and despite the fact that it has proven to be the best-received entry in the series thus far, some folks are already over it.

If you've spent any time around the competitive Super Smash Bros. scene, you know that there is a relatively small, but incredibly vocal, contingent of players that swear that Super Smash Bros. Melee is not just the perfect Super Smash Bros. title, but that it's the pinnacle of fighting games in general, the most perfect and complete competitive fighting game ever made. You've seen them.

So the question, then, remains, what's so special about Super Smash Bros. Melee? Why can't players at both the casual and competitive levels just move on to a newer, shinier game with more content? Why do people keep playing Super Smash Bros. Melee when other, better options exist?

There are a bunch of answers to this question. A few are satisfying, a few aren't.

It Came Out In 2001

This is probably the least satisfying, but most compelling answer to why folks still play Super Smash Bros. Melee. The simple truth is that the game came out over 15 years ago, and fans have used that time not just to hone their skills, but as a whole, to refine Super Smash Bros. Melee's metagame to the point where it has pretty much been mastered in a way that few other video games have.

And when I say metagame, I don't mean mind games that players use to get an edge. For competitive gamers in the fighting game community, the metagame is the set of rules that exists one layer deeper than the game itself. This includes advanced strategies, sure, but more importantly, the concept of a metagame deals with which strategies are optimal at any given time. Metagames for titles get refined as folks play the game at high levels and learn, say, which characters are more powerful than others, or which moves are the quickest, or what combos can confirm a kill.

All this is to say that age is on Super Smash Bros. Melee's side here. Professional players like Leffen or Mang0 will be hesitant to jump ship and move to another title specifically because so much time has been spent essentially solving Melee. Which brings us to the next point...

Almost None Of The Advanced Techniques from Melee Will Help You In Later Titles

One of the biggest knocks on competitive Melee is that the barrier for entry is insanely high. In order to even move around the stage fast enough to keep up with the competition, you have to master wavedashing – and that's just moving around. God help you if you want to actually learn how to string combos together.

For new players, this is intimidating. It's a lot easier to jump in to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate where the game holds your hand a little bit as you learn the advanced techniques. Not only is there more room for error, but the techniques themselves make more sense logically than air-dodging into the ground to skip across the platform.

On the flip side, for players that have spent years mastering these Melee techniques, it would be patently insane for them to jump ship and essentially start from scratch in a new game, since none of the advanced techniques carry over. Melee was so fun to learn because these techniques were discovered by players; many weren't even intended by the developers. It was like a treasure hunt, and when a new technique was found (like the now-questionably-legal Ice Climbers infinite grab) it was something special. It felt like the player was bending the game's rules to their will, because they kind of were.

Newer titles don't have that kind of mystique, since they're patched so often. Again, moving from Melee to Ultimate would really represent a major step backward from players at the most competitive levels. The games play completely differently, and that works in Melee's favor. It's unique, singular, and frozen in time.

Brawl Was (Mostly) a Competitive Dud

I firmly believe that, had Super Smash Bros. Brawl not featured Meta Knight as a playable character, or taken the misstep of introducing random character tripping as a game mechanic, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Though The Subspace Emissary was one of the best things the Super Smash Bros. series ever gave us, Super Smash Bros. Brawl was underwhelming as a competitive game, so much so that when the game was released and Nintendo was pushing it as a competitive fighter, players almost immediately returned to Melee, much to Nintendo's chagrin.

Comparing competitive Melee to competitive Brawl is almost unfair.

Melee is violently, nauseatingly quick. If you blink, you'll miss something – a gigantic combo, a frame-perfect technique, or a heartbreaking edgeguard. It's the kind of competitive game that keeps a viewer on the edge of their seats at all times – there's literally never a dull moment because every player is in danger of losing a stock at any time.

On the other hand, Brawl is painfully slow and floaty. Sure, there are some quicker characters, but as the metagame developed, it became clear that the optimal strategy in Brawl was to wait for your opponent to attack. Not to mention the fact that organizers had to outright ban an entire character from the game in worldwide competition because he was so overpowered (to this day, no other Smash title has done this – even Bayonetta in Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U was only banned in certain areas). And on those rare occasions where something cool does happen, a character will trip over nothing and render everything moot.

The result of this is that competitive Melee players dropped Brawl pretty quickly, which in turn meant that those players spent that entire Wii console generation refining and perfecting their Melee skills. By the time Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U was announced, it was too late. Players had already committed to Melee for too long.

But Here's The Thing...

Folks often pooh-pooh Melee players as old, entitled, and elitist. That may or may not be true – certainly, the Melee scene is harder to break into since any new player will have to put in a whole lot of work to catch up with folks who have a 17-year headstart. But for that reason, that insane barrier to entry, the Melee scene is not as large as it once was.

Around the country, the trend has been established: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a young game. That's not to say that it's a new game, though that's certainly true, it's to say that the competitive player base is incredibly young. Speaking from personal experience, a good majority of the folks I see at weekly tournaments in Chicago are under 20 years old.

Many weren't even born when Melee came out.

In contrast, Melee players certainly aren't old (Hungrybox, the current #1 player in the world, is just 25) but they are definitively older than the Ultimate player base, if only by a little. None of the top 10 Melee players in the world are younger than 20.

This makes sense – it's an older game, so the player base will be older, but it's also a bit of a problem for Melee moving forward. Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U was an okay competitive game, but was hamstrung somewhat by a smaller install base. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, on the other hand, is moving copies at blazing speed on the red-hot Switch. Even more staggering is that this is the first time a competitively viable Super Smash Bros. game came out on a widely successful Nintendo system since Smash 64. Both the Gamecube and Wii U struggled to compete with competition from Sony and Microsoft.

All this is to say that Ultimate is primed to have the largest competitive player base in the history of the series, and that doesn't bode well for Melee tournaments, at least at the local level. The game is already siphoning folks from the competitive Smash 64, Project M (a fan-made mod for Brawl that made the game play more like Super Smash Bros. Melee), and yes, even the Melee scene. Of course, some of this is to be expected when a new game comes out, but if those players stick around for the long haul, Ultimate's success could cannibalize smaller Melee events.

Having said that, Melee tournaments at major events like EVO will always be amazing, hype-filled bashes, and that's not going to change anytime soon. Folks at the top level of play will be enjoying Melee until the heat death of the universe, something that was assured as soon as the magic words “Wombo combo” were uttered on that fateful day so many years ago.

Top Fortnite Memes of 2018 Fri, 28 Dec 2018 12:49:11 -0500 Victoria B.

Whether you love or hate it, Fortnite has stuck around as one of the most played games in 2018. Some live for the next victory royale and others condemn it as one of the worst games. Sounds like the perfect content for the internet to eat up and spit back out for our entertainment.

With the fame and notoriety, comes with it an infinite amount of memes. Here are our top picks for this year’s best Fortnite memes.

Fortnite Memes of 2018

Did you find these relatable? Were there any favorites we missed? Let us know or share your memes with us. We'll look forward to the new one's to come in 2019.

Super Smashed Bros! 5 Ultimate Drinking Games for your Next Party Night! Fri, 28 Dec 2018 05:00:02 -0500 RobotsFightingDinosaurs

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has been out for a little bit now, and most folks have finally been able to get to grips with the latest, greatest entry in the series. Sure, you can buffer, shorthop nair, RAR, and pivot with the best of them, but what else is there once you've mastered Super Smash Bros. Ultimate? Well, allow us to suggest you get casual with these 5 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate drinking games! 

We've created these games from scratch with the game's new mechanics in mind, and most work best with a larger group, so call your pals, fix up a nice big bowl of Falcon Punch, and get ready to get smashed! Just remember to drink responsibly, and that if you choose to play on 75m, even casually, you are a horrible person and I hope you get a horrific hangover tomorrow morning.

Classic 3 Minute Smashed

Perfect for beginners, this mode is a riff on the classic Nintendo drinking game Beerio Kart, where players must balance their game and drinking expertise simultaneously.

  • Set rules to time, with a time limit of 3 minutes. Set pause and score display to off
  • All competitors must prepare a 12-oz beer
  • Pick characters and stages. Items are okay, but do not pick stages that are easy to camp in, like 75m, Hyrule Temple, Duck Hunt, or Great Cave Offensive (among others)
  • All players MUST finish their beer before time expires. Players must put their controllers down in order to drink
  • Get smashing!

Super Smashed Bros.

For those of you who crave a more traditional "drink when you X" style experience with your gaming, we've got you covered. This ruleset works across all game modes, even adventure mode (if you're trying to drink alone tonight).

  • Drink if you're KOed.
  • Take an additional drink if you self-destructed or suffer a star or screen KO
  • Take 2 drinks if you pick up one of the following items: Beetle, Boss Galaga, Ore Club, Gust Bellows, or Beam Sword
  • Finish your drink if you're spiked into oblivion
  • Finish your drink if your shield is broken
  • 3 drinks if Captain Falcon lands a Falcon Punch, Ganondorf lands a Warlock Punch, or Bowser lands his dropkick
  • While the crowd chants, everyone drinks for the duration
  • If Waluigi, Shovel Knight, or Isaac appears in an assist trophy, all players must immediately drop their controllers and pour the remainder of their drinks in the sink to show respect for our brothers that got left behind
  • If you're hit by a Final Smash, drink for the duration
  • If a player ends the game without being KOed, everyone else takes a shot at the end of the match

Handicap Match (Smashdown)

Though this drinking game works best with the Smashdown rule set, you can adapt it for any other game mode! Unlike some other games on this list, this one is set up to level the playing field between more skilled players and folks who might be new to the game.

  • Begin a match in Smashdown mode
  • Turn mercy rule ON
  • Smash as normal for the first match
  • After the match ends, the winner takes a drink
  • Repeat until a winner is declared!

Spirits Battle

In this mode, first activate Spirits in your options. After that, the rules are simple.

  • Put together your favorite spirit team
  • Prepare a drink made with spirits. I recommend a gin and tonic with a twist of lemon! So refreshing
  • 1-stock, no items
  • Winner stays
  • The loser takes 1 drink for a loss, plus more depending on how powerful their team is
    • 1-999: No additional drinks
    • 1000-4999: 2 additional drinks
    • 5000-9999: 4 additional drinks
    • 10000+: 1 shot

Showdown with Rando Calrissian

"Rando Calrissian" is one of my favorite house rules in any party environment. Originating with Cards Against Humanity, Rando Calrissian is a non-human competitor who acts completely at random.

In the case of CAH, you play by adding the top white card to everyone else's submissions. Now, the key is that if Rando Calrissian wins a round, everyone feels deep, deep shame. 

It's pretty easy to modify this rule for inclusion in Smash!

  • Set up a Smash game with custom rules
  • Hide every UI element that you can, including score/name display, and percentage display
  • In the character select, every player must choose "random"
  • Add a computer player set to an appropriate level (I like Lv. 7 for drunken shenanigans) and set it to random as well
  • Nobody is allowed to talk or look at other controllers. Players shouldn't know who other players are controlling
  • When you lose a stock, drink
  • At the end of the match, if the winner is displayed and they're not a human controlled character, you must chug the rest of your drink while feeling intense shame

You and your friends will get smashed in no time playing these games, believe you me. Play it and drink it safe this New Years!

Top 10 Gifts for Fortnite Fans for the 2018 Holidays Tue, 11 Dec 2018 14:17:55 -0500 Victoria B.


Consider adding these gift ideas to your list as you start a shopping spree for that special Fortnite Fan this holiday season, and let these top 10 choices inspire you as you sneakily find your loved one's favorite in-game content. 


Check back at GameSkinny for more nerdy gift guides and Christmas news.


Fortnite Squad Mode Action Figures


Price: $39.97
Buy it at: Walmart


Looking for more traditional toys? Consider these figurines. This pack comes with four of the most popular characters in the game along with interchangeable guns. Whether you’re a young fan or a collector, this would be a great toy to receive this year.


This gift is only 12 years or older though, so keep any of these tiny pieces away from toddler curious grasps.


Fortnite Llama Plush


Price: $9.99
Buy it at: Target


Another great option are some cute plushies to bring a smile to your loved one’s face. One of the best cuddly toys to consider is this Pinata Llama, a fan favorite from the Fortnite universe. This wide eyed stuffed animal is about 7 inches tall and the perfect huggable size. If you're looking for a cute and inexpensive toy, this is a one of the best options.


Fortnite Game Guides


Fortnite: The Ultimate Guide to Dominating Fortnite Battle Royale by Supreme Game Guides


Price: $9.73
Buy it on: Amazon


Fortnite For Kids: 5 In 1 Book: The Complete Guide To Becoming A Fortnite God With A Fast And Flawless Victory by Pro Gamer Guide


Price: $19.76
Buy it on: Amazon 


If the person you're gifting to is both a gamer and a reader, a strategy guide book is one of the best gift options you can go for. Players are always trying to find ways to improve their chances of winning in battle royale modes. Some even go to the extent to hire coaches to help them improve their skills, but you don’t have to.


Use this Christmas as an opportunity to give a gamer some useful tips about how to improve their strategy and win ratio. Here are just a few options to choose from depending on the age and skill level of the reader.


Controller Skins


Price: $7.46
Buy it on: Etsy


One of the best gifts you can go for with any gamer is a skin/sticker. These removable skins add a form of customization to an otherwise carbon copy controller. 


Check out KO Custom Creations AU for some really awesome Fortnite skins for PlayStation and Xbox controllers that fans have highly rated. One of the most popular is the Slurp Controller, a reference to the slurp power up juice available in the game. You can find this and more awesome skins for players on Etsy. Check them out to find the best fit.


Fortnite Fan Hoodies


Llama Hoodie Sale Price: $27.95
Lamma Hoodie Regular Price: $50.99
Buy it on: Gearrora


Straight Outta Tilted Towers Price: $26.98
Buy it on: Amazon


You can keep your friends and family warm this winter by opting for clothes that reflect their love of Fortnite. One of our favorites is this hoodie that has one of the most iconic figures from the game, the pinata llama. Another popular choice on Amazon is the Straight Outta Tilted Towers youth hoodie, a reference to one of the locations in the game.


You can find all kinds of cozy hoodies that have the Fornite logos and references. Do some subtle research to find their favorite character or items from the game before buying.


Fortnite Backpack


Price: $25.89
Buy it on: Amazon


A practical gift for any Fortnite players who are in school is definitely a backpack. This bookbag not only has the logo for the game but also glows in the dark. It has plenty of pockets and is made from a sturdy canvas material as well, making it the perfect gift for any fan to carry their gear in. It is fitted for elementary to middle school students. This could be a great gift before everyone returns to their studies in January.


Light-Up Boogie Bomb


Price: $14.99
Buy it at: Spencer's


One of the best and most recognizable explosives from the game is the Boogie Bomb. Fortnite fans won’t be disappointed with this disco light up grenade that also comes with sound effects. It's the perfect decor for any player and is definitely a cool one to add to the shopping list.


Funko Pop Figures


Price: $7 - $11
Buy it on: Amazon


It seems like everyone has to have at least one Funko Pop figure, and if you know someone who is an avid Fortnite player, you can’t go wrong with any of these adorable figurines. It’ll be a cute addition to place next to their PC or console.


Be sure to snoop and check if your friend or family already has started a collection so you avoid buying a figure they already own. You may also want to do some digging to discern which character they like the most. This will help you decide which of the many figures to choose from.


All of the traditional figures range from $8 - $11. Another option in the $7 range are key chain figures that can be used as stocking stuffers.


Monopoly: Fortnite Edition


Price: $15.88
Buy it at: Amazon


If your Fortnite player likes both video and board games consider getting them the monopoly version of Fortnite. This edition of Monopoly for ages 13 and up has elements inspired by the popular royale mode, including the storm, map locations, and loot chest cards.


Players earn and take away health points instead of money and every time a player passes go, the storm is unleashed. Fortnite fans will love you for bringing this to family game night as long as no one flips the table from losing.


Gift Cards


Price: $10 - $100


(PlayStation) Buy it on: Amazon
(Xbox) Buy it on : Amazon


Good ol’ fashioned money is sometimes your best bet, so why not go with a gift card? In order to obtain in-game cosmetics in Fortnite or battle passes for access to skins, weapons, emotes, and more, players can use money available on their account. If you want to add funds to a player's account and let them spend how they please, you should snag them a gift card.


Know what system your loved one is playing on before you by them a card though. This will only work for those who are on consoles. PlayStation and Xbox gift cards can range from $10 to $100 and are a great choice for console Fortnite players.


Epic Game's Fortnite is one of the most played and streamed games this year, so it's no surprise that it's no surprise that wish lists will be filled with Fornite themed gifts. You likely have someone in your life obsessed with this battle royale-style game. With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s time to hurry and find that perfect gift for your friend, family, significant other, or secret Santa.


Scroll through our top 10 picks to find the perfect surprise to give your loved one this year with these Fortnite gifts.


Full disclosure: This article contains Amazon affiliate links that directly benefit GameSkinny. Just letting you know!

When Far Cry 6 is Announced at The Game Awards, Will it be a Sequel to Far Cry 5? Wed, 05 Dec 2018 14:16:04 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Let's face it, we all knew Far Cry 6 would be happening at some point. Despite Far Cry 5's mixed reception, there was never any doubt Ubisoft would return to the FPS cash cow; after all, the game did break franchise sales records, becoming the company's second best selling game of all time while raking in some $310 million in its first seven days on the market.  

However assured we were that the series would return, we weren't necessarily ready for a new Far Cry announcement this soon. 

Shared today on Ubisoft's official Twitter account, a fresh teaser trailer for something Far Cry shows the aftermath of Far Cry 5 where (spoilers) the bombs dropped on Hope County changed the world forever. 

Set to be shown during tomorrow's The Game Awards, what's presumably a longer, perhaps more elucidating trailer will unveil the next "installment" in the Far Cry universe. But will it be Far Cry 6? And if so, will it be a direct sequel to Far Cry 5

Right now, it's just too early to tell. However, we can look back at the franchise's history and glean a tiny bit of insight.  

To this point, the franchise has never had a direct, mainline sequel. Each game, from the original Far Cry onward, has been its own self-contained story with new protagonists and villains.

However, several of Ubi's other series, such as Assassin's Creed, have had direct sequels, while other series, such as Watch Dogs, have taken the shared-universe route, as Far Cry has in the past with the recurring character of Hurk. 

We do know based on the trailer that this Far Cry will be shaped in some way by the Far Cry 5 ending that saw Joseph and parts of his cult survive the initial nuclear blasts (that's because they didn't happen at all in the game's other endings). Will we see Eden's Gate 2.0, bigger and badder than ever? 

From what's been shown so far, we can't tell if the teaser trailer is simply recounting the events of Far Cry 5 for dramatic effect, leading to a full-blown post-apocalyptic sequel, or hyping the reveal of a new spin-off game or set of DLCs. 

The latter two options could also be in play for Ubisoft as the company has released quite a few series spin-offs over the years. The most popular of those was 2013's Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, an '80s acid-trip of a game that saw Snake Plissken impersonator Rex Powercolt taking on cyber soldiers and robot dinosaurs in a psychedelic futurescape. 

The spin-off shared the same environment as Far Cry 3 (except one that was highly stylized), as well as its controls and mechanics. It was released five months after Far Cry 3, but its trailers were decidedly more in line with those of Far Cry 5's expansions than what we see from Ubi's latest tease. 

Then, of course, there was Far Cry: Primal ... 

If what's announced is a mainline game -- whether it's a direct sequel or not -- it will most likely be creatively titled Far Cry 6, and it will be set in some type of post-apocalyptic scenario. Dare we say it will be Far Cry 6 Battle Royale: Post Apocalypse Edition or Far Cry: Wasteland Survivor 76? With Ubisoft, one can never be certain. We'll just have to wait and see.

The Game Awards begins at 8:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, December 6, and will be streamed on a dozen platforms, including Twitch, YouTube, Caffeine, Steam, PlayStation, and Xbox Live. 

Red Dead Online Beta Impressions: Wild West But Not a Wasteland Sun, 02 Dec 2018 11:34:55 -0500 Ty Arthur

You can officially put down any other online-only games right now and clear your schedule for the next week because Red Dead Online just launched in beta for everyone.

While the base game has its share of flaws, it's hard to imagine Red Dead Redemption 2 isn't going to make a whole lot of year-end lists and probably be nominated GOTY 2018 across the gamingverse.

Adding a real Wild West of an online mode just catapulted this already-awesome game into a whole new level of addiction. 

Here are our thoughts after playing for a few days. 

Creating Your Own Outlaw Legacy

Didn't care for Arthur's old western drawl and wanted to play a different kind of outlaw? No problem, because now you get to create your own character.

I went with a 60-year-old housewife who has absolutely had it with everyone's shit and is going to start robbing trains and murdering people who tick her off. She gets a hilarious reaction from other players, which has only made the whole experience even better.

My only regret? When I saw that the starter horse is named Scrawny Nag, I wished I had named my character that rather than Norma Jean.

Despite being focused on random events and multiplayer battles, Red Dead Online starts with a string of single-player story missions somewhat separate from the base experience. The whole thing kicks off when your character is rescued from a prison wagon (and yes, I did wonder when the dragon would show up or a king would ask me to save Tamriel). 

But instead of slaying dragons, you're helping out a mysterious benefactor who wants you to track down some crooks who killed her husband. Simply having single-player story missions is a big plus for a multiplayer mode, and there's plenty of humor in the online storyline, like frequent quips about how the main character never speaks or a few extra jokes if you decided to play a female outlaw.

Taking The Red Dead Experience Online

Of course, as this is an online mode, the main story is more in the background; you'll spend most of your time exploring the world and engaging in western shenanigans with and against other players. 

The entire map from the base game is here, and as with the single-player mode, there is a simply astounding amount to do while you cross the country on your trusty steed.

A new progression system is added in as players unlock different equipment (like fishing rods), weapons (like explosive arrows), and even types of horses when ranking up. That gives you a reason to keep logging in beyond just playing deathmatches or robbing other players.

There's also a limited card-based ability system that will bring to mind Fallout 76, but here you won't randomly lose your progress for no reason or get stuck on your mount permanently, so there's that...

If you're an achievement junkie, there are also awards to unlock for spending money in the catalog, visiting locations around the world, getting so many kills, and so on.

Your newly-freed outlaw can roam the wilderness doing all the things you'd do in the base game, like hunting, robbing, building up your camp, and so on. Best of all, its actually easier to explore certain areas since you can select where you want to start in Free Roam mode, which is essentially free fast travel with a slightly longer loading screen.

While crossing the bayou, heading to the snow-shrouded mountains, or visiting familiar locations like Emerald Ranch, the map is littered with stranger quests and events so there's always something to do.

Of course, and as would be expected, other players can screw with your missions, which is significantly more fun and less obnoxious than I thought it would be.

In one stranger mission, a posse decided to try to prevent me from delivering a wagon load of supplies within a limited time frame. That led to a tense, fun confrontation where I ended up taking them all down and still arriving at the barn before the timer was up, despite driving a slower wagon loaded down with crates.

If you aren't keen on free-roaming the landscape, you can instead engage in the Showdown Series in either small groups of 16 players or large groups of 32 players for entirely new ways to experience Red Dead.

Free-for-all battles with special weapons at certain locations, team-based deathmatches, and even horse racing are all on tap to vary your online play.

Out of these, I was a fan of Name Your Weapon, as you accrue different points depending on the weapon used to achieve a kill. Trying to get the tomahawk kill is an exercise in patience, but when it happens and you hear a player scream in rage, well, it's worth it.

Of course, you should have known there's a battle royale mode, although Make It Count offers something a little different. Since you cap at 16 or 32 players and only use bows and knives, this is a whole different beast from Fortnite, Realm Royale, Black Ops 4, and so on. The open wilderness map and weapon changes make for a tense, brutal battle royale match.

At this point, Make It Count rotates throughout the multiplayer Mode Series playlist and can't be manually selected, so you can't just endlessly play battle royale and neglect the other elements.

That may have been on purpose so battle royale can't overtake the other modes (like it sadly did with Fortnite - RIP Save The World mode), or it could be changed as beta progresses.

Other players pop up automatically on the world map while you Free Roam and take part in random map-based missions, but to take part in either the 4-player story missions or the large scale Series you have to go through some matchmaking.

That's always going to be a bottleneck in a game like this, but so far, I'm glad to report matchmaking has been quick and smooth for me at all times. I've seen a handful of complaints over at Reddit about slow matchmaking issues on the very first day of the beta launch, but so far I've gotten into any kind of match in a matter of seconds.

Some Stumbles While You Gallop

There's an absurd amount of fun to be had in any of Red Dead Online's modes, but of course, as with the base game, there are some missteps worth mentioning.

The domino or poker style mini-games with other players are noticeably absent, which would be fun to add in so you can do something other than shoot each other (although it may run afoul of actual gambling laws once the in-game store goes live).

As with any online game where mics are on by default, you've also got to occasionally deal with awful players. In my playtime, the most noticeable was when two guys got into a heated debate about whether or not America is about to go into a new recession.

Easily the biggest problem that needs to be addressed right now is the insane grind for gold bars, as well as the economy in general. You get so little gold from most missions or events that you could play 40 hours a week and just barely acquire enough to buy a fancy upgraded horse.

Aside from gold nuggets to convert to gold bars, you need regular old cash, and that's hard to come by in decent quantities as well. This definitely isn't like the base game where missions are available to quickly rake up large sums of money. Robbery and murder aren't nearly as lucrative as they used to be.

Players have had to come up with some borderline-cheating ways to net worthwhile amounts of money by farming re-spawning creatures stuck in pens, over fishing specific locations, or even repeatedly deleting characters and starting over to keep your starting cash.

If there's one specific issue that Rockstar needs to look at, its changing how the gold and money economy works, and bumping up the rewards from random encounters and regular quests (although that may be alleviated somewhat once the in-game store becomes available).

The Bottom Line

For a beta that was just launched, Red Dead Online is remarkably stable and lacking in bugs, unlike a certain other AAA online game that just launched its full version...

Since they came out so close together, the comparisons obviously have to be made: if you were underwhelmed by Fallout 76's lack of NPCs, lack of major storyline, constant bugs, just pick up Red Dead Online instead.

Considering the online mode is free for anyone who already bought the base game, that $60 price tag is more than worth it at this point in time.

Spyro Reignited's Motion Blur Makes it Unplayable for Some [Updated] Wed, 28 Nov 2018 15:16:16 -0500 Ashley Shankle

Imagine turning on a game you've been looking forward to for months -- and dreamed of for years -- only to get a knot in your stomach and a weird buzzing sensation behind your eyeballs. Is it excitement? Anxiety? No, my friends. It's motion sickness, and it's what has kept me from playing Spyro Reignited.

One aspect of Spyro Reignited that you may have seen mentioned in reviews or the online community is its heavy use of motion blur. For most, motion blur isn't a huge deal. Some people think it makes a game look more cinematic. But some can't stand the way it looks -- and it's a big deal. 

[Editor's note: As of 3/13/2019 Spyro Reignited has received a motion blur toggle option! Finally, I and others with motion sensitivity can play the game.]

I've never cared about it much, but I had also never gotten motion sickness before playing Reignited. Neither had my husband -- but we both feel ill after about 10 minutes of playing the remasters.

Before I realized it was the game making me feel poorly, I actually stepped away and ate dinner because I thought the headache and nausea were just a byproduct of not having had dinner yet. Unfortunately, they were not, as I found out when I came back to the game an hour later and got an intense headache and a distinct dizzy feeling soon after.

Spyro Reignited makes heavy use of motion blur when panning the camera even a bit, regardless of the camera option you choose. The game's Active and Passive camera options both end with the same result for me.

That result is what one might call "misery."

It's with a heavy heart that I can't recommend Reignited to fans who are susceptible to motion sickness. The game needs a toggle or slider for its motion blur.

This really bums me out. Spyro was my jam on the PlayStation. I poured more time into them back in the PSX days than Final Fantasy 7, more than the Crash Bandicoot trilogy, more than pretty much every other game series on the platform except maybe teenage me's long-running addiction to Monster Rancher 2.

I'm not the only one having this problem, either. There are plenty of threads throughout the game's online community, even scattered across the Spyro subreddit, of people who cannot play the remastered trilogy because the motion blur makes them sick.

Just consider this a PSA if you haven't gotten the game yet or are considering buying it for someone else. If there's a chance you or the person you are buying Spyro Reignited for might be prone to motion sickness, save your $40 and avoid the literal headache.

This is all a huge shame because, from what I've played, Reignited is really wonderful. It ticks all the right boxes... I just can't play for more than 10 minutes at a time. I haven't uninstalled it from my PlayStation 4 just yet. A fan can't help but hold out hope for a solution.

(Header image from a Reddit post showcasing the motion blur)

Paladins World Championships 2018: Na'Vi vs Team Envy Wed, 21 Nov 2018 10:31:01 -0500 Victoria B.

The Paladins World Championship brought fans and pro players alike swarming into Atlanta for this year’s DreamHack and Hi-Rez Studio Expo. Though the World Congress Center was filled with BYOC crowds, shops, and panels, the main events were for esports championships.

Teams who made the cut to compete in the quarterfinals for Paladins include:

  • Virtus.Pro from Russia
  • G2 from Germany
  • Kanga representing Australia
  • Seden’s Ninja’s in Pajamas (a.k.a NiP)
  • Fnatic
  • Spacestation Gaming from Brazil
  • Team Envy from the United States
  • Natus Vincere (a.k.a Na'Vi), the previous summer champions

Each of these talented competitors battled it out for a place in the grand finals and a piece the $300,000 prize pool, but only one could walk away with the championship title.

The Quarter and Semi-Finals

Day one

While each team made it to the championships for a reason, it was clear that not all of them would be able to hold their own in the early stage of the competition. In the quarterfinals, all the matches resulted in easy wins for some and devastating losses for others. The first face-off between Na'Vi and Virtus. Pro resulted in a swift victory for the past champions with a 3 - 1 score.

With similar results, G2 could not compete against Fnatic who won 3 - 0. Team Envy mirrored this victory in their results against Kanga with a 3 - 0 victory, and despite some predictions, Brazil’s Spacestation Gaming defeated NiP with a 3 - 1 score.

Day Two


Day two began with the first semifinal match against Na'Vi and Fnatic. However, out of the gate Fnatic seemed to have lost their fire and aggressive play style from their previous match on day one. Fnatic just wasn’t dealing enough damage with their team composition the first two rounds, and Na'Vi recognized this. They were able to wipe out their opponents easily, but rather than rushing in for kills, they lured their opponents in and staggered their deaths to keep them from regrouping.

In round three, however, Isbittenner demonstrated why he is a young force to be reckoned with and revitalized his team. He went on rampages and led Fnatic to a 4 - 1 victory on Ascension Peak. This would be the only match Fnatic would find success on though because Na'Vi were not going to give up an opportunity for another championship title. Na'Vi moved on to the finals with a 4 - 1 score.

Spacestation Gaming vs Team Envy

Though this face-off was an easy win, the same can’t be said for the intense battle between Spacestation Gaming and Envy. Many predicted the US team would find quick success against SSG, but they were sorely mistaken. The Brazilian team defied expectations and gave one of the strongest performances in the championship. The crowd was split with enthusiasm for this underdog team and with support of the remaining US team.

RandomNoob from Team Envy performed well throughout the first match, sneaking behind enemy lines and wiping out players before they could realize what hit them. However, SSG retaliated with a victory led by FRZGod in the second round. On Frog Isles, Ar3z landed constant headshots as Kinessa, picking off Envy players and contributing to another victory. The two teams continued trading wins and losses until in the final seventh round where Team Envy secured their spot in the grand finals.

Grand Finals

Day Three

Na'Vi vs Team Envy

As the finals approached, fans and commentators alike were split on who would walk away as the grand champions, Na'Vi or Envy. Envy’s coach Metapusher seemed enthusiastic about taking on “Goliath” and was confident from their preparations to face Na'Vi. Faenex the captain of Na'Vi expressed his gratitude for making it this far and believed that both Na'Vi and Envy were the “top two teams in the word” who deserved the opportunity to duke it out for the grand championship title.

The first match was set in Splitstone Quarry, and Envy seemed to have the superior team composition since Na'Vi had no flanks to deal with Kinessa, but Mutu helped his team narrowly snag a victory with a risky flank play as Vivian. The close round went to Na'Vi 4 - 3.

It was the first loss out of the gate that Envy experienced in the world championships, and it could have shaken their confidence going into Brightmarsh, but they enter match two strong-willed. Despite Na'Vi’s strong defensive line, Tulky kept up the pressure as Ruckus to deliver the payload and Randomnoob led the fight with a total of 18 kills. The team evened the score here.

Na'Vi picked up the pace at Jaguar Falls with Mutu as Zhin completely melting through Envy in their spawn and Laizy as Khan nearly delivering the payload all on his own by tossing opponents off the map and blasting through the defense.

Na'Vi won 4 - 0 this time but don’t find any ease in the next round with constant comebacks from Envy who narrowly captured the point twice after Na'Vi reached 99%. Randomnoob was the player to beat this round as Evie when he continuously wiped the objective clear. Na'Vi continued to struggle to win the objective fight in Serpent’s pass where Rockmonkey plowed dealt massive damage as Cassie while also somehow managing to stay alive at the brink of death.

The final round for the Grand Championship turned dismal for the previous champs as they barely contested the point on the Fish Market map and gave little resistance to Envy. Rockmonkey once again brought the heat with 15 kills and no deaths, and the North American team won the match 4 - 0.

All the players had their strengths and weaknesses, but ultimately, Envy played the better game and managed to come back time and time again to eventually claim the World Championship title.

Best Fallout 76 Memes to Survive the (Review) Bombs Wed, 14 Nov 2018 17:51:11 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Fallout 76 only released around 24 hours ago and the game is already getting heavily reviewed bombed on Metacritic. Players far and wide are roasting the latest entry in Bethesda's long-running post-apocalypse for everything under the mushroom cloud.

I'm not going to say these are the freshest Fallout 76 memes we could dig out of the internet oven, but they are some of the tastiest in the review-bomb wake.

Cheese is basically old milk, and almost everybody loves cheese.

Where words can't express the sheer joy or anger we feel when discovering a game is or isn't exactly what we feared or hoped it would be, memes are there to remind us that in the end, there's always something to laugh about. 

Da Best Fallout 76 Memes



Like Fallout 76, this list isn't complete. Unlike Fallout 76, it probably won't ever be. Such is life.

We'll be adding more to this list but if you've got something good, pop it in the comments below and share. Don't be greedy!

And stay tuned for our official review of Fallout 76 -- and the inevitable counter review from an office divided. 

How Will Artifact Perform in a CCG World Dominated by Hearthstone and MtG? Tue, 13 Nov 2018 11:23:37 -0500 Sergey_3847

Artifact, a brand-new CCG from Valve and Richard Garfield, will enter its beta testing stage on November 19, and it will get a full release on November 28. Invariably, these two dates will mark the beginning of a new CCG era, one that has the potential to dethrone the two CCG mammoths on the market: Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering.

Artifact offers innovative card game mechanics that combine the best elements of Hearthstone and Magic, which makes its gameplay highly engaging and never boring. But more importantly, Valve's new CCG will provide a unique card trading system that will prevent pay-to-win schemes that cripple games like Hearthstone and Magic

However, an obvious hurdle getting Artifact's way right out of the gate is that the base game will cost $20, and later, when the new expansions come out, players will have to buy each pack for $2 each. While free-to-play can often hide pay-to-win on the backside, a priced CCG can alienate potential players before they've even had a chance to play it. 

But pricing is not the only concern CCG players have when it comes to Artifact -- there are always concerns regarding systems, economies, and more. Let's take a look at what other surprises Valve's new card game might have and if players should be concerned. 

Artifact: The Rules of the Game

Artifact's three lanes show cards being played

Before discussing Artifact's future and comparing it to other card games, it's important to understand the mechanics of the game, as they are quite complex. This should come as no surprise since Artifact's lead designer is Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering.

If you thought that one board was not enough for a card game, then how about three? These correspond to the three lanes found in games like DoTA 2, where there are three towers at the end of each lane. 

Each turn in Artifact includes four phases; we'll take a look at them below. 

Action Phase

At the beginning of each turn, both players are able to start playing their cards (using mana) on each of the three lanes. Mana count starts at three and grows by one each turn. Hero and item cards don't cost any mana and can be played for free each turn.

When players use all of their mana, they can pass their turns. Then, the Combat phase begins -- for both players at the same time.

Combat Phase

Cards that have been placed on the board in the previous phase can now attack each of their opponent's towers simultaneously. If there is a card blocking an opponent's card, then the damage goes to the defending card instead of the tower.

When the Combat phase on one lane has been resolved, the game automatically resolves combat on the rest of the lanes.

Shopping Phase

After combat comes the Shopping phase, which serves as a sort of a "break" in the match. 

If during the Combat phase players manage to destroy some of the enemy cards or cast spells, they earn gold coins, which can then be spent to buy special items that are either generated by A.I. or manually put in the shop by the players themselves prior to the match-up.

These item cards cost no mana to cast and can enhance the performance of the players for the remainder of the match.

Deployment Phase

During this phase, players can also add two creeps on each lane. What's more, hero cards are immortal in Artifact, and during the deployment phase, players can replay them on lanes even if they've already played them on prior turns. 

This phase also begins the card drawing phase, but instead of one card, each player draws two cards. There is no limit on the amount of cards players can hold in their hands.

That is how complex one turn is in Artifact. It includes a vast number of decisions that need to be made on each of the three lanes, as well as devising quick strategies for placement and use. 

In the end, a winning player will have to destroy at least two of the three towers in order to claim victory.

How Artifact Fares Against Hearthstone and MtG

The Tinker card is shown with a cyberpunk robot on its face

Will Hearthstone and/or MtG players see any interest in Artifact?

First of all, it's already clear that Magic players will have a blast playing Artifact because of its complex gameplay. Richard Garfield is a genius game designer and he knows how to engage players with all kinds of mechanics, including the infamous RNG.

Hearthstone players, on the other hand, will most likely find it difficult to keep up with three boards at the same time. Some of the more experienced HS players do grind on several servers at the same time, but most casual players just want a quick rush of adrenaline.

The time required to finish a game in Hearthstone can be as short as a few minutes, while it's already obvious one match-up in Artifact may take up to an hour. This fits better with the MtG world, where players tend to spend long turns, pouring over possibilities and strategies.

But time consumption and complex decision-making aren't the only two factors that will influence how Artifact connects with CCG players. There is one more factor, which is probably the most important one -- the game's monetization system.

Artifact Economics vs. Hearthstone and MtG

The Artifact shop shows the cards players can buy

Monetization schemes in all three games are very different. Magic and Artifact are tradable card games, meaning that you can buy and sell cards on the open market. Hearthstone, on the other hand, is a collectible card game that requires players to buy packs and craft cards using dust. 

Hearthstone also stands out from the other two games because it's free-to-play. Artifact will cost $20 for the game client, two pre-constructed decks and 120 cards.

Magic Online will cost you $10 for a game client, but you pay nothing if you decide to play Magic Arena instead, which is a far more limited experience.

Artifact cards will be available for purchase on the Steam market and will range from $0.15 to $1. In comparison to Hearthstone, this is decent pricing, as one HS card also costs around $0.30, taking into account the cost of one pack.

MtG in this regard follows a completely different pattern, where cards sell on an extremely volatile market and can reach $1,000+.

This means that if you are ready to spend some cash in Hearthstone, you will be ready to spend the same amount of cash in Artifact -- and get a decent amount of good cards. However, if you've never spent a single cent in HS, then Artifact might not be your cup of tea as Gabe Newell told PC Gamer in an interview that:

"If time is free, or an account is free, or cards are free, then anything that has a mathematical relationship to those things ends up becoming devalued over time, whether it's the player's time and you just make people grind for thousands of hours for minor, trivial improvements, or the asset values of the cards, or whatever. That's a consequence. So you don't want to create that flood of free stuff that destroys the economy and the value of people's time."

Although it doesn't look like Artifact will ever have any free components, Newell also said in the same interview that Valve will make sure Artifact will be protected from malicious pay-to-win schemes: 

"There are plenty of very common cards that are going to be super powerful. The whole point is to steer away from pay-to-win and that kind of approach. We always want to reward investment. You always want to feel like, as a player, that the more time you spend on it, you're getting better and you're enjoying it more."

This is a good sign and shows that Valve really wants to create something valuable for their fans and not just another clone of Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering.

Final Thoughts

We can now say for sure that the economics in Artifact is far better in many respects when compared to both Hearthstone, which promotes a shameless pay-to-win system, and MtG, which exploits card markets with its insane prices.

In the case of Artifact, Valve (or the market) will regulate the prices and will not allow the most powerful cards to soar in prices. In this way, everyone who is ready to pay will get the chance to play the game at the highest competitive level.

This is a really smart system that should make many players satisfied. And all of those CCG fans who want to play for free can keep grinding for gold in Hearthstone or Magic Arena.

So, taking all this into account, will Artifact gain any traction after release? The answer is most likely "Yes", even for the simple fact that it's a Valve game -- the name alone will draw players from far and wide. 

It will be interesting to see what niche it carves for itself in the CCG space, and if players are willing to move away from Hearthstone and MtG to play it -- or at least give it some space at the table. 


What do you think about Artifact's gameplay mechanics? Do you find them too difficult to understand? What do you think about Valve's monetization system? Let us know in the comments section below.

14 Best Gaming Mice 2019 Edition: Top Wireless, Wired, And Budget Options Wed, 07 Nov 2018 14:42:30 -0500 Ty Arthur


Whether you prefer a slim, light wired mouse or a large wireless option with dozens of programmable buttons, one of these 11 gaming mice options will be the perfect fit for your usage, grip, and hand size.


Which one of these 2018 gaming mice models are you picking for the gamer in your life this holiday season?


Let us know your favorite gaming mouse in the comments below, and be sure to leave a comment if you've seen any killer peripherals we forgot to include!


ROCCAT Kone Gaming Mouse


Price: $79.99
Buy it on: Amazon


Most high-end gaming mice try to go as compact as possible, but there are other ways to achieve ergonomic, comfortable designs.


ROCCAT does the exact opposite here with the Kone, going for a rounded, larger design for bigger hands.


The weight remains the same, however, with the inward grooved tri-button thumb zone. Like this flared design? You may also be interested in these models.

  • Razer Basilsk\n
    • Price: $67.99
    • \n
    • Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n

Corsair Dark Core Gaming Mouse


Price: $69.99
Buy it on: Amazon


The Dark Core gaming mouse has a similar rounded design to the Kone, but with a textured grip for enhanced comfort.


That's not the only reason for the high price, though. This bad boy includes the Qi charging system. It literally charges wirelessly just by gliding across the mousepad. You can also swap out the side grip manually for ultimate customization.


Wand to know what other models feature wireless charging? Be sure to also check out:

  • Logitech G903 Lightspeed\n\n
  • \n
  • Razer Mamba Wireless Chroma\n
    • Price: $99.89
    • \n
    • Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n

SteelSeries Rival 600 Gaming Mouse


Price: $79.99
Buy it on: Amazon


With this SteelSeries gaming mouse, we're starting to get into the high end, more expensive models. But if you are serious about eSports, this is an investment worth making.


The weight balance here is perfect, and the ergonomics are entirely on point if you game for long periods of time. For FPS players in particular, this is a winner. Head over to our review of the Rival 600 to learn more. 


There are a few alternatives if this design doesn't work for you however, such as the:


Corsair Scimitar Pro Gaming Mouse


Price: $59.99
Buy it on: Amazon


Corsair has -- hands down -- one of the best mice on the market with the side button design.


What sets this one apart is the key slider system, which lets you re-position the buttons on the side to fit your grip.


The side buttons also have textured grips to help you distinguish the feel of each button and ensure precision.


If you love this style of gaming mouse with the buttons on the side, be sure to also check out these models:

  • Razer Naga Trinity\n
    • Price: $79.95
    • \n
    • Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n
  • UTechSmart Venus\n
    • Price: $29.99
      Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n
  • Redragon M901\n
    • Price: $29.99
    • \n
    • Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n

Logitech G Pro Hero Gaming Mouse


Price: $58.46
Buy it on: Amazon


Not all gamers trust a wireless mouse, as connections can get dropped at inopportune moments. If you are in that boat, the Logitech G Pro Hero version may be a better bet than the wireless G305.


It has the same minimalist aesthetic and comfortable hand design, but gives you an absurdly smooth and responsive experience thanks to the 16k sensor.


Want a top notch responsive mouse but don't care for Logitech? These are some great alternatives:

  • SteelSeries Sensei 310\n\n
  • \n
  • Razer DeathAdder Elite\n
    • Price: $44.99
    • \n
    • Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n

Logitech G305 Gaming Mouse (Wireless)


Price: $49.99
Buy it on: Amazon


This little guy looks unassuming, but let me assure you, it will do everything you need it to, especially if you don't require the flash of RGB focused models.


You get comfort, plenty of button options in a minimalist design, and best of all -- extremely responsive wireless gaming. I could gush about this one a lot, as this is my personal gaming mouse, but instead I'll just point you to my full review here.


Want a different style of wireless? Check out these options instead:

  • VicTsing Wireless Gaming Mouse\n
    • Price: $16.99
    • \n
    • Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n
  • Razer Mamba\n
    • Price: $69.00
    • \n
    • Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n

Logitech G502 Proteus Gaming Mouse


Price: $59.97
Buy it on: Amazon


OK, so the Proteus isn't new to 2018 by any means, but there's a reason it continues to appear on best-of lists year after year.


Simply put, the design here is sublime. You get 11 buttons but without the huge back end of many other mice, and of course, there are removable weights.


The responsiveness of the Proteus is constantly touted, and this is easily one of the best overall gaming mice experiences you can get in a wired model. 


Want something in a different design for different grip styles or hand sizes? Check out these models instead:

  • Logitech G602\n
    • Price: $36.17
    • \n
    • Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n
  • Corsair M65 Pro\n
    • Price: $35.95
    • \n
    • Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n

UtechSmart Venus MMO Gaming Mouse


Price: $29.99
Buy it on: Amazon


Are you all about extra options? This is the gaming mouse to pick if you don't want to spend $70-$120 to get a ton of additional buttons.


The main selling points here are the removable weights and the 18 (yep, 18!) programmable buttons, with a whole matrix of buttons on the left side.


Why would you need that many? This level of customization is particularly useful for MMORPG players who have tons of skills and attacks that need to be used regularly.


I promise, once you realize you can tap the button with your thumb rather than searching for a number on the keyboard, you won't want to ever go back to the old way of playing again.


The only downside is that the increased size on the back end can get a little uncomfortable during prolonged gaming sessions if you have small hands.


If you like this style with the matrix of extra buttons on the side, be sure to also check out these models (although the Razer and Scimitar are a tad more expensive):

  • Razer Naga Trinity\n
    • Price: $79.95
    • \n
    • Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n
  • Corsair Scimitar Pro\n
    • Price: $59.99
      Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n
  • Redragon M901\n
    • Price: $29.99
    • \n
    • Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n

Ludos Flamma Gaming Mouse


Price: $22.90
Buy it on: Amazon


If there's one mouse from 2018 that everybody just seems to love as soon as they get their hands on it, it's this one from lesser-known peripherals company, Ludos. You get a bit of everything with this option, as it goes with the comfortable ergonomic design but still gives you all the color customization options you could want. The kicker is that there are eight customization levels for DPI sensitivity, which is kind of crazy at this price point.


The only real downsides here are that it's a right-hand only model, and the cord is particularly stiff. That takes a while to get used to, especially if you are coming from a wireless mouse with no tether.


Those issues aside, though, if you aren't sure what to choose and just want something high-end but still at a lower price, pick this model.


Blade Hawks Wired Gaming Mouse


Price: $19.99
Buy it on: Amazon


The very busy design on this model is pretty ostentatious, but if you like a mouse that makes a statement, this is an input device to consider. With nine programmable buttons and plenty of RGB color options, there's lots to like here for a very affordable price.


Although you can't really tell from the picture above, the grooves on the side of the scroll wheel have a downward, rounded design that can be very comfortable if you prefer to get your whole hand gripped around the top of your mouse.


Piktek Wired Gaming Mouse


Price: $18.99
Buy it on: Amazon


Piktek's offering is rather sleek and minimalist compared to the previous two gaming mice, but it boasts full RGB backlighting that can be programmed to flash in seven different modes.


When paired with a backlit keyboard, you get a much stylish gaming experience -- especially when playing at night.


This is also the model where you start to get adjustable DPI settings, which is extremely helpful if you play games that require more precision in certain segments (like zooming in with a sniper scope after running and gunning).


Like the idea of this mouse but want to see what else is available? These are two comparable models worth considering:

  • Accro Xtrem RGB Gaming Mouse\n
    • Price: $13.99
    • \n
    • Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n
  • HIRALIY F300 Gaming Mouse\n
    • Price: $16.99
    • \n
    • Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n

Zelotes T90 Professional


Price: $14.99
Buy it on: Amazon


As an alternate to the Redragon, this Zelotes offering keeps up the sleek, angular style but in more of the iconic Logitech look. While I'm not personally a fan of the spider motif, this model isn't lacking options and has many that work well for just about any kind of gamer.


Built-in weights, an extra "fire" key, nice, comfy scroll wheel, and multiple color choices define this mouse. If you can't spend much money but want something with serious gamer aesthetic, this isn't a bad choice at all.


Redragon M601 Gaming Mouse


Price: $12.99
Buy it on: Amazon


The Redragon M601 is actually fairly similar in design to the Lenrue, but it's a little less ostentatious, offering the dragon motif instead of the robotic style.


This model comes with removable weights, which is sort of crazy at this price point, letting you change the heft and feel of the mouse to better fit your gaming style.


Between the weights and the programmable buttons, you won't find a better wired mouse at this budget-friendly, cheap price point. There are a few other options available if you don't care for the design though, such as these models:

  • EasySMX V18\n
    • Price: $12.99
    • \n
    • But it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n
  • Redragon Ergonomic 7 Button\n
    • Price: $16.99
    • \n
    • But it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n
  • Redragon M711 Cobra\n
    • Price: $19.89
    • \n
    • Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n

Lenrue Laser Gaming Mouse


Price: $7.99-$9.99
Buy it on: Amazon


Here we start with the lowest low-budget option. But if you couldn't tell from the image above, Lenrue didn't miss out on making something truly eye-catching.


If you just want to dip your toes into what a serious gaming mouse can offer, this is a great place to start, especially if you are a claw grip gamer who likes a little bump in the back for increased palm comfort.


Like the price but don't care for the layout or color scheme? These are some other solid low-cost options that don't skimp on the aesthetics:

  • Rii Professional 7 Color Gaming Mouse\n
    • Price: $5.99
    • \n
    • Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n
  • Vosense M Professional\n
    • Price: $6.99
    • \n
    • Buy it on: Amazon
    • \n
  • \n

The ability to swap out hardware for better graphics and increased speed isn't the only way that PC gaming's modular nature beats out consoles. Gaming mice typically trump even the best controllers. 


You're missing out on a whole dimension of improved gaming performance if you skimp on the peripherals — that's just a fact.


It may sound like a small, simple thing, but I guarantee that once you've used a serious gaming mouse, you won't ever go back to standard stock mice ever again.


From side buttons that help you build walls faster in Fortnite to the ability to switch DPI on the fly to slow down or speed up aiming, a high-quality gaming mouse really does give you an edge.


There's just one problem — there are hundreds of them on the market, most available at wildly different price ranges and with a huge range of features.


Don't worry, though, we've got your back. Here we've rounded up the 14 best gaming mice in 2019, sorted by price and feature, and we've also included a host of additional options to cover any sort of user, whether you're looking for something high-end or something cheap.


And if you're wondering what to look for when buying a gaming mouse, or why certain gaming mice are better for certain genres, head over to our tips for buying a gaming mouse guide to learn more. 

Mutant Year Zero Beta: Our First Look Impressions on Turn-Based Mutant Mayhem Thu, 01 Nov 2018 11:15:01 -0400 Tim White

If Fallout and X-COM had a baby, it would be Mutant: Year Zero. The upcoming turn-based strategy game from The Bearded Ladies Consulting combines some of the best elements of both games in a light and snappy experience that looks highly promising.

I spent three hours and change with a beta build of the game's first few missions, paying particular attention to gameplay and mechanics—and my early impressions are pretty favorable.

If you're looking to see Mutant: Year Zero in action with your own eyeballs, we've got some gameplay trailers here and here.


As far as I can tell from the demo version of the game, Mutant: Year Zero's world is a relatively near future post-apocalyptic one inhabited by a few normal humans and lots of mutants (mostly just bipedal talking animals). My initial two-man squad consisted of a shotgun-wielding boar and a duck with a crossbow, and I had no problem taking this premise seriously—the game is that confident in its presentation.

The initial disaster that sparked The End of Times isn't clearly explained right away, but what I do know is that there's not much left in the way of civilization. On top of that, a very important person has vanished from one of the last remaining cities, and you've been volunteered to venture far into the wastes to find him.

The plot could go just about anywhere from here—we'll have to wait for the full version to learn more.


I'm a big fan of X-COM, but it has some frustrating quirks. My most prominent thought within 20 minutes of starting up Mutant: Year Zero was that it's done a fantastic job of emulating X-COM's best gameplay elements while leaving out most of what I don't care for.

For one thing, X-COM is notorious for two things: fudging its own RNG numbers and its strange method of seeding pre-made rolls for various actions, which heavily encourages save scumming. Mutant: Year Zero appears to make RNG checks dynamically and fairly, eliminating a good deal of the unnecessary frustration that X-COM veterans may be worried about.

On the other hand, Mutant: Year Zero appears to know that you don't have to fix things that aren't broken. 

X-COM isn't shy about punishing rashness or impatience; the same can be said of this game. Charging blindly out of cover to hose down the battlefield before you've carefully scouted the area will get you killed every time in both games. However, in X-COM, sometimes even the most carefully laid plans can be completely unhinged by its wonky math. In contrast, Mutant: Year Zero rewards and punishes players more fairly and consistently.

Outside of combat, your squad is controlled in real time. Things shift to a turn-based setup only once enemies — which range from human outlaws and wildlife to other mutants — have detected you. You're free to stealthily pick off lone enemies before combat officially starts, which essentially translates to free turns as long as you stay quiet and patient. I can see this mechanic becoming a crucial strategy later in the game as combat gets tougher.

It's hard to overstate how much I enjoyed this blend of real-time and turn-based systems. It fixes one of the biggest problems with X-COM: the inability to precisely position your troops for an effective ambush while retaining the ability to move quickly if the enemy changes position.

In games like this, where you're consistently outnumbered and outgunned, planning and position are of the utmost importance, and I greatly appreciated being able to move about freely.

Additionally, your mutants can be upgraded with various skills and gear, which seem to be relatively few in number but not overly simplistic.

Gear options currently available include various grenades, armor that can partially negate damage, and a wonderful selection of silly hats. Skills are mostly straightforward and often lifted directly from X-COM, such as the ability to take an action after sprinting or navigate difficult terrain more easily. Perhaps the full game will offer more choices, but even if it doesn't, I think it will stand on its own just fine as an "X-COM lite."

Visuals & Sound

While the demo version didn't expose me to many unique areas, the ones I did see were reasonably pretty. Character animations are a little clunky, but only a little. Cutscenes are rendered in 2D static panels and stand out as the demo's prettiest visual elements.

Voice acting was solid all around, even if it left me wondering how a duck could enunciate so clearly. Music and sound effects are generally effective, but it's hard (at least for me) to accurately judge the sound design in such a relatively short demo.

The content I was allowed to play consists mostly of a slow buildup to something grander and still unrevealed, so there isn't much to see in terms of how the music and sound might support different moods and settings.


Mutant: Year Zero ran just fine on Ultra settings on a GTX 1080 and i-7700 processor, though I'm confident it would perform well on mid-range rigs too; it doesn't appear to be very demanding on modern hardware.

I experienced a very small number of seemingly random frame rate hiccups, but chalked them up to pre-release wrinkles that will likely be ironed out soon.

Overall Impression on the Beta

I don't get excited about new games as often as I did ten years ago, but I'm definitely keeping an eye on Mutant: Year Zero. It's challenging enough to demand some level of thought and planning without being ridiculously hard or overly reliant on chance, and that's a sweet spot I can appreciate.

I'm keen to see where these giant animal-people are going and what they're up to. Mutant: Year Zero will definitely be one of my holiday gifts to myself after it releases for PC, Xbox One, and PS4 on December 4.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more on Mutant: Year Zero as we approach launch. 

Every Red Dead Redemption 2 Mission, Graded -- Chapter 1: Colter Thu, 01 Nov 2018 10:41:00 -0400 William R. Parks

The world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is filled with life. Hunting down its legendary beasts and searching for buried treasure is engrossing, while small tasks like getting your hair cut turn out to be more fun than fruitless.

But what about the game's more structured aspect, its missions? Are they as compelling as the meticulously crafted world in which they exist?

In this multi-part series, we take a look at each of the game's missions, separating those that sink from those that soar. In the end, we will have a detailed outline of Red Dead 2's highest highs and lowest lows.

We hope that you will come along with us for the ride.

Grading Scale

Before we begin, let's have a look at the grading scale we will be using from here on out:

A: These are the missions that are as impressive as Red Dead 2's immense and nuanced world. Transcendent moments that validate video games as art.

B: Exceptional sequences, these missions create moments that leave a lasting impression.

C: *The bread-and-butter of Red Dead 2. Filled with straightforward action and character development that keeps the game moving forward and the player engaged.

D: Forgettable missions that serve just to introduce a character or mechanic without many frills.

F: Painful. The game would be better without these missions.

It's important to note that the "C" grading is not meant to imply that a mission is average compared to other games. Rather, "C" should be considered a baseline for Red Dead 2 relative to its exceptional "A's" and "B's" and its lackluster "D's" and "F's."

The primary goal of this investigation is to create a hierarchy within Red Dead 2's missions, not to provide a definitive stance on how the game stacks up against others.

And, without further adieu, let us begin by looking at the missions in Chapter 1: Colter.

Note: Mission descriptions and heavy spoilers follow.


A wide angle night shot of Arthur Morgan riding through a snowy forest

Red Dead 2 Chapter 1: The Missions

Outlaws from the West 

Grade: B

Red Dead 2 starts off as you might expect: a gunfight with a rival gang (the O'Driscolls) and burning a house to the ground.

While Rockstar is not winning any awards for originality here, the game's technical magnitude is immediately apparent in this mission -- tromping through the Grizzlies' snow is something I won't be forgetting any time soon.

Enter, Pursued by a Memory 

Grade: C

John Marston is missing, and his wife has asked you to track him down.

This mission primarily functions to establish Arthur and John's relationship, but it's notable for its introduction of the game's beautiful "cinematic camera," a wonderful addition that enriches the game's more dialogue-centric passages.

Also, executing some in-pursuit wolves gives players a bloody first-taste of Red Dead's rich fauna.

Old Friends 

Grade: C

The O'Driscolls are planning a train robbery, but Dutch (your gang's leader) feels like the spoils would be better in your hands. Time to invade their camp and steal the intelligence they've gathered.

A standard shootout ensues, but, as I went to loot the bloody corpses of all of my foes, I was struck for the first time by just how committed Red Dead 2 is to realism.

Emptying the pockets of a pile of bodies is a pleasant slog, and I felt as tired as Arthur must have felt after liberating the belongings of the recently departed.

The Aftermath of Genesis

Grade: D

It is time to bow hunt with Charles.

A tutorial mission that teaches you about tracking and stealth, I would love to have seen a bit more from this one. Although you get the bow for later hunting missions, nothing particularly stands out in this slow, plodding mission. 

A more exciting target or something to throw a wrench in the works could elevate this hunt, but, without it, this standard mission falls flat.

Who the Hell is Leviticus Cornwall?

Grade: B

In the climax of Chapter 1, the gang is off to perform the heist the O'Driscolls had planned.

However, due to some faulty dynamite, the train robbery devolves into a shootout, which culminates with your first real role-playing decision: do you want to execute innocent men or set them free?

While the mission is a bit deflated by the defective explosives, it feels good to be making decisions that are consequential -- and doing outlaw business that is not just killing O'Driscolls.

Eastward Bound 

Grade: C

Your gang is ready to pack up and move camp, and you will be riding with one of the head honchos, Hosea.

Some breathtaking vistas reveal themselves in this mission, and a mishap with your wagon makes it more than just a ride-along.

I was also impressed by the in-transit dialogue showcased in this mission -- a sentiment I have often while playing Red Dead 2.

Outlaws riding horses in the snow

Chapter 1 Summary

As is typical, Red Dead 2's beginnings are focused around teaching game mechanics. However, Rockstar finds ways to couch these lessons in missions that feel like more than just tutorials.


With "Outlaws from the West" and "Who the Hell is Leviticus Cornwall?" in the lead, Chapter 1's more action-packed missions stand out as highlights.

However, that will not be exclusively the case as the vastness of New Hanover begins to open in "Chapter 2: Horseshoe Overlook".

We hope that you will join us for a look at that next chapter in the upcoming days.


If you want to know what we think of Red Dead 2 as a whole, be sure to check out our Red Dead Redemption 2 review. If you're looking for tips and tricks for the Wild West epic, be sure head over to our Red Dead Redemption 2 guides page

Red Dead Redemption 2 is Gorgeous - Screenshot Gallery Mon, 29 Oct 2018 10:26:11 -0400 William R. Parks

Red Dead Redemption 2 is filled to the brim with beautiful vistas, bustling towns, and brutal kill shots.

As fans begin to discover the majesty and savagery of Rockstar's newest world, they are sharing some breathtaking images along the way.

Let us have a look at some of our favorite captures from release weekend.


Note: In-game images with potential spoilers follow.













Have a screen capture you are particularly proud of? Share it with us in the comments below. If you've got the time and the inclination, you may also want to take the opportunity to check out some of the Red Dead Redemption 2 guides we have here on GameSkinny.

Does Soul Calibur 6 Have Unlockable CaS Armor? Mon, 22 Oct 2018 19:03:55 -0400 Jonathan Moore

There's a lot to love about Soul Calibur 6. From Libra of Souls to the online stage of history, SC6 is one of the best entries in the franchise in a long time. 

But one bugaboo that's got veteran plays riled up is the fact that, well, the venerable fighting game doesn't have all that many options when it comes to armor. Whether they're wanting to change the default outfits of their favorite fighters or kit out their custom character creations, it's painfully obvious that options are limited. 

So can you unlock armor in Soul Calibur 6? Well, kind of.

As you play through Libra of Souls, you'll unlock quite a bit for the museum, and as you play through Chronicle of Souls, you'll unlock Inferno as a playable character. 

But armors? Yeah, that's no dice, my friend. 

The only caveat here is that you'll get 100 extra pieces of armor for Create a Soul (CaS) if you buy the season pass (you can also "unlock" Tira this way). That armor piece number a bit less than the 183 found in Soul Calibur 5 but more than the amount found in Soul Calibur 4. Currently, the armor pieces aren't available. 

You can also "unlock" armor in CaS with Soul Points. However, you're not finding new armor in any of the game's modes, but instead accessing armor that's already available in CaS. While technically, yes, you're unlocking armor, we all know how we really want to get new items for character creation. 

Even as a casual player, I find it a bit disappointing that the game's two story modes don't unlock any additional items or armor for CaS (that's aside from my overall qualms with the mode which is the topic of another article entirely). 

Part of the fun of playing through Libra of Souls and Chronicle of Souls is unlocking items. The museum is cool and all, but that's not the draw here. And while it's unlikely Bandai Namco will "patch" in unlockable armors (I chuckle at the thought), it's a nice pipe dream to have.  

Best Fan-Made Custom Characters We Love From Soul Calibur 6 (So Far) Mon, 22 Oct 2018 11:09:27 -0400 William R. Parks

Only three days after the release of SoulCalibur 6, we're already seeing some amazing character creations from the game's community. From obvious characters such as Ciri of The Witcher fame to more off-the-wall creations such as one simply called Pistachio, it's clear that SC6 fans are creative. 

Here are some of our favorites.

Be sure to check out our SoulCalibur 6 review while you're here, as well as our Libra of Souls guide

Aang (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

u/RancidHyena brings us the last airbender (albeit a bit more grown-up then you might expect).

Unfortunately, not all of Aang's body-markings are accounted for, as the character creator limits the number of stickers that can be applied to skin, but this is a bang-up job none-the-less.

Jynx (Pokemon)

The level of creativity in u/PatBeefy's Jynx is through the roof.

While this first Gen Pokemon is unlikely to gain an edge through intimidation, maybe inciting confusion is a valid battle tactic in its own right.

The Dragonborn (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)

Simple but expertly executed, u/CatchingZzzzs' depiction of an iron-helmed Nord is spot on.

Tommy Wiseau (The Room)

Fans of The Room, a film described by many as the "worst movie ever," will love u/think_with_portals' depiction of "writer/producer/actor/director" Tommy Wiseau.

If players are able to channel the unbridled mania of Wiseau's performance into their combat, it is hard to imagine them ever being defeated.

Skeletor (Masters of the Universe)

u/FunRedGnome's Skeletor looks primed and ready to conquer Castle Grayskull.

A handy guide is available if you are looking to add He-Man's nemesis to your roster.

Zoidberg (Futurama)

A round of applause for u/slugwurth's use of Voldo's claws to craft the lovable Decopodian doctor.

Is there anything more threatening than an alien crustacean in sandals?

Krumm (Aaahh!!! Real Monsters)

Another creation that gets maximum points for creativity, u/ReverendPopoff's Krumm is wonderful.

We especially love to see him assume the monster's standard position in the preview pane.

BoJack Horseman (BoJack Horseman)

While I am not certain that a self-hating, alcoholic horse would be my first choice for a battle partner, u/Dudelbaum's BoJack Horseman is a delight.

I suppose he might stand a chance in combat as long as you are not horsin' around.

Solaire of Astora (Dark Souls)

u/faranoox brings the Warrior of Sunlight to battle.

Praise the Sun!

Xenomorph XX121 (Alien)

Most of our featured creations use the Humanoid model as their foundation, but u/Maniels has done some great work crafting THE Alien.

Hopefully we see more players working with the Lizard Man model in the days to come.

Ciri (The Witcher)

The Witcher's Geralt of Rivia is featured as a guest fighter in SoulCalibur's latest entry, and it only seems fair that Ciri has her chance to shine as well.

Reddit user Anemeros, Ciri's designer, shares that he used the Warlord's Belt and Silver Gauntlets to make the Oiran Kimono appear like a standard top, and it really has a wonderful effect.

Illidan Stormrage (Warcraft)

u/Feldrassil's version of "the Betrayer" looks great. Creating these massive horns requires stacking multiples horns and finessing their size and position until they look just right. The extra effort is definitely worth it.

Now, if only the first Demon Hunter had access to his Twin Blades of Azzinoth.

The Hunter (Bloodborne)

Hunters do what hunters do -- they hunt. But apparently, that is not limited to collecting blood from the beasts of Yharnam.

u/fliplock_ used three sets of the Horns of Calamity to make the Hunters Hat -- an impressive attention to detail. The rest of the outfit isn't half bad, either. Adding in Ivy's fighting style is also a nice -- if somewhat different -- touch. 

2B (Nier: Automata)

Earlier this year, rumors were circulating about the inclusion of the battle android as a guest fighter in SoulCalibur 6. Unfortunately, that didn't happen -- officially. 

u/Hydrangeabed has decided to take matters into their own hands, and the results are wonderful. We especially love the inclusion of the Pod, which was made with a box, Allegiance Spines, and a horn.

A Pistachio

It's a pistachio by u/TheMightyBellegar... That's basically it. Gaze upon its uniqueness with a furrowed brow. 


We'll be adding to this list as more great character creations come out. Have you made any characters you are especially proud of? Share them with us in the comments below, and we'll be sure to add them. 

Hands On with Just Cause 4 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider DLC Thu, 18 Oct 2018 17:10:57 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

Over the past several years, New York Comic Con has been host to some great demos and video game showcases. Last year, we were able to get our hands on The Evil Within 2 and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, both of which turned out to be very well-received.  

This year, we were able to catch up with Square Enix and get a look at some of the studio's upcoming releases, including Just Cause 4 and the forthcoming DLC for Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Here's what we found out about each of them. 

Hands on With Just Cause 4

Just Cause 4 is a wild ride -- let's just get that out of the way right now. You might have thought the previous iterations in the series were insane but this newest installment takes everything to the next level.

Everything that you love about the Just Cause series -- such as the gunplay, driving, and high-dive parachuting -- is back and exactly how you like it. 

When I asked one of the Square Enix representatives why they insist on pushing the envelope of crazy in the series, he replied, "Just cause." (Pun not intended).

But when you can put weather balloons on a tank and battle mid-air, you can't really complain. 

Aside from what we've come to expect from the Just Cause series, there are also quite a few new elements in Just Cause 4

The introduction of attachment mods drastically increases the catalog of weapons and accessories in the game. You can change the behavior of some of the mods and even affect behavior by changing the button controls in the settings.

Riding Out the Storm

The introduction of the Extreme Weather also makes things chaotic. One of the missions I was able to play involved Rico, the storm chaser. Featuring a tornado, the one we've seen in some of the trailers, it's easy to get sucked inside because why not? Don't worry, though, getting sucked in doesn't mean instant death -- it just means you'll be going for a fun ride, latching on to flying cows or debris. 

Seeing the tornado rip apart buildings, planes and anything else in its path is so much fun to watch, and at the end of the mission, you get caught in a lightning storm that, well, makes things even trickier. 


You'll get to have your taste of Just Cause 4 when it comes out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on December 4. The team at Avalanche Studios is already working on DLC, so keep your eyes open for that in the future after release. 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider DLC: The Forge

Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the third in the rebooted Tomb Raider series, released in early September on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. You can read our review of the game here.

While sitting down with the team behind the game, they shared some info about the DLC that will be coming to the game.

Starting in November and going through May 2019, there will be a new DLC pack released each month. These packs will feature new narrative missions starring some of the secondary characters that you met in the base game. Each pack will have a challenge tomb, a new weapon, a new outfit, and a new skill.

If you wanted to play Shadow with your friends and were sad you couldn't, great news! Five of the seven DLC packs will support co-op play, and only one of your friends needs to own the DLC for the both of you to play. 

There will also be three modes for each of the DLCs: Exploration, Score Attack, and Time Attack. 

To test things out, I was partnered up on the first DLC coming out in November, titled The Forge. The goal of challenge DLC is to get to the top of a structure while inside a tower.

Needless to say, communication is very important in completing this mission. 

The DLC plays the exact same way as the base game. Solving puzzles, jumping off ledges, climbing to new heights.

If you had some gameplay problems in the base game, those problems are, unfortunately, in the DLC, too.

The climbing still seems a little weird and you will be jumping up and down trying to get to certain ledges. The camera can get in the way sometimes, too, clinging to weird angles when running around the tower. Even if none of these issues ruined the experience, they are worth noting for those who have played the base game. 

The mission took my partner and me around 30 minutes to complete, but if you don't communicate well, it could take longer.

The puzzle was pretty hard to figure out at first, too, and involved you splitting up with your partner in order to move forward. 

The Forge is one of seven upcoming DLC's coming out over the next couple of months. Here is what that DLC schedule looks like:

  • November: The Forge
  • December: The Pillar
  • January: Devil Inside
  • February: Unwilling Savior
  • March: Serpents Heart
  • April: Grand Caiman
  • May: Paradise Lost

If you don't own the season pass, you can purchase it for $29.99 or you can buy each DLC pack separately for $4.99.


You can start playing the Shadow of The Tomb Raider DLC starting with The Forge in November.

Just Cause 4 is looking to be crazier than the previous entries of this series and you definitely don't want to miss this one.

Thank you to the Square Enix team for letting me hang out and play these two amazing games.  

Interview with Oscar Brittain, Developer of Indie Racing RPG Desert Child Wed, 17 Oct 2018 16:01:08 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

Best described as a racing RPG set in the near future, Desert Child is an indie title that I've been looking forward to for a long time. Set to release later this year, the game follows a hoverbike racer on his quest to win the ultimate race. 

Sporting a punk aesthetics and an old-school inspired art style, Desert Child looks like an interesting racing title full of action and fun. 

To get a better feel of what under the game's hood, I sat with its developer, Oscar Brittain, to talk about the development cycle, the game's quirks, and unique style. 

GameSkinny(GS): So what inspired the idea of Desert Child?

Oscar Brittain (BS): I guess Cowboy Bebop was a big initial inspiration, but the game changed so much since I started back in 2015. The bounty hunting thing is just a part of a larger game now. I kinda had shelved that idea, then I drew the main character on his bike and was like "YES" and just stuck him into the design for the Cowboy Bebop game.

GS: Desert Child seems to be very punk inspired. Is that the main theme at hand?

BS: I like to say I subscribe to "loose game design theory", also known as "winging it". I do try to keep the spontaneity of the early days going throughout the whole project. It's easy to do when you're a one-person team and you don't need to convince anyone that you should make some drastic change a month before a deadline.

GS: Are there any specific non-game inspirations for Desert Child? Films? Books? TV shows?

BS: Cowboy Bebop was the big one. Redline and Akira were pretty influential for the race sequences.  Other than that, my favourite kind of story is one with a reluctant protagonist, or just some really low-stakes conflict that really just serves as a reason to have cool shit happen. I like JunkyThe Rum DiaryHitchhiker's Guide, Clerks, just that kinda thing.

GS: What inspired you to be a game developer?

BS: I wasn't very good at anything else. We'll see if I'm any good at this when the game comes out I guess haha.

GS: How long have you been developing/conceptualizing this game?

BS: Roughly for about three years? The title has changed a lot over from it's original concept over time though.

GS: What other hobbies are you into? Do they help you with game development?  

BS: I make music, which is usually a big part of game development. I can do sound design from that as well. I also happen to collect old leather bandoleers but I don't like guns though. It's kinda silly I know. I also tried writing a book but it kinda devolved into just referencing videogames and 1980s movies. I suppose learning to write -- kind of -- has helped me with game development.

GS: What games do you like to play when you have time?

BS: I've been loving my time with Digimon World Re:Digitize lately. I like weird games like that with unique systems and mechanics personally speaking. I've also been playing Getting Over It With Bennet Foddy, and Deity Driving. These are pretty great. 

GS: What has been the best feedback you've received about the game? 

BS: I received a comment on the YouTube trailer for Desert Child. It was an interesting critique on the music in the trailer. The music featured is Australian hip-hop music so it was pretty funny to see a comment about that in particular.


GS: What aspects of indie game development people should be more aware of?

BS: Dedication of time. Everything will take longer than you think it will.

GS: Can you tell us about what kind of music we can expect from the game? 

BS: If you head to Youtube and search for "Lofi hiphop beats to chill/study to 24/7", whatever comes up first will be pretty close to what you'll find within the title.

The indie racer and punk-inspired Desert Child is set for release in Q4 2018. If you can't wait you can check out the demo now to hold you over for now. 

Big thanks to Brittain for answering our questions about the game. 

'Tis the Season: The Best Couples Cosplay for Halloween Mon, 15 Oct 2018 10:44:09 -0400 Stephanie Tang


That's all for now!


Did you imagine Halloween to be one of the most romantic seasons of the year? If the answer was no, you weren't thinking deep enough - it's getting cold out there, and even full-body cat suits get cold when you're walking around in them alone!


Got any other ideas for hit couples cosplay? Be sure to let us know!


(image source: We Heart It


Another DC pair that will last the ages. Batwoman and Catwoman don't always see eye to eye regarding pesky matters like legalities and their choices in friends (who may or may not spend an inordinate amount of time locked up in Arkham Asylum) their romance is both explosive and exciting.


Whether you choose to go the iconic Batman Returns route of dressing up as Bats and Selena Kyle like @harley_sinn_87 & @kevindcosplay above, or prefer one of their countless other movie/comic book/video game/cartoon counterparts, I guarantee you will be instantly recognizable by anyone you meet on the street. 


It's also super easy to dress these two up and down depending on your time and budget constraints too!


(image source: Picdeer)


Okay, so maybe this particular couple doesn't actually exist outside of our collective imaginations, but wasn't it just made to be? 


Frozen blew everyone's collective minds when it came out, and the carpool karaoke of "Let it Go" may have died down (for now, wait a few months), but it's simmering just under the surface. And with no canon love interest for Queen Elsa to be found, the internet went ahead and did it for her. 


Enter Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians, the personification of ice and snow, stuck forever in the body of a 17 year old. While this is a couple that will never happen for real, it won't stop the rest of us from dreaming!


For those in the know, make this romance a reality with costumes that are either super simple to put together (Jack's) or super easy to find on the market (Elsa's). 


(image source: Fanpop)


So the Overwatch community has a love/hate relationship with shipping of any kind but the dissenters are usually outnumbered by the vastly more talented people who dress up, take photos, and draw fanart, so it's still pretty easy to enjoy what you want.


This particular game with its attempts at rich back story (that is mostly forgotten once you have anything to do with actually playing it) doesn't really have any canon pairings. You could frankly throw a few darts at the hero select screen and come up with a pairing that will have as much canonical backing as any other... not that the internet hasn't tried.


Of course, this makes the game particularly conducive to large group cosplays, or even smaller threes or twos. Soldier 76 and Mercy as seen above are a popular pair, first because of character, but also because they are two of the most commonly picked characters in the game. You can also find the officially licensed costumes and props available through Spirit Halloween (along with Reaper and D.Va) if you're looking for something quick, easy, but undeniably pricey. 


(image source: ACParadise


Choice one if you're on the hunt for something to dress up in with a pal and no romantic feelings attached -- or at least we hope not, since Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are brother and sister.


(Yes, there have been some occasional references in canon that might suggest a little too much co-dependency between the two of 'em, but we're not going to get into that squinchy kind of debate right now, okay?)


While I'm not going to spoil the Avengers movies for any poor soul that still hasn't seen them, suffice to say that Scarlet Witch is pretty much a badass. Always. And you are hard-pressed not to love her.


Quicksilver is a little harder to appreciate due to his, sigh, lack of screen time, but I assure you that having a complete set of Maximoff siblings is a heck of a way to make an entrance to any party. 


(image source: Xcoos)


If you're looking to show off with a dash of real romance, how better than with Final Fantasy X's tragically romantic lead pair, Summoner Yuna and her guardian Tidus?


While Tidus might be bit of a blonde and a bonehead to boot, there's nothing he won't do to make sure that Yuna achieves everything that she's determined to. That forced laughter on the way to the Mi'hen Highroad will ring in your ears forever with cringe and second-hand embarrassment, but you have to admit that the scene above was positively beautiful and the stuff of daydreams. 


A little dated, these costumes might be a little more difficult to find on short notice, so you may have to resort to needle and thread if you really want to do these lovebirds justice!


(image source: DeviantArt


Despite being one of comic bookdom's biggest power couples on the planet, DC's Joker and Harley Quinn are also crazy, maniacal, and if you really thought too hard about their power dynamic, probably not nearly as romantic as die-hard fans think they are. 


And yet you can't help it. You love them. Admit it. You do. 


Whether it's in the traditional harlequin suit and true-white clown skin or Margot Robbie's killer turn as Daddy's Lil' Monster in Suicide Squad and Jared Leto's shiny teeth, there's no denying that you knew these two were showing up on this list, didn't you? 


The Suicide Squad Harley may have been last Halloween's most popular costume, but these two will always, always be a staple at any con, any time of the year, forever and ever.. thanks in large part to huge cosplayers like the ones shown above, Anthony Misiano and Alyssa King (aka Harley's Joker and Joker's Harley, respectively). If the names didn't give it away, they are best known for their ultra-realistic Joker/Harley shoots, and their prolific con-going adventures. 


Check out the link below for more awesome photos if you're looking for inspiration! (The photobooth series is my personal favorite.)


(image source: Geek Chic Elite)


Is it love, is it friend-zoned affection, or wistful thinking? The fandom is split on just how romantic the Link and Zelda thirds of the Triforce really are. 


Regardless of which side of the fence that you land, you're hard-pressed to find two more recognizably nerdy costumes than the Hero of Time and "what would it be like if Zelda was a girl?" 


Perfect for whether you want to insist you're "just friends" or leaving things ambiguous, there have also been dozens of different iterations of the Link and Zelda costumes over the years, so piecing one together could be super easy or super detailed depending on skill, cost, and time considerations. 


The original link for this picture is gone, but some internet sleuthing has me fairly sure that it is part of this photo shoot with AdelCosplay. Check it out for some more inspiration!


(image source: Pinterest


(If you want to get to the real superhero duo action, skip to about 1:15 above.)


Somehow Spider-Man is in Los Angeles. He bumps into Deadpool. On a rooftop. Chemistry ignites. The Merc With the Mouth makes a move. The fight, the struggle, the passion. The screen fades to black. 


--Fine, well then how were you going to retell it?


By now it's pretty canon that Deadpool would love to get in on some of that sleek, Spidey action, but it's also pretty canon that our favorite web-slinger just ain't about that life. Ah, doomed romance. Is there anything more heart-wrenching to be imitated and captured IRL?


Because, you see, as temperatures begin dropping and the leaves start falling, a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of cosplaying with his lady love.


Or something like that.


The above may or may not be a shameless bastardization of Tennyson, but that doesn't change the fact that with the cooling weather, cuffing season opens.


So whether you want to celebrate your newly minted love affair by showing up hand in claw at the biggest (nerdiest?) Halloween bash of the month, or whether or not you and your best bro are looking to steal the show in your sexy zentai suits and choreographed moves (and catch the eye of the hottest Harley in the crowd), now is the perfect time to get planning. 


Here are some of the best, the wackiest, and the funnest cosplay ideas for couples on the internet. 

Supehero Blitz: The Best Crime Fighter Cosplays! Sat, 13 Oct 2018 13:26:53 -0400 Stephanie Tang


That's all for now! 


This last-but-not-least take on our favorite God of Thunder may not look as polished as all the rest but it's something that you can actually DIY at home without heading out and paying for something off the costume racks (you know the prices are going to be as jacked as Thor's manly biceps right now just before the holiday). Check it out for some more ideas of your own!


Have any other suggestions for awesome superhero costumes? Let us know!


All right, you are probably not going to be pulling together an Ultron costume just in time for the big Halloween bash in a couple weeks. You are probably also not going to confuse Ultron for a superhero, not even a dance-between-the-lines kind of superhero/villain like Catwoman. 


But seriously. who doesn't dream of showing up in a shiny, glowing, show-stealing getup like this? These in particular are by Village’s Hope who partnered with Disney to amp up the crowds at the Thailand premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron


Even cooler is the fact that all that shiny chrome isn't actually shiny chrome at all, but a mix of EVA foam, PVC leather, and LEDs. Wow!


(image source: Geek Tyrant)


Wakanda forever! You didn't think we'd make it through a superhero cosplay post without a little Black Panther thrown in for style, right? 


While there may be very little point by now (who still hasn't watched this movie??) to hold back the spoilers of Infinity War, suffice to say that CutiePieSensei had some pretty good reasons for feeling like baby sister Shuri needed to step up into her big brother's Black Panther shoes. 


This isn't exactly a super canon costume that she's donned since she pulled design inspiration from both the comic books and the movie, but between the wicked styling and the fact that it lights up(!!), it is too rad not to place on this list. 


You should also take a look at some of her other work, including this WIP Starfire (take notes, Titans) and super-stylin' Domino. Super worth. 


Pull some creativity from this talented artist, cosplayer, and gamer. Get inspired by the the designs that excite you, make up some designs your own!


(image source: Instagram)


Can I really think of any one Deadpool cosplayer? (Well, yes, actually, but as much as I love D Piddy, I can't resist the lure of a million convention Deadpools all conga line dancing around the showroom floor.)


Is there anything quite like a Deadpool cosplay? It is such a wacky, oddball, utterly freeing experience where you can pretty much do whatever weirdo thought comes into your brain and somehow it translates into something 300x funnier. 


We're keeping it fairly easy to glam up like this in time for Halloween - with the super success of Deadpool and Deadpool 2, costume stores are stocked for everyone who comes in wanting to play the Merc With the Mouth. Why not join the dance party?


(image source: Geeks and Sundry)


On the topic of nostalgia, the recent wave of Aquaman hype had me thinking back to Adella's fantastically shot series of photos for her Mera costume that she released last year.


It stands out from the pack because of her choice in location and also because her son was just about the right age for Aquababy… and looked so stinking cute dressed up with her! (Check out the link at the bottom to check out the full gallery.)


Adella has been in the cosplay scene for years and is most well-known for how good she looks when dressed up as Aeris/Aerith Gainsborough from FFVII and Malon from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time


If you're thinking of filling in these slick, shiny green shoes, you'll probably be able to put together all the pieces for a decent Halloween costume from easy places like Amazo


(image source: Adella Cosplay)


I don't know what it is about Australian cosplayers this round, but here we're clocking at 3 out of 3! Kyle Parmley's Captain America is somewhat dated at this point (3 calendar years which approximately equals 10 in internet years) but with the end of the Chris Evans era fast approaching, a little nostalgia is good for the soul. 


An actor and performer, Kyle Parmley has got a ton of other priorities before cosplay so he hasn't popped off as many mind-blowing superhero shoots over the years as some of the others on this list, but that hasn't stopped him from taking a turn as both Superman and Batman ("MARTHA!") as well.


If you're thinking of pulling together a Cap costume in time for Halloween, chances are you'll find all the pieces you'll need at your local costume shop or Hot Topic long before you have to buckle down and hunt something down online.


Pint-sized Mary Jane is suited up and ready to kick some serious Green Goblin butt. A dancer and prolific cosplayer (especially for her age!), Nevada Newman's an official model for cosplay store Hero's Time, and hails from Australia.


When she's not playing Spidey's redheaded bombshell, she's also sitting through the tedious body paint process for her amazing Starfire from Teen Titans, smacking mallets around as Harley Quinn, and absolutely slaying as Hela from Thor: Ragnarok. It's a tough schedule, but evidently Nevada is in it to win it. Who says kids can't cosplay as well as the best of 'em?


If you're looking for this exact costume, you can find it on the Hero's Time website, or you can check around for a solid Spidey costume as well. Those are certainly not hard to find either!


(image source: Instagram)


Okay, so villain, superhero.. Catwoman straddles that line most of the time. I think that counts. 


If you think there's something familiar about this face but can't quite put your finger on it, it's probably because you just saw her in the last slide as well as a fantastic genderbent Aquaman. If you didn't even notice, I think that stands as testament to how good she is at her work!


A Melbourne native, Yeliz (or Just Yeliz on Facebook and Instagram) frequents a number of different Aussie cons, and has pulled off a ton of different costumes (check out her Kassandra from Assassin's Creed Odyssey for example, she's an official cosplayer for Ubisoft Australia).


I'll also level with you here. I don't know what iteration of Catwoman this costume comes from. This cowl is reminiscent of the worst-fated Catwoman to date (poor, poor Razzie-winning Halle Berry) but to be honest, it was the best part of that ripped-up leather mess of a costume. The rest of it definitely looks a lot more contemporary. Is it from something? Was it pulled together? I don't know, and I must know!


This particular version might not be the easiest to put together in time for Halloween, but that won't stop you from whipping together something similar from a number of different Catwoman eras. She has been a popular costume for many years, and for good reason!


(image source: Instagram)


New York Comic Con has just finished wrapping up, and so has the summer blockbuster season. It's been a smash hit for the superhero genre.. more on the Marvel side of the fence than DC with runaway winners like Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, and some smaller but very profitable successes in movies like Deadpool 2 and the recent release of Venom.


DC has been keeping its cards a little closer to its chest with only a few animated releases scattered throughout the year, pushing only to make upcoming Aquaman the big DC hype machine of the year. Of course, we can still hope that the DC-led Titans (the Teen Titans live action show that garnered so much fan rage over the actress choice and costume styling for Starfire when behind the scenes photos leaked earlier this year) will pleasantly surprise us. 


But with the cooler weather and the fall fever starting to creep up on us, our thoughts to more important questions... what are we going to wear on Halloween? (Totally an adult question.)


Take a look at some of our suggestions, and some of the best versions of these costumes that we've seen!


(image source: GeekxGirls)

EXCLUSIVE: Preview of Toki Remaster on Switch Wed, 10 Oct 2018 18:06:26 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

During New York Comic Con 2018, we were able to sit with Vincent Gallopain of  XOGO Consulting and get some hands-on time with the remaster of the original 1989 arcade game.

If you were somehow in arcades in 1989, you may have seen the original Toki, an arcade-hard run and gun.

In 2009, it was announced that Toki would be remastered for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Cue 2018: It's finally getting its console release, and it's not on either of the aforementioned platforms.

Earlier this year it was announced that a remastered version of Toki will be coming exclusively to Nintendo Switch in 2018, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on the game while at Comic Con.

With the brief time I had to play the game, I was able to play three of the six different stages. One was the typical stage you would find in every platformer, followed by a water stage and a fire stage. 

Let me tell you this, you will die a lot. Just when you think that you blew an enemy up and you're in the clear, remnants of that enemy will shoot at you and take away one of your lives. Luckily enough, you get three lives but even that is not enough. 

Every platform you jump on, everything you climb, you should be aware at what's coming towards you. Because there will always be something. This game was designed for you to die and they did a tremendous job doing so. 

After each death (and there were many) I learned how the stage worked and was able to get a better idea of how I'm supposed to approach each enemy and item that is trying to kill me. The more you die, the easier it will be to successfully complete each stage. At the end of each stage, there is a boss fight that will only rack up your death toll.

When asked about why it is only releasing on Switch, Gallopain said that the Switch is such a nostalgia machine. From the Neo Geo ports to the older arcade classics that are showing up on the console, the Switch is the perfect platform for a game like Toki. The Switch also being a huge platform for Indie games and the ability to play it anywhere were big benefits for having Toki on Switch. 

If you were a fan of the arcade version of Toki then you will be delighted to hear that besides the updated graphics and the re-orchestrated music, Toki is exactly the same. The gorgeous level design and hard difficulty are still centerstage of this remaster.

One of the coolest things about Toki is that it is being released along with a Collectors Edition of the game. The Collectors Edition or what they call the 'Retrollector Edition' comes with the physical copy of the game, an exclusive comic, sticker sheets, exclusive prints along with an Arcade Machine that you can slide your Switch into. 

Toki comes to the Nintendo Switch on November 22 of this year. We would like to extend a huge "Thank You" to Vincent Gallopain for giving us the opportunity to go hands-on with Toki.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news on Toki as it develops. 

Marvel Battle Lines Preview Tue, 09 Oct 2018 15:49:23 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

Marvel is getting into the card battling business with its newest game Marvel Battle Lines.

If you are thinking that it is going to be hard to learn and difficult to master, you are wrong! To learn how to play Battle Lines, you need to know how to play tic-tac-toe. That's right. It's as easy as that!

You have a deck with your favorite Marvel heroes and villains, over 100 to choose from to start and you have to battle against your opponent to make straight or diagonal lines. If you have two or more lines match up, your cards super ability activates and damages your enemies lineup. 

There are two types of cards in this game. There are action cards which act as a power-up for heroes. Character cards feature your favorite Marvel characters, each with their own stats and unique character art.

Marvel Battle Lines features a campaign mode created by Alex Irvine. The first chapter of the campaign will introduce you to the story and how it involves the cosmic cube. A highlight of the campaign being that before and after each chapter, you get a brief scene made to look like a comic book. 

Another mode feature in Battle Lines is a Special Ops mode. Here is where you battle to solve puzzles and fulfill certain win conditions. There are three win conditions and if you achieve all three, you earn better rewards. If getting those three conditions was too easy, there will be a hard mode for you to complete which will give you even better rewards upon completion. 

If you aren't that interested in the Campaign or Special Ops modes, don't you worry! There is a lot of PvP and PvE content which will allow you to win the same amount of rewards. 

Over time, there will be expansion packs released which will feature new Marvel characters along with new locations. Also featured in those packs are new special ops missions as well. Those packs may feature movie tie-ins in the future but they will certainly have comic book tie-ins.  

One reason the team went with the tic-tac-toe gameplay method is that they wanted it to appeal to a broader audience. They want this game to be easy to learn but hard to master, rather than hard on both fronts. With the number of different strategies you can use to defeat the enemy, it will take a while to master this game. 

Marvel Battle Lines comes to iOS and Android devices on October 24. If you would like to receive an exclusive Dr. Strange card and 5,000 in-game gold, you can pre-register for the game at the official website.

I would like to thank the  Game Designer Pine and Product Manager Kiho for talking with me.

Will you be checking MARVEL: Battle Lines out when it arrives on iOS and Android at the end of the month? 

BlizzCon's Schedule Suggests Big Things For Diablo... But What? Thu, 04 Oct 2018 14:09:50 -0400 QuintLyn

Earlier this week, Blizzard released the full schedule for its (kinda) annual convention, BlizzCon. The idea, of course, is to give everyone a chance to plan their weekend ahead of the festivities, but we all know what happens when people start to look and speculate.

This time, fans noticed that the company's long-running fantasy-themed ARPG series, Diablo, holds the place of honor, following the BlizzCon opening ceremony on the main stage in Hall D.

Diablo will be the first in a line-up of "What's Next" panels covering all of Blizzard's IPs throughout the day. But as we all know, if you want con-goers to pay attention to announcements, you make them while you have their attention -- before they wander off to buy stuff or watch esports tournaments.

So, what kind of Diablo announcement should we expect from Blizzcon this year?

Great question! The answer, unfortunately, is that we don't know for certain. But we do have some ideas thanks to the rumor mill that is the internet -- and maybe a bit of common sense.

"Unannounced Project"

First up is the most obvious guess. Diablo 4. It's been more than six years since Diablo 3 first launched on PC -- and over four years since the last expansion, Reaper of Souls, was released. By this point, Diablo fans everywhere are pretty convinced that some form of new game content must be in the works. Right?

Well, they are right. In fact, back in August, GameSpot wrote an article stating that "an unannounced Diablo project of some sort" was in the works. They even backed this assertion by pointing out a job listing for an artist that was needed to work on an "unannounced project".

When looking at the full job description they found it stated Blizzard was working on a "new, unannounced Diablo project."

Unfortunately, the listing is no longer available, and every other listing with "unannounced project" in its description avoided anything that would indicate what game the position might be for.

It should also be noted that the listing never actually said it was for Diablo 4. So, for all we know, it could have been a Diablo mobile game... or perhaps a Battle Royale?


So, what else do we have to possibly confirm that this will actually be the next edition in the Diablo story?

Well, It depends on if you believe 4chan posts or not.

Back in August, a thread appeared on the forum linking to an AMA held by someone claiming to be a "medium level developer on Battle for Azeroth." According to this person, he'd been working on the new Diablo project before moving over to BfA, and he had a few things to say on the next Diablo game.

Probably one of the most interesting things noted in the post is the assertion that the new Diablo game will play more like The Witcher or God of War. There will be no classes, just a single protagonist. 

Most importantly for our discussion, he added that the new game will be announced at BlizzCon.

Now, while mulling over this, do keep in mind that it's an anonymous 4chan post from someone claiming to be a dev. So there's about an 80/20 chance it's just someone trolling.

But hey, that still leaves the 20% chance it's right.

Goldman Sachs seems to think we're getting a Diablo sequel

This is slightly older news, but in December of last year, experts from Goldman Sachs -- the investment bank and financial services company  -- told CNBC that they believe Blizzard's stocks will go up over 2019 and 2020 due to the release of a few new games -- including "Diablo sequels", Overwatch 2, and mobile games.

They didn't explicitly state the Diablo sequels would include Diablo 4. And if you really want to speculate, there is a chance some of the new mobile content could be Diablo related. 

There is another option

Granted, all the things I've noted so far indicate we should probably expect a Diablo 4 (or some sort of game) announcement at BlizzCon this year. But there could be another reason for Blizzard to give the series the spotlight in the convention lineup. 

In case you missed it, back in August, the internet was buzzing with the rumor that Blizzard was working with Netflix on a series based on the Diablo universe. Now, I'll admit, it seems more likely to me that the main-stage post-opening ceremony slot would go to a game announcement, but we do have the Warcraft movie to look back on.

Like all of Blizzard's games, there's a lot of story to Diablo, which means it could translate well into a series of some sort. That said, is a Diablo Netflix series as big of a deal as the Warcraft movie? Is it big enough to push a game announcement out of that prime convention panel spot?

In the end, we'll just have to wait until BlizzCon to find out. But in the meantime, feel free to speculate to your heart's content!

What do you think we'll get at Blizzcon? Will it be a Diablo 4 announcement? A Diablo series announcement? Or something else entirely? Let us know in the comments below. 




10 Cheap DIY Fortnite Costumes for Halloween 2018 Thu, 04 Oct 2018 13:41:58 -0400 Victoria B.


Whether your favorite Fortnite skin is Raptor, Love Ranger, Rex, or any of the ones we've put on this list, hopefully, this cheap, DIY costume rundown will help you find the right costume for Halloween. 


Be sure to share your creations with us as you get ready to celebrate. Oh, and don't forget to wish the driver a Happy Halloween as we dive into one of the best months of the year.





Costume: Rex

It’s not quite as massive as the classic inflatable T-Rex costume, but it is still a fun one to wear.


The most complex part of this costume is the T-Rex mascot head and backpack, but the rest of this classic skin is simply an orange scarfgreen onesie (or pants and T-shirt), and green gloves.


Spirit Halloween has a full costume available for purchase at $49.99, but if you would prefer to purchase separate pieces for a slightly better price, you can find a dinosaur mask on Amazon, as well as the items listed above.


Here's what you'll need:


Costume: Dark Voyager


Dark Voyager has always been a favorite skin for Fortnite players, but it's also a favorite costume choice for cosplayers and Halloween shoppers. Spirit of Halloween has two costumes for the dark masked figure. The cheapest, however, is a $49.99 suit. Sizes range from adult to kids.


Helmets will cost extra, but if you’re a dedicated fan, it may be worth the extra money.


If you don’t want to spend more than you have to, try checking your garage for old motorcycle helmets or ask a friend. Once you have your hands on one you can get crafty with the color highlights by spray painting the lines.


You can also purchase black jumpsuits (or onesie) on Amazon and add neon fabric paint to finish the designs.


Whether you choose to purchase the finished suit or craft your own is up to your budget and time.


Here's what you'll need: 


Costume(s): Bunny Brawler and Rabbit Raider


If you want to be cute and cozy in your Fortnite Halloween costume, look no further than this pair of bunnies for inspiration. Though it could be seen as a simple bunny costume, adding the unsettling buckteeth and whiskers to a hockey mask will get you into the fall feeling rather than the spring spirit.

All you will need is a bunny onesie, bunny slippers, an optional hockey mask, and some paint for the whisker nose. If you want to spend a little extra to bring the Fortnite skin to life, you can use an Easter egg style backpack for your egg grenades.


Here's what you'll need: 


Costume: Love Ranger


Are you a hopeless romantic? If so, Fortnite's Love Ranger skin is the perfect choice for your costume.


However: Do be wary of this one if you have sensitive skin because it’s going to require a full coat of body paint over your face, arms, and torso. Get ready to stretch to reach all those hard to reach spots on your back.


Using grey hairspray and body paint, you can cover yourself to imitate the stone figure. 


You can also use any set of grey wings to strap onto your back. The only other clothes you need are pink sweatpants and grey gloves. If you aren’t spooked by putting contacts in your eye, you can also find white color contacts to match the Love Ranger’s.


Here's what you need: 


Costume: Bush Disguise


There are a lot of popular Fortnite skins you could model your costume after, but one really fun idea is to go as a player in a bush disguise. Not only is it easy to pull off, but this clever costume will give your friends a good laugh as you sneak around this Halloween.


Fake foliage can be purchased on Amazon for $14.48, and once superglued to an old set of clothes, you can camouflage yourself to fool your foes and perhaps jump scare a few strangers.


To get the look above, you can also buy a pair of cheap brown shoes, and cut up some cardboard to tape to your jeans as shin guards. 


Here's what you'll need: 


You probably already have a pair of old jeans and you can get four boxes from the USPS for absolutely free right here


Costume: Leviathan


Though this one will be a little tricky and time consuming, the outcome will be an awesome Leviathan skin costume -- which will totally be worth it.


The key components to this one will be a breathable clear helmet ($18.90) and a fish mask ($6.00). But before you put on the clear helmet, make sure it's safe and breathable.


To recreate the fish himself, you can either get creative with green and pink face paint as well as color hairspray or you can purchase cheap printable fish masks from Etsy.


The main hiccup you might run into is with the suit. Despite there being few suits available that are identical to Leviathan’s, you can pull it off with a grey/white onesie or jumpsuit and tan gloves from Amazon.


Here's what you need for this Fortnite costume:


Costume: Skull Trooper


You can’t go wrong with a skeleton costume on Halloween, but make yours stand out by getting combat ready. Skull Trooper is the perfect Fortnite skin for All Hallow's Eve, and it can even be a lot of fun to make.


This look can be created one of two ways. You can either purchase clothing that already has skeleton outlines printed on them, or you can paint your own.


Using black and white face paint, create an eerie skull and bones along your arms. Next, outline a rib cage and spine on a sleeveless shirt with fabric paint and continue painting the pants legs for a complete skeleton costume.


Be sure to dig out a pair of black combat boots from your closet, and don’t forget to buy a white ski mask and black scarf to mirror this skin.


Costume: Raptor


Not only is this Raptor one of our favorite Fortnite cosplays, it's also one of the easier DIY Fortnite costumes. The best part is that you can get creative with items you might already have lying around the house.


You will need brown combat boots, a shovel, cargo pants, and knee guards. If you don’t have a brown leather jacket, you can find a pleather pilot Jacket for around $40 on Amazon, along with a cheap yellow ski mask for $6.


Finish it off with a pair of yellow gloves and a headset, and you’re good to go. This will be a warm costume so save all those layers for a cold Halloween night.


Here's what you need from Amazon: 


Image source: SilentPillar


Costume: Teknique and Abstrakt


If you’re the crafty type, you’ll have fun designing bright splatter for the skin duo, Teknique and Abstrakt. But don’t worry; It won’t require too much money or time since the core components are simply a grey jacket and purple sweatpants.


Surprisingly, gas masks will only cost between $15-$20 and teal hats are as low as $2.00 online. Though the Abstrakt skin has an additional blue vest, the two will pretty much require the same amount of effort and materials.


Here's what you need from Amazon: 


Costume: Kitsune-Drift


One of the more recent Fortnite skins to release also happens to be one of the most affordable to buy (or even make). With a red vest jacket, a fox mask, and some dark clothing, you can effortlessly pull off this Kitsune Drift Costume for pretty cheap.


Though you could spend extra time crafting a mask such as cosplayer Gibson -- or shelling out some extra money for hand-made, 3D-printed masks -- you can also find masks from as low as $9.50 on Amazon.


Pair that with fingerless gloves, a long-sleeved dark shirt, and a red jacket to match the skin and you're all set. Essentially, this costume would be perfect for anyone on a tight budget and in need of a unique, yet fairly easy-to-make costume.


Here's what you need from Amazon: 


Image source: Justgibsonnn cosplay 


Since its release, Fortnite has steadily released skin after awesome skin. Some are generic, while others are clever and just downright funny. 


As a result, fans have spent dozens of hours putting together fantastic cosplay, like the ones found here, and costume shops around the country have spent dozens of hours stocking their shelves with Fortnite costumes. 


With Halloween just around the corner, we've collected some of the cheapest costume options and easier DIY alternatives spare your wallet and keep you from scrambling at last minute on All Hollow's Eve.


Here are some of the most popular Fortnite skins you can buy or recreate to impress your squad this Halloween.


Image source: Wikimedia Commons 

Call Of Cthulhu Preview Impressions: Hooked, Line & Sinker Mon, 01 Oct 2018 09:00:01 -0400 Ty Arthur

Cosmic horror fans have a whole lot of sanity-blasting mayhem to look forward to in the near future. Just like we had Agony and Lust For Darkness dueling over the top spot for sexed-up horror earlier in the year, now we've got Call Of Cthulhu and The Sinking City vying for mythos supremacy.

These two titles are intricately intertwined, and they were originally supposed to even be the same game! Frogwares shunted the official Call Of Cthulhu off to Cyanide Studios and instead switched gears to the open world Sinking City instead.

While Sinking City isn't coming until early 2019, we get to hear the call of the great old one Cthulhu in October, and I had the pleasure of trying out the first two hours in an extended preview.

From what I've played so far, Call Of Cthulhu is radically different from what anyone may have been expecting. This is nothing like what the advanced trailers or gameplay previews may have led the gaming populace to believe.

Walking Sim Or Investigative Adventure Game?

There's been one question in all the forums: is this a walking simulator or a defenseless horror game where you just run from the big baddie?

It's important to note that Call Of Cthulhu is based on the Chaosium pen and paper RPG rules, and that's a distinction that may change your perception of the game entirely.

It wouldn't be fair at all to compare this cosmic horror entry to something like Layers Of Fear, which seems to be the biggest worry from genre fans. Although the focus of the game is most assuredly not on combat, this isn't just about walking around and occasionally avoiding an un-killable enemy.

The best way to describe the gameplay would be a mix of the investigation aspects of Observer meeting the non-combat parts of Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines.

This is an RPG, there's no question about it, its just an RPG that is (vastly) more focused on dialog, solving puzzles, and finding objects than on pulling out a gun or getting into fist fights. In fact in the preview section, there was no combat at all.

Translating PnP To The First Person Format

If you're wondering about the aesthetic, rest assured Cyanide gives us an unhealthy green pallor to everything, and plenty of that "Innsmouth look" is found among the characters and locations. You can also expect to come across a whole lotta rotting fish carcasses.

Visuals aside, there's a big shift in style as this pen and paper system is translated to the first person 3D perspective. The d100 skill system is sort of there still, but it's more hidden under the hood and presented as different ways to handle situations.

For instance, using Spot Hidden might help you find an object for bypassing a puzzle entirely, while you could instead use Strength to intimidate someone into revealing a clue or Investigate to pick a lock.

There's a very low chance to succeed on skill checks in the early segments before you start earning extra points to add, so your starting build is critical to your play style. A jack of all trades will truly be master of none here.

Like with the pen and paper game, investigation is the focus, whether that involves questioning the locals, digging up dusty tomes, or finding clues to the scene of a crime.

There are plenty of instances where you can get more information by returning to characters and questioning them again after you found some clue or object in a different area.

That's huge -- because there are parts of the map you can just flat out miss entirely, so fully exploring a section before moving on is critical if you want the whole story.

When you find particularly important locations, you get to enter "scene recreation" mode, which is actually a really interesting way of visually representing the discovery of clues. This mechanic will definitely make you think of Will Graham piecing together crime scenes from the Hannibal TV show.

Once you've found all the clues, what's there to do in an investigative adventure game on another playthrough? It seems like replay value in the full game will come from two main areas.

The first will be in tackling the early segments of the game in various ways with different builds. For instance, there were several rooms I wasn't able to access in my first playthrough as I didn't have the ability to pick locks.

Based on missing dialog wheel sections, it seems pretty clear there were clues in those rooms that would have opened up new conversation paths.

I'm guessing the second way to create a desire to replay will be in the ending, which appears to have two major branching points.

Based on a few choices presented in the preview, it seems like the main character's ultimate fate will likely either be drunk and drugged (but with their mind safely harbored away from the awful truth), or sober and with their mind fully engaged. That second option will almost certainly lead to permanent madness.

It also seems pretty clear from a few hints in the preview that this story will follow the tried and true path of revealing the protagonist has uncomfortably ichthyic parentage.

Give Us More Madness, Please

After wrapping up the preview playthrough, I sincerely hope what was presented wasn't the entirety of the first four chapters in the full release version, because they are all extremely short.

There needs to be more to interact with, more to learn, and more ways to use your skills in all four chapters. The sanity system also wasn't explored much, and I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing where that goes.

It seems like as you experience more mind-breaking events, the detective's thinking shifts away from rational A to B thought processes and expands out into more creative jumps in logic.

I definitely want to see more of the interactions between the different factions on the island, as well. Cops, smugglers led by a murderous woman, local whalers, and an underground cult are all on a collision course here, but we just got the barest of a hint of what's going on between those groups in the preview.

Dead But Dreaming... Of More Polish And Bug Fixes

The game isn't finished yet, so take this next section with a grain of salt, but there are some major bugs to be worked out still.

In particular, the dialog quality varies wildly, with the sound raising or dropping between sentences and making it very clear these snippets were not all recorded at the same time.

There are also times where it seems like this style of game might have been better off in a 2D dialog-driven presentation without voice acting. For instance, in games like Tyranny, Pillars of Eternity, Wasteland 2, etc. the developers spent a ton of time making sure all the branching dialog paths interact as intended. 

Here, it's more hit or miss. In one particular conversation, an NPC spoke as though they knew me and we had been introduced. The only problem with that is that I picked the dialog choice to introduce myself last, so the whole conversation made no sense and ended very awkwardly.

There were furthermore several times where the dialog wheel just stopped working. I could move it with my mouse, but couldn't click any options or press anything with the keyboard, so I just had to re-launch the game. 

The Bottom Line, And What's To Come

In the beginning, I really wasn't sure what to make of this version of the Call Of Cthulhu rules, but by the end of the tunnels beneath the mansion on Darkwater Island I was hooked and wished it hadn't ended.

With some polish and bigger areas, this could be one of the better representation of the mythos in video gaming, and hopefully, it's just the beginning.

It would be a very welcome change to see these rules translated into more modern tales down the line, rather than the typical 1920s setting. That stellar first season of True Detective showed the world you can have a successful investigative story with the mythos firmly planted in the background, and you don't even need tentacle monsters to show up at all.

Call Of Cthulhu will also serve as a sort of a test run for the upcoming PC rendition of the pen and paper Werewolf: The Apocalypse RPG, currently being developed by Cyanide Studio. How this game is received will certainly have a big impact on how Werewolf performs when it finally sees release.

Horror fans are getting a little spoiled with two major mythos entries arriving in short succession. If you want a dialog-based investigative game centered more on the pen and paper style, Call Of Cthulhu will be your pick. If you prefer a more action-oriented open world style, then Sinking City will likely be your top choice instead.

Me? I'm gonna play 'em both for double the madness.

Breathedge Early Access Impressions: Fart Jokes, Survival, and the Great Void of Space Wed, 26 Sep 2018 15:25:28 -0400 Oscar Gonzalez

There's little doubt survival games have grown in popularity in recent years. With the likes of Ark: Survival Evolved, The Forest, and Subnautica making waves, the serious struggle of surviving the elements, as well as man and nature itself, has turned into a compelling genre in gaming.  

Then there's Breathedge

Recently released into Steam Early Acces, Breathedge is a game that takes the survival game formula on turns it sideways. Instead of worrying about a zombie apocalypse, cannibals, or of the frigid wilds of Canadian wilderness, players will do what they can to survive in space. 

OK, sure. There are survival games in space, too, like Osiris: A New Dawn and Take On Mars, but unlike other games in the same subgenre, Breathedge throws seriousness to the wind by adding in a hefty dose of comedy to make for an interesting change of pace.   

A Space Story

Developed by RedRuins Softworks, Breathedge is what happens when someone plays Prey and thinks it needs more fart and pee jokes. Currently in Steam Early Access, the game puts players in the shoes of a Russian astronaut carrying his grandfather's ashes into space for a star-studded funeral.

Of course, as space is wont to cause, an accident invariably happens and the player will try to survive out in space -- and that's where the seriousness ends. 

After the intro involving two mobster robots that could have shown up in any episode of Futurama, players find themselves in a leaky airlock. The first option is to plug the tube using a prized chicken, but unfortunately, the chicken has another "hole" in it, causing air to escape.

This leaves the second option as the only viable alternative: plug the hole with chewed bubble gum. 

Once out of the airlock and in the "station" proper, pictures and other interactive items help give some background on the player's character, the grandfather, and this strange future where condoms and lead paint are required to improve everything from your spacesuit to your oxygen tanks.

Don't Die, Comrade

In typical survival game fashion, hunger and thirst will be two of your biggest enemies in Breathedge. Both will tick down as the game goes on, while oxygen will deplete once you step into space. When either of the three drops to zero, the player's health starts ticking away and could ultimately lead to the "Comrade, You Are Dead" screen.

Oh, and there's radiation to consider because space. 

However, it's something you'll have to deal with because stepping outside into the void of space is where Breathedge really takes off. RedRuins captured the beauty of outer space with nearly pinpoint accuracy. It's beautiful and expansive, serene and still.

Well, up until the point when warning sirens blast through that serenity, screaming that you're running out of air.

Oxygen plays a big role in Breathedge, hence "breath" in the title. Early on, players will have to time their trips outside appropriately or else they'll find themselves running out of oxygen. It makes for a unique addition to the survival game formula as running out of air can cause a quicker death than going hungry or thirsty.

It requires a bit more planning and can lead to tense moments of rushing back to base on a quickly depleting clock, something you'll quickly get used to because space is where you'll have to gather the resources needed to survive and build tools. 

The more resources you gather, of course, means the more tools and equipment you'll have available to build. Building more equipment means the ability to improve oxygen reserves or build oxygen stations in space to explore even farther away.

There are a dozen or so areas to scavenge that contain more resources and blueprints for new equipment, so exploration is always pushed further and further out. The farthest area currently available for exploration is a ship that will officially end the first chapter available in Early Access, but there are surely more to come in future updates. 

Floaty Controls 

The controls in Breathedge are fairly basic since most of the actions involve clicking around to pick up items or collect resources. However, movement can leave a lot to be desired in this early stage in the game. 

Get too close to a floating resource and you can knock it away. Far away. Move a bit too fast and you can whiz on by an object or landmark, forcing you to whip back by and a (hopefully) slower speed.

There's a certain amount of finesse needed with the controls to get the timing just right. It adds a certain "reality" to the game, but with all of the game's other "unrealistic" elements, it can be a bit grating. 

(Un)Intuitive Inventory Management

There's also a lack of intuitiveness in regards to inventory.

In Breathedge, there are a lot of items to collect and only a limited amount that can be carried on your person. After a while, players will have to make use of the container located in the main room or simply leave the junk all over the floor.

Like other survival games, this type of "inventory management" is likely part of the struggle to survive, but there could be some changes to make it a better experience for the players -- can we get another locker, please? Or, you know, a backpack? 

Along with all the resources you need to carry around with you, there's also a need to make multiple tools. Every item or tool you plan to use, from a drill to a key, needs to be equipped in one of your four item slots -- so there's a lot of opening up the inventory screen to get the tools needed.

Since tools have a durability number attached to them, once they break, players will have to pull up the inventory screen and equip the item again. Although there's a shortcut you can take, any method comes off as a bit on the tedious side. 

In Space, No One Can Hear You Fart

Breathedge's big selling point is the humor.

I felt it was a bit gauche, but without the humor, this constant gathering and building of tools would become incredibly mundane. It's a much different approach from the doom and gloom of most survival games.

Most of the humor will come in the form of item descriptions, such as the Accelerator that uses bodily gases to propel you faster in space. Or, for example, a dead, floating astronaut can be found chained to a bed while in the middle of some kinky act before an accident threw him into outer space.

Other jokes will occur via the spacesuit computer as it describes impending doom, provides an endless amount of bad advice, and has players complete a mission that requires to build an item aptly called "Crap Imposed by the Developers."

In the end, it makes life and death a bit less serious. 

The Verdict (For Now)

If you want a game filled with humor then Beathedge has plenty. It's enough to make the repetitive tasks seem not so banal (that is if they hit you just right).

Those interested can find it on Steam for $15.99. RedRuins Software said in a recent update that chapter two will release by the end of 2018. 

Call Of Duty Black Ops 4: Blackout Battle Royale Open Beta Impressions Tue, 18 Sep 2018 10:31:08 -0400 Ty Arthur

After releasing a trailer for Blackout just over a week ago, Treyarch finally let the wider world in on the mode's beta over the past two weekends. 

Along with Rapture Rejects and Fractured Lands, Blackout has easily been one of the most anticipated Battle Royale entries of the year. With the beta on PC finally launching last Friday, we finally got a taste of what to expect in this new twist on a familiar recipe.

If you didn't get a chance to play this weekend, here's what you need to know about the battle royale mode coming with Black Ops 4 on October 12. 

Battle Royale Mode, Call Of Duty Style

A lot of players weren't really sure what to expect from Blackout mode based on some of the early news trickling out from Treyarch and Activision. Would it be a wacky, wild time like the more colorful and outlandish BR games? Are they trying to emulate the realistic survival shooters but just add in some high tech equipment and vehicles?

After playing the open PC beta, its clear Blackout mode is much more PUBG than Fortnite, which is probably bad news for the former considering their dwindling player count. There's no harvesting resources or building structures, and not much in the way of silliness either.

Many of the COD standbys are here, however, like flash bangs and some familiar weapons. If you think you've mastered Call Of Duty's multiplayer, get ready to re-learn your strategy, as there are significantly increased health and armor from what you'd expect. There won't be any instances where you can knife a guy and he goes down in one hit, and headshots aren't an instant kill if the other player has full armor.

Beloved locations from across the series are built into the extended map size, including the infamous Nuketown. Sadly, that area is on the far edge, so it's usually one of the first to be swallowed by the shrinking circle.

Much like Fortnite, your strategy can change radically based on where you landed, from tense vertical office building firefights to open landscape sniping.

The speed of the game essentially splits the difference between Fortnite and PUBG. Battles are hectic and frantic if a group lands in the same area, but firefights will slow down as the herd thins due to the slow shrinking of the circle. I'd expect some tweaks on the circle speed by release. Battles do tend to last longer in Blackout than other BR games, however, due to the higher health and prevalence of armor.

Since Black Ops 4 is all about the multiplayer, Treyarch made the decision to have each mode collide in certain ways, which adds a little something extra. For instance, zombies appear in some matches of Blackout mode for a further challenge (or for using to your advantage if you lure another player into them).

In most ways, this is a very standard Battle Royale experience. You jump off the aircraft and pick a landing site, hoping to find loot quickly before getting into a brutal firefight.

If you've played any BR game, you know exactly what to expect. The wingsuit feels more responsive and has better control on the way down than many other games, however.

Equipment and weapons are currently everywhere, with dozens of options in larger buildings. It's extremely unlikely you'd ever be without a weapon immediately in the first structure you enter.

Loot is currently so plentiful that it seems item counts will likely be reduced in the full version, as inventory management becomes an issue.

A Fistful Of Guns

Besides all the typical shotguns, assault rifles, and sniper options, Blackout mode features an array of high tech gadgets to utilize.

The sensor dart is nifty, letting you know where nearby enemies are located, but personally, I had the most fun with the grapple gun.

Like with most crazy gadgets, you can accidentally kill yourself by attaching to the wrong surface, as I learned early on. That actually ended up being my first ignominious end, not at the hands of a homicidal fellow player, but by misjudging my grapple.

In my very first round, I didn't take into account the speed of the collapsing circle and ended up taking a bunch of damage while sprinting into the safe zone.

I made it with -- and I kid you not -- exactly one health remaining. Even a single stray bullet would mean my imminent demise, so I figured the right thing to do was grapple to the top of a building and wait for a wounded player to pass by below. It should be easy to kill someone low on health and loot all their items, right?

Sadly, I grappled onto the exact wrong edge of a building and ended up falling off instead of landing safely on the ledge. I took at least one point of damage from falling, and that was the end of my first Blackout match. Hey, at least I made it into the top 10!

 This is me, at exactly 1 health, just barely escaping the circle

The Bottom Line

Visually, Blackout mode isn't up to the par with other COD games, but I can see how that would be necessary to have such a