The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Articles RSS Feed | The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network 8 Non-Souls Games to Play Before Elden Ring Thu, 29 Jul 2021 14:51:37 -0400 John Schutt


There are no doubt many, many viable games I've not included on this list. This collection is based on games I've played personally and that act as a fair point of comparison. Let us know which games you'd add here while we wait impatiently for Elden Ring.


Honorable Mention(s): Any of the Pixel Souls-likes

  • Developer: Many (Example: Motion Twin, The Game Kitchen, Live Wire)
  • \n
  • Platform: Many (Example: PS4, PS5, PC, Switch) 
  • \n

Ok, so we're going to cheat a little here and include some Souls-likes you may not have heard of to try as well. Here's a quick list of pixel art games that draw at least some (usually a lot) of their inspiration from the Souls games:

  1. Dead Cells (pictured)
  2. \n
  3. Skul: The Hero Slayer
  4. \n
  5. Ender Lillies
  6. \n
  7. Salt and Sanctuary
  8. \n
  9. Blasphemous
  10. \n
  11. Curse of the Dead Gods
  12. \n
  13. Titan Souls
  14. \n
  15. Eldest Souls
  16. \n

The list goes on. Many such titles do have their own charms and twists on the genre but pare them down to their core, and the Souls influence is almost palpable.


Nier Automata

  • Developer: Platinum Games 
  • \n
  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • \n

One of Elden Ring's most defining traits is bound to be its inscrutable narrative. Though the world comes from George R.R. Martin's mind, from what we've seen, it will take hours and hours to fully unpack the mysteries of the Lands Between.


The Nier games aren't quite so opaque, but they are tremendously weird and filled with symbolism and strangeness that gives even the densest Souls-likes a run for their money.


The combat in Automata is a pared-down variant on Platinum's normal fare, so the gameplay is closer to Elden Ring as well. It wouldn't surprise me if there were unexpected sentiences in the Lands Between too, though whether they'll sing "This cannot continue" together is anyone's guess.


Guilty Gear Strive (Or Other Fighting Games)

  • Developer: Many (Example: Arc System Works)
  • \n
  • Platform: Many (Example: PS4, PS5, PC) 
  • \n

Elden Ring’s combat will never be as deep mechanically as a traditional, 1v1 fighting game Guilty Gear. Even so, playing any of that series — or any fighting game title — will nevertheless help you get ready for PvP in the Lands Between.


Souls combat takes more than a few ideas from fighters, from spacing to true combo to neutral, so you best familiarize yourself with them now. The main difference is, in a Guilty Gear or Street Fighter, your character is the toolset and the only deviation is in how you play them vs. how someone else does.


In a Souls-like RPG, your weapons and abilities are your "character" and the body you control is a vector to experience the world through them.


Death Stranding

  • Developer: Kojima Productions
  • \n
  • Platform: PC, PS4, PS5
  • \n

All we’re looking for here is moment-to-moment atmosphere. Combat, mechanics, storytelling, aesthetic — Elden Ring and Death Stranding don’t share much.


The apocalyptic, oppressive feeling, though? Pretty spot on. While our review of Death Stranding wasn’t particularly positive, playing it before Elden Ring will nevertheless give you an appreciation for what isolation feels like, as well as show you what a vast, broken world might be like to live in.


Kojima's latest also shares the tone of Miyazaki games. Both titles exude the feeling of true isolation in a world that's both long past its prime and filled with people and creatures that hate you. There's also the pervasive sense that your character is The Chosen One, whether they like it or not.


Monster Hunter Rise

  • Developer: Capcom
  • \n
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • \n

Monster Hunter and games like Elden Ring share a few things, but here, we’re looking purely at weapon variety. Every weapon in Monster Hunter requires a unique playstyle, making them more like classes than mere pieces of gear.


Souls games don’t go that far, and Elden Ring likely won’t either, but if the Lands Between are as expansive as we’ve been promised, the volume of possible loadouts and builds is bound to be enormous. 


With so many options, there are sometimes difficult choices in how you approach encounters. A two-handed greatsword might deal incredible single-hit damage, but you’ll be vulnerable thanks to the slow attack speed. Small weapons can deal serious damage as well, but only if used in a specific combo.


Add in magic and what looks like a Weapon Art system in the trailer, and there are some serious decisions to make in Elden Ring. Monster Hunter will help you get acquainted.


Hollow Knight

  • Developer: Team Cherry
  • \n
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • \n

Hollow Knight will teach you the value of exploration and lore-finding. Like Elden Ring, or indeed any of Miyazaki’s masterpieces, you won’t find all the answers to Hollownest’s mysteries in one playthrough. Your first go-around also won’t be as welcoming if you try to barrel through without seeking alternate routes and hidden treasures. 


The storytelling of Hollow Knight takes a few cues from the Souls series, too. As such, understanding the world of Elden Ring’s Lands Between will be easier if you’ve taken the time to decode this entry on our list even a little bit.


The process at least will be more familiar: finding a trail of breadcrumbs and seeing where it leads, guided by bits of lore here and an NPC's cryptic sayings there.


Horizon: Zero Dawn

  • Developer: Guerilla Games
  • \n
  • Platforms: PC, PS4
  • \n

Where Zelda offers a set of simple tools that offer infinite possibility, Horizon Zero Dawn is more systematically complex with fewer total options. Elden Ring, bound as it is by at least a few Souls conventions, looks to be of a similar stripe.


Even if some of the restraints are off, I doubt you’ll be catapulting yourself with a downed tree in Elden Ring. Playing Horizon will help familiarize you with complicated systems and a few optimal ways to use them.


For instance, the interplay between different weapons and how you use them to approach difficult enemies is central to both Horizon and Souls. There's rarely a one-size-fits-all approach, even if there are better strategies and setups.


There's also the need for optimal movement based on your knowledge of the machine you're fighting and how to best use your limited inventory in a fight.


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

  • Developer: Nintendo
  • \n
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • \n

No list of open-world games is complete without Breath of the Wild, but its inclusion here serves two purposes.


The latest Zelda entry increases the difficulty and obscures the world’s lore in equal measure. Elden Ring won’t be as opaque as previous Souls games, nor might it be as difficult, but FromSoftware’s promised a huge amount of player choice nonetheless.


Both Breath of the Wild and Elden Ring are departures from norms established with previous series and related entries. No Zelda game save Wind Waker has been fully open world, and Wind Waker’s world is incredibly sparse even compared to Breath of the Wild


Like the Zelda games, most From Souls games flirt with being open world but always run right up to the line without crossing it to embrace total freedom. Elden Ring shakes off whatever chains remain, experimenting with the freedom a vast play space allows.


Two huge genres clash in Elden Ring: Souls-likes and vast open worlds. You could play a lot of games to prepare for the mashup, but today we’re talking about (probably) five of the best.


Each title listed offers something we can expect from Elden Ring, either through systems, world, worldbuilding, story and lore, or player interaction.

Nintendo Debuts New Breath of the Wild 2 Trailer at E3 2021 Tue, 15 Jun 2021 16:11:00 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Breath of the Wild 2 releases in 2022, Nintendo announced during its E3 2021 presentation alongside a new trailer. While we still don't have a specific release date or even an official title, the BotW 2 trailer gives us over a minute of evocative new footage.

The trailer shows Zelda falling into a void, then cuts to Link above the clouds. It's not just a tie-in with Skyward Sword though. This is very much Breath of the Wild's Hyrule with ruins, paragliders, and even Bokoblin fortresses built on top of Talus monsters.

It looks as if we'll be needing the glider more than usual too. Hyrule in the sky is broken up into dozens of island chains and opportunities for Link to use his new power-ups.

We're not quite sure what those are yet, but we saw Link's arm tainted by the whatever-it-is underneath Hyrule Castle and featuring a fragmented look. In one scene, Link interacts with a water droplet and immediately transports up onto a pillar and through the stone, so it seems Nintendo has some big surprises in store.

Immortals Fenyx Rising Devs On Breath of the Wild Influence, Name Change, More Thu, 05 Nov 2020 16:37:18 -0500 David Jagneaux

Immortals Fenyx Rising is a rare new IP that's launching simultaneously at the end of one console generation and the beginning of another one. Seeing this behavior from established franchises like Madden or Call of Duty isn't unusual, but it's not often a big new game like this hits everything in one huge splash.

Ubisoft Quebec is gearing up to break away from the shadow of Assassin's Creed with Fenyx Rising, which takes a few elements from almost every successful open-world third-person action-adventure game of the last 10 years and mixes it into a single package with an art style that can appeal to gamers of all ages and demographics.

Recently, we got the chance to try out a brief demo for ourselves and came away with positive impressions. Though I didn't play that demo for GameSkinny, I did play the game around the same, and I came away impressed, as well. I'm excited to play more when Immortals Fenyx Rising releases on December 3.

In the meantime, while we all wait, I sent over a bunch of questions for the development team to answer, covering topics that range from development challenges, platform differences, comparisons to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and much more.

Here's what they had to say. 

Immortals Fenyx Rising Developer Q&A

David Jagneaux, GameSkinny: Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions! The game looks great. I'm a big Zelda fan and love mythology, so it looks right up my alley. I noticed it's developed by the Ubisoft Quebec team, who, of course, worked on AC Odyssey. Can you speak at all about the influences that project had on this one?

Marc-Alexis Coté, Producer: First, I’m glad you enjoyed the demo!

Throughout the development of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, our minds lingered on another aspect of Greek history — mythology. The stories of the Greek gods and heroes have existed through generations of storytellers and have transformed into the tales we know and love today. These stories inspired us to build something totally new, which brought Immortals Fenyx Rising to life.

While inspired by mythological tales, this brand-new IP explores our vision of the gods throughout the ages with more creative liberty and through a more fantastical, comedic lens, delivering a fresh take on the Greek gods that has a modern spin.

GameSkinnySince this is also a big, sprawling open-world like AC Odyssey, how different of an experience is it from a design perspective for players?

Scott Phillips, Game Director: We designed the gameplay experience around three core pillars that really sets this game apart when put together:

  1. Rewarding exploration via dynamic and risky traversal
  2. Over-the-top, fast-paced combat against Mythological creatures
  3. Challenging Puzzles and World Challenges

Traversal in Immortals Fenyx Rising is an incredibly varied, exciting, and challenging experience. Players will sprint across open fields, climb enormous mountains, and glide through the skies as they explore the world of the Golden Isle. All the while, they are challenged by the terrain and mastering their Stamina to discover every hidden location and secret the island has to offer.

The combat is an acrobatic, airborne, over-the-top mythological experience. Fenyx will face off against giant creatures like the Cyclops, the Minotaur, or Medusa and use the Wings of Daidalos to lift themselves up into the air to properly deal with the immensity of these creatures.

Problem-solving is also key to the experience. The puzzles of the Golden Isle will challenge players’ logic, manipulation of the environment, and navigation capabilities. These world puzzles include small scale individual puzzles, giant sprawling points of interest filled with many puzzles, all the way up to the epic Vaults of Tartaros.

GameSkinny: Going back to my mention of Zelda, a lot of people have made comparisons to Breath of the Wild stylistically. What do you think of those comparisons?

Scott Phillips: We knew from playtests that many players were apt to make a comparison to Breath of the Wild upon first seeing Immortals Fenyx Rising. We also saw that when those players got their hands on the game, they grew to see the differences and the uniqueness of our game, even when compared to the masterpiece that Breath of the Wild is widely considered.  

People often find new things easier to explain in reference to something that they already know – which is why we feel this comparison is made, and why we’re happy with that comparison. Because once people open themselves up to the game, we think they’ll find something very special and unique! 

GameSkinny: The game seems to mix up puzzles, exploration, and combat for a varied experience. How does that balance shake out? Are all three aspects crucial, or could a player focus mostly on the areas they enjoy more?

Scott Phillips: Our world was built on the same philosophies as a theme park, creating strong iconic thematizations for all regions and biomes. Each region is inspired by a Greek god, and everything in that region is specifically built to support the mythology of that god.

From the scarred battlefields of Ares the god of war to the lush paradise lands of Aphrodite the goddess of love, players will encounter a huge and detailed world full of varied terrains, monsters, and challenges that they can tackle in any order they want.

Each enemy encounter, puzzle, and quest location is tailored to bring a unique aspect of the story, a myth, and a gameplay feature to light. Some terrain is more acclimated to gliding or focused on climbing, while other areas are larger and more open, perfect for a mount. This keeps the moment-to-moment gameplay interesting while allowing players to focus on activities they like best. 

GameSkinny: Immortals seems to have a very free-form movement system with lots of verticality. What are some of the specific ways this helps separate it from other open-world games Ubisoft has made, and just open-world games in general?

Scott Phillips: Traversal in Immortals Fenyx Rising is all about making sure that the journey is as rewarding and challenging as the destination. Our goal is to ask players to think about the world around them and consider the best way to reach a location or a point of interest, rather than simply pushing the movement stick and waiting for their character to reach a marker.

We wanted traversal to be a mechanic that could be mastered – something that the player gets better at over time, rather than having it be a static capability that gives them the same gameplay experience from beginning to end. The stamina system, fantastical opportunities brought by mythology, the world-building of the Golden Isle; all are key to ensuring that traversal is constantly engaging, and the world always offers something new to discover. 

GameSkinny: I noticed there is a robust character creation system and lots of loot and gear. What is progression like? Are there classes, abilities, levels, etc., or is it mostly gear-based?

Scott Phillips: Player progression is incredibly varied and engaging in Immortals Fenyx Rising. All of the progression systems are centered on the Hall of the Gods – the place where the gods will gather once Fenyx has restored them to their powerful selves.

At the core, players can upgrade Fenyx’s health with Ambrosia collected from the world. Fenyx’s stamina, which drives usage of advanced combat and navigation moves, can be upgraded with the Lightning Bolts of Zeus collected from Vaults of Tartaros. New skills and fight moves can be learned by spending a currency called Coins of Charon.

In addition to upgrading Fenyx, the weapons, armor, and potions used by Fenyx can also be upgraded by defeating enemies and opening chests to find shards of Adamantine – the unbreakable metal of the gods. The Wings of Daidalos and Fenyx’s companion, Phosphorus, can also be modified by collecting skins with specific perks on them.

GameSkinny: Around how long would it take to finish the main story, and then how much longer would it take to complete the game in terms of finishing quests and exploring the map? 

Scott Phillips: Since Immortals Fenyx Rising is a huge open-world game filled with content, every player’s experience will vary. However, in general, players should expect somewhere between 20 to 30 hours of playtime to complete the main campaign and many more hours if they focus on completing non-main path content and further progressing their character.

Once players have completed the main campaign, they have the opportunity to try a harder difficulty level called Nightmare mode and New Game Plus.

GameSkinny: Are there post-launch plans for Immortals?

Marc-Alexis Coté, Producer: We will share more details about post-launch content for Immortals Fenyx Rising at a later date.

GameSkinny: What is the reasoning behind the name change? Was Gods & Monsters always intended to be a temporary name?

Marc-Alexis Coté: The extra development time allowed us to push our initial vision even further and explore new avenues for the game. As this vision was coming to life and developing a more mature tone, we felt the game needed a new name to better reflect those changes. Immortals Fenyx Rising evokes the timeless nature of not only gods and magical creatures but also the thrill of mythology itself; stories and legends that live forever through storytelling.

We also felt it was important to shine a light on Fenyx and her journey as the first main character of this new franchise.

GameSkinny: What benefits will players get by playing the game on PS5/XSX versus PS4/XB1?

Marc-Alexis Coté: The team is optimizing the game on each platform to make sure you get the best experience possible everywhere you want to play! XSX and PS5 players will be able to enjoy faster load-times, increased graphics fidelity, and higher framerates!

At launch, the team is targeting 60 FPS and 4K resolution for both platforms. We are also working on a Quality mode that will push visual quality and fidelity even further!

GameSkinny: Will there be a free next-gen upgrade for current-gen players if they want to wait on getting a new console? Will saves transfer?

Marc-Alexis Coté: Immortals Fenyx Rising players will be able to enjoy free console next-gen upgrade and cloud-save transfer at launch.

GameSkinny: Regarding the Stadia version: is it more similar to current-gen or last-gen in terms of fidelity and performance?

Marc-Alexis Coté: Performance will vary depending on the subscription tier of the player. The game will offer graphical and performance modes targeting 4K/30FPS or 1080P/60FPS at launch.

GameSkinny: Can you speak about what benefits Stadia brings to a game like this? 

Marc-Alexis Coté: We are excited to let players experience Immortals Fenyx Rising before launch via the Stadia Demo. With the simple click of a button, players will be able to join Fenyx in the fight against Typhon, explore a new mysterious archipelago by foot or glide in the air using the wings of Daidalos and battle against dangerous mythological creatures.

It’s awesome to think this demo will be playable on any devices that support Stadia!

GameSkinny: As a developer, what is the experience like developing or porting something for Stadia?

Marc-Alexis Coté: In the very particular context of the pandemic, developing on Stadia has allowed our entire teams to quickly have access to development versions of the game from the safety of our homes.

It helped our ability to develop and deliver a high-quality game in these challenging times.

GameSkinny: Finally, what about Immortals Fenyx Rising do you think is the most notable and unique feature? What is the key impression you want players to have after experiencing it?

Scott Phillips, Game Director: My two favorite things in Immortals Fenyx Rising are the mixture of gameplay and the presence of the narrators.

With our three pillars of over-the-top mythological combat, fast-paced traversal, and challenging puzzles, I believe our gameplay experience is quite unique and varied and allows players to choose what they want to engage in at any moment based on what’s appealing to them. This ability to change my gameplay focus means I’m always excited to see what’s around the corner.

If I feel like exploring, I know I’ll find something meaningful while gliding, climbing, or double jumping around the world. If I feel like fighting, I can always scout for a small pack of corrupted enemies or seek out a legendary or world boss enemy. And if I feel like solving puzzles, there's always a small hidden chest up to giant Constellation Myth Challenges to keep me busy solving their riddles.

I also find the narrators to be really entertaining and funny! I look forward to their interactions in the story. They mix up the tone and allow me to stay in the action while they provide the narrative context that helps keep the game engaging and fun. Hearing Prometheus become flustered by Zeus’ interruption of his epic storytelling to insert a mythologically based joke is always a good time.

Immortals Fenyx Rising is slated for release on December 3, 2020, for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Google Stadia. It's also releasing for next-generation consoles, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, with visual and performance enhancements. If you buy the PS4 or Xbox One version of the game, you can redeem a free upgrade to the applicable next-generation console.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more on Immortals Fenyx Rising, including our full review near launch. 

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Demo Out Now Wed, 28 Oct 2020 12:43:36 -0400 Josh Broadwell

A hefty Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity demo is out now on Nintendo Switch, following a new Age of Calamity trailer, which debuted during Nintendo's Direct Mini Partner Showcase.

The Age of Calamity demo includes the game's first chapter and lets players carry over save data to the full version of the game when it releases on November 20, 2020.

The action ramps up even more outside the first chapter. The new Age of Calamity trailer Nintendo revealed shows the four Divine Beasts from Breath of the Wild have special playable segments.

Vah Medoh wreaks havoc from above, while Vah Naboris tramples everything in its path. Vah Rudania shatters the earth with mighty stopms, and Vah Ruta freezes foes in their tracks and rains down a deluge of pain.

These Divine Beast segments take place in a different format from the usual musou combat and focus more on spreading attacks over large areas instead of taking on individual monster hordes.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity releases November 20 for Nintendo Switch. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Age of Calamity news as it develops.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Drops Weapon Durability Wed, 07 Oct 2020 15:52:33 -0400 Josh Broadwell

The second part of Nintendo's October Treehouse Live dropped a Goron-sized load of information about the upcoming Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. From backstories and skills to weapons and shirtless Link, there's a lot to dig into.

Age of Calamity expands on the original Hyrule Warriors' gameplay in a number of ways. For starters, it includes the map from the original game. Completing story missions and gaining certain items unlocks new locations like blacksmiths, towns, and stables, each with something important to offer.

Side quests that expand the BotW world and offer some bonuses as well, such as unlocking new combos or strengthening weapons.

Quest completion brings rewards in the form of materials as well, things like food items for buffs, parts for the blacksmith, and some random items needed to unlock other quests.

Weapons are no longer breakable in Age of Calamity, and it seems like working with multiple weapon types — two-handed swords, magic, and such — will be well worth the trouble.

The segment opened with a lengthy Urbosa fight sequence. As expected, the Gerudo Champion wields a deadly scimitar and the power of lightning against her foes. But she'll sometimes resort to trickery to gain the advantage over her opponents — such as by summoning a Molduga to deal with the pesky Yiga Clan.

Kay of Nintendo Treehouse said Age of Calamity pays a good deal of attention to the Champions' backstories, including their relationships with other characters. Urbosa's, for example, explores how she knew Zelda's mother.

Speaking of Zelda, for the first time in a mainline game in the Zelda series, the Hyrulian princess herself is playable. She primarily uses Runes for attack, but also turns the Sheikah Slate's photo mode into a murder weapon.

And yes, Link can go into battle stripped down. It wouldn't be part of the Breath of the Wild universe otherwise.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity releases November 20 for Nintendo Switch. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Zelda news as it develops.

Walmart Discounts First-Party Switch Titles Fri, 10 Apr 2020 11:50:35 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Nintendo's first-party Switch titles and super-popular third-party titles hardly ever go on sale. So it's kind of a big deal when a Switch sale happens. One of those is going on right now at Walmart, and it's a big one.

A number of first- and popular third-party Switch games are getting discounted to $49.94 (basically a $10 discount), and we've rounded them all up below, including links to where you can snap em' up.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild doesn't really need much introduction. It's a radical re-imagining of the Zelda formula that plops Link into an open-world Hyrule and then lets you decide how you want to proceed from there.

In place of dungeons, you get 100+ Shrines with hyper-focused puzzles. In place of new gear, you get... stuff that breaks. Still, we called it "... a treat for Zelda fans and newcomers alike" in our review, and it's a must-have title for Switch owners.

Breath of the Wild sale

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

There's probably not much we can say about Animal Crossing: New Horizons we haven't already said (we said it was excellent, in case you missed that) and you haven't already heard. It's a virtual island haven in the turbulent waters of real life, giving you complete control over your friends, house, and even the landscape itself.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons sale

Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2 builds on everything that made the original great, adding new modes, a much bigger player base, and even a single-player DLC campaign. That's why we called it yet another must-have title for Switch owners, saying "It's a fun, beautiful, and action-packed ride that will have any third-person shooter fan clam-oring for more."

Splatoon 2 sale

Pokemon: Let's GO Eevee/Pikachu

Before Pokemon Sword and Shield, there was another set of Pokemon games on Switch, the Let's Go remakes of the first-ever Pokemon games. It's back to basics, but still an excellent return to the series' roots with some familiar mechanics for Pokemon GO aficionados. 

Pokemon Let's GO Pikachu sale

Pokemon Let's GO Eevee sale

Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler was to Final Fantasy 6 what Bravely Default was to Final Fantasy 5. It's pure SNES-era RPG goodness, with eight distinct stories, a deep battle system built around interchangeable job classes, and it's the debut of glorious 2D-HD graphics we really want to see in future 2D titles.

Octopath might not be for everyone, with its lack of interconnecting stories and emphasis on combat over everything else. Still, as our associate editor Ashley Shankle said, "Octopath Traveler brings back classic JRPG gaming with style and class." It's technically not a first-party title like the others, but it's also basically never on sale.

Octopath Traveler sale

Super Mario Odyssey

Mario sets sail for kingdoms unknown in Super Mario Odyssey. Princess Peach was kidnapped once again, but Mario's journey takes him far outside the Mushroom Kingdom this time. In between seeing the sights and meeting new cultures, you'll search for hundreds of Power Moons hidden away behind puzzles both great and small. It's one of the most accessible and enjoyable 3D Mario adventures in ages.

Super Mario Odyssey sale

Donkey Kong Country Returns: Tropical Freeze

DKC: Tropical Freeze was one of the Wii U's best platformers, and it's even better on the Switch. That's because it introduces a new Funky mode (read: easy mode) that lets players of all skill levels join in the fun. When it first released on Switch, we described it as "a challenging game that rarely feels unfair, and it features the same wonderful level design and variety that's made the series so iconic."

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze sale

Luigi's Mansion 3

Bumps in the night might scare Luigi out of his senses, but the most frightening thing about Luigi's Mansion 3 is just how much fun it is (and everything you can do with toilets). Every floor of the haunted hotel is packed with ghoulish personality, puzzles galore, and so many collectibles, you'll be playing long into the dead of night with this one.

Luigi's Mansion 3 sale

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

The "Ultimate" in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is much more than just a naming convention. Almost everything and everyone is here, with well over 80 playable characters and tons of stages to create your... ultimate... fighting fantasy, which is why we called it a triumph in our review.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate sale

Super Mario Party

Mario's hosted plenty of parties over the years, but Super Mario Party proves there's still life in this shindig. It's a return to form for classic Mario Party, with plenty of mini-game types and a free-for-all mode. There's so much to do, you'll (probably) overlook the lack of board variety and get caught up in the fun like we did.

Super Mario Party sale

Dragon Quest Builders 2

If you like the idea of Minecraft but need structure to keep from going off the rails, Dragon Quest Builders 2 is the game for you. It takes everything good from the first DQ Builders and cranks it up to 50. The story is better, the NPCs and scenarios are hilarious, and there's just so much you can build and do both during and outside of the main story campaign. Don't take our word for it, though. See for yourself what some of the Builders community came up with.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 sale

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Like Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is pretty much the ultimate Mario Kart experience. With tons of playable courses and racers, plus plenty of kart customization and even Zelda and Animal Crossing crossovers, you'll be racing 'til the cows come home with this one. Or not, since they're probably in the middle of the race course.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sale

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

One of the best things about the Switch is getting a chance to play the Wii U's overlooked classics like New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. It's one of the biggest and most creative 2D Mario games in general and definitely the strongest of the New sub-series. Plus it's adaptable for all skill levels, so everyone can join in the fun.

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe sale

Mario Tennis Aces

The Mario Tennis series found its footing again with Mario Tennis Aces and we called it the "best arcade sports experience on the Switch" thanks to its no-nonesense approach to tennis. While some aspects, like the story, could have used a bit more flesh on the bones, it's a great sports game overall.

Mario Tennis Aces sale

Pokken Tournament DX

Pokemon and Tekken are two very different franchises, except when they aren't. Pokken Tournament DX throws some of your favorite Pokemon together in heated arcade brawler action in a bizarre premise that has a satisfying payoff for newcomers to the genre and old hands alike.

Pokken Tournament DX sale

We don't know how long the Walmart Nintendo sale will last. If you're interested, it's best to check it out now sooner rather than later. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Nintendo Switch news and sales as they develop.

Breath of the Wild Exploit Lets You Completely Skip The Lost Woods Mon, 13 Jan 2020 13:13:42 -0500 Josh Broadwell

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is absolutely stuffed full of secrets, tricks, and exploits. It's got so many that players are still uncovering new ones, almost three years after the game launched.

This time around Reddit user u/Rofalls figured out a way to get into Korok Forest without having to deal with the fog puzzle in The Lost Woods. Under normal circumstances, the fog prevents you from taking any other route to the Forest.

If you try paragliding in over the edge of the cliffs, the fog envelops you, and you start back where you took off. The same happens if you try taking any other route in The Lost Woods apart from the proper one.

Unless, of course, you manipulate time to speed Link up and trick the game like Rofalls did.

After jumping off the Woodland Tower, they rapidly dropped two bombs, then slowed time by acting as if they will fire an arrow in midair. The force of the bombs exploding, combined with the slowdown, increases Link's air travel speed exponentially, freezing the game for a second as he crosses into The Lost Woods from above and then pushing him through the fog and into Korok Forest.

You can check out the full video in action here.

It's not the only way people are taking advantage of the mid-air arrow slowdown either. Twitter user Marmastry recently posted a video combining that slowdown with the Cryonis rune under a Guardian to trick the game's physics engine into thinking the Guardian needed to go much higher than it really did. 

There's seemingly a ton of ways to use this slowdown method that just aren't possible with the Stasis rune. Whether it's a fun technique the developers included to encourage experimentation or simply an unintended consequence of the physics engine, we're definitely adding exploits like this to our list of what we hope Breath of the Wild 2 includes as well. You know, as actual mechanics. 

Switch Pro Rumors Point to 4K Power, But Does That Matter? Wed, 08 Jan 2020 15:46:12 -0500 Josh Broadwell

CES 2020 is off to a strong start already with a sexy shot of the Xbox Series X chip, some slightly dubious Xbox Series X mockups, and some PlayStation 5 info as well. Since CES is an event for big, flashy tech, Nintendo was obviously absent — directly, at least.

The day before the event officially opened, Taiwan-based outlet Digitimes posted a story claiming that Nintendo is actually gearing up to launch the long-rumored Switch upgrade, unofficially called the Switch Pro. This information reportedly comes from unnamed sources Digitimes has in the manufacturing sector.

The full report is locked behind a paywall, but Kantan Games analyst Dr. Serkan Toto provided a summary of the main points on Twitter. The big takeaways are that the Switch Pro would launch later this year, and it would come equipped with a superior GPU and a magnesium alloy chassis.

It's not new news, really. We've been following these kinds of Nintendo Switch Pro rumors since they first surfaced last year. But since the new year dawned, we've been getting a lot more chatter about when the rumored Switch Pro will be available and how powerful it might be.

Toto claims the Switch Pro is coming this summer, before the PS5 and Xbox Series X "holiday" launch. That would coincide with presumably more demanding games like Breath of the Wild 2 and maybe Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition. Nico Partners' senior analyst Daniel Ahmad says there's a small chance of a Switch Pro in 2020, while Wall Street Journal tech reporter Takashi Mochizuki said — also based on sources in the manufacturing sector — the Pro was supposed to launch last year. 

That there's no consensus on when a Switch Pro might launch isn't surprising. This console cycle has been mostly atypical, and software is a big determiner in when a Switch Pro might appear because the upgraded system needs something strong at launch.

For example, Breath of the Wild 2 might launch this holiday season, but would it be enough to convince people saving for a PS5 or XSX to also buy a Switch Pro? Summer 2020 seems convincing based on that, but it's highly unlikely we'll see a game like BotW 2 that early.

The system's power issue is another factor. Toto claims the Switch Pro would have 4K support, among other "beefed up" components. That actually fits with the Digitimes claim about an improved GPU and even the magnesium alloy chassis (to help keep the accompanying heat down).

The big question is do we even need a powerful Switch Pro? And the natural corollary to that question is whether Nintendo would invest in making something a lot more technologically advanced given its brand and market niche.

The available evidence doesn't rule out a 4K Switch or demand for it, but it doesn't really support it either.

The brand argument is a valid one. NPD Group analyst Mat Piscatella said Nintendo wouldn't push for a 4K Switch because Nintendo doesn't build its brand around graphics and pushing technological boundaries; it's fine with moderate upgrades. That's true, but it also hinges on the idea that 4K is still cutting edge tech.

The Xbox Series X apparently promises 8K support. That's good news for all six people who have 8K sets worldwide, but it's also setting a new standard for what games and developers should push for.

Meanwhile, Sony is taking steps to ensure it finally offers stable 4K with the PlayStation 5, on top of ray tracing and a host of other technical improvements. In short, if the Switch Pro did, indeed, include true 4K (3840x2160 res) support, it's still basically a current generation enhancement implemented at the beginning of the "next-gen".

However, it's highly likely the Switch Pro won't go that far. Digital Foundry's Rich Leadbetter analyzed the Switch's Nvidia Tegra chip right after the system launched in 2017 and discovered the chip allows for the possibility of substantial improvements, especially when docked while still allowing for backwards compatibility.

This means it would upgrade without creating the barrier between New-3DS-exclusive and non-exclusive games, something which didn't work out all that well for Nintendo in 2015.

The last thing you want to do when launching a system upgrade is completely alienate the tens of millions of consumers that already have a strong interest in your software. That goes double when you've put all of your emphasis on one bit of hardware (now the 3DS is basically dead), and it seems doubtful most Nintendo consumers would even want that kind of upgrade.

I spent some time scouring Reddit, looking for a general consensus about Switch graphics and found a majority of users are happy to accept slight downgrades in exchange for portability. Most responses to the Digitimes article mentioned stable framerates for games like the upcoming Breath of the Wild 2 and enough extra juice to encourage more AAA ports from developers.

Otherwise, Nintendo fans seem happy enough with the graphical quality of games like Luigi's Mansion 3 and being able to play the likes of The Witcher 3 on the go.

It's almost inevitable we'll see a Switch Pro... at some point. Outside of the rumors and reported insider information, there's the fact that Nintendo and Nvidia worked it so the system can support a substantial upgrade, especially when docked, without pushing the boundaries enough that it leaves other Switch owners in the dust.

It seems most likely this is how the Switch Pro would be, an extra boost over the very slight enhancement the original Switch and Switch Lite already received. It would follow Nintendo's usual middle-of-the-road approach like Piscatella mentioned, one that emphasizes different playstyles and improved experiences over graphical innovation and creating artificial audience segments because of hardware barriers.

That seems to be more in line with Nintendo's M.O., and something we might learn more about during any of the upcoming Nintendo Directs in 2020. 

This Was the Best Decade in Gaming History, and I Can Prove It Sun, 29 Dec 2019 14:27:56 -0500 Ty Arthur

The decade is coming to a close, and while there was controversy — and a few franchises flopped  the last 10 years provided some of the best moments in the history of gaming.

If you lived through the 2010s, you witnessed new, powerful console launches, new developers knocking it out of the park, and new, exciting tech releases from the ill-fated Kinect to the still burgeoning VR field.

All of that and more led to an unforgettable 10 years in gaming that rivaled much of what came before. Don't believe me? Let's take a look back at the industry's defining achievements over the past 10 years.  

The Early 2010s

Certain moments will live forever. Lady Gaga's meat outfit. Rebecca Black's Friday. Kony 2012. The color of that stupid dress. Marriage equality. "But her emails." Leo finally getting that damn Oscar. 

For me, the decade began in earnest when I put GLaDOS into a potato in Portal 2. The combination of humor and disturbing horror sold it as much as the game's top-notch voice acting and rock solid gameplay. That overall package had me sitting in awe, thinking: "Did modern video games just become amazing right this second?" 

Aside from the hilarious legacy of Portal's sequel (which itself will never be a follow-up since Valve sadly can't count to three), the 2010s kicked off in earnest with notable returns from major series featuring big changes. Mass Effect 2 ditched the extraneous RPG elements and somehow came out better for it; Dead Space 2 ramped up the horror and gore of the first game; and, of course, Starcraft 2: Wings Of Liberty arrived with a makeover and revamped multiplayer.

The early 2010s proudly brought the gaming universe a re-tooled horde mode in Gears of War 3, and it's one that stood the test of time. Aside from still holding the title of "one of the least toxic cooperative multiplayer modes" ever made, horde in Gears of War 3 remains the gold standard of multiplayer. Horde is one of the primary reasons why fans return to the Gears series even after the IP switched developers.

While those big-name AAA franchises made their marks, Minecraft became a phenomenon. Mojang's smash hit created an enduring legacy that can't be denied, even if the survival/open-world LEGO mashup has been endlessly emulated. Somehow the pop phenomenon still has hundreds of millions of active players, showing Mojang's vision wasn't just a fluke. 

Between an insane number of skins, seeds, maps, and mods, Minecraft has to be one of the most expansive gaming experiences of all time, and it will probably still be up and running long after we are all dead and gone. As we move into the next decade, we're preparing for Minecraft Dungeons, which could possibly be a game we'll still be talking about in 10 years. Who knows?

      OK, maybe it wouldn't have been the worst
thing if we didn't know about this guy...

Another low-key title that had a bigger impact than many realize — though not Minecraft big — came in the horror genre. 

Amnesia: The Dark Descent kicked off the "defenseless" horror subgenre that has seen the likes of Outlast, Layers of Fear, and Alien: Isolation follow in its footsteps. Although the Amnesia series is now quaint when compared to what came after it, it brought the horror genre to the masses. Why? Because big-name streamers loved it.

Reaction videos to Amnesia's scarier scenes caught on like wildfire, and it's partly to thank for the sudden spike in video game streaming personalities in the early part of the decade. Without Amnesia, it's possible that the likes of PewDiePie and Markiplier might remain relatively unknown.

       It is an absolute tragedy that this didn't catch on.

Despite all of the unexpected successes, there were some "sure things" that ended up nosediving in the early part of the decade. Nintendo — normally a pillar of stability — saw the Wii U ultimately flop, even though the hardware itself had some fantastic applications.

If you haven't experienced Rayman Legends local multiplayer using both the Wii U pad and your television screen, then you missed out on a critical piece of amazing gaming history.

While the Wii U has been consigned to the dust bin, other parts of the early 2010 gaming landscape caught on like wildfire and still haven't gone out.

Though I point blank hated Skyrim, credit must be given where it's due. Bethesda captured the imagination of a generation with that particular Elder Scrolls entry, and Skyrim managed to remain popular enough to see re-release some dozen or so times across multiple consoles throughout the decade.

Without question, Skyrim played a large role in the success of the 2010 console cycle, but it had an even bigger impact on the PC landscape. Simply put, Skyrim is the king of mods, and has born an entire generation of modders that have created some truly fantastic experiences. 

To date, Skyrim has more than 56,000 downloads available on Nexus Mods. Yeah, a lot of them are nude mods, but between the total conversion mods and extremely clever gameplay tweaks, Skyrim can be an amazing game with the right modding.

The mod effect went well past Bethesda's fantasy baby this decade. Other open world games like Red Dead Redemption 2 are getting a slew of mods, but everything from XCOM to the Resident Evil 2 remake are finding extra play time through some pretty genius mods.

While story took a back seat to open-world exploration in Skyrim, storytelling as a whole wasn't left in the dust in this early period of the decade. Plenty of games weren't afraid to go with more mature or unexpected themes, from the devastating opening of The Last Of Us to the mind-bending twist in Bioshock Infinite

Story rich or story lacking, open world or linear, the early part of the 10s was drowning in genre-defining games... but things would take a turn just a few years later. 

The Mid 2010s

         Telltale looking at Telltale and getting ready to pull the trigger       

Has a developer ever risen so quickly and then fallen so far as Telltale? The Wolf Among Us and the first season of The Walking Dead are still hallmarks of interactive storytelling, but sadly, the development team, under immense pressure, faced insurmountable hurdles.

A badly aging engine, lack of new ideas, and overspending on major franchises weighed the dev down by the time Game Of Thrones Season 1 ended. Sadly, things did not improve, and the company shuttered later in the decade. We never got to see the heights this style could have reached if material like Stranger Things, Hellraiser, or True Detective had been made available.

While the Telltale name is currently clawing back from the dead, it appears this new version of the company won't feature the same people (which may be a good thing) and will work on a much smaller scale. Will we ever get anything as compelling as Bigby's murder mystery or Clementine's journey to adulthood? Probably not, but at least we've still got our memories. 

       Goodbye old friend. You will be missed.

Another amazingly bittersweet moment arrived in April 2016 as the beloved Xbox 360 finally met its end. While Games With Gold is still offering up free titles each month and a handful of games are still hitting the platform, production on this console legend officially stopped. If you've still got a 360, be sure to keep hold of it -- because no more are being made! Microsoft managed to bring out the longest-running console cycle in gaming history, lasting more than 10 solid years. 

The next-gen got off to a rocky start not long before the 360 ceased production (remember the horror that was Assassin's Creed Unity?) but the decade's trend of disappointing trilogy conclusions with Dead Space 3 and Mass Effect 3 would come to a shattering and conclusive close with The Witcher 3.

Without question, The Witcher 3 put CD Projekt Red on the map and showed that an open-world RPG could be story-rich and offer more than just endless fetch quests and following map markers. Even more impressively, The Witcher 3 remains one of the very few titles to feature DLC that is easily as strong as the base game.

Considering the many amazing ladies of the series (oh, and Geralt too, I guess) just made the leap to a Netflix Original Series, it seems The Witcher franchise is going to live on for quite some time.

The same time period didn't just see the arrival of some truly great games it also saw a change in how games are developed and the ways in which developers interact with players.

Although the method had been around for some time, it was around the mid-2010s that Early Access started to become a vehicle for on-going development. 

Though Early Access has seen its fair share of hate and has been legitimately abused, it gave us titles as diverse and satisfying as Darkest Dungeon, Slime Rancher, and later, Subnautica. Early Access has shown that supporting developers along the way and allowing tweaks to be made from fan feedback can result in better-finished products.

      Should have called it Baldur's Wind Dale: Temple Of Elemental Torment.

Rising alongside Early Access, the crowd-funding revolution also emerged in the 2010s, giving us an amazing crop of old-school RPGs like Pillars of Eternity and Wasteland 2

Fans wanted classic isometric games utilizing tactical real-time-with-pause or turn-based combat, but publishers just weren't willing to take the risk. They couldn't see that nostalgia equals money. Kickstarter and Indiegogo stepped in.

While Obsidian and InXile got snapped up by Microsoft in 2018 and it would seem are now cranking out some very off-brand console titles we still had a good number of years where fans had the final say on what would get released in those instances.

Kickstarter would later grow to feature revitalized classics such as Shenmue 3 and the Castlevania-adjacent Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Whether you asked for a refund and still think its a scam or are eagerly playing along, Star Citizen showed just how massive a crowd funding campaign can become. Somehow its still earning crowd funding revenue, having raked in more than $250 million from fans who know what they want and are willing to pay to get it.

Outside the realm of the typical gaming sphere, a surprising new genre would emerge and make a bigger impact than anyone suspected: absurdist games meant entirely for Let's Plays, reaction vids, and water-cooler talk.

"Classics" like Goat Simulator and Octodad: Dadliest Catch saw gamers re-thinking what truly makes a game great, while also laying the foundation for newer entries like Untitled Goose Game.

The Late 2010s

      Welcome back, Nintendo!

Breath Of The Wild was exactly what Nintendo needed to retake its position near the head of the pack. A major shift in gameplay towards an open-world style gave the Zelda franchise and the Switch a serious shot in the arm.

A brand new design for Nintendo's latest console didn't hurt either, as the combination of permanent home base console and mobile device re-captured the imaginations of gamers. While the controller and movement-based games like 1-2 Switch don't seem to have caught on, Nintendo is still very clearly back into position as console innovator. 

Another open-world game that defined this same period, but on the PlayStation 4, was Horizon Zero Dawn. The combination of old and new styles with a gripping mystery of humanity's past pushed forward by a fiery main character gave many players a reason to stick with the PS4. 

Considering the lauded Red Dead Redemption came out in 2010 and Red Dead Redemption 2 was one of the most highly anticipated titles of 2018, it's clear that the open-world trend has reigned supreme this decade.

One game refutes that claim, though, is Fortnite.

You might love to hate it, but you have to ask yourself: has any other title done more to bring gaming into the public consciousness? When Star Wars and Avengers hold in-game events in Fortnite, I think it's clear we've surpassed fandom boundaries and hit the big time.

The concept of Battle Royale has been around for quite awhile, and one could argue it hit its stride with PUBG not long after getting popular through the DayZ mod to Arma 2. That being said, it wasn't until Fortnite that the term became a household name and a genre giant in its own right. 

The resurgence of Battle Royale aside, Fortnite still plays a major role in live streaming, catapulting it to a previously unknown level of popularity with celebrity appearances and major eSports events. Fortnite managed to hit just about every platform imaginable, including mobile phones, and that's another area of gaming worth looking at that made a huge splash in the '10s.

      Not only is this peak 2010s, I'd argue it was also the
reason the internet was invented

Forget Angry Birds and Candy Crush, because there was an absolute explosion of mobile gaming covering every conceivable genre this decade. Aside from the clear cultural significance, Pokemon Go's launch started the AR craze meant to get gamers off the couch and out into the world of sunlight and exercise.

Even if you didn't care for the change in mechanics from the other monster-collecting titles, Pokemon Go was the gift that just kept on giving, from Pokemoan dildos (yep, they exist) to a Chuck Tingle erotica book, to a news cycle that kept bringing up new insanity every, single day.

While some games got smaller and more mobile, others got larger and more tethered VR broke into the mainstream. The PSVR brought true virtual reality to console gamers for a (sort of) affordable price for the first time.

Meanwhile, a number of dueling PC VR platforms are now pushing the boundaries and getting the tech where it needs to go. Vive and Oculus are currently duking it out, with the Oculus Quest now ditching wires and even the PC entirely for a more liberated experience. We haven't seen the best VR has to offer yet  that's for sure  but what's available today is already impressive.

If virtual worlds are less important to you than the interactions that occur within them, the late 2010s were a time when communities really started coming together through platforms like Twitch and Discord.

While the former popped up in 2011 and the latter in 2015, it hasn't been until recent years that they've really come into their own. Whether a mobile gacha title or a graphics-intensive PC shooter, pretty much every game worth playing has its own Discord community where players help each other out and forge new relationships.

New consoles, new tech, new ways of communicating, and new and returning franchises made this is a decade to remember in gaming history.

Looking Forward to 2020 and Beyond

That all about brings us to the present: 2019 was filled to the brim with major gaming news. Bungie parted with Activision but kept the Destiny series; Blizzard stepped in it with their poor handling of eSports players discussing Chinese democracy protests; and Xbox Game Studios snapped up Double Fine back in August.

On the release front, the tail end of the decade hasn't slouched with top-notch new games in a number of surprising genres. Disco Elysium came out of nowhere, and yeah, it deserves the hype. If you miss Planescape: Torment style text-heavy experiences, you want to play this one. The movie snippet experimentation with Telling Lies is also well worth experiencing and shows gaming can be just as interesting and story-rich as cinema. That's not to mention Netflix's Bandersnatch.

As the year ends, we're seeing more changes to the gaming landscape with monthly game services like Game Pass, PS Now, EA Access, and more coming into prominence. Even the mobile gaming crowd is getting in on the monthly subscription action with Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass. If you want to try out a bunch of games for a low monthly price, there's never been a better time to explore what's available on console, PC, or mobile devices.

Of course, the obvious next step of this digital revolution was the advent of the all-streaming Stadia and XCloud. The effect of those changes is still anyone's guess, but it sure looks like we're barreling towards a digital future with a Netflix style library of games.

As Google and all-streaming services come into the spotlight, the console wars still raged between Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. The PS4 managed to become the fourth best selling console of all time this gen, and some killer exclusives likely played a big role there. How the PS5 and Xbox Series X stack up against each other still remains to be seen.

Far more happened in this decade than we ever could have covered in one article, and I'm sure you'll be happy to tell me which games and events I missed that made this the best 10 years in gaming history.

For now, it's time to look toward the future, as next-gen consoles are well into development and are expected to arrive next holiday season. Major titles like Cyberpunk 2077, Baldur's Gate 3, and The Last Of Us 2 are mere months away, and we can't wait to see what the next 10 years have in store! 

What were your favorite video game moments from 2010-2019, and do you agree that it was the best decade in gaming history? Sound off in the comments below!

What We Want to See in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 Fri, 14 Jun 2019 12:01:26 -0400 Josh Broadwell


Playable Zelda in BotW 2


Everyone's talking about it. We've all wanted it for years, and Breath of the Wild only made it worse. It's time to play as Zelda in Breath of the Wild 2.


Zelda in BotW is a completely different take on the princess we're used to. She gets captured of her own accord, trying to save the kingdom; she might seem helpless, but it's the helplessness born of an identity crisis. Otherwise, she's got more determination, spirit, and ability than we've seen in any previous game.


That alone should be reason enough to let us play as Zelda in the upcoming sequel, since there's so much potential in her character, to say nothing of how it would change up the way players need to approach enemies and puzzles. Magical she may be, but Zelda's emphasis in the series (even in Smash Bros) has always been on speed and distance attacking.


Could it be Aonuma teasing fans or is it just because Zelda's on a journey with Link this time, instead of waiting at the end of the journey?


If it's the latter, that could still open up plenty of new gameplay possibilities, even if Zelda isn't playable as the primary main character herself. Chief among those options is making Link work together with her to solve puzzles, ideally in a way that lets you play co-op or switch control of characters somehow.




Even a masterpiece can be made better, even Breath of the Wild could do with some quality of life and content improvements. From more to do, more ways to interact, and hopefully more characters to play as, the sky seems like the limit for what we can expect from the sequel of the Zelda entry shattered the series' foundations the way it did.


More Combat Variety


Breath of the Wild changed Zelda combat in a tremendous way by doing away with almost all permanent weapons and gear. Other than creating a much more tense experience, the decision forces players to weigh each combat scenario and decide whether it's worthwhile or if they even have the right gear to handle the challenge.


But I want more.


Once Link gets access to more powerful weapons on a regular basis, or if you get the Master Sword and undergo the Trials associated with it, combat's edge is taken off just a bit.


Lynels can still kill you with one look, of course, and require some strategy, but you develop a rhythm in how you approach enemies, especially the Hynox. Shoot the eye, slash, slash, slash, run away, repeat.


That's why there should be more enemies and enemies with different strengths and weaknesses. Certain weapon types could be more effective against specific enemies, or there would be more monsters with elemental weaknesses. Given the apparent theme, there could be more of a light-and-dark motif as well, with Link getting the Light Arrows from the start that enemies might have a weakness to.


It wouldn't be a bad thing to see the Darknut make a return either.


Another possibility relates to Malice, the creeping purple mist associated with Calamity Ganon. Malice played a big role in BotW originally, and it looks like it's still going to be important in the sequel. Malice-altered monsters could be another way to change up combat, for example, where a normally easy Bokoblin suddenly becomes a lot tougher or acquires new abilities.


If Malice can change the entire landscape, it could certainly change monsters.


Bring Back the Gear


One of the major breakaways from traditional Zelda gameplay in BotW was how Link only got a few Runes to play with and no permanent gear or key items (aside from the completely missable Master Sword).


Despite their absence, it was pretty difficult to miss the Hookshot and various magical sticks Link's used over the years because the Runes are put to such good use. That doesn't mean it has to stay that way, though.


Aonuma mentioned the goal for the Breath of the Wild sequel is building on the world that was already established with the first game. That's a pretty open-ended statement that leaves all kinds of things to the imagination, like more obstacles in the overworld, more puzzles (see Dungeon slide), and generally more ways for Link to interact with the world.


Relegating some items like the hammer and boomerang to normal weapon status and then basically replacing the Hookshot with Magnesis (sort of) would make key items rather redundant — unless we got a whole new set of items. Or a whole new set of Runes to let players experience the game in yet another completely new and malleable way.


All of Hyrule's many high places and open spaces would lend themselves naturally to a Rune like the Cane of Somaria from Oracle of Ages as well, granting the option to make blocks or platforms, maybe even moving platforms.


But there's something even more important:


Zelda has magic, Link's controlled the weather before, and the rain sucks.


Put it all together and you've got a desperate need for a Rune that gives the power to control the weather. It wouldn't have to be limited to rain, either.


Giving the option to create a storm and control lightning, at a cost, would help vary combat options a lot. Plus you could save time by not dying when caught in a thunderstorm, or it could even be used to open doors or solve puzzles. Egads!


Meaningful Quests


The above image is a bit misleading, since building Tarry Town is one of the best and most rewarding sidequests in BotW. Other quests don't have quite the same impact, though.


Most games fall victim to the usual quest types: fetch me x, go kill y. Breath of the Wild is mostly no different. Even if exploring the world to accomplish these tried and true tasks is a joy in itself, the materials are there to make something even better.


A good deal of it revolves around the characters (see previous slide). Many of them request something unique sounding or different, like the desire for seeing specific gear sets or obtaining special ingredients. But then nothing really happens.


Then there are those characters who should have some kind of quest associated with them. For example, Paya has terrible self-esteem, so why not let the player do something to help her out?


Then there's the aforementioned Lurelin Village. A situation where Link's choice to help eliminate monsters resulting in some kind of change in the village would be nice. For instance, opening up new shopping opportunities or somehow having an effect on the world.


The world and people are so dynamic, and the quests do have the potential to be interesting. They should also have some kind of impact on the world.


That kind of cause and effect setup where the game can change based on the player's choice does require a lot of work. However, the core of BotW has the concept built into it anyway, and the sequel is being built on the same engine. With the backbreaking, trial-and-error work out of the way, this is the time to really dig into how the player can interact with Hyrule and its people.


Expanded NPC Interaction


Pretty much all Zelda games have quirky, lovable NPCs that range from the cute to the downright creepy (yes, Poe Collector, I am looking at you). Breath of the Wild is no different. In fact, Hyrule's chock full of interesting characters, from ill-fated travelers constantly beset by Bokoblins to a Zora priest who wants to help people be happy in marriage.


But that's sort of where it ends. Apart from giving Link a quest or an item, they don't serve too much purpose, nor do they change over time as Link solves problems or makes headway in, y'know, saving the world.


It's a missed opportunity to really make something of all the effort put into creating interesting NPCs.


One thing it would be nice to see is how things change for them, especially if Link (and maybe Zelda?) help them out somehow earlier on. It doesn't have to make NPCs and their lives an additional plot, like some games do, but open world games thrive on dynamic characters and how they interact with the player.


Lurelin is a good example of why the game needs this change. It's a gorgeous, interesting coastal town, where absolutely nothing happens, and it could just as easily never exist.


Rather than leaving people with the same dialogue and circumstances regardless of what the player does, some of them should move around, actually reach their destinations, fulfill their goals — something, anything. Tarry Town gives us a taste of what that might be like, and it's one of the most rewarding sets of character interactions in the entire game (see the next section for more on that).


I lied when I mentioned Breath of the Wild already has the open-world part down pat, plus all the ingredients for those kinds of immersive interactions anyway, because there's actually one missing, crucial thing:


Tingle. We need Tingle.


Real Dungeons


The one area Breath of the Wild really stumbles is when it comes to dungeons. Gone are the longer dungeons, making up for the lack of sprawling labyrinths with the multitude of smaller Shrines all over the place. The Divine Beasts are creative but too short, and the change they offer in gameplay style is over too quickly.


However, assuming Breath of the Wild 2 is a direct sequel that doesn't take place after some multi-thousand year gap, there's not much reason to revisit or re-use Shrines, nor can the Beasts make a return. They've all been explored; they've all served their purpose.


It's always possible Nintendo will give us new Shrines that exist for story reasons, but the general consensus is that the series needs its dungeons back. They'd be better than Shrines too.


True, BotW shook the formula up by using non-mandatory mini-dungeons, but there's no reason dropping a handful — not necessarily 8, maybe more, maybe fewer — of dungeons in the massive open world would detract from that sense of freshness. In fact, it'd be an excellent contrast to that open world and expand the promise the Divine Beasts left hanging, since they'd require a longer break from exploration and put players' skills to the test.


That could be done with some traditional gear-based puzzles or even with just the Runes. The few Runes Link wields in BotW are brilliant in their simplicity, and even after 100+ puzzles in the Shrines based on them, there's still so much possibility for further use. Much as I'd like to see some key story items return, I'd be perfectly happy with some major — and completely breakable — puzzles built around expert Rune use.


They don't even have to be "dungeons" in the usual sense. Breath of the Wild's Hyrule Castle is an excellent example of a non-traditional dungeon; just add more traps and puzzles, and there you go.


Deeper Story


Based on the teaser development BotW 2 trailer, it looks like the game's going to have a pretty big focus on story. At least, I hope it does. The first Breath of the Wild emphasized Ganon and the Calamity a lot in promotional materials before launch, when the player found story basically died after meeting Impa.


Now, there's nothing wrong with making the story like something out of Dark Souls or Skyrim, where the player has to search for it or can ignore it and still enjoy the story; but there's just so much material here begging to be utilized.


What's with the elemental dragons? Who are these monks, and what is their relationship to Ganon and Zelda? Why does the Temple of Time exist in this Hyrule? Was there ever a Ganondorf in this Hyrule? What happens to Hyrule after everything's back to normal?


That last one is actually something no Zelda game has ever really tried to tackle, but it has potentially interesting narrative opportunities in Breath of the Wild. It's not just rebuilding a civilization; it's rebuilding a monarchy and its authority as well, while rehabilitating the Shiekah and possibly still dealing with the Yiga clan and other threats to the established authority.


Obviously, the game probably isn't going to deal with all or most of that. The point is just there's a lot of content in the world to work with, even though much of it's optional. BotW 2 has the potential to weave a rich and varied story exploring lore, characters, dramatic happenings, and hopefully the return of everyone's favorite red-haired, evil-eyed, murderous giant.


A Full World


Breath of the Wild was an amazing new direction for the Zelda series and a more than competent open-world game in its own right. Like many open-world games, though, it suffered from a huge world with not exactly all that much to do in it.


Don't get me wrong: I explored every inch of it, twice. However, after a while, or depending on the situation, climbing up another mountain or venturing off the beaten track isn't quite as appealing, since you know there's probably just a Korok Seed to be found at the end of the journey.


In contrast, traveling over a mountain range (and not being spoiled by a guide) only to find a new village, a massive monster, or a group of travelers gives a thrill like no other. It just doesn't happen enough, but it's the kind of thrill the sequel needs to have.


A big part of making the world more engaging like that is, naturally, adding more places to see. Towns are the first thing that come to mind, but the world did just get wiped out a century ago, so bringing in a bunch of new towns probably wouldn't make sense. However, the seeds of new settlements would make sense. So would having more collectibles that make a bigger difference on gameplay the more you collect (unlike Hestu's poo gift for finding all the Korok seeds).


More mini-games wouldn't be unwelcome either, but one other thing that was definitely missed in Breath of the Wild is the trading game. Adding that to a vast, open world might be the equivalent of finding that one neighbor who wants their tape back in the original Animal Crossing (read: very frustrating), but there's no denying trying to find out what item is needed and who wants it would add an extra bit of challenge and give a reason for exploring everywhere.


Nintendo's big bombshell announcement that surprised even the previously in-the-know select press was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2. Okay, Nintendo technically didn't call it that, but there isn't much else we can call it right now.


Development is still apparently so early on that BotW 2's release date isn't even in that vague state of just having a year, and we don't have a clue what to expect, other than a darker story, lots of Malice, maybe zombie Ganondorf, and Zelda with short hair.


With so little detail to go on, it's the perfect time to start speculating and building up big expectations.


These kinds of lists are inevitable given how massively successful the original Breath of the Wild was and the way it subverted almost everything the series had done up to that point. Excellent as it is, there's always room for improvement, though.


Like most open-world games, BotW places emphasis on big, without necessarily having the content to fill that big space and make it worthwhile. Also, since the dust has settled around shaking up the standard, it means the possibility exists of working some more traditional elements back into the formula and refining both even further.


From more content to more people, and everything in between, here are some of the things we most want to see added in Breath of the Wild 2.

New Details, Screenshots of Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey VR Emerge Tue, 16 Apr 2019 13:51:30 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Some new information regarding The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's VR support and Super Mario Odyssey's new VR mini-games emerged from two different sources today.

The information about, and photos of, BOTW came from the game's technical director, Takuhiro Dohta, via a Nintendo UK blog post, while the details on SMO were provided on the Japanese Mario Odyssey Twitter page.

Dohta mentioned the idea for including VR support in BOTW came when the team was first shown concepts for Labo VR. Initially, the team wasn't completely sure how to incorporate the new features into BOTW and developed several different ideas for what might work.

Several early impressions revolved around implementing VR with combat, so players could get a new perspective on some of the game's more detailed enemies.

The main problem they encountered was combining VR with the fact that BOTW, like all Zelda games, is in third-person, while most VR experiences are designed to be played in the first-person.

However, Dohta said the team eventually decided to settle on experiencing key locations in VR as the best approach. Doing so would mean the game itself wouldn't change, remaining as the same experience for all players. It will also provide a reason for those who've already played the game to come back and enjoy it again.

The camera will be controlled via movement, though the feature can be turned off, should the player wish to do so.

As mentioned in our initial coverage, VR support will come after a small update set to launch April 25; it doesn't require a new game to enjoy as the feature can be toggled on or off at any time.

The Super Mario Odyssey VR experience will also be available April 25 and also requires a small update. The new additions revolve around a set of "bite-sized" mini-games and missions utilizing VR's capabilities of 360-degree rotation.

The Twitter translation of the tweet reads

[Playing in VR] This mode can also be played without using VR goggles. But... By all means, please enjoy the 360 ° spread [Super Mario Odyssey] using VR goggles!

Which means they're completely separate from the Labo VR Kit.

The Nintendo Labo VR Kits launched April 12, much to the surprise of many, since Nintendo only recently re-affirmed its commitment to AR, not VR.

However, the kits do adhere to Nintendo's family-friendly philosophy by not including a strap, which requires players to hold the VR Goggles to their faces

Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild Will Support Labo VR Fri, 05 Apr 2019 10:46:38 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Nintendo of America announced Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will both support the upcoming Nintendo Labo VR kit.

Starting April 25, players can download a free update for each game that will enable Toy-Con VR Goggle support, and Breath of the Wild players will not need to begin a new save file to utilize VR.

In Super Mario Odyssey, players will embark on three new mini-missions with Mario, spanning the Cap, Luncheon, and Seaside Kingdoms. These are describes as family-friendly, bite-sized missions and require players to collect coins and musical notes.

The brief trailer provided with the announcement shows Mario meeting with familiar characters and engaging in a variety of activities similar to the base game, including throwing Cappy to reach new places and finding seeds to turn into giant vines. 

It also appears that denizens of other kingdoms will be making their way around the world with Mario for his new mini-adventures, for example, a citizen of Tostarena appearing in the Seaside Kingdom.

The VR experience for Breath of the Wild seems rather different, though. Apparently, players can explore the entirety of Hyrule using the Toy-Con Goggles after downloading the update that implements VR support.

How the VR will work is another matter. The trailer shows the game still uses a third-person perspective, and it isn't completely clear what the main draw will be.

One of Nintendo's key points when Labo VR was first announced was that it was intentionally designed to limit extended use of the Toy-Con Goggles in children, making it more family friendly. That Odyssey uses mini-missions would seem to support that goal, but it seems BOTW's will be more a more expansive VR package than with Odyssey, since it isn't described as family friendly too.

For more details about Labo VR pricing and kits, check out our announcement piece with all the information you need.

Spider-Man, HZD, and The Legend of Zelda -- Or Why Towers Can't Meet Our Lofty Expectations Fri, 12 Oct 2018 17:20:32 -0400 William R. Parks

Since Ubisoft's 2007 mega-hit Assassin's Creed, towers have become ubiquitous -- seemingly countless open-world games now have them. 

Often used to reveal new map areas and collectible locations, players can expect to scale spires in a range of titles.

In 2017 alone, I spent over 150 hours of playtime across two new tower-centric titles: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon Zero Dawn.

Zelda's towers were standard-fare -- clear the enemies at the base and reach the top. Fortunately, I was so excited to be climbing in a Zelda game, the rote gameplay of these sections passed me by without leaving much of an impression.

Zero Dawn, on the other hand, I found particularly painful. Here, the towers are machines called Tallnecks. And they move.

To scale one, you need to find elevated ground, wait for the Tallneck to pass you by, and jump on to it. If you miss your jump, you're stuck waiting for the mammoth machine to pass by your spot again for another try.

And I certainly missed my fair share of jumps.

After these two titles, I was at a breaking point and decided I needed some time away from games with tower-affinity. Then along came Spider-Man, and again I found myself locating items from atop steeples.

But something was different.

In Spider-Man, this task is not centered around the sluggish act of climbing the tower itself. I could web-sling my way there without impedance. Rather, the focus is on completing very brief puzzles at the top and then moving to the next objective.


The deftness of the activity is what makes it palpable, but if the best part of Spider-Man's towers is that you pass through them rapidly, are they really a boon to the game overall?

I do agree that a system needs be in place to gradually reveal Spider-Man's map and collectibles -- there are a vast number of collectibles available from the very beginning of the game, and it would be quite overwhelming to see them all the first time you access your map.

However, if the towers themselves are going to be treated as non-events, why not circumvent them all together? Are they really needed when you could simply uncover GPS caches, for example, or craft an awesome gadget in Doc Ock's lab?

Or what about Spidey-sense?

Spider-Man enters a new area, his Spidey-sense tingles, and voila: that map area and its collectibles are revealed. That would be more than enough for me.

In a game that is likely perched at the top of many GOTY lists, tower-perching for collectibles seems a bit ... lazy. At the very least, tired. 

While I am glad to see Spider-Man transform towers into yet another platform for Spidey's fluid parkour -- rather than obstacles to overcome -- it is time for developers to find a new approach to how their games' maps are explored.

If they reach high enough, they just might.

The Nintendo Switch Has Continued to Prove Online Multiplayer Isn't the Key to Success Sat, 10 Mar 2018 14:29:41 -0500 buymymixtape123

If you've been keeping up with the gaming world for the past few years, you might have noticed a trend of online-focused or online-only games outperforming single-player games. Games like Overwatch and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, which are multiplayer games, have been selling way more copies than single-player games like Resident Evil 7 and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. Online multiplayer-focused games have been dominating the industry, which has spurred companies to add multiplayer components to their single-player games in an attempt to attract a multiplayer audience. But there's one company that hasn't given in to the temptation multiplayer gaming's broad appeal: Nintendo.

The Switch doesn't have many multiplayer-focused titles on the system -- sure, you have Splatoon 2 or even Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but most Switch-exclusive games are single-player, and this has in no way hindered the success of either the system or its games. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which released alongside the console back in March 2017, was universally praised and won plenty of Game of the Year awards, all of which it deserved. Yet, Breath of the Wild didn't have any multiplayer component, online or local, and it still sold like hot cakes, clocking in at nearly 8 million copies sold according to

Nintendo has also shipped plenty of Switch consoles as well, selling a little over 4 million units, making it the fastest selling console in the US. The reason behind the Switch's success despite its focus on single-player games is the consistent, unparalleled quality of their exclusive titles. They aren't rushed games with sloppy development -- you can count on Nintendo to provide high-quality gameplay that's packed with content, and you can always tell that the companies making these games have put their heart and soul into bringing amazing, single-player experiences to their audiences. All you have to do is play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey for a few hours to realize how much attention and care the devs have given every little detail in their games, and to see the massive amount of content for you to experience in each of their worlds. It could take you dozens of hours to get through these games, but it'll never feel like a chore.

Everybody in the gaming world is familiar with The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario -- and they also know that games that come from these franchises tend to be great. Their names alone are enough to sell games, and Nintendo's legendary pedigree of single-player franchises is proof that people will always be looking for amazing single-player games.

Player Influence in Video Games: Control Given to the Player Mon, 26 Feb 2018 14:26:06 -0500 The Spicy Kiwi

 One of the most unique characteristics of a video game, setting the medium apart from other media like movies or books, is the control that the player is given (the interactivity). Action games like Super Meat Boy have been praised for giving the player precise and complete control over their character. Other games, like Five Nights at Freddy’s, are praised for giving the player extremely limited control. When is it beneficial to give the player total control, and when is it appropriate to limit their control of the game world? Let's take a look at a few standout games and how they handle player influence.

First, let’s establish what I mean by “control” or “player influence.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary says that it’s “to direct influence over” or “to have power over something.” To relate this to video games, I’ll say that having control means having a meaningful influence or impact on the game’s systems/mechanics. The more control the player is given, the more influence they have over the game's systems/mechanics. Games that give the player a high level of control will be considered to have a high influence rating, and vice versa for games that limit control.

An old Atari joystick -- still a classic controllerA sleek, customized PS4 controller doesn't necessarily mean you have more influence over the game

More buttons doesn't mean more control/influence. It's all about the game's design.

Because video games are an interactive medium, it makes sense to give the player more control/influence over what happens. It makes sense to give the player more opportunities to interact with the game world. Many action games, such as those in the Call of Duty, The Elder Scrolls, or Devil May Cry series, give the player plenty of options as to how to approach the game's mechanics. In Call of Duty the player has complete control over their character. Aiming, shooting, running, crouching, and jumping are all controlled by the player. Anything that a soldier could do in reality can usually be done with the press of a button in Call of Duty. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim lets the player choose the mechanics they want to level up, thus allowing for unique approaches to the game's scenarios. Influence is given in the form of a complex and dynamic system to level up the Dragonborn’s abilities. Devil May Cry asks the player to dispose of countless angels and demons by providing a large list of attacks and combos. This approach allows for control over every attack, with the only limiting factor usually being the attack animations. I have given each one of these games a high influence rating because the player is offered a wealth of options on how to influence the game's systems. Not a single button on the controller goes to waste in these games. New scenarios are constantly being thrown at the player, and these games demand a high level of control over their character to reach its maximum potential (or else face the consequences of a game over).

Action games where the player assumes the role of a single character usually limit the player through attack animations (as mentioned earlier on the topic of Devil May Cry). The Dark Souls games offer a wide variety of weapon and combat styles, but every attack must be planned out in advance. Once a button is pressed to perform a heavy attack, no other action can be done until that attack has finished. This is very similar to the Smash Brothers series. Every attack made can be seen as an opening for a counterattack to the opponent. These games indirectly limit the player’s control over the character. You, the player, choose to do a heavy hitting “up-smash,” but upon missing your opponent with this attack, you’re left defenseless for a brief moment. I would still consider these games to have a high influence rating because the control the player has over the character is only limited by their own inputs. The game hasn’t removed any of the player’s control but allowed the player to strategically limit it themselves.

Super Smash Brothers requires deft timing and close attention to opponent moves

A perfectly timed dodge leaves the opponent open for a counterattack.

A developer doesn’t need to make a fast-paced, high-action game in order to give the player full control over the mechanics. Strategy games, turn-based or real-time, are games that I would also consider to have high influence ratings. Games like Civilization, Starcraft, or XCOM allow the player to take control of multiple people, ranging from a small squadron to an entire empire. In turn-based tactics games, the player is given every opportunity to plan ahead before the enemy makes a move. They’re given the option to look over their own information and stats, and sometimes their opponents' info and stats, and make a well-informed decision before passing the baton over to the enemy. Real-time games offer the same form of control, but both teams work at the same time rather than one at a time. The only way that these games remove control from the player is by not allowing them to see what the enemy is up to. The army that the player controls can only influence how the opponent acts.

It’s also important to note that many high influence games will limit the influence given to the player once or twice throughout the main story. This usually comes in the form of removing the items that the player has been relying on (like on Eventide Island in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild). These are low influence levels in high influence games. These levels normally serve as a reminder to the player as to how far they’ve come. The game still retains its high influence rating, but it uses a low influence level to change up the gameplay style.

In Breath of the Wild's Eventide Island side quest, Link finds himself without his weapons and armor

Even after losing all of his armor and being stripped to his undergarments, Link still remains determined through the Eventide Island side quest.

Now, let’s talk about low-influence games and the genre with which this design works well.

At first, limiting control given to the player sounds like a passive, movie-like experience, but being able to carefully limit control can create an experience just as engaging as any high influence game. A low influence experience usually creates a tense atmosphere, where the player is at the mercy of the game itself. Ideal reactions to the game’s scenarios are key to succeeding in these games.

A perfect example is the Five Nights at Freddy’s series. The goal of FNAF is to survive the six-hour night shift at a pizzeria (similar to that of Chuck E. Cheese’s), but the animatronic animals are all out to kill you. The player can’t move from their starting position in the office, and they must carefully monitor the movements of the animatronics through the security camera station. The only protection they have if the animatronics get too close are two doors that can be opened and closed at will (provided that there’s still power to do so). Should one of the animatronics enter the office, it’s curtains for the newly hired night watchman.

The player has no way of moving (being stuck in the office), minimal options for defense (only closing the doors), and using those defenses only lowers the chances of survival in the long run (depleting power resources), yet FNAF is one of the most widely recognized and most followed horror video game franchises ever. The little influence that the player is given creates a suspenseful atmosphere where every move made could very well be the last (and there could be a jumpscare ... nobody likes jumpscares). FNAF would not be the same if the night guard (the player) could roam around the pizzeria and beat down the animatronics; the player would no longer feel threatened by the presence of Freddy. To give FNAF a high influence rating would also be to remove the horrifying mechanics that make the player feel vulnerable.

Five Nights at Freddy's builds suspense by limiting player mobility

The player cannot move from this spot while playing Five Nights at Freddy's. They can only sit still while the animatronics hunt them down.

Other horror games limit player control in a similar way. The Outlast games only allow vision in dark places through a camcorder that runs out of battery incredibly fast. Resident Evil hands out very limited ammunition to fight off the zombie uprising. Slender only allows the player to run … and that’s it (I never understood Slender). Low influence ratings work best in horror video games, and I have yet to see this design work well in another genre of video game.

Player influence is key in video game design. The control given to the player makes video games more unique than any other medium of entertainment. It’s most appropriate in action and strategy games to allow the player to have a high influence, while in most horror games, limiting influence creates a more intense and scary experience. Consider how much control has been given to you in some of your favorite video games. It might reveal more about the game than you realize.

8 Games That Could Be Considered "Art" Sun, 18 Feb 2018 13:13:05 -0500 buymymixtape123

Video games have come a long way from the 8-bit sprites of the 80s. Games now rival other forms of media in art style, storytelling and music. Video games are as much of an art form as a movie or a piece of music. Here are eight games supporting this thesis and showing the boundaries gaming pushes as a art form.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt  

The Witcher 3 is as beautiful as a game could get. Just peering over the horizon while the sun is setting is just as soothing as looking over a real sunset. Furthermore, the narrative and music are exceptionally good, rivaling other popular high fantasy stories like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. I remember the first time I played this game back in May 2015, and just riding through Velen for the first time on Roach and taking in the sights and sounds of the world changed the way I looked at gaming. This game made me realize that gaming is art.


Cuphead is one of those games many gamers would look at and think it's a 1930s cartoon. Cuphead is brilliantly designed and stays true to the 1930s cartoon look, even having the strong film grain cartoons and movies of the past used to have. This run and gun, boss rush game is notorious for its hard difficulty but just taking the time to appreciate the art that this indie studio, Studio MDHR, made is enough to make you fall in love with this game.



Bioshock is a game on this list that's artistic for more than its art style. This doesn't mean Bioshock isn't a beautiful game, just going down into the underwater city of Rapture in the first few moments is going to make your jaw drop. But the narrative is what pushes this game into art territory. The game pushes you to think about what is wrong and what is right, and even comments on tyrants and the struggle of power and narcissism. Not a lot of games cover subject matter like this, and Bioshock does it beautifully, to the point where you want to know what is going to happen next in this amazing story. Bioshock is more than a game; it is a piece of art.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

There is one moment in gaming I will never forget and it is the moment at the start of Breath of the Wild, where Link first comes out the Shrine of Resurrection and looks over the horizon of Hyrule for the first time. At this point of my life, I never thought a game would surprise me like that and this moment did to the point of tears. Breath of the Wild isn't a perfect game, but it is art in every aspect of the word. The attention of detail Nintendo did with the landscape of the world, the cartoonish but beautiful graphics all show how gaming is art. 

The Last of Us

The Last of Us shows that video game narratives can be just as compelling and serious as a feature length movie. The Last of Us story of Ellie and Joel as they survive together in a post-apocalyptic world is heart wrenching, addictive and bittersweet. Not to mention that this game is beautiful and dark, which the PS4 remastered port expands upon. This game's story is so beautifully crafted that it's well-known outside of gaming. Even non-gamers know of this title and enjoy Naughty Dog's creation.  


Journey is one of those games that will impact you immensely in the short time it takes to beat. It isn't hard and doesn't have complicated mechanics, but it uses beautiful visuals and music to tell an emotional tale of a robed individual in the vast desert. Journey's soundtrack was so beautiful that it was nominated for a Grammy in 2013, one of the highest awards in music. If after you play Journey, you still don't think video games are art, you may have to get your head checked out.

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker was hated when it was first announced. Nintendo went for more of a cartoony, colorful experience than following the graphics laid out in Ocarina of Time or Majora's Mask. But, people came to notice how beautiful this game really was and how fun the game is in general. Nintendo really focused on facial animation in Wind Waker, where Toon Link makes a certain face when he swings a sword or tries to push something that is too heavy for him. Also, the game is gorgeous for its cel shading graphics. This games still looks as good, if not better, than games coming out on the Switch.

Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus is beautiful because of how little it does compared to other games. Other games on this list earn their beauty from a wide arrange of colors and architect. This game does not have any of that, as there are no towns to go to, nothing to really look at and no other quest besides killing all of the Colossi around you. It is similar to Journey, where the game takes you on a emotional roller coaster without really doing much. This is the beauty of gaming: it is able to tug at your heart strings just through gameplay, art style and music alone, without a direct narrative putting it all together. If you are unsure if Shadow of The Colossus is in fact art, please check out the PS4 remastered that just came out recently.

There you have it, eight games symbolizing why video games can be considered art. When it comes down to it, if any other media like movies and music can be considered art, then video games should be as well. 

Nintendo Wasted a Massive Amount of Potential with Breath of the Wild Tue, 13 Feb 2018 12:13:35 -0500 Nerdburglars

Nintendo has been very slow to embrace digital services when compared to the likes of Sony and Microsoft. Having personally spent time using the networking features on the 3DS, Wii, and Wii U, it is very clear that building an online gaming network was very low on Nintendo's list of priorities for these systems. DLC, when implemented correctly, has become one of the greatest things for hardcore fans of various games.

We no longer need to wait years for more content, as developers can simply release more bite-size chunks of content for a game that has already been released. Why is it that Nintendo is not grasping the potential here?

With the introduction of the Switch, Nintendo has had a change of heart and definitely seems to have an interest, but they are still years behind the competition. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is likely going to be the biggest release on the Nintendo Switch for quite some time, possibly until the next Zelda game is released.

Speaking as someone who has been a massive Zelda fan since first playing The Legend of Zelda on the NES, I would eat up every piece of DLC that would be released for this game. Breath of the Wild is a massive open-world game with endless potential for additional content. The potential alone for additional content that takes place after the game's ending is massive.

Breath of The Wild has sold over 5 million copies on the Switch, which is an absolutely staggering amount considering it was a launch game for a new gaming system. This is over 5 million people that Nintendo had the potential to make more money from.

There is a $20 season pass on the eStore for Breath of the Wild. This adds some new content to the game, but it's really not THAT substantial when you compare it to the level of DLC released for similar games like The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4. Currently, there are 2 DLC packs for Breath of the Wild.

In a recent interview with Famitsu, Breath of the Wild producer Eiji Aonuma clarified that development on this game has finished, making "The Champions Ballad" the final DLC pack. This seems like a massive waste of the huge potential they had to create new content for this game without having to completely build a new game.

Don't get my wrong, I think Nintendo is doing a great job with the Switch so far, and I am incredibly grateful they are not stuffing microtransactions down our throats like Ubisoft is. I am sure I speak for most gamers when I say that I am sick of getting games that are completely stripped of content and that need you to pay for the rest at a later date. It just feels like Nintendo has missed out on a massive opportunity to give Zelda fans more content and, from their end, make a lot more money from selling this content.

Some might argue that it is better for them to move onto a new game instead of staying stuck in the past, and this does make sense -- but not in this context. Nintendo is working on the next game, but it's likely four to five years from release. At this stage in the process, it will be a lot of work to nail down a story, quests, concept art, and other planning that takes place before the development begins.

Why not keep the programmers and 3D designers busy making more content for the previous game while other members of the team plan the new game?

As much as I would love to, I do not have any insight into the Nintendo mindset, so I can't answer this. I am sure Nintendo has its reasons, but I think a lot of that might come down to an underestimation of the digital market and the demand for DLC. For now, we can at least be thankful that they gave us the masterpiece that is Breath of the Wild.

10 Sexiest Bachelorettes in the Gaming Universe Mon, 22 Jan 2018 10:00:02 -0500 ThatGamersAsylum


Player Character from Every Game that Lets you Create Your Own Character, EGTLYCYOC


Whether you are playing Skyrim, Mass Effect, or Fire Emblem, you can rest easy knowing that when the control is placed into your hands, you can create your ideal woman, or at least the one who most nearly approximates your ideal woman based off of the customization options available at your fingertips.


Some RPGs leave the story so open-ended that you have complete freedom of interpretation; in other words, you can decide your own character traits. So if there's a quality your dream girl would have that no sane game developer would have the guts to include, then you can take solace in knowing that she has it, even if it is an unspoken truth that only you and she know about.




Phew! That was exhausting. It’s hard to write about so many beautiful women without getting a little worn out. But alas, my mission is complete, and we have brought together the 10 sexiest bachelorettes in gaming. Since I already know I am inevitably wrong, who would you have loved to have seen on this list? And which entries do you think should be taken off? We’d love to hear about what fictional ladies keep you up at night.


Note: If fictional ladies are literally keeping you up at night, you might want to contact your physician about that. Our comment section is not a sounding board for medical advice.


Gardevoir Jane Doe from Pokemon series


I know what you are thinking:”But she’s a Pokemon .…” This is factually accurate. But before you hop onto your high Rapidash and start making comparisons to bestiality, I’d like to point out that while many Pokemon are rather beast-like, there are also a lot of animated objects — aka not beasts. That’s not even to mention all the ghosts, most of which are actual human beings’ souls manifest in different fashions. To further humanize Gardevoir, I would like to point out that she specifically belongs to the human-like egg group, which is sort of a contradiction since we humans don't breed via externally laid eggs, but my point stands! Gardevoir is also a psychic type, many of which have been shown to be capable of communicating with humans telepathically, which is arguably an even more advanced form of communication than vocal expressions of language.


In fact, Game Theory’s old video titled Humans are Pokemon, embedded below, gives plenty of great reasons why it’s not really all that crazy to think that Pokemon are related to us, including ancient lure that suggests human and Pokemon were once interchangeable as well as evidence that evolution plays a role in the Poke-verse. As such, it's not all that hard to believe certain Pokemon, like Gardevoir, are biologically very similar to us humans.



With the realization that Gardevoir is actually of a species that is merely a lateral move away from human beings, I have decided to strike through her name in the header and instead recognize her as Jane Doe until the liberated members of the genus Gardevoir have each independently chosen their own names.


For this reason, seeking out a Gardevoir as a partner is not about "catching" a foine humanoid Pokemon. In fact, it is something that can't even be truly sought until a whole societal structure has been toppled. A societal structure that has willingly placed close genetic relatives of human beings into subjugation next to literal trash monsters. 


This may have started out with an edgy joke about hitting things off with a Gardevoir, but this has now become a call to arms. Things must be changed. Join our cause and help save our brothers and sisters in captivity today!


Cortana from Halo series


I might have said that Yuna represented the perfect balance between desirable and attainable, and that’s true within the context of the article. That is to say, assuming she’s real and attainable. As such, Cortana represents a somewhat meta-selection for this list. Assuming digital girls are obtainable still leaves Cortana unattainable, because she's a program inside of a program. As such, she would only be a viable mating option if viewed through an in-universe "Top 10 sexiest AIs in the Halo Universe" article. 


Cortana is also notable for being a high-profile character that becomes increasingly more voluptuous as her series goes on, while the reason behind her being voluptuous in the first place was never clear. According to a guy who transcribed a GamesRadar interview, franchise chief Frank O'Connor seemingly admits that Cortana was made to be sexy and that any reasoning as to why that might be was only thought about after the fact. Which would be fine if he didn't hide it under some sort of logic where she uses sexuality to manipulate people. All I'm saying is that I couldn't ever imagine a situation where her sexuality would be utilized to leverage me to place her in a position that her mere wit would not; she's only on this list for her wits. Her sexy, blue wits.


Yuna from Final Fantasy X and X-2


Lady Yunalesca has a ton of attractive qualities without overwhelming you with, "I'm a strong female lead who's super badass!" (Although she is badass.) Watching her character arc over the course of the first and second games shows someone who goes from being shy, timid, and reserved to her place in the world to being someone that is willing to carve out her own place in the world and let loose a little bit while still caring for others. That’s not to mention that she’s cute, quirky, awkward, loyal, kind, and other superlatives you’d throw at someone. If she has one character flaw, it’d probably be that she cares too much. (No seriously, she was willing to sacrifice herself and marry the creepiest guy this side of the farplane.) Okay, so in a lot of ways, she is a traditional leading character. 


Thankfully, the guy that was her romantic pursuit and who helped shape her along this great arc was actually like a ghost or something the whole damned time. It’s actually kind of confusing. Regardless, he’s not in the picture, and that’s perfect. Because while Yuna is all of those great things above, she has daddy issues since he sacrificed himself to “save” the world when she was a child, and she’s grieving the death (re-death?) of her lover. If there’s ever a better, more opportune time to strike gold, then I haven’t seen it.


I’m not saying it’d be easy, but half of what makes someone attractive is their availability. Too hard to get and it’s unattainable. Too easy and it’s not fun. Yuna’s just right, though, and that’s why she makes this list.


Mother Brain from the Metroid series


If brains are important to you, then — in a very literal sense — you are in the right place. Mother Brain has a ton of brains because she basically is just a giant brain (I know some iterations have the brain on top of a giant monster, but I'm not about that life, fam.). Some might say that beauty isn’t just skin deep, and I could hardly agree more, considering that Mother Brain doesn’t have any skin at all — just a brain surrounded by a giant glass container. Sure that might be disconcerting for some, but not me. I love brains.


Am I completely missing the point of the skin-deep cliche by only loving her for the physical beauty of her brain and not the actual personality stored within? Why yes. I most assuredly am, but I might also be missing the point of this article.


That’s right, Mother Brain might not be a bachelorette at all. I mean her name is MOTHER, and if there is a mother, there must be a father somewhere. Usually, fathers are husbands, and while the possibility of a breadth of Baby Dad Brains is completely possible, this is Nintendo we are talking about, so I highly doubt it. They’d keep things PG and only allude to consensual sex between Mother Brain and Father Brain, obviously.


Lastly, I’d be remiss if I weren’t to mention her physical appearance. Look, I know she’s a BIG brain, but big girls deserve love too. On top of that, she has a beautiful, glaring eye that you could just get lost in for days. Combine that with her giant, sleek spikes, which make her feel playfully unapproachable, dangerous, and edgy, and you really have someone that is irresistible. She’s the whole package ... except for a body. She doesn’t have one of those, but basically, everything else you could want is there.


Zelda from the Legend of Zelda series


After nearly three decades of having little to no personality, it is nice to finally see Princess Zelda become a fleshed-out character — well, as fleshed out as video game characters get. I’ve always liked the quiet and shy type, and there’s nothing that says quiet and shy quite like not saying enough over three decades to warrant having a discernible personality.


To make things even better, Zelda also spices things up with some classy, story-convenient amnesia that leaves her acting like a pirate in Wind Waker. Talk about personality! Pirates always have a ton of personality, whether it’s stealing things, pillaging (or in the case of Nintendo, sort of gently harassing people but never really causing any discernible harm), or, well I guess that’s about all pirates do.


Oh, and there was that time where Zelda cross-dressed and turned into Sheik. She's truly an odd girl.


You might argue that Zelda isn’t actually a bachelorette. But let’s not play coy: if a girl leads you on for three decades before finally talking to you, I’d beg to say she’s probably not that into you. Anyway, even if she was into Link, it’d be hard to not notice someone and be at least remotely interested after he’d saved your life and/or kingdom for like the 20th time — I don’t really think things would turn out that well, considering that the only character in the series who has struggled with exhibiting any sort of personality or emotions more than Zelda has been her savior, Link.


GLaDOS from the Portal series


Who doesn’t love GLaDOS? Isn’t that solid-enough logic to land her on this list, or am I -- much like GLaDOS -- fundamentally misunderstanding a core part of what drives human beings? I mean, everyone who has played Portal loves her and says she is one of the best parts of the game. Naturally, that means she should be desirable on a list like this. Sure, she’s a little murderous and seems to mostly lack empathy, but if you’re a sub, then that should be right up your alley. And as I am sure I have mentioned at least once or twice so far on this list, I am nothing if not inclusive.


Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider series


Lara Croft was the poster girl for video game girls from her inception in the 90’s until, possibly still now? There really aren’t many franchises based around women in video games. With her short shorts, long braid, and giant, blocky, pyramid-shaped, polygonal breasts, Lara Croft caught the attention of just about every gamer, for better or worse. In a move that drips with the forced shock and edginess of the '90s, Lara Croft’s sex appeal was leveraged into Tomb Raider’s silver screen translation of the same name, Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie.


I saw this movie as a child, but I don’t remember much about it. What I do remember, rather distinctly, is the conversation my mom and aunt had afterward, wherein both proclaimed that Angelina Jolie was so hot that they could see themselves going gay for her. Which was sort of odd.


I had to agree: she was definitely very hot. But what if Angelina Jolie were to become my second mom? Then I’d be like,”Damn second mom, you are, like, really hot!” And that’d be all sorts of weird and would give me extremely conflicting issues into adulthood, along with some mommy problems. I guess I should just be thankful that Angelina Jolie never came beckoning at our door.


So here's to Lara Croft for making me ask weird questions about how I’d feel with a hot, unrelated, celebrity lesbian mom. I probably would've been fine with it ....


Lusamine from Pokemon Sun and Moon


A list like this is always going to be fundamentally flawed. For instance, it is likely to be dominated by characters from games people actually know or care about. Moreover, it will also be dominated by characters the author is familiar with. But perhaps the most glaring flaw is that it will be dominated by characters that the author finds attractive, which is at least partly the purpose of the list and yet also seems to fly in the face of it. I mean, no one wants to just know which 10 video game girls I find the hottest.


And yet, with Lusamine, my weird sense of humor and my attraction to a character combine, resulting in me both adding her to this list and to an hour-long break from writing this article that leads me into dark places of the internet where hentai rules all and Lusamine is a proverbial queen. I mean, she literally is engulfed by a giant tentacle monster in the actual video game, so Nintendo kind of dropped the ball on that one.


Tracer from Overwatch


Yeah. I know, I choose one of the most basic options to start out, but I just wanted to make sure to ease you into things, okay?


You frankly can’t have as much porn made involving you as Tracer has and not at least be considered for this list. I know this technically makes half of the Overwatch cast subject to being placed on this list, while the other half are either men or robots. But it’s because of this that I view Tracer as somewhat symbolic and representative of the larger female portion of Overwatch’s cast.


Tracer was one of the first characters shown off. She is generically heroic and preppy, as opposed to characters like Widowmaker. Oh, and she’s on the game’s freaking cover! It’s hard for Blizzard to be any more clear about the fact that she is the game’s primary mascot. You can like whichever character you want, and the love seems to be spread around, but Tracer is their darling. Lastly, she’s also the only LGBTQ character on this list. While I'm no SJW -- not that many people seem to profess that they are -- I had to show some love for the ladies that love the ladies.


So, while I don’t REALLY need to defend why I choose this Overwatch female for my list of sexiest bachelorettes in the gaming universe, I did. Enjoy!


Ah, can’t you smell that? Love is in the air, and it’s time for everyone who's anyone to cash in on the ensuing Valentine’s Day-themed money rush. (Look, I can be complicit to the system while still criticizing it.) Anyway, what trouble did choosing our favorite video game gals based off of random, varying, and ill-conceived criteria ever cause anyone?


Changing gears, I’d like to place some caveats on this list: I can’t promise all the women on this list are bachelorettes. And even if they are at the time of writing, this list will not be updated to reflect their future relationship statuses, so be warned. Likewise, I can’t promise that the above non-existent criteria for who I choose will line up with your likely existent, yet ill-advised, and poorly contemplated criteria for who I should have chosen. As such, you might disagree with some of my entries on this list.


That being said, to the best of my knowledge, all of the women are indeed women, even if they only loosely fit the criteria that you might hope would define it, such as having a body. If nothing else, rest assured all of these fine ladies are from video games.


Now, without further ado, let’s get started.

The GameSkinny Community's 2017 Game of the Year Picks Tue, 26 Dec 2017 10:00:02 -0500 Josh Broadwell

2016 was no slouch as far as gaming went, but 2017 was absolutely spectacular. From new systems, rebirths of old genres, and reimaginings of some of the best-known IPs, it'd be difficult for anyone to choose just one favorite game from this year. But that's what we did anyway. We asked our community writers what their top AAA, mid-tier (or AA, if you prefer), indie, and mobile games were this year, and here's what they had to say.

Thomas Wilde

As you'd expect after seeing his usual monthly catalog, freelancer Thomas Wilde chose from a broad range of games for his best-of-year picks.

Best AAA Game
Asking someone to make a choice like that in 2017 is like asking them to pick a favorite vital organ, and I haven't quite managed to play everything yet. It was even a good year for horror games. In a year where everything else about human existence seemed determined to suck, video games offered one of the best lineups of titles in maybe a decade or more, with surprisingly few outright disappointments.

My top three is some combination of Resident Evil 7, Tekken 7, and Prey, depending on the day. Tekken 7 has a disappointing set of features in its long-awaited home releases, but the gameplay there is solid and quintessentially Tekken in a way that keeps you playing for evenings on end; Prey wraps itself around you and doesn't quite let go, with a paranoid atmosphere that has you questioning your own possessions and a truly weird alternate history; and Resident Evil 7 proves less is a lot more by removing (most of) the action-movie spectacle of the franchise and getting genuine scares out of something so simple as an old man with a shovel.

Best Mid-Tier Game
I'd probably hand this one to Nier: Automata, simply for how it sticks with you. It's a deeply weird game in a way that you don't typically get out of any release, indie or not. It feels like a localized production from an alien race. Sure, at its heart, it's a simple, remarkably short shooter/brawler, but it has a lot to say about loneliness, sentience, and violence. Even in as crowded a year as 2017, it's a stand-out for how it utilizes the medium.

Best Indie Game
I got a lot out of RiME. It may flag a bit towards the end, but it's a simple, evocative, and, above all else, colorful game, with effective puzzles and a bizarre world that keeps you asking questions. It's a learning experience about atmosphere and minimalism.

Ty Arthur

Freelancer and guide writer Ty Arthur had the unenviable task of choosing from several contenders, but he managed to do so nonetheless.

There were some absolutely fabulous games this year, from the long-awaited PS4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn to a slew of Switch hits like Breath Of The Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. Both Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and Call Of Duty: WWII rocked it on the first-person, Nazi-killing fronts, and Friday The 13th was more fun than it had any right to be. We got some very unexpected gameplay changes from Nier: Automata and Resident Evil 7 that sort of rocked the gaming world, along with a crop of outstanding RPGs. While it doesn't quite match its predecessor,Torment: Tides Of Numenera is easy to sink a whole lot of hours into if you love classic computer RPGs, and of course Persona 5 dominated on the console front. Now onto the impossible task of actually picking the best of the best!

Best AAA Game: While any of the above-mentioned games could easily sit in this spot depending on personal preference, I'm going to have to go with Arkane's tweaking of the stealth action formula with the sci-fi/horror mashup Prey. It has everything that makes the Dishonored games great, but in a revamped setting that really messes with your head. I love the combination of RPG elements with stealth combat that rewards thinking outside the box, and just wandering around the station learning little details about the people who lived there before all hell broke loose was a pleasure, even outside the killer gameplay.

Best Mid-Tier Game: I suppose there's some wiggle room on what exactly constitutes “mid-tier” over indie, so this might be a bit controversial, but I'm going to solidly put Divinity: Original Sin 2 here in this category. That was a game that absolutely lived up to the hype, and not many titles do that. This is the sort of title that shows why crowdfunding needs to exist and that the practice actively enhances the gaming landscape. Hats off to Larian for keeping the gameplay recognizable while improving on the original game in every single way. There's a hundred different ways to approach any situation, with dozens of character builds, and I've yet to get tired of trying out different combos. If you love turn-based RPGs, be prepared to sink a hundred hours or so into this one.


Best Indie Game: For me, easily the best RPG of the year is a little indie excursion that came out of nowhere and absolutely bowled me over with its amazing combination of style, substance, and humor: West Of Loathing! I'm still sort of in awe over how a black and white game with stick figure graphics managed to grab me and never let go. Every element of the game is hilarious, and there's always more to discover, whether it involves demonic cows, ghost pickles, or even more absurd hijinks. Throw in a killer old-school overland map, with random encounters that easily match the best of the '90s PC RPGs, and you've got a rare gem on your hands here that delivers on all fronts. It's laugh out loud funny and keeps you hooked with solid, classic gameplay.

El Conquistadork

Freelance writer El Conquistadork's choices are equally as varied and go to show that you don't have to love everything about a game for it to be your favorite too.

Best AAA Game: Horizon: Zero Dawn. I just had so damn much fun playing this game. The setting is fascinating and unique, the protagonist is amazing, and it’s the most beautiful game I’ve seen in a long time. A close second would be Persona 5 for the simple reason that I don’t like anime, I’m lukewarm on JRPGs, and their save system caused me to lose so much progress that I would take month-long breaks between sessions just to counteract the frustration ... and yet I put more hours into it than I’m comfortable with relating. How does that even happen? And RE7 would be in there as well: strong as hell at the beginning of 2017, and still strong as hell at the end.

Best Mid-Tier GameWhat Remains of Edith Finch was the apotheosis of what walking sims have been attempting to become since Gone Home and Dear Esther. There’s a level of vast storytelling interacting beautifully with its wide varieties of gameplay and its stylistic decisions, and it left me gobsmacked.

Best Indie Game: I wasn’t completely sold on the final, horror-themed moments of Night In The Woods, but that still left it plenty of room for being the best indie game of 2017. Its artwork, soundtrack, and themes of growing up, loneliness, small-town water treading, and crimes just sucked me right into its world.

Best Mobile Game: With a game titled We Eat Blood, And All Our Friends Are Dead, you know I’m gonna have a look. Based in the classic RPG world of Vampire: The Masquerade (a personal favorite of mine), this is a spooky, text-based adventure where you play a youngling vampire trying to learn about himself without getting purged by his elders. A damn fun time.

Kieran Desmond

JTP Mentor and community writer Kieran Desmond pulled from a wide variety of genres for his GOTY picks, a reflection of just how much there was on offer this year.

Best AAA Game: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Like a bunch people this year, I really fell in love with Breath of the Wild. The way the open world was set up by giving you access to a few core mechanics -- remote bombs, Magnesis, Stasis, Cryonis, and the glider -- and then just setting you loose to explore Hyrule was a stroke of genius. The subtle score and beautiful visuals only add to the "open-air" atmosphere they were striving for. I'm still playing BotW, and after putting about 250 hours into it so far, I'm yet to encounter the final Divine Beast or enter Hyrule castle -- I never want it to end.

Best Mid-Tier Game: Absolver

Absolver was a game that I followed from its announcement, hoping that it would live up to the promise of being able to dynamically learn various combat styles and customize your style as you progress. And SloClap absolutely delivered. This unique open-world fighting game takes patience and a keen eye to master, just like many traditional fighting games. Studying your opponent in order to predict their next move is a huge part of the game that, when done correctly, creates an immensely satisfying experience.

Best Indie Game: Pyre

I was attracted to Pyre because of the beautiful artwork and music from its trailer. I was also curious about its odd mix of RPG, visual novel, and sports-centric gameplay, which turned out to be an innovative and really fun combination. Every character is endearing, the overworld map and the locations are stunningly designed, and the incredibly diverse score, composed by Darren Korb (who worked on Supergiant's previous games Bastion and Transistor) is just sensational. If I were to recommend a single game from 2017, it would be Pyre.

Auverin Morrow

Erstwhile senior editor (now with Hi-Rez) Auverin Morrow took the time to drop in and leave her thoughts too.

GOTY: Horizon: Zero Dawn, hands down.

Beautiful game, excellent combat, a truly unique environment (with awesome robo-dinos), and a badass female character who puts more emphasis on the badass part than the female part. What's not to love?

Joshua Broadwell

Your humble writer felt the need to add his choices too, because why not?

Best AAA Game: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Like Kieran and countless others, this one has to go to BotW, but it was a tough choice between it and Super Mario Odyssey. The latter is excellent in its own right, but with BotW, Nintendo managed to pull off a difficult task by creating a fantastic game that also happened to be a radical remaigining of a world-famous franchise. Despite being so different, it comes across as everything Zelda games always wanted to be. Hyrule is truly a living and breathing land, with areas that look and feel drastically different from each other and characters who are actually deeply connected to each other. The combat and weapon mechanics are spot-on, and there's always something to make exploration worthwhile, even if it's just standing on top of a mountain and admiring the gorgeous view. There is also a definite sense of progression, going from everything being a struggle to feeling capable of handling challenges like that Hinox that looked awfully intimidating when Link only had five hearts. Plus, it's one of the only games (other than Xenoblade Chronicles) where my cat sits on my shoulder and watches. And that has to count for something.

Best Mid-Tier Game:Yooka-Laylee

Yooka-Laylee didn't go over very well with many at first (although we did quite like it in our review). But even with the original issues -- issues quickly fixed by the Spin 'n' Polish update -- it managed to recapture everything that made gaming great over a decade ago: bright, colorful worlds, plenty of challenges and things to do, fun and quirky characters, tight platforming, and generally just being fun to play. Being the first major 3D platformer in forever, it carried a heavy burden, and it would have been easy for Playtonic to rely just on nostalgia and hope for the best. Luckily, they didn't, and the end result is a quality experience.

Best Indie Game: Yono and the Celestial Elephants

Yono is definitely indie, since it's the result of a one-man studio. On the surface, it's a cute adventure game about an elephant trying to solve people's problems, with some Zelda-esque puzzles and combat. But underneath that, there's quite a bit more going on about the nature of life and death, reality, and the relationship between everything alive -- and dead. It's not going to tax your brain or skills, but it's more than worth spending time with.


And there you have it -- a host of games from across multiple genres, with enough quality and variety to satisfy almost anyone. But you, reader, are part of the community too, so sound off in the comments below and tell us what your GOTY picks are!

GameSkinny Staff's 2017 Game of the Year Picks Tue, 02 Jan 2018 17:21:18 -0500 Kat De Shields

2018 is upon us, but we can't properly usher in the new year without giving some major kudos to the games we fell in love with in 2017. For some of us, it was an easy decision. For others, it took some deliberation. From blockbuster hits for major publishers to awesome titles from smaller studios, here's the GameSkinny roundup for Game of the Year. 

Jonathan Moore - Senior Editor

Nex Machina 


Taking detailed notes from games of yore such as Robotron: 2084 and Smash TV, Nex Machina is a modern slant in the logical progression of all things chaos and twin-stick-shooter. Working in conjunction with Eugene Jarvis, the grandfather of the frenetic arcade shooter, Housemarque ventured into new territory while remaining faithful to the edicts that set twin-stick shooters apart from other genres in the 80s and 90s.

Nex Machina is a blast to play. With tight controls, intelligently belligerent AI, beautiful design, and interesting bosses that redefine bullet-hell insanity, it's exceedingly difficult to find another shooter that bests it. The most fun I had all year was traversing the game's labyrinthine stages (which are utterly gorgeous), unlocking its well-placed secrets, and blasting robots into the scrap heap of oblivion in some of the most glorious arcade combat I've experienced since Resogun (and perhaps ever).  

The only qualm I had with Nex Machina is that it wasn't longer, but its arcade style more than makes up for that. When you come back to a game over and over and over and over again, that tells you something -- it tells you a game is special. And in 2017, I played way too much Nex Machina, none of which I regret in the slightest. In short, Nex Machina is a masterclass in sensory bombardment without the overload -- and makes you feel as if you're truly living Running Man.

Nier: Automata


Nier: Automata perfectly blends genres into a whirling game-smoothie of delight. It's the hack-and-slash action RPG top-down twin-stick shooter platformer I didn't know I wanted until I finally started playing it. Somehow (some way), Nier seamlessly fuses 2D, 3D, and top-down playstyles and camera angles into a flourishing adventure of action and, at times, metered patience. It makes these genres feel naturally connected -- and subverts player expectations in all the right ways. 

On top of that, its narrative is quirky and whimsical, yet also full of emotional and philosophical resonance. Whereas I felt utter delight blasting robots in Nex MachinaNier: Automata flipped the script. These weren't blood-thirsty terminators but beings with emotion and agency -- beings I grew to care for. 

Swirling in and out of Nier's set pieces, the game's soundtrack supports that emotion and agency with character and gravitas. Where there's no dialogue, there's music to explain character progression and intent. Where there's bombastic fighting, there's sweeping melody. There aren't too many games that so elegantly synchronize story and poignancy in such a way, but Nier pulls it off beautifully.  

Zach Hunt - Editor 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 

One of my fondest gaming memories -- heck, one of my fondest memories in general -- is of first setting loose upon some mysterious land called Hyrule, unsure of what exactly I was doing or where I was going, but finding absolute joy in every moment of the original The Legend of Zelda. Like a blue candle burning away a bush to reveal hidden depths beneath, Breath of the Wild rekindled that flame within me, reminding me of why I ever started playing video games in the first place.

Everything that can be said about Breath of the Wild has already been said, so rather than justify my game of the year pick by detailing all that it did right (or how it succeeds despite some flaws), I'm going to talk about my beloved Hyrulian horse, Jomo, and about how the connection I felt with him reflected this game's unique ability to draw me into its world.

I think I was probably on my way to some Divine Beast or another when I spotted an innocent little fox that, for whatever reason, I decided needed to die. With my horseback archery skills being abysmal, I ditched my dappled steed Jomo and pursued that stupid fox down a cliffside for an unreasonable amount of time. Well, I couldn't tell you where that little sucker ended up, but I found myself a hundred feet beneath my steadfast equine buddy, whose distant silhouette towered against a darkening Hyrule sky.

Possibly the best horse photobomb ever. Screenshot courtesy of Nintendolife forums. 

So what did I do? I looked up at my trusty horse, and I did what you do in BotW: I whistled. I whistled poor Jomo -- loyal to the last -- to a horrific suicide straight down the face of the mountain. 

Honestly, I don't know what I was thinking. Part of me figured there was no way he'd hear the whistle from that distance or, if he did, that he'd surely just neigh it away as if to say, "Yeah, I don't think so. You're like three minutes from a stable full of other horses, so I'm just gonna chill up here until you decide to climb back up." But that was misguided. That was ignorant. That was murder.

I watched in terror as my once graceful Jomo tumbled down, hooves-up, dashed against jagged boulders amid clouds of that very same Hyrulian soil upon which he once so nobly trotted. Time stopped. Critters scurried. And I was left to face the consequences of what I had just done to my best friend in all of Hyrule. 

Jomo was gone for good (or so I thought at the time), and I was devastated. Sure, I had a couple other horses at the stables, but I hadn't spent hours upon hours of my life exploring with those guys. Jomo was, and would always be, my adventuring companion in this world, and moving forward would be a much slower, more melancholic exercise from there on out.

Thinking back on my many, many hours with BotW, I consider just how much will it sometimes took to turn the game off, to get some sleep, to be a real person in the real world. But the death of dear Jomo, noblest stallion in all of Hyrule, was enough of a shock to keep me from returning to my Switch for well over a week. I needed time to mourn.

The point of all this hyperbole is that certain moments in BotW reminded me -- on a very visceral level -- that video games truly are more than just interactive entertainment. The death of Jomo, and my own genuine guilt afterward, made concrete for me the idea that video games belong right there alongside literature, film, and music as having the potential to truly transform and affect us. For that reason (and a million others), Breath of the Wild is my game of the year ... and Jomo is my horse of the century.

Brian Schaaf (Rothalack) - Developer 

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG)

I was mostly displeased by 2017's games. The games I really want to give my GOTY are not from this year. This means I have to begrudgingly give PUBG my game of the year.

The reason I can give such a broken mess GOTY is because of the design philosophy of the game and the cultural/streamer impact the game has made. It has so many whispers of where games like DOTA have come from: Pure grass roots passion and strict adherence to a design philosophy that results in a complicated game with a steep learning curve.

These types of games, in my opinion, keep the real hardcore gamer culture alive as well as prove its large market appeal. Gamers don't always want perfect, streamlined, "mainstream" games. They want passionate, well thought-out, difficult games. Blizzard, for example, likes to make games that bridge the gap between near perfectly designed games and streamlined, easy-to-learn mechanics while still maintaining a hard-to-master feel.

PUBG is a great example that if there's an idea of a game that is hard to learn from the start (and pretty much broken), it can still make Call of Duty jealous of the playerbase and wide appeal. 

Kat De Shields - JTP Coordinator & Communications Manager

What Remains of Edith Finch 

There are games that have stories in them, and then there are games that really tell a great story. As an avid writer and reader, What Remains of Edith Finch is a bittersweet narrative adventure that is beautiful in design and plot lines.

It goes without saying that the focal point of the game is the bizarre story that unfolds as Edith learns the history of her family members and what caused each of their deaths. The stories are connected in that the life and thoughts of one family member are referenced in sequences outside of their own. The narrative structure is subtly woven together in a way that gives life to the shadowy secrets Edith discovers as she walks through the house.

A theme of childhood nostalgia runs deep within the game -- from monsters under the bed, to flying kites, to seeing how high you can go on a swing set. Often, I would pause during a segment and dwell in the level of detail provided in each vignette. Though some may wave off this game as a walking sim, if you're looking for an adventure of heart and mind that lingers long after the end credits roll, you should definitely give What Remains of Edith Finch a go.


 What were your Game of the Year picks? Let us know in the comments below. Happy New Year from the GameSkinny crew! We hope 2018 is a great year for growth and gaming.