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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Re]Birth by Sleep

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Than a Let’s Play

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fandom Freak-Out

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

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

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

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

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

The Final Swallow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

In response, broadcasters like Turner have become more flexible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just like traditional sports, it's for everyone. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Win In Fortnite

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End Game Building Strategy

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

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

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

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

Countering End Game Builders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Northern Portion

North of Yanov

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

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

South of Chistogalovka

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

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

West of NovoShepelichi

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

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

West of Rudnia

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

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

West of Kopachi

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

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

The Southern Portion

West of Korogod

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

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

South of Llintsy

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

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

Kalinovskaya

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

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

West of Lelev

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

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

North of Kamenka

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What's in Plus?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Multiplayer

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

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

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

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

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

The best around

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Close Up of the Fortnite Map Showing Paradise Palms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All Basketball Court Locations

Fortnite map showing all basketball court locations

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

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

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

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

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

How to Score 3 Points

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

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

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Shining Resonance: Refrain Review -- Dragons be Chopin https://www.gameskinny.com/dmvfr/shining-resonance-refrain-review-dragons-be-chopin https://www.gameskinny.com/dmvfr/shining-resonance-refrain-review-dragons-be-chopin Sun, 15 Jul 2018 18:58:44 -0400 Autumn Fish

I'll be honest, JRPGs just don't grip me unless there's something truly unique about them. I've probably only played a handful in my life that I can say I've actually enjoyed. I'm not entirely sure what it is, considering I tend to enjoy many western RPGs, but that's just the way of things I suppose.

So when I say I found Shining Resonance: Refrain rather interesting, that's not a statement you should take especially lightly. It definitely came with its fair share of problems and features I wasn't quite fond of, but its theme resonated with me in a way that I can't say many other RPGs have.

Shining Resonance: Refrain -- A Sweet Melody or Dissonant Chords?

SR:R is a remake of a PS3 game that never made it out of Japan. It's the last game in a series with roots that stretch all the way back to 1991 on the Sega Genesis. It's about a boy, Yuma, who discovers he has the power of the strongest World Dragon inside of him, the Shining Dragon. It's a great and terrifying power that threatens to rend the world asunder if he ever loses control of it.

At the start of the game, he's saved from the dank cells of the Empire's prison by a Princess of a warring nation and a renown Dragoneer, wielding one of the seven legendary Armonics -- a powerful magical instrument that can commune with dragons and serves as a weapon in combat. And this is where the game hooked me.

Not only does this title promise you the rare opportunity to beat down your foes as a mighty dragon, but everything about it sings to the music geek inside of me. The strange and fascinating fixation on dragons and music was enough to keep me playing for dozens of hours. On the flip side, however, I regret to say that this concoction was most of what kept me going that whole time.

I didn't have a ton of expectations going into it, however, I did find myself pretty excited when I found out about the music aspect of the game. Additionally, I can't recall a time where I've ever played as a dragon in a video game before, especially not in a live action combat system, so I was pretty hyped to see how it would turn out.

So how did I feel once I finally got my hands on the game? Well...

Shining Resonance Refrain BAND performance

Where it Harmonizes

Shining Resonance: Refrain does a few things rather well. While I can't say the story ever left an impression on me, it wasn't bad. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say it's pretty good, but it's certainly nothing phenomenal. There aren't a lot of big mysteries, twists, or surprises, and things start to become fairly predictable after a fashion.

Rather than the story compelling me forward, though, I was rather hooked on the characters. A lot of them follow pretty traditional anime tropes, but their personalities still shine strong and a lot of them turn out to be pretty interesting. You'll even see a lot of character growth throughout the game, not just from the initially timid main character, but for the rest of the cast as well.

If you're looking to take a deeper dive into your party members, you can even utilize the game's romance system. Yuma, the main character, can date both the guys and the girls in the party, and he's not restricted to one partner, either. However, you'll ultimately only be able to see the relationship "ending" of one character in a save file.

As you build your relationships with your party members, they will gain traits that you can equip in the Bond Diagram. This diagram allows you to arrange characters next to each other in order to determine who's buffing or benefiting who in combat. It's a pretty unique, deep, and rather uncomplicated system if you're willing to spend the time fiddling with it.

In combat, there's a sweet B.A.N.D. system that you can utilize if you have at least two Armonic-wielding Dragoneers in your party. You build up your B.A.N.D. meter simply by attacking enemies. Once it's filled past its minimum threshold, you can play a song that has different buffs depending on who's at the center of the B.A.N.D. You'll even learn new songs to play as you progress in the main story.

Shining Resonance Refrain Dragon Roaring

And while we're talking about neat combat mechanics, I have to say that fighting as a dragon is pretty cool, and I honestly think that the whole mechanic is really well designed. When playing as Yuma, you can transform into a dragon at any time for a considerable power boost. However, it slowly drains his pool of MP over time. To add to it, if you try any action as a dragon while your MP is too low -- around half -- then you run the risk of going berserk and losing control of the dragon.

When the dragon goes berserk, it attacks anything and everything indiscriminately, and can do some serious damage to your party if you're not careful. The only way to soothe it or prevent it from going berserk entirely is to start a B.A.N.D. session in combat. Heck, having an active B.A.N.D. will even benefit the dragon and allow it to break the enemy's guard with its most basic attacks, so using the two special abilities in tandem tends to pan out well.

Not everything about combat is sunshine and rainbows, however.

The Grating Dissonance

Combat is something of a mixed bag. It has some good elements, but ultimately it ends up feeling off and like it doesn't bring a lot to the table. Swinging your weapons feels awkward and the system of casting spells -- or "Forces" -- isn't dissimilar to how it is in most JRPGs. The live action combat tricked me into a false security of the game being somewhat skill-based. Unfortunately, though, several enemy attacks aren't even telegraphed in time for you to get out of your own dreadfully long attack animations and react.

On top of that, if your party levels aren't up to snuff, you're going to be in for a world of hurt. It's amazing how big of a difference 3 measly levels actually make when it comes down to it, let alone trying to face off against main story bosses that have a solid 5-7 levels on you. This leads to a necessity of a bit of grinding, or at least the tenacity to kill every single enemy between you and your next objective. With the clunky combat, though, this can quickly turn into a chore.

Shining Resonance Refrain Combat

Let's take a turn to talk about the map and level design. I'm almost inclined to say, "What level design?" It's really not that great. Every map, including the singular hub town, feels so simplistic and bare bones that they're boring to run through from the start. And it doesn't help that you're forced to revisit maps a lot, rarely ever granting you the opportunity to see new places. There isn't really a fast travel system, either, except for an item you can buy to teleport you back to the hub.

There are of course some items spread about the maps -- a few materials and a couple of rare treasure chests -- that are supposed to add to your sense of exploration, and while it did compel me to check around every corner, the maps just felt ultimately boring and uninspired. This is something I see in a lot of JRPGs, unfortunately, and it puts me off every time. I don't need a great big open world game to be satisfied, but I would like areas with at least a bit of thought put into them.

I was originally willing to write off the poor level design and clunky combat as drawbacks of this being a port of a PS3 game, but then I remembered just how much could be accomplished on a PS3. I mean, games like Dark Souls and Skyrim were originally released on that console, and they definitely weren't lacking quite like this.

Finally, let's talk about side quests. This game is the shining example of how not to do side quests. It almost feels like I'm playing an MMO, the side quests are that monotonous. And some of them are endlessly repeatable, too. Which I suppose is nice if you're going for certain rewards from them, but I only ever even found a few of them worthwhile. There's game content locked behind a few of them, too, so it's unwise to pass them over, I just wish they were a little more compelling.

As a closing note, it'd be wrong to talk about a game that has so many musical elements without touching on the music itself. Unfortunately, it's not that great. There is a track or two that was catchy enough to get stuck in my head for awhile after putting the game down, and some music may even sound rather pleasant upon first hearing it, but every track quickly wore on me the more I heard them. It's unfortunate, really, because this is the one part of the game where I had relatively high expectations.

Shining Resonance Refrain Sonia Asking You on a Date

Verdict: Just a Bit Offbeat

Shining Resonance: Refrain has such a mesmerizing theme with its focus on dragons and music, and while I was able to stick with the game for several hours because of it, it ultimately wasn't enough to save it for me. While the game featured some unique mechanics and interesting characters, the clunky gameplay just killed the experience for me. Maybe most JRPGs just aren't for me.

If you're a fan of JRPGs and think the concept of playing as a dragon and beating up enemies with musical instruments is pretty rad, then you'll probably enjoy this game a lot. If you're interested in strong characters and potentially getting to know them on a romantic level, you may like this game too. Otherwise, I'm not really sure if I can personally recommend dropping the money on this.

It's got a great concept, I just wish it was executed a bit better.

Shining Resonance: Refrain is available now for $50 on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

[Writer was granted a review copy of the game from the publisher.]

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Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection Review https://www.gameskinny.com/lcwh7/street-fighter-30th-anniversary-collection-review https://www.gameskinny.com/lcwh7/street-fighter-30th-anniversary-collection-review Fri, 13 Jul 2018 13:15:00 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Nostalgia can be a powerful seductress. It often colors our objective judgement, having us look back on our youth as halcyon and carefree. When something like the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection comes along, the adolescent world warrior in us looks upon it with gilded glasses, fawning over what we think we remember.

We see the gorgeous packaging, the high-octane trailers, and the clever marketing and remind ourselves that "those games were good -- great, even". We tell ourselves that everything was simpler when that iconic music wafted from our television's speakers and those indelible characters fluttered across our screens in rapturous martial arts glory.

We tell ourselves that these games were more challenging and most importantly, more fun than some of the games of today. That they "had" something. Given the perspective of 30 years, that simple definition of fun begins to grow terribly tenuous. 

All things being equal, the 12 games in the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection are classics that still hold up today. However, there's a little wrinkle here you may not have considered or known about. These entries are the arcade ROMs of these classic fighting games, not the console versions you fondly remember. 

Programmed to take all of your quarters, the games in this collection are utterly relentless in their mission to steal your sanity. Casuals beware: this game just ain't (that) fair -- no matter how you cut it. 

When Getting Gud's Not Enough

There's no doubt playing difficult games and overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds is one of the trademarks of gaming. It's something that bestows upon the player immense pride and gratification. However, it all becomes a different story when the odds are so overwhelmingly stacked against you that fun devolves into demoralization. 

I've played my fair share of Street Fighter games. Alpha 3, which is part of this collection, is still one of my favorite fighting games of all time. I practiced for hours to get the high score that would unlock Shin Akuma and still remember my numb thumbs forging ahead with determined purpose after each failed attempt until finally, victory. 

Sure, that was more than 15 years ago and sure, my sensibilities have changed in that time, but the Alpha 3 found in the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is way, way, way harder than the Alpha 3 released on the original PlayStation. Even Street Fighter II Turbo, which I can handily beat on my dusty SNES, is nearly impossible to complete when you go up against the spammy likes of E. Honda, Vega, and M. Bison.  

I'm not trying to spiral into a whiny diatribe here, but I'm saying all of this to drill home the fact that these games are brutally, sometimes spitefully, difficult. A.I. opponents will do everything to win a match but outright cheat -- and sometimes I'm not sure the computer isn't cheating.

Animations are mostly fluid, but some do miss opponents for no reason at all. Sometimes they hit, sometimes they don't. Neither the rhyme nor the reason is clear, which can lead to increasingly frustrated play. Input lag appears non-existent -- or at least not a major contributing factor -- but precision is even more imperative when attacks don't like to connect like they should. That's not to mention that characters in some of the games, particularly Street Fighter II, have basically unblocakble attacks that almost instantly melt your entire life bar (I'm looking at you, E. Honda and Vega). 

You can beat these games (with the possible exception of the awfully janky and nigh unplayable Street Fighter), but your thumbs will bleed. I'd suggest investing in a fight stick if you want to go the distance with the 30th Anniversary Collection. You'll thank me in the end. 

What You Get and Don't Get

Despite my reservations about the collection's difficulty curve and overpowered A.I., the 30th Anniversary is one of the better ways to play these classic games on modern consoles. If you're not into emulating, don't have a subscription to PlayStation Now, or don't want to buy the games individually on Xbox Live (which can get pricey), this collection is currently your only choice.  

So what do you get for $39.99? For starters, you get a loosely labeled 12 Street Fighter games. I say "loosely" because five of them are one iteration or another of Street Fighter II, while three of them are one of the iterations of Street Fighter III. The remaining three are in the Alpha series. Here are the specifics: 

  • Street Fighter
  • Street Fighter II
  • Street Fighter II: Champion Edition
  • Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting
  • Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers
  • Super Street Fighter II: Turbo
  • Street Fighter Alpha
  • Street Fighter Alpha 2
  • Street Fighter Alpha 3
  • Street Fighter III
  • Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact Giant Attack
  • Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike

That's a great deal of content for the price point. The only downside with the games themselves is that again, these are the arcade ROMs. That means they won't have all the bells and whistles that are associated with their console counterparts. For example, Alpha 3 doesn't have World Tour Mode, while Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike doesn't have the online version's trial mode.  

That's a small(ish) price to pay for what you do get, but since I'm a tad salty about not having every, single thing in one package, it's worth noting again. 

A Series Retrospective

On the plus side of things, you'll find an extensive Museum Mode that is a veritable encyclopedia of Street Fighter knowledge. Having just read Undisputed Street Fighter: A 30th Anniversary Retrospective (which we'll have a review for soon and I highly recommend), it was great to see some of that book featured in the collection. 

When you enter the museum, you'll find four options: History, Characters, Music, and the Making of Street Fighter. The complete history comes as an easy-to-digest timeline. Most entries have micro-encyclopedic entries and all cards have fantastic artwork. It's a great way to see the progression of the series. 

The Characters option is even more in depth. Here you'll find dossiers on each character in the series up to 3rd Impact. If you've ever wanted to know Chun-Li's origins or Ken's likes and dislikes -- or what fighting style Blanka uses -- this is your one-stop shop and it is far prettier than any wiki page. 

The Music section is exactly what it sounds like. This is where you'll find all of the iconic music from every game in the collection. And these aren't just snippets: they're full music tracks -- and even now in the Internet Age, it's hard to find high-quality files of these songs, so this is a welcomed perk. 

Finally, we come to what many will see as the coup de gras: the Making of Street Fighter section. Here you'll find the original six-page Street Fighter pitch document, a 72-page making of Street Fighter II document, a 26-page Street Fighter Alpha development document, and an 89-page Street Fighter III development document. All of these pages have captions, original artwork, and even the original notes for the moves and controls. If you wanted one of the best behind-the-scenes looks at the series, this is one of your best bets. 

Online Multiplayer

I'll go ahead and say it: I'm terrible at Street Fighter online multiplayer. My reflexes just aren't quick enough, I suppose. Or, more likely, I'm just somehow more anxious than I am when facing off against an opponent in the flesh. I'm not bad in person, really. However, regardless of how good (or terrible) I am at SF online multiplayer, the 30th Anniversary Collection does an admirable job of giving players who are interested in the mode something to chew on.

Whether you stand victorious over your opponents or get utterly humiliated, you've got several option to choose from: online arcade, ranked matches, and casual matches. You can create lobbies for friends and join lobbies, of course, and there's a leaderboard to track all of your progress through the ranks. 

You can further tweak your experience by changing your lobby's skill level from novice through advanced, changing your lobby type from public to private, changing your input lag, and changing your connection strength. Most of that is pretty pedestrian stuff for online multiplayer, but changing your difficulty is a nice touch, letting you face opponents that are (theoretically) closer to your experience level.  

Overall, I had a somewhat "difficult" time finding matches. At the beginning, I found that I would often wait somewhere between one and three full minutes to find a match, but after resetting everything in the multiplayer menus to default, I found matches a lot more quickly. So although I didn't spend an exorbitant amount of time with the online multiplayer component, I feel it's safe to say that the more you tweak and hone your options, the harder it will be to quickly find a match. It's a shame because it shows that not as many players are duking it out as there should be.

Lastly, it's worth noting that while you can play all of the collection's 12 games in local multiplayer, you can only play four of them in online multiplayer: Super Street Fighter II TurboStreet Fighter II Turbo: Hyper FightingStreet Fighter Alpha 3, and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. If you know anything about the competitive scenes for these games, you know that these are the only four games worth playing against other players in any real competitive sense. 

Verdict

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection isn't perfect. In fact, it's more likely to speak to series purists than the casual SF gamer. Those that grew up during the height of the Street Fighter arcade period will find an experience only rivaled by the actual arcade cabinets themselves. Those who grew up with these games on consoles may be a wee bit disappointed. 

However, even if you are bit jaded that these are "just" arcade ROMs, there's plenty here to be excited about. At $39.99, this collection is still hard to beat. Sure, you'll have to sharpen your street fighting skills, but this is the perfect game by which to do that. 

My only real reservations are that the game is overly difficult and frustrating at times, that it's hard to find tailored online matches, and that all of the console goodies aren't included. Tweak those three things (read: make this a console collection instead) and this would get a near perfect score. But since it's an arcade collection, nothing's going to change that, and console curmudgeons like me just need to get over it. 

You can buy the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection on Amazon for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. You can purchase it for Windows on Steam

[Note: Capcom provided the copy of Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection used for this review.]

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Fortnite Season 5 Complete Skins Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/7dt2f/fortnite-season-5-complete-skins-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/7dt2f/fortnite-season-5-complete-skins-guide Fri, 13 Jul 2018 09:08:41 -0400 Victoria Banks

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Are you ready to start?

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Season 5: Worlds Collide is live, so jump into Fortnite now to purchase your Battle Pass and have the chance to snag these seven awesome skins along with other fantastic season items.

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Once you have your pass, start grinding those challenges and missions or buy tiers, to get the skins you are aiming your sights on, but don't get sucked into any wormholes along the way!

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This battle pass will end in 74 days, so play now to enjoy the latest in-game content.

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Looking for Fortnite strategies and tips? Make sure to check out our Fortnite guides page. Here are a few guides to get you started:  

\n"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-set-273d7.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-set-273d7.jpg","type":"slide","id":"185867","description":"

Ragnarok -- Legendary Skin (Styles 4, 5, and 6)

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The final three styles only continue to build on the impressive armor of the original skin.

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The fourth style continues adding armor to both arms, and 120,000 XP is needed to unlock it.

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The intimidating skull helmet is the highlight of this skin's fifth style and can be accessed once players reach 250,000 XP.

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Additional neon blue highlights and bone armor is added in the sixth style, which requires 500,000 XP.

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It will either take a lot of work or a lot of wealth to get this skin.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-set-d78bd.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-set-d78bd.jpg","type":"slide","id":"185866","description":"

Ragnarok -- Legendary Skin (Style 1, 2, and 3)

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Ragnarok, the cold harbinger of fate, is the final skin of Season 5, and it doesn't disappoint. This character has glowing blue eyes and tattoos along with an impressive set of armor. So far, it is one of the most popular Tier 100 skins from any Fortnite season -- and it offers six selectable styles.

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The second style of the set adds an armored torso along with a full beard and hair, but requires 35,000 XP

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The third style provides a shoulder guard and braids in the skin's bright beard, but requires 75,000 XP.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-set-03c1b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-set-03c1b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"185865","description":"

Rook -- Epic Skin

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All the way up at Tier 87 is Rook, promoted from desk jockey to field agent. 

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A mixture of professional and killer, this skin offers classic office wear with an additional bulletproof vest and shotgun shells at the belt. This fun contradiction makes her skin more challenging to acquire. 

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To obtain this skin, players will have to work on completing objectives and challenges or dig into their pockets to buy their way up to higher tiers.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-set-4d5b1.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-set-4d5b1.jpg","type":"slide","id":"185861","description":"

Sledgehammer -- Epic Skin

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At Tier 71, players will have access to Sledgehammer, a rugged demolition soldier with one of the manliest beards to ever enter the game.

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This character wears military garb, shows off tattoos, and hides behind shades. While many of Fortnite's other skins are often flamboyant or edgy, Sledgehammer finds himself among the small handful that are more traditional. Fans of classic FPS games are sure to love this familiar style.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-set-c1d07.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-set-c1d07.jpg","type":"slide","id":"185858","description":"

Sun Strider -- Epic Skin

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Sun Strider is already one of the most popular Fortnite skins. And there's little wonder why: she's ready to save lives... or take them. This life guard summer skin is part of the Rescue Patrol set and is only available after reaching Tier 47.

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This is the first skin that won't be available in the bundle purchase, so the only way to access her is to either purchase each tier until you reach 47 or to start grinding challenges and working toward objectives.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-set-9efcd.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-set-9efcd.jpg","type":"slide","id":"185856","description":"

Redline -- Epic Skin

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Redline is part of the RPM set, and some of this skin's signature features are her geometric tattoos and motorcycle helmet. Her red and black style is somewhat reminiscent of the popular action game, Mirror's Edge. In fact, this skin looks a lot like the Burnout skin, which was first featured earlier this year. 

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She is available in Tier 23 of the Battle Pass and is included in the bundle purchase as well. Unlocking this skin shouldn't be a problem at all. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-style-set-59c1b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-style-set-59c1b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"185854","description":"

Drift -- Legendary Skin (Styles 4, 5, and 6)

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Drift's other three unlockable styles add his popular kitsune fox mask, adding a new layer to the overall look.

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The fourth style is the first in the set to include the fox mask and can be unlocked at 50,000 XP.

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Next, the fifth style adds a long gold and black coat with a fuchsia design on the back. It can be acquired after reaching 100,000 XP.

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The sixth style can be obtained for 200,000 XP, and it adds electric currents to the coat. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-style-set-8495d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-style-set-8495d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"185852","description":"

Drift -- Legendary Skin (Styles 1, 2, and 3)

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The next skin, also available at Tier One, is Drift, a legendary character featured in the Season 5 trailer. He is shown adding graffiti to Durr Burger before teleporting into the world of Fortnite.

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Some of his signature features include his face mask and sleek gold and fuchsia design. He has six unlockable styles that can be acquired through gaining XP in solo, duos, or squads. Each style adds more colors, clothing, and layers to his edgy look.

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Style two can be unlocked at 10,000 XP

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Style three requires 25,000 XP.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-2669b.jpeg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/i/skin-2669b.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"185847","description":"

Huntress – Epic Skin

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One of the first skins available in Season 5 is the Huntress, the fearless raider from storm-tossed seas. This medieval Norwegian character wears leather armor with fur lining, a red tattoo, and blue war paint. Her blonde hair is also braided down the middle and shaved at the sides.

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This skin is part of the Norse Set and can be acquired at Tier One of the Season 5 Battle Pass.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/e/a/season-skins-ee325.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/e/a/season-skins-ee325.jpg","type":"slide","id":"185840","description":"

Fortnite Season 5: Worlds Collide has officially landed, and with it, comes a new set of battle pass skins. This season contains a total of six diverse skins, two of which have additional unlockable styles (something we'll cover in the slides ahead). 

To get the chance to unlock any of these character skins, however, players must first purchase the Season 5 Battle Pass with in-game currency. The price for this season is currently 950 V-Bucks ($9.50). If you want a head start on your friends, the game also provides a special bundle that includes the season pass and the first 25 levels for 2,800 V-Bucks.

Before you decide to open your wallet, though, let’s check out each skin and how you can unlock them.

"}]]]>
Fortnite Treasure Map Guide: Risky Reels Battle Star Location https://www.gameskinny.com/9nkln/fortnite-treasure-map-guide-risky-reels-battle-star-location https://www.gameskinny.com/9nkln/fortnite-treasure-map-guide-risky-reels-battle-star-location Thu, 12 Jul 2018 15:23:28 -0400 Ty Arthur

Fortnite's various battle star treasure hunts are easily some of the most frustrating weekly challenges -- especially since the hand drawn "maps" don't always paint a clear picture of where to go if you aren't intimately familiar with the game's landscape.

Now that Fortnite Season 5 is here, we've got another battle star treasure hunt under way, although this one is a good deal easier than normal (despite still being listed as a "hard" level challenge). Let's get started with the treasure map Risky Reels challenge!

Want to skip the entire map-finding section of the Risky Reels treasure hunt and just go straight to the battle star location instead? 

The treasure is located south of Tomato Town, on top of the north side of the tunnel. Just walk up to the center area above the tunnel (beneath the outcroppings but above the actual tunnel itself) and when you get close enough, the battle star will spawn.

Map showing the battle star for season 5, week 1

Finding The Risky Reels Treasure Map

If you aren't one of those Cheaty McCheatersons who skip the actual map portion of the treasure hunt, hop off the battle bus and land at Risky Reels to find the map propped up against the edge of a wood building.

For those who spend any time in the northeastern quadrant of the Fortnite map, this one should be really obvious as the tunnel south of Tomato Town, since there aren't a ton of tunnels next to trees in the game.

The only question is which side of the tunnel to land on, as both sides look nearly identical. Landing at the correct side is critical, because getting to the top of the other side is a major pain if you don't have a bunch of resources for building your own staircase and bridge.

Risky Reels Treasure Map 
Fortnite Risky Reels Treasure Map

If you are landing directly there, launch your parachute before hitting the south end of the tunnel, then glide forward and turn around so you can drop directly onto the battle star spawn point shown in the image below.

If you miss the north end of the tunnel while gliding or are running to Tomato Town from the Risky Reels treasure map location, the easiest way to reach the treasure is just to build a staircase up on the north side in front of the tunnel.

Running all the way around the cliffs to jump down above the other side of the tunnel takes way more time than its worth, especially if anyone is straying north from Dusty Divot looking for an easy kill after looting all the chests there.

That may not be as much of an issue as in other weekly challenges, however. This is a challenge that would be good to jump on early, as most players are now landing at the newly added Lazy Links or Paradise Palms locations, leaving Tomato Town a desolate wasteland free of deadly players for a few days!

Be sure to take advantage of the lack of foot traffic to gear up, grab the battle star, and lie in wait for other unsuspecting players as the storm shrinks.

A player glides down to the battle star spawn point in Risky Reels Where to land to grab the Risky Reels / Tomato Town treasure

Did you figure out the location based on the map image or just jump straight to the treasure? Sound off and let us know what you think of the Season 5 changes so far in the comments below!

If you're just getting started with the Season 5 Battle Pass challenges, check out our other recent Fortnite guides here for an edge up over the competition:

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Fortnite Lightning Bolt Locations Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/ym9bm/fortnite-lightning-bolt-locations-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/ym9bm/fortnite-lightning-bolt-locations-guide Thu, 12 Jul 2018 14:50:43 -0400 Ty Arthur

Long time players will notice some big changes to the Fortnite formula as Season 5 officially launches, with three challenges now available for all players and an extra four challenges just for the Battle Pass crowd. One of those challenges is to find 7 lightning bolts in some very out-of-the-way locations.

Still getting used to the changes to the map and shotgun nerfs with version 5.0? Check out an overview of all the Season 5 patch notes here before heading out to find where the lightning bolts are in Fortnite!

Now that we've got that out of the way, if you just want to know specifically where to find the Fortnite lightning bolt locations, here are all the confirmed locations where they have been discovered so far in the Season 5, Week 1 map:

 Lightning Bolts In Fortnite Map

Where Are All The Lightning Bolts In Fortnite?

Although Epic is trying to de-emphasize the importance of building in the late game, this challenge actually requires you to harvest materials and build tall structures in order to reach the lightning bolts.

At the moment unfortunately it doesn't appear that you can grab one of the lightning bolts at the start by landing on it while falling off the battle bus, so get ready to quickly harvest and build instead. To make a lightning bolt count towards the challenge, you need to actually interact with it like you were opening a loot chest.

To complete the challenge you need to build staircases and reach at least 7 bolts. Be sure to start at an angle a short distance away from the end location as you build up and sideways, then throw up in a platform if necessary to finally reach the bolt.

There are currently more than 7 lightning bolts scattered across the map, so there's no shortage of locations to check out. Here's where to land to get started completing the lightning bolt challenge:

  • Above the llama at Junk Junction (duh, there's always a challenge item here)
  • In the sky above the middle of Dusty Divot
  • The far west side of Paradise Palms by the tall building
  • Above the middle of the house section of Retail Row
  • Up in the sky above the river to the west of Tomato Town
  • Directly above the middle of Tilted Towers
  • In the sky above the temple to the north and east of Lucky Landing (at the far south end of the map)
  • Above the northern most dock of Loot Lake
  • The middle of the Greasy Grove location
  • Next to the tower at Lonely Lodge
  • To the northeast of Snobby Shores
  • In the hills to the northwest of Wailing Woods

Have you found any other Fortnite lightning bolt locations that we missed? Let us know in the comments and we'll get them added to the list!

 Interacting with a lightning bolt to complete the week 1 Fortnite challenge (thanks to Hicko for the screenshot)

With the search floating lightning bolts challenge out of the way, here's the full list of newly added Fortnite Season 5 Week 1 challenges to keep you busy this week:

  • Deal damage with SMGs to opponents (500)
  • Search a Supply Llama (1)
  • Search for chests in Snobby Shores (7)
  • Search for floating lightning bolts (7)
  • Eliminate opponents in Retail Row (Hard: 3)
  • Clinger, stink bomb, or grenade eliminations (Hard: 3)
  • Follow the treasure map found in Risky Reels (Hard: 1)

Stay tuned for a full guide on where to find the Risky Reels treasure map coming shortly, and be sure to drop us a note on your strategy this week to deal SMG damage and get stink bomb eliminations!

If you're just getting started with the Season 5 Battle Pass, check out our other Fortnite guides here for an edge up over the competition:

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Fortnite Season 5 Guide: Shotgun Nerfs and Flintlock Locations https://www.gameskinny.com/ikw20/fortnite-season-5-guide-shotgun-nerfs-and-flintlock-locations https://www.gameskinny.com/ikw20/fortnite-season-5-guide-shotgun-nerfs-and-flintlock-locations Thu, 12 Jul 2018 13:17:50 -0400 Ty Arthur

Season 5 of Fortnite is officially here, and you better believe things are getting weird, with bizarre crossovers happening between realms.

On top of weapon nerfs and zany temporal rifts, we also got a whole new desert biome in the southeastern corner of the map, featuring Paradise Palms, while Lazy Links was added to the northern end at what used to be Anarchy Acres. We also know that certain new areas aren't marked, so we'll have to wait and see what those are. 

Epic has made it clear that big changes are in store for the king of battle royal games, and not just in the wacky new world-colliding mechanics for Season 5.

If you look at (some) message boards around the web, it seems the end game is getting a bit stale with "just build lol" being the prevailing mantra right now. The devs want to see that change

A series of staggered updates with big changes is coming to Fortnite, with the first being a host of weapon nerfs to spice up how you use the shotgun -- and to force players to try out new strategies.

Fortnite's Season 5 Map showing new locations in a desert and Paradise Palms and Lazy Links 
It's a brand new Fortnite map with all new landing locations to learn!

Shotgun Nerfs (And a Few Others You Might Not Know About)

Since most players end up peeping out from behind walls to get off a shotgun blast, the basic gameplay mechanics for shottys have been totally redesigned.

Expect further fine tuning and nerfing of shotgun mechanics during the rest of Season 5 as Epic gauges community feedback -- but here's what you need to know about shotgun nerfs right now:

  • Shotguns will now indicate how many pellets hit an enemy; this will be visible within the weapon reticle
  • Shotgun spread patterns have been adjusted to be consistent; there are no more random variations
  • The heavy shotgun now fires 10 pellets rather than 5 (although the maximum damage for the heavy shotgun remains unchanged)
  • After firing a shotgun, another shotgun cannot be fired for a very short time (meaning no switching between multiple shotguns in your inventory for rapid shots without reloading)

Shotguns are just where it starts, though, with a bunch of other nerfs appearing that may change how you play.

Explosives (like grenades) and the rocket launcher now have reduced vehicle knockback for shopping carts or the new All Terrain Karts (ATKs).

Additionally, the suppressed SMG has been tweaked so its damage drop off is in line with other SMGs -- damage is reduced to 80% at 35 meters and then down to 65% at 50+ meters.

Finally, the hunting rifle's aim assist has been reduced to be in line with other sniper rifles, so it won't be quite as accurate anymore.

Where to Find Flintlock Weapons

Thankfully, the Epic crew hasn't forgotten about those of us who still prefer the original Save The World mode. Now, a whole new class of old-timey weapons has appeared to put a wrinkle in Season 5.

Here's what you can now discover in missions, pick up in the event store, or acquire randomly through loot llama cards:

Weapon Name Rarity DPS
 Duelist Epic Pistol  645.8
 Duelist Legendary Pistol  708.5
 Dragoon Epic Shotgun 2586.4
 Dragoon Legendary Shotgun   2812.5
Ol' Betsy Elite Sniper 711.6
Ol' Betsy Legendary Sniper 777.5
Sir Hootie Epic Melee Club 292.2
Sir Hootie  Legendary Melee Club 323.2
Fishing Hook Epic Melee Scythe 292.2
Fishing Hook Legendary Melee Scythe 344.5

 

What do you think of the shotgun nerfs and new flintlock weapons for Save The World mode? Sound off in the comments below, and be sure to check out our other Fortnite guides here:

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The Tea: A STEAMy Sip of Ori and the Blind Forest https://www.gameskinny.com/6m0o2/the-tea-a-steamy-sip-of-ori-and-the-blind-forest https://www.gameskinny.com/6m0o2/the-tea-a-steamy-sip-of-ori-and-the-blind-forest Thu, 12 Jul 2018 11:40:15 -0400 Jackson Ingram

In just over nine hours of Ori and the Blind Forest, I only died 551 times. The game very helpfully kept track for me and gave me a visual reminder every time I hit pause to catch my breath and/or cry.

To be honest, I didn’t really know what I was getting into with Ori, but it seemed like I had so little to lose back then: it was on sale, it was well-reviewed, and its graphics were gorgeous. Even if I had reservations about playing as anything remotely resembling a furry, I dove in. I thought it looked like a cute little game. I was so young then, so very naive.

I’d heard the term “Metroidvania” before. No, I had never played a game like it, but I knew that Samus was kick-ass in Super Smash Bros, and I'd watched the pilot of the Netflix Castlevania anime, so I thought I had a pretty solid background in the hybrid genre. Surely there would be no further prerequisites. I could do this. It was just a platformer, right? Something like Super Mario but for furries. (Oh wait, that's already a thing.)

But was wrong. It was hard. It was SUPER HARD.

To be fair, it had been a while since I’d played what Waypoint Radio might refer to as a “video-game-ass video game,” if this even counted as one. For the past three years, I’ve been pretty busy -- and pretty stressed -- so I pretty much limited my video gaming to weekly jaunts through my heavily-hacked Animal Crossing: New Leaf town (aka, my happy place).

The pace of an Animal Crossing stroll is perhaps somewhat more leisurely than that of a Metroidvania platformer. That, and Animal Crossing has far fewer buttons to remember. Essentially, you hold a tool, you hit “A,” and it does the thing. In Ori, my left hand was constantly playing its own little game of Twister on the keyboard while my right hand swirled the large glass of wine I inevitably poured myself after dying in the Ginso Tree for what felt like the 300th time.

It was somewhere around the 150 mark that I switched the difficulty down the easy, but apparently, I needed “baby mode” because it took me another 20 minutes of fatalities to get through it.

A Piping Hot Take on Gameplay

It’s very possible that the wine didn’t help my already rusted reflexes, but in my defense, I was a little stressed, alright? Which is a shame, because the forest itself was breathtaking. When I wasn’t running, hopping, or gliding for my life, I couldn't help but admire the sheer scope of the world I was tasked with saving.

The forest of Nibel was -- and still is -- gorgeous and sprawling, with vast contrasts between areas that somehow manage to be disparate but also part of a cohesive whole. It was a world I enjoyed inhabiting, no matter how hard it tried to kill me at every turn (hence the wine).

I’m pretty sure I spent all nine hours at the edge of my desk chair, checking and re-checking the edges of my screen for whatever ungodly disaster was about to chase me across the map next.

Speaking of which, the map itself is the true adversary in Ori and the Blind Forest. The enemies, all of whom could've been ripped out of an Epic Mickey demo, were fairly predictable, but that’s not so much a complaint as it is a blessing. If I’d have faced anything more complex from those dudes, me and my phosphorescent spirit guide would’ve told this forest to go f- ...save itself.

The repetition gave me the practice I needed to master the game's moves and eventually (read: FINALLY) start sewing them together for some really satisfying platform traversal. It was just around when Ori started feeling like an extension of myself and not like a dumb little fox puppet that I beat the game and deleted it from my desktop forever.

The Story: Quick as a Fox, Subtle as a Tsunami

Clearly, I’m not planning on replaying this one with my newly abundant free time, and despite how visually impressive the sequel promises to be, I’m just not invested enough in Nibel to take another trip through its thorny brambles.

The plot
almost saved it for me, as plot often does in games. I’ve played through a lot of bad sequels just because I’ve felt just a little connected to the games' characters, but here, I just… don’t. I feel nothing. This little fox thing and its inarticulate friends mean nothing to me.

It’s possible that I’m this heartless because when I watched Bambi as a child, my mother very pointedly told me exactly how she felt about the perceived demonization of hunters in children’s media. So when Bambi’s mom died (oh, crap, spoiler alert), my little brain was too full of rural Midwestern deer-culling discourse to develop empathy for woodland creatures caught on the wheels of the circle of life.

Sure, the relationship between Ori and Naru is sweet and (actual spoiler alert) it was sad when Naru seemed to starve to death at the end of happy-times-prologue-berry-season, but a bigger part of me was like, “Oh, thank God I don’t have to play as that giant sloth again.” (Although, yeah, about that...)

Besides a few twists and turns, the set-up here is pretty straightforward. You’re a fox-thing named Ori that’s supposed to restore the three elements (essentially: water, air, and fire, because screw the earth) and save the forest before an enormous owl kills you in retribution for the indirect part you played in ruining her life.

The owl, Kuro, is probably the most interesting character -- a mother equal parts protective and vindictive -- and definitely has the best character design, but that’s probably because you can’t mess up a giant demon owl. You just can’t. By comparison, the other characters come off a little clumsy. There’s something kind of bulbous about their designs and movements that makes it hard to imagine them outside the flat plane of a side-scroller.

Oh, and guiding you on your journey is a little pixie-thing called “Sein”, who takes you from one spirit grave to the next so you can absorb their sweet platforming powers in a move that doesn’t at all resemble necromancy.

There’s also some deeply earnest voiceover work from the Spirit Tree, which occasionally chimes in with a made-up gibberish language (and floaty, mystical subtitles) to say something fake-deep and almost embarrassing to read. The whole plot felt like it had me in an emotional chokehold, hitting me over the head again and again with just the hammiest sentimentality, begging me to care about the epic plight of its characters. And each time it did, I cared just a little less.

So long-story-short, it was a little hard for me to feel for Ori beyond the fact that every time I led its fragile fox body into another fatality, I felt a stab of guilt for being unable to complete even the most basic Metroidvanian maneuvers. Also because I’m pretty sure “forest guardians” are an endangered species. I should really be more responsible.

The Fandom Freak-Out: NIBEL

Luckily, the game undeniably succeeds in one area: the music. Looking back, it was the overwhelming praise for the OST that drew me to Ori in the first place. As the kids would say, I’m a slut for VGM, and composer Gareth Coker delivers the goods. While admittedly, the main theme isn’t my absolute fave (a little overwrought, in my opinion, and a total earworm in the worst way), it’s impressive how the rest of the album outshines what’s supposed to be the headliner. Each track feels carefully constructed, with soaring highs and somber lows that could tell a story on its own. Paired with the visuals, it’s an orchestral treat that brings Ori’s world to life.

Where Ori's narrative laid out its wide-cut arcs with hammy-fists, the orchestration drew out its nuance. I’ve been listening to Materia Collective's NIBEL (see below) basically on a loop at work, and with each playthrough, I’m amazed at how Materia Collective takes an already intricate musical score and not only dives into it from every angle, but makes me want to take the plunge back into the Blind Forest myself.

While there’s a lot to love here (and a whole spectrum of reasons to love it), my favorite track has to be “The Waters Cleansed” by David Russell (a Materia Collective regular, and a core member of the Project Destati trio). While my feelings may be somewhat skewed by the intense relief I felt after clearing the Ginso Tree (very wine-drunk at two in the morning), I can say with certainty that I can imagine no better representation for Ori’s brand of hopefulness than Russell’s gorgeously delicate arrangement.

The Final Swallow

Am I glad I played Ori? Absolutely. It was a weird experience to be sure. Sometimes beautiful. Often infuriating. But always unique. It’s like a mosh pit! Not exactly my cup of tea, but something I’m glad to have experienced just once. And never again.

This week’s “Fandom Freak-Out” goes to Materia Collective’s NIBEL: Ori and the Blind Forest Remixed. It’s an impressive 37-track tribute to Coker’s work, featuring over 50 composers, arrangers, and artists.

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Legendary Winner Beach Umbrella Drops With Fortnite Season 5 https://www.gameskinny.com/0753n/legendary-winner-beach-umbrella-drops-with-fortnite-season-5 https://www.gameskinny.com/0753n/legendary-winner-beach-umbrella-drops-with-fortnite-season-5 Thu, 12 Jul 2018 10:23:21 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Your patience has finally paid off: Season 5 of Fortnite is finally upon us. Not only does that mean we're getting brand-new locations in Paradise Palms and Lazy Links -- as well as a killer All Terrain Kart that's sure to make fans of Caddyshack well with pride -- it also means we're getting a brand-new legendary winner umbrella. 

The Beach Umbrella is unassuming enough. It's color scheme and design closely tied with this Season's (alleged) summer theme. Unlike victory umbrellas of the past, this one's a bit drab and pedestrian, but it confers the same message to friend and foe alike: you don't want to be (or can't be) messed with. It means you've bested 99 other players and claimed victory royale.

Drop into the map with this umbrella and players will either run away or immediately try to gun you down. 

If you're looking to nab the ultimate Fortnite honor by claiming this season's victory umbrella, make sure to check out the tips and tricks on our Fortnite guides page.  

How To Get It

Getting the Beach Umbrella is pretty simple: just win a game. You can do this in any of Fortnite's modes -- single player, duos, or squads. Here are some quick tips to help you get claim victory royale (although at this point, you're probably a pro already): 

  • Land Near Settlements: This tips bears repeating. It may be enticing to land right in the middle of Lazy Links or Risky Reels, but you're not the only player with the same idea. Try landing outside of hot spots to pick off other players. 

  • Grab a High-Powered Weapon ASAP: This is easier said than done, but you'll want a sniper rifle or shotgun in the early game. Getting a shotgun and/or sniper rifle together makes you a dual threat. 

  • Keep Quiet: Sound is an integral part of Fortnite. The quieter you are, the less likely your enemies are to find you -- especially in buildings. 

  • Take Cover/Be a Bush: Don't just stand out in the open. Always look for cover -- even if you're chasing another player. Additionally, take advantage of being a bush. Here's how

  • Horde Medkits, Use Shield Potions: Your shield keeps you alive; lose it, and your health goes bye-bye. Keep medkits for when you absolutely need them, but use shield potions as soon as you find them, especially if your shield isn't maxed-out. 

  • Be a Vulture: Sure, it's kind of cheap, but to ensure you get victory royale and the Beach Umbrella, you need to pick off other players quickly and easily. The best way to do that is to find firefights, let them play out, and then swoop in for the kill on injured players. 

  • Loot Everything -- FAST: The only way to win in Fortnite is to get weapons and all ze good loots. Sometimes it's better to let another player survive if it means you'll have more time to loot a high-powered weapon. Weigh each encounter before jumping in. 

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That's all you need to know about the Beach Umbrella in Fortnite Season 5. Of course, the tips above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to claiming victory royale. Check out either our guides page (linked before the tips above) or check out our growing guides master list

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on Epic's battle royale sensation as it develops. 

Header image: Fortnite Epic

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Minecraft Update Aquatic Turtle Breeding Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/2zn7s/minecraft-update-aquatic-turtle-breeding-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/2zn7s/minecraft-update-aquatic-turtle-breeding-guide Wed, 11 Jul 2018 17:08:49 -0400 Autumn Fish

Phase 2 of Update Aquatic has finally rolled out for Minecraft: Bedrock Edition, adding 3,000 new species of fish, Drowned Zombies, Bubble Columns, and even Sea Turtles! The Sea Turtles, in particular, are an incredibly unique addition -- especially if you breed them.

You see, when a baby turtle grows into an adult turtle, they drop an item called a Scute. With five Scute, you can go to a crafting table to make a Turtle Shell. If you wear this Turtle Shell, you'll gain the Water Breathing status effect, which prevents you from drowning or losing oxygen underwater -- completely. It even improves your vision when submerged.

Alternatively, the Turtle Shell can also be brewed with an Awkward Potion in order to make the Potion of the Turtle Master, which slows you down but also increases your resistance, essentially making you a tank -- or a turtle, if you please.

In order to make these, though, you need some baby turtles. And the best way to find baby turtles is to, of course, breed them yourself.

Turtles on a beach in Minecraft

How to Breed Turtles in Minecraft

To breed turtles, you first need to find two adult Sea Turtles. They spawn in groups on warm beaches, so if you don't find any at a beach near you, you can just craft a boat and go on a bit of a journey to see if you can't find any at other beaches in your current seed.

Once you find a few, go ahead and dig them into a small pit so they can't escape, and make sure there's sand under them -- the eggs need to be laid in sand. Otherwise, they won't hatch.

Next, you need to feed two turtles a piece of Seagrass. In order to get Seagrass, you must either use Shears on the grass that grows underwater or kill turtles. Once you feed the turtles, hearts will appear over their heads, and they'll turn toward each other.

Afterward, one turtle will burrow under the sand and lay one to four turtle eggs.

Next, you simply have to wait for the turtle eggs to hatch. Remember, they will only hatch on sand during the night. Once they hatch, it will take them a little while to grow. You can accelerate this process by feeding them more Seagrass. If you feed a baby Sea Turtle 10 Seagrass, it'll grow into an adult instantly.

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And that's everything you need to know to breed turtles for Scute. If you're looking to improve your Minecraft experience, be sure to check out our Minecraft seeds and Minecraft skins articles while you're at it.

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How To Play Fortnite Bingo Mode (Complete With Game Ideas) https://www.gameskinny.com/nvol0/how-to-play-fortnite-bingo-mode-complete-with-game-ideas https://www.gameskinny.com/nvol0/how-to-play-fortnite-bingo-mode-complete-with-game-ideas Wed, 11 Jul 2018 16:58:20 -0400 Ty Arthur

Move over High Explosives, 50 vs 50, and Solid Gold because the best Fortnite game mode ever has arrived -- and it wasn't even crafted by the Epic team at all!

While waiting on Fortnite Season 5 to officially drop (which seems like will involve Vikings and a tear in the fabric of time somehow?), players decided to come up with their own custom game mode -- Fortnite bingo!

Ready to get going filling out bingo lines and using nearly every weapon found in the game against your best mates? Let's get started!

Note: Special thanks to Fortnite YouTuber Lachlan for catapulting this one into the public consciousness when he started playing rounds for 100,000 V-Bucks (check out the video below).

Fortnite bingo card shows the game's weapons, grenades, and traps 
Fortnite Bingo Card Basic Version

Bingo Custom Mode

This special way to play bingo in Fortnite makes extensive use of the game's new Playground mode, which is currently labeled as a limited-time mode. However, the mode gives you plenty of time to find all the items on the bingo card without having to constantly drop back into the loading screen after getting killed.

To play, just pop in a Playground match and start searching the map until you or a friend fill up your inventory with five items on the bingo card.

Here's a quick tip: Before the match, decide how you want to set up the custom match's win conditions.

For example, you could go for a traditional bingo setup -- collect five items in a vertical or horizontal line. Then make players win multiple rounds over time to get a full-card winner.

Alternatively, you could instead go for the full blackout win, which could take hours with a dedicated group of players. Lastly, you could decide that players must actually net kills with the weapon in question, or deploy certain items at certain time to get the bingo segments to count.

Bingo Hard Mode

Ok, the above is the easy version of Fortnite bingo. If you're looking for more of a challenge, this is how you play hard mode.

If your group has some serious time to grind, drop into Squads mode and try to get a bingo win while playing against other players in a regular 100 player match! In this version of the game, bingo lines should stay blacked out between matches, as it's unlikely you'll hit five in a row before dying in a single game.

Alternatively, if you don't like the original bingo card setup or want to swap out items like Port-A-Fort or stink bomb for other weapons, make up your own custom Fortnite bingo card and share it with your friends!

There are plenty of other ways to play if you want to change up the difficulty while waiting for Season 5. Fill up a card with llamas to see who can get to five or 20 first. Or pop in locations like Junk Junction and Tilted Towers to see who can visit the most locations the fastest!

Are you jumping on the bingo bandwagon? Let us know how you plan to play in the comments below, and stay tuned for full coverage on the first week of Fortnite Season 5 to arrive tomorrow!

For those who have been away in recent weeks, Season 4 brought plenty of weapon and item additions to the game. Make sure to check out the the high capacity drum gun, new dual pistols drop, and area-clearing stink bombs.

And while you're at it, make sure to head over to our Fortnite guides page for even more tips, tricks, and strategies. 

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Soulsborne ARPG Code Vein Gets Delayed https://www.gameskinny.com/9rgde/soulsborne-arpg-code-vein-gets-delayed https://www.gameskinny.com/9rgde/soulsborne-arpg-code-vein-gets-delayed Wed, 11 Jul 2018 11:00:26 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Originally slated for a September 28 release, Bandai Namco's soulsborne ARPG Code Vein has been delayed to 2019. The move comes just one month after the original release date announcement (you can view the announcement trailer above).

The company did not provide a specific date for the game's new release window. 

According to a press release issued by Bandai Namco, Code Vein's delay will allow the developer to further refine the game's mechanics and gameplay to meet consumer expectations. 

Code Vein has received an enormous amount of positive feedback from eager fans who have received hands-on time with in-development versions of the game over the past nine months. Armed with knowledge of how well the game has already been received, we made the decision to postpone the release of Code Vein to further refine its gameplay in an effort to exceed the expectations fans already have of the title. It was a difficult decision to make, but we feel it is the correct one.” 

-- Eric Hartness, Vice President of Marketing for Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc.

Code Vein is an anime-inspired soulsborne ARPG set in a post-apocalyptic timeline. The game will feature both single-player and multiplayer modes where players can create their own characters and customize their fighting styles based on the game's many weapons, items, skills, and gifts. 

According to multiple sources such as Engadget and PC Gamer, Code Vein will not be playable at Gamescom 2018. There is currently no word on when a new demo of the game will be available. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on Code Vein as it develops. 

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Hearthstone: Boomsday Project Coming in August https://www.gameskinny.com/6lwy6/hearthstone-boomsday-project-coming-in-august https://www.gameskinny.com/6lwy6/hearthstone-boomsday-project-coming-in-august Wed, 11 Jul 2018 09:29:43 -0400 Edgar Wulf

Blizzard has finally announced details on the Boomsday Project, its upcoming expansion for Hearthstone. Dave Kosak from the Hearthstone team presented the expansion in a colorful and totally ridiculous announcement trailer -- featuring Dr. Boom -- which is available above for your viewing pleasure.

As is usually the case, the new expansion will introduce a set of 135 new cards and also build upon The Witchwood expansion. In addition, each class will receive something never seen before -- a Legendary spell.

Each class will also receive a Project card which grants a beneficial effect to both players when played; such cards have existed in Hearthstone before, but have been mostly limited to the Druid class.

A new Magnetic mechanic will be introduced which allows the merging of two Mech minions on board with this keyword, combining their stats and abilities in the process.

Lastly, the new set will include special Omega cards whose full potential will be triggered once a player has 10 mana crystals at their disposal.

During an undisclosed launch period, players who log in will receive three card packs and a random Class Legendary Minion (or a fancy hero card) from the new expansion completely free.

Full details are available on the official blog post, where you can also pre-purchase the expansion

Hearthstone's Boomsday Project launches August 7, with additional single player content in The Puzzle Lab coming August 21.

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Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on the Boomsday Project, related guides, card reviews, and more.

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