Arcade Genre RSS Feed | Arcade on GameSkinny en Launch Media Network Monster Hunter: World Iceborne Beta Soon, Here Are the Dates Tue, 18 Jun 2019 14:12:25 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Monster Hunter: World Iceborne may not be seeing its PlayStation 4 release until September, but hunters will get their first taste of the expansion much sooner than that.

Capcom will be holding a beta for Iceborne on PS4 in the coming days, in two waves. The first wave being for PlayStation Plus subscribers only, with the second being for all PS4 Monster Hunter: World players.

PS Plus subscribers will be able to hop onto Monster Hunter: World and get to hunting on the frosty peaks of Hoarfrost Reach on June 21, and be able to play the beta until June 23. That's three days of early-early beta access!

You're not out of luck if you're not a PS Plus subscriber, though: all MHW hunters will be able to partake in the beta on June 28 regardless of whether they have a PS Plus account. This more open beta phase will be running until June 30.

Now in bullet points:

  • PS+ subscribers get access from June 21 to 23
  • All MHW PS4 players get access from June 28 to 30

Monster Hunter: World Iceborne won't just bring the new Hoarfrost Reach map and new monsters. The expansion will also bring riding on select monsters for easier transport, a new grappling hook mechanic, a slinger system overhaul, and Master Rank (the G Rank replacement). If that all isn't music to a hunter's ears, I don't know what is.

Capcom plans on releasing the full expansion come September 6, but be sure to log into Monster Hunter: World during the beta period to get a taste of the future of the game.

Dr Mario World Pre-Registration Open Now for iOS and Android Tue, 18 Jun 2019 10:30:07 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Dr. Mario World, Nintendo's latest mobile title, is now open for pre-registration on Android and iOS ahead of its July 10 release.

Alongside the announcement, Nintendo also released a lengthy overview trailer demonstrating how the game works — including its microtransactions.

Dr. Mario World is a Match-3 puzzle game, tasking players with matching different pill colors to different viruses to clear stages. Of course, it's not as simple as it sounds.

Each stage has its share of obstacles, be they have traps to work around or blocks impeding progress. The stages are spread out over five themed worlds (hence "world" in the title) based on the usual Mario themes: sky, ice, haunted, and so on. Nintendo will be adding more worlds eventually, too.

The game initially gives access to Dr. Mario himself, but as players collect coins and diamonds  the game's primary collectible items  they can eventually unlock other doctors, including Peach, Yoshi, and even Bowser. Each doctor has their own special skill, like randomly clearing obstacles or rows.

The catch here is a stamina-like system, similar to Fire Emblem Heroes, but much more limiting. Players must spend hearts to attempt a stage, and while they refill one every 30 minutes, the little "+" icon next to the heart shows, unsurprisingly, hearts can be purchased using diamonds as well.

It appears the player can only hold five hearts at once, which means either tackling one or two stages per day or buying diamonds to buy more hearts. There's an infinite option that lets players attempt as many stages as they want in 60 minutes, too — for a price. A full five-heart refill would cost 10 diamonds, which translates to $1.99 (for 20 diamonds), while the hour-long unlimited option goes for 30 diamonds.

Diamonds are also used to obtain additional capsules players can use to continue a stage should they run out of capsules before finishing. As one would expect, these, too, are available for purchase in the in-game store and can be used to obtain more hearts.

There's a feature where friends can share hearts with each other as well, though the trailer doesn't provide any more information than that.

How to Change FOV in Hell Let Loose Tue, 18 Jun 2019 10:31:42 -0400 Sergey_3847

Realistic games like Hell Let Loose require players to pay attention to the smallest details, which why many players have been trying to find a way to increase the game's field of view (FOV).

As of now, there is no such slider in the game's options, making life a little harder for players with 4K resolution monitors.

Fortunately, there is a way to adjust the FOV in Hell Let Loose before it becomes an official part of the game. Follow our guide below for a complete instruction.

Edit System Files to Change FOV

The only way to increase the FOV in the game is to edit a system file in the game's system folders.

Here's what you need to do:

  1. Go to "C:\Users\[Username]\AppData\Local\HLL\Saved\Config\WindowsNoEditor" folder
  2. Locate and open the Engine.ini file in the notepad
  3. Add these two lines one after the other:
    • [/script/engine.localplayer]
    • AspectRatioAxisConstraint=AspectRatio_X
  4. Save and close the file

Instead of X put any number you want that will correspond to your monitor's aspect ratio. For example, 90 would be an ideal number for most wide screens.

However, if you're not sure which number to enter, then you can use this FOV calculator to determine the best ratio for your case.

You can also make the graphics look smoother by editing the same file as above. Just add the following lines one after the other:

  • [SystemSettings]
  • r.DefaultFeature.AntiAliasing=2
  • r.TemporalAACurrentFrameWeight=0.2
  • r.TemporalAASamples=64
  • r.TemporalAASharpness=0.8
  • r.Tonemapper.Sharpen=1

Just like with FOV you can adjust the numbers to achieve the perfect effect, but these are the most optimal settings for almost any PC.

Lastly, if you were having trouble calculating the distance for your Artillery weapons, then check out the guide for a complete instruction on how to use Artillery calculator in Hell Let Loose.

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

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

Playing Doom Eternal is simply exquisite.

Guns and Gore

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

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

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

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

Shotgun + Grappling Hook = Perfection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Complete Chaos

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

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

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


For more E3 coverage, check the links below: 

World of Warcraft Classic's Wednesday Stress Test to Allow All Subscribers Mon, 17 Jun 2019 16:00:07 -0400 Ashley Shankle

If you're one of the many waiting in the wings for World of Warcraft Classic, you may be happy to find that anyone subscribed to the game will be able to participate in this week's stress test.

Active subscribers will be able to download the WoW Classic client tomorrow to prepare for the open stress test starting on June 19 (this Wednesday) at 5 p.m. EDT/2  p.m. PDT, running until June 21. It's only three full days of playtime, but it's certainly better than nothing.

This stress test will be raising the level cap for testers up to Level 15, granting them a few talent points to play with and a wider net of quests to complete compared to the last test with its cap of Level 10.

In the official forum blue post from Blizzard Community Manager Kalvax, it's requested that testers play as much as possible during the first three hours of the test, though it will be completely available for 48 hours over the testing period.

Players will be able to run some classic instances during this test, the dungeons available being Deadmines, Ragefire Chasm, and Wailing Caverns all instances some Vanilla players have spent a little too much time in, but certainly important parts of the testing experience. PvP battleground Warsong Gulch will also be available.

So rev up those subs and get ready to whap that download button tomorrow afternoon or evening as the Classic client becomes available to subscribers, and be ready for the stress test launch at 5  p.m. EDT/2 p.m. PDT on Wednesday. Hype! Full launch is only two months away, on August 26 in NA and August 27 worldwide.

Dragon Star Varnir Review: Dark Magic Tue, 18 Jun 2019 11:13:56 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Idea Factory and Compile Heart's latest game to come West is Dragon Star Varnir. IF's titles aren't usually associated with much substance and tend to fit snugly into the niche category, but Varnir is a bit different.

It has its faults, for sure, including some less than spectacular writing and characterization that could do with some boosts. However, it boasts a compelling story set in a genuinely unique world, and it's not afraid to be dark and brutal in its narrative.

The combat system is dynamic as well and offers a substantial degree of freedom in how you customize your characters and approach combat.

It might not be for everyone, but Dragon Star Varnir is a solid RPG all around.

You're a Witch, Zephy

Dragon Star Varnir's story is an interesting one. Even though a fair bit of it ends up being predictable, the premise and build-up are compelling and unique enough to make up for the story beats you can see a mile off.

The game takes place in Varneria, a land that worships the divine savior Varnir. One group that defends the righteous on behalf of the emperor is the Knights of Requiem; they are dedicated to hunting and exterminating the witches who live in hiding throughout the land. As you'd expect, they believe there is no gray area here: witch = bad. Always.

They hunt dragons, too, but the player quickly finds out those are one and the same.

Without getting too spoilery for the story you can see coming a mile away, Zephy, the game's protagonist is a Knight of Requiem — for about 30 minutes, at least. Of course, all of this gets challenged when he's saved from near death and is imbued with power. 

Of course, Zephy deals with both a sense of abandonment because the Knights want to kill him now and astonishment of his new identity. His less assertive friend wants to subvert the Knights and help, the witches don't trust him, and *gasp* it's possible the nation's religion is corrupt.

Much of this is not only easy to see coming, but it's been done elsewhere in other forms. The game doesn't necessarily try to do anything new or innovative with these tropes either, and the writing can be fairly shallow at times.

However, the larger setting and plot these are wrapped in does go a long way in keeping things interesting. On whole, it's a pretty dark story, with lots of death and tragedy — not something you typically associate with Idea Factory.

Magical Personalities?

What you do typically associate with Compile Heart and Idea Factory is lots of innuendo, women with impossibly large, gravity-defying breasts, and a distinct lack of characterization.

Some of that is present here. Despite the fact that witches are generally depicted as sexy in culture to begin with, the majority of female characters, including non-witches, aren't designed with what you could call sensitive representation in mind.

For what it's worth, the designs aren't quite as provocative as Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and also like XC2, the game doesn't really do anything with the designs other than putting them out there; this isn't a Neptunia game with groping, sex jokes, and the like.

The characters themselves could do with some more personality, though it isn't dreadful by any means. For the most part, the writing is distinct enough to give an idea of the personality behind the words, but it does stray into generic territory before the story really gets going.

Here, too, the setting redeems what's missing in characterization. For example, Zephy might be the typical protagonist, but he's stuck in a difficult and dark situation, which casts his willingness to help and desire for approval in a less cliche light. The same goes for many of the witches, especially Minessa.

Despite featuring in the opening movie, Minessa doesn't have a very strong personality at first. Once you learn about her past and connection to the Witch of Hellfire, though, it's easier to see her as a more interesting character.

Then there's Laponette, whom you meet shortly after finishing the opening sequences. She seems like the younger and more innocent "little sister" character — only, she has the ability to see the fortunes of those she comes in contact with. In other words, she knows how and when her friends will die.

You'll encounter plenty of additional characters on the way who follow this same pattern of semi-tropiness, and it's nice to see how effectively the setting and plot are used to give more substance to the whole affair.

One other thing worth noting is the harem aspect. With such a setup, you might expect the game to drip with harem anime tropes. Since you can romance some of the older witches, it exists to an extent. But Dragons Star Varnir navigates these waters well, keeping things from becoming too cringey; luckily, it's not a major focus. 

Take to the Air

Where it falters with writing and characterization, Dragon Star Varnir really shines in its combat and character customization.

The basic setup is your typical turn-based system where each character has a type of physical attack — slash, hit, pierce — and elemental strengths and weaknesses, including fire, ice, water, earth, and light, among others.

In a bit of a twist, though, battles take place in midair, and the grid-based field is divided into three layers. Certain attacks can only be performed on a specific layer, some affect multiple squares, and some pierce all three layers. Not only do you need to plan your strategy around enemy placement, but you can also use the layers to push enemies into making certain moves.

It seems simple on the surface, but it rewards you for paying attention, for using space and movement alongside exploiting weaknesses.

For instance, say you know one character is weak to earth, and you don't want an enemy to spam two earth attacks in a row. You can split your party up so two are on one layer and one is further down (or above). At most, it's likely said boss will only use that attack once and spend the other attacking other layers with a spread-based attack.

Each character has a special set of Dragon Skills, with one, in particular, being most useful: Devour. It is what it says, and it lets you consume an enemy, should certain conditions be met, like the fear meter being raised through attacking their weaknesses. Devour grants the devour-er a special core with unlockable nodes that grant stat boosts or new skills. Boss dragons leave a core that every character can use, though.

That ends up being a lot of skills, though each category — physical, Dragon, etc — has a cap on how many skills you can take into battle with you. It's worth tinkering around with to find the best build for each character, and it can easily change over time.

Whether you want to make, say, Minessa a magic-focused character with spells ranging the gamut of elements or split her abilities between physical and magic is entirely up to you. Some characters are better suited for certain roles, like Laponette and, surprisingly, Karikaro (she wields a nasty looking spear but is stronger with magic). However, it's still a good idea to make sure a character can exploit at least two weaknesses, either physical or magical.

There are special Dragon Skills you can invest in as well that can only be used during Awakenings. These are a lot like Limit Breaks, really. Each party member has an Awakening meter that fills over the course of battle, and once it's full, they transform into a semi-dragon form, complete with stat boosts and the aforementioned superpowered Dragon Skills.

The downside to overusing these Dragon Skills is that they do a number on the character's balance and can hasten the dragon's birth inside that character.

All of these mechanics are explained via simple tutorial screens that give just enough information without outstaying their welcome; it can seem a bit overwhelming to have 10 tutorial pages to go through in a short time, but the way you implement what you just learned helps everything stick.

There's a lot going on, and it helps keep things interesting — which is good, because there is a risk of getting stale with the dungeon designs.

A Special Brew

Dragon Star Varnir is a peculiar mix of dungeon exploration, item crafting, combat, and visual novel. The vast majority of the game is told through still character portraits, with random segments showing 3D models and movement. The conversations tend to go on for a while. There's usually some interesting world-building involved or at least important exposition, though the writing often drags it down some.

Most of the navigation is done via menus, even in the den, and you pretty much only move around in 3D in the dungeons. Unfortunately, the dungeons tend to be a bit on the bland side.

You'll find lots of collection points, granting items you use to create elixirs and other important things, even more enemies, and very few puzzles. Those that do exist make use of party members' field skills, but they don't really require much thought; press the square button, and move on. It's all reminiscent of the PS2 era.

The visuals are as well, except the well-rendered portrait art. Models and enemies lack detail, movements on the field and in combat are very stiff, and overall, it doesn't take advantage of the PS4's capabilities.

How much of an issue that is depends on perspective. This is from a small developer and publisher, and a lot of RPGs don't prioritize cutting edge visuals. Those who aren't looking for the best graphics and smoothest animations likely won't find this too big of a problem.

The game's soundtrack is mostly good and makes good use of orchestral arrangements that fit a given area; the den is a particular favorite, partly because it's one of the few chipper areas and tunes in the game. Boss battles are a bit of a nuisance, though, since each repeats a rather grating chorale piece that overshadows any background instruments and consistently encouraged this writer to turn the volume down.

The game does sport an English voice track, which is a nice addition. It's a bit hit and miss at times, but the main gripe is just that a good chunk of the voiced exposition is delivered in a flat tone, even when it's meant to be emotional.

The Verdict

  • Unique story and setting helps rise above predictable tropes
  • Interesting characters and backstories
  • Deep combat and character customization
  • Some bland writing hampers characterization
  • Dated visuals and a few audio quirks might turn some away
  • Dungeon designs need some work

Dragon Star Varnir actually has a lot more going for it than the slightly stilted opening scenes and skimpy witch outfits might initially suggest. The setting and overarching plot are reason enough to see the journey through to the end, and the combat and customization make it easy to overlook some of the other problems you might encounter on the way.

It's not likely to convert newcomers to the genre or developer, but it's a worthy addition to the PS4's RPG library and tells a story you likely won't forget in a while.

[Note: A copy of Dragon Star Varnir was provided by Idea Factory for the purpose of this review.]

How to Use the Artillery Calculator in Hell Let Loose Mon, 17 Jun 2019 09:06:41 -0400 Sergey_3847

Artillery may not be everybody's prime choice in Hell Let Loose, the latest war simulator at Steam Early Access, but it is definitely one of the most effective weapons when it comes to dealing with large objects or huge numbers of enemies.

The main reason why it's so difficult to operate is that it can be really hard to properly aim a huge cannon, it's kind fo hard to hit the target as planned. Since there is a lot of confusion surrounding Artillery in Hell Let Loose, below you will find a step-by-step guide on how to use an unofficial calculator for more effective gameplay.

Step 1: Set Up Traverse

In order to operate Artillery well in Hell Let Loose you need to play as an Officer of a Recon group.

This is important, because an Officer is the only type of player who can put markers on the map, which are essential for proper Traverse aiming of the cannon.

When you reached an Artillery at your HQ, open your world map and put a marker on the map by holding "1" on your numpad and left-click your mouse. You will see that an Observer marker has been implemented, which will give you the exact distance and direction for your aiming.

Then, use A and D keys to rotate the cannon in the direction of the Observer marker. If you don't see the marker, then press the T key.

Remember, your vertical crosshair must coincide with the observer marker in your aiming view.

Step 2: Set Up Elevation

Elevation determines the angle of the cannon, which corresponds to the distance covered by the Artillery shell.

The best way to set up Elevation angle is to use this Artillery Calculator that provides the exact ratio of Milliradians vs. Meters. Use the slider to adjust the correct ratio.

For example, if your Observer marker shows that the distance to your target is 1248 meters, then your Elevation angle would be 705 Milliradians. Use W and T keys to adjust the Elevation angle.

When your Traverse and Elevation angles are set, you can fire an Artillery shell with confidence that it will hit the desired target exactly as intended.

New Horizons is The Best — and Only — Direction for Animal Crossing Tue, 18 Jun 2019 11:02:56 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

E3 finally gave people their first glimpse at the upcoming Animal Crossing Switch game, titled Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The good news is it looks amazing. The bad news is we can't get our hands on it until next year.

That's okay, really. Not only does it mean the dev team gets to be real humans with a work-life balance, but it also means they have the time they need to really make this a stand-out game. And it looks like it's going to be a stand-out game.

Past titles have played it safe with innovations and doing new things, striking a balance between innovation and safety that sometimes leans a bit too far towards the latter than the former. However, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is making a big step forward for the series, even bigger than New Leaf, and it's exactly what Animal Crossing needs to keep it fresh and appealing for years to come.

Tried and True

Animal Crossing's debut was much like Harvest Moon's: it was a completely different kind of game that shattered all traditional notions of gameplay. You were completely free to do whatever you wanted, interact with townsfolk as much or as little as possible, and even live in a dingy 4x4 house for your entire game if you felt like Tom Nook needed to find other sources of revenue.

Yet that innovation and its popularity put the series in a bit of a difficult place. On the one hand, changing things up too much could potentially alienate players who loved the formula first used; on the other, making future entries too similar to previous installments means there's little incentive to play.

It's a position Animal Crossing grappled with for a while and not always with successful results. The developers focused more on the multiplayer aspects when making changes for Wild World and City Folk, taking advantage of wireless communication and trying to implement more activities people could enjoy in their friends' towns.

Changes for single player mode were conservative at best and regressive at worst. WW ditched the major holidays in favor of drawn-out affairs the player couldn't participate in. However, it did expand villager conversation variety and add new request types, along with new furniture. The world became rounder, but smaller as well.

Other major changes included Celeste's observatory and the ability to see the sky; the latter might sound mundane, but it adds a special sense of wholeness to the town.

Rather than being a big step forward, it was more like a refinement that tried to recapture the same sense of of the original, but for new audiences. With a goal like that, it's understandable the team would be careful how much they changed.

Urban Stagnation

City Folk suffered from that approach, only with the Wii as the platform — and by exactly the same approach, to a fault. It's still a charming game, but apart from having all the special characters in one place and an upgraded aesthetic, there isn't much new in a positive way.

What it did do was severely pare down villager interactions . No longer could you shoot the breeze with your favorite animals or pester them for requests until at last they remembered that video tape they loaned out. Instead, you had no communication options and had to deal with a few responses on repeat for an hour.

The disappearing grass function was a strange innovation as well. Presumably meant to create paths in the town, it resulted in a lot of brown instead and some very thin grass. That might not seem like a big deal, but in a game where the goal is making your town as beautiful, or as whatever, as you want, punishing you for walking around said town doesn't seem very beneficial. (It's worth noting the New Horizons trailer shows you making paths specifically, so huzzah; your grass is safe forevermore.)

Overall, none of these negatives are really all that bad, though. The games are still incredibly fun, and it's easy to sink a ton of time into them. The problem comes when you look at them and realize you could get largely the same experience regardless of which title you chose.

Election Time

New Leaf came and changed all of that with a simple mechanics change. Making the player the mayor initially came off as a gimmick, but it opened up a vital aspect of living in an AC town: making it completely your own.

The Town Ordinances addressed a long-standing problem for fans who didn't have a school-based schedule by letting stores open earlier or close later. The sheer convenience of making villagers focus on town beautification can't be overstated either and saved those poor flowers from neglect.

More important was the introduction of Public Works Projects. These special, sometimes wacky, items could be placed anywhere — well, almost — in any combination, and there were a ton to unlock. They also gave players something to work towards other than repaying a home loan, which goes far in providing incentive to keep playing.

It also introduced the start of something new with furniture: customization and new placement options. The series has always been about living your fictional life your way, and New Leaf finally started to make that possible.

It couldn't really be replicated, though. Many fans and critics lamented City Folk's recycling of Wild World. There's no way Animal Crossing could have directly continued what New Leaf started without repeating that situation, getting stuck by just adding new Public Works Projects, some new furniture and ultimately displeasing consumers.

Communal Island Paradise

So it doesn't try to. New Horizons makes a clean break from previous Animal Crossing concepts, taking the major, most enjoyable features from the series and doing something new with them.

Moving the game out of a traditional town and into an exotic new location is, like many positive changes in the series' history, minor on the surface. After all, E3 interviews with the game's director confirmed most of the town building aspects will remain recognizable. However, it creates an atmosphere of new beginnings (hence the game's name) that, recognizable progression or not, does make even familiar tasks seem fresh.

The main feature of populating an island greatly contributes to that as well. With New Leaf, the focus was firmly on you. Even though you can determine where your neighbors live, it seems like this is meant to be a more cooperative outing.

You're all in the same boat, held under Tom Nook's merciless iron thumb until you pay back your loans and can move out of your tents. Plus, unhappy villagers will leave the island, and it looks like fellow islanders will contribute a lot more to the community's well-being, if their gardening activities in the trailer are anything to go by.

In other words, not only are you taking part in village/island life per usual; you're all working together to make that life. It's basically the fully realized fulfillment of the original Animal Crossing's promise all those years ago.

New Horizons borrows from Happy Home Designer and Pocket Camp in what looks like highly effective ways as well. The half-grid placement makes a return from HHD, and it seems as if you can use it to plant tightly knit garden projects, among other things.

But the more exciting feature is placing furniture and items outside.

Your Island, Your Way

This time, your town really can be your own, and you can change it however you want, whenever you want. Public Works Projects are great, but they're specialty items mostly, like the Jungle Gym, or classic buildings like the Lighthouse. New Horizons lets you create a temporary campsite, as we've seen, but assuming there are no limits to what you can place outdoors, the possibilities will be limitless.

One thing I'm most excited about, though, is the item crafting. Pocket Camp introduced us to it in a sense, and New Horizons is taking it to greater heights. Nook Miles rewards are sort of like the Meow Coupons add-on in New Leaf, tasking you to complete certain quests to get rewards. But not having every item or piece of furniture you want available immediately provides an even more compelling reason to keep playing.

You're trying to earn or find recipes, or items to make something new. Sure, you're probably going to get stuck trying to find a certain recipe, just like waiting for years on that one piece of furniture Nook never seemed to stock. However, searching them out, finding the ones you want, and making your island community into something unique puts the focus more firmly on players than even New Leaf's mayor feature did.

Multiplayer was never Animal Crossing's strong point. There just wasn't enough to do, and the chat functions weren't quite up to snuff, unless you liked playing right up against your TV thanks to the Wii Speak's obnoxiously short cord.

Yet it seems like New Horizons will be a step in the right direction for multiplayer as well. Obviously, most of its multiplayer features are still under wraps, but we did get a glimpse at something the series has needed for so long: playing with friends and family at the same time.

Because Animal Crossing's multiplayer offerings were so limited, it never made sense you couldn't at least play with the other people living in your own town and work together. Well, okay, I'm sure it does make sense from a technological standpoint, but it was a huge bummer nonetheless.


New Horizons is an appropriate name not just because the game takes place on a new island over the horizon.

This looks like this is the first time Animal Crossing will really give you the reins in your town and finally add greater purpose to all that item and furniture hoarding... er, collecting. It's a completely new outlook for the series, even while it retains its beloved roots — and it's hopefully setting a pattern of innovation for future entries as well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 E3 2019 Preview Mon, 17 Jun 2019 10:03:25 -0400 Erroll Maas

At E3 2019, I was able to try out the upcoming Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the lengthily-titled next entry in the Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games series.

The game has plenty of different characters to play as and a variety of different mini-games in which to partake, and its gameplay is surprisingly simple. Perhaps too much so for those that have yet to try the games.

The E3 demo featured a few playable characters and four different sports in which they could partcipate, including karate, skateboarding, surfing, and archery.

Karate was the first one I tried. Here, players must quickly hit or block opponents to gain points. Each round of karate can end in the blink of an eye, so it's best players keep their guard up if they want to ensure victory.

Skateboarding is extremely simple; all players have to do is go whichever direction they want and press "A" at the right time to perform tricks, and sometimes both "A" and "R" to garner more points while doing them.

Surfing is similar but includes rapidly pressing the "A" button to paddle and catch a wave. Once a player starts paddling, catching the wave behind is automatic, but staying on the wave and performing tricks requires use of the analog stick as well as the "A" button once again. There's also only a limited amount of time for players to stay on the wave, with the goal being to stay on it for as long as possible.

For Archery, players can either compete against each other or team up and get points by shooting arrows at targets. In this demo, Archery may have been the easiest sport of the bunch, since hitting the middle of the target was nearly unavoidable.

While it's still fun to play all of these modes in quick succession, from all of the simple actions utilized by the four available sports in the demo, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is best recommended for younger kids and more casual players at this point.

Maybe things will be more difficult in the final build over time, but this demo did nothing to indicate that. If you're looking for a modern title with similar gameplay to Wii Sports, this likely isn't the one.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 launches for Nintendo Switch in November 2019.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order E3 2019 Preview Mon, 17 Jun 2019 11:29:41 -0400 Erroll Maas

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is a brand-new entry in the beloved Ultimate Alliance series that features a handful of different playable heroes from Marvel Comics, as well as plenty of iconic villains to fight.

In Ultimate Alliance 3, heroes team up to collect the Infinity Stones before Thanos can get to them and unleash chaos throughout the universe.

Every level of the game's campaign mode can be played in either single-player or co-op, though in either single-player or multiplayer you have a team of four heroes to work with.

For my E3 demo team, I played as Venom and my partner chose Storm, while I chose Miles Morales and Deadpool as our CPU teammates. Players can swap between the four chosen heroes at any time as long as there are less than four players -- in case they want to experience each character's playstyle.

Team lineups can also be changed at S.H.E.I.L.D. Points, which appear at several locations in each level

Venom felt like more of a brute character; he didn't have as much finesse as Spider-Man and featured different abilities except for his web swinging double jump. In many ways, he felt similar to the Hulk.

After Venom-smashing a few of the ninja enemies from The Hand, I switched to Miles as I expected him to be more agile. While Miles was indeed more agile than Venom, the constant chaos of battle made it difficult to know what was going on.

Due to my team combination, differentiating between allies and enemies could get confusing. The ninjas of The Hand had red and black outfits, somewhat reminiscent of Deadpool, so at times, Deadpool would be mistaken for the last enemy we would have to take out before progressing to the next section of the level.

Each playable hero had quick light attacks, which can be chained for combos, and slower but more powerful heavy attacks. Enemies seemed to always have more health than expected, so it always took longer than desirable to take a whole group down, even after characters would level up through battle.

In addition to different basic attacks, each hero had special powers called Abilities that can deal more damage but use up energy points, which refill over time.

When heroes use abilities in unison it creates Synergy, which allows for a variety of more powerful attacks. Unfortunately, even when using Synergy attacks, the enemies still seemed to have more health than necessary.

While Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is far from the worst experience I've played on Nintendo Switch, it's clear that it has a few problems, or at least the demo at E3 did.

It's also completely possible the full game will be more enjoyable after becoming more accustomed to the gameplay, although it may not be enjoyable for those who have never been fond of the Ultimate Alliance series or the Marvel universe.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order launches for Nintendo Switch on July 19.

The Legend of Zelda Link's Awakening E3 2019 Preview: Gameplay You Remember, New Visuals You Already Love Mon, 17 Jun 2019 13:18:58 -0400 Erroll Maas

When the Nintendo Switch remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening was first announced, longtime fans were overjoyed. Now, their favorite entry would be returning.

While details were scant at the time, we now know more about the upcoming remake. Fortunately, everything is just as players remember, other than the new and improved visuals that is.

Our E3 2019 demo covered the very first section of the game, starting at Link's actual awakening on the island of Koholint in Tarin's house. After meeting Tarin's daughter, Marin, and picking up his shield, Link goes off to the beach to try and find his sword.

Once found, an owl tells him that if he wants to go home, he must wake the wind fish by collecting the eight instruments of the Sirens.

The demo then took us to the forest with the tanuki encounter, collecting toadstools for the witch's magic dust, and going to the witch's house to obtain the dust to prevent the Tanuki from confusing Link and getting him lost. Unfortunately, the demo ended before we could take care of the tanuki.

Having played a large portion of Link's Awakening DX years ago, this Nintendo Switch remake feels exactly the same from a gameplay perspective. For most remakes, this would seem like a bad thing, but it works well for this particular title.

Traversal works just fine and combat is just how you would expect it to be from any top-down Legend of Zelda title.

While I've never been a huge fan of Link's Awakening, it's clear that Nintendo has put plenty of care into this remake and has tried its best to update it without changing the core gameplay elements that diehard fans love.

Being able to also develop a new and unique art style that fans are now enamored with only further improves the fact this remake exists. While I was disappointed I couldn't try the brand-new dungeon editor mode, this demo and the impending release of the full game gives me hope for the future of Legend of Zelda titles, and if any more of the Game Boy entries are planned to be remade.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening will launch for Nintendo Switch on September 20, 2019. A limited edition with a Game Boy-themed steelbook case and 120-page art book is available for pre-order in Europe, but it is unknown if or when it will be available in other territories.

Additionally, a Link's Awakening Link amiibo will be released on the same day as the game and will unlock additional content in the Dungeon Editor.

Luigi's Mansion 3 E3 Preview: Boo, Goo, and Improved Mon, 17 Jun 2019 10:53:47 -0400 Erroll Maas

Since its initial announcement during the September 2018 Nintendo Direct, Luigi's Mansion 3 has been somewhat of a mystery.

During Nintendo's E3 2019 Direct, we finally saw some of the gameplay that will be featured in the series' third entry.

We were fortunate enough to get some hands-on time with a demo on the showroom floor, and it provided both a nostalgic blast to the past as well as an optimistic look toward the future.

In Luigi's Mansion 3, players once again take control of Mario's ever frightened younger brother Luigi. Thinking he would be going on vacation to a seemingly luxurious hotel, he actually gets trapped in a plan by King Boo to capture the Mario brothers and their friends.

With assistance from Professor E. Gadd and the newly upgraded Poltergust G-00, Luigi must venture through the hotel to save his friends and bust some ghosts along the way.

The tutorial for this demo featured returning character Polterpup, as players are taught the basics by playing with him.

Luigi is equipped with a flashlight that can stun ghosts, and he also has the Poltergust-00, a new model of the familiar ghost busting vacuum which can now help Luigi slam ghosts back and forth in addition to pulling them toward him.

This short but sweet introduction is one of the best tutorials I've played, as it's straight to the point and doesn't waste the players time by trying to make them perform tedious tasks, and you even get to play with a ghost puppy as a bonus.

After this brief tutorial, it's off to explore the hotel, which has all manner of ghosts inside, from a few basic ghosts to other sorts of ghosts equipped with different tools such as shields. These require just a little more strategy to defeat.

In addition to ghosts, there are also treasures hidden behind certain walls which players can seek out to restore health and find items. Finding and obtaining these items may require the use of the suction shot, a more powerful suction tactic using the assistance of a plunger, or burst, which as you might be able to tell from the name, is the opposite of suction.

A brand-new mechanic first introduced during the Nintendo Direct is the inclusion of Gooigi, a playable clone of Luigi made out of slime who can ooze through obstacles Luigi can't get past by himself, such as spikes and metal bars.

Gooigi is useful once players become accustomed to switching between him and Luigi; in some cases, both can also be used at the same time. If the latter option proves to be too tricky for a single player, as it did for me due to using a pro controller instead of handheld mode and having to pay attention to both analog sticks for movement of both characters, a second player can join in and play as Gooigi to help them out.

While I only played the first Luigi's Mansion briefly and found Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon to be highly unsatisfying, Luigi's Mansion 3 seems like it takes both the praise and criticism of past entries to heart, in turn improving its own gameplay by both enhancing old features as well as adding new ones.

After playing the demo, it feels like Luigi's Mansion 3 will provide what fans want and will likely even have some pleasant surprises waiting for them.

As of writing, Luigi's Mansion 3 does not yet have a release date, but it is still planned to launch for Nintendo Switch sometime in Q4 2019.

Pokemon Sword & Shield E3 2019 Preview: The Biggest Gym Battles Ever Deserve Bigger Features Mon, 17 Jun 2019 11:54:14 -0400 Erroll Maas

Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, the eighth generation of mainline Pokemon titles and the second pair to launch on Nintendo Switch after Pokemon Let's Go, Pikachu and Pokemon Let's Go, Eevee, have fans both excited and skeptical for their release.

From the E3 demo I played, this is understandable, although the playable build only featured battling a few gym trainers, solving a gym puzzle, and battling the gym leader at the end. So in the end, it didn't give the best idea of what the full experience will ultimately be like.

The team in the demo consisted of the three starter Pokemon of the new Galar region, Scorbunny, Grookey, and Sobble, the recently revealed Corviknight and Wooloo, and the newly-introduced electric corgi Yamper.

While trying to solve the Gym Mission and gain access to the Gym Leader's arena by pressing different colored buttons to turn corresponding waterfalls on and off, several trainers were encountered, each having only one Pokemon of their own. These trainers seemed to be only for demo purposes, as their Pokemon did not seem to match with the Water-type theme of the gym at all.

While the trainer battles were ordinary except for one of them featuring the new Dark and Fairy dual-type Pokemon, Impidimp, the battle against the Gym Leader is where the demo really got exciting.

Going against Gym Leader Nessa, I thought it would be best to send Yamper out first, but to my surprise, the demo featured no menu outside of battle. Consequently, my initial lineup could not be changed, meaning Pokemon could only be switched while in battle.

Nessa sent out Goldeen while I swapped out for Yamper, but to my surprise, it was taken out in just two turns from Goldeen's waterfall attack, which seemed to have a bigger and much flashier animation than the other attacks I had seen.

After Yamper was taken down, I sent out Grookey to make quick work of Nessa's horned fish and it did exactly that.

After this, Nessa sent out her dual water and rock type turtle Dreadnaw and immediately used Dynamax, making it grow to Gamera size. Of course, I followed suit and activated Dynamax with Grookey to level the playing field.

While information for attacks and types were shown when highlighted, stats were not, so it's unknown if or how Dynamax affects them. It's also unknown just how strong Dreadnaw is, as it was able to knock out Dynamax Grookey with little trouble.

Having a much tougher time than I expected, my options were Wooloo, which couldn't do much, Sobble, which was resistant but likely wouldn't do much damage, Scorbunny, which might have been able to deal a decent amount of damage with double kick but was weak to water, and Corviknight, whose Steel Wing attack might be able to help.

I decided to try out Corviknight, and his Steel Wing did not prove useful in these trying times. After Dreadnaw had returned to normal size — Dynamax has a three-turn limit —  taking out a few slivers of health, I decided to experiment a little bit and switch to Sobble.

As it turned out, Sobble's liquidation attack dealt a decent amount of damage, and I was able to finally get Dreadnaw to faint in two turns. I had finally beat Gym Leader Nessa.

Despite being fun for most longtime Pokemon fans, the Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield demo lacked new features to showcase. While Dynamax is a neat new battle mechanic, not being able to see how or if it changes Pokmon stats makes it feel less significant.

A demo of wild areas and max raids may have been a more preferable way to showcase Dynamax in addition to other new features.

Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield will launch for Nintendo Switch on November 15. A steelbook bundle featuring both versions is also available for pre-order.

Ready to catch em' all in the new Galar region? Here are a few reasons you should be excited for the upcoming Pokemon games

Contra: Rogue Corps E3 2019 Preview — An Altered Take on the Contra Experience Mon, 17 Jun 2019 11:04:49 -0400 Erroll Maas

First shown during the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct, Contra: Rogue Corps is a brand-new entry in the Contra series that has some pretty big differences from what fans might usually expect.

Despite these differences, and having been directed by Nobuya Nakazato (Contra III: The Alien Wars and Contra: Hard Corps), it aims to be a worthy entry in the returning series.

A Mad, Mad World

Rogue Corps takes place after Contra III: The Alien Wars; after the aliens have seemingly been defeated, a mysterious alien-infested city appears. Known to many as the Damned City, anyone who ventures into it goes insane.

The game's four playable characters include Kaiser, a soldier who participated in the Alien Wars and now has cybernetic enhancements including an arm that can turn into a massive drill.

Ms. Harakiri is a stealthy former assassin who avoided death by fusing herself with an alien, and as a result, has to stab her midsection to prevent the alien from taking over. Weirdly enough, it also happens to be another way to attack her enemies.

Hungry Beast is a former scientist named Kurt Steiner whose brain was implanted into a cyborg panda, and Gentleman is a brain bug alien who was raised by humans and acts like an Englishman. 

Burn It to the Ground

Contra: Rogue Corps is a three dimensional, top-down experience, although some sections are on a 2D plane and feel more like the Contra players are familiar with.

While directional movement feels fine, aiming feels looser than it should, especially considering that enemies can be on several levels of the same area, high, low, and mid.

This also doesn't help much if the appropriate weapon isn't being used. The machine gun seemed to be much harder to aim upward than the missile launcher, but even after switching, it's hard to determine when exactly you'll be in the right spot to hit an enemy that's above you, which, unfortunately, may take a few tries of unnecessary trial and error.

After taking down a number of enemies, weapons will overheat and switching to another equipped weapon is required to keep the bullet storm going. That's particularly true if the environment can't be utilized to your advantage; throughout each area, you can pick up barrels and crates to throw at enemies or shoot at explosive containers to get rid of several enemies at once. However, these must be used strategically or you might be left scrambling. 

One peculiar thing to note is that if explosive barrels are in close proximity to each other, it takes a second or two for each following explosive barrel to explode, causing fewer enemies to be taken out over time. Perhaps it's just a quirk of the current build, but it is an odd mechanic that may make it into the final product. 

In addition to just shooting enemies, you can also take them out with finishing moves and special attacks. To execute flashy finishing moves, you must dodge a close-range attack from an enemy with a low health at the correct time. This staggers them, allowing you to brutally finish them off.

Special attacks are charged up over time and vary by character. Kaiser uses his giant drill to plow through enemies, and Hungry Beast, who I played as, calls in four mini panda robots to continuously shoot in the same selected direction, letting players lead aggressive enemies to their doom.

Once all enemies in an area have been dealt with, players can proceed to the next area; however, these areas are sometimes locked behind a door. So what are you supposed to do? Find a password? Hack into it with some kind of cybernetic technology? No, just shoot the heck out of it and the door will be destroyed. It might not be sophisticated, but it's par for the course in a Contra game. 


Between levels, you can customize your equipment and characters. New weapons and items can either be developed or purchased at base camp, and there's a shooting range for you to try them out before bringing them along on a mission.

Additionally, playable characters can be upgraded and given cybernetic enhancements, which grant them new abilities to more successfully take out the alien menace for good.

Our demo was only single-player/co-op. so none of the announced PvP gameplay was shown. But from what we've seen so far, it's sure to be an interesting take on the gameplay mode and the classic Contra experience.

Contra: Rogue Corps is a strange game, but it's not nearly as bad as many first impressions expected it to be. It's somewhat of a departure from what Contra fans have come to expect from the franchise, but the same Contra spirit is still there. Hopefully, the full game will have a lot more to offer once we finally get our hands on it.

Contra: Rogue Corps launches on September 26 for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. 

Eldest Souls E3 2019 Preview: Praise the Boss Rush Mon, 17 Jun 2019 13:46:36 -0400 Erroll Maas

Eldest Souls is an upcoming pixel-art, Dark Souls inspired RPG from developer Fallen Flag Studios. In the world of Eldest Souls, the Old Gods have been imprisoned, letting humanity prosper until they seek their revenge by causing a great desolation throughout the world, destroying flourishing resources farmland and rivers.

Because of this, there was a Great Crusade sent to slay the Gods, but they have mysteriously disappeared. The task of disposing of the Old Gods once and for all and bringing humanity back to its former glory now falls upon a single warrior.

Eldest Souls takes place in the Citadel, a long-forgotten and expansive temple which also serves as a prison for the Old Gods. Without having minions of their own to serve them outside of their cages, the bosses in Eldest Souls are currently fought in a boss-rush format, somewhat reminiscent of Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption.

The only things players have to worry about when traveling between boss locations are harmful obstacles that could ultimately lead to their demise if they aren't paying attention or time traversals correctly.

Each boss a player defeats will give them talents they can use to enhance their combat skills. While talents are rather basic as of now and only given to players by certain bosses, larger bosses have shards, which grant players new abilities themed after the defeated boss.

Players have three talent trees to enhance: offense, defense, and agility. Each of these has three branches of its own. Because only some bosses grant these talents to the player, it's not possible to unlock and complete every branch in one playthrough, increasing the game's replayability factor.

Besides the player and boss characters, there are also a number of NPCs to talk to throughout the Citadel. While some will offer more generic rewards for helping them, others will give more unique rewards. The developers said they are even planning scenarios where players must choose between NPC tasks. 

For those who enjoy tougher experiences, gaining new items and abilities in Eldest Souls is completely optional, and the game can be finished without them. For those who prefer an even greater boss-rush experience, this means exploration between bosses is also completely optional, putting more emphasis on the game's fast travel locations. 

Although the combat in Eldest Souls is quick, the timing seemed a touch brutal in my time with it. Whether that's due to the demo being an early build or the game is set to employ a devastating pixel-perfect gameplay style, the quick dodge must be timed perfectly with no hiccups to avoid damage and death.

The demo weapon also seemed just a little slower than it should have been, although increasing the agility stat over time may be exactly what solves this problem.

In addition to a basic attack and quick dodge, there is also a charge attack which gives you increased damage as well as a rage buff the longer the corresponding button is held, increasing one of your stats. However, we'll have to wait and see how such a mechanic will ultimately influence moment-to-moment combat and strategy. 

Eldest Souls may have a few small problems which might be intentional and fixed in later areas, but giving players a challenging boss rush with optional exploration and enhancements sounds just like what players have been waiting for. 

Eldest Souls is currently in its alpha phase of development

Fallout 76 Nuclear Winter: How to Invite Friends Mon, 17 Jun 2019 09:42:42 -0400 Ty Arthur

There was never any doubt that Fallout 76 would eventually get a battle royale mode. PUBG and Fortnite guaranteed that every major title would eventually get one. However, playing with randoms isn't as fun as playing with friends. That's why you need to know how to invite them. 

Although the process isn't super intuitive, there is an easy way to invite friends to your team in Nuclear Winter. Let's dive in and get started!

Playing Nuclear Winter With Friends

Invite friends via the social option on the main menu

Rather than joining a match and then inviting people to the lobby, you have to get all your friends on your online team first.

To get started, go to the Social option on the main menu and scroll through the list of available friends. Make sure any of the friends you want to invite are also on the main menu screen somewhere if you want this to work.

Click the name of your friend and then choose the Invite To Team option at the top of the pop-up menu. Wait for the friend to accept the invite, at which point the Play option on the main menu changes to Play With Team to let you know you've got a team up and running.

Repeat the process with however many other people you want to invite to your team, then just choose "Play With Team" to start a Nuclear Winter match.

Are you enjoying the new battle royale mode so far, and is it pulling you away from Fortnite? Let us know your thoughts on this new mode, and then be sure to check out our other Fallout 76 guides here:

Mark Your Calendars: Every Release Date Announced at E3 2019 Fri, 14 Jun 2019 14:32:51 -0400 Mark Delaney

At E3, it's not just about the games we can play. It's just as much about when we can play them. E3 2019 was no different.

With hundreds of games shown off on stage and at the show floor in Los Angeles, it can be dizzying to keep up with every launch window and specific release date announced at E3, so we've done the hard part for you.

Use our recap of every release date announced at E3 2019 to see just when you'll be calling in sick to work over the next several months. 

June 2019
  • The Last Remnant Remastered (Switch): June 10 
  • Collection of Mana (Switch): June 11
  • Contra Anniversary Collection (Switch): June 11
  • Cadence of Hyrule (Switch): June 13
July 2019
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (Switch): July 19
  • Wolfenstein: Youngblood (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC): July 16
August 2019
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC): August 6
  • Oninaki (Switch): August 22
  • Astral Chain (Switch): August 30
  • Blair Witch (Xbox One, PC): August 30
September 2019
  • Conan Chop Chop (Mobile): September 3
  • Gears of War 5 (Xbox One, PC): September 10
  • Daemon X Machina (Switch): September 13
  • Police Stories (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC): September 19
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch): September 20
  • Contras Rogue Corps (Switch): September 24
  • Code Vein: September 27th
  • Dragon Quest 11 S: Echoes of an Elusive Age (Switch): September 27
  • FIFA 20 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch): September 27
October 2019
  • Ghost Recon Breakpoint (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) - October 4
  • The Outer Worlds (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) - October 25
November 2019
  • Death Stranding (PlayStation 4): November 8
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC): November 15
  • Doom Eternal (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia): November 22
Note: No New Dates Announced for December 2019 or January 2020
February 2020
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Xbox One, PC): February 11
  • Gods and Monsters (PlayStation 4, Xbox One Switch, PC, Stadia): February 25
March 2020
  • Final Fantasy 7 Remake (PlayStation 4): March 3
  • Watch Dogs: Legion (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC): March 3
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch): March 20
April 2020
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC): April 16
May 2020
  • Marvel's Avengers (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia): May 15
Holiday 2020
  • Halo Infinite (Project Scarlett)
2020 (Unspecified)
  • Crossfire X (Xbox One)
  • Dragon Ball Kakarot (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
  • Dying Light 2 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
  • Tales of Arise (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

As you can expect, this calendar will be further filled in as months go on, but even right now, there's quite a range and number of major releases headed our way. Which games have you marking your calendar?

Be sure to check out our complete 2019 release calendar to see all of the games releasing this year. 

Cadence of Hyrule Review — Rhythm and Roguelike Combine in a Title That Hy-Rules Fri, 14 Jun 2019 14:10:17 -0400 Jonny Foster

Cadence of Hyrule feels, in the truest sense of the word, like a genuine Zelda title. Between the music, sprites, and temples, everything points towards this being a first-party Nintendo game.

Despite being published by Nintendo, however, this is a canonical sequel to Crypt of the Necrodancer, made by the same developers Brace Yourself Games.

You get to play as Link or Zelda - or both, if you have a partner to pass a Joy-Con to - in this Hyrule adventure, where you must defeat the villain Octavo's four champions. The setting is immediately noticeable from the art style used for the environments and enemies. There’s a big nostalgia factor here with old faces like the stalfos and skulltula, as well as modern baddies like the talus and bokoblin.

The audio is also fantastic, as you'd expect from any title featuring Zelda and Link. The songs are all original medleys and remixes of instantly recognizable classics from the Hyrule universe. It’s no surprise that these all sound amazing; after all, the music needs to top-notch for any rhythm title to be a success.

For those that haven’t played Crypt of the Necrodancer, the gameplay prompts you to make all of your actions in time with a beat. You need to time your movements and attacks to the beat or your actions will be cancelled.

The controls are incredibly simple, but this can be just as much a hindrance as it is a blessing. You’re often forced into situations where you try to avoid incoming attacks but end up attacking an enemy instead - especially when using the broadsword. The broadsword does make fighting most enemies significantly easier, though, so it’s a balancing act.

As your experience grows, you'll come to learn that skipping a beat by standing still is actually an invaluable option, and learning enemy patterns and tells is vital. Even the projectiles travel in individual tiles to match the beat, so you feel masterful when the stars align and you effortlessly dodge around projectiles while you fight.

It’s important to note that Cadence of Hyrule isn't a strict roguelike, but it does have some elements of that genre. You have a persistent currency in the form of diamonds, whereas your rupees, keys, and limited-use items are lost when you die. There are also procedurally generated crypts, but the overarching world map is generated once per save file, and will stay the same between deaths.

This is a symbiosis that allows the player some level of respite and practice on the overworld, but retains the challenge and mystery of entering crypts. It’s a subtle, gentle blend of roguelike elements into a game that still very much feels like a traditional 2D Legend of Zelda title.

This can be taken a step further with Fixed-Beat Mode, which exists for those without a natural sense of rhythm or that don’t want any rhythm gimmicks. It doesn't restrict you to moving or attacking on the beat, and stops enemies from moving unless you are. This isn’t exactly an “Easy Mode” however, as it still presents a reasonable level of difficulty.

Even though it was challenging, I thoroughly enjoyed the first few hours of my playthrough, but there’s a difficulty spike the size of Mount Everest towards the end that hits you like a truck. Most of your deaths will probably come in the sequence between the penultimate boss and the credits, and I spent the last hour or so begging for the end to come.

Cadence of Hyrule isn’t a particularly long game, either; the credits rolled just after my timer hit the five hour mark. In fact, the leaderboard already has three scores under an hour, with one speedrunning it in under 30 minutes!

Of course, these are the extremes, and you’re more likely to get 4-8 hours out of a playthrough, depending on your skill level. The leaderboards also give you incentive to try and beat the game faster or using less moves than your initial attempt, but I felt no strong desire to put myself through that again.

  • Soundtrack featuring excellent medleys of nostalgic Zelda classics
  • Feels a lot like a traditional Hyrule adventure
  • Novel blend of rhythm, roguelike, and action genres
  • Simple controls can be a major frustration at times
  • Despite some excruciating difficulty, it’s over too soon

Cadence of Hyrule is a fresh approach to the classic 2D Legend of Zelda adventure that looks lovely and sounds even better. The rhythm and roguelike elements blend seamlessly into the established universe and enrich the experience. Its simple controls are easy to pick up but it’s brutally difficult in places, and ultimately feels too short if don’t plan on returning to Hyrule more than once.

Borderlands 2: Commander Lilith Best Weapons Tier List Fri, 14 Jun 2019 10:30:26 -0400 Sergey_3847

The new Borderlands 2: Commander Lilith DLC is now available for free for all owners of the game. It contains a brand new location and a ton of new weapons, including Legendary and Effervescent.

But not all of them are equally good and worth looking out for. That's why we've compiled a tier list of the best new weapons from the Commander Lilith DLC with a few tips on how to find them.


  • Manufacturer: Dahl
  • Type: Assault Rifle
  • Element: Incendiary

If you look at this Effervescent assault rifle's stats, you will notice that it has 100% Accuracy, which is mind-blowing.

You can pick this weapon up from Sand Worms in The Burrow or from Queen Sandworm during the second Vaughn quest "The Hunt is Vaughn."

Toothpick is a part of the Writhing Deep set, which also contains a relic and a shield that are capable of making the weapon even stronger.

Peak Opener

  • Manufacturer: Torgue
  • Type: Assault Rifle
  • Element: Shock

Peak Opener is another Effervescent assault rifle with the same amount of damage as the Toothpick, taking into consideration the double damage. However, the accuracy is a bit lower and since it is a part of the Digistruct set, its use is restricted to Digistruct Peak.

Other than that, you won't find a more brutal weapon in the game than this one. It consumes ammo like crazy, but the damage output is simply outstanding.

Amigo Sincero

  • Manufacturer: Jakobs
  • Type: Sniper Rifle
  • Element: N/A

Amigo Sincero or True Friend is the ultimate sniper rifle, which can be obtained during the "BFFFs" quest.

In the similar fashion to the infamous Trespasser, this weapon bypasses all enemy shields and deals damage directly to the enemy's health pool.

Another cool part about Amigo is that it will spawn with an attached scope and blade, unlike many other weapons in the game that spawn without any attachments whatsoever.


  • Manufacturer: Hyperion
  • Type: Shotgun
  • Element: Shock, Incendiary, Corrosive, Slag, or None

There is no better choice for close combat than a shotgun with gargantuan amounts of damage. Overcompensator is a beast of a shotgun that can be obtained as a reward for the third Vaughn quest "Chief Executive Overlord."

One of the most exciting features of this weapon besides damage is the random chance of magazine auto-refill, which may occur while you're shooting at your enemies.

This feature may not be the most reliable one, but once or twice it'll save your character's life for sure.

World Burn

  • Manufacturer: Torgue
  • Type: Rocket Launcher
  • Element: Incendiary

The only effervescent rocket launcher in the game is definitely a weapon you should look out for. It can be dropped by Lt. Bolson in Dahl Abandon. 

The explosion from the rockets is so wide that it can evaporate every single enemy hidden within a building or any type of cover with walls.

The damage output for each explosion is huge, and that's why it's called World Burn. It is also recommended to use the rocket launcher as an escape cover fire.

Hot Mama

  • Manufacturer: Jakobs
  • Type: Sniper Rifle
  • Element: Incendiary

Hot Mama is another great sniper rifle, which can be dropped by Lt. Hoffman in Mt. Scarab Research Center. Just be careful when dealing with Lt. Hoffman, as he will try to kill you with Hot Mama as soon as he drops it.

If you manage to get it and stay alive, then you'll have another excellent Effervescent weapon in your arsenal.

Hot Mama can be used both as a sniper rifle and as a bolt action rifle with an elemental capacitor. However, you will probably need to attach a Dahl stock to it in order to reduce the immense recoil.


  • Manufacturer: Torgue
  • Type: Shotgun
  • Element: Explosive

If you're familiar with the Swordsplosion shotgun from Borderlands 2, then you will know what the Unicornsplosion is. The only difference is that this weapon shoots full-sized unicorns that explode into rainbows that deal a ton of damage.

Unicornsplosion can be obtained by feeding Butt Stallion while wearing the Mysterious Amulet in The Backburner.

Mysterious Amulet can be purchased from Mr. Miz during the mission The Amulet that starts in the Lair of Infinite Agony, which is a part of the Borderlands 2: Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep DLC.