Desktop Platform RSS Feed | Desktop RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network How to Get Bovine Plume in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Wed, 19 Jun 2019 16:26:00 -0400 Ty Arthur

Much like the classic Symphony Of The Night gameplay that was this Kickstarted game's clear inspiration, Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night features a host of hidden items and special upgrades for accessing hard to reach areas.

What would a platformer be without inaccessible locations that you have to return to with an upgraded jump option? Like Alucard and many other demon hunters before her, eventually Miriam will need to get her hands on some bovine plume to craft the High Jump shard.

Haven't come across any and not sure where to farm those elusive bovine plume yet? They are surprisingly simple to come across as a random drop, but only if you know exactly where to go ahead of time.

Where To Get Bovine Plume

This particular item is found much later in the game in the Oriental Sorcery Lab area, which is accessed near the near the end of Bloodstained.

Bovine plume can be found as a random drop from the Haagenti (the enemy that looks like a bull demon with wings) in various areas of the Oriental Sorcery Lab.  

Note that a similar enemy is found in the Garden Of Silence much earlier in the game, but those ones don't ever drop bovine plume. As far as we know, the bovine plume only drops from the Haagenti in the Oriental Sorcery Lab, so don't spend too much time whomping on the ones early in the game trying to get one.

For those wondering, note that you don't have to give up the Double Jump when you craft the High Jump shard -- you still get both, and in fact you can Double Jump with the High Jump.

Having trouble finding any other items or secret loctions in Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night? Drop us a comment below and we'll help you find the answer! 

Be sure to also check out our guide to unlocking all the Bloodstained difficulty options and utilizing save game name cheat codes over here.

Grim Dawn Getting Epic Fantasy Makeover With Loyalist Pack DLC, New Patch Wed, 19 Jun 2019 14:48:26 -0400 Ty Arthur

After the release of Forgotten Gods, fans have worried that the expansion may have signaled the end of development for ARPG Grim Dawn. However, good news on that front just arrived this week, as we're getting some new content sooner rather than later.

While there's no official word on any sort of major release to follow Forgotten Gods and Ashes Of Malmouth, both a minor DLC and a new patch are set to arrive shortly.

The new Loyalist Item Pack arrives tomorrow June 20  offering aesthetic changes to make your character a little less grim and more epic.

The $8.99 second loyalist pack will include the following vanity items:

  • Sinister Black Knight’s Full Set of Armor
  • Black Knight’s Sword and Shield
  • Sacred Silver Knight’s Full Set of Armor
  • Silver Knight’s Sword and Shield
  • Venerable Dragon General’s Helm, Chestguard, and two-handed Spear
  • Enigmatic White Wizard’s Hat, Robe, and Staff off-hand
  • Crate companion pet

Those skins will also be available to apply as illusions. Developer Crate Entertainment had this to say about the new pack?

The items in this collection will bring out the classic fantasy hero within you. Always wanted to vanquish your foes dressed as a royal knight or a mighty wizard? Well now you can! To top it off, you can show off your support for Crate with your very own companion pet (PTSD warning for those that have faced the mighty Crate of Entertainment secret boss).

Yes, the pet is, in fact, a Crate logo that follows you all around the world of Cairn.

The previous Loyalist Item pack was released back in 2016 and featured historical themed items like a George Washington powdered wig and southern general's hat, in addition to a will 'o wisp pet to act as a light source.

In addition to the new Loyalist pack, a host of updated spell effects are due to land with the V1.1.3.0 patch in the next few days, providing visual changes to Amarasta’s Blade Burst, Blackwater Cocktail, Lightning Strike, Maelstrom, Primal Strike, Reckless Tempest, Ring of Steel, Eye of Reckoning, Righteous Fervor, and Savagery.

That patch will also bring four brand-new anomalies in the Shattered Realm section of the Forgotten Gods expansion.

Just getting started with this love letter to classic ARPG titles? Check out our guides to jumping in with the best mastery builds here:

How to Unlock All Difficulties in Bloodstained Ritual of the Night Wed, 19 Jun 2019 12:40:50 -0400 Ty Arthur

Keeping with the themes of old school platformers that served as the game's inspiration, the Kickstarted and totally-not-Castlevania entry Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night features a series of cheat codes based on entering different save file names. 

One of those "cheats" is to unlock all the difficulties straight from the beginning without actually having to beat the game first on normal and then on hard mode.

Want to skip straight to the more difficult modes? Here's how to do it with just a few simple keystrokes.

Unlocking Nightmare Mode In Bloodstained

To unlock all difficulties straight off the bat, just start a new game and change the save file name from the standard Miriam to NIGHTMARE in all caps. After choosing "Yes" to proceed with the name, you get the option to choose normal, hard, or nightmare mode.

Yep, it's that simple. If you grew up on the insane difficulty of NES platformers and find normal is just way too easy for your bad self, then feel free to enjoy the real challenge of the harder Bloodstained modes!

Wondering about the other Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night save file name cheat codes? The only other one confirmed so far is 8MEGAPOWER (and yes, you have to enter it in all caps). If you entered it correctly, you should hear a sound, and after starting the game a better starting sword will be available.

It's not an over powered uber weapon that will work for the full game, but it does give you an edge in the early sections of Bloodstained.

Based on information sent out to Kickstarter backers, it seems like there are several more silly cheat codes to find as a reward for completing various tasks.

Have you found any other save file name cheat codes? Let us know what worked for you and we'll start putting together a complete list! 

Hell Let Loose Early Access Impressions Wed, 19 Jun 2019 11:02:16 -0400 Sergey_3847

Hell Let Loose is one of those rare gems that shine brightly amongst the most praised AAA projects such as Battlefield, proving that in some cases small studios can do it better than the big guys. The new realistic World War 2 game is something special, and has the potential to become big in the future if the developer Black Matter can keep the quality up through the Early Access period.

It's a multiplayer WW2 combat simulator that can host up to a hundred players on a few really huge maps. The keyword here is "realistic," since everything here requires a painstaking attention to details, from developing your attack strategy to coordinating the infantry and shooting a stationary artillery cannon.

Hell Let Loose has a lot to offer. If you don't mind games that are still in the Early Access, then keep on reading our first impressions of this fantastic game.

Massive Scale and Historical Accuracy

It became possible to develop an indie project on such a huge scale due to a successful Kickstarter campaign that helped Black Matter collect over $300,000. This was necessary to create highly realistic maps that would give two teams (50v50) and opportunity to fight against each other on the territories covering two square kilometers.

One such location is the exact replica of the Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, a legendary town in the north Normandy which had been the landing spot for the 101st American Airborne Division in July 1944.

The developer also plans to add several more villages, as well as British, Canadian, Soviet, and Japanese troops and their respective battles. The next new map you will see is the Utah Beach, better known as the D-Day beach map.

Regardless, all maps are divided into sectors with certain key positions in the center. Capturing these objectives gives the winning side access to various types of resources. For example, if your team wants to bring tanks into the field, you will first need to capture the objectives responsible for fuel and ammunition, and only then one of you will get the chance to roll out a brand new tank out of the hangar.

Such a serious strategic approach requires a well-coordinated series of commands, which is done in appropriate military order.

Each team has its own commander-in-chief and squad leaders, who are able to coordinate the actions on the battlefield. If you need to call an airstrike, then this is the job for your commander; while officers within the recon groups can set up exact location of the objective for a precise hit.

Naturally, players comprising such large teams play different roles on the battlefield. Riflemen, engineers, medics, snipers, and many others, all have their own sets of weapons and skills. A example lies in the engineer, which carries the huge responsibility of building various fortifications on the map, preventing enemy tanks from moving forward and forcing another team to look for different tactics.

Overall, there are 14 such roles in the game, and it looks like even more will be added in the future.

Combat Mechanics and Mathematical Precision

Hell Let Loose is a team game and nothing else. This is one of those first-person shooters, where simple tactics, such as just running and shooting, don't work. This may sound unattractive to casual players, but again, Hell Let Loose is not a casual game and that's the beauty of it.

The developer offers a brand new approach to capturing objectives that are quite different from what you've experienced before. This means that before choosing your role in the squad, you should really carefully read the description of the chosen role so you know exactly what to do on the battlefield. That is also the reason why having an access to the microphone and communicating with your commander and other troops is essential for victory.

For example, you can't just take a tank and drive wherever you like and shoot whoever you want. There are two people responsible for heavy machinery: the tank commander and the crewman. As the crewman you can drive the tank and operate it's weapons, but only within the orders of your commander.

The heavy artillery also requires two players to operate properly: the gunner and the loader. It is possible to use artillery on your own, although with much difficulty.

One requires the exact coordinates of the objective, which is possible to achieve only through an officer who has the power to spot and mark the exact locations on the map.

Then, you need to calculate the distance and the angle using special metrics provided in the aiming view of the artillery cannon. These aren't terribly precise, but many players have figured out how to do this properly using the Artillery Calculator.

Lastly, you need a loader to pick up a certain type of shell for different types of objects, and load into the cannon. When all this is properly done and the commander gives you an order to shoot, that's when you realize that Hell Let Loose is not your typical shooter, but a true war simulator that requires some serious knowledge of the warfare.

Final Thoughts

Hell Let Loose is far from being finished, and the developer had to sacrifice certain things for better playability. For example, you will notice that trees and buildings cannot be destroyed, but the bridges and fences can. This was necessary to reduce the network lag, which would destabilize the entire campaign and ultimately make the game worse off.

The rest looks incredible for an Early Access indie project, and even with some bugs and glitches, it runs really well and needs only a slight polish to really be perfect. Since the developer communicates with players constantly and updates the game regularly, there is a big chance that Hell Let Loose will actually turn out great in the end.

Below you can check out a complete roadmap of the game in the Early Access. As you see, a lot of really cool things are coming very soon!

Cyberpunk 2077 E3 2019 Preview: The Future is Completely Customizable Wed, 19 Jun 2019 10:55:05 -0400 Erroll Maas

It's no secret that Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the most hotly anticipated games currently in development. Unsurprisingly, it was (and still is) one of the most talked about games of E3 2019.

We were lucky enough to see a live gameplay demo of the game led by CD Project Red; unfortunately, we didn't get hands-on with the game.

After showing us a brief glimpse of the game's character customization options, which affect how different NPCs interact with the player depending on the player's background, of which there are many options, we were shown two different sides of the game.

The first involved stealth, while the second was decidedly more bombastic and action-oriented. 

Next Stop, Night City

The first player character we were shown was a stealthy male with few enhancements. What sets him apart, however, is that he has a biochip which may contain the secret of immortality. Of course, this makes him a hot target.

Through this section, Keanu Reeves' character, Johnny Silverhand, which was revealed during Mircosoft's E3 press conference, serves as a guide. He pops up every so often to give the player advice or react to what's happening, seemingly at his own leisure.

Our mission is to seek out the Voodoo boys, a hacker gang obsessed with permanently uploading consciousness into cyberspace. Since their leader has gone missing, we go to a nearby shop to inquire about the gang and its leader's whereabouts. 

We are told to go to the Pacifica district, an area originally meant for the rich and famous until a huge crisis caused investors to back out and abandon it.

With no police presence and plenty of empty buildings, most people avoid the area, making it the perfect spot for illegal black markets and underground shops. Here, the developers told us that with the right build, players can manipulate shopkeepers and be presented with the option to open their own private, secret reserve (hub, anyone?).

The developers didn't elaborate on this much, but it's likely useful for players who want to keep some money and valuable items safe.

Getting Into the Groove

Because Cyberpunk 2077 involves dealing with many different characters in many different scenarios, the developers told us it's important to look the part when going out on missions; it's best to wear the appropriate outfits depending on your intentions. 

It's duly important to wear the correct cybernetic implants when they become available. Since they are as common as tattoos and have different effects such as enhanced strength, speed, and more, the CD Projekt team said that finding the right implants for the job is important. 

When we reach Placide, a high-ranking member of the Voodoo Boys, these enhancements and abilities show their power.

Here, the player character and Placide link up via a personal link cord, connecting their brains and allowing Placide to see through the player's eyes. This allows Placide to provide strategic support, guiding the player through the next area: the Grand Imperial Mall. 

Stealth and Strategy

Going through to the abandoned Grand Imperial Mall, the objective is two-fold: investigate why the Animal gang is working for a Netwatcher hiding there, and to free fellow Voodoo Boys member, Brigitte.

Quickly, we were told that the Animal gang is a group of bodybuilders obsessed with a muscle enhancing drug called Juice, which increases their strength and agility. Since the devs were playing as a stealthy hacker, the best option to take down these drug-infused muscle heads was to do so quietly, but not without hacking into the security cameras first to get a better look at the situation.

When taking out enemies, there are both lethal and non-lethal options, so players don't have to kill anyone if they don't want to. How letting enemies live will affect the larger narrative is currently unknown With a high enough hacking skill, stealthier characters can take out several enemies without being noticed. CD Projekt showed off just two of many ways this type of strategy can play out.

In the first instance, the player character hacks a training robot to knock an enemy out, while in the following instance, a bench press is hacked to immobilize the enemy below.

Guns Blazin'

After showing us the sneakier approach, the developers switched to a female character who has a number of cybernetic enhancements, granting her increased strength. Consequently, she can use heavier weapons not available to normal humans. What's more, instead of hacking doors open, this character can take a more direct approach, such as ripping them open with her bare hands.

Once the leader is spotted, the developers allowed more enemies to come into the room so they could show off more of the game's gunplay. The action was fast, frenetic, and violent; the player even ripped the cybernetic leg from an enemy with the cyberwire weapon, which also serves as a hacking tool. 

One on one with the gang leader, the action ratcheted up. Pouncing on the player, the gang leader hacks them through their cybernetic implants. This begins a countdown timer; when the hacking is complete, the player's brain will be melted. 

Being a Juice-obsessed leader of the Animal gang, this characters weak spot is the large Juice container on her back. After bobbing and weaving through her powerful attacks, made more difficult by her boosted agility, the juice container is destroyed, making her much easier to take down.

The developers decided not to kill this character or take her weapon despite having the chance, showing the options available to players for action or diplomacy.

Finally coming to the objective, the Netwatcher cuts the player's connection to the feed, preventing communication with the outside world. They invite the player to chat in their private movie theater, where they have a chat I won't spoil. 

While Cyberpunk 2077 is admirable because of the various builds players can create as well as all of the different options it offers while going through its campaign, showing just a bit more detail about how personalities, fashion, cybernetic implants, and skills affect what happens to the player would have been beneficial.

Despite this, Cyberpunk 2077 is definitely a game to keep an eye on, and interested players should look forward to receiving more information about it leading up to release.

Cyberpunk 2077 will launch for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on April 16, 2020.

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

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

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

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

Edit System Files to Change FOV

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

Here's what you need to do:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Playing Doom Eternal is simply exquisite.

Guns and Gore

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

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

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

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

Shotgun + Grappling Hook = Perfection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Complete Chaos

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

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

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


For more E3 coverage, check the links below: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Mad, Mad World

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

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

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

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

Burn It to the Ground

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Playing Nuclear Winter With Friends

Invite friends via the social option on the main menu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 1: Set Up Traverse

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

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

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

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

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

Step 2: Set Up Elevation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Outer Worlds E3 2019 Preview: Strange Worlds in Strange Times Fri, 14 Jun 2019 14:31:39 -0400 Erroll Maas

The Outer Worlds is an upcoming sci-fi RPG published by Private Division and developed by Obsidian, the developers of Fallout: New Vegas. It includes the creators of the original Fallout.

In The Outer Worlds, players take control of their own created character who was lost in transit while on their way to the furthest edge of the galaxy only to awake decades later than planned in a colonized part of the galaxy known as Halcyon.

While in Halcyon, players encounter a variety of power-hungry factions, and they begin to unravel a conspiracy which threatens to destroy all of Halcyon.

Players will be able to completely customize their character and develop a distinct personality through their various skills and stats. They will also be able to recruit two companions to journey alongside them.

For our live gameplay demonstration preview at E3 2019, we were shown a character with a leadership-type build, which helps make companions tougher and in turn, boosts the enhancements given to the player by their companions.

The two companions we saw were Nyoka, an alcoholic big game hunter who loves to fight big, hostile creatures, and Ellie (pictured above), a fast-talking medic.

On the planet Monarch, named after the corporation that took it over, we were first taken to the town of Fallbrook to talk to Catherine Malin, the leader of the Sublight Corporation. This is where we learned that players can have several different dialogue options depending on their stats, such as charm and intimidate, and certain options will still be shown even if the specific stat isn't quite high enough. Companions can also help boost these stats when needed.

The player was given a mission to ruin Clive Lumbergh, the head of the Monarch Corporation, and was given several different options to be used at their leisure. The first was to go in guns blazing and just take down everything in sight until they got to Clive; the second was to use a disguise to get into the factory and take the stealthier approach; and the third was to use a back entrance to sneak around.

The third option is what was chosen for the demo playthrough.

On the way to the factory, we learned about the weapons currently equipped to the player character, which included a Dead Eye Sniper with modified accuracy, a heavy machine gun modified with shock damage to help take down robots, and a blade for close-quarters combat.

We also saw some strange looking wildlife that at the time, was not to be interacted with as they were a bit tough thanks to the events that transpired when the planet was first terraformed by the Monarch Corporation.

After quickly observing the fauna, we were shown some of the combat mechanics players can employ when encountering a group of bandits.

As a side effect of hibernation sickness, the player character has an ability known as tactical time dilation, which will slow down time when staying still and focusing on an enemy. Focusing on an enemy when using this ability will scan them and show information about them, including location-based hits that will have different effects, such as stunning or disarming enemies.

After making some quick work of the bandits, we were told that abilities recharge quickly for the next fight, as to not waste the player's time with waiting.

As the player character made their way closer to the factory, a waterfall was seen, which contained the secret entrance to the factory in the cave behind it.

Once we got into the factory through the sewer behind the waterfall, we were greeted by a group of pigs covered in large tumors, known as Cysty Pigs. these were the factory's main source for their food product Borst, which these tumors were filled with. There was an option to overfeed the Cysty Pigs and force the factory to shut down, but a slightly different approach.

After sneaking past a couple of guards, the player entered a larger area that contained both human employees and robots alike. A higher hacking skill can help with robot enemies, but this was not the method chosen by the developers during the demo.

Instead, the player character used the PA system to tell employees that they had been invited to dinner by the fictional King of Borst himself, which was so ridiculous it caused a mass walkout of employees, leaving only the robot enemies to deal with. We were also told that low intelligence characters have "dumb" response choices, which may not always help but often have quite humorous outcomes.

After sneaking past some robots and switching to the blade weapon, the player character finally reached Clive's "office," but of course, he wanted to talk things through before losing his head.

While talking to this weirdly Borst-obsessed boss, a perception-based dialogue option popped up due to his blood-spattered outfit and eventually, he told us that if we killed Catherine Malin instead, he could give us a lifetime supply of Borst.

One of the companions quickly offered their thoughts on the matter, and then the choice was given to either kill Clive, kill Catherine, or try to convince them to work together instead. The outcome was unknown, however; this is where our demonstration ended.

Overall, The Outer Worlds seems like it will be a strange yet fulfilling experience. While the skill-based dialogue options are somewhat reminiscent of Fallout series, which might be expected from former developers making it, the setting, wildlife, weirder characters, and more vibrant and colorful visuals help differentiate it from it's gloomier predecessors.

Whether you're a fan of Obsidian's previous work, or the concept itself has just piqued your interest, The Outer Worlds will likely provide a weird but worthwhile sci-fi RPG experience.

The Outer Worlds launches for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 25, 2019. It will also be available via Xbox Game Pass.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Peak Opener

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

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

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

Amigo Sincero

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

World Burn

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

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

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

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

Hot Mama

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Where to Farm Screws in Fallout 76 (Best Locations) Fri, 14 Jun 2019 10:11:37 -0400 Ty Arthur

Bethesda's online experiment Fallout 76 is due for some major face lifts in the near future, with a major combat overhauls are coming in a patch later this month and recent E3 news revealing human NPCs and full dialog trees are slated to arrive soon.

In addition to the brand new battle royale mode, this game is starting look much different than it did when it first landed. For those who have been playing along since the beginning though, there's still plenty of the same old hoarding and crafting to enjoy.

If you aren't keen on the Ring Of Fire and want to play the base game, then you'll be spending a lot of time scavenging regular old crafting materials like the lowly screw, which is surprisingly hard to come by in the nuclear apocalypse.

Want to farm Fallout 76 screws as efficiently as possible? Right now, there are three main ways to find screws:

  • Purchase them for caps from the vendor at the Charleston Fire Department
  • Loot and then break down items that contain screws
  • Scavenge them off corpses from specific enemies

If you're short on caps and want to farm screws through those latter two methods, we can show you exactly where to go for the best hauls.

Screw Material Locations

 These two spots usually have plenty of desk fans and globes

Let's start off with that second option, as screws can be obtained after breaking down a variety of items, but your best bets are breaking down desk fans, globes, and typewriters.

Toy cars also offer up a single screw, but aren't usually found as often in the locations we list below.

All four of those items can be found all over the Fallout 76 game map, and pretty much any building with desks will usually have desk fans, but all the aforementioned items can typically be found in abundance at these locations in particular:

  • Sugar Grove (Northeast of the National Isolated Radio Array)
  • National Radio Astronomy Research Center (east of the National Isolated Radio Array)
  • A wharf at the Toxic Dried Lakebed (southeast of Wavy Willard's Waterpark)
  • The office building inside Abandoned Bog Town (Northeast of AMS Corporate Headquarters)
  • The Whitespring Bunker (beneath the Whitespring Resort and south of the New Appalachian Central Trainyard)

Don't forget that if you need springs instead of screws, you can get them by breaking down clip boards, which are often found in the exact same locations as desk fans and globes.

Scavenging Screws From Wendigo

Striking out on the search for desk fans? A more sure (but dangerous) way to acquire screws is to head to Freddy's House Of Scares (east of the Red Rocket Mega Shop in the Mire region) and look for a Wendigo.

That enemy typically has five or more screws on its corpse, and has been confirmed to hold as many as 16 in some cases.

Kill the wendigo, loot its corpse, then return to the lobby, load a different server, and hit it again to acquire as many as you need. Note that any of the various wendigo variations will have loose screws in their inventory, like the ravenous wendigo, glowing wendigo, progenitor wendigo, or scorched wendigo. 

The number of screws is randomized, so if you hit a hot streak with plenty of screws, you may want to also head to the Wendigo Cave in the Savage Divide region found to the south of the Atlas Observatory. As the name implies, you'll usually find wendigos here, although this area is more difficult to survive as you may get attacked by multiple creatures at once.

Have you found any other great locations for farming screws? Sound off in the comments below, and then check out our other Fallout 76 guides here:

Wave Break Preview: Move over Tony Hawk, It's Time For Bears & Boats Thu, 13 Jun 2019 11:26:54 -0400 Erroll Maas

Wave Break is an in-development title by Funkotronic Labs where players perform tricks as animals like bears and otters in motorboats and compete to get the highest score.

The concept may sound strange, but after seeing the core gameplay and getting to experience it, there's no doubt that Wave Break was heavily inspired by the extreme sports arcade titles of the past such as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater.

Players compete with each other in one of several giant open levels,  performing all of the tricks you would expect from a skateboarding game. such Jumping off ramps, flipping around, grinding rails, and all that jazz while using a boat instead of a skateboard.

Players can also shoot at one another as a way to interrupt their opponents' tricks, gaining more points in the process, as well as kill each other for a point advantage. 

One interesting feature is that players aren't permanently connected to their boats and can get out and swim or run around on land, providing another way to take down opponents performing tricks in case being in the boat a shooting is a bit too tricky for some players.

The boat can also be called back with the quick press of a button and will automatically appear right at the players location, without any need for having to press something else to jump back into the vehicle.

Something else kind of crazy is that boats don't slow down on land areas like you'd expect, making it easier to perform a larger variety of tricks no matter where the player ends up.

The one small problem is that the controls feel just a tad too slippery, particularly in the boats. Players may slip off of certain areas without meaning to when trying to perform tricks, though just getting used to the gameplay over time may be all that's called for here.

Other than what has already been described, Wave Race is planned to feature boat customization with plenty of decals and decorations, as well as numerous cosmetic accessories to equip to player characters. It might not affect the actual gameplay, but it's a feature that's still useful for the local and online multiplayer modes.

Wave Break is an indie title that really stands out due to its extreme sports influences and bizarre premise, and it's clear that the developers at Funkotronic Labs are putting plenty of care into the game to help give players a more nostalgic feel through gameplay while at the same time still providing something new.

Other than the normal local and online multiplayer mode, a party mode and special streamer modes are also planned to be added in the future. It may not be some time until the full game is released, but until then fans of the Pro Skater series and similar titles should keep an eye on Wave Break as development continues and more features are added. Interested players can also get a glimpse of gameplay in the trailer below.


Wave Break is currently in development for PC.

GTA Online Guide: Casino Location Thu, 13 Jun 2019 10:19:24 -0400 Sergey_3847

Rockstar is currently getting ready to release a new gambling-themed DLC for GTA Online. How do we know? Well, the Vinewood Casino building has been significantly restructured this last week.

The old "Opening Soon" sign has been removed from the entrance door, and a brand new lobby has been added to the main building with signs indicating there will be poker and slots.

Since Rockstar haven't announced any actual release dates for the Casino DLC, the players have been guessing for a June or July 2019 release.

In any case, if you want to know what the exact location of the Casino is in GTA Online, then check out the exact map location below.

Here's a short instruction on how to get to the Casino building:

  1. Head out to East Vinewood in Los Santos, San Andreas
  2. Find the Vinewood Park Drive street
  3. Start at the intersection with Vinewood Boulevard and Mirror Park Boulevard
  4. Pass through Los Santos Freeway, Senora Road and Elgin Avenue
  5. You will end up at the intersection with Fenwell Place, near the entrance of the Vinewood Bowl

Another indicator, which you can use to find the Vinewood Casino is to locate the Vinewood Racetrack, which is located right behind the Casino. So really that's the most obvious method.

The Casino may be closed for now, but as soon as the DLC arrives it's going to crack wide open to all players looking to get in on some gambling.

There are also rumors that Rockstar will add new vehicles to the game commemorating the release of this new DLC, but those are yet to be confirmed.

For more GTA Online guides, check out the list below:

How to Start New Borderlands 2: Commander Lilith DLC 2019 Thu, 13 Jun 2019 10:15:05 -0400 Sergey_3847

Gearbox has announced the release of the brand new DLC for Borderlands 2 at E3 2019, titled Commander Lilith & The Fight for Sanctuary. The best part about the news is that this new content will be available for free until July 8, 2019.

Of course, there is a catch and not everybody can download the new DLC. If you want to know how to get this brand new content for Borderlands 2, then just...

... Own or Buy Borderlands 2

Well, this is a bit obvious.

In order to be eligible for the free download of the Commander Lilith DLC, you need to previously own Borderlands 2 or Borderlands: The Handsome Collection.

If you don't own the game, but really want to try out the new DLC, then you can purchase the game on the official Borderlands 2 webpage or via your preferred retailer.

As you might expect Commander Lilith is only available on current-gen platforms, which means you must own Borderlands 2 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or PC.

Download the DLC and Be the Level Requirement

You can download and install the DLC from the official Commander Lilith & The Fight for Sanctuary webpage for free. Click the 'Claim your copy here' link over there to choose your platform and go through the motions.

In order to access the new content, you need to make sure that you have a Vault Hunter that is at least Level 30.

If you have a Vault Hunter at 30, you can use any fast travel point to teleport them to the the Fight For Sanctuary location.

It is also advisable to complete the Borderlands 2 main campaign, since the Commander Lilith DLC includes a lot of spoilers from the original story. On top of that, you will gain access to new items, such as:

  • Effervescent weapons
  • New skins for Vault Hunters
  • New skins for vehicles
  • Infected enemies and a new Raid Boss
  • Increased level cap up to 80

Hopefully, you've been able to start the new DLC without any hiccups, and be sure to come back soon for more Borderlands 2 guides and Borderlands 3 news here at GameSkinny!

5 Castlevania Tropes That Will Make Bloodstained a True Spiritual Successor Thu, 13 Jun 2019 09:38:53 -0400 Jason Coles

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is so close to release we can almost see its reflection in the mirror. Since the game is a spiritual successor to the Castlevania series, on which producer Koji Igarashi worked for 13 years, it seems like a good time to look at some of the Castlevania tropes that should make it into the game. 

While these may seem like odd choices, every one of them helped make up the weird and wonderful feeling that was present in every Castlevania game. None of these need to be oppressively blatant; in fact, some could be smaller additions, like Easter eggs. 

Regardless, connecting the two series in these more tangible ways will go along way with long-time fans of the Castlevania series, of which Igarashi has said he is still interested in if Konami would allow him to revisit it. 

1. A Convoluted Secret Ending 

This one is first because it's the most important one. That's how lists work.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is one of the greatest games of all time, in part due to its beautiful mechanics, but also in part to its secret ending. To get the true ending, you have to get over 196% completion before beating the final boss. 

In Aria of Sorrow, there was a secret ending you could only see if you had a specific set of abilities equipped that all related to Dracula. These were hinted at throughout the game in small books you could find, and they included the Giant Bat ability. The books were utterly inconspicuous and finding them required a level of commitment that most players didn't realize they needed.

Bloodstained needs this level of obfuscation in order to truly feel reminiscent of a Castlevania title. 

2. Creepy NPCs

As a gothic-horror series, Castlevania has its fair share of general creepiness. Castles, crypts, murky swamps, haunted forests.

Of course, the monsters themselves always range from being incredibly odd to nightmare inducing. The Dryad in Super Castlevania IV still scares certain players, and the unsettling at best Granfaloon in Symphony of the Night will haunt your dreams.

However, even the friendly NPCs who help you through these games rarely radiate the kind of warmth you would want when fighting against an immortal evil.

Instead, pretty much all of them could walk through a Tim Burton film unscathed. What I'm saying is, Bloodstained needs this level of unease oozing from both friend and foe alike. 

3. Easy Farming

Abilities in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night drop in a very similar way to those in Castlevania games. That is to say that many of them are random drops from the enemies who wander around the world.

To stay true to form, at least one of these enemies should be farmable by merely going offscreen and on again to respawn it. I can't be alone in having memorized the exact amount of time it took to move from one screen to another and then attack while farming the Succubus enemies, can I? 

4. Ground Chicken 

That's right: I want food to fall out of candles and chandeliers. No ordering food from a service counter like a normal person, oh no, there needs to be world-class cuisine dropping out of the random household (castlehold?) items that get destroyed while fighting off a werewolf.

Otherwise, where can you even find your five a day? 

5. Needlessly Attractive Monsters

If the internet has taught us anything, it's that everyone everywhere is horny on main. Not just for real people, nope, but for the kind of monsters that would sooner rip your insides out than do anything else to them. 

Just look at The Shape of Water. The thirst (get it?) is uncontrollable, and Rule 34 cannot be denied. Therefore, if Bloodstained is going to stay true to the heart of monster myths and therefore Castlevania, you should want to be with some of the monsters.

I don't make the rules. Lord, imagine making Rule 34...


These are some of the essential elements that make up a good Castlevania game. That means in order for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night to feel like a true spiritual successor, it has to include these things. Look how spiritual successor Dark Souls successfully implemented key aspects of Demon's Souls to create something new yet also similar. 

I feel like I used up all my good (terrible) vampire puns on my previous Code Vein preview, so you can escape them this time around. They'll be back though; like the undead, they never truly rest.

Road to Guangdong Early Access: It's A Long Way Through China Wed, 12 Jun 2019 16:32:49 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Sometimes a game isn't so much fun as it is interesting, and that is certainly where I'd put the upcoming Road to Guangdong.

The game puts you in the shoes of Sunny, who must take the wheel of her family's trusty old junker to make a road trip across China with her elderly aunt Guu Ma. It's a strange premise aided by even stranger gameplay, but both underscore Chinese tradition, family values, and modern culture in an organic way.

Road to Guangdong highlights its driving mechanics, but make no mistake that the game's primary focus (at least at this Early Access phase) is the story. Your journey with Guu Ma across China to reconnect and nab up family recipes to reinvigorate her restaurant is at the forefront, despite the player spending so much time driving.

I say it that way for a reason: You spent a lot of time driving.

As you'd expect from a game with Road in the name and, you know, focusing on driving in China, you spend the vast majority of your time in Road to Guangdong driving. In theory, that's fine. In reality, the game needs a lot of work on its driving and repair mechanics to make it an enjoyable and engaging experience — if it expects you to drive for such long stretches of time.

Like in publisher Excalibur Games' other junker-driving-and-repair title, Jalopy, there's a heavy focus on maintaining the aged family vehicle (lovingly named Sandy) while on the road. You have to watch your oil and fuel levels, ensure you don't rev the engine too fast, and all the while hope that Sandy's various components aren't wearing down to unusable levels before you reach the next garage.

In theory and in writing, that all sounds pretty okay. If you played Jalopy (I didn't, not going to lie), this all probably sounds like familiar territory. If you've had to own and drive an old and dilapidated car, this all still probably sounds familiar. I'll always remember my '94 Saturn that I drove until 2010. Rest in peace, you sweet, oil-guzzling beast.

Managing Sandy on the long, winding roads from destination to destination most often boils down to simply not revving the engine too hard. The roads get longer, garages and destinations get spaced further and further apart, but on the road, nothing really exciting happens despite the increase in distance; and if you're mindful of your acceleration and car parameters, keeping Sandy happy isn't all that hard.

Though you do have to keep an eye on Sandy's parameters and occasionally pop out of the car to make sure the fan belt is still set or the oil filter isn't leaking, but most often you're just tapping the "W" key to accelerate a bit  but not too much at a time, or you'll damage Sandy's parts faster than you can get to a garage to buy a replacement (if you didn't buy replacements earlier, anyway).

You also dodge some cars and drive down some winding roads, and you watch your gas, oil, and engine temp meters to make sure nothing's gone terribly wrong. 

You have a limited amount of money you can spend per destination, meaning you have to make decisions about which replacement parts you want to buy or how much oil and fuel you want to stock up on.

You can repair Sandy on the road yourself, or you can have a mechanic fix her up at a garage. It's cheaper to go with repairing the car yourself, but either option will do. I always stop at garages, just in case.

When not driving, you'll be controlling Sunny in dialogue-focused adventuring segments. These consist of choosing dialogue options for the most part, although there isn't much to them.

There is something to be said for the charm of seeing Sunny and Guu Ma's family across China, though. With each visit comes new life lessons for Sunny to learn, and new cultural aspects for the Western player to be introduced to. The game's core themes are rooted deeply in Chinese family values and tradition.

Things like being completely brushed off by your elders and having to interact with family members of certain standing in such different ways can be eye-opening for someone unfamiliar with how the Chinese social structure functions.

Guu Ma being pushy with the mechanic about bringing his future in-laws to her restaurant to impress them isn't rude and it's not just to invigorate her restaurant, it's expected for one to barter such social favors. Later in the game, your cousin brushing you off and telling you to just go talk to one of the younger family members isn't rude, either. She hasn't seen you in a while and she's got things to do, it's best you just go spend time with the kids.

The cultural differences are what make Road to Guangdong unique, but regrettably, that's about all I can say I've enjoyed in these early builds.

As much as I've wanted to enjoy Guangdong so far, I just haven't been able to. The driving and repair aspects of the game are too basic to fully enjoy. There's no real challenge, there's not a lot of guesswork. The driving segments are straightforward to a fault and the adventure segments have no real mystery to them. Both are probably as easy as they could possibly be considering the restrictions of driving an old, beat up car and the setting.

Road to Guangdong has a lot of room to grow and, if done right, it can do just that in a way that's fun and engaging; however, at the time of writing, I wouldn't say the game is particularly fun or even interesting. I'm very interested in how the game is going to change through the predicted two to three months of Early Access, but I just can't recommend it in its current state unless you would like to support its small developer, Just Add Oil Games.