Adventure Genre RSS Feed | Adventure on GameSkinny en Launch Media Network Bravely Default 2 Early JP Farming Guide Fri, 05 Mar 2021 11:23:17 -0500 George Yang

In Bravely Default 2, you’ll be constantly switching jobs and unlocking skills and abilities to figure out which sets up are the best for you in any given situation. Each job has abilities that can be equipped outside of that path and unlocking as many as you can is incredibly useful. Fortunately, farming for Job Points (JP) is much much easier in Bravely Default 2 compared to previous entries in the series. 

Though you can start farming early in the game, one thing to note is that JP doesn’t scale that much between early-game and late-game areas, so it’s much more efficient to farm early-game enemies since they will be much weaker. Here’s an easy way to maximize your JP gains.

Bravely Default 2 JP Farming

First off, you’ll want to prioritize reaching Level 12 with the Freelancer Job with the farming method before you decide to level up any other Job.

The Freelancer Job has the JP Up (Level 9) and JP Up and Up (Level 12) abilities that increase the amount of points you earn after battle. The former increases JP gained by 1.2x, and the latter by 1.5x. They can also be stacked together for 1.7x boost, and are also equippable outside of the Freelancer path.

Where to Farm JP

As for the actual farming method, go to the beach area outside of the first town in the game, Halcyonia. You should see some fish and gel-looking enemies called Sahagin and Flannacotta, respectively.

Next, you’ll want to go into your menu, select the Bait section, and make sure you have Fresh Fish. These are dropped by aquatic enemies like those mentioned above.

Consuming Fresh Fish ensures that you’ll be fighting consecutive waves of these aquatic enemies; doing so adds a multiplier to the amount of JP earned after battle.

The multiplier threshold is as follows:

  • 2 waves: JP 1.2x multiplier
  • 3 waves: JP 1.3x multiplier
  • 4 waves: JP 1.6x multiplier
  • 5 waves: JP 2x multiplier

When you use Fresh Fish, your party leader in the field will sparkle and attract aquatic-type enemies. You’ll see a heart icon above them, and they’ll come towards you to initiate battle.

Now simply defeat them! The number of waves you get is random, and you’ll most likely fight 2-3 waves, with the occasional 4-wave battle and the rare 5-wave battle.

One last thing to note: try to fight at night time as much as you can, because more enemies show up at night during battle, thus granting more JP when defeated.

Since Fresh Fish has a chance to drop from these aquatic enemies, the more enemies there are per battle, the higher chance you have for it to drop. Consequently, the longer you can keep continuing this cycle. After all, the Fresh Fish bait is only temporary.

After each battle, you’ll usually get around 150-250 JP. Combine that with both the consecutive battle multiplier, as well as the Freelancer abilities, and you’ll get huge amounts of JP very early on in the game with relatively low effort.

And that's how you farm JP early on in Bravely Default 2! For more tips and tricks, consider heading over to our Bravely Default 2 guides hub, where we have articles on the quest log and each of the game's endings. 

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 Gameplay Trailer Fires a Killshot Thu, 04 Mar 2021 19:41:18 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Fans of sniping digital heads from interminable distances while taking bullet drop and other physics into account got their first look at Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 today, courtesy of developer CI Games.

Alongside that, the developer announced the latest game in the series will release on June 4 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S for $39.99. Physical console pre orders are live now, though it can only be added to your wishlist on Steam.  

For those who pre order the physical console editions of the game, there are four bonuses available: 

  • Marcus Tactical: A light sniper rifle with great stability
  • FFF-45 ACP Luring Pistol: A sidearm with special luring ammo
  • Two weapon skins

These pre orders are available from:

  • Amazon (U.S., Australia)
  • GameStop (U.S.)
  • Best Buy (U.S., Canada)
  • JB Hi-Fi (Australia, New Zealand)
  • EB Games (Australia, New Zealand)
  • The Gamesmen (Australia)
  • Mighty Ape (New Zealand)
  • Konsoleigry (Poland)

The age-restricted trailer below (which will take you to YouTube when clicked), is full of bloody, gory action. Staying true to its immediate predecessor, the violence rivals that of the series' cousin-by-association, Rebellion's Sniper Elite franchise.

Alongside turning heads into goo, players will face "an entirely new level of challenge" with increased sniping distances of up to 1,000 meters. Each of the game's five massive levels will be displayed in 4K for compatible platforms and displays, and those who play the game on the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X|S will see "improved loading times." 

Though we haven't yet gotten our hands on Contracts 2 to see for ourselves, CI Games says that the game's enemies are smarter and deadlier than ever before. 

We mostly enjoyed Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts when we reviewed it back in November 2019, giving it a 7 out of 10. Despite some pesky bugs and "inconsistent enemy AI," we praised the tactical shooter for "intricately authored levels [that are] worth replaying," and "combat mechanics, both near and far, [being] the best they've been." 

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Gameplay Video Shows Alpha Build Raid Thu, 04 Mar 2021 18:13:40 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey, the long-awaited boots-on-the-ground expansion to Elite Dangerous, will enter PC alpha later this month on March 29, Frontier Developments announced. To get commanders ready for their first out-of-vehicle missions in the open-world simulation game, the developer released a meaty 8:29 pre-alpha playthrough video that showcases in-game raid combat. 

Grouping up in orbit, the team of three community commanders lands outside of a large base on a dusty world. After solidifying their tactics, they enter the base and attempt to take the reactor core offline. It highlights the immense role-playing and tactical possibilities available in Odyssey from both the air and ground. 

Of course, even though things start off as planned, things ultimately go south. One team member even remarks that they won't be able to take part in combat because their "suit's not designed for it," making it clear that individual roles will play a large part in missions and sorties.

Take a look below. 

To participate in the alpha, Elite fans will need to pre-purchase Odyssey through Steam, Epic Games, or the official Frontier Developments webstore for $39.99. There's currently no word on how long the alpha will run or if a beta will follow behind it. Odyssey is scheduled for release on PC in "late spring 2021," which should put it on track to launch sometime before June 20, the first day of summer. 

Frontier Developments said that Odyssey is set to release for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in autumn 2021, and it does not appear those systems will be included in the upcoming alpha (it is a PC alpha, after all). It is not clear if any pre-release gameplay opportunities will arrive on those platforms before the expansion's prospective launch. 

Elite Dangerous released on PC way back in 2014 before making its way to Xbox One in 2015, then PlayStation 4 in 2017. Stay tuned for more on Elite Dangerous: Odyssey as we edge ever closer to its release. 

Bloomberg Report Says New Switch Model Could Release by Holiday 2021 Thu, 04 Mar 2021 16:48:01 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Nintendo could begin manufacturing a new Switch model this summer, a recent report from Bloomberg's Takashi Mochizuki says. This new Switch would target 720p resolution in handheld mode and replace the LCD screen with a 7-inch OLED screen from Samsung. Docked mode would support 4K.

Mochizuki received his information from sources familiar with Nintendo's plans, and they naturally wished to remain anonymous.

The report says Samsung may begin screen manufacturing as early as June, with full assembly starting in July. The goal is having the new Switch model ready by the holiday season, though Mochizuki's sources said the initial manufacturing target is under one million console units.

The OLED screen is key to the new Switch and would improve visual quality and potentially increase response time, Display Supply Chain Consultant Co-Founder Yoshio Tamura said. It would also improve battery life.

The rumored Switch's 4K support comes reportedly at developers' behest, who Mochizuki said have complained recently about the challenges of adapting games to suit handheld mode and docked mode.

Bloomberg's Switch report made no mention of what processor the new Switch might use.

While these are, of course, only rumors until Nintendo confirms otherwise, it's worth noting they line up with reports and predictions that came through in 2020 of a 4K Switch with improved components. Stay tuned for more. 

[Source: Bloomberg]

Blaster Master Zero 3 Brings the Series to a Dramatic Close Soon Thu, 04 Mar 2021 16:04:09 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Inti Creates is making Blaster Master Zero 3, the developer announced during 2021's New Game+ Expo, and fans won't have long to wait for it either. Blaster Master Zero 3 releases July 29 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store, though pre-orders aren't open just yet.

Blaster Master Zero 3 follows series hero Jason once more in his final fight against the mutant threat. This time, Jason travels back to the series' roots, to the planet Sophia, to rescue Eve, his co-pilot and the series' other protagonist.

It's the most intense Blaster Master yet, Inti Creates said in the announcement trailer. While Blaster Master Zero 3 retains the series' traditional switch between side-scrolling action and top-down shootouts, there's a twist this time. Jason uses the Vision Reversal Visor to switch between dimensions and bring the intergalactic fight to a dramatic close at last.

Blaster Master Zero originally launched for the 3DS and Switch back in 2017, with Blaster Master Zero 2 releasing in 2019. Both games have found their way on to PC and PlayStation 4 after their initial release, so it appears this will be the first time a game in the most recent series will launch on all three platforms at once. 

Disgaea 6 Launches This Summer With Four Classic Characters Thu, 04 Mar 2021 15:54:56 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Disgaea 6 will release June 29, 2021, for Nintendo Switch, NIS America announced during the New Game+ Expo, but Zed and Bieko aren't headed to the Switch alone. NISA also announced four classic Disgaea characters with their own stories as bonus in-game content.

Disgaea 6 will include in-game purchases, but the character pack is free and included at launch. It adds:

  • Adell (Disgaea 2) and his signature Vulcan Blaze attack
  • Rozalin (Disgaea 2) and her Crest Roses attack
  • Girl Laharl (Disgaea D2) and their Magma Geyser EX attack
  • Asagi (Disgaea 4) and her Stratus Drive attack

NIS America didn't mention what side stories each character adds to the game at this time.

Disgaea 6 follows Zed, a zombie who just wants to take care of his sister Bieko until the God of Destruction intervenes. In addition to Zed's signature Super Reincarnation ability, where he gets stronger with every un-death, Disgaea 6 adds other accessibility features, such as difficulty modifiers, so it's accommodating for newcomers and longtime fans.

If you're just catching up on Disgaea 6, get a glimpse of what's in store with our Disgaea 6 character overview.

Hitman 3 March Roadmap Targets New Events, Contracts, and Escalations Thu, 04 Mar 2021 15:50:10 -0500 Jonathan Moore

February marked the release of Hitman 3's first major patch, which unlocked the super-suave tactical turtleneck for all players and provided a number of updates to locations, silent assassin missions, and more. It also included the game's first big content drop, featuring contracts from MinnMax and KindaFunny, as well as new escalations, targets, and rewards. 

Intent to keep the content train chugging along, IO Interactive has released details on what fans can expect for the game in March. 

Available starting today, March 4, the Lesley Celebration is a new escalation that will test players' abilities in the Berlin level. Following that, new featured contracts in Chongqing and Mendoza will be added to Agent 47's dossier on March 11 and March 25. 

Between those content drops from Easy Allies and Eurogamer, Hitman 3's second elusive target will be in the crosshairs. The Stowaway will be on the Isle of Sgail from March 19 to March 29. 

The end of the month brings the final special escalation to the game. On March 30, The Satu Mare Delirium deluxe escalation will see 47 escaping confinement and gives a glimpse into the assassin's past. Those who complete the mission will get the straitjacket attire, straitjacket belt, and Taunton dart gun. 

Finally, March 30 marks the start of the first Hitman 3 seasonal event, the Berlin Egg Hunt. Just in time for Easter, 47 makes his way through a creepy-as-hell and totally-packed Berlin level, taking out targets and finding (but avoiding) poisonous eggs spread around the area. The event lasts until April 12, and those who complete it will get raver outfit. 

If you've yet to jump into the latest entry in the World of Assassination Trilogy, consider checking out our review to see why we said it's "a proper sendoff for The Professional" and praised it for its "unrivaled level design," story, and mood. 

For those just getting started, or perhaps stuck on finding the helicopter key or looking for all of the safe and keypad codes, our Hitman 3 guides hub has what you're looking for. Stay tuned for more on Hitman 3 next month.  

The Silver Case and The 25th Ward are Coming to Nintendo Switch Thu, 04 Mar 2021 16:26:28 -0500 Josh Broadwell

The Silver Case and The 25th Ward: The Silver Case from Suda51 and Grasshopper Studios are coming to Nintendo Switch as The Silver Case 2425, NIS America announced during the 2021 New Game+ Expo. The Silver Case 2425 will release July 6 in North America and July 9 in Europe.

Originally released in 1999 and 2005 respectively, both visual novels follow a Kanto detective as they unravel the mysteries behind a series of brutal political killings. In The Silver Case, the Heinous Crimes Unit knows who their target is — in theory. The trouble is they have no idea whether he even exists. 

The 25th Case takes place five years later as a new series of killings begin. The initial murder of a woman in a hotel is just the start of a twisted and "shocking" trail detective Morishima Tokio must follow to find the truth.

The Silver Case is Suda51's first game, marked as much by its distinctive visual design as by the soundtrack from composer Masafumi Takada (Killer7, Danganronpa, No More Heroes).

Digital pre-orders aren't yet available on the Nintendo eShop. However, NIS America has The Silver Case 2425 collector's edition up for pre-order on their website for $89.99. It includes both games, an art book, a soundtrack, and an original comic in a collector's box.

Loop Hero Review-in-Progress: Groundhog's Roguelike Thu, 04 Mar 2021 11:17:21 -0500 Anthony McGlynn

To describe Loop Hero, it would nearly be easier to tell you the descriptors that aren't relevant. Part deck-builder, part real-time strategy, part survival horror, this roguelike from Four Quarters Games is novel and deeply compelling.

After a recent Steam demo piqued my interest, I was excited to dive back in and see if the full game could deliver on those initial strong impressions. What I got was something that's even better and continues to find ways to keep me on my toes.

Underneath the game's colorful '80s fantasy aesthetic lies an engine whose constant motion is a touch bewildering to start, forcing you to make moves on the fly while your hero takes down wave after wave of monsters. But in those fleeting moments where you manage to make everything work in your favor, this is a game that's absolutely worth the timesink.

Loop Hero Review-in-Progress: Groundhog's Roguelike

As the name suggests, Loop Hero involves some amount of repetition. A cataclysmic event has occurred, and the titular protagonist must try and rebuild things using resources gathered from expeditions into the wider world. These expeditions involve doing laps on a randomly generated circuit full of slimes. Defeating slimes gives you cards to build out the circuit with scenery that generates resources like wood and food, as well as spawn points for other ghoulish monsters.

Killing enemies gives your intrepid adventurer new equipment, on top of more cards, and on you go until either the boss is killed, you die, or you retreat. Each successful lap, demarcated by your campfire, levels up the surrounding creatures, and a recurring day-cycle dictates creature spawn-rate and other bonuses.

Loop Hero is a lot to take in, at first. Unless you pause, your character is always moving straight ahead, and enemies are constantly wandering around. Battles happen automatically, and though you can switch equipment at any time, if you enter one in which you're badly outmatched, you're pretty much out of luck. It's a gauntlet that harkens back to the Ultima and Might and Magic series, by way of Hades and The Binding of Isaac, but the remarkable thing is just how well it teaches you to navigate this desolate world.

Most of the cards have basic descriptions for things like "Meadow," which gives you 2HP at the start of each day, or "Vampire Mansion," which adds a bloodsucker to any fight on an adjacent tile. Spaces where you can put any given card are highlighted in green, and the majority can be played without any specific criteria. As you play, the map fills up with tiny, solid-color animations for each moving entity, your literal white knight marching to the ominously heavy 8-bit soundtrack.

It's about constantly making moves and seeing what happens. When you change equipment, the previously equipped piece evaporates, and if you get more equipment than the nine weapon and armor slots allow for, the overflow becomes resources in your rucksack.

Many of the cards have some form of stacking effect if you place them close together, like nine mountains or rocks becoming a mountain range for a bonus. But watch out, now you've harpies flying around, and one more mountain or rock and a goblin camp will form somewhere on the path.

Half the fun, and much of the challenge, lies in placing something and realizing you've made a mistake, and now a blood golem's in the way. Keenly, unlike Sunset Games' Into The Breach, another timey-wimey strategy-RPG, I never encountered something in Loop Hero that stopped me dead from making just one bad play. It was always an accumulation, accidentally making a chokepoint full of skeletons and spiders or not thinking about just how fast goblins respawn.

You're always cycling through different modes of thinking, from smart land placement and making sure your champion's healthbar stays up to keeping count on the resources being generated. The different classes each require different strategies, where health regen serves the warrior well, but the rogue is more suited to evasion, and so on. It's important to stay wary, but focusing on one is a recipe for disaster.

Should you last long enough, one of several Lich entities that contributed to this world reset will appear as a boss. Difficulty spikes are regular and most prominent in these battles, where paying attention to the boss' bonuses is vital. You will lose more times than you'll win, and sometimes it'll be a gut-wrenching close call.

Beating them opens the next stage and grants some lore that helps parse what's going on and if it can be fixed. Losing sends you back to the campsite, with 30% of what you collected in tow — a manual retreat lets you keep 60%, and defeating the boss gets you the whole lot. There's no retrieving your body, like in Dark Souls or Hollow Knight, much to my absolute relief.

You gradually build out the camp using materials you've picked up, unlocking improvements to your loadout, news cards, and more. Each new square on-site brings another NPC and some more information on what reality was like before whatever happened happened. Everyone and everything has become trapped in this endless vortex, where time doesn't matter, and a collective amnesia is forcing us all to become reacquainted with the old world and how things used to be.

This isn't confined to people in your camp, either. New enemies will often spark dialogue, mentioning the adversarial roles, remembering it was all part of an ecosystem at one point or another. Loop Hero doesn't necessarily do anything profound with this meta candor, but its inclusion did give me some pause.

It doesn't take much to recognize the way Four Quarters Games has captured the current moment. Living in a strange stasis between an old world that's gone and a new one that's going to need some work, battling forces that are difficult to comprehend.

Loop Hero is the morbid Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask sequel we never got, where the moon crashed down, and this is what happened. Like Majora's Mask, Loop Hero structures itself around temporal distortion but is not a story about time travel.

Rather than taking the Avengers: Endgame approach of having you battle through the ages to stop the big bad, Loop Hero is about existing in the post-apocalypse and using the tools readily at your disposal to fix things  or at least make them better.

It's an important distinction, amid what is now months of lockdown, because bending the laws of physics is not a solution that is available to us. The allegory of breaking time and space doesn't bring me much comfort, but being reminded that taking each day as it comes, and that doing what I can where I can is enough, does. Someday, we'll beat this thing, and Loop Hero is a very welcome reminder of that.

[Note: Four Quarters Games provided the copy of Loop Hero used for this review-in-progress.]

Bravely Default 2 Endings: How to Get the True, Bad, and Secret Finales Wed, 03 Mar 2021 18:42:26 -0500 Josh Broadwell

In keeping with its namesake, there's more than one Bravely Default 2 ending. In fact, there's a bad ending, a secret ending, and a true ending. Getting to the latter is no easy task as the game has you dig into nearly everything it has to offer before pitting you against a string of vicious bosses.

Our Bravely Default 2 ending guide lays out all the requirements you need to make it through to each of the game's conclusions. Beware, some spoilers follow. 

Prep Work to Unlock All Bravely Default 2 Endings

You’ve got some work to do before even thinking about the bad ending. Unlocking the true ending requires ever Asterisk, including the game’s three optional jobs: Gambler, Salve-Maker, and Bravebearer.

Gambler becomes available roughly mid-way through chapter one in Savalon. It’s a side quest at the gaming hall where you have to clear out a series of opponents in Bravely Default 2’s card game, which is tedious but worth it for the true ending.

The quest is still available later, so no need to worry if you missed it the first time.

Salve-Maker is also part of a quest chain, and you can access this one in the early stages of chapter three when you reach Enderno.

Bravebearer is more complicated, and we’ll get to that in due course. 

Bravely Default 2’s Bad Ending

Bravely Default 2’s bad ending is very ... not good. It’s also the default conclusion (no pun intended), so there’s nothing you can do to avoid it. Without straying into spoilers, here’s how it goes down.

The first final boss is The Evil One. It’s weak to fire and has 150,000 HP, so make sure you’re well equipped to deal with a long fight. A Black Mage for strong fire magic and a Bard for buffs wouldn’t go amiss, and a Spiritmaster main or sub-job is literally a lifesaver.

Unless you’re short on Pg, you can be fairly free with your healing items except for elixirs. You’ll have a chance to travel around Excillant again after the bad ending to restock on most healing items, though elixirs should be saved for the true final boss.

The Evil One changes form when its HP drops to a certain level, so be prepared for a tougher fight towards the end.

Once the battle ends, watch the tragic scene play out, dry your eyes, and save your completed data. Then re-load that cleared data.

Bravely Default 2’s Secret Ending

You’ll begin the game before the Chamber of Sealing. Interact with the purple-ish save point to begin the next chapter.

When a certain character asks you whether you’re ready to face your final challenge (spoiler: it’s not the real final challenge), say no, and hightail it back to the mountains between Savalon and Halcyonia. 

Visit the grave where the prologue ended, and you’ll start another fight. Victory earns you the Bravebearar Asterisk.

Bravebearer takes a unique approach for its powers, tweaking the BP system and even drawing power from your total playtime for some attacks. It’s game breaking, utterly fantastic, and totally necessary for the real final battle.

But first, you’ve got another tough fight ahead. Return to the character who asked you if you were ready for the final fight, and say yes this time. Victory earns you Bravely Default 2's secret ending. Save, load the clear file, and you’ll appear at the Font of Knowledge.

Bravely Default 2 True Ending

The only thing to do for Bravely Default 2’s true ending at this point is to leap down into the abyss and take on the true final boss. As you’d expect, Bravely Default 2’s true final boss is the toughest fight in the game. 

Having one party member as a Bravebearer and a White Mage with Spiritmaster abilities is highly recommended. The White Mage’s Sacred Light special move buffs the entire party and heals a significant chunk of HP, so it’s worth making White Mage the primary job for your healer instead of Spiritmaster.

As with the other final not-final bosses, the true last boss has two forms. The first form has three targets: two hands and the core. The hands are immune to most elements and halve light magic damage, so focus on non-elemental physical attacks. Skills that affect more than one target are a good idea here.

The core is weak to swords and light magic. However, it can also counter basically everything you do, including Defaulting and using items. It won’t always counter, but be prepared anyway.

The second form is more brutal and has no weaknesses, plus it’s immune to Earth. This form can inflict party-wide debuffs across all stats in one move, and it also has a move that reduces the party’s BP by one. This BP-reducing move sometimes gets used as a counter, hence the recommendation of having a Bravebearer in the party.

Dish out your strongest attacks, strike a balance between healing and offense, and use elixirs as needed to restore MP. Persevere, and you’ll see Bravely Default 2’s real conclusion.

That’s everything you need to know about Bravely Default 2’s true ending and other endings, but stick around for more guides in the coming days.

Gnosia Review: Where Zero Escape, Among Us, and Raging Loop Collide Thu, 04 Mar 2021 10:17:20 -0500 George Yang

Though Gnosia garnered some attention when it released for the PS Vita in Japan in 2019, it mostly flew under the radar because of its somewhat odd place in the visual novel genre. Now, the game is out in Western territories as a localized Nintendo Switch port.

While it borrows elements from other games, most notably Among Us, Zero Escape, and Raging Loop, Gnosia is one of the best story experiences you’ll have in 2021. Hands down. 

Between its highly addictive gameplay loop, great cast of characters, and interesting lore, there’s quite a bit to love about Gnosia.

Gnosia Review: Where Zero Escape, Among Us, and Raging Loop Collide

The game takes place on a spaceship where beings called Gnosia aim to completely eradicate the crew. The crew are trying to do the same to the Gnosia, deducing who is infected and, consequently, what should be done about it. After debating over who is and isn’t Gnosia, team members vote for who they think the Gnosia is before sending them off into cold sleep for the rest of the round.

There is a max of 15 players per round, with one to six players people being Gnosia. If you’ve ever played the Mafia or Werewolf group games, that’s essentially what you're getting here.

In each round, there are several roles that you can take. Aside from being able to play as an infected, taking measures to fool other players, you can play roles such as a Doctor, an Engineer, a Guardian Angel, a Guard, and more. Other characters can also be regular crew members, without any sort of special powers, though they still participate in debates and voting.

These special crew members have special abilities that help them gather important information from other members of the crew. For example, every morning, the Doctor can identify if the player voted into cold sleep the night before is actually a Gnosia or not. The Engineer, for example, can select one person to scan every night to see whether or not they’re Gnosia, reporting on their findings the following morning.

Using the information you’ve gathered through these reports is vital to flushing out the enemy and surviving. You can choose to cover for or doubt certain characters based on what information you’ve obtained, and some crew members will back you up, while others will argue against you. Wildly accusing every member around you invites suspicion while keeping too quiet indicates you may be hiding something. 

However, there are also some extra twists that keep things even more interesting.

Gnosia can falsely claim to be certain members playing individual roles. There can be several doctors or engineers playing at any given time, but which are the real ones and which are the Gnosia? In any round that has as Doctor and/or Engineer present, only one of each is real among those claiming those two roles. Picking between two, and in some cases three, crew members all claiming to be the same role adds immense tension to each round.

And the pressure's on, because every night, the Gnosia can kill off one person, slowly whittling the crew down to nothing. 

Gnosia is Sus

One of the game's most interesting mechanics is its stat system, which encompasses things such as stealth, charm, logic, charisma, performance, and intuition. After each round, whether you win or lose, you gain experience points to level up these stats. Increasing stealth, for example, makes you less likely to be targeted by Gnosia at night, and a high charm level allows you to weasel your way out of precarious situations.

Additionally, there are stat requirements for different types of skills, as well. One skill, “Obfuscate," allows you to deflect certain claims if a crew member accuses you of being a Gnosia.

Each night, after attempting to vote someone into cold sleep, you can visit other crew members across the ship. Those with exclamation marks offer events that progress the plot, give you new skills, or create an alliance. As you repeatedly loop round after round, you’ll recognize similar responses from previous rounds, but sometimes pick up on unique dialogue that hints at an upcoming story event.

It might be in your own interest to keep the characters involved in these conversations alive until the next night to trigger a special event, even if you know one of them is a Gnosia for that round.

As you progress through each loop, these special events can unlock character entries for each crew member, and the ultimate goal of the game is to collect them all to break out of the loop and reach the true ending.

While the first few rounds are on rails to introduce the game’s story and gameplay mechanics, you’ll eventually be able to set the conditions for each round, such as which roles are in play, how many Gnosia there are, how many crew members are aboard, and what role you will play in it all.

These Loops Will Make You Rage

To get to the end, you'll need to trigger and take advantage of these events. And there are so many of them Gnosia includes an "Event Search" function, which automatically sets the conditions that could trigger a story event for each round. However, that’s where the game falters the most.

The function is useful, but it is not specific enough to indicate who you should try to keep alive. If you accidentally vote off a particular character unaware that they’re needed for a story event, then you’ll have to finish out that round without learning anything new about the plot.

In some ways, that’s understandable given the lore of the game, in which you’re supposed to loop through numerous rounds again and again. But it can be frustrating finishing 10 or more rounds in a row without having any new information come to light, considering how strong the overall story is. Stumbling upon certain events to create little story chain-reactions can be fun, but it can also be the polar opposite. 

But however you get there, the payoff is ultimately worth it when the truth comes crashing down.

Gnosia Review — The Bottom Line


  • Lots of interesting mechanics that make each round distinct
  • The lore, story, and ending are all fantastic
  • Characters are unique and expressive
  • Great art to accompany the game


  • Could have given players more direction to point players on the right path to the ending
  • Potentially skill dependent on how well you are at logic puzzles and the real-life game
  • The absence of voice acting is disappointing

Each character in Gnosia is incredibly unique and vibrant, so much so that you might feel bad for voting them off the spaceship or get sad learning that a Gnosia killed them off in the middle of the night.

That connection is reinforced by the game's gorgeous art style, where character portraits are expressive and the special CGI scenes are beautifully drawn. It's only hampered by the lack of voice acting, which could have elevated some of the more emotional scenes, especially those during the ending.

All in all, Gnosia is a fantastic game with a riveting story and interesting characters supported by rich art and solid gameplay mechanics. If you can handle some repetitiveness — and potentially having to go through multiple rounds without seemingly making progress  the ending of Gnosia is one of the most heartfelt ones you’ll experience this year. 

[Note: PLAYISM provided the copy of Gnosia used for this review.]

Bravely Default 2 Quest Log: Is There a Way to Track Completed Quests? Wed, 03 Mar 2021 18:32:59 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Bravely Default 2 throws a wagonload of quests at you from the start, and the natural question is whether Bravely Default 2 has a quest log to keep track of it all, especially completed quests.

The answer isn’t quite so straightforward, as there’s no clear way to tell when you’ve missed a quest. There is one way to manage your existing quests, though, and we’ve got some tips to help make sure you never miss a one.

Bravely Default 2 Quest Log

Bravely Default 2’s quest log lives under the Travelogue in the main menu. Open that, and you’ll see brief quest descriptions for each active quest plus map markers pointing you in the right direction.

You can also toggle the view to list the quests out instead, sans the map markers.

The Travelogue provides an event theater to view quest events. However, they aren’t numbered, which means there’s no way of telling when you miss a quest unless you keep track of every quest number when you first begin it.

Tips for Finding All Bravely Default 2 Quests 

Bravely Default 2 adds new quests almost all the time, but there are some simple ways to make sure you don’t miss any.

You’ll typically get new quests after a plot event occurs, so it’s worth taking a panoramic view of the town you’re in (stand still and press the right stick in) to display any new quest markers that popped up. These story events happen frequently, but Bravely Default 2’s towns are few and small enough where checking won’t take up much time.

Some quests appear on the world map from other NPC travelers, and while hunting these down is a bit more time-consuming, it’s usually worth your while.

Many of Bravely Default 2’s quests are exclusive to either in-game day or night, so make sure to check back at different times of day as well. The same goes for the world map.

Finally, don’t forget to re-visit regions and towns you’ve already cleared because new quests regularly appear there as well when the story progresses. For that, using the free caravan at the entrance of each town to fast travel back to areas you’ve already visited is a must.

Are Bravely Default2’s Quests Worth It?

Bravely Default 2’s quests are definitely worth the time for the most part, though not always because they’re vital to the story. Like its predecessor, this RPG doesn’t exactly dish out Pg (money) left and right. Earning extra cash or obtaining attack and recovery items you don’t have to buy yourself is always a bonus.

You’ll also run into a few quests that pit you against stronger monsters. It’s a handy way of gaining extra JP without grinding, especially if you get the Underdog bonus for under-leveled jobs.

Whether 100%-ing the game and completing every quest is worth it is really just a matter of preference. The only two quests that offer rewards you don't want to miss are the Gambler job quest in Savalon (chapter one) and the Salve-Maker quest in Enderno (chapter three).

That’s all you need to know about Bravely Default 2’s quest log, but stay tuned for more guides in the coming days.

Magic: Legends Open Beta Offers Modifiable Difficulties Tue, 02 Mar 2021 16:31:36 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Magic: Legends uses a scalable difficulty alongside risk/reward options to create an experience tailored to each player's needs and expectations. Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment detailed Magic: Legends' difficulty options in a new blog post and highlighted how players can modify the obstacles they face with rotating modifiers and stackable challenges.

Magic: Legends uses four difficulty levels: Normal, Hard, Expert, and Master. Players unlock each as they progress through the game, with Expert and Master unlocking once their Planeswalker reaches Level 30. Higher difficulties mean stronger enemies, as one would expect, but Cryptic carries it even further with Regional and World Enchantments.

Regional Enchantments apply one debuff or challenge from a pool of possible choices. Some of the possible Enchantments include faster enemies, suffering damage every time a spell is cast, or enemies being buffed against specific mana types. They're optional on Hard and mandatory on Expert and Master.

On top of those are craftable World Enchantments. These come in different difficulty tiers and stack with Regional Enchantments and include even deadlier modifications — enemies spawn on corpses, dragons appear, mana won't recover automatically, and so on.

Powering through all these means a higher chance at better rewards, including more XP, better equipment, and important items. The full list of both Enchantment types scheduled for the closed beta is in the latest Magic: Legends blog post. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more in the coming weeks. 

Curse of the Dead Gods Review: The Temple of Doom Tue, 02 Mar 2021 18:10:27 -0500 Jordan Baranowski

It's pretty easy to look at Curse of the Dead Gods and dismiss it as riding the coattails of Hades. There are definitely a lot of similarities between the two, but Curse of the Dead Gods eschews much of the storytelling elements that make Hades stand out to deliver a more traditional, but never inferior, action roguelike experience.

If you've been in search of an action game that will punish you for getting cocky and reward your patience and practice, Curse of the Dead Gods is a temple of doom full of deadly treasures.

I took a look at it last year when it first started kicking around in Early Access, and I enjoyed it for its excellent risk-reward balance, difficulty, and customization. It felt like a good time to check back in and see what the full release looks like.

Curse of the Dead Gods Review: The Temple of Doom

Curse of the Dead Gods casts you in the shoes of a daring explorer who seemingly gets locked in an ancient, ever-shifting temple. On top of that, you've been inflicted with a horrible curse that builds as you progress further and further through it.

What that means is you'll move through a series of procedurally generated rooms, battling enemies and collecting powerups as you go, before eventually coming across a boss (or, in longer runs, multiple bosses) in the hopes that you've become strong enough to take them on.

Otherwise, you'll be zipped back to the beginning to take on another run.

This probably sounds familiar, because, well, it is. Curse of the Dead Gods doesn't break a ton of new ground in the genre. However, it does everything in the roguelike realm very well, and it does have a few clever ways to get its hooks in you. Let's start with the familiar stuff that it does well.

Combat feels silky, and it's difficult without being unfair. You battle a lot of foes at once, and learning to prioritize the most dangerous ones is one key to success. Dodging and heavy attacks take stamina, which refills after a short time of not taking any actions, so learning how to pace yourself, strike, and get to safety is another key. You can also parry, leaving your foes vulnerable and instantly refilling a bit of stamina.

On top of all that, there are a variety of primary, secondary, and heavy weapons to find, all with procedurally generated abilities and status effects, so using them wisely is the third and final key. 

It is a lot to keep track of, but it never feels completely overwhelming. The difficulty curve of Curse of the Dead Gods is a lot less punishing than many roguelikes, and you'll be dodging and parrying like a pro before you know it.

As you move through your early runs, you'll only have a handful of rooms to get through before you take on a boss. It isn't to say these early runs are easy, but you won't suffer too much attrition before reaching the end. And, even if you do, Curse of the Dead Gods plays fast and loose in handing out its persistent resources, which you can use to buy permanent upgrades to take on later runs.

That's when some of the wrinkles in Curse of the Dead Gods shine through.

Those titular curses are a big part of things. As you pass through doors or battle certain enemies, your Corruption meter builds. When it hits critical mass, you'll be inflicted with a game-altering curse. Some of these are generally harmless, and some can even be beneficial to certain playstyles.

As runs get longer and enemies get tougher, however, these curses can build up on one another, leading to unintended combinations that can be impossible to overcome. If you hit your fifth curse on a single run, it's practically a death sentence, though defeating a boss does let you knock a curse off.

Curses make the game even more fascinating because some of the best room rewards can only be obtained by taking a heavy hit to your Corruption meter. Is it worth it to add another random negative effect for an extremely powerful weapon or perk? It might be! 

Light and dark play a big role in Curse of the Dead Gods, too. You can swap to your torch and use it to light braziers in the environment, or even set flammable parts of the environment afire, watching it spread to, perhaps, cause an explosion. Light helps you see enemies from further away, of course, but it can also cause you to take or deal more damage in darkness. 

The risk-reward element is alive and well in Curse of the Dead Gods and, because it's an action game, you never feel completely hopeless.

Deckbuilder roguelikes often have that "critical mass" moment where you realize you won't be able to successfully complete a run, even if you haven't hit the roadblock yet. Curse of the Dead Gods' combat still puts enough control in your hands that you feel like making it through one more room could give you the edge you need.

Curse of the Dead Gods—The Bottom Line


  • Combat is difficult without being unfair and extremely rewarding when you get it right
  • Corruption and darkness add nice layers of risk-reward to runs
  • Interesting art style and slick animations


  • Becomes repetitive quicker than many other roguelikes
  • Could use a bit more of a story and narrative

Where Curse of the Dead Gods falls short is in its replayability. Roguelikes are already somewhat repetitive by design, but without a strong story hook or a huge amount of variety, it can be tough to dive back in for another run.

After putting in about 20 hours for this review, I'm not sure Curse of the Dead Gods is the "long haul" type of roguelike. HadesBinding of IsaacSlay the SpireMonster Train — each keeps revealing more the more hours you sink in. But all in all, that's a small gripe for an otherwise fantastic game. 

If you just want an old-school roguelike to test your mettle, you can't go wrong with Curse of the Dead Gods. It's the right mix of challenge and experimentation, providing dozens of hours of playtime before it starts to wear. After that, you may even find self-imposed challenges and the chase of perfection enough to keep you delving back in for another run.

[Note: Focus Home Interactive provided the copy of Curse of the Dead Gods used for this review.]

Aliens: Fireteam Lets You Push Back the Xenomorph Onslaught Together Tue, 02 Mar 2021 14:00:33 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Alien: Isolation was all about staying alive on your own, but Cold Iron Studios is shaking up the series with Aliens: Fireteam for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

Set for a summer 2021 release, Aliens: Fireteam is a class-based survival shooter where teams of battle-hardened Marines face off against innumerable Xenomorph threats.

Fireteam takes place 23 years after Alien 3 as the crew of the USS Endeavor battles to contain the Xenomorph onslaught.

Cold Iron is pulling from the entire Xenomorph lifecycle for a total of 11 Alien foes, including Facehuggers and Praetorians, and there's an additional nine enemy types outside the Xenomorphs.

Players team up with others to pick from one of five classes: Gunner, Doc, Recon, Demolisher, and Technician. Each class has a unique set of abilities and perks, and Aliens: Fireteam features more than 30 weapons and 70+ mods to further enhance each unit. A well-balanced team also needs good cooperation to survive, so teamwork is critical.

Stay tuned for more on Aliens: Fireteam as we learn it. 

Yakuza: Like A Dragon PlayStation 5 Version Available Now Tue, 02 Mar 2021 13:07:51 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Yakuza: Like A Dragon's PlayStation 5 version is available now with a free upgrade for existing owners of the digital or physical PlayStation 4 version. New players can choose from three different editions, which we've outlined elsewhere.

The free upgrade for the physical version requires a PS5 with a disc drive, while the digital version can be upgraded on either PS5 console. Note that, at the time of writing, the PlayStation store is telling owners of the digital Yakuza: Like A Dragon they're ineligible for a free upgrade. However, PlayStation Support said the issue is being worked on.

Yakuza: Like A Dragon on PlayStation 5 benefits from better resolution and frame rates along with reduced load times. It does not make use of the DualSense's haptic feedback, though.

From now until April 2, all Yakuza: LAD players on any platform can download the Legends costume set for free. It includes:

  • Majima's tuxedo
  • Kiryu's suit from Yakuza 0
  • Makoto Date costume
  • Daigo Dojima streetwear
  • Haruka Sawamura costume
  • Taiga Sawajima costume
  • Kaoru Sayama costume

Yakuza: Like A Dragon was one of our top RPGs of 2020, thanks to its "uplifting and hopeful story told with heart, supported by satisfying RPG gameplay and a host of entertaining side-missions and minigames."

If you're just getting started on your Yokohama adventure, you won't be going alone. We've got all the Yakuza: Like A Dragon guides you'll need to make Ichiban Kasuga's rag-tag band the city's new heroes.

Evil Genius 2's Star Studded Voice Cast Steps Out From the Shadows Tue, 02 Mar 2021 13:05:42 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Rebellion announced Evil Genius 2's primary voice cast, headlined by an unspeakable level of top-tier talent.

Samantha Bond will voice the former spymaster Emma in Evil Genius 2. Emma excels at staying behind the scenes and pulling the strings, but her endgame isn't just ruling the world. It's destroying the world and all its loathsome inhabitants.

Bond appeared on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company, in films such as the Pierce Brosnan James Bond set, and on TV in Downtown Abbey, among other roles, though Evil Genius 2 marks Bond's first foray into video game voiceovers.  She's no stranger to Rebellion, however, and recently starred in their first film, School's Out Forever.

Brian Blessed, another Royal Shakespeare Company veteran, notably voices Boss Nass in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, has the role of Red Ivan here. Ivan is a former henchmen turned evil mastermind who uses brute force to achieve his wicked ends.

Glen McCready splits his time between game voiceovers (Layers of Fear, Zombie Army 4) and appearing in award-winning films such as Above the Clouds. His skills head in a more iniquitous direction as the voice of Max in Evil Genius 2.

Rakie Ayola is the fourth dastardly mastermind, Zalika. Zalika is the classic evil scientist, using their deep knowledge of how the world works to bend it to their will. Zombie Army 4 fans might also recognize Ayola as Shola's voice, but Ayola has a storied career as an award-winning actress on stage and in TV and film, including On Bear Ridge and Doctor Who

Evil Genius 2 releases March 30 for PC via Steam. Check out 10 minutes of the game in action if you haven't already.

Curse of the Dead Gods: Best Weapons Tier List Tue, 02 Mar 2021 15:55:26 -0500 Sergey_3847

There are three main fighting styles in Curse of the Dead Gods, which correspond to the three weapon categories available in the game. Each weapon has its own characteristic ability, which does make the choice of weaponry quite an important task.

Our guide will provide you with a tier list of the best weapons in Curse of the Dead Gods. Some of them are champion's weapons, which are rare types of weapons that drop from bosses under special circumstances. Read on to below and choose the best weapons for your character.

S-Tier Weapons

Primal Hammer

  • Type: Two-Handed Weapon
  • Category: Heavy
  • Locations: Ground, Chests, Sanctuaries

Primal Hammer is a crude weapon, but incredibly effective at smashing enemies to bits.

Each move consumes 1 point of stamina, but each move also deals more damage than any other weapon in the game. Its charged attacks are especially powerful, as Primal Hammer has a weakening effect on enemies, making this already extremely powerful weapon even stronger.

Primal Hammer has five tiers of upgrades. If you manage to upgrade it to its fullest potential, then it will deal twice as much damage than in its raw form.

Witch's Crook

  • Type: Two-Handed Weapon
  • Category: Heavy
  • Locations: Champion's Weapon

Witch's Crook, also known as "K'etyaam yaan", is another powerful hammer. It can be obtained by killing Xucat', the Witch boss. Note that Witch's Crook will drop only if Xucat' dies while being on fire.

Xucat' will attack you with skulls that serve both as mines and projectiles. Destroy the mines and dodge the projectiles, while chaining two combos to kill her.

Once she drops the Witch's Crook, you can use its charged attacks to send out similar dark projectiles at your enemies.

A-Tier Weapons

T'amok's Fury

  • Type: Off-Hand Weapon
  • Category: Whip
  • Locations: Champion's Weapon

While hammers are still the most powerful weapons in Curse of the Dead Gods, they are mainly good against a single enemy at a time. Whips, on the other hand, are great for dealing damage to multiple enemies at once due to their spinning attacks.

T'amok's Fury is not a usual whip, but the one made of fire that can be charged and then summon fire jewels that keep burning enemies that come in contact with them.

The only way this cool weapon can be obtained is by parrying the Sun Twin boss three times in a row. Then, once the boss is killed, there is a 20% chance that you will get T'amok's Fury.

Bloodstake, Hunter's Torment

  • Type: Two-Handed Weapon
  • Category: Spear
  • Locations: Champion's Weapon

The most unique feature of this fierce-looking spear is its combo attack that allows you to throw a spear and let it pierce through all the enemies on its path.

However, obtaining this weapon is quite hard. It can be looted from Blood Hunter Champion after killing all of his Infernal Jaguars. Once this is done, the weapon will become available in the Forsaken Weaponry for 50 Jade Rings.

B-Tier Weapons

Duelist's Shiv

  • Type: Off-Hand Weapon
  • Category: Dagger
  • Locations: Ground, Chests, Sanctuaries

Duelist's Shiv may not be the strongest weapon, but it has a unique ability that gives you full stamina gauge.

Of course, you need to be able to evade attacks using the off-hand combo. Once you master this move, you will never have to wait for your stamina to restore.

Colt .45 Rainmaker

  • Type: Off-Hand Weapon
  • Category: Pistol
  • Locations: Ground, Chests, Sanctuaries

If you're choosing a ranged weapon, then between bows and pistols, the Colt revolver would be the better choice.

The best feature of any ranged weapon in Curse of the Dead Gods is their ability to deal perfect shots. With most ranged weapons you sometimes deal them and sometimes not.

But with the Rainmaker, your charged attacks will always deliver perfect shots hitting enemies in their weakest spots.

Moonblade, Night's Sword

  • Type: Main Weapon
  • Category: Sword
  • Locations: Ground, Chests, Sanctuaries

If the choice of your main weapon sits between maces and swords, then the answer is obviously swords, as they are much faster.

Moonblade is a terrific sword that can be found in regular spots and deals the most damage of all swords in the game.

Its charged attack is especially powerful and deals not only with a single target, but also damages all crossed enemies.

Those are the best weapons in Curse of the Dead Gods. You can check out our review of the game, and be sure to come back soon for more Curse of the Dead Gods guides.

RetroMania Wrestling Review: Boys Club Nostalgia Tue, 02 Mar 2021 15:59:17 -0500 Anthony McGlynn

Few wrestling games are thought of as fondly as WWF Wrestlefest, a 1991 arcade game from Technos Japan. Between improving on the visual fidelity and sound quality of WWF Superstars and getting worldwide distribution, Wrestlefest was a hit that helped shape wrestling in video games for generations to come.

Some 30 years later, RetroMania Wrestling from Retrosoft Wrestling is a sequel to WWF Wrestlefest, trading the necessity of a bulky cabinet for a gamepad and Steam account. The WWF license has been replaced by the National Wrestling Association and House of Hardcore, and a cavalcade of today's wrestlers are the new would-be arcade heroes. 

A follow-up three decades overdue, RetroMania Wrestling celebrates modern pro wrestling through the pixel art and sound of yesteryear. As a throwback to when the best way to settle a grudge was using an arcade cabinet, it lays a strong foundation, but as a showcase of contemporary professional wrestling, it leaves something to be desired.

RetroMania Wrestling Review: Boys Club Nostalgia

Two single-player modes are available in RetroMania Wrestling, each offering its own distinct narrative.

In Story Mode, you guide Johnny Retro (based on WWE superstar John Morrison) through a dramatic comeback following a career-threatening injury at the hands of Zack Sabre Jr. Once he's completed rehabilitation, Retro hits the road, traveling to territories in the United States and around the world for his chance at revenge. Stylized versions of Matt Cardona (previously Zack Ryder in WWE), Jeff Cobb, hardcore legend Tommy Dreamer, and many others make appearances along the way, either teaming up with or challenging Johnny across the various shows.

Matches use three movesets; weak, medium, and strong. Landing hits requires good timing and no small amount of button-bashing to win grappling contests for bigger moves. There is a tutorial, but like its forebears, RetroMania is best understood through trial by fire, trying out combinations against wrestlers in actual matches.

It can be frustrating having the standard AI pull off suplexes and other combos that seem impossible, but once you start to understand the overall rhythm, elaborate techniques become a gratifying cinch. Eventually, dwindling your opponent's stamina for the 1-2-3 is but a forgone conclusion, at which point you can dial up the difficulty.

Short animated cut-scenes break up story encounters, where Retro talks to other wrestling figures in a kayfabe-like environment where everyone is their in-ring personas. Names and faces, such as Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, pop up to help further the plot, and you occasionally have choices about alliances or your next adversary that affect your proceeding matches and create some replayability.

If you aren’t much for melodrama, the second mode, 10 Pounds of Gold, lets you choose your wrestler in a bid to defeat Nick Aldis for the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship, one of the oldest belts still in active competition.

You face a series of random opponents, in matches varying from one-on-one to a fatal-four-way, before getting to Aldis on an NWA pay-per-view, complete with an animated pre-match Aldis promo. Should you win, you defend a number of times, leading to Aldis getting his rematch.

These are rounded out by Royal Rumble and Exhibition, where you can play against friends using any of the 16-strong roster, with Exhibition giving you full control over the venue, rules, and so on. Going above four participants does put a wrinkle in the game's general smoothness by making it hard to keep track of where you are without a cursor. I was pinned after losing track of my character on more than one occasion.

It's a fairly robust package for anyone pining for another alternative to WWE’s dominance in wrestling games, but it's held back by not having any talent on the roster that isn't a cis-gendered man.

RetroMania positions itself as the recapturing of a bygone era of wrestling video games, one that hoists up the modern generation and highlights legacy beyond that of WWE.

I'm a man who grew up watching WWE and WCW in the 90s, with an older brother who started in the 80s. I'm the obvious target audience for a game like this. But as much as I love seeing the banner for NWA's 70th Anniversary as if it was somehow added to a cabinet from the early 90s, and hearing a heavy metal chiptune following my chosen athlete to the ring, without a single woman or non-binary performer, my rose-tinted glasses aren’t so rosy.

Absent a more inclusive roster, RetroMania dwells in retrograde boys club nostalgia, a vision of wrestling as purely male-dominated and male-defined, without any kind of internal critique or self-awareness.

Journalists and T-shirt companies are name-checked and given dialogue over Serena Deeb, Candy Lee, Thunder Rosa, or any of their peers (despite the NWA World Women's Championship predating the Worlds Heavyweight Championship).

This is especially conspicuous given that WWE unceremoniously cut a women's title match on a recent PPV, and AEW's controversial choice not to air its women's tag tournament on TV, proving these issues persist on a systemic and cultural level.

Thankfully, this is something the devs are aware of, and there's potential here to retroactively acknowledge wrestling outside of the masculine paradigm through-out history, piggybacking on Netflix's GLOW in shedding light on the workers that led the way and their struggle for mainstream recognition.

Right now, though, it's a game that avoids acknowledging these problems at all, and though I had some fun with it, it's not something I'm keen to return to.

RetroMania Wrestling Review — The Bottom Line


  • Looks good and soundtrack is catchy
  • Wide variety of moves
  • Cool to see smaller companies in video game form


  • Roster lacks diversity
  • Too many people in the ring is chaotic
  • Learning controls can be frustrating

Retrosoft clearly understands the kind of game it wanted to make in RetroMania, and aesthetically, it succeeds. Gaining the momentum in a match that's in full swing, and keeping it until victory, is exhilarating.

But as of now, RetroMania perpetuates aspects of pro wrestling that are better left in the past.

[Note: Retrosoft Studios provided the copy of RetroMania Wrestling used for this review.]

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town Preview — Fields of Promise Mon, 01 Mar 2021 16:35:16 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town, the first brand-new Story of Seasons game in four years, is out on Nintendo Switch this month. I’ve been spending the past few weeks getting a feel for the pioneer lifestyle courtesy of XSEED and can tell that, even after a few seasons, things are only just getting started in Olive Town.

Instead of a big overview about the game (because that’s what full reviews are for), I put together a few of Pioneers of Olive Town’s best and not-so-hot standout features so far.

The Prize Crops

Life on the Frontier

Most SoS/Harvest Moon games share a common foundation. You start from scratch, clear your fields, and gradually develop your podunk farm into an agricultural mega-producer. PoOT is no different but puts heavy emphasis on "from scratch."

Your farm is a wilderness of weeds, trees, and dilapidated buildings, and you only get a measly tent to live in at first. You craft almost everything important you’ll need on the farm, and there’s a definite by-the-bootstraps feel to proceedings.

Olive Town itself is much the same. Your goal is to transform the sleepy town into a bustling tourist destination, and you see and benefit from your hard work in tangible ways.

Pioneers’ organic progression system adds to this enterprising feeling. You unlock new crops by finding and shipping wild variants around your farm-forest. You’ll fix up farm buildings with materials you harvest and craft instead of just buying a barn outright, and the more you do, the more you raise your skill levels, which unlocks yet more activities and craftable items.

So Much Freedom

PoOT pairs all this opportunity with an equal amount of freedom in deciding what you want to do and how. Aside from customizing your farm layout however you wish, you can prioritize what you want to focus on and run with it.

I put off building a house, for example, because I funneled all my money and resources into high-selling crops and more maker machines than I have room for. However you want to build your farm is a viable path to success, and you’re rarely forced into doing any specific thing to move forward.

A Hard Day’s Work

If it’s not already apparent, Pioneers of Olive Town is stuffed full of things to fill out each day with. Planning your routine even feels like breaking new ground because it’s not going to be the same as previous SoS games — and probably not the same as another player’s, depending on where you split your focus.

It’s refreshing, but above all, seeing your farm and town evolve almost every day as a direct result of your actions makes it all even more satisfying than usual, since your ultimate goal is much more than just watching that money counter climb ever higher.

What’s Not Ripe Enough Just Yet

Flat Characters 

Pioneers of Olive Town’s characters don’t have much to say or do in your first few seasons, and you won’t see introductory events — or any events period — until you’ve raised their affection meter by one heart. PoOT ditches the series’ lovely 2D character portraits as well, so it’s harder to get a read on personalities for longer than I’d have liked.

Adding to the issue is a set of vague cues for likes and dislikes. Either everyone in Olive Town is so polite they won't complain about getting garbage as presents, or the dialogue needs to be more specific.

Object Borders

This is a very specific issue that others might not even care about, but something in how the game treats object borders means you can’t put items such as fences or maker machines up against other objects.

There’s a gap between the fence and coop, for example, and the mayonnaise maker sits out about an inch from the building instead of butting up against it. It’s a small issue, but notable nonetheless for restricting some of that freedom to build how you want. That's not to mention how it borked my farm layout in the early days, where space is limited by how many trees you can clear out in one day.


Don't get me wrong, Pioneers of Olive Town incorporates diversity in representation much more effectively than most games. Still, there's a nagging issue in character creation that's left a sour taste. Despite throwing open the options for clothing, hair, and voices, you only get two overall looks for your character. You can have a feminine (cute) stance or a masculine (powerful) stance, an oddly restrictive and arbitrary choice in an otherwise open gender design.


My first few seasons in Pioneers of Olive Town have been about making my own farm and leaving my footprint in the wilderness more than getting to know people or feeling like part of a community. Signs indicate that’s likely to change as the year draws to a close, and I hope the characters spring to life a bit more.

Still, there’s no denying Pioneers of Olive Town is a big step in the right direction in revitalizing the series’ familiar systems and gameplay, and I'm eager to see how the rest of the game continues growing. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks.