Shooter Genre RSS Feed | Shooter on GameSkinny en Launch Media Network Neo: The World Ends With You Release Date Announced Fri, 09 Apr 2021 12:11:18 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Neo: The World Ends With You releases July 27 for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, Square Enix announced. NTWEWY on PC will release sometime in summer 2021 exclusively on the Epic Games Store.

Neo: The Word Ends With You pre-orders are open now for the physical and digital console editions.

A new trailer accompanied the NTWEWY release date announcement, introducing some of the game's extensive cast. Neo TWEWY follows Rino and friends as they get tangled in a new Reaper's Game, a deadly game that threatens to engulf the entirety of Shibuya and its people.

Neo follows the original The World Ends With You closely, using the same Pin system for battle and featuring a banger of a soundtrack from Square Enix veteran Akeharu Ishimoto.

Like The Word Ends With You Final RemixNeo takes place entirely on one screen. However, it's still the same intense action-based combat and cutting-edge style you'd expect from TWEWY.

Naughty Dog Reportedly Developing The Last of Us Remake Fri, 09 Apr 2021 12:12:37 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Naughty Dog might be developing a The Last of Us remake, Jason Schreier said in a new report from Bloomberg. The project is part of an initiative to package The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part 2 together for PlayStation 5, the report said.

Specifics are unclear, and neither Sony or Naughty Dog have commented on The Last of Us remake. 

The report is situated amid a bigger story from Schreier about the possible remake's development cycle. Sony contracted the Visual Arts Service Group studio to develop the project. The plan was initially remaking the original Uncharted, though Sony believed it would be too expensive. 

Then, Sony moved the Visual Arts team onto Naughty Dog to work on The Last of Us 2's visuals following its 2019 delay. Sony passed leadership on The Last of Us remake to Naughty Dog in the process, who is still heading up the project now, Schreier said. The report also said Sony might consider moving ahead with the Uncharted remaster depending on how this project goes.

If The Last of Us remake is happening, it would coincide with The Last of Us HBO show as well. Neil Druckmann confirmed the show wouldn't follow the game to the letter, and it's possible the TLOU remake could follow the show more than the original game.

[Source: Bloomberg]

The Binding of Isaac: Repentance Tainted Characters Guide Fri, 09 Apr 2021 13:32:49 -0400 Jordan Baranowski

It can be extremely difficult to keep track of new additions to The Binding of Isaac when updates are added, and that's especially true of large DLCs like Repentance. We're currently playing our way through the newest (and supposedly final) addition for The Binding of Isaac, and one element that could use some explaining is the inclusion of Tainted Characters.

Every playable character in The Binding of Isaac: Repentance has a "tainted" version. Even though they look like reskins of Cain, Isaac, Lilith, and the rest, most of them start with new items and abilities, effectively doubling the way you can begin a new run once they're unlocked. Here's how to unlock each tainted character and what makes them special.

How to Unlock Tainted Characters

Unlocking tainted characters is simple to explain, as the process is the same for each one. However, it is time consuming if you want to catch 'em all, and you need to string together a good run in order to reach the point where you can access them. Here's how you do it.

Defeat Mother

You'll need to defeat Mother at least once. This is a new boss added to the Repentance DLC, and you'll find her at the end of the Corpse II biome.

Find Dad's Note

You'll need to find Dad's Note on another run. This is a special item you'll be able to grab in the biome Depths II. To find it, you'll need to defeat the boss and then teleport out of the room. Look for a slightly different skull somewhere in the level and bomb it in order to find a Fool card if you don't have teleportation.

Return to the starting room after defeating the boss, and you'll find a door that can be opened with The PolaroidThe Negative or the Faded Polaroid. You'll find Dad's Note inside this room and you'll begin your ascension.

Reach Home

Go all the way through the Ascension and you'll reach a new area called Home. It isn't randomized like the other areas of The Binding of Isaac, so work your way through the few rooms and you'll get to Mom's Room. Open the chest here to find the Red Key item, unlocking it for future runs. You can now use this item to unlock Tainted Characters.

Use the Red Key

Go into the hall outside of Mom's Room and use the Red Key. It will open a hidden room with the tainted version of the character you are playing as inside. Touch that character to unlock them for future runs.

Find the Cracked Key

Unfortunately, you won't continue to find the Red Key in Mom's Room in later runs. You'll either need to carry it to the area or find the Cracked Key item, which is a consumable that has the same effect as the Red Key.

A good tip for finding the Cracked Key is to drop any trinket item inside a boss room after you've defeated your enemy. When you are going through the Ascent after finding Dad's Note, you'll take a trip through each boss room you previously visited, but any trinket you've left behind will be transformed into the Cracked Key.

It's certainly a process but, like many things in The Binding of Isaac, you'll find a rhythm as you start working your way through. Take each character through the Ascent to the Home area and use the Red/Cracked Key in the room before Mom's Room to get all the tainted characters.

Tainted Character Traits

Most of the tainted characters have similar traits to their regular counterparts, but they generally all have an extremely powerful ability balanced by a significant drawback.

They all have varying levels of starting stats and the like, but here are the main things that separate each tainted character from their regular versions.

  • Tainted Isaac: Every item pedestal cycles between two options, but you can only hold eight passive items at a time.

  • Tainted Magdalene: Has a powerful melee attack that triggers when an enemy touches her and leaves a trail behind her that damages enemies, but her health slowly drains down to two red hearts.

  • Tainted Cain: Starts with the Bag of Crafting item, which stores pickups and transforms them into a passive item when used. However, Tainted Cain can only obtain items through this method.

  • Tainted Judas: Starts with the Dark Arts active item instead of the Book of Belial. This active item gives him an invulnerable charge attack.

  • Tainted ???: Starts with the Hold active item and nearly every pickup is replaced by poop variations. Hold allows Tainted ??? to store his leftmost poop (he can hold up to nine) for later use.

  • Tainted Eve: Starts with the Sumptorium active item instead of Eve's regular items. When active, it drains Eve's health to summon Blood Clot familiars while she is shooting tears.

  • Tainted Samson: Has a similar Berserk effect to regular Samson, but it restricts him to a powerful melee weapon and also has a timer that refills as he kills enemies.

  • Tainted Azazel: Has a fullscreen beam attack that does low damage, and also has a high knockback, close range attack that leaves enemies vulnerable to his beam. Tainted Azazel cannot fly.

  • Tainted Lazarus: Swaps between his living and dead form after each room. Each form has different stats and abilities, making this a tricky character to master.

  • Tainted Eden: Starts with random stats and items, and they are all rerolled each time Tainted Eden takes damage.

  • Tainted Lost: Starts with the Holy Card consumable, which will shield you from a single damage source. The drop rate for Holy Cards is much higher when you play as Tainted Lost.

  • Tainted Lilith: Starts with the C Section passive item, which replaces Tainted Lilith's tears attack with a baby attached by an umbilical cord (!!!!). The babe deals damage and can also fire tears at enemies.

  • Tainted Keeper: Every item is acquired by coins, and Tainted Keeper also uses coins for health. Defeating enemies drops temporary coins that quickly vanish if they aren't picked up.

  • Tainted Apollyon: Begins with the Abyss item, which sucks in every item in the room and spawns an attack fly familiar for each item that you can fire at enemies.

  • Tainted Forgotten: Has a skeleton familiar that you can throw at foes, dealing heavy damage. Cannot obtain red hearts.

  • Tainted Bethany: Begins with the Lemegeton active item, which grants a random passive item. Tainted Bethany cannot obtain red heart health, instead using red hearts to power her active item usage if it isn't fully charged.

  • Tainted Jacob: Begins with the Anima Sola item, which restricts actions from the closest enemy for five seconds. You'll need it, as Tainted Jacob will start being chased down 30 seconds into each floor by Dark Esau. If Dark Esau catches Tainted Jacob, he transforms into a character similar to The Lost, and one more hit will kill him. If you make it to the next floor as this ghostly figure, Tainted Jacob will be returned to his "living" state.

All these tainted characters add unique spins on the game, and a few of them will dramatically change the way you have to play The Binding of Isaac in order to succeed. Good luck surviving the basement, and check out our game page for more on The Binding of Isaac: Repentance!

Before Your Eyes Review: Don't Look Away Fri, 09 Apr 2021 11:18:31 -0400 Mark Delaney

Sitting down to write this review, I found myself totally wordless, for the first time ever in my career. I've started and stopped these first few sentences half a dozen times, deleting every attempt before this one, not knowing what to say or how to say it.

Eventually, I landed on these specific words that you're reading now, the ones cataloging my discomfort and frank awe after having played Before Your Eyes. I didn't know how else to do it justice other than to just sit in it.

Some long-winded intro about its novel game design or the unique qualities of interactive media just seemed improper as a starting place. This is a game that earns accolades in those areas, and I'll get to them, but its lasting impact is felt, overwhelmingly and long after you've hit the credits. Before Your Eyes is a game like no other, so it's no wonder it's brought me to the brink of paralysis. 

Before Your Eyes Review: Don't Look Away

Before Your Eyes' concept, and really its thesis, is in its name. You know how people say your life may flash before your eyes? This experimental indie from GoodbyeWorld Games tries to gamify that in such a manner I don't believe anyone else has ever done.

In Before Your Eyes, players relive the life experiences of a person named Benjamin Brynn. Played in first-person, Ben's first moment in the game is aboard a ferry to some sort of afterlife.

The Ferryman of this vessel, an anthropomorphic wolf who dreams of being a stellar orator, acts sort of as your advocate. He brings you to the doors of the gatekeeper, who determines if your life was extraordinary enough to earn safe passage into whatever's next. It's as though the place beyond purgatory is an exclusive club, and The Ferryman helps you fill out your application.

From there, you recount your life's tale to The Ferryman so he can prepare to grandiosely submit it for further scrutiny, and in this moment, the game's unique central mechanic takes over.

Using a webcam, Before Your Eyes tracks your face with particular attention paid to your blinking habits. With each scene, beginning from infancy and extending to much later in life, players will witness as much of a moment in time as they can before blinking.

Refrain from blinking and you'll linger in a scene long enough to hear more conversation, perhaps even all a scene has to offer. Blink earlier in the scene, and you'll lose part of the moment forever. Time jumps accompany every blink, so you never know if you're advancing to later that day or later that decade.

That's not to say each scene should be treated like an endurance test. On the contrary, there is something satisfying about blinking midscene and losing some of the memory. It's realistic in that way. When we recount our most cherished, or perhaps most painful, memories, we don't replay them shot-for-shot. They are hazy, perhaps even dreamlike, more evocative than documentary.

We confabulate to fill in the gaps we forget. We act first and rationalize after the fact. As years go by, this process only burrows itself further into our minds to the point where one day we have this narrative, like a storybook of our own lives, where every action had a clear consequence and every choice was apparent at the moment we made it, but it's hardly ever truly that way. 

Before Your Eyes captures this magnificently by giving players moments to affect the story in subtle ways, but one can never really see where it's going. Benjamin, like all of us, forms a story in his head that makes sense of his place on the ferry, but by the end of the 90-minute experience, you remember the universe is fueled by unpredictable chaos, not the sort of order Ben had devised for himself.

The webcam usage is opt-in and Before Your Eyes is totally playable as a more traditional narrative adventure, where mouse-clicks stand-in for your blinking. The game loses a bit of its magic when played this way, as a few crucial scenes that demand you don't blink or else reset a moment are given this cheat code of simply resisting the click rather than holding your eyes open. But some of the game's most powerful moments ask you to instead close your eyes, which I found were just as affecting without the camera so long as I still kept my eyes closed anyway. 

The voice acting is always at least very good and more often exceptional, while the stylized visuals offer a painterly setting that comes into focus as Benjamin the infant begins to understand the world around him. As he grows older, you'll see his life from behind the camera, at his piano, and beside his best friend, each time through his artful eyes, which allows the game to get rather exploratory with its visuals.

Every scene includes only what's important to the memory, fittingly. No one could recall every tile or tree, car or cabinet, from even their happiest moment, so Ben instead remembers the important things like how his mother dressed on the day of his piano audition, or how his best friend wore her hair the night they snuck out to sleep under the stars. 

Whether it's played with or without the camera, the sights and sounds of Before Your Eyes are beautiful, often hauntingly so. Each scene has a purpose, there's not a moment wasted, and the small cast collectively pulls you an intimate portrayal of one person's life and the loved ones who surrounded him. Despite the supernatural introduction, this is a very grounded, human story about a boy, a family, a neighbor, and what a life well-lived might look like to those leaving it behind permanently.

So much of what makes Before Your Eyes unforgettable is tied to spoilers no one should ever have ruined for them, but if you're like me, the best endorsement one could give to this game is to know that it will break you.

Without a doubt, Before Your Eyes is one of the most memorable, cathartic, gut punches ever made in video games. Its unique use of blinking to advance the story is no gimmick either. It genuinely improves the game in a way only video games can really benefit from, by putting players behind Ben's eyes, daring them not to look away should they want to hold onto a moment just a bit longer.

Just when I'd think I had Before Your Eyes figured out, the proverbial rug would be pulled out from under me, knocking me down. This happened so many times in just 90 minutes that by the end I could hardly stand up anymore. This is a game that knows exactly what it wants to achieve and does it. Impressive enough even if it had modest goals, Before Your Eyes dreams bigger by introducing novel mechanics and telling a twisting story that would need to hide the magician's prestige until exactly the right moment. 

That's precisely how it played out for me, and I'd be surprised to hear anyone figures this one out before the game wants them to. This consistent excellence, accented most of all in the game's final minutes, makes the 90-minute experience my favorite game of 2021, and in fact, one of my most cherished games I've ever played.  

Before Your Eyes Review — The Bottom Line


  • An unforgettable tale examining what makes a life well-lived
  • Gorgeous visuals give the world an authentic but painterly tone
  • An inventive mechanic that uses your real-life blinking to play the game
  • Heartstring-tugging music hits hard
  • Has something to say and does so eloquently 


  •  Opting out of the webcam gameplay dampens some of the game's magic

Before Your Eyes is the kind of game that only comes around once or twice a decade. Its novel approach to the narrative adventure genre is genius and yet unlikely to ever be duplicated. It fits perfectly, but only really here, in Ben's story.

Just as Edith Finch and Firewatch before it told stories only games can tell and used mechanics we would likely never see borrowed elsewhere, Before Your Eyes feels like it's immediately timeless and permanently unique.

[Note: Skybound Games provided the copy of Before Your Eyes used for this review.]

Outriders Multiplayer Scaling Explained Fri, 09 Apr 2021 12:25:51 -0400 Justin Koreis

One of the great joys in Outriders is shredding hordes of enemies using your guns, altered powers, and wits. While fighting is fun solo, it pales in comparison to playing with a full squad; multiplayer scaling has a direct and significant impact on difficulty, in more ways than one.

Mowing down the bad guys with friends, each of you an unstoppable, anomaly-powered killing machine is pure joy, but it can be hard because of how multiplayer scaling works. Fortunately, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you understand Outriders MP difficulty curves.

Multiplayer Level Scaling Explained

The first thing to understand about Outriders' multiplayer difficulty is that enemy level is determined exclusively by the host. World Tier (explained in detail here) sets the enemy level relative to the level of the host, regardless of the other two members in the party. 

A large level disparity between the party leader and other players will do one of two things.

  1. If the party leader is at a higher level, then lower-level teammates will face much more challenging enemies and may find themselves overmatched.
  2. Conversely, if the party leader is lower level, then the other group mates will be fighting weaker enemies.

Outriders begins to suppress player-level advantage after two levels, preventing enemies from being too easy. This is a one-way street, however, as there is no limit to the level advantage of enemies. Put your over-leveled buddy in as the party leader at your own risk.

Enemy Numbers Based on Number of Players

When playing the main game, adding additional members to the party increases the number of enemies that spawn, the amount of health enemies possess, and the amount of damage your enemies dish out.

A group of two will face more, tougher enemies, and a group of three will face the most and the toughest baddies. It appears that there are roughly 3x as many enemies in a three-person combat encounter as there are in a solo encounter. 

Expeditions Scaling

Expeditions are Outriders' endgame content. They are unlocked after completing the campaign. Multiplayer scaling is slightly different here.

Larger teams still affect the health and damage-dealing potential of the enemies you’ll be facing. However, because these encounters are designed to be high-level challenges, Expeditions are always locked to the maximum enemy group size.

A party of one will face the same number of enemies as a full three-person squad. Soloing is possible, but not recommended.

Friends with (Potentially Limited) Benefits

There are loot implications to multiplayer, as well. The loot level will always be set by the World Tier (for the main game) and Challenge Tier (for the endgame), based on the level of the party leader.

Playing as an overpowered bodyguard with your beginner friend as party leader may be fun, but it will do little to advance your own equipment.

There is also a cap to the maximum rank of the gear you can receive based on the World Tier and your individual level. Don’t expect that you can hide out behind the bushes while your max-level squad showers you with riches.

Tip the Scales

Outriders multiplayer scaling is important, but not too complicated. Level differences between party members, enemy numbers, and enemy strength are all variable, but in predictable ways. Make sure to read the rest of our Outriders tips and tricks to make the most out of your gameplay. And remember, the apocalypse is always more fun with friends.

The Best Outriders Early-Game Titanium Farm Fri, 09 Apr 2021 12:43:47 -0400 John Schutt

To upgrade the best weapons in Outriders, you need a consumable material called titanium. You won’t find much of it early on, but as you increase your World Tiers and get into higher difficulties, the game will throw it at you. This is especially true if you’re using the best titanium farming methods. There are three, and we cover them in this guide.

The best ways to farm titanium before getting deep into endgame content and Expeditions are:

  • Kill specific Hunter questline monsters
  • Dismantle Epic and Legendary gear
  • Buy it from an NPC named Bailey 

One thing before we begin: these strategies are best used when you are at least in World Tier 7, preferably WT8 or WT9. Any lower and both the gear and titanium dropped by enemies will be lackluster.

How to Start the Hunter Questline

When you reach Trench Town in the campaign, visit Noah Dembele in the bar. Speaking to him will start the Hunter questline, which has you traveling to the game areas and killing miniboss monsters in special arenas in different destinations. 

If an area has a monster to kill, you will see a yellow paw icon on the map and a Hunt quest when you hover over an area. To start a hunt, proceed to the area with the paw and interact with the glowing carcass found nearby. Your character will say something like, “This should be interesting,” or “Might as well put my skills to good use.” 

Once you interact with the carcass, the hunt arena opens up. Be aware that until you clear all 10 hunts in the game, you can’t replay one after you complete it. However, once you turn in all the hunt trophies to Noah, you can replay them at your leisure. 

One final note: For optimal farming of both loot and titanium, kill the boss of the hunt then let the mobs kill you. The boss will respawn and still drop gear, allowing you to fight the hunted monster infinitely. Or until you’re bored.

Best Titanium Farming Quests

The two best hunts for titanium are Splitooth in the Forest Enclave and Wendigo in The Gate. 


Splitooth’s arena is in the Forest Enclave destination, right next to the Collapsed Arch Pass flag at the map's far-right.   

You’ll need to kill two waves of enemies before Splitooth appears, and they’re made up of weak melee perforos and poison-spitting venomous perforos. Use the waves to build up buffs, then summon Splittooth by clearing the area.

Since they're a crawler, watch out for their straight-line breath attacks, as they have deceptive range and insane tracking. Be careful too around their slam attacks, as it sends shockwaves along the ground that knock you down and deal a lot of damage.


Wendigo is even easier to find than Splittooth: both the carcass and Wendigo’s arena are on the edge of your Camp at The Gate. 

You’ll deal with two waves again as you make your way through some ruins. When you reach a wide-open area with a column in the middle, Wendigo spawns directly from where you enter its arena.

Take some time to clear the wave of weak mobs that spawn around it, then kite it into an open area. Wendigo has more health than Splittooth, but not as much as some of the other hunt targets, so come with good single-target damage. 

Watch out for Wendigo’s sweeping attacks. They deal a lot of damage, knock you back, and can be a bear to dodge properly. Wendigo will also dawn an Anomaly cloak, giving it some resistance to your abilities. Melt it quickly with shotguns or heavy DoT damage.

Alternative Ways to Farm Titanium: Dismantling Gear and Buying from Bailey

At higher World Tiers, you’ll have an easier time finding purple epic and gold legendary gear. Dismantling any of these rarer items rewards an amount of titanium based on the gear’s rarity. 

Whether you’re using the hunting methods above or going through endgame Expeditions, you’re going to earn a lot of gear that either doesn’t jive with your current build or is plain worse than the equipment you already have. You have two options to get rid of this trash loot: sell it or dismantle it.

Dismantling rewards three or four titanium for epic up to more than 10 or 15 for the rarest legendaries. You can also unlock new mods from dismantling and the base materials of iron for weapons and leather for armor. There's more about dismantling in our crafting and upgrade guide

Selling what you don’t use opens up the possibility to purchase titanium directly from Bailey, a camp merchant you unlock during the campaign. She sells the material in stacks of five units for 1,625 Scrap. This might seem like a lot, but when most Epic gear sells for at least a few hundred scrap and eventually a few thousand at a time, you’ll be rolling in dough after just a few hours of grinding.


Those are the best early methods for farming titanium before you get deep into Outriders’ endgame, where the game hands the stuff out like candy no matter what you do. Expeditions are also a good way to earn titanium, but because they take significantly longer even at lower difficulties, farming them is neither efficient nor expedient. Be sure to check out our other Outriders guides for more tips and tricks. 

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Alpha Expands to Include Conflict Zones Thu, 08 Apr 2021 17:53:00 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Fans of space-simulator Elite: Dangerous have known for some time that their universe is about to get a whole lot bigger with the upcoming Elite Dangerous: Odyssey. And since March 29, those that have already purchased the Odyssey Deluxe Expansion Pass have been able test the new boots-on-the-ground gameplay Odyssey's serving up. 

Now, that alpha has entered another phase and is currently live. 

Frontier Developments said in a release that the Elite Dangerous: Odyssey alpha now gives players access to Conflict Zones, which allows them to influence the outcome of the overarching in-universe war. More about Conflict Zones, including alpha gameplay footage, can be seen in the trailer above, but there's lots and lots of tactical shooting involved. 

On top of Conflict Zones, several more additions have been added:  

  • Commanders will have free access to starships and will be immediately issued with a Cobra Mk III, including multicrew seats.
  • Expanded playable area of the galaxy to approximately 20 lightyears.
  • New space suit available for purchase: Manticore Dominator combat suit.
  • New starting system: Nervi.
  • 300,000 starting credits for new Commanders. (This amount will also be added to existing Alpha Commanders’ balances.)

Frontier previously showed off an Odyssey raid where players dropped onto a planet, infiltrated a base, and fought their way out when things went south. 

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey is set to release on PC sometime in early 2021. Though there is currently no firm release date, Frontier has previously said that it's aiming for "late spring." Those who are interested in the expansion but haven't yet picked it up can head over to Steam and pre-order it for $39.99. 

Odyssey will release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in fall 2021. Stay tuned for more as we learn it. 

Sea of Thieves Season 2 Sails Into Port on April 15 Thu, 08 Apr 2021 16:54:20 -0400 Jonathan Moore

It wasn't that long ago that Sea of Thieves' maiden season set sail, but after a few months at sea, fans will be heading into Season 2 on April 15. Rare announced the news with a short teaser trailer shared to the Sea of Thieves social media accounts. 

There isn't a whole lot to go on from the 38-second trailer, but it does look like hiding in barrels will be the hot, new (emote) trend. Alongside that, Rare showcases quite a few new cosmetics and emotes along the way. 

The big, looming red skull in the room may have something to do with changes to Skull Fort? Maybe? We don't really know at this point, even if it is a good educated guess. Rare has kept things close to the vest so far. 

The very Sea of Thieves season brought with it quite a few tweaks and changes, including a 100-tier battle pass and a premium Plunder Pass. If any other live-service game is to stand as an example, these will be included in Sea of Thieves Season 2 as well. 

It's been a while since we looked at the state of Sea of Thieves, but last we checked (in 2019), we said it was "more relevant than ever." Lots of fans seem to agree, and with the attention being paid it by Rare, it's a ship that will stay afloat for many years to come. Stay tuned to more on Sea of Thieves in the coming weeks. 

Zombie Army 4: Dead War Next-Gen Updates Out Now Thu, 08 Apr 2021 16:29:37 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Rebellion's Zombie Army 4: Dead War now has free next-generation upgrades for fans hoping to play the undead shooter on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. The free update for PS5 went live on April 6, while the same free upgrade went live for Xbox platforms on April 8. 

The development studio, who's also behind the related Sniper Elite series and just recently launched nefarious management sim Evil Genius 2, announced the news via a blog post.

Here's a quick rundown of the upgrades, followed by a list of bug fixes that come alongside the patch: 

PlayStation 5

  • 4K at 60fps (DRS enabled)
  • Reduced loading times

Xbox Series X

  • Quality mode: 4K at 60fps (DRS enabled)
  • Performance mode: 1080p at 120fps
  • Reduced loading times

Xbox Series S

  • 1080p at 60fps (DRS enabled)
  • Reduced loading times. 

Bug fixes:

  • Balance changes have been applied to mission, Death Canal 

  • Cross-platform multiplayer added for Windows 10 Store with Steam and Epic

  • New music, combat pieces and general gameplay pieces added across all platforms

  • Fixes applied to Damnation Valley to address issues raised with The Fan Service Challenge and with characters getting stuck in the Scaffolding Area 

  • In chapter 4 of Deeper than Hell, ‘Stop Schweiger Completing The Occult Engine’ objective will now update after killing all the zombies present in the area

  • In chapter 4 of Alpine Blitz, players can no longer get stuck inside carriages

  • On Xbox, cut scene audio issues fixed in Deeper than Hell 

  • General bug fixing and improvements

Zombie Army 4: Dead War was one of our favorite games of 2020. We compared the shooter to "Left-4-Dead" with "zombie sharks," giving special mention to its "varied levels with jaw-dropping designs, and progression systems for perks and weapon upgrades," among other things. 

Rebellion has done a good job of supporting the game post-launch as well. They've released a number of DLCs that include anthropomorphic bats and undead zeppelins. If you've yet to jump into the game but have always wanted to, now's a great time. 

Deathloop Gets Delayed to September Thu, 08 Apr 2021 16:08:50 -0400 Jonathan Moore

It seems that Deathloop won't be releasing this May after all. Developer Arkane Studios announced on Twitter that its upcoming action-adventure shooter is delayed to September 14.

This is the second Deathloop delay. It was originally slated to release sometime in 2020 but was pushed to May 21, 2021. Now it will release (hopefully) a little less than four months later. 

Arkane hopes to not only deliver the best Deathloop experience possible but also do so while protecting the "health and safety" of the team working on Deathloop and Arkane at large. 

The full statement from Game Director Dinga Bakaba, Art Director Sebastien Mitton, and the rest of the Arkane Lyon team shared to Twitter reads: 

We've made the decision to delay the launch of Deathloop to September 14, 2021. 

We're committed to quality and preserving our team's ambitions for Deathloop while ensuring the health and safety of everyone at Arkane. We'll be using this extra time to accomplish our goal: create a fun, stylish, and minde-bending player experience. 

We apologize for the extended wait and thank you all for your passion and excitement. It is the fuel that powers our creativity and our hard work. We can't wait to show you more Deathloop soon!

Deathloop is a PlayStation 5 exclusive on consoles but will be making its way to PC at release as well. It was revealed years and years ago at E3 2019 and was initially delayed in late 2020. Arkane and publisher Bethesda announced the game's first hard launch date of May 21, 2021, in November 2020 alongside news of Deathloop's pre-order editions.  

As with any delay, especially those over the past year, COVID complications likely play a large role in Deathloop's newest delay. And while it might be a bummer for anyone looking forward to its release, it's important to remember that developers are people too, and these types of things are necessary for their good health and well-being. 

It's not like May isn't already slammed with releases anyway, with games ranging from Resident Evil: Village and Hood: Outlaws and Legends to Mass Effect Legendary Edition and Biomutant releasing just before the start of summer. 

Blue Box Says Abandoned is Not, in Fact, a Kojima Game Thu, 08 Apr 2021 18:47:37 -0400 David Carcasole

Abandoned is a new eerie and cinematic survival sim coming exclusively to PlayStation 5 from developer Blue Box Games. The studio announced the game via the PlayStation Blog on April 7 and included a first-glimpse trailer alongside it. From what we know, it will feature a deep and detailed world along with more realistic survival mechanics and launch in Q4 2021. 

But no, it is not a hidden-in-plain-sight Hideo Kojima game, according to the developer. Regardless of the aesthetic parallels, Abandoned is Blue Box Games' newest title. 

The clarification comes after Blue Box Games announced Abandoned and horror/Kojima fans/the internet thought their latest project was secretly a Hideo Kojima game in a clever disguise. 

The statement reads

We received several emails regarding the Hideo Kojima rumor. We have no association with Hideo Kojima nor do we claim to have any association nor was it our intention to claim such a statement. We are a small group of developers working on a passionate title we wanted to work on for a long time.

We have been assisting other studios in the past with their projects and we wanted to work on our very first big project. While it is true that we've been working on small projects in the past, we certainly didn't use that for marketing purposes. We hope this has clarified this matter and hope to see you all in our very first gameplay reveal of Abandoned.

It was noted by Jeff Grubb of Venture Beat that Abandoned is definitely not a Kojima product because the developer is allegedly in talks with Microsoft for a potential future project  and not Sony. However, that deal hasn't been confirmed by Microsoft as of this writing, so we'll just have to wait and see.

Whatever the case may be when it comes to Hideo Kojima, his next project, and Microsoft, Abandoned does look incredibly interesting. IGN reports that the game may even be getting a demo and alpha test in the coming months. Stay tuned to GameSkinny as we learn more about this latest addition to PlayStation 5's library of exclusive games. 

[Sources: PlayStation Blog, Venture Beat]

New Trailer For Eville Reveals Details On Vendors And Crafting Thu, 08 Apr 2021 14:47:07 -0400 David Carcasole

Developer VestGames have just revealed a new trailer for their upcoming social deduction title Eville, which is set to release in Steam Early Access in 2021. The trailer outlines more of the games systems, such as different vendors and their uses, and the crafting system within the game. 

For all the nitty-gritty, you can watch the trailer for the details here:

The trailer also shows off the many uses for different items that can be found within the game, and offers some tips and tricks for how to properly utilize them within the town of Eville.

Eville is a werewolves style multiplayer game that pits players against each other as either Citizens or Conspirators as they all try to live and sleep peacefully in the town of Eville, though some are more successful than others. 

For more on Eville and how it could potentially be the next big social deduction multiplayer hit, you can check out our preview of the game here. 


Destroy All Humans Probes Nintendo Switch This Summer Thu, 08 Apr 2021 13:06:24 -0400 Josh Broadwell

THQ Nordic is scaling its plans for world domination down to handheld size with Destroy All Humans! Remake for Nintendo Switch. The remake of the cult-classic lands on Switch on June 29, 2021, and includes all the skins previously released for the game. That's all DLC and the anal probe for just $39.99.

There's also the Crypto-137 Edition, which includes Crypto-137 figurine, a Crypto backpack, keychain, six lithographs, an anti-stress toy, plus a premium box for $399.99. The DNA Edition includes a Crypto'N'Cow figurine, keychain, six lithographs, anti-stress toy, and a premium box for $139.99.

Destroy All Humans follows an alien invader on a mission to harvest human DNA and destroy the nation's government, with a side helping of lasering cows and pretty much anything else that gets in the way. It's an open world action game blending stealth with modern destruction physics.

We said it was cumbersome when it released on other platforms, though there's still fun to be had for those who want to re-live the classic game and aren't bothered by its dated design.

Disgaea RPG Rises from the Netherworld Soon Thu, 08 Apr 2021 13:05:22 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Disgaea RPG releases for mobile on April 12, Boltrend Games announced. Disgaea RPG servers will open at 2 p.m. EST on April 12 with pre-downloads starting earlier that morning.

Boldtrend is also holding a Disgaea RPG release date celebration event.

  • Login reward — Etna Rookie Support
  • Login reward — Usalia's open server celebration
  • Summon — Rookie summoner event
  • Summon — Disgaea character summon celebration
  • Story event — Magical Holy Night
  • Limited-Time Event — Dark Assembly Effect Up
  • Limited character — Dark Santa Laharl

Disgaea RPG transforms the series' grid-based tactical combat into something closer to a traditional RPG. Teams of three face off on the battlefield not unlike PSX-era Final Fantasy games or Pokemon Masters

Players gather the ultimate Netherworld army with characters spanning the entire franchise, and yes, that means gacha mechanics.

Beyond that, Disgaea RPG is very much a Disgaea game. There's the unbelievably high damage counters, Item Worlds, combos, and more, all wrapped around an original Disgaea story with an all-new soundtrack. The Dark Assembly is back, alongside something called the Overlord's Tower with stacks of rewards ripe for the taking.

And this is only the first new Disgaea in 2021. Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny releases June 29 for Nintendo Switch.

Cozy Grove Review: Animals Crossing Over Thu, 08 Apr 2021 14:07:34 -0400 Jason D'Aprile

Cozy Grove is unabashedly made to be Animal Crossing-like, more so than any game out there. You’re a young Spirit Scout who accidentally finds herself trapped on the very peculiar island of Cozy Grove full of character, delight, and ghosts bears. Lots of ghost bears.

If you took Animal Crossing and just indie’d the hell out of it, you’d get Cozy Grove. Made by the Quantum Astrophysicists Guild and Spry Fox, it’s a game that shares the developers’ distinctive aesthetics.

Spry Fox is perhaps most notable for Triple Town, which several years post-launch is still easily one of the greatest match-3 games ever made. It mixes matching with town-building, and most importantly, displays the developer's love of bears that has lingered through most of their games.

Cozy Grove Review: Animals Crossing Over

In Cozy Grove, however, that bear love is kicked up a notch. Here, the bears are fully fleshed out, if ghostly, characters with distinctive and endearing personalities, problems, and drives. As a spirit scout, it’s your duty to help them along to the other side. On the most basic level, this involves much of the same tasks that make up the bulk of Animal Crossing. You go around the island every day looking for things.

You dig holes, shake up leaf piles, chip at rocks, go fishing, and shake trees to find resources, money, food, and other items. Resources can be made into tools, which can be upgraded with more resources. You can build all sorts of amenities to make the island more pleasant for the ghosts, flora and fauna, and yourself.

Fencing, lamps, lanterns, tables, chairs, and scads of other items, both useful and odd, can be created. Metal ore can be refined. Raw foods can be cooked into recipes. Sticks and various woods are used for all kinds of inventions. In short, the game plays nearly identically to Animal Crossing but feels much more narratively driven. 

Cozy Grove reveals new sections of its island as you help the spirits, but this is a set world. While items and creatures that pop up each day might be random, the story beats and overall landscape are pre-determined. This is definitely on a smaller-scale compared to Nintendo’s version, but players should still expect to get weeks worth of gameplay out of it.

This is because, much like Animal Crossing, only so many things happen on any given day. A bear might request something that requires multiple ingredients and recipes, for instance, that could take several days to gather. Some of those elements could even be only accessible after helping another bear. New holes to dig up, leaf piles to check, and other hidden goodies appear every day and often throughout the day.

Then, there’s fishing. This being an island, the tides bring in a variety of fish rated from common to rare. There are shells to collect on the beaches, fruits and nuts to gather around trees, mushrooms, spuds, and plenty of other food-specific things that can be sold, cooked, used raw, and combined to make other dishes. 

The vendor on Cozy Grove is a large fox who magically appears and sets up his caravan. He takes coins and gems, depending on what you’re buying, and offers an array of items. You can also sell him things and upgrade his shop for enough money, which is found both by searching the island each day and helping spirits. When you help a bear, they add more light to their area, which increases the yields of fruiting trees (among other perks) and usually results in more coins.

There are smaller spirits and imps running around the island who tend to flee at the sight of you, but also frequently need something (which appears as a thought bubble above their head). So, if one wants a potato, you can throw the spud at it, whereupon it will gleefully leap at the potato and gobble it up, yielding further rewards. 

There’s a hilariously bleak postmaster who gives you mail and tasks every day, a chef bear, builder bear, hippie recycling bear, and plenty of other endearingly strange denizens of the island. The goal is ultimately to uncover Cozy Grove’s history by helping them over the course of weeks and there is, strictly speaking, a story ending, but you can keep going after as well.

An important aspect of helping bears is that they give you spirit wood, which you feed to your talking, sentient campfire. This increases the fire’s glowing powers, unlocks more of the island and ghosts, and generally serves as the main goal for pushing the story forward. There are only so many potential logs you can get on any given day and the fire will tell you when you’ve found them all that day.

Cozy Grove is distinctive for its beautiful hand-drawn visual style and lovely, calming soundtrack. The game is absurdly charming, with its adorable cast and landscape designs, but the story itself offers a deep layer of complex and frequently darker themes. These bears are lingering here because their lives were unfulfilled in some major way, and revealing their backstories is incredibly satisfying.

Another major advantage is that Cozy Grove is cross-platform. So, players on PC, Xbox One, Series X|S, PS4, PS5, and Switch can all experience the distinctive Animal Crossing-like gameplay on their preferred platform. Sadly, there’s no cross-save.

Cozy Grove Review — The Bottom Line

  • Lovely hand-drawn art style and soothing ambient soundtrack
  • Fascinating characters with surprisingly deep stories pushes the gameplay along
  • Things to do every day and reasons to come back the next day
  • A more intimate and personally engaging take on Animal Crossing
  • Cross-platform!
  • Gameplay is definitely blatantly copying the overall Animal Crossing mechanics
  • Nowhere near the extensive level of building and customization of Nintendo’s AAA-beast
  • No cross-save to play your island on multiple platforms

If you’ve played Animal Crossing, Cozy Grove will feel instantly familiar. It leans heavily into that strange daily life of hunting and gathering-meets-personalized decor style gameplay.

There’s no major earthmoving or huge home construction, true, but instead, players are given an island sandbox where the gameplay is tied far more heavily into a personally meaningful narrative.

[Note: Spry Fox provided the copy of Cozy Grove used for this review.]

Streets of Rage 4 DLC Adds New Fighters to the Fray Later This Year Thu, 08 Apr 2021 13:08:14 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Streets of Rage 4 has sold more than 2.5 million copies since releasing in April 2020, and coinciding with that milestone, Dotemu announced a new Streets of Rage 4 DLC, Mr. X Nightmare. Mr. X Nightmare is a paid DLC pack with new characters and a new mode, though there's a free update coming later in 2021 as well.

There's currently no release date or price for the Streets of Rage 4 DLC.

Estel Aguirre is the first of three new fighters. It's also the first time the former boss character will bring her signature powerhouse kicks and punches to bear on the right side, but those aren't the only new moves Streets of Rage 4's DLC has in store.

Players can add new movesets to their characters as part of Mr. X Nightmare's new Survival mode and make use of new weapons and gear. Survival mode is a series of challenges designed to push your skills to the limits, though more details will be shared at a later date.

That's the paid Streets of Rage 4 DLC. There's also a free update adding New Mania+ difficulty, new color palettes, and an in-depth training mode.

We'll take any excuse to return to Streets of Rage 4, a game we called "the best kind of revival."

8 PS4 Games That Need an FPS Update on PS5 Yesterday Fri, 09 Apr 2021 17:12:24 -0400 David Carcasole

Death Stranding

Hideo Kojima's latest epic is certainly controversial, but it cannot be denied that Death Stranding is a beautiful and, at times, horrific experience. Though it originally released on PS4, its subsequent PC release showed how incredible it can be when rendered at such high fidelity. 


Unlike many of the games on this list, Death Stranding needs an upgrade to 4K/60fps not for its moment-to-moment gameplay, but for the world and story built around it. So much of why Death Stranding works relies on unperturbed immersion, and being able to experience its environmental storytelling in the finest detail — without losing any performance  is key to the experience. 




So there you have it: eight PS4 games that so desperately need a 4K/60fps patch to take full advantage of the PS5's hardware.


What games did we miss? What would you have included? Which game from the list would you be most excited for if a patch was announced? Let us know in the comments down below! 

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Guerilla Games' smash-hit has struck a chord with more than 10 million fans (at the very least) since it released on the PS4 in 2017. Many, including myself, immediately connected with Aloy, her resolve, and her adventure. Plus it's cool to take down giant robot creatures with a bow and arrow. 


With the sequel on the horizon (pun intended), the recent release of Horizon: Zero Dawn on PC, and Sony giving away the PS4 version via the Play At Home program in mid-April, a PS5 upgrade is sure to release soon, right?


In any case, like many others on this list, we already know how good the game would look and feel with a 4K/60fps upgrade thanks to the PC version, so it's time for the PS5 to come up to par with it. 

Gravity Rush 2

Why Gravity Rush 2 doesn't already hit 60fps on PS4 is another headscratcher. The remaster of the PS Vita classic, and this game's predecessor, Gravity Rush, runs at the incredibly smooth frame rate on Sony's last-gen system, so having the sequel being locked to 30fps feels quite anti-climactic.


It felt that way when the game released in 2017, and it still feels that way today. Hopefully, we can see this addition for Gravity Rush 2, but the recent departures from SIE Japan put the prospect of such a patch in jeopardy.

Batman: Return to Arkham 

Unlike Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, where the series' early entries run at 60fps, the Batman Arkham series is a bit different: only the latest release, Batman Arkham Knight, runs at 60fps on PS5.


Before Insomniac's fantastic Spider-Man and Miles Morales, Batman Arkham ruled the roost, setting the stage for all of the superhero games to follow. So it goes without question that the remaster of Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City is far overdue.

The Last Of Us 2

Once again the latest in a hit Naughty Dog series is left behind without a PS5 patch. A full 4K 60fps patch for The Last Of Us 2 would make a great game even better.


Just as The Last Of Us was remastered and released for PS4 (and seems to be getting a full-on remake), it is very likely the same will happen here, where a remaster of The Last Of Us 2 is quietly being worked on, opening the door to more than just a frame rate and resolution boost.


The Last of Us 2 already looks great on PS5 via backwards compatibility but imagine how faster load times, increased frames, and ray-tracing could affect the feel of Ellie's adventure.

The Last Guardian 

The Last Guardian is an interesting case because there is already a way to play it at 4K 60fps on PS5. The only catch is that fans must already own a physical copy of the game on PS4 and most importantly, do not update it to the latest patch.


Running the game unpatched on PS5 allows fans to experience The Last Guardian precisely the way it really should be experienced. It's unfortunate, though, that there is no official way to play the game this way, especially because it is also part of the PlayStation Plus Collection on PlayStation 5. 


This one hurts a little bit more because those who own the digital version of the game can't roll the game's patches back. 

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

This is another one that feels like it should have been done a long time ago. The Uncharted series is one of PlayStation's most beloved franchises, and the incredibly impressive cinematic gameplay deserves to be experienced at a locked 60. 


What's most baffling about A Thief's End, however, is that the original three Uncharted games already run at 60fps in the Uncharted Collection. It feels odd to think of the performance discrepancy if fans play the series chronologically on their PS5.


You had to know this would be at the top. There truly is no other game that deserves, nay, demands, to be upgraded for PS5 with a 4K 60fps patch. I, like so many others, have gotten the Bloodborne platinum and spent many hours more just mainly mucking about in Yharnham.


But it is absolutely heartbreaking to play it on PS5 because what we know the performance could be.


The fast-paced, push-forward combat in Bloodborne makes it exactly the kind of game set to take advantage of a locked, high frame rate, yet it still runs at 30fps on the PS5.


You may have missed it, but Insomniac's reboot of the classic Ratchet and Clank series, which released in 2016, has just recently received a PS5 update that lets the game run at a buttery-smooth 60fps at 4K. The update makes a world of difference when it comes to gameplay, and as a long-time fan of the series, it is lovely to see how much care and love Insomniac continues to put into this series.


What's more interesting than Ratchet and Clank getting such an upgrade was what Digital Foundry found after performing a deep dive into the patch. They found that while the patch itself was developed in March 2021, it's built on a legacy SDK model.


This is significant because if Ratchet and Clank can be upgraded through a patch based on an old build, the potential for other PS4 to receive the same treatment is a lot higher now. 


With that in mind, what other games desperately need to have that same switch flicked? Here are eight that should receive a PS5 upgrade sooner instead of later.

MtG: 15 Best Strixhaven Cards for Standard Fri, 09 Apr 2021 11:23:50 -0400 Sergey_3847


Teach by Example


If there was a card in Strixhaven that would define its flavor, then it would definitely be Teach by Example. Although it can't copy your opponent's spells, but only your own, it's still a very solid effect for any spell-heavy deck.


It's a strictly better Doublecast from Core Set 2019 and has instant speed and two optional colors in its mana cost. This provides flexibility and range for many decks, and the common rarity just makes it so much more affordable for Magic players.


Those are the best 15 cards in MtG's Strixhaven set. In addition to this list of the best Strixhaven cards for standard, be sure to check out our other MtG guides and card lists here


Flamescroll Celebrant


This new aggro creature is a clear nod to the good old days of Harsh Mentor from the Amonkhet set.


Flamescroll Celebrant has a very strong ability that can prevent any opponent from taking any actions, especially when they're low on life.


Since this is a modal double-faced card, it can also be used as a spell on a flip side that stops opponents from playing spells or activate planeswalkers.


Both of these effects are very relevant in the current state of standard, so expect some fun strategies this season with Flamescroll Celebrant.


Venerable Warsinger


Boros Aggro players will have some really fun time playing Venerable Warsinger, especially when it's combined with Selfless Savior, who can make it indestructible.


It can also bring back the other copies of itself from the graveyard, which will require opponents to look out for board wipes that exile creatures and not just destroy them.


The most obvious place for this card would be a deck with Embercleave, which can increase not only the power of Venerable Warsinger, but also its reanimator ability.


Solve the Equation


It seems that every new Magic set has some kind of a tutor card, so it's completely natural that the set focused on spells, such as Strixhaven, has a spell tutor.


Solve the Equation will still only be a niche card in standard, but those few decks will absolutely need this one. This mostly concerns spell-based combo decks and the control archetype.


Tibalt's Trickery will probably be the most sought out target for Solve the Equation, but there are plenty other options as well.


Rip Apart


Here is another flexible removal spell that can be used in Boros decks, but will most likely end up in Jeskai Control lists.


It targets almost all types of permanents except lands, which is seriously good. Abrade has been a staple removal in standard for a long time, and Rip Apart is an excellent alternative.


If it were an instant spell it would probably be too good, but since it's a sorcery, the mana cost is totally justifiable in this case.


Emergent Sequence


Here is one of the strangest ramp spells in Strixhaven, but it's got plenty of potential.


Heartless Act, currently the most played removal spell, can't do much against it. The creature can't be destroyed, because it has no counters, and if it tries to remove the counters, then your card simply turns back into a land.


Emergent Sequence also has the obvious synergy with the Landfall archetype and Magecraft mechanic. So there is a lot of room for maneuvering when using this spell in standard.


Expressive Iteration


Izzet and Jeskai players will love this one!


In short, this spell lets you draw two cards and scry three for just 2 mana. You can also exile the land card and immediately put it on the table.


It can be used as an early play that will set up your next turn with an exiled card, or serve as a cantrip in the mid or late game.


In any case, Expressive Iteration looks like a real winner in the set that is focused on non-creature spells.


Leonin Lightscribe


Such a powerful effect cannot be ignored and it won't be this season in standard. In a well-built Orzhov list this card can kill almost any opponent very quickly.


This will grow super fast with the help of pump spells, and if there is no removal in the opponent's opening hand, then there is a big chance that Leonin Lightscribe will survive and finish them off in two or three turns at most.


If Mono White players will be willing to give up a few of their creatures for some spells, then Leonin Lightscribe would be a great addition to their decks as well.


Culling Ritual


This sorcery basically pays for itself, while doing its job.


Standard is currently infested with all sorts of permanents that cost 2 mana or less, such as Omen of the Sea, Mazemind Tome, and many others. Culling Ritual will gladly remove them for you and fill up your mana pool for extra moves on your part.


Since this is a black-green card, it will most likely go into Sultai and Golgari decks that have been waiting for a removal like this for quite some time.


Bayou Groff


Groff or Goyf? This card has Tarmogoyf written all over it, and it is legal in standard.


Sure, you have to sacrifice a creature to cast it, but it could be something like a token from Lovestruck Beast, or you could cast it from your graveyard using Lurrus of the Dream-Den or Call of the Death-Dweller.


It also has a great set up for an early The Great Henge, which can go on board as quickly as turn three or four with the help of Bayou Groff.


Strict Proctor


Typically, hate cards always find their way into the standard meta, whether they come in as a maindeck choice or as a strong sideboard option.


Strict Proctor is a great hate card that can be used against a whole number of decks, such as Landfall and Embercleave that will have a problem with all those taxed mana costs.


It can also be used for your own benefit, mitigating negative effects, such as the one in Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger. Play them together, and you'll have a 6/6 for 4 mana.


Baleful Mastery


As it stands, Baleful Mastery is definitely going to be a new staple removal in standard.


Although the price for 2 mana cost reduction is pretty steep, you don't actually have to do it, and just pay 4 mana in case you feel that you don't want to give your opponent a card.


Sultai Ultimatum players, as well as control players, will most likely snatch a few copies of Baleful Mastery for their main decks. After Vraska's Contempt rotation, this is the best option we've got so far.


Plumb the Forbidden


Village Rites from Kaldheim had a pretty good run in standard. But it looks like this new spell from Strixhaven is a much better upgrade.


It has a significant synergy with Sedgemoor Witch, another new card from Strixhaven. You can cast Plumb the Forbidden, and then recoup the sacrificed creatures with the Witch's tokens and even restore your lost life.


This is also an excellent tool against board wipes, which won't save your creatures, but will draw you plenty of cards.


Test of Talents


This unique counterspell will be of great value in both Temur Adventures and Sultai Ultimatum decks, as well as against them.


Most players will play two copies of Test of Talents in the main deck and two more in the sideboard, which is an indication of a strong utility card that will be much sought out by most control and midrange players.


This card will be very effective against all kinds of combo pieces that rely on instant or sorcery spells, such as Tibalt’s Trickery.


Prismari Command


The entire new command cycle of spells in Strixhaven set is really powerful. But standard players will most likely end up using Prismari Command the most.


It has a relatively low cost of only 3 mana and allows you to choose two actions at an instant speed.


It fits Izzet Flash and Jeskai Cycling decks really well, solving most of their needs and problems. Since both of these decks are top tier in the current meta, there is a big future for Prismari Command in the new season.


Strixhaven is the latest Magic: The Gathering set that delves deep into the magical knowledge of spell-casting.


This expansion is heavy on instant and sorcery spells, and introduces two new relevant mechanics: Magecraft and Ward. Magecraft rewards players for casting and copying spells, while Ward protects permanent cards in case they become the target of enemy spells.


Strixhaven also has no reprints, since Wizards of the Coast decided to dedicate a whole other set for that purpose. So expect to see only brand-new cards in this expansion.


In this guide you will find only the best Strixhaven cards for standard meta, so check them all out, if you're aiming to win many games this season.

Outriders World Tier System Difficulty, Loot, and Scaling Explained Thu, 08 Apr 2021 13:02:13 -0400 Justin Koreis

The Outriders World Tier system dictates the game's dynamic difficulty. As you play through the looter-shooter RPG, you fight a variety of snarling beasts and bandits ready to send your Outrider packing. However, you may find the difficulty ramps up quickly if you're playing well or dipping if you get killed too often. That's the World Tier system at work. 

World Tiers are independent of your overall player level and fluctuate based on how well you play each area and encounter. Managing this directly not only impacts the difficulty of the game but the quality of loot you receive from normal enemies, elites, bosses, and chests.

Here's everything you need to know about the Outriders World Tier system and how to maximize your loot while minimizing your pain.

What is World Tier?

World Tier ranges from levels 1 to 15. The system acts as the difficulty setting in Outriders. Each tier increases the level and by extension, the difficulty of enemies relative to the player.

World Tier 1, dubbed “Story” in-game, gives every enemy a level two levels lower than the player. A Level 5 character, for example, will face Level 3 enemies. World Tier 3, called “Normal” in-game, spawns enemies at the same level as the player, and subsequent tiers add one level.

The highest world Tier is 15, dubbed "Madness,” and gives enemies a full 12 level advantage. Best of luck to those who take on that challenge, especially close to or in end-game content.

It’s not all about difficulty, however. Outriders rewards gear based on World Tier. Each escalation in level increases the chance for loot to drop at higher rarities and boosts the drop rate for legendary weapons and legendary armor. For example, 

In addition, items that drop will do so with the same level modifier as enemies. Tier 1 drops gear two levels below the player, Tier 5 drops two levels above the player and so on. 

How to Unlock Higher World Tiers

Outriders begins at World Tier 1. Earning XP killing enemies and not dying unlocks the next tier (there is a yellow progress bar directly below the blue player-level bar at the top of the screen). The game, by default, automatically raises you to the next level when the yellow bar fills. Dying removes a portion of the progress towards the next World Tier, but once a tier is unlocked, it cannot be lost. 

The difficulty increase from World Tier isn’t designed to be linear with player progression. Eventually, you may be better off disabling the automatic World Tier progression and manually selecting the highest tier that is comfortable for you. Just note that you will not progress towards unlocking higher tiers and loot drops will be lower-level unless you are playing at your current maximum.

World Tier and Multiplayer Scaling

World Tier affects the entire team when playing in multiplayer co op. In those situations, the level is determined by the party leader. If the party leader is Level 20 and World Tier 1, then everyone will face Level 18 enemies and receive Level 18 quality loot.  

It's worth noting that Outriders also scales multiplayer encounters based on the number of players in a group. For example, it appears that there are 3x as many enemies in a three-person co op group and 2x as many in duos as there are in solo play. Combining this with World Tiers can make some late-game encounters extremely tough. 

How to Change World Tier

Word Tier can be changed at any time in the Hero Menu under the Quest Map tab. In the Quest Map tab, look to the bottom left corner to see which input on your platform brings up the World Tier Menu. It should be, by default: 

  • Left D-pad on consoles
  • Z on PC

If you change level mid-battle, then existing enemies will maintain their current strength, and new enemies will spawn with the updated level. Keep in mind that chests will adjust loot to whatever the lowest world tier level is you used during an encounter.

World Tier is a very user-friendly way to manage the difficulty of enemies and the odds of good loot. Used properly it is a great way to tailor the Outriders to the experience you are interested in. You set the pace and enjoy the rewards. Don’t be afraid to adjust as needed. If you are interested in taking on the harder levels, be sure to check out all of our Outriders tips on being the best monster killer and bandit slayer you can be.   

Outriders Review: New World, Old Problems Fri, 09 Apr 2021 11:00:35 -0400 John Schutt

Every time a loot game releases, it comes with a set of expectations. Players want a meaningful power grind and cool abilities supplemented by or created by gear. They want a good-sized campaign, but one that’s not so long that it discourages alt character playthroughs. Finally, and most crucially for any loot game’s success, a robust endgame that keeps players invested for the long term.

That’s the dream. The reality is far harsher.

Every newcomer to the genre fails on at least two points, and Outriders is no exception. The campaign is a bit too long and monotonous for multiple characters. Worse, the endgame is insubstantial, shallow, and repetitive. There’s no raid or other quest-style activity, just a repeatable horde mode-style grind through higher and higher difficulties.

Outriders’ saving grace is its power grind. Throughout the 10-15 hour story, you make significant and satisfying progress while theory crafting on possible builds. Finding new gear with better stats and interesting mods and passives is a constant delight. Best of all, you have plenty of farming to look forward to once you do reach the endgame, even if it is lacking.

Add in some fun abilities that synchronize well with functional gunplay and fashion, and there’s some real enjoyment here.

Outriders Review: New World, Old Problems

Outriders is, first and foremost, a looter shooter. The gameplay loop is as you’d expect. Get gun. Shoot enemies. Take stuff. Repeat. Everything in the game serves to extend and enhance that sequence of events.

Thankfully, the loot is high quality, both in form and function. You’ll find the five standard rarities, ranging from common white gear to bright gold legendaries. The standard-issue stuff is usable, and as the rarity increases, so do the opportunities do some wild damage.

The more powerful your equipment, the more mods it can equip and the more powerful its passive stats. Rarity tends to determine pure damage and armor thresholds as well, so if you want to make the most out of your later gameplay, you’ll want at least a complete set of purple epic gear, ideally augmented by legendary weapons.

By the time you have actual endgame weapons and armor, you’ll look back on any early struggles and wonder how you were ever that weak. 

Better yet, you’ll look good while massacring your enemies. Even blue gear, mid-tier at the best of times, looks pretty snazzy. Most of the armor is pretty bog-standard sci-fi, but true to form, epic and legendary variations get a little trippy. You might look like a golem with one set, a sleek, bone-ridden horror the next. In all cases, you’ll appear a badass of some kind.

Merchants and crafting will be your best friend, as well, especially once you start amassing legendary gear. Legendaries begin dropping in the middle of the campaign as quest rewards, and become more and more available the deeper you get into the post-game content.

Some of the mid-story gear might actually be well-suited to a later build idea, and with crafting, you can spend currency to bring it up to level. Merchants throughout the world also have a rotating stock of gear, some of it legendary. So if you're looking for some new spice to a build, all you need do is spend a lot of cash.

Four Flavors of Godhood

Like Destiny and Borderlands, Outriders offers four unique classes with abilities catering to four different roles.

  • The Devastator is a walking, gun-toting tank designed to take and deal damage in equal measure.
  • The Trickster is squishier but more mobile and uses spacetime powers to slow enemies or buff themselves.
  • The Technomancer is all about area denial, controlling the battlefield, and keeping both themselves and their allies safe and effective, no matter the fight.
  • The Pyromancer is a straight-up DPS designed to put as much damage downrange as is possible, with only a little team utility to speak of.

These roles are best exemplified during the campaign run to endgame. Late game, the classes play similarly enough, but there's a lot of fun to be had unlocking new abilities and experimenting with how they work together.

In other words, class progression is a lot like the gear grind. It's well-paced, constantly opens up new and interesting ways to play, and consistently asks the player to think about what they have equipped and how they plan to use it.

The abilities themselves are all thematically linked to the class they're in, as well, and all of them have value no matter what point you are in the game. Ability synchronization is well-implemented, too, with different buffs and enemy debuffs working in tandem with damage and healing.

Even before you reach the endgame, you can craft a build that's nigh-unkillable and dishes out pain to spare (though Square and People Can Fly will soon be implementing nerfs to Trickster and Technomancer). You'll look like a superhero using them as well, as each ability set comes with class-specific effects that showcase the power you're wielding.

Your powers are affected by the gear you have equipped, so you'll be spending a lot of time theory crafting between your guns, armor, mods and current ability loadout. You can only have three powers active at once out of a pool of 10, meaning every choice matters. Post-game will be a careful balance of mods, which add more power to your...powers, passives, and how you use the tools you have.

If only the rest of the game were as properly done as the gear and class systems.

Endgame Should Do More

Outriders' endgame is incredibly dull. Once you complete the campaign, you unlock the ability to progress through expeditions, progressively more difficult enemy arenas with a boss at the end. You can also replay story and side missions as many times as you want at increased difficulty.

That’s it.

Outriders offers no raid experience as of writing, no smaller end-game missions beyond the horde mode, and the repeatable story and side quests. It’s Destiny, the Division, Anthem — any new entry into the looter shooter genre — all over again.

That it has an endgame at all on release is, of course, something to celebrate. None of the other games just listed could boast anything substantial, if they had anything at all. And the current offering is a good baseline to both build on and experiment with for future content drops.

A World Not Worth Saving

The story of Outriders is pretty standard science-fiction fare. A colony ship left a dying Earth in search of a new home in the stars. Upon reaching said planet, events spiral out of control, and humanity descends back into chaos.

Your character, known only as “Boss” or “Outrider,” was conveniently frozen in cryogenic stasis for the duration of mankind’s degeneration to barbarism. You awaken at a turning point in an ongoing war and, thanks to some unexplained shenanigans, have altered superpowers. Your job becomes venturing into the unknown to find a signal only you have the frequency for, hoping to find a way to save what remains of the human race.

Your journey sees you collecting a ragtag gang of misfits, misanthropes, and ne’er-do-wells. Oh, all of them are fine with wholesale slaughter, too. By game’s end, you’ll have the knowledge that everything is awful and life sucks, but at least we have each other. Now please go back to shooting.

The campaign itself has a few notable twists, particularly the end, but nothing jaw-dropping. Keep in mind that things are pretty predictable, so if you know sci-fi tropes and cliches and ever ask, “Will this obvious thing happen?” the answer is probably yes.

Guns, Hallways, and Doors

The “shooter” part of Outriders’ looter-shooter isn’t anything to write home about. It functions, but that’s about it. It’s about the same tier as either the Division or Anthem. There’s not much in the way of snap or satisfying feedback. If you were expecting something like Bulletstorm or Painkiller, I’m sorry to disappoint you in the worst way possible.

The best part of the shooting mechanics is actually how brutal the enemy death animations are. How your foes die depends on where you shoot them, either blowing their heads to mist or slicing them in half. That is if you don’t turn them into a paste with a shotgun.

The level design is even less inspired than the gunplay. The “maps” are essentially a series of enemy-filled hallways with a boss at the end — this structure carries through the entire game. There is no exploration, no verticality, no open-world elements. The only open areas are the arenas where you fight.

Mission areas are also sectioned off behind loading screens, which the game hides by opening doors. To make your way to certain areas of each map, the game kicks you into an in-engine cutscene. You’ll know because your character’s helmet comes off and that only happens automatically during cinematics.

The fact makes some sense, as each mission area is its own instance. With all the computing power current-gen consoles and modern PCs have, you’d think individual mission areas could exist as part of a larger map. They do in Destiny, at least, and they have since the beginning of that franchise. In 2013.

Outriders Review — The Bottom Line

  • A well-design loot and gear system
  • Great build variety
  • Snazzy fashion
  • Lackluster combat, level design, and combat mechanics
  • Uninspired endgame
  • Forgettable story, music, and setting

Outriders makes a valiant attempt to marry The Division, Destiny, and, oddly, Borderlands. Unfortunately, it fails to live up to what made those games great, or at least their great moments. The game has its high points  its progression systems mostly. A loot game relies on progression to maintain interest, but that doesn’t make up for lackluster design in other areas.

Can you get 30 or 40 hours of solid enjoyment out of Outriders? Yes, especially if you find its ability synchronization and build potential enjoyable. If you were expecting something to take your main game’s place with its incredible core systems and substantial endgame, you’re not going to find it in Outriders. And depending on your platform, you might experience performance instability, server issues notwithstanding.

In short, Outriders is not going to dethrone the likes of Destiny from its throne, but it is a welcome distraction that’s fun for being fun, even if there are parts of it that shine less brightly.

[Note: Square Enix provided the copy of Outriders used for this review.]