eSports Genre RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com eSports on GameSkinny https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network How to Unlock the Bullet in Enter the Gungeon https://www.gameskinny.com/8efwc/how-to-unlock-the-bullet-in-enter-the-gungeon https://www.gameskinny.com/8efwc/how-to-unlock-the-bullet-in-enter-the-gungeon Sun, 22 Jul 2018 14:38:07 -0400 Ashley Gill

It just wouldn't be right if Enter the Gungeon didn't have at least one unlockable character. You start with a meager four gungeoneers (plus the Cultist for co-op) -- there's gotta be more than that, right?

You are correct! There are two unlockable characters in Enter the Gungeon, one being the Robot and the other being the Bullet.

We're going to go over how to unlock the Bullet, which is as unique it is fun. Unlike the other gungeoneers you have available, the Bullet starts with a melee weapon called Blasphemy.

How to unlock the Bullet

The steps to unlocking this little guy are easy enough to follow but actually doing can be a timesink.

Once you've beaten at least one character's Past, occasionally you will run into a Bulletkin that's a little different from the rest.

This cape-donned little guy will be found throughout the Gungeon starting at Chamber 1 once you've completed another character's past. He is sometimes quite hard to see once things get hectic.

You must keep the Bullet alive until you are done clearing the room, after which it will leave and you will have to seek it out once again.

The simple gist is:

  1. Beat one character's Past
  2. Look for a caped Bullet Kin in subsequent runs
  3. Protect the caped Bullet Kin each time you see it
  4. Protect it five times

After you've found and protected the Bullet five times, he will join your roster as a permanent option.

The Bullet will show up randomly throughout a given run, but is most frequently found in Chambers deeper within the Gungeon. You'll be more likely to find it in Chamber 3 than Chamber 1, but it can be found anywhere. It's best just to keep your eyes open for him on subsequent runs, rather than playing just to find him.

What's so special about the Bullet?

He's got to be a pretty cool dude to be one of two unlockable characters, right? Heck yeah, he is.

As mentioned, the Bullet starts with a melee weapon named Blasphemy, which is an actual sword rather than a gun you swing around.

In a dungeon made of and filled with guns, this weapon stands alone as a sword that actually acts like a sword.

Blasphemy is swung like a sword destroys bullets within its attack range, much like some guns' reload animation and melee weapons in a certain other bullet hell roguelite. It also shoots out a laser sword when attacking with full health, and is the only starting weapon that can be found in the Gungeon. Once it's unlocked, anyway.

Aside from Blasphemy -- which is awesome -- the Bullet comes equipped with a passive item named "I'm A Bullet Too!" that makes him immune to contact damage and increases rolling damage. It's an ideal combination with the short-range murder action of the Blasphemy, just don't get any ideas about the Bullet being special in the stat department: past starting with "I'm A Bullet Too!" and Blasphemy, the Bullet is the same as everyone else.

There's not much more to know about the Bullet and how to get him. It can take several runs to finally find and save enough caped wonder that is this character, but your perseverance will pay off once you're finally able to add it to your roster and take Blasphemy for a spin.

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Octopath Traveler Review: A Return to Form for Square Enix https://www.gameskinny.com/81mfo/octopath-traveler-review-a-return-to-form-for-square-enix https://www.gameskinny.com/81mfo/octopath-traveler-review-a-return-to-form-for-square-enix Fri, 20 Jul 2018 18:42:30 -0400 Ashley Gill

Though the turn-based JRPG genre is far from dead, you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who is able to give you list of ten stellar titles of the genre from the past decade. Doubly so if such a list would comprise of only larger non-indie releases.

Tastes change, and the market changes with them. As the market shifted to FPS games in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 era, the demand for turn-based titles seemed to be at an all-time low. For myself -- and many others at the time -- it seemed like JRPGs wouldn't be able to recuperate.

In the genre's heyday, Square Enix (then two separate companies: Squaresoft and Enix) ran amok with creative RPG titles. You had well-known series like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Chrono, and Mana; as well as some lesser-known but still relevant games like SaGa Frontier, Star Ocean: The Second Story, Grandia, and Valkyrie Profile.

The list of titles fans could pick up between the Super Nintendo and PlayStation 2/Game Boy Advance era is nearly as varied as it is extensive. The Final Fantasy series is best known for each game being as different as night and day outside of the battle and exploration elements, but it seemed every series was trying something new with each iteration at the time. And if they didn't, there was another great game with new bells and whistles sitting at your local game shop to pick up and play to keep things interesting.

I mention all of this now because Octopath Traveler seems a remnant from that time, rather than a product from the current market. Steps the genre took forward, for better or for worse, have been reversed in this time capsule of a game in ways that I thought Japanese developers had simply given up on in the quest to satisfy the almighty otaku and its endless spending budget.

Fans of the SaGa series, particularly SaGa Frontier for the PlayStation or Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song on the PlayStation 2, will find much to love in Octopath Traveler. Though this game was promoted as being similar to Final Fantasy VI and the like, Octopath takes several pages out of the SaGa series and binds them into its own book to make for a more approachable variation of virtues SaGa has clung so heavily to over the decades.

How a game like this can break out onto the market and make waves in 2018 is a wonder, but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

The virtues of the Octopath

There's no reason to draw comparisons between SaGa and Octopath Traveler throughout this whole review. There is a need to go past the shining virtue they both share: freedom.

One of the first things you're going to realize after you finish your first story mission is that Octopath Traveler gives you virtually no guidance. You'll get some short tutorial screens covering most of the game's mechanics, and you can see where the other party members are located as well as your next story destination but the game doesn't tell you much more than that. It sets you loose and tells you to have fun. I have to tell you, as a 20-year SaGa fan, the freedom granted absolutely tickled me.

Being given no guidance on where smaller dungeons or objectives are is only one part of the openness the player can experience here.

Each character is able to perform Path Actions, which allow them to interact with NPCs in town. Path Actions are generally used to get items off of NPCs, move them out of the way, or find out more about them but they are not that cut-and-dry.

There are technically only four different types of Path Actions, with each type having two variations. For example, both Alfyn the apothecary and Cyrus the scholar are able to extract the same information from NPCs. The difference is Alfyn's Analyze will always succeed, while Cyrus's Scrutinize may fail and reduce your reputation in the town the NPC is located in.

This trend continues with the other characters. Both Olberic and H'aanit can fight NPCs in town, but Olberic fights alone via Duel and will not lose reputation on loss. H'aanit fights using only her captured animals via Provoke and, upon loss, will lose reputation in town if you lose.

This system allows for a couple of things, the first being the ability to essentially ransack a town, and the other being Octopath's side quest system.

Like the SaGa series (I'm sorry, I just can't help but compare), side quests are noted in your journal to keep track but the solution to these issues is almost never obvious. A fisherman's complaining about the lack of fish in the local river, what do you do? There seems to be a guy out in the field catching the fish the reach town, but telling the other NPC won't help. You have to beat the illicit fisherman up via Duel or Provoke to teach him a lesson about sharing.

This is about the amount of information you have when setting out on a new side quest.

These sorts of quests are found all throughout the game, from the first chapter all the way to the end. Much of your time chasing side quest objectives ends up boiling down to talking to NPCs in town, Analyzing or Scrutinizing them, and reading the text to get hints about what to do. Sometimes a side quest's relevant NPC is all the way on the other side of the world. Once you figure it out, it's up to you to take the time to complete the quest or not. It's easy to imagine non-completionists ignoring side quests that are particularly troublesome. There are several potential steps to finish any given side quest.

The ability to traverse and explore the world on your own terms is a rare one among Japanese RPGs, particularly today. Fortunately that's not the only throwback worth mentioning in Octopath Traveler's array of classic mechanics. The game also features a class system reminiscent of certain older RPGs to allow for party and gameplay flexibility, something that's fun in both function and thought. It also features a battle system that some older RPGs would have died for.

Turn-based goodness and random battles galore

You just can't talk about a game like this without bringing up the battle system, particularly since you end up spending so much time in battle.

There are two things to specifically note about the battle system here: much of combat boils down to weakness exploitation, and the default encounter rate is high.

You spend a great deal of your time in combat in Octopath Traveler due to both of those factors. You will rarely do heavy damage to enemies without breaking their guard, and the high encounter rate means you'll be running into them every few seconds when exploring.

This is something I have a hard time finding fault with, even if I want to try. I find myself thinking about skill usage regularly because the game demands you exploit their weaknesses to thrive, which makes frequent random battles fun more than frustrating -- though it would be disingenuous to say that sometimes the high encounter rate is not frustrating. Sometimes, when you're just trying to get a chest on a side path and want to keep moving, it truly is.

You can curb the high encounter rate using the Evasive Maneuvers special skill, which you'll get first on Cyrus. Evasive Maneuvers is great when exploring areas where the enemies are weaker than you are but can be a real detriment when you are exploring the unknown and need the EXP from battle. I recommend using it sparingly. 

Your party characters play very differently from each other in battle, which is a boon to the combat system. H'aanit can capture monsters and use them as skills in-battle, Tressa can hire mercenaries to swoop in and wail on your enemies with a strong attack, Alfyn can concoct restorative and elemental-exploitative skills in battle by consuming herbs; the list goes on.

The variety in gameplay options between each character keeps battles interesting. Though often the solution to easier battles is to let Cyrus or whoever you are using with the scholar subjob nuke enemies into dust, more often than not each battle will be a little different depending on what you have available and enemy weaknesses.

Along with all of the above is the use of BP, or Boost Points. Each character starts a battle with one BP and accumulates one more (up to a maximum of five) each turn. You can choose to consume up to three of a character's BP to increase the effectiveness of the skill they're using that turn. If you use it on a damage skill, it will increase the amount of damage it does. If you use it on a restorative skill, it will increase its effectiveness. If you use your BP on a regular attack, that character will attack multiple times within a turn.

There are a lot of good things to say about the battle system in Octopath Traveler, and the Boost Point system is probably one of the best aspects. It's great that each character has its own unique skills in combat, but the ability to break an enemy's guard and then just tear them to shreds with some BP-enhanced attacks is extremely satisfying at times and adds a whole other layer to combat as a whole. You have no choice but to learn to use your BP to your benefit.

Considering the amount of time you have to spend in battle, it rarely gets boring outside of those times when you really just don't want to fight anything. Though I do have to admit, I've made at least one comment about the encounter rate approaching Xenogears-levels of incessant.

The classic look done modern

I knocked the Final Fantasy VI comparison earlier in this review, but there is one way Octopath Traveler does resemble its classic predecessor. Character and enemy sprites do have the sort of detail one might expect from a modern 2D remake of the aforementioned Final Fantasy titan.

The main party character sprites are detailed and lively, and would not look out of place in a PlayStation-era RPG aside from their high-def pixels. The outfits that come with subjobs are the icing on top of a cake that's already plenty filling.

Enemy sprites are also highly detailed and would fit in right at home with enemy designs of yore, and some bosses... Well, let's just say you should see them for yourself.

Such attractive sprites would almost be wasted on any other graphical style as they mesh perfectly with the game's pseudo-3D environments. The game's environments almost look like pages out of a pixelated popup book. The effect is much more impressive when playing the game yourself than in screenshots or videos, especially if you turn off corner shadows in options.

It would be a disservice to the fine people behind the game and especially composer Yasunori Nishiki not to mention Octopath Traveler's fantastic soundtrack at this point. As with the visuals, the music is a creative fusion of old and new.

The game's music is more complex than the RPGs it takes inspiration from, but that doesn't make the battle themes less memorable nor the town themes less distinct. The soundtrack behind the game stands on its own and is an impressive effort from Nishiki. It would not be a surprise if we see him in the credits for more RPGs in the future. His compositions here are perfectly suitable.

All the praise.. so why a 9?

There are some games you play and you know you will be able to recommend them to everyone you know. I certainly would like to do that, but there's a caveat that comes with freedom in these sorts of games: an inability to figure out what to do.

This isn't something I had much trouble with in the game as a long-time SaGa player, but most people haven't played or even heard of SaGa for a reason. Trying to figure out where to go or what to do can be frustrating, and a lot of people don't have the patience for that.

Octopath Traveler is easily my favorite Square Enix RPG in years but the fact is these sorts of RPGs are not for everyone. Just because I enjoy stealing from and analyzing every interactive NPC I come across in the hopes of stealing something good or getting a hint about a quest doesn't mean the gaming populace as a whole will like it. I like messing around in menus, grinding, and getting lost in RPGs. It's likely you may not.

In addition, the game is not particularly story-focused. There is some party dialogue after story events after chapter 2 (provided you initiate it), but the plot is a big part of the experience for most RPG gamers. It is not an especially large factor in the overall Octopath journey. I found myself not caring about the plot in the least. I just wanted to progress my party and explore, which I did and am still doing with my Switch in sleep mode next to me.

If any combination of facets mentioned here sounds good, you may very well fall in love with Octopath Traveler much the same way I did. It has been so long since I've played a completely fresh Japanese RPG with such freedom, that in my case this game is a completely welcome but familiar experience from start to finish. I did not know games like this could still come out of Japan today sans the odd remake. In some ways Octopath Traveler feels like a return to form, and I am very thankful it's finally come.

[Writer was granted a free copy of the game for review purposes.]

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Two Point Hospital Releasing August 30, Pre-orders Available Now https://www.gameskinny.com/yegf6/two-point-hospital-releasing-august-30-pre-orders-available-now https://www.gameskinny.com/yegf6/two-point-hospital-releasing-august-30-pre-orders-available-now Thu, 19 Jul 2018 14:24:19 -0400 Ashley Gill

If you've been chomping at the bit for a new management sim or have been following Theme Hospital successor Two Point Hospital, you may be excited to hear that the game's release isn't far off. Developer Two Point Studios and publisher Sega have announced the quirky hospital management sim will be making its way to PC on August 30.

Two Point Hospital is a revival of a genre many thought almost dead in the ground. The days of Dungeon Keeper and Black & White being littered throughout the PC space were left in the dust 20 years ago, but that hasn't stopped the gaming community from remembering their favorites within the genre fondly -- even today. For me, that favorite was and always will be Theme Hospital.

August 30 will signal a return to form for a number of genre veterans, as well as classic developers Lionhead and Bullfrog, both studios being renowned in their prime for charmingly quirky titles.

Fans of Theme Hospital can simply look at Two Point Hospital and feel right at home. Everything about the game's preview footage and trailers keeps the look and feel of the original game, from building and staff management to keeping patients from barfing their lunch everywhere and contaminating everyone else. The game also promises plenty of new and bizarre ailments for players to chuckle at and stress over.

Two Point Hospital will be making its way to Steam and other digital retailers on August 30 with a price point of $34.99, but you can pre-order now for 10% off. That's a lot cheaper than going to the operating theater to deal with my broken heart, but I don't think there's any curing my bloaty head.

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Might & Magic Elemental Guardians Ultimate Farming Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/njszs/might-magic-elemental-guardians-ultimate-farming-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/njszs/might-magic-elemental-guardians-ultimate-farming-guide Thu, 19 Jul 2018 14:24:29 -0400 Ty Arthur

Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians is all about the gacha grind as you farm locations for better glyphs, more seals to spend, extra crystals and potions for upgrades, and books to evolve your team.

With a limited supply of energy on hand (for those who aren't spending real world money), farming efficiently is absolutely critical if you don't want to waste your time.

Below we cover everything you need to know to farm Elemental Guardians areas and get the most rewards for the least amount of effort.

Elemental Guardians Region Farming

To get the most out of region farming, you want to earn achievements for completing X number of stages in a region with a team composed of 3, 2, or even just 1 creature, rather than a full team of 4. At the same time, combine these with stages that have specific enemies for the kill X number of creatures achievements to earn double the rewards.

While you should build up a core group of 4 creatures to unlock the advanced and nightmare stages of each region, your focus should be on 1 ~ 3 creatures that can solo any given stage to farm achievements.

Which creature you pick will depend on the random nature of summons, but these are all solid options for solo farming contenders (either due to powerful debuff abilities, self-shielding, ability to attack repeatedly, etc.):

  • Air Stone Guard
  • Water Stone Guard
  • Water Daimyo
  • Angel Zealot
  • Earth Ninja
  • Wind Ebon Knight
  • Fire Deva
  • Earth Treant
  • Water Treant
  • Water Raksasha
  • Air Succubus
  • Fire Succubus
  • Water Ghost
  • Earth Ghost
  • Earth Minotaur

If you are looking for heal buffing creatures or creatures that can mitigate damage, there are to places in particular to play. The Air Mini Golem is farmable in Sunken City advanced stages, while the Water Arcane Bird is farmable in the Mystic Forest advanced stages. Their drop rates are low, but by farming these areas you are guaranteed to eventually get them.

Without question, the single most efficient stage to farm is Sunken City stage 6 on normal, as it gets you 4 Masaru Monks, 1 Evolved Monk, 4 Ninjas, and 1 Samurai all in one battle for only 5 energy. 

 This stage offers most bang for buck when farming achievements

By completing the achievements for those creatures, you will earn more seals, shards, and summons than in any other stage. Wasteland stage 6 on normal also offers a ton of ghosts and spectres all at once for those creature killing achievements, although the Wasteland is difficult to complete solo.

If you want to farm other creature / stage achievements, use the following table to find the most efficient paths:

Creature Location Number Appearing
Arcane Bird   Floating Islands Normal Stage 6  1
Arcane Eagle  Floating Islands Nightmare Stage 2  1
Simurgh  Floating Islands Nightmare Stage 3  2
Goblin Hunter  Wastelands Normal Stage 1  6
Goblin Trickster  Colossus Desert Normal Stage 6  3
Crossbowman Gnoll  Fire Maze Nightmare Stage 4  4
Gnoll Mages  Fire Maze Normal Stage 4  3
 Lizardman Archer   Sunken City Normal Stage 1  4
Lizardman Shaman   Floating Islands Nightmare Stage 4  3
Lizardman Warrior   Volcano Nightmare Stage 1  4
 Lizardman Warrior  Sunken City Advanced Stage 4  4
 Elemental  Fire Maze Normal Stage 2  5
 Evolved Elemental   Sunken City Nightmare Stage 2   5
 Djinn  Colossus Desert Advanced Stage 3  3
Evolved Djinn   Colossus Desert Nightmare Stage 4  4
Harpy  Floating Islands Normal Stage 6  3
 Furies  Floating Island Nightmare Stage 7  2
 Dragonflies  Ice Caves Nightmare Stage 7  2
 Serpentflies  Ice Caves Nightmare Stage 1  3
 Snakeflies  Ice Caves Normal Stage 4  2
 Young Griffins  Volcano Normal Stage 2  2
 Griffins  Volcano Nightmare Stage 3  3
 Evolved Griffins  Volcano Nightmare Stage 6  2
 Spirit Cubs  Mystic Forest Advanced Stage 1  2
 Spirit Foxes  Mystic Forest Nightmare Stage 3  3
 Kitsunes  Mystic Forest Nightmare Stage 6  2
 Centaurs  Mystic Forest Advanced Stage 3  3
 Evolved Centaurs  Mystic Forest Nightmare Stage 7  2
 Ninja  Sunken City Normal Stage 6  4
Samurai   Sunken City Normal Stage 7   2
 Evolved Samurai  Sunken City Advanced Stage 7  2
 Masaru Monks  Sunken City Normal Stage 6  4
 Unicorn Foals World Tree Mountain Advanced Stage 2  3
 Unicorns World Tree Mountain Normal Stage 5  4
Evolved Unicorns  World Tree Mountain Nightmare Stage 7  3
 Shieldguards Fire Maze Normal Stage 3  4
 Rune Sentinels Fire Maze Normal Stage 2  2
 Ghosts Wasteland Advanced Stage 3  6
 Stalkers Wasteland Normal Stage 6  6
 Spectres Wasteland Normal Stage 6  6
 Soulless Striders Wasteland Normal Stage 3  4
 Skeleton Warrior Wasteland Normal Stage 2  2
 Skeleton Mage Wasteland Normal Stage 3  2
 Wolf Cub Mystic Forest Normal Stage 1  3
Wolf    Mystic Forest Normal Stage 4  4
Silverback  Mystic Forest Advanced Stage 6  4

 

Elemental Guardians Book Farming

Getting a steady supply of books from the Elemental Towers or Tower Of Houses areas in the Dragonmists Isles is critical to evolving your creatures to their next level and then upgrading their skills so you can have an edge in PvP.

Fire Tower and Water Tower are often the easiest to farm because their end bosses don't use as many special abilities that drag the fights on longer. You don't usually need a specialized team or specific glyph combos to farm these areas.

On the other end, you absolutely need heal blockers (such as Water Felicore or Wind Gargoyle Whelp) for Earth Tower in order to overcome the dragon's constant self-healing. High resistance creatures or creatures with full immunity glyph sets are more useful for Air Tower to avoid the constant negative status effects in later stages.

The skill book drop rate starts at a measly 1% at stage 3 of the Towers, meaning you will get a book about 1 out of every 100 battles, which isn't helpful at all considering the energy cost to farm these areas. The drop rate then increases to:

  • 2% at stage 5
  • 3% at stage 7
  • 5% at stage 9
  • 6% at stage 10

In other words, there's no point in farming the 4, 6, or 8 stages of the Elemental Towers, since they are harder then previous stages without offering any increase in the chance to get a book for upgrading skills and evolving creatures.

When you run out of energy and need to head to the Arena, there's more opportunity for book farming if you play carefully. Getting 25 consecutive Arena wins results in an immediate 3 skill book bonus, which essentially means you automatically get to evolve your best creature.

25 wins with no losses in between sounds like a next to impossible proposition, unless you game the system. To get this achievement, make constant use of the ability to switch to the next player until you find someone with an extremely weak defense.

Be on the lookout for someone with all 3 star or low level 4 star creatures, or even someone who has recently ranked up their creatures and only has 1 creature positioned in their defense. If you are picky and use some seals to refresh the player list after rotating through 5 options, getting to 25 Arena wins doesn't take too long.

 By spending seals and seeking out weak players, you can get to 25 wins easily

More Elemental Guardians Tips & Guides

Looking to master every element of this gacha game and dominate in PvP or help out your guild with active quest completion? Check out our Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians guides here:

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Battlelands Royale Guide: Tips & Tricks on How to Win https://www.gameskinny.com/pk1vd/battlelands-royale-guide-tips-tricks-on-how-to-win https://www.gameskinny.com/pk1vd/battlelands-royale-guide-tips-tricks-on-how-to-win Sun, 22 Jul 2018 14:44:21 -0400 Stephanie Tang

Battlelands Royale is possibly the cutest iteration of a battle royale game to date. If you thought Fortnite was cartoony, you have never clapped eyes on this super fast-paced 33-man kill-fest that mixes the top-down gameplay of Alien Shooter 2 with the adorable patter patter of LEGO styled characters. 

Don't be fooled by the stylized appearance, though, because these little cuties are primed for pint-sized murder. Games in Battlelands Royale are so quick to start and finish that you can probably complete a handful of them in the same time it'd take you to play through a full round of PUBG

However, like any battle royale game, Battlelands has its own quirks and ways to win. If you're looking for tips, tricks, and strategies for Battlelands Royale, you've come to the right place. Here's what you need to know!

Dropping In: How To Do It (With Best Landing Spots)

(Note: The above is the highest-quality version of the main game map I could find but it's missing one crucial detail - the ship! That can be found in the bottom center where it connects with the river.)

The drop-in parachute mechanic is still in here, but it's a tad different than what you may be used to. 

In Battlelands Royale, it's much simpler than some of the other battle royale titles out there. You drop down from a far lower height, giving you greater control over where you land and what spot you want to drop down on.

Tons of equipment, ammo, and weapons will litter the area, so picking where you drop can be important. We'll talk about picking up weapons and loot in the next section, but here are some suggestions on where you should drop down into the map for early success:

  • You can choose your initial drop area on the main map (see above) before narrowing down the exact space on which you drop in on (e.g. on the closest piece of loot!).

  • While it's natural to want to drop down in a space with lots of cover, it's actually a pretty good idea to find an open area in which to drop down (e.g. the wide open spaces in the far left border). Most players avoid those like the plague when initially jumping in and they're also completely unlikely to engage in combat right away if you do meet someone. This means extra loot just for you, and plenty of time to equip before you start racing inwards for cover (houses for dodging around or the bushes below them for sneaking around). 

  • The ship area is actually a pretty decent area to drop in on too. Most players avoid it because it has such close quarters, but you don't need to worry about that so soon into the game. Plus, the loot drops are much closer together.

Getting Loot and When to Engage

To pick up weapons and loot, you'll need to stand on them for a few seconds. You'll see what looks like a green loading ring around you, letting you know that you're in the process of getting the item. 

Concentrate on stocking up for the first minute or so after you've dropped into the map. Make sure you stay on the lookout for armor (the floating blue shields), which augments your health and lets you take more damage. 

If you come up on other opponents while searching for loot in the early game, do not engage them unless you've already picked up a weapon and are fairly well-stocked. 

However, when you do kill other players, make sure to pick up the extra loot they drop. While I normally wouldn't suggest running straight for a corpse to grab the goodies, it's often warranted here especially since the top-down format means that aiming is a lot easier on you. If you see something shiny, go for it! 

This tactic is further underpinned by the fact that health packs drop pretty often in Battlelands Royale. That means you are more likely to survive if someone tries to drop a few shots off on you than in other games of this type.

Keep Things Sneaky (And Other Combat Tips)

The business of killing each other in this game emphasizes speed of play. Since you have an isotropic view of the map, you don't really need to go mucking through buildings looking for loot. They're mostly there to break up the terrain and get in the way of flying bullets so you won't need to look inside them for enemies or worry about closing doors after you. 

There are, however, plenty of grassy areas in the game. You don't need to drop down and crawl into a large bush to ambush your enemies because your character is automatically invisible to other players (and vice versa) unless you start taking damage. That means you should use the grass to your advantage and sneak up on your opponents. If there's a camp spot in Battlelands Royale, the squares of tall grass are it. 

Do note that you can also give yourself away by moving around in the grass because bits of it will fly up (this is not super obvious, but noticeable). 

Start shooting if you suspect someone else is near. Be careful running in and out of the grass though - the borders between grassy areas and open ones are the most dangerous because you don't necessarily know if someone is lying in wait within range, plus you don't have the ability to hide immediately once hit. 

If you see two other players already going at it, wait it out for a few seconds by hanging out in the grass to simply finish them both off without being seen!

Learn Your Weapons

All guns were not created equal, and this holds as true in Battlelands Royale as it does in real life. The game's different gun types have been pared down to suit its quick, cartoony style, so you don't need to fumble around trying to find the perfect grip or scope. All you have to do is grab it go! 

The difference between the different guns is largely in the amount of damage they do per shot, as well as how quickly you can shoot again.

Some are more readily available than others. For example, the Minigun and the Bazooka are only available in airdrops. On top of that, some weapons you only want to pick up if there are no other guns in sight (I'm looking at you, Peacemaker!).

Because of the top-down view and the game's blocky assets, it can be a little tricky at first to tell each of the guns apart, but you'll figure out what you've picked up super quick either way. 

Let's take a quick look at the game's different weapons and how they operate. 

The Different Battlelands Royale Gun Types
  • Peacemaker: This is your basic semi-auto rifle. It provides low damage and has a low rate of fire

  • Assault Rifle: This is a step up from the Peacemaker and a general, all-around, good-for-all-situations gun. It provides moderate damage and a high rate of fire

  • Sniper: This rifle isn't a bad idea if you're setting up shop in the grass with an open area nearby. However, landing shots isn't easy. There's no such thing as headshot damage. This rifles has high damage and a very low rate of fire

  • Shotgun: This is also great for when you're running in and out of the grass. As with all shotguns, it's great for up close and almost useless at range

  • Bazooka: Only available from airdrops, this is great for getting multiple splash hits. It has super high damage and a fair rate of fire. However, the rockets themselves are slow and other players can see them coming. Dump this weapon before the safe zone gets too small.  

  • Minigun: Whee! If you've ever wanted to be a 360-degree spinning turret, this is the gun for you! It has a super high rate of fire and provides decent damage. This gun also drops with enough ammo to make it worth your while! Like the Bazooka, it comes from airdrops.

Other Tips and Tricks You Should Know

Here's a set of quickfire tips and tricks to keep you winning: 

  • You can only have one gun at a time, so make sure you pick up the right ammo for the gun you have. Picking up a different gun will switch you over to the new one but it will not drop the old one. 

  • While picking up drops (so long as you can stay in the pick up circles), you don't need to be standing still. This means you can pick up multiple items at once and that you can still move while picking up items

  • Approach airdrops with caution. They'll give you the best loot of the game but try and wait it out for other players to murder each other before you take out the last man standing.

  • Keep track of the damage numbers when you hit an enemy -- they are color-coordinated:
    • Red: critical hit
    • Blue: damaging shields
    • White: body damage, no shields

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That's it for now! Happy hunting and stay tuned for more tips and tricks on staying the last man standing!

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The Tea: This Kingdom Hearts Project Turns a Let's Play Into Art https://www.gameskinny.com/0wkts/the-tea-this-kingdom-hearts-project-turns-a-lets-play-into-art https://www.gameskinny.com/0wkts/the-tea-this-kingdom-hearts-project-turns-a-lets-play-into-art Fri, 20 Jul 2018 16:09:30 -0400 Jackson Ingram

Remember when Kingdom Hearts was just “Disney meets Final Fantasy”? Who knew that would be as simple (and clean) as it’d get. Spanning nine titles and nearly as many platforms, KH has built a franchise the way I might build a cake: foregoing the advice of actual bakers to add layer after layer until I have a deliciously unstable cake-tower, loosely held together by candy-sweet frosting and regret.

Call it complexity or convolution, but we’re like seven “side games” from calling KH coherent. It’s a growing pain Square-Enix has been scrambling to alleviate with PS4 remasters of the entire series, all in the hopes that new fans can theoretically get up to speed before the long-long-long-awaited release of Kingdom Hearts III next year.

But let’s be real: who has time to replay all those games? Better question: who actually wants to keep playing Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]? Yes, there are now official recap videos, but this story’s been brewin’ for 15 years. How can a cutscene compilation do it any justice?

Enter Marco, better known as Everglow, who’s made a bit of a name for himself among KH diehards for his playthroughs, Union χ[Cross] story translations, and, of course, the 30-min extended KH tracks that have quickly taken over my music playlists. À la Jiminy Cricket, Everglow’s been a steady KH chronicler since 2012, but this past April, he launched his most ambitious project to date: retelling the entirety of the Kingdom Hearts saga. In video. Chronologically.

At first glance, Everglow’s Kingdom Hearts Timeline (KHT) might sound deceptively simple, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is just another playthrough. KHT lines the very scattered pieces up in the exact order they occur. So like, Aqua is chugging through the Realm of Darkness while Sora is making his first (of so, so many) trips through Agrabah. Untangling 15 years of interwoven plot threads would be a huge undertaking on its own, but KHT takes it several Sora-shoe-sized steps further by setting out to retell the KH saga as effectively (and affectingly) as possible.

Top and above: Most episodes pull from several titles to realign the story chronologically.

We’ve seen cutscene compilations before, of course, but even Nomura-certified ones, like the Days and Coded “movies”, fall flat because video games, by virtue of their medium, tell the bulk of their stories through first-hand experience. With this in mind, Everglow creates each episode with a balanced mix of cutscenes and gameplay, carefully curating a unique rhythm that gives viewers a full experience without getting bogged down with wave after wave of button-mashing.

It’s Everglow’s unique blend that sets KHT apart, and, in my opinion, the franchise should look to this style and pace of storytelling as we take our first uncharted steps into whatever the hell they have cooked up after the Xehanort Saga.

[Re]Birth by Sleep

The Timeline begins, of course, by taming the international cash cow that is Kingdom Hearts χ (including its browser title, the mobile game before and after its rebranding, and the almost nonsensical CGI movie) into a story that not only makes sense, but means something. As impressive a feat as that is, however, it’s when we hit Birth by Sleep that the Timeline really begins to shine.

To be quite honest, I’ve never been a huge BBS fan. It’s whole ~thing~ back in 2010 was having three player-characters, which is conceptually dope as hell. The less dope part was that the tri-pronged approach made you play through the same events through three different perspectives, in three separate playthroughs. And let me tell you, Disney Town’s happy-go-lucky minigames weren’t any more charming the third time around than they were the first.

The pacing goes to hell almost immediately, and the characterization goes with it. We spend about 15 hours with each of the main protagonists -- Terra, Aqua, and Ven -- and get told over and over what a special friendship they have, but we never see it for ourselves because the gameplay demands that they stay isolated until the game's climax (which KH2’s secret movie spoils almost in full).

That makes it really hard to care about them as a fractured friend group, instead of just seeing a handful of whiny young adults who could use some communication counseling. Stop telling me about your problems! Talk to each other! Geez!

Everglow braids these three separate threads into a much stronger, united story. Instead of running the level gauntlet one keybearer at a time, we stick around in each world for complete, cohesive, well-paced arcs (typically starting with Terra accidentally screwing something up, Ven wandering around like a dope, and Aqua trailing after them, picking up the pieces).

The dissonant highs and lows of their friendship begin to harmonize.

More Than a Let’s Play

The way I see it, there are two types of people: those who ask, “Why would anyone want to watch a video game?” and those who backlog their Watch Later playlist with Let’s Plays. Like it or not, video games have carved out a cultural moment in which Mario Tennis is as much a spectator sport as its real-life counterpart. It’s a thing.

And while I’m truly allergic to obnoxious YouTuber culture, I often power through the bad jokes and running commentary because there are some games that I want to experience even when my bank account won’t let me. It’s kind of like having to go over to an annoying friend’s house to play something, and they almost ruin it by never shutting up.

With the Timeline, it’s all the joys of Kingdom Hearts with none of the usual Let’s Play detractions. In fact, I’d almost rather watch Everglow’s videos than play the games myself. His gameplay is so masterful and so artistic that it quickly becomes an integral part of the storytelling.

Birth by Sleep has one of the most robust ability systems in the franchise, filling out each character’s deck with individualized skillsets with which Everglow makes every fight dynamic. Some of the larger beats of each boss battle I’m sure he planned out in advance, but because this is a video game, he also has to choreograph as he goes, tweaking and improvising so that the finishers goes off like clockwork, leaving the most lasting impact every step of the way.

Like a painter in front of three distinct color palettes, Everglow uses Terra, Aqua, and Ven's moves to engineer cinematic moments on the fly, all while incorporating stylized touches to evoke their distinct personalities. Watching him, it’s almost like seeing an actor embody a character onstage.

Ever-patient Aqua takes her time in battle, often letting her opponent strike first and, in the climax of the story, shows serious restraint in some of the fights against her own friends. Meanwhile, Terra rushes in, fitting for his impulsive nature. And the way Ventus breezes around the arena, the fights are as much a carefree game to him as they are to the player.

It’s these tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it details that elevate the gameplay to an art form I’ve never seen in Let’s Plays before.

Check out the 16:00 mark for an excellent example of how Everglow blends gameplay and storytelling.

Perhaps the best example of this project’s thoughtful innovation is its use of Trinity Limits. While the Trinity Limit has been a staple Kingdom Hearts attack, Birth by Sleep uses it specifically to evoke the bond between Terra, Ven, and Aqua. When Everglow deploys his Limits at key moments, he ups the emotional stakes by editing in character voiceover that best illustrates the complex dynamics between the three.

Let me tell ya, the "dynamic" in question is not always unconditional love, which makes it all the more interesting. I honestly thought I’d get bored of them toward the end, when there was at least one Trinity Limit per episode, but because of the nuance behind the chosen dialogue and the Limit’s use as a finisher to critical boss fights, Everglow makes each of them feel just as fresh and impactful as the first.

The cutscene edits and in-game characterization truly work wonders together, fittingly coming to a head at the climax of the game in “Episode 30: Destiny is Never Left to Chance,” whose montage (recapping the Wayfinder Trio’s friendship amidst its collapse) actually left me breathless.

Fandom Freak-Out

This week’s entire column is technically the the Fandom Freak-Out, but it’d be wrong of me to (rightfully) laud the Timeline as the greatest multimedia contribution to the Kingdom Hearts fandom without giving mad kudos to some of the brilliant contributors to the "A" side of this AV masterpiece.

Beginning around Radiant Garden in the Birth by Sleep leg of the Timeline, Everglow begins incorporating several of Project Destati’s acclaimed orchestrations at key moments. My favorite so far has to be the inclusion of Riku’s theme from their first full-length album Light at the part of Birth by Sleep in which he inherits the keyblade from Terra.

Project Destati made waves this past March with the long-awaited release of their second album, Darkness, and have already hinted (through their surprisingly robust social media presence) at a third in the works (because the best things in KH come in threes).

Project Destati describes themselves as “a celebration of the rich musical score of the Kingdom Hearts games.” Outside the context the cutscenes and boss battles, the music tells a story itself, constructing impressive and moving arcs that flow across their discography. In this sense, Project Destati pairs perfectly with Everglow’s project, both succeeding telling a tale (as old as time) in a completely new way.

I can only imagine what the Timeline will do with Darkness’s 10-minute "Xion" track once we hit Days. I’ll keep tissues on-hand for that one.

The Final Swallow

I can't say it enough: Everglow’s Kingdom Hearts Timeline is a gift. If you’re a newbie trying to machete your way through the lore before KH3 or an old fan looking to experience the story in a fresh light, this project is for you.

Right now, Everglow’s still working his way through KH1 (which plays out interspersed with Aqua’s journey in 0.2), and the parallels are bananas good. Don't believe me? Check out what he did with Neverland. If you start now (and watch pretty much non-stop for three days), you should catch up right before KH's climax, which promises to be a hell of a show.

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That's all for this week, folks. In the comments below, tell me about your Let's Play experiences. What are your favorites? Why do you watch them? Let's get talkin'.

The Tea (never timely, always hot) is a weekly column steeped in gaming culture and the fandom experience. Tune in Thursdays for another cup of content!

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Octopath Traveler Guide: Best Weapons to Make Your Party More Powerful https://www.gameskinny.com/v9a2f/octopath-traveler-guide-best-weapons-to-make-your-party-more-powerful https://www.gameskinny.com/v9a2f/octopath-traveler-guide-best-weapons-to-make-your-party-more-powerful Fri, 20 Jul 2018 15:37:07 -0400 Zack Palm

It's true that you can craft the most balanced party in Octopath Traveler and make it to the end of the game, but they're going to struggle if you don't equip them with the right weapons. The weapons you're looking aren't just any sword or spear -- they drasticly improve the strength of your characters during combat.

Unfortunately, you can't find a weapon early in the game and take it with you through your the end of your journey. Along the way, you'll need to pick up new ones as you face more fearsome foes.

Here's a break down of some of the higher quality weapons you should go out of your way to find!

Best Early Game Weapons

The Golden Axe

There's a powerful starting axe you can receive in the first few levels. The bad part about acquiring this weapon is you have to start the game in a specific order. As it stands, you want to start with H'aanit, and then unlock Therion, followed by going to Alfyn's starting town.

When you start out as H'aanit, continue through her story as you typically would. Once you've finished up things, make your way to Bolderfall so you can go to unlock Therion for your party. Complete the prologue and continue through as if you were playing the game normally.

After you've completed Therion's tale, head down toward Clearbrook as if you were to unlock Alfyn. You do not want to start unlocking Alfyn when you enter town. Do not interact with him. Instead, when you enter town, look for a woman with a speech bubble standing in front of a doorway. Once you've found this woman, provoke her and defeat her in combat. It's good to know she's weak to swords.

With the woman defeated, you can freely enter the house and you should see an old man wandering around inside. At this point you're going to want to save the game. The reason? The old man is holding the golden axe and you must steal it from him. However, you only have a 3% success rate. Better to reload each time you fail than to gain too much negative reputation.

The stats of the golden axe are:

  • Phys. Atk: +265
  • Critical: +100

An Octopath Traveler Menu Shows the Old Man's Possessions and the Chance of Stealing the Game's Golden Axe

Captain's Sword

In Olberic's starting town, Cobbleston, you can provoke the Captain of the Watch to a fight and win his sword. Some players have reported they can beat him immediately after finishing Olberic's first chapter between Levels 8 and 10, but doing this is extremely difficult and takes a lot of healing items. The Captain of the Watch is classified as a Strength 4 opponent.

A good strategy is returning to Cobbleston between Level 13 to 15 to acquire this item. The Captain of the Watch won't be as difficult and the sword should serve as a great addition to your inventory.

The stats of the captain's sword are:

  • Attack: +60
  • Speed: +40
  • Notes: Occasionally decreases target defense
Elusive Shield

To locate this shield, you're going to need to travel to Atlasdam. When you arrive, head to the city's palace and go to the bottom floor. When you reach the bottom, search for a boy and you'll have the option to purchase the item from him.

However, if you have Therion, you have the opportunity to steal it from him. Make sure to save before you attempt to take it, as you only have a 3% chance to take it, much like the golden axe.

The stats of the elusive shield are:

  • Phys. Def: +21
  • Elem. Def: +24
  • Evasion: +56
Composite Staff

There are two locations you can grab this item. The first is from the boy at the bottom level of the Atlasdam Palace, the one who was holding the elusive shield. Again, prior from taking this item make sure you save your progress. Unless you want to purchase it.

The second location is in Flamesgrace. Head to the town's Weapon Shop and you should see a character called the Witness. They'll have this item in their inventory and if you want to steal it, you'll have a 3% chance to grab it. 

The stats of the composite staff are:

  • Phys. Atk: +18
  • Elem. Atk: +44
  • Notes: Occasionally puts target to sleep

Best Regular Mid-Game Weapon

Wizard's Rod

You can find this weapon in two locations. The first is in Goldshore; an NPC is holding it who is standing outside of the church. You'll have a 3% to steal it, so be sure you're saving before you do so; you can also purchase it for around 60,000.

The second location is in the Archmagus shrine, in a purple chest. This is a Level 45 area and may prove difficult, even for characters at this level. You will need Therion to open the purple chests, you cannot do it with a character who has the thief subclass.

The stats of the wizard's rod are:

  • Phys. Atk: +113
  • Elem. Atk: +300
  • Notes: Occasionally poisons the target

Best Mid-Game Forbidden Weapons

These unique weapons appear in shops roughly around the second chapter. They have incredible stats for your party, though they come at a small cost. Each one comes with an additional stat intended to benefit your opponents. 

Do not let this deter you as these items boost your party's mid game fighting. Unfortunately, you cannot steal any of these items from NPCs. You can only purchase them.

The Forbidden Sword

You can find the forbidden sword in Stonegard. Proceed to the lower part of the town and you should find three shops alongside one another. The shopkeeper in the middle will have the weapon

The stats of the forbidden sword are:

  • Phys. Atk: +310
  • Speed: +120
  • Notes: Occasionally increases the target's Phys. Atk.

A blond boy wearing a tan tunic stands outside of a shop that has a sword sign above its door

The Forbidden Spear

This weapon is located in Quarrycrest. You do not have to purchase this item, but you do need to defeat a guard to obtain this weapon. When you arrive in Quarrycrest, go to the lower level of the town and seek out an individual standing outside a house. You must defeat him to gain access inside, and once you do you'll find the weapon inside.

The stats of the forbidden spear are:

  • Phys. Atk: +320
  • Elem. Atk: +303
  • Speed: -98
The Forbidden Dagger

You will find this weapon in Stillsnow. Much like the first forbidden weapon, you will need to purchase it from an NPC. She's located inside of a small home to the right of the town. You can pick her out by the clothing she's wearing as her attire is similar to Primrose's dancer outfit. 

The stats of the forbidden dagger are:

  • Phys. Atk: 285
  • Elem. Atk: +155
  • Notes: Reduces fire and dark damage dealt
The Forbidden Axe

Head on over to Wellspring to locate this weapon. In order to get this weapon you're going to have to use Olberic. When you arrive in the northern section of the town, seek out a guard standing outside of a home. You will have to defeat him to gain access to the home. When you gain access to the establishment, you can purchase it off the NPC. 

The stats of the forbidden axe are:

  • Phys. Atk: +391
  • Accuracy: -50
  • Speed: +80

A guard with a bubble above his head stands outside a house in Octopath Traveler

The Forbidden Bow

You're going to need to be in Goldshore to find this item. You shouldn't spend too much time seeking out this forbidden weaponAll you need to do is proceed to the bridge to head to the second part of the town. When you load across, the woman on the bridge will have the item for sale.

The stats of the forbidden bow are:

  • Phys. Atk: +282
  • Critical: +121
  • Notes: Increases the chance of encountering enemies
The Forbidden Staff

The final forbidden weapon! You can find it in Saintsbridge. All you need to do is head to the town's Cathedral and on the right side you should see a Cleric. Speak to them and you can buy the item.

Note: You may want to forgo grabbing this item as the Wizard's rod, listed above, comes with superior stats with none of the drawbacks.

The stats of the forbidden staff are:

  • Phys. Atk: -100
  • Elem. Atk: +285
  • Critical: -50

Best Late-Game Weapons (Battle-tested Weapons)

Now we're getting to the good stuff! These weapons will prove invaluable when you attempt to take on Octopath Traveler's final dungeon and boss (once you've gone past the game's credits).

These weapons are the best in the game. You can only acquire these weapons from purchasing them from NPCs or stealing them using Therion. When you purchase any of these weapons, bring Tressa along with you to increase your chances of getting a discount.

Battle-Tested Staff

You'll find this staff in Saintsbridge, located in the town's Cathedral. Go inside and speak to Bishop Bartolo. He should have the item listed for sale.

The stats of the battle-tested staff are:

  • Phys. Atk: +212
  • Elem. Atk: +388
  • Notes: Occasionally slows your target

A map shows the town of Saintsbridge highlighted in gold

Battle-Tested Axe

We're going to the Woodlands and traveling to Victors Hollow for the axe. Head to the town's Arena Gate and look for Ned. He is located at the bottom of the first set of stairs you go down.

The stats of the battle-tested axe are:

  • Phys. Atk: +350
  • Elem. Atk: +250
  • Notes: Increases lightning and ice damage dealt
Battle-Tested Dagger

Run on over to Atlasdam to find the dagger! Instead of finding the weapon in town, you need to leave it to go through East Atlasdam Flats, down to North Rippletide Coast, into the Undertow Cove. Inside of this area you should find the NPC Vanessa Hysel, located to the right of the save point, who has the dagger.

The stats of the battle-tested dagger are:

  • Phys. Atk: +380
  • Evasion: +140
  • Notes: Occasionally decreases target's accuracy
Battle-Tested Blade

You will locate the blade in Wellspring. When you arrive in town, go to the left and keep going until you go down, and then continue left only a short distance. The NPC on the right inside of the establishment will have the blade.

The stats of the battle-tested blade are:

  • Phys. Atk: +400
  • Critical: +150
  • Notes: Augments your character's physical abilities
Battle-Tested Bow

To find the bow you're going to need to travel to S'warkii. When you travel into town go down, to the left and go until you reach the last house to speak to Z'aanta. He should have the item listed for sale.

The stats of the battle-tested bow are:

  • Phys. Atk: +385
  • Critical: +186
  • Notes: Occasionally decreases the target's physical defense
Battle-Tested Shield

You're headed to Marsalim for this shield. Upon arriving in town, head up the stairs to your left and speak to the first guard, located to the right of the stairs. You should be able to purchase this item from them.

The stats of the battle-tested shield are:

  • Phys. Def: +132
  • Evasion: -88
  • Notes: Restores your character's HP and SP following every action
Battle-Tested Spear:

The final battle-tested item is in Noblecourt! When you enter town, proceed directly to the right and keep going under you go down to the set of stairs to arrive to the house next to them. Go inside of the house and start the side quest called Mikk and Makk Make Good. Once you complete it, proceed to the city of Rippletide and locate Leon, the NPC you beat in the quest, and purchase the spear from them.

The stats of the battle-tested spear are:

  • Phys. Atk: +390
  • Critical: +148
  • Notes: Occasionally blinds your target

A well-armored character stands on a dock in Octopath Traveler

Those are some of the greatest weapons you can give your characters to make your party more powerful! Using them should help your party's progress as they continue through Orsterra.

Be sure to check out our other Octopath Traveler Guides while you're here! 

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ELEAGUE: Legitimizing Esports Through Creative Storytelling and Emerging Technology https://www.gameskinny.com/c13z4/eleague-legitimizing-esports-through-creative-storytelling-and-emerging-technology https://www.gameskinny.com/c13z4/eleague-legitimizing-esports-through-creative-storytelling-and-emerging-technology Fri, 20 Jul 2018 11:07:40 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Log in to any sports broadcasting network, and there's a strong chance you'll run into a well-polished documentary or feature on a player's life, technique, or claim to fame. To anyone who cares about sports, the games we watch aren't really about the sports themselves but more about the personalities lacing up to take the field or court. We tune in because we want to see those players succeed or fail, and we want to see how they'll do it. 

The end, as they say, isn't as compelling as the journey. 

It's not surprising, then, that story and competition are uniquely linked. From the earliest days of sport, story fashioned from the splendor of victory and the disappointment of defeat has compelled us to watch, perhaps even more than the innate fun of the sports themselves. It's true in analog sports, and it's true in digital sports as well. 

In many ways, esports is the natural progression of competition. Just as analog sports have evolved from their primal roots, so have they evolved from traditional stick and ball sports -- such as baseball, football, and basketball -- to something if not more advanced, more closely tied to the digital age. Of course, traditional sports still entrance and enrapture us, but it's time to come to grips with a simple fact: sports are evolving, and both fans and broadcasters have to evolve with it.  

One of the companies leading the charge into that brave "new" world of broadcast esports is a name that's become synonymous with sports itself: Turner Broadcasting. Well-known for its coverage of the NBA, the MLB, the PGA, NCAA basketball, and more, Turner was one of the major broadcasting companies to quickly realize that esports wasn't just a fad but instead a legitimate cultural zeitgeist. Because of their foresight, their esports network, ELEAGUE, is one of the fastest growing and most renowned esports-centric networks currently showcasing games and tournaments. 

Speaking with Matt Mosteller, Vice President of Content for Turner Sports, who also oversees production for ELEAGUE, the idea of crafting compelling narratives lies at the center of each ELEAGUE production. As a fan-first esports brand, ELEAGUE seeks to bring esports stories to fans in interesting and creative ways -- some they may have never seen before. 

[Esports is] a great digital property, and there are a ton of young fans that are consuming this content and are ferocious when following these sports. For us, being able to create content and bring in a younger audience is always something that's key. It just made sense. 

At Turner, we're always looking for what's next; what are the new, big sporting events and phenomena? We want to be a part of those and help tell stories around those. We pride ourselves in doing premiere events. We looked at esports -- and being able to jump in and help grow some of those games and create some more premiere events -- [as something we were very interested in]. 

One of the ways Turner looks to help grow established esports such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Street Fighter V, and Tekken 7 is through leveraging its experience in traditional broadcast storytelling. Creating hype around these games in ways both hardcore and casual fans may not have experienced before is an important wrinkle in the company's strategy. 

In many ways, I've seen it work on the "uninitiated" in person. Injecting broadcasts with player profiles, educational segments, and creative features such as this gem featuring ELEAGUE's 2018 Street Fighter V Invitational Champion, Tokido, serve a dual purpose in engaging the hardcore viewer and humanizing the competition for the casual viewer.   



Setting out after that goal, it's the creative work Turner employs outside the game that often sets its broadcasts apart from other esports coverage and analysis. It's crazy polished. It's engaging. It's compelling. The ELEAGUE team uses storytelling to give fans better insight into the every-day lives of these players, showcasing the monumental investment these players put into their training. What's more, it highlights the fact that esports players are just as passionate and skilled as players in the NBA, NFL, and MLB. 

Mosteller says that one of the best ways to ensure all of those boxes get ticked is by giving viewers what they really want, which is access to the players. That one thing is the connective tissue by which the entire organism seems to work.  

The game's the game. There's only so much we can do within the game itself. [But the question is], "What can we do around the game to create this buzz and get people excited and draw in more of an audience?". One of the great things fans love is access. They want to be these players and they want to see them away from the controller ...

One of the things we looked at was, "How can we bring fans closer to the action?", giving them the chance to know these guys. So we've dived into some of the documentary style [content], like the road to the international, the road to the Boston Major this past year for our ELEAGUE Counter-Strike major, and it really gave fans a chance to get to know these teams and see that other side of them, and create that connection and bond that will hopefully bring people back to watching live gameplay. 

That's a tall task when it comes to Joe Public. It's a safe bet that your average sports viewer isn't all that keyed in to esports -- or doesn't hold the niche in very high regard due to general views on gaming. Although studies show that some 250 million people follow esports competitions around the world, that's across all esports properties and tournaments, not a specific event.

In 2017, IEM Katowice brought in 46 million viewers, making it the largest esports event in history. However, that pales to the 2017 Super Bowl, which alone brought in 111 million viewers. This shows that broadcasters have the attention of hardcore gamers, but getting the attention of an ordinary audience requires a bit more finesse. 

In response, broadcasters like Turner have become more flexible.

That adaptability has helped ELEAGUE grow its brand and engage esports fans on both digital streaming channels such as Twitch and BR/Live, as well as TBS. It's been aided by leveraging proprietary and third-party technology. Used in conjunction with more traditional storytelling elements -- features, player profiles, and more -- tools such as eye-tracking technology and Game Command tell story in an engaging, yet more analytical way.  

Without eye-tracking technology, you wouldn't know that many Street Fighter V, CS:GO, and Tekken 7 players move their eyes just as fast, and in some cases even faster, than athletes in almost all traditional stick and ball sports.

That storyline in and of itself not only gives casual fans direct analogues by which to understand esports and overcome some of their initial hurdles, but it also gives hardcore fans the validation they've sought since players started gathering around cabinets in their local arcades decades ago. 

From another angle, ELEAGUE's Game Command gives viewers unprecedented access to professional esports play, specifically CS:GO. In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, viewers streaming matches are able to see not only the main feed (which is similar to a typical sports broadcast on cable), but they are also able to see multiple angles of action, similar to a multi-feed that's sometimes provided during traditional sports broadcasts.

But that's not all. There's a unique wrinkle that takes the game to an entirely new level. With Game Command, viewers can watch specific players throughout the match, easily switching between players and viewpoints at their own discretion. It gives viewers unprecedented access and control to the games they love; and in cases of the uninitiated, gives viewers a new way to learn about the game they're watching. 

Mosteller says that's the whole point: to bring viewers and audiences as close to the game as they possibly can. Just like traditional sports, it's important to build a conversation around esports that grows it from a niche market into something bigger and more accepted. 

We always try to push ourselves on the technology side. And the gaming space is a great place to do that. Whether it was the eye-tracking technology or the augmented reality we've done around Street Fighter or the Injustice League, where we brought these great characters these fanbases know and love to life in the studio and during the broadcast. Those are just some things we can do to spice up our coverage and get the fans excited. 

I think if we're going to continue to grow the esports space, that's something that's big for us: bringing in that more casual audience, especially on TBS where people aren't as used to watching esports on that platform. 

If any mainstream broadcasting company can make esports widely popular, Turner is one of the very few that can do it. What makes Turner Broadcasting unique is that it has a wide array of ancillary properties from which it can pull from to further build hype around the scene. It has specific brands that already overlap with the gaming space, such as Cartoon Network, that further facilitate the push to greater esports ubiquity. 

It's that mixture of styles (a firm understanding of traditional media alongside a genuine excitement and interest in emerging technologies) that's helped ELEAGUE become so popular so quickly. Often, there's not a lot of context around esports matches. By crafting traditional and analytical stories around them, Turner looks to help both hardcore fans and casuals better understand what they're watching. By proxy, that understanding will hopefully transform into wider acceptance of esports as an "actual" branch of sports.  

Much like NFL films has done for the league's 32 teams and thousands of players, Turner uses technology and creative storytelling to craft compelling, engaging, and informative content that breaks down barriers.

It's telling stories where it at first doesn't seem stories could or should exist. By humanizing gaming and crafting stories around each of the scenes it represents, Turner is using ELEAGUE to firmly make the argument that competitive gaming isn't just for the initiated.

Just like traditional sports, it's for everyone. 

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To see first hand the way ELEAGUE tells stories around esports tournaments, make sure to tune in to the CS:GO Premier 2018, which starts this Satruday, July 21, at 2 p.m. EDT on Twitch, BR/Live, and Game Command

The group action will go through Wednesday, July 25. After the dust has settled, four teams (two from each group) will face off in single-elimination playoffs held Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29, for their share of the million-dollar prize pool. 

As always, stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on ELEAGUE as it develops.  

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Fortnite End Game Guide: Tips on How the Pros Win https://www.gameskinny.com/cai54/fortnite-end-game-guide-tips-on-how-the-pros-win https://www.gameskinny.com/cai54/fortnite-end-game-guide-tips-on-how-the-pros-win Wed, 18 Jul 2018 20:23:20 -0400 Ty Arthur

You're finally at the point where you manage to consistently make it to the top 10 - 20 ranked spots in a Fortnite match, but now the question arises: how do you actually win during the end game?

This is what sets the amateurs and wannabees from the pros in Battle Royale matches as they learn to adapt quickly to other player strategies and stay alive as the storm circle closes.

If you find yourself struggling to be the last combatant alive and always manage to get killed in the Fortnite end game, we've got all the tips and strategies you need to finally snag that elusive Victory Royale.

How To Win In Fortnite

Fortnite is all about making it to the #1 position as the last player standing, and not about racking up the most kills. Sure, you can level up and gain bragging rights by getting kills with specific weapons, but that doesn't help you actually win.

If you get 98 kills and are sniped by the last player hiding as a bush, you still lose. It's entirely possible to win a match with 1 kill, or even with 0 kills if you manage to get the second to last player standing to accidentally kill themselves.

To reach that #1 Victory Royale position you need to be thinking sneakily and defensively (until the very end game, anyway, at which point it's time to go full aggressive). Not being seen at all is much better than getting into a firefight and coming out the victor with reduced health and ammo.

To make it to the end game, either land in an unmarked location to stay away from the early fire fights, or land in a marked location that gets significantly less foot traffic and has more cover, like Wailing Woods.  

While waiting for the storm to shrink for the end game, make sure to throw up walls before healing, but even more important, just throw them up the second you hear gunfire in the late game. Better safe than sorry. If you go for a supply drop, always box yourself in with walls first as well.

Pro players assign the wall, stairs, and floor building bindings to various mouse buttons for instantaneous building so you don't have to be struggling to find the F1 - F5 keys while getting shot at. You could even bind the wall building to the spacebar key, as it's frankly more useful than jumping. 

 Key bindings are critical to getting that half second edge over the enemy

This is critical because in most circumstances, height means winning. Ramp rushing in particular can be the difference between victory and defeat, especially in the end game when both players have tons of weaponry.

When in a fire fight you can't avoid, throw up two staircases and a floor platform (particularly if the other player is currently reloading), then hit them from above on the high ground while they scramble to find find cover. Unless you are facing off against an expert builder, they won't be able to make a fort quickly enough to defend themselves.

This strategy changes slightly when you are in a sniper fight, however. In this instance, building wider rather than taller to make it harder for the sniper to guess where you will pop out next.

While making your way to the final circle for the end game battle, always try to pick up explosives along the way, which are critical to the end game as there will almost certainly be forts involved (or barring explosives, hope for a minigun to take out their walls quickly instead).

End Game Building Strategy

However you get there, one of the most effective strategies to dominating in the end game is to simply wait in the final circle and barricade yourself as much as possible. This isn't as exciting as going full aggro across the entire match, but it's much more likely you will survive this way.

While waiting for the final opponents to arrive as the storm shrinks, take the time to reload everything so you don't have to lose any precious seconds when the final fire fight arrives.

While building your final fort, you can get sneaky by building on top of an existing structure if one is present, or instead just build a large and obvious heavily fortified position if you have the resources. Once constructed, wait in an inconspicuous corner of your fort and let the last player come to you.

If you have the time and resources, building multiple bases and using the launch pad to move between them is an excellent strategy for keeping clear line of sight and hitting enemies from above as they enter the final circle. 

Countering End Game Builders

You will very likely find yourself in a situation having to counter another player utilizing the exact same end game tactic. There are two ways to handle this.

The first is with the aforementioned explosives. C4, stickies, grenades, rocket launchers, etc. can take down walls quickly (or you can use a minigun if you got lucky and found one). You can run into a problem here, however, if you get a player really good at spamming walls, and then it all comes down to the luck of the draw of who gets off the first shot. 

The second way is to not even bother trying to destroy the walls, but just instead build stairs and go above the fort, as many players don't often think of building full roof tiles for complete coverage. If you have healing items, you can even wait till the storm shrinks and hang out inside the damaging portion of the storm to fire down and force them into a choke point in their own fort.

If you know they are hiding in their fort and you have a structure to prevent line of sight (like a large building) make sure to use it to your advantage to quietly build above their fort without them noticing and then hit hard and fast from above.

In this instance, an extremely effective tactic is to build above them, jump down towards the enemy fort, fire off a rocket launcher round as you are falling to destroy their cover, then switch immediately to a shotgun or other high powered weapon as you land to fire as soon as they break from cover.

Be careful when utilizing this strategy and keep in mind the recent Fortnite shotgun nerf. You can no longer employ the tactic of switching between shotguns repeatedly in your inventory for instant firing without having to reload, so keep other weapons handy, especially if they have a high rate of fire.

 While still useful, this is no longer the be-all, end-all of Fortnite weapons

For those who manage to consistently win, what do you think of our end game Fortnite strategies, and what tips would you offer to players who are finally making it into the top 10 but struggle to win? Sound off in the comments section below! 

Still getting the hang of the 100 player Battle Royale matches? Be sure to peruse these other Fortnite guides so you can get up to speed and earn a #1 Victory Royale:

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Antonio Brown Named Madden 19 Cover Athlete https://www.gameskinny.com/m9qw4/antonio-brown-named-madden-19-cover-athlete https://www.gameskinny.com/m9qw4/antonio-brown-named-madden-19-cover-athlete Wed, 18 Jul 2018 10:50:48 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Earlier this year, we made our predictions for the cover of Madden 19. We took a few big chances and made some bold claims, but even from the arm-chair it was painfully obvious Antonio Brown was a front-runner for the latest installment of the storied franchise.

Today, EA made that prediction a reality by officially unveiling the dangerous Pittsburgh Steeler's wide receiver as the cover athlete for Madden 19's standard edition. The Hall of Fame edition will feature renowned wide out and 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Terrell Owens. 

Brown, who's played his entire career in Pittsburgh and been to six Pro Bowls for the team, said he was honored to make this year's cover: 

“I am beyond honored to be on the cover of both Madden games. There’s a lot of milestones athletes dream of, and after being inducted into the Madden 99 Club earlier this year, and now appearing on the cover of this year’s games, it’s clear that business is not just booming, but I’m also among the all-time greatest with these honors.

According to the recently released Madden 19 player ratings, Brown is rated a 99 overall, the highest rating a player can receive in the game. 

Set to release August 10 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, Madden 19 looks to improve on the additions brought to Madden 18. The Longshot story mode that first made its appearance last year will make a return with Longshot: Homecoming, a narrative that will introduce more storylines and the ability for players to continue the journeys of both Devin Wade and Colt Cruise. 

On top of that, Madden 19 looks to increase player immersion and create a truly engrossing football simulation with the inclusion of Real Player Motion (RPM), a system that "will give fans even more control of in-game moves and immersive animations, making AB [Antonio Brown] and other players move and act like their real-life counterparts as they charge through the game, showcasing their unique personalities, mannerisms, and of course, celebrations."

Those who pre-order the Hall of Fame edition of Madden 19 will gain access to the game on August 7, three days before the game's official release date. Players who subscribe to EA Access and/or Origin Access will receive a free 10-hour demo of Madden 19, while those who subscribe to Origin Access Premier will get the game on PC on August 2. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on Madden 19 as it develops.  

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Fear The Wolves Guide: Best Drop Locations https://www.gameskinny.com/me5xj/fear-the-wolves-guide-best-drop-locations https://www.gameskinny.com/me5xj/fear-the-wolves-guide-best-drop-locations Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:37:00 -0400 Zack Palm

The key to winning a battle royale game goes beyond knowing about the weapons at your disposal. You have to find the best locations to land to get a head start of the competition. In Fear The Wolves, having an ideal starting location can mean the difference between being sent back to the main menu and advancing to the top 10.

Because the circle works a little differently in Fear The Wolves than other battle royale games you need to remain on your toes. Here's a break down of some of the best starting locations you can land at to give yourself the best start!

The Northern Portion

North of Yanov

When your helicopter's path starts out at the northwest point of the map, think about hitting this location. If you land around here you can run towards the small village to north, grab some decent gear, and then dash to the village to the east or the one to the south, closest to Yanov. While you glide down to this position you can watch your competition and make any brass decisions, such as making a hard turn to Yanov, Denisovichi, or Chistogalovka.

Though, be warned you're going to need radiation equipment to enter Yanov. You may want to hit this city after you've already acquired some gear.

South of Chistogalovka

This location is for when you're feeling bold. Because of the river to your east, if you drop here you're left with fewer options of where you can choose to land. When you land near this location, try to prioritize items and gear that protect you against radiation. This way you can travel towards to the west Shepelichi or the east to RLS "Duga" to find some high quality gear, giving you an even further edge against your competitors. 

Though, don't be surprised if you find three or four other players dropping with you. This location has proven to be quite popular.

West of NovoShepelichi

Unfortunately, if you want to land here you'll only be able to do in special cases. When your plane starts you out on the northwest portion of the map, you can confidently choose this area. However, keep in mind other players may have the same idea as you and will drop with you. You're going to rush into buildings if you want to survive here. The option is if your plane ends near here.

The great part about choosing this location is you can immediately rush into NovoShepelichi, or wrap around it to the smaller villages before heading south.

West of Rudnia

This area mirrors the first location, though a number of small clustered homes are spread out. Ideally, you'd want to have your plane route coming from the northwest point and heading down, southeast. You'll have enough distance to hit the middle village, grab what you can, and decide if you want to rush to Rudnia or Rechitsa. The problem with going to Rechitsa is the fact the radiation may already be closing in, cutting you off from this town.

You can risk going to the smaller villages around it to enter the city. There's plenty of decisions when you plan to aim for this area. Don't let the red outlines frighten you! This may deter other players, but you can use it to your advantage to find the best loot.

West of Kopachi

The final location for the northern portion of the map focuses on giving you the chance to run into an enemy far sooner than some of the other options. You can choose to land in Kopachi, or stick to the outskirts to find useful gear in one of the nearby villages. You can confidently change your choice based on how many other players are flying to land near you. Though you may want to land closer to them so you get in as many early kills as you can.

Of the northern locations, this is likely the most risky. If you're not the first person to land, you may find yourself without equipment and back on the main menu waiting for another queue!

The Southern Portion

West of Korogod

This is a great starting location that provides you with plenty of options. When you aim for this place, based on the amount of players dropping near you, you can choose up to four different house-filled villages to head towards. Each one comes with a decent number of potential loot drops. When you're feeling really bold, veer your drop to aim to land in Korogod and try your luck in the city!

Because of the other two cities situated close by you can always run through those. If you survive. 

South of Llintsy

Like the first location in the southern portion, you have several choices available to you. Not only do you have two cities to pick from, but plenty of smaller villages to dive into. Depending on how many players land nearby, or with you, you may want to choose a small cluster of houses and then immediately head into one of the cities. This way, you'll have a small supply of firepower to take with you when you venture into a city.

While I was playing, I found it better to stick to this strategy. Several times when I dropped into a city I struggled to find a weapon and came up short in multiple early-game encounters.

Kalinovskaya

The direct middle may prove a troublesome location, or entirely dead, depending on how aggressive the other players in your match feel. You may not find out until you drop and see the other parachutes around you. If you see a couple, attempt to angle your parachute down so you can land directly in front of a building. But, when you have too many players around you, try to land in one of the building clusters to the east of Kalinovskaya. 

You can drop at that location and then divert further east, or continue south to try your lucky closer to Zapolie. It all depends on the situation and how many shots you hear.

West of Lelev

Now we're getting to the tougher options. Landing around here may get you into a firefight sooner than you'd like. During my matches, I found several players enjoyed to land inside Lelev and then make their way west. If you're feeling confident, dive straight into the city and try your luck! Otherwise, pick one of the small clusters of houses to make your start and then follow the road south.

There's a large forest to the west of his area to the two other cities. You could run towards those after you've grabbed a few weapons, but you may want to stick to the outskirts and pick off other players.

North of Kamenka

The final recommended location! Much like the previous location, this area is going to get hot, depending on your helicopter's flight path. Luckily for you, there's several options available to you at this junction. You can veer your course to go to Zalesie, Opacici, Kamenka, or visit one of the other smaller clusters to grab precious loot before venturing into the cities.

In this area, players will definitely have plenty of weapon drops at their disposal. You'll have to rely on your speed to beat them when you land here. This drop zone can prove to be a great starting position for you to your shooting practice! You'll have plenty of target practice.

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Those are all of the locations I think you should choose from during your first few rounds of Fear The Wolves! Don't be afraid to experiment, as this is a new battle royale and plenty of strategies will emerge during the game's development.

For more on Fear The Wolves, keep it here at GameSkinny.

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Sonic Mania Plus Review: Simply the Best https://www.gameskinny.com/wa731/sonic-mania-plus-review-simply-the-best https://www.gameskinny.com/wa731/sonic-mania-plus-review-simply-the-best Tue, 17 Jul 2018 15:51:38 -0400 Ashley Gill

I'll be the first to admit I make some bad purchasing decisions when it comes to Sonic the Hedgehog games. Those decisions being buying them, then buying them again. And maybe again. I'm not really sure how many platforms I have Sonic 3 & Knuckles on, but it's more than five.

Last year's release of Sonic Mania brought back the feel and style of classic 2D Sonic that Sonic Team and Dimps struggled to recreate with the episodic Sonic 4, and it quickly became regarded as one of the best -- if not the best --Sonic games to date. There is something to be said for the Sonic fangame developers behind Mania and their understanding of what made the classic games memorable and fun.

Sonic Mania Plus brings the experience of the original Mania release back with a few tricks up its sleeve, some that may seem insignificant on paper but bring the whole game together into a complete package. It's a package that can satisfy both fans and newcomers with its signature '90s style.

What's in Plus?

The most obvious addition to Sonic Mania Plus is the characters Ray the squirrel and Mighty the armadillo, both of which have their roots in the arcade-only SegaSonic the Hedgehog. These two characters aren't just for show, either -- each has its own unique maneuvers for you to play with.

Ray, an enthusiastic and nimble squirrel, is able to glide mid-air much like Mario with his cape in Super Mario World. You tilt backward to catch some air and hover, tilt forward to take a dive. Unlike Knuckles and Tails, Ray can get some tremendous momentum when airborne provided you take the time to master his gliding ability.

Mighty, an armadillo in name and function, is immune to spike damage when jumping or spin dashing. Often you can jump onto spikes a single time and bounce right off. Mighty is also able to slam down into the ground with a double jump press, and he has a slightly higher jump than the rest of the cast. Ray is fun, but Mighty's slightly higher jump and mid-air spike immunity bring huge benefits.

These new characters and their brand-new abilities are perfectly suited to the new, remixed levels found in Sonic Mania Plus's new Encore mode.

Encore mode looks different at first glance, and it doesn't take long to figure out you're not in regular ol' Mania mode anymore. The levels in Encore mode have been tweaked to allow for Ray and Mighty to shine, with obstacles just for them, along with a wealth of new challenges spread throughout each zone.

Encore as a whole is the more difficult of the two modes, no contest. The new pinball-style special stages are more forgiving than the Sonic 3-style special stages in the original release, but the new Chaos Emerald stages (which are functionally the same as the original release) are brutal. I think I hate them, but practice makes perfect.

Along with the new obstacles found in Encore mode is the new character-swapping feature, which has you control two characters at once much like you would with Sonic and Tails normally. You can swap between them with a button press, but the characters you have will rotate frequently. Special boxes are scattered about to swap your characters, culminating to no two playthroughs ever being the same. You can also use the new characters for individual playthroughs in Mania mode.

Multiplayer

The new Competitive mode is a throwback (pullback?) to the multiplayer modes of yore found in Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles, with little to no changes to how the mode worked in those games. This isn't a complaint -- I loved racing friends and family in those multiplayer modes -- but it is something to note.

In Competitive, you can change how many rounds you face off in, whether there's a time limit, and which item sets are available. You are also able to choose whether you want the screen to be stretched out like in the old days or squished to not look awful. I recommend the second choice, but purists will go for the first without question.

His face is about right for the old stretched screen view.

Something you may notice is that the game is advertised as having co-op. You expect that in a 2D Sonic game that lets you have both Sonic and Tails out at once, and I had hoped Encore mode would allow for two players as you have two characters out at a time. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Encore mode is entirely singleplayer, meaning the only co-op you'll find here lies in the Sonic and Tails combo in Mania mode. This is the only thing I have to complain about with this release, but even that is a small complaint. It doesn't matter in the face of all the good found here in Sonic Mania Plus.

The best around

It's rare an original game can take me back 25 years, gaming the hours away in front of the T.V. with my Sega Genesis and Nintendo. Sonic Mania did that last year and Plus does it even better with the addition of Ray, Mighty, and the remixed stages in Encore mode.

Exploring with Ray and Mighty's abilities in Mania mode and Encore mode make the game feel brand new. More than that, it makes me feel like a bright-eyed kid who just got the latest Sonic game and is discovering that it is just as awesome as the commercials claimed it would be. I almost want to buy some Bagel Bites and Capri Suns to complete the illusion.

Sonic Mania Plus did the impossible and made what was already the best new 2D Sonic since the Sega CD even better. There is only one word to describe Sonic Mania Plus and that is rad. I am not sure what Christian Whitehead and the others behind the game have in store for the future, but I hope it leads to more stellar '90s-style platformers like we see here with Mania Plus. The only thing keeping this baby from a 10 is the lack of multiplayer in Encore mode, but one can still call this the perfect Sonic game regardless.

[Note: The developer provided a copy of the game used in this review.]

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Might And Magic: Elemental Guardians Rerolling Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/ghixq/might-and-magic-elemental-guardians-rerolling-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/ghixq/might-and-magic-elemental-guardians-rerolling-guide Tue, 17 Jul 2018 14:45:05 -0400 Ty Arthur

Whenever there's a randomized summoning element in a mobile gatcha' game, there will inevitably be a temptation to "reroll" by deleting game data in hopes of getting a better starting unit.

With more than 200 creatures available at launch, your success in Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians can vary wildly depending on which creatures you summon in the early game.

In this guide, we'll go over how to reroll, as well as what to look out for when rerolling. 

A Warning About Rerolling in Elemental Guardians

While Might & Magic Elemental Guardians shares a whole lot in common with any other gatcha' game, there is a key difference in the summoning drop rate to be aware of. You get new summons constantly, and the game revolves heavily around destroying old creatures to power up new ones.

Frankly, there's really no point in rerolling in most circumstances because you will have a constant deluge of new creatures arriving in your roster as you play. The time it takes to reroll would be much better spent just playing the game and getting new summons as you will eventually get the creature you want anyway.

Unlike many other gatcha' titles, those lowly nat 2 creatures can easily be ranked up and evolved to be perfectly viable combatants in any region -- and even in several tiers of PvP.

The achievements in each region -- like winning battles with two creatures, destroying specific numbers of enemy types, and so on -- usually grant you free summon crystals to get new creatures. You also get multiple free summons a day without having to do anything.

Just simply using energy and completing achievements will get you better creatures than taking the time to uninstall or use an emulator to reroll. 

However, for those of you who are used to automatically rerolling any gatcha' game, here's what you need to know.

How To Reroll in Elemental Guardians

You always get the same creature in the first two summons no matter what, so there's no point in trying to reroll the game's early creatures. After that point, however, the summons become randomized, so that's where you may want to reroll if you keep only receiving nat 2 creatures with poor stats.

First up, do not link your Google Play or Apple account to the game unless you are using the multiple device method (method 2) listed below! At that point, even fully deleting all data won't let you start over.

Method 1

After getting the third summon in Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians, close the app entirely and then uninstall. Next, access the internal storage on your device and navigate to the folder labeled com.ubisoft.runeguard (on Android, this is typically found in Internal Storage -> Android -> Data) and delete that folder entirely.

Now, look for a second folder with the same name -- com.ubisoft.runeguard -- in another location and delete it as well (on Android, the second folder is usually found in Internal Storage -> Android -> Obb).

If your device has a removable SD card, additional game data may be saved there as well, so navigate to the SD card folder (rather than the main internal storage folder) and delete every instance of com.ubisoft.runeguard there as well.

If your mobile OS has a folder search function, just search "ubisoft" and it should pull up all three folders at once rather than searching them all down one by one.

A screenshot showing where to delete the mobile data for Might & Magic Elemental Guardians Deleting the Might & Magic Elemental Guardians mobile data

Method 2

A second method also exists if you have multiple devices and don't mind starting over repeatedly. Download Elemental Guardians on each device and then link the game to your Google Play or Apple account.

After the third summon, switch over to a secondary device and load the game. Even if you linked your account, you will be prompted to start the main story from the beginning due to playing on a new device.

From that point forward, you will be prompted to choose which version of the game you want to keep whenever you log in, so you can go with the one that got the better summon. You will lose all progress on the version of the game you don't keep, however, so this is only helpful if you are just getting started and happen to have a couple of tablets or phones on hand.

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What was your best starting pull and did you manage to get a killer nat 4 without rerolling? Let us know your best summon in the comments below, and be sure to check out our other Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians guides here:

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The Most Powerful Glyph Combo In Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians https://www.gameskinny.com/pku6n/the-most-powerful-glyph-combo-in-might-magic-elemental-guardians https://www.gameskinny.com/pku6n/the-most-powerful-glyph-combo-in-might-magic-elemental-guardians Tue, 17 Jul 2018 15:11:33 -0400 Ty Arthur

With a huge array of creatures available in Might & Magic: Elemental Guardiansthere is a staggering number of possible strategies for region grinding and PvP.

While having a viable team combo is critical to winning in the arena, glyph sets are how one player sets their creatures apart from any others.

Wondering what the absolute best Elemental Guardians glyphs you should be using? Let's dive into understanding how glyph sets work and picking the one best stat to increase! 

Elemental Guardians Glyph Basics

While you will get plenty of glyphs just by playing through the storyline's Shattered Island areas, you'll need to farm the the Glyph Dungeon in the Dragonmist Isles if you really want to improve your 4- and 5-star creatures for viable PvP fodder. 

Proper glyph placement is often more important than rank, level, or even evolution. Why? Because it's often a better indicator of how well a creature will perform. If two parties with the best creatures of equal level are facing off, the team with the better glyphs will win.

Over time, you will need to change glyphs as you acquire new ones. Removing common glyphs only costs 1,500 crystals, but epic glyphs get extremely expensive, with some commanding 25,000 a pop! 

Free glyph removal usually comes around once a month as a special event, so hold off on changing your glyph sets until this event shows up -- unless you have a huge surplus of crystals at your disposal.

In some cases, common glyphs are actually better than rarer ones. While they will have fewer sub-stat bonuses, their upgrade costs are far, far cheaper, so you will end up with better stats more quickly while spending fewer crystals.

A  Glyph removal gets pricey when using rarer glyphs

How to Choose Glyphs

The main question when assign glyphs is often, "Which glyph do I choose?".  Choosing between a glyph that grants a percentage boost or flat boost isn't always clear cut. The answer is that it depends entirely on the creature.

With the nat 2 star creatures you start summoning early on, the flat boost is almost always going to better. Later, when you summon nat 4 creatures and evolve them (or upgrade creatures manually to 5 stars), the percentage glyhps end up far, far outclassing the flat boosts.

The best glyphs to utilize can vary depending on what region you are currently farming. The final wave dragon bosses in the Air Elemental Tower, for instance, tend to use negative status effects, so piling on Resistance-focused glyphs can help you survive while farming air evolution materials.

Some creatures have special attacks that gain bonuses to damage based on specific stats, like defense or total max health. In those cases, a six-glyph set based on one of those stats can be the best way to go for maximum damage output.

Those specific instances aside, there is one particular glyph combo that is far and away the best way to upgrade your creatures. It helps you dominate in the PvP arena and gives yourself an edge in any region, from the Shattered Islands to the Dragonmist areas -- and even the limited-time secret dungeons.

Best Elemental Guardians Glyph Set

To be viable as a core team that can compete, your creature stats should be around 1k+ for defense, 1.2k+ for attack, and 10k+ for HP. However, those stats should occur naturally through leveling up and evolving. 

While it would seem like the HP and/or attack stats would be the ones to bump up through glyphs, there is no question that speed is the best stat in the game. Speed affects how quickly a creature's turn-bar fills. With higher speed, you not only attack first but use turns more quickly and refresh your ability cool downs faster.

If you go first, you can get the win by using skills that prevent the other team from functioning properly. Whether you have creatures that block healing, prevent buffs, paralyze, poison, or blind, you want your creatures going first to neutralize the opponent's team build.

Speed is also a massive boon for any creature that has a percentage chance to take more than one turn in a row, like the earth ninja. While there are more powerful creatures out there with better abilities, you can turn the tide by attacking three times in a row with high speed.

 Increasing speed is the way to get PvP wins once you have a killer team build

Picking Speed Bonus Glyphs

A creature gets a +10 bonus to speed when you group together three -- and then eventually six -- haste-type glyphs. This isn't the only way to get a speed boost with a glyph combo, however.

This issue is a common misunderstanding with new players -- the glyph type controls what bonus you get for having multiples of the same type. But any type of glyph can potentially have bonuses to any of the stats. 

For instance, if you have a tank creature with huge HP reserves, vitality glyphs are the way to go. But be sure to pick individual vitality glyphs that give speed bonuses. You get the best of both worlds this way, gaining a speed boost from the individual glyph and then a 20% bonus to health on top by using multiple vitality glyphs.

Going full speed on all glyphs leaves you weak in other areas, however, so your best glyph combo should look like this: speed/speed/speed/defense/hp/hp.

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What do you think is the best glyph combo to use in Might & Magic, and what team build are you utilizing for PvP wins? Sound off in the comments below, and be sure to check out our Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians guides here:

 

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Fortnite Season 5, Week 2 Battle Star Guide: Search Between an Oasis, Rook Archway, and Dinosaurs https://www.gameskinny.com/9hxa3/fortnite-season-5-week-2-battle-star-guide-search-between-an-oasis-rook-archway-and-dinosaurs https://www.gameskinny.com/9hxa3/fortnite-season-5-week-2-battle-star-guide-search-between-an-oasis-rook-archway-and-dinosaurs Tue, 17 Jul 2018 06:18:05 -0400 Sergey_3847

Season 5, Week 2 of Fortnite is here, and with comes a brand-new hard Battle Star challenge. 

If you've been playing since Season 5 dropped last week, you'll already know that a new desert location has popped up on the map. And this is where you'll be looking for the Battle Star this week: somewhere between an Oasis, Rook Archway, and Dinosaurs.

If you don't know where this location is, then simply follow our guide below for the exact location of the Battle Star.

Close Up of the Fortnite Map Showing Paradise Palms

The first hint in this week's challenge is the Oasis. The hint directly points to the area in the western part of Desert Palms. There you will find a lush oasis with palms and a pond of clear water. 

Then, you need to move a bit to the north and there you will see a bridge connecting two desert hills. This is your second point of reference -- Rook Archway.

Finally, you will find Dinosaurs standing a bit to the south of the archway on the highway. They're really easy to spot as there are plenty standing around.

Now, when you have all three spots figured out, you will see a hill in between these three locations. This means that the Battle Star should be on top of it. If you're lucky, you will also find a treasure chest there. So it's a win-win situation.

In order to claim this week's Battle Star, you need to approach it and interact with it. Once you do that, you've completed Week 2's Battle Star challenge.

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That's all for this week's Season 5 challenge. For other Fortnite guides at GameSkinny, check out the list below:

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Fortnite Season 5, Week 2 Challenge Guide: Score a 3 Point Shot at Different Basketball Courts https://www.gameskinny.com/o9uqc/fortnite-season-5-week-2-challenge-guide-score-a-3-point-shot-at-different-basketball-courts https://www.gameskinny.com/o9uqc/fortnite-season-5-week-2-challenge-guide-score-a-3-point-shot-at-different-basketball-courts Tue, 17 Jul 2018 06:17:48 -0400 Sergey_3847

Fortnite's Season 5, Week 2 is upon us and that means brand-new challenges await. One of the most exciting -- and most interesting -- challenges in Week 2 is scoring a 3 point shot at three or five different basketball courts scattered over the Fortnite map. 

In total, there are seven basketball courts on the Season 5 map, so you can choose the ones that are closest to your landing spot.

Don't know where those basketball courts are? Follow our quick guide below for all the basketball courts locations and how to find them.

All Basketball Court Locations

Fortnite map showing all basketball court locations

The two best spots to land for this challenge are to the southeast of Retail Row or Paradise Palms, and to the west near Greasy Grove or Tilted Towers.

There are three different basketball courts located very close to each other if you pick these landing spots first, so you can finish the challenge rather quickly by following this strategy.

But if you happen to land in the northern part of the map, then you can go to Junk Junction and score a few goals there.

One smaller court is located to the west of Tilted Towers right at the new mini soccer stadium. And the other one can be found at the racing track east of Retail Row.

However, one of the most exciting basketball courts can be seen at the new desert location -- in its very center. It's, of course, not necessary to go here to finish the challenge, but this court is hands-down the coolest one of the lot. 

How to Score 3 Points

In order to score a 3 point shot, you need to stand beyond the 3 point arc and closer to the middle of the court. When you hit the basket, you will see confetti streaming from it, meaning that you made it. Do it on each of the different courts and you will finish the challenge.

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That is all for the Season 5, Week 2 basketball challenge, and for other Fortnite guides at GameSkinny, please visit the links below:

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Inazuma Eleven Ares Developer Explains Recruit and Battle Mechanics https://www.gameskinny.com/sgqme/inazuma-eleven-ares-developer-explains-recruit-and-battle-mechanics https://www.gameskinny.com/sgqme/inazuma-eleven-ares-developer-explains-recruit-and-battle-mechanics Mon, 16 Jul 2018 16:42:35 -0400 Erroll Maas

There's always a good deal of hype surrounding Level-5 games. Whether that's Ni No Kuni or Professor Layton, the community is always ready to learn as much information about the studio's titles as they can -- especially before launch.

Recently, Level-5 updated the official Japanese website for the upcoming soccer strategy RPG, Inazuma Eleven Ares, the first Inazuma Eleven title to release on Nintendo Switch, as well as the first to receive a North American release since the Nintendo 3DS eShop remake of the original Inazuma Eleven in 2014. The update reveals more detail about the scouting system, battle mechanics, and the toy link system.

Here's a quick look at how those systems are reported to work when the game releases.

Scouting Other Players for Your Team

To recruit other players, you'll be able to talk to your team manager, Anna Mikado, who will introduce you to them. Another way players will join your team is by meeting the correct requirements, such as defeating them in a match.

Characters from the old Raimon team seen in the original Inazuma Eleven series are now spread throughout Japan, and they are used extra players in the other teams encountered throughout the game. In addition to players from other teams, there will also be several different arenas in which soccer matches will take place. 

As of this writing, more details on those were not available. 

Soccer Match Details

The update also covered the details of passing, command battles, defending, shooting, and special moves.

The pass line will show who the current ball holder can pass to, and it's best to choose which player to pass to based on the situation. Timing and distance are important factors to consider as well, and once the ball is passed, the receiving teammate will control the ball.

When a teammate and an opposing player run into each other, it will prompt a command battle in which the player can either move left or right, or execute a special move.

When moving, the player can steal the ball from the opposing player if their ability and power is strong enough.

Once the player gets close enough to the goal, they can choose to shoot the ball. Players will first have to determine their shot type depending on the situation and timing, and then individual player ability will determine if the goal is successful.

In tricky situations, special moves can turn the match around. These special moves are divided into four types: Shoot, Offense, Defense, and Keeper. Each will be successful depending on the timing of each move, as well as their specific characteristics.

Toy Link

Additionally, Inazuma Eleven Ares is compatible with Eleven Band and Eleven License toys. The Eleven Band will allow players to send Training Power once a day and will give experience points, or Nekettsu points -- points required to obtain secret books for learning techniques, items, and equipment. These are also required for training and practice matches.

Eleven License toys will give either experience points or Nekettsu points, and up to three can be used each day. More information will be revealed in a future update.

Inazuma Eleven Ares will launch in Japan in Fall 2018 for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android. A North American and European launch of the game is planned for 2019.

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Galak-Z Variant Mobile Beginner's Strategy and Tips Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/mxz0s/galak-z-variant-mobile-beginners-strategy-and-tips-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/mxz0s/galak-z-variant-mobile-beginners-strategy-and-tips-guide Tue, 17 Jul 2018 11:22:47 -0400 Victoria Banks

So you jumped into Galak-Z and were breezing through each sector like a pro, but suddenly, “Rambo”ing your way through space wasn’t cutting it. And now you need a new way to defeat your enemies. Well, you’re not alone.

Galak-Z Variant is one of the few free mobile games that offers extensive and diverse gameplay with a challenge (it's basically the mobile version of Galak-Z Variant S). If you’re up for that challenge and want to improve your performance in the game while progressing as fast as you can, you'll want to have the best tips and tricks at your disposal.

This Galak-Z Variant guide covers the pros and cons of using a mech or fighter ship, using your environment thoughtfully, collecting bots, decrypting relics, and applying upgrades.

Choosing Mech Suit or Fighter Ship: What They're Best Used For 

The first decision you will face is choosing your method of navigation and combat. Your character, A-Tak, can switch between piloting either a mech suit called Galak-Z or a fighter ship called Galak-S. At first, it’s simple: you can pretty much play as either to progress. However, it soon becomes apparent that each vehicle and their respective weapons are going to be useful in different situations. So how do you choose and what’s the difference?

The largest contrast between the two is this:

  • The mech is a short ranged, melee combat machine with a front shield and grappling abilities.
  • The ship is long ranged with dodge abilities, speed, and rockets.

Each has their own value, but to determine which is best to use, you should consider mobility and combat against specific opponents.

Some environments are tricky to navigate and have tight spaces. In these situations, it is usually easier to control and navigate with a mech. However, other locations may be open and require the speed and long range weapons of your ship. You should use a similar method to determine which to choose in a fight.

Study Your Opponents Before Battle

Before entering each location, be sure to check the stats of your opponent in the mission menu screen. You’ll find that some are dangerous to fight at close range, such as opponents with shotguns or other close-ranged, high-damage weapons. For these, you’ll want to fight at a distance with your ship.

Other opponents may be faster and more challenging to hit at long range, such as vulture void raiders. For these fast moving targets, you may want to close the distance with a mech and destroy them with melee combat.

Be sure to check your enemy types before each battle and select an appropriate vehicle.

Take Advantage of the Environment

You may think the environment is a dangerous enemy as well, and you would be correct. But it can also be a great tool for hindering and destroying others. The most important elements to success in Galak-Z Variant are thinking quickly, being crafty, and using strategy to best your opponents.

Here are some tricks that you can test out the next time you’re in a showdown with another ship or beetle.

Use Plants to Explode or Shock Enemies

One of the items you can use to your advantage are plants on stems. These plants, if run into, will explode and send dangerous bulbs flying in all directions. Some of these include pink bulbs that stick to your ship and slow you down. Others send out explosive damage or electric shocks that temporarily disable your abilities.

Be careful and avoid hitting these yourself. However, if you use your ship to fire at these plants, you can send the bulbs colliding into your enemies, thus hindering and damaging them. The best way to do this is to draw your opponent toward the plant and quickly shoot them from a safe distance.

Creative Grappling

You can also use the grappling ability on your mech to throw your enemies into danger. In the heat of battle, it can be easy to use your special ability without much thought, but you will want to use your grappling ability strategically.

Fire the grapple when you’re in a pinch, and once you have an enemy in your clutches, try throwing him into explosive pipes, spikes, and fire pits! This will deal an extra load of damage and make your job easier. You can also try throwing enemies into one another, damaging many at a time.

Understanding Bots 201: What to Look For

No matter how crafty you are in combat though, you won’t get far without upgrading and collecting bots. Bots should be your priority. Collecting them will offer improvements to your core stats such as movement, attack, defense, and relic decryption (covered in the next section).

These bots offer a unique set of perks to improve your ship, and they can be leveled up with experience points and bot parts. Though their importance is not immediately apparent in the first couple of sectors, you’ll find that you’re going to need a range of bots to face more challenging enemies.

Rather than choosing random bots and rushing in, you should consider the following when choosing them:

  • Speed
  • Damage
  • Range
  • Health

You should also study the special abilities of your opponent. For example, if you are going up against Void Shotgun Hyena, who charges in to deal heavy damage, you should have equipped bots that can improve your escape mobility and provide strong long-range damage. Bots offer these changes, so you can adapt to your enemy.

Not only do bots upgrade your ship and mech, but they also can be used as opponents against other players in “Bot Battles” You can select a team to improve your chances of stumping other gamers who try to face your robots.

Relics: Get Them Now, Not Later

Relics are another component you’ll become quite preoccupied with. These are items you should spend time collecting in each sector for your bot to decrypt.

Essentially, relics contain salvage, bot parts, and more importantly, components for ship and mech upgrades, which you uncover after their decryption is complete.

Though you may survive without ship upgrades for a while, you’ll find it increasingly difficult to succeed without collecting relics from previous sectors you have visited. Ship and mech upgrades can be used strategically to counter your enemies, and you’ll need them as your foes grow more difficult to defeat. In the long run, it will be worth your time and effort to collect relics.

Remember, relics only contain parts of upgrades. You will need to continue collecting in the same location to acquire all the parts to a single upgrade. After decrypting enough relics to have a full upgrade, the location will turn green with a check mark, indicating there is nothing more you need to acquire.

Decrypting relics does take some time, however. You can expedite the upgrade process by paying with crash coins, which decrypts a relic immediately. But the more powerful the relic, the more time and crash coins it will cost. You’ll find that you can’t always rely on expediting, so what is the most efficient way of decrypting relics?

Efficiency's the Name of the Game

First, you should always have one of your bots decrypting a relic, and ideally, you should have numerous relics in your bot’s query. Your items will decrypt while you are in and out of the game, so your time is being used efficiently. Let your phone notify you when a relic is decrypted, and once you collect your upgrade parts, be sure to send the next relic to your bot for decrypting.

If you prefer to play while you wait, you can continue your journey to other sectors or spend your time collecting other relics, but know that you can only hold a limited amount of relics. If you reach your limit, you will be unable to collect more until you have room in your query, but you will still be able to progress through sectors.

Tips on Which Upgrades to Use and Why

 

After you have obtained ship and mech upgrades from decrypted relics, you may start mixing and matching immediately for your fighting preferences. However, the decision on what upgrades to add should always be determined by your opponent, similar to how your selection of bots should be based on who you are trying to defeat.

Again, think about the perks and special abilities of specific bugs, raiders, and imperial fighters. Your mission menu provides the stats for each opponent you will face.

Though there are plenty of options to choose from, the following upgrades have been some of my favorite and useful in during my time with Galak-Z Variant. Here's what they offer and where to find them. 

Your Top 5 Upgrades
  • Tower Shields -- This upgrade to your mech is the best all-around improvement for your shield, an essential tool to keep your health from depleting. Tower shields is one of the only upgrades that offers significant improvements to three shield qualities: barrier health, barrier parry, and barrier size.
    • Sector 8.4 -- Tower Shields (I):
      • Barrier health increase to 32.
      • 30% increase in barrier size
      • 10% chance for your barrier to parry attacks, 
    • Sector 14.2 -- Tower Shields (II):
      • Barrier Health increase to 48
      • 40% increase in barrier size
      • 15% chance to parry
    • Sector 17.3 -- Tower Shields (III)
      • Barrier Health increase to 64
      • 50% increase in barrier size
      • 20% chance to parry
  • Bullet Proofish Hull -- This upgrade starts off small but offers armor protection from your ship's main source of damage, enemy fire.
    • Sector 7.5 -- Bullet Proofish Hull (I)
      • Health increased by 16
      • Projectile damage resistance increased by 18%
    • Sector 13.6 -- Bullet Proofish Hull (II)
      • Health increased by 25
      • Projectile damage resistance increased by 24%
    • Sector 17.8 -- Bullet Proofish Hull (III)
      • Health increased by 36
      • Projectile damage resistance increased by 30%
  • Revved Up -- A vital tool for your survival is your ability to evade danger and close in on targets when ready. This upgrade improves your ship's speed and agility.
    • Sector 1.3 -- Revved Up (I)
      • Top speed increased by 10
      • Turbo speed increased by 18
    • Sector 10.6 -- Revved up (II)
      • Top speed increased by 15
      • Turbo speed increased by 27
    • Sector 17.5 -- Revved up (III)
      • Top speed increased by 21
      • Turbo speed increased by 36
  • Knockback Tips -- These fighter ship bullets are incredibly useful for keeping enemies at bay and depleting their health. As long as you can make the shot, knockback tips will momentarily keep foes from dealing extensive damage because each shot will, as the name suggests, knock them back.
    • Sector 3.4 -- Knockback Tips (I)
      • Damage increased by 3
      • Laser Knockback increased by 20
    • Sector 9.2 -- Knockback Tips (II)
      • Damage increased by 5
      • Laser Knockback increased by 30
    • Sector 15.7 -- Knockback Tips (III)
      • Damage increased by 7
      • Laser Knockback increased by 40
  • Power Blade -- Though it is one of the first upgrades you can earn, power blade is essential for dealing damage from your mech's primary weapon.
    • Sector 2.2 -- Power Blade (I)
      • Damage increased by 4
      • Big attack knockback increased by 70
      • Damage to bugs increased to 25%
    • Sector 9.5 -- Power Blade (II)
      • Damage increased by 6
      • Big attack knockback increased by 110
      • Damage to bugs increased to 30%
    • Sector 9.5 -- Power Blade (III)
      • Damage increased by 9
        Big attack knockback increased by 140
        Damage to bugs increased to 35%

Though these are a few strong upgrades against most enemies, remember that you may need to switch it up depending on mission combat requirements.

Select weapons and body components that will actually be useful against the enemies you face. You can always test run your upgrades before missions to experience their effectiveness first hand. Apply those you feel most comfortable with and those which offer counters to your enemies.

If you are still stuck on which to choose, you can never go wrong with more damage, health, or shield. Keep selecting new and stronger upgrades from higher sectors as you progress, and this will improve your chances of success!

Get Out There and Fight!

 

Now that you have these tips and tricks under your belt, it’s time to get back out there.

Remember to:

  • Use your environment to your advantage
  • Always collect relics and bots
  • Carefully select your vehicle, bots, and upgrades based on your enemy

Use these strategies to approach fights with careful thought and consideration. Doing so will save you the trouble of exploding in space and having to restart missions.

Have fun, and see you, space pilot.

Make sure to stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news, info, and guides on Galak-Z Variant, as well as other SCHMUPs and space-shooters!

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Octopath Traveler Guide: Complete Shrine Locations List https://www.gameskinny.com/uem9l/octopath-traveler-guide-complete-shrine-locations-list https://www.gameskinny.com/uem9l/octopath-traveler-guide-complete-shrine-locations-list Mon, 16 Jul 2018 12:18:12 -0400 Zack Palm

Like any good roleplaying game, you're going to find plenty of depth in Octopath TravelerAs you venture further into the game you're going to want to give your characters a wider range of abilities and skills to use in combat. One way to do this is by giving them secondary job classes.

However, in order to unlock these jobs you need to locate their shrines. The shrine locations are scattered throughout Orsterra and you need to find them. While you may discover them during your play through, this guide will break down details about their locations to make locating them easier.

This guide will also list the four advanced job class shrines hidden in the world, each protected by a formidable foe.

Note: All of the areas you're going to travel through to these shrines are infested with monsters prepared to take on a party of level 20 characters. 

Shrine of the Flamebearer (Cleric)

You'll find the Shrine of the Flamebearer located in the Frostlands, in the northern part of the map on the Western Stillsnow Wilds path. When you're on this road, find the signpost on the eastern part of the area. Once there, head south and you should find yourself going up a small hill and then going down it. At the bottom of the hill, go to the left and you should see small rocks poking out the snow. Continue until you see a small torch outside a cave, which is the entrance for the shrine.

Shrine of the Prince of Thieves (Thief)

The Shrine of the Prince of Thieves is located in the Cliftlands, the western most region on the South Quarrycrest Pass. You'll find this shrine on the left side of the map. When you're leaving the city Quarrycrest, follow the path out of the city and continue going left and stop right before the second bridge. Instead of crossing it, proceed to the left and go down a small pathway. This should take you under the bridge, to the entrance of the shrine.

Shrine of the Lady of Grace (Dancer)

The Shrine of the Lady of Grace is located in the Sunlands, the southern most region of Orsterra on the road called the Northern Wellspring Sands. Start at this area's signpost just outside of Wellspring and go up. Proceed to the left, past the guard, and go up until you see a red flag. Do not continue forward. Go to the left and you should find the entrance to the shrine underneath a small stream of running water.

Shrine of the Sage (Scholar)

You will find the Shrine of the Sage in the Flatlands, the region located at the northwestern section of the map on the Western Noblecourt Flats. It's right outside the city of Noblecourt. When you leave the city, go left on the path a short distance before going down the through a field of grass. This will take your party up a small hill, and you should veer them slightly to the left as they continue. Adjust your party's direction to the right once you pass a character standing next to several rocks. You'll find the shrine's entrance carved into the side of a rocky hill. 

Shrine of the Trader (Merchant)

Let's go to the east! The next shrine is the Shrine of the Trader located in the Coastlands, the region set furthest to the east on the Moonstruck coast path. When you arrive in Moonstruck Coast coming from West Goldshore Coast proceed southwest for all of your journey. Eventually, your path will force you to only go west until you arrive to a dead end. Go up to the rock wall and press your characters against it, taking a sharp right. This will take you into the Shrine of the Trader.

You should be careful around this area as the creatures here are prepared to fight level 30 characters.

Shrine of the Huntress (Hunter)

The Shrine of the Huntress is located in the Woodlands, the top left region of the map on the East Victors Hollow Trail. When you're at the signpost proceed north to Victors Hollow. Follow the path and stop when the path forces you to go to the left. Instead of continuing to follow the path go to the right into the forest. You'll find the cave entrance for the Shrine of the Huntress shortly after.

Shrine of the Thunderblade (Warrior)

Time to get your leg day in. The Shrine of the Thunderblade is located in the Highlands, the region on the bottom right of the map on the North Stonegard Pass. When you're at the signpost of this area, go to the left and follow the path. Eventually, you should see a small flag on top of a rock blowing in the wind. Instead of following the path up, go to the left, which should take you down a small slope. The entrance to the shrine is at the bottom of the slope.

Shrine of the Healer (Apothecary)

The final one! To find the Shrine of the Healer go to the Riverlands, the southern region between Cliftlands and the Sunlands, and go to the area called East Saintsbridge Traverse. When at this location's signpost, you'll find you're in the middle of a crossroad. Take to the right path and proceed down it. The path should take you directly cave of the Shrine of the Healer.

Advanced Job Class Shrines

You'll want to make your way these shrines later in the game. Unlike the eight other shrines, you must face a boss in order to gain access to these areas. Make sure you're ready to face them! These foes do not go easy on your party and are best taken on after you reach chapter 4.

Shrine of the Runeblade (Runelord)

The Shrine of the Runelord is located in the Highlands, in the same region you located the Shrine of the Thunderblade on the West Everhold Pass. When you're at this area's signpost, proceed to the right and follow the path. Stop once you've arrived at the fork in the road, and proceed to the right and then down. You'll follow an unmarked pass and eventually make it to the cave entrance for the Shrine of the Runelord's.

Shrine of the Archmagus (Sorcerer)

Time to return to the north for the Shrine of the Archmagus! You'll need to travel to the Woodlands, this is the same region you found the Shrine of the Huntress and you need to be on the East Duskbarrow Trail. When you're traveling from Duskbarrow on the path, follow it all the way, past the signpost, until you arrive to the entrance of an unmarked path shrouded in mist. This path should have you go upwards on the map. Follow it all the way, and at the end you will arrive to the Shrine of the Archmagus.

Shrine of the Warbringer (Warmaster)

We're nearly done! The Shrine of the Warbringer is located in the Riverlands, the same region you found the Shrine of the Healer on the North Riverford Traverse path. When you arrive to this area's signpost, just outside of Riverford, follow the path left. Stop right before you arrive to the small stone bridge. Instead of going up, continue to the left. You should follow an unmarked path to the left, and then down, a short distance before you find yourself at the cave entrance to the shrine.

Shrine of the Starseer (Starseer)

The last one! The Shrine of the Starseer is located in the Flatlands, it's in the same region you discovered the Shrine of the Sage on the Western Wispermill Flats side. When you're leaving the city of Wispermill, proceed down the path to the left, but only for a short distance. Stop immediately after the cut down trees and go upwards, towards the cow farm, and then to the right. You'll find your view blocked by the rocks, but if you continue forward into the rocks you should find your party entering the shrine.

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This covers all of the shrines found throughout the Octopath Traveler! For more guides about this game, stay informed with GameSkinny.

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Identity V Beginner's Guide: How to Survive and Hunt Through the Night https://www.gameskinny.com/nptsy/identity-v-beginners-guide-how-to-survive-and-hunt-through-the-night https://www.gameskinny.com/nptsy/identity-v-beginners-guide-how-to-survive-and-hunt-through-the-night Mon, 16 Jul 2018 09:46:10 -0400 Autumn Fish

Identity V is a 1v4 horror game where one player acts as the Hunter and tries to capture the four Survivors -- all of whom are doing their best to decode ciphers in order to activate the exit gate and escape with their lives.

It's a rather simple gameplay loop in concept, but there's a lot to it in the end. If you really want to be good at the game, you have to keep in mind every option at your disposal, lest you fall victim to the most basic tactics.

Identity V Survivor getting hit by Hunter

How to Survive and Help Your Teammates as a Survivor in Identity V

As a Survivor, your goal is to decode ciphers, unlock the exit gate, and escape. It's also your goal to help the other Survivors on your team escape. The more Survivors that escape with you, the better rewards you'll get.

Decoding a cipher is simple. Just walk up and tap it to begin the decoding process, tapping the action button whenever the prompt pops up. Be careful, however, as tapping the action button at the wrong time will shock you and alert the Hunter to your presence. You can tell that the Hunter is getting close if you see your heart beating wildly.

If the Hunter draws near, you'll need to run away, especially if they've got their sights set on you. Hunters run faster than you, however, so you need to be tricky in order to throw them off your trail. Vault over ledges and knock pallets into them in order to slow them down and lose them. Remember, you can always try your luck at hiding around a corner, too, but that's a hit-or-miss tactic.

If another Survivor gets injured, incapacitated, or tied to a Rocket Chair, you have the chance to help or save them. Simply run up to their location -- given they're not near a hunter -- and tap on them to save them. The more Survivors that escape, the more rewards you'll earn.

Scattered around the map, you'll discover treasure chests. They're a bit superfluous, especially if you're under a lot of pressure from the Hunter, but if you have time, go ahead and dig through a few for some extra rewards at the end of the match.

Once you've decoded enough ciphers, the two exit gates will activate and you can make your way to them. Once there, you'll need to take some time to enter a password before you can run through the gate. But once you're past the gate, you're home free. You can choose to continue spectating or just move on and collect your rewards later when the match concludes.

Identity V Hunter spots Survivor

How to Hunt Down the Survivors as a Hunter in Identity V

As a Hunter, your goal is to hunt down and capture as many Survivors as you can before they escape through the gates. However, depending on how crafty the Survivors you're facing are, you may have to get pretty crafty yourself. Luckily, you have one massive advantage over them: you run faster.

As a Hunter, you can innately see where all of the ciphers are in the level. It's generally a good idea to check those first. If a Survivor happens to electrocute themselves, you'll even see their outline next to the cipher. Once you find a Survivor, chase them down and give them a good ol' whack.

Once you swing your weapon -- whether you actually hit your target or not -- you won't be able to move for a short period of time. Try to keep track of the Survivor as best you can during this time. If you manage to hit them a second time before they heal, they'll be incapacitated for a moment.

While incapacitated, you can tie them to some balloons and carry them over to the nearest Rocket Chair. You have to be quick, though, or they'll struggle free right under your nose. If the Survivors are smart, they'll try to rescue their captured comrade from the Rocket Chair, so it's a good idea to set up some defensive measures. Use your special abilities to build a good defense next to these chairs before going after the other Survivors. The more Survivors you successfully capture, the more rewards you'll earn.

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And that's everything you need to know for making it through the night. Be sure to stick with GameSkinny for more Identity V content coming your way.

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